The First Five Years by LittleRose13
Chapter 1: 1998
Chapter 2: 1999
Chapter 3: 2000
Chapter 4: 2001
Chapter 5: 2002
Author's Notes: follow my tumblr for updates: littlerose13writes
The remaining chapters are much longer than this first one :)
It's the first time anybody's celebrated anything since the war. Ginny and Harry share the notion that this is a good thing.
31st December, 1998
The small kitchen groaned with more people than it had contained for several months and there was a buzz of excitable chatter as the hands of the clock ticked ever closer to midnight. Mrs Weasley was, as ever, the perfect hostess and weaved expertly amongst her guests ensuring everybody had a full glass. Her expression would appear, to most, as that of a giddy, content mother, so large was the beam on her face. But Ginny knew the true mix of emotions present behind her mother’s smile, because she felt the same.
They had never hosted a New Year’s Eve party like this before, preferring instead to quietly greet the new year in as a family sitting around the just-about-still-standing Christmas tree, the old wireless playing softly in the background. Ginny could still remember the pure excitement the first time she, aged ten, had been allowed to stay up for the big moment, instead of sneaking downstairs to peek with Ron and hurrying back to their bedrooms when Mr Weasley emerged and pretended not to see them.
As the years passed, the impromptu new year gathering changed in nature, slowly seeing the older Weasley siblings absent. Bill and Charlie off seeking adventure, Percy just not there at all. The year it must have just been Molly and Arthur when the children chose to stay at Hogwarts for the Yule Ball. The year it happened at Grimmauld Place. The year Harry had been there too; she remembered his amusement at her paper chain decorations.
And then last year. It hadn’t felt like a celebration at all. It had barely felt like Christmas.
Ginny knew. Knew why her mother had insisted on exchanging their quiet tradition for this noisy, busy affair. It’s hard to stop and think when there are glasses to be filled and food to hand round. It’s almost impossible to notice the people who aren’t here when the kitchen is full to bursting, people spilling out into the freezing garden already. It might not have felt like any New Year’s Eve Ginny had experienced before, but then again, this year wouldn’t be like any Ginny had experienced before.
Ginny watched a particularly giddy pair stumble over the threshold, drawing her eyes to a tall, brooding figure outside, stood slightly away from the rest of the party-goers. She recognised that stance.
He jumped as she lightly touched his shoulder, turning his blank stare in her direction, immediately replacing it with a warm smile as he recognised who it was. Ginny didn’t think she would ever get over how it made her feel to see him smile.
“Aunt Muriel’s accosted Ron again, got him carrying her drink round for her and everything.” She said in a bright, cheery voice that would have convinced most. Harry narrowed his eyes. The small amount of space between them where she had lowered her hand from his shoulder disappeared in an instant.
“I’m sure Hermione’s thrilled.” Harry responded, matching Ginny’s tone of voice. His hand found hers and interlaced their fingers, the familiar grip of her boyfriend’s hand saying everything they were both thinking.
“She’ll have him back soon.” Ginny took Harry’s other hand and squeezed it gently. “Some muggle thing about kissing at midnight bringing good luck for the new year.”
“Oh yeah?” Harry raised an eyebrow suggestively. “I reckon I’ve used up the last of my good luck this year. I could really do with a top up.”
One of the wonderfully infuriating things about Harry was the way he could so expertly suppress his emotions and put on a brave face. Ginny wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
“It feels good, a new year, hmm?” she cocked a brow at him, looking for his reaction. “What we all need, a clean slate and a fresh start...”
“A chance to move on.” Harry finished quietly and immediately looked scandalised. “Not — move on… er, I didn’t mean we should all…” he broke off and looked up towards the stars, his hands still clasped in Ginny’s. “We’ll always remember them.” He said, almost fiercely, and looked back at her with a hard look.
“I knew what you meant.” She responded calmly, for she too shared Harry’s feeling that this new year was the chance for repair and recovery from the horrors of the previous one. He wrapped his arms around her, their gazes still locked and in unison they turned to look up at the stars again. “It’s going to be okay you know, everything.”
“I know.” Harry murmured, casting a glance around at the happy atmosphere of the party and really believing it.
The atmosphere peaked as the last few guests trickled from the kitchen and into the now crowded garden as Charlie Weasley loudly began to count down from ten, his arm strewn drunkenly around a bewildered-looking Neville. Everyone joined in as Ginny spotted Hermione tactfully removing Ron from Auntie Muriel and turned to Harry, who had seen the same and smirked at her.
“TWO… ONE!” the party shouted as one. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
A noise like a cannon joined the cacophony, as several fizzes and whizzes accompanied a rainbow shower of sparkles and light overhead. Swirling patterns and beautiful music seemed to emit from each firework as together they created a display more impressive than Ginny had ever seen before. She felt Harry’s arms wind round her from behind, his head resting gently on her left shoulder, the soft bristle of his chin nudging her neck. “For good luck?” he whispered in her ear.
Ginny turned in his embrace, her hands coming to cup his face as their lips met softly. Of course, Ginny had enjoyed the luxury of having Harry around to kiss in recent weeks, but this kiss contained more meaning. Whether it was the conversation they’d had before about this marking a new start, or the knowledge that Ginny would be going back to school in a few days’ time while Harry returned to London to resume his Auror training, or maybe it really was good luck, but Ginny knew she would remember that New Year’s kiss.
The fireworks continued as Ginny’s hand ran through the back of Harry’s overgrown inky black hair, longer than she had ever seen it on him before. She loved it.
“GEORGE!” Mrs Weasley’s familiar scolding voice interrupted the moment. “Goodness, you frightened the life out of your Auntie Muriel.” Harry and Ginny broke apart, their arms still intertwined, to see Molly reprimanding her son, gesturing wordlessly to the sky, still crackling and fizzling from the final few fireworks (which appeared to have been somewhat of a surprise to Mrs Weasley). It was remarkable how quickly he reverted back to his teenage self in the moment.
“They wouldn’t have been a surprise if I’d warned her.” George stated defensively as Lee Jordan sniggered uncontrollably behind him.
Ginny looked back up at Harry, who had placed a hand on her shoulder. “Walk?” he asked, cocking his head in the direction of the orchard where they had played so many games of Quidditch together as children.
“Walk.” Ginny replied, taking the hand Harry offered her and moving by his side. “Happy new year Harry.” She leaned on him slightly as they walked, their bodies pressed together comfortably.
“Gin?” Harry had stopped walking now they were some distance away from the still noisy party.
She gave him a questioning look.
“I love you.”
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Author's Notes: Please let me know what you think, there will be more soon!
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31st December 1999
“How do I look?” Harry asked uncharacteristically, nervously straightening the collar of his dress robes and turning from the mirror to seek approval from his girlfriend.
Ginny appraised Harry from where she sat cross-legged on her bed, taking in his nervous posture. She cocked her head to one side, her brow furrowed slightly. “You look a bit like Sirius actually.”
“Sirius?” Harry looked surprised at her answer.
“Yeah, I think it’s the hair.” Harry scrutinised her for more of a response but when it was clear she wasn’t going to give him one, turned back to the mirror.
He ran a hand nervously through the long, dark waves, staring at his own reflection. “Maybe I should have let your mum cut it before tonight.” Ginny’s eyebrows shot up as Harry turned to one side, eyes still fixed on the mirror. “But, honestly, this is probably the tidiest it’s ever been.”
Ginny scrambled off the bed as he spoke and removed Harry’s hand from where it was still playing anxiously with the dark strands. “No! I love it like that.”
Harry smiled and pressed a kiss to the corner of Ginny’s mouth. “You need to put some proper clothes on.”
“You mean Harry, you don’t want me meeting all of your ministry colleagues wearing just this?” She gestured down at her oversized Harpies sweater with feigned, innocent shock.
“Not on this occasion.” He smirked and continued looking at her.
“I suppose I’ll have to take it off then.” She winked at him and went to pull the garment over her head.
“Gin.” Harry groaned. “I just got dressed.” But he sounded pleased as he half-heartedly checked his golden wristwatch.
Nearly an hour later than planned, the young couple gripped hands and apparated away from Holyhead in a whirl of dress robes. Approaching the London manor arm in arm, Ginny noticed Harry’s arm tense beneath her grip.
“Hey, stop worrying. I’m sure your colleagues will forgive you for bringing me, I’m not that awful.” She grinned and Harry returned it.
The couple stepped into a lavishly decorated entrance way, a row of house elves stood one behind the other on a grand staircase and they rushed forward, keen to take Harry and Ginny’s coats from them and immediately whisk them away.
“Harry! Ginny!” A booming voice greeted them and Ginny turned to see the Minister for Magic himself, Kingsley Shacklebolt, extending a warm greeting. Kingsley still had a hand in the Auror department and worked with Harry on a regular basis, but Ginny hadn’t seen him in some time.
“Evening Kingsley.” She smiled warmly.
“You look radiant.” He took her hand and kissed the top, giving Ginny flashbacks to her girlish self, before turning to Harry. “You’re looking less like your father and more like Sirius these days.” Harry smiled and shared a look with Ginny.
They followed Kingsley into the party, which was full of people, some of whom Ginny recognised but most she did not. One of those recognisable faces turned in their direction almost immediately and Ron came bounding over, Hermione on his arm beaming.
“You made it! What kept you?” Ron asked innocently.
Harry glanced at Ginny who quirked the corner of her lip up at him and Harry mumbled something vague to Ron about being delayed. Hermione caught Ginny’s eye and muttered “Still oblivious as he ever was.”
“Merlin, what a sight for sore eyes, I’ve hit the jackpot here!” a screeching voice came from somewhere behind them and an elderly witch wearing robes of a busy floral print that reminded Ginny of curtains bustled over, an overflowing champagne glass in one hand.
“Evening.” Said Ron cautiously but the witch didn’t seem to hear him.
“Harry Potter!” she exclaimed, eyeing him up and down and walking around him the same way one would a new broomstick to get a 360-degree view. “Do you know I was just saying to my Maximus it’s about time I finally met that famous Harry Potter and he told me it was nonsense you would be here tonight but here you are, the boy who lived!”
Ginny wondered if perhaps this witch had not picked up a newspaper since 1981. She could see Harry trying desperately to remain polite and not scowl heavily like she knew he wanted to. Fortunately, the witch could not see Ron behind Harry who was doing exactly that.
“Look at you, quite the heartthrob at school I’m sure!” the witch continued loudly, knocking her glass and spilling champagne over Ginny’s foot. Harry noticed and came to Ginny’s side, one arm placed lightly at her waist. “Ohhh look what we have!” she clasped her hands together in delight at the sight of the two of them and turned to Ginny. “Now of course I don’t blame you dear, what girl wouldn’t? Those eyes, that hair. Yes my Maximus even used to have long hair like that when we were young!”
The witch did not seem to mind at all that nobody had any idea who she was, nor that none of them had uttered a single word in response to her.
“And especially now he’s a free agent as dear Rita so kindly wrote in Witch Weekly last Thursday. Such a wonderfully written piece, and I’m sure had quite the desired effect eh Harry?” she nodded to where his arm was still placed protectively on the small of Ginny’s back.
“What piece?” Ginny said nastily before she could stop herself.
The witch didn’t seem to register that anybody had spoken. “A much better choice if I do say so myself than that Quidditch girl.” She said the word Quidditch as if it meant ‘Death Eater’. “Well, jolly lovely to meet you Harry Potter, do enjoy the evening!” and she bustled off again, leaving an awkward silence.
“What has Rita Skeeter been writing about us now?” Harry said, exasperatedly.
“You know nobody reads her rubbish.” Hermione said scathingly but knowingly.
“Hermione.” Ginny started, appraising her friend with a knowing look. “What has she written?”
Hermione hesitated. “Just to make it perfectly clear, I do not make a habit of reading Witch Weekly.”
Ron interrupted. “Yes dear, we all know your reading habits are rather more intellectual.”
Hermione ignored him. “But, last week one particular article was drawn to my attention. It’s one of the most ridiculous yet.”
“What did it say?” Harry asked with a groan as if he was expecting the worst.
“Oh, nothing much.” Hermione began breezily. “Just a short piece about how you, Harry, had ‘seen the error of your ways’ and broken it off with Ginny and were looking for another girl to ‘mend your broken heart’.”
“WHAT?” Ron thundered. “She can’t print that about my sister!”
But Harry was laughing. Between his fame and Ginny’s rising popularity as one of the Holyhead Harpies’ newest team members, they had endured rather a lot of press attention, thankfully most of it positive or at least true. “Of course, we can always rely on dear Rita to bring the tone down.” He chuckled at Ginny. This subject had been the source of much amusement for both of them many times before now.
“What’s new?” Ginny joined in Harry’s laughter to reassure Hermione she hadn’t upset either of them by sharing this news. “Harry, walk?” She lead her boyfriend away by the arm towards an exit which opened out onto a large and deserted balcony. They wandered further down and came to a rest, looking out over the view, London’s city lights sparkling in the distance. Ginny stood at the balcony and Harry stood behind her, his arms wrapped round her body in a protective embrace.
“You’re okay about the Rita Skeeter thing, aren’t you?” he questioned gently. Ginny nodded silently.
“Of course, everyone knows all she writes is rubbish.” Harry let out a breath it sounded like he had been holding in and loosened his grip from around her, coming to stand close beside her. “Where are we staying tonight? Mine or yours?”
“But… Harry, you’ll be there in the morning won’t you? You don’t have to be at work and I don’t have training.”
Harry mumbled something about Kreacher, gazing into the distance. When he finally met Ginny’s gaze, he paled at her expression.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed Harry.” She snapped, more sharply than she’d expected to. “You lie with me, put an arm round me, stroke my hair, wait for me to fall asleep and then —“ she broke off, a surprising tightness in her throat. “and then you leave.”
“Ginny-“ Harry started, picking up on her sparkling eyes.
“Don’t give me the usual ‘got to be at the office early’ line. I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking you’re lying beside me and you’re gone. Do you know how that makes me feel Harry?” the tightness in her throat was giving way to anger and she felt her face flame.
“There’s more to it than that.” He said, with a sense of calm that made Ginny feel like a silly, spoiled teenager.
“Then tell me! Let me help you! Stop pushing me away. Stop making me feel like…” Harry stared at her evenly, wanting her to continue. “Like Rita Skeeter’s got it right!”
Harry’s expression darkened and Ginny felt, for one panicked second, that he was going to leave her stood there in angry tears. She almost looked away rather than watch him leave, when he faced her with an anguished expression on his face. He placed his palms together in front of his mouth, fingers resting against his nose, and sighed heavily. He lowered his glasses a few inches with one hand, the other coming to pinch at the bridge of his nose agitatedly.
“I love you Ginny, so much.” He said after a long pause, his glasses replaced.
“And I love you Harry, you know I love you. But I hate how you think you need to do everything alone-“
“You’re right.” He interrupted. “I’ve been stupid.”
Turning to look out over the view, he placed both hands on the balcony, his posture steady and firm. Ginny stood just close enough to hear him without any part of the two touching.
“Since joining the Auror department, I’ve been getting these… dreams.” Harry looked out into the distance, almost angrily and, Ginny realised quickly, shamefully. “They haven’t… I haven’t… not for ages, not since-“
“Last year.” Ginny finished for him tentatively.
Harry looked up at her gratefully. “No. But recently, they’re back, worse than before. I wake up… shaking… to my own screams.” It was clear that this admittance to Ginny was causing Harry a great deal of pain. “I can’t put you through that.”
Ginny’s expression hardened. “What if I want you to?”
“No Harry! You think you’re protecting me from some awful unknown tragedy only you have experienced but can I remind you I know exactly how those dreams feel? What it feels like to wake with that much panic running through you. Alone.”
“Ginny, you haven’t been having…?“
Ginny turned from him, unwilling to see his reaction to her admittance. “Why do you think I want you to stay?” she said in a small voice.
Harry was by her side in a heartbeat, warm and strong arms engulfing her in a tight embrace, harsh whispering in her ear. “I’m sorry.” He breathed into her. “So sorry, I had no idea, why didn’t you tell me?”
He pulled back to face her. “Why didn’t you?” she retorted. “You’re not the only one stubbornly trying to protect their loved one.”
Harry grinned. “We’re quite the pair.”
“We’re a pair of idiots.” Ginny sighed, allowing her head to fall so that her forehead was resting on Harry’s shoulder.
“Gin?” Ginny murmured in response. “Rita Skeeter never gets it right.”
Ginny giggled faintly. “So, tonight, you’ll stay? You’ll be there?”
Harry kissed the top of her head sweetly. “I’ll always be there Ginny.”
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With busy lives and exciting jobs, Harry and Ginny are finally starting to heal together. Babysitting causes them to reflect on a difficult part of their year.
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31st December, 2000"Do you think I'll need more than one swimsuit?" Ginny called out to her boyfriend who was in the kitchen, making coffee and softly humming to himself. He didn't immediately respond and Ginny stared dejectedly at the half full trunk sat atop her bed, a swimsuit in each hand, her red hair pulled into a gradually unravelling top knot.
Ginny hated packing. It was almost her least favourite thing to do, topped only by unpacking.
As she knelt on their bed, her socked feet almost causing her to slide off the small space not occupied by the trunk, her back was to the doorway but she heard Harry's footsteps enter the room behind her. She dropped both the swimsuits down on the bed.
"How about no swimsuit?" his low voice sounded in her ear as he snaked an arm around her from behind, placing a cup of hot coffee into her hand and giving her hip a squeeze. He was shirtless, his firm, Auror-trained torso pressing into her back, only the thin fabric of Ginny's tshirt between their skin to skin contact.
"Oi! No time." Ginny accepted the coffee gratefully, gesturing to her mess of a half-packed trunk, as Harry pressed a fleeting kiss to her cheek.
"S'always time." Harry murmured into her neck, pressing more kisses down as he went. His hair was loose, falling over his shoulder and tickling Ginny's collarbone as he moved, his arm now joined by the other, holding her body against his. Ginny knew that Harry knew she couldn't resist him when he did that.
Ginny leant forward, coffee cup first, and Harry loosened his grip for a second to let her reach the bedside table and place the scalding hot coffee down. As she moved back towards him, this time facing her boyfriend's smouldering eyes, he encircled his arms around her again. She was still kneeling on the bed and Harry was standing, making their usual height difference much less noticeable. It made their kiss slightly awkward for the first few seconds, both of them adjusting to the difference in height, and Ginny was forcibly reminded of the first time she had ever kissed Harry in the Gryffindor Common Room.
"Harry, I really need to pack." Ginny groaned, forcing herself to pull away. "We leave tomorrow."
"Details," Harry said in an off-handed way.
"Y'know, if you help me, it could be done well before Andromeda arrives." She gave him a suggestive smirk and Harry's eyes brightened as he eventually pulled his arms from her.
"Ok so you need these?" He grabbed the two abandoned swimsuits and, without waiting for Ginny to respond, threw them into the trunk before pacing across to their open, shared wardrobe and grabbing an item of clothing on a hanger without looking at it. "How about this?"
He made to throw the item into the trunk in the same way he had the swimsuits but was stopped by Ginny, who had clambered off the bed and took hold of his forearms, shaking with laughter.
"Harry, that's yours." She gestured to the garment, specifically the small logo on the top right corner and the words Auror Training Academy. Harry glanced at it, noticing for the first time what he'd picked up, and grinned down at her.
"Well, I suppose I won't be needing this anymore. You can have it." He started to fold the tshirt up carefully.
"You're still an Auror in training when we're away," Ginny said as she crossed to the wardrobe too and retrieved a pile of socks.
"Yes, but Robards isn't going to know if I'm in uniform when I'm completing my assignments is he?" Harry teased her, starting to straighten out some of the messy pile already in the trunk.
Ginny added the socks to the pile Harry was folding and lightly touched his arm. "I so can't wait to get my revenge on you for all of those times you distracted me from revising for my O.W.Ls."
"Gin, you got Os and Es in everything," Harry sighed.
"Precisely. Imagine how well I could have done without your bad influence." She lightly smacked him as he snorted with laughter at her comment. "Will you go and get my training kit from the laundry please?"
Harry left the room as Ginny took over, turning the mess into something resembling a packed suitcase, periodically sipping coffee. Harry's packed trunk stood leant against the wall where he'd finished it the night before. Bloody Aurors and their need to be so prepared.
"Is this all of it?" Harry's voice sounded a bit muffled as he re-entered the room, his wand levitating a pile of Harpies kit in front of him. He trained his wand on the pile to gracefully lower it into the trunk and Ginny saw that it was all four sets of her training kit, lovingly folded neatly with the Holyhead Harpies logo at the top of each.
"I bloody love you." She pulled him to her and Harry looked very pleased with himself as he accepted the kiss Ginny planted on his cheek.
The packing took considerably less time with both of them and was considerably more enjoyable when Ginny found herself rewarded with kisses after each addition to the case. When it was finally filled, Harry waved his wand to move the case from the bed to stand against the wall beside his own and pulled Ginny down onto the now empty bed next to him.
Harry checked his watch and grinned at her. "Do we have time?"
Ginny wriggled closer to him and placed a hand on his warm chest, the other playing with his long, dark hair. "S'always time."
Their small London flat was the only one in the muggle building to have a fireplace and that was because they'd needed to install one when they moved in to travel to work everyday. It had been a requirement when they had been looking for a place together but they soon realised it was going to be harder than they'd thought to find somewhere to live which they both loved and which had a fireplace. Arthur Weasley had helped fast track their paperwork to install a magical fireplace in a muggle flat and so far, only one nosy, muggle neighbour had commented on the sound of roaring flames but no chimney.
The fireplace in question gently glowed green, an indication that someone was about to floo in, and sure enough, the green flames grew tall as Harry skidded into the open plan living room in delight, Ginny not far behind him.
Andromeda Tonks busied herself first with brushing the soot from the small boy in her arms who was squirming to be put down immediately. She sighed and gave in, lowering him to the ground and straightening up to brush her own soot covered shoulders.
"Hawwy!" the little boy cried as he hurtled into Harry's waiting arms with a shriek of delight. Harry lifted him up with ease and swung him onto his hip, where the little boy nuzzled into Harry's neck, his hair shifting to match Harry's dark strands.
"When did you get to be such a big boy, Ted?" Harry asked him in mock surprise and Teddy giggled.
"I two!" he said proudly, holding up two fingers to show Harry.
"Tea, Andromeda?" Ginny asked as she took the older lady's coat and siphoned off the rest of the soot with her wand.
"Yes please, dear. Here, I'll help." She followed Ginny to the kitchen counter and fetched mugs.
"How have you been?" Harry approached behind them, Teddy still sat on his hip and happily playing with his loose hair.
"Oh fine, fine," Andromeda replied, placing tea bags into each mug. She passed them to Ginny to fill with hot water. "Are you both excited?"
Ginny shared a look with Harry and they both grinned at each other. Ginny finished making the tea and carried the mugs over to the table, gesturing for Andromeda to sit down. Harry joined her, Teddy sat on his lap.
"Where first?" Andromeda asked, sipping her tea.
"California," Ginny replied with a grin. "First month is mainly training for me, the American season starts later than here, but the first match is early February. Harpies v Monterey Marmots."
"You'll flatten them," Harry said proudly. "I've been offered training time with the American ministry Aurors too." Harry explained.
"How lovely! Now, are you both absolutely sure about tonight? It's not too late to say no, I can cancel. Molly will understand. It is New Year's Eve and I'm sure you young people have a better offer." Andromeda spoke as Ginny handed Teddy a biscuit and sat beside her boyfriend. Teddy gave her a gleeful look and stuffed the biscuit into the side of his mouth, sucking on it happily.
"No, no! You go and enjoy yourself, it's no trouble at all," Ginny told her quickly.
"Besides, we'll miss this little scamp when we're away. It'll be nice to have a quiet new year for once," Harry said, tickling Teddy under the chin. "He won't forget us will he? A year is a long time when you're only two." Harry asked, suddenly worried.
"It won't be a year! We'll see him on his birthday and then again in May and probably August and definitely November." Ginny corrected quickly, sharing in Harry's worries.
"And we've got the mirrors too," Andromeda reminded them. "I don't think Teddy will let me forget about those. He points at the cupboard where he knows I keep it and shouts 'Hawwy Ginny!' until I take it out."
Harry laughed as Teddy stood up on his knees, allowing Harry to hold both his hands and bounce him up and down. The little boy's dark hair shifted to a glossy red and he reached for Ginny with both arms (still attached to Harry's hands). Ginny obliged and took Teddy from Harry's lap onto her own. Harry used the opportunity to tie his hair back and out of Teddy's reach.
"I've put everything he needs in the bag but if you need me I can come right back. He's had his dinner but he needs a bath before bed." Andromeda had finished her tea and was checking her watch.
"We'll be fine, don't worry," Harry said soothingly as he stood to collect her coat and see her out. Ginny followed, carrying Teddy. "Have a great time!"
"Bye Teddy, see you tomorrow." Andromeda gave him a kiss and stepped into the fireplace.
"Bye Gwandma!" Teddy responded cheerfully, waving his chubby hand at her retreating figure. The green flames engulfed her and she span away.
"Gwandma gone home, Teddy stay wiv Hawwy Ginny," Teddy summarised into the silence, nodding in a matter of fact way at Ginny, his hair still Weasley red. "Teddy play now?" he asked, squirming to be put down.
The clock on the mantelpiece struck 7 o'clock as Harry retrieved Teddy's toy chest from the corner of the room and Ginny put the toddler down and sank onto the sofa. He waddled over to select a toy and was soon gripped with a hippogriff in each hand, making them fly so haphazardly that they collided with each other several times.
Watching Harry play with his Godson made Ginny's heart burst with admiration for him. There was no doubt in her mind that Harry would make a perfect father one day. She squashed this thought quickly and left the room, calling to Harry that she was going to run Teddy's bath.
He appeared a few minutes later, the sound of the running water almost drowning out Teddy's delighted squeals. Teddy loved being given a bath which was a constant source of annoyance to Bill, whose daughter Victoire screamed the place down every time.
Harry undressed Teddy and placed him in the bath tub where the little boy happily splashed around, his hair now a shade of white-blonde. He dutifully allowed Ginny to wash his hair and gasped joyfully when Harry made rainbow bubbles appear from the end of his wand, reaching out to grab as many as possible.
"Do you reckon all babies are this easy to babysit?" Ginny asked as Harry lifted Teddy out of the bath tub and wrapped him snugly in a towel.
"Hmm, ask Bill." Harry replied as he carried Teddy to the spare bedroom where Ginny had laid his pyjamas out. She dressed Teddy and sat down on the bed while Harry tidied the bathroom (Teddy's splashes had become rather enthusiastic). She watched him roll around giggling, chasing the moving snitch pattern on the bedspread Harry had insisted on buying for his Godson.
Harry appeared in the doorway and gave her a knowing look; Ginny quickly tried to rearrange her features.
"You're thinking about it, aren't you?" Harry said quietly, as he joined her on the bed and they both watched Teddy play silently for a few minutes.
"Only a bit," Ginny admitted, accepting the arm he placed around her and resting her head on his shoulder.
"I am too," He replied, leaning his head atop hers.
"It's not as if there's anything to be upset about," Ginny reasoned aloud, with herself more than anything. "We can't miss what we didn't have."
"We can miss what we thought we had," Harry responded gently and Ginny knew he was thinking about how they'd felt for a whole month; scared, overwhelmed, completely and utterly unprepared but also filled with joy and love. It had been a difficult bereavement to come to terms with all of those feelings, only to discover Ginny's pregnancy symptoms had been nothing more than a side effect of her new potion.
"But this way we can do it properly," Ginny said, repeating the conversation they had already had countless times. She found it comforting to say the words again and she knew Harry did too.
"When we're both really ready," Harry responded, like it was a script.
"And you've qualified as an Auror."
"And you've won the league."
"And I've learnt to cook something other than toast."
It helped, repeating these affirmations. It was a reminder for the couple that they would experience that feeling one day, and it would be real. The sheer terror she had initially experienced hadn't gone away but it was made so much better with Harry's words and actions of support. They hadn't planned it and wouldn't have chosen to do it so soon, but something about his reassurance made her sure they could have done it.
"One day." Harry smiled and cuddled Teddy into the both of them. Ginny was so full of love in that moment she thought she might cry.
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Author's Notes: Harry and Ginny's New Year's Eve plans don't happen as expected and there are some new additions to the family.
Thankyou to beks/morphin3 for beta-ing this chapter! (And naming the band)
31st December, 2001
That was all Ginny could register as she felt herself come to, presumably somewhere on the pitch after her fall. For a Chaser who had once continued playing with a broken wrist, using just her good hand to expertly catch and aim the quaffle (and the Harpies had still won), pain was nothing new to Ginny. She prided herself on her ability to push through injuries; it drove Gwenog insane.
But this was something new, this was pain on a level Ginny couldn't remember experiencing since her awful, painful sixth year of Hogwarts. She felt as if she'd been given a round or two of the Cruciatus curse.
Ginny went to lift her head from the surprisingly soft pitch, but it was so heavy she could barely manage it. She blinked against the horrid sensation.
"Gin? Ginny? Ginny?!" a familiar voice sounded anxious and steadily louder as its owner got closer from somewhere behind Ginny's head. Harry was here, of course he was, he was in the stands watching the game. One of those rare but glorious times his day off had coincided with her match.
Since Ginny had been promoted from the smaller International League to the British League and they'd moved back to their flat in Holyhead, Harry was rarely able to watch her games the way he had done when they were travelling together. But once in a while, a match came up that he could attend.
Ginny adored these moments, when she could feel sheer pride radiating from her boyfriend as he watched her fly. They'd never made it through an entire season as team mates but this was even better. She loved seeing Harry there for her, the Holyhead Harpies logo shining brightly on everything he wore, and cheering for her ferociously.
"She's awake!" Harry entered her vision and it was only then that Ginny realised she couldn't have been lying directly on the pitch, as Harry's concerned face was only a few feet above her and he was standing over her.
"Where's the Healer? Quickly, I'll find him! George, get mum!" Ginny recognised her brother's voice from somewhere nearby as Harry gently and softly placed a hand on her cheek.
That was weird. Ron hadn't been at the game. It was then that Ginny recognised that there was no sight of the sky above her, in fact she was most definitely indoors.
"Harry?" she asked, surprised at how faint her own voice sounded. "What's going on?"
He continued to gently stroke her face and smooth her hair as he spoke. "You don't remember, they said you might not." Ginny could feel herself starting to come to, she was increasingly aware of her surroundings, realising there was a pillow beneath her head. "You're in St Mungo's, Ginny."
"St Mungo's? I can't be! The game!" Ginny tried to push herself up but Harry stopped her.
"No, Gin, you fell from your broom and you've been here all night. It's New Year's Eve." Ginny stared into her boyfriend's face, trying to read his expression. This wasn't Harry's idea of a joke. She noticed he was pale and his eyes home to deep, dark hollows, their edges rimmed with red.
"Let me sit up!" Ginny felt a surge of panic, a feeling of disorientation masking all common sense. She pushed past the heavy feeling in her limbs and head and forced herself upwards from the bed. This time, Harry didn't try to stop her and instead helped her position herself back against her pillow. A dull ache in the back of her head thumped. "Why does my head feel so-?"
"You're fine, they said you'll be fine. You're okay." he breathed, spotting the note of panic in her voice and gently wrapping his arms around her, kissing her forehead softly. "It was a nasty fall but you'll make a full recovery."
"I fell?" She echoed his words in a small voice and Harry's grip tightened around her.
"You held on longer than most could have, with that Sweetwater idiot ramming into you constantly. I hate this time of the season, everyone is just that bit too reckless." He muttered darkly into her hair. A pause, as he pulled away and looked into her eyes, his arms still around her shoulders. "You scared me, Gin. Last night, you really scared me."
It was a significant admittance, one which Harry would never say unless he truly meant it. The natural reaction would be to apologise for scaring him, but Ginny knew Harry would never hear it from her.
"Was I out all night?" She had no memory of any time having passed between the match and now.
"Completely out, you didn't move. I kept leaning in to check you were still breathing, even though the Healers insisted you were and told me to sleep." He gave a light shrug and a lock of his dark hair fell from his dishevelled, usually-neat knot.
Ginny was unbelievably touched that he had stayed awake all night for her; it was another of those moments when she was almost taken aback by how much she loved him. She reached out to tuck the loose hair behind his ear. "I love you, Harry."
Harry beamed, like he had the first time she'd told him she loved him. Generally, as a couple, they preferred to demonstrate how in love they were, finding the words by themselves inadequate. But this time, it felt enough to cover how she was feeling. "I love you too." He responded, not as if automatically but with genuine meaning, as he pulled her to him again with a quick kiss.
At that moment, a Healer came rushing in and Harry unwrapped Ginny, staying close to her side with his hand in hers.
"When did she wake up? How long has she been awake? How is she feeling?" the Healer asked hurriedly and Ginny bristled as he addressed Harry, acting as if Ginny wasn't even in the room.
"I'm feeling great thanks, just relaxing here in this nice, comfy bed." she bit sarcastically and Harry smirked as the Healer looked taken aback.
"So sorry Miss Weasley." the Healer backtracked swiftly and Ginny noticed from his name badge he was a junior Healer. This comforted Ginny to know they hadn't thought her injuries serious enough for a more experienced Healer. "Have you been awake long? How's the pain?"
Ginny considered her question, assessing where she could and couldn't feel pain in her body. Her head still thumped away like a cannon being fired into the back of her skull from a great distance. Her limbs felt as if they had been filled with lead.
"I've had worse." Ginny replied and Harry scoffed, although she was being serious. "What actually happened to me?"
"She's been awake around five minutes now." Harry informed the Healer. "You fell off your broom, that's really all there is to it, Gin. Probably didn't help that you were travelling at around fifty miles an hour when you came off. It was that Beater. I barely got my wand out in time, else I could have cast a more effective cushioning charm." Harry wore a dark expression.
"Your boyfriend here was the quickest thinker there. I've got half a mind to suggest a trained Auror at every match as standard procedure, I dread to think how much worse off you'd be if that charm hadn't been cast. No broken bones, you've been blessed."
"You saved me?" Ginny turned to Harry. Harry shrugged modestly, moving closer and wrapping an arm around her again.
"Do you have pain anywhere specific?" the Healer asked.
"My head kills but I'm sure I can sleep it off." Ginny murmured, leaning into Harry's touch.
"Your head?" the Healer looked worried and picked up his wand, casting a spell over Ginny which caused a number of complicated charts to appear in the air before them. "You can have more pain potion if you want," he eventually said and Ginny nodded reluctantly.
The Healer went to fetch the potion as the door opened again, bringing with it a strong ray of morning December sunshine. Ginny's mother entered the room, a warm but worried smile gracing her features.
"Ginny dear! Thank goodness!" she bustled over, taking Ginny's face gently in both hands and looking over her. Harry dropped her hand to allow Mrs Weasley to greet her daughter but he stayed beside her, sinking into a chair not far from the head of the bed, which might have been there all night. "This Quidditch, really! It's getting more and more dangerous every season, I'm sure of it. To think, if we hadn't been here at St Mungo's anyway, well who knows what might have happened?"
Ginny interrupted her mother's dramatic speech. "Why were you already at St Mungo's? Have I really been here since yesterday? Have you been here all this time?"
Mrs Weasley nodded her head vigorously. "Of course! Your father's upstairs too, with Bill, and Ron and George are outside, waiting to come in. Percy is planning to drop by again after work and Hermione should be arriving back any minute. Speaking of which, we must let Charlie know you're okay too before he sets off."
Ginny processed all of this information. "Ron and George can come in, the Healer's gone to get me more pain potion."
As if waiting for their cue, her two youngest older brothers came bundling into the room, both making a beeline straight for her then stopping short just before the bed, preventing themselves from no doubt grabbing her in a bone crushing Weasley brother hug.
"That was a bit scary, sis!" George exclaimed.
"Just a bit." Ron agreed.
"You've woken up just in time." George continued.
"In time for what? Where's dad, and Bill?" Ginny felt she was missing something.
"Maternity ward." Harry supplied the information nobody else was. "Fleur went into labour."
"It's been quite an eventful twenty four hours." Ron added.
"That's sooner than we thought! Has she had the baby yet? Have I missed it?" The Healer returned with her pain potion and Ginny immediately quizzed her. "Can I go upstairs to see my brother and sister-in-law?"
The Healer exchanged an uneasy look with Mrs Weasley. "Not just yet, we still need to monitor you. I'm sure they can bring the baby down here later. I'm afraid I can't let you leave until we're sure you're okay. You were out for quite some time."
"When will you be sure I'm okay? I feel okay!" Ginny would have been frustrated enough at having to stay put in a bed for the foreseeable future without the extra incentive of a new Weasley baby.
"It's up to the Senior Healer on the ward. Let's just hope you won't have to ring in the new year here with us."
Ginny's eyebrows shot up and she looked straight at Harry to see his reaction to this. They had plans to see The Sex Pixies for New Year's Eve and she knew how disappointed he would be if, instead, she was stuck in a hospital bed.
Harry, however, was not looking at her and was exchanging a panicked glance with Ron. Ginny presumed they were worried about how she would react to this imprisonment.
"Is that likely?" Harry asked, after what looked like a wordless conversation with Ron.
"I really couldn't say. I'll have Senior Healer Fairchild come by as soon as she's out of theatre." The hidden meaning behind his words was clear. The Healer left with this bombshell hanging in the air.
Harry looked utterly crestfallen; Ginny knew he'd been really looking forward to the concert.
"It's alright, you can go without me! We can see them together another time." she pushed aside her own feelings of frustration to comfort him. Harry looked up from his reverie and gave her a forced grin.
"I'm not going without you." he said after a pause. "There'll be other concerts."
Ron was mouthing silently at George, who looked up and noticed Ginny gazing at him curiously.
"No, Ron." George said pointedly. "You can't go instead, you don't even like them." Ron turned crimson and glared at George as Mrs Weasley gave him a judgemental look.
"Ron!" Her mother began but he interrupted her, guiding her by the shoulder away from Ginny's bed.
"I'm going to see if Hermione's here yet, and then let's check on Fleur." He looked sulky and stalked off out of the ward with their mother.
Harry stood up again and returned to Ginny's side to hold her hand. George took this as his cue to leave and did so, throwing Harry a hugely unsubtle wink as he left.
"Are you disappointed about the concert? I'm sorry." Ginny spoke immediately.
"No, no, of course not! The important thing is that you're alright." He kissed her forehead again.
Senior Healer Fairchild turned out to be rather formidable, unaware of Ginny's infamous pain threshold and unaffected by her boyfriend's pleas to release her. She examined the results emitting from her wand with a studious expression.
"I'm sorry Miss Weasley, Mr Potter, but I just don't want to take any risks. You were out cold for several hours, anyone would need recovery time. We can reassess again tomorrow but in the meantime you're stuck here."
Ginny glowered at her. "Can't I at least visit the maternity ward? My sister-in-law is about to have a baby."
"I'm sure that's true, I'll see how you do. Get some rest, try and sleep that headache off." She turned to leave then glanced back at Harry. "Oh and Potter, you'll need this tonight if you're going to refuse to leave again." She waved her wand and conjured an extra bed alongside Ginny's.
"Healer's orders, you heard her. Get some sleep." Harry instructed her, helping Ginny settle herself back down so she was lying flat. He kept a hold of her hand and stroked her hair with the other.
Ginny didn't think she'd be at all tired after her time out cold, but as soon as Harry began rhythmically stroking her hair, she felt exhaustion overcome her. The pain potion she'd been given must have been pretty strong because it seemed to only take a minute or two for her Healer's suggestion to become a reality.
†Ginny awoke, momentarily forgetting where she was and what had happened, before the memory washed over her. She hadn't a clue what time it was, but judging by the lack of sunlight streaming in, she guessed she had been asleep for several hours. Looking around her, she spotted Harry's bed untouched and empty and the space around her own bed unoccupied.
Ginny pushed herself up in the bed, her head hurting far less than it had before. In fact, she felt almost completely normal as she propped herself up on her elbows and scanned the empty room. She realised what had awoken her when she spotted the jug of water to her right and reached for it, registering just how thirsty she was. Ginny guessed it was the evening now and she'd barely drank anything for hours.
She drummed her fingers back and forth across the bed spread, wondering if she was allowed to leave this room yet or if Fleur had had her baby. There weren't any Healers in sight and Ginny felt fine.
Experimentally, she gave one aching leg a kick out, removing it from the bed and planting it on the floor. It felt steady enough as she joined it with the other. She stood, a lightheaded feeling present but not overpowering, holding onto the bed post in case she fell. The window opposite was pitch black, as it was the dead of winter, but the night was clear and the stars shone brightly.
Before Ginny could try a few steps towards the beautiful view, the door opened almost silently and Ginny turned, expecting a Healer.
It was Harry.
He looked much healthier than he had earlier, as if he'd had a few hours' sleep. His hair was swept back in its usual knot and he'd changed out of his day-old Harpies stuff into a dark grey t-shirt with long sleeves.
"You're up." He said, coming to her side at once and taking her hand.
Ginny shrugged. "Just looking at the stars. Can't see them all that well from here though."
"Here." Harry placed his arm around her waist and guided her over to the window, allowing her to lean against him. She breathed against his chest. "And even better." A flick of his wand caused the window to magically expand, until it took over the entire side of the room, allowing them to look out across the constellations.
"Sorry again about the concert." She murmured and he kissed the top of her head.
"I've thought of that." He grinned, flicking his wand towards the magical speaker Ginny hadn't noticed in the corner of the room. Music immediately came from the device, softly playing The Sex Pixies' most recent hit. "It's like they're here in the room with us."
Ginny smiled into him and he rubbed small circles over her back, the stars twinkling overhead. His eyes lit up as his favourite song began to play.
"I bet you were looking forward to hearing this tonight." Ginny sighed wistfully, still feeling bad that it was because of her they were missing the concert.
Harry looked at her for a long time before speaking. "That wasn't what I was looking forward to most about tonight."
"No." he said in a small voice, facing the ground. "Ask me what was."
"What were you most looking forward to then?" she asked him bemusedly, thinking her boyfriend was acting rather strangely.
He took both her hands in his, hesitating for a second to check she was able to stand without his support. She was perfectly able, she just liked leaning into him.
"Ginny, I'm so incredibly in love with you. You mean everything to me."
"Aw." She smiled at him. "I'm gonna fall off my broom and scare you more often, I like 'overly-romantic-Harry' from time to time."
His smile grew and his green eyes twinkled behind his glasses as he dropped one hand.
"I mean it, Ginny. I love you so much, and last night just made me even more sure about this, but I was going to anyway... tonight, at the concert." He reached into his pocket and withdrew something Ginny couldn't see in the low light. Her heart froze as a million and one thoughts rushed through her mind, each of them landing on the conclusion that 'no... he wasn't going to-'
"Ginny Weasley," he sank away from her, dropping to one knee, her left hand still in his, "will you marry me?"
The hand that wasn't holding onto hers flipped open a small box and held it up for her to see. Inside was a thin silver band, housing a sparkling diamond of perfect size. Ginny stared at in shock, her gaze flicking back to Harry's expectant, nervous expression.
"Please say something." He finally whispered, after what Ginny realised had been too long of a pause.
"Yes! Of course yes! Yes, yes, yes!" she practically fell down on top of him and he swept her up into his arms, picking her completely off the ground and spinning her around. She felt lightheaded again but this time she knew it had nothing at all to do with her accident. He placed her back down gently and pulled back, taking her left hand in his.
"I wasn't supposed to do that, I forgot to put the ring on, I even remembered to keep hold of your left hand." He was speaking without thought, his face split in half with a huge grin which mirrored Ginny's own smile. She immediately gave him her left hand again, and he carefully removed the ring and slid it onto her fourth finger.
"I'm going to be a Potter." She said, watching it fit snugly into place. Harry intertwined his fingers with hers, both of them staring at the ring now firmly on her finger. He kissed her softly, his arm finding the small of her back, her own hand tangled in the back of his hair.
"I'm not going to be the only Potter anymore." He said between kisses, looking overjoyed at the prospect.
"And you were going to do this at the concert?" Ginny asked him breathlessly, the two still in a tight embrace.
"Yeah. This is embarrassing, I doubt you even remember but the first time we ever kissed, in the common room after that game?" he was looking at her questioningly as if worried she might have forgotten that particular detail of their relationship. "Well, as that happened-"
"The Sex Pixies were playing at the Quidditch party." Ginny finished for him.
"You do remember?"
"Of course I bloody remember, Harry!" she smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
"Sorry." He chuckled and circled his arms around her tighter.
"I sort of like that it was just the two of us though." She kissed the end of his nose."How many of my family members knew you were about to do this?" she questioned.
"I asked your parents for permission a few weeks back." Harry grinned.
"I expect Mum told you you've always had their permission." Ginny smirked.
Harry nodded. "But only Ron knew I was planning to propose at the concert, until this happened," he gestured to her hospital gown, "then George figured it out and Ron had to tell your mum when she was getting suspicious. She's thrilled by the way."
"Of course she is, she loves you more than I do." Ginny said with a wink. "And Fleur, has she-"
"An hour or so ago, another girl." Harry responded.
"Oh Teddy will be so disappointed!"
"He is, he started poking my stomach and asking me when I was going to have a baby so that it would be a boy baby. He was complaining Fleur only has girl babies because she's a girl."
"A few mixed messages there." Ginny grinned. "I think that's Godfather's job to have the talk."
Harry blanched. "He's only three! I can most definitely bribe somebody else to do it in time."
"Don't look at me." Ginny nudged him with her newly bedazzled hand.
"The Healer said you'd be allowed to leave the ward when you woke up to visit upstairs. I had to promise to bring you back though." Ginny gave him a grateful smile, fully appreciating for a second that he was going to be her husband.
"Ready to swap big news then? Everyone's up there." He nodded his head to the ceiling. "They looked in on you but you were sleeping."
"How shall we tell them?" Ginny suddenly felt apprehensive.
"Make a fuss of the baby, wait for somebody to spot the ring." Harry grinned.
"It's a plan." Ginny accepted the hand he offered and leaned on his side as they walked out of the room and down the corridor towards the lift, pressing the button for the maternity ward.
The room Fleur was in became clear in a second due to the vast amount of her family gathered around the doorway. Charlie had arrived from Romania while Ginny had been sleeping and he immediately pulled her into a one-armed hug.
"Hey sis, still throwing yourself off broomsticks I see."
"Still throwing yourself at dragons I see." Ginny teased, pointing to a new, shiny burn present on Charlie's collar bone.
Hermione came over from a grinning Ron and looked straight at Ginny's left hand, indicating that Ron had told her. "I expect you're feeling much better now." She whispered as she too gave Ginny a hug. "Congratulations."
Arthur spotted Ginny next, coming to place an arm around her, while Percy gave her a somber, disapproving look from across the room, as if it was all her fault she'd been injured. Molly hurried over to bring Ginny into the room and she gave in, allowing her mother to guide her inside.
"Gee-Gee." Baby Victoire reached for her auntie upon seeing her and George handed her over, giving Ginny a knowing look and glancing at her left hand. Ginny pretended not to notice and smoothed the little girl's white-blonde hair down from where George had presumably been tickling her.
"You're a big sister, Vic!" she grinned at the little girl, who giggled and squirmed to be put down and walk. Ginny obliged and watched her toddle over to a cupboard and begin attempting to open it.
"No, Vic, you not allowed!" little Teddy marched over and stood in the way of the cupboard door. He attempted to haul the younger girl away from the cupboard and back to the adults and she gave him a sulky look, waddling from him and straight to her Aunt Gabrielle who picked her up.
Teddy watched jealously as the teenager bounced Victoire around to delighted squeals until Harry noticed and went to pick Teddy up too. His hair was jet-black today, just like his godfather's.
"Where's this baby then?" Ginny asked impatiently, moving further into the room to reveal Bill and Fleur, who was on a bed looking exhausted. Bill was carrying a bundle of blankets.
Bill chuckled as she crossed the room to him. "How you feeling?"
"Better than ever." Ginny's eyes shone. "Let's see what you've made." She grinned and Bill handed over the bundle of blankets.
"This is Dominique." Ginny peered into the blankets to see a tiny face with a button nose. "Cute, isn't she?" Bill smirked proudly.
"Adorable. Congratulations." Ginny said, gazing at the baby and sharing a glance with Harry who had come to her side, Teddy still balanced on his hip.
"What's dat?!" Teddy asked loudly, pointing fiercely at where Ginny was holding baby Dominique.
"That's baby Dominique, Teddy. Vic's sister." Harry watched his confused face.
"Not a baby." Teddy replied in a matter of fact voice. "Dat fing." He leaned out of Harry's arms and Ginny felt his hand brush hers under the baby, landing on the new addition to her left hand. "What 'sit?"
"No concept of when to let go in a hug but this he notices." Ginny laughed with Harry and Bill watched their exchange, his gaze drifting to the object of Teddy's question.
"Ginny, is that-" he was staring at her hand holding baby Dominique; a second later, Bill whipped his head round to Harry in surprise. Harry smirked.
"Oh, yeah it is." Ginny withdrew her hand from underneath the baby and held it out to show Bill her ring.
Harry shifted Teddy over to his other hip and placed an arm around Ginny's waist, smiling round at the now silent room. There was a short pause which was then broken by an outburst of celebration.
Ginny and Harry found themselves in the middle of a mass hug, baby Dominique and Teddy were sandwiched somewhere in the middle and he was squealing in delight, picking up on the mood of the room.
"Only my little sister could manage to upstage my second daughter being born." Bill chuckled, wiping a tear from his eye as the newly engaged couple were released. Ginny handed his daughter back to him and took Harry's hand.
Their intertwined fingers found the ring, the still unfamiliar feel of it an exciting reminder of the decision they'd made that evening. Ginny looked into Harry's eyes and shared a smile with him.
The room they stood in was so overflowing with joy and love and family; in that moment, Ginny felt like she was finally healed.
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Author's Notes: Thankyou for reading! This story is now finished :) thanks to Beks/morphin3 for beta-ing!
THE BOY WHO WED by Rita Skeeter
If, like me, you remember the days when we all most avidly thumbed the pages of our world's most esteemed publications to learn of the unravelling love life of Harry Potter, this article will act as a milestone. Secretive and withheld as ever, access to this prestigious event has been limited. Nevertheless, your resident risk taker Ms Rita Skeeter has managed to score what one might describe as 'a scoop' with several inside sources offering interviews to fill in the blanks where myself and my photographer were so unceremoniously asked 'where our invitations were'.
To set the scene, a sleepy village on the outskirts of Hampshire, rolling green countryside, a wizarding manor (rumoured to be the estate of current Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt), a glorious summer's day. All this idyllic beauty a stark contrast to the fiery temper of bridezilla and overrated Harpies Chaser Ginny Weasley (alas, now inexplicably Ginny Potter) and what could be described as her 'gang' of bridesmaids. I'm sure we all remember from our Hogwarts days the cold and unfriendly demeanour of a certain group of girls, everybody knows who I am talking about, and the spirit of these such groups was encapsulated by this bride-to-be and her mish mash of attendants.
Hermione Granger takes the role of Maid of Honour, a choice many have speculated simply cries out 'attention seeking' on the part of the new Mrs Potter. Of course, the wizarding world remembers all too well how this insufferably intelligent witch spent a large part of her fourth year at school toying with our beloved Harry's emotions, eventually casting him aside like a used shrivelfig when a considerably more famous play-thing presented himself in the form of Quidditch legend Viktor Krum. Surely, acting as Maid of Honour at the wedding of one's first boyfriend - the heart of which one no doubt broke into a million pieces - is not the sort of healthy and stable move we would expect from one of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement's top recruits?
Ms Granger is accompanied by the dulcet tones of Quibbler enthusiast (read into that what you wish) Luna Lovegood. Despite the wedding's colour scheme of soft pastels, Ms Lovegood is enrobed in a violent shade of yellow and has seemingly made her own additions to the bride's lovely bouquet, in the form of several large and overpowering sunflowers. We're sure the impeccable arrangements of Prophet favourite florist Susan Bones were not created with Ms Lovegood's additions in mind. Although, looking at her earrings, we might like to add that Ginny's bouquet got off lightly.
The disjointed bridal party is finished off by none other than record holder for most swear words used in one Quidditch season, Holyhead Harpies Chaser Millie Hughes. We can only assume Ms Hughes was selected by the bride in an effort to make herself look better. Either that or she took a bludger to the face just minutes before the ceremony. We here at the Prophet wish Ms Hughes the speediest of recoveries if so, and our apologies if that was, in fact, her real nose.
The bride herself, seen in this exclusive photograph, is wearing a dress which one might describe as simple and classic and others would call dull and uninteresting (see page 25 to have your own say in our Prophet poll). It is laughably pure white, and perhaps a bit too low cut for somebody with such obscene amounts of freckles marring their complexion. But I can exclusively reveal from one of my inside sources, that we very nearly did not see the now Mrs Potter step out in this number (rumoured to have been made for her by hand by Madame Malkin herself, who refused to speak to me about last week's reports that Ginny needed last minute alterations to allow for her secret, hidden baby bump). You read that correctly. The overbearing bride was heard not hours before the ceremony, complaining loudly and unceremoniously about the garment, claiming it was unfit for purpose. Make what you will of that, but we here at the Prophet feel this is only further confirmation we are soon to hear the pitter patter of tiny Potters.
In keeping with this theme, the newlyweds certainly attempted to distract their guests from their own turbulent relationship with what we here call 'the aww factor'. Four-year-old son of a werewolf, and Harry Potter's godson, Teddy Lupin acted as ring-bearer, managing to most surprisingly fulfill his duties impeccably for a child his age (said an inside source), which begs the question, how is Harry Potter doing it? Raising a small child so successfully can only be an indicator that he is letting his work as an Auror slide. This miniature orphan of war was joined by the young couple's niece, who unceremoniously littered the area with rose petals, causing the environmentalist within us to worry about the impact this could cause to the surrounding scenery.
The wedded couple emerged a suspiciously short amount of time after the start of the ceremony to general applause, presumably peppered with questioning cries of how on Earth this had been allowed to happen? We approached Mr Bill Weasley for comment on this happy family occasion and I am ashamed to have to report we were rebuffed most cruelly by his French wife, who did not seem to be sharing in the delight of the day, and instead wielded her crying baby in our general direction. Mrs Molly Weasley, mother of the bride, was similarly unwelcoming and brought any further reporting we had intended to a halt, which only further arouses suspicion of what this shady family are trying to hide.
But of course, the man of the moment, the reason young girls over the country have all been crying into their pillows tonight, Harry Potter himself, is the star of my article. As you can see from the accompanying photograph (a Prophet exclusive), Harry has embraced his role as an Auror in looks if not anything else. It can only be an intimidation tactic towards Potter's enemies which has caused him to choose such an unkempt-looking grooming routine. Perhaps somebody should tell Harry beards are out? Similarly, we here at the Prophet had hoped our favourite Boy Who Lived might have taken the time to get a haircut before the big day but alas, he does not seem to prioritise such endeavours before marrying the supposed love of his life. Mr Ronald Weasley (Harry Potter's best man) appears overly smart and well-groomed in comparison. Whatever soars your broomstick though Ginny!
We wish Mr and Mrs Harry Potter a lifetime of happiness together, or at least until one of them hasn't made the front page in a few weeks.
"Why is this in with all the wedding stuff?" Ginny sighed with a grin as she waved the article in Harry's amused face. "Why did we even keep this?"
"Because otherwise how would we remember what a complete, er, what was the word?" He took the article from her and scanned it briefly. "What a complete bridezilla you were."
"Yes, because I was the one who almost threw a tantrum when the caterers couldn't make individual sized treacle tarts." She rolled her eyes at him where they were sat cross legged on the floor, surrounded by boxes.
"Hey, you only get two weddings," he teased, reaching into one of the boxes.
"Don't let Skeeter hear you say that, she thinks this was it," Ginny grinned, gesturing to the article.
From the moment Harry proposed, they knew they wanted to get married at The Burrow. A small, intimate ceremony with their closest family and friends amongst the quirky settings of Ottery St Catchpole. They also knew they would never in a million years be allowed to get married in peace with, not just Rita Skeeter, but a large majority of the wizarding world snooping around, wanting a look at the Chosen One and Holyhead Harpies first string Chaser (Ginny sometimes attracted more attention than Harry did these days).
The solution was straightforward. They had the wedding they wanted, small and perfect at The Burrow, and then, a few days later, they had their 'public' wedding. The one the Daily Prophet and most of the wizarding world knew about and the one Rita Skeeter had written her article about.
"She also thinks you're pregnant, although she seems to have conveniently forgotten about that one in her more recent articles. I'm sure she only wrote that so she could use the phrase pitter patter of tiny Potters." Harry chuckled as he removed the photo album from the box of wedding memories.
"Oh yes, wasn't the last one all about how I'm severely underweight and setting a bad example to young Quidditch fans?" Ginny sighed and then noticed what Harry was holding. "Harry, we're supposed to be packing into the boxes, not taking things out."
"I know," he hummed, still looking down at the album and turning over a page. He smiled at it and caught Ginny's eye; she didn't have the heart to tell him to put it away so they could get on with packing.
She scooted over on the floor so she was sat beside him and able to see the album too. "I love that picture of you," she said, noticing the page he was on.
The photograph was of Harry, waiting at the front of the altar and saying something to Ron before turning and catching sight of Ginny at the other end of the aisle. His expression shifts from grinning to stunned speechlessness.
"That's the memory I use now if I have to cast a patronus," he said quietly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and kissing the top of her head.
Ginny muttered into his side, "if I knew marrying you would turn you into such a sap-"
He cut off the rest of her sentence by wrestling her down on top of him. "What was that? Can't hear you!" he laughed as she spat out a mouthful of her own hair.
"Harry, you're almost as soppy as Ron these days!" she giggled, looming down over him.
He paused for a second and then threw her a wicked grin, sitting up and bringing her with him, holding onto her forearms. "I have only one thing to say to that."
Ginny gave him a challenging stare; she loved it when they bantered like this.
"His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, his hair is as-"
Harry was unable to finish the rest of the song because Ginny had covered his mouth with her own lips and was snogging him into submission.
"I've not had that reaction before. Marriage is mellowing you out."
"You wish, Potter." Ginny retrieved the photo album from where it had been cast aside in their impromptu wrestling match and opened it in her lap.
"Now this one we need to save for his seventeenth birthday," Harry said, picking up the photo album and showing Ginny the photo he'd been looking at.
It showed four-year-old Teddy, looking adorable in tiny dress robes, his hair jet black and both his hands holding a small ring box. He was staring at the ring box with such severe concentration that his tongue was sticking out and he was walking at an exaggerated slow pace, as if he were holding a very full cup of potion and he didn't want it to spill.
"Andromeda told him he had to be careful. He took her so literally." Ginny laughed at the photo and their eyes met as they both gazed wistfully at the album.
"I could sit here and look at this all day," Harry started, checking his watch, "but we need to be out of Holyhead by three if we want to make it to The Burrow tonight with anything done."
Ginny rolled her eyes at her husband, because he had been the one to open the album in the first place, but she obliged and returned the photo album and Rita Skeeter's hilarious article to their box, moving to pack some other items around them.
She still hated packing, more than anything, but packing with Harry and knowing it was for them to move together was slightly more bearable.
They'd lived in their flat in Holyhead together for nearly three years now, other than the year Ginny had been playing international and they'd been all over the world. But this had originally been Ginny's flat and Harry had moved in with her (after they both realised they slept better when they shared a bed). Today they would be moving into a home that was completely theirs, from the start.
It hadn't been part of the plan, to move house only four months after the wedding, and on New Year's Eve. But when the house in Hampshire came up, with its perfect location, a mixture of wizards and muggles living nearby, just within their budget and with enough rooms to one day start a family, they felt it would be stupid not to go for it. The house was much bigger than what they were used to and Ginny thought they'd probably be rattling around inside it for at least the first year.
"Hello! Your help has arrived." A voice sounded from the fireplace in the living room and Ginny got up from her place on the bedroom floor, picked her way through the maze of boxes and rushed into the living room to greet her brother. "On second thoughts, maybe I am working today."
Ginny scoffed as Ron looked around the room at the mess of boxes and bags. "This is nothing, you should see our bedroom."
"How do you have so much stuff?" Ron asked incredulously, picking up a muggle toaster and inspecting it curiously.
"That was an engagement present from Dad!" Ginny cried indignantly, snatching it from him and stuffing it back into one of the boxes labelled 'kitchen'.
"And have you ever used it?" Ron smirked.
"No, I don't think it even works," Ginny admitted.
"That's not true, she didn't realise you have to plug it in," Harry said from the doorway, his arms folded and one socked foot crossed over the other.
"Plug it in what?" Ron looked just as confused as Ginny had been at the time.
"Ask Hermione," Harry patted Ron on the shoulder sympathetically. "Speaking of, where is she?"
"Stuck at work. Something about a policy redraft? Mate, I do not miss the Ministry one bit." Ron gave Harry a sympathetic look. "But I got you the next best thing." He gestured to the fireplace just as it glowed green, as if the timing has been choreographed.
"Luna!" Ginny cried in surprise, running to the fireplace where her blonde best friend was emerging, gazing around the room in wonder. Ginny threw both arms around her and squeezed her tight. "I thought you were still in New Zealand?"
"I could only stay for three full moons, then I had to come home," she explained in her usual dreamy fashion, giving Harry a hug too. "I was at the Ministry, organising a portkey to Japan. Rolf swears he's heard the cry of a Grumpallo in a forest out there."
"Who's Rolf?" Ginny asked.
"What's a Grumpallo?" Harry enquired at the same time.
Ron just grinned. "I bumped into Luna as she was leaving, told her what I was doing today, she insisted on coming to help."
"Why didn't you tell us you were coming home?" Ginny cried, pulling Luna further into the room. "Sorry it's such a mess here, moving day."
"Oh I can tell, this place is full of changing vibes."
"And boxes," Ron muttered under his breath.
"You're coming to mum's New Year's Eve party tonight," Ginny told Luna, making it clear she didn't get a choice in the matter. "Nobody's seen you since the wedding, this is great!"
"None of us will be making it to the party if we're still battling through boxes here," Harry grumbled, checking his watch again.
"Yes dear," Ginny teased, kissing him on the cheek and pulling Luna towards their bedroom. "You can help me pack my clothes up."
"Me and Ron'll start Flooing the stuff in here through," Harry called from the living room.
With four of them, it didn't take long for the boxes of their stuff (including the furniture, which they'd shrunk down for the journey) to move from cluttering up their tiny Holyhead flat, to looking lost and lonely in the middle of the kitchen of their new house.
"There's a lot of… space," said Ron, looking around him.
"Are you sure it was this big when we bought it?" Harry joked, bringing the last box to the middle of the room and placing it down.
"We just need to, er, spread out a bit," Ginny said confidently, but she was looking at the sheer amount of empty space and wondering how on earth they were ever going to be able to fill it.
Ron and Ginny worked together to move the shrunk furniture to the correct rooms, where they returned each piece to its original size. The large living room swallowed up the sofa with ease, and there was only one bedroom which actually contained a bed, the other four lay bare and empty.
"Of course it'll be a bit of a project, to fill it up and get it ready for when we eventually have kids," Ginny explained as Ron gazed doubtfully at one of the empty bedrooms.
"Don't worry, you've got around two years before that happens," Luna spoke from behind them, where her and Harry had finished unpacking the kitchen.
"How do you know that, Luna?" Harry asked, equally confused. Of course they'd discussed it between them, and decided they wanted to wait at least three years before they tried to have a baby.
"Just a feeling," she replied, wandering into the room and standing in its centre, her eyes closed. "Yes, definitely here. But not for a couple of years."
Ron shared a confused look with Harry who whispered something in his ear and Ron's expression cleared. Ginny was more used to Luna's way of being than the boys were, but that didn't stop her feeling a bit unnerved that this room was giving Luna 'a feeling'.
Luna's eyes snapped open. "Can I paint something in here? For when it's your nursery."
Ginny glanced at Harry who nodded and Ginny nodded back. "We'd love you to, Lu."
She beamed angelically.
"Luna, when we said we'd love you to paint our nursery, we didn't mean you had to do it right now." Ginny chuckled at her keen friend, who had a smear of sky blue on her cheek and a paintbrush in her hand. Ginny had been unpacking in the kitchen with Harry and Ron, the only room that was bearing some resemblance to a lived-in home.
"Oh it has to be now. Don't look yet, it's almost finished!" She rinsed her brush out in the sink and skipped off again.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Gin?" Ron hissed. "What if you end up with Harry's face painted on your nursery wall?"
Ginny gave him a withering look. "I trust Luna."
Harry nodded then hesitated. "She wouldn't do that would she?"
"Come on, we need a bedroom to come home to tonight." She took Harry's hand and pulled him from the kitchen and up the stairs to make a start on their bedroom.
About two hours later, when Ron had left and they had a bedroom that looked like a bedroom, Luna appeared in the doorway. "It's finished," she said, a paintbrush still dangling from her hand.
"Can we see it now?" Ginny asked excitedly; she knew how artistic Luna was and could only imagine what she had created.
Luna simply beamed. Ginny shared a look with Harry, who looked warier than he needed to. She grinned and took his hand, pulling him forward and following Luna.
"It should bring you good luck," said Luna, as they reached the doorway and she stepped aside, allowing Ginny to see the room. She entered cautiously, still holding Harry's hand.
Luna's painting covered two walls and spread across the far corner. It began as a sky blue tone at the top, patches of fluffy white clouds dispersed evenly, and faded down into greener hues. Tall trees took up the entire height of the room, their leaves spreading wide across the length and gently cascading down towards what was unmistakably a forest floor. It was a soft green, with smatterings of yellow flowers.
Amongst the flowers, was a tiny niffler sat inspecting a gold coin, holding it up to the light with interest. Nearby, a pure gold baby unicorn frolicked in the shade of the wings of a storm grey hippogriff. A scarlet fairy rested on the tip of a baby griffin's nose, who was attempting to bat the fairy away playfully.
Between the fluffy clouds, a golden snidget whizzed around with ease and a mischievous pixie attempted to catch it. Glowing with gold plumage, a phoenix soared past the large oak tree in the corner of the room. In curly script, just visible amongst all the magical creatures, were the words dream big, little one.
"Luna, it's beautiful," Ginny breathed. "Thankyou so much. Harry, look!"
"This is stunning, thank you Luna." He clasped her hand in thanks.
"The niffler brings good fortune and the unicorn represents purity," Luna explained, pointing them out. "I'm going to go now, leave you two in your new home."
Ginny ripped her gaze away from the painting and followed her back to the fireplace.
"Come to Mum's tonight, around eight. Bring Rolf too if you want?"
Luna smiled. "That would be nice, he is very friendly. You would like him a lot." She ran her hand down the edge of the mantelpiece lovingly.
"Do you like him a lot, Luna?" Ginny asked her friend. It was impossible to tell what Luna was thinking sometimes.
"Oh yes, he's very pleasant."
"Very pleasant, okay. I look forward to meeting him."
"That's nice," she said, reaching for the Floo powder. "Goodbye Ginny."
"Bye Lu, thanks again for your lovely gift!"
Luna span away and Ginny watched her go until she realised she'd been staring into the flames. The fire burnt low and Ginny watched the small flames flicker for just a second longer, thinking about how this was their fire. It seemed so silly, after all it was just a fire, but it reminded her of the uncertain months where she couldn't be sure she and Harry would ever heal together, a strong contrast to the stable place they were both in now.
Suddenly, Ginny needed to see him.
She found Harry, still looking at Luna's painting. He ran his hand over the nose of the unicorn and jumped when he heard her behind him. They shared a smile as he looked up and she circled her arms around him from behind, tucking her head into the crook of his neck. He held onto her arms and rested his head against hers.
"What are you thinking?" she murmured into his ear.
"This room, it's the best one in the house. Our house."
"We have a house, with a nursery," Ginny smiled. "We're such grown ups."
"It's been quite a year," Harry replied, turning around in her arms so they were facing. "We got married, we got a house, look at us go."
She laughed and fell against his chest where he held her close and kissed the top of her head. "Who knows what's going to happen next."
Both of their gazes fell on the niffler in Luna's painting and she knew what they were both thinking. Ginny knew she wanted to start a family with Harry, they'd talked about it so many times and she knew how much it would mean to him to become a father.
They wanted more than one child, because Harry wanted them to have siblings. Ginny had promptly shut down his suggestion that seven seemed like a great idea because she'd enjoyed growing up with her six brothers so much. It took her pointing out that she was the one who would have to carry these seven children for him to change his mind.
But they were going to wait, enjoy being a married couple first for a few years before they really did hear the 'pitter patter of tiny Potters'.
"Teddy can stay here, you know, before it's a nursery. He'll love this." Harry gestured to the painting.
"I can't wait to show it to him," she replied as he kissed the side of her head.
"We need to get ready," he murmured into her hair and, instead of pulling away, Ginny tilted her face upwards and kissed him softly.
†"THREE… TWO… ONE!" Everybody in the garden cheered and George let off his customary fireworks.
Ginny leaned in to kiss Harry, which wasn't an easy feat given that he had a sleeping Teddy balanced across his body. He wrapped an arm around her and they watched the fireworks explode above them.
"I knew he wouldn't stay awake," Harry grinned, adjusting Teddy on his hip. The little boy stirred at the movement and gazed up at the fireworks, his head tucked into the crook of Harry's neck. Ginny watched his little face light up with the bright, colourful flashes, his hair identical to his godfather's and she thought about what Luna had said.
Ginny hoped that one day, she would relive this sight with a child who was really theirs, rather than shared with Andromeda like Teddy was. She imagined Harry holding a little baby, their little baby, rocking him or her to sleep in their new house, Luna's beautiful painting in the background.
"What is it?" Harry asked quietly, noticing her watching him.
She moved closer towards him and Teddy leant his head on her shoulder as Harry wrapped his arm tighter around her.
It had been five years since the war ended, five years since they'd all had to start from scratch and learn to live again, five years since her and Harry had picked up their schooldays relationship and turned it into something loving and healing for them both.
"I was just thinking what a difference five years makes."
And it was just the start, just the first five years of their lives together.
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