The Stag and the Flower
A/N: Don't own a thing, especially not HP. I hope you enjoy the next chapter. Italics denote thoughts. Bold is for spells. So, this story is probably my most popular one. I'm honored that you've enjoyed it so much and can only hope my next work is as well received.
When Andromeda arrived with Teddy in her arms Harry and Fleur had cleaned the kitchen of all signs of their shenanigans. The oven held a leg of lamb with roasted potatoes and peas while simmering on the stovetop was a sauce of blackberries and honey, as it cooked Harry, was making the finishing touches on dessert, an apple crumble with custard.
It smelled heavenly and suspicious. Harry and Fleur, it seemed, were trying to butter her up with her favorite foods. Kreacher bowed Andromeda into the dining room where Fleur was opening a bottle of red wine to let it breathe. The elf hurried back through the door leading into the kitchen. "Hello Andromeda," Fleur said and then smiled at the little boy in her arms, "and hello to you Teddy." Teddy giggled happily, his hair turning from blue to yellow as he did so.
"Nymphadora and Remus agreed to come, they'll be in their frame soon," Andromeda said, shifting Teddy so that Fleur could take the boy and press a kiss to his head earning a giggle from him. "I think they wanted to enjoy some privacy before coming over."
That was when Harry came into the dining room carrying the frame that would house the Lupins. He propped it up on one of the chairs at the table. "Hello," He said coming to Andromeda and kissing her on the cheek in greeting. "Dinner will be ready in a minute. Kreacher has decided I've had enough time in the kitchen, so he kicked me out."
"So, what called for this little dinner party?" Andromeda asked the two.
Harry looked at Fleur and then back to Andromeda, "Well, we'd like to make you an offer…"
Three Years Later
Harry smiled as he wiped the sweat from his brow. The little farmhouse they'd bought had definitely been a labor of love. When they'd first taken shelter there during the rainstorm that fateful summer, he'd known it was run-down. He'd been unaware of just how run-down until he and Fleur had begun to work on it.
For the first year, they stayed in the little Paris flat. Fleur and he would wake up together, have breakfast, and then apparate to the farmhouse and begin to work on it. He still had a small scar on his left forearm where a rotted brace had fallen onto him. Needless to say, repairing the main structure had been the first task completed thanks to his future father-in-law's friend who owned a magical contracting firm.
Next came the protective wards. Since he and Fleur were not experts in ward design, they'd hired a retired cursebreaker that Genevieve had known. Altrus Dugalle, a plump old man with a beard that nearly touched the top of his boots had placed the standard muggle repelling and alert wards before adding a few that would assist in keeping the soil healthy for the garden that Fleur wanted to grow.
Neville and Hannah, upon reading Harry's letter that they were planning a garden had sent a 'care package' that had required a half dozen owls, each with a package tied to their leg bearing a very strong featherlight enchantment as well as a shrinking charm. The Longbottoms had sent them the supplies to build a greenhouse and a selection of seeds. Neville had written a rather long list explaining the care that each plant would require. Hannah hadn't sent anything to do with the plants, but her gift of a collection of knitting supplies had surprised Harry. That is until a blushing Fleur had explained she'd written to Hermione and Andromeda about her morning sickness. Harry would argue that he did not faint when told he was going to be a father but had instead merely gotten suddenly tired and had taken a ten-second nap.
The impending arrival of the baby had meant that their flat had been inundated with owls bearing gifts from their friends and family. Evangeline Lalaurie, now engaged to Michel, had insisted on throwing a party for her cousin. It was held at Delacour Manor a few weeks later. Hermione and Ron attended as did George and Angelina. Neville and Hannah arrived bearing more gifts, this time from Frank and Alice. Andromeda and Teddy had come with gifts from Hagrid and Professor McGonagall in the form of a stuffed hippogriff and a box of newt-shaped ginger biscuits respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had sent a gift with George in the form of a family clock, like the Harry, had seen at The Burrow, but it had been returned unopened.
Aurelie Sophia Potter was born the day after the house was deemed livable. Fleur joked that she had been waiting for that very moment. When Harry first held his daughter, he knew that he would probably never have his entire heart back.
After Aurelie had come the twins, James, and Sirius Potter. And true to their namesakes, the boys had been troublemakers from the moment they'd been able to crawl. Harry shook himself from his reverie as he surveyed the work he had done in the front garden. He had put the finishing touches on a playset he'd bought in the muggle village. The red and yellow plastic house stood facing the house protected by a series of small wardstones Harry had sunk into the ground around it. This would prevent local animals from taking refuge in it so that they wouldn't scare the children.
"Are you ready for lunch?" Fleur called from the doorway. Harry turned to see his wife, pregnant with their fourth child and carrying James on her hip. "I've put the children down for a nap, James is fighting sleep though." Harry laughed as he saw his eldest son, eldest by all of two and a half minutes, rubbing his eyes and squirming in his mother's arms.
"I just finished," Harry said wiping his hands on his pants and accepting James who held out his chubby hands for his father. "I'll put him with Aurelie and Sirius and then wash my hands." He kissed Fleur as he passed her, stepping into their home.
The walls held family portraits, as well as a few pictures of Harry at his new job. Nicholas had made it very clear that Harry would be succeeding him as an alchemist and so he spent most mornings at Beauxbatons in the alchemy lab. He enjoyed the lessons but enjoyed the afternoons more. After Perenelle ran him out of the lab, proclaiming that her husband needed his rest, Harry would venture into the school and more often than not would end up assisting the defense professor with a demonstration. The pictures on the wall showed him helping students learn to cast the Patronus charm or learning how to disarm an opponent. It was nice, it made him think about the only good thing that happened in his fifth year at Hogwarts, running the DA.
It seemed that all James had wanted was to see his father as the boy swiftly fell asleep once Harry put him beside Sirius. He watched his children sleeping for a moment before turning and going into the bathroom to wash his hands. He sighed happily as he looked at his reflection in the mirror. All was well.
He made his way to the kitchen where Fleur was slicing a loaf of bread for them. She took the slices and buttered them before placing thin slices of ham and cheese. This style of sandwich was a favorite of her father's and one of the first meals she'd ever learned to make. "I am planning on going to the manor tomorrow, Papa wants to see his favorite granddaughter." She said handing him a sandwich, "Of course Aurelie is his only granddaughter."
"You still believe we have a daughter growing inside me?" Fleur indicated her swelling belly where the next Potter child resided. They had discussed the possible gender a few times, neither Harry nor Fleur was terribly concerned about whether or not they would have a third son or a second daughter. Harry didn't reply, instead, he began to eat.
They sat in companionable silence; Fleur sipped from a cup of apple juice while Harry ate his sandwich while reading his copy of 'Journal Magique'. "This is nice." He said after a moment, "The kids are napping, and it's just us."
"Normally that kind of statement would cause the floo to disgorge an unwelcome visitor," Fleur replied dryly, a smile playing at the corner of her mouth. "I suppose though that's why the wards prevent a visit from my former mother-in-law?"
"That was the entire point of making the floo password protected instead of just basic privacy wards," Harry said before putting the paper down. He looked at his wife and then smiled, "Hey, do you want to see if your mom and dad want to keep the kids tonight?"
"Oh? Do you have something in mind Mr. Potter?"
"Perhaps, Mrs. Potter." Harry replied with a grin, "I was thinking that we could go to Paris for the evening?" He could see Fleur thinking, he knew how much his wife enjoyed both the magical and non-magical side of Paris. "Maybe they could even keep them tomorrow…"
Fleur laughed, her long blonde hair moving behind her like a golden waterfall. "You seem to have planned this out."
"Not really, I just looked across the table at my beautiful wife and all I could think about was taking you to Paris," Harry replied, earning a smile from his wife. Fleur rose from her seat and moved to take a new one in her husband's lap. "Comfortable, Mrs. Potter?"
"Very," Fleur replied before kissing him.
Harry and Fleur continued the kiss, lost to everything until Harry felt pressure on his sleeve. The kiss broke and he turned to see Aurelie, the eldest at three-and-a-half looking seriously at her parents. "I can't sleep."
"I warned you about jinxing us," Fleur whispered in his ear as she moved from his lap. She took her daughter's hand, "I am sure that if you tried very hard you could sleep." She led their daughter back to her own room, leaving Harry to sit in the chair and ponder just how different his life had come in just a few short years.
This wasn't the life he had seen for himself that night when he and Ginny broke up. But he knew it was a better one. This was a life apart from the assumptions of what 'the great Harry Potter' should do. The door creaked open and Fleur slipped back into the room with him. "I swear she knows when we are together." Fleur whispered with a smile as she took her place back in his lap, "She is tired of Mama and Papa making brothers and sisters for her." She laughed softly against her ear, "I was the same way when Gabrielle was born."
The two spent the afternoon leisurely basking in the presence of one another. Until with the chiming of the clock, it was time for Fleur to rouse the children and for Harry to floo his in-laws. Apolline and Jean-Luc were more than willing to keep the kids overnight and so by seven that night Harry and Fleur were sitting in their favorite restaurant in Paris.
"This was a wonderful idea," Fleur said as she sipped her wine. On the table before them were two servings of lamb chops with potatoes and greens. She looked over the rim of her glass at Harry, "thank you for bringing me."
"I would hardly come to Paris with anyone else. No matter how your sister teases you." Harry said with a laugh. Gabrielle had indeed teased her sister about running away with Harry whenever Fleur asked about her own love life. Harry believed it was just the younger girl's way of telling her sister to mind her own business.
"I know that," She said rolling her eyes fondly, "but it was still a nice idea. It has been too long since we've been by ourselves." Harry nodded at that and she continued, "Would it be alright if I have lunch tomorrow with Evangeline? She had Michel moved to Paris and I haven't seen her in months."
"You don't have to ask my permission, you know that."
Fleur smiled and went back to her dinner.
After dinner found the couple at the little apartment that had been their home until the farmhouse was finished. Fleur and Harry had contracted with a local magical cleaning service and as such the apartment was always ready for them, but usually it was where Ron and Hermione would spend the night if they were visiting. Tonight though, the only occupants of the apartment were the owners. As they cuddled together under their covers Harry drifted off thinking about how lucky he was.
Well, that's it for this one. Sorry for the long delay. Life happened, life in the form of a baby girl, as well as finishing my associate's degree and beginning work on my bachelor's. A word of advice to anyone looking at college: go to community college first and then see what schools have a transfer program. There is absolutely no shame in spending the first two years working at your degree. Hah, I've only been a dad for a few months and I'm already giving out unrequested life advice. Anyway, have a good one and I'll see you in the next story.