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 13 - Wonder Witch


George and Katie's owl tapped the kitchen window at breakfast. Al slid off his chair, and went to open the window and collect the package. The large magenta 'W' on the box signified its origin from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Harry and Ginny usually weren't too concerned when Fred and Jacob sent Al and James a package. George or Katie generally checked the box before it was sent out, and removed anything that could potentially cause a great deal of trouble. Most of the time it contained fairly harmless merchandise. Headless Hats and the like.

Al set the package aside. He wouldn't open it until James made his bleary way down to breakfast. It was the one unspoken agreement between the two of them - no opening packages from Fred and Jacob when they weren't together. He went back to his breakfast, eyeing the door impatiently, waiting for James to come through so he could rip the box apart.

'So what do you have planned for the day, Al?' Ginny asked.

'Not much. Dad said I had to have my summer Herbology essay finished before Scorpius gets here this afternoon.' Al stirred the milk in his bowl, watching a few errant cornflakes swirl in the eddy he made. 'Hey, Dad?'

'Yeah?' Harry replied absently, frowning at the paper. Hermione's effort to repeal some of the more virulent anti-werewolf legislation was proving difficult with memories of Fenrir Greyback still fresh in some people's minds.

'Can Scorpius and I do a Star Wars marathon tonight?' Al asked hopefully.

'As long as you don't intend to watch the so-called prequels,' Harry said, putting the paper down. 'Those are -'

'Absolute rubbish,' James' voice chimed in as he slunk into the kitchen, still in his pajamas.

'Nice of you to join us, James,' commented Ginny, with a pointed look at the clock. It was well after nine.

'Mum, it's summer hols,' whined James. 'I shouldn't have to wake up early every day.'

'Eight is not early,' Lily loftily informed her oldest brother.

'Says you,' mumbled James, reaching for the cereal box.

'We got a box from Fred and Jacob,' said Al to James, who immediately perked up.

'We did? Brilliant!' James began to get up from the table to fetch the box, only to be stopped by Ginny's ostentatious throat-clearing.

'After both of you are done with at least one essay,' she said. 'You have one for Potions you still need to finish?'

'Yes...' James sighed.

Ginny pointed her wand at the ceiling, and said sharply, 'Accio.' James and Al's books zoomed into Harry's hands.

Harry put the books on the kitchen table. 'After breakfast, the two of you get started on those essays. The sooner you get them done -'

'The sooner we can open the box,' sighed Al. He and James hunched their shoulders in resignation. 'Bugger,' muttered Al.

'Watch your language, Albus,' reminded Ginny, with a pointed glance at the half-full jar on the counter. Each time one of the children said something inappropriate, they had to add a Sickle to it. She left the kitchen with Harry, and went back upstairs to their bedroom. They stood on each side of the bed, making it together, working in tandem out of long practice. 'Were we ever that bad about our homework?' she asked.

'I was,' Harry said baldly, tightly pulling the sheet up to the head of the bed, smoothing the wrinkles. 'But mostly with Potions. The others I didn't mind so much. After my second year, I had to do my summer homework under the covers, though. They locked my school things in a cupboard, and I had to pick the lock,' he said only slightly off-handedly. He and Ginny tugged the quilt into place, making minor adjustments to it. 'What time are you leaving?'

'Game's at five, so I'll head over to Holyhead at three,' Ginny said, fluffing pillows. 'Who knows when it'll be over,' she said shrugging. 'They've got a good Seeker this year, though. If it's over before nine, I'll go to the Prophet office to write the article and leave it on MacKenzie's desk.' She put the pillows in place, and moved about the room, collecting clothing for the laundry. 'What time is Scorpius coming over?'

'Four, I think.' Harry hoisted a laundry basket with the children's school uniforms into his arms. 'The note said Daphne will probably Apparate over with him.' He went into James' room, laying his uniforms on the desk. 'I'll take him back home on Sunday after lunch.'

'Should you do that?' inquired Ginny, with a slightly worried frown. 'I mean, you haven't had a nightmare since Christmas,' she said softly.

'I'll be fine,' Harry said shortly. He took Al's uniforms into his room, stacking them on the foot of Al's bed. 'It's not like I'm going inside or anything. Just taking him to the gate.' He took the basket holding Lily's Muggle school uniforms into her room. 'I'll be fine, Gin,' he repeated. Harry tucked the basket under his arm, and reached out to touch Ginny's cheek with his fingertips. 'And if not, I have you,' he murmured. His hand slid to cup the back of Ginny's head, pulling her closer. He bent his head and kissed her gently, lingeringly.

'Ew!' Lily's scornful voice broke into the delicate shell around her parents. 'Do that in your own room,' she scoffed. 'Now I have to fumigate.' She shooed Harry and Ginny from the room, before gathering her crayons and paper, and skipping down the stairs and out the back door.


James sat hunched over his Potions book, writing an essay explaining how magically-grown herbs will react in a potion, as opposed to Muggle-grown herbs. He stopped and looked longingly at the box, sitting tantalizingly nearby. 'Don't do it,' cautioned Al. 'You want a repeat of two weeks ago?'

'Not particularly.' James chewed his lip absently, measuring his essay.

'How long did it have to be?' asked Al, craning his head to see James' essay.

'Two feet.'

Al whistled softly. 'That's not too bad.'

'I suppose.'

'How much do you have left?'

'Just more six inches,' James said grimly. He learned the hard way his first year to write normally. The first essay he turned in to Professor Williams was the requisite two feet, but James had written his letters so large; he had about three words per line. 'It's not as bad as the essay I have to write for Neville. He wants three feet.'

'On what?' Al was scratching his nose with the end of his quill. 'Mine only has to be eighteen inches.'

'Oh, this and that. The proper care of the magical plants we've studied. More of a review kind of thing. And believe me, with as much as Neville does in Herbology second year, it's going to be a piece of cake.'

'Not looking forward to that next summer.'

The talk died down, and the kitchen was filled with the scratching sounds of quills on parchment once again.

Harry and Ginny went into the kitchen at odd intervals to check on the boys' essay progress, making comments and suggestions, until at long last, they deemed the boys' work complete. They darted to retrieve the box, and took it outside to the base of the elm tree.

James ripped the box open, and pulled out a note written in Fred's round scrawl.

James and Al - The Little Wonder Witch stuff is for Lily. Sophie really likes 'em. Although we don't put much stock in the word of an eleven-year old girl. You can have some real fun with the Wonder Witch Instant Makeup kit. You should have seen Jacob the other day. Here Jacob's angular, untidy scribble interrupted. (Shut up, Fred!) He was really pretty. The rest of it's some of the usual things. Mum and Dad search the box before they send it out with Jeeves. Dad says we're too much like him to allow the box out without his okay.

Hope you have fun.

Fred and Jacob

Al looked up as the back door slammed shut. Ginny and Lily had come outside, a Quaffle resting lightly in Ginny's hands. They began to toss it back and forth, while Ginny casually offered pointers on throwing the ball. 'Hey, Lily!' he called out. 'Fred and Jacob sent something to you!'

Lily caught the Quaffle, and tossed it to Ginny on the run. She jogged to the elm tree, and caught the small package James threw toward her. 'Little Wonder Witch?' she asked, turning the package over in her hands. 'Oh, it's like lip gloss.' She pulled a slim tube from the package. 'It's flavored! Butterbeer, Pumpkin Pasty, Licorice Wand... Ooooh.... There's even an Every-Flavor Bean. Thanks!' Lily ran back to Ginny, the lip gloss clutched in her hand.

'Butterbeer flavored lip gloss, eh? Nice.' Ginny asked.

'Want to borrow it?' Lily asked brightly, before picking up the Quaffle again.

'Erm, no... You can have it,' Ginny muttered. When she was eleven butterbeer flavored lip gloss might have been appealing, but not as at thirty-seven.

James held the Wonder Witch package. 'What in Merlin's name do Fred and Jacob think we're going to do with this?'

Al shrugged. 'Not sure.' He plucked the package from James' hand. There were two brushes - one small and one larger - and what looked like a lipstick tube. Al read the directions on the box. 'For eye shadow turn the handle once for blue, twice for pink, three times for green, and four times for brown.' Al rotated the handle three times, and ran the brush across the back of his hand. A sparkly streak of green appeared on his skin. 'Wicked,' he breathed.

James took the larger brush and nudged Al. 'What does it say for this?'

Al glanced back down at the box. 'Turn the handle two clicks for pink, three for peach.'

James carefully turned the handle two clicks, and swiped the brush across his hand. A trail of rosy pink lay in hazy swirls on the back of his hand. 'Check out the lipstick,' he said excitedly.

Al pulled the last item out of the box. 'Turn twice for red, and three times for pink.' He turned the tube twice, and reached out with it to leave a streak of red on James' cheek, making James jerk back, rubbing the lipstick from his face. 'This is cool. But I still don't know what we can do with it, besides give it to Lily.'

James scrambled to his feet. 'I'm going to get a butterbeer. You want one?' Al nodded absently, going through the rest of the box from the joke shop. James came bursting through the back door. 'Al!' he hissed. 'I know what to do with the Wonder Witch box!'


Harry picked up the latest issue of Quidditch Quarterly with a happy sigh, and stretched out on the sofa to enjoy it. The boys were in the back garden with a package from Fred and Jacob. Lily was also in the back garden with Ginny, learning how to handle a Quaffle. The sun was shining, and the usual idiots who insisted on Muggle-baiting at odd times were lying low for now.

It was a good day.

Harry opened the magazine to the story Ginny had written for them, profiling some of the more successful women Quidditch players who managed to balance their families and the game. She had never told him why at the height of her career, she decided to quit playing and start reporting about it. When he had asked Ginny, she had just shrugged and said it was time. And that was the end of the discussion. Harry had always felt there was more to it than that, but the one time he pressed Ginny for more information, she had accused him of trying to micromanage her life, and they'd had one of their rare, but nasty fights where he accused her of not thinking rationally, and she shot back, telling him he had no right to tell her how to think. It culminated in Harry stomping out of the flat and Apparating to Ron and Hermione's flat. He'd slept in their spare room that night.

He'd never asked Ginny about it again.

After reading less than two paragraphs, Harry's eyes began to droop and he fell asleep, the magazine spread open on his stomach. When he was still doing field work with the Aurors, he would never have slept as soundly as he did now, but the part of his brain that would have allowed to him sleep with a virtual eye open, realized he was at home, and relatively safe.

James and Al hung over the back of the sofa, watching their father sleep. 'D'you think he's out?' whispered Al.

'Yeah,' said James confidently. He'd seen Harry fall asleep on Saturday afternoons too many times to not know about his father's sleeping habits. He reached down and slowly lifted Harry's glasses off his face, freezing when Harry's nose twitched. Harry continued to sleep, breathing deeply and evenly. James quietly put the glasses on the table at the end of the sofa. 'Hand me the eye shadow,' he said, holding his hand out. Al placed in James' outstretched palm as if James were a Muggle surgeon they'd seen on those television programs.

James carefully slid the brush over Harry's eyelids, leaving the shimmery, green eye shadow in its wake. He handed the brush back to Al, and wordlessly Al gave him the blush. James lightly swept the brush over Harry's cheeks and Harry now sported two round circles of rosy pink blush. Giggling to himself, Al leaned over the back of the sofa and quickly rubbed the lipstick lightly over Harry's lips.

The two boys stepped back from the sofa, examining their handiwork. 'Bloody brilliant,' breathed James.

'I can't believe he didn't wake up,' said Al.

They turned and tiptoed out of the sitting room, and into the back garden.


Ginny looked sympathetically at Harry. The other night had been brutal. He had been called to London's East End to investigate a bout of Muggle-baiting. It was the second in as many weeks. He had been up all night with the Aurors investigating the incident and members of the Obliviator squad. When he crawled into bed at dawn the next day, he grumbled about not being able to bounce back like he had when he was eighteen and just joined the Aurors.

She heard the back door open and Teddy's bright turquoise head peered around the doorway. 'Hiya, Ginny!'

'Hi, Teddy.' Ginny crossed the room, and folded Teddy into a warm embrace. He lifted Ginny off her feet and set her back down. 'I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't seem like you should be tall enough to pick me up like that. It feels like yesterday you were only a year old and sloshing water all over the bathroom of the flat.'

'Ginny!' Teddy whispered in consternation. 'Does Vic know that?'

'Of course she does,' Ginny replied matter-of-factly. 'She's seen all the photographs from when you were a baby. Including the one when you were running about naked after your bath,' she mused, patting his cheek affectionately.

'Oh, Ginny,' moaned Teddy.

'She thought it was adorable,' consoled Ginny. 'Could you do something for me, though?'


'I need to go to Holyhead, and I don't want to leave the children while Harry's asleep.

'Not a problem. I'll take care of everything.'

'Thanks, Teddy.' Ginny picked up her bag. 'Scorpius' mother is going to drop him off about four.'

'Erm, Ginny?' said Teddy, softly, but urgently.


'Aren't you going to wake Harry up?' Teddy gestured to Harry's heavily made-up face.

Ginny cocked her head to the side, considering. 'Nah. He knows better than to sleep down here when the boys get a package from the shop. Serves him right.' And with that, went out the back door to tell James, Al, and Lily she was leaving, then was gone with a faint pop.

Teddy sauntered into the back garden, lazily waving his wand to Transfigure the empty Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes box into a football. 'Who's up for two-a-side footie?' he called into the garden.


Harry woke up, snorting. There was a steady knocking on the front door, which was odd. Most family members came to the back door. He peered near-sightedly for his glasses, and found them on the end table. Ginny must have taken them off before she left, he thought, checking his watch, startled to see it was four in the afternoon. He shoved the glasses on his nose and hurried to the front door. Scorpius and his grandmother stood on the front steps, both wearing odd expressions. Passing it off as a Malfoy thing, Harry smiled at Scorpius. 'Hi there.'

'Hello, Mr. Potter,' he said politely, before a roar from the back interrupted. James, Al, and Teddy came pelting around the corner of the house.

'Hi, Scorpius!' shouted Al.

Scorpius dropped his bag and ran to join the melee that was in progress.

Harry stuck his hands in his pockets. 'Mrs. Malfoy,' he said by way of a greeting.

'Mr. Potter,' she replied, inclining her head, gracefully, her lips noticeably twitching.

Harry bit back a sigh of impatience. 'I don't mean to be rude, but what's wrong? Do I have something on my face?' he asked with a total lack of irony.

Narcissa let a giggle escape, before she dug a compact from her handbag and held it open in front of Harry's face. 'I don't think green is quite the color for you,' she commented.

His eyes widened as he took in the boys' artwork. 'I'm going to kill them,' he said conversationally. 'I can't believe I slept through that. Would you like to come in?' he asked Narcissa, remembering his manners.

'I'll just go tell Scorpius good-bye and head back,' she said, trying not to peer into the house.

'I'd really like to talk to you,' Harry said quietly. 'Please,' he stood aside, motioning for Narcissa to come inside. She hesitated before she bent to pick up Scorpius' bag. 'I'll get it,' Harry said. Narcissa straightened and strode into the house. Harry grabbed the bag, and dropped it by the door, before following Narcissa into the house. 'Have a seat,' he said. 'I'll just go wash this mess off my face. Back in a few.'

Harry dashed to the bathroom, muttering unkind things about his offspring, as he haphazardly scrubbed the makeup from his face. He clattered back down the stairs, darting into the office, and went back into the sitting room to find Narcissa perched on the edge of a chair. Harry settled on the sofa, still swiping at drops of water on his chin. 'I never really got to thank you,' he said. 'For saving my life.'

'Oh... that.' Narcissa seemed embarrassed. 'It was nothing.'

'It wasn't nothing to me,' Harry stated.

'It was something any mother would do,' she retorted.

Harry held out a piece of parchment. It was a signed and sealed statement from the Ministry and the Aurors confirming that Lucius Malfoy was indeed dead. It was procedure for all former Death Eaters now. Harry could still hear Barty Crouch, Jr.'s voice regaling them with the tale of his faked death. 'This is for you. Goes with the rest of Mr. Malfoy's papers.'

'Thank you. I guess,' she said flatly.

'You don't have to check in with us, you know,' Harry informed her quietly. 'You never had to.'

Narcissa shrugged. 'Habit by now,' she said diffidently. 'Doing it for Lucius for so long.' She looked down at the parchment in her hands. 'You kept us out of Azkaban.'

'It wasn't just me,' protested Harry.

'Mr. Potter, I know it was. If you hadn't been willing to speak on my behalf at the trial, my family would have been truly gone. Lucius and Draco would have received sentences equal to any of those still in prison.'

Harry squirmed. 'Lucius wasn't able to do much of anything when he escaped from Azkaban,' he said. 'And his wand was destroyed when I left my aunt's house. If he had tried to leave Riddle's service he would have been dead. We both know that. And Draco had been punished enough his sixth and seventh years of school. Having to spend the rest of his life on what amounts to probation is fairly humiliating, I imagine. But not nearly as humiliating as a life sentence in Azkaban.' Harry rubbed the back of his neck. 'I guess we're even, then,' he said.

'I guess we are.' Narcissa's head turned and she gazed out a window. Teddy was bouncing the football on his knee, while the children counted. 'He... Teddy... My sister.' Her voice cracked, and she drew in a deep breath to calm herself. 'It wasn't worth it,' she admitted. 'Sins of the fathers. Enough now,' Narcissa mused. She shook her head. 'I'm sorry, Mr. Potter. I've intruded on your hospitality long enough.' She rose to her feet and went to the front door.

Harry hastily pushed himself to standing and opened the door for Narcissa. He followed her out to the front garden. 'Scorpius,' she called.

Scorpius came running to them. 'Are you leaving?' he asked.

'I am. I believe Mr. Potter will be bringing you home Sunday afternoon?'

'Yes. After lunch with Ginny's family,' Harry confirmed.

'That's fine.' Narcissa looked down at her grandson. 'Do remember to behave, dear,' she said. 'And have a good time.' She hugged the boy tightly. 'I'll see you on Sunday.'

'Bye, Grandmother,' Scorpius said. He backed up to stand next to Harry and waved to Narcissa as she Disapparated..