Chapter 8 : Chapter 7
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Fifteen years later.
Ginny Potter stopped the car at Kings Cross Station. In the passenger seat her husband turned to look at the boy in the back seat. “Here we are James, you ready?” The boy swallowed hard and nodded nervously. They got out and opened the boot. Inside was a large trunk. Ginny looked around, produced her wand and in seconds the trunk was out of the car and on the ground. Two men in overalls approached. One of them said quietly,
“Hogwarts Express sir?” Harry looked surprised,
“Er… yes.” seeing Harry’s bewilderment he explained,
“New system sir. We’ll take the trunk from here, it will be on platform 9¾ when you get there.”
“Great, where were you twenty five years ago?”
“I wasn’t even a twinkle in my daddy’s eye then sir. Any other luggage?”
“Just an owl. We’ll bring that. OK. Come on James, get Hedwig and let’s go.” He turned back to check on the men and trunk. They had vanished. Ginny locked the car and slipped her arm through Harry’s,
“Come on old man, let me help you.”
“Shut it,” was Harry’s surly response, “I’ll give him a twinkle in his eye!” His eldest son stood watching, he was holding a large cage containing a pure white owl. He was starting his first year at Hogwarts. He was nervous, and he just knew that these two were going to embarrass him on the platform. They walked across the station and through the barrier to Platform 9¾.
The great scarlet engine stood leaking steam. It hasn’t changed a bit, thought both Harry and Ginny. It was close to twenty years since they had last seen it. Lined along the platform stacked two high were a lot of school trunks. They walked down the line until they saw the trunk with ‘J. S. POTTER’ written on the front. It was on top of a trunk labelled ‘R. G. MACDONALD’. Harry said to his wife,
“Every time I see that name, even on a burger bar, I think of…”
“Hermione.” Ginny finished for him, “I know, I do too. I wonder what the R. G. stands for?” a voice behind them answered the question.
“Roberta Ginevra.” They turned around so fast they nearly fell over. Hermione smiled, she was still beautiful when she smiled.
“Hermione, is it really you?” Ginny managed to say.
“Hello Harry, Ginny how are you both?” Harry couldn’t stop himself, his arms went around her, he kissed her and buried his head in her neck. James looked at his mother as if to ask, ‘Mum, why is Dad cuddling that strange lady?’ Harry released her and said,
“Hello Hermione. It’s so wonderful to see you. Let me look at you, so Bump was a girl, is she starting today?”
“It’s good to see you too, both of you. Yes, I had a girl, Robbie’s starting today… her fourth year.”
“Fourth year! Of course she must be fifteen now. Where is she?
“She’ll be along, she said she had to see someone urgently, and I have a feeling it’s not a girl. So are you going to introduce me to this young man?” Ginny said to her son,
“James, this is Hermione. Dad and I haven’t seen her for a very long time. Fifteen years. We were all at Hogwarts together. Hermione, this is James Sirius Potter.” Hermione held out her hand and James gave it a tentative shake,
“I’m very happy to meet you James, are you too big for a kiss from a stranger?”
“Yes I am, I’m eleven.” His tone said ‘don’t even think about it lady’. They all laughed.
“Knowing you two, I’m guessing he’s not an only child.” Ginny smiled,
“I don’t know what you mean by that but there are two more, Albus starts next year and Lily two years after that. She’s furious, seems to think that there’s some sort of conspiracy to keep her away. They’re at the Burrow today. Have you…” Hermione showed them her left hand with its diamond ring and gold band.
“No, these are the only one’s I’ve worn, or will ever wear. Ah here she comes.” They looked behind them. Coming towards them was a girl who, if she’d had a big mane of bushy brown hair, could have been a fifteen year old Hermione. Well into the first flush of womanhood, she was already a little taller than her mother. The eyes were different, she had her father’s steel grey eyes, the hair was dark blonde, short and stylishly cut. Her school robes adorned with the Gryffindor crest. The girl ignored Harry and Ginny and spoke directly and excitedly to her mother,
“It’s all arranged Mum, right after the feast this evening, Ben and I’ve got to go straight to…”
“The library.” said Harry. The girl looked at him and in a slightly annoyed voice asked,
“How did you know… sorry but who are you exactly, and why aren’t you minding your own business?” Ginny stepped forward and held out her hand,
“Hello Roberta, my name is Ginevra.” The girl ignored Ginny’s hand,
“I don’t care what your… did you say Ginevra… but that’s my…” she looked at her mother’s smile that was rapidly growing into a grin. Hermione nodded her head. “Wow, this is so weird. If you are Ginevra, then you must be… Oh I’m so sorry.” She offered her hand to Harry. “I’m Roberta, you can call me Robbie.” Harry, his face straight and shook her hand,
“Hello Robbie, I’m pleased to meet you. I’m Harry Potter, you can call me… Mr. Potter.” she cast a bewildered look at Hermione.
“He’s winding you up Robbie, he was good at that, still is apparently.” Robbie looked back at a now smiling Harry.
“She’s right Robbie, Harry will do fine.” Ginny pulled James forward,
“This is our son, James. It’s his first time today. He’s a bit shy and scared.” James blushed, he had known they would embarrass him.
“I’m not scared!” He said defiantly. Robbie shook his hand.
“Don’t worry James, if you have any problems, anything at all, you come and find me and I’ll help you, okay. You’ll be fine.”
“Thanks for that Robbie, it’s kind of you. There you are James, you have friend already, and you’re not even on the train yet.” said Ginny.
“But what darling.” James dropped his voice to a whisper,
“She’s a… girl.” Robbie reached out to ruffle his hair. James was too quick for her, she missed. She addressed Harry again,
“How did you know about the library Mr. Po…,er Harry?” Harry pointed at Hermione,
“If this is your mother, it had to be the library. Couldn’t possibly be anywhere else. Time you were getting aboard.” The trunks had been loaded by now. They walked to a carriage. Robbie noticed the white owl, like the one her Mum had told her about.
“She’s beautiful, James. I bet I can guess her name.” James frowned,
“Go on then.” It was a challenge from a girl and he always won challenges from girls. Robbie put on a look of intense concentration
“Hmm… let me see now. Got it! It’s Fredwig isn’t it?” James was ecstatic,
“Ha, ha. No it’s not. You got it wrong. It’s Hedwig. Same as the owl Dad used to have. She died, she forgot how to fly. It was a good guess though, you were close.” He conceded. He looked at Robbie as if to say, y’know you’re okay… for a girl. They found a compartment half full of what were obviously other first years. They put Hedwig on an empty seat.
“There you are James, Hedwig will save this seat for you. Come and say goodbye to your Mum. She’s going to cry, you know, but don’t let it worry you. She’s happy really. Are you going to cry?” The boy stood up straight and took a deep shuddering breath.
“No Dad.” He put his arms around Harry and held on to his father. Harry could feel him fighting down the emotion, just as he himself was doing. A voice called to his son and Robbie appeared behind them.
“James, come with me a minute, I’ll show you where I’m sitting, it’s not far.” She took his hand. It was only three compartments away. “I’ll be in here OK. Any problems you come see me, we’ll sort it. Right!”
“Right! Thanks, I’ll find it.” James went back to his mother. Harry looked at Roberta,
“You’re very like your Mum, you know, except for…”
“My eyes. I have my father’s eyes. Mum told me.” A feeling of déjà vu swept over him. How many times before had he heard those words, albeit in a slightly different form. “Did you know him?”
“I met him for the first time the day before he married your Mum, so I can’t really say I knew him, but I liked him very much. I’m sure he was the right man for her, if ever two people were in love they were. Y’know I’d love a chance just to sit and talk to her. We’ve got fifteen years of catching up to do, but I don’t think she will want to.”
“Try her Mr. Potter, you might just be surprised. Ask her. I’ve got about a million questions about her too. She won’t talk too much about herself. Drives me mad.” she thought briefly “Do you think I could come to see you sometime, in the holidays perhaps. You could tell me all about her.”
“If you clear it with your Mum, we’ll fix something Robbie, but be warned, if there is something she doesn’t want me to tell you, I won’t.”
“Fair enough, but tell me something that will embarrass her, just a little bit. You know she thinks of you as a brother?”
“Yes, I do and I feel the same way about her.”
“Well… would you… I mean could I call you Uncle. I’ve never had an uncle.”
“It would be my honour and pleasure Robbie.”
“And do you… still… have…” Harry moved his hair, “Wicked. We’d better go or you’ll be travelling to Hogwarts as well.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.” he grinned.
Harry shut the train door. James leaned out of the window looking at his mother and father. Robbie stood behind him. The goodbyes had been said. The train began to move and James gave a sad little wave. Robbie leaned out further and called to her mother, “Listen to the words Mummy.” to which a waving Hermione had replied,
“That’s where the meaning is.” Robbie waved harder,
“Goodbye Uncle Harry, Aunty Ginevra, goodbye.” Harry turned to Hermione,
“Is that some sort of code, Hermione?
“It’s exactly that Harry. It’s our code for ‘I love you.’ The words have a special meaning for me. But never mind that, what’s all this Uncle business.”
“She said that, as you think of me as your brother, would I mind if she called me Uncle Harry. I said she could. Do you mind or should I have asked you first.”
“No I’m delighted. Well I’d better be going, I have to be back at work.
“Where do you work?” said Ginny,
“At the British…”
“Library.” said Harry. Hermione said to Ginny.
“Has he been this irritating for the last fifteen years?”
“Afraid so, it annoys me too. I’ve killed him three times but he just won’t lie down.”
“I’ll be off then, I suppose I’ll see you at the start of next term.” Harry took her hand,
“Hermione, you can’t just walk away after fifteen years, could we meet somewhere soon. We have so much to talk about. Or is it still a problem for you?” Hermione had been hoping against hope that he would say something like that, she considered for a while before saying,
“I’d love to Harry. Listen would Arthur and Molly have your two little ones for the night on Saturday? Come and stay for the night. We can talk as much as we want. What do you think?” Ginny didn’t need to think.
“Mum and Dad won’t be a problem, they love having the kids to stay, the kids love it too. So yes, we’ll be there. How about midday?”
“Excellent. Look I really must rush. I’ll see you Saturday at noon. Don’t be late. If you apparate to the back door you’ll find yourselves in the new kitchen. Dad had the house extended. I’ll make sure the area is clear. See you Saturday.” Parting kisses were exchanged then Harry and Ginny watched her walk away.
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