A/N: Again, the characters are not mine, they belong to JK Rowling. The setting is my creation.
A sharp rap at the front door forced the very pregnant woman of the house to rise from her chair by the window, where she'd been sitting and reading. Ginny Potter picked up her wand from the table that sat beside her chair and cautiously approached the door. She was currently home alone; her best friend and sister-in-law, Hermione, had spent most of the afternoon with her, but needed to run to the grocers. Ginny's husband of almost six years had gone out on an assignment as an Auror six months prior, and hadn't been able to come home yet. Even though Voldemort had been defeated almost seven years ago, most witches and wizards were still very cautious due to the fact that there continued to be Death Eaters lurking about. Ginny was most certainly a target, because she was married to the wizard who defeated the Dark Lord. Harry was considered one of the most famous and powerful wizards in Britain, and he and his wife were constantly vigilant to the dangers of dark magic. Since Harry had left in September, Ginny had very rarely been alone. Family members took turns being with her, in case there was an attack on her house. Wards had been set up for her protection, but very powerful wizards would be able to break them down.
Ginny wasn't expecting any company, so the knock at the door took her quite by surprise.
"Who is it?" Ginny called out through the closed door.
"Christopher O'Connor and Michael Jones of the Auror Division of the Ministry of Magic. We're here on official business."
"Who are you looking for?" Ginny asked warily.
"We're here to see Mrs. Potter. We have been instructed to relay a message to her."
Ginny slowly opened the front door, all the while keeping her wand pointed at mid body height. She looked at the two men and said, "I'm Mrs. Potter. What is the message, please?"
"Mrs. Potter, we're here to inform you that your husband, Harry Potter, has been classified as missing. He was out on an assignment and disappeared from his group. We fear that he's been captured by a group of Death Eaters, and is, most likely, dead," said Mr. O'Connor.
"Wha-What?" Ginny whispered. "What are you talking about?"
"Mrs. Potter, maybe you better sit down," Mr. O'Connor said. "Harry's missing, and we think he's dead."
Ginny lowered her wand and stared at the two Aurors before her. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. She allowed Mr. O'Connor to lead her to a chair and help her sit down.
"No," Ginny replied with conviction, "you are mistaken. I'd know if Harry was dead; I'd be able to tell. How long has he been missing?"
"I'm afraid that's classified information, Mrs. Potter," answered Mr. O'Connor.
"Classified information? Classified information? You come here and tell me that my husband's missing and probably dead, and yet you can't give me details?" Ginny said, raising her voice. "I'm ready to deliver my first child, and you come in here and tell me my husband might be dead? I want to know how long Harry's been gone!"
"Mrs. Potter, calm down. You'll send yourself into labour. I'm sorry, but we can't share any classified information with you."
Ginny's temper got the best of her, and she screamed, "I want to know how LONG my husband's been missing and where he was last seen. I want to know what is being done to find him AND I want to know HOW YOU COULD HAVE LOST HIM?!?"
"Mrs. Potter, please calm down," begged Mr. O'Connor. "I'm sure this is not good for the baby…"
"You're damn right; it isn't good for the baby! You come into my house and tell me the father of my child is nowhere to be found! How did you expect me to react?" Ginny bent over in pain as she choked out her words.
"M-M-Mrs. Potter, are you alright?" asked Mr. Jones.
"No, no I'm not. I think…I think I've gone into labour. If you will please excuse…" Ginny groaned in pain as a contraction started.
"Mrs. Potter, you're in no condition to be by yourself. Please, let us call someone for you and help you get to St. Mungo's."
Ginny groaned again, as the pain continued. She nodded her head, and whispered, "Call Molly Weasley and tell her to meet us at hospital. Arthur Weasley at the Ministry will know how to find her."
Christopher gently kneeled next to Ginny and asked her if she could walk to the fireplace, where he'd floo her to St. Mungo's. He helped her rise, after the contraction passed, and ushered her to the fireplace. Taking a pinch of floo powder, he and Ginny stepped into the fireplace and he yelled, "St. Mungo's!" Michael followed them.
Arthur Weasley walked quietly into his daughter's room. Ginny looked very pale and tired, but it was quite obvious she was extremely happy. Holding her son to her breast as he nursed, she looked up to see her father standing in the doorway.
After arriving at St. Mungo's, Michael Jones used the floo network to call Arthur at the Ministry and asked him to send Molly to the hospital right away. Arthur left work immediately and found his wife at home, and the two of them apparated to the hospital to be with Ginny. Molly was in the room while Ginny laboured and delivered, and Arthur worked on notifying Ginny's brothers and their families. By the time James Arthur Potter was born, everyone was assembled in the waiting room. Ginny had asked for her dad to come back and be the first to visit.
Ginny smiled, and motioned for Arthur to come into the room. After Jamie finished nursing, Ginny held him up for Arthur to see. She burped him, and handed him gingerly to her dad. Arthur looked awestruck at the sight of his newest grandchild. He had been a grandfather before-Percy had two children, and Bill had two-but this was different. His daughter had given birth to this grandson. His daughter, who had always held a special place in his heart since the day she was born. His little girl, who he had watched grow into a fine young woman. His daughter, who was married to one of the finest wizards ever; Harry had always been like a son to Arthur, and he had been very pleased when Ginny and Harry announced their intentions to marry. And now, his little girl was a mum.
Arthur looked down at the newest member of his family. James had the trademark Weasley red hair, but it definitely had Harry's messy quality. James' eyes were closed, but when Molly had come out to the waiting room, she had told the family that James had Harry's striking green eyes. Arthur marvelled at how tiny James was. He was a nice size baby at 3600 grams, but he still was so tiny.
Looking at Ginny and smiling, Arthur said, "Oh Ginny, he is beautiful. He certainly is a wonderful combination of both you and Harry."
"Poor boy was cursed with the Weasley red hair though, Dad."
Arthur laughed. "I happen to really like you lot's red hair! I understand from your mum that he has Harry's eyes?"
"Yes, they're just as gorgeous as his father's," Ginny replied softly. Ginny paused a moment and continued. "I miss him so much, Daddy. Did Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Jones tell you what's happened to Harry?"
"Yes, Sweetheart, they did." Arthur sighed. He wanted to protect his daughter, and he didn't want her to have to deal with Harry's disappearance and possible death at this happy time in her life. "Are you okay?" he asked.
Ginny looked at her dad for a long time, collecting her thoughts. She replied slowly. "Honestly, Dad, I don't know. This is one of the best days of my life, yet one of the saddest. I don't believe Harry's dead. I think I'd know deep down inside if he were. A part of me would die with him, I just know it. I really think he's alive somewhere and he just can't get back. Do you know they won't even tell me how long he's been missing? I can't get any information at all. Honestly, Daddy, Harry's my husband! Don't I have a right to know what's happened to him?" Tears welled up in Ginny's eyes.
Arthur laid Jamie in his cot and took his daughter in his arms. "I know, Gin. I wish I had answers for you, but I don't. It's not fair to you to not know, but unfortunately, it is Ministry policy. Truth be told, I don't believe Harry's dead either. I know how close you and Harry are-you two are like one person. I think that if anyone would know their spouse was dead, it'd be you."
Ginny let the tears fall from her eyes, as she sobbed into her dad's shoulder. Arthur sat on Ginny's bed, letting her cry out all her frustrations. Once her tears subsided, Ginny looked up at Arthur and whispered, "Thanks Dad. Thanks for being here with me. I really needed to be with just you for a while."
"Anytime, Sweetheart. You know, you're still my little girl, no matter if you're a mum now or not!" Arthur ruffled Ginny's red hair, and smiled. "You know, Gin," Arthur continued. "You know how much Harry loved and adored you. If something has happened to him, you know how he felt about you and how he felt about being a father. He was so excited about having a child. It kills me that he isn't here to witness this."
"It kills me too, Dad. He wanted to have a family of his own for so long, and it took us so long to have James. He deserved to have his family, and now he isn't here to be able to enjoy it. I just hope he's okay and able to come home soon."
"I hope so, too, Gin." Arthur looked at Ginny as she sniffled again. "Okay, young lady, you get some rest. I'm going to go and tell your brothers how beautiful their new nephew is, and what a wonderful mum James has."
Arthur hugged Ginny again and kissed the top of her head as he got up to leave. When he headed towards the door, Ginny called out to him, "Dad?" Arthur turned around and looked at his only daughter. "I love you, Daddy; thanks for everything, okay?"
"Anytime, Gin. I love you too, Sweetheart."
Arthur left the room, his joy at the birth of his grandson contrasting sharply with his grief over his missing son-in-law. He vowed then and there that he would make sure they found Harry if it was the last thing he did. He only hoped they would find him alive.
Ron and Hermione Weasley walked down the hall toward Ginny's room. After Arthur had left Ginny, the family went and got something to eat, so that Ginny could get some much-needed rest. Now, back in the waiting room, Ron and Hermione headed to her hospital room to meet their new nephew and visit with Ron's little sister.
Before reaching the room, Ron stopped walking and grabbed Hermione's arm.
"Hermione, how are we going to handle Harry's death with Ginny when we go in there? I mean, you know, she can be so stubborn on a good day, I imagine she's denying he's truly gone."
"Oh for heaven sakes, Ron! We don't know Harry's dead. There has been no body found. And you know Harry as well as I do; he's very resourceful. If anyone can make it out of a sticky situation, he can. He's got a lot of things to live for now. I think we just need to let Ginny know we're here for her and Jamie, and since there's no body yet, just go with the fact that Harry's missing, and not bring up he might be dead."
"Sweetheart, you know as well as I do that there doesn't have to be a body for someone to be dead."
Hermione sighed heavily, "I know, Ron, but right now, Ginny doesn't need to deal with the fact that Harry could be dead. Let's cross that bridge when they find a body, or he's been gone a bit longer."
Ron hugged Hermione and sighed, "It just isn't fair that she has to go through all of this at one time. I've always tried to protect her; well, up until she and Harry married, then I let him do the protecting. But I can't protect her from this, and it's killing me, Hermione, it is killing me."
"I know, Ron. There's nothing we can do right now, and it's so frustrating. Let's go in and visit with her and Jamie a while. I'm sure she'll love the company."
Ron gave Hermione a quick peck on the cheek and they began walking again toward Ginny's room. Quietly, they looked in to find Ginny staring out the window, holding a sleeping James.
"Knock, Knock. Can we come in?" Hermione asked in her overly bright and cheery voice.
Ginny looked over at the door and smiled. "Of course you can! Come and meet your new nephew!"
Ron smiled as he led the way in; he went over and gave his sister a kiss on the cheek. Looking down at Jamie, he said, "He looks just like a Weasley with all that red hair. At least now we know what Harry would look if he was a red head!"
Ginny laughed, "I hadn't really thought about that, but you're right!"
"Oh Gin, he's beautiful. Can I hold him, please?" Hermione asked.
"Of course. Here, hold out your arms." Ginny handed her son to her sister-in-law. Hermione took Jamie, and looked like she was scared she was going to break him.
"I don't have a lot of experience holding little ones like this, Gin. Am I doing this right?"
"Yes, you're fine. Just relax a bit; he isn't going to break, you know."
Ginny watched Hermione hold her sleeping son, while Ron played with the baby's fingers and toes. She silently wondered when the two of them would decide to start a family. She knew that, even though those two fought like cats and dogs, they'd be excellent parents-just like she hoped her and Harry would be.
"You two look like naturals at this," Ginny teased. "When are we going to get a little Weasley from you?"
Hermione looked up from watching James sleep, and stuttered, "We-e-ll, w-w-we hav-haven't decided yet." Her cheeks were clearly flushed at the question. Ginny, amused at the situation, looked at Ron, whose own cheeks were also red, and whose eyes were clearly looking at James, and not at Ginny.
"Well," Ginny said, "I think you two would make wonderful parents. I truly do. And Harry and I had planned to ask you both if you would be Jamie's Godparents. It would mean the world to us if you would. We know that if anything happens to both of us, you'd be there to raise James as your own."
Ron and Hermione, clearly caught off guard, looked at each other. Hermione smiled, and Ron moved over to Ginny's bed and hugged his sister. He answered, "We'd be delighted to be Jamie's Godparents. We're very honoured; we didn't expect this!"
"Well, who did you think we'd ask?" Ginny smiled. "For pity sakes, Ron, you and Hermione have been Harry's best friends for almost fifteen years. You and I were always close as kids; there wasn't any other choice but you two. You're our very best friends as well as our family."
Hermione laid Jamie in his cot, and gave her sister-in-law a hug. "I'm thrilled, Gin; thanks for asking. We'll do everything we can to be good Godparents. I wonder if there's a book I can find about it…"
Ginny and Ron laughed. "Leave it to my Hermione to try to find a book on Godparenting!" Ron leaned over and kissed a furious-looking Hermione.
Ron turned serious for a moment, and looked Ginny in the eye. "Gin, are you okay with everything? I know this has been a really emotional day for you, and I want to make sure you're doing fine."
"I'm as fine as I can be with just having a baby, and finding out my husband's missing. Honestly…I'm so sad that Harry isn't here for this. Where is he, Ron? I can't believe that the Ministry doesn't know where he's at."
"Gin, you know, Harry's probably dead," Ron said gently. "You're going to have to accept that. I don't want to believe it either, but if the Ministry can't find a trace of him, he's probably gone."
"No, I don't believe it! I know he's not dead! I'd be able to tell, Ron, I know I would. A part of my heart would be gone. I'd be as good as dead too."
"Gin, you know Harry wouldn't have missed this unless he's dead…"
"Ron," Hermione interrupted, "at this point there's no proof that Harry's dead. No body has been found, so he might be captured or trapped somewhere, unable to get home." Hermione threw Ron a very stern look, as if to say, "don't upset your sister!"
Ron immediately dropped the subject. Ginny sighed. "I know that Harry could be dead, but I really don't think so. And until the Ministry finds his body, I'll continue to believe that he's out there somewhere, trying to get back to us."
Jamie began to stir and cry. Ginny got out of bed, and changed his nappy. She told Ron and Hermione that Jamie needed to be fed and that she'd like to rest a bit. They said their good-byes, each giving Ginny a tight hug, with the promise to help her once she went home from the hospital, and left her room.
Ginny picked up Jamie, settled herself back into bed, and began nursing her son. Tears welled up in her eyes at the thought of Harry dead and never seeing their son. She resolutely decided she did not believe he was gone, and decided then and there to hold on to all the hope she could that he'd be found alive. Once Jamie had eaten, and had gone back to sleep, Ginny curled up in her bed, and cried herself to sleep.
"Is she awake?"
"Shhh, George, you're going to wake her!" admonished Percy.
"I'm not George, I'm Fred, you twit," said Fred, rather put out.
Ginny rolled over with her eyes still closed, listening to her brothers bicker back and forth about whether or not she was awake. Maybe if she just faked sleeping, they'd go away.
"Ah…look at little Jamie. Isn't he cute? He looks just like Harry, but with red hair!"
"Shhh…we're going to wake her up, and that isn't good for a new mother!"
"Percy, shut it, will you! You aren't the authority on everything."
Ginny opened one eye to see Percy, George, and Fred standing around Jamie's cot, watching him as he slept. She rolled to her side and propped herself up on one elbow. "Don't you lot go and disturb him, or you'll have to stay here and mind him while I rest!"
"Oh Gin! You're awake! Did we wake you?" asked George, ever so innocently.
"As a matter of fact, you did. You three could wake the dead being as loud as you were!"
"See…I told you we'd wake her. But no, you two wouldn't listen…" ranted Percy.
"It's alright Percy, really. I probably should wake up anyway. Jamie will be up shortly to eat again."
"Hey, Gin, Fred and I brought you a present!" George informed his sister.
Ginny looked at the innocent appearing candy box. "Um…what is it?"
"Oh, it's just candy…" started George.
"For our favourite sister…" finished Fred.
"I'm your only sister, you gits!"
"I don't think I'd eat that if I were you, Gin. You know those two. Lord knows what they've done to it!" Percy said.
"Percy, I am quite capable of knowing what the twins are up to. Here boys," Ginny said, holding out the box of chocolates to Fred and George, "why don't you try a piece, first?"
"Oh no, Gin, that is quite kind of you, but what kind of visitors would we be, if we ate your candy first?" answered Fred.
"You'd be the type of visitor that slipped something into this candy to turn me yellow with feathers, is what you'd be!"
"Well, not yellow with feathers…" said George.
"Rather pink or blue with a nappy," said Fred.
"Thank you boys, but I think I'll pass on the candy. You're ever so thoughtful to bring it to me. I think you better get rid of it though, before Mum comes back into the room. If she finds that here, you lot will be in for it, I'm sure!"
"I can't believe you two would come in here and try to pull a stunt like that on Ginny, especially with all she's been through today…" lectured Percy. "She's been through childbirth, which isn't easy…"
"How would you know, Perce?" asked Fred.
"Given birth lately?" continued George.
"NO! But I was there when Penelope gave birth to BOTH of our children, and it wasn't an easy thing to watch! I'm sure it's NO fun to go through and poor Ginny, here, had to go through it without Harry." Percy stopped suddenly, realizing he had brought up Harry. "Sorry Gin," Percy whispered. "I didn't mean to bring him up."
"Percy, it's okay. I know Harry wasn't here. If he could have been, he would have. You know that as well as I do. I just wish I knew where he's at."
"Percy! George! Fred! Are you in here upsetting your sister?" bellowed their mum from the doorway of Ginny's room.
Percy, George and Fred all looked sheepishly at their mother.
"No, Mum, they weren't upsetting me," Ginny said, coming to their defence. "We were just visiting and talking about Harry. It's fine, really it is."
"Well, I think it's about time this lot leaves. You need your rest, young lady, and they're not letting you get it."
"Okay, okay, Mum; we're going, we're going. Take care little sister, and we'll come by once you're home," said George. He and Fred leaned over and gave Ginny a kiss on the cheek. George quickly hid the box of candy from his mum.
"Penny sends her love, and says that she'll come by to visit with the children once you're home. We'll all come, and I'm here, Gin, if you need me. I am just a fireplace away." Percy squeezed Ginny's hand and gave her a hug.
"Thanks," Ginny smiled. "All of you. And you better all come by once I'm home. I'll need all the company and help I can get!"
Fred, George and Percy turned to go, leaving Ginny and Jamie alone with her mum.
"Sweetheart, they didn't upset you, did they?"
"Of course not, Mum. They were just being themselves. Percy worrying constantly and the twins up to their usual no good. It was fine, really." Ginny smiled at her mother, who had sat on the side of her bed.
"Is there anything you need?"
"No, I'm fine. I'm just waiting for Jamie to wake up so I can feed him. Then I want to get some sleep. It's been a long day."
"That it has, Sweetheart; that it has." Molly smoothed her daughter's hair with her hand, and then grasped Ginny's hand. "You know, Ginny, if you want to talk about things, I'm here to listen. I'm staying the night with you while you're in hospital, because we don't want you to be alone. I'm always here for you, if you need anything."
"Thanks Mum. I'm okay, I think. I just miss Harry, and I'm trying to fathom that he could be dead. With James' birth and all, it's just too much for me to comprehend right now."
Molly sighed. "I know, Gin. It's too much for me to comprehend too. I just can't believe Harry is gone either." Molly paused and looked Gin square in the eyes. "Do you think he really is dead?"
Ginny answered slowly. "No Mum, I don't think so. I really believe he's alive, somewhere. I just wish I knew where."
Molly smiled. "I don't think he's gone either, Sweetheart. Harry's a fighter. He'd do all he could to get out of a nasty situation."
As the women spoke, Jamie began to stir. Ginny started to get out of bed, but Molly stopped her. "Here, let me get him for you."
Molly went over to Jamie's cot, changed his nappy, and gathered him up in her arms. She handed him to Ginny, with tears in her eyes.
"Mum, are you okay? Why are you crying?"
"Oh Gin," Molly began, "this reminds me so much of when I had you lot. You were all so tiny. I just can't believe my little girl has a little one of her own. It makes me so happy to see you with your own son."
Ginny smiled. "It's is hard to believe, isn't it? This is something that Harry and I wanted for quite a few years and it's finally happened. I hope Harry gets home soon to enjoy it."
Molly smiled, "I hope so too, Gin. He's going to be a great father, you know."
"Yes, Mum. I know." Ginny smiled at her mum as she settled her son to eat. Ginny gazed out the window as Molly sat in the chair next to her daughter's bed, and opened her book. As Jamie nursed, the women sat together in easy silence, quietly enjoying each other's company.
A/N: A huge thank you to my pre-betas Jen and Julie, and to Julie for being my official beta at PS in addition to pre-betaing. These two fine ladies never get tired of taking out all my extra commas or pointing out possible contractions for me. Thank you for all your hard work on this piece.