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19 Years by marauder5
Chapter 29: Year 3: Previews
Some days, you can wake up and be completely unaware of the fact that today, you will see something, or hear something, or even taste something, that will make it perfectly clear to you what you really want. It can be a small thing that you just know that you want to have in your future, and small or big, it might even change your path until you find the closest way to such a place. Actually, Harry Potter experienced a day just like that, in the beginning of April before the summer that he would turn 21, on his godson’s third birthday.
The first week of April had been cold, but as Harry opened the window that morning to let in the owl that was delivering The Daily Prophet, a tepid breeze swept into the kitchen and announced that the spring warmth might finally be on its way. Harry smiled at this thought while holding his hand out towards the owl. As he unfolded the newspaper and began skimming over its front page, the bird snatched the treat that lay on his palm. Then, it let out a content hoot, turned around and flew back out into the morning air, much to the astonishment of Harry’s neighbour, Mrs Stack, who was just looking out her window and thereby spotted the owl soaring away from the building. She rubbed her eyes, as if to make sure that she was really awake, and then she looked up again; by then, the owl was gone, and Mrs Stack shrugged and continued to pour water into her teapot.
Four stories above Mrs Stack’s flat, Ginny was just entering the kitchen, cheerful as she always was in the mornings. Casting a glance on the newspaper her boyfriend was reading, she smiled and took out a glass from one of the cabinets next to him.
“Anything interesting?” she asked while pouring pumpkin juice into the glass.
“No,” Harry replied. “Some guy at the Ministry was caught messing with Muggle supplies in a supermarket…” Ginny had just opened her mouth to ask: “Supermarket?” when he added: “It’s a Muggle store. I suppose your Dad’s friend Perkins was involved in the case then, right? Oh, yes, here it is: ‘Philip Perkins, from the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, says: Fortunately, the problem was discovered before any Muggles were injured. However, one must always ask whether or not this man’s intention was to harm Muggles in particular, and if a person with such views really belongs behind a desk at the Ministry of Magic.’ He has a point, don’t you think?”
“People do that all the time,” Ginny said. “It doesn’t make them Death Eaters. I’m sure Dad agrees.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right,” Harry said. “The Prophet might not even have mentioned it if it hadn’t been a Ministry Official.”
Ginny emptied her glass and shook her head. “No, probably not. What time is it? Do we need to get going?”
Harry checked the golden watch on his wrist. “Yes, I think we should. Andromeda is expecting us. And if I know Teddy right, he’s probably climbing the walls right now because he can’t wait for us to get there.”
If the little birthday boy had been climbing any walls, it certainly hadn’t affected his grandmother’s mood. Andromeda’s smile was almost ridiculously wide as she opened the front door to let Harry and Ginny in a couple of minutes later. She was wearing an apron covered in red and yellow stains, her hair was a mess and her hands covered in some sort of mysterious-looking goo, but the look on her face showed only overjoy as she stepped aside to let them in.
“We were making pancakes,” she explained. “I let Teddy choose what to have for breakfast today. In response, he poured jam and syrup all over me…”
She smiled as she said this, and Harry and Ginny laughed. In that same moment, a brown-haired, small figure came flying out of the kitchen, stumbled across the rug that covered the hall floor, and wrapped his arms around Harry’s legs with surprising strength.
“Hi, little man!” Harry said, bending down to ruffle the boy’s hair. “Happy birthday!”
Ginny grinned. “Is anyone excited to come with his Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny to Legoland?”
Teddy nodded and giggled happily, and Andromeda smiled widely again. “He’s been shooting around the house like a cannonball all morning, just waiting for you to come,” she said. “He doesn’t even know what that place is, that you’re taking him too, but he’s still this excited about it.”
“I’ve never been, either,” Harry said. “My aunt and uncle took my cousin there once, for his birthday. I had to stay with Mrs Figg, but Dudley wouldn’t shut up about it for weeks afterwards. I mean, I think part of it was just to make me jealous because I couldn't go, but we asked Audrey about it too. You know, her mum is a Muggle, so they went when she was younger…”
“I’m sure the children will love it,” Andromeda said.
Ginny bent down to help Teddy put on his shoes, and Harry and Andromeda chatted with each other as they waited. “Anything new with you, Andy?” Harry asked.
“Actually, yes,” Andromeda said. “I received a very interesting letter the other day…”
“Really? From whom?”
“From my sister. Narcissa,” Andromeda continued. “It said that she and Draco had bought Teddy a birthday gift, and she was wondering if I’d let them come by to give it to him. You know, they’ve never seen him… I was just… I was wondering what you think about it.”
“If I think you I should let them?”
Andromeda nodded, and Harry thought about it for a few seconds before opening his mouth.
“I think they have changed,” he said. “I mean, with Lucius in Azkaban… did you know that Draco works with Hermione now? Believe it or not, but they’re actually friends.”
“So I should give them a chance, then?”
Ginny had finally managed to get Teddy’s shoes onto his feet, and she was now straightening up while grabbing his hand. Andromeda handed Harry her grandson’s little rucksack and waited for a response.
“It’s up to you,” he finally said. “I won’t mind it, whatever you decide.”
They said their goodbyes, Teddy promised his grandmother to behave, and then the three of them left the Tonks property to apparate to their next stop. Only about a minute later, they walked up to the Shell Cottage, where they found Victoire and Fleur already waiting for them outside the front door. Hearing them come, Bill stuck his head out the window – his long hair flitted in the sea breeze and landed across his face, thus blocking his view completely. Letting out a frustrated sigh, he brushed it away (Ginny wondered if he, in that split second, may have been considering pleasing his mother by cutting it all off) and then he called out:
“You have to keep track of her! Ginny, do you hear me? Don’t let her get lost, or fall into–“
“William!” Fleur said, rolling her eyes as she began walking towards the visitors. “Just ignore ‘im,” she told them. “’E ‘as been so nervous all morning, so I ‘ad to tell ‘im to stay inside. ‘E knows that you take care of Teddy all ze time, so you know what you are doing…”
“We’ll just ignore him,” Ginny said. “After all, he was raised by our mother. How could he not be overprotective?”
“Poor girl,” Fleur said while kneeling down to kiss her daughter’s forehead. “Be good to your aunt and uncle now, chérie. And wave goodbye to papa!”
“Okay then,” Ginny said, picking up her niece and waving at her eldest brother, who was still hanging out the window with a concerned look on his face. “We should get going. Bye, Fleur. We’ll see you this afternoon!”
In the next moment, the four of them stepped out of a hidden coppice just outside the Muggle amusement park. Brushing a few leaves off of his shirt, Harry let Teddy down on the ground, grabbed his hand and began leading him towards the entrance. Ginny and Victoire followed closely behind.
A little while later, after somehow enduring a very challenging couple of minutes waiting in line with a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, Harry and Ginny made it into Legoland, pushing the twin stroller they had rented forwards, along the narrow street within the park. Ginny pointed at each little Lego house they passed, and Victoire and Teddy nearly fell out of the stroller in their excitement as they stretched their necks, both of them eager to imbibe every single impression; the older children, running around the little town built of Lego, the green Lego crocodile in the small pond that actually opened and closed its mouth as Harry pushed the stroller past it, revealing a massive opening and two rows of long, plastic teeth. Victoire shrieked at the sight of this, causing Teddy to burst out in laughter. At first, she looked a little offended, but she seemed to decide to let it pass – Ginny was relieved when her niece joined in the laughter instead of flinging out an arm and punching her best, yellow-haired friend in the stomach, like she so often did when they quarrelled.
After a couple of hours of strolling around, building towers and riding around in a Lego train, they decided to take a break and have lunch. They found a table at one of the terraces, in the sunlight and very close to the enormous Lego pirate ship that Victoire seemed incredibly fascinated by. Harry walked into the restaurant to find a high chair for her, while Ginny helped her and Teddy out of the stroller.
“Oh, let me help you with that, sir!” exclaimed one of the waiters as he spotted Harry, who was in the middle of lifting one of the chairs off of the large pile by the wall. “Where is your table?”
The man was older than Harry, probably in his mid-thirties or early forties, and he had, thick, brown hair and eyebrows so bushy that they actually cast shadows over his kind, brown eyes. Now, he smiled politely as he took the high chair from Harry’s hands and turned around.
“Outside,” Harry responded. “See the red-haired woman over there?”
“Of course.” Heaving the chair over his shoulder, the waiter began walking. “You’ve got a beautiful family.”
“Oh,” Harry said, letting a small laugh escape his lips. “They’re not our children. The boy is my godson, and the girl is my girlfriend’s niece.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the waiter said quickly. They reached the table, and he set the chair down. “Here we go…”
His eyes swept over towards Teddy, who had just crawled up onto the chair next to Ginny’s. Harry had no problem reading the man's confused facial expression, the wrinkle on his forehead or his now widened eyes; Teddy’s hair had just gone from yellow to a familiar light brown colour – it was exactly Remus’ colour, and that thought alone distracted Harry for a few moments before his mind managed to move on, and focus on the actual problem.
“Did his hair just…?”
“Oh,” Ginny said quickly, placing a hand on top of Teddy’s head, as if to cover it. “He’s got so many shades in his hair – I see new colours in it every day. Don’t you, Harry?”
Harry mumbled in agreement. The waiter continued to stare at the boy for a few seconds before shrugging, and then, probably deciding that Ginny’s explanation was the only logical one, he pulled out a small notepad from his chest pocket and smiled.
“Of course,” he said. “Now, what can I get you? Maybe the young mister here would like to start?”
Teddy looked absolutely terrified as he shot Harry a look that seemed to scream for help. Harry chuckled. “I think Teddy would like a children’s menu,” he said. “Anything with hot dogs, right, buddy?”
“Yes, yes,” the waiter mumbled as he scribbled down the order. “And for the little princess?”
Victoire, who had received a golden, plastic crown outside the Lego castle, giggled in delight. About a minute later, the waiter scurried into the kitchen to deliver their orders to the chefs, and Harry and Ginny exchanged a look, both their faces like reflections of each other’s concern.
“He’s suspicious,” Ginny said, streaks of panic in her voice slipping through her ever so calm exterior. “How do we…? Teddy, you have to try not to–“
“He doesn’t know how to control it yet,” Harry interrupted. “We should have just let him wear a hat. Why didn’t Andromeda…?”
“She must have been distracted,” Ginny said. “With the whole Malfoy thing… there’s a shop over there,” she said, pointing her finger at a spot behind Harry. “We could buy him a cap… they’ve got to have those, right?”
“It’s definitely worth a shot,” Harry said, springing to his feet and grabbing Teddy’s hand. “Come on,” he said. “Vic already has her princess crown, so we think you should have something to wear on your head too…”
Ginny waved as they left the terrace. In that same moment, the waiter returned to their table with their drinks.
“Is your company leaving, Miss?” he asked.
“Only for a couple of minutes,” Ginny answered. “Teddy got a little jealous over the fact that his friend here had a crown, and he didn’t, so Harry brought him to the souvenir shop to see what he can do about that… We’re celebrating their birthdays,” she added, as if she was worried that the waiter would think them a bad influence on the child.
The man simply raised one bushy eyebrow and winked at her. “Well, you are allowed to spoil other people’s kids!”
“No-o!” said Victoire firmly, crossing her arms over her chest in the most adorable way. “Mummy says no!”
“Mummy says we shouldn’t do that?” Ginny said. Leaning forward, she began tickling the little girl. “Well, then you’re going to have to keep it a secret from Mummy!”
Victoire giggled loudly. The waiter smiled as he placed their drinks on the table, and as he walked away, Ginny bent her head down to place a kiss on Victoire’s cheek.
“You are the prettiest girl I know,” she told her. “I can see why your Dad doesn’t want to give you away, even if it’s just for a day.”
“I think she shares that title with another girl.”
Ginny looked up and rolled her eyes at Harry, who had returned with Teddy in tow. The little boy was now wearing a purple cap with pieces of Lego in different colours printed on its peak, and he grinned widely as he climbed back up onto the chair.
“Hajjy!” Victoire said. “Hajjy pitty too!”
“What about me, Vicky?” Teddy asked, hastily leaning forwards so that he nearly spilled out both his and Harry’s drinks. “Don’t you think I’m pretty? I’ve got a new cap!”
“Evjyone pitty!” Victoire declared. “Hajjy,” she pointed her small index finger at him, “Teddy,” she moved her hand, “and Ginny,” she moved it again, “and Vicky!” Pressing the tip of her finger into her own chest, she smiled before starting to clap her hands.
“So she’s even calling herself Vicky now,” Harry said. “I think Fleur has to consider that a battle lost.”
“Yes, but with George on the other end, who would have expected anything else?”
Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes rarely saw any particularly quiet days; at any given hour of the day, there was, with almost no exceptions, at least twenty or thirty children or teenagers in there, dragging their parents or their friends around the entire building, examining the new arrivals in the front or scanning the shelves in the back in search of some gem that had got lost in the jumble of objects in all colours and fashions. Of course, there had been that time, just after the war, when George hadn’t exactly been in shape to run a shop, much less come up with new inventions, and despite the many children casting longing glances at the front doors each time they passed it, it had remained closed for a good five months. Then, Angelina had stepped in, called the twins’ old shop assistant, Verity, and dragged George out of bed. Verity had gladly given up her part time job in a very shady coffee shop, located in the bystreet that separated Diagon Alley from Knockturn Alley, and come back to her old job. Together, the three of them had slowly managed to get the business moving again, and now, about two and a half years later, the shop had long since returned to its former glory, with a constant flow of enough customers and galleons to keep both Verity’s, George’s and Angelina’s pockets continually full.
Ron, who was just pushing the door into Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes open, knew that things were never very quiet in there, but it seemed like a relatively calm day anyway. He noticed that the line to checkout where Angelina was working was long, but George and Verity seemed to be taking a small break, as they were both leaning against one of the walls, chatting to each other while casting suspicious glances at a group of teenage boys a few yards away, as if they worried that they would start filling their pockets with the Exploding Whizz Poppers they were looking at.
Ron ducked as a miniature flying mat headed towards him, and then grimaced as a Fanged Flyer sank its teeth into his shoulder. It backed away and seemed to aim for him a second time, but he punched it, thus making it turn around and soar away in the other direction.
“So the rumours are true!” said a familiar voice, and Ron turned his head to see that George was now standing in front of him, dressed in his magenta robe and with a smile on his face. “My little brother has come to see me!”
“There are rumours about that already, huh?” said Ron sceptically.
“Word travels fast when you’re Harry Potter’s best mate,” George answered while winking at him. “So to what do I owe the pleasure of having one third of the Golden Trio in my presence?” he continued, pretending to be in awe at the mere sight of Ron.
Ron rolled his eyes. “I was in the neighbourhood.”
“Very well! You're always welcome. Don't just stand there in the doorway, though – you might scare costumers away!”
Ron laughed and followed his brother further into the shop. Four young witches, gathered around the large cask filled with pink love potion, stared barefacedly at him as he passed them, and he smiled quickly. One of the girls’ father stopped him to shake his hand, but seemed to be speechless, as he didn’t utter a single word. Finally, Ron and George reached the checkout disk, where Angelina was still busy serving the eager purchasers (or perhaps, in most cases, the parents of the eager purchasers).
“So tell me,” Ron said, sinking into one of the chairs behind the desk. “How’s married life?”
“Why?” George asked with an ingenious look on his face. “Are you thinking about making an honest woman of Hermione?”
“No!” said Ron appallingly. “No, not at all! I was just… making conversation.”
George grinned at his furiously red ears and cheeks before answering: “Married life is… fine, I guess.” Noticing the long look his wife shot him, he burst into laughter and continued: “Okay, it’s wonderful. How could it not be, considering exactly whom I married?”
“Yes,” Angelina said over her shoulder, “its worse for me. I married down.”
Ron laughed, and George tried to look upset at this.
“It really is worse for me,” said Angelina, who had somehow finished off the entire line in only a few minutes (“That’s why I married her,” said George with a grin, “because of her checkout skills!”). “Your mother is constantly nagging me about us having children!”
“Aren’t you going to?” Ron asked.
“Definitely not right now,” George answered. “Did you know that Zonko’s owner accepted our offer last week? That means that we’re opening Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes in Hogsmeade, preferably before September. Lee is going to run it, but it still means that we’re going to have our hands full for some time now.”
“Besides, we’re only twenty two!” Angelina added. “If Mrs Weasley wants another grandchild, she should ask Bill and Fleur to give her one.”
“By the way, Ron,” George said. “I’ve been meaning to ask you if you and Hermione are going to the ceremony at Hogwarts for the third anniversary. I met Hagrid when we went to Hogsmeade, and he wanted to know.”
“No, we’re not,” Ron said. “We should definitely pay him a visit, though. But I think we’re just going to the Burrow, to celebrate Victoire and be with the family. Mum has been sending Charlie weekly letters, begging him to come too. I guess we’ll see if he’ll succumb, right?”
“Let’s hope so. That reminds me, George, do you think Fleur would kill us if we gave Victoire some products from here?” Angelina asked.
“Perhaps, but that’s just more of a reason to do it!” George grinned. “Fleur might want her to be a perfect little angel, but someone has to feed her Weasley genes! We can’t just stand by and watch as she turns into a mini-Phlegm.” He dodged Angelina’s attempted punch and wrapped his arm around her. “You know it’s true!” he said. “Hum… I think I see a bunch of shoplifters over there. Let me go scare them away.”
He scurried away, leaving Ron and Angelina alone at the desk.
“He seems so happy now,” Ron said. “I think you have a lot do with that.”
“The nights are worse,” Angelina admitted. “Sometimes, he’ll wake up and… just call out for Fred. I can’t get him to stop crying… Honestly, I worry that this happiness is just a façade, and that it’s really eating him up inside. What if he’ll break down completely one day, without any of us seeing it coming?”
Ron’s eyes darted to his brother, who was busy dragging two teenage girls over to Verity, who was waiting for them outside the door that led into George’s office. What if Angelina was right? What if he couldn’t cope with losing Fred, and was only hiding it behind a wall of humour, jokes and grins?
“I guess we’ll never know until it happens,” Ron said.
“No,” Angelina agreed. “All we can do is be there for him and hope that I’m worrying for nothing.”
Ginny smiled and pulled the striped pyjama shirt over Teddy’s head, watching his lips form an ‘O’ as he yawned and stretched his arms into the air. He had had a long day, and his head was probably still crammed with all of new impressions and sensations. His favourite part of the day had been the Lego Pirate ride, which had shown another group of green crocodiles, life-size Lego figures with black eye patches and wooden legs, and a chest of gold and jewellery. Now, he barely had any energy left at all as he sat on Ginny and Harry’s bed, water still dripping from his blue hair and onto the sheets after his bath.
Harry had just set up the travel cot that Andromeda had packed in Teddy’s overnight bag when the boy started crying. Ginny felt the same sting inside she always did when that happened; she was scared that she had hurt him somehow.
“What happened?” said Harry and stuck his head into the bedroom.
Ginny sat down and pulled Teddy onto her lap. “What’s wrong, buddy?” she asked.
“I don’t…” Teddy sobbed. “I – don’t – have – a – mummy – or – daddy! Vicky is with her mummy and daddy, and I don’t have any!”
Ginny wrapped her arms around him, and he continued to cry loudly while pressing his face to her chest. Harry walked over to the bed and sat down next to them. As he grabbed Teddy’s little hand, he said:
“Yes you do. You have a mummy and a daddy, but they’re in heaven. Your grandma has talked to you about that, right? They had to go to heaven, so that you could be safe.”
“But I don’t want them to go!” Teddy said.
“No one did,” Ginny said. “But sometimes you can’t choose. You remember Fred, right? From the photos at Molly and Arthur’s house?”
Teddy lifted his head to look at her. “The other George?”
Ginny smiled. “Yes, the other George,” she said. “He had to go to heaven too. He’s there, with your parents. And do you know what? He was really funny, so I think that they’re all laughing together right now!”
“Okay,” Teddy said and nodded. He looked a little happier now. Then, he burst into laughter and exclaimed: “Me too! We’re laughing together!”
Harry, whose eyes were full of tears, leaned his head against Ginny’s. “That’s great, Teddy.”
“And do you remember who else is in heaven?” Ginny asked. “Harry’s mummy and daddy.”
“Yes, and they are best friends,” Teddy said. “Right?” he added, turning towards Harry as if he wanted this confirmed from the primary source.
Harry nodded. “They are,” he said. “They’re together again now.”
Ginny stood up and walked out the door to the travel cot, but Teddy gripped the collar of her shirt and began whining. “I want to sleep in your bed!” he said. “Please?”
Ginny turned around to look at Harry, who tilted his head to the side and shrugged. Ginny walked back into the bedroom, placed Teddy in the middle of the bed and lay down next to him. After all, they were celebrating his birthday.
As Harry crawled into bed on Teddy’s other side, he thought of the day that had just passed. Teddy placed one small hand on his arm, as if to make sure that he was still there, even now that Ginny had turned out the light and they could no longer see each other. Harry closed his eyes, letting a series of images of small moments from the day flash before them as he waited for sleep to take him in.
Some days, you can wake up and be completely unaware of the fact that by the time you go to bed, you will have seen something, heard something, or even tasted something, that will make it perfectly clear to you what you really want. Just before Harry fell asleep on this day, he thought of a waiter with bushy eyebrows, telling him what a lovely family he had, and he thought of the response he wished he had been able to give him:
“Thank you, sir. I think so too.”
A/N: Again, I'm still astonished that you actually WANT to read my story, and it means the world to me that you do! I also can't really explain how happy it makes me to get direct response on it, when you leave a review. I think that this whole site is just amazing like that. If you've got a moment to spare, please let me know what you thought of this chapter. Many of you have been asking for more Teddy time, so I hope that this makes you happy! :)
I can't believe that year 3 is almost over! It feels like yesterday that I posted the first chapter, not knowing at all what to expect. I never thought I would get such lovely response, so many reads or kind comments and helpful suggestions. You are all amazing, and I am so happy that I decided to join this site back in December and actually post this story!!
"Cherié" is french for "honey"