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Seven (Relatively) Fail-Safe Ways to Charm a Witch by the_snitch_is_loose
Chapter 3: Dump Frog Spawn Over Her Head
“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Ja-ames, happy birthday to you!” the crowd chorused. There was a loud cheer as Harry and Ginny helped their little son blow out the tiny flame. The single candle on James’s enormous birthday cake was in danger of being swallowed up by the gallons of frosting Teddy had heaped onto it, but no one seemed to care how bad the frosting-to-cake ratio was as they were handed their slices.
“To Mr. James Sirius Potter!” Ron cried out, raising his butterbeer for a toast. “May all his other birthdays be as big as my sister’s gigantic pregnant belly!”
“Ron!” Hermione hissed, tugging on his arm angrily. “Could you try not to—“
“Oh, right, and bigger than Hermione’s slightly less gigantic pregnant belly,” he continued with a wink at his wife. “Sorry, love. Don’t want you thinking I’ve forgotten you.”
“Harry, punch him in the nose for me, will you, dear?” said Ginny in a mockingly sweet voice. “I can’t while I’m holding James.”
“My pleasure,” Harry laughed, pretending to swing at his best friend.
“Whoa! Watch it!” cried Ron as he ducked. “I was only joking!”
“Well that happens to be my wife and unborn daughter you are making fun of, Weasley, and I can’t possibly let you get away with it,” said Harry, grinning.
“Ooh, did you finally let the Healer tell you whether it was a girl or boy?” Mrs. Weasley said as she appeared out of nowhere, drawn to the spot by the talk of her future grandchild.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “No, mum. I’ve told you a thousand times: we don’t want to know,”
“Then why did Harry just say ‘daughter’? Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“I know it’s a girl,” said Harry with a smile at Ginny that his wife did not return. “Even if Gin doesn’t agree with me,” Molly threw her hands in the air impatiently and walked away, but not before taking little James from his mother’s arms. If she wasn’t going to get information about future grandchildren, she was at least going to take the opportunity to spoil the ones she already had.
At that moment, Teddy Lupin walked out of the Burrow’s kitchen and into the garden, where the rest of the guests were devouring their cake. His small face looked nervous, and he kept running his fingers through his turquois hair. Ginny was about to make an angry retort to her husband when Harry held up a finger to quiet her and said, “Hang on. I want to see what Teddy’s up to,”
Ginny looked indignant, but watched with the rest of them as Teddy paced back and forth on the spot, staring across the garden at a little girl who was watching George Weasley make a flower swim around her head. Suddenly, Teddy seemed to work up the courage to do whatever he’d planned. He walked right up to the little girl, tapped her on the shoulder, and said, “Victoire, will you dance with me?”
Victoire, who’d given the little boy a disgusted look when he touched her shoulder, tossed her long silver hair and replied coldly, “No.”
“Would you like the rest of my Chocolate Frog, then?” Teddy offered sincerely, presenting her with a half-eaten frog.
“Ew!” Victoire exclaimed in disgust, knocking the chocolate from Teddy’s hand. “No way!”
“Okay,” Teddy said meekly. “Maybe some other time.” He walked away, staring at his feet.
“Poor kid,” said Ron, shaking his head sympathetically. “I remember trying to ask a girl out. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,”
“Asking Victoire’s mother to the Yule ball was the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” said Hermione, cocking one eyebrow. Ron quickly realized his mistake.
“No! No, darling, working up the courage to ask out this little guy’s mother was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Best thing, too,” he said with a grin, placing a hand on his wife’s belly.
“Smooth,” said Harry, smirking. He turned towards his godson. “OY! Teddy! C’mere!” At the sound of his godfather’s voice, the little boy turned his head sharply, turquoise hair swinging into his eyes, and a huge grin split across his face as he ran to Harry and jumped into his arms.
“Hi, Harry!” Teddy squeaked. Then he dropped his voice to a whisper so that only the adults immediately surrounding him could hear, “I don’t think Vickie likes me very much,”
“If you keep calling her ‘Vickie’, I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Ron with a chuckle.
“If this has got anything to do with Viktor Krum, Ron, I swear—“ said Hermione angrily.
“What? No! I was just saying, her name isn’t Vickie, it’s Victoire, and he—“
“I may be able to help you out, Ted,” Harry said quietly, drawing his godson away from the quarreling couple. He crouched down and whispered something that the other adults couldn’t hear.
“I can’t believe you still haven’t let that go, Ronald! It’s been ten years since the Yule Ball!”
“I have let it go! That was a coincidence, I swear—“
“You were the one who brought up asking Fleur a few minutes ago, I should have known—“
“That was a joke! I fixed it, didn’t I? I corrected myself, didn’t I?”
“It was a pretty weak attempt. Even Harry could see that, and he’s almost as tactless as you!”
“Where is Harry?”
“He’s giving Teddy some advice on how to ask Victoire to dance,” said Ginny casually, indicating towards her husband and godson just a few feet away. “If you two would stop bickering for ten seconds you would have realized that ages ago,”
The three of them looked over as Harry was rising to his feet again. Teddy beamed up at his godfather as Harry ruffled his hair playfully and said a few encouraging words.
“I have to admit, when Remus and Tonks made him godfather I thought they were a little cracked ,” said Ron, smiling as he watched Harry and Teddy. “But he’s turned out to be a pretty good father figure, don’t you think?”
“Why would you think he would make a bad one?” said Hermione, half curious and half indignant. Their previous argument seemed to be forgotten already.
“Well, out of the three of us who were on the run, who do you think was the most likely to die?” Ron replied blatantly. Hermione and Ginny looked outraged, clearly hurt by the comment. “Well, it’s true! And he’s the only one of us who has never had a proper father . . .”
“All the more reason,” said Ginny quietly. “for him to prove them wrong. To be a better father to that little boy than he ever got the chance to have for himself,”
Ron looked a little surprised at his sister’s ferocity, but he never got the chance to retort because at that moment Harry started walking back over to them, and Teddy ran off in the opposite direction.
“What are you three talking about over here, then?” said Harry cheerfully as he rejoined them, placing his arm automatically around his wife’s waist so that his hand could rest almost protectively over her bulging stomach.
“Nothing!” said Hermione, Ron, and Ginny at the same time. Harry looked at them suspiciously for a moment, then apparently decided to drop the subject.
“Right. Well, I think Teddy’s got a real shot at it this time. He’s going to be a real ladies’ man when he gets older, Victoire just doesn’t realize it yet,”
Hagrid, carrying an enormous piece of birthday cake in one hand and little James in the other, walked with thundering footsteps from across the garden to join the two couples. He was beaming delightedly through his frosting-encrusted beard, waving his cake-filled hand in the air to get Harry’s attention.
“Hi, Hagrid!” Harry called back.
“How’s th’ youngest Head Auror in hist’ry, eh? Doin’ well? I hear yeh’ve got another little one on th’ way, is tha’ right?” said Hagrid good-naturedly.
“I’m not Head Auror yet, Hagrid,” said Harry patiently. Beside him, Ginny rolled her eyes. “I’ve told you a dozen times already that I can’t get promoted until Robards retires,”
“Ah, thought they might’a changed th’ rules for yeh, though. Since yeh’re ‘arry Potter an’ all,” Hagrid winked at Ron and Hermione as he said it. Harry, however, was not amused.
“You know full well I hate it when—“
“Ignore him, Hagrid,” cut in Ginny, shushing her husband. “He’s being stupid. It’s true, though, we’re having another baby! In case you can’t tell,” she gestured at her stomach.
“’course yeh are!” Hagrid boomed, pulling Harry into a bone-crushing hug. “Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” Harry’s voice was muffled by Hagrid’s huge overcoat.
“Anyway, I jus’ came over to give Jamesie back, I’ll be on my way, now,” Hagrid said happily, releasing Harry and carefully handing him his son. “I see Charlie’s on vacation from Romania. Oy! Charlie!”
“Bye Hagrid!” called Hermione, waving.
“Look at Teddy!” Ginny exclaimed, dragging Harry around so they were looking in the same direction. The little boy was approaching Victoire for the second time that day, this time armed with a small bouquet of daisies that he had clearly picked by hand just for her. As the adults watched, he presented the flowers to her with a polite little bow that made him look less like a seven-year-old with blue hair and more like a very small prince.
“Did you tell him to add the bow, Harry?” asked Hermione quietly. “It’s a nice touch,”
“No, I just suggested the flowers and what he should say to her,” Harry said, his voice threatening to burst with pride. “He must have decided to bow,”
“Oh no!” said Ginny. Victoire had taken one look at the flowers and turned her nose up at them, returning to picking at her cake daintily without giving the little boy a second’s thought.
“All right, enough’s enough. If Victoire’s not going to pay attention to him, we’ll make her pay attention to him,” growled Ron. “Teddy! TED! Let Uncle Ron help you out, your godfather is clearly inept,”
“Shut up, Harry, we all know you’ve never had any luck wooing women,” joked Ron.
Harry glanced at Ginny, who nodded at him. Harry smirked as he said in a low voice, “That’s funny, considering how I’ve gotten your sister pregnant twice already,”
“That was below the belt!” yelled Ron while Ginny laughed. “I’ve given my permission, but that doesn’t mean you can make a crack like that—“
“Shut up, Ron!” said Hermione, laughing along with her two best friends. “Go give Teddy your advice,” Still glaring at Harry, Ron reluctantly walked toward Teddy and drew him away from the others.
“He’s right, you know,” Hermione said seriously, glaring at her best friend with a ferocity that Professor McGonagall would be proud of. “That was below the belt,”
“He was asking for it,” said Harry defensively.
“All the same,” Hermione sighed. “I wonder what he could possibly be telling Teddy to do? As far as I’m concerned, he’s had less experience with that sort of thing than you do, Harry,”
Harry glared at her.
“Just because Cho and I—“
“So, Hermione, how’s the new Muggleborn legislation going?” interrupted Ginny pointedly. Clearly she didn’t want to have a conversation about Harry’s ex-girlfriend at their son’s first birthday party. Harry refrained from telling her he thought it a bit rich that she would feel jealous when she herself had had at least three boyfriends at Hogwarts apart from her husband.
“Oh!” Hermione, always quick-thinking, had fortunately caught Ginny’s hint, and was more than happy to change the subject. “Yes, it’s going very well. The Wizengamot are full of my department’s supporters by now. A lot of them were on the run during the war, and even more had friends who had been sentenced by Umbridge for supposedly ‘stealing’ magic. In fact, Kingsley told me they’re to make a public announcement supporting our bill next Tuesday. Any chance you two could be there to see it?”
“That’s fantastic, Hermione!” exclaimed Ginny. “We’d love to come!”
“I can’t, actually. Sorry,” Harry said apologetically. “I’m supposed to give a lecture to the Defense class at Hogwarts that day. ‘The Dark Arts is a many-headed monster’ speech and all that, I really shouldn’t miss it,”
“Don’t worry about it, that sounds much more fun that my boring legal stuff,” Hermione smiled. “Here comes Ron!”
The three of them looked toward where Teddy and Ron were departing each other’s company, the former laughing almost manically as he ran off in the direction of the Burrow. Ron strode back to stand beside his wife with an inexplicably smug look on his face.
“What did you tell him?” asked Hermione suspiciously.
Ron grinned. “You’ll see in a minute,”
After that, Ginny and Hermione began a conversation about their pregnancies and somehow managed to draw Ron into it. Harry, however, merely looked around the garden at his favorite people, all assembled to celebrate his child’s first year on earth. He smiled to himself. He suddenly felt a small tug on the bottom of his jeans and looked down to see James’ large brown eyes, so like his mother’s, staring up at him under a shock of jet-black hair. “Perfect timing, mate,” murmured Harry, leaning down to scoop up his son. “I was just thinking about you,”
James giggled as his father made colorful rings of smoke billow from his wand for him to catch. His tiny fists waved through the air, dissolving the smoke as it touched the little boy’s skin. When James accidentally hit Harry’s nose instead of the smoke, Harry pretended to be angry and slung the little boy onto his shoulders for a piggy back ride. As he did so, Harry happened to look across the garden towards where Victoire was standing, alone this time, playing with a few of her dolls. The curious thing was not Victoire, however, it was that Teddy was walking towards her carrying a large bucket of some sort of greenish liquid that was sloshing all over the lawn. The bucket was obviously too heavy for the seven-year-old’s slight frame.
“Ron,” Harry muttered to his best friend as he rejoined the conversation. “What’s Teddy doing?”
But Ron clearly wasn’t paying any attention to him because he was already looking over Harry’s shoulder, watching Teddy. At that moment, Ron nodded his head slightly and made some sort of motion with his arms that Harry didn’t understand. “Hey!” Harry tried to get his attention by waving a hand in front of his face. “What in Merlin’s name—“ He realized what was about to happen less than a moment before it actually did. His desperate shout of “TEDDY, NO!” was in vain.
Frog spawn, thick and slimy and green, splattered all over Victoire’s blonde head.
For a moment, there was silence. The shock of seeing perfect little Victoire, in her perfect blue party dress, covered in frog spawn, was enough to make everyone who had seen fall perfectly silent. Without warning, Teddy shouted “HA!”, dropped the empty bucket, and ran away.
Victoire’s scream of fury resonated through the orchard. It was so loud and shrill that Harry was certain the residents of Ottery St. Catchpole could have heard it. Within seconds, she was on her feet chasing the blur of blue hair that was Teddy Lupin through the garden, frog spawn still flying off of her as she screamed insults at him.
“Now that,” said Ron, fighting back laughter. “is how you get a girl to notice you.”
A/N: This was one of my favorite chapters to write, was it your favorite to read so far? Leave a review and let me know! Next chapter is about Ron/Hermione :)