Ginny woke up to the sound of Harry starting to fuss, they had slept for quite some time and it was now mid-afternoon, he was probably hungry. She picked up Harry and considered waking up Draco too but there was little reason to, as she looked down the street there were still plenty of witches and wizards going around so it was better for them if they stayed in the hotel room for the moment and he had no idea what to do.
She, at least, had a vague idea.
“Awake I see!” Mrs. Rees greeted her when she passed the armchair by the telly.
“Yeah, Harry made his wishes very clear” she joked, Ginny liked Mrs. Rees, eccentric as she seemed back in the alley, the older woman had been very helpful and kind to them.
The older woman laughed “Ah! I remember that age, my youngest would let me know he was hungry from the other side of the house” Ginny smiled, leaving the woman to her memories.
“Let’s see where Mrs. Rees put the baby mush” she refused to call that food, but Mrs. Rees looked surprised when she reached for formula, so she imagined that at one year old, babies moved to that mush with the static picture of some way too happy child and had quickly changed course.
She spotted the mush in a small box by the bed, when she opened it was cold like a freezing cabinet back home and remembered Hermione talking to her dad about the muggle fridge, she figured this was it. She took the one with the image of a pear, hoping that fruit would be better than the meat ones.
When Ginny turned the room’s extra bedding had been turned into a semi-circle on the rug and Mrs. Rees looked at her guiltily “I’m sure that if we are careful and put everything back in their place it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Ginny laughed and put Harry down on the rug, he looked happy to see the mush and tried to reach it.
“Oh, what an independent boy,” the older woman cooed at Harry “but not yet, you should let mummy help you for some more time”
While she knew Mrs. Rees had made assumptions about them and that those assumptions benefited them, it still was so strange to hear the woman call her Harry’s mother, like she was stealing someone else’s place.
Ginny forced herself to ignore that feeling for now, uncapping the mush instead, gently bringing the spoonful to Harry that seemed very interested in getting the mush on his hand and then all over his face. She could barely tell how much he was actually eating from the ones she couldn’t prevent him from hijacking.
Mrs. Rees put a hand to her shoulder as she tried to avoid the baby now dirty hands “You don’t need to stress about it, it’s natural at his age to want to play with food, good even”
Ginny turned to her, looking unsure “But what if he isn’t eating enough? It’s more on his hair than in his mouth”
The older woman just smiled “If he is still hungry then he will let you know, just trust his instincts, it is strange with your first child, I know I still worry about mine from time to time, but you’ll see, you just need to work together, all of you” and with a look, indicated the still sleeping Draco.
Ginny felt very unsure about that, the idea of ever fully trusting Draco Malfoy hit an open wound way too soon, he was selfish and intolerant and vain, they didn’t get along, had different views on everything and he had caused so much pain, he was a Death Eater for fuck’s sake. He also prevented her from going against Voldemort to be certainly killed.
Ginny almost hated him for that the most.
The way he looked at her, blank stare on red-rimmed eyes, longing to be far away, it didn’t help that the new clothing highlighted how bad he let his health get throughout that terrible year, even now a pained scowl marred his sleeping face, like someone who hadn’t slept right for weeks and was now hurting because of it.
She had given him a choice and she needed to make her own.
She asked trust, could she give him her trust?
Could she trust him just enough to let him earn it?
Deciding to not think about it for now, she turned back to Harry, dirtier than ever as he had found the mush jar and stuck his whole hand in it, Ginny sighed, that would be so much easier to deal with a scourgify, but they weren’t sure how the trace would work and she didn’t want to risk it. They would have to do things the muggle way at least until Draco turned seventeen.
Now that she thinks about it, when did he turn seventeen?
Not just his birthday, time in general, was October a setback or a jump forward? Did they count as a year older?
“So how old is he?”
“Harry, how old is he?”
“Oh!” it had scared Ginny for a second “He turned one in July”
Mrs. Rees frowned and Ginny stiffened but when the woman looked at her it was with curiosity and concern rather than accusation “How did you last a year with a child to look after?”
“A family friend helped us” she lied, using her best tone of casualty.
“And this supposed friend just left the two of you alone now?!”
The protectiveness of Mrs. Rees reminded Ginny of her own mother, it warmed her to see that kindness on other people but it also was a painful reminder that she couldn’t see her.
So instead Ginny deflected the question “I’ve been meaning to ask, why are you staying at a hotel? You don’t live nearby?” and the conversation turned to the more casual topic.
“No, I live in Little Haven” the woman explained, regaining her normal smile “My older son is moving to a new neighbourhood and the doctors are confident his little girl will be born in a few days, so I’ve been staying close”
“We won’t impose then” Ginny tried for a reassuring smile “We will leave in the morning, sorry for the nuisance”
“Nothing to be sorry for, darling.” Mrs. Rees laughed and shook her head “Us, the older generation, should take care of you, the new generation, our future”
She has no idea of how right she is, thought Ginny.
“But this does make me wonder, where do you plan to go next?”
Ginny blushed then, she wished she had paid more attention to Hermione, now she wouldn’t feel like stumbling in the dark “Well, we were talking of asking... government help, I think?”
“Welfare, then?” the older woman seemed to think about it for a moment, Ginny had no idea what to do.
“Is it, a bad thing?” she hesitated.
“Not really, just the prejudice of some people” the woman sighed irritated “Thinking they are so superior but hopefully everything works out for you three”
Ginny held back a smirk, she knew the feeling and couldn’t wait to see Malfoy’s reaction.
“Where, uh, can we search for it?”
“You will have to walk for a bit, follow the main road until the red building then turn right, take the second road and you will have arrived, getting there early should help avoid the queue”
Ginny smiled and hugged the older woman “Thanks!”
From then the conversation turned back to casual with Ginny trying to understand the woman rants about a muggle show on the telly, something about a... PI? She had no idea what a PI was supposed to be but agreed whenever it felt appropriate and shook her head when the tone went in disbelief. Mrs. Rees then helped her to bathe Harry and once the woman decided to go sleep on the couch, despite her offering to take the couch instead, Ginny sat down back on the bed with Harry, telling him the bedtime stories she heard as a child, memories of her life that she didn’t want to leave behind.
She wanted to see her family again, but to them, she was only a baby, and as well-intentioned as her mother was, Molly Weasley would listen to Dumbledore and leave Harry with the Dursleys.
She wouldn’t let anyone do that, she would protect her small new family, even Malfoy if necessary.
Far away from there, in number four Privet Drive, an old wizard named Albus Dumbledore awaited the arrival of the now nicknamed Boy Who Lived, the news of the disappearance of Voldemort, although at the high cost of the lives of Lily and James Potter, had spread far and wide.
Witches and Wizards everywhere were celebrating the end of hold over the magical community, the imperiused returning, victims feeling safe once again, peace seemingly back.
But Dumbledore knew better, and his hopes resided in that boy, in Harry Potter.
He was explaining to Minerva McGonagall his plans of leaving the boy with his aunt and uncle and easing her fears over that choice when the sound of a motorcycle made them turn.
He smiled, prepared for the half-giant to bring the boy to him but it soon became clear something had gone wrong, Hagrid came crying to them, no child in sight. He tried to explain to them but the crying didn’t make it an easy task.
“Calm down, we can’t understand,” reprimanded Minerva but then softened “breathe and it will be better”
Hagrid nodded and began again “Nowhere, searched the whole house but couldn’t find the babe” he broke into tears again “He disappeared before I arrived”
Dumbledore was perplexed, only the Potters were in the cottage in Godric’s Hollow and he had sent Hagrid as soon as he had known about Voldemort killing them, so how come had Harry Potter disappeared? Who could’ve arrived before them?
Minerva gasped “Albus! Is it possible that one of those Death Eaters took him?”
He faked a serene expression, his companions didn’t need any more reason to worry “Unlikely, if any had been close by, Harry Potter would already be dead and they would gladly gloat about such thing, alas, the boy has merely disappeared, more likely a muggle found him when the wards broke”
That seemed to calm the other two for the moment.
“For the time being, we will send people to search for him so that he may be given to his proper family”
Minerva would have liked to disagree on that point but as it was, searching for the boy was most important than her worry over his blood kin.
Author notes: Oh my god! I had completely forgotten to update here!!! I will fix it soon!