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Almost Happily Ever After by Jet LaBarge
Chapter 37 : First Christmas at Grimmauld Place
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4

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Friday Dec 17 Harry found that he was done with work about 3:00PM. Harry decided that he would go to watch Ginny practice, because knew that the players usually flew the last couple of hours in the afternoon, and that family members could visit. There were only 4 players flying, and one other person watching, a single person sitting with a house elf next to him, so Harry went over to introduce himself, and found himself face to face with Bill Lionheart. Bill spoke first, saying “Hello, I’m Bill Lionheart. I used to be a famous Quidditch player but I was hurt. I don’t remember things so well any more. I know you. I don’t think I ever met you. You’re Harry Potter.” Bill put out his hand, and Harry shook his hand.

“Glad to meet you, Bill” said Harry.

“Glad to meet you Harry. I haven’t met you. I thought so, but I don’t always remember so well. You are in the book, Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived, the Hero of Hogwarts. I read that book. Donna and I read the book together after Ginny joined the Harpies. Ginny is your wife. And Donna and I read the young people’s book together 3 or 4 or 5 times, I don’t remember exactly, and then I bought the big book and read it all by myself. I read it lots of times, and I think I can remember a lot about it. I need to try and remember.

“You and Ginny were in the Chamber of Secrets and you had to stab the book and Ginny came back to life and Tom Riddle died in the book, and she was Ginny Weasley, do I remember that?”

Harry said “Yes, you remember that correctly.”

Bill said “I don’t remember everything, but you fought Voldemort in a graveyard, and someone else was killed, that must have been horrible.”

Harry said “that was bad.”

“And then you had to let Voldemort kill you, Oh Harry, that must have been horrible” said Bill.

“Yes” said Harry, “that was the hardest thing I ever had to do.”

“But” said Bill “you came back to life, and killed Voldemort, and married Ginny Weasley and she became Ginny Potter and she is flying with Donna right now.”

“That’s right!” said Harry. “You have the story right. You are doing a good job of remembering it.”

“There is a lot more to the story” said Bill. “I am going to have to read it again and again and again until I remember. I’m getting better but it’s hard.

“Oh, and Donna said that Ginny is going to be a starter in the spring, and I remember that, and she is Ginny Potter your wife but she was Ginny Weasley in the book. I’m sorry if I repeat myself but I am working hard to remember. Thank you for listening to me Harry.”

“You’re welcome, Bill” said Harry.

That evening Harry told Ginny about his meeting Bill Lionheart. Something kept bothering him about Bill, and he decided he would find out more about Bill.

Sunday Dec 19 Ginny told her family that she was going to be a starter in the spring.

Monday Dec 20 Harry went over all the reports. There was nothing going on that was going to require his presence, so he told the Auror Department that he was on call but would be out, and went over to St. Mungo’s to ask about Bill. The wizard in charge told Harry that Bill was slowly getting better, but he would fight memory problems all his life. The wizard also said that Bill had developed a talent for talking to other people with memory problems or other emotional problems, where you needed someone with endless patience, and at this point most of his therapy consisted of helping other people, with only an hour a day with someone working on his problems.

“Our biggest concern is that we can not seem to talk to Donna” said the wizard. “She just does not see the progress; see that there is value in what Bill is doing outside of Quidditch, that he can do more than she thinks he can. Is there anything you can do to help?”

“What could I do?” asked Harry.

“Why don’t you start by going out to dinner, you and your wife with Bill and Donna. Bill was saying something about how he and Donna never went to restaurants any more. Let Bill figure out the tip and pay for it out of his own money. Show Donna that he can do some things” said the wizard.

Harry decided that he could do that. The girls were flying again that afternoon, and Harry decided that he was going to the Harpies Stadium again that afternoon.

Harry got to the stadium about 3:30, and found Bill again the only person watching. Bill had read the book again and wanted to test his memory, and he and Harry had an excellent conversation, still as strange in some ways as the previous Friday. Finally Harry said “Why don’t we take the girls out to dinner to a Muggle restaurant. I can pay for dinner and you pay the tip.”

Bill looked for his wallet, and said “I have 22 pounds, will that be enough?”

Harry said “More than enough. That will be perfect.”

Harry and Bill agreed that they would wait for the girls together, and tell them that they had decided to take them to dinner, so when Ginny and Donna appeared Harry said “Bill and I have decided that we are taking you beautiful girls out to dinner.”

Bill piped up “Harry is going to pay for dinner and I am going to pick up the tip.”

Donna looked surprised. It was beginning to look like she was going to refuse to go, so Harry said “I was at St. Mungo’s today and saw how much help Bill has been. He spends much more of his time helping other people than in therapy, and the wizard I talked to thought it would be a good idea for us to go out to dinner.”

Bill said “It’s going to be fun going out to dinner with another couple. It’s been a long time.” Donna looked at Harry and Ginny, stunned.

Bill confidently took Donna’s hand and they followed Harry and Ginny out of the stadium to where Harry had arranged for a Ministry Limo to pick them up, for security reasons, and they went over to Harry’s favorite Italian Restaurant. Harry talked to Bill about what Bill was doing, and Bill said he wished he could do more for the children. He had 3 children he was working with, and he wished he could offer all of them some sort of reward. “Could I tell them Harry Potter will see them if they work real hard?” asked Bill.

Harry said “sure! When games start again maybe we can have them one at a time in our box at the stadium.”

Bill said “that would be fantastic. There are a lot of people who are working so hard to get better. My memory still is not good. I try to help, but it is hard work. They say I can help because I have a lot of patience, but it is just like exercising, doing the same thing over and over and over until you get it right. But to tell witches and wizards that they could meet Harry Potter and see Ginny Potter, she used to be Ginny Weasley, and Donna Lionheart maybe afterwards, maybe they would work harder.” Bill looked at Harry with a hopeful look in his eyes.

Harry had a big smile, and he said “that would be fantastic!”

Ginny said “I always come to the box after games. I would love to help.”

Bill looked at Donna hopefully and said “could you come to the box too? After the game? And maybe think of someone else and not just you and me? ”

Bill looked at Harry and Ginny, then at Donna again, and said “There is more to life than Quidditch, Donna. Like helping other people.”

Donna looked kind of ashamed. “Gwen Jones keeps telling me there is more to life than Quidditch. I’ll do my best.”

After dinner Harry paid the bill, 42 pounds, and Bill carefully counted out 8 pounds 40 cents for a tip.

It was getting close to Christmas, so the next morning Tuesday Dec 21 Ginny decided to go to the Harpies to exercise in the morning and take the rest of the week off. She was not going to be back until after Christmas, and then only for a day or two, and then not again until the first of the year. Of course she was going to continue to exercise at home; there was no rest from the constant exercising.

Harry was in the office when he was contacted by St. Mungo’s, a witch saying that Bill Lionheart wanted to know if Harry could come over and talk to someone. Harry did not have anything urgent, so he went over. Bill was sitting in a room with a little girl, and a witch gave Harry some background on the girl and the case. Harry went into the room, and the girl, Tabitha, gave Harry the wide eyed look that he was used to when someone who did not know him recognized that he was Harry Potter, and then she asked “Are you really Harry Potter” and when Harry said he was asked “Can you make a place safe?”

“I can help make a place safe” said Harry. “I can check a place for bad things, and make sure bad wizards have a hard time getting in some places. We have a lot of ways making people safer.”

Tabitha said “I want you to make Mr. Lionheart’s house safe, so I can go there for Christmas. I do not want to spend Christmas here. I was always afraid of leaving here but…Mr. Potter, could you get me some courage? I have been so afraid and if you could give me some courage, and, Mr. Potter.” Tabitha started to cry. Then she looked at Bill and said “can I talk to Mr. Potter alone.” Bill said he would leave, and left the room.

Then Tabitha said “Your wife Ginny is on the same team as Mr. Lionheart’s wife. I think she does not like me. I want a new mommy and daddy and Mr. Lionheart would make the best daddy I can imagine and I would be so good but I think his Mrs. Lionheart does not like me.”

Harry said “I do not know what I can do about Donna Lionheart, but I can at least give you a certificate of courage. Can I talk to Bill alone?” Tabitha nodded.

Harry went and talked to Bill. Bill said “I’ve tried to talk to Donna about Tabitha, but I don’t always remember. I try and think of how to tell her but I can not remember how to do it when we are together. I start but she talks about Quidditch and her busy schedule and she will think about it. She will think about it. She says she will think about it, but I do not think she does.”

“I’ll see if I can talk to Ginny about it tonight” Harry replied, not sure if he or anyone could do anything about Donna Lionheart.

Donna was not in the exercise room at 8:00 AM, or 9:00 AM, or 10:00 AM. She finally came into the room at a little after 11:00 AM. Ginny was walking on a treadmill, and Donna came over to the treadmill next to her and started to walk, taking fierce steps. Ginny looked over to her and it looked like she either had been crying or was holding back tears. This was unprecedented for Donna; her emotions were always under control, and even when she was mad Ginny knew it was more of a calculated act than her actually loosing it. Seeing Donna read out an opposing beater twice her size because she though he had committed a foul (or just to get him off balance) was a spectacle that some thought was worth the price of admission to a game.

Ginny saw Gwen Jones walk into the exercise room, and Ginny motioned for Gwenn to come over to a corner, and then Ginny talked about what had happened the last couple of days, Harry meeting Bill and then the next day Harry and Ginny, Bill and Donna going out to dinner. Both Ginny and Gwen could see that something was really bothering Donna, and when Gwen went over to her Donna looked at Gwen like she was lost. Gwen asked if Donna wanted to talk, and asked if Ginny should come up along. Donna nodded yes, and they went up to Gwen’s office.

“I went to St. Mungo’s this morning. Maybe I listened for the first time in a long time” said Donna. “Bill is still very sick; I know and they know that sometimes he just blanks out. At the same time he has found something that he can do. I didn’t know it, because I was not looking, but Bill has found something to do after Quidditch.

“Bill is working with a little girl, Tabitha, who is 6. When she was 3 her mother and father and baby brother were killed by death eaters. She hid, and they did not find her, but she was hit by rebounding curses, and it took them a year to cure her of the curses. Then she would not let anyone but a couple of the older witches touch her, and she would panic if she saw any man. Bill stayed in the room with her for hours, letting her know he was there but not trying to talk, getting familiar. A year ago they started to talk, and now he spends 4 hours a day with her. The staff says that he is the best thing that ever happened to her since she came in. She is often with Bill when I come to pick him up, and I even talk to her once in a while.

“I brought Bill over to St. Mungo’s this morning, but instead of leaving him and going to exercise I went to the office to talk to the head of the mental department. She asked if I would like it if we could make ourselves invisible and look at what Bill was doing, and then to my surprise Bill had gotten Harry to come over, and we listened, and I heard Tabitha say she wanted courage and to come to our house for Christmas, but she was afraid that I did not like her.

“I talked to the head of the department and asked if Bill could really be a good father? Could we, could he, take care of Tabitha. And she said that Bill could be a great father, and with the house elves there would not be any problem. Then she asked me if I could be a mother to Tabitha, and we talked about how to behave around her, and what I would have to do. I would not have to give up my career. All I would have to do is to love her.”

Donna stopped, rolled her eyes up, and kind of shrugged her shoulders. “Just love” Donna said. Donna was starting to tear up as she said “I’m not sure that I have ever been any good at loving anyone, but more than one staff person said that I have done a good job with Bill, and if I wanted to I could easily learn to love Tabitha.

“We talked a long time. I think my parents love me the Quidditch player but I’m not sure they love me outside of Quidditch. They really liked it that I was with Bill until he was hurt, but now when we are together they ignore him, treat him like he does not even exist. I think the only loving thing I have ever done that did not involve Quidditch was to marry Bill after he was hurt, and even that had something to do with Quidditch.

“I know what I should do. That little girl needs a mother and father, and Bill is just right for a father for her. I’m just terrified! I know what I ought to do but I’m just terrified. I should not have walked out of St. Mungo’s and come here but … Oh Gwen, Ginny …why is this so hard … I know what I need to do.”

“Take your time, Donna” Gwen gently said.

Everybody was silent for some time. Finally you could tell that Donna had made a decision, just by the look on her face and the way her posture changed. Donna looked at Ginny. “Could you come with me today, Ginny? I have to tell Bill that I want Tabitha to come home with us. Ginny, I need someone else to help. I have no idea how to get a room ready for a little girl. We need Christmas presents for a little girl, furniture, and we’ve never done any of that type of stuff. Until he got hurt we spent Christmas Eve with Bill’s parents, but all they pay attention to is his brother since Bill got hurt, and we spend Christmas with my parents.”

“We can help” said Ginny. “At our family Christmas Eve has become the time my brothers and their wives go to the wives family, and we have Christmas day together. Maybe Harry and Teddy and I could go over to your house or you to our house, Christmas Eve.”

Gwen gently said “You two take all the time you need. I will see you back here after Christmas.

Ginny and Donna went over to St. Mungo’s. Bill was working with someone else, just talking to them. Ginny and Donna were told that just by paying attention to some of the patients Bill made a lot of difference. Donna finally asked the question that had been bothering her, saying “If we take Tabitha home for Christmas, what then? I’m not sure I could tell her that she had to go back to the hospital. Do we have to take her back? What would happen if we kept her?”

The witch on duty said “The staff has been talking about Bill and Tabitha. We think by far the best thing for Tabitha would be for her to be adopted, and the perfect person to adopt her is Bill. But we have been concerned about you.”

“I don’t know how to be a mother” said Donna. “What do you do?” Donna looked at Ginny, then the witch on duty.

“Mostly it’s a question of love” said the witch on duty. “Everything else is easy to learn.”

“That’s what scares me” said Donna. “That is what always has scared me. I didn’t think I could love Bill after he got hurt, but I didn’t have a choice. We had been a couple since Hogwarts, and I couldn’t just abandon him, throw him away like my parents wanted. We’ve been more of a couple since he got hurt; he can watch my games and see me practice. But this adopting a child is a different kind of choice, and I don’t know the rules to THIS game. Harry promised Tabitha that he would get her some courage, a certificate of courage, and Oh Ginny I think I need some courage too.”

Donna and Ginny went over to talk to Bill. “I saw you and Harry and Tabitha, Bill” Donna whispered. “I saw you and tried to say YES and, I don’t know, once we have her we can’t take her back, and I got scared and went back to the Harpies crying, and Bill, I never cry, well, I did when you got hurt but except for that. Tabitha is really important, isn’t she?”

“Well everybody is important” Bill said. “Everybody is important, but Tabitha and I, Donna Tabitha and I, she really wants a family and she doesn’t have a family and she really wants a father and she doesn’t have a father and she really wants a mother and she doesn’t have a mother or grandmother or aunt or anybody. Can you be her mother?”

“I don’t know” Donna sadly admitted. “I love you, I still love you even after you got hurt. I think I can love Tabitha, because she loves you and I love you. I’m just going to have to learn!”

“You will learn, Donna” Bill firmly replied. “You are a good person. You just love Quidditch too much. You can learn to love Tabitha! I’ll help you!”

“Once we have her we can’t send her back!” Donna exclaimed.

“No” said Bill. “I expect it’s a little like having a baby. Once you do it you can’t undo it.” They were silent for a little while. Then Bill told Donna “You have to tell her, Donna. Tabitha will not believe it coming from me. She needs to hear you tell her you want her or she won’t believe it. Tabitha needs you to talk to her.”

Donna looked at Bill, then Ginny, then back at Bill, a modest amount of terror in her eyes. “What do I say?” Donna asked.

“That you want Tabitha to come home with us for Christmas” Bill replied. “That YOU want Tabitha to come home with us for Christmas. That you want Tabitha to come home with US for Christmas.”

“And that we are going to try and adopt her?” asked Donna.

“After a couple of days, when you know that you can make it work” suggested Ginny.

“It’s got to work” Donna firmly replied. “I’m not used to losing, never liked it, and I’m NOT GOING TO LOSE THIS!”

“That’s my Donna” Bill exclaimed.

Tabitha was in a common area close to her bedroom, playing with her Harry Potter and Ginny Potter dolls, when Donna and Bill, Ginny and two of the witches approached. Donna sat down on a sofa and motioned Tabitha to sit next to her. Tabitha had a big smile when she saw Bill but when she saw Donna got a concerned look on her face. Donna said “Would you like to come home with us tonight and spend the Christmas Holidays with Bill and me?”

Tabitha looked up at Bill, who smiled and nodded yes. Finally she said “Oh yes I would love to.”

Donna said “get your stuff together. Mrs. Potter and I have to get your bedroom ready, but then we will be back to bring you and Mr. Lionheart home. I’m really glad you are coming home with us!”

“You want me?” an incredulous Tabitha asked.

“Very much!” Donna exclaimed.

Tabitha got up, started to go to her room, and then turned back around and said in utter amazement “I’m coming home with you?”

“You are coming home with US, with Mr. Lionheart and me” Donna said.

Very politely Tabitha said “Thank you Mrs. Lionheart.” She started to go to her room again, then a third time turned around and said with a great deal of emotion “Oh, Mrs. Lionheart, THANK YOU!” She turned and slowly started to walk to her room, got about half way to her room before turning around, pausing to look at Donna and Bill, and then ran back to Donna with tears running down her face, sobbing. Donna opened her arms, and Tabitha ran into Donna’s outstretched arms. Donna held her and patted her back. Tabitha said between sobs “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I’ll be so good.”

Donna put Tabitha on her lap and was rubbing Tabitha’s back, and then Donna gave Tabitha a little kiss. At this Tabitha grabbed hold of Donna and held on for dear life. Donna looked at Bill, who had come to sit down next to her, and then Bill gave Donna a gentle kiss, and Donna looked at Tabitha, looked at Bill, and then she TOTALLY lost it, sobbing in big gasping sobs, tears running down her face. Donna kept patting Tabitha’s back saying “it’s going to be all right, it’s going to be all right.”

After about 15 minutes, as everybody was calming down, Tabitha looked at Donna and said “after Christmas do I have to live here again?”

Donna said “I hope not. We are trying to see if you can stay with us.”

Tabitha said “Oh, I’ll be so good! I’ll be so good.” Her crying died down, as did Donna’s, but they held on to each other tightly for another 15 minutes or so. Finally Tabitha shyly got up from Donna’s lap.

Bill said “I’ll help you get your clothes and things together” and left hand in hand with Tabitha. Ginny turned to Donna and said “I think you just had your first test as a mother, and passed it with flying colors!”

Donna turned to Ginny and hugged her real hard, both of them working to get control of their emotions.

Ginny and Donna took the floo to the Lionheart house, a modest one story 3 bedroom house. The living area looked like a shrine to Quidditch, with awards and scrap books of stories about the careers of Bill and Donna. There was a master bedroom and a guest bedroom, and an empty bedroom next to the master bedroom. Donna explained that the empty room had been for Bill when he first came back, after he had been hurt, but since he had gotten better it had just been unused. Since there was no furniture at all in the empty room Ginny and Donna went to a furniture store that Ginny knew of, and purchased a bedroom set that included a very girly bed and dresser, and a small desk and chair.

That night Ginny told Harry “Well, I had an unusual day today. It seems that when you were talking to Bill Lionheart and Tabitha Donna Lionheart was with a witch healer, invisible, watching.

“She was sort of a mess when she came back to the Harpies at eleven. Gwenn and I talked to her, and she said she should have agreed to take Tabitha right then, but she was scared. I think she is still terrified about being a mother, but she went back to St. Mungo’s, I went with her, and she told Tabitha that she and Bill wanted to bring her home and have her stay with them.”

“Did they?” Harry asked. “Did they actually bring this little girl home with them?”

“Oh yes!” Ginny exclaimed. “They are going to adopt her!”

“That sounds like a bit of a change for Donna” Harry said.

“That’s a huge change for Donna!” Ginny exclaimed. “Donna’s terrified! I think we need to go over there Christmas Eve, before going to my parents’ house. Oh, if you have not gotten that certificate of courage yet make one for Donna. She’s going to need it”

Ginny picked up Teddy early Wednesday December 22, agreeing to keep him until Christmas day. About 10:00 Ginny got a call by floo. Donna was in the floo, and wanted to know if she and Tabitha could come over. Ginny said sure, and very quickly Donna and Tabitha came through the fireplace. Ginny was standing there with Teddy on her hip, and after Donna and Tabitha came through the floo Ginny put Teddy down, introducing Teddy by saying “Donna, Tabitha, this is Teddy.”

Tabitha said “Hi Teddy.”

Teddy stood there on his wobbly year and a half toddler legs looking suspiciously at Tabitha, but Tabitha just kept smiling at Teddy, and eventually Teddy gave a big drooley smile back.

Donna said “I wanted to go shopping with Tabitha, but she is scared to go out with just me, and she asked if you could come with us.”

Tabitha looked at Ginny and said “I’m still scared, Mrs. Potter. Mr. Potter is going to get me courage, but I’m still scared. Could you come with us, please?”

Ginny said “Sure. I’ll get a coat on and get Teddy dressed for the cold, and we will go shopping with you. We will have an Auror with us protecting us.”

Tabitha did not have many clothes, and no really nice dresses, but Ginny knew of a Muggle clothing store with very nice dresses, lots of little girl clothes. It turned out that Tabitha was a very girly little girl. She loved dresses, pink and purple, lots of lace and frilly stuff, everything that Donna was not. Donna just owned a few dresses, mostly for the advertising contract she had with a cosmetics company. Before they were done they had four dresses for Tabitha, one of which was part of a mother/daughter set, and to her total astonishment Donna had purchased the mother version. They also had a couple pair of pants that were obviously little girl pants and several tops again all very feminine. The also purchased shoes, none of which were even remotely unisex.

They had lunch at a sweet shop in Diagon Alley that had a modest lunch menu. The shop was so pink and frilly that teenage wizards avoided it like a plague, unless they were with a witch-friend of course, and Donna made some remarks to Ginny to indicate that this was not her at all, but she was just going to have to get used to it. Tabitha was thrilled, although from time to time she indicated that she was still on edge and very glad that Ginny was with them.

Finally they went to a combined hair salon and cosmetic shop owned by the company that was paying Donna to advertise their lipstick. Tabitha was enthralled, and the shop manager spent a lot of time with them. Donna and Tabitha ended up with painted nails, and Tabitha had some very light lipstick on. The even talked Donna into dressing her and Tabitha in the mother/daughter dresses, and took several potential advertising photographs.

About 3:00 PM Ginny was finally back home, after leaving Donna and Tabitha at their home.

Thursday the 23rd Harry worked a light day, left for work about 9:00 AM and got home about 4:00 PM. Ginny spent the day with Teddy at home.

Friday December 24th Harry, Ginny and Teddy had a leisurely morning. At 2:00 PM they went over to the Lionheart house. Tabitha had to show everybody her bedroom and furniture, and eventually everybody sat down and they exchanged presents. Harry and Ginny had new clothes for the Harry and Ginny Potter dolls. The Lionhearts had a small toy for Teddy. Finally Harry had the certificate Tabitha was waiting for. It said This certificate has been charmed to give Tabitha courage. It has been charmed and signed by Kingsley Shackebold, Minister of Magic, Arthur Weasley, Head of the Ministry of Law Enforcement, Gawain Robards, Head Auror, Harry Potter OMh(3), Ginny Weasley Potter OMh, Ron Weasley OMh, Hermione Grainger Weasley OMh, Neville Longbottom OMh, heroes of The Battle of Hogwarts. At the bottom of the certificate were photographs of all the people who had signed and charmed the certificate.

Harry read the certificate, and then asked Tabitha “Do you think this will help give you courage, Tabitha?”

Tabitha answered “What if I’m still scared?”

Harry replied “There is nothing wrong with being scared. Did you read Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived, the Hero of Hogwarts?”

Tabitha nodded yes.

Harry said “I was really scared when I did lots of things in that book. Courage is not being scared. Courage is being scared but doing what you have to do anyway.”

Tabitha said in a very small voice “I’ll try to be brave! Thank you.”

Harry then gave another certificate to Donna, saying “congratulations. You are going to need a lot of courage as well.”

Donna said “Thank you, Harry.” Then she said to Tabitha “We have one more thing to talk about, to ask you” and she brought out another parchment, and started to read. “This petition asks the Ministry of Magic to allow the adoption of Tabitha by William and Donna Lionheart. If approved Tabitha will be magically soul bonded to William and Donna, similar to the marriage bond, and will be the daughter of William and Donna.
Signed William Lionheart, Donna Lionheart, _____________.
Witnessed by Harry James Potter, Ginevra Molly Potter.”

Donna showed Tabitha where she had to sign, and asked, “would you like to stay with us and live with us? Would you like me to be your mother? I already know that you would like Bill to be your father.”

“Forever and ever?” asked Tabitha.

“Forever and ever” said Donna and Bill together.

Tabitha nodded yes, and reached for the parchment, and printed a shaky T A B I T H A in big printed capital letters on the certificate.

Bill then said “Well from now on you had better call us mum and dad, and we will introduce you as our daughter Tabitha Lionheart.” Harry showed the certificate of courage to Tabitha, and the name had changed to Tabitha Lionheart.

Tabitha was sitting on a sofa between Bill and Donna while Harry gave her the certificate of courage and while Donna and Bill showed her the adoption petition. After those were done she was sitting between them kind of fidgety like she wanted something. Bill asked “you look like you want to say or do something.”

“Can I call you mummy?” Tabitha asked Donna, who nodded yes. “Even when we are out shopping?” Tabitha asked and again Donna nodded yes, and then said “Anywhere we are you can call me mummy, anywhere.”

Tabitha then looked at Bill and asked “Can I call you Daddy anywhere, even at St. Mungo’s, even in class with other children, anywhere?” Bill answered back “anywhere!”

“Mummy” Tabitha said in an urgent tone of voice, “can I go to the loo? Right now!

Donna said “Yes. Go!” and looked at Ginny. Tabitha was walking to the loo kind of awkwardly looking terrified.

Bill got up but Ginny said “Donna, Tabitha needs a mother now.” Very quietly Ginny said to Donna “I think she just wet her pants. Be gentle! She’s terrified.”

Donna got up and rushed to the bathroom. They heard Tabitha wail, and Donna comfort her, and a while later Donna came back in with Tabitha, who had a new dress on. Tabitha leaned against Donna, and Donna said to Bill, Harry and Ginny “I guess I just had another mummy lesson. I think we passed this one as well.”

“Where did the woman who curses at her team mates when they miss a shot go?” asked Ginny.

“I don’t know” said Donna, looking at Tabitha. Donna had tears in her eyes as she said “I guess yelling isn’t exactly what a scared 6 year old needs. I’ve got a lot to learn.” Donna looked at Tabitha and said “I’ve never been a mummy. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. We all make mistakes. I love you, Tabitha.”

“I’m so sorry mummy” said Tabitha in a small voice, tears streaming down her face, but she held on to Donna. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I messed up. I wanted this Christmas to be happy.”

“Tabitha” said Donna, tears streaming down her face as well, “This is the first Christmas that your Dad and I have a family, the first Christmas we won’t wake up lonely because we don’t have anyone to share Christmas with. That makes it the happiest Christmas we ever have had. A little mistake will not mess that up. Thank you for choosing us to adopt you!”

At this Tabitha burst out in tears again, holding on to Donna but reaching a hand out to hold on to Bill too, and there was a smile on her face, and you could tell the tears were mostly joyous tears.

Shortly afterwards Harry, Ginny and Teddy left.

Harry, Ginny and Teddy went to the New Burrow from the Lionheart house. The next morning they got up to have breakfast with Arthur and Molly. Harry was wearing a nice casual long sleeved shirt, dark pants, and trainers. Ginny had a new athletic suit in the Harpies colors, a loose fitting sweat shirt over sweat pants. Harry noticed the athletic suit hid how thin Ginny had become.

Arthur was never flamboyant, and the new dress robes he wore were very conservative. Molly by contrast had on a new dress robe for the holidays that was striking, in Christmas colors, highlighting her figure. Molly may have been moderately heavy, but she also had a very feminine figure, and it was obvious that Arthur appreciated the figure of the woman he had married. It was also apparent where the flamboyance of some of the Weasley boys came from. There were various figures embroidered on the robes, and on one part of the robe a place announcing that Molly was grandmother to Teddy and Freddy, with room for MANY more names.

Molly was a little embarrassed by this obviously expensive limited purpose robe, but she explained that since Arthur’s raise, not paying for housing, and not sending children to Hogwarts they had money for the first time in their marriage. Harry was just thrilled that by paying for the New Burrow he had made such a difference in his in-laws life. Molly had no idea that you had to pay for electricity, cable television, and the Internet; Harry was making sure he paid these bills as well.

Bill and a pregnant Fleur came. Fleur was part Vela, and had always had a nice figure, but her ample bust had grown spectacularly. She was wearing a white silk blouse with ¾ sleeves and lace up an open slit on the sleeves, an empire waist tight around her bust, with a V neck open about as far down as you could go, with the gauziest lace up about a third of the way on the V. It was loose enough around the waist to allow the little bump on her middle to grow. Fleur had on a flannel skirt in Christmas Red that complimented the blouse, and went well with Bill’s shirt.

Bill had on a flannel shirt in Christmas green and red, obviously expensive, and his normal ear ring had been traded in for a lighted Christmas tree ear ring.

Bill and Fleur had spent Christmas Eve in France with her family, and Fleur shared how excited her family was that a grandchild/niece was on the way. She also shared some earthy jokes about the changing female shape when a witch got pregnant, several focusing around the bust and the pleasure wizards got from this change.

Charlie had spent Christmas Eve with the dragons, but had Christmas Day off, and was wearing his usual Dragon skin outfit.

Percy and Audrey had spent Christmas Eve with her extended family. Audrey had never been near as busty as Fleur (or even Ginny), being more straight up and down, but she had developed some shape on top. Harry thought that Audrey and Ginny had traded bust size.

Audrey always wore beige or pastel, and today she was wearing a beige wool dress that covered everything. The dress was very loose fitting, but you could tell that Audrey was also developing a small bump. Unlike Fleur, who was all too willing to show a fair amount of cleavage, Audrey did not have an outfit that did not cover her up to her neck. Of course Fleur’s earthy humor mortified Audrey, and if her family was excited about anything they would never admit it.

George and Angelina brought along Freddy, who was well on the way to becoming a toddler. All 3 were dressed in the flamboyant outfits of WWW, and if his coloring, halfway between Angelina’s black and George’s pale skin, and red hair did not give it away the little WWW outfit advertised Freddy as being part of the WWW family. At almost 8 months Freddy was very mobile, not really walking but crawling and scooting himself from place to place, beginning to babble with a few words you could almost recognize. He had entertained Angelina’s family Christmas Eve, with Angelina leaving for her parents a couple of hours before the store closed.

Angelina was still nursing Freddy, and had no intention of trading in the natural milk supply for a more expensive and complicated one. She was also less discrete nursing in a family setting. Molly was just beaming most of Christmas, but her pride in seeing her daughter-in-law nursing her grandson was obvious to everyone.

Ron and Hermione had worked at WWW Christmas Eve, and then gone over to her parents’ house. Both had new Muggle outfits on, Hermione in a dress, Ron in slacks and a shirt.

Molly was thrilled with the impending arrival of two new grandchildren. Everyone shared stories of their Christmas Eve, with Harry and Ginny last, and the story of the Lionhearts’ and Tabitha brought tears to many eyes.

George and Angelina were tired from the stress of the retail selling season, and they decided to stay at the New Burrow over night. Other people were willing to watch Fred, change his nappies, and keep him entertained, giving them some time to just relax together.

Teddy and Freddy played in the same area, the sort of parallel play that toddlers do instead of playing with each other, while the adults took turn watching them. Harry and Ginny also decided to stay at the New Burrow to spend a little more time with Teddy. They knew that starting in January they were both going to be getting very busy.

Boxing day was a Sunday, so the store was normally closed in the morning. George and Hermione opened WWW in the afternoon, and Ron took the Hogsmeade store, giving Angelina, Verity and Lee Jordan another day off. Harry and Ginny left late in the afternoon, since Monday was going to be a working day for both of them.

Author’s notes.

I have gotten lots of reads, but with so many chapters that is not surprising. Not many reviews on the later chapters, and I lose a lot of readers along the way. I think it is because the story had begun to wander, become maybe a soap opera mess instead of tight stories with a point.

The next couple of chapters are taking a lot of work, and I need some direction from my readers (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!) before I continue.

Review please.

Jet LaBarge

March 1, next chapter in Validation and when you see this one it will be up, but still the next chapters may take a lot of time.

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