A/N: Yay! There's a chapter 2! Disclaimer and warning same as the 1st chapter, duh! What d'ya think?
As happy as Ginny Potter was to have her husband home safe and sound, she was pretty sure she would strangle him if she let her urges take over. Apparently some kid died, may his soul rest in peace, from his own foolishness and sabotaged the whole mission in the process. If the poor kid had lived to tell the tale, Harry would have been ready to chop off his fingers and bake them into cupcakes, basically he'd be wishing he was dead. But now that he actually is dead, all the anger Harry would have aimed at him had been directed inwards, and her husband was drowning in guilt.
Ginny empathised, obviously. She knew what it felt like being responsible for someone and she could understand the overwhelming agony of having them die on your watch while you were powerless to do anything about it. However much she tried, the guilt and shame of what Tom made her do could never be erased. But do you know what she did not understand? Drinking a silvery potion offered by a hag, free of cost, with vague instruction and non-existence information. And Harry wants her to watch him do it, that's all she was supposed to do, watch.
Apparently this hag, Fabia, Ginny had never heard anything about her before, is a dear friend, and her husband trusted her with his life.
"I would like to state once again, for the record, that I do not approve of this." Ginny whispered vehemently while stabbing her potatoes deep enough for the fork to make a score on the delicate chinaware.
Harry nodded at her apologetically and patted her knee. He then turned back to pay full attention to young Lily who was chattering her father's ears off by rambling about everything 'Mummy and I' did while he was gone. Ginny rolled her eyes, she wasn't going to get her way. Usually, Harry argued, but Ginny always got him on her side. Today was just not her day. How she wished they were arguing about something trivial. She toyed with the idea of getting the rest of the family involved, maybe just her mum, but that went against everything their marriage stood for. They have always exhibited an united front.
All Ginny could do was resign to trust Harry's dumb luck and instincts which gets him home every other day from one of the most dangerous jobs known to wizardkind. And so, when the three Potter's had cleaned up after dinner, and Lily had hopped off upstairs to write letters to her older brothers in Hogwarts, Ginny sat across Harry on the dining table with the bottle of Fabia's potion between them.
"You know, if the recipe is truly lost, Hermione would surely like to have a look at it." Ginny commented off-handedly. She herself thought she had given up, but apparently not, her brain was just offering her with new tactics.
"No, Gin. It would be spoiled if you don't gulp it down as soon as you open it." Harry replied while staring at the liquid, mesmerised.
"Hmm," Ginny hummed and sighed, this was happening, whatever she could do now was after the potion had been taken. She had some role to play in all this, Harry was quite certain, 'someone he loves and respects' was what he said.
"What are we waiting for?" Ginny asked after a while. "Get along with it."
"I'm thinking about Brad."
"The kid who died."
"Fabia said so?"
Harry nodded his reply, "I must think about what I want redemption for when I gulp it down."
"It's funny isn't it? After all the people who died because of me, losing this kid I hardly know is so unbearable."
"If you are on about Sirius again, I'd like to remind you that you mourned him too. And got over it without the use of some potion, I might add. Seriously Harry! Have you considered the side effects!"
"I trust —"
"Yes, yes, you trust Fabia with your life." said Ginny, too exhausted and apprehensive to argue again, "Just get on with it."
Harry gave her a sharp nod and picked up the bottle. In one smooth motion he uncorked it and pressed it to his lips.
Ginny saw immense pain in Harry's eyes before he closed it, but she didn't know whether to blame it on the potion or not because he hadn't even taken it in his mouth. And then he did, he tilted his head backwards and raised the bottle to gulp down the entire quantity. Ginny was at the edge of her seat, her eyes sharp waiting for a calamity to befall them and praying that she was enough; enough to save them from whatever was about to happen. Her left hand held on to the edge of the table while her right hand instinctively reached to her wand and held it pointing at her husband. An whole array of healing charms and hexes at the tip of her tongue, anything could happen she told herself.
Harry drained the contents of the bottle which grew darker and darker as he drank and settled on a blood red colour. As the liquid drained out, it left behind a parchment soaking in red. Fabia did say there would be further instructions.
Harry put the bottle down, but kept his eyes closed.
"So, how was it? How are you feeling?"
Harry opened his eyes and shuddered." Pretty great actually" he said, his face as confused as Ginny herself felt about the whole thing.
"So that was it? This was just an over-powered calming draught?"
Harry shook his head. "I feel different, like I can feel every part of my body all at once." He looked at his hands and moved his fingers one by one. Meanwhile, Ginny looked on in horror, right before her eyes her husband started to grow younger. The grey in his hair disappeared, his facial hair grew smaller till they popped back into their roots.
And he grew a head shorter, and suddenly he was swimming in his robes, and looking up at her.
"It shrunk me?" He asked her perplexed, trying to remove his hands out of the sleeves.
"No, Harry!" Ginny exclaimed, "It made you younger! You look about nine!"
Ginny transfigured a nearby spoon to a mirror and handed it to her husband glaring at him the whole time. Then she snatched the bottle and pulled out the parchment.
"I'm at least eleven." Ginny heard Harry say, "I was a lot smaller when I was nine."
Ginny shot him an angry look and unrolled the parchment.
May your intentions be pure,
May you have love in your life,
May their resolve be sure,
Child, know that your family is your cure.
You believe you have wronged, and it eats you day in and day out,
This ends now, have no doubt,
You think you got out easy, and not suffered your share,
You live a good life, but your heart's in despair.
It's not easy, to let it go,
But now you'll have to, you can't afford to be mellow.
May you have people to help you overcome,
The guilt to which you have grown accustomed.
Punishments and well meaning reprimands,
From people whom you respect, and obey a command.
May you have such people in large numbers,
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.
A love so resolved, a friend so involved,
Even a kin, young, but mentally evolved,
May you have them all.
For you need all the tough love, you can call upon.
You shall have the redemption you seek,
You shall learn to forgive, what have passed
There is no other path, punishment is what you will have to undergo,
It is the only way to grow.
Ginny had a migraine, this was madness. She read the poetry a few times while Harry used his wand to shrink his clothes.
"Well, what does it say?" He asked nervously.
What does it say, he asks! They was only one thing to do, Ginny unleashed her furry -
"YOU TOTAL IDIOT! HALF-WITTED FOOL! I TOLD YOU NOT TO DRINK IT, BUT DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO ME? NO! WHO DO YOU THINK THIS HELPS? HUH? DO YOU THINK BRAD IS THANKING YOU FOR THIS? YOU HAVE TURNED YOURSELF INTO A LITTLE, BOY!"
Harry cowered into his seat as Ginny continued yelling at him. He bowed his head and let her howl as he nervously played with the hem of his robes.
Ginny stopped when she ran out of insults, she could hear Lily coming down the stairs.
"Do you feel older?" she asked calmly, her voice hoarse.
Harry was still perplexed, "Older than how old I look? Yeah, I feel—"
"I mean did you feel yourself grow older, when I was yelling at you?" Ginny asked.
"I don't think so… really, Ginny, I'm sorry, I really thought this would help me. What is in the note?"
Before Ginny could answer him, Lily turned up in the doorway.
"What's going on, Mum? Where is dad?" she asked.
Ginny massaged her temples, there was no time to explain things to her daughter, or even Harry for that matter, it was getting dark.
"Lily, meet Harry. He'll be living with us for a while. Dad went to take care of something, I need to go too. I hope you and Harry will be fine all by yourself?"
"Yes, Mum." Lily replied, peering curiously at Harry. She could sense her mother wasn't in the mood for questions, but Harry was new, he was yet to learn that when mum had that expression on her face, 'yes, Mum' is the only thing you must say, unless you are dad, "Where are you going?" Harry asked.
"To Fabia's. Now be good." Ginny said walking towards the living room as two children followed behind her.
"But you don't know —" Harry started to say, but Ginny cut him off.
"I'll find out whatever I need to know." said Ginny vehemently as she retrieved her purse.
"Now, while I'm gone, Lily is in charge," Ginny said looking first at Harry and then at Lily. "Lily, Harry has to write some lines before you go to bed. Please, find him a paper and a parchment."
"Lines?" Harry exclaimed.
"Yes, Harry. Lines. You are to write two hundred times that you will not consume potions or cast spells whose applications are unfamiliar to you." Ginny said with resolve. She wasn't going to waste time. The poem said, punishments and well meaning reprimands.
"Lily, make sure he writes his lines. Bedtime is at ten, if I am not back by then, find some of your brothers' pajamas and get him settled in either Jamie or Al's room."
Lily wasn't sure what was happening, being the youngest, she wasn't used to being in charge, ever. But she listened in rapt attention, resolved not to mess up. Who was this boy anyway? Why did he look like another long lost brother? And two hundred lines! Was that even possible?
She knew not to voice her questions right now, maybe she can ask Harry later. Instead she said, "Okay."
Ginny gave her daughter a tired smile and turned back to Harry, "Those lines better be done, young man!" she threatened, "You do not want to know what will happen otherwise."
She didn't wait for a reply and stepped into the fireplace.
And she was gone, leaving behind two very confused 'children.'
Next chapter: Lily
What do you think about the poem? Too much?