Every Five Years by Celtics534
Summary: Select moments in our lives can change everything, and for Harry those moment seemed to occur every five years. Love, life, loss, and her. A Muggle alternate universe.
Categories: Alternate Universe
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Author's Notes: As mentioned in the summary, this is a Muggle alternate universe. It takes the concept of looking into Harry's life every five years and seeing the changes. As always I would like to thank Arnel for being such a great help!
Even at the age of five, Harry knew it wasn’t right. No, locking a child in a cupboard was not any way an adult should act. It shouldn’t matter if the child was yours or not, they should be treated like a human.
However, here Harry Potter lay, on his little cot under the stairs in a small, spider-infested cupboard, crying as he felt his cheek burn from the mark his uncle had given him. For what, Harry still didn’t know. All he could remember was his uncle’s face becoming purple, then a large hand striking his face. Between soiling himself and the pains of hunger he currently felt, Harry could tell he had been in his prison for a long time.
Harry feared what was to come. What his aunt and uncle would do to him. His only happy thoughts involved a dream of being taken away from his family, to live with someone who would treat him like the Dursley’s treated Dudley, with love and affection.
Harry walked beside Sirius, his godfather. The godfather he had never known about until he was seven. Sirius had arrived on his seventh birthday and explained everything, how he was his father’s best friend and how he wanted to raise Harry as his own son. All he needed was to bring attention to the court and, if Harry agreed, they would be together.
It was literally a dream come true, and since that day Harry had been perfectly happy with his life. Sirius would take him to football matches, out to ice skating rings, and they spent their Christmas morning together, something Harry had always envied about the Dursleys’ lives; being able to spend time as a family who loved their child.
Now they were going through one of the many traffic centers in England, shopping for school supplies for Harry, who had just been accepted into the boarding school his mother, father, and Sirius had attended. He wasn’t looking forward to being away from Sirius, but he would get to come home for holidays… besides, Harry couldn’t wait to be in the same place his parents had met. Where they had fallen in love. He was excited to go to school where his father and Sirius had gone. It made him feel more connected to them, somehow.
“How about we get some lunch,” Sirius suggested, pointing towards a small fish and chip stand in the middle of the street.
Leading the way, Sirius approached the counter to place their order. Harry, meanwhile, looked around the bustling London street. Most people moved about, not taking notice of anything around them. However, Harry’s eyes made contact with a pair of dark brown ones. A red-haired girl was staring at him, while holding her mother’s hand.
She sent him a smile, one of her front teeth missing, and Harry couldn’t help but grin back. He turned to look at Sirius, who had just received their fish wrapped in newspaper. Sirius looked between him and the girl, a smug smile appearing on his lips. “Already a lady killer, huh?” Sirius’ voice was filled with humor, making Harry blush. “Wanna go over and see if they’re ready for lunch?”
Harry was about to protest, but Sirius lead the way, towards the girl and her mother. “Hello,” Sirius said once he had reached the ladies. The girl, who had turned red as they approached, gave Harry a little wave. The mother turned from her previous distraction.
“Hello,” The woman had a kind face, motherly by all extents. She looked down at Harry. “How can we help you gentlemen?”
“Well, my godson and I happened to notice we have enough food here to feed more than just ourselves and we were hoping two lovely ladies, such as yourselves, would be interested in sharing some fish and chips?” Sirius raised one of the wrappings in gesture.
The woman smiled widened. “Oh, how sweet of you…” She was looking at Harry waiting for him to introduce himself, but Harry was focusing on glaring at Sirius. Harry’s godfather gave him a little nudge with his elbow.
“Harry,” Harry said, turning back to the woman and her daughter.
“Well, Ginny,” the mother looked down at her daughter. “Would you like to have lunch with Harry?"
Harry and Ginny sat together munching on the remainder of his chips. “So, you really have six brothers?” Harry asked his new friend.
Ginny nodded, rolling her eyes. “Yeah, and let me tell you, they are a pain in the bum. It’s even worse when one of them is only a year older than you.”
“Which one was that?” Harry couldn’t keep them all straight. They had discussed everything from football (which they both supported Chelsea), where they went to school (Ginny was transferring to the same school Harry was going to), and now they were on to their families.
“Ron,” Ginny explained. “It goes Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred then George, who are twins, Ron, and finally me.”
“Wow!” Harry couldn’t imagine having so many siblings to play with whenever he wanted. Sure, Sirius was great, but he had always loved the idea of having a brother or sister.
“So, it’s just you and Sirius, then?” Ginny asked.
Harry nodded. “Yeah, Sirius is my godfather.”
Ginny didn’t ask the obvious question. Instead, she smiled at him. “So, when I visit we will have the entire yard, you mention, to ourselves?”
“When you visit?” Harry felt his eyebrows knit together.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Of course, Potter. You thought we wouldn’t see each other till the beginning of the school year? I want to practice my penalty shots with someone who isn’t a whole foot taller than me.”
Harry felt elated. Ginny was fast becoming one of his favorite people. Sirius had apparently been listening, because he spoke to the children for the first time in a while. “Molly and I were just discussing the idea of a get together between you, too. How does Saturday sound.”
Both Harry and Ginny beamed at their respective guardian, nodding their heads in excitement.
Harry couldn’t stop looking. Why, he couldn’t say, but his attention could not be deterred from Ginny Weasley, his best friend. Having known her for five years, one would think he wouldn’t feel any urge to stare at her, but here he was, sitting on the cold lawn of his school, his eyes following her every move.
She wasn’t doing anything odd or funny, no nothing that should warrant his regard. She was just talking to Michael Corner, a boy in her English class. Again, nothing that should make Harry’s eyes watch her as if he were a hawk, but his gaze seemed glued to the hand Ginny had resting on Michael’s arm.
His chest felt tight as Ginny laughed, her head thrown back. Michael smiled at her, clearly proud of his ability to make her laugh. Harry, however, was not pleased. He rubbed over his heart, where the tightness seemed the strongest. Why did he suddenly want to pull Ginny away, hide her away from the world?
The tension changed from somewhat painful to red hot, as he watched Michael lean in, pressing his lips lightly on Ginny’s. It only lasted a second, but one second was equal to an eternity to Harry at that moment. He wanted to go over there and push Michael away, to punch him as hard as he could.
Harry had to physically grab at the grass he was sitting on to prevent himself from standing. What in the actual hell was happening to him?
He could see Ginny’s surprised, yet pleased expression, and a fit of annoyance rose at his best friend. She shouldn’t be giving Michael that look, it should be Harry receiving it. Wait… Harry suddenly felt as if the world was spinning faster. Why would he want Ginny to look at him like that?
Think about it, you dolt, Harry’s brain seemed to push him. Wouldn’t you like to be the one over there with her?
Of course, Harry wanted to be over there with Ginny, she was his best friend after all, but his imagination started to formulate an image of him being the one to kiss Ginny. To be the one to make her have that love-sick look.
It was as if a freight train hit him at full throttle, he wanted to kiss Ginny Weasley. He wanted to be there having her hand resting on top of his. Harry smacked himself in the forehead. He fancied his best friend!
Harry was jarred out of his sleepily haze by the sound of a slamming door. Sitting up and blinking rapidly, the vivid red of Ginny Weasley’s hair slowly came into blurry focus. He grabbed his glasses from his bedside table and violently pushed them up his nose.
Ginny was pacing back and forth in his small, yet what Sirius insisted was, cozy studio flat. Not that Harry could complain, it was better than sharing a room with someone at uni. At least here he had his own space that no one entered unless he invited them, well, except Ginny. Ginny was different though.
Over the last five years, Harry had gone through a violent rollercoaster of emotions relating to his best friend. After watching her have her first kiss, he could still remember the jealousy he had felt. It had hurt to watch her date Michael. He had assumed after Michael he would tell her how he felt, but at sixteen he couldn’t seem to let his feelings out in the open. There had been a small part of him that had hoped his feelings for her would fade, but now it was five years later, and he was still completely arse over kettle for her.
“Such a git,” Ginny muttered as she clenched and unclenched her fists. “What a bloody tosser.”
“Hey, Gin,” Harry said trying for a winning smile. He wanted to defuse the situation before her Weasley temper was in full effect, but it seemed there was no deferring her. She stopped moving and turned to face him.
“Why are men such bastards?” she asked, fury coming off her in vicious waves.
“Well, that’s sexist.” Harry, again, tried to bring something other than irritation into the situation, to no effect. Ginny snorted angerly and resumed her pacing. Harry let out a sigh before asking, “What happened?”
Ginny stopped her movement for the second time. When Harry could see her face, her lip was curled in a malicious snarl. “Dean is a cheating arse!”
Harry could have sworn he saw red, and this time it wasn’t Ginny’s hair. He jumped from under his bedcovers, not caring he was only wearing his boxers. “What!”
The red-head nodded rapidly, face turning the color of her hair as her temper flared more and more. “That’s right! I caught him snogging that… that bitch from his chemistry class. The one he claimed was just his partner.” Ginny put air quotes around partner.
Harry wanted to go and punch Dean squarely in the jaw. He had known Dean wasn’t good enough for Ginny, right from the start. He was about to suggest they go grab Ron, so they could teach Dean a lesson, but Ginny was on a roll. She started rambling and ranting. “He has to be the world’s worst liar. I could tell he wasn’t being forthcoming about that slag! Oh, I bet she’s already putting out. Just because I didn’t want to shag him, doesn’t mean he can go find some tart! I hope he gets some disease.”
Ginny let out an exasperated yell. “Uh, I swear there are no good men in the world. Maybe I’ll go live as a fucking nun.”
Harry couldn’t prevent the snort from coming out his nose. Only Ginny Weasley would put the words “fucking” and “nun” in the same sentence, right next to one another nonetheless. “There are decent men out there,” Harry decided half the world’s population needed some sort of defense from Ginny’s tangent.
Ginny blew out a huff of air. “Oh yeah? Like who?”
Harry wanted to scream out his own name. He would be perfect for her, and he knew it. He had known it for years, but he had never wanted to risk their friendship. He could still remember being that five-year-old boy hiding in his cupboard, having no family or friends care for him. He never could risk losing Ginny, his first real friend… his first love.
A shiver went down Harry’s spine. Love? No, he fancied her. Love was so much more, that was marriage, a house, kids… Then, it was like he was seeing Ginny for the first time, her face still red in anger, hair disheveled from the numerous times she had run her hands through it. He wanted those things with her. He wanted to wake up next to her every morning, hold her hair back when she was sick, to get to hold her when she was scared or sad… Bloody Hell! He had been in love with Ginny Weasley for who knew how long.
His throat seemed to close upon itself. He could feel a bead of sweat trickle down his back. Ginny seemed to have deflated slightly, as she looked at him. Harry had to assumed he must look he was about to have a heart attack.
“Harry?” Ginny’s cheeks started to return to their normal color. She moved closer to him, placing a hand on his arm, making a pleasant shiver course through his body at the contact. “Are you okay?”
“Uh...” Harry had lost the power of speech. He had never been articulate with his words, but the inability to say anything was horrifying. “I — “
He couldn’t tear his eyes from hers. The deep brown full of concern and inquisition. Then, her expression shifted from worry to surprise. It seemed she figured something out, and Harry had a sinking feeling that he knew what it was.
“Harry?” Ginny’s voice was low. “Who is the decent bloke?”
Harry shut his eyes, trying to gather himself without the distraction of Ginny. She knew, but she needed him to say it. Hell, he needed to say it for his own sanity. He had held in this secret for five years. Five years of being in love with someone without them knowing was excruciating.
Taking in a deep breath, then letting it out Harry said, in just over a whisper, “Me.”
Silence. There was only silence in Harry’s small flat. Even the usually dripping faucet seemed to remain stationary. Harry opened one eye slowly, trying to gauge her reaction. He expected disgust, maybe her holding in silent laughter. He had not expected her to be grinning at him, however.
His other eye opened against his will, double checking its twin. Yeah, she was definitely smirking. That smirk that he had a love/hate relationship with. Her know-it-all smile. The one that helped them to get in and out of trouble more times than he could count. Then add the one eyebrow quirked up, as if to say, ‘what are you waiting for?’, and Harry knew she knew it.
Harry figured he was in too deep now, in for a penny in for a pound. He closed the small gap between them, placing one hand on her waist and the other in her hair. The hair he had admired for years, the way it changed colors in the different lights. He tilted his neck and moved his head closer towards her. He planned to kiss her, slowly, tenderly even. After five years of waiting he figured it should be a sweet reward. Ginny, however, seemed to have other plans. She wrapped her arms around his neck, letting her fingers become ensnared in his hair. She used her leverage to move her mouth to his, pressing hard.
It was better than he had ever imagined. In his daydreams, at least the PG-13 daydreams, he had always imagined them kissing slowly and deeply for the first time, like they did in the romantic comedies. This, however, was much more passionate than he expected, and he couldn’t suppress moaning as Ginny’s tongue grazed his bottom lip, asking for more. This was different, but just as good, maybe even better.
Eventually, breathing became vital causing the young adults to separate, taking in gulps of air. Harry touched his forehead to Ginny’s, content to just stare at her as he tried to refill his lungs. Ginny’s smirk returned; however, this time there was something coquettish to it. “Well, even if there are no decent blokes out there, I’ve found something you’re excellent at, Mr. Potter.”
“I thought it would feel different,” Ginny said, her feet resting on Harry’s lap as he read the morning’s newspaper. A little ritual they had started when they had moved in together three years ago. They would wake up and make breakfast together, then settle on their sofa, eating and just basking in each other’s company before a long day at work.
“What would feel different?” Harry asked, poking his head around the frontpage.
Harry looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”
Ginny let out a sigh. “Everyone makes such a big deal out of being married,” she explained, “but so far it feels the same as to when we were dating.”
Harry scratched his jaw, his stubble creating a sound that Ginny found entirely too sexy. “Is that a bad thing?”
She thought about that for a moment. Marriage hadn’t changed them as people. They were still Harry and Ginny, just now legally they were bonded, not as if they hadn’t been bonded for years now. Hell, Ginny had been in love with Harry since she was ten, it had been a different kind of love then, but she had still been in love with him. As the years progressed she had watched Harry date other women, which made her want to kick a wall. She still could remember having to leave the school winter dance when she was fourteen, because some tart named Cho Chang had pulled Harry under the mistletoe and kissed him. That’s when she had known it was love love, like dating love. Like marriage and kids love. It had hurt so much to watch Harry with other woman, but she refused to allow herself to wallow in self-pity. She had started to date people herself shortly after the Cho incident, and Ginny had just resolved that she and Harry weren’t meant to be more than friends.
Then, when they were at uni, they had started dating, which quickly became some of Ginny’s favorite years. Going out to the movies, having surprise water fights in his flat, those lazy mornings in his bed… All things they had done before dating, well, minus the bed activities, but it just felt so much more incredible doing things as a couple in love. He had proposed to her two years later, at the same place where they had met (that London pavement had never been romantic till that moment).
Now a year and a half into their marriage and everything still felt as normal and comfortable as ever, but shouldn’t life feel different?
“I don’t know,” Ginny bit her bottom lip, trying to come to a conclusion. On the one hand, marriage was a huge step in life, so yes, things should feel different. Then again, they were still just Harry and Ginny.
Harry folded up his paper and placed it on the coffee table, next to their empty breakfast plates. He moved his body, so he was hovering over hers, their breaths mixing. “I think,” he said in a husky tone, “that I like our marriage the way it is.”
“Me, too.” Ginny’s own voice took a sultry tone, without her say-so. She looked into Harry’s emerald eyes, the very eyes that had attracted her to him all those years ago as children. Made her smile at him across that busy street.
“So, I say it’s a good thing we still feel like this,” Harry tilted his neck, so his lips pressed to the tip of her nose. “Like we’re still us.”
Ginny moved her mouth to his, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him down so the weight of his ribs rested on her, positioning him between her hips. She slowly slid her hands down his back to the hem of his shirt. “You’re right,” she claimed as she tugged the pesky clothing over his head. “How about we do one of our favorite activities that makes us… us?”
Harry moved his mouth to her neck, pressing a lingering kiss on her pulse point. “You’ve read my mind.”
Back to index
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Author's Notes: As always Arnel was awesome and helped me edit this chapter, so hats off to her!
“For the last time James, keep your socks on.” Ginny demanded of her two-year-old son. Why he decided that clothing was an optional part of life, she couldn’t understand for the life of her. This wasn’t quite what she had pictured that day she had peed on that little white stick, no she had imagined snuggles and cute moments in the bath. Maybe even her and Harry holding each other as they watched their child sleep. However, the result was much more chaotic, but she loved her son more than anything. He was now her life. He and Harry. Her boys.
She grabbed the discarded sock and rolled it back over James’ little foot. “If I find this on the floor one more time, I’ll tape it to your foot,” she threatened without much bite. He was only two, so really the odds of him listening to her were slim to none, but at least it made her feel better.
Well, at least mentally. Physically she had felt ill for the last week. She had caught the bug her nieces had last week, making her feel sluggish. Ginny assumed she would be back to her full energy by the weekend, which was perfect because it was hers and Harry’s fifth wedding anniversary. She didn’t know if he had anything planned, but Sirius had volunteered to watch James if they wanted, which she had agreed to instantly. Even if Harry didn’t plan to leave the house, they could have a pleasant evening home alone.
James gave her that lopsided smile that she had always loved on Harry. It was boyish even at Harry’s age, and on James it was perfectly adorably. Ginny had a hard time keeping an angry expression to chastise her son when he grinned at her like that.
The sound of a shutting door made James toddle gleeful out of the room, wanting to greet the newcomer to their home. Ginny followed behind James. It shouldn’t be Harry, so that left her brothers, her parents, or one of her sister-in-law. No one knew where the spare key was located (in the shade of the broken outside light) other than family.
Sure, enough it was Hermione, Ron’s wife, whom Ginny had known for years before she and Ron started dating. They had all gone to the same school, she, Harry, Ron and Hermione. However, Hermione and Ron were a year above herself and Harry. She being a year younger than Ron in the first place and Harry having to stay back a year due to the Dursleys refusing to help educate him.
Hermione was flush with anger, or at least Ginny assumed it was anger. Her hair was bushier than ever and her eyes seemed to be flashing a dangerous look. James reached his aunt first. “Aunt Hermy!” The little arms of the two-year-old clamped around Hermione’s leg.
Hermione tried, with semi-success to contort her fascial expression to prevent the little boy from seeing so much fury. Ginny could tell it was no easy task, between whatever had been angering her before she walked into the house and then to tack on James’ use of her least favorite nickname.
“Jamie!” Hermione put on her fake happy, children friendly tone. “How is my favorite godson?”
James giggled as she lifted him onto her hip. He pressed a sloppy kiss to her cheek that made her smile for the first time since arriving.
“Thank you, James,” Hermione returned his affection. “I needed that.”
“What’s happened, Hermione?” Ginny asked coming in and ruffling James’ shaggy black head. The toddler started to slide down Hermione, making her set him down. He waddled off to go grab a toy, Ginny assumed. She turned her focus back to her sister-in-law.
Hermione’s scowl had reappeared. “Your brother is a git.”
Ginny couldn’t prevent a snort. “I told you that from day one.”
“What did Harry do when he found you were pregnant?”
Ginny’s eyes went wide. “You’re pregnant!?”
Hermione looked abashed. “Well, possibly. I haven’t taken the test yet, but I think I am.”
“Okay, what symptoms do you have?”
“Nausea, fatigue, my breasts feel tender, and I missed my monthly,” Hermione recounted, sounding like a textbook.
Ginny nodded. “Yeah, sounds about right. So, why haven’t you taken a test yet?”
Hermione looked annoyed. “That’s what your brother said.”
“Okay,” Ginny drawled, “and what did you tell him.”
“That those tests could be wrong. False positives and negatives happen all the time — “
“So, take two.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “I should have known better than to come to someone who’s related to Ron. You both are like broken records.”
“I think you must be pregnant based on those hormones alone,” Ginny joked making her companion huff. “Alright, how about this. We go buy a couple from the same brand. You take one and I take one. Mine will come back negative and yours will be positive, proving they are accurate. Would that work for you?” Ginny could remember how irrational she had been while pregnant with James, and watching Hermione fall victim to illogical pregnancy brain was more than a little strange, seeing as Hermione was the most logical person she knew.
Hermione thought about it for a moment. “I guess that could work.”
“You never did tell me,” Hermione started as they sat on Ginny sofa, a timer sitting on the coffee table counting down the seconds until their tests were conclusive. “How did Harry react about James?”
“Oh,” Ginny set her cup of tea aside. “He was in shock at first. He just kept muttering the word, ‘pregnant’. For a few moments I had thought I was going to have to send the father of my child to the looney bin, but then…” Ginny couldn’t help but smile at the memory. “Then he broke out in a wide grin and hugged me so tight I thought he would crack a rib. He was so excited, he’s always wanted a family of his own and apparently me being pregnant brought all his dreams alive.”
“See!” Hermione complained in annoyance. “That’s a cute pregnancy reveal story. Ron just dropped the pen he had been writing with and said, ‘are you sure.’ He sounded as if I had ruined everything.”
“Ouch,” Ginny sympathized. Telling your husband was stressful enough, but having a response like that wasn’t ideal. “Such a pillock!”
“He has the emotional range of a teaspoon,” Hermione let out an exasperated, yet loving sigh. “Sometimes I wonder if — “
Whatever she was going to say was cut off by the loud ring of the timer, which made both jump. Ginny stood from the cushion. “Alright let’s go see the results.” She offered Hermione her hand, pulling her to her feet.
The two white sticks sat on the edge of the porcelain sink. Ginny walked over to where they had placed Hermione’s first, while the woman in question remained in the doorway. A plus sign. “And, this says you’re pregnant,” Ginny smirked at her friend. “You were right, as always.” Then she turned to her own and felt her pulse quick. Another plus sign. Was she… too?
Hermione looked confused at Ginny. “Ginny, are you alright, you’ve gone rather pale.” She moved into the room and saw Ginny’s test. “Oh,” Hermione breathed. “It could be false,” she tried to comfort the red-head, but Ginny’s mind was working furiously.
Her last monthly had been… Buggering Hell! It had been at least over a month ago, but what about the rest of the symptoms that should have shown. Morning sickness, fatigue… Okay, well, she had been more tired than usual and had been feeling off color for the last week or so, but that had just been a bug, right?
“Ginny?” Hermione voice brought her back to reality. “Do you think it’s false?”
Her throat seemed to have shrunk, preventing her words from leaving her mouth. Ginny settled for a shake of her head.
“I’m guessing you weren’t trying,” Hermione’s voice was soothing as she placed a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. Only five minutes ago Ginny had been comforting her, oh, how the tables had turned. “How about I go check on James,” Hermione guided her to the toilet and helped to lower to on top of the lid.
Hermione left the room, leaving Ginny with her own thoughts. Were they ready for another baby? James was such a handful, then add a new born into the mix… She wanted to talk to Harry. He always knew how to calm her down, to stop her from overthinking. She looked at her watch. Two hours until her husband should be home. They had a lot to talk about tonight.
“Gin?” Harry’s voice barely broke through Ginny’s thoughts. She was sitting on their bed, her back against the headboard. James having already been tucked in for the night. All night she had been going over the logistics. What room will the baby have? How will James respond to having a sibling? What about Harry? Was he ready to have another? Did he want more than one? They had never talked about it. James had been a surprise as well, and she and Harry had focused solely on raising their hyperactive son.
“Ginny?” Harry asked again.
“Huh?” Ginny looked over from the spot on the wall that had seemed so interesting. “What did you say?”
“Are you okay? You’ve been rather quiet tonight,” Harry moved over from his dresser, wrapping his arms around her. For years this had been her comfort zone. In Harry’s embrace, knowing that he loved her, and she him. However, the nagging worry still bubbled in her stomach. She needed to tell him.
“Harry?” Her voice was timid, even to her own ears. “How many kids do you want?”
Harry pulled back from her, ever so slightly, so he could look at her face. His eyes were alight, eyebrows raised. “Really?” His teeth showed through his smile.
He understood what she was truly getting at, she could tell. Harry had always been able to see through her and understand what she really needed. She nodded, a small smile responding to his.
Ginny let out a little squeak has Harry pulled her body down so she was lying on her back, his body coving hers. “We’re having a baby?” He wanted the confirmation before he let himself really let go. Ginny bit her bottom lip and nodded again.
Harry started coving her with quick kisses. On her forehead, cheeks, nose, then he lingered on her mouth. “How far along?”
“I don’t know yet, I only took the test today,” Ginny admitted, placing her hands on his hips. “But I made an appointment for Thursday to go in and see.”
Harry’s lips hovered over her neck. “What time? I want to be there.”
Ginny couldn’t help but smile, this was one of the many reasons she loved Harry. He responded to her stress and insecurities perfectly. It was like he knew exactly what she needed to hear, even if she didn’t.
“Detective Potter,” a calm male voice seemed to wake Harry from a deep sleep. His body felt heavy and his eyelids didn’t seem to want to open. A rush of pain hit him, coving his entire form. From his little toes to his ears, he hurt.
“Detective, I need you remain calm. Do not move.” The voice spoke again. Harry tried to follow its orders, but it was hard. He wanted to try to squirm and try to escape the pain. The voice spoke again, but this time to someone else. “Go get his wife, maybe she can keep him calm!”
There were the sounds of squeaky shoes, a door opening and closing, paper being shuffled. Harry tried to remain still, but his body just couldn’t stop twitching. He could feel every fiber of his body and they seemed on fire.
He wanted to scream, but he couldn’t. His throat refused to do anything but burn. The door from earlier opened again, and this time two sets of footsteps rushed into the room. “Harry!” Ginny’s voice said. Ginny, his wife, his best friend, was there. On a normal day he would have greeted her with a peck on the cheek, see her bright brown eyes full of love, but today he couldn’t. His eyes still refused to open, he couldn’t tilt his neck, so he could press his lips to her skin. All he could do was lay in his current position, his body ablaze.
Then on his forearm there was slight pressure, but it seemed to cool his skin. “Harry,” Ginny voice filled his mind. “Harry, stay strong, Love. The doctors are doing all they can, but whatever that crazed man injected with is hurting you.”
Crazed man? Harry couldn’t process anything other than pain. He wanted it to stop. Make it all stop. He couldn’t handle this.
“Harry, stop!” Ginny spoke again. The cooling sensation moved from his forearm to his left hand. “Stop pulling at the tubes, they’re helping to pump out the bad toxin.”
Harry wanted to see her, to look upon Ginny one last time. If this agony was going to be the death of him he needed to see Ginny one last time. He used all the focus he could muster to pry his eyelids apart. The white walled room was blurry, but Harry could see the outlines of numerous people bustling around. Nothing else mattered once he saw the color red. Ginny’s hair had always been one of his favorite physical features of her. How it fell down her shoulders, how bright and vivid it was, just like her.
“Harry!” He couldn’t make out her mouth, but her voice was clear as day. “He opened his eyes.” Why she needed to tell him that, he had no idea why. He knew he had opened his eyes.
Then a doctor’s, or what he assumed was a doctor, voice came from another part of the room. “That’s good! He’s starting to fight it. Keep talking to him, Mrs. Potter.”
“Harry, Love,” Ginny voice full of emotion. He didn’t need to see in order to know tears had filled her eyes. He wanted to make her feel better, but he couldn’t do more than lay there. She spoke again, “I want you to remain still. Would you like to hear what James and Sirius did yesterday?”
Ginny paused as if waiting for a response he couldn’t give. Then she pressed on. “James thought it would hilarious to convince his little brother that big Sirius could turn into a dog… I don’t know why Siri believed him, but our son hopped onto your godfather’s back while he slept on the sofa and told him to, and this a quote, ‘mush.’”
Harry could imagine it, the son that looked exactly like him, waking Harry’s godfather by shoving his heels into Sirius’ sides. Oh, how different his son, in retrospect, was to himself at the same age. At five Harry was stuck feeling unloved and unworthy of anything, never ever daring to try something so childish with his uncle, but his children, James, Sirius, and Lily were able to have a childhood.
Without him noticing, the pain that had been coursing through his body lessened from a burning to an angry throb. Listening to his wife, hearing funny moments he missed with his children, wasn’t as good as being there, but it always filled him with immense pride. Hearing how they were developing their own personalities: James the prankster, Sirius the animal lover and softy of the children, and Lily was his little flower who had him completely wrapped around her little finger.
“And you know what your godfather did, once he understood what was going on?” Ginny let out a small, soft laugh. “He barked and let his namesake ride around on his back. I’ve always liked that man.” Harry could hear chair legs scrape closer to him. Ginny’s voice was closer, but much softer. “Harry, I know it has to hurt, but you have to fight and come back to us… to me, please.” Harry felt the tear drop on to his nose as Ginny’s lips moved over his forehead.
Harry started to feel as if he were floating, that drifting feeling that he had when given nitrous oxide. Then an uncontrollable desire to sleep pulled at him, something he didn’t resist. He wanted to sleep, wake up later and be able to talk to his wife, to sit up and hug his children… He let his eyes close.
“There’s the old man,” Sirius laughed as he threw an arm around Harry almost spilling his drink. “How does it feel to be the big four-o?”
“I don’t know, Sirius,” Harry quipped back. “How does it feel to almost be the big seven-o?”
“Touché,” Sirius sloppily patted Harry’s shoulder. They remained silent as they looked around the surprise party Ginny had thrown for Harry. All his work mates were there, Ginny’s family, all their children, not to mention Harry’s own kids and godfather. As much as Harry hated to be the focus of anything, he couldn’t help but love Ginny for throwing this celebration.
“How’s everything with Gin?” Sirius asked as he watched James and his name sake dart through some of the trees on the boarder of the lawn, playing tag with a few of their cousins.
“Great,” Harry smiled. Talking about Ginny brought back memories of her present this morning, and what a present it had been.
Sirius apparently could read his, most likely, goofy, love-sick grin. Harry’s godfather smiled happily. “So, have you two decided if Lily was your last?”
Lily, being seven and the only female of his children, had brought out some dolls for her and Rosie, Ron’s daughter, to play with.
“We haven’t really discussed it,” Harry looked confusedly at Sirius. “Why?”
“I just know you’ve always wanted a rather large family and I was wondering if three was that big number.”
Harry thought about it for a moment. He loved when Ginny was pregnant, the way she glowed, which she insisted was sweat, the way her figure grew and allowed him to physically see the consequence of their love. He enjoyed giving her foot and back rubs, bringing her breakfast in bed. Sure these were all things he could do now and would do, but it made it so much better when she was carrying his child.
However, the three children they had already produced were perfect and he knew how much Ginny disliked all those things he loved about pregnancy. Not to mention the morning sickness, aches that he couldn’t rub away, and the birthing process alone…
“I’m happy with what we have,” Harry explained after a moment’s thought. “But in all honesty if Gin wants to have another I will be more than happy to pamper her again.”
Sirius’ grin went from ear to ear. “I knew you would say that.” He leaned in close, his lips basically on Harry’s ear, his alcohol breath strong. “Can I tell you s-s-something?”
Harry nodded, trying not to laugh at the little slur. “Sure.”
“I think Ginny is pregnant.”
Harry turned his gaze on his godfather. His cheeks were slightly flushed, but that was from the sun not the alcohol. “Why do you think that?”
“I found a positive pregnancy test in the loo, and before you ask, no, I wasn’t snooping. I was being a good god-grandfather help James find a… well, some sorta toy I don’t know, so I searched the trash and found two positive tests at the bottom of the bin.”
“Bloody Hell,” Harry muttered. Another kid… His smile widened. “That’s incredible. Why hasn’t she told me yet?”
Sirius smirked as he pulled his mouth away from Harry’s ear, looking over at the woman in question. “No idea, but I hope I’m right, because I can tell from your face you want it to be real.”
Ginny refolded the table they had used during the party. Inside the house it would have become stuffy with so many people, but the Potter’s garden had been the perfect location. Now it was just she and Harry, the kids having gone off to spend the night at various cousins’ homes. The perfect chance for her to explain about the baby. Bloody hell another baby, their fourth. It wasn’t like they couldn’t afford to have a bus load of children, but four was more than she had ever expected to have. When she was younger she figured maybe two, three max, but here she was with number four on the way.
Harry was at the other end of the yard, carrying a large stack of chairs. At first, she had been oddly resentful and confused about being pregnant for the fourth time in twelve years, but every time she looked at her husband she felt elated. Here they were, entering their forties and still so in love they were having babies.
Ginny folded the table in half and heaved it into their garden shed, which was full of all their random outdoor equipment. Once she had leaned against the wall, at that perfect angle, she started to turn around, but strong arms, which she had always found comfort in, wrapped around her back resting on her stomach.
Harry always loved to place his hands on her stomach when she was pregnant. He loved talking to the fetus, giving it all the love he could even before he or she was born… But she hadn’t told him yet… So why were his hands focused on her belly?
“How did you find out?” Ginny turned in his arms to look into his eyes. He had that excited, over-the-moon, smile plastered on his lips.
He let out a little snort. “Would you believe I just know you that well?”
Ginny laughed. “Ah, so it was Sirius. Was he snooping again?”
Harry pressed his lips to her, running his tongue over her bottom lip, requesting more, which she happily granted. He backed them up against the little part of the wall that had nothing in the way, pressing her to the wall. “It doesn’t matter how I know,” Harry protested between light kisses across her jaw and neck. “Is it true?”
A little moan escaped her lips. “Yes, and its situations like this…” Another moan. “This is the reason why you’ve managed to knock me up again, Potter.”
Harry let out a husky chuckle. “I haven’t heard you complaining, dear.”
Ginny moved her hands from his hair to the hem of his shirt. “Are we really about to shag out here in the garden shed?”
“Why not,” Harry’s hands moved up her torso to her breasts, then they reached around her back to unhook her bra. “It wouldn’t be the first time… We just need to watch out for splinters.”
Ginny pulled his shirt over his head, then helped him with hers, the wood wall scratched at her naked back as he lifted her, making her wrap her legs around his waist for support.
His mouth moved from her jawline to her breasts, kissing the tip of each one. “I love you, Gin, and I’m so glad we’re having another baby,” Harry whispered his attended divided between her chest, shoulders, and neck.
That sealed the deal for Ginny, her husband so happy about having another baby… she wasn’t on the fence any more, she was on the other side and running through the open field. “Me, too, Love. Me, too.”
“James can you help me with your brother?” Harry asked his eldest, who was now almost a legal adult. James placed his laptop down on the coffee table and came to Harry’s aid.
“Are you too old for this now?” James joked as he took the small coat Harry offered, and wrapped around his squirming four-year-old brother. “It’s what you get for getting your wife pregnant at forty. Save it for the youth.”
Harry snorted. “Like your mother could ever resist this,” He made a grand gesture with his free hand, the one that wasn’t zipping up his toddler’s snow pants, towards his body.
James’ face became disgruntled. “I didn’t need to know that, Dad.”
“Well, that’s what you get for calling me old.” Harry picked up the now fully dressed child. “Thanks for the help, James.” He then looked towards his youngest. “Are you ready to play in the snow, Artie?”
Arthur, the almost spitting image of his grandfather, except the eyes which were his father’s and the odd angles his hair lay, nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah!” He turned to his brother. “Come on, Jamie.”
James ruffled his brothers red hair. “Sorry, Buddy I have to finish this essay, maybe after.”
That seemed to satisfy the toddler. He nodded and focused on his father. “Snow fort?”
“Sure thing!” Harry kissed his son’s forehead. “Who knows, maybe your mum will come out and play after she finishes helping Lily with her maths homework.”
Arthur clapped happily. Then slid from his father’s arm, landing on his feet, and headed towards the back door.
“Does he even have boots on yet?” James asked, as his brother disappeared through the doorway.
“Nope,” Harry muttered, grabbing the smallest pair of boots in the house from their position by the front door. “It’s a good thing he hasn’t really grasped how to unlock doors, yet.”
James chuckled. “He’s always good for a laugh, I’ll give him that.” He paused and looked at his father. “Hey, Dad?”
“How did you know that mum was the one?”
Harry looked up from his own bootlaces, looking to the brown eyes of his eldest. “Why?”
James shrugged. “Just curious.”
Harry highly doubt that, he assumed it had something to do with Alice Longbottom, the daughter of one of his and Ginny’s friends, Neville. James and Alice had been friends since grade school and if James was anything like his father…
“Well, you know your mother was my best friend, right?” Harry pretended to focus on his laces, allowing James privacy if he wanted it.
James made a noncommittal grunt, so Harry pressed on. “Well, one day I saw her with another boy… and I could have sworn a beast clawed at my chest, making me want to rip the other boy’s head off.”
“But how did you move from friend to… more?” Harry looked up at James to see him biting his bottom lip. Yes, this must be about Alice.
Harry stood up and placed a hand on James’ shoulder. “I told her the truth.”
James’ brow furrowed. “The truth?”
“That I fancied her,” Harry nodded. “I was petrified, but in the end, it worked out and I get to fall more in love with your mother every day.”
“Why can’t you say those romantic things to me, huh?” A voice from the bottom of the staircase asked. The two Potter men turned to see their wife/mother. Ginny was smirking at her husband, showing there was no bite to her accusation.
Harry walked over and pressed a light kiss to Ginny’s lips. “Because the last time I was sappy with you, you called me a girl and punched my shoulder, hard.”
“It was a love tap.”
“Uh huh, that bruise really showed the love.”
Ginny laughed and kissed him. “Where’s Artie?”
James sniggered. “Trying to break out of the kitchen.” He looked through the open doorway. “Yeah, he’s trying to pick the lock with a spoon.”
Ginny rolled her eyes fondly. “I’ll go help the prisoner escape,” she stole a final kiss from Harry. “Join me when you’re done talking.” Ginny took the small boots from the spot Harry had left them, ruffled James’ messy locks and left to go play with Arthur.
Harry watched her leave, his eyes still trained on the doorjamb after Ginny’s red hair had disappeared.
James snorted in disgust. “See, I want that, but I don’t want to watch that.”
Turning his head towards his son, Harry grinned. “So, if you want that. You need to have ten seconds of courage and tell Alice how you feel.”
James, who rarely blushed, turned pink. “Alice?” His voice was almost an octave higher. “Who said anything about Alice?”
Harry laughed and patted his son shoulder as he walked towards the kitchen and his wife and son. “You didn’t have to. I know you, Son.” Harry gave James’ shoulder a tight squeeze. “You can do it, James. I believe in you.” Then he walked out of the sitting room, towards the sound of a delighted squealing toddler.
“I still can’t believe it,” Harry murmured, his knees still resting on the grassy patch beside the gravestone. Ginny placed her hand on her husband’s shoulder.
“I know, Love,” she pressed a kiss to the top of Harry’s greying head.
“He was the only parent I really knew,” Harry’s voice was thick with emotion. Ginny knew he was fighting tears as he looked down towards the ground.
“At least you were able to see him before — “ Ginny decided standing just wasn’t cutting it any more. She kneeled beside Harry. The man in question turning into her arms, resting his head in the crook of her neck.
“I already miss him, Gin,” Harry’s voice was muffled, but Ginny could feel his tears start to trail down her skin.
There was nothing for Ginny to say. She knew Harry just needed some time. Holding him tightly, Ginny allowed some of her own tears to fall. Damn it! She was going to miss that crazy, old, wonderful man.
Time was irrelevant, as the couple held on to each other through their grief. Eventually, Ginny guided Harry to his feet and led the way out of the little back yard cemetery, the small church’s lights shining along their path. Behind them the names James Potter and Lily Potter sat on aged marble. Now beside them read the name Sirius Black.
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