Despite the cool dampness that still lingered in the air, and the noticeable softness of the ground from the recent rain, the freshly fallen leaves still rustled underfoot, making that distinctive autumn sound. The cool crisp autumn day, with the blankets of leaves covering the earth, put Harry in a contented mood. He couldn't help but remember cool crisp autumn days coupled with the start of a new school term, the feel of new spellbooks, fresh parchment, the start of a new Quidditch season, and the excitement of the long ride on the Hogwarts Express. He felt a little silly about these thoughts; after all, he'd not been a student for nearly ten years now. Truth be told, he didn't even know a single student currently occupying the school now: the oldest of the Weasley grandchildren still being a year away from eleven. He knew that some of his fellow Aurors had children attending, but he'd never actually met any of them in anything more than passing. But his memories of his school days were precious to him, marking what was to him the start of his real life.
It was amazing to him how his early years and long summers with his aunt and uncle had faded from his thoughts. He supposed that if he were to take the time to remember them, especially with the perspective he had now, that he'd be outraged, angry, and sad, ready to rant at them and confront them in a way that he'd never had the chance to as a child: however he was more than willing to let the memories fade along with many others that he now deemed unimportant. The life he had built was too precious to him for him to waste it bogged down in memories of a lost childhood, or teenaged years spent in a battle for survival. No, when Harry Potter remembered his school years, he refused to let himself dwell on battles with Dark Lords or Death Eaters: he remembered his school years as Quidditch matches and clandestine trips through the school after curfew, of Hogsmeade weekends and time spent studying by the fire in the common room, of stolen kisses with Ginny, and of how Ron and Hermione finally figured out they could do more passionately than fight. His memories of the castle and grounds were peppered with memories of those whom he had lost, and his grim determination that he would honour their memories better through living than through dying.
Harry came out of his reverie with a bit of a guilty start. Another set of feet was crunching through the leaves behind him, coming closer. This set was smaller and moving much faster than his own, and he slowed his own steps even further to allow the child to catch up and was rewarded with a small mittened hand slipping into his own bare one. A quick glance down revealed a bright red knitted cap, matching the hue of the mittens and a gray cloak that was just a smidgen too long, trailing in the leaves behind the sturdy little figure. Harry could just see the black tips of hair peeking out between the hat and the collar of the cloak, and knew that under the red hat was a head of hair just as dark and untidy as his own. Bright brown eyes looked up at him as the small head swiveled to watch his father.
Harry laughed. "You've been spending too much time with your Auntie Tonks."
"Nuh-uh. I like Auntie Tonks." The small voice was insistent
"I know you like your Auntie Tonks. And if I'm not mistaken you're awfully fond of your Uncle Moony too."
"Uncle Moony's fun." It was hard to argue with four-year-old logic.
"That he is, Jamie."
They walked a little further through the leaves, shuffling their feet to make the leaves rustle louder, occasionally kicking a number of them up to flutter through the air.
"Where we going, Papa?"
"We're going to go visit your grandparents."
Jamie looked around. He liked his grandma and grandpa: they laughed a lot and lived in a funny house where he could chase the gnomes through the garden, and there were always cousins around to play with. His grandpa liked to take him out in his shed and let him play with some of the strange things he made Jamie promise he wouldn't tell Grandma about. He felt a little strange keeping secrets from his grandma, because he loved her so much. She gave big squishy hugs and kisses and made the best biscuits in the world. They were even better than Mummy's. But, as he looked around the weak gray sunlight that filtered through the leaves still stubbornly clinging to the trees, he didn't see the big funny house that kind of leaned a little to one side. This place was different; it was quiet, which Grandma and Grandpa's house never was. The shadows cast by the tall trees were kind of spooky, and he wasn't sure what to make of the strange stones that stuck up out of the ground. He didn't remember ever seeing his grandparents in a place like this.
"I don't see the Burrow. Are you sure we're in the right place?"
Harry laughed quietly, sometimes his son reminded him very much of his wife. "Well, we're definitely in the right place, but we're actually going to visit your other set of grandparents."
"I have another Grandma and Grandpa?" Jamie sounded amazed at this revelation about his life that he hadn't known.
"Your Grandma and Grandpa Potter." Harry had reached his destination and brushed the leaves off a stone bench before sitting and pulling Jamie into his lap. "You know that Grandpa Arthur and Grandma Molly are Mummy's Dad and Mum?" Jamie nodded. "And you know how Erin and Michael have two sets of grandparents?"
Jamie bounced on his daddy's lap. "Yep. They got my Grandma and Grandpa, and then they got their Nana and Gramps."
"Well, their Nana and Gramps are Aunt Hermione's parents."
"So that's why they gots two grandmas?"
"Exactly. That's why we're here, so you can know about your other set of grandparents. My parents." He looked at the gravestone where their names were engraved, side by side.
"You have a mummy and daddy?" Harry nodded. "Why don't they come see us?"
"Because my mummy and daddy died when I was just a baby."
"You were a baby?" Soft brown eyes met green and Harry nodded. "Like baby Sir'us?" Jamie knew all about babies. His little brother was just starting to crawl, but he couldn't imagine his daddy as a baby.
"Yes. Well, I was actually a little older than Sirius, but not much." Daddy looked sad, and Jamie then realized what else he had been told.
"They die like Auntie Muriel?"
The Weasley's Great-Aunt Muriel had died three months ago at the ripe old age of 182, and Harry was glad to say that it was the first and only time that death had touched his young sons' lives. "Yes. In the fact that they are gone and won't be coming back."
"How they die?"
Harry closed his eyes. He knew that his inquisitive young son wouldn't be happy without a full explanation. They'd spent weeks answering his questions after Muriel's funeral. "There was a bad wizard who wanted to do very bad things to people. Your grandma and grandpa didn't think that was right, so they fought against him, tried to keep him from hurting people."
"And he didn't like it?"
"No, he didn't." He hugged his son a little tighter. "And he killed them."
"Why?" Oh ,how Harry had dreaded this question, but he'd made a promise to himself to keep his parents' sacrifice alive in his memory, and to never compromise what they had given him.
"They died to save me."
Jamie's eyes grew wide. "To save you?" Harry nodded. "He tried to kill you? But you were just a baby."
Jamie was just about in tears thinking about someone trying to kill his daddy. "Did he hurt you?"
Harry pointed to his forehead. "That's how I got this scar."
Jamie buried his face in Harry's shoulder, clinging tightly to his father. When he spoke again, his voice was muffled by Harry's heavy cloak. "What happened to him? The bad wizard."
Harry planted a kiss on the top of the red hat. "I made sure he was never going to hurt anyone again."
A muffled sniff sounded. "Really?"
"Really. Before you were born. Even before Mummy and I got married." Harry hugged his son, then set him on his feet and stood up. He once again took Jamie's hand as they walked towards the gravestones. "I come here every year on Halloween."
"Really?" He tried to remember last Halloween, but he couldn't.
"That was the day it happened." He knelt down in the damp leaves and brushed them away from the front of the stone. "Twenty-four years ago."
A whispered, "Wow," let him know just how long ago that seemed to a four-year-old. "You must be really old."
Harry snorted. "Some days more than others, kiddo."
Jamie stared at the headstone and suddenly realized something. "Daddy! That's my name!" He pointed.
"Yes, it is. We named you after your grandpa." His voice was soft.
"So that every time we look at you, we'll remember the sacrifice that he made." Harry pulled Jamie into the circle of his arms. "And we love you so much, we wanted you to share a name with someone else who I loved very much. Your grandparents gave everything they could so that I could live and grow up and meet your mum and have you and your brother."
"You should tell them thank you."
Harry looked up to where Ginny stood at the edge of the cemetery, baby Sirius sleeping on her shoulder. "Trust me, baby, I do. Every single day."
Disclaimer: Dang it, I don't own Harry Potter.
A/N: Okay, so I've not abandoned Unexpected, in fact I've been actually working on it, but a bad case of writer's block had me trying to force the story along and it turned out horrid, so I deleted much of what I had for the next chapter and started over. I've had a couple of little short tidbits I've written that are totally unrelated to anything else and a few others that were sitting on my hard drive that I thought I'd share while I'm working on the next part of Unexpected Encounters. This is one, it popped into my head last Halloween and wouldn't go away until I wrote it; it was previously published on ff.net.