There was nothing, Harry thought to himself, like a Saturday spent with Ginny and the kids just relaxing, enjoying each other's company and just being a family. The trouble was this was nothing like one of those Saturdays. In fact there were less and less of those Saturdays as time went by, and to make matters worse for Harry. he was feeling restless and troubled. Trouble was brewing, again, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
Instead of basking in the pleasures of being married to Ginny Potter, of which there were many, he was basking in the pleasure, or rather the lack of it, of filling in enough paperwork to cover the walls of his current and rather large home. Using the paper for this purpose was something that had crossed his mind around two hours ago, not to mention several times since. Still it was better than going through all the personal mail he still received after all these years. That chore had taken another 2 hours, and his personal assistant probably passed him only one in ten of the letters.
Harry had written his signature so far today more times than Gilderoy Lockhart on his best day. He threw down his pen (he had given up using a quill at home when he was in his late teens) and reclined in his chair. He placed his hands behind his head and thought about either looking over the latest case reports or grabbing a butterbeer from the kitchen. It was close run contest, much closer than it should have been considering it was a battle fought in his head and he was after all really thirsty, but the butterbeer won out in the end.
Easing himself up with a slight groan when he discovered how stiff his legs were, he stretched his arms wide to get the circulation moving round his body and smiled when he saw the picture of Ginny and the kids waving at him from the only photo he kept on his desk. All of the other pictures of friends and family, alive and deceased, were adorning the wall to his left.
One of the first things he had done in this room was to place photos of everyone important to him, including those who were lost at the final battle. For an orphan it always surprised him how much family he had gathered around him since his Hogwarts days. Then again for someone who was friendless until the age of eleven, it always amazed him how many friends he had. No, amazed wasn't the word. He tried to find the right word as he placed a couple of files into a small cabinet that would send them to its twin in his office ready to be filed away on Monday. 'Moved' was the word. It moved him how many he had, even if he felt he didn't deserve friends such as them. He knew that they wouldn't agree with him on that score. Ginny in particular would berate him something rotten, but some dark thoughts never left him even if he managed to keep them under control most of the time.
Leaving his study, Harry realised as he walked down the long hallway how quiet the house was. With Ginny and the three children shopping at Diagon Alley, there were no children making their usual joyful noise. Even the animals were quiet, with the owls asleep in one of the outbuildings that was used as an owlery, and Eric, Ginny's latest Pygmy Puff (after Arnold, Bernard, Clarence and Desmond) was probably fast asleep under their bed as usual. Gofer, his House-Elf with a level of devotion on par with Dobby, was at The Burrow helping Molly prepare for a dinner party.
With only the sound of his muffled footsteps on the Axminster carpet for company, Harry's sense of foreboding increased ten-fold. He was worried but he just didn't know why.
He approached the kitchen thirty seconds later and grabbed a butterbeer from one of the shelves closest to the door, mussing briefly why he didn't just Summon one whilst he was working. Wandering over to the large pine table, he pulled a chair out and sat down. Even though he knew he was alone, Harry glanced guiltily around before pulling a second chair out and putting his feet up, crossing his left leg over his right.
He saw the weekend edition of The Daily Prophet on the table, and having not even glanced at it over breakfast he pulled it over to him, casting a lazy eye over the front-page stories.
For once there wasn't a story about Harry or any family member on the front page. Any day that his picture wasn't prominently shown on the first page was a good day, he decided.
Thinking about his nervousness once again and sense of foreboding, he mussed that the lack of a story about him may mean that something else was going to go badly wrong today.
He glanced behind him to the clock, not that dissimilar from one that hung in the kitchen of The Burrow, which wasn't surprising as it had been a wedding gift from Molly Weasley. All the hands pointed to shopping, including Teddy Lupin's.
Harry knew why they were shopping. His birthday was only days away and what had become a ritual after James was born was taking place today. The weekend before his birthday Ginny along with the kids and Teddy would go shopping for presents.
Suddenly a completely different sense of panic gripped Harry. If they were shopping for his birthday, then it meant it would soon be Ginny that he would take the kids shopping for. That frightened him more every three hundred and sixty days or so as each year it became harder to think of a present that she would love more than the last.
The evening of his birthday, when they went to bed, he would ask her what she would like and every year he would hear the two words that brought more fear to him than the words 'Lord Voldemort is asking for you' would have during his early teenage years. These words were 'surprise me.' They were just two words. Two simple words that he dreaded hearing. Two simple words that he dreaded hearing, and that would certainly paralyze a better man than him with fear.
At least Ginny wasn't Hermione. With Hermione it was five simple words that Ron dreaded to hear, even more than 'Oh, the Cannons lost again,' and they were 'I don't really want anything.' Several years ago when Hermione first uttered that phrase, Ron being Ron had taken the words to heart and given her just a card. The result hadn't been pretty. Harry had spent several evenings at a local pub listening to Ron rant about 'How mental women are,' along with 'Why say something if you don't mean it,' and 'Why can't they ever give a straight answer to anything.' It had been several weeks before Ron was welcomed back to the marital bed and even longer before he regained certain other perks that were lost.
No, Ginny wasn't Hermione and that was one thing he was more grateful for in more ways than one. One reason it was lucky was because if he had made the same mistake as Ron had to his wife, it would have been several years before he was welcomed back to the bed he shared with Ginny. He was certain he wouldn't have been able to enjoy use of any perks Ginny may have let him have in the past, because his loving wife would make sure he wouldn't be able to perform the simplest task in that respect. She had a lot more than her excellent casting of the Bat Bogey Hex in her arsenal these days.
Coming out of his contemplations, Harry noticed he was still looking at the clock and the hands had not moved. Then it hit him; he knew why he was so nervous. It was his family. They were in danger. Something was going to rip them apart. He didn't know why that idea hit him like it had. All he knew was that a feeling had been growing inside him for months, but today it had manifested itself at the forefront of his brain and it wasn't going to go away.
Years of being an Auror had taught Harry never to panic, not that he had since his fourth year