Roughly seven years after the fall of Voldemort...
The mood over the Potter household was tense. Even little James, who was all of sixteen months old, could sense that something was amiss. The Sunday had started off normally enough... Harry let Ginny have a bit of a lie in and did a little fry-up for himself and James for breakfast. Afterwards, he took his son out for a broom ride around the field behind the house. Much to James’ delight, he conveniently forgot an earlier promise to his wife and soared high above the tree line.
However, ever since lunch the two adults had been a little on edge — and it had not escaped their son’s notice. Even as his father levitated some toys to entertain him, James observed that Harry’s posture did not carry its usual relaxed body language. His mother was more obviously agitated as she buzzed around the house doing chores in a flurry, her beautiful red hair escaping from her ponytail one wisp as a time.
Even if he could not yet ask his parents what was wrong, James knew there was something he could do to make them feel better. He put down the play wand he had been using to imitate his father’s actions and walked up to his mother’s side, ignoring the fact that she was trying to do some last minute cleaning. He raised both arms in a well-practiced motion and said, “Up?”
Ginny looked down at her son with a slight frown. “’Up, please,’ James.”
Lifting her son into her arms, Ginny felt some of the tension that had been building up leave her shoulders, enabling her to bring him closer into her embrace. James eagerly snuggled closer into his mother’s arms.
“Calm down, Gin. I’m sure you’re getting worked up over nothing,” suggested Harry from his spot on the floor.
Ginny looked over her son’s shoulder at her husband and noticed the slightly worried look on his face. “Yes, I’m sure we are both worrying too much,” she replied, emphasizing his inclusion in the anxiety she knew they both felt. “But I can’t help it... I want them to be happy... I want them to know that we’re excited, but we’re not gloating.” Ginny didn’t notice that the little bounce she subconsciously did whenever she held her son had increased in intensity and was now having the opposite of its intended effect.
“Come on, luv. This is Ron and Hermione we’re talking about. They’ve known us long enough not to look for or find hidden meanings in what we say.”
Ginny stopped bouncing and gently rubbed James’s back, “I know... I know... I just wish things were different for them. I don’t want them to get discouraged.”
“If worse comes to worse, I’ll just tell Hermione to start popping out twins if they want to catch up with us.”
“Harry James Potter! Don’t you dare!” Ginny glared at her husband, her fierce gaze challenging his cheek. Little James broke the embrace at his mother’s raised voice, but returned his head to her shoulder once he saw his father’s smirk. He knew that Daddy did this all the time. If he was willing to get himself into trouble, he could find a way out of it.
Ginny gently placed her son back on the ground so she could fix her hair, giving him the opportunity to march over to his father for another hug.
“‘Up, please,’ James.”
No sooner had James settled into his father’s lap for another warm hug, did they hear a whooshing sound come from the fireplace.
“Ron! Hermione!” cried Ginny as she rushed over to greet their visitors. Harry removed his son from his lap and placed him on the floor in order to be able to greet them himself, but his son beat him to it.
“Hello, James!” cried Hermione as she bent down and gathered James into her arms.
“Hey, midget!” exclaimed Ron, as he ruffled his nephew’s hair.
“Ron, you’re going to give him a complex,” frowned his wife, who was now trying to soothe James by rubbing his back. James understood that he was supposed to be feeling bad about something, but he had no idea what for.
Once all greetings were exchanged, Ginny took control of the small group. “Why don’t you all get settled in the sitting area and I’ll bring in the tea.”
At this, Ron offered his arms out to take James from Hermione, but the toddler clung to her tighter than before. “That’s all right, Ron. He’s not that heavy.”
Ron opened his mouth as if to say something but Hermione had already turned to follow Harry into the other room. Having no alternative, he followed them into the sitting room, his hand placed protectively on the small of his wife’s back.
Once everyone was seated, the four adults got caught up on the latest events in each other’s lives as James’ eyelids grew heavy. It was past time for his afternoon kip and he had no interest in such topics as human-centaur relations, the Cannons’ new Seeker or Uncle Neville’s recent engagement. Besides, like most women, his Aunt Mynee was soft and warm, perfect for cuddling up and nodding off.
After getting caught up, a natural lull settled on the four friends’ conversation. Ginny glanced over at Harry, a nervous question in her eyes. He gave her a small nod, and placed his tea on the table so he could take her hands into his.
“Ron... Hermione... we have some news.”
The other couple noticed the subtle shift in their hosts’ demeanor and glanced at each other in apprehension.
“Is everything all right?” asked Ron. “You two look like your best friend died, and seeing as Hermione and I are perfectly all right, it can only mean bad news about you two.”
“Well, it’s not bad news, really,” began Harry as he stalled for some time to gather his courage. “You know how important family is to me... well, except for the Dursleys... but they’re the reason I wanted a loving family of my own... and we do have one now — although Ginny deserves most of the credit—”
Exasperated, Ginny interrupted her husband’s rambling and blurted out, “Oh, for goodness sake! Ron, Hermione—”
“Harry? Ginny?” called a familiar voice from the fireplace.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and immediately made for the hearth, leaving Ginny muttering under her breath. Back in the family room, he found the face of Andromeda Tonks waiting for him.
“Andromeda! Is everything all right?”
“Yes... well... more or less. Something has come up and I need to go to Gringotts for a bit. Would you mind taking Teddy for a few hours?”
“Not at all! Send him on through.”
“Thank you so much, Harry. I’ll call again in a few hours.”
Seconds later, Harry found himself hugging his godson, who had chosen a cheerful lime green for his hair color for the day.
“Ack! Teddy! You could at least try to brush off some of the soot before attacking me!”
Teddy Lupin looked up at his godfather impishly and said, “Sorry, Harry.” There was absolutely no remorse behind his apology, but Harry didn’t really care. Gathering his godson into his arms, he returned to the sitting area, hoping that Teddy’s presence would help defuse any potential disappointment in the news they were about to share with their family.
“Hermione! Ron! I didn’t know you were here today!”
Teddy reached for Ron, who mussed his hair in affection. As he did so, the young Metamorphmagus quickly changed his hair to Chudley Orange, much to the older man’s delight.
“Well done, midget!”
“Ron!” scolded his wife, again.
“Oh, he doesn’t mind, do you?”
Teddy gleefully shook his head in the negative. “Nope. What’s a midget?”
“Anyone who’s shorter than me.”
“So Harry, Ginny and Hermione are all midgets too?”
Hermione stifled her displeasure as Harry and Ginny simply chuckled. The bushy-haired witch decided to turn the tables on them.
“So, what was this news you were trying to tell us?”
The Potters’ laughter quickly died away as they shared a look of uncertainty. Finally, Ginny plucked up her Gryffindor courage and said, “I’m pregnant again.”
Ron and Hermione seemed to blink in unison before turning to look at each other. They exchanged a silent thought and exhaled in relief.
“Is that all?” asked Ron, “I thought Ginny had got sacked from the Prophet or something.”
“Yes,” Hermione agreed, “you really shouldn’t scare us like that.”
It was Harry and Ginny’s turn to be confused.
“You’re not... upset?” asked Ginny meekly.
“Of course not,” replied Hermione.
“Besides, Hermione’s got a bun in the oven too.”
“What? I thought we agreed we were going to tell them today.”
“Yes, but you could have prepared them first.”
“After what they just laid on us? What for?”
Before the argument could escalate any further, Ron found himself encircled by his sister’s arms, nearly dropping Teddy in the process. Meanwhile, Harry was gently placing a kiss on Hermione’s forehead so as not to disturb the sleeping toddler in her arms. Further love and congratulations were conveyed through hugs and gestures rather than words that would only fall short of the intended message. It was Ron who finally broke the silence.
“Did you get that, midget? You’re not going to have one, but two new playmates soon!”
Teddy took a moment to process what Ron was trying to tell him. He looked into the redhead’s eyes in that knowing way that only children can do and echoed what everyone in the room was already thinking, “It’s about time.”