Disclaimer: JKR’s characters, objects and places belong to her and her alone. I am just borrowing them for a few hours and a bit of fun.
Little Teddy Lupin was screaming, his face was a deep red colour matching his hair which had changed from black to a deep red. And this time Ginny was positive that the change of his face colour was not an attempt to mimic her, more a way to show how upset he really was. Tears were streaming out of his eyes at an alarming rate. His arms were flapping in the air and he was stamping his feet against the floor. The noise that was coming from the fourteen month old was deafening and the uncontrollable wailing had been filling every crevices of Andromeda’s once perfect living room.
Why, why, why had she agreed to help Harry babysit? Actually the better question was how had Harry convinced her to help babysit?
Surely no one in their right mind would willingly put themselves in this position.
Damn those persuasive Potter kisses.
She knew nothing about children. She should have told him that instead of saying, “Yes.” She could have practiced duelling with him or she could have gone flying, but looking after a one year old was clearly not on her list of talents and it wasn’t as easy as Harry had made it sound earlier.
Teddy had been crying on and off all morning. The first time had been when he had seen Andromeda leaving. Luckily, Harry had been able to distract him with making his cuddy toy dragons fly across the room. The next had been when he had tried to walk across the room to chase after the flying dragons, then fallen over in an attempt to run while he was still barely even to walk. Over the next three hours things had started to calm down even if it had led to the entire contents of his toy box spilling over the living room floor and his lunch turned upside down onto the carpet.
She had made a mistake though and had created the latest cause of the wailing by telling him that Nannan would be home soon, which had only helped him remember that Andromeda was gone and now over twenty minutes since that mistake--she timed it on her watch-- he was still crying.
Ginny had tried the hushing noises and the offering of toys which currently held no interest. She had even tried offering him chocolate but Teddy was stubbornly carrying on, his face turning an even a deeper red.
He really was Harry’s godson, stubbornly sticking to what he wanted and not stopping.
The wailing continued and if anything, grew louder. How could someone so small make so much noise and so much mess? It looked like a giant had been in the small living room, not a baby. Oh and that noise, it really was getting louder, so loud she could hardly hear herself think. Then there was his face, the red colour deepened with every second that passed. If she hadn’t know better she could swear that he was about to explode.
Ginny looked hopelessly at Harry before picking up the screaming child. Unsure what else to do, she reacted on instinct as she held the infant closer to her and kissed his hot forehead. Maybe the simplest things might work and they seemed to. Teddy’s tears started to ease, and the noise of his cries lessened but he was still clearly upset.
Harry shrugged. “Try bouncing him up and down, or distracting him with a toy or something. It’s what Andromeda does. Just do something!”
She held back any sceptical retorts. ‘Do something,’ was hardly a helpful suggestion. She was more than a little tempted to reach for her wand and hex him into next week for that comment. Or better than that, she could Apparate out of there and leave him with the screaming child. Ginny carefully started to bounce Teddy in her arms, glaring at Harry when Teddy’s cries began again and his tears were clearly streaming again if the wet patch on her shoulder was anything to go by.
If looks could kill Harry would be dead right now.
Granted, it may have been her mistake but Harry was hardly doing anything to help. And right now he now looked highly amused, as if he was actually enjoying her current failings. And she was positive that he could stop Teddy’s tears the moment that he wanted to. Besides, it was all his fault, anyway. If wasn’t for him and his willingness to help other people she would be spending one of her last days before pre-season training started having fun and not discovering how she was failing at things.
“Any other ideas?” Ginny hissed at her boyfriend, in a dangerously low voice.
Harry shrugged again, “We call Andromeda?”
“We can’t,” Ginny sighed. That was tempting, very tempting, but hardly fair and Harry knew that too. “It’s not like she has lots of time off as it is.”
“Your mum?” Harry offered.
Ginny groaned. She didn’t like the sound of that at all. She really didn’t need a lecture on what it meant to be responsible. “Maybe as a last resort.”
She was hardly getting along well with her mum right now. In fact, they were in the middle of an argument. It had started when she broke the news that she had accepted a contract with the Holyhead Harpies and got lectures on how it was not only a waste of her NEWTs but was also a very dangerous sport. The fact that she was now an adult seemed to have completely bypassed her mother and she had been yelled at just two days ago for staying out all night. Things had hardly got better this morning when her mother had found a pile of contraceptive potions with some underwear hidden in a bottom drawer. A drawer that in Ginny’s opinion her mother should not have been in, in the first place, but that line had hardly helped her argument when she used it just before walking out the door. Far from it in fact, it had just added to the yells.
Then came the lectures and anyone would think that she was seven and not nearly eighteen. The parting remarks had even been heated when Molly had told her she hoped she had learnt a lot today and Ginny had shrugged and told her that she should feel lucky that she had these potions.
Harry grinned, a grin that he had no right to have in the current situation and she hoped that her current frown was demonstrating that to him. The very least he could be was sympathetic right now and not grinning, especially since he was not really helping either.
“I’ve got an idea,” he said as his grin widened. “Something I’ve just remembered, sit him on the floor then and make sure he’s looking at my wand.”
“Great.” She placed the walling child back on the floor. “Any suggestions how I do that? I mean other than stunning him.”
“Ginny,” Harry said to her still grinning.
“I was joking,” she muttered, although the thought of stunning and getting a respite from the noise was very tempting. “I don’t think I actually would stun him, not today anyway.”
“Hey, Teddy,” he called as he whipped out his wand. “Teddy, Teddy?”
“What are you going to do? A silencing charm?” she spoke in a snarky tone.
“Hardly very maternal.” He grinned back, “Teddy, look here.”
She watched as Harry, started to send jets of brightly coloured lights and puffs of smoke out of his wand. Teddy’s chubby hands started to reach for the smoke and by the time that Harry had started to make animals appear from his wand, the tears had all but stopped.
“You learn that at Auror training?” she asked in a flat tone, trying not to sound too impressed.
He hardly needed to know that she was impressed. He already knew that he was doing a better job at this babysitting thing than she was which was quite ironic when you knew that he was an only child who had only lived with his parents for just over a year. She, the one from the big family, had tried for what seemed like an eternity and Teddy had just wailed at her whereas Harry had got him to be quiet in minutes, but then he had had more time to spend with Harry while she was shut away in the castle. While she was still writing essays, Harry had actually got a chance to go over and spend time with Teddy. So maybe it wasn’t really that impressive and she thought that Harry hardly needed this ego boost.
Harry smiled softly, that smile she loved, the one where he looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. She didn’t see that smile nearly enough, in her humble opinion. “My dad used to do it with me.”
“Oh,” she said, stopping, she was not sure what to say, Harry still barely talked about his parents and she was only actually encouraged to continue by Harry’s smile. “Well, it’s lucky one of us knows what to do.”
Harry’s smile grew, “I actually thought you’d be better at this.”
“Why?” she asked quickly unable to stop herself rising to the bait. “Because I’m a girl? You do know that the ‘being good with small children’ gene is not automatically built into the female D.N.A.”
She had had the girl debate a lot in the last week as well. She couldn’t count the number of times that she had been told that men and women were different, especially in relation to her new career.
George had been joking but Ron was just out and out insensitive, telling her how men made better players as they were faster, bigger and stronger. But Ron was bitter anyway since he had found out that she had turned the Chudley Cannons down, so his opinion really didn’t count. And who in their right mind would have picked the Canons over the Harpies, anyway? Her mother, however, had been very vocal.
The last thing she needed was another comment about girls, especially from Harry. Despite the current disagreements she loved her mother but she was not going to become her, a fact that had become clear with every argument.
“No,” Harry said, still grinning, “it’s because you’re one of seven.”
“The youngest of seven,” she shrugged, as she stopped herself from laughing as she felt relief flood her body. That was an okay comment to make. In fact she had thought along the same lines herself when she was looking at the irony of the situation. Still she held back her smile, she was not going to give in on the snarks yet and let him know that she wasn’t angry anymore. “Who was I supposed to baby-sit, myself?”
Harry took her hand. “Well at least with Teddy we should get a bit of practice in.”
Ginny paused briefly, staring at Harry, Teddy and the purple smoke shapes coming out of Harry’s wand. Surely he could not be suggesting what she thought he was suggesting. For crying out loud, she wasn’t even eighteen yet, not for a few more months. She wasn’t going to be her mother: married and pregnant straight out of school. She wanted more than that.
She had just signed for the Harpies and the ink was barely dry on the contract that was giving her her dream job. She hadn’t even had the press conference yet, that was tomorrow. And as her mother had reminded her in one of their many discussions in recent days that had involved both the dangers of the sport and the use of contraceptive potions, a Quidditch career was hardly one that would support having children.
She was not ready for any of this and she hadn’t thought Harry was either.
Surely with no war, no school and very few dark wizards left they should be having fun now, not tying themselves down to more responsibility. She had thought that that was what he had wanted too, or was their new found source of fun just a way to give Harry a baby?
Ginny shuddered at the thought.
No, she had to change his mind about that. She didn’t mind the practice, truth be told, she quite enjoyed it. She enjoyed it a great deal but she was not going to take things any further.
Quickly she started picking up toys and throwing them into a box as she frantically tried to think of what to say. How on earth could she possibly say all this to him and not make it sound like a rejection? The last thing she wanted Harry to think was that she was rejecting him, that she didn’t care or really love what they had already.
“Ginny.” His voice broke through her thoughts before she had had a chance to fully form an answer in her head. “You’re killing me here, what are you thinking?”
She paused and looked straight at him. “Practice for what?”
“You know, for us.” Harry’s face had turned red.
“Oh, Harry, you know I’m not ready, not anywhere near ready for all of that,” she began, trying to make her voice sound soft and not completely freaked out.
“No.” Harry grinned and his face had turned a little less red. “Not for now. You know, in the way distant future after you’ve stopped chasing round Quaffles and I’ve stopped running round after Dark Wizards. I don’t want us to stop being us yet.” He sent her a devilish grin, the type that should be illegal it was so damn irresistible. “It’s too much fun.”
Ginny smiled back then paused as she picked up on Harry’s less playful words. “We have a way distant future?” she questioned, picking up a couple of Teddy’s toys as she tried to downplay her interest in the change in conversation.
“Yeah, I think so,” Harry spoke softly, “I mean, I love you and everything, so it makes sense.”
Ginny paused. “What did you just say?”
She was in shock; Harry had never said those words to her. She knew that he felt them but he had never said them and she had grown to accept that. He showed her that he loved her in so many other ways that she had convinced herself that she didn’t need to hear the words. Harry was just not your romantic type of boyfriend in that way, but it was more than that; some words and feelings were just too hard for him after all that he’d been through. So she had always told herself that she didn’t need the red roses or the candlelight dinners or grand gestures or even to hear those three little words. She was not that type of girl either.
Besides, she knew that he felt them; she knew he loved her; she didn’t need to hear the words.
Actually, hearing them, though, was different. It was a strange feeling and she was not quite sure what to make of it. It was more than happiness, so much more. If she hadn’t known it was impossible, she could have sworn her heart had grown. She was being swept off her feet so quickly that the adrenaline rush was better than any Quidditch match, she could barely breathe. Hell, it was even better than any of Harry’s kisses.
She did need to hear those words.
“Harry,” she repeated softly, barely able to get the words out of her suddenly dry throat. “What did you just say?”
“That it makes sense, I mean we’ve been together for ages now and I’ve known how much I’ve liked you since before that.” He wasn’t speaking in a very Harrylike fashion at the moment. Actually, he was acting much more like Ron, not picking up on her point at all. “It just makes sense that we have a long future together.”
Ginny felt herself blush, “I actually meant before that.”
“I love you,” Harry repeated with a smile and the smoke coming from his wand stopped as he let his green eyes meet her brown ones.
Ginny dropped the toy. “You’ve never said that to me before.”
She’d just ruined the moment again. Just like mentioning to Teddy about Andromeda. She should have just crossed the room, kissed him and told him that she loved him back. She’d been dying to say it for nearly a year now, so why did she have to mess things up now?
“Harry, I’m...” she started again.
“No, it’s okay,” he interrupted her, “I kinda owe you an explanation, I mean I’ve wanted to say it from the second I saw you after the battle had finished. It just... well... everyone else I’ve loved died: my mum, dad, Sirius, Dumbledore...” he glanced down at Teddy who had now decided that he was going to throw his block through the air in order to get Harry’s attention so he would repeat the action that made the swirling colours of the smoke, “Remus. I didn’t want to lose you, too. It’s what I’ve been most scared about, since long before I wanted to say those words.”
Ginny tucked her hand into his. “Well, I’m not going anywhere.” She placed a soft kiss on his lips, “And I love you too.”
His hand escaped hers and made its way up to her hair. He pulled her into a kiss. Soft again at first, but it grew and was just reaching the realms of being passionate when walling interrupting them. Teddy had clearly hurt himself with one of the flying missiles.
Ginny looked at Harry, and he collected the small child in his arms and quieted him down. At least one of them would be good at this in the way distant future.