A/N: You will save yourself a lot of confusion if you google "ergo baby carrier" before reading and look at the picture of what I'm describing. I tried my best to describe it, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy!
Ginny fell asleep at the kitchen table, her head on her arms. She jerked awake when she heard the small cry. It took her a moment to realize that it was coming from her wand and it could only mean that Teddy was awake.
Ginny stood and groaned as her body protested the hours of sitting in the hard chair. She staggered over to the counter to make a bottle, thankful to note that her mother had increased the quantity of the milk so there would be enough.
She stumbled up the stairs, changed Teddy’s nappy and sat down with him in the rocking chair that Kreacher had found shortly after her mother had left, and had quietly moved into their bedroom. She propped him up with a pillow and fed the hungry baby, rocking and humming tunelessly to him.
That was how Harry found her. She glanced up to see the small sliver of light peeping from around him as he silently moved into the room. She looked exhausted and worried.
“You’re okay?” Her voice a hoarse whisper.
“Yeah,” he said softly. He moved almost without thought to kneel in front of her. He kissed his godson’s soft cheek and breathed out silent thanks that Teddy was all right. Andromeda had protected him, but at her own expense.
As if reading his thoughts, she asked, “Andromeda?”
“Hurt badly, but she’ll be all right. We didn’t catch them,” he said bitterly. “We got there and they fought for a short time but as more back up arrived they Apparated away. We weren’t able to follow.”
He carefully took the sleeping Teddy in his arms and moved him over to the cot he’d spotted. He put him down and ran a hand over his cheek. Then he turned and pulled Ginny up and into his arms, kissing her neck and holding tightly. “Thank you for being here. I… I got Teddy. He was crying and grabbed his things while the others held the attackers off, then to know you’d be here when I brought him to you… thankfully they hadn’t blown up the fireplace.”
He felt her relax against him and she whispered into his chest, “I’m sorry you couldn’t catch them.”
Harry nodded. “Why don’t you get some sleep? You look like you could use it.”
“So do you. Let’s both sleep and hope he doesn’t get up for another few hours.” Ginny sat heavily on the bed and pulled Harry down with her. They both fell instantly asleep in each other’s arms.
Teddy slept for almost five hours and they both awoke when he did at 9am. Harry rolled over and muttered about getting a bottle.
Ginny dragged herself over to the crying baby, groggy but still managing to change him before Harry got back with the bottle. He sat down in the rocker and held out his arms for the baby. “I’ve got this. You can lie down again.”
She didn’t argue, even though she knew he had to be exhausted. Ginny imagined that he, like her, wanted to feel the baby’s solid warmth and soak in the fact that the baby was okay.
Ginny snuggled back into the warm covers and fell asleep.
Harry should have been drained from the night’s events, but he was wide awake. So was Teddy. His godson smiled at him and waved a hand towards his face. Harry stood up from the rocker, cradling Teddy and placed the baby on the bed next to Ginny. He carefully lay down as well, so that the baby was between them. He was going to have to leave soon. He told Kingsley that he’d be in after lunch, but he didn’t want to go. He wasn’t too fond of having to work on a Saturday.
He had an odd sensation in his chest, almost as if a fist had hold of his heart, as he looked between the cooing baby and his wife. He’d not made the conscious choice to marry Ginny. He’d been so out of it that he couldn’t even remember them getting married. He couldn’t change what had happened, but he wasn’t sure now that he’d want to. Selfishly, Harry reflected, she was now with him all the time and wouldn’t be going back to school on Monday. They would be together forever.
Ginny looked so peaceful and beautiful while she slept. He could see the bags under her eyes and knew she had to be exhausted.
Teddy was staring at her, concentrating in a way that was rare for the baby. Very slowly the baby’s hair started to turn to the same copper color as Ginny’s amazing hair. His breath caught in his throat. They looked like mother and child.
Teddy reached out his chubby little hand and grabbed Ginny’s nose. She squeaked and her eyes opened while Harry chuckled. “Good morning.”
She stretched and smiled at him, “morning. What time is it?”
“Almost noon. I have to get to the office for a bit today.”
Ginny nodded, and reached out her small hand to tickle Teddy’s belly. “Let’s get some lunch then.”
After Harry left for the Ministry Ginny took Teddy up to the sitting room and lay out a blanket so they could play on the floor. She sat next to him and he giggled happily up at her, his fat little fists waving in the air.
Ginny looked over her shoulder, up at Hermione. “I didn’t know you were coming.”
“I have a present for you,” Hermione said happily. “My favorite cousin has one and said it saved her sanity when her daughter was a little. Here.”
Ginny eyed the shopping bag skeptically, but took it from her and peeked inside. Ergo baby carrier? She pulled it out and looked at it more closely. “Oh, I see. It’s so I can have Teddy with me and have my hands free.”
“Exactly! Plus it’s comfortable so you can wear him in it for a long time, hours maybe.”
Ginny snorted, “I hope I don’t have to wear him that long. Thanks Hermione.”
“No problem. I was thinking we could go visit Mrs. Tonks today. I flooed over to St. Mungo’s and her Healer told me that she would be up for visitors.” Hermione ran a finger along Teddy’s cheek and smiled. “He’s adorable.”
“Do you have the time today?” Ginny asked. She’d wanted to take Teddy, but didn’t want to take him out by herself.
“Yes, I’m free till Monday.”
They fed the baby and changed his nappy before packing a diaper bag and Ginny tried out her new Ergo. “This is really comfortable,” she said as they headed out of Grimmauld Place for the London underground. Although Ginny had used the underground several times to go see her father, it had been a few years and she was thankful to have Hermione along.
“I will probably be able to do this myself next time,” Ginny commented as they got off at the correct station.
Hermione nodded. “It isn’t hard, just takes a bit of practice. You’ll probably have more trouble with the Muggle money than anything else.”
Teddy had fallen asleep on the train and was still asleep as they made their way into Mrs. Tonks’ room. She looked exhausted and frail, Ginny thought, but she smiled as they came in.
“I’m so glad you came to see me. How’s Teddy?” Her voice was hoarse. She held out her hand and Ginny went to sit carefully on the bed next to her. Ginny pulled back the carrier a bit so Andromeda could see her grandson. “Oh, he’s so peaceful and asleep.”
She had been whispering, but still Teddy woke up at the sound of her voice next to him. Ginny unbuckled the carrier and took him out, cautiously placing the baby in his grandmother’s arms. She leaned down to kiss the baby and a tear streaked down her face. “I thought for sure that he wouldn’t make it. I sent the Patronus and put up shields and then everything turned to chaos. Then Harry was there and he grabbed Teddy and was gone through the floo and the rest of the Order was there and… things went black after that. I woke up here. Thank goodness Harry got him out.”
“He brought Teddy to me,” Ginny told her quietly. “He’s been an angel, but I’m sure he’s missing you.”
Mrs. Tonks laughed softly. “Well, it will be good to have you spoiling him for a few days till I can get out of here. Thank you, Ginny. Thank you for taking care of him.”
“Any time,” Ginny assured her.
Leaving the hospital did not go well. When Ginny took Teddy out of Andromeda’s arms, he started to cry hard. They put Teddy back in the carrier, which calmed him a bit, but he still snuffled unhappily the whole way home. When Ginny got him out to feed him, he fussed some more, and then screamed bloody murder when she laid him down to change his nappy.
When Harry walked in the door 7 hours later, close to midnight, he headed straight down to the kitchens to grab a snack. He froze in the door way. Ginny, wearing Teddy in some kind of baby carrier, was rocking back and forth, her arms around the baby, and humming tunelessly to Teddy. She looked beyond exhausted.
“Ginny?” Harry whispered, not wanting to wake the baby.
She turned to look at him and her eyes looked like a zombie from one of those Muggle movies. They were completely blood shot. “Hey,” she said. Her voice came out as a whispered croak.
“What happened?” He hung his cloak up and moved towards her. He looked down into Teddy’s sleeping face. His face was blotchy from crying and he didn’t seem to be deeply asleep.
“Hermione and I took Teddy to see Andromeda. She was so glad to see him, and he was happy to see her. Then he got really mad when we left. Honestly, I didn’t think babies this little could throw temper tantrums but Hermione floo’ed Mum to ask and she assured us that they could. If I take him out of this carrier he starts to scream. Hermione only left a little while ago.” She closed her eyes and gently rolled her shoulders, trying not to jostle the baby. All the while she kept swaying. “I’ve been wearing him for hours. Hermione, Kreacher and I even figured out how to clean his nappy and give him a bottle without taking him out. My back is killing me and I have a new appreciation for what it must feel like to be 9 months pregnant. Oh and if I stop swaying he wakes up.”
Harry looked down at her with sympathy. “I can take over now.”
“I’m hoping since he knows you better than me that you’ll be able to sooth him,” she said, reaching behind her back to undo the top clasp. She held onto Teddy and let the carrier fall from her shoulders. Harry unhooked it from around her waist and lengthened it to fit his. Teddy started to cry a pitiful mewing cry as Ginny passed him over to Harry, but once the carrier was back in place he calmed down again and went right back to sleep.
“I need a very long, hot shower or I’m not going to be able to move tomorrow. That thing is not meant to be worn for nearly 9 hours straight. It saved my arms, though.”
Harry watched her hobble out of the door. He looked down at his godson and couldn’t blame him for being upset. Both his parents had died, and now his grandmother was hurt and he was staying in a new house. He leaned his head down and kissed the top of the baby’s head, which was neon blue at the moment.
“Would master like some supper?” Kreacher croaked softly behind him.
Harry nodded. “Thanks Kreacher. It’s been a long day here, yeah?”
“Mistress Ginny and Miss Hermione did an excellent job with the baby Master Harry. Mistress never once lost her temper, but she’s tired and needs a rest.” Kreacher handed up a plate to Harry.
“I’ll take over from here, then. Thanks,” Harry said again taking his plate. He’d thought his day had been rough, but right now he was feeling like chasing down escaped Death Eaters and trying to squeeze 3 years or Auror training into one was a cake walk compared to this.
He had to eat carefully to not spill on the baby’s head, and he still had to sway or Teddy started to make noises. After he’d finished, he wandered up stairs and into their bedroom. Teddy was now completely asleep and Harry risked taking him out and putting him into his cot. Thankfully he slept through the transfer.
He turned when he heard Ginny enter the room and froze when he saw that she was clad only in her knickers, a towel in her hand as she dried her hair.
Harry breath caught and she looked up. Ginny squeaked and clutched the towel to her chest. “I thought you were still downstairs.” Her entire face was beat red and what he could see of the rest of her was blushing as well.
“Uh,” his brain seemed to have frozen solid while the rest of him heated up. He spun back around again and let out a ragged breath. “Sorry.”
He heard her rummage around for clothes. “I’ll finish getting dressed in the loo.”
He waited a beat before walking over to the bed and sinking down onto it. He put his head in his hands and tried to slow his heart. He’d just seen Ginny nearly naked for the first time. Sleep was not going to come easily tonight. His hands shook as he reached out for his pajamas which were lying on his pillow. He changed quickly.
Ginny came back in dressed for bed and not meeting his eyes. She crawled into their bed and stared up at the ceiling.
Harry walked out to use the loo and brush his teeth without saying a word. When he got back to the room he got the lights lay down next to her. “I feel bloody awkward right now.” He turned his head to look at her. A ray of moon light showed down, gently illuminating her face.
“You weren’t the one who was starkers.”
He couldn’t think of what to say other than “if you want to see me naked to even it out, we can do that. I can guarantee that you look better.”
Ginny snorted. “That was a given.”
And just like that the uncomfortable tension that was blistering between them broke. Harry laughed and leaned over to kiss her. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Harry.”
“Night.” Ginny was quiet for several moments. “Harry?”
“If Teddy gets up in the middle of the night he’s all yours.”