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.