Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter, the characters, settings etc.
Chapter has been beta-ed. Thanks to my lovely Beta, StellaHunterofArtemis, who has been a doll and been helping me work through this story and make edits to fix all the inconsistencies and poor grammar.
1. Babies and Time Orbs
"Harry, I'm pregnant!" cried Ginny Potter, obviously excited at sharing the news with her husband.
Harry froze as he walked in the door. Ginny was standing at the kitchen table, with the healer's note on the table, ready for him to read. Her long red hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, and her eyes were sparkling in delight. Those three words hit Harry hard. He hadn't been expecting it. Ginny and he weren't trying for a baby, not yet at least. How? Harry's head began to spin as he sat down in a chair at the table. He quickly skimmed through the letter, and sure enough, it confirmed that Ginny was pregnant. He broke into a smile, and quickly lifted Ginny off of her feet into a kiss. The two spent the night laughing away and celebrating the idea of a baby. However, as the days wore on, Harry's initial excitement began to fade, and was replaced with worry. He had no experience in parenting. The only fatherly figures in his life were Vernon Dursley and Arthur Weasley. What if he was like Dursley and not like Arthur? It was possible; he had grown up under Dursley's control. The thought frightened Harry. Arthur and Molly were constantly reassuring him that we would be fine, and that there was nothing to worry about, but Harry could feel the fear running down his back. Harry wished he had known his parents, if just for a bit, so that he could feel a bit more reassured.
Ginny knew Harry was feeling panicked about the baby. She tried her best to help him feel a bit more confident, but he didn't seem ready to accept the idea. In fact, the more she tried to convince him, the less confident he became. Finally, Ginny decided that Harry needed to be around more men who were about to become fathers. George's wife was pregnant with their second child, and he really wasn't that helpful at all. Bill already had three children, and Percy had one daughter. The three men were experienced, and Weasleys, which oddly, seemed to distance Harry from the fact even more. They had nothing to worry about in Harry's eyes. Fortunately for Ginny, there was one man who was facing the same thing as Harry. That evening, two weeks after Harry had learnt Ginny was pregnant; he came home to find a beautiful dinner laid out for him. He and Ginny ate in silence. Harry was waiting, because Ginny had that look on her face suggesting she had some big news to break.
"Harry, I had an idea," she began, having gathered the necessary courage to speak.
"Yes Ginny?" he asked.
"Tomorrow, you're going to Grimmauld Place to sort some stuff out, right?" asked Ginny.
"I am, why?" he asked, thoroughly interested in where this was going.
"I was thinking that Neville should join you," she blurted out.
"Neville, why?" asked Harry, confused.
"Well, Hannah told me she informed Neville that she was pregnant, and he was panicking just like you are, so I thought maybe it would be easier to share your worries with Neville, since you don't want me to worry too much about you," explained Ginny. "I'm not panicking!" cried Harry defensively.
"Harry, even Ron could tell you're worried," said Ginny, rolling her eyes.
"Well, maybe a little," mumbled Harry, and then he grinned at Ginny. He was lucky to have such a wonderful wife, one who cared enough to find someone for him to talk to.
"I want you to go tomorrow, and just enjoy talking to Neville, help each other out," said Ginny sternly.
"Yes mum," said Harry meekly, grinning at his wife.
"Don't you 'yes mum' me, Mr. Potter, I'm serious," said Ginny, smiling. "While you and Neville hang out, Hannah and I were going to take Teddy and Victorie to Diagon Alley. Fleur is swamped with the two babies, and Andromeda is trying to rekindle her relationship with Narcissa, so, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take the kids away."
"Alright Gin," said Harry, as he stood up to clear the table. "Let's head to bed, Mr. Potter," said Ginny, wagging her eyebrows at him suggestively. "Oh? I think we should wait until baby one is born before working on baby two," he smirked. "Well, we could always get some practice in," said Ginny huskily as she wrapped her arms around Harry's neck. "Practice does make perfect," he said, leaning in to kiss her. "Let's go make perfect," she said, grabbing his hand and walking upstairs.
The next day, Harry went to Number 12 Grimmauld Place first thing in the morning. He met Neville on the door step, and the two men entered. Over the past seven years, both men had undergone a major transformation. Neville had spent six years working as an honorary Auror with Harry and Ron, before going to take an apprenticeship to train to become a Herbology Professor. He claimed that until the last Death Eater was gone from the streets, he wouldn't be able to focus on teaching. Harry and Ron had thrown Neville a huge celebration when he left, and still missed his presence dearly.
Physically, Neville had changed drastically. He was tall, just a bit taller to Harry. He had long since lost his baby fat, trading it for hardened, well-chiselled muscles. His black hair had been cut short, and was kept this way. On his face was one thick scar, running across one of his eyes. Luckily for Neville, he could still see from the eye, however, not as well as he could before. His buck teeth had been shrunk to a more normal size. The most drastic change about Neville was his personality.
The shy, clumsy introverted boy had become a legend in his own right. After the Final Battle, the media had swarmed Neville with questions. Despite not knowing that Nagini was a horcrux; the fact that Neville had slayed the indestructible snake made him famous. Nagini had been responsible for the deaths of many, and afterwards, Neville had received many thank-you cards, bouquets, chocolates, and even fan letters. That, combined with the fact that he had taken down an entire group of Snatchers during the battle made people look at him with awe. When storybooks for children were published about the battle, Neville had been surprised to find himself the star of a few popular titles. Not that anyone else was surprised. Neville had become a confident, strong leader, who people looked up to.
Harry too, had changed. He had gone from being the quiet, ignored little boy in the cupboard, to being the centre of a drastic change in the wizard world. People looked to Harry for leadership after the Final Battle, and Harry had stepped into the place the world had made for him, despite his obvious dislike for the position. He had become a man who radiated confidence and strength. People would always take a step back, or turn their heads to look at him, because of his aura of leadership. He, along with Neville and Ron, had done their best to capture as many Death Eaters as possible.
His lightning bolt scar was one of many that he had earned in his battles, though still the only one on his face. Harry was just a bit taller than average, and he looked taller due to his confidence and leadership. His face had narrowed from exhaustion and training. His green eyes still sparkled again his pale skin. His black hair was still unbelievably messy. Thankfully, he often mused, it had yet to go grey. Like Neville, he too had gained muscle. At just twenty four, the two men had faced more battles than many had in their entire lives.
They both had suffered, and come out victorious.
"Hi Harry!" said Neville pleasantly, embracing Harry with a clap on the back.
"Neville! Good to see you. How are things?" said Harry, cheerfully.
"I miss the Auror work, but with Hogwarts undergoing major transformation, it only makes sense to be a part of it," said Neville wistfully.
"I understand mate, with this new promotion, I can hardly keep still," said Harry, as the two men entered Grimmauld Place.
Grimmauld Place had also changed over the years. The once weathered and worn out place was starting to become a grand memorial site. The ministry had detached as many workers as possible to help clean the place out, and get rid of the dark magic. The entire place had been repainted recently. However, there was still much work to be done.
"Let's head upstairs and start sorting things out," suggested Neville.
"Couldn't agree more, this place is a bloody mess," agreed Harry.
The two men headed up the stairs after stopping in the kitchen to grab some food and drink. They went past the bedrooms to a spare library. This library was untouched, and would be the current focus of their investigation. Over the years, many interesting artefacts and books had stumbled out of the house, and the ministry was determined to have the entire place weeded out and organized. They worked in silence for the first few hours, both of them uncomfortable at the thought of just pouring out their worries. They managed to scour away at most of the items in the library before relaxing.
"Want a drink, Neville?" asked Harry, lifting two of the small, strong bottles of Fire-whiskey.
"Merlin, yes," said Neville, accepting a bottle gratefully. The two both took a swig from their respective bottles before setting down to eat their late lunches.
"What's the time?" asked Neville.
"5 o'clock. I told Ginny I'd be home by eight, you?" asked Harry, taking another swig.
"Same idea," said Neville.
"So, I hear Hannah's pregnant?" said Harry, wincing at the tactless approach.
"Yeah, she is, five weeks in. Ginny too, right mate?" asked Neville, looking over at Harry with his clear brown eyes.
"Six weeks," grimaced Harry, as the two gulped down more of their bottles. A light buzz started to course through their veins.
"Bloody hell, we're going to be fathers," cried Neville.
"I don't even know how to be a father!" exclaimed Harry.
"Neither do I! What if I'm a Gran type of parent?" asked Neville, the horror evident on his face and the buzz taking control of his speech.
"Better than me, I could be like my uncle. He was a bloody git, who spoke with his arse," Harry said vehemently.
He downed the remaining bottle in one.
"Oh bloody hell, Hannah's thrilled, she doesn't get it mate," said Neville, shaking his head as he followed suit.
"Ginny too, Ron just stays away from the subject. You know, I wish I had seen my parents, known them for a bit, just something!"Harry grabbed a second bottle and took a long swig.
"Better than me, I – hic – see them like that, makes me – hic – wonder what they were like when they were y-yo-you know, sane," Neville hiccuped sadly. He took another large gulp.
"Babies! Bugger, I'd rather g-g-go hic ad-ad-adve – oh, you know what I mean," said Harry grumpily.
Neville nodded and drank his second bottle in one, both venting their frustration in alcohol. The two men continued talking on this vein, griping and fretting and angry at the idea of parenthood, for quite some time and fueling themselves with drink.
"Hey, what's that?" asked Neville suddenly, pointing at a curious orb sitting on top of a book in the corner of a room.
"Dunno," said Harry, as he stood up and stumbled over. Neville followed, stumbling, too drunk. They approached the orb, that was glowing a dim gold. On the book was a parchment with neatly inscribed words that read:
To those who find me, I am a Time Orb, Granter of thine wishes. I will let you see Nay let you live In a time long gone, I am your key Turn my clock to a date long passed, And spend one year in the past For a simple fee Place your blood in my orb, and watch me glow, But be warned, as I glow a blood red, Group one may come and Group two may follow, But no more than two shall pass. When the year is up, Time reverts back to what has passed before you see And only thy memories and trinkets, May comfort you from the unchanged truth So fall into the past pleasantries.
"I've never heard of a Time Orb, have you Harry?" asked Neville, frowning at the word.
"Sounds l-li-like a fun idea though," mused Harry, grinning. "Shall we – hic – take it?" asked Neville.
"I n-n-ne-never back down – hic – from a dare," boasted Harry.
Had the two men not been so entirely drunk, they would have read the book and learnt more about this strange Time Orb. They would have been able to remember what they had done better. Alas, they were drunk, and therefore, not in their right minds. Without a second thought, Neville set the clock to the day before Hogwarts opened to their parents' seventh year. Harry made a small cut on his finger, and let his blood drop on the orb, and they watched the orb glow a magical blood red in color. The two stretched out their hands and touched it. Away they went, to the unknown past.