Lilies In Autumn


Story Summary:
Lilies don't just bloom in the spring. Harry and Ginny welcome Lily into their lives.

Chapter 12 - The Art of Listening


Harry gazed at the filing cabinet on the opposite side of his office. It held copies of the records of every Death Eater they had captured during the war, or in its immediate aftermath. Dean's revelation about his father's history had gnawed on the edges of his conscience for weeks. He felt the key to solving the mystery of what had happened to Dean's father lay in those thick files. People didn't just disappear like that. Harry supposed the late Anthony Quinn could have merely left his wife and child - walked out the door and left without a backward look. It wasn't entirely unknown. But Harry had met Dean's mother, Olivia a few times. And there was something in her eyes when she looked at Dean that made Harry think he resembled his father a great deal. Harry could see the sadness that lingered, even after the passage of time should have managed to dull it.

Coming to a decision, Harry pushed himself to his feet and skirted around the desk, and yanked open the drawer containing the records of the Death Eaters that still lived. He immediately discarded the Carrows. Neither of them had the intelligence to make a person drop off the face of the earth. Harry didn't think they would have known anything, either, if they had been in any position to hear of it. Crabbe and Goyle were discarded as well. A few names jumped out at Harry: Macnair, Yaxley, Rowle, Mulciber, and Lucius Malfoy. He pulled their files and threw them on his desk. After many agonizing moments of internal debate, Harry reluctantly pushed Lucius' aside. As cruel as Lucius could be, he hadn't been the type to get his hands dirty by actually doing anything. He was a planner, certainly, and had engaged in the torture of Muggles when it was unavoidable, so while he might not have committed the actual murder, he could have information about it. Harry opened each file left in turn: Mulciber, Yaxley, Rowle and Macnair. Each of them had been forced to make a list of their victims under the influence of Veritaserum, but Harry had a feeling their lists were somewhat incomplete. It sickened him slightly to consider that they had killed or tortured so many people that they couldn't remember all their names, even when someone was forcing them to try. There wasn't anything in their files to make Harry believe they were responsible for Anthony Quinn's disappearance and possible death - he couldn't find the name during a cursory scan of all four lists - but Harry could easily recall how each of them would attack their enemies with near-bloodthirsty glee.

Harry slowly closed the last file. They were each technically on Shacklebolt's list of prisoners to track. But Harry, as the Head Auror, could open an investigation into the disappearance of witch or wizard, even if it was nearly thirty years old, especially if the primary suspect was a Dark wizard, but with a caveat - he had to have concrete proof. Harry shoved the files into his bag and slung it over his shoulder. Ginny was actually closer to Dean than Harry was - something that perplexed Harry, but he'd stopped questioning it a long time ago. If there were any doubts about how Dean would feel about having someone muck around in his family's history, Ginny could find out, if she didn't already know.

He checked his watch and swore softly. He was going to be late. And if he was late, Ginny was going to be late. And if Ginny was late, he was going to hear about it. Ginny hated being late to a match. 'Harry, it's after two-thirty.' Iain stuck his head through the door.

'I know...' Harry edged through the door. 'Hey, could you run by Kingsley's office and let him know I need to talk to him first thing next week?'

'All right.' Iain followed Harry to the lifts. 'What's it about?'

'Just need to investigate a missing person.'

Iain's thick brows rose in alarm. 'Who's missing?'

'It's an old case. Something that got filed with the Muggle police a long time ago by mistake.' Harry jabbed the button by the doors of the lift. 'It's not urgent, but I'd like to get started on it as soon as possible.'


Harry glanced at his watch again. 'Bloody hell.' He was officially late. 'See you Monday.'

'Yeah, if Ginny hasn't hexed you into oblivion for being late.'

'I'll be lucky if she doesn't,' Harry sighed. 'I should know better by now...' The lift doors parted and Harry quickly walked through them. 'Wish me luck...'

'Good luck,' Iain called as the doors closed. 'You're going to need it...'

Harry's toes tapped impatiently on the floor as the lift rose toward the Atrium. Ginny wasn't going to be angry, really, but she'd certainly be cross. This wasn't a new routine for them - they'd been trading off taking care of the boys on game days like this since Ginny went back to work shortly before Albus' first birthday last year. Ginny hated feeling rushed, even more so when she was pregnant. When the doors finally opened, Harry surged off the lift and all but ran toward an Apparition point. He wrapped a hand around the strap of his bag and turned, rising on his toes in his haste. When he reappeared in the back garden of the house, he was already running toward the door.

He pushed the back door open and dropped his bag by the door as he closed it. Ginny wasn't waiting anxiously at the kitchen table, counting the seconds until he walked into the door. Frowning, Harry walked into the sitting room to find Ginny stretched out across the sofa, sound asleep. He knelt next to the sofa and gently shook her awake. 'Hey, it's after two-thirty,' he said softly when her eyelids fluttered open.

Ginny's eyes widened in shock and she struggled to sit up. 'What time is it?' she gasped.

'Twenty minutes to three.' Harry got to his feet and pulled Ginny off the sofa.

'Okay...' Ginny rubbed her hands over her face in an attempt to clear the cobwebs from her brain. 'Both of the boys have been asleep for about an hour. Andromeda called earlier and said she'd bring Teddy over as soon as he gets out of school.' Ginny ran her hands over her hair, trying to smooth it into a semblance of order. 'I ought to be home somewhat early. Before ten, anyway.' She swung her bag to her shoulder and head for the back door. 'Oh, and Seamus sent an owl today. He'll be here next weekend. Dean, too.'

'That's good,' Harry murmured. 'I'll see you when you get home, Gin.'

'Don't wait up,' she replied, with a smile.

'Daaaahhhdeeeeee!' Albus called from his bedroom.

Harry glanced up at the ceiling. 'I don't think that's going to be an issue,' he said, swiftly kissing Ginny. 'Go on before you're late for real.'

'See you later, then.' Ginny walked as quickly as she could out of the kitchen and Disapparated.


Ginny opened the back door and quietly closed it. She wasn't horribly late, but it was well past James and Al's bedtime. She peeked at the clock on the kitchen wall and realized Teddy ought to have been in bed as well, but he was sitting on the sofa next to Harry, snuggled into him. Ginny hung back in the kitchen, hidden in the shadows. Whatever Harry was telling Teddy, it was far too indistinct for her to hear. Harry's wand was aloft and his Patronus flew from the tip. Teddy's eyes were wide as he listened to Harry, and Ginny realized Harry was telling Teddy about his third year when Remus taught him how to cast the Patronus charm. She knew Harry had described it to Teddy before, but this was the first time he had told the story like this. The large stag silently picked his way through the sitting room, and briefly nuzzled the top of Harry's head, then Teddy's before it gradually faded. Teddy slid off the sofa and Harry sent him upstairs with a gentle swat to his bottom.

Ginny shifted her weight, making the kitchen floor creak under her shoes and Harry's gaze swiveled toward the dark kitchen door. 'How long have you been there?'

'Just a few minutes.' Ginny eased down to an arm of sofa, toeing her shoes off. Her feet were swollen and the shoes were painfully snug. 'I saw what you were doing with Teddy...' Teddy had been a bit down since the memorial dedication last month.

'He was pestering me all night for stories about Remus,' Harry sighed. 'Well, not pestering, really, but asked about a thousand questions between the time Andromeda dropped him off until about thirty minutes ago.' Harry got to his feet and held his hands out for Ginny. 'I'm just going to go tuck him in,' he said quietly.

Ginny nodded, stifling a yawn. 'All right. I'm right behind you.' With a muffled grunt, she slid off the arm of the sofa and followed Harry up the stairs, albeit more slowly. She slipped into James' room and pried the book from his lax fingers, setting it on the night table next to his bed, and kissed her fingertips, before brushing them over his cheek. She dimmed the small lamp next to his bed, and drew the quilt over his small shoulders before padding across the corridor to Albus. It wasn't that she didn't trust Harry to put the boys to bed properly. It was that Ginny couldn't rest until she was certain all her boys were safe.

Albus was curled into a tight ball, his padded bottom jutting sharply into the air. Ginny had stopped worrying that he'd smother himself to the point where she didn't sleep, but if she happened to see him like this, she would gently nudge Albus until he flopped over on his side, sweaty hair sticking up in clumps around his head. Ginny cast a small Cooling charm over his cot and repeated the fingertip kiss to her youngest son.

She went into Teddy's bedroom, to find him lying on his back, his wide eyes staring at the ceiling, while he fiddled with the edge of the sheet. 'Hi,' she whispered.

Teddy turned his head toward Ginny. 'Hi,' he whispered back.

Ginny walked to the bed and lowered herself slowly to the edge. 'Mind if I sit?'

Teddy eyed Ginny and grinned a little. 'A little late to ask,' he said with a smirk. He turned to Ginny, wrapping his arms around her, burying his face into her shoulder.

Ginny shifted a little so she could lean against the headboard of Teddy's bed. She gently rubbed his back, feeling him shiver. 'What's the matter, then?'

'I said something awful to Gran,' Teddy said so softly, Ginny had to strain to hear him. He sniffled and glanced up at Ginny. 'I told her I hated Mum and Dad for dying...' He looked down and rolled the hem of Ginny's shirt between his fingers.

'When did you tell her this?'

'Before we went to Hogwarts,' Teddy said miserably. 'I don't really hate them.'

'She knows,' Ginny assured him. Teddy frowned at her doubtfully and Ginny's hand moved to Teddy's hair, fingers sliding through the thick strands. 'People say things they don't mean all the time when they're upset.' She kissed the top of Teddy's head.

'Do you think my mum and dad heard me?' Teddy asked worriedly.

Ginny bit her lip in uncertainty. She didn't know what to tell Teddy without distressing him further. 'They know you didn't mean it.'

'I wish I knew them...' Teddy said sleepily. 'I think she touched me...' he mumbled on the edge of sleep.

'Who?' Ginny asked.


Ginny frowned slightly. 'When...?

'In that corridor with all the pictures,' Teddy yawned. In a few moments, he had fallen asleep, still snuggled against Ginny's side.

Ginny sat quietly for several long moments, one hand resting on Teddy's back, feeling the rise and fall of his deep, even breathing, and the other resting over her rounded abdomen, circling slowly, hoping to soothe Lily's urgent kicks. She looked down at Teddy's sleeping face and the hair that flopped over his eyes. The ends of his hair were bright, bubblegum pink - a hue Teddy tried to never wear if he could help it. Ginny tipped her face toward the ceiling. 'We'll take care of him. Just like we always have. And we always will. I promise,' she murmured. By the time her gaze returned to Teddy, the ends of his hair were their customary turquoise.


Harry stretched out in the bed, staring sightlessly at the book on his knees. He looked at Ginny, attempting to find a comfortable position to sleep. 'How tired are you?'


'I need to ask you something...'

Ginny pushed herself into a sitting position. 'About...?'

Harry closed the book, marking his place with a scrap of parchment. 'It's about Dean,' he said quietly.

'What about Dean?'

'You know about his father, right?'

Ginny nodded. 'Yeah. Dean told me our last year of school that he'd disappeared. But that was all he knew about it. His mother never told him about his biological father until after the war.'

Harry chewed a thumbnail for a moment. 'If I could try to find out, do you think he'd want to know?'

Ginny sighed. 'I think so.' She frowned at Harry. 'Why now?'

Harry rolled to his side, facing Ginny. He laid a hand over her abdomen, pushing slightly, smiling a little when Lily pushed back. 'I remember how hard it was to find out my parents had been murdered when I was eleven, but I'd known my whole life they were dead. I can only imagine what it must be like to find out one day your father just left and never came back...' He slid down until his face was level with Ginny's navel. 'If something happened to me, I'd want them to know...'

Ginny wound her fingers through Harry's inky hair. 'How much will you be able to tell him?'

'Everything. If what I think is true, and his father was murdered, I'll be able to tell him when, who did it, why... At least I hope...'

'Why are you so certain Dean's father died?'

Harry's eyes closed. 'Because I could never walk out on you or the kids. The night James was born; I knew the only way I'd ever leave you is if someone killed me. Even Vernon wouldn't have just abandoned Petunia or Dudley. I mean, I know it happens, but...' He shrugged. 'It's just a feeling,' he explained.

Ginny's hands slid to the taut lines of Harry's neck. 'Do it. But tell him only if you can find out what happened for sure.'

'What if I can't?' Harry whispered hoarsely.

'You're not a miracle worker, love,' Ginny replied softly. 'You're only Harry Potter, and there's only so much you can do.'


'What in the bloody hell do you think you're doing?' Hermione fumed, as she strode angrily through the door of Harry's office.

'I thought you were on maternity leave,' Harry said, startled by Hermione's presence.

'I am. But I get an owl from you this morning asking about the legality of investigating something using Legilimency when you don't have any concrete proof.'

'You could have just owled back.' Harry retorted. 'Rather than come all the way up here.'

'Could have,' Hermione agreed. 'But then I couldn't do this.' She reached over Harry's desk and smacked him on the back of the head.


'What's gotten into you? Investigating something that's completely baseless?'

'Last month, Dean told me his father disappeared when he was a baby and was never found.' Harry shrugged helplessly.

Hermione dropped into one of the chairs in front of Harry's desk and pressed her thumbs into the ridge under her eyebrows. 'He could have just left. If someone doesn't want to be found, Harry, they won't be found. Why is this so important to you? This isn't just justice to you. This is almost a vendetta.'

Harry stretched his feet out in front of him. 'When I found out exactly how my parents died, it was such a relief to finally know. In an odd sort of way.' He leaned forward almost insistently. 'I just can't stand the idea of someone not knowing.'

'This seriously walks the line between legal and illegal, you know. Not having any evidence,' she sighed. 'Who do you suspect?' Harry reached into the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out the four files, pushing them wordlessly across the desk. Hermione pulled them toward her, tilting them so she could read the names. 'Oh.' She eyed Harry. 'Have you told Kingsley this?' she asked briskly.

'Not yet. I wanted to go over the terms of their imprisonment before I got started. I need to know how far I can go and stay on the legal side of things.'

'Do you have copies of their terms in their files?' Hermione asked. 'I've got an hour or so before I have to go back home. You can at least go talk to Kingsley prepared with something.'

'Yeah.' Harry flipped open the topmost file.

Hermione scanned the document with a slight frown. 'You've already used Legilimency to see if they were telling the truth during their trials about what they did during the war.'

'Yes, but this is something that happened nearly twenty years before that, and was never investigated by Aurors or the MLE and wouldn't have come up in their trials.' Harry countered. 'Can I use it for that?'

'I'm not sure,' Hermione said, biting her lip. 'It's one thing if you do have enough proof to suspect them, but you don't have anything to go on. Not even a name that might be his in their confessions.'

'What if...?' Harry tugged the file from under Hermione's fingers. 'What if I have their permission?'

Hermione shook her head. 'No. You need something. Otherwise, you're just casting a net to see what comes up.'

'Damn it.' Harry let his head drop to the surface of the desk.

Hermione glanced down at the open file between them on the desk. 'Are you sure he's not listed in there?'

'Not really,' Harry admitted. 'I pored over them all weekend. Maybe his name is spelled wrong, and I'm missing it. And I'd really like to have Dean's father's name or something close to it.'

'There is a good chance you're never going to be able to find out,' Hermione pointed out.

'I have to try,' Harry stubbornly maintained.

'I know,' Hermione grumbled. 'You always do.' She looked down at her watch. 'While I'm here I might as well help... Hand me a file...'


Dean looked around the newly-vacated room. 'It's going to be a girl, right?'

Ginny nodded. 'Her name's Lily.'

Dean rubbed a hand over his head. 'How girlie do you want it?'

Ginny grimaced. 'Not very.'

'So no princesses or unicorns, eh?' Dean laughed.

'No.' Ginny's head tilted to the side. 'I want something that will grow up with her, like James and Al's.'

Dean gnawed a thumbnail, as he glanced around the walls again. 'Maybe something like what's in James and Al's rooms, but without the symbolism?' James' room had a mural containing a stag, a wolf, and a large black dog, while Albus' featured a gold and red phoenix.

'Put in a doe,' Ginny said softly. 'I'll leave the rest of it up to you. I trust your judgment.'

Dean grinned, and waved his wand at a small pile of brushes. They began to create outlines of a forested valley. 'I can make the sun rise and set,' he remarked, 'but I think the way the light plays in here will do the same thing.' He pulled a sharpened pencil from a bag and began to sketch the outline of a doe on one wall.

A crash echoed from downstairs and Ginny rolled her eyes at the sound of James' angry squalling. 'Better go before it turns nasty down there. I don't want to turn Hannah totally off parenthood.'

'Go on,' Dean said. 'I'm fine here...'

Ginny made her way to the sitting room, where Hannah was trying to keep James from yanking the chunky wooden building block from Albus' hand. 'James, you have your own blocks,' Hannah tried to explain.

'But I need tha' one,' James whined.

'But Albus is using it,' Hannah said soothingly, attempting to defuse the situation. In response, James flung one of his blocks across the room with an irate yell.

Ginny picked James up and set him down on one of the steps of the staircase firmly. 'You will have to stay here for four minutes,' she informed him. 'Because you threw the block.' James began to howl in outrage, but Ginny walked away, ignoring him. 'I must be insane,' she commented idly.

Hannah looked up from her place on the floor between Albus and Rose. 'Why is that?'

'I'm adding another one to the insanity that's already here,' Ginny said wryly.

'I'd love to have this kind of insanity,' Hannah said, running her hand over Rose's bright curls.

'What's going on down here?' Harry asked, raising his voice over James' cries of displeasure.

'The usual,' Ginny said.

'Oh. All right, then.' He tilted his head to the office. 'Can I have a word for a mo?' He waited for Ginny to walk into the office and followed her, closing the door behind him. 'I've got the report for Dean,' he said quietly. 'I thought you might be the best one to give it to him.'

'Shouldn't you do it?' Ginny asked skeptically. 'It's Auror business...'

Harry shook his head. 'It's just information. And Dean will want to take this from you, and not me.' He laid a hand gently on a thin folder lying on the middle of his desk. 'Just sometime today...'

'What does it say?' Ginny was almost afraid to hear the answer.

Harry shook his head. 'It's not good, Gin...'


Hermione hoisted Hugo to her shoulder and began to firmly pat his back, until she heard a deep, rumbling belch next to her ear. She knew Harry had discovered what had happened to Dean's father. It had been relatively easy, once they found his name in both Macnair and Mulciber's files. It had been badly misspelled in both files, appearing as "Andy Quine" in Macnair's and something that might have been "Angie Kwan" in Mulciber's. Spelling, it seemed, was not a priority for Death Eaters. It was enough to arouse suspicion, and enough, legally, to allow Harry to take a somewhat clandestine trip to Azkaban. One that had left him shaken and unnerved for the next several days. His smile as he greeted her and Ron that morning had still been tight and his eyes were deeply shadowed.

She continued to rock in the rocking chair in Albus' room for several more minutes, Hugo drowsing on her shoulder. She tightened her arms around Hugo and carefully stood up. Hermione could hear Dean murmuring the charms to clean his brushes and any drips that had landed on the floor. Curiously, she peered around the partially-open door into what would become Lily's room. It was, as usual, done in Dean's whimsical style. Owls modeled after Ginny and Harry's own owls perched on the branches of a large tree in one corner. A doe delicately picked her way toward a small pond that sparkled in the late afternoon sunlight that poured through one of the windows. Wildflowers waved in the breeze underneath the window seat. It was as if Dean had lifted a scene from a storybook. 'It's lovely,' Hermione said softly, even though she knew she could have shouted and Hugo wouldn't have stirred.

Dean looked around proudly. 'Thanks. I didn't mean to take it this far, but once I got going...' He held a hand out to the doe, who snuffled his hand. 'Could you tell Ginny it's done while I get my things sorted?'

'Sure.' Hermione took one last look at the room. 'Maybe I ought to have you do a Quidditch theme in Rose's room.'

Dean grinned. 'Ron's been indoctrinating her already, huh?'

'Before she was even born,' Hermione sighed, turning to leave the room. She found Ginny in the kitchen, her feet propped on a chair, sipping a cup of tea. 'Where are Ron and Harry?'

'Still arguing over the best way to set up Teddy's things.' Ginny set the cup down with a smirk. 'Doesn't matter what they do, Teddy's just going to rearrange it next weekend anyway.'

'Dean's done with the room, if you want to go up and see it.'

'Brilliant.' Ginny heaved herself to her feet and started to go up the stairs. She paused on a lower step, and glanced down. 'What do you think, Lily? Is now a good time?' She felt a small undulation under her palm. 'Right. Never a good time for something like this, is there?' She trudged into the office and reluctantly picked up the folder. Clutching it securely in one hand, Ginny went up the stairs and turned into Lily's room.

It was far beyond anything Ginny had expected. 'Oh, Dean...' she breathed. 'It's perfect.'

'Thanks.' Dean ducked his head bashfully and continued to pack his supplies carefully cleaning them as he did so. 'What's the story behind the doe?' he asked interestedly.

'Harry's mother's name was Lily. Her Patronus was a doe.'

'So you did go with the symbolism,' Dean chortled. 'The two of you are entirely too predictable,' he proclaimed, pointing a clean brush at Ginny.

Ginny shifted her feet uncomfortably for a moment. 'Dean, I need to talk to you for a moment,' she said in a rush.

Frowning at the tone of Ginny's voice, Dean set the brush in a compartment of his supply box and slowly straightened. 'Sure.'

Ginny took his hand and gently tugged Dean to the window seat and sat down. She patted the space next to her. 'You'll want to sit for this,' she cautioned.

Dean's frown deepened, but he perched on the edge of window seat. 'What's wrong?' he asked uneasily. 'Is Harry dying from some horrible disease?'

Ginny shook her head. 'No. This is about you.'

'What about me?' Wordlessly, Ginny held the file out to Dean. Startled, Dean took the file. 'What is this?'

'It's about your father,' Ginny said quietly. Dean jumped, his hand closing convulsively around the edge of the file, badly creasing it. He swallowed hard and fingered the opening of the file. 'You don't have to read it now,' Ginny assured him.

'I think I might want to,' Dean said tightly.

Ginny laid a hand on his wrist. 'I can stay,' she said simply. 'Or I can go.'

A muscle in Dean's jaw jumped. 'You can do whatever you want. Doesn't matter.'

'I'll leave you alone, then,' Ginny decided. 'But I'll be just outside the door.'

Dean's eyes remained glued to the file, but he nodded to show Ginny he'd heard her. Ginny slid off the window seat and went into the corridor. She leaned against the wall and crossed her arms over the top of her abdomen and waited. She knew what the report said. Harry had made her read it. It was distressingly brief. Dean's father had been kidnapped in a London alley in late April 1980. He had been tortured by Macnair and Mulciber using the Cruciatus curse, in an attempt to persuade him to join the Death Eaters. When he refused, Macnair had killed him. Mulciber Transfigured the body into a bone that they then threw it into a rubbish bin, like a piece of garbage.

Ever since Harry had shown her the report earlier that day, Ginny had contemplated what was worse - not knowing what had happened and spending the rest of your life wondering; or knowing your father had been treated with less respect than those arsewipes would have shown a dead animal. She thought she might prefer to remain ignorant of the facts. But Dean had seemed anxious to find out.

Ginny leaned toward the open door. It had been several minutes, but she hadn't heard a sound come from the room. She moved to stand just outside the doorway and examined Dean. He sat motionless on the window seat, the parchment at his feet, staring blindly at the floor. Ginny drew closer and noticed the fine dew of sweat liberally dotting his face and the ashen hue of the skin under his eyes. A few more steps toward him revealed his lips were tightly clamped together, as if he was trying not to vomit. Ginny slowly sank to the window seat next to him, and gently laid a hand over one of Dean's. It was cold and trembled slightly. Dean's hand turned and gripped hers tightly. He cleared his throat a few times before managing to ask, 'Did you know what it said?' His voice sounded strange to his own ears, oddly high and tight.


Dean nodded once and Ginny put an arm around his shoulders, aware the trembling in his hand had spread throughout his entire body. Her arm tightened, and Dean's head dropped to her shoulder.