Harry Apparates just as the Polyjuice Potion’s beginning to wear off; by the time he reaches the house, he feels like himself again, and he knows it’s worn off entirely. He puts his glasses on, takes his own wand out, and knocks.
The first thing Ginny says when she opens the door is, “I told you not to do anything stupid and heroic.”
“Make sure it’s really him,” Ron calls out from inside.
Ginny rolls her eyes. “Okay, fine. Harry. Why did you break up with me during my fifth year?”
Harry can feel a small smile at the corner of his lips. “For a stupid and heroic reason?” he says.
“Correct. Come in. Why the hell did you volunteer to attack me?” Ginny says, tossing her hair over her shoulder and all but stomping inside.
Harry follows her in dutifully, closing the door behind himself and pointing his wand at it to secure them.
“I can’t believe you,” Ginny says, before he can say anything. She seems to have worked herself up to an almost Molly-esque rage; Harry’s never felt fonder of her in his entire life.
“Hey. Gin,” he says.
She turns around and looks at him, eyes narrowed, arms crossed. “What?”
“Hi,&r dquo; Harry says. He takes a tiny step closer to her and leans down to kiss her. He can feel her relaxing into the kiss, and after a second, he dares to wrap his arms around her waist.
“You’re an idiot, you know,” she whispers when she pulls back from the kiss, but she looks a bit mollified now.
“I know,” Harry says. He can’t explain the feeling of being there, surrounded by Death Eaters, who talk about attacking Ginny as easily as if it means nothing at all. “I just… I couldn’t stand by and do nothing.”
Ginny sighs. “I know,” she says softly. “You wouldn’t be you if you could ignore that.”
Hermione approaches them, looking nervous. Harry hands her the Galleon, and she puts it away in the pocket of her robes. “Harry, thank heavens you’re back. I think we should go back to the safehouse after getting the babies from the Burrow. I don’t want to risk being compromised.”
George and Ron follow Hermione, and Ron fixes his gaze on Harry. They exchange a look. Ron raises his eyebrows. Harry shrugs in response.
“We need to go,” Ron says, and Harry nods.
“Where?” George asks.
“We, er,” Harry says, and then wraps his arm around Ginny’s waist. “We need to go make sure Malfoy and Astoria are alright.” He has to force himself to say the words. The last thing he wants right now is to leave Ginny’s aside. Hearing Lestrange and Avery speak about hurting her has gotten him feeling protective, even though he knows Ginny’s more than capable of defending herself. She always has been.
“And to tell Malfoy to get in touch once those scum tell him what to do,” Ron adds.
The Death Eater meeting at Avery’s house had a surprisingly anticlimactic ending: Rabastan had grunted that they would get in touch with him for “the details” of it all, and Harry had been free to go. So all that’s left to do now, unfortunately, is to tell Malfoy a – very abridged – version of events so that they’ll know if the Death Eaters approach Malfoy with anything.
“See what being heroic and stupid gets you? More conversations with Malfoy,” Ginny tells Harry with a teasing smile.
He can’t say that he disagrees with her.
“Well, it’s good that you’re back in one piece, Harry,” George says, clapping Harry on the shoulder. “And it’s even better that you don’t look too ferrety, and you’re back to your scrawny, specsy self.”
“Thanks, George,” Harry says dryly, and looks at Ginny. “We’ll be back soon. It won’t take long.”
“It better not. I’ve had enough stress for a day,” Ginny mutters.
“So you’re telling me,” Malfoy says, sitting up in his chair, “that you’ve volunteered me for—this is all a trick, isn’t it? You’ll tell me to go and work with them, and then arrest me for it?”
Harry rolls his eyes. He’s spent half an hour with Death Eaters today, and this is still the most annoying thing he’s had to face today. “No,” he says, as patiently as he can manage.
“We’ll figure that part out, Malfoy,” Ron says. “For Merlin’s sake, I told you we’d keep you safe.”
“Forgive me if I think,” Malfoy starts to say, but Astoria gets to her feet, brushing off her skirt, and that seems to quiet him.
“Thank you,” Astoria tells them. “But we won’t have to be any further involved with this, will we?”
Harry considers. He doesn’t hate Astoria as much as he hates Malfoy, and for all intents and purposes she seems to be the sensible one in the relationship, so he’s honest with her. “I can’t promise that,” he says. “But—” he adds, ignoring Malfoy’s snort of exasperation— “I can promise that you two will be secured and kept safe, and that you won’t have to be in the line of action. All you have to do is get in touch with us as soon as any of them reach out to you.”
“How do you plan on keeping us safe?” Malfoy challenges them.
Harry sighs. “Don’t worry about the details,” he says. “If someone tries anything with you both, we’ll know. Just stay where you know it’s safe and get in touch if anything out of the ordinary happens. We’re on high alert”
Malfoy and Astoria look less than reassured, but Ron and Harry are leaving within a few minutes. “I hate that we have to work so closely with him,” Ron mutters.
Harry nods. He feels the same way.
“What did you mean, when you said you’ll know if someone tries anything?” Ron asks.
Harry turns around to check that they’re definitively out of the range of Malfoy and Astoria’s earshot. He definitely can’t risk them being overheard. “I mean… when I left the meeting, I had a second before I Disapparated.”
“Yeah ,” Ron says, furrowing his eyebrows.
Harry doesn’t say anything, but Ron seems to get it after a minute.
“You’re not saying—Harry, you didn’t do—”
Harry nods. “I did, yeah.”
“A Tracking charm?” Ron hisses.
They both learnt it, during Auror training. But usually, the use of a Tracking charm is something that needs approval from either the Head of the Auror Department or the Minister for Magic; preferably both. He’d cast it on all the members at the meeting, in the split-second he had before he Disapparated, but he should’ve known Ron was onto him. He’s his partner; Harry hasn’t ever been able to hide anything from him during any sort of investigation.
“They&rsquo ;re Death Eaters. Convicted Death Eaters, who are in hiding,” Harry says. “I would’ve arrested them then and there if it didn’t mean giving up my cover.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Ron says.
“And they did threaten to hurt Gin. And they already hurt Hermione, Ron,” Harry says. He knows he sounds pleading, but he can’t help it.
Ron’s eyes turn steely. “Yeah. You’re right,” he says again, but he seems more convinced this time.
Harry relaxes a little. He doesn’t need Ron’s approval, but it feels good to have it.
“This investigation is just getting exhausting, isn’t it?” Ron continued. “I wish we could just arrest all the bastards.”
“Yeah,&rd quo; Harry says. “We don’t have enough evidence though, do we?”
“Yeah,” Ron agrees. “And we don’t know what they’re capable of. We arrest one, what if the other six go on some sort of rampage?”
Harry nods. The best course of action, he knows, is to just follow the plan as best as they can. Slow and steady. They can’t afford to let anything slip by, not when they know what the Death Eaters are capable of.
“It’s just—” Ron continues, and then sighs.
Harry looks at him, frowning. “What is it?”
“I don’t know,” Ron says. “Sometimes I just don’t know how long I can do this, is all.”
“This. All of this. These investigations and danger and never getting to be home… it’s just getting a bit much, is all,” Ron says. “Before these imposter attacks, I thought maybe I would…”
Harry doesn’t let Ron complete the sentence. He has an inkling of what he’s going to say, and the idea of doing any of this without Ron by his side is not something he wants to consider. Not now, not ever, but definitely not when they’re dealing with everything. So all he says is, “Come on. We should go home, the others will be wondering where we are.”
George joins Ginny and Hermione to go to the Burrow, but once he picks up Freddie, he decides not to return to the safe house with them. “There’s work to be done,” he says. “And by ‘work’, I mean Angelina will kill me if I don’t fill her in on what we’ve been up to.”
“A lot of those details are classified, you know,” Hermione says.
“Of course, of course. I wouldn’t reveal classified details, you know me,” says George, very unconvincingly. He presses an absentminded kiss to Freddie’s hair, winks at Hermione and Ginny, and steps into the fireplace, Flooing to his flat in a matter of seconds.
Mum returns to the kitchen a few seconds after George leaves. He’s always had impeccable timing, Ginny thinks. “Hi, Mum,” she says.
Mum takes a long look at Ginny, frowns, and then says, “There’s time for a cup of tea before you leave.”
It’s not a question, and they both know it. Hermione and Ginny sit down at the table, and Ginny holds Jamie in her lap. He’s sweet and sleepy and is – for once – content to stay still and snuggle her. She’s missed him so much.
“How was your day?” Mum says carefully, sitting down with them at the table. She waves her wand; the kettle flies to the stove, and three cups come flying out of the cupboard and land on the table in front of them.
Ginny thinks of seeing Harry surrounded by Death Eaters, Harry wearing Malfoy’s face, volunteering to be the one who attacks her. Getting himself into trouble by being brave, like always. She thinks, for the first time since they left the safehouse of the test they left behind at there, the Muggle pregnancy test which they have no idea what it says. She thinks of the nausea in her stomach, the ache in her head.
“It was fine,” she finally says.
Mum levels her with a look, and then looks at Hermione. “How about you, dear?”
“Tiring,&rdqu o; Hermione says after a moment. “But… not a bad one, all things considered.”
Ginny has no idea how Hermione can think that, but before she can press the point, there’s an urgent-sounding knock at the door. she gets to her feet immediately, Jamie in her arms, and rushes to open it. She’s surprised to see Harry and Ron there, Harry looking absolutely frantic.
“Dada!” Jamie cheers, and leans over to grab at Harry’s hair.
“Why didn’t you say you were here?” Harry demands.
“I—what?&rd quo; Ginny says, nonplussed.
“We went to the safehouse, and no one was there! I thought—I thought—” Harry looks awful, frazzled and stressed, with his hair even messier than usual, as if he’s been tugging at it in distress.
“Oh. Oh,” Ginny says. The realisation hits her then, of what Harry must’ve thought. “No, Harry. It’s fine. Mum just wanted us to have a cup of tea before we went back, is all.”
“There’s tea?” says Ron hopefully, and slips past the two of them to go into the kitchen. Ginny notices that he and Harry aren’t quite making eye contact.
“Dada,” Jamie says, more insistently, and Harry lifts Jamie into his arms, kisses his chubby little cheek.
“Sorry, sorry. Hi, Jamie,” he whispers to Jamie, and looks up at Ginny. His eyes are indecipherable, and Ginny takes a small step closer to him.
“I’m safe. We all are. Promise,” she whispers. “What’s got you so worried? You must have known there was a chance we would be here. The plan was to get the babies first, right?”
“Right,&rdqu o; says Harry automatically. He sets Jamie down, and Jamie toddles off back to his grandmum in the kitchen, as fast as his little legs can take him.
“What?” Ginny says again.
Harry wraps his arm around Ginny’s waist, and then takes out an object from his pocket. “I had time to get this. At the safehouse just now,” he whispers.
Ginny takes the object from him and looks at it. Her eyes widen when she sees what it is: the test from earlier, and it says…
“Fuck,” she breathes, suddenly feeling a bit faint. She drops the test and leans closer to Harry, and he wraps both his arms around her. “Another baby,” she whispers.
“Another baby,” Harry agrees, moving his hand to rub at her back.
They’re going to have a second baby, Ginny thinks. While they’re undercover and being targeted by rogue Death Eaters. Everything just got very, very complicated.