Chapter 1 : Chaos on all fronts
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Harry Potter was exhausted, he had left his house early that morning and now at noon all he wanted to do was take a nap. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he walked towards his home. He needed to wake up; inside that house were his children and godson. They were all supposed to leave on the annual Weasley family camping trip this afternoon, but Harry wasn’t going to be able to go. The Auror department was in chaos and as the head of the department he had to help neutralize it. Harry stopped with his hand on the front door knob, before he could soothe the chaos at work he would have to do it at home.
Harry pushed open the door and walked into his home, even after all these years it still felt wonderful to be able to say that, his home. Harry saw muddy footprints leading out to the back yard and he vaguely heard Lily and Hugo arguing in the kitchen. Then Harry was almost knocked over by his singed godson. “Harry, it was an accident I swear!” Teddy’s hair was green a sure sign he was worried about something, “What happened Ted, are you okay?” Harry moved in the direction Teddy came from and found a still smoking living room. Teddy hurried up behind him, “I knocked over the candle again, I tried to stay away from it, but it is a tricky little bugger.” Harry tried to hide a smile, Teddy was very clumsy, a trait he had inherited from his mother, “It’s fine Teddy you know Ginny keeps extra curtains for just this reason. Is something else bothering you, after all these years you should know I wouldn’t be angry at you over an accident.” Teddy looked a little sheepish, “actually there is, it’s about the trouble at work.” Harry nodded at Teddy, “clean up and then I’ll meet you in my office, I’ll tell you what I know, but this needs to stay between us okay?” Teddy nodded and hurried off in search of the spare curtains.
Harry continued down the hall following the muddy footsteps when he heard what sounded like Crookshanks making a fuss in the kitchen. Harry pushed open the swinging door and stopped in his tracks when he saw his daughter and nephew. “Lily, Hugo, what have you two done?” Lily shot a worried look at Hugo, “I can explain Daddy.” Harry grabbed the squirming cat away from Hugo and took inventory of the scratches on the children’s arms and faces, “start explaining then Lily and it better be good.” Harry watched his daughter push her hair back from her forehead and take a breath, “It’s so hot we thought maybe Crookshanks would be in a better mood if he wasn’t so warm. SO Hugo and I gave him a bath, which he didn’t like. In hindsight we probably should have stopped after the bath, but we didn’t. This was where we went wrong, we tried to trim up his fur a little, but he freaked out. That’s how we got all the scratches. And, well when Crookshanks squirmed away, I sort of got the back of Hugo’s head caught in the hair clippers, so now he has a little bald spot, and when I got him he sort of knocked into me and his gum got stuck in my hair. We can’t get it out, now it’s tangled to the root.”
Harry took a deep breath, and reminded himself that he loved his children and a long day at work was no reason to lose his temper. “Lily, Hugo, you two are twelve years old you’re getting too old to keep getting yourselves into these silly little kid scrapes. You both know not to mess with Crookshanks, he is cantankerous, and that’s on a good day. You’re both lucky he didn’t hurt either of you. Now are you both packed?” Both children nodded their heads yes, “Okay then I’ll heal those cuts, and I’m going to fix your hair. That’ll be your punishment; you will be stuck with whatever haircut I have to give you to fix the damage you’ve done. That way for the next few months every time you look in the mirror you’ll remember to think before you act.” Lily and Hugo had the good sense to look ashamed, “Sorry Daddy.” “Sorry Uncle Harry.”
Harry didn’t have the heart to stay mad at the kids for long, “It’s fine, let me heal those cut and then I’ll take care of your hair.” Harry couldn’t help but smile when he saw the grimaces on the children’s faces, “Don’t worry it won’t be too horrible.” With a few waves of his wand Harry healed their cuts, and then the hair. Harry cut the rest of Hugo’s hair down to match the length Lily had shaved; He didn’t look too bad with a buzz cut. Lily’s hair was more difficult, but Harry finally got the gum out. Lily now sported a short bob; Harry hoped Ginny and Hermione wouldn’t be too upset about the haircuts. He shuddered thinking of the combined wrath of his wife and his sister.
After extracting a promise from Lily and Hugo that they would behave until it was time to leave Harry continued to follow the muddy footprints down the Hall. Stepping through the back door and into the yard Harry saw Albus and Rose covered head to toe in mud and having some sort of argument. When they heard the screen door snap shut they turned and caught sight of Harry. “Why are you both covered in mud?” Harry hated to admit that he sounded a bit weary, but after fourteen years of being Albus’ dad and Rose’s godfather he couldn’t help it. Rose gave Albus a look he knew Hermione would be proud of and turned back to her favorite uncle, “We’re fighting because Albus won’t admit that I am right and he is wrong.” Albus shot Rose a stubborn look, “I’m not wrong dad. Rose is wrong, but she’s too busy being a know it all to admit my plans are better than hers.”
At this point Harry noticed crumpled papers clenched in both children’s hands. He summoned the papers to him and groaned out loud when he saw what they were. “Okay first of all do you two realize that if you combined these plans for a Human catapult this would be an excellent design? Second, there is no way in Hel…, absolutely no way you are building this it is too dangerous.” “But Dad we were going to get Uncle George to test it for us.” Harry shook his head no, “Absolutely not, and both of you,” Harry stopped to look at both children, “Albus, Rose, you two are a great team you always have been, so why can’t you figure that out?” Albus and Rose looked at each other and smiled, “I guess we do make a pretty good team don’t we Rosie.” Rose smiled and threw her arms around her cousin, “The very best Al.” Harry cleared his throat, “We still have to deal with all this mud,” Harry looked at his watch, “your mothers will be here in one hour, you will have that long to clean yourselves and the mud you’ve tracked through the house without magic. So hop to it.” Al and Rose hurried inside clearly eager to avoid their mothers’ wrath.
Harry pocketed the plans for the human catapult and wondered where his oldest son was, it was unusual for James to be so quiet. Harry headed up to his son’s room, and what he found their surprised him. James was sitting staring out the window with an expression Harry knew well. His son was brooding about something and he needed to find out what that something was.