Harry goes from single to family man over the course of the years...
A/N: I decided to make this a quick sketch of the next decade or so, because then we can get to the really good stuff...
Chapter 8: Life in Fast Forward
It was on one of the last days of the semester after final exams that Harry met Amanda's parents.
He was nervous the whole time, afraid he might accidentally say or do something which would make him look bad in their eyes. However, after a handshake or two, some mild conversation and a compliment about how "pretty" his eyes were (this coming from Amanda's mother), Harry was relieved that this family accepted him.
The best part was they obviously didn't mind that he was dating their daughter. Especially since they insisted that he come over sometime.
The summer after Harry's freshman times as a college student was when he was finally able to decide on a career.
He first tasted the "half-dead" language when he was a student at a certain magical school, and he excelled at it in college, so why not teach it to others? More than half of the English language had its Latin roots, so that would also be good for students to learn.
With his major and career decided upon, that put Harry's mind at ease about one thing.
Harry's first summer after college was the first summer ever in his life where he felt happy for a change.
He visited Amanda and her family often, he found a job in bookstore, and he was enjoying himself to the fullest. Amanda would even show him some of her writings and sketches from time to time.
There was one close call, however. When Amanda came to visit one day, she saw Hedwig and was astonished by the presence of a live snowy owl in her boyfriend's home. Harry quickly explained that his owl was a gift from a friend who bred them (this was partially true, anyway), and she accepted it.
For the next three years, Harry and Amanda grew closer together, and in more ways than one. They were a happy dating couple and both successful college students. They may have had their disagreements from time to time, but on the whole, it was a truly successful relationship.
Both of them were romantically involved and had even gotten intimate from time to time, but neither thought the time was right to take their relationship to "the point of no return" (as in sex). Sometimes, just holding hands and gazing out at a beautiful sight was enough for both of them.
Yet sometimes, though, Harry would have dreams and fantasies about Amanda, and not the inappropriate type. Sometimes, he wondered about the possibility of being married to her, having kids with her, and growing old with her.
It was true: Harry Potter was deeply in love with Amanda Ward.
And after the things Harry had gone through in life, he was not about to pass up such a rare chance at some happiness in his life.
However, one question still loomed: When should Harry tell Amanda about magic if at all? He still used magic from time to time, but only when he really needed to. In the end, he decided to if and only if he REALLY needed to.
It was at graduation when something happened which both of them would remember forever.
On the side, after Amanda's parents had taken pictures of both of them, Harry took out a small box, got down on one knee, and opened it to Amanda.
"Amanda Ward, will you marry me?"
With a gasp, Amanda smiled a high-voltage smile that made Harry ecstatic and happily accepted. The smart, beautiful and vibrant young woman he had known for most of his college career was his.
Harry and Amanda were engaged for more than a year before they finally married on a warm late-August day. Neither of them could have asked for anything better at the wedding, and all their friends and family (Amanda's parents had started to treat Harry like a son for a couple of years now) attended and wished the newlyweds well.
That night at a splendid hotel, both of them had barely finished getting everything in order when Amanda came over wearing a nightgown, with a rather alluring twinkle in her eye.
"Together forever," she said, wrapping her arms around Harry. "I just like the sound of that, don't you?"
"Of course I do," Harry said in kind. "I did marry you just earlier today, after all."
Sometime later in bed, Harry hugged his wife close to him and whispered, "I love you."
"I love you too," Amanda whispered back to her husband.
The next year or so was spent making a stable life for the married couple. Harry took up teaching Latin at a high school, while Amanda wrote poetry and made collections of them for publication.
However, Harry was not just busy with Latin. He put up all sorts of magical wards up around the spacious new home they lived in behind Amanda's back, and to his satisfaction, they worked.
It was sometime after their first anniversary when Amanda asked Harry a question which he had been dreading for a while.
"Harry... when do you want to have kids?"
It took a few moments before Harry could think of how to respond. "I don't know, Amanda... It's just that, well... I really didn't have any good examples to follow as a kid, and I don't know if I'd do well..."
"Harry," she said, leaning in with a small smile, "I'm sure you're far from being the first married man in history to feel this way. Besides, I grew up with two people whom I consider to have been the best parents in the world, and even I'm not entirely sure about having kids. Still, it would be nice..."
Harry thought about it. Of course Amanda would help him with raising any kids they would have. They were definitely well-off financially. And yet, something still nagged at him...
"Amanda," he said quietly, "I'm not against having kids... I just want to wait until the time is right."
"Works for me," she said smiling before they kissed.
Nearly three years after they had gotten married, Harry and Amanda Potter finally became parents.
They now had a healthy baby boy, how had a few strands of his mother's brown hair, but definitely had his father's green eyes. His name was Dan Potter.
Taking care of a baby could be frustrating at times, but once Harry got the hang of it, he wasn't so bad at being a father.
For the most part, he was proud to have a son such as Dan.
But deep down, he felt a small pang of fear.
Such fears were dwelled upon like one night when Dan was several months old and Harry took him down to the living room to soothe him.
Harry knew his son had magic. He would never be angry at Dan for having such powers - from Harry's own experience, he knew it was NEVER justifiable to blame and punish a person for things that he or she could not control - but this just made things more complicated in his opinion.
It looked as though Harry would just have to deal with it.
For a moment as he stopped rocking Dan, the infant started to cry again when Harry soothed him again.
"It's okay, kid," Harry said quietly, holding his son close. "I'll never leave you or let anything happen to you if I can help it. No matter what. I promise."
Dan was nearly three and a half years old when he got a little sister. She had messy black hair like her father and warm brown eyes like her mother. Her name was Sarah Potter.
She wasn't as active or rambunctious as Dan could be from time to time, but Harry knew that deep down, his daughter was probably very strong-willed. He made the same vow to Dan when he was a baby: "I'll never leave you or let anything happen to you if I can help it. No matter what. I promise."
One night, after putting both children away, Harry and Amanda sat down together to share some tea. "We're quite a family now, huh?" Amanda asked Harry.
Harry ran a hand through his messy hair, just thinking about it. "Oh yes," he said. "Definitely."
Unfortunately, Harry would soon end up forfeiting a small part of his happiness for all of it which he gained.
When Dan was seven years old and Sarah was four, Harry came home one day to an empty house, and somehow instantly knew that something was not right.
He knew that Amanda had taken both their kids to the park, so that wasn't what he was worried about; no, he was worried about a certain other member of the family.
Hedwig was more or less a member of the family, and she often helped Harry by keeping an eye on the kids, who loved her very much. Walking into the room with her perch, he saw that she seemed to be asleep, but wasn't moving. She had passed on.
With his heart aching from losing such a true and loyal friend, he kept one of her soft white feathers before collecting her body. "I'll miss you, old friend," he whispered to his oldest companion. "Hopefully we'll meet again one day."
After announcing the sad news to his family, Harry left with Hedwig's body and her cage while Amanda comforted the crying children. Using magic for one of the first times in months, Harry used his powerful magic to go over to England. Harry went to Potter Manor, a place he visited a few times while training at the Founders' Temple, and put Hedwig to rest among other Potters of the past; as far as he was concerned, she was a Potter. Her body was wrapped in a special blanket with the Gryffindor lion on it, carefully placed in her cage, and was put in its own little space of the catacombs.
"Rest in peace, Hedwig old girl," he said quietly on his way out, wiping his face.
Eventually, Harry was able to move on... but never forget Hedwig the snowy owl.
A few more years passed, and as all this time went on, Harry was relieved, convinced that he was free of the life he originally had which he had run away from, between the wizarding world's complete lack of attempts to find him and how he never found Dan or Sarah using any accidental magic.
He had a wonderful wife, two great kids, a decent and enjoyable job, a nice home, and ideal life.
Harry had finally found the life he was hoping for.
However, his paradise would not remain the same for very long...
(End of Chapter 8.)
A/N: So, how was this, in a nutshell?
Note about the scene with the wedding and their wedding night: I purposely wrote it ambiguously so that either they did consummate their marriage that particular night, or they did not. I thought it was best to leave that up to the readers to decide.
Note about Harry's children and their names: I named Harry's kids after a couple of friends I've made through fanfiction, both of whom I am indebted to: Khadon (Dan) and SarahtheBardess (Sarah).
Next chapter is where Harry's former life finally catches up with him... -Quillian