Lily jumped up and ran to the shed for her own broom. In a few moments she had mounted the broom and had Daisy sitting in front of her. Lily slowly leaned forward and they began to move. She made a slow lap around the back yard and came back to where the adults were sitting and watching. Daisy hadn't stopped squealing for joy since the broom had started moving. On the second lap James missed the ball and it was flying right at Lily and Daisy. Lily let go of the broom and grabbed the ball before it could hit Daisy.
"Watch out." she yelled, "It's a wonder you made the team James."
She heaved back and threw the ball at her oldest brother before she continued on with her flight. James caught the ball but it hit his stomach and knocked some of the wind out of him.
Rubbing his stomach he yelled back at his sister, "Try out for the team next year Lils. You're bound to be as good as Mum."
"Quit pestering me or I'll ask to be moved to Hufflepuff and I'll join their team." she yelled back.
"Quit pestering your sister." Harry called as he and Ginny left the house.
"But Dad." James whined.
"Quiet James and I'll help you pester her later." Harry teased.
"She seems to be enjoying that." Ginny grinned as the squealing Daisy flew by with Lily, "I'll have to see if any of our toy brooms work any longer."
"How is a toy broom different?" Dudley asked.
"Smaller of course." Harry said, "It flies just about as high as what they are right now and it will go about twice as fast at its top speed. We can set the limit lower for new fliers." Harry paused for a moment before he said, "We might have a solution to your problem. I know of a wizards home that is empty right now."
"Can I operate a wizards home?" Dudley asked.
"No but it can be converted." Harry said, "It won't take a lot to do it. It's big enough for you all and it's in London so I think the location might be ok . However the neighborhood is a bit run down. "
"Which area?" Dudley asked.
"That would be perfect." Dudley said agreeably, "My gym isn't far from that and they have a branch of the library getting ready to open. They're trying to revitalize the area. That just leaves me to find a place for Daisy."
"I think we can help with that too. At least for the summer." Harry said, "I think it would be good to have Lily babysit her under Ginny's supervision. She goes back to school September first so something will have to change by then. Ginny has agreed to pick her up each morning and drop her off each evening."
"What's the rent?" Dudley asked.
"Nothing." Harry said, "We can revisit this after you're divorce is final."
"But…" Petunia sputtered.
"I can't begin to thank you enough." Dudley sighed in relief, "Not to push but how soon? Living in a hotel is really hurting my budget."
"I totally understand." Harry nodded, "I'll get with the contractor tonight or tomorrow and I'll let you know when I know."
"Are you sure you don't want any rent?" Petunia asked, "I would think this would be a very expensive undertaking for you."
"Not as expensive as you are thinking." Harry chuckled, "I inherited the house and it's been sitting empty. A wizards house doesn't deteriorate like a muggle home. Magic kind of acts like a preserving agent. Since it's been sitting empty the worst thing we'll have to deal with is a doxy infestation."
"What's a doxy?" Dudley asked.
"Picture that cartoon fairy Tinker Bell." Harry instructed, "Take away her good disposition. Turn her orange and give her sharp pointy teeth. Make her bite slightly poisonous."
"Bird wings instead of butterfly wings." Ginny nodded along with Harry's description.
"Right." Harry nodded, "Now make her as mad as you possibly can and that is a normal day for a doxy."
"Can you be sure that they'll be gone?" Petunia asked.
"Yes, I'll get an exterminator in to clear all the pests out." Harry said.
"Will they come back?" Dudley asked, "Will it be safe for Daisy?"
"No they won't come back." Harry said, "It will be perfectly safe for Daisy. Doxies don't like to enter houses that have humans in them."
Later that evening Harry arranged a meeting with Seamus and Dean at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry had arrived first and was sitting in the corner watching everything happening in the small pub. His friends were late as usual. They dropped into their seats at fifteen minutes past the hour.
"Where are Ron and Neville?" Dean asked.
"This isn't a social meeting this time." Harry said, "I need to hire you two clowns."
"What for?" Seamus asked.
"I need you to remodel Grimmauld Place." he answered.
"Harry your house is in a much nicer area." Dean stated, "Why move?"
"I'm not." Harry said, "I'm going to use it for rental property. I want to rent it to muggles."
"Rent the Black family house to muggles?" Seamus asked incredulously, "Is this some kind of revenge?"
"Not at all." Harry assured them, "Well not much anyway. Truth is my cousin is going through a rough patch and needs a place for him and his daughter."
"Daughter?" Dean asked.
"His daughter who happens to be a witch." Harry answered.
"How are they doing with that?" Seamus asked with trepidation.
"Looks good so far." Harry shrugged, "My Uncle died a few years ago and so it's just Dudley, Daisy and Aunt Petunia."
"Anything we need to know?" Seamus asked, "About the house I mean."
"Last time it sat empty doxies, boggarts and a few other nasties moved in." Harry said, "Blacks were notoriously dark wizards. All artifacts of the house need to be stored off site. Anything illegal needs to be brought to me to document and dispose of. After that all you need to do is make it muggle."
"You don't ask a lot." Dean shook his head.
"How much?" Harry grinned.
"Initial estimate is fifty thousand galleons." Seamus stated, "That's what we start with in cases like these. We will probably need to alter that after we see it. Size of the property, muggle issues and size and variety of infestations all effect the price."
Harry slid a piece of paper across the table, "First things first is a Fidelius charm."
Nodding they both memorized the address. Then the group apparated to the Grimmald Park and walked to the house. Harry tapped the door with his want and they heard a multitude of locks clicking open.
"Remove locking charms." Dean said as he wrote in a note book.
They stepped inside and started down the hall, "The portrait has a permanent sticking charm. Remove the wall if you need."
"Remove portraits, clean." Dean continued to add to the list, "What was on the wall up there?"
"Elf heads." Harry shuddered, "The Blacks were a bit insane."
"A bit?" Dean asked sarcastically.
"Same guy who said Voldemort was a bit evil." Seamus pointed out.
"Right, I forgot who we were talking to for a minute there." Dean chuckled.
"I never said he was a bit evil." Harry huffed, "I just said he was an evil git. Kitchen is in the basement."
"That's depressing." Dean said, "We may move that."
"Be my guest." Harry said, "Anything to make it less of a… mess."
"See what I said, he is the understatement king." Seamus shook his head.
They continued the tour and did find the doxies. They moved up the stairs and through all the bedrooms. Dean promised to get the picture of the four boys off the wall in Sirius' room but asked if he and Seamus could keep the others.
"This picture goes back to Hogwarts. One of the old Headmasters was a Black." Harry pointed to the empty frame.
"One more room." Seamus sighed, "Not really terrible so far."
"Just wait." Harry grinned, "This one is the worst. It housed a fugitive hippogriff for better than a year."
"Lovely." Seamus said as they glanced into the room. None of them were willing to enter, "Did you actually live here?"
"A month each for two summers and then almost a year right after the battle." Harry shrugged, "I had an elf at the time but we only bothered cleaning the used bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room. The rest we just ignored."
"I can see why." Dean agreed, "Is that all?"
"The attic is up here." Harry led them up the stairs one more time, "I don't have any idea what might be up here. Could have some really dark stuff so be careful."
"Right." Seamus nodded, "I think our original estimate will be pretty close. Moving the kitchen may take some doing. Is there any yard at all?"
"Not that I've ever found a way to." Harry chuckled.
"Ok do you think you can get Bill to give us a discount on breaking the fidelius?"
"I'll talk to him about it." Harry nodded, "Can you two start tomorrow?"
"Yes, no problem." Dean said, "We were in a lull anyway. Summers are usually quiet because people wait for their kids to return to Hogwarts before they have any remodeling done."
"Great. Any idea how long this will take you?" He asked, "My cousin is living in a hotel with his mum and daughter and would really like a little more room. Not to mention his wallet is beginning to hurt."
"Rush may be a little more expensive." Seamus hedged, "However if you promise to let us use your name as a reference we would do the rush for free."
"I'll give a testimonial when you finish saying how you'll do all my remodeling work because you are so good." Harry grinned, "How's that?"
"Excellent." Seamus grinned, "That will make up for the overtime pay we'll miss."
"How long do you think this will take?" Harry asked.
"Week?" Seamus said, "Maybe less."
"Unless we find something we can't handle." Dean shrugged, "Then it will depend on how quickly we can get someone to handle it."
"Sounds good." Harry agreed, "Call me if you run into anything. I know a few people who may be able to help."
"He knows a few people." Seamus shook his head, sarcasm heavy in his voice, "King of understatement scores again."
"When are you going to start?" Harry asked laughed with his friends.
"Now." Dean said, "Since we don't have any socializing to do this evening after all."
"Doxies?" Seamus asked.
"Sure why not." Dean agreed and the two left Harry at the door.
He chuckled and left quietly adding both to the locking charm on the door. He returned home to find his family waiting in the kitchen to see what he had learned.
"Isn't it past your bed times?" Harry smiled.
"Summer schedule lets us go to bed later." Lily smirked at her father, "How did it go?"
"Great." Harry took a seat.
"And…" Ginny pushed.
"They started right away and should be finished within a week unless they run into trouble." He finished.
"Good." Ginny nodded and got up, "Who wants some Hot Chocolate?"
"I do!" four voices rang out.
"Ok, Harry why don't you tell them more about your upbringing." Ginny said lightly, Harry knew it was really an order.
"Is now really the time?" he tried to get out of it anyway.
"Dudley apologized for everything he did and so did Aunt Petunia." James pointed out, "What did they do?"
"Really it wasn't that bad." Harry tried to brush it off, "It was just done with more malice than when you and Al fight."
"Harry don't discount it." Ginny said as she sat a plate of cookies down, "Just start from the beginning."
"Fine, my first memory was the cupboard." Harry started, "It was my first room."
"The cupboard?" Al was confused.
"The cupboard under the stairs." Harry shrugged, "Just like the one under ours."
"But where did you keep your clothes, bed, toys and everything?" James scratched his head.
"The clothes were kept in piles under the bed." Harry said, "No room for a dresser."
"Did they have a wizard enlarge it for you?" Lily asked.
"No, they hated magic." Harry ran a hand over her head to stroke her hair, "Most wizards would have taken me away rather than help them enlarge that place. The Dursleys didn't want anyone to know what they did to me. My uncle would loudly proclaim my tendencies towards thievery to anyone who would listen. None of it was true of course but it made all the neighbors very leery about getting close to me."
"If they weren't close then they couldn't see the bruises." Al nodded in understanding before he touched on the one subject Harry hadn't covered, "What about toys?"
"I didn't have any." Harry looked at the table as he turned lightly red, "Well I guess I did have a few soldiers and horses from a set that Dudley had jumped on. He'd been playing war and stomped on the losing side. Aunt Petunia threw away all the mangled pieces but I was able to rescue a few and I played with those."
"I'm so sorry Daddy." Lily crawled up into his lap as her tears started to fall.
"Don't cry flower." Harry stroked her head again, "It's all in the past and I have plenty of toys now."
"When you say they hated magic." James looked thoughtful, "Was that just your uncle?"
"No." Harry said, "They all hated it. Dudley did because he was told to. Aunt Petunia was of course my mother's sister and I think she was just jealous. Mum had magic but she didn't. Uncle Vernon… I just don't know. Probably he was scared of it because he couldn't overpower it with his bulk."
"Bulk?" Lily's muffled voice asked from Harry's chest.
"He was a very large man." Harry grinned, "You saw how tall Dudley is. Uncle Vernon was just as tall. But instead of muscle like Dud has, he was fat. He was as big around as he was tall. Dudley actually used to be fat too but he slimmed down when he started boxing."
"What did they do when you did accidental magic?" Al asked, getting back to James' question.
"Punishment of some sort." Harry shrugged, "Sometimes it was extra yard or house work. Other times it was more physical."
"So you were beaten?" Al summarized.
"Beaten is a rather strong word." Harry winced, "Punished in various ways is more correct I think. It always ended up with me being sent to the cupboard like I would send you to your room."
"I think beaten in the correct word." Ginny said, "You could also add starved and caged to the list."
"It wasn't a cage." Harry said, "I was in the upstairs bedroom by that time and Uncle Vernon added bars to the window."
"And locks to the door." she said, "I believe Ron mentioned a cat flap for food to be pushed through."
"I wasn't caged." Harry argued, "Just kept under lock and key."
"So you're afraid they'll do the same to Daisy." Lily whispered, "That's why you were so stressed out."
"Yes." Harry sighed, "But really with Vernon gone I think everything will be fine. Petunia never hit me like he did. Dudley apologized for everything he did. He also refused to throw her away when his father told him to so I'm inclined to think she'll be ok."
"But we will be keeping an eye on things." Ginny added, "That's why I agreed to letting you babysit. You won't be asking her questions about her home life, but if she mentions something you will tell me."
"What if she makes me promise not to tell anyone?" Lily asked.
"You still tell me and we'll find a way to make her think I found out another way." Ginny instructed, "But that is only if it's something bad."
"Dad?" Al questioned softly, "The nightmares you have. Are any from the Dursleys?"
"No." Harry said, "They weren't that bad."
"Take that in context to who is saying it Al." James said, "I think Dad has a distorted sense of what is bad."
Ginny snorted. She tried not to but James just really pegged Harry. He did have a distorted sense of what was bad to him. He couldn't help it though, his life really had some horrendous parts to it.
"Since you're talking so freely." Lily said, "How much of what my history book says is true?"
"Let's see you're using the Standard Book of Recent History grade one by Lavender Goshawk?" he asked.
"Yes Daddy you know that." Lilly leaned back and grinned.
"Everything it says in that book is true." he nodded.
"But it doesn't cover the half of it." James said, "You should read grade five."
"Where did you get a grade five book?" Harry asked.
"I kind of borrowed Dominique's." he ducked his head.
"Did she know you borrowed it?" Ginny asked.
"No." Lily giggled, "At least not for a while. She took it back and tried to hit him with it when she found out. She had attended class without her book and gotten detention."
"I got her out of detention though." James pointed out, "I just went and explained to Professor Patil that I had borrowed it to do research on Dad."
"And she said?" Ginny asked.
"That I needed to stick to my grade level because there was things I couldn't handle at this age in that year's book." James pouted, "And after having a few nightmares I conceded that she was right."
"So Lily and Al should…" Ginny prompted.
"Wait and read the age appropriate books they are allowed to have." James muttered, "I'm not sure I even want to continue history after owls."
"It doesn't really cover his exciting adventures until sixth and seventh years." Ginny smirked at her oldest son.
"How much more exciting does it get?" James looked at her in wonder.
"Very exciting." Ginny said, "It covers all the adventures that I was part of."
"You were in part of Dad's stuff?" Lily glanced at her mother.
"She loved to get in the middle of all the most dangerous stuff." Harry teased.
"Don't give them ideas." Ginny scolded, "I wasn't not in all the most dangerous stuff, just several of them. And believe me I was scared spitless most of the time."
"Me too." Harry agreed.
"You weren't scared." James declared, "You are the bravest person in the world. You are not scared of anything."
"Bravery is not about not being scared." Harry lectured, "Bravery is doing the right thing even when it's not the easy thing. Doing something dangerous when you don't need to is just stupidity."
"Dumbledore." Ginny sang quietly.
Harry mock glared at her for a moment before he said, "Now we need some lighter conversation before bed so no one has nightmares. So how was school?"
"That's a subject that will give me nightmares." James shuddered theatrically.
"Dad, what do we tell Daisy about you?" Lily asked.
"Not much." he said, "Do you remember what you knew at that age?"
"I knew my daddy was the best daddy in the whole world." Lily grinned, "Can I have a new broom Daddy?"
"They take after you." Harry pointed his fork at Ginny.
The family broke up into a fit of giggles. The next morning both Fred and Scorpius arrived and Harry was glad he was off to work. Ginny was much better at dealing with all the chaos that goes along with extra kids. The week passed quickly and soon Harry was meeting with Seamus and Dean again.
"We can't do much with the exterior within the week but we can hire some muggles to finish that part." Seamus said, "Your pals fixed all the muggles memories so now number twelve was just abandoned for years. Someone bought it from the bank or whatever and refurbished it."
"We had to make a bit of a show coming and going but it's had an interesting side affect." Dean grinned, "Ten other residence have offered their homes to buy. We don't have the money but we thought we would see if you wanted to. I wish I had the money they're going really cheap."
"Dudley said they are trying to revitalize the area." Harry said thoughtfully, "I'll talk it over with Ginny. If she agrees I'll call Justin and he'll handle the details. You guys will do the refurbish I take it?"
"It will be cheaper than yours." Dean said, "This job should last us through the summer. Thanks Harry."
"My pleasure." Harry grinned, "Shall we see the inside?"
"Right this way." Seamus led the way in. The first item was nice, new, shiny lock on the front door that opened with a key.
"Sirius would love it." Harry grinned as he entered the door. The portrait was gone as was the dark gloom that had seemed to pervade the place, "You two are miracle workers."
"Get this. We found a back garden." Dean opened the door and led the way into a beautiful garden, "We fixed this up. Neville came by for the portrait and ended up taking all the magical plants back too. He was thrilled and was even willing to pay to take them."
"Did you tell him that him taking them was payment enough?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Seamus said, "He was jumping around like a little kid when he found one plant. He said it was highly dangerous but very rare. I think he may be spending too much time around Hagrid."
Harry chuckled before asking, "Any magic other than plants?"
"The garden was huge. Maybe ten to fifteen times the size it should have been. Nev took the plants and animals for Hagrid and the DADA professor. He also took the doxies and boggart we found. Did you get the box?"
"Yes we processed it at the Auror office. It was a great exercise for them." Harry grinned, "Even the oldest guys didn't know how to handle some of it. Kingsley came around to watch, he said to thank you for the entertainment."
They toured the rest of the house, filling him in on where they had found certain items. Harry was amazed at the beautiful home they turned out.
"Great Job." he shook their hands, "I'll talk to Gin tonight, after we move Dudley in."
"You know where to find us." Dean called as the two left just after handing the keys over to Harry.
Harry took a tour of the neighborhood before he left the area. He found the Library just a block or two from the house. He soon made his way home and called Dudley, he could hear the sigh of relief over the phone.
September first arrived before anyone was ready for the holiday to be over. Dudley, Daisy and Aunt Petunia joined Harry and Ginny on the platform to see the three Potters off to their next year of school.
"How long until I get to go?" Daisy asked he voice was full of melancholy.
"Five years." Harry stroked her blond hair as he held her up to see, "Lily will be in her sixth year so she'll be able to show you around."
Daisy nodded in agreement as the steam engine slowly pulled away from the platform. She waved to her cousins as they were taken away.