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 32 - Breathless


Al pulled the fingerless gloves over his hands, settling them into place over his wrists, flexing his fingers a few times to ensure the fit was good. He strapped the protective pads over his forearms the way Ginny had taught him. Snug, but not so tight it cut off the circulation to his hands. The thick socks and shin pads were next, then the heavy boots. None of it weighed a great deal, but it was necessary to prevent serious injury from becoming catastrophic injury.

He heaved a sigh, watching James wind a sports version of Spellotape around his fingers. James' fingers had a tendency to jam and taping seemed to help. Rose used her wand to tightly plait her hair, as did Maddie and Izzy. Fred and Jacob carefully checked their bats for cracks, murmuring repairing spells when they found a spot that troubled them.

The air in the locker room was anxious and tense, but it usually was before a game. Today, however, it was positively stifling.

Al had always heard his parents talk about winning the Quidditch Cup at school. He'd spent countless hours in the trophy room, gazing in awe at the plaques from the years their team had won the cup, tracing their names with a fingertip. He wanted this so badly, he could practically taste it. He pulled a Muggle golf ball from his pocket and started tossing it in the air, trying to catch it with his eyes closed.

'It's time to go,' Izzy said quietly. As one, they rose and grasped their brooms, and strode purposefully toward the door in a single file line, Izzy in the lead. Al focused on the gold-edged black number six on the back of Rose's robes. He snorted with sudden mirth, as he realized they were the only team that had first initials on the backs of their robes, since they all had the same two last names. Still chuckling, he mounted his broom, and kicked up when Maya Hytner, the Slytherin who announced the games, said his name.

Al flew around the pitch a few times, getting a feel of the conditions. It was sunny, but not too bright, warm, with a soft breeze. Perfect.

The whistle blew, signaling the start of the game, and Al's focus narrowed to the Snitch. He was aware of Bludgers speeding past his head or under his feet, dodging them neatly, his gaze scanning the area for a tell-tale glint of sunlight on the silver wings of the Snitch. He could hear the shrill ding of the bell heralding a goal, along with the raucous roar of Gryffindor. He saw Abbie, the Ravenclaw Seeker, from the corner of his eyes. She was hot on the twig-ends of his broom. Her broom was slightly better than his, so it was imperative that he find the Snitch before she could outrace him.

The bell signals slowly faded from his consciousness, and everything around him faded until the only thing that existed was the search for the Snitch. He saw the spark of sunbeams reflecting off the Snitch, and darted toward it, looping over Abbie, making her scream in surprise and fury. Diving in the direction of the ground, Al pried one hand off the handle of his broom, and stretched his fingertips toward it, Abbie's hand closing over his, their fingertips brushing it at the same time. They landed in tandem, both of them clutching the Snitch.

Al glanced around him, suddenly aware the hush that had descended over the stadium. The sound of his own breath was harsh in his ears. The rest of the Gryffindor team landed behind him, the Ravenclaw team behind Abbie. All eyes were fixed on the wings flapping madly between Al and Abbie's hands.

Madam Pimm, the flying instructor, came pelting across the pitch. She held out her hand for the snitch, and Al and Abbie reluctantly handed it to her. 'Flesh memories...' someone could be heard murmuring into the yawning silence. It was rare for both Seekers to touch the Snitch at the same time, but it happened.

Madam Pimm closed her hand gently around the Snitch, her eyes drifting shut.

Al waited, his breath catching in his throat. Please, please, please... he begged silently, his eyes squeezed tightly closed. He felt a hand land on his shoulder and knew it was James'. He didn't see Madam Pimm's hand point to the Gryffindor team, but he heard the shouts from the stands. He opened his eyes in time to see Madam Pimm hand the large trophy to Izzy.


Hermione knocked on the front door of the house, holding her breath until the door opened, and Jane's confused face appeared in the small crack she allowed. 'Mum?' Hermione asked with an edge of doubt coloring her voice. 'Can I come in?'

'Of course you can.' Jane held the door open wider. 'Why didn't you come through the back garden?'

'Would you like some tea, Mum?' Hermione sidled through the door.

'I'd love some,' Jane said, relieved. 'I don't seem to remember buying any tea, though.'

'Mum, I just brought you some groceries the other day,' Hermione sighed. She went into the kitchen and stopped, staring around the room, her mouth open in abject shock. The kitchen was in a shambles. Plates with dry, crusty remains of food teetered in the sink. Cupboard doors hung open. Half-drunk cups of tea, a scum of milk over the top, littered the counter.

'Oh... I could have sworn I did the dishes the other day.' Jane's confused voice came from behind Hermione.

'Go have a seat in the sitting room, Mum,' Hermione said brightly. 'I'll take care of this, and bring you some tea in a few minutes.' Hermione took Jane's arm, and guided her to her favorite chair. She went back into the kitchen, and took a deep breath, and swept her wand around the kitchen. In seconds, the dishes were cleaned and in the cupboards, the counters sparkled, and a kettle of hot water hummed softly on the stove. 'Magic is a very good thing,' Hermione murmured, as she prepared a pot of tea.

She took the tea on a tray to the sitting room, and handed her mother a cup, perching on the ottoman next to Jane. 'Mum... We need to talk.'

'About what?' Jane sipped her tea placidly.

Hermione fiddled with the hem of her shirt, rolling it between her thumb and index finger. 'About you not living here anymore,' she choked.

'Why can't I?'

Hermione's hand clenched. 'You need to be somewhere where someone can look after you during the day...'

'I'm capable of looking after myself,' Jane snapped peevishly.

'I know you are, Mum,' Hermione said in a placating tone. 'But would you be comfortable with someone staying here with you?'

'Strangers in my home? Absolutely not.'

Hermione swallowed heavily. 'There's a place, Mum, here in Oxford. You can have a small flat there, and they'll bring you your meals. They show films and have games,' she added desperately.

Jane's face crumpled. 'Why are you doing this?'

'Mum, I really want you to consider this... Before you hurt yourself. Or someone else,' Hermione told her mother painfully. 'Or before I have to have you declared incompetent and force you to move...' Hermione reached over and took one of Jane's hands in hers. 'I don't want to do that, Mum...'

'Get out,' Jane said softly. 'Get out!' she repeated, louder.

'Mum... I...'

'Go home.' Jane yanked her hand from Hermione's grasp and went into the back garden.

Helplessly, Hermione watched her stalk away, then regretfully stood up, and Disapparated.


Harry sighed as he knotted the tie carefully at the base of his throat. 'Ruddy, useless things,' he muttered, as he settled the knot between the points of his shirt collar.

'Is this okay?' Lily asked, looking down at her dress, hopping on one foot, as she pulled on her other shoe.

Ginny presented her back to Harry, who pulled the zipper tab of Ginny's dress up to the top of the bodice. 'You look fine, Lils.'

'Will there be lots of Muggles there, do you think?' Lily stood next to Harry at the cheval mirror, and adjusted the ribbon that held her dark red hair away from her face.

'Probably,' Ginny told her. 'Dudley doesn't know any magic folk, except us.'

'How are we getting there?' Lily leaned against Harry.

'Apparition to Diagon Alley, then we'll take a train to Barkingside.' Harry smoothed a hand over Lily's shimmering hair.

'Speaking of,' Ginny piped up. 'We need to leave now if we plan to get to the church on time.'

Harry picked up his jacket and slid his arms through the sleeves. 'Ready, Lily?'

'I've been ready.'

'Harry?' Teddy yelled up the stairs. 'Come on!'

'And you usually have to fuss at one of them for dawdling,' Ginny murmured, following Lily down the stairs.

'I'm just nervous,' Harry muttered.

'You'll be fine,' Ginny assured him.

'Why did he have to pick me?'

'Because he thinks you'll be a good influence on Sarah.' Ginny squeezed Harry's hand. 'He trusts you.'

Harry gulped audibly and nodded stiffly. It's not going to come overnight, he told himself. One thing at a time... He met Teddy and Lily at the bottom of the stairs, and slung an arm around Teddy's shoulders. 'Thanks for coming, mate,' he said softly.

'No worries, Harry.' Teddy held his arms out. 'So do I look all right?' He wore a neatly pressed shirt and tie, with dark trousers. His hair was its normal sandy brown, flopping over his forehead.

'You look fine,' Ginny said. 'I'm sorry you had to give up your one day a week with Vic when she's not studying.'

'I'll live,' Teddy quipped, pushing the back door open, and gripping Lily's hand tightly. He Disapparated them to Diagon Alley, ahead of Harry and Ginny.

Ginny took Harry's hand and led him to the back garden. She turned and before Harry could say another word, he found himself in Diagon Alley, following Ginny through the Leaky Cauldron to the street. The Tube at Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road, then the longer ride up to Barkingside. Harry spent the journey worrying a button on the sleeve of his jacket between his fingers, half-listening to the chatter between Lily and Teddy.

As they approached Holy Trinity, Harry's mouth felt as if he'd attempted to eat a large wad of cotton wool. The service passed in a blur, the unfamiliar words flowing over him. He stood when everyone else did, knelt when they did, and stared sightlessly at the prayer book in his hands. He jumped several inches off the pew when Ginny elbowed his ribs sharply, fumbling the replace the book in the small slot on the back of the pew in front of them. He shakily got to his feet and went to the front of church, taking Sarah from Aaron's arms.

There was something about holding a baby that automatically improved Harry's mood. He smiled at Sarah, and crooned softly to her, as her face scrunched in befuddlement at the change in her scenery. He held her over a font, while the minister poured water over the dark downy hair that covered her head. Sarah didn't like it. She screeched in protest as the cold water flowed over her head. Harry cuddled her sympathetically, quieting her whimpers before he handed her back to Dudley and Aaron, who were beaming with pride. Before Harry returned to his seat, Aaron mouthed, 'Thank you.' Harry smiled in response, ducking his head in a fit of bashfulness before he slid into the pew next to Ginny.

After the service, Harry found himself in a room that reminded him of a miniature Great Hall, sipping a cup of coffee gratefully. Dudley folded himself into the spindly chair next to Harry. 'I really appreciate it, Harry.'

'I'm glad to do it,' Harry said. Feeling slightly less nervous, Harry indicated Teddy. 'If you want a reference, ask him. That's my godson, Teddy.'

'That's Teddy?' Dudley asked. 'But he's grown...'

Harry's lips curved in a small smile. 'I wasn't eighteen when his dad asked me to be his godfather. His father and mine were mates at school, and once Remus found out where I was he sort of looked after me as best he could.' Harry set his cup down on the table. 'He died when Teddy was just a month old. So did his mum,' Harry added quietly.

'So you raised him?' Dudley asked.

'No. Not by myself. He lived with his grandmother. I just helped.'

'I wouldn't call it helping,' Teddy snorted. 'You took care of me when I was sick, took me to footie matches, took me to buy my things for school. Yelled at me when I needed it. Took me down a few pegs when I deserved it. That's not helping,' he said pointedly, snagging the biscuit Lily had left on her plate.

Harry's ears burned. 'Anyway,' he mumbled, taking a hasty gulp of his coffee. 'The boys will be home from school in a few weeks, and Ginny and I would like to invite you, Aaron, and Sarah over for dinner.' He ran a hand through his disordered hair. 'You can meet James and Al then.'

'Maybe it'll go better this time around,' Dudley quipped lightly.

'One can hope.' Harry hesitated for a moment. 'I'm really sorry about that...'

Dudley blew out a breath, his eyes fixed on the ceiling. 'Yeah.' He smiled when someone handed him Sarah, who cooed at the sight of her father. 'So you'll ring?'

'Yeah. I'll even tell you how to get to the house. It can be a bit tricky.'

Dudley laughed softly. 'That would be nice.' He got to his feet carefully shifting Sarah. 'If you'll excuse me, I need to go say hello to some of my neighbors...' He wound his way through the crowd, stopping to greet a large group of people.

Harry glanced around the room curiously. He didn't remember seeing Vernon or Petunia earlier in the church. But he'd been so nervous; he didn't think he'd have noticed if McGonagall had done the can-can starkers. Harry got to his feet and found Aaron in a corner, talking to the minister. Harry waited politely until the minister excused himself. 'Where are Dudley's parents?'

'They didn't come,' Aaron admitted. 'We telephoned to invite them.' He bit his lip. 'It wasn't pretty,' he confessed in a whisper.

'I'm sure it was quite unpleasant,' Harry said.

'That would be an understatement,' Aaron agreed.

Harry sighed. It was one thing for Vernon and Petunia to dislike him. It was quite another to dislike their own child, and by extension his partner and their child. 'So, look, the boys will be home from school soon, and Gin and I were planning on having you over.'

Aaron flashed him a look of pure gratitude. 'That would be great.'


Draco paced outside the sitting room restlessly. There was nothing in his experience with marriage that could enable him to go into the room and just talk to his wife. It wasn't that she couldn't carry a conversation. On the contrary, Daphne was intelligent and well-informed. He had never bothered to try and engage her in conversation before. Not once in fifteen years of marriage. When he did bother to talk to Daphne, he resorted to speaking in pronouncements. It was all he knew.

His hand hovered over the doorknob uncertainly, before he grasped the ornate gilt doorknob and twisted it, pushing the door open. Daphne sat curled in a comfortable sofa, reading a book by the light of a single, dim lamp. Feeling somehow irritated by this, Draco slashed his wand through the air, forcing the room into blazing brightness. 'I'm going to Nice next week,' he stated. 'And I want you and...' He took a deep breath. 'Scorpius... to join me as soon as he comes home from school.'

Daphne opened her mouth to object. 'But...'

'See to it,' Draco growled impatiently. 'We'll be there most of the summer.' He swept from the room, hating himself for how he'd handled it.

Daphne bit her lip against the prickle of humiliated tears, as she crept to her desk, and pulled out a sheet of parchment. Scorpius had asked to spend a few days with Al at the Potters', but it looked as if they would have to cancel those plans. She hated to disappoint Scorpius. She knew that going to Andromeda's for tea on Saturday when Teddy was off duty was one of the highlights of his summer, as was the weekend he spent with Al and his family. She sighed and began to write a terse letter to Scorpius.


The train hurtled toward King's Cross, carrying two very dejected boys. 'What crawled up your father's bum and died?' Al grumbled.

'No idea.' Scorpius rested his forehead against the glass of the window, staring at the countryside that flew by. He turned to Al, his face creased in anxiety. 'You'll write me over the holiday?'

'Of course,' Al said.

'Station's coming up,' Rose said crisply. She reached into a bin over her seat and tugged her school bag down, so she could stow her book in it. 'Maybe it won't be so bad,' she suggested.

Scorpius snorted. 'Well, one good thing is that I won't be forced to associate with Geoffery over the summer.'

'See?' Rose offered. 'There's a bright side to everything.' She buckled the clasp of her bag. 'Well, almost everything.' She had received a letter from Hugo a few days ago. Something had happened with Hermione, and Hugo was worried. That made Rose concerned. Hugo didn't worry about much, but if he was uneasy enough to take the effort to write to her, something must be horribly wrong.


'Right,' Harry said, eyeing his children, sitting around the table. 'Your mum and I have a do at the Ministry Saturday evening. 'Neville and Hannah have graciously offered to keep an eye on you lot at the Leaky Cauldron. And since it'll be a late night, you get to stay there overnight,' he informed them.

'Really?' James' face lit up and a smile blossomed over his features. At his father's raised eyebrow, he slouched in his chair and mumbled nonchalantly, 'Yeah, that's cool...' James pushed his plate to the middle of the table. 'May I be excused?' he asked.

'After you put your plate in the sink,' Ginny said. James obeyed with alacrity, and left the kitchen, his footfalls fading as he went upstairs.

Harry toyed with his cherry crumble, spearing a cherry with his fork. 'What was that about?'

'He's fourteen.' Ginny smiled slightly. 'Almost fifteen.'


'If I recall correctly, you were just as cheerful at that age.'

'Dad was a surly git?' Al asked, his teeth stained with cherry juice.

'I wouldn't go that far,' Harry murmured, around a mouthful of his pudding.

'I would,' Ginny replied promptly. 'And James hasn't quite reached that level of surliness yet. He just doesn't want people to think he thinks it's cool to go stay with Neville and Hannah.'

'That's stupid,' Lily commented, carefully scraping the topping from her own dish of crumble. She liked to eat it last.

'That's being a teenager,' Ginny sighed.


Harry ran a finger over the silken strap of Ginny's midnight-hued dress. He loved her in dark blue. It put him in mind of the dress she'd worn at another Ministry function years ago, when she was carrying James. His arm tightened around her waist, and he brought her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss on the back. 'I'd swear you wore this to torture me,' he told her.

'How so?'

Harry grinned wolfishly down at her. 'Remember...? There was some Quidditch thing going on and we had to go to some bloody reception. I seem to remember Aiden Lynch making a pass at my lovely wife. You,' he told Ginny. 'Were wearing a particularly lovely dress in this shade of blue.' He lowered his head, so his mouth brushed against her ear. 'Couldn't keep my hands off you,' he whispered.

Ginny stifled the giggles that bubbled up as she sifted through her memories. 'I remember that...' She sipped her drink, smiling demurely at the Ministry official that greeted them. 'Hormonal didn't even begin to describe it...'

Harry glanced at his watch. 'So... dinner, a few speeches... some dancing...'

'Two hours, maybe?' Ginny guessed. 'Three at the outside.'

'After the first dance, we won't be missed,' Harry murmured, his hand sliding lower down Ginny's back.

'What are you suggesting?' Ginny was enjoying the game thoroughly. It was almost better than playing Quidditch with just the two of them and a Snitch.

'Oh... Not much...' Harry's fingertips trailed up Ginny's back. 'Thought I could show you something... in my office...'

'I'll let you know after dinner,' Ginny promised. 'During the first dance.'

Harry inhaled sharply. 'That's just cruel, Ginevra.'

Ginny's eyes widened. 'Oh, you'll pay for that...'

'Pay for what?' The sound of Teddy's voice made Harry start a little. Teddy pulled out a chair for Victoire.

Harry's eyes narrowed at Ginny. 'Nothing...'

Teddy looked around the table. 'Where are Ron and Hermione?'

'They couldn't come,' Ginny said succinctly.

'Her mother?' Victoire guessed.

'Yeah,' Harry said.

'Well, fancy seeing you here,' Arthur said dryly, approaching the table. He frowned counting the occupants. 'Percy's not here yet?'

'Oh, he's over on the other side with Penny, talking to the Head of International Magical Cooperation.' Ginny gestured to a small clump of people across the room. 'He's been here for an hour.'

'Have you talked to Hermione?' Molly asked Ginny.

'Not since Wednesday.' Ginny sipped her wine. 'She hasn't been working in the Ministry for the past few weeks. And when she's at her mother's, she doesn't answer her mobile. And Ron's almost as clueless as the rest of us, since he's been taking care of Rose and Hugo, while Hermione's gone.'

'That does not bode well...' Molly mused.

'No, it doesn't...' Ginny sighed.


The dinner dragged on interminably. The food was the standard rubbery chicken and overcooked vegetables. Molly poked at it with her fork. 'You'd think they could get better food. Pity you can't do much with it, magically...'

Harry snorted. 'I've been coming to these bloody things for twenty years. The food's never gotten better.' He speared a lifeless stalk of broccoli. 'I think this might be an improvement over last year,' he stated, holding it up. 'It doubled over on itself then.'

Teddy prodded his own broccoli. It bent easily against the curve of the tip of his knife. 'Doesn't look like much of an improvement.'

'Improvement's a relative term for Ministry function meals,' Penny confessed, with a wry grin. 'If it doesn't make you... Erm... Uncomfortable later...' She shrugged eloquently. 'That's an improvement.'

The rustles in the room gradually quieted as a wizened, bald man took to the podium set up at the front of the Atrium. 'Oh, bloody hell,' Arthur huffed. 'Speeches...'

'You're just going to fall asleep anyway,' Molly told him.

'It's why I said bloody hell,' Arthur told her. 'You keep poking me in the ribs to wake me up.'

Harry felt Ginny's hand land lightly on his knee. His eyes flicked down to the knee hidden by the tablecloth. She would keep it there, not moving it, just keeping him on the edge of anticipation, wondering if she'd slide her hand further up this thigh. It made the speeches bearable.

Teddy couldn't keep his eyes off Victoire. She was normally quite striking, but tonight, she was stunning. He patted his jacket pocket. The small box was safely inside. If things went according to plan, tonight was the night. He'd already scouted the perfect location in Regent's Park. It had to be Regent's Park. Gran had told him that was where his grandfather had taken her on their first date. They could slip out after the speeches were over. No one would notice they were gone.

Penny watched Percy with a great deal of amusement. He could listen to every speech, discuss them in detail later, and use every bit of information in them to make deals across the Ministry. Out of the nearly two hundred people in the room, Percy was the one of the few actually listening. Even more amusing, he was enjoying it. Penny suppressed a smile, and poked at some gelatinous, paste-like substance that passed as mousse.

Arthur's head dipped a bit and almost immediately, he jerked upright, snorting. It slowly fell forward again, his chin nearly touching his chest before Molly tapped him in the ribs. Hard. He shot upright, inhaling strongly through his nose.

Ginny could feel Harry's thigh tighten under her hand. Keeping a polite smile on her face, she slid her hand up a few inches. She let the smile grow smug as she felt his muscles twitch under her palm. The next hour or two was going to fun. More fun than they'd had in ages.


The musicians at the other end of Atrium began to play a waltz. Teddy rose from his chair and held a hand out to Victoire. 'Care to dance?'

'Oh, I don't know,' Victoire said playfully. 'I think I might have to sit this one out and finish this delectable pudding...' She laughed gaily at the stricken expression on Teddy's face. 'I'm joking. I was hoping we could sneak out soon and go get some real food. I'm starving.'

Teddy felt a large smile spread over his features. 'I was hoping you'd say that.'

'One dance, though.' Victoire stood up gracefully and let Teddy lead her to the dance floor.

Percy downed the wine in his glass and glanced at Penny. 'Time to let our hair down, eh?' He grinned and swept her to her feet in a rather well-executed waltz.

Harry nudged Ginny's empty glass. 'Would you like a refill?' he asked.

'Yes, please.' She squeezed his knee, and let her hand slide off his leg.

'Come on, Mollywobbles. Let's go show those young people how to cut a rug.' Arthur leapt to his feet and pulled Molly to hers. Giggling a little, Molly and Arthur joined the growing crowd, leaving Ginny alone at the table.

Harry turned from the bar, a glass of Firewhisky in one hand, and a glass of wine in the other. He saw an alluring woman, sitting alone at her table, her chin propped up in an upturned hand. Intrigued, Harry made his way to the table. 'You alone tonight?' he asked. She glanced up at him, tossing her heavy red hair over her shoulder.

'No, I'm here with my husband, but he seems to have abandoned me,' she sighed.

'He must be a world-class git,' Harry told her. 'Mind if I join you?'

Ginny shook her head, gesturing to the empty seat next to her. 'Not at all.' She noticed the glass of wine Harry sat on the table. 'Is that for your wife?'

Harry made a show of looking for someone. 'Seems I've lost her. Pity.' He pushed the glass a bit closer to Ginny. 'If you want it.'

Ginny picked up the glass and swirled it gently. 'So what brings you here?'

'Oh, I work here.'

'Really? As what?'

Harry grinned abashedly. 'I'm a department Head.'

Ginny's eyebrow rose. 'You're awfully young to be a Head.'

'Youngest Head ever,' Harry said proudly. 'Not that I mean to brag...'

'You must be the Head of some inane department, then,' Ginny pronounced.


'Oh, I'll believe that when I see it.'

Stung, Harry protested, 'No, really.' He sipped his Firewhisky, examining the pert woman next to him. 'I'll prove it to you.'

'And how are you going to do that?'

Harry shoved his chair away from the table. 'I'll show you my Dark Wizard detector collection.'

Ginny burst into peals of laughter. 'Oh my. That's an offer I can't refuse.' She collected her handbag and wrap and stood up. 'Lead on.'

Harry offered her his arm, and the two of them strolled to the lifts, riding them to Level Two in a tension-filled silence. When the doors opened, Harry led Ginny out of the lift, and began to make his way to the Auror section of the floor. 'This still doesn't prove anything,' she said languidly.

'Just wait.' Harry went down the corridor, past the trainees' classroom, past the warren of cubicles for the Auror staff, and down to the plain door that guarded his office. With a smirk, he tapped the doorknob with his wand, and it swung open. He turned to Ginny and waved her into the office. 'Convinced yet?'

'A little.' Ginny flounced into the office, perching on the edge of the desk. 'I suppose any Head Auror worth five Knuts would safeguard his own office.' She glanced around the office interestedly. 'So where are your Dark Wizard detectors?'

'In some cupboard somewhere...' Harry's mouth lowered to hers. 'Would your husband mind if I did this?' he asked, before he kissed her.

'No more than your wife would,' Ginny murmured.

'How 'bout if I did this?' Harry pushed her back over the edge of the desk, and slid his hand up her stocking-clad leg.

'He'd hate that,' Ginny said throatily.

Harry's hand slid further under the skirt of Ginny's dress, convulsing in surprise when he passed the top of Ginny's stocking, and found... Nothing. He gasped softly. 'Does your husband know you came here with no knickers?' he demanded.

'I meant to surprise him with it later,' Ginny sighed.

'I've changed my mind,' Harry informed Ginny. 'Your husband's a wanker if he ignores you like this.'

Ginny began to undo the buttons of Harry's trousers. 'So would your wife mind if she knew I was about to do this?' She slid her hands into Harry's trousers.

'She'd be furious,' Harry groaned.

'Good,' Ginny whispered.


Much, much later, Ginny sat in Harry's lap in his large chair, curled up like a cat. Their clothes were haphazardly strewn about the office in a mute testament to their previous activities. She pressed a kiss to the underside of Harry's jaw, chuckling softly. 'If anyone had been eavesdropping, they'd have assumed we were having an affair.'

Harry traced a line of freckles over Ginny's shoulders. 'Hardly,' he snorted. 'We're both too well known.'

Ginny giggled. 'It was awfully dirty,' she commented.

'Yes, it was.' Harry shifted, wincing as his skin pulled from the leather with an unpleasant squelching noise. 'Want to stay here a bit longer?'

Ginny settled against him. 'Yeah...'


Victoire followed Teddy through the Jubilee Gate in Regents Park. 'Where are we going?' she whispered. She hadn't been outside wizarding London much, but she knew the park was closed at this time of night.

'Right here,' Teddy said. He stopped next to a fountain. 'This was where my grandparents had their first date,' he said reverently. 'Gran said he took her to see a production of Romeo and Juliet here. She had to sneak out of the house to meet him.'

Teddy conjured a fluffy blanket and spread it on the grass. He helped Victoire sit down, then joined her, his hand closing over the small box. 'So, Vic...'


'I know we'll have to wait a bit, but...' He held the box out to Victoire.

Victoire's hands shook slightly as she took the box and opened it. A small diamond gleamed in the night, set in a delicate antique gold setting. 'It's lovely,' she breathed.

'It was my mum's,' Teddy told her. 'Dad said in his journals he spent every last Knut he had on it.' He glanced up at Victoire. 'He didn't have much money.' Teddy took a deep breath. 'Will you marry me?' he said quietly.

Victoire took the ring from its slot and slid it over her finger. It nestled snugly at the base of her finger. 'Yes...'

A/N: I don't know much about Church of England christenings, so if anyone knows... :) There is a church called Holy Trinity in east London. I picked that one for this chapter because in the section of their website where they discuss christenings, they mention the importance of godparents, then use Sirius as an example. (really!) So I had to use that church. :) I promise, I will deal with Rose and Hugo and how they feel about what's happening with Jane. And I seriously don't know what my deal is with making Harry and Ginny shag in inappropriate places... It's an illness. lol!