Harry Potter and the Perfect Wife @spurgelaurel
The Tears Of A Goddess

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has read this story. The engagement has been insane and I'm so happy that you all are enjoying it so much. Your kind words of encouragement helped me get back into writing after a rough couple of months.

Consider checking out the side story to this one, Leave A Tender Moment Alone, in which I flush out the Perfect Wife-verse.

Anemone Potter could have been the perfect daughter.

She was a pretty little girl, and was sure to grow up to be a complete heart breaker. Her hair was a rich black that fell smoothly down her back, with a fringe covering her forehead. Green eyes, the same as her grandmother's and father's, sat above high cheekbones in a perfectly symmetrical face. Being only five years old, she was just a little over three feet tall. And when she would pull at someone's robes while staring up at them with her big round eyes, there was no way she could be denied anything.

She was smart, too. Often carrying around a heavy tome that no one really knew where or how she got. Though carrying was a strong word, she more dragged it behind her as she sought a quiet alcove in which to curl up and read. It would have been a cute and funny sight if the leather binding of the grimoire wasn't clearly made of stitched together human skin and if every effort to separate her from the book wasn't thwarted. Only her Aunt Hermione even bothered to try anymore, and even her attempts were but token ones raised in idgination at her young niece being exposed to what was undoubtedly Dark Magic so young.

But there was one glaring issue. Neither of Anemone's parents had any clue whatsoever as to how to raise a normal child. Or even what a normal child was like. So when the little flower asked for a ladder by which to reach the higher books in the library, her father instead bought her a top of the line broom and her mother nodded along proudly, not seeing anything wrong with the picture. And when she began studying magic most wizards and witches wouldn't learn until after taking their OWLs, her mother would discuss with her what she's read and answer any questions she had and her father offered her his wand to try out some spells, promising she'll get her own soon.

Anemone Potter loved her parents. She couldn't imagine better ones. From the discussions she'd had with her cousins Scorpius and Rose, she knew that most parents wouldn't let her get away with so much. So really truly, Anemone did love her parents. They were so boring, but she couldn't even imagine how bored she'd be if she had Aunt Hermione looking over her shoulder all the time and stopping her each time she found something that was even halfway interesting.

Because her parents really were boring. Harry Potter had all this power, magically and politically, but he only ever used it in defence of other people and never for his own gain. Anemone may have been young, but she could read the writings on the wall each time her family took a trip into the wizarding public. Her father could declare himself the Sorcerer King of the British Isles and his few detractors would be stampeded by his worshippers, if they even had the gall to declare themselves against him. But instead he was just another Auror and Wizengamot member, leaving any matters related to the latter in her mother's or Aunt Hermione's hands, neither of which were witches with grand political ambitions.

Speaking of her mother, Daphne Potter was the type of woman others would kill to become. Would have to kill to become, if Anemone's intuition was correct. Everything she wore ended up on fashion mags, her presence was the essence of beauty and grace, and she published more in a year than the entire Department of Mysteries published in five all on her own. But she was also the worst type of hypocrite, one that didn't even realise she was a hypocrite. She was obsessed with presentation and image, but at the same time was a complete recluse who barely ever left the manor, and even then only when she absolutely had to. When they were approached in public, Daphne's first reaction always seemed to be to run away, even if she went about it more tactfully than straight up sprinting off into the distance.

Anemone swore to herself that she would never end up like her parents. Even if she had to bring the world to its knees, she would remain special. Unique. Interesting. Anemone Potter would never be normal as long as she had air to breathe, and the whole world would know about it.

But first, she would need to get her hands on every kind of magic there was. She had no time or care for the supposed dangers of the so-called "Dark" magic. The youngest Potter did not believe in such ephemeral ideals as good and evil, which perhaps was indicative of her age and experience. Instead, she looked at history and all she could see was "Might Makes Right." The Roman empire was powerful enough to control most of Europe and much beyond, so they were celebrated as a foundation of culture and wisdom. Grindelwald was the most powerful wizard of the early twentieth century, and so Europe either bent its knee willingly or was bent until Albus Dumbledore came along. Then it was his turn to be plied with adoration and devotion, given three positions which allowed him to shape the future.

And then the cycle repeated with the latest Dark Lord to which people capitulated until her father proved himself to be the superior. Harry Potter didn't even need to exert his pressure, but already Wizarding Britain was reshaping itself in his image and according to his ideals. His previous foes at the forefront of the reformation.

One day, it would be Anemone sitting on that throne. Then her followers would bring her a choc ice whenever she wanted, before she even had to ask. And none would dare tell her she needed to finish her dinner before she could have dessert.

Indeed, Anemone's parents were so dull. Nothing at all like their ambitious daughter. But she still loved them, regardless.

Daphne checked her reflection in the mirror. Perfect as always. Her glacier blue dress brought out her eyes and tastefully fell over her curves, not clinging to them indecently. Her black hair, normally left loose, was braided and pinned in an updo that was held up almost entirely by magic. It gave it a floaty, in-motion look, as if she were really underwater.

Normally she wouldn't have bothered, but it was a special occasion. After Harry had recovered from the announcement of her pregnancy, he had wanted to shout it from rooftops and carve it into mountsides for everyone to know. It was only reminding him that they were under enough scrutiny and would get enough attention already that he came back to his senses. Still, he wanted to share the good news, and so Daphne conceded to scheduling a visit to Malfoy Manor.

The Lady Potter scoffed internally at having Draco Malfoy as her brother-in-law. It was probably worse on Malfoy's end, having Harry Potter as a brother-in-law. Sure, they had never been completely hostile to each other, but the amount of times the blonde ferret had found himself humiliated at Harry's hands during their school years must have left some deep seeded issues. Even now Malfoy couldn't get out of his shadow. After all, who between them married the superior Greengrass sister?

Speaking of, it had been a while since Daphne had seen Astoria. She idly wondered how the little brat was doing before shaking her head. As long as she wasn't preaching at her, Daphne couldn't care less what her little sister was up to. Astoria had never acted against her before except by trying to talk to her about things she wasn't interested in, and that wasn't about to change now. Sure, she had told Malfoy some things, but the blonde had always been a coward at the end of the day and she knew she could take him. Besides, at the very worst, who was Harry more likely to believe? His loving wife or his old schoolyard rival?

A cough behind her pulled Daphne's attention off her reflection. She spun to face her husband, before letting out a put upon sigh.

"Harry," she couldn't believe him sometimes, "what are you wearing?"

Her husband briefly looked over himself before returning her gaze, and she could see in his eyes that he didn't think anything was wrong with his attire. As if he could just step into the manor of one of the "Sacred Twenty Eight" wearing jeans and a polo. Not that Daphne particularly cared but—but Astoria! The younger Greengrass was already at an advantage because they were meeting at her home. Daphne could not let herself be beaten by her bratty little sister. Not at anything.

She sighed again. "Come, I'll help you pick out an appropriate outfit," she grabbed him by the arm and began leading him to their bedchamber, "You better hope we're not late because of this delay."

Harry grinned at her indulgently. "It's only a casual visit with family, love. We're not going to a ball. You can let your hair down for once."

Her response was a withering glare, to which he quickly held up his free hand asking for peace. She ruefully shook her head, wondering to herself how she put up with him. "Who among us was raised in etiquette and who grew up as a common mongrel?"

"Yes, yes, honey, as you say. I bow down to your superior knowledge and wisdom."

"Good. Now try this on," she handed him a silken, white shirt.

He didn't seem convinced. "Isn't this a bit much, Daphne? Besides, couldn't you have picked something else? I always feel like a pirate wearing this bloody shirt."

"There's not a pirate in history who had such fine clothes, or as beautiful a wife. Now take off what you're wearing and get changed!"

In the end, Daphne got her way, not surprising anyone. Harry quietly slipped on everything he was handed, completing the shirt with a red waistcoat, black ascot, and black trousers. Once Daphne had given him a thorough look over, taking the time to appreciate how well her husband cleaned up, and gave the verdict that he was adequately dressed, the two headed to Malfoy Manor through the Floo.

Daphne had to hold him up as he half stumbled out the fireplace, still unable to elegantly use any form of magical transport even after all these years. He was getting better, though, she noticed. Early on in their marriage he would have knocked both of them to the ground. Or maybe she was just getting stronger?

"Well, well, well, look what the Nundu dragged in."

A light smack. "Draco, be nice. But, Harry, when are you going to introduce us to your new pet? It's been so long already!"

The owners of the mansion greeted their visitors with very little formality. Harry immediately let loose, joking around with Astoria as an older brother might while gently ribbing Draco, enjoying the way his face gradually got paler and paler as his wife and brother-in-law arranged for him to be face to face with the most dangerous predator in the world.

Daphne was left standing in silence, still arm in arm with her husband but completely disengaged. She was still trying to parse what she was seeing. Her sister was wearing a pastel yellow sundress with pink flowers on it, while Malfoy had on a t-shirt and khaki shorts. Draco Malfoy. She hadn't realised he even knew shorts existed.

She regained her focus just in time to hear the little ferret say, "Aren't you a little overdressed?"

Suddenly Daphne felt very self-conscious. Harry was right and she had misunderstood, and now she had made them both into fools. Astoria had gotten one over her, and Malfoy one over her husband. And it was all her fault.

"Ah, Draco, Draco, Draco," Harry shook his head, easy grin still on his face, "You of all people should know that our actions as individuals reflect upon our House."

Malfoy hid a wince. Astoria frowned. "You really think we would judge you for what you wore when visiting us?" she asked.

"Isn't that what you're doing right now?" Daphne mumbled but nobody paid attention.

"It's good to build the habit, even if in this instance it did not matter."

"Since when did you care enough about what others think about you and your House that you'd go out of your way to build habits?"

"Since I stopped being the last Potter."

That put a damper on the conversation, and made the hosts avert their eyes from their guests. This made them miss the look of awe Daphne sent Harry for so effortlessly salvaging her blunder, or the wink he shot her in return. They did, however, catch Daphne quickly gazing away, a blush spreading on her cheeks. The Malfoy's exchanged looks.

"How about we take this somewhere more comfortable? The elves have set up some snacks and drinks in the sitting room, let's go."

The four of them were soon arrayed in Malfoy Manor's informal sitting room where close guests were entertained. Astoria and her husband occupied one of the loveseats, sitting close together with his arm around her shoulders. Meanwhile Daphne claimed an armchair for herself as Harry made no move to sit down, opting to instead wander around the room, inspecting the various heirlooms on display.

"You look well, Daphne. You seem happier every time I see you."

Daphne wasn't sure what her sister was getting at, but she wouldn't make herself an easy target. "Life has been treating me well," she responded in a clipped voice. Harry's quick thinking kept her from falling behind and she wasn't about to spit in his face by saying something careless. Her little sister was like a shark, sensing any drop of blood.

"That's good to hear," Astoria said with a smile. It looked so genuine. Her little sister was a monster. Daphne's eyes flickered to Malfoy, and sure enough he was trying to discreetly bury himself in the upholstery. Wise move. "We should meet up more often," she continued, "we hardly ever speak."

"That sounds like a great idea!" Harry exclaimed, spinning around to face the group. However, he had just been fiddling with one of the old swords mounted on the wall, and when he spun he had pulled it out of its sheath, easily bisecting an innocent vase of flowers that had been resting on the mantelpiece nearby.

Everybody stared, none more so than Harry himself as he gazed upon the sword in his hand in complete wonder, as if befuddled how it ended up there in the first place. With a shrug, he waved his hand over the vase to repair it. Nothing could be done for the flowers. He fished them out, conjuring new ones to take their place. He then placed the ruined flowers in a pocket of his waistcoat where they disappeared. Daphne didn't remember seeing him cast an undetectable expansion charm on it.

"That sounds like a great idea!" Harry exclaimed, as if nothing at all had happened, sword still in hand.

Malfoy held his head in his hands and mumbled something under his breath while Astoria giggled. Daphne herself bore a slight smile, which she knew her husband caught when he sent her a wink. But what he said next quickly removed that smile.

"We should be around at Potter Manor a lot more soon and you're always welcome to come visit us."

Daphne cleared her throat, "As long as you give two weeks prior notice."

"Oh, posh, Daphne. Astoria's family. That goes for you too, Draco," Harry swung the sword to point at Malfoy, it's tip coming to rest a hair's breadth from the blond's nose, "our home is your home."

"Er, yes, well," Malfoy tried to gently push the blade from out of his face but in Harry's grip it was as immovable as a mountain, "That's very generous of you, Potter, but I don't kn—"

The Man-Who-Conquered barreled right over him, not letting him get a word in edgewise. "Ninny loves it when we have guests, the excitable thing. Always on my case about there not being enough work. Of course, then Nimmy will be envious and demand you two stay the night. Not that that's a problem, we have plenty of room a the manor, you're free to stay over whenever you wish. That'll give Minny a chance to get to know you, she's still a bit skittish around strangers, so don't take it personally if she doesn't cuddle up to you immediately. Oh! Wouldn't it be nice to work on the new room together? As family bonding? I mean, I was planning to let Teddy help with painting the walls, but everything else is fair game."

"Wait, what do you mean new room?" Astoria finally cut in. She glanced over at her elder sister, "Is Ms. Black moving in with you?"

Daphne had to hold back a scoff. As if. The widowed metamorphmagus was far too prideful and would never accept what she would interpret as charity. It was hard enough to get her to accept Harry paying for new clothes and toys for young Edward, and Daphne did not envy her husband the screaming match that was sure to occur when Nymphadora learned about the vault at Gringotts set aside for the child's Hogwarts tuition.

Besides, Daphne herself would never allow such a thing. While she would respect her husband's duty and take Edward into her home and raise him as her own son should anything happen to Nymphadora, the woman could not live with them. Not while her bitch of a mother, that Andromeda, continued with her not at all subtle attempts to get her in Harry's bed. Once going so far as to mention that the Black name would die out without a proper heir, and since Daphne's second child was already reserved as a Greengrass, Harry would need a second wife.

Daphne could not believe her ears when she had heard that, and Nymphadora's hair had shifted to a bright red and was clearly about to rip into her mother before Harry happily stated, "Teddy is the Black heir. He's closer to the main Black line through you than I am through Dorea anyways, and any kid I have would have even less of a claim."

But now was not the time to reminisce. She brought her thoughts back to the present. "That's actually the reason we came today," Daphne spoke in a careful tone, choosing each of her words carefully and debating how she wanted to break the news. She really should have come with a plan prepared.

Of course, it was all rendered pointless when Harry finally couldn't hold it in any longer. "Daphne's pregnant!" He exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air with such vigour that the sword flew out of his grip and embedded itself in the ceiling, "We're having a kid!"

For a moment, all was still. Then, with an eardrum splitting squeal, Astoria leapt off the couch to give someone a hug. Her first target was Daphne, but even through her excitement a small speck of reason found its voice heard and the younger sister quickly veered off course, finding her in the arms of her hero. The two jumped in place, hugging and yelling about how amazing it was, Astoria congratulating Harry every third word with him quick to thank her. Daphne felt almost insulted.

Eventually they calmed down enough that they were simply vibrating, and their screams had quietened to normal levels. Astoria turned to Daphne, visibly trying to suppress her elation. "I'm so happy for you," she started blubbering, tears pooling in her eyes to Daphne's panic, "This is such a great moment, and I think being a mother will be so good for you, and I just-just-just-BWAAA!"

All of a sudden Astoria dived at her, squishing her against the armchair as she threw her arms around her, sobbing into chest. Daphne was caught completely off guard, having never experienced something like this before. She could feel the front of her dress become soaked as her bratty sister cried into her bosom. Harry was no help, simply giving her two thumbs up when she sent him a lost look before moving over to converse quietly with an amused looking Malfoy.

Hesitantly, Daphne raised her arms off the armrests. She placed one hand on the back of Astoria's head and began stroking her hair gently, her other hand coming to rest between her shoulder blades. This only made Astoria cry harder, but Daphne felt her grip around her neck tighten as her sister pressed more firmly into her.

All she could do was sigh. Something told her she wouldn't be moving for a long time yet.

"It's going to be a boy."

Harry's words had a tone of finality to them, as if he hadn't said the same thing and then taken it back not five minutes later countless times in the past nine months. Currently he was wearing a groove in the floor with his pacing. He took time off from work so that he could be on call twenty-four-seven during the late stages of Daphne's pregnancy, but all he was really doing was making himself restless and her irritated.

"Why don't you just ask the healers?" she snapped, not looking up from paper she was reading and underlining a passage in green ink from the tip of her quill. Just because she was pregnant—feeling awfully bloated and ready to pop—didn't mean she was going to stop her work. If anything she was on a roll. All she needed was for Harry to stop being his usual self and just be reasonable for once.

Instead he whined like a toddler or a kicked puppy, and Merlin if that wasn't a terrible sign for what was to come. "Love, you know why I can't do that," she certainly did, it was her idea after all, "I want it to be a surprise as much as you."

"Then stop making predictions and just let things fall as they will."

Silence followed that statement, and so Daphne figured the conservation was over. Which was why she was unprepared for her husband to drop like a hammer onto the sofa beside her, bouncing her off the cushion and sending her quill streaking across the page. In outrage, she turned to give him a piece of her mind but then he was right there in her face, holding her hands in his.

"I want to name our daughter Marigold." The words were gentle, and for a moment Daphne was taken aback. She recovered quickly and shook herself out of his grip, placing her materials on the coffee table.

To stall as she gathered her thoughts, she said, "I thought you were sure we were having a son."

Harry shook his head emphatically. "No, no, no," he seemed to be getting excited now, "we're definitely having a daughter! She'll be our little girl, and she'll be so sweet and caring. Just like you!"

Daphne couldn't hold back her scoff. Sweet and caring? Her? Then she caught the twinkle in her husband's eyes. Damn that fool, he was teasing her! Well, if that was his angle, then she would show him two could play at that game.

"You're wrong. It's a boy. He'll be a good boy. Always doing as he's told, respectful of his elders. He'll be studious, serious, and well-mannered. Just like his pa-pa."

She made sure to stress the last two syllables, a slight smirk unintentionally pushing up her cheeks. Just as she had expected, Harry faltered when she referred to him as "papa" which was exactly her plan. Each time his impending fatherhood was thrown in his face, the powerful wizard would get a far off look in his eyes. Daphne actually thought that she would probably have a similar reaction. Except. . . uh, it hadn't actually fully registered with her yet.

"No way!" Harry yelled once he had recovered. "She'll be a perfect little girl! Precious and precocious! Always following her curiosity into trouble, but being so darned cute everyone will forgive her right away."

"It is clear that he will be his father's son. More inclined to read a book in some shadowed alcove than trek about in search of adventure."

"She'll be chivalrous and dauntless. The ideal Gryffindor!"

"He'll be sly and cunning. The consummate Slytherin."

"She'll finally solve the mystery of the demon behind the basement door."

That threw her for a loop. "Harry," her voice was low and any hint of amusement it had gained during their last exchange completely disappeared, "what do you mean by a demon behind the basement door?" His shoulders hunched and he looked down. She grabbed him by the chin and forced him to make eye contact. "Harry, we don't have a basement."

He cringed. "We didn't until the demon moved in?" He said with an overly casual shrug, his words rising in pitch as he reached the end of the sentence.

The mood was thoroughly ruined. "We'll be having words about this." Her husband wisely decided to just nod in silence as she returned to the paper she had been reading earlier. But an in depth analysis of the fifth principal law of brachistochronodynamics was all of a sudden incredibly dull. With a sigh, she put it back down on the coffee table and turned back to Harry.

"I won't have a child of mine be called Marigold."

"How come? It's a beautiful name."

"It sounds so nouveau riche, faux upper-class. Not a fitting name for our progeny."

He laughed.

"What is so funny?"

"Nothing, nothing," he waved it off before throwing out another suggestion, "Well, if you don't like Marigold for a girl, how about Martin for a boy?"

"What is it with you and M-names? Nevermind, that doesn't matter. You are clearly just bad at choosing names."

"What's wrong with my choices?"

"Think of the wizarding families you know of such as the Blacks. Your godfather Sirius, his cousin Andromeda, and her daughter Nymphadora. Simple names pale in comparison to ones like these with weight and history."

"Simple names like Harry?"

"Well," she shot him a smirk, tilting her head back to point her nose down at him, "Harry is hardly the name of a powerful wizard."

"I'll show you powerful wizard," and with those words he lunged at her, careful of her pregnant form but still with enough force to knock her back into the sofa. Before she was able to put up a resistance, Harry immediately began a brutal assault on her sides, tickling her with not a drop of mercy. The sound of Daphne's hollering laughter ripped out of her would have surprised anyone who knew her as it seemed so light and carefree. Her arms flailed, legs kicking out, desperately trying to get Harry off her but he just would not budge. Then he started to press kisses against the side of her neck.

"No—ah! Harry—ha ha ha—please!" She managed to squeeze out between unsightly laughter, "You'll leave a mark!"

That had the complete opposite effect to what Daphne had intended, and only goaded Harry further. Or maybe that was what she truly intended after all. Either way, when he finally let up she was left breathless, chest heaving, and with a wide smile on her face. Her hand reached up to where her shoulder and neck met, fingers running along sensitive skin. She would have to wear a scarf if she goes out soon. Merlin knew why Harry was so fascinated with leaving evidence of his presence all over her. Wasn't what he'd done to her figure enough?

"If you think you're so clever, dearest wife, why don't you come up with a name?"

"Very well," Daphne took a few seconds to centre herself, "I think Asclepius for a boy, and how about Atalanta for a girl?"

"What is with you and A-names?"

She reared back as if struck, "How dare you? These honoured names dating back—"

"I'm just teasing you. Still don't you think it's a bit pretentious to name a kid after some ancient gods?"

"Astoria is named after Asteria, daughter of Phoebe, daughter of Gaia," was her counter argument. Quickly followed by a grimace. "And for some reason I am no longer as enthused by the idea."

"Also, I'd like to maintain the tradition of my mother's family, if you don't mind."

"It is unfortunate for you then, that the best flower name has already been taken."

"A great shame. The world truly could not handle two Daphne Potters without some form of cataclysmic breakdown."


"Perhaps, but then I would be your oaf. Would you stand for that?"

"Never. That would reflect poorly on myself."

"Then I guess I mustn't be an oaf."

She would have happily continued the banter, enjoying herself even though she would never freely admit to it, but her smile slipped away as a cold chill crept up her spine. "My water broke," she said in dread.

Harry tilted his head at the apparent non-sequitur. "Just ask Nimmy to have a look. Sometimes in the winter a pipe can burst when you run hot water through it."

"Not the taps, you cretin!"

He continued to look at her, confused, before his eyes widened and he exploded into motion, finally understanding what she meant. In mere moments, Daphne found herself lying on a bed in St. Mungos with a healer standing before her and her husband sitting in a chair beside her. Gritting her teeth, Daphne was just barely able to think through the pain. Only one thing was strong enough to shine through. Hate. Specifically, her hate for the person who put her in this situation. Harry Potter. Another contraction wracked through her body, the searing pain inflaming her burning anger.

Her previous desire to kill the man was dwarfed by the sheer vitriol she felt in that instant, and her grip around his hand became crushing. A vicious smile appeared on her face at witnessing him wince, but it only lasted a second before it morphed into an expression of pain.

She had been growing soft, her attempts to kill him becoming rarer and rarer. She couldn't even say that it was on purpose to lull him into a false sense of security. In all honesty, she had just forgotten. Gotten complacent. No longer. Harry Potter would die.

Right after she got his blasted spawn out of her.

"Did I look like that, too?"

"Ha ha! Kiddo, you were a psychedelic finger painting until you were two!"

Harry ruffled his godson's hair in good humour, the boy pouting up at him as he tried to fight back. The three living Blacks were spending the day at Potter Manor to meet the newest member of the family. The baby was currently lying in a floating, magical crib, staring up at the four people crowding her with unblinking green eyes. The same eyes as her father and grandmother. As for why she was in a magical crib, well, neither of her parents really trusted themselves with holding her. However, with two experienced mothers now on hand, that was not going to fly.

Nymphadora immediately reached in to scoop the little girl into her arms. "She's gorgeous," she whispered, slightly put off by the way green eyes tracked her unfailingly, "A little creepy, but still gorgeous. You'll have to beat the boys away from her with a stick, Harry."

The sole man in the room shrugged. "Teddy can do that. I'll just call it a job well done if she doesn't die." Nobody laughed because it wasn't a joke.

"It's only until she learns to communicate vocally," Daphne chipped in from where she lay reclining on the couch nearby, "Then she can be self-sufficient and ask the house-elves for things on her own."

"What?" Nymphadora exclaimed in shock, sending concerned glances back and forth and the new parents. "Tell me that was a joke."

Before they could respond, Andromeda interjected. "Another perfect example of your caring personality, Greengrass."

"It's Potter now, actually. My husband saw to that, Tonks."

"It's Black now, actually. Your husband saw to that."

"Okay!—So. . ." Nymphadora had to interrupt but didn't have anything to say. Luckily inspiration struck. "How did you guys decide on Anemone?"

"It's a flower," Daphne said.

"It's greek," Harry said at the same time, though neither acknowledged it.

"Well, I guess I know where she gets the creepy," the metamorph mumbled to herself.

"Hey, Teddy, you want to hold her?"

Everybody looked at Harry like he was crazy. Even the baby joined in, her expression conveying how much she did not trust a four-year-old to carry her. It was a reasonable concern. Unfortunately for her, Harry Potter had never cared much for logic, being more likely to tell it to empty its pockets and hand over any valuables. Fortunately, however, everyone else in the room was both experienced in dealing with his bullshit and capable of speech.

"I think it might be best if she went back in the crib now."

"Yes, she looks tired."

With timing so perfect it could not be a coincidence, Anemone let out a great big yawn. Her eyes still focused unflinchingly on her father, her face set in a complete deadpan.

"Oh, honestly, Harry-dear," Andromeda was far too old to waste her time with this pussyfooting nonsense. "You don't even trust yourself to hold her," she continued, "How could you trust Teddy with that? He's just a boy."

"Hey," If no one else was going to, then he would put some respect on his godson's name, "Teddy is super reliable. He's never killed someone by accident before, right, kiddo?" Silence was his only response. "Come on, back me up here. This is a flawless argument."

As much as Harry was his hero, as much as Harry was the fun uncle who took him on the best trips and gave the best presents, and as much as Harry was his only defence from the perceived tyranny of his mum and nan, Teddy knew he couldn't agree. Not that he had ever killed someone by accident before, of course not. But there are several flaws in the so-called flawless argument. The greatest one being Anemone herself staring at him in such a way that he knew if he agreed he would die. And it would be no accident.

"Actually, uncle Harry," the young boy decided to be the bigger person. Metaphorically. "I think Anemone should go back in her crib so she can take a nap. I'm not big enough to put her in if she falls in my arms, so someone else would have to take her from me, and the motion might wake her up."

The man looked disappointed, but didn't argue any further as Nymphadora set his daughter down. "Ruin all my fun, why don't you," he grumbled, kicking the floor, "this would have been the perfect opportunity to do some matchmaking."


The room froze. The Blacks looked at him in shock, further compounded when they heard Daphne's snort—which definitely did not happen and nobody could prove otherwise. She actually gave a very lady-like laugh—of amusement. They would have thought after the young couple's own experience with a marriage contract, and the fact that Andromeda literally ran away from her family to escape one, they would not have been in any rush to set one up for their own child.

"Yeah, matchmaking! Teddy could have changed his hair and eyes so that they matched. It would have looked so cute!" Harry was too busy gushing to care about the two sighs of relief and absolutely-high-cultured-laugh-and-totally-not-inelegant-giggling that followed.

Then a wicked grin spread across Andromeda's face. "You know, Teddy could do with a little brother or sister."

"Mum," Nymphadora groaned, putting her head in her hands.

Daphne gained a dark look, already knowing where this was going. She would try to nip this in the bud. "Edward is as good as Anemone's older brother already." Mrs. Potter rose from the couch and walked over to the group, standing purposefully close to her husband, intentionally between him and Nymphadora.

"Yeah," Harry pointed at the young boy who was now running around the room, Anemone's eyes trained on him, "look how well they're getting along!"

"Why does she keep staring at me?" said boy asked. He was thoroughly ignored.

"But would it really be so bad for him to have a blood sibling?"

"Mum, drop it," the older metamorphmagus hissed. Like her son, she too was ignored.

"That is something Nymphadora must decide for herself. It is not our place to comment."

"If I were to comment, Remus would want you to move on and be happy, Nymmie. But don't push yourself if you aren't comfortable. As Daphne said, Teddy and Anemone are basically brother and sister anyways. After all, he's like half my son."

"Er, Mum. . .? Harry? Can you make her stop? I'm scared."

"Wouldn't it be nice if he was fully your son," Andromeda went in for the kill, smelling blood. Her grandson's words didn't even register. "And doesn't Nymphadora deserve to upgrade to the younger model? She still sings your praises, you know. Says you're the best lay she's ever had."

"Mum! Kids!" came the half shriek half squeak.

"Madame Black, I don't know what you think—"

Daphne's indignant rage was cut off by Harry's light laughter. It was an airy, casual sound, as if he was unaffected by the tension bubbling in the room. "Nymmie and I had our fun together, but it was never anything serious. I am thankful for all she taught me, though. It certainly came in handy."

Harry's arm wrapped around Daphne's waist, hand coming to rest on her hip, sparking a—for her—bright blush across her cheeks. Her husband's sordid past, while not unknown to her, was not something she appreciated being bandied about. And neither it seemed, did Nymphadora.

"Okay!—So this farce has gone on long enough. I think it's time for us to go. Thank you as always for your hospitality, Harry, Daphne. Come, mum, we're leaving."

"Hmm?" The older woman looked endlessly entertained, "But I've only just begun to have my fun. And what of poor Teddy? I'm sure he wants to play with Anemone some. . . more?"

She trailed off as the four adults turned to see the boy with a pot on his head and a rolling pin held like a longsword between himself and the crib.

"Mum told me I shouldn't hit a girl, but if you don't stop staring at me I can't be held accountable for what happens next."

Anemone did not stop. If anything, her staring intensified, as if telling him to do his worst.

With the fiercest battle cry ever to have been let out by a four year old, Teddy charged.

Only to be scooped up by one of Harry's arms and pulled into the air. "What do you think you're doing, kiddo? And where did you get these?" he asked, referring to the cooking utensils.

Teddy fidgeted, trying to escape the hold. "The elves gave them to me."

"The elves?"

The boy couldn't meet his godfather's eyes, but to his credit, he didn't stumble over his words. "They said she creeps them out, too."

The library at Potter Manor was a grand affair, spread out over three floors with shelves on every wall, from floor to ceiling. The centre of the bottom floor was reserved for a reading space, around which the stairs to the upper floors spiralled. Behind the reading area were massive windows, designed to let natural light in, and on the other side was the wide doorway leading to the hall. So wide was this doorway that even a Nundu could fit through with no hassle, though surely the architects of the building had no way of knowing that such an eventuality would ever come to pass.

And yet, all the furniture had been pushed to the side so that at the centre of the bottom floor a Nundu could lay sprawled out on the rug. Luckily for the little girl resting against its prone form, this was no ordinary Nundu, but in fact Minny, longtime companion of Harry Potter. Of course, that wasn't enough to stop it from gobbling any little girls that walked by it whole, but if that girl happened to be Harry's own daughter, then Minny could make some allowances.

As it was, Anemone Potter was reclining against her family's pet, one hand scratching the apex predator behind an ear while the other occasionally flipped the pages of the tome propped up on her knees. The feline's rumbling purrs and the scraping of paper on paper were the only sounds that dared trespass through this isolated sanctuary. For despite how large the library at Potter Manor was, none but Anemone ever used it.

Her mother much preferred her lab, or the living room when Harry was home. Anemone rolled her eyes. Honestly, those two. They were at once both shy virgins dancing around each other and horny teens who couldn't keep their hands off each other. It went without saying that her father never bothered with the library himself. A waste, but the man was busy enough as it was so the girl did not begrudge him his petty foibles. At least he acknowledged the value of knowledge enough to maintain such a well stocked library without a care to the expense. Or maybe that was Aunt Hermione's influence.

Behind her, Minny sniffed the air. The great beast must have sensed something because with a lumbering heave she stood up, leaving Anemone to scramble not to fall without her backrest. Minny chuffed at her, getting a huff in response, before prowling out the doorway.

"Capricious creature," the little girl mumbled under her breath, walking over to one of the seats she had pushed aside and letting herself drop onto it. "Ninny," a pop of displaced air beside her, "be a dear and fetch me some tea, hm?"

"At once, Mistress," the house elf left with a bow, a steaming cup of tea on a saucer appearing on the end table beside her mere moments after.

"At least someone around here knows their place."

Was there anything better in life than to curl up with a good book and a warm cup of tea. Well, crushing your enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women came pretty close, but Anemone was still only a child. She would have plenty of time for such things when she was older and actually had any enemies. Of course, they wouldn't know it. Bad form to let your enemies know that you are enemies. Then they might think to do something to you before you can do something to them, and that just would not do.

So for now, Anemone would content herself with books and tea. And sometimes biscuits. And a choc ice after dinner if she'd been good. She let out a dreamy sigh. One day. One day she would be the master of her fate, and this exposé on sapience seemed like the exact sort of thing that she could use to get there. She could hear the feminine cries of terror already.

Wait, she could actually hear screaming, that wasn't just in her head. What in the name of her future empire was going on out there?

The screams grew louder and Anemone turned to the doorway just in time to witness her mother run past, Minny hot on her heels. Well, that was one explanation. Why Rose kept telling her she was lucky her family had a pet, Anemone couldn't understand. Sure, the Nundu was a serviceable cushion at times, but it was also an unreliable minion prone to fits of pique. The bloody cat always looked at her like it was humouring her, as if it was somehow better than her and just entertaining her like it would its cubs. Anemone took a deep breath and relaxed her grip on tome, not wanting to damage it.

While she was lost in her thoughts, her father had strolled by and upon seeing her curled up in the library decided to swing by and say hi.

"Anemone, sweety," The broad grin on Harry's face didn't falter even as she rolled her eyes at him, "do you not want to join us? We're playing tag."

"And I suppose Minny is what you call the it?" she responded in a dry tone.

"Sure is! Well, at first only your mum and I were playing, but when that pretty little thing bounded up so joyfully I couldn't ignore her. So I tagged her and she immediately went after Daphne, no hesitation. Didn't even try to get me back," His words drifted off, his face falling slightly in disappointment.

Still, though, there were other things on Anemone's mind. "You and mother play tag?" That was a surprise. From what she had understood, tag was a childish game played by her cousins and their friends. Her father, she could understand, but her mother?

"Ah, well, not tag, exactly," was the answer paired with a slight blush across his cheeks, "It's an adult game. You'll learn about it when you're older. But we couldn't play that with Minny, so I improvised."

"Adults are stupid," she huffed.

Harry just laughed and ruffled her hair, much to her consternation. "Sure are, kiddo. That's why you gotta promise to be daddy's little girl forever, okay?"

"That's not how that works, father," she said as she batted away his hands. Then she squinted up at him, "Unless you happen to have a Philosopher's Stone stashed away somewhere?"

"What? Psssh, no. Why would you think that?" But Anemone was pretty sure she heard him mumble "gotta tell Daphne to lock up the lab" under his breath. Huh. It couldn't be that easy, could it? Something to check later, even if there was only the slightest chance. Having the paragon of alchemy could fast track some of her plans a half dozen years at least. And for a girl who was only five, that was quite a long time indeed.

"Anyways, would you like to join?"

Wait, he was actually serious? Sometimes Anemone really couldn't tell whether her father was intentionally ignorant, a complete idiot, or laughing like crazy on the inside as he confused everyone around him. He did win a war pretty much single handedly, and the feats attributed to him were beyond conception for any ordinary person. Yet at times he acted so. . . unobservant was too generous a word. Blind and deaf more like.

"No, thank you. I am reading at the moment."

That should have been the end of it, and Anemone was entirely ready to make good on her words and return to her book. But her father pouted at her, his green eyes somehow magnified beyond their regular proportions behind his thick lenses into huge orbs glistening with unshed tears. His whole demeanour shifted from the laidback, nonchalant hero with barely noticeable power radiating from him to that of a kicked puppy.

The youngest Potter clicked her tongue. How unfair. Why was it that he was better at playing up the cute angle than her? She'd have to ask him to teach her that. Later. Ask him later. Because right now she was reading. But. . .

"Maybe we can. . . go flying together before supper. If you want."

Anemone averted her eyes, but not out of any form of sheepishness. She physically had to. Harry's tears receded immediately, his frown flipping into a bright smile that literally shone like the sun. Anemone gritted her teeth at his casual display of power, still too young to be throwing around magic so carelessly and ever so sensitive of that fact.

"Brilliant! Can't wait!" He let up on the blinding light, his twinkling eyes meeting her glare unabashedly. "I'll leave you to your reading then, sweety. Have a good time."

As he strolled away something seemed to catch his eye out the window. He walked over and began to chuckle, waving Anemone to come closer. She sighed but put down her book and approached without argument. She quickly saw what had Harry so entertained.

It appeared her mother had managed to turn the tables on Minny out on the grounds around the manor and was firing off spells to keep the hulking feline back. Not to be outdone, Minny began tossing great mounds of dirt at Daphne, both as a projectile she would have to dodge and therefore spend less time casting and as cover as the Nundu attempted to prowl closer. But each time she was about to pounce, keen blue eyes would snap in her direction followed by a banishing charm.

The back and forth seemed to be a stalemate, the environment around them being the greatest victim. A deep trough stretched between them from where Minny dug up the earth, drawing a line between their two sides. To Anemone's eyes, it almost seemed like a perverse version of tennis, or perhaps that dodgeball game her cousin Rose had mentioned playing with some Muggle children. She knew neither Minny nor her mother would appreciate that comparison.

A hand landing on her shoulder drew the girl out of her musings, and she looked up to see Harry gazing down at his ruined grounds with a fond smile and a shake of his head. "They always get so heated when they play together, bless them."

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