Harry never regarded a day spent at the Burrow, in the bosom of the Weasley family, as anything even remotely close to dangerous. Today, however, he found himself seconds short of being trampled upon, run down, and asphyxiated between the kilometers of lace and silk used to decorate the wide wedding tent slash ballroom. Hence why he can currently be spotted casually hiding behind a particular copse at the far end of the orchard, silently praying he will make it throughout the day alive.
It’s also where Ron finds him, harassed and out of his wits.
“I reckon if Mum hunts me down one more time to smarten up my suit and tie, I’ll scream bloody murder and then kill myself. Hermione would understand, she would,” Ron complains as he takes a seat next to Harry on the warm ground, knowing full well that he’ll be risking both his life and Harry’s as soon as Molly Weasley discovers soil stains on their wedding suits.
Harry snorts, eyeing his best mate amusedly, “I’m actually afraid of your Mum, you know. It’s only now I realise how naive I was to fear your Dad and brothers when we told them about the baby.”
“Oh, yeah, definitely. And don’t let her fool you, mate, but Ginny’s really Mum, only thirty years younger,” Ron elbows Harry and they both laugh easily, their shoulders visibly relaxing.
A pause and then Harry speaks, his lips stretching into a candid smile, “Hey, Ron?”
“I’m really happy for you, mate. You two - I mean, you’re perfect for each other,” he adds and Ron’s blue eyes turn moist as his cheeks color pink.
“Don’t-” Ron clears his throat, “don’t tell my sister, but that pretty much applies to you two as well,” he smiles sheepishly.
“Thank you,” Harry mumbles as he tries to swallow the newly formed lump in his throat.
They sit still, enjoying a silence that speaks of mutual contentment and a lifetime of friendship shared between them. To Harry, it seems amazing, fantastic even that he gets to be part of his best mate’s wedding day. His wedding day! When did they grow up so fast? When did all the years pass since that first day of school they shook hands for the first time, two scrawny, scared, lonely kids on a train leading them to great adventures. What would those two kids say if they knew that, sixteen years down the line, they’d go to each other’s weddings and cry with joy at the news of children coming.
“Oi! Happy tree friends over there,” George wheezes as he runs towards them. “Mum and the bride are looking for you. The ceremony’s about to start,” he adds, checking his watch, then smirks. “I’d be careful if I were you, Ronniekins. Your dashing bride looks like she’s about to have someone’s head.”
Gulping, Ron hurriedly pats his groom tuxedo in hopes of dusting off any traces of mud and grass, and gallops away, as fast as his black leather shoes can take him.
“I wouldn’t grin in your place, Harry, mate. Ginny’s also sent word to find you and take you back to her dead or alive ,” George jokes, laughing at Harry’s desperate expression. “Frankly, I reckon she’s really about to lose it with everybody doting on her. Poor Angelina, she’s in for the same mad ride once we tell them we’re expecting,” he shakes his head and slightly shudders at the prospect.
Dumbfounded, Harry opens his mouth only to close it again. Inhales, exhales, and tries again, “Excuse me? You two-? You’re-?”
George’s face lights up, blue eyes sparkling brighter than Harry had ever seen them, pure bliss radiating from every inch of his being. “Yes, bloody hell yes!” He grins wide and Harry jumps in to hug and congratulate him with enthusiasm. “But don’t tell Ron yet, alright? I - erm, we don’t want to steal his thunder. I mean, he’s always got what Bill, Charlie, Percy, and then Fred and I didn’t need or want anymore. It’s his day,” George slowly says, embarrassed, his hand flying to the back of his head and eyes averting Harry’s green ones.
Harry claps him on the shoulder proudly as they shuffle their feet in tandem towards the wedding crowd, one future father and another.
On the other side of the orchard, Harry spots a dash of red hair and a mess of black. Lily and James Potter, dressed smartly in summer dress with hues of gold and a navy blue suit, sit close to each other, her head resting against one of his broad shoulders.
“What are you two love birds doing?” Harry sneaks up behind his parents, pretending to be grossed out by the fluffy scene unfolding before him.
“You look spiffing, son,” James nods in approval. “Hair like a hurricane is a family gene I’m afraid, but alas, you do have your charm,” he grins, winking at the younger version of him.
Snorting, Harry presses a kiss to his mum’s cheek and squeezes his dad’s shoulder before half-sitting in one of the delicate chairs in front of them. “Sorry we couldn’t pick you three up from the airport.”
Lily rubs some mostly imaginary smudge from Harry’s chin and smiles. “We’re your parents. And we can definitely handle ordering an Uber.”
“Siri hates me.”
Rolling her eyes, Lily pats James’ knee and sighs, “Yes dear.”
James’ retort is already on his lips when he follows Harry’s eyeline. “We fly halfway around the world and he can’t even pay attention to our scintillating conversation.”
Jolting, Harry turns to find his mother looking at him fondly. “He’s in love and his girlfriend is glowing and beautiful.”
A flush rises on Harry’s cheek as James muses, “Perhaps more than girlfriend?”
“It’s not a no, Lil.”
Harry growls and Lily pats his arm where it rests across the gilt chair back. “Don’t pressure him, James. Just because he has the opportunity to make his mum’s dreams come true while she’s on the same continent - ”
“You know - ”
Before Harry can finish his half-formed threat, Sirius drops into the seat next to him and grins. “Are we talking about my godson having eye-sex with the girl he could barely talk to like a human being not even a year ago?”
Head dropping to his forearm, Harry doesn’t bother interjecting as his family laughs at his expense.
His mum’s fingers brush through his hair, her smile warm, and despite the teasing, Harry realizes just how much he’s missed them. Which is lucky for the three menaces, because it puts Harry in a giving, patient mood, even when Sirius continues, “Remember when he kissed her and then ran away to do something academic and nerdy?”
“Biology really is magical,” James nods, “How else did he father a child with such a woman?”
Lily rolls her eyes and jabs at James’ middle. “You should talk - I seem to remember a very awkward hair-ruffling, mildly blackmail-ish first date invitation.”
Sirius nods sagely, “He didn’t speak for at least two weeks after that.”
“Harry’s an adult,” James accuses, a smile tickling the corners of his lips.
“My son is charming and handsome. He probably won her over with his lovely smile.”
“Actually, I had her at professor.”
George comes to a halt at Harry’s side, overly large bouquet of flowers covering him from hip to nose before he peers around, “A little bird told me something about a hat, Indiana Jones, and a whip.”
Flushing, Harry rises and steps out past George into the aisle. “No comment.”
Across the yard, Ginny’s secreted herself off to fume where no innocent bystanders can be caught in the crossfire of her hormonally charged anger.
“You look like you’re ready to stab someone,” Bill approaches his sister, youngest daughter cradled in his arms in a weak attempt at putting her to sleep.
“Sure feel like it,” Ginny snorts, flipping her thick sheath of red hair over a freckled shoulder. “You’d think people’d understand I’m eight months pregnant, not disabled,” she add as she blows a considerable amount of air through her nostrils, eyes flaring so she rather resembles a dragon. To Bill, at least.
“Anyway,” Ginny plows on, fussing about her chair until she finds a comfortable enough position for her poor back and heavy tummy, “Have you seen Teddy?”
Bill round blue eyes morph into slits, “Wooing my eldest daughter, I suppose,” he responds with ill disguised nonchalance.
“Wouldn’t dare imagine how you’ll take it when they actually start dating,” Ginny giggles as her brother’s eyes widen, as if only then he’d acknowledged the possibility.
“Mr. Protective Father, aren’t we?” she raises an eyebrow, freckles gathering in a cluster right above it.
Bill sighs and takes a sit on the chair next to Ginny’s, transferring baby Dominique from one arm to the other, and squeezes his sister’s hand, “I truly wish that you’re carrying a little girl in there so I can even things up with Harry for knocking up my sister and stealing my daughter through that little godson of his.”
“You say knocked up once more,” Ginny pulls her hand away incensed, “I swear I’ll sit on you. And that’s a real threat seeing that I weigh about a billion kilos right now.” Her frown only brings a grin to her brother’s face, and she could never quite resist that mischievous, charming smirk Bill adorned when he felt comfortable or pleased, his ponytail hanging low over his back and fanged earring dangling in the shy summer breeze.
“Hullo, love,” Harry appears out of nowhere and plants a kiss on her cheek. “Hermione’s summoned you to the gallows. I mean, she’s called you up to her room for a last bride and bridesmaid rehearsal,” he grins, hands out an arm for Ginny to lean on as she rises.
“It’s ridiculous,” she snears, breathing heavily as Harry lifts her, “I’m like a ticking clock about to explode and she has the audacity to call me a bridesmaid.”
“Maybe don’t explode just now,” Harry chuckles as they walk towards the Burrow, “I reckon Hermione wouldn’t appreciate it very much.” Ginny rolls her eyes, yet gives in to laughter seconds later. It’s easy being happy next to him, she thinks.
Knock-knock, Ginny raps her knuckles on the wooden surface of the door to her childhood room. It’s where Hermione set headquarters for her bridal transformation, in Ron’s words, and it was not a lie. Always a beautiful woman, Hermione was breathtaking in white satin, rich curls flowing loosely down her back.
“Might be the pregnancy hormones speaking, but I’m feeling attracted to you right now,” Ginny appraises her friend as she shuts the door firmly and drops herself on the old single bed, lifting her feet up on a freshly fluffed pillow.
“I’m afraid you took too long to make a move,” Hermione snorts as she tries to smooth down a rogue curl, hovering so close in front of the mirror she goes a bit cross eyed.
“Yeah, afraid so. Plus you’d probably have to fight Harry for me.”
“Oh, no, I’d never win. Heard he has a trusty whip he uses to impose discipline,” the bride smirks, switching her gaze to observe her friend through the mirror.
“Harry got drunk and confessed, didn’t he?” Ginny drawls, bored.
Hermione lifts an ebony eyebrow, “Trust me, I’m the victim here. Absolutely did not sign up to hear that.” She gingerly holds one heeled shoe and inserts her right foot with great care, long brown bushy hair shielding her face from view. “Although I must admit, role playing does sound rather...tolerable.”
Palm pressed to her mouth, Ginny giggles, “The word you’re looking for is kinky. And yes, do it. Just never tell me it’s my brother you’re doing it with. Can’t possibly stomach that.”
“Will the two of you ever grow up?” Hermione asks, hair pushed back from her face with one arm as she holds a second shoe in place with the other.
“Nope. I expect we’ll have children and lie that they arrived with the stork.”
Hermione rolls her eyes, “I’m marrying into this family.”
“Your decision, not mine,” Ginny winks and tosseses a peanut into her mouth with high accuracy, a trick learned and polished over holidays spent with her brothers.
“Impressive. Where’d you get’em from?”
“Nicked them on my way here.”
Chuckling, Hermione lifts the heavy material of her wedding gown, her high heels tap-tapping on the creaking floor as she walks to sit next to Ginny. “So how are you feeling?”
“I’m aware I said it before, but like a whale waiting to be put out of her misery,” Ginny pouts, palms running light circles over her rounded stomach. “I may never voluntarily choose to have children again.”
“I gather it was a choice?” Hermione’s deep brown eyes meet Ginny’s, mischief glinting bright.
“Eh, it’s not like we did much to prevent it, to be fair,” she admits with a grin. “Nevermind that,” Ginny tries to lift herself up on her elbows, “How are you? It’s your wedding day!”
The two women smile so wide their cheeks hurt, features alight with happiness and giddiness. If Ginny didn’t feel like thrice her size and Hermione had not spend the last five hours getting ready, they’d be sure to jump up and down in sheer excitement. Still, given the circumstances, they settle for squealing at earnumbing frequencies.
The ceremony is beautiful up to the tiniest detail, and has a peaceful effect on everyone present. Madams Granger and Weasley seniors weep in tandem with a hormonal Ginny, Lily squeezes James’ hand, and Ron feels like bursting with joy. From the audience, Bill, Charlie, and George give him a thumbs up and three mad grins. Percy, on the other hand, sits poised on the edge of his chair, the image of British properness, while Arthur subtly wipes a tear from underneath his horn-rimmed glasses. In the middle of it all, Hermione gasps as though she can barely believe everything that’s happening, hand trembling as Ron slides the gold band on her finger.
The newly weds’ kiss hovers dangerously close to indecent, Ron lifting his wife off her feet in a toe-curling snog that has Sirius wolf whistling and Snuffles barking.
Barely two weeks later, it’s well past the ‘witching hour’ and Harry’s taken over the couch - his office surrendered in favor of a baby nursery - typing away at his latest revision of the post-dig paper, when Ginny shuffles out into the living room. “Harry?”
She looks so young, hair in a tangle around her freckled face, soft cotton nightgown dwarfing her even at such a late stage of pregnancy, that Harry can’t help but imagine a little girl of their own. Ginny’s fiery locks, his almond shaped eyes, her freckles, his knobby knees -
Ginny’s wince puts an end to his daydreaming. “I think. I think it’s time,” she grips the doorway, “Unrelated - we need to change the sheets.”
Nearly tossing his laptop across the room in frightened haste, Harry’s at Ginny’s side in two beats, palm finding the small of her back like it’s magnetized. “I’ll - we’re good. I’ll call Mum, they’re closest for Ted. Just. You’re packed, yeah?”
“Yes, yes. You nagged me about seven billion times. Today.”
“Well aren’t you glad I did?” Harry shoots back, blinking exaggeratedly.
Before Ginny can answer, she doubles over, breaths coming in short pants. “Stuff it. Go call your Mum.”
“Sir, yes, Sir.”
“Don’t sass me while your child is trying to violently expel itself from my body,” Ginny grunts, pinching his arm as he fumbles for his mobile.
It’s a quick, excited call that gets Lily and co. on the way before Harry’s dialing the hospital and tugging on street clothes.
Ginny’s movements are slow, hampered by the periodic spasms at her back, as she drags her soiled nightie overhead and pulls on a cottony grey dress that stretches comfortably over her belly. After a few failed attempts, she leans against the door to their closet and moans, “Harry, I can’t see the floor.”
Quick as he can, Harry trots over and brushes his thumb along her jaw. “Which ones, love?”
Sighing, Ginny nuzzles against his shoulder and murmurs, “My granny clogs?”
Not even a quarter of an hour later, Lily, James, and Sirius are gathered around the dining table while Harry lectures them as he reads down the checklist scrawled over two full pages of a yellow pad and Ginny strokes her belly, resting against the front door.
“You know, there’s this thing called texting, son. Plus we raised you alright.”
“And we are bloody doctors , Harry,” Lily adds, “Now go, or Ginny’s going to murder you before I see my first grandchild.”
Harry’d really like to point out that his mother did in fact work in a lab all her professional life, but considers it twice before opening his mouth to blurt out his usual sass for fear that either Lily or Ginny might eat him alive.
The trip to hospital is a blur, the odd hour at least eliminating some traffic as they trundle through the rain streaked streets. In between contractions, Ginny fiddles with the radio and does her best to smile teasingly. “You know, you’re handling this quite well.”
“I’m an adult, I can handle stress.”
Ginny glances at him sidelong. “Sure.”
And Harry does remain beautifully cool, calm, and collected as Ginny’s wheeled into the maternity ward, as he fills out the check-in paperwork, and even while she’s changing into her gown and getting tucked safely into the scratchy hospital blankets.
It’s not until her doctor comes in, snapping rubber gloves at her wrists, and explaining the steps of this first check up that Harry begins to leave the comforting haze that carried him through the last hour and realization sets in.
By this time tomorrow, Harry’ll be a dad. Again. And really, he’d have thought having Teddy, and nine months of lead in time would’ve made this a less terrifying thought. But as the time is counted in hours rather than months, weeks, or days, he can barely keep his hands steady enough to ring Ron.
He lets it ring once, then dials back again - Ron’s had his mobile set on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for most of the last month - and before Hermione manages more than a sleepy ‘hello,’ he’s blurting, “The baby’s coming, how soon can you get down here, I’m freaking out.”
Hermione’s laugh is quiet as she murmurs and shakes Ron awake. “Harry, take a deep breath, we’ll be right down.”
It absolutely does not help that Harry’s last glimpse of Ginny is of her moaning and promising to inflict as much pain onto him when the baby is finally out as she’s currently suffering, as, according to her, it’s entirely his fault.
Before Harry falls into the pits of despair, James Potter arrives to sneak a comforting arm around his son and helps him into a nearby chair, while a sleepy Teddy drops his head to one of Harry’s knees.
“There, there, my darling boy. The ER guy and your Mum will take care of Ginny until the Weasley cavalry rides in,” James pats Harry’s messy locks, kisses him on the top of his head.
“You mean Sirius made his entrance?” Harry grunts, forehead pressed closed to where Teddy’s is resting, his body twisted in a position worthy of a Cirque to Soleil contortionist.
“He’s really so good at what he does I can turn a blind eye to his dramatics.”
Harry lifts his head enough to catch a hurricane of red hair crashing by. The poor nurse trying to keep people outside of Ginny’s already crammed ward has no chance when faced with Molly Weasley, nerves wired to the tips of her overworked fingers.
By the grace of some lucky star, or rather by the force of the combined prayers of medical staff having to do their job with one Molly Weasley and one Sirius Black barking orders and shooting questions to and fro, Ginny’s not in labor too long, things moving quickly as they can. Even so, the rush of nurses and doctors dressed in pale scrubs flying in and out of her room doesn’t do much to quell Harry’s nerves.
At some point, Ron pressed a styrofoam cup of tea into Harry’s hand, long since gone tepid and untouched. Still, it gives him something to fiddle with. A lifetime passes before Sirius exits the room, wiping at his sweaty brow, and disappears to god knows where. But Harry has no energy to rise and chase after him, or rather ask why they needed an emergency specialist, or a million other questions. He can only sit there, straddling the metal chair, his palms pressing into his forehead until the tips of his fingers turn white.
He’s about to storm his way into the room when a nurse emerges, wrapped in a bright yellow apron and beckons Harry inside. Looking around, he catches a glimpse of bushy brown hair resting on Ron’s shoulder as his own mother and father seem to have dozed off to sleep next to them. Harry feels too tired to smile, but the family scene does bring some sort of comfort and familiarity to the newness he’s confronted with. He exhales loudly and steps in.
The crowd has dissipated somewhat and Ginny seems to be at a resting point, hair matted and face utterly wrecked. But she seems alright, all things considered.
Her mouth twists in a tired smile, “Don’t Gin me. Your little basketball sized spawn is slamming its way out of my body. I deserve a ‘Hello goddess of the universe.’”
“At least you’ve still got your sense of humor,” Harry murmurs, ruffling his hair as Molly avoids eye contact and studiously examines a two month old copy of Reader’s Digest.
Ginny rolls her eyes and gestures him closer, not relaxing until he claims the chair next to her, barely perching on the stiff plastic seat. “I thought I didn’t want you in here, but,” she clears her throat and shares a brief glance with Molly, “ Someone very wise helped me realize I needed my partner to finish this out.”
Molly’s lips tick up in a grin and Ginny continues, “You’re still not allowed down there but - ”
Before Ginny can continue her conditions, her entire body tenses as another contraction rolls through her body. And after that, it’s a blur of measured breathing and nearly cracked knuckles, until suddenly a little cry pierces the early morning light and Harry’s holding his squalling little son .
The whole world seems to shrink down to the three of them, that little room, and Harry’s whole world in the space of his arms. Or almost his whole world. At nearly the same moment his brain catches up, Ginny’s does too. “Where’s Teddy?”
“I’ll get him?”
Teddy’s hesitant when he reaches the doorway, eyes wide as he bites at his lip. “I can really come in?”
Ginny’s brow furrows, unused to seeing Teddy so restrained. Until she finds his gaze focused on the little baby boy, tucked against her chest. “You ready to meet your brother?”
His smile grows and he totters over to the bed, Harry at his heels. When he can’t manage climbing past the bed rail, Harry lifts him onto the edge of the mattress and Teddy reaches out a hesitant hand towards the pink bundle.
The baby’s chest rises and falls steadily beneath his tightly wrapped blanket and finally, after nine months, Harry’s life’s work is together and right before his eyes.
“Can we call him Victor?” Teddy asks innocently, his eyes wide with unrepressed wonder.
A laugh tumbles out from deep within Ginny’s chest and she leans in to kiss Teddy dearly on the cheek, her smile unrelenting. “I was thinking something more to the effect of...well, James. For tradition,” she adds, immediately searching for any signs of possible refuse from Harry. But there are only tears in his eyes, and Ginny just knows it’s the right decision - three generations of James Potters with their wild, messy, dark hair (and most probably bad eyesight). “And,” Ginny prepares herself to say out loud what she’d been thinking since realising that Harry had, in fact, two dads, one of them who held her hand through most of the night, calming her when she was in terrible pain and terribly frightened, “Maybe also Sirius?”
It’s likely too much for Harry, as he closes his eyes and keeps quiet for a minute, his breathing coming in and out unevenly. “Why?” He finally asks.
“They’re inseparable, the two of them, like peas in a pod. Only seems natural,” Ginny shrugs like its no big deal.
Before Harry can shout his happiness to the world, there’s a knock at the door and Molly’s face appears round the corner, leaving Harry wondering when exactly she managed to slip past.
“You have an adoring public waiting, dears. Everyone’s promised to keep it short.”
And then it’s like the circus has set up in the maternity ward of Mungo’s Hospital, too many people, too many grabbing hands, and entirely too much laughter. Somehow, the Weasley brothers all manage to gather themselves into an intimidating huddle, looming at the foot of Ginny’s bed as she settles back against the pillows, eyes drooping with tiredness, and Harry’s never felt so analyzed and judged in his life - not even when he defended his dissertation, and that’s saying something. “‘M sorry love, if they’re going to beat you up I can’t defend you much,” she tells him between two yawns.
Harry presses a kiss to her forehead and laughs. “At least I’m already in hospital.”
Growling under her breath, Ginny readjusts in the bed - wincing a bit - and scowls. “It was a joke. No one’s beating anyone up. God, it’s not 1950,” her voice drops as she eyes each of her brothers in turn, “Which is why Victoire’s birthday is just a bit too close to her mummy and daddy’s wedding day.”
Bill scoffs but he claps Harry on the back, as Charlie and Ron cackle, while Percy clears his throat uncomfortably and unnecessarily readjusts his eyeglasses. “We like you well enough, and Gin’s got you well in hand.”
“She’s got all of us well in hand,” Harry laughs, earning a playful scowl from Ginny, even as she dozes off against her newly fluffed pillows.
Like the mother hen that she is, Molly shoos the Weasley masses from room, only lingering long enough to press a kiss to Ginny’s head and nearly squeeze the life out of Harry. Lily rounds the bed next, finally standing out again now that she’s the only redhead in the room. With a smile, she cups Harry’s cheek. “I’m so happy for you, my sweet, darling boy.”
James hovers at her shoulder, furiously blinking away tears as his lips tilt in a grin. “You have a lovely little family.”
“I’ll expect 24-7 babysitting availability once you come to your senses and move back,” Ginny says with a laugh, her eyes barely open.
“You won’t have to twist his arm,” Sirius puts in, brushing a careful finger over James Sirius’ sleep flushed cheek, “Ol’ Jamesy is a sucker for all things baby. You’ll have to pry him out of your flat.”
Lily snorts. “You’re one to talk - Harry was almost as spoilt as ickle Diddykins that first Christmas.”
“I am extravagant with my love.”
Rolling her eyes, Lily squeezes Ginny’s hand and sighs. “We’ll come back and visit. Tomorrow - well today. Late. I know you’ll be more than tired.”
“Wait,” James pauses in his stride and turns back to the family of four cuddled up on the feeble hospital bed, “What’s this little tike’s name? If it’s been decided, of course.”
Sharing a look, Harry nods for Ginny to speak.
“He’s named after some famous double act,” Ginny dares a sheepish grin, “James Sirius.”
Ginny might’ve hit the two men with an iron chair over their heads and would’ve probably gotten more of a reaction. It takes whole minutes before they can speak again, their voices trembling and knees shaking as Lily half-carries them towards the exit, arms wrung through each of their own.
Harry climbs out of bed to walk them to the front door, accepting more teary hugs, sloppy kisses, and congratulations, before they disappear into the miraculously quiet hallway.
Back inside the small ward, Teddy’s dead to the world where he rests against James’ shoulder as Ginny shifts a bit restlessly. “You could go home and sleep in a bed - Teddy too.”
“Are you kidding me? First, all parties involved were more than happy for a sleep over at Mum and Dad’s posh hotel suite, and second there is no way I’m leaving this building while the two of you are here, alone.”
“Such a dad,” Ginny murmurs, eyelashes brushing her freckled cheeks as she drifts off, “Now stop trying to pretend that chair is comfortable and get up here with me.”
Kicking off his shoes, Harry makes to follow her instructions, even as he asks, “You sure? That nurse was a bit scary.”
“You’ll have to protect me if Nurse Moody shows up.”
Ginny hums, already half asleep, “Of course, my love. Now come snuggle your tired wife.”
Harry’s heart stutters at the slip, his eyes shooting open wide to catch Ginny’s expression. But it seems it was indeed just a tired slip of the tongue. One that has him awake long after Ginny drifts off.
“Thank you,” he whispers into her ginger hair and presses his temple to it. His last conscious thought is of love, of his son carrying the names of two of the most important people in his life, two people who had shaped and defined him, of how much this woman, this incredible, beautiful woman means to him, of how easily she seems to understand him.
The next forty eight hours are full to the brim with last minute preparations at the flat - Hermione is an over prepared lifesaver - lessons in parenting from nurses, doctors, and nosy family, and for Harry, a few slight (and luckily private) freak outs that he’s got two kids and really wants to propose to his girlfriend.
Ron pulls his and Hermione’s little SUV up to the porte-cochère just as Harry and Teddy wheel out Ginny and James Sirius.
Luckily, the ride home isn’t too long but Ginny’s still ready for a nap by the time they arrive. It’s a team effort to get Ginny tucked in bed, James and Teddy fed, and all three of them to sleep. Still, Harry’s never been more content.
He’s sipping lemonade at the counter while Hermione does the last of their lunch dishes when Ron sidles up. “So, dad, how’s it feel to be ancient?”
“You’re the old married couple.”
Hermione smirks, setting the last plate to dry. “I’ve a feeling we won’t hold that distinction for long.”
They wander into the living room and Harry sighs, slumping back against the cushions. “My life has never been in the right order. Not that I’m complaining.”
Ron claims the seat on his left and Hermione the right, her head tucking against his shoulder. “Is there a ‘right order’?”
“Look at my wife, the philosopher.”
“She’s a woman of many talents.”
“You’re a couple of tossers.”
Chuckling, Ron takes another swig of his lemonade and throws his arm around Harry’s shoulders. “What? I’m serious.”
They share a laugh, muffling the noise against the palms of their hands, until Harry calms. “Tell me not to go wake my newborn son because I want to play with him. Or hold him. Or both, I can’t really decide.”
Hermione pats his arm. “Don’t.”
“Yeah, Gin-Gin will kill you if you screw the kid up.”
Harry shows a pretty sizeable amount of restraint - his own view of the subject - and manages to wait a whole hour before he tiptoes into the bedroom just to stare after Ron and Hermione return to the comfort of their own home. Glancing at his watch, he turns towards Teddy’s door and finds him sitting half atop his covers and thumbing through a picture book. “Hey, Ted.”
“Hi, wanna read - ”
A sad little wail of a cry sounds from the master bedroom and Teddy perks up, “Is James awake?”
“Sounds like it,” Harry rubs at the back of his head, “We’ll have to pause the - ”
“Let’s go, he’s crying.”
Teddy grabs Harry’s hand and tugs him into the hall, books forgotten in the wake of ‘big brother duties.’
In a few quick strides, they’ve reached the little bassinet and little James is giving his lungs a good work out. Smiling softly, Teddy brushes his fingers along James’ bootied toes. “S’alright. Harry’s here. He knows just what to do.”
The bed creaks behind them as Ginny slowly raises herself into a sitting position. “He is pretty great,” Ginny agrees, “Which is why he’s probably guessed James needs some mummy time.”
Gently, Harry lifts James from the cradle and passes him over to Ginny before he ushers Teddy from the room to choose a storybook.
It’s a bigger choice than Harry guessed, Victoire has told him the first book a baby reads is very important so they flip through half of Teddy’s collection before settling on Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump .
They’ve given Ginny enough time so that James has been fed and burped, her clothes have been righted, and the baby boy is cooing softly against her chest. “We’re ready for some entertainment. Hospital was pretty boring.”
With care, Harry and Teddy climb up onto the bed - Harry claiming the innermost seat as he fans the book open before them. “ A long time ago, in a land far away, there was a kingdom ruled by a foolish King who decided that he should be the only one to have magical powers .”
Ginny and Teddy snuggle close on either side while James blinks tiredly. “ He formed an army, which he called the Brigade of Witch-Hunters, and armed them with black hounds. At the same time, he wanted an Instructor in Magic, so he made calls for a wizard or witch from one of the nearby villages to teach him .”
“A little dark for a first storybook,” Ginny teases while Teddy reaches to flip the page.
Harry presses a kiss to her forehead. “It’s got a nice ending.”
Not long after the story comes to a close, Harry’s mobile vibrates in his pocket. With a quick fumble, Harry manages to pull it free and swipe the call on before James Sirius wakes. “‘Lo?”
“Hello, Victoire,” Harry says with a smile that only widens as Teddy perks up, “I know we’re tight, but I have a feeling you’re not looking for me.”
There’s a pause like she nearly drops Bill’s phone and then presses it back to her ear. Harry glances down at his wide-eyed godson. “Teddy’s right here.”
Reaching up with grabbing hands, Teddy accepts the mobile and trots out with an affectionate glance toward James where he sleeps in Ginny’s arms.
As Teddy disappears out into the living room, Harry chuckles softly before he twists and cups Ginny’s chin, pressing a kiss to her lips. “You’re - beautiful.”
She hums, deepening the kiss just barely. “So’re you, my love.”
James shifts a little restlessly in Ginny’s arms, snuffling in his sleep while Harry brushes a finger over his cheek. “I love you, Gin. You - this life we have together is better than anything I could’ve dreamt up for Teddy and I.”
“Better than just a doughnut?”
Laughter bubbles in Harry’s chest as he kisses Ginny once more. “I - you know how we talked briefly in New York?”
Brow quirking, Ginny turns a bit more to face Harry. “We talked more than a few times in New York, dear.”
“About - about adding another Potter to the world.”
“Seems we did that fairly well,” Ginny teases, darting a glance towards their sleeping son.
“I mean, making you one. About being officially.”
In all seriousness, Ginny asks, “Harry. Will you marry me?”
Jolting, Harry scowls down at Ginny. “No fair, I started first.”
“But I finished first - you always like that.”
“God, innuendo in front of our slumbering son?”
“What’s the answer, Potter?”
Harry drops his forehead against Ginny’s and feels his eyes filling even as his smile widens. “Yeah I’ll be Mr. Ginny Weasley-Potter-Whatever.”
“I like the hyphens,” Ginny laughs, her own tears forming, “Damn, I can’t wait until these excess hormones wear off. You do realize you proposed to a hosepipe, yeah?”
“A beautiful, amazing, cheeky, brilliant hosepipe.”
“What a bloke you are.”
“You’re the one who proposed - this is your choice.”
Settling James in Harry’s arms, Ginny presses herself close and sighs quietly. “It’s a good one.”
A cry pierces the air just as Harry’s miraculous coffee-fueled epiphany gets into full swing, sentence half finished as the ending dangles and then floats from his brain.
There’s probably only three people in the world he wouldn’t shout at for interrupting that flow and it’s the youngest of the three that beckons from the nursery. Teddy falls in at Harry’s side, his eagerness to be the world’s greatest elder brother only grown in the months since James came into their lives, and they find the little squalling bundle of Potter wriggling unhappily in his cot. “Alright, James?”
His tears pause for a moment as Harry and Teddy appear overhead, before the wailing renews in earnest. “Guess someone’s got a little gift in their nappy.”
Teddy presses his fists to his hips, power posing like a little superhero, and nods at Harry. “I’ll get the wipes.”
They go about the process of tidying James up, letting him swallow down a bottle of milk, then wander into the kitchen, standing side by side, staring aimlessly into the void of their mostly empty fridge, and then pantry. Harry bounces James on his chest as he slobbers over the collar of Harry’s t-shirt and Teddy sighs, chest rising and falling dramatically before he glances up at Harry and shakes his head. “Nothin’ to eat.”
“Unless you want some,” Harry shuffles a carton of baking soda aside and lifts a can from the back of the shelves, “Dehydrated milk?”
Teddy wrinkles his nose. “Ron’s?”
“You read my mind, mate.”
Harry and Teddy bundle themselves against the Autumn chill, tugging on wellies and winding scarves around their necks while James giggles happily while his chubby fingers jab at the dangling bits of his baby gym. Once they’re properly festooned, godfather and godson take care to ensure the littlest Potter is appropriately protected against the elements and admittedly overpack his nappy bag.
Luckily, the weather holds as they walk the few blocks toward Ron’s, the overhead bell soon tolling their entrance to the crowded shop.
Teddy tilts his head in the direction of the counter and bake case and Harry nods his approval, handing a few pound notes over before he carries James towards a free table in the back, his legs wriggling in the Ergo carrier. The line moves fairly quickly as gangly little Dennis rings up the line of hungry customers until Teddy’s next.
He places their regular order with a polite smile for Dennis and trots over to their table. “Dennis said t’ wait here and they’ll bring it.”
“We don’t need all that - ”
“Well too bad sir, this is a full service bakery and I expect a tip.”
“Hello. Teddy Bear. I got some apple slices to go with this doughnut for breakfast .”
“You’re the one peddling fluffy strawberry clouds by the dozen,” Harry sticks out his tongue and starts freeing space for Ginny to take a seat next to him.
She laughs, “Only until my wandering brother and his wife return from their ‘second honeymoon.’”
Smiling, Harry sips at the tea Ginny’s set on the table and drags a third chair closer with his foot. “Take a load off, Madame Manager.”
Accepting the proffered seat, Ginny claims an apple slice for herself and ruffles Teddy’s hair. “And by the way, isn’t a second honeymoon usually more than six months in?”
“Hey, if Hermione’s willing to go on holiday, I’m not going to stand in her way.”
Dennis wanders by, bussing tables and offering refills as necessary, and slips Ginny a shortbread biscuit, which she accepts with a grateful smile before turning to Harry. “I thought her brain might leak out after the eighth month of negotiations.”
“She’s got a one track mind the minute anyone mentions institutional inequality.”
After a moment, Teddy wanders over to the little shelves tucked in the back corner and settles in on ‘his’ beanbag chair. Ginny sends him a wink and settles back in her chair, toying with the ring sparkling on her left hand. “Aye. And a few early morning shifts is a small price to pay.”
“Plus we do owe all - this ,” Harry gestures a bit vaguely to their odd little family, “- to them.”
Leaning forward, Ginny kisses the sugary remnants of Harry’s doughnut from his lips, “And cinnamon crème.”
Much to Molly’s chagrin, Ginny Weasley doesn’t dress in white on the day of her wedding to Harry Potter (“I’ve already got a son, Mother!”), neither does she assemble a big party for the occasion. Instead, she chooses a dress to match the late autumn hues and combs her long ginger hair loosely against her back. Eyeshadow, lipstick, and a set of golden earrings she received as a wedding gift from her Bill and Fleur are her simple adornments.
Giving herself one last look in the mirror, Ginny smiles, confident as ever and clicks her heels on the wooden floor of her childhood room. At the door, there’s Arthur waiting for her. He kisses her cheek warmly, his fatigued hand brushing her tresses in light strokes, before extending an arm. Father and daughter together, they slowly descend down the circular staircase of the old Weasley family home.
“We’re so proud of you, love,” Arthur murmures as he holds his daughter’s hand.
It’s the whirlwind of emotions that deems Ginny speechless, and she simply clings on tighter to her dad as they walk towards the small wedding tent swaying gently in the November wind.
Family and friends are all waiting for her inside. Yet their faces are all a blur, she’s only got eyes for the man waiting for her at the other end, his hair the usual mess and his smile radiating love. Beside him, Ron claps his shoulder and greets his sister with a short nod.
Ginny squeezes her father’s arm and steadies herself as he kisses her cheek. Vaguely she realizes there are two women crying their eyes out behind her, Lily and Molly unable to contain themselves.
Another short inspection on her right side and Ginny is pleased to notice her little James Sirius securely snuggled between the two men whose names he bears. Taking a deep breath, she knows she can go on with the ceremony.
“I can never come to terms with how beautiful you are,” Harry whispers as she takes her place next to him.
“Don’t you make me cry in front of all those people, you handsome, brilliant man,” Ginny replies, her cheeks coloring ever so slightly.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Harry grins and takes her hand, his thumb brushing over the engagement ring he placed there months earlier. It’s been a full year, a beautiful year. Best of his life, if he’s honest, at a tie with the one before. He’s established a permanent exhibition, his article on the dig is still published and quoted, his son was born, and to top it all off he’s about to marry the woman of his dreams, the one who’s made him happiest he’s ever been.
They say yes in a deafening wave of applause and cheers, grinning as they officially become Mr. and Mrs. Potter. Hand in hand, they walk down the aisle and accept all hugs, kisses, and congratulations, their hearts bursting with joy and beating in sync. Three steps ahead of them, a convoy made of Teddy, Victoire and Snuffles open the way, flowers spread around from their baskets. Behind, Ron and Hermione follow suit arm in arm.
“Not gonna lie, Harry, you kind of strong-armed me into doing the same,” George winks as they pass by, immediately wincing as a pregnant Angelina pokes him in the ribs.
Bill, Charlie, and Percy all hug their sister and cheerfully offer their congratulations to Harry. He takes a step backwards, offering Ginny enough space to celebrate with her family as he spots his own trio of mischief.
“Congrats, daddy,” Sirius smirks, cradling baby James in his arms.
Harry grimaces, “That sounds...gross, coming from you. And a little like you’re hitting on me, which I hope you’re not, giving that it’s my wedding day and you’re my godfather.”
Sirius rolls his eyes, then ruffles his godson’s unruly hair. “You’re alright, kid. No one’s mad enough to try and pry you away from that red haired temptress of yours.”
Before he can shoot his own comeback, Harry hears Lily’s giggle and feels her plump lips on stubbled cheek, as his father plants a kiss on his other one.
“Well done, son,” James booms. “Look at you - a proud father and godfather, an established archaeologist freshly married to a promising psychologist.” His smile extends to his hazel eyes, sparkling from behind his specs.
“She is rather brilliant,” Lily pipes in, squeezing Harry’s cheek. “And I’m not only referring to her formidable wit. I’ve read the study report on her work at the early education institution and it’s superb. I’m so proud of you two, my love.”
Harry lets himself be swallowed by the three sided hug before he can extract his own son from Sirius’ arms and find his beautiful wife .
Later, much later, when they’re giddy on pure bliss and champagne, snuggled close in their bed while their sons are fast asleep, Harry and Ginny feel like the luckiest people alive. And, in that moment, they truly are. They allow themselves to drift to sleep with their hands connected, ready to support and love each other in the days and years to come, for the rest of their lives together.
All in all, it could be honestly said that life throws a lot of unexpected things Harry Potter’s way, but his luck has been pretty good so far.