Time passes on in fits and spurts. They don’t hear from the Death Eaters — not Avery, not Rabastan, not any of the others.
“Or Malfoy has heard from them, and he’s keeping it from us,” Ron suggests.
“Why would he do that?” Hermione asks.
They’re going in circle; it’s been about two weeks since the Death Eater meeting, and none of them have heard anything at all. And it’s about the third or fourth time they’re having this exact conversation.
Harry turns to glance at the front door. Ginny left half an hour, claiming the urgent need for a walk. “I can’t fly because we’re undercover in a Muggle town, but I need some fresh air,” she said, and when Harry had gotten up to go with her, she’d kissed him and said, “I love you, but if I don’t get a minute to myself I might break something.” So he’d given in and she’d gone for a walk through the town, leaving Harry with Jamie. It’d gotten better when Ron and Hermione had arrived, but it’s quickly devolved into yet another conversation about what’s going on with the Death Eaters.
“I don’t know,” Ron says, and glances at Harry. “What do you think?”
Harry considers, and rests his head against the back of the sofa. It’s not as comfortable as the sofa in their house. He misses their house. He doesn’t know how long they have to be in this safehouse. It’s beginning to grow on him, though: the tiny Scottish town, the quiet of it all, having to work from home as much as possible. Lots of time to think, even if he doesn’t know what he’s thinking about.
“I think that Malfoy would’ve told us if he’s heard something,” he answers Ron.
“What makes you so sure?” Ron challenges him.
“He’s too much of a coward to want to face anything on his own. Especially Death Eaters,” Harry says, and then sits up. “Accio,” he says, and a scroll of parchment comes flying into his arms.
“What are you doing?” Hermione asks curiously.
“Explicate vestigium,” Harry says quietly, and presses his wand to the parchment.
Hermione gasps. “You didn’t–Harry, you Tracked them? That’s not allowed!”
“It’s not illegal,” Harry says, “just frowned upon. And we’re dealing with Death Eaters here. One of them is part of the group that tortured Neville’s parents,” he adds, and Hermione closes her mouth mid-objection.
On the parchment, a series of black dots appear, similar to the Marauder’s Map. They’re not labelled, but there’s seven of them. A drawing appears around the dots, a rough map of the area.
“There,” Harry says. “They’re here. Still headquartered in Avery’s house. Probably sorting out their next move. Or–” he falls silent suddenly.
“Or what?” Ron says.
“Nothing,” Harry says, and taps the parchment again. It clears up, and Harry Banishes it back to the dining table, where it came from. “It’s just… well, they’re Death Eaters. It’d be obvious if they were out and about, wouldn’t it?”
“Not if they were disguised,” Ron points out.
“Or if they weren’t the ones doing the dirty work,” Harry said quietly. “Remember Voldemort? The Death Eaters weren’t the only ones working for him. And he liked some secrecy, didn’t he? A lot of the Death Eaters didn’t even know who the others on their side were.”
“So you think…” Hermione whispers.
“I think they’ve learnt from their leader,” Harry says grimly. He turns to look at the front door when it opens, and Ginny finally — finally — comes in.
“Hi,” she says cheerfully, taking her old coat off and hanging it up by the door. “I didn’t know you lot were here, too. I’ve been thinking, and I know what we need to do.”
Harry stands up, holding his wand firmly. “Did you see something when you were out?” he asks. Suspicious, because he’s always suspicious these days, or so it feels like, anyway.
“No,” Ginny says, waving a hand dismissively. She walks up to Harry, kisses his cheek, and then scoops Jamie up from his little cot to cuddle him. “But I think I’ve figured out why the Death Eaters haven’t made a plan to attack me yet.”
Harry winces. He’s still not sure he’s alright with hearing Ginny talk about it so casually.
“Why’s that?” Hermione asks.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Ginny says. “We’ve been hunkered down in this safehouse, undercover, ever since the meeting. They said in the meeting that they wanted to get me during a match or something. But I haven’t been going to Quidditch practice. I haven’t been going anywhere. Nor have you. How will they plan to attack me if they don’t see me?”
Harry’s heart sinks in his chest. He knows what she’s going to suggest, and he hates it. He doesn’t know if it’s worse because of Jamie, or because he knows they’re going to have another baby soon, but he hates the idea of Ginny putting herself into any danger.
“What are you talking about, Ginny?”
Ginny sits down on the sofa. “Well, I think we should write Malfoy, and tell him he needs to attack me. And we can’t hide anymore. We’ve got to start going out in public. No more undercover.”
Later that night, after Ron and Hermione have left and Jamie’s tucked up in his cot, Ginny fixes Harry with the best look she has. She’s learnt it from her mum. It’s the I know what you’re thinking look. The you can’t hide from me look.
“What?” Harry says, moving to lie down in bed once he’s gotten his glasses off. He keeps his wand closer to him than his glasses, Ginny notices, under the pillow he’s resting his head on. Always at the ready. Constant vigilance. He’s wearing an old pair of pyjama bottoms and not much else, and his forehead is furrowed with frown lines. His jaw is covered with a couple days’ old stubble, and he looks exhausted. He’s looked like that for the past few weeks. Ginny remembers the pregnancy with Jamie, all the stress that Harry put himself under. And that was back when their lives weren’t in immediate danger. Well, that they knew of, anyway.
Ginny moves to lie down next to Harry and turns on her side to face him. “You’re panicking,” she says.
To his credit, Harry doesn’t deny it. Not to his credit, he doesn’t say anything at all.
“It’s going to be okay, you know,” Ginny says quietly.
“You don’t know that,” Harry says after a moment, and moves a bit closer to her. He wraps his arm around her waist.
Ginny brings a hand up, runs it through his messy hair gently. “I don’t, yeah. But… I mean, it’s just a few rogue Death Eaters. We’ve survived Voldemort, haven’t we?”
“Yes, but…” Harry sighs.
Ginny understands what he’s saying. “But we didn’t have one and a half babies then, right?”
Harry’s lips quirk. “One and a half?” he repeats.
“Jamie, and our little half-Potter here,” Ginny says, moving her hand out of Harry’s hair to rest on her stomach to better illustrate her point.
“Half-Potter,” Harry repeats, sounding impossibly fond. He rests his hand on top of hers on her stomach. His hand is warm and covers hers entirely, and Ginny feels herself relax. Seems like she was stressed too, and it’s not just him. “I like the sound of that,” he decides.
“Our baby Lily,” Ginny says.
Harry looks up at her. His eyes are impossibly green. His mother’s eyes, or so Ginny’s been told. She wonders about his mum sometimes. She thinks she would’ve gotten along with her. She’s only met one Potter in her life, but she’s confident she’d love all of them. “Lily?” he says softly.
“I feel like it might be a girl,” Ginny admits.
“Yeah? I’d like that, I think,” Harry says softly. “What if you’re wrong and it’s a boy?”
Ginny shrugs. “I don’t think it will be,” she says breezily. “And if it is, we’ll figure it out. But if it’s a girl…”
“Lily Potter,” Harry says, completing her sentence. “Are you sure?”
Ginny raises her eyebrows at Harry. It’s maybe the most ridiculous thing she’s ever heard him say in her entire life. And she’s heard him say a lot of ridiculous things. “Why wouldn’t I be sure?” she asks. “She was your mum. She saved your life. Besides, if we name one baby after your dad and don’t name the next one after your mum, it’ll be like we’re choosing a favourite. And we can’t have that. So that’s sorted out, right?”
Harry’s eyes are a little bright, and his voice sounds thick when he says, “Right.”
Harry’s never been able to say no to Ginny. He can’t deny that she’s right, and besides, something about her bravery and confidence makes everything seem possible, so he listens to her. They start going out. They take Jamie to Diagon Alley during the day a few times, Harry puts in an appearance at the Ministry every so often, and Ginny makes sure to be spotted near the Holyhead Harpies headquarters. Never without additional protection, and never for longer than an hour or so at most, but it still makes Harry feel incredibly nervous. By silent agreement, they don’t discuss their nerves, but Harry knows Ginny’s just as anxious about it as he is.
They don’t have to wait much longer. A month after the Death Eater meeting, two weeks after they’ve started (reluctantly) going out in public, when they sit down for a cup of tea in the early morning, there’s a tapping at the window.
“Isn’t it odd that the Fidelius doesn’t work on owls?” Ginny muses, and then frowns. “Wait. Who’s writing to us?”
“Might be useful to open the window and find out, Gin,” Harry says around a yawn. He gets to his feet and opens the window, accepting the letter from the tawny owl.
“I don’t like the look of that owl,” Ginny declares.
Harry glances at her, amused. “No? Why not?”
“It looked suspicious,” Ginny says. “It looked like a bad owl. Bad, bad owl. Isn’t it, Jamie?” she cooes to Jamie in her lap.
“Bad owl,” Jamie agrees happily, because Ginny’s always been his favourite.
Their owl, Ermintrude, seems to agree, too, and chirps angrily after the tawny owl as it flies away. Harry throws a few owl nuts at her post, which she’s all too happy to eat. “Min agrees with you, I think,” he says, and sits back down at the table. The envelope is addressed to him and Ginny, so he opens it and reads it aloud to her:
Dear Harry and Ginny,
How are you both? I’m back in town for a short while, so I thought it might be nice to meet you both for a drink. Do you want to come to the Leaky Cauldron this Friday to see me? Let me know as soon as you can.
“Give me that,” Ginny says, holding her hand out.
Harry hands her the letter, and then frowns. The first attacks, the ones that started all of this. Seamus had been attacked by an imposter Dean, and Neville by someone who was impersonating…
“Luna,” he says.
“I think this is them, Gin,” he says. He doesn’t say any more; he doesn’t need to, because Ginny gets his point immediately.
“Yes, I think so, too. Luckily, there’s a way of proving it,” she says.
Harry watches as she unclasps a necklace from around her neck. She doesn’t wear too much jewellery: it’s only ever her wedding band, sometimes her engagement ring, and this necklace — a coin on a chain — so Harry recognises it immediately.
He leans in as Ginny takes her wand and presses the tip of it to the DA Galleon. She frowns in concentration, and Harry watches as the serial numbers transform into the message: LUNA, WHERE ARE YOU? — G
Within minutes, the Galleon’s lighting up with Luna’s response: BULGARIA, U?
“I knew it,” Ginny says, tapping her wand to the coin again. She hands the necklace to Harry and lifts up her curtain of red hair, and Harry instinctively leans over to fasten the clasp of it around her neck. “Luna and I are the only ones who still use these. Well, and Neville sometimes. I knew there’d be an easy way to reach her. She was in Bulgaria when the first attack happened, too, wasn’t she?”
Harry nods. “She was. We triple-checked it.”
“Looks like the Death Eaters still have a batch of their old Polyjuice for Luna, then,” Ginny says. “They’re getting sloppy, reusing the same disguise. They must really want to attack me.”
Harry frowns. He’s not sure he likes how casual she is about this. Just the possibility of her getting attacked is enough to make him feel panicky and terrified, even if they’re in on the plan.
“You should tell Ron,” Ginny continues. “Oh, and Malfoy, I suppose. They’ll reach out to him next.”
“Tell them what?” Harry says.
Ginny looks at Harry, raising her eyebrows. “That we’re going to write them back and accept, of course. Which means,” she adds cheerfully, “that I’m going to be attacked on Friday.”