Author's notes: Many thanks to my wonderful betas Julie/Aggiebell and Heather, who both said many kind things about this fic and are the best editors a girl could wish for. Thanks, ladies!
His first kiss from a girl he fancied was wet.
Cho Chang had the dubious honour of being the first person to press her lips against his, and Harry doubted that she thought of that moment with anything other than a faint shudder of horror.
His first kiss from a mother (that he remembered) was comforting.
Molly Weasley had taken him in her arms, cradling a broken, weeping wreck of a boy, and pressed a kiss against the top of his head. She held him as he cried, rocked him, and made him feel loved and protected. Her kiss helped to chase away some of the terror that had gripped him immediately following Cedric's death.
His first kiss from a girl he loved was spectacular.
Ginny Weasley had run into his arms, triumphant, blazing, and glorious, and they'd kissed on instinct, the spark between them igniting into passion. That kiss had been everything his first kiss was not though it was wet, in a good way this time and every kiss that followed just got better and better.
Then he married her, and that blazing kiss in the Gryffindor common room had paved the way for things in addition to kissing, and those things had led to something wonderful, led to this.
His first kiss as a father.
James Sirius Potter, red-faced and tiny, swaddled in a pale blue blanket and cradled in Harry's arms, was his precious baby boy. Harry stared at him in awe, touching ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes. He pressed his lips to the downy tuft of auburn hair on James' head, kissed his tiny hand with its soft skin and dimples, and pushed back the blanket to kiss his rounded tummy.
Harry looked at Ginny, his tired, sweaty and exhausted wife, and he thought that she'd never looked more beautiful. He leaned forward to press his mouth to hers in a kiss that he hoped held all the love he felt for her. 'Thank you,' he whispered against her lips, his forehead resting against hers. James was sandwiched between them, his little body warm against Harry's chest.
Ginny pressed her hand to his cheek, and then pulled back to look down at their son, sleeping peacefully in his daddy's arms. 'We did do a good job, didn't we?' she said softly, tracing the curve of James' soft cheek. 'I can't believe he's ours.'
Harry laughed, and tried to press down James' hair, grinning as it immediately sprung back up. 'Oh, I can. He inherited the Weasley red and the Potter unruliness in the hair department. And I think he's going to have your eyes, too.'
'You think so?' Ginny sounded a little disappointed. 'I was hoping he'd get your eyes. Your eyes are so gorgeous.'
'I'll be happy if he gets your eyes. If he looks like his mum, then he'll have nothing to complain about.' Harry looked down at the baby, and he felt an overwhelming rush of love, a physical ache in his chest. 'I think it's time for James to meet the family, don't you? Shall I go get them?'
Ginny shook her head. 'Take James out to them, it's your job to introduce him. I'm not feeling up to company just yet.'
'If you're sure...' At Ginny's nod, Harry kissed her again, and then slipped out of the hospital room and into the corridor, pulling the door shut behind him.
He could hear a soft rumble of assorted voices coming from further down the hall, so he followed the noise to the family room and pushed the door open.
Every head turned in his direction, and a hush fell upon the room. The entire family was there Molly and Arthur, Ron and Hermione, every Weasley boy and their respective spouses. Even the Weasley grandchildren were there, despite the late or, given that it was 3 am, the early hour.
Clearing his throat, Harry tilted James slightly so that his face was visible, and said, 'Everyone, I'd like you to meet James Sirius Potter.'
Molly burst into tears, pressing her hand to her mouth, and crossed the room to kiss Harry's cheek. 'Congratulations, sweetheart,' she whispered, leaning against his arm to look down at the newest addition to the family. 'Oh, he's just gorgeous. Can I...?'
Harry obligingly if somewhat awkwardly passed the baby to Molly, and had to resist the urge to snatch him back. His arms felt empty without the solid, warm weight of his son.
'Well done, mate,' said a gruff voice at Harry's side, and he turned to see Ron and Hermione standing there, both looking rather teary-eyed.
Opening his arms, Harry pulled both of them into a three-way hug, and they stood there for several long minutes.
'I've got a gorgeous wife and son because of you two,' he said quietly, as he released them and stepped back a little. 'You kept me alive all those years. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you, and neither would James.' His voice thickened with emotion, and he had to stop, hanging his head to hide the tears pricking in his eyes.
Ron reached out and put his hand on Harry's shoulder, squeezing it gently. 'You're a dad, mate. How weird is that?'
Harry chuckled, and dragged his hand across his eyes. 'It's not weird at all. It's great. It's like everything that happened before James doesn't matter anymore.' He looked over at his little boy, who was being introduced to his Granddad. 'James and Ginny they're my world. You'll know what I mean when you and Hermione have a baby.'
'And hopefully that'll be sooner rather than later,' Hermione said rather pointedly with a mock glare at Ron, before taking Harry's hand in hers. 'Harry, I'm so happy for you. You deserve this.'
He squeezed her hand, and leaned in to kiss her cheek. 'Thank you,' he said, as he reached out to pull Ron closer. 'Listen. Ginny and I, we've been talking, and we'd be honoured if you two would be James' godparents.'
Hermione let out an incredibly girlish squeal, and flung her arms around Harry's neck. 'Yes! Of course we will!' she shrieked excitedly. 'Oh, Harry!'
Harry wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged her tightly. 'It had to be you two,' he mumbled against a mouthful of wild hair.
Ron clapped him on the back, and then gently pulled his wife away. 'Thanks, mate. This means the world to us.'
'If anything happens... well. Look after him, yeah?' Harry said quickly, before turning away, lest his emotions get the better of him.
After ten minutes of James being handed from Weasley to Weasley like the prize in a game of 'Pass the Parcel', Harry decided it was time to claim his son back, and welcomed him back into his arms. 'I think it's time to say goodnight. Ginny is shattered, and you lot must be too. Go home and get some sleep, and we'll see you in a few hours, all right?'
The assorted Weasleys filed out of the room one by one, dropping kisses on an oblivious James' forehead, and finally Harry was alone with his boy.
With a gentle finger, he carefully stroked James' soft, smooth cheek. 'Well, son, that's your family. They're all nuts, but we love them loads.'
James opened his eyes and he seemed to stare intently at Harry, his gaze steady and unblinking. His dusky blue irises already seemed to be darkening to brown.
Harry held a finger close to James' hand, and smiled as his son gripped it tightly. 'Come on, baby boy, let's go and find your wonderful Mummy and get some sleep.'
As he walked back to Ginny's room, Harry found himself thinking about his life. Nothing from his miserable childhood to his time at Hogwarts had prepared him for being a husband and a parent.
When Ginny had told him she was pregnant, he'd been instantly struck with an overwhelming conviction that he would be an awful father. Other than Arthur, he'd had no real father figure in his life, and his time at the Dursleys certainly hadn't provided him with a good example of a happy family life.
It'd taken him several weeks of talking with Ginny and the Weasleys before he realised that he could and would be a good father, though a niggling doubt had remained at the back of his brain.
All those doubts had disappeared the very moment James was handed to him, still covered in blood and slime, and screaming fit to burst. Holding his son felt completely and utterly natural, and Harry had instantly known that being a father would surpass anything else he'd ever achieved in his life, other than marrying Ginny.
Harry used his hip to bump open the door to Ginny's room and quietly walked back in.
Ginny was fast asleep, curled up on her side with her hand tucked under her head. She looked much younger than her twenty-three years, and it made Harry feel like he was back at school again.
Settling James in his bassinette, Harry stood for a moment and watched him sleep, his hand spread across James' back, spanning from shoulders to nappy-padded bottom. The sensation of James' back expanding and contracting under his palm filled Harry with a serenity he'd never experienced before. 'Night, little man,' he whispered, tucking the blanket more securely around James' slumbering form.
''ry?' Ginny mumbled from the bed, turning to face him. 'You 'kay?'
'Ssssh,' he soothed, slipping into bed next to her. 'Everything's fine, I just put James to bed. Go back to sleep.'
She burrowed into his shoulder and drifted back off to sleep, her breath soft and warm against his chest.
He stroked her hair, and propped his chin on top of her head. He was so proud of her, and he'd never loved her more.
Ginny stirred in his arms, letting out a small sigh, and he rubbed her back until she settled again, her hand tucked into the gap between his shirt buttons.
Even though he was utterly exhausted, Harry couldn't bring himself to go to sleep. He kept glancing from his wife to his son and back again, unable to keep his eyes off of them.
Somehow, his idle teenaged daydreams had become a reality he had a family. He was married to the most fantastic woman in the world, he was a dad, and it was all thanks to a spur-of-the-moment kiss in the Gryffindor common room.