The study was much as they'd left it before. The only differences being the hands on the mantle clock had moved and their unfinished tea was now cold in their tea cups. Harry and Ginny sat in their seats on either side of the Pensieve. The lighter mood the room had when they went in had turned into something different, more intense, and not joyful so much as serious.
Harry was looking at Ginny and she back at him. Both wondering what was in the thoughts of the other. Harry inhaled deeply like he was going to say something, then didn't. He repeated the process three times before Ginny finally got exasperated enough with him to say; "Just spit it out, Harry!"
Harry gave her a guilty look and then inhaled again, this time he went on to speak; "Do you remember that conversation we had, just after Christmas? You know, the one on New Years Eve?"
Ginny looked confused for only a moment before her face brightened and she asked, "When we first talked about what life would be like together?"
"Yes, that's the one," Harry confirmed.
"What about it?" Ginny asked.
"What do you remember about it?" Harry asked in return.
Ginny thought for a moment, her brow furrowed in concentration, "We talked about where we might live, I remember that..."
"Go on," Harry encouraged.
"Well, that was kind of a long time ago, I'm not sure what it is you're trying to get me to think about." Ginny looked at Harry, "What is it you're trying to tell me Harry?"
"I think I'm going about this all wrong," Harry said by way of an answer.
He sat down and thought a minute. He took a sip of his cold tea and Ginny did the same.
"What is it, Harry?" She asked.
Harry decided to just go ahead and go through his fifth and final memory. Then he would lay it all out. He was tired, frustrated, and wanted to be done with this whole secrecy thing that was going on. He knew that Ginny had something to tell him and that while she seemed to be unhappy about it, no one else who knew about it did.
"Never mind, I'm sorry. I'm getting tired. Here, would you like to do the honors?" Harry asked as he held out the fifth vial. It had a blue stopper.
Frowning a little, Ginny accepted the vial, pulled the stopper, and then dumped its contents into the Pensieve. She stirred it around with her wand and then without a word to Harry she put her head inside. Harry sighed and followed her. He really hoped that this last memory would explain things. Or at least help him to do so more effectively.
The Fog of Memory cleared to a new scene, this one being at Christmas time. They were in the meadow just a short distance from the home of Andromeda Tonks. It was the same place, just a little over five years before, that Ginny and Hermione had apparated to when they had come to visit Andromeda Tonks and little Teddy Lupin.
Shock was the first thing to cross Ginny's features when she realized where they were. She looked at Harry questioningly. Harry gave her a nod and they walked forward just in time to see their younger selves round a bend in the track leading up to the Tonks house. The observing pair caught up to their younger selves just in time to be admitted into the home by Logee, Andromeda's house elf.
Going into the house they went into the sitting room to be joined by Andromeda and Teddy. Andromeda Tonks deposited baby Teddy into Harry's arms and they all sat down to talk.
Twenty-four year old Harry leaned down and spoke quietly into Ginny's ear, "Do you remember this?"
"Of course I do, why do you ask?" Ginny replied.
"The reason I brought you here, the reason this memory is the last one of all, is because that it was here, in this house, at this time, that I realized not only how much I loved you but also that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. When you were holding little Teddy, it was easy to imagine that it was our baby you were holding. Yours and mine. It was easy to see us together as husband and wife." Harry explained.
Ginny was looking up at Harry and he went on.
"This is difficult to explain. You see I had already bought you an engagement ring when we'd come here. That night when Ron and I stepped out to go visit George in Diagon Alley just before Christmas break was the time when those rings were bought. Ron knew what he wanted. He had made up his mind to propose and he was going about doing the things he needed to do so that he could make his proposal to Hermione,"
"You mean you didn't know what you wanted to do?" Ginny asked.
"I knew that I wanted to spend my life with you. That ring I bought was purchased on impulse. I hadn't set out to get an engagement ring that day. I knew I would eventually; I just hadn't planned it for then, at that time. That's what makes this moment here all the more important," Harry said gesturing to the two younger versions of themselves sitting on Andromeda's couch.
The look on Harry's face as he watched Ginny holding baby Teddy was hard to miss. There was intenseness about his eyes. They were taking in so much and missing nothing. Ginny, sitting there cooing at the baby in her arms was oblivious to Harry's scrutiny, however Andromeda was not.
As Harry was watching Ginny, so it was that Andromeda was watching him. She took in everything before her, seemed to think on it for just a moment, and then smiled. It was the smile of someone who knew something that the others in the room didn't, yet. The smile of someone who knew something wonderful.
The smile was hidden when Harry looked back up at her, but the older Harry, and now his wife Ginny, had seen it.
"It looks like Andromeda had it figured out before I did," Harry commented.
"It looks that way, doesn't it?" Ginny added, "So this is when you really knew that you wanted to get married?"
"Yes," Harry sighed, "And then those Death Eaters had to intervene. I would have proposed to you on Christmas Eve if it hadn't been for that. But after everything that happened, well...I guess you remember that."
Ginny frowned for a moment, and then said, "Yes, I remember that. I also remember that it was you who came to save me, again. I would have told you yes, if you'd proposed at that time you know. I was a little hurt that you didn't but with everything going on, and with Hermione and Ron, and then George and Angelina, well I guess adding one more might have seemed a little hasty."
Harry didn't know what to say to that so he didn't say anything at all. Instead he let the scene play out before them, leaving Ginny time with her memories and her thoughts.
"You know," Ginny said quietly, slipping her hand into her husband's, "The proposal you gave me that following Valentine's Day was nice enough."
"Yes, it was," Then Ginny looked up at Harry and said, "In fact I think it was perfect. Now more than ever."
"Now more than ever? Why do you say that?"
"Because if you had proposed on Christmas Eve like you had originally planned, I'm not sure that you would have felt as sure of things as you did when you proposed on Valentine's Day," Ginny said thoughtfully, "I would have wondered how much of your proposal was love verses proposing with the added pressure of you feeling you were expected to. Besides, after that discussion we'd had that day, and that poem you wrote, you made it clear that your heart and soul were in the right place to do it."
"I reckon you're right,"
"I know I am. That's why you left this memory for last, isn't it?"
"What do you mean?" Harry wanted to know.
"You were trying to show me that even though the wedding, honeymoon, housewarming, and Quidditch match meant a lot to you, the thing that meant the most of all was realizing that you wanted us to be together forever. As a family."
Harry looked at his wife; there was open wonder in his eyes. "You got that pretty quickly. I should have realized you would."
"Harry, I would hope that by now, after five years of marriage and all that time we spent together before hand, after all of that, that I would have learned to understand you. Just a bit anyway."
Smiling down at his wife of five years, Harry kissed her. He took her gently in his arms, pulled her close, and held his wife tightly to him as he kissed her passionately and with all of the love and affection he could put into it. Ginny responded in kind, her lips moving with his, clearly trying to express emotions and passion of her own. Then she gently pulled away.
"Was there more that you wanted to show me here?" she asked.
"No, you've seen everything that I had for you to see," Harry breathed.
"Good. I think it's time to go home."
They came out of the Pensieve. Instead of sitting in their respective seats, they moved out of the study and into the more spacious living room. There they took a seat on the love seat, Harry first as he pulled Ginny down to rest on his lap.
"I love you Ginny Potter, happy anniversary." Harry said lovingly in a low voice.
"I love you too, Harry. Happy anniversary. Now I believe I promised to tell you something,"
Harry knew what Ginny was referring to, and he felt her tense up in his arms. "Whatever it is, you can tell me. I don't care what it is, I want to know."
"I know you do, Harry. I'm sorry I've been so mopey and I'm sorry I've not told you before now. Actually, I'm rather surprised that you haven't figured it out yet."
"Figured what out yet? What's bothering you? I've tried! Merlin's beard have I tried. What's really aggravating is that while Hermione and your parents know, none of them think they should tell me," Harry grumbled.
"That's because what it is you're asking them to tell you should be said by me. You really haven't figured it out? You don't even have any ideas?"
"No, not one. I only know that I'm really worried, and I'm tired of all the cat and mouse about it."
"You know, you really have been very good about all this. Better than I had any right to expect," Ginny turned in Harry's lap so that she could look him in the eyes, "Harry that fact of the matter is, I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby."
Someone hitting Harry in the head with a rock would have been less of a shock than what he felt in that moment. Then the realization of what he'd just been told hit him. He felt his heart swell up in his chest and he felt like he would explode with happiness.
"Pregnant? Really? That's what all this has been about? But Ginny, that's wonderful! More than wonderful, it's...it's...its bloody brilliant is what it is! Merlin's Beard! A baby!"
Ginny let Harry go on, watching him. Harry was so ecstatic that there was no stopping him. He couldn't help but be happy. He and Ginny were going to be parents and it would be their baby. She took it as a positive sign that Harry was a solid hour going on and on about how happy she had made him and how wonderful things would be. He stopped every now and again to kiss her, and then his excitement would mount and Harry would go off again.
Finally there came the moment she knew would come. The moment when Harry realized that there had to be a reason why she was so down about everything.
"Hang on," Harry said, "This is good news, right? Something to be happy about?"
"Why do you ask, Harry?" Ginny said cautiously.
"Because, you've been acting all down and depressed lately. Is it because of this? Why?"
Ginny took a deep breath and then speaking steadily and slowly, she explained what had been bothering her.
"Harry, do you realize what this will mean?" Ginny began. She went on not giving Harry a chance to do more than shake his head, "I'm three months pregnant. That means in about six more months there will be a child here in this house. A child that I'll have to take care of. Quidditch season practice starts in three months. I won't be able to play or even practice if I'm pregnant. Taking care of the baby will be a full time job in itself."
"I'll help you Ginny, you know I will," Harry said defensively.
"I know you will Harry. I've seen you with Teddy. I know you'll be a wonderful father."
"Then I don't understand what the problem is," Harry was clearly confused.
"The problem is that I'm not sure I'm ready to be a mother. At least not quite yet. We've been working out so well as a team. I was really hoping to be able to have a few more seasons before we had children." Ginny sighed.
"Ginny, if Quidditch is what it is you want to do, we'll find a way to make it work. I'll take time off from work if I have to," Harry argued.
"That's the other part of this, the part that scares me a little," Ginny said quietly.
"What is? What part?"
"You, or rather your job," Ginny said.
"What about my job?"
"Harry, you're an Auror. I know how much you love your job and I know how badly you wanted to do it. I also know that being an Auror is inherently dangerous."
"Ginny, nothing is going to happen to me," Harry said, "You're worrying needlessly."
Looking at Harry for a moment as if she couldn't understand him, Ginny simply said, "Remember Mad-Eye?"
"What about him?"
"Remember what he was? Or what he looked like? Wasn't he head of the Auror office?"
"So was Rufus Scrimgeour, and he wasn't all scarred up the way Mad-Eye was," Harry reasoned.
"No, he wasn't..."
"Ginny, are you saying you don't want the baby?" Harry asked a little fearfully.
"No, not at all. I'm explaining why I've been so depressed. Things are going to change and there's not a lot that I can do about it. I want children, and I want this baby. I'm just being emotional..."
Harry smiled happily.
"What is it, Harry?" Ginny was curious.
"Nothing, I'm just happy I finally know. Even if I am the last one."
"Not quite what?" Harry was confused now.
"You're not quite the last to know. I made Hermione promise not to say anything to Ron until tomorrow. Ron will be the last to know. I didn't think it was right for my brother to know I was pregnant before my husband did."
Smiling widely now Harry said, "Thank you for that,"
"Sure," Ginny replied with a half smile of her own.
"So tell me, Ginny..." Harry asked, "Is having this baby a good thing or a bad thing?"
"Of course it's a good thing Harry, most definitely," Ginny said with a hint of shock in her tone.
"Then we'll make it work," Harry exuberated confidence.
"Harry, it's a big change,"
"Yes, I'm sure it will be,"
"And then there are the expenses, we've not even begun to discus that," Ginny said.
"You know that the expenses won't be a problem, we have more gold in Gringott's than we can spend in a dragon's age," Harry argued playfully, "That vault is almost full to bursting. It will be good to spend some of it."
Ginny, who had grown up not having much money let that slide. It still wasn't a subject she was entirely comfortable with.
"You're really alright with this?" Ginny asked seriously.
Harry was all smiles and excited happiness, "I'm bloody well better than alright with this. I'm the happiest man in the world! I have the woman I wanted as my wife and now she's going to give me a child to share with her. We live in our own house and answer to no one but ourselves. What's not to be happy about?"
Ginny smiled. Not just a generic smile or a tolerant one, but a real, happy smile. One full of love and hopeful expectation of the future. Then they kissed again as passionately as before, but without the worry of unfinished business hanging over their heads.
Eventually they ended their kiss and decided it was time to go up to bed. Harry took his wife by the hand and slowly led her up the stairs of the Potter family home. With the kind of comfortable silence that can only be developed over time, the couple got ready for bed.
Neither one ready for sleep, they laid there in their bed, holding hands and talking long into the night. Mostly they talked about the baby and what changes they knew having a child would bring. Finally the conversation came around to the topic of baby names.
"Well, I kind of had an idea about that..." Ginny said hesitantly.
"You do? Tell me, please!" Harry begged.
"I was thinking, if it's a girl...we could name her Lily Luna. If it's a boy, then we could name him James Sirius," Ginny said as she rolled over on her side and propped herself up on her elbow. She wanted to watch Harry's reaction. She wasn't disappointed.
Harry's eyes turned glassy; he had to swallow hard a few times to get the lump in his throat to go down. He turned his head to look at his wife. Ginny didn't know how it was possible, but there was even more love and respect for her in the deep green pools of his eyes.
"Do you like it?" She asked, thought she already knew the answer.
Harry didn't answer her with words. Instead he rolled over and took Ginny in his arms. He brought her in close and started again to kiss her like he had earlier in the sitting room. Neither one slept much that night.
The next morning as Kreacher was fixing the happy couple a late brunch, Harry and Ginny sat in their breakfast nook holding hands and staring at each other's eyes. It was Harry who broke the comfortable silence with a question. Oddly enough it wasn't a question about their baby or their future. It was about Ron and Hermione.
"I wonder when Ron and Hermione will have children. I'd love to see Hermione as a mother, and I think Ron would love being a father."
"I can't believe you're thinking about that now," Ginny chided gently.
"Sorry, they've been my best mates for a long, long time. I guess I just hope that they get to feel as happy about having children as I do." Harry answered with a smile, "You're not still upset about having children are you?"
"No, I reckon not. I'm feeling a lot better about it now. I'm sorry Harry, I should have told you sooner," Ginny answered.
"Not to worry. While I wish I could have known sooner, I'm glad I know now. I'm also happy that you're not upset over it anymore."
"It will be a big change,"
"Huge," Harry confirmed.
"Are you ready for it?"
"Ginny, we're going to be a family. We'll do what families do; we'll get through it together."
Ginny could only shake her head in happy wonder. It seemed that their little family was going to grow. What changes that would bring were anyone's guess, but they would accept those changes and challenges as they came and they would do it together.
For now they got what any couple wanted, they got to be happy and content. It was as much as anyone could ask.