“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...” droned the priest in charge of the funeral.
Ginny wiped a tear from her eye, as Harry watched her anxiously. It had not been that long ago that Ginny had been in a coma for five days. She still got terrible headaches at times, which worried Harry greatly. They seemed to be brought on by tension and worry, and this was certainly apropos for what they were dealing with now.
While Harry watched, Al and James kept a close eye on both their parents. Al stood next to his mum, with Scorpius next to him. Lily was on the other side of Harry, crying silently. James stood next to her, his arms around his sister and his wife, who stood on the other side of him. They watched the simple coffin lower into the ground.
People started to make their way forward, to grab a handful of dirt to throw atop the coffin. Ginny had brought flowers from the Burrow, and she handed them out to her family as they moved in single file. She paused when it was her turn, trying to fathom that the happy, loving person she knew was now no more. Sadly, she threw her flower down.
“Gone too soon,” she whispered. She moved along, to offer and receive condolences from the many friends who had gathered for this sad occasion.
Half an hour later, the crowd began to thin. Some friends were going to a nearby pub for a wake. Ginny was looking paler, so Harry wanted to get her home. He looked around and saw Al and Scorpius talking to a man in a suit. He handed Al something and shook both his and Scorpius's hands, before walking away.
James, Ali and Lily were talking to some people. Harry caught their eye, and gestured for them to come over. They excused themselves, and made their way to their parents.
“We're going to go home. Your mum needs to rest. Are you going back to the pub with Andrew and Zoe's friends?” asked Harry.
Lily and James shook their heads. “I need to get home to the kids. The babies will be looking for me for a feed, or they will be howling. Liam will panic that something is wrong and then-”
“He'll pass out!” chuckled James.
Lily playfully smacked his arm. “Shut it, you. No, he'll most likely take them to St Mungo's, thinking something is wrong with them. Talk about your over protective fathers!”
She threw a look at Harry as she said that, and he winked at her.
James and Ali chuckled softly. “We'll head off too, Dad. Grace is at Rose's, with Al's three girls. Want us to pick up your lot, and take them home with us?” James asked Scorpius, who had wandered over to join them.
Scorpius shook his head. “No, but thanks. I'm leaving now, too, to go and get them. Ginny, Harry, I'm really worried about Al, he's pretty cut up about this.”
They all looked over to see Al standing in front of the open grave, all alone. Harry nodded as Ginny made her way over to her second son.
“Andrew and him were pretty close. They were born only a couple of weeks apart, and have grown up together. I know he made a big effort to stay in touch with him while he was at Hogwarts. Al and Andrew were great friends, as well as cousins,” said Harry, sadly.
He saw Ginny put her arm around Al, and offer words of comfort. Al shook his head, and they spoke together for a bit longer. A few minutes later, Ginny left him, and returned to the rest of her family.
“He's going to go to the pub for a bit, just to talk to Andrew and Zoe's friends, then he's going to the hospital. He wants to check on the baby again,” said Ginny sadly.
Andrew Dursley was Harry's second cousin. Born to Dudley and Debbie, he had his dad's stocky build, but his mum's easy going nature. He had always got on well with his Potter cousins, but was particularly close to Al, as they were the same age.
Harry had ensured that Vernon and Petunia had been able to return to Privet Drive after the war. Vernon's feeling towards Harry never changed, but Petunia had mellowed. She had seen Harry and Dudley make a friendship of sorts. Dudley had been given an insight to the wizarding world as they were in protective custody when Harry left them on his seventeenth birthday.
Harry had invited the Dursley's to his and Ginny's wedding; only Petunia and Dudley came. They came over a few times to their house for dinner. It was only as their family started to grow that there was time for more.
Dudley seemed so excited for Harry when James was born. By now, he was engaged to Debbie. She was a Squib, her sister was in Ravenclaw, a couple of years behind Ginny, so the magical world wasn’t strange to her. Harry and Ginny went to their wedding, and had a great time.
Ginny found herself pregnant soon after, and to her delight, so was Debbie. Their two sons were born close together. Ginny and Debbie got together often to let the boys play.
As they got older, Andrew and Albus became best buddies. They had sleepovers at each others houses, and Andrew loved going to the Burrow to play with James, Lily and Al's other cousins. Despite being a Muggle, he fit right in.
Dudley and Debbie never had any more children. Harry was relieved that Dudley didn't try to spoil Andrew like Vernon and Petunia had done with him. Harry and Dudley had a great time taking the three boys to the zoo, to the Tower of London, the circus when it was in town, or just to kick the football in the park.
When Al went to Hogwarts, he and Andrew only saw each other in the summer holidays, or at Christmas time. It didn't seem to matter, though. They simply picked up their friendship where they left off. Al and Andrew sent letters to each other often; Andrew would send his to Harry and Ginny, and they would forward it to Hogwarts.
Al admitted that, after his family, he wanted to tell Andrew he was gay. He saw him after Christmas. To his relief, Andrew was easily accepting of the fact, even asking if he had a boyfriend. Al had promised to bring Scorpius next time they got together. Happily, Scorpius got on well with Andrew, too. Andrew was named godfather to Ginny Rose, the youngest of Al and Scorpius's three daughters, and Al's natural child.
Ten months ago, Al, Scorpius and the girls had gone on a holiday with Andrew and his girlfriend, Zoe. They had gone to the Greek Isles. There, Andrew and Zoe had decided to get married. Scorpius gave the bride away, Al was Andrew's best man, and the three girls were flower girls. Although, Annie, the eldest girl, would insist she was a junior bridesmaid.
A couple of months later, Andrew had joyously announced that Zoe was pregnant. Al knew his cousin would make a great father, and he had been touched to be asked to be the baby's godfather.
Seven days ago, Zoe's water broke. Dudley and Debbie happened to be visiting. They all rushed to the hospital in one car. Unfortunately, on the way they were hit by a lorry, running a red light. Dudley and Debbie were killed outright. Andrew was on life support. Zoe was barely able to survive giving birth; she died soon after.
Al had willed his cousin to live, for the sake of his son. Al promised his cousin's unconscious body that he would be there for him, would help him any way he can, if only he would wake up.
The next day, Andrew died.
Al was grief stricken. He had taken temporary leave from his position as Minister for Magic. As he left the Muggle pub, and took a taxi to the hospital, he thought of his godson. He had no name, he would never know the loving touch of his mother and would never kick a ball with his father. Life was unfair.
Al realised this baby was in a similar position to his dad, and his surrogate eldest brother, Teddy. Neither had grown up with their parents. Harry had told his children what growing up with Vernon and Petunia had been like. Al found it hard to believe that the Dursley's could have been like that. He never knew Vernon, and Aunt Petunia wasn't the most loving woman in the world. Dudley had been a bit of an ass, but had grown out of that, and Al got on quite well with him. And Andrew...
He arrived at the hospital, and went up to the nursery. The man who he had spoken with at the funeral was there. They looked at the little baby, who was being bottle fed by a nurse. The two men spoke shortly, then the other man left. Al went into the nursery. The nurse, accustomed to seeing Al, and knowing the circumstances of the baby's traumatic birth, smiled softly at him.
“Would you like to feed him?” she asked. Al nodded, numbly.
He sat in a chair, and the nurse placed him in his arms. She gave him a bottle, and left them alone.
The baby looked up into Al's eyes as he suckled on a bottle. He was just seven days old.
Al started to talk to him. He told him of his father, of growing up with Andrew, of the fun times they had together. He told him how important Andrew had been to Al, and that Al would be there for him. He described Zoe, telling the little baby about his parents wedding day, and their excitement in finding out they were expecting him. Tears ran down Al's face, but the baby just kept suckling and watching the expressions on Al's face.
When the little baby had been changed, and fallen asleep in Al's arms, Al reluctantly returned him to the bassinet in the nursery. He watched him sleep, before leaving for home.
He arrived home to find Scorpius in the middle of bath times and tea times. Annie was trying to help him in the kitchen, while he was supervising the youngest two, Cassie and Ginny Rose, in the bath.
Al felt strangely apart from it all. He sat and observed his family. Scorpius was watching him worriedly, and trying to engage him in conversation. The girls seemed to sense something was wrong, and clamoured for his attention. He assisted them in their meals, read them stories and tucked them into bed. All the while he felt like he was on auto-pilot.
He fire-called his dad, to see how his mum was. Harry had given her some pain potion, and she had gone to bed. After reassuring his dad that all was okay, he closed off the floo.
Scorpius had cleaned up the kitchen, and was now tidying up the lounge. He put a few things back in the girls bedrooms, before he went to his and Al's. He waited.
Al came out of the shower, feeling a bit better. The hot water had been soothing, and he could fool himself into thinking it was water running down his face, not tears. He dried himself, and with a towel around his waist, he went into his and Scorpius's bedroom.
Scorpius stood as he came in. He held out his arms for his partner. Al didn't hesitate to go into them. Here was his best source of comfort. Al finally let loose, and the tears poured out. Grief for his cousin and his wife. His aunt and uncle. Tears for a new baby with his whole life ahead of him. Tears for himself, for he knew he had lost an important person from his life.
Finally, he ran out of tears. Exhausted, he let Scorpius lead him to bed, and together they lay down. Scorpius gathered him in his arms, and held him tight.
“Scor, we need to talk,” said Al quietly.
They talked for the next hour, before exhaustion claimed Al. Scorpius pondered the ramifications of their discussion before he too fell asleep.
The next week, they gathered at the Burrow. It was Lily's twin daughters, Gina and Ricki's, fifth birthday. They weren't identical, and had very different personalities.
Gina was the tomboy, and loved Quidditch and climbing trees. She loved playing with her older boy cousins, Bradley and Brian, and her older brother Billy. She really loved Uncle Brandon's motorcycle. She was hoping he'd take her for a ride today.
Ricki was the little mother, who loved pretty dresses and playing with her dolls. She put her cat Chudley, in a little pram, and wheeled it around the garden. Chudley didn't like that, and jumped out to chase a garden gnome. Ricki loved having all her family around her, and played mostly with Cassie and Annie, although Annie would often go off with Grace, James's youngest child. They were the same age, seven, nearly eight.
In pairs and in groups, the family arrived. Bradley, Brian and Teddy's eldest child Dora, were at Hogwarts. Ali was working at St Mungo's, and would arrive later, after her shift. James arrived with Grace and Annie, who had had a sleepover.
Rose and Brandon arrived separately. Rose came through the floo with their daughter Hermione, nicknamed Minnie 'Mione, by her grandpa Ron. Minnie and Ginny Rose immediately ran off together to find Chudley, the cat.
Brandon arrived on the motorbike with their son, Kieran. Billy and Gina ran to greet them, hoping for a ride.
Harry, Seamus and Ron came to meet them too. They stood around, discussing the motorbike with Brandon. Liam, Lily's husband joined them, and talk soon turned to Quidditch. Liam played for the Chudley Cannons.
Ginny was inside, helping Lily set up all the food, and trying to get a cuddle from her newest grand babies, born on Christmas Day. She and Harry had brought over Carrie and Ginny Rose, who had a sleepover at nana and grandpa's.
Scorpius flooed through with Vicki and her youngest child, Remus. Teddy was working today, so James could be with his family. He hoped to come over later in the day.
Now they were waiting for Al. When Ginny questioned Scorpius, he said he was coming over soon, but not to wait for him.
They went ahead and had lunch. They sang 'Happy Birthday' to the girls and handed out their gifts. Scorpius was looking nervously at the clock. Ginny was getting worried. Where was Al?
With all the official birthday business done, the adults could sit back and watch the children run around. Liam was taking some of them flying, and Brandon was taking some of them for a motorbike ride around the Burrow, in his side car. James, Harry, Ron and Seamus were outside watching them.
None of them heard the floo activate, so when they heard a baby cry, Lily got up to check on her babies. They heard her cry out, “Oh!” and rushed to her.
There stood Al, a baby in his arms. Scorpius rushed to him, relieving him of the baby bag he had over his shoulder. He kissed his cheek, muttering, “Everything go okay?”
Al said, “Took a bit longer than I hoped. I had to stop and feed him. But here we are. Finally.”
He made his way from the kitchen and into the lounge. Harry had just come inside, and was sitting next to Ginny. They looked up as he came to them. Al placed the baby in Harry's arms.
“What's this about, Al,” asked Harry, automatically rocking the baby.
Harry looked up at Al, who smiled sadly.
“Andrew and Zoe made me his guardian, as well as his godfather. I couldn't not take him, Dad. He's our family, our flesh and blood. I couldn't leave him to go into foster care; into the Muggle system. Scorpius and I talked about it, and we agreed it was the only thing to do. He's mine, er, ours. I signed all the papers today. He's our son,” he stated proudly.
Ginny stood and hugged Al. “I'm proud of you, Al. Of course it's the right thing to do. Now, we'll always have a reminder of Andrew and Zoe, may they rest in peace. He's gorgeous. What's his name?” she asked.
Al looked nervously at his dad. “Well, er, you see, I know there's always been this unwritten rule that we can't name any of the kids after you, Dad. You don't want any more Harry Potters, I get it.”
Harry protested. “No, I just thought it was an unfair burden to place on a child, especially my grandchild. But enough time has gone by. I like having a little Ginny and Hermione running around. Maybe they need a little Harry to chase after them,” he said smiling.
Al smiled in relief. “Good. I'm glad you feel that way, Dad. When I saw the lawyer this morning, he gave me a letter from Andrew and Zoe. It says why they named me as guardian to their son. It's a very touching letter, you can read it later. Anyway, it wasn't me who named him after you, it was Andrew. He was always going to be Harry.”
Harry looked shocked. “Andrew was really going to name him after me? Well, that-that's wonderful. Hello, little Harry, I'm big Harry,” he crooned to the baby.
The baby smiled at him.
“Hey, he smiled at me,” said Harry, delighted.
“Oh, haven't you nursed enough babies to know a gassy smile from a real smile. Come to Nana, darling,” said Ginny, taking him from Harry.
She patted his back and he let out a large belch. She gave Harry a smug look, then handed him back.
“Here you go, big Harry,” she said. Harry took the baby back, and gently rocked his new grandson.
Scorpius came in, and placed his arms around Al. Al leaned back into them, grateful for the love and understanding he had with Scorpius. They watched Harry with their new son.
The girls came in. They ran up to Al. “Daddy, you're here,” said Cassie, happily.
“Where have you been Daddy, you missed Gina and Ricki's birthday party?” asked Annie.
“Who dat?” asked Ginny Rose, pointing to a new baby who dared to sit in her favourite spot on her grandpa's knees.
Al and Scorpius knelt down. “That is your new brother. His name is Harry,” said Scorpius.
“Like Gwandpa?” asked Ginny Rose.
“Yes, sweety. You're named for your nana, and Harry is named for your grandpa,” said Al.
“Oh, that's how you knew he was my brudder,” said Ginny Rose, nodding as if it all made sense. “Okay.”
She climbed into her nana's lap, and leaned over to kiss baby Harry on the cheek. “Hello, Hawwy.”
“Oh boy, a brother!” said Annie.
“Boys are yuck!” said Cassie. Everyone looked at her. “Well they are,” she defiantly. “There's a boy at my school, he pulls my hair, and pokes his tongue out at me, and EVERYTHING!” she said, dramatically.
“Sounds like true love to me,” said Ginny. Harry laughed, causing baby Harry to open his eyes at the sudden noise.
“Trust me Cassie, brothers are different,” assured Rose. Lily nodded, patting her niece on the head.
Gina and Ricki came running in. “Uncle Al, you're here!” they cried together.
“Happy Birthday, my gorgeous nieces. I hope you saved me some birthday cake,” he said, giving them both a hug.
“Oh boy, we got a new cousin for our birthday!” said Ricki, excitedly, She had just noticed the new baby in Harry's arms.
“Well, we got a new brother, so there,” said Cassie, smugly.
“Okay, okay, no fighting allowed on special days like birthdays,” said Al, trying to keep the peace.
Gina and Ricki pulled him into the kitchen, to get him a piece of cake. Lily followed, to supervise and have a chat with her brother. Cassie followed, arguing the merits of a brother over a cousin.
Soon, everyone wandered inside, and met the new addition to the family. They had all known Andrew, and were touched that he wanted to name his son after Harry. They were proud of Al and Scorpius for agreeing to take him, and raise him as their own.
They took lots of photos that day. Baby Harry with all his cousins, with his new siblings, with his new dads, and his new grandparents. And finally, a big family photo. Al and Scorpius stood behind Harry and Ginny. The three girls sat in front of them. And baby Harry was right in the middle, on his grandpa's lap.
This little baby, who had such a sad start to his life, would always know he was loved. He was part of a big family, who loved and supported each other. The fact that he would grow up to be a Muggle made no difference to them. He would grow up to be very close to his grandpa, Harry.
He was one of the lucky few to have a foot in both the Muggle and magical world. He would be a leader of a group of wizards and Muggles introducing new and exciting Muggle technology to the wizarding world. It would revolutionise their world, just as it had done for the Muggles.
He had a big name to live up to, but time would prove that Harry Andrew Malfoy-Potter was up for the challenge.
The name Harry Potter would live on proudly.