Chapter 22 : Chapter 22: Time Moves
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Harry started to pace. “We’ll go to them in a minute. We need to finish your transformations. Your mind has an image of your Animagus form right now and it’s fresh. You need to try and work on it now or you may not manage it later.”
“All right Harry. What do we do?” Ginny asked.
“Close your eyes and concentrate on your animal. Think about what your hand looked like in your animal form and try and force your hand to assume that shape.” Harry instructed. They each closed their eyes and Harry saw them concentrating but not really getting anywhere. Harry closed his eyes as well and thought about his Animagus form, this Garuda that Hermione had told them about. He started to focus on the image he had seen in the mirror and he felt himself start to change again like he had when he had done the revealing spell. He opened his eyes and looked in the mirror to see that he was once again half eagle and almost naked. If he could have blushed he would have been.
Harry heard Ginny gasp. “I did it! Harry look… OH!” She showed him her hand, which was a large paw but was slowly turning back to her normal small hand. “Harry you are… you’re… You really have an amazing body!”
“GINNY!” Harry and Ron exclaimed together.
“Sorry, I can’t help it! Anyway, this is amazing Harry! I thought you said it would take years for you to transform?” Ginny walked over to him and gently touched the feathers on his wings. “This is really wonderful. Your rather odd looking but also sort of beautiful.”
“It is truly amazing Harry but I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. You do tend to do things that most would deem impossible.” Hermione stated also walking over to him. “Anyway, I felt some fur start to grow on my hand but when I opened my eyes it receded. How did you do Ron?”
“Same. Got some fur but then it was gone. Ginny?” Ron asked her.
“I turned my whole hand into a paw! It was really heavy.” She smiled. “Harry can you turn back now? We really need to see Dumbledore about you.”
Harry transformed again and was relieved to find that he was once again clothed. “Okay, you guys will need to try and do that exercise everyday just with your hand until you can control how long your hand stays transformed and then you can move on to both hands then your arm and so on until you have your whole body changing.”
“Yes Professor Potter!” Ginny intoned to him.
Harry grinned at her. “I could get used to that. Alright, let’s go get McGonagall and then we’ll head up to see the Headmaster.”
Their meeting with the two professors was informative. After Harry showed them his new shape and McGonagall praised him for his quick transformation. Dumbledore had agreed with Hermione’s assessment that Harry was indeed a Hindu god. Neither he nor the Transfiguration Professor could offer any explanation as to why Harry would turn into Garuda who was a muggle deity. “We may never know why Harry turns into Garuda, Ms. Granger.” Dumbledore had said to a very flustered Hermione. She was unnerved that there were no answers to be had and Harry could see her face turning red. “What we need to do now is figure out if his Animagus form is in fact the power he needs to defeat Voldemort.” He turned to Harry. “I have a dear friend who has made it his life’s work to study muggle religions. I think that you should meet and talk with him. I shall arrange for him to come here although it may take him some time to clear his schedule. Now, I think you have each had a very busy day. It might be best if you got back to bed. Good night.”
The rest of the week was moving very slowly for Harry. He had decided to propose to Ginny that Saturday and each day seemed to drag by. There was some good news for all of them. Each of the rapists had been convicted and had been shipped off to Azkaban, which was now guarded by Aurors. Pansy Parkinson had been heard excitedly telling her friend, Daphne Greengrass, that Draco had not been completely healed from the Severing Charm. Pansy had gotten quite a lot of respect from the girls at Hogwarts and all of the boys were treading lightly around her, afraid of her retribution. Narcissa Malfoy had tried to bring up charges against Pansy for damaging her son beyond repair but mysteriously dropped them. The court had also ordered the Malfoys to compensate Susan with five thousand Galleons but Susan had turned the money down.
Ginny, Ron and Hermione had made little progress on their transformations except that it was easier for them to force their body to change but they still could not maintain it. Dumbledore had decided that Harry was not going to register his Animagus form yet in case this was the power that he needed to defeat Voldemort.
Saturday finally came and Harry was starting to get nervous. He knew Ginny was going to say yes but he still couldn’t block the unease from his mind. He also didn’t have a plan. If there had been a time or a place for them to go on a date then he would have arranged something but with security still tight around the castle, it made sneaking off impossible. He had decided to get Ron and Hermione in on this so that if the opportunity arose, they would leave Harry and Ginny alone. His best friends had congratulated him and expressed their pleasure that he was proposing. Hermione had reassured him that Ginny was okay enough after her ordeal. “Harry, she wants to marry you and if you put it off too long she is going to feel like what Zabini did is controlling her. She doesn’t want that.” Harry had taken heart at these words. He didn’t want to push her into anything but had agreed that Ginny would feel as Hermione predicted. Harry decided to propose at any moment they had free. He put the engagement ring box in his pocket along with the necklace and earrings that also had their own boxes. He really like what Fred and George had picked.
It was lunchtime he had still not found an opportunity to ask Ginny. They had not had any time alone yet and Harry just kept growing more nervous. Ginny had asked him what was wrong but he had shaken his head. He wasn’t sure that he wouldn’t throw up if he opened his mouth. “Harry, something has to be wrong and you are starting to scare me!”
Harry felt bad. He didn’t want her to worry. He looked at Hermione and Ron for help but they both shrugged. He turned to tell her that everything was fine when the doors to the Great Hall burst open and Madam Pomfrey came in carrying a large bag.
She walked up to them and whispered to Ginny who nodded and got up. She then beckoned Harry to follow and they went up to the staff table. The nurse talked to the Headmaster who nodded and said, “Take Auror Scotch with you as well.” Harry looked over at the Auror who was rising from her seat to join then and they left the hall.
“What’s going on?” Harry asked when they got outside the hall. He thought he knew but felt it would be prudent to ask.
“Woman in labor.” Madam Pomfrey said with a clip. “Change yourselves quickly.”
Harry changed his and Ginny’s looks like he had before and they all put a finger on the cup that Madam Pomfrey held out for them. Harry felt the jerk behind his navel that meant the portkey was working.
They landed in the sitting room of a small but neat house. Harry had fallen over and quickly stood up. He took the bag from Madam Pomfrey who led the way out of the room. Auror Scotch began to patrol the house like she had done the first time they went for a birth. They were almost to the top of the stairs, following the sounds of yelling, when a harassed looking man came running towards them from the end bedroom.
“Thank Merlin you are here! She is in a lot of pain…” They walked into the bedroom and saw the woman standing near her large bed in a long nightdress. She was bracing herself next to the bed and rocking side-to-side, moaning. Harry sat the bag down as Ginny walked over to the woman and started to rub circles around her back. She helped support the woman until the contraction left and then led her over to the bed so that they could administer the pain relieving spells.
Harry looked at the man and smiled. “She’s in good hands if you would like to take a small break.”
The man nodded absentmindedly. “I’m hungry… but I’m not sure I could even manage to make a cup of tea.” He ran a shaking hand through his hair. “My older daughter is playing in her room but I’m sure she’ll want lunch.”
“I’ll make some sandwiches or something. Get your daughter and I’ll meet you in the kitchen.” Harry told the man and walked back down the stairs and went looking for the kitchen. He had done the same for the last father. He had been a nervous wreck since it was their first baby. But if this father was any indication then birth was trying no matter how many children you had. Harry had barely made it to the kitchen when the man joined him. He introduced himself as Calvin and his small blonde haired daughter, who shyly said her name was Melissa but he could call her Melli. Harry smiled at her. She was quite cute. “My name is Harry. What would you like for lunch Melli?” He asked her.
“Turkey please.” She said primly.
“I’ll take the same.” Calvin added before dropping into a chair.
Harry prepared sandwiches and some tea for them all, including Scotch who joined them after she had checked over the house. They ate in silence until Ginny came down and said that Calvin was wanted upstairs. Harry said he would play with Melli and with a grateful nod, he left to be with his wife.
Melli took his hand and led him to her room, which was decorated in pink and had dolls everywhere. She appeared to have been having a tea party with two dolls and a teddy bear at a small table when her father had called her for lunch. She went and sat in one of the chairs and Harry sat at the table as well, but on the floor. She poured pretend tea into a cup, put in on a saucer and handed it to him. “Would you like cream and sugar?”
Harry smiled. “Sugar would be lovely.”
Harry learned that she was five years old and that her mommy taught her how to read a few months back. After their tea party, she and Harry had played with a doll, dressing it and changing its diaper, and feeding it. She had informed him that she was practicing for when her baby sister was born. Calvin had checked in with them and had told him that everything was progressing slowly so he didn’t know how long it would be. Harry had assured him that they would be fine. He had been nervous about entertaining the small girl but Melli told him what she wanted him to do, so it was a surprisingly enjoyable.
Harry played with Melli for several hours then she went down to help him make dinner. No one showed up for dinner but Scotch so Harry quickly ran some snacks up to the bedroom and it was accepted gratefully by Ginny who grabbed a piece of fruit to shove it in her mouth before ushering him out again. Harry went back to find that Melli was yawning and asked her if it was her bedtime. She nodded regretfully that it was and she went up to change in to her nightdress. Harry helped her brush her teeth and then tucked her into her pink, frilly bed.
“You have to read me a story or I shan’t be able to fall asleep.” Melli informed him before yawning again.
“Which one?” Harry asked her. She pointed to one that had a small girl on the front and Harry read it to her. By the time he was done she was asleep. Harry got up and put the book back. He looked over at the little girl and smiled. She was a really charmer and he had had a lot of fun that afternoon playing with her. This surprised him since he had no experience with children and he had never played with a doll. An image of a pregnant Ginny came into his mind. She would be beautiful, he knew that and she loved kids. He was starting to really see why. They were so innocent and inquisitive. Harry ran a hand lightly over Melli’s head and quietly left her room for the kitchen. He made some more tea and cleaned up the dishes. Auror Scotch came in and sat down.
“It’s been quiet so far.” She commented, accepting a cup of tea. “I know why Dumbledore has me come but honestly… if what Auror Laurel says is true then you are all that is needed to ensure their safety.” She gave a small yawn.
Harry studied the woman before him. She appeared to be in her early thirties with light brown hair. She had blue eyes and a nice smile. “Two wands are better than one and I would never take a chance with Ginny’s well-being, Auror Scotch.”
She gave him a small smile. “Call me Prudence or Pru… preferably Pru.” She took a sip of tea. “I can see how much you love her.” She smiled but it didn’t meet her eyes. “You seemed to be having a lot of fun with the little girl.”
“Yes. She was fun to play with.” Harry refilled his cups and then hers. “So what about you? You have any children?” Harry didn’t think she did but he was curious about her.
“Nope. I’m not married and in any case there aren’t many men who would marry an Auror.” Her face fell. “Tonks and I used to joke about how we were going to remain single and end up living together when we were a hundred. We even joked that we would have five cats.”
Harry’s heart contracted. It always did that when he thought about his lost friend. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that you and Tonks were close.”
“We didn’t start out that way but after a few missions together we bonded. We had a lot in common.” She sighed. “So what about you? You going to marry Ginny and have children?”
“As long as I live long enough, we will.” He shrugged. “I want to have children. You know, Melli was the first small child that I had ever been around. It was a lot of fun playing with her today. I suspect that is because she is so well behaved though. Any child that Ginny and I have will be stubborn, temperamental and prone to trouble.”
“Melli is really the first child you’ve been around?” Pru asked him with a raised eyebrow. He nodded. “You are so good with her that I just assumed that you had been around kids a lot.”
Harry smiled. “Well I now have an honorary nephew so I think I’ll be getting a lot more practice this summer.”
Ginny came in at that moment looking tired but with a big grin on her face. She walked over and sat in Harry’s lap. “She’s finally here and both mother and baby are doing well. They are actually asleep, along with Calvin. Madam Pomfrey is washing up and then we can leave.” She yawned and leaned against Harry with her eyes closed.
Harry kissed her temple. “I’m glad everything went well.”
“Let’s go.” Madam Pomfrey said as she walked into the room. She held out the cup for them to put a finger on and within moments they were back at Hogwarts.
Harry and Ginny made their way slowly back to the common room. It was after midnight and the castle was quiet. Ginny told him about the birth and Harry told her about his day with Melli. “She was amazing Ginny. I had a lot of fun with her.”
Ginny gave him a wicked grin as they entered the common room and moved over to the dying fire. “So I take it you are ready to have kids now, right?” She winked to let him know that she was joking.
Harry pulled her into his arms and bent down to kiss her neck with a lingering kiss. “Yes, actually I think that I am just about ready to have kids.” He said with all seriousness still with his face close to her ear. “Today I had a tea party with a five year old and played dolls with her. When I put her to bed, I read her a story. After she was asleep, I just looked at her and an image of you pregnant filled my mind. I really liked that image.” Harry slipped one of his hands into his pocket and felt for the ring box, before pulling it out. He let go of Ginny and gave her a soft kiss on the lips before getting down on one knee. Ginny gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. He opened up the ring box and held it to her. “Ginevra Molly Weasley, will you marry me?”
Harry saw a grin spreading over her face behind her hands and tears filled her eyes. She reached for him, placing her hands on his face. She kissed him and whispered ‘yes’ against his mouth. She kissed him more fully and Harry put him arms around her, still holding the ring box, only to realize that she wasn’t much taller than he was when he was kneeling. “I love you.” She said when they broke apart.
“I love you too.” He kissed her again and stood up. He smirked. “So do you want your ring or not?”
She hit him lightly on the arm before holding out her left hand for him. He slipped the diamond and emerald ring onto her finger. She looked at it and beamed at him. “It’s beautiful Harry, thank you.” She reached up to kiss him. “Hermione does have excellent taste.”
Harry laughed. Ginny knew him too well. “I wanted to make sure you got what you wanted. Hermione also said that I might want to get you some jewelry for our wedding.”
Ginny pulled away and looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
Harry led her to one of the couches and sat her down before sitting next to her. He pulled out the small earring box from his pocket and handed it to her. She opened it with trepidation and gasped when she saw them. “Harry… I…” She was speechless and Harry was grinning even more when he pulled out the necklace box, which was a long rectangular one. She took a deep breath and opened that one. She gazed at it and touched it carefully with her finger, tracing over the large emerald heart and the small diamonds that surrounded it. “It’s so beautiful Harry. Thank you.” She was crying in earnest now but she didn’t look very happy.
“Ginny if you don’t like it you can just say so. I can get you something else.” Harry reassured her.
“NO! I love them, I promise but I’m a little overwhelmed. I’ve never owned something like this. I knew you would get me an engagement ring but I didn’t even think about you getting me anything else.” She turned and kissed him again. “Can you help me put it on?” Harry nodded and took the necklace out and draped it around her neck while she held her hair out of the way. He fumbled with the clasp but managed to fasten it. Ginny then took the earrings and put them in her ears.
When she was finished Harry kissed her again. “You are so beautiful.”
“Thank you for everything Harry. I love them. I love you.” He pulled her into his lap while embracing her tightly.
“I love you too.” Harry told her feeling his eyes start to prickle with tears. “I’m so glad that I have you.”
“You’ll have me for the rest of our lives. I promise.”
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