Title: Bountiful Blessings (Bestowed Upon You)

Pairing: Harry Potter/Astoria Greengrass and Neville Longbottom/Daphne Greengrass

NOTE: This is a sequel to The Kiss of a Maiden (Bestowed Upon You).

Harry Potter pulled his wife closer to his chest, rubbing one hand over her stomach. A little foot kicked against his palm, and the grin on Harry's face was blinding. After three years of peace, he was finally going to be a father. He finally had a family of his own.

"Hey, little man," he whispered. "Are you going to make an appearance soon? You've kept us waiting an extra two weeks already."

The baby kicked again.

Astoria Potter groaned and carefully rolled over, so that her swollen stomach rested between them. She was so beautiful.

"Why couldn't our first one have been a scholar, Harry? No, you had to make a Quidditch player in me. A Beater, by the feel of him."

Harry blushed, ducked his head, and grinned. His other hand tangled in her strawberry-blonde hair. He gave her a loving kiss.


Not really, though. He would never be sorry about making a family with her. How could he ever regret a dream that came true?

"I don't believe you," huffed Astoria, eyes sparkling.

That was because she knew him so well.

Laughing, Harry buried his face in her hair and said, "You're right. I'm not. You're giving me a family, Astoria. The next one can be a scholar. This is my son, you know. He's supposed to play Quidditch. He's got to be strong so he can protect his brothers, but mostly his sisters, from anyone who wants to hurt them, or flirt with them."

One child would never be enough. Harry had too much love to give.

Astoria giggled and carded her fingers through his hair. She scratched his scalp; it sent shivers down his back. He loved it when she did that.

"So your daughters are going to attract unwanted suitors, are they? What makes you think that?"

She wasn't serious, was she?

Harry stared at her as if she had just declared her tarot cards were useless.

"Well, duh, Astoria! Haven't you ever looked in a mirror?"

Astoria was stunning, everything about her appealed to him. Her interrupting his flying one afternoon to explain parts of pureblood culture he didn't know was the luckiest happenstance of his life.

"Our daughters—plural, of course—are going to have men after them like crazy."

Blushing, Astoria kissed him. It didn't last nearly long enough.

The first night he was at Grimmauld Place, Sirius Black, his godfather, had nudged him with a bony elbow and winked. "I can already tell you'll take after your dad. Can't blame you, Prongslet. Beautiful and smart is a rare combination. When you find her, if you really love her, treat her right. Keep it in your trousers until you're bonded, all right?"

He had thought he would die of embarrassment, Harry remembered fondly.

Harry blushed at the memory and traced his fingertips across Astoria's stomach, grin widening with each kick against his palm. Harry had waited, as Sirius advised, despite the overwhelming temptation on occasion. He needed her—always. It was worth it.

Their bond soothed the niggling doubts in the back of his mind that she would eventually get tired of him, or that he wouldn't be able to make her happy. Their magic had been entwined together, strengthening both of them.

After losing so much in his life, the added reassurance of her love and safety, which radiated through him, eased his mind.

His orphan self felt comforted.

The little child who thought everyone who loved him would either die or abandon him of their own free will trusted in Astoria. He trusted her completely. It was a scary thought some days, because absolute trust led to the worst of betrayals.

She wouldn't betray him. Harry knew she wouldn't.

Astoria pressed herself against him.

"Harry, I love you. More than anything in the world. I'll never take you for granted."

"You're my wife, my lady."

Harry slid his hand down her arm and grasped her left hand, raising it to kiss the jeweled heirloom ring—the same bonding ring his mother had worn.

"You were my first everything. You're carrying my child, love. You've given me a family. Thank you."

Harry's jaw hardened.

The thought of anything tearing his family away from him was the source of Harry's worst nightmares. Because if he had learned anything in life, it was that happiness was fleeting.

Maybe he would get lucky for once.

Astoria squinted at him in the evening light, and then nodded.

"You're welcome, Harry."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and tugged him close for a kiss. Kissing Astoria was like coming home; it was safe and loving, but had undertones of passionate longing.

When she finally withdrew, Astoria smiled at the look he gave her. Harry stared at her as if she was the only woman he ever saw, and he knew she wouldn't have it any other way.

Harry's breath stuttered in his chest and he stroked a hand down Astoria's back. The smile that lit Astoria's face made him ache.

"I love you."

The simple words made her so happy. He knew she was possessive of him, worried that he—the Lord Conqueror—would slip through her fingers even now. She still woke up from nightmares and reached for him with desperate hands, as if he had vanished from their bed.

That year they spent on the run still haunted her. It was all his fault.

"I know, Harry, but never forget that I loved you first," Astoria teased and cuddled against him.

The Elder Wand appeared in his hand without a single word on his part. It returned itself to him in times of high emotion or danger, regardless of how often he left it in Dumbledore's tomb. Maybe he would stop taking it there. Maybe it came back for a reason.

"You're mine."

It was a statement of fact, nothing less.

"Of course I am," Astoria agreed as she eased the Elder Wand out of his hand and put it on the bedside table, "Harry. That's something you never have to worry about."

She kissed him with loyal devotion this time, no hint of teasing to be found.

Harry whispered, "Yeah, okay," against her neck as he buried his face against it.


The baby kicked hard, drawing Harry's gaze down to her stomach.

"Hey, little man. Are you ready to come out yet? We love you. We want to meet you."

The baby stilled.

"I guess not," Harry sighed.

Each day past the due date was excruciating; nine months was already long enough!

"Stop hogging your mum," muttered Harry.

Astoria laughed and ruffled Harry's hair, saying, "From what I've heard, your dad was a total mum's boy. This is what you get for deciding to name our firstborn James Sirius."

"Hey!" Harry wrinkled his nose with false affront. "Sirius left his mum because she was horrid; I figured it would balance out."

None of his children would have a bad mother.

"And then went to live with your grandmother, clinging to his favorite older cousin as much as James did. Let's face it, this kid is going to be a total mum's boy. It must run in the Potter genes. He hasn't even been born yet and he doesn't want to share me," Astoria retorted with a smile.

Harry pouted and then poked her stomach. He winked playfully.

"Then you're giving me a daughter next. As soon as possible. And she'll be a daddy's girl. As head of this family, I've decided it shall be so!" he declared with a cheeky grin.

Astoria snorted. Her curls tangled together as she giggled in his arms.

"And what, oh head of the family, will this daughter I must provide as soon as possible—after birthing your heir—be named? Or do I not get any say in this?"

The solemnity of Harry's face was uncharacteristic, as his words echoed through their bedchamber. However, he had long ago decided what he would name his firstborn daughter. He knew Astoria, of all people, would never disagree with it. "Lilith Amaranth Potter," he breathed.

After his mother and hers, who both died to keep their children safe.

Silence hung in the air, before Astoria shattered it.


"Perfect," Harry finished for her.

"I know it doesn't bring up pleasant memories, love. But I'll never forget that she died to keep you safe, so that you could return to me. When Bellatrix dragged you out of the dungeon in Malfoy Manor, I thought—"

Harry shuddered. He remembered throwing himself at the door, desperate to break it down. All he ended up accomplishing was dislocating his shoulder.

"If your mum hadn't been able to fight Bellatrix off until Dobby arrived—"

He choked on terror. Astoria couldn't die. He was the Master of Death; she wasn't going anywhere.


Astoria started crying and fought against the blankets, pushing them away and sliding out of his arms.

"I . . . I have to go to the bathroom," she finished, an obvious lie.

"I'll keep the bed warm for you," Harry said, worried eyes on his wife.

Whenever he brought up that day, Astoria broke down and left the room. She had never given him all the details, and he would never ask her; the traumatized look in her eyes when Dobby freed them told of the horrors she faced.

Harry had been an infant when he saw his mum die and the Dementors still brought the memory forth. How much worse must it be since she was old enough to take in every detail?

Astoria doubled over and yelped. She clutched her stomach as her water broke.

"The baby!"

Harry scrambled to her side. This was his fault. He shouldn't have upset her. What if something went wrong?

"Everything's going to be fine, Astoria," Harry said. "I promise."

The Elder Wand was in his hand again.

"Daphne," Astoria gasped, as Harry settled her back against the pillows. "Get Daphne."

"Are you sure you don't want to go to St. Mungo's?" he asked.

Since Astoria found out she was pregnant, she had been insistent on giving birth in the manor. She claimed it would be safer, but wasn't allowed to give him an explanation of why. All she would say is that it had something to do with Morgana's Secret Arts.

While Harry respected Astoria's sister, Daphne was still in training. She wasn't a certified Healer yet. What if she made a mistake?

Astoria grabbed his wrist.

"Promise me, H-Harry," she whimpered, tears rolling down her cheeks, "that you'll get Daphne. No hospitals."

If he knew why she was so adamant, it would be so much easier to give his word. As it was, he would just have to trust her.

"I promise."

He snapped his fingers. Dobby's widow appeared at his side.


"Do what you can to help. I'm getting her sister."

"Of course, Master. Tatsy being helping the Mistress."

Harry kissed Astoria's sweaty forehead and sprinted for the nearest fireplace. He almost dropped the tin of Floo powder three times before he successfully opened it and threw some in the crackling flames. Once they turned green, he yelled "Longbottom Manor!" and thrust his head inside.

Neville dropped his quill. He jumped up from the desk in his study.

"Harry? What's wrong? It's almost midnight!"

"Daphne. Astoria needs Daphne. Now."

His fingers scrabbled at the floor before the fireplace. He wanted to take Astoria to St. Mungo's, but he had a feeling she wouldn't forgive him if he did. Why did witches have to have rituals and Secret Arts and other things that terrified him?

"I'll get her, Harry. We'll be there as quickly as we can," Neville assured him before hurrying from the room.

Harry ran back to the master bedroom. Astoria's head thrashed against the pillows as Tatsy wiped her brow. She was muttering in a language Harry didn't know; the syllables rolled from her tongue. Her magic reacted, but Harry had no idea what it was doing. Her stomach rippled against her soaked nightgown. Her feet kicked.

"What's happening?"

"Tatsy is forbidden to tell Master. Master needs not be worrying. Mistress is strong."

Tatsy grinned at Harry.

"Young Master is being very powerful."

"Move, Harry!"

He stepped to the side, allowing Daphne to pass him.

"Now get out."


She was mental if she thought he was leaving!

Daphne turned on him. He had never seen her angry before; it was a fearsome sight.

"You can't be here, Harry. You'll make it worse. Go keep Neville company!" Daphne ordered.

"How could I possibly make it worse?"

He wasn't the one who was pregnant! What did his presence matter? He wanted to be there when the baby was born. Harry crossed his arms, prepared to stand his ground.

"Because your magic has been touched by Death twice! I'm not a fool, Harry. I know you have the Hallows. Do you think Death wants to be enslaved?"

Daphne raised her hand, as if she would dearly like to slap some sense into him.

"I'm not taking any chances that Death will steal my sister or her son to free himself from never-ending bondage to your bloodline. So, for the last time, Harry, get out."

Harry stumbled from the room to the bathroom down the hall. He kneeled before the toilet and threw up everything he had eaten for dinner. His skin felt cold and clammy. Once his son was born, Death would be permanently bound to the Potter bloodline? His position as Master of Death was hereditary?

"Did you know?" he croaked, when Neville entered the room with a concerned look on his face.

Neville nodded and rocked back on his heels.

"Daphne shared Astoria's concerns with me."

"Astoria's concerns?"

She hadn't said anything to him! There hadn't even been an inkling to lead him to suspect she was concerned about anything like this. Why hadn't she told him? Didn't she trust him?

Neville hauled Harry to his feet and dragged him over to the lounge. They collapsed side-by-side on the couch.

"She didn't want you to spend nine months agonizing over something you can't control, Harry. She knew you would tear yourself to pieces. All she wanted was for you to be happy, to keep smiling at her."

Harry folded his knees against his chest like a child.

"And if she dies?"

"She won't."

His chuckle was bitter and lacked all humor.

"You can't know that."

It would be his fault if Astoria died. He would be a failure. Dad died to protect Mum; he didn't kill her. Harry swallowed his gorge, not desiring another trip to the bathroom.

"Astoria won't die, Harry," Neville said patiently.

Harry smushed his cheek against his knee and stared at his friend.

"What makes you think that?"

Harry was desperate enough for any reassurance at this point.

Please, Mother Magic, please don't take her away.

"Because she knows you hate being left behind."

Tears fell intermittently as the hours passed. Harry's knees ached, but he didn't loosen his grip. The parts of him that weren't crumbling to pieces were monitoring the wards, which kept shifting and flickering. They grew stronger, changing from a dull gray to a piercing ivory as the night dragged on. Then, just as the sun crested the horizon, stinging his gritty eyes, Daphne walked into the room. She slumped against the wall, exhaustion in every line of her body, wearing the most tender smile Harry had ever seen on her face.

"Well," she prompted, "aren't you going to see your family, Harry?"

His knees popped as he stretched out his legs and stood.

"Is she . . . ?"

"They're fine, Harry. It went well. The danger has passed."

The danger had passed. The danger had passed.

Thank you, Mother Magic!

Harry walked, then ran back to the master bedroom. He stopped at the threshold, heart in his throat. The bedding had been changed, as had Astoria's nightgown. She was pristine. Her hair was in one long braid. She sat against the pillows, a baby with fuzzy black hair lying on her chest.

Astoria held out one hand, beckoning him closer.

"Harry," she said, voice filled with gentle love, "come meet our son."

Harry walked over and took her hand in his. She was still alive. He closed his eyes and whispered a prayer of gratitude. The baby fussed, and Harry couldn't help the breathless laugh that escaped when he saw that his son had Astoria's eyes, just as Harry had his own mother's.

"He has your eyes."

"Yes, he does." Astoria petted the baby's hair. "He's beautiful."

"Yes, he is."

Harry could barely get the words out; he was so choked up with awe and wonder and thankfulness.

Astoria took the baby's little hand in her own and brushed it against Harry's.

"This is your dad, James. He's going to spoil you rotten. He's going to buy you a broomstick much too early, and teach you to fly it recklessly. He's going to protect you from everything he can. And he's going to love you with his whole heart."

Harry didn't think he had any tears left, but he felt them trickle down his cheeks.

He never would have imagined his life turning out this well after losing his parents, a miserable childhood with the Dursleys, the war, and almost losing Astoria.

But he was blessed, so very blessed, and infinitely happy.

Harry brushed a knuckle against his son's soft cheek and whispered, "Hello, James, welcome to the family."