Quality Time (original idea set in the HP universe)

Harry sighed as he sank back into his recliner.  It had been a long day, and he was looking forward to spending a few hours by himself, reading.  He had discovered a Muggle author named Terry Brooks, and was enjoying reading about Shannara.  There were many in the Wizarding world who would be shocked at the books in Harry’s library; they considered anything not written by someone in their world to not be worth their time.  Harry felt otherwise, he knew that some of the best authors of fiction were Muggles, and he suspected quite a few of them might even be Squibs, the way they wrote about magic.  It would be the ultimate prank on the world, to have magic written about in such a way that everyone would be fascinated by it and want to read everything they could on the subject, while at the same time believing that it wasn’t real even though they might wish it were.  The Marauders would laugh themselves silly at the thought.

Just as he was becoming immersed in his book, the door opened and his oldest son walked in.  “Dad, have you seen my Transfiguration book?  I still need to do my homework for Aunt Minnie, and I can’t find it anywhere.  Al swears he didn’t touch it, but I’ve looked everywhere else but his room, which he refused to let me search.”

Harry sighed.  His boys were finally at the stage where they were constantly pranking each other, and while most of the time their antics were hilarious, sometimes Harry wished they’d just leave each other alone for more than five minutes, so the rest of the house could have peace and quiet for a change.

“No, Jamie, I haven’t, but the last time Al took your school books he put them on the roof.  Have you checked there?”

“No, not yet.  I wanted to check with you and Mum first, hoping one of you had seen it inside.  It’s getting ready to storm, and I didn’t want to be on the roof when it hits.”  James looked put out at the thought of having to levitate himself onto the roof to look for his textbook yet again.

“And Mum or Lily haven’t seen it?”

“They both said no.”

“Alright, let me see if I can find it,” Harry replied.  His magical aura flared around him for a second as he concentrated, then he sighed in relief.  Sure enough, Al had levitated James’ book onto the roof again, right above the library.

“Yep, it’s up there again,” he told his son.  “It’s right above us.  I’ll go get it, while you stand right below so you can catch it when I levitate it over the side.”

“Okay, Dad,” James answered.  “Just wait till I get my hands on him,” he muttered.

“I have a better idea than you killing your brother,” Harry said mildly.  “Why don’t we come up with a prank that will teach him once and for all to leave your books alone?”

James grinned wickedly.  “That sounds like a great idea, Dad!”

Harry smiled to himself as he led the way out of the library.  One crisis dealt with, the aftermath would come much later.

Half an hour later, Harry was back in the library, trying to find where he’d left off reading.  Before he could get comfortable, Lily walked in.

“Daddy, Mummy says I have to ask you for permission to go with Auntie ’Mione and Uncle Ron this weekend.  They’re taking Rose and Hugo to something called a zoo, where Rose said there’s lots of animals.  Can I go with them, Daddy, please?”

“Sure, pumpkin.  Auntie ’Mione has been wanting to take Rose and Hugo to the zoo for a long time now.  They have all kinds of animals there that Wizarding kids never get to see, unless they come from the same countries as the animals.  You won’t see hippogriffs or nifflers or chimaera or occamies or diricawls, because this is a Muggle zoo.  You’ll see Bengal tigers, and lions, and seals and polar bears, maybe even a hippopotamus or an ostrich.  You’ll get to learn about all sorts of animals that we never see in our world, and some of them are really cool.  I’m partial to the lions myself, I wonder why that would be,” Harry said with a smile.  Lily just grinned; she knew the Gryffindor mascot was a lion.

“I like lions, too,” Lily said, then skipped off to tell her mum Dad said she could go and to ask to Floo Rose and give her the good news.

Harry smiled and shook his head; Hermione was in for an interesting weekend.

Next to interrupt Harry’s reading was Ginny, asking him if he’d seen her red jumper, as she was getting ready to go shopping and it was getting chilly outside.

“Yes, dear, it was on the cat last time I saw it,” Harry answered absently, and Ginny left in search of Fluffy, their gray kneazle kitten.  Harry was suddenly struck by the memory of Ginny and Molly having the exact same conversation the first time he visited the Burrow, and chuckled to himself as he settled back in his chair.  Maybe he’d finally get to finish the chapter he was reading before bedtime, if he didn’t get interrupted by any more family members.  “Quality time” in the Potter household seemed to be few and far between these days, and Harry cherished every moment to himself he could get.

A loud crash was heard overhead, from the direction of Al’s room.  “James!  You prat, I’m gonna get you!” Al yelled, and Harry started laughing, picturing the look on Al’s face after realising he’d been pranked by his older brother yet again.  So much for getting to finish his chapter…. Harry replaced his bookmark and set the book on the table by his chair, then stood up, preparing to separate his sons before they tried to kill each other.

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