Harry made a soft murmur and opened his eyes, aware of the weight sprawled over his chest and against his side and the scent of nutmeg and old parchment that he knew as Hermione. he looked down to see a head of bushy brown curls obscuring his girlfriend’s face and lovingly brushed it aside.
Hermione blinked her eyes open and smiled up at Harry. “Awake?” She had slept on top of him all night, gotten up for a quick shower and some tea only to sprawl out on top of Harry again. She felt comforted hearing his heart beating and knowing that her Harry were just sleeping. “How are you feeling?”
“Bit wrung out but better. How long have I been asleep?” His fingers began playing with her hair.
Grabbing her wand from the bedside table, Hermione cast a quick tempus. “Nearly twenty-one hours.” She shuffled upwards so she could press her lips against his. “Sirius was in here with a mirror earlier to check that you were still breathing...idiot.” It was spoken in a very fond tone though, in between kisses.
He chuckled against her mouth. “Ah well we love him for his idiocy.” He scattered kisses over her nose, cheeks, chin, brow, and eyes before returning to her lips.
“That we do, not as much as I love you though because I do...I really, really love you Harry Potter.” She kissed him back with enthusiasm.
“I love you too Hermione Granger. So very, very much.” He sealed his mouth over hers and rolled them over so he was ranged on top of her.
“Do I hear a certain cub aw-whoa!” Sirius laughed at the sight that greeted him. “Oopsie.”
Hermione growled. “Oopsie, really? That’s the best you can come up with?” She looked up at Sirius over Harry’s shoulder. “Don’t think I’ll forget, I know all about that little spot in the library that you drag Remus off to as often as you can...Be warned of interruptions a plenty next time.” She pulled Harry down for one more kiss before squirming out from beneath him.
“Nice Snuffles, real nice.” Harry gave him a narrow glare. “What do you want?”
“Well I heard you up and awake and thought that, since you’re alive in time to get cleaned up and go down to the Great Hall for dinner, you might like to do that. Lots of people are concerned for you, ya know.”
Harry groaned and rolled out of the bed. “Am I in your quarters?”
“Joy.” He headed out of the guest bedroom he’d been in and waved to Remus lazily.
“Good morning...or rather evening Harry, it’s very nice to see you among the conscious again.” Remus smiled at him. “Ron’s been here with fresh clothes if you wish to shower and change.”
“Gods yes. I’ve got battle crud all over me and I’m still in my armor,” he took the pile of clothes handed to him, “and it chafes like you wouldn’t believe after more than a day in it.”
“Oh I can believe it.” Remus chuckled. “Go ahead and get cleaned up, there’s an ointment on the the first shelf that should help with any chafing should you need it.”
“Don’t mind the hallelujahs you’ll hear from the bathroom then.”
Sirius chuckled as he watched his godson disappear to shower and sidled up to Remus, slipping his arm around a slim waist. “I’m relieved, are you relieved too?”
“Bloody hell yes.” Remus replied, leaning against his husband. “It’s like this huge lump in my throat is finally gone and it feels like I can breathe again at last. Our cubs are well and safe and it is finally, finally over Pads. Voldemort is gone, Greyback too.”
“To which I give a loud and hearty salute. I just hope Nym and Rommie will be okay.” He hated that his favorite cousins had lost Ted. It was just all kinds of wrong.
“I hope so too. Tonks has Ewan and though it won’t bring Ted back she got her revenge on Greyback. I am more worried about Andromeda, I am so happy that she and Narcissa have patched things up. At least she has a new little niece to focus on.” Remus held on to Sirius as he watched Aury play with a set of wolf toys that the twins had given her.
Sirius leaned his head against Remus’ and smiled as one toy pounced on top of their daughter and soon there was a funny little puppy pile that had him laughing. “Our kids are a mess Moony, an adorable, beloved mess.”
“Mmm, that they are and I wouldn’t want them any other way.” Remus had never thought he would be this happy, never thought that he deserved to be. He would never ever take his happiness or his gifts for granted.
Harry came out of the shower, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and scrubbing a towel over hair grown long as Sirius’ while his bare feet met a rolling toy and child pile. He smiled down at a pair of big silver eyes. “Hey there little Aury. You getting into trouble?”
She opened her mouth and, rather than the expected, usual nonsensical squeal or babble, proclaimed, “Ha-Wee!” Reaching her arms up at him.
“Listen to that.” Remus gripped his husband tighter, feeling his heart give a little squeeze.
Hermione came out of the guest bedroom, her clothes straightened and wildly curling hair wrestled into a braid.
Sirius’ jaw had dropped. “Did she just say-”
“Ha-Wee! Ha-Wee!” She pouted and waved her arms in demand, jolting Harry out of his shocked stillness to lean down and pick her up, getting a delighted squeal of his name again.
“Figures that her first true word would be her brother’s name.” Remus nearly felt a little bit weepy. Harry was a man, Orion nearly one and even Aury was growing up so quickly. He was so proud of them but there was a tinge of sadness in him too that his cubs were growing up.
“I feel like I should be jealous. I mean really isn’t the first word supposed to be Papa or Dada?” Sirius was grinning widely despite the words.
Harry kissed his sister’s cheek and grinned back. “You’re just put out that I’m her favorite.”
“You got that right!”
“She’s a girl isn’t she?” Hermione smiled warmly. “Aury might be a miniature one but still a girl, of course she’s as crazy about Harry as all the rest of them are, including me.”
Remus was still holding on to Sirius. “We are just her parents, Harry is Harry.”
Harry laughed and wiggled his feet into his favorite trainers, tying them with a thought and a nudge of magic, and hoping no one noticed. “Awww she’ll be saying Papa and Dada soon enough, probably Padfoot and Moony too.”
“Pa-foo!” Aurora beamed.
And Sirius just about melted.
Remus had to laugh at Sirius expression, their daughter most definitely had him firmly, so very firmly wrapped around her tiny little fingers.
Hermione had noticed Harry’s move with the shoelaces and she would talk to him, later when they were alone. As long as he was well and safe then she was happy.
“Okay I don’t know about you lot but I’m starving. Great Hall right?”
Sirius nodded. “Right. Let’s go fill you up cub.” He shooed them all out, dropping a kiss to the top of his daughter’s head as they exited the chambers and headed to the Hall.
As soon as they walked through the doors of the Great Hall, pandemonium broke out as every student in there got to their feet to clap, whistle and in some cases sing or scream out their support for Harry and what he had done, ridding the world of Voldemort...again and for good.
Harry turned a shade of red normally reserved for Ron and ducked his head shyly, especially when he saw that the entire staff table, including Snape and McGonagall, had risen to their feet and joined in the applause.
Sirius grinned and ruffled his hair. “So shy innit he Moony?”
“Adorable really.” Remus nodded and took a slightly shell-shocked Aury from his oldest cub. “Go up to the head table and take a bow. They all just want to say thank you for all that you’ve done, thank you for the wonderful person that you are.” Remus was very glad that McGonagall had managed to keep the press out of Hogwarts. He knew that Harry would have to face the press sooner or later but he was happy that he would be spared a little longer.
“Er..” he saw McGonagall beckoning to him and gave in, making his way cautiously up to the head table, then turning redder than the Gryffindor pennant when the hall suddenly exploded into hoots and a chant.
“Speech! Speech! Speech! Speech!”
McGonagall pat him gently on the shoulder. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to Harry. It wasn’t a speech I called you up here for and I can easily silence the mob.”
He was about to take her up on the offer when he remembered Tonks clinging to Ewan and the bodies of Aurors being taken away and the families that had lost someone they loved. Instead he shook his head. “No I’ll go ahead and give them what they want, sort of.”
She nodded and held up a hand, giving the Hall a glare until they all settled down, then stepped back to let Harry speak.
He cast a Sonorous on himself, careful to use his wand. “Thanks for the welcome but I’m not the only one deserving of applause. Everyone who fought yesterday deserves it, I’d list the names but you might throw fruit at me.”
“Of course we would!” Someone from the Slytherin table yelled out, prompting laughter.
“Well anyway, I’m not the only one who fought. And being on the battlefield isn’t the only way to fight. This war has taken a toll on us. People have been injured, scarred for life inside and out. And,” he saw Andromeda sitting with the career counselors, “People have been lost to us. People have died and left loved ones behind to grieve. Voldemort is gone, for good, and his forces are going to face justice but the fight isn’t over. Because we still need to fight to heal. There’s still work to do, rebuilding that needs to happen, funerals that will be held, and mourning to go through. And once that’s happened there will still be work, the work of tolerance and community.”
He looked out over the people in the Hall. “We let ourselves be torn apart, believing that one kind of people was better than another but now that needs to end. I’m asking you, all of you, pureblood, half-blood, muggleborn, and creature blooded alike, not to let the sacrifices made by the people who paid the ultimate price in this war go to waste. You don’t have to like everyone, I’m not crazy enough to ask you to, but please, don’t let us be torn apart by a blood war again.
“A person’s blood doesn’t make them a better or worse person, we are all products of our upbringing and our own choices of what we do with what we’re given. To call someone less because of who their parents are is an insult to everything Magic herself stands for. So, can I ask you all to work with me and rebuild, to make things better for our future?”
For a few moments there was complete silence in the Great Hall, every face turned to watch Harry. Then Orion rose and raised his wand. “Of course we’re with you Harry, let us all work for it.”
Ginny was the next one to stand up and after that it was like a wave of raised wands.
McGonagall smiled softly, her own wand raised and squeezed Harry’s shoulder. Even now he was thinking of others.
Sirius gave Harry a salute and murmured softly. “I’m more proud of him for that than for finishing off Voldemort.”
Remus nodded, wiping away a few tears discreetly. “Harry truly is a good man, the best I think we’ll ever know. He’s how I know there’s hope for the world.”
McGonagall stepped forward after Harry thanked everyone and canceled his Sonorous. “Yes thank you everyone, for being willing to work for a better tomorrow. I would personally like to thank Mr. Potter for all he’s done, it is true that he had plenty of help but for the last seven years he’s been plucking together differing personalities and leading them better than the most seasoned Aurors I’ve known and has been fighting past his own problems to help others at the cost of his own safety, there’s a reason he had a plaque with his name on it in the infirmary.”
She let the laughter roll over them all, “He has been instrumental in removing multiple dangers to the school, and we all remember two years ago when he made certain you’d all pass your Defense exams no matter what Umbridge did or said. And so I have created a new award with the assistance of the Sorting Hat, Fawkes, and Hogwarts herself, the Potter Award.”
Fawkes flamed into existence and flew a golden goblet, etched with a lion surrounded by a tiger, a dhole, two foxes, a hummingbird, a bear, a rabbit, a she-wolf, a snake, and an ermine and rimmed with rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and topaz, onto the head table.
“For extraordinary services, going above and beyond anything anyone has any right to expect, to not only this school, but also the world. Personally I’m hoping no one ever has to present this one again though.” Minerva turned and handed the vase to a very embarrassed Harry. “Thank you, Harry. For everything.”
“THANK YOU HARRY!” The crowd echoed and sent up sparks with their still raised wands, everyone was on their feet, Hufflepuffs to Slytherins.
Hermione made her way to the Gryffindor table and her friends, happy to see that Luna was sitting with Ron there. She was so proud of Harry that she could burst. If anyone had ever deserved to be celebrated and thanked it was Harry. He always put everyone else's needs before his own and never complained about it. Of course he would be terribly embarrassed by all of this but he still deserved it. She suspected he would be forced to endure many more parades and ceremonies in his honor in the close future. Poor Harry, Hermione could only be there for him and give him all her support.
Harry finally managed to get to the table, head clunking down on it with a groan. He felt someone patting his shoulder.
“Buck up mate. You’re a hero now, going to have to deal with the hoi polloi that comes with.” Ron grinned and took a drink of pumpkin juice.
“Not if I go hide on the island.” It was muttered into the table.
"Oh please." Ginny snorted and reached out to pull on his hair. "You might have your own private paradise on that Island but you would be bored within a week. Besides, you're going to become an uncle again, would you not want to be there when Star is born?" She looked at him with wide innocent eyes.
“You are an evil, evil woman Ginny Weasley.” Harry didn’t look up. “I’ve just gotten rid of the second biggest pain in my bum after seven years of fighting to do it. Don’t I deserve just a little peace and quiet without the ‘hoi polloi’?”
Ron smiled sympathetically and pat him on the shoulder. “Course you do but for a while people are going to be going mad for Potter this and Potter that. It’ll taper off and then you can just be.”
“Right. Okay, I can deal with the insanity for a little while longer. I reserve the right to whine about it in private though.” He lifted his head and snorted a laugh when Ron slid a full dinner plate in front of him.
"Whine all you want love, you know we'll always be here to listen when you need it." Hermione kissed Harry's cheek before turning her attention to her own food.
Ginny who had beamed ever since Harry'd called her evil burst out laughing when she looked over at the Slytherin table and saw her brothers trying to feed Malfoy, oh that could never end well.
Harry looked over at the miscreants just as Malfoy hexed their hands to the table, to Orion’s hooting amusement, and he relaxed. Yeah he wasn’t looking forward to the media circus but it was a small price to pay for his loved ones being safe and sound and as happy as they could be.
Harry settled in the library. The others aside from Hermione were all going off to their own beds but he’d slept for a day and wasn’t exactly feeling tired again. He didn’t know if Hermione was going to her own bed in the girl’s dorm or just showering and then would come find him. Either way was fine. He just wanted some of the peace and calm the Chamber provided. He lifted his hand and created a little ball of light in the center of it. He bounced it, made it fade then burn brighter, changed its shape, then just played with it like a crystal juggler. It was concerning and just a little bit frightening that he could do things like this now.
She walked down to the chamber after her shower, it still felt like something was missing now that Myrtle was no longer haunting the bathroom but Hermione knew she was happier now that Harry had helped her move on. Hermione paused in the doorway to the library and watched Harry play with a ball of bright fire. In all honesty it did send a thrill down her spine but it made her a little concerned as well. “Fire huh? And here I was all ready to have a conversation about the shoelaces from earlier.”
He didn’t jolt, just jerked his head over to the doorway and closed his hand, the ball snuffing out as he did so. “I should have figured you’d have noticed that.”
Hermione walked into the library and moved a chair so she could sit down next to Harry. “There’s not much I don’t notice when it comes to you.” She smiled at him and pulled her feet up underneath her. “Feel like talking about it?”
He pulled one knee up and wrapped his arms around it, chin resting on his kneecap. “It happened in the shower. The soap fell and I didn’t even need to think about it, just held out my hand, about to lean down to pick it up and it just shot into my hand. I pretty much dropped the soap again.” He rubbed his chin against the material of his jeans. “Then I held my hand out and did it on purpose. I could do regular wandless magic.” He made a snort, like wandless magic could be considered regular, “Like lighting a candle and snuffing it out, summoning small things and anything I’m really really good at with my wand just by using a parseltongue incantation.
“This...is different. I barely have to think and,” he held a hand out again and a large piece of coal coalesced into existence, as if it was drawing carbon to make itself up out of the air, then he made a fist, the coal shuddered and steamed and shrank down, becoming smoother and shinier and changing color to a bright red chunk of rough rock. He flicked his fingers and little chips flew off, floating over to settle on the desk and leaving behind a perfectly faceted gem. “I can do things like that.” He let the gem, a red diamond the size of a large blueberry, fall into his hand.
Hermione watched the gem and Harry with wide eyes as she chewed on her bottom lip. “That is incredible, absolutely incredible. In anyone else, I would find that amount of power terrifying but I know you Harry and I know you would never abuse it or let it corrupt you.” It was the truth, Hermione could never be afraid of Harry, she knew him and she loved him, trusted him with everything she was. The only thing that gave her pause was that once again Harry was so, so far ahead of her, in ways she could never even hope to catch up with. “You Harry James Potter, are simply amazing.”
He gave her a bemused smile. “Not nearly as amazing as you. I look at these...new abilities and I am terrified. Completely, utterly terrified. Ollivander told me once that all power comes with a price and he’s right.” He brought his hand over to her and tipped it to let the diamond fall into her hand. “And I’m afraid of what price it will demand from me. I’m afraid what I love most will be taken away from me for this.”
“No Harry, I am not going to let anything be taken from you.” She moved quickly until she was in his lap. “As I told the vampire king. Bugger the world, I mean it. I am not going to let anyone demand things of you that you are not willing to give.” Hermione reached out to cup his cheek with one hand, holding the diamond in the other. “Gems, power...Bloody hell you could shift the moon out of orbit for all I care. You Harry, not your magic or power but you is who I love.”
He slipped his arms around her. “I know that silly goose. What scares me is that this is so...effortless, so automatic that I might wind up doing something in public, like grab a child out of the way of a car or something, with the magic and the rest of the world will find out and go into a panic.” He wasn’t hopeful or naive enough to think that people would be celebrating the fact that he had enough magical power to personally level England.
Hermione hummed and shifted even closer, dropping the diamond onto the table so she could wrap her arms around Harry’s torso and lean her head against his shoulder. “People are idiots.” She sighed and just allowed herself to feel the warmth of her boyfriend. “Remember the spell I put on Sirius, when he was being a berk? Maybe we could develop something like that? Nothing that would dampen your powers, they are a part of you now but something to remind you of them when you are in public...” She trailed off.
“Have I told you lately that I love your brilliance?” He nuzzled the top of her head, “A yank on the tail when I start to use magic without the wand then?”
“Exactly.” Hermione beamed up at him. “And since I’ve already done the spell once it will be a piece of cake to alter it to fit your needs.” She pressed a kiss just below his ear. “Things will be okay Harry, I firmly believe that.”
“Yeah. I guess I’m just a worrywart. Bad habit.” He sighed and relaxed into her. “I’m going to write the Underground Council and let them know that, while I am honored by the invitation, I’m not in any position to do anything but enter university and spend time with my very pretty girlfriend and family at the moment.”
She kissed him again. “I like the sound of that, if the Underground Council really wants to work with you then they will be willing to wait until you are ready to do so. It’s not like time is something they’re running low on.” And she kissed him again just because she couldn’t help herself, she just had a very kissable boyfriend. “Speaking of uni, flat in Oxford or floo there from Grimmauld?”
She’d discussed it over with Harry plenty of times and her opinion changed every time. It was silly to get a flat when they had Grimmauld on the one hand. But on the other a flat would be closer and more convenient. She’d come to the conclusion that, as she couldn’t choose, Harry should.
He ran his hand down her back. “Flat, absolutely a flat. The less I have to floo the better. One day I’m going to wind up breaking my nose on impact.” He tilted his head to give her more room to do as she pleased. “We’ll look for flats over the summer.”
“Okay, I like the sound of that.” She nibbled her way along his neck and jawline. She looked forward to living with Harry officially, just the two of them and Hedwig, Neptune and Crookshanks of course.
Harry ducked under the swing of the paint roller and gave Hermione’s Dad a grin. “Are you trying to knock my teeth out Mr. Granger?”
“He just might be.” Jeanine grinned from where she was washing the windows along with her daughter. “That way he’ll get to fix them.” She smiled at her husband. She was aware that Hermione and Harry could have fixed the flat up with a wave of those wands of theirs but she was grateful that the young ones let her and Bert be a part of fixing up their baby’s first home away from them.
“Well I’d hope I’d get the discount.” Harry continued with his task of painting the crown moulding, not at all worried about the possibility of losing teeth.
“Sure Harry, ten percent increase.” Hermione’s father grinned back and put the roller on the wall again, coating the bland white with a cheerful yellow. “So how’s that friend of yours and his wife? The baby come yet?” He’d had a moment of worry over his little girl when he’d learned that one of her circle was pregnant and married at sixteen but his wife had calmed him down.
“Not just yet, Luna says she feels like she’s about to explode though so it can’t be too much longer.” Harry chuckled. “Ron just says that if he’s made to go get one more bowl of plimpie soup he’s going to throw himself into the ocean.”
“I don’t blame him.” Hermione scrunched up her nose from where she balanced on the window sill to wash the outside of the windows. “If you ever get a taste for plimpies I will never kiss you again. Just the smell of them makes me ill. It wouldn’t surprise me though if little Star is waiting for your birthday Harry.”
He chuckled. “Ron might smack me in that case. And no worries about plimpie breath. I can’t stand the smell of them either.”
“Just what are these Plimpies?” Herb started on a fresh section of wall.
“They look like scaly golf balls with long, floppy webbed legs. Smell awful no matter what they’re cooked with.”
“Why on earth would anyone want to eat something like that?” Jeanine looked equal parts, curious and disgusted.
“Pregnancy cravings.” Hermione shrugged. “Besides if we judge purely by looks and forget the horrid smell of them, crabs, prawns and oysters aren’t exactly attractive either.”
“Oysters taste good though,” Herbert hummed happily.
“They look and taste like snot, you’ll never convince me differently.” Hermione stretched further out the window so she would be able to reach.
“I’m with Bert on this, I find them delicious.” Jeanine looked a bit worried about her climbing and clinging daughter.
“I have no opinion.” Harry watched Hermione carefully, keeping an eye out and a hand on his wand in case she slipped. “I’ve no experience with oysters.”
Herbert noticed the way Harry was ready to leap to the rescue if Hermione needed it and it soothed his paternal worry over this move a great deal.
“You’ve never tried oysters?” Jeanine actually manage to tear her eyes away from Hermione to send Harry a look. “Oh but we must rectify that, Bert let us take the youngsters out tonight for a nice seafood dinner.”
“Lovely idea darling.” Herbert smiled at her. “We do need to fix that. Oysters need to be tried at least once in a lifetime.”
Jeanine beamed at her husband and Harry and let out a breath of relief as Hermione came back inside after having finished with the outside of the window.
At that moment Hermione really loved her parents and their acceptance of the man she loved.
Harry relaxed and smiled. “Sounds like a plan to me.” He turned back to painting. “I’m always up for new things. It’s fun discovering things I’ve never tried before.”
“I still find them horrendous but you should try it.” Hermione jumped down from the sill. “Now lobster on the other hand, you can never have too much lobster.”
Herbert’s eyes crinkled with happy pride. “That’s my girl. Especially Maine lobsters. Remember that time we visited the States Jeanine and ate at that little seafood shack?”
“Oh yes I remember.” Jeanine chuckled. “Looked like an absolute hovel, thought you were insane when you suggested that we would eat there but the food...oh the food was the food of gods.”
Harry grinned. “Sounds like a trip to make one day don’t you think Hermione?”
“Absolutely, I want to see and experience the whole world with you.” Hermione nodded at Harry with a warm smile.
Herbert exchanged a look with his wife, remembering a similar scene between them many years ago.
Jeanine’s smile was just for Herbert and if her husband hadn’t been nearly covered in yellow paint, she would have gone over and snogged him breathless right in front of the children.
His cheeks pinked a bit and he winked at her. “Well let’s finish this job and clean up then, dinner is calling.” Herbert began humming a folk song.
Harry tilted his head, remembering the tune from some long buried time. “Is that She Moved Thru the Faire?”
Herbert grinned. “It is indeed, and how I got my wife to look twice at me the first time. You know it?”
“Sort of I think. Seems like I remember it from something, can’t place where I first heard it though.”
“It was rather popular when we were young.” Jeanine smiled at him. “Perhaps you heard it as a child.” Of course the moment she’d said it she wanted to bite her tongue off. She knew about Harry’s childhood and she felt absolutely awful for bringing it up.
Harry paused, tilted his head, and closed his eyes, prodding at the tune in his head, finding the voice singing it and his lips tilted up. “You might be right. Not real clear on memories from when I was a baby but I think you might be right.”
Herbert looked up at the young man. “It is a good song for a lullaby.”
“Yeah, it is.” Harry looked over his shoulder at Hermione’s mother and gave her a smile. “It’s okay, really.”
Harry was not as covered in paint as her husband so Jeanine didn’t hesitate as she walked over and hugged him. “Good and it is lovely that you have memories of her voice, even though they’re vague.”
He pat her back with the hand that wasn’t covered in wet paint. “It’s a nice surprise for me actually, to hear something and realize that it’s familiar because I heard it from my Mum or Dad.” Of course he had more vivid and fresh memories of his mother’s voice, from the time he’d gotten rid of the Resurrection Stone, but that was knowledge for him and Hermione alone, a private gift.
That only made Jeanine hug him tighter before letting go. She was firmly convinced that her daughter couldn’t have chosen a better suitor for herself and it was clear to see how much they loved each other. “So Harry, any big plans for your birthday? I know seventeen is the big one in the wizarding world but eighteen is a big one too, legal in both worlds.” She smiled at him.
“Not really.” Harry lifted a shoulder. “I’m still not used to celebrating my birthday really. Still feels a bit weird.”
“How can you still say that after the ball?” Hermione chuckled, knowing just what Harry thought of grandeurs like the fancy dress ball, it had been fun though.
“I’m a simple guy love, a real birthday cake is extravagant to me,” he blew her a kiss, “Besides I’m having my first birthday without a death threat hanging over my head, that’s one heck of a gift.”
Herbert grimaced, though he hid it. He forgot just how much danger Harry had been in his entire life but such casual comments brought home just how precious simple things were to the young man.
“Knowing our family you’ll get like a dozen birthday cakes, all homemade. I might even throw my own hat in the ring.” Hermione frowned when her Mum burst out laughing.
“Darling, you are the brightest girl I’ve ever met but you can’t cook or bake to save your life.”
“It’s true sweetheart. You burn water,” Herb teased his daughter gently, “Take my advice and order in.”
“Oh very funny.” Hermione would have been upset if they weren’t right. She didn’t get it, she was good at potions, chemistry was no problem but cooking, she just couldn’t make it work. Even Molly had given up on teaching her.
Harry gave her a smile, “I’ll do the cooking and all so you can concentrate on being your brilliant self anyway.”
“I suggest that you take that deal darling, it is the best you’ll ever get.” Jeanine pat her daughter’s cheek.
“Careful or I will cook tonight and you’ll all be forced to eat it.” Hermione crossed her arms over her chest.
“Too late, we’re going out to dinner princess and nothing will stop that,” Herbert grinned at her. “Besides we love you, dreadful cooking and all.”
“Good thing that you do and that Harry is a truly excellent cook.” She laughed and walked over to get started on the other window.
“Otherwise it’d be take-away every night?” Harry smiled at her and blew her a kiss before returning to his task.
Ron grinned down at his wife and their son, both looked exhausted, and rightly so, but both were so, so...”Beautiful.”
Luna looked down at the red faced baby lying on her chest, running the pad of her forefinger over downy hair so light it was almost invisible. “He is isn’t he.” It was difficult to believe that their Star was finally here, it seemed they had waited so long for him. Luna was more tired than she’d ever been but she was also happier than she’d ever been.
Ron’s finger traced a soft cheek, following a smattering of freckles. “And so tiny. Our little Star.” He kissed Luna’s temple. “You were amazing there by the way. Didn’t think I could have more respect for the female of the species but boy was I wrong.”
Luna smiled at him, giving birth had hurt, there was no escaping that and she had cursed Ron up and down but it hadn’t been as hard as she had feared it would be. Besides, having Star here with them was more than reward enough. “If I was amazing in any way it’s only because you were right there with me, supporting me and Star every step of the way.”
He dropped a kiss on her lips, “I love you.”
“I love you too husband mine, love both of you.” She ran a finger over the downy hair of their son again.
A soft knock came on the door and Harry’s head poked in, “Hey, sorry to interrupt but the natives are getting restless out there.” His eyes dropped to the baby and he smiled, “Want me to hold them off a little longer?”
Ron shook his head, “Nah. C’mere you berk,” he gently picked his son up as his best friend and brother in all but blood came over, “Meet your nephew, Star Leander,” he set the baby in Harry’s arms carefully.
Harry smiled and caught the babe easily, looking into the delicate features, “Hello there Star. You look an awful lot like your Mum, ‘cept that nose.” He grinned when the baby made a yawning squeak and wiggled a bit. There was a tickle against his magic and he just managed to hide his surprise under delight as newborn blue eyes opened and regarded him solemnly. The magic the baby already had was amazingly strong and had an ethereal flavor to it. Star was a very, very strong seer or he’d wear Dobby’s tea cozy and dance while singing I’m a little teapot.
“Mmhmm, as small as it is now I think he will have Ronalds, regal nose.” Luna smiled and viewed her husband’s long nose. “Now, I think the two of you should take him out and show him off, as Harry said, there are a lot of people out there who has waited to meet him.” Luna felt a little bereft not having Star’s warm weight on top of her but she wanted all their loved ones to get a chance to see him. Besides, she couldn’t deny just how tired she was and she knew that Star would be absolutely safe with his Daddy and Uncle as well as with the rest of their brood.
Harry carefully cradled the baby against his chest with one arm, “Before that,” he slipped a chain over Luna’s head, “For the new Mummy,” on the silver chain was a pendant of carved opal, a mother ermine curled up protectively around her kit.
She looked at it delightedly, eyes softening. She would never forget that Harry had been her first real friend and the reason Ron had even looked twice at her. “Thank you so much, this is beautiful, really, thank you Harry.”
He kissed her cheek, “You’re welcome Luna. I’ve got a surprise for Star too but Hermione’s holding that at the moment.”
Ron grinned, “Then let’s go show my son off and get that surprise mate.”
Outside in the waiting area, Molly was practically bouncing in place, holding onto Arthur tightly. Their first grandchild, she could hardly believe it and she wanted so badly to meet him.
Ginny was openly very amused at her mother’s excitement. She wanted to meet her little nephew as well, of course she did but Molly was practically vibrating in her seat.
When the door opened, Molly let out a little squeak and was on her feet in an instant.
Harry chuckled and exchanged a look with Ron, handing the baby to Molly gently when she reached them, “Cute innit he?”
Ron grinned happily as his mother cooed over his son, “Course he is, he looks like Luna.”
“Oh but he looks like you too Ronnie, just look at his nose and those adorable freckles.” Molly was devouring the baby with her eyes, cooing over him lovingly. “He’s just the most beautiful baby in the world.”
“No bias there.” George chuckled as he looked over his mother’s shoulder. “Can’t say I disagree though.”
Fred was looking over Molly’s other shoulder, “He’s going to be a heartbreaker alright.”
Harry made a soft snort and moved back to let others crowd in, looking over at Hermione as she drew even with his side, a purple teddybear with amethyst eyes in her hands.
Hermione held the teddy bear tightly as she looked down at the baby, she could definitely see traces of both Ron and Luna in his tiny, delicate features and she was not ashamed to be a bit weepy. Ron was a Dad, their reckless Ronald. “So cute, you and Luna have done well Ron.” She handed Ron the plushie from her and Harry since she didn’t want to scare Star by waving it in his face.
“Thanks,” he grinned at the bear’s eyes, “Magically charged amethyst?” He slid a look at Harry.
Magically formed technically but Harry hadn’t shared that with Ron so he nodded, “Yeah.”
“Thanks mate.” He cleared his throat, “Oi you lot,” he nudged people out of the way and took his son, “Star’s got a Grandda he’s got to meet you know,” he tsked at them and shook his head, carrying the baby over to Xenophilius, “Star Leander, meet your Grandda Xeno.”
Xenophilius startled a little when he heard Star’s middle name was. He wished that Leandra could have been there to see their first grandchild but he knew she was watching from behind the veil. He cradled the tiny little body in his arms and said his hellos. He hadn’t minded waited for his turn to meet Star, he would have his whole life to get to know this nifflemurgle after all. “Thank you for naming him Leander, his grandmother would have bursted with pride.”
Ron smiled gently, “Luna’s Mum was a special lady,” he knew that from the stories and pictures Luna had shared with him, “and special ladies deserve to have a legacy.”
Arthur watched and smiled, almost unbearably proud of his youngest. His arm slipped around Molly’s waist and he leaned his head on hers, “He’s grown up so much.”
Nodding, Molly sniffed and conjured a handkerchief into her hand so she could dab at her eyes. “He has, grown up a truly good man.” She leaned her head against Arthur’s shoulder. “We must have done something right don’t you think?” She looked around not just at Ron but at all their babies.
“Must have, or we’re exceptionally lucky.”
Fred chuckled as he heard that, “You are lucky to have such amazing children as us, but you did right more than there was luck involved. The luck is all our brilliance, that none of us have gone over to the dark side is all you.”
Molly had to laugh. “Brilliance and such humility.” She was proud of her children though and they were brilliant, all of them and in different ways, each one just as spectacular as the other.
“If Mum had ever decided to go dark we would all have been doomed. She would have mothered us all into darkness without us none the wiser.” George placed a smacking kiss on her cheek.
Harry laughed and looked around at the people who made up his family. Sirius, Remus and Orion were trying to ride herd on Aurora, who was being egged on by Pansy. The Weasleys were clustered around, a very heavily pregnant Fleur leaning against Bill and talking calmly with Blaise, who was plastered to Charlie as usual. Percy was blushing at something Oliver whispered into his ear, Fred and George flanked Draco as usual, each touching him absently and lovingly, Snape and Narcissa were holding their daughter, a surprisingly exotic beauty with pale blue eyes, jet black hair, and a smaller, less prominent version of her father’s nose. He knew Tonks was spending the month with Ewan at Marauders, looking after the orphans who stayed there over the summers. He spotted Ginny leaning back against Neville’s chest and narrowed his eyes at the sparkle on her finger that he’d not noticed til now.
He gently nudged Hermione’s shoulder and murmured quietly, “Do I see what I think I do on Gin’s hand?”
Hermione nodded with a smile. “Yup, you see correctly. He asked her only last night.” She burrowed against him. “I think they wanted to make sure Lady Longbottom can’t stick her nose into Neville’s business anymore no matter how much she’d want to. That and true love of course.”
He pulled her close and rested his chin on top of her hair, “Can life get more perfect right now?”
“You know, I don’t think it can.” She wrapped her arm around his trim waist and looked out over the chaos that was their family, she loved it. It was loud and people everywhere and it was wonderful. She and Harry would start at Oxford free of shadows looming over her beloved, everyone she loved was safe and sound and Harry was completely right, it couldn’t be more perfect than this.