Thanks for all your reviews. On with the story: ) Mina
Harry woke up the next morning and turned to find a babbling Rose seated in her cot, she was having a conversation with her kitty.
He didn't want to get up quite yet so just lay there observing her as she alternated between chewing on kitty's ear or poking its eyes.
It was a good thing that he wasn't on the hunt for anymore pets he thought, Hedwig was safe from her grasp as she knew how to fly to safer heights.
"Dada ba!" Rose squealed happily when she turned and noticed Harry's gaze.
"Hi to you too, did you sleep well sunshine?" Harry mumbled sitting up with a yawn. Rose immediately put her arms up for a lift out of her bed and rewarded him with a smile showing off her two new bottom teeth.
"Are you hungry?" Harry asked as they slowly descended the stairs.
Rose gazed up at him with her mouth around kitty's wet ear in answer.
Harry got himself a tall glass of orange juice and a bowl of porridge. Rose who was sitting propped up in her chair was being given some pureed fruit this morning along with her bottle of formula.
She'd been trying to get her hands on his food for a while and so Harry had read up on different baby foods to give her.
She didn't like green foods he'd found, but then which young child did? He remembered being given sprouts as a meal once at the Dursleys and even with hunger clawing in his belly he'd been tempted to just chuck it out the window.
He opened the floo in case the twins decided to pop round for a chat, they had seemed keen the night before.
Not even five minutes later the floo roared to life and Fred followed by George appeared with identical scowls on their faces.
"We've been trying for ages!" Fred complained, pulling one of the kitchen chairs out before sitting down.
"Yes, how long were you planning on sleeping for?" George asked sitting down besides his brother.
Harry glanced at the clock which read nine fifteen, it wasn't that late.
"So! What did you do yesterday?" George prompted when it became clear that Harry was content to continue eating his breakfast in silence.
Harry fed Rose a spoonful of mashed bananas which she seemed to like, going by her open mouth, before looking up at them.
"Oh, Kreacher told me about Sirius brother having stolen something from Voldemort and when I touched it, it felt wrong. I remembered about Ginny and the diary and didn't really want anything with that sort of soul-stealing abilities in the house." Harry said, taking another spoonful of porridge for himself before turning to Rose again.
"Open up for the choo-choo!" Harry said to Rose in the silence that followed his words. Rose smiled widely at his order before opening her mouth obediently.
Fred too, opened his mouth a couple of times before taking a deep breath.
"So you took the thing to Hogwarts and then what?" He asked, eyeing Harry patiently.
"Oh, I snuck in, opened the chamber of secrets, destroyed the locket using a basilisk fang and then I left." Harry said, enjoying the twin glares aimed his way. Who knew annoying the twins was this much fun.
"Why didn't you let me come? I would have loved to have seen the Chamber of Secrets! And can you imagine what we could do with that dead basilisk?" George said, ending with a dreamy sigh at the thought of the basilisk. Harry hadn't given the dead snake that much thought to be honest.
"So did you guys manage to figure out a way for us to come over for Christmas?" Harry asked, earning himself another glare.
"What? Can you not do it?" He asked, wondering if it was all too much work for them.
"That's it!" Fred exclaimed, waving his hands around wildly causing Rose to giggle.
"You're not going to tell us any more?" George added, equally appalled at Harry's lack of imaginative details regarding yesterdays happenings.
"It wasn't all that interesting. There were lots of rats, dirty tunnels, Voldemorts toy tried to tempt me into killing Dumbledore and I almost got caught by the new potions master and Snape." Harry listed, suppressing the shiver of remembrance of the filthy tunnels and the red eyed rats.
The twins stared at him in mute shock.
"That is interesting!" They said as one.
"Oh." Harry said, hiding a smile by turning to wipe Roses face with a summoned flannel.
"Oh, he says." Fred bit out sarcastically.
"Yeah, we're likely to get more details out of Snape at this rate." George muttered darkly.
"He didn't actually see me as he was trying to persuade the new potions master not to fail Malfoy in Potions." Harry said feeling rather smug at having learnt that tidbit.
"I did duel with Dumbledore though." Harry said, making them both gape at him.
"Well, I summoned his wand before he had a chance to stun and bind me up." Harry corrected, eying the twins with a carefully blank face.
"He doesn't look very good." Harry added thoughtfully after a while, thinking back to how old and frail the Headmaster had looked.
"We think he might have been cursed." Fred said reluctantly, looking unhappy with the change of topic.
"Yeah, that hand looks as if he's touched something he shouldn't have." George said, making Harry nod thoughtfully. The twins would know, they were real good with stuff like that.
"I wonder what it was though, it must have been something really clever for Dumbledore to have missed the curse." Harry mumbled, pulling Rose from her chair and placing her on the floor.
He overturned her toy box leaving her surrounded by balls, rattles and colourful wooden blocks. She made a grab for a small ball which she started hitting his foot with.
"So Christmas?" Harry prompted, bringing out a reluctant grin on Fred's face.
"Well, we figured we could send out charmed invites so that only family members and people invited can enter the house." Fred said looking pleased with himself.
"And we'll lock the floo so nobody can floo in whilst you and the princess are in residence." George added smiling down at Rose, who'd abandoned her ball and Harry's foot.
The baby was half sitting-half lying down as she tried to reach a rattle just out of her reach. Fred lifted his wand to help her but Harry shook his head.
"Let her try by herself, she won't learn to crawl otherwise." Harry said, watching her roll onto her stomach with a pout. She kicked her legs and went backwards.
"Wrong way Rosy girl!" Fred snorted. Rose didn't take any notice though as she'd spotted a red wooden car instead.
"Will the wards be strong enough?" Harry asked bringing them back on topic. The twins rolled their eyes at him.
"Yes oh-hermit-one, it should be fine. We won't tell anyone that you're incoming and once you're in it'll be too late for anyone to contact Dumbledore." George said.
"Besides, no one is stupid enough to risk you leaving once mum sees you. Can you imagine the lashing they'd get from her?" Fred added with a grin.
They all turned as the floo flared to life, letting a letter through.
It turned out to be from Ron and Hermione who demanded to know why Dumbledore had interrogated them about what Harry had been doing in the castle the previous night.
They also wanted to know why he hadn't come up and visited them or let them know that he'd been there.
Harry rolled his eyes at the letter, even though it was good to know that they were speaking to each other again.
"Don't they realise that you are a busy man now? You need to care for a baby, study at home, sabotage Voldemorts evil plans and stay out of Dumbledores grasp! As if you'd have time for a little chat up in the tower." Fred said, observing as Harry took a leisurely sip of his juice.
"They probably think he sleeps in, plays with Rose and sits here eating breakfast at quarter to ten in the morning." George said, as Harry bent to push the small ball towards Rose who smiled before reaching out to grasp it, as it came within reach.
"Don't you guys have work to do?" Harry asked, thinking that he probably needed to get into some clothes before Angelina appeared.
"The shop!" Fred exclaimed rushing towards the floo.
"We left Verity all alone with the Christmas shoppers pounding on the door!" George said with big eyes, rushing after his brother.
Harry snorted and picked Rose up from the floor.
They really did need to get some clothes on before Angelina appeared or she'd tease him mercilessly about appearing in slippers and p.j trousers.
It had been two weeks of last minute studying and Defence and Charms progress tests but today was the last day before two weeks of holiday.
Harry was going shopping for the last few presents he had yet to get, most had been owl ordered but there were some he wanted to get in person.
He left the kitchen with a grimace, saying goodbye to Rose had not been a good idea.
Lately she'd been rather clingy whenever Angelina came over, which was making him feel rather guilty. Was he not giving her enough of his time, leaving her feeling neglected, he wondered.
He made it to the study and quickly flooed away from the house, before her cries made him change his mind. This day really was his last chance at getting his remaining Christmas presents bought. Angelina was taking two weeks off, to be with her family, starting tomorrow.
The thought of dragging Rose with him to all the different shops he was planning on going to, wasn't tempting in the least.
Stepping out of the floo grate at Gringotts felt odd, it was awhile since he'd last been there after all.
He went down to his vault for a top up of Galleons and was pleasantly surprised to still have a decent pile left. Must be the added Black gold, he thought trying hard to not think of Sirius.
He spotted the little bundle containing the destroyed locket and basilisk fang and pushed it to the side with his foot before scooping up some gold.
Leaving the bank a short while later, Harry was surprised at the continued tense atmosphere in the Alley. People were travelling from shop to shop in small groups.
Harry made sure his hood was up securely before joining the back of one such group.
He slipped into the Quidditch shop for a present for Ron and motioned for the shopkeeper to not make a fuss. The mans eyes had gone round with recognition and Harry really didn't want to have to leave the Alley so soon after arriving.
He made quick work in the bookshop and tried to not linger too long in the sweetshop, where he bought Angelina a huge basket of assorted goodies as a thank you for all her help with Rose.
The twins had sent Harry a note saying that Remus had accepted the invitation to come over, so he was hoping to be able to buy the man a batch of the Wolfsbane potion.
The Apothecary didn't stock the potion however, as it was a more specialised item.
He was given the directions to The Poisonous Chalice which had more unusual potions on offer.
Harry pulled the hood lower before entering Knockturn Alley, he was surprised at the sight of Aurors patrolling here too and he gave them a nod as he walked past.
The potions shop was further into the alley than he'd ever been before but the street seemed rather empty.
After entering the very dark and dingy shop, the seller had been more than happy to sell Harry the vial he requested.
Harry had been appalled at the price of one months worth and had asked just how a werewolf was supposed to afford the potion, when most wizards refused to hire them on. He'd been forced to leave rather quickly after that as the seller had looked more than ready to curse him for his words.
"You dare to question me boy!" The seller had growled as Harry hurried out the door.
Harry muttered darkly to himself about the unfairness of it all.
On his way back towards the more likable Diagon Alley he had spotted Narcissa Malfoy out and about.
Draco Malfoy's mother looked haggard and drawn as she made her way to Borgin and Burkes.
Harry had naturally positioned himself outside the windows so he could see what she was buying or selling. Mr Weasley would find either interesting, he was sure.
He was sorely disappointed when she headed for a scruffy looking cabinet. He stayed outside the shop for fifteen minutes alternating between staring at Mrs Malfoy and keeping an eye on the rest of the street.
All he learnt, was that she seemed mightily interested in the cabinet. She didn't look at any of the other objects or try to sell anything.
Mr Borgin was clearly explaining something to her as he waved his hands about and opened and shut the cabinet doors several times. Mrs Malfoy simply stroked the cabinet as one would a loved one, it was all rather odd and boring. Must be a family heirloom or something, Harry decided.
He had followed her out of Knockturn Alley but soon lost sight of her in the fidgety crowds.
After that he had left the wizarding street in favour of the muggle side of London, where he was getting the last presents.
It was just Mr Weasley and Rose left to buy for, all other presents had been owl ordered or bought today in the alley.
Entering the first bookstore he could see, he soon had Mr Weasleys present sorted and headed for a children's shop.
He felt rather pleased an hour later as he covertly shrunk the last shopping bag before apparating home. Only one person had recognised him, if you didn't count the goblins, it was almost as if the wizarding world hadn't expected him to go Christmas shopping at all.
Harry spent the last few days before Christmas dressing the house up.
He and Rose had gone and bought a tree and then Harry had spent an hour decorating it with newly bought decorations. He'd charmed the star too shine brightly up on the top of the tree.
Rose loved the shiny baubles, the tinsel and the low branches, she tried to drag herself over to the tree whenever she was on the floor.
Harry had been stupid enough to put a few presents under the tree just to see what it would look like and Rose had managed to get her hands on them before he noticed.
She hadn't quite managed to open them but there were little tears in the wrapping paper and some of the parcels looked as if she'd tried to slobber her way through the paper. The present for Hermione even had little teeth marks on it.
The day before his and Rose's surprise visit to the Burrows, Harry packed all the shrunken presents into a small bag.
He also packed a bag full of different toys, clothes, nappies and foods for Rose, he was also planning on taking her cot with him as she would need somewhere to sleep. He made sure to pack a pair of p.j's, some spare clothes and a toothbrush for himself just in case Mrs Weasley wanted them to stay longer than then one night he was planning on.
Harry apparated to the edge of the Burrows garden the next afternoon with Rose and slowly walked up the path. He felt a curious shiver go down his spine and looked down to see that Rose's eyes had gone large and guessed that she too had felt the magical ward the twins had set up.
He was glad that he'd placed Rose's invitation in one of her overall pockets, just in case.
"Your uncles are geniuses." Harry mumbled into Roses hood as he walked them up the path to the front door. All the lights were on inside and Harry could already imagine the cosy chaos that would greet him when they got in.
He took a deep breath before raising his hand to knock on the door.
"Who is it?" He heard Mrs Weasley call before the door opened.
"Oh! Oh my! Oh, Harry!" Mrs Weasley screamed as she seemed to be going into shock at the sight of him and Harry quickly handed Rose over to Fred who stood beside his mother with a large grin.
"Merry Christmas Mrs Weasley, hope you don't mind two more guests?" Harry asked.
Mrs Weasley burst into tears and pulled him into a had hug. She kept mumbling incoherent things into his ear in between sobs.
"Harry! What are you doing here?" Ron asked as he came skidding down the stairs with a surprised look on his face, followed by a similarly shocked Ginny.
"Fred and George sorted it all out, made it safe for me and Rose to come for a visit." Harry said, making Mrs Weasley turn to the twins with teary eyes.
"You boys did this?" She asked sniffing, before going still at the sight of the still bundled up Rose in Freds arms.
"Oh, but isn't she precious!" She cooed enchanted moving closer, making Rose reach out for her daddy.
"Back to daddy eh Rosy girl." Fred said handing her over to Harry. Mrs Weasley looked as if she wanted nothing more than take the baby for herself.
"Why don't we go into the sitting room? It's much warmer and roomier than the hallway." George pointed out, making Mrs Weasley usher Harry and Rose towards the sofa.
"But Harry how did you get here? You didn't take that awful bus did you? Anyone could have seen you and it's just not safe dear." Mrs Weasley worried, hovering over Harry, who calmly started to extract Rose from her overall and boots.
"We apparated." Harry said, making Ron's head snap up from his perusal of Rose. There was a small pile of winter clothes on the seat next to Harry when he finished undressing her.
Rose eyed the family of red heads from Harry's lap with big eyes before letting her bottom lip tremble.
"Oh the poor dear! Does she need a hug? Yes she does, you come to grandma Molly." Mrs Weasley said, lifting Rose from Harry's lap. Harry held his breath and he could see Fred and George eying Rose in anticipation.
Rose let out an immediate howl of protest at her removal and tried to turn back to Harry, who stood with a sigh. He took the now crying Rose back from Mrs Weasley and pulled the baby bag out of his pocket.
"It's alright sweetie, daddy's here." Harry mumbled into her hair whilst rocking her gently. Ginny and Mrs Weasley both eyed him with big eyes.
"It's so exciting isn't it? All these people wanting to meet you." Harry continued, enlarging the bag and rooting around in it. A moment later Rose had her little Kitty in a firm grip and her head burrowed into Harry's shoulder.
"Sorry, we haven't been out much and she's been a bit clingy lately." Harry said awkwardly, patting Rose's back comfortingly as she continued to sob on his shoulder.
"She's a daddy's girl, that's all!" Fred said with a smile, eyeing the looks on the others faces.
Mrs Weasley and Ginny still stood rooted to the spot eyeing Harry and the baby.
Bill and Fleur had entered the room at the sound of Rose's howl and now moved closer.
"Ello Arry. It ees good to see you again." Fleur said leaning over to kiss his cheek.
"Hi Fleur, Bill. I hear you guys got engaged, congratulations!" Harry said with a smile, sitting down on the sofa after shaking Bill's hand.
"Thank you Arry, I am very appy with Bill." Fleur said, giving Bill a love struck look. Ginny made an immature gagging motion behind Fleur's back and Harry was glad Fleur missed it.
"And I with Fleur. I see you've been busy too, dad at sixteen and all!" Bill said, nodding at the still hiding Rose.
"She ees very adorable." Fleur said peeking at the pouting Rose, Harry smiled proudly at her comment.
"Oh but Harry isn't her father Bill! It's his muggle cousins child." Mrs Weasley said, glaring at Bill for the comment.
"Well actually she is mine, I got full custody of her and she's been named as my heir." Harry said, stroking Rose's soft curls gently.
Mrs Weasley gasped at his words.
"But you're…you're hardly old enough to look after yourself, not least a baby." She whispered sadly.
"We're just fine Mrs Weasley and I'm more than capable of caring for myself and Rose." Harry said softly but clearly, making her nod hesitantly, clearly not wanting to cause strife.
"Have you eaten? I can make you some lunch." Mrs Weasley said in the uneasy silence, wringing her hands worriedly.
"I'm good thanks Mrs Weasley, we had lunch right before coming." Harry said with a smile.
"I wouldn't mind something warm to drink though, if you wouldn't mind." Harry added at her crestfallen look. She forced a smile and quickly left the room with suspiciously glossy eyes.
Harry slid off the sofa and seated himself on the floor, pulling the baby bag with him.
"Let's see what we brought with us then Rose." Harry said cheerfully, making her look up from his shoulder.
He pulled out a few of her wooden toys and a rattle before slipping her between his knees onto the floor. She eyed him for a moment and then made a grab for a red wooden car which she banged on the floor with delight.
"Ba!" She exclaimed, giving Harry a big smile. She threw the car onto the floor and giggled when Fred drove it back to her.
"Your car my lady." Fred said winking at her, earning another giggle from her.
"She's so cute!" Ginny gushed, sitting down next to Harry on the floor. Rose eyed her suspiciously before turning back to Harry for a lift.
"She's a cute daddy's girl." Fred said making Harry smile.
"Course she is." Harry said, bouncing Rose up and down a few times making her laugh.
Ginny sighed dreamily next to him, whilst Ron rolled his eyes.
"Where's Hermione?" Harry asked, looking around at the gathered people, It was odd not to see her around.
"Couldn't make it." Fred said lightly.
They all turned at the twin snorts that came from Ron and Ginny.
"Too busy snogging McLaggen, I should imagine!" Ron sneered with a dark look on his face.
"Or she might just be avoiding you, Won-Won." Ginny said snidely, making Harry eye her confused.
"Won-Won?" He asked, watching as Ron face turned a deep shade of red.
"That's what Lavender calls him." Ginny said, with relish.
"Yes, well you're snogging Dean so you can't say much!" Ron retorted hotly.
"Dean Tomas?" Harry asked, he was clearly out of the loop on the love dramas at school.
"Yes well Dean and I have been going steady since the summer and I'll have you know that we show far more maturity than some snog obsessed couples!" Ginny snapped, glaring at Ron furiously.
"I'm going to see if mum needs any help in the kitchen." She added before stalking off.
"I'm not snog obsessed! Well, not too much!" Ron said, smiling slightly. Fred and George made identical grimaces at his dopey expression.
"Won-Won?" Harry asked again with a smile, making the twins and Bill snort with laughter. Ron glared at them all and gave Harry the finger. Fleur rolled her eyes at them and snuggled closer to Bill.
Harry glanced down at the quiet Rose and spotted her rubbing her eyes tiredly. He pulled out her cot from the bag and enlarged it after having placed it in the corner of the room.
"We got her a room divider, it'll keep it quiet for her but we'll still hear her if she cries." George said, pulling out something that looked like a notebook from his pocket before enlarging it and setting it up round Rose's cot.
"Thanks." Harry said smiling at the thoughtfulness.
"I swear she's grown since I last saw her." Ron said from the armchair, observing Harry getting the bed sorted.
"They do that you know, well some of them do." George said patting him on the head, bringing the scowl back onto Ron's face.
"I'll be seventeen soon, so you just watch it!" Ron threatened making the twins howl with laughter.
"Oh, we're so scared!" George said, making a show of shaking. Ron threw one of the cushions at him crossly.
"Ronald Weasley! There's a delicate baby in the room!" Mrs Weasley exclaimed, looking appalled at his behaviour, she placed the tall cup of chocolate for Harry on one of the small tables.
"There you are Harry." She said softly, glancing at the ready set up cot in the corner.
"Thank you Mrs Weasley. I'm just going to put Rose down for her nap and then I'll be free to enjoy my drink." Harry said, pulling out a nappy from Rose's bag.
He quickly changed her into a dry one and smiled at her constant yawning.
By the time he had her in his arms with a bottle, she was half asleep.
When she stopped suckling down on the milk, Harry carried her over to her cot and gently lowered her down, placing kitty by her side. He slid the divider shut and moved back to the sofa.
"I just love it when she goes down like that, super easy." Harry said contently, casting a quick warming charm on his chocolate before taking a sip.
Mrs Weasley gave him a surprised look.
"Well you seem to be settled into your new role comfortably." She said softly, getting a smile in reward from Harry.
"I'm happy, really happy for once Mrs Weasley." Harry said, making her sniff and nod. She plumped up one of the pillows on the sofa before seating herself next to him.
Harry thought she'd give him a talk about babies and being too young but she pulled out her knitting needles, some pink yarn and started knitting.
Harry let a small sigh of relief escape and was soon drawn into a conversation with Bill, who wanted to know how he'd managed to keep the world from knowing all about baby Rose.
Harry didn't see Mr Weasley that day as the man came home after Harry, Rose and Ron had gone to bed.
Rose's cot had been squeezed into Ron's room as Harry refused to sleep without her.
Mrs Weasley had been more than happy to have her in the master bedroom with her and Mr Weasley but Harry was fairly sure that neither he nor Rose wanted that.
Ron had been slightly apprehensive about having her in the room but as the twins had made a fuss about how glad he should be to finally get a girl up for a sleep over, he had dragged Harry and Rose up without further delay.
"Stupid pricks…" He had muttered darkly before giving Rose a scared look.
"Sorry mate! Don't repeat that Rose or mum will kill me." Ron pleaded with Rose who giggled at his tone. Ron didn't look very relieved with her response and Harry couldn't help but laugh at his best mates face.
Ron had, after all that worrying about cries and stinks, fallen asleep before Harry and Rose had finished reading her bedtime story.
Harry had snorted at the noisy snores coming from the red head and had worried that he might wake Rose up.
The next morning had dawned bright and early for Harry, who was woken by Rose grumbling from her bed. She brightened up after getting lifted out of bed and Harry took her downstairs for breakfast.
It was very odd to be up so early in the Weasley's house when everyone else was sleeping, It was just too quiet.
Harry made himself a cup of tea, he figured that there might be breakfast in a bit but it felt rude to just help himself to food.
He sat down by the table after sorting Rose's morning bottle out.
She was drinking the bottle down greedily and had just finished when Mrs Weasley came through the door.
"Oh, Harry dear!" She exclaimed, bringing her hand up to her heart in fright.
"Sorry, Rose was getting hungry and I didn't want her to wake the house up." Harry said, placing the now empty bottle on the table. Rose eyed Mrs Weasley curiously before showing the older woman Kitty the cat.
"Mrs Weasley, met Kitty." Harry introduced before smiling at Mr Weasley who entered the room still in his dressing gown.
"Hi Mr Weasley, Happy Christmas." Harry greeted, stroking Rose's hair as she burrowed into his chest.
"Harry how lovely to see you! Molly told me you came yesterday, so sorry to have missed you. The ministry is frightfully busy at the moment." Mr Weasley said, sitting down opposite of Harry and Rose. The man didn't say anything for a moment, he just sat there staring at Harry and the baby.
Rose looked up from Harry's chest and gave the oldest red head a shy smile, which he returned slowly.
"Cute little girl you have there Harry." Mr Weasley finally said, breaking the silence.
Mrs Weasley sniffed loudly before banging some pots about on the stove.
"Porridge! I'll make us some porridge, it'll set us up nicely for the day." Mrs Weasley said, pointing her wand at a cupboard and summoning the oats needed.
Harry placed Rose on the floor before turning to Mr Weasley, who told Harry all about what he'd been busy doing at the ministry.
Mrs Weasley kept a close eye on Rose who had dragged herself over to look at a stack of magazines. Harry flicked his wand and the papers flew over to an empty stool, too high for Rose to reach. Rose turned and eyed him with a pout.
He summoned her toys from the sitting room where they'd been left the night before and she was soon happily playing with a rattle.
By the time Ron came stumbling down, there was a feast on the table. Mr Weasley had left for work even though it was Christmas eve and wouldn't be back until much later.
Mrs Weasley had decided to fry up bacon and eggs in addition to the porridge and insisted that Harry have seconds.
"No knowing what you eat all alone in your house." She sniffed when he tried to decline. She refused to believe the twins when they told her of the feasts Harry could conjure up, all on his little self.
"I refuse to believe that those muggles taught you anything about proper cooking as they couldn't even teach their own son how to keep his…" Mrs Weasley ended her furious tirade abruptly as the twins and Ginny eyed her rather expectantly.
"Udden't eep is wah?" Ron asked, mouth full of eggs. Ginny gave him disgusted glare, whereas the twins just rolled their eyes at his question.
"Sorry Ronniekins, you're much too young to know, if you have to ask!" Fred said making the rest of the occupants nod in agreement. Ron turned to Harry who shrugged. Who was he to go against the majority? Ron scowled at being teased once again.
"Just a few more months." Ron grumbled under his breath. Fred and George snorted and shook their heads.
After breakfast Harry took Rose out into the garden for some fresh air, whilst the rest of the youngsters had a snowball fight.
Harry was rather nervous at the prospect of Remus arriving, he hadn't seen or heard from the man since the summer. He knew, from the twins, that Remus had been on a secret mission for Dumbledore.
It felt as if he'd lived a lifetime since their last meeting and he worried what the last Marauder would think of the choices Harry had made so far.
Rose became tired of the snow before anyone else and Harry left the others to continue pummelling each other with snow, whilst he went inside with Rose to sit and read by the fire.
Harry choose a comfortable armchair and seated himself with Rose snuggled up on his lap.
They read: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and We're going on a Bear hunt.
Rose loved to hide the pictures with her small hands, whilst he read, making them peek out from behind her fingers. Harry thought the wizarding books were far more interesting than the muggle ones.
"Well that was that Rose. What shall we do next?" He asked, holding Rose up in the air. She giggled madly and placed a slobbery kiss on his chin with a grin before yawning.
"Love you too sunshine." He mumbled, wiping the slobber off with his sleeve.
He smiled down at her before turning at a small sound behind him.
"Remus!" He exclaimed standing up from the armchair, Rose squealing at the sudden movement.
"Hello there Harry and I assume this lovely girl is Rose." Remus said stepping into the room.
"Yes this is Rose, we've just been reading some stories." Harry said, feeling a bit shy all of a sudden.
Remus seated himself on the sofa and Harry hurried to sit down in the armchair again.
"You used to love having books read to you as a baby. Your mum was always telling us how important it was to your development. I believe Sirius used to read you the Quidditch results as he thought some of the stories were beneath him." Remus said, smiling softly in remembrance.
Harry's heart sped up at the mention of his mum and Sirius. He looked down at Rose to hide his suddenly stinging eyes, she sat chewing on her sleeve with a small frown.
"I hear you've made some changes other than keeping Rose." Remus said lightly.
"Yeah, I quit Hogwarts." Harry said swallowing hard, thinking that was what Remus was talking about.
"But I'm studying at home! I just did some progress tests and I'm doing quite well." He added quickly, feeling relieved at Remus slow nod.
"Education is very important but I'm sure you know that." Remus said watching Harry intently.
"I don't think any of us Marauders would have done what you have Harry." He said making Harry's stomach drop.
"I don't mean that in a disapproving way!" Remus said quickly at the sight of Harry's jaw clenching.
Harry didn't really care, he couldn't have justified leaving Rose with the Dursley's no matter what they thought of his decision.
"You are a better man, than we could have ever been at your age." Remus said, bringing a blush to Harry's cheeks.
"So how have you been? It must be hard to study and care for a baby at the same time." Remus said changing the topic and smiling at Rose, who was trying to wriggle her way down to the floor with a pout on her face.
"I have a babysitter, who cares for Rose during the day so I can focus on the studies. But it's good, hard at times but worth it." Harry said honestly, placing Rose on the floor. She dragged herself forwards and headed for one of Mrs Weasley's balls of yarn. Harry levitated it out of the way and summoned a ball for her to play with instead.
She gave out a furious howl and burst into tears at the yarns disappearance. Harry decided a nap was in order and stood from his seat.
"It was really scary in the beginning, when she was tiny. I thought I might kill her accidentally out of ignorance or at least hurt her but we figured things out." Harry said, speaking over her howling.
Mrs Weasley came bursting through the doorway looking worried.
"Is there something wrong? Shall I take her for you Harry dear?" She asked moving closer with arms outstretched.
"She's fine, just tired." Harry responded, ignoring the feeling of irritation at the tone she used. He had been dealing with Rose for six months now, surely he had proven that he could manage a bit of crying?
He got out a clean nappy and started getting Rose ready for a bottle.
Rose was having non of it though and continued to howl as he fastened the clean nappy before scrougifying the old one.
Harry sighed and cursed the timing of her little meltdown as he spelled the bottle warm. They didn't happen often and it took awhile to settle her down.
Mrs Weasley hovered over his shoulder as he sat down with the bottle and finally got Rose quiet. Rose eyed him with wet accusing eyes and soon drifted off into sleep.
"Sorry, she gets overtired at times and just goes into meltdown." Harry excused as he placed her on his chest stroking her back as much for her comfort as for his own. Mrs Weasley opened her mouth but left the room quietly at Remus slight head shake.
"You seem to know what you're doing just fine." Remus said comfortingly, making Harry sigh.
"It was really hard in the beginning." Harry said, closing his eyes. They'd come a long way from him fearing for Rose's life either at his hands or more likely one of the Dursley's.
"Your dad refused to hold you at first, he was so scared he'd drop or bruise you." Remus said, bringing Harry's eyes open. Harry remembered that first lift out of the baby carrier and snorted. Yeah, he'd been scared too, so he understood his dad's feelings.
"They just dumped her on me and refused to tell me anything about how to care for a baby." Harry muttered, stroking Rose's hair softly.
"And Dudley nearly killed her when I had a shower. I couldn't leave her there and Dumbledore was talking about dumping her with some strange muggles or Squibs. He made me really mad, you know! I hated living with the Dursley's and they hated me back. Why would I ever agree to leave Rose to have the same fate?" Harry continued crossly, the words spilling from his lips.
"I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he's still thinking about me just leaving her with someone else. He just makes me really mad." He snapped, patting Rose on the back when she stirred at his tone.
"I am sure Albus means well Harry." Remus started, before sighing at the look on Harry face.
"I don't care! She's my baby and I'm not leaving her. I didn't agree to kill Voldemort or be killed myself, just so that the wizarding world can sleep tight at night!" Harry snapped standing up.
He transfigured one of the chairs into a small cot and placed Rose into it, he pulled the divider the twins had brought around Rose and turned to face Remus. He was furious all of a sudden. Remus eyed him quietly from the sofa and Harry paced the room crossly.
"I don't care what that stupid Prophecy says anyway! Voldemort was stupid to come after me. I wouldn't have to kill him, if he hadn't tried to kill me in the first place!" Harry snapped darkly, turning quickly at the sound of gasps at the doorway.
Fred and George stood staring at him with horrified looks on their faces. Fred pushed George into the room before closing the door so that non of the other Weasley's would hear his words. Harry sat down by the fire with a heavy sigh, great now they all knew.
"I thought the prophecy smashed." Fred said moving deeper into the room.
"Dumbledore had a copy." Harry muttered leaning his head backwards and looking up at the ceiling.
"Look, I really don't want to talk about it right now, it's almost Christmas. I'm sorry I snapped." Harry mumbled, glancing at Remus, before rubbing his face tiredly.
"Harry nobody is asking you to kill anybody." Remus said softly.
"Dumbledore is." Harry said without thinking before standing up.
"I'm going to…I just need some air. Fred can you watch her please?" Harry muttered, eyeing Fred with a pleading look. Fred nodded reluctantly and they all watched as Harry stalked out of the room and soon the front door shut with a bang.
Harry kicked the snow crossly, cursing himself for loosing his temper like that.
Why had he said that? Why had he told them about the prophecy? Maybe he and Rose should go home, perhaps it had been a bad idea to come here, Harry thought darkly.
"Harry mate, I always find flinging the gnomes over the fence helps with bad moods." George said, trudging towards him in the snow.
"I'm fine!" Harry muttered, glaring at George as the red head snorted.
"Yeah, I can see that! You're a real ray of sunshine." George joked, making Harry grumble.
"Nobody's going to mention that thing that you mentioned." George whispered loudly, making Harry roll his eyes.
"Come on mate, or mum will ask what you're moping about and I don't want to be the one to tell her." George threatened with a shudder. Harry kicked the snow once more before following George towards the house.
"George, I'm going to ask Fred to be Rose's godfather." Harry mumbled, making George freeze on the path to the house.
"It's really just in case…just in case, you know." Harry muttered as George continued to stare at him.
"I would have thought you'd ask Ron…or maybe not…" George said, getting an odd look on his face.
"Sorry just trying to picture Ron as someone in charge of a baby and I'm not sure I can. He'd kill her for sure or loose her somewhere." George said. Harry nodded after making sure his best friend wasn't lurking nearby.
"What's the matter, why is Harry upset? George Weasley you had better not be fighting with Harry!" Mrs Weasley said, crossing her arms over her chest.
"We weren't fighting, Harry just needed a diva moment. Rose has been getting all the attention and I guess Harry just wanted us to know that he feels left out." George said, patting Harry's head.
Harry snorted and walked back to the sitting room where Fred and Remus sat talking quietly.
Ron and Ginny were in the room now too and Harry hoped that they hadn't heard him shouting.
He ignored them all and moved to check on Rose.
She slept contently and Harry felt a warm feeling fill his chest as he stood there gazing down on her. She was all that mattered, Harry told himself.
Yes he may well be forced to fight Voldemort again, but not yet.
Sorry this chapter just took off, I'll write more Christmas in the next one…Hope you like. Thanks Mina