A/N I'm so sorry for the long wait with this, I went off fanfics and HP for a while, but then decided that even though I might not be a big hp fan, I should finish this off first. So I took a break as I started second-guessing about where this was going and cleared my head and now I love it again and decided that even though not everyone is going to like what's coming up in the next few chapters, yes, it's going to be hit by another blow [I'm just warning you guys now] the events need to happen. So,with that in mind I got the giddiness back at the thought of writing it and wrote a load of chapters[up to 32- I was aiming for 35, but just couldn't wait that bit longer :P ]. Updates might not be regular as I have 6 originals to focus on, but it will be updated :) On a final note...it's passed 100,000 words! woop! First fanfic to past the milestone!
The writing was messy, scribbled hastily across a tiny strip of parchment; one sentence was all that was written on it.
Come to the Leaky Cauldron.
"What does it say?" Hermione asked, trying to peer around Harry; the owl hooted and with a flap of it's wings flew back off where it came from. "Who was it from?" Hermione continued to ask, turning her attention away from the fading spot that was the owl and back to Harry.
"It didn't say," Harry mumbled, flipping the tiny parchment over, to see if it held any initials of the sender.
"What do you think it's for?" she asked, and as his brain tried to figure it out, a smile slipped onto his face at a long forgotten memory.
"Harry!" Harry had his fork half- way to his mouth when the shout had stopped him.
Glancing down at the giggling James, who was trying to pull himself away from the tight grip Harry had on the back of his blue denim dungerees; in an attempt to grab the glass of Firewhiskey that was just out of reach.
"ah ah," Harry said, pulling him back to sound of his groans, and a smiling Ginny moved the glass away; Albus giggling in her arms.
Stuffing the last forkful of his roast into his mouth, Harry picked up the dessert menu.
Opening it, he ducked behind it to a raised eyebrow from Ginny.
"Don't tell your smelly mummy," he whispered childishly to the kid, flipping the thick pages over to the dessert menu. James giggled, stuffing his fist into his mouth.
"What are you two up to?" Ginny asked in her motherly voice, James' eyes lit up, as he leaned side-ways; twisting his body over Harry's arm. Ginny tilted her head.
"What are you up to James?" she asked him.
"No! No! Come in!" Harry played, James giggled as he hid with his dad, a huge grin on his flushed face. "Shhh...Don't tell her,"
"Which one do you want?" Harry whispered, James glancing up and down the different ice-creams, cakes, and shakes, his eyes lighting up.
"da'" and he pressed a slobbery hand onto the picture of a pink ice-cream, Harry knew it was picked at random.
"Harry, No!" Ginny snapped. Harry looked up at her, and smiled. "He'll be on a sugar-buzz for the rest of the day and who's going to be staying up tonight to put him to sleep?"
Harry smiled, before getting back to the menu, hearing Ginny talking to Albus.
"Now, that's why I want you to be the good one, never listen to your daddy, he'll just get you into trouble."
Everyone looked up at Hannah who'd come to their table.
Harry could see Ginny trying her best to keep her cool.
"Harry," she tried to reason.
"One spoonful won't hurt,"
"This is James you're talking about, the kid goes into a buzz after a single bite from an apple!"
"What's this about?" Hannah asked, glancing at Harry and then back at Ginny. Neither answered her; Ginny didn't want to sound like the bad parent, and Harry knew the consequences of giving the kid ice-cream, staying up all night till James tired himself at six in the morning.
"Does little James want some ice-cream!" and before either of the parents could protest, she'd taken James from Harry and was now walking away, bouncing the giggling child up and down.
"No wonder he likes coming here so much," Ginny said, watching as Neville took James from Hannah as she went about making the dessert.
The two of them just smiled as they watched James grin widen as little sparkles whizzed around his ice-cream that Hannah placed in front of him as he sat in Neville's arms. Yep, no wonder he liked coming here so much.
Grabbing Hermione by the arm, they Disapparated from the tiny lane.
When they landed, Harry ran towards the shabby looking door, and pushed it. The clanging of glasses and jolly chatting rushing to Harry, as he began to make his way around the tables. Hermione following him.
They both turned, most of the seated people looked around at the shout, the form of Neville was standing beside a table at the side.
But his eyes diverted to the mop of red, one of the witches seated around the table was holding Lily. Rushing over, and without a word to the witch, he took Lily from her.
"Hey sweetheart," and he pecked a kiss on the side of her rosy face.
"Where's your bro-,"
Harry and Hermione spun around in the direction the shout has come from; James had thrown himself off one of the stools at the end of the bar, and was now running towards them. Holding Lily securely, Harry bent down and his smile widened at the feel of the hug James was giving him, his arms trying to wrap around his neck.
One, two Harry counted to himself, and his eyes scanned around for number three, but he only spotted a miniature Hippogriff and a little red trailer near the back door of the pub.
"Where's your brother?" he asked, looking down at James.
"He's upstairs," Neville answered for him, and Harry's momentary happiness was snuffed out at Neville's tone.
"Will you take her?" he asked Hermione, who nodded.
"Come here honey," she cooed, taking her from Harry's arms.
"I'll be back in a second," and he pecked a kiss on James' head, before looking towards Neville.
"First door on the left," he explained indicating to the wooden stairs. Harry hurriedly headed straight towards it, and jumped up the steps two at a time. When he got to the skinny corridor of the second floor, he saw that the first door on his left hand-side wasn't shut fully. Looking down the corridor as a witch and a goblin talk to one another from the doors of their rooms, he gave the door a shove with his hand.
Harry stepped into the small one-bed room, and for a second he heard nothing, but then a trickling sound came from the adjoining room. Walking towards it, Harry peered around the door. To see Hannah on the floor with her back to him she was kneeling down beside the bath that was steaming, the puffs rising up and steaming the mirror over the sink, and Harry knew that this wasn't good. He walked towards her, daring his eyes to look into the bath in front of her.
The tip of her wand was in the water, which crackled softly as it turned to ice from the spell she was mumbling.
Through the vapors Harry saw that in the middle of the tub was Albus, and it was now clear that the steam wasn't caused by the temperature of the water; as Harry watched the trail of ice reaching inches from his son's naked body before, with a low continuous hiss, it turned to vapor.
Albus' hands broke the surface as they floated lifelessly on either side of him. Hannah's free hand was holding his neck, keeping his head from falling under. Unintentionally, Harry gasped at his son's appearance, it didn't look like his Albus in the slightest; his skin was a deathly shade of grey, his eyes were sunken and dark, and the blackness of his parted lips as he struggled to take loud raspy breaths.
At the sound Harry's gasp, Hannah looked over her shoulder.
"Oh, hi Harry," she whispered, a sad look coming over her face. While keeping her hold on Albus' head, she lifted her wand out of the bath.
Harry couldn't wait for a towel, with shaking hands he reached into the bath. The immense coldness of the water stung his skin, and he took hold of Albus, who's skin still felt hot in the ice. Placing his hands underneath his arms, Harry lifted him out. The water dripping off him, as Harry wrapped his arms around him, Harry's clothes getting soaked by the water. Albus' head fell lifelessly onto his shoulder.
After a few seconds, Hannah stood up from the ground, "Sit down," pointing to the closed toilet seat. Harry did, and Hannah hurried out of the room.
"Hey buddy," he whispered, brushing away Albus' hair from his face; he didn't respond. Harry looked up as Hannah came back into the room, now carrying a large towel.
"Here," and together they wrapped the towel around Albus.
"Where's his glasses?" Harry asked, noticing they weren't on him, and then a second after he had asked, he remembered that Albus hadn't been wearing his glasses when he went to visit him in the hospital either.
"I don't know," Hannah shrugged, she paused, and looked down at the kid, "I'll leave you be," and with that, she walked out of the room, closing the door behind her, leaving Harry to sit on the toilet seat by himself.
But no tears came.
Sighing, he looked back down at Albus, and noticed that his hair was dripping wet; Al never liked his hair being wet.
"Lets dry it off," Harry whispered, taking a side of the towel and Albus's head nodded with his movements as he brushed it over his strands of hair. When he was finished, Harry pecked a kiss on his cheek, which had already started to feel uncomfortably hot.
Fixing the towel, Harry stood up from the toilet, and he walked quickly out of the bathroom, across the bedroom and down the corridor in seconds, his feet thumping as he made his way down the stairs.
Hermione was having a conversation with Neville, Lily still in her arms as James sat down on a chair beside them.
"Come on," Harry said, holding a hand out to James, who took it. With quick farewells, Harry led the way out of the pub.
"I'll bring James and Lily home to Luna, you go straight to Mungos?" Hermione ordered as they stepped outside and she grabbed a hold of James' hand. "I'll be right there the second a drop them off. okay?"
Harry nodded, forcing a smile at his two children, before they and Hermione Disapparated with a 'pop'; their departure leaving a horrible silence with Harry, which was broken by Albus' uneven breaths against his ear.
The next few seconds were a complete blur for Harry, he had Apparated to Saint Mungos, where he was ushered through the building, and in less than a minute Albus was taken from him by a healer.
Harry was now following the same Healer through a corridor, he was shouting orders to others around him, and he pushed a door open, slamming it against the wall and, numbly, Harry followed him into the new room.
He placed Albus down onto a bed, as more Healers zipped by Harry as they poured into the room, all of them gathering around the bed his son was on.
Harry couldn't make out any of their shouts, or any of the spells that they were casting with their wands. Their movements blending together in a blur of slow motion.
"Sir, can you wait outside?" Harry turned his focus on the brown-haired healer that he hadn't noticed, and who had his hand on his arm.
Harry didn't answer, but looked back at the bed.
"Sir!" he snapped, forcing Harry to look at him, "You need to leave," and Harry didn't understand what he was asking, did he really want Harry to leave his son here?
"You will need to wait outside," and without waiting for Harry's reply and with a firm grip on his arm, he quickly maneuvered Harry around in a circle and began to walk him out of the room. They made it to the door, until a unmistakable sound broke through Harry's confusion.
The world stopped spinning, before Harry could register what was happening, he was grabbed and shoved backwards. A second later, Harry fought back, breaking from the hands that held onto him, and shoved a faceless Healer away from him.
He tried to get around the man, but he grabbed onto Harry and, in turn, Harry grabbed a hand-full of his robes, Harry groaned in fruhstration as they both tried to get the other to move. But, unseen by Harry, another Healer came into the scuffle, grabbing the back of his jumper, and pulled. The three tumbled out into the corridor. The door banged, and Harry's hands dropped from the two Healers, the loud screeching sound making his ears feel as if they had begun bleeding the life out of him, the sound slicing away every fibre of his being.
As the beep continued, he stumbled away from the Healers that had forced him out of the room, and who now stood between him and the door. His eyes locking onto the man straight ahead of him, the one that was an easy target.
With a yell, Harry hurdled towards him, desperation filling his body, and he pulled back his fist; the man ducked, but it was too late, Harry's knuckles collided full force with the side of his face. He fell.
Angry shouts erupted, and Harry jumped over the body of the fallen Healer, his hands falling onto the steel handle of the door, his eyes trying to make sense of the Healers that were hurrying around the bed inside. Harry yelled as the door didn't open.
His jumper choked him, and he was yanked by two separate pairs of hands...
He lost his footing and with a loud thump his back slammed onto the floor. Flailing arms and the colour green was all he could see as the two pinned him down.
"Get off me!!" he yelled, his voice breaking with the struggle he was putting up against the Healers.
"You need to calm down sir!"
After a bit more struggling between the three, with a whine Harry finally gave up; his head falling back onto the floor in defeat.
His chest rose and fell under the pressure of the two men on top of him. He was dying, he was sure of it, Harry was dying, his heart bleeding out into a pool of blood below him. Harry didn't register that the Healers had climbed off him, his eyes not seeing anything around him as the piercing noise broke through his chest and ripped out his heart.
"No!" he sobbed. Shaking violently, he rolled over onto his front, "No!!" he yelled, his voice breaking; he wasn't screaming at anyone, he was screaming at the noise that still shrieked from the room, "No!" he pleaded for it to stop.
He was pushed over onto his back; to look into Hermione's panicked face as she bent over him.
Hands grabbed him and stood him up, but didn't let him go. His head spun, he was going to faint, his jelly-like legs unable to support him. The hands pushed him gently, making him take a step back.
"You're okay," muttered one of the healers, as they pressed him against the wall.
"It's okay," Harry heard Hermione say after a few seconds.
Harry looked over the Healer's shoulder at her, her face was pulled in anguish as her eyes sparkled with tears; then he felt the hands on his chest lift.
He looked down as he tried to stable his footing on the ground his head spinning. Hermione stepped closer to him, and silently brought him into a hug; Harry didn't fight it as he buried his face into her shoulder
"Let's go somewhere else," she said,
"I-I-I," Harry couldn't get the words out, he couldn't catch his breath. But Hermione wasn't giving him the choice to argue; she grabbed his hand and pulled him away from the wall, away from the room.
The room she led him to was nearly the same as the waiting room he had been brought to after Ginny had died. They let go of each other as they stepped inside, Hermione turned to close the door while Harry walked deeper into the room. Staring unblinkingly at a spot on the wall, in his attempt to keep the world in focus as he bypassed the sofa and armchair.
Hermione turned to watch as he slid down the wall, to sit hurdled on the floor, and he looked up at her, as she stood awkwardly at the door.
"Harry," she started, but her words failed as she wiped away a single tear that had spilled from her eye.
"If he-," he stopped himself, looking away from Hermione.
"I never cared really," he mumbled, stating what he knew all along. Hermione walked over to him and sat down, with her back leaning against the armchair.
"About what?" she asked, her voice wobbling with emotions.
"If he lost his magic," he whispered, "I just didn't want him to hate me."
Hermione said nothing for a second, and then gave her head a tiny shake.
"He won't hate you."
It was one single word, but Harry noticed it. She was talking as if he was going to do it.
"But-," Harry couldn't get the words out.
"Harry." Hermione sighed. Harry shook his head, cutting her off.
"It was the same thing with my mum and Petunia," he began, "they were best friends until Hogwarts came along, then they didn't even want to know one another," and he lifted his eyes to her, "I don't want to be everything Al resents in his life. That's worse than not knowing one another."
Hermione didn't answer, but placed her hand on top of his on the floor between them.
They sat in silence, Harry watching as Hermione fiddled with the silver ring around his finger, and he wished Ginny was with him.