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The First Year, an Almost Happily Ever After story by Jet LaBarge

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 33
Word Count: 242,936
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, General, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Kreacher, Andromeda, Arthur, Bill, Molly, Ginny, Teddy
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Arthur/Molly, Bill/Fleur, Lucius/Narcissa, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 04/09/2012
Last Chapter: 04/09/2014
Last Updated: 04/09/2014

Summary:
Fairy tales end “And They Lived Happily Ever After,” but good stories continue on "one season following another, laden with happiness ... and tears."  Follow Harry & Ginny as they rebuild their lives the first year after the war: Harry becomes an Auror and finds out that life as a hero has its own challenges, Ginny finds out that having all your dreams come true does not solve all your problems.
 


Chapter 5: Riddle’s Estate
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Teddy started to stir at about 5:45, the morning of Tuesday May 5, 1998. He had been up twice in the middle of the night, and Harry and Ginny started what would become their routine. Harry changed the nappies, Ginny fed the baby, Harry changed the nappies again, and Ginny did the cleaning charms on the nappies and wipes when she got up in the morning.

Harry changed Teddy and handed him to Ginny. He went to the bathroom, showered and shaved. When he was done, Ginny was ready to get up, so she handed Teddy to Harry and went into the bathroom, taking a quick shower. Again, while washing her hair, Ginny struggled with the Touch-of-Lust spell. Did nursing Teddy tie her to Harry enough? So far, he had ignored the letters from the other witches. Ginny used the Touch-of-Lust spell with one flick, and immediately felt guilty. She put on her clothes and left the loo. Teddy was back asleep, and Harry and Ginny both took off their robes, but kept on the rest of their clothes, got into one of the beds, and spent about half an hour just holding each other. They were both too tired to do much else.

Ginny fell asleep as Harry held her, but Harry, who needed less sleep than most people, stayed awake and thought that things were still happening too fast. Teddy! Harry thought of the nightmarish eleven years he spent with the Dursleys. There was no way he was going to let Teddy go through that! Andromeda was barely functioning. Ginny had eagerly taken to becoming Teddy’s mother, which was good for Teddy, but something about it made Harry a little uneasy. Ginny was so eager to grow up. Then there were the financial things Bill was hinting at, and something to do with the wands and how he had defeated Riddle. And all of the sad stories they’d heard and experienced these days past. Somehow, finally defeating Riddle should have felt like a victory, and it did, sort of, but where was the rejoicing? Harry could not help feeling guilty that he had not found a way to do it sooner.

Finally, there was a stirring and Arthur woke up, followed by the rest of the family sleeping in the dorm room. Their movements caused Ginny to stir, and since the others were starting to get up, both Harry and Ginny got up too, put their robes back on and taking Teddy with them, headed downstairs.

Everywhere they looked, on their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast, it was evident that more clean up and repair had been done overnight, while the rest of them had slept.

They arrived to find the Appledorn and Bayleaf families eating breakfast. Harry and Ginny joined them, with Ginny talking to Rosemary and the little girls while they ate. At 10, 8 and 5, they were fascinated by babies. While she talked to the girls, Harry turned to Michael.

“What is a forensic accountant?” he asked.

“Well, Harry,” Michael answered, “a forensic accountant is sort of like an Auror for money; someone who can look at companies or individual’s financial statements and figure out if there has been fraud or theft.”

Harry asked, “Do you work with Muggle or wizard money?”

Michael replied, “A little of both, since the two are more entwined than most wizards would expect.”

“So, if the Ministry thinks something funny was going on with their money last year, you could help them find out what was going on?” Harry asked.

“Yes, Harry, I probably could,” said Michael.

Harry saw Arthur enter the Great Hall and motioned for him to join them at the table so that he could introduce him to Michael.

“Tell Arthur what you were telling me about forensic accounting,” he told Michael.

And the two men launched into a discussion of the subject, just as a flock of owls flew into the Great Hall, clearly all bearing newspapers. The Daily Prophet had come early, for the first time since Voldemort’s defeat, distracting both men’s attention as they turned to read it while breakfasting.

It read:



Daily Prophet

Tuesday May 5


On the front page was a nice photograph of Harry, Ginny and Teddy. Under the photograph was the caption, “Harry, Ginny and Teddy Lupin Potter.”
Beneath that, there was an article that read:

Harry and Ginny Potter have been greeting all of the visitors coming to Hogwarts, over the last couple of days. Many of the witches and wizards have told this reporter that they were very moved by the Potters. “Harry is so nice, so compassionate.” “We are honored that someone of his reputation would take the time to great us.” “He seems to have such a nice family.”

This reporter has been thrilled to see Harry gently talking to his son, calming him when he is fussy. Ginny is a natural nursing the baby, who looks just like his parents.

By Cindy Base

Arthur was one of the first to read the article and immediately showed it to Harry and Ginny, saying, “You may want to talk to this Cindy Base.”

Harry said, “She’s a reporter, and we met her, but she has been talking to other people here in the hall and not directly to us. As soon as I see her, I will let her know the true story, and get a correction printed.”

More owls came for Harry, and again Harry answered a few, and Ginny saved the rest for later. There were even more letters from witches wanting to meet Harry than there had been before, many saying how they would be ideal girlfriends or wives. Some just offered to have sex with Harry. All of these witches writing to Harry was driving Ginny crazy; Harry sort of knew they were coming but let Ginny have them, and there was no way that Ginny was going to encourage Harry to look at the letters. They were from her rivals, and she was going to win!

There was also a catalog of baby clothes from Mother Minerva, and Ginny picked out three cute little boy outfits and asked Kreacher to get them, while she and Harry were working that day.

After Kreacher left, Ginny asked Harry, “How is Kreacher going to pay for the clothes? How did he pay for the things I had him get from Mother Minerva yesterday?”

Harry replied, “House elves, with the trust of their masters, can get modest sums of money from their owners’ accounts. I do not know how it works, but I do know that it does.”

Right after breakfast, Harry and Ginny reported to the Floo, same as they had the days before, to assist whoever would be coming through. Arthur opened the Floo precisely at 8 o’clock and was the first one through, leaving immediately for the Ministry. Then the Creevey family, with Colin’s body and the two little Dippet girls, came into the Great Hall.

“We are going to have to leave Robert and Dan Dippet for a few days, until we can find out where their mother is buried and how to arrange a wizard’s funeral,” Tim told them, before the Creevey family left, the Dippet girls with them.

Immediately, the Floo glowed green again, as the first arrival of the morning came through. Cindy, from the Daily Prophet, stepped from the fireplace with a copy of the morning paper in her hand and beamed at Harry when she saw him.

“I hope you liked my photo and little story,” she said sincerely, greeting Harry.

“It was very nice,” Harry answered a bit awkwardly. “The prophet has done a good job of reporting the last couple of days. Unfortunately, you do not have your facts right in this story. Ginny is Ginny Weasley, my girlfriend, and Teddy is my godson, the son of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks Lupin, both of whom were killed in The Battle of Hogwarts. It does look like we will be helping to take care of Teddy for a while, but we’re not his parents.”

Cindy looked deeply embarrassed. “I’m so sorry for the mistake! You look so much like a happily married couple, I just assumed! I will make sure to get the correct story in the paper tomorrow,” she assured him, looking at Ginny too.

“Thank you,” Harry said, answering for them both. “We’d appreciate that.”

Ginny found Cindy a little while later and whispered, “I don’t care if the correction is buried in the paper, or if you forget.” Cindy did not know what to do. She took her time deciding and the Prophet never did get around to posting the correction.

Meanwhile, Fleur had returned shortly after Cindy, coming through the Floo shortly after 8:00. She checked over Harry and Ginny, and then went directly to the infirmary.

At about 8:20, a witch and wizard came through the Floo: John Jones and Danielle Smith. The wizard spoke to Harry, saying, “My son and Danielle’s daughter are among the dead.”

Ginny looked at Teddy, who was sound asleep. She went up to Danielle and gave her a big hug. “I brought your daughter back to the castle,” said Ginny. “I thought she was going to be able to be healed, but just after we got into the main door something happened. She said, ‘tell Mummy I love her, and I’ll give Daddy a kiss for her,’ and she died, right in my arms.”

Danielle turned to John, took a deep breath, and held on to him like she was trying to merge their bodies, starting to bawl.

Ginny tried to compose herself, hoping to hold back her own tears that were threatening. She looked at John and said, “After the battle I found out that your son died trying to protect her. I’m so sorry.”

John and Danielle held on to each other for several minutes, while she tried to regain some composure. Then John said to Danielle, “You always expect your children to live on after you. We are just going to have to live on for our children. Tom Riddle, damn you to Hell, you are not going to defeat us.”

Both John and Danielle were in tears, but with resigned looks on both of their faces, they followed Ginny to see their children. Ginny felt that it was small comfort; the girl should be alive!

At about 9:30 AM, Bill Weasley arrived. “I need to talk to you privately, Harry. Ginny should come along too. Can someone else tend the Floo?”

Michael and Rosemary volunteered, and they promised to recruit some other help as well. Meanwhile, Bill, Harry, Ginny and Teddy went into a spare classroom.

Bill started, “In Wizarding law, in almost all countries, there is a special provision for estates if two wizards duel, despite the fact that dueling to the death is now banned in most areas, and the wizard that is killed has no family and no will. Tom Riddle had no issue, no biological family, no will, and no heirs. He never trusted anyone, and never made any provisions in case he died because, as you know …”

“He thought he would live forever,” Harry finished for him. There was a fleeting moment when Harry felt a sort of perverse pleasure at having proven Riddle wrong.

“Precisely,” Bill went on. “Therefore you are entitled to all his assets.”

“I didn’t think Voldemort was a thief? I thought he was just interested in power,” said Harry.

“You can’t be powerful if you are broke,” replied Bill. “From what little we have seen, so far, one of the first things Tom Riddle did was make sure he had plenty of money, and the money greased his way into power. We need your help, so that his allies do not get possession of all of these assets.”

“What do I need to do?” Harry asked, prepared to do whatever was necessary to prevent Death Eaters from claiming Riddle’s ill-gotten gold.

“We need to proclaim you as the winner, in formal language, to make sure the provisions of these laws are followed,” Bill explained. “I am going to go over the wording with you, and this afternoon we are going to have a news conference to proclaim your victory.”

Harry nodded. ‘How much could he have?’ he thought to himself. As far as he knew, Tom Riddle had never had a home nor much in the way of personal possessions.

Bill watched him closely, correctly interpreting Harry’s expression. “Make no mistake, Harry. Riddle was very aware of these provisions. As near as we can tell, he is on record claiming the estates of 41 British families that he wiped out, killed to the last member, and another 63 families outside of Britain. All of the proper paperwork was filed and witnessed, saying he followed the law and killed them in duels; it really does not matter if he did or not. Some of the estates are very small, but others are huge. In addition, we think there is a lot of money that was stolen from the Ministry, and this money is urgently needed. Our worry is that if you do not claim these assets, there are other people who may be able to get at some of the assets, and most of them are people we do not want to have access to the money or other treasures.”

Harry nodded, looking at him warily. This was vastly more than he’d anticipated, and already, he was wondering if there was some other way.

Bill went on. “It looks like many of the vaults, maybe all of them, are protected by spells that can only be broken by the heir of Riddle, or his immediate family. Since you have no magical biological family that leaves you to break the curses.”

Harry asked, “Isn’t there any way I can get someone else to help?”

Bill answered, “For you, your wife and in-laws would qualify. Despite the photo in the Daily Prophet, I do not think you and Ginny are married - yet. It really does not make any difference. The bride or groom has to be at least 17 for it to count, and to have entered into the marriage freely. Not like this is putting any pressure on you, Harry. I think I know Ginny’s opinion.”

“No sex until I am 17?” asked Ginny.

Bill was horrified, and said, “Ginny! What a question to ask your big brother! I don’t think there is anything in Wizarding law about that, but if you don’t want to incur the wrath of your mother, I would be very careful. Plus, I would hope that you want to finish school, and I don’t know how being married would affect your schooling, so don’t say anything to anybody about this yet.”

Harry asked, “Could you use a forensic accountant who is also a wizard and knows wizards’ accounting?”

Bill’s eyes opened wide, and he looked at Harry with a questioning look. “How do you know about forensic accounting? Yes, we could probably use one full time for years to straighten out this mess!”

Harry quickly replied, “I’ll introduce you to Michael Appledorn. He is staying at Hogwarts with his children. I think he needs a job.” Harry told Bill that if he was going to make a statement, there were some other things he had to do, and explained about the sword of Gryffindor. He felt that before they started to access the vaults, they needed to get the possession of the sword cleared up.

Bill nodded as Harry explained. “Dad and I have drafted what we thought you might say. We could adapt it, once we get the bit with the sword cleared up. Would that do?”

“Yeah, I think it would,” Harry agreed, feeling a bit relieved.

“Do you want to go over it?” Bill offered.

Harry sighed, resigned to the fact that, once again, he was going to have to do something he’d rather not do.

“Yes. Yes, I do,” he said.

Bill and Harry went over Harry’s statement.

Once they were done, Harry introduced Bill to Michael. When Michael understood what Bill wanted he spent a little time talking to Rosemary, then told his boys, “Obey Rosemary and all of the adults, boys,” and left with Bill.

Harry and Ginny went around the castle and found all of the people who they thought should be there when Harry made his statement. Harry also called Kreacher and asked him to contact the Goblins, especially Griphook.

Shortly after 1:00 PM, they were ready. Harry, Ginny, Teddy, Ron, Hermione and Neville Longbottom, several of the Hogwarts professors and other people who had been at the battle were gathered at the Ministry of Magic for Harry’s news conference. There were reporters and officials from other countries there too.

Harry started, “Thank you for coming. As many of you know, I am here to proclaim my victory over Tom Riddle to clear up some legal issues. I want to make sure that everybody knows that, although I did duel Riddle alone in the final battle, that that was just the last act in a very long war that started well before I was born. Many people worked very hard, suffered and, in all too many cases, died. They all need to be remembered and honored.

“I feel I have to mention five people by name. The first two are my full partners in all we did over not just the last year, but the last seven years, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley. Over the next days and weeks, I hope you find out more about just how much they were full partners in what we did. I also want to mention the three students who led the resistance at Hogwarts, while the three of us were doing the tasks we were given by Dumbledore. Those students are Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley.

“Neville is one of the bravest people I have ever met. He honors the memory of his Auror parents. Without his courageous act in killing Riddle’s snake, I could not have killed Riddle.

Luna, who is taking care of her father at the moment, is a brilliant young witch who helped the Quibbler to continue reporting the truth for as long as possible. She worked as hard as she could to take care of the students here at the school

Ginny! How can I ever make up to you for all of the suffering I put you through? In some ways, your suffering was more personal. Thank you for continuing to believe in me and for being there for me now.”

Harry then said, “On Saturday, May 2, 1998, just as the sun was rising, I, Harry James Potter, defeated Tom Marvolo Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort, each of us throwing a single curse. No one else was involved, either on the offense or on the defense. I have before me both of the wands, the one that Riddle used and the one that I used. That wand has not been used since, so you can verify that the last spell I threw from that wand was the one that countered Riddle’s spell. The other wand is an old one. It had one spell cast after the one that Riddle cast, which backfired and killed him. It has never been my personal wand. Both wands will be available for examination, but only under my supervision.

“There are many people here who witnessed the duel, and who will sign copies of this document to testify that I, Harry James Potter, killed Tom Marvolo Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort, each of us throwing a single curse.

“Tom Marvolo Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort, died without a will, without any family or heirs. Therefore I, Harry James Potter, claim any and all estates left by Tom Marvolo Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort. I intend to take possession of any and all properties and assets of Tom Marvolo Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort.

“Stated this 5th day of May 1998. Copies of the above proclamation are available in English right now. They are being translated into all of the common languages of the world-wide Wizarding community.”

Harry then motioned for Neville and a goblin to come up, and said, “We gave the goblin Griphook the sword of Gryffindor, returning it to goblin possession, shortly before the last battle. When a true son of Gryffindor needed the sword, it was available to him, in this case Neville. There seem to be conflicting claims over the sword, and, before the assembled press, we wanted to make public how we resolved this issue.

“The sword is going to be stored at Hogwarts for part of the year, and publicly on display at Gringotts the rest of the year. Any time a goblin wants to have the sword, they just have to ask, and within 24 hours, the sword will be surrendered to them. We are formally conveying the sword to the goblins now, in this ceremony. The Goblins know of the charms on the sword, and that it may be suddenly made available to a true heir of Gryffindor, in their hour of need. I know that the goblin representative wants to say something.”

Harry whispered to the goblin, “Where is Griphook?”

The young goblin said, “We will explain later.”

Grabhook took his place on the platform beside Harry. Climbing up on a chair to face their witnesses, he said, “We accept this sword, not as a gift, but as a right. Far too often wizards have cheated the goblins, and we have never cheated the wizards. For us, this sword is a symbol, and the conveying, several times a year, acknowledging our rights, is more important than the possession. We thank you, Harry Potter, not for the sword, which is ours by right, but for being the person you are; friend of elves and goblins.”

Harry then said, “Any questions?”

The first question was: “Mr. Potter, any idea how many estates may be involved?”

He answered, “I am going to ask Bill Weasley, who is working for me and the Ministry on these issues, to answer most of these questions.”

Bill stepped up to stand on Harry’s other side. “We can identify 41 estates in Britain, and another 63 in other countries; most, but not all, of the 63 are in or close to Europe,” he answered.

“How much money are we talking about?” someone else asked.

Again Bill answered, “A lot of money. Some of the estates are small, but a few are huge. It will take months, maybe years, to get a full accounting.”

A reporter with a foreign accent asked, “Is there any truth to the rumor that the Rothchild estate in Switzerland is included? The Swiss community is very upset.”

Bill said, “Harry, we have talked about this. I think you should answer the question.”

Harry responded, reading from a statement. Bill had warned him that a question like this was coming.

“I do not, in any way, want to take from the Wizarding community of any country their ability to enjoy land or property that has generally been held in or used in trust for the community at large. At the same time, the law is clear. The Rothchild family may have acted as if their properties and immense wealth was in trust for the witches and wizards of Switzerland, but they always kept all of the ownership in a small number of hands, making sure they had enough family members to inherit in case of an accident or illness, but keeping the family small enough so that the wealth would stay concentrated. We have started negotiations with the Swiss. For every property and every country, I can say with absolute certainty that no country would have been better off with Riddle in charge.”

A reporter asked, “Bill, are you Harry’s brother-in-law?”

Bill answered, “Not yet. Harry, do you have anything to say?”

Harry grinned and said, “It is hardly a secret that Ginny and I are more than dating. I expect that if we become formally engaged, all of you will know soon enough.”

Bill stepped in. “We have a lot to do, and have to bring this news conference to a close.”

The next step was examining the wands. Mr. Ollivander went first. When he looked at the Elder Wand, his eyes opened wide, and he said, “This is the wand that Albus Dumbledore had, the Elder Wand, maybe the first wand ever made, and certainly the most powerful and deadly. Are you using it now?”

Harry answered, “I wanted to hide it, and I still do. It has done too much damage over the centuries.”

Ollivander examined the wand, and then said, “The last task seems to be to repair your wand. Can I see your wand as well?” Harry gave it to him, and he examined it and said, “Your wand has grown in power. Being repaired by the Elder Wand is one reason. The other is because the wizard who wields it has grown in power. Be careful, Harry.”

Most of the people interested in seeing the Elder Wand were wand-makers from around the world and they were a very curious lot, as Harry expected based on his experience with Mr. Ollivander. Each person was asked to meet privately with Harry, and all of the conversations were very much the same. “Before you examine the wand Riddle used, you need to swear and magically bind that you will not divulge any more about that wand than what is necessary to verify or deny my story.”

Only one person did not agree, and he did not get to see the Elder Wand. For the rest, almost all of the people said something like, “Do you have any idea what wand you have?”

Harry answered each one in the same way. “Of course I do. That is why I made you swear not to tell anyone.”

The person examining the wand would then say something like, “Are you sure you do not want to use it?”

Harry consistently answered, “Yes, it has done enough damage.” Not once did his answer ever waver.

At the end of the news conference, Arthur took Harry aside and asked, “You and Ginny are very close, almost inseparable. Just what are your intentions?”

Harry thought for a minute, a questioning look on his face, then looked at Arthur and said, “There is no question in my mind that Ginny is the girl that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and she would be thrilled if I asked her to marry me right now. That’s what she wanted; me to kill Riddle, then turn to her and ask her to marry her right there! But she is only 16, and has a year of school left. And here I am being told that we really ought to get married as soon as Ginny turns 17, for the good of the Wizarding community. How do you feel about it? She is your daughter, and I guess that I ought to be asking you for her hand in marriage?”

Arthur looked pensively at Harry, and thought for a bit. He thought of the intolerable state of the Ministry finances and how many people would be hurt if the Ministry did not get some money. He thought of how he and Molly had to get married. The last couple of months, he had to leave his job at the Ministry, and he did not have any money either. Arthur thought that half of the good families in the Wizarding community had been hurt financially over the last year. Finally, he said, “Her mother and I got married right after Hogwarts, started a family right away. It’s not always been easy. I still do not regret that we got married when we did. You have my permission. You and Ginny are going to go through some hard times too, but that will happen no matter how old you are when you get married.”

Harry answered, “Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t say anything to Molly yet,” Arthur cautioned. “I’m not sure how to tell her.”

Harry replied, “I haven’t asked Ginny yet! She talks like we are going to be married and I am sure we are, but she seems a little eager.” Harry thought that Ginny was more than a little eager, but was not quite sure what to say about that to his future father-in-law.

Kingsley Shacklebolt approached Harry, as he and Arthur were coming back into the room. “Harry, you really need to tell us what you were doing last year. Could you tell a small group of people what happened?”

“Could we have some of the DA come? They deserve to know the truth too,” Harry answered. “But I would like to make sure we limit the people attending to those we can trust.”

“Could you be ready Thursday evening?” Kingsley suggested.

“We should be able to be ready,” Harry replied, and they took their leave of the Minister, before making their way back to the secured Floo.

By 5:00 PM, Harry, Ginny, Teddy, Ron and Hermione were back at Hogwarts, arriving through the Great Hall Floo. Fawkes was there to greet them, and Harry asked the scarlet bird to return the Elder Wand to Dumbledore’s tomb. He kept Draco’s wand, though he wasn’t sure why. Neither did he understand why he was carrying two wands around.

When they stepped more fully into the room and away from the Floo, Harry and Ginny found that Rosemary had recruited some other people to help, other people who had been staying at Hogwarts, since their homes had either been destroyed or they felt they were not secure, so they were readily available and had free time.

Since Harry was not tending the fireplace that afternoon, he and Ginny had time for themselves and spent it walking around the castle, looking at the repair work that had been done over the past three days. Eventually, they came upon some very large stones being moved by a crane that looked like some sort of combination of Muggle and magic technology.

One of the people in charge introduced himself as Mr. Grunt, of Griffin and Grunt Magical and Muggle Construction. “Not easy to move everything by just waving your wand,” he said. “Too much structural damage.”

Harry introduced himself and Mr. Grunt gave Harry his card. “If you ever need anything, just send us an owl. We would be thrilled to work for the famous Harry Potter. And thank you for all you did, killing Voldemort and all that.” Harry kept the business card, just in case.

That evening, as they were getting ready for bed, Ginny did not bother to cover herself with a blanket when she nursed Teddy. When Ron and Hermione came into the room, Hermione came over to talk to Ginny and see Teddy. Ginny asked Hermione if she would like to burp the baby. “I don’t know, Ginny. All I know about babies I’ve learned from books. I’ve never held such a little baby. I’ve never held any baby.”

“It’s easy, just hold his head like this,” and Ginny took Teddy off her breast, partially closing the flap to her bra without fastening it, and showed Hermione how to hold the baby. “Put him against you like this and burp him like this.” Then she gave Hermione Teddy and then casually finished closing the flap on her bra. Hermione took the baby and gently burped him and spent some time holding him. She was not really comfortable with the baby. Finally she looked at Ron and said, “Maybe, someday.”

Harry could see Ron was having a hard time handling this scene. Ron was very aware of the female form. Hermione was just bigger than Ginny in every way, taller, bigger around on top and on the bottom and in the middle. She had spent enough time pushing her bosom into Ron the last couple of days, which he was enjoying immensely. At the same time, Ginny was his little sister. He had seen friends of his mother nurse babies, and knew he must have seen their mum nurse Ginny, but these were all grown-up women and this was his little sister. He did the only thing he could think of, which was not to stare too obviously, something that did not come naturally for him.

Ron did not know why seeing Ginny nurse Teddy was bothering him. He had never seen anyone feed a baby any other way, although he had heard his mother complain about some ‘unnatural way’ some Muggle mothers feed babies. Even when Teddy let go of Ginny’s breast and he saw more than he should have, it wasn’t exactly sexy, although he didn’t want to stare. Maybe it was just that Ginny looked so much like Teddy’s mother, and it was easy to think of Harry and Ginny as parents, which meant thinking of them as husband and wife, which meant Harry and Ginny having sex, which would probably happen eventually, but Ginny was only 16.

Harry was probably thinking of Ginny like Ron was thinking of Hermione, but considering how he was thinking of Hermione, what he thought when they were snogging and pushing their bodies against each other, this was not exactly reassuring to Ron either. Bloody hell, his head was starting to hurt, thanks to this train of thought.

Hermione eventually gave Teddy back to Ginny, who handed him to Harry. Harry changed the nappies and put Teddy down to bed.

Harry and Ginny looked around the dorm. In one bed was Andromeda. She was curled up in a fetal position, whimpering.

Ginny just shook her head. “Even when I thought you were dead and all hope was gone, even then I was going to go out fighting,” she told Harry quietly. “I feel so sorry for Andromeda, but I have to say, I have a hard time understanding her. Things will be better tomorrow!”

Ginny had almost no knowledge of the Muggle world, but she liked to think about herself very much like Little Orphan Annie and her theme song might as well have been “The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow.” Of course, she was much more complicated, and Ginny was having a hard time because of the tragic stories she kept facing day after day. Despite the almost overwhelming sorrow confronting her, Ginny was determined to make her dreams come true and to be positive for this little boy who needed her love and support.

Harry looked at Ginny and Teddy and thought that, as confusing as his life was, it was vastly better than being hunted by Riddle. Harry and Ginny crawled into their beds and were asleep within minutes.


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