And Then There Were
Chapter 3 – Potter’s
Harry and Ginny Potter called home was more than just a house, but it didn’t
start out that way. In fact, it was
little more than a pile of rubble and old timber when Harry first came across
it. He and Ginny had been married for
two years, their first child, James, was still in nappies, and Ginny was expecting
their second child when Harry, with strict instructions from Ginny, went house
hunting with Ron in tow. They had come
across the ruins while tramping from one cottage to the next. Harry had seen the potential immediately and
against Ron’s advice had bought the house before Ginny even saw it. Ron had immediately dubbed the place
“Potter’s Folly” and the name stuck.
After a spectacular row, a major renovation helped along with the
liberal use of magic, and eighteen years of marriage, the Potters couldn’t
imagine living any place else.
The façade of the manor house was
of stone, with large glittering diamond-pane windows. Three facing gables soared three stories high
and numerous chimneys sprouted from the roofline. Inside the house was a well-laid-out floor
plan and spacious rooms, with all kinds of nooks, crannies, and one or two
secret passages that fueled the children’s imaginations. The grounds were extensive, with sweeping
lawns, ponds, and old-growth English oaks perfect for tree climbing. A full-size Quidditch pitch had been built
beyond the back garden and had played host to numerous games between Potters
Flooing from the Ministry of Magic, Harry stepped out of the fireplace in the
front parlor of Potter’s Folly. The
house seemed unnaturally quiet for a Sunday afternoon. Wondering vaguely where his children were, he
was more anxious to find Ginny and explain why he had a four-year-old Scottish
lass clinging to him like Devil’s Snare.
He made his way through parlor, hallway, and back toward the great room
in the rear of the house.
were open, letting in the fresh spring breeze.
Harry could hear children’s voices and glanced outside, noting his
nine-year-old David climbing a tree with seven-year-old Rose. Judging from the hrieks of laughter higher up
in the large oak, Ian had already made it to the tree fort. He was ten and tremendously eager to get into
Hogwarts next year. Little Hannah was riding a toy broom just a foot off the
ground, being supervised by Dobby, the Potters’ salaried house-elf.
Looking around the large
comfortable room, Harry spotted Ginny dozing in a squashy arm chair. Her still-vibrant red hair was loose around
her shoulders. A partially-completed
knitting project lay abandoned in her lap, and her arms were cradled around her
softly bulging tummy. Harry was glad to
note she hadn’t forgotten to put her feet up this time, even though she was wearing his favourite wool
Stepping quietly up to her, he
nudged her shoulder with an elbow.
“Ginny,” he said quietly.
she mumbled. Harry grinned. She never did like being awakened.
wake up honey. I need you,” he said.
Potter. I’m not in the mood,” she
grumbled. Harry mentally smacked himself
for the poor choice of words.
Gin. I’m in a bit of a spot here,” he
pleaded. His shoulders were aching and
he felt like his elbows would never straighten out again. Bridget was a slight little girl but felt
like she weighed several stone after holding her for several hours.
blinked, yawned, and stretched. “What
was so wrong with letting me sleep a little longer, Harry? Dobby has the kids outside and it was quiet
in here for once,” she complained. Then
her gaze fell on Harry and Bridget.
that’s not one of ours, is it? Last time
I looked no one had blonde hair.”
looked down and noted Bridget was still in her troubled sleep. Softly he explained what happened earlier
called to investigate a rampaging mountain troll on the Orkney Islands,”
a mountain troll…” interrupted Ginny.
being investigated. Anyway, the troll
had demolished a cottage, killing a man and a woman. I found this little girl, Bridget, in a trunk
in her parents’ bedroom. She hasn’t let
go of me yet, not to go to a woman on my team, nor to Parvati at the Department
of Orphaned Magical Children. She just
cries and strangles me. I don’t know
what to do with her,” he said.
down here on my lap,” Ginny directed, clearing away her knitting.
know, Gin. She about strangled me
before,” Harry demurred, looking down at the toddler’s tear-ravaged face.
all right, Harry. Soothe her awake so
she’s not startled. You know, like you
do when one of the brood has a nightmare.”
jiggled Bridget up and down and crooned nonsense rhymes under his breath,
smoothing her hair back from her damp face.
Her eyelids fluttered open revealing her bright blue eyes.
she whimpered, tears spilling down her pale cheeks.
it’s all right, Bridget. It’s all right
now,” murmured Harry.
lowered Bridget to Ginny. “No, no, no!”
she wailed. Ginny gently disentangled
her arms from Harry’s windpipe.
a good girl, Miss Bridget. There’s a
baby girl, now,” she crooned, and began a sing-song verse:
cuddle close in Daddy’s coat
Beside the fire so bright;
And hear about the fairy folk
That wander in the night.
For when the stars are shining clear
And all the world is still,
They float across the silver moon
From hill to cloudy hill.
Their caps of red, their cloaks of green,
Are hung with silver bells;
And when they’re shaken with the wind
Their merry ringing swells.
And riding on the crimson moth
With black spots on her wings,
They guide them down the purple sky
With golden bridle rings.
They love to visit girls and boys
To see how sweet they sleep,
To stand beside their cozy cots
And at their faces peep.
in the whole of fairyland
They have no finer sight
Than little children sleeping sound
With faces rosy bright.
On tip-toe crowding round their heads
When bright the moonlight beams,
They whisper little tender words
That fill their minds with dreams;
And when they see a sunny smile
With lightest finger tips
They lay a hundred sweet sweet sighs
Upon the ruddy lips.
And then the little spotted moths
Spread out their crimson wings,
And bear away the fairy crowd
With shaking bridle rings.
Come, bairnies, hide in Daddy’s coat
Beside the fire so bright;
Perhaps the little fairy folk
Will visit you tonight!
time Ginny had finished the verse, Bridget had willingly let go of Harry’s neck
and was cuddled in Ginny’s lap, blue eyes fixed upon Ginny and sucking her
thumb, letting out occasional chuffing hiccups.
you want to do, Harry?” Ginny asked, stroking Bridget’s hair.
think we have much choice, really. It
looks like she’s at least comfortable with us; I’d hate to cause her more
distress by leaving her with someone she doesn’t know. Parvati suggested we foster her for a
while. I have the papers here in my
about the other children? What if she
doesn’t get along with them?” Ginny asked.
case we’d really have no choice but to take her back to the DOMC. I’m hoping that Hannah will help her adjust,
they’re close in age.”
grinned. “Hannah never met an animal she
couldn’t tame and never met a stranger she didn’t like. Go bring her in and we’ll see if this will
work.” Leaving Ginny softly murmuring to
Bridget, Harry went out to the back garden.
Hannah, spotting him from her broom. She
jumped all of a foot off the broom to the grass and ran flat out toward Harry,
who scooped her up and swung her around.
Her giggles and squeals rousted the others out of the tree, and they all
converged on Harry, with shouts of “Me too! Me too!” from Rosie. Davey and Ian bombarded him with “What did
you bring me?” questions until, laughing, Harry yelled uncle.
right, that’s enough!” he laughed. “I
did bring you something, but I need to tell you about it first, OK? Come, sit,” Harry directed, sitting
cross-legged on the grass, Hannah in his lap.
Harry kissed her red head, remembering Bridget’s dead parents. He looked at his four youngest, three with
Ginny’s red hair and Ian with his own black, and hoped he was doing the right
I had to go into work today, right?” The
something bad happened. A big mountain
troll went berserk and demolished a tiny cottage. It killed a witch and a wizard, who had a
little girl named Bridget. She’s just
four years old, younger than Hannah here.
I brought her home with me.”
Harry paused for the questions.
you bring her home, Dad? Doesn’t she
have family someplace?” asked Ian.
think so, son. She’s very upset and
didn’t want to go to anyone else. She’s
inside with your mum now.”
going to stay forever?” asked Rosie.
soon as we find a permanent home for her she’ll be adopted.”
she going to sleep?” asked Hannah.
that depends. What I’d like you all to
do is keep playing while I take Hannah inside to meet Bridget. If Bridget sees we have another little girl
her age to play with and be her friend maybe she’ll feel better.”
feel bad?” asked Davey.
about how you would feel if Mum and I died and you didn’t know what was
happening. All you know is something bad
happened and now Mummy and Daddy aren’t going to take care of you anymore. You’re taken into a place where you don’t
know anybody and you don’t know where you are.”
sad, Daddy,” said tender-hearted Hannah.
each of you to be nice to Bridget, all right?
She’s company for now. Don’t
tease her or pick on her or play tricks on her.
She’ll be very sad for a long time.
Invite her to play but don’t get mad if she won’t at first. There’s an awful lot of us, let her get used
the family a little at a time. Think you
can do that for me?” Each child agreed.
back and play while I let Hannah meet Bridget.
Then I’ll call you all in for tea in a little bit.” Ian, Davey, and Rosie went back to the tree
go, Hannah. Just be your sweet self,”
inside the manor, Ginny was reading a story book to Bridget about a princess
and a frog. It was one of Hannah’s
favorites so she climbed right up to the other side of Ginny’s lap and made
herself comfortable against her mother’s soft breast. Bridget just looked at the other little girl
with wide eyes. Harry stood by to see
what would happen. If Bridget couldn’t
adjust to one child, she’d definitely have problems with four, not to mention
stared at Hannah. Ginny kept reading
until she reached the end of the story.
introduced herself. “I’m Hannah.”
just looked at her. After a long pause,
she whispered, “I’m Bridget.” Harry
caught Ginny’s eye and smiled.
a Princess Starfire doll. Want to see?”
just leaned closer into Ginny and shook her head.
a toy broomstick. Wanna ride?”
just shook her head again. Ginny
smoothed both little girls’ hair and just let them work it out themselves.
Daddy’s got a snowy owl. She’s ever so
nice. Want to see?”
showed a bit more interest but finally shook her head.
frowned at Bridget, thinking hard. Harry
imagined he could see the wheels turning in her little mind.
a black kitten named Midnight. He sleeps
on my bed and everything. Wanna go find
Bridget’s full attention. She looked up
at Ginny, who was smiling encouragingly, then at Harry who was doing the
same. Then she looked at Hannah and
said, “All right.” With that both girls
scrambled down off Ginny’s lap. Hannah
reached out and took Bridget by the hand, and pulled her out of the room.
Midnight for my birthday. He’s just a
baby kitty. He’s all black but he has
this white spot on his chest…” Hannah’s voice faded as the girls went down the
hallway to the stairs.
Harry. That poor little thing,” Ginny
said. She rubbed the small bulge of her
tummy thoughtfully. “She can stay in
Hannah and Rosie’s room. I’ll get Dobby
to set up a spare bed. Let’s fill out
those papers so you can take them back tomorrow.” And with that, Harry and Ginny Potter became
foster parents to Bridget Donohue McFadden.
A/N: I take no
credit for the nursery rhyme Ginny sang to Bridget. It’s from this web site, but it didn’t list
the author: http://smart-central.com. Next chapter reveals what Ron and Hermione
are up to now.