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Brass Monkeys
By Spenser Hemmingway

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Category: Alternate Universe, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Challenge (2008-1)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley
Genres: Comedy, Humor, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 9
Summary: ** Winner (a tie) of Creative Adaptation in the Baby, It’s Cold Outside Challenge **
Harry has plans for the evening; very detailed plans involving a certain pretty redhead, a good bottle of wine and a special song they’ve come to love. Unfortunately for Harry, the best laid plans of mice and Wizards don’t always take cold weather into account.
Hitcount: Story Total: 5856



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
The title for this story is taken from the expression Colder than a brass monkey. Another one that I’ve heard compares the cold to a certain part of a Witch, and it’s offensive to them and to me. We all know that the girls in this story are the warmest of people, even if their feet might not be on a wintry night. Baby, It’s Cold Outside was written by Frank Loesser in 1944; The Man I Love was written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1946; Play that Funky Music was written by Robert Parissi in 1976.




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Brass Monkeys

By Spenser Hemmingway


“We all do 'do, re, mi,' but you have got to find
the other notes yourself.”
–Louis Armstrong



“Hysteria Lodge is in eastern British Columbia; elevation seven thousand four hundred and twenty feet and located between the Purcell Mountains and the western Rocky Mountains. It is near the headwaters of your Columbia River, a number of excellent fishing locations, and, I also recall, it is not far from some wonderful hot springs. The inn is in a secluded valley that is only accessible by Witches and Wizards…oh, and a wide variety of wildlife know they are safe from hunters there. It was built in 1855 by a group of beer-brewing elves…artesians I believe they’re called…and has been owned and operated by the Tuttlesnuff family for generations.

“The lodge is of a moderate size, with only ten guestrooms, but with an excellent kitchen and a fabulous view in all directions. It is only a short drive or broom ride from a magical Gate located near Canada’s Banff National Park.”


Luna’s description from The Best of Times.


*****



“Why sir! Are you trifling with my affections? I’ll have you know that I’m a respectable, upright young lady!”

“While I madam am a pillar of gentlemanly virtue. I would never do anything to besmirch your honor, or to force myself upon your chaste spirit.”

“Chaste? As in how you chased me about your cabin here a few minutes ago? My, my, my…there’s nothing more dangerous than a boy with charm. I am fully aware of your roguish reputation. Please know that a simple scream would bring about my immediate rescue and strong retribution upon you my good man.”

Roguish reputation? Me? Someone was spreading rumors. Believe me; I’m completely harmless. Just ask the thirty or forty girls with whom I’ve been out this month. Well, maybe not Agatha Louise Fizzlebluffer. Her father had that ridiculous warrant sworn out against me, and for what? I swear it wasn’t me in the linen closet with her that evening.”

Ginny softly laughed at Harry’s joke just as he had at her part. The two had been playing the roles of lecherous wolf and innocent maiden since a certain Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong song had come over the Muggle radio and inspired their mischief. While the resort was strictly for the use of Witches and Wizards, the device was one of several non-magical conveniences that the managers Norbert and Norwich Bates allowed on site. Supposedly their cousin Norman, who ran a motel of his own, had suggested much of it.

Ginny pulled Harry closer, and began nuzzling his shoulder with her forehead. Together they swayed to the light jazz tune that was playing, not really dancing but rather just enjoying the long embrace they shared. Both could feel the heat from the other’s body and appreciated its warming effect. Despite the nice fire Harry had built, the cabin was rather chilly. It gave them a wonderful reason to snuggle closer as they moved back and forth, not going anywhere and not at all concerned with doing so.

♫ “I really can’t stay,” Ginny began; imitating the earlier song.

♫ “Ginny it’s cold outside.”

♫ “I’ve got to go away.”

♫ “But Ginny it’s cold outside.”

Song or not, they both realized that this was a sound, accurate observation. Harry, Ginny and a few of us from the peanut gallery had arrived that morning to sub-zero temperatures. The Rocky Mountains valley had just had a new and very deep coating of power snow deposited on it over the previous few days. It was a magnificent scene, but, at the same time, a frigid one. Hermione had had to act quickly when poor Neville accepted a double dog dare from the bellhop and touched his tongue to… Well, maybe I should spare my friend’s feelings, and leave out that part of this story.

Harry paused for a moment in mid-sway as an especially strong gust of wind passed overhead. The snow was magically removed from all the roofs each morning and evening, but enough had been replaced to where it should have offered a stronger sound dampening. The half-dozen cabins were a newer addition to the lodge complex, and they were solidly built. Harry knew it would take a lot more than what he was hearing outside to harm any of them.

The short vacation, after a very chaotic Christmas, was a welcome break from the pressures back in Hogsmeade. Thinking back over the past few months, it had been one crisis after another. We all really needed to get away for a time…all of us. Harry hadn’t even objected to having Ginny’s parents accompany the group. It made matters far simpler in a way. Besides, the Weasleys were staying in the lodge proper, and the cabins were not just away from that structure, they were spaced far enough apart from each other to ensure perfect privacy.

“This evening has been…” Ginny began again, singing more than saying it.

“…been hoping that you’d drop in,” Harry countered. He was pleased and slightly amazed that he had remembered the lyrics. He wondered how often he had heard the song before. The Dursleys hated jazz, preferring instead very loud polka music. That was probably one of the reasons why they rarely entertained visitors, especially house-elves. Polka turns the little folks violently maniacal. Accordions are frequently burned during elfin holiday celebrations.

“I was going to say that it’s been so very nice,” Ginny continued, once again in character. “My mother will start to worry.”

“Beautiful words you’re humming.”

“Why was I humming, as if I knew…? And father will be pacing the floor.”

“Listen to the fireplace… Hold on! Wait Ginny…wait. Do you hear it? Listen.” Harry gently pulled away from her, rushed to the window, and threw back the oversize curtains. The sky was clearing a bit and the full moon illuminated the entire landscape, but still he couldn’t determine what it was he heard. “Ginny, I think we have to break from the song for a bit.” He spoke slowly but his mind was racing. “That wasn’t the fire I heard roaring.”

Bam, bam, bam! came a loud pounding at the door. Clearly it was as much to announce an interruption as it was to get Harry and Ginny’s attention. Someone must have thought the two of them might be…occupied. Bam, bam, bam! Ginny threw on a long coat, turned off the radio and moved to the warmth of the fire before motioning for Harry to open the door.

“Ron? What in the name of pickled possum rinds are you doing here?” Harry almost yelled as his best friend darted through the door, and then instantly slammed it shut again. Ron resembled the Yeti they had helped to get a Las Vegas dance audition the year before. Ron was coated white, and in need of a large application of antifreeze.

“Crikey Harry…it’s cold outside!”

“So, I’ve been told,” Ginny said, trying not to laugh at her brother’s appearance and unintended joke.

“Ron, now is not a good time.”

“You’re telling me? Hermione’s back at the other cabin, and she’s wearing…her birthday present from me.” Knowing what it was, Harry’s eyes got wide at the revelation, and Ginny couldn’t hold in her laughter any longer. The picture in her mind was too incredible. “The Bates brothers came and got me. I don’t know if you heard. There’ve been a couple small avalanches nearby, and they’re worried about a bigger one coming down on all of us.”

“Aren’t they prepared for that?” Ginny asked. “Heavy snowfalls should be fairly common up here.”

“Nothing like this they said. This is a record snow in this valley half again over.”

“Ron what do they want us to do about it?” Harry thought he already knew the answer.

“Well, it seems that a controlled blast at a few spots they’ll show us can start some smaller slides and take the pressure off the hill.”

“They don’t have anyone working here who knows how to fly a broom and use a wand?”

“I’m sorry Harry. Most of their staff is gone for the winter to Bermuda. That’s how we got almost the entire place to ourselves for the week. They said that the only person fit to do it was their bellhop. He’s down with bronchitis now after spending the afternoon trussed up atop the flagpole by his knickers.” Ron had a sympathetic expression, but there was a hint of a smile as well.

Harry didn’t like it. He didn’t like it even a little bit, and neither did Ginny. The two had an exceptional evening planned. Once again fate had stepped in and threw them a curveball. It wasn’t fair, but they both knew what he had to do.

♫ “Ginny, I really must go.”

♫ “Harry it’s cold outside.”

♫ “I can’t say no.”

♫ “Harry it’s cold outside.”

“That’s putting it lightly,” Ron said. He checked himself when he saw that he had intruded into something special between his sister and best friend. “Look…I could always go and rouse Spenser to help me. He does own this place after all. I mean, what’s the worst that could…”

“I’ve got your parka Harry!” Ginny called out, darting across the room to him with it. Harry met her halfway.

No, I wasn’t insulted. I was curled up in my own cabin with… No, we’ll just leave it at that.


*****



The task at hand was delicate, but at the same time fairly simple Harry decided– so naturally I would have ended up destroying our hotel if I’d helped. Ron and he delivered a series of strong magical hexes at several locations, all perhaps a third of a way up the mountain. Each of these resulted in the intended miniature avalanches, which in turn helped prevent the big one. Each time they would pull their brooms far into the sky, enduring the icy winds so they could better observe the results. After maybe a half-hour both Wizards were satisfied that the lodge was safe for the time being, and there would be no problem with returning to their toasty fires. Harry brought the borrowed broom right down to his cabin’s front porch, leapt from it, and was through the door faster than I can describe it to you here.

Ginny sat at the edge of the bed, still in her coat and with a patient smile as she watched Harry defrost himself. He really looked far worse than her brother had earlier. As much as she loved Harry, Ginny cringed at the thought of those cold hands.

“Is it darker in here or is it me?” he asked after a minute or two.

“These Muggle electrical toys are certainly entertaining Harry. You see that little round thing on the wall. If you rotate it, you can dim the lights. My dad is probably having all sorts of fun with those in their suite.”

“Ah your parents… We can’t forget about them, can we? I imagine young miss that you feel an overpowering need to flee from my arms to the protection of your mother and father.” Ginny could see that Harry had once again slipped into his seductive wolf characterization.

♫ “I simply must go.”

♫ "Ginny it’s cold outside.”

♫ “The answer is no. Eeek! Your hands Harry!”

“Oh…sorry Ginny.”

“Well, maybe half a drink more.” She smiled at Harry and he didn’t fail to notice that she hadn’t missed a step in her act.

“Put some records on while I pour.” Harry started to open the small bottle of red wine they had brought from the lodge. He watched as Ginny stepped over to the radio, turned it on, and then jumped at the sound.”

“There was dancing, and singing, and moving to the grooving…”

“Great Gadfrey’s goat warts!” Harry suddenly screamed and brought his wand to bear on the radio. In his haste, the wine went sailing from his hand and crashed to the floor.

“And just when it hit me, somebody turned around and shouted, play that funky music…”♫

Boom!
A single blue bolt transformed the small stereo unit into a mess of tiny bits of wires, plastic and metal. Ginny could just stare at it wide-eyed for a full minute.

“Uhm…Harry, may I assume that your opinion of disco music corresponds with the house-elves’ one of polka?”

Harry could just give the girl a sheepish look as he cleaned up the messes with two flicks of his wand. Another softly-worded spell transformed their decanter of water into pumpkin juice. Out of respect, most Wizards and Witches avoid the water-into-wine trick. Harry poured two glasses, and stepped over to her, still embarrassed about what he had done. Ginny refused to let it all ruin their moment. Taking a sip, she pretended it was the finest beverage she had ever sampled.

♫ “The neighbors might think… Say what’s in this drink?”

♫ “Ginny it’s bad out there.” Harry realized that his face had finally melted and was actually tingling.

♫ “I wish I knew how…” she continued.

♫ “Your eyes are like starlight now.”

♫ “…to break the spell.”

“I’ll take your hat, your… Oh, blast it all! I forgot the next line.” They both started laughing and knew it didn’t matter. The mood was back. “What are you going to tell your parents?”

Ginny stepped in close to him once again, took a moment to ensure his hands had warmed, and then initiated another long hug. “I’ll tell them the truth.”

“Huh? I really don’t know if I’m comfortable with your describing my working to seduce you Ginny.” She didn’t have to look up to know he was grinning at her.

“Really? Why not? I suppose I could just bring up Ron’s and your little trip out into the weather. They’ll understand that. I could also say …”

Bam, bam, bam, bam!

“Oh, for the love of hedgehog stew with orange gravy! Please don’t ask Ginny. The flippin’ lodge had better be on fire if they’re interrupting us again!” Harry directed it more at the door than toward Ginny (who was actually in full agreement).

“Neville?” they both howled at their friend as Harry pulled open the cabin door.

“Harry come quickly! The flippin’ lodge is on fire. Someone let Mr. Weasley play with a Muggle toaster!”

“Yes Harry, we now have yet another plausible explanation for why our evening is so long,” Ginny softly said as she covered her face with both hands, and again tried not to laugh.


*****



If the truth be told, and I’ve been known to occasional do that, Neville had really overreacted to the small blaze. Ron, Brandon Llewellyn, and I had it under control before Harry and he even reached the inn’s kitchen area. Both helped us extinguish the last smoking bagels and do a cursory cleaning. One thing was for sure. My insurance rates were going to go up the way the night was progressing.

Harry was not in a good mood, but of course none of us really were for a variety of reasons. He mumbled something about a smashed bottle of wine and disco. He also asked one of the house-elves to fetch him another portable radio. Harry did take a couple minutes to help us pull an angry Molly Weasley off her husband, but, as soon as he received the replacement device, he stormed back out into the latest blizzard. We weren’t long behind him in returning to our own accommodations.

Because of the near whiteout conditions, it took Harry slightly longer to reach his cabin than he expected. He was silently practicing both his explanation and the apology to Ginny. Their wonderful evening hadn’t been. There was no one really to blame; he couldn’t bring himself to be upset with Arthur Weasley. It was all more frustrating than it was infuriating. He decided that he had maybe only one more chance to carry out his plans.

Pushing open the door, he was startled for a second when the wind jerked it out of his hands. Harry completely understood then why it was so difficult to reseal. For the second time that night, he moved to warm himself by their fire. He was pleased to see that Ginny had taken the time to keep it well-stoked. The light from under the door of their small bathroom told Harry where she was at the moment, and when Ginny emerged she was still wearing her long coat, with a mischievous smile to go with it.

Harry intentionally placed his hands as far into the fire as he safely could in order to warm them before moving to hold Ginny again.

“Now where were we my little mouse?”

In lieu of a real answer, Ginny pulled her wand from a deep pocket and aimed it at the outside door. As she chanted her spells, first a giant set of padlocks appeared, followed closely by three different heavy planks nailed in place. A wave of the wand slid a heavy chest in front of that, with their two easy chairs piled on top of it. A string of razor sharp concertina wire surrounded the whole arrangement. Finally three pre-set bear traps were laid out.

“That should delay your leaving again Mr. Potter. Let’s see…I simply must go.” Harry bit his tongue thinking how Ginny’s new verse contrasted with the obstacles she had just set in place.

♫ “Ginny it’s cold outside.”

♫ “The answer is no.”

♫ “Ginny it’s cold outside.”

♫ “My brother will be there at the door.”

“Not if Hermione has her way. Let’s see…waves upon something, something shore.”

“My uhm…Great Aunt Tessie’s mind is viscous? No vicious, that’s it.” Neither one cared that they were having a much harder time remembering their song.

♫ “Gosh, your lips are delicious.”

That ended their song parody again. Harry took Ginny by the shoulders, tightened their embrace, and shared a wonderful kiss with the girl confirming his last line. I could get all mushy and describe it to you in greater detail, but I’ll just leave this part to your imaginations. They did tell me later that it sent shivers up their backs (which wasn’t hard in that weather), and they could see flashing lights. I know this part was true because I saw the same thing in my cabin. The whole world got bright, flickered for a few seconds, and abruptly went dark.

“What in the name of Balkazan, the hereditary Dark prince of taffy-pullers is going on tonight?” Harry asked the world in his best aggravated voice.

“Harry, you’re spending entirely too much time around Spenser. His colorful language is seriously affecting your vocabulary.”

“He’s writing this story! That crazy American is probably inserting his own dialogue into it. I can’t believe it! Lumos! Their confounded Muggle generator went down. I’ll give them fifteen minutes before they’re pounding on our door again!”

“Oh no you don’t Harry! Do I need to conjure up more bear traps?”

In point of fact, it only took Brandon seven minutes before he was knocking at the cabin. It didn’t soothe matters at all that he, at least, didn’t try to smash it in with heavy banging the way the others had. Only Harry’s pleading look finally convinced Ginny to remove her obstacles to his leaving again. Of the three friends who had come for him that night, Brandon Llewellyn appeared to be the most apologetic.

“I’m really, really sorry Harry. Norwich Bates thought that since we grew up in Muggle homes, we’d be able to fix the generator together. My dad has a smaller one like it for his church.”

“Couldn’t it wait until morning?” Ginny asked.

“No…no, they installed a central heating system in the lodge when their basement dragon passed away two years ago. Only a couple of the guestrooms have fireplaces. Without electricity the whole building will literally be an icebox by morning.” Harry met Ginny’s gaze, made up his mind, and shook his head.

“No, I’m sorry Brandon. The Bates need to deal with this. Don’t they have a repairman on staff?”

“It’s that same bellhop. He drank five hot toddies for his cough. The last time they saw him, he was underneath a table in their lounge singing Beatles tunes…badly.” The big Welshman turned to go. He understood their reluctance since essentially the same things had been happening to him that evening. “I forgot to mention one little thing. Spenser was searching about for a toolbox and wanted to try his hand at working on it.”

“What?” Harry and Ginny shouted together. You see, I have this little history of problems when I’m around tools. It’s been totally blown out of proportion.

“Could you excuse us for a moment Brandon?” Ginny once again retrieved Harry’s parka and tossed it to him. “He will meet you outside in just a minute.” After their friend had left, Ginny put up a hand and motioned for Harry to wait. “The locks and traps didn’t work Harry, but maybe this second delaying tactic might. If you ever change your mind about leaving…leaving me behind again…Harry remember this.”

Ginny tugged on her coat’s belt, shrugged off the heavy cloak and allowed it to slowly drop to the floor. She was no longer wearing the frumpy flannel night shirt she’d had on earlier. I’ve obviously never seen it, but later she did describe the outfit as being very similar to Hermione’s birthday present. Harry walked to the door, opened it a crack and told Brandon that he would join up with him in five minutes… No, he had better make it ten.


*****



Harry had understood the first interruption. The potential avalanche had been a real emergency, and, except for the frostbite, windburn, and hypothermia he experienced, the broom ride had been no great deal. The second time they had been disturbed he became angry, and only the absurd expression on Mr. Weasley’s face kept him from blowing up at all of them; it really had been comical. This last time it had taken Brandon and him forty minutes to clear a clogged fuel line, to drain and replace the generator’s tainted diesel supply, restart the gas furnace, and, finally, to stop and untie me after they hid the tools. Slowly walking back through the blowing snow, what Harry felt inside was simple, absolute defeat.

Granted, they had the rest of the week to enjoy the resort, but only on that first night would Ginny and he be able to spend any real time alone together. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had been more than fantastic. It had actually been their idea that all the couples use the occasion for a quiet dinner off in those secluded cabins. Nothing had been said, merely implied that more than supper might occur. Now it was past nine o’clock at night, and the whole thing had been a disaster. Harry tucked his head and felt his shoulders sag as he let himself inside. He was a bit surprised that the only light in the room was now just from the fireplace.

“Harry come here.” Ginny was once again sitting on the edge of the bed, and still wearing the lacy thingy that she had modeled for him earlier. As he stepped up to her, she took his hands and squeezed both of them. He couldn’t bring himself to look her in the eyes yet. In the distance, he could hear the new Muggle radio softly playing another very beautiful jazz piece. She had found the same station they had enjoyed earlier.

“Ginny…”

“That’s our new song for the rest of the evening Harry. It’s Billy Holiday singing The Man That I Love. Come here.”

He finally allowed himself to look at her. She had her impish grin again, and when she lay back Harry understood how the roles of wolf and mouse had been reversed. He climbed there beside her, offered his own smile, and leaned in to kiss the girl.

Bam, bam, bam!

“Oh, for the bloody sake of two dozen grumpy green gargoyles! What is everyone trying to do to us here Harry!” In one fluid motion, she was on her feet, putting her coat back on, and brandishing her wand in what Harry decided was a very threatening…and very appropriate manner. He didn’t bother to mention her own unique phraseology this time.

“Ginny, I don’t think…” Her glare shut him up.

“We’ve been married for how many years now Harry? It’s wonderful when Mum and Dad can take the baby for an evening, or even a whole day, and I am astounded that they agreed to watch everyone’s children tonight, but I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve had such a fantastic opportunity as this was supposed to be.”

Bam, bam, bam!

“I have absolutely no idea how you and I were able to conceive little James! It’s an unqualified miracle that Ron and Hermione produced three boys over the years, and they’ve only been married a month longer than we have!”

“Ginny please calm down. I’m sure that whoever it is this has to be important. Wait one!” It was Harry’s turn to jump to his feet. “No, I’m sorry. I don’t care if it’s Merlin himself selling Wizard Scout cookies. Hmm, come to think of it I really do enjoy those peanut butter… What am I saying?”

Harry drew his own wand, but Ginny reached the door first and yanked it open. Instead of utilizing magic however, she delivered a powerful and well-aimed punch.


*****



When I got back to my own cabin, I found that Luna had already fallen asleep. After she asked me to tuck in our little boy for her, I guessed correctly that she wouldn’t last too much longer that evening. Nicholas and the other kids were camped out on the floor of the Weasleys’ large suite. He was out like a light before I even left the room.

Despite the minor problems we experienced, Luna and I actually had fewer interruptions than I knew Harry and Ginny did. Luna had been my best friend since the day I came to Hogwarts as an exchange student. She was why I stayed in Scotland. Harry and Ginny, however, were some of my oldest friends, as well as the source of a large number of my stories. I had to make it up to them, at least a little.

Luna and I had each enjoyed a glass of a wonderfully dry white wine the chef recommended. I also still had an unopened bottle of Burgundy, and I remembered something Harry said about having broken theirs. It was the perfect solution.

After I had bundled up under several layers, activated my electric blanket, and refilled the hot water bottles in my pockets, I carefully let myself out of the cabin and plodded off in the direction where I hoped the two still were. I knew Ginny had mentioned something about relieving her mother from part of the babysitting duty and keeping little James in their room with them for the night. Maybe they could at least have a nice glass of wine before returning to the lodge.

After stumbling about for ten minutes, I finally came across the cabin that I recognized as being theirs that evening. I couldn’t see anything through the heavily draped windows, and I knew better than to try eavesdropping at the door. That left knocking.

Bam, bam, bam! I wasn’t sure if they would hear me pounding like that with four sets of mittens on each hand. I still had to try. I waited what I thought to be maybe three or four minutes and tried again. Bam, bam, bam! They had to be inside; there was still a strong funnel of smoke coming from the chimney. I reached out to knock one more time, but the door flew open before I could.

Kapow! Something or someone made contact with my face and knocked me back into a snow bank.

“Hit him Ginny! One more time!” I heard Harry call out the door to her.

“Please don’t Ginny. I bear a gift…good wine.” She grabbed it from me and stepped back into the doorway.

“Spenser, you are horrible innkeeper!” she shouted in her friendliest voice. No…it wasn’t anywhere close to that.

“Guilty!” I said, knowing that the welfare of my poor jaw depended on my agreeing with her wholeheartedly.”

“If you were smart you would accept the Bates brothers’ offer and sell Hysteria Lodge to them,” she added.

“I already have. That’s part of the reason I was able to get such a great deal for us here on short notice.”

“Good!” She slammed the door, but then immediately reopened it. “Please tell my mother that we have changed our minds. Harry and I will be spending the night here after all. I’m sure that James will be fine with them. Thank her for us.”

The door closed again, but this time more gently. I had been dismissed. I wasn’t sure how or why, but as I stood up I swore I could hear jazz music from inside.


“Where could you be going?
When the wind is blowing,
And it’s cold outside?
Baby it’s cold, cold outside.”



*** **



There’s one more side note, and it’s partly personal. Nine months later, almost to the day, we welcomed into the world Albus Severus Potter, Matthew Lewis Longbottom, Brenda Kathlene Llewellyn, Jennifer Kaylee Hemmingway, and seriously threatening Ron’s family’s aversion to girls, triplets Rose, Violet, and Daisy Weasley (yes, poor Hermione). They were all born within minutes of each other.

After the midwife had downed a couple shots of firewhisky, we told her about that cold, stormy night nine months before when we were all snowbound in the mountains. She passed us the bottle.

Mischief managed!
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