Chapter 1 : Introduction: Harry
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Thanks to NaidatheRavenclaw for beta-ing this, and everyone else who helped me work through ideas for this. If you like this, or have any constructive criticism or suggestions please leave a review!
Love, love, love.
The banner up in the doorway read “Happy Anniversary, Molly and Arthur”. Harry Potter swallowed down the lump rising in his throat. They were married seventy five years this year, but they were celebrating a month later when older great grandchildren were home from Hogwarts for Easter. Seventy five years of that happiness, happiness that was punctuated by pain, but was happiness all the same.
He turned to his wife, Ginny, who was striding in the open door, holding the present they had brought, towards where the preparation was well underway. This was the kind of happiness he shared with Ginny, though it hadn’t always been this way, with their separation during the war. Nothing was ever straightforward, even love, and the war had complicated things further, but yet here they were. All was well. Better than that, everything was perfect.
He moved through the Burrow. It had been remodelled, but still kept the feel of chaos tied together with love. He would leave Ginny get on with what she had to do for now. He never thought there could be this much love, not when he was sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs; hated by the wizarding world or being put through so much pain during the war and its aftermath. He never thought he could be this person.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time - It's easy.
He heard his name called. It was Teddy. Teddy Lupin no longer the orphaned boy, the young man angry at the world who had taken so much from him. He was showing his age, Harry thought to himself, grinning inwardly. His godson was forty eight, hard as that was to believe. His son, John was following closely behind his beaming father, looking so like Teddy had at seventeen.
“You should see Ron, he’s raging. Says everyone’s taking his sixty-fifth from him.”
Harry roared laughing. That was Ron alright. “What does he expect, a big session? We’re all too old for that. Including you, Ted.”
Teddy glowered, John laughed. “That’s what Mum said.”
Harry, shook his head, grinning. “Where is Victoire, still battling with Sophie?” Sophie was fifteen, and was going through a stage of rebelling against her mother.
The two Lupin men shook their heads. “We’re not getting involved.”
They were called away by someone else and Harry kept moving. There Victoire was, still as exquisite as ever. She had called in backup; her mother Fleur. Both were shrieking at Sophie, who seemed to have died her lovely blonde hair black. Harry knew enough to keep going; he always stayed out of these squabbles. He’d had enough trouble for a lifetime.
Poor Victoire. He had never really given it much thought how much pressure it must have been to be the first Weasley-Potter to go to school, he had always assumed she’d be ok, Teddy would have more trouble with it. As he later found out from her husband himself, her desire to be the perfect first child of the clan and the stress of protecting Teddy had nearly gotten to be too much. Luckily, Teddy didn’t need looking after anymore.
And then there was Molly. Sure enough, she was rushing around the kitchen. She had taken after her namesake in a variety of ways, and made a living out of her talent for cooking. Her husband Richard was probably out playing with the children, despite being ten years her senior. Molly, the eternal mother, like her grandmother. She had always cared so much about her family. Harry suspected she too was relieved everyone was settled down and happy, his memory of her as a young woman was that of worry.
Molly’s chief concern for some time had been Dominique. As ever, Dom was moving at a different speed, he could see her on her broom outside teaching some of the younger ones to fly, just like Ginny had taught her. As he watched out the window, Bill was running towards her, shouting. Obviously no one had told her it was dangerous to fly when pregnant, especially as an older first time mother. Bill was quickly joined by Dom’s own husband, possibly the only person able to talk Dominique around about anything. Harry knew Ginny was so glad Dominique had found happiness; unlike herself Ginny’s protégé had found it hard balancing being a Quidditch star and having a personal life.
Lucy was out there too, waving her twin girls down from where they were soaring around. He heard two men laughing. It was Percy and Lucy’s husband Mark. Harry liked Mark, he was possibly the most ordinary person you could find, but in the best possible way. He had been responsible for getting Lucy out of what Harry had heard to be a difficult part in her life, no doubt from having such controlling parents. He shook his head, that wasn’t fair. Percy had mellowed out a lot over the years, and simply adored Mark.
“Watch out, Harry”, the younger man grinned. “Those two are planning a prank, but we can’t figure out whether it’s on you or Al.”
Harry spun around, expecting to see his grandchildren or others belonging to that generation. Instead he saw James and Fred whispering conspiratorially to each other. James and Fred had been the James and Sirius and Fred and George of their time at one stage. Harry had always felt for George’s children, constantly dealing with the absence of their Uncle, who should have been such a prominent figure. Eventually, Fred had found his way. His Muggle wife, Anna was probably somewhere trying to hide from the chaos, despite her fondness for the family.
“Aren’t you two too old for this thing?” he asked, striding toward them.
“Well, yes and no, Dad,” James replied, in a mock serious voice. “Yes, in that we are both a bit past it now. No, in that we’re apparently not too old to be pranked.” Harry’s face must have explained his confusion. “Eleanor slipped us both puking pastels.”
“Imagine,” Fred grumbled. “My own dad’s invention. Not that he cared, he saw and roared laughing.”
“We’re not going to get back at Ellie directly. No, it’s Albus who raised her so it’s Albus who’ll pay.” James continued.
Harry groaned, trying to hide his amusement. Classic James. Of course, James hadn’t escaped the difficulties of having famous parents. As a teenager, he had apparently been unbearably arrogant, like his namesake, due doubly to the fact he was spoiled rotten, and the pressure of being who he was. He even acted terribly towards Charlotte before she broke up with him, only taking him back and eventually marrying him when he grew up. In fairness to James, he had never complained. He just took everything in his stride.
It was Albus, though, who had suffered the most out of his children. Al had agonised, for years about his role in the family and the world. The weight of the world was continually on his shoulders, reminding Harry so much of himself. A separation from the love of his life, a good ten years ago now, brought him back to his pre-Eva days, before she returned and all was right again. Harry looked at his second soon now, and saw himself.
“Ellie get right back here!” Al bellowed. Harry’s eldest grandchild looked exactly like him, though in female form with better sight, so far. Her pale face defined by emerald, almond shaped eyes and framed by raven black hair, had transfixed Harry from the moment he first held her, though the black hair was in tufts rather than flowing down her back as it was now. The mischievous glint in her eye was what Harry adored most and what caused her parents the most trouble.
Eleanor returned, not looking ashamed for whatever she had done. “Hello Grandad,” she smiled up at him. The heart of the boy who had lived under the stairs warmed instantly.
He bent over slightly. “Do you realise that what you did to your Uncles is going to get your Daddy in trouble?”
She laughed and obviously couldn’t care less, rushing outside, presumably back to Dom. Al however, looked alarmed and picked up his little boy, Andrew, as if he would ward them off with a human shield.
Rose bustled by, carrying a load of plates, followed by an anxious Scorpius. “Please, love. Let me?”
“Pregnancy is not a disability Scorpius! If Dominique can do things then so can I!”
Harry stifled a laugh as Scorpius continued to follow, unperturbed. The constant look of adoration in his eyes was moving. Harry had always liked the boy, though hadn’t necessarily meant to. After all they had been through; he wanted his darling goddaughter to be happy. No one could say she wasn’t, you could feel it in her presence.
He followed them into the dining room, but was pulled aside by Louis and Roxanne, who were in the middle of a debate about Quidditch. He said his piece, and Roxanne brushed him away. He chuckled. Obviously Louis had won that one. It was hard to believe the two had children now, that all of them did. He still remembered Roxanne clearly confused by the same thing that had caused her brother so much pain, acting out against the parents she felt had damaged her. He remembered Louis’ dissatisfaction as a teenager and growth into a carefree young man once he met his wife, Alice.
He walked in the direction Roxanne had pushed him in, upstairs. He did not know where exactly he was going, but was content with his journey. He met Hugo coming down the landing, holding his eldest child’s hand and carrying Lily’ baby in his free arm. Shy, studious Hugo always feeling he was in the shadow of his more outgoing cousins. He found his way out of his shell eventually.
“Hi, Harry. Lily’s just getting changed; I think Molly and Arthur are due back soon.”
Harry smiled at the children, and told his nephew he’d join him soon. One more person and he would have seen the lot, the group of people who had brought so much joy into their parent’s lives, the lives that had been so scarred by the war.
Passing by Ginny’s old bedroom, he reached out and brushed his fingers off the solid wood of the door, thinking of his seventeenth birthday, the first time he was in that room. He stopped when he heard a light singing voice.
He closed his eyes and smiled, the voice bringing back so many joyous memories. Lily petal.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
They singing stopped. “Hello?”
“It’s just me, Lily!”
The voice invited him in. He stepped into the room, seeing his daughter brushing out her long, bright hair. Her appearance reminded him so much of her mother, against the sunny yellow walls of the bedroom, amid all the posters Molly and Arthur had never taken down. She had taken after her mother in many ways, but as Lily beamed at him through the mirror, he saw once again how like her father she was, how like her grandmother Lily Evans.
“Hello Daddy,” she said, turning around. She still called him that, though she was thirty seven now, the same age Harry had been when Albus had started Hogwarts.
She started chatting away about the Scamanders, who had been keeping away from the house. Lorcan and Lysander had always thought of Lily as being a secondary mother, her being twelve years their senior and their one time babysitter, and close to her godmother Luna. Ginny reckoned Luna had had quite an influence on Lily as a child giving her the free, easy-going air that won so many over. Luna too had given Lily her love for animals, magical and otherwise, which she shared with her husband, Daniel.
“Are you ok?”
Harry looked up. He had obviously zoned out. “Sorry petal. Here, let me help you with that.”
He crossed over, sitting beside her at the mirror and helped her fasten her necklace.
He smiled at the youngest of them, his little girl. She returned the smile, not questioning her father’s strange manner. She’d understand, out of all of them she would.
“Lily petal”, he said hesitantly. “I never really understood what it was like for all of you growing up. Not properly. I should have…” He was going red.
“No, Daddy,” Lily said quietly, touching his arm, looking up at him with her big brown eyes.
He shook his head. “All of you. We had to protect you, from the newspaper people, different people. But we couldn’t protect you from us. The stuff that was left over from the war.” She didn’t say anything.
“James, not knowing how to cope with the attention. Albus….”
“You named him Albus Severus Potter, Daddy. What did you expect?”
He pushed her playfully before continuing. He was extremely uncomfortable but knew he must go on. “You’re right. How Al ever became someone in his own right, I don’t know. And the others – Poor Teddy, I tried, Lily. I tried being a good godfather but there was only so much I could do.
“Everything was still a mess after the war.” His tone was pleading now, asking for forgiveness. We were all still recovering long after everything was right again. George’s children, Rosie…” A tear slid down his nose. His daughter shouldn’t have had to see her Daddy like this.
He looked over at her. She was very still, listening intently, holding his arm now.
“And you, Lily.” He said, almost in a whisper now. “You never said anything while the others were breaking down, you just kept going, so I never said anything. I didn’t pay any attention.”
He wrapped his arms around her small frame, the tears filling up in his eyes. “I’m so sorry, Lily petal. I’m so, so sorry.”
She gripped onto him fiercely, burying her head into his chest. He stroked her hair, racked with the guilt he was only coming to terms with now, yet relieved he had finally voiced these feelings. He recovered himself, pulling away.
“Sorry Lily, I shouldn’t be making you deal with this.”
She shushed him. “Stop, Daddy. You have nothing to worry about. You were perfect, so was Mum. You all did what you could.”
“And everyone grew up” she said grinning now, wiping away a tear like he had done for her years before. “We’re all settled, we have kids or they’re on the way. We’re all so happy, thanks to all of you.”
He nodded, feeling foolish. He wiped his eyes, and cleaned his glasses. They cleaned themselves up, he noticed out of the corner of his eye Lily was discretely wiping her own eyes, and put his arm around her.
“You were always so sunny, such a rock Lily. I never thought to watch for signs of trouble in you. I shouldn’t have presumed you were ok just because you hid it.”
“I didn’t hide it,” she said simply, lightly. “I suppose I just knew all along.”
She started gathering her things, and laughed when she saw his face.
“You know, that thing you told us Dumbledore used to always say, love being the most important thing. All you need is love, something like that.” She giggled again. “Love is all you need.”
He followed her out the door, down the hall, down the stairs, to the hall where Molly and Arthur were coming in the door under the banner. He followed Lily there; transfixed by the bright hair swinging as she almost flew. Arms and hair and eyes were everywhere as his parents in law, the people who had given him all of this rushed to hug everyone. He saw all of them in one impossible moment, filled by a bursting joy he could barely contain.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
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