Chapter 2 : La surprise de famille
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"HARRY POTTER, if you don't get those kids of yours down this instant—" Ginny furiously looked across the kitchen table at her husband, twirling her wand in her hand. And Harry wanted to avert as much of the disaster as he could.
"Don't get your knickers in a twist, Gin, really! They’re coming..."
The only thing he managed to do was to enrage Ginny further.
"Don't tell me not to get frustrated, Potter. I don't know why I married you sometimes."
"Back to Potter now, are we? Gin, your mum will handle most of the things and all you might have to do is help her when there are too many people for her to handle. Okay?” Harry was now trying to cool Ginny down with a soothing tone. He slowly took Ginny’s face in his hands, leaned across the table to touch their noses together until the tension in Ginny eased.
Ginny then shook her head and grimaced. "Don’t be daft Harry. It’s never enough time. You know how mum can be, especially when everyone’s coming over. I have to get the kids ready, get ready myself, and get your lazy self ready, so why can’t you be a bit cooperative?” Ginny was now frantic again.
Harry decided that the bedroom was a much better place for her to vent her frustration.
"Calm down, Gin. It's only the family. I'll get the kids ready. You go get ready. Go!"
As soon as Ginny Potter went up the stairs, nimbly jumping over the disappearing fifth stair, Harry Potter followed her and went up to the kids’ bedrooms, taking two steps at a time.
"Albus, James, Lily—we're going to The Burrow. Get ready fast or your mum will be behind you with a broomstick."
Chuckling at his own joke, Harry picked up an old photo of the Golden trio on the dresser beside the stairs as Ginny walked out of their room, fluffing her hair and straightening her dress. They were laughing in the picture and Hermione was berating Ron for stuffing one-too-many chocolate frogs in his mouth. Just looking at it brought a lump to his throat. As Ginny came and laid a hand in his shoulder, offering silent support, he didn’t comment on her getting ready so fast but just acknowledged her presence with a nod and raised an eyebrow because he decided discretion was the better part of valour. Hermione would just have snorted and laughed outright. He didn’t know from where the thought popped up but he missed Hermione so much. Memories flashed across. He saw Hermione hiding from the troll, Hermione hugging him in second year, Hermione and himself on a dragon, all three of them eating fudge, Hermione nagging him and Ron to do homework, Hermione cooking food for them in the tent, the final battle.... He swallowed the lump in his throat and sighed.
Hearing him sigh, Ginny gently squeezed him on the shoulder, holding back her own tears.
"She'll come back, Harry. Don't worry. She must be missing you guys as much as you miss her."
"Hmm...You say that every year, Gin,” Harry said as he placed the photo back on the dresser and turned around to loosely hold Ginny in his arms, “Me and Ron wonder every day if she's married or has kids. We imagine how her husband looks. How her children look. We don’t want to imagine anymore, Gin. We don’t want to imagine anymore. What was she doing all these years? We want to know, Gin," he said as his voice broke, and the air around them lit up with the intensity of the grief as all he held back burst through.
"MUM, DAD—we're going to be late. Come on, I want to meet everyone!" shouted James Sirius Potter, the eldest of their children, as he walked down the stairs. A replica of Harry with unruly black hair but with his mother's brown eyes, James was in his second year at Hogwarts.
Harry fought to leash all the magic that he noticed had begun to swirl around and wiped his eyes on his sleeve before he turned around and saw the twins plod down the stairs.
Their other kids, Lily Molly Potter and Albus Severus Potter, were eleven-year-old fraternal twins. Lily had flaming red hair and her father's green eyes whereas Albus had reddish black hair with Ginny’s brown eyes.
Harry turned slightly and took a last look at the picture before they all went down the stairs to the Floo.
Harry and Ron were Aurors with Harry being the Head Auror. They had started trying to search for her two years after she had left for Australia to find her parents. Hermione looked broken and said she needed some time away from everything magical. She had corresponded with Harry and Ron for those two years before she cut off all contact. No owl could reach her anymore and her parents were nowhere to be found either. They had assumed the worst until a letter came three years after her disappearance, a year after no contact. It said she was safe and that she would come back when she could, but not anytime soon. Still, they tried to trace the owl, with no result and their continued efforts to find her were futile. Didn't she realise how much they searched for her?
Harry sighed again, as desperation to see his best friend again overcame him. Pushing it aside for the time being, he followed his family into the Floo Network.
Little did the The-Boy-Who-Lived-Twice know that his wish would be fulfilled faster than he expected.
When they arrived at the Burrow, it felt like an explosion zone.
Everyone was running around, kids were hiding everywhere, Molly was fussing over Charlie's haircut, Ron was shouting loudly. They couldn't make head nor tail of what was happening.
Ginny went off to meet and help her mother; the kids ran off to play with the other kids, so Harry went and plopped down on a cushion beside Ron.
Molly then started calling everyone to set the table outdoors. Harry ducked as a knife flew at him and headed outside, just to escape the commotion that was happening indoors.
Everyone was swishing their wands and setting everything up. Harry started laughing as one of the stray ribbons wrapped itself around Ron's neck as he performed a wand movement completely wrong. Ron wrestled the ribbon off him and banished it. Muttering under his breath, Ron remembered Hermione telling him how to cast the Wingardium Leviosa, Looking sideways at Harry, Ron saw the same memory reflected in Harry’s green eyes. They looked away as everyone started to gather outside the Burrow.
Everyone sat down and with a loud "Shut up everyone!" from Molly, it was quiet. And after that moment of silence, everyone started a loud chorus of Happy Birthday to You, Harry. It was followed by a whole range of courses of Molly-licious food.
After all, it had been Harry Potter's Birthday the previous week and he hadn’t been there, having been called away on a secret mission.
Blinking, Harry stared and asked when they had planned all this.
Ginny looked smug as she laid a chaste kiss on Harry’s cheek and asked him, “Did you really think I was angry at you? I would never be able to, Harry, not really. Anyway, this is your present.” She handed him a charmed bracelet that would show Harry her mood.
“Pretty helpful, huh!’ was Ron’s comment with his mouth full of food.
Fastening it to his hand, Harry agreed with Ron and went as far away from Ginny as he could, as his wife cast one of her famous Bat-Bogey Hexes at Ron.
Stopping at the other end of the table, he found Arthur and Molly with their gifts.
“You didn’t have to—“was barely out of his mouth as Molly gave him a bone-crushing hug and Arthur shook his hand before they placed a homemade jumper and fudge from them in his hands. He thanked them and took a step ahead to find Ron thrusting dress robes from him and Lavender in his hands before trying to get rid of Ginny’s hex.
Harry thanked the now jumping-on-one-leg Ron, and Lavender, who was five months along in her pregnancy, then smiled at their kids. He ruffled Hugo’s hair and then picked up Rose and swung her around before setting her down. Hugo was eleven and just about to start his first year of Hogwarts, and Rose would be going into her second year. They looked completely unalike; him with his mother’s dirty blonde hair and Ron’s blue eyes, and her with the famous Weasley hair and brown eyes.
George slapped him on the shoulder and dumped a box of WWW unreleased merchandise into his hands while Angelina, his wife, laughed and hugged Harry. Their kids, red-haired Fred Bilius and Koran Fred Weasley, who were identical twins and in their second year, shouted “Happy Birthday Uncle Harry” before running off to find someone to play with.
Percy and Penelope handed Harry a box of charmed parchment and Auror quills as he moved on from George and Angelina. Their daughter Kiara Weasley, who had blond hair like her mother and was nine years old, shyly looked out from behind her mother and chirped “Happy Birthday” before hiding behind her mother’s skirt again.
Bill and Fleur were next in line and handed him a set of wizard perfumes as Fleur added,” ‘Ere is your gift, ‘Arry… “. Their kids, Victoire Weasley, who had blond hair and was in her third year at Hogwarts, flipped her hair over her shoulder as she wished Harry a Happy birthday, and Dominique, who was ten years old and had flaming red Weasley hair, hugged Harry, who picked him up and twirled him around before setting him back on the ground.
Andromeda had grown close to Harry with the years since Harry had been named Godfather. Teddy Lupin, who was in his third year at Hogwarts, practically lived in Grimmauld Place. He had gone over to his Grandma’s place a few days ago so he could help with the preparations for the party. He shook Harry’s hand and changed his hair colour to jet-black while handing Harry a broom maintenance kit.
And as soon as Harry finished his round of the table and came back to Ginny, a regal-looking owl with the name plate Aurora swooped down, gave Harry an affectionate nip as though it had been told to do so, dropped a letter, a present and flew away, without waiting for a reply.
Harry opened the gift first. It was a Swooper, an experimented, yet-to-be released advanced Broomstick, which Harry hadn't been able to get even with his name and connections.
Murmurs of concern sprang up all over the table as Harry’s expression turned to one of pure shock. Harry immediately checked it for dark magic or any other spells. And after it was passed around and checked for more dark magic or spells, Harry hesitantly picked up the letter and opened it. He had no idea what it could be. Curiosity held everyone at the table in its hold.
The letter read:
Happy Birthday to You!
P.S. I miss all of you (especially you, Ron and Ginny).
P.S.S See you soon.
It was clearly Hermione’s elegant script.
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