A/N - I know it's been a while since I updated. My intention was to update about every week, but I supposed when one is getting ready for college is a bad time to begin a story you intend to be dedicated to. I had orientation last week, and spent this week catching up with work and my summer classes. Sorry for the delay. I have finals beginning Monday so I probably won't update again until the beginning of September. Next chapter the first book begins.

The sound of crying woke Rose up. She looked out the window of her new bedroom, which usually overlooked the front yard, but it was currently too dark to see out the window at all.

Another long wail got Rose off her mattress, her bed having not been constructed yet, and stumbling to the bedroom next to hers. Little Harry was laying in his crib, eyes squeezed shut tightly, screaming. Without hesitation, Rose lifted the little boy out of his crib and wrapped her arms around him.

Rose was not entirely sure what to do, but she found herself rocking the baby in her arms gently up and down. Harry's eyes open as he looked up at Rose, tears streaming down his face as his cried lightened only a little. "It's alright, Harry" she whispered gently. "Auntie Rose is here, I've got you" she pulled him close, and Harry burying his head in her chest seeking comfort.

Rose continued to soothe and rock Harry as his cried slowly died down. Rose doubted Harry would sleep again anytime soon, so despite how tired she still felt she gently set Harry on the changing table to change his diaper and make him more comfortable. Harry was clearly still upset; his lip was trembling and he would not completely release rose from his tight grip, so Rose had to change his diaper one-handed.

Once Harry was clean, Rose lifted him up and sat in the rocking chair. Harry was old enough to have a set sleeping schedule, so she should at least try to get him back to sleep, she figured.

The wondered what had caused him so much distress in his sleep and she rocked him back and forth in the chair. Harry was relaxing with every minute, drifting back to sleep, giving Rose time to ponder. It was only the first week of November, so it was likely Halloween that caused him such distress, she decided.

The death of one's parents is terrible enough, without having to witness the event. Rose knew this from experience. Her parents had perished shortly before Harry was born in the war. Rose blamed herself. While Muggles were fair game to Death Eaters, the Muggle families of Muggleborn witches were particularly popular targets, and Rose had made no secret of her blood status or where she lived while in Hogwarts.

Probably why she had not been sorted into Ravenclaw.

Rose snorted lightly at that thought, disturbing Harry slightly. The poor boy was already fast asleep again, hopefully for the rest of the night. Slowly she stood and placed Harry back in his crib before sneaking back to her bedroom to try and sleep some more.

But she never really went back to sleep. After spending the day taking care of her adorable nephew, Rose used her night to mourn her lost sister and her husband. Rose tried not to be sad in front of Harry; he needed a happy influence, not a messed up Aunt. So while Harry was asleep Rose cried for the sister who would never see her own son grow up.

About a month later the cottage was finally unpacked. Harry was also having fewer nightmares, which meant more nights of uninterrupted sleep.

The hardest part of raising Harry was when he mistook Rose for Lily. It was understandable, as they were identical twins, but it broke Rose's heart every time she had to correct him. She was not Lily, not his mother that he craved so dearly.

However, young children were more adaptable than adults. While Rose was determined for Harry to remember his parents, he cried for them less and less. Soon they would only be a story.

Rose was glad that their death would not cause him as much pain but sad that he would never know his wonderful parents.

It was a particularly sunny day, especially for December, so Harry was playing in the front room while Rose contemplated her next step. Her musings were interrupted by a knock on the door. After checking to make sure Harry was alright, Rose opened the door to be greeted by Dumbledore.

"Professor!" Rose was surprised, but pleased.

"Hello, Rose. May I come in?"

Rose was reminded of her manners and quickly stepped aside to allow the bearded man entrance. "Of course, please come in. Harry will be pleased to see you."

Once the door was shut Rose went to grab the baby from where he was playing. "Look who's here, Harry. It's Dumbledore! Say hi" rose placed Harry on her hip and turned so Harry was facing Dumbledore. Harry grinned and waved happily.

Dumbledore could not help but smile. He was glad that Harry was happy and healthy. "Hello Harry" Dumbledore greeted the baby with a smile. Harry replied in a streak of baby tongue with a few recognizable sounds, having not learned proper English quite yet.

Rose set Harry back on the ground so he could continue playing and headed for the kitchen. "Can I get you a cup of tea, Professor?" She inquired while digging through her cupboards for her kettle.

"I would not say no to a cup, Rose. There is much to discuss" Rose frowned slightly at his vague reply before finally grabbing her wand and silently summoning the kettle and preparing the tea.

"It's about Harry, isn't it?" she asked, returning from the kitchen.

"I did want to discuss with you a few concern of mine" Dumbledore replied vaguely, something Rose was beginning to get used to. Despite how friendly and approachable Dumbledore was, she had not had reason to really interact with him during her time at Hogwarts.

Rose waited patiently for Dumbledore to get to the point, watching Harry cheerfully play with his stuffed animals and a few other toys.

"What is your plan on raising Harry?' Dumbledore asked mildly. "That is, do you plan on raising him magical?"

Rose thought for a moment.

"I won't lie to him. That's something I have been adamant against since the start. But I can understand the concern of Harry being raised magical when he is famous in the wizarding world – which is ridiculous if you ask me" Rose added firmly. "No, I think the best plan of action is to raise Harry the way I was planning on living had Lily and James lived; I do most things the Muggle way anyway. I only ever use magic for some things, and I don't see hoe that should change now that Harry is here. The Muggle world is probably safe while he is growing up anyway"

Dumbledore nodded as if this is what he himself had in mind. "A fine plan, my dear. Couldn't have come up with a better one myself." Rose Rolled her eyes, knowing full well that there were few that could out-plan Dumbledore if any, let alone match him.

"And what are your plans for yourself?" Dumbledore asked Rose. Rose sighed at this.

"You know I have always wanted to become a Transfigurations Master – or Mistress, as the case would be" Rose smiled, slightly sadly. "I can't do an apprenticeship while caring for Harry, I can't leave him alone for long periods of time and I won't leave him at a care center for the hours I would have to work. I think I'll end up working at a shop in Diagon Alley. Somewhere they'll let me take Harry with me. I can't afford not to work."

"What of the rather large vault in Gringotts?" Dumbledore's question rather pointed that time, but Rose had already firmly decided on her answer to that question weeks ago.

"I won't touch a cent of it. It was all left to Harry, and he can spend it himself when he's old enough. He can use it to buy his school supplies, but until then I can provide for both of us."

Dumbledore smiled happily. It was obvious why Rose had been placed in Gryffindor, though her loyalty would have fit right in with Hufflepuff.

"Was there anything else on your mind, Professor?" Rose asked, noticing the small smile on Dumbledore's face, though not aware of the cause.

"Nothing that cannot wait another day, Miss Evans. Why don't we enjoy your marvelous tea and the beautiful day? Do you like your new home?"

The rest of the day was spent with pleasant company and conversation. Dumbledore played a bit with Harry, who seemed to have a fascination with the old man's long beard. However, Dumbledore only laughed when Harry gave it a tug. Eventually, the Headmaster left, having other errands that needed attending to. After all, he still had a school to run.

Rose walked out of the fifth shop along Diagon Alley that she had applied to, feeling rather discouraged. Harry was having the time of his life, walking shakily beside her occasionally. She was glad Harry had such a pleasant temperament. He rarely through fits or was irritable. However, despite how well behaved he was, no one wanted to hire a single mother with no babysitter to watch her child while she worked.

Rose stopped for a moment to re-orient herself before giving up for the day. Maybe tomorrow someone would feel generous.

However, before she started moving to leave, she noticed a little green shop out of the corner of her eye. Looking closer, Rose noticed many objects familiar to her in the Muggle world: crystal pendulums and pentagrams and shelves and shelves of books. Outside the door was a little old lady in a rocking chair, knitting – of all things!

"Hello, my dear" she greeted Rose in a surprisingly strong voice. "Would you like to step into the shop? Must be warmer than standing in the street, and your little man is looking a wee bit cold" Rose glanced at Harry, who was beginning to shiver slightly and was huddled close to Rose's leg. Rose nodded and herbed Harry into the Green shop.

It was as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Flowers and green plants were everywhere, as if the shop had been grown and not build. There was a roaring fire against one wall, and several crystal instruments lining the opposite wall. There were stacked of books everywhere, and a counter with a register on the far wall. On the closest book, Rose caught the title.

"Earth Magik for Beginners?" She asked the old woman, who had followed them into the store.

"Why, yes" she answered simply, walking around Rose and Harry to the counter, which Rose just noticed had an opening behind it where there could have been a door, but no door was placed. It was an open archway. "I sell book and instruments for Earth Magic and Earth worship. Not very popular now a 'days. Young people don't appreciate the earth the way we used to" she explained.

"It's very beautiful. And interesting. Harry, don't touch that" Harry, who had been about to grab onto the tail of a sleeping cat that was laying on an ottoman in front of the fire, retracted his hand and looked innocently back at Rose, who was not fooled at all.

My name is Stella. Stella Roderick. I own this shop, if you had not caught on" the woman introduced herself, bustling back into the main part of the store without her knitting. "What brings you to Diagon Alley this time of year, especially with a wee sprog that young?"

Rose sighed and sat on one of the overstuffed armchairs in front of the fire, Harry sitting at her feet to tease the cat. "I need a job to support myself and my nephew, but I cannot leave him home with a babysitter." Rose did not need to explain further; her situation was obvious.

"I could use a hand around the shop" Stella said, almost off-handedly. Rose almost did not dare hope. "And if your boy can keep himself in the back room, I see no reason why he can't stay in the shop while you work."

Rose glanced down at Harry. She couldn't believe the luck! Things might work out after all.

"Do you – do you mean you'll – you'll hire me?" Rose questioned hesitantly. Stella smiled kindly. "I don't see why not. Come, see the back room while I explain your duties, hours, and pay. The boy can stay there" Stella's comment stopped Rose in mid crouch as she was about to hoist Harry onto her hip, "Douglas will keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn't wander off or get into anything he shouldn't."

Rose couldn't image that a cat could be an adequate babysitter of a not-yet-two-year-old, but Stella didn't give her the goosebumps that people with ill-intentions did, and aspects of the magical world still surprised her every day, even after almost ten years.

Now, everything was falling into place. She could take care of herself and her nephew, and keep Harry happy and safe.

Until he starts Hogwarts, that is.