As soon as they had stepped into the dark hallway, Harry was leapt upon by Kreacher. He hugged Harry around the knees, letting out excited squeaks, and when he finally relinquished his grip, Harry saw that Kreacher was gleaming. The pillow case which he wore was bright white, laundered. His ear hair was fluffy, his face scrubbed, and the locket which he wore around his neck had been polished so brightly that it almost hurt to look at. Kreacher was smiling ecstatically, and he had great, happy tears in his eyes. “Master Harry! You finally return, after all these months! Kreacher was so worried when Master Harry did not come home, but he heard the news. The Dark Lord is defeated, Master Harry!” Kreacher kept on in this manner for some time, blustering about how he had kept the house clean, how he had worried, how glad he was for Harry’s return.
They were ushered into the kitchen, where Kreacher set about making a treacle tart for them. They told him about everything that had happened to them, Kreacher gasping and widening his eyes frequently. He could not keep the smile off his little face, but then he said, “Master Harry, Kreacher was so very sorry to hear of the death of Dobby. He was a good elf.” Kreacher looked down at the floor, as if it was his fault that Dobby had died.
“Kreacher, he died saving our lives. He was one of the bravest people I ever knew, and I thank him for it.” Kreacher had tears in his eyes, and sniffed a little. He got back to bustling around the kitchen.
Over the following weeks, they stayed happy and content, thanks to the many administrations of Kreacher. Harry started reading Defence Against the Dark Arts books, going through leaflets for auror training courses, and practising new spells in Sirius’ brother Regulus’ room, which they had covered with pillows and spellbooks. Ron was looking for a job. He said that he wanted to finally start making something for himself, and went about it with such determination that everyone was a little in awe. Hermione had decided that she would be returning to Hogwarts that September to get her NEWTs, and Ginny didn’t seem to have any plans for the future, just enjoying watching their lives pan out.
It was a rather overcast day in the middle of July when Harry received a letter from a large barn owl. It was in an unknown hand which Harry didn’t recognise, and read,
I have only recently discovered that Remus named you the Godfather of Teddy. Nymphadora must have mentioned it to me, but I’m afraid it slipped my mind, after everything that’s happened. Of course I understand if you don’t want to look after him, but I’m finding it quite difficult, after all, I have no one now to help me. I would of course have him some of the time, but poor Teddy has no other family, and I was wondering if you wanted to be a part of his life. I’ve enclosed a picture of him - I’m sure Remus will have shown you one before he died, but this is more recent.
Harry stared at the letter for a while, and then found the picture in the envelope. It showed a chubby baby, smiling toothlessly at the camera, and waving his arms enthusiastically as he sat. He had a brilliant tuft of hair, which kept changing from bright orange to purple, as if he couldn’t decide which colour he liked better. Harry smiled at the picture, and hurried off to ask Ginny about it.
Ginny was thrilled with the news, and was almost bouncing off the walls when Harry wrote his return letter, telling Andromeda that he’d be happy to look after Teddy, and working out a date for her to bring him over. He used Ron’s owl Pig to send the letter, after all, Hedwig had died the previous year. He had been thinking about getting a new owl, but he felt guilty about it.
Teddy arrived on the 17th of July. He was a round, constantly smiling baby, who took great pleasure in making people laugh at the colour of his hair. When he laughed, he scrunched up his entire face, showing his bare gums, and shook with infectious mirth. He was able to sit up, but he couldn’t stand, so he spent his time either rolling around on the floor or lifting his arms imperiously, ordering people to carry him. Harry arranged with Andromeda that he would look after Teddy from Saturday through to Monday, however he often stayed longer, because they loved to have him so much, and because Andromeda needed the peace.
Harry was sitting with Teddy one evening in the living room, with Ginny resting her back on his legs, and the baby propped happily against his chest. Harry stared dreamily into the fire, only half-listening to Hermione reading the Tales of Beadle the Bard to them from a large armchair. She was in the middle of reading Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump, which Teddy always laughed at the most, even though he couldn’t understand it, when Ron came in. He had been out all day, job hunting. He had a massive grin on his face, and seemed extremely pleased with himself. “I’ve got something for Teddy.” There was such a look of mischief on his face when he gave Teddy the package that they were all curious.
“What is it?” Asked Hermione.
“You’ll see.” Teddy was having trouble controlling his chubby hands enough to open the package, so Harry untied the string for him and removed the spell-o-tape. Teddy pulled the object out of the remaining paper with enthusiasm, and found a small toy owl. He was going to put it in his mouth, which was his way of working out what something was, when the little stuffed toy leapt in his hands, and turned into a real, miniature owl. It leapt out of his hands, and fluttered around his head. Teddy swatted at it with short arms, all the while gurgling with excitement. Hermione took a picture with a wizarding camera she had bought as soon as Teddy had arrived, and soon they were all laughing with the chubby baby.
After a while, when the owl had turned back into a toy, Ron said, “so no one gonna ask where I got it?” ‘Where?’ They chorused. “Well, I… made it.” They looked confused, so he went on, “I’ve been trying to make some inventions, and now that I’ve made a few, I showed them to George. He was pretty impressed, so he… err… offered me a job.” Ron’s ears turned bright red, and Hermione jumped up from her chair, ran across the room to him, and leapt at him. She threw her arms around him, wrapping her legs around his waist. When he finally dropped her, laughing, he said, “yeah, I’m now the co-inventor… or co-manager… well, I’m co-something, of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.” Everyone cheered, and Kreacher came into the room, holding four butterbeers, having somehow overheard, and a bottle of ‘Mr Bertwood’s Briliant Baby Milk’ for Teddy.