Chapter 61: In Love With a Girl
He had been staying in the flat above the joke shop since shortly after the war ended. Vowing to his mum that he was going to be more independent and live on his own he needed a place to stay. His best mate George had a room available and not wanting to live by himself he practically begged Lee to move in, although Lee didn’t need to be persuaded.
He used to help out at the joke shop. He knew George needed him for more than just providing the third body there once Ron went back to Hogwarts and then started Auror training at the Ministry. Working at the shop seemed such a waste. It wasn’t his thing. Sure, he enjoyed pranking with the Weasley twins as much as the next guy, but selling joke items was not his idea of being productive. He wanted to do something more with his life.
When George and Angelina started dating no one asked him how he felt. Everyone was worried over what Fred would think, if the two would have gotten together if Fred was alive, if the two were together because Fred was gone. No one cared to think how he felt.
Lee lay in his bed half an hour before he had to leave for the radio station thinking about his best friend marrying the girl of his dreams. OK, maybe he was going too far with that, but he really did have a huge crush on her. When he found out the two were dating he never told George how he felt. George was so happy and it been such a long time since he’d seen that much happiness on his friend’s face that he couldn’t just take it away by telling him his true feelings. He didn’t want to be selfish.
The sound sent him falling out of bed with his sheets wrapped around his legs. Untangling himself and throwing on a pair of shorts he ran into the sitting room to find his roommate standing over a broken lamp.
“Did I wake you?” George asked with a slight smirk on his face.
“Shouldn’t you be opening the shop?” Lee asked.
“Angelina and Verity have it.” George pulled out his wand and the lamp flew into one piece. “Do you think I’m making a mistake?”
He pondered the question. There were so many ways he could answer this. There was the truth. There was the answer that benefited him. There was the answer that benefited George.
“Do you love her?”
“She’s all I think about. When I’m not with her I want to be with her.”
“Do you love her?” Lee repeated.
“Didn’t I not just answer that? Of course I love her. That’s the problem. Do I love her because I’m in love with her, because she’s replacing the hole in my heart, or because she’s a tie to F-F—my brother?”
“I reckon if she’s replacing the hole then that’s being in love with her. What do you mean she’s a tie to your brother? Fred took her to the Yule Ball but they weren’t dating.” Lee felt like yelling, but he remained unnaturally calm.
Damn it! Why did George get there first? I was the one who thought she was beautiful. I was the one who stayed up late in our sixth year to watch her devise Quidditch plans. I was the only one who didn’t prank her.
“I’ve to get ready for work.”
Lee left the uncomfortable scene. He didn’t know how he was going to get through the wedding. A groomsman, he’d be standing up front witnessing the union of his best mate and the girl he fancied.
“There you are. Eleanor owled in sick so you’re taking over her shift, which starts in an hour.” Janet greeted Lee as soon as he entered the WWN building.
Groaning inwardly, he nodded. He loved working for radio, being on the air, and he usually didn’t mind covering for an absent coworker, but today he just wanted to take things slow before his regular afternoon shift.
“Don’t look so put out. Eleanor covered for you last month when you were out with a ‘cold’,” She winked.
Some cold. George had been in a major quandary needing someone to fill in at the shop. He’d promised Angelina for weeks she’d have the day off for wedding stuff and that morning he received an owl from Verity that she had an emergency healer’s appointment at St. Mungo’s. What that was about she still hadn’t told anyone.
Janet followed him into Studio 2 and closed the door behind her.
“Are you all right?” She leaned against the table showing off her creamy white skin having opted away from the traditional Wizarding robes for a pair of short shorts and a dark green sleeveless shirt.
“Would you care to accompany me to a wedding next month?”
She stared at him with her mouth slightly agape. He expected this was not the answer she intended for her question.
“It’s not a date,” he quickly added.
“S-sure.” She stood up. “I’ll let you get ready.”
After a double shift and no break for lunch, Lee Apparated to the flat on Diagon Alley. Usually, he liked to stay at the station well after hoping to not reach the shop until closing, but today he just wanted to rest.
Appearing right outside the shop, he opened the door to have Verity rush past him with her hand covering her mouth. Not thinking about her, he kept on going to where Angelina stood behind the counter. She looked so striking with her dark brown hair twisted onto the top of her head in a neat but haphazard way and her wand sticking out of the front pocket of her magenta robes while she counted out Knuts for a customer.
“Forget your fiancé and we’ll run away together,” he whispered when the customer left.
Angelina rolled her eyes and began counting the money in the till.
“You think I’m joking?”
“About what?” George questioned, walking out of the back room with a box of Decoy Detonators.
Lee was about to answer when Verity appeared before them.
“George, may I talk to you about,” she paused, glancing at the three faces watching her. “I need to discuss…oh shoot, I’ll just say it. I need to discuss maternity leave with you.”
The room would have been silent if not for Ginny bursting through the front door with a bloody nose.
“I dod’t wadt do dalk aboud id,” she stated jumping up to sit on the counter.
“You’re talking,” George demanded. “You don’t just appear at my shop with a bloody nose and tell me you’re not talking.”
Verity, looking queasy, placed a hand on George’s shoulder.
“I’ve to discuss something with Verity first.”
“It’s okay,” she interrupted. “You can say it. I’m pregnant.”
“But, then I’ll get to you,” he finished.
“I’ll clean you up,” Angelina offered leading Ginny up the stairs to the flat. Lee followed.
“What happened?” She asked as she searched through the cupboards for the potions.
“I’ll dell you if you dell be aboud de Bride of Pordree.”
“What’s this about the Pride of Portree?” Lee asked.
“I—I made the reserve team a year out of Hogwarts.” She pulled a flask out and handed it to Ginny.
“That’s not the end of it,” Ginny said after her nose stopped bleeding.
“No, it’s not.”
“Why were you embarrassed when your mum mentioned it that day?”
“I—I it’s just hard to talk about. I spent a year out of Hogwarts with lousy jobs and then this opportunity to try out for Portree came along. There was the possibility that the Quidditch season would be cancelled due to well, you know, but they still wanted to field a full team and have reserves. I made the team two weeks before the season was to begin, but it was postponed due to the war. I never got a chance to play.”
“Did they kick you off the team?” Lee asked.
“That Battle at Hogwarts was devastating. Our side won and You-Know-Who died, but so did others including—“
“Fred,” he finished for her.
Damn. It always came back to him. No matter what he thought Fred was actually the one of them that got their first even if it didn’t mean as much.
Tears welled up in her eyes.
“One of my closest friends died.”
Ginny nodded slowly.
“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t continue. I couldn’t play Quidditch knowing he would never play again. It all seemed so meaningless. I quit.”
“Fred wouldn’t have wanted that,” Ginny said softly.
“I know. That’s one reason why I never told anyone that I made the team and why I quit.”
“We would have been proud of you,” said Lee.
“No, you would’ve thought I was stupid and a failure. I was only a member of that team for something like a month. It was dumb of me to quit.”
Lee jumped up from his perch on the back of the couch to give Angelina a hug when George entered causing him to back away.
“Talk,” he ordered.
“I got in a fight.”
“What’s with this attitude?”
“Attitude? It scares me to see my baby sister barge into my shop with a bloody nose.”
“Alright, fine. I got in a fight with Holly, a teammate. All she could give me was a bloody nose, but I let her have it with a—“
“You didn’t use the Bat Bogey Hex on her?” George’s eyes lit up as Ginny nodded.
“She’s going to have bats come out her nose for days. Gordania saw us and sent us both home. She said she’ll deal with us on Monday.”
“Why did you come here?”
“Harry’s working late again like he’s been for the past month. I
didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to face Mum at the Burrow. I came here.”
“A girl on your team is giving you trouble?”
“Is it the entire team?” A smile grew on George’s face. He glanced at Lee.
“No, George, no. I’m not, we’re not, you’re not getting involved. I’m on thin ice as it is.”
“Let me at it. I’ve plenty of items downstairs that will do the job.”
“Not right now. If things don’t work out well or go further south I’ll let you in, but I have no idea what state my position on the team is right now and I don’t need you messing it up further.”
Lee found himself in his bed late that night with his eyes wide open. Today had been a busy day and usually that found him fast asleep, but not tonight. He kept picturing Angelina standing at the counter and then when she was in the flat fixing Ginny’s nose. He wanted her. He always wanted her ever since he met her their first night at Hogwarts. He lost. He’ll never have her. He’ll never be able to tell her what he feels is not a joke like he’s put on. He can’t break his best mate by taking his girl.
Closing his eyes one final time he watched Angelina roll her eyes at him. If only she knew what he said wasn’t a joke.
“This really does me in,” George said over a cup of coffee the next morning. Lee stirred his tea and milk. “She’s going to get bigger and not be able to work soon. Then, after the baby’s born, she’ll want to stay home with it. She’s not married, so I suspect she won’t get any help from the father.” He sighed deeply.
The two sat on the couch early that morning, earlier than the usual time Lee woke before work.
“Advertise for help. ‘S how you got Angelina.” It pained him to say it.
“I could. I’ll just be losing my best employee. You come work for me when Verity goes on maternity leave?”
“I have a job. She’s becoming a single mother, though I do not know why you think the father won’t be around, so she’s going to need a job. She won’t leave you. She didn’t leave you after the war when other shops opened.”
“You’re right. I hope you are at the very least.”
Lee sipped his tea and watched George take a biscuit and dunk it in his coffee. George was the only person he knew who did things like that.
“I’m in love with Angelina,” Lee blurted out.
“She’s a great girl, isn’t she?” His best mate replied with an odd serene look on his face.
“’Morning, George,” Angelina greeted her fiancé with a kiss on the lips after entering the sitting room from the bedroom she shared with him, wearing a purple nightgown and a purple dressing gown. The kiss made Lee’s heart flop into his stomach.
“Speak of the devil.”
“Who’re you calling the devil?”
“It’s—it’s a Muggle expression I heard somewhere,” George covered. “I might’ve used it wrong.”
“Ooh, coffee,” she said noticing George’s mug and forgetting his remark.
George’s guilty face turned worse.
“You made only one cup?” Angelina figured.
“I’ve a kettle on if you want tea,” Lee offered.
“Thanks.” She smiled at him sending his stomach flittering.
“I, er, I’ve to clean up for work.”
Lee headed to his bedroom to hear George ask, “Angie, you think Alicia’s looking for a new job?”
Chapter 62: Stag Party
"9 thousand 9 hundred 99 bottles of butterbeer on the wall, "Ron sang softly to himself while stacking packages of Fever Fudges. George had improved them into different varieties of fudge.
"What're your plans for next Saturday?" George asked suddenly appearing behind Ron.
"Working here," Ron replied dully.
"After that?" He bounced from foot to foot.
"I reckon go home and spend the rest of the evening with Hermione. We’ve been so busy lately we rarely see each other."
"Sure that's it, are you?"
"Eh," Ron paused." Yeah."
Ron went back to stocking the shelf and didn't think anything of his brother's remark.
"Ron," he heard someone hiss ten minutes later.
Turning his head he spotted Lee motioning for him to follow him in the backroom.
"Has George approached you about next week?" he asked as he shut the door.
"Thought so. ’Ve you planned anything?"
"No, that's the best man's job." Ron sat on top of the small wooden desk.
Ron shook his head. "I thought you were."
"George doesn't have a best man," Lee spotted. "How can he not--"
"Fred," Ron blurted.
"I know. Before he asked me he was speaking to Mrs. (name) about his wedding party and Fred's name came up. ****."
Lee sighed and ran a hand through his thick dreads.
"We've a week to plan George's stag party."
"Location?" Lee produced a random piece of parchment and a tattered brown quill. "Here?"
"Maybe," Ron kicked his legs against the desk.
"Hey, we could start out at Grimmauld Place.”
“Harry's old house?" Lee looked skeptical.
"It's a rather big house. Kreacher can fix it up. It's better than having a party at the groom's place of work."
"Fine." Lee scribbled clown Grimmauld Place.
The two men continued with the planning, coming up with a guest list: Percy, Oliver, Hagrid, Bill, and Harry; and some activities which included getting sloshed at The Three Broomsticks. Ron decided Hogsmeade was a better place to party since George lived on Diagon Alley. Before Lee left they sent out the invitations including one to George.
"You know how I feel toward house elves," Hermione said to Ron. She sat on their double bed while he cleaned up after work the following Saturday.
"Hermione, you can't honestly expect me not to use a house-elf when I have one at my disposal."
"If it were me, I'd have helped Kreacher clean."
"And that's what makes you special." He kissed her quickly on the lips. "What are your plans for the evening?"
"Ginny's coming over and I reckon we're going out. Diagon Alley, most likely, to avoid running into you lot. Her match ended early."
"Oh? What was the score?"
"They beat the Arrows 220-150 she said."
"I brought the firewhiskey!" Lee raised a full bottle of Ogden's finest.
“I thought we were heading to the Three Broomsticks?" Percy asked adjusting his tortoise shell glasses.
"Of course we are." George stole the bottle from his best mate and took a swig. "This is just warm-up. Here, have some." He handed the bottle to his brother.
Tentatively Percy took a sip.
"Ah, don't tell me working at the Ministry hasn't made you want to drink more.”
Percy took a bigger swing, dribbling a bit down his chin.
The four boys, along with Bill and Harry, sat around the sitting room of Grimmauld Place passing around the bottle and being loud. Hagrid would be meeting up with them later at the pub. Oliver had a Quidditch match that afternoon and declined the invitation. Lee and Ron sent Charlie an invite knowing full well he would not be able to take off two weekends in a row, especially on such short notice.
"Harry, "Ron said after his third swig, "You know Hermione's into house-elf rights?"
"I reckon she'd want us to include Kreacher in our party."
Harry nodded vigorously
Appearing before them was the elder house-elf.
“Have some firewhiskey?”
Kreacher stared at the bottle but did not move.
“Stupid house-elf,” George muttered. “He’s ordering you!”
Bill kicked him in the leg.
“No, it’s not an order. It’s an offer.”
“Master is wanting Kreacher to partake in the party. Kreacher is not sure if he should drink.”
“Go on, there’s nothing wrong.”
Harry handed the bottle to Kreacher, who took a small sip.
“Kreacher is—Kreacher is,” he took another sip. “Kreacher is never having a drink like this before.”
“The Blacks never gave you firewhiskey? I thought they liked you?” Harry asked.
“Oh, yes, Mistress is loving Kreacher. Kreacher is loving Mistress. But, Mistress and Kreacher is knowing a drunk house-elf is not a productive house-elf,” he hiccupped and took another sip.
“Hey, don’t drink all of it!” Lee exclaimed taking the bottle away and downing it.
“No, that’s just what you’ll do,” George said.
“I brought it, numbskull.”
“It’s my stag party, numbskull.”
“We’ll just go to the Three Broomsticks or Harry, do you have any firewhiskey here?”
He shook his head. No one aside from Kreacher currently lived in the house so no food was kept here.
“All right, we’ll just head to the pub for more firewhiskey.”
“Kreacher is staying here. Kreacher is having enough firewhiskey.” The small house-elf had sat down while sipping the drink and stood up rather unsteadily on his feet.
“’Arry, Ron!” Hagrid shouted, waving his arms wildly.
The group used the floo to travel to the Three Broomsticks and was now making their way to a round table in the back that their half-giant friend, Hagrid, occupied.
“’Ow’s the party goin’?” He asked as they all took a seat.
“Fine, “ Harry replied.
“We ran out of firewhiskey at home, so we had to venture out into the real world,” George added.
“Congratulations!” Hagrid patted George on the back almost knocking him into the table. “I can remember yer firs’ day on the Gryffindor Quidditch team wi’ Angelina. And now, yer gettin’ married.” He pretended to wipe a tear from his eye. “You and yer brother were quite a sight. Always had to get you out of the Forbidden Forest.”
George’s face fell as he glanced down at the table.
“I shouldn’t a said that.”
“It’s all right,” George mumbled.
“Hey, you know what we need!” Lee exclaimed. “Six firewhiskeys over here!” He shouted.
A brunette waitress made eye contact with him, rolled her eyes, and waved her hand to indicate she’d be there in a moment.
“OK, boys, what will it be?” She asked after she finished with the previous table she was at.
“Six firewhiskeys,” Lee said.
“An’ a refill.” Hagrid lifted his almost empty mug.
Ron took a big swig of his third glass of firewhiskey while George flirted with the waitress. As he sat the glass down, Lee leaned toward him. Ugh, his breath smelled awful!
“I love her,” Lee whispered.
“Her? The waitress? You hardly know her,” Ron remarked.
“The waitress’s name is Angelina? Funny coincidence, that’s the name of George’s fiancée.”
“No, you ugly git, not the waitress. Forget the damn waitress.”
OK, that was uncalled for. I’m only a little drunk.
“I love Angelina,” Lee stated.
“It’s not funny.”
“This is a joke, right? You used to make fun with her that you wanted to date her, but you were never serious. You’re just being funny now.”
“I am serious.” He gave Ron a look that shut him up. “I’ve always loved her.”
“No, you didn’t. You were just playing with her. You didn’t take her to the Yule Ball. Fred did. You aren’t marrying her. George is. You aren’t in love with her.”
“Shut up!” Lee yelled. Everyone got quiet and turned their attention to the two. “I—I—sorry, just a tad drunk and didn’t know how loud I was being.”
“Have you told her?”
“I, well, not seriously. I can’t. You see how happy George is. I can’t ruin that. George hasn’t been this happy since Fred died. I wouldn’t be his best mate if I did that.”
“So, you’ll have to get over her.”
Lee shook his head.
“I’ve something for you,” George said to the waitress. Fishing something out of his pocket he produced a nougat. “It’s for being a great girl tonight,” he spoke rather loudly with most of the group laughing or giggling behind him.
“Thank you, sir.”
She quickly popped the nougat in her mouth and no sooner did she swallow than blood started dripping out of her nose.
“Oy,” George exclaimed pulling packages out of his robes. “Er, I think this is the antidote.” he found one and handed it to her.
Immediately after consuming the treat she grabbed her stomach, turned her head, and let out a violent hurl.
“What do you think you’re doing?” came a large voice.
Ron turned around to see a burly young man a handful of years older than him approach the table. This was no Madame Rosmerta.
“Are you poisoning my waitress?” the man asked.
“No,” George replied searching through the packages on the table. “Try this.”
“She will not try that!”
“This is the antidote,” George slurred.
“I don’t think so! Out!” He pulled George’s chair out and thrust him to a standing position. “All of you! Get out of my pub!”
“What next?” Lee asked once they were standing outside.
“Damn, I left my snackboxes on the table.”
Or dirty sweat socks.
Or onions rotting in dirty sweat socks.
Ron opened an eye and noticed it wasn’t onions or socks. It was feet. Big, freckly feet with dirty toenails. He turned his head to the other side hoping the smell wouldn’t make him sick. What he got here was a patch of black hair practically up his nose.
Where was he?
He tried to sit up but the throbbing in his head forced him to lie back down. He didn’t remember much of last night after being kicked out of the Three Broomsticks but it must have been some kind of fun to give him this bad of a headache.
Opening both eyes he began to recognize the room he was in, though he couldn’t place it exactly. The patch of black hair belonged to Harry. So, he must have fallen asleep next to his best mate. The feet on the other side belonged to George. He figured somewhere around them was the rest of the party; he didn’t feel like trying to remember who they all were.
Hearing a loud grunt he turned to see Hagrid asleep on the floor. The sight of his half-giant friend brought back memories of this place. Hagrid’s hut.
“Does your head hurt as much as mine?” Harry asked feebly. “‘Ve you seen my glasses?”
“You remember what happened last night?”
“No. Found ‘em.”
Harry waved a pair of glasses broken in two in the air.
“You’ve a wand?” Ron asked.
“Dunno. I don’t feel like searching. I don’t have to see things clearly.” He turned to face Ron who was lying on his back. “Promise me something, will you?”
“We are not getting this trashed at your stag party.”
This was going to be a lot longer, but I have moved some stuff to the next chapter so you don’t have to wait for me to post this chapter! Sorry about the wait. Feedback!
Chapter 63: Wedding
The next week had been incredibly busy. Ron had to work late every evening on a case in Bath involving fighting in the hot springs. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, which went fairly smoothly, much better than Harry and Ginny’s where Teddy pitched a huge fit, causing them to have to go through the routine at least a million more times than necessary.
“Ronny?” He heard someone softly say as if the wind was speaking. “Ronny!” The wind seemed to be picking up steam. “Ron! RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY!” The wind let out violent anger and hit him with something hard.
“Merlin!” He shouted.
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad,” the wind responded, sounding surprisingly like Hermione.
“’Bloody hell, I’ve gone blind!”
“You really are a stupid git.”
Hermione removed the pillow she’d thrown at Ron, which had landed on his face. Rubbing his eyes, he turned over to face her.
“Good morning,” she spoke a tad too cheerfully.
“I know you’d rather have a lie-in, but your dear brother has requested your presence in an hour and a half and I reckon you’d like a nice breakfast, spend time with me, and not run around here like a hippogriff with its head cut off before you leave.”
He noticed the way the words “spend time with me” had come out. The two had been extra busy with work, especially with Ron doing Saturdays at the joke shop. Sunday was their only day together and that was usually spent at the Burrow with his family. Oh sure, he should have spent time alone with Hermione, but he had to please his mother.
Quickly, he took a shower and dressed before appearing in the kitchen where Hermione had made him a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon—his favorite.
“Come with me,” he said before sticking a piece of bacon in his mouth.
“I can’t, Ron.” She sat down across from him sipping a mug of tea. “I’ll be at the wedding later. This is just for you, George, Lee, and your dad.”
“We don’t see enough of each other.”
Hermione looked down at her hands holding the sides of the mug.
“I love you,” Ron said. “I miss you.”
“I miss you, too.”
It had become far too apparent for the two of them that they had been putting work first. They weren’t married, yet, so they were just acting like most people at their stage might, but it was far too much for one redheaded man.
“I’ll come home early from work this week.”
“What if you can’t?”
“You can’t predict what will happen with your job.”
“I’ll pass on anything this week.”
“I don’t want you to do that.”
“For you, Hermione, for you.”
“You need to eat,” Ron heard his dad say when he entered the flat of his brother, George. “Good morning, Ron.”
“Morning, Dad. So you’re finally getting married, huh?” Ron thumped his brother on the back, who sat at the kitchen table with a full mug of tea.
“Yeah,” he replied.
“You finally found someone willing to take you.”
“Yeah,” George replied in an unusual manner.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine! I’m fine and I’m not hungry!”
“Ron, have you eaten, yet?” His father asked.
“What about you, Lee?”
Ron turned around to see his brother’s best mate walk out of his bedroom. There was something different about him, but he couldn’t quite place it.
“No thanks, Mr. Weasley.”
“Right, then, you lot will just go hungry.”
Ron chuckled at hearing his dad complain.
“Find it funny, do you? I’m just a concerned parent who doesn’t want his son to faint at his own wedding due to hunger.”
“Hey, I had breakfast, but then I’m not the one getting married today.”
“Right, make sure George gets something to eat. I’m to pick up your mother and meet you at the Johnsons’. Don’t be nervous, son. If you love her you know its right.” Mr. Weasley patted George on the back and then exited through the front door.
Ron sat down at the kitchen table with Lee following. He didn’t want to stare, but he knew there was something different about the dark skinned boy.
“I do love Angelina,” George reassured.
“I have to pick up Janet. I’ll see you at the wedding,” Lee said abruptly.
“D’you need to pick up Hermione?” George asked Ron once Lee disappeared.
“She’ll be arriving with Harry.”
George sipped his tea and didn’t say anything. Ron could not know what was going on inside his brother’s head.
“We better get ready. Don’t want to make anyone upset over us being late,” George spoke a few minutes later.
“There’s my boy!” Mrs. Weasley cried, throwing her arms around George, when he and Ron appeared at the Johnsons’ roughly an hour later.
“Mum!” George exclaimed into her shoulder.
“George!” She cried, tears spilling out.
“I’m just going to check on the wedding party.”
Ron slipped to the back garden to see row after row filling with people. He spotted Hermione sitting with Harry, Andromeda, Teddy, Victoire, Fleur, Bill with Dominique in his lap, and Charlie. Quietly he walked over to the group, bent down, and planted a kiss on his girl’s cheek.
“Viktor?” She placed a hand on the spot.
Ron’s ears turned red. He opened his mouth to say something when Harry burst out laughing.
“Ron, I knew it was you.” Hermione turned and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“You do get jealous easy,” Harry remarked, laughter still etched over his face.
“You look smart in your dress robes,” Hermione commented.
“Thanks.” Ron’s ears turned redder. “I’ve to go back to George. Who knows what state he’s in.”
Ron hurried to the back room where he’d been told the men would be kept. Entering, he spotted George on the bed with his head in his hands. Ginny, sitting next to him fully dressed in her green bridesmatron dress, raised her head.
“There you are.”
“Here I am.”
George peered up at him without moving his head.
“I’ve to go back to Angelina now. You’re going to be fine.” Ginny patted George’s back and stood up. “You’ll be fine, too.”
“I know!” Ron replied agitated.
As soon as she exited the room Mr. Weasley and Lee appeared.
“You two ready? I believe we’re to begin now,” Mr. Weasley said.
“Your dreads!” Ron exclaimed.
His father gave him an odd look.
“I had my mum take ‘em out last night,” Lee replied. “Got tired of ‘em.” He patted the top of his head which now sported a very short buzzed look.
“You two are ready?”
“Yes,” George replied in a tiny voice.
“Are you sure?” Ron hissed.
Ron followed everyone out the door and into the back garden. Many more guests had arrived since he was last out here. Mr. Weasley parted from the group to join his wife behind the scenes. George, Ron, and Lee gathered at the front with the white haired wizard who performed Harry’s wedding. Looking out among the crowd, Ron spotted Hagrid in the very back row. He smiled at Hermione sitting very close to the front and he sent a small wave to Verity somewhere toward the middle.
Before he knew it the music began and his parents stepped down the aisle to take their seats in the front, followed by Angelina’s parents. Once they were seated Mary Johnson, Angelina’s cousin, started down the aisle. Shortly after came Ginny and behind her was Alicia, the maid of honor.
The music changed. The guests stood up. Everyone looked to the end of the aisle. With the appearance of Angelina in a white sleeveless gown with a flowing bottom George bolted. The bride and her father stopped in their tracks. The music kept playing. Ron ran after him.
“I can’t do it. I can’t marry her.”
“Do you love her?”
George had run to the other side of the house and sat down on the porch steps.
“That’s beside the point.”
“I can’t do this.”
“Why the hell not? You can’t marry her but you sure as hell can disappoint her and all the people here.”
“You don’t understand.”
“Maybe I don’t. I’m engaged to the love of my life and there’s nothing that can stop me from marrying her. Do you love her?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“This isn’t fair to her.”
“She wants to marry you, I don’t know why.”
“I wish…Fred needs to be here.”
Ron didn’t know what to say. He knew his brother was still aching over the loss of his twin. Fred was his brother, too, but he wasn’t as close to him as George was and he didn’t know all the pain it caused him.
“Fred needs to be the one marrying her,” George continued. “That’s who she wants.”
“Did she tell you this?”
“Then stop being a git. Fred and Angelina weren’t dating when he died, as far as I knew. She wants you.”
“How do I know? How do we know I’m not just a replacement? Damn, I wish Fred was here.”
“He’s not. You love Angelina and want to marry her.” George nodded. “Then get married. The George Weasley I know isn’t afraid of something like this.”
“Thank you.” Uncharacteristically George stood up and wrapped his arms tightly around his younger brother.
Not remembering a time when they embraced like this, Ron allowed his brother to hug him and followed with his arms around him. He couldn’t imagine the pain his brother went through every day and though he knew your wedding day was supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life not having Fred present must have been hurting George to an indescribable degree.
After the two broke apart Ron made his way to where the girls stood behind the scenes. Alicia and Mr. Johnson huddled around Angelina who could be heard sniffling.
“Ron.” Alicia looked up from the group.
He shuffled his feet uncomfortable with the level of emotions being portrayed and looked up into the cloudless sky.
“George is, er, George is waiting.”
“I talked to him and he’s fine. “ He brought his gaze back down to look at Angelina who had tearstained cheeks.
“Fine?” She spat. “Fine? How can that prat be fine? He ran away at the sight of me. He doesn’t—he doesn’t want…” she trailed off.
“He thinks you don’t want to marry him, that you’d rather marry Fred.”
“Fred? But, I never loved Fred.”
“You did go with him to the Yule Ball in our fifth year,” Alicia said.
Ron sighed. How did he get stuck in this role? He wasn’t good at this.
“I never dated him. We just went as friends. George knows that! I could hex him into next Tuesday.”
“Ang,” Mr. Johnson spoke up. “You love George, right?” Angelina nodded. “George lost his twin and no one can understand how he feels. You both want to get married and I don’t believe you’ll be making a mistake. He seems like such a nice boy.”
Ron received an elbow in the ribs from Alicia after he snorted.
“We’ll get you cleaned up and restart the ceremony.”
Hurrying to the front, Ron motioned for everyone to take their places.
“She’s fine?” George whispered.
Ron was excused from answering due to Alicia walking down the aisle. He sighed hoping everything would work out.
Again the music changed and the guests stood up. Angelina stood unsteadily against her father at the end of the aisle. George stiffened. Ron wanted to tell him to breathe, but he was sure he wouldn’t pay attention. Slowly, they began their descent. She really was a thing of beauty today. Her long black hair had been twisted up behind Aunt Muriel’s tiara. Reaching the men, Mr. Johnson let his daughter go with a short kiss. Angelina gradually took hold of George’s hands and gave him a tender smile.
“Dearly beloved,” the gray haired wizard began. “We are gathered here today…”
Looking over the crowd Ron watched the reactions of his parents, his mum already with tears in her eyes, holding hands with his dad who looked like he might cry himself. Behind them was the rest of the Weasley bunch. Most of them were happy with smiles on their faces. Teddy and Victoire weren’t paying attention. Hermione had tears in her eyes just like his mother. Ron’s smile, which appeared when Angelina reached George, grew as he watched his fiancée. In a little over a year they would be standing up here. He couldn’t believe that day would ever come; it seemed so much like a wild dream.
“You are bonded for life. You may now kiss the bride.”
As soon as the bride and groom’s lips touched Lee elbowed Ron.
“Any second n—“
Before Lee could finish his sentence, a loud explosion rang overhead. The most beautiful assortment of Wildfire Whiz Bangs burst in the sky. It may have been daylight, but magic makes almost anything possible. The last one exploded into “Angelina + George” inside a heart.
“I present to you for the first time anywhere, Mr. and Mrs. George Weasley!”
Chapter 64: The Accident
“He’s been getting home at five, which took me by surprise on Monday,” Hermione said to Harry as they watched the Holyhead Harpies take on Puddlemere United. “Before the wedding he’d been coming home later and later each night.”
Harry nodded. He knew what she was talking about. It was customary for an Auror to spend many late nights in the office working on a case. It happened to him just as much as it happened to Ron.
Harry was currently in the Holyhead stadium watching his wife play in the match against his old captain, Oliver Wood’s team. With him was his best friend, Hermione, his godson, Teddy, his brother-in-law, Bill, and Bill’s daughter, Victoire. Ron wanted to come, but with George and Angelina on their honeymoon and a pregnant Verity and part-time help that only started two weeks ago he needed to be at the shop.
Currently, the match was tied 70-70 with Puddlemere in possession of the Quaffle. Ginny had scored three times with the other two Chasers giving equally.
“Go Hawpies!” Teddy shouted from his seat.
“Say it with me. Harpies,” three year old Victoire coached her best friend. She may have been two years younger, but she felt since she was not the one with the speech impediment she would teach the older boy how to speak properly.
“Victoire, don’t pester Teddy,” Bill warned.
“I’m not, Daddy. I’m learning him how to speak.”
“I know how to speak,” Teddy grumbled.
“I know he can’t keep it up, but it was nice,” Hermione said.
“Another goal for Puddlemere,” the announcer spoke. “70-80 in favor of United.”
“You do seem a lot happier,” Harry commented keeping his eye on Ginny.
He watched as Ginny took hold of the Quaffle. One of Puddlemere’s Beaters knocked a Bludger in her direction. Ducking, it missed Ginny by a few inches, but in the process she lost the Quaffle.
“That’s not hew fault!” Teddy exclaimed.
Ginny followed the United Chasers in hot pursuit of the Quaffle. The three tossed it around in a weird game of monkey-in-the-middle with Ginny as the monkey. Close enough to the rings, the biggest Chaser tried to score. Holly, Holyhead’s Keeper, flew out to retrieve the Quaffle flying right into Ginny’s path. Ginny tried to stop, turning her broom to the right. She still crashed into Holly. Holly dropped the Quaffle, but remained upright on her broom. However, Ginny fell to the ground.
All the color drained from Harry’s face. He couldn’t move. Silence rang out around him.
“She’s not moving,” he squeaked.
“She was pushed!”Shouted Hermione.
Harry ran to the railing.
“I—I need to get down there.”
Hurrying down the aisle, Harry stepped over feet and other items to make his way as far down the stadium as he could. He came to the bottom railing, separating the pitch from the fans.
“What are you doing?” Hermione shouted.
Harry froze with one leg dangling over the railing.
“I’ve to get down there,” he replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Ask one of the guards.” She pointed to one of the Ministry’s hit men standing a few feet away. “You are Harry Potter—“
“The Chosen One, The-Boy-Who-Lived,” he interrupted dully.
“You’re also Ginny’s husband.”
Harry swung his leg back over the railing and stepped over to the hit man.
“Potter, you must want to get onto the pitch,” Nettles, the trained hit man said. “Right this way.”
Crowded around his lovely red-headed wife were her teammates and the team healer. Ginny lay on the ground in a heap on her left side. The healer produced a stretcher and was performing spells over her body.
“Is she—“ Harry could barely form the words to ask questions.
“She’s breathing,” Sian replied, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Sir, you need to back away,” the healer ordered when Harry moved closer.
“I—she’s my wife.”
The healer turned around to look directly into Harry’s face.
“Mr. Potter, I need room to perform the stabilization charms.”
“It’s going to be all right,” Sian spoke.
“I’ve a stabilization charm on her neck and her back,” the healer spoke up a few seconds later. “She’s being taken to St. Mungo’s for testing.”
Harry’s stomach churned at seeing Ginny on the hovering stretcher, straight, stiff, and silent. He followed the healer, who informed him there was a portkey waiting in the first aid room to take them to the wizarding hospital.
“Where is she?” Ron almost ran by the group of Weasleys sitting in hard plastic chairs against the wall of the ground floor where broom accident patients were held.
Bill had sent message Patronuses to every member of the family minus George and Charlie. He sent an owl to Charlie once they arrived at hospital and he didn’t want to notify George just yet disturbing his honeymoon.
“They won’t let us in,” Hermione said rubbing Harry’s back as he leaned forward staring at the floor.
He watched Ron’s feet move to the other side of Hermione.
“Mum, Dad!” Bill exclaimed.
“Oh, Bill!” Mrs. Weasley cried.
“Any news?” Mr. Weasley asked.
Harry wanted to scream. There was no news. No news! The healers had been with her for more than half an hour and nothing! No updates, nothing. It killed him to wait. He felt nauseous, but didn’t want to throw up.
“Ginny Potter’s family?”
Harry looked up at the bald healer.
“Yes, sir,” Bill spoke.
Harry’s eyes brightened. Good news.
“She suffered a cracked skull.”
Not too bad, Harry thought. He’d been through that and turned out just fine.
“And,” continued the healer, “she’s experiencing numbness and slight paralysis in the left side of her body from the neck down.”
“What?” Harry exclaimed involuntarily out loud.
“She took a nasty fall off her broom. It must have caused her to damage some nerves.”
“Is this permanent?”
“We don’t know, but we don’t think so.”
“Can we see her?”
“Yes, only two at a time. We’ve given her a potion for her skull and another to alleviate any pain. If she needs anything just call.”
The healer walked away leaving the family to themselves.
“She’s awake,” Bill said.
“Daddy, is Aunt Ginny okay?” Victoire asked, sitting in her father’s lap.
“I—I,” he hesitated. “No, but she’s awake.”
“Can I see her?”
“I think Harry should be the first one to visit with her,” Hermione suggested.
“Me, too,” Teddy said, sitting between Bill and Harry.
“Let Harry go alone,” Mrs. Weasley said.
Silently, Harry made his way to his wife’s bed. He pulled back the curtain and stepped inside. Ginny’s eyes were closed, but immediately opened once he appeared.
“Hey,” he said softly taking a seat in the empty chair by the head of her bed.
“Hey,” she replied groggily.
He reached for her right hand and she let him take it. He tenderly rubbed circles in it, not knowing what else to do.
“How do you feel?” He asked.
“Scared? You’re my brave, strong Ginny.”
A tear ran down her cheek.
“Don’t cry. I don’t want you to be scared or upset. You’ll pull through this.”
“You don’t, you don’t know that. I don’t feel strong or brave. This is really scary.” She took a deep breath. “I know what happened. I don’t remember much of the accident, just flying into Holly, but I know I cracked my skull and my left side is…” she trailed off.
“The healers don’t think it’s permanent.”
“Don’t think! They don’t know for sure!”
“Calm down, it’s not good for you to get excited. This is the best place for you to be right now. You’re going to heal.”
“What is healing?” More tears fell.
It broke his heart to see her cry. He wasn’t used to her crying, but he could understand her need for it at the moment.
“I’m going to let the rest of your family visit with you.”
Harry made to move, but Ginny squeezed her right hand around his.
“No, I want you to sit here, be here with me.”
“Ginny’s going to be okay, wight?” Teddy asked as he stirred his porridge the next morning.
“Yes,” Harry replied. He knew it wasn’t the truth, but it didn’t hurt to hope.
Teddy was spending the week with Harry while Andromeda visited friends on the other side of England. They owled her about Ginny’s accident. She wanted to take Teddy off their hands, but Harry assured her it would be okay. Actually, he needed Teddy at the moment.
“Finish your breakfast and we’ll visit her.”
“You barely ate anything.”
“I’m done!” He insisted.
“You sure you don’t want to eat anymore?”
“I’m done!”Teddy growled.
“All right, all right.”
When the two arrived at St. Mungo’s they found Ron at Ginny’s bedside.
“Hermione went to get tea and coffee.”
“Hey, Harry. Good morning, Teddy,” Ginny greeted them.
“How are you feeling?” Harry sat on the edge of the bed since Ron took up the only chair.
Ginny wiggled her right foot.
“Better. They keep giving me this awful potion for my head. I guess it’s working since I do feel less pressure, but it is so awful.” She made a face.
“Potions aren’t supposed to taste good.”
“Harry,” Hermione exclaimed surprised. “If I’d known you’d be here I’d have gotten you something.” She held a cup of tea and a cup of coffee in her hands. She handed the tea to Ron and, sitting on his lap, began sipping the coffee.
“You eat bweakfast yet?” Teddy asked standing close to Harry.
“Yes, I did,” Ginny answered him. “I had porridge, toast, bacon, and tea.”
“I had powwidge!”
“That you barely ate,” Harry added.
“I barely ate mine, too. Hospital food isn’t as good as what Kreacher makes.”
“I like hospital food,” Ron said.
“You eat anything,” Hermione told him.
“I missed you last night,” Harry whispered leaning close to Ginny.
“No, I missed you.”
“I miss you, Ginny,” Teddy said sticking his face between the two.
Harry picked him up and placed him on the bed.
“I missed you, too, Teddy. We were going to have so much fun together.” Ginny tickled him in the stomach.
“Awe you wea-wea-wreally sick?”
“No, not sick. I’m injured,” Ginny replied slowly looking at Harry for assurance.
“You saw her accident yesterday when she fell off the broom,” Harry said.
“I was scaw-errd. I don’t wanna fly on a bwoom.”
He put his arms around Ginny and patted her listless left arm.
“Broom flying isn’t scary,” Ron protested.
“But, you do need to be careful,” Hermione added.
“I’ll be caweful by not flying.”
“That reminds me,” Ron said. “George is arriving home today and I promised I’d meet him at the shop. He should be here any minute.”
Hermione hopped off his lap; Ron stood up, gave her a quick kiss, and disappeared down the hall.
“Delivery for Mrs. Potter,” a brunette healer-in-training entered through the curtain and placed a bouquet of bright yellow and orange flowers and a plush dragon on the bedside table.
Harry handed Ginny the accompanying card.
Bill owled me over your accident! As soon as I can get time off I will come visit you. You are our tough, brave girl and will no doubt pull through. I love you. I’ve to go take care of a Welsh Green giving birth tonight. You’ll get well soon.
“A Hungarian Horntail.” She waved the dragon around.
“What’s its name?” Teddy asked.
“What do you think its name should be?”
“Um,” Teddy paused.
“Septimus,” Ginny answered defiantly. “After Charlie. His middle name is after our grandfather,” she added.
“What kind of dragon is it?”
“Hungarian Horntail. See the bronze horns and black scales?”
“Septimus Howrntail,” he said.
“Septimus Horntail, I like it.”
An hour later, while everyone was chatting and hanging out, George burst through the curtain, angry, with Angelina silently behind him.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were in a Quidditch accident?” He yelled red-faced.
“Don’t yell at her,” Harry intervened.
“Ginny didn’t notify people.” Ron stepped in behind him.
“I don’t know who was told and who wasn’t.”
“I’m your brother. I should know when you’re hurt.”
“Bill sent the message to everyone,” Hermione said. “He didn’t want to interrupt your honeymoon.”
“This is my baby sister. She’s important enough to interrupt our honeymoon. How are you?”
“I’m all right, I reckon.”
“No, you’re not. The git here didn’t tell me the extent of your injuries.”
“You didn’t give me time!”
“I cracked my skull and, er,” her eyes teared up.
“She’s experiencing numbness and slight paralysis on the left side from the neck down,” Harry answered for her.
George’s face drained of all color and looked like he needed to sit down. Angelina walked over and gave Ginny a hug.
“They don’t think it’s permanent.”
“I—I—“ rarely had Harry seen George at a loss for words. “I’m sorry.”
“So, how was your honeymoon?” She asked apparently wanting to change the subject.
It's not canon that Charlie's middle name is Septimus. It is canon that Arthur's father's name is Septimus. I want to say I heard/read somewhere that Charlie's middle name is Septimus, but there is absolutely nothing to back this up. I like the sound of Charlie Septimus Weasley (or Charles Septimus Weasley) so I've given him the middle name of Septimus. It goes along with middle names like Ignatius and Bilius.
Chapter 65: Mummy and Daddy
“If we hide here, he won’t see us,” Victoire said pulling Teddy behind a tree.
“Where are we?” He asked.
The two kids stood in the darkness of the night sky amongst unfamiliar terrain.
“I don’t know, but I think we’re aaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!”
Teddy awoke with a start. Blinking his eyes to adjust to the dark, he recognized this as his room at the Potters’. He threw the covers off and tip-toed into his godfather’s bedroom.
“Hawry,” he whispered.
Harry’s arm hung over the side and a slight bit of drool dangled from his mouth.
“Hawry,” he said a bit louder. When he didn’t move, Teddy stepped closer and tapped him on the arm.
“I’m awake, Ginny, I’m awake!” Harry exclaimed sitting bolt right up in bed.
“Hawry,” Teddy laughed. “It’s me!”
“Oh.” Harry rubbed his eyes. “What may ask I are you doing up at,” he checked his clock, “4:12AM?”
“I had a bad dweam.” Teddy climbed onto the bed. “A we-re wolf was chasing me and Victa.”
“Everyone has bad dreams sometimes. You know werewolves aren’t coming to get you.”
“Are we-rewolves weal?”
“Er,” Harry paused.
“I don’t want them to be weal.”
“I know. Little buddy, why don’t you sleep with me?”
Harry laid his head on his pillow and Teddy crawled over to him. He climbed under the covers and snuggled into his godfather’s side.
“Did you have any more werewolf dreams?” Harry asked Teddy the next morning.
“No,” he replied with his mouth full of cereal. “Why does Victa have a mummy and a daddy and Ginny has a mummy and a daddy, but I don't have a mummy and a daddy? Do you have a mummy and a daddy?” He asked after swallowing.
“We all have a mum and a dad. It's how we're born. My mum and dad died when I was a baby, just like you. They died to protect me. If my mum hadn't died I would have. Hurry up and eat. I’ve to take you to the Burrow before I go to work. You want to go to the Burrow and spend the day with Mrs. Weasley?”
“Why don’t I have a mummy and a daddy?”
“You do. They just, are you done?”
“Yeah.” He slurped the remaining milk out of his bowl.
“Pick out some toys to take with you. We need to get going.”
Teddy ran upstairs. He grabbed his green bag filled with the toys he brought from home, but left his toy broom on the floor.
“Where’s your broom?”
“I don’t want it.”
Harry stood in front of the fireplace with the floo powder pot in his hands.
“Why not? You love that thing.”
“It’s because of Ginny?”
Teddy nodded. Harry bent down to his level and looked him straight in the eye.
“Accidents happen, but you should be relatively safe on your broom. You’ve never fallen off before.”
“I know, but I don’t want to take it.”
“Fine. Take some powder and make sure to say ‘The Burrow.’”
Teddy threw the pinch of powder into the fire, stepped into the flames when they turned green, and shouted ‘The Buwwow.’” Immediately he was transported into another set of green flames and stepped out into the kitchen of the Weasley home. Right behind him came Harry.
“Good morning, Teddy,” Mrs. Weasley greeted them from the kitchen counter.
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley. I’ll try to be off at five or half past. Be good, Teddy.” He brushed the boy’s hair and headed back into the flames.
“I see you brought a bag with you. What would you like to do today?”
Teddy stood shyly. He knew Mrs. Weasley. He had been to her house before, mostly for Christmas, but other times as well. She was not a stranger. But, he’d never been left alone with her. He wasn’t that comfortable with her since he didn’t know her that well. She was near the same age as his grandmother, but she wasn’t his grandmother.
“Later on, perhaps after lunch, I’d fancy a trip to visit Ginny. Would you like that?”
“Good. For now, why don’t we head into the sitting room and check out what’s in your bag?”
The two sat on the floor of the sitting room while Teddy poured the contents of his bag onto the carpet. Out came action figure after action figure as well as a few books, a set of blocks, and his stuffed wolf.
“I see you love playing with these figures.” Mrs. Weasley picked up a plastic hippogriff.
“Yes,” he replied quietly. “He has a bwoken wing.”
“How did he break it?”
“He crash landed.”
“Oh, I see.”
Teddy picked up a wizard clad in lime green robes.
“This is the heleaw wo-rking on the hippogwiff.”
“How long has he been working on him?”
“That’s a long time.”
“Ready for lunch?” Mrs. Weasley asked a few hours later.
The two had moved on from the figures and were building towers with the blocks.
“Wolfie’s hungwy.” He picked up his beloved wolf.
“What would Wolfie like?”
“Ham and cheese sandwich.”
A few minutes later the two sat down at the kitchen table to ham and cheese sandwiches, sliced fruit, and pumpkin juice.
“Why don’t I have a mummy and a daddy?” Teddy asked between
bites of his sandwich.
“You do have a mummy and a daddy.”
“No, I don’t. If I had a mummy and a daddy, they’d be he-re with me.” He sat back in his seat. “Do my mummy and daddy not love me?”
“They love you very much.”
“No, they don’t. If they loved me they’d be he-re.”
“Has your gran ever talked about your parents with you?”
Teddy shook his head.
“I remember when your father announced your birth. I don’t reckon I’ve seen him as excited.”
His eyes lit up.
“You know my daddy?”
“Yes, your father was a friend of the family’s. He was a very nice and brave man. Would you like to see pictures?”
“I do have a pictuwe of my pa-rents.” Teddy thought of the framed picture of his mum and dad sitting on his bedside table at home. It was the only thing of his parents he reckoned he had.
“Sit here. I’ve some you might like to see.”
Mrs. Weasley disappeared for a moment and returned with a leather photo album. Teddy gulped down his juice as she flipped through the pages.
“This is your mum, Nymphadora Tonks.” Mrs. Weasley pointed to an image of a pink haired witch wearing a Weird Sisters shirt.
“She hated people using her first name. Everyone called her Tonks, except your father and her parents. They called her Dora.” She flipped the page to an image of a graying light brown haired wizard in tattered clothing standing with a man with short black hair. “This is your dad, Remus Lupin.” She pointed to the tattered wizard.
“Teddy Wemus Lupin!”
“You received your first name from your grandfather and your middle name from your father. Next to your father is one of his best friends, Sirius Black.”
“Because he has black hair.”
Mrs. Weasley laughed.
“Sirius was a cousin of your gran and Harry’s godfather.”
“Whe-re awe they?”
“Hawry’s old house!”
“Yes, Harry owns the house now.”
“Can we visit them?”
“They-re at Gwimmauld Place.”
Mrs. Weasley tried to hide a chuckle, but was not successful.
“Oh, honey, I thought you meant in the picture. They’re not there anymore.”
There was something she wasn’t telling Teddy and it frustrated him.
“Whe-re awe they now?”
Mrs. Weasley bit her lip.
“You might want to ask your gran.”
“Why? You don’t know whe-re they awe, do you?”
“Are you finished eating?”
A quarter of a sandwich and two pieces of fruit sat on his plate.
“As soon as you finished we’ll clean ourselves up and visit Ginny.”
Teddy stared at Victoire. Why had they decided to go exploring in the woods?
“Wun!” Teddy ordered pushing his mate to start.
The direction he was headed turned out to be a bad one as the
werewolf headed toward him, growling.
Breathing deeply, Teddy sat up in bed. This was the second night in a row he’d dreamed about werewolves. He didn’t know where it came from, but he knew he didn’t like it. Turning over he tried to go back to sleep, but all he could see when he closed his eyes was the face of the werewolf as he ran toward it.
“Another bad dream?” Harry asked when Teddy appeared at his bedside.
“What am I to do with you?” He patted the bed letting Teddy know he could crawl in.
“I dunno,” Teddy yawned. “Do you know whe-re my daddy is?”
“Too late to talk about that.”
“Be good for Ginny, please,” Harry said the next morning as he dropped Teddy off at St. Mungo’s.
The original plan had been for Ginny to watch Teddy on Tuesday and Thursday when she didn’t have Quidditch practice. With her injured in the hospital everyone assumed Mrs. Weasley would take Teddy those days like she was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but Ginny begged a lot so Harry and Mrs. Weasley gave in.
“Teddy and I will have a brilliant time.”
Teddy wasn’t so sure about that. All day in a hospital when he wasn’t sick?
“I’ll see you two at lunch.” Harry kissed Ginny on the lips, patted Teddy on the back, and disappeared down the hall.
Teddy climbed on the bed and snuggled up to Ginny’s right side. She put her arm around him.
“I bwought Wolfie fowe you.” He pulled his stuffed wolf out of his green bag.
“Thank you, but don’t you need him? I’ve Septimus.” She pointed to the dragon on the bedside table.
“You need him mo-re.”
She gave him a good hard squeeze and a kiss on the top of his head.
“I love you.”
“I know,” Teddy replied. “Do you know my mummy and daddy?”
“Yes, I knew your mum and dad.”
“You do!” His face lit up.
“Yes. Your dad taught me at Hogwarts my second year, but more importantly, he became a friend of the family when I was older along with your mother.”
Sitting there for roughly an hour, Ginny told Teddy story after story answering questions the young boy had about his parents. He was enthralled to learn about his mother’s Metamorphmagus ability and that his father taught Defense Against the Dark Arts, whatever that was, for a year at Hogwarts.
“Do you know whe-re my mummy and daddy are now?”
A short stocky red-headed man stepped through the curtain.
“Charlie!” Ginny exclaimed.
He walked over and gave her a hug.
“What are you doing here?”
“My letter said I’d come as soon as I could. They didn’t want me to leave but I had to come see you.” He sat down in the only chair in the area.
“You remember Teddy. Teddy, this is my brother, Charlie.”
“So what happened? All Bill told me was you fell off your broom and are now, what, paralysed? That can’t be true.”
“Er, well, I did fall off my broom and cracked my skull as well as damaging a nerve or something along those lines so that I have lost feeling and control of my left side.”
“Really? Merlin’s beard! Ginny! Is it permanent?”
“Who really knows?”
The healers do, Teddy thought.
“You sent hew Septimus.”
“Septimus, hew dwagon.”
“You named him Septimus?” Charlie chuckled.
“Yes,” Ginny replied offended. “Thanks.”
“Anything for my baby sister.”
The three hung out for a while chatting and going through Teddy’s bag of toys when two healers walked in.
“We’re to do some testing on you today,” the dark skinned male healer announced.
“Can it wait?” Ginny asked nervously. “I’ve my brother from Romania here and my husband’s godson.”
“We’d rather not. The sooner we find the source of the problem the better chance we have of solving it,” the gray haired witch responded. “It shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
“You’re welcome to visit the tea room and gift shop,” the dark skinned healer said to Charlie and Teddy as he started prepping Ginny.
“Thanks. Gin, I’ll take Ted to lunch or something. You be my brave little sis, right?” He hugged her tightly and helped Teddy off the bed.
Teddy held Charlie’s hand as they walked down the hall. He didn’t know him well, but he felt comfortable being with him. He was a Weasley and most of the Weasleys he knew were pretty cool.
“Do you know my mummy and daddy?” Teddy asked.
The two sat over sandwiches in a small Muggle deli located right outside St. Mungo’s.
“I didn’t know your dad. I think I met him only once.”
Teddy’s face fell.
“But, I did attend Hogwarts with your mum. She was in Hufflepuff, I in Gryffindor. We weren’t friends, but we had a few classes together. Your mum had a bit of a reputation for being clumsy.”
“She ran into things and fell down loads. Aside from that she was incredibly smart. The only reason she wasn’t in Ravenclaw was due to her work ethic. A bit on the wild side if you ask me. I reckon it worked out all right since she became an Auror.”
“Yep. It takes loads of dedication to be an Auror.”
“Mummy is clumsy, smaw-rt, wild, and ded-i-ca-shunned. You know whe-re she is?”
Charlie coughed on his water.
“You don’t?” His lower lip puffed out.
“Why don’t we check on Ginny’s progress?”
“Good news about Ginny today, huh?” Harry asked Teddy as they walked toward their house in Godric’s Hollow.
After Harry picked him up from St. Mungo’s the two took the underground home rather than use magic.
“Well, you know, they find out what’s causing her paralysis. Two nerves aren’t connecting so messages can’t be sent from her brain to her muscles. Now, they can do something about it.” Instead of opening the door to the two-story house Harry sat on the porch and motioned for Teddy to join him. “I received a letter from your gran today. She’s having a good time and she misses you. She hopes you eat all your vegetables.”
“Aw, did she have to say that?”
“Teddy, there’s something I want to show you. You’ve been asking
a lot of questions about your parents lately.”
“You know whe-re they awe?”
“Yes. I need to warn you it’s not what you think.”
“What is it?”
“Let’s leave your bag here and come with me.”
Teddy dropped his bag on the porch, stood up just like Harry, grabbed his hand, felt a sharp pinch in his stomach, and appeared in a graveyard.
Harry led him to two gravestones close together. Not being able to read Teddy stared at them quizzically.
“’Remus John Lupin 10 March 1960 – 2 May 1998. Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.
Nymphadora Tonks Lupin 29 March 1973 – 2 May 1998. It is a blessing to die for a cause, because you can so easily die for nothing.”
“Mummy and Daddy?” Teddy looked up at Harry.
“Yes. Your gran and I decided you’re old enough to hear this.” Harry sat down and pulled Teddy into his lap. “When I was a kid there was an evil wizard who wanted to hurt me. We had to fight him. In the process people died. Friends of mine died. You know Ginny’s brother, George? He had a twin that died fighting. Your parents fought bravely, but they ended up dying as well.”
“My pa-rents awe dead?” His voice shook.
“I’m afraid so.”
Staring at the gravestones, Teddy didn’t know what to do. His parents were dead? He’d never see them. He’d never get to know them. So this was why he didn’t live with them, why he didn’t have parents while everyone else did.
“They didn’t love me?” Tears filled his eyes.
“No, they loved you very much. That’s why they fought. They wanted to make sure you didn’t have to grow up in such an awful world.”
“If they loved me they would want to be with me.”
“They do, they did, they didn’t want to die.”
“Then why did they fight?”
“I told you, to make the world a better place.”
“It’s not so good without pa-rents.”
Harry squeezed Teddy tightly.
“I know. My parents died when I was a baby, too. I never knew them really. But, unlike me, you are surrounded by people who love you. I was raised by a nasty aunt and uncle. You live with a very loving grandmother and you’ve me. I love you very much.”
“You had Siwius.”
“Someone’s told you about my godfather, did they? I didn’t meet him until I was thirteen.”
Teddy stared at the grass covering the graves. His parents were there.
“Your parents’ bodies are here, but you know where your parents really are?” Harry placed Teddy’s hand over his heart. “Right here. They’ll always be with you.”
“Run, Teddy!” Victoire shouted.
He did so, running past trees and rocks.
“Victa!” He shouted, turning around to find her when he heard the werewolf call. In doing so, he didn’t see the root and tripped over it falling flat on his face. “Victa!”
He could hear the werewolf’s breathing. Closing his eyes tightly he wished for it to all be over. He was going to die. Or turn into a werewolf himself. His life was over. Opening his eyes he turned around to see the werewolf right behind him. He tried to scream but no sound came out. Slowly the werwolf’s features changed.
“Teddy!” The werewolf cried.
Teddy sat up slowly in his bed. His dad was a werewolf?
Remus’s birthdate is canon. Tonks’s is not. It is canon she was born in 1973, but no day or month. I just created something for the gravestone. Tonks’s quote is by Andrew Young and was spoken in 1964. Remus’s quote’s speaker is anonymous. Feedback!
Chapter 66: Being Brave
“You must be feeling better!” Harry practically jumped on the bed in greeting.
Ginny’s curtains were open when he arrived at the wizarding hospital. It was sunny outside. It put him in a good mood.
“I dunno,” she replied. “Teddy left?”
“Andromeda just picked him up. I love him, but all those questions he kept asking were just…”
“I know. He asked me, too. What I gather he asked everyone.”
“I understand what he’s going through. He wants to know more about his parents. They’re a mystery. I go through it all the time, thinking others know more about my parents than I do. It’s maddening.” He sat up and reached for Ginny’s right hand, kissing her quickly on the lips. “He had nightmares every night of a werewolf attacking him.”
“Yeah, after he saw his parents’ graves, he had another one and Remus revealed himself.”
“I think he was trying to reach out to Teddy in some way.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Teddy and I spent the night talking about his father. I don’t want him to hate his dad for being a werewolf.”
“I know. It would be better if he actually knew how nice a man he was and that all the prejudice against werewolves is wrong.”
“Charlie just left. He’s on his way back to Romania. I’m surprised he stayed as long as he did, especially with the new baby dragons at the reserve.”
“You’re his only sister. He cares about you.”
“Sometimes I wonder if he cares about us as much as he cares about dragons. I bet he’d marry one if he could. Mum reckons that’s why he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
“You smell nice.” Harry leaned in closer.
“They just bathed me. I feel like a baby. They don’t seem to think I can do anything on my own.”
“Some things. Maybe I could bathe myself. They won’t let me try.”
“It’s their job.”
She shook her head in disgust and heaved a great big, huge sigh.
“The healers say if nothing changes by the end of the week they’re thinking of cutting me open to get a look directly at the nerve. Harry, they don’t usually cut people open. I don’t know of any cases where a witch or wizard has been cut open like what Muggles call surger-surger-you know what I mean.”
He watched the emotion in her sad, brown eyes.
“You’ll be fine, Gin. You’re progressing well.”
“No, I’m not!”
“Where’s the brave girl I know? The one who helped lead a group of rebellious students against the administration? The one who fought against the worst evil this nation has ever seen?”
“Back then I wasn’t going to be cut open! Lay with me,” she whispered.
Obligingly, Harry lay down next to Ginny’s left side. He rubbed her arm even though he knew she couldn’t feel it. It didn’t feel any different than the side that wasn’t paralyzed.
“Can we just stay like this?” She asked. “You stay after visiting hours?”
“What’s with these healers wanting to perform like Muggle doctors?” Mrs. Weasley asked as she sat with Harry and her husband in the waiting area of St. Mungo’s.
“They know what they’re doing, Molly,” Mr. Weasley said putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
“Do they? Did they know what they were doing when they tried to sew you up?”
Mr. Weasley shrugged.
“I’m getting a cuppa. Would you care for anything, Molly?”
He shook his head. His stomach was too flustered to take anything at the moment.
“How’s work?” Mrs. Weasley tried initiating small talk.
“I’m lucky Robards let me off today.”
Dawlish was willing to do most of the work and get back to Harry after the weekend. Harry promised he would make it up to him, but Dawlish assured him that was not necessary.
“He seems like a nice man.”
Staring at the wall in front of him, Harry closed his eyes. His bones ached from lack of sleep. Hopefully, when this was all over, he could get a nice long relaxing rest.
“I brought you a cup of tea.” Mr. Weasley handed him a Styrofoam cup. “I know you didn’t ask for it, but you need it.”
Reluctantly, Harry sipped the hot liquid slowly. The warm feeling slid down his throat calming his nerves a bit. Ginny would be fine.
“Katie Bell?” He looked over her lime green uniform. “How long have you worked here?”
“I just recently graduated from training a month ago; didn’t I tell you at the wedding? I heard about Ginny’s accident and they’re trying the experimental procedure today so I thought to come and see you.”
“Experimental?” Mrs. Weasley squeaked.
“Oops, I reckon I shouldn’t have said that. How are you?”
“As good as can be expected.”
“I need to get back to work. I just wanted to check on you.”
“She’s the best healers working on her. Don’t worry!” She called as she walked away.
“Ginny Potter’s family?”
Opening his eyes, Harry spotted the healer walking towards them. Yawning, he stretched his arms and legs.
“She’s still asleep, but from what we ascertain the operation, to use a Muggle term, has been a success.”
“Oh good!” Mrs. Weasley clapped her hands together.
“We found the unconnected nerves and to be brief we reconnected them. The cuts should be fully healed in a few hours. Testing indicates she should have use of her entire left side, but how much will start to be determined once she wakes.”
“Can we visit her?” Harry asked.
“She looks so peaceful sleeping,” Mr. Weasley commented as the three stepped around Ginny’s bed.
“My poor baby.”
“I love you, brave Ginny,” Harry whispered.
Chapter 67: Quaffles and Bludgers
“Oy, I forgot what that color looked like!” Ginny exclaimed once she stepped inside her Godric’s Hollow home. “I forgot how beautiful our front entrance is.”
Harry laughed, dropping her bag on the floor.
“Laughing at me, are you?” She turned to look at him.
“Maybe. You are funny.”
“Have you been holed up in gray St. Mungo’s for two weeks?” When Harry shook his head she continued. “The lack of color, the lack of outdoors, it’s depressing.”
“No,” he pulled her close, “not having you here is depressing.”
“Aw, so sweet.” She pretended to gag.
“I’m only speaking the truth. I love you.”
“I love you, too.” She kissed him on the lips. “I also love being home.” Pulling away from Harry she continued through the house. “Our sitting room, ah. Our kitchen! Kreacher!” She patted the house-elf on the head.
“Mistress is acting odd,” he responded.
“Mistress is glad to be home,” Ginny said. “That smells good.” She leaned over a pot full of lentils on the stove.
“Dinner is being ready soon.” Kreacher waved her away.
“Real food! Oh, Kreacher, you don’t know how much I missed my mum and your cooking.”
“Sitting room!” She responded to the voice.
Leather soles clacked against the wooden floor and Hermione appeared around the corner brushing soot off her robes. Quickly, she ran to Ginny and hugged her.
“I’m so glad you’re home!”
“Not as glad as I am.”
“You’re probably right,” Hermione chuckled.
Ginny sat up from the lounging position on the couch and Hermione sat next to her.
“On my lunch break, so I don’t have much time to talk. I’ve been investigating your accident,” she said importantly.
“Investigating my accident?”
“Yes and it appears you were pushed.”
“Yes.” Hermione nodded. “Your Keeper pushed you. That’s why she dropped the Quaffle.”
“I’m almost sure of it. I’ve been examining my memory.”
“I mean no, don’t do anything. I’m already on thin ice with most of my teammates. This would be adding fuel to the fire.”
“Ginny, she pushed you! You would not have sustained such injuries if she hadn’t! This girl has something out for you. You can’t just stand by and let it happen.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I reckon I don’t. If someone did something like that to me I’d take action.”
“Is that always the best course to take? Holly doesn’t like me as it is and she’s got some of the others on her side. I want to get this season over with as little drama as possible.”
“Don’t do anything, please.”
“Fine. I’m glad you’re home, I’ll just let you rest.”
Hermione headed back into the kitchen. Ginny put her head in her hands. Another thing to worry about. The girl was too headstrong, too into rules, and making sure justice prevailed. Ginny did not want to make the team worse than it already was. Just get the season over with and then she’d deal with anything.
The sound of leather being passed between teammates.
Leaning back on the wooden bench Ginny watched the Chasers practice passing Quaffles. Her broom sat forlorn in the shed since she was not allowed to fly for at least a month. Kicking her feet in the dirt, she turned her attention to the Beaters who were having “batting” practice. She was almost positive that was not what they had been told to do. The head Beater, Gordania Ingles, was busy with the Chasers at the moment.
“Watch out!” Fae shouted.
Ginny ducked as a Bludger flew past her shoulder.
“Sorry,” she said casually as she flew down to retrieve it.
Sighing, Ginny did not reply. If this was what Quidditch practice was to be like from now on she felt better not coming.
“Fifty laps all of you!” Gordania shouted in the direction of the Beaters. “It shall be more if you can’t get back to what I assigned you!”
Maybe not being able to fly wasn’t a bad thing after all.
“A month?” Sian exclaimed after practice in the locker room.
Ginny could have sworn she heard someone snicker.
“I don’t know if I could make it a month without flying,” she added while pulling off her boots.
“It’s not so bad. I went a week without walking. Puts things in perspective.”
“I bet it does. I’m so glad you’re all right.” She stood up to give Ginny a hug. This time Ginny knew she heard snickering.
Turning around she came face to face with Holly and Janet.
“Don’t do anything rash.” Sian put her hand on Ginny’s shoulder.
Fingering the wand in her pocket, she decided against raising it.
“Oooh,” Holly chanted.
“Grow up,” Ginny muttered. “I know you pushed me.”
“Pushed you? You flew into me,” Holly stated.
“Right and then you pushed me.”
“What’re you going to do about it?” Ginny could smell black licorice on Holly’s breath. She never cared for that smell. Quickly, she turned around and headed for the doorway. “That’s what I thought! You’re a disgrace to the house of Gryffindor!”
“She only got in ‘cause she’s a Weasley,” Janet emphasized.
“Really?” Fae asked.
Throwing up her wand, Ginny pointed it directly at Holly. Immediately, bat sized bogeys flew out of her nose and began attacking her.
“MAKE-IT-STOP!” She yelled.
“Oppugno!” Janet exclaimed aiming her wand at the nearest object, which happened to be one of Sian’s boots.
Ginny ducked and the boot hit the wall behind her.
Janet’s shield charm caused the spell to bounce off and hit the lockers.
The entire room turned to Gordania.
“Potter, Jones, Connelly, come with me.”
Once settled in her office, Janet began to speak.
“No. I will do the speaking,” Gordania informed. “Who put the nasty hex on Holly?”
“That was me,” Ginny responded nervously lifting her hand slightly.
“Take it off her and then explain to me why you cast it.”
Slowly Ginny released the bogeys from attacking Holly.
“I—“ she began. Why did she do it? She stooped to their level. She allowed their words to make her angry and act irrationally. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? I will not tolerate fighting between teammates. You are disabled for a month so I am releasing you from attending practices during that time. You still come to matches, but you do not attend practices. Is that clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” She replied solemnly.
“As for you two, what was your place in this fight?”
“She attacked us first,” Holly spoke swiftly.
“I don’t care. You two were involved and will not be playing in tomorrow’s match. I repeat I will not tolerate fighting on my team. Bring Donia and Fae in here.” She waved her hand indicating for the three to leave.
“I’m not looking forward to this,” Ginny said as she combed her hair.
Harry walked into the bathroom behind her and put his arms around her waist.
“It’s Holly and Janet. The rest of the team likes you.”
“I have to sit the bench with those two. Quidditch matches take hours!” She turned to face him.
“Don’t be sad.” He rubbed her cheek. “Be the same girl you were last week, the girl who went through the surgery, the brave girl. Remember her?”
She nodded her head slowly.
“I’ve to go. I’ll see you after the match.”
Reluctantly she made her way to the fireplace in the kitchen and floo’d to the Falmouth stadium.
“What happened yesterday?” Sian asked her immediately. “You left before I could ask.”
“It can’t be that bad. Donia’s Keeper and Fae’s Beater today.”
“Gordania benched Holly and Janet for today’s match. I, on the other hand, cannot attend practice until my healer permits me to fly.” She collapsed on the bench in the locker room.
“What? She can’t do that?”
“Yes, she can. It doesn’t matter anyway.”
“You can’t mean that.”
Again, she shrugged.
When the time came Ginny trudged onto the pitch with the Reserve Team. Unlike the other members, she didn’t take her broom. The fans gave a loud ovation, probably happy to see her healthy and walking. Waving at the crowd, she felt the exact opposite, not that she wanted to be back in the hospital bed half-paralyzed.
“Why you look so sad,” commented Vika, a backup Chaser.
Ginny tried a smile on and found it didn’t fit.
“You’ll get your chance to play again in a month,” Vika added.
In response Ginny nodded. She didn’t want to talk about her feelings with anyone at the moment, especially someone she wasn’t close with.
“Score!” someone on the bench shouted later in the match.
“10 points by Paislee Flett for the visiting Harpies. 40-30 Holyhead,” the announcer spoke.
The Falcons’ Keeper was great, but the Harpies’ Chasers found ways to score goals. Donia Roberts, on the other hand, allowed her nervousness to show through. It reminded Ginny of Ron. Fortunately, the Falmouth Chasers were not that good at keeping hold of the Quaffle. The Beaters for both teams were both of equal talent and that meant a lot of keeping their eyes on the Bludgers for the Chasers.
Ginny ducked spotting the shadow of a Bludger coming straight for her. As it hit her back and knocked her off the bench, she heard a whistle blow.
“I’m—I’m—I’m fine,” she said catching her breath and turning over to lay on her back.
“Even on the ground you’re a danger,” Holly laughed.
“Penalty for Holyhead for the stray Bludger. Falmouth gets a free shot,” the referee announced after retrieving said Bludger.
“Ginny, be careful!” Gordania shouted at her.
“Be careful, be careful,” Holly and Janet mocked.
“Shut it!” She helped herself off the ground, brushed off the grass, and sat back on the bench.
“Oooh,” Janet said.
“No,” Holly spoke at the same time. “You shut it, ginger.”
Janet whispered something to Holly.
“I’m not afraid of little-miss-ginger,” she replied loud enough.
“10 points for Falmouth by Peter Alcott for the Hometown Falcons. 40-40 All.”
Holly and Janet glared at Ginny. She turned her head to look away.
“Whoever decided Gordania Ingles was captain material must not have been in their right mind, Ginny commented laying on the couch with Harry later that night. “This is the worst we’ve been in the standings since before Gwenog played with the Harpies.”
“You think this is just the captain’s fault?” He brushed her hair from around her face.
“She can’t handle the team. Gwenog would have had Holly and Janet…well, I don’t know, but she wouldn’t have allowed it. It would have been gone before it started.” She looked into her husband’s green eyes. “She visited me in hospital. She looks so much older now she’s retired, but she’s happy. She misses playing, it was such a big part of her, but she knew her body couldn’t take it anymore. Plus, she told me, the type of players coming in today are egotistical, think they should be starting straight out of school, think they own the team. She doesn’t want to put up with that and frankly, I don’t either. Harry,” she sat up, “I don’t know if I can put up with this for the rest of the season.”
“It’s just another few months.”
“You don’t know. That’s just,” she sighed.
“You really don’t want to do this?”
“I—I don’t know.”
“You could request a trade. Maybe Puddlemere will take you and you can play with Oliver. Or you could end up on the Cannons. Ron would be thrilled.”
“I—I don’t know,” she paused. “Maybe…”
“The Ginny I know’s not a quitter.”
“Call it retirement then. I didn’t quit. I retired.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“You’ve a month on the bench. No team would want to trade for you right now anyway, no offense. Take the time to think about it.”
Ginny nodded. She knew she was making a rash decision based on her feelings at the match and on the two little gits. She didn’t want that to be the main factor in her decision.
Chapter 68: Who Wears the Trousers
“Who dare beat me?” Lucifer cried out banging his fists against the wooden table.
“Ron,” Hermione answered.
“That’s right,” Ron replied triumphantly.
“Are you all right?” she asked worriedly.
“Of course, I just beat Lucifer.”
The fire around him disappeared leaving Ron in total darkness. Opening his eyes, he saw Hermione hovering over him in their London flat.
“You’re burning up.” She said placing a hand on his forehead. “Stay here. I’ll get you a potion.”
He tried to smile, but his head ached too much for his mouth to move in that position.
“Take this.” She returned with a flask of Pepper-up Potion. “You were moaning something about beating Lucifer?”
“I won,” he muttered, after sipping the potion.
“Good. You just lay here and rest. I’ll talk to Robards; you don’t have to go to work.”
“Savage,” he managed, closing his eyes.
“Ah, your partner, yes, I’ll let him know, too.” He felt her cool lips against his cheek. “I’ve put an ice cold glass of water on the table for you. The potion should kick in and you should start to feel better soon. I’ll send Ginny or your mum over here if you want.”
“Mmmm,” he mumbled.
“Back again! That’s right; no one can deny the power of Lucifer!
There was a knock. Ron didn’t remember there being a door.
“Who interrupts Lucifer?”
The knock continued, harder with each bang.
Lucifer’s face grew redder and redder causing Ron to shout,
Back in his room again. No Lucifer.
“Hermione told me you’re ill.” She walked over to the side of the bed. “I see you’ve taken Pepper-up.” She motioned to her ears. “Take a look at this.” She shoved the Daily Prophet sports page in his hands pointing to the headline a third of the way down on the right.
“’Holyhead Keeper has strong words for teammate,’” he read out loud. “’Zara Davidson learns that all is not gold with the girls of the all-female Quidditch team, Holyhead Harpies. One player in particular has disrupted chemistry in the locker room to the point that some believe it is affecting play. ‘Fighting, not getting along with the captain, missing practices,’ first string Keeper, Holly Jones said in last Saturday’s post-match interview, “it’s all there for everyone to see. She’s such a distraction for the team. Getting hurt was probably the best thing for her. Hopefully, she’ll learn this is not the place for her.’ No name was mentioned, but this writer is under the impression Jones is speaking of none other than first string Chaser Ginny Potter. Potter recently suffered a concussion and temporary paralysis after colliding with Jones in the match against United and is now under healer orders to refrain from playing for one month. Earlier in the season Potter and team captain Gordania Ingles were part of a heated display that had teammates questioning Potter’s loyalty.’ Ginny?”
She had scooted herself to the floor, leaning against the bed. Sniffles could be heard coming from her direction.
“Is this true?”
“No.” She lifted her head revealing tear stained cheeks.
“I’ll kick her arse!”
“It’s partly true,” Ginny said. “I did have a tiff with Gordania, but I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘heated display’ that would have anyone questioning my loyalty. I did miss practice, but I was in St. Mungo’s!”
“I’ll really kick this girl’s arse for you. I’ve hardly ever seen you cry. The Daily Prophet is such a joke.”
“It’s defamation of character, Ginny. You can’t let this twit get away with this.”
“Hermione wants me to go after Holly, but I don’t think she means with my wand.”
Ron’s eyes widened.
“She wants you to do something physical? That’s so—“
“Unlike her?” Ginny finished. “No, she wants me to do something legal, I reckon, talk to Gordania or maybe someone in the Ministry. I said no, but then at practice I took it a step too far. I used the Bat-Bogey Hex on her.”
“She deserves something worse than that.”
“I deserve to play with teammates I can get along with. Hexing her made things worse. Now, I’m not allowed at practice until I’m cleared to fly and she dislikes me even more. It made things worse!”
“Maybe one of you should be traded. I know!” Ron smiled. “You could be traded to the Cannons. We’d have a decent Chaser—“
“Sorry, we’d have one of the best Chasers and actually win a match!”
“Sorry. It’d take more than me on the team to help them out.”
“You seem to be feeling better. Up for breakfast?”
Ginny changed the subject, but Ron didn’t mind. Anything to do with food was good with him.
Lazily, Ron sat down at the kitchen table while Ginny made her way to the stove.
“’Ve you done this before?”
“I’ll have you know,” she replied, “I made Harry dinner for our anniversary last December.”
“Hey! Mum’s been teaching me. I can make you bacon and eggs.”
“I hope so.”
Five minutes later Ginny placed a piping hot plate of not so burnt scrambled eggs and crisp bacon in front of Ron along with a glass of orange juice.
“Tell me how that is?”
“No’ ba’,” he replied with a mouth full already. “Are you all right?” He asked after noticing his sister staring off into space as he ate.
“I dunno. This whole thing with Holly’s really getting to me. I miss playing. I dunno.”
“I think you do know.” He stuffed a piece of bacon in his mouth. “You lobe Quiddid ad don’d wand to gibe id ub.”
“Something like that.” She smiled. “You just love having a sister who’s a professional Quidditch player. You don’t want me to give that up.”
“Oy, that’s not fair. I want you to be happy.”
“Me, too,” she sighed. “I do miss playing, but the thought of playing with her and Janet makes me sick.”
“Request a trade.” He stuffed a forkful of egg in his mouth. “You cab ‘o tha’, righ?”
“I reckon so. I dunno, you know?”
He shook his head. He didn’t know. Well, maybe he could relate it to being on the run with Harry and Hermione, thinking Hermione wanted Harry more than him, thinking he was such a waste, or fourth year when Hermione dated Krum. He felt useless, hopeless, that he didn’t belong. That thought made him sick to his stomach. He couldn’t express that out loud to Ginny. He couldn’t express it to anyone. The closest was when he attacked the locket. Maybe he could also relate it to Quidditch his sixth year thinking the only reason he was on the team was because he was best mates with the captain.
“You need more potion? You look a little green. My cooking’s bad, isn’t it?”
“No, I’m fine.” Ron took a quick swig of his juice and tried to move his thoughts to another topic. “I’m feeling better. Why don’t we visit George at the shop?” He suggested hoping his older brother would have good advice for his sister.
“Ron?” Verity looked up from her perch at the counter when Ron and Ginny entered the shop. “You’re not scheduled to work today? It’s not Saturday, is it? Did I oversleep and miss a few days? Gosh, I don’t feel like I have, unless the feeling you get from too much sleep is the same as not enough.” She patted her expanding stomach. “This thing’s been keeping me up at night,” she finished with a yawn for proof.
“You haven’t missed any days.” He leaned forward. “I woke up this morning with a fever so Mummy Hermione let me stay home.” Noticing her worried expression he added, “She gave me some Pepper-up, so I should be fine…not contagious.”
“Good morning, Ron, Ginny,” Angelina greeted them walking out of the storage room with a box of fake wands and headless hats. “Skiving work today, huh?”
“Who’s skiving work?” George’s voice could be heard from inside the room.
“No one,” Ginny replied.
“Ginny? You’re skiving work?” He stepped out of the room. “Oh, you, too, Ron. I should’ve known. Auror work getting to be too much for you? I didn’t think you could handle it.”
“No,” he scowled.
“Ron’s ill and I’m not allowed to attend practice at the moment.”
“That’s great, Ronniekins, infect us all.”
“You big baby,” Angelina said as she restocked the shelves. “I saw the article in the paper today, Gin.”
“Yeah, we’ve some great stuff you can use on that girl,” George added. “Sneak her a nosebleed nougat or fever fudge…hey, Ron, you didn’t by chance happen to take one of those so your boss’d let you out of work?”
“Hmm, anyway, a puking pastille would be great…or all three…really give her the works.”
“George!” Angelina exclaimed.
“Just give her the entirety of the Skiving Snackbox line.”
“George!” She repeated.
“What?” He shouted back. “This girl deserves the puking and nosebleeding and coughing, ooh, the ton-tongue toffee might be good, as well. When she’s in the air, her tongue keeps expanding, making her fall off her broom…”
“George!” Angelina exclaimed again.
“Excuse me!” Verity hopped off her stool and ran to the back, her hand covering her mouth.
“Did you not see her turning green?”
“Oh, come off. She’s pregnant. Everything makes her green.”
“Honestly, what am I to do with you?”
“Is that even possible?” She walked over, gave him a kiss, and patted him on the head.
“You know you can’t resist me.”
“I try hard enough.”
George leaned over and kissed her.
“I think I’m going to puke,” Ron muttered to Ginny.
“That’s not why we came down here.”
“No? She does deserve it, so if you change your mind.”
“How much are the Pygmy Puffs?” an older male customer interrupted.
“Let me help you with that.” Angelina directed the man to the cage of fluff.
“You really don’t need my help with this girl?” George asked.
“It’d be loads of fun.”
“I’ve already enough trouble with her. You don’t know what it’s like being somewhere you don’t want to be.”
His eyes shifted downward and he didn’t speak.
“Oh, I didn’t mean…” she reached a hand toward him. “I’m sorry. I forgot—“
“It’s all right.” He looked back up at her. “We’re all moving on. He’s not as clear in our minds as he used to be.”
“What? No. We’ll never forget Fred. I don’t think it’s possible.”
“No, it’s because I look like him and every time you look at me, you think of him. You think you’d rather be looking at Fred not George, not poor pitiful George.”
“What? Where did this come from? George, no.” She reached her hand out to him again, but he pushed it away.
“You’re nutters, George,” Ron added.
“Right, nutty George Weasley. Lock me up, why don’t you?”
“Calm down, no one wants to lock you up. I’m sorry for what I said. We don’t forget about Fred and we don’t wish he was here instead of you. We wish he was here with you.”
“Yeah, me, too,” he replied softly.
“I reckon you do know what it’s like being somewhere you don’t want to. How’d you get through it?” Ginny asked.
“I—“ he paused. “I don’t know. I just did. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to. Being on the same team with a prat is something you have to deal with. You can quit, but you’re not a quitter, Ginny.”
“Oh, please,” Ron muttered.
“Ron, you’re not helping,” Ginny said through clenched teeth.
“George was more of a quitter than you are!” Ron threw his hands up in exasperation. “He didn’t want to come back here. He’s not someone to go to for advice unless the advice you want is on how to quit.”
“You’re the one who wanted to come here.”
“I know, but I was wrong.”
“Ron, you don’t know what you’re talking,” George shouted causing a few customers to glance over at the group including Verity who had returned and Angelina, still helping the man with the pygmy puffs.
“I don’t think Ginny should be getting advice from a liar. What kind of advice can you give her?”
“I had to go through this. It wasn’t easy coming back here, but I did. I may not have done it on my own, but I did it. I’m not a liar, Ron. You do know I can fire you?”
“You don’t want to fire him.” Angelina walked over with the pygmy puff customer trailing behind. You three go upstairs and I’ll talk to you once I get done with this customer.”
Even though they were all adults and George was the owner of the shop, they obeyed her command.
“What is going on with you?” Angelina slammed the door behind her a few minutes later.
“He started it!”
“Shut-up! One a time please and I don’t give a flying broomstick who started it. Ginny, you first.”
“You saw the article in the paper. Hermione owled me Ron was sick so I decided to talk to him about it. He suggested visiting George. Not liking the advice George gave, he got upset.”
“Thank you. Ron, why did you not like George’s advice?”
“It’s a lie.”
“George, you’ll get your turn in a minute.”
“You think he’s a quitter?” Ginny asked, sitting in the middle of her two brothers on the couch.
“That’s where he was headed!”
“Until you stepped in,” she added.
“So, this is all about you, Ron. You just want to be the center of attention as always,” George muffed.
“George!” Angelina warned, standing before them like an angry mother.
Ron rolled his eyes, but didn’t respond.
“I’m not your mother. I don’t need to referee you three. You’re adults. You can work this out yourself. I’ll just add my input. George went through something very difficult. I know you two can relate, but this was deeper than just losing a brother for him. Obviously, he’s not over it, yet, but he’s working through it as I can see. Ron, you’ve done a great job helping him with the shop and without you we wouldn’t have it. You do deserve credit. George, Ron doesn’t always want to be the center of attention, but I believe he would like more than just to be thought of as your bratty brother. He helped you out. You don’t want to fire him and I don’t think he wants you to fire him. You two need each other. Ginny, I’m not sure George is the best person to go to for advice on this subject unless the advice you want is what prank you should pull on the girl. Now, George, we have a shop to run and shouldn’t leave Verity downstairs with the customers alone. Come on.”
Reluctantly and quietly, George followed his wife out of the shop.
“We know who wears the trousers in that relationship,” Ginny said.
Chapter 69: That's Just the Way It Is
“Good night, Potter,” Robards said.
Harry glanced up to see him lock his office door with his wand.
“Good night,” he replied.
“Why don’t you go home?”
“Just as soon as I finish this parchmentwork. If I wait til tomorrow I won’t remember everything I need.”
Robards walked over to the cubicle and leaned against the entryway.
“You work yourself way too much.”
“Just doing my job.”
“I wish all my Aurors were like you.”
“Inexperienced with frequent injuries?”
A frown appeared on his boss’s face. “What are you talking about?”
Sighing, Harry put down his quill. “You said you wished the rest of the Aurors were like me.”
“You never give yourself enough credit. You are far more experienced than anyone else your age, younger, or older. Harry, you’ve gone through things most of us can’t even imagine.”
“I’m still rather new here.”
“Yes, you and Ron are the newest recruits, but you’ve been here for over two years. I specifically assigned you to my group for a reason. “ He shook his head. “I’m leaving for the night. I think you should call it a day. Walk with me.”
Harry packed up his work, grabbed his cloak, and followed his boss out the department door.
“How are things with you?” Robards asked as they walked toward the lifts.
Before answering Harry glanced out the sunny window.
“Your wife, she’s still playing Quidditch?”
“She’s seen a healer twice, but they won’t release her to fly.”
“That’s too bad. I hear she’s one hell of a Chaser.”
“Yeah—yes, you could say that,” Harry replied taken aback at Robard’s frankness. “Have you seen her play?”
“No, no, not much of a Quidditch fan myself, though I do keep up with international action every now and then.”
Harry nodded. The two stood in silence as a lift reached the bottom floor. Riding in silence, Robards rubbed his forehead and leaned against the back wall.
“Sometimes I think I’m getting too old for this.”
“Atrium,” spoke the cool female voice. The doors opened allowing Harry and Robards to exit.
“Good night, sirs!” the pimply faced long haired wizard on duty called out to them.
“Say hello to Ginny for me.” Robards picked up a pinch of floo.
“I wi—“ he was stopped by the poking of a wand in his back.
“You will release my brother!”
“Expelliarmus!” Robards exclaimed.
The wand clattered to the floor.
Harry slowly turned around.
“Sir,” Robards reached for the guy, “you will not harm my Auror that way.”
“I will do what I want. You can’t tell me what to do. Release my brother!”
“We don’t know who your brother is,” Harry explained.
The man’s grubby face softened for a second before turning hard again. He grabbed the sleeve of Harry’s robe.
“You have my brother. You have him! “
“I—I’m sure we do.” Harry did not make to release his arm or any kind of movement. “We don’t know who he is.”
“My brother, he was the leader,” spoke the man who had not revealed his name, “the leader of a great tribe of people and you have him in your prison!”
“Esme!” Robards exclaimed. “You look just like Roger Esme! He’s your brother.”
“My good man, you do know who he is.” He picked up his wand, which lay at Harry’s feet. “You will release him! You will do what I say!”
“We cannot release him, just because you say,” Robards spoke calmly.
He pulled Harry close to his body and poked his wand into his neck.
“Y-yes you w-will. Y-yes you will. You have wrongly imprisoned my brother without trial. He is innocent I tell you. Innocent!”
“Release my Auror!”
“Not until you release my brother!”
Robards jabbed his wand into the man’s chest missing Harry’s left ear by mere inches.
“I don’t have the power to release your brother. You, however, have the power to release my Auror. You do not do that and I will see to it you are put in Azkaban with your brother. Your brother received a fair trial, you know.”
Slowly, the man let go of Harry and pushed him away. Stumbling, he did not fall.
“Come with me to my office and we’ll talk. Harry, go on.”
“You don’t need me to go with you?” Harry hesitated.
“I’ll be fine.” Robards looked at Esme. “Right?”
“Harry?” Ginny sat at the kitchen table knitting when he floo’d in. “Are you all right? You look…”
“I’m fine,” he spoke before she could finish. “We had a bit of a, a bit of a thing, a well, a man attacked me in the Atrium, nothing physical, just stuck his wand into me.”
“No, no, no, no, it’s nothing too bad. His brother is Roger Esme, former leader of Rutilus Diabolus. He demanded we release him from Azkaban. Robards is talking to him now.”
“That’s why you’re late?”
He shook his head. “Finishing parchment work.”
“Are you all right? You’re pale. Sit down,” she ordered pointing to the seat closest to him and across from her with a knitting needle.
“I told you I’m fine.”
“I don’t believe you,” she replied returning to her work.
“I am, Ginny. He didn’t hurt me. He didn’t use one spell. He just stuck his wand into my back and neck.”
“Harry!” She put down the knitting once more.
“Ginny,” he tried calming her and reached for her hands across the table. “It’s all right. Robards and I know what we’re doing. We’re trained Aurors. We’ve been through worse.”
“I know, but you weren’t prepared for this.”
“Aurors aren’t always going to be prepared. When’s dinner?” He changed the subject.
“I don’t know.”
Harry turned around when he heard a bird tapping on the window. He opened it, took the letter from the owl’s leg, patted his head, and let him fly off.
Gawain Robards has been attacked. He is being treated at St. Mungo’s. The man with him is currently being held in a cell at the Ministry. Please come immediately as you were last seen with these two men.
Ministry of Magic
“Harry?” Ginny asked in a worried tone. “What is it?”
“I knew I shouldn’t have left him alone!” He shouted throwing the parchment to the floor.
“What? Is it Robards? Is he okay?”
“No, he’s not okay.” He looked out the window at the dark sky as the sun had already set. “I should have been there,” he said quietly.
“Harry?” Ginny said timidly. “Is he…is he alive?”
“What?” He turned to see his wife’s nervous look. “He’s at St. Mungo’s. I—I—“
“You need to go,” she finished for him. “Need me to come along, do you?”
“I’ll be fine.”
“No, I think you need me.” She stood up, walked over to Harry, and put her arms around him.
He didn’t protest as she reached for his hand.
“Here for Gawain Robards?” A healer said as Harry and Ginny entered upon a curtained bed in St. Mungo’s.
Harry nodded quietly.
She pulled back the curtain and allowed the two entrance.
“We’ve tried contacting family, but from what we know he doesn’t have any in the area. We’ve contacted Kingsley Shacklebolt, Stamford Savage, and you.”
“Me?” Ginny gripped his hand tighter.
“You are Harry Potter?” He nodded. “You were the last one to see him before he was attacked we’re told by the evening watchwizard on duty at the Ministry.”
Looking beyond the healer he spotted his superior laying in the bed looking asleep.
“He’s unconscious. From what we can tell he suffered a stunner to the heart. The force of the stunner made him hit his head. He had a concussion, but we believe we’ve treated it right for it to be gone. We’ve done all we can for the stunner. All we do now is wait.”
Harry swallowed nervously. It always came to this. Something always happened to his mentor. First his parents, then Sirius, then Dumbledore, Moody, Remus…he didn’t want it to be Robards’s turn.
“It will be all right,” Ginny whispered in his ear still holding his hand and stroking his arm. “Many have recovered from stunners.”
“To the heart?”
“Yes, to the heart.”
“Stamford Savage,” Harry heard the deep voice behind him.
He didn’t turn around, but he heard the conversation with the healer clearly.
“Yes, you were first on the list of contacts for Gawain Robards.”
“Was he alone?”
“Unfortunately, except for the attacker.”
“Of course. Thank you.”
He heard footsteps and the sound of the curtain moving.
He looked at Savage.
“You met my wife, Ginny.”
“Hi.” The two shook hands.
“I wasn’t there to protect him. I left and he was hurt.”
“It happens, Harry. You can’t blame yourself.”
“It was my fault. If I had been there maybe he wouldn’t have been attacked.”
“You don’t know that. Harry, it was a deranged man who did this. He would have done it whether you were present or not. You are not the reason Robards lies in the bed unconscious.”
Harry shook his head. He knew differently. It was his fault. It was always his fault. He was the cause for many people’s injuries and deaths.
“You’re too hard on yourself,” Ginny spoke.
“Aye, of course. Potter, what exactly took place tonight?”
He took a deep breath, sighed, and told the events of the evening.
“Hm, he’s in a holding cell you say? Did you get his name?”
“No, sir. I’m sure Robards knows, but he’s not in a state to tell.”
“I want you to go home and get some sleep. You look like you need it. I’ll see you in the office in the morning to discuss this.”
Cold, dark, damp stone. Black bars. A chill ran through the air. Empty. Alone. One lonely prisoner sat in the corner. Waiting. Alone.
Rubbing his arms, Harry stepped to the final cell where the man waited. He conjured a small wooden chair and sat down in front of the barred door.
“I’m innocent,” the prisoner spoke.
“We’ll see about that.”
“I am innocent. I did nothing wrong. I came to protect my brother and that is what I did. You release him. He is innocent, too.”
Harry shook his head. He didn’t know how to respond. This could go on all day.
“I didn’t hurt him!”
“Who? Who didn’t you hurt?”
“Your boss. I didn’t hurt him. He—it was someone else.”
“I don’t think so. We’ve been after your brother’s group for a long time.” Harry stood up. “I or someone will be back to discuss a trial with you.”
“You think you’re so special. You come in and capture my brother. You know nothing! Nothing!”
“We’ll see about that.”
“I’m innocent!” he shouted as Harry walked back up the cold, damp hallway.
“You all right?”
Ginny massaged her husband’s back as the two snuggled on the couch sharing that day’s copy of The Daily Prophet.
“Just tired.” He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
“This whole case is frustrating. Kingsley doesn’t want to start the trial until Robards wakes up, if he wakes up.”
“Oh, Harry, he will wake up. Be positive.” Ginny folded the paper.
“Have you heard anything from St. Mungo’s?” He changed the subject.
“No,” she sighed. “Two matches left. This season was a total waste.”
He stroked her arm gently.
“Don’t think that way.”
“Really? I get hurt. My teammates hate me. What do you think this was?”
He didn’t know what to say. He wanted to comfort her, but he didn’t feel in the position with all the stress from work.
“Your teammates don’t hate you.”
“You always think the worst.”
“Never mind.” He went back to rubbing his eyes, placing his glasses on the table next to the couch.
The tension between Harry and Ginny stayed with them throughout the weekend. Anxiously, they both waited for news that never came.
“They said one month! Do you know how long ago one month passed?” Ginny asked Hermione, sitting to her left at the kitchen table of the Burrow that Sunday evening.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
“A while, Ginny. It’s been a while,” Harry interrupted grumpy.
Ginny glared at him.
“Excuse me,” Audrey hurriedly left the table.
The fourteen around the table, including little Dominque, watched her make her escape.
“Is the food bad? I thought the meat smelled funny,” Mrs. Weasley worried.
“No, Mum, the beef’s fine,” Percy consoled. He looked down at his plate, moving his meat pie with his fork. “Aubrey and I—we—well—we have something to tell you.”
“Oh?” Mr. Weasley spoke up from the other end of the table between Bill and Victoire.
“Sorry.” Audrey returned, sitting quietly between Percy and Angelina. “Hon, you’ve hardly touched your food.”
“Yeah, I sort of told everyone we have an announcement.”
Audrey’s cheeks turned red.
“I thought we decided not to discuss this now.”
“They’ll know soon enough.”
Mrs. Weasley cleared her throat.
“Mum, Dad,” Percy looked around at all the faces staring at him. “Er, Audrey and I, please don’t be disappointed…”
Disappointed? It’s never good news when someone started out with that. It was odd watching Percy squirm. Percy, the calm, collected one.
“I’m pregnant,” Audrey blurted. “We’ve known for a couple months.”
“And we’re sort of married.”
“What?” Mrs. Weasley cried.
“How does one become ‘sort of’ married?” Bill asked.
“Wow, Perce, I’d expect this from, oh, I don’t know, Ron, but not you,” George said.
“Me?” Ron said. “I promise you Hermione is not pregnant and will not get pregnant until after our wedding.”
“Can’t get any? The smart ones are usually the hardest to—“
“George!” Hermione interrupted, her cheeks pink.
“Married, son?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“Yes, Dad. We found out in September and decided to get married. We thought it the best thing to do.”
“You didn’t tell us?” Mrs. Weasley appeared on the verge of tears.
“I’d say this was unlike him, but considering all the things he’s done, it’s unfortunately not,” Ron whispered to Harry. “And now I’m officially the last Weasley to marry.”
“Charlie’s still single.”
“He’d be married to the dragons, if that was allowed.”
“I’m sorry. We—we didn’t know how to tell you or her family. It was all rushed. We had a small ceremony with just us and a few guys from work as witnesses.”
“You can tell them, but not us!”
“Mum, I don’t care what they think.”
“You told them anyway! Do you not care about your mother?”
“That’s unfair. I didn’t know how to tell you. I didn’t want to hurt you…again,” he added in a low voice.
“Again!” She wailed. “Percival Ignatius, my ickle Percy.” She put a hand over her heart. “What am I to do with you?”
“I’m sorry,” Aubrey said faintly. “It was my idea not to tell anyone. I still haven’t told my parents. They don’t even know Percy and I are living together.”
“Living together!” Mrs. Weasley squealed.
“That is what happens once you get married,” George chimed in.
“George!” Mr. Weasley said.
“Less not be upset. Zey are married and are ‘aving a baby. Ziss is eciting, is it not? More grandssildren, Molly, sink of it zat way.”
Savage’s first name Stamford is not canon. His first name has not been revealed in canon and he needed one for this scene, so I came up with Stamford. Feedback.
Chapter 70: Start Spreading the News
Stretching, he stood up. George didn’t know how much time had passed since he began working on the invoices for the shop. All he knew was he needed to take a break now or risk going cross-eyed. Opening the door from his storage room, he watched his new sister-in-law walk in with her arms wrapped around herself.
“How did you do it?” Audrey asked Verity as she approached the counter. George knew the two girls had attended Hogwarts together, but he didn’t know they had been friends.
“Tell your parents.”
“I’m a grown woman. I’ve been living on my own for a while,” she paused, swallowing hard, a grim expression on her face. “I think my parents had an idea I was sexually active. Clyde and I had been serious. One evening I had dinner with my mum and dad with Clyde present and we told them. They were unhappy we didn’t wait til we were married, but they’re pretty excited about their first grandchild.”
“Oh, I wish it were that easy.”
“Your parents will still love you.”
“We told Percy’s family last night.”
“They still love him…and you?”
“Yes, well…they were disappointed. Percy’s made some mistakes in the past and I reckon that was going through their minds.”
“Hey, Audrey.” George stepped towards the girls.
“Hi.” She didn’t look at him.
“What?” Verity appeared confused.
“Just saying hi to my sister.”
“What did you mean sister?” Her eyes widened. “Oh, is that how you?”
“September. My prat of a brother married her in September without telling us until yesterday,” George interrupted.
Audrey’s cheeks turned pink.
“We—I got pregnant. We were scared. We don’t want to have this baby out of wedlock, no offense.” She patted Verity’s hand. “We gathered some guys from his work and got married.”
“They hid it from us, Ver. It’s obvious.”
“What’s obvious?” Audrey asked.
“What we mean to Percy. I wish he never came back.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“It’s his fault Fred’s gone.”
“Yes, it is! He was there. He took him off his guard. He—“ George paused, red in the face. “He—“
“George,” Verity said.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Damn it.” He pounded his fist on the counter.
“George,” Verity repeated, reaching a hand out for his arm.
“No.” George turned away.
“Percy loves you,” Audrey said.
“Blah. No, he doesn’t.” He faced her. “You weren’t there. You don’t know. You probably don’t even know the real Percy. When you do find out, don’t come crying to me! I’ll have nothing to do with him.”
“I know the real Percy.”
“Do you? The one who puts work over family? When the Ministry believes something we don’t, who does he follow? Certainly not us. Who is his real family? Ask him.”
“George,” Verity spoke, “you’re being awfully mean.”
“Me?! Don’t forget who your boss is.”
“Percy’s changed,” Audrey said.
“How would you know?”
“He told me.”
“Oh, he told you. Yeah, just because he says something doesn’t make it true.”
“I don’t think you know the real Percy. People change. They grow up. Something you need to look into.”
“Hahaha, when trouble comes, I don’t turn from family.”
“He’s sorry about that. Why can’t you forgive him?”
George grunted. Verity gasped. George turned his attention to her, but she shook her head.
“Perce and I are married. We talk. He’s told me plenty of stories about his past. The Percy he is now is nothing like the stories. He puts plenty of blame on himself for Fred’s death. You don’t need to do it, too.”
“Do you know who Fred was? Do you?” The rise in George’s voice caused the look on Audrey’s face to change. “My twin brother. The other half of me. You don’t know what it’s like to have half of you gone.”
“George, you’re scaring the customers,” Verity warned.
“I can’t take this. George, you need to do some serious growing up.” Audrey turned on her heel and stormed out.
“I can’t believe you.” Verity scooted off her stool and waddled out the door after Audrey as fast as she could, which wasn’t very fast at all.
“What the hell was that all about?” Angelina questioned walking over to her husband.
“She’s such a freak.”
“George! I could hear you on the other side of the shop. You weren’t being very nice.”
“Me?! Who’s side are you on?”
“It’s not about picking sides.” She put both hands on his shoulders. “I love you, okay? Your brother loves you. He didn’t do this to hurt you. Some things are not about you.”
“It’s still his fault.”
“Maybe, I don’t know. What good does it do to blame him?”
He shrugged. Angelina kissed him on the cheek.
“Excuse me?” a balding man in gray robes walked up to the two.
“One second,” Angelina answered him. “You’re okay?” She turned back to George.
“George?” Audrey timidly poked her head in the door. “It’s Verity. She, er…”
Verity’s moans traveled through the room.
“You take care of her and I’ll deal with the customer.” Angelina patted her husband on the back. “It’s okay,” she whispered.
Running outside he spotted Verity sitting on a bench almost doubled over. Audrey returned to her side, rubbing her hands.
“Baby, just be all right,” she murmured followed by a low moan.
Brushing her blonde hair out of her face, George knelt in front of his employee, allowing the autumn wind to run through his own hair.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” he said shakily. “Er, where does it hurt?”
“Stomach,” she managed.
“Are—are you in labor?”
“It’s too early!”
“I—do you have anyone to contact?”
“My parents,” she replied through clenched teeth. She grabbed Audrey’s hand as another moan ripped through her.
“Audrey, could you contact them? I’m taking her to St. Mungo’s.”
“Henry and Olivia Richardson,” Verity said as George helped her to her feet.
“You really should think about taking your maternity leave,” he added.
“You’re dilated two centimeters,” Cailin O’Shea, Verity’s midwife announced.
“That’s not good,” Verity responded.
“It’s not bad.”
“What? It’s too early. My baby. We’re supposed to keep him in there until my due date?”
“You’re due date is in one month, Miss Richardson. Babies don’t always do what we tell them. They have their own schedule. Once you hit 36 weeks, the baby will be fine outside the womb, maybe a bit small, but fine otherwise.”
“Okay,” Verity responded timidly.
She reached for George’s hand.
“I’ll be back in a bit.”
George rubbed Verity’s hand. He felt odd seeing her in her hospital gown, lying in bed with the covers draped lazily over her.
“Do you need to contact your boyfriend?”
“Er,” she hesitated. “He probably should know about the birth of his child.”
“If I was the father, I’d want to know.”
“Yeah, the thing is, well, we kind of had a fight a good few weeks ago, and we sort of broke up.”
“Do you want me to contact him?”
“Yeah, go ahead. His name is Clyde McPhee. Direct it to Azkaban.”
“He’s a prisoner?” George exclaimed.
“No, a guard. N-not a Dementor. That’s what people always think. Dementors don’t make relationships with humans! Their type of kiss is to suck out your soul not make love.” She rolled her eyes. “Minister Shacklebolt banished all the Dementors, anyway.”
“Verity, how are you feeling?” An older lady with short dark brown hair burst into the room with a tall gray haired man behind her.
“Fine, Mum. Well, not fine, but I’m doing okay, what they expect.”
“Oh, baby!” She bent down and gave her daughter a hug.
“Did you know you can have the baby once you hit 36 weeks?”
George chuckled as he exited the room.
“George Weasley?” a short, muscular, brown haired man walked up to the waiting area.
“Clyde?” George watched him hesitantly walk over and sit down.
“Yeah. Verity’s in there with her parents?” He pointed to a closed door a few feet away. Very rarely did anyone actually get a private room at St. Mungo’s.
“Yeah. You want to go in?”
“I’m not sure.” He looked at his hands. “Yeah, I want to see her, but does she want to see me? Are her parents, are they in there?”
“Yeah, I’ll just stay out here.”
“What happened between the two of you?” George asked curiously.
“She told you we broke up, yeah? It was a stupid fight. She wanted sausages and milk. When I wouldn’t get it for her she went ballistic. She told me I’d be a terrible father, that I was already a terrible boyfriend, and she didn’t want anything to do with me. I ignored her comments attributing them to hormones. She didn’t like that. She kept yelling and finally I gave in. I yelled. She yelled. We let our feelings fly. Eventually, we let objects fly. I threw a small wireless at her. It missed. She threw a book at me. It broke my nose. She showed no sympathy. I didn’t expect her to. I left and we haven’t spoken since.”
“How…” George started.
“You better not tell Verity, but before she found out she was pregnant, I was ready to break up with her. I’m glad I stayed, but that fight gave me the out I wanted months before.” Clyde shrugged. “I’ll be there for the baby, but I don’t think I’ll get back with her.”
“You need to tell her this,” George said. “I think she needs to know the truth.”
“What good would that do?”
“Don’t tell her you already wanted to break up with her! I didn’t say you need to hurt her! You need to talk to her about your feelings.”
“What do you know? You’re her boss, yeah? She’s talked about you. You’re the one who lost the brother, yeah? You don’t know anything about women.”
“I’m married, aren’t I?” George sighed. The longer he sat there the more he wanted to get away.
“What are you doing here?” They both asked simultaneously.
“Robards woke up this morning.”
“Robards? Ron told me about his incident. Verity, she’s in labor.” He nodded in the direction of the private room.
“Oh, tell her good luck. You know, being an Auror, I feel like I’ve moved into this place.”
“Say hi to Ginny for me.”
“You know Harry Potter, yeah?” Clyde asked the second Harry was out of earshot.
“He’s best mates with my kid brother and married to my sister.”
“Wow. Why didn’t you introduce me?”
“Slipped my mind.”
“Women,” Mr. Richardson muttered walking out of the private room. “George, you’re still here? Oh, Clyde, hello,” he added as an afterthought. “You may want to let Verity know you’re here.”
Immediately, Clyde left.
“I just said that to get him out of the room.”
“Can’t stand him, huh?”
“I know fathers are overprotective of their daughters and we aren’t to like any of the men they date, but he always rubbed me the wrong way.” He patted George on the back. “Thank you for staying. You don’t have to. I’m sure Verity will understand if you need to get back to the shop.”
“It’s almost closing time. Angelina can handle it.”
Henry Richardson’s face fell a bit. George had an inkling he wanted him to date his daughter. He wouldn’t think that any longer once he met the real George Weasley.
“How long has it been?” Angelina asked. Thirty minutes earlier she arrived with Audrey.
“The midwife said it should be any minute now,” Mr. Richardson answered.
“OUT!” Verity shouted as Clyde closed the door behind him.
“Not a happy little witch,” he laughed quietly.
“I hope Percy received the owl I sent,” Audrey said off-handedly.
To answer her question around the corner appeared the red-headed, freckle-faced, tortoise shell glasses wearing Ministry employee.
“How long has it been?” He asked causing the group to break out in laughter.
“Hey, Percy,” Audrey replied.
He sat down in the hard plastic chair next to her and began rubbing her back. George wanted to vomit at the display.
“Yeah, I think my bout with morning sickness has finally passed.”
“Mine hasn’t,” George mumbled.
“It’s almost time,” Mrs. Richardson announced, walking out of the private room.
“Yeah?” Clyde perked up.
“She wants me to take a little break and then it’s back in there for the real thing.”
Henry perked up as his wife sat in his lap.
“Our baby’s having a baby!” Olivia exclaimed.
“Grandma?” Cailin poked her head out of the room. “It’s time.”
“Grandma. She called me Grandma. Henry, we’re about to be grandparents!” She kissed her husband before returning to the room.
Clyde stood up.
“Sorry, she only wants her mum.”
Dejectedly, he sat back down.
An hour later, Olivia poked her head out of the room to announce,
“It’s a boy!”
Chapter 71: One Thing Leads to Another
“He broke into the Ministry after hours,” Deans Richards, Hermione’s colleague, spoke, walking around the chair in the middle of the courtoom.
Harry watched the reactions of the jurors. Real jurors, not just members of the Wizengamot and/or Ministry employees. These were witches and wizards picked from the general public to judge the case. It was such a change from the days of Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour.
“Wizards, Warlocks, and Witches of the jury, I present all this to you to prove this man, Randolph Esme, is guilty of attacking Head Auror Gawain Robards.”
They had presented the witnesses. The defense produced Peter Fawcett, who had not actually witnessed the attack. The prosecution presented Gawain Robards, Harry, and a house-elf named Indigo.
“What do you think?” Robards met up with Harry as the jury left to come up with a verdict.
“Randolph Esme may be convicted of being mentally insane.”
“You think so?”
“He kept repeating how innocent his brother was. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s just love or an act.”
“I don’t think it was an act. He seemed too sincere.”
“Right, which is why I think he’ll be convicted of being mentally insane.”
“You’ve too much hope in the justice system, Potter.”
“It’s all I have, sir.”
“Foreman, has the jury come to a verdict?” Kinglsey Shacklebolt asked an hour later when the courtroom convened.
A tall wizard with a mustache stood up and cleared his throat.
“Yes, sir, we have.”
“What do you find the defendant?”
“We, the jury, find the defendant, Mr. Randolph Esme, guilty of breaking into the Ministry after hours. We find the defendant, Mr. Esme, not guilty of attacking Mr. Gawain Robards.”
Harry felt his chin drop. He couldn’t believe it. Not guilty? The jury process was beginning to look worse than the Wizengamot.
“We ask that his sentence be no more than one year in Azkaban.” The foreman sat down.
Harry swore his chin dropped further. This was unbelievable. The man was practically getting off scot-free.
“It’s the house-elf,” Robards said later that day back in his office, sitting in his usual black leather desk chair with Harry across from him in the smaller black chair.
“Are beings, too. Yes, Potter, I know. But, there’s still a major prejudice out there. She was the only real witness of the attack. You know how the jury system works. One not guilty and it’s a not guilty verdict. Just be happy he will be sent to Azkaban for breaking and entering.”
“That’s not enough.”
“Harry,” he only said his first name when he was getting serious, “we take what we can get. You know the game better than almost anyone. Perhaps a year in Azkaban will teach Randolph Esme. Maybe it won’t.”
“You can’t be serious!”
“Things are changing for the better, but we can’t expect everything to be fixed in a day. Why don’t you go on home? It’s Friday.”
He left the office, gathered his cloak from his cubicle, and headed out the door. Instead of heading to the Atrium he decided to stop by Hermione’s office.
“I heard about the verdict,” she said once Harry sat down in a brown leather office chair.
“Robards believes the reason he got a not guilty for attacking him was because of the house-elf.”
“Yes, I was thinking the same thing.”
She leaned her elbows on her desk, mussing up some parchment work already there.
“Yes. It’s not a good thing. I need to press further with my work.”
“No, this needs to be bigger than a school club.”
“House-Elf Liberaton Front?”
She waved her hand.
“We’ll come up with a name later.”
“I don’t know what you did, but she won’t shut up about house-elves. I thought she was over that,” Ron said that Sunday, sitting on a couch in his parents’ sitting room.
“You know she never was,” Harry said. “You heard the verdict on Randolph Esme. Robards believes it was due to house-elf prejudice. I had a talk with Hermione and she’s decided to kick her house-elf mission up a notch.”
“That’s what she said,” Ron rubbed his head with his hands. “How could you?”
“This is important. A guilty man remains innocent because someone doesn’t think a house-elf’s testimony is valid.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Hermione said, walking into the room with Audrey and Ginny who immediately sat down next to Harry. Hermione’s face brightened as she reached the boys.
“Here we go again,” Ron whispered.
“I heard that!” She squeezed herself in next to Ron.
“Before we start talking about house-elves, Percy and I have something we want to say,” Audrey spoke up.
Percy had been sitting with Bill. He looked at his wife expectantly.
“OK, I’ll do the talking,” she said, standing between the couch and the arm chairs. “Percy and I are getting married next Saturday at my parents’.”
“I thought you were already married,” Ginny said.
“My family doesn’t know that. We reckon its best we just pretend to get married and then they can find out about the baby.
“Like they can’t already tell,” Ginny muttered.
Audrey did sport a small pooch, but it was barely noticeable and there was no way anyone could tell it was due to a baby.
“My sister, Elizabeth, will be my Maid of Honor. Ginny, I’d be honored if you would be a bridesmaid.”
“OK,” she responded cooly.
“George will be my best man and Ron, I want you to be a groomsman,” Percy added.
“You’re my brother.”
“It’s because I’m the last single guy?”
“No, if that was the case I’d have picked Charlie, too.”
“He won’t be here!” Ron exclaimed. “Does he even know about this?”
“Yes, we sent him a letter a few weeks ago,” Audrey explained. “He doesn’t know about this wedding, but he knows we’re married and that he has another niece or nephew on the way.”
“I really want you to stand up with me. Is that too much to ask?”
“No, fine, I’ll do it.”
“I can’t believe this,” Ginny collapsed on the couch that Friday evening looking ragged. “Everything would be much simpler if she just told her parents the truth. She’s a grown woman!”
Harry had been at his desk working on some parchment he brought home regarding house-elves. It wasn’t his job, but he promised Hermione he would help her. He turned his attention to his wife.
“I blurted to Elizabeth that Audrey is pregnant and that she and Percy are already married.”
Harry raised an eyebrow.
“I know. You don’t have to tell me. I shouldn’t have done that. I didn’t mean to! It wasn’t like I planned on ruining their secret! We were at the fifth shop Audrey dragged us to and I was tired of trying on dresses. Audrey kept telling us this was the only day to do this with the wedding tomorrow. Right there her sister mother should have reckoned something was up. She most dense person on the planet.”
“I thought you liked Elizabeth?”
“I do, but that doesn’t mean she’s not dense. Anyway, Elizabeth and I went into the dressing rooms to try on our dresses. She told me she thinks with this wedding being rushed Audrey must be pregnant or something worse.”
“Gin, if she figured that out she’s not dense.”
“OK, fine, she’s not dense. Well, she said she thought Audrey was pregnant. I said, and these are my exact words, ‘You’re right. Something worse. She’s pregnant and already married to my brother.’ My exact words,” she repeated. “Elizabeth stormed out of the dressing room. She’d taken off her shoes, but that was it, thank Merlin. She found Audrey and yelled at her, right there in the shop. I’m sure if it wasn’t a Muggle shop she would have done some kind of jinx or hex on her. The last thing she said before returning to the dressing room to get her shoes was she doesn’t want to be in the wedding.
“Right and it’s my fault! If I’d just kept my big mouth shut everything would have been fine. We’d have found dresses and Elizabeth would still be the Maid of Honor. She should be there, even if this wedding is just for show. Audrey told me to just find something in my wardrobe since I don’t have to match anyone. I feel terrible.” She sighed exasperatedly.
“Do you know where Elizabeth lives?” Harry asked.
Ginny shook her head.
“Percy probably knows,” he said.
Fifteen minutes later Harry returned from the kitchen where the floo was located. He sat down next to Ginny who looked utterly miserable.
Wrapping his arm around her, he said, “Percy gave me her address. I’m going to send her an OWL to meet with me tomorrow morning.”
“She’ll know why.”
“Maybe, maybe not. I’m going to fix this for you.”
“Good morning, Elizabeth.”
“Don’t ‘good morning’ me. I know why you’re here.”
Elizabeth grabbed a seat at the small square table in the Leaky Cauldron that Harry occupied the very next morning. The place was not that busy.
“You’re going to try to convince me to be at my sister’s wedding and not only be there, but be her Maid of Honor.”
“OK, you got me,” Harry admitted. “Would you like a butterbeer?”
“No, thanks, but I will take a gillywater.”
Harry nodded and flagged down Hannah.
“Good morning, Harry. Does Ginny know you’re out with a lady friend?”
“Hannah, this is Elizabeth, Audrey’s sister. She was on England’s National Quidditch Team last year with Ginny. Elizabeth, this is Hannah, a friend of mine from Hogwarts and the barmaid here at the Leaky Cauldron. Yes, Gin knows I’m here. She’s a Weasley. It’s hard to keep secrets from them.”
“Whatever you say.” Hannah raised an eyebrow and gave Harry a wink. “Two butterbeers?”
“Er, no. I’ll have a gillywater.”
Hannah quickly returned with the drinks and Harry got down to business.
“I’m not going to beat around the bush. You know why we’re here. Your sister is getting married—“
“Ha! She’s already married. She lied to me. She lied to our parents. She’s married and pregnant and been keeping it a secret for months. Why should I be at this ‘wedding?’ It’s not even real.”
“Ginny apologizes for telling you all this.”
“She’s nothing to apologize for. She told me the truth which is more than what my sister did.”
“Anyway, it wasn’t her place to tell. She wishes you’d be at the wedding, too.”
“Of course she does. She doesn’t want to be Audrey’s Maid of Honor any more than I do.”
Harry took a swig of butterbeer, allowing the creaminess to flow down his throat while he thought of what to say next.
“If this was your wedding you’d want your sister there.”
“This isn’t Audrey’s wedding. She already had one of those.”
“Not really. It was just her, Percy, and a few guys from Percy’s job standing in front of a warlock.”
“What?! They told ‘a few guys from Percy’s job’ before they told their own family?” Elizabeth’s face was turning red.
“OK, I’m sorry for saying that.”
“Don’t be. You’re just like your wife. You’re telling me the truth.”
“You didn’t tell your parents this, did you?”
She shook her head while sipping her gillywater.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t want to hurt them.”
“There’s your answer. Audrey doesn’t want to hurt them, either.”
“If she didn’t want to hurt us then she shouldn’t have gotten married when she did.”
“Maybe she shouldn’t have. I’ve never been in their situation. She found out she was pregnant and instead of waiting she and Percy decided to get married. The only reason they told a few guys from the Ministry is for witnesses. It’s easier to tell people you aren’t close to then it is to break your family’s hearts.”
“You think we’d be upset that she’s pregnant out of wedlock?”
“No! I’m excited. I can’t wait to meet my niece or nephew.”
“Close your eyes and put yourself in Audrey’s shoes. You just found out your pregnant with your boyfriend’s baby. You’ve been dating for only a year.”
“I’d be scared. I’d be afraid he’d walk out on me. I’d be afraid of what others would think, what my parents would think. Would my sister lose respect for me?”
“OK, you tell your boyfriend. He’s excited and proposes marriage.”
“I jump at the chance. He still wants me! He’s going to be there for me and the baby.”
“Instead of waiting he says you should get married next week.”
“Great. The baby won’t be a *******.”
“You’re married. Now, you need to tell your parents.”
“I can’t do that. They’ll hate me.”
“Open your eyes. These are the thoughts running through your sister’s head. She’s scared to death of telling her parents the truth. She hid a wedding and a marriage from them since September. I think it was a mistake to not tell both sets of parents, but they didn’t. We have to live with that. Your sister needs your support. You have every right to be angry, but this is her big day and you should be there.”
“It’s her wedding day. She didn’t have a real wedding.”
“I can’t make you come to or be in the wedding. Just think if it were you. You’d want all the support you could get.”
“I talked to her,” Harry said to Ginny later that day.
Ginny had finished putting on her beige dress and was helping Harry with his tie.
“Is she coming?”
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk her into it.”
“It’s okay.” Ginny slipped into her flat beige dress shoes. “It’s my fault, not yours. Ready?”
“Let me comb my hair. It’s not lying flat.”
“Your hair never lies flat and I like it that way.” She kissed his cheek.
“Merlin, there you two are,” Percy screeched as the two entered the front door of the Mendleson house after Apparating to the spot.
Ginny and Harry looked at each other.
“How are you?” Ginny asked her brother. He was running around with his dress robes on, tie around his neck untied, one black sock on, and one bare foot. The only thing neat about him was his hair and glasses. It was very unPercy like.
“I’m a nervous wreck! Both Audrey and Mum are in tears. Anything I say to them just makes them cry harder. Dad’s trying to calm Mum down and Audrey’s mum’s with her.” He reached up to grab his hair, but Harry stopped him before he could add that to his messiness. “Maybe this wedding was a mistake.”
“You love Audrey,” Ginny said.
“We should have just told everyone the truth.”
“Where’s George or Ron?” Harry asked, thinking at least one of them should be here keeping Percy under control.
“I don’t know. They haven’t arrived, yet. You two are the first. This is a disaster. I have half a mind to just cancel this thing and tell everyone the truth.”
“They can do the math. Either way, they’ll figure the baby thing out,” Ginny said. “But, this is what Audrey wants to do and you need to support her.”
Percy nodded slowly, like a child. He wasn’t used to getting advice like this from his baby sister.
“I’m going to see to Audrey,” she said heading for the stairs.
“I’ll, um,” Harry stammered not sure what he should really be doing, “go see your mother.”
“Kitchen,” Percy pointed.
Stepping into the kitchen, Harry saw Mrs. Weasley sipping a cup of warm tea, her face stained with tears. Mr. Weasley buttered a croissant and handed it to her.
“Hello, Harry,” Mr. Weasley greeted his son-in-law.
“Harry,” Mrs. Weasley repeated, breaking the croissant in half, but not eating it. “Croissant?”
“No, thank you.”
“You’re such a lovely boy, unlike my son.”
“Molly.” Mr. Weasley rubbed her arm.
“He respects his in-laws to not want to hurt their feelings, but our feelings? Easy enough for him to walk all over.”
Not knowing what to say or wanting to be in the middle of this Harry slowly walked back out and headed for the stairs hoping to reach Ginny before she made it to Audrey.
“I thought I was doing the right thing,” he heard Audrey say. “I thought I was sparing my sister’s feelings.”
Not wanting to enter in on the heartfelt girl talk, Harry did an about face and went down the stairs he had just come up. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to see Percy again so he went outside.
Materializing in front of him were his two best friends, Hermione and Ron.
“You might want to talk to your brother,” Harry said to Ron.
“Why? Isn’t that the Best Man’s job?” Ron asked casually.
“George isn’t here, yet,” Harry answered.
“You remember how George and Harry were at their weddings. Percy probably just needs someone to calm him down,” Hermione said.
“I’ll do that,” Ron left wearing a pained expression.
“He loves his brother, he does,” Hermione assured, “it’s just, well—“
“He’s Percy,” Harry finished.
“You must be Harry Potter!” An older man with dark graying hair walked over to the two.
“Yes, sir,” Harry replied nervously.
“I’m Mr. Mendelson, Audrey’s father.” He put out his hand for a shake. Harry accepted. “I hope you like the decorations.” He waved his arm to show off the area set up for the wedding.
“Yes, sir.” It didn’t matter to him. He wasn’t getting married. “It looks nice.”
“This is my best friend and future sister-in-law, Hermione Granger,” Harry introduced.
“Hello. I must be going.”
“That was weird,” Harry commented.
Hermione playfully hit him on the shoulder.
“It’s because you’re famous. Honestly, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.”
Soon the guests started arriving. Harry and Hermione escorted them to their seats. Yes, Hermione. The event was a small, quick to-do and they needed all they needed all the help they could get.
“I’ve been thinking,” Hermione said after escorting Aunt Muriel to her seat and having to hear about how her ankles were still too thin and her hair too bushy for her crown, “we need to go public with our house-elf mission.”
“Haven’t you already—“
“That was S.P.E.W. and I didn’t make it much past Hogwarts.”
“Hermione,” he started.
“We need to get this going,” she interrupted. “You’ve been doing the parchment work.”
“Hermione, I don’t—“
“Every minute that passes by that’s one more minute of abuse.”
“Hey, Verity,” he said turning around to see the blonde haired young lady wearing a lavender dress step towards them. Harry was secretly glad that this would distract Hermione from discussing house-elves.
She smiled shyly. She knew Harry and Hermione from working in George’s shop, but she wasn’t close to them.
“Is that—“ Hermione began pointing to the light blue sling wrapped around Verity.
“Yes.” She pulled back the side to show off the tiny soft face. “This is Matthew Richardson McPhee. My mum couldn’t watch him today or I’d have left him with her.”
The little baby stirred in his sleep, opening his mouth and closing it.
“He’s so tiny,” Hermione squealed softly.
“My big boy’s gained a pound since birth. You want to hold him?”
Verity carefully picked up her baby, wrapped in a blue blanket with baby Hippogriffs all over it, wearing a small dark green bonnet on his head and matching dark green footy pajamas.
Hermione cooed as the baby was placed in her arms. Matthew sighed, but did not wake.
“Would you like to hold him?” She asked Harry a moment later.
Before he had a chance to protest the baby was placed in his arms. A few seconds later Matthew’s eyes fluttered open to reveal the most remarkable color blue. He took one look at Harry and began to wail.
Verity quickly took her son and began rubbing his back. The very second he was in her arms he quieted down.
“I’m sorry, Harry. He doesn’t have much contact with men, my father when he’s home and Clyde works so much.”
“It’s fine. Let me escort you to your seat.” She placed Matthew in the sling and put her arm through Harry’s.
Not too long after, Mrs. Mendelson appeared announcing the wedding was about to begin. Harry and Hermione hurried to their seats next to Bill, Fleur, Victoire, Dominique, and Angelina.
Percy, George, Ron, and the white haired wizard stepped up to the front of the aisle. A soft tinkly music could be heard throughout the heated tent. Ginny, in her beige dress, carrying a very small bouquet of gardenias, appeared at the end of the aisle.
“Elizabeth!” Ginny exclaimed.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I know I’ve been a terrible sister, but this is Audrey’s wedding day and I need to be here for it.” She looked down at the blue jeans and red sweater she wore. “I know I’m not dressed for the occasion, but if it’s okay with everyone I want to return to my role as the Maid of Honor. I love you, Audrey!”
“I love you, too!” could be heard from somewhere where no one could see the bride. “Just get this show on the road. We can talk about it later.”
Ginny pulled about half of the flowers out of her bouquet and handed them to Elizabeth. She stepped aside allowing Ginny down the aisle first.
After her sister made her way, out stepped the bride in a white long sleeve ankle length gown. With Aunt Muriel’s tiara atop her head, she looked stunning. A small smile already appeared on her face. Looking at her sister and the groom the smile spread. Following her descent she whispered something to Elizabeth causing tears in both girls’ eyes.
The ceremony went smoothly and when it finished the tent turned into the reception area. Harry was immediately ushered to the front by Hermione in order to find Ron and in his case, Ginny.
“You looked beautiful up there,” he said to his wife once they reached each other.
“Harry,” Elizabeth slowly walked up to the two, “thank you. I do not think I could have lived with myself if I missed my sister’s wedding. I’m not sure exactly what it was but you made me realize how petty I was being. If it was my wedding, whether I was already married or not, I would want Audrey present.”
Harry let go of Ginny and embraced Elizabeth in a hug.
“Thanks. She’s married now and that’s all that matters,” she finished.
“They’ll figure the baby out in no time,” Ginny said.
“Baby?” Mrs. Mendelson, standing close by, exclaimed.
“I—I—“ Ginny stuttered, cheeks turning red. “I’m having a baby.”
Elizabeth looked like she wanted to hide in the bushes.
“You are?” Harry asked.
Ginny gave him a pointed look.
Audrey stood up from her seat a few feet away. She glared at Ginny for a nanosecond.
“Er, well, I reckon the pixies out of the cauldron so, well… It’s true, Percy and I are having a baby.”
“Is that the reason for the wedding?” Her mother asked. “You don’t have to be with him just for the baby!”
“Mum!” Audrey sent the same glare to her. “I love Percy. We would have been married eventually. This just sped things up a bit.”
“I don’t like the sound of this,” Mr. Mendelson spoke up, “a baby conceived out of wedlock.”
Harry stole a glance at Verity, sitting at Audrey’s table, with Matthew in her lap.
“I’m sorry,” Ginny said. “I didn’t mean—it’s all—my big mouth got me in trouble.”
“It’s not your fault. The truth would have come out anyway when the baby is born in May.”
“May?!” Mrs. Mendleson squealed. “That’s—“ she did the math on her fingers. “August? How long have you been keeping this a secret from us?”
Percy stood up. “Audrey was afraid she’d upset you. She’d been preparing the right way to tell you. She loves you very much.”
“If she loved us she’d have told us the minute she found out.”
“That’s what Elizabeth said,” Audrey pointed out.
“Elizabeth?” Mrs. Mendleson turned to her. “You knew and you didn’t say anything?”
“I only found out yesterday. It wasn’t my place to tell!”
“Calm down!” Mrs. Weasley shouted from her spot on the other side of the table. “Everyone shut up!”
The entire tent full of people became quiet, mostly out of fear as they were not used to this from her.
“The whole thing is out in the open. Let’s forget about who knew and when they knew and concentrate on the love of two people that created a marriage and a baby.”
Sorry for taking so long getting this chapter out, but it's here now. I'll do my best to make sure you don't have to wait this long again. I hate when you guys have to wait as it means I have to wait to continue the story!Feedback!
Chapter 72: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Twisting spaghetti noodles around his fork, Ron thought of what had just been proposed to him. They had every right to request it, to want it, but it seemed a little far out of his reach.
“I hope we’re not causing any trouble,” Dr. Granger said.
“Oh no, Mum,” Hermione answered.
Ron stuffed the fork in his mouth to give him an excuse to not speak. Trouble? This was undoubtedly trouble.
“It’s just we want our family present. They want to be there. You’re our only daughter and the only grandkid on my side of the family,” Dr. Granger, Hermione’s father, spoke up.
“I know.” Hermione looked at Ron, who tried not to make eye contact with them. “It’s no problem, really. We’ll work something out.”
“I can’t believe you said that!” Ron burst when they finally arrived home that evening after dinner with Hermione’s parents.
“’It’s no problem, really. We’ll work something out,’” he said in an almost perfect imitation of his fiancée.
“What do you expect me to say?”
The two had made it to their bedroom and were changing into their pajamas. After unbuttoning her blouse, Hermione threw it on the bed.
“Upset, are you?”
“Why? You know how impossible it is to bring Muggles to the Burrow. It’s a house held up by magic. Your parents are the only ones who know magic exists.”
“I know.” She sighed, sitting down next to her shirt. “This is so important to my parents. Maybe we should just move everything to a Muggle location.”
Ron, having also taken off his shirt, sat down next to her.
“We’re still inviting Hagrid?”
“Yeah, that might not be such a good idea.”
“I know. I’m sorry I’m so hard on you, it’s just, well, I’m not completely comfortable around Muggle things. It’s not my element. I’m not like my dad.”
Hermione nodded. Then, her eyes lit up.
“We can have two weddings. Saturday will be the one at the Burrow like we already planned and Sunday we can have a Muggle one elsewhere. My parents can come to both if they prefer and their families can come to the Muggle one. I reckon your family will have to come to both so things don’t look suspicious in front of mine.”
“Two weddings? You think you can handle that? That’s two weddings.” Ron held up two fingers. “Two receptions.”
“Yes, but I’ve got two mothers to help out. I only need one dress, one set of bridesmaids and groomsmen, one rehearsal dinner.” Hermione held up one finger.
“If you think you can handle this, I support you.”
“I can. I’ve got you to help me.”
“You’re the groom, aren’t you?”
“It’s your wedding, too.”
“She wants two weddings?” Harry asked Ron in the Holyhead Stadium.
After looking over his shoulder to see Hermione walking in their direction Ron answered, “yeah, a bit mad, I reckon.”
“It’s her family. They have a right to be at her wedding. She only gets married once.”
“Twice,” Ron corrected. “I’d rather be hunting You-kn-Voldemort,” he whispered the name to not upset those around him, “again than have to deal with two weddings.”
“It’s not that bad. The bride does most of the work anyway.”
“That’s not what—“
“Trust me,” Harry interrupted. “She may ask your advice, but she doesn’t really want it.”
“We haven’t talked to her parents, yet. Actually, you’re the first person I’ve told,” Ron admitted.
“Why is this bothering you so? You love Hermione. You do want to marry her?”
“Yes…” he trailed off watching some fans take seats below them. “You know how I feel about Muggle stuff.”
“That’s not it?”
“Her parents make me bloody nervous.”
“My parents what?” Hermione asked taking a seat next to Ron.
“I—“ he hesitated. “Well, you know it’s true. I always mess up around them.”
“They’re just people, Ron.”
“They’re not ‘just people.’ They’re your parents.”
“I can’t believe they make you nervous.”
“How can you not believe it? I’m always spilling something or sticking my foot in my mouth around them. They must think I’m a bloody idiot. How can I put up with two weddings with them?”
“If it bothers you that much we won’t do it.”
“No, no. It’s important to you.” He took hold of her right hand. “I want to make you happy.”
“The Starting lineup for your Holyhead Harpies!”
Harry shushed the two.
“Keeper: Holly Joooonnnnes! Chasers: Immmogeeeen Baaaakkkerrrr, Siannnn Bevinnnns, and Ginnnneeeevrrraaa Weeeasssleeeey,” the announcer stretched out the names as he said them.
Ginny flew the circumference of the pitch her red hair flying behind her. The team had sparkling new uniforms this year in the usual dark green for home with a real rich newly designed golden talon on the chest. Ron had to admit, she looked in her element in the air.
“Gin, you looked wonderful up there,” Harry complimented as she snuggled into him on the couch in her sitting room.
“We would’ve looked better had we won.”
Ron let out a small cough.
“Let them be,” Hermione whispered to him, sitting down on the arm of the chair he was splayed over.
“It’s not your sister, is it?”
“Honestly, Ron!” Ginny scolded. “’Ve you visited the new baby, yet?” She asked in a much softer tone.
“You believe they named her after Mum?” Ron asked.
“Molly Prewitt Weasley.”
“He thinks this will get him back in Mum’s good graces.”
“I thought your mum forgave him for his flight from the family?” Hermione asked.
“Well, he did upset her with the news of the baby,” Ginny stated. “She was pretty tore up that he seemed to care more about Audrey’s parents’ feelings than hers and Dad’s.”
“I dunno how Mum’ll take them naming that fusspot after her. The entire time Hermione and I were there she did nothing but cry.”
“She wasn’t that bad,” Hermione admitted.
“Must’ve been getting a look at you, Ron,” Harry joked.
Ron threw a pillow at him.
“No messing up my cushions!” Ginny threw it back.
“Hey!” Hermione exclaimed as she fell off the arm of the chair from the impact of the pillow.
“Are you all right?” Ron leaned over to help her up.
Hermione took one look at him and burst out laughing.
“I’m fine,” she managed. “I love you three.”
Chapter 73: Does This Smell Funny to You?
Slowly Ginny yawned and stretched her arms over her head. Sleeping in was a glorious thing, but she needed to get up for she had a busy day ahead of her. She had already slept in an hour longer than usual, missing sending Harry off to work. She couldn’t explain why she was more tired than usual. Her excuse was that practice was getting tougher. Gordania rode them hard to keep them out of last place, which fortunately, was occupied by the perennial losers, Chudley Cannons.
I tried waking you, but gave up after you nearly broke my glasses. I hope you’re feeling all right. See you this evening. Have fun with Hermione and the girls today.
She read the note waiting for her on the bedside table and smiled. She didn’t recall almost breaking Harry’s glasses; she must have been out of it.
“Mistress is awake,” Kreacher greeted her as she stepped into the kitchen and took her seat at the table.
“Just tea, please,” she ordered before the house-elf asked her what she wanted for breakfast.
“Master Harry is worrying you is being sick,” he said handing her the hot beige mug.
“No, I’m not sick, just tired.”
Ginny sipped the tea and thought of the plans for the day. She was not in the mood to hang out with the girls as Harry put it in his note, but it was important for Hermione and with the wedding, or rather weddings, in two days it needed to be done.
“Does this smell funny to you?” Ginny asked Kreacher holding out her mug.
“Is it not to Mistress’s liking?” He stepped over and sniffed the liquid. “Kreacher will make a new cup.” He reached for the mug and poured it on himself trying not to make any noise.
“Kreacher!” Ginny exclaimed. “Why did you do that?”
“Kreacher is bad making tea you is not liking.”
“It’s not your fault! Don’t make me anymore. I’ve plans with Hermione today and I’ll get something out.”
The house-elf grumbled something incoherent.
Ginny flooed to the Leaky Cauldron. Sitting at a rectangular table she spotted Hermione and Fleur with Fleur’s two daughters, Victoire and Dominique. Victoire was to be the flower girl in wedding #1 and Dominique was to be the flower girl in wedding #2.
“I’ve to go to the loo,” Ginny whispered to Hermione.
Once she got out of the loo, she hurried to the counter to replace the funny smelling tea Kreacher dumped all over himself earlier.
“Good morning,” Hannah said not looking up from the cash register.
“Tea, please, with milk and sugar.”
“Coming right up.”
Ginny tapped on the counter.
“Ooh and a scone…yeah, that’d be good.”
“All right. One tea with milk and sugar and a scone. Care for some clotted cream or jam?”
Ginny bit her lip. Clotted cream did sound good. But, she didn’t know if the girls minded waiting while she ate her treat. She figured they were just here to meet up before picking up Angelina at the joke shop. Clotted cream didn’t seem like something she wanted to eat on the run, especially while trying on her dress.
“I better not.”
“Ah, Ginny, didn’t know that was you. Sorry,” Hannah said handing over the tea and scone. “I’ve been a bit…preoccupied…did you hear? Professor Sprout officially retired two weeks before September 1st, leaving Neville as her replacement.”
“That’s great.” Ginny sipped the tea and pulled some money out of her pocket.
“Well, yeah, except he only had two weeks to get ready. He’s been so busy he’s been staying at the castle overnight, but he said he’d be back once he gets everything straightened away.”
“You miss him.”
Hannah nodded with a slight blush on her cheeks.
“Of course you do. He’s your boyfriend. I feel the same way when Harry’s on a mission. Neville’ll be at the wedding, right?”
“Absolutely. He’s one of Ron’s groomsmen.”
Ginny thanked her and then headed to the table. Right when she was about to sit down she spotted the familiar dishwater blonde hair stepping out of the floo. Quickly, still holding her tea and scone, she ran to the girl, wrapping her arms around her.
They let go of their embrace to get a good look at each other.
“There’s something different about you.”
“Must be all the Quidditch I’ve played since I last saw you.”
“No, that’s not it.” Luna tapped her right index finger against her chin. “Have you been attacked by the gravantris?”
“Er, I don’t think so.”
“I was so certain.”
“Maman, who’s that?” Victoire asked when the two returned to the table.
“Zat is Luna Lovegoot,” Fleur replied.
“Hi, Luna Lovegoot,” Victoire greeted. Dominique looked up at her with wide eyes.
“Luna Lovegood is a friend of mine from school,” Ginny said. “Luna, you remember Fleur. These are her daughters, Victoire and Dominique.”
“Hello, Victoire and Dominique.” Luna bent down and shook hands with both girls.
“I promised Mrs. Weasley we’d have lunch with her at half past noon, so we need to get to Madam Malkin’s soon,” Hermione ordered.
“Nice button,” Luna complimented the bride-to-be.
Pinned to Hermione’s robes was a round button displaying “H.E.L.P.” Hermione pressed it and it turned into a picture of Dobby. She pressed it again and it changed to the words “A Better Life for Everyone.” She pressed it again and it went back to “H.E.L.P.”
“House Elf Liberation Promotion. Harry helped me come up with the name. I wanted something more mature than S.P.E.W., though I still think that name means more. Anyway,” she pulled a clipboard and a quill out of her beaded bag, “I’ve this petition I’d like you all to sign.”
“Hermione,” Luna began.
“I just need 250 signatures to open dialogue on House-Elf Freedom.”
“Hermione,” Luna said again.
“Signing this doesn’t mean you have to agree house-elves deserve or want freedom. It just means you want to start a discussion. I’ve talked with Minister Shacklebolt and this is what he wants me to do.”
“I can agree with that.” Luna took the quill from Hermione and signed her name. Fleur and Ginny followed.
“Maman, I want a button,” Victoire said as they headed toward the bricked entrance to Diagon Alley.
“You do not know what it iz for.”
“Dobby, the name on the grave at our house. Daddy told me.”
“Here you go.” Hermione pinned a button she took from her purse to Victoire’s shirt and pressed it to show Dobby’s happy face.
“Dobby! Dom, do you knowed Dobby?” Victoire asked her sister. She went on about how he was a house-elf who saved the world, a bit of an exaggerated story she’d heard from her dad.
“Good morning,” Verity greeted the group as they entered Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. She stood at the front feeding the pygmy puffs.
“How’s Matthew?” Hermione asked walking over to the pygmy puff cage. Ginny followed, but the closer she got the more the smell irritated her.
Verity’s face lit up.
“He’s gotten so big. You should see him. He’s such a chatterbox now. He can say mama and gaga and baba and he calls himself Ma-you. I ask him, ‘Who are you?’ and he replies ‘Ma-you.’”
“Looking for Ang?” George asked appearing behind a shelf. “She’ll be down soon. You know how women are.”
An ear piercing scream stopped Ginny from responding.
“Victoire Gabrielle Weasley!” Fleur bellowed.
“She likes it!” Victoire exclaimed.
“If see likes it, why is see screaming?”
Fleur removed the hat from her youngest daughter’s head, which quickly reappeared above her shoulders. Before she was able to witness any more of the event, Ginny disappeared up the stairs and into the flat.
“George, I’ll be down in a minute,” Angelina called from the bathroom. She peeked out to see Ginny gingerly sit down on the couch. “Are you all right, Ginny?”
“I don’t think that scone agreed with me.”
“Not going to be sick are you?” She rushed to her side.
“No, I think I’ll be okay. Just let me,” she closed her eyes as a wave of nausea passed, “sit here for a minute.”
“You need something to drink?”
“No, thanks.” She held up her cup of tea.
After a moment of silence Ginny opened her eyes.
“We can go now.”
She nodded slowly.
“You sure you’re not sick?” Angelina asked as they headed into the shop.
“I’m fine. I think it was just the scone.”
Dominique sat on the floor crying and Victoire stood further away crying. Ginny rubbed her head. This was going to be a long day.
“Ready?” Angelina asked Hermione after kissing George goodbye.
Hermione glanced at the crying children and then at Ginny.
“You all right?”
“I’m fine!” Ginny screeched.
“Okay!” Hermione said taken aback. “Bye George!”
“Bye!” He shouted back from another part of the shop.
She opened one eye.
She opened the other eye.
“In here,” she croaked.
“Hey, honey.” Harry quickly kissed her on the lips, brushing her hair out of her face. “You all right?”
“Just needed a lie down after today. How was work?” She sat up against the arm of the couch. Harry sat on the edge next to her.
“Oh, you know, the same. Someone causes trouble and we have to go after them. Got your dress, did you?” A smile flashed on his face.
“I’ll try it on for you.”
Ten minutes later Ginny sauntered down the stairs in a burgundy tea-length, scoop neck dress with a ribbon around the gathered empire waist.
“Merlin,” Harry breathed. “You look sexy.”
Her cheeks turned pink. After two and a half years of marriage, her husband still had the ability to make her blush.
“You don’t think it’s too revealing? I didn’t expect it to show so much.”
“No.” He reached for her hand, helping her off the staircase. “I think it’s,” he kissed her neck, “beautiful.”
“Your glasses tickle.”
“Sorry.” He removed them and kissed her neck again.
“I—I,” she pulled away, “I have to use the toilet.”
Feedback! Merry Christmas!
Chapter 74: The Big Weekend
Flying on a broomstick against a light orange background, the Quidditch player tumbled in midair. He grabbed the Quaffle juggled it upside down and tossed it off-page. Turning around he flew back to do it all over again.
Ron watched the repetitive motions of his old poster. He remembered the day his dad brought it home to him when he was just four years old. That past weekend the two sat in the living room listening to his first Chudley Cannons match on the wireless. The team lost, but Ron was in love.
He’d listened to countless matches since then, some with his dad, some without. He could not remember a single time when his team won, but his love never wavered. He wasn’t a fan because the team won. Cannon fans can’t claim that. He was a fan because he wanted them to win. Dreaming, wishing, hoping, those were past times of Cannon fans.
Sitting at his desk in his childhood bedroom he took his attention away from the 21 year old poster and back to the fresh piece of parchment in front of him. Examining what he’d already written, he picked up his white quill, dipped it in black ink, and scribbled another line.
“Have you seen her?” Harry burst into the room out of breath.
Without hesitation Ron quickly brought the parchment to his chest.
“Ginny. Is she here?”
“Haven’t seen her. She’s probably down with Hermione.”
“Already checked.” Harry stepped closer to the desk. “What’cha writing?”
“Nothing.” Ron quickly folded the parchment and pocketed it in his robes. “What do you mean ‘is she here?’ Did you not come with her?”
Harry shook his head.
“When I woke this morning there was a note waiting for me saying she had some appointment and would see me at the Burrow later.” He shrugged. “Congratulations, mate!” He clapped Ron on the back. “Nervous?”
“Not until you said that. You two aren’t fighting, are you?”
“Ginny and me? No, not that I recall.”
Ron ran his hand through his hair.
“She’ll turn up.”
“Yeah. So, you’re getting married today. I can’t believe it.”
“Didn’t think Hermione would fall for a git like me?”
“I think you two are perfect for each other. I never thought you two would ever reveal your feelings, much less get married!”
“So, we’re a little slow,” Ron shrugged, “better late than never.”
The second Ron stood up Harry enveloped him in a hug.
“I’m happy for you.”
“Hey, don’t get all mushy on me.”
Harry unwrapped himself and sat down on Ron’s bed.
“Hermione’s already a mess of tears.”
“Happy ones!” He quickly added. “Happy ones. You know how women are. She’s so beautiful in her dress. Of course, not as beautiful as Ginny, but still…Ron, you’re one lucky guy.”
“One undeserving guy,” he muttered.
“Nothing. Beautiful, you say?”
“You’re my best mate, but so is Hermione, and since she doesn’t have any siblings, I feel it’s my duty to have this discussion with you. If you so much as think about hurting Hermione, I will hurt you. I’m married to your sister, the queen of the Bat-Bogey Hex. She’s taught me a thing or two, so watch out.”
“You know me. I would never intentionally hurt her.”
“It’s the intentionally part that worries me.”
“I love Hermione like a sister, mate, like a sister.”
“She couldn’t have a better ‘brother,’” Ron admitted, rubbing his left foot against the back of his right ankle and looking down at the carpet. He looked up at another poster on his wall, one he picked out himself a year before he started Hogwarts. “I think the Cannons are playing today. Maybe we could, er, skive the wedding and go watch?”
“I, er, Hermione doesn’t want to marry me.” Ron rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “She deserves someone better, someone like you.”
“Like me? What do you mean? Someone who’s already married? Hermione loves you. You can’t seriously be thinking of skiving out on her.”
“No, you’re right. I couldn’t live with myself. So, uh, let’s get me married.”
Standing in front, Ron stared out into the crowd before him. Hagrid sat in the back with a white handkerchief already blowing his nose. Charlie ushered Professor McGonagall into a seat in the middle row on Hermione’s side. Behind him was Percy being berated by Aunt Muriel over something. Why did he have to invite that bat? Gawain Robards chatted with Stamford Savage and a copper haired woman he assumed was his wife. String instruments played a soft melodic tune.
“Ready?” George tapped him on the shoulder.
“I—“ the words caught in his throat.
Silently, he watched as a young man sat a few rows behind his old professor. He recognized the man from the Ministry, but he didn’t know his name.
“Not getting cold feet, are you?” George joked.
“I—“ Ron started.
“Just think, in a short moment, you and Hermione will be bonded for life,” Harry said.
“You can back out now, if you want,” Neville spoke up. Harry and George glared at him. “I mean, no you can’t. I mean, you don’t…oh, bugger.”
Ron and the others laughed, lightening the tension.
The white haired wizard nodded. The music changed. A burgundy carpet spread itself down the center aisle. Charlie led the way with his mum on his arm and his father following. Percy came out behind him with the female Dr. Granger on his arm. They lead them to their respective seats.
Four year old Victoire in a burgundy matte satin dress with an empire waist and a jewel neckline stepped onto the carpet carrying a small white wicker basket, tossing burgundy abracadabra rose petals to both her left and right sides. Behind her came Teddy looking smart in his black dress robes and burgundy tie carrying a white pillow with two rings attached.
Once the two made it to the end of the aisle out stepped a gorgeous young woman with long dark slender legs wearing the tea length burgundy bridesmaid’s dress. Carrying a small bouquet of the abracadabra roses she carefully stepped in time with the music to the end of the aisle, flashing George a smile and a wink. Ron knew it was for George. There was no way she was winking at him, especially with her husband mere inches away.
Following Angelina came Luna in the same dress with the same bouquet. Serenely, she walked up the aisle as if she was in her own world. Anyone else would have looked out of place, but it fit her. At that moment, Ron knew she was the perfect choice for a bridesmaid in his wedding. She represented a part of his life he never wanted to forget and never would be able to.
When his sister stepped out, he couldn’t stop staring at her.
“Merlin,” he muttered silently. He blinked his eyes and quickly averted his gaze finding it extremely gross to be checking out his sister’s chest. He looked into her brown eyes dancing with joy. A bright smile spread upon her face and she nodded her head. Glancing at Harry, he saw him wearing a goofy smile. What was up with his sister and his best mate?
The music changed to a familiar wedding tune. The congregation stood up, facing the back. Ron’s heart beat faster. Was he making a mistake? He could run. He could…he could…
Stare at perfection.
He couldn’t breathe. Closing his eyes, he was able to take a deep breath. This was happening too fast.
He opened his eyes.
It was happening just right.
Hermione stood at the end of the aisle in a white ball gown style strapless floor length gown with a dropped waist, chapel length train, and simple embroidery among the edges. On top her head was Aunt Muriel’s crown amongst her fluffy brown hair. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. With her father on her arm and a bouquet of white roses in her hand, she slowly made her way towards him. The closer she came the blurrier she got. Ron didn’t realize he had tears in his eyes until after her father let her go Hermione wiped the tears away.
“I love you,” she mouthed.
Ron smiled shakily.
“I love you,” he replied silently.
He took her small creamy white hands in his big freckled ones. He was afraid with the sweatiness of his palms that he would lose his hold, but firmly they stayed together.
Ron swore he paid attention, but he didn’t remember anything of the ceremony until the white haired wizard called for the vows.
He pulled a piece of parchment out of his black robes and unfolded it.
“Someone once said I have the emotional range of a teaspoon so I don’t know how well I can write something like this. ‘When I first saw you on that train our first year,” he read, his voice shaking. He cleared his throat and continued, “I knew you were the girl I was going to spend the rest of my life with and that scared me to death. I thought of you as brainy and worthy of someone much better than me. I never imagined we would be compatible. You were the studious schoolgirl and I was lazy old me. You were books. I was Quidditch. I was just an eleven year old kid. I didn’t understand the feelings inside. Were the butterflies in my stomach because I liked you or because I never wanted to see you again? I made fun of you to hide my true feelings, not just from you, but from me. As the years went on, I got to know the real you. You are a genius. But, I was still afraid of my feelings. I tried to hide them, downplay them, tell myself they weren’t real and you would never feel the same. Mistakes were made. Big mistakes. We dated other people. We hurt each other. I’ll never forgive myself. Sixth year, Fred (rest in peace) and George gave me a book. I read it from cover to cover. Hermione, I read a book for you.” He looked up to see her cheeks pink. “I complimented and comforted and did everything the book said. I thought I’d finally done something right. I had done something right. But, things weren’t perfect. I was still a git. I left you. I know that was the worst thing I could have ever done. I spent those days, weeks in agony hoping, just hoping that you’d at least be my friend again. Thanks to Professor Dumbledore I came back and I got to see you again. It was not the happy reunion I dreamed. I didn’t deserve a happy reunion. In some ways, I think I deserved to hear you tortured. I deserved the pain it caused me. It taught me you were the girl, no, woman, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Holding you in my arms, kissing you, was the greatest feeling of my life. But, a kiss is just a kiss. It’s not words. We were nowhere closer to a relationship. I still acted like a prat. I was a prat. I let certain emotions speak louder than others.’” He looked up to see Hermione’s eyes filled with tears. “That’s all I have written. A certain somebody interrupted me and I didn’t get to finish. I just want to say without you, I am incomplete. Hermione Jean Granger, I love you more than life itself. You mean more to me than breathing. I cannot express how happy I am this day has finally come, that you, Hermione, will be my wife forever. I love you.”
Tenderly, he wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs, while still holding her hands. She smiled softly.
The white haired wizard continued with the ceremony. Ron tried to pay attention, but all he could think about was the bushy haired woman next to him. Was this real? Would he wake up to find it only a dream? Would he wake up to find he was still in the bedroom at Shell Cottage and he would never be able to find his two best mates?
“You two are bonded for life.”
Knocked back into reality, Ron put his hands on Hermione’s face, bent down, and allowed his lips to meet hers. Magic pulsed through his body. Her lips parted and his tongue entered. Time stood still.
“Mate.” Harry tapped his shoulder.
Ears turning red, he released Hermione.
“That was the sweetest thing I ever heard you say,” she whispered.
His ears turned redder.
“I love you.”
“I know.” He squeezed her. “I love you, too. Are you sure we’re not dreaming?”
“No,” she giggled.
“No you’re not sure or no we’re not dreaming?”
She slightly pinched him on the arm.
“No, we’re not dreaming.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “I think you’ve moved up to the emotional range of a tablespoon.”
“Done being goofy?” Harry asked. “Congratulations!” He threw his arms over Ron in a hug. “You, too, Hermione.” He let go of Ron and did the same with Hermione.
“What was that smile about between you and Ginny?” Ron asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“We’re just happy you two tied the knot,” Ginny added getting in her hugs.
Ron shared a look with Hermione. There was something going on between his sister and his best mate and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.
“My little girl is all grown up,” Dr. Granger wailed as she stepped towards the newlyweds with her husband. “I’m so happy for you.” She hugged her daughter tightly.
Her husband patted Ron on the shoulder.
“You be good to my daughter. Take care of her.”
“Dad! I can take care of myself.”
“That’s right, sir,” Ron responded.
“We’re going to get a table,” Harry said.
Looking around, Ron noticed tables and a dance floor surrounding them.
“We’ll let you two go sit down.”
Ron and Hermione found their way to the table Harry procured for them, which just so happen to be at the front.
“I got you a butterbeer and a firewhiskey.”
“Thanks, mate. Where’s Ginny?”
He glanced at the empty seat with a glass of pumpkin juice in front. Hermione’s eyes widened.
“What is it?” Ron whispered.
“Later,” she whispered back, shaking her head.
“She had to make a visit to the loo,” Harry replied.
“She’s not sick?” Ron asked after downing half his firewhiskey.
“Congratulations are in order!” Professor McGonagall exclaimed.
“Thank you,” Hermione said.
“Albus always said you two would end up together. He really knew the students.”
“Hello, Professor,” Ginny greeted as she sat down next to Harry.
“Ah, hello, Mrs. Potter. I see congratulations are in order for you, too.”
Professor McGonagall winked slyly and left the group.
“What is she talking about?” Ron asked.
“I don’t know,” Ginny quickly responded. “Maybe she thinks she knows something she doesn’t.” She sipped her pumpkin juice.
“Please don’t press this any further,” Hermione urged.
“Why not? My best mate and my sister are keeping something from me.”
“We are not!” Ginny shouted.
“You’re causing a scene,” Hermione said.
“I’m causing a scene?” Ron whined.
“Yes!” Hermione jumped from her seat and started to walk away.
“Harry and Ginny are keeping something from me and you’re mad at me?”
“I’m not mad at—“
“It’s now time for the happy couple to have their first dance!” The white haired wizard announced.
Rolling her eyes, Hermione dragged Ron to the dance floor. She put her arms around him and smiled.
A soft melodic tune began to play. Slowly, Hermione laid her head against his chest. He recognized the tune but he did not know from where he had heard it.
“You remember this song,” Hermione spoke dreamily. “We danced to it at Bill and Fleur’s wedding.” She lifted her head and pulled her arms from around Ron. Frowning, he watched her open her locket and reveal the two dancers twirl in time to the music. “Our song,” she whispered.
“Our song,” he repeated as she laid her head back down. He glanced over to Vicktor Krum sitting at a round table with a few other guests and mouthed, “Thank you!”
“You’re all grown up now,” Mrs. Weasley said thickly as she danced with her son a few songs later. “But, no matter what, you’ll always be my ickle Ronniekins.” She wiped a tear from her eye.
“Mum, I love you.”
“I love you, too, Ron. You couldn’t have picked a better woman to be your wife.”
“My feet are killing me.” Hermione sat down at their table taking off her white high heels and rubbing her feet. “I love dancing with you, Ron, but unfortunately, I don’t think my feet agree.”
Sitting down next to her, Ron rubbed her shoulder.
“Hey, I’m a good dancer.”
The couple had just spent the last fifteen or so minutes on the dance floor.
“Of course you are.” She patted his face.
“Patronizing me, are you?”
“No,” she said between giggles as her husband tickled her.
“Save that for the honeymoon,” George said slyly, making his way to the table with Angelina beside him. “I see the happy couple are enjoying themselves.”
“Yes, thank you,” Hermione said.
“Have you seen Harry and Ginny?” Ron asked looking through the crowd of dancers with his eyes.
“They were dancing pretty close,” Angelina answered. “They seemed to be off in their own little world. I saw them head towards the Burrow a while ago.”
“Something’s going on with them and I intend to find out.”
“Ron,” Hermione put her hand on him to get him to sit down, “this is our wedding day. Let’s not ruin it by doing something hasty.”
“I’m not going to be the one who ruins it.”
Ron burst into the kitchen taken aback by the silence. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but this sure wasn’t it. He turned to see Hermione enter behind him.
“Let’s go back to the party.”
Instead of answering he headed for the stairs.
“Ron!” Hermione called out behind him. “You remember the last time you barged in on those two.”
He stopped on the second landing thinking back to Harry’s 17th birthday when he caught the two in a very compromising kiss. Not letting that detour him he barged through Ginny’s bedroom door.
“What’s going—“ he stopped when he noticed laying on her bed, his sister asleep against Harry’s chest. “She really is sick, isn’t she?” His eyes danced worriedly from Harry to Hermione.
“She’s not sick, she’s pregnant,” Hermione answered.
“You know, have a baby.” Hermione swung her arms like she was holding a baby.
“I know what it means.”
“Ron,” Ginny groaned. Before Ron could say anything she jumped up and dashed to the bathroom.
“Please don’t tell anyone,” Harry urged. “She doesn’t want to take the spotlight from you. It’s your wedding day. We can tell everyone about the baby later.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Hermione said.
“It’s what Ginny wants.”
Stepping over burgundy high heels, Ron sat down on the bed next to Harry.
“So, you’re going to have a baby. You’re going to be a father. Nervous?”
Harry looked at him.
“Ron!” Hermione scolded.
“I am going to be a father,” Harry said slowly. “I hadn’t thought about it much before.”
“Thought about what?” Ginny asked re-entering the room and lying back down on the bed.
“Being a father. I thought about you being a mother and us having a baby, but not me being a father.”
“What about you being a father?” She asked hesitantly.
“I—I’m responsible for another human being.”
“I’m going to be a father.”
He placed his hand on Ginny’s flat stomach.
“Hi, baby. This is your,” he swallowed, “this is your dad.”
Ginny placed her hands on top of his.
“You’re going to be a great dad.”
“I hope so. I don’t have much to go on in that area.”
“You’ve your godfather, Remus, my dad, and Dumbledore. You’ll be fine.”
“You’re great with Teddy,” Hermione added.
“You’re ready for this, mate,” Ron said.
“I am. Congratulations on your wedding.”
“Congratulations on your baby.”
The abracadabra rose is a real rose. It's burgundy with flecks of white or yellow in it. Searching for flowers that look good in a wedding with burgundy dresses I came across this name and knew I had to use it! Feedback!
Chapter 75: The Big Weekend Part 2
“Is that a,” Ginny thought for a second, “a tel-e-vishun?”
Hermione wanted to laugh at the site of her sister-in-law standing in her aunt’s sitting room mouth open staring at the “newfangled” electronic, but she didn’t want to embarrass her or let out something was different. It reminded her of Ron when he saw the telly in her parents’ house.
“Yes, it’s one of those new big screen televisions, right, Aunt Izzy?”
“Right,” A short, skinny, bushy haired woman with wrinkles wearing bright red lipstick entered the room from the kitchen. She ran to Hermione and gave her a big squeeze. “Oh, it’s been so long since I saw you last! How are you?” She held her at arms length to get a good look.
“Good.” She looked at Ginny and then back at her aunt. “Nervous about tomorrow.”
“That’s what all brides say.”
“Is this your maid of honor?”
“Matron, Aunt Izzy.”
“Right, sorry. We’re to have so much fun tonight. I’m Isolde Granger, but everyone calls me Izzy.”
“All right. I got three movies to choose from: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Betsy’s Wedding, and My Best Friend’s Wedding. You two go get situated in the guest room and I’ll get us some snacks.”
Hermione grabbed both bags and headed for the stairs.
“I can carry my own bag,” Ginny said reaching for the maroon bag in Hermione’s right hand.
“You’re the bride. It’d look funny if you did everything for me. It’s just an overnight bag.”
Hermione relinquished the bag.
“Aunt Izzy was my favorite aunt growing up, but after starting Hogwarts I don’t see her much anymore,” Hermione explained once they entered the guest room and picked out their beds.
“We’re to watch a moo-fee on that tel-e-vishun?” Ginny asked, reclining on the bed instead of hanging up her dress like Hermione.
“That’s what she has planned. I don’t recall watching a telly in a long time.” Hermione sat down on her bed. “I should be consummating my marriage with Ron right now,” she sighed.
“La la la, I don’t want to hear it!” Ginny stuck her fingers in her ears.
“Sorry. Aunt Izzy wants me to spend my last night as a free woman with her. Little does she know… Sure you’re fine for an overnight here?”
Hermione took Ginny’s dress from her bag, hung it up, and waving her wand took out the wrinkles, for it had not been placed neatly into the magically expanded bag, but rather stuffed in haphazardly.
“There you go, Gin.”
Turning around she found her matron-of-honor asleep.
“I'm pond scum. Well, lower actually. I'm like the fungus that feeds on pond scum,” Julianne Potter said to her best friend, Michael O’Neill.
“Lower. The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum. On the other hand, thank you for loving me that much, that way. It's pretty flattering,” he added.
“Except it makes me…” she trailed off running off screen with her hand over her mouth. Once she disappeared she could be heard wretching.
Hermione woke with a start. She didn’t remember that in the movie. Glancing at the bed next to her she saw it unoccupied. The awful wretching sound was heard again.
Hermione hurried to the door when she was stopped by her aunt.
Hermione shook her head. The toilet flushed. Water ran from the sink. Ginny stepped into the hall.
“I’m not sick,” she replied.
“Right.” Aunt Izzy gave her a weird look. “Honey, you don’t have to lie to me. I’ll make you some tea and you can go back to bed.”
“Warm tea would be good, I think. I’m not sick. I’m pregnant.”
“Don’t tell anyone. Harry, my husband, and I don’t want to take any attention away from Hermione and Ron, that’s her hus—er—fiancé and my brother.”
“Sorry to have woken you,” Ginny said later while sipping tea in bed.
Hermione lay on her side watching her new sister-in-law. She was the wrong Weasley she should be spending the night with, but thanks to the Statute of Secrecy and her parents request, as well as her aunt’s insistence she spend her last night as a bachelorette with her so she won’t “accidentally” see the groom before the wedding, made it happen.
“This baby really has me knackered all the time.” Ginny yawned for emphasize. “I’m only 6 ½ weeks along, but it’s already kicking my arse.”
“Six and a half weeks?” Hermione asked. “That means you’re due…” She calculated the time in her head.
“18 May,” Ginny supplied. “Bugger! This means I’ll miss the rest of this season and the beginning of next.”
“That’s all your worried about?”
“Well, no, but it keeps my mind off other things.”
“Like me being a mother. Hermione, I’m not ready to be a mother. I’ve never taken care of a baby. I don’t take care of Teddy. That’s Harry’s job. I’ve never diapered a baby. I never babysat Victoire, Dominique, or Molly.”
“You helped Ron and me with Victoire.”
“Come off it, I didn’t do much.” She swallowed more of her tea. “Oh, this isn’t helping at all.” She placed the mug on the bedside table and sighed.
“You’ve 8 months to prepare yourself. You don’t have to take it all in right now. Right now, you just need to make sure you keep yourself healthy for the baby. You’ll be a fine mother and you’ve time to prepare.”
“Matthew wanted to say hi.” Verity entered the women’s dressing room the next day holding her 10 month old son. “Say hi, Matthew. Can you say hi to Mummy’s friends?”
He buried his head into his mother’s shoulder.
“You were so beautiful yesterday and you’re even more beautiful today,” she complimented Hermione.
“Mattie and I are going to find a seat. We just wanted to say hi. I do have to thank you for having two weddings. I’m honestly shocked George let me off for both of them.”
As Verity left the room an older lady entered.
Hermione jumped up, which was hard to do in her wedding gown and hugged her paternal grandmother tightly.
“It’s been too long. Alright, Dear?”
“I manage. Introduce me to your girls.”
“These are my bridesmaids, Luna and Angelina and this is my matron-of-honor, Ginny.”
“Not getting enough vitamin D in your diet, are you? You look awfully weak.”
“I’m fine,” Ginny retorted cheeks turning slightly pink.
“I recommend more sunshine.”
“Thanks, Gran. I think you need to find a seat. The ceremony’s going to start soon.” Hermione ushered her grandmother out the door.
“It’s the gravantris,” Luna remarked.
“Arthur is in complete awe,” Mrs. Weasley said giving Mrs. Granger an odd look as she entered the room. “You don’t know how happy you’ve made him having a Muggle wedding here. You just might become his favorite daughter-in-law.”
Hermione looked at Angelina who laughed gently.
“Dear, are you feeling well? You look awfully pale.”
“I’m fine, Mum,” Ginny said against gritted teeth.
“Right. You do look lovely, Hermione.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.”
“Call me Molly. I’ve tried for years to get Harry to do the same, but the boy won’t budge.”
“M-Molly,” she tried out with a nervous smile. “He’s not, uh, he’s not…”
“He’s keeping his mouth shut.”
“Thank you. My parents, well, my mum put a lot into this and I would hate for it to get ruined because someone let out a secret.”
Ginny’s cheeks turned mildly red.
“Are you sure you’re all right. You look a bit flushed,” Molly asked her daughter.
“How many times do I have to tell you, Mum? I’m fine!”
“Right,” Molly began ready to say something else when a strawberry blonde woman stuck her head in the door.
“Miss Granger, are you ready?”
Hermione looked up and nodded.
“Let’s get this going, Mrs. Weasley?”
Angelina and Molly both looked at the lady.
Mrs. Weasley followed the woman out the door.
Dr. Granger stepped into the room.
“Dad! We could have been undressed!”
His cheeks turned red.
“Dominique, you’re first and Teddy will follow,” the strawberry blonde said to the two-year-old.
The bridal party stood in the lounge waiting to make their entrance. String instruments played typical wedding fare.
“You remember what your sister did yesterday?” Angelina asked.
She nodded slowly, biting her lip.
“Right and go.” The strawberry blonde lady pushed Dominique out into the hall.
The music changed. Dominique took two steps and stared at the audience. Her lower lip quivered. She dropped the basket.
“No!” She wailed.
Fleur ran to the aisle and embraced her young daughter. After a moment of speaking in French she lead her to her seat.
“I can do it!” Victoire hopped to the aisle, grabbed her sister’s abandoned basket, and continued with the duties of the flower girl.
“That was a catastrophe,” Ginny whispered.
“I think they handled it pretty well,” Hermione whispered back.
The rest of the party went down the aisle without incident.
“We can always turn back,” Dr. Granger said.
Hermione looked at her father.
“He’s already my husband.”
“We could run away to France or America, change your name, he’d never know.”
“Right, just checking how much you love Rob.”
“Dad,you know his name is Ron,” she giggled.
Stepping onto the aisle Hermione got her first glimpse of Ron wearing a full black tux with a white tie and a burgundy vest. The smile on his face brought tears to her eyes. Her grip on her father’s arm kept loosening until she reached her husband and he completely let go.
“Who gives this woman away?” The minister asked.
“Her mother and I,” Dr. Granger answered.
He kissed his daughter on the cheek and sat down next to his wife.
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today…”
Hermione looked into Ron’s clear blue eyes as he took hold of her hands and part of the bouquet as she still held it. They weren’t sweaty like yesterday. They were soft and tender, grasping her hands as if they never had to let go. She hadn’t felt anything like it before.
“Now, with the vows.”
“Oh.” Hermione pulled her hands out of Ron’s embrace. He gave her a quizzical look. “I, er, wrote something.” She pulled a folded piece of white lined notebook paper out of her bouquet. “It was the only place I could keep it,” she whispered to Ron. “’How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.’ Elizabeth Barret Browning.
“I could keep going. I could keep looking up things in books. But, I can’t find the answer in a book. I’m always looking to books for answers. They do have answers to many questions, but not now. I have to look inside me. Inside is a love burning ever brighter, a flame that shall never extinquish no matter how hard one tries. You are my light and my soul. You are my yesterday, my today, and my tomorrow. You are my eternity. My life didn’t begin until I met you at age eleven and it won’t end without you. Thank you for rescuing me and thank you for coming back. You are always welcome back. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
The rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch. The two re-exchanged rings and at the end when the preacher ordered Ron to kiss his bride, Ron took hold of Hermione and gave her just as passionate a kiss as he did yesterday.
“Thank you.” Hermione laid her head against Ron’s chest during their first dance later in the afternoon.
“For being such an amazing guy.” She looked up into his freckled face. “You went along with all this and let me have the Muggle wedding for my parents.”
“You deserve it. You put up with me for so long. It’s the least I could do.”
Leaning her head back down, she let the gentle sounds of the love song her mother picked out overtake her.
“Elizabeth Barrett Browning,” Ron spoke absent-mindedly.
“What about her?”
“Who is she?”
“A Muggle poet. I did some research in Aunt Izzy’s books last night.”
After the dance, Ron and Hermione made their way back to the head table where the couple had had dinner with the bridal party.
“Mate, what’s wrong?” Ron asked Harry who sat alone at the table holding a mug of beer.
“Nothing. Ginny just had to take a trip to…”
“Here.” Ginny rushed toward the table as she patted down her dress.
“If you’re not feeling well, it’s fine if you leave,” Hermione said quietly.
“I’m fine. Honest.”
“Let’s dance,” Harry suggested.
“I don’t feel like it.” Ginny slumped into her seat.
“You don’t have to stay,” Hermione said.
“Why doesn’t she have to stay?” George asked coming from the dance floor with Teddy in tow. “Are you not enjoying the reception? It’s a wonderful party, Hermione,” he said in a mock-serious tone.
Teddy jumped in Harry’s lap.
“Ginny and I are going to dance, Ted.”
“No, we’re not.”
“You’re looking off color,” George commented.
“Sod off. Go find Angelina.”
“Woah, what’s with the attitude? Not feeling well?”
“I feel fine! Merlin, why is everyone asking me that?”
“Ginny Dear, you look rather pale,” Mrs. Weasley, who had been sitting at the next table over with her husband and some relatives of Hermione’s, walked over to the table and put a hand on her daughter’s forehead.
“I’m not sick!”
“Awe you going to be sick?” Teddy asked.
“No!” Ginny shouted. “I’m pregnant!”
The music stopped in midsong and all heads turned towards the head table.
All right, that didn’t happen, but it sure felt like it did.
“Pregnant?” Mrs. Weasley squealed. She wrapped her arms around Ginny who was still sitting.
“I—er—“ she fumbled. “Sorry,” she mouthed to Hermione and Ron. “Yes, Mum, Harry and I are, we are expecting.”
“Oh my baby!”
Sorry it took so long to get this out. My dad had surgery at the beginning of the week and I just didn't have the energy to work on this chapter as much as I wanted. Feedback!
Chapter 76: Flowers and Chocolate
Cleaning his teeth and examining himself in the mirror before his morning shower Harry went through his schedule for the day. He had just remembered what he was to do immediately after lunch when a streak of red flew past.
"Gin?" He said after spitting his toothpaste.
Her response was to be sick in the toilet. He held her hair as she continued vomiting. Once she was done she sat back and took a deep breath.
"I'm eleven weeks! When does this bloody end?"
Harry sat down and wrapped her in a hug.
"Minty fresh breath," she said slowly, "makes me--” she quickly let go and vomited into the toilet.
"'S not your fault. I'm a bad mum." Tears began to escape down her cheeks.
"Because you're sick all the time? That's mental."
"Oh, so now I'm mental?" The tears fell faster.
"I-er-no, I'm the mental one. Why don't you head back to bed?"
She nodded slowly and Harry helped her to her feet.
"You need me to stay home? I will."
"No," she replied weakly crawling back under the covers. "Mum's close by and Kreacher..:"
"Right, forgot about him. You need him to bring you anything? Saltines? Tea? Porridge?" He softly rubbed her back as she closed her eyes.
"Ugh, the thought of food makes me nauseas."
"Sorry." He kissed her cheek. “You rest."
“Harry, the pictures are here,” Ron called from his cubicle.
“You went to Cape Argentête in France.”
“Yeah, you know it’s on the other side of the Muggle beach, Cape Ferret.”
“Right.” Harry stepped inside his mate’s cubicle.
“Not many pictures, you know,” Ron winked, “but here they are.” He handed Harry the moving photos.
Harry watched Hermione splash water on Ron and then Ron retalliate.
“Ho ho, what is this?” Harry held a picture of Hermione losing her swimsuit top.
Ron’s ears turned deep red as he stashed the picture inside a desk drawer.
Harry continued looking at the couple sitting together on the beach, the inside of their hotel room, as Hermione unpacked, Ron dead asleep, walking around the wizarding village, and…
“Oops.” Ron quickly took the photos away from Harry. “The rest are, well… “ he mumbled.
Harry raised his eyebrows.
“What? It was our honeymoon!”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Yeah, with your…anyway, how’s Ginny?”
"Sick. The slightest thing sets her off. If this is how the rest of the pregnancy is going to go, I don’t know how I’ll get through it.”
“Is there not some kind of potion she can take?”
Harry shook his head and sighed.
“It’s the baby, I mean, it’s natural and doesn’t mean the baby’s in harm, just that the baby doesn’t agree with stuff. There’s nothing we can do but wait it out.”
“Potter, I’ve the info on that woman in Norwich,” Dawlish interrupted waving a manila folder.
“Ron, this is…”
“Yeah, go on.”
Harry re-entered his cubicle with Dawlish right behind him jabbering away.
“She’s 65 years old and she’s lived in the same town all her life.”
“What do we know besides it being a homicide?”
“She was hit with the langlocker curse and then with the killing curse. The langlocker curse caused her to fall and hit her head, which we noticed due to the bleeding.”
“And that had to happen before the killing curse,”
“Because she would not have bled after,” Dawlish finished.
“We have no motive and no suspects?”
Dawlish shook his head.
“Right, well, we need to get back to the site and investigate.” Harry felt like working with John Dawlish was sometimes like working with a small child.
Harry took a deep breath after flooing into the kitchen of his home that evening. He had spent a grueling day investigating a murder site with his partner. All he wanted to do was kick off his shoes and relax, but first there was something else he needed to do.
Entering the sitting room he spotted Ginny laying on the couch reading a book.
“Oh, hey, Harry. Is that for me?”
He looked down at the stuff in his hands.
“You were feeling bad this morning so I thought I’d get you something to cheer you up. Flowers and a box of Honeyduke’s chocolate.” He sat down next to her as she scooted up and closed the book allowing Harry to see the title, A Witch’s Guide to Pregnancy and Baby.
“Oh, oh, get those flowers away from me!” Ginny covered her mouth.
“Naus—“ she said before running to the bathroom.
Dejected, Harry looked at the flowers. Placing the box of chocolates on the coffee table, he headed to the floo, grabbed a pinch of powder, threw it into the flames, and stuck his head in.
“Call me, Molly, Dear. Harry, what’s wrong?” Mrs. Weasley stood at the counter waving her wand and directing a stirring spoon in a large pot.
“Nothing, Mrs. Weasley, er, except Ginny. Well, I mean, she was sick this morning. I bought her flowers to cheer her up, but they’re making her sick. May I come over? I’d like you to have them.”
“Oh, Harry. That’s very sweet of you.”
Leaning out of the fireplace, Harry oriented himself back in his kitchen. He hated the sensation of his head being in one place and his body being in another.
“They’re so beautiful!” Mrs. Weasley took a sniff after Harry presented her with what was supposed to be Ginny’s flowers. “And they smell wonderful. You did good.”
“Good evening, Harry.”
“Hello, Mr. Weasley.”
“How is everything?”
“Good. Gin’s still getting sick.”
“Harry brought me flowers.” She conjured up a vase on the kitchen table. “Well, he bought them for Ginny, but the smell makes her ill.” She conjured up water in the vase. “She’s doing well, otherwise.” She walked over to the table and placed the flowers in the vase.
“Right. I better be going. Nice seeing you, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.”
“Nice seeing you, too, Dear. Give Ginny our love.”
“Where did you go?” Ginny asked when Harry returned home. She sat back on the sitting room couch with the box of chocolates open in her lap.
“I gave your mother the flowers.”
“That’s so sweet. I’m sorry I can’t enjoy them.”
“That’s all right. You seem to be enjoying the chocolate.”
Nodding, she stuffed one in her mouth, picked up another piece, and stuffed it in Harry’s mouth.
“Cawabell,” he said as he chewed. “It’s not making you sick.”
She shook her head.
“I love you.” She kissed him on the lips.
Just a short "filler" chapter. Feedback!
Chapter 77: A Dangerous Place
“Don’t forget, we have the appointment at half past eleven with my midwitch for the first time,” Ginny called out as Harry reached for the pot of floo powder.
“Right, your midwitch.” Harry put the pot down and turned to look at his wife still in her yellow and black striped pajamas. He wondered if she purchased them at a Wimbourne Wasp clearance sale.
She patted her stomach. It wasn’t showing. Harry didn’t see any change, but according to Ginny her pants were snugger.
“Yes, Harry, my midwitch. This is important. She’s the one who’ll help me give birth.”
He walked over and gave his wife a kiss.
“I’ll be here.”
“You better!” He heard her call as he stepped into the floo and disappeared.
“Double murder,” Dawlish answered as Harry entered his cubicle. “Boy and girl in their 20s.”
“Where this time?”
Harry’s mouth dropped open.
“That’s close to where you live, isn’t it?” Dawlish put a blue push-pin through the map on his wall. “I’m sure whoever it was wasn’t after you.”
“I wasn’t even thinking that, thanks.”
“You think we should investigate?”
Harry rolled his eyes ever so slightly.
“No signs of struggle,” Dawlish pointed out.
The two bodies laid side-by-side, almost unharmed except for a gash on the right arm of the boy. If Harry didn’t know better he would have thought they were sleeping peacefully.
Dawlish waved his wand over the two bodies.
“The boy was hit by diffindio and Avada Kedavra and the girl was hit by just Avada Kedavra.”
“It’s as if they knew he,”
“Or she,” interrupted Dawlish.
“Or she was coming and didn’t put up a fight.”
“They were attacked from behind.”
“From behind? They would have fallen forward.”
“The boy was hit in the upper torso area, I believe, and it doesn’t look like it was in the front. Maybe he or she arranged the couple this way.”
“Why would he go through all that trouble?”
“Well, the other murders were caught by surprise. We need to check the house for other clues,” Harry said.
Checking around the sitting room where the two bodies lay, nothing seemed disturbed. A blanket lay strown over the couch and a pair of shoes sat idly near the entrance to the foyer, but other than that, the room was clean.
“The upstairs is immaculate,” Dawlish said an hour later.
“I don’t know, to be honest, but I took an immense amount of notes.”
“Good. Do you mind if I check on Ginny before we head back to the office? I want to make sure she’s safe since we live in the area.”
The two Apparated to the other side of Godric’s Hollow and entered in the front door of Harry’s house.
“Ginny!” Harry called.
“Missus has a guest,” Kreacher said from the top of the stairs.
“Guest?” Harry furrowed his brow. “Who—“ He glanced at the clock in the foyer. “Bloody handbags! Her midwitch appointment. Merlin, I’m late. She’s going to kill me! I was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago!” He shoved his folder into Dawlish’s hands. “Here’s my notes. I’ll be back after lunch.”
“Your late,” Ginny said through clenched teeth when Harry appeared in the sitting room.
“No.” She sat on the couch gripping a tea cup in both hands. “You knew this was important to me.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“You forgot.” Tears sprang to her eyes.
“No, Harry.” She pushed him away as he tried to get closer. “You were supposed to be here by half past 11.”
“I said I’m sorry. What more do you want?”
“Harry,” she said ignoring him. “This is my midwitch, Elsie Shaw.”
Opposite Ginny sat an older woman with dark blonde hair mixed with gray wearing dark yellow robes.
“Good morning,” she greeted him extending her hand for a shake which Harry accepted. “I’ve been having a nice talk with your wife. This is your first baby?”
“And she says you’re due the 18th of May?”
Harry nodded again. Elsie sipped from her teacup.
“Right. I am excited to work with you, to help you on your journey to becoming parents. I’ve already been through most of this with your wife, but I’m happy to start over. I’ve been a midwitch for 32 years. I love my job. Do you have any questions?”
Tentatively, Harry sat down next to Ginny. He reckoned she didn’t want him to sit down, but then he also thought she might not want any more tension. He watched Ginny hold her cup and wished he had one, but he didn’t want to move or say anything to make her angrier.
“I don’t know,” Harry said, not sure what to say.
“It’s natural to be scared and not know what to do. Remember, I am here for you. As you know, the wizarding community is rather small and we’re fortunate to have a number of midwives so she only has to take on one patient at a time. You have my undivided attention throughout your pregnancy. Ginny, how are you feeling?
“Yes,” Elsie replied. “Yes, of course, but are you experiencing any morning sickness or no?”
“Oh, right. I have had the most awful morning sickness all day, but it’s lessening now and only appearing in the early morning.”
“Unfortunately, we are not able to work a potion that can rid mothers-to-be of the dreadful sickness.”
Elsie went through the rest of the questions, hers and theirs, getting to know Ginny’s and the baby’s health as well as explaining exactly what her job entailed. She examined Ginny to find out she had gained one pound since her appointment at St. Mungo’s in September. Her calming voice made everything sound relaxed and much easier than the new parents-to-be believed.
“She seems nice,” Ginny said afterwards, relaxing on the couch, no longer holding her cup with a death grip.
“Yes,” Harry replied nonchalantly.
“Are you all right? You were late to the appointment and now you seem off on some other planet.”
He watched Ginny place her cup on the coffee table.
“This world is a dangerous place.”
Ginny reached for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“I’m Harry Potter.”
“Did you just come to that realization?”
“Haha, no, what I mean is I’m Harry Potter. I’m an Auror and the wizard who defeated Voldemort. I’m targeted.”
“Harry,” Ginny said slowly almost dropping his hand. “Is this about you being late? Were you late this morning because you were the target of something?”
He listened to Kreacher pad through the kitchen. It was a tough question to answer. He could tell the truth and scare his wife or he could lie and put her in trouble.
“Honestly, I don’t know. You know Robards doesn’t like us discussing our cases outside the office, but this one hit a bit too close to home.”
Ginny’s brown eyes filled with fear. He didn’t want to scare her, worry her, but he did need to let her know the dangers.
“There was a double murder here in Godric’s Hollow,” he said slowly.
Ginny gasped as she threw her hands to her mouth.
“We-we don’t know much about the case. We don’t know who’s doing it and why. But, we do need to take extra precautions.”
“Are they after you?” She sat up straight.
“I don’t know. It was on the other side of town,” Harry responded standing up. He looked into Ginny’s brown eyes and began pacing the room. “There’s so much I don’t know. I do know I want to keep you safe. You and our baby.”
“I think you should stay at the Burrow until this is over.”
“What? You mean move back home with my parents?”
“If they, he, whoever is after me they might attack our house. You’re not in any shape to fight.”
“What the—Harry James Potter! I may be pregnant, but I can still use a wand, which I don’t mind using on your arse.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down!”
“Lunch is being ready,” Kreacher said, sticking his head into the room.
Harry took a deep breath, ignoring the house-elf.
“You moving to the Burrow, bad idea. I just want to keep you safe and I don’t want to risk anything with the baby.”
“Harry,” she placed a soft hand on his cheek, “I know you don’t want to lose the baby. I know you’re worried. This is your first chance at a real family. I understand all that. According to the book I’m reading it’s natural to be worried. You don’t need to add to the worry. I am a capable witch. I can take care of myself and I can take care of this baby.”
He knew it was true. He knew Ginny could defend herself no matter what size her stomach became. Slughorn didn’t invite her into his special club back at Hogwarts for nothing.
“You don’t even know if he, she, they, or whoever are after you,” she added.
“I know,” he sighed. “I’m just taking precautions. Better safe than sorry.”
“I know. I love that you care for me and the baby.” Her stomach growled. “Now, can we eat? Baby’s hungry.”
I don't know how I feel about this chapter. I'm not good at writing the details of Harry's job, but it has to be done sometimes, I guess.
Chapter 78: I Miss It
“And so he put up the Fidelius Charm last night,” Ginny said over hot tea with her mother in the kitchen of the Burrow. “He’s the Secret Keeper.”
“I thought we were past this.”
Ginny put her mug down and looked at her mother across the table.
“We’re never past this.”
“You’re going to be a mother soon.” Molly rubbed her daughter’s warm hands. “I didn’t think your children would have to deal with this.”
“I’m—“ She paused. “It is better now with V-Voldemort gone, but Harry is, well, he’s Harry, and as he’s told me, that’s always going to put him in danger.”
“We read in the Daily Prophet the Harpies won their latest match,” Mrs. Weasley spoke up trying to ease the tension in her daughter.
Ginny looked down at the table. She hadn’t told anyone that she didn’t resign from the team. The plan she and Harry talked over was for her to give up Quidditch and raise their baby. She did want to be a stay-at-home mother like her mum. She admired her mother in so many ways. There was no one more ideal for the position. But, deep inside, she couldn’t give up her dream of being a professional Quidditch player, of being the star. Instead of resigning, she only gave captain Gordania Ingles her leave of absence, hoping as soon as her midwitch or a healer gave her permission she could return to the sport.
“It’s their first win all season,” Mrs. Weasley continued.
A rock sunk in Ginny’s stomach. Maybe they wouldn’t want her back. They didn’t win any matches this season with her and they finally won without her. Gordania could easily tell her not to return.
“I haven’t really been paying attention,” Ginny replied.
She shrugged. She didn’t want to talk about Quidditch, with the team doing well without her.
“Are you all right?” Her mother waved her wand to send the two empty mugs to the sink.
“I’m f-fine,” she lied.
“I know my daughter. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, Mum. I’m fine.” She smiled weakly.
“Was it the tea?”
“No, the tea was fine.”
“Is it the baby?”
“No, Mum, it’s not the baby. It’s nothing.” Ginny sighed, placing her head in her hands. “I miss Quidditch,” she blurted after a quick moment.
“Ah,” Mrs. Weasley said sounding all-knowing.
“No, not ‘ah’. I didn’t quit Quidditch. I want to stay home and raise the baby, like you, but I also want to play Quidditch.”
“You didn’t quit?”
“I’m on a leave of absence. I plan to return as soon after the baby’s born as a healer or my midwitch allows.”
“Well, you have some time to think about this.”
“I don’t need to think about this! I want to return to Quidditch.”
“Of course you do.”
“Mum! I don’t need you patronizing me!”
“Honey, I just don’t think you’ve thought this through properly.”
“I have. I have sat here for the past two months. I’ve nothing to do but sit and think.”
“No.” Ginny jumped up from her chair and headed for the floo. “I don’t want to sit here and argue with you.”
“All right, we’ll discuss something else.”
“No, I’m going home.” She took a pinch of powder from the pot on the mantle, threw it into the flames, and disappeared.
Ginny angrily leafed through an old Quidditch magazine that evening when Harry floo’d home from work.
“What happened today?” He asked abruptly, stepping into the sitting room about to give his wife a kiss.
“I had tea with my mother.”
“Nothing wrong there. You enjoy spending time with your mother.” Harry kissed Ginny lightly on the forehead and sat down next to her on the couch.
Ginny forcefully flipped a page in the magazine almost ripping it out.
“Apparently not. What happened?”
She looked up from the magazine.
“You wouldn’t be taking your rage out on your magazine if it was nothing.”
She sighed and placed her magazine on the table.
“My mum said a few things today I disagree with.”
“Would you mind enlightening me on what those few words were?”
“No, Harry, just,” She paused. “We talked about Quidditch.”
“I miss Quidditch, all right?”
“Understandable. I missed it when Ron, Hermione, and I were on the run from Voldemort.”
“No, it’s not like that. I don’t miss the sport, I miss…Harry, I know we talked about this and I know we came to a conclusion, but, I want to return to the Harpies.”
“Not now.” She rolled her eyes. “After I have the baby.”
“You said you wanted to be like your mum and stay home to raise the baby.”
“I do. I do. I want to play Quidditch, too.”
“Gin, this is your decision.”
“I—you’re not angry?”
“I think you need to think about this some more, but no, I’m not angry. Were you—did you think I was?”
She leaned her head against his shoulder.
“My mum was. She didn’t come right out and say it, but she said I needed to think about this like I wasn’t being rational or something.”
He ran his fingers through her long red hair.
“I’m sure that’s not what she meant.”
Ginny lifted her head and gave him a slightly evil look.
“You’re taking her side, aren’t you?”
“What? No. I’m not taking any side.”
“I’m your wife. You’re supposed to take my side.”
“I—I—that’s not what I meant. I, er,” he paused. “It’s just your hormones talking,” he muttered under his breath.
“My what?” Ginny screeched.
“My hormones! I’ll show you hormones!” She jumped up and stomped towards the staircase. “You may want to think about sleeping elsewhere tonight.” She stomped up the stairs and into their bedroom, slamming the door behind her. A few minutes later she opened the door and tossed out a blanket and pillow.
Lying on her bed she thought out her frustrations. Why can’t they just agree with her? It’s her child. She’s the one who will be raising it. Well, Harry would be, too, as he’s the father, but he’s just the father. He’ll be at work and she’ll be home raising the baby wishing she could play Quidditch. But, he’ll be at work making money to support the family, not that they need the money.
Harry is the father, though, and should have some say in how the baby is raised.
She sat up.
She needed to talk to Harry, consider his feelings, as he was the father, her husband, and going to raise the baby with her.
“Harry?” She called out as she exited the bedroom, stepping over the blanket and pillow lying haphazardly in the hallway.
“In here,” he replied calmly.
“You didn’t tell me dinner was ready.” Ginny entered the kitchen and sat down across from Harry in her usual spot.
“You were angry. You slammed the door. I didn’t think you wanted to come down to dinner with me.”
“You didn’t bother finding out!”
“Gin, let’s not start this over again.”
“Start what? You’re the one who…no, wait, that’s Kreacher’s job.”
“I told him not to bother you. You seemed like you didn’t want to be bothered.”
“You think you know me, Harry Potter?”
He shrugged, digging his fork into his shepherd’s pie.
“I can’t believe this.”
Ginny took a sip of water and sat her glass back down staring at Harry. She immediately ran to the loo and stuck her face in the toilet. She heard footsteps behind her, but didn’t acknowledge them. A tear slid down her face. Her hair was pulled back from her face. Slowly, she leaned against the wall, tears coming faster.
Wrapping his arms around her, Harry patted Ginny’s back. She let the tears stop while she snuggled into his chest.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I hate this.” She sat up releasing herself from her husband. “Stupid nausea.”
“Hey, hey, you’re carrying our child. These things happen.” He handed her some toilet paper which she used to wipe her eyes and her nose. “You want to go back to the table?”
“I think I want to lie down.”
“You need some help?” He asked as they both stood up.
Lying in bed with the covers drawn over her, Ginny took a deep breath. She was getting herself too worked up and she needed to calm down. If this was what pregnancy was like now she didn’t know if she could hold out until May. Fortunately, she had a very understanding husband. Too understanding. She didn’t deserve someone like Harry.
“You’re looking better.”
“I don’t deserve you.”
Harry sat down on the bed, leaving his dresser drawer open, which he had been rummaging in. He patted her feet under the covers.
“No, you don’t.”
She turned over to look at him, her mouth agape. He wasn’t supposed to agree with her.
“You deserve better.” He closed her mouth by lifting her chin with his right hand and lightly kissed her lips. “But, you’re stuck with me.”
“You deserve someone who isn’t in such a dangerous job, someone who will always be able to be here for you, someone who won’t put you in danger.”
“This is my pity party.”
“Right, sorry.” He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. “Pity away.”
“Ugh, Harry, now I can’t do it.” She sighed. “Why do you make me love you so?”
He shrugged back to getting his pajamas out.
“You really want to return to Quidditch once Junior or Juniorita is born?”
“Our baby. Honestly, you call yourself its mother.”
She smacked his arm playfully after he lay down in bed wearing a pair of brown pajamas.
“We are never naming any child Juniorita.”
“Harriet then. I’m glad we decided.”
“Right. To answer your question, yes, I do want to return. I didn’t think I did when we had this discussion before, but I really miss flying.”
“You’ll be able to fly once the baby’s born.”
“Yes, that’s when I want to return to Quidditch. You men don’t get it. Pregnancy doesn’t stop you from doing what you want to.”
Ginny turned away from Harry. She wasn’t mad at him. She didn’t want him to see her tear up. She already did that once in his presence today. She needed to remain strong.
“Stop,” she whined, swatting her hand to get the shaking to stop.
“Sorry, I have to go in. Robards sent a message he needs all the Aurors. Just go back to sleep. It’s only a quarter past two.”
“What?” She opened her eyes wide.
“Go back to sleep. I just want to let you know I’m leaving. Robards needs all the Aurors at the office.”
“It’s after 2 in the morning, it must be important.” Ginny tried to sit up, but Harry urged her back down.
“Go back to sleep. I’ll be back before you wake up.”
Silently, she watched him grab his cloak and exit the room. Closing her eyes, she replayed the image of Voldemort carrying Harry into the Great Hall. It had been over 7 years, but the pain was still fresh. The image vanished when she heard a knock on the door.
“Were you asleep?” Hermione asked when Ginny answered the door in her dressing gown. Hermione stood before her in a pair of gray sweatpants and a green flannel night shirt.
Ginny shook her head.
“Robards called in Ron, too?”
“Yeah, I reckon maybe you didn’t want to be alone.
“You mean you didn’t want to be alone.”
Ginny lead Hermione to the sitting room, conjured up blankets, and snuggled in the corner with a white, blue, and black plaid one.
“Did Harry tell you about the murder on the other side of the village?”
“No.” Hermione shook her head, pulling the black blanket around her.
“Yeah, a couple, boy and girl, younger than us. He thinks whoever did this could be after him.”
“Is this related to tonight?”
“I don’t know. Harry won’t tell me anything. I know he says Robards doesn’t want them talking about their missions, but I really think Harry just doesn’t want to talk about them. He put the house under the Fidelius Charm, but you were able to get here.”
“He told me the location of your house this morning at work. I thought that was odd, but now it makes sense. Do you think someone could be after Harry?” Hermione asked tucking her brown hair behind her ear. “You haven’t heard of any breakouts from Azkaban have you?”
Ginny shook her head.
“I don’t know.”
Her stomach growled.
“Was that you?”
“Yeah, I didn’t eat dinner.”
“That’s not good.”
She made a face.
“I wasn’t feeling well earlier.”
Hermione waved her wand and a handful of chocolate frogs appeared on the table.
“Don’t tell Ron. These are from his stash.”
She picked one up, tore open the package, and pulled out the card.
“Fingal the Fearless. Ron’s got three of him.”
“Save it. We can give it to the kid for its collection.” Ginny patted her stomach
“Do you know the sex of the baby?”
“It’s too early to tell. Harry and I’ve discussed it and we don’t want to know.”
“You don’t want to know?”
“We want to be surprised.”
“You won’t know how to decorate his or her room or what clothes to buy. Are you sure you want to be surprised?”
“Yes. We’ll buy unisex clothes and toys and pick a neutral theme for the room. It’s not as hard as you make it sound. Merlin’s beard!” She exclaimed after ripping open a chocolate frog package. “Ron!”
“What?” Hermione grabbed the card from Ginny. “Ronald Bilius Weasley. Auror with the British Ministry of Magic. Helped Harry Potter defeat the dark wizard, Voldemort. As part of The Golden Trio with Hermione Granger and Harry Potter, founded Dumbledore’s Army, a student organization created to stand up against the regime of the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, Dolores Umbridge, as well as learning practical Defense Against the Dark Arts. Earned a Special Services to the School Award for helping destroy the Basilisk in Salazar Slytherin’s infamous Chamber of Secrets. Keeper for Gryffindor House Quidditch Team from 1995-1997. Ron Weasley enjoys playing Wizards Chess and rooting for the Chudley Cannons.” She turned the card over to reveal Ron waving to her. “It is Ron! He is going to be over the moon when he finds out.”
“Over the moon? I remember as a young kid his obsession with the cards. He’d beg me to let him open my package just so he could have my card. I doubt he ever thought he’d be worthy enough to have his face on one.” She bit the head off her frog. “Mmm. He ca’ hab aw by cahds ad log ad I ged de choc’lade.”
Chapter 79: More Problems
She felt the cold feet against her back and the plastic stuck to her cheek. Her legs ached and her arm felt funny. Being run over by a truck might possibly give her a similar experience. Yawning, she spat her bushy hair out of her mouth.
The Potters’ sitting room, she thought upon opening her eyes and noticing Ginny at the other end of the couch. Peeling the plastic off her face, which turned out to be a chocolate frog wrapper, she noticed the pile of cards on the table. Did they really eat that many chocolate frogs? Before sitting up, her eyes landed on the wall clock.
“Ginny!” She shouted.
“Five more minutes, Mum,” the redhead mumbled.
“Did Harry return last night?” Hermione asked already knowing the answer.
“Harry what?” Ginny blinked her eyes only half opening them. “Hermione?” She rubbed her face. “Oy, what time is it?”
“Half past seven. I need to leave.” Hermione threw the blanket off her knocking over the pile of cards revealing a Dumbledore, Antioch Peverell, and Ron.
“Work, Ginny. Some of us have to make a living. Go to bed. I’m sure Ron and Harry will return before we know it.”
“You’re late,” Richards stated as Hermione walked down the hall toward her office. “My, you look rough.”
“Thanks,” Hermione replied sarcastically.
“You want to talk about it?” He stepped closer to her. It appeared he had been headed for the lifts, but now he followed her to her office.
“Ron was called in last night,” was all she said.
Richards put his arm around Hermione after she opened the door to her office. She shrugged him off.
“How do you put up with him being an Auror?”
“I put up with it very well, thank you.” She gave him a look of annoyance and began searching through the huge stack of parchment on her desk.
“You look like you do.” He leaned against the door frame.
“I didn’t sleep well last night. I stayed up late,” she admitted.
“Sorry, you don’t like?” He frowned.
“No, I don’t like.” She pulled the parchment from the bottom of the pile and began reading.
“Are you angry?”
“I didn’t sleep well last night. Just let me do my work.”
“Right, if you need help…”
“I know where you are,” she finished exasperatedly.
He closed the door when he left.
Time went by as she buried herself in legal documents. She was doing a wonderful job getting her House-Elf Liason Promotion off the ground.
“Richards, I need to work!” She exclaimed when she heard her door open. She was actually surprised he didn’t knock. At least he could be considerate about that.
“Ron!” Hermione leapt from her chair and gave him a tight hug, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I’m happy to see you, too.” He kissed her sweetly on the lips.
“You’re bleeding.” Hermione spotted blood staining the right side of his robes.
“No, you’re not. Does it hurt?” She lightly patted the area.
“Only when you touch it,” he winced.
“’Ve you had lunch, yet?”
“Lunch? You’re bleeding and all you can think about is lunch.”
“It’s just a scratch. I’m starving.”
“You’re just a Weasley is all.”
He gave her a weak smile.
“Do let me fix up your wound?”
“I’ll be all right.” He put his arm around her. “Let’s have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. You can get off for lunch, can you?”
She nodded glancing at her unfinished work.
Entering the Leaky Cauldron via the Floo Network, after brushing off their robes, the couple chose a small round table near the front of the not-so-crowded pub. Immediately upon sitting down, Hannah rushed to their table. She wiped her hands on her robes leaving a smudge next to a grease stain.
“So good to see you in here. How are you two?”
Hermione glanced at Ron before answering, “fine.”
“That’s great. What can I get you?”
“Two butterbeers,” Ron replied holding up two fingers.
“I’ll be right back with that.”
“You think she’s doing all right?” Hermione asked Ron in a soft sort of hushed voice.
She shook her head.
“How did your hurt yourself?” She asked bluntly.
“I—on the mission.”
“I figured that one out.”
“Well, you know, Robards, he doesn’t really like us telling others about our current missions.”
“You know what I think? I think that’s rubbish. How do you think it would have been if Dumbledore told Harry not to tell us anything?”
“That’s not the same! We were in it together and he knew he could trust us. You’re not an Auror and Robards doesn’t know you.”
“Are you saying I’m not trustworthy?”
“Not at all! You’re the first person I would come to with anything, if I could.”
“I don’t know, Ron, those are just words.”
Hannah returned with their mugs of butterbeer.
“Let me know when you’re ready to order.” She smiled weakly before leaving.
“Whatever. I know.”
“What do you know?”
“Ginny told me Harry told her about the murders. A couple was murdered in Godric’s Hollow. Someone could be after Harry.”
“N-not anymore? What do you mean?” She realized in her excitement to see Ron she never asked about Harry’s welfare. That was so
“We weren’t supposed to kill him.”
Ron chuckled, wincing a slight bit.
“No, not Harry. He’s fine. Scratched and bruised, but fine.”
“Why won’t you let me take a look at your wound?”
“It’s nothing, Hermione!”
“No, it’s not! It could get infected.”
Slowly, Ron lifted up his robes enough to show Hermione the bandage soaked with blood wrapped around himself.
“You killed the wizard after Harry?” Hermione asked, changing the subject back to what they had been discussing.
“The boss. We killed the boss. You know the group Rutilus Diabolus? They’ve been committing the murders and we killed the guy who took Roger Esme’s place.”
“Apparently putting their old boss in Azkaban didn’t do anything. They just found a new leader and are worse than ever. They’ve never really resorted to serial killing. They mostly deal in importing and exporting illegal goods.”
“If they can break one rule it makes it easier to break another.”
“We’ve been after this group for hundreds of years. That should be a hint to someone.”
“That you need someone else on the case? You caught one boss and killed another.”
“Yes, but we didn’t shut them down. They’re still out there.”
Instead of continuing the conversation the two got down to looking at the menu. Hermione tried to flag Hannah down when they were ready to order, but she was busy talking to a tall, husky man.
Hannah stood behind the counter pouring a glass of firewhiskey when the man pulled out his wand. He grabbed her by the robes causing her to spill the drink on the counter. She tried to reach for her wand but the man grabbed her arm with the hand holding his wand.
Jumping up and pulling out his wand, Ron exclaimed, “Stupefy!” When the spell missed, breaking off a piece of the edge of the counter, he tried to call out another spell, but fell to the floor gripping his side in agony.
“Ron!” Hermione glanced back and forth between her husband and friend.
“I’m fine,” he said between labored breaths.
“No, you’re not.”
Hermione bent down to Ron’s level.
“Help Hannah,” he managed. “C-contact Har-ry.”
The cacophony surrounding them began to give Hermione a headache. She closed her eyes hoping it would drown out the sound as she brought to mind a happy memory and thought of her message to conjure up her Patronus. Quickly, her otter ran out the pub’s door.
“You need to be at St. Mungo’s.”
“Hel-p Hannah,” Ron urged.
Hermione peeked at the counter where another man had joined the fight. Hannah dueled both them, glasses and bottles breaking around them. Hermione aimed her wand at the shorter of the two men and whispered a stunning spell. The customers in the building ran around like chickens with their heads cut off.
The spell missed the men, instead hit shards of glass, sending the glass flying. A piece made contact with the shorter man in the hand. It caught him offguard giving Hannah enough time to stun him herself.
“It’s Harry!” someone shouted when Harry stepped out of the floo.
Without dusting himself off or anything, he ran to the counter, dodging the insane customers who were trying to make their way out the door or to the floo. He glanced at Ron and Hermione giving them a worried nod.
“He’s here, Ron, let’s go.”
Without giving it a second thought, Hermione turned on the spot and disapparated.
“You should have come in sooner,” the healer chastised as the bandage unwound itself from around Ron’s torso.
“I tried bringing him in but he wouldn’t come,” Hermione said.
Ron, laying on the bed with his eyes close, grunted.
“That’s worse than I thought.”
Ron’s eyes opened wide. Hermione reached for his hand.
“What do you mean?”
“Right, sorry. It can still be healed, I just didn’t expect it to look that bad. You really should have come in sooner, Mr. Weasley. If this thing became infected…” she trailed off, pulling a bottle of Essence of Dittany from her pocket.
“I’m sorry,” Ron apologized slowly while the healer rubbed the potion up and down his side. He looked into Hermione’s eyes. “I was…I was trying too hard to be brave.”
“You are brave, but this is just stupid.”
“I need you to rest, Mr. Weasley. You should be free to go in a few hours once the dittany has done its job.”
Ron rubbed his face.
“I am sorry.”
“Sure, Ron. Why wouldn’t you let me look at it? I’ve taken care of you before.”
“I told you. I tried too hard to be brave. I reckoned I could make it through lunch, you’d go back to work, and I’d go home. I didn’t want to worry you.”
“What a load of…” she paused rolling her eyes.
“I’ve to get back to work. I’ll come by after to pick you up.” She leaned down to kiss him when something fell out of the pocket of her robes landing in her husband’s lap.
“What’s this?” Ron picked it up. “Ronald Bilius Weasley. Auror for the British Ministry of Ma—Merlin’s pants! Merlin’s pants! Is this what I think it is?” He turned it over to see himself whistling on the other side. “Merlin’s pants!” He sat up too quickly and gripped his right side. “Oy!” Hermione laid him back down.
“What is it, Ron?” She asked coyly.
“Merlin, Hermione, why didn’t you tell me? You knew about this?” He waved the card in her face.
“Knew about what?”
“This! This! My Chocolate Frog Card!”
“Excuse me,” a male healer stepped over to the area. “I’m going to have to ask you for the sake of the other patients to tone it down.”
Hermione glanced around the room. There were two other people in the ward and one was asleep.
“My Chocolate Frog Card!” Ron repeated in much quieter voice with a much louder expression on his face. “It lists my Special Service to the School Award!” He continued reading the card, mouthing the words to himself. “I wonder why it doesn’t say anything about me sacrificing myself playing life size Wizard chess in year one or participating in the battle at the department of mysteries in year 5?” He frowned.
She smiled causing him to give her a funny look.
“Really, you think they should list all your achievements?”
“That would include the exact Horcrux you destroyed, the exact Death Eaters you fought as well as all the cases you’ve been on as an Auror, and of course, marrying me.”
“You expect all that on this card?” She took the card from Ron and waved it in her face.
“Do you know how tiny the font would be? Especially for someone like Dumbledore or Merlin?”
“What’s your point?”
She shook her head and rubbed his arm.
“Hon, I know you’re crazy right now…”
“I’m not…” before he could finish she pressed her lips against his. “I love you,” he said when they finished. “And I love this!” He slipped the card from Hermione’s hands and waved it wildly in the air. “I’m on a Chocolate Frog Card!”
Chapter 80: Just a Little Rest
She brushed her hand through his hair. His eyes closed, he could easily fall asleep. He would, too, if he could somehow find a way to shut his mind off. It had been a month since he had gotten a good night’s sleep. He tasted her lips on his. Such a sweet taste.
“I wish I could do more for you,” she said softly.
“Dreamless sleep,” he said, his eyes opening.
“We don’t have any. You’ve work tomorrow. You know it’s not good to take it when you have to wake up at a certain time in the morning.”
“I know. This is just killing me. I can’t wait for this case to be finished!”
He turned over in bed to lie on his side.
“Hey, baby.” He rubbed his wife’s stomach, which was starting to show. “You’re being good to Mummy, aren’t you? Not causing her any pain or making her sick?”
Ginny placed her hands on top of Harry’s and smiled.
“He?” Harry looked up at her expectantly.
“Or she, he or she is doing just fine.”
“Baby, I wish you could help Daddy fall asleep.”
“Harry,” Ginny yawned.
“You’re helping Mummy, you know.”
She gently rubbed his cheek with the back of her hand.
“Think of the baby. Just think of the baby.”
He closed his eyes and imagined a tiny little black, no, red, no black, well, the color didn’t really matter haired baby with green, no, brown, no, blue eyes laying in a crib. The room was dark. The wind outside started to howl. There was a tapping at the window. The baby began to cry. The crying continued. The wind picked up speed. The window opened. The baby cried harder. Why wasn’t anyone coming to help the baby?
A fog rose up. He couldn’t see anything. The baby still cried, but he couldn’t see him. A face rose from the fog, green with red eyes.
Not just Voldemort.
Two men stepped out aside him. One he knew as Peter Pettigrew, aka Wormtail. The other materialized slower. The nose came into shape, then the mouth, eyes, and finally the hair.
“It’s him, Master.”
After he spoke his images changed again.
“We finally have him in our grasp,” Voldemort replied.
The face of Esme changed into another familiar face, but Harry could not make it out.
“Yes, he is ours.”
Brian Patric, the former leader of Rutilus Daibolus.
“Wormtail,” Voldemort hissed, “quiet the baby.”
Harry watched as a silver knife gleaming in the darkness appeared in Peter’s right hand. He raised it up and stabbed the baby in the heart, blood pouring out.
He awoke with a start.
“You were screaming,” Ginny said worriedly. “Nightmare?”
“Would you like to talk about it?”
“Baby, crying, Voldemort, Wormtail, stabbing.”
Harry cleared his throat and turned to look at Ginny, who he could barely make out in the darkness.
“There was a baby crying. Voldemort, Wormtail, and Esme appeared. Esme turned into Patric. Voldemort ordered Wormtail to quiet the baby. He stabbed the baby to death. What do you think this means?”
“Nothing.” Ginny wiped his hair from his forehead. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
“How can you say that? Have you seen what dreams, nightmares, do to us?
“Sometimes a nightmare is just a nightmare. It doesn’t have to mean anything. Yes, Harry, I know what nightmares can do to us. You’re talking to me, the one possessed by Tom Riddle’s diary and the one who received dreams warning me of danger that I did not impede, but sometimes a dream means nothing.”
“How do you know that?”
“Do you really think Voldemort is going to kill our baby?”
“Voldemort is dead. The only one alive in your dream is Esme and he’s in Azkaban.”
“He could break out.”
“I think you’re overworrying about this.” She turned to the other side.
“I’m going back to sleep. It’s a good two hours before you have to be up.”
Harry sighed loudly. He was afraid to close his eyes, afraid to see Wormtail stick the knife in the baby. But, he needed sleep.
“We’ve a new lead on the Diabolus,” Robards said in the meeting the next morning with Harry and Iva. “They’re splitting up and moving to opposite ends of the country.”
Harry rubbed his forehead. All this talk about the group gave him a headache.
“We have to keep an eye on both groups. This could be our chance to stop them once and for all.” He placed his hands on the table after turning over some random parchment. “Iva I want you to take Weasley and check out the group in Plymouth. Potter,” he started, taking a look at his young Auror. “are you all right?”
“Ron is currently working in Stratford,” Iva interrupted.
“Take Dawlish then. Harry, I want you to go home.”
He looked up.
“What? I’m fine.”
“No, you’re rubbing your head. You look like you haven’t slept in weeks. You’re not going to be of any use on this mission. I’m sorry.”
“I can do it, sir.”
“Don’t try to be the hero here, Potter. That’s how you get killed.”
Harry shared a look with Iva.
“I’m just going to contact John.” She pointed toward the door before leaving her seat and exiting.
“Potter, what’s going on? I know you like to immerse yourself in your work, but this is too much.” Robards swiveled his chair to the side.
“I—“ Harry didn’t know what he should admit. He wanted to continue working on the case. It was his case. “It’s—“
“Your wife is pregnant, is that it?”
“Yes, no. I can handle this case.”
Robards stood up, walked over to Harry, and put his hand on his shoulder.
“I trust you. You’re one of my best Aurors and that’s saying something considering some of these men have worked here almost your entire life. I don’t want to lose you and that’s why I need to put your health above the mission.”
“My health is fine.”
“Why are you fighting this, Potter?”
He shrugged. Honestly, a day off might do him good.
“Christmas is coming up. Why don’t you take a couple days off, do some shopping, visit family, whatever. Just don’t think about this mission.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“See you next Monday.”
“That’s your third mug of Butterbeer. Usually when customers come in here to drink away their sorrows they try something harder,” Hannah held up an empty glass, “like firewhiskey.”
“Ginny would kill me if I came home drunk.”
“So, this has nothing to do with her?”
He shook his head. He wasn’t in The Leaky Cauldron to discuss work problems with Hannah.
“Have you had any attacks since last month?” He asked. Robards told him not to focus on this case, but he couldn’t focus on other aspects of his job.
“Some suspicious looking men have been meeting here about once a week, but no attacks. You know, it’s not unusual for the bartender to be attacked by drunken customers.”
“Hannah, this wasn’t just some drunken customer. These were members of the Rutilius Diabolus. You’ve heard of them?”
“Yeah, but they’re just into illegal importing and exporting. They’re really good as they’ve been around for a millennia.”
“They’re branching out.” Harry took a swig of his fourth butterbeer.
“What do they have to do with me?”
“I don’t know. You sold one of them a bad piece of meat? It’s anything with people like this. They can hold grudges over the smallest thing.”
Hannah sat down in the seat next to Harry.
“I told Neville about the attack. I tried to keep it from him, but it slipped out. He wants me to quit.”
“Will I what? Quit? No, I love my job. I love this place. I love being the center of the wizarding world. Well, that’s a stretch, but so many people come in here. I know how to handle myself. I was in the D.A. I fought in the battle. I know how to take care of myself. We broke up,” she finished in a small voice.
Harry almost spat out his butterbeer. The two were so in love. Whenever he saw Neville he always managed to mention Hannah. He had never seen him so confident as he was around her, even more than when he defied Voldemort.
“We dated. We loved each other. We finished.” Hannah stood up. “I need to get back to work.” She motioned to customers at other tables.
He took a big swig finishing off his drink. More trouble to add to his day. Could it get any worse?
“That was fun!” Harry exclaimed, stumbling out of the fireplace later that afternoon. He grabbed his head. “Woah, maybe not.”
Kreacher, scrubbing something in the kitchen, muttered incoherently.
“Harry, is that you?” Ginny called.
“I hear you, but I don’t see you!”
“Now, I’m coming downstairs.”
“I’m in the kitchen!” He called back.
“I love you.”
She put her hands on him to straighten him as he started to rock back and forth.
“Are you drunk?”
“Me? Drunk? No.”
“Oh, Harry, your breath smells awful. What are you doing home so early?”
“Me? Early? No.”
“It’s a quarter past 3. You’re early. You didn’t get—nothing happened at work?”
“No,” he laughed draping an arm around Ginny. “Robardsh just thinks I need a couple days off.”
Ginny nodded, leading him to the couch in the sitting room.
“Did he say why?”
“He said I looked tired and would not be good on the mission. I would be good. I would.”
“I don’t know, Harry. If Robards thinks you won’t you might not. He’s your boss.”
“No, Harry, he’s not a silly boss. He’s a good boss.”
Harry leaned his head against Ginny.
“Hannah and Neville broke up.”
“What?” She almost threw him off her lap.
“Nannah and Heville broke up. I mean Havah and Nenille er Hannah and Nevlile…oh, you know what I mean.”
“Hannah and Neville. What happened?”
“He doesn’t want her fighting in the D.A.”
“Harry, we haven’t organized the D.A. since school.”
“You’re a forgetful drunk. How much alcohol did you have?”
“A bit.” He placed his index finger and thumb millimeters apart. “4 mugs of firewhiskey and 2 mugs of butterbeer,” he paused. “Scratch that. Reverse it.”
“4 mugs of butterbeer and 2 firewhiskey? Butterbeer won’t get you drunk.”
“Hannah said if you drink enough with firewhiskey it can.”
Ginny ran her fingers through Harry’s tangled hair. He looked up at her.
“She broke up with Neville.”
Ginny’s fingers stopped combing.
“Yeah, you said that. I jus—they seemed—well—“
“Yeah, I know.”
“He’s such a great guy. Any girl would be lucky to have him.”
“You don’t want him, do you?”
“What? No! I have you.”
“Just checking. Ginny, my head hurts.”
“I know, baby. Let me get you something for that.” She stood up placing Harry’s head against the cushions of the couch.
“Huh?” He opened his eyes to see two flasks in front of him. His glasses askew on his face, he couldn’t make out much else.
“Take this to relieve your drunkenness.” Ginny handed him the first flask in her right hand.
Harry quickly swallowed the pungent liquid.
“So, tell me, why are you home so early?”
Harry closed his eyes for a second and then opened them again. He yawned.
“Robards wants me to get some rest for a few days before returning to the field.”
“Mhm, yes, so do I.”
“It’s not so easy.”
“I know.” Ginny shook the remaining flask. “Sleeping draught.”
I hope everyone has a happy Easter and a great spring break (if you're lucky to have one around this time).
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