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The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.
~ John Dewey
Sunday, June 17th ~ Morning



Bellatrix Lestrange was dead. There was no denying that and while it was a good thing for the most part, Harry found himself almost at an impasse and he didn't quite understand why. Daphne's part in Croaker's disappearance was effectively buried which was what he'd wanted. Almost the last of Voldemort's inner circle of Death Eaters were dead. Lucius Malfoy remained alive and free, but he was too - slippery to be caught out as Bellatrix had and until another Dark Lord came along to take Riddle's place, Harry doubted he'd step too far out of line.

Is that it? Harry asked himself sitting up straight at his desk and looking at the journal entry he'd started and not finished.

Is it because I don't get to play the "Dark Lord" any longer? If it is, that's just - sick - isn't it?
 
 
 
 
 
 
The breath she'd been holding as she tried to force the button on her jeans closed escaped, and Daphne gave up. The extra swell of her tummy wasn't that big yet, but it was enough to convince her to leave the button undone, and to reach for a longer, flowy blouse to cover the evidence.

She wandered down to Harry's study and stepped into the open doorway, leaning against the frame. "Whatcha doin'?"
He'd been so deep in thought and denial that her entrance did startle him just a trifle. When it fully penetrated who it was, Harry smiled, closed the journal and slid it into a drawer before walking over and taking his wife in his arms for a quick kiss.

"Mostly wool-gathering I'm afraid. I've done absolutely nothing constructive this morning, have no desire to do so and it feels - strange in a way."

His eyes dropped in thought for a moment before they rose again. They hadn't really had time to talk about what had happened other than Lestrange being dead, Snape being injured and the fact Perks had gotten taken as a hostage.

Covering classes for the injured man had taken up more time than usual due to the absence of Draco. He'd taken some time off to deal with business matters that could pertain to his parents divorcing. That news had been a bit of a shock as well, since Harry thought Narcissa was permanently welded to the wizard's side.

Oh, hell. I wonder if I told her about that? I don't think so.

"It's almost like a false calm before a storm and it makes me - uneasy. Like I should be preparing for retaliation. There isn't anyone left to retaliate for Lestrange's death - other than the Malfoys that I know of and I can't see Draco or Lucius Malfoy being all that upset."
She hugged him after the kiss, leaving her arms around him as he talked.

"What about Narcissa? She was Bellatrix's sister, if anyone would be upset enough to come after you, it would be family." Daphne didn't like the thought of that at all. "Although I suppose Draco or Mister Snape would have warned you if she was planning anything."
The study, although comfortable, was too - dark to talk about depressing subjects in Harry's opinion and while it would be more comfortable to sit on the couch, he proposed a walk to the lake instead. When Daphne agreed, Harry opened the doors onto the rear of the house and slipped one arm around her waist.

It promised to be a beautiful day and he grinned down at her while they meandered toward the water sparkling in the sunshine.

"I refuse to worry about one Narcissa Malfoy. Since she'd probably hire someone to do the dirty work for her - we'd have no idea who'd be attempting it anyway."
"That's not really as reassuring as you might have meant it to be, dear," Daphne chastised, before offering him a smile.

She took a deep breath and looked out at the water. "It's also not as scary as I was expecting, either. I don't know if that means I'm getting used to this or what it means, really."

She nodded toward the lake. "We should have brought bread or some fish or something down here for Cal."
Oh, fuck.

Harry's mind was racing furiously when the subject of Cal was brought up. He knew he hadn't told her that Cal no longer resided in their lake. The flurry of their wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy and other demands on their time had completely pushed the baby - well, he wouldn't exactly be a baby any longer - he'll be a year old soon, to the back of Harry's mind as a minor matter.

"Uhm - yeah, I forgot to tell you I had Dobby find Cal a new home. Did I tell you that Draco's parents are apparently getting a divorce?" Harry asked trying to breeze by the subject of Cal.
"A divorce?" Daphne stopped walking and turned to face Harry. "Is Draco okay? I thought they were having a baby and what do you mean you had Dobby find Cal a new home?"

Her eyes narrowed at him for trying to weasel that past her.
The narrowed eyes weren't missed and Harry wasn't surprised he hadn't managed it on the first go. Daph was too quick, but...

"Yeah, a baby and a divorce. Both surprised the hell out of me and I haven't seen Draco, so I'm not sure. I know he took off to see to his business interests and I was planning on seeing him at the party he postponed."

One more attempt to side-step the Cal issue had to be made as they drew closer to the lake.

"Do you think the gift we sent Draco on his actual birthday will be enough or should we try and figure out something else to take to the party? I don't think he'll be all that put out about his aunt, but it probably wouldn't hurt to distract him with something shiny in case his mother's gotten ahold of him."
"It's Draco. There can never have enough shiny presents for Draco."

She debated letting it drop. The squidling had been a gift for Harry, and was his to do with as he wished. Including sending the little thing away.

It wasn't as if she'd been very fond of the little bugger, but Harry had seemed to want a squid for the lake at one time.

"So why did Cal have to find a new home?" Daphne asked quietly.
Harry didn't answer right away and didn't honestly know if he should. He'd never shared the story of his dreams with Daphne and the last thing he wanted to do was make her think he was totally bonkers. She already thought he might be - this could be confirmation.

Leading them to a small wooden bench he'd placed under a tree many years ago, he tested it first to make sure it was still sound. Satisfied when it held his own weight without a problem he held out a hand to Daphne.

"Come and sit down with me and I'll try to explain."
"Alright." She gave him her hand, and settled on to the bench carefully.

There honestly wasn't a single reason she could think of why the squid would have had to leave. Unless -

"Was he eating too much? I imagine it would have been difficult to make sure the lake was kept stocked with enough fish for a growing giant squid."
Harry chuckled while putting an arm around her and pulling Daphne a tad closer.

"No, Cal wasn't hard to keep fed," Harry said before glancing at her and then down at his shoes. He leaned down, removed them and the socks before placing them to the side. The grass felt good and it helped remind him that this was here and now - not then. One blade was plucked and he turned sideways on the bench to tease Daphne's nose with it.

"Too bad I don't have one of those yellow weed flowers to see if you like butter," he teased before tossing the blade away and kissing the end of her nose.

"All right, I've stalled long enough. I'm a little nervous here, because while you may think I'm insane at times - you haven't actually had proof and this might do it.

"During the years when Voldemort was still alive - I'd have dreams - nightmares that for the most part were... A connection to him and the majority were based in reality. There was one," and here Harry paused while remembering the dream that had started Sirius on his road through the veil.

"It was a trap set up by Voldemort and I fell for it," he said gruffly. Raising his eyes to Daphne again he shrugged his shoulders before his hand moved to take hers again.

"The result - I pay attention to what I dream about - especially the nightmares. When we were apart, before Snape brought you to the house, I had a few more. All of them were about you and me - having children - and they'd start out alright, but... In one of them, Cal was full grown. You and our two little daughters were out here - by the lake - having a picnic lunch. They were tossing him bits of bread, biscuits - whatever the leftovers were and you were packing away the rest because a storm was coming in the distance."

Harry's voice had gotten very soft while his eyes had dropped to the contrast between their hands. Turning hers over he compared the fine bones of her fingers to the thicker ones in his. It never ceased to amaze him how tiny some of hers were.

Taking a deep breath, Harry couldn't help but see the scene in his mind again and knew if he didn't spit it out in one go, he'd never be able to say it. Meeting her eyes again, one hand went up to her cheek.

"Cal - became angry, dragged the girls into the water and you tried to save them. When I got home - all I found was the blanket and a basket. So - Cal had to leave. I had Dobby find him a new home. I couldn't risk it."
A crinkled nose and a giggle met the blade of grass and the kiss he gave her before he started talking about the past and his dreams.

Daphne had almost smiled when he said that he had dreamed about their children, but it was quickly apparent that the dreams were not pleasant. She quietly watched him, silent so that he could say everything he needed to.

Her nightmares had never been prophetic, thank the fates, but the rare ones that she remembered in the light of day were enough to make her wish there were things she could do to make sure they never came true.

She rubbed her cheek against his hand, turning slightly to press a kiss against the palm. "I'm sure Dobby found him a wonderful new home, and he's probably forgotten all about us already."

Daphne hesitated a moment, then asked, "Were there any more dreams, anything else that we should watch out for?"
He'd been prepared for smirks, hidden laughter and perhaps even outright scoffing, but she surprised him again. There were no expressions of disbelief of any kind like there had been from those in authority when he was younger and trying to tell them what was happening.

She believes me, Harry realized when she asked if there were any others and anything else they could do. Thinking of the other scenarios that had presented themselves, he nodded his head while his hand went behind her neck. The details of those other nightmares weren't something he was going to burden her with and his lips brushed hers briefly before he pulled back.

"Yes," he said softly. "But nothing that we can really do to prepare. Only be careful."
"We'll be careful. All of us. You included, or I'll be very cross with you." She wanted to reassure him that she was taking his concerns seriously.

"Considering what you do for a living, even discounting your hobby of vanquishing dark wizards in your spare time, there is no one in the world that I would trust more to keep my child and I safe, Harry. Between you, Dobby, all the books I've been reading about little-wizard proofing the home and Draco and Vera as godparents... I think we've got it covered. But, if you have another dream like that one, let me know? Just to be safe."

He could do that, couldn't he? Harry wasn't entirely sure if he could, but...

"As long as they're not completely ridiculous, I will," Harry promised before looking back out over the lake and standing up. Holding out his hand, he grinned.

"Now, about this walk we're supposed to be taking. Let's get to it shall we?"
Daphne stood and took the offered hand.

"Since we no longer have a giant squid to care for, and your godfather no longer requires a doggy bed... Have you thought about getting a pet? Something soft and cuddly, that will be fiercely loyal to our little one as he grows up?"

Daphne began to walk, holding on to his hand. "We could ask your friend Hagrid what he might suggest, but I'm not sure I could take cleaning up after a - I'm not even sure what he might come up with."
Harry did a double take before squinting his eyes and shaking his head.

"No, no, no. We will not be asking Hagrid or he'd show up on our doorstep with a blast-ended skrewt that's been crossed with a dragon or a thestral or something equally unlikely. After the baby is born and is maybe - what - a year old, why don't we find a nice tough breed of puppy that will grow with him or her."
"That would be nice. But not something that's going to grow up to be large and black, that would be too confusing. Don't want the baby upset because Unca Sirius won't change and play tea party." Daphne giggled at the thought.