Questions and Answers


Story Summary:
What happens when the past collides with the present and threatens to cast the Potters' and Weasleys' lives into disarray...

Chapter 05 - It Doesn't Matter


Lily, James, and Al sat on the floor of Fred and George's old bedroom. Lily leaned against James, who had his arm around her shoulders. For once, all eighteen cousins were quiet. 'Dad died,' whispered Al into the silence.

'Yeah,' James grunted.

That was all they could seem to manage to say. Parker was sitting behind Al on Fred's old bed. Al leaned his head against Parker's knee. 'When I was nine, Dad told me he got into a lot of trouble at school,' he said, voice muffled in Parker's jeans. 'I thought it was normal stuff like James, Fred, and Jacob.'

Rose's eyes were narrowed. 'Eighteen. Mum was eighteen when they were on the run.' She paused counting a bit more. 'Dad was seventeen. So was Uncle Harry.'

'How did they do it?' Sophie was awed.

'Dunno,' shrugged Fred. 'Worked together, I guess.'

The room fell silent once more.

'Dad used the word shite,' murmured James, a shocked giggle coming out of his mouth. The giggle echoed in waves around the room, breaking the nervous tension.

Isabella took in the slight strain on Lily, Al, and James' faces. Of all of them, they would be most affected by it, she thought. 'You three okay?'

James nodded. 'It's just a lot to take in. I still don't understand, though,' he said. 'Why Dad? Why did he have to do it? Why did this Voldemort bloke target Dad?'

Victoire's head landed on the wall with a thump. 'Who knows? Seems to me a lot of Dark wizards and witches do a lot of knee-jerk reactions about stuff. Blood purity and all that nonsense.' She snorted. 'When Teddy and I started going out we got a lot of guff from that lot in Slytherin.'

'Whatever for?' asked Owen. He adored Teddy

'Because not only are the Weasleys the biggest blood traitors in the world,' began Jacob.

'They all married Muggle-borns or half-bloods,' continued Fred

'What does that have to do with anything?' wondered Lily.

'No idea,' said Parker. 'But Ted got a lot of grief because of his father and Victoire because of her mother.'

'So?' challenged Hugo.

'A lot of those old pureblood families in Slytherin think anything that dilutes that pureblood status is a bad thing,' explained Madeline. 'Especially anything that they think of as less than human, like werewolves and Veelas.'

'And there are plenty of Muggle-borns who are better at magic than half those gits who are pureblood,' stated Parker. He guffawed. 'Like that absolutely thick idiot in your year, James. What's his name?'

'Goyle,' James supplied.

'Yeah, him. He's about as pureblood as you can get, but he's about two steps above a Squib,' Parker chuckled.

'There's always going to be idiots who believe in stuff like that,' mused Isabella.

'So what do you do?' asked Al.

'Ignore it.' Victoire sat up and stretched. 'Doesn't help anyone to get fussed about it.'

'Easier said than done, sometimes,' muttered James, who still harbored a bit of bitterness toward Nott and the infamous dragon liver incident.


Downstairs in the kitchen, Arthur held up a bottle of Firewhisky in mute inquiry. 'Oh, just fill the damn cup,' George muttered shoving his teacup to Arthur.

Harry pushed his toward Arthur. 'Mine, too.'

'Could just pass the bottle around,' said Ron in an undertone.

'Could do,' agreed Charlie. 'But then I'd have to share, and I'm not sure I want to right now.'

Harry slumped forward and rested his head on the table. 'Why do I feel like I've been trampled by Buckbeak?'

'Look like it too, with that mess you call hair,' commented George, trying to lighten the mood.

'Thanks, George,' replied Harry.

'Any time, mate.'

Arthur passed George and Harry's cups back to them. 'Cheers,' Harry said to no one in particular and tossed the entire contents back in one gulp. The Firewhisky burned as it traveled down his throat. He pushed the cup back to Arthur. 'More please,' he said hoarsely.

Arthur refilled the cup. 'Don't drink it all in one go, eh?'

'Just the first one,' Harry assured him, taking the cup and swirling the contents around.

The back door opened, and Teddy and Scorpius cautiously poked their heads through. 'No carnage?' asked Teddy.

'Not this time,' replied Bill.

Teddy took Scorpius' coat and hung it on a hook with his. 'Where'd they go?'

'Upstairs. My old room, I think,' said George.

'C'mon, Scorpius. Let's go see what kind of the trouble we can get into today,' Teddy said lightly as he led the younger boy up the stairs.

'Wonder what those two talked about...' mused Ron staring after Scorpius.

'They're related, you know,' said Harry. 'Cousins,' he added helpfully.

'They are?' Bill looked at Harry in surprise.

'Mmm-hmmm. Andromeda is Narcissa's sister,' Harry supplied.

'Really?' Bronwyn, who had been silent up until now, spoke up. 'They don't favor each other much, do they?'

'How do you know what Narcissa Malfoy looks like?' asked Charlie interestedly.

Bronwyn shrugged. 'Everyone comes through St. Mungo's at one time or another.' Charlie stared at her as if he hadn't lived with her for almost twenty years. 'What?' she responded exasperatedly to his stare.

'You never told me that,' he retorted.

'Ever heard of a little thing called patient confidentiality?'

'Well, yeah, but - '

'But, nothing, Charlie. What was I supposed to do, waltz into the kitchen one day during my week at St. Mungo's and say, "Guess who I treated today?" Of course, not.' Bronwyn impaled him on a look. 'I think the fumes from the dragons' breath have finally addled your brain.'

Charlie's mouth snapped shut. 'You're right,' he mumbled. 'Don't know what I was thinking. Sorry.'

'Besides, Charlie, it's not like people don't know what Narcissa looks like,' added Bill, lightly cuffing Charlie on the back of the head.

Harry pulled out his wand, and started to clear the table. While he might do the dishes at home the Muggle way, he'd be washing up all night if he did it that way here. He always helped with the washing up. It was only fair, he reasoned, that if Molly did most of the cooking, someone else should clean up the mess.

After everything was put away, it was time to head home. Harry dragged himself upstairs to corral his lot, following the sound of cheers from a rowdy group of children. He stood on the landing, looking at all of them, stuffed into one room. Not so much children anymore. Teddy would be twenty in April and Victoire would be eighteen in May. All the way down to Aidan, who would be seven this coming May. Hugo was playing chess with Parker. Harry watched the game for a few minutes. While Parker was good, having learned to play from Ron, Hugo was even better. 'Checkmate,' chimed Hugo.

'Well, I'll be buggered,' exclaimed Parker, tipping his king over.

'How many times has he beaten you?' asked Patrick.

'Too many to count,' sighed Parker.

'No worries, Parker.' Al spoke up brightly. 'Rosie can't beat Hugo, either.'

'Yeah, she takes after her mum in chess.' Harry started. He hadn't heard Ron come up the stairs. 'Come on, you two. Time to get home.'

'Us, too?' asked James.

'Yes, you, too,' said Harry patiently. James, Al, Lily, and Scorpius clattered down the stairs to the kitchen to gather their things.

'Hey, Dad?' James' voice came out from somewhere in the throng of redheads that surrounded him.

'Yes, James?'

'Can we watch a film when we get home? Before we go to bed? Please?'

'Maybe. We'll have to ask your mother.'

'But, Dad, we're on holiday,' James pointed out.

'Right.' Harry pushed his glasses up and rubbed his bridge of his nose. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately. 'Fine. One film, all right? Then you go up to bed, and no arguments.'

'Absolutely.' James darted through the crowd of adults and bounded to where Lily, Al, and Scorpius stood waiting for Harry and Ginny. 'We are so watching Star Wars!'

'I think you've created a monster.' Ginny put an arm around Harry's waist.

'Could be worse,' Harry said, bending his head to smell her hair. 'He could be like Dudley was at that age.'


When they returned to their house, Ginny and Harry sent the kids up to change into their pajamas. They could hear snatches of conversation that drifted down the stairs. 'What exactly is Star Wars?' Scorpius asked.

'It's only the best film ever!' answered James from his room. He started singing snatches of the melody from the film score.

Harry looked at Ginny, his eyebrows raised. 'Well, I happen to disagree,' he informed her.

'Oh, you do?'

'Yep.' He looked down at Ginny. 'It's Rear Window,' he told her smugly.

She shook her head. 'You're just as mental as you were when you were twelve, you know that?'

'Yep. And you love me.' Harry pulled Ginny to him and tilted her face up so he could kiss her.

'Ewww. Do you have to do that?' Lily's voice interrupted them.

'Yes, we do,' said Ginny. Lily made noises of disgust as she settled on the sofa with her favorite blanket and stuffed bunny. The boys came tumbling down the stairs in a flurry of plaid flannel and Quidditch t-shirts. 'Okay, you can have anything out of the refrigerator, and your dad and I will be in the office, okay?'

'Okay, Mum. Thanks,' James said, waiting impatiently for Ginny and Harry to leave.

'We could stay in here,' Harry threatened, as he and Ginny walked into the office, and partially closed the door. He collapsed into an armchair. He rolled his head and Ginny winced at the multiple popping sounds that came from his neck. She stood behind him, and began to knead the taut muscles.

'It could have gone worse, like you said,' she murmured.

'I suppose.'

'It'll be fine, Harry.' He shrugged. Ginny made a face at the back of his head. She delivered a sharp punch to his shoulder.

'Hey! What was that for?' he exclaimed, rubbing where she'd punched him.

'Stop brooding. That's an order.'

'I'm not brooding,' he said huffily.

Ginny laughed. 'Yes, you are.' She sobered and came around the chair to sit in Harry's lap. 'You don't like to talk about any of that stuff, because it makes you second-guess ninety-nine percent of the decisions you made. Hindsight and all. And then you brood. Because you feel guilty. Still. After almost twenty years.

'I told you after the war, not a single witch or wizard out there blames you because a member of their family died. It was a war and people die in wars. Occupational hazard, if you will.'

'I know.' Harry pulled Ginny back, so she nestled against him. 'Still doesn't make it go away.'

'I know, love.'

Harry was silent for a moment. 'Did you know after the battle, there were two things I wanted to do?'

'No.' Ginny was surprised. He had all but disappeared in the hours after the battle, into the boys' dormitory of the Gryffindor tower, and slept for the next thirty-six hours straight. She had found him in his bed. He had collapsed into it, fully dressed and still filthy from the battle.

'Well, one I did. I just wanted to sleep in a real bed. It was the first real bed I'd slept in since September and Ron, Hermione and I had left Grimmauld Place. I was so exhausted, I thought I'd sleep for a week.'

'And the other?'

Harry squirmed in mortification. 'I wanted to find you and...' He blushed.

'What?' Ginny was fascinated now.

Harry leaned his head back, so he looked at the ceiling. 'I wanted to find you and take you up to my dormitory, lock the door, put a Silencing charm on it, and shag you senseless,' he confessed in a low voice.

Ginny stared at him in astonishment. 'Why?'

'I don't know. All the death and destruction. And you were so beautiful. And when I saw you come into the Room of Requirement, I realized how much I loved you, and how much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.' He grinned at her in an abashed way and shrugged. 'I'm not sure how shagging you was supposed to communicate that...' He looked at Ginny. 'You must think I'm some sort of sick mental nutter right now, don't you?' She shook her head.

'Dad?' Al stood silhouetted in the doorway, dressed in baggy pajama bottoms and an oversize Montrose Magpies t-shirt, socks on his feet.

'How much did you hear?' Harry demanded. Ginny tried not the laugh at the mortified expression on Harry's face.

'Nothing.' Al edged into the room. 'I came in just now.' Ginny let out a muffled giggle as the nervous rigidity left Harry's body. Al shuffled to the chair and leaned against the armrest. 'I wanted to ask you something about today.'

Harry put an arm around his youngest son's shoulders. 'What do you want to know?'

'You said you had to die,' Al said slowly.


'How did you die? If you're not dead?'

'You know how I told you I had part of Riddle's soul in me?' Al nodded in response. 'I had to be willing to die, and that part of Riddle couldn't be destroyed unless I died. There were these... things... that helped me. Because I didn't want to cheat death or live forever...' Harry ran his hand over Al's messy black hair. 'I owned all three of these magic things at the same time. They saved me.'

'What happened to them?' Al was wide-eyed attentiveness.

'One is buried, and hopefully will stay that way. One is lost, and hopefully forever. Those two are dangerous in the wrong hands and they need to stay lost.'

'And the third?'

Harry leaned to whisper in Al's ear. 'I still have it. I inherited it from my dad.'

'May I see it?' Excitement lit up Al's small face.

'Not tonight, squirt. Maybe before you go back to school.'


'Promise.' Satisfied, Al turned and headed back to the sitting room. He stopped, and went back to the chair that Harry and Ginny still sat in.

'You know all that stuff you told us this afternoon?' he asked.

'Yes,' Ginny said. 'What about it?'

'It doesn't seem real. Like it happened to somebody else.'

'Believe me, son, it was real enough,' said Harry dryly.

'Yeah, but that person... It's almost like it happened to someone in one of those films out there,' Al said, gesturing toward the sitting room, where the deep, strident tones of Darth Vader rolled into the office. 'You... you're my mum and dad.' With that, Al padded back into the sitting room.

'Thank Merlin for that,' murmured Ginny.