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Aftermath



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  #21  
Old December 5th, 2007, 11:56 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 21: New Year's Eve

“Happy New Year, Kreacher!” Harry called out.

He entered Grimmauld Place holding a package and a bag, followed by three Weasley men.

“Happy Christmas, Master Harry.” The house-elf appeared before them holding a package of his own which he handed to Harry.

Before opening the package, Harry examined the front hall of the house. Kreacher did a great job of keeping it clean and it was such a wonderful thing to not be greeted by Mrs. Black’s screeching voice.

“Thank you,” said Harry after opening the box to reveal Kreacher’s homemade treacle fudge. It was a much better present than the gift he had received two years ago.

“Master is wanting to free Kreacher?” The house-elf asked in a shaky voice while his round eyes filled with tears.

“No,” Harry began. An image of Hermione pointing a finger at him popped into his head. “Unless you want to be free?”

“Master is thinking Kreacher is bad house-elf.” The tears ran down Kreacher’s cheeks as he flopped to the ground.

“Stop, Kreacher!” Harry ordered.

The tears stopped flowing and Kreacher raised his head from he was about to bang it on the floor. Harry sat down next to him.

“I didn’t mean anything. If you don’t want to be free you don’t have to be. That was not my intention. I did not think getting you a new towel to wear constituted as clothes. The elves at Hogwarts are even given special uniforms.”

Kreacher looked up at Harry with a quizzical look.

“Master Harry is right. Master Harry is also not educated in house-elf knowledge. Hogwarts elves is wearing uniforms. Some elves accept special items as clothes. Other elves is expecting uniform to be given by house-elf.”

Harry thought about it. Each house-elf was different. What each thought of as clothes was apparently not the same.

“I’m sorry. It was Master Harry who was bad. I should be the one banging my heads on the floor.”

Kreacher stared at Harry wide-eyed.

“You’re not really going to do that?” Ron whispered.

Ignoring Ron, Harry continued. “Do you like the gift?”

Kreacher looked confused.

“Don’t answer that. Kreacher, my friends and I are here to change for the Memorial the Ministry is hosting tonight. We shouldn’t be too long.”

Kreacher took the box and headed for his room.

Ginny and Harry were treating the Memorial as a date since they had had so few. They planned on arriving separately and meeting at the Ministry. Harry decided it best to change at Grimmauld Place and brought along the three Weasley brothers who were staying at the Burrow—Charlie, George, and Ron.

“I’m not going!” Harry heard George shout from the sitting room.

“Yes, you are!” Charlie shouted back.

Tentatively, Harry picked up the bag containing dress robes and followed Ron into the room. George sat on the couch with his head in his hands while Charlie paced the room.

“You tell your git of a brother he’s attending the Memorial tonight!” Charlie shouted at Ron.

“George,” Ron began.

“Don’t you start, Ron! I can’t do this.”

Charlie pulled George’s robes out of Harry’s bag and threw them at him.

“You’re going!”

Instead of staying to watch the argument, Harry took the bag and went upstairs with Ron behind him.

“He’s getting worse and worse,” Ron said closing the bedroom door. “He just sits in his office all day. He only comes out to let me have lunch and to leave. He won’t even flirt with Verity anymore.”

George had stopped living in the flat above his shop since Christmas Eve. Mrs. Weasley was the only one who saw it as a good thing since it gave her the opportunity to make sure he ate.

Silently, Harry and Ron changed into their robes. Harry was glad he convinced the twins to buy Ron new ones. Wearing antique robes to a Ministry party might feel like a travesty to Ron.

“D-do you think Hermione will be happy to see me?” Ron asked while pulling a bottle out of his regular robes on the floor.

“Why wouldn’t she be? You are her boyfriend?” Harry worried what Ron would say next.

“What happened at her parents’ house. She’ll realize I’m not right for her.” He handed the bottle to Harry.

Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion,” Harry read. “What’s this for?”

“Hermione gave it to me, although if we’re no longer together she’ll probably want it back.”

Harry opened his mouth to continue the discussion when Charlie opened the door.

“Hair potion, Harry?” He asked pulling his robes out of the bag.

“I thought he could use it to get his hair to lie down.” Ron’s ears turned pink. Charlie laughed.

“Er—thanks.” Harry handed the bottle back to Ron.

“I got George to change. He can’t just sit here all night. It’s unhealthy.” Charlie stared in the full-length mirror adjusting his robes. “Least I can do is force him to Side-Along-Apparate with me.”

---

Later that evening, Harry Apparated to the Ministry with Ron, Charlie and George. Charlie and George hurried inside. Ron and Harry stayed outside to wait on their dates. They wanted to use the Floo Network, but not being Ministry employees they were not allowed.

“Good evening, Ron.” Hermione appeared before them putting her hand out for Ron to take. “Oh, hello, Harry,” she said as if just realizing he was there. Harry smiled.

“You—you look beautiful,” Ron spoke. Hermione’s cheeks turned pink.

Hermione wore the same periwinkle blue dress robes she wore to the Yule Ball in her fourth year. There were seldom chances to wear dress robes they often got used until the witch or wizard grew out of them. Her hair was not done exactly the same as back then. Instead of being slick straight, it was twisted into a bun with loose curls framing her face. Yes, Harry had to agree. She was beautiful.

“Let’s go inside,” Ron urged noticing the cold reaching under Hermione’s periwinkle dress cloak. “We’ll save you seats, Harry.”

Watching them enter through doors open especially for the event, he missed the appearance of someone else.

“Ginny,” Harry breathed.

Standing before him was the most beautiful girl, no, woman he had ever seen. Her brown dress robes accented her red hair, which was pulled back from her face with a silver clip. She also wore the silver bracelet and necklace.

“Harry,” Ginny smiled. He smiled back.

“Shall we?” He reached his hand out for hers. The touch of her hand caused his arm to tingle.

“We shall.”

He pulled her close as they entered the Ministry breathing in her familiar flowery scent.

The couple entered the Atrium to find it set up remarkably different. Gone was the statue of all the creatures praising the wizard. In its place was a big, empty stage with tables around. Harry spotted Ron and Hermione at one of the round tables near the stage.

“You look nice,” Hermione said to Ginny. Ron had a look on his face as if he was finally seeing Ginny as more than just his little sister.

Harry pulled a chair out for Ginny. He did not know where this gentlemanly side came from, but he felt it was good it was there.

The foursome had only been together for five minutes when Temporary Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt rushed over to their table.

“Good evening, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione.” He sat down in one of the two remaining empty chairs. “Quigley could not stop talking about you, Hermione.” Hermione’s cheeks turned slightly pink. “He can’t wait for you to join the Ministry and I do have to say neither can I.”

“Thank you, Minister.” Ron looked at Hermione expectantly.

“And Harry, I’ve got a team from the Department of Magical Creatures working on removing the Dementors from Azkaban to a small island that shall be heavily guarded with charms and spells. You’ll never have to worry about those cloaked guards coming after you again.”

“That’s great.” Harry did not really know what to say. This meant he would never have to relive the horrible things that happened to him, like hearing his mother scream.

“Have a good evening. Order whatever you fancy.” Kingsley motioned toward the menus in front of them as he stood up.

“What’s this about Quigley?” Ron asked excitedly as Harry began to look through the menu.

“Robert Quigley, Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. I told you I had a meeting with him yesterday. It went really well. He can’t wait for me to start and neither can I…” Hermione trailed off wistfully.

“Hermione,” Harry put down the menu after requesting roast chicken. “You want to start soon, don’t you?” He asked quietly.

“Wha—“ Ron began to shout but Hermione cut him off.

“No, I will finish my studies. N.E.W.T.s are important,” she said sounding rehearsed.

“This job at the Ministry is much more important than silly old N.E.W.T.s,” Ginny said. Ron sent her a death glare.

“Honestly, yes I would like to start soon. It’s important to get in as soon as I can, but the job will still be here when I finish school. Robert assured me of that.”

"Robert," Ron mouthed.

After the group had been joined by Bill and Fleur and finished eating, Kingsley Shacklebolt went up to the stage in the middle of the room.

“Tonight I stand here and you sit here due to some brave people. They risked their lives so we could be free. There is no price too high to pay for freedom. When evil comes, we have to combat it. I would like to recognize those who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and in the entire war against the darkest wizard of our time.

“Two groups came together in times of crisis, putting everything aside, risking life and limb for what they believed in. They believed everyone was equal no matter what blood ran through their bodies.

“I would like to recognize the Order of the Phoenix. This group was put together many years ago and rejoined a few short years to fight Voldemort as well as to insure the safety of everyone in the wizarding world. You may not have known they were there, but they were there for you.

“The other group started, I am told, as a resistance group to make sure every student at Hogwarts who wanted to was taught defensive skills. Without those lessons many more people would have died in battle. Later, the group became a hiding place from wrong doing when evil was in control. Not only did they allow students to hide, they taught the students to fight back. I would like to thank the leader of Dumbledore’s Army—Neville Longbottom!
While this went on at Hogwarts three young adults went on a mission to do the ultimate fight. They were on a journey to defeat everything Voldemort had and in the end Voldemort himself. They risked more than anyone else. I would like to recognize three heroes—Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and HARRY POTTER!”

The crowd erupted in cheers. When they quieted down, Kingsley continued.

“The reason we are here tonight is not only to recognize those who lived, but to remember those who died. May we never forget the true heroes of the war. I unveil to you one of the memorials. This plaque will stand in this Atrium illuminating the name of every person who gave their live in the first and second war. The other memorial will stand at Hogwarts near Professor Dumbledore’s tomb with the names of those who died in the Battle at Hogwarts. We have consulted everything and believe we have all the names. If anyone is missing please contact us and it shall be added.”

Kinglsey waved his wand and the sheet fell off the memorial, a big, black square block with names carved into it. He placed his wand on one of the corners and the names illuminated one by one.

“Everyone is allowed to have a look. It has an unbreakable charm on it. And now, for your pleasure, The Weird Sisters!”

Harry turned his attention from the dance floor opening up in front of the stage to the table full of other Weasleys. Mr. Weasley led his wife to look at the memorial. The Weird Sisters played one of their fast tunes to start out the night. A girl with long blonde hair asked Percy to dance. To Harry’s surprise, he said yes. Verity came over to ask George, but he just shook his head, so Charlie accompanied her.

“Instead of watching my family, why don’t we dance?” Ginny put her arm on Harry’s shoulder. He slowly pulled it off intertwining his fingers with hers and headed to the dance floor.

“Ask him to dance,” Harry whispered to Hermione. Ron still looked put out at her even thinking about not going back to school after the guilt trip she put him through.

Harry enjoyed dancing with Ginny. She was very good and he was surprisingly not so bad. But, he still stole glances at George. He sat there downing two Firewhiskies and probably feeling drunk. One glance surprised Harry when Angelina Johnson sat down next to him. From what Harry could tell they were talking.

Slowly, the flowery scent drifted Harry back to the reality that he was dancing with Ginny. He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the lips.

“I love you,” he said through the slow song.

“I love you, too,” she replied, placing her head on his shoulder.

Harry smiled. Being with Ginny was the only place he wanted to be.

“Can we take a break?” She asked when the song ended.

Harry obliged leading her back to their empty table. Ron and Hermione danced slowly in each other’s arms even though it was a fast tune.

“Oh, it’s Seamus and Lavender,” Ginny said pointing out the couple on the dance floor.

Lavender, wearing appropriately lavender dress robes danced with the sandy haired Gryffindor wearing dark robes. Lavender looked much better, almost completely healed.

“Hey, you two.” Bill and Fleur joined them at the table.

“All zees doncing eez tiring.” Fleur sat down rubbing her ankles.

Ginny smiled. She was getting better about it, but Fleur was not
her favorite person.

“Ees okay. Soon midnight weel be here and we can go ‘ome,” Fleur said.

“Harry, let’s get back on the floor,” Ginny said abruptly.

“Can we mingle instead?”

Ginny accepted. Harry knew she didn’t care what they did as long s they weren’t at the table with Fleur. The two made their rounds talking to former Gryffindors and even a few professors. He caught Oliver Wood about to go to the dance floor with Katie Bell having just danced with Alicia Spinnet.

“Have a thing for Chasers, do you?” Harry asked slyly.

“I would ask Angelina, but she’s been busy the entire night.” He nodded his head toward the table where George and Angelina were still talking. “But, no matter, I’ve Katie now.” He pulled the girl onto the floor causing Harry and Ginny to laugh.

“I wonder where Neville is?” Harry asked, having talked to all the males from his dormitory except him.

“I saw him come in with his grandmother.”

“Hope everyone is having a good time!” The lead singer screeched at the end of the song. “It is now almost midnight, so let’s begin the countdown. Everyone with me…”

“10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…Happy New Year!” The entire party shouted.

Harry leaned in to kiss Ginny. Opening his eyes upon finishing the kiss he noticed most people doing the same thing except for two people still embraced in a kiss—Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood.

So, that’s where Neville is.

---------

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Philippians 3:14

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  #22  
Old December 19th, 2007, 5:14 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 22: Questions

Ron stood behind the counter of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes counting the till when a tall dark skinned female entered the shop.

“Good afternoon, Ron, I thought you’d be back in school.” She leaned against the counter.

“I go back tomorrow,” Ron replied.

Thinking about school made him think about Hermione’s job offer. She made him feel so guilty over not returning to Hogwarts and now she was thinking of doing the same thing. She did say she would finish her schooling, take her N.E.W.T.S., but for the first time since they had met, her heart would not be in it.

“Ron?” Angelina waved her hand in front of his eyes. “I asked if George is here?”

Coming back to reality Ron pointed to the door behind him.

“He’s in his office.”

Ron noticed Angelina and George spending the entire New Year’s Eve together, talking. He wondered if they were falling for each other. For all he knew she was Fred’s girl, though he did not think they actually dated apart from the Yule Ball. He glanced at Verity restocking the Wonder Witch products. Perhaps George had moved from her to Angelina.

---

“You think you’ll manage without me?” Ron asked before they closed shop and left for the Burrow that evening.

“I managed before you.” George locked the door to the building.

“No, you didn’t.”

George sighed.

“Lee’s coming back. We’ve discussed it. He’s moving into the flat with me.” He sighed again. “Angelina made a good point today. I can’t hide forever. She’s tried to, you know, that Fred wasn’t—wasn’t gone, but then reality hits.” Tears sprang in George’s eyes, but he didn’t acknowledge them. “It’s hard. It really is. But, I have to face it.”

“Do you fancy her?”

“Angelina?!” George replied shocked. “No, no, she’s just helping a friend through a tough time.

---

Ron sat on the Hogwarts Express the next day with his arm around Hermione. Across from him were his sister and best mate. He loved them both and could think of no better person for his sister than Harry, but it was still awkward to see them together.

He sat there thinking about George and Angelina. Was Angelina leaning on George because he reminded her of Fred? He hoped not for George’s sake. No matter what George said Ron thought he was falling for her.

“What do you think, Ron?” Hermione asked.

Ron looked at Harry and Ginny. He didn’t want Hermione to know he had not been paying attention to her.

“You weren’t listening,” Hermione said with a smile. “What were you thinking about?” She snuggled closer to him.

“Nothing important,” he dismissed. “What were you discussing?”

“S.P.E.W. If I’m going to implement this at the Ministry I need to do more work on it.”

Not wanting to hurt Hermione’s feelings Ron did not say what he truly thought—that the wizarding world might not be ready for S.P.E.W.

“If anyone can do it you can.”

“Which is why I need to work on it. I want to make sure I do it.”

Ron squeezed her. She had a pretty big task before her.
---

The days at Hogwarts turned into weeks. Hermione spent more time on S.P.E.W. than her schoolwork and still managed top grades. Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood spent more time together, to everyone’s astonishment. Gryffindor beat Hufflepuff in Quidditch with a score of 270-260.

That Friday evening after a wet practice most of the team was busy cleaning and whatnot. Mary Johnson finished quickly and was in the common room playing chess with Ron. Hermione was busy in the library looking up more material on house-elves.

Ron looked up from the evenly matched game when Hermione came in through the portrait hole bound with parchment.

“Working hard?”

Hermione rolled her eyes, bent down to kiss her boyfriend, and dropped some parchment causing the chess pieces to scatter.

“I’m so sorry!” She gasped.

“They’ll find their way back to their spots.”

Satisfied with the answer Hermione picked up the parchment and headed to deposit it in her dormitory.

“Checkmate!” Mary squealed.

Ron looked down at the board in awe. Mary had indeed won.

“Congratulations.” He shook her hand.

“If only I could do this well against Ravenclaw,” she said defeated, cleaning up the chessboard.

“You’re a great Keeper.” Ron said thinking even if he had been able to try out he would have lost to her.

“I let in 26 goals against Hufflepuff! That has to be some kind of record.”

“You did great against Slytherin and they’re leading the cup right now.”

“You were the Keeper two years ago. Maybe you should play instead.”

“Are you a Gryffindor or not? We don’t give up when the going gets tough. You’re the Keeper and you will be fine. We didn’t lose to Hufflepuff.”

“No…”

“Then you will be fine.”

Hermione came down the staircase and planted herself in Ron’s lap. Mary decided to put her chess set away in her dormitory at that moment.

“I’m learning a lot of great stuff about house-elves.”

“That’s great, Hermione,” Ron said clearly not wanting to talk about house-elves.

“Oh, yes. Do you know how house-elves came about?”

Ron’s thoughts drifted as Hermione babbled about the history of house-elves. Fred and George’s birthday recently passed. He wished he had been there to spend it with George. This was his first birthday alone. How was George doing? Was he still spending time with Angelina? He needed to send George an owl. Maybe he should drop out of school and become full-time at Weasleys’. Kingsley Shacklebolt sent him a few letters requesting Ron become an Auror after finishing Hogwarts, but he could always decline.

“Ron?” Hermione asked, bringing him back to earth. “Are you all right? You’ve a worried look on your face. I know some of this is bad, but I didn’t think it would bother you.”

“Oh, I was just thinking about George. His birthday was last week.”

Hermione did not look hurt as Ron expected for him not listening. She wrapped her arms around him and gave a squeeze.

“You miss Fred,” she said softly.

“Every day. I can’t stop thinking about George being alone. Please don’t be upset, but do you think I should drop out of school and go back to helping him in the shop?”

Ron looked into Hermione’s brown eyes for an emotional answer she couldn’t give with words.

“I think you need to do what you feel is best.”

He thought about it. What was best? Did he really want to join the Ministry and become an Auror? The Ministry did need a lot of cleaning up and the Auror department had been severely depleted. He did want to help save people. But, his brother needed help, too. He was family and Ron needed to be there for family.

---------
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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

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I may disagree with you politically, religiously, and/or on Snape but that doesn't mean I dislike you.

Last edited by leah49; March 3rd, 2008 at 5:23 pm.
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  #23  
Old December 20th, 2007, 8:03 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 23: One Year Ago

When George woke one morning in May he felt a huge pit in the bottom of his stomach. He had not felt this bad since Christmas. He didn’t even feel this bad on his birthday, his first birthday without his twin. Hearing Lee’s snores in the room next to his reminded him what happened a year ago and why it was Lee not Fred in that room.

One year ago today, the Battle of Hogwarts took place. One year ago today, George lost his other half, his best friend, his confidant, his twin, Fred. One year ago today, George became incomplete.

He lay in his bed not wanting to move. All he wanted was to pull the covers over his head and pretend the day did not exist, pretend he didn’t exist, pretend he had died right along side his brother. He knew he could not hide the day away in his bed. He knew there was something more important, somewhere more important he had to be.

George quickly got dressed, threw on his black robes, and wrote Lee a note.

Lee,
I need to be by myself today. I’m sure you understand. Open up the shop at the regular time. I might come in today. I might not. Don’t worry about me.
George


He silently walked down the stairs, out the back door of the shop, and Apparated to Ottery St. Catchpole.

“I can do this,” he whispered to himself. “I can do this.”

George let his legs carry him to a place he hadn’t been in a little under a year. He hadn’t wanted to even think this place existed and had thus avoided it as much as possible. But, he couldn’t avoid it any longer. He needed to face it. He needed closure.

George stared at the tombstone not able to move. Fredrick Gideon Weasley (1 April 1978-2 May 1998). Every time he read it he wanted to believe it was a joke, something magic his twin had created to scare the wits out of him, but he knew he couldn’t do that.

Feeling the tears fall he sat down next to the tombstone. Staring at the sky, he began to speak.

“Well, Fred, it’s been a year. I made it through a year without you. It’s been hard, but I did it. Angelina misses you. We all miss you. I miss you. Angelina, I--I bet she’s talked to you, so you probably already know this, but what the heck, I need to tell you, too. She wishes you two could’ve been closer, but things are what they are. Life doesn’t let you know when you won’t be given a second chance. She’s helped me, Fred. I think I’ve helped her, too. She’s a good friend. I know what you saw in her. Don’t go getting any ideas now, Fred. I don’t like her like that. She’s just a really good friend who helped pull me through a really bad time.

“Oh, let’s see what’s happened since you left. I’m sure you know this. I’m sure you know everything now. No one could ever keep a secret from you, no matter how hard they tried. You had your ways of figuring it out and letting me in on the action.

"I re-opened the shop. I didn’t want to even go back, but I had to. I know you would have been angry if I let it go to waste. It’s been our dream to own a joke shop. I couldn’t end that on account of you not being there. Ron helped me out in the beginning, but he has his own life to lead and has gone on to do that. Lee’s moved into the flat and is helping me out, but he’s got his real job at WWN. He’s good, too, and I think he may eventually leave me permanently for it. So, it’s pretty much just me and Verity.

“Verity. I thought I liked her, but I don’t know. She told me it was just misplaced feelings and maybe it was. Who knows? She’s not the girl I’m going to end up with. She’s just a really nice girl working in our shop. She’s a good friend, too. I needed her there when I re-opened the shop and she came. She’s great like that. I’m glad we hired her. She’s a hard worker willing to put up with me and, boy, has that been hard to do most of the time this past year. Don’t feel guilty about that, Fred. You can’t help it. You were doing what you had to do. It happens.

“Ron, well, without him I’m not sure our shop would still exist. How he managed to make it through this year, I don’t know, but he’s been strong. Being friends with Harry Potter and going through all that they have for seven years did that to him, I reckon. It was him who got me to go back to the shop. He led me there for the first time since—since you know. He went back to finish his seventh year. It took some prodding to get him to do so and he missed the first month, but he’s doing it. That’s because he and Hermione are together. Can you believe it? Of course the signs were everywhere, so it should be no surprise to you. The shocker is that it actually happened. They finally grew backbones and realized they were made for each other. He’s going to have a good life. He’s asked to come back to the shop instead of rebuilding the Ministry, but he needs to go to the Ministry. He needs to start his own life. I need to stop relying on him.

“How about our ickle Ginny? She and Harry are back together. We were right. They were dating her fifth year. Do you remember when she was little? She read the stories of The-Boy-Who-Lived and promised he would be hers someday. She was right. She misses you, Fred. She won’t let anyone know, but I could hear her sometimes in her bedroom at night when I stayed at the Burrow during the holidays. Ginny likes to keep a brave face, but I know she’s vulnerable.

“Bill and Fleur are happily married. Mum keeps hounding them about a baby, but there's no news on that front, yet. You know Mum. She wants grandchildren. Can you imagine Bill as a dad? Too bad you won’t be here to help me make fun of him. I’ve to do all the work myself.

“Percy’s been spending more time with the family. I don’t know if it was him coming to his senses the night of the battle or witnessing your death, but he’s a different man. He’s still all about rules, but the Ministry’s not the most important thing to him anymore. Oh, he still cares about his job and would do nothing to harm it, not that he has to worry much with Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister, but he cares more about family now.

“Charlie’s back in Romania. It would take a pack of wild unicorns to drag him away from the dragons…or a battle at Hogwarts…and a Weasley wedding. Oh, all right, it’s not that hard to get him home, but he did have to go back to work. And back to a lady. He’s got himself a girlfriend, though he won’t say who or show pictures. I don’t know much about it, honestly. This is where you come in, Fred, and dig up all the dirt.

“I miss you, Fred. It’s not fair! You were the brains of the operation. What am I supposed to do without you? I haven’t been able to invent anything nearly as good as the items we came up with when you were—when you were—oh, when you were alive. I need you!”

George took a deep breath not knowing how to continue or finish his conversation.

“I love you, Fred,” he whispered.

He lay back against the grass letting the tears flow freely. How did life get to be so hard?

---------

Fred’s middle name and date of death are not canon, as Rowling has not listed the twins’ middle names or the actual date of the final battle. I just needed something for the tombstone so I created them myself. If anyone gets a chance to ask Rowling questions these are two good ones to ask!

Surprise, two chapters in two days! I’m as shocked as you are!

**Rowling has revealed the date of the Battle to be May 2, 1998, so that has become Fred's death day.**

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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

My Graphics|Aftermath|Goodreads|My Blog
I may disagree with you politically, religiously, and/or on Snape but that doesn't mean I dislike you.

Last edited by leah49; January 20th, 2008 at 3:01 am. Reason: Changed a paragraph.
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  #24  
Old December 30th, 2007, 1:01 am
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 24: The End of an Era

“I don’t believe it,” Ron cried one morning at breakfast tossing the Daily Prophet aside.

“Hey!” Neville picked the paper out of his porridge.

“Sorry.”

“What?” Hermione asked.

Visions of Death Eaters escaping Azkaban played in Harry’s head.

“The Chudley Cannons signed Dragomir Gorgovitch to a two year contract.”

“That’s it?” Harry asked relieved.

“I don’t know why you like that team. I don’t think they’ve won a single match the entire time I’ve been alive,” Ginny remarked.

“They won’t win one now,” Ron replied depressed.

Harry opened his mouth to speak when a group of owls flew their way dropping letters for several Gryffindors.

“The Ministry,” Ginny said opening her letter.

Harry knew the contents of the letters that had arrived. Gawain Robards had been in contact with him over who else would be suitable to bring in the Auror Department. Harry gave him a list of the most fitting names from the D.A. and it appeared now they were receiving their official requests from the Ministry.

“Me?!” Neville squeaked. “An Auror?”

“Naturally,” Harry said. “You are the leader of Dumbledore’s Army.”

“I—I never thought of myself as an Auror. You know, my mum and dad were Aurors.” He paused. “Oh, wait, I’m not taking the right N.E.W.T.s.”

“You lead Dumbledore’s Army and fought against Voldemort. With qualifications like that Shacklebolt and Robards waived the N.E.W.T. requirements.” He looked at Ginny. “For you, too.”

“I don’t know, Harry. Working for the Ministry isn’t exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Ginny said.

“Me neither,” Dean piped up, holding his own letter.

“You don’t have to make a decision right now.” Harry put his arm around Ginny as they started off for their first class of the day. “But wouldn’t it be great to work together?”

“Yeah…” Ginny hesitated.

Ginny was a great, powerful witch, the main reason Harry recommended her, but he had always had a feeling she would probably decline.

“I got a letter from the Ministry,” Neville said as Luna walked up and kissed him on the cheek. “They want me to be an Auror.”

Luna, with a blank face said, “After school, I plan on traveling the world in search of the Crumpled Horn Snorckack.”

Neville was a pro with Luna, Harry knew. He knew how she felt towards the Ministry and what she and her father thought of as conspiracies. This was obviously not the best news to her.

“You’ll be a great Auror, Nev, just don’t get brainwashed by the Rotfang Conspiracy,” she added.

“Don’t you worry,” Neville replied unphased.

Harry was happy to have Neville join him and Ron at the Ministry. With George’s help he finally convinced Ron to take a position in the Auror department. George convinced Ron the only way he would get better is if he didn’t use Ron as a crutch. Ron promised to go full-time at the Ministry as long as George let him come back to the shop whenever he needed.

Harry squeezed Ginny.

“I love you and whatever you decide to do I’ll support you even if it’s not working alongside me.”

Ginny smiled. Harry kissed the top of her head.

---

Sitting in the locker room Harry thought back to the first he had learned of Quidditch. He knew of no one more obsessed with the game than Oliver Wood. Harry enjoyed that first team—Oliver Wood as Keeper, Fred and George Weasley as Beaters, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell as Chasers.

Leading his team to the pitch Harry spoke, “ Slytherin is currently in the lead for the cup by 300 points. If we tie them we win due to winning the head-to-head match up. This is my last game and I would love to win the cup, but remember, the most important thing is to have fun.” He placed a hand on Mary’s shoulder. “You’ll be great.”

“My cousin’s in the stands today,” she replied nervously.

Harry scanned the stadium and spotted Angelina among the Gryffindors.

“I want her to be proud of me.”

“She will be.”

While looking for Angelina Harry spotted someone sitting next to Professor Slughorn. He hoped Ginny didn’t see her. Letting Mary run to her side of the pitch he turned to Ginny.

“Have fun out there.”

“I always do.” She smiled brightly. “Catch the Snitch.”

“I always do.”

Harry scanned the stands again. He spotted Ron and Hermione holding hands. They both cheered loudly. Hermione had her free hand cupped around her mouth to make her louder. Harry was going to miss this excitement. Looking some more he spotted Luna in the commentator’s seat. To one side Professor Flitwick sat and the other, Neville.

“Mount your brooms,” Madame Hooch ordered.

Harry did so and shook hands with the Ravenclaw Captain. Madame Hooch released the balls and the game began. Harry watched his team pass the Quaffle. Demelza tossed it to Ginny who lightly tossed it in the goal.

“10-0 Gryffindor,” Luna announced. “Ginny Weasley is a very brave girl. She helped lead the D.A. last year.”

Harry grinned. He would miss Luna’s brand of commentating. Turning his attention to the Ravenclaw Seeker he flew toward the Gryffindor goals. He could not catch the Snitch before his team had 150 points and he could not let the other Seeker catch it before his team had 300 points.

He kept his eye on the other Seeker for roughly fifteen minutes following him around. Neither caught sight of the Golden Snitch. He looked up hearing half the stands erupt.

“The score,” Flitwick muttered.

“10-10 tie,” Luna said in between statements on Nargles affecting game play.

Harry looked at Mary who was beginning to look defeated. He remembered this same attitude in Ron a few years ago. Hopefully, he would catch the Snitch before she let in too many goals. Spotting gold on the far end of the pitch Harry flew in the opposite direction hoping to distract the other Seeker.

A good chunk of time went past. Harry ducked out of the way of a Bludger that ended up knocking the Quaffle out of a male Ravenclaw Chaser’s hand. Ginny wrapped her legs around her broom, slid herself upside down, grabbed the Quaffle, and passed it to Dean.

“Go Ginny!” Harry shouted before resuming the search for the Snitch.

Harry flew toward the Ravenclaw Seeker to distract him. It was not time for either to finish the job.

Thirty minutes passed. Harry was getting tired on his broomstick. Ravenclaw’s Keeper was very good. He made some awesome saves. So had Mary. She really wasn’t a bad Keeper herself.

“160-150 Ravenclaw,” Harry heard Neville say. He looked to the stands to see Luna give him a cross look. That had to be the first time he’d ever seen that look on her face.

“Time to get serious,” Harry muttered.

He flew around the pitch in search of gold. At last he spotted something glittering in the middle of the pitch. The other Seeker noticed it, too. They flew towards each other. Harry saw the other Seeker’s hand reach out. Harry’s reached out, too.

Madame Hooch blew her whistle.

Harry opened his right hand. The Golden Snitch lay in his palm wings fluttering.

“Gryffindor wins!” Luna shouted.

The other six Gryffindors flew to Harry, cheers ringing out among them. He felt someone grab him. Steadying himself on his broom, he kissed her.

“What was the final score?”

“310-170,” Ginny replied.

“I’ll be right back.” Harry flew to the ground where his team began to dismount their brooms.

“Congratulations, Mary!” He pat her on the back.

“Thanks.” She looked happy. “I only let seventeen in this time.”

“Much improved.” Harry grinned.

Harry dismounted his broom and turned to find Ginny. He saw her talking to Gwenog Jones, the woman who had been sitting next to Slughorn. He could talk to Ginny later.

Harry met up with Ron and Hermione, after putting his equipment away. They offered their congratulations when Harry felt someone jump on his back.

“You won’t believe it!” Ginny exclaimed. “Gwenog Jones invited me to try-out for the Harpies! She says she’s never seen anyone my age fly as well as I did today. Can you believe it?”

“You deserve it!” Harry knew more than Ginny did that her dream was to play Quidditch professionally.

“You reckon I’ll make the team?” Ginny hopped off Harry’s back.

“You should go for the Cannons so they’ll get rid of Gorgovitch,” Ron said.

Ginny sent him a look.

Ginny would not be joining Harry at the Ministry. He was okay with that as long as she followed her heart.

Entering the Gryffindor common room the foursome found a party going on. Someone snuck into the kitchens and procured some pastries and other puddings. Neville snuck Luna into the room. Others had decorated the place with banners. One read “Congratulations Quidditch Team: Mary Johnson, Ritchie Coote, Jimmy Peakes, Demelza Robbins, Ginny Weasley, Dean Thomas, and Captain Harry Potter.”

Harry grabbed himself one of the butterbeers someone snuck in while Ginny went to her dormitory to get Arnold her Pygmy Puff.

“Congratulations, Harry,” Luna said, her fingers intertwined with Neville’s.

“Thanks. Sorry it came at the expense of beating your house.”

“I’d rather my friends win than my house.”

Once Ginny came down with Arnold on her shoulder, they stole away to a secluded area near a corner with Ron and Hermione.

“Try-outs are the first week after school finishes.” Ginny sipped Harry’s butterbeer. “It’s invitation only so only a few witches should be there.” She snuggled into Harry’s lap.

“I can’t believe it, my sister the professional Quidditch player.”

“I don’t have the position, yet.”

“You’ll get it,” Harry said.

“You’ll have to start supporting the Harpies now,” Hermione said to Ron.

“Yeah, a winning team,” Ginny remarked.

---

Days and weeks passed bring the exams ever closer.

“These are our N.E.W.T.s so we’ll need to do extra studying.” Hermione pulled four pieces of parchment out of her bag. “I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up study schedules for you lot. We’ve only a month left so we’ll need to get busy.”

Harry and Ginny glanced at each other.

“We don’t actually need N.E.W.T.s since we’ve all been promised positions in the Ministry, even Ginny if for some reason she doesn’t make the Holyhead Harpies,” Ron whined.

Hermione glared at him.

“Ronald Weasley, I will not let you fail your N.E.W.T.s because you think they don’t matter. A good education is important and part of that is passing your N.E.W.T.s.” She handed Ron’s schedule to him.

Ron looked like a wounded puppy. He read over the schedule and did not say anything else.

Hermione handed schedules to Harry and Ginny. Harry noticed they were exactly the same.

“We can study together,” he said. Ginny nodded with a smile.

Harry spent most of the next month in class or studying with Ginny. He honestly did not care how he did for it would not hurt his position in the Ministry, but he didn’t want Hermione or anyone to be upset that he failed them all. Plus, it gave him plenty of chances to spend alone time with his girlfriend.

Testing was a strenuous time, but thanks to Hermione’s study schedule and not being possessed by Voldemort Harry felt he did a lot better on his N.E.W.T.s than his O.W.L.s. It also helped he was only taking five classes as opposed to the nine he took his fifth year.

“Glad that’s over with,” Ron said as they entered the common room after their final N.E.W.T., Transfiguration.

“Aren’t you the least bit sad that was the last test you’ll ever take at Hogwarts?” Hermione sat down on the couch.

Ron looked at her as if she was crazy.

“No,” he replied sitting next to her.

Harry sat down on the couch, too, but Ginny did not. She had spotted Neville in an armchair staring miserably into the fire. She walked over and bent down to his level.

“Neville,” she said softly, but loud enough for Harry to hear. “Are you all right?”

Keeping his gaze on the fire he replied, “Luna and I decided, when school’s finished, to break up. I’m staying here and joining the Ministry and she’ll be traveling the world. We decided a long distance relationship isn’t worth it.”

“Oh, Neville,” Ginny wrapped him in a hug.

---

Harry stared at the walls of his dormitory. This had been his home for eight years, including last year when he was off in search of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Dean had taken down his West Ham and Viktor Krum posters. The walls were completely bare. He was going to miss this place. It was the first place he could really call home.

“Ready, mate?” Ron asked entering the room.

Harry nodded and followed Ron to the common room. Tonight was the Leaving Feast. Tomorrow, they would leave Hogwarts for the final time.

Upon reaching the common room, Ginny slowly slid her hand into Harry’s.

“I’m going to miss this school,” she said.

“If you fail your N.E.W.T.s you can come back.”

“Ronald!” Hermione hissed.

“No, I am truly done here. It’s time to move on.”

Harry was glad Ginny said this. He felt the same way, but did not feel like discussing it.

This feast did not have the same feeling as the others, even if the banners were red and gold indicating a Gryffindor House Cup victory. Harry sat with Ginny on one side and Neville on the other. Ron, Hermione, and Dean sat across from them. Neville stared at Luna at the Ravenclaw table. She stared back at him. She had been sitting with them at the Gryffindor table for the past few months or so. The rules had been lenient on that this year. But, with tonight being the feast everyone felt it proper to sit with his or her house.

The food was great. McGonagall’s speech was great. She ended it by saying how she would miss the seventh years and even though she never played favorites there was a certain group she’d grown close to.

Harry thought back to the first time he entered the Great Hall. He was just a scared eleven-year-old boy hoping to not be placed in Slytherin. Now, he was an eighteen-year-old man leaving for a place in the Ministry. He could never have imagined back then how his life would turn out—he’d actually defeat Voldemort, he’d live to see the days after, he’d have the chance to have the family he’d always wanted.

“You all right, Harry? You’re awfully quiet,” Ginny said after the pudding arrived.

“Just thinking. I never thought I’d actually finish school and go on to have a life.”

“I know what you mean,” Ginny spoke referring to her first year.

“We turned out all right.” Harry grinned.

“That we did.” Ginny smiled back.

---

The next morning Harry sat in the boat that would take them from Hogwarts castle to Hogsmeade Train Station next to Ginny and across from Ron and Hermione. It was symbolic. They arrived as first years full of adventure in the boats and left as seventh/eighth years ready for the next phase of life in the boats. He watched the building grow smaller and smaller as the boat sailed further away. Wiping a tear from his eye, he looked over to see tears rolling down Hermione’s cheeks.

“I know it’s silly,” she said wiping her face with the back of her hand. “But, this is the first place I truly belonged. I never had any real friends til I met you lot.”

“You’ll always have us. We’re not going anywhere.” Ron grabbed her wet hands and wiped her eyes with his free one.

“I know. I’m just being silly.”

“No, you’re being Hermione. Odd, yes. Silly, no.”

“I understand you, Hermione,” said Harry. “Before Hogwarts I never had a true home or a true family. Oh, I had a family by blood, but not a real one. Now, I have both.” He put his arm around Ginny and gave her a squeeze.

Arriving at the station, they climbed out of the boat. Before boarding the Hogwarts Express, the foursome had someone to say goodbye to. Hagrid had been waiting at the station to say goodbye to the seventh and eighth years.

“We’ll miss you, Hagrid.” Harry wrapped his arms as far as they would go around the half-giant. His friends followed suit.

Hagrid wrapped all four of them in bone crushing hugs letting big fat tears rain down on them.

“Yeh’ll vis’ me, now,” he ordered.

“Yes.” Harry nodded after being released from the death grip.

“Goodbye, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny.” Hagrid wiped the tears from his face.

“Goodbye, Hagrid,” the four chorused.

They climbed onto the train and chose a small compartment for the four of them. They spent the trip reminiscing over their school days, playing Exploding Snap, and discussing what they would be doing in the near future. Harry would go to the Burrow and in the next week before Auror Training started move into Grimmauld Place with Ron. Hermione would live with her parents in the beginning, but eventually hoped to find a flat in London near Grimmauld Place. Ginny was going to stay at the Burrow. If she made the Harpies she might not be at home much anyway so it wouldn’t be a big deal for her.

Finally, the train reached King’s Cross. The foursome climbed off the train with four trunks, an owl cage, a Pygmy Puff cage, and a cat carrier.

Looking around for Mrs. Weasley who had promised to pick them up Harry spotted Neville and Luna. He felt like a spy, but he couldn’t turn his eyes away. The two embraced in a passionate kiss and broke apart tears streaming down both of their faces. Luna ran off toward her father and Neville just stood there. Ginny walked over to him, put her arm around his shoulder, and brought him to her group.

“Would you like to come with us?” She asked.

“No, thank you.” Neville regained his composure. “Gran’s meeting me here.”

“Then we’ll see you at the Ministry,” Harry said.

“See you, Harry.”

Neville went in search of his grandmother. The foursome and Mrs. Weasley exited the barrier at 9 ¾.

---------

This is a little over 6 pages in Word! We’re done with school, finally. I know Rowling said Harry and Ron don’t go back to Hogwarts, but she didn’t come out with that until after I started their school year. Oh, whatever. I sent them to school; it’s what I wanted them to do. This is my fanfiction.

Oh, yes, I updated the last chapter with the correct date of the final battle. Rowling has stated that it took place on May 2, 1998.

Happy New Year!

Feedback!


__________________



I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

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Last edited by leah49; January 8th, 2008 at 3:11 am. Reason: Harry actually took nine classes his 5th year. I always forget about Astronomy.
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  #25  
Old January 14th, 2008, 8:34 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 25: The Week Before

I want to warn you before you read that this is a very long chapter: 13 pages on Word! 5919 words not including author’s notes!

---------

Harry woke the next morning to Ron’s snores and Pig fluttering in his cage. Not having anything planned for the day he laid there watching the Chudley Cannon players zoom around their posters. His thoughts turned from the posters to the week that lay ahead. This was his week off before Auror training. He planned on moving into Grimmauld Place with Ron sometime this week. Also, Ginny had Harpies try-outs on Wednesday.

The warm smell of bacon and eggs cooking floors below woke Harry from his daydream. While Ron slept Harry dressed and made his way downstairs to find Ginny sitting over a plate of breakfast.

“Good morning, Harry.” Mrs. Weasley placed a plate next to Ginny’s.

“’Morning,” Harry replied quickly kissing Ginny when Mrs. Weasley’s back was turned.

“What are your plans for the week?” Ginny asked once Harry sat down.

“Moving into Grimmauld Place with Ron and perhaps visiting Teddy.”

“What was that?” Mrs. Weasley’s ears perked up.

Harry swallowed his bite of egg.

“I’d like to visit Teddy.”

“No, before that.” She walked over to the table.

“Ron and I are moving into Grimmauld Place this week.”

“Yes, that. Harry, dear, you know you can stay here as long as you like.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley, but I think it’s time for me to go out on my own. I’m done with school, will be starting a job at the Ministry, and already have a house. It’s time.”

“Are you sure you want to live at Grimmauld Place?” Ginny asked.

“I don’t know, but it’s a good place to start.”

“I’ll miss waking up to you every morning,” Ginny whispered.

“I’ll come over for breakfast,” Harry whispered back.

---

“Try-outs are a few days away,” Ginny announced throwing open the door to the broom shed. “I’ll need all the practice I can get.” She picked up the Quidditch equipment and tossed it outside the shed. “You, Ron, are the Keeper, Harry, you’re a Beater, and I’ll be the Chaser.”

Harry grabbed his Nimbus 2007 and walked out of the shed.

“Gin, you’re a great player. You don’t need any more practice.”

Ignoring Harry, she went on. “Ron, can I use your Cleansweep?”

“Yeah, I’ll just fly on George’s.”

The three spent the better part of the afternoon playing a strange game of Quidditch. Sometimes Harry hit Bludgers toward Ginny. He had no intentions of hurting her; it was what she asked for. Other times he tried to steal the Quaffle from her. At one point, Ron gave up being Keeper and Bludgers came at Ginny from all sides.

Ginny flew to the ground out of breath.

“Let’s call it a day,” she declared.

Harry flew towards her and dismounted his broom.

“Tired of dodging Bludgers?” Ron asked.

They put the equipment away, and then trudged inside.

“I reckon you’re perfectly ready for try-outs.” Harry put his arm around Ginny.

“What’s this about try-outs?” Mrs. Weasley poked her head into the sitting room.

“I told you, Mum. I’ve been invited to try-out for the Holyhead Harpies. Try-outs are this Wednesday.”

“That’s right. Good luck, honey.” She went back into the kitchen. Harry thought he heard her mutter something about the Ministry.

“I wonder what Hermione’s doing,” Ron spoke absentmindedly; his long body sprawled out over the couch.

“She started her job at the Ministry today,” Harry said.

Hermione’s job in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures started today giving her no time off since the end of school. It’s what she wanted. She couldn’t wait to get her hand in the Ministry.

“We’re planning on visiting Teddy tomorrow. Ron, why don’t you owl Hermione and see if she’ll meet us for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron?” Harry asked. He had flopped on the floor with Ginny next to him.

“That sounds like a great idea.” Harry knew he’d be up for anything involving Hermione.

---

The next morning after breakfast the group headed out to Andromeda Tonks’s place.

“Good morning, Harry,” she greeted him upon arrival. “Teddy will be so glad to see you.”

Andromeda brought them into the sitting room where Teddy, currently sporting aqua hair, was trying to get his stuffed wolf to fly on his toy broomstick, a gift Harry had sent to him for his first birthday.

“Hey, Teddy.” Harry bent down to the boy’s level.

Teddy turned from the broom and gave Harry a curious look. Andromeda whispered something in his ear.

“He-yee!” Teddy squealed.

“Hey, Teddy.” Harry picked up the aqua hair boy and placed him on the broomstick.

Watching him zoom around one foot off the floor Harry marveled at how much Teddy grew since the last time he saw him. He was eight months then and was now almost fifteen months.

“Teddy, let’s show Harry what you’ve learned.” Andromeda stopped the broomstick and placed the baby on the floor where he sat sucking the tail of his wolf, never taking his eyes off Harry who sat on the couch with Ron and Ginny. “Come on, Teddy, go to Harry.”

Teddy got to his knees and began to crawl.

“No, Teddy.” She placed Teddy on his feet.

Holding onto his grandmother’s fingers he took a step. Slowly, he let go. A few wobbly steps almost sent him to his bottom, but he righted himself and took two more before Harry scooped him up. Teddy giggled as Harry placed him in his lap, his hair changing to pink, yellow, and back to aqua.

“He loves that color,” Andromeda said. “What are your plans for the day?”

“We’re having lunch with Hermione at the Leaky Cauldron and then I think we’re heading into Diagon Alley.”

“How would you like to take Teddy for the day? I could really use the break.”

Harry exchanged glances with Ron and Ginny.

“That’d be great. Would you like that, Teddy?”

Teddy grinned up at Harry showing off more new teeth.

The four went upstairs to dress Teddy and get his bag. Soon, they were off.

Roughly, around noon, they made it to the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione was already saving them a table. Ron kissed her before sitting down.

“How is your job at the Ministry?” He asked, putting his around her.

“I haven’t really done much yet, just parchment work. Hey, Teddy.” She tickled the baby in Harry’s lap. Teddy giggled.

“Teddy, can you say ‘Hermione’?” Harry instructed.

Teddy shook his head.

“Try ‘Hermy’,” Hermione said.

Again, he shook his head with his lips tightly shut.

“Can you say ‘Mione’?” Hermione offered.

Teddy grunted.

“Oh, well.”

Ron and Ginny went to the counter to get sandwiches and butterbeer.

“I miss you lot,” Hermione said.

“We’ll be at the Ministry on Monday.”

“It’s not the same. We’ll be in different departments.”

“Ron and I will be moving into Grimmauld Place tomorrow. Why don’t you come over some time?”

Ron and Ginny returned with the food. Harry pulled a bottle of milk out of Teddy’s bag and broke off pieces of his sandwich for his godson to eat.

“Tom’s not the barman anymore,” Ron said between bites.

“Hannah Abbott works here now,” Ginny added.

Harry turned to look for the pigtails of the Hufflepuff from his year, but instead found a mature young woman.

“So, Ron, I was thinking we should have a small get together Friday. Just a few of our friends from Hogwarts,” Harry said after retrieving the bottle Teddy dropped.

“Sounds like a good idea. You’ll come Hermione?”

“Of course.”

After lunch they said goodbye to Hermione and headed into Diagon Alley. Ginny held Teddy as they passed Quality Quidditch Supplies.

“Blimey, the new Firebolt’s out.” Ron stared dreamily in the window. “It’s faster than the original…maybe you’ll fly on that with the Harpies, Gin.”

“Firebolt 2,” Harry read.

“I don’t have the position, yet, Ron.” Ginny traced the outline of the broom in the air. “But, it would be a step up from the Cleansweep.”

“More than a step up and you’ll get the position.” Ron made for the door.

“Gwenog Jones would have to be out of her mind to not put you on the team.” Harry followed Ron.

Instead of going to the broom, Ginny gravitated toward the Chaser equipment. Harry watched her finger the new gloves. The pair she had now were cracked and peeling. He had a feeling when Ginny received them they were already used.

“Would you like a new pair for your try-outs tomorrow?”

“Oh,” she dropped the gloves on the floor. Teddy squealed. “It’s best I don’t break in a new pair tomorrow, thanks. I’ll be fine with my old ones.” She made to pick the gloves up, but Harry beat her to it. “Let’s go to Weasleys’.”

Teddy had grabbed a pair of gloves off the shelf and aimed to put them in his mouth. Harry swatted his hand and Ginny pried the gloves away. Teddy began to cry.

“Harry, let’s just go to the shop NOW.”

Harry agreed thinking if they could get Teddy fixated on something else he would stop with the tears.

“Ron, we’re going to the joke shop!” Ginny called out.

Ron had been staring dreamily at the new brooms and nearly jumped at Ginny’s words. He stared back longingly as he exited the store.

Once they stepped outside Teddy’s tears stopped and something else happened.

“Oh, Teddy.” Ginny sniffed his bottom. “I’ll get George to let me use his flat to change his nappy.”

“I’ll do it,” Harry offered.

“Have you changed one before?” She asked.

“No, have you?”

“Honestly, no.”

“I’m his godfather.”

“Alright, Harry, I really don’t mind doing this.”

“Why don’t we do it together?”

“Fine.”

“You two are very strange,” Ron said, opening the door to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

“George, can we use your flat?” Ginny blurted.

“Is that your baby?” Lee asked incredulously.

“What?” George asked.

“You remember Remus Lupin? This is his son, Teddy. Harry’s his godfather,” Ginny said. “Teddy, this is Lee, George’s friend. Can you say ‘Lee’?” Teddy buried his head in Ginny’s shoulder.

“How’d he get his hair that color?” Lee asked.

“He’s a Metamorphmagus,” Harry replied. “Takes after his mother.”

“What do you need my flat for?” George asked.

“Teddy needs his nappy changed.”

“Oh, I reckoned that smell was coming from Ron.”

Ron glared at his older brother.

“Yeah, you can use my flat.”

Ginny lead Harry to the back of the store and up a flight of stairs into George’s two-room flat. She laid Teddy on the couch. Harry placed the bag next to him.

“What do we do first?” Harry asked.

“First, we get the supplies out of the bag.” Ginny unzipped the bag and pulled out a nappy, wipes, and Teddy’s plush wolf to distract him. “Now, we take off his trousers and remove the dirty nappy.” Ginny spoke slowly as she went through the motions.

“Whew, that stinks.” Harry waved his hand in front of his face. “You need any help?”

“Clean this up.” Ginny handed the dirty nappy to Harry.

Harry scourgified it clean enough to go back in the bag. He folded the nappy and placed it in the bag by the time Ginny finished.

“It’s not that hard.” She picked up a yawning Teddy.

“You want me to hold him? He is my godson.”

“You don’t mind? He’s not that heavy.”

“I’m glad you two are bonding.”

Harry watched Ginny adjust Teddy in her arms. He leaned over and gave her a deep kiss that was interrupted by Teddy hitting him on the head with his wolf.

“You’ll make a great mother someday.”

Ginny’s cheeks turned red at the compliment.

“Let’s go downstairs.”

Ginny followed Harry back to the shop. George and Lee were busy with customers. George tried to convince a young boy of about twelve or thirteen he should buy a Headless Hat. Ron was in conversation with Verity. He must have said something funny, because she was laughing.

“Oh, hey, Harry,” Ron said catching his eye.

Harry walked over to the two wondering what Ron could have said that was so funny. He didn’t find out as Verity stopped laughing and Ron changed the subject.

“Hey, Harry.”

“Hey, Ron.” Harry sent Ginny a weird look. She just shook her head.

Having given up on the boy, George walked over to the group.

“George, we’re having a small get together in honor of us moving into Grimmauld Place. Would you like to come?” Harry invited him.

“You and my baby sister?!” George said shocked.

Harry and Ginny’s faces reddened.

“Me and Ron,” Harry corrected.

“When is it?”

By this time, Lee had joined the group.

“Friday evening. You’re invited, too, Lee, Verity.”

“Thanks, Harry, but that’s when I do my radio show. I’d still like to have you on.”

“I’ll get to that sometime,” Harry said not meaning what he said.

“Yeah, I’ll be there,” George said. “Mind if I bring a guest?”

“That’s fine. Who do you have in mind?”

“Angelina.” Harry must have had some look on his face, because he quickly added, “She’s just a friend! I help her out and she helps me. Honest!”

Harry wasn’t so sure he believed that, but he wasn’t going to say anything.

“What about you, Verity?” Ron asked.

“I’m flattered, Mr. Weasley.”

“Ron,” he interrupted.

“Ron,” she repeated. “But, I’m busy that night.”

“Hot date?” George asked causing Verity’s cheeks to turn a slight shade of pink.

“I think so,” Lee added causing Verity’s cheeks to turn pinker.

“Leave the poor girl alone,” Ginny butted in. “Honestly!”

“Well, we need to get back to work. I don’t pay you two to stand around and chat,” George ordered.

“We’ll see you around,” Harry said.

Harry led the troop out of the shop. He thought he saw someone stare at him for an extra long amount of time. Harry was not getting the same amount of attention he did right after the battle, but he was not ignored. He rubbed Teddy’s back. Teddy had placed his head on Ginny’s shoulder and fallen asleep, his left hand holding loosely to his wolf.

Harry kept Teddy for the rest of the day. They went back to the Burrow where the infant received a proper nap. When he woke, he and Harry spent some good time playing together. Harry enjoyed spending time with his godson, giving him the kind of life he never had. People who loved him and wanted him there surrounded Teddy.

---

“Good morning.” Harry kissed Ginny after sitting in the seat next to her at the table.

Mrs. Weasley placed a bowl in front of him.

“’Morning,” Ginny replied stirring her spoon slowly through her cereal.

“What time are the try-outs?” Harry asked.

“10:00,” Ginny squeaked.

Harry reached for her hand.

“Nervous, are you? Ginny, you’re an amazing Chaser. You’ve nothing to be nervous over.”

“’Ve you ever tried out for a professional Quidditch team?”

“No…”

“Then you can’t tell me not to be nervous.”

“Sorry. Gin, I’ve complete faith you’ll be fine.”

Ginny smiled wobbly at Harry. He pulled her closer and lost himself in a deep kiss until he heard someone clear her throat. He quickly pulled away, ears turning pink.

“Sorry, Mum,” Ginny said.

“Have you two picked a wedding date?”

“Mum, we’re not even engaged!”

“Yes, I know,” Mrs. Weasley replied sadly.

Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Mum,” she muttered.

---

“Good luck, Gin,” Harry stood outside the fireplace in the kitchen with Ginny, Ron, and Mrs. Weasley.

“You’ll do fine, sis.” Ron patted her on the back.

“Have fun,” Mrs. Weasley said.

Harry pulled Ginny in before she used the players’ entrance to floo to the Harpies’ stadium. He looked into her deep brown eyes wondering when she became a woman.

“I love you,” he whispered kissing her on the cheek.

“Love you, too,” she whispered back.

Holding on to Ron’s Cleansweep Eleven and wearing her old Chaser’s gear, she shakily threw in a pinch of floo powder, stepped into the floo, shouted “Holyhead Harpies Stadium!” and disappeared.

Harry turned to Ron.

“Have you packed, yet?”

Ron shook his head. That did not surprise Harry. Of course, Ron would leave it to the last minute.

“And I suppose you have?” Ron asked.

“I don’t have much stuff,” Harry replied, following Ron out of the kitchen and up flights of stairs to the attic bedroom.

Harry’s trunk, already packed and full of his possessions, sat ready at the foot of the camp bed. Ron’s trunk, at the foot of his bed, sat open with clothes spilling out. Harry sat on his bed to watch Ron struggle to pack as much as he could.

“We can make multiple trips, you know,” Harry stated. “And you don’t have to fit everything in your trunk.”

Harry reckoned Ron would ignore him and was proven right when he threw an entire drawer full of clothes into the trunk.

“I reckon I remember a spell Tonks used on my stuff when the Order rescued me from the Dursleys.” Harry pulled his wand out of his pocket and pointed it at the trunk. “Pack!” The clothes hanging partially out of the trunk fell in, but nothing else happened. “Tonks wasn’t much good at it, either. She claims her mother was fairer, able to get the clothes to fold.”

Ron laughed at Harry’s lame attempt with the spell.

“Sure that’s a real spell, are you?”

“Yes!” Harry glared at him. “You don’t have to take everything, you know. Your mum won’t throw anything out,” Harry assured him.

Thirty minutes later, Ron was almost finished. He went through a bunch of clothes and discarded those that no longer fit. He stood up from the crouch he had been, stretched his long legs, and closed the trunk.

“That’s as much as I can fit now.” He strolled over to the other side of the room and fed Pig and owl treat.

“Let’s make our first trip. We’ll come back for anything we’ve left behind.” Harry dragged his trunk out of the room.

“I made lunch before you go,” Mrs. Weasley called from the kitchen as Harry clomped down the stairs with his heavy trunk. He dragged it into the kitchen and left it by the fireplace.

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry sat down to a stack of bacon sandwiches.

“I can’t believe you two are going out and living on your own.” Mrs. Weasley sat down to a bacon sandwich herself.

“We’ll be back for dinner tonight.”

“We will?” Ron entered the room with his trunk and Pig’s cage. “Oh, good, lunch!” He immediately sat down and took a large bite out of a sandwich.

“I promised Ginny I’d be here for dinner.”

As soon as the boys finished eating they floo’d to Grimmauld Place leaving behind a tearful Mrs. Weasley. The boys promised they’d visit, they’d be there that night for dinner, and, of course, would be back to get more of Ron’s stuff.

“Kreacher!” Harry called out after stepping out of the floo with his trunk.

“Yes, Master?” The hook-nosed house-elf appeared before him.

“Ron and I will be moving in here today.”

“That is fine with Kreacher. Kreacher is happy to have company. Kreacher is to begin tonight’s dinner.”

“No, thank you. We’re having dinner at the Burrow tonight. We are having a small party on Friday, which I’d enjoy your help with, but we’ll discuss that later.”

Kreacher nodded and went back to what he was doing before.

“Let’s pick our rooms.” Ron headed for the stairs, leaving his trunk and owl behind.

Harry looked around the kitchen. The last time he stayed here he was on the run and thanks to the Fidelius Charm was a good place to hide. He didn’t need to hide anymore, though.

Harry stepped around the long wooden table thinking back to all the meals he’d had there. The summer before his fifth year at Hogwarts he’d been rescued by the Order of the Phoenix and they used this house as headquarters. Harry sat at this table with Weasleys, Lupin, Tonks, Kingsley, McGonagall, Dumbledore, Doge, Hermione, and Sirius Black. This place had been Sirius’s last home before he died. The thought made his heart heavy. Was this really a place Harry wanted to call home?

“Harry?” Ron called from the top of the stairs. Pig squawked in his cage.

Sighing, Harry took his trunk and brought it up two flights of stairs. He’d already decided on Sirius’s old room. If he couldn’t have Sirius at least he could have his room. Not quite the same, but it would do.

Entering the room he placed his trunk at the foot of the bed and began emptying its contents. When they cleaned this past summer they’d left most of the furniture. They’d taken everything off the walls except one read and gold Gryffindor banner.

“This room is very dull.” Ron bounded in. “We’ll have to do something about that.”

Harry shrugged, placing his two framed pictures of his parents and of Ginny on the bedside table. That was pretty much all he needed in the room.

“I’m going back to get more stuff. You coming?”

Harry shook his head. He wanted to stay here and get used to the idea of Grimmauld Place being home. Ron left the room and Harry lay on the bed. He stared at the walls and wondered if he could forget the bad stuff that took place around the house.

Late in the afternoon, Harry and Ron, unpacked and moved in, used the floo network to get back to the Burrow.

“Hello, Mum,” Ron said upon arriving right after Harry, acting as if he hadn’t just seen her earlier that day.

“Hello, dear,” Mrs. Weasley replied, waving her wand to chop potatoes.

Harry walked into the sitting room and immediately took notice of the red headed girl asleep on the couch. He walked over to her and planted his lips on hers.

“Harry.” Ginny smiled, slowly opening her eyes.

“Hey, sleepyhead.” Harry sat on the edge of the couch. “How was the try-out?”

Ginny sat up and motioned for Harry to sit next to her. He scooted over and put his arm around her.

“Only five witches showed up. Jones had us doing everything. We’re trying out for Chaser, but she had us at every position. I reckon I flew very well, except I’m not great at Keeper.”

“Know if you made it, do you?”

Ginny shook her head. “She’s going to notify us by owl sometime next week.”

Dinner at the Burrow was great. Mrs. Weasley served roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. Ginny talked of her try-outs going over details of her finest and worst moments on the pitch. Mr. Weasley discussed his day at the office and how he heard Percy should be receiving a promotion soon.

Harry and Ron stayed to chat after dinner, but eventually it got late and they had to leave. Ron went first after saying goodbyes. Mrs. Weasley was in serious tears this time muttering about her babies leaving her.

Harry stood in front of the fireplace staring into Ginny’s brown eyes, tears forming in them. He didn’t want to see her cry. She rarely cried in front of him. Placing fingers under her chin, he tilted her head up and kissed her.

“I’ll miss you,” she said softly.

“I’ll miss you, too.”

“Why can’t you stay here? You’ve a room and…”

“Ginny,” Harry interrupted. “I need to be on my own.”

She nodded. “I’ll miss waking up to you and going to sleep after spending the whole day with you.”

“You’re making this incredibly difficult. You know I’m just a floo away.”

A sly smile spread on Ginny’s lips.

“Can I come anytime?”

“I’m not sure your mum and dad would like that.”

“What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”

“Ginny!”

“Yeah, yeah, okay.”

“I love you, Ginny.”

“I love you, too.”

They kissed one last time before Harry returned to his new home at Number 12, Grimmauld Place.

---

Ron and Harry had been at Grimmauld Place for two nights. It still didn’t feel like home for Harry, but he decided it would do for the time being. He sat in the sitting room, thinking, while Kreacher cooked up a feast in the kitchen downstairs. He told the house-elf it was just a small party with a handful of friends, but Kreacher would not budge on the feast.

“Harry?”

He snapped back to reality at the voice calling him from the bottom of the staircase. Ginny had planned on flooing over for a few hours to help set up for the party. Harry didn’t care her reasons, he was glad she was here. He was also glad Ron was out.

Ginny walked up the stairs and into the sitting room slowly. Harry smiled noticing her shorts and t-shirt. He motioned for her to sit next to him, which she probably would anyway.

“I hope you don’t mind the way I’m dressed.” She nestled close to Harry. “I reckoned I’d just go home and get my robes before the party.”

“You’re fine,” Harry said. “It’s not a fancy party.”

Harry and Ginny snuggled for a few minutes before deciding to clean the first floor. Harry did have a house-elf, but he didn’t ask or want him to do everything. The house wasn’t that dirty so it didn’t take long to make it presentable.

“I’m going home to change.” Ginny kissed Harry lightly on the lips.

Harry went down to the kitchen and watched Ginny disappear in the floo before heading to the second floor and changing himself.

“Harry?” He heard a female voice call out, a scuffle of feet, and the closing of a door. It was such a joy to not hear Mrs. Black’s screams and shouts whenever someone entered the house.

Throwing on his robes, Harry walked down the stairs and into the entrance hall where Ron and Hermione had just entered. Hermione wore the Ministry robes and had her bushy brown hair pulled back into a plait.

“Hello, Harry,” she greeted her friend.

“Hey, Hermione. How’s work?” He led them into the sitting room so they wouldn’t be standing around the entrance.

“Fantastic!” Hermione sat so close to Ron she was practically in his lap. “Mr. Quigley, my boss, wants me to present S.P.E.W. to my co-workers so we can begin working on it. He thinks it’s far from perfect, but if we can get many ideas and loads of input we can make it work.”

“Spew, Hermione?”

“Yes, Ron, S.P.E.W.,” Hermione grunted.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Harry butted in before an argument started. “If anyone can do it, you can.”

“Thanks, Harry. See, Ron, Harry has faith in me.”

Fortunately, the guests started arriving via the door and via the floo network.

The first to arrive was Neville Longbottom. He stepped out of the floo mere seconds after Hermione’s comment, looking a bit sad. Harry went downstairs to greet him and reckoned he was still deal with a broken heart over his mutual breakup with Luna. Ginny and Harry wanted to invite Luna, but she had apparently left for her trip around the world. Neville followed Harry to the sitting room and sat on the couch not really wanting to talk.

Shortly after his arrival, Dean arrived with a guest.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Dean said after Harry opened the door. Standing next to the dark skinned boy was Lavender Brown.

Feeling awkward Harry didn’t know what to say. He very well couldn’t say no with the girl standing right in front of him, but he also couldn’t say yes without knowing how Ron felt. Lavender stood in the doorway looking as awkward as Harry felt. Being the gentleman, Harry motioned for them to come inside. If Ron had a problem with it he could explain it to him later.

He led the two into the sitting room. Hermione and Ron were so engrossed in each other they didn’t them walk in. Neville’s eyes went wide at the sight of Lavender, but he said nothing. Dean and Lavender sat in armchairs across from the couch. Harry squeezed in between Neville and Hermione. It was at that moment Hermione and Ron noticed the unexpected guest.

“How are you, Lavender?” Harry asked hoping to defer anything anyone was about to start.

“Doing much better, thanks. You know, Seamus is in Egypt working for Gringotts. I plan on visiting him there next week.”

Harry nodded. He wasn’t a big fan of Lavender, but she was here so he’d be nice.

Fortunately, at that moment, Ginny arrived via floo and George with his two guests arrived via the door. Ron answered the door while Harry greeted Ginny at the fireplace.

“Something smells good.” She kissed Harry hello.

Harry took hold of her waist noticing she’d changed into her black robes.

“You smell good,” he complimented. “Let’s stay in here. I don’t want to share you with anyone else.”

Ginny smiled coyly.

“Is the food ready?” Ron questioned from the top of the stairs.

Harry and Ginny broke apart. Ron had impeccable timing.

“Kreacher?” Harry called out.

“Yes, Master?” Kreacher stuck his head into the dining area.

“Are you ready to serve us?”

“Yes, Master Harry.”

Harry walked into the sitting room. Someone had turned on the wireless. Lee Jordan babbled on about something he didn’t care to pay attention. George had taken a seat on the floor with Angelina. Angelina’s good friend and one of Harry’s old Quidditch teammates, Alicia Spinnet, sat in Harry’s spot on the couch.

“Dinner’s ready,” Harry announced.

The group trooped down the stairs and into the kitchen to see the long table filled with food. There were pork chops, steak and kidney pie, mashed parsnips, butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and firewhiskey among other things.

“Kreacher, you outdid yourself,” Harry called to the house-elf.

Harry chose a seat in the middle and began piling food onto his plate. Before Ginny sat next to him she hugged Hermione hello.

“How’s work?” She asked her friend.

“Great. It looks like we might be implementing S.P.E.W.” Hermione sat next to Ron and across from Harry.

“Is that the house-elf thing she started our sixth year?” Angelina whispered. George nodded.

“How did Holyhead try-outs go?” Hermione asked.

“Tiring. Gwenog Jones had us do everything,” Ginny replied, digging into the parsnips.

“You’re trying out for the Harpies?” Alicia asked. “I heard they were invitation only.”

“Yes. Slughorn invited Jones to our last game of the season. She was impressed by my flying and invited me.” Ginny tried not to sound like a braggart.

“Slughorn?” Alicia asked confused.

“Professor Slughorn took over for Snape at Potions my fifth year when Snape moved to Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Ginny explained.

Dinner went fairly smoothly. Lavender sat as far away from Ron as possible and would not look in his direction for anything. Hermione tried to hide that she was stealing glances at her.

After everyone finished the meal, Kreacher came out with the pudding—treacle tart and treacle fudge.

“’Ank ‘oo, ‘Rea-er,” Ron said with a mouthful of fudge. Hermione sent him a menacing look. He quickly swallowed. “Sorry.”

Everyone laughed.

“You’ve been pretty quiet tonight, Neville. You okay?” Ginny spoke up.

“I’m all right,” he replied softly.

"What have you been doing to keep yourself busy?” Ginny asked trying to strike up a conversation.

“Not much, really.” He nibbled on a tart. “Been to the Leaky Cauldron twice. That’s about it. Y’know, Hannah Abbott’s the barmaid there. Tom works nights.”

That made plenty more sense than what Ron told them days earlier.

“Gran was happy to see me leave the house for this party,” Neville finished.

Merlin, Neville, Harry thought, you’re depressing.

“Yeah, Hannah certainly has grown up,” Ginny said.

“Oh, yes,” Neville agreed.

There was a hint of something in Neville’s voice, but what it was Harry could not figure out.

Once pudding was over the group mingled upstairs in the sitting room. Ron and Hermione found their spot on the couch with George and Angelina next to them. Dean sat back in the armchair with Lavender perched on the arm. Alicia leaned against Angelina’s side of the couch. Neville sat on the floor near Ron and Hermione. If they were going to continue entertaining guests they would have to bring in more furniture. Ginny and Harry snuggled in the remaining armchair. Ginny sang along in Harry’s ear to the Weird Sisters’ song playing on the wireless.

George brought a full bottle of firewhiskey with him from the kitchen. He took a swig and passed it around. Everyone took a drink the first time. Slowly, they stopped until it became George, Angelina, Alicia, and Lavender. Then, just George and Angelina until the bottle was empty.

Feeling tipsy from only a handful of swigs, Harry knew George and Angelina must be outright drunk. Ginny placed her had against Harry’s chest, laughing at something Alicia said.

“Do it!” Lavender shouted.

Harry hadn’t been paying attention so he didn’t know what Lavender wanted done. His widened severely as he witnessed Angelina embrace George in a kiss. They pulled away as Lavender, Alicia, and Dean laughed. Harry didn’t get what was so funny. George and Angelina didn’t either as they just stared at each other.

“I can’t believe they did that,” Ginny whispered to Harry.

“I can’t believe you did that,” Ron said out loud.

“I—I have to go,” Angelina quickly stood up, almost falling over. Steadying herself she continued, “You coming, Alicia?”

“Yes. Thanks for the party, Harry and Ron.”

Alicia followed Angelina to the entrance hall and out the front door. Both were drunk and unsteady on their feet.

“I’m leaving, too. I need to open the shop bright and early tomorrow.” George almost smacked into the candelabra Harry wanted to remove but had not found a replacement before regaining his composure and walking out the front door.

---

Harry opened his eyes to a dark room. The wireless played a slow melodic love song. He twisted his body to see the time on his wristwatch, noticed most of the other guests gone, and felt the weight on him that must be Ginny.

“2:16!” he mouthed.

Running a hand through her red hair, he knew he had to wake Ginny, but he didn’t want to. Knowing he had to do what’s right, he gently shook her shoulder. She raised her arm almost smacking Harry in the face, mumbling something about not wanting to get up.

“It’s 2:16,” he whispered in her ear.

With that, Ginny’s eyes popped open and she almost fell out of Harry’s lap. Without disturbing Ron and Hermione, who snoozed on the couch, Harry and Ginny made their way down the stairs and into the kitchen. Before going downstairs, Harry turned off the wireless.

“Mum is going to kill me.” Ginny rubbed her eyes. “Dad, too.”

“Maybe they’ll be asleep and have no idea what time you came home.”

“Ha! This is my mum we’re talking about. I may be seventeen, but if I want to continue living under their roof I need to obey their rules.”

“Good luck.” Harry gave Ginny a quick peck.

“Oh, you smell awful.” Ginny wriggled her nose.

“Thanks,” Harry replied sarcastically. He knew she was referring to the alcohol on his breath.

Ginny shook her head, threw in a pinch of floo powder, stepped into the fireplace, called out “The Burrow”, and disappeared.

---------

Sorry it took so long to get this chapter out, but it took a long time for me to write! I didn’t know it would be this long, I just knew what I wanted to include. I hope everyone's having a happy New Year and thanks for reading my first chapter of 2008!

Feedback, if you want!


__________________



I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

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Last edited by leah49; January 15th, 2008 at 12:11 am. Reason: Forget chapter title!
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Old January 21st, 2008, 6:41 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 26: The Next Phase of Life

Harry woke bright and early Monday ready to start his new job at the Ministry. Actually, he was very nervous. He was about to embark on an adventure that would prove whether he really deserved to be “The Chosen One” or it was all just a fluke. He didn’t care about that, but he knew the rest of the wizarding world did.

Slowly, he climbed out of his bed and dressed in his best jeans and shirt. He didn’t have any Ministry robes, so he felt this was the best thing to do. Walking by Ron’s closed door, he hoped his friend would wake soon so they could leave together and not be late, but he was not going to wake him. Stepping into the kitchen, Harry received a surprise. Sitting in one of the chairs at the kitchen table, sipping tea and clutching a piece of parchment, was Ginny Weasley.


“Good morning, Harry.” She smiled.

“’Morning,” He replied, kissing her deeply.

“Good morning, Master Harry. Would you like breakfast?” Kreacher asked.

“Just tea and toast, thanks.” Harry sat down next to Ginny and turned his attention to her. “So, what are you doing here so early?”

“I wanted to see you before your first day at the Ministry.” She sipped her tea. “Mum’s not too happy with me flooing over here all the time. It’s nothing to do with you,” she added when she saw the look on his face. “She says I’m using too much floo powder. Either I can start paying for it myself or I can stick with Apparition.”

“You do have your license,” Harry said as Kreacher places his breakfast in front of him.

“Yes, but,” Ginny hesitated. “I’m not able to Apparate inside here. Using the floo is easier!”

Harry grinned.

“What’s that parchment?” He nodded to the parchment Ginny held firmly in her left hand.

“Oh, it came by owl post this morning. It’s from the Harpies.” Ginny indicated to the unbroken seal on the back. “You open it, Harry. I’m too nervous.” She pushed the letter towards him.

Carefully, Harry broke the seal and unfolded the letter.

“Dear Miss Weasley—“ Harry read. “We are pleased to inform you that you have been named a Reserve Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies…”

“I’m a Harpy!” Ginny squealed, jumping up and knocking her chair over. Harry stood up and engulfed her in a big hug. “I’m a Harpy!”

Ron entered the kitchen at that moment. Ginny ran to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. His hand immediately made for the spot where his sister’s lips had been.

“What you do that for?” He asked.

“I’m a Harpy!” Ginny pulled the letter out of Harry’s hands.

“You made the team?” Ron asked.

“Yes, I’m a Chaser on the Reserve Team.”

“Blimey, my sister’s a professional Quidditch player.”

Ginny giggled.

“When do I get my Ginevra Weasley poster?” Harry asked causing Ginny to giggle more.

Once Harry and Ron finished their breakfast they left for the Ministry and Ginny went back to the Burrow.

After flooing into the Atrium Harry stood there. This was the very first time he entered the Ministry of Magic as an employee. He watched the wizards and witches bustle by gathering in the excitement.

“Ron! Harry!”

Harry turned around to see Hermione step out of one of the fireplaces and run towards them. The way she acted one would not have thought she had been over to their house just yesterday for lunch. Ron grabbed his girl and gave her a quick good morning kiss.

“Have you two registered your wands yet?” She asked.

“Four years ago as a visitor,” Harry said.

“As an incoming employee you have to register your wand again.” Hermione led the boys through the throng of glum looking employees to the security stand next to the set of golden gates.

“Can I help you?” Eric Munch, the security watch wizard, said absentmindedly.

“We have two new employees who need their wands registered.”

“Wand,” he grunted.

Ron handed him the wand in his possession. He certainly didn’t want to call it his wand, but it was the one he used. Munch dropped the wand onto the strange brass instrument, which began to vibrate. He tore off the parchment that sped out of the base of the instrument.

“9.25 inches, Dragon Heartstring core, previously used by Peter Pettigrew. Correct?”

“Yes,” Ron said slightly nervous. Munch placed the parchment in a folder and handed the wand back to Ron.

Harry handed over his wand and Munch went through the process again. His eyes darted to Harry’s forehead. Harry hoped he remembered their last meeting and wouldn’t say anything.

“11 inches, Phoenix Feather core, been in use 8 years. Correct?”

Harry nodded and was given his wand back.

Harry and Ron followed Hermione and joined the glum looking employees through the gates into the smaller hall where stood many lifts. They joined the crowd surrounding one of them.

“Meet us for lunch, will you?” Ron asked Hermione.

“12:30?”

Ron nodded as the golden grille opened and the crowd entered the lift. Harry stood next to a rather short wizard with bad breath. Fortunately, the wizard looked straight ahead and did not speak.

After several other stops the doors opened and the cool voice said, “Level Four, Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures incorporating Beast, Being, and Spirit Divisions, Goblin Liaison Office and Pest Advisory Bureau.”

“That’s me.” Hermione patted Ron’s arm not wanting to kiss him or show any other public display of affection in the lift, even though she had no problem with it in the Atrium. She stepped off the lift like she’d been doing it all her life.

The men ended up being the only two left as they rode the lift for two more levels until the cool voice spoke, “Level Two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters and Wizengamot Administration Services.”

Harry and Ron looked at each other.

“That’s us,” said Harry.

They stepped off the lift and into a corridor lined with doors. Harry glanced out the window and noticed it was raining. He wondered what made Magical Maintenance decide on this weather. They turned the corner, walked through heavy oak doors, and emerged in a cluttered open area.
Harry sighed. This was it. He took in his surroundings and noticed this time the sign on the nearest cubicle reading “Auror Headquarters” was no longer lopsided.

“Ah, hello, hello.” An older wizard walked up to the two. “I’m Gawain Robards, head of the department. Let’s step into my office.”

They entered Robards rather small office. Sitting in a chair was Neville Longbottom. Standing behind him were two wizards and a witch.

“Have a seat,” Robards requested. “Here we have our newest recruits—Neville F. Longbottom, Harry J. Potter, and Ronald B. Weasley. I’ve notes on the registration of your wands. Am I to assume you won yours in a duel, Weasley?”

“Not really,” he muttered and then remembering he was speaking to his boss said, “No.”

“I would advise you as an Auror you use a wand that shows true allegiance to you.” Robards turned his attention back to everyone in the room. “Behind the trainees are your trainers. Longbottom you will be with William Uric, Potter you’ve Elliot Robins, and Weasley you’re with Iva Prang. Your training will be different than in the past. Our department is severely understaffed at the moment. We will allow you on missions with your trainer while you’re training. We simply cannot afford you or your trainer out of action. As you three are new employees of the Ministry you will need Ministry robes. I’ll have you go with Robins to Madam Malkin’s in Diagon Alley for that. I want to see you here after lunch to get acquainted with your trainer and to pick cubicles.”

Harry followed Ron, Neville, and the three veteran Aurors out of Robard’s office. Elliot Robins made for his cubicle, picked up a few things, and then led the three men out the door.

They floo’d into Diagon Alley and made for Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. Harry spotted Quality Quidditch Supplies and thought of something he needed to do.

“Hello,” Madam Malkin called out, walking from the back of the shop, when the four men entered.

“We’ve three new Ministry employees,” Robins said.

A bright smile appeared on Madam Malkin’s face. She clapped her hands together. “That I can do. Who goes first?”

Harry stepped on the stool ready to get it over with. Madam Malkin pulled the Ministry robes over his head causing his black hair to become even more unruly. She began pinning it to the right length.

“There you go,” she said to Harry. “Who’s next?”

Ron went through the same process and then Neville.

“Wear those robes and you should get respect as Ministry employees, although not everyone respects Ministry employees,” Robins said as Neville stepped off the stool donning his new robes. “You can get one and only one free robe a year. Any more and you’ll have to pay.” They exited the store and Robins headed toward Ollivander’s. “If you don’t mind, we’ll get Weasley’s wand now.”

Ollivander was happy to see the men having spent a good time with Harry and Ron while recovering at Shell Cottage from his imprisonment in the Malfoy’s cellar. It took Ron an unusual amount of time, but eventually the wand; Ash, Dragon Heartstring, 11 inches found him.

Having purchased Ron’s wand they were off until 1 PM. Harry had an errand to run and Ron wanted to send Hermione an owl to meet them at the Leaky Cauldron. He wanted to send a message Patronus, but he had not yet learned how to do that.

Finally, they entered The Leaky Cauldron—Ron with his new wand, Harry with an item he bought running his errand, and Ron, Harry, and Neville wearing their Ministry robes. The first thing they noticed was George sitting at a table by himself with a half empty glass of firewhisky.

“He’s been here for the past hour.” Hannah walked over to the group.

“How much—how much has he had?” Ron asked.

“He’s been working on that same glass.”

Ron walked over to the table and sat down. Harry, Neville, and Robins followed. George looked up at his brother. He looked worn down.

“Who’s watching your shop?” Ron asked.

“Lee and Verity. It’s not that busy.” George paused. “She doesn’t want me. She wants Fred.”

“She who?”

“Angelina!”

“You—you—I thought she was just a friend.”

George did not respond. He sipped his firewhisky and looked away from Ron.

“Did she say she’d rather have Fred instead of you?”

“You saw her bolt from the party. I haven’t seen her all weekend. Damn Lavender for daring us to kiss!” He paused and said softly, “I’d rather have Fred, too.”

“You two sit here and have your girl talk. I’m getting food,” Robins said.

---

After lunch they went back to the Ministry to meet with their trainers. The department was pretty empty when they returned. Ron and Neville met up with their trainers leaving Harry with Robins.

“We’ll start training tomorrow,” Robins spoke. “Today you’ll pick out your cubicle and we’ll get to know each other.”

Robins pointed to a row of empty cubicles. Harry didn’t care which one was his. He wasn’t picky. As long as it wasn’t located under the stairs he would be fine.

“I’ll take,” Harry closed his eyes and pointed,” that one.” He opened his eyes to see he was pointing at the third one in the row.

“Ah, this used to be Nymphadora Tonks’s.”

Harry felt a pang of guilt. If not for him it would still be Tonks’s. If not for him they would be working together right now. Maybe she’d be his trainer, although she was fairly new herself.

“Judging by that look on your face, I know what you’re thinking.” Robins led Harry to the cubicle. “It’s not your fault Tonks died. You know her; you know she can’t stay at home when it’s time to fight. That’s why she became an Auror.”

Harry sat down in the chair imagining Tonks and her pink hair sitting at the cubicle. He wondered what pictures she had on the walls. Perhaps one of Lupin.

Elliot Robins and Harry Potter spent the rest of the day getting to know each other. Robins had been an Auror for ten years and ended up breaking his leg at the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry would not tell much about fighting Voldemort. Robins was most interested in Harry teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts to the D.A. his fifth year.

“You’re an exceptional wizard, Harry.” Robins hopped off the desk he’d been sitting on. “It will be fun training you.”

---

After work, Harry floo’d to the Burrow with Ron right behind him. Mrs. Weasley was busy making dinner and even though she had her clock did not expect anyone to come out of the Floo Network at the moment.

“Hello, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry stepped out of the Floo causing her to drop her wand.

“Oh my, I didn’t expect anyone at this time. Arthur doesn’t get off work til later.” She ran to the fireplace and wrapped her son and Harry in bone crushing hugs. “Are you staying for dinner?”

Harry looked at Ron before replying,” Yes, that would be great. Where’s Ginny?”

“In her room, I reckon.”

Harry walked up the flight of stairs to Ginny’s room and slowly knocked on the door.

“Come in,” he heard her call.

He slowly opened the door to see her sitting at her desk, writing.

“Harry!” She smiled. “Nice robes.

“I’m an official Ministry employee.” He walked over to her and gave her a kiss. “Who’re you writing to?”

“Luna. She sent me an owl. She’s currently in central Europe.”

“Yeah. Neville received a letter from her, too. Said she thinks she discovered a new type of insect.” Harry and Ginny laughed.

“She’s working on an article for the Quibbler. I love Luna. She’s odd, but she’s great,” Ginny sighed.

“I got you something today.” Harry pulled the package out of the pocket of his robes.

Ginny opened the box and carefully pulled out the brand new Chaser gloves. Harry watched her finger them, turning them over, and examining them.

“I love you!” She wrapped her arms around Harry and kissed him full on the mouth. “I’ve never had new gloves before. You know you didn’t have to do this.” She tried the fingerless black gloves on. “They’re beautiful.”

“You deserve something new. It’s a gift for making the team. Because I love you, too.” He wrapped his arms around his red headed girlfriend and kissed her again.

---------

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  #27  
Old January 29th, 2008, 11:21 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 27: Birthdays

Training moved along rather smoothly. Harry, Ron, and Neville were advancing quite well. They had not been on any missions yet as most of the department’s focus was on capturing Fenrir Greyback.

Harry lay in his bed with his eyes closed. He knew it was late, but he didn’t want to open his eyes. After a strenuous week of training he looked forward to the day off. His mind drifted to thoughts of a certain redheaded girl and what he’d like to do with her. Before drifting off back to sleep he decided he needed to get out of bed. Opening his eyes, he spotted red hair at the end of his bed. He hoped to Godric Gryffindor it wasn’t Ron.

“Happy birthday, sleepy head,” the warm female voice said.

Harry’s eyes opened quicker to see Ginny sitting on the edge, her red hear flowing down her back. He could get used to this. Sitting up after placing his glasses on his face, he embraced her in a good morning kiss.

“Morning breath.” Ginny pulled away wrinkling her nose.

Harry pretended to be offended. Quickly, he dressed and cleaned his teeth so he would no longer have the morning breath Ginny disliked.

The couple made for the basement and had an intimate breakfast, just the two of them.

“Your birthday present,” Ginny said while Kreacher took the dishes away, “is in Diagon Alley, so we’ll have to go there later to pick it up.”

“Oh, what is it?” Harry asked.

“Not telling. You’ll find out soon enough.” Ginny’s eyes twinkled.

Ron walked into the kitchen at that moment, yawning and adjusting the waistband on his pajama pants, the red hair on his head sticking up in every direction.

“What are you doing here, Ginny?” Ron threw himself into a chair.

“A girl has the right to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday,” Ginny responded.

“Happy birthday, Harry,” Ron said as Kreacher placed a hot mug of tea in front of him. He took one sip and started to look more awake.

“What’s wrong with you?” Ginny asked, most likely appalled at her brother’s messy appearance.

“He had a date with Hermione that ran a bit late,” Harry responded.

“Oh. Speaking of dates, you promised my mum you’d be at the Burrow for your birthday dinner so we should head to Diagon Alley now.”

“Harry,” Ron yawned. “I like this house and I like being your housemate, but I hate walking down two flights of stairs for breakfast.”

---

Harry and Ginny used the fireplace in The Leaky Cauldron to make their entrance into Diagon Alley. Harry waved to Hannah behind the counter as they walked past tables to come to the brick, which Ginny tapped on to open the wall onto the street.

Ginny kept walking but once Harry stepped out of the pub he stood still. It looked as if Ginny was heading for Eeylop’s Owl Emporium. He was unsure if he wanted to go in there.

“Mum, I can’t wait to get my new wand,” said a little boy clutching the hand of an older woman who had to be his mother.

Harry placed a hand in the pocket of his robes feeling his wand. He remembered the day he got it exactly eight years ago. He came to Diagon Alley with Hagrid for the first time. That had been the best day of his life so far.

“Harry!” Ginny shouted waking him from his daydream. She walked back over to Harry and made for his hand. “Harry,” she repeated softly. “My gift to you is a new owl.”

“I—I can use Pig.”

“I know. Don’t you want a new owl? I know it will be hard to replace Hedwig, but don’t think of this as replacement. Think of this as making a new friend.” Ginny started toward the Emporium still holding Harry’s hand.

Harry could hear the hooting of owls before Ginny opened the door. Owls were nocturnal, but in the confines of the Emporium they stayed awake for all hours.

“Look at this one,” Ginny pointed out an elf owl. “Isn’t it cute?”

Harry tried to smile, but his heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t want another owl to replace Hedwig. He wanted Hedwig.

“May I help you?” A witch around thirty-five came up to the two.

“Yes, he is in need of a new owl,” Ginny spoke.

Harry felt the witch’s eyes examine him up and down, most likely noticing his scar and who he was. He silently wished she wouldn’t say anything.

“We’ve a wide range of owls. Is there a particular one you’re interested in?”

Harry was about to say no when a brown spotted owl caught his eye. Perched on a railing near the ceiling, the owl stared intently at Harry.

Fifteen minutes later, Harry and Ginny walked out of Eeylop’s with the spotted owl in a cage.

“Know what you’re going to name him, do you?” Ginny asked slipping her hand into Harry’s free one. “I’m very proud of you getting the owl.”

Harry gently rubbed his fingers over Ginny’s smaller hand. He loved her. She had a way of getting him to do things he didn’t want to. The couple headed back to the Leaky Cauldron to floo home.

Arriving in Grimmauld Place, Harry noted the quietness, but the house was big enough that it was hard to tell if anyone was home. Harry and Ginny took the bird to his room and placed the cage on the bed. Harry opened the cage and the window to let the owl fly while Ginny sat on the bed and thought.

Harry quickly became mesmerized by the heavily methodical wing beats of the brown spotted owl. He missed Hedwig and would not let some bird just take her place, but he would this one just the same.

“Oberon!” Ginny exclaimed.

Harry turned from the window and looked at his girlfriend.

“Oberon,” she repeated. “That’s what his name shall be.

Harry thought for a moment, then turned back to the window and called out, “Oberon!”

The owl stopped in flight and flew towards the window. Harry did not think he knew his name already, but he felt this was more than just a mere coincidence.

“Oberon,” Harry agreed as the owl flew into his cage.

---

“Happy birthday.” Hermione thrust a package into Harry’s hand that he knew had to be book. “It’s from Ron and me.”

Harry looked at Ron who nodded. Were Ron and Hermione so close they started giving gifts together? Would he and Ginny do that?

The Burrow bustled with activity that evening as most of the Weasley family gathered with their friends for a dinner to celebrate Harry’s nineteenth birthday. Harry sat at the table in the kitchen already crowded with Weasleys—Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Percy, George, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione Granger. Most of them were gabbing away, but not George. He was in the same state the trio found him in at The Leaky Cauldron a few weeks ago.

“How’s Angelina?” Harry asked realizing the minute it came out of his mouth it was a mistake.

George turned his head and gave Harry a look.

“I haven’t seen her since your party,” he said softly.

Harry took that as an end to the conversation. He turned to the others at the table hoping not to put his foot in his mouth again.

Dinner, after that, went great. Percy had been given a promotion like Mr. Weasley heard. He had been named Senior Assistant to Kingsley Shacklebolt. Ginny talked of the Holyhead Harpies. They played a game last Saturday against the Wimbourne Wasps and won 250-120. Being on the Reserve Team, she did not play. All in all, Harry would have to say it was a good birthday.

---

Harry sat silently in the sitting room of his house reading The Evening Prophet which he picked up after an outing in Diagon Alley after work. Training had been exceptionally difficult that day with Robins having Harry out in the field to train. He didn’t mind coming home to a quiet house, but he would have preferred Ginny here. Ron was out with Hermione again and it made him miss his girl even more. Ginny had Quidditch practice all day and afterwards the entire team was going out together in Wales. This left Harry alone.

He had spent his nights away from Ginny before, but this time it ate at Harry in such a way he couldn’t describe. Not really interested in what the Prophet had to say he went upstairs to tend to Oberon. He already had a lovely dinner cooked by Kreacher and was basically left with nothing to do for the rest of the evening. It was too early to go to bed.

It took Harry roughly five minutes to clean the cage and get fresh water for his owl. Oberon was out on his nightly adventure scavenging for mice and things. Harry was glad Ginny got him Oberon for his birthday. He enjoyed having an owl around again.

Harry lay on his bed and flicked on his wireless that sat on one edge of his bedside table. He watched Ginny move around the picture before leaning back against the headboard. A love song about a wizard pining for his one true love made him think of Ginny. Of course, everything made him think of Ginny. He closed his eyes and the most brilliant idea came to mind. He knew what he had to do.

---

“I’m heading to the Burrow after work,” said Harry days later after Ron stepped out of the floo in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.

“Would you mind if I joined you?” Ron brushed soot off his robes before following the employees to the lifts.

“No, I need to do this alone.”

“What do you need to do alone?”

Harry did not say anything as they entered the lift.

“You going to tell why you’re visiting my parents without me?”

Harry took a deep breath. Telling Ron was going to be hard. But, he wanted to talk to him before he did it.

“I’m—I am going to ask Ginny to marry me and I want your parents’ permission.”

“What?!” Ron shouted. “You’re nineteen and Ginny’s only almost eighteen. Don’t you think you’re too young?” Ron’s eyes widened. “You knocked up my sister? I’ll knock you up, Harry Potter!” Ron drew his fist back ready to hit. A witch in the corner gasped.

“No! No, no, we’ve never done that!” Ron dropped his fist, but the look of disgust did not leave his face. The witch arrived at her floor leaving Harry and Ron alone. “I want to ask your sister to marry me because I love her. I’m not asking to get married right away, just in the future. We can wait a year or two or more. Whatever Ginny wants to do.”

Harry walked into the Auror Department with a quiet Ron. He was a bit afraid of what he might say. What Ron said was important to him. Ron was his best mate and Ginny’s brother.

“I think you two are too young to marry, but there’s no one else I’d rather marry my only sister than you. You’ve already picked out the ring?

“Yeah,” Harry nodded. He was glad Ron approved. That was the first approval he needed.

---

“Expelliarmus!” Harry shouted. Robin’s wand flew out of his hand and bounced along the floor.

“Stop!” Robins shouted, retrieving his wand. “Potter, I want you to go through the next duel without using the Expelliarmus.”

Robins and Potter were finishing a day’s work by practicing dueling in courtroom 10.

“Begin!” Robins commanded.

Harry and Robins stood ten feet apart on the base floor. They both drew their wands.

“Stupefy!” Harry called out.

“Protego!” Robins countered, blocking the spell. “Don’t be predictable. Rictum—“

“Protego!” Harry interrupted. He swiftly turned around full circle trying to come up with another spell. “Impedimenta!” He called out, hoping to slow Robins, but he rolled out of the way and the spell missed him completely.

“Tarantallegra!” Robins shouted. Harry ducked as the spell flew above his head.

As Harry rose he called out, “Levicorpus!” Robins lifted into the air and turned upside down, hanging by his ankle.

“Great spell, Potter, now let me down!”

Harry smiled. “Liberacorpus!”

Robins landed with a thud.

“I’m okay.” He jumped to his feet and they continued on.

Harry ran to the first row of seats and ducked behind a chair.

“Reducio!” Robins smashed the chair to bits.

“Aquamenti!” A jet of water released from Harry’s wand. He walked closer to Robins sidestepping the water. Robins, however, did not miss the water and slipped. “Petrificus Totalus!” Harry locked Robins in a full body-bind. He waited five seconds before speaking “Finite” and ending the curse.

“Great match,” Robins conceded. He used a spell to clean up the water and repair the chair. “You’re definitely improving.”

“Thanks,” Harry said as they headed back to their cubicles.

“Don’t just think about using defensive spells. Think about using spells to catch your opponent off-guard.”

Harry thought about what Robins said. Robins had tried to use both Rictumsempra and Tarantallegra, both non-traditional spells in a duel. Rictumsempra was the tickling charm causing the person the spell was cast upon to laugh uncontrollably. Tarantallegra caused the person to dance and lose control of their legs.

“Ready, mate?” Ron brought Harry back to reality. Harry didn’t remember walking to his desk and sitting down, but he must have.

Harry floo’d home first after work to clean up his appearance and get the ring. Slowly, he walked down the stairs to the first floor. He stopped off in the sitting room before heading to the basement. Ron lay sprawled out on the couch with the wireless on listening to a replay of a Chudley Cannons match.

“Good luck,” he said before turning his attention back to the classic Quidditch game. “Ah, the Gorgovitch-free days. Not that we won, but we had more fun.”

Harry smiled shakily before heading to the basement and flooing to the Burrow.

Mrs. Weasley was chopping carrots for dinner when Harry stepped out of the fireplace. Mr. Weasley sat at the table re-reading that day’s Daily Prophet.

“Oh, Harry. I wasn’t expecting you,” Mrs. Weasley said startled. “Ginny just arrived home from practice. She should be in her room. Will you be staying for dinner?”

Ignoring the question Harry said, “Actually, I’m here to see you.”

“Oh yes, Molly, I told you Harry had something important to talk to us about.” Mr. Weasley put down the paper and adjusted his glasses. “Have a seat, Harry.”

Harry did so and took a deep breath. “Tomorrow is Ginny’s birthday. As you know, after work I will be taking her out to dinner. There’s another thing I’d like to do.” Harry took another deep breath and pulled the box out of the pocket of his robes.

Mrs. Weasley turned from the counter and came closer to the table. Harry suspected she knew what was coming next.

“I would like to ask Ginny to marry me. With your permission, of course.”

Mrs. Weasley wrapped him in a hug, tears forming in her eyes. “Oh, Harry.”

“Now, Harry,” Mr. Weasley began after his wife unwrapped her arms from around Harry. “You are nineteen years old and Ginny will be eighteen tomorrow. Do you not think that’s a bit young for marriage?”

“Now, Arthur…” Mrs. Weasley began.

“I agree completely,” Harry said. “I’m not asking to marry her anytime soon, just that one day it will happen.”

“Is this the ring?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Harry, you are a fine young man. There’s no one else I’d rather marry my daughter than you. You have my blessing,” Mr. Weasley said.

“Thanks.” Harry opened the box to reveal a white gold two stone oval setting with marquis diamond. “This is the ring.”

“Oh my, that’s beautiful,” Mrs. Weasley gasped.

Harry smiled, closed the box, stood up, and placed it back in his robes. Without saying a word, he went upstairs and knocked on Ginny’s door.

“Are you all right?” He entered the room with Ginny lying on her bed.

“Yes, I’m fine.” She scooted to sit up, leaning against the headboard. “Rough practice today. We’ve a match this Saturday and Jones is driving us hard. What are you doing here?”

Harry sat down next to Ginny and kissed her, taking in her sweet aroma before responding, “Just wanted to discuss our plans for tomorrow. I’ll take you anywhere.”

“Oh, anywhere.” Ginny winked.

“Within reason.”

“There’s this little restaurant on Diagon Alley. I believe it’s called The Unicorn. I’d fancy a dinner there.”

“Alright, The Unicorn it is.”

Dinner at the Burrow that night was quite awkward. Mrs. Weasley kept gazing dreamily at the couple. It was all she could do to not spill the beans right then and there. Harry loved spending time with Ginny and having dinner at the Burrow, but tonight he could not get out of there fast enough lest the secret be told.

---

“And we’re done for the day.” Robins picked his wand off the floor after Harry used a well-aimed Expelliarmus. “You need to work on having a wide variety of spells in your arsenal. It’s not wise to end up with signature moves.”

The two walked back to the department. They had spent the last part of their day dueling, what they did most days. Harry was pretty good, but he still had work to do.

“Oh, good luck tonight.” Robins clapped Harry on the back after opening the heavy oak doors to the department.

“Thanks.” Harry didn’t know how Robins knew of his plans.

He passed by Neville’s cubicle, the cubicle in front of his. Neville was hunched over a stack of parchment and didn’t move when Harry walked by.

Harry sat at his desk, staring at the picture of Ginny he placed on the wall. He was certain tonight was the night. He couldn’t wait any longer. He was into corniness, but asking her tonight just felt right.

“Harry!” Ron called from the cubicle behind him.

Harry reluctantly left the picture of Ginny and went into Ron’s cubicle.

“How did training go today?” He asked casually, his feet resting on his desk.

“Fine.” Harry leaned against the frame not really caring to talk about training. “You?”

“All right. I’m not really getting the hang of disguises, but I s’pose I will soon.” Ron swung his long legs off the desk almost knocking his Chudley Cannons banner off the wall. “You really going through with it tonight?” He stood up to leave.

“Yes, I really am.”

“Neville, we’re leaving. Want to come with us?” Harry asked when they stopped by his cubicle.

Neville agreed and the three men left the office for the lifts to the Atrium.

“I’m not doing too well with the dueling,” Neville said.

“I’m sure you’re fine. You’re a great wizard.” Harry reassured him.

“I feel so weak compared to Uric.” Uric was Neville’s trainer.

“We’re new here, Neville, we’ve all loads to learn. I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Harry patted his friend on the back.

It took Harry roughly an hour to floo home and clean up for Ginny. Tonight was a very special night and he wanted to look his best.

“Here I go,” Harry said to Ron and Hermione. Ron lay on his bed with Hermione at his side.

“You look handsome,” said Hermione, her head on Ron’s chest.

“”Thanks. Well, here I go,” Harry repeated.

“Do you have the ring?” Ron called out as Harry walked down the stairs.

“Yes!” Harry shouted back.

“What ring?” Hermione asked.

Later that evening Harry found himself sitting in a booth in the small, crowded restaurant with dim lights, across from Ginny. They had finished dinner and were working on pudding. Well, Ginny was eating her pudding. Harry was crumbling his with his fingers.

“You all right?” Ginny asked concerned.

“I’m fine,” Harry muttered.

He wiped his fingers on his napkin and placed them inside the pocket of his robe. Looking at the woman across from him he noticed the way her red hair fell over her shoulders.

“I—I—“ He cleared his throat. “I got you this for your birthday.” Harry handed her the box.

As she opened it, he got down on one knee. Ginny gasped. Harry looked into her beautiful brown eyes.

“Ginevra Molly Weasley, will you marry me?”

“I—I—“ Ginny stammered. “I don’t know.”

Harry’s face fell, but he tried not to let his feelings show through his voice.

“We don’t have to get married right away. We don’t have to get married this week, this month, or this year. We can wait years if you want. I just want to know someday you’ll marry me. I love you with all my heart. Ginny, will you marry me?” He repeated, still on one knee.

Ginny’s eyes watered. “Yes!”

Harry jumped up and grabbed his girl in a big hug before giving her a passionate kiss. The entire restaurant erupted in cheers. Harry let go of Ginny, took the ring out of the box, and slid it onto the ring finger on her left hand.

He wrapped her in a hug again, whispering in her ear, “Happy birthday, Ginny. I love you.”

---------

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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
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Last edited by leah49; February 2nd, 2008 at 3:30 pm.
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  #28  
Old February 8th, 2008, 11:34 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 28: Work and Home

“Listen to this one,” Hermione said, folding the newspaper back and pointing to an advertisement in the classifieds section. Ron chewed on his bacon sandwich as he listened to her read. “2 bedroom, 2 bath house in Godric’s Hollow, perfect for the young witch or wizard starting out on life’s journey. Ron, this would be perfect.”

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger shared lunch together at least once a week. Today, they were eating in Hermione’s office in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

Her office was not on the small side. It was one of the smallest offices in the Ministry. All it contained, all it had room for, were two office chairs and a small desk with two drawers.

Hermione searched through the classifieds looking for a small house or flat to rent or buy. Sometimes she looked through the Muggle advertisements but mostly she flipped through the Daily Prophet’s selection.

“A’ ‘oo chu’ ‘oo ‘an’ ‘oo ‘if’ in Co’ic ‘a’loh?” Ron asked spraying Hermione with bits of her sandwich.

“Swallow and repeat.” Hermione wiped her face with the back of her hand.

“Are you sure you want to live in Godric’s Hollow?” He sipped his butterbeer.

“I don’t know. I would like to live in London near you lot, but everything in London’s much more expensive.” She twirled her spoon in her beef stew before taking a bite.

“Get a roommate, why don’t you?”

“I don’t know.” Hermione folded the newspaper to its original state and placed it on her desk next to a Muggle picture of her parents.

Ron laughed. “The Chosen One’s Chosen One,” he read, picking up the paper. “Harry Potter, a.k.a. The-Boy-Who-Lived, a.k.a. The Chosen One, has recently become betrothed to a Reserve Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies, Ginevra Weasley, learns Anita Fowel, special contributor to The Daily Prophet.” Ron put the paper down.

“Wow, Harry’s engagement is in the paper,” Hermione said.

“When you’re as famous as Harry Potter things like this don’t escape reporters.”

“Can you believe he and Ginny are already engaged?” Hermione sighed placing her elbows on her desk and her head in her hands.

“You think like I do. They’re too young.”

“No, no, well, yes, but look at Harry’s parents. They were only twenty when Harry was born.”

Ron looked slightly alarmed at that.

“You—you—you don’t think—“ He sputtered.

Hermione put her hand out and took hold of Ron’s.

“When you love each other as much as they do you just know the time is right.” Ron must have had some look on his face, because she quickly continued on. “I don’t think there’s anything more to their engagement than love. According to what they told us last night, they are waiting a few years before the wedding.” After popping the question, Harry took Ginny immediately to announce the news to their friends and her family. “I do think nineteen is too young to wed, but they are waiting a few years.”

Ron looked at Hermione and was going to say something when one of her co-workers, a young wizard with brown hair and a round nose, walked into the office. He stood in the doorway, as there was no room for him elsewhere.

“Granger,” He spoke in a deep voice,” have you taken a look at the papers Simmons left on your desk?”

“He wants to reclassify the beast and being divisions”

“Can you believe it? It won’t go over well with Quigley.”

“No.” Hermione paused. “Have you met my boyfriend, Ron Weasley? He’s a trainee in the Auror Department. Ron, this is Dean Richards, one of my co-workers.” Ron extended his hand to shake.

“You’re Ginevra Weasley’s brother?” Richards asked.

Ron’s ears turned slightly pink. At Hogwarts he lived in the shadows of his older brothers and Harry. Now, he was in the shadow of his younger and more famous sister. He gulped down the remainder of his sandwich and threw away his trash. He kissed Hermione on the cheek.

“I’ll see you after work,” he said quietly.

Walking to the lift to take him back to the Auror office he thought about the state of things. He wanted to be his own wizard. He didn’t want to be Charlie’s younger brother or Fred & George’s younger brother or Harry Potter’s best mate or Ginny's older brother. He wanted to be Ronald Bilius Weasley, not just the sixth son of Arthur and Molly Weasley, boyfriend of Hermione Granger, and trainee in the Auror Department of the Ministry of Magic.

“Hello, Ron,” Iva Prang, his trainer, greeted him as he stepped onto the lift to be taken down to Level two. Unlike most other Ministry employees, Iva preferred to call her closest co-workers by their first name. “You ever used Polyjuice Potion? You’re to work with it this afternoon.” She pulled her brown hair into a ponytail.

Ron thought back to the three times he used it. “Yes, actually, I have.”

Entering the Auror Department they found pandemonium. Well, as much pandemonium as two Aurors and a trainee could make.

“Iva, good thing you’re here,” Tiberius Ketteridge said pacing back and forth. “There’s been a mass murder at a Quidditch Stadium.”

Ron’s face when white as he searched Neville’s face for an answer. Ginny had a match on Saturday so that meant her team practiced every day this week. Somehow he found his way to a chair and sat down.

“Robins is out with Potter; Proudfoot, Savage, and Robards are out investigating new information on Greyback; and Dawlish has the day off. That leaves us three.” He motioned to the three Aurors.

“Looks like you’ll be going on your first mission today,” Iva said to Ron. He didn’t respond. If he said anything he was positive he would let his lunch fly. “What pitch did the murders take place?”

“The one in Dorsal,” William Uric replied.

Ron let out a breath he did not know he had been holding. The Holyhead Harpies, Ginny’s team, practiced in Wales.

“Wimbourne Wasps,” Neville spoke.

“Correct,” Tiberius said. “They were holding open practice, allowing fans to watch. There was some kind of argument. The only details we know is that ten fans are dead, ten more have been sent to St. Mungo’s, one of the Wasps is in St. Mungo’s, and no one’s seen the owner.”

Ron stood up, able to move now that he knew the team involved was not Ginny’s. With only a little over a month’s training he didn’t know if he was ready to fight, but he was going to do it. He noticed Neville appeared as anxious to get in on the action as he was.

---

Upon entering the Wasps’ Stadium, Ron noticed how quiet it was. There were lots of people present, but it was quiet. Eerily quiet.

“The only people we let leave were the injured and the d—d—dead,” the ticket-taker sobbed, answering Tiberius’s question. “You know we have an Anti-Apparition Jinx on the place.”

“As do all the stadiums. Thank you, ma’am.” He led the group inside. “Keep your wands at the ready.”

Ron put his wand up as they walked through the stadium. Fans sat in their seats, watching the Aurors walk by, but not moving. Tiberius led the group to the bottom of the pitch where the team huddled. The captain, a tall wiry man with dark blond hair, stepped over to them.

“Hello,” he greeted them.

“You mind if we ask you a few questions?” Tiberius asked. Without waiting for an answer he continued on. “Can you describe what went on?”

“I’ve the Chasers put on a display for the fans and to work on moves for the upcoming match against Ballycastle when I hear a loud bang. My team comes to a stand still. We look up and see a young man with red hair and tan skin holding a smoking wand. The next thing we know he has a lady by the throat with his wand pointed at her chest,” He paused, brushing the fringe out of his eyes. “He says something incoherent which upsets the crowd. Security is on their way towards him.”

The captain stopped speaking as a scream was heard a little ways up the stadium. The Aurors turned around to see a young woman running through the crowd.

“Get her!” shouted an older man with blood trickling down his cheek.

Neville and Uric ran to the section the woman occupied. Uric ran in front and Neville ran behind. Iva made to go with them, but seeing she wasn’t needed she stayed behind.

“Stupefy!” Neville shouted.

The spell hit the woman in the back. She fell forward landing on the feet of some terrified spectators.

“I’ll take her to the holding cell at the Ministry. Longbottom, you stay here.” Neville and Uric converged at the body. They were close enough and loud enough they could be heard at the bottom where Tiberius, Iva, and Ron stood. Uric patted Neville on the back. “Good job.” He grabbed the woman’s hand and Disapparated. Obviously, Aurors had special privileges. A medi-wizard came down to take care of the older man.

“We can only Disapparate out of stadiums,” Iva told Ron. “Something about no free admission.”

Neville ran back to the other Aurors, looking surprised. Ron was surprised. Neville acted brave in time of crisis and Ron just stood there.

“We need to find the other bloke,” Tiberius said. “Spread out. Longbottom, you’re with me and Weasley, you’re with Iva.”

They spent the next few hours combing the stadium, interviewing people and searching for the tanned redhead. They did not find the redhead, but did find another injured witch. Her right leg had been broken.

---

“You’re late.” Hermione stood in the Atrium. She had been examining the Memorial, but abandoned it when Ron appeared. He was the last of the four to step out of the floo. “What happened? I was so worried when you didn’t show at five. Harry came up some time later and had no idea where you were, but since you were going out with me decided not to wait for you.”

“Come with me to my cubicle and I’ll tell you about it.”

Before heading to the lifts, Ron introduced Hermione to Iva and Tiberius. She raised her eyebrows at Ron’s trainer being female.

Walking through the Atrium and waiting for a lift with the others, Ron began the story of his day after lunch with his companions chiming in every so often. Hermione listened intently as they got on the lift and traveled to Level two.

“…We’ve still a man on the loose,” Ron finished as they walked down the hallway to the oak doors.

“What does this mean for the Quidditch matches on Saturday?” Hermione asked, obviously thinking of Ginny.

“We’ve not talked it over with Robards, but we suspect he’ll want Aurors at the matches,” said Tiberius, opening the doors.

Ron led Hermione to his cubicle. She had only seen it once, before he had anything up. She looked at the Cannons banner, the picture of her, the picture of the trio from Hogwarts, and a picture of Ginny in her Holyhead Harpies robes.

“Weasley, Robards would like to see us,” Tiberius said.

“Stay here,” Ron ordered and followed Tiberius and Neville into his boss’s office.

Ten minutes later Ron exited Robards’ office and joined Hermione back at his cubicle.

“Ready?” He asked her. The couple planned on doing a bit of house/flat hunting for Hermione. He noticed she gazed longingly at the photo of the two that was the same as the one in her locket.

“What was that about?”

“Robards wanted to let me and Neville know even though we’re trainees we’ve been assigned to the case. He also wants Aurors at all the matches on Saturday, but he’s not sure we have enough.”

Hermione placed her arm around Ron.

“Be careful. I—I—this is your first time.”

“I will. Don’t you worry.”

Leaving the Ministry, the couple Apparated to Godric’s Hollow where the house Hermione found in the paper was located.

“This is it,” Hermione said standing in front of the semi-detached brick house with a double glazed front door.

Already unimpressed with what he saw Ron said, “So, this is Godric’s Hollow?” He had missed the visit to the village two Christmas’s ago having abandoned his friends for a little while. It was not a happy memory for him.

“The outskirts. The actual town is much nicer.” Hermione sighed. “Go in, shall we?”

She opened the door and Ron followed her inside. The entrance was the sitting room, quite small with yellow peeling walls.

“I know, but I can’t afford much. I spent most of my building fund on our camping trip two years ago. I don’t want to ask my parents for help.” Hermione walked into the kitchen.

“You seemed so excited when you found the advert in the paper.”

“I didn’t know it was going to look like this. Don’t you say anything because you lucked out by rooming with Harry at Grimmauld Place!”

Ron slowly walked into the kitchen ready to fire back a retort, but instead decided against saying anything. He knew he was rather lucky this time. He had a good-sized bedroom in a good-sized house with a house-elf.

“You don’t have to take this place.”

“I can’t afford much else, Ron.”

Ron stared at Hermione. She looked on the verge of tears.

“You said there were two flats in London you wanted to see. Why don’t we take a look? You don’t have to make your mind up right now and if this does turn out to be the place we can fix it up. I’ll help.” He shuddered at the sight of a spider web in the corner.

Hermione nodded and allowed Ron to embrace her in a hug.

Before leaving they changed out of their robes and into jeans and t-shirts Hermione had packed in her beaded bag to blend in with Muggle London. They left Godric’s Hollow and Apparated to a secluded area near one of the flats. It was a very Muggle area. They walked to the first building, received the key, and went to the flat on the second floor.

“This is the smaller of the two.” Hermione stepped into the kitchenette. “It’s er, not bad.”

It hurt Ron to hear Hermione talk this way. He never thought her to be a shallow person and she wasn’t. It surprised him to have her act this way. Probably surprised her, too. Ron wanted to make her happy. Even though he was not making payments on a house he couldn’t afford to help her out, not if he wanted to save money for their future.

“Herms,” he called out. “Come look at the bedrooms.”

The flat consisted of two bedrooms, one smaller than the other, with their own baths.

“It’s not so bad.” Hermione forced a smile on her face. “It costs more than the house.

“Okay, but if it makes you happier…”

“Let’s return the key and look at the other flat.”

They did so. The second flat was roughly the same size except it had a balcony, both bedrooms were the same, and it was furnished.

“You like this one better, don’t you?” Ron watched Hermione look over the flat. This one looked much cleaner than the other one, not that the first one was dirty.

“I do, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t afford it. I don’t know why I tortured myself by looking at a place I can’t afford.” A frown worked its way onto her face.

“Get a roommate,” replied Ron almost nonchalantly.

“You. Why don’t you move in with me?”

“Me?!” Ron squeaked. He loved Hermione, but… “I move in with you and that allows Ginny to move in with Harry. Mum would,” Ron
stopped. “Ginny! Ask her to be your roommate. She’s a good paying job and you’re already friends with her.”

“I hadn’t thought about Ginny. I thought she wanted to stay with your parents.”

Ron shrugged. “Ask her.”

---------

I wanted to make this chapter longer, but I decided I didn’t need to put EVERYTHING into one chapter and I didn’t want to make my readers wait until the end of the month for me to come out with this!

Feedback!


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Last edited by leah49; February 10th, 2008 at 11:27 pm. Reason: Feedback link should work now!
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  #29  
Old February 18th, 2008, 6:01 am
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 29: Hospital Visits

Hermione lay on her stomach on her bed with a book open in front of her. She had read the book many times before and could not keep her mind on it tonight. Instead, her mind drifted to thoughts of Ron.

She had not seen much of him in the past week. He was busy with the duties of his first case. She was happy for him, but she missed him. They had not had their weekly lunch together and the week was almost over. Ron worked long hours to help solve the case leaving Hermione no time to spend with him after work.

The last time they spent any significant amount of time together was Ginny’s Quidditch match on Saturday. Ron’s boss wanted two Aurors at every match that day. Six matches and eight Aurors meant they had to borrow four Hit Men. He did not want to use the trainees giving them the day off. Due to the incident, Harry wanted to attend the Harpies match against Portree, which they lost, even though Ginny was not playing. Ron and Hermione joined him.

“Hermione!”

Hermione nearly fell off the bed at the sound of her mother’s voice. For an hour she had been the only one home. Nights she didn’t spend with Ron usually ended up this way. Her parents were dentists and it forced them to work later than Hermione.

“Hermione, we brought dinner!” She heard her dad’s voice bellow.

She thought about the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley still made a big meal even though it was just she, Mr. Weasley, and Ginny. At Grimmauld Place, Kreacher cooked a good meal unless ordered not to. He had to be ordered. Simply asking him not to still resulted in him cooking. At least Harry tried. Here, at the Grangers’ Residence, they were having take-away.

Hermione slipped off her bed, opened the door, and stepped into the hall making sure not to step on Crookshanks, who came to see where she was.

“I’m coming!” She called out to let her parents know she was home. It was a rare occurrence for her to be home every night in one week. She usually spent many evenings with Ron. Her parents didn’t mind. They encouraged her rather than have her home alone.

Walking into the kitchen, she smelled the aroma of the food her parents set on the table. The idea of eating a take-away meal with her parents brought her down. She tucked her bushy hair behind her ear and sat at her usual spot.

“Hello, Hermione, how was your day?” Her mother greeted her.

“Fine,” she replied. Her day had been busy with meetings regarding the structure of the divisions. She did not think anything would change, but there was a small group that was determined to see it happen.

Hermione ran to the window as she watched an owl fly towards it. Opening the window she recognized the owl as Errol. He flew in and collapsed on the table.

“Is he okay?” Dr. Granger asked alarmed.

“Yes, Mum.” Hermione filled a small bowl with water and as the bird drank, she pulled the letter off and read,

Hermione,
Ron has been in an accident. He is at St. Mungo’s. He’s just been admitted.
Ginny


Hermione’s heart sank into her stomach. She didn’t know what to do.

“Are you okay?” Her father asked.

“It’s—it’s Ron,” she replied in a bit of shock. “I need to get to St. Mungo’s.”

“Do you need me to accompany you?”

“No, thanks, Mum. I—I’ll be all right.”

“How long do you reckon you’ll be gone?”

She ran to her room, ignoring her father’s question, grabbed her wand, and put shoes on her feet. She almost stumbled down the stairs she was in such a hurry, but she made it safely out the backdoor yelling goodbye to her parents. Making a quick getaway she didn’t have time to go to the secure spot at the end of the block, so she used the backyard where no Muggles would witness her Disapparation, she hoped.

Hermione nervously walked to the front of the store building, Purge and Dowse, after Apparating to the secure location in London.

“I’m here to see Ron Weasley,” she said slowly to the unfashionable dummy in the window.

Gaining admittance, she walked towards the window and entered into St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies. The Welcome Witch on duty looked a lot nicer than the one she remembered.

“Ron Weasley was just admitted…”

“Fourth floor,” the witch replied hastily. Maybe she wasn’t nicer.

Hermione made her to the fourth floor. She wasn’t sure where to go from there, but when she spotted Harry, Mrs. Weasley, and a group of others, she knew she was fine.

“Is he—is he?” She stumbled as she came to the group. They parted to let her see Ron who lay awake in bed with a bandage on his arm. “Ron!” She exclaimed softly, wanting to throw her arms around him, but refraining from doing so she wouldn’t hurt him.

“Hermione,” Ron croaked. He put out his left hand to take hers. Gingerly, she took hold of his afraid of what she could hurt. “It’s just a broken arm.” He slowly moved his right arm to indicate it was the broken one.

“And a concussion,” Mrs. Weasley said standing to Hermione’s left with Ginny, Harry, and Mr. Weasley.

“A mild one, but a concussion nonetheless.”

Hermione looked across the bed at the speaker, Ron’s boss, Gawain Robards. Standing with him were Tiberius Ketteridge, Iva Prang, a man Hermione didn’t know, and Neville.

“If not for Ron, Neville wouldn’t have caught the criminal,” the man Hermione didn’t now said. She figured he was an Auror like the rest of them, but he had not been present with the group Ron introduced her to last week.

Neville’s ears turned slightly pink.

“Ron took a stunner to the side causing him to fall down the stands, hitting his head and breaking his arm as he tried to catch himself,” Iva explained. “It caused just enough diversion Neville was able to capture the criminal and bring him back to the holding cell at the Ministry. He’ll get a trial next week.”

“You two are advancing quite well in your training,” Robards said. “You, too, Potter.”

Hermione looked at Harry. He was not in on this case. She wondered if he was jealous. She knew Ron would have been if he missed out.

“We’ve parchment work to finish at the Ministry. We’ll be going now,” said Robards indicating the Aurors standing with him. He leaned over to Ron. “You don’t have to come in til Monday.”

Ron smiled.

An older woman with streaks of gray in her blonde hair and a nametag on her green robes that read “Rolanda Green” stepped over to the bed with a small flask.

“The patient needs his rest. He also needs to take his healing potion.”

The Weasleys and Harry bid their goodbye, but Hermione stood there.

“May I stay? I only just arrived and he’s my boyfriend,” Hermione asked bravely and timidly. Ron looked at the healer with pleading eyes.

“I don’t know. He does need his rest.” She looked at the young couple. “Alright. One hour. Make sure he takes his potion.” She placed the flask on the bedside table and went on to the next patient.

Hermione sat down in a rickety wooden chair.

“I want to hug you,” she admitted.

“I’m not going to break and if I do I’m in the right place.”

Hermione smiled, leaned over, and gave Ron a hug.

“Tell me what happened.”

Ron told Hermione the story of capturing the tan redheaded man. He was at another Wimbourne practice, this one private. No one died but some of the stadium workers were injured. They occupied some of the beds in the same ward as Ron.

“We believe his goal was to sabotage the Wasps,” finished Ron. “He gives red-heads a bad name.”

Hermione nodded with a slight grin. She was proud of Ron, but also scared. Tonight was a mild concussion and a broken arm. What would tomorrow bring? She very well couldn’t ask him to give up his job, but it really made her nervous thinking of him on these missions.

“How do you feel?”

“My arm’s okay, but my head hurts, although, now that you’re here it’s beginning to feel much better.”

Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron’s cheesiness.

“Ron,” she cleared her throat, “I don’t want you to get hurt again.”

“I don’t want to get hurt again, but in my line of work there’s no way to avoid it.”

“I know. I can’t ask you to give up your job. That would be unfair.”

“Yes, it would.”

“Hey, you’re not supposed to agree with me!”

Ron laughed and grimaced at the pain it caused. Hermione kissed his forehead.

“Much better.” He pulled her onto his lips.

“Ron,” She tried to pull away. “Ron, we’re in a crowded hospital ward,” She managed to say.

“Embarrassed to be seen kissing me? Don’t want anyone to know I’m your boyfriend?”

“I told the healer…” Hermione started, noticing Ron was joking. She scrunched up her nose pretending to be hurt. “How long do you have to stay here?”

“Don’t know. Til my head heals, I reckon.” Ron shrugged.

Hermione nodded. She rubbed Ron’s arm while watching his blue eyes. They began to flutter as he started to fall asleep.

“You need to take your potion before you fall asleep.”

“Mm-hm.” He was almost gone.

“Come on, Ron.” She handed him the flask.

He sat up painfully and drank with a look on his face showing his
disgust. Finished, he put his back on the pillow.

“Thanks, ‘Mione,” he said sleepily, his eyes closed again. “Love you,” he muttered.

“Love you, too.” She kissed his cheek, as his breathing grew more uneven.

---

“We saved you some food,” Hermione’s mum said when she walked through the front door.

Hermione didn’t want to eat. She wanted to take a bath and go to bed.

“How is he?” she asked. The Grangers were curled up on the couch watching a news program.

“He’s a broken arm and a concussion. He has to stay in the hospital overnight, but he should be okay.” Hermione walked past her parents and into the kitchen where Errol stood on the table eating out of her plate.

Sighing, she opened the window, grabbed the bird, and let him fly. Her parents were Muggles so she could forgive them for not knowing what to do with the owl.

---

Hermione sat through another meeting at work, a pointless one where they decided not to reorganize divisions. The whole ordeal had been pointless and taken away from the work she could do on house-elves. As soon as the meeting ended she dashed to her office, grabbed her lunch, which she put in her beaded bag, and headed for St. Mungo’s.

Passing by the bed of a woman with burn marks all over her body, Hermione made her way to Ron’s bed. His eyes were closed, but he opened them when she arrived. She kissed him gently on the lips before sitting down. The chair was in the exact spot she’d put it in last night.

“How are you?”

“Better.” Ron raised his right arm to reveal no bandage. “My arm’s healed.” He tried to scoot to a sitting position. “My head still hurts.”

“Have you had lunch?” Hermione pulled hers out of her bag.

“Something they called baked ham.” He spotted her water. “I don’t get you Muggles.”

“Wha—oh my water. My parents are Muggles and it’s all they had to pack. Sorry about your lunch. You want my apple?” Hermione handed the fruit to Ron leaving her the sandwich and water. “Have you had any visitors?” She asked before biting into the sandwich.

“Mum came by this morning. Harry came by during training with Uric, his trainer. They said the man and woman we caught are scheduled for a trial in front of the Wizengamot on Tuesday. I’m to be present.” He sprayed Hermione with bits of apple at the end. “Have you thought any more about the places we looked at last week?”

Hermione bit her lip. She had thought about them, but had not come to any kind of conclusion.

“Those aren’t your only choices,” added Ron.

“I know. I really like the last flat we looked at. I just can’t afford it without asking my parents for money.”

“And I know you don’t want to do that. Seriously, ask Ginny to move in with you. I’m sure she’d say yes.”

“Alright, I’ll do it next time I see her,” Hermione promised.

The rest of the lunch hour went by quickly. Hermione talked about the boring meetings she’d been in all morning.

“I’ve to go now.” Hermione stood up kissing Ron lightly on the lips. “I’ll come by after work.”

Hermione spent the rest of the workday uneventfully. She began to draw up a plan on house-elf rights initiated by her boss, Robert Quigley, but other than that did not get much work done. She could not get her mind off Ron. She ached for him being in the hospital.

As soon as the clock struck five, she left her office, running into Harry on the way out. It had been a long time since she’d spent any significant time with her best friend, barring the Quidditch match.

“How are you?” He asked her standing in the middle of the Atrium.

“Good. You?” It was different at Hogwarts. They didn’t have these kinds of conversations back then.

“Good. Going to visit Ron?”

“I promised him I would.”

“Figured. Mind if I join you?”

“Of course not.”
“Ron tells me you’re looking at moving out on your own.” They made their way outside to Apparate to St. Mungo’s.

“It’s time to get out on my own,” she admitted. He nodded.

When the two arrived at Ron’s bedside they got a nice surprise seeing George, Bill, and Fleur hanging around.

“We better be going,” Bill said. “Get well, Ron.”

“Yes, get well,” Fleur repeated.

“Something fishy’s going on,” Ron said once his oldest brother and sister-in-law left. “They won’t say anything, but I think thy were here for an appointment with a healer. They way Bill was overprotective of Fleur I think it was for her.”

George sitting in the chair Hermione occupied earlier nodded.

“Hey, George.” Hermione took a spot on the bed where Ron put his arm around her.

Harry chose the empty seat on the other side of the bed.

“Hey,” George mumbled.

He looked tired, like he wasn’t sleeping well with dark circles under his eyes.

“How’s the shop?” Hermione asked.

George rubbed his eyes, replying, “Sales are up. That part’s fine. But, I’m losing an employee. Next month Lee’s moving to the daytime shift at WWN.”

“Congratulations,” Hermione said, seeing the look on George’s face quickly added, “I’m sorry.”

“You know I’ll help as much as I can,” Ron said.

George nodded.

“I see you’ve visitors,” Rolanda the healer said, walking over to Ron and pulling her wand out. Before working on Ron she spotted Harry. She opened her mouth to say something but Ron began coughing, diverting her attention back to him. “How’re you feeling?”

“My arm’s fine. My head still hurts.”

She waved her wand over his body while speaking. “You took your potion this morning and your next one comes at eight o’clock.” She put the wand away. “If everything goes according to plan we should be able to dismiss you tomorrow morning.” She left as quickly as she came.

“Thanks, mate,” Harry said.

“No problem,” Said Ron. “I get to leave tomorrow. You don’t now how depressing this place is. It’s not like the hospital wing at Hogwarts.”

Hermione had been in the hospital wing a few times. One time she was petrified, another she was with Ron, but there was one time she spent alone and awake. Her friends visited her, but there were good, long patches, times when they were in class and such where she spent the time solitarily. She had books and schoolwork, but it still wasn’t fun. She could not imagine this place being worse.

“If you’d like,” Harry said, “next time we can put you in the hospital wing and have Madam Pomfrey take care of you.”

Everyone laughed.

Shortly thereafter Harry and George left. Harry had a date with Ginny. George was keeping Weasleys Wizard Wheezes open late to cash in on the summer traffic. Lee was still working the Friday evening shifts this month and George didn’t want Verity to have to deal with the shop alone.

This left Hermione and Ron alone, well, as alone as one could be in a hospital ward. Hermione stayed through a dinner of roasted
chicken. “Much better than lunch,” was Ron’s opinion of it. Hermione had to leave when the healer came with Ron’s evening dose of potion. She promised to be back in the morning.

Hermione did as she promised arriving shortly after eight. Letting Ron sleep she quietly sat down in her familiar chair. Almost an hour passed before the next visitor, Mrs. Weasley, arrived.

“Ginny’ll be arriving with Harry.” She sat down in the other chair. “He tells us Ron will be released today.”

Not long after, breakfast appeared on the bedside table, upsetting Hermione as she assumed St. Mungo’s employed house-elves, and waking Ron. She joined him on the bed as he fed her bacon off his tray, earning a clearing of the throat by his mother.

The healer, Harry, and Ginny all appeared as soon as breakfast ended. Rolanda quickly examined Ron and told him he was fit to leave as long as he took the remainder of the potion.

“Are you up for Apparition?” Mrs. Weasley asked as Hermione helped Ron stand up. He looked a bit spaced out.

“Apparating may make him sick,” the healer called from the next bed over. “But, it doesn’t last very long. Extreme cases have been an hour.”

Hermione glanced at Ron and then at the three others. Ron put his arm around her to steady himself.

“We can take the Underground. I brought some Muggle money just in case.” Hermione patted her beaded bag.

“That’s a good idea. I reckon I’ll splinch myself if I Apparate,” said Ron.

The group made their way to the Holborn Underground Station after checking Ron from the hospital and boarded the train heading for Tottenham Court Road to switch to one heading to Tufnell Park near Grimmauld Place. The train was a bit crowded and only three seats were available. Harry and Ginny stood while Ron, Hermione, and Mrs. Weasley occupied the seats. Switching trains at the station, they found only two seats available. This time, Hermione stood with Harry and Ginny.

Ron leaned against his mother as she rain her hands through his red hair while they rode the tube. Hermione held on to a pole and Harry and Ginny, while holding hands, held onto the rail above them. It was here Hermione remembered she needed to talk to Ginny.

“I’ve been looking at a few places in London,” she said to Ginny. “I think it’s time I move out on my own and I thought living near Ron and Harry might be a good idea.” She paused, realizing Mrs. Weasley was listening to the conversation. “You know, they’re my best friends,” she added for good measure. “When we went into hiding I had to dip into my building fund a bit. So now, I don’t have the money I’ve saved for my independence. An entry-level job at the Ministry pays well but not for a decent flat in London. At least not my entry-level job. You’re a good friend of mine, too. What I’m asking is would you like to be my roommate, Ginny? We’ll split everything fifty-fifty. I can cover that.” Hermione had been rambling. For some reason she was afraid Ginny would say no.

Hermione watched Ginny’s gaze from Hermione to her mother and back to Hermione. Her face was unreadable.

“Alright,” Ginny replied with a smile.

“There are a couple places I want to show you. We can look later today.”

---

Finally, they made it to Grimmauld Place. Mrs. Weasley helped get Ron settled in his bed and talked with Kreacher about the potion schedule before leaving. Hermione cuddled with Ron on his bed.

“My sister’s going to be your roommate. How come she gets all the luck?”

Hermione rolled her eyes as she watched a Chudley Cannons player zoom around the orange poster on the wall opposite them. Ron brought a few posters with him to make his room feel like home.

"I asked you, but you said no.”

Hermione stared at the poster as she felt the rhythm of Ron’s chest change. The pattern soothed her. She closed her eyes and eventually fell asleep herself.

---------
I stayed up late typing this for you all, so be happy!
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  #30  
Old February 25th, 2008, 10:30 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 30: The Bug

Ginny stood in the shop looking at furniture. She never knew how much she detested look at it until today. Of course, she had never been furniture shopping until today.

“This one?” Hermione pointed to a dark red armchair.

Ginny and Hermione would be moving into a London flat at the end of the week. They were working around Ginny’s schedule. She didn’t have a match this week so the planned on moving in Saturday.

“We could go with this one.” Hermione pointed to a larger cream-colored chair.

Ginny sighed. The flat they’d be moving into was furnished. What that meant was a couch and a kitchen table with chairs. They would have to provide everything else.

The girls had already picked their mattress, bed frames, and everything else for their beds. Now, they were looking at furniture they could not afford.

“Hermione, that costs 120 Galleons!” Ginny exclaimed checking the price tag.

“Okay, so we won’t have any extra furniture for a while.”

The girls left the furniture shop located on a small side road off Diagon Alley. Hermione wanted to check out Flourish and Blotts before they left so they headed in that direction. On their way they passed by Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. The shop looked as bright and cheerful as ever on the outside. Noticing the Help Wanted sigh in the window, Ginny wanted to stop in.

“There’s my baby sister,” said George standing behind the counter.

“I saw the sign in the window,” she began.

“You want to work here?” George sounded alarmed. “Quidditch not working out for you?”

“No. I don’t want a job. Quidditch’s fine. Just wanted to find out how your search goes.” Ginny turned her head to see Verity carry a big box of Defense products.

“With You-Know-Who gone they aren’t selling quite like they were before, but people are still buying,” George admitted. He placed his elbows on the counter and rested his head in his hands. “I’ve had three people apply for the job, but no one seems right. You know who was right?” His voice broke.

Ginny knew he referred to Fred, but she also knew better than to say it. She watched Hermione help Verity pick up the items from the box she dropped.

“Ron said he would help out and you he’ll make good on his promise.”

George made a noise.

“You can’t dwell on this forever.”

“Oh, what do you know?” George replied angrily.

“He was my brother, too!”

Hermione returned as things started to get heated. She placed a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny jumped a smidge not expecting her to be there.

“Let’s go,” Hermione said quietly. “We promised Ron and Harry we’d meet them at the Leaky Cauldron when they got off work.”

Hermione took a half-day off work to do the shopping for the flat. It was one of the few times she and Ginny could get together.

Ginny rolled her eyes, gave her brother a look, and followed Hermione out of the shop. Hermione led her past crowds around other shops to Flourish and Blotts.

“Merlin’s beard!” Hermione exclaimed. She stopped in front of the display window.

Ginny stopped at what Hermione saw giving her own “Merlin’s beard.”

Harry Potter: Hero or Zero by Rita Skeeter’” She read to herself. All the anger she’d been feeling toward George found a new direction.

Hermione stormed into the shop, brushing past shoppers checking the book out and straight to the counter. The man behind the counter looked at her quizzically.

“Excuse me, what can you tell me about the book in the window?”

“The book about Harry Potter?” The young man replied. “It’s our best seller. Did you know he was in love with his best friend Hermione, but she’d rather have the red-head so he settled for the redhead’s sister?”

Ginny expected steam to pour out Hermione’s ears. She looked as angry as Ginny felt. She was also a tiny bit surprised the man didn’t recognize her or Hermione. Well, they weren’t famous like Harry, even if she was a professional Quidditch player.

“Would you like to purchase it?” He asked.

Hermione shook her head. She walked over to the display. On the cover was an artist’s portrayal of Harry. It was rather good except his eyes were blue and his lightening bolt scar was on the wrong side of his forehead.

“This book is really messed up,” Hermione mumbled.

Ginny picked up the book and opened it to a random chapter titled “Albus Dumbledore.”

“’[…] a close relationship, much closer than that of student-teacher. Some say it was father-son like. Others say it was much, much more. ‘Potter followed Dumbledore’s words as if they were the law,’ says Dolores Umbridge, Harry’s former Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor.’” She slammed the book shut. “This makes me sick.”

“Me, too.” Hermione’s face was red with anger. “I told that woman not to mess with us. I cannot believe she had the audacity to publish this…this…ugh!” Hermione sputtered.

“The boys should be at the Leaky Cauldron by now, so let’s just go there and worry about this later.” Ginny made for the door. “Why did you want to come here in the first place?”

“I wanted to get a book on housekeeping, like what your mum has, but it can wait.”

Ginny and Hermione walked inside the pub to see Ron and Harry at a table talking to Hannah.

“Someone look’s angry,” said Ron kissing his girlfriend on the lips.

“You have no idea,” she replied.

Harry pulled a chair out for Ginny that she casually sat in after receiving a kiss.

“Four butterbeers?” Hannah asked. Harry nodded and Hannah left to retrieve the drinks.

“You aren’t upset we were talking to Hannah, are you?” Asked Ron.

“No, it’s just what we saw at Flourish and Blotts,” replied Hermione.

“What was it you were talking with Hannah?” Ginny asked trying to change the subject. She was angry with Rita Skeeter, but she didn’t want it to ruin the mood.

“She’d heard Neville had been sent to St. Mungo’s,” Harry replied. “He busted his nose during training and no one could repair it. They went to hospital and put it right.”

“He’s fine,” Ron quickly added. “What did you see at the book shop?”

Hannah arrived with four mugs of butterbeer.

“Rita Skeeter has a new book out. It’s on you, Harry,” she said.

“What? Me?! Oh no!” Harry exclaimed.

Ron downed half his butterbeer. Ginny sat there running her fingers along the handle of her mug. Hermione took one small swallow. Harry just sat there.

“She’s written some really nasty things,” Hannah continued, leaning on the back of Harry’s chair.

“Dumbledore’s book wasn’t exactly flattering, but it held some basis in truth,” said Harry.

Hermione took another swallow. “Did you read the book, Hannah?”

“I skimmed a few pages in the book shop, but I quickly put it down when I saw most of the quotes were from Umbridge.”

“I’d like to check the book out,” Harry said with anger written all over his face.

Ron looked like he wanted to protest. Ginny wanted to. She didn’t want anger or anything upsetting Harry. She just wanted to sit in the Leaky Cauldron, drink butterbeer, and discuss their day. But, if Harry wanted to look at the book, she wasn’t going to stop him. He needed to see it eventually.

Harry had the look that he wanted to go now. So, they left two full mugs, one half full, and one empty mug as they headed onto Diagon Alley.

“Hold on, I’m going to put on my invisibility cloak.” Harry pulled the cloak out of his robes. “Uric told me not to leave home without it until I learn the Disillusionment Charm. If I’m visiting a book about me and don’t want any attention it’s best I’m invisible.” He threw the cloak over himself.

“I expect I look rather funny holding your hand,” Ginny remarked as they made for the shop.

The group stopped in front of the bookshop staring at the display. Inside, three people were purchasing copies. It certainly seemed to be popular. Ginny felt Harry’s grip on her hand tighten.

“Already, I don’t like it,” he whispered.

They went inside and looked at the book. Ginny would have rather ripped it to shreds, but Harry wanted to see it.

“That stuff is awful,” said Ron after exiting the shop. They headed in the direction of the joke shop. Ginny didn’t care to go, but there was someone Harry needed to see.

“I thought Skeeter was writing a book about Snape,” Harry said while taking off his cloak.

“She probably found those lies about you more interesting,” Ginny replied.

Hermione opened the door to the joke shop and followed Ron, Harry, and Ginny inside.

“Oh, you’re back,” George greeted them angrily still standing behind the counter.

“Is Lee here?” Harry asked before Ginny could say anything.

“Hello to you, too, Harry,” George replied huffily. “He’s upstairs.”

Harry and Ginny made for the back of the shop, climbed the stairs, and entered the flat. Everyone else stayed in the shop. Harry slowly opened the unlocked door. Ginny heard whistling from the kitchen.

“Lee?” Harry called out.

“Yes?” Came Lee’s voice. He stepped out of the kitchen into the sitting room. “Harry! Ginny!”

He motioned for them to sit on the couch.

“I heard about your engagement. Congratulations!”

“Thanks. I’m sure you also heard Rita Skeeter’s a new book out,” said Harry. Lee nodded. “It’s trash, pretty much. Does that offer to appear on your radio show still stand?”

“Absolutely.” Lee’s face lit up.

“Great. I’d love to do it. Dispel the junk Skeeter’s written.”

“I’m pleased you chose my show to do that.”

“Not like I know anyone else in the business.” Harry stood up. Ginny and Lee followed. “Thanks, Lee.”

“I’ll check with you later to schedule the time for the interview.” Lee followed Harry and Ginny down the stairs and into the shop.

“We better go,” Hermione said as they reached the three. She grabbed Ron’s hand to pull him outside. “It’s George. He’s so emotional.”

“I didn’t ask you how your day went,” Harry said to Ginny once they stepped outside. “How did your shopping go?”

“I hate furniture shopping!” Ginny collapsed on a bench. This had been an exhausting day. First furniture shopping and then Skeeter’s book. “We ordered our mattresses and bed frames. We’ll have them when we move in on Saturday.”

---

Ginny woke up quickly Saturday morning. Quidditch practice hand been extremely grueling the day before and after dinner she fell on her bed and immediately went to sleep. One thing she didn’t do was pack. She thought of Hermione. She most likely had boxes, full boxes, sitting around her room closed and ready to go.

Harry planned to come by the Burrow for breakfast and to help her move. Ron would do the same for Hermione. Not knowing what time it was, Ginny decided to dress and start packing so it at least looked like she did something.

She pulled on a pair of jeans a jumper. She then opened her trunk and began pulling out her old school items.

“Guess who?” Familiar hands covered Ginny’s eyes.

She was deep in cleaning her trunk she’d blocked out any noise that this interruption caused her to jump back hitting her heel on her wardrobe.

“Harry James Potter!” She swatted him.

He chuckled at her hobbling, rubbing the back of her right foot.

“Come down for breakfast. We can finish packing later.” Harry reached for her hand. “I see you barely started. Just like Ron.”

“Hey! Don’t compare me to my brother,” Ginny yelled down the stairs.

“He didn’t start packing until the day we moved, either.” Harry sat down in front of a plate of pancakes in the kitchen.

Ginny sat down in front of a similar plate and a sniffling mother.

“My baby’s all grown up,” Mrs. Weasley blubbered.

Ginny quickly put her fork in her mouth and chewed off the pancakes, glancing at Harry. Her mother could be so embarrassing sometimes.

“Lee and I worked out our schedules. I’ll be going on his show a week from Friday.”

“Good. The world needs to know Rita Skeeter is nothing but a dirty rat.”

Harry and Ginny finished quickly and escaped to her bedroom.

“What are you taking with you?” Harry asked, sitting on Ginny’s bed.

“Just my clothes, Arnold, and Arnold’s stuff.” She motioned to her pygmy puff who snoozed in his cage on her desk. “My room at the flat is rather empty, but I want to leave this stuff here.”

Harry hopped off the bed and helped Ginny finish cleaning out her trunk and packing all her stuff. In roughly an hour and a half they were done. Ginny grabbed Arnold’s cage and Harry grabbed his wand to transport the trunk magically down the stairs.

Ginny tentatively stepped into the sitting room where her mother sat with her father trying not to make any noise through her tears.

“Oh, Ginny, it’s not your fault,” she said giving her daughter a hug. “It’s hard for parents to see their children grow up.”

Ginny turned to her dad.

“I remember when you were born. Bill was almost eleven and Ron was one. The terror twins were three and Percy was five. Charlie was nine, no eight, oh, he was somewhere between Percy and Bill. Anyway, there I was holding your mum’s hand when your little head started to poke through—“

“DAD!” Ginny interrupted, her cheeks turning a deep red.

“You were the cutest baby girl I ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on.” Mr. Weasley looked a bit wistful. “And now, you’re all grown up, leaving your poor dad. Are you sure you don’t need any help?”

“It’s just my trunk and Arnold.” Ginny went in for a hug. “I love you, Dad.”

“I love you, too, Ginny.”

“Love you, Mum.”

“I love you, dear.”

Ginny followed Harry outside. They grabbed each other’s hand and Apparated to the secure location near the flat Hermione picked out. It wasn’t really a safe spot to Apparate to so they decided to try their best not to use it at night. The couple made for the administration office to obtain the key and then headed to Ginny’s new home.

“Welcome, roomie!” Said Hermione when Ginny entered the flat. Crookshanks sniffed Ginny’s feet and went back to the spot next to the couch he was sleeping on.

“Thank you for asking me to move in,” said Ginny.

“Where do I put this?” Harry dragged in his fiancée’s trunk.

“My bedroom.” She led him to the room on the right.

“Gin, there’s no furniture,” he commented.

“You’re so observant. Hermione and I pick up our beds today.”

Harry walked the circumference of the room before speaking again.

“There are loads of rooms at Grimmauld Place.”

“Harry, I’m living here!”

There are loads of rooms at Grimmauld Place,” Harry repeated. “I can get wardrobes for you and Hermione from two of the unused rooms. They’re old and dusty, but they’re free.”

“Is there anything else you can get me?” Ginny asked. She didn’t want to be showered with presents, but if Harry wasn’t using them she didn’t mind making her room more complete.

“What would you like?”

“A desk.”

“Alright. Let me ask Hermione if she wants anything.” Harry left Ginny’s room.

Ginny walked around the room imagining how she would set it up. She wondered how big the wardrobe would be. Her room was on the rather small side.

“Gin,” Harry poked his head in. “Ron and I are going to get the furniture. Hermione hasn’t put any spells up so we should be able to Apparate into the flat.”

Ginny wandered across the hall into Hermione’s room while Ron and Harry were at Grimmauld Place. Hermione’s trunk lay open with clothes spilling out. A book shelf sat against one wall with some books lined up neatly. Ginny stepped over to the shelf and began reading the titles. Hogwarts: A History, Famous Witches in History, House-elves History, Wuthering Heights…

“Hermione, what’s this?” Ginny called out.

Hermione appeared from the bathroom connected to the room.

“That’s a Muggle story about Heathcliffe, Catherine, and the Moors. You can borrow it sometime.”

Ginny smiled politely. She wasn’t into reading like Hermione and didn’t think she cared to read Muggle fiction.

With nothing else to do until the boys returned, Ginny sat on the floor and sorted through Hermione’s bottomless trunk.

“Did you bring your entire library?” Ginny asked as she pulled more books out of the trunk.

“Oh, no, just one bookshelf full.”

A couple hours later Harry and Ron each returned with a wardrobe.

“I’ll set t his up in your room and then go back for the desk so you can begin unpacking,” said Harry.

Using magic, Harry levitated the wooden, dusty wardrobe into the room and placed it against the wall opposite where the bed would go.

“Ah-choo!” Ginny sneezed. “This could use some cleaning.”

---

“This is it,” Ginny laid her head against the pillow of her freshly made bed. Harry put his arm around her.

The room was completely furnished and unpacked. Along with the wardrobe and desk, Harry brought Ginny a small bedside table. The furniture came from bedrooms he didn’t use and wouldn’t miss.

“Thank you, Harry, I love you.”

“I love you, too, Gin.” He kissed her forehead.

Home sweet home, she thought as she reached up to kiss him on the lips.

---------

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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
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  #31  
Old March 2nd, 2008, 2:59 am
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
Ron's Pygmy Puff
 
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 31: Interview

Opening the door, Harry walked into the flat. Recently, Ginny gave him permission to do so without knocking. He had been off work for an hour and although he had not planned on seeing Ginny, he could not bear to sit home alone with tomorrow’s interview making him nervous, so he decided to pay his fiancée a visit. With a Quidditch match scheduled for Saturday the Harpies had practice that day, but Harry did not have to worry about her being home. She usually arrived home from practice at four.

He knocked on her slightly ajar bedroom door to aware her of his presence and then opened the door further so he could squeeze in. Ginny sat at her desk dipping her quill in ink and writing on parchment.

“What are you writing?” Harry walked over to her.

Ginny jumped slightly causing a smudge on the paper. Harry pulled out his wand and fixed it.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” she said. She leaned forward to give him a hello kiss.

“I couldn’t sit at home alone. It made me nervous.” Harry sat down on the edge of Ginny’s bed.

“Oh, right, the interview. I’m sorry I won’t be able to listen. Quidditch practice.”

“Quite alright. What are you writing?” Harry peeked over Ginny’s shoulder trying to get a look at the parchment.

“An opinion piece for the Daily Prophet. I reckon if it’s about you they’ll print it.”

“You’re writing an article about me?”

“We’ll reach more people this way. You with the wireless and me with the newspaper. I’m only giving them the bare bones facts. Just enough to try and discredit Rita Skeeter. She makes my blood boil.”

“Mine, too.” Harry sat in silence for a minute while Ginny’s quill scratched away at the parchment. “Kreacher’s making steak and kidney pie. Come over for dinner, why don’t you? You can take a break.”

Ginny abandoned the article for the night and joined Harry for dinner at 12 Grimmauld Place. Hermione and Ron showed up at that time, too.

Dinner was good. Kreacher proved himself a good cook. Conversation was good. Ginny talked about Quidditch and how the Harpies had a good chance of beating the Arrows. Ron mentioned the Cannons had a chance to beat the Tornadoes. They were no longer as good as they were a few years ago. Hermione discussed a meeting she had on house-elf rights. It appeared everything was heading in the right direction regarding that.

After dinner, the group dispersed. Ron and Hermione went back to her flat and Ginny and Harry relaxed in the sitting room. Ginny flicked on the wireless to provide background noise. She placed her head against Harry’s chest and he casually ran his fingers through her long red hair.

“Mum’s promised to listen tomorrow,” Ginny said conversationally.

Harry let Ginny talk of telling others about the interview. She wanted as many people as possible to tune in. His thoughts traveled to what he was actually going to say. The truth, of course, but it wasn’t all his to say. Nor should he let people know everything. There were things, such as Horcruxes; they were better off not knowing.

“What do you think?” Ginny’s question brought Harry back to reality. He blinked his eyes and looked into her freckled face. “You weren’t listening.”

“Yes, yes, I was,” Harry stammered.

“Oh, then, what did I say?”

“Er,” Harry paused and looked at the ceiling. “Er,” he repeated.

“What were you thinking about?”

“The song on the radio?”

“Celestina Warbeck?” Ginny asked in mock horror.

“No, not really,” Harry truthfully admitted. “I was thinking about
the interview.”

Ginny sat up straight.

“You’ll be fine. Lee’s not going to press or get too personal. He knows your boundaries.”

Harry let Ginny comfort him. It was good he was giving this interview to a friend.

---

Harry, wearing new black robes, sat in the waiting room of the radio station. WWN had two studios they used to broadcast. The morning DJ occupied studio #2 at the moment.

“Waiting long?” Lee Jordan walked up in dark blue robes. “Let’s get in there and get situated.” He pointed to the door of studio #1.

“Lee,” a tall brunette ran up to him holding a piece of parchment. Lee whipped his head to look at her and ended up hitting her in the eye with one of his dreads.

“I’m so sorry,” he apologized.

“It’s okay.” She held one hand over her eye and the other hand thrusted the parchment into Lee’s. “Mr. Stevens requests you cut down on playing the artists listed here.”

Taking the parchment Lee headed into the studio with Harry behind him. He tossed the list on the desk and sat down in the chair. Harry sat in the other chair.

“Here’s how it works. I’ll ask you some questions, play a tune, and then ask some more. I thought we’d stick with a theme each time. The last set of questions is from fans that have owled them in. I’ve read through them and taken out the most personal ones. I’ve also read Rita Skeeter’s book.” Harry’s eyes went wide. “I know how you feel about her. I didn’t buy the book. I borrowed it from Janet.” Harry didn’t know who Janet was nor was he about to ask. “I had to prepare myself. I had to know what she’s written about you and let me tell you, it’s some very unflattering stuff.”

Harry leaned back in his chair. He knew Rita Skeeter disliked him after some of the stuff Hermione pulled on her. It’s why he was doing this interview.

“As soon as that clock,” Lee pointed to a clock on the wall to his left. “strikes eleven it will light up, which means we’re on the air. We’ll both share this microphone.” He tapped the brass microphone that looked a lot like the megaphone used by commentators during Quidditch matches. “Good morning, this is River hoping to keep you satisfied during your lunch break. I’ve a special guest with me today, the one, the only boy who lived himself, Harry Potter!” He pointed to Harry.

Harry hesitantly leaned toward the microphone and said, “Hi.”

“Before we get to him let me quench your thirst with a tune from Pumpkin Juice.” Lee waved his wand and a record began to play music. “When the music’s playing we’ll be able to talk as much or as loud as we want and not be carried over the airwaves.”

When the song finished Lee began the interview. The first theme was Harry’s childhood. He asked about his parents, which Harry didn’t remember much of; about his aunt and uncle, which Harry truthfully said treated him as if they despised him, which he was sure his Uncle Vernon did, but that Dudley was changing; about his room, yes, Harry really did live for ten years in the cupboard under the stairs.

After Celestina Warbeck warbled out her song, one Lee didn’t look too happy about playing, they dove into Harry’s school years.

“You attended Hogwarts for only six years and that means you had six different Defense Against the Dark Arts professors. Can you tell us who your favorite and least favorite professors were and why?”

Harry cleared his throat. “Yes, I’ve had a few Defense Against the Dark Arts Professors. Favorite—Professor Lupin. He taught us a lot about fighting the Dark Arts. He taught me how to produce a Patronus. He was kind and gentle with every student. I believe as a whole we learned the most from him.”

“Absolutely. Why did he last only one year?”

“As you know, Remus Lupin was a werewolf. Generally, people are prejudice against them, not everyone, but enough. After a scuffle involving Professor Snape and others word was bound to get out a werewolf was teaching at Hogwarts. Without allowing that to happen Professor Lupin quit.”

“Your least favorite?”

“I’ve been through a range of professors. One had Voldemort sticking out the back of his head. One was a Death Eater pretending to be the man Professor Dumbledore hired. Then, there were the two worst. Gilderoy Lockhart taught Defense Against the Dark Arts my second year. He is a fraud. He knows not a thing about fighting evil except how to make money off it. He ended up hurting himself when he tried to use my best friend Ron Weasley’s broken wand to obliviate our memories. It backfired. Needless to say we learned nothing that year, except what Professor Lockhart’s favorite person was.

“The other professor is Dolores Umbridge, appointed to the position by the Ministry of Magic my fifth year. Her job was to discredit Professor Dumbledore and me. This was the year after the Triwizard Tournament, the year after I witnessed Voldemort’s return. The Ministry refused to believe it so Fudge sent someone to Hogwarts to get us to stop talking. Professor Umbridge did not teach class in a useful way. She had us open the book and read. She wanted us to learn theory without any practical knowledge at all.

“Apart from the way she taught was the way she ruled. She did everything in her power to become the ultimate ruler of Hogwarts. I won’t use the term headmistress for I don’t think it was a big enough term for what she wanted. She wanted to be able to inflict pain on those who did not agree with her. In silencing them she forced them to write lines using their own blood until the punishment sunk in. When I say sunk in, I mean sunk in. I still have scars from those days.

“I don’t want you to think poorly of Professor Dumbledore’s hiring practices. The Defense Against the Dark Arts position had been cursed by Voldemort when Professor Dumbledore would not hire him and each professor only stayed for one school year. Professor Dumbledore was running out of options.” Harry took a deep breath while Lee put on another song. He had just said a mouthful.

The rest of the interview ran smoothly with Harry discussing more days at Hogwarts. He talked about the Triwizard Tournament and how it Is not for the weak at heart. He was very modest saying he only won by sheer luck and did not deserve it. He also talked about his friends and how he wouldn’t have made it through school and life without them.

“And now onto the fan questions.” Lee pulled a stack of letters out of his robes. “The first question comes from Zach of Godric’s Hollow. ‘How close were you and Professor Dumbledore?’”

“Professor Dumbledore was the only one Voldemort ever feared, but I was the one destined to defeat him. I reckon it was because Voldemort made it his life’s mission to come after m e.” Harry was not about to mention the prophecy. He didn’t think anyone should know about it. “There was loads he had to teach me, to prepare me. Our relationship may have gone further than typical student-teacher; it didn’t go much more. Professor Dumbledore was a very private man.”

Harry answered a few more questions asking about his godfather, if he really did fly a car to Hogwarts, and who his favorite Quidditch team was.

“Holyhead Harpies, of course! I have to support my fiancé’s team.”

Finally, Lee arrived at the last question.

“From Don of London, ‘Rita Skeeter writes that you fancied your best friend, Hermione, but gave her up to let Ron have her, taking Ron’s sister, Ginny, instead. How much do you love Ginny?’”

“With all my heart,” Harry replied with a smile. “You’ve nothing to worry about. I never fancied Hermione. I love her like a sister. Nope, scratch that. She is a sister. I expect she feels the same way about me. There’s only one girl fir me, Ginny Weasley.”

“Thank you, Harry. Thank you, listeners. This is River signing off.”

Harry sighed. The light on the clock turned off. He was glad that was over. He hoped he did a good job.

“You were great, Harry.” Lee stood up motioning for Harry to follow him out of the studio. “Would you like to join me in a late lunch?” He bent closer to Harry. “The later I get back to the flat the less guilty I feel about not helping George in the shop.”

Harry didn’t think that was right, but it wasn’t his place to say. He checked his watch for the time—3:02 PM.

“No, thanks. I promised Ginny I’d meet her at her flat when she gets out of practice at four.”

“Very well. I’ll see if Janet will accompany me.”

---

“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed after Apparating from Wales. Harry waited for her outside rather than in her flat. He knew he could have gone in, but no one was home, and the weather was so nice he waited outside.

Harry jumped up from the grass he sat on to greet Ginny. He grabbed her in a hug and gave her a quick kiss.

“You look happy,” he commented as they walked towards the flat. She didn’t always look happy after practice. Most of the time she just looked tired.

“Oh, yes!” Ginny’s eyes brightened. “Sara, a Chaser, fell off her broom and broke her arm. She won’t be able to play tomorrow.”

Harry thought it odd to be happy about that. He obviously wasn’t getting the punch line.

“Harry!” Ginny said exasperated. He reckoned she thought he must know what that meant. “Who do you know who’s a Chaser? For the Harpies? Gwenog Jones told me I’m replacing Sara for tomorrow’s match. Harry, I’m playing in my first professional game ever!” He watched a smile grow on her face.

“Congratulations!” Harry squeezed her before entering the flat.

“You’ll definitely come?” Ginny threw herself on the couch.

Harry made for the kitchen. He needed something to drink. The interview made him quite thirsty.

“Of course! What kind of fiancé would I be if I didn’t?”

---

Sitting in the kitchen and eating breakfast made by Kreacher, Harry flipped through the Daily Prophet. He hoped Ron would wake soon. They had plans to meet with Hermione and Ginny before the game. Harry stopped on page seven noticing two rather catchy articles.

The Real Harry Potter, Harry read, by Ginevra Weasley. Harry smiled as he read Ginny’s accounts of meeting Harry, him saving her life, and being best friends with Ron and Hermione. It wasn’t all flattering. She did mention his temper and shutting himself off his fifth year. Harry couldn’t get upset. It was truthful.

The next article intrigued him. He had no idea it had been written until just now. “About a Bug” by Hermione Granger.

Harry laughed. It was a great article. Hermione covered fourth year when Rita kept showing up writing exaggerated and sometimes private things. The article covered the effect she had on all the champions, not just Harry. Hermione did not mention either book written by Skeeter, which Harry thought was a good thing. Harry smiled again. He wondered if these articles would have a good effect.

---

“This is so exciting,” Hermione said, standing in the top with Harry and seven members of the Weasley family. Charlie couldn’t make it but sent his congratulations and good luck by owl. Lee took over for George in the shop for the occasion.

Harry knew Hermione was not much into Quidditch, but having Ginny play in her first match was exciting for her. Ron put his arm around Hermione and kissed the top of her head.

Harry had to agree with Hermione. This was exciting. He stood between Ron and Mrs. Weasley. He turned his head to see Mr. Weasley put his arm around his wife. The group of nine cheered loudly and then quieted down when the players for the Appleby Arrows and Holyhead Harpies were called out.

“Chaser Ginevra Weasley!” The commentator shouted into the megaphone.

Ginny flew onto the pitch after her two fellow Chasers. The nine in the box cheered loudly, Harry cheering loudest of all.

The match began when the Quaffle, Bludgers, and Snitch were released. Most of the party sat down to watch, but Harry remained on his feet, his eyes anxiously on Ginny.

“Nervous?” Hermione asked him with a smile in her eyes.

The match had been going on for an hour or so. Harry winced every time a Bludger flew near Ginny, but fortunately, she did not get hit. She played a very good game and scored twice.

“Yeah,” Harry admitted. Hermione patted him on the shoulder.

So, this is what Ginny must have felt when he was off fighting Voldemort. They weren’t together then, but he knew she loved him just the same.

“Go Ginny!” Harry cried when she was in possession of the Quaffle.

She flew towards the goals. One of Appleby’s Beaters knocked a Bludger in her direction. Harry gasped uncontrollably. He gripped Hermione’s hand. The Bludger headed straight for the back of Ginny’s head and she didn’t see it.

“Ginny!” Harry shouted, wishing she could hear him above the roar of the crowd.

Out of nowhere one of the Harpies’ Beaters flew toward the Bludger and knocked it in the opposite direction. The box let out a collective sigh. Ginny passed the Quaffle to her teammate never knowing how close that Bludger came to hitting her.

Harry let go of Hermione’s hand and fell back into the seat next to Mrs. Weasley. He turned to his red headed best friend, who had been keeping his eye on him and Hermione as well as watching Ginny.

“You’ve nothing to worry about, Don.”

Ron smirked.

“How long does this last?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Until one of the Seekers finds the Golden Snitch,” Harry replied. “There’s no time limit.”

Mrs. Weasley groaned.

The match lasted another three hours before the commentator shouted “Holyhead wins!” The Seeker caught the Snitch and with a score of 360-110, they claimed victory.

That evening they all met up at the Burrow to celebrate the victory. Ron heard the Cannons lost (again) and tried not to let that spoil his mood. One would think with all the losing the Cannons did that he’d be used to it by now. Hermione told Ginny how nervous Harry was. Everyone laughed and had a good time, including George.

Toward the end of the night while relaxing in the sitting room, Bill cleared his throat and stood up.

“Fleur and I have an announcement to make.”

Ron leaned over to Harry.

“This must be about why they were at St. Mungo’s last month.”

All eyes were on the couple. Fleur sat up a bit straighter.

“We’re going to have a baby!”

---------

This is not the end of the Rita Skeeter story. One more chapter should do the trick on that.
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  #32  
Old March 6th, 2008, 4:20 am
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 32: No More to Some More

“Merlin! Look at that!”

George’s mind drifted from flying on a hippogriff to his bedroom in his flat. Lee’s shouting startled him and he nearly fell out of bed.

“Lee!” George grumbled into his pillow.

Reluctantly he rose from the bed. It was an hour before he wanted to, but Lee made too much noise for him to sleep.

“What’s going on?” George stumbled into the sitting room pulling a t-shirt over his head.

“Have a look at this.” Lee stood looking out the front window.

“Merlin’s beard!” George exclaimed when he had a look.

From one side of the shop to the other, owls flew towards Flourish and Blotts carrying books. The bookshop still had a couple hours before it opened, but already a line formed outside.

“You reckon this has something to do with your interview?” George asked.

Lee shrugged, but wore a huge smile.

---

“You see what’s happening?” Verity asked walking into the shop.

“The owls and the line?” George asked while restocking a shelf of Darkness Powder. “Help stock the shelves before we open.”

“They’re dropping the books at the shop. Dozens of books litter the doorway.” Verity stepped out of the storage room with a box in hand. “Most are copies of the Harry Potter book by Rita Skeeter, but a few are the Albus Dumbledore one as well.”

“Really?” George stopped shelving the powder.

“Yes, it’s creating quite the mess.”

George put down his box and ran out the door. Sure enough, the sight was as Verity described. Books spilled out the shop with more being added. Owls flew and dropped books without stopping to land.

“Bloody hell!” He watched the street for a few minutes before heading back inside.

---

Flourish and Blotts Banns Author, George read the headline the next morning in the Daily Prophet while drinking a cup of tea at the counter of his joke ship. He had fifteen minutes until the shop opened and Verity was busy with the Pygmy Puffs.

“Verity, have you read this article?” He called out. While a store clerk stood shaking his head in the picture on the front page, an owl dropped another onto the pile spilling out the door of the shop.

“No, what does it say?” She called back.

“Flourish and Blotts will no longer sell anything written by Rita Skeeter!”

Verity stopped in her work and practically ran to the counter. This was startling news. The Diagon Alley shop had never banned an author before.

“People returning books yesterday claimed they’d never buy a book by Skeeter again. They said the book on Harry Potter was full of gross inaccuracies. They didn’t mesh with the interview, the news article, or with what some knew of him. Many either attended Hogwarts when Umbridge taught or had children who did and would not believe the word of a woman who used her as her main source of information. Umbridge is an evil woman.” George said.

“Definitely, Mr. Weasley.”

George put away the newspaper and helped Verity clean up the room. Today was Monday. Both Ron and Lee had to work at their more important jobs, so it would be just him and Verity.

More important? George shook his head. This shop was more important. He sat behind the counter again as the shop opened for business. He didn’t look up when a dark skinned woman stepped through the door and walked straight to the counter.

“I’m here about the sign in the window—Help Wanted.”

“Have you any experience in a joke shop?” George asked, busy under the counter.

“Well, no, but I’ve experience with a couple of pranksters.”

“Who?”

“You!”

Bumping his head, George rose to look into a pair of deep brown eyes.

“You want to work here?” He asked nervously. He hadn’t seen this girl since Harry and Ron’s party and frankly, he didn’t think she wanted to see him again.

“Working with you could be fun,” she replied, leaning against the counter.

George watched a customer walk in and head for the fake wands. He didn’t know what to say. It was unusual for him to be at a loss for words.

“George, I’m sorry,” she said slowly. “The kiss scared me. I was drunk that night, but not too drunk to feel it. I—I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was being dishonest to Fred. I know we didn’t date much, but the fact is we did date.”

“I know.” George looked at the floor. He hadn’t thought what that kiss meant to him, just that he missed having Angelina around. He had been used to her visiting him and talking about their feelings. That sounded girly, but its what she provided.

“I missed being around you, George. I don’t reckon Fred would want us not to be friends.”

“He would have clobbered me if he knew I kissed you.” George smiled. “And he would know. There’s no keeping secrets from Fred.”

“I love that smile whether it’s on Fred’s face or yours.”

George looked down at the counter. He would never see Fred smile ever again, never crack another joke with his twin, never see him again. A tear slid down his cheek. He didn’t want to cry in front of Angelina or at work, but he didn’t care to wipe the tear away.

Angelina leaned forward and wiped the tear. George looked up at her. As long as he knew her she’d always had this odd scent, like a mix between Quidditch and perfume. It was beautiful. Today, it wrapped around George like a scarf. He closed his eyes remembering Angelina flying on her broom in a Quidditch match with the Quaffle in hand.

“What are you smiling?” Angelina asked.

“You.” George opened his eyes. “You really want the job?”

“Yes, I do.”

He watched Angelina stand in her green robes with one elbow on the counter. Her dark brown hair had been pulled away from her face with a clip.

“Why do you want the job?”

“I need a job. You’re asking for help. I’d love to work with you, George.”

He felt an odd sensation run up his spine. He shook it off. This was Angelina Johnson, former Chaser for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, captain his seventh year, Fred’s date to the Yule Ball. Fred’s date to the Yule Ball.

“George?” Angelina waved her hands in front of his face. “You look as though you’ve been Confunded.”

He blinked his eyes. “Sorry. Er, yeah, you can have the job. We’ll have to get you to Madame Malkin’s to get you the required magenta robes. Verity,” he shouted. “Come meet your new co-worker.”

George spent the morning first getting Angelina her robes and then training her. He showed her the storage room, which used to house the Defense items, but those had been moved to the front of the store. He showed her the Pygmy Puffs and how to take care off them.

“There you go,” George said to Angelina. “You’re now an official employee of Weasleys Wizard Wheezes.”

Angelina stood in the shop wearing her magenta robes. George thought the color looked fascinating on her. He smiled. Angelina had once been his Quidditch captain and now he was her boss.

---------

A little shorter than normal, but it basically holds what I want it to.
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Last edited by leah49; March 20th, 2008 at 10:47 pm. Reason: This is chapter 32 not 33!
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  #33  
Old March 20th, 2008, 10:53 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 33: Gifts and Things

Looking out her bedroom window, Ginny watched a few solo flakes fall to the ground. The weather was just barely cold enough for snow. It was too cold for Quidditch. Holyhead’s season ended last month with a third place finish. Ginny’s first professional season was over. She was no longer a rookie.

Harry watched his fiancé look out the window, her elbow on her desk, head in hand, red hair falling casually down her arm. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever laid eyes on. His stomach fluttered, the monster still living inside, still making his presence known.

“Your mum and dad are waiting for us at the Burrow,” Harry spoke bringing Ginny back to reality. She turned from the window and looked at him.

“Are we waiting for Ron and Hermione?”

“No, they’re spending the day in Hogsmeade.”

Ginny stood up and sat next to Harry on her bed.

“O.K., then let’s go.”

The couple grabbed their cloaks and Apparated outside the Burrow. The snow fell heavier in Ottery St. Catchpole, but it wasn’t sticking. Harry and Ginny made for the door and were quickly bombarded by Mrs. Weasley.

“Hello, Mum,” Ginny greeted as her mother wrapped her and Harry in a tight hug.

“Hello, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry looked over his shoulder to see who all was here, but no one else was in the kitchen.

“They’re in the sitting room.” Mrs. Weasley let go and sort of pushed them in the direction of the other room.

In the sitting room sat Bill with his arm around Fleur, her nice round belly ever so slightly showing itself with her light colored robes on. Next to Fleur sat Angelina Johnson. Harry was surprised to see her. He hadn’t seen her since his party.

“Ginny! Harry!” Mr. Weasley rose to greet his daughter and future son-in-law.

“Hey, George,” Ginny greeted her brother after her father sat back down.

George looked happy—genuinely happy, not one of those I’m-smiling-because-this-moment-makes-me-happy happy, but I’m-in-a-good-place-right-now happy.

“You know Angelina’s been working at my shop,” George said in a greeting.

“Hi,” she greeted them.

Harry had not known George found the help he’d advertised for. Ron still helped out on the weekends.

“I know what you’re thinking,” George said. “Angelina’s been at the shop since September. Yes, Ron knows I hired her and no, we are not taking advantage of him.”

Harry looked at Ginny. He wondered if there was more to the story than what he was being told.

“Congratulations on your engagement,” Angelina stuck her hand out to take Ginny’s. “Let me see the ring!”

Ginny politely placed her left hand in Angelina’s.

“Oh my, that’s beautiful,” Angelina breathed.

“Thanks,” Harry and Ginny replied simultaneously.

Harry sat with Ginny on the couch next to George. He glanced at the Christmas tree missing its gnome angel. The last time the Weasleys had a tree the garden gnome sat on top dressed like an angel. No matter how happy George looked there were just some things he was not going to be able to do.

He heard Mrs. Weasley squeal in the kitchen. Harry hoped it was due to Ron and Hermione’s arrival, but a few seconds later Percy walked in wearing Ministry robes. Percy was the only person Harry knew who would want to work on Christmas Eve.

“Arthur,” Mrs. Weasley poked her head into the sitting room. “Help me, will you?”

Mr. Weasley left the room to the younger generation with Percy taking over his seat. The second he left Fleur let out a squeal.

“You’re all right?” Bill asked anxiously, his hand following hers to her belly.

“Oh, yes. Ze baby just kicked.” Fleur turned to Angelina. “Would you like to feel?”

“No, that’s okay.” Angelina shook her head.

“Yes, eet’s a wonderful feeling.” Fleur took Angelina’s hand and placed it on the spot where the baby kicked.

Ron and Hermione chose that moment to enter the sitting room.

“Looks like someone’s going to want a baby now.” Ron winked at George.

Hermione playfully hit Ron on the shoulder.

Harry looked from George to Angelina and back to George.

“They’re not dating, are they?” He whispered to Ginny.

“I don’t know,” she whispered back.

“I received a letter from Charlie today,” Bill spoke up, his hand still on his wife’s stomach. “He said he’s bringing a guest. I wish he would hurry up and get here.”

“Maybe it’s his girlfriend!” Ginny exclaimed.

“Charlie has a girlfriend?” Ron asked. He had not been present last Christmas when Ginny coaxed the news out of her older brother.

“No,” came Charlie’s response as he entered the sitting room. “She broke up with me. Said I spend too much time with dragons.” He rolled his eyes as if to say that’s not even possible. “Congratulations on the baby.” He squeezed in between Harry and Percy. Ginny put a leg around Harry to make room receiving looks from her brothers. “Congratulations on your engagement. You be a good man to her, Harry.”

“Zank you,” Fleur replied.

“Where’s your guest?” George asked.

“In the kitchen talking with Mum and Dad.”

“Who is your guest?” Bill asked.

“Me,” came the serene voice.

“Luna!” Ginny exclaimed. “Are you two dating?”

“No, no,” Charlie replied abruptly. “No. She was in Romania. I recognized her from Bill and Fleur’s wedding. We got to talking. She told me she recently broke up with her boyfriend, Neville something or other, and she missed her friends, which I found out were you lot.” He motioned to Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny. “I asked if she planned on coming home for Christmas. She said no so I invited her to surprise everyone.”

“I would very much like to surprise Daddy after dinner.”

Harry took a good look at Luna. Her dirty blonde hair seemed longer and darker than the last time he saw her. She wore a cream colored robe that made her skin look tanner. She was very peaceful looking. “Congratulations,” she directed to Harry and Ginny.

Shortly thereafter they were called to dinner. The kitchen table had been magicked bigger to fit everyone. It was a tight squeeze and if anyone else joined them they’d have to move the party outside.

On the table sat a large turkey. Harry reckoned he’d never seen a turkey so large before. He wondered if it had been magically enlarged to feed the group of thirteen.

“Kingsley believes they’re on the right track to capturing Greyback,” Percy said scooping mashed potatoes onto his plate.

“Only you would want to go to work on Christmas Eve,” Ron muttered with his mouth full of food.

“What?” Percy asked.

“Nothing.”

Percy had definitely changed since the battle. Oh, he was still as obsessed with work as ever. That would never change. But, now his family had become just as if not more so important. He also seemed more relaxed, not so much into being perfect. Rules were still important, especially now that he was one of Kingsley Shacklebolt’s right hand wizards, but he wasn’t so keen on tattling for every teeny tiny broken rule.

“I thought they said that a few months ago,” Mr. Weasley said.

“Well, they’re closer now.”

“Robards believes they’ve found the house he’s staying at,” Harry spoke up.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they captured the creature that disfigured my Bill,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Maman and Papa come tomorrow,” Fleur changed the subject. Harry thought the topic of Fenrir Greyback upset her. “Gabrielle, too. I ‘ave not seen ‘er since early summer. I also ‘ave not told ‘er about ze baby. I want to surprise ‘er.”

Fleur was close to her sister. Gabrielle was the person she was closest to aside from Bill. Harry remembered Gabrielle was the one Fleur had to rescue from the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament.

“She’s in her third year?” Harry asked.

Fleur’s eyes lit up. She loved talking about her sister.

“At Beauxbatons. I ‘ope she enjoys it as much as I did.”

“I still haven’t found the Crumpled-Horn Snorkack,” Luna said abruptly. “But, I did find a very beautiful smelling flower. I brought some back for Neville.”

---

Later the group found themselves in the sitting room. Charlie and Ginny accompanied Luna to her old home. Pregnancy caused Fleur to tire easily so she and Bill retreated upstairs to the bedroom they would be staying in. Downstairs in the sitting room were Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley, Percy, George, Ron, Hermione, Angelina, and Harry. Somehow, Harry found himself next to Angelina.

“You work with George now?” He asked her.

“Yes,” Angelina replied slowly. “I needed a job.”

“I’m not going to pry. You know me. I understand privacy.”

“Ginny’s really lucky to have you.” She sighed. For a fleeting moment Harry thought maybe she was jealous. “I used to play professional Quidditch. Well, okay, I had just started. I was Reserve for Pride of Portree. Then the battle happened and Fred died. I lost interest in everything. I quit the team. I couldn’t do it. Fred and I weren’t serious, but we were friends. His death made everything seem so unimportant. I was lost. I almost didn’t go to the memorial last New Year’s, but Alicia and my parents talked me into it. I saw George there. We got to talking. We’re both feeling the same things. It helps to have someone to talk to.”

Harry nodded. He knew the power of friendship.

“You’re lucky to have such wonderful friends around you.”

Before Harry could respond Ginny and Charlie returned. Charlie took Hermione’s place at the chessboard as Ron just beat her. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley announced they were going to bed. Percy followed. Ginny sat down on the arm of the couch, running her hand through Harry’s hair. George plopped down on the open spot next to Angelina and casually put his arm on the back of the couch behind her.

Angelina glanced from George to Harry. Here face wore an expression mixed between happiness and sadness. He wondered if there was anything going on between her and George, if perhaps she felt guilty due to it.

“You okay, Harry?” Ginny’s hand still ran slowly through his hair.

“Never better.” He looked into Ginny’s brown eyes. He wanted to kiss her, but not in front of her brothers.

“Check mate!” Ron shouted.

Charlie sighed. That was one of the quickest games of chess in the Weasley house. It had to be one of the quickest games anywhere.

Ginny’s hand moved from Harry’s hand to his back sending shivers up and down his spine. There were definite things he wanted to do he couldn’t do in front of her brothers.

“It’s getting late. I promised my parents I wouldn’t stay out too late with it being Christmas Eve and all.” Angelina stood up. George followed her to the kitchen for her to use the floo.

---

“Happy Christmas!” Harry woke when someone jumped on top of him, hair falling on his face tickling his nose. He felt his glasses being placed on his face and lips planted on his. He severely hoped this wasn’t Ron’s idea of a joke. His eyes opened to see a sea of bright brown. Putting his arms around her back he deepened the kiss. A loud snore from the other bed in the room told him Ron was still asleep.

Ginny sat up.

“Ron wakes up and finds us like this he won’t be too happy.” She placed a package in Harry’s lap. “Happy Christmas.”

A snort from Ron’s direction warned them he was in the process of waking up.

Harry opened the box to find sweets from Honeydukes, small packages from Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, owl treats for Oberon, and a love note. Ginny’s hand immediately pushed his away when he reached for it.

“Read it later,” she whispered. “In private.”

He placed the lid on the box and summoned Ginny’s gift from under his bed. Before he handed it over he glanced to see Ron’s bed empty. A pile of presents sat at the foot untouched. He must have made his escape quietly while Harry opened his gift.

“Oh, Harry, these are beautiful.” Ginny picked up the two silver hair clips and situated them in her hair. He didn’t think she wore clips in her hair, but when he saw this in a store window while out on a recent Auror mission he knew they were perfect for her.

They leaned in for a passionate kiss. Breaking for air, Harry remembered he had other presents to open. He quickly opened them to find a dark green Weasley sweater; a book Defenders of the Dark Arts from Hermione; a dragon skin wand case from Bill and Fleur; and George, Percy, and Charlie’s names attached to the miniature model of a Hungarian Horntail that didn’t bite but did blow fire, fortunately a case accompanied. Hagrid’s gift consisted of treacle fudge and Kreacher’s gift was treacle tart.

“Let’s go downstairs.” Ginny sniffed the air. “Mum’s making breakfast.”

Still in his pajamas, Harry followed his fiancé downstairs to the almost full kitchen.

“Happy Christmas,” Mrs. Weasley greeted them, placing full plates of bacon and eggs in front of them.

“Zose are beautiful ‘air clips, Ginny,” Fleur said between small sips of tea.

“Christmas present from Harry.”

“I wish my Bill would get me somesing so beautiful.” Fleur winked at her husband whose cheeks turned red. Harry did not are to know what that was about.

---

Later in the day, the group of four took a trip to Andromeda’s, each with a gift, Harry and Ron with two. Ginny put her hair up special with the clips. Harry loved how she looked in them and told her so.

“Thanks,” she replied kissing him lightly.

“Hello,” Andromeda opened the door. “Happy Christmas.” She led them into the sitting room, taking their cloaks. “Teddy’s asleep right now, but he should be waking soon.” She spotted the gifts in their hands as the four sat on the couch and she sat in an armchair. “Those must be for Teddy.”

“This one’s for you.” Harry handed her one of the packages.

Gradually she opened it and tears welled up in her eyes.

“Oh, Harry!”

“I acquired Tonks’s desk at work and found that picture in one of the drawers. Ginny helped pick out a frame. I thought you should have it.”

“Thank you,” she blubbered. The picture was of Tonks receiving her Auror badge from Moody. It panged Harry that both people in the photo were gone.

“Gammy!” Harry heard a tiny voice call.

Wiping her tears Andromeda spoke, “There’s Teddy.”

“May I?” Harry stood up and made for his godson’s room.

Sitting in his cot, rubbing Wolfie’s back, was a bright blue haired infant.

“Hi, Teddy,” Harry said hesitantly walking into the room trying his best not to frighten the baby. Teddy looked up at him with bright blue eyes. “Feeling blue today, huh?” He walked a little closer and Teddy’s lower lip began to tremble. “Remember me? I’m Harry, your godfather. Over the summer I took you to Diagon Alley with my girlfriend, Ginny, and best mate, Ron.”

Teddy looked at him like he was trying to remember, then he put his arms out asking to be picked up. Harry obliged and placed him on the changing table.

“I’ve never changed a nappie before.” Harry unbuttoned Teddy’s clothes to get to the nappie. “I’m sorry I hadn’t visited more. I’ve been busy with Auror training. Your mum was an Auror. A good one, I’ve heard. I wish you could’ve met her. Well, you did for a few days, but I wish you’d known her longer. She was a great person. Brave, too.” Harry took a breath and patted Teddy’s stomach. “There you go. I reckon I did a good job.” He picked the baby up and made for the door when he started to wail. “Did I mess up your nappie?” Teddy reached his hand out to the cot. “Oh.” Harry handed him the stuffed wolf and the tears dried up instantly.

“There’s my Teddy,” Andromeda said when the two walked into the sitting room.

“Gammy!” Teddy shrieked.

“Sit with Harry. Look, they brought you presents.”

Harry sat on the couch next to Ginny. Teddy looked at the boxes in her lap. She handed one to Teddy.

“This is from me. Do you know who I am?” Teddy looked at her blankly. “My name’s Ginny. Harry and I are getting married. Are you okay with that?” Teddy nodded. Harry suspected he wasn’t sure what Ginny said.

“Let’s open the gift,” Harry helped Teddy tear off the paper and open the box. He pulled out the tiny t-shirt.

“Do you know what that says?” Ginny asked. Teddy shook his head. “Holyhead Harpies. That’s the Quidditch team I play for. Do you know what Quidditch is?” Again Teddy shook his head. “It’s a sport. When you’re older Harry and I will teach it to you.”

Teddy tried to put the shirt on but being only nearly twenty months old his head got stuck so Ginny and Harry helped him.

“Ah, the perfect Harpies supporter.” Ginny smiled.

“Hawpies,” Teddy repeated with a smile revealing two almost full rows of teeth.

“Let’s open the next gift,” Harry took the package Hermione handed him.

Again Harry helped Teddy open the package and he did it again for the gifts from Ron, Mrs. Weasley, and himself until Teddy was seated on the floor wearing a Weasley sweater over a Harpies tee with a knitted cap by Hermione that Ron declared much better than her house-elf effort, playing with a set of toy blocks given to him by Harry. Ron’s gift—five Chocolate Frog cards he had duplicates of as well as one unopened lay abandoned on the side table, the new one waiting until after dinner. Ron wanted to get Teddy into collecting the cards, but it would have to wait until he was older and would understand.

“You’ll be staying for dinner, won’t you?” Andromeda asked getting up to set the table.

“Thanks, but Ron and I promised my parents we’d have Christmas dinner with them,” Hermione answered.

Harry knew Ron was thinking of last year. Hopefully, things would go better this time.

Ron and Hermione left leaving Harry, Ginny, Teddy, and Andromeda to have dinner together. Teddy sat in his high chair while they ate from a small turkey. He wanted to impress Harry and tried his best to mind his manners. He even ate with a plastic fork.

“How he looks up to you,” Ginny said. Teddy tried to imitate Harry scooping up his vegetables with his fork.

Later they ended up on the couch talking about Teddy’s parents, Remus and Tonks. Harry brought up Remus teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and Andromeda brought p her daughter’s Auror training. Before they knew it, Teddy was asleep on Harry’s chest.

“Good thing we changed him into his pajamas,” Ginny commented.

Teddy’s pajamas consisted of a nappie and the Harpies shirt he didn’t want to take off.

The three quietly took Teddy to his room and placed him in his cot. Adnromeda laid the plush wolf next to her grandson.

“He won’t sleep without it,” she said. “If he wakes up and it’s not there he’ll scream his head off.” They walked back into the sitting room. “Thanks for coming today.” She appeared on the verge of tears.

“Of course, An, Mrs…” Harry was at a loss for what to call Teddy’s grandmother.

“Call me Andromeda.” She wiped her eyes. “I don’t mean to cry. It’s just—“

“I know,” Harry said softly. He witnessed enough death to appreciate how much it hurt.

“Last year I spent all Christmas crying. I think it scared Teddy. Your mum’s party, Ginny, was a welcome relief.”

“It was for her, too.”

“Oh, that’s right. She lost a son, also.” Her hand flew to her mouth as she realized what she just said.

“It’s okay. Not saying it’s not going to make it go away,” Ginny assured.

“You’re right.”

“Thank you for having us,” Harry said.

“Thank you for coming. Thank you for being a presence in Teddy’s life.”

Ginny and Harry grabbed their cloaks, stepped outside, and Apparated to the Burrow.

---------

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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

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  #34  
Old April 11th, 2008, 9:26 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 34: Beginning to Change

I love you with all my heart and am eternally grateful you want me to be your wife.
Forever yours,
Ginevera M. Weasley


Harry folded the letter and tucked it in his secret hiding place in his desk at work. He read the letter a million times since he received it on Christmas, but his heart still warmed at the sight of the words.

He looked up when he heard the sounds of laughter, Ron’s laughter. He saw his redheaded mate laugh it up with his dark-headed trainer. She patted him on the shoulder and they both headed their separate ways to their cubicles. Ron stopped at Harry’s.

“Ready?” Ron asked.

Harry nodded, grabbed his belongings, and followed Ron out of the department. He had a long day of training and looked forward to going home. He wanted to spend the evening with Ginny, but with Quidditch season fast approaching she would be staying late at the Harpies’ stadium in Wales for practice.

“Iva says I’m excelling at disguises. We went to Hogsmeade to work with Polyjuice Potion again.” A smile spread across his face, obviously remembering something that happened earlier. “I’m really getting good with Transfiguration.”

“Really?” Harry found this hard to believe.

The two entered the lifted and pressed the button for the Atrium.

“Iva really pushes me to excel.”

“Don’t you let Hermione hear you say that.”

They rode the rest of the way quietly. The grate of the lift finally opened and the two stepped into the Atrium to see Hermione casually waiting for them. They walked toward each other and Ron kissed his girlfriend on the cheek.

“You look happy. Training going well?” She asked, lacing her fingers with his.

“Very,” he replied. “Come to Grimmauld Place, will you? Kreacher’s making steak and kidney pie.”

“I’d love to, but with Ginny coming in late I’ve got the flat to myself and it’ll give me a good opportunity to look at some parchment for work.”

Ron could not hide the disappointment on his face.

“Don’t be upset.” Hermione stood on tiptoe to kiss him. “We’ll do something special for lunch tomorrow.”

Ron smiled weakly, headed to the nearest fire, and floo’d home.

---

Ron’s surly mood, which Harry found when he arrived home, continued on to the next day of work. The trainees spent the morning dueling each other and fighting as a group. Harry and Neville each won a few times, but Ron didn’t win once.

“You need to get your head out of the clouds,” Uric shouted at Ron after he released him from the leg-locker curse Neville placed on him.

“Don’t yell at my trainee!” Iva shouted. “He’s a great dueler. Often, he beats me.”

“That’s due to you letting him win.”

Uh-oh, thought Harry.

Robins walked over to the arguing two.

“I reckon we’ve had enough for today. Let’s break for lunch and spend the afternoon apart.”

Harry, Ron, and Neville walked back to their cubicles. Neville planned on visiting his parents at St. Mungo’s and left almost immediately upon arrival.

“You and Hermione still meeting at 12?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron grunted.

“Let’s go.” Harry led Ron to the lifts and then to the Atrium.

To his surprise, Hermione was not there waiting on them. He hoped she didn’t forget the lunch date. She had been extremely busy at work recently and Ron needed this special time with her.

“Iva doesn’t let me win,” Ron said abruptly.

Harry had wandered to the Memorial. He turned to look at Ron.

“I know.”

“I’m really good. Honest.”

“I believe you.”

Harry turned back to the Memorial, placed his wand on the corner, and watched the names appear in the air. Nymphadora Tonks Lupin, Remus John Lupin, Fabian George Prewitt, Gideon Fred Prewitt, James Harry Potter, Lily Evans Potter…A smile spread across his face as his parents’ names appeared. Melissa Jane Randolf, Jonathan Christopher Smith, Severus Snape, Malcolm Benjamin Snell, Carmilla Porpetina Timms, Ted Ervin Tonks, Lisa Cassandra Toots, Arabella Perenelle Volkova, Artemius Rabastan Viridian, Roger Caradac Vulchanov, Quentin Dean Watkins, Fredrick Gideon Weasley.

“Five minutes!” Ron’s shout brought Harry back to the present. “What in the name of Merlin can Hermione be doing that’s more important than lunch?”

Harry watched the anger on Ron’s face and decided against responding. He was saved from Ron’s outburst continuing by the appearance of Iva Prang.

“Hello, Ron,” she greeted her trainee. “Off to lunch?”

“I’m waiting for—“ he paused. “Yeah.”

Harry scowled at Ron’s response.

“Would you care to join me? I’m heading to the Three Broomsticks.”

Ron looked at Harry and then in the direction of the lifts.

“Sure. Join us, Harry?”

Harry shook his head and with even greater surprise than when they originally entered the Atrium he witnessed Ron and Iva floo out of the Ministry.

“I’m sorry I’m—“ Hermione ran into the room, her bushy brown hair flapping against her back. “Where’s Ron?”

“He’s um,” Harry stammered. He didn’t want to tell her the truth. Heck, he didn’t want to believe the truth. “I’m meeting Ginny at the Leaky Cauldron. Why don’t you join us?”

“Shouldn’t we wait for Ron?”

Hermione’s look of concern bothered Harry.

“He sent me here to let you know his training is running over,” Harry lied.

---

Harry did not like what was happening between his two best friends. Hoping to reconcile things he invited Hermione to dinner that night.

“Quigley’s really impressed with my initiative on the house-elf issue,” Hermione said between bites of pork chop. “He’s considering me leading the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, though he believes the name needs some work. The start-up of the group will most likely include me spending more time at the office.”

Ron dropped his fork spraying Harry with bits of mashed potato.

“What?!” He exclaimed. “More time at work? We hardly see other now as it is!”

“I—I—you’re wrapped up in your work as well. You missed our lunch today because of training!”

“I missed our lunch? You’re mental! I waited for you and when you didn’t show I left with Iva. Don’t blame this on me, Miss Work-a-holic!”

Harry and Ginny exchanged glances.

“Work-a-holic? Because I care about house-elves?”

“More than me,” Ron muttered.

“What was that?” Hermione’s voice was beginning to reach supersonic levels. “Are you playing the ‘Poor Me’ card? Why don’t you run off to Iva for sympathy?”

“Maybe I will!” Ron stood up so fast he knocked over his glass of pumpkin juice. Either not paying attention or not caring, Harry couldn’t tell, Ron stormed up the stairs.

Hermione sat in her chair, stunned, tears welling up in her eyes.

“I—I—“ slowly, she stood up. “I’m going home.” She quickly ran up the stairs leaving two bewildered people sitting at the table with pumpkin juice dripping onto the floor.

---------

Feedback!

I’m so sorry it took so long for this chapter to come out. I’ve been extremely busy over the past few weeks. I’ll try my best to not let a long period come between chapters again. I don’t like when it happens!

P.S. Sorry my chapter titles stink.

Oh and most middle names as well as unrecognizable names in the Memorial were created by me. I just thought I'd let you know so you don't go thinking it's canon or something. As for James Harry Potter, for some reason ever since I first read his name I've always thought that was his middle name. I know I made it up, but it's just what I've always thought.


__________________



I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

My Graphics|Aftermath|Goodreads|My Blog
I may disagree with you politically, religiously, and/or on Snape but that doesn't mean I dislike you.

Last edited by leah49; April 13th, 2008 at 11:57 pm.
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  #35  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 3:57 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Posts: 6,390
Re: Aftermath

Chapter 35: Turquoise and Silver

“Thank you for helping clean up, Harry. You know you didn’t have to.” Andromeda placed the last gift in the bag to be taken to Teddy’s room later.

“It’s no problem.” Harry sat down on the couch.

“Teddy is passed out.” Ginny walked into the sitting room after putting her fiancé’s godson down for his afternoon nap. “The party really tuckered him out.”

The party was Teddy’s second birthday party. The guest list included a few friends of Andromeda’s and most of the Weasleys. Both Ron and Hermione were there and if you didn’t know there was a rift between them you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Problem was Harry knew and Harry could tell. It was partly the reason he stayed after to clean up. It was that or go home to moody Ron.

“I’ll be back here on Friday after work to pick up Teddy,” said Harry. He stood up and headed for the door.

“Thank you, Harry. I know Teddy will have much fun.” Andromeda patted him on the back.

“No problem. I love the kid.”

Andromeda was taking a weeklong trip to visit friends and Teddy would be staying with his godfather. Harry took the entire week off just to spend time with his godson.

Stepping outside the house Harry glanced at Ginny who sent Harry a look.

“We can go back to my place. Hermione will most likely be there, but she locks herself in her room, so she shouldn’t be a bother.” Ginny sighed. “I wish they would stop being so thickheaded.”

---

“I’m leaving work early today to pick up Teddy,” Harry said as Ron shoveled the last bit of egg in his mouth.

“’E’s sta’ing a ‘eek ‘it’ us?”

Harry nodded.

Kreacher burst into the dining area to remove the dirty dishes.

“Kreacher is preparing Master Harry’s favorite dish for the guest tonight.”

“And you’re taking a week off work?” Ron asked.

“Thank you, Kreacher. Whatever you make will be fine. He’s a two-year-old. And yes, Ron, I am.”

---

“One more, Potter, then you can go,” Robins said.

Harry and his trainer stood on Diagon Alley’s main street working on detection. Robins had planted wizards among the crowds and Harry had to pick them out. He had come up with all but one.

“Think about how you were able to spot he others,” Robins urged him.

This was Harry’s first time working with detection so Robins made it easy for him by making sure his help did obvious things to give themselves away, but after today, it would be hard work.

Harry watched the crowds around him as he stood in the middle of the street in front of Gringott’s. He watched wizards and witches in various colored robes walk by. He spotted a seven-year-old licking a vanilla ice cream cone. The only place he knew to sell ice cream along the Alley was Fortescue’s. But, Fortescue’s had been closed since the owner’s capture by Voldemort. Behind him was an older man in shabby green robes. The mad circled the bank, but did not go in.

“Aha!” Harry exclaimed. “It’s him, the dark haired man in the shabby green robes.”

Robins patted his trainee on the shoulder. “Dawlish!” He called out.

The green robed man made his way through the crowd. Harry did not recognize him as John Dawlish.

“Polyjuice Potion,” he said. “I transfigured my robes to look as if they were owned by a beggar. Careful with that. Transfiguring robes does not last as long as the potion.” He shook Harry’s hand.

“Alright, Potter, we’re done for the day.”

Robins led the way to the Leaky Cauldron so they could floo to the Ministry.

Harry hurried to his cubicle to grab a few things. On his way out he ran into Neville and his trainer, William Uric.

“Leaving?” Neville asked.

“Yes, I told you I’m keeping Teddy this coming week. I’m heading over to pick him up”

“That wouldn’t be Tonks’s son, would it?” Uric asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“Terrible shame.”

“You’ll be off all next week?” Neville asked.

“Yes. You should come by. You haven’t seen Teddy since the Christmas Party at the Burrow a year and a half ago.”

Harry left Neville with the invitation and headed toward the lifts. He ended up in one occupied by the Minister of Magic.

“Good evening, sir.”

“Hello, Harry. I hear your training is going well.”

“Yes, sir.”

Harry knew Kingsley Shacklebolt. He reckoned he could say he was friends with him. But, right now, Kingsley was his boss, his boss’s boss, the Minister of Magic. Oh, sure, he’d had many interactions with previous ministers, Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour, but he didn’t admire and value them the way he did Kingsley and they certainly weren’t his bosses.

“Harry, call me Kingsley. I may be the interim Minister, but we’re still friends.”

Harry looked at Kingsley’s dark face, the golden hoop still residing in his ear, and relaxed. They were friends. He need not be nervous.

“Where are you off to now?” Kingsley asked, as the lift made it’s way closer to the Atrium.

“I’m taking care of Teddy for a week while his gran visits some friends.”

“I’m sorry I could not attend his birthday party.”

“You were busy with work, I know. I’m not sure Teddy will understand though.”

Harry exited the lift once the gate opened upon the Atrium.

---

“Hawwee!” Turquoise haired Teddy clapped his hands when Harry stepped out of the floo brushing soot off his robes.

“Teddy!” Harry picked up the two-year-old and swung him around the room. “Where’s your grandmother?”

“Back here!” Andromeda yelled from her bedroom. “You wouldn’t believe how much I still have to do. I’ve to finish my packing. I haven’t
even started Teddy’s, yet, and the portkey’s scheduled for 5:45,” she said as Harry made his way to her bedroom.

“Teddy and I can pack his stuff. Right, Teddy?”

“Pack!” Teddy raised his hands in the air.

Andromeda smiled, pointed her wand at a pile of laundry and exclaimed, “Pack!” The blouses found their way into the suitcase and folded themselves. Tonks was right. Her mother was great with the spell.

“Thank you, Harry.”

“This might take a bit longer for us. I’m not so good with that spell.” Harry placed Teddy on the floor of his bedroom. “Let’s begin with your clothes.”

Harry found Teddy’s bag next to the wardrobe and filled it with t-shirts, sweaters, trousers, socks, shoes, and pajamas. He made sure not to forget the Holyhead shirt. Teddy pulled out the shirts he didn’t like.

“Shirt yucky!” He tossed a lime green t-shirt aside.

“No, no, Teddy. You need clothes to wear next week.” Harry reached for the short, but stopped himself. “We don’t have to take that shirt with us.”

“No shirt.”

“Let’s move on. We’re going to need to bring toys. What toys do you want to take?”

Harry watched Teddy walk around the room. After a minute passed Teddy reached for the box containing his building blocks. He handed the box to Harry.

“Is that all?”

Teddy stood there before picking up a book he’d received for his birthday from Hermione.

“Thank you.” Harry placed the book with the box while Teddy went in search of something else.

“My bwoom.” Teddy grabbed the wooden stick from against the wall.

“Can’t forget that.” Harry smiled.

Fifteen minutes later Harry helped his godson pick out a few more toys and books.

“I’ve all his toiletries, nappies, and things in this bag.” Andromeda stepped into the room holding a small brown bag. “I need to get going. The portkey is on top of the hill.”

Harry took the bag and placed it in Teddy’s suitcase. He grabbed the suitcase and the toy bag magically enlarged by Hermione.

“Teddy, we’re going to use the floo. After we say goodbye to your grandmother you’ll need to hold on tightly to my hand as you do when you use the floo with your grandmother.”

Teddy’s eyes widened as he looked at his grandmother and Harry.

“Be a good boy, Teddy.” Andromeda wrapped him in a big hug. “I’ll miss you.”

“Bye, Gwan.” Teddy put his little arms as far as they would go.

“I love you.”

The two males made their way to the kitchen where the fireplace was located when Teddy screamed.

“Wolfie!” He cried running as fast as his little legs moved to his bedroom, but he was not able to free the wolf from the cot. “Help!”

Right behind him, having abandoned the bags in the kitchen, Harry freed the plush animal and placed him in the arms of his owner.

---

“I invited Hermione,” Ginny stepped into the house kissing Harry quickly on the lips. “Hey, Teddy. Nice hair.” She patted the giggling still turquoise haired boy on the head. “I know she and Ron are going through a rough patch, but she had no plans for tonight. She’s one of your best friends.”

“Where is she?” Harry looked over Ginny’s shoulder before closing the door.

“Right here.” Hermione squeezed in before Harry finished closing the door. “Hello, Teddy.”

“Heyyo.”

“Come, Kreacher’s done with dinner. Ron’s waiting and you know how impatient he gets when it comes to food.”

Harry led the crew through the front hall and down the stairs to the kitchen. He placed Teddy in his seat and sat next to him. Ginny quickly picked the other seat next to Harry.

“Pick a seat, Hermione, so we can eat,” Ron, sitting directly across from his sister, barked.

Rolling her eyes so subtly Harry almost missed the action, Hermione sat in the seat next to Ron. Ron stole a glance at her, but tried to make it look as if he was watching Kreacher bring in the food.

“Master Harry needs anything?” The house-elf asked diligently.

“No, thank you, Kreacher.”

The house-elf bowed before returning to the other side of the kitchen.

The beginning of the dinner went by smoothly. Teddy flung his parsnips on the floor and across the table earning a stern look from Hermione to which Ron laughed at. Harry decided he’d had enough and could be excused from the table. Both Ron and Teddy promised to be good so he was allowed to stay for desert.

Desert turned out to be treacle tart, which was Harry’s favorite and Teddy’s too, he declared. He eyed Harry and copied his every move, imitating his way of eating the tart.

“More!” He cried when he finished his piece.

“No more. You’ve had enough.” Harry placed Teddy on the floor. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” The two-year-old had remnants of dinner and desert in his hair, on his nose, and on his fingers.

Ginny picked up Teddy and she and Harry made for the bath two flights up. Ron and Hermione followed, stopping on the first floor landing.

“You do not need to egg Teddy on,” Harry heard Hermione say sternly to Ron.

“Blimey, Hermione,” Ron responded.

Ginny and Harry exchanged a look.

“He’s an impressionable two-year-old,” Hermione’s voice rang upstairs.

“Let’s get you ready for your bath.” Harry tickled Teddy so he wouldn’t hear any more of the discussion he was sure would turn into an argument.

Harry and Ginny bathed Teddy together letting him play for a few minutes while things became louder downstairs. Harry tried to drown out the noise by keeping up a conversation.

“Where’s your nose?” He asked Teddy.

Teddy reached up and touched his nose with his right index finger, giggling.

“That’s right.” Ginny scrubbed his back with a soapy washcloth.

“How about your ears?” Harry sat on the toilet with the lid closed having already done his job of washing Teddy’s hair.

Teddy tugged on his earlobes with a questionable look on his face.

“You are very smart. Now can I see your feet?”

He leaned back in the tub raising his legs above water. Ginny gently scrubbed his feet.

“All done.” Harry handed her the towel. She pulled the plug out of the drain to let the water out. Picking Teddy up she wrapped the towel around him and dried him off.

They brought him into his bedroom for the week, which had been furnished by Mrs. Weasley with a cot she had been saving for her grandchildren.

“Let’s get into your pajamas!” Harry ordered after putting a fresh nappy on his godson. He held the blue footies.

“No!” Teddy shook his head.

“Yes!” Harry said.

Ginny picked up Teddy and while Harry held the pajamas open, placed him inside. Harry quickly snapped him up. Harry placed Teddy in his lap in a rocker he’d moved from another room.

Daniel the Wizard,” he read as Teddy snuggled close holding onto his Christmas wolf.

Ginny conjured up a chair to sit and listen to Harry read a short story about a young boy wizard flying on a broom for the first time. Harry finished to Teddy’s eyes closing. Quietly they placed him in the cot. Ginny draped an old yell blanket with silver unicorns over the sleeping child.

“This was my blanket when I was his age,” Ginny said as Harry put his arm around her shoulder. “I can’t believe Mum saved it.”

Harry led her out of the room, leaving the door ever so slightly ajar and led her down the stairs, running into Ron on the way.

“Hmph.”

“I just put Teddy down for the night. Please be quiet.”

Ron glared at him for a second before continuing to stomp up the stairs to his room. Harry shook his head.

“My stubborn git of a brother,” Ginny said softly.

They made their way to the first floor and into the sitting room where they found Hermione sitting on the edge of the couch.

“I’m going home,” she announced, her face red. “Good night, Harry.”

Harry grabbed her arm as she made to leave the room.

“Let me take you home. It’s not safe to Apparate into the alley at night by yourself.” He looked into Hermione’s eyes. This was something Ron should be doing.

“I do need to get home,” said Ginny. “I’ve to be at the pitch early.”

---

The next morning after Harry emerged from the bathroom he stopped by Teddy’s room to check on him. He was very surprised at what he saw.

“Teddy!” He exclaimed, opening the door wider. “What are you doing?”

“Building.” Teddy looked up at him with blue eyes. He held a blue wooden block in his right hand.

“I see that.” Harry knelt to Teddy’s level. “How did you get out of the cot?” He hoped he would say something a bout Ron letting him out, but he knew that wasn’t the answer.

“I yet me out.”

“Climbed out of the cot, did you?”

The boy nodded.

“Know what this means?”

Teddy looked up at his godfather with a nervous look on his face.

“Time to move you into a big boy bed!”

Teddy stared at Harry his lower lip quivering.

“You don’t—you don’t have to. I reckon since you’re climbing out of the cot all by yourself you’d fancy a bed that’s a bit easier to get out of.” He put his arms around Teddy. “Let’s try it tonight and if you don’t fancy it, you move back to the cot tomorrow.” Teddy nodded. “Let’s write your grandmum.”

Teddy followed Harry to his bedroom where Harry pulled out parchment, quill, and ink. While Harry wrote a letter asking about Teddy moving to the regular bed, Teddy watched Oberon clean himself in his cage.

“That’s my owl, Oberon. Would you like to pet him?”

Harry put down the quill and stepped over to the cage. He opened the door and beckoned for the bird to come out. Oberon stepped onto Harry’s extended right arm.

“He’s a brown spotted owl. Eeylop’s doesn’t usually carry them, but someone brought him from America and wanted to get rid of him.” He didn’t think Teddy understood what he said.

“Ob-won,” Teddy tried as he stroked his head.

“Would you like to add anything to the letter before I send it off?”
Teddy made for the desk, picked up the quill, and scribbled on the parchment. Harry placed Oberon on the top of the cage. He noted the scribble was from Teddy, sealed the letter, tied it to the bird’s leg, opened the window, and sent him out.

“Bye-Bye!” Teddy waved out the window.

“Let’s check what Kreacher made for breakfast.”

Harry took hold of Teddy’s hand and the two made their way safely to the kitchen. To their surprise, Ron was already enjoying a plate of bacon and eggs.

“Goo’ mor’i’ ‘e’y,” Ron said with his mouth full of egg.

Teddy giggled as he climbed into his seat.

Harry looked at Ron. He never cared much about Ron’s ability to talk around a mouth crammed full, but he hoped Teddy wouldn’t start imitating.

“You’re attending the match?” Harry asked Ron after the three finished breakfast.

“Will Hermione be there?”

“She’s Ginny’s friend.” Harry hoped his response had no bearing on Ron’s answer. “Ginny would love for you to be there.”

“Yes, ‘m going.”

“Hawpies!” Teddy squealed, clapping his hands together.

Before leaving Harry requested of Kreacher to take down the cot and put up a single bed in Teddy’s room.

The three left a few hours later for the Holyhead Harpies stadium. Ron wore dark green robes, Harry in black the only color he owned outside the Ministry robes, and Teddy wore blue jeans and his dark green Holyhead Harpies t-shirt. They Apparated to the front. Today was the A-B match. First and second-string players were mixed up and placed on two teams. It was a warm-up to the beginning of the season in a few weeks and at the end captain Gwenog Jones would announce the first string team.

They met up with Hermione in the stands. She wore a set of pale yellow robes, not quite Holyhead colors, but close enough.

“Are you excited for your first Quidditch match?” She placed Teddy in her lap as they sat down. Harry sat next to her and Ron sat on the other side of him.

“Hawpies!” Teddy squealed in response.

“Welcome to the annual Holyhead Harpies A-B match,” the Harpies commentator spoke. “Here comes the B team!”

Out from the clubhouse flew seven witches on brooms wearing yellow robes. The names of the players were announced with “Ginevra Weasley, Chaser” called near the end.

The four of them cheered as she flew onto the pitch. Harry watched her fly the circumference and stop near her team’s side. Mesmerized with her every move he did not hear the rest of the announcements.

Harry watched Ginny swoop and swirl. She made brilliant passes and scored three times in a row. At one point, a Bludger grazed her right ear causing Harry to grip Hermione’s hand. He earned a look from Ron.

Roughly forty-five minutes into the match, the score A 90 to B 50, Teddy became restless. He squirmed out of Hermione’s lap. Harry caught him before he could run off.

“No, no, no,” Teddy squirmed, but Harry held him firmly in place.

“Yes, yes, yes,” he said to Teddy. “I reckon he’s getting s-l-e-e-p-y,” he said to Hermione.

“No!” Ron shouted.

Harry looked up at the pitch to see the Seeker in the dark green robes hold up the Golden Snitch.

“And the winners are Team A!” the commentator shouted into the golden megaphone.

“Congratulations Team A and good work Team B,” captain Gwenog Jones said into the megaphone as she hovered on her broom. “And thank you fans. We promise to bring you great things this season. We won’t stop until we’re number one!”

The stadium erupted in cheers.

“Now, I bring you the moment some of you’ve been waiting for,” Jones continued. “Announcing the starting team!” she paused for more cheers. “Keeper—Patricia Wood.”

Harry wondered if she was related to Oliver Wood. He’d have to ask Ginny. Patricia flew around the pitch and stopped by the commentator’s box.

“Beaters—Raine Fournier and me. Chasers—Sara Johnson, Sian Bevan, and Ginevra Weasley.”

Harry felt his heart leap into his throat. Ginny made first string! He joined his friends in cheering. He let Teddy stand in between his legs so he could get a better view of Ginny next to Gwenog. They cheered so loud Harry missed the calling of the Seeker.

That evening Ginny lay against Harry on the couch in the sitting room of 12 Grimmauld Place, the wireless turned down low. They finally got Teddy to sleep in the single bed Kreacher put up. He was nervous, but willing to try. He was afraid he’d fall out of bed. Oberon had returned with a reply from Andromeda telling how proud she was for Teddy to try out the bed and that allowed him to overcome his fear and sleep.

“Congratulations, Miss First-String-Chaser.” Harry ran his fingers lightly through Ginny’s hair as he held her hands.

“Mmm,” she replied.

He looked down at her face to see her eyes closed. She had a busy day and if she wanted to fall asleep on him he was fine with that.

---

“Harry?” Ginny called out Tuesday morning. As she had given Harry permission to enter her flat whenever he wanted he gave her
permission to do the same at Grimmauld Place.

“Down here,” Harry called up from the kitchen where he sat with Teddy eating breakfast. Ron had already left for work.

“Good morning.” Ginny kissed Harry after making her way down the stairs.

“Mistress Ginny is liking Kreacher to bring her food?” Kreacher bowed before her.

“No, thanks.” She turned to Harry handing him a letter. “Errol delivered this to you as I entered the front of the house.”

Harry tore open the seal, unfolded the letter, and read.
Harry—
We assume Ginny’s with you. Bill just informed us Fleur has gone into labor and given birth to a girl named Victoire Gabrielle. Please come by and visit the baby. They are at Shell Cottage.
Love,
Mrs. Weasley


“They had the baby?” Ginny asked slowly.

“Apparently so.”

“Oh.”

Harry looked at Ginny.

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, a baby!” She replied in mock excitement. She retrieved Teddy’s spoon he dropped with her wand, cleaned with the scourging spell and put it back in his porridge. “Today’s the second of May?”

“Yeah…”

“George isn’t going to be happy about this.”

“Wha—oh!” Harry realized what the day was. “Is that what’s bothering you?” He put his arm around her.

“A bit, but no.” She sighed. “I miss Bill.”

“He’s not going anywhere.”

“It feels like he is.” She placed her head in her hands. “He’s starting a family and forgetting about me.”

“Someday we’ll start a family…” Harry trailed off. “Have you talked to Bill about this?”

“No.”

“I think you should.”

“All done!” Teddy squealed.

---

Harry and Ginny decided to visit Bill, Fleur, and Victoire after Teddy’s afternoon nap. It would give the new mum a chance to rest as well. Before visiting, they stopped by Diagon Alley to pick up a gift and to visit someone else.

After picking up a balloon and a small plush bear from the stationary shop they made a stop at another shop.

“Good afternoon!” Angelina called out from behind a pile of joke items she was restocking.

“Who had a baby?” Verity asked, eying the balloon.

“Ginny’s brother, Bill,” Harry replied.

“How’s George?” Ginny asked Angelina. George was currently not in the shop.

Angelina stepped away from the pile and motioned for the group to join her in a secluded area of the shop.

“George hasn’t been in the shop all day. He owled Verity to open up.” She paused. “Saw Lee before he left for work. George received the news about Bill and Fleur’s baby and with today being—you know—he couldn’t take it. Lee says he just left. He seemed fine yesterday.”

“How are you doing?” Harry asked.

Angelina took a deep breath and straightened her magenta robes before answering.

“Fine. I just wish I could be there for George.”

Harry glanced at Ginny. They knew something was up with this relationship.

“As a friend!” She quickly added.

Harry was about to respond when he heard a crash. He looked down to find Teddy no longer standing with them. He turned around to find Teddy standing among a mess of Wonder Witch products.

“Need to stop talking and get back to work. I’ll clean that up.”

“Are you sure? Teddy made the mess.”

“Just a few flicks of the wand, Harry.”

“Well, we do need to head over to Shell Cottage.”

---

The threesome Apparated a few feet from Shell Cottage. Harry stood silent in remembrance of his last visit here.

“Before we go inside, I want to show you something.” Harry led Ginny and Teddy to a gravestone.

“Remember I told you Dobby rescued us from Malfoy Manor? This is his grave.”

Harry knelt down and placed his hands on the patch of earth lying on top of his friend’s body. Teddy rubbed the stone marker.

“Here lies a free elf,” Ginny read out loud, words catching her throat.

“Teddy,” Harry sat down and placed the boy in his lap. “My friend Dobby was a house-elf.”

“Wike Kweachah?” Teddy interrupted.

“Yes. Dobby was the kindest soul I know. He belonged to a family that treated him horrible, so horrible I tricked him into freeing him. No matter what Hermione says Dobby was the only house-elf I encountered who wanted to be free. A few years ago, I, along with Ron and Hermione, were in a lot of trouble. Dobby was the only one who could save us. He gave his life that day so we could live.”

Harry stood up bringing Teddy to his feet. He wiped the tear from Ginny’s cheek.

“We don’t want to go inside crying.”

He took Teddy’s hand and walked to the front door of Shell Cottage. Holding the balloon, Ginny followed and knocked on the door. Mrs. Weasley opened it. She had been enjoying tea with Fleur’s parents.

“Bill, Fleur,” she tapped on the half-open door to their bedroom. “You’ve more visitors.”

“Hello, Harry and Ginny,” Bill greeted.

“Teddy.” Fleur added.

Harry stopped short at the sight he saw. Sitting in an armchair close to the bed was George holding a pile of pink blanket. What got Harry was how George looked at his niece. She had him mesmerized.

“Congratulations,” Harry greeted the new mother and father.

“Zank you, ‘Arry. Er name eez Victoire Gabrielle. Gabrielle eez my sister’s name, you know. Victoire eez French for Victory. We sought eet fitting wiss ‘er birs being today.”

Teddy handed Fleur the brown plush bear he’d been holding all this time.

“For baby.”

“Zank you, Teddy.”

Harry turned Teddy to look at the baby in George’s arms. A tiny fist poked its way out of the mass of blanket wrapped around her. Her eyes closed, she sighed in contentment. Atop her head was a small tuft of silvery hair.

“She’s beautiful,” said Harry.

His words brought life to George, who thrust the baby in Harry’s arms and ran out of the room.

Stunned, Harry placed his arm behind the baby’s head and sat down in the previously occupied armchair. He was surprised she didn’t wake up at the sudden movement. Teddy stood by the arm of the chair and stroked the baby’s hair.

“Careful of her soft spot,” Bill instructed.

“This is Victoire,” Harry said to his godson.

“Victa,” Teddy tried to say. “Pwetty baby.”

“Already enchanted by her Veela charms,” Harry joked.

“My Ginny, why are you standing by the door?” Bill asked his sister.

Ginny uncharacteristically walked timidly toward her brother and handed him the balloon.

“Thanks,” Bill handed the balloon to Fleur and hugged his sister.

“Congratulations,” she said,” Dad.”

He grinned, letting go of her.

“Bill, will you tie zis up somewhere?” Fleur handed the balloon back to her husband.

Ginny walked over to Harry.

“She looks like you, Fleur.”

They stayed that way for a few minutes admiring the baby. On their way out they spied Mrs. Weasley and George crying over a cup of tea.

---------

Feedback!

Happy Birthday, Victoire!


__________________



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Philippians 3:14

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  #36  
Old May 12th, 2008, 12:45 am
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 36: The End and the Beginning

Friday felt much longer than it had actually been. The entire week felt longer than it had actually been. Five o’clock finally rolled around and finally allowed Hermione freedom for the weekend. She loved her job. She loved working on creating house-elf rights, but today she needed a break.

Hermione’s freedom brought her to Grimmauld Place where she sat with her best friend, Harry, while watching his godson, Teddy play on the sitting room floor. Ron stayed late at work to assist in finishing up a case. Ginny had a late practice. Harry lay sprawled out on the couch lazily flipping page in a Quidditch magazine. Hermione sat properly in an armchair with a new book, Ministry of Magic, A History, open in her lap, but she was not reading.

“That must be Andromeda,” Harry stood up at the sound of a knock on the door.

Hermione closed her book and placed it in her beaded bag. She’d get back to it when she could her mind on it and not other things.

“Gwan!” Teddy jumped up and hugged his grandmother when she entered the room.

Andromeda picked Teddy up and gave him a big squeeze as well as a gentle kiss on the cheek.

“You had fun with Harry, did you?” She sat on the couch placing Teddy in her lap. “You attended your first Quidditch match, slept in a grown-up bed, and I hear you met a new friend.”

“Baby,” Teddy responded.

“Yes, a baby. Do you remember her name?”

“Victa!”

Hermione smiled. She visited the new parents on her lunch hour that day. She wanted Ron to come with her, but he claimed to have made lunch plans with Neville already. He was always running off with someone else. He never seemed to have time for her anymore. Taking a deep breath, she brought herself back to the present.

“Have your stuff together, do you, Teddy?”

“Yes,” he replied looking at his toys on the floor.

“Stay for dinner, won’t you?” Harry asked, having sat next to them on the couch.

“Yes, yes, alright.”

Hermione smiled. She knew Harry would not take no for an answer. She stopped smiling when she heard noise from downstairs not associated with Kreacher.

“I’m home!” Ron’s voice rang out from the basement.

On one hand, Hermione wanted to see him. On the other hand, she didn’t. She loved him, but every time they got together things ended up in a row. It was very contradictory.

“Hello, Hermione.” Ron walked into the room still wearing his Ministry robes.

Hermione looked at Ron, his face filled with more freckles due to spending more time outside dealing with his Auror duties. No mater the situation looking into his eyes still ran a tingly feeling up her spine.

“Good evening, Ron,” Andromeda greeted the redheaded boy.

“Good evening,” he replied. “Kreacher says dinner will be ready in five minutes and he’ll iron his hands if it takes longer.”

“You did tell he didn’t have to?” Judging by the look on Ron’s face Hermione knew the answer. “You don’t treat him like a slave, do you?” She grunted in disgust.

“How do you know that isn’t what he wants?” Ron retorted.

“Would you like to be treated like a slave?”

Harry jumped up.

“Stop it!” He shouted.

Hermione blinked not realizing how loud she had gotten.

“Let’s go downstairs. I’m sure Kreacher’s finishing up.”

---

Things began to get steadily worse from there. Hermione barely saw Ron at work. They hadn’t kept up with their weekly lunch ritual. When she did see Ron he was either with Iva or in some mood that would cause a row. The two had their rows, but whenever she looked into his face she’d want to stop. Pride told her no and lately pride spoke louder than love.

“Harry has the tickets for our match against Montrose tomorrow,” Ginny said to Hermione one Friday evening in the summer.

They both sat in the sitting room of their flat reading. Ginny flipped through a copy of The Daily Prophet and Hermione was still trying to get through Ministry of Magic, A History. It was a great read, but she was either getting interrupted to do something for work or her thoughts would stray.

Ginny tossed aside the newspaper and stretched.

“Harry has the tickets,” she repeated. “He’ll come by to pick you up about ten. I’m heading to bed.” She turned and exited the room.

Hermione closed her book. She wouldn’t finish it tonight. Rising from her spot she folded the newspaper and placed it on the table.

Aurors Hot on the Trail of Fenrir Greyback,” she red. She’d have to ask Harry—or—or, she’d ask Harry about it. She desperately wanted the werewolf captured. It was people like him who gave werewolves such a bad name. She put the newspaper down and went to bed herself.

Lying in bed did not mean she went to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes her mind filled with Ron’s face. How did things get so weird? She still loved him. She still cared for him. A tear slid down her face. Crookshanks hopped up on her bed and rubbed his back against her stomach.

---

“Go Harpies!” Hermione shouted with both hands cupped over her mouth. She had recently bought dark green robes and proudly wore them in support of her best female friend.

The match had been on for ten minutes. The Montrose Magpies already scored twice. Their Beaters were good at keeping the Quaffle out of the hands of the Holyhead Chasers.

Harry gripped her hand tightly as a Bludger grazed Ginny’s left shoulder knocking her off-kilter for a short moment. These matches, no matter how much he liked to watch them, were stressful times for Harry. She sent him a smile of sympathy an in doing so received a slight dirty look from Ron.

She didn’t let it bother her. Ron became jealous so easily, especially when it concerned her.

“Foul!” Ron cried when a Bludger hit Ginny square in the shoulder knocking her back on her broom and causing her to drop the Quaffle.

“That wasn’t intentional,” Hermione said trying to suppress Ron’s anger and calm Harry at the same time.

“Wasn’t intentional? He aimed for her head, he did. Luckily she moved out of the way!” Ron shouted.

Hermione gently squeezed Harry’s sweaty hand before replying, “Not every time someone gets hit with a Bludger is a foul!”

“What do you know about Quidditch?”

“Enough!”

Ron made to protest, but Harry raised a hand to silence him.

“Ron, they didn’t call it a foul so it’s not a foul.” Before Ron could protest he continued. “Hermione, it did appear as if he was aiming for Ginny.”

Hermione grunted.

“You don’t believe that, do you?” Ron exclaimed. “You think everything’s so perfect in your little world that no one intentionally sends Bludgers at others.”

“No!”

“Ginny scored a goal!” Harry tried to divert their attention. “Go Ginny!”

Hermione stamped her foot.

“Don’t have a fit because you know you’re wrong.”

Harry threw both hands in the air.

“Have at it. I’m not your keeper. If you want to slit each other’s throats, go ahead.”

“Ronald Weasley,” Hermione shouted. “Ronald Weasley,” she went no further.

“Yeah?” He raised an eyebrow. “I thought so.”

Ron made Hermione so mad her blood boiled. She just wanted to, she just wanted to… She took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the remainder of the Quidditch match.

Finally, it was over. The Holyhead Harpies Seeker caught the Snitch and they won 300-180. Hermione could finally go home and escape this.

“’M going to see Ginny.” Harry left his two friends and headed to the bottom of the pitch.

“We need to talk,” Ron said slowly as the crowd around them dispersed.

Hermione bit her lip. Those were not good words.

“We’re not doing so well together,” he stated. “I still love you. I reckon I always will. But, I don’t love this.” He moved his hand back and forth.

“We always argue.”

“It’s gotten worse. You can’t deny that.” He paused. “I—I—“ He swallowed. “We need to take a break.”

If Hermione had not been sitting down she would have fallen over. Oh, wait, she wasn’t. Feeling dizzy, she sat down.

“I’m sorry, Hermione, but I think it’s for the best.”

Ginny and Harry joined them after Ginny showered and changed.

“I want to go home,” Hermione announced trying not to let the tears fall.

“We’re going out to celebrate,” Ginny replied, shocked at Hermione’s appearance.

“I just want to go home.”

“I’ll take her home,” Ginny said.

“No, no, this is your victory, this is your team,” Harry protested. “I’ll take her home.”

“You should celebrate with your fiancé, Harry. I’m a big girl. I can take myself home.”

Ginny and Harry glanced at Ron to see if he would protest.

Ginny leaned close to Hermione. “Are you all right?”

Hermione shook her head a tear breaking free. “We’ll talk after your celebration.”

“Come with us.”

“I’m not in the mood. I’m sorry.”

Ginny hugged Hermione.

---

Hermione ended up Disapparating outside the stadium. When she arrived at her flat she made herself a cup of tea and sat on the couch with Crookshanks. She didn’t want to cry though the tears threatened to fall. She was not going to cry over Ron. She just could not believe their relationship ended.

Hermione looked up when she heard the door open.

“You need to talk,” Ginny said bluntly.

“How was the celebration?”

“Forget that,” Ginny sat on the couch, putting her arm around Hermione and almost knocking over her tea, “we need to talk about Ron. Why didn’t you tell me the prat broke up with you?”

“He didn’t really break up with me. He just said we need to take a break.”

“Same thing. Ron loves you or at least I thought he did so what in the name of Merlin could possess him to break up with you?”

“I—I don’t—we argued loudly at the match. Every time we see each other we argue. I reckon he felt it time to end things.”

“You’ve always been that way. That’s Ron and Hermione.”

Hermione sighed. They had always acted that way. Maybe it didn’t mean true love. Maybe it did mean they didn’t belong together. She let a tear run down her cheek. Many more followed until she found her face smashed into Ginny’s shoulder.

---

Hermione managed to avoid Ron at work. She started arriving fifteen minutes early knowing full well Ron wouldn’t floo in until around 7:55. She did her best to leave promptly at five. Ron, being an Auror Trainee, could never be predictable about leaving so she knew she’d have very little chance of seeing him.

As much as she didn’t want to admit it, not seeing Ron was hurting. She’d arrive at her desk in the morning, close the door, and cry. She had no heart in her work anymore. S.P.E.W. had been put on hold. Her life was falling apart. She’d give anything to go back to Hogwarts days, back when she saw her friends everyday, back when she and Ron were talking…

“Granger?! Granger!” Richards waved his hand in front of her face. “I’ve been calling you—are you crying?” He interrupted himself when she lifted her head.

“I—I—“ she wiped her eyes. She’d been doing this for a month and had yet to be caught at work. “I’m all right.”

“Quigley wants the report on his desk before you go to lunch.” Richards stepped out the door and turned around. “If you need someone to talk to you know my office is right next door.”

Hermione slowly dropped her head on her desk. She was only half done with the report on house-elf living conditions. Anyone who knew her from school would be appalled. Actually, appalled was too tame a word.

She had the research. She did all the work. She just had to turn it into the second half of her report. The report due by noon, which was when her boss took his lunch break, which was in…

“Two hours!” She exclaimed, checking the clock on the wall. She took a deep breath, reassuring herself she could get it down. It might not be her best report, but it would be a finished report.

She ran out of her office at 12:01, clutching the parchment in her right hand.

“Here you go, Mr. Quigley.” She placed the report on his desk.

He picked it up and scanned it.

“Thank you, Miss Granger. I expect this to be a good read.” He nodded, which meant she was free to leave.

Stepping into the hallway, her stomach growled. Not having any plans for lunch, Hermione decided to stop by the Leaky Cauldron and see what Hannah Abbott was up to. She patted the pocket of her robes making sure she had gold and her wand. Quickly, she made her way to a lift and up to the Atrium.

She stepped past the grill, but came to an abrupt stop before passing the gate. She spied the familiar redhead at a fireplace. He turned to the dark haired woman beside him, laughing. How could he be so happy when she was so hurt and how could he be so happy with a woman? She waited for them to disappear in the floo before making her appearance.

Immediately she made her way to a fire on the right, grabbed a pinch of powder, threw it into the flames, and as she stepped into the flames shouted “The L-Leaky Cauld-d-dron!”

Arriving in the pub’s fireplace she looked around for the blonde hair of the Hufflepuff pub maid.

“Hermione!” she heard a deep, gruff voice call.

“Hagrid!” She hurriedly made her way to her old friend from Hogwarts.

“How are yeh? Harry? Ginny? Ron?” Hermione tried not to show anything but failed. “Summit’s goin’ on wit’ yeh an’ Ron?”

Hermione sat down in the empty chair at the round table not sure if she wanted to speak.

“Hermione, summit’s botherin’ yeh.”

“Yeah.” Hermione sighed. “I love Ron and he said he loved me, but, but, why’d he break up with me?”

“Ron broke up wit’ yeh?”

She nodded.

“He broke up with yeh, the smartest witch o’ her year?”

“Yes.” Hermione swallowed.

“Are you all right, Hermione?” Hannah, ready to take her order, appeared at the table.

“No,” she admitted. “I never thought I’d be one to cry over a boy, but Ron…broke my heart.”

Hannah looked at Hagrid for an answer.

“Do you care for anything? We have a special on chicken stew.”

“Th-that’s fine.” She looked up at Hannah. “And a butterbeer.”

Hermione, I believe yeh an’ Ron are meant ta be. I do,” Hagrid said after Hannah retreated. He gulped his firewhiskey and continued. “I witnessed how yeh acted as kids an’ I know wha’ I saw.”

Hermione shook her head.

“I don’t know anymore.”

“I do.”

Hermione looked behind her to see Harry and Neville approach them.

“How are you doing?” Harry asked his best friend. Ever since her break up with Ron they had not seen much of each other.

“Brilliant,” she lied.

“No, you’re not.” Harry sat next to her with Neville on the other side.

“I am!…not,” she admitted. “It’s been, what, a month. I should be okay.”

“No one can predict how or when we heal,” Neville said.

“Ron isn’t doing so well himself.”

“Wha—bu—I saw him today, laughing with another woman!”

“She had dark hair, did she?” Hermione nodded. “She’s his trainer, Iva. Trust me, behind the façade of laughter, he’s feeling pain like you.”

“Here’s your stew.” Hannah arrived, placing a bowl of steaming hot chicken stew and a mug of butterbeer in front of Hermione. “Good afternoon, Harry. H-hello, Neville. Can I get your boys anything?”

Harry eyed the bowl.

“The chicken stew looks good. I’ll have that and a butterbeer,” he replied.

“Same,” said Neville.

Hannah smiled at Neville and headed back to the kitchen.

“Is something going on between you and Hannah?” Hermione asked.

“N-no,” Neville replied nervously.

“Hannah’s a pretty girl,” Hagrid said.

“Yeah…,” Neville responded.

“You fancy Hannah!” Hermione said causing Neville to blush. Not wanting to embarrass him further she went on. “Harry, you’re not just saying that to make me feel better.

“No. Honest, I’m not. Ron tries to act brave, but it’s a cover-up. He’s hurt, I can see it all over his face and he misses you. He won’t admit it. He isn’t the same Ron. The Chudley Cannons only lost their last match by ten points and he didn’t even care!”

“I—I don’t know,” she sipped her stew.

---

A few days later, the unavoidable happened.

“Need some help, do you?” Richards asked, watching Hermione grab piles of books and parchment off her desk.

She sighed. She could not believe she left her beaded bag at home. She knew exactly where it was, strap hung across her desk chair. The one day she brings home a pile of stuff, she leaves the bag at home.

“I have it.” Hermione juggled the books as a piece of parchment fluttered to the floor.

“You sure? I don’t mind helping you.” Richards sounded overanxious.

Hermione shook her head. Lifting her leg to balance the books, she closed the door, pulled out her wand, and locked her office.

Struggling she made it into the lift and out of the lift. Stepping into the Atrium that same parchment fluttered away from her. Watching it fall, she never noticed the person step in front of her. She quickly found herself on the floor, books and parchment scattered around her.

“Hermione!” He reached out a hand to help her up.

“Ron!” She reached out to let him help her, her fingers tingling at the touch.

“Where’s your beaded bag?” He asked reaching for the books she dropped.

“Bad day for me to leave it at home.” Taking the books from Ron she said, “You don’t have to do that.”

“I don’t mind. How are you?”

“Busy. I’ve to rewrite this report on house-elf living conditions.”

“Oh.” Ron stood rooted to the spot. “You’re brilliant with that stuff.”

“It doesn’t seem like it anymore.”

“Are you really okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

She thought she heard him say “I’m not,” but she couldn’t be sure.

“Well, I reckon I’ll be seeing you. Bye, Hermione.”

They both headed toward separate fires. Before flooing, she turned to Ron disappear in the flames.

“I’m not, either.”

---

As luck would have it, she saw Ron three more times that month. The first time they locked eyes, but didn’t speak. The second time they shared a lift to their respective floors. The third time he happened to mention he, Harry, and Neville were going to be tested soon.

“Good luck.”

“Thanks.”

Going their separate ways, Hermione glanced back to see Ron glancing back at her. She sent him a smile before turning back around.

---

“Hermione, are you putting on makeup?” Ginny asked as she passed her roommate’s loo one morning.

“Mascara and lipstick,” she admitted.

“I’ve, er, I’ve never seen you do something like this, aside from balls and those things.”

“Well, it’s my birthday.”

“That’s right. Happy birthday!”

“Thanks.” She smacked her lips together. “How do I look?”

“Too much lipstick.” Ginny waved her wand saying some spell Hermione never heard before. “Perfect.”

Hermione stepped into the Atrium ready to join the hustle and bustle of the other wizards. She spotted Harry who smiled and waved at her.

“Happy birthday,” he greeted as they headed to the lifts together. Carefully, he slipped a package into her hand.

She opened the package to reveal a leather wand case.

“Thank you.”

She placed it in her beaded bag.

Her office held the bigger surprise. Her fellow employees wore expressions saying something was up, but they wouldn’t speak. Opening the door to her office she spotted the bouquet of roses.

“There must be a dozen!” She counted. “No, eight.” She made a face. “Did anyone take a rose?” She called out the door.

“Read the card!” A woman’s voice shouted back.

Hermione pulled the card out.
Happy birthday!

I’m a prat. You may never forgive me I understand. For your birthday I give you eight roses for the eight years we’ve known each other. I hope the bouquet grows. Seven of these roses are pink representing seven years of friendship. The red rose in the middle is for the year we were together as a couple. I still love you. If you forgive me meet me in the Atrium at noon for lunch.

Love,
Ron Weasley


A tear slid down her cheek. Was this her Ron? No way he could do something this romantic.

The time between eight and twelve went by slowly. Hermione believed time even went backwards.

She still loved Ron; she knew that. Could she forgive him, forgive him for so easily dissolving their relationship? She wanted to say no, but then she’d see the roses and she knew her answer.

Finally the clock struck twelve. Hermione threw her quill down, grabbed her bag, and stepped out of her office.

“I’m off to lunch,” she shouted to whomever would hear.

She practically flew to the lift. The lift took forever to arrive at the Atrium. It went so slow she was afraid he would not think she was coming.

Stepping off the lift and past the gate, she saw him leaning against the memorial, holding something in his hand, looking down at the floor. Quietly and quickly she walked over to him. He didn’t see her so she cleared her throat causing him to jump backwards.

“Don’t do that again!” He exclaimed. A smile spread across his face. “You came.”

“Yeah.” A smile spread across her face.

“Y-you forgive me?”

“Maybe.”

“I am sorry. I was a prat—a git—whatever you want to call me. I was stupid, but we were arguing all the time.”

“We always argue,” Hermione admitted.

“Promise me we won’t argue again?”

“I can’t. It’s who we are.” She looked at the flower in Ron’s hand. “Thanks for the roses. You came up with that yourself?”

“You know me.”

“I do. Who helped you?”

“Fleur. Victoire’s getting so big.”

“She’s four months.” Hermione motioned toward the flower.

“Oh! Start over?”

“What?”

“Would you like to start our relationship over?”

“No, we can’t erase the past.” She paused. “But, I would like to start again.

The smile on Ron’s face grew bigger. He handed the rosebud to Hermione.

“The bouquet in your office represents the past. This bud represents the future. Like the rosebud it is new and yet to unfold.”

Tears started to fall from Hermione’s eyes. This was so beautiful. Ron put his hands on her face, leaned down, and kissed her, open mouthed.

---------

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Last edited by leah49; May 13th, 2008 at 5:58 pm.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:14 pm
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 37: Werewolves and Wedding Dates

“Good.” Robins walked up to Harry. “I think you’re ready.”

“Ready, sir?” Harry questioned. He wiped away the sweat that formed on his brow.

“For the tests. We, the trainers and Robards, have been discussing testing you three. We’re thinking of scheduling it for next month. I right say you’re ready.”

“Thank you.”

Harry had finished working disguises and concealment in the unseasonably warm September sun along the main streets of Hogsmeade. He didn’t think he had done a particularly well job, but according to Robins, he was advancing faster than other wizards had.

“We do think you are all ready. We’ve rushed your training a bit for we desperately need you full time.”

The two walked down the main street and ended up in the Three Broomsticks. Harry noticed a few professors among the crowd including Professors Flitwick and Jones.

“Good afternoon,” Madam Rosmerta greeted them.

It was odd being treated like an important adult from Madam Rosmerta rather than just a student at Hogwarts.

“Butterbeer, please,” Harry ordered.

“Same,” Robins followed. “How’s your fiancée?” He asked once Rosmerta left the table trying to initiate small talk.

“Good,” Harry replied.

“Set a date for the wedding, yet?”

“You sound like her mother. She’s too excited to plan the wedding.”

“It’s her only daughter’s wedding. Of course she’s excited.”

“How are things with you?” Harry asked deflecting the conversation onto his trainer.

“Our oldest boy started Hogwarts this year. He was placed into Hufflepuff, his mother’s house. He’s really shy and writes home once a week, but he says his housemates are very friendly. He’s doing fine.”

Rosmerta brought the two drinks and quickly bustled to a table full of professors. Harry gulped his butterbeer delighting in the refreshment the cold drink gave.

“I positively believe you could take the test now,” Robins said. “But, it wouldn’t be fair to not give you warning.”

Harry nodded. He didn’t feel prepared enough for a test, but if Robins said he was he would trust him.

---

“You’ll do fine,” Hermione patted Ron on the shoulder. “Besides, you have a month to study. Ooh, I’ll draw up study schedules for you!”

The trio sat outside Grimmauld Place basking in the last of warm September rays as the sun began to set. Ever since they got back together, Ron and Hermione had been inseparable.

Ron rolled his eyes and patted Hermione’s arm. They sat on the grass. Hermione sat in Ron’s lap, their legs stretched out. Harry sat next to them. Ginny was not present. She was, yet again, at another extended Quidditch practice.

“Thanks, Hermione,” Harry said.

“Yeah, thanks.” Ron leaned over and kissed her on the nose.

“I’ll work on them tonight,” Hermione replied happily. “Just let me know what you will be tested on.”

“Did you hear about the Cannons?” Ron asked changing the subject.

“No, what?” Harry responded.

“They finally got rid of Dragomir Gorgovitch. Some team in America agreed to take him off our hands.”

“Really?” Harry knew how much Ron detested having the Quaffle dropper on his favorite team.

“Yes! We lost a bit on the deal money-wise, but we got rid of Gorgovitch so we actually won.”

Harry laughed. It was no question who Ron’s least favorite player was.

“Think the Cannons will actually win a match, do you?”

Ron shrugged. “We have a better chance now.”

Hermione looked up at Ron.

“If you’re going to talk about Quidditch I’m going inside. Kreacher’s probably done with dinner by now.”

Hermione stood up and Ron immediately followed. The statement “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” definitely applied to Ron Weasley.

Watching the couple walk into his house, Harry decided to follow at a much slower pace. Right before entering an owl approached him carrying two letters. He carefully took the parchment off the owl and allowed him to fly away. The letters were labeled for Ron and him. He decided to wait and open them at the kitchen table.

“This came for you.” Harry tossed the letter to Ron who quickly broke the seal and unfolded the letter. Hermione sitting next to him, watched quizzically.

Harry unfolded his letter and read.

Harry—
We have located the werewolf Fenrir Greyback. We need all the Aurors present as we attack. Please meet in the Atrium of the Ministry NOW.
Gawain Robards


Harry looked at Ron to see if he received the same note. He was sure he did. Hermione looked worried.

“It’s from the Ministry,” he said. “The found Greyback and need us to help fight.”

Hermione looked positively scared.

“I trust you two to come back in one piece each,” she said.

Harry and Ron stood up to leave. Hermione grabbed Ron in a big kiss “for good luck.”

---

“We’re all here,” Robards said as Harry and Ron entered the Ministry via Floo. “We’ve found Greyback living in Worcestershire and he’s with other werewolves. We need to be careful. It’s not a full moon, so they won’t be transformed, but they are still dangerous. Try your best to keep the fighting from a distance. We’re going to Apparate in groups. Group one, me, Savage, and Proudfoot will go inside looking for Greyback. We’ll leave second. The first group to leave, Dawlish, Iva, Ketteridge, and Uric will go ahead of us to get the attention of the werewolves so we’ll be able to get inside the house. The third group, leaving last, will come as backup. That’s Robins, Potter, Weasley, and Longbottom. Go where you’re needed.”

The first group left. A full sixty seconds later, the second group left. When it was his turn, Harry grabbed Neville and Robin’s hands as they Apparated to Greyback’s hideout in Worcestershire.

“Get down!” someone shouted and Harry was dragged to the ground as a spell flew over his head.

Pulling his wand to the ready, Harry jumped ready to fight. The fall to the ground knocked his glasses askew, but he quickly fixed them while trying to analyze his surroundings. To his left, Dawlish took on two werewolves at once. He swiftly sent a shield charm his way as one of Dawlish’s attackers aimed a spell at his back. Harry turned around just in time to dodge a stunning spell coming his way.

Hearing a scream, Harry jumped around in time to see Dawlish crumple to the ground. His heart beat faster at the thought of what could have possibly happened to one of his colleagues.

“Stupefy!” Uric exclaimed, knocking the werewolf backwards. The other werewolf battled with Neville and Ron.

Uric ran to Dawlish while Harry kept watch for any attacks.

“He has a pulse. He’s not dead. I’m taking him to St. Mungo’s.” Uric stood up with a firm grip on the unconscious body and Disapparated.

Harry ran inside the small house to survey the action inside and find the best place he was needed. The front hallway had been blown to pieces. He stepped over pieces of the staircases and headed where he heard noise at the back of the house.

“Reducto!” Greyback shouted, aiming his wand at Robards.

Gawain Robards ducked. The spell hit the cupboard behind him, blowing it to pieces. Greyback lunged toward him. Instinct hit Harry and he called out the first spell to come to mind.

“Stupefy!”

Greyback’s left hand had been on Robards’s right shoulder and as the spell sent him flying backwards a chunk of flesh ripped from Robards’s arm. The senior Auror fell to the hardwood floor, panting and clutching his arm.

“Thanks, Potter.”

“Sir,” Harry ran to him. “We need to get you to St. Mungo’s.”

“Th-that can wait,” he grimaced trying to raise his arm. “Greyback needs to be sent to a holding cell.”

“You need to get to a healer.” Harry pointed his wand at Greyback and called out “Incarcerous” to bind him with ropes. “We’ll get another Auror to take care of him. Stay here!”

Harry ran outside the back door where the rest of the action was. He wondered where Proudfoot and Savage were but the thought quickly left him as he spotted Ketteridge and Iva fighting.

“Potter, help us out!” Ketteridge shouted toward him, ducking to miss the fist coming his way.

“I—I—Greyback—Robards--,” He panted. After taking a deep breath he started over. “Robards had Greyback in his custody, stunned and binded, but he’s hurt, Robards is. Damaged shoulder.”

At the mention of this, the man fighting Iva caught her off-guard, grabbed her dark ponytail, and pulled her to his chest. Iva had no time to react as he took his fingernails, which looked as if they had been freshly sharpened, and ran them from one side of her face to the other, creating deep gashes gushing blood.

Harry did not know what to do. Instinct told him to stun the attacker, but he didn’t have a clear shot and could easily hit Iva. He glanced at Ketteridge who was doing his best to keep his opponent from laying a hand on him.

“Sorry, Iva,” he muttered. “Stupefy!”

The spell hit his female colleague, knocking her and the attacker
backwards. They fell with the werewolf pinned under her body. His head hit the ground with a sickening thud.

Harry turned to the other two. Ketteridge laid a punch to his face, giving his opponent a bloody nose. The werewolf put his hands up to feel the blood giving Harry the chance to use the body-bind curse. Ketteridge found his wand and bound him up.

“You say Robards is with Greyback and he’s injured?” Ketteridge asked as he examined Iva.

Harry pulled off his undershirt to mop up the blood on her face before answering.

“He’s in the house with a stunned and tied up Greyback.”

“And he hurt…?”

“Ah, his shoulder was ripped to pieces by Greyback, much like Iva’s face.”

“Okay, I’ll Apparate Iva to St. Mungo’s and tell them we have other injured wizards here. You stay with Robards. As soon as a healer comes I want you to take Greyback to a holding cell at the Ministry. You remember what to do?”

“I reckon so, er, Apparate him to the Ministry, take away his wand, register him for a trial, and place him in a cell?”

“Yes, good.” And with that he grabbed Iva’s arm and Disapparated with a loud crack.

Harry ran all the way to the kitchen finding Robards lying on the floor, clutching his arm, eyes closed.

“Sir?” Harry asked quietly, not sure if he was awake.

“Potter?” Robards opened his eyes.

“Sir,” Harry knelt down to his level. “Ketteridge has taken Iva to St. Mungo’s. She’s badly injured. He’s sending healers here for us. Is there anything I can get you in the mean time?”

“No, I’ll be all right.”

Harry sat there, watching his boss, making sure he stayed awake. Unfortunately, he didn’t know much healing spells, but even if he did, he didn’t know how much it would help. Robards’s injury went much deeper than the time Ron splinched his arm.

“Hello?” A female voice called out. “Healer from St. Mungo’s!”

“In here!” Harry shouted.

He heard the clip-clop of shoe leather on wooden floor as the healer entered the room.

“Oh my!” She gasped.

She must have spotted Fenrir Greyback.

“Don’t worry about him. He’s been stunned.”

Harry pointed to the man she should be worrying about and she began to work, letting Harry know a few of her colleagues accompanied her to the site.

Harry Apparated with the stunned werewolf to the Ministry.

Remus,” Harry said, appearing in the empty Atrium. “We did it. We captured him.” He sighed.

Harry levitated Greyback to the temporary holding cells

---

“This has been a stressful day,” Ron commented as the two stepped out of the floo in the basement of Grimmauld Place.

The boys came from St. Mungo’s where they had visited with the injured Aurors as well as being checked over themselves.

Quietly, Harry walked into the sitting room expecting to see Hermione waiting. He saw Hermione sitting on the couch with her feet propped up on an ottoman she must have retrieved from another room. Lying on the couch, half asleep, with her feet on Hermione was Ginny. Sitting on the footstool, gesturing widely, was Kreacher.

“Kreacher is in trouble. Master is catching Kreacher talking to Mu-Muggle-born. Kreacher is ironing his hands now.”

Hermione grabbed the house-elf before he could leave the room.

“Kreacher, we discussed this earlier. You have free will.”

He looked terrified and confused, his wide eyes staring intently at Harry for an answer.

“Bloody free will,” muttered Ron.

“Kreacher, if you want to talk to Hermione, you can.”

Kreacher nodded and quickly headed to his bedroom.

Harry sat on the edge of the couch next to Ginny. She sat up, rubbing her eyes. Hermione quickly grabbed Ron in a hug.

“How was it?” Ginny yawned.

“We caught Fenrir Greyback, but a few of us were injured,” Harry explained. “Dawlish was stunned. He’ll be fine. Robards tore up his shoulder and will spend the night in hospital, but he’ll be fine. A werewolf attacked Iva. He wasn’t transformed at the time, but her face is scratched up like Bill’s.”

“Poor thing,” muttered Hermione.

“Iva will be in St. Mungo’s for at least a week, she will,” Ron added.

“You didn’t get hurt?” Hermione asked sitting back down on the couch.

“A few scrapes, but nothing that couldn’t be healed right away,” Ron replied.

They had done pretty well in this battle. Of course, they were the last group to arrive and the stereotypical werewolf was uneducated in magic, but they were in the thick of things.

“I’m pretty tired. What time is it anyway?” Harry stretched his arms.

“Around two in the morning,” Hermione replied.

“Too late for you to be Apparating to your flat. Stay the night here?”

“I’ve plenty of rooms,” Harry added.

Ron’s cheeks turned pink indicating that was not what he had in mind.

Harry shrugged his shoulders and turned to Ginny, who had fallen asleep. Did he want to sleep with her? They were engaged for marriage. There was no doubt in his mind he loved her. Would Ron kill him for it? He was very protective of his baby sister. They were obviously tired, so there would be nothing more than sleeping. They would be crossing a boundary no matter what. Would they start sleeping together on a regular basis? She would spend the night at his place and the next night he’d spend it at hers.

“Harry?” Ron waved his hand in front of his mate’s face. “We’re going to bed.”

What if they did have sex? What if Ron found out? What if he got Ginny pregnant?

“Don’t get Hermione pregnant,” he blurted.

“Not planning on it,” Ron called out already exiting the room.

“Gi-Ginny.” Harry rubbed her shoulders.

Her eyes fluttered open.

“It’s late. Why don’t you—why don’t you spendthenighthere.”

“Something wrong?” Ginny sat up alarmed.

“No, no. You’re too tired to Apparate safely. You can spend the night here.” Harry smiled to offset the nervousness in his voice.

“Thanks.”

She seems to eager, Harry thought. Was she nervous like him? He led her up the stairs to his bedroom. He handed her an old t-shirt to wear to bed. Modestly, he turned around as to not watch her and changed into a pair of his own pajamas.

“Used to belong to Dudley,” Harry explained when he saw the shirt reach to Ginny’s knees. “You look good.”

Ginny smiled and walked slowly to one side of the bed.

She’s your fiancée, no reason to be afraid,” Harry reminded himself. The thoughts made it easier for him to climb into bed. He patted the bed for Ginny to get in.

“I love you,” he said when she placed her head on the pillow and faced him.

“I love you, too,” she replied. She closed her eyes, but immediately opened them when Harry continued to speak.

“I think we should choose a date.”

“I—I—“ she hesitated. A look of pain, which he tried to hide, crossed Harry’s face. “Let me think on it.”

Harry sighed. That wasn’t the answer he hoped for, but it wasn’t a no. Ginny kissed him on the lips, closed her eyes, and wrapped her feet around Harry’s legs, pulling the covers close.

“Ahh!” Harry exclaimed. “You’ve cold feet!”

“Sorry!” Ginny made to move them.

“No, I rather like them there.” And with that, Harry fell asleep intertwined with his fiancée.

---

A week passed without the subject of picking a wedding date resurrecting. Ginny and Harry had not slept together since that night, though Harry couldn’t say he hadn’t thought about it. He enjoyed waking up to Ginny’s flaming red hair in his face.

The past week had Harry consumed in Greyback’s trial. Guilty as he was with Kingsley as Ministry things had changed and now everyone would be given a trial by the Wizengamot. All the evidence for his guilt had been presented. Bill Weasley showed up one morning to give his testimony. They contacted Lavender, but she was in Egypt with Seamus and didn’t want to have anything to do with the trial. Hermione, having been an eyewitness, testified on her behalf.

“You’re doing fine,” Robins assured Harry at the end of the workday on Friday. The two had been practicing dueling.

“I wish this trial would end. He’s obviously guilty.”

Harry sank into his office chair.

“The fact you’ve presented three cases of his victims integrating so well into society is not helping your cause.”

“Remus Lupin did not integrate so well! He had to quit teaching because he was a threat to the students. He couldn’t get another job due to the prejudice against werewolves. Not only that, it affected his self-esteem, his mind. He thought himself a threat and didn’t want to marry or have a child.”

“But he did marry and create a child.”

“Are you saying Greyback should run free because Remus was lucky?”

“No, not at all. This is—Harry, this is how the Wizengamot will see things.”

---

“Are you all right?” Ginny asked Harry later that evening as they cuddled together on the couch in her flat. “What are you thinking?”

“You don’t think Greyback will be found innocent?”

“Greyback has committed horrible crimes, Harry. I don’t see how anyone could not see his guilt.”

“I hope so. Things with the Wizengamot never seem to go as planned.”

“That was the old Wizengamot under Fudge. With Kingsley as Minister things are different.” Ginny her fingers over Harry’s scarred hands. “Oh, I’ve the tickets for the match against the Cannons at the end of the month.”

“Oh?”

“I’ve eleven tickets for you, Hermione, Ron, George, Angelina—George wants to bring her, Bill, Fleur, Mum, Dad, Teddy, and Percy. Andromeda sad she’d watch Victoire.”

“Ron’ll be happy,” Harry yawned.

Ginny sat up and stretched.

“Let’s go to bed,” she said casually.

“All right.”

Harry followed her to her bedroom. He was not nervous—this time. They were a couple and were just going to lie in the same bed with their eyes closed.

Staying the night at Ginny’s caused Harry to rush in the morning. The flat did not have a fireplace so he could not floo to work. With protective charms in place he could not Disapparate inside. He had to go the secret location in the alley.

“I have to leave,” Harry kissed Ginny quickly. “If I’m late they won’t let me in the trial.”

---

“Phew,” Harry muttered sliding into a seat in Courtroom 10 with a second to spare.

“Morning, Potter,” Robins greeted from behind. “I was afraid you wouldn’t make it. I want to let you know we’ve set a date for your test, the end of this month—the 28th.”

Harry made to say something, but that moment the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot walked in pulling a chain connected to Fenrir Greyback. He placed him in the chair in the middle of the room and locked him in.

“Hello, witches and wizards of the Wizengamot. We meet here today to finish the trial of the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback.”

Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up from his seat in the front row and the Chief Warlock took his seat.

“Would either the prosecution or the defense like to make any last word?”

No one made any motion to speak so Kingsley continued.

“Let’s get the voting going then, shall we? All those who think Fenrir Greyback is innocent raise your hand.”

Two wizards slowly raised their hands. Harry felt calmer as he watched this.

“All those who think Fenrir Greyback is guilty raise your hands.”

Fifteen hands shot in the air. Harry smiled.

“All those undecided raise your hands.”

Nine hands went up. Harry frowned.

“Its decided, majority rules. Fenrir Greyback is sentenced to a verdict of guilty for purposely attacking children and other innocent victims while transformed as a werewolf.”

Harry had never felt happier as he did at this moment. Well, okay, perhaps when he proposed to Ginny, but other than that… He wanted to owl everyone right away and tell them the good news.

Remus, Harry thought, I know it doesn’t make up for what he did, but you can rest easy that Greyback is going to Azkaban and won’t cause harm to any more children. Your little boy is safe.

Harry caught up with Ron and Hermione as they exited the courtroom.

“Ginny’s reserved the tickets for the match against the Cannons at the end of the month.”

“Brilliant!” Ron exclaimed.

“The end of the month?” Hermione questioned. “28th of October?”

Harry shrugged. “I reckon so.”

“Ketteridge said they scheduled your Auror test that day, did he?”

Tiberius Ketteridge had taken over Ron’s Auror training while Iva was in St. Mungo’s recovering.

“Bloody hell!”

Harry shook his head. Ron would see it as the greatest tragedy to miss a Cannons match he actually had tickets to.

“We can reschedule, right?” Ron asked pleadingly.

“I dunno. I don’t reckon they’d be too happy about that.”

“But we can ask.” Ron looked a bit happier than he had a second ago.

He was right, they could ask. It did not mean the answer would change. Robards said the date was perfect. They needed the three to become full time Aurors as soon as possible with the chosen date giving them enough time to study.

---

Harry closed his book and stretched. He had been sitting in his study pouring over his notes for two hours. The first part of the test would be written, going over laws, rules, and the like. The practical portion would place them in a situation they had to work out. He rubbed his eyes thinking if he stared at another page he’d go blind.

The test he studied for was tomorrow. If he weren’t prepared by now he never would be. He scooted his chair back and thought about the events of the past two weeks. Greyback had been given a lifetime sentence in Azkaban. Iva returned to work last week, just in time to finish training Ron. She had a few scars on her face, nothing as bad as Bill.

He wanted to spend time with Ginny, but he knew it was too late to pop in for a visit. He would see her tomorrow, not before his examination, as he felt ideal, but afterward. He and Ron had been given their tickets to the match and if they finished testing in time they could watch the end.

Harry went to bed that night dreaming of Ginny and hexes, redheads and disguises, love and power.

---

“You ready, mate?” Ron asked as they stepped off the lift onto the second level.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“You reckon we’ll be fine knowing we missed our last year at Hogwarts?” Ron opened the door to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

“Brilliant, you lot are all here!” Uric exclaimed causing Ron’s question to go unanswered. “We’ll begin the written portion of the test.”

Sitting at his desk, Harry glanced at the pictures lining his cubicle. He watched an image of Ginny fly around on her broomstick.

“Here you are,” Uric placed the parchment on his desk. “Take all the time you need. When you’re finished hand your answers in to one of us.” He motioned to the other trainers standing next to him.

Harry scanned the parchment in front of him.

Describe the International Statute of Secrecy, it’s importance, and the consequences for breaking it.

He flipped the parchment over, scanning the backside.

Describe the following hexes, curses, and jinxes.

Imperius Curse:

He dipped his quill in ink and began to write.

Incantation: Imperio. The victim is put under the command of the caster. One of the three Unforgivable Curses. Use of the curse will sentence caster to Azkaban.

Roughly forty-five minutes later Harry handed in his test. Passing by Neville’s cubicle he noticed he was chewing on his tongue deeply engrossed in the test.

“Now, we move on to the practical portion to take place in Diagon Alley,” Uric announced after the last test had been handed in.

“Let’s get through this as quickly as we can,” Ron muttered to Harry after they appeared in Diagon Alley.

Harry shook his head. Of course he wanted to see the Quidditch match, but passing the test and becoming a full-fledged Auror was priority.

“We want you to be on guard for everything,” Uric said.

“You won’t know when the test has started, so be alert,” Iva chimed in.

“When you solve the case you’ll be able to find us,” Robins finished.

“What do we do?” Neville asked.

The Aurors disappeared. Where they went to they did not know and would not know until they finished the test.

“I reckon we need to listen and look for some kind of clue, something out of the ordinary, [perhaps,” Harry said.

The three started walking down Diagon Alley glancing curiously at the shops they passed.

“That’s out of the ordinary.” Ron said pointing out a woman wearing purple and green striped robes.

Harry didn’t think someone dressed funny had anything to do with their test.

“Take this!” some one shoved a gold coin into Harry’s hand and disappeared into the crowd.

The coin was not a Galleon or anything wizard like he’d ever seen. It also did not resemble any British coin he’d ever seen.

“Did you get a look at that bloke?”

“Brown hair,” Neville replied. “Load of good that’ll do. You reckon that’s part of the test?”

Harry nodded while running the round coin through his fingers. What was he supposed to do with it?

“We could try to exchange it for wizard gold at Gringotts, see how much it’s worth,” Ron suggested.

“Good idea,” Harry patted his mate on the back and headed for the wizarding bank.

As the three entered the bank, the security goblins watched them very carefully.

“If it isn’t Harry Potter,” a goblin behind the counter grumbled.

Harry ignored the tone and stepped up, placing the coin down. The goblin eyed the coin, then Harry, his two accomplices, then Harry again.

“Tell me all you now about this coin including how much it’s worth in Galleons.”

“Are you playing a prank? I’ve never seen a coin like this before—“ he was interrupted by shouts from another goblin coming from the vaults.

“Stop—thieves!”

A tall man with dark brown robes ran through the front of the bank and out the door.

Harry didn’t think acting like a Muggle policeman was part of the job description, but this must have been part of the test. No one, save three teenagers, ever robbed the bank successfully.

He dashed out the door only to find the man disappeared among the crowds.

“Did you get a good description of him?”

“Brown robes, brown hair,” Ron replied.

“I retrieved the coin, Harry,” Neville added.

“Neville, I want you to question the goblin—get all the information you can about that man.”

“What about us?” Ron asked after Neville re-entered the bank.

“We’re going to find out about his coin.” Harry held up his hands and remembered Neville had the coin. “After I get it back from Neville.”

He returned a minute later with the strange coin in his hand and they departed for the nearest store.


“Do you know anything about this coin?” Harry asked the man behind the counter of Magical Menagerie.

“I saw one of those yesterday. It fell out of one of the customer’s pockets. He quickly picked it up looking suspicious. I asked him about it, but he wouldn’t say anything.”

“Did he buy anything?” Ron asked.

“No, but he was carrying a few books that looked as if he just purchased them from Flourish & Blotts.”

“Can you describe him?” Harry questioned.

“He was tall with brown hair. He had on dark robes, black, I think. Might’ve been green. No, no, definitely black. He didn’t stay in the shop
long.”

“Thank you.”

Upon exiting the shop they met back up with Neville.

“What did the goblins say?” Harry asked.

“He described the man with brown hair, brown eyes, and a long pointy nose. He was very shifty regarding the vault he wanted to visit.”

“That’s all?” Harry asked opening the door to the bookshop.

“Hello, Harry,” the shopkeeper welcomed him.

“Do you know anything about this coin?”

The shopkeeper examined one side of the supposed gold coin.

Radix Totus Malum, that’s Latin for Root of all Evil. Some bloke yesterday tried paying with a coin like that. When I told him it was useless he quickly packed it mumbling something about the joke shop.”

“Thanks.”

“Your welcome. Are you interested in any books? We’re having a sale on Hogwarts: A History.”

Harry shook his head while Ron mumbled something about two copies of the book.

“This coin has to do with the joke shop,” Harry said when they were outside.

“Do you reckon it’s a joke coin and means absolutely nothing?” Ron asked. “It would be like George to create something like that with an inscription meaning Root of All Evil.”

“As much of a prankster as he is, he wouldn’t harm our Auror practical.”

“There he is!” Neville shouted pointing to a dark haired man in brown robes leaning against a building. He pulled out his wand and
exclaimed, “Stupefy!”

The spell missed the man and hit the wall knocking a brick out of place.

“We don’t want to harm him. We want him to tell us all he knows about this coin,” Harry chided.

“He’s a thief. He stole a bag of gold from Gringotts,” Neville mentioned.

“We’ll capture him, but no knocking him out.”

“Expelliarmus!” Ron shouted causing the man’s exposed want to jump out of his hand. Neville, being closer, retrieved it.

“What can you tell us about this coin?” Harry asked holding the coin up so the man could see it.

“N-nothing.” He remained tight-lipped with his back against the wall.

“Is that your gold?” Ron asked eyeing the bag in the man’s right hand.

“Y-yes,” the man spoke, eyes shifting among the three Aurors.

“I’ve a goblin in Gringott’s who disagrees,” Neville said.

“You’re going to believe a goblin over a wizard?”

“I shall believe who I think is telling the truth.”

The man sighed. “That is, the coin in your hand is special. It allows entrance into a special club.” The man spoke as if Neville had literally beaten him down.

“Will you take us there?” Harry asked.

The man shook his head.

“I have your wand,” Neville reminded him.

“You take us to the secret hideout we give you your wand,” Ron offered.

He led them down Diagon Alley to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Verity and Lee were running the shop while George and Angelina were at the Quidditch match. He walked up to the counter, took the coin from Harry, and placed it next to the register. Verity walked up to the counter and without saying a word motioned them to follow her. She led them to a back room and opened the door. The man went in first with Harry, Neville, and Ron following.

“Congratulations!” Uric exclaimed. “You did it.”

Harry saw Uric, Iva, Robins, and Dawlish sitting at a table.

“Thank you, Ketteridge,” Uric said to the man in brown robes.

“How did we do?” Ron asked.

“We have to discuss this amongst ourselves. You’ll have your results—“

A silver weasel interrupted the Auror.

“Ginny has been in an accident and is in St. Mungo’s. Please come as soon as you can,” Mr. Weasley’s voice spoke.

Harry’s heart skipped a beat. Was she okay? He had to get there as soon as possible.

“Do you mind—“ he started to ask.

“Go, go. We’re done here. You’ll get your results on Monday,” Uric said.

Harry ran out of the shop not paying attention if his friends followed. As soon as he was outside he Disapparated to St. Mungo’s. He didn’t pay attention to what he was doing, but he eventually found himself on the ground floor.

“’Arry!” Fleur was the first one to spot him.

“How is she?” Harry asked.

Fleur looked behind him to the other two boys that had followed Harry inside.

“Ron!” She greeted her brother-in-law. “’Ello, Neville.”

“I’m fine, Harry,” Ginny said, lying on a bed with her arm wrapped up.

“What happened?” Harry asked as he sat down on the edge of the bed, taking hold of Ginny’s free hand.

“I was paying too much attention trying to score and I didn’t notice one of the Cannon’s Beaters in front of me. I crashed into him and fell off my broom. I broke my arm and my nose. The healer was able to fix my nose right up, but the arm is going to take a few hours. I’m fine, Harry.” She patted his hand. “This stuff is going to happen as long as I play Quidditch and don’t you dare say I should stop playing.”

“I won’t, I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“Who won?” Ron asked.

“I didn’t stay long enough to find out. When I left the score was tied 130-130.”

Ron gasped. There was a chance the Cannons could actually win this match.

“I’m going to find a wireless.”

Ron disappeared with George, Angelina, Neville, Bill, Fleur and Hermione.

Harry looked at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

“Where’s Teddy?” He asked.

“Percy took him home. We didn’t think he’d want to spend a few hours in a hospital,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Molly, why don’t we go see what the tearoom has to offer? I’m feeling rather peckish.”

“Arthur, you had…”

“Molly…” Arthur motioned his head toward the lift.

“Oh, yes, yes, we should go see what the tearoom is offering. We’ll be back in a bit.”

“I reckon they wanted to give us some time alone,” Harry chuckled.

“Yeah. How did your test go? I interrupted it, did I?”

“No, you had good timing. We just finished.”

“Harry,” Ginny paused, “after I fell off the broom I thought a lot about us. More than anything I wanted you to be here to comfort me. That’s why I made Dad send you the Patronus making things sound worse than they are. I do want to marry you. I did accept your proposal after all. I want to marry you soon. Harry, let’s pick out our wedding date.”

---------

Sorry it took me so long to get this out. I will do my absolute best to not let that happen again.

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  #38  
Old June 13th, 2008, 5:33 am
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 38: Dates

Late Sunday afternoon Harry and Ginny sat at the table pouring over a calendar. They arrived at the Burrow after purchasing a 2001 calendar from the stationary shop in Diagon Alley so they could pick their wedding date. Mrs. Weasley wanted all her children together for dinner.

“I’m busy in the summer with Quidditch, so we’ll need to have a winter wedding,” Ginny said flipping through the pages.

“Whatever you pick is fine with me.”

“We could do December or January…we don’t have a 2002 calendar. Is December fine with you? I know it’s near Christmas.” Ginny spoke her thoughts out loud.

Harry glanced at the picture of snow falling on Godric’s Hollow and then into Ginny’s brown eyes.

“December is a good choice.” He looked at the dates. “How does the fifteenth sound? We can take our honeymoon the week after that and be home to spend Christmas here. I’ll take the last half of the month off work.”

Ginny nodded with a bright smile, quickly kissing Harry on the cheek.

“Mum,” she called out to her mother who was waving her wand preparing dinner. “We did it. We picked the date for our wedding!”

“What day?” She looked over at the couple with excitement in her eyes.

Harry and Ginny exchanged a look.

“We’ll announce it tonight at dinner when everyone’s present.”

“Hello, Mum,” Ron greeted his mother as walked in the kitchen door still wearing his Weasleys Wizard Wheezes robes.

“Hello, Mrs. Weasley.” Hermione followed right behind.

“Hello, dears.” Mrs. Weasley kissed her son on the cheek and gave Hermione a hug. “Everyone’s here. Harry, Ginny, you, Ron, and Hermione help set the table.”

“Mum!” Ron began to whine but Hermione shushed him.

Ten minutes later nine Weasleys and three friends sat at the kitchen table with almost six months old Victoire in a high chair.

“We have an announcement to make,” Harry and George spoke simultaneously.

Everyone stopped talking. Victoire dropped her bottle on the floor.

“You go first,” Harry said to George.

“I will,” George raised his voice. “I just want to say Angelina and I are officially dating.”

Angelina’s cheeks turned slightly pink. She reached for George’s hand. Everyone turned to Harry for his news.

“Ginny and I have picked a date for the wedding—15th of December of next year.”

“A Christmas wedding!”

“Zees ees so exciting!”

“We’ve only a year to plan!”

“George and Angelina?”

“Have you picked a location?”

Bombarded with these questions all night, dinner took a big longer than usual, but finally, Harry found himself in the sitting room with George. He wondered where everyone ran off. He knew the girls went to Ginny’s room to look at Magic Bride magazines Fleur left from her wedding planning days.

“You and Angelina?” Harry asked trying to initiate small talk.

“Yeah.” George paused. Harry didn’t know if he should fill the silence. “I feel like such a traitor. I know they only attended the Yule Ball together, but he got her first.”

Harry needed no explanation. He knew George was talking about Fred and Angelina.

“She makes me feel so good. She makes me happy. I haven’t felt this good since…”

Harry nodded. He understood.

“You’re really marrying my sister?”

“I am.”

“You really love her?”

“I do.”

“How did you know?”

Harry felt odd talking to George like this about his sister, but he asked.

“She’s all I think about. Her presence makes me happy. She can turn a bad day around just by being there. When Ron, Hermione, and I were on the run a few years ago I constantly worried about her safety and to keep me safe I stared at her dot on the map.”

Harry stopped when he heard a noise. Entering the room was his fiery red-haired maiden. She knelt down and planted a kiss on his lips.

“I love you, too, Harry Potter.”

Harry’s cheeks turned red. He hadn’t meant for her to hear that.

“Done looking at magazines, are you?”

Ginny shrugged.

“I’m excited for the wedding. I’m just not into all that girly squealing.”

With Fleur, Harry knew she wanted to say. The two sisters-in-law were getting a long a lot better, but things weren’t perfect.

“Er, thanks,” George said looking uncomfortable.

Ginny’s face turned pink realizing her brother was in the room.

---

“What if I didn’t pass?” Ron asked worriedly as he and Harry stepped off the lift the next morning in the Ministry.

Rather than answer Harry shook his head.

Walking into the office Harry noticed all the Aurors present at their cubicles, an unusual thing.

“We’re waiting on one—“ Robards said as Neville entered the room. “More. We can begin.”

Harry patted Ron on the back before sitting down at his desk.

“We know we rushed you three through the training, but with our department understaffed we need you lot as soon as possible.” Gawain Robards, head of the department, stood in the front of the room with the three trainers. “We hope you learned enough to go out on your own. Let me get on with the certificates. Neville Franklin Longbottom.”

Neville rose from his seat to applause and with a broad grin made his way to Robards and Uric. Ketteridge snapped a photo of him accepting his certificate.

“Harry James Potter.”

To a louder applause, he walked to the front of the room, accepting his certificate from Robards and standing with Robins for the picture.

“Ronald Bilius Weasley.”

Harry cheered as his mate came to accept his certificate. Ron stood with Iva for the photo and then the three former trainees stood for photos—one with the trainers and one without.

The rest of the morning was spent putting the new groups together. Harry was grouped with Iva and Robards; Neville with Proudfoot, Uric, and Dawlish; and Ron with Savage, Robins and Ketteridge. They were also partnered up for smaller missions: Iva and Ron, Proudfoot and Ketteridge, Uric and Savage, Dawlish and Harry, and Neville and Robins.

“I’m meeting Hermione in the Atrium for lunch,” Ron said as noon approached. “Care to join me?”

The two newest Aurors agreed and made their way to the Atrium. Ron spotted his girl waiting. He ran to her and grabbed her in a kiss.

“You’ve just been kissed by an Auror.”

“You passed!” Hermione squealed hugging Ron tightly.

“Congratulations, son!” Mr. Weasley clapped Ron’s shoulder having just stepped out of the floo.

Ron’s ears turned red at the idea of what his father must have seen.

“Join us for lunch?”

“You lot have fun. I’ve work to do in my office. You two pass as well?” Mr. Weasley asked Harry and Neville.

They nodded.

“Congratulations.”

The foursome floo’d to the Leaky Cauldron and found a medium-sized round table to sit at.

“Good afternoon,” Hannah greeted the group.

“You are now looking at three fully trained Aurors,” Harry said.

“You, too, Neville?”

Neville’s cheeks turned red as he nodded.

“This calls for a celebration. Butterbeer on the house. You, too, Hermione. Our special of the day is roast chicken breast. Ask the cook, but I think it’s because we have too much of it.”

They all agreed on the chicken and Hannah left to put in their order.

“Hannah fancies you,” Harry said to Neville.

“And you fancy her,” Hermione added matter-of-factly.

Neville’s cheeks turned redder.

“Ask her out,” Ron urged as Hannah returned with the butterbeer.

“There you go.” She turned to leave.

Ron elbowed Neville causing him to slosh liquid down the front of his robes.

“Hannah,” he croaked.

She turned around to look at him.

“Are you busy Friday?” He asked.

“No.” She smiled.

“W-would you care t-to go on a d-date with me?”

“I’d love to,” she replied. “Let’s talk before you leave.”

---------

I know this is a short chapter for me, but I feel this is a good place to end it
and I don’t want to keep you all waiting! Feedback!


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Philippians 3:14

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  #39  
Old June 23rd, 2008, 4:52 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 39: Magical Christmas

Harry smiled as he finished wrapping the package and placed it in the pile with the others. He had enough presents for a small army. If one thought about it a small army would be at the Burrow tonight. He named the gifts in his head as he placed them in the bag Hermione enlarged for him.

“Teddy, Ron, Hermione, Neville,” he figured he’d give him a gift since he would be at Christmas Eve dinner. “Victoire, Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy, George,” he wasn’t sure he would accept a gift from him, but he would give it to him anyway. “Luna,” she would not be at dinner. Her father was visiting her in Asia. She was his friend so he still bought her a gift. He set it aside for Oberon to send later. “Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and Ginny.” He pulled the drawstring on the bag tight.

“Take this to Luna Lovegood,” He said to Oberon, his owl, after letting him out of his cage. Oberon’s claws grabbed hold of the string wrapped around the box. “She’s in Asia. I know not where exactly, but I trust you can find her.” He carried his owl to the open window and watched him fly away a firm grasp on the package.

Heading down two flights of stairs to use the floo to travel to the Burrow, Harry held two things in his hands. One was the special bag. The other was a gift for Kreacher.

“Happy Christmas, Kreacher.” Harry stepped into the sitting room
where the house-elf dusted, before heading down the second flight of stairs.

Kreacher put down the rag and looked at Harry.

“Mr. Harry is leaving?”

“I’ve you a present.” He handed him the package.

“Happy Christmas.” Kreacher snapped his fingers and a tin of treacle tart appeared.

“Thanks.” Harry placed the tin in his bag. “It’s Christmas. You don’t have to clean the house. Have some fun.”

He left the house-elf in the sitting room and made for the fireplace in the basement.

“George, help me finish the tree,” Harry heard Mr. Weasley call when he stepped out of the fireplace and brushed off soot.

“Hello, Harry,” Mrs. Weasley greeted as she waved her want to peel potatoes. She elbowed her daughter who stood between her and Andromeda.

“Harry!” Ginny dropped her wand which caused the knife to stop cutting the carrots. She ran to hug her fiancé.

“You may be excused.” Mrs. Weasley handed the wand to her daughter.

“Teddy’s in the sitting room waiting for you, Harry,” Andromeda said, picking up where Ginny left off.

Harry peeked into the room and saw Teddy sitting in Angelina’s lap, holding on to his stuffed wolf, as Mr. Weasley and George wrestled with the “angel” at the top of the tree.

“Hawwee!” Teddy smiled.

Harry scooped up the boy and sat next to Angelina on the couch. Ginny squeezed on the end.

“Mr. Weasley’s been at this for half an hour,” Angelina remarked.

“This was Fred and George’s thing,” Ginny muttered softly.

Harry realized why she was in the kitchen helping with the cooking. She didn’t want to watch.

“Let’s go to your room.” Harry patted her knee.

She nodded and they made their way to Ginny’s room. Harry sat Teddy on the bed.

“I’ve something for you, Ted.” Harry rummaged in his bag until he pulled out a medium sized box.

Teddy put down his wolf and reached for the box. He quickly tore through it revealing a new wizarding toy filled with colorful lit up shapes.

“Happy Christmas, Teddy.”

“Happy Kwismas, Hawwee.”

“I’ve one for you, too.” Ginny pulled a small box out of the pocket of her robes.

Teddy opened the box and pulled out a figurine. He let the Quidditch player walk around his tiny hand.

“To remember who your favorite player is,” Ginny explained.

“Do I get one?” Harry asked.

“You sure do.” Ginny pulled him into a kiss.

“Eeww!” Teddy exclaimed wrinkling his nose and turning his hair lime green.

Harry and Ginny broke apart with a slight laugh. Ginny knelt down to Teddy’s level. Teddy sat on the edge of the bed with his feet dangling off.

“Harry and I are getting married next December.”

“Do you know what a wedding is?” Harry asked bending down.

Teddy shook his head.

“When a man and a woman love each other very much they want to spend the rest of their lives together. In order to do so they have to have a wedding.”

“Would you want to be in our wedding?” Ginny asked. “Important people to the bride and groom, that’s me and Harry, get to have roles in the wedding so the wedding will be special.”

“We want you to be the ring bearer,” Harry said. Neither had discussed it, but they knew they both agreed.

“Wing bear.”

“The ring bearer carries the wedding rings on a pillow so they’ll be there when it’s time for the bride and groom to put them on. This is an important task. Are you up for it?” Ginny asked.

“Yes!” Teddy exclaimed. His hair changed to his favorite shade of turquoise.

“That settles it then.” Harry ruffled Teddy’s hair.

Harry stood up at the sound of the knock on the door. Closest to the door, he opened it.

“We aren’t disturbing anything, are we?” Ron burst into the room with Hermione behind him. “Angelina said you’d be up here.”

“Hi, Teddy,” Hermione greeted the two-year-old.

She handed him a package which he immediately tore open to reveal a book.

“Happy Christmas, Teddy.”

“Happy Kwismas,” he repeated, examining the cover.

“Mum’s almost ready with dinner,” Ron said, eyeing his sister and best mate wearily.

“All right,” Ginny replied slowly.

Harry grabbed the hand of his godson, who insisted on walking and bringing his wolf.

When they arrived downstairs they saw Bill and Charlie magicking the table out the door. They would be sitting under the heated tent again.

“Is this Teddy Lupin?” Hannah put her hand out to shake the two-year-old’s hand.

Teddy looked at the hand confused. He squeezed his wolf and made to bury his head in Harry’s leg, but Harry wouldn’t allow it. He pushed Teddy forward.

“Teddy, this is a friend of mine. Her name is Hannah.”

“Hannah,” Teddy repeated with a toothy grin.

“Harry, I want to introduce you to my dad.” Hannah motioned toward the man standing next to her with gray hair. “This is my dad, Sam Abbott. Dad, this is Harry Potter.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mr. Abbott said shaking Harry’s hand.

Harry saw his lonesome looking eyes flick to his scar, but they didn’t stay there very long.

“These are his friends, Ron and Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger. This little guy is Teddy Lupin. Remember I told you about our Defense Against the Dark Arts professor my third year? That’s his son and Harry’s godson.”

Mr. Abbott shook hands with Harry’s friends.

“Mrs. Weasley heard Dad would be alone tonight when she learnt Neville would be bringing me so she invited him.”

“You and Neville getting serious?” Harry asked.

“We’ve been on a few dates.” Her cheeks were a light pink and she refused to tell more.

“I’m heading outside.” Hannah’s dad patted her shoulder.

“We should go out, too,” Hannah said.

Stepping outside, Harry saw a huge crowd at the tables under the tent. He smiled. He enjoyed spending the holidays with the people he loved.

“Come on!” Teddy pulled Harry’s hand to get him moving.

Hannah had already sat net to Neville. The other side of Neville sat his grandmother and the other side of Hannah was her father.

“Teddy, let’s sit down so we can eat!” Andromeda called. She sat at a table with Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley, Hagrid, and Percy.

“I sit wif Hawwee.” Teddy pulled on Harry’s hand.

“Is that okay, Harry?”

“Absolutely.”

Harry placed Teddy in a chair across from Augusta Longbottom. He sat across from Neville with Ron and Hermione across from Hannah and her dad respectively. Ginny sat at the end of the table on the other side of Teddy.

Dinner went fine until towards the end someone started flinging mashed potato.

“Hey!” Ron cried as a glop of potato hit him in the back of the head.

Harry and Ron turned around in time to see the potato hit Harry’s glasses. Harry picked up his fork that held beans he just speared and flung it in the direction of the other table. Only one bean flew and hit Angelina in the middle of her forehead.

George laughed heartily until Angelina took a handful of her mashed potato and smeared it all over his face. With that gesture food started flying everywhere; turkey, beans, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin juice, milk, water. Everyone was laughing and having a good time until Victoire was hit by a part of a turkey bone. Fleur rushed to comfort her crying daughter and Mrs. Weasley stood up.

“We’re done eating. Let’s begin putting this away.”

Much of the younger generation groaned, but everyone pitched and not too much later the garden was clean.

The sun had already set as the group trooped inside food still stuck in their hair, but cleaned off most places. Fleur sat in a rocker in the sitting room trying to calm her daughter.

“Victa OK?” Teddy asked walking up to the rocker and looking at the baby.

Victoire opened her icy blue eyes and gazed at Teddy, her tears subsiding.

“I sink see will be all right.”

“She can have Wolfie.” He handed the stuffed wolf to the baby. “Give back when I leave.”

Fleur nodded, rubbing Teddy’s turquoise hair. Victoire placed the stuffed animal on her mother’s chest, laid her head on it, and closed her eyes.

“Sank you, Teddy.”

Harry stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the sitting room. Ginny put her arms around his waist.

“What are you thinking?” She asked.

“Watching Teddy and Victoire,” Harry said quietly.

Ginny smiled. “I reckon those two will become good friends.”

Harry smiled and pointed up. Ginny’s eyes followed his finger to the mistletoe and leaned in for a kiss.

---------

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  #40  
Old June 28th, 2008, 3:42 pm
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leah49  Female.gif leah49 is offline
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Re: Aftermath

Chapter 40: Keep Fred Company

“18 inches,” Madam Malkin announced.

She waved her wand and the yellow tape measuring Ginny’s arm rolled itself up. Ginny stepped off the small platform, done with her measuring for the day.

“Let’s take care of the Maid of Honor.” Malkin tapped the edge of the platform for Hermione to step up. “Will there be any more bridesmaids?”

“One,” Ginny said as the robe maker set her measuring tape to work on Hermione. “I’m sorry she’s not here today. She’s currently traveling the world. I’ll have to discuss when she can come in for a fitting.”

“We’ll need to make it soon so I have plenty of time to work on the dress.” Madam Malkin scribbled down the numbers the measuring tape came up with. “Have we decided on a color for the dresses?”

“I’ve not, no. I want something that will look good on both girls.” Ginny fished a picture out of her pocket.

Apparently deep in thought, Madam Malkin stared at the image of the dishwater blonde. She gazed at Hermione and down at the picture.

“I’m thinking perhaps a light blue or green. It’s entirely up to you, but I do believe those colors will go with the girls’ hair and skin tone.” Before Ginny could give the idea a thought Madam Malkin kept going. “Let’s take a look at the fabric I’ve brought out for the wedding gown.” She waved her wand, muttering a spell under her breath, summoning the fabric to them.

Picking up the two different white fabrics, she examined them against Ginny’s freckled face.

“This one,” she held the palette in her left hand up which contained a satin. “is silkier, but this one,” she held her right hand up. “is more delicate.”

“Which one,” Ginny glanced at her mum,” Which one’s cheaper?”

“Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley hissed.

Ginny’s ears turned slightly pink.

“They’re both relatively the same price.” Madam Malkin held the more delicate one to Ginny’s face. “This one brings out the gold in your eyes.”

Ginny tried not to laugh. She’d never seen gold in her eyes. They were just plain deep brown.

“We’ll decide on the fabric after we decide on the design. Have you thought about how you want your dress?”

Ginny shook her head. Honestly, she had not done much preplanning.

“When is your wedding? That will give us an idea where to start from.”

“December.”

“A winter wedding!” Maxine exclaimed. “Oh, you’ll want sleeves and a long skirt…oh, you know, dear, I’ll use both fabrics. We can make the dress billow out or we can give you a tight fit all the way down your legs. We might also want a dark color for the bridesmaids dresses, perhaps a blue or purple, though I think a lighter color would look better on the girls.”

The bell jingled as a customer entered the shop.

“I’ll be with you in a minute,” Madam Malkin called out to the woman and little girl.

The four women chatted some more about the wedding gown. Finally, they stepped into the cold February air. Ginny wrapped her scarf tighter around her neck.

“We’re having dinner at the Burrow,” Mrs. Weasley said. “You’ll be there, dears?”

“Yes, mum,” Ginny replied. “We’re heading home first to freshen up.”

“That’s fine, dear.”

The three women went their separate way. Ginny and Hermione Apparated with small pops to the secret location of the alley near their apartment. Ginny hated the spot, but it was the only place where no one would see them appear.

Crookshanks greeted them at the front door. He walked circles around Ginny’s legs, rubbing his backside against her, tail waving. Hermione made to pet him but he did not want that. Ginny bent down to pet him, but he seemed to want more than that. She shrugged and made for her bedroom. Crookshanks followed.

Ginny closed the door as Crookshanks hopped onto her desk chair. Tossing her scarf onto the back of the chair, she tried to shove the cat off, but he wouldn’t budge. She pulled her right arm out of her cloak when she noticed Arnold not moving.

“Arnold!” she called out.

Usually when Ginny entered the room Arnold would bounce around his cage, but now, he lay at the bottom.

Ginny pulled her wand out of the front pocket of her robes and slid it through the bars of the cage. She gently poked the pygmy puff, but he would not move.

“No, no.” she continued to poke him with her wand. “Move!” she cried, tears falling down her cheeks. “Come on, Arnold, wake up!”

First it was her brother and now her pet. She collapsed onto her bed, her cloak half-off. Crookshanks jumped into her lap as she cried.

Seconds or minutes later, she didn’t know which, Ginny felt Hermione take her cloak off and wrap her arms around her.

“It’s all right,” she whispered.

“Why did they have to die?” Ginny blubbered, her head buried in Hermione’s shoulder, bushy brown hair and fiery red hair mixing together. “Dumbledore, Tonks, Lupin, Fred, and now Arnold.”

Hermione rocked Ginny back and forth. Crookshanks crawled out of the space between the two girls and leapt onto the floor.

“Let’s wash your face, get cleaned up, and head to the Burrow,” Hermione suggested. “You’ll feel better once we’re there.”

Ginny sat up and wiped her eyes. Maybe she was being silly. He was just a pet. No need to cry her eyes out. But, it reminded her of Fred laying there, the feeling of hopelessness, if she’d done something different…

Ginny shook her head and stood up. Hermione had already left the room with her cat. She conjured a small box. Slowly, she opened the cage door, picked up her pygmy puff and placed him inside. She wanted to do something special for him. She would bury him at her childhood home.

---

“Ginny!” Harry exclaimed when she walked through the door after Hermione. He’d been sitting at the kitchen table discussing something with Ron. “What’s in the box?”

“N-nothing.” She placed the box on the table.

“Mrs. Weasley said you’ve a lot done on your dress.”

“Yeah.” Ginny remained standing. “I’d—I’d like to be outside.” She grabbed the box and practically ran out the door.

“You can tell me what’s wrong.” Harry put his arms around Ginny as she fell to the ground tears slowly escaping down her cheeks.

The cold wind blew hard on her face, but she ignored it. Carefully, she opened the lid to show her fiancé what was inside.

“Arnold?”

“It’s silly, I know.”

“No, pets become part of our family.”

She looked into Harry’s green eyes. He must be thinking of Hedwig. Another death for the cause. A tear slid down her cheek. She wiped it away. She wasn’t a crier and she didn’t want Harry to see her this way.

“It’s okay to cry,” he whispered.

“It’s just—it—it makes me think of Fred. If someone had done something differently he’d still be alive. He’d come to our wedding. I miss him very much. Not as much as George probably, but still a lot.”

Harry held Ginny as she cried, cried for her pet, for her brother, for all those she knew who died due to Voldemort.

“I want to bury him,” she finally managed to say.

Ginny pulled out her wand, thinking of Harry telling her of him burying Dobby by hand. She didn’t think she could do that right now. She waved her wand and a hole appeared.

“Good bye, Arnold.” She placed the box among the dirt. “Keep Fred company.”

---------

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