Summer of Recovery by PotterSloth



Summary: What comes after Voldemort’s defeat? A very, very difficult summer. The world moves on, and it’s much different than it was when Harry and Ginny first got together. The summer will be one of grief, but they’re ready to recover together after so long apart. The only question is: will the world finally let them?

Part 1 of Happier Every Day
Rating: R starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Post-DH/AB
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Happier Every Day
Published: 2024.03.22
Updated: 2024.07.05


Summer of Recovery by PotterSloth
Chapter 8: I'll Be There
Author's Notes:

Even though Harry had never met him before, he knew this was Teddy Lupin.

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*

Harry woke as the first hints of morning sunlight started to illuminate Ginny’s room. They hadn’t moved all night; Ginny was still holding Harry’s hand, his arm was still wrapped tightly around her, and… Harry realised just how close her bum was to a quickly waking part of his body. Harry would be the first to admit that he’d been stupid to take so long to start looking at Ginny as something other than Ron’s kid sister, but when he finally did, it was like a part of his brain that he’d been blocking off suddenly saw everything clearly for him. Ginny was the best person he knew, which made her infinitely more attractive to him than her physical appearance. But he had to admit that her physical appearance was pretty spectacular. She really was the most beautiful witch he’d ever seen. She made him feel things that he wasn’t used to feeling, both emotionally and physically.

Harry shifted backwards slightly, attempting to calm himself before he went back upstairs. Ginny stirred, blinking her eyes open softly. Harry kissed her cheek, mesmerised by how perfect she was even when she was half-asleep. He wished they could stay like this forever, but the reality was that Ginny’s family probably wouldn’t be very happy if they’d known that Harry and Ginny were still sharing a bed in their house.

“Morning, Gin,” Harry whispered. Ginny just groaned at him, too tired to say anything. Harry grinned, thinking it was adorable. “I’ve got to go back upstairs before your family wakes up.”

Ginny groaned again, but she turned to kiss him gently before collapsing back on her pillow. Harry chuckled silently, slowly rising from the bed and exiting the room. He carefully walked upstairs, avoiding almost all the creaking spots on the floor. Quietly opening the door to Ron’s room, he saw that Ron and Hermione’s backs were to each other in bed, but they still somehow held hands in their sleep. Harry smiled to himself, thinking that was a pretty accurate representation of their relationship.

He knelt down next to Hermione. “Hermione, wake up,” he hissed, nudging her shoulder.

She woke much easier than Ginny had, squinting at him. “What time is it?” she whispered.

“Not sure, but the sun’s coming up. Thought you’d want to go back downstairs before anybody else woke up.”

Hermione nodded, leaving the bed without waking Ron up. She left the room while Harry stood for a few moments, not sure that he wanted to go back to sleep. He sighed, recognising that he was definitely too awake for it to matter what he wanted. He walked back down the stairs that he’d just come up, not stopping until he reached the kitchen. He quietly made himself a cup of coffee before stepping outside onto the Weasleys’ back porch. He sat on a swinging bench, sipping his coffee and watching the sunrise as he lost himself to his thoughts in this moment of solitude.

Smoke clouded the sky and the smell of burning flesh and blood clogged his nostrils, making it difficult to breathe. Everything made it difficult to breathe. The bodies in the Great Hall haunted him, friends he’d allowed to die for him because he was too cowardly to do what he should’ve known would need to be done. There was only one way this would all end. He walked numbly to the forest, struggling to take every breath, knowing that he’d soon breathe his last.

He almost stumbled, seeing Ginny there, aching to call out to her because she’d ask him to stay, and he couldn’t say no to her. He silently shed a tear, walking past her, wishing more than anything that he could’ve said goodbye, that he could’ve told her he loved her. But too many people had already died. He couldn’t let any more die because of him, even if it meant that he lost everything, including the one girl that had made him dream of a normal life.

He saw his parents, Sirius, and Remus, and they tried to comfort him, but how do you comfort someone who knows they’re moments from death? He stopped walking as he reached their camp, stowing his wand and cloak under his jacket so he wouldn’t be tempted to defend himself. Because the truth was, he was so much more than tempted. He wanted to fight, to finish this himself, but he had no choice. It couldn’t be finished with him alive.

He stepped into view, and the mob celebrated. He only saw red slits and a curling smile. Those thin lips moved, but his mind had already taken him elsewhere. Ginny was running towards him, wearing her Quidditch uniform. Her flaming red hair trailed behind her, her kissable lips were smiling at him, and her brown eyes were blazing as she jumped at him. Just before he could wrap his arms around her, she disappeared, replaced with a flash of green light before the world went dark.


Harry couldn’t see anything. He was shaking, sweating, and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. It was just like the battle all over again. He gasped, desperately trying to fill his lungs, but there was no air to breathe. He felt hands on his shoulders, squeezing tightly, and he could hear the distant thrum of a low voice even though he couldn’t understand what it was saying. Somehow the thrumming slowed his breathing enough for him to become conscious of his surroundings. Harry blinked, only seeing a fuzzy red thing in front of him. He blinked again, and the figure came into focus. Bill was holding him tightly, looking terrified. Slowly, the ringing in his ears subsided and he could finally make out what Bill was saying.

“Breathe Harry… come on, deep breaths. In and out, in and out,” he coached as Harry continued slowing his breathing, feeling his heart rate evening out too. Finally, he exhaled one final time before nodding at Bill.

“Thanks,” he whispered.

Bill sat next to him on the bench. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“What just happened?” Harry asked.

“I think- I think that was what Muggles call a panic attack. Wizards… don’t really have a good term for it. You lost yourself in some memory and couldn’t get out. It seems like it made you feel like you couldn’t breathe, and I had to pull you out of it.”

“It was the forest,” Harry admitted. Bill’s face darkened. “I wasn’t even trying to think about it. I just realised I hadn’t really been alone much since the battle and then… I was there.”

Bill exhaled slowly, running his hand through his hair. “I don’t blame you. To be honest, with everything I’ve heard that you’ve been through, it wouldn’t have surprised me if you’d dealt with these before.”

Harry shook his head. “Never. I mean there were times when I was scared, or I was sad or mad about losing people, but never something like that. That was so… intense. It felt like I- like I was there again, walking to the forest, and I couldn’t breathe, knowing- knowing what was going to happen.”

Bill put his arm around Harry’s shoulders. “Have you talked to anyone else about it?”

“I told Kingsley, McGonagall, Ron, and Hermione a couple days ago.”

“Not Ginny?” Bill asked.

Harry shook his head again. “I’m still telling her everything in order, but it’ll be soon. She knows everything up until we left your place to go to Gringotts. It’s just- I want to tell her, but I hate how depressing it is when I’m talking about it. She’s so easy to talk to, but I know we both prefer when we’re not thinking about any of it.”

Bill nodded. “I understand. Both of you have been through too much, and I’m glad you’re trying not to dwell on everything. But- I hate to say this, Harry, but reality is gonna demand that you both think more about all of this stuff. There are gonna be funerals for the next week, and I heard Kingsley talking about a possible memorial this summer. There are going to be trials and people asking you questions left and right. The sooner everything is out in the open, the better it’ll be for both of you.”

Harry hated it, but Bill was right. “It’s just- Merlin, I hate saying this because it makes me sound like I’m just whingeing when things could obviously be worse, but haven’t I done enough? I just- I want to be normal now. Have a normal life without people following my every move like I’m so interesting or newsworthy.”

Bill looked at him empathetically. “Harry, life isn’t fair. If it was, the fate of the world wouldn’t have been placed on you. You wouldn’t have lost your parents when you were a baby. You wouldn’t have had to be threatened every year in school, and you wouldn’t have spent the last year on the run as the leading soldier for a rebellion against a murderous monster. If life was fair, you wouldn’t have had to sacrifice yourself, and you wouldn’t still be dealing with people wanting a piece of you. But it isn’t fair. You’re not normal, even by our standards. You’re a bloody hero, and people love heroes.”

“But-” Harry started to say, but Bill looked at him with a stern expression now.

“Harry, if you could go back to the first time you got a letter from Hogwarts, and change everything so you weren’t ever a wizard, would you do it, especially if it meant you wouldn’t have any of the bad memories haunting you anymore?”

Harry thought for a moment. “No,” he finally answered.

“Why not?” Bill asked.

Harry sighed. “Because… I didn’t have a good life when I found out I was a wizard. I would’ve given anything for a way out. The way out I got was so much better than anything I could’ve imagined. I mean, Muggles don’t think magic is real. Getting to learn how to do that was more than enough. But-”

“But?” Bill pressed.

“Even magic isn’t the best part of my life anymore. It’s all of you. You and your brothers, your parents, Ron and Hermione, and… Ginny.”

Bill smiled, satisfied that Harry got the point. “There it is. Life isn’t fair, Harry. You’ve had way more shitty things happen to you than any person deserves. But despite that, you still have things in your life that make it good, that make you happy. You’re not going to have a normal life, but if you did, you wouldn’t be you, and you wouldn’t have all the things that make you happy now.”

Harry nodded, understanding what Bill was telling him. “And the panic attacks?”

Bill frowned slightly. “I honestly don’t know,” he admitted, “It’s something I’ve heard of before, but I never had those, even after what happened in Egypt. We can take you to St. Mungo’s if you want, or we can wait and see if talking about what’s going on with me or Ginny or whoever helps.”

Harry nodded. “Let’s wait and see. But for now… can you not say anything about this to anyone? I don’t want your family to be worrying about me while everything else is going on.”

“Yeah, I won’t tell anyone… but Harry, you have to tell me or somebody if these keep happening. Someone has to be able to pull you out of one if it happens again.”

“Good thing there’s always plenty of people here then,” Harry replied, trying to smile at Bill and pretending that he wasn’t lucky that Bill had woken up this early. Actually… “Why were you up this early?” Harry asked.

Bill chuckled. “An old habit. When Charlie and I were younger, we used to compete to be the first one to wake up and get to the table first. Winner got extra bacon from Mum. As we got older, we started getting up even earlier than Mum and Dad, so we had to come up with our own prizes. Sometimes Charlie would get help with his homework or I’d get help with my chores. After I moved out, I got better about sleeping in a little bit, but there’s something about being in the same house as him that makes me get up earlier.”

As if on cue, Charlie burst outside, looking incredibly annoyed. “Damn it Bill! You’ve got a gorgeous wife up there in bed and you still had to get up and beat me down here? And you roped Harry into it too?” he asked incredulously.

Bill chuckled. “I’ll add two sickles to your tab, little brother. But actually, Harry beat both of us up.”

Charlie raised his eyebrows. “Really? What’s got you up early? I would’ve thought a saviour would at least get to sleep in every once in a while.”

Harry rolled his eyes and lied smoothly. “Couldn’t sleep. You couldn’t understand, there’s just so much pressure being a hero…”

Bill laughed as Charlie shook his head disappointedly. “You’re as bad as Ginny.”

Harry grinned. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Charlie snorted. “It’s not.”

Ignoring him, Harry asked, “So… what do you guys usually do when you get up this early?”

Bill answered him. “Oh… Mum and Dad made us agree that if we were going to be loud and wake up even earlier than them, the least we could do is make breakfast.”

“Welcome to the team, Harry,” Charlie said, grinning. “Would you prefer your apron to be pink with no lace or pink with lace?”

All three of them laughed at that, filing into the kitchen to begin preparing breakfast. Harry was surprised to see how much food they had considering nobody had gone to a grocer’s. They worked in tandem- Harry fried bacon and sausage, Bill cooked eggs, and Charlie made toast and sarcastic comments. Soon, the kitchen was smelling great, and one by one, Weasleys made their way into the kitchen, sitting down at the long table.

Arthur, Molly, and Percy all came downstairs near the same time. Fleur was next, followed by Ron and Hermione. Finally, just before Harry thought he’d have to go wake her, Ginny came down, giving Harry a brief kiss in front of her family before sitting at the table. Harry blushed but didn’t waver under the look of scrutiny Charlie was giving him. George had clearly decided not to come down, if he was even awake. Bill, Charlie, and Harry served breakfast, and the family tucked into their meal, trying to ignore the absences from the usually full table.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG

Ginny woke when sunlight had clearly lit her entire room. She immediately noticed that she was once again alone in her bed, vaguely recalling Harry waking her up to say he was leaving. The light in her room and the smell of breakfast coming from downstairs suggested it had been more than an hour since then. She rolled over and saw that Hermione wasn’t in the room either. It wasn’t a big deal though- Ginny was used to being the last one awake in her house. She begrudgingly pulled herself out of bed, wishing that she’d slept even longer and that she hadn’t been left early in the morning by Harry. She changed into a faded yellow t-shirt and ripped jean shorts. It was one of her favourite Muggle outfits, and she guessed that Harry would like it too.

Her guess was quickly proven to be accurate when Harry looked at her as she walked into the kitchen. His eyes always seemed to brighten when she entered a room, she had to admit. It was like her presence was enough to make him happy, regardless of what else was going on. But this time, Harry’s gaze was slightly different, and Ginny resisted the urge to puff her chest out as Harry’s eyes raked up and down her body, clearly enjoying the view. Ginny suspected that was a product of the electric kiss they’d shared yesterday in her bedroom, but she didn’t care. It felt good for her boyfriend to look at her like she was the only one he desired.

But Merlin, he either had a death wish or was braver than he thought to be looking at her like that in front of four of her brothers and her parents. He seemed oblivious to everyone but her, and Ginny thought he deserved a reward for that look he was giving her. She sashayed up to him, ignoring her family, and kissed him quickly before sitting down, enjoying the view of Harry in a fitted red t-shirt and jeans, cooking breakfast for the family. Charlie was glaring daggers at him, and Ginny suspected that was more for the way Harry had been looking at her than the kiss they’d shared.

Breakfast was served soon after, and everyone began eating ravenously, a tradition in the Weasley household. Nobody mentioned it, but Ginny knew that they were all aware that George was skipping breakfast like he’d skipped dinner the night before. As everyone finished eating, Ginny fixed another full plate of food. She noticed Percy giving her a quizzical look from across the table.

“It’s for George,” she explained.

Percy and several other members of her family nodded. Ginny took the plate upstairs on a tray with a cup of juice. She set it outside the door to Percy’s room and knocked on the door. “I’m leaving you some breakfast out here. You don’t have to come out and see us if you don’t want to, but don’t starve yourself, Georgie.” She waited a moment, thinking that using her old nickname for George might get his attention, but she heard nothing from beyond the closed door, so she walked back downstairs, a little disappointed but understanding of her brother isolating himself.

The family had slowly started dispersing. Bill and Fleur left to go to Shell Cottage for the day and make sure everything was still in order there. Hermione and Ron had gone outside, while Charlie, Percy, Molly, and Arthur were in the living room. Looking for Harry, she found him washing dishes, by hand, in the kitchen.

“You know we have magic for that, right?” she asked teasingly.

“Yeah. I’ve just never practised any of those spells your mum uses. Besides, it relaxes me.”

“Washing dishes relaxes you?” Ginny asked. Harry nodded, scrubbing a pan vigorously.

“You could’ve asked for some help at least,” Ginny commented.

Harry shook his head. “Your family offered, but I told them not to worry about it. Believe me, I’ve washed plenty of dishes by myself,” he chuckled.

Ginny frowned, knowing that the only place he would’ve ever washed dishes was his Aunt and Uncle’s house. She started to ask him about it, but he did look rather calm washing the dishes, and she didn’t want to take that away from him by asking questions that he wouldn’t like answering. Instead, she did the last thing she would’ve done if one of her brothers had been in Harry’s place. She picked up a towel and helped him, drying all the dishes he washed. Harry just smiled at her as she took up her post next to him.

“What?” she asked.

“It’s nothing,” Harry said. Ginny gave him a look to show that she didn’t believe him, and Harry continued, “It’s just- I dunno. You didn’t even ask if I needed help. You just saw that you could help. I’m not really used to that, I guess.”

Ginny smiled up at Harry. “You’re lucky. I wouldn’t be doing it for anyone else, but like I’ve said before, you make me behave very irrationally sometimes.”

Harry laughed and they washed dishes together in peace. Nearing the end of the pile, Harry suddenly spoke. “This is something normal couples do, right? Washing dishes together?”

Ginny thought about it. “I’m not sure. I suppose it’s pretty normal for Muggles, but I’d imagine most witches and wizards just use charms to wash their dishes.”

“They’re missing out,” Harry said. “But this… it feels normal to me.”

Ginny nodded, understanding the feeling. Magic was easier, but there was something very tangible and real about working side-by-side like this, even on something as mundane as washing dishes.

They finished washing dishes, and Harry took a stack that Ginny had dried, turning to put them in a cabinet. While he was looking away, Ginny grabbed a handful of soap suds from the sink. As he turned back to her, she threw the suds at him. They covered his glasses and dripped down his shirt. His mouth widened in surprise, but Ginny started laughing so hard that he couldn’t help but laugh. They were laughing for a while before they calmed down and Harry wiped the suds from his glasses. He walked over to the sink, took two handfuls of suds, and Ginny saw what was coming before he could make a move on her.

She ducked under his arm, swifter in tight spaces than he was, and ran out the back door and into the orchard. Unfortunately for her, Harry had the longer legs, and he was faster. He caught up to her, throwing his soapy hands around her midsection and pulling her into him. But Ginny stumbled as she slowed quickly, and both her and Harry fell in a heap on the grass, rolling until they slowed to a stop, with Ginny laying on top of Harry. They were both laughing so hard that they almost didn’t notice the fall.

Finally, Ginny took a breath and looked down at her shirt, which now bore two large handprints on her stomach. She looked at Harry, miming pouting, and said, “Look what you did to my favourite shirt.”

Harry grinned. “Hey, that’s my favourite shirt too.”

Ginny cocked her head, playing with him. “Oh really? And why is that?”

“Well, the colour goes really well with your hair. And I like that I can see a little bit of your stomach at the bottom of it when you move in the right way. And- well, there’s that,” he said, gesturing to her shirt stretched across her chest. It probably was a little too small, but it made Ginny feel like she looked good, something Harry was clearly in agreement with.

“Good answer,” Ginny said, grinning as she raised her arms, miming stretching and giving him a good view of the pale skin of her stomach. His eyes looked hungrily at that exposed skin, and when Ginny let her hands down, covering the skin again, that hungry look shifted to her eyes and lips. Ginny was suddenly very aware that she was sitting on Harry’s lap, and there wasn’t anyone around who could disturb them right now. Giving Harry a seductive look, she slowly leaned down to kiss him.

“Ginny! Harry!” The couple was interrupted by Molly calling for them from the doorstep of the Burrow. Ginny groaned and settled for kissing Harry quickly before rolling off of him.

“One sec,” Harry said, still staring at her.

“Same issue as yesterday?” Ginny asked, grinning.

He nodded. “I can’t help it. My body clearly thinks you’re really hot or something.”

Ginny laughed and swatted his arm. “As long as I’m the only one your body responds to like that, I don’t mind it at all.”

“Why would I look at anyone else when I’m with the most beautiful witch in the world?” Harry asked sincerely. Ginny just smiled wider, kissing him again before standing up. She reached out a hand to help him up, and, apparently satisfied with his current condition, he took her hand and stood. They walked back together to the Burrow and were surprised to find two new faces in the living room.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG

Harry’s hand was halfway to his wand before he realised that the woman sitting in front of him wasn’t Bellatrix Lestrange. He’d met Andromeda Tonks once before, and he’d been taken aback by her similarity to her sister then too. Next to him, Ginny sucked in a quick breath seeing Mrs. Tonks. Harry squeezed her hand, and Ginny exhaled, looking calmer.

“Believe me, I wish I could look less like my sister. Then people would stop getting scared every time they see me,” Mrs. Tonks said with a kind smile.

When she smiled, any similarity to Bellatrix vanished instantly. Harry suddenly realised, as the initial surprise wore off, that she was also holding a baby. Even though Harry had never met him before, he knew this was Teddy Lupin. His godson. That realisation hit him like a ton of bricks. In the heat of the days leading up to the battle and the events following, Harry had completely forgotten that Remus had asked him to be Teddy’s godson.

“Is that-” Harry began, but couldn’t seem to get the words out.

Mrs. Tonks nodded. “This is Teddy Lupin.”

Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand tightly as they both stared at the baby in her arms. He was sleeping, but Harry could see a tuft of blue hair peeking out from underneath the blanket. Harry slowly sat down with Ginny on the couch, not taking his eyes off the baby.

“Do you know-” he began, peeling his eyes from Teddy to look at Mrs. Tonks. Once again, he found that he couldn’t get the words out.

“That you two are Teddy’s godparents? Of course I do,” Andromeda said like that was common knowledge.

Harry’s jaw dropped as he turned to look at Ginny, who was mirroring his expression.

“You’re Teddy’s godfather?” she asked.

“You’re Teddy’s godmother?” Harry asked at the same time.

“Oh, I guess you didn’t know,” Andromeda commented.

Harry shook his head. “When did they ask you?” Harry asked Ginny.

“Tonks asked me when we were in the Room of Requirement before…” Ginny trailed off, not wanting to finish that sentence. Harry knew why. That was likely the last conversation Ginny had ever had with Tonks, mere hours before Tonks died defending Hogwarts. Harry nodded, squeezing her hand once more.

Blinking away tears that were clearly threatening to fall, Ginny asked, “What about you?”

“Remus came to Shell Cottage the night Teddy was born, and he asked me.”

“I can’t believe they didn’t tell us that we were both godparents,” Ginny said, shaking her head.

“They probably wanted us to find out after… everything, when we were back together,” Harry suggested.

Andromeda interjected, “At least that part of their plan worked.”

Harry smiled sadly at her. “I suppose it did.” His expression turned more concerned as he realised that he didn’t know anything about babies. “Is Teddy staying with you?”

Andromeda chuckled, a sound Harry found to be quite relaxing. “Yes, Teddy will be living with me. You won’t have to worry about taking care of a baby by yourself. You can learn if you’d like, of course. I know you’re both still so young and don’t necessarily want to be tied down by anything. I just wanted the two of you to meet Teddy and tell you that you’re both welcome to be in his life as much as you want.”

Harry answered without thinking. “I’ll be there, as much as possible. I didn’t have a lot of time with my godfather, but they were some of the best times of my life. I want to be able to give Teddy all of that without him having to worry that I might leave or he might not see me much.”

“That makes two of us,” Ginny chimed in. “Tonks is like a sister to me. I’d do anything for her and for Teddy.”

They smiled shyly at each other as they realised they’d both promised to be there for Teddy, together, for their whole lives. Andromeda smiled softly at them. “I think Remus and Nymphadora made an excellent decision when they chose the two of you to be his godparents. Would you like to hold him?”

Harry nodded tentatively, wanting to but unsure how. Seeing his trepidation, Andromeda brought Teddy to Harry. “Hold your left arm out like you’re about to hold a Quaffle.” Harry raised an eyebrow but did as he was told. Andromeda slowly lowered Teddy into his arm. “Now wrap the other arm around him, and support his head in the crook of your arm.” Harry followed her instructions and was surprised to find that it actually felt natural to hold Teddy like this.

“I’ll give the three of you some time to get to know each other,” Andromeda said, walking into the kitchen.

Harry stared down at the tiny baby in his arms. He was so small, it almost surprised Harry, who hadn’t ever really been around babies before. Harry had been right before-Teddy’s hair was definitely very blue, and he suspected that Teddy had inherited his mother’s gift as a Metamorphmagus. It was too early to tell, in Harry’s opinion, which of the two parents Teddy would resemble more, but regardless, even Harry had to admit that Teddy was a very cute baby.

After holding him for a while, Harry realised that Ginny had been staring at him without saying a word. He made eye contact with her and nodded down towards Teddy, wordlessly asking if she wanted a turn holding him. Ginny eagerly nodded, and she took Teddy with a much more familiar and calm touch than Harry had. Quickly, she had Teddy tucked in her arms as she peered down at him, cooing and making faces at him as he dozed back to sleep.

Harry inhaled sharply, as he watched Ginny with Teddy. It was beautiful, seeing how she was caring for this baby, and in his mind, Harry started imagining her caring for more babies, only instead of blue hair, these babies had black or red hair. He was very confused, truthfully. He’d only just begun wrapping his mind around the fact that he actually had a future with her now, and now he was imagining having babies with her? Bloody hell, there’s no way that was normal for a relationship.

Ginny looked up at him and smiled softly. Harry thought she’d never been prettier than in that moment. He wasn’t sure how long they’d stayed there, looking at each other and Teddy, sharing what felt like a premonition for their future as a couple, but they looked up when Molly walked in with Andromeda. Molly took one look at the two of them, Ginny holding Teddy while Harry had an arm wrapped around her, both looking down at Teddy, and she started crying while smiling at them.

Bewildered, Harry looked at Ginny, who rolled her eyes at her mum’s behaviour. “We’re just godparents, Mum, not real parents.”

Andromeda smiled, but she looked teary-eyed as well. “It’s better she gets prepared now, Ginny. One day, you’ll have children, and it’ll be hard enough on your mother even without her being used to the idea of it. At least with Teddy, she’ll have a little practice.”

Harry was still a little distracted by his daydreams, and he didn’t really process anything that was being said until Molly took Teddy into the kitchen. Andromeda was now alone with Harry and Ginny, and she looked much sadder than she’d seemed before now. Not that Harry could blame her. The war had stolen more from her than most people. She’d lost her sisters to darkness a long time ago, her husband had died a couple months ago, and now she’d lost her only child and son-in-law. Teddy truly was all that she had left.

“I actually wanted to ask you both- and of course, I’d understand if you didn’t want to, but I wanted to ask. Tomorrow… I think they’d want the two of you to speak,” Andromeda said, not really looking at them or anything in particular.

Harry grimaced. He’d known that there would be funerals, but he’d wanted to forget just how close they were to the reality of the situation. Lupin and Tonks’ funeral was tomorrow, and that was just the start of all the funerals Harry planned on attending in the next week and a half. Honestly, it made him feel sick thinking about speaking at their funeral because he still blamed himself for their death, blamed himself for Teddy being an orphan, doomed to a lifetime of not knowing his parents, like Harry had been.

Well, not exactly like Harry had been. Teddy would have people, his grandmother and now his godparents, who would tell him exactly who his parents were. And as difficult as it would be for Harry, he felt he at least owed it to Remus and Tonks. Because Mrs. Tonks was right. They picked Harry and Ginny to be Teddy’s godparents. Of course they would’ve wanted them to speak at their funeral if they could’ve asked.

Harry nodded. “I- I’ll do it, definitely. Thank you for asking, Mrs. Tonks.”

He looked over at Ginny, expecting to see her nodding in agreement, but she wasn’t looking at him or Andromeda. She looked like she was in another place, and Harry wrapped his arm around her, recognising the signs of being stuck in a memory when a tear rolled down Ginny’s cheek.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG

Tonks had come in after everyone had left Ginny alone in the Room of Requirement. Ginny jumped up, eager to hug the friend she hadn’t seen in months. Tonks returned the hug, smiling even though she looked distracted. Ginny suddenly remembered.

“Tonks, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with Teddy?”

Tonks looked at her, surprised. “What, and let my husband do all the heroic fighting? I thought you knew me better than that, Ginny.”

Ginny laughed then, feeling more secure knowing that Tonks was with her. “You’re right, I shouldn’t have assumed.” She was intrigued, then, to see Tonks pull up a chair and sit down.

“You know the fight’s gonna be outside right?” Ginny asked.

Tonks nodded, rolling her eyes. “I promised Remus I wouldn’t come tonight. I’m waiting in here, just in case…” she trailed off. Ginny nodded, knowing exactly what in case meant. In case this was it, Hogwarts would need every defender it could get.

“And why aren’t you out there?” Tonks asked.

“My parents didn’t want me to… and Harry agreed with them,” Ginny answered, still angry about the situation.

“You saw Harry?” Tonks asked.

Ginny nodded. “He barely even acted like he knew me though. Just told me to sit tight while they go and risk their lives.”

Tonks looked at her sadly. “I’m sure he was ecstatic to see you, but he’s got way too much on his plate to think about anything else right now. Truth is, Ginny, he cares about you more than anyone else in this castle. Why else would he have wanted you to stay safe up here? He needs you to be safe.”

“What happened to not letting the man do all the heroic fighting?” Ginny challenged, feeling a little better hearing Tonks’ explanation but annoyed it hadn’t come from Harry instead.

Tonks shrugged. “Look at me, not practising what I preach. I do have a feeling though, Ginny… we’re all going to be fighting tonight.” Ginny nodded, feeling the tingling anticipation as her adrenaline had been spiking for the past hour, since they’d heard that Harry was at Hogwarts.

“Actually, there was something I was meaning to ask you. Wish I could’ve done it at a better time, but here we are. Remus and I want you to be Teddy’s godmother,” Tonks said, smiling at Ginny.

Ginny’s eyes widened. “Godmother? But I don’t know anything about raising a baby!”

Tonks chuckled. “I don’t think a lot of godparents do. Besides, that’s what Remus and I are there for. We just want to know that someone who cares about us will also be there to care for Teddy, just in case…”

In case this was the end for one or both of them. In case Teddy was a war orphan, like Harry in the first war.

Ginny finally smiled at Tonks, doing her best not to think about the ‘just in cases’ that could happen. She hugged her friend again. “I’ll always be there for him, Tonks… and for you,” she promised.

Tonks smiled at her, one last time. “I know, Ginny.”


Ginny sucked in a breath, seeing Harry’s bright green eyes looking at her, incredibly concerned. Seeing her blink, Harry exhaled a breath he seemed to have been holding for a while. “Are you okay?” Harry asked quietly. Ginny started to nod but changed her mind, shaking her head as she remembered where she was. She saw Andromeda looking at her, looking just as concerned as Harry.

“I’m sorry,” Ginny said. “It’s just… I was thinking about when Tonks asked me to be Teddy’s godmother.”

Harry frowned, clearly knowing that meant she was thinking about the last time she’d ever talked to Tonks. “That’s okay, Ginny,” Andromeda assured her. “I keep having moments like that too, and I don’t blame you if it’s too much to speak at the funeral.”

Ginny shook her head quickly. “I want to do it. I want to speak at the- at the funeral.”

Andromeda nodded. “Thank you both. I- well, it’s no secret that they were incredibly fond of both of you, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.”

Ginny and Harry both smiled at her, and they all sat in silence for a while, lost in their own memories of Remus and Tonks. Molly came in after a while, and Andromeda took Teddy back from her gratefully.

“Will you stay for dinner, Andromeda?” Molly asked.

She shook her head. “I need to get this one home,” she said sadly, and Ginny knew this was going to be a very difficult night for her.

Molly nodded, understanding the situation as well. “Of course. Soon though, you’ll have to come for dinner.” Andromeda merely nodded, looking almost lost in her thoughts as Molly walked her out the door.

A moment later, Molly was back, smiling at Ginny and Harry, who were still sitting on the couch. “So, you two have been together for four days, and now you have a baby?” she asked teasingly.

“Five days,” Harry corrected her.

“Almost a year,” Ginny corrected both of them, remembering how she’d told Harry they weren’t ever broken up. Harry smiled at her as Molly narrowed her eyes, still looking at the two of them.

“Of course, this doesn’t mean the two of you need to start thinking about children,” she said, looking pointedly at Ginny.

Harry’s jaw dropped slightly as Ginny groaned. “Mum, would you please relax? He’s seventeen, I’m sixteen. We’re not thinking about having kids at all. But we did promise we’d be there for Teddy, and it’s going to be even easier when we’re doing it together.”

“I understand dear, I just want to make sure the two of you aren’t taking things too fast,” Molly said as if this was reassuring.

Ginny rolled her eyes, standing up and pulling Harry towards the door. “We’re going at the right speed for us, Mum,” Ginny said as she pulled an apologetic Harry outside onto the porch. They sat on the swinging bench her dad had hung when Ginny was little, holding hands but not talking.

“Sorry about Mum,” Ginny finally said, still annoyed that her mother would embarrass her like that in front of Harry.

Harry chuckled. “It’s okay. It was awkward, but it was kind of nice, I think. I dunno why she thinks we’d be thinking of having kids; we’re gonna have our hands full with Teddy from the looks of it.”

Ginny smiled at him, and for a brief moment, she wondered what hers and Harry’s baby would look like. Shaking herself out of visions of a green-eyed, red-haired baby, she gazed out towards the slowly setting sun. She didn’t know when it happened, but she felt tears running down her cheeks. Harry was looking at her, but instead of pity, Ginny just saw love in his eyes, even if he hadn’t told her as much. Ginny realised then what was making her cry.

She burrowed her head into his chest as he held her, sobs racking her body. Somehow she choked out, “I promised her.” Harry hugged her tighter. “I promised- I- I’d always… be there for her.”’

Harry just held her as she cried endlessly, mourning the loss of her sister, wishing she could talk to her just one more time.

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*

A/N: For a shorter chapter, I was a little surprised reading back through to see just how much happened in it. There is a lot of setup for future events and storylines in this chapter, which sort of lay the foundation for a significant part of Harry and Ginny’s story.

First, I want to make it clear that I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on mental health or panic attacks or anything like that. I did extensive research on the topic in order to try to make Harry’s attack something that was both realistic and reasonable for him. It’s honestly a miracle that he hadn’t had anything quite like that to this point. I’ll be up front and say that this wasn’t the last panic attack he’s going to have, but something I wanted to emphasise in this story is that it doesn’t make him weak, even if he might feel a little bit like that right now.

Something else I’ve already mentioned is that using Ginny’s memories as a storytelling mechanism allows me to do a lot to craft her story in places where Harry wasn’t involved, so they don’t show up in canon. I’ve always felt like Tonks would’ve made a great sister figure for Ginny, who grew up with six older brothers, and it was an absolute joy to write several memories of Tonks, both in this chapter and future chapters, although it is also really sad, knowing that they’re just memories for Ginny.
In that same vein, her memories allow me to justify her being named Teddy’s godmother. To me, it was kind of crazy to imagine Harry being Teddy’s godfather as a seventeen year old without anyone other than Andi to help, and it makes perfect sense that Tonks and Lupin would’ve wanted Harry and Ginny to be his godparents. Obviously, Teddy is going to be a very important part of their lives moving forward, and in my humble opinion, it’s beautiful to see how they grow into their roles of caring for and loving him throughout this story.

I also want to make a note about both Bill and Charlie. In a lot of ways, Bill is one of the most intelligent and empathetic characters in this story, someone I think Harry desperately needs in his life. My reasoning for Bill understanding panic attacks is that he’s older, has plenty of experience, and is very knowledgeable about both the wizarding and Muggle worlds. It may not be a perfect explanation, but it feels reasonable enough to me. But the really fun foil to Bill is Charlie, who has been one of my favourite characters to write. We don’t see very much of Charlie or his characterisation in canon, but I think anyone who moves across a continent at the age of sixteen to work with dragons has to be pretty tough and hardened, and he’s definitely not going to take it easy on his baby sister’s boyfriend, even if he is the Saviour of the Wizarding World!

One final note for this chapter- in Deathly Hallows, when Ginny kisses Harry on his birthday, Harry has a thought about how he’s grateful that Ginny is strong and not weepy. She definitely is incredibly strong, but she does have feelings, and she does cry. She’s got plenty of reasons to cry, and, like Harry’s panic attacks not negating his strength, Ginny and Harry crying doesn’t take anything away from their characters. In fact, I’d argue that it adds a lot of depth to their characters. I honestly don’t know if that’s an atypical approach to characterising all of them, but that’s the only way I could write them, knowing how much they’ve been through.

And that’ll do it for I’ll Be There! I hope you all enjoyed the first full chapter at the Burrow, and I am sorry that our characters have more difficult times ahead of them. They’ve been able to make it through the first couple days, but their grief and outrage at everything that’s happened is going to come to the forefront of their lives as the funerals begin.

Coming Tuesday: Honouring Friends- “I am fucking pissed off that there are families that won’t ever be whole again because some evil people decided that they got to choose whose lives mattered and whose didn’t.”

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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