A/N: We're finally here.. The epilogue. Thank you to all you awesome people who have stuck and read this whole thing as I've been publishing it! Your encouragement has been just what I needed! Enjoy :)
[Technically this chapter has made this fic pass 100,000 words, but actually without my A/N it's like 96,000 haha! (Which is still an insane amount of words that I can't believe I've written!)]
2nd May 2004
Ministry of Magic - London
Level 9 - Ballroom
James took a quick stock of the large ball as he arrived - late thanks to some stupid mix-up of some paperwork for the Wizengamot that apparently couldn't wait until Monday. He couldn't see his wife or son anywhere, but he managed to spot Sirius' head of shaggy black hair and Tonks' bright pink, so he headed in their direction; they'd either know where they were, or they were with them and he couldn't see that.
He was waylaid on his way across the room, stopped by various Ministry officials on his way around the large dance floor. He nodded along, and placated them as they moaned, and agreed with their stupid proposals, all the time flicking his gaze around the room.
There was Ginny, dancing in Pansy's arms as usual, both women so caught up in each other they didn't even notice when the song changed, just carried on dancing. Ron, mostly forgiven and welcomed back into the fold only very recently (and certainly never again in the same way as before), was dancing with Padma, who was heavily pregnant. James watched quietly for a moment, finally striding away from the vapid reporter who had stopped him to supposedly ask about the new werewolf-only hospital being built on the Sanctuary grounds, but had ended up talking more about gossip around his wife.
As he strode across the room he finally spotted his son. Harry was chatting with what looked like the Weasley twins, all three were gesticulating wildly obviously having some kind of intense discussion. He came closer to them and Draco, trapped by Harry's arm wrapped around his waist, turned and spotted James. His son's partner smiled at him and then rolled his eyes when he practically had to duck out of the way of Fred's arm.
James chuckled and mouthed "Later" as he carried on past them towards Tonks and Sirius. Draco nodded and turned his attention back to the other three.
"Moony!" James practically ran into said man, who was dancing Amelie - his and Tonks' four year old daughter - around the edges of the dancefloor.
"Prongs, glad you could finally make it. Hermione's been going spare." Remus said with a chuckle, swinging Amelie up into his arms properly and turning to face James.
"Uncle James!" The little girl exclaimed, making grabby hands at him until he plucked her out of her father's arms with a smile.
"Hi little Amelie. How's my favourite girl?" He asked with a chuckle, bouncing her in his arms as he and Remus carried on making their way over to Tonks and Sirius.
"Good! Daddy danced with me!"
"I saw. It looked very fun." James grinned at the enthusiastic girl, ruffling her honey-blonde hair (which didn't change when he did so, unlike her older brother's). "Padfoot. Tonks." He said with a grin as he joined them, passing Amelie over to her mother when she whined and stretched her arms out. "Where's Teddy?" He asked in surprise, the six year old nowhere in sight.
"Dancing with your wife." Tonks said with a chuckle, "She said she'd have to just take him instead if her husband wasn't going to be on time."
James pouted, scanning the dancefloor for the two, and finally spotting them together at the edge near the creche where a lot of the young children were being kept for the celebrations. "Passed over for Moony's son." He said mournfully, exaggerating a pout that made Amelie giggle.
Hermione was swaying with the blue haired boy held snugly in her arms, balanced on the small bump just now beginning to show under her pretty dress robes. Her unruly curls were gathered into a messy topknot on her head, strands already springing loose, and her cheeks were flushed with happiness.
"Stop gawking and go dance with the bloody woman." Sirius finally said, poking him in the side with a pointy elbow. "It's not like you've got anything to be nervous about. She married you years ago, and that's your sprog in there." He laughed at the smitten look James sent him at the reminder and grabbed him, dragging him over to Hermione.
"James!" She exclaimed when they came close enough, beaming at them both.
"Take the darned man off my hands, can't stand this silly look on his face anymore." Sirius said with a wink, lifting a giggly Teddy out of her arms and swinging with him into a mad and fast dance that didn't match the current music playing, but had the young Metamorphmagus laughing and squealing with delight.
"You look beautiful, love." James said, pulling his wife into his arms and planting a searing kiss on her lips.
She grinned at him, snuggling close and resting her head against his chest with a sigh. "Where were you?" She asked a moment later.
"Bloody paperwork." He groaned, pulling her more fully onto the dancefloor and twirling lightly into the steps.
"On a Sunday?!" She exclaimed incredulously, looking like she was about to leave to march up to the headquarters of the Wizengamot to have a go at everyone.
He laughed and shrugged, "I was here anyway, 'Mione. How are you, love? You were throwing up something awful this morning." He looked down at her, concerned.
She looked up, resting her chin against his chest as they swayed, her dark eyes glittered with happiness, "A lot better now. Tonks gave me some ginger root and it settled my stomach." She glanced down, grabbing his large hand off her hip and settling it over the small bump that was his second child. "This one's going to be a menace I can tell." Though her words were stern, the loving look she was sending their child, and then sent him, belied what she was saying.
He grinned at her, his hazel eyes twinkling, "Just like his father and brother."
"His, huh? What if she's a girl?" She laughed at his look, like he'd never considered the possibility.
"Well, then just like her father and brother."
She laughed again and snuggled back into his hold, letting him drift them slowly around the dancefloor for a while longer before she complained about her feet hurting and he led them over to a table he could see already occupied by Remus and Tonks.
"Are Draco and Harry still coming for breakfast in the morning?" She asked, settling into her seat, and allowing James to pull her feet up into his lap to massage.
He nodded, "And these leeches too." He nodded his head in the direction of Tonks and Remus who both laughed, Tonks sending him a rude hand gesture when her kids weren't looking.
"See if we ever look after your kid when they're born." She said with a sharp grin that quickly melted into a sincere one when Teddy tugged on her sleeve and she looked down at her son.
"Did we hook up their floo access correctly from Lupin cottage?" Hermione asked, just barely holding back a groan of delight as James massaged a tight knot out of the heel of her foot.
James nodded, "Sirius fitted it up last night."
It had been a fight on Remus' part to get his two oldest friends to not cling anymore, but he and Tonks had finally moved out of Potter Manor a week ago, moving into a lovely cottage near Black Manor - the Lupin Werewolf Sanctuary for the last 5 years. Harry had moved out a few years ago, after Narcissa had moved to Andromeda's house, the two women keeping each other company, finally agreeing to live with Draco in the newly gutted and renovated Malfoy Manor.
It was now only Sirius, Hermione, and James in Potter Manor. The place hadn't felt so empty in years, but it would soon be occupied by the newest Potter child. Sirius had also been making noises for the last couple of years about the possibility of adopting one or two of the war orphans from the orphanage. He needed someone to carry on the Black name, and who better, he thought, than a couple of Half-blood or Muggleborn children who'd lost their family in the war years ago.
"You okay, 'Mione?" James whispered, leaning closer to her whilst the rest of their table were otherwise occupied.
She turned eyes shining with tears to James, beaming at him. "I'm wonderful, James." She grinned, damning her hormones for the way her voice shook, "I love you."
He smiled, taking both her hands in his and squeezing, his eyes bright with emotion, "I love you too."