A/N: written for the Song Challenge at hg_silverlining.livejournal.com Thank you to aggiebell and shocolate for giving this a look over.
Harry pushed back from his desk and let the quill fall from his cramping fingers. It landed on top of a foot-deep pile of paperwork, paperwork that had taken him nine hours to check and sign off, and had left him with a spasming hand and a numb arse. When he'd accepted the role of Deputy-Head Auror, nobody had warned him that he'd end up spending most of his time paper-pushing – or that he'd be pushing said paper around on a increasingly frequent number of Saturdays.
Shoving his glasses back on his head, Harry pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes and watched the pinpricks of light dance behind his eyelids as he tried to summon the energy to stand up and Apparate home.
'What are you still doing here, Potter? It's your anniversary, isn't it?'
Harry looked up at Robards, who was standing inside the doorway. 'Yes sir. How did... ' he trailed off. No need to ask how Robards knew – the Prophet would have run its yearly article on the "The Chosen One's Chosen One". Every year it was the same – pictures from the wedding, photos of Harry and Ginny from Hogwarts through to their most recent public appearance (which, if Harry recalled correctly, would be photos of them doing the weekly shop last Monday – apparently, that qualified as a 'public appearance'), and quotes from so-called "friends" on their Anniversary plans. Harry had never been the kind of man to forget important dates, but even if he were, the Prophet was like his own personal planner.
Robards winked at him, and in the space of a moment stopped being Head Auror Robards and became Gawain, the man who had dragged Harry through a pitiless three years of Auror training compressed into twelve months, and had kept him sane whilst doing so. 'Harry, go home to your wife and kids.'
'No kids tonight. Ginny has packed them off to Molly and Arthur for the evening, and we're supposed to be having a candlelit dinner.' Harry couldn't stop the grin that crept onto his face. He adored his two boys, he really did, but he hadn't had a night alone with Ginny for over a year, and he quite fancied ripping off her clothes and ravishing her on the living room floor, without the fear of a not-quite three-year-old patting him on his bare arse and demanding hot chocolate, or Al crying for Ginny's breasts, when Harry wanted them all to himself.
The grin grew wider and he got to his feet, summoning the bunch of flowers he'd bought earlier with a quiet Accio. 'I'll see you Monday, Gawain.'
Gawain gave him a look, and raised an eyebrow. 'Make it Tuesday. You've been working non-stop, and I don't want you burnt out – at least, not until I've dumped my job on you and retired. Feel free to have a breakdown from November 1st on.'
'Thanks,' Harry called after his departing boss. 'OK, I'll see you Tuesday.' With a twist of his wand, he filed the paperwork, secured his office, and headed out to the Apparition area, the bouquet of flowers clutched in his hand.
In no mood to Apparate to the train station and walk home to maintain the charade of being a Muggle for their non-magical neighbours, Harry cast a Disillusionment charm and Apparated directly into the front garden.
Pausing for a moment to check his reflection in the front door – hair a mess, as always, but no chocolate smears on his face or tie – he stepped inside the house, and was greeted by chaos.
Toys were scattered across the hallway, and the floor was liberally dusted with baby powder, Albus-sized footprints marking the passage of Harry's thirteen-month-old son. The smell of burning hung in the air, and Harry could hear shrill wails coming from the living room.
Gingerly making his way down the hall, Harry pushed open the door to the living room and the sound level went up thirty decibels. Ginny had a screaming child in each arm and was walking the room, jogging them and crooning to them, her voice strained and desperate. The living room windows were smashed, and Harry could see the faint glimmer of a warding charm surrounding the shards of glass on the floor. The settee was a shredded mess, with stuffing and springs erupting out of the upholstery, and a puddle of vomit was splashed across the hardwood floor. Ginny's back and much of her ponytail was sticky with sick.
When Ginny saw Harry, she burst into tears, her rocking of the children growing a little more frantic.
Harry took James from her, and his son snuggled into him, crying piteously. He was uncomfortably warm to the touch, and his entire body was clammy. Harry soothed him in much the same manner as Ginny, rubbing the little man's back and kissing his sweat-soaked hair.
He looked over at Ginny, who had succeeded in settling an equally poorly-looking Al down into an uneasy sleep. 'Why didn't you call me, love? I'd have come straight home.'
Ginny sniffed, and wiped her eyes on the shoulder Al wasn't huddled up on. 'It just all happened at once. They'd been fine all afternoon, no problems, other than Al deciding to powder the hallway, and then Al got grizzly, and then James complained of a tummy ache, and then he had an accidental magic outburst and shattered the windows and wrecked the settee, and then they both threw up... she started crying again, a weary, tired sob that broke Harry's heart. 'And I feel so sick and tired, and I burned the dinner, and it's our bloody anniversary, Harry, and I was looking forward to it just being us.'
He wrapped his free arm around her, and touched their foreheads together. 'Come on, hand Al over, and go up to bed. I'll get the boys settled and clear up down here, ok?'
Ginny pulled herself together, and dashed angrily at the tears on her face. 'You've been at work all day, it's not fair for you to have to come home and clear up our mess.'
'Don't be daft, you're ill.' Harry held his arm out and Ginny settled Al against his shoulder. 'Go on, up to bed with you, and I'll bring you a cup of tea in a bit, alright?'
With a quick kiss, Ginny did as she was told, a sure sign that she was feeling below par, and as Harry followed her up the stairs, he could see her shaking with fatigue.
She headed into the bathroom, and Harry heard the shower start up as he toed open the door to James' bedroom.
He sat down on James' bed, and somewhat awkwardly manoeuvred his oldest son into a prone position. James stirred, mumbling something, and Harry tucked his favourite bear into the crook of his arm, casting a few charms on the soft fur to protect it from any further vomiting.
A nappy change and another cuddle later, Al was settled down in his cot, and Harry had cast monitoring charms on both rooms, leaving the doors open so he could listen out for the children. He'd contemplated moving the boys into their room for the night, but Ginny needed her rest as much as James and Al did.
It took thirty minutes of constant spell casting to restore downstairs to its former condition, and the talcum powder was an absolute bugger to get out of the cracks between the floorboards.
It was gone 8 o'clock by the time he'd set everything to rights, and as he had no desire to sit downstairs on his own, he slapped together a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches, made a pot of tea, and banished it to his sidetable in the bedroom.
He hastily showered, then checked on the boys again before going into the main bedroom.
Ginny was sitting up in bed, nibbling delicately around the edges of a sandwich and looking a little brighter. She smiled when Harry walked in, and flipped back his side of the bedclothes. 'Sorry about all that,' she said, a little sheepishly.
Harry squeezed her hand, and then picked up his own sandwich. 'Nothing to be sorry about,' he assured her. 'Getting ill happens to the best of us.' He touched her forehead, pleased to note that her skin was dry and cool. 'How are you feeling now, anyway?'
'A lot better,' she mumbled from around a mouthful of sandwich. 'I didn't get the chance to eat anything all day, and the smell of sick wasn't helping.' She accepted the mug of tea Harry handed to her with a quiet 'thanks', and they sat, eating and drinking in companionable silence.
Before long, she was yawning, and she looked apologetically at Harry. 'Some anniversary, eh?' she said, as she got out of bed. 'I was looking forward to a quiet night in.'
Harry followed her to the bathroom, and they stood side by side at the sink to clean their teeth. 'Getting crumbs all over the sheets counts as a quiet night in,' he joked, rinsing his mouth out. 'I'm sure your mum and dad will have the beasts another night, if we ask them.'
Ginny took his hand, and they peeped in at the boys, who were both sleeping peacefully. 'My poor little men,' Ginny whispered. 'James scared himself silly when he broke the windows, he didn't have a clue what was going on.'
Harry couldn't help the burst of pride that uncurled in his chest. 'He's a powerful little bugger. Those windows took some serious persuading to go back into a pane.'
Ginny slapped at his arm, and mock-frowned. 'You can keep that smug bloody grin off of your face, Potter – we've got to help him get his magic under control, not encourage him to keep blowing things up.'
'I know, I know,' Harry grumbled, as they returned to bed. 'It's a dad thing.'
Laughing, Ginny turned out the lights, and Harry automatically moulded his body to hers, his arm curving around her waist and pulling her against him. Her soft, sweet-smelling hair tickled his face, and he pressed a kiss to the soft skin behind her ear.
Ginny covered his hand with hers, and moved their entwined fingers to rest over her stomach. 'Harry, I've got something to tell you,' she said softly, rubbing her thumb across the back of his hand.
His heart leapt in his chest and his breath caught in his throat. 'Yeah?' he whispered.
'I know Al is still so young, and I've only just gone back to work, and you're about to become Head-Auror, but..." Ginny was cut off by Harry twisting so that he was on top of her, kissing her soundly.
'Yeah?' he grinned, looking down at her. 'Are you... ?' He spread his hand across her stomach, pushing up her pyjama top so they were skin to skin.
'I'm pregnant,' she confirmed, reaching up to wind her arms around his neck. 'I wondered earlier if I was, so I did a test when I had my shower.'
Harry rolled so that they were side by side, still holding her close, and buried his face in the curve of her neck and shoulder, breathing in her warmth and her scent. She stroked his hair and didn't make an issue of the tears she had to be able to feel dampening her shoulder.
'You don't think it's too soon, then? We're going to have three kids under the age of four.' Ginny touched his face, her fingers lingering at his lips.
He kissed her fingertips. 'It's perfect. You're perfect,' he insisted, and Ginny gave a small sigh of relief, turning in the circle of his arms so they were back to front again.
'I'm such a bloody Weasley,' she laughed softly. 'That's Al and this new one conceived while I was on the potion. Mum said that me, Charlie and the twins were all potion babies.'
'And I bet she doesn't regret a single one of you.' Harry kissed the back of her neck, and tangled his legs with hers. 'Get some sleep, love. You've had a long day and you need to rest.'
She murmured sleepily, her hand coming around to rest on his hip. 'Love you.'
'I love you too,' he whispered back. He'd never felt so content and happy in his life. He didn't need romance and candles – he just needed Ginny in his arms at the end of a long day. That was enough.