It was the middle of the night, Remus Lupin was sleeping in his bed, alongside his wife, when he heard a pounding at the door. Having never been a deep sleeper he jarred awake, the pounding continued. He turned to his wife unsurprised to see she had yet to even stir.
"Dora there's someone at the door," he said as he shook her shoulder.
Tonks groaned slightly, cracking only one eye open, "At this time of night?" She turned over, "You get it, it’s probably one of your friends."
Remus squinted at her, "I thought they were your friends too?"
The pounding got louder, "Not this late at night".
Remus rose from his bed grabbing his housecoat and wand, if this was Sirius again, waking him up to tell him something that he didn’t need to know, he was getting hexed, although he supposed he should just grateful that he knocked instead of simply bursting into his bedroom, again.
He'd prepared himself to be greeted by a loud, possibly drunk, Sirius Black, so it was so much more disconcerting when instead he saw Harry, hair limp, eyes void, standing in his doorway. "Can I come in?"
Remus stepped to the side and Harry slid past him to the kitchen. It took Remus a minute to process his nephew's behavior before he was able to move his feet and follow him in there, he was concerned, Harry was not the late night intervention type, he was organized and focused and driven. So seeing this strange, limp version of him made Remus shudder at what could have brought it on. When he did get to the kitchen he saw Harry toss back a glass then refill it and toss it back again. When he tried to refill it a fourth-time Remus snatched the bottle from him.
"Can I have that back, please?" Harry asked his voice was light and calm, its contrast from his body language made Remus uncomfortable.
"Maybe, once you've told me what’s wrong." He took the seat next to him. Harry's eyes sparkled.
"I got Ginny Weasley pregnant and she wants me nowhere near her or our child."
Remus nodded slowly and returned the bottle of mead, but not before taking a large gulp himself, he slid down in his seat. "I don’t suppose you could elaborate a bit."
Hary set down his drink. It wasn’t helping anyway, he could still hear her voice, could still see her face as stepped back from him. Red hair really did suit her better than black had, it contrasted more with her brown eyes, made them look brighter.
"Honestly Potter, I didn’t think you could be that stupid, we’ll be lucky if Yaxley hasn't moved completely underground now." Robards was red in the face, he was so angry, they had actually caught up to Yaxley this time, had been this close to shutting down his entire operation, he and his crew had been outnumbered and surrounded, yet once again they had gotten away because no one thought to lay down anti-portkey wards. "Take the week off Potter, don’t come back until your ready to use some damn common sense."
Harry sat and accepted his verbal beating from his superior, it was deserved, it was his job to make sure dangerous people were brought to justice, but because he had failed who knew how many more innocent people would be in danger. Things weren't supposed to be like this, this was all supposed to end with Voldemort half a decade ago, instead, here he was still chasing death eaters. It's not like it was anyone's choice but his own either way. He chose to be an Auror, sometimes that felt like a mistake but realistically he didn’t think it would have been possible for him to do anything else.
One quick shower and a change of clothes later harry left the magical Republique of France's headquarters, he wanted a quiet night so he kept his glamors on. The cobblestone streets were cold and empty ahead of him. There were lights and music coming from a pub ahead of him, he could use a drink right about now, and Sirius always said 'if you need advice, find a bartender'.
“That's where I met Ginny. We talked all night,” Harry threw his head back, stared up at the ceiling, “We started playing this game, where we pretended to be these imaginary people, eventually when the bar closed she came back to my hotel room with me, so we could talk more.”
"I'm sure that's why," said Remus.
"How can you say that the Wasps are better than the Harpies?" Madeline screeched. At this point, they were both sitting his bed, legs crossed beneath them, piles of junk food wrappers from room service around them.
"Because they’ve been in League cup more times, in the last ten years," harry said matter-of-factly. Madeline rolled her eyes, "and they've got the best seeker in the league, and everyone knows that the seeker is the most important player." Harry barely had time to register the pillow in her hand, before it smacked into his head. And like that it was an all-out war, neither side showed mercy. White feathers were thrown high into the air, and fell slowly around them, as Harry was able to pin Madeline down to the bed. "Admit the wasps are better."
"Never, you can't make me," she said defiantly.
"Wanna bet?" There might have been more conversation after that but his memories of it are drowned out by the sound of her moans.
"And that night was the last time you saw her until recently?" Remus said.
Harry squeezed his eyes shut.
He woke up at early the next morning, the sun had not fully risen yet. His reflex was to stretch, and he was startled by his inability to do so for a moment before he remembered the woman tucked into his side. He slid his arm out from beneath her extra slowly to avoid waking her. As he stared down at her, a wild idea started to form in his head. Could he actually suggest what he was thinking? There was a big difference between think pretending to be someone who travels and actually traveling. However, the more he tried to talk himself out of it the more emboldened he was to actually do it.
He got up and got dressed before he could lose the nerve, zipping his jacket all the way up over his whitre beater since Madeline still had on his dress shirt, if he really was going to do this he needed to get a few things first, hopefully, he'd get back before she woke, but in case he didn't he wrote a small note and set it on the comforter. He almost forgot to renew his glamors before he left, and realized how lucky he was to have woken before his new friend it wouldn’t have been good if she had fallen asleep in bed with 'John' and woken with Harry Potter.
Looking back, he felt guilty, she had no idea who he was, he knew that their game of pretend was part of the reason that was, but that didn’t change the fact that he was wearing a disguise and, she'd had no idea who he was.
"So what was this crazy idea of yours?" Remus asked. Harry's story was already surprised him.
"Remember how Sirius would say life after the war would be like?" Remus furrowed his brow, "I would be feeling down thinking that the war would never end, and he would come up to me that it would, that someday not too far off, I would wake up in bed someplace beautiful, in bed with a someone even more so, and my first thought would be what wonderful place should we go see next. So that morning it just seemed like, I don’t know, some sort of sign, so I went to the French Republique and got a portkey.
"Where did you go?"
"Well first we went to Greece"
"Yeah first then we went to Australia, after that it was Switzerland, Hawaii, and lastly Italy," Harry said with a shrug.
"You actually did all that traveling with a complete stranger?”
"I... at the time, she didn’t feel like a stranger."
Remus shook his head, he had never known harry to be the kind be so spontaneous, well, non tin this sense, "So how did this all end?"
"In France, the first Saturday of July."
A grave look came over Remus's face, "That’s when-"
"Yeah, I left to get us breakfast that morning and wasn’t able to go back until three days later. I looked for her after, but I didn’t even know her name so it a lot of it was guessing," For weeks he tried to tracking her down thinking every conversation they had, trying to guess what was real and what was a part of the game. He tried to remember if the name Ginny Weasley had ever come up in all his research, it wasn’t likely though, he had only been looking for women with black hair.
Remus ran a hand through his hair. "If you didn’t find her, how did you find out she was expecting?"
"I ran into her brother Bill, I've known him for a while, it'd been a long time since we talked, anyway, he invited me to dinner at his parents' house."
Harry knocked on the wooden door of the Weasley's lopsided home. The entire structure seemed liable to tip over at any minute. He knocked again, "Coming Gin!" came a shout from the other side. The door swung open to show a tall red-haired man, "You aren't Gin", he spoke with his mouth full, a buttered roll in his hands, he swallowed hard.
Harry offered his hand to the man," Uh, I'm Harry."
"I noticed that," he wiped his hands on his pants and shook harry. "Ron Weasley."
"Bill invited me over for dinner."
"Ah, well come in then," he stepped aside for Harry to come in. The home was very inviting with high warm lighting and cozy furniture. "BILL! HARRY POTTER IS HERE FOR DINNER!" As Ron walked to another room Bill came down the stairs" A small blonde girl was squirming in his arms.
"Harry," he said with a tone of surprise "I didn’t actually think you would come", he set down the small girl who immediately toddled off. "That was my daughter Dominique, come on I'll introduce you to everyone else"
The Weasleys were a very interesting, and diverse group, and thankfully, they didn't stare too much, but without a doubt, the one that caught his attention was Bill's mother, Molly Weasley. She looked so much like her, like Madeline, the hair was a different color, sure, but her nose, her height, her mannerisms, her eyes -especially her eyes- looked exactly like those of his mysterious friend from France. The two had to be related some how. And it hit him, Bill had a sister didn’t he, it could be her, he looked around the room, taking extra note of the family members smiling in pictures on the wall. His heart beating the slightest bit faster. There was a picture hanging on the wall near the stairs. In it, Bill and all of his brothers were standing around a teenage looking girl in a wheelchair. It was definitely her. Harry tried not to smile too big.
"Is Ginny still not here?" somebody asked. Ginny, her name was Ginny.
"No, but mom said that if she's not here in twenty minutes we can eat without her." One of the twins said, Harry wasn’t sure which. Is was then Harry realized that he might finally see her again today, she would be here and even if she wasn’t he had her name, and all the resources of the ministry, it wouldn’t be hard find her.
"I'm surprised she's so late I thought pregnant women were supposed to love food," said Charlie. Harry froze. Pregnant? Was their sister pregnant? Ginny/ Madeline was pregnant with some guy’s kid?
Bill snapped his fingers in Harry's face, "You alright mate?" Harry turned to face Bill who was concerned by how intently his house guest was staring off into space. Bill poured him and Harry a glass of something that was brown and alcoholic. "I'm really glad you came tonight, I was hoping you might help me with something," Harry set down the drink he had yet to take a sip of. "My sister, her name is Ginny, she's pregnant, about five months, anyway, she, uh, doesn't know who the kids dad is, said she met him at a bar in France, never asked for each other's name. The guy was gone in the morning before she even woke up, honestly, I don’t think that’s the whole truth but it’s the story she's sticking to. I was hoping you could help me track the guy down, Ginny says she doesn't want to find the guy, which makes me sure, there's some part of the story she’s leaving out. Either way, I think the guy should at least know that he has a kid out in the world, do you think you can help me?"
Remus set his glass down hard, "God damn Harry, what did you say?"
Harry snorted, "I didn’t say anything, I excused myself to the restroom and promptly had a heart attack, in less than an hour I learned that I found out I had most likely got a girl, I hadn't seen in 5 months, up the duff. I was pretty much catatonic throughout the entire dinner. And when she actually came in... my brain just shut off."
"Ok. But you talked to her right?"
"Ginny?" Ginny jumped, she hadn't heard him coming.
"Bloody hell Harry, you shouldn't sneak up on people you know." Harry thought for a minute of all the time he had snuck up behind her on purpose.
She didn’t recognize him, unfortunately, so he couldn’t make a joke about that, "Sorry, I didn't mean to I was just on my way out," he clutched the takeaway bag Mrs. Weasley had forced on him.
Ginny tilted her head slightly so, “Are you ok? You look very- Ah"
Harry stuck out his hands to steady her "What is it? Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine it's just the little guy, he's actually never kicked this hard." She put her hand on her stomach, and Harry had to consciously tell restrain himself from doing the same
"That must be strange, I remember when my aunt was pregnant she said it could feel as light as a butterfly or as hard a punch to the gut. But she was pretty late in the game then, how far are you, if you don't mind me asking." Bill had said five months but he wanted to be sure, he wanted to hear her say it.
"It’s fine, um, well it's November, this all started back in July so... five months." Exactly when he met her, his head was getting too jumbled, he needed to tell her the truth, he needed her to tell him if he was going to be a father. But not at this moment.
"Do you want to get a coffee tomorrow?"
Her eyes widened "Oh! Um-no... I'm sorry, I'm flattered, truly, but um... I not looking for a relationship right now for obvious reasons." Clearly, she had mistaken his intentions but before he could even really explain someone called her name and fled straight from the kitchen.
"So, You didn’t tell her."
"She didn’t give me a chance, she didn’t recognize me and I didn’t think she would react well to me blurting out 'I'm probably your child's father!" Harry rubbed his face despondently. " I went home tried to calm down so I could think clearly, I realized I knew pretty much nothing about babies and pregnancies and spent the rest of the night trying to change that.
The next day, I went into the ministry tried to find out everything I could about her, where she worked, where she lived, I was going to contact her, but then lo and behold she was having lunch at the ministry that day with one of her sisters-in-law. I tried to talk to her again but all I really did was ramble a bunch and make her think I was disturbed. Then as if the situation wasn't going badly enough Stephanie, yes the same one from dinner some weeks ago walks up to me, looking as crazy as ever."
"Take a breath Harry, your beginning to ramble," Harry took a sip instead.
"This morning, I decided that enough is enough. I knew where she worked so I was going to go there, force her to talk to me and tell her the truth."
"How did that go?"
"It didn’t, she wasn’t there but her receptionist said she might be back later, so I waited there until I got a Patronus from Auror Kight, telling me I was needed, I left a note with the receptionist and went to the ministry."
"Apparently, I'm not much help sleep deprived and unfocused so I was sent home. At this point, I was so beyond frustrated I needed to know what was going on and she need to know the truth. So I went to her apartment and sat outside the door until she came home."
"I don’t suppose you got a warm welcome."
"No, but I finally told her who I was, and she told me that it was better for our child if I wasn’t around." Silence reigned in the kitchen.
"Maybe this is for the best," Remus looked at Harry in alarm. "I mean ME, as somebody's dad? I barely take care of myself," Harry said with a laugh, he filled his glass before taking a large gulp. "He or She, really is better off without me, now that I think about it" When he reached for the bottle of mead again, Remus snatched it off the table and grabbed his chin.
"Do you remember the dozen awful things you called me when I said that?" his voice was forceful but restrained.
"A coward, a failure, a disgrace, I can go on," Harry hung his head, "Parents should never leave their children unless they have to those were your words, and not for a second do I believe that you, that the Harry Potter I know, would be comfortable knowing that he has a kid that he doesn’t take care of."
"So do what do I do," Harry asked in a voice much more feeble than you would expect from a man with his reputation.
"Go home, sober up, get some sleep, get your shit together, and talk to Ginny again, don’t stalk her at her home and work this time. Just owl her, ask her to sit down and talk with you, make it clear what you want, don't beat around the bush. I know Ginny, I have since she was 12, she's a kind person, she’s the same person you bounced over the globe with for a week, and right now you’re the guy who abandoned her in a foreign country,"
"I know that and you know that, but how is she supposed to?"
Harry Froze, "And if she still wants nothing to do with me?"
" Then you fight for your kid." Before Harry could respond loud clangs rang from the kitchen. When he went in he saw Tonks trying to shove all the pots back in to their cabinet.
"WHO DID YOU GET PREGNANT?"