Chapter 41: Kiss and Make Up
“Hurry up!” Harry called up the stairs to Ron.
The two were Disapparating to the girls’ flat then catching a portkey to see the Harpies take on the Pride of Portree. Harry had been on an Auror mission for a week and missed Ginny something awful. Technically, he would not be with her until after the match, but he would get to see her fly.
“We can go.” Ron bounded down the stairs in green robes. “Not that you’ll see Ginny sooner,” he muttered under his breath.
“So you can see Ginny sooner.”
Harry nodded. He led the way out the front door, calling a goodbye to Kreacher. He grabbed Ron’s hand and they Apparated to the secret alley location. The two received a few strange glares from people walking the street, but ignoring them they quickly made it to the girls’ flat.
“Harry!” Hermione threw her arms around him the very second she opened the door.
“I love you, too, Hermione,” Ron said, stepping inside.
“I love you, Ron.” She let go of Harry’s neck to give her boyfriend a quick kiss. “How was the mission? Are you allowed to talk about it this time? How were you?”
“Hello to you, too,” Harry walked into the sitting room/dining room of the flat, but was immediately ushered out by Hermione.
“The portkey will leave in a few minutes. We should head out,” Hermione said. “Harry, you can talk on the way.”
“You know we’re not allowed to talk much about the missions, but I can tell you mission accomplished. I suffered a few cuts and bruises, nothing major. All healed. Robards ended up being hit with a funny spell and had to be sent to St. Mungo’s.”
“It wasn’t him,” Ron said, making an effort to join in the conversation.”
“It could have!”
“No, it couldn’t,” said Harry.
The trio walked to the top of a deserted hill. An old tin can shone blue. Hermione, Ron, and Harry touched it and were immediately transported to the stadium in Portree.
“For the visiting Holyhead Harpies,” the announcer started.
Harry jumped to his feet ready to get a glimpse of his girl the second she flew onto the pitch.
“Patricia Wood, Keeper; Gwenog Jones and Raine Fournier, Beaters; Sara Johnson, Sian Bevan, and Ginevra Weasley, Chasers;”
Harry cheered loudly as she flew to her team’s side of the pitch. He tried to make eye contact, but he didn’t know if she spotted him. He thought maybe she did, but there was no way to tell.
The game was pretty average, pretty uneventful. It ended two hours and twenty-one minutes later with the Harpies’ Seeker capturing the Snitch for a final score of Harpies 250 Portree 240.
Harry made his way to the bottom of the pitch where Ginny landed on her broom. Harry smiled. Ginny’s brown eyes sparkled with excitement.
“I missed you,” he said softly, taking hold of one sweaty glove covered hand.
“I missed you, too,” she whispered.
They stood silent for a moment just staring at each other.
“I need to shower,” Ginny said, breaking the silence.
She leaned over and quickly kissed Harry before grabbing her broom and disappearing inside the stadium. Harry shrugged to himself. That was not the welcome he was expecting.
“The team’s celebrating at the Lucky Hippogriff.” Ginny emerged from the locker room a good while later. She was wearing dark purple robes and her engagement rink was back on her left ring finger.
“The what?” Hermione asked. Obviously, like Harry, she had never heard of the place either.
“The Lucky Hippogriff,” Ginny repeated. “It’s a wizarding pub on the outskirts of Portree. The front entrance resembles a rundown warehouse to confuse Muggles.” She laced her hand through Harry’s.
The four traveled to the pub where most of the team enjoyed themselves. The only one missing was Gwenog Jones.
“How did it feel to score the deciding goal?” A reporter for the Daily Prophet asked Ginny once they entered the pub.
“Brilliant!” She replied. “But, I could not have done it without my girls.” She put her arms around her fellow Chasers who had joined her.
“Let’s discuss that,” the reporter continued, his Quick-Quotes-Quill jotting every word the Quidditch players spoke.
“Let’s pick a table,” Hermione said guiding Ron to the nearest empty round table. Harry followed, keeping an eye on Ginny.
“Round of butterbeer,” Ron said to the curly headed waitress.
“Three butterbeers,” she said slowly, writing it down.
“Four,” Harry corrected. “She’s with us.” He pointed to Ginny laughing at something the Keeper said.
“All right, four.”
Ron rolled his eyes as the waitress walked away.
“Must be new,” Ron stated.
Giggling, Ginny walked up to the table with one of her teammates. The teammate, wearing pale yellow robes, had her brown hair piled high on her head.
“Trish, I’ve never introduced you to my boyfriend?”
Patricia shook her head, a bright smile on her face. She must have recognized who Ginny’s boyfriend was.
“This is my boyfriend, Harry. Harry, this is the Keeper, Patricia. You know, she’s Oliver’s cousin.” The Keeper grinned at him and quickly
The two shook hands.
“I’m going to sit with them for a bit.” Ginny pointed to a larger table where five girls sat including Gwenog, who had decided to show up. “I’ll be back.”
“What was that about?” Harry asked once Ginny was out of earshot.
“What?” Ron and Hermione replied simultaneously.
“She called me her boyfriend, not her fiancé. Am I just a boyfriend to her?”
“I wouldn’t worry.” Hermione patted Harry’s arm.
“Who ordered the butterbeer?” The waitress appeared.
“Er,” Ron started.
“Oh,” she giggled nervously. “You all did.”
The butterbeers were passed out. Ron took a big gulp from his. Hermione took a drink, but not a gulp. Harry sipped his watching Ginny’s mug sit forlorn.
“It’s still bugging you?” Hermione asked politely wiping her butterbeer mustache. “Just as her.”
“If she’s not going to drink that…” Ron started already two-thirds through his beverage.
Harry shook his head. It was bugging him. She barely greeted him since he arrived. He’d been gone for an entire week on a dangerous mission and she didn’t even ask him how it went.
“Ginny!” Ron shouted.
Hermione smacked his arm.
The red head left her group and walked to her brother.
“Where did you learn your manners?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out,” Hermione responded. “You’d think he was raised by wolves.”
Hermione and Ginny rolled their eyes.
“We ordered you a butterbeer.” Ron pointed to the full mug collecting condensation across from him.
Ginny sat down between Harry and Hermione, slowly sipping her drink.
“Ginny!” shouted one of her teammates. Harry could not tell which one.
“Do you mind if I go back over?”
“No, since I’m only your boyfriend,” Harry replied.
“You introduced me as your boyfriend.”
“Merlin, Harry, it was an accident.”
Ginny stood up, her face pink with early signs of anger. She muttered something under her breath that Harry was unable to catch.
“Excuse me?” He said.
“Nothing,” she quickly replied.
Out of impulse Harry thinks he picked up from Ron, Harry asked, “Are you with me because you love me or because I’m the Boy-Who-Lived?”
The very second he felt her hand across his face he knew he’d said the wrong thing. If he could take it back he would. He never meant it.
“You may be my best mate, but if you say anything more to my sister I’ll let you have it.” Ron jabbed his wand into Harry’s chest.
“I’m leaving,” Harry mumbled.
He dropped a few Galleons on the table for the butterbeers and left.
Harry spent the rest of the weekend mostly alone. Ron did not come home that night. He dropped by on Sunday just to pick up a few things. After Ron left Harry decided he would talk to his best mate the next change he got. He knew Ron was protective of Ginny siding with family, but this fight was not between the two of them and he didn’t want it to be.
“Ron,” Harry said walking by his cubicle first thing Monday morning.
For a brief second Harry was surprised to see Ron had arrived before he did, but then he remembered he was staying with Hermione and she liked to arrive to work early.
“She’s real tore up over what you said.” Ron raised his head from his parchment work to look Harry in the eye.
“I told her you can’t have meant it.”
“I don’t kn—“
“She won’t listen. She said if you didn’t mean it you wouldn’t have said it,” Ron interrupted. He bent his head back down to his parchment, dipping his quill in ink. “I thought you knew Ginny loves you not for your status,” he added.
“I know.” Harry hesitated before adding, “I picked up one of your habits, Ron, speaking before I think.”
“You learned that from me, huh?” Ron eyed Harry.
Harry hoped it was a glimmer of laughter he saw in Ron’s eyes.
“I was upset. Gin barely acknowledged me all day. I reckoned I’ve earned some bighead ego where I believe she’ll flock to me every second of the day. I dunno.”
“You’ve been away. You expected your girl to worry over you. If it were me and Hermione I’d be upset if I didn’t get that.”
“Are we okay?”
“Yes. Be careful, though. She’s my sister and she comes first.”
Harry spent the rest of the workday thinking about what Ron said. If he had not meant it he would not have said that. He didn’t believe that, did he? He knew he didn’t mean it and he knew Ginny didn’t feel that way.
These thoughts consumed him while doing his weekly rounds of Diagon Alley with Dawlish. Shacklebolt had Robards implement the guarding of the two main wizarding areas of Great Britain, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Each Auror had duty with their partner either in the morning or afternoon twice a week. The Hit Men took on night duties. Harry and Dawlish had Diagon Alley on Monday afternoons and Hogsmeade Wednesday mornings.
“Your girlfriend plays for Holyhead?” Dawlish asked.
Harry stopped to see what could have prompted him to say that. In the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies were three team posters: Puddlemere United, Tutshill Tornados, and Holyhead Harpies.
“My fiancée is the one in front with red hair, waving her right hand.” Harry pointed to her.
“She looks very sweet,” Dawlish replied.
“That she is,” except when she loses her temper, he added silently to himself.
Harry stared at the image on the poster smiling back at him while Dawlish went inside the shop to discuss a disturbance mentioned to them by the Aurors working the morning shift.
“Ginny,” he said to the waving girl, “I should be happy you’re friends with the girls on the team and I am, but I don’t want to lose our relationship in the process.”
He wanted to watch Ginny in her green and yellow Quidditch robes continue to wave, but he felt it best to continue with work and assist his partner.
“Hermione, just the person I wanted to see,” Harry said as Hermione made her way onto the lift. He felt fortunate she chose this lift.
“Yes, Harry?” Hermione linked hands with Ron.
“How’s Ginny?” He asked quickly.
“Still sleeping when I—we left this morning.”
Most Ministry employees had to be at work at eight in the morning, but Harpies practice didn’t start until ten.
“Do you mind me accompanying you to your flat?”
She gave Harry a strange look.
“Of course I don’t mind. You come, too, Ron.”
The trio arrived at the flat before Ginny made it home. Sometimes Gwenog Jones liked to keep the team late.
Harry stepped into Ginny’s room to wait. She had left the door open. He spotted Arnold’s empty cage still sitting on the desk.
“Harry!” Ginny flinched upon entering her room. “What are you doing here?”
He turned around to look at her. Her red hair swept in a ponytail, still wet from her post practice shower, she was more beautiful than ever.
“Would you want me to get you another pygmy puff?”
“No, thanks.” She sat down on her bed. “That’s not why you’re here.”
Harry sat down next to her. She scooted away.
“I’m glad you’re friends with the girls on your team.”
“Yeah, we’re a close group.”
“Gin, I’m sorry for the way I acted at the pub on Saturday.”
“How could you accuse me of that?”
“I—I—“ Harry stuttered. He took a deep breath and scooted closer to Ginny. “I didn’t mean it.”
“Why did you say it? You know I—“
“I know you love me,” he finished for her. “I was upset. You barely acknowledged me. You called me your boyfriend!”
“Not that again!”
“Yes that!” Harry sighed. “I just spent a week away on a dangerous mission and you didn’t even ask about it.”
Ginny looked down at her hands.
“Last time you ended up annoyed because everyone kept asking you, so I thought I’d not risk it. I reckon I can’t do anything right.”
Harry put his arm around her.
“It doesn’t bother me when you ask.”
“So, how was it?”
“I can’t say much, but I’m not injured and we completed what we went out there for.” Harry wished he could talk about it. He was dying to tell someone how it had been him who brought down the criminal ring.
Ginny threw her hands in the air.
“You see why I don’t ask?”
“Harry, I was, I am excited you’re home and I’m sorry for not calling you my fiancé. You know I love you. It was a mistake.” She gave him a pleading look.
“Yes, all right. I’m sorry I overreacted. I was already angry.”
“Are we done with the apologies?” Ginny turned her body to face Harry.
“Good,” she breathed as she leaned in and began kissing Harry open-mouthed.
“Do—you—want—to—come—to—my—place—for—dinner?” Harry asked between kisses.
Chapter 42: Good News
One tradition starting to take place among the Weasley clan was that of gathering together on the weekends at the Burrow. No invitations were sent out and friends were welcome. A particular Saturday afternoon in the fall saw Harry and Ginny seated at the kitchen table discussing wedding plans with Mrs. Weasley.
“Madam Malkin is working on my and Hermione’s dresses. Luna will arrive in a few weeks for her first fitting. Have you found dress robes, Harry?” Ginny asked, consulting a rather long piece of parchment in front of her.
“No,” he replied sheepishly.
“Have you two picked a location? The Bur—“ Mrs. Weasley started.
“I want to get married in Godric’s Hollow, if you don’t mind,” Harry interrupted.
“That’s fine,” Mrs. Weasley and Ginny said. Ginny’s reply was softer more understanding.
“My parents are buried in the cemetery there,” he explained to his future mother-in-law. “I want to be closer to them that day.”
“I understand, dear.”
“Now, about your dress robes. We only have a couple months, Harry.”
“I know. I’ll do it soon. ‘Ve been busy with work”
“What do we still have to do?” Mrs. Weasley took the list from Ginny. “Catering, flowers…this shouldn’t take much.”
“Mum?” Ginny raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t worry, Ginny Dear. I’ll take care of the food and decorations.” She took the list and left the room.
“Er—” Ginny and Harry exchanged a look.
“Good afternoon, Soon-to-be-weds.” Percy bounded into the kitchen kissing his sister on the head.
“What’s gotten into you?” Ginny questioned.
“I’ll tell at dinner when everyone’s here.” He adjusted his glasses while the smile on his face grew bigger.
“It’s going to be just us three and your parents. Ron and Hermione are with her parents tonight.”
“Victoire’s not feeling well. Fleur doesn’t want to give her the potion and Bill doesn’t want to leave the two,” Ginny stated.
“George is out with Angelina,” Harry added.
“And Charlie’s in Romania,” Ginny finished.
Percy’s face fell for a second and then the smile reappeared.
“They’ll miss the news. Their own fault, really.” Percy bounced out of he kitchen in the same un-Percy like fashion he came in.
“You think he’s a girlfriend?” Ginny whispered.
“Percy? Percy Weasley? Your brother?”
“What other Percy Weasley do you know? He did date Penelope Clearwater back at Hogwarts.” Ginny’s eyes brightened. “You think it’s her? Maybe they’re engaged!”
“I dunno. It is Percy. He’d probably be more excited about something at the Ministry than an engagement.
A few hours later the four Weasleys and Harry sat down to dinner. Almost immediately, Percy jumped up.
“I’ve brilliant news. The Wizengamot convened earlier today. They voted almost unanimously to name Kingsley Shacklebolt our official Minister.”
“That’s great, son,” Arthur said.
“That’s not all,” Percy continued, his face beaming. “I’ve been named his new senior undersecretary.” His face looked as if it would burst from the smile upon it.
“Congratulations!” Arthur said.
Molly jumped up to hug her son. Percy held her in a tight embrace, his eyes red with tears. When they let go he continued.
“Kingsley wanted to tell you himself, but he’s rather busy at the moment. He does want to stop by tomorrow.”
Dinner was an affair. Percy talked mostly of Kingsley’s or rather his, plans for the Ministry. He tried to engage in talk of the Auror Department, but Harry would not have it. It was Saturday, an off day, and the closest he would come to talking about work was the exciting news.
After dinner, Harry sat in the sitting room while Mr. Weasley pleased his son by listening to more talk of the Ministry. He could tell Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were extremely grateful to have Percy back in their lives.
“Harry should be a part of this, too,” Ginny spoke each word louder from the kitchen.
Fortunate, Harry left the two Weasley men and made way to the Weasley women.
“Harry, we were just discussing the guest list,” said Ginny.
“Still keeping it small?”
“Yes,” she nodded.
Kingsley Shacklebolt’s new official title as Minister of Magic brought on a lot of work for the Ministry. He finally had the chance to implement huge changes. He really wanted to make the wizarding world a better place. The first place he started was the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, more importantly the Auror Department.
Harry sat at his desk staring at a pile of parchment work when he heard Kingsley’s deep voice. He stuck his out of his cubicle to spot the dark face of his friend and current official Minister.
“There is, unfortunately, not as many Aurors in this department as I would like,” he spoke. “We’ll have to deal with it as this is not the most alluring occupation and not everyone wants to become an Auror. With that in mind I will be working with the Hit Squad to reduce the hours you put in patrolling wizarding areas, possibly eliminating this department from the job all together.”
Harry looked back at the parchment work. Was that so he could do more of it? He didn’t find himself always on the search for dark wizards.
“There is a lull in the business right now,” Kingsley said, appearing behind Harry. “Trust me, it won’t last. Dark wizard catching has its highs and lows; it’s peaks and valleys. We just went through a very high peak. Once you’ve been here a while the valleys won’t seem so low. I see you requested the entire last half of December off.”
“Yes, sir. Ginny and I are getting married the fifteenth.”
“That’s right, that’s right. I did receive an invitation. Good luck with the parchment work. It’s a necessary evil.” He patted Harry on the back.
Harry spent the rest of the morning with the necessary evil. He had to work Diagon Alley with John Dawlish in the afternoon so he had to bring some of the work home.
He was busy in his study when he heard a commotion coming from downstairs in the kitchen/dining room. The commotion continued up the stairs, into the hall, and thrusted open the study room door. Harry spun around in his seat; hand in his pocket, holding his wand.
“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed. “’M sorry. Did I disturb you? Oh, I just have to tell you the news!”
Harry took his hand out of his robes and motioned for Ginny to sit with him. She tenderly walked over and say in his lap, her wet, red braid lightly brushing Harry’s chest.
“Today, after practice, before I took my shower, a representative for Quidditchus Victualius met with me. They want to sponsor me! I get free gloves every year for as long as I only wear their brand. They also want to include me in their advertising campaign. Harry, they want me to come by their office in Hogsmeade on Thursday for a photo shoot for an advert to run in Which Broomstick!” Ginny squealed. She lightly kissed Harry on the lips. “Where’s Ron?”
“Upstairs with Hermione.” He smiled.
Ginny jumped off his lap and ran for the stairs. He followed behind her. Her excitement was cute and addictive. She knocked on Ron’s door and before he could answer she opened it.
“Ginny!” Ron exclaimed.
Fortunately for everyone, Ron and Hermione were lying on his bed in each other’s arms with their clothes on. Without apologizing Ginny continued on with her tale of what happened after practice. Ron sat up straight, taking this all in. He was a huge Quidditch fan and Harry had a feeling he was living vicariously through his sister.
Quicker than the day after Christmas, Thursday arrived. Harry had been very wrapped up in work. There was a case of thieving happening in Diagon Alley that the Hit Squad found was getting too big for them. Robards placed Harry and Dawlish on the case.
“My fiancée shall be finishing up a meeting in Hogsmeade soon,” Harry said as the partners stepped out of a jewelry shop that lost over 100 Galleons in jewelry. “I promised I’d meet her for lunch. Do you mind?” Harry hoped he understood this as an invitation.
“The Three Broomsticks?”
The two made their way to the Leaky Cauldron, discussing their current case. Once they were inside they used the Floo to travel to the Three Broomsticks. Traveling via Floo was such a familiar sensation to Harry now.
“Harry!” Ginny walked into the pub the very second Harry stepped out of the fireplace.
They chose a small square table near the back. Harry and Ginny sat next to each other.
“Ginny, this is my partner, John Dawlish. Dawlish, this is my fiancée, Ginny Weasley.”
“Ah, so this is the famed Ginny Weasley. How nice to meet you.” The two shook hands.
Ginny smiled sweetly, but she sent Harry a look that meant she wanted him to come alone. Harry shrugged his shoulders. He could not be rude and leave his partner out.
“How was your photo shoot today?” Harry asked. He turned to Dawlish. “You know Ginny plays for the Holyhead Harpies. Well, she’s been asked to be part of an advertising campaign for Quidditchus Victualius.”
“Oh, Harry, it was…an experience.” She pulled an 8 x 10 photo from the pocket of her robes. “I saved one of the photos for you.”
Harry took the photo from Ginny. In the photo, Ginny, wearing green robes, black Quidditch boots, and black gloves with her red hair brushed silky smooth hanging down her back, stood with her back facing the camera. Slowly, she turned onto her knee and blew a kiss.
“Is this going to appear in the magazine?” Harry asked nervously.
“No, this one is just for you.”
Quidditchus Victualius means Quidditch Supplies in Latin. Well, actually, I believe Victualius is supposed to be Victuala, but it sounds much better this way. Feedback!
Chapter 43: Closer
“It’s here!” Ginny squealed as the owl flew into the now open window of her flat clutching a copy of that month’s Which Broomstick.
The owl landed on the table where Harry sat eating a bowl of cereal with Ginny as well as Ron and Hermione. Ginny quickly untied the magazine, handed over a Knut, and let the bird fly on.
“Merlin!” She exclaimed when after flipping through she landed on page 27. After a glance she spread open the magazine so everyone could have a look.
In front of a yellow background stood Ginny, red hair flowing free. She wore green robes, black Quidditch boots, and black Chaser gloves. She leaned on a broomstick. The ad was two pages. On the other page, the left page, was a male Quidditch player in the same pose. The Quidditchus Victualius logo was at the top spread over both pages. Underneath the male was the words “For Men” and under Ginny was the words “For Women.” Both players had their autographs displayed next to them.
Harry stared at the expression on Ginny’s face in the advertisement. She wasn’t smiling, but he could tell she was happy while trying to appear intimidating.
“It looks easy, but you would not believe how exhausting it can be.” Ginny pushed the magazine toward Ron and Hermione. “What are your plans for the day, Harry?”
Harry looked at Ginny, her brown eyes sparkling. She knew full well what she pressured him into this Saturday.
“Ron and I will be meeting Neville, Teddy, and Andromeda at Madam Malkins in a few for dress robe fittings.”
“Good. We’ve barely a month left.” Ginny stopped, her eyes widening. “Merlin’s pants, only a month! There’s so much to do. Our dresses aren’t finished. Luna’s hasn’t even started. Food, cake, decorations, music, chairs…”
Harry reached for Ginny’s hands to calm her down.
“What are your plans today?”
“Hermione, Mum, and I are looking at flowers,” she swallowed.
“You’ll get everything finished in time, my love.” He kissed her forehead. “Luna’s arriving on Wednesday. It’s all right.”
Ginny nodded looking more relaxed.
“Ron and I need to leave now.” Harry stood up, magicked his empty bowl to the sink, and pecked Ginny on the lips. “Don’t panic, we’ve plenty of time.”
Ron and Harry Apparated onto the streets of Diagon Alley just as Neville exited the Leaky Cauldron. He wore a wide grin on his face.
“You were with Hannah?” Ron elbowed him.
Instead of answering, Neville’s cheeks turned pink.
The three entered the robe shop when a small animal promptly tackled Harry. He picked up his godson who sported black hair and green eyes.
“Gwan says I have to twy on wobes.” He looked at Harry with pleading eyes.
“You do want to look nice at my wedding?”
“Wolfie wants to look nice, too.” He held up his stuffed wolf that had seen better days. “He wants to twy on wobes.”
Harry placed Teddy on the floor.
“We’ll see if we have time.”
“Good morning, Mr. Potter,” Madam Malkin walked over to the group. “Before we begin, I need to know if we’ve decided on colors?”
“Pink with laces,” Harry replied eyeing Ron. “Actually, no I haven’t,” he replied after Ron rolled his eyes. “I know I will be in black and the rest will match the bridesmaids.”
They discussed colors. Ginny decided to go with a light blue for the bridesmaids so they decided for the men to wear dark blue to compliment them. Harry, Neville, and Ron, with plenty of “He needs more lace” from Harry were fitted. That left 3½ year old Teddy.
“Can my Wolfie get wobes, too?” He asked stepping onto the platform.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Madam Malkin placed a set of plain dark blue robes over Teddy’s head. They were the smallest she had in that color and they still dragged the floor.
“Stand still,” she ordered as she measured, cut, and pinned. “All right,” he pulled the robes back over Teddy’s head. “I’ll alter these and they’ll be ready for you to pick up soon. You know what?” She patted Teddy on the head as he bounced off the stage and over to Andromeda. “I’ve enough fabric leftover to make robes for your wolf.” She turned to Harry. “These robes should be ready in a week.”
The group made it’s way out onto the busy street. Teddy held hands with Andromeda and Harry, as well as the tail of his beloved Wolfie, bouncing along the way.
“What next?” He asked eagerly.
“Lunch!” Ron exclaimed.
They headed for The Leaky Cauldron, which was becoming a regular place for them to gather. Hannah hurried to them as soon as the group of five sat down.
“How’d everything go?” She asked, moving to stand next to Neville.
The group talked with Hannah. She brought their lunch and sat with them, taking her break before the real lunch rush came in.
It was remarkable to Harry how comfortable Neville was around Hannah. He wasn’t the same shy, bumbling boy he’d know since he was eleven, though that boy hadn’t really been since somewhere in the middle of their years at Hogwarts. In his place was a confident, secure young man. He was very surprised to see Hannah bring out this side of him that not even Auror training could do.
A few weeks passed since the robe fittings. Luna arrived in typical Luna fashion and her dress robes had just been finished. Ginny ran around her flat, Grimmauld Place, the Burrow, wherever she was at like a chicken with her head cut off. Tonight, Harry tried to get her to calm down long enough to enjoy dinner with him.
“We still haven’t decided on food,” Ginny said as Kreacher placed the Shepherd’s pie in front of the couple. “Mum insists she’ll be fine preparing it all herself, but I don’t want her to do that.”
Harry dug into the pie as Ginny rambled on about the wedding, as she was apt to do these days. Times like these he enjoyed being a man who didn’t have to do most of the major planning over the wedding.
“Are you listening to me, Harry Potter?”
“Yeah,” he lied taking a gulp from his glass of pumpkin juice.
“What did I say?” her right eyebrow rose to the middle of her forehead.
“Your mum wants red roses at the wedding, but you’d rather not,” he replied rather smug.
Ginny sent the smug look back.
“Ginny, calm down, enjoy your dinner. We can discuss the wedding later.”
“Harry the wedding is two weeks away. Mum and I are still arguing over flowers and she wants to cook the entire reception dinner!”
“What’s wrong with that? I love your mum’s cooking.”
“That’s loads of food. I don’t want to put her through that.”
Kreacher walked over to the table at that moment to check on the couple.
“Pie is not to Miss’s liking?” He asked.
“Yes, it’s good. I’ve…”
“She’s been busy talking,” Harry answered for her. “Kreacher, how would you like to be a part of the wedding?”
“Yes,” Ginny’s face lit up. “Kreacher, will you help my mum with the cooking?”
“I is pleased to do that.”
“Thank you. We’ve that problem solved. Now let’s give the wedding planning a rest for the night,” Harry said.
Ginny smiled at Harry and dipped her fork into the pie.
Chapter 44: The Big Day
Bright sunshine peered in through the window forcing open the green eyes of Harry Potter. His eyes fluttered open and closed again. He turned his head trying to block out the light with his pillow. Oberon squawked in his cage. Harry blinked his eyes open. There was no way he was sleeping through this.
All of a sudden he sat bolt right up, remembering what day it was.
Harry jumped out of bed, made sure he was fully dressed, made a visit to the loo, and dashed down stairs.
“Good morning, Harry,” Neville greeted while sipping a cup of tea.
Neville, a groomsman in the wedding, spent the night at Grimmauld Place. All the men involved in the wedding would be dressing here and all the women would be at the Burrow.
“Morning,” Harry replied.
Kreacher rushed over with a mug of tea, a fork, and a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon.
“Is Master needing Kreacher for anything else?”
“No, thank you.”
“Kreacher is working with Mrs. Weasley now.” The house-elf bowed, snapped his fingers, and disappeared.
Harry stared at the plate feeling his stomach churn. It smelled great, but the butterflies in his stomach would not allow him to consume food.
“Nervous?” Neville asked.
“No, I love Ginny. I know I’m making the right decision.”
“You are making a big one. You’re changing your life,” Neville replied. “You’ve every right to be nervous.”
Harry wondered where his old Gryffindor buddy acquired this advice. He didn’t have the chance to respond for Ron burst into the room noisily.
“Have my eggs.” Harry pushed his plate to Ron who scraped the chair next to Harry out and sat down.
“Thanks, I’ll have Kreacher cook me some.” He waved off the plate.
“I sent Kreacher to the Burrow. He’s not here.”
“What’d you do that for?”
“He needs to help your mum.”
Ron rolled his eyes and dug the fork into Harry’s eggs, bringing the plate closer.
“ ‘ea’y, ‘ate?” He asked with his mouth unsurprisingly full.
“Yeah,” Harry replied. Having been best friends with Ron since he was eleven he’d learned how to decipher his talking-with-his-mouth-full.
Ron swallowed and looked at Harry.
“Are you ready to change the state of our relationship?”
“You marrying my sister, I won’t be your best mate anymore.”
“You’ll always be my best mate.”
Ron did not look reassured.
“We won’t spend as much time together and soon you’ll forget about me.”
“That’s nonsense!” Harry exclaimed. “I’ll spend more time with Ginny, yes. You’ll spend more time with Hermione. I can’t forget about you. You’ll be my brother-in-law. I’ll see you on the weekends at the Burrow and at Christmas. We work together so I’ll see you there. Oh yeah, Ginny and I aren’t moving out of here for the time being and we’re not kicking you out, so we’ll be living together. There’s no possible way I can forget you.”
“Our roles’ll change,” Ron continued. “I’ll just be your brother-in-law.”
“Stop! You are already my brother. Nothing’s changing between us.”
Later that day Harry sat on his bed staring at the black dress robes hanging on the wardrobe door. Charlie Weasley had already floo’d in from the Burrow saying his other brothers would be along shortly. Harry was not anticipating anyone when there was a knock on the door.
“Harry?” Hermione carefully opened the door. She opened it faster when she saw Harry in shorts and a t-shirt. “Oh, Harry!”
Hermione slowly walked over with tears in her eyes. Harry stood up and wrapped his arms around her.
“I can’t believe it,” she whispered. “You’re getting married!”
“How’s Ginny?” Harry pulled back as Hermione wiped her eyes.
“Beautiful, Harry. I’ll have to go back and help her get ready soon. You should see the dress, it’s—“
“No!” Harry interrupted.
Hermione’s hands flew to cover her mouth.
“Oops! Sorry. So, why aren’t you dressed? You know you’ve only a few hours.”
“I’ve a few hours, no rush.” Harry sat down on the bed.
“I can’t believe you’re getting married.” Hermione sat down next to Harry. “Nothing’s going to be the same.”
“Now you sound like Ron. We’ll still be friends. You’ll always be a sister to me.”
“You’ll always be a brother to me,” Hermione swallowed. “But it won’t be us anymore. No longer the legendary trio.”
Harry patted Hermione on the back.
“We’re growing up, Hermione. We’re all starting families, but I’ll still have time for my two best friends. Where would I be without you?” He put his arms around her and felt tears hit his shoulder.
The wind blew around the fresh snow that fell during the night. Standing under the heated tent Harry did not feel it. The surrounding Godric’s Hollow looked picture perfect with the snow and the Christmas decorations. He watched the ushers, George and Lee, seat the guests. George locked arms with Professor McGonagall. Harry smiled, happy his old head of house could attend.
Harry thought back to the conversation he had with his parents before arriving at the tent. He visited their graves wishing they could talk in person, but he would take what he could get.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around he expected to see Ron, but instead it was Luna in her light blue bridesmaid dress.
“You’re in luck,” she said dreamily, “a family of wanires is residing in the shrubs. Having them present at the wedding is extremely lucky for the bride and bridegroom.” Before Harry could respond she wrapped her arms around him. “Good luck, Harry. I’m very happy for you.”
As soon as Luna left, there was another tap on his shoulder.
“It’s time,” Ron said.
Harry swallowed. The butterflies he’d been carrying around in his stomach that morning turned into a herd of hippogriffs.
“You ‘kay, mate?” Ron kept his hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“I’m fine.” He knew he was. He was just nervous. “I’m ready.”
“Good luck,” Ron said taking his hand off his shoulder.
“Good luck, Harry.” Neville patted Harry on the back.
The three men took their place in front of the tent. The white-headed wizard stood in front of them. Harry tried to look at the crowd, but it was blurry. He blinked his eyes. It didn’t help. He wiped his glasses. It didn’t help.
The band began to play. Harry took a deep breath. This was it. He was ready.
The first down the line was little Teddy holding the pillow with the rings on it. Harry remembered the rehearsal yesterday when Teddy put up a major fuss to carry Wolfie. He lost the fight and Andromeda promised to take good care of him. Harry focused on Teddy walking up the aisle wearing a grin. They locked eyes and Teddy’s grin grew. The little boy with his hair black as requested by his godfather turned his gaze to the side and began to frown. Harry followed the gaze to see Andromeda sitting next to Bill and Fleur. In the hands of baby Victoire was Wolfie and in her mouth was his tail!
Teddy’s face reddened. Harry tried catching his eye and shook his head. Teddy turned his head forward and continued up the aisle.
After Teddy came Luna wearing the long sleeve light blue bridesmaid dress carrying a bouquet of white lilies and other flowers Harry did not know the names of. She looked, well, she looked normal.
Behind her, Hermione stepped down the aisle in the same style dress, holding a larger bouquet of the same flowers. Ron drew in his breath. Harry sent her a smile, but he was sure she didn’t see it for her gaze must have been stuck on Ron.
The two girls made their way to the front and stood opposite the men. Teddy stood close to Ron. The music changed. The audience stood up. Harry took a deep breath.
Out stepped perfection. OK, maybe she wasn’t really perfect, but to Harry, she was.
Wearing a white dress flowing to her feet with bell sleeves and carrying a bouquet of lilies, freesias, and blue hydrangeas Ginny began her slow and steady march up the aisle accompanied by her father. Her red hair had been curled and placed half up with Aunt Muriel’s tiara on her head. Harry felt his eyes tear up at the sight. She was stunning.
“Be good to my little girl,” Mr. Weasley whispered as he handed over his daughter.
“Dearly beloved,” the wizard began.
Harry kept his eyes on Ginny as he spoke. A tear slid down her cheek, he hoped from happiness. He kept his voice strong during the vows so he wouldn’t cry himself. Ginny’s voice wavered.
“I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Harry James Potter!”
Harry put his arms around his bride, drew her closer, and kissed her open-mouthed.
Chapter 45: The Afterparty
The wizard presiding over the wedding waved his wand and snowflakes fell over Harry and Ginny. Ginny smiled brightly as she shook the flakes out of her hair.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you do not mind, please stand,” the wizard instructed.
As the crowd stood, the wizard waved his wand again. The surroundings changed into tables, chairs, and a wooden dance floor began to form in the spot where Ginny and Harry stood. House-elves from Hogwarts including Kreacher and Winky appeared carrying food and drink. Harry was sure he heard Ron’s lips smack.
“Oh, my baby!” Mrs. Weasley ran up and hugged her daughter followed by her husband and a group of people. “You’re not my baby anymore,” she blubbered.
“Mum!” Ginny’s ears reddened.
“Be good to her, Harry. Oh, I know you already are. You’re the perfect choice for my Ginny. Well, she’s not my Ginny anymore. She’s your Ginny.”
“We’ll be back as soon as I calm your mother down.” Mr. Weasley pulled his wife away from the crowd.
Harry turned to see a beefy hand held out for a shake.
“Thanks.” He shook the hand.
Standing next to Dudley was Harry’s Aunt Petunia clutching a package. She quickly handed it over.
“Congratulations,” she said briskly.
With that they disappeared among the other guests.
“That was my cousin Dudley and my Aunt Petunia,” Harry said astonished as Kreacher retrieved the gift.
The two continued receiving congratulations from everyone, which included bone-crushing hugs from a tearful Hagrid.
Finally, they got to sit down. Harry had grabbed a firewhiskey for him and a butterbeer for Ginny while she procured hors d'vours from passing house-elves. They sat and mingled with Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Hannah until it was time.
“Now, its time for the first dance of the bride and groom,” the lead singer of the wedding band announced.
Harry put his arms around Ginny as the first notes of the song began to play. She laid her head on his shoulder and quietly sang along in his ear. Harry remembered this as the Weird Sisters tune she sang to him during the little party he’d had when he first moved into Grimmauld Place. He was reluctant to let her go when the song ended, but the realization he could dance with her everyday for the rest of his life allowed him to.
“Now, its time for the father-daughter/mother-son-in-law dance.”
Mr. Weasley took Ginny from Harry’s hesitant arms and Mrs. Weasley put her arms around Harry. The band began a soft Celestina Warbeck tune.
“I’m so glad you’re an official member of the family now,” Mrs. Weasley spoke slowly. “You know you’ve always been a part of the Weasley clan.” She looked as if she was going to cry.
“Thank you.” Harry felt the tears spring up in his own eyes. He’d always wanted a family.
“I love you, Harry, more than a son-in-law, more like you are my own son.” She cleared her throat, her eyes watering. “You will make Ginny so very happy. You already do. I trust you.”
Harry smiled, hoping the tears didn’t escape.
When the song ended, Harry found his way back to his wife. They
decided to take a break as the other couples made their way onto the dance floor. One of the couples was Ron and Hermione.
“I know it’s been a year or something like that, but I still can’t believe they’re finally together,” Ginny remarked.
Harry smiled at her. He was genuinely happy for his two best friends and since he had Ginny he didn’t feel as awkward about the two being together.
Harry and Ginny partied some more. They danced with each other. Ginny danced with each of her brothers. Harry danced with Fleur, Hermione, Angelina, Luna, and oddly enough, Professor McGonagall. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. At one point, Teddy was dancing with his grandmother and the next he was dancing with Victoire. They kept bumping into people, though. He even saw two strange sights—Hagrid with Professor McGonagall and Oliver Wood with Gwenog Jones!
With the sun set it was time for the bride and groom to leave for their honeymoon, after they changed out of their wedding attire. They said their goodbyes, hugging and kissing their loved ones. Teddy wailed when he received his hug. Harry assured him he’d be back in a week with a gift, but the tears didn’t subside.
“We’ll see you in a week.” Ginny hugged her mum.
“Have fun, dear,” Mrs. Weasley replied with a sniffle.
Harry, having just finished hugging Hermione and patting Ron on the back, reached for Ginny’s hand. The two had changed out of their wedding clothes and were now wearing comfortable traveling clothes.
“Our portkey will be leaving in ten minutes.” Harry held up a dented tin can. “Are you sure you have everything?” He pointed to Ginny’s two suitcases.
“Yes!” She grunted.
“’M sorry.” Harry patted his wife on the back.
“It’s just the tenth time you asked,” she replied.
“Are the newlyweds fighting so soon?” George butted in.
The Weasley family, Hermione, and Angelina had gathered at the Burrow after the reception and were now in the sitting room relaxing, except for the happy couple waiting on the portkey.
Ginny sent her older brother a look. Harry loved her stubborn temper.
“I love you,” he whispered in her ear.
She smiled vibrantly.
“I love you, too.”
“Oh my!” Ginny exclaimed, stepping into the honeymoon suite of Der Shokoladenkessel, German for The Chocolate Cauldron.
The hotel was part of the wizarding district of the Swiss Alps, which one accessed by tapping a certain cave wall with their wand.
Harry magicked their bags to the bed so they could unpack since they would be staying a week.
“We can unpack later,” Ginny said, placing her hand on top of the suitcase as Harry started to unzip. “We need to explore the room.”
Harry appreciated Ginny’s excitement. She bounded about the suite examining everything. It was a rather large suite with two rooms. In the bedroom was a queen size bed, a couch, two bedside tables, a small fireplace, and a window with a wonderful view of the mountains. In the other room was another couch, a table, two chairs, a desk, another chair, an ornate fireplace, and a picture window of one of the most beautiful view of the Alps imaginable.
“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed.
He rushed into the loo to see what was the matter.
“It’s so beautiful!” She gushed.
It was with double sinks, a Jacuzzi-style tub, a separate shower, and a closet for the toilet.
Harry put his arm around Ginny.
“I love you,” he whispered for the millionth time that day. He nodded his head toward the bed.
“N-now?” she whispered back, a hint of fear in her voice.
“Are you not ready?”
Ginny hesitated, but then smiled. She walked to her suitcase and pulled something out that Harry could not see.
“I’ll be right out.” She closed the door to the loo.
Harry sat on the bed and kicked off his shoes. This was it. This is what every man waited for.
Harry picked up his head from looking at the pants he threw on the floor.
---------I don't speak German, so I looked it up on freetranslation.com. If it's wrong blame them. Feedback!
Last edited by leah49; January 7th, 2009 at 6:30 pm.
Chapter 46: Happy Christmas
“Hey,” Hermione answered the door kissing Ron quickly on the lips.
He watched her close the door behind him, wearing a pair of khakis and a dark blue blouse.
“You look beautiful,” Ron blurted.
“Thank you,” she replied. “So do you, but I was planning on taking you to a Muggle restaurant. You probably shouldn’t wear your robes.”
Ron took them off to reveal blue jeans and a dirty white t-shirt underneath.
“Oh, er, my dad should have something you can wear.”
Hermione had spent the day with her parents. It was their day off so she had scheduled a day off from work herself to be with them. She hardly saw them with all the time she was busy with the Ministry and Ron.
“Dad,” Hermione asked her father who was in the sitting room reading the paper. “Do you mind if Ron borrows one of your shirts? We’re going to a Muggle restaurant and he didn’t wear the proper clothes.”
“That’s fine, sweetie,” he lowered the paper. “Hello, Ron.”
Ever since the first official meeting a few years ago, Ron tended to feel nervous around Hermione’s parents.
“Why did you tell him that?” He asked once they made their way up the stairs and into her parents’ closet.
“I thought it sounded better than your clothes were dirty.” Hermione handed him a dark gray sweater. “Try this on.”
“You made it sound as if I don’t know how to dress myself.”
He pulled the sweater over his head.
“I did not and he doesn’t think that. Lovely!” She pecked Ron on the lips. “Lets go.”
Ron shook his head as he watched Hermione exit the room, her bushy hair bouncing against her back.
“Bye, Mum. Bye, Dad,” Hermione called after walking down the stairs.
“Are you coming here after your date?” Mrs. Granger asked.
“No, I think I’ll be heading to my flat. Bye, Mum.” She kissed her mother on the cheek. “Bye, Dad.” She kissed her father on the cheek. “Come on, Ron!” She pulled him towards the door, his eyes glued to the glowing box. “I’ll tell you all about the telly when we’re in the restaurant.”
“Tell me,” Ron said after they’d been seated and ordered their food. “The box your mum was looking at is called a telly?”
“Actually, it’s a television.”
“Tel-e-vis-ion,” he tried the word out. “Fascinating. Tell me about it.”
“It’s complicated. The gist is it shows moving pictures to tell stories.”
“Brilliant,” Ron replied. “Can we get one?”
“I don’t think so. It runs off electricity.”
“Oh.” Ron couldn’t hide his disappointment.
Hermione appeared on the verge of giggles, but she kept a straight face.
“I wonder what Harry and Ginny are doing right now,” she changed the subject. “I still can’t believe they’re married.”
“We should get married,” Ron blurted out without thinking. He immediately clapped a hand to his mouth.
“N-nothing.” Ron’s ears turned red.
“It’s okay. I think it’s a good idea.”
“Yes, I do, Ron. I love you. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Even more than house-elf rights?”
“So, we’re getting married?”
“We’re getting married.”
Hermione leaned across the table, reached for Ron’s hands, and kissed him square on the mouth.
The next afternoon, after work, found Ron in the most peculiar place…for him.
“Can we have a look at that one?” Hermione pointed to a plain gold band with a single square diamond.
“Are you sure you don’t want to look at something fancier?” Ron asked as the clerk pulled the ring out of the cabinet.
“No, this is fine.”
Hermione placed the ring on her left ring finger.
“It’s a bit tight.”
“The only ring we have in the next size up is this one.” The clerk pointed to a gold band holding a round diamond surrounded by sapphires. “Try this on and if it fits I can order that size in the other ring for you.”
Hermione slid the ring on her finger. Ron noticed her trying to hide the fact that her eyes lit up.
“Yes, this fits.” She quickly took it off and handed it back to the clerk.
“Good. I’ll order this ring in that size. Before I do that, I’m going to need some information from you and a down payment of £25.”
Ron had prepared for this and pulled the money out of his pocket.
“I—“ he stammered not able to count Muggle money.
Hermione smiled at him and counted out the correct amount.
“Thank you. The ring should be here in a few weeks,” The clerk said after getting the other information.
The Burrow was its usual crowded self that Christmas Eve. The newlyweds would be arriving home and everyone was anxious to see them.
Charlie sat in an armchair in the sitting room, pouring over a book about dragon safety a colleague had given him. Mr. Weasley sat in the other armchair trying to have a discussion with the distracted boy. Fleur sat on the floor with George and Angelina playing with Victoire. Bill sat on one side of the couch watching. Ron and Hermione sat snuggled together in each other’s arms on the other side of the couch. They’d told no one of their engagement, wanting to wait until the ring came in. Percy brought in a kitchen chair and tried to have a conversation with Ron and Hermione about Ministry regulations, but they would have none of it. Mrs. Weasley was in the kitchen finishing up dinner.
“Hello?” a female voice called out.
Ron and Hermione sat up. Mr. Weasley and Percy stopped talking. Charlie closed his book. Mrs. Weasley ran from the kitchen and wrapped her daughter and son-in-law in hugs.
“Eeee!” squealed Victoire.
“How was the trip?” Mrs. Weasley ushered the two to a spot on the couch next to Ron and Hermione. Bill transferred himself to the floor.
“Good.” Ginny and Harry exchanged a look and a smile.
“How were the Alps? Did you take pictures?” Hermione asked.
“A few,” Ginny replied. “We had the most perfect view of the mountains.”
The couple talked more of heir honeymoon, describing the suite and the entrance to the wizarding village.
Ron and Harry gathered in Ron’s room later that night while the girls gabbed in Ginny’s room.
“What’s up with you and Hermione?” Harry asked as he reclined on Ron’s bed. “You two seem, you know, closer than before we left.”
“Hermione’s pregnant,” Ron stated nonchalantly.
Harry turned pale and his eyes widened.
“Only joking!” Ron replied. “Truth is we’re engaged, but we aren’t telling anyone until her ring comes in, Hermione’s idea, so please keep your mouth shut.”
“You actually proposed?”
Ron’s ears turned pink. “Not really. It was sort of an accident. She mentioned you and Ginny and I blurted out that we should get married.”
“What do you mean ‘typical’?”
Harry did not get the chance to answer for at that moment the door creaked open and the girls walked in clad in their pajamas. Harry could have responded, but Ron would not have heard him so mesmerized he was by Hermione in her pink nightgown.
He wasn’t used to her in the nightgown. She either wore her dressing gown or t-shirt and shorts. She sat next to him on the bed looking very, well, looking very sexy. He was very glad it was Hermione and not his sister wearing that nightgown.
Harry sat up and Ginny promptly sat in his lap. Ron cleared his throat.
“Let them be,” Hermione patted Ron on the knee giving him a bit of a shiver.
“We’re heading to bed,” Ginny announced pulling Harry up.
Once they left the room, Ron spoke, “Ugh, I can’t imagine them in the same bed together!”
“They are married, a fact you have to accept.” Hermione scooted up the bed and laid her head on Ron’s pillow, yawning.
“Mum will have kittens if she finds you asleep in here.”
Hermione did fall asleep next to Ron as they lay together talking. Fortunately, the two woke in the wee hours of the morning while everyone else slept and Hermione was able to make it to Bill’s room where she was staying.
Later that morning Ron woke up to presents surrounding his bed. Ignoring them for the time being he went to see Hermione.
“Happy Christmas,” He exclaimed, opening the door.
When she didn’t wake, he climbed under the covers and stared at her.
“R-RON!” Hermione shouted, obviously startled at seeing him so close to her. She giggled once she calmed down.
“Hermione is that—are you okay?” Ron joked with a smile.
“Yes, of course.” She sat up with her eyes on her gifts. “Happy Christmas. Have you opened your presents?”
They ended up settling in his room on his bed, digging into the presents, revealing Weasley sweaters, Swiss chocolates, books, and other knick-knacks from their family and friends.
“Ron, there’s no gift from you here,” Hermione complained as Ron held the new orange Chudley Cannons shirt she’d given him.
“Are you sure you didn’t leave it in Bill’s room?”
“You didn’t get me anything, did you?” She looked close to tears.
“Honest I did!”
“Then where is it?”
Ron put down the shirt and sighed. He didn’t want to upset her, but he couldn’t tell her the truth.
“Mum has breakfast ready,” he said instead.
“Let me change.”
Five minutes later they walked down the stairs to be greeted by George.
“Hermione, there’s a surprise on the tree for you.”
She looked at Ron, who shrugged again. He followed her to the Christmas tree, glancing over at Harry sitting on the couch with Ginny. Hermione looked up and down the tree when she spotted a small box and a rather large tag with her name on it. She opened the box to reveal the diamond ring with sapphires.
“You shouldn’t have! Oh, this cost too much. Ron, you can’t afford this.”
“I know it’s the one you want and I want to make sure you’re happy.” Ron kneeled down on one knee and slipped the ring on Hermione’s finger. “I want to make this official.” He looked deep into her brown eyes filling with tears. “Will you marry me?”
Hermione nodded. Ron jumped up and grabbed her in a kiss. He heard a clatter in the kitchen. Harry and Ginny cheered. George wolf-whistled.
Chapter 47: Come Back to Me
“Expelliarmus!” Harry shouted, sending his opponent’s wand flying.
Dawlish, who had been hiding behind a rubbish bin, ran to retrieve it.
“You’re under arrest,” Harry said as Dawlish sent ropes out of his wand to tie up the criminal. “For Muggle baiting, among other things.”
“We’ll be taking you back to the Ministry for your trial,” Dawlish added.
Arriving back at the Ministry and after dropping off the criminal Harry ran into Neville exiting the department and looking glum.
“I’m fine, Harry,” he replied quickly. “Robards wants to see you.”
Harry hoped whatever troubled his mate had nothing to do with this meeting with the Auror head.
“Mr. Robards,” Harry opened the office door. “Neville said you wanted to see me.”
“Yes, come in, come in. Have a seat.” Robards gestured to the empty chair in front of his desk. “How was your mission today? You were sent to arrest a Muggle-baiter, am I correct?”
“Yes, sir.” Harry stood anxiously.
“Good, good.” Robards tapped his fingers on his desk. “We have a case of illegal goods being smuggled into England. These items are highly dangerous and I want our team on the case.”
Harry sat in the chair at that moment knowing Robards would want to talk about the case as he was on the same team.
“We believe there may be two points where they’re smuggling,” Robards continued talking about ideas on how to spy and possibly capture the criminals.
Climbing up the stairs after flooing home from a hard day’s work, Harry allowed the aroma of Kreacher’s cooking to fill his senses. He enjoyed having the house-elf around despite what Hermione said.
“Oh, Harry!” Ginny nearly tackled him the second he stepped on the first floor. “I made the team!” she waved a letter in her hand. “I’m third string on the English National Team!”
Harry blinked. He didn’t even know she tried out for the team.
“It was a shock to see the owl delivering this letter earlier. I never thought they’d pick me!”
“Congratulations!” He wrapped her up in a hug.
“I have a team meeting on Thursday.” She followed Harry up the stairs to their bedroom. “This is so exciting!”
Harry took off his work robes as Ginny flopped on the bed.
“Are you all right?” She asked.
He sat down next to her.
“Do you think this is a good house to raise children in?”
“What? I don’t know. The Blacks raised their children here. What does that have to do with anything?”
“Nothing.” He sighed. “Robards assigned our team to a dangerous mission today.”
“You’ve been on missions before.”
“You’re not upset because we’re a newly married couple?”
“Well then, what is it?”
Harry turned to look at her. He didn’t know what it was.
“I love you.”
“Harry!” She said exasperated.
“I just—this is a dangerous mission.”
“You’re Harry Potter, you know what you’re doing.”
Harry recalled the search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes when he was seventeen. He didn’t know what he was doing then.
“You’ll come back to me.” Ginny patted Harry’s knee, got up, and left the room. That was the clue she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
After dinner, Harry thought he’d heard Ginny crying in the drawing room. She was still up when he went to bed. When he woke in the morning she was asleep. She seemed so peaceful and with the day being her off day, he didn’t have the heart to wake her so he left her a note before heading to work.
“…They have an order coming in next Tuesday,” Robards said during the meeting with his group. “We need to be there when they pick it up, but we can not mess with anything. It is the only evidence we’ll have to arrest them.”
“Not every member will be present, though, as you said they are expecting another shipment on Wednesday on the opposite coast,” Iva added.
“Do we have a group ready for that?” Harry asked. It seemed only wise to catch both groups in the act.
Robards shook his head.
“We can’t afford it, so we have to go after the main bunch and see what happens from there.”
Harry was unsure how this would work, but as Gawain Robards was his boss he would go with it.
“I’ll need you to study these.” Robards handed Harry a huge stack of parchment. “You’ll need to be up-to-date on these men.”
Harry headed for his cubicle to read all the parchment when he ran into Neville, almost literally.
“Sorry, Harry,” he mumbled.
“You all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Neville didn’t look fine, but with all the reading ahead of Harry he didn’t press the issue.
“Busy?” Ron stepped into Harry’s cubicle later that day.
“No.” he took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I need to take a break before I make myself cross-eyed.” Looking at his watch, he saw it was after five. He grabbed his cloak and followed Ron out of the room.
“Picking up Hermione?” He asked as they waited for the lift.
“She’s working late tonight,” Ron sighed.
Ron shrugged. It bothered him, Harry knew, but ever since the couple became engaged Ron was more lenient with Hermione and her house-elves.
“Have you seen Neville?” Ron changed the subject.
“He doesn’t look happy,” Harry responded.
Ron and Harry talked of Neville and other Auror related things during their ride on the lift.
With Harry busy preparing for the upcoming mission and an extra Quidditch practice added to Ginny’s schedule the weekend came pretty fast for the new Potter family. That Sunday found them at the Burrow with many Weasleys gathered around the big kitchen table.
“I have an announcement,” Fleur and Ginny said simultaneously.
“You go first,” Fleur offered with a twinkle in her eye.
“I’ve been named to third string for the English National Team!”
“Brilliant!” Ron exclaimed.
“That’s great, sis,” Percy congratulated.
“Third string? Can’t do better than that?” George joked. “I’m happy for you!” He quickly added after receiving a glare from his sister.
“Great news, Ginny,” Mr. Weasley said.
Everyone continued to congratulate Ginny when Bill cleared his throat loudly.
“I believe Fleur has some news as well.”
Everyone quieted. Fleur’s cheeks turned pink.
“We’re having anozzer baby!”
“Another baby!” Mrs. Weasley squealed.
All the Weasleys' attention shifted to Fleur.
“Sorry,” Harry said to his wife.
“It’s all right.”
No one noticed them slip off to spend time alone in her childhood bedroom.
Studying up on the Rutilus Diabolus taught Harry just how dangerous this mission was to be. Unlike Death Eaters, they took any blood type—pureblood, halfbood, Muggle-born. Basically, they were a gang. Once joined they taught the members Dark Arts. This was a pretty old group so they were well versed in ancient magic. They weren’t bullies per say, just that they participated in highly illegal activities they needed protection.
“They’ve evaded capture for roughly 840 years,” Robards said when the Aurors met on Monday. “We’ve been studying them for such a long time we believe we finally have them where we want them.
“They’re expecting a shipment of magic carpets and illegal plant seeds, including Venomous Tentacula, tomorrow morning at 9AM from France. We will be camping out near the West Pier in Brighton as we need to be there before them.”
Robards’s office was one of the select few locations one could Disapparate from in the Ministry. Apparition was not allowed at all, not even in the office. Holding onto a bag similar to Hermione’s, he took hold of Iva’s hand, who quickly grabbed Harry’s. Robards turned on the spot and disappeared.
They arrived on the coast in the midst of a drizzle. Out of the bag Robards pulled a tent. He quickly set it up and walked around it performing spells. Harry was very much reminded of Hermione during their camping trip of ’97.
“Get inside!” He ushered the other two. “We can’t risk them possibly seeing us. Harry, brought your cloak?”
“Yes, sir.” Harry had learned to perform the Disillusionment Charm, but still carried the invisibility cloak for precaution.
The tent was much smaller than Perkins’s and the Weasleys’. It contained two bunk beds, a sink, a stove, and a separate room for the toilet.
“I get the top bunk,” Iva declared, climbing onto the nearest bunk.
“I brought chicken breasts for dinner.” Robards began pulling kitchen items out of the bag. “Dinner should be ready soon. We’ll need to get to sleep early tonight as we’ll need to get up pretty early in the morning.”
They enjoyed the chicken with a side of beans and shortly thereafter Harry found himself in the bottom bunk under Iva with the lights off.
“Harry,” Iva whispered once Robards’s snoring could be heard.
Sitting up, Harry could barely make out the shape of Iva’s head hanging over the side of her bed.
“Lumos,” she murmured. “Better to see me with.” She smiled, climbed down from her bunk, and sat next to Harry. “Not tired, are you?”
“No,” he answered truthfully.
“Good.” She tapped his wand that lay near his pillow.
Harry picked it up and uttered the light spell.
“Better. Don’t worry about disturbing Gawain. He’s a heavy sleeper. So, how’s Ginny?”
“I told you she made England’s National Quidditch Team?”
“No!” she pushed his leg.
Harry and Iva stayed up talking late into the night. He didn’t know what time it was when he finally crawled under the covers, but he knew it must be late. He lay there for a while wishing he had Ginny’s warm body next to his.
He woke up not much later to Robards puttering around the tent preparing coffee. Harry yawned, hoping he didn’t have to rise and wishing he’d gone to sleep earlier.
“Up and at ‘em,” Robards called in a singsong voice.
Iva groaned, turned over, and released creaks from the bedsprings.
“If you went to sleep when I told you, you wouldn’t be so tired.”
“You sound like my dad.” Iva jumped off the top bunk as Robards poured three cups of coffee.
“I reckon you stayed up with her, Potter,” he sighed.
Harry did not reply. Once he found his glasses, which had ended up on the floor, he climbed out of bed, and made his way to the table where his mug sat. He glanced at Iva, the scar running down her cheek swollen.
“Oh,” she ran her fingers along it. “It does that sometimes when I’m tired.”
“Enough chit-chat, you two. We need to get the tent packed away.”
Robards did not wait for them to finish their coffee before pushing them out the door. He packed up the tent and as soon as the last drop hit his tongue grabbed Harry’s mug and tossed it in his bag. He performed the Disillusionment Charm on Harry, Iva, and himself and they were ready to go.
“They should be arriving any minute,” He said after they made it to the pier.
Harry looked up into the sky. No one was sure how the illegal goods would be arriving.
“There!” Iva pushed the three back as a boat appeared out of the water in similar fashion to the arrival of the Durmstrang to Hogwarts.
“Follow my lead. Do not move until I do.”
If Robards was invisible how was Harry to see him? He trusted everything would work out.
They watched three men climb off the boat. Two other men stayed on deck.
“The man with the blond hair on deck,” Robards pointed out,” is Roger Esme.”
Roger Esme was the head of the Rutilus Diabolus.
As if on cue, Roger yelled at one of the men on the ground. The only thing Harry could make out was “You are…” The wizard on the ground must have smarted off back because Esme waved his wand and the wizard began choking, eventually ending up on the ground in a heap.
“See what I mean?” Robards whispered.
The group began unloading boxes. Nothing eventful happened except for Esme leaving the boat and kicking the unconscious body out of the way. Harry wondered when they would make their move.
Finally, Esme opened one of the boxes and pulled out a deep purple carpet. He rubbed it against his cheek. Once he flattened it out, it hovered in the air.
Harry turned his head at the sound of clicking to see what it was, but he didn’t see remembering they were under the Disillusionment Charm. When he saw the flash he knew one of his partners was taking pictures.
Esme noticed the flash, too, but according to the confused look on his face he had no idea where it came from.
“Go!” Robards pushed Harry forward.
Harry stepped forward as Esme climbed on the carpet. He saw one of the worker’s wands fly out of his hand and roll close to Harry, disappearing as one of his partners, he assumed, picked it up.
“Who’s there?” Esme called out, pulling his wand out of his robes. He waved his wand around. Harry felt something heavy hit his chest and knock him backwards. Hitting the ground took the wind out of him, but after waiting a full minute Harry was able to get back on his feet.
“You’re under arrest!” He heard Robards say, as ropes appeared to bind one of the members of the wizarding gang.
When Robards spoke his Charm vanished revealing himself.
“Aurors!” Esme exclaimed jumping off the carpet. “Oh, look, it must be the famed Harry Potter. I’ve heard about you.” He laughed.
Harry hadn’t realized getting hit with the spell would erase the charm and make him visible.
“Expelliarmus!” Harry exclaimed.
“When I said I’ve heard about you, I mean I’ve heard about everything! We all know your signature move, Mr. Potter.” Esme waved his wand in the air.
“Stupefy!” Iva exclaimed.
Instead of the spell hitting the intended target of Roger Esme, it hit Harry square in the chest knocking him backwards. Everything went black.
Rutilus Diabolus is Latin for Red Devil.
I did not mean for a month to go by between updates! Please forgive me! I'll never make you wait this long again! Feedback!
Last edited by leah49; November 18th, 2008 at 8:47 pm.
Chapter 48: Another Day at St. Mungo's
Slowly, Harry opened his eyes. He was inside a familiar looking room. Ah, that’s right, St. Mungo’s. He turned his aching head to see Ginny sitting on a chair looking down at the floor.
“G-Ginny,” he croaked.
“Harry!” she exclaimed. “You’re awake!” She leaned over and reached for his hands. “How do you feel?”
“My head hurts.”
“Yeah, the healer said you have a mild concussion. The potion they gave you should take care of it, I think. When you came in yesterday you were all out of sorts.”
“How out of it was I?”
“You kept mentioning you had to hurry to help Suzy move. Who’s Suzy?”
“I don’t know any Suzy.”
Ginny leaned closer and kissed Harry.
“I knew you’d come back to me. May not have been in the optimal form, but you came back.”
“I always do.” He closed his eyes.
“I have to get practice. I’ll be back afterwards. The healer said you would most likely be discharged today.” She kissed Harry deeply. “I love you.”
“Love you, too.” He watched her walk away. Oh, he loved that girl.
“Good morning, Harry,” Healer Johnson, as it red on her tag, greeted him, walking towards the bed with a flask in her hand. “How are you feeling?”
“My head hurts.”
“You took a bad fall. This should elevate the pain.”
Harry took the flask and drank the potion. Almost immediately the headache disappeared.
Bored with the hospital Harry tried to fall asleep and was grateful to see the red hair and freckled face of his best mate, Ron.
“Supposed to be at work, are you?” Harry greeted him.
Ron sat down in the chair Ginny occupied an hour earlier. He ran his hands through his hair.
“I’m to interview an old lady regarding a disturbance in her home, but I thought I’d pay a visit to my best mate before.”
“How lucky am I,” Harry replied with a touch of sarcasm.
Ron swatted at him.
“How are you feeling? Moved Suzy yet?” Ron chuckled.
Ignoring the latter part Harry replied, “much better.”
“You were pretty funny yesterday.”
“I don’t remember any of it.”
“Have they served lunch yet?” Ron changed the subject.
“I reckon I can stay until then.”
“Good morning, Harry. Fancy seeing you here, Ron.” Iva winked at Ron. She carried a brown bag over her right shoulder. “I’m so sorry for hitting you with the spell, Harry!”
“It was an accident.”
“It’s just me being clumsy. First, I get attacked by a werewolf and now I stupefy one of my partners!” She slumped into the open chair on the other side of the bed.
“I don’t blame you for anything.”
“You’re not clumsy,” Ron spoke up.
“Thanks. Don’t you have work to do?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m going,” he grumbled getting up from his seat. “Bye, Harry.”
“Now that he’s gone, I can show you these.”
Iva opened her bag and pulled out a stack of photos. Harry studied them. Many were of the workers moving boxes off the boat. A few were of Esme sitting on his carpet.
“They’re the only evidence we have right now.”
“Did we capture Roger Esme?”
“No, but we managed to arrest two of his members. Their trial in front of the Wizengamot starts this afternoon. Wish you could be there.”
“Yeah,” Harry sighed. He hadn’t really been a help on this mission. He examined the pictures some more. “You weren’t able to seize any of the illegal items?”
“That’s the odd thing. After your fall I brought you here. When I returned everyone, but the man Gawain tied up and the man Esme choked left. All their stuff including the ship—gone. Gawain said he turned his back for one second and everything vanished.” She shook her head. “Even in our world there’s no explanation I can find.”
“I’ll see what Hermione knows, if she’s come across a spell that would cause something like this.”
“If anyone knows, it would be her.” Harry knew Iva knew Hermione just from Ron talking about her. He did not know if they’d ever met. “You won’t discuss the case with her.”
“Gawain wants us to stay on this case until we lock up Ritulus Diabolus for good. He might come by today if he’s not too busy with the trial.”
A healer came in, not Healer Johnson who has seen to Harry earlier. Iva scooped up the photos quickly.
“Lunch should be arriving soon. How are you feeling?” She waved her wand over Harry’s body to check his blood pressure.
“I better go.” Iva tapped Harry on the leg. “Gawain wants me to present the evidence at the trial and I need to prepare.”
“Your numbers look good. Everything seems set for you going home today.” The healer wore something on a chart then headed to the next patient.
After lunch Harry went to sleep. He ended up waking shortly after five when three people came to visit—his two best friends and his wife.
“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed at the sight.
“I’m fine! In fact, once the healer checks me out I get to go home.”
Ginny sat on the bed and reached for Harry’s hands.
“I love you,” she mouthed.
“I love you, too,” Harry mouthed back.
“We’re almost ready to present the House-Elf Liberation Act to the house-elves,” Hermione announced, choosing the chair on Harry’s left.
“It’ll be good to have you finished with that,” Ron said. “I can spend more time with you.
“It’s important for the house-elves, Ron.”
“Who’s more important? The house-elves or me?”
“You already have your freedom.”
“Please don’t argue,” Harry pleaded.
“No, Hermione,” Ron ignored Harry. “It’s not about freedom.”
“Yes, it is, Ron. You have it and keep it from other creatures.”
“I think it’s great, Hermione, that you’re doing this for the house-elves,” Ginny interrupted.
“Thank you. We hope to have Minister Shacklebolt sign the bill by the end of the week.”
A healer walked up holding a chart and a wand.
“Feeling better, I hope,” the healers aid. She examined the chart closely. “It says here you were last administered a potion at 8AM, correct?”
“I reckon so,” Harry replied. “It was in the morning, but I do not remember the time.”
“Here’s your prescription for the anti-headache potion. You can pick it up at the apothecary. Do not take it more than every 12 hours. You shouldn’t need to take it longer than five days. If you do, please come back and see us.” She waved her wand up and down Harry’s body. “Vital signs are normal. Just sign here and you’re free to go.”
Harry signed the parchment without reading for he was an Auror and read the sheet far too many times to not know what it said. He climbed out of bed, pulled his robes over his head, and slipped on his shoes.
“You feel good enough to Disapparate?” Ginny asked.
“I think,” Harry replied.
Ginny reached for his hand and with Ron and Hermione following led him to the lift.
Ron and Hermione helped settle Harry on the couch in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place and then left him alone with Ginny. Kreacher had brought them both cups of hot tea.
“I’m glad to have you home.” She kissed his forehead. “You don’t know how big this place is until you’re here alone.”
Harry looked at Ginny.
“I lived here without you before we got married. I think I know what it’s like to be here alone.”
Ginny could have been a little hurt with that statement, but instead she snuggled into his chest.
“I missed you terribly,” she said into his robes.
“I missed you, too.”
It had been the first time they’d been apart since they were married.
“I wish you didn’t have to travel and leave me alone in this big house.”
“You’ve Ron here.”
“He’s always off with Hermione.”
“You really don’t like it here?”
She looked up at Harry, he down at her.
“I know Mrs. Black’s portrait has been moved to Kreacher’s room, but I can still hear her screeching in the front hall. Just think of all the Blacks who lived and died here.”
“I reckon we’ll need to find a place of our own.”
Ginny leaned into Harry some more. He wrapped his arms around her and leaned his head against the couch cushions. Yes, they would find a house for their own family.
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Chapter 49: More Changes
Harry and Ginny did not tell anyone of their decision to move from Grimmauld Place, not Kreacher, not Ron, not Hermione, not Mrs. Weasley.
“Mum will want to know if it’s because we’re having a baby,” Ginny said nonchalantly while pouring over the advertising section of the Daily Prophet after dinner one evening.
“You’re not, you’re not,” Harry stuttered with a funny look on his face. “This isn’t why you—“
“No!” Ginny interrupted. “No, no, don’t you fear. I’m not having a baby. The only pregnant one is Fleur.”
She jumped from her spot in the armchair to next to Harry on the couch.
“I wouldn’t mind having a baby.”
“No? What about Quidditch?”
‘I reckon now would be highly inappropriate, what with the Quidditch World Cup, even if I am just third string, but maybe later.”
“Ginny!” Harry scolded. “When do you leave for Berlin?”
Berlin, Germany was the sight of the ’02 Quidditch World Cup.
“In a few weeks. Are you sure you can’t get the entire month off?”
“Not with this case left open like this.”
“Are you sure you can’t talk about it?”
“Robards doesn’t like us talking about our cases until they’re 100% solved. I’ll be at your first game and I’ll be at the championship game.”
He kissed her on the top of her head. Ginny bounced back to the armchair and began poring over the paper again.
“Would you rather live in Godric’s Hollow or Ottery St. Catchpole?” She asked.
Harry shrugged. They both wanted to live in Godric’s Hollow where Harry should have been raised, but if hey found a better house someone where else they didn’t want to pass that up. Plus, they’d get a bigger yard for their children to play in.
“There’s a two-story three-bedroom for sale on the other side of Ottery St. Catchpole from the Burrow, but I know how much you want to move to Godric’s Hollow.”
“We should look at the house. We don’t know what we might be passing up.”
“Alright.” She circled the listing with her quill. “I’m excited about this.”
Ginny searched the paper for more listings. When she found none she opened the paper to the sports section where she found an article on the Harpies.
“Merlin!” she exclaimed. “Merlin! Merlin! Merlin!”
“What?” Harry asked alarmed.
“There’s a rumor going around Gwenog’s retiring at the end of the season.”
“What does the article say, Gin?”
“’According to unnamed sources, this journalist has learned Captain and Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies, Gwenog Jones will be retiring at the end of the season. Miss Jones herself declined to comment.’”
“You know how the Daily Prophet is with rumors.”
“The sports section is usually truthful.”
Harry beckoned for her to sit by him again.
“Don’t worry over this. If she is retiring she’ll tell you in time and if not then it’s just a silly little rumor printed in the Prophet.”
Ginny had the day off the next day, with it being Tuesday, so she decided to check out the two houses she listed in the Daily Prophet. The first one was the two story in Ottery St. Catchpole.
“Ah, good morning, Mrs. Potter,” the blonde real estate witch greeted her. “My daughter is a big fan.”
“Thank you.” Ginny shook her hand awkwardly. Gawking fans, that was Harry’s thing.
“I’m Mrs. Hoomo.” She waved her wand and unlocked the door. “This house was built in the ‘50’s and only upgraded once. Not like that house on the other side of town,” she laughed.
Ginny’s ears turned pink. That was the Burrow she was laughing at.
“Here’s the downstairs. We have the kitchen on the left and the sitting room on the right.”
The house looked a lot like the Burrow, except the kitchen was smaller.
“The kitchen has all modern appliances,” Mrs. Hoomo continued.
Ginny tuned her out. The house was smaller than the Burrow, but it was still very nice. Her mom would be closer if she ever needed her. The fireplace looked exactly like the one at her parents’ place.
“Mrs. Potter,” the real estate witch said rather loudly.
“Huh?” Ginny came back down to earth.
“Let us check the upstairs now,” she said with a hint of annoyance in her voice.
Reluctantly she followed the older witch upstairs.
“This floor contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The only upgrade was done in the ‘70’s. The owners added a new bathroom and expanded the back bedroom.”
Ginny stepped into the bedroom directly opposite the stairs. It was a decent sized room—a little bigger than her childhood room. It contained a big picture window.
“Gorgeous view?” Mrs. Hoomo asked. “Most of the land in front of you belongs with the house. Wonderful if you plan on having children. The rest of the land belongs with that house.”
Looking where Mrs. Hoomo pointed, she spotted the rook. She was interested in the odd shaped house until she saw a man step out.
“Oh my!” she exclaimed.
“Xenophilius Lovegood. Crazy man, but fantastic magazine.”
“You read The Quibbler?”
“Of course. Don’t you?”
Ginny shook her head. She loved Luna, quirky as she was, but her father was another matter. If Luna still lived at home she would fancy living close by, but she decided there was a good chance Luna would not live in that house for a long time.
“How was the house?” Harry asked over lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.
“Like a miniature Burrow, sort of,” Ginny replied putting her fork into her meat pie. “Except it’s only been upgraded once unlike the Burrow, which the rude witch informed me.”
“She insulted you?”
“She laughed like the Burrow was a joke. The Burrow was my childhood home. It’s not a joke. Besides, Mr. Lovegood lives near by.”
“We’d be near Luna!”
“Luna doesn’t live there anymore, Harry.”
“You’re not happy.”
“I don’t want to live near Mr. Lovegood. Did you know his house is a rook?”
“I told you, when Ron, Hermione, and I were almost captured by the Death Eaters.”
Ginny nodded as she chewed her beef.
“I’m checking out a house near Shell Cottage later. Wish you could come with me.”
“Robards won’t let me off for anything right now until we are further along in this case.”
After lunch Ginny made her way to the new house she’d be looking at. It was
on the ocean like Bill’s house, which Ginny found to be very serene, thought she saw potential dangers in raising kids near the shore. Bill and Fleur were doing it, but she always thought Fleur was too liberal for her liking.
“Hello, Mrs. Potter,” the real estate wizard greeted her with a firm handshake. “I’m happy to show this one story today.” He opened the door. “As you can see the front door opens onto the sitting room, a rather large, open space.”
The room was beautiful. The walls were a creamy off-white and the floor was a dark hardwood. The entire back wall was a huge picture window with a stunning view of the rocks and the ocean.
“Lovely, isn’t it?”
“Brilliant.” She walked up to the window and after looking for a minute turned around. “Is it safe for young children?”
“Do you have young children?”
“No, sir. Well, there is my husband’s godson who we watch sometimes. We do plan on having children in the future.”
“I’ve yet to hear of any serious injuries off these cliffs.”
“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”
“No. You can build a fence, I suppose, but you lose the view.”
“And it is a lovely one.”
“Let’s look at the rest of the house.”
Ginny followed him through the decent sized kitchen. It wasn’t as big as the one at the Burrow, but it was bigger than the one at the other house she looked at.
After the kitchen they went to the other side of the house where the two bedrooms and bathroom sat.
“The bigger of the two bedrooms is in the back,” the wizard said.
The back room contained a breath taking view of the ocean itself. Ginny sighed, content in looking out the window all day long.
Once she was done looking at the house she decided to pay Fleur and Victoire a visit. She was so close by. She wasn’t very close with her sister-in-law, but she was her sister-in-law and Victoire was her niece.
“Ginny, what a nice surprise,” Fleur greeted her at the door with Victoire on her hip.
“I was in the area.” She took Victoire from Fleur. “Looking at a house,” she admitted not realizing she was telling Fleur before she told anyone else.
“Oh, do you plan on moving? Are you and ‘Arry expecting?”
“No, no. We’re just tired of living at Grimmauld Place. It’s not our home. I’m not sure if we’re moving to this area. The house I looked at was rather small.”
“Would you care for some tea? Biscuits?” Fleur asked as they entered her home.
“No, thank you.”
The three made themselves comfortable in the sitting room. As soon as they sat down, Victoire began to wail. Fleur waved her wand and produced an ice-cold teething ring. She handed it to Ginny.
“Mademoiselle Victoire eez still teesing,” she said.
Ginny gave the ring to the baby who immediately started sucking on it unhappily.
Ginny rubbed Victoire’s blonde hair. She couldn’t believe it wasn’t red.
“How are you feeling?” She asked Fleur. “Do you know the gender of the baby?”
“Bill does not want to know, but I sink we are ‘aving anozzer girl.” Fleur placed a hand on her belly.
“Anoz—another girl? You’ve already one girl. That baby is a Weasley. Weasleys don’t usually have one girl, much less two.”
“You forget I am part-Veela. Veelas ‘ave loss of girls.”
Victoire looked up at Ginny as if she was waiting for a response.
“I can’t ever forget you’re a Veela,” she muttered, noticing how Fleur glowed twice as much as normal, mostly due to her pregnancy.
“What was sat?”
“Nothing,” she grumbled.
Maybe visiting Fleur when Bill wasn’t home was a bad idea.
“My latest appointment with my mediwitch was last week. She says ze baby is doing fine.” Fleur helped herself up and headed to the kitchen. “I ‘ave to start dinner. You are welcome to stay.”
“No, thank you. Harry will be home soon. Do you mind if I use your floo?”
“I do not mind. Tell ‘Arry I said ‘ello and would love for you to move to ze area.”
Ginny held Victoire awkwardly, having followed Fleur into the kitchen where the fireplace was located.
“Oh!” Fleur waved her wand and a small cot appeared.
“Place her in zere. When you are a muzzer you will know zese spells.”
Ginny placed her niece in the cot.
“Bye, Vicky-er-Victoire,” she waved. She had started to call her Vicky, but corrected herself when she remembered it was Ron’s horrid nickname for Hermione’s old friend, Viktor Krum.
“Bye!” The young one replied causing Ginny to break out in a smile.
“Bye, Fleur.” She grabbed a pinch of powder, threw it into the flames, stepped into the flames, and shouted. “12 Grimmauld Place!”
Ginny arrived at practice the next day to a somber locker room.
“Can you believe it?” Sian asked after putting on her practice jersey.
“You didn’t read the Prophet?” She exclaimed.
Ginny had been in the process of tying her boots. Her teammate’s exclamation caused her to get a knot in her laces.
“Are you referring to that rumor they printed about Gwenog?” She asked as she unsuccessfully tried to get the knot out.
“Yes!” Sian pulled her wand out and said the spell to undo Ginny’s laces. “The Harpies without Gwenog Jones is like…it’s like…”
“A day with no sun,” Patricia supplied. “It’s a shame she didn’t tell us before the article was printed.”
“You believe it?” Ginny asked incredulously finally tying her boots right.
“You don’t?” Sara, the other Chaser, said.
Ginny was about to respond when the room became silent. She heard the sound of Quidditch boots on the concrete floor. Everyone stopped talking.
“Practice starts in two minutes!” Gwenog Jones said. “If I don’t see you on the pitch that’s a hundred more laps. Now, go!”
The girls scattered. Most headed for the shack where their brooms were stored. Ginny quickly retrieved her team owned Firebolt and made for the pitch.
Practice that day had been long and tough. Some of the girls were extra chatty causing them to do extra drills. The end of the day brought on a scrimmage between the starters and the reserve team.
“Ladies,” Gwenog said at the end of practice. “I’m sure you read the article in Monday’s Daily Prophet or heard about it. I didn’t want to tell you before the season actually started. I wanted to save the news until the end, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I figured it’s best to tell you now instead of leaving you wondering. It is true. I will be retiring at the end of the season. I love Quidditch. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. But, I’m not getting any younger. I’ve been here for a good amount of time. No matter how much fun we have, all good things must come to an end. I will miss you all very much and I am making sure you are left in the most capable of hands, whether she’s already on this team or a member of another team.”
No one on the team had dismounted her broom while Gwenog gave her announcement. Afterwards, they sat on their sticks, hovering in the air, in shock. They all looked at each other, but no one made a move to dismount or say anything.
“Girls!” Jones exclaimed. “Don’t be sad! We’ve an entire season to get through.”
Gwenog Jones was the most tomboyish girl Ginny ever knew. She had the biggest feeling her captain was rather uncomfortable at the sight of all this sadness.
“Ten laps around the pitch and we’ll call it a day!” the captain ordered.
Ginny flew behind Sian and the blonde first year reserve Seeker, Yvonne, her red hair flying in her face. She tied her hair up in the mornings, but somewhere around midday she’d take it down.
“Harry!” Ginny cried after stepping out of the floo.
“Master is not home,” Kreacher said from the kitchen.
Ginny’s practices usually ran late so Harry usually beat her home. He promised her this morning he’d be here when she arrived home.
“Do you know where he is?” she asked hopefully.
“Kreacher is not knowing where Master is. Kreacher is also to tell you Master’s two best friends are here.”
Ron and Hermione! They must know something. Ginny flew up the stairs and into the sitting room. Ron lay with his head in Hermione’s lap and sat up at once.
“You’re home,” Hermione said as a slight pinkish closer appeared on her cheeks.
“Harry wanted me to give you this. He didn’t have time to send it by owl.” Ron handed his sister a folded piece of parchment.
Robards has a mighty big lead on the case we’re working on and we have to leave now. I’m not sure when I’ll be home, but I’ll get there as soon as I can. I love you very much!
Ginny fell to the couch. She should be used to this by now, having been married to Harry for a few months and his girlfriend for four years. A tiny tear escaped down her cheek and she felt the arms of her brother awkwardly wrap around her.
“He’s going to be okay,” he whispered.
“When has he failed us?” Hermione patted her back.
He died once, which was pretty weird to think about. He didn’t do so hot the last time he went out on a mission. She then thought of two people she never imagined failing. One of them did.
“Harry asked me about a spell to make everything disappear instantly,” Hermione said. “He wouldn’t tell me why. There’s the Disillusionment Charm, but you have to perform it separately for everything you want to make invisible. He said this wasn’t about making things invisible, it was about actually making them disappear.”
“Hermione,” Ron interrupted. “Where are you going with this?”
“Well, nowhere, actually,” she replied honestly. “It’s just something to do with his mission.
“Ginny?” Ron asked uncomfortably.
With her brother’s arm around her, she sat there crying, which was unusual for her.
“Harry’s just on a mission. He’s been on plenty before.”
“It’s not that. Well, it is, but I just keep thinking of Fred and how sudden his death was.”
She waited for someone to say something, but no one did. She was afraid of that. Ron put his arm around her and drew her close to him. She wasn’t used to this level of comfort from her brother.
“They say the life of an Auror is tough, but the life of the spouse is tougher,” he said quietly. “You know Harry. He will come back.”
She didn’t know if he was saying that for her benefit or his, but she smiled anyway.
After dinner the three came back to the sitting room and turned on the wireless. WWN played an old Weird Sister’s concert.
The next thing Ginny knew someone’s dry lips, and Merlin were they dry, were on hers. She slowly opened her eyes to see Harry’s green eyes behind his round glasses centimeters from her face. She reached her hand to the back of his head and continued the kiss passionately.
“Your lips are so dry,” she said once they parted.
“I am rather thirsty,” he admitted. “Thanks for the greeting.”
“Sorry,” Ginny yawned. “What time is it?”
“Somewhere around 3AM.”
“3AM!” She looked around noticing Ron and Hermione were no longer there and someone had placed a blanket around her.
“How are you, Harry? Fine, thanks. How are you, Ginny?”
“How are you, Harry?” She asked noticing a cut on his nose.
“Tired and thirsty,” he replied. “We didn’t complete our case tonight, but we did extremely well.”
“Does that hurt?” She pointed to his nose.
“What?” He winced when he touched the cut.
“You should have that cleaned up.”
“You do it?” He asked.
“I’m not sure how good I am with the healing spells, but I reckon I can do it.”
Harry reached for his wife’s hands, pulled her from the couch, and led her upstairs.
Chapter 50: Spotlight
“I can’t find my red t-shirt!” Ginny called out.
Harry sighed. She couldn’t find anything and anyway, that shirt clashed with her hair.
“Have you asked Kreacher?” He called back.
He was downstairs in the drawing room working on some parchment work and she was upstairs packing. He heard her thunder down the stairs, most likely looking for the house-elf. He was going to miss her. Now, he was going to experience what it was like to be her when he was on a mission.
“Found it!” She cried, running by the drawing room door.
He shook his head. She was very excited about this trip. Harry scooted his chair away from his desk. He could deal with the work later. His wife was going away tonight for an entire month. Sure, he’d see her in a week, but it wasn’t the same.
“Ron!” Ginny shouted after what sounded like her bumping into something.
“Calm down” Harry, as he began to climb the stairs, heard Ron say. “Mental,” he mouthed to Harry.
Harry reached for Ginny’s arm and pulled her to him.
“When are you leaving?”
“I have to meet the team at 5.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too.”
Behind them, Ron made gagging noises.
“Do I have to watch? My baby sister no less?”
“Come on, let’s go to the privacy of our bedroom.”
Ginny ran into the room and shut the door as soon as Harry entered.
“You’ve everything you need?” He asked eyeing the bags on the bed.
Ginny pulled Harry down with her onto the bed and began kissing him. They fell into a nice routine when they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Yes?” Ginny squeaked.
“Oh!” Hermione had opened the door and turned red at the sight of them on the bed. “I’m going to kill that Ron Weasley!”
“What?” Ron asked walked up behind her. “Oy, Ginny!”
“Don’t ‘Oy, Ginny!’ me!” She shouted as Harry put his shirt back on. “We are married and we did have the door closed. We didn’t ask you to watch.” She threw her red shirt at him.
“Oy, I can’t think about you two…”
“Oh, grow up,” she growled.
“Anyway…” Hermione said trying to change the subject. “I believe we’re leaving for the Burrow soon.” She looked to Ron for confirmation. “We’re still having lunch there?”
“Yes,” said Ginny climbing off the bed. “As soon as I finish packing.”
“You do that. We’re going right over,” Ron said.
Ron and Hermione left and could be heard walking down the stairs.
“Shall we get back to what we were doing?”
Harry glanced at the clock on the bedside table.
“I reckon we have enough time.”
“We were starting to worry,” Mrs. Weasley said when Harry and Ginny arrived by Floo roughly an hour later.
“Sorry.” Ginny stole a glance at Harry. “Packing too me longer than expected.” She tucked her hair behind her ear right before her mum ran up to her and gave her a big squeeze.
“I’ll miss you.”
“Mum, you’ll see me in a week.” She struggled out of Mrs. Weasley’s death grip. “You are coming to the match next week?”
Her entire family had been invited to England’s opening match of the ’02 Quidditch World Cup. So far, it looked like everyone was coming. Work-a-holics Percy and Hermione were actually taking time off and Charlie was coming from Romania.
“Of course, Ginny dear.”
She hugged her again, this time not so tight.
“Tell everyone lunch is ready.”
Ginny and Harry entered the sitting room where everyone, fittingly, sat. Bill, Percy, Ron, and Hermione squeezed on the couch. Fleur, looking extremely pregnant and uncomfortable though she had a few more months to go, sat in on armchair. Mr. Weasley sat in the other with Victoire in his lap.
“Mum says lunch is ready,” Ginny announced.
“There’s the Quidditch star!” Bill said getting up to help his wife.
“’Tar!” Victoire repeated with a squeal.
‘I’m not a star. I’m only third team.”
“Ever so modest.” Harry put his arm around her and kissed her cheek.
The family sat around the table to a lunch of bacon sandwiches. Everyone discussed the upcoming tournament.
“I heard Ireland has put together a very competitive team,” Bill said. “It will be interesting to see what they offer after not being a part of the last world cup.”
Neither England nor Ireland sent a team to the ’98 World Cup due to the Second War with Voldemort.
“I wonder if You-Know-Who will be there,” Ron spoke after inhaling a sandwich.
“Voldemort?” Ginny asked.
“No,” Hermione said. “I haven’t talked to him since Bill and Fleur’s wedding.”
A look of pleasure appeared on Ron’s face. Harry shook his head and glanced at Fleur who sat diagonally from him. She carefully picked at her sandwich, eating maybe one bit. All of a sudden her eyes bulged out and her hands flew to her stomach. Bill, deep in a conversation with his siblings and parents, did not notice.
“Fleur?” Harry asked.
“I’m—I’m—“ she grimaced. “It’s too early to ‘ave ze baby, but I sink I am going into labor.” She added something French at the end.
“Are—are you sure?” Bill asked anxiously.
Fleur nodded, grimacing through another contraction.
“It’s too early,” he said.
“Take her to St. Mungo’s,” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Oh. Oh!” Bill jumped up and helped his wife to her feet.
“Contact my midwitch,” Fleur said standing. She rubbed Victoire’s hair, trying to soothe her as she was now crying.
From somewhere Hermione had produced parchment, ink, and quill, and was already writing a letter to the Delacours.
“They need to know their second grandchild is on it’s way,” she said when she spotted Harry looking at the letter.
He nodded. That’s Hermione for you.
Eventually, Bill and Fleur made their way to the fireplace and Floo’d to the wizarding hospital. Mrs. Weasley held the crying Victoire and Hermione rushed to send Errol off with the two notes, having wrote a quick one to the midwitch. Everyone else sat at the table.
“Do you think we should go to St. Mungo’s?” Percy asked. “Bill will probably need someone there for him.”
Harry was surprised to hear that come from him. The Percy he knew at Hogwarts was not the Percy who sat before him.
“I’m going,” Percy announced standing up.
“I’ll join you,” Mr. Weasley said.
They both walked past Hermione on their way out.
“I sent the letters,” she said to them.
“I should go, too,” Mrs. Weasley said, having calmed down her granddaughter a bit. She walked out of the kitchen and then re-entered it remembering she had the baby. “Oh, I’ll have to get her stuff together before I can leave.”
“We’ll watch her,” Hermione suggested reaching out for the two-year-old. “Just keep us updated.”
“Thank you, dear.” She handed Victoire over. “Bye, Victoire.”
“No!” she whined.
“We’ll have a good time together, you, me, and your Uncle Ron.”
“No!” she repeated.
“I’m sorry about this,” Harry said to Ginny. “This was supposed to be your lunch.”
“I’m alright,” she replied.
“Ron, help me with Victoire,” Hermione called out.
“I—er—uh,” he stammered.
Hermione gave him this look that had him shoot out of his chair and over to her.
“I promised George I’d visit him before I left anyway.” Ginny said.
George had to work at the shop with Angelina and Verity so he could not make the lunch.
Harry detected a hint of disappointment in her voice, but he didn’t say anything.
“Ginny needs to say goodbye to George, so we’re leaving now,” he said to Hermione and Ron, who were on the floor of the sitting room with Victoire.
Hermione jumped up and gave Ginny a hug. Ron followed. Ginny knelt down to Victoire’s level.
“Bye,” she replied so plainspoken causing Ginny to smile again. She patted her on the top of the head.
I’m sorry everything became a fuss over Fleur. I hope you’re having fun with your team. You’ve been gone barely a few hours, but I miss you terribly.
Fleur did not have the baby. She was experiencing what Hermione calls Braxton-Hicks contractions. They are preliminary contractions to get her body ready for the actual labor. The midwitch gave her a really strong potion to take the pain away. Bill promised they would be at your match.
I love you!
He quickly sealed the note, tied it to Oberon’s leg, and sent him off. It had been a stressful day and now he was all alone in his big house. Ron and Hermione were at her flat. They spent a lot more time there these days. Maybe they didn’t like this place either.
The next morning Harry awoke to his owl sitting on the edge of the bed with a letter attached to his leg.
That’s it? Preliminary contractions? Why is she always trying to steal my thunder? She doesn’t want the spotlight on anyone else but herself. Of course she wants to come to the Quidditch match so she can steal the spotlight yet again. Maybe she’ll go into actual labor over here.
I miss you, too. It’s brilliant here, but you would make it better. Can’t wait to see you.
Love you lots,
Harry could feel the anger radiating off the parchment. Things had been better between Ginny and Fleur, but they weren’t perfect and it looked like they might never be.
“Are we all here?” Harry asked after Apparating to the campgrounds in Germany near the site of the World Cup.
“Yes,” Mrs. Weasley said after a few seconds in which Harry assumed she was counting heads.
Mr. Weasley walked up to a brown haired older man standing inside what basically amounted to a box. He was obtaining the family’s spot for their two tents, which he and Bill had purchased the week before.
The family of nine entered the campground. It was very similar to 1994, except not as crowded and more German was spoken. Harry noted even in Germany wizards and witches had a hard time dressing like Muggles. They passed by a man wearing a yellow rain slicker and blue fuzzy house slippers.
“There it is,” Harry said.
They had arrived at the portion of the campground reserved for the teams. He spotted the Irish flag on a bunch of tents and next to them was the English flag. A group of players sat outside talking. He studied them until he spotted his beautiful redheaded dame. Busy talking with the two guys and a girl she did not notice him until the girl nudged her with her elbow and pointed in his direction.
Ginny looked up. Focusing on the group, she jumped up, and ran to Harry, giving him a great big kiss on the mouth. He pulled her into a hug and could hear her counting.
“Someone’s missing,” she said.
“Fleur decided to stay home with Victoire. She hates missing your match, but with her contractions she thought it best to stay home and rest,” Bill spoke up.
“That’s too bad,” Ginny said. Harry knew she did not mean it. “Charlie!” she cried, spotting her second oldest brother. She ran over to hug him.
“I didn’t think you’d come.”
“And miss you playing in the World Cup? Not on my life! I told you I’d be here and here I am.”
Ginny smiled as she returned to Harry’s side.
“Oh, I’ve missed you,” she said to Harry, reaching for his hand as she led them to her tent.
“I’ve missed you, too.”
“Oh, I’ve great news!” she exclaimed. “The Head of the Sports Department for the Daily Prophet talked to me. He wants me to write a weekly article about the World Cup. They were looking for someone to do it and somehow came across the old article I wrote in regards to Skeeter’s book. With me being on the team they thought it’d be brilliant to have an insider’s view.”
Harry watched her talk with such excitement. She was so beautiful.
“Harry, are you all right?”
“Yeah, yes, I’m sorry.” He said, coming back down to Earth. “You’ll be working for the Prophet?”
“Yes, oh, I know you have had problems in the past, but this is truly exciting.”
“I’m proud of you and will be looking forward to your article every week.”
Harry looked away from Ginny to see the Bulgarian Seeker, Viktor Krum, approach the group.
“Viktor!” Hermione called out in a tone Harry thought was a little too excited.
She offered him her left hand, which he promptly kissed, earning a grunt from Ron.
“Is this—are you--?” Krum asked flustered for the right words.
“Ron and I are engaged.” Hermione put her arm around Ron’s waist, drawing him close, bring a bright smile to his face.
“Vhen is the vedding?”
“No date’s been set. I want things to quiet down at work before we concentrate on that.”
“I vill receive invitation, no?”
Hermione looked at Ron. They seemed to be having a conversation with their eyes.
“Yes, of course,” she replied.
“Vhere is Fleur?” Krum asked inspecting the rest of the group.
“She is expecting our second child shortly and is resting at home,” Bill answered. He pulled a photo out of his pocket. “That’s our daughter, Victoire.”
“She is beautiful.”
“I must be going. Good to see you again. Good luck against Spain tomorrow, Ginny.”
As soon as Krum walked away Ron piped up, “I can’t believe you invited him to our wedding!”
“Why are you complaining? We don’t even have a date. Besides, he’s my friend.”
“Would you like to pick a date? I’d be more than happy to marry you right now!”
“Quidditch sure brings out the best in them,” Ginny whispered to Harry. “Remind me to never again invite them to a Harpies match.”
“Is this Harry Potter?” One of Ginny’s female teammate’s asked as they reached camp.
“Yes,” Ginny replied abruptly.
“You’re so lucky.”
Harry smiled at his wife’s response.
“Elizabeth, this is my family: Harry, my husband, Molly and Arthur Weasley, my parents, Bill, Charlie, Percy, George, and Ron, my brothers, and Hermione Granger, Ron’s fiancée and my best girl friend. Everyone, this is Elizabeth, second team Chaser for England and first team Chaser for Appleby.”
They all shook hands with Elizabeth and the she disappeared inside one of the tents.
“Let me show you around before dinner.”
Ginny showed her family the two tents: one for the males (16 players) and one for the females (5 players), and one for staff. She introduced them to all the players they came across which was not even half the team, all teams included.
“Ah, Charlie Weasley!” Ken Jackson, second team Beater, said. “Such a shame you gave up Quidditch. You are still the best Seeker I ever saw.”
“Er, thanks,” he replied. “I’d rather spend my time taking care of dragons.”
“Ooh, sounds dangerous.”
“Yeah, er, I have to go.”
The group headed away from the male tent and over to the dining area.
Later in the evening the Weasleys, Potters, and Hermione sat outside with most of the rest of the team simply hanging out. The outdoors was very noisy as other teammates’ family members were present.
“Harry,” Ginny said, leaning her had against Harry’s chest. “I have some bad news.”
Harry sat up straighter than he had been sitting. Ginny did not move her head.
“You can’t sleep in the tent with me and I have to sleep in the girls’ tent tonight,” she spoke softly.
Harry looked down at her freckled face, into her brown eyes, such beautiful eyes. He missed looking into those eyes every morning. And that nose. He missed seeing that nose when he woke and before he went to sleep. The pink lips, how he missed the sweet taste! He leaned over and met her lips with his.
“Harry,” Ginny made out between kisses, “this isn’t helping!”
He continued kissing her until someone made gagging noises beside them.
“Bugger off, George!” Ginny sat up straight.
“I’d be careful, if I were you. You don’t want that to end up in the Prophet.”
Ginny grumbled something Harry couldn’t make out and stood up about to drag Harry away.
“Dear, where are you off to?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “You’ve been so wrapped p in Harry we haven’t had a chance to visit with you.”
“He’s my husband, Mum.”
Mrs. Weasley looked hurt, but she didn’t say anything.
“Ginny,” her father began.
She let out a sigh and sat down next to her parents bringing Harry with her. Everyone else remained silent during this display.
“Hurry!” Mr. Weasley said the next morning. “The pre-match festivities begin in an hour.”
Harry sat at the table in the men’s tent drinking a cup of tea and eating toast with Charlie, George, and Bill, who was reading an owl he had just received from Fleur. Ron had gone to the women’s tent. Percy sat on his bed with parchment work from the Ministry. Mr. Weasley ran around telling everyone what to do.
“I’ll see if the women are ready,” he said leaving the tent.
“How is she?” Charlie asked Bill.
“Good. She hasn’t had any more pains if you don’t count Victoire.”
“She’s two now?”
“The terrible two’s.”
“They’re waiting on you,” Mr. Weasley interrupted.
Harry gulped down the last of his tea, stuffed the end of the toast in his mouth, grabbed his omnioculars off his bunk, and headed out of the tent.
Once in the stadium Harry pulled out his omnioculars and watched the crowd. He kept the ‘oculars on a man eating an egg salad sandwich. He kept it on instant replay, watching the man bite into the sandwich over and over again.
“Harry!” Hermione interrupted him pointing down to the pitch.
He brought the omnioculars to real time and aimed them in the direction she pointed. Both teams’ reserve players entered the field. Ginny marched in close to the end of the line for England holding on to her,
“Firebolt 2!” Ron exclaimed. “Blimey, she didn’t say they were flying on those.”
“She mentioned nothing of it,” Harry said.
“Firebolt 2!” Harry heard George exclaim a few people away. “Harry, why didn’t you tell us?” He leaned over Bill and Charlie.
“I didn’t know,” Harry shrugged.
Still looking through the lenses he saw Ginny turn around and look up. He waved and shouted her name, but she did not see him. He sat back a tad dejected.
The announcements began in German. Harry listened, but not knowing any German, he could not understand what was said. The announcer said something that really made the crowd cheer so Harry and his group cheered along with them. Then the Spanish National Team flew out.
“And now, here’s England,” the announcer said in German. “Horton Keeper, Finwick and Jones Beaters, Deverill, Llewellyn, and Jenkins Chasers, and Whisp Seeker.”
The team flew once around the pitch and then got into the position for the official to release the Quaffle, the Bludgers, and the Snitch.
“Interesting?” Charlie said an hour later with the score 10-20 in favor of England.
“I’ve seen better,” Harry admitted.
“I’ve fifty Galleons England wins by 20 so Spain better score,” George said.
“Reminds me of a match my fourth year against Ravenclaw. Lasted into the night. Thought we’d lost the Snitch, but fortunately I found it before it got too late,” said Charlie.
“I remember that,” Bill joined in. “Many students left after the first six or so hours.”
“You were one of them.”
“I was not!” Bill exclaimed. “Alright, I left for lunch and dinner, but I came back.”
“Riding on a broomstick for over ten hours is quite an experience. I don’t reckon I’ve been able to walk straight since.”
No one listened to the announcer as he spoke in German so it was rather hard to keep up with the match. Hours went by with the score increasing to 60-50 in favor of Spain.
“We’ve reached the six hour mark,” Charlie said. “They’ve added anew rule in international play that they can substitute up to three players for fifteen minutes every six hours to let others get their rest.”
Harry watched as England subbed Elizabeth for Llewellyn and Birch for Horton. Spain traded one Beater.
The match lasted another four hours. During the entire six hours none of the group stayed put. They went down at one point for lunch. Near the end Mrs. Weasley and Bill left the stadium. Mrs. Weasley was tired and Bill wanted to write a letter to Fleur. Percy had gone off with Elizabeth’s sister, Audrey, who had been sitting next to them.
“They’ve been talking all day about work,” Hermione said after the match ended with England capturing the Snitch, allowing them to win with a score of 110 Spain to 260 England.
“How boring,” Ron said.
“Apparently, she works at Gringott’s and is just as into it as Percy is with the Ministry.”
“Shockingly, they did spend the entire time together,” Ron added. “I didn’t think Percy could engage anyone that long. Penelope Clearwater included.
At Ron’s last words the trio reached the bottom of the stadium having broken apart from Mr. Weasley, Charlie, and George.
“What about Penelope Clearwater?” Ginny asked, leaning against the rail. “Percy dated her at Hogwarts?”
“Your brother, Percy Ignatius Weasley, spent the entire match talking to Elizabeth’s sister, Audrey. Ron commented he didn’t think anyone would want to talk to Percy that long, Penelope included,” Harry said.
“Elizabeth’s sister? According to Elizabeth she’s a real brain.”
“That sounds like you, Hermione,” Ron said earning a smack on the arm from Hermione. “I mean, that’s perfect for Percy.”
“Anyway,” Harry said.
“I’m sorry you lot came all the way here and I didn’t play.”
Harry reached for her gloved hand.
“I’d watch you sit the bench any time. Your brothers, too, although I reckon they’re more excited over the free World Cup Quidditch Match,” Harry finished ignoring Ron’s grunts.
“Thanks, Harry.” She patted his hand. “I’ve to go change. When I get back I hope food is waiting. I’m starved.”
Harry shook his head. Even with the surname Potter she was all Weasley.
Chapter 51: Championship
"I take it you’re interested? The brunette said.
“My wife will have to take a look, but I absolutely think this is a great house,” Harry said standing in the kitchen of a two-story in Godric’s Hollow.
“When do you think she’ll be able to take a look?”
“I’m not sure as she’s currently out of the country.” Harry did not divulge where Ginny was at the moment, though he had a feeling the real estate witch knew where she was. “I’ll contact you when she returns.”
“Thank you, Mr. Potter.” She stuck her hand out to shake his. “This floo is directly connected to our office in Diagon Alley. You are very welcome to use it.”
Harry decided against it. Once the witch disappeared in the flames, he stepped right outside the front door and Disapparated to another door.
“Harry!” Andromeda Tonks threw open that door. “Teddy’s been waiting mighty impatiently for you.”
Harry entered the small house to see Teddy sitting on the floor playing with his figurines while his hair shone a bright turquoise. His Ginny figure roamed around a 1 cm square then mounted her broom, flew to the other side of the square and dismounted it.
“Will you wide me?” Teddy asked holding a small figure of a hippogriff up to Ginny.
Harry cleared his throat. Teddy looked up and instantly ran over to hug him, abandoning his two figures.
“Hawwee!!” He exclaimed.
Harry lifted his godson off the ground.
“Let’s go,” Teddy declared.
“You packed?” Harry asked.
“Yes, me and Gwan packed my suitcase alweady.” He squirmed to be let down and once he was he ran to his bedroom.
“Teddy!” Andromeda called. “You need to clean up your toys!”
He did not respond.
“Teddy!” She repeated.
“Teddy Remus Lupin!”
He appeared in the hallway, a scowl on his face.
“Did you hear me calling you?”
“Yes.” He looked down at the floor.
“Why didn’t you respond?”
He shrugged his shoulders.
“Clean up your toys, please.”
Teddy ran to his pile of figures and tried to grab them all in his arms, but he kept dropping a few.
“You’ve loads of figures here.” Harry knelt down. “You don’t have to take all at once.”
Still struggling to keep all in his arms, Teddy looked at Harry with bright turquoise eyes as if he didn’t understand what he was saying.
“Put some here.” Harry pointed to the carpet. “Come back for them.”
Teddy did so, ran to his room, and ran back to get the remaining figures.
“Come on, Hawwy,” he urged his godfather to follow him.
“Will your grandmother be happy you’ve dumped your toys on your bed?”
Teddy shrugged and walked over to his suitcase.
“We go now?”
“We’ll leave soon. What’s with you?”
Teddy shrugged again.
“We go see Ginny play?”
“We’re to see England play, yes,” Harry said. “You need to put your toys away properly.”
“No.” Teddy dragged his bag to the middle of the room. “Let’s go now!”
Harry rubbed his face. He didn’t remember Teddy being so defiant. He wanted him to appropriately clean up his stuff, but he really didn’t think that would happen this time. He didn’t want to give in, but he knew this was not something that needed to turn into an argument.
“We’re heading to the Burrow and then taking a portkey with Ron, Hermione, and Percy.”
Yes, Percy was attending another Quidditch match. IT worked out fine since originally Ginny had saved a ticket for Bill, but with Fleur still experiencing her contractions, he wanted to stay home with her.
And why did he want to go? Not because of Quidditch or his darling younger sister, but because of Audrey. He didn’t mean to tell anyone the real reason, it sort of slipped out…well, a certain younger brother who was not able to get away from his joke shop was able to get it to slip out.
Harry grabbed Teddy’s suitcase and headed for the door.
“Let’s say goodbye to your grandma and then we’re heading to the Burrow.”
“Bye, Gwan!” Teddy ran down the hall toward the kitchen.
“Wait one minute, young man.” Andromeda scooped up her grandson and kissed him on the cheek.
“Gwan!” He whined, wiping away the kiss. He squirmed to be let down.
“Be good for Harry.”
“Yes.” He squirmed some more.
“Don’t talk to strangers—people you don’t know.”
“Be a good boy.”
“Yes, Gwan!” He struggled some and she finally put him down.
“Ready?” Harry asked.
“Thanks for taking him to the match.”
“No problem. He’s my buddy.”
“Ready for a long day of Quidditch, Teddy?” Percy asked as the group headed up the hill towards the portkey.
Teddy looked up at Harry.
“Percy doesn’t bite,” Harry said.
Teddy looked back at Percy and nodded his head.
“Here we are,” Ron announced pointing to a mangy old boot.
“Hold tight to my hand,” Harry said to Teddy.
Hermione had added Teddy’s bag to her beaded bag so they didn’t have to worry about it as they traveled.
All five of them touched the boot at the same time and were sent spiraling to another place. They landed on their feet, even Teddy who had help from Harry, in a grassy field in Berlin near where loads of witches and wizards congregated.
After claiming their campsite for their tent, they entered the grounds passing by loud and raucous Bulgarians and wild and partying Englishers.
“It’s Harry Potter,” he heard someone say.
Looking down, he hoped his fringe would cover his scar. Hermione placed her hands on his back, pushing him faster.
“You can look up now,” she said a few minutes later.
They had arrived at England’s campsite, but no one was around.
“You told her when we would be arriving?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Harry responded. “She said it was fine.”
“No one’s here now,” Percy said unnecessarily. “Not even other families.”
“This is a bit odd,” Hermione added.
“Awe we lost?” Teddy asked gripping Harry’s hand tighter.
“No, this is England’s camp. There’s just no one here,” Harry replied.
The group stayed there for roughly half an hour not sure what to do. Hearing a rustling like that of something stepping on grass and twigs, Harry turned around. He saw a woman a few years older than him walking towards their campsite.
“Percy?” She called out.
“You just arrive, did you?” She asked once she reached them.
“Yes, where is everyone?”
“Practice.” Audrey stopped and looked at Percy. “I didn’t think you’d actually come.”
“Yes, my sister’s team is in the championships.”
“But…” she trailed off.
Ron had an odd look on his face like he’d swallowed a crazy potion or something.
“I don’t believe it,” he whispered. “I think Percy’s in love.”
At that moment more people started joining them.
“Harry!” He felt a part of arms wrap around him. “You made it!”
He turned around to face Ginny. Her red hair was piled high on her
head in a messy bun. He kissed her sweetly on the lips.
“Eeew!” Teddy squealed causing the couple to break apart.
“Teddy,” Ron laughed nervously. “That’s not for you to watch or me, either.”
“Oh, Ron,” Hermione sighed.
“Have you eaten?” Ginny asked, holding both Harry and Teddy’s hands and leading everyone to her tent.
“No,” Harry replied.
The team had a big meal prepared for the night before the final match.
“I honestly cannot believe we made it this far,” Ginny said over a plate of a pork chop and mashed parsnips. “We’re brilliant, but we’ve had some close calls.”
Harry nodded. He kept up with the tournament via the radio and The Daily Prophet. Their array of sports writers and one Ginny Potter kept him well informed.
“Why do you have to play bloody Bulgaria?” Ron asked. “You better beat them to a pulp.” He stuffed a forkful of parsnips in his mouth.
“Ron!” Hermione exclaimed.
“What? You do want England to win?” He said after swallowing.
“Or would you rather your precious Vicky bring home the Cup?”
“No,” she replied angrily. “What’s wrong with you? Do you think…honestly what do you think? I chose you, you know.” She stormed away from the table leaving Ron speechless.
“I reckon you went too far there, mate,” said Harry.
Hermione was still bitter that night as they went to bed in the tent. They had three bunks and she claimed the third one all to herself. Percy and Ron shared the second one with Ron on top and Percy on the bottom. Harry put Teddy in the bottom remaining one and he slept on top.
“Hermione,” Ron began, drawing the covers over his chest.
“No, Ron,” she turned over not to face him. “You don’t understand anything.”
Everything was silent excuse the light snoring from Percy, the first to fall asleep.
Just when his eyes began to close, he heard a tiny voice call out, “Hawwee.”
“Hawwee,” the little voice called out again.
Reluctantly Harry climbed down from his bunk and grabbed his glasses from the bedside table.
Harry bent down to Teddy’s level and rubbed his head.
“You’re a brave boy, you are. Nothing is here to be afraid of.”
He looked around at the dark of the tent. If he was Teddy’s age he might be frightened his first night camping. Teddy reached for his hand. Harry rubbed the little thing with his fingers.
“Don’t go to bed!”
“I’m tired, Teddy.”
“No,” he whined.
Harry took off his glasses and slipped into bed next to Teddy, wrapping his arms around him.
“You keep the monstahs away.”
“Yes, sir.” Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath of whatever it was Teddy smelled like—not really like a baby, not really like a kid, with a hint of bubblegum. “I love you.”
“I love you, Hawwy.”
Harry groaned. He didn’t move. He was scrunched on the edge of the bed and if he moved he’d fall off the bed.
He blinked his eyes, but did not fully open them. He stretched his hand out and felt something furry. A stuffed animal? Oh, that’s right. He was in Teddy’s bed.
“The monstahs didn’t come!” Teddy jumped on his back.
“Ooph.” Harry reached his arms around to grab his godson as he turned over. He could hardly make out a fuzzy face as it spoke.
“I’m Hawwy Pottah.”
Harry smiled. He took his glasses off Teddy and put them on. He could now see Teddy sporting green eyes and black hair. Teddy giggled and hopped off the bed.
“Bweakfast!” He exclaimed, tossing his stuffed wolf on the bed.
Harry sat up and saw two Weasley men at the table with bowls of porridge in front of them. Ron’s hair stuck every which way, but Percy’s hair was calm and neat. Hermione, in her dressing gown and her bushy hair tied in a messy knot, placed a steamy bowl in front of the seat Teddy climbed into.
“You’ll wear your hair that way all day, will you?” Hermione asked him.
“Yes.” He scooped up a big lump of porridge and stuffed it in his mouth. “I wub Hay-ee Boddah,” he managed, spitting porridge everywhere.
“Teddy!” Harry scolded, walking to the table in a t-shirt and shorts.
Percy, with a scowling look, busily wiped food off his glasses. Ron ate on as if nothing happened. Hermione, having just sat down to breakfast herself, covered her bowl when Teddy spoke and ended up with a glop of porridge on her arm.
“How can you just sit there like nothing happened?” She scolded Ron while wiping her arm.
“What?” he blinked.
“You know. You’re the one teaching Teddy bad manners.”
“Me?! He’s not my godson!”
Harry felt tense at that jab, but he did not want Ron mad at him, so he said nothing.
“No, but you are an adult and he looks up to you.”
“It’s my fault he talks with his mouth full? You’re mad, woman.”
Ron stormed from the table to the tiny loo. Hermione sat in shock, tears forming in her eyes.
“Teddy, please mind your manners,” Harry said.
Percy left the table and sat on his bed beginning some parchment work he brought.
“Sowwy.” He looked down sadly at his bowl and slowly stirred the contents. “Hewminee, you’we not angwy with Won, awe you?”
“He acts so childish sometimes,” she admitted wiping her eyes. “I hope he’s not angry with me.”
As soon as Ron exited the loo, fully dress with his hair lying flat, Harry went in with Teddy.
“Why did Hewminee blame Won?” Teddy asked after climbing off the toilet.
“She’s in love with him and he’s always on her mind,” he replied absently.
“What?” Little Teddy looked at Harry curiously.
“I mean they’re always arguing over something or other.”
Harry handed Teddy his toothbrush.
“It’s the way they are.”
“Clean your teeth.”
“So you don’t get cavities.”
“No, why is it the way they awe?” He asked with the toothbrush in his mouth.
“It just is.”
“Dank you,” Teddy thanked the merchant when handed a pair of omnioculars after Harry paid for them.
“I’ll show you how they work when we get to our seats.”
Harry led the group inside the stadium. He was anxious for the match to start. Their seats were near the top, a good place to watch a Quidditch match as one would be more level with the action. They quickly settled into the seats with Teddy in the middle and Harry and Hermione on either side. Harry showed Teddy the basics to viewing out of the omnioculars.
“I see you!” Teddy said with his new toy aimed at Harry.
“Why don’t you look at something farther away?”
“Try the Quidditch Pitch.”
Ron leaned over Harry and said to Teddy, “’Ve you tried the instant replay yet.”
Teddy shook his head.
“That might be a bit advanced for him,” Harry suggested.
“Here, look at that man over there.” Ron pointed to a man causing Hermione to shout Ron’s name.
Harry was at a loss. Hermione might be right. Ron could be a bad influence on Teddy, but Ron was his friend. He didn’t Ron angry with him, especially now at the Quidditch World Cup.
“Why don’t you check out the field? The Reserve Players are marching out. There’s Ginny!” Harry thrust his omnioculars to his face, almost giving himself a black eye. The five of them shouted and waved to her, but she marched on unable to hear.
“Is Ginny going to play?” Teddy asked.
Harry reckoned he must have remembered the player introductions at the Harpies match.
“I don’t know. She’s not on the starting team. She is back up.”
“The back up replaces someone who needs a rest or is hurt.”
The announcer began the announcements in German and then to everyone’s delight repeated in English. The first team announced was England. They flew out to a big display of English culture—wizarding culture including a live performance by the Weird Sisters.
Once the band finished and the starting seven flew their customary laps around the field, a group of ladies danced their way onto the field.
“It’s them,” hissed Hermione.
Harry expected Teddy to ask who they were, but like all other males, Harry included, he was entranced by their beauty. He heard Ron sigh beside him.
At the end of the dance the Bulgarian National Team made its way out, flying as soon as their names were called.
“Boo!” Ron cried when the final player flew into the pitch.
Through all Krum had done, through Ron’s jealousy, he still remained a fan, knowing good Quidditch when he saw it, so needless to say, Harry was surprised by Ron’s reaction.
“Boo!” Teddy echoed, most likely not understanding why.
“Go Viktor!” Hermione shouted.
“Traitor,” Ron mumbled.
Hermione glared at him.
“You can’t blame him for cheering against Bulgaria,” Harry said.
“Yeah,” Ron chimed in.
Hermione glared at Harry.
“Are you for England or against England?” Ron asked.
Hermione hrmphed causing Ron to laugh. Harry elbowed him in the side.
“She’s not against England.”
Ron sent Harry a look and the both of them concentrated on the match, which already started. Quickly the score rose. The Keepers were good, but with the amount of Quaffles sent their way, it was no wonder so many got through.
The match was also a dangerous one with Bludgers and players flying everywhere, almost into each other. A Beater for England was hit in the face with a Beater’s bat, but the injury, a bloody nose, was easily remedied.
“Where are you headed, Teddy?” Harry called out when Teddy wandered past Percy, who was deep in conversation with Audrey and not watching the little boy.
Harry shook his head. Teddy shook his and kept on walking.
Harry jumped from his seat and ran after the boy, stepping over feet and disrupting spectators. Looking at Harry instead of where he was going, Teddy tripped over a pair of blue trainers and landed on his hands and knees. Harry willed him not to cry.
The owner of the trainers spoke in fast German. He didn’t sound angry, but he didn’t sound happy either. Harry scooped up Teddy and with the boy’s arms and legs flailing brought him back to his seat.
“Let me see your hands,” Hermione requested, reaching for her wand.
Teddy shook his head and crossed his arms.
“I know they must hurt. I can make them feel better.”
“If he wants to continue with the pain then so be it.” Harry gave in to his godson’s defiant ways.
Teddy looked up at Harry and then slowly his black hair and green eyes turned turquoise.
The crowd around them gasped.
Harry looked up to see a male Chaser for England fall off his broom and land sickeningly on the ground.
Everyone stood up to get a better look. Harry brought his omnioculars to his eyes and saw the player on the ground with his arm in a very odd position. The German announcer explained something as the player was taken off the field and his replacement flew into the air.
“He said Ginevra Weasley, didn’t he?” Harry asked excited. “That’s—that’s red hair!”
“It is Ginny!” Hermione exclaimed.
Teddy jumped up and down his mood obviously forgotten.
“All right, Ginny!” Ron shouted.
“Yea!” Percy added.
The match continued. It was just as dirty and dangerous as ever. Harry winced every time a Bludger flew near Ginny. This was her third year playing professionally, his third watching her as a spectator, and still it made him nervous. Eventually, with the score 160 all, she scored a goal.
It turned out that was the only goal she scored that day. She tried for another, but was blocked. Ten minutes later the Snitch was captured.
“Bloody Krum, “ Ron mumbled on their way to meet Ginny.
Ginny had been in the upper booth for the trophy presentation, so they went to meet her there.
“Teddy, what did you do to your hands?” Ginny asked first thing.
“I falled down.”
“And Harry didn’t clean you up?” She winked at Harry.
“Let me.” She pulled out her wand, reached for Teddy’s hands, and used a healing spell. “All better?”
“You were brilliant.” Harry kissed her sweaty lips quickly.
Ginny’s cheeks turned red.
“Merlin, I played in the Quidditch World Cup!”
“The championship game no less. Too bad you didn’t win.”
“Bloody Krum,” Ron said.
“Bulgaria was just better,” Ginny said. “I’ve to shower. I’ll meet you back at the tent.” She winked again at Harry as she left for the locker room.
I’m sorry for taking so long with this chapter! My New Year’s Resolution is to try to get a chapter out a week. Think I can do it? Feedback.
Chapter 52: Houses and Help
Opening his eyes to the sun streaming in his window, Harry turned over and watched the beautiful red head next to him sleep. The image was fuzzy, but he could make it out. She lay on her side, her hair falling casually over her face, but not so much he couldn’t make out her delicate features. He was so glad she was home.
Her left hand, nestled near her face, twitched slightly. He reached over and rubbed her fingers. He loved the way they were rough from playing Quidditch yet soft from being a woman. They were perfect.
“Hmm,” he heard her mumble.
He continued rubbing her hand.
“Hmm,” she said again and before he knew it her lips were on his. “I am so glad to be home in my own bed, able to wake up and kiss you, even though you’ve morning breath.”
He put on his glasses so he could see her better.
She rubbed his cheeks softly. He took her hand and kissed her palm.
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you, too,” he whispered back.
Harry pulled the covers off, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and sat up.
“Stay in bed, it’s Saturday.” Ginny patted the empty spot.
“We’ve things we have to do today.”
“We? I don’t have any plans.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Harry, I just got home. I want to relax.”
“You can relax tomorrow. Today we have plans.”
“I want to relax today! We can deal with your plans tomorrow.”
“What’s that? I smell breakfast. I believe Kreacher’s cooking bacon and eggs for us.
“Where are we going?” Ginny asked later that day.
After they had breakfast and cleaned up, Harry took her outside so they could Disapparate.
“You’ll see. Just hold my hand.”
Harry took hold of Ginny’s reluctant hand and turned on the spot with almost no sound at all.
“Godric’s Hollow?” Ginny asked when they landed on solid ground. “But why—“ she stopped. “The house?”
“Yes. We have an appointment with a real estate witch in five minutes.”
“Could this not wait until tomorrow?”
“She doesn’t work on Sundays.”
“It’s the happy couple.” The brunette witch stepped out the front door at that very moment. “Hello, Harry. This must be your lovely wife, Ginny. “ She stuck her hand out for a shake. “I’m Xena Vicring.”
Ginny accepted the shake sending Harry a look he could only interpret as evil.
Whatever she thought upon meeting the witch her mind must have changed when she stepped inside the house for she was heard making the simple sound of “wow.”
“Lovely, isn’t it?” Xena asked.
“Oh, yes,” Ginny replied.
“This is just the entrance. Let us take a look at the rest of the house.”
Harry hung back. He’d already seen the house. This was for Ginny. He wanted her to fall in love with it the way he had. He loved the upstairs had four bedrooms—enough they could start a family and Teddy could have his own room when he visited.
“Here is the kitchen,” he heard Xena say.
A few steps behind he made it into the kitchen. It was decent size with ample counter and cupboard space. The walls were a dark blue and the floors were a rich mahogany.
“This is bigger than Mum’s kitchen.”
“Reckon she’ll be jealous?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know, maybe, yeah.”
“Let’s take a look at the upstairs before you make a decision, shall we?” Xena said.
“You know you don’t cook,” Harry whispered to Ginny.
“Kreacher does. He’ll be happy with this kitchen.
“Oh, so we’re bringing Kreacher with us?”
“Are we not?”
“I’ve actually not thought about it. He doesn’t want freedom so the only other option is for him to live alone in Grimmauld Place.”
“Ginny? Harry?” The real estate witch called from the second floor.
“Let’s look at the rest of the house.”
“I will discuss this offer with the owner and get back to you.” Xena shuffled some parchment paper.
Harry and Ginny walked out of the office and stepped onto Diagon Alley. Harry headed in the direction of The Leaky Cauldron.
“What now, Mr. Potter?”
“I just thought we’d have lunch with Hannah today.” He reached for Ginny’s hand and brought her close.
Harry led her into the pub and chose a small round table near the middle. Hannah nodded her had at them to say she’d be over shortly.
“How are we going to break it to Ron that we’re moving?” Ginny asked.
“Er, ‘Ron we’ve found a house we’d rather live in than Grimmauld Place. You can still stay here. Bye.’”
“Harry! That’s so insensitive! You know he’ll be heartbroken. I remember what you said about how he acted the morning of our wedding.”
“You make him sound nuts.”
“Who?” Hannah asked appearing at the table.
“Ron,” Ginny answered casually.
Hannah nodded. “Speaking of crazy, you work with Neville, Harry. Has he been acting weird to you?”
“He has been mopey lately,” Harry admitted.
“So, it’s not just me. I try talking to him, but he won’t tell me anything.”
“I’ll talk to him,” Harry offered.
“Thank you so much!” Hannah looked much better. She took their order and was off.
“You think they’re having problems?” Ginny asked.
“I hope not.”
“Yeah, me either. I’ve never seen Neville happier than when he’s with her. Not with Luna, not when he’s a hero, not any other time. He and Hannah are made for each other.”
Hannah returned and they quickly changed the subject to the Quidditch World Cup. Hannah did not follow the tournament religiously, but Neville happened to come across Ginny’s article in the paper and she read it every week.
“You really are a fabulous writer,” Hannah gushed.
Ginny’s cheeks turned red.
“You are,” Harry added.
“Thanks, you two.”
“So,” Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny while she snuggled closer to him on the couch in the sitting room. “Was today much better than spending it here relaxing?”
“Maybe,” she sighed into his chest, “but tomorrow we’re staying home and relaxing.”
“Until we have dinner at the Burrow.”
“Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley threw her arms around her daughter once she stepped out of the floo and brushed the dust off.
“Mum!” She tried breaking free from her mother’s bone crushing hug. “Mum, I’ve been gone longer when I was at Hogwarts.”
“I know and I missed you just as much then as I did now.” She kissed her forehead. “You’re my ickle baby. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Mum.”
“Alright. You dears can wait somewhere else. Dinner should be ready soon, though we’re still waiting on George.”
Harry and Ginny made for the sitting room surprised to find Bill, Fleur, and Victoire. Fleur had the couch with Bill and Victoire. Ron and Hermione sat together in one armchair and the other chair was left open.
“’Tar!” Victoire squealed.
“Where’s Dad?” Ginny asked.
“In his shed messing with something Muggle or other,” Ron answered.
“Congrazzulations on playing in zee championsheep,” Fleur said.
“I hope she doesn’t go into labor tonight,” Ginny whispered to Harry as they sat down.
“We listened to the entire match on the wireless,” Bill added. “Too bad you didn’t win. Krum is just too good.”
“Bloody Krum,” Harry heard Ron mutter. If it was loud enough for him he was sure Bill heard it, too.
“I wish you had been there,” Ginny said.
“Good evening, Harry, Ginny,” Mr. Weasley greeted entering the sitting room via the kitchen. “How’s my favorite granddaughter?” He scooped up Victoire from Bill’s lap.
“’Tinky,” she replied.
“Do you need your nappy changed?” Fleur asked.
“No, Gramp ‘tinky.”
“Victoire!” both Bill and Fleur exclaimed. Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny tried not to laugh.
“Quite alright. I’ve been out tinkering with things in my shed. I’m ‘tinky’.” He kissed the toddler on the cheek and placed her back in her dad’s lap. “Allow me to clean myself up.
Tap, tap, tap. George tapped his knife against his glass. Harry looked over at him, but no one else paid him any mind. He continued tapping, harder this time, that the glass broke and the butterbeer it contained ran all over the table.
“It can be cleaned up.” Mrs. Weasley produced her wand instantly the glass was repaired.
Angelina produced a towel and wiped up the spill.
“See there,” she kissed George on the cheek to the oohs of his siblings, “now you’ve there attention.”
“Quite. Sorry ‘bout that.” His ears turned red, which was not common for him. George Weasley was not known for being embarrassed.
“Out with it,” Ron demanded.
“Yes, well,” he stammered. “I wish Percy was here.”
“Zat’s it? You want our attension to tell us you wish your bruzzer was ‘ere?” Fleur complained.
“I wish Fred was here, too,” he mumbled. “No, no, that’s not what I wanted to say. Er, Angelina and I have an announcement.” He reached for her hand. “We’re engaged and plan to marry next summer.”
“Two weddings to plan!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed.
“Now zat’s worss our attension.”
“What would Fred say?” Ron asked. “Hey!” He exclaimed after Hermione smacked him in the back of the head.
“Let’s see the ring!” Ginny ordered.
Angelina put her left hand on the table so the women could admire it. The ring was white gold with a marquis diamond.
“I can’t believe he’s getting married before us,” Ron said later that evening back at Grimmauld Place with Hermione, Harry and Ginny. “I get engaged before him and he still manages to beat me with the wedding date.”
“He’s not married, yet,” Hermione said.
“What’s so wrong with George marrying Angelina before you and Hermione marry?” Ginny asked. She sat on one side of the couch with Harry and Ron and Hermione sat on the other.
“Nothing I reckon…” he trailed off.
“We waited a bit before picking a date ourselves,” Harry added.
“We can pick a date now if you want,” Hermione suggested.
“Er, all right,” Ron replied slowly. “How about next Saturday?”
“We are not eloping!”
“I don’t think Mum would be happy over not planning your wedding,” Ginny added.
“I’m pretty busy with work right now so the date should be a bit in the future,” Hermione thought out loud.
“How far?” Ron asked a bit perturbed.
“I don’t know. I just want plenty of time to thoughtfully plan the wedding and not skimp on work.”
“Still working on the house-elves, are you?”
“Yes,” she replied timidly.
Ron grunted. “They do need their freedom.”
“Yes,” she replied a bit surprised. “They do. Don’t worry, Ron, we’ll get married and it will be sooner rather than later.”
“Neville!” Harry caught up with his old schoolmate as they both were leaving the office that late morning.
Slowly, Neville turned around.
“You’ve any lunch plans?”
“Care to join me at The Three Broomsticks? Visit good ole Madam
Neville nodded and the two made their way to the lifts and to the fireplaces in the Atrium.
Being the end of the summer holiday for Hogwarts students, the pub was not crowded, just a few residents here and there as well as a handful of witches and wizards who remembered the place from their school days. An older couple walked in and chose a square table near Harry and Neville.
“How is work for you?” Harry asked over a mug of butterbeer.
“Fine,” Neville responded quietly, looking down at the table.
“You all right?”
“Yeah,” he lifted his head. “This Auror thing is harder than I thought.”
“You’re not having second thoughts?”
“I don’t know.” He sipped his butterbeer. “Maybe. I’m not cut out for this. I’m no you.”
“No, you’re Neville Longbottom, the man who led and underground army of defiant students during the worst war the wizarding world has ever seen and to top it off, stood up to Voldemort and killed his prized snake. You are more than worthy of being an Auror. I didn’t suggest your name to Kingsley because you’re my friend, but because I believe you qualified.”
“No,” Neville said shyly.
“Yes.” Harry glanced around. “I’ve faith you can be a great Auror, but I don’t want to pressure you to stay, especially if your heart’s not in it. What would you do if you weren’t an Auror?”
“I don’t know.” Neville shrugged. “Something with plants probably. I’ve a new one in my cubicle, an asphodel.”
Harry remembered Neville’s fondness for Herbology, the one class he excelled at. There was no doubt one day he would have a job, perhaps a career, dealing with plants.
“I missed my old team,” Ginny said at dinner that night. The first Monday after the Cup she jumped right back into Harpies practice.
Hermione and Ron were whispering with each other on the other side of the table.
“I liked playing for England, but there’s something about playing for the familiar.”
“Absolutely.” Harry recalled how different it was in year 5 to play under a new captain.
“Master Harry,” Kreacher appeared at the table, “you have a letter.”
“Thank you.” He took the letter and read. “They rejected our offer!” He exclaimed.
“What?” Ron, Hermione, and Ginny asked simultaneously.
“Not really rejected. They did counter offer.
“Who?” Ron and Hermione asked.
Harry and Ginny looked at each other.
“What’s the counter offer?”
“It’s not like we can’t afford it. It is 2490 Galleons lower than the original asking price.” She stuck a forkful of beans in her mouth. “I ‘hink we sood ac’et.”
She swallowed. “Sorry. I think we should accept. You love the house. I love the house. It’s a good deal.”
“I’ll look over the contract after dinner and we can decide then.”
“You’re buying a house!” Ron and Hermione said in different tones. Hermione’s was a squeal, but Ron’s sounded more like dejection.
“We found this nice two-story in Godric’s Hollow,” Ginny said happily.
“Brilliant,” Ron said huffily. “When were you planning on telling us?”
“I—er,” Harry managed.
“Were you just going to move and hope I’d figure it out on my own?”
“Right.” He leaned back in his chair and folded his arms.
“We were planning on telling you, Ron, but we wanted to wait until it was a done deal,” Harry said.
“Harry knew it could hurt you so he wanted to break it to you gently,” Ginny added. It wasn’t entirely true, but Ron wouldn’t know that.
“You should’ve come up with a better plan, because ickle Ronnie needs protecting.” Ron stormed from the table and up the stairs.
“I’ll go talk to him,” Hermione said stunned. She followed Ron up the stairs.
While Hermione talked to Ron, Harry and Ginny moved to the drawing room to discuss the updated contract.
“So, that’s it?” Ginny asked after signing her name below Harry’s.
“I think the house has to go through an inspection or something. I’ve never done this before.”
“Are you going to sell this place?”
“What? Sell Grimmauld Place?”
“Yeah. We don’t need it anymore.”
“No, we don’t, but Ron lives here and I will continue to let him do so, even though he’s being a huge obnoxious git. Anyway, this is the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black as well as one of the meeting places for the Order of the Phoenix. I can’t just sell it. It’s a historical landmark or something.”
He also couldn’t imagine getting rid of the last place he’d seen his godfather.
Chapter 53: Surprise
The Potters finally moved to Godric’s Hollow. Harry and Ginny worked on the house for almost a month, from inspections to closing. The whole ordeal too much longer than either of them expected, but with the signing of their names on the official document, they were now the proud owners of a two-story, four bedroom, detached home in a mixed Wizarding/Muggle community.
“Home sweet home,” Harry remarked when stepping out of the floo at his new place.
“Lovely, it’s our first place together.” Ginny squeezed Harry.
She looked around the kitchen. The table and chairs had been supplied from an unused room at Grimmauld Place. Actually, most of the furniture in the house came from Grimmauld Place. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. It did make it easier to furnish the house and she’d never been furniture shopping before, but it didn’t have her touch, not that she was sure she had a touch.
“You all right?” Harry asked. “Not having second thoughts, are you?”
“Oh, no. I love this house,” she replied honestly. “I’m thinking of having a small house warming party; maybe get all us Weasley women together for lunch or something.”
“That’s a good idea. You’ll invite Fleur?”
“Yeah,” she replied reluctantly.
Ginny knew Fleur truly loved Bill and she was okay with that. She just needed to get over the fact that Fleur not Ginny was the most important woman in her eldest brother’s life and Victoire not Ginny was the other most important female.
“It’ll be fine,” Harry assured as if he was able to read her thoughts.
Ginny walked into the sitting room where they’d set up a nice wooden desk, so she could write invitations.
“I should probably check with Kreacher, but I think next Tuesday will be a good date.”
“I’m unpacking the boxes.” Harry stepped out of the room.
“Harry!” She called out after finding parchment, ink, and a quill.
“In here!” He called back from upstairs.
“Is there a spell to copy things?”
“Instead of writing a bunch of invitations, write one, and then copy them multiple times?”
Ginny wrote the letter of invitation to the lunch party at her new home for next Tuesday at 1PM and then copied it for her mum, Fleur, Angelina, Hermione, Luna, Andromeda, and the girls on her Quidditch team. She then took the stack of parchment upstairs, attached them to Oberon who stood on the outside of his cage in the main bedroom, opened the window, and let him fly.
“You could have a party, too,” Ginny said to Harry as she sat on the unmade bed. “Like you did when you moved into Grimmauld Place.”
“Maybe.” Harry sat down next to her. “We’ve loads of unpacking to do.”
She kissed him on the lips. “Isn’t it great we can do this and not worry about anyone barging in?”
“Yeah.” He kissed her back.
Ginny pushed him onto the bed.
“Gin—we—need—unpack—boxes,” he managed between kisses.
Nothing else was said as their kisses became something more.
Tuesday came very quickly. Harry and Ginny with the help of Ron and Hermione got the house presentable. Everyone except Luna, a Beater, and a Keeper accepted. Luna was in South America in search of the Crumple Horned Snorcack and sent a gemstone she called a famalia habis that she claimed brought great spirit to the home. Ginny thought it looked an awful lot like a sapphire, but she did display it on her mantle in the kitchen.
Kreacher was in the kitchen preparing the meal. He didn’t live with the Potters, but he still served as their faithful house-elf. He lived back at Grimmauld Place, the only home he ever knew. Harry gave him the option of moving to Godric’s Hollow or staying at his old home. He chose the latter.
Ginny entered the kitchen to check on the food when she heard someone step out of the floo.
“Mum!” She said surprised. “I’m not ready!” She looked down at her shorts and t-shirt.
“I know I’m early, but I wanted my own private tour of the house,” Mrs. Weasley admitted. “I wanted time alone with my baby.” She wrapped her arms around her daughter for a quick hug.
“A quick tour’ll have to do, Mum, so I can be ready when the rest of the guests arrive.”
“This is your kitchen?” She glanced around. “Loads bigger than the Burrow.”
“I wouldn’t say loads.”
Ginny quickly showed her the downstairs and the upstairs.
“…and this is Teddy’s room. Harry wants to spend a day with him, helping him…Mum, what are you looking at?” She noticed her mother’s gaze at her waist.
“Nothing, Dear. You need to dress?”
“Mum!” She exclaimed with an exasperated sigh. This was why she didn’t want to tell anyone she and Harry were moving. “I’m not pregnant!”
Mrs. Weasley raised an eyebrow.
“I’m on the potion and why would I want to risk my Quidditch career? Harry and I do want children; we just want to focus on our careers at the moment.”
“Mum, I’m sorry. I know you want loads of grandchildren. You’ll get them I promise. You’ve one now and one on the way with Fleur and Bill.”
“I know.” She put her arms out for a hug and Ginny walked into them. “Now, go get ready.”
“’Ello? Is anybody ‘ere?”
“You dress and I’ll see to Fleur.”
Not too long after, everyone else arrived and Ginny was dressed in a set of bright blue robes. Most of the Quidditch team along with Hermione, Angelina, Andromeda, Fleur, and of course, Mrs. Weasley, was present. Fleur brought Victoire and Andromeda brought Teddy.
“My woom!” Teddy exclaimed when they reached the room at the head of the stairs at the end of the grand tour. “Hawwee ‘n’ me awe going to dec’wate it.”
Angelina rubbed the top of his head, ruffling his turquoise hair.
Fleur hung back as the group made its way down the stairs having finished with the upstairs. Being one of the last in the group, Ginny caught her eye.
“You all right?” She whispered.
“Yes,” Fleur replied back hastily. She beckoned Ginny on.
Ginny thought something might be wrong, but she wasn’t going to say anything. She was not going to let Fleur ruin her party.
“You’ve a lovely house, now what’re we eating?” Gwenog asked as they all sat down at the extended kitchen table.
Kreacher walked over to the table summoning a bowl of beef stew and a plate of tea sandwiches. At every seat was the usual place setting with a glass of pumpkin juice.
“Thank you, Kreacher,” Ginny said.
The house-elf bowed and disappeared.
Everyone helped themselves to the stew and sandwiches. Victoire, with a special sandwich and a small bowl of stew, sat at the table pretending to be a lady. Across from her Teddy made funny faces.
“’Top!” She demanded.
Andromeda gave the boy a look that immediately had him sulking in his stew. Victoire smiled and slurped hers.
“I’ll have to learn that,” Ginny said.
The rest of the lunch went smoothly. There was laughs and merriment among the women.
Soon, the lunch was over. Ginny said goodbye to all the women who came with them leaving either via floor or Disapparition.
“I wish I could stay longer,” Hermione hugged Ginny, “but I do need to get back to work. Ron and I’ll come over tomorrow evening,” she finished before disappearing in the flames.
“Zank yoo for letting me stay ‘ere. Bill does not want me traveling alone in my condission.” Fleur positioned herself a tad noisily on the couch in the sitting room.
Ginny was about to respond when her mum and Andromeda walked into the kitchen.
“Thanks for watching Teddy. He just went to sleep and Victoire’s in the other bedroom. He should be down for an hour or two.”
“We’ll be back soon,” Mrs. Weasley said.
The two older women were spending the afternoon together in Diagon Alley. After the war, they became good friends, having something in common with the deaths of a child and other relatives and recovering from the war itself. Ginny thought it was a good idea as the older women needed to bond, though this meant she was spending the afternoon alone with Fleur.
“Ginny?” Fleur called.
“Yes?” She entered the sitting room.
“Just wondering what you are doing. I could see you standing in zee kitssen staring into space.”
“Oh, er,” she didn’t know what to say. “That was a good party, wasn’t it?” She asked making small talk.
“Yes, I enjoyed meeting your teammates. Zey are very nice, zough zat Gwenog Jones is quite odd.”
Ginny sat down on the floor leaning against the couch. Fleur was reclined in a half sitting/half laying position with her hands on her humongous belly.
“She’s retiring at the end of the year. I don’t know what it will be like to play for another captain. I’ve played under three captains my entire Quidditch career—Angelina, Harry, and Gwenog.”
“One of your brussers needs to marry ‘er.”
“Why?” Ginny asked curiously. She turned to look at Fleur.
“Angelina is marrying George. Harry married you. It’s only right.”
“Oh, who will have her? Charlie? Percy?”
“Zat would be comical for Percy to marry ‘er,” Fleur paused.
“Fleur?” Ginny asked alarmed.
“No, you’re not. Are you still experiencing those, oh what did Hermione call them, Brapstone Hix contractions?”
“I—I’m taking a possun to elevate the pain and I believe it’s wearing off.”
“Are—are you sure?”
“Don’t—don’t worry,” she grimaced, “I’m fine. I’m fine,” she paused before continuing. “I’m sorry your brusser Bill could not attend your final match in the Cup. ‘E wanted to so badly. I told ‘im ‘e could go, but ‘e did not want to leave me.”
“That’s Bill,” Ginny muttered.
“’E loves you, Ginny. You would not believe ‘ow excited ‘e was when you told ‘im you were on zee team. ‘E told everyone zat his favorite sister was a star. ‘E would not be quiet about it. I sought it was very cute. We listened to all your matches togezzer. ‘E cried when your last match began, because ‘e knew ‘e should ‘ave been zere. I knew ‘e should ‘ave been zere. I felt so guilty.”
“No, no, he did what’s right. He needed to be with you and your baby. I would have felt guilty if something happened because he was not with you,” Ginny admitted. “He’s my brother, but he’s your husband and…” She stopped seeing the look on Fleur’s face. “Are you positive you’re having those Brapstone Hix contractions?”
Ginny jumped up.
“Do they usually come this close together?”
“I told you, zee possun is wearing off.”
“I don’t think it’s the potion.” Ginny cleared her throat. “I think you’re in labor.”
“Do you need me to contact your midwitch?”
“She said not to contact ‘er until the contractions are no more zan five minutes apart.”
“I think they might be closer than that,” Ginny said when Fleur started to groan.
“I sink you are right.” She collapsed into the couch when the pain subsided. “We need to contact my midwitch, my musser, your musser, and...and...Bill…”
Ginny hurried to the desk and began scrawling out a letter.
“What are you doing?”
“Writing letters for your mother, my mother, Bill, and your midwitch.”
“Do you know of a faster way?”
“Um,” Ginny hesitated. “I don’t know how to send a message via my Patronus.”
“I—I—can.” Fleur raised her wand, closed her eyes, and four silver doves appeared, flying off in different directions.
Ginny dropped the quill in her hand and rushed back to her sister-in-law’s side. Fleur gripped her left hand as another contraction ripped through her body.
“It’s all right,” Ginny said over and over patting Fleur’s hand. She said it more to comfort herself than for Fleur’s benefit.
“Fleur Weasley?” An older female voice called out from the kitchen.
“In ‘ere, Miss Tannem,” Fleur replied.
A white haired witch wearing healers robes and carrying a small brown bag entered the room.
“Allow me to set up your spot and then we’ll get you situated.” She pulled a green mat out of her bag and positioned it in the empty space between the kitchen and the sitting room.
“There we go,” she said once the two women helped Fleur onto the mat. “Are you comfortable, yes?”
“I’m sorry. Do you need repositioning?”
“Yes, I need to find a way to sit wiss zis baby not in me.”
“Honey, we’ll get that baby out of you soon enough. You’ve done this before. You know how long it can take. Spread your legs.”
Ginny looked away as Fleur did what her midwitch said. She felt she was invading on Fleur’s privacy and she shouldn’t be here.
“6 centimeters. You’re further along than I thought.”
“Is that bad?” Ginny asked, still not looking at Fleur or Miss Tannem.
“It only means things may be moving faster than I originally thought. Fleur Honey, how long have you been experiencing contractions?”
“I—I don’t really know,” she admitted. “Zee ‘ealers at St. Mungo’s prescribed me a possun to take away zee pain of my preliminary contracssions and it ‘as been working fine until zis morning.”
“Fleur!” Bill ran into the room and knelt down to take his wife’s hand. He picked a good moment to appear as she screamed in pain.
“I’m going upstairs,” Ginny said with the feeling that no one was paying attention to her.
“Oh, Gin, you’re here. Thanks,” Bill replied offhandedly.
Walking up the stairs, she noticed the door to Teddy’s room opened all the way. She peeked in to see him not in his bed at all. She then peeked into the room next to him to see little Victoire in Teddy’s arms.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
Teddy looked up at Ginny.
“She’s scawed. Hew mummy is scweaming in pain. What’s wong with hew mummy?”
“She’s—she’s—“ She didn’t know what to say. Victoire was just a two year old and even Teddy was too young to hear the truth, she thought. “Victoire is about to become a big sister.”
“Maman have baby?” Victoire let go of Teddy and looked up at Ginny.
“Yes, your mother’s having the baby. Have your parents talked to you about this?” Ginny sat down on the bed next to the two kids.
“Maman tummy get big and baby come.”
“Yes and that’s why she’s in so much pain right now.”
“Baby hurt Maman? Bad baby!”
“If Maman didn’t have the pain the baby wouldn’t come.”
“I don’t want baby here.” A tear slid down Victoire’s pale cheek.
“Because the baby is causing your mum so much pain?”
Teddy left the room.
“Don’t you want to be a big sister?”
“I have something foh you, Victa.” Teddy appeared with his hands behind his back. “Wolfie.” He handed her the stuffed wolf and sat back on the bed next to her.
“That’s very sweet of you, Teddy.”
His cheeks turned red.
“Tank you,” Victoire replied.
His cheeks turned redder.
“Do you like Victoire?”
“She’s my fwiend,” Teddy replied.
Victoire squeezed the wolf to her chest and let the tears fall from her eyes. Ginny rubbed her back.
“What’s wrong, my ickle Victoire?” Mrs. Weasley entered the room with Andromeda behind her.
Andromeda sat next to Teddy who immediately scrambled for her lap. Mrs. Weasley sat in front of her granddaughter.
“She’s scawed for her mummy,” Teddy responded for his friend.
“Your mother is very brave.”
“Brave?” Victoire repeated.
“Yes. You should be proud of her. She’s doing very well. Soon you will have a little brother or sister to take care of.”
“You’ll be the big sister. That’s a huge responsibility. Can you do it?”
“Yes!” she exclaimed, tears subsiding.
“Alright!” Ginny said.
Victoire scooted into her grandmother’s lap, closed her eyes, and fell asleep.
“Zere you are,” Madame Delacour walked into the room an hour later. “Zee midwitch says it is almost time.”
They were all crowded on the little single bed and scooted closer to allow room for Madame Delacour.
“We are sorry to ‘ave zees ‘appen in your ‘ome, Geeny.”
“It couldn’t be helped.”
“May I ‘old my granddaughter?”
Mrs. Weasley handed over Victoire, whose eyes fluttered opened. She yawned.
“Bon jour, Victoire.”
“Bon jour, Grandmère.”
“Who ees zees?” Madame Delacour held up the stuffed wolf.
“Wolfie, Teddy’s Wolfie.”
“Are you ready to be a beeg sister?” She asked.
“No,” Victoire replied honestly.
A scream tore through the house.
“I think it’s time,” Andromeda said.
Victoire burst into tears. Teddy’s eyes grew big.
“I remember when you were born, Teddy,” she said. “It was during the middle of the Second War. Your mum and dad were so proud. Your mum’s favorite thing aside from you being healthy was your Metamorphmagus ability.” Her eyes welled up. “She loved you so much.”
“Don’t cwy, Gwan.” He patted her leg. “Don’t cwy, Victa.”
“I remember hearing the news. We were in hiding at the time, but Professor Lupin came to tell us anyway. I’ve never seen him more excited,” Ginny told.
“It’s a girl!” Bill burst into the room.
Victoire cried harder.
“Are you not happy, my Victoire?” He asked, kneeling down to her level.
She shook her head.
“Maman and I still love you and now you have even more love because your sister loves you, too.”
“No!” She wailed.
“Do you want to see her?”
She shook her head.
“She’s a beautiful baby. I want you to meet her.”
Bill took his daughter from her grandmère and rubbed her back as she cried into his shoulder.
“Baby hurt Maman.”
“No, Maman’s doing fine. You lot can come see her, too. She is such a tiny, amazing thing.”
“I can’t believe it’s a girl,” Ginny said to her mother as they walked down the stairs. “I was so sure it would be a boy, but Fleur held strong that it was a girl. I reckon she’s right.”
“You must have broken the spell.”
They walked into the sitting room to see Fleur nestled on the couch with a tiny bundle in her arms. Bill got down on his knees.
“Victoire, meet your sister,” Fleur said. “Dominique Ginevra Weasley.”
A small “oh” escaped from Ginny’s lips. She was not expecting that.
Chapter 54: The Date
Yawning, Ron counted out the change in Knuts and handed it to the customer who just purchased two Skiving Snackboxes.
“Come again,” he said monotonously as the customer walked out the door.
He hated his job. He hated getting up early on Saturday mornings and coming to the shop. He loved his brother and family was family so he would not tell anyone this, save for Hermione. His job—well, one of his two jobs, was to work at Weasleys Wizard Wheezes on Saturdays letting George, Angelina, or Verity have the day off. He didn’t know why they didn’t just hire some part-time goober, but they didn’t.
He sighed, leaning his elbows on the counter and his head in his hands. Leaving that morning was extra hard. When Harry and Ginny moved into their new house he moved in with Hermione. Ever since Ginny moved out he’d been helping Hermione with her rent, so it was only natural he become her roommate.
“Ron,” George called from the back room, “stock the new Decoy Detonators.”
Rolling his eyes, he did as he was told. He would mindlessly get through the day so he could hurry up and get home to Hermione.
“Good morning, Mr. Weasley,” Ron heard one of Diagon Alley’s oldest shopkeepers greet his brother.
“Hello, Madam Vedin.”
“I hear you’re getting married, to the lovely Miss Johnson no less.”
Ron turned around to watch the conversation. Madam Vedin, the proprietor of a used robe shop wore her light brown hair in a tight bun giving her face a pinched look. Ron’s own face often hurt from looking at her.
“I also hear you haven’t picked your wedding party.”
Ron bumped into the shelf holding the Decoy Detonators. Madam Vedin was such a busy body, a gossip.
“I’ve decided on my brother, Ron, and my best mate, Lee Jordan, to be my groomsmen,” he replied casually while counting the till.
He did not remember being asked, but if he was, Ron would say yes. George was his closest brother and to be in his wedding would be an honor.
“And the best man?”
“Why, Fr—“ he paused. “Fre—“ he said again. “I—I don’t know,” his voice quivered.
“You need to hurry with that decision. I bet Miss Johnson has all her girls picked.”
George could do nothing but nod.
He was going to say Fred. Of course he was going to say Fred. They were inseparable twins. Most likely, at Bill’s wedding they promised to be each other’s best men, not that they needed to say anything.
Fortunately, Verity appeared and whisked Madam Vedin away. Ron walked toward the counter.
“I’ll be in my office.” George disappeared in the back room.
Ron wished he was as skilled as Ginny at the Bat Bogey Hex for he’d send one Madam Vedin’s way.
“Hi, Ron,” Angelina greeted Ron later that day.
“Hi,” he replied not looking up from the mess he was cleaning.
A very young boy knocked over a row of Coughing Potion, a new line for the Skiving Snackboxes, and the smell was really getting to him. He tried using magic, but it left a sticky residue as well as the horrid smell.
“Where’s—where’s—“ she coughed, covering her nose. “Oh, that stinks. Have you seen George?”
Ron stood up and wiped his hands on his robes.
“Madam Vedin was in here earlier asking questions about the wedding.”
“This doesn’t sound good.”
“She asked him who his best man would be.”
“Yep. He’s been in the back room ever since. Bloody Vedin.”
“Thanks.” Angelina hurried to the back.
Ron got back on his hands and knees to clean up the stink when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Hermione.” He jumped.
“If I’d know it was going to smell this bad I wouldn’t have come to visit.”
“Sorry, it’s this bloody new Coughing Potion. I’ve the most awful time cleaning it up.”
“Try magic,” she suggested.
He gave her a look.
“I guess you’ve already tried that,” she mumbled. “Let me see what I can do.” Fifteen minutes later the smell was gone.
“Brilliant!” He kissed her on the cheek. “There’s a reason I’m engaged to you. Now, what did you come for?”
“You, silly. You’re off soon. I thought we’d have a nice dinner out together. You seemed upset this morning and I thought we could do something fun.”
Hermione was a busy woman and the two hadn’t spent much time together in a long time.
“Let me check with George and see if I can get off early.”
Ron slowly opened the door to see George’s head in Angelina’s arms. She waved him away.
“I just came to see if I can leave early. We close soon and Hermione wants to take me out.”
“That’s fine,” George mumbled. “Tell Verity she can close up shop now if she wants to.”
Ron hurried to Hermione.
“Yeah, I can go. VERITY!” He yelled.
Verity was at the cash register with a customer. She rolled her eyes and ignored Ron.
“Verity!” He called out again.
“I’m with a customer!” She called back.
“George said you can close up shop!” He yelled.
“Thanks,” she responded.
“So, where do you want to go?” Ron asked, walking out the front door of the shop and slipping his hand into Hermione’s. He loved holding onto her strong fingers.
“There’s a new restaurant on the other side of Diagon Alley I thought we could try, unless you don’t want to,” she quickly added. “Ugh, you still smell like that awful potion.”
“It’s a big seller. I reckon people’d rather cough than be sick.”
“I can imagine, but Merlin, it smells vile.”
“Why don’t we just pick up takeaway?” Ron suggested. “Then I’ll go home, take a shower, and spend the rest of the night with you, stink free.”
“Hurry, the sandwiches are getting cold,” Hermione said as Ron walked down the hall of their flat, his hair wet from his shower.
The couple had ordered take away from Madam Amy’s, a delicatessen on the far end of Diagon Alley. Neither had eaten there before so they decided to be adventurous and try it.
Ron sat down on the wood floor next to Hermione. She had set up dinner like a picnic with a blanket and candles.
“It’s beautiful. Like you.”
Hermione’s cheeks turned pink.
“Thanks,” she replied taking the covers off the dishes and revealing the different sandwiches and soups they ordered.
“Mmm.” Ron bit into a bacon sandwich.
“Didn’t have lunch today,” he answered while swallowing.
He took another bite.
“Oh?” Hermione placed a spoon in the chicken soup.
“George spent most of the day in his office.”
“That’s what Angelina said.” Ron bit into the sandwich a third time. “Ma’am Ve’in ‘ro’e my ‘n’ ack ‘Eor’e amou’ ‘he we’n.”
“Is he upset over marrying Angelina?”
He shook his head and swallowed.
“I reckon he’s happy about marrying her. We’ve not really talked about it. Vedin is a right gossip and asked nosey questions. Someone needs to hex her off the face of the Earth.” Ron’s face was a tad red.
“What did she ask?”
“Who his best man would be,” he replied as if it was obvious what the answer would be.
Ron shrugged. “All he could say was part of Fred’s name.”
“Oh! Why didn’t we think of this before? Fred and George were, are, two halves of a whole. They must’ve planned their whole lives to be each other’s best man.”
“Harry’s my best man,” Ron said nonchalantly.
“I reckoned as much. ‘Ve you asked him?” Hermione finally sipped the soup.
“No, we haven’t picked a date, yet.”
She sighed loudly.
“What? Is picking a date so wrong? Is your work so much more important than me? Damn, Hermione. If you don’t want to marry me then why did you say yes?”
“I—I—“ Hermione stammered on the brink of tears. “I love you.”
“Like hell.” Ron turned away to not look at her. He dropped his sandwich in uninterest.
“Ron!” She was definitely crying now. “I do want to marry you. I want to marry you and no one else. I know I’ve not been fair to you. I know I’ve been putting work ahead of you. I really thought this house-elf deal would work and Kingsley would sign it, but he didn’t and we’ve had to redraft it and I’ve been taking it out on you.”
“I don’t know if I should believe you.”
“You think I would lie?”
“No, not lie—make excuses,” he said in a calm voice.
“You think this is an excuse?”
“I don’t know.”
“You are really something else.”
Ron rolled his eyes.
“I do want to marry you, for your information.”
“Could’ve fooled me.” He stormed off to Ginny’s old room.
Ron slammed the door and sat down on the bed. He knew he was being childish and he didn’t care. He wanted all of Hermione and right now he felt he wasn’t getting her. He laid his head down and stared up at the ceiling not sure what to do next.
How long he lay there he did not know but some time later Hermione opened the door and thrust her planner in his face. The page was pretty blank except for the massive circling of the 26th.
“Our wedding date,” she said sitting next to him.
“Huh?” He sat up.
“My planner covers 10 years. This is September 2004 and this is the date I’ve chosen for us to wed—26 September 2004 if that’s all right with you.”
“That’s—that’s—“ he smiled. “That’s fine. I’m sorry I’ve been so harsh with you.”
She looked down at the bedspread.
“I chose that date because George and Angelina are getting married next summer and I thought we could get married a year later in the fall. You’re okay with that?”
“Yes, I’m okay with that. I shouldn’t have been so hard on you. It’s partly my fault. I could have chosen a date or started discussion with you.”
She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. He reached for her right hand with his left. His right hand rubbed up and down her left arm. He closed his eyes and found her lips with his. He was in love.
Translation of Ron when his mouth is full of sandwich: Madam Vedin dropped by and asked George about his wedding.
Chapter 55: Too Loud
“…Mum, Alicia, and me,” Harry heard Angelina say when he walked through the kitchen door of the Burrow. Angelina stood at the kitchen counter with Mrs. Weasley, both of them waving their wands to chop up vegetables.
“Hello, Harry,” his mother-in-law greeted him.
“Hi,” he replied.
Angelina nodded at him.
“Ginny’s in the sitting room,” she said.
Harry entered the room to see Ginny sitting on the couch next to Fleur with one-month-old Dominique in his wife’s arms.
“How was work?” She asked glancing at him for only a second before looking back at the baby.
Today was Sunday, one of Harry’s scheduled days off in the week, but he’d had to go in to finish up some parchment work on an incident in Liverpool.
“Fine,” he replied.
“Isn’t she the cutest baby you’ve ever seen?” she breathed.
“Zank yoo,” Fleur responded.
At that moment the kitchen door slammed shut, a little girl’s voice hollered its way to the sitting room, and both a father and a grandfather told her to be quiet.
And the final sound was that of a tiny but loud wail from Dominique.
“Look at that, Victoire,” Bill scolded. “You scared your sister.”
Victoire shrugged her shoulders and threw herself into an armchair.
“Miss Vicky, would you like to come upstairs with me?” Mr. Weasley asked his oldest granddaughter.
“No, Dad. She needs to sit here quietly and learn why she should not be so loud when there’s a baby about.”
Dominique wailed louder. Fleur scooped her up from Ginny’s arms and cradled her to her chest while pacing around the room. Mrs. Weasley and Angelina entered to see what the matter was.
“Hush, my little Dominique,” Fleur spoke in French.
“This is a joy,” Harry said to Ginny.
“Something to look forward to when we have kids,” she responded.
“What happened here?” Percy asked, walking into the room with a woman on his arm.
“Children,” Ginny replied. “Hey, Audrey.”
“Hello, Ginny,” Percy’s girl greeted her. “How are the Harpies’ doing?”
“Fine. We won our last match against the Wombats 340 to 180.”
“Oh, Audrey, you know Ginny and Harry. This is my oldest brother, Bill; his daughter, Victoire; his wife, Fleur; his other daughter, Dominique; my dad, Arthur, my mum, Molly, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Angelina. Everyone, this is Audrey Mendelson, my girlfriend.”
Audrey smiled and shook hands with Mr. Weasley. Dominique wailed louder.
“I muss apologise for my baby,” Fleur shouted over the cries. “Victoire was too loud and frightened her sister.”
Victoire glared at her mother.
“Dinner will be ready shortly,” Mrs. Weasley spoke up. “When did George say he’d be here?”
“Soon. His hand is still on work,” Angelina replied referring to George’s hand on the family clock.
“Victoire, would you like to be a big girl and help us finish dinner?” Mrs. Weasley asked over the noise.
“No, Mum,” Bill intercepted. “Victoire’s being punished.”
“For what? Being a little girl?”
“For being loud, yes.”
“She’s just two years old. Every two-year-old is loud. I recall you being a pretty rambunctious one yourself,” Mr. Weasley said.
“I am her father. You two are just her grandparents. Let me deal with the raising of my child. If I feel she needs to sit here quietly until dinner so she can think about not being loud and disturbing her sister then that’s what she will do!”
“Bill,” Fleur interjected.
“Bill, I am ‘er muzzer. I sink see sould ‘elp your muzzer and Angelina in zee kischen. We can deal wiss zis later.”
Victoire jumped from the chair and ran to her grandmother. She turned around and briefly stuck her tongue out at her dad. Bill shook his head and sat down in the chair she abandoned.
“Fine. Just go back to trying to calm Dom down,” he sighed.
Roughly half an hour later dinner was ready. It could not have happened sooner. Dominique would not calm down. Fleur fed her, changed her, and played with her. Finally, she succumbed to sleep and the entire house seemed a hundred times quieter.
Fleur looked positively ragged at the table and embarrassed that everyone else had to put up with her crying baby and rude child. Harry reckoned she probably wanted to go home, but she didn’t have the energy to put up a fuss with her mother-in-law.
Ron and Hermione arrived after Dominique’s feeding. She wasn’t as loud then, but still very fussy.
“She’s not sick?” Hermione had suggested.
Fleur insisted she wasn’t.
Now, Harry sat across from the worn-out mother.
“You’re awfully quiet,” Ginny remarked softly.
“Just thinking about Fleur.”
Ginny’s eyebrows perked up.
“What about me?” Fleur asked.
“Just about you taking care of Dominique.”
“See is one fussy baby.”
Harry looked at Ginny, expecting a reaction, but he did not get one. Instead, he received a bit of shepherd’s pie to the forehead.
Victoire giggled as Ginny cleaned Harry’s glasses.
“Victoire Gabrielle Weasley, we do not throw food at the table!” Bill scolded. He grabbed the arm holding the fork. Victoire squealed.
“You’ll wake ze baby,” Fleur said listlessly.
“You quiet down now or we’re going home and you’re in the corner.”
“No!” Victoire screamed at the top of her lungs.
Bill’s hand dropped from her arm and he could no longer move.
“Daddy!” she shouted.
In the background was a cry.
Fleur heaved a very heavy sigh.
“You deal with Dominique. We’ll get things square in here,” Mrs. Weasley said.
Tired, Fleur rose from her chair and made for the sitting room where her baby cried.
Percy already whipped out his wand and used the spell Finite Incantem on his oldest brother. Bill wrapped his arms around his daughter who also cried.
“It’s okay,” he said. “It was an accident. Daddy’s fine. Good news is you’re a witch.”
Mrs. Weasley stood up and made for the sitting room.
“You’re all right.” Bill wiped the tears from Victoire’s pale face. “Now, tell Harry you’re sorry for throwing your dinner at him.”
“Sorry,” she said quietly, looking down at her plate.
“Dinner’s given me such a headache.” Ginny laid her head on Harry’s shoulder and closed her eyes.
“Would you fancy a potion?” he asked, running his hands through her long, red hair.
“No, thanks. I just need sleep.”
Neither were in bed, for they lay on the couch in the sitting room of their house, shoes strewn about, wanting to relax before heading to bed.
“Victoire’s turning into a brat,” said Harry honestly.
Ginny opened her eyes.
“She’s acting out. She heard her mother screaming in labor and it frightened her. I reckon she truly believes the baby was hurting her. Well, she was, but it was the labor not Dominique directly. Victoire doesn’t understand how her parents can love something that caused her mum so much pain. Plus, she’s been an only child for two years. She resents her sister for taking away her parents’ affection.”
“How do you know this? Have you been speaking with Hermione?”
“Oh, am I not allowed to be smart?” Ginny joked. “Its pure speculation, but I was with her when Fleur was in labor. You remember it happened in this very room.”
“Oh, yeah…” Harry trailed off. “I can’t wait until we start having kids.”
“You’ll have to,” Ginny responded sleepily, her eyes drifting closed.
“Yeah, I know. Quidditch. But, then we’ll start having our ten kids.”
“Ten kids? Are you out of your mind?”
“Yes, thank you. No, really, I do want a big family. Maybe not ten kids or even seven like your mum and dad, but I do want a big family. What about you?”
“Not seven and definitely not ten. I may be a Weasley, but I am not a baby making machine. Maybe three or four.”
“Three or four sounds good.”
Harry sighed. He hoped he’d be lucky enough to have two kids so neither would go without a sibling like he did. He was glad Voldemort was gone, not able to take his life after he already had a child, like he did with his parents, but he knew there were other evils out there that could do the same damage.
“Harry?” Ron asked as they walked down the hall of the Ministry to their office in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
“You know Hermione and I picked the date of our wedding.”
“26, September 2004.”
“Yeah, well, Hermione really picked it out, but I’m okay with that.”
“That’s good. Are you okay with it being so far away? I know you’re a tad upset George will be married before you.”
“Yeah, well, what can I do? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, er,” Ron paused.
“Will you be my best man?” Ron’s ears turned red.
Harry stopped at the door. Before opening, he turned to look at his best mate.
“Of course. You’re my best mate and besides, you were my best man.”
Harry opened the door and headed to his cubicle. Ron was funny when it came to expressing his emotions and it made Harry laugh. He hadn’t had any trouble asking Ron to be his best man. After he made the decision, well, came to the realization that that would be, he simply went up to Ron and said,
“You’ll be my best man.”
And that was that.
Things were different with Ron. Harry knew that. Harry accepted that. Ron had a harder time expressing his emotions, not because he was shy or anything, but because he was afraid of others accepting them. He grew up with low self-confidence. Harry hoped Ron had a high level of self-confidence now. He thought he must since destroying the locket that was one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, but with Ron he could not be sure.
Sitting down at his desk, he stared at the parchment work looking back up at him. He had come into work yesterday to finish work on some criminals being admitted for trial. It looked to him he had more of the same to do. He rubbed his face. It was the same thing all the time and he was sick of it. Oh, he loved being an Auror, but that was when he was Auror-ing, not sitting behind a desk.
“Potter, I’d like to speak with you,” Robards said, peeking his head out his office door.
Harry abandoned the parchment and quickly made his way to his boss’s office.
“Shut the door behind you.”
Harry did so and sat down in the empty seat next to Iva.
“Good news. We’ve caught the trail of Roger Esme again. We received word from the French Ministry that he should be receiving a package from France this evening. This time we hear he’s only a small handful of men working for him. This should make things a might easier.”
“So, he’s still trading goods with France?” Iva asked.
“Yes. The French Ministry has their Aurors on the case there. He’s still with Rutilus Diabolus though they’ve been decidedly weakened. I don’t know if you heard the news that their Aurors caught two of the members.”
“We’ve been interrogating the captives in Azkaban with no such luck,” Iva brought up.
“Are we asking the right questions?” Harry asked.
“It’s not the questions,” Robards answered gruffly. “I want to make this trip alone.”
“No,” Iva said decidedly.
“Yes, I think its best. I will be leaving this afternoon for the West Pier. You two need to be on alert for I very well may send for you if I need backup.”
“It’s very mad of you to go alone. Are you absolutely positively sure you can or should do this on your own?” Iva questioned.
“Last time we nearly had ourselves caught due to us being three.”
“Gawain, you cannot fight them alone. I will not stand for it. I am going with you.” Iva turned to Harry. “What about you?”
“We we’re almost caught last time, but that was due to my negligence. We’ll be better prepared this time,” Harry replied.
“We’re going with you, Gawain.”
“Fine. We leave this afternoon.”
Robards briefed them on the content of the mission. It appeared the package was not of illegal goods intended for sale. Rather it was that of several body parts of dead house-elves. What Esme could want with them no one knew.
“It’s a good thing Hermione doesn’t know about this,” Harry whispered to Iva.
Iva was not friends with Hermione. She only knew her through her trainee, Ron, but it seemed anyone in the Ministry that knew of Hermione knew of her mission to free the house-elves. If she knew someone was mutilating house-elf body parts and shipping them between countries she would, well, whatever she would do would be much uglier than the body parts.
…so, I have to leave this afternoon. I know its short notice, but such is the life of the Auror. I’m not sure when I’ll be back as that was not something Robards discussed with us, but it shouldn’t be too long. I’ll keep you updated loads.
“We’re babysitting Victoire tonight,” Ron said, surprising Harry by entering his cubicle. “Hermione just caught me in the hall and said Fleur contacted her. I wonder why it’s just Victoire and not Dominique. I reckon we’re her last choice. I reckon she contacted mum and dad but they said no and she can’t get in touch with Ginny during her pract…what are you writing?” he interrupted himself. “Dear Ginny, Robards, Iva, and I have been called out on a mission. “
“Yeah, a mission. We leave today.”
“So you can’t help us babysit Victoire?” Ron sat on Harry’s desk.
“I’m sure Ginny won’t mind helping. She’ll be home alone otherwise.”
“We’ll need all the help we can get.”
“I’m sure it won’t be that bad. It’s just Victoire so she won’t be competing for attention.”
“Maybe I’ll be called on a mission and it’ll be just the girls.”
“She’s not that bad!”
“You remember dinner?”
“She’s just a two year old with a brand new sister. Do you remember how you acted when Ginny was born?”
“No, I was one! Who remembers what happens at that age?”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure you were no picnic then.”
Ron shrugged again.
“I so wish you’d be there to help us out, mate.”
P.S. Would you fancy spending time with Hermione and Ron tonight? They’re babysitting Victoire and would love to have you join them.
Chapter 56: Babysitting
“We sould be back around eleven. I ‘ope zat is not too late for you?”
Fleur stood in the doorway of Ron and Hermione’s flat with her husband, Bill, by her side. Victoire stood at her feet, her arms raised, wanting her mother to pick her up.
“No, that should be fine,” Hermione answered.
“Thank you for doing this. We reckoned it would be a big job having someone babysit both girls tonight, so we left Dominique with Mum and Dad and you’ve Victoire,” Bill said. “Fleur really needs a night away from the girls,” he whispered. “Victoire does not have a bed time.”
“But see usually gets sleepy between 9 and 10,” Fleur added.
“Uh!” Victoire grunted, waving her arms rapidly.
“Victoire, do you want to play a game?” Ginny offered.
She looked at her aunt through icy blue eyes. Ginny looked at her niece. She had received the owl from Harry as soon as practice was over, which meant he was already out on the field. She wished she’d had forewarning, but such is not the case with Aurors.
“We’re potty training her,” Bill said, interrupting Ginny’s daydreaming.
“No!” Ron shouted abruptly.
“But,” his oldest brother continued ignoring him. “She’s wearing a nappy and has plenty in her bag so you don’t have to worry.”
“I ‘ope we did not miss up ze bags at ze Burrow.”
“I’m sure we didn’t.” Bill patted her on the shoulder. “We better be going. Thanks for doing this. Bye, Vicky.”
“No!” she squealed.
“Come on, let’s play a game,” Ginny offered.
“No!” She repeated, shaking her head, her blonde hair flying in her face.
Bill and Fleur exchanged a look and bent down to her level.
“Do zis for Maman and Daddy,” Fleur spoke in a sweet voice.
Victoire shook her head again.
Bill and Fleur stood up.
“We’ll be leaving now. See you later.” Bill opened the door and he and his wife abruptly slipped out.
Their daughter burst into tears.
“I’m finishing dinner. Care to help, Ginny?” Hermione asked over the noise.
“Well—I—“ she glanced from Hermione to Victoire to Ron and back to Hermione. “Alright.”
“Harry’s on another mission?” Hermione asked as they stepped into the kitchen.
“Yeah,” Ginny replied, her eyes on her niece.
Ron stepped over to Victoire and kneeled down.
“Let me tell you a story.”
“Can you cook some peas?” Hermione asked.
“Er,” Ginny hesitated.
“Have you ever cooked before?”
“With my mum, yes.”
“Who does the cooking for you and Har—oh, that’s right. You have a house-elf. Ginny, you will need to know how to boil water. That house-elf isn’t going to be around forever.”
“Hermione, where’s the Beedle book Dumbledore willed you?” Ron called out.
Both girls peeked around the wall to see Ron curled up on the couch with Victoire, still crying big fat tears, in his lap.
“Ron, it’s in Runes!”
“Oh.” He seemed disappointed, but then his face brightened. “There once were three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at midnight.”
“You can’t tell her that!” Ginny screeched. “You’ll give her nightmares. She’s only two.”
“Fine,” Ron huffed.
“Back to the food.” Hermione picked her wand off the counter. “Follow me. First, you conjure up a pot.” She waved her wand and a medium sized pot appeared on the stove. “Then, you conjure up water. Aquamenti.” Water poured from her wand into the pot. “Once you have enough water, you conduct the spell to turn up the heat. And then, you conjure up the peas.” Waving her wand, the pot filled with green peas. “Now, we wait for it to boil, simple as that. You can’t rely on a house-elf all the time.”
The two women continued cooking and shortly thereafter dinner was ready. Ron brought Victoire to the table. She still had tears in her eyes, but she was no longer wailing. Ginny, sitting next to her niece, fixed Victoire’s plate. Instead of gobbling it up, the two-year-old just stared at it.
“Not hungry, are you?” Ginny asked.
Victoire shook her head.
“You must not be a real Weasley,” Ron remarked.
“Am, too!” She threw her fork at him.
Fortunately, Ron ducked or he would have been stuck in the face.
Hermione gave Victoire a stern look which caused her to burst back into tears.
“Eat your food and then I’ll tell you a better story than the one Ron made up.”
“I told you a good story, right?”
Victoire shook her head slightly.
“No? That breaks my heart. You don’t want that, do you?”
She shook her head again. Her tears were falling much slower. She jumped at the sound of tapping at the window.
Ginny answered the window, took the letter from the owl’s beak, and let him fly away.
We’re here and safe. I cannot write for a while and you cannot respond to this as we cannot risk being tracked. See you soon.
“Bugger.” She collapsed in her seat at the table.
Victoire patted her shoulder.
“Don’t cry,” she said.
“You’re crying,” Ginny pointed out making her smile.
“Harry’s been on missions before,” Ron brought up after she read the letter out loud.
“I know,” Ginny sighed. “It’s tough knowing I can’t hear from him for a few days. You don’t know what it’s like for the significant other of an Auror.”
“I do,” Hermione said.
“I do,” Victoire repeated.
“You do?” Ginny asked.
“No,” Victoire answered.
Ginny wiped her eyes. She didn’t want to cry in front of anyone. That wasn’t her. She needed to be brave.
“Let me get you a new fork,” she said when Victoire began to eat her peas with her hands.
“Remember the party at my house with all the women?”
Victoire nodded with a hint of fear in her eyes. That was the day the dreadful thing happened.
“Do you remember the fun you had being a lady? You sat at the table all proper. You were a very respectful girl.”
“No you don’t remember or no, it wasn’t fun?”
“I remember you at the party,” Hermione spoke. “You were such a perfect lady. I hoped you would teach Teddy manners.”
“No manners for Teddy,” Victoire agreed.
She looked down and her hands and wiped them on her napkin. She reached for her glass of water and upon bringing it to her lips, holding with both hands, she spilled it down the front of her shirt. She burst into tears.
Hermione immediately pulled out her wand and performed a spell that dried the little Weasley, but the tears didn’t stop.
“Er, let’s call dinner finished,” Ron suggested.
“Good idea,” Hermione said.
“Let’s give you a bath and then put on some dry clothes,” Ginny said helping Victoire down from her chair.
“You don’t want dry clothes?”
“Dry enough. No bath!”
“But ladies need to be clean.
“I no lady!”
Hermione had gotten up from the table herself and made for Victoire’s other side. Even though Ron was the one to declare dinner over he sat at the table finishing his second helping.
“Your mother told us after dinner we were to give you a bath. You do not want to disappoint her?” Hermione asked.
Victoire’s blue eyes looked down at the wooden floor.
“No,” she replied almost inaudibly.
The two women gave the young girl a quick bath in the hallway loo, leaving Ron to the table. Victoire whined and complained but no sooner than you could say Dumbledore’s full name they were done.
“AAAAAIIIIIEEEEE!” Victoire ran in the living room wearing a pink nightgown with an image of a veela on the front. She jumped into Ron’s lap as he sat on the couch reading the Daily Prophet.
“Ron!” Hermione shouted.
“Uh-oh,” he said to Victoire who giggled in response. She certainly seemed to be in a much better mood.
“Ron Weasley, did you hear me?”
“You-Know-Who lying ten feet under heard you,” Ginny said, entering the dining area. “We do live in a flat, Hermione. Victoire, we live very close to our neighbors. In fact, they reside on the other side of that wall.” She pointed to the far kitchen wall. “We need to respect them and be quieter.”
Hermione’s cheeks turned red. Ginny supposed she did not enjoy being reminded of the “rules.”
“Ron!” Hermione stamped her foot.
“What?” He exclaimed.
“You could have cleaned up the table while we bathed Victoire.”
“Merlin, Hermione. You’re worked up over that? I had a hard day at work.”
“No,” Ginny yawned. “I had a hard day and my husband’s out on a case.”
“You could pull your weight around here, Ron.”
“What? I do…who occupied Victoire while you two prepared dinner?”
“Ooh, let’s give you an award.”
“I bloody well deserve one.”
“Watch your language in front of the kid!” Hermione reprimanded.
“Do you have anything useful to say?”
Hermione’s entire face turned red. Ginny backed toward the hall. During the argument Ron had risen to his feet and was now approaching his fiancée.
“What did you say?”
“I said—“ he started. “Nothing.”
“That’s what I thought. Now, help me clear the table.”
Ron visibly rolled his eyes and then pulled his wand out of his right front pocket to get to work.
Ginny stepped over to the couch where Victoire sat. Victoire looked at the image in the newspaper of a Chudley Cannon player zipping along on his broom.
“You know, I play Quidditch.”
“Quidditch,” she repeated.
“Yeah. I’m a Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies. ‘Ve you heard of them?”
Victoire shook her head.
“They’re an all-female Quidditch team in Holyhead. That’s in Wales.”
Victoire looked at her with bright eyes.
“Did you listen to the Quidditch World Cup with your parents this summer?”
“I was in that. Sort of. I was on the team, but I didn’t play much. You were supposed to go to one of the matches, but your mum got sick, so you stayed home with her.”
“Your sister’s not dumb.”
“Yes she is!”
“She’s just a tiny newborn. “
“She hurt Maman.”
“Not on purpose. That’s what babies do. Even you.”
“Me?” She replied shocked.
“Not as bad as Dom’nique.”
“ Don’t you love your sister?”
“You know, I have six brothers.”
“Six?” Victoire raised her fingers and tried to count to six.
“Yes. Your uncle Ron,” she pointed to the boy waving his wand making two cups circle each other. “Your uncle George, his t-twin Fr-ed,”
“He d-died two years to the day before you were born,” Ginny swallowed. She tried to wipe the emotion off her face. “Your uncle Percy, your uncle Charlie, and your dad.”
“A bit. I miss Fred. Wouldn’t you miss Dominique if something happened to her?”
“I bet you would.”
“No. I have all the ‘tention.”
“You don’t like Dominique because she takes up all your mum and dad’s attention?”
“And Gran and Gramp and Grandmere and Pépé andTante Gabr-elle. Everyone.”
“You know who has my attention?”
Victoire shook her head.
“I’m sitting here talking to you.”
“That’s ‘cause Dom’nique not here.”
“No. It’s because you and I can talk to each other. I like talking to you.”
“You don’t like talking to me?”
Victoire looked like she didn’t know what to say.
“It’s okay. I like talking to you. I grew up with six brothers and being the youngest and the only girl doesn’t mean I get all the attention.”
“No. Fred and George were always in trouble. Percy was always perfect. Ron was always whining. Charlie was always winning something or flying higher or better or trying to hide some weird creature and your dad, Bill, was always the first to achieve anything. I was just ickle baby Ginny with used books and no broomstick. You’re the oldest. You’re like Bill. You’ll do everything first and then teach Dominique how to do it. She may be too young for you to realize now, but she looks up to you.”
“Yeah, when she’s older you’ll have to teach her stuff. That’s what big sisters are for. And when she’s older you’ll have someone to play with, someone who’s a girl and hopefully has manners.”
“Not like Teddy.”
“That’s right, not like Teddy.”
“And you are older so that means you aren’t so dependent on your parents. Dominique is too little to do things for herself, but you aren’t. She needs someone to help her with everything. She needs the attention, but you don’t.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Yes, okay, I said that wrong. You need attention, but you can also do things for yourself. Dominique needs help. You can be the big sister and help your mum with her sometimes. She’d love that. Have you told her how you feel?”
“No. She’s too busy with Dom’nique.”
“If you tell her how you feel I reckon she’d make time for you. I’m sure she’d love it.”
“No, she wouldn’t.”
“When she picks you up tonight, why don’t we both talk to her? Would you be all right with that?”
“I’ll help you so it won’t seem so scary. You’re mother loves you and would appreciate you telling her how you feel. You shouldn’t be afraid of her. Now, tell me, do you love your sister?”
“Yes,” she replied with a grin.
“And I’m sure she loves you, because you’re just so darn loveable.”
Ginny tickled Victoire up and down her sides causing the little girl to burst into a fit of laughter.
Chapter 57: Victory
“Good practice. Our final match is on Saturday against Puddlemere. If, no when we win we’ll finish the season in second place. For some reason if we lose Tutshill needs to beat Montrose by 250 points for us to end up in second,” Gwenog Jones dismissed the team.
“I can’t believe Saturday’s our last day with her as captain,” Jane, a second string Chaser, said on their way to the locker room.
“Who’s our next captain?” Sian asked.
Ginny hadn’t thought about someone replacing Gwenog. She wasn’t sure anyone could, but someone would have to do so.
“Will the Captain be traded here or one of us?” Yvonne pondered.
“One of us?” squealed Jane.
“Well, probably not one of you, “ Sara giggled.
Changing out of her practice gear Ginny ignored her teammates' ramblings. She was in a hurry to get home. She received an owl the night before stating Harry would be returning home that evening.
“Leaving so quickly, Gin?” Gwenog stopped her on her way out the door toward the fireplaces.
“Er, yeah. Harry’s been on a mission for a while and he’s coming home tonight.”
“Ah, he’s an Auror?”
“Yes, yes.” Ginny’s eyes glanced at the hallway hoping her captain would get the message.
“I won’t keep you long. You need to work on your passing. Right now, it’s too transparent.”
“Uh-huh.” She wasn’t really paying attention.
“We’ll discuss this before the match on Saturday. It’s nothing major. I’ll let you go.”
Ginny rushed to the fireplace. She patted her robes to make sure she had her wand. She did not want to find out how awful it would be if she left at the stadium.
“Potter Manor!” She called out as she threw the powder into the floo and stepped into the green flames.
“Missus Ginny is home,” Kreacher said when she stepped out of the fireplace in the kitchen of her house.
“That smells good.”
“Pork chops with treacle tart for pudding,” Kreacher replied monotonously.
“Have you heard from Harry?”
“Kreacher is not hearing from Master, but is expecting him soon.”
“I’ll go clean up while we wait.”
Ginny took a shower and was busy searching for something nice to wear when she heard a voice downstairs. Throwing on the nearest t-shirt, she ran into the hall and peeked down the stairs, not wanting Harry to see her until she was fully dressed.
“Ron!” She exclaimed shocked to see her brother standing in the kitchen. Forgetting she wasn’t fully dressed she walked down the steps. “What are you doing here?”
“Hermione and I received an owl and I suspect you did, too.”
Her mouth formed the word no, but before she could speak Kreacher shoved a letter in her hands. Hand shaking as she didn’t expect this to be a good thing, she quickly unfolded the parchment and read.
Harry Potter has been admitted to St. Mungo’s and requested your presence.
“I—I—I have to go.” She reached for the jar of floo powder when Ron grabbed her arm.
“Get dressed and we’ll travel together. It’s all right,” he added. “He requested you so it can’t be too bad.
“Harry Potter, please,” Ginny said anxiously to the Welcome Witch.
Ginny ran all the way until she saw the crowd around what she assumed was Harry’s bed. Hermione sat on the edge with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley behind her. Gawain Robards, Iva Prang, John Dawlish, Neville, Hannah and others from the Auror department stood around the bed. She wondered why he had such a big crowd if “it can’t be that bad,” as Ron said.
“Ron,” she said timidly afraid to move forward.
“It’s Harry,” he whispered in her ear, “your husband. He’s not going to bite.”
She took a few steps.
“The wife’s here,” Robards said. “We’ll be going then.” He motioned to the other Aurors and they followed him, leaving the Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, and Hannah.
Ginny looked at Harry. He gazed back and tried to give her a smile. He had a huge bruise on his left cheek and a huge gash across his face. His left leg was propped up as if it was getting special care and he seemed to be sitting up gingerly.
“Oh, Harry!” She ran to him, wrapping her arms around his body, causing him to wince.
“Broken ribs,” He said.
“Sorry.” She sat up.
“No, no. I fancy your arms around me. I shall heal faster that way.”
Ginny looked over Harry. She wanted to put her arms back around him, but she didn’t want to cause him any pain.
“What haven’t the healers done anything for your injuries?”
“They’ve to mix up the solution for the bruises. Then they can work on everything.”
“I’m glad you’re safe, mate,” Ron piped up. “’Ve missed ya the past week.”
“Same here. But, it was worth it. We solved the mission and arrested Roger Esme, the guy we were after.”
“The head of Rutilus Diabolus?” Hermione exclaimed.
Everyone turned to her with bewildered looks.
“It was in Ministry of Magic, A History.”
“We’ve been after them for a long while and somehow tonight I ended up in a battle with him. We actually thought the mission was a failure and we were to come home today.”
“Mr. Potter,” a brown haired healer with a nametag reading Holly appeared at the bed with a handful of flasks. “We’ve bruises, cuts, and broken bones to heal,” she said softly, laying the flasks on the bedside table.
Ginny and Hermione rose from their positions on the bed.
“We best be going.” Hermione patted Harry’s right leg. “Good to see you’re all right.”
“Us, too. Long day at the Cauldron tomorrow,” Hannah said.
“Bye, Harry,” Neville added.
Harry winced as Healer Holly rubbed a solution over his face.
“I don’t believe they live together,” Mrs. Weasley mumbled.
“Neville and Hannah?” Ginny asked surprised.
“Drink this. It’s for your broken bones,” the healer said.
“Skele-Grow?” Harry asked.
“No, you don’t need that. Your bones aren’t that badly broken nor are they missing.”
“Ron and Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley answered Ginny’s question. “I
always thought they’d wait until marriage. I don’t like them living together like this.”
“He’s a grown man,” Mr. Weasley said. “He loves her and is engaged to her.”
“This stuff is awful,” Harry spat.
“The other potion,” the healer pointed to the only remaining full flask on the table, “is a sleeping draught. I advise you wait until after dinner to take it.”
Harry yawned as if to say he wouldn’t need the potion.
“Feel better, Harry.” Mrs. Weasley patted his arm.
“We’ll visit tomorrow,” Mr. Weasley added.
“Thanks for coming,” Harry said.
“How do you feel?”
Harry reached for his pillow, threatening to throw it at her.
“Don’t exert yourself, Harry.”
The next morning Ginny woke early anxious to visit her husband in hospital. It was Friday and usually the Harpies had practice, especially during a game week when they practiced every day, but with the final game of the season tomorrow and such a tough practice yesterday, Gwenog Jones decided to give them the day off.
Kreacher made her a wonderful breakfast of eggs and bacon. When Ginny came home late from St. Mungo’s the night before she had the pork chops, but she saved the tart for when Harry came home. It was, after all, his favorite.
She sat in the uncomfortable hospital chair and watched Harry sleep. Sleep was good for mending broken bones.
“I need you to be released today,” she whispered, “so you can attend my final match of the season.”
“Good morning,” a blond male healer whose nametag read Mitch entered the area. “Has he been awake at all?”
The healer waved his wand and scribbled something down on his clipboard.
“His vitals appear normal.” And he walked away.
That was good, now if only he’d wake up!
She must have dozed off for the next thing Ginny knew the smell of bacon filled the air. She opened her eyes to see Harry munching on a piece.
“Me? I?” She fumbled.
Harry patted the spot on the bed next to him and she practically jumped on it. He gave her a kiss tasting of bacon.
“I’m so glad you’re home.”
“If you call this home.”
“Well, no, but I get to be with you.”
Ginny stayed at the hospital almost the entire day with Harry. No healer would give them a direct answer on his recovery. It was maddening.
“Tell me about your mission,” Ginny asked in the middle of the afternoon after Mrs. Weasley stopped by for a visit.
“I don’t know how much I can tell because we’ve not put Esme on trial yet.”
“Do tell me how you ended up in St. Mungo’s.”
“We decided to come home yesterday to regroup. The Rutilus Diabolus you heard Hermione mention was/is much more skilled than we planned. We packed up the tent and all our belongings and were about to Disapparate when a spell flew past me. Instinct had me turn around and shout an Expelliarmus, eliminating the Disillusionment Charm.”
“Your signature move,” Ginny muttered.
“Was it Esme?”
“Yes,” Harry continued. “The spell missed him. He sent another my way and we were locked in a duel. It was a pretty long duel. I didn’t know what happened to Iva until afterwards, but Robards sent her back with all our stuff. What he really did was send her to get reinforcement. Robards joined me in battle. I was Esme’s main target. I reckon he wanted to finish me off before dealing with Robards. I ended up breaking ribs and my leg. Even though I was down I cast the stunner enabling us to capture him. I could not have done it without Robards, though. If he’d not stayed behind I may be a corpse laying here.”
“Oh, no, Harry. You’re a fabulous wizard. You defeated You-Know-Who.”
“Voldemort,” he corrected. “He beat himself. I was lucky enough to keep him talking to do so.”
“Always the modest one.” She looked around the room at the other patients sleeping in their beds. “If we close the curtains do you think we could…you know?”
“Wha—oh, yeah, yeah, maybe.”
Ginny smiled mischievously, pulled her wand out, and waved the curtains closed.
Moving her spoon around in her cold, mushy cereal, Ginny was hungry, but didn’t want to eat. She had to be at the pitch in an hour. She was angry with the healers. He took the potions. He was healing. They were able to do it. Why did he have to stay another night?
Dumb measures. Dumb, stupid measures. Dumb, stupid, bloody healers.
She slammed her spoon into her cereal splashing milk everywhere.
“Missus is angry,” Kreacher said while standing at the sink with dirty dishes.
“Just upset they wouldn’t let Harry come home last night.” She stood up. “I’m leaving now.
“Five minutes, let’s go!” Gwenog Jones shouted at her girls in the locker room.
Ginny finished tying her boots and stood up, fully decked out in her gear. What her captain had told her at practice Thursday ran through her mind.
Do not make your passes so transparent, she told herself. Well, how in Merlin’s name could she follow through with that order? The player she passed to needed to be aware.
“Gin, you okay?” Sian asked appearing beside her.
“Yeah, yeah,” she replied quickly.
“We need to hurry. They’ll be announcing us soon.” Sian ushered Ginny out the door.
Mounting her Firebolt and waiting for her name, Ginny thought more about what Gwenog had said. She wanted to practice yesterday with Harry, but instead he’d had to spend it in hospital.
“Chaser, Ginevra Potter!”
She flew onto the pitch, hair flying behind her. As she traveled the circumference, she surveyed the stands for her family. Almost halfway she spotted Fleur, Victoire, and Bill. She was glad the talk went well and Victoire was getting to spend more alone time with her parents. Next to them were Ron, Hermione, and Harry! Harry was here.
A giant smile spread across her face as she locked eyes with him. Hermione, next to him, looked to be shouting something. “Go Ginny!” probably, but it was hard to hear over the rest of the crowd. Harry waved wildly and Ginny made to wave back when she felt a nudge from her captain.
“No stopping,” she hissed. “We can get penalized for delay of match.”
Once she was far enough away Ginny sent her a dirty look.
The match started out fairly smoothly. The Harpies quickly took a 20-0 lead. Ginny was doing fine until she remembered her captain’s advice.
“Don’t be so transparent,” she muttered to herself. They were supposed to practice before the match, but Gwenog had become too busy.
“Don’t be transparent,” she repeated after catching the Quaffle from Sian. She looked back at Sian and then at Sara. She took one look at the Puddlemere Beater and passed the Quaffle to Sara.
Bonk! And now Sara had a bloody nose.
The match flew to a halt as all the Holyhead players rushed to her.
“Does anyone know how to stop a nosebleed?” (seeker) asked.
“Id’s okay,” Sara said, her hands covering her nose, blood running down her arms.
“You can’t play with a broken nose,” Patricia said.
“Id’s dot broked.”
“Ginny what made you do that?” Gwenog asked harshly as the team healer made her way to Sara.
“I was trying to take your advice.”
“Yeah, you said not to be so transparent with my passes.”
“Don’t let your opponent know what you’re doing before you do it, but you have to let your teammate know you’re passing to her!”
Ginny didn’t want to see the look of “duh” written on Gwenog’s face, but she couldn’t look away.
“I have to take her to St. Mungo’s,” the healer announced.
Through her tears Sara sent Ginny one of the evilest looks known to mankind.
“Julie, you’re on the pitch,” Gwenog announced.
The match started up where it left off with Holyhead scoring two more goals before Puddlemere scored one. It wasn’t that their Keeper, Oliver Wood, was bad, it was that their Chasers were not good. Ginny got back in her game and managed to not hit anyone with the Quaffle. She even managed to score two goals herself. Eventually, the score was 160 to 120 Holyhead before the Puddlemere Seeker caught the Snitch giving them the win with a score of 270 to 160 Puddlemere.
“Good match, girls, I’ll see you in the locker room,” Gwenog said before dismounting her broom.
Ginny took a deep breath and flew to the edge of the pitch where here family stood waiting for her.
“Auntie Ginny!” Victoire squealed waving her hands rapidly. She wore a yellow shirt with a green Harpies logo on it. “See what I gotted!” she pointed to her shirt and turned around to reveal the backside saying “Girls Do It Better.”
“I love it.”
“I got one for Teddy, too.” She waved a larger version in the air.
“I wanted Teddy to come, but Maman and Daddy didn’t invited him so I buyed a shirt.”
Ginny smiled. Victoire was such a talkative little princess. She turned to Harry.
“I’m sorry you lost,” he said, reaching his hand out. She reached for it. “What does this mean?”
“Well, it means we still have a shot at second place if Tutshill wins by at least 250.”
“Third place isn’t so bad,” Ron commented.
“That’s because your favorite team always comes in last place.”
Ron made a face at his sister.
“Hey, we’re having an End-of-Season/Gwenog’s Retiring Party at The Seven Dragons. You all are invited.” Ginny motioned to all six standing in front of her. The Seven Dragons was the Wizarding pub in Wales.
“Gwenog Jones’s retiring?” Bill asked. “She’s been captain of the Harpies since before I was born.”
“She’s not that old!”
“It just feels like she’s been captain that long.”
“I know. Anyway, you ‘re coming?” She knew Harry would be there and Ron and Hermione would join them.
“I don’t know, Bill. Is it a place for a two-year-old?” Fleur asked, looking at her husband.
“It’ll be fine,” Ginny urged.
“We ‘ave Dominique at Zee Burrow wiss your parents.”
“Ma-am-an!” Victoire whined.
“I don’t sink a pub is a good place for a two-year-old.”
“You don’t have to stay long. If it starts to get rowdy you can leave.”
“We did promise Victoire we’d spend more time alone with her. We can get dinner at the pub and then pick up Dom from the Burrow,” Bill said.
“Yea!” Victoire squealed throwing Teddy’s shirt in the air.
“Why didn’t you tell me they were releasing you today?” Ginny sat across from Harry at the pub nursing a cold butterbeer while he drank a firewhiskey.
“I didn’t know until Ron appeared at my bedside. He worked some kind of magic I’ve never seen and convinced the healers to let me go.”
Ginny stole a glance at her brother who was playing some kind of game with Victoire she couldn’t make out. Hermione, next to him, laughed. She couldn’t wait until the two got married. They were perfect for each other.
“Are you healed?”
“Mostly. You saw the slight limp in my leg. The healers believe that’ll go away within a week.”
“I should be used to this, but I’m not and I don’t think I ever will be. Whenever you’re gone I keep thinking of Fred and Tonks. Fred was one person I never thought would die and death snuck up behind him without any warning. And Tonks…she was an Auror, like you, and she still couldn’t save her own life.” Tears welled up in Ginny’s eyes.
“Don’t cry,” Harry spoke softly. “I’m alive. I’m here. Let’s just think about the present. Death is nothing to be afraid of. We all have to do it eventually. We can’t predict when it’s going to happen and we shouldn’t try.”
Ginny jammed her palms in her eyes, wiping away her sadness.
“I know, I’m strong. I really am.”
“Are you trying to prove that to me or you?”
“I—I don’t know,” she chuckled.
“Ginny Weas—Potter!” Regina, the Seeker, shouted walking up to the table. Ginny had the suspicion she was a bit drunk. “And Harry Potter! Can I see your scar?”
“No,” Ginny said.
“Aw, come on, it’s not your scar.”
“Fine,” Harry gave in.
“Leslie! He’s going to show us!” She shouted across the pub causing everyone to look at them.
Hermione exchanged a glance with Ginny. There were times when Harry’s celebrity was a nuisance. Leslie ran towards them along with Patricia and Mitchell, her boyfriend.
Harry brushed back his fringe showing off his lightening bolt scar.
“Oh, wow. You really do have it!” Leslie squealed. “My boyfriend said it was fake, just a rumor made up by the Prophet.”
“They do make up things, but no, this is real,” he replied.
“Can I take a picture?” Regina asked.
Ginny looked at Harry. She knew what was going through his mind. This was just like Colin Creevey. He idol-worshiped Harry to the point of always following him around taking pictures. She knew Harry wondered if he’d given into Colin he’d still be alive today. Ginny knew that’s not true and she knew Harry knew deep within his heart Colin still would have snuck back into Hogwarts to fight, but he couldn’t help blaming himself.
“Just one,” he allowed.
The three girls and one guy crowded around Harry. Regina handed her camera to Ginny.
“Lift up your fringe,” Patricia commanded.
Harry did so quickly and Ginny snapped the pictures. The girls and guy walked away happily.
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine, I reckon,” Harry gulped his firewhiskey. “Just one measley picture.”
The party continued with girls running around the pub being loud. Fleur and Bill left soon after to the protests of Victoire, but it was getting late and they had to pick up Dominique.
“…and that is why Gwenog Jones will always be the best Beater I’ve ever had the opportunity to partner with,” Raine, the other Beater, finished her speech.
The other five girls of the starting line had already spoken. They all looked towards Ginny. She stood up.
“I’ve only had three captains in my whole Quidditch life and two of those were back at Hogwarts. Gwenog Jones has been the only captain I’ve known for my professional career and I don’t know what it’s going to be like to play under another one. She’s someone I’ve looked up to since I was a little girl. She’s been my favorite player since I was old enough to understand what Quidditch was. To be able to play not only under her but with her was a dream come true. I grew up with six brothers who wouldn’t let me play Quidditch with them, so I’d sneak out behind their backs and practice on my own. I was the fifth member of my siblings to make the Hogwarts Gryffindor Quidditch Team, but I was the only one to go pro. I never thought I’d be given the chance to play with my favorite player. A poster still hangs on the wall of my childhood bedroom of Gwenog. When I used to look at it I’d dreaming of flying next to her as she knocked Bludgers around. Now when I look at it I reminisce over actually flying with her. She’s a great captain and will be missed.”
She quickly sat back down. She hated getting too emotional.
“Hear, hear!” Patricia swung a half-full glass of firewhiskey in the air.
“I’m going to miss you girls,” Gwenog said standing up. “Quidditch is my life. I’ve done it for so long, I don’t think I know how to do anything else. As we get older we are no longer able to do things the same as we have done them before. I’ve tried to ignore it, but my time has come to give up my greatest love. I’ll never give up my love for the game, I just have to give up playing. I’ve had many wonderful offers come my way like being the Quidditch reporter for WWN. I will be spending the off-season contemplating what I’d like to do, but you can guarantee I will not be out of the Quidditch world. It’s all I—“
“I have an announcement,” Mitchell interrupted turning off the radio he’d had on very low volume. “Tutshill just beat Montrose with a final score of 440 to 170.”
“Know,” Gwenog finished. “And it looks like we’ve ended my final season in second place!”
Chapter 58: Problems
Harry placed the parchment in a folder on his desk and stood up. He was extremely grateful for the upcoming holiday for he needed the break. He helped capture Roger Esme about a month ago, but that didn’t mean they were done with his group. They needed to capture men and shut down operations before someone else became leader.
“Happy Christmas, Potter.”
“Happy Christmas, Dawlish.”
Harry’s partner, John Dawlish, exited the office. Harry usually left work with Ron, but he was investigating a case in Sussex. He grabbed his cloak and headed for the door. Passing by Neville’s forest of a cubicle, he had more plants in there than Harry could count, he peeked in. He noticed a mop of brown hair among the green.
“Neville,” Harry said.
“Ow!” Neville exclaimed.
“Yeah, you just startled me and I bit my tongue.”
“Are you busy?”
“I don’t know.”
“How can you not know?”
“Oh, I’m just contemplating things.”
“You mind talking about it?” Harry motioned toward the door with his head.
Neville nodded, grabbed his cloak, and followed Harry.
“You’ll be at the Burrow this Friday for Christmas Eve dinner?” Harry asked as they waited for the lift.
“Hannah and I will be there a little late. We’ve to wait til The Leaky Cauldron closes.”
“You two getting pretty serious?”
Neville’s entire face turned red.
“You thought about marriage?”
“I want to have a career before I do that.”
“You’ve one here as an Auror.”
He shook his head.
“No, you and Ron have careers as Aurors. Look what you did with that Esme case. I could never do that.”
“You’re wrong. You’ve done some pretty heroic things in your life.”
“Not like you.”
“Who defied Voldemort?”
His face turned red again.
“Aw, that was nothing.”
“Nothing? That was the bravest thing anyone could have done. Neville, you defied Voldemort and live to tell about it.”
“Yeah, well…I needed to. We thought you were dead. Someone had to stand up to him. Besides, you told me to kill the snake. It was what I had to do.”
“See, you do what you have to. You are cut out for this.”
“I—I don’t know. What have I done since then?”
“Helped keep the Wizarding World safe. How many cases have you worked on?”
“Er,” he counted silently on his fingers. “A few, but one of the other Aurors could have easily taken my place.”
“No, they couldn’t. They were busy with their own cases.” Harry stopped and looked at Neville. This wasn’t about him feeling useless. “Do you like what you’re doing?”
“I don’t know. I like being useful and I do want the world to be safe, but I don’t know. I just—I need to think about it.”
Harry flood home to a quiet house. He mumbled a hello to Kreacher cooking in the kitchen and then walked into the sitting room where Ginny lay sprawled out on the couch, knitting.
“Ahem,” he said after she did not offer him any attention.
“Oh, Harry.” She dropped her needles. “I thought you were her for a moment.”
His eyes widened. He hadn’t meant to sound like that.
“What’re you knitting?” He sat down next to her as she sat up.
“Hermione’s Christmas present. Mum’s been teaching me how to knit without magic. She’s making a light green sweater for Hermione so I’m knitting her a matching scarf. How was your day?”
“Busy. My present'll be knitted, won’t it?”
“Maybe.” She winked and kissed him on the cheek.
Grabbing her, he brought her lips to his.
“What did you do today? You didn’t spend it knitting?” He asked after they commenced kissing.
“No. This morning the team and I visited sick kids at St. Mungo’s. There’s this one girl who accidentally used a spell to make half her arm disappear. Even with extra strength Skele-Grow it’ll take time for it to grow back.”
“Is she missing the bones?” He thought back to when Professor Lockhart turned his broken arm into something that resembled rubber. Some professor he was.
“Not just her bones, her arm. It stops at her elbow. Poor girl, but she’s in great spirits.
Harry nodded. He felt bad for the girl and hoped her arm would grow back, but he was tired. He leaned back and closed his eyes.
Ginny kissed him on the nose knocking his glasses askew.
“You all right?”
“Tired,” he mumbled.
Reaching up to fix his glasses he unconsciously knocked Ginny’s hand away.
“If that’s how you feel.” She slumped to the other side of the couch.
“What?” He opened his eyes and stared at her.
“I had a hard day at work. We don’t all get winters off.”
“I had to work this morning.”
“Oh, that’s right, visiting sick children at St. Mungo’s. Tough work.”
Without saying a word she left the room.
The next morning Harry woke up to his wife missing. They had sat down to dinner together, but did not speak. Ginny went up to the bedroom shortly thereafter leaving Harry downstairs alone. He didn’t mind for he didn’t have the energy to put up with her mood.
“Kreacher,” he asked over his bowl of porridge, “did Ginny say anything before leaving?”
“Missus is not speaking and is leaving through the floo.”
He gazed at the fireplace in the corner. She probably went to the Burrow to complain to her mum she married an insensitive prat.
“Am I really one to come to for advice?” Hermione asked placing a steaming mug of tea in front of Harry and sitting down with one of her own. Harry wiped the steam off his glasses. “Ron and I fight constantly.”
“You’d know what bugs Ginny.”
She sipped her tea and gave Harry a look.
“There are some things I don’t know.”
“I reckoned since you’re a woman and her friend you might have an idea what’s bothering her.”
She shook her head.
“It could be anything.”
“You’re helpful.” He took a gulp of his tea and winced as it burned his tongue.
“I know, according to what you’ve told me, she was upset over you brushing her hand away.”
“That’s it?” He exclaimed incredulously. “She was in a good mood knitting y—ah when I arrived home.”
“Harry, all couples have riffs, Ron and I usually every day. It’s probably nothing.”
“She left this morning before I woke. She didn’t even tell Kreacher where she was going.”
“And you didn’t get into some nasty blow out fight last night.”
The two sat in silence for a short moment.
“Ron and I’ve drawn out our wedding party,” Hermione changed the subject. “You’re his best mean and George his only groomsman. Ginny’s my matron-of-honor with Luna as my bridesmaid. I’ve not asked her yet.” Harry was a bit surprised for he didn’t think Hermione and Luna got along well. “We would like Teddy to be the ring bearer and Victoire the flower girl, if they accept.”
“I’m sure they will.”
“Maybe Teddy’s at that stage where he’ll think it’s uncool.”
“I’ll get him to do it,” Harry promised.
After their tea, Harry and Hermione traveled to Diagon Alley to meet up with Ron for lunch. It was Saturday, his day at the joke shop.
Harry stopped in his tracks when he saw the woman at the counter. He didn’t know whether to be mad or happy to see her.
“Hey,” Ginny greeted him nonchalantly, leaning against the counter.
“What are you doing here?” Harry asked trying not to sound angry.
“You weren’t at home so I decided to visit my two favorite brothers.” Ginny motioned to George behind the register and Ron helping an older woman with the pygmy puffs. Hermione ran to join him.
He wanted to say he wasn’t home because she wasn’t there, but he didn’t want to start something in the shop.
“Angie’s thinking of pink robes for the bridesmaids,” George said. “She’s chosen to bridesmaids, Ginny and her cousin, Mary. Alicia’s the maid-of-honor.”
“Pink?” Ginny questioned.
“I know it doesn’t exactly go with the Weasley red hair,” George responded in a lower voice.
“Talk her out of it,” his sister begged.
“I think you’d look good in pink,” Harry joked.
“Yeah, I’ll show you what I look good in.”
“Hey, hey, hey, brother standing right here!” George raised a hand to cover his one ear.
Ginny’s ears turned pink.
“You do look good in pink,” Harry whispered his anger having dissipated.
“Do we have any more packages of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder?” Angelina asked, walking behind the counter and putting her arms around George.
“I’ve not ordered any more and I’m not sure I will. I made a bad sell with them leaving a funny taste in my mouth.”
“Oh, well,” she kissed him on the lips, “does that make it better?” When he shook his head she continued, “They are a popular seller.”
George gave her a funny look.
“I haven’t ordered any since before F—before the ba—a really long time.”
“Oh.” She turned to Ginny. “When are we going to get you fitted for your dress? I’ve picked out this pretty light green fabric?”
“Wha—huh?” Ginny questioned surprised.
“Light green. I reckon it will look good against your skin.” Angelina smiled and then disappeared into the back room.
George burst out in laughter.
“I should’ve known she wasn’t so cruel as to have me in pink.”
The rest of the weekend went smoothly. Their little spat forgotten, the two spent Sunday together alone in their house. Waking up Monday to find Ginny absent again shocked Harry.
“Missus is telling Kreacher she is returning later,” the house-elf replied to Harry’s question as he dished out a plate of pancakes.
“And she didn’t say where she was headed?”
“What’ve you decided to make for dinner?” He asked.
“Missus is giving Kreacher the night off if that is fine with Master.”
“If that’s what she wants.”
Harry took a swig of the pumpkin juice before him and wondered what Ginny could be up to. Could she be interviewing for another job? No, she loved Quidditch and the Harpies too much. Besides, why would she keep that a secret from her husband? Could be meeting another man—having an affair? An affair that only took place in the morning? Harry knew she’d had a crush on him since she was little so he didn’t reckon she’d be quick to rush into an affair. Could she be at St. Mungo’s with a very sick disease she doesn’t want anyone to know about? His heart dropped as he hoped this wasn’t true. His eyes widened and his fork slipped from his hand. He knew it.
Somehow Harry managed to occupy himself waiting impatiently for his wife to return. He pulled out his old broom servicing kit and the Nimbus 2007 he purchased for his 8th year at Hogwarts. Halfway through cleaning out broken bristles he heard Ginny step out of the floo.
“Where’ve you been?” He questioned her forgetting what he’d come up with at breakfast.
She appeared in the sitting room looking a bit tired. It came back to him.
“Oy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so—“
“No, no, it’s fine. I’m going to clean up.” She exited sending him a funny look.
Harry followed Ginny up the stairs shortly thereafter. He couldn't wait for her to spill the big news. He wondered why she was being so secretive. She was probably very nervous over now he'd react. How would he react? He slumped onto the bed in his room deep in thought. This would sure cut into Ginny's Quidditch time. She'd most likely have to take the entire next season off. She'd probably want to stay home with the baby in the first few months,
The word made his heartbeat faster. He had not actually thought about that. There would be a little person here he'd have to raise. He'd never been in charge of anything before aside from Hedwig and Oberon, but they were owls, a far cry from a living, breathing baby.
"Harry?" Ginny called out entering the room in her underpants and bra.
His eyes immediately went to her middle. It didn't look any bigger. In fact, it looked smaller. Was that healthy?
"Are you all right?”She asked. "You look pale."
"Are you going to cleanup?" she searched through the wardrobe tossing out different colored robes.
"I hadn’t planned on it.”
"Suit yourself I just reckoned you’d want to look nice tonight."
For the big news, Harry added in his head.
Ginny suited on a lime green robe that actually looked good her and left the room.
Look nice tonight? Why would he want to look nice tonight? What was so special about the Monday before Christmas? Harry just about fell off the bed when it came to him. Today was their first wedding anniversary.
"Harry?" Ginny called later.
Harry had been upstairs cleaning himself up. He told Ginny he hadn't planned on it, so he thought a freshly showered, clean shaven husband wearing his best robes would be a nice surprise. He hoped it would be enough to hide the fact that the present he was giving her was a Christmas gift.
"Happy Anniversary" she exclaimed upon Harry entering the dining area.
On the table sat a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and English Peas.
"You cooked this all by yourself?" Ginny's cheeks turned pink,
"I went to my mum for help. That's where I've been—the Burrow. I couldn't tell you."
"So you're not—you’re not?"
"Not what?" She asked curiously." Let's tuck in."
Harry did so piling his plate with food.
"Not what?" Ginny repeated.
"Oh, I had this silly notion you were pregnant. You went to bed early that one night and those two mornings you were missing I decided you were at St Mungo's. I reckoned that was the reason for her weird mood."
Ginny smiled. "No, I'm not pregnant. That's not your anniversary gift, this is. I hope you enjoy it. I followed the recipes just like Mum gave me."
Harry looked down at the food hoping it would taste similar to Mrs. Weasley's cooking. In all the time he'd known Ginny he'd never known her to cook. He didn’t think he’d seen her do it one time.
"You're afraid it's going to stink?"
"No, no, of course not." Harry bit into a chicken leg which had the texture of rubber." Mm. Good."
“You don't like it?"
"I do." He took another bite trying to keep a happy look on his face as he chewed.
After the meal Ginny went into the kitchen and returned with a chocolate cake.
"I wanted to make a treacle tart, but Mum said this was easier."
Harry eyed the double layered cake as his wife levitated it to the table. He hoped it tasted much better than dinner.
"There you go." She served him up a rather large piece.
He smiled at her, raised his fork, and cut into the gooey Chocolate.
"Oh by," Harry exclaimed with his mouthful. He swallowed." This is good. Are you sure you made this all by yourself?"
She glared at him.
"I did make it this Morning with my Mum, but it was mostly me!"
Halfway finished Harry pulled the gift out of the pocket of his robes and handed it to Ginny.
"Christmas wrapping paper?" she blurted out.
"Er, it’s all I had."
She tore through the paper and pulled out a pair of red and green socks.
"What?" They both exclaimed.
"Did you forget our anniversary?" She asked.
Harry didn't want to lie, but he didn't want to tell the truth either. Instead of responding, he looked down at his plate.
"You did." She placed the socks back in the box, the box on the table, and then ran from the room.
Harry gave her a five second head start and then followed her.
"Ginny!" He called out after she slammed their bedroom door, locking it with magic. He pounded on the door, but almost immediately gave up. Leaning against the wall, he slid to the floor and waited.
I’m sorry for making you all wait so long for this chapter! As a reader I say “It’s all right,” when another writer makes me wait, but as a writer I feel guilty.
Chapter 59: Spoiling Christmas
"I can count to a thousand!”Teddy exclaimed, sitting in his godfather's lap in the sitting room of the Burrow on Christmas Eve." 1—2—3—4."
"That's nice," Harry said casually. He was not in the mood to listen to a four-year-old ramble on mindlessly. His relationship with Ginny had been rather strained since Monday evening and it had ill effects on nun.
"Harry, you're not paying atten-shun." Teddy looked up at him with bright green eyes.
"I'm sorry. I'm not in a very good mood."
The young boy frowned before hearing a commotion from the kitchen. He hopped off Harry's lap and ran to the fireplace.
"Victa!" Harry heard him. He'd been abandoned for a two-year-old. All the better for Teddy since he wasn't in the mood to give him the attention he wanted.
Hermione, who had been helping in the kitchen, possibly to join in on girl talk, entered the sitting room and sat next to Harry on the couch,
"Is everything all right?"
"I made a big mistake."
"We all make them, "she replied." We have to learn to get past them."
"She's hardly speaking to me. How can I get past my mistake if she won’t speak to me?"
"You have to show her you love her and forgetting your anniversary is not indicative of your true feelings."
"Or you could just tell her she's the one being the git."
"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed as Ron joined his two best friends on the couch.
"This was our first wedding anniversary. It's supposed to be special. You don't get it back." Harry glanced out the window at the kids and adults bundled up in heavy winter cloaks, scarves, and mittens. Teddy and Victoire ran around the garden wildly. Bill stood with Percy, Audrey and Mr. Weasley chatting with Bill constantly peeking over at his daughter and her playmate.
Hermione nudged his shoulder.
"Let's go outside," she suggested.
The trio trooped to the backdoor passing by Angelina, Fleur, Andromeda and Mrs. Weasley in the kitchen finishing up dinner; Charlie and George wrestled with the table; and Ginny sat playing with baby Dominique.
"Help us get the food on the table, please." Mrs. Weasley stopped them.
"Merlin, Mum. There's, "Ron stopped to count, "Four of you."
“And we could use three more." She glared at her son.
Wordlessly Ron pulled on his cloak, pulled out his wand, and levitated a bowl of mashed parsnips out the door. Hermione followed with a pitcher of pumpkin juice. Harry watched Ginny tickle the baby for a few seconds before exiting with a bowlful of salad.
"You could be A lot nice to your mum," Hermione scolded Ron.
"She just wanted us out of the kitchen." He pointed back to the house where no one else exited.
"No reason for you to be rude.”
"Oh and who are you, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes?"
Waiting for Hermione to respond Harry did not see the little boy run up to him and they both tumbled to the ground, lettuce, tomatoes, and dressing on top of them.
"Teddy!" Victoire squealed.
"I'm sowwy," Teddy said not looking up at Harry.
Harry adjusted his glasses and patted his godson on the head.
"Looks like we won't be having salad tonight."
Victoire ran and threw her arms around Teddy, dirtying up her pink cloak.
"Ge-off!" Teddy exclaimed causing Victoire to jump back. "I'm fine!"
"I think you hurt her feelings," Harry said.
"Oh, Harry!" Hermione ran up to the two after setting her dish on the table under the tent George and Charlie setup. She waved her wand a few times and the boys were cleaned up with the salad finding its way back into the bowl.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked Teddy.
"No bumps or bruises?”Mr. Weasley asked, the outdoor crowd having joined them.
Harry made a motion with his toward Victoire who had her arms wrapped around her father. Teddy slowly stood up and stepped towards her.
"Sowwy," he said softly.
She looked him dead in the eye and touched his shoulder.
"You it!" She ran across the garden.
“Oh dear," Mrs. Weasley arrived from indoors, a plate full of turkey hovering beside her. "Are you all right, dear?"
Harry stood up, feeling a tad dizzy, brushing the snow off his back end, "Yes, ma'am."
"My salad!" Ginny ran outside.
Harry groaned inwardly. It would be her salad he ruined.
"I'm sorry," Harry apologized.
"I bet you are." Ginny glared at him.
"Everyone's here?" Mrs. Weasley asked. "Let's go ahead and eat. Andromeda and Fleur should be along any second."
"Should we not wait for Neville and Hannah?" Hermione asked.
"Neville said they'd be late so they probably do not expect us to wait on them," Harry replied hoping Ginny would forget the salad.
"Good thing I didn't have a hand in the turkey or you'd ruin that, too," she muttered,
So much for that.
Dinner started out smoothly, though Ginny still held anger toward Harry. He could feel it radiate from her. He didn't let it bother him at the moment hoping she would get over it sooner or later. He hoped it would be sooner rather than later.
After dinner the group remained outside for desert, tea, and coffee. Harry enjoyed a piece of treacle tart while Teddy munched on a chocolate biscuit provided by Hannah from the Leaky Cauldron.
"Harry," Neville moved over to talk to the boys while Hannah talked with the girls. "I've news. Professor Sprout stopped by the Cauldron for dinner yesterday."
"Big news, "Ron said. "Who wants to see an old professor?"
"She's thinking of retiring in a few years," Neville continued undaunted. "She wants me to be her assistant and then possibly her replacement. Me! At Hogwarts! Can you believe it?"
"You work at the Ministry," Ron reminded him.
"What does she do?" Teddy asked.
"I haven't talked to Robards or anyone but I'm accepting Sprout."
"What does she do?" Teddy asked irritated,
"Who?" Harry asked wanting to quickly get his godson's curiosity out of the way
"Professor," Harry corrected. "She teaches Herbology and is head of Hufflepuff your mum's house at Hogwarts, which you should attend when you're eleven."
"Herbology," Neville laughed his eyes lighting up. "It's the study of plants, Magical plants. You don't know how useful plants are to magic until you start studying."
"Nev, he's just four. He's not as interested in Herbology as you are," Hannah cut in. "No one's as interested in Herbology as you are."
"We'll miss you on the force," said Harry, "But this will make you happy so I wish you well."
The rest of the dinner went by smoothly and before it got too dark everyone was inside and the back garden had been cleaned up not resembling usage by anyone that day.
"Happy Christmas, Hawwy," Teddy said sleepily as his grandmother led him toward the floo.
Most of the guests were going with the same idea as it was getting late.
"Happy Christmas." He bent down and hugged the boy. "I'm glad you like the mittens Ginny knitted."
She knitted Teddy a pair out of the same yarn used for Hermione's scarf. Harry applied magic to allow them to change to any color the wearer wanted.
"Ginny," he called out to his wife in the silting room. "I reckon it's time to head home."
"You go on home then," she called back, about to enter the room. Harry stopped in his tracks.
"I said, you...."
"I heard what you said. What did you mean by it?"
Ginny rolled her eyes.
"You floo home and I stay here." She pointed to the floor.
Harry grabbed his side and moaned.
"Oh, stop with the drama."
Instead of responding his moaning grew louder. He reached out for a place to sit down. Fortunately, Mrs. Weasely watched the entire incident and brought him a kitchen chair.
"I," he started when the pain overtook him.
"Fine, I'll go home with you now."
"Ginny," her mum cut in. "I don't think he's pretending."
His response to that was to vomit all over the floor.
"Merlin's pants. Er, Harry? Where does it hurt?"
Harry wanted to respond, but if he opened his mouth he was afraid he would be sick again.
"I believe it would be where he's clutching his stomach, "Mrs. Weasley cut in," He needs to go to St. Mungo's."
"He's waking up!" Ginny exclaimed in a soft voice.
Blinking his eyes, he noticed her outline sitting near him. He needed his glasses for a better look.
"What happened?" He asked groggily.
Ginny moved to the bed and stroked his forehead. He wanted to kiss her, but he remembered her being mad at him, besides, he didn't have the energy. She carefully placed his glasses on his face managing to not poke him with the earpieces.
"You're in St. Mungo's. Your appendix ruptured and they safely removed it. You'll have to stay here a few days."
"Yes. It's not common for wizards, mostly a Muggle ailment. I reckon it's because your mum was Muggleborn that it happened to you at all."
"Because we have dirty blood."
"That's not what I meant at all! Most every witch or wizard has some trace of Muggle in them! It's absurd to think otherwise."
Harry did not want to argue so he remained quiet.
"Happy Christmas," Ginny said quietly, reaching for his hands.
"It's past midnight."
"I'm sorry to ruin your holiday."
"Ruin my holiday? You're bonkers. I would have ruined Christmas with my mad temper over a silly little anniversary. If I'd known you were so ill I wouldn't have been so upset."
“You couldn’t have known.”
"Happy Christmas," a young healer entered the curtains separating Harry's bed early that morning. "How are you feeling?" She waved her wand in the air.
"Weak," Harry replied having just woken up.
"I'll see what I can do about getting you a potion for that."
Harry reached for his glasses glad to see his strength returning. Looking around he noticed Ginny not present. She must have gone home after he fell asleep.
"Your vitals appear normal. Do you hurt anywhere?"
"Good. I'll be back with that potion. Breakfast should be here shortly."
"'Morning," a freckled face greeted him with a warm kiss on the lips. "How was your night?"
"I notified Ron & Hermione and Teddy & Andromeda before flooing here this morning. They both said they'd be by to visit later. Ron and Hermione are visiting her parents for lunch, but they'd come by after."
Ginny kicked off her shoes and cuddled in close to Harry
"I fancy your socks," he commented on spotting the red and green striped stocks on her feet.
"A rather nice anniversary gift from my husband." She snuggled in closer with a bright smile on her face.
---------Happy Christmas! If you live in the US, Happy belated Mother's Day!
Last edited by leah49; May 12th, 2009 at 1:56 am.
Chapter 60: The Captain
"Oh, wow," Ginny breathed after taking a sip of her morning tea.
"What?" Harry asked curiously from over the top of the front page of The Daily Prophet.
Placing the sports page on the table, she pointed out the headline.
"Holyhead keeper traded for Ballycastle Beater; Patricia Wood and Reserve Chaser for Gordania Ingles to be named captain. Harry, that's our new captain!" The Quidditch season started in a month with practice beginning in a few days. "This leaves us without a Keeper, unless we bring up (name) and hold try-outs for the reserve position," she thought out loud. "It says here Gordania Ingles is loud and boisterous and averages 3 fouls per game."
"She's the one who gave Sian Bevins the nasty black eye that almost took up her entire face, was she?"
"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that." Ginny sighed. "I wonder how having a new captain will be."
"Hmmm." Apparently Harry's attention had gone back to the newspaper. Ginny turned hers to the rest of the article.
"I believe we made the right decision in naming Ingles our captain,” the team owner said in an interview announcing the trade."
I hope so.
Among the edition of the new Beater and captain the team traded a Chaser for two reserve players and brought up Holly Jones to fill in the spot of first string keeper. Gordania decided not to hold the annual A/B match announcing she believed it unnecessary and a waste of time, saying they needed to concentrate on their play against other teams not each other. The new teammates and no preseason match was probably the biggest change Ginny experienced since joining the team,
"How's your winter?" Sian asked as the two dressed in the locker room for their first day of practice.
"My husband had his appendix removed."
"That's not good."
He deserved it for forgetting our anniversary, she thought. She shook her head at the mean thought.
"How about you?"
"Nothing. I stayed at home with family and friends."
"Let's get a move-on, "a deep voice shouted into the locker room.”I want to see your hindquarters on the pitch NOW!"
Ginny quickly laced her boots and ran out the door. Following her teammates she retrieved her broom from the field house and joined everyone on the pitch.
"100 laps!" The captain ordered.
Mounting the Firebolt Ginny took a deep breath. One hundred laps was a crazy way to start out the first practice of the season. Gwenog always had them buildup their endurance.
"She's mad," Fae, a reserve Beater, said flying alongside Ginny. "Keep this up and we'll never have the strength to make it to practice."
Landing on the ground after the warm-up laps Ginny found her butt to be sore. She had flown on a broomstick for many consecutive hours before, but warm-up laps were much different than a match.
"Good morning. I am your new captain, Gordania Ingles. I would like to get to know all of you and hope to do that in the next few weeks." Gordania went through all her rules and expectations.
"How cornier can she get?” Fae whispered to Ginny after Gordania spouted off the "early is on time and on time is late" line.
"I know," Ginny whispered back.
"Care to share that with the rest of us, Miss Weasley?"
That's Mrs. Potter!
"No, Ma'am." She felt her ears go red.
"I reckon you pay attention to me and not your friend. Last time I checked I was captain and not her or you."
Tossing her bag against the wall Ginny flopped into a chair. Kreacher, who had been cooking dinner jumped at the noise.
"Mistress is not in a good mood, "he muttered.
"Kreacher is not seeing Master."
"Oh, that's right. He said this morning he'd be working late." She slumped out of the room kicking the chair on her way by.
Deciding to take a hot bubble bath she went upstairs to her bedroom. On the bed was a letter, most likely placed there by Kreacher.
I had this sent to your home and not work for it is not urgent and you are busy on the pitch during practice. I have scheduled a fitting with Madam Malkin next Tuesday at eleven for the bridesmaids, mothers, and flower girl. We shall go to lunch and make a day of it Owl me to let me know if this is convenient for you.
Ginny tossed the letter aside. She wasn't in the mood to do wedding things with her future sister-in-law or any family member.
"Ginny," Harry whispered softly.
She opened her eyes to find his face inches from her.
"I didn't want to wake you. You look so cute laying there."
"I didn't mean to fall asleep. I actually was planning on taking a bubble bath," she yawned, sitting up.
"Dinner's ready. "Harry reached out a hand to help her up which she gladly accepted. "How was your day?"
"Gordania Ingles is nothing like Gwenog Jones."
"You need to give her a chance." Harry waited for her at the bottom of the stairs.
"What?" Ginny huffed staying put on the middle step.
"You've only one practice. How can you really know what she's all about?"
"All day practice. Trust me I got a chance."
"Come down here. I don't want to make you upset."
Slowly Ginny descended the stairs, but she didn't let Harry put his arm around her.
Kreacher was just placing the shepherd's pie on the table when they entered the room.
“Master and Mistress fighting again,” he grumbled under his breath.
Ginny wanted to sock him one, but refrained from doing anything other than sitting down at the table.
"Tell me about your new captain," Harry asked after filling his plate.
"She's very strict and wants everything run her way."
"I see nothing wrong with that."
"Of course you don't," she muttered.
"What was that?"
The two ate in silence for a bit before Harry spoke.
"I have to leave next week on a mission."
"You know this part of my job and we're all taking on more duties with Neville gone."
"I know. I'm sorry," she replied in a not so sorry tone. She went back to her food.
"What's bugging you?" Harry asked looking at her behind his round frames.
"I told you. Practice."
“You have to--"
"I know," she interrupted, "give Gordania a chance."
"She's new to the team. While you're feeling her out she's feeling you out."
"You honestly don't know how tough today was."
"No, I don't. Please tell me."
Ginny sighed. She did want to tell him.
"Harry," she started.
She shook her head.
"You had a hard practice so tell me how awful it was."
"We started with 100 laps around the pitch."
"100 laps? Maybe I should have done that with Gryffindor."
She sent him a look she hoped was evil enough.
"Or not," He quickly stuffed a forkful of the shepherd's pie into his mouth.
Ginny continued. "She flew us hard all day with little breaks. She has all these rules and if we're caught breaking them we have to do 25 laps."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "How many did you break?"
Her ears turned red. She disliked that Weasley trait at the moment.
"Er," she moved her fork around her plate, "five. But, they are really bad rules! "She added in defense.
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"You're not 'defying authority' because you don't like her?"
"No," she spat. "She called me out for 'bad passing,’" she said doing the air quotes with her fingers, "and I may have responded back to her in a rude manner and she may have given me 25 laps for that, but she deserved it and I didn't!"
She hadn't been wrong to talk back to Ingles. She knew she hadn't. She wasn't trying to stop her from taking over the team or having authority, but Ginny truly felt she was wrong for complaining over her passing. Her passing was good. Well, except for last season's final match, but that was Gwenog's fault.
That night she could not get to sleep. Harry lay next to her, off in dreamland, snoring slightly. Her mind kept active repeating events from the day's practice. She was fortunate to have the day off tomorrow to try to get over it. Turning onto her side she watched Harry's chest rise and fall. So busy he was that sleep came easy for him. Ginny leaned over and gave him a slight kiss on his forehead near his scar. He stirred, but did not wake. Closing her eyes she hoped sleep would find her just as fast.
"Pass it! Pass it!" Paislee, the third Chaser, snorted.
Ginny let go of the Quaffle sending it in a high arc to Sian.
"Not like that!" Gordania blew her whistle. "How many times do I have to tell you not to be so lackadaisical?"
"Not enough," Ginny muttered.
"What was that?"
Gordania glared at Ginny, her black eyes burning holes. Ginny shook her head to make the feeling disappear.
"Keep your head in it!" The captain shouted at her.
Receiving the ball back, Ginny passed the Quaffle to Sian so hard it flew over her head out of reach. Sian and Treise, one of the reserve Chasers, flew after it
Groaning and wanting to argue, Ginny took off around the pitch. This was her fourth practice under the new captain and nothing was getting any better.
"You can't keep doing this," Holly said to Ginny as they changed back into their street clothes in the locker room after practice. Holly stood in front of her wearing a white t-shirt and black Quidditch pants.
"Don't play innocent," Janet, the other Beater, joined in.
"We're lucky to have Gordonia Ingles as our captain."
"Look, the two don't get along," Sian defended. "It happens."
"Stay out of this, Bevins," the Keeper snarled.
Sian backed up a few steps but did not appear to back down.
"You don't have to stick up for me. I appreciate it, but this git is nothing."
"Oooh," the Keeper said. "I'm hurt. You called me a git."
The beater laughed. Ginny rolled her eyes and turned to her locker.
"We don't need you causing trouble," Holly laid a hand on Ginny's shoulder, which she shrugged off. "The last team I was on we were as tight as brothers... and sister," she added quickly.
Ginny had no clue where she was going with this. She didn't think she affected the team chemistry.
"You're mental," she responded tossing her Quidditch boots inside the locker.
"You're the one arguing with Ingles."
"Is that your problem?" she turned to look at her staring into her beady eyes.
Shaking her head, after closing her locker, Ginny walked away. She was not going to put up with this from some measly girl.
Holly shouted after her, but Ginny ignored her as she headed for the floo.
"Ginny! Ginny Potter!" A female voice called out.
Ginny lay in bed the next morning, sunshine streaming in the window. Harry was on his mission leaving her in the house alone. After the practice yesterday all she wanted to do was sit around the house alone and veg.
"Ginny?" The female voice called out more concerned.
"Mistress is not.... Kreacher is not..."
"I'm right here," she yelled from the top of the stairs wrapping her blue dressing gown around her.
Walking into the kitchen she spotted Angelina's head floating in the fireplace.
"Angelina?" she knelt down in front of the flames. "Is everything all right? How's George?" she asked worried.
"George is fine. You did receive my owl last week?"
"Ginny's eyes lit up.
"Yes...oh, I'm sorry. I jus--"
"No apologies. Get dressed. We're waiting for you at Madam Malkin's. My Mum's being fitted now."
Angelina's head disappeared. Ginny leaned back on her heels. She was not in the mood to try on robes and dresses. She didn't want to be around giddy girls planning a wedding. But, she couldn't say no. This was her future sister-in-law and she was a bridesmatron.
"Oh, good," Madam Malkin exclaimed when Ginny walked through the door of her shop roughly forty-five minutes later. "You're my last witch. Up, up." She tapped the stand as Angelina stepped off. Madam Malkin handed Ginny the light spring green fabric to put on over her clothes after she removed her robes. Waving her wand the robe maker took a few measurements and made a few snips.
"These dresses should be ready soon. When shall I be seeing Miss Mary?"
"She's still in school. I'll get her over here as soon as she arrives home, "Angelina answered.
Ginny quickly took off the unfinished dress and stepped off the platform. She did not want to go with the group to the Leaky Cauldron, but she knew she would hurt her future sister-in-law's feelings if she left early.
"Merlin's beard!" She exclaimed when they entered the pub.
"Never been inside the Leaky Cauldron?" Alicia joked.
"No. Gordania Ingles is over there." She pointed to a small round table a few feet from them where the (hair color) woman sat with a black haired man.
"Gordania Ingles?" Alicia asked at the same time as Angelina exclaimed," Gordania Ingles!"
"The new captain of Holyhead," Ginny replied with a hint of disgust.
"She's such an amazing player," Angelina added, "You should be thrilled to have her on the team. I love watching her play. You will get us tickets to your first match?"
Ginny nodded while trying to hide herself from her captain. "Let's, er, pick a table."
"You play for the Holyhead Harpies?" Mrs. Johnson asked after they chose a table at the opposite side of the pub. "Angelina made the reserve team for Portree, but unexpectedly quit around the time of the battle at Hogwarts in, what year was that? 1998?"
"Mum!" Angelina hissed.
"Ginny is our star.”Mrs. Weasley put her arm around her daughter.
She felt the heat rise in her ears. As embarrassing as her mum could be it wasn't anything as the embarrassment written on Angelina's face. Why was she embarrassed over being on the Pride of Portree reserve team and why did she quit?
---------There you go, a new chapter. Hope you enjoyed it. Feedback!
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