They had intended to move into the new house on their own, but thankfully the Weasleys, who were in the country at the time, had seen sense and turned up at lunchtime, just when Harry and Ginny were beginning to realise the immensity of the task they had undertaken.
"What are you doing here?" Ginny squawked, half-outraged, half-relieved, as her family appeared with a pop outside the front door.
"We thought you'd need a hand," replied George airily, striding through the open door into the hallway.
"You're not wrong there," Harry told him, overhearing the end of George's sentence as he walked into the kitchen from the living room, looking hot and covered in ashes. "We seem to have accumulated more stuff than we thought."
"I could see that one coming a mile off," said George sagely. "C'mon," he brushed Harry down with his wand and led him outside where Mr and Mrs Weasley were carrying a large hamper of food towards the house.
"Right!" George clapped his hands loudly and everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at him.
"We've got lots of work to do! Mum – get some tea on, we're gonna need it! Ron – get through to Grimmauld Place on the Floo. You can pass the boxes to Harry who can Floo back here, to me. Hermione and Ginny – you're in charge of putting the boxes in the right rooms, as you seem to know where everything needs to go. Dad, Perce, can you start shifting some of the furniture… Wait, Harry, Ginny – where is the furniture?"
"Oh, hang on," Ginny ran in to the house and reappeared a second later with a miniscule cardboard box. She placed it on the ground, warned them all to back away and trained her wand on it. The box grew and grew until it had expanded to the height and width of four meters.
"It's in there," Ginny explained to her gob-smacked family, stowing her wand away again.
"Great," said George unenthusiastically. "Let's get going then!" There was a flurry of movement as everyone got to work.
Several hours later…
Everyone flopped on the grass, utterly exhausted, munching Mrs Weasley's cake, which was left over from lunchtime.
There was silence while everyone ate and sipped thirstily at their juice.
"Well, thanks, everyone," Harry said, breaking the silence.
"Yeah," sighed Ginny, "We couldn't have done it without you! Really!"
Her family smiled happily at her as Harry raised his wand and silently Summoned something.
A bottle of champagne and eight flutes sped out of the back door into the flourishing garden.
Ron cheered as the glasses landed smoothly on the low garden table. Harry poured out the champagne and waved his wand. A glass floated to each person.
"To our new house," said Harry.
"And our new life," added Ginny.
Everyone echoed them and drank.
They lay in the garden until dinnertime, when Molly asked everyone back to The Burrow. Harry and Ginny declined, however, too much in love with their new home to leave right now. Once everyone had left, they wandered through the spotless rooms, happily examining the new furniture and occasionally taking something out of a box and putting it in a cupboard or propping up a photo to see how it would look.
Harry cooked pasta and they sat at their new, oak table and ate.
"It doesn't feel like home yet," Ginny observed.
"No," Harry agreed. "But it will – once we've got our usual clutter surrounding us, it'll feel ten times homier than Grimmauld Place ever did."
"You're right, of course," Ginny smiled and Summoned the rest of the champagne.
By eight o'clock the next morning, with the comforting smell of burnt toast and the sound of a loud argument over the latest Quidditch score in the Prophet seeping through the house, Valley View felt a lot more like home.
One year later…
Harry and Ginny arrived with a pop outside the front door, but before Ginny could get her bearings, Harry had swept her up into his arms, causing her to shriek.
"What are you doing?" she squealed with delight.
"It's tradition," he told her importantly, all pleased with himself, having read up on wedding traditions prior to their marriage.
"Is it?" Ginny asked, gazing up at Harry as he carried her across the yard, her long red hair trailing over his arms, her skin glowing with health and happiness their honeymoon had caused.
"Yes," Harry replied to her sparkly brown eyes, the moment being somewhat ruined when Ginny's flip-flop fell off. Ignoring the fallen sandal, Harry continued. "We're stepping into our new home for the first time as man and wife. It's to protect you from the evil spirits which are lurking under the threshold –"
"Under the doormat?"
"Guess so," Harry replied nonchalantly, unlocked the door awkwardly with a tap of his wand. "And it's considered unlucky if you trip on our way in, so, by carrying you, I'm saving you from both those mishaps," he gave a winning smile.
"Oh," said Ginny, melting towards him. "Muggles are weird."
Harry had never entertained the idea that Wizard traditions would be different to Muggle ones, but he persevered by kissing Ginny gently as he stepped into the house.
Half a minute later, she had twisted around so that she was no longer being carried but had her legs wrapped around Harry's waist, kissing her new husband fiercely. Harry reached behind him and shut the door firmly, before placing his hands back around Ginny, one on her bum, one in her long, sweet hair…
They didn't even make it to the bedroom.
Six months later…
Ginny had never experienced a more painful hangover. Her head felt like it was going to either explode or implode – she couldn't quite decide which – she was so dizzy she could barely stand and she wanted to go to sleep there and then. Unfortunately, that was not an option.
It was Hermione's hen party and, surprisingly, Hermione had felt the need to take herself, Ginny, Luna, Audrey and Hiroko, a friend from work, on a weekend break with lots of alcohol. It was now the end of the 'break' and Ginny wanted to be sick. Preferably soon.
She had intended on Apparating, but then the phrase her mother had drilled in to her for as long as she could remember came to her – Don't drink and Disapparate!
So she decided to Floo instead.
She staggered towards one of the three ornate fireplaces in the reception area of the hotel, glaring at the receptionist who was trying to chivvy her along – apparently a big group was arriving by Floo shortly – and, to add insult to injury, this woman had also just charged Ginny an obscene amount of money for the bar bill which she had – stupidly – agreed to pay.
"Wait, Ginny!" Hermione tripped down the stairs behind her. "You forgot your lippy!"
"Oh, thanks," said Ginny dully, taking the lipstick and slipping it into her jeans pocket. "I have to say, I'm glad the wedding isn't for another week, Hermione. Why do Muggle women have their hen night the night before their wedding? I hurt!"
Hermione shrugged. "So they have an excuse to drug themselves up on paracetamol and therefore forget they're getting married? Anyway, not all Muggle women do that."
Ginny wondered vaguely what that para-thingy was that Hermione had just mentioned, but then found she couldn't remember the name of it and, more importantly, she didn't care.
She gave her friend a final hug.
"Thanks for an – interesting weekend," she said, tried to smile, realised it hurt and stopped.
She checked the tiny bag in her pocket, which contained her clothes and stepped as purposefully as she could into the fireplace, muttering "Valley View".
A moment of whizzing fireplaces later and Ginny tumbled into the sitting room. As she lay on the carpet, she thought she'd got the wrong house, then realised that the upside-down man with black hair and glasses, who was sitting on the upside-down armchair, belonged to her. At the same time she realised the living room carpet was quite comfortable and promptly fell asleep.
Three years later…
Harry had not trusted any magical transport for this fateful journey, so he, Ginny and their son had taken a Muggle taxi.
As soon as it pulled up outside the grey stone house, the front door swung open and Molly Weasley could be seen through the increasingly heavy rain.
"Quick, quick, oh my dears, come in! No, Ginny, I'll get your stuff. Bring little James inside. C'mon, Harry, I'll get that – get in the warm!" she bustled outside, easily lifting their various bags and baby items from them and hurrying them inside. Harry shoved some money through to the driver and ran through the rain after his worn out wife and the bundle of blankets that was his new son.
Soon enough, James had been introduced to his new cot and Ginny, dark circles under her eyes, was sipping tea in the kitchen with her mother, who had been cooking all day. There was now, as Ginny said, enough food to last them a lifetime, but Mrs Weasley insisted that looking after a new baby was hard work and they wouldn't have time to make filling, healthy food. So she had stocked their kitchen during their time at the Newcastle hospital.
Meanwhile, Harry was upstairs in his and Ginny's bedroom, leaning over the cot and gazing at his son, unable to take his eyes off him.
The baby was sleeping, his chest rising and falling gently with each breath, his hand curled around Harry's little finger. Harry's index finger on his other hand traced gentle circle on James' cheek. How could this bundle of adorableness be hard work? He was gorgeous… even at his young age of two days you could see the similarities to his family. His hair was jet black and when Ginny, laughing, had attempted to comb it, it would not lie flat. Harry felt for his son – a lifetime battle had already begun.
When James opened his eyes, his eyelashes fluttering endearingly, his eyes were the almond shape of Harry's and Lily's and the Weasley in him was given away by the smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks.
Harry was in love.
He was so grateful to Ginny for letting him name their first baby after his father. She had been so understanding – said she'd always loved the name anyway, but Harry felt slightly guilty for commandeering this major choice. Ginny, however, said it didn't matter what he was called, as long as he was happy and healthy and their son. Harry had smiled and written the name James Sirius Potter with a flourish on the certificate. They had decided the middle name of the baby before it was born – Sirius for a boy, Nymphadora for a girl.
He heard footsteps on the stairs and a minute later Ginny stepped inside.