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Harry Potter and the Next Great Battle by pokecharm

Summary: After fighting the biggest battle of his life, Harry Potter finds himself in new, uncharted
territory. Beginning a week after the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry finds himself with many choices before
him. He spent the summer trying to sort out his future with Ginny and the Ministry, but now must find a
way to balance both. Ginny has left for Hogwarts to complete her final year, with Hermione, and Harry is
starting work as a full-fledged Auror. They both must find a way to make their long-distance relationship
work. Ginny hopes to find peace at school and Harry hopes to build his life around the expectation that
Ginny will be with him forever. Despite all of this, there is more to the work that Harry is doing with the
Ministry then he realises. Will Gaunt prove trustworthy in these new endeavours? Will Ginny and Hermione
have a horror-free year at Hogwarts? Also, this story is as Canon as I can get it - given the information JKR
gives out. Thanks for reading!
Rating: PG-13
Categories: Post-DH/AB
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2007.11.12
Updated: 2009.03.17

Index
Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Back to the Beginning
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - Happy Reunions
Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - A Conduit of Worlds
Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - The Storm
Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - Concerning Revelations
Chapter 6: Chapter 6 - Chivalry Isn't Dead
Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - Talking Things Out
Chapter 8: Chapter 8 - Happy Musings
Chapter 9: Chapter 9 - Strained Silence
Chapter 10: Chapter 10 - Revelations and Conclusions
Chapter 11: Chapter 11 - Curiosities Abound
Chapter 12: Chapter 12 - Suspicions Around Us
Chapter 13: Chapter 13 - Three's a Crowd
Chapter 14: Chapter 14 - Night Time Conversations
Chapter 15: Chapter 15 - Thoughtful Provocations
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Chapter 15: Chapter 15 - Thoughtful Provocations


Chapter 16: Chapter 16 - Comings and Goings
Chapter 17: Chapter 17 - At the Heart of Things
Chapter 18: Chapter 18 - Birthday Surprises
Chapter 19: Chapter 19 - The Hits Keep Coming
Chapter 20: Chapter 20 - The Truth Will Not Set You Free
Chapter 21: Chapter 21 - Healing Hurts
Chapter 22: Chapter 22 - Stolen Moments
Chapter 23: Chapter 23 - Twisted Paths Cross
Chapter 24: Chapter 24 - Coming to Terms
Chapter 25: Chapter 25 - A Family Affair
Chapter 26: Chapter 26 - The Tension Mounts
Chapter 27: Chapter 27 - Hoping for the Best, Expecting the Worst
Chapter 28: Chapter 28 - A Fresh Start
Chapter 29: Chapter 29 - Reconciling Two Halves
Chapter 30: Chapter 30 - Even the Best Laid Plans
Chapter 31: Chapter 31 - If Only Things Could Stay Simple
Chapter 32: Chapter 32 - The Things We Do
Chapter 33: Chapter 33 - Places to Go
Chapter 34: Chapter 34 - Riding the Rails
Chapter 35: Chapter 35 - Shifting Forward
Chapter 36: Chapter 36 - Coping with Escape
Chapter 37: Chapter 37 - Class is Back in Session
Chapter 38: Chapter 38 - Something to Plan For
Chapter 39: Chapter 39 - Tryouts and Tribulations
Chapter 40: Chapter 40 - Safety is in the Eyes of the Beholder
Chapter 41: Chapter 41 - Wishing for Something Calm
Chapter 42: Chapter 42 - Preparing for the Inevitable
Chapter 43: Chapter 43 - Suppressing Reality
Chapter 44: Chapter 44 - The Memorial
Chapter 45: Chapter 45 - After Effects
Chapter 46: Chapter 46 - Hoping for an Easy Resolution
Chapter 47: Chapter 47 - Meet Me Half-Way
Chapter 48: Chapter 48 - What Shall Be, Shall Be
Chapter 49: Chapter 49 - Pretending the Truth
Chapter 50: Chapter 50 - Unexpected Guests
Chapter 51: Chapter 51 - The Frustration of Truth
Chapter 52: Chapter 52 - House Arrest
Chapter 53: Chapter 53 - Overwhelmed
Chapter 54: Chapter 54 - Sober
Chapter 55: Chapter 55 - Over and Over Again
Chapter 56: Chapter 56 - Breaking Free
Chapter 57: Chapter 57 - The Invitation
Chapter 58: Chapter 58 - Mixed Colours of the Truth
Chapter 59: Chapter 59 - Stiff Competition
Chapter 60: Chapter 60 - Defiance
Chapter 61: Chapter 61 - Putting Things Right
Chapter 62: Chapter 62 - Slytherin
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Chapter 62: Chapter 62 - Slytherin


Chapter 63: Chapter 63 - Almost
Chapter 64: Chapter 64 - One Foot in Front of the Other
Chapter 65: Chapter 65 - Defence Against the Dark Arts
Chapter 66: Chapter 66 - Futility
Chapter 67: Chapter 67 - Holiday Cheer
Chapter 68: Chapter 68 - Nothing's Easy
Chapter 69: Chapter 69 - Burn to Be
Chapter 70: Chapter 70 - One Sweet Day

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Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Back to the Beginning


The sunlight poured into the square, illuminating the homes along Grimmauld Place. There was a single
man walking briskly across the grassy park, paying no mind to his surroundings as a loud crack announced
the arrival of the master of number 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry Potter strode across the short distance
between the park in front of the homes as number 12 Grimmauld Place appeared before him. He wore dark
robes and carried a small rucksack that he shouldered more securely as he entered the home, his unkempt
hair falling over his eyes.
Welcome Master Harry! came a squeaky elf voice as Harry entered the home. A smile spread across his
face knowing that his house elf was there to help him take care of things. Grimmauld Place did not seem
quite as dark, dank or dire as the last time he had been there. It felt like a lifetime had passed since he had
been here plotting the downfall of Voldemort with his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione
Granger. The curtains across Mrs. Blacks portrait were secured; the old house elf perhaps had found a way
to keep them shut.
Harry stepped further into the home, closing the door and replied, Hello Kreacher how are things here?
Kreacher bowed again, Master Harry, everything is in order. I have prepared a meal for you after your long
journey and I will draw a bath as soon as you are ready. The old elf looked around somewhat expectantly
and added, Will your friends not be joining us? The Black family, whom Kreacher belonged to and had
inherited Harry from, was obsessed with wizards and witches being of pure blood.
The old elf stressed the word friends as he knew that Rons family were considered blood traitors and
Hermione was what the wizarding world refers to as a Mudblood, neither parent being of the magical world.
Harry sighed and shook his head, No, Kreacher, Ill be staying here for a bit. Alone. I have some business
Id like to take care of and I may need your help with something.
Kreacher gushed, Of course Master Harry. If Kreacher can be of any service you have but to tell me!
Harry nodded and started walking up the stairs. He stopped and turned, Kreacher, which room shall I use as
my own?
The house elf bustled to the foot of the stairs and said solemnly, Master Harry, I have placed all of your
effects from Hogwarts into Master Sirius room. I did not think you should stay in a smaller guest room.
Harry nodded again, Thank you Kreacher. He could hear the house elf muttering his thanks about having
such a generous master. Harry remembered not too long ago when Kreachers behaviour was quite the
opposite. It had been less than two years ago when Harry had first arrived at number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Sirius was still alive then. The pain of that loss haunted him to this day, and would likely haunt him the rest
of his life. Almost three years since hed inherited number 12 Grimmauld Place. Now that Kreacher had
taken to him, the place really felt like home. More of a home than Harry had ever known. He would rather
have more people here; the place seemed far too quiet and lonely for just himself and Kreacher. But both
Ron and Hermione were spending some time with their respective families after everything that had
transpired.
The horrors of the last year were still fresh in Harrys mind. He never believed coming back from the dead
could be so liberating, but being free of Lord Voldemort was everything he had hoped for. The only thing
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could be so liberating, but being free of Lord Voldemort was everything he had hoped for. The only thing
lacking now was company.
He would have liked to spend the time with the Weasleys, but he thought it better to allow them to mourn
on their own. He missed them nonetheless, and none more than Ginny, the youngest Weasley. Although Ron
was his best friend and had been with him through many of his hardest times, he had a growing affection
for Ginny that had yet to abate. More than a year ago he would have called himself her boyfriend. But after
Dumbledore, the late headmaster of Hogwarts, had passed on and Harry had embarked on his perilous
mission, he did not want to risk someone he cared about so deeply. He knew if Lord Voldemort had ever
seen into his mind; seen his love for Ginny, she would have been in the greatest of peril.
He had seen her briefly over his last week at Hogwarts. But with all the confusion of families coming
together and his not really having a family, yet being something of a celebrity, he had not had a chance to
talk to her extensively. He still remembered catching her for a few minutes in the Gryffindor common room.
She was sitting quietly by herself, in the corner of the room looking at a picture of herself and her late
brother Fred. He had felt uncomfortable speaking to her, knowing it was partially his fault that her brothers
death had occurred, more than anything, the fact that he had caused her such grief.
The common room had been relatively empty. He had walked up to her and sat on the arm of the overstuffed chair and laid a tentative hand over hers. She had looked up suddenly, as if she hadnt realised he
was there and then smiled. He knew his own smile of comfort was there for her. He had wanted to say
something, anything, but words failed him. He only leaned in closer and gave her an awkward hug, which
she returned, sitting up slightly to gain the warmth from him.
He wasnt certain how it had happened; as they embraced he pulled her closer still, his arms tightening
around her. As she leaned forward, to balance herself, he managed to pull them both back into the chair, she
sitting on his lap with her head on his shoulder, the picture of she and Fred still clutched in her hand. Fred
appeared to be waving back at them and winking a bit at Harry. Harry shut his eyes and felt the urge to pull
her closer still, but before he could he saw her drop the picture and felt her hands gently framing his face
and pulling him into a very soft kiss. It was that comfort that made him forget many of the horrors of the
previous months. This was what he had needed, what he could get from no one else the love and
affection of someone he had decided to give his own heart to.
He ran his hands down her back to rest around her hips as her hands weaved their way through his hair, her
thumb softly rubbing his scar as if to erase the pain that it had caused. He felt a rush of emotions burning
through him, and her lips were diffusing all the pain and worry, as if there was no-one else but them in the
world.
A loud voice called out through the portrait hole, Ginny!! I dont know the password let me in! The
voice belonged to Ron, Ginnys older brother.
Harry didnt want to relinquish his grasp on something so peaceful and perfect, but Ginny pulled away from
him, Harry kissing her softly on the cheek and neck pulling her back into his embrace. She smiled and
laughed slightly, Harry, well have to let him in But she did not fight to pull herself away again, falling
back into his warm embrace; his lips travelling slowly back up her neck to her cheek and lips. She ran her
hands down his chest then firmly pushed him back, breaking their kiss again. She looked into his eyes as he
stared, rapt at how she had changed after knowing her since he started attending Hogwarts.

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She started to say something as they both overheard a conversation going on outside the portrait. Ron do
you still not know the password? Really. The tone of exasperation came from none other than Hermione.
Harrys recollection of the pleasant memory ended there, as Ron and Ginny left that afternoon and
Hermione not long after. Harry had wanted to talk to Ginny, talk to her about what had happened, but hed
never had the chance. He would have to inquire after Kreacher about getting another owl, as he had lost his
own, Hedwig.
As he made his way up the flights of stairs to his godfathers old room Harry realised how much light was
pouring into the house and how clean and orderly it was. He was almost afraid to praise Kreacher further;
the house elf looked like he was fit to bursting as it was.
Harry opened the door of his godfathers room and it was much as he had remembered it. The furniture was
left in the same places, but new linens had been spread across the bed and the curtains around the windows
were pulled back, the windows were open, letting fresh air come in. Sirius had been a Gryffindor also; the
room had burgundy and gold around it, much like the Gryffindor common room. He crossed the room to the
bed, dropping his rucksack and moving towards the desk. A pile of letters was stacked there, a few
garnering immediate attention. He opened a larger envelope and discovered a picture of his godson, Teddy
Lupin, giggling up at him and a note from Teddys grandmother saying both were well and safe and that he
should come visit. He placed the picture on the desk, thinking he needed to ask Kreacher if there were any
frames around the house.
There were also a few letters from the Ministry of Magic. One he recognised from the acting Minster of
Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt. He opened that one quickly to read a brief note from the new Minister:
Harry,
We at the Ministry of Magic would like to thank you for all of your help with the recent
goings-on with the late Lord Voldemort. A brief interview at the Ministry of Magic at your
earliest convenience would be greatly appreciated.
Yours respectfully,
Kingsley Shacklebolt
Harry re-read the letter wondering why it should be so vague he wouldnt be in any kind of trouble,
magically speaking? He would have to send an owl to Mr. Weasley to confirm, but he couldnt imagine
anything that he had done would cause a stir. He had saved the world by destroying Lord Voldemort
surely no one could be upset about that!
Harry looked around the room, seeing many of the things his godfather had left behind. The picture of his
parents and their friends was still on the wall, everyone waving at him. He missed them terribly. He didnt
like not having any family. In a way, this was worse than being with the Durseleys. At least there he had
some limited human interaction, however laboured. He wondered what had become of them. They had left
quickly the previous year, and for their own protection he didnt know where they had been relocated.
He headed back downstairs after a few minutes of unpacking. He really did not have a lot of things. Despite
having travelled far and wide the last year, he only had what he had taken, perhaps less than that. He had
left many things back in his trunk unsure how long hed want to stay at Grimmauld Place alone.

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Descending the stairs he realised he may have to exercise some patience and stay here in London until
things had settled down more. There was a fragrant smell emanating from the kitchen. Kreacher had made a
rich beef stew and baked fresh bread. He bustled forward as Harry entered, Is everything in order?
Harry nodded as Kreacher laid a napkin out, Kreacher, are there any letters from Ron or Hermione?
The old elf shook his head, I have seen no letters from those two friends. But Mr. Weasley sent you an owl
that arrived just yesterday.
Harry thanked Kreacher and began to scan the headlines of the Daily Prophet. The newspaper had taken a
complete turn in reporting, no longer being under the thumb of either Lord Voldemort nor his faithful Death
Eaters. News about the triumph at Hogwarts was across every page. He saw a picture of himself staring
back at him over a column entitled, The Boy Who Lived Again!
The article re-told what he already knew, adding no details he had not known about nor modifying the story
for the readers benefit. His eyes started to glaze over, he didnt really want to re-live the moments. Hed
been going over them in his mind for days and days. He quickly finished his supper and headed back
upstairs to wash up and tend to the stack of letters in his room.
There were many letters that were from what Harry could only describe as fans. He was expecting a note
from Rita Skeeter any day now and dreaded having to avoid her. He had read her book about Dumbledore
and did not want her to have the chance to paint him in such a grainy light. Harry quickly opened the letter
from Mr. Weasley up.
Harry,
We would love to have you come stay with us this summer! I know you have yet to decide on
your plans for next year, but a summer without a visit to the Burrow can not be allowed
you must join us as soon as you have sorted out all your effects!
Yours,
Arthur Weasley
Harry felt a rush of relief come over him. He had been worried that he would not be welcomed with open
arms back to the Burrow. Even though the loss of Fred was not his fault, he still felt responsible for the
outcome. All the funerals had taken place, but that did not, in Harrys mind absolve him of guilt for his part
in the losses. He knew he would have to deal with the Ministry before taking a holiday, but what Mr.
Weasley had said was true, he had not decided what he wanted to do in the future.
Harry went to bed thinking over how quickly he should report to the Ministry and decided he would not be
able to inquire more after Mr. Weasley and should trust that Kingsley would not do him a disservice now.
Despite having defeated the Dark Lord, he still had restless nights.
Back to index

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Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - Happy Reunions


Harry woke up relatively late the next morning. He had a busy day ahead of him. He decided he would go
to the Ministry of Magic that day, now was just as good a time as any to discover if he had managed to get
into any more trouble. He realised that although he was of age, he still had a lot to learn before becoming a
full-fledged wizard.
Kreacher had a hot breakfast waiting for him. Harry ate quickly and left shortly thereafter, telling Kreacher
hed be home that evening.
He headed out the door and waited for fewer passer-bys to leave before apparating to downtown London.
The Ministry of Magic was located near the centre of London. Harry headed for the phone booth around the
corner that he and Mr. Weasley had used previously. Once inside, he was lowered into the main building
and recognised by every wizard and witch as he stepped out. He had the distinct feeling he should have
worn nicer robes.
He headed towards the security desk and was greeted warmly and directed to the Acting Ministers offices.
Ascending an elevator, Harry was happy to see the familiar visage of Kingsley Shacklebolt. He smiled
broadly, Welcome Harry so wonderful to see you again! His voice boomed across the entranceway.
Harry shook his hand and was guided into his office where a few Ministry officials were milling around.
They greeted him and left shortly thereafter, far too quickly for Harry to remember all their names and
faces.
Harry had never been in the previous Minister of Magics office and was surprised to see how sparsely
furnished it was. The furniture had an antique feel to them, but there were many items doing work on their
own; a quill and parchment feverishly writing and a pair of books seemingly consulting a third book. Harry
was astounded by all the spells Kingsley was using, and though he wanted to ask, he waited patiently for
Kingsley to speak.
Kingsley motioned to the chair across from his desk and Harry sat down. He smiled warmly at Harry, Is
there anything I can get you?
Harry shook his head, speaking quietly, What did you need to see me about?
He hoped his tone was appropriate, but Kingsley chuckled, You have nothing to be concerned with. I have
asked you here to talk to you about your future plans. I know you had wanted to be an Auror, having
spoken with Professor McGonagall, but having foregone your last year at Hogwarts, you are not,
necessarily, ready to take your NEWTs. Those are, of course, required. But having seen your actions over
the last few months lead to the downfall of the most villainous wizard of all time, I am sure we can make
allowances for you, Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley.
The statement took Harry by surprise. He was so used to Fudges and Scrimgeours way of running the
Ministry false kindness and true love for bureaucracy. Harry smiled finally, realising he hadnt said
anything, I have to be honest I hadnt really thought about it. I very much would like to be an Auror, but
Im not sure I want to jump into things immediately.
Kingsley shook his head, No, no, of course you want to relax a bit but perhaps, this fall, instead of
reporting to Hogwarts, you can come join us? Just something to think about, he added.
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Harry nodded. He realised what a blessing this was; not having to worry about the NEWTs and be given a
job at the Ministry of Magic. He smiled politely, Is there anything I can do for you, Kingsley?
Kingsley shook his head, Harry, you have done more for the Wizarding world over the last few years than
anybody could ask for. You deserve some peace and quiet. But once youve gotten tired of that, he rose
and crossed the room. Harry followed suit and got up, heading for the door. Please come look us up the
Ministry is a great place to work and we could really use some one like you.
Kingsley shook his hand vigorously and saw him back to the elevators, keeping the people around at bay.
Come and visit me again sometime Harry! And do let me know what youve decided. He said the last part
more quietly as they parted.
Harry was beyond relieved as he emerged from the Ministry of Magic. He was sure he would have heard
some reproach for his behaviour, but none was to be found in Kingsleys manner or voice. He was
genuinely happy for Harry and wanted him to join the Ministry of Magic.
After emerging from the Ministry of Magic, Harry found himself walking towards Diagon Alley. He had
lost so many things in his travels he could use newer robes, an owl, even a broomstick. Though if he
werent at school he wasnt sure what hed need the latter for. But not having a broom seemed like a strange
situation. He still couldnt believe how many things hed lost over the last year, but he had gained quite a
few as well.
His thoughts flowed back to those last few minutes hed been able to spend with Ginny. He didnt want to
go back to the Burrow empty-handed. He had missed her birthday entirely, and not the first time. He wanted
to give her something special, something that would help them re-establish the closeness they once had.
He stopped at a storefront; had they ever really been that close? Had he ever actually told her how he felt?
His eyes strayed over to a curio shop, flowing across the window display. Hed never noticed the shop
before, but something in the window had caught his eye. It was a simple necklace, but the locket that hung
from the simple, gold chain was stunning. It resembled a coat of arms, but was much smaller in size, so the
exact design could not be discerned from a distance. As Harry admired it, he noticed a companion piece that
matched in design, but was clearly a mans ring. He wondered why a designer would make a matching
locket and ring and pushed open the shop door.
The shop was rather busy and Harrys entrance had gone relatively un-noticed. A witch, who clearly
worked at the shop. bustled forward, I see something in my shop window has caught your eye, Mr. Potter.
He nodded, unfazed by being recognised and pointed to the window, Theres a locket with a matching ring
in the window, I was just wondering
The shopkeeper broke in before he finished, It is the locket and ring of Boeotia, the name originating from
the island that is rumoured to have been visited by the Greek Godess Aphrodite. It is said that should one
half of this pair be gifted from one lover to the other, the two have a bond that can be communicated
through. And can only be broken by the one who gave the gift. Her tone was airy, but her eyes were
focused on him.
Harry looked sceptically at her, It is only a myth, then?
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Mr. Potter all truth is born from some tales or stories. I do not, so lightly, disregard such stories as mere
childs play, she had taken the locket and ring out of the window and placed them on a table where she sat
down across a standing Harry.
He continued his gaze, alternating from her back to the locket. Like many magical artifacts, it is often said
that these items choose their owners. You stopped for a reason, Mr. Potter.
Harry looked at her again, not really believing but knowing he felt a strong sensation emanating from the
two. He reached his hand out towards the ring and locket and felt a surge of energy. He looked up at her, his
eyes wide and confused, and she said, I believe the choice has been made. Shall I wrap them up for you?
He looked at her dumbfounded, not remembering why he had even entered the shop, but his gaze followed
the two items closely as she wrapped them up and handed him the bag. He paid for the items and found
himself outside the shop.
Harry made his way through Diagon Alley. Children littered the streets; some bustling in and out of a
particular joke shop Harry recognised immediately, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. The place still seemed to
be quite busy. Harry was surprised to see the place open and quickly stowed his package beneath his robes
as he went into the joke shop.
Any and all manner of items of fun and merriment could be found in this joke shop. Fred and George had
been able to turn their hobby into a money-making machine. Harry wondered if George were there running
the shop but quickly noticed the non-red-headed wizard sitting behind the counter helping youngsters spend
their money on any number of items. Harry meandered around the less busy sections of the store, not really
certain why he stayed, seeing that none of the Weasleys were there. Harry looked sadly at all of the items
around the shop, how many hours had Fred and George spent perfecting their wares? And now poor Fred,
thanks in part to Harry, would never again see the fruits of his labour. The queue by the counter was not
getting any shorter and as Harry was about to turn and leave he saw a flash of red hair from the back room
that appeared and disappeared.
He started, and then walked over, not paying any mind to the attendant behind the counter who hadnt
noticed him either, and pushed his way past the curtain. A very familiar sight met him as he entered; Ginny
was tottering on a ladder, reaching for a box or case of some new product. Her red hair was cascading
around her shoulders. She was wearing a black sweater and simple skirt, similar to the ones worn at
Hogwarts. Her form was perfectly captured by her obvious stretching. She hadnt noticed Harry enter nor
approach. He stood for a few seconds; admiring her appearance, then realising her predicament went
forward quickly as she slipped down the last few steps of the ladder, losing her grip on the box and the
ladder.
Harry grabbed the ladder and placed his free hand on the small of her back to stop her fall. She jumped a
little and turned quickly, startled by his presence, Harry!
He smiled back at her, Are you all right?
She shook her head, her hair falling away from her face, laughing, I just lost my balance a little, Im fine.
What are you doing here?
She sounded breathless as she spoke, distracted by something other than Harry. He looked at her for a
second, his hands resting on either side of the ladder, encircling her, his voice low, I just came to Diagon
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second, his hands resting on either side of the ladder, encircling her, his voice low, I just came to Diagon
Alley to look around. It's been a while sincewell, you know. And I was growing a little tired of
Kreachers company.
Ginny smiled up at him but didnt try to get past him. She looked blankly at him for a few seconds and he
stepped back, Do you want me to pull that box down?
She nodded silently, clearly thinking of something but not saying it. He scaled the ladder quickly and pulled
the box down with ease, setting it on a lower shelf and looking at Ginny. Her eyes seemed glazed over and
he reached out placing both hands on her shoulders, Ginny, why are you even here? Shouldnt you be at
home?
Ginny looked away from him, she didnt answer him, but tried to walk past him, her eyes welling up with
tears. He quickly reached out and grabbed her arm, gently pulling her back towards him. He asked, Whats
wrong?
He was fairly certain he knew the answer, his arms wrapped around her but she pushed him away, Harry, I
promised George I would keep an eye on things for him so I have to get back to work. She wiped her eyes
and turned away from him, trying to create some distance between them.
He didnt let her get far, again reaching out and although she tried to break free from his grasp she couldnt.
Harry wrapped his arms around her and whispered softly, I am so sorry, Ginny.
She tried to push him away again, but he wouldnt let her break their embrace. He knew she needed him, as
he had needed her many times before. She struggled still and finally stopped, Harry could hear her heavy
breathing. Ginny was fighting hard not to cry and it broke Harrys heart to see her try to be so strong for
him.
Ginny finally relented, It isnt your fault. Her voice broken and ragged, Harry could feel the hot tears
coming down her face as he turned her face towards his. He leaned down and kissed her softly, wiping the
tears off of her face.
She shook her head and pulled away, This isnt right.
He didnt stop her as she pushed him away and reached for the box. He stopped her here, lifting the box and
looking at her with great concern. She gestured to the front of the store and he walked forward, stopping to
look at her again, but she had already turned away, walking further into the back room.
Harry quickly placed the box behind the counter as the startled attendant asked how he had gotten past him.
Harry indicated he was with Ginny and walked into the back room.
Ginny was not too far back and Harry quickly crossed the room, tentatively placing his hands on her
shoulders and pulling her towards him. She dragged her feet a little, but as he wrapped his arms around her
waist and placed his chin on her shoulder she eased back into his embrace. Tell me what to do and Ill do
it, he said.
Ginny shook her head and stood their silently, taking in his warmth. She still said nothing and Harry didnt
dare push. He couldnt imagine what she was going through and could only think to be there for her in
whatever capacity he could. He could feel her breathing become rapid as she tried desperately not to cry. He
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loosened his grip around her and turned her to face him, her eyes red, she turned away from him, not
wanting to look him in the face.
In all her sorrow, he saw only more beauty and pulled her closer, lifting her face to his, You are amazing.
But she laughed at him a little and turned away, her normally smiling face replaced with a distraught frown.
Harry was beyond confused now. He stepped back as she pulled away again. He finally spoke, breaking the
silence, Ginny, dont do this to me please, dont shut me out. I know we have a lot to talk through,
figure out, but I cant do it without you.
His pleading voice must have gotten her attention; she turned slowly, but didnt speak, her hands hanging
loosely at her sides. He approached her cautiously and took one of her hands in his, kissing the back of her
hand softly and waiting for her to say something.
Ginny stood there quietly, silently crying. Harry lead her by the hand to a stool in the back corner of the
room, pulling her onto it as he stood behind her, his hand caressing her back as she rigidly leaned towards
his body. He wasnt used to her crying, she wasnt that sort of girl, having all brothers, but the shock of the
last week would have had some effect.
He tried to pull her closer, but her body remained rigid, her muscles strangely tensed. He began to slowly
massage the back of her head, knowing that there was little else he knew to do. Her breathing finally started
to slow, no longer gasping for air between sobs, her body relaxing against his.
Im sorry, she said quietly, I know I shouldnt still be so her voice trailing off at the end of the
unfinished sentence.
Harry shook his head and pulled her closer, There is nothing for you to be sorry about Ginny I am the
one that should be sorry. I just didnt want to intrude on your family time.
She pushed him away roughly, looking at him, You cant be serious. Her face was tear-streaked, but her
eyes had the same ferocity that he knew well. That is your excuse; you dont think youre family enough?
Harry smiled a little, happy to see an emotion other than sorrow, Im not family Ginny even if your
parents have treated me like family, even if I expect to be part of the family, Im still partially responsible
for thedeaths that happened.
Ginny look at him more sternly, Youre really full of it sometimes, you know that? She squeezed one of
his hands reassuringly, Expect to be part of the family that was very sly of you Harry. She kissed him
softly and got up from the stool. I didnt realise that was an intention of yours.
Her eyes held no secrets here; Harry knew the damage control hed have to perform would not be small.
Sighing he replied, I know that I may not have ever told you how I felt, but I do care deeply for you. Ive
just been a little confused about things, so I thought it would be better to stay away, rather than suffocate
you. I really did this because I thought that was what you wanted.
She didnt seem to be accepting this either and turned away from him, There is a lot of work that needs to
be taken care of Harry, so?
She left the sentence unfinished and he looked at her for a second before crossing the short distance
between them, grabbing her and pulling her towards him, kissing her passionately. Her hands gently pushed
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between them, grabbing her and pulling her towards him, kissing her passionately. Her hands gently pushed
on his chest, but he didnt relinquish his hold on her, knowing that this was what he needed, what they both
needed. He loosened his grip slightly and she ran her hands up his arms and wrapped her arms around his
neck, pushing her forehead against his to create space, both of them inhaling deeply as their kiss broke.
That is cheating, Harry, her voice broke the silence and her eyes had a playful air to them.
His hands ran up her back and his fingers swam through her hair as he slowly pulled her back towards him,
leaning down and kissing her softly on the cheek and neck whispering between kisses, Im sorry Ginny.
Tell me what to do to make it up to you.
She laughed softly, I dont know that I can let you off that easily Harry I really could get a lot of use out
of this. She winked at him as she pulled his face towards hers, kissing him deeply.
They slowly broke apart, neither letting go of the other. Harry leaned in, Just holding you, feels, well
perfect.
She didnt say anything, but rested her head on his shoulder, shutting her eyes and fully relaxing in his
arms. Harry didnt know how long they stood their, he felt as though he could have been there for a
lifetime, but the bustle from the store started to get louder and Ginny slowly pushed herself away from him,
clearly reluctant, her hands lingering on his chest before pulling away from him entirely. His hands grasped
her shoulders, squeezing them gently before letting her break their contact completely. She slowly walked
away from him and stopped before walking into the store, Arent you coming?
He smiled softly and followed her obediently out into the main part of the store and was surprised to see the
crowd had thinned, though two familiar faces welcomed him.
Hello Harry! Hermiones voice broke through the din and she walked over to him, embracing him. How
are you?
He smiled back at her and stealing a glance at Ginny, Im fine how are you? I thought youd be with
your parents still?
Hermione sighed and nodded, Theyre back they were not happy, to say the least, about what I had
done to make them safe. But I feel better knowing they werent being hunted down while we were off doing
what we needed to. Their getting back to normal hasnt been easy. I think the process could go on for some
time. Once the Ministry of Magic found them and I removed the memory charms, things have slowly been
coming back to them, unfortunately, theyve been rather upset with me. So Im spending a little less time
with them and a little more time at the Burrow these days. Though I need to check in on them every so
often.
Ron nodded, Yeah, it's been pretty quiet there, too.
Ron was usually more talkative, but Harry knew there was very little that needed to be said between the
three of them. Ron still had the stunned look hed carried back at Hogwarts. Harry couldnt imagine what
life had been like at the Burrow without Fred.
Almost knowingly, Ron said, Mum has been asking about why you havent spent more time with us this
summer.
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It wasnt really a question and Harry stood their for a second, knowing his way out with Ginny would
absolutely not work with Ron, I just didnt think to intrude.
Hermione shook her head, Harry, that is the stupidest thing Ive ever heard you say, and over the last year,
Ive heard a lot of poorly thought out ideas from both of you.
They all laughed, breaking what could have been a very awkward silence. Harry noticed Ginny had crossed
the room and was helping some younger customers, Ill be by soon I think, I just wanted to get back to
Grimmauld Place and just rest a little it's been a rather long few months.
Harry, were your friends, even if we have seen a lot of one another, you could still have let us know what
was going on instead of just disappearing. Hermiones tone wasnt accusatory, but somewhat worried.
I know. I really should have said something but everyone was so caught up with their families, I just
didnt see the point hanging around. Harry sighed and looked at Hermione, Im sorry. I just it had been
too much in such a short time. I wanted to think things through.
I think we all needed that Harry, but some of what happened is probably best not dealt with alone. That is
what friendship is all about. Ron had nodded approvingly as Hermione spoke and Ginny walked back
towards the group.
Shes right Harry I think we all could have really helped one another. Though I am glad you did finally
surface, she reached over and squeezed his hand before letting go.
Harry nodded. Three-against-one were odds he wasnt going to try and fight. Well, since were all in
London, we can stop at Grimmauld Place for tea, Im sure Kreacher might have something nice waiting for
us.
Im not sure we should surprise him. Hermione said, her belief for house-elf equality showing.
Hermione, he is happy to be with me Im not forcing him to be there. Harry sighed but didnt get
remotely frustrated. He knew how she felt about it and he had often taken for granted the way house elves
were treated. I try to make Kreacher as comfortable as hell allow I think hed be thoroughly upset if I
let him go!
Hermione nodded faintly, but still had a somewhat disapproving look on her face. Ron nodded more
enthusiastically, recalling Kreachers rather fine cooking, That does sound like a nice idea. Plus, Im
curious what you may have done to change the place since last we were there.
Hermione looked over at Ginny, Youre coming with us, arent you?
If Harry didnt know better, Hermione seemed worried about Ginny staying behind. Ginny looked uneasy
and Harry reached over and wrapping his arm around her shoulders, Of course she is. He could feel her
body go rigid under his arm but had a feeling she knew hed Apparate both of them should she argue.
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Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - A Conduit of Worlds


The four friends left the shop and headed out of Diagon Alley Apparating back to Grimmauld Place. Harry
walked in front of the group, feeling Ginny lag to the back behind Hermione and Ron, who were walking
arm-in-arm, as he approached the home and opened the door.
Kreacher appeared almost instantly, Master Harry, you have brought guests. The old elf didnt seem put
off at all, nodding politely at each of them in turn.
I asked them to come over for tea Kreacher, is that all right? Harry asked.
The house elf nodded enthusiastically. Of course, of course, Master Harry. He hurried off towards the
kitchen leaving them in the foyer.
Hermione looked around. It doesnt seem to have changed a whole lot Harry, though it is much, much
cleaner than the last time we were here.
Ron nodded. It was a great headquarters, though too bad we couldnt have used if for longer.
No one said anything, remembering the gruelling time spent out of doors. Ginnys eyes were downcast as
they had entered and she had not met anyones gaze since arriving.
Harry motioned down the hallway. Perhaps we should make ourselves comfortable. Im not sure how long
itll take Kreacher to prepare tea.
Hermione and Ron went forward and entered a room to the left, while Harry reached out and took Ginnys
hand in his own. Whats the matter? You look like youve seen a ghost.
Harry regretted the words almost as soon as he said them, Ginnys face turning stoic. He sighed. That isnt
what I meant, Im sorry. He kissed her softly on the cheek and lead her down the hallway, feeling her hand
clasp his more tightly as they walked.
As they entered the room, Hermione and Ron were sitting comfortably in a sofa, Hermione leaning on Ron.
Harry smiled looking at them. Its still so weird seeing you two together after seeing you two, well, not
together, for so long.
Hermione laughed. Youre one to talk chasing after Ginny for the better part of a year!
Ginny gave Harry a side-long glance. Is that so? I always wondered why you had started acting so
strangely.
Harry smiled at her. Like you didnt know dont tell me that isnt the real reason you stopped seeing
Dean.
She smiled slyly back at him. I dont know what youre talking about.
He reached over and wrapped her into a warm embrace, kissing her softly. Either way I think I win.
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He pulled her onto a nearby chair, kissing her again. She put her hands on his arms, slowing his displays of
affection slightly.
Must you do that, Ron remarked, looking away from Harry and Ginny.
Hermione laughed. Please Ron, like you dont show the same level of affection
Ron interrupted her before she could finish, In our own privacy not in front of other people.
Ginny looked annoyed. Might I remind you of something Won-won? Her tone was unmistakable, Harry
and Hermione burst out laughing as Ron went slightly red.
That was different, that was a long time ago! Ron shot back.
Oh right, a whole two years ago. A lot has changed since then has it? Ginny retorted. They both looked
away from each other and Harry and Hermione exchanged amused glances.
Kreacher Apparated into the room announcing that tea was ready. The group filed out of the room and into
the kitchen, the couples pairing off to each side of the table.
The kitchen seemed cleaner than the last time Ron and Hermione had seen it the table was set with
simple dishes and plates. Tea and pastries were placed around the table. There was a lone vase in the middle
of the table with a small set of sunflowers miraculously blooming before their eyes.
As the food was served they began chatting about the recent reconstruction that had started at Hogwarts and
the work Professor McGonagall had initiated. The meal wrapped up promptly and much praise was given to
Kreacher for an excellent meal, the house elf nodding his thanks as if his head were about to fall off.
They sat silently back in the drawing room, everyone full from their meal, lost in their own thoughts. Harry
and Ginny sat in the sofa adjacent to one Ron and Hermione sat on. Ginny was lying across the sofa, leaning
against Harry. He carelessly ran his fingers up and down Ginnys arm as she leaned against him, her eyes
shut and his free arm wrapped around her waist.
The silence was broken as Ron got to his feet, I think wed best be getting home. Mum will be expecting us
soon. She worries a lot more these days, even though things are, well, you know, better than they were.
Hermione had followed suite, looking worriedly at Harry who had not moved, nor relinquished his hold on
Ginny. But Ginny had sat up, swinging her feet off of the sofa. In this awkward position Harry was forced to
loosen his grip.
Ron looked from his friend to his sister. Will you be heading back to the store to close up?
Ginny nodded curtly and got to her feet. She glanced at Harry. Rons right, I think Ive been away too long.
I should probably head over there and close things up.
Harry nodded. Well, it was good seeing you all.
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Before the words were even out of his mouth Ginny was the first to protest, Dont even think about it
Harry, youre coming with one of us. This isnt a discussion.
Harry looked helplessly at Ron and Hermione but their faces showed the same resolve as Ginnys.
He sighed. I just dont know if thats a good ideaI mean, you know.
Ginny didnt wait for Ron or Hermione to chime in. Yeah, we do know, and I think were all better off
together than apart. So who are you coming with, me or Ron and Hermione?
Harry didnt want to argue with Ginny, but he didnt feel comfortable going to the Burrow this quickly. He
thought he might be able to accompany Ginny to the store and come back from there. I dont want to argue
with you Ginny, well, with any of youI guess we should leave these two love-birds together. He smiled
as he gestured to Ron and Hermione, both turning various shades of red.
Hermione interjected, Oh, I think youre labelling the wrong pair here Harry!
He laughed, knowing he was beat. Ron half-smiled, Harry was worried that there would be nothing but
sadness now, but everyone seemed to be coping in their own way, Ron finding strength through Hermione.
He realised it was probably selfish of him not to be there for Ginny, but he didnt honestly know where they
stood.
Then its settled, Harry and I will meet you back at the Burrow later, Ginny said, stepping away from the
group.
Hermione hugged Harry quickly, and whispered, once Ginny was out of earshot, Please keep an eye on
her. Harry looked at her quizzically, but Ron nodded and said, See you later mate take care of my sister
over there.
Ginny rolled her eyes. Ill be fine, Ron.
Harry nodded. The best care of her I can.
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Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - The Storm


Ron and Hermione departed with a crack and Harry looked over at Ginny, wondering if hed have the
resolve to leave her and come back to Grimmauld Place. Ginny was looking straight at Harry, he felt like
she knew what he was thinking and sure enough she completed his thoughts out loud, Dont even think
about it, Harry. We do have a lot to talk about and I hope you dont think your hiding is going to make
things better. Go pack something and lets get moving.
He started to argue but the look in her eyes was enough to stop him dead in his tracks. Im not hidingbut
alright, Im going, Ill be right back.
Giving her one last glance before leaving, Harry hurried out of the room, running into Kreacher in the
hallway. The old elf spoke solemnly, Ah, Master Harry, are you heading out then?
Harry nodded. Yes, Kreacher, Ginny needs me, so I have to go.
As he said it he realised how good it made him feel to be needed. Kreacher nodded. Mistress Ginerva
seems troubled, Master Harry.
Harry looked at Kreacher quizzically, never realising how astute house elves could be, but Kreacher merely
walked on. Should you need anything Master Harry, just call and I will be there. And with that he retired
into the kitchen.
Harry took the stairs two at a time as he rushed into what was now his room. He grabbed his rucksack from
the floor and grabbed what clean clothes he could find. Since hed never really unpacked, most of the things
he needed would be in the bag already. He pulled the package hed bought out earlier and looked at it. He
wasnt certain if he should give this to Ginny now. There was still so much that needed to be said between
them, what would she think of such a display? She hadnt literally pushed him away, so he was optimistic
that things could be mended. He stuffed it into the bottom of his bag hoping hed find the right time to give
it to her.
He grabbed his jacket and pulled it on before hurrying back down the stairs. Ginny was still waiting for him,
her expression indiscernible. He smiled at her, reaching his hand out to take hers. You ready?
She nodded and pulled close to him as he Apparated them both back to Diagon Alley. Harry still wondered
if hed ever get used to the feeling Apparating left with him. He landed soundly enough, Ginny still holding
onto him, her arms around his waist and her eyes shut.
He squeezed her arm. Were here and I dont think my Apparating is that bad that you need to close
your eyes.
She smiled. It wasnt that bad, I just dont particularly like the feeling I get when I Side-Along Apparate,
makes me feel a little dizzy.
He nodded. I dont think Ill ever quite get used to it.
She pulled away from him, though he slid his hand down her arm to take her hand as she walked forward
towards the Weasleys shop. He slowed her rapid pace down by gently tugging on her arm, stopping her
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towards the Weasleys shop. He slowed her rapid pace down by gently tugging on her arm, stopping her
abruptly. She looked at him quizzically, but he only replied, We dont have to rush, we can just, you know,
take our time.
She shook her head in mock exasperation. Harry, I need to get there to close the shop up and make sure the
place is safe, then Mum will be expecting us. Im sure Ron and Hermione will have told her youre
coming.
Harry sighed a little. As much as I enjoy time with your family, he pulled closer to her and whispered
softly, Id much rather be spending the time to get to know you as well as I once did. He tried to kiss her
but she pulled away, looking at him incredulously.
Her eyes were bright and Harry knew hed said or done something to upset her again. She looked at him for
a second, then turned and walked up the street, not sparing another glance back.
Harry stood for a second dumbfounded. He thought back to what Hermione had said and hurried after her,
jogging to catch up. Ginny, he said quietly. Come on, you cant just walk away like that.
She turned on him, her eyes blazing. Is that a fact? Would you like to watch me?
She started to turn and walk again when he grabbed her arm. No, I absolutely dont want to but I would
like you to tell me whats going on.
She didnt say anything at first, but pulled her arm out of his grip. Look, we can walk and talk cant we?
He nodded. I know I havent been the best boyfriend
Before he could finish she broke in, Youre not my boyfriend at all, Harry. You broke it off, how lucky for
you to forget.
Harry knew they were in it now, he took a deep breath. Ginny, please the least you can do is hear me
out I mean, hearing me out isnt going to cost you anything.
She didnt respond but just walked towards the store, with Harry following close behind.
Harry figured this was his only chance to break in. Im sorry I know I made a mistake, I never meant to
hurt you. And if you think for even a second, that I wasnt thinking about you, or wishing I could be with
you while I was gone, youre wrong. There isnt anyone I thought more about!
They had reached the store and she still didnt turn to look at him. He wasnt certain what words would get
her attention. I kept wishing I could be with you
Ginny whispered, Just stop. Her voice broke a little. Harry Im glad youre here again watching you
run off and leave me because you thought Id be more safe brilliant. Her tone grew increasingly
sarcastic. Seeing you die, yeah, that was the highlight of my summer.
Harry didnt know what to say, but he thought it best to let her rail at him for a bit. She crossed the store
and stood behind the counter. Narrowing her eyes, she continued, You always have to play the hero so
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and stood behind the counter. Narrowing her eyes, she continued, You always have to play the hero so
what happens now when are you going to run off and try to save some one else? When are you going to
run off and lose interest in she seemed to be struggling with something, her voice breaking, Harry I
care about you, I care about us but there cant be any us if you wont be around.
Harry was stunned; he didnt know how to respond. He wished he could just kiss her and make it better.
But he knew that would never work. He still wasnt sure if she was done fuming, but her eyes no longer had
that look of repulsion. He walked over to her, being careful not to do anything that might upset her further.
He looked at her for a brief moment, taking her in, before responding quietly, Ginny, look at me.
She sighed visibly and put her hands on the counter, slowly raising her head. He placed his hands in front of
hers, their fingers touching. Im right here, Im with you, Im not going anywhere. And I wont go
anywhere. He stumbled for words. Thats what Im trying to get at. Im done doing things without you, it
was the hardest thing; being away from the one person that has ever been the only real source of joy and
happiness in my life. His eyes strayed away from her face, focusing on her thin, delicate fingers that he was
touching.
Harry slowly looked up, not certain what to expect, but Ginnys resolve was not to be tested. Her facial
expression didnt change, but her eyes seemed softer. Harry answer this why didnt you take my
side? Before the final battle, you treated me like I was just some kid!
Harry reached further across the counter taking her hands and pulling her forward, closer to him. Ginny,
Im sorry, I really am. But I couldnt bear the thought of you being in harms way. I never meant to make
you feel childish.
She didnt look him in the eye, but curled her fingers around his hands. He took one of her hands and kissed
the palm. I am on your side. You know how I feel about you, about us. I just want you to be safe, and if I
can do that for you, then I will.
She still didnt seem convinced, but she didnt argue. She slowly pulled her hands away from his. The
sooner I get this done the better. She gestured to the paperwork then pointed to a stool at the end of the
counter. Im not sure you can really help me, and this discussion isnt helping me concentrate much.
He smiled and went over to the stool, pulling it over to where she was behind the counter, her eyebrows
raised. That isnt quite what I meant, Harry.
Well, I can be a non-verbal distraction, right? he said while dropping his rucksack on the floor near the
counter. He placed his hands on her shoulders and began to massage her back. I think I prefer this sort of
distraction, dont you?
She didnt say anything, her eyes closed; she seemed to be enjoying the attention too much to argue. He
worked his hands across her back, enjoying the fragrance of her hair and the feeling of her body under his
touch. Kneading the muscles in her back and shoulders, he could feel the tension dissipate and her body
relax against his. He moved closer still, brushing her hair away from her neck and kissing her softly on the
nape of her neck. She clearly shuddered, her hands instinctively reaching for his. Harry! was the only clear
exclamation she could give before pulling herself away from him, her eyes not showing any anger, but
slight irritation. No non-verbal distractions as well, please!
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He knew she wasnt cross, but sighed and pulled the stool slightly away from her, sitting down somewhat
sulkily. You know, were not going to have time for this at the Burrow?
She gave him a side-long look. Harry, even if we have talked this out a bit, that doesnt make up for a year
apart. Things we should probably both know about one another.
Harrys mind stopped dead in its tracks, had she found some one else? How stupid of him to think someone
as pretty and popular as Ginny to go without any attention for an entire year!
His eyes must have betrayed him because she looked up at him curiously. Spit it out what are you
thinking?
He blushed a little. Well, II dont know. It just dawned on me that, may be you werent alone all those
months.
His voice had trailed off but she clearly caught every word. Harry James Potter sometimes I dont know
what goes on in your head! Why would you say such a thing?
He looked at her surprised. Oh come on look at you beautiful and popular like youre going to
wait around for me! Bloody hell, Im not sure Id wait around for me!
She laughed and reached out placing a hand on his arm. Harry, half of the magical world would wait for
you.
Yeah, he said, closing his hand over hers, but will you?
She didnt look at him, fixing her eyes on a point on the counter. She was clearly thinking and Harry was
fairly certain his chances werent improving based upon that. She looked at him, her eyes unflinching. What
do you think Ive been doing the last few years?
Harry blanched for a second and then stammered, Well, II mean, a lot has been going on. And not just
between us but She had totally thrown him; he wasnt sure what the right answer was.
She kept her eyes steady. I didnt realise that was quite so insignificant, I might need a little more than a
passing interest from you, Harry.
I dont just have a passing interest in you or us for that matter. Harry was stung by her words and any
smile that he had faded. He knew his face reflected his feelings. I thought wewell, I guess I was wrong.
He was afraid to elaborate and her facial expression stoic. Im sorry Harry a lot has happened this past
year. Youre here now, and seem interested; I just dont want to be picking up the pieces of my heart again
this time next year.
Harry couldnt believe what he was hearing. He knew his temper might get the better of him, but he wasnt
going to let her toss their relationship away because she didnt want to risk anything. I only seem
interested? I didnt realise I was giving you such mixed signals.
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Ginny sighed. Look Harry, I think we can both agree we care about one another, but I really dont feel like
fighting with you about this right now.
No, I think we should if not fight, then discuss why you think Im a totally unreliable boyfriend! Harry
was feeling increasingly angry and hurt, his voice growing louder as he spoke.
Do you think youre even capable of discussing anything right now? I dont fancy getting screamed at. She
set her hands on her hips. And, Harry, dont think thatll convince me of anything either.
A hole in the pit of his stomach was expanding; his mouth had gone very dry. He shook his head, saying
very quietly, I am capable of discussion but if youve already made up your mind, whats there left to
say?
If thats how you see it then I guess there isnt anything to discuss, she replied forcefully. She turned away
from him, going back to the paperwork.
Harry couldnt believe her. He grabbed her arm, turning her to face him. Ginny, I am not letting you throw
away the most amazing thing in my life because you are afraid of what? Of me? Of us? This isnt too
good to be true. And it isnt always going to be perfect. I bet it wont be some of the time but it is worth
fighting for!
He could see he had gotten her attention, but she still didnt seem convinced, though she was clearly
thinking. Look, Im not saying that today, right now, we have to get back to where we were. But you have
to at least give me the chance to prove that this is something worth having. He reached out and squeezed
her hand.
She was looking at their joined hands, clearly thinking what to say. She finally looked up, her eyes betraying
nothing of what she was thinking. Harry didnt like this new ability of hiding her feelings from him.
And since youve waited for me, I am more than willing to wait for you for as long as it takes. Harry
wasnt going to let her deny him his right to try to make this work.
She nodded, but didnt seem to want to say more. Harry, I really need to finish this, then we have to get
back home.
He didnt want to push, but leaned over kissing her softly on the cheek and sitting down on the stool
watching her delicate hands run across the paperwork until she finished some time later, a strange,
unfamiliar look on her face. Are you ready?
He nodded and they headed out the door, Ginny locking up as they left. Harry Apparated them back to the
Burrow, the house brightly lit from afar.
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Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - Concerning Revelations


Ginny didnt shut her eyes as tightly nor hold onto Harry as firmly as their previous Apparition, but she
didnt stalk away from him when they arrived either. They both walked silently towards the Burrow. Harry
was lagging behind Ginny, feeling the guilt of his absence and actions weighing on him.
Ginny stopped and turned around. Harry the sooner you get this over with the better.
She took his hand, pulling him forward and he reluctantly followed her. His mind reeling through what kind
of reception he would receive. He couldnt imagine the entire family being furious with him, but anything
was possible.
Ginnys mood seemed to lighten as they neared the house. Her pace had quickened and Harry had to make a
concerted effort to keep up. Ginny he started to say, but she gave him a reassuring look that forced him
forward.
Ginny opened the door to the kitchen and Harry was surprised to see the warm, smiling faces of Mr. and
Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley came forward quickly embracing Harry and forcing Harry to let go of Ginnys
hand. Harry Potter you have been far too much of a stranger!
She beamed at him as Mr. Weasley came forward. Harry wonderful to see you again. I hope you got my
note. We were hoping youd spend the summer with us, though I hear youve been to see Kingsley already.
Mr. Weasley smiled knowingly as Mrs. Weasley bustled about the kitchen. Harry moved forward. Mrs.
Weasley, please dont go to any trouble, we can look after ourselves!
Harry didnt realise it until after he said it, hed referred to himself and Ginny as we. Ginny seemed to
notice and gave Harry a half-smile before she hugged her mother and stopped her from moving around the
kitchen. Really, Mum, it's fine Harry and I dont need you to wait on us. Besides, it looks like youve
already had dinner.
Mrs. Weasley nodded. Well, Bill and Fleur had stopped through, and Ron and Hermione were already
here. We didnt know when to expect you.
Ginny smiled. Its really fine, Mum were fine.
Harry smiled and nodded, shouldering his rucksack more closely. He wasnt certain what to say. He wanted
to apologise again for what had happened, but no one seemed to want to acknowledge anything. Harry
looked down at his feet, finding it hard to look either of the Weasley parents in the eyes, but forcing himself
to do so. He fumbled for a second. Ier, well, Im really sor
Before he could finish the sentence Mrs. Weasley waved him off. Well have none of that, dear there is
nothing for you to apologise for, save not coming around here sooner.
Mr. Weasley stepped forward taking his wifes arm. Harry, it is wonderful to see you. We really are glad
youve decided to come stay with us, hopefully for as long as you can. Lets chat tomorrow, if you like,
about what Kingsley may have said to you. In the meantime, its been a long day good night to you both.
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Mr. and Mrs. Weasley walked briskly out of the kitchen, seemingly pleased with Harrys appearance. Harry
was concerned that they had left so quickly and looked over at Ginny, who was now busy putting something
together for them to eat.
Ginny? he said quietly, walking over to where she was and placing a hand on her arm. She stopped
abruptly and looked at him. Are they okay?
He gestured to where her parents had been and before she could answer, continued, I mean, they left in an
awful hurry.
He left his thought unspoken, but again Ginny knew what he was alluding to. Harry, you worry too much.
Youre the boy-who-saved-the-world. Of course my parents are happy to see you.
She placed a couple of plates on the table but he didnt drop it. That doesnt really answer my question I
just, I feel like this was a bad idea.
He looked down, knowing the stare hed be receiving would be hard enough to bear.
Harry I thought wed gone over this already. She sounded exasperated. Quite frankly, he couldnt
blame her.
I just dont want people to feel weird around me, you know? He picked up a couple of forks and spoons,
but Ginny came over, putting her hands over his.
Were not eating anything that requires a fork or spoon, Harry. She had a smile across her lips and
continued softly, And if you werent hiding, then people might not feel put off around you.
He started to protest but she put her hand up. Didnt we agree not to argue?
He smiled mischievously. Is that what we agreed? I honestly cant remember. He leaned in close, trying to
steal a kiss from her, but she pulled away.
Harry, she sounded tired, I dont know about you, but Im exhausted as much as I enjoy your
company, I really wouldnt mind going to bed soon either.
He must have looked hurt because she leaned in and kissed him lightly on the cheek. Dont look at me like
that, Harry.
I didnt realise I was giving you any unusual looks. He smiled at her and followed her back to the table,
sitting across from her.
They ate in silence, Harry watching Ginny as she picked at her sandwich, while he inhaled his. He leaned
forward a little, hoping to strike up a little conversation, but she didnt look at him directly. So, what are
your plans for tomorrow?
She seemed distracted, but replied uninterestedly, Just going back over to Diagon Alley those are most
of my plans until we get a letter from Hogwarts. I still have another year to complete, though Id argue my
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of my plans until we get a letter from Hogwarts. I still have another year to complete, though Id argue my
last one was rather incomplete.
He watched her closely, she didnt seem pleased about going back to school. Well, I hear the construction
is going fairly well, but the school is still a mess.
She nodded absently. I cant imagine things being sorted out any more quickly
The silence fell upon them again and Harry looked at her sadly. She seemed to lose herself in her thoughts
again, despite his presence. He leaned further across the table, taking her hand in his, squeezing each finger
in turn. If you dont mind the company, I would love to go with you tomorrow.
Her eyes were following his hands across hers, her shoulders becoming less rigid. He let go of her hand and
moved around the table, sitting down next to her. Im not sure Im enjoying this new, silent phase youre
going through. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, taking her hand back in his and brushing his lips
across her cheek. But when you do decide to let me in, Im right here.
She didnt say anything, but leaned closer to him, despite the discomfort the wooden chairs created. They
sat there quietly for a while before Ginny slowly pulled herself away from him. If I didnt know better, Id
think you were trying to get me to fall asleep right here, Harry!
He smiled and helped her clean the still full table. Well, you certainly look like you havent been sleeping.
Anything I can do to help that, you know I will.
She smiled but remained quiet, looking towards the door to the hallway. Its getting late, so we should
probably get some rest. Im sure theres a bed set up for you in Rons room. To be honest, Im surprised we
havent seen either him or Hermione tonight.
She furrowed her brow and Harry smiled at how cute she looked when she was thinking. Watching Harrys
expression, she smiled back. Either way, I think we should both get some rest.
Harry picked his rucksack up off the floor and waved his wand at the dishes. Scourgify! The dishes began
cleaning themselves as he and Ginny ascended the stairs, both stopping at the first landing. They avoided
each others glances for a few seconds, Ginny finally breaking the silence.
She looked up at him. Good night, Harry.
Harry didnt want to miss any opportunities, and leaned in pulling her towards him. He kissed her softly,
wrapping his arms around her waist. She didnt push him away, her hands sliding up his arms to wrap
around his neck, pulling him closer to her. He used his momentum to press his body against hers, pushing
both of them into her closed door with an almost inaudible thud. He ran one of his hands up her back to rest
on the back of her head, buffering her head from the surface of the door as he continued kissing her, feeling
the touch of her lips on his, the smell of her all around him, her body pressed against his and her delicate
fingers running through his hair. He could feel her grip on him slowly loosening and took that as a cue,
pulling away from her slowly, his lips lingering on hers for a few seconds.
Letting go, he whispered Sweet dreams, before reaching for the doorknob, opening the door. She smiled at
him, kissing him on the cheek before going into her room and shutting the door.
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him, kissing him on the cheek before going into her room and shutting the door.
Harry waited a few seconds; then grudgingly walked up the stairs to Rons room. The lights were dimly lit
in the staircase and Harry pushed open the familiar door to what was becoming a more familiar sight, his
two best friends wrapped in a rather fierce kiss.
Harry cleared his throat loudly. Hope Im not interrupting anything.
Both Ron and Hermione jumped at his entrance, but Ron didnt let go of Hermione. Slightly scowling at
Harry, he said, I think that you are, mate.
But Hermione must have felt the mood had been broken, she pulled away from Ron slightly. Im glad you
finally got here Harry how is Ginny?
She and Ron were both sitting comfortably on Rons bed, Rons hand intertwined with hers, she leaning
against his chest. Harry placed his bag on the opposite bed and sat down heavily, looking at his feet. Well,
she doesnt hate me that much Ive figured out. But shes running really hot and cold. Which I cant
really blame her for, you know?
Ron sighed and Hermione nodded, saying, Yes, shes been like that since weve left Hogwarts. I dont
think any of us know exactly what she needs, but any mention of your name and she either seems to soften
or get really upset. I think you just being around might help her. Even console her a little.
Ron nodded. Yeah, I thought she was broken up last summer, but seeing you dead, even if you werent
really dead, he added hurriedly, it was a lot for all of us to deal with. Shes really falling for you.
Despite Rons older brother protectiveness, Harry understood. Well, to be honest Ron, Im really crazy
about your sister, but I just dont know what to do.
Hermione finally pulled herself away from Ron completely, getting up to sit down next to Harry. Youre
doing what youre supposed to be doing just be there for her. Shell open up when shes good and
ready.
She patted his hand reassuringly. Itll be okay Harry I dont think you should give up on her.
Harry shook his head. That had never crossed my mind. Then he laughed. Until you just said it I hope
she doesnt give up on me!
He looked distractedly at the floor. I just He couldnt even put into words how he felt. I just, I feel
better when shes around, even if she isnt speaking to me, or if shes angry with me just being near her.
Its just...
He threw his hands up, falling across the bed and heard Hermione laughing. Harry you are so in love
you cant see straight!
He sat up abruptly, realising that she was right, that was what it was. He was really and truly in love with
Ginny. He smiled. I think seeing straight is over-rated, anyway.
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He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and turned around, Ginny was standing in the doorway. She
had gotten dressed for bed, but had covered her pyjamas with a bathrobe in a light shade of green and
detailed work around the edges in a light grey. Her eyes smiling and her expression soft, she said quietly,
Since you werent in my room, I was getting worried Ron had kidnapped you.
She was speaking to Hermione but she was looking directly at Harry. A strange silence fell over the group,
Harry wasnt sure if he should get up, or even assume shed heard everything he and Hermione had said.
Hermione got up slowly. Ron didnt quite kidnap me but we were waiting for the two of you to get
back.
Harry laughed. So you found something better to do with your time other then waiting up for us, like
snogging each others brains out?
Both Harry and Ginny laughed, but Ron looked slightly offended. Hey mate, I see your hands all over my
sister all the time too theres nothing wrong with being affectionate to my own girlfriend in the privacy of
my own room.
Ron sounded indignant, but Hermione just smiled. Oh Ron. She walked over and kissed him on the cheek.
I think it probably is time to get some sleep.
Ron smiled mischievously. Well, thats also something we could do together.
Harry and Ginny exchanged startled looks while Hermione just shook her head. I think we both know that
isnt going to happen. Good night to you both.
She stalked out of the room, looking slightly irritated, stopping briefly to place a reassuring hand on Ginnys
shoulder before descending the stairs.
Ron looked thoroughly frustrated, but neither Ginny nor Harry would look at him. He sighed, Bloody hell,
and leaned back against his bed. Ah well, itll make the making up that much better.
Ginny looked uncertainly at Harry and he felt himself concentrating hard on the fringes of her robe. The
colours accentuated her features, her hair pulled back, still looked radiant. He smiled as his eyes slowly
ascended her form, red forming in her cheeks as she caught him looking at her intently.
Harry she started, but stopped, clearly lost for words. Harry wasnt certain how to react, however he
was now certain shed heard everything hed said, but he didnt want to take it back either he wanted her
to know, he almost felt better having said it.
She still seemed confused and he stood up slowly, realising how much he wished this werent Rons room
and that Ron werent watching. He gave a sidelong look to Ron before taking Ginnys hand, leading her out
of Rons room and shutting the door, giving them a little privacy. He looked at her seriously. You heard
everything I said, didnt you?
She didnt say anything, but nodded, smiling shyly, with both a happy and curious look on her face.
Harry, she started again, I didnt mean to I really was just looking for Hermione.
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Harry, she started again, I didnt mean to I really was just looking for Hermione.
He smiled back at her. Its okay I actually feel better you knowing I think this should convince you
Im not messing around.
She laughed a little. Well, you do confide things to Hermione and Ron that you dont to me so I figure
you didnt say that for their benefit. And by the look on Rons face, he probably would have preferred not to
hear it.
They both laughed and he said more quietly, I meant every word whenever Im around you, when I
even think about you, I just, I feel better, you know?
She nodded, saying breathlessly, Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
She pulled him towards her, her head resting on his shoulder, shutting her eyes. He wrapped his arms
around her, and she continued more quietly, I know you want me to say I feel the same way about you
Harry, and I do but I just dont know if Im ready, emotionally or anything to get really involved with
you. I just
She left the sentence unfinished and Harry kissed her softly on the forehead. I told you Id wait and I will, I
just hope you havent totally given up on me. I dont think I could bear having no chance with you.
Ginny pushed him away a little, looking into his eyes. Im not asking you to wait forever. Im not sure
when Ill be ready, but I will be. And I know it is you who Ive always She was grasping for words, her
fingers pulling at the fabric on his shirt, his arms still wrapped around her.
He didnt say anything, but pulled her closer, resting his forehead against hers. Inhaling her scent and
feeling the texture of her hair between his fingers.
Harry. She didnt push him away and he leaned down, kissing her deeply, stopping her from mounting any
sort of argument. With each kiss, he felt they were becoming more and more intimate. It was as if their
bodies continued to get closer even though it seemed impossible. Every part of her body pressed against his
and he felt freed by their closeness. He could feel her react to him, her one hand gripping his shirt more
firmly, her other hand bringing his face closer to hers.
He could have stood there all night, exploring her entire body with his lips, but he knew he was probably
pushing it a bit as it was and loosened his grip around her. She realised what he was doing and wrapped her
arms around him, hugging him, their foreheads touching. She sighed a little. I think Id really better be
getting to bed.
Harry smiled. It is only getting later, and we have lots of time tocatch up with.
Ginny pulled away, despite Harrys hands lingering on her arms, as she turned away from him and headed
towards the stairs. He impulsively kissed her again on the cheek and whispered, Good night.
Well, arent you up awfully late, came a deep, sullen voice from the corner of the unlit hallway opposite
the staircase. Harry instinctively stood in front of Ginny, remembering his wand in his back pocket.
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Emerging from the darkness, dressed all in black, George appeared, his eyes darkened and a smirk across
his face as he sneered, Youve got awfully busy hands as the Chosen One, Potter.
Despite Harry knowing it was George, it sounded like something Draco Malfoy would say to him. He could
feel Ginny move forward, but he held his ground, not letting her pass. He hadnt expected the entire
Weasley family to be happy to see him, but he mustered his courage. Hello, George
George waved him off. Politeness is over-rated Potter I think you should mind your manners while
youre in my house.
Ginny pushed past Harry to stand between him and George. It isnt your house, George, it's mum and dads
house. Her tone softened. George, have you been sleeping at all?
The sneer remained fixed to his face. Ah, dont worry about me little sister, Ill take care of myself and my
family.
He looked pointedly at Harry. With that in mind, you can just imagine how thrilled I am to see you here
they should call you, The boy who destroys families! That seems more appropriate, wouldnt you say?
Harry balked at George, taking a step forward. No, I dont think so I didnt mean for any of that to
happen George and
But with a crack George was in front of Harry, his wand pointed just under Harrys chin, pushing his head
backwards. Dont even think about it, Potter! I dont want to hear one syllable of Im sorry or any other
rubbish cross the lips that have been taking advantage of my sister!
Harry stood frozen. He could reach his wand from here and he couldnt quite feel it. He was also afraid
should he move, George might do something they both might regret. He held his arms out to his sides,
parallel with the floor. Dont, George this isnt like you.
George sneered, coming closer to Harrys face. What do you know what people are like, Potter? Besides
their being pawns for your grand adventure! Cant help being the hero, can you? Lets see you get out of
this one with your trademark luck.
Ginny had been watching, horror-struck. George, she cried desperately, please dont do this we know
youre upset, but this isnt going to solve anything!
George ignored her, but Harry stole a glance in her direction and saw she was edging closer to them. He
was afraid she might try something and tried to wave her off, but she grabbed Georges arm. Dont do this,
George, please!
George kept his wand pointed at Harry and pushed Ginny away forcefully, knocking her into Rons door,
slamming it open. Ginny landed on the ground in a crumpled heap, before slowly sitting up, rubbing her
head. Ron jumped up out of bed, seeing the commotion and reached Ginny as he saw George and Harry.
Harrys eyes were full of rage. He clenched his fists and set his jaw, leaning forward menacingly. He
couldnt believe George would attack his own sister. It took all of his self control to realise that should he
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couldnt believe George would attack his own sister. It took all of his self control to realise that should he
move further, he would be of no help to anyone, as Georges behaviour was wholly unpredictable.
George followed Harrys eyes. Cant have any interference while school is still in session for you.
Harrys eyes narrowed. How dare you! If youre angry with me, fine, but leave everyone else out of it!
Ron had helped Ginny up slowly and they both seemed rooted to Rons door. From what little Harry could
see, she seemed okay, though slightly dazed. George, Ron said tentatively, come on this isnt right
you know it we know you know it.
A sudden gasp came from the stairs that startled all of them as Hermione stood at the top of the staircase in
her pyjamas, and was horrified to see the scene at hand. Georges attention was also diverted and before
anyone knew what had happened, a clear voice called out, Stupefy! and they all saw George fly across the
hallway.
George lay motionless on the floor and Harry, Ron and Hermione all turned to see Ginny with a wand
raised and a tired look crossing her face. Harry turned immediately to Ginny, pulling her towards him.
Merlins beard! Are you okay!
He kissed her on the cheek and started to examine the cut across her head. He swore under his breath. I am
so sorry.
She put her hands comfortably on his chest, sighing. No, Harry, were sorry we probably should have
warned you that George has been a littleoff.
Hermione was glued to the stairs and Ron was looking sadly at Georges unconscious body. All of them
knew that a spell cast by Ginny would keep George out of commission for a good while. Harry continued
running his hands across Ginnys arm and side, trying to determine if she was hurt more severely, but he
couldnt find anything more serious than the cut on her forehead, he said quietly, Let me fix that.
He reached into his back pocket but his wand was gone. He turned around looking at the floor and heard
Ginny laughing. Dont you know your own wand when you see it?
Harry looked at her confused, and there in her hand was his wand. But how? I
She smiled. Youre adorable when youre confused. She took a step closer, holding his wand out to him. I
pulled it out of your pocket when George started taunting you and you wouldnt let me get past you. I dont
carry my wand with me when Im heading to bed, so I took yours.
Harry took the wand from her, their fingers brushing against one anothers, as he pointed the wand at her
forehead. Episkey. And her cut disappeared, leaving just a little blood on her forehead. He wiped it away
with his thumb, leaning forward and kissing her forehead to make sure it was okay.
He pulled her closer, into a warm embrace, but she turned away from him slightly, looking at Ron and
Hermione. We cant leave him here and Im not sure I trust him once he comes out of that.
Ron stepped over to George and bent down, nudging George. You okay? but got no response. Yeah, hes
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Ron stepped over to George and bent down, nudging George. You okay? but got no response. Yeah, hes
out. May be we should wake mum or dad?
No, you wont, they need their rest! came the voice of Percy, who had quietly come upon the situation. I
didnt see everything that happened, but enough. Ginny, you really shouldnt be using spells on George,
even if he was being impossible; Harry, nice to see you.
Harry didnt feel like that was a terribly warm welcome, but much better than Georges welcome. Ginny
broke away from Harry to face Percy. Oh come on you dont know what he might have done if I hadnt
stopped him!
Percy raised his hands. Im not going to argue with you I just think there are other ways to deal with
him. I know I havent been around a lot, but Im doing better and Id like to think Im having some effect
on him.
He gestured to George but Ron broke in, Yeah, if this is the impression hes getting from you, dont let the
door hit you on the way out!
Percy grimaced at Rons words but didnt leave. Look Ill get him back in his room and keep an eye on
him. Then we can tell mum and dad what happened in the morning. Theyve hardly been sleeping, so if
theyre resting, lets let them.
No one argued and Percy pointed his wand at George, lifting his unconscious body and taking him back to
his room, where he shut the door.
This left Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny to stare at one another for a second, before Hermione broke the
silence, Well, this has proven an exciting homecoming for you, hasnt it, Harry?
He sighed. Yeah, I could do with a few less of these. He didnt complete his thought, but other than the
three friends standing before him, no one seemed to be terribly thrilled he was there.
Ginny leaned over to Harry, kissing him on the cheek. I think that is enough excitement for me Im
going to bed.
Harry pulled her into a protective embrace, ensuring one last time that she was okay. She pulled away
slowly, smiling up at him before heading down the stairs. Hermione smiled over at Ron and Harry before
following Ginny, leaving the two to their thoughts.
Ron gestured towards the room and Harry followed in. He didnt know what to think. He had never
expected George to be homicidal towards him. Though, honestly, he couldnt blame him. It was his fault
that Fred had been killed. He could have given himself up sooner, so many lives could have been saved.
Ron looked as though he was going to pass out, but he said quietly, I know this is going to sound crazy,
but dont take it personally, mate. Hes upset with all of us, unfortunately, hes directing it mostly at you.
That famous name of yours is going to get you in trouble yet. He smiled and continued, rolling over, And,
seeing you happy seems to make him crazy, but makes Ginny happy so good luck balancing that!
Harry smiled and shook his head. Ron was right, being with Ginny made him insanely happy, but George
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Harry smiled and shook his head. Ron was right, being with Ginny made him insanely happy, but George
wouldnt want that. He wasnt going to stop being with Ginny; he couldnt. And despite the talks theyd
had, he didnt think shed accept it either. He pulled the covers back on the bed and decided hed have to
brush up on his charms and place a protective one around Ginny so George couldnt hurt her again, whether
he was there or not. Hed have to ask Hermione how that would work, or take advantage of some products
that carried protections like those at Georges store.
Harry drifted off to a restless sleep that involved happy moments with Ginny. But the darkness would come
in again and George would be there, cursing Harry into various things, forcing Ginny to not want to be with
him.
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Chapter 6: Chapter 6 - Chivalry Isn't Dead


The sun was hiding behind a series of clouds as Harry was roused by Ron. Harry, Mum wants us all up for
breakfast together, youd better get up!
Harry rolled over and dared a glance out the window and could not see the sun, indicating an unseemly
early hour to be getting up, considering it was holiday. He felt the previous days events hit him, the highs
and lows, and slowly got up. The overcast skies were making for a bleak day, and he wasnt looking
forward to facing the family after last nights fiasco.
He got ready quickly, dressing in Muggle clothes and heading downstairs after Ron had already gone down.
He imagined Ron was getting a head start on his make-up session with Hermione.
As he went down the stairs he saw the door to Ginnys room slightly ajar and knocked on it softly. Her
voice came calling back, Come in, and he entered quietly, having only been in there once before. She was
sitting in front of her desk, a book or journal open, Harry couldnt see what, and she shut the book quickly.
She gave him a restrained smile as he walked forward. He smiled back at her. Good Morning did you
get any rest last night? How are you feeling?
She smiled back at him. A little sore. She rubbed her shoulder where George had pushed her through
Rons door. But nothing that wont heal; Ive had worse. How are you?
He sighed. Well, after what happened last night, I was a little afraid to fall too fully asleep, but I did get
some rest. He wondered at her comment, what was worse shed encountered? They stood there silently for
a few seconds before Harry broke the silence. I hear your mum wants us all up early this morning.
She nodded absently, walking towards the door. Yeah, lately she likes to see us all together at meals. I
think it's best to just do it as it makes her happy. Besides, it is reassuring to see everyone. I like the bustle of
a full house.
Harry nodded, following her out and closing her door. Its very consoling you know, you want to be
alone, but you cant and theres always some one to, you know, be there for you.
He tried to sound confident but she just smiled at him and descended the stairs, Harry following close
behind, enjoying the view.
He smiled sheepishly as she turned abruptly, his eyes not initially looking where her eyes were. She laughed
a little. Harry, I, well, I dont know if Percy has said anything, but mum and dad might interrogate you
anyway, so just, be prepared, but dont hide anything for anyones sake, okay?
Harry smiled down at her, leaning in. Sure, right, of course. He kissed her on the cheek and she smiled at
him, turning towards the kitchen with a mixed look of delight and dread. He reached out, putting his hands
on her shoulders, squeezing them gently. Im not worried, youre here to protect me, right?
She laughed at him as she walked into the kitchen, many eyes turning towards them. Sure, Im your knight
in shining armour.
Harry had to stop himself from saying anything more loudly, but whispered to her while squeezing her hand.
I hope I can get some private time with my knight later.
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I hope I can get some private time with my knight later.


She blushed a little and they both sat down at the end of the table. There was no sign of George or Percy,
but both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were looking intently at Harry. He smiled politely, trying to seem
innocuous, but Ron and Hermione both looked incredibly nervous. Mr. Weasley finally spoke, Harry I
hope youre alright this morning.
His look was knowing and Harry couldnt help but relive the feeling he had the previous night, replying,
Im fine. Im more worried about Ginny.
Both parents exchanged glances and Ginny smiled at Harrys concern. Mrs. Weasley looked at them sternly.
George has beendifficult to deal with, but I dont think any one is in any real harm.
Ron, Hermione and Harry had startled looks on their faces, while Ginny looked crushed. Harry reached
over, placing his hand over hers reassuringly, though she tensed at his touch and through gritted teeth said,
No harm was done?
Mr. Weasley spoke up quickly, Your mother didnt mean anything dear, just that youre fine. And Im sure
George didnt mean to hurt anyone.
Ron had sat silently long enough and cut Ginny off before she could argue. Dad, you cant be serious, he
was holding Harry at wand-point, ready to kill him! There wasnt any joking in his eyes I saw it myself!
Mrs. Weasley looked at them disbelievingly. Our George would never do such a thing, and shame on you
for insinuating it!
Ginny threw her hands up as she shot back, Were not insinuating anything! I dont know what youve
heard or who told you what, but he was totally out of control and I cant believe youre going to ignore
this!
Mr. Weasley looked calmly at Ginny while Mrs. Weasley was fit to bursting. Dear, we arent ignoring his
behaviour, but we arent going to make it more than it is.
Ginny leaned back heavily in her chair, a look of utter disgust on her face. Mrs. Weasley shook her head. I
dont think I have to remind you that this is hardest on George. He just needs some time to get back to some
level of normal. As his brother and sister I would think youd both be anxious to help him!
Ginny was looking close to tears. Harry tried to reach over to take her hand, but she turned away from him,
closing him off from her. Ron gave his parents a sceptical look. Are you saying we arent doing what were
supposed to be doing? That is bloody daft!
Ronald Weasley you will not use that language in my house! Mrs. Weasley was not hearing any
argument and had gone back to her cup of tea. He just needs time, hell be fine.
Ginny turned back abruptly, tears glistening in her eyes. He isnt getting any better cant you see that!
Harry and Hermione exchanged nervous looks. Harry didnt want to argue with Mr. or Mrs. Weasley; they
treated him so fairly, but were clearly not being that way with Ron and Ginny now. He was now able to
reach over and take one of Ginnys hands in his, squeezing it and pulling his chair closer to hers. She didnt
look at him, but leaned towards him.
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look at him, but leaned towards him.


Mr. Weasley shook his head. All of you need to calm down. He had been watching Ron and Ginny closely
as they argued with their mother. May be they have something to say, Molly. It wouldnt be the first time
they see something we didnt see.
Arthur, hes just in a lot of pain he needs understanding from his family from his brothers and sister
and his friends if he cant get that how is he ever going to get back to normal. She didnt look up from
her tea and spoke in an even tone which Harry found slightly eerie.
I just think that if George is causing more strife for the children that are coping better than he is, then we
shouldnt allow him to bring them down with him. Mr. Weasley put his hand up as Mrs. Weasley looked as
though she were going to argue. Im just saying, Ron and Ginny are coping better than George, as wed
expect, but Georges behaviour has been a bit erratic, and he may be taking it out on them.
Mrs. Weasley shook her head. Arthur, I will not separate my family.
Her voice and tone were stern and Harry visibly cringed. Ginny and Ron were staring intently at their
parents while both Harry and Hermione watched Ginny and Ron respectively.
Mr. Weasley turned slowly. Molly I think you should really be open to an alternative to the approach
were taking. It may not be working. I dont want to see any one go away either, but this is becoming an
issue. Percy may not have included all the details. We have to take everything into account.
Ginnys eyes narrowed. I knew it that prat! Lying to mum and dad, telling them I attacked George!
Harry tried to restrain her, but she stood up abruptly. I am not a liar! And I dont attack any one without
cause!
Mr. Weasley sighed. Ginny, no one is calling you a liar, but you hit George with a very strong curse.
The room was becoming increasingly tense and Harry started to say something when Ron broke in, Even if
it was a strong curse, thats what was needed he was totally mad last night! Told Harry some really nasty
things before Ginny took care of him. He threw Ginny through my door for Merlins sake!
Mrs. Weasley didnt appear to be convinced and shot back with a glare that would make any one turn to
stone. I have had enough of this why cant you both just be thankful hes alive!
Ginny sat down heavily, slumping into the chair. Her eyes were unfocused and Harry reached towards her
but she shook her head, in what Harry could only interpret to mean leave her alone.
Mr. Weasley saw the effect and halted all arguments. Molly no one is saying they wish George were
gone. I think youre not being fair to Ron and Ginny. I think you and I should talk about this more. I am,
unfortunately, running late and I hope we can keep George from hurting or threatening any one for the time
being.
Mrs. Weasley didnt let it sit for long. He wont hurt any one. Hes a good boy and a good person and just
needs some time to sort things out.
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Mr. Weasley sighed loudly. Molly, please.


She gave him a side-long look but didnt say anything. Ron was staring sadly at his breakfast, while
Hermione had reached out to him, placing a consoling hand on his shoulder.
Ginny had her eyes shut and was not taking anything in. Despite having not eaten anything, Harry leaned
over and whispered, Why dont we go outside or something? A little fresh air might do us both some
good.
For a second Harry thought she had fallen asleep. Her eyes slowly opened, though she didnt respond to
him. She got up and he followed suit, uncertain of what was happening.
She walked towards the kitchen door that led to the garden as footsteps could be heard coming down the
stairs and hallway towards the kitchen. Ginny stopped abruptly and tried to see around Harry. He had
stopped entirely and stood in front of her, purposely not letting her get by him. He would not allow a repeat
of last night and checked in his pocket for his wand.
Percy and George walked into the kitchen sitting down quietly. Mrs. Weasley smiled at George. How are
you feeling this morning, dear? Better?
He didnt answer, instead helping himself to some toast.
Percy chimed in, Were all better after some much needed rest, Im sure.
He looked up abruptly, making eye contact with Harry. Ginny was trying to push Harry out of the way, but
he wouldnt let her by.
Everyone in the room seemed to turn their eyes to George. He could clearly tell and looked up slowly.
Look, Harry, about last night
His voice trailed off and Harry replied, Dont worry about it mate. He took a step forward, being careful
not to let Ginny get past him. But I have to say George, if you ever, ever, hurt Ginny like that again, shell
be the least of your concerns.
George locked his eyes with Harrys and said simply, Fair enough.
Ginny stopped pushing Harry and froze, her hands resting on his back. Mrs. Weasley was boring a hole in
him with her eyes, but he didnt balk. He had to be sure George understood him.
George ignored Harry and resumed eating his toast, as if nothing had happened. Harry could feel Ginny take
her hands off of him and turned quickly to see her red hair disappearing out the door. He gave George one
last look before hurrying after her into the early morning haze.
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Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - Talking Things Out


Author's Notes: Special thanks to my Beta Jessie!
Harry shielded his eyes from the sun, but could just make out Ginnys silhouette against the sun as she
walked quickly towards the garden. Her red hair was glowing in the morning sunlight. Harry wasted no time
and ran after her, slowing down as she stopped near the garden swing, slumping down into it, putting her
head in her hands.
It broke his heart to watch her so completely consumed. He sat down quietly next to her, placing a hand on
her shoulder and squeezed it gently. She turned abruptly towards him, throwing her arms around his neck
tightly and breathing rapidly.
He wrapped one arm around her waist and rubbed his other hand up and down her back, trying to get her to
relax. Hyperventilating would only make her feel worse and he knew she needed to calm down. He could
feel she had finally broken down, tears streaming down her face, soaking into his shirt.
After a few minutes he could feel her nuzzle her face into his neck, her damp skin rubbing against him. He
kissed her on the crown of her head, but didnt say anything. They sat there quietly, Ginny sitting on Harrys
lap, her legs stretched out across the swing.
When she had calmed down, she sat up, letting go of Harry and looking at him. Her expression was a mix of
sorrow and disappointment, but neither seemed directed at Harry. She sighed and turned away from him,
wiping the tears off of her face and looking across the garden. He reached out and took one of her hands in
his and leaned back against the swing, moving it slightly.
She reached her free hand out to steady herself on the swing and gave Harry a half smile. He used his
momentum to keep the swing moving at a slow pace and she pulled closer to him. Is this your idea of a
distraction?
Harry laughed. Well, Im not really sure how else to help, so this seemed like an interesting idea.
She shook her head. I can see now why you wouldnt want to come here were all completely mad!
He squeezed her hand. Not all of you. And who can blame any of us? I mean, these past few years have
been bracing at best.
She nodded but looked absently across the garden. I dont know Harry Im not a fan of excuses. Mum is
right, Ron and I are coping better than George, and we should have more patience, but I just couldnt let
him hurt you.
Harry looked at her sadly. Ginny, you dont have to worry about me I dont know that George would
have done anything.
Ginny shook her head. Harry, you dont understand. She got up abruptly, forcing Harry to stop the swing
quickly. Hes been really off.

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She sighed in a frustrated manner. I dont think Im explaining this well. He isnt just upset you know,
like me or even Ron. Hes furious all of the time.
Harry looked up at her from the swing. Well, can you blame him? I mean, if I had given myself up sooner,
just think how many
He couldnt finish the sentence and Ginny stood in front of him, her arms crossed. I dont want you to even
think about saying what I think youre going to say Harry. I dont. What happened, happened and we cant
change it nor would I want to.
She turned away from him. I know how awful that sounds. I mean, to trade one life for how many? I dont
know I just dont want to think about it
He stood up slowly. Ginny, Im sorry; we probably shouldnt be talking about this.
She turned towards him. Why? Is there a better time? Will there ever be a better time? We might as well,
Harry.
He didnt think arguing with her at the moment would get him anywhere, but he knew he wasnt ready to
talk about this. He didnt have the strength. He cared about Ginny, he wanted her to know, but he couldnt
bring himself to tell her. The internal struggle would have continued had Ginny not reached out and placed a
reassuring hand on Harrys arm, forcing him to focus quickly.
Im sorry I dont mean to pry HarryI think there are things we could or should talk about, but I can
see you may not be ready and thats okay, really. She sounded genuine and Harry felt very grateful for it.
'Im sorry, Ginny, I dont know if Im ready to talk about everything that happened. Ive barely sorted it out
in my own mind to be honest. He smiled at her sheepishly. He felt like his words sounded hollow,
unfounded, but his experiences against Voldemort and his own death, were not something to idly discuss.
She frowned at him. I shouldnt have brought it up like that, Harry, Im sorry. That isnt what I meant. I
know well talk about this if and when you want to.
Harry reached out and pulled her towards him. I promise Ill open up, Im just not there yet, you know?
She welcomed his embrace, hugging him. Sure, Harry, everything doesnt have to be now, we have loads
of time, right?
He laughed a little. I hope so!
The both laughed as they slowly pulled away from one another, he looked at her seriously. Are you okay to
go back inside? We can spend the rest of the day out here, or even some where else if you want.
He wasnt certain if his timing was poor, but she looked towards the house, her eyes saddening at the mere
mention of going back. I cant look at him right now. I just cant.
Harry looked at her, concerned. Ginny, hes your brother, if he needs time thats one thing, but what he did
to you last night was He felt his temper flaring. It was out of control and brutal!

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She turned towards him with a surprised look. Harry! Im fine, really!
He shook his head. He threw you through a door! How can you even pretend like youre fine!
She started to argue but he put his hand up. And dont think I havent noticed you wincing all morning
every time I touch you whatever he did, if he even looks at you funny
She smiled softly at him, waiting patiently for him to stop. He gave her a curious look and she said quietly,
Harry, really, I mean, honestly, Im okay. After the last year at Hogwarts, getting thrown through a door is
an easy ache to get over.
He narrowed his eyes and retorted smartly, Strangely that doesnt make me feel any better about it.
He could feel his body stiffen, his jaw setting and his fists clenching. Ginny walked over to him and took
one of his hands with both of hers, pulling his fingers out of their tightened position. It is really sweet of
you to be so protective, but Im not sure how fair it is for you to want to protect me and then not allow me
to do the same for you.
She had the sweetest smile on her face and Harry leaned down and kissed her, feeling the anger melt away.
He pulled her close, being careful not to grip her left arm too tightly. Every time he kissed her, it felt
amazing; her lips had the most intoxicating flavour. She grabbed his shirt around the collar to pull him
lower, deepening their kiss. He slid his hands off of her arms and wrapped them tightly around her waist,
lifting her up off the ground and backed his way towards the swing. He could feel her eyes shoot open and
felt her hands grip him more tightly for balance. He couldnt help himself and could feel a laugh crossing
his lips as she pulled away from him, pouting slightly. Are you laughing at me?
He smiled and pulled her towards him, reaching up with his lips to catch hers. Never!
She didnt argue as he pulled her across the swing, her body lying on top of his, her hair falling around his
face and their lips joined for what felt like an eternity.
The exhaustion and lack of sleep for both of them finally took hold as Ginny pulled away from him, resting
her head on his chest. He ran his fingers through her hair but couldnt think of anything to say. Every
moment he spent with her made him feel whole.
He didnt want to break their perfect moment, but this was the second time shed mentioned her last year at
Hogwarts and he was concerned about what horrors she had gone through without him. Or what he may
have made worse by his behaviour. He spoke quietly, Ginny, I dont want to push you, and this is
amazing.
He could feel her shift her position, propping herself up with one arm and pushing off of his chest with the
other so she could look him in the eyes. He kept his gaze steady and continued softly, What happened last
year?
Her smile faded slowly. Harry it isnt imp
He didnt let her finish, sitting up abruptly, forcing her to shift her weight further. It is it's important to
me. Youre important to me. And if some one did something to you, I want to know.
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She sighed. It wont change anything. She looked at him sadly, touching his cheek with her hand. It's
okay, Harry Im tough, I can take a lot, and it was worth it to give the Carrows something to really get
upset about.
Harry didnt want her to divert his attention. I saw how bad Neville looked when we got to Hogwarts,
before the battle I can only assume you were
He couldnt bring himself to say it and she pulled herself closer to him. Harry, dont do this to yourself. It's
over. Im fine, Nevilles fine, even Lunas fine. She laughed. Well, Lunas as fine as she can be.
He couldnt look at her, he knew she would have gotten in trouble because of him, but he couldnt imagine
the worst. She was watching him closely, repeating herself, Please, Harry, it's okay.
He shook his head. I want to know I need to know.
He was pleading with her and he pulled her towards him, saying softly, Please.
She wrapped her arms around him. I wont even ask you not to get upset, because something tells me you
cant control that.
He shook his head slightly, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his lap. No, I cant.
She started quietly, It was bad, awful. I never really fully understood why those curses were considered
unforgivable, but to experience them was worse than anything Id ever imagined.
Her eyes seemed to lose focus, as if she were recalling a memory from long ago. The first few times we
were caught, me, Neville or Luna, or even Seamus, it wasnt that bad. Nothing like Umbridge, no scars, but
we all saw a lot of Madam Pomfrey.
She didnt say anything for a few minutes, but Harry wasnt going to let her get away without saying
something more. She sighed. After the Carrows took over the detentions, then we learned very quickly,
should we get caught, well, the price would be slightly more severe.
One time Luna and I had been trying to get into the Room of Requirement and we were out a little later
than we should have been. We both ran, but they managed to find a way to corner us. I didnt think
anything of their threat of detention, and I was a bit defiant, as I sometimes can be.
Harry smiled, though she continued more slowly, When we got to detention, I paid for that defiance.
Dearly. And so did poor Luna. They had us practice Unforgivable Curses on each other. Initially, Luna and
I were able to do it without doing any harm to each other, but the Carrows knew what we were doing, and
they brought in the Inquisitorial Squad. Even without Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle were still as mean and
vicious as ever. They knocked Luna out cold fairly quickly, but they knew you and I were friends, if not
something more. I was lucky, I guess, a few broken ribs and a lot of bruises. But it only got worse from
there.
Her hands had tightened, clenching the fabric of Harrys shirt. He wasnt certain how upset she was getting,
but Harry was suddenly feeling no sorrow that Crabbe had been consumed by his own curse. She continued
more quietly, Im not sure how much more detail you need, but that was the year, just repeat every few
weeks, if not more frequently. We got into a lot of trouble, the old DA, but we didnt stop, not until the
school was virtually emptied. Then we just didnt have the numbers. Though based on all of the descriptions
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school was virtually emptied. Then we just didnt have the numbers. Though based on all of the descriptions
Ive heard, it sounds like Neville did some damage after I never came back from Easter break and poor
Luna got kidnapped.
Harry breathed out a little loudly and Ginny pulled herself away from him a little, to get a better look at
him. Thats really it, Harry.
He didnt argue with her, but leaned forward, kissing her forehead as gently as he could. If I had known
youd have been terrorised while I was gone He couldnt have taken her with him, but he wasnt certain
what would have been better, he finished lamely, Im sorry.
She shook her head. Dont be, Harry. Every time we did what we did, it was in hopes of helping you do
what ultimately needed to be done.
He sighed. That actually makes me feel worse knowing you were basically being punished for being
associated with me.
She pressed her hand firmly on his chest. Harry, you know Snape stopped it when he could, punishing us
with detention with Hagrid, but even he couldnt stay under the Carrows radar. They knew wed done
wrong and believed that Voldemort would want to see us punished, and punished brutally.
He nodded. I know, I know he did what he could, but He was afraid to finish.
He looked up at her, her brown eyes reflecting a sense of remorse. She was so strong, stronger than he
sometimes realised. She smiled down at him. Dont worry about it, Harry, it's over.
He nodded mutely, then reached up to push a tuft of hair out of her face and behind her ear. He leaned up
and kissed her fully on the lips, hoping he was relaying his feelings through that kiss. He could feel her lean
down, placing all her weight on him.
He ran his fingers through her hair, gently pulling her face closer to his. They both slowed their kissing,
breaking away from each other and breathing deeply. He didnt want to let her get away and she appeared to
feel the same way, brushing her lips across his cheek and whispering in his ear. Youre being delectably
sweet but something tells me you didnt touch your breakfast.
He started to argue, but she kissed him again, her hair tickling his face as she pulled on his lower lip before
placing various kisses across his cheek and running her hands down his chest to rest on his stomach, which
had been making slightly audible sounds for some time.
She lingered over him before sitting up slightly; though Harry could barely see her, his mind reeling and his
senses going into over-drive. She had never kissed him like that before and he hoped this wouldnt be a rare
occurrence. She pulled her weight off of him, sitting up on the bench. He got up quickly and pulled close to
her. He leaned in and turned her chin up to him, kissing her again, more deeply. He lost his balance and felt
himself falling on top of her, but grabbed the back of the swing with one hand to steady himself while
Ginny had wrapped her arms around his neck to steady herself.
They both broke away, Ginny laughing at Harrys enthusiasm. I think we probably should do this in less
precarious places.
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He smiled at her as he slowly got up, reaching his hand out to help her up. She looked at him affably and
placed her hand in his. He spontaneously yanked her up towards him, wrapping his arms around her and
kissing her again. He didnt recall what it was like not having his arms around her and was loathe to
experience it now. The morning was warming up slowly and he guessed that even though he wasnt feeling
cold, she probably was. He slowly pulled his lips away from hers, looking down at her still closed eyes. The
sunlight was hitting her perfectly and the smile on her lips was enticing.
Harry felt himself drawn to kiss her again and again, but she opened her eyes and gave him a half smile.
Thank you, Harry. I do feel better now.
He hadnt released her from his embrace but replied shyly, Well, whenever you need cheering up, or
support, or anything, Ill be right here waiting for.
She leaned up, kissing him softly on the lips. You dont know how comforting that is to hear.
Harry was holding her hands firmly in his, wishing to pull her closer, but his stomach betrayed him yet
again and Ginny laughed as she poked him. It sounds like some of your basic urges arent going to get
delayed any further!
He laughed and followed as she walked towards the back door. He held her hand firmly, intertwining his
fingers through hers. He opened the door, looking in first before letting Ginny enter ahead of him. He was
surprised to see no one in the kitchen.
In a house as busy as the Burrow, it was unusual to have no one around. Harry wondered how long they had
been outside, but Ginny pulled him gently towards the table, where there was still some food waiting for
them.
They sat down next to one another, Harry reached across the table, pouring water for both of them and
handing her a plate. She shook her head slightly but he placed the plate in front of her. You hardly ate
anything last night and I know you didnt eat anything this morning.
He gave her his best no-nonsense look and she grinned at him. Fine, but Im really not hungry, Harry.
He placed a couple of pieces of toast on both their plates then walked to the stove to put the kettle on. She
smiled at him. You know, Harry, you could try that with magic.
He smiled. I dont mind doing things with a little more effort
He let his thoughts wander, knowing shed most likely know what he meant. That morning had been bliss,
but looking at her now; her eyes tired, her expression reflecting a mix of frustration and resignation to her
fate, he still wasnt certain they stood on firm ground. She didnt recoil from him, and when they were
together, her eyes were soft and inviting, but as he looked at her now, she had a distant look upon her face.
What are you thinking about? she said quietly, her eyes concentrating on the toast before her.
He gave the kettle one last look before returning to the table. About us.
He said it simply enough but she seemed to be surprised hed said it. She looked away from him. And here
I thought things were clearer.
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Harry sighed. Ginny, Im just worried I dont want to go off track. I just want to be okay with you. If
not better!
She turned her head back towards him, smiling. Im not trying to give you a hard time, Harry. I just need
to think about things, as do you.
He reached out for her hand. When you get that glass-eyed look I get really nervous, like theres some big
bloke waiting around the corner to whisk you away.
He tried to sound light-hearted, but she only half-smiled. No, Harry, no one is waiting for me.
Her tone wasnt accusatory, but Harry could tell she had tried hard not to emphasize the words no one. He
squeezed her hand. Im sure theres at least one person waiting for you.
She didnt respond. The kettle began to whistle and Harry hurried over to it, pouring two cups and bringing
them over to the table. The warmth from the tea was comforting and he was happy to see Ginny drinking
the tea slowly.
They sat quietly for some time, both lost in their own thoughts. Harry had devoured his toast, but was
relieved to see Ginny at least eat one piece before going back to staring off into oblivion.
He watched her quietly. She had wiped her hands on a nearby napkin and continued sipping her tea. She
hadnt noticed Harry watching her and began fiddling with her hair, trying to flatten it slightly as they both
looked dishevelled after being outside.
She must have felt his gaze on her as she turned towards him smiling, but not saying anything. He leaned in
and said quietly. Will we be heading out then? If nothing else, we can always just get out of here for a little
while.
She smiled at him, but he could tell she had already declined his offer. Harry, something tells me I wont
be expected to go to the shop today. And based on that, I also dont think I should be heading out either.
Mum sounded prettyinsistent about that.
Harry nodded and sighed. Hmm, er, well, how do you want to spend the rest of the day then?
He must have been looking suggestively because she started to laugh. Harry! Really, we cant do that all
day!
She gestured towards the door as she placed a hand over his and squeezed it. He smiled at her. Wait, no,
that isnt entirely what I meant! I mean, yeah He could feel the heat rising on his face. Kissing you is
She stopped him, putting her fingers over his lips and laughing. Please, Harry, Im not sure I can handle
any more of this explanation!
He took her fingers and kissed them softly, stopping her laughter instantly. He leaned in closer, kissing her
cheek, whispering, You know, sometimes, Im not that great with words.
Ginny impatiently took his face in her hands and kissed him deeply, stopping Harry from thinking straight
for a few minutes. They both broke apart slowly, Ginny kissing him softly on the cheek. Maybe youre
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for a few minutes. They both broke apart slowly, Ginny kissing him softly on the cheek. Maybe youre
right, we could do this all day.
She was about to lean in and kiss him again, but footsteps announced someones arrival into the kitchen and
they both pulled away, looking towards the door.
Hermione and Ron entered quietly, Hermione saying, We were wondering what happened to you.
Ron interjected far too loudly, But it seems like youve been busy all this time. Thanks for leaving us
with that mess.
Harry noticed Ginnys hand stiffen and he squeezed it gently, saying, Sorry Ron, we all have our
priorities.
Harry could feel Ginny watching the exchange between Ron and himself closely.
Ron and Hermione still stood in the doorway, Ron leaning forward. Is that a fact? The priority I saw didnt
seem to have a lot of talking involved.
Ginnys eyes flashed as she looked Ron in the face. How dare you spy on us!
Ron replied with the same inflection, I wanted to make sure you were okay my mistake, huh?
Ginny shot back, Very much so. Certainly not your first either.
Hermione put her hands up trying to break the confrontation that was erupting. Ginny, Ron didnt mean
that we were watching; were not voyeurs. We were just worried. And you and Harry both left here and
well, we just wanted to make sure you were okay.
Ginny didnt seem convinced, but looked away from Ron. Harry turned to Ron. You know Ron, youd do
yourself a big favour if you just got used to seeing us together. Youre not going to see less of it.
Ron rolled his eyes. Look, Im not saying Im not okay with you two being together, and its been made
clear no one is asking for my approval.
Ginny laughed and shook her head as Ron continued, Come on! We were having a serious argument and
you just up and left!
Ginny turned back to Ron. Right, we were making loads of progress, too. Mum didnt want to hear it. Dad
seemed to get it a bit. But until they catch George, were just stuck.
Harry leaned over kissing her cheek. Were not stuck, just tell me where you want to go and well go.
She smiled at him but shook her head. Harry you know I cant.
Harry didnt want to let it go, but knew Ginny wasnt going to change her mind instantly.
Hermione spoke softly, I dont think waiting is the answer either. We were lucky last night. Ginny, you
were really brilliant.
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Harry nodded his approval, saying quietly, Yeah, my knight in shining armour, right?
Ginnys smile faded as she spoke. Hermione is right, we cant just wait around for him to take another
crack at you, Harry. We cant keep putting you in harms way.
Harry looked at her seriously. No, Im not leaving you here. He added hurriedly, None of you. I know
you think hes acting out because Im here, but I dont want to risk my leaving and of being no help.
Besides wasnt some one trying to tell me were all better off together?
Ron laughed as Hermione waved her hands. Wait a minute youre not blaming me are you, Harry?
She was laughing too, as Harry responded, Sorry, Im staying. Thats it.
Ginny looked sadly over at Hermione and Ron, but neither of them seemed to have any argument to mount.
Harry smiled broadly. Thats settled then. Whats next?
Hermione shook her head. Harry, are you sure?
He didnt hesitate. Absolutely.
Ron shrugged. I dont know whats next. George and Percy are at the shop, they may stay at his flat in
London, but Mum wants them back here for dinner. More waiting.
Hermione and Ron both sat down at the table, looking questioningly at one another. Harry looked at all of
them in turn. Wait, then what have you been doing when I wasnt here?
Ron laughed. Youre looking at it, mate! One of us mooning over you. He looked pointedly at Ginny, who
rolled her eyes. And the other two just enjoying each others company.
Ron reached over and took Hermiones hand in his, and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. She blushed a
little, leaning closer to Ron.
Harry laughed. Wait so it's okay for you to snog Hermione, but when I snog your sister, then it isnt
okay?
Ron grinned. Im so glad you figured that out!
Harry shook his head. I leave you alone for a bit and youre all mad! Though that doesnt make me any less
fond of you lot.
Ginny sighed. If I dont have to go to the shop then Im sure mum will be by to give us chores to do.
Ron grimaced. Im not sure how much more cleaning I can do!
Hermione rolled her eyes. Oh Ron, you were using magic! If you studied more youd
Before she could finish Ron pulled her towards him, kissing her fully on the mouth, stopping any argument
she might think to mount. She was pressing firmly on his chest, but he didnt show any signs of noticing.
She finally relinquished her fight, placing her hands on his upper arms and enjoying an intimate moment
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She finally relinquished her fight, placing her hands on his upper arms and enjoying an intimate moment
with her boyfriend.
Harry looked at Ginny curiously and she leaned over to him, whispering, Theyve been like this all the
time. Arguing and then snogging I think its a system theyve created.
Harry laughed quietly. Well, as long as theyre making up after the arguing I think theyre good!
Ginny sighed. At least I dont have to sit in their presence alone.
She gave him a reassuring look and he shifted in his chair uncomfortably. Ginny watched him for a second,
giving him a questioning look. He stretched his arms up. These chairs arent that comfortable.
Ron and Hermione had finally come up for air, holding onto each other tightly. Ron muttered under his
breath, Im pretty comfortable where I am.
He leaned in and started to kiss Hermiones cheek and jawbone as she flushed fully, whispering softly, Ron

But again she could mount no argument as Ron was keeping her mind occupied by keeping her lips
occupied. Ron pulled her closer, pulling her off of her chair and onto his lap, letting his hands travel up her
back and into her hair.
Ginny looked away pointedly, rolling her eyes and whispering to Harry, May be we should leave them
alone?
Harry nodded and got up, following Ginny out of the kitchen into the sitting room. The Burrow always had
a homey feel and this room was the paramount example of this. The sofas and chairs were well worn, but
had a welcoming feel to them.
Ginny dropped into a nearby sofa and Harry sat down beside her, stretching his arm across the back of the
sofa behind where Ginny was sitting. After watching Ron and Hermione snog like crazy, Harry suddenly
had the urge not to kiss Ginny all over.
Ginny was watching him closely and poked him in the side. What are you smiling about?
Harry laughed. I just realised that if Ron keeps snogging Hermione like that in front of us, Im not sure Ill
be able to feel well enough to snog you!
She laughed, wrapping her arms around his waist and leaning towards him. She whispered in a coquettish
voice, Are you saying watching my brother snog his girlfriend makes me less appealing?
Harry had to catch himself for a second before laughing. Not by a long shot!
He leaned over and kissed her softly on the cheek. I can assure you, you never get less appealing. I just
hope I dont look like that when Im snogging you!
They both laughed and Harry could feel Ginny shift her weight, resting her head against his shoulder.
Neither of them said anything, Harry felt the weight of his eye-lids and could feel his eyes shutting, despite
his desire to stay awake. He set his hand on her hip and inhaled her scent. He thought he would just shut his
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his desire to stay awake. He set his hand on her hip and inhaled her scent. He thought he would just shut his
eyes for a second but felt his head leaning back and the world going very dark but still very warm.
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Chapter 8: Chapter 8 - Happy Musings


Author's Notes: A big thank you to all my lovely Betas - both Ginny Guerra and ginny_weasley_fan53
Harry could feel a firm hand shaking him and a soft voice whispering his name. He opened his eyes slowly
and saw a comforting sight; Ginny was leaning over him and shaking him gently. He could feel her warm
breath on his cheek and he turned his head towards her slowly. Good Morning.
She smiled and laughed. Harry, its evening and you fell asleep a great way to win a girl over Casanova!
He leaned forward and looked out the window to see the world had gone very dark. He rubbed his eyes and
realised he wasnt wearing his glasses. Ginny smiled and handed them to him. You even fell asleep with
your glasses on. I started talking to you and looked up to see you fast asleep. I poked you a few times, but
you just held onto me more tightly.
He shook his head a little to make sure he was awake. Ginny, Im sorry. I didnt realise I was so tired.
She just smiled at him. Its okay Harry, I mean, were all tired. And no ones really getting a lot of sleep.
He smiled sheepishly up at her, getting up slowly. Id better go wash up a bit before trying to snog my way
out of trouble.
She shook her head laughing as he walked away. Youre not in any trouble, Harry! At least not with me...
She said the last part more quietly and Harry strained to hear her as he rounded the corner and bounded up
the stairs.
He threw some cold water on his face, still in utter disbelief that he could fall asleep. He was more surprised
that in his sleeping stupor, he had the sense to hold onto Ginny more tightly. He was also surprised that
neither Hermione nor Ron were present to see his latest romantic blunder, but the last time he saw them,
they wouldnt have noticed if the entire world were falling apart.
He pulled on a heavier sweater, as evening was wearing on, it might feel cooler than this morning. As he
headed down the stairs, he could hear soft, strained voices coming from Mr. and Mrs. Weasleys room. He
didnt want to linger, but it sounded like the discussion from this morning had continued on into the
evening. He felt badly that he was the cause of so many stresses, but continued past the door, knowing there
was little he could do about it.
When he came back to the sitting room he found Ginny sitting on the sofa again, eyeing him cautiously.
Sure youre not going to fall asleep on me again?
He laughed and leaned in kissing her on the cheek. Im wide awake now.
He wrapped his arms around her but she put her hands firmly on his chest. Harry. Her voice was strained
and she said more quietly, George is going to be back may be you should
She didnt complete her sentence, but looked at him worriedly. He sighed and leaned back into the sofa.
Unless youre coming, Im not going.
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She leaned close to him. Harry, youre sweet, but I dont want to see you get hurt!
He could hear the concern in her voice and it took a lot of self control for him not to Apparate on the spot.
He shook his head firmly. Im sorry Ginny; I cant leave you in danger. I just cant; please dont ask me
to.
She didnt say anything at first, but sat closer to him, wrapping her arms around him and whispering, If
anything happens to you because of him, Ill never forgive myself.
Harry smiled down at her. Ginny, I think I can handle George.
Her eyes strayed away from him to the door. Harry, I dont think you understand he really isnt himself.
I
She looked around again and then leaned in, whispering in his ear, Im convinced hes been practicing dark
magic.
He looked at her sceptically. He wouldnt he knows better.
She shook her head. Not right now he doesnt. Had he hit you with anything last night, I dont know what
might have happened!
He kissed her softly on the nose and felt her giggle. You worry too much. Ive been chased by a lot of foul
people in the last year. I have faith that George will come to his senses. Weve always got on together very
well. I know you dont want to hear me agree with your mum, but may be he does just need some time.
He was afraid shed holler at him, but she sat back quietly, looking at him directly. He held her gaze, trying
to re-assure her that they would be fine. He squeezed her arm and rested his forehead against hers. Its
going to be fine, no matter what.
He leaned in and kissed her softly as he heard from behind him, So nice of you to wake up!
Hermione was smiling at the two of them as she sat down in a nearby chair. She turned away, picking up the
Daily Prophet as Ginny extricated herself from Harrys embrace.
He wrapped his arm around her and turned to Hermione. You were able to get away from Ron, then?
Hermione blushed. Im a little surprised youd go this route, Harry.
He looked at her questioningly as Ginny giggled and patted Harry on the knee. I think you should let her
have this round.
Harry still seemed dumbfounded and Hermione sighed. Harry, you just fell asleep in full view of the entire
household with your arms wrapped around your girlfriend. Any kissing Ive done is really nothing
compared to that!
His eyes bolted open as he turned to Ginny. Did anyone else see us?
She smiled and ran her hands up his chest. Just Hermione actually. I shouldnt make you feel so guilty, I
fell asleep for a bit as well, it was rather comfortable.
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fell asleep for a bit as well, it was rather comfortable.


She said the words slowly and he leaned in kissing her again. It was really, really nice. I havent slept that
well in a really long time.
Ginny smiled and kissed him back whispering, Me either.
Hermione rolled her eyes and said, Youre just lucky it was me and not some one else, Harry.
Harry raised his eyebrows at her. Oh come on Hermione, I wasnt doing anything wrong we were just
sleeping! Dont make it into something it wasnt.
He wondered if hed sounded too dismissive, but Ginny nodded. I hate to say it Harry, but Hermione is
right, especially with George around.
Harry sighed. He isnt here now, and even if he were, were not going to stop being together because he
doesnt want us to be happy!
Ginny and Hermione exchanged looks and Harry sighed, loosening his grip on Ginny. I really dont think
we should change something positive in our lives. Anyone who cares about at least one of us should be
happy were happy.
Hermione spoke softly, Harry that isnt the point. And I really dont think you understand the state hes
in. You havent been here. Hes gone a bit mad.
She said the words cautiously and Ginny sighed, leaning against Harry. I keep telling him this but he isnt
listening. She tapped the side of Harrys head playfully. A little too stubborn for your own good.
He smiled and grabbed her hand, kissing her fingers. I think itll pay off for me in the long run.
She smiled. It seems to be working out for you now. She leaned in and kissed him again, resting her head
on his shoulder, letting her body relax against his. Harry was feeling beyond comfortable; having her in his
arms felt normal and right.
Hermione looked around distractedly. As much as I enjoy seeing you enjoying each others company, I
think we should have some sort of plan for when George does get back, to avoid the unpleasantness from
last night.
Harry sighed. Oh come on Hermione why do we need a plan? Just keep clear of him and well be fine.
Hermione looked at Harry sharply. No precautions at all?
He pulled away from Ginny slightly, sitting up on the sofa and looking Hermione straight in the face. Good
point yes, we should. Any ideas?
Hermione gave him a playful smirk. What would you do if I werent around?
Harry laughed and leaned back on the sofa. Ive always said you were the smartest one in our class!

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Ginny pulled closer to Harry again. Too bad we cant go to the shop and get something there George
and Fred had clothes and things with protective charms on them. We could have gotten something for you
there.
Harry smiled and squeezed her arm. It wasnt me I was thinking of getting something for.
Hermione sighed. Either way well need to cast some protective charms, ones that dont need to be uttered
the moment another spell is coming at you.
Harry replied, Is there really such a thing that would be effective against any sort of dark magic?
Hermione looked at him questioningly. Why do you ask?
Ginny looked nervously to Hermione and said quietly, You know why.
Hermione looked slightly shocked. Are you sure?
Ginny looked down. Fairly certain arent you?
Hermione replied, her eyes looking sadly at Ginny, I suspected for a while, but didnt want to say anything.
There were signs; and the wand too.
Ginny looked up. Wait what about the wand? His wand?
Hermione shook her head. Thats the thing, it isnt his wand hes using!
Harry watched the two of them and put his hand up. Are you saying hes using some one elses wand?
Hermione shook her head. Hes using Freds wand.
They all sat there silently, each lost in their own thoughts. Hermione looked blankly out the window, while
Ginny shut her eyes and was leaning heavily on Harry. He was holding one of her hands in his, running his
fingers carelessly across her palm.
Ron stepped into the room. Merlins pants! You lot are hopeless without me around!
They all snapped out of their reveries and turned to Ron, Hermione laughing. Weve been waiting for you
to come entertain us!
Ron sat down in a chair next to Hermiones and put a hand on the arm of her chair. Well, I know you lot
cant expect to have too much fun without me.
Harry shook his head. You just keep believing that, mate.
Ron laughed. I will makes me happy. Well, adds to it.
He looked knowingly at Hermione who leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. You do help me with that
on occasion.

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Ron gave her a half-smile. Just on occasion?


He reached out and pulled her towards him, ignoring the furniture that separated them.
Harry interjected, If theres going to be a repeat of what we saw earlier, Id like to know so Ginny and I
don't have to partake!
Ginny giggled. Yeah, please let us know. I mean, not that I mind, but I dont need to see it.
Ron released his grip on Hermione and turned towards Harry and Ginny. Ill keep all that under
advisement.
Ginny rolled her eyes as Hermione turned back to the Daily Prophet. It seems like the news hasnt changed
much. It is nice not to see such coloured news all the time.
Harry nodded. Yeah, but I dont think I can read about myself anymore, its getting a tad tiresome.
Ginny giggled. Youre lucky, at least all the pictures of you are coming out well.
She playfully tousled his hair as he replied quietly, I dont know, I wouldnt mind not getting so much
attention.
Ron laughed. You know, playing up the hero role a bit isnt going to hurt you!
Harry shook his head. Ill gladly let you, Hermione or Neville take the credit.
Ron sighed. Come on I mean, I know you dont go in for all the glitz and glamour, but seeing yourself
in the paper isnt all bad.
Harry looked at Ron. No, but it gives me more attention than I like, especially the wrong kind of attention. I
dont want any rogue Death Eaters needing any more reason to come after me or any of you!
Ginny took Harrys hand and squeezed it. I cant believe Im going to say this, but youre worrying too
much. The Ministry has rounded up most of them and I doubt their first act would be to come after you!
Theyd know better.
Harry leaned in and brushed his lips across her cheek, eliciting a contented sigh from Ginny as he said
quietly, Werent you the one telling me I shouldnt risk it?
She smiled at him and rested her head next to his on the sofa. Thats one situation I already know is out of
control!
Ron looked questioningly at both of them as Hermione said, You know about George
She left the sentence unfinished and Ron looked at her sadly. No, Ginnys right then, that situation is out of
control.
Harry looked away from all of them, feeling slightly nettled. You all are really worrying too much! He was
out of control last night. He reached a protective arm around Ginny. But I cant imagine him trying
anything like that again.
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anything like that again.


Ron said quietly, He will especially now that he knows you care about Ginny. In a way, neither of you is
safe here.
Ginny looked up suddenly. Oh Ron, you and Harry are really taking this out of context. The only reason he
pushed me is because I was trying to stop him from hurting Harry.
Harry shook his head and said forcefully, Thats the whole reason he hurt you, because of me.
Ginny looked at him seriously. Dont dont do this to yourself, or anyone else here, ok?
She reached out and turned his face to hers, he could feel the heat and anger rising, but her eyes looked at
him softly, he said quietly, Im not doing anything.
She laughed. Youre not? Is that why your hands have tightened into fists?
He looked down and saw she was right, hed clenched his fists, but released them quickly. Even if youre
all right, you cant honestly expect me to hide?
Ginny sighed. No, I know you never would, it wouldnt be in your character.
Hermione interjected, Were back where we were before everyone in danger and no solution.
Ron smiled. Solutions are your department; Harry and I are just the brute force, though now we might be
able to take it easy with Ginny around!
They all laughed as Ginny leaned forward. So youre expecting me to protect you too, Ron?
Ron laughed. If youre already at it, why not?
A slight bustle could be heard from the kitchen as Mrs. Weasley called out, Supper is almost ready!
Ron broke in, About time Ive been hungry all afternoon!
Ginny rolled her eyes. You could try making something yourself, you know?
Ron replied, I could, but its easier to just wait for mum to get things organised. Shes much better at it than
I am.
Hermione shook her head. Cooking spells arent that difficult, getting them right is the hard part.
Ron didnt say anything, most likely due to their time out-doors with only Hermiones cooking. She was a
very capable witch, but even she hadnt mastered cooking. They all got up and headed for the kitchen,
Ginny standing in front of Harry, her eyes pleading. Harry, I
He didnt let her finish, leaning down and kissing her softly before saying quietly, Dont worry.
She didnt say anything, but hugged him quickly before heading into the kitchen. Harry only hoped that
things would go more smoothly at this meal. He hated being a burdensome guest; especially considering
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things would go more smoothly at this meal. He hated being a burdensome guest; especially considering
hed only really distracted the entire household with more worries instead of less. Harry followed Ginny into
the kitchen, hoping that if nothing else, the meal would go by with little cause for concern.
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Chapter 9: Chapter 9 - Strained Silence


Author's Notes: A special thank you to Ginny Guerra and the people that nominated my story for Silver
Trinkets! I don't know how it works here, but I imagine more than one person has to nominate for it to
actually show up in the poll, so - maybe better luck next month :) Thanks and I hope to have the next few
chapters up more quickly! I had to delay the posting to write out more of the story. I'm happy to say I have
the next 12 chapters written, my lovely Beta and I are editing and I think things should progress more
rapidly, posting-wise. Thanks again and I hope you all are enjoying this as I am writing it!
Much to everyones relief, George did not make an appearance during supper, although Mrs. Weasley
frequently checked the family clock. It only displayed George and Percy being at work and nothing more.
The meal passed in relative silence. Ginny and Ron seemed reluctant to say anything in front of their mother
after the mornings argument, while Hermione and Harry exchanged nervous glances but said very little.
Harry wasnt used to having such strained meals at the Burrow, but wasnt overly surprised. The meal ended
with a hot cup of tea and the four retired back to the sitting room, all being sufficiently contented from the
meal.
The silence that had permeated supper continued into the sitting room. Hermione shifted in her chair,
breaking the silence. I guess this means we wont be having any more company tonight.
Her words fell flat and Ron reached out, squeezing her hand before slumping further down into his chair.
Ginny and Harry sat opposite them, but were not sitting as closely as they had been earlier. Harry kept
thinking about the apprehension he felt coming from Ginny, as if she expected something to happen. He felt
like he was on edge, trying to not upset her by being there.
He looked at her sadly, but her eyes were vacant. She must have felt his gaze, because she turned towards
him. Im afraid that doesnt mean more company wont be coming at another time.
Hermione turned slightly, realising that Ginny was acknowledging her statement and continued, That is true
perhaps we should find something to occupy our time that isnt in plain sight of the entire house.
Ron chimed in, I think its still pretty nice out the wind has died down and I dont think we have to
worry about rain or anything.
Ginny got up. Let me go fetch a couple of blankets and then we can head out.
Hermione got up and said, Ill help you; we can leave the boys to find something to entertain us with.
Both girls giggled as they hurried out of the room. Harry got the distinct feeling he should be worried, but
his attention was diverted by Ron. He seemed to be focused on a point in the kitchen and Harry followed his
gaze to the family clock. Percys and Georges settings were now on Home.
He was glad Ginny had not seen it. He braced himself, trying to listen to any noise that might tell where
George had arrived. From the sitting room, Harry could see into the kitchen, but couldnt quite make out the
back door. He caught Rons eye, Ron smiled at him and said, Better than waiting, huh?
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Harry nodded mutely and stared at the clock once more. Ron gestured towards the door. Maybe we should
wait for them outside?
Harry shook his head. No, I think we should stay.
Ron looked apprehensively at the door but nodded. Probably best to have this taken care of head on.
It wasnt really a question, but a statement. Harry knew there was no running; he would have to be
comfortable with George. Mrs. Weasley came bustling down the stairs, muttering something about getting
supper back on, passing Ron and Harry virtually unnoticed.
Ginny and Hermione werent far behind, each carrying a blanket. Hermione headed towards the door,
though Ron cut her off and opened the door for her. Voices could be heard outside and Harry caught
Ginnys eye for a second before taking her hand in his and following Ron and Hermione outside.
The voices came closer and Harry knew they were from George and Percy. The conversation sounded lighthearted. Harry gripped Ginnys hand more firmly. She responded, squeezing his hand reassuringly and
walking briskly forward, towards the voices.
Percy was taller than George, and his red hair, despite the darkness of the evening, could be seen from afar.
George strode forward, Percy following close behind. George called out, Good Evening all couldnt
wait for us could you?
Hermione looked nervous again, but Ron didnt miss a beat. We wanted to eat dinner today, so we thought
waiting wasnt the answer.
George laughed loudly; Harry thought too loudly. George slapped Ron on the back. Thats alright little
brother, well catch up again another time. Where are you lot off to?
Harry felt Ginny step forward, and tried to pull her back, closer towards him. She replied sweetly, Just
enjoying the weather Mum is waiting for you.
George nodded. Ill catch you later then enjoy!
With that he waved them off and headed towards the door. Percy gave Harry a distasteful look and hurried
after George.
Harry froze, but Ginny pulled him forward, saying quietly, Come on.
Ron led them to place where there were a few trees and he and Ron spread the blankets out for both couples
to sit comfortably on the ground. Harry sat down heavily, leaning against a tree trunk. Ginny sat down next
to him, just out of arms length, but Harry reached out and pulled her towards him, wrapping his arm around
her shoulder.
Hermione and Ron had no pretensions, Ron sitting down first and Hermione making herself comfortable in
his arms. The group sat quietly for the rest of the evening and were thankful that there were no incidents
involving George.

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The next few days passed in the same manner, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione spending their time around
the Burrow; Mr. Weasley, George and Percy not being home much and Mrs. Weasley keeping everyone
occupied when they were around.
No one broached the topic of George, nor the incident involving Ginny getting hurt. Harry knew that she
had healed, having taken a few potions to quicken the process, but anytime George was around, Harry could
feel Ginny become tense and apprehensive. Ron seemed to fall back into a state of acceptance about
Georges behaviour. Harry would have labelled it as complacency, save for knowing his friend so well, and
therefore knowing Ron was really just waiting for the next incident to occur.
After another week of staying in the Burrow, Harry felt he wouldnt mind a change of venue and wanted to
broach the subject with Ginny. He had a feeling she wouldnt be up for it, so he approached Hermione in
her hopes of helping him. In one of the rare instances when Mrs. Weasley had Ron and Ginny occupied
elsewhere, Harry found himself alone with Hermione. She was scanning the Daily Prophet as Harry spoke
up, Er, Hermione, can I ask you something?
She looked up distractedly. Sure, Harry.
He replied, Weve been hanging out here a lot.
She replied, Yeah, we have.
Her matter-of-fact tone caught him off guard. Do you think anyone would be interested in going out and
doing something?
She put the paper down and turned to look at him. Harry, I really dont know if thats a good idea.
He looked at her dejectedly. I just feel like were not doing anything here. Not that I need to do stuff all the
time, but
She shook her head. Harry, were just being supportive of Ron and Ginny. We shouldnt be doing anything
else!
He leaned back. I just feel like if we did something different, it would get everyone feeling better, you
know?
She picked the paper back up. Harry, you said youd stay, you cant just get bored and leave.
He shot back, Im not bored I just dont like that Im being such a burden.
She had gone back to reading the paper. Stop thinking like that Harry. Lets just both focus on who were
here for. She continued then more quietly, Though I should be back home soon Mum and Dad sent me
a letter, the old-fashioned, Muggle way. They send the letters to Mr. Weasley at the Ministry and he brings
them home. I think they expect me to come back soon. I just hope we dont have another row.
She looked nervous and Harry didnt feel like arguing with her nor could he think of anything consoling to
say, but leaned back dejectedly against the sofa. They never talked about it again, nor brought it up in front
of Ron or Ginny.
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After Harrys third week at the Burrow had elapsed, Georges pleasantness had deteriorated and his backhanded comments could be heard on a daily basis, mostly with his exchanges with Ginny and Harry. Harry
had taken it good-naturedly, but was offended on Ginnys behalf. Ginny gave her mother pointed looks
whenever she was around, but George was untouchable in Mollys eyes.
Mrs. Weasley had found various chores for the group to do. She made a point to not allow them to use
magic, as Ginny was still not of age and should not be using magic. It wouldnt be fair to let the others use
magic and not her. Ron had made repeated protests about the chores being done more quickly with magic,
but his logic fell on deaf ears.
Hermione had worked hard trying to create a combination spell or charm of protection, but had only
determined that it would have to be linked to an object and be strong, magically speaking. During one of
their many days of chores in the garden, Hermione situated herself closer to Harry.
She whispered, in hopes of not being heard by Mrs. Weasley, who was at the time instructing Ron how to
properly pull the weeds out of the ground, Harry, I think Ive come up with something that might work.
He turned towards her quickly, closing the distance between them and situating himself on the ground near
her, so as to look like he was busy with a particularly tough weed. He said quietly, I knew youd come
through!
She continued working. Dont get too excited, like I said before, we need something really magically
strong finding something like that wont be easy, or cheap. But with a few combination charms, anything
could be used as a protective shield. Though, with dark magic in mind, I dont know the extent of the
protection.
He looked away from her distractedly. How do we know if something is magically strong?
She bent down, reaching for a nearby weed. That could prove hard. I mean, sometimes you can feel
something is magically strong. Well, like the Time-Turner, I mean, it wasnt just a necklace, it had a feeling
to it. I dont think Im explaining this well
Harry pulled a weed out and fell over. Ginny was sitting on the other side of the garden and Harry could see
her laughing at him before her mother descended on her for not paying more attention to her work. Harry
said quietly, I think that makes sense, I mean, weve all been around things like that at Hogwarts.
She seemed to be thinking about it and Harry continued more quietly, What if I said I knew about
something like that, what kind of charm would we use? And how difficult would it be?
Hermione gave Harry a curious side-long glance. I imagine wed have to do a bit more research.
Depending on the object, it could require a different sort of charm on it. What is it you have?
Harry knew he couldnt side-step an inquisitive Hermione. I found something, and it just sort of drew me
towards it, you know?
Hermione looked worried. Harry, things like that shouldnt be taken lightly. Do you have it?
He nodded. Yeah, in my bag upstairs.
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She didnt seem appeased. Youve had it all this time? Has it affected you in any way?
He shook his head. No, I dont think so. I mean, it just made me feel warm, sort of.
She looked at him sceptically. Well, Im sure we should all have a good look at it before
He cut her off, No, I bought it for He looked across the garden and could see Ginny fighting with a
particularly difficult gnome.
He was about to get up and help her when Hermione said rather loudly, Oh. Then more quietly, In that
case I guess Ill be looking at it.
He sighed and sat back down, watching Ginny give the gnome a solid kick before returning to her work.
Would you? You know Im not that great with research.
Hermione shook her head. If youre going to work for the Ministry, you might want to brush up on those
skills.
They stared at each other for a moment before Hermione looked away. He said quietly, I dont think I can
go back to Hogwarts.
She replied, I know I think that last year taught us a lot. We still have to sit for our NEWTs or
equivalent, though. Kingsley cant just let us waltz in.
Harry sighed and went back to weeding. He made it sound like that when I spoke to him. For all three of
us.
Hermione shook her head. I think Id like to talk to him directly before making that assumption. She
continued more quietly, I didnt realise you and Ginny were at the point of buying what I can only imagine
is jewellery.
Harry was certain he was turning red and looked down quickly, trying to appear like he was busy with his
shoe. Eryou know
He stuttered and stammered for a bit while Hermione roared with laughter. Oh Harry! I hope Ginny knows
she has her hands full!
Harry looked up to see Ginny and Ron looking at both him and Hermione quizzically, but neither coming
closer, knowing Mrs. Weasley was most likely watching the whole group. Hermione covered her mouth
quickly, but her laughter could be heard from clear across the garden. Ron finally yelled out, Either share it
with us or stop laughing so loud!
This only made Hermione laugh harder, tears spilling down her cheeks. She finally got a hold of herself and
grabbed Harrys arm for support. Her laughing slowed down and she gasped for breath. And you make fun
of Ron and I! Harry you shouldnt hold onto something like that and not give it to a girl!
Harry looked at her confused. Why?
She replied tartly, Think about it if Ron bought me a ring or necklace, but didnt give it to me, and I
found it, what do you think Id think?
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found it, what do you think Id think?


Harry replied matter-of-factly, That he bought it for you and hadnt given it to you yet.
Hermione shook her head, giggling. Harry! No! If you dont give a girl a gift, she might wonder who
youre saving it for!
Harry gave her a tired look. You two exhaust me sometimes. How can you even think like that!
Hermione sighed, getting hold of herself entirely. Just think about it dont ask Ginny, but just think
about it. It does make sense.
He replied, Oh come on, are you saying shed question my intentions? I know Ginny and I are on firmer
ground than that!
She shook her head. Harry, youre missing the point entirely! You dont want to give her any reason to
doubt you!
Harry laughed. Yeah, Ill keep all my other girlfriends at bay then!
Hermione replied, Well, you might want to give it to me when were not all together. I dont want Ron to
get any crazy ideas either.
Harry and Hermione spent the rest of their time outside discussing various charms and spells theyd used in
the past and trying to figure out which ones might or might not work. Hermione had a wealth of knowledge
and Harry was always astounded she could keep so much information in her head, for which he was also
very thankful. By the end of the day Hermione had narrowed her search down to a handful of spells and
charms and said she could easily work them out.
Ron and Ginny had been pulled away from the garden early which left Harry and Hermione to finish up and
then head back inside. After both of them had taken warm baths, Harry brought the ring and locket to
Hermione.
Hermione exclaimed, Wow, Harry, you are really serious.
She had a look of awe on her face and Harry felt pride welling up for himself and his actions towards
Ginny. I am very serious. And when I saw it at Diagon Alley, I thought it would be perfect.
They had sat down in the sitting room, listening intently for any sign of Ron or Ginny. Hermione sat on the
edge of the sofa with a pair of books open nearby. Harry sat next to her, his eyes shut and leaned back
heavily against the sofa. He had forgotten how hard manual labour could be. Hermione busied herself
looking at the locket before finally shutting the books and handing the locket and ring back to Harry.
She gave him a very knowing look. And you have no idea what drew you to this locket?
He opened his eyes quickly and looked at her curiously. No, I just felt drawn to it you know, like the
sword of Gryffindor. I felt like it belonged to me.
She smirked. Youre not far off it is something of Godric Gryffindors, but something you may not
expect. It was a family heirloom, and its said that it holds great magical power for people that possess
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expect. It was a family heirloom, and its said that it holds great magical power for people that possess
Gryffindor qualities.
She continued more quietly, And apparently it has quite a few romantic implications surrounding it. I read
quickly, but something about there being great love between the bearer and receiver.
He nodded. Yeah, the witch at the curio shop said something similar to me but I didnt think she was
serious.
She nudged Harry. You should probably go put that away. Ill try to think of the right charm or spell to
enhance the power of the locket, but I think you should be the one to actually empower it, since it is your
feelings for Ginny that are really fuelling all of this.
He nodded absently and headed upstairs quickly as he heard the front door open behind him. He wasnt
ready to let anyone else know about the locket. He took one last look at the coat of arms that now seemed to
be more familiar, before stowing both the ring and locket in his bag. He could hear Rons voice heading up
the stairs and emerged from the room just as Ron had reached the landing below his room.
Ron was speaking quietly to Ginny, Im not disagreeing with you, but there really isnt anything we can do
about it.
She sighed loudly. Dont you get tired of being helpless?
Ron must have made some sort of gesture because Ginny continued more quickly, You dont have to
always have that defeatist attitude! We could do something to change things, ever thought of that?
Ron replied, Of course, but if it does more harm then good? Why dont you just leave it alone. Hell come
around.
Harry wasnt certain who he could be, but hoped it wasnt him. Ginny continued more quietly, He has to
but I cantwe just need to figure something out.
He could hear Rons footsteps coming up the stairs. Why dont you just let things happen and stop thinking
so much about them?
Harry suddenly realised his predicament and retreated back to Rons room, thinking maybe he could pretend
hed fallen asleep. He didnt want Ron to think hed been eavesdropping. He turned the lights off with a
flick of his wand and lay face down on his bed. The door opened quickly and Ron called out, Oi! Youre
not allowed to sleep if the rest of us have to be awake!
Harry tried to feign drowsiness and shook his head. Im tired! Your mum really worked us hard today!
Ron nodded, grabbing some clean clothes. Yeah, I thought shed calm down, but with George around less,
it seems she wants to get more out of us.
He gestured towards the bathroom and headed out the door, leaving Harry to think about what hed heard.
Harry got up and headed back down the stairs, giving Hermione a questioning look. She shook her head and
went back to scanning the charms books near her. Harry looked over and saw the kitchen well-lit and
figured this meant someone was there that shouldnt hear their conversation. He sat down at the other end of
the sofa and waited patiently for Ginny and Ron to come downstairs.
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the sofa and waited patiently for Ginny and Ron to come downstairs.
Ginny came down first, smelling positively enchanting. Harry felt himself having a hard time not grabbing
her and snogging her senseless. With the kitchen so close he knew he couldnt do anything that wouldnt be
frowned upon. He also wasnt hoping to encourage George into anymore cheap shots at Ginny.
She sat down next to him and he leaned over, wrapped his arms around her shoulders and nuzzled her neck
with his face. She giggled and leaned over towards him. Ive missed you, too.
She took his face in her hands and kissed him softly before letting go. She sat up straight but Harry couldnt
take his eyes off of her. She laughed and turned his head away from her face. He laughed but didnt say
anything.
Ron joined them shortly thereafter and sat down across from Hermione. You two really lucked out! Mum
had us running circles almost!
Ginny laughed. It wasnt that bad, just busy work, really. I mean, nothing we couldnt have done more
quickly!
Ron replied, Yeah, but if we did it faster shed just find something else for us to do!
Mrs. Weasley called out from the kitchen, Ginny, Hermione! Come set the table for supper!
Hermione got up quickly, Ron getting up also, giving her a quick hug before watching her go into the
kitchen. Ginny had to wrench herself out of Harrys grasp, but gave him a sweet smile before following
Hermione.
Ron and Harry compared stories for the days activities, with Ron alluding to hoping theyd have some
more time to do less over the next few days. Harry didnt think that was likely, but he did wonder if theyd
ever have any time to themselves.
Ron said in a hushed voice, So, were you able to convince Hermione to come to the Ministry next year?
Harry looked at him. She sounds firm about going back. I think Ive had my fill.
Ron laughed. No, Im with you! I dont really want to go back either! But Hermione isnt sure about
Kingsleys offer. Neither am I, but Im thinking about helping George out. Percy cant be around forever,
right?
Ron sounded worried about Percys meddling, but Harry just smiled. I just dont know what more wed
learn sitting in classes? I mean, yeah, we probably will have to take our NEWTs, but after the last year, I
just dont feel like Im in the school mode, you know?
Ron nodded. We just have to convince Hermione not to go back though honestly, I cant imagine her
not wanting to study!
Harry laughed. All we have to do is show her the wealth of knowledge at the Ministry that shell have
access to and shell probably jump at the chance to be there!

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Hermione poked her head into the sitting room. Suppers almost ready; you both better get in here.
She sounded nervous. Ron and Harry exchanged confused looks, but as they walked in they could see why.
George was sitting on the counter with a devilish smirk on his face. He looked pointedly at Harry. Ah, and
the guest of honour.
Ginny walked around the table towards Harry, but Harry nudged Ron between them and said, Hello
George.
Ron blocked Ginnys progress by pulling a chair out for her to sit in. She gave both Ron and Harry an
exasperated look before sitting down heavily watching the exchange nervously.
Mrs. Weasley broke in, Lets all sit down your father should be home soon, and then we can have a
proper meal!
Ron and Harry exchanged places so Harry could sit down next to Ginny and Ron could sit next to
Hermione. Hermione moved across the table, forcing Ron to follow her. George sat just opposite Harry and
Ginny and never took his eyes off of Harry. Harry didnt flinch, but looked right back at him, unabashed.
Ginny reached over and put her hand over Harrys, breaking his concentration. She gave him a nervous,
warning look and he smiled, trying to reassure her. The meal was spent in relative silence, Harry didnt
want to say or do anything that might encourage Georges erratic behaviour. He also wanted to spare Ginny
needless worrying. That did not work out as planned, as Ginny hardly touched her food until Harry nudged
her several times.
Mr. Weasley had arrived as Hermione and Ginny set the table and told them all about the latest happenings
at the Ministry of Magic. He also told Ron, Hermione and Harry that Kingsley needed to speak with each of
them in turns. George openly scoffed at this, but no one paid any mind to his outburst.
Mrs. Weasley commented that they should all get that done as soon as possible. All of them exchanged
restrained, excited looks, but Ginny did not share their enthusiasm. Her mother hadnt said whether Ginny
would be joining them or not. Harry couldnt imagine her not going with them, but knew if he had to, hed
let Ron and Hermione go without him and hed take Ginny another day.
Harry and Ron helped clean the table and George feigned to help, but did his best to get in Harrys way.
This forced Harry to resort to using magic to move dishes and plates while steering clear of George. George
gave Harry one solid shove before bidding everyone good night and leaving for London.
There was a collective sigh of relief. Neither Ron nor Ginny said anything as Mrs. Weasley gushed over
Georges visit. Mr. Weasley was not as docile.
He said quietly, though everyone could hear him, Molly you cant honestly tell me you didnt see any of
that?
She waved him off. Hes just having a bit of fun, Im sure no one took offence.
Ginny muttered under her breath, I know I did.
Thankfully Mrs. Weasley did not hear her. She continued, Its so nice to see him and he appears to be doing
better now that hes at the shop more.
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better now that hes at the shop more.


Mr. Weasley let out a frustrated sigh. Molly, you agreed wed talk about this again and here we are again.
Im sorry, but I dont agree with you. Hes only fallen back into his dismissive, cruel attitude. The same one
he exhibited right after Freds death.
Saying Freds name seemed to catch Mrs. Weasley off-guard. He just misses Fred, thats all.
Mr. Weasley said, Molly, I think you need to take George on a brief holiday, maybe see someone that can
help him deal with what hes feeling.
She shook her head but he continued more firmly, Im quite through discussing this. We are one
catastrophe away from putting George in Azkaban!
Everyone was watching the exchange closely, but at the mention of Azkaban, Ron dropped the utensils he
was carrying and the room turned towards him. Mrs. Weasley looked dejected. He does deserve a break
from working so hard.
Mr. Weasley sighed. Good, think of someplace nice to take him and you can both help each other. He
turned to the others. You four should all come to the Ministry tomorrow or the day after. Get that talk with
Kingsley out of the way and then you can know what your plans will be this fall.
Ginny looked at her father questioningly. I dont think I need to go, Dad. Hes not going to have anything
to tell me!
Mr. Weasley smiled. No, dear, you need to get out of the house all of you do. Youve been cooped up
here too long. Just enjoy yourselves; the chores will be here when you get back.
Ginny looked nervously at Harry but he just smiled, putting his arm around her shoulders. We deserve a bit
of a break, you included.
Mrs. Weasley seemed pleased with this new arrangement and bustled out of the room to pack, though she
didnt know where she was packing for. Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny finished cleaning up the kitchen
and sat down at the table after Mr. Weasley left.
Ron smiled. Finally! A break something to do besides cleaning up! Really, how can this house need so
much work I feel like weve cleaned it 10 times over!
Hermione laughed. There was a point where I was convinced your mother was creating messes when we
werent looking!
They all laughed and Ginny said quietly, Sounds like all of you have a lot of choices in front of you.
You too after the war, everyone isnt expected to do what is normal, Harry replied.
She shook her head. I think I really need another year at Hogwarts. No matter what you lot decide, I think
Ill be back next fall. She reached across the table and squeezed Harrys hand. I dont expect you to come
back to school with me. Dont get me wrong, Id love to have you there, but I dont know if you really want
to be there.
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Harry sighed, relieved. Thanks. I mean, I never thought youd tell me I had to go but I dont want to
disappoint you either.
She smiled softly and Ron coughed loudly. I really dont want to hear this I mean really.
But Hermione just beamed. Aw, Ron, they have been apart for so long you should just be happy theyre
happy!
Ron laughed. Hey, Im happy but one wrong step Potter! He waved his fist jovially and they all
laughed.
Harry smiled. I know, I know but I told you, Im not messing around!
Ginny laughed, He knows! I dont know why youre always giving Harry such a hard time; hes your best
mate!
Ron laughed. I think Im your older brother first! And since none of our brothers are here now, its up to me
to keep Harry in line!
Ginnys patience was clearly wearing thin, she gave Ron a cold stare. If they were here, something tells me
youd still be at it.
Harry chimed in, hoping to break Ginnys glare, Its okay I mean, it isnt, but I can take it. Besides, I can
always give him a hard time on Hermiones behalf.
Hermione blushed. Harry! I dont think we need that.
Harry laughed. Its only fair!
Ginny smiled. That would be interesting to see.
Ron sighed. Fine, I dont want any trouble, or interference. But remember, Im keeping an eye on you!
Harry laughed and Ginny rolled her eyes. Hermione said, Either way I think we should plan what time we
want to leave tomorrow.
Ron and Harry exchanged amused glances, if not for Hermione, there would never be any well laid plans.
And Hermione continued, If we leave here by eight tomorrow morning that should give us more than
enough
Ron put his hands up stopping her. Woman, are you mad? That early? Were supposed to be taking it easy
not driving ourselves harder!
Hermione looked to Harry for the tie-breaking vote, but he turned to Ginny and smiled. Ginny laughed.
Dont look at me I dont want or need to get involved. Just tell me when I need to be ready.
Harry laughed. Fine but dont say no one asked you! Look Ron, Hermione has a point. I mean, the
sooner we go the sooner we can enjoy ourselves, right?
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Ron grumbled something as Hermione leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. Oh come on getting up
early will be worth it!
Hermione smiled coquettishly. I wonder what hell have to say. She pondered for a second then looked at
Harry. What did he tell you?
Harry sighed. He said even though we hadnt taken our NEWTs, we could still come and work for the
Ministry. I told him I wasnt sure what I wanted to do. Peace and quiet have been awfully nice.
He glanced over at Ginny, who smiled reassuringly and added, It has been nice,
Harry frowned; Ginny seemed despondent about the whole trip. He couldnt imagine what it would feel like
to be left behind again. But in this case it was truly her choice; Fred and George left during their final years
as well and were successful. Hermione had started to go on about the best route to the Ministry and then
towards Diagon Alley and Harry felt himself tuning her out.
Back to index

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Chapter 10: Chapter 10 - Revelations and Conclusions


Author's Notes: Big thanks to my wonderful Beta Ginny - you rock my flannel socks! I should have
chapter 11 uploaded soon as well - glad some of you are enjoying the story :)
Hermione woke them all up early the next morning. Mrs. Weasley had packed, but had yet to meet with
George about the trip. She had laid out a supple breakfast for the group. Ron was still groggy when Harry
jostled him awake. Ginny and Hermione were waiting for both of them when Harry entered the kitchen.
Harry gave Ginny a reassuring smile and sat down next to her as Hermione gave him an inquisitive look. Is
Ron still not up?
Harry shook his head. Hes getting up slowly but surely.
Hermione let out a frustrated sigh. Harry tried not to laugh as Ginny poured some pumpkin juice for him.
Ginny gave him a radiant smile and said, So, when are we going to ditch these two?
Harry laughed softly and leaned over kissing Ginnys cheek. Just say the word and well Apparate
someplace nice.
Hermione gave them a tired look. Oh come on you two, we havent even left yet!
Ron came meandering into the kitchen a little later and Hermione gave him a disapproving look. Ron, you
should have been ready already!
Ron just grunted and stuffed his face with some bacon and eggs and nodded absently.
Harry laughed. You might want to wake up a little before we Floo to the Ministry of Magic, mate! Cant
have you mumbling and ending up somewhere else!
Ron finished eating while the other three finished their tea. They headed to the grate as Mrs. Weasley gave
them advice and told them to have a good time. Hermione went first followed by Ron, then Ginny and
finally Harry.
They had all dressed in dark robes and emerged from the chimney in the centre of the main corridor in the
Ministry of Magic. Mr. Weasley was near the entrance and waved them through. They all put their wands
through the security check and headed towards Mr. Weasley.
He greeted them warmly and led them down the same corridor Harry had been down over a month ago.
Ginny walked in front with her father while Ron and Hermione walked behind them, Harry walking in the
back trying to keep a low profile. He had dressed in nicer robes on this second trip to the Ministry of Magic,
but could still feel dozens and dozens of eyes on him.
Harry would have liked to walk openly with Ginny, as her boyfriend, but he got the distinct feeling she
didnt want the attention that went with that title right now. Ron and Hermione were not being overly
together, as Harry might consider it, but if they walked any closer, Harry thought they might melt into one
another. He tried not to be offended that Ginny preferred to walk with her father over him, but couldnt
blame her for not wanting to be in a constant spotlight. Though, the more he thought about it, the more he
realised he would never be able to escape the incessant attention.
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realised he would never be able to escape the incessant attention.


He had stopped by the once animated fountain and looked at the combination of magical creatures. He
hoped Kingsley would do a better job of bringing the magical world together, but wondered, with so many
varying factions, how one local, magical government could bring that much change. He hadnt realised he
had dawdled for so long, as Ron and Hermione had stopped entirely and Ginny had walked back, running
her hand up his arm to his shoulder and whispering into his ear, What has got you so distracted?
He smiled and leaned in. Just thinking. He would have kissed her right there, but could feel her reluctance
and settled on taking her hand in his and following Mr. Weasley up the corridor and the lift to Kingsleys
office. Ginny didnt recoil from his touch, but also seemed to keep her gaze down, away from the many onlookers taking note of this new revelation.
Mr. Weasley didnt take them to Kingsleys office, but to a conference room down the hall from it. Quite a
few witches and wizards were milling around, trying to catch a glimpse of the trio and Harry could feel
Ginny shift uncomfortably beside him. He squeezed her hand reassuringly and pulled her closer to him.
The conference room had a large table in the centre and twelve high back chairs around it. The chairs pulled
themselves back from the table as everyone entered and Kingsley came in behind them, greeting each of
them in turn and motioned for them to sit down around the table.
A magical teapot floated around the table, pouring cups of tea. A sugar and milk tray followed close behind.
Harry wondered how many charms would be required to get this to work in such unison, but didnt have
long to think on it as Kingsley cleared his throat loudly and any one that was not part of the meeting left.
Mr. Weasley gave Kingsley a nod and walked out of the room.
Kingsley smiled broadly at all of them. Thank you so much for coming down to talk to me. I know youve
all been trying to get back to some level of normalcy in your lives, but I want to make sure you all know
what opportunities are out there. Im sorry I didnt get to speak with any of you sooner.
He nodded towards Ron and Hermione when he said this and continued, As Harry hopefully mentioned to
you, the magical community is greatly in your debt. And although you have foregone your final year at
Hogwarts, your actions over the past year have proven, beyond a doubt, that you are resourceful, intelligent
people. As you also may know, the N.E.W.T.s are required to work here at the Ministry of Magic.
They hung on his every word, Ginny leaning further back in her chair, knowing fully that Kingsley was not
making any offers to her. As far as Harry could tell, she seemed interested, but not jealous of what was
being said.
Kingsley went on, I have offered Harry the opportunity to come to the Ministry this fall instead of
reporting to Hogwarts, and I extend that same offer to both Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger. We have a
wealth of knowledge here and will make sure you are up to par before sending any of you out in the field.
Hermione let out an audible gasp, while Harry and Ron smiled at her reaction. Kingsley chuckled at her
reaction. Come now, Ms. Granger, you cant honestly think that I would let resources like the three of you
get away so easily!
She laughed nervously. Well, I mean I know Im flattered of course! I guess I never really expected to
receive any special treatment for anything we did, it was just
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receive any special treatment for anything we did, it was just


She faltered and looked across the table. Harry chimed in quietly, It was the right thing to do; though I still
wonder about the cost.
Kingsley shook his head. There will always be losses in war. Everyone that participated knew the danger,
but it was the right thing to do. The right thing to do for the magical community at large.
Hermione said quietly, I dont think any of us could have really guessed the cost. But allowing Voldemort
to exist would have been worse.
She laid a reassuring hand on Rons hand and he nodded. I wish there was more we could have done to
stop the He stopped and looked at Ginny, who nodded and he continued, I just wish we could have
stopped so many people from being hurt.
Kingsley spoke up, I think all of you should not hold yourselves responsible for what occurred in your
quest to rid the world of Voldemort. He had to be destroyed and his followers will be held responsible for
their actions.
Ginny spoke up, You make it sound as if they are still around I thought the Ministry had caught them
all?
Kingsley nodded. Rather astute of you, Ms. Weasley. There was another reason I called you all here. I
know Arthur and Molly have been keeping you occupied but there has been an ulterior motive to that.
He continued more slowly, We have reason to believe that there are a handful of Death Eaters that have
escaped detection and are running around, at large, plotting.
Harry chanced a quick glance at Ginny before asking, Plotting what? They cant bring him back from the
dead!
Kingsley shook his head. No, of course not. Even with the all the dark magic at their fingertips that isnt
possible. But what is possible, he slowed down, seeming to choose his words carefully, is exacting
revenge on those who destroyed their beloved master.
Hermione exclaimed, Theyre after Harry!
Kingsley shook his head. Actually, were not sure who the target is. And that is why I included you, Ms.
Weasley. It could be any one of you. Thanks to the Daily Prophet, the details of Harrys success have been
shared, and all of you play a part in some form or another.
Ron leaned over, having said little up to this point. You mean, after everything weve done. All the horrors
weve faced, there are people that are still being allowed to roam around freely, plotting to kill us!
Harry, Ginny and Hermione all turned their heads sharply, not expecting such an outburst from Ron, but his
eyes were set and he stared openly in disgust at Kingsley.
Kingsley put his hands up. Its not like were helping them track you down, that isnt the case at all. Please
understand; were doing as much as we can, but the closer you stay to the Ministry, the more protection we
can offer.
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can offer.
Ron didnt seem convinced. Protection? Why dont you just hunt the blighters down and be rid of them!
Isnt there somewhere to put them, even though Azkaban isnt what it used to be?
Kingsley sighed and leaned back. There is still a lot of work we need to do before things can have any
semblance of order. He could see Rons outburst had shaken everyones attention and he continued more
quietly, Look, I understand your frustration. I want nothing more than all of you to go on living the quiet
lives you deserve after all youve done. But I can only do what is within my power. And this is it: come
work here at the Ministry and we can teach you how to protect yourselves and the ones you care about.
Harry looked across the table at Ron. Kingsley, I know we all appreciate the offer. Hermiones right, Im
beyond flattered, but there are Death Eaters out there, hunting us as we speak? And youve only just now
decided that it would be a good time to let us know?
Kingsley wasnt to be intimidated by any of them. In my position what would you have done? Thanked you
for your help and then left you un-guarded? Molly and Arthur are very powerful. The charms around the
Burrow have kept you unnoticed by the general public, but you cant stay there forever.
Harry shook his head. This is big I mean, youre basically saying that were marked. That people are out
there right now looking to kill us.
Kingsley replied, Did you think there would be no repercussions for your actions? I know youre all
smarter than that.
Ron crossed his arms but didnt say anything. Hermione put a hand on his arm and turned to Kingsley. I
dont think we came to that conclusion exactly. I mean, yes, of course, not everyone would be thrilled with
what we did. But I think we were under the impression that theyd be caught. I really think were all going
to need some time to figure out whats best.
Harry nodded. Yeah, I mean, I thought I knew, but this puts things in a different perspective.
Kingsley nodded. I dont want to rush you, but with Molly leaving for a short while, the protections around
the Burrow may not be as strong. Im sure I dont need to educate any of you on charms, the strength of
such spells is not just in the person who cast them, and their physical presence enhances its effectiveness.
Everyone exchanged worried glances and Kingsley continued, Please, just think about what you want to do
and well do what we can to make sure you go with the most safety we can ensure.
They all nodded but sat mutely at the table. Everyone was lost in his or her own thoughts and hardly noticed
when Mr. Weasley came back in the room. Kingsley got up and had a brief conversation with him out of
earshot.
Harry leaned across the table towards Ron and Hermione. I guess no good deed goes un-punished, right?
Hermione looked extra nervous and Ron put a reassuring arm around her shoulders. Dont worry were
safe.
She nodded. For now
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She didnt need to complete the sentence and Harry turned to Ginny. I think Rons right, well be fine. We
defeated Voldemort; I think we can handle some of his Death Eaters.
Hermione looked up. No, Harry, you defeated Voldemort. Some of us just got tortured at the hands of his
Death Eaters.
Her expression was unmistakable and Harry was taken aback. Ginny looked from Hermione to Ron to Harry
with a quizzical look on her face. Ron gave Harry a nasty look before turning his attention entirely to
Hermione. Harry leaned forward and said quietly, Im sorry, you know I can bewell, I dont think I have
a solid excuse.
Hermione turned away from Harry and Ginny and said dismissively, Its fine, Harry.
Harry sat back dejectedly and whispered to Ginny, Hermione was tortured
Ginny rolled her eyes. Yeah, I got that, thanks Harry. Could you vague that up for me?
Hermione laughed. I can see why you two work so well together. She took a deep breath. When we were
captured at Malfoys Manour, Bellatrixwell, she wanted information. She thought Id be the easiest one to
get it from.
Ron rubbed Hermiones back. Little did she know she was going after a really tough witch!
Hermione gave Ron a restrained smile. Anyway, it's not important.
Harry didnt say anything but nodded mutely. Ginny was shocked. Merlins pants! What were all of you
doing out there?
Ron sighed. You know, saving the world, that sort of thing.
Ginny giggled and Hermione laughing, said, Yeah, so I guess youre right Harry if we handled all that,
whats one more death threat?
Harry smiled nervously at her and said, You know Ron and I would never let that happen again. I thought
Ron was going to break that door down trying to get to you.
This redeemed Harry in Rons eyes, who smiled reassuringly. Hermione gave Ron a playful punch. You
were that worried?
Ginny sighed and rolled her eyes. You had to encourage them, didnt you?
Harry laughed and leaned towards her. I cant have those two upset with me! Besides, it doesnt hurt us,
does it?
He squeezed her hand and she squeezed his back. His eyes caught Mr. Weasley behind Ginny and turned
his attention to him.
Mr. Weasley stepped forward. I dont think Kingsley intended to frighten any of you, but you cant wait on
this decision too much longer without leaving yourselves open to something dangerous.
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this decision too much longer without leaving yourselves open to something dangerous.
Harry sighed and stood up. Im sure were aware of how dangerous things can be Mr. Weasley, but I dont
think any of us really thought wed be in mortal danger so quickly!
Ron laughed. We should have at least gotten a reprieve of a few months!
Mr. Weasley smiled. After everything all of you have done, I find it hard to believe that you wont be able
to handle yourselves. At the same time, use caution while youre out today.
He turned to Harry, looking more serious than usual. Harry, youre quite recognisable, I hope you will be
particularly careful.
Harry nodded and pulled Ginnys chair out so she could get up more easily. Mr. Weasley, well be back in
the Burrow before dark.
Mr. Weasley seemed appeased by this. Thats good Molly and I feel youll all be safest at home. What
are your plans then?
Harry looked to Ginny, who turned to Hermione. Hermione just laughed. So I am expected to plan? They
all laughed as she continued, I thought wed just have lunch in London, may be stop through Diagon Alley,
then head back to the Burrow.
Everyone nodded in agreement, all of them still consumed by the startling words Kingsley had shared.
Harry wanted to believe that he knew it couldnt be this easy; though easy is a relative term and after
spending a year hunting Voldemort down, he would have liked to believe hed earned peace and quiet, but
that was clearly not meant to be. He felt more sad that those he cared the most about were, once again,
being affected negatively because of him.
Mr. Weasley nodded. Thats good you all be careful now! Ginny walked over and gave her father a
quick hug before Mr. Weasley left.
Kingsley stood in the doorway. If youll allow me to escort you all out. He paused as they all stood. I
dont mean to alarm any of you, but as Arthur said, caution and vigilance is what has kept all of you safe
and will continue to. I hope that I will hear some positive responses to my offer from all of you, but if not, I
wish you the best.
Harry shook Kingsleys hand. Thank you for everything. And we will be careful. Weve had a decent
amount of practice!
Kingsley nodded and opened the door. As Im sure youve heard before, it is better to be in a group, rather
than alone, but even that could prove false. Just be aware of your surroundings and youll all be fine.
After the last year, Harry wasnt surprised to see that everyone seemed to have a glazed over look at this
warning, even Ginny, which made Harry wonder about her description of her sixth year at Hogwarts yet
again.
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Chapter 11: Chapter 11 - Curiosities Abound


Author's Notes: Thanks again to everyone reading and my lovely Beta Ginny Guerra - thanks hun!
Kingsley began taking them towards the main entrance, but not before offering to give them a brief tour of
the Ministry of Magic. They had been here a few times before; all of them having been there when they
stormed the Ministry three years before and less than a year ago Ron, Hermione and Harry had been there
trying to steal back a Horcrux from Dolores Umbridge. Kingsley took special note to show them what was,
by far, the most massive library any of them had seen.
The walls were lined with shelves and shelves of books. There was one witch present who clearly was the
librarian. She nodded politely at Kingsley before going back to organising books and documents into their
proper places. As with the rest of the Ministry of Magic, there seemed to be no end to the depths of
knowledge that was held within the library walls. Rows of file cabinets flanked the librarians desk and there
was a form that a nearby wizard was filling out and the information he had requested popped up in front of
the file cabinets.
The library was richly decorated. The walls were painted a deep red and the paintings on the wall had
gilded, ornate frames. There were busts along each row heading and the inscriptions underneath were of
famous wizards. Each of their memorable achievements was detailed underneath their respective busts.
Hermione showed no restraint walking through the rows and rows of books while Kingsley explained the
various sections in passing detail. Ron and Harry exchanged amused glances as they watched Hermione
drag Ginny to look over different books. Ginny tried to show some interest, but studying was paramount to
Hermione alone.
Kingsley motioned to various objects describing the magical significance, but only Hermione was able to
take it all in. Every previous Minister of Magic had a painting on display and some took note of Harry.
Cornelius Fudge looked directly at him and said quietly, Thank you.
Harry was taken aback by the comment, but turned to see Hermione gesturing animatedly towards him. He
sighed and walked over to her while Kingsley had grabbed Rons and Ginnys attention. Hermione had a
book open and said, I think Ive found something I mean, something you wanted.
She said it with a very knowing, Hermione-ish look. He looked at the book and it had a host of protection
charms and how to bind them to various magical objects. Hermione looked at him smugly. I knew Id be
able to find something. Im so glad Kingsley showed us the library!
Harry smiled. Yeah, Ron and I figured if he did, this would convince you not to go back to Hogwarts this
fall.
Hermione gave him a strange look. Well, I dont know, Harry. We never actually finished school, but there
is such a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips if I were here.
She seemed to be thinking about it and Harry looked around for a scrap of parchment or something to write
upon, but Hermione pulled one out of her bag along with a quill, and started scribbling the information
down. She shook her head. I really dont know how you and Ron expect to get along without me!
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Harry squeezed her shoulder. I think Ron was planning on keeping you around, but I thought you already
knew that.
She blushed and laughed. That isnt quite what I meant!
Kingsley had noticed Harrys and Hermiones absence and walked over. Youve found some interesting
texts, Ms. Granger?
She nodded sweetly and placed the book back. This is truly amazing. I feel like every book I could ever
need is here at my beck and call.
Kingsley nodded. Almost literally. When you begin working here, Hermione raised her eyebrows at his
insinuation that she would take the job. You will be privy to all kinds of information; the best part being
that once youre here for a bit, youll learn how to isolate what you need more quickly.
Hermione could have stayed there all day, but much to everyone elses relief, Kingsley motioned them out
the door and said, Id like to show you one other place, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,
which I think will interest the rest of you more, perhaps.
They ascended a staircase and arrived at a sign marked Auror Office in dark black against a pair of
wooden double doors. Kingsley smiled. Normally you would need to be a member of the Department of
Magical Law Enforcement, but as youre with me, we can all enter.
He knocked on the door once and both doors creaked open. The hallway beyond was dimly lit and there was
no sign of life. Ginny leaned closer to Harry as Kingsley ushered them in. Hermione showed little restraint
and walked in curiously with Ron following close behind. Harry smiled at Ginny and took her hand as they
walked in.
Kingsley led them down the hallway. Many of these offices belonged to various Aurors, but things have
been a bit difficult recruiting-wise and weve lost quite a few valuable members of our staff. I am hoping to
introduce you to one Auror who I know should be in.
The hallway started to adjust lighting automatically, giving them more light as they proceeded down the
hallway. The door they stopped in front of had a plaque to one side. Printed on the plaque in white letters
was the name Alphard Gaunt. Kingsley knocked on the door and a muffled voice replied, Come in.
Harry didnt know what to expect, but he could tell the others were as apprehensive as he was. The office
was much larger than the door indicated it would be. The office had a simple set-up. There was a filing
cabinet to one side of the door and a coat rack on the other. A small credenza was near the coat rack and
there was a tea kettle whistling softly.
The desk across the door was made of a rich mahogany and the man behind it sat up abruptly. Minister
you should have told me you were bringing guests!
Harry couldnt quite tell if this man was pleased to see him, but he moved around the desk to greet them all.
Kingsley shook his hand warmly. May I present to you, Alphard, he motioned to the four, Harry Potter,
Hermione Granger and Ron and Ginny Weasely.

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They each shook his hand in turn. Harry noticed he had a rather firm but distant handshake. Alphard was a
tall man, rather thin, his clothes seemed to be hanging off of him, not unlike Remus Lupins used to. He
wore heavy brown-coloured robes and his shoes had scuffs on them. Harry noticed his eyes were a rather
dark brown, almost so dark he couldnt discern the colour.
Alphard smiled politely at all of them and turned his attention back to Harry and then, to Harrys surprise,
Ginny. He seemed increasingly put off by the visit, but Kingsley smiled genuinely. Im not keeping you
from anything, am I?
Alphard shook his head. No, of course not, Minister, just a lot of paperwork to get through. Processing a
lot of documentation now that weve rounded so many Death Eaters up. Its a pleasure to meet all of you.
He gave Harry an overly warm smile. The famous Harry Potter.
Harry smiled awkwardly. Its a pleasure to meet you, sir.
He cut any other pleasantries off and said, I had hoped I would get to meet you, I dont mean to put you on
the spot, but having dealt with a lot of people who dont quite care for you, how does it feel?
Harry tried not to balk openly at his candour, but said confidently, Spectacular.
It was a simple answer and Hermione gave Harry a curious look and said quietly, How long have you been
with the Ministry, Mr. Gaunt?
Alphard had a strange look on his face and then smiled broadly. That was the last thing I expected you to
say. He continued, ignoring Hermiones comment, and walked around the office to his desk, shuffling
through various pieces of paper.
Hermione looked nervously at Kingsley who just smiled. Alphard emerged from his desk with a tattered
news clipping. Harry looked at it sceptically and tried to discern what it said; Alphard handed it to him. I
can finally stop holding onto this.
Harry didnt reach his hand out, but curiosity had gotten the better of Ginny and she reached out and gave a
gasp. Harry! This is you!
Harry pulled his gaze from Alphard to look at what Ginny was holding. Indeed it was a news article of him,
as a child, with the now repetitive headline, The Boy Who Lived!
Harry sighed. Why are you giving this to me? Why did you even keep it?
Alphard looked hard at Hermione. Ive been here since the first war. I was here when the Ministry
investigated your parents death. I was there and this has fuelled me. All my life, like many wizards I
suppose, have wanted nothing more than to see Voldemort destroyed, brought to bear the burden he brought
upon himself. And here you stand, triumphant again.
His demeanour had changed dramatically in those short minutes and Ron edged forward. You dont look
nearly old enough to have worked here that long.
He shook his head. I assure you I am much older than I might appear. I am sure Ms. Granger can give you
great instruction on preserving yourself magically.
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Hermione turned, surprised at his comment. Im sorry, Id know about what?


He smiled a wicked half-smile, Ive been following your exploits for a long time, Harry. You and your
closest friends have been of the greatest interest. I never dared intercede, but I always hoped youll
succeed.
Harry replied quietly, Did you know my parents?
He shook his head. Never had the pleasure.
Kingsley stepped forward. I dont want to take up any of your time, but I thought it would convince you
that there are good people here at the Ministry. There are those here fighting the good fight for a long time.
It wont be the same Ministry it was and I hope I can count on all of you in the very near future.
Alphard was brimming but restrained himself, going back to his subdued mannerisms. Of course, Minister.
Harry looked curiously at him again and smiled, gesturing towards the door. Thank you for having us.
The words had come out slowly, and Ron was out the door before any more could be said. Alphard watched
them walk down the hallway and said nothing. No one said anything as Kingsley led them down the dark
hallway and out the main entrance of the Ministry of Magic. He re-asserted his offer and they all nodded
politely, bidding him farewell and thanking him for his courtesy.
Back to index

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Chapter 12: Chapter 12 - Suspicions Around Us


Author's Notes: Special thanks to my Beta Ginny and all the people leaving reviews and noms - thanks so
much - I really hope people are enjoying this story :)
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione emerged from the Ministry of Magic and decided they would have lunch
at the Leaky Cauldron before enjoying their freedom for one day. Hermione prattled on about the library and
Ron smiled genuinely, taking her hand in his and listening with some attentive qualities, while also keeping
an eye on his best mate and sister. Ginny had gripped Harrys hand tightly when they left the Ministry and
had not relinquished her hold on him. Harry had noticed people looking in their direction, but Ginny seemed
happily impervious to the attention they were both receiving.
When they had finally made their way to the Leaky Cauldron and found a table in the far back corner,
Hermione looked seriously at everyone. Well, I guess this answers why your mother has been keeping us
occupied all this time.
Ron nodded. Yeah, and here I thought she was just being eccentric!
Ginny looked nervously across the table. I dont think I ever expected to be in more danger now than
before!
Harry leaned over, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. Oh come on, Ginny, youre one of the most
powerful witches I know. I dont think you have to worry about anything. He leaned over and kissed her
softly on the cheek. Besides, Im always here to protect you.
She smiled up at him. You cant always be around Harry. She squeezed his hand and continued,
especially if you plan to work in London and I plan to go back to Hogwarts.
He looked away. I know. I
He left the sentence unfinished and Hermione chimed in, Im sure we can find a way to make sure youre
safe if none of us are around.
Ginny bristled a little. You lot need to worry about yourselves too. Were all in the same danger, save
Harry, who is, she smiled, in more danger than usual.
Harry replied, Well, it sounded like Kingsley was insinuating that if we worked at the Ministry, wed be
privy to extra protection.
Ginny shook her head. Harry, that still leaves a lot of room for error human error. Just one Imperius
curse and youre in for it!
Ron laughed. You think the Ministry of Magic hasnt thought about that already?
Ginny didnt laugh. No, she shot back, I dont know what they might have planed for him, but based on
previous experiences, Im not going to take things so lightly when it concerns people I care about.

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Ron looked away and sighed. Hermione stated matter-of-factly, I know their pasttrack record has not
been the best, but with Kingsley in charge, Im feeling more confident about it.
Harry put his hands up. Look, I think we all know that our safety is of concern, so we need to think of the
best way to make sure we all feel confident about it.
Ginny and Ron werent looking at each other and Harry exchanged a nervous glance with Hermione. She
said quietly, Harry and I have been researching this a bit.
Ginny gave Harry a quizzical look while Ron commented, You two been finding time to yourselves, then?
The look on Hermiones face froze both Harry and Ginny, while Ron seemed unaware of his comments
effect. Hermione punched him hard in the arm. What are you trying to say?
Ron looked confused and rubbed his arm. Nothing! I mean, Im just surprised youd found time to
yourselves.
He tried to make it sound nonchalant, but Hermione wasnt buying it in the least. She gave him a hard glare
and said, I dont care for what youre insinuating, Ronald.
Ginny looked nervously at Harry. Obviously she was not concerned about his faithfulness. Ron sighed
apologetically. I didnt mean anything!
He tried to lean over and snog his way out of trouble, but Hermione would have none of that. She sat up
rigidly and sipped her drink, looking no one in the eye.
Ginny shook her head at Ron and asked, So, what did you two discover?
Harry looked nervously at Hermione. Well, we know that you can put protective charms on objects, like the
ones at the shop, but those will only hold for a short period of time, and wont repel everything. But after
some research, Hermione found that if you use an item that is already magically strong, then it will enhance
the protection of that item.
The topic of research perked Hermiones interest and she chimed in, The only thing is wed need to find
magical items that would be strong enough to repel what I can only imagine would be rather strong curses.
Ron had given up trying to console Hermione and said, Yeah, and I expect that sort of thing wont be easy
to come by either!
Harry shook his head. No, but I am sure we can figure something out. If nothing else, we can use those
coins from the DA to pass messages along about how were all doing.
Hermione nodded. That should be easy enough. I did get some great ideas while we were in the library at
the Ministry of Magic we just need to test them. How does someone feel about being cursed to test
them?
Ron, in an effort to redeem himself, said quietly, You can curse me Im not afraid.
Ginny rolled her eyes and giggled into her hand as Harry grinned back at her. Hermione still seemed upset
and said, I wouldnt be so fearless if I were you.
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and said, I wouldnt be so fearless if I were you.


Hermione looked past him as their food was served and they all stopped talking, having not eaten anything
all day since breakfast. As they ate, Harry noticed more and more eyes staring, whispered conversations and
pointing in their direction. Harry wasnt certain if anyone else had noticed, but the rest of them seemed
oblivious to the attention they were receiving.
When the plates had been cleared and everyone had had their fill, Harry took a tentative glance towards the
door and said, So, think its about time to get going?
Hermione nodded. I wouldnt mind spending a little more time out here, but I think you might be right.
She seemed to be implying something, but Harry wasnt sure what. Ginny spoke up, I guess we have to
decide soon about everything. Im not sure how much better I feel about all of this. Is it better to know or
not know?
Harry got up and pulled Ginnys chair out so she could get out more comfortably. He smiled. As long as
youre going back to Hogwarts, I know I feel better.
Hermione had gotten up in a hurry and Ron looked sheepishly at Harry, realising he should have shown
some level of chivalry as he was already in trouble. Hermione gestured towards the door. The room seemed
to quiet down as they got up and Harry wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. He had an
unsettling feeling and was sure being outdoors would ease his worry. He took Ginnys hand in his and led
her quickly out of the Leaky Cauldron. Chairs could be heard scrapping across the floor and Harry felt his
pace quicken until they were out in the open. He stopped in the still sunlight street, with Ginny breathing
quickly beside him and giving him a curious look.
Hermione burst through the door a few seconds later. Was there any reason we were racing towards the
door?
Harry leaned close to her. I just had this feeling, like someone was watching us.
Ron sauntered out of the Leaky Cauldron. Harry, everyone was watching us, but you looked a bit mental
back there.
Harry gave him an exasperated look before catching sight of a red head bobbing towards them. He hoped it
was Percy, but knowing their luck, he knew it would be George.
Ginny followed Harrys gaze and turned to him. I think youre worrying too much, Harry. He shook his
head and she continued, I mean, yes, we should be careful, but not to the point where were putting
ourselves in more danger.
Well, hello you lot! came the voice of George Weasley. He didnt sound all that pleased to see any of
them out of the Burrow.
Harry grimaced, waiting for some strange awkwardness to fall upon them. Ron stepped forward, in front of
Hermione and Ginny. He smiled at his older brother. How goes the business today, George?
George ruffled Rons hair. Fantastic! Im glad ickle Ginny helped out when she could, but I feel better
being back here!
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being back here!


Ginny gave him a dirty look for saying ickle, but did not say anything otherwise. Ron continued, Thats
brilliant! I mean, things going well is always good, right?
George nodded, You lot want to come by and check things out?
Harry had no intentions of going, but knew he had little choice in the matter. Hermione spoke up, Sure, we
havent been by in a long time; it might be nice to see what new products youve developedthatll be
banned from Hogwarts. She said the last part in an undertone and Harry and Ginny caught her comment
and laughed.
George led the way down the street, Ron keeping pace with Georges long strides. Hermione, Ginny and
Harry stayed a few paces behind, Harry having a firm hold on Ginnys hand.
Hermione said in a hushed tone, You had better keep your eyes open, Harry.
He nodded while Ginny looked between the two of them. What are you two talking about?
Harry exchanged another strained look with Hermione before inclining his head towards George, saying
nothing else. Ginny shook her head. Oh you two were in public. I doubt hed be foolish enough to try
something with so many eyes watching and following us!
Hermione waved her hand and said, Of all of us Ginny, I would think youd be the most wary!
Harry nodded and chimed in, He hurt you, Ginny. She scoffed and shook her head but Harry stopped in
the middle of the street saying rather forcefully, Even if you dont care, I do.
She leaned up towards him and whispered, Youre sweet, Harry, but hes still my brother.
She brushed her lips against his before pulling him forward, Hermione watched, smiling at how quickly
Harry fell into step with Ginny.
Hermione whispered, Wow, Harry, she really has you undercontrol.
Harry gave her a dirty look but Ginny just laughed. Oh come on Hermione, like Ron
But she didnt dare finish the sentence, Hermiones expression looking wrathful. She said in an even tone, I
dont want to hear about dear Ronald anytime soon, thank you.
Harry grimaced and squeezed Ginnys hand. Ginny sighed. Have it your own way. I still think you two
wont be happy unless youre at each others throats!
The short walk had finally ceased and they stood in front of Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. Ron held the door
open for them, not daring to look Hermione in the face.
They followed George in, Harry trying to seem innocuous. There were far fewer customers in the store than
the last time Harry had been there and the lighting was limited, as if there were darkness pervading from
within the store. George walked around the counter and started pulling various boxes out. Harry didnt pay
much attention, pulling Ginny back, away from George and Ron, who was very interested in the new wares
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much attention, pulling Ginny back, away from George and Ron, who was very interested in the new wares
George had created.
Percy emerged from the back room, giving Harry and Ginny a strange, restrained look before standing next
to George and listening to the explanation of some new item. Hermione looked around the store briefly
before standing next to Ginny. Harry was leaning against the wall while Ginny watched Percy with great
concentration. She turned abruptly. Harry, Hermione, does something seem out of place here?
Before they responded she put her hand up. I mean, something more than the usual that we already know.
Hermione laughed. I figured thats what you meant! And yes, Percy is actingstrangely. She added
quickly, Not that I know him well, but from what Ive seen. Well, but we havent seen him in a while, and
he never really talks to us.
Ginny nodded absently. I dont know, hes my big brother, hes never
She shook her head and turned to Harry, who said quietly, Well, dealing with George alone cant be easy.
All of us agree, hes been difficult.
Ginny nodded and replied quietly, Yeah, but Percy has always treated me a certain waywell, I guess he
knows Im not a kid anymore. She looked away exasperated. I dont know.
Harry leaned over taking Ginnys hand in his. If youre worried, why dont you talk to him?
She furrowed her brow and looked at Percy for a few moments before turning back to Harry. Youre
probably right. She sighed. I just dont know what to say.
Harry kissed her softly on the side of the head. Im sure youll think of something.
Hermione sighed. I was hoping to visit Flourish and Blotts today, do you think we can get out of here and
do that quickly?
Harry looked nervously at Ginny, but she just shrugged. I dont see why not.
She let go of Harrys hand and took a few steps forward calling out, Hey, were going to pop into Flourish
and Blotts well be right back.
George hardly acknowledged the comment and Ron gave Hermione a nervous look, but she turned away
from him and headed towards the door. Ginny smiled at Harry, one of those radiant smiles she had. Harry
found himself drawn to her more quickly than usual, reaching his hand out to take hers and follow Hermione
out the door. Hermione was waiting for them outside and didnt say anything, but headed down the street
towards the book shop, taking little note of Harry and Ginny.
Harry wondered at the latest row between Hermione and Ron, but having Ginny beside him, with him, made
many other things in his world fall away. He didnt know if they had sorted everything that needed sorting,
but things seemed easy between them. Unspoken words bridging what might normally have been a gap.
He couldnt help but notice the attention they were receiving as they followed Hermione; more so because
Ginny seemed to be holding his hand more tightly, and the crowd seemed to be closing in around them.
Hermione had stopped in front of them, unaware of the crowd or ignoring it, and waited for them to catch
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Hermione had stopped in front of them, unaware of the crowd or ignoring it, and waited for them to catch
up.
She waved her hand. If you two would walk a bit faster, then we might be able to make more progress!
Ginny laughed. Hermione, I swear you have all the books in the world already! Do you really need more?
Hermione gave her a sly smile. You can never have too many books.
They approached the book shop and Harry noticed Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour had re-opened.
Hed frequented it some years ago. He wasnt inclined to read any more books and turned to Ginny. Why
dont we wait for Hermione out here?
Hermione had already entered Flourish and Blotts and had taken no notice of Harry nor Ginny following
her. Ginny followed Harrys gaze and said, Well, Im not really hungry, but something sweet might be
nice.
They walked towards the outdoor seating; Ginny picked a table close to the edge of the seating area so they
could see Hermione more easily when she emerged with her many books. Harry smiled and said, What
kind of ice cream do you want me to get?
She smiled and laughed. Youre going to get it then?
He replied, Of course! This could be construed as our first official date since, so I want to do it right!
She laughed again. Im really not that hungry, Harry. I can share with you, if you dont mind.
He smiled. Of course I dont mind!
He gave her one last look before hurrying inside. He felt the crowd part in front of him and the owner
recognised him at once. He smiled and offered Harry the usual, which Harry gladly took, thanking him
profusely for his generosity.
He came back outside with a rather sizable sundae in his hands and a pair of spoons sticking out of the
centre. Ginny looked at him wide-eyed. Merlins beard! I didnt realise you were so hungry!
Harry laughed. Oh come on, ice cream is good for you.
Ginny looked at him incredulously. How do you figure?
Harry fidgeted with his spoon for a second, waiting for her to take the first bite. Well, it certainly tastes
good.
She gave him a half-smile and replied, That was never in question. She took a small helping, leaving the
spoon in her mouth for a few seconds. It is very good, though.
Harry pulled his chair closer to hers and said, Always. Ice cream is always good. He smiled, watching the
crowd pass. Back in my third year, back when everyone was afraid Sirius was after me, I spent a lot of
time here. Im just glad theres a better view now.
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He gave her a sly look and she blushed to her roots. This is certainly much more pleasant company than
where we were, said Ginny.
Harry nodded and helped himself to more ice cream, saying quietly. Im glad to hear you say that. I was
getting worried about George and Percy. Im really surprised to see Percy so friendly with George.
He left his thought unfinished and she nodded. It is a bit strange. I mean, they have been spending a lot of
time together, but never this much before. If I didnt know better, Id say Percy is almost following George
around.
Harry said quietly, As if he has no will of his own.
Ginny almost dropped her spoon. You dont think?
He reached over and squeezed her hand. I dont know what to think.
She leaned close to him and shut her eyes tightly as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She said
breathlessly, Its like something out of my nightmares. Everything has turned upside down.
Harry rubbed her back gently. Its going to be ok. You know that, right?
She didnt look at him and he leaned in, turning her face to his and kissing her softly. It is going to be ok.
Youll see. This trouble will be just a memory in no time.
She sighed and plunged her spoon into the ice cream, giving him a sceptical look and whispering, How can
you be so bloody optimistic?
He couldnt help himself and laughed. Do you kiss your boyfriend with that mouth?
Her frown disappeared and she laughed. Harry!
But he stopped her from continuing, dropping his spoon into the dish and kissing her fully on the lips. She
wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, almost having him fall off of his chair. He laughed
and wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her into his lap, to the clear astonishment of the crowd
around them.
Harry hadnt noticed the eyes, but Ginny must have, she turned her head and buried her face into his
shoulder laughing softly. Harry, youve really become quiteaffectionate.
He smiled into her hair. Can you blame me? I have the most gorgeous witch in my arms and Im supposed
to act properly?
She pulled away from him, sitting back in her chair, putting her hands on his face. Youre really making me
miss you when you havent been around.
He gave her a curious look. But Im right here.
She shook her head. Im sorry, I shouldnt have said
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He gave her a sad look and said quietly, Dont.


Ginny put her hand over his. I just know Im not going to see you for a while. And Im already missing
you!
He laughed quietly and kissed her on the cheek. Well, you do have the option to spend more time with me.
She shook her head. Harry! You know I dont know enough to start working. I really need to go back.
Even though Im going to miss you terribly, I need to go back. Are you sure you dont want to come back?
She smiled innocently and he smiled back at her. It is really, really hard to say no to that smile. I just
dont think I can, no matter how much I want to be with you.
She sighed and turned back to the ice cream. Well, I do believe someone told me recently that distance
makes the heart grow fonder.
He laughed and drew nearer to her. I knew I should never have told you that!
He dipped his spoon into the dish and smiled at Ginny. Youre not going to have me eat this entire dish, are
you?
He tried to feed Ginny, but she drew away quickly. Harry what are you doing?
He smiled sheepishly. Trying to be romantic
She placed her hands on the table and he sat closer to her, slowly placing the spoon into her mouth and
watching her take the ice cream off of it. She gave him a wicked smile and took the spoon from him. She
shivered slightly. Did you really need to put that much ice cream in it?
She reached for the napkin but he leaned in and kissed her around the lips, licking the excess ice cream off
of her face. He could feel her shift her weight to return the kiss, but he found himself happily amused with
her lips and would not let her do so.
She finally grabbed his face and pulled him into a deep kiss, stopping him from teasing her further. Harry
didnt realise how distracting their public displays of affection were until a voice called out sternly, If you
must keep doing that, you might as well just find a room.
Ginny pulled herself away from Harrys lips, though he continued nuzzling her neck. Ginny exclaimed,
Hermione! We didnt think youd be done so quickly!
Hermione shook her head. You two I mean really have you even been apart that long?
Harry finally pulled himself away from Ginny and gave Hermione a tired look. I just know Im not going
to see my girl for a while once she goes back to Hogwarts. And I didnt see her all year I need to make
up on lost time!
Hermione laughed. Looks like youre doing it all in the same hour be careful not to go too far.
She said the words slowly and Harry looked nervously at Ginny. Hermione, we would neverI mean
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He was getting increasingly anxious as he spoke and Ginny put a consoling hand on Harrys arm and
smiled. Harry and I are not ready for something that serious, Hermione.
Hermione hefted a large bag onto the table and took a stout book out, pushing it across the table towards
Harry. You might find this of particular interest.
He looked at the cover and knew she was right. The book read Protective Charms and Protective Objects.
He opened the book and began to scan the table of contents.
Ginny looked questioningly at Hermione. You two act as if you have at least one magical item to put a
protective charm on.
Hermione didnt say anything and Harry turned to look at Ginny. Well, were trying to figure out if
anything we have will work.
Ginny raised her eyebrows. So, you do have something?
Harry put the book down and turned his body completely to face her. Yes, I do. And I want to make sure
itll work.
She didnt look appeased. You keep a stash of magical items, do you?
He felt slightly nettled and replied, No, I dont but I saw something that I thought would be perfect and
I got it.
Ginny looked taken aback. Perfect?
She looked at Hermione, but Hermione did not look up, clearly wanting no part of this argument. Ginny
turned to Harry. Im not trying to argue with you, but you seem overly secretive.
Harry smiled softly at her. Ginny, if it works then youll be the first to know. Even if it doesnt work He
leaned in close and kissed her softly. Please dont worry the only magical objects I plan on buying are
for you.
She smiled at him and put her hand on his. Im sorry, I didnt mean to pry, Harry.
He shook his head. Nothing to apologise for, love.
Hermiones eyes shot open but she went back to her book quickly. Ginny looked at him sharply and leaned
in whispering, Are we at terms of endearment?
He shook his head for a second, not realising what hed said and then nodded. Id have been doing it
sooner, but I didnt know if you had a preference.
She gave him a nervous smile. Ive never had any one call me love other than one of my aunts, so this is
all new territory for me.
She kissed him on the cheek, lingering for a second before whispering, But it is music to my ears coming
off of those lips.
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And then she was kissing him, like she had kissed him in her room for his birthday the previous year; her
one hand pulling his face towards her, the other hand grasping his shirt for balance. He wrapped one arm
around her waist and ran his free hand into her luxurious hair.
Hermione cleared her throat loudly after what seemed to Harry like hours wrapped in Ginnys arms. Ginny
laughed into Harrys neck as he turned to face Hermione. She shook her head and said, Are you two finally
through? We promised Mr. Weasley wed be home before dark.
Ginny held onto Harry for a bit longer, enjoying being close to him. He kept his grip on her waist and
whispered, Wed better enjoy this while we can. But I dont think Hermione will stand for much more.
Ginny pulled away from Harry and looked over at Hermione. Sorry about that, Hermione. Ive been
missing my boyfriend a lot lately.
Hermione rolled her eyes. Well, if you two have had your fill, wed best go get Ronald and head back to
the Burrow.
Ginny nudged Harry at Hermiones tone and they both got up. Harry wrapped his arm around Ginnys
shoulders and took Ginnys hand in his, intertwining their fingers. Hermione collected her books and lead
the way back towards Georges shop.
Harry couldnt believe the day had started out so strained, but seemed to be ending on an amazing high
note. Even though he knew his days with Ginny were now numbered, that didnt mean they werent going to
enjoy each others company, or be able to spend more time together. And with Hermiones help, he would
be able to give Ginny something to show her how much he cared about her.
As they neared the store, Hermione slowed to a stop and Ginny had to grab Harry to stop him from running
into her. It appeared as if some sort of commotion was breaking out and Harry let go of Ginny to investigate.
Ginny grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards them, a worried look crossing her face. Harry stopped
and looked at her before standing in front of her and Hermione, watching the situation escalate.
Percy was shouting at Ron, Why do you even come around here! You and Ginny are so busy being happy
you dont see anything at all, do you?
Ginny shifted her weight but Harry squeezed her hand reassuringly. Ron shot back, Youre mental you are!
Youve hardly been around and youre going to give me lessons on how to be a member of our family! Sod
off!
Ron turned to walk away but Percy, despite being shorter than Ron, grabbed him and pushed him against
the wall. Harry, Ginny and Hermione had seen enough and walked forward. Ron didnt seem at all
intimidated and pushed Percy back roughly, throwing him to the ground. Percy, you sodding prat
nobody cares what you think. Say what you like, but I know I do more good for our family than you ever
will!
Ron walked straight towards Harry, Ginny and Hermione and said curtly, Lets go.
Hermione started to say something but Ron shook his head. Not here lets just go home.
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Harry could see Percy getting up quickly and shooting all of them a nasty look before heading back into the
store. Ginny stopped for a second and Harry lingered behind her. She shook her head and followed Ron and
Hermione. With a crack both Ron and Hermione were gone. Harry reached his arm out to Ginny, smiled
consolingly, and Apparated them both back to the Burrow.
Back to index

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Chapter 13: Chapter 13 - Three's a Crowd


Author's Notes: I big thank you to the five of you that are reading and commenting - even though this story
doesn't seem all that popular, I'm still going to finish it ;) Thanks to my Beta Ginny! And thank you to
whoever is nominating me for awards :) much appreciated :)
Harry and Ginny landed soundly outside of the Burrow. Harry could just make out Rons lanky figure in
front of them heading into the house, while Hermione appeared to be waiting for them. Hermione gave them
a worried look and said quietly, I guess well have to see what that was all about.
Ginny nodded. Ive never seen Percy do anything like that. Hes not just acting strangely, hes not acting
like himself at all!
Harry looked between the two of them. You dont think George did something to him, do you?
Ginny shook her head emphatically. No, he would never. Would he?
She looked from Harry to Hermione, but neither said anything. Hermione shrugged. I think its pretty clear
we dont know any of your brothers that well, Ronald included.
She said Rons name with emphasis and Harry put his hand on her shoulder. You two really worry me.
Hermione pulled away from him and gave him a sharp look. Harry, please.
Ginny said quietly, Come on, Hermione you and Ron care a lot about each other, dont pretend you
dont!
Hermione gave her a disbelieving look. Harry sighed. Why dont we go inside before Mrs. Weasley comes
out here and hollers at us for being late.
Ginny nodded and put her arm through Hermiones, leading her back to the house, with Harry following
close behind. You know, Hermione, Im really glad youve been spending so much time here this summer.
Im sure I can speak for the whole family, having you and Harry here is making all of us more at ease,
despite my insane, dysfunctional brothers.
Harry stifled a laugh as Hermione grinned and shook her head. Harry, youd better keep a good hold on
this one. She jovially shook Ginnys arm. She seems to often know the right thing to say!
Harry smiled and snuck closer. I know I am doing my level best to keep her interested!
Ginny laughed. Harry! I am interested, very interested.
She gave him a sultry smile and Harry couldnt contain himself; jogging forward and wrapping his arms
around Ginnys waist, pulling her away from Hermione. She shrieked with laughter as Harry kissed her as
close to her neck as he could reach. Hermione laughed at the two of them and smiled. You two are really
inseparable!

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Ginny wrenched herself around and wrapped her arms around Harrys neck, kissing him lovingly. Harry felt
himself smiling into her lips and pulled her closer, though he could distantly hear Hermiones laughter.
Ginny pulled his face close to hers breaking their kiss and whispered quietly into his ear, I think Hermione
might be onto us.
He laughed and whispered back, Onto us? Is there something for her to figure out?
She laughed and put her hands on his arms, pushing the two of them apart. Harry gave her a lop-sided smile
and she gave him a broad smile before turning her back on him and joining Hermione as she walked
towards the front door of the Burrow. Harry sighed and ran to catch up, pulling the bag out of Hermiones
hands and carrying it for her. She smiled at him and said quietly, Very well trained, Ginny. Thank you,
Harry.
Harry blushed a little and Ginny shot him a smile that kept his attention. The front door to the Burrow flew
open and Harry almost dropped Hermiones books as Mrs. Weasley called out to them, There you all are! I
was getting worried Ron had left you in London!
Ginny shook her head as she and Hermione walked forward. She replied sweetly to her mother, No, mum.
We were just chatting outside.
Mrs. Weasley smiled at all of them. Looks like youve done quite a bit of shopping, Harry!
Harry started to argue but Hermione broke in, No, Mrs. Weasley. Harry was being kind enough to carry
them for me.
Mrs. Weasley looked at her inquisitively. And where was Ron during all of this?
Hermione blanched. Ginny said quietly, He stormed into the house a bit ago, didnt you see him?
Mrs. Weasley nodded, giving Hermione a worried look. He did. I just wanted to make sure there wasnt
another row.
Hermione looked nervously at the ground but Ginny continued, Dont be silly, mum. There was no row
between any of us and Ron he just wanted to get inside to clean up.
Mrs. Weasley didnt seem convinced by this explanation, but replied, Well, Ill have dinner ready shortly.
Hermione, dear, theres a letter for you from your parents.
Hermione shot Ginny and Harry a nervous look. Ginny ushered her forward. Go get the letter, Harry and I
will wait for you in the sitting room after we put your books in my room.
Hermione hurried after Mrs. Weasley into the kitchen. Ginny started up the stairs with Harry close behind
her. He would have liked to have his arms free, but Hermione must have bought shelves and shelves of
books. He wasnt sure how she had carried them. Ginny opened her door quickly and Harry placed the bag
on Hermiones bed.
Ginny sighed and sat down on her bed. Harry gave her a garish smile and put his hands on either side of
her, leaning over her, kissing her hungrily. She giggled into his shoulder as he continued kissing her all
over. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him lower as she stretched out across the bed. Harry felt
himself letting go of his inhibitions and slowly pulled himself away, lying next to her with his hand
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himself letting go of his inhibitions and slowly pulled himself away, lying next to her with his hand
comfortably on her hip. She raised her eyebrows at him and he said quietly, I dont want to rush anything,
but you are utterly irresistible!
She blushed and sat up. Youre quite fetching yourself, dear.
He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. Wed better head downstairs before I lose my senses and
snog you senselessand a bit more.
He got up and helped her up. She laughed quietly. I dont think Id mind that, but my parents and my
brothers might take some offence.
Harry and Ginny found Hermione in the sitting room engrossed in the letter from her parents. She didnt
appear to hear them come in and Ginny gave Harry a nervous look before sitting down next to Hermione
and putting a hand on her shoulder. Are they alright?
Hermione shook her head and didnt say anything at first. She clutched the letter tightly and neither Ginny
nor Harry dared try to read it while she was in such a state. She breathed out slowly and said, I cant be
sure, but I probably should head back and be with them. I think those memory charms had some lasting
effect. I really cant tell.
She looked panicked and Ginny wrapped her arm around Hermione, hugging her. If you have to go, you
should. I mean, they are your parents and if they need you, then you should be with them.
Hermione gave her a nervous look, her eyes brimming. Harry broke in, sitting on the other side of
Hermione. No, Hermione, Ginny is right if your parents need you, you have to go. Dont worry about
anything. And if you need one of us to go with you, well do it gladly.
He rubbed her back gently as she looked down at the letter, wringing it nervously in her hands. Harry
looked over at Ginny and she nodded in response, looking towards the stairs. Harry gave Ginny an anxious
look and then said quietly, Do you want me to go get Ron?
Hermione gave him a sharp look. No, dont bother. Ronald seems occupied otherwise and doesnt trust me
anyway!
Ginny started to argue, but bit her tongue and said, How soon do you want to leave?
Hermione looked around and shrugged nervously. I think I should go soon, now, if I can pack quickly
enough. I dont know how long this letter was in transit
Harry nodded and got up. Do you need us to help you pack?
Hermione shook her head. No, Ino, I havent really got that much to take. Im going home, after allIll
just grab a few things and Apparate home.
Before Harry or Ginny could say anything, Hermione rushed up the stairs and they both heard Ginnys
bedroom door open. Harry looked over at Ginny and sat down near her, closing the distance between them.
He said quietly, Should we still tell Ron? If he knows that we knew and didnt tell him
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Ginny shook her head and leaned her head on his shoulder. I dont know you know them as well as I do.
I think we should respect Hermiones wishes. Besides, no one is keeping Ron locked up.
Harry sighed and reached his arm around Ginnys shoulders, nuzzling and kissing her neck. I cant argue
with you.
They sat quietly for a while before Hermione rushed down the stairs with her rucksack pulled close to her
shoulder. She gave them an anxious look and handed Harry an envelope. This should do what you need it
to. She gave him a knowing look and then continued, Ginny, tell Ron She struggled, wringing her
hands. I dont know tell him Ill be back when I can.
Ginny got up quickly and embraced her friend. Are you sure you want to go alone? Please send us an owl
or a Patronus letting us know youve arrived safely.
Harry gave Hermione a quick hug and smiled. Im sure theyre fine dont worry.
Hermione gave them one last look and said, Ill be back when I can, take care of yourselves!
She headed out the door and with a crack Disapparated on the spot. Ginny and Harry watched for a moment
before Harry gently pulled Ginny back into the house and shut the door. Mrs. Weasley came into the room
and gave them a questioningly look. Ginny retold her mother what little she could discern from the letter
and told her Hermione had left, but would return as soon as she could. Mrs. Weasley looked nervous but
Ginny assured her most people wouldnt even know where Hermione had gone.
Mrs. Weasley shook her head. After that long talk with Kingsley and she pays no heed and here I
thought she was the smart one!
Harry exchanged a worried look with Ginny. Mrs. Weasley, you dont think its a trap, do you?
She turned around abruptly. I dont know, Harry. I think we might just have to wait for her to arrive safely,
or not. Give her a few hours and Im sure well know.
Ginny looked anxious and Harry knew his face reflected the same concern. How could they have been so
imprudent? They should have insisted on going with her or forced Ron to go. Ginny walked over to the
stairs and gave Harry a beckoning look. He followed her up the stairs in silence, stopping at Rons door.
Ginny knocked lightly and the door opened slowly, a dishevelled, but recently-showered Ron gave them an
exasperated then confused look. Why are there only two of you? Wheres Hermione?
Ginny started to say something, but Harry broke in, She left. She got a letter from her parents. She was
pretty torn up
Ron didnt let him finish. And you just let her leave? And you didnt come get me?
Ginny shot back, No one was forcing you to stay up here! Dont get cross with us because you were in the
middle of yet another row with Hermione!
Ron narrowed his eyes and retorted, I wasnt having a row with Hermione. I had a row with our dear
bother and wanted to wash that stench off.
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He gave them both a nasty look and continued, She went home? I better go then.
Ginny looked at Harry and he said quietly, Maybe you should let her have some time with her family.
Based on what she said, they may be cross with her and you being there may not make things better.
Besides, you dont know where they are either.
Ron didnt appear to be believing it and said, I can send her a Patronus and let her know Im thinking
about her and
He left the comment unfinished and Ginny nodded. Sure, Ron. I mean, yeah, of course you can do that.
Ron gave them another disdainful look before heading out the door and down the stairs. Ginny gave Harry a
sad look. I guess we should have told Ron before she left.
Harry said, No, I dont think we did anything wrong. She wanted to go as quickly as possible.
Ginny replied, But at least he could have gone with her, made sure she was safe!
Harry stifled a laugh. Ginny, this is Hermione were talking about. She kept Ron and me undetectable for
most of last year. If something isnt right, shell be back here in no time.
He reached out and took her hand in his, leading her towards the door. She smiled and followed him down
the stairs. A bright, blue light was emitting from the kitchen as they approached it and they both walked
cautiously forward. A brightly-lit otter was speaking quietly, but clearly to Ron. The Patronus disappeared
as they approached and Ron seemed more upset, instead of less. Ginny and Harry exchanged a nervous look
before Ginny asked, Is she okay?
Ron nodded his head. She got there safely, and her parents are there; and giving her a hard time. He
studied his shoes closely and dug his hands deep into his pockets. She asked me not to come or anything
and she wanted me to tell you two shes fine.
Ginny rubbed Rons arm. Dont worry, Ron. Shell be back. She didnt tell you where she was?
He shook his head and didnt say anything. Mrs. Weasley had been watching the whole scene and shook
her head sadly. I knew you all shouldnt have gone out. Nothing good can come of being away from these
protections.
Ginny gave her mother a tired look. Mum, we cant stay here, hidden, forever. Besides, you and George are
leaving soon anyway. Then what?
Mrs. Weasley didnt have an answer and Ron sat down heavily at the kitchen table. Harry and Ginny sat
down next to Ron while Mrs. Weasley bustled around the kitchen making dinner.
Mrs. Weasley turned around and asked, How was everything in London? Did you all have a nice time? Did
you get to see George or Percy?
Ron looked in no state to answer and Ginny shrugged in response. We had a nice time. Kingsley told us
someinteresting things. Were all just taking it in. Poor Hermione has more to deal with than she needs.

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Mrs. Weasley nodded. Yes, that poor dear. But you all should be expecting your letters from Hogwarts
soon?
Harry nodded. I wonder who will be named Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team?
Ginny rolled her eyes. Thats what youre worried about? Oh come on, Harry! You already said you
werent going back! I bet Ron wont either.
Ron shook his head, perking up. Me and more school? I was glad to not go back last year!
Ginny laughed. Well, Im so glad both of you have your priorities straight!
The conversation died down and dinner consisted only of Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Harry and Ginny. Ron
seemed despondent and headed for bed shortly after dinner was finished, leaving Harry and Ginny to clean
up. Harry felt guilty they were out all day and wanted to help out. Ginny didnt care for the extra work, but
didnt mind having some alone time with Harry.
As they were putting the dishes away, they began talking idly about the days activities. Harry tried to sound
nonchalant as he asked, Any idea what that row was between Ron and Percy?
Ginny turned around abruptly and gave him a worried look. I wish Ron would have said something, but
now hes too consumed with Hermione to even think about it. Ive never seen Percy stand up, physically, to
anyone, let alone Ron!
Harry nodded. I hate to say it, Ginny. But everyone is acting so strangely. I feel like I know your family
pretty well, but Percy fighting Ron thats unreal!
Ginny nodded, putting the last of the plates back and walking over to the table, straightening the chairs out.
I think you can ask him later, if he isnt already asleep. Even if he tells you, I doubt theres much hell do
about it. Ron wont let this bother him with Hermione gone.
Harry replied, Maybe thats where we should start? Talk to him about Hermione and see if we cant get
further along to your brothers?
Ginny gave Harry a curious look. You seem really interested in this, any particular reason why?
He was surprised and replied, Because its affecting you! So
He gestured helplessly and Ginny smiled. I didnt mean to question your motives, Harry. Its just, this is
such a disaster. You could just block it out and go forward with your life.
Harry balked at her. Ginny, I wish you would give me just a little more credit. Im really trying to be the
boyfriend you need.
Harry had turned away from her and looked down the hallway. He wasnt enjoying this conversation and
didnt hear Ginny walk up behind him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned up, whispering in
his ear, Harry, please dont be angry with me. I think youre being a fantastic boyfriend. I just feel like
everything about me is one big distraction.

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Harry turned around and locked his eyes with hers. Ginny, please, stop saying that. Im here for you when
you need me, and if you dont need me He shrugged and continued, Then you dont.
He had taken a step back from her and she walked over pushing him roughly. You know what? Fine. Good
night.
She turned her back on him and stormed up the stairs. Harry heard her door slam shut and stood there,
stunned for a moment before taking one last look around the kitchen and quietly heading to Rons room. He
didnt think it would be wise to confront Ginny now and decided a good nights rest would do them all a bit
of good.
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Chapter 14: Chapter 14 - Night Time Conversations


Author's Notes: I feel like a broken record, but thank you for the reviews, comments and nominations - it
makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside :) A big thank you to my Beta Ginny who has been instrumental in
keeping these updates coming so quickly! Hope you all are enjoying the story and I promise a lot of the
things you're bringing up are being dealt with in coming chapters!
Harry had found Ron fast asleep when he got to his room and got ready for bed quietly, not wanting to
dwell on the argument hed just had with Ginny. He smiled to himself, thinking how opposite his
relationship with Ginny was as compared to Rons relationship with Hermione. He felt like his rows with
Ginny were more real, more heart-wrenching and more confusing.
He fell asleep feeling very cold and wishing he had taken the time to talk calmly with her instead of letting
her go to sleep angry. Having anyone who he cared about so much going to sleep angry with him was
something he shouldnt have allowed.
Harry woke suddenly in the dark of the night; he was sure it was well past midnight and pulled his glasses
on quickly to see Rons bed empty. He sat up sharply and grabbed his robe, stuffed his feet into his slippers
and headed down the stairs, thinking hed find Ron in the kitchen. He passed Ginnys room slowly,
wondering if she was awake, but thought it would be better not to bother her. Once he reached the bottom
floor and saw no light in the kitchen, he noticed the front door slightly ajar and headed cautiously towards
it. He cursed himself for not grabbing his wand but quickly saw a slumped-over Ron on the front porch and
ran out.
Ron jumped at seeing Harry. Blimey! Harry, what are you doing up?
Harry put his hands in the pockets of his robe to keep warm and replied, I was worried. You werent in
your bed and I thought youd gone off somewhere or something.
Ron sighed and shrugged. I really screwed up with her today, didnt I?
Harry gave Ron a quizzical look. With Hermione? No, mate, she cares about you. Dont be stupid, you two
are meant for each other.
Harry felt himself laughing and caught Ron giving him a nasty look. You know, I try to contain myself
with you and my sister, the least you could do is take me and Hermione seriously.
Harry shook his head. That isnt what I meant. He stopped and turned away. Look Ron, I didnt mean
anything by it. You two are my best mates. I just wish you wouldnt row so much. I feel like you two snog
more than you talk.
Ron replied tartly, Is that a fact? You have it all worked out then?
Harry shook his head angrily, his voice rising. No, I dont. I row with your sister too. But I know I care
about her. I dont want you messing around with Hermione. Shes like my sister.
Ron stood up, facing Harry. Are you saying I dont care about Hermione?
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Harry shrugged, not wanting to get into an argument. Look, why dont we just drop it, okay? I dont know
what your feelings are for Hermione. Hell, maybe they are none of my business.
Ron didnt seem appeased but stepped back. He gave Harry one more look before turning back around.
While youre out here, maybe you can give me a hand with something.
Harry nodded, glad for the change in subject. The sky had opened up slight, the moon peaking through the
clouds and a slight drizzle had started. Harry stepped closer to the doorway and crossed his arms tightly
around himself.
Ron started slowly. I know Hermione isnt happy with me. You know I didnt mean anything at lunch. I
want towell, I want to send her a message. But not by owl, thats socommonand with our trying to
work for the Ministry
Harry said quietly, You want to send her a Patronus?
Ron nodded looking down at the floor. Yeah, mate, you know, tell her Im here for her, will be there for
her whenever she wants me to be.
Harry smiled. That is one way to get her attention. But do you really think sending her a Patronus isnt
going to get her into more trouble with her parents?
Ron replied sadly, Thats the same conclusion I came tobut then, should I have replied earlier?
Harry nodded. Probably.
Ron sighed disgustedly. I am a horrible boyfriend.
Harry replied, Im sure youre not. She sent you that Patronus earlier for a reason. She could have sent it to
me or Ginny, but she didnt. She sent it to you. She knew youd be worried about her.
Well, do you think you can give me the gist of adding the talking to my Patronus? Ron looked helpless
and Harry tried not to smile thinking about Rons study habits.
Harry said quietly, Its rather simple. I mean, you know how to create your Patronus, right?
Ron nodded and Harry continued, You just have to think of the happiest moment that you can think of,
then think of what you want to say and who you want to say it to, then produce the Patronus.
Ron shook his head, laughing. You make it sound so easy! This is beyond anything Ive tried!
Harry laughed and said, Here Ill show you how. He reached for his wand and realised he didnt have it.
Well, maybe not.
Could you two please keep it down! Both Harry and Ron jumped at the exasperated tone from Ginny. She
was wrapped warmly in her bath robe, but the darkened night made the colours deepen, making her more
stunning in Harrys eyes.
Ron looked sheepishly at Ginny. I didnt realise we were being so loud.
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Ginny stayed close to the door and replied, Well, you were. Im surprised mum isnt out here right now.
You both are going to catch cold in this rain!
Harry looked at her apologetically. Were staying relatively dry.
He took a step towards her but she crossed her arms and gave him a hard look. He didnt let her dissuade
him and walked over, putting a hand on her arm. She still didnt smile. He leaned closer to her and
whispered, Im sorry. Forgive me?
She shook her head and leaned forward, whispering back, Only if you forgive first.
He kissed her on the cheek. I cant ever stay angry with you. Just give me a chance to be a better
boyfriend?
She put her hand over his and nodded, smiling. Ron cleared his throat loudly. Could you two stop it? Is that
even possible?
Ginny looked around Harry and smiled. Yes, Ron. So what were you two yelling about?
Harry shook his head. We werent really yelling, Ron just asked me for some help with something.
Ron stood up. Yeah, I bet even Ginny could do a Patronus charm!
Ginny gave Harry a questioning look. Of course I can, but so can you.
Harry put a hand on her shoulder. No, he wants to send Hermione one.
Ginny nodded. Oh, hmm, that is a bit tougher. I think I have an idea though.
She pulled her wand out and Harry exclaimed, I thought you said you didnt go to bed with your wand!
She laughed. I dont! I was coming down here to see what was going on!
She gave Harry a gentle nudge. Now stand back. She appeared to be concentrating hard and then called
out clearly, Expecto Patronum!
A white stallion came galloping out of the end of Ginnys wand and ran forward a half a dozen metres
before turning around and saying in Ginnys voice to Harry, Maybe we should let Ron practice alone and
get some rest.
The stallion disappeared and Ron gave Ginny a sardonic look. Oh, very funny, Ginny. Great, even my little
sister is better than I am.
Harry smiled. You always told me she was very powerful, this just proves it more!
Ginny smiled and offered her wand to Harry. He shook his head. I think youre right, lets let Ron give it a
go.
Ron stood up and shook his hands a few times. He pointed his wand and concentrated before calling out,
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Expecto Patronum!
A Jack Russell terrier came flying out of the end of his wand. It ran a few metres before disappearing
entirely. Ron sat down heavily on the now-damp porch and sighed. I guess practice in the next few minutes
wont do much good.
Ginny took a tentative step forward then retreated back to the dryness near the doorway. Ron, you cant just
try once and give up!
Harry stepped forward, placing a hand on Rons shoulder. It does take practice, but like you said, itll mean
a lot to Hermione.
Ron didnt turn around, but stood up again, going through the motions but to the same result. He turned and
gave Harry and Ginny a helpless look and Ginny said, Just keep trying, Ron. You have to tap into your
happiest memory.
She turned to Harry and was about to say something when a glowing sea otter came flying forward. It said
clearly in Hermiones voice, Ginny, I hope youre not asleep. Or that Im not waking you up. I dont know
how long Ill be here. Mum and dad are being rather impossible. Theyve almost forbidden me to return to
Hogwarts!
There was a strain in Hermiones voice through the Patronus. It continued, Anyway, I wish I had taken
your and Harrys advice. It would be nice not to be alone right now. But I know your family has a lot to
deal with too. Tell Ron
The Patronus faltered and the otter swam around Ginny once before stopping again and continuing, Tell
him I miss him. Give my love to your family and thank your mother for me! Take care and take care of
Harry!
The otter disappeared in a wisp and Ginny turned to Harry. Great, now I have to take care of you too?
He laughed. Dont lie, you love it!
He would have kissed her, but could hear Ron stand up. He was looking hard at the place where Hermiones
Patronus had been. I have to go help her.
Ginny pulled her eyes away from Harry and said, Ron, wait! You cant just go she cant know that you
were here. She sent the Patronus to me!
Ron smirked. Making you feel special, yeah?
Harry put his hands up. Ron, dont even start down that road. You should have replied to Hermione
earlier!
Ginny gave Harry a tired look and said to Ron, Why dont you keep practicing? Ill just send Hermione a
Patronus, asking her where she is and what I can do to help.
Harry nodded and said, We dont want her to worry that were all up worrying about her.

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Ron gave Harry and Ginny a troubled look. What would I even do if I were there?
Ginny shook her head. The same thing she did while she was here. Just be there for her. Thats all you can
do.
Ron nodded absently and turned around, walking out into the yard. Ginny took a step forward but Harry
stopped her and shook his head. He called after Ron, Dont stay out too long if youre sick youll be of
no use to anyone!
Ron kept walking forward and Ginny gave Harry a worried look. I dont think we should have let him walk
out there like that.
Harry sighed. I think he needs some time alone. He reached an arm towards her. Maybe some time
without watching us snogging each other silly.
She pushed him away and said, Harry, youre all wet.
Harry laughed. Are you saying you dont want me to touch you if Im wet?
Ginny laughed. I just want to stay dry. Arent you tired?
She covered her mouth and yawned. He smiled. I am, but I was having trouble sleeping.
She gave him a startled look. Oh Harry, are you having nightmares?
He gave her a surprised look. What? No! I wasI didnt like going to bed upsetor having you upset
with me.
She smiled softly. Harry, all couples haveissues sometimes.
He nodded but looked at her intently. No, I know but this is you and me. Not some anonymous couple!
She put her hands up. Youre yelling again.
He laughed. Can you blame me? When I think about you, about us, I get emotionally drawn in. As I expect
you do.
She nodded and rubbed her eyes. Yes, I do, and I didnt want to go to bed angry either. I didnt know what
to say.
Harry shrugged. It isnt good were better when we dont talk and just snog.
She replied, My feelings exactly. There should be more substance.
Harry smiled. I can see youre exhausted. Why dont we both just go to bed and
Before he could finish a white terrier came bounding between them. It spoke in Rons voice, If you two
arent going to snog why dont you get going so I can keep practicing!

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Ginny smiled and Harry laughed. Im glad it didnt take him all night to get this one down!
Ginny nodded. I think we should take the dogs advice.
Harry nodded in agreement and gestured towards the door. Ginny entered first and as they reached the
landing in front of her door Harry whispered quietly, Am I dry enough to give you a kiss goodnight?
She grabbed the collar of his robe and pulled him close, kissing him. He returned the affectionate kiss, but
kept the damp cloth away from Ginny as best as he could. They broke apart slowly and she said, Youre
just dry enough to kiss.
He watched her open her door and said quietly, Lets continue this conversation tomorrow, okay?
She nodded and shut her door quietly. He headed quietly up the stairs and crawled back into the now cold
bed. He felt much more at ease and was able to fall into a deep sleep.
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Chapter 15: Chapter 15 - Thoughtful Provocations


Author's Notes: I'm so sorry this update came so slowly - it was like rapid fire and then I ran into a few
walls. I actually have a lot more chapters getting closer to ready, but not quite there. A big thank you to my
Beta Ginny for keeping me honest and a big thank you to all those that are noming this fic. I know this has
been a slow moving fic, but I'm trying to be true to JKR's writing. Or maybe there's just too much going on
in this story to go any faster. Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think :)
Harry felt surprisingly refreshed when he woke up the next morning. The sun was pouring through Rons
windows. Harry could hear Rons snoring nearby and realised they hadnt been woken up for breakfast. He
washed up before heading downstairs to see what was going on. He knocked lightly on Ginnys door but got
no answer. This made him feel worried and he hurried down the stairs, passing the sitting room without
looking in. He reached an empty kitchen and stopped short. No one was around. Harry noticed the tea kettle
was still warm, whistling softly. He grabbed a cup and filled it before turning around to see Ginny watching
him, smiling, from the sitting room.
He walked over and said, Good Morning. Where is everyone?
Ginny shrugged. Morning Im not sure. When I got up, mum was heading out and dad wasnt here at all.
She didnt say much, just that she was going out.
Harry nodded absently and sat down next to her. Fancy that talk now, then?
She smiled. Are you feeling up to it?
He replied, I wouldnt have asked if I wasnt. He reached an arm across the sofa towards her, but she
pulled away. He sighed loudly and waited for her to say something.
They sat quietly for a bit, before Harry finally broke the silence. Oh come on we have to be able to say
something. And not to point fingers, he spoke tentatively. Youre the one who wanted to talk. Not that I
dont! But I dont know what to bring up!
She shook her head. Harry! I know Im not the only one in this relationship that should be talking about
something.
He gave her a tired look and said, To be honest, sometimes I feel like you know me better than I know
you He scratched his head and leaned forward. I dont know how to convince you Im here because I
really care about you. And I feel like you dont think I care about you at all.
Ginny threw her hands up and retorted, Harry! When have I ever said I didnt think you cared about me?
She gave him an angry stare and he looked away pointedly. You dont say anything, you just turn away or
say nothing and then I dont know what to think.
Ginny gave him a sly look. Someone recently told me that if you dont know what someone else is
thinking, you should ask.

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Harry put his hands up. I dont want to fight with you. But I dont want to make you angry by asking
questions I should, supposedly, know the answers to.
Ginny replied, Harry, if we dont argue, then what do we learn about each other? That wed rather avoid
conflict than talk things out?
Harry shook his head. No. You know I care about you, dont you?
She didnt look up but replied blandly, Of course. You wouldnt be here if you didnt.
Harry leaned close to her. You know, that didnt sound convincing at all.
He was sitting very close to her now. He could feel her shift her weight, her hair passing a fingers width
away from him. Her scent was all around him and yet she didnt say anything. He leaned further over and
pushed her hair away from her face, kissing her softly on the cheek. He whispered quietly, What are you
thinking?
She turned to face him and said quietly, I dont know what to think. A year ago, you were going to your
death. And nowyoure here, in the flesh and blood, and I feel like youre still not here. She took one of
his hands in both of hers and said, Harry, please dont be cross with me, we both have so much emotional
baggage right now
He laughed softly. Then doesnt that mean were even?
She shook her head, her hair falling around her face. I dont think thats how it works.
Harry leaned over further, wrapping his arm around her. How does it work then?
She laughed and replied, If I knew, do you think wed need to have this conversation!
She leaned into his embrace and continued, Some days I just wonder why youd choose to be with
someone like me when youre the hero of the magical world!
Harry sighed. So, we finally get to it.
She pulled away and gave him a sad look. Oh come on, Harry! Can you blame me?
He crossed his arms and replied tartly, Yes, yes I can. How can you think for a second that Im some sort
of two-timing guy? Im not stringing you along and I dont have eyes for anyone else.
He felt thoroughly nettled, but didnt say anything. Ginny continued, Harry, youve been a celebrity to me
my whole life. When we were dating, back in my fifth year, it was amazing. II never knew you like that
before. You still seem like the same wonderful guy, but youre so much darker.
He turned to her. Ginny, I am the same guy. I know we arent going to be the same two people we were
back then, but that doesnt mean I dont want to have something new and special with you now.
Ginny nodded absently and said, I do want that, Harry. But there are so many

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She looked at him sadly and he replied, And there always will be. I think were fine. We dont make up
after rows like Ron and Hermione, but I think were fine. We just need to spend more time together.
She laughed softly. We dont have much more time for that, do we? My Hogwarts letter should be coming
soon.
He nodded. I wonder if McGonagall will send one to me
Ginny replied, Why would she? She cant think youre going to come back? What for?
He took her hand in his and said, Well, Id go back for you, if you wanted me to.
She shook her head and said emphatically, Oh no, Harry, Im not going to ask you to go back when I know
you dont want to! Youd hate me for forcing you.
He laughed. I dont think I could ever hate you.
Ginny shook her head and got up slowly. Harry, when you say things like that, you make me feel guilty.
He watched her get up, but didnt move. Guilty? Why should you feel guilty?
She shrugged. I dont know like Im imposing my will on you or something.
He replied slowly. But youre not. You even know what I want instead. If anyone should feel guilty, its
me! I dont know what it is you want, but you seem to know me pretty well.
She headed towards the kitchen saying, But, Harry, Ive taken a larger interest in you than youve ever had
in me.
He got up quickly and followed her into the kitchen where Ginny was pulling a few pieces of breakfast
together. He said quietly, This is when I think youre justified in thinking Im not a very good boyfriend.
She smiled softly. Harry you never had any reason to know
He didnt let her finish, cutting her off, If Im your boyfriend, if I care about you, then I should take an
interest. And you should be able to tell.
He had a very stern look on his face and she replied, Harry, this is why we need to talk more andwell,
talk more.
She blushed slightly and he said, We dobut now I feel bad aboutwell, about what Ive put you
through.
She put a couple plates on the table and said, Harry, youve been busy.
Harry walked over and stood next to her, leaning against the counter. That doesnt sound like a valid
excuse to me: too busy for my own girlfriend.
She patted him on the arm and said, Harry, dont beat yourself up about it. Weve talked things out and
She smiled sadly, And dont we feel better?
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She smiled sadly, And dont we feel better?


He laughed sourly. Loads better.
He watched Ginny quietly and finally said, Youre not making me breakfast are you? I should be making
you breakfast!!
She turned and laughed. What do you know about the kitchen?
Harry replied quietly, Well, I know how to get around a Muggle kitchen.
Ginny gave him a questioning look, then understanding, as she realised what he was alluding to. She said
quietly, Oh, of course.
He shook his head. Its really nothing I mean, we all have to do things to bedomesticated, right?
She nodded. Well, being the only girl, she laughed, Actually, all my brothers always took good care of
me.
Harry moved around the kitchen deftly, but realised there werent nearly as many appliances as in a normal,
Muggle kitchen. Ginny smiled and asked, Having trouble finding something?
He laughed. Well, Im used to having, you knowappliances and such!
He tapped his wand absently on the counter and then said, Well, I cant toast the bread but I can make
you cereal!
He pulled a couple of bowls out and could hear Ginny giggling behind him. Wow, Harry, you really
showed me!
He turned and smiled. See, I can take care of you.
She tilted her head and said, I never doubted that.
He placed both bowls on the table and pulled the cereal box out of the pantry and placed it with the milk
onto the table. He motioned to the table and said, That makes me feel better.
They sat down next to each other. Harry said quietly, Were still discussing, arent we?
She nodded absently. I think so Im not sure how were doing, to be honest.
He laughed. Ill be the optimist, were doing great! He sighed, and said more quietly, At least I know
what I need to do. Though Im hoping youll help me.
She nodded. Sure, Harry, of course, however Im not sure how to help you.
He placed his hand on the back of her chair and leaned closer to her. Ginny, the only way I can know more
about you is if you open up and tell me things

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She gave him a sceptical, side-long look. I dont know. Dont we both have enough to be concerned with?
Harry dropped his spoon into his cereal and stood up all in one smooth motion. Ginny this is exactly
what Im talking about! There will always be an insane number of things worrying us, but arent we
important enough to each other to stop other things from getting in the way?
Her eyes bulged slightly as his voice raised, but she replied calmly, Harry, that isnt what Im saying. You
are, we are but there are so many things going on right now. I just want a few staples in my life
Harry bent down next to her chair. Why dont you let me be that staple in your life? Thats what weve
been talking about, isnt it?
His face was close to hers, and she turned her face to his, leaning forward and kissing him softly. He could
feel her hands creeping up his arms to his neck and face and he caught her hands and pulled himself away
from her. He said breathlessly, You didnt answer either of my questions.
She turned away from him and said, I want to, Harry but Im afraid of forcing you to do
He stood up and took a few steps away from her standing near the counter. Are we going to keep going in
circles? I trust you, why cant you trust me?
She put her hands in her lap and gave him a helpless look. He shut his eyes knowing he couldnt trust
himself to say anything when she looked at him like that. She cleared her throat and said quietly, Im sorry,
Harry. I do trust you. But I really wish youd let us develop more slowly. Maybe it isnt you at all
maybe its me. Im not sure Im ready.
Harry turned towards her sadly and said softly, Youll always be my girl.
She nodded and smiled weakly. Always.
He stood there quietly. He felt light-headed and could feel his eyes losing focus. She was there, in the
distance. He wondered, was she rejecting him? Did he push her too hard? He turned away. He knew he
couldnt trust his emotions. He was suddenly feeling sick and was thankful for the loud tread of Ron coming
into the kitchen. Ron walked in sullenly and sat down heavily at the table. He didnt seem to notice the
tension in the kitchen and said, Where is everyone?
Harry could hear Ginny, as if from a distance, reply, Dads at work and mum went out, she didnt say
where.
Ron nodded. So, this was the best breakfast you two could come up with?
Harry sighed and turned around, nodding. It was my idea.
Ron gave him a questioning look and said, Well, hand me a bowl, mate.
Harry nodded mutely. He walked over to the table, being careful to neither look at Ginny fully nor get too
close to her, and handed Ron the bowl. Ron gave him another strange look and said, Spoon?
Harry rolled his eyes and Ginny spoke up, Why dont you get off your lazy arse and stop asking Harry to
be your maid-in-waiting!
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be your maid-in-waiting!
Ron shot her an irritated look. Fine. Whats the matter with you two?
Harry sat back down, pulling his chair away from Ginnys and said, Nothing.
Ron laughed. You two should work on that not even remotely convincing.
Ginny turned and said harshly, Dont you have enough to worry about?
Ron gave her a hard look. Mind your business, Ginny.
She shot back, Love to! She got up quickly and headed out of the kitchen. Harry sat still for a second
before bounding down the hall after her. He caught her as she made it up a couple of the stairs and grabbed
her arm, saying pleadingly, Ginny, wait.
Her face was calm and she raised her eyebrows. She took a step down, still a full head higher than Harry on
the floor, and said, Are you okay?
He shook his head and said quietly, Not even close, you?
She reached for his hands and pulled him towards her. He dragged his feet and couldnt bring himself to
look at her. She said quietly, Harry, look at me.
He shook his head and turned away. She had been watching him closely and must have sensed his
frustration. She continued more quietly, I dont understand how you can live with so much finality.
She let go of his hands and put her hands on his face. He tried to pull away but she tightened her grip on
him. Harry, nothing I said meant I didnt want to be with you. Nothing.
He started to say something but felt the ability of speech escape him. He looked up into her deep, brown
eyes and felt himself breaking down and looked away again. She sighed softly and leaned forward, kissing
him softly, gently. He felt his heartbreak easing and let himself lean forward before slowly leaning his
forehead against hers. He said quietly, I guess I need a staple just as much as you do.
She nodded, laughing and pulled him closer. Its endearing to be needed, Harry.
He gave her a doubtful look and she smiled, grazing her lips across his cheek before saying quietly, I do
need you, Harry. I just dont know that Im ready to
He nodded and put his fingers to her lips. I know, I knowIm being melodramatic.
She laughed softly. Youre allowed to be, I promise. Youve been through a lot.
He nodded sadly. You dont know the half of it. I just He leaned forward and kissed her. I never
expected you to wait for me. I knew we couldnt pick up where we leftI dont know why I keep thinking
that.
She replied, Well, Im sure wed both be happier if we could go back in time and live then, but life
happens.
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happens.
He nodded sadly. Im okay really. We both need to think things through.
She said quickly, Harry She stumbled for a second, then continued, Nothing.
She smiled absently at him and he gave her a curious look. What?
She nervously played with her hair and said, You know, this may sound crazy, but I feel better about us
than I have in a long time.
He laughed and shook his head. Brilliant I pick the most mental witch I can to give my heart to!
Harry snapped his eyes shut the second the words were out of his mouth and could feel Ginnys eyes on him
acutely. She said quietly, I know, Harry. Ill do you justice, when were both ready.
He opened his eyes slowly and noted Ginny was smiling sweetly at him. He replied, I know you will. And I
want to be that guy, the guy you come home to. The guy you make your life with. The guy
His eyes flowed down her features, Ginnys robe slightly open around her ankles. He felt the heat rising on
his face and turned away slightly. Ginny took a step down the stairs and pulled him close to her. Harry,
please stop thinking about this so much. Lets be happy with ourselves before we get into something we
may not be ready for.
Harry nodded sadly at her and she squeezed his arms playfully. You really are far too serious. I want to see
a smile cross those lips every once in a while.
She pulled away from him and headed up the stairs slowly. Harry watched her for a second before calling up
the stairs, I do smile She turned and smiled back, then headed out of view as he continued more quietly,
when Im with you.
Back to index

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Chapter 16: Chapter 16 - Comings and Goings


Author's Notes: I want to thank everyone who's been diligently reading this fic - and a special thanks to
those commenting! Without those comments I wouldn't know how I was faring. Another big thanks to my
wonderful Beta Ginny Guerra - you are made of awesome!
For those of you that are casually reading this fic...fair warning, if you've been skimming, in a few chapters,
you may want to be more familiar with what's going on - that's all I'm saying :) enjoy!!
Harry walked slowly back into the kitchen. He could feel Rons gaze on him and said curtly, Dont. I dont
want to talk about it.
Ron nodded. Were a sad lot, arent we?
Harry nodded. Very. I never thought Id be chasing your sister like he left the sentence unfinished and
sighed. So, did you send Hermione a Patronus?
Ron shook his head. No, I thought better of it. You and Ginny were right. That might make things worse
before they make things better.
Harry gave him a sceptical look. I am done trying to figure out what women want or need from us. Ill just
wait to be told. Anticipation is no bloody good.
Ron laughed. Isnt that the truth! I tell you, one wrong word and its like war!
Harry sighed. So, besides chasing girls, what are we supposed to do today?
Ron replied, Well, we need to reply to Kingsley. And I think we should probably send Professor
McGonagall a note about not returning.
Harry nodded mutely. Ive only heard scant news about the reconstruction, is the school ready?
Ron looked thoughtful and replied, Sounded to me, last time dad mentioned it, that school would start on
time, though construction would be on-going until graduation.
Ron got up from the table and placed his bowl in the sink. I really cant imagine the school still in ruins,
but I also heard there will be a memorial in the first half of the year. Something for everyone who passed
while
Harry looked up. Ron had never really talked about the battle and he was concerned about his reaction.
Thats the least they would do, Id imagine. And are we expected to appear?
Ron gave him a restrained look. I think soyeah, Im not looking forward to it either.
Harry sighed. I hope there wont be too much fanfare
Ron laughed. Harry, youre the bloody hero! You better expect to be the centre of attention while youre
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Ron laughed. Harry, youre the bloody hero! You better expect to be the centre of attention while youre
there!
Harry gave him a sharp look. I wont be the only one.
Ron laughed louder. You cant be serious? Harry, you killed Voldemort no one wants to see your weird
side-kicks! Bloody hell, even Neville will be more renowned than me or Hermione!
Harry shook his head. I think we should send an owl to Neville. Ask him what hes doing.
Ron gave him a side-long look. You want to throw your lot in with Neville?
Harry looked up. What do you mean by that?
Ron shook his head. Stop, youre doing what Hermione was doing. Im not meaning anything, just that
youre the chosen one, the hero you should be leading, not following.
Ginny said quietly, Rons right, Harry.
Harry turned around quickly to see Ginny dressed in Muggle clothes. Her hair was falling loosely around her
shoulders and she was wearing Muggle jeans and a dark blue jumper. The jumper was covering a white
button-down shirt and she had a purse at her side.
Ron filled the silence quickly. Where do you think youre going?
Ginny replied quietly, Im going to head out for a bit. Luna lives just across the way. Thought Id check
and see how shes doing. You two going to be okay by yourselves?
Ron nodded. Of course we can take care of ourselves!
Harry stared openly at Ginny with a dumbfounded expression on his face. She held his gaze for a second
before smiling shyly at him. Harry?
She stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder, shaking him slightly. You in there?
He nodded mutely and said, Have a nice time. Tell Luna I said hello.
She pulled away from him and headed towards the door. Alright then, Ill see you both later.
Ron shot Harry a warning look. Harry sighed and got up. He followed Ginny outside. The morning was
rather chilly and Harry wrapped his robe around himself more tightly as he jogged after Ginny.
She heard his footsteps and turned around with a questioning look on her face. He half-smiled and said,
You sure youre going to be okay going there by yourself?
She smiled back. Harry, she lives right over there. She pointed across the Weasleys property. Im going
to be fine.
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He replied, No, I know that. Just, you know, after everything Kingsley saidare you sure you dont want
company?
She smiled warmly at him. I was sure after this mornings conversation you had enough on your mind.
He studied her shoes closely as she spoke, not wanting to look her in the eyes. He could feel her take a step
closer and he took a sharp breathe. He met her gaze slowly and said, I do, but I still want to make sure
you know?
She tilted her head. Harry, you said you trusted me.
He nodded and she continued, I think we both could use some time away from one another.
He shook his head. Well have loads of that soon enough.
She sighed and replied, I know, Harry. I know and Im sorry.
He placed his hands on her shoulders and whispered hoarsely, Dont be sorry. He wanted to say something
clever, something consoling, something that would make her, make both of them feel better, but he stood
there looking at her sadly with his mouth shut.
She put her hands over his and squeezed them. Harry She tried to catch his gaze, bending her head to
see his eyes. Harry, look at me, please.
He slowly brought his gaze back to hers and she smiled. We can continue now or later, Ill leave that up to
you. What else is there for us to say?
He looked dejectedly at her and replied, NothingI cant think of one bloody thing.
She laughed nervously. That isnt a bad thing, Harry.
He pulled away from her and she grabbed his arm quickly, turning him back towards her. He gave her a
tired look and she said, Harry, if you really want to come with me, you can. Ill wait.
He didnt expect her to say that and gave her a confused look. She smiled. Didnt see that coming, did you?

He answered truthfully, No, not in the least.


He tore his gaze away from her and said quietly, Maybe youre right
She continued smiling and said, Music to my ears
They both laughed as she continued, You do know, Im expecting to hear that more in the future.
He nodded and smiled. Dont worry, Ill have that down in no time.
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He bent down and kissed her on the cheek. Im only a Patronus awayif you need anything, or anything
happens
She nodded and hugged him quickly. Thanks, Harry. Ill see you in a bit. If mums looking for me, tell her
where Ive gone.
He nodded and watched her walk away. She was barely a dozen metres away and he was already missing
having her near him. He sighed and turned around, heading back into the Burrow.
Ron gave him a lop-sided smile and laughed. Mate, she has you wrapped around her little finger!
Harry shook his head and replied, Shut it, Ron. I care about your sister, a lot.
Ron laughed some more. Yeah, I know its rather fun to watch. Even more so considering how you two
started off back in our second year!
Harry gave him a sceptical look. Yeah, but she has always been a part of our lives at Hogwarts from our
second year onwards, sort of.
Ron chortled. I remember that funny Valentine that stalked you in second year!
Harry scowled. Shut up, Ron! That was sweet!
Ron laughed. That wasnt how you felt about it then!
Harry gave Ron a disdainful look. Yeah, but things have changedjust drop it!
Ron laughed quietly to himself and said, Fine, fine you dont need to be so touchy!
Harry shook his head. Where were we before Ginny came in?
Ron sighed. You were saying you wanted to know what Neville was going to do this fall.
Harry nodded. Or maybe we should go visit him?
Ron sighed. I dont know. I dont know where he lives, do you?
Harry replied, How about this: you work on your Patronus to Hermione and Ill write Neville and see how
hes doing?
Ron nodded. Agreed we can stay out of trouble with that simple of a task, right?
Harry laughed. I hope so!
Harry brought a quill, ink and parchment to the kitchen, leaving Ron to concentrate in his room. Harry
wrote a quick note and used Errol, the Weasleys owl, to send the note to Neville. Harry didnt put much
detail in the note, just asked about Nevilles summer and if he wanted to come visit.
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detail in the note, just asked about Nevilles summer and if he wanted to come visit.
Ron came down sullenly and said quietly, Well, that could have gone better.
Harry looked up. Come on you were doing well last night!
Ron shook his head. I just hope she gets it and not someone else.
Harry stifled a laugh. Im sure she got it.
Ron asked, So, you sent a letter to Neville?
Harry nodded. Yeah, just a quick note we havent spoken to him all summer. That probably isnt a good
thing.
Ron sighed. Weve all been busy. And I saw that article of him in the Prophet, he seems to be enjoying the
positive attention!
Harry said, Well, he did kill Nagini, the last Horcrux. If not for him, I never would have been able to
defeat Voldemort.
Ron nodded and said wryly, Yeah that he did.
Harry looked up. Youre not jealous of Neville, are you?
Ron shrugged. You could have told anyone to do that, but you told Neville!
Harry gave Ron a disgusted look. So sorry Ron, I was walking to my death, the first person I saw that I
trusted seemed right to ask.
Ron muttered, No, need to get up in arms, Im just saying.
Harry shook his head. Yeah, youre always saying.
Ron said, Look, I didnt mean anything about it. Not totally; though we have all wondered at that choice.
Harry replied sharply, Thanks. Well, it all worked out, didnt it?
Ron nodded. It did.
Harry sat silently, feeling thoroughly nettled by Rons accusations. He wondered who we was in the
group; if that included both Hermione and Ginny. He knew he probably should have said more to Ginny. He
didnt have any idea as to how best to broach the subject. He noticed Ron staring at him and said, What?
Ron laughed. Youre smiling why are you smiling like that?
Harry shook his head. I was thinking of yournever you mind.
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Ron rolled his eyes. Merlins shorts, Harry! This is really sad the hero of the world and you got all
glassy-eyed thinking of my baby sister!
Harry replied, You know what? I think I will harass you on Hermiones behalf from now on.
Ron replied, Harry! That is really above and beyond. Hermione and I dont need that. Bloody hell, I can
barely keep her interested, I dont need you distracting her.
Ron looked sadly at the kitchen table and any sourness Harry felt was tempered by their friendship and his
sympathy for his friend. He said quietly, I dont know if you want my advice, Im not really that great with
the ladies either. What little I do know, Ill happily pass along.
Ron shook his head. No offence, Harry, but I think Ill pass. Hopefully Hermione will tell me where she is
and I can smooth things over then.
Harry looked at him sceptically. You have a plan for that smoothing over?
Ron replied, No, I like to fly by the seat of my pants when I can. Hermione doesnt seem to mind.
Harry bit his tongue and looked away. Ron didnt say anything and the flames from the chimney erupted as
Mrs. Weasley walked out. She placed a bag on the counter and began brushing the soot off of her cloak. She
looked at both of them and shook her head. You two havent even bothered to get dressed!
Ron and Harry jumped up and hurried out of the room, but not before Mrs. Weasley called out to them,
Boys! Get back in here!
The both skulked back in cautiously. She gave them a once over. Where is Ginny?
Harry spoke up, She went to see Luna.
Mrs. Weasley gave him a curious look. Luna Lovegood? Why?
Harry shrugged. She didnt say.
Mrs. Weasley gave Harry a very hard look. Anything happened that I should know about?
Harry tried to keep a steady gaze, but couldnt hold it, seeing that same shade of brown in Mrs. Weasleys
eyes as Ginnys. He said quietly, She just needed some time to herself.
Mrs. Weasley looked at Ron. Why dont you wash up, Ron? Harry, can I have a word with you?
Harry felt blind panic rising up and gave Ron a desperate look. Ron shrugged and walked out of the
kitchen, leaving Harry alone with Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley gestured to the table and Harry nervously sat down. Is everything alright, Mrs. Weasley?
She brought a cup of tea to the table and sat down. Harry, I know I speak for Arthur when I say that we
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She brought a cup of tea to the table and sat down. Harry, I know I speak for Arthur when I say that we
have always been as proud of you as we are of our own children.
Harry braced himself, unsure of what she would say next. She continued, And we love having you here. I
know things have been difficult for you. I cant even imagine what youre going through.
He tried to smile but felt his emotions rising inside him and looked closely at the table. She reached a hand
out across the table, tapping his arm. Harry, what Im trying to get at is that we consider you part of the
family. If you need someone to confide in, you have any one of us here for you.
He smiled, wondering if there was something further she would say. He said lamely, Thank you Mrs.
Weasley. I really appreciate your and Mr. Weasleys generosity.
She waved her hand. Harry, I also wanted to talk to you about you and Ginny.
Harry felt the panic rise within him again and felt a sense of nausea. He did not want to have a serious
discussion about a relationship he himself didnt understand with Mrs. Weasley.
She smiled in a kindly manner at him. You and Ginny have been ratherinseparable lately. And while I
know neither of you would do anything you shouldnt
Harry felt his face flushing and he tried to say something, but Mrs. Weasley wouldnt let him get a word in
edge-wise. Harry, what Im trying to get at is Ginny is very special to us. And I know you two are very
fond of one another, but youve hardly spent any time together.
Harry mustered the courage and replied, Mrs. Weasley, I really, really care about Ginny. I would never do
anything to jeopardise what I have with her!
She shook her head. That isnt what I meant, Harry. We know you are not the type of boy that would do
something that would be inappropriate, but at the same time, you dont have anyone to talk to about this sort
of thing either. What I am trying to get at, dear, is that if you have questions, even though she is our only
daughter, we are still here for you.
Harry looked nervously at Mrs. Weasley and said, ThanksI
She laughed. Knowing Ginny, shes keeping you on your toes already.
Harry laughed nervously. Well, yes, she isbut I think were okay, sort of.
Mrs. Weasley smiled. Youve both have had very difficult times. I think what makes relationships
successful is being able to confide anything into the person you love. I think thats when you know.
She patted him in a motherly manner. Now go wash up, dear.
He nodded and got up, stopping at the door. Mrs. Weasley, thanks. I think I needed that.
She smiled knowingly. You are very welcome, dear.
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He walked up the stairs slowly, catching Ron in his room. Ron laughed. Mum cornered you then?
Harry nodded. It wasnt bad. It was actually nice, getting parental advice.
Ron nodded sadly. You can borrow my parents whenever you like, mate!
Harry laughed and headed into the shower. Mrs. Weasley had made him feel slightly better. But his earlier
conversation with Ginny had put a damper on any positive feelings he could have. He still felt rejected by
her, but then he wasnt sure what to think. Shed told him repeatedly she needed time and space. Had he
ignored her? Was he putting too much pressure on her?
After a quick shower he headed back to Rons room and found Ron sitting on his bed reading a letter. Harry
gave him a questioning look and Ron replied, Hermione got my Patronusin the middle of breakfast. Her
mother didnt care for a talking dog made of light.
Harry was surprised, but if it were possible, Ron looked even more dejected than before. He said, Ron, Im
sure it wasnt that bad.
Ron shook his head. Yeah, thats why she replied with a letter. A really detached letter saying she was fine
and not to worry, thats it.
Harry craned his neck to see the short letter Ron threw on his bed. Ron, shes under a lot of stress. Why
dont you just reply by owl now and tell her you want to come see her.
Ron shook his head emphatically. No, she doesnt need to tell me twice!
Harry shook his head. Ron, really. I know you dont want to hear it, but listen, the one thing I do know,
being pursued is never a bad thing.
Ron gave him a sceptical look. This coming from the hero who cant even get a commitment out of my
sister!
Harry shot back, Hey! Look, Im sorry Hermione is giving you a hard time, but dont even think about
comparing me and Ginny to you and Hermione!
Harry walked out in a huff and headed to the kitchen. He was feeling increasingly out of place at the
Burrow and wondered if he shouldnt head back to Grimmauld Place. He could write his letter to Kingsley
there and perhaps start his training. He could hear Mrs. Weasley speaking forcefully from the stairs, but she
stopped short, hearing his footsteps on the stairs. He walked cautiously into the kitchen to see Mr. and Mrs.
Weasley having a heated discussion with Ginny.
She looked flustered and they all looked up at his entrance. He stood mutely for a second before saying
quietly, I didnt mean to interruptIll just
He started to head out of the kitchen when Mrs. Weasley called out, Harry, you got a letter from Neville!
Harry walked over and picked up the letter and turned it over. He looked nervously around the room again
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Harry walked over and picked up the letter and turned it over. He looked nervously around the room again
and then headed out to the garden with the letter.
Mrs. Weasley called after him, Lunch will be ready soon!
Harry nodded and headed out, opening the letter.
Harry,
It is so wonderful to hear from you! Gran and I are having a wonderfully relaxed summer. I hope youre
having a good summer. I got a letter from the Ministry of Magic, did you? I hope we can meet up some
time. If you dont have plans, let me know when youd like to get together? Gran would love to see you!
Take care and give my hallos to Ron, Hermione and Ginny!
Regards,
Neville
Harry re-read the letter. Perhaps Neville had gotten the same offer as he, Ron and Hermione. Having
Neville with him and Ron at the Ministry would be a nice change of pace. Neville had been a great friend
and deserved an easy go of things for a bit.
Harry wondered at the argument he had walked in on and resolved that he would head out of the Burrow
soon. He wasnt being of any use to anyone at the rate he was going.
He heard the back door open and was surprised to see Ginny emerge. She walked over to him and smiled.
How was your day?
He tried to smile, but noticed the strain in her voice and eyes. Uneventful. Just sent a letter to Nevillehad
a chat with your mum.
She nodded. I heard. You know, Harry, when I told you not to hide anything, that meant anything. If you
wanted to say something more, you could have.
He shook his head. I didnt have anything to say.
She laughed and gave him a disbelieving look. Harry, some of what mum said is probably right. Were
both
She looked at him with a confused expression and he nodded. She was rightwhen you care about
someone, you should be able to confide anything to them. I havent done that, Ginny, and Im sorry.
She put a hand on his arm. Harry, weve both been hiding things. Hiding our pain, and thats not going to
get us anywhere.
He said, I knowIm sorry, Ginny.
Ginny put her hands up. Stop apologising, Harry. Im sorry too. I feel like Ive only been telling you half of
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Ginny put her hands up. Stop apologising, Harry. Im sorry too. I feel like Ive only been telling you half of
whats been going on.
He took a step closer. Ginny, maybe you were right; maybe its time to just think about things, about us.
Ginny sighed sadly, taking his hand in hers. Harry, I want to tell you more. And I want you to know you
can tell me more, too.
Harry reached out for her, wrapping his arms around her. I want to tell youeverythingbut I feel like
were not there.
She shook her head. No, I know, Harry. I know were not.
She rested her hands on his chest and leaned up, kissing him softly. That doesnt mean we cant work on
things for now.
He let himself enjoy their closeness, but felt the hole in the pit of his stomach expanding and pulled away.
He rested his forehead against hers and said quietly, Id better go.
She reached out grabbing his arms and pulling him back towards her. Harry, you cant just leave! Both you
and Hermione leaving so soon isnt safe. Isnt this exactly what Kingsley warned us against?
Harry couldnt bring himself to look at her and said quietly, How much more of me can your family take?
She laughed softly and pulled him into her arms. Loads more. My parents love you more than they love
their own children!
Harry shook his head but leaned down, awkwardly resting his head on her shoulder. She smelled absolutely
heavenly. He broke the silence. Hows Luna doing?
Ginny rubbed his back consolingly. Shes fine. She asked about you. I told her you were doing okay. I told
her she should come by and visit for a bit.
Harry couldnt help himself and chuckled softly. Is she the same Luna?
Ginny ran one of her hands through his hair. The one and only Luna.
He felt the overwhelming sensation of sickness dissipating and returned her embrace, kissing her softly.
Thats good to hear. I hope you had a nice time.
She nodded, leaning into him. It was nice to get a little break. But it is nice to come back to what Ive
started to consider normal.
He smiled. Normal? Whats so normal youre coming back to?
She smiled shyly. Having you here.
He said, Ginny, youre making me crazy!
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He said, Ginny, youre making me crazy!


He laughed and she shook her head. Is it a good crazy?
He nodded. I dont know any other crazy to associate with you!
She took his hand in hers. Come on, we better head inside. Mum is going to wonder what Ive done with
you.
Harry let her lead him back to the house and noted Mr. Weasley had left while they were outside. He gave
Ginny a questioning look and she just replied, He had to get back to work.
Mrs. Weasley nodded. There was some news from Hogwarts. Kingsley is trying to help Professor
McGonagall get the school in some sort of order for the term to start on time.
Harry looked up. How has the construction been going? I havent heard much.
Mrs. Weasley bustled around the kitchen. Well, dear, theres a lot of work that needs doing, but I think
they will manage. The classes may be a little less structured, but things should progress as needed. Ginny,
youre going back arent you?
Ginny and Harry stood to one side of the kitchen and she nodded at her mother. Of course. I want to get at
least one good year in before leaving Hogwarts.
Mrs. Weasley gave Harry the same questioning look and he shook his head. No, Mrs. Weasley, I dont
think Ill be returning. Kingsleys offer is one I have to think more about.
She nodded. I think that is an excellent opportunity for you. Dont hesitate. They need people like you
there. Youd be such an amazing asset.
Harry blushed. Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.
He could see Ginny giggling in her hand at Harrys reaction as Ron sauntered into the kitchen. Lunch
ready?
Mrs. Weasley frowned at Ron. Have you heard from Hermione?
He nodded. Shes at home. I think shes okay. Im not sure.
Ginny looked at Ron sadly. Did she say where she was?
Ron replied curtly, No. She didnt take her parents back to their old home. They didnt want to go back
there.
Ginny looked over at Harry who looked back at her with the same level of concern. Itll be okay, Ron.
Ron looked up sharply and replied tartly, You know what, Im really tired of hearing that!
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Ginny started to say something but Harry shook his head, warning her not to get involved. She sighed and
said nothing. They both stood quietly until Mrs. Weasley said, Who wants to set the table for lunch?
Ginny said, Ill do it, Mum. Ive hardly done anything all day.
She walked away from Harry and asked, How many people are we expecting?
Mrs. Weasley gestured around the kitchen indicating the group that was present and Ginny grabbed the
requisite plates and utensils for the meal. Harry started to offer to help but Ginny shook her head, smiling.
Harry watched her set the table and said, So the school has been put back together?
Mrs. Weasley nodded. According to Arthur, the construction has moved forward quickly. The big issue
theyve been having is getting all the protections back up. They cant have anyone happening upon the
school, especially Muggles. They would go mad if they saw even one class.
Harry said, Well, thats good news. I hope Professor McGonagall can get everything safe there before the
students go back.
Mrs. Weasley replied, Yes, the school has to be safe before they open classes again.
Ginny sat down at the table and said quietly, Wow, I cant believe theyre really opening school up on time.
I was sure Id get an extended summer holiday!
Harry laughed and Ron rolled his eyes. Ron said, Its not like you studied much last year anyway!
Ginny laughed and retorted, That doesnt mean I dont want another break!
Harry whispered quietly to her, Then why dont you just forgo the whole thing and not go at all?
Ginny laughed and shook her head. Nice try, Potter.
Harry smiled jovially at her as Mrs. Weasley went on about Hogwarts. Well, the core of the teaching staff
is still around. Hagrid has been working hard to get the castle in a liveable state. Hes identified lots of
areas where they can move things until everything is completed. The Board of Governors has been rather
united in having the school up-and-ready this summer. Theyve appointed Professor McGonagall as the
Headmistress, and thank Merlin for that!
Ginny asked, Have you heard wholl be filling the open spots on the faculty?
Mrs. Weasley shook her head. Even if I knew, Im absolutely certain I shouldnt be sharing that with you!
Ginny gave her mother a look of mock pain before turning back to Harry and Ron at the table. I guess this
means my letter should be coming soon. She smiled at Harry. And that means someones birthday is
coming up, any thoughts about what youd like?
Harry looked up at her, surprised. I dont think much about my birthdays, you know. Keeping with the
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Harry looked up at her, surprised. I dont think much about my birthdays, you know. Keeping with the
nice and quiet theme sounds good to me.
Ron rolled his eyes. Harry! You have a birthday with a girlfriend, finally! Youre not going to work that
into something more interesting?
Harry looked shocked at Rons insinuation and Ginny rolled her eyes and laughed at Harrys reaction. She
said, You know, Harry, Ron has a pointsort of.
Harry relaxed a little, noting Mrs. Weasley paying little attention to them. I dont know; what does your
family normally do at birthdays?
Ginny shrugged and looked at Ron. I guess, just dinner and such. I mean, we do exchange gifts, so if
theres something youd like
She smiled innocently and he scratched his head absently. You know, I think Im good.
Ron rolled his eyes. You are so hopeless, you know that? Your birthday! I mean, bloody hell!
Ron! Language! Mrs. Weasley yelled from the stove.
Ron sighed and leaned back in his chair. Harry, do me a favour, think of something, something good.
Harry nodded. Yeah, Ron, Ill start thinking right now.
Mrs. Weasley started to set lunch on the table. Harry and Ginny waited for Mrs. Weasley to sit down, while
Ron wasted no time and started helping himself. They continued talking about Hogwarts and the
reconstruction while eating lunch. Mrs. Weasley kept pretty tight about any details regarding the faculty, but
it sounded like the grounds had, for the most part, been restored and the housing would be ready for the
students.
Back to index

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Chapter 17: Chapter 17 - At the Heart of Things


Author's Notes: I want to thank everyone for continuing to read this story - I really appreciate the
comments and after reading the latest news blurb at Mugglenet Fanfiction, I can't say enough about the
excellent moderation here :)
a big thanks to my Beta Ginny - you rock my flannel socks! For those of you curious, I'm re-working
chapters 18-24 and am still re-editing chapters 25-37. Yes, that's how much I've written. I thought I'd give
you all a teaser - you've earned it.
I hope to update regularly, but both my Beta and I are rather busy. Thanks again for the comments and I
hope you're all enjoying this story :)

After lunch Harry decided he might try to continue that conversation with Ginny, but she said she was
feeling tired and would take a quick kip before dinner. Harry thought it better than to waste the time and
referred back to the note of instruction Hermione had left him. He didnt need Ron nosing in and went out
to the garden, where he would be able to hear anyone sneak up on him, and took the locket and ring with
him.
Harry was rather thankful for Hermione, she had set everything out for him in excruciating detail and it was
relatively easy for him to follow. A series of incantations would activate the power dwelling within the
locket and ring, but he would now have to either wear or carry the ring with him at all times. He knew he
couldnt wear the ring, but he could keep it with him someplace. He looked around himself quickly, hoping
no one was spying on him and drew a deep breath before starting the incantations Hermione had outlined.
After about a half hour he could see the locket glow before going back to its regular state. He had put the
ring on and it burned red hot for a brief moment before returning to room temperature. He felt an overwhelming warmth, as if he had put on a soft, flannel blanket, but the warmth was coming from inside him.
He sat for a few moments, in awe of the power that was surging through him, but he knew he shouldnt
linger outside for too long. He put both the ring and locket into his pocket for safety.
He started to get up and sat back down, realising he knew exactly what hed like to do for his birthday. He
headed back inside, finding the kitchen empty save for Ginny, looking half-awake and making a cup of tea.
Despite being slightly dishevelled, she still looked gorgeous to Harry.
He cleared his throat and she turned abruptly. Oh Harry! I didnt hear you come in!
He nodded and smiled. I noticed. Got some rest?
She nodded and motioned to the tea. He nodded and she pulled another cup out for him. I did. You and
Ron better keep your arguing down to a minimum tonight, Id like to get a full nights sleep!
He nodded and stood next to her near the stove. Ill let Ron know. Im sure well keep it down to a dull
roar.
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Ginny smiled. Any more thought about your birthday?


He replied, Now that you mention it, yes. But can it be a surprise?
She shook her head. If anyone should be surprised on your birthday, it should be you!
He sighed. No surprises for you?
She smiled. On my birthday you can surprise me all you like, but on your birthday I should know what Im
doing for you.
Harry shook his head. But I dont want you to do anything!
Ginny put her hands up as the tea kettle began to whistle. She poured the two cups and continued, Harry,
the whole point of your birthday is for your friends to do something for you. Not for you to plan something
for your girlfriend.
He smiled at the title and said, So I cant blind-side you with my idea?
She shook her head and walked past him towards the table. Sorry, no such luck, Harry.
He sighed and sat down next to her. He started nervously, Just tell me if you think this isnt a good idea.
She waited patiently and he continued, What if we just go out and have a nice, quiet evening. A date, if you
will, just the two of us.
She looked thoughtfully at him and said, That does sound nice. Think we can ditch the rest of the group?
He put his cup down and said, Well, maybe if we do a lunch date, then we can do dinner with the rest of
the family.
She laughed softly. You know, if Hermione isnt here, something tells me Ron isnt going to enjoy this
plan.
He smiled. So, youre okay with this idea?
She smiled back at him. I think its a wonderful idea! I mean, itll give us some time to ourselves and that
is something we could both do with a lot more of.
He reached his hand out to hers and said, Thats the only gift I want.
She squeezed his hand. Is this what Im supposed to expect in the future?
He shrugged. I have no idea. I just want to take this one day at a time.
She nodded and sipped her tea, saying, I wonder if mum knows something more about Hogwarts she wasnt
telling us.
Harry said, Im almost certain of it, arent you?

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She replied, I got that impression, too. I am glad to hear Professor McGonagall is in charge. I cant imagine
the Board wanting to change the leadership at a time like this. And, Harry, I hope, despite what you said
earlier, youll attend that service. Itll mean a lot to me to have you there.
He squeezed her hand. Then Ill be there.
Harry said quietly, So, shall I invite Neville over and you invite Luna over? Itll be a mini-reunion!
She laughed. Maybe we should invite them for your birthday, its right around the corner.
He gave her a sceptical look. I dont want to have a party, really. Though I guess a few friends over would
be a nice change of pace for me. Are you sure your parents wouldnt be put off by something like that. I
mean He looked at her anxiously. I just feel like we should be a little more sombre.
Ginny didnt react openly and Harry thought hed said something wrong, but she finally broke the silence.
Mum and dad are still hiding it I think. I mean, with George being the way hes been, we cant really
mourn for Fred. I dont think George would allow it.
Harry was afraid to broach the topic but said quietly, But dont you need to mourn? I mean, after I lost
Sirius, I just needed some time to remember and then accept what happened.
She gave him a weak smile and said, You had what I hate to describe as a luxury of not having to deal with
a whole family. I mean, I dont even know how to deal with it. Its hard to believe, but She faltered
looking away from him. Hes gone, and hes never coming back. And he was part of a set, one of two
every time I look at George, I think of Fred, and Im sure all my brothers see that too.
She continued more slowly, Its hard. Its so hard, Harry.
She had turned to look at him, her eyes shimmering before him. He reached an arm around her shoulders
and said quietly, Its okay to be upset, love. He was your brother, and hes gone.
He smiled at her. I know people deal with death in different ways, but I know for my sake, even though
Sirius is gone, being in Grimmauld Place, it reminds me of him, and all the times we did have together,
good and bad. I know it might sound lame, but just remembering him makes him live on.
He gave her a sheepish smile and she replied, Dont be silly, Harry, that makes perfect sense. It is
wonderful to have that emotional closure. I just dont want to forget him.
She looked sadly at her tea and Harry said quietly, You will never forget him, Ginny. None of us will. He
had such a positive outlook on life and was a good person. Hell be remembered by his friends and family
and Id like to think Fred would appreciate that.
She wiped her hands across her face and said, I know youre rightI feel like Ive been ignoring all this
for so long.
She turned away from him but he pulled her closer and said, Dont blame yourself, Ginny. Life happens,
right?
She nodded and said, Im almost certain this is something I shouldnt talk about too much, I dont want you
to think Im one of those girls who cry at the drop of a hat!
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to think Im one of those girls who cry at the drop of a hat!


She got up and put her cup in the sink. He watched her and said, Ginny, I dont think that of you. Id think
the opposite! I mean, if you didnt show any feeling about what happened, that might be a little strange.
She looked out the window over the sink and he got up, bringing his cup and placed it in the sink. He rested
his hands on either side of her. He leaned close, but avoided kissing her. He whispered quietly, I would
love to comfort you if you did want toyou know, cry or anything.
She turned around with a mischievous look in her eyes. Oh really? How surprising, Harry!
She ran her hands up his arms and wrapped them around his neck. Harry could distantly feel the locket and
ring growing warm but ignored them as she leaned up and kissed him softly. She said quietly, Its amazing,
all of a sudden Im feeling more cheerful.
He laughed softly and kissed her on the cheek and down her neck. He stopped at the collar of her shirt and
pulled his hands away from the sink to rest on her waist. She took his chin in her hand and kissed him again,
softly, almost searchingly. They broke apart slowly and Harry felt his lips tingling as she drew away from
him, her hand trailing across his arm. He followed her closely as she headed back towards the sitting room.
Harry hadnt realised it, but Ron had been sitting there, sleeping, since hed come back inside.
Ginny shook her head and looked at Ron. Harry said quietly, Should we wake him up? Or do something
amusing?
She laughed. No, it wouldnt be worth it.
She sat down on the sofa and Harry sat down next to her. He took one of her hands in his and said, We
may not get another chance at this.
Ginny shook her head and Ron said clearly, You still dont have a chance, Im not asleep. I was, but you
two were talking too loud for me.
Harry laughed. Since when has sound ever been an issue for you?
Ron cracked an eye open and said sullenly, I was hoping one of you might be talking to Hermione.
Harry leaned closer to Ginny and said, Sorry, mate, no such luck. Maybe we should tell her were planning
on meeting with Neville and Luna in a few days?
Ron shook his head. Dont want to make her jealous.
Ron jumped up suddenly and headed for the stairs. Harry shot Ginny a questioning look. She said quietly,
You know, with Ron, an idea hits him, and literally, there he goes.
They sat there for barely a minute before Ron came bounding down the stairs with a quill and parchment.
You two gave me an interesting idea.
Harry sighed and smiled as Ginny said, Oh, this I have to hear.

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Ron smirked. Give me a little credit, I think Ill send her another owl. I mean, Id like to think shes
missing us, but if I can entice her with a party, that might get her here for some much deserved fun and
maybe more...
Harry gave Ron an inquisitive look. How is this different than any other idea weve had?
Ron shook his head. Come on, Harry, you know Hermione. Thisll peak her interest.
Harry shook his head. I think the important thing is you believe thisll work. I think you know her better
than we do.
Ron wrote feverishly and Ginny broke in, You know, Ron, she has to be able to read the letter too. Just a
thought.
He gave Ginny a dismissive wave and continued writing. She nudged Harry absently, You know, maybe
we should both get those letters out of the way.
He asked, Should we check with your mum first about having people over?
Ron interjected, Not a bad idea, Harry. Though youre making us look bad being so thoughtful.
Harry laughed and said, Sorry, Ron. Im not doing it on purpose. Just dont want to give your mum a
fright!
Ginny patted Harry on the arm and said, Well ask her during dinner, then we can both send our letters and
see when everyone can come by.
Ron finished writing the letter and grabbed Errol from the kitchen to send the letter off. Ginny looked over
at Harry and said quietly, Feeling better?
He nodded and leaned over to kiss her softly. Much better. I think you were right about the time and the
thinking.
Harry felt the heat of the locket in his pocket again and wondered if he shouldnt give Ginny the locket
when they were on their date. Ron came back into the room and sat down quietly.
During dinner, Mr. Weasley updated Ron, Harry and Ginny on the reconstruction at Hogwarts. He assured
Ginny that shed be getting her letter at its normal time and told Harry and Ron that if they wanted to go
back, theyd need to let Professor McGonagall know. Harry and Ron both exchanged amused glances. Mr.
Weasley went on to say that some of the faculty positions would be filled by interesting and exciting
teachers. Ginny tried to probe her father for more information, but he just laughed and said he couldnt say.
They asked Mrs. Weasley about a visit from Neville and Luna and she said it sounded like a wonderful
idea. She made a point to note a certain special date that was coming up and looked at Harry.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley kept chatting in the kitchen after dinner was over and Harry and Ginny both wrote
their letters to Neville and Luna respectively. Ron had received a response from Hermione, shed indicated
shed be back for Harrys birthday and would let him accompany her back, to meet her parents. Harry and
Ginny tried to stifle their laughter as Ron started feeling both nervousness and nausea. Harry noted that
theyd met her parents before, but Ron muttered something and headed quickly out of the sitting room.
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theyd met her parents before, but Ron muttered something and headed quickly out of the sitting room.
Harry looked over at Ginny and said, It looks like poor Ron isnt getting quite what hed expected!
Ginny nodded. Im just surprised that my dad would tease us with the new faculty and no more
information.
Harry replied, Well, it wouldnt be much of a surprise if you knew!
She poked him. Im not huge on surprises!
He wrapped his arm around her and said, I know. Im getting that.
He sighed and watcher her yawn. How can you be tired?
She laughed. I havent been sleeping that well.
He gave her a worried look. You keep saying that He rubbed her back gently. Anything I can do to
help?
She leaned back, closer to him. Nothing that would be construed as appropriate between the two of us.
He laughed. Well, your parents have gone to bed, and Ron probably wont come back down here
He started massaging her back and could feel her body relax. She tried to pull away from him but he
wrapped his arms around her waist. Why dont you let me help you?
She sighed and turned to look at him out of the corner of her eye. Harry, Id like nothing more. But if either
of my parents sees youseducing me in their sitting room, they probably wont take kindly to it!
He gave her a feigned hurt look and replied, Me? Seduce you? I think this could be a two-way street.
He kissed her softly and she turned her body around to kiss him back. He smiled down at her and said, We
should probably go to bed then.
She smiled up at him. Yes, thats probably a good idea.
He got up slowly, stretching and took Ginnys hand in his, helping her up. She covered her mouth to yawn
again. They both walked hand-in-hand to the landing in front of Ginnys room. She smiled at him and
leaned up, kissing him fully for a few moments before leaning back down. He kept his hands on her waist
leaning down and kissing her on the cheek. He gave her a sly smile. You sure you dont want me to help
you get some rest?
She shook her head, laughing. Therell be a day when Ill gladly take you up on that offer, but tonight is
not that night! Good night, Harry.
She had a sweet smile on her face and Harry relinquished any hopes of having a few stolen moments with
Ginny. He quietly trekked up the stairs to Rons room, to find Ron wide awake.

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He gave him a side-long look. What are you doing up?


Ron sighed. Hermiones definitely going back this fall, no ifs about it. I had hoped that trip to the Ministry
would convince her to stay
He left the sentence unfinished and Harry raised his eyebrows. You mean, stay with you?
Ron shrugged. Oh come on, she might meet some great bloke back at school. Some one studious and good
looking
Harry laughed. Ron, you need to stop it. Shes always liked you. Why do you think she was so torn up our
sixth year when you dated Lavender? Shes chosen you; dont give her reasons to reconsider!
Ron sighed. Did you know? That wedyou know, be together?
Harry sighed and sat down on the bed heavily. I wasnt really sure until the Yule Ball. The way you
actedit was coloured with jealousy. And even I have to admit, she looked amazing!
Ron smiled wistfully. I still kick myself for not asking her myself. And Krumhad rather busy hands.
Harry put his hands up. I dont need to hear more, Ron! Just make her happy and shell keep you happy.
Thats the least I can figure out right now.
They both sunk into silence as Harry got ready for bed. Ron kept the light on as Harry fell fast asleep.
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Chapter 18: Chapter 18 - Birthday Surprises


Author's Notes: Thanks so much for all the comments! I am actually chugging along writing this fic and I
really appreciate that some of you are committed enough to comment :)
Much thanks goes to my Beta, Ginny, Guerra - you rock! Thanks hun!
Hope you all enjoy this chapter :)
The days leading up to Harrys birthday were rather uneventful. Harry and Ron both sent notes to Kingsley,
thanking him and graciously accepting his offer. Ron had sent Hermione another note, telling her that he
would not be going to Hogwarts and received a prompt, unsurprised reply from Hermione. Harry spent a
good amount of his time trying to think of the right way to give Ginny the locket. He sent Hermione a
letter, unbeknownst to either Ron or Ginny. She didnt have much advice to give, telling him to speak from
his heart and to be honest, but not over-bearing.
Neville and Luna had both sent letters back, saying theyd be happy to come see Harry on his birthday for a
small get together. Harry had insisted that it shouldnt be a birthday party, as such, but Mrs. Weasley was
thrilled about it and wouldnt hear of any down-playing the event.
Ginny had repeatedly asked Harry where he wanted to go, but he had kept mum, visiting Kreacher briefly
for advice about places hed recommend. The house elf was beyond proud to be consulted and gave Harry
a variety of choices. Harry didnt realise there were so many places to eat in Diagon Alley. After some
thought, he asked Kreacher to help him prepare a picnic of sorts; he thought that would be more of a
surprise that Ginny would enjoy.
The morning of his birthday, Harry found himself feeling unusually cheerful. He was now eighteen. One
year past coming of age; his seventeenth year was thankfully over. Hed be starting his work as an Auror
soon, one of the youngest ever. He woke up early, earlier than he had anticipated and dressed quietly. He
headed down the stairs and was surprised to see Mrs. Weasley awake in the kitchen, but not doing
anything. She was concentrating hard on something and Harry didnt want to disturb her, but she heard him
coming and looked up.
She wiped her face with her hand and said, Good Morning Harry! Happy Birthday, dear! How does it feel
to be one year older?
He smiled and replied, No different than last year, really. Is everything alright, Mrs. Weasley? I really
didnt want you to go to any trouble on my account!
She shook her head. Dont be silly, dear. It is my pleasure to do this for you!
He gave her a sceptical look and said, Im going to head out, get ready for mydate with Ginny. Ill be
back in a couple hours.
She nodded and smiled. Alright, Harry. Everything will be ready for this evening.

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He nodded and stepped outside and pulled his jacket close to him. It was still very early and the sun had yet
to make an appearance. He Apparated to Grimmauld Place once he was out in the garden and helped
Kreacher put the last touches on the lunch. By the time all the preparations were completed, it was nearly
noon. Harry quickly changed into a nicer set of clothes: black pants, dress shoes and a light blue buttondown shirt. Harry gave himself one final look in the mirror before Apparating back to the Burrow.
Harry was surprised to find Ginny sitting outside on the swing in the garden. She was wearing a brown skirt
and a light green blouse. She had her hair pulled back, but a few wisps of it fell loose around her face. She
looked up and smiled at him as he approached. Happy Eighteenth, Harry.
He smiled back at her and jogged towards her. She got up quickly and he wrapped his arms around her
kissing her with every ounce of energy he had. He could feel the laughter crossing her lips and said, Are
you ready?
She nodded. I think so. Do I need anything?
He shook his head. Just your gorgeous self.
She gave him a sweet smile and said, Laying it on a little thick, arent you?
He shook his head again. Not in the least! Should we check in with your mum before heading out?
She replied, No, she knew I was waiting for you out here. And it is awfully nice out. Are you finally going
to tell me where were going?
He said quietly, Shut your eyes and well Apparate someplace nice.
She smiled in response and shut her eyes. He shut his eyes as well, Apparating them to a small park outside
of London. Harry landed soundly and Ginny opened her eyes slowly. Harry had set the picnic up a few
metres away from where theyd landed. Hed made a point to Apparate where no Muggles would see them.
Ginny took a few steps forward. Did you set this up?
He smiled at her. Of course. I thought about going someplace nice, but I thought it might be safer to do
something quiet.
She looked up at him. This was the last thing I expected.
He waited anxiously and she continued, Harry, this is perfect.
He sighed. I was getting worried youd think I was being boring or something.
She shook her head. Harry, no. This is really sweet. Nice and quiet, and no interruptions.
He gestured towards the blanket and she sat down opposite him. He opened the basket and started pulling
the sandwiches and crisps out. Ginny laughed. Tell me honestly, Harry. Who helped you with this?

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He tried to feign being hurt and said, I may have received some help.
They ate quietly for a bit, enjoying the mildly warm weather. Harry continued to move closer to Ginny at
every chance he got until they were sitting next to each other. He leaned close to her and whispered, This
has been really nice.
She nodded and turned towards him. It has been, but its nearly time for your party soon.
He smiled at her. You think anyone will notice if were late?
He leaned over and brushed his lips across her cheek. She replied, The guest of honour not showing? Yes,
Harry, I think they may notice.
She laughed and started to get up. He grabbed her arm and gently pulled her back. Oh come on, Ginny, I
think we can be a little late.
She gave him a questioning look and he continued more slowly, I didnt pack any dessert; I knew your
mum would be filling us full of sweets once we got home.
She nodded and watched him as he said, I wanted to do something special for my birthday. Getting some
time alone with you has really made it specialThanks.
He leaned over and kissed her softly before reaching back towards the basket. She put her hand on his arm
and said, I thought you said there was nothing in there?
He sighed anxiously and said, No, I said there were no sweets in therebut I did He gave her a
nervous glance before handing her a small wrapped package.
She gave him a shocked look and said, Harry! You didnt get me a gift on your birthday, did you?
Especially when you didnt tell me what you wanted!
He smiled and watched her closely as she shifted the box from one hand to the other. He said, Arent you
going to open it?
She blushed and said, Harry, I never expected She struggled for a few moments before leaning close to
him and kissing him softly. This was really sweet of you. All this for me on your birthday!
He smiled and said, Making you smile makes me feel good, so it seemed like the right thing to do for my
birthday.
She smiled broadly at him and said quietly, This was the last thing I expected for your birthday. Harry, this
is justyouve overwhelmed me!
He leaned close and whispered, And you still havent opened the box.
She looked at him closely and then dropped her gaze back to the box. Harry, you really shouldnt have.
Thank you.
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He gave her a questioning look as she slowly unwrapped the box to find a jewellery box within. Harry
watched her anxiously as she opened the box. Her eyes shot up to his with a look of adoration and she said
quietly, Harry, this is amazing.
She pulled the locket out of the box and the ring Harry kept in his pocket began to heat up as she touched
the locket. She looked closely at the coat of arms and said, What does this mean?
She was touching the coat of arms and Harry smiled. Its from the house of Godric Gryffindor. I got it in
Diagon Alley months ago. It wasperfect.
She nodded, understanding washing over her features. This is what you and Hermione were talking about.
Youve placed a spell or charm on this?
He nodded. I did. Thanks to Hermione, you should, at least be safe.
She turned the locket over in her hand and said, Harry, this is really too muchI mean, I know were
getting there, but thisthis is serious jewellery.
He kept smiling and replied, I know, love, but I want you to have it. Youll be safer with it on and Ill feel
better knowing youre safe.
He said more quickly, It isnt an engagement gift or anything, Ginny. I justit struck me as perfect for
you.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. HarryI dont know what to do with
you.
He chuckled into her hair and said, I can think of a few things.
She laughed and playfully slapped him. I cant say no to youhelp me put it on?
He took the locket from her and unclasped it. He brushed her hair away from her neck, resisting the urge to
kiss her and put the locket around her neck, clasping it again. She turned to him and they both saw the
locket glow for a moment before going back to its normal colouring. He leaned forward and said, How
does that feel?
She looked at him thoughtfully, It doesnt feel as heavy as I thought it wouldand its warm, really warm,
but not hot. Its making me feel warm.
He smiled. Theres lot of lore about this locket. It came with a companion ring, which I have.
He couldnt stop smiling and she asked, Why arent you wearing the ring?
He pulled the ring out of his pocket and laid it on his palm. It looks like some sort of costume jewellery,
doesnt it?

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She shook her head. No, it doesnt. It is a bit big, but I imagine theres some reason they are pieces that go
together.
He put the ring on his right hand and jumped at the surge he felt run through his body as he did so. He
looked up and knew Ginny had felt it too. Her eyes were wide as she whispered, Harry, what was that?
She grabbed at the chain but could find no clasp. He reached over and indeed saw no clasp. He gave her a
confused look and she said nervously, You gave me a haunted locket?
He smiled reassuringly. No, I would never do something that foolish. Hermione told me that if we wore
them together, that there would be a bond between us.
She poked him playfully and said, You said this wasnt an engagement-sort of thing!
He laughed nervously. I dont think anything bad has happened. I mean, yeah, that was a bit jarring, but
were both okay, right?
She nodded and fingered the chain again. So, I cant take this off?
He gave her a remorseful look and said, Um, Im not sure He reached an arm around her and said
apologetically, I didnt mean for this to be permanent
She shook her head and said, Its okay, Harry. I think I can handle a necklace that warms me up.
He shifted his weight nervously. Here, let me look at it.
He reached behind her, trying to smile, but wondering what new embarrassment hed have to endure and
put Ginny through. His fingers ran around the chain and he balked as the clasp materialised in front of
him. He smiled slightly as Ginny said, How did you do that?
Harry laughed. From what I recall, the legend of these two items has to do with the person giving and the
person receiving. And the He looked up at her nervously and continued, The love that the two bear for
one another.
She smiled at him and said quietly, So it comes off, if you want it to?
He said hurriedly, Not because I care for you less.
She sighed calmly and took his hand away from the clasp. Dont. It feels nice. And this is the first thing
youve ever really given me.
He breathed a sigh of relief and kissed her softly on the back of the head. Dont feel any obligation if
He couldnt finish as she turned giving him a mischievous smile. Harry, dont ruin our perfect afternoon.
He smiled and said, That is the last thing from my mind right now!

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She took his face in her hands and kissed him longingly. They pulled away slowly and she whispered,
Now we really are going to be late.
He wrapped his arm around her waist and replied, I know youre right, but I just want to sit in the sun for a
little while longer.
She gave him a sceptical look. Why dont I believe you?
He gave her his most genuine smile and replied, I cant imagine why. Do I give you the impression that I
dont plan on going to my ownparty?
She laughed loudly and shook her head. Alright, Harry. Lets get moving.
She bent forward and started putting the pieces of their lunch away and Harry grabbed her arms and pulled
her back. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I let you clean up for me?
She leaned back comfortably in his arms and replied, A normal one.
She turned and gave him a sweet smile and he looked around them before waving his wand and having all
the plates stack themselves back into the basket. He slowly loosened his grip around her and she pulled
herself out of his lap. Harry had noticed the warmth from the ring increasing the more he and Ginny gave
in to their desires.
She smiled back at him and slowly got to her feet. He picked the basket up and started folding the blanket.
She smiled at him and pulled the blanket out of his hands, folding it for him. He smiled and said, So, this
is it? The end of our very first date?
She smiled back at him. I think it went very well, dont you?
He sighed and nodded. Brilliantly.
He reached an arm out to her and pulled her close. I guess wed better head back then.
She nodded and rested her head on his chest. He looked around them to make sure no one was watching
and Apparated them both back to the garden outside of the Burrow.
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Chapter 19: Chapter 19 - The Hits Keep Coming


Author's Notes: I want to thank everyone who's been reading and commenting. It really means a lot that
people are taking the time to leave comments. My Beta, Ginny Guerra, and I spend a lot of time trying to
make this fic as good as it can be. I know, a lot of work still to be done ;)
I actually have chapter twenty ready, and I normally wouldn't push nineteen through so quickly, but since it
took like two days to get eighteen through, I thought, why not? I hope you all enjoy this and are ready for
the fic to take a sharp turn at Albuquerque!
Harry was surprised to see Hermione, Ron, Neville and Luna outside waiting for them. Much like Bills and
Fleurs wedding, Mrs. Weasley had put together an outdoor pavilion of sorts. Mr. Weasley waved jovially
at Harry and Ginny and beckoned them over to the grill. Harry sighed, wishing he had asked for a whole
day with Ginny, but was thankful hed gotten the time he had. She pulled away from him and Harry noticed
a broad smile creeping across Hermiones face.
Harry walked towards Mr. Weasley, who shook his hand enthusiastically. Happy Birthday, Harry! Hope
you and Ginny had a nice time!
Harry nodded, putting the basket down and said, Yes, it was fantastic. A perfect start to my birthday.
Mrs. Weasley came bustling out of the kitchen with a full dish and exclaimed, There you two are! Weve
been waiting for you!
Harry looked down apologetically. Sorry about that, Mrs. Weasley. We must have lost track of time.
Ginny nodded next to Harry and said, But were here now and everything looks wonderful!
Mrs. Weasley nodded and walked past them towards Mr. Weasley while Ginny gave Harry a nudge and
said, Im going to go inside and freshen up.
He sadly watched her walk away and turned to see the smiling faces of his friends. Harry walked over to
Hermione and embraced her. Hermione, how are you? Weve been missing you. All of us.
Harry looked pointedly at Ron, whose perpetual scowl had disappeared now that Hermione was back.
Hermione smiled at him. So Ive heard. Things areokay. Better than they were. How was your date?
He leaned close to her. Amazing. I wish I could have gotten some more time with her, but its my birthday,
or so everyone keeps telling me.
Hermione smiled and whispered so no one could hear, Ive noticed you finally mustered the courage, how
did she handle it?
Harrys smile broadened and he replied, Fantastically. Thanks, Hermione. I couldnt have done it without
you.
Hermione laughed as Ron clapped a hand on Harrys shoulder. Happy Eighteenth, Harry!
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Harry smiled up at Ron and replied, Thanks!


He moved around his two best friends and shook hands with Neville. Its been too long, how are you?
Neville replied, Happy Birthday, Harry! Ive been well. Did you reply to Kingsley? I cant quite believe it
myself!
Harry nodded. I did, actually, just last week. I start my training in a couple weeks. Youll be joining Ron
and me, right?
Neville nodded. My grandmother wouldnt hear of me declining Kingsleys offer.
Harry nodded and saw Luna standing a few paces back. She walked forward and embraced him. How are
you, Harry? Happy Birthday.
Harry smiled, thinking to himself, Ginny was right; this is the exact same Luna. He replied, Brilliant. How
are you? Hows your summer?
Luna replied airily, The summer has been too short. Dads been rather busy with The Quibbler. Hes made
some startling discoveries about Nargles.
Harry nodded politely. You dont say? I didnt realise there was anything new to learn about Nargles.
Luna laughed. Of course, Harry! Loads to learn about them!
Harry tried to stay interested, but thankfully Mrs. Weasley announced that dinner was ready and he didnt
have to feign any further interest. It wasnt that he didnt like Luna; it was just that she could be really out
there and he was dying to spend more time with Ginny. He also had to find out from Hermione how she and
her family were doing.
Everyone sat around the table outside and enjoyed a supple meal that Mrs. Weasley had worked on most of
the afternoon. Harry couldnt say enough about how amazing the food was, but he had a hard time
concentrating. Ginny was sitting next to him and he was mesmerised by her. She had also taken a shower or
something because she had the most intoxicating scent around her.
Harry didnt realise how much hed missed the constant chatter provided by having a full house. Hermione
had broken the news to the group that she was going back to Hogwarts for her final year. Ron had not let
her out of his sight since Harry and Ginny had returned. Harry was getting the impression that any tension
his two friends had been feeling was long gone. Neville retold his story about his interview with The Daily
Prophet and Luna had countless entertaining stories about various magical creatures her father was hunting.
Mrs. Weasley brought the cake out and there were a series of rousing renditions of Happy Birthday and
For Hes a Jolly Good Fellow, before Harry was able to blow out the candles. More gifts were brought
out, much to Harrys chagrin. He felt over-whelmed by everyones generosity and kept repeating thank
you.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and no one showed any signs of getting bored. Unfortunately,
Luna had an early morning with her father and promised to see everyone at the train station prior to her,
Ginny and Hermione going back to Hogwarts. Neville had promised his grandmother hed be home before
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Ginny and Hermione going back to Hogwarts. Neville had promised his grandmother hed be home before
ten and it was nearing that time when he bade the group farewell and thanked Mrs. Weasley profusely for
having him.
This left Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny to enjoy the rest of the evening with each other. Both Ginny and
Harry bombarded Hermione with questions. She answered them as best she could, but Harry had a feeling
she was hiding something.
Harry asked, So, you got there, and your parents laid into you right away?
Hermione sighed. Not exactly, Harry. I mean, they were so worried, that I thought they didnt want me to
be around. They basically said they wanted me to spend some time with them, and explain what it is we
were doing all of last year. She looked over at Ron and continued, That was a difficult conversation.
Explaining Voldemort was one of the hardest things Ive ever had to explain.
Ginny watched her and said quietly, But are they going to let you go back to Hogwarts this fall?
She nodded. Yes, they realise I cant be a Muggle. Especially now that I know what is out there for me in
the magical world.
Ron chimed in, And now they want to meet your boyfriend.
He had a proud smile on his face and Harry had to exert a great deal of effort not to laugh in his face. Ginny
caught the expression crossing his face and placed a hand on Harrys knee, shaking her head at him. She
said, Thats great! So, who are you taking, Hermione?
Ron rolled his eyes. Ha, ha, very funny, Ginny. Shes taking me.
Hermione nodded. I hope you and Harry can keep yourselves out of trouble while Ron and I take a short
trip up north.
She didnt say more about where they were going, and Harry didnt feel up to prying. He said, When are
you planning on leaving?
Hermione gave him a strained look and said, Tomorrow; if Ron can be ready by then.
Harry was shocked. He knew Ginny reflected the same surprise he did. Ginny said quietly, Are you sure
everythings okay? Thats an awfully quick visit.
Hermione looked sadly at them. They want me homebut I couldnt miss your birthday, Harry.
Harry smiled. Im glad you could come, but if you want to talk aboutI mean He fumbled for a second
and laughed uncomfortably. I dont know much about parents, but if you want to talk about this, were here
for you.
Ginny nodded. Of course, Hermione. Rons not the only one thats here for you.
Hermione smiled. Thanks, both of you. I think Im okay. I mean, Im dealing with this as best I can. Its
just a bit confusing. I feel like either way theyll be upset with me.
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Ron rubbed her back consolingly and said, I know a lot about parents being upset with you. Grin and bear
it, I say. Theyre your parents. They love you no matter what.
She shook her head and looked down. I know youre right, but its hard. They seemafraid of me. As if
Im going to do something to hurt them. But Id neverI mean, I did it all to protect them!
Harry nodded. We know. I thought it was a good idea. Memory charms can be tricky things. Youre the
most able witch to be casting one that I know of.
She smiled. Maybe, but it was still dangerous to do. The lasting effect has been tough to deal with, for them
and me.
She sighed. Anyway, I dont want to bring everyone down on Harrys birthday!
Harry laughed. Hermione, we havent seen you in weeks, we want to know how youre doing!
Hermione replied, Thanks, Harry. I hope you dont mind if I head to bed. I know were supposed to be
celebrating, but I could use some rest.
Ron got up and added, Yeah, Im going to head to bed too.
Ginny rolled her eyes and got up, hugging Hermione. Im really glad youre back, even if it is for a short
time. Your bed is still set up in my room. Good night.
Harry hugged Hermione also and laughed, saying, What she said. Dont leave tomorrow without saying
goodbye.
She laughed. I promise I wont leave without seeing both of you. Good night.
Harry and Ginny sat quietly watching Ron and Hermione retire and Harry said quietly, I didnt realise how
hard Ron had fallen for Hermione until now.
Ginny laughed. I knowits like he doesnt want her out of his sight.
Harry smiled. You could argue people are saying the same thing about us.
He leaned in to kiss her but she jumped up. Harry! I have your gift upstairs!
Harry replied, getting up quickly. But I didnt ask you to get me anything!
She ran inside the house and Harry followed her into the kitchen. He couldnt believe how wonderful and
non-life threatening his birthday had been this year. He breathed a sigh of relief and listened as Ginny came
back down the stairs with a small package in her hands. She started quickly, I know you said you didnt
want anything, but I couldnt imagine not giving you something. She laughed. And I didnt want to give
you the same thing I gave you last year!
He smiled and took a step towards her. Trust me; I would love to have that gift again. Ill never forget it.
She blushed. Then it was the gift that kept giving.
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He nodded as she handed him the package. Its nothing too exciting Im afraid She touched the locket
around her neck. Not even close compared to the gift you gave me.
He smiled. Im hoping thats a gift that keeps giving as well.
She smiled at him and said, Happy Eighteenth, Harry.
He unwrapped the package and gave her a curious look. Enclosed in the package was a book, it looked like
a journal. Thanks, Ginny.
She laughed and said, Wait, Harry. It isnt just a book. I thought, well, with our being apart this year. She
smiled nervously. Anyway, we can both write in our journals and the messages are sent as if we were
sitting together. She pulled her journal out and placed his on the counter. She wrote something quickly and
Harry was amazed to see the words appear in his journal, Hope youre having a great birthday, Harry. I
had a fantastic time at lunch today.
Harry touched the pages as the words appeared and said, This is amazing. How did you find these?
She smiled. It took a bit of searching. I know it isnt flashy or anything.
He shook his head and put an arm around her, pulling her near him. Its perfect, and really thoughtful.
Thank you.
He kissed her softly and she leaned up to kiss him more comfortably. A loud eruption of fire could be heard
behind them and Harry pulled away from Ginny reluctantly as, much to Harrys dismay, George appeared
out of the flames. He smiled a wicked smile and said, I hope I didnt miss the festivities.
He sneered at them and Harry felt a foreboding feeling crush him. He couldnt tell if it was coming from
Ginny, through the ring, or the look on Georges face. Ginny took a step closer to Harry and replied coolly,
Im afraid so, George, but I think theres still some food around here, if youre hungry.
George took a step forward and said, No, theres only one thing I want.
In one swift motion Harry lost complete track of everything in the kitchen. George pulled his wand out and
without saying a word, shot a jet of purple at Harry. A split-second after that Harry heard Ginny yell,
Protego! and he tried to push her out of the way.
He felt the spell slam into his chest, knocking the wind out of him and he felt his body slam into the floor,
his head hitting the ground hard. He felt a strong pair of hands grab his shoulders and wrap tightly around
them as he lost consciousness shortly thereafter.
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Chapter 20: Chapter 20 - The Truth Will Not Set You Free
Author's Notes: I want to thank everyone for all of the comments from the last chapter. I was going to
tease you, and make you wait, but since I've never gotten that many comments on one chapter, I thought I'd
be generous and share the next one.
In this chapter, I take a little liberty. For obvious reasons, this chapter isn't told from Harry's POV, but
Ginny's. I'm anxious to hear how you all enjoy it, or not. Thank you so much for the positive feedback and I
hope you enjoy this chapter!
Big thanks to my lovely Beta Ginny - she's been invaluable!
The scene that unfolded in the kitchen was chaotic and Ginny was quick to react, after throwing a protection
shield in front of Harry and watching him still go limp and hit the ground. She screamed, Expelliarmus!
Georges wand flew out of his hand and skittered across the floor. As it flew she screamed, Incarcerous!
Ropes flew out of the end of her wand, tying George up. She levelled a glare at George and said steadily,
Stupefy!
George fell to the ground, hard. Ginny shook her head and quickly knelt down next to Harry. He didnt
move, but she could feel him breathing. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his head into her
lap and tried desperately to keep from crying.
Mrs. Weasley stood frozen in the doorway as footsteps could be heard bounding down the stairs. Hermione
and Ron came through the doorway in a rush and saw the scene at hand. Ginny locked eyes with Hermione
and said, We were too lateI never thought As if remembering something from a previous
conversation, she shouted to Hermione, The wand!
Hermione pulled her wand out. Accio Freds wand!
The wand flew into Hermiones hand and she swayed after holding it for a few seconds. Ron grabbed her
shoulders and Ginny uttered, Break it!
Ron looked questioningly at Ginny and grabbed the wand, throwing it to the ground and stepping on it,
breaking it in half.
Mrs. Weasley came out of her stupor and said to Ron, Help Ginny get him out of here. Lie him down on
the sofa and Ill throw something together to wake him up.
Hermione shook her head, clearing it, as Ron knelt forward and grabbed Harry under the arms, dragging
him towards the coach. Hermione took Ginnys arm and wrapped her other arm around Ginny. She said
quietly, Why dont we cast an Rennervate charm on Harry and see if that doesnt revive him.
Ginny nodded mutely and said, The spell George hit him with was a purple flame, that isnt an
Unforgivable Curse, is it?
Ron eased Harry onto the couch. Hermione shook her head and pointed her wand at Harry, saying,
Rennervate!
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Rennervate!
Harry didnt move and the spell had, apparently, no effect. Ginny sat down in front of the couch and took
Harrys hand in hers. She felt the heat from the locket coursing through her and she noticed the ring on his
finger was warm to the touch.
Hermione put a consoling hand on Ginnys shoulder and asked quietly, What happened?
Ginny rubbed her eyes and went through the confusing scenario again. Hermione sat quietly, listening
attentively and waiting for Ginny to finish. She ended with the three spells she cast at George and sighed,
worry creasing her features.
Hermione said, It sounds like you did everything you could. I wonder why Harry froze like that. Its not like
hes never been under attack before.
Ginny shook her head. He wasnt even looking at George. He was trying to push me out of the way, as if
he knew the kind of curse George was throwing. She rolled her eyes. He should know I can take care of
myself.
Hermione said quietly, After last time, can you blame him? He didnt move fast enough and George got
you pretty good.
Mr. Weasley came into the sitting room and asked, How is he?
Ginny gave her father a worried look. Not good.
Mrs. Weasley came bustling into the room and put a bowl of a warm, scented liquid next to Ginny with a
washcloth. Keep his brow damp with this, he should wake up quickly. Though Im not sure how hes going
to feel.
Ginny soaked the washcloth into the bowl and placed the cloth on Harrys forehead. The scent was overwhelming and Ginny felt herself feeling light-headed.
Hermione started to shake her head. What is in that bowl?
Ginny shook her head and started to say something when Harry stirred, his eyes blinking as if everything
were out of focus. Ginny put her hands on Harrys chest, breathing a sigh of relief. Harry, are you alright?
He started to say something, but no sound came out of his mouth. Mr. Weasley was watching anxiously
from the doorway and pointed his wand at Harry, releasing the charm constricting Harrys voice. He
coughed loudly, and Hermione ran into the kitchen to get a glass of water. Harry tried to sit up, but Ginny
pushed him back. Just relax. She repeated nervously, Are you okay?
He nodded and asked hoarsely, Are you?
She nodded, wiping the tears away from the corners of her eyes. Im fine, Harry. Im more worried about
you.
Hermione handed Harry the glass of water and he tipped it back slowly. Coughing again, Harry asked, I
thought you two were going to sleep?
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thought you two were going to sleep?


Ron laughed. We were, but Ginny was screaming so loud, she could have woken the dead!
Ginny shot Ron a glare and said, Sorry, Ron, I know you need your beauty sleep.
Harry tried to laugh but coughed again. Ginny took the glass from his hand, placing it on the floor in front
of the couch. Mr. Weasley looked worriedly from the doorway and said quietly, Perhaps we should take
Harry to St. Mungos.
Harry sat up slowly. No, Mr. Weasley, Im fine. He tried to sit up further, but he grimaced and doubled
over, a blinding pain washing over him. He couldnt see anything, but could feel Ginnys hands grab him
and help him lie back down. He felt the damp washcloth on his forehead again and the cloud dissipated
around him. As his sight came back into focus, he could see Ginnys worried face looking back at him, and
could remotely hear a conversation going on behind him.
Mr. Weasley said in a hushed tone. Wed better get Kingsley out here.
Mrs. Weasley sounded panicked. No, that isnt necessary!
Mr. Weasley didnt sound like he was willing to hear any argument. Im going to send him a Patronus. If
nothing else, he can get Harry through the hospital much faster.
He continued more sullenly, I knew this would happen. Wheres Percy? We need to find out what the
bloody hell happened to his watching George!
Harry shook head and coughed, Im fine, really!
Ginny put her hand on Harrys forehead and whispered, Please, Harry, just lie still.
He reached for her hand blindly and she took his, squeezing it. He repeated, Im fine, really.
She shook her head and replied, her voice shaking, Of course you are, Harry.
He knew something was wrong when she didnt say anything further and he whispered, What happened?
No one said anything and Harry tried to move his head around, but felt a sharp pain in his neck. Ginny
rested her hands on his shoulders and said, Harry, it doesnt matter. Just, lie down and well get you
something to make you feel better.
He started to argue but felt exhaustion taking over and his eyes fell shut. Ginny sighed in relief and looked
to Ron and Hermione. Unbeknownst to Harry, his face was turning various shades of red and his head was
burning with a fever. The conversations continued despite Harry not hearing nor understanding them.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were in the kitchen trying to jostle George awake. They cast various charms on him,
but knew that Ginny had knocked him out cold. Ron had destroyed the wand, so there was no way to track
what spell or combination of spells was used. Mr. Weasley hurried back into the sitting room and said, Ive
alerted Kingsley about whats happened. He should be along shortly. Get some of Harrys things, I have a
feeling hell be at St. Mungos for a bit.
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He shot everyone a reassuring smile, but Ginny looked as if she were about to burst into tears and Hermione
had tears already spilling down her cheeks. Ron gave Hermione a squeeze on the shoulder before saying,
Ill go throw something in a bag. He said more quietly, Hell be fine. This is Harry were talking about.
Besides, Ginny, you got that protection charm up before Georges spell hit him.
Ginny shook her head. How can you be sure?
Ron replied grimly, Hed be dead otherwise, I expect.
Ginny shot him a panicked look, but nodded. She knew he was right. George was looking to torment and
kill Harry all this time. She shook her head, she couldnt believe it. Not her brother, not her big, funny
brother George. She looked up sadly at Hermione. Hermione had sunk into a nearby chair and said shakily,
Rons right, Ginny. You saved him with that spell or if not the spell, the protections around the locket and
ring. I see Harrys wearing it now.
Ginny nodded, the tears finally coming, and replied, He gave it to me before the end of our date. That feels
like years ago. He was so sweet.
She ran her hand down his cheek and he stirred before settling back down. She couldnt believe he had yet
another birthday of pain and horror. His eyes fluttered for a second, but Ginny heard a commotion from the
kitchen and tore her eyes away from Harry. She could hear the familiar voice of Kingsley asking her parents
exactly what had happened. They did their best to give him an idea, but told him to ask her, Ginny, for a
better re-telling.
Kingsley slowly walked into the sitting room to see Hermione and Ginny looking completely shaken. He sat
down and looked at Harry for a moment before thoroughly questioning Ginny on everything that had
transpired. Once hed established that the curse was linked to the wand he had a troubled look and went
back to the spell.
Ginny repeated, He didnt say anything! He just pointed his wand and a purple flame came out, knocking
straight into Harry!
Kingsley kept his voice calm. He uttered no spell? And a purple flame?
He shot Hermione a questioning look and said, Any thoughts?
She looked startled, but the idea of applying her vast amount of knowledge to something perked her interest.
She wiped her face with her hand and replied, It sounds like some derivation of dark magic. Not an
Unforgivable Curse, but something on that level. It vaguely reminds me of what I got hit with back in when
we stormed the Ministry.
Kingsley nodded. Harry will be fine. Really, Ginny, take a deep breath. Hell be fine. Hell just need to get
used to the taste of various potions in the morning, noon and night.
He smiled broadly and Ginny found herself smiling in return. She rested a hand on Harrys chest, feeling
him take shallow breaths. Ron came into the room quietly, nodding politely at Kingsley before turning his
attention back to Hermione. She gave him a weak nod and Ron asked, Are we going to take him to the
hospital, or what?
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Kingsley replied slowly, No, we dont have to. Why dont we leave him here and Ill have a healer come
by immediately. We need to keep this quiet.
Ginny looked up inquisitively. What? Why?
Kingsley put his hands up. Ginny, its late. Let us get Harry the help he needs and let us continue this
discussion tomorrow. However, George will have to be dealt with now. Ive called Gaunt in. Hell be
collecting your brother and checking him into the psychiatric ward of St. Mungos for observation.
Ron balked, but then nodded. Mrs. Weasley, overhearing the comment turned white. Mr. Weasley stood
behind her and nodded. Of course, Kingsley, we need to do whats best for everyone. I had hoped it
wouldnt come to this, no use crying over a spilled potion.
He said the words slowly, but the tension was palpable. Kingsley gave both Weasley parents a remorseful
look and said quietly, You know George has targeted Harry since the battle. This isnt really his fault.
Ginny, Ron and Hermione all looked up sharply at this and Ginny spat out, You knew? You knew and you
never told us!
She jumped up and faced her parents, her eyes blazing. I cant believe this! You knew he would go after
Harry, try to kill him, and the best you did was give us some general warning about being careful!
Especially when you knew where the danger was coming from!
Hermione put a consoling hand on Ginnys shoulder, but she shrugged her off and took another step
forward. I cant believe this!
Mr. Weasley looked sadly at Ginny. We never wanted this to happen. We had Percy with him at all times.
He was supposed to find a way todefuse George.
Kingsley said, It looks as though George was the one doing the defusing.
Mr. Weasley looked up uncertainly. That brings up an interesting question: wheres Percy? Ron, do you
think you can Apparate to Georges flat and the store and see if you can find Percy and make sure hes
okay?
Ron looked nervously over at Hermione and Ginny, but nodded at his father. After that, Ron gave Hermione
a quick hug and looked sadly at Ginny, but she was paying no attention to him, her glare focused on her
parents. Ron headed outside and a distant crack could be heard as he left.
Mr. Weasley and Kingsley turned to look at Ginny and Kingsley replied slowly, There was never any
intention to let anything happen. I know youre upset, Ms. Weasley, but Harry will be fine. Youve given us
more than enough information, the healers will be here shortly and Harry will be up-and-about in a day or
so.
Ginny narrowed her eyes. That doesnt answer why you left us believing we were safe. Here. At home.
Mrs. Weasley said quietly, Ginny, please. Your father and I love Harry. We never, in a million years,
dreamed that George would succumb to this.
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Succumb to what? Hermione asked quietly.


The three adults exchanged nervous looks before Kingsley said, What I warned all of you against was,
perhaps, a little vague. Since the end of the battle, weve been able to track various magic usages. Georges
usage was strange, stranger than usual. We compared it to what we had on record and noticed that he was
not, in fact, using his own wand. This lead to a great deal of speculation about what had happened. Initially
we thought it was a simple Imperius curse, but that wasnt the case either.
Kingsley sat down heavily and continued, We thought, based on what Percy had been telling us, that
George showed no signs of being under a direct Imperius curse, but an indirect one.
He continued with a serious tone, Im not sure if youve ever heard of this, but in the magical world, you
can indirectly curse or hex someone by placing a curse on an object, and as the object is more frequently
used, the power of the indirect curse becomes overwhelming. We believe that George had, in his mourning
for Fred, continuously used Freds wand. The wand was, most likely, during the break in the battle, grabbed
by a Death Eater, and cursed.
Mr. Weasley sighed and said, We knew he had Freds wand, we werent positive we could get it away from
him without doing more harm. Thanks to all of you, we wont have to worry about it causing any more
problems. However, we will have to take extra care of George from now on. Being cursed for this long, he
put a hand on his wifes shoulder and continued, can have a lasting effect.
Ginny gave her parents a questioning look. Does this mean you think George used Freds wand to put an
Imperius curse on Percy?
Mr. Weasley nodded. That makes the most sense. Initially, Percy was giving us thorough reports, but then,
a month or so ago, it just stopped. And all he had to say was George was fine and busy with the store.
Kingsley nodded. Thats when we knew something more serious was most likely afoot. But to confront
George would have served no purpose.
Ginny turned to check on Harry and could see him returning to his normal colour, though still breathing in a
shallow manner. She sat down in front of him and asked quietly, Now what?
Kingsley smiled. Take a deep breath and lets have all of this behind us. Well make sure that your brother
gets the care he needs. The healers will be here shortly to give Harry the potions and ointments hell need to
get better. Then you and Ms. Granger will get ready for your term this fall. And the rest will be history.
He smiled broadly and Ginny smiled weakly back at him, saying quietly, Just like that
He nodded and repeated, Just like that.
Mr. Weasley stood up and Kingsley and Mrs. Weasley followed him into the kitchen to check on George.
This left Ginny and Hermione to stare blankly at Harrys inert body.
Ginny felt herself shaking all over and Hermione got up and sat down next to her, wrapping her arm around
Ginnys shoulders. She tried to smile and said wryly, You know Harry, never a dull moment.
Ginny couldnt help herself and laughed. I know. He does love to make things more interesting.
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Hermione sighed and squeezed her shoulder. Dont worry, Ginny. I know this is hard to hear right now, but
trust me, hell always come back for you.
Ginny felt herself flushing and replied, Scares me a bit, to be honest.
Hermione shifted to face Ginny and gave her an inquisitive look. What do you mean?
Ginny shook her head. Nothing
Hermione gave her a sceptical look and Ginny sighed and continued, Fine. Harrys right, theres no
stopping you when you want to know something!
Hermione smiled smugly and waited for Ginny to continue. Ginny took a deep breath. I know weve talked
about our feelings for our respective boyfriends. Harry and I have been really close lately, but sometimes I
just dont know what to think about us. I want to be sure, and I feel like hes just coming to me
because She stopped and looked helplessly at Hermione. I just feel like hes with me because he needs
someone now. But in a few weeks, once he gets on as an Auror, hell forget about me.
Hermione shook her head. Ginny, how many times are we going to have this conversation? Harry loves
you. You cant deny it! Every time he looks in your direction, every time he talks about you, he just lights
up. Youre mad thinking otherwise.
Ginny wiped her eyes and replied quietly, I know, I knowand this She touched the locket at her neck
and continued, This is serious!
Hermione nodded and smiled. He was really labouring over how to give that to you and if youd
understand his feelings behind it.
Ginny rested her hand on Harrys chest and said quietly, I know what they are, Im just not sure I
understand them fully.
Hermione shrugged. Dont over-think it, I find that works best for Ron and I.
Ginny couldnt help herself and laughed. If you and Ron are the standard I need to get off this ride!
They both broke from the tension and found themselves laughing jovially. They stopped abruptly when they
heard a loud crash outside. Hermione jumped up and headed out the door. Ginny gave Harry once last look
before following her. As she made it to the door Hermione yelled, Get your parents! Now!
Ginny didnt question the command and called to her parents. Mr. Weasley and Kingsley came running
from the kitchen and rushed out the door to see Ron dragging Percy towards the house. Kingsley shook his
head and stepped out with Mr. Weasley to help Ron bring Percy into the house. Percy was somewhat
coherent and started mumbling something about George.
They finally managed to get him to sit in a chair. He sat back heavily and said, Mum, Dad, I dont know
what happenedIm so sorry.
Mrs. Weasley rushed forward and wrapped her arms around him. Percy, dear, dont worry about that now,
its over.
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its over.
Mr. Weasley stepped forward and asked, Percy, are you alright? You gave us a fright out there!
Percy nodded and replied, Dad, yeah, Im fine. Just a little light-headed. George used an Imperius curse on
me for the last monthI couldnt shake itIm so sorry.
Percy raised his eyes slowly to Ginnys and he said emphatically, Ginny, Im so sorry. It was like I was in
a fog, I never meant
She shook her head. Percy, dont worry, really. She moved around her mother and embraced Percy
awkwardly, whispering, Im just glad to have my big brother back.
He returned the embrace and said, I never left, I was just a little trapped.
Kingsley headed back into the kitchen, beckoning Mr. Weasley to follow him. Mrs. Weasley began fussing
after Percy, and he tried to smile and enjoy the attention.
Hermione looked worriedly at Ron, whod said nothing up to this point. He sighed and wrapped her in warm
embrace. Ginny turned to see Harry sitting up slightly and she walked over, sitting down in front of the
sofa. She smiled reassuringly at him and asked, How are you feeling?
He smiled back at her and said, Brilliant. This has been a bracing birthday.
She smiled and brushed his hair away from his face and leaning in, kissed him softly on the cheek. Its
almost over, love. Someones going to stop by to give you somemedicine to get you back to normal.
He looked dejectedly at her and replied, Do I have to?
She laughed softly and said, If you know whats good for you, you wont argue with me.
He smiled and lied back down, shutting his eyes and saying, Yes, dear.
The commotion in the kitchen continued to escalate, but Ginny paid no attention. She heard Hermione and
Ron leave and she curled up in a chair near Harry, falling asleep as the healers arrived. She didnt leave his
side all night.
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Chapter 21: Chapter 21 - Healing Hurts


Author's Notes: A big thank you to my Beta Ginny Guerra, who we can all be thankful to for these quick
updates! You're made of awesome, hun :)
I want to thank everyone for the comments and I have to say, I'm really flattered that so many of you are
leaving such thoughtful comments. I am working really hard to make a cohesive, entertaining story and
based on the comments, I think I am. Also, my apologies for the inconsistent chapter lengths, some just go
on more than others.
I also have to say, wow do I wish the noms were working right now. All these updates, law of averages says
I might have actually made it onto the ballot!
Thanks and remember, Prince Caspian comes out this weekend!
Harry had a fitful night of sleep. He didnt remember all the events that had occurred the previous night, but
did recall Ginny throwing a protection shield in front of him before he got slammed to the floor. He ached
all over, as if he had been hit by the Knightbus. He looked across the room and could just make out Ginnys
figure curled up on a chair across from him. He sighed. She shouldnt have slept so uncomfortably on his
behalf. He tried to get up, but felt the exertion over-whelming him and sat back quickly.
She seemed to stir a bit, and he watched quietly with his eyes half-open until she got up and looked into the
kitchen. He blinked a couple times before looking up at her.
She said quietly, I didnt mean to wake you.
He smiled weakly at her. I was awake. I was just watching you sleep. You had the most serene look on
your face.
She smiled and tried to push her hair away from her face. Harry, I must be giving you a fright by how I
look this morning!
He shook his head slightly and said, No, you look even more amazing than you did last night.
She laughed. Harry, all this lying isnt good for your soul.
He raised his eyebrows. Really? From what I can tell, my soul is doing just fine. My back on the other
hand He leaned forward slowly, wincing. That could use some extra attention.
She bent down next to him and placed a pillow behind him so he could sit up. Is it time for some potions or
something?
She realised she hadnt stayed awake for when the healers had come and had no idea about what Harry
needed. She gave him a helpless look and he pointed to a table next to the couch. The instructions are
thereand I dont think so. The healers said something about the aches and pains going away over time.
Theyre more worried aboutsomething else.

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She looked at him worriedly. Did they say what? And you were awake?
He shook his head. I may have looked asleep, but I could hear everything last night.
He reached out and took her hand in his, kissing it. Everything.
She gave him a nervous look and said, I do have a tendency to tell Hermione thingsmaybe I should be
telling you.
He nodded and leaned back heavily. I wish that you would. You dont have to understand how I feelI
mean, that would be nice, but if you at least accept it at face-value, thatd be a big step.
She smiled and looked down. Why dont I see whats around to eat?
He gripped her hand more tightly. Why dont you sit here with me so I can enjoy the view for a little bit
longer?
She blushed deeply. Harry, neither of us have eaten and I think youd do well to get some energy.
She leaned forward kissing him softly on the cheek. Besides, Im not nearly in the state Id like to be for
you to see me!
He shook his head but didnt say anything. She got up slowly and headed out of the room, bringing a hot
cup of tea a few minutes later, but looking no less dishevelled. He took the tea gladly and asked, What
happened? You seem alright, physically, but what about everyone else? I thought I heard Percys voice last
night?
She nodded. He was here. Ron had to go fetch him
He gave her an inquisitive look. Fetch him? Wait, what arent you telling me? I thought I heard Kingsley
too.
She looked around nervously, and slowly went over the previous nights events. Harry couldnt believe his
ears. How was it possible that something like that could have happened? George had been using a cursed
wand, and had cursed Percy with it? He sat up slowly and asked, So what does this mean?
She looked away from him and said almost inaudibly, I dont know. She looked up and did her best to
smile at him, saying, You need to worry about getting better. Everything else will fall into place.
He didnt believe her. Not for one second. He frowned and said, Ginny, your family is my family. If theres
something I can do, tell me.
She shook her head. Merlin, Harry, I wish there werethey She stumbled and then continued, They
took George to the psychiatric ward of St. Mungos
She wiped her face and got up quickly. Im so sorry this happened on your birthday.
He tried to reach up, but winced in pain and said, Ginny, wait! Dont be sorry. We had a fantastic time
yesterday; I wouldnt trade that for anything in the world.
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She smiled, but he could see she was fighting with something. She took a step towards the stairs and said,
Harry, are you going to be okay by yourself for a bit? I think Ill go shower and make myself look a bit
presentable for you. Ill try to send Ron or Hermione down if either is awake.
He reached his hand out to her and she took it, squeezing it. He smiled and said, You look fantastic to me,
love, but go ahead, Im fine. Really.
She gave him a weak smile before heading out of sight. Not ten minutes had passed and he could hear
someone coming down the stairs. Harry was shocked to see it was Ron, and not Hermione.
He laughed. Expecting my better half, were you?
Harry laughed back at him. No offence, mate, but yeah! What are you doing up so early?
Ron sighed and sat down across from Harry. Ah, come on, Harry. Mayhem in this house and you think I
could sleep through it?
He sat up on the edge of the chair he was sitting on and said quietly, Mum and dad are really torn up about
what happenedIm not sure how theyre dealing with itThey went with Kingsley late last night to take
George
Harry watched his friend closely and said, Ron, Im really sorry. I didnt think he was really capable of this
either.
Ron nodded. You shouldnt apologise, Harry. You didnt ask for this. Im more worried about Percy right
now. He blames himself for all of this. Explains why he tried to fight me when we were by the shop.
Harry nodded. Actually, it explains a lot.
Ron sighed. Well, after Ginny fell asleep down here, Kingsley went on to tell us something more
interestingwell, or depressing. Not sure how to take it to be quite honest, according to Gaunt, George and
others who lost people in the battle were targeted. Death Eaters knew they could do even more damage by
taking people who were already wracked with guilt and use them to their advantage. George had no chance.
He was crushed when it had happened. At least now... Ron looked away from Harry and then continued
more quickly, At least now George can get some closure.
Harry gave Ron a worried look. Something tells me that George might still want me dead.
Ron tried to laugh but mustered a loud exhale. Im fraid so, Harry. Merlin! I think Ginnys right
sometimes, how do you stand spending so much time with us!
Harry laughed. That wasnt quite how Id phrased it, but Ron, I love your family. Even if George wants my
head mounted on the wall!
Ron sat back heavily and said quickly, Hermione sent a letter to her parents. Shes going to try to stay a
little later to make sure youre better. We talked about it.
Harry sat up slowly and said, Ron, no. I dont want you and Hermione worrying after me. I dont expect
Ginny to, either!
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Ginny to, either!


You dont expect Ginny to what? Ginny had walked into the room and gave Harry an inquisitive look.
He looked at her consolingly. Rons just making me feel like a patient, but Im fine! I dont need looking
after!
Ginny looked hurt and Harry continued, It isnt that I dont want the help, but I will not be a bother. Not
anymore.
Ginny narrowed her eyes. What do you mean not anymore?
He sighed and leaned back. I just think I could bother Kreacher for a bit instead.
Ginny looked at him defiantly and said, Well, if youre so anxious to go, go.
Ron covered his mouth and turned his head to stifle his laughter as Harry laboured to swing his legs off the
couch. Ginnys frown turned into a smile as she said laughingly, Alright, alright, you showed me! Sort
of She stood next to the couch and grabbed his legs, putting them back on the couch. Youre not going
anywhere until these potions are done.
Harry tried to respond but leaned back heavily and nodded mutely. Ginny looked at him nervously and put
a hand on his forehead, muttering, Always have to be the hero, dont you?
He tried to laugh, but licked his lips and she took a nearby glass of water and sat him up slightly to sip it.
He coughed and she shook her head. She whispered so Ron couldnt hear, What are you going to do
without me, Potter?
She had an alluring smile on her face and Harry replied just as quietly, I dont want to think about it.
Hermione called from the stairs, Harry, are you up?
She stepped closer as Ginny pulled away, sitting just in front of the couch. Harry had barely noticed, but
Ginny had showered and had an intoxicating scent all around her. She was wearing Muggle jeans and a
Hogwarts sweatshirt. It seemed much larger than her and Harry realised it was his. He smiled and looked up
at Hermione. She smiled back at him and said, You gave us all quite a scare last night, but it looks like
youre doing much better.
He replied, Im still a little sore, but I think Im fine.
Hermione sat down next to Ron. Ron wrapped his arm around Hermione and kissed her on the cheek. Harry
was surprised to see Hermione not flush at this and smiled. Ginny was watching him and smiled before
saying, Why dont we all eat something? Ron, youve been up for hours, did mum leave anything about for
us?
Ron replied without tearing his gaze from Hermione, Yeah, a whole breakfast spread is in there.
Ginny rolled her eyes and said, Harry, let me see what I can bring in here for you.

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He shook his head. Just help me up; Im sure I can make it into the kitchen.
She gave him a sceptical look. Harry, I dont think this is a good idea.
He smiled at her. Trust me, Im fine. I dont think lying down is going to make me feel better anyway.
She looked worriedly over at Ron and Hermione, but neither could be torn from the other. She sighed and
helped Harry swing his feet off of the couch. He sat up slowly, and shakily reached an arm out towards
Ginny. She grabbed him under the arm and tried to help him up. Harrys legs couldnt support him at all and
in his loss of balance, he pulled Ginny down onto the couch with him. They landed on top of each other and
Harry could feel Ginny laughing into his chest.
He joined her in laughing, it felt good and he felt himself relax. I guess you were right, love
She smiled down at him and said, Thats often the case, dear.
He sighed and allowed her to help him into a sitting up position. She pushed a tuft of her hair away from
her face and said, So, can I go to the kitchen without having to worry about you?
He smiled up at her and replied, Yes, dear.
Hermione had looked up at the commotion and Harry could see her laughing at them. Ron got up slowly and
helped Hermione up.
Harry watched sadly as all three of his friends went into the kitchen, leaving him alone to think about what
had happened on his birthday. He felt immensely guilty that all he could think about was the warmth that
hadnt ceased emanating from the ring. He knew that must mean that, at the very least, Ginny was thinking
about him. He couldnt imagine what Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were going through.
Ginny walked back into the room with a plate and sat down next to Harry. I probably should have gotten a
tray.
He shook his head and smiled. This is perfect. Thanks, love.
He leaned over and kissed her softly. She said quietly, You feeling well enough to eat?
He nodded but suddenly felt sick. She commented softly, Harry, youre looking positively green, but you
have to eat something. Just try to eat a bit of toast and Ill give you one of your potions.
He nodded mutely at her, never realising that food could be so unappetising. She smiled and brushed his
hair away from his face before getting up. Let me get you some tea.
He looked up and said, I feel bad yourewaiting on me.
She smiled and said, Just know I expect this if I get sick.
He laughed and nodded, focusing on the toast once again. He ate the toast slowly, one bite at a time. She
returned shortly and placed the tea next to the table where his potions were. She shook her head
disapprovingly. Harry, youve hardly eaten half of your toast! You have to do better than that!
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He gave her a sad look and she said more emphatically, Dont even try it, Harry. You need to eat
something!
He nodded sadly and said, I knowbut food, for once, doesnt seem quite as appealing.
She put her hand on his forehead and said, Feels like your fever is coming back.
He smiled as she touched him; her hand was both soft and warm. She laughed and pulled away. Harry, eat
your toast, then youre going to get some more rest.
He looked at her helplessly and said, Cant I at least get up?
She stood up and looked around. Where are you going to go? You can hardly stand up!
He raised his eyebrows. You could use your magic to get me up.
She shook her head. Harry, eat your toast.
He smiled up at her and slowly finished the single piece of toast and looked forlornly at the other piece. She
came back in the room with Ron and Hermione in tow. They sat down around him and Hermione looked
nervously at him.
He looked at them with a questioning look and Hermione started, Harry, about last night
Harry put his hands up slowly. What are you on about? Theres nothing to talk about!
Ginny had sat down next to him and put a hand on his arm. Harry, what were trying to get at is: were
really worried about you. Last night youyou let George curse you!
He looked up at her and retorted, What are you talking about?
She sighed and looked up at him, giving him a steady gaze. Harry, you pushed me out of the way and left
yourself open for being killed.
He balked. What should I have done? Let him hurt youagain!
Hermione and Ron were watching the exchange quietly as Ginny railed into Harry, I can take care of
myself! And you knew you knew he was after you! He wasnt going to hurt me when he was after you
the whole time!
His eyes were wide as she hollered at him and he said quietly, What should I have done? Pretended like he
didnt hurt you before, right in front of me?
She put an arm around his shoulders and said quietly, I dont know that Ive ever been more terrified in my
entire life than when you hit the ground like that She sighed and looked away, No, I can remember
another timeand I dont want to have to live through that ever again, Harry James Potter!
He gave her his best sad eyes and she laughed and turned away from him. He looked imploringly at her.
Im sorry He looked over at Ron and Hermione. I didnt mean tofreeze upI just, I knew what I
wanted to do and I did it.
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wanted to do and I did it.


Ginny turned around with a concerned look. Harry, if you plan on working for the Ministry, Im sure theyd
like you to stay in one piece over protecting someone that can protect themselves.
He looked down sullenly. It isnt that I didnt think you could protect yourself, but you couldnt have
honestly expected me to just stand there!
Ginny responded with exasperation, Harry, you could have taken George out before he had done anything,
but instead, you didnt react.
Harry wrung his hands nervously and could feel all their eyes on him. I guess I sort ofpanicked
Hermione chimed in, And then frozeits so unlike you, Harry!
Ginny sighed and leaned back against the couch. This makes me thankful I wasnt out there fighting with
you lot. I cant imagine you freezing up with all of the things that were going on.
Harry looked at her imploringly. Ginny, I know you can protect yourselfI dont know why I didnt
justI dont know
Ron finally spoke up, Harry, were not upset with youwell, maybe a little. But you cant let yourself get
over-concerned about protecting someone else and then get hurt yourself!
Harry furrowed his brow but couldnt get upset. He knew they were right. He nodded. I knowI doI
justcome on, Ron! If it were Hermione, what would you have done!
Ron laughed and said, And you think Hermione cant take care of herself in that sort of situation? Or that
theyd prefer to curse me instead of her? Harry, thats mad! Besides, I know Hermione wouldnt hesitate.
Hermione smiled and said, Harry, I know we were all a little on edge about George before, butwell, in
the future, I hope this wont be an issue for you.
Ginny rubbed Harrys back consolingly. Harry, were not upset with you. Im really flattered you stood up
for me, but Im disappointed you didnt protect yourself.
He nodded mutely and leaned back slightly. Ginny continued, I think weve given Harry enough of a hard
time. And turning to Harry, she said, And you look like youre exhausted.
Harry nodded weakly and said, I am, but I feel like I should take a shower or something. And possibly
change clothes
Hermione pulled her wand out. We can get you to the bathroom, but I think youre on your own once you
get there.
They all burst out into laughter and Harry felt himself smiling too. Ginny patted him gently. Ill draw you a
bath and you can take it from there.
He nodded and she got up and headed upstairs. Ron looked over at Harry and said, Another exciting
birthday?
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birthday?
Harry nodded weakly, leaning back against the couch. I swear, next year, were not celebrating at all!
Hermione nudged Ron. Why dont you get some clean clothes for Harry and put them in the bathroom so
he wont be walking around
She started laughing and Ron got up quickly heading out of the room. I dont want to even think about who
might enjoy that!
Hermione got up and sat down next to Harry. How are you feeling?
He sighed and replied, Not that great.
She looked past him to the table. I think you can take one of those potions, but I think you should do that
after your bath. She sat for a moment before continuing, Harry, how does the ring feel?
He gave her a curious look and replied, Fine, warm. Why?
Hermione looked nervous and said, Well, I was just wondering if youd felt anything while you were out of
it.
Harry looked up thoughtfully and replied, Now that you mention it, I felt warm, but it was a different sort
of warm. When I was on the floor, in the kitchen, I could feel somethingnot heat, but something, coursing
through me. I dont know how to describe it better.
Hermione looked at him imploringly. Try harder.
He turned abruptly and asked, What? Whats wrong?
Hermione shook her head. Nothing. Just keep talking.
He didnt believe her but continued, It was like I could feel something else. Like, this might sound crazy,
like something was trying to get me to wake up, but I couldnt. I was just lost in a haze.
Hermione nodded and said, I think I should have spent more time looking at those thingsI dont think
Ginny was adversely affected, but Ill have to ask her too.
Ginny had just come down the stairs and said, Ask me what?
Hermione looked worriedly from Harry to Ginny and asked, Is Ron still upstairs?
Ginny nodded. Yeah, want me to get him?
Hermione shook her head and replied hurriedly, No. I thinkI think you two should be really careful about
the locket and ring. Ginny gave her a confused look and Hermione said, Ginny, what did you feel, last
night? From the locket, I mean.
Ginny looked at Harry thoughtfully and replied, Cold, like I had been outside in the winter too long.
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Hermione said quietly, I think theres more power to those items than we may have realised. I think you
both need to work to not let them channel things through you.
Ginny gave her a questioning look. What are you talking about?
Hermione got up and said quietly, I just thinkbased on what youre saying, that you were feeling each
other, through the locket and ring. She looked at Harry and said, You were feeling warm because Ginny
was thinking of you and trying to get you to wake up. Much like what you described.
She looked at Ginny. And since Harry wasnt conscious, you were feeling a sort of voidI think you can
control it, but youre going to have to work at it, like anything else.
Ginny smiled and laughed. Harry, sometimes I dont know what to think about you.
Harry laughed softly and said, I feel like Im going to be apologising to you for the rest of my life!
Ginny walked into the sitting room and said, Dont even think about it. Hermiones right. Like anything
else, thisll just require some practice.
Hermione smiled reassuringly at them and said, You ready for your bath?
Harry nodded and got up slowly. He was surprised to see he could balance, though Ginny rushed forward,
wrapping an arm around him. See, Im glad you ate that toast!
He smiled weakly at her, but felt light-headed. He wasnt sure he could make it up all those steps, but he
hated being so helpless. He moved his feet slowly. Hermione said, Harry, didnt we just get done talking
about you being a hero?
Harry turned slightly, putting a hand on the banister. As I recall, you were telling me to take care of
myself. Isnt that what Im doing?
Ginny nudged him gently as she helped him up the stairs. No, I think youre endangering yourself yet
again
He stopped at the first landing and said, No, see, Im fine.
He was breathing rapidly and knew Ginny didnt believe it for a second. She didnt argue, but pulled more
of his weight onto her, labouring their movement up the stairs. Do you have to be so stubborn, she said
under her breath.
When they had finally made it to the bathroom, they were both winded. If my mother finds out about, this
were all going to be in a lot of trouble!
He nodded mutely, trying his best to stand on his own, but with no luck. He put a hand out to the bathroom
sink to steady himself and said breathlessly, See, that was easy.
She sighed and shook her head, keeping an arm around him. Harry, this is really too much. She took a few
deep breathes before continuing, I know you want to be strong and all, but you cant fool me! I almost
carried you up those stairs!
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He gave her a wry smile and said, Just think, when you get sick, Ill carry you.
She smiled and rolled her eyes. Brilliant, thanks so much.
He took a tentative step towards the bathtub, stopping to sit heavily on the edge. She gave him a sad look
and asked, Do you even have the energy to get undressed?
He nodded and replied, Just give me a few minutes.
Ron came upon them and said, Blimey, Harry! Did you just walk up all those stairs!
Harry shook his head and gestured towards Ginny. Ron balked and said, She helped you! Without magic! I
wish I had seen this!
Ginny looked at Rons empty hands and said, Werent you supposed to get something for Harry to wear?
Ron nodded and asked, What do you want to wear, mate?
Ginny slapped Ron on the arm. Does he look like he cares? Merlins belt, Ron! Are you really this thick?
Just get whatever he sleeps in!
Ron looked shocked and gave Harry a questioning look. Harry nodded and said, Thanks, Ron.
Ginny shook her head as Ron bounded back up the stairs to his room and she watched Harry closely. She
took a step forward, putting her hand on his shoulder. Harry, I dont think you should have pushed
yourself. She moved her hand to his forehead and sighed. Your fever seems to be coming back in full
force. I think after this we need to get you back in bed.
He nodded but didnt say anything. He was feeling very weak, and could mount no argument with her. She
must have sensed something. She bent down and kissed him softly on the forehead. You need to take it
easier, Harry. Youre going to be wasting some of our last time together.
She gave him a jovial smile and he returned the smile. He noticed he wasnt wearing his shoes anymore and
he was still wearing socks. He reached up slowly and fumbled with the buttons on his shirt. Ginny sighed
and bent down, unbuttoning his shirt. She said quietly, If you need help, Harry, you should feel free to ask.
He nodded and said, Ginny, can you help me?
She laughed and kissed him softly. Youre adorable when youre helpless.
He raised his eyebrows slowly and replied, Arent I always?
She pulled the shirt off, leaving a t-shirt underneath. She stopped and said, Well, yes, you arebut
She seemed perplexed by this and he said quietly, Are you worried Im going to ask you take all my
clothes off?
She laughed and blushed. Im not sure I can handle that right nowbut I have to say... She raised her
eyebrows mischievously at him. I cant say Im not enjoying the view.
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He smiled and tried vainly to pull the t-shirt off. Ginny stopped him, resting her hands on his sides, and said
quickly, I hate to say this, but why dont you have Ron help you with this.
He leaned forward, nudging her shoulder with his head and whispered, Oh come on, Ginny.
She caught his eyes and sighed, pulling his glasses gently off of his face and placing them on the nearby
counter. She gently pulled the t-shirt up, revealing a fairly defined upper-body underneath. She caught her
breath and Harry tried hard not to laugh at her reaction. He mumbled quietly while she pulled the t-shirt
over his head. Im glad youre enjoying the view.
She smiled and put a hand on his shoulder as he swayed forward. I amvery muchIm also hoping and
praying that no one sees us. I cant imagine what mum might think
She inhaled sharply and Harry absently felt around the counter for his glasses. She handed them to him and
said quietly, I think I know what were supposed to do with that ointment now.
He took a deep breath and felt a large bruise across his chest. Ginny bent down in front of him. Harry, this
looks awful. Does it hurt?
He nodded slightly as she wrapped a towel around his shoulders, to keep him warm. A little, not a lotnot
like last night.
Ron cleared his throat loudly. I dont even want to know, but Potter, hurt or not, dont do anything Ill have
to hurt you for later!
Ron didnt have a kidding look in his eyes, and Ginny looked down quickly, turning bright red. She shot
Harry a consoling smile and hurried out of the bathroom past Ron. Ron stepped in slowly, placing the
clothes in Harrys lap. He stepped closer to Harry. In the future, if you need help, dressing or undressing,
let me know. Not that I want to see more of you than I need to, he cracked a smile at this. But I dont want
to see Ginny and you shirt-less again, we clear?
Harry nodded weakly. Crystal clear.
Ron sighed and leaned against the wall. How much more help will you be needing?
Harry looked hard at the floor and replied, I think Ill be okay
Ron shook his head and said, Just be careful getting out of the tub. Ill come check on you in about twenty
minutes, okay?
Harry nodded and watched as Ron shut the door quietly. Harry sighed and leaned back. He ached all over.
He wished he had asked Ron for help, but the look on his friends face made him feel like he shouldnt ask.
He slowly got the rest of his clothes off, having the hardest time reaching his feet. He lowered himself into
the warm water and felt an overwhelming sense of relief.
In what felt like only a few minutes later, Harry heard a distant knocking on the door and the muffled sound
of Ron telling him to get up and asking if he needed help. He sighed and sat there for a few seconds and
Ron opened the door. Harry, are you alright?
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Harry answered feebly, Yeah, Im alright. Ill be fine.


Ron asked quietly, Sure you dont need some help?
Harry leaned forward and nodded. Im fine. Just give me a few more minutes and Ill be out.
Ron said hurriedly, Its not that we need to use the toilet, but I want to make sure youre okay. When you
get out, let me know, Ill try to get you up to my room.
Harry felt much more relaxed than last night, and slowly got out of the tub, being careful not to slip. He got
ready for bed as best he could after getting fully dressed. He opened the door slowly and was surprised to
see both Ron and Hermione waiting for him.
Hermione smiled. You look very refreshed. How are you feeling?
Harry nodded. Better. Wheres Ginny?
Ron gave him a hard look. Shes downstairs, in the kitchen.
Harry gave Hermione a quizzical look and Ron cleared his throat loudly. Shes helping mum with dinner.
Mum and dad want to make sure youre okay and theydwed rather you stay downstairs; easier for you
to get around.
Harry nodded and stepped towards the stairs. Im feeling more mobile already.
He walked slowly to the stairs and Hermione said quickly, Harry, wait He stopped and turned as she
continued, I know this sounds a bit sudden, but Ron and I arewere going to head out after dinner. Are
you going to be alright without us?
She gave him a worried look and he nodded. Dont be foolish, Ill be fine. As long as Ginnys staying
Ron took a step closer. Shell be herebut dont make me repeat myself, Harry, about before.
He glowered at his friend and Harry turned away. Ron, I got itI didntI didnt mean anything. He
took a step forward. I would never jeopardise my relationship with Ginny. He could see that this wasnt
convincing Ron in the least. He sighed. It wont happen again, I promise.
Ron didnt change his expression, but Hermione stood between them and said, Its okay, Harry. Justwell,
anyway, were going to pack and get going, right Ron?
She gave him a nudge and he gave Harry one last look before heading up the stairs. Hermione smiled at
him. You know how protective Ron can beI know youre not feeling good, but really, Harry! That
was
She shook her head and he laughed. I knowI couldnt help itIt felt
Hermione put her hands up. If you say right Im going to push you down these stairs!
They both laughed as Harry took another step towards the stairs. Hermione stepped forward grabbing his
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arm. Harry, wait, are you sure youre okay?


He nodded weakly at her. Yeah, though I might need some help getting down these stairs safely.
She smiled at him and wrapped an arm around his waist as he gripped the banister tightly. She said quietly,
Harry, you know Rons just worried about Ginny. You know he couldnt pick a better boyfriend for her.
She started to blush and continued, But Harry, having her undress youeven Ron and I would never
He blushed too and replied, I think this is turning more sordid with each re-telling. She was helping me get
my shirt off, thats it.
They had made it to the bottom of the stairs and Hermione helped him to the couch. Harry could dimly hear
Percy and Ginny talking in the kitchen. He sat down heavily and took a few deep breathes before saying,
Thanks, Hermione.
She smiled and stepped away. He said quickly, For everything. I dont know what Im going to do without
you next year.
She smiled broadly. I am sure youll be fine, Harry. Just, be more careful.
He nodded and leaned his head back against the couch as she walked into the kitchen. He shut his eyes for a
moment and heard Ginny calling his name. Harry, youre not falling asleep are you? You havent taken any
of your potions.
Percy stood in the doorway with downcast eyes and said, Harry, Im really sorry
Harry smiled. Percy, it isnt your fault.
Percy gave him a disbelieving look and said, And next time, though I hope there isnt another time, but if
there is, worry about yourself. Ginny can take care of all of us together if needed.
Harry nodded and reached out towards Ginny. She grasped his hand firmly and sat down next to him. Percy
sighed and said, Im going to help mum with lunch. Try to actappropriately.
He gave them a knowing look and headed back into the kitchen. Ginny smiled at him, putting a hand on his
forehead. Youre looking much better.
He smiled. I feel a lot better. That was really soothing.
He squeezed her hand and said nervously, Ginny, about earlier
She smiled and said, Harry, you need to learn to ignore Ron sometimes. We didnt do anything wrong.
Harry gave her a sceptical look. He whispered, I had you undressing me, what part of that wasnt wrong?
She raised her eyebrows. You were still wearing your pants last time I checked.
He laughed and nodded. There really is no arguing with you, is there?

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She shook her head and leaned close to him. She wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing him softly.
Youre going to be okay.
She said it as if it were an affirmation for herself, and not him, and he smiled, placing a hand on her arm.
Of course. I would nevergive up on you.
He moved closer to her and felt a dull ache in his back. He sat up straighter and she rubbed his back. I
think its time for that potion.
He shook his head, but Mrs. Weasley came in. Hello, Harry. Her voice was strained and Harry looked
down as she spoke to him. You should have taken your potions earlier, but now is just a good a time as
any.
She picked up a bottle and said, This is the one you need to take now, dear. Ginny, get him some water and
then, Harry, youd best lay down.
Harry nodded and Ginny got up, following her mother into the kitchen. Harry sighed and winced as he
reached for the bottle. Ginny came back into the room with a glass of water and placed it next to the potion.
Harry, it might be time to put that ointment on, youre looking like somethings bothering you.
He nodded and said quietly, I dont think anyones going to like it if I ask you to help me.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. Well, if you cant do it then whos going to? And whos better suited?
She gave him a brilliant smile and he shook his head. Ginny, Ron will kill meliterally!
She smiled and started unbuttoning his shirt. Please, Hermione, Im sure, is keeping him otherwise
occupied.
He was feeling exceedingly tired and she handed him the potion and then the glass of water as he
swallowed the potion. He made a disgusted face as he took the water from her. That was horrible.
She replied, laughing, Dont be such a baby!
She opened the ointment and Harry felt his eyes getting heavy. She said quickly, I hope youre awake
enough to enjoy this.
He tried to laugh but he just mumbled something incoherent. She gently pushed him back across the couch
and loosened his shirt. He could feel her warm hands spreading the ointment evenly across his chest, but his
head lolled back against the couch. He could distantly hear Ginny saying something to him as he shut his
eyes and felt himself falling fast asleep.
Back to index

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Chapter 22: Chapter 22 - Stolen Moments


Author's Notes: I just want to, again, thank my wonderful Beta for helping me make this fic better. And I
want to thank all of you that continue to read and continue to comment :)
I just wanted to make a general note because I think I need to say it, this is JKR's world, not ours. So some
of you have commented how Ron is acting too meanly or Hermione is being too self-righteous. In JKR's
world, I just don't see there being such a thing as boys and girls getting 'together' more than just some idle
snogging. As I'm sure we all have, read and re-read the stories, there are never any insinuations towards premarital sex or sleeping around for any of the heroes. What I'm trying to say is, although other writers will
take that artistic liberty, I'm telling you now, with a PG-rating, this story will not be going down that road.
What Harry and Ginny were doing in the last chapter, probably not wrong, but not appropriate either. We'll
explore it more later. I didn't mean to ramble, but a lot of the comments, both on- and off-line seemed to
echo the same thing, so I thought I might as well spell it out.
Thanks again for reading and please, if you have constructive commentary, share it - I'm writing chapter 4345 now and adjustments can still be made.
Harry woke up to the smell of dinner in the kitchen. He shook his head and sat up. He wasnt feeling any
aches at the time, and swung his feet of off the couch. He looked over to a chair near him and saw Ginny
sitting up, with her eyes shut. He sighed. Shed fallen asleep keeping an eye on him, again. He felt bad
about it, but it made him feel warm inside that she was there for him. He took a sip of water before placing
the glass back on the table.
He got up slowly, feeling his head swim for a moment before the room returned to its normal state. He took
a few tentative steps towards Ginny, sitting on the edge of the chair she was sitting in. She must have felt
the movement. She looked up abruptly, and Harry put a hand on her shoulder. Please tell me youre going
to sleep in a proper bed tonight.
She shook her head and brushed her hair away from her face. Im fine. Im not tired at all.
He raised his eyebrows and laughed. Dont lie to me. Youre exhausted!
She shook her head and said, How are you?
He smiled. Im fine; I have the best nurse snogging can buy.
She laughed loudly and stood up, stretching and revealing a very flat stomach. She pulled her shirt down
abruptly and slapped Harry playfully on the arm. Dont be sneaking peaks, Harry Potter!
He smiled and replied, Oh please, like you werent enjoying seducing me earlier!
She gave him a shocked look and said, Oh yes, one of my dreams is to rub ointment on my well built
boyfriends chest while hes out cold!
They both laughed and Harry sunk into the chair Ginny had been sitting in. The energy surge he had felt
was almost entirely spent and he felt his eye lids growing heavy again. Ginny took a step forward and
whispered, I guess I spoke too soon.
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whispered, I guess I spoke too soon.


He leaned back and shook his head. No, Im fine.
She shook her head and grabbed the glass of water. You keep saying that. And the more you say it the less
I believe you. You missed lunch also. Youre probably hungry.
He shook his head. Food still doesnt sound appealing to me.
Unfortunately, that isnt part of the equation, love, she continued more slowly as he finished the water.
She stepped close to him, taking the glass and said, Why dont I give you something to eat? We should be
eating dinner in a bit, but you need some energy.
He shook his head and asked, Where are Ron and Hermione?
Ginny smiled weakly. Ron went to the store. Theyre going to stop at St. Mungos on the way home.
Harry nodded and said, When are you going to go?
She gave him a nervous smile. I dont want to leave you alone, but I did want to go.
Harry tried to smile and said, Did you want me to go with you?
The last thing Harry wanted to do was seeing George, but he could see how much it was affecting their
family and knew hed be fine once he was feeling better. She smiled at him and sat down on the couch hed
just been sleeping on. I really would. Though, if you dont want to go, and I can certainly understand your
not wanting to go, then I can go with mum or dad.
Harry nodded and smiled, letting the exhaustion take him for a few moments. Ginny walked over, shaking
Harry. If youre feeling tired, why dont you lie down?
He shook his head and sat up. Maybe I should get dressed or something?
She laughed. Were not having a repeat of what happened earlier! Besides, you dont have to worry, no
ones going to care if youre dressed or not!
He looked down realising he was just wearing his pyjamas and looked around for his robe. She sighed and
shook her head. I managed to get this off of you after you fell asleep.
She handed him the robe and he got up, pulling his arms through the sleeves slowly. She gave him a sad
look and said, Harry, let me get you something to eat. Itll make you feel better.
He called out to her as she headed for the kitchen. Do I really look that bad?
She turned and smiled. You look a tad pale.
She was gone for a few minutes and Harry had a hard time staying awake in those few minutes. She walked
back into the sitting room with a bowl of mixed fruit and said, This should give you more energy than the
toast did this morning.
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He looked at the bowl with a forlorn expression. She sighed and said, Come on, Harry, its not gruel, its
just fruit.
He sighed and she said quickly, It isnt going to bite, and Im not leaving until you finish at least half of
the bowl!
He gave her a confused look and said, How is that supposed to encourage me to eat this?
She laughed and said, Fine! Then Im not coming back until you finish half of it!
He smiled wryly and said, But how will you know if youre not here?
She shook her head. Youre impossible! If our positions are ever switched, I hope to Merlin Im not as
difficult as you are.
He gave her a hurt smile and replied, Im eating, Im eating! She sighed and he continued, But I do enjoy
the company.
She sat down again, across from him and looked at him sternly. Im not messing about, Harry, you need to
eat.
He shrugged. Isnt dinner soon? Couldnt I eat then?
She narrowed her eyes. Harry, who are you trying to fool?
He sighed and ate a piece of fruit. Apparently not you.
She crossed her arms in mock exasperation. No, indeed. I think Ive figured out all of your tricks.
He smiled back at her. Now I just have to figure out yours.
She replied, Well, with Ron and Hermione leaving, well have loads of time.
Harry looked at her inquisitively. Wait, whos going to watch the shop?
Ginny smiled. Percy will be. Hes fine. He just needed some rest.
Harry nodded and said, He didnt sound fine last night.
Ginny looked away. Well, Ron had to get himGeorge had done a number on him. But hes fine. Much
better than George.
Harry nodded. Hows George?
Harry tried to sound sincere and Ginny let it pass. Hes okaywell, I dont knowmum and dad have
been pretty tight about it.
She looked worried and Harry smiled weakly at her. Ginny, Im sure hell be fine.

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Ginny shook her head. I hope so, Harry.


He sighed and continued eating as Ginny watched the kitchen absently. He knew she was most likely
watching the family clock. He wasnt certain, but when she mentioned Georges name, he felt more anger
than remorse. He was fairly certain Ginny wouldnt care for that, and knew hed have to put his feelings for
George aside for her as best he could. She turned to see him staring at her intently and got up quickly. I
think I hear Ron and Hermione.
Sure enough, not a minute later, the pair came into the sitting room. Ron looked exceedingly sombre and
Hermione smiled weakly at Harry. I didnt think youd be up when we got back.
Ron and Hermione sat down across from Harry. She continued, How are you feeling?
He nodded and mumbled through the fruit, Im okay, how was everything?
Ron locked eyes with Ginny and the latter took a sharp breath. Hermione looked questioningly from Ron to
Ginny and Ron nodded. She said quietly, Well, the shop was fine
Harry rolled his eyes and broke in, Hermione, whats going on?
Ron and Ginny looked downcast and Hermione looked helplessly between the two of them. Harry tried to
sit forward, and leaned back heavily. Ginny turned to him and said, I think things are as wed expect them
to be.
Harry furrowed his brow and said, What are you worried about? Im not going to tell anyone!
Ron spoke up finally, That isnt the point, Harry! This isits horribleour brother is totally mental. Thats
it.
Harry looked sharply at Hermione and she nodded weakly. Thats the gist of it, yes.
Harry looked down. He knew Ron blamed him and he felt that Ginny wasnt far from that. Ginny looked
over at him and smiled. Hermione got up slowly. I think well be having dinner soon. Im going to freshen
up quickly.
She headed out of the room and left Ron with Harry and Ginny. Ron got up slowly and Ginny shot him an
imploring look. He sighed and said, I didnt mean to snap at you, Harry. I justits been a long day.
Harry nodded mutely but didnt say anything. Ron walked into the kitchen without saying more and Harry
said quietly, feeling very wide awake, Im really sorry about all this.
Ginny didnt look at him, but ran her hand across her eyes. Harry got up slowly, teetering for a second
before falling heavily onto the couch she was sitting in. He nearly dropped the bowl he was holding and
Ginny jumped as he sat down. Harry! What are you doing?
Ginny pulled the bowl out of his grasp and placed it on the floor as he struggled to sit up. She grabbed his
shoulders and helped him up. He leaned heavily on her as she helped him and he said breathlessly, Im
trying to comfort you.

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She laughed softly. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and kissed her softly. She took his face in her
hands and said, Thanks, Harry. Please dont apologise, we should be apologising to you!
He shook his head, leaning against the back of the couch. I dont know, Ginny. I feel likeit was my
fault.
She gave him an incredulous look. Let me get this straight, you think, its your fault, you were attacked by
our grief-stricken brother?
He smiled. When you put it like that, you make me sound a bit mental.
She replied, Just a bit? Maybe I should say it again.
He laughed and ran his hand across her back. I wouldnt mind hearing it again, but I wont lie, Im feeling
a little out of it.
She nodded and got up. I think you need to lie down again. And you have not finished your fruit.
He smiled and let her help him across the couch. I never promised anything, I just said Id try.
She sighed and put a hand to his forehead. Ill get you up for dinner, then more potions.
Harry felt his head resting against the pillow and a blanket being pulled across his body. Ginny bent down
and kissed him softly before leaving the room.
In what felt like only an hour, Harry opened his eyes slowly. The room was out of focus and darkened. He
sat up slowly and reached towards the table and found his glasses. He pulled them on and noticed he was
alone in the sitting room. He felt relieved and got up slowly, stretching and then heading into the kitchen.
Mr. Weasley was sitting at the kitchen table and looked up, surprised to see Harry up.
He smiled broadly. Youre looking better, how are you?
Harry smiled weakly. Im okay, how is everything?
Mr. Weasley sighed. Well, I wont lie to you, Harry; George is still a bitoff kilter. But Percy is,
thankfully, fine now.
Harry sat down across from him, pulling his robe tightly around himself. Mr. Weasley, Im really sorry,
about everything.
Mr. Weasley smiled. Harry, listen, son. You neednt think of this as anyones fault. Least of all your own.
He leaned forward, putting the parchment down he was looking over. Harry, I think Ginny is right, youre
far too serious.
Harry raised his eyebrows in surprise. He didnt think Ginny would be talking about him with her parents,
he wondered to what extent the rest of that conversation had been shared. Mr. Weasley, I think I could
have saved everyone a lot of grief if I had justacted more quickly.
Mr. Weasley laughed softly. Harry, my boy, hindsight is always twenty-twenty. You did what you thought
was best. If anything, we should be apologising to you about all of this.
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was best. If anything, we should be apologising to you about all of this.


Harry shook his head. No, Mr. Weasley, really, youve been the family Ive never had and this isnt your
fault either. No one could have known what would have happened.
Mr. Weasley smiled. Harry, that is a really mature way of looking at this. Im proud of you.
Harry felt himself flush and said, Thanks, Mr. Weasley.
They looked at each other for a few moments before Mr Weasley said, I think everyone will be in and out
of the house over the next couple of weeks. I think Molly is going to be spending a good deal of time at St.
Mungos.
Harry nodded and said, And Ron and Hermione are leaving today, too.
Mr. Weasley nodded. So Ive heard. Im glad Rons going with Hermione, though I feel that Molly and I
should be meeting her parents again
He seemed to be searching to say something and Harry nodded. He felt a slight rumbling in his stomach and
realised he was finally hungry. Mr Weasley continued, Perhaps after things have settled
He smiled at Harry and laughed. Im sure youre not interested in this sort of thing, so Ill stop talking
about nothing.
Harry smiled and shook his head. Dont be He stopped, fumbling for the right words. I think meeting
Hermiones parents again sounds like a nice idea. Maybe over the holidays?
Mr. Weasley nodded. Perhaps
Harry was thankful that awkward conversation was over and shut his eyes. He could distantly hear a
discussion and felt a pair of hands grip his shoulders gently. If youre tired, dont sleep in the kitchen!
He turned slightly, but knew it was Ginny; her scent arrived well before she did. She kissed him softly on
the cheek and sat down next to him. She gave him a worried smile and he smiled back. You keep looking
at me like that
She laughed softly. Im sorry, youre just worrying me
She rested her hand on his shoulder and said, I think we missed one of your potions today, too.
He sighed. Im sure I can take them all at one time.
She shook her head. You cant mix some of them.
He rolled his eyes. Does it even matter? I mean, theyll all end up in the same place!
She slapped him playfully. How long do you want to be asleep?
He relented and said, Yes, dear.
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Mrs. Weasley came through the grate and tried her best to smile. She seemed to give Mr. Weasley some sort
of sign, as he got up promptly and headed out of the room with her. Ginny started to get up, but sat down,
keeping an eye on Harry. Harry gave her a disgruntled look and said, If you want to go see what theyre
talking about, go, Im fine.
She shook her head and replied, I think I need to keep a better eye on you. You were sleeping, sitting up,
just now. I dont think mum or dad are going to approve of that.
He retorted dryly, Youre not my nurse. Besides, your father was sitting right here. If he wanted me to
move, he could have just told me to.
Ginny gave him a sharp look and said quietly, Stop acting like youre being a bother, Harry. He didnt say
anything because he doesnt want to bother you.
Harry tried to cross his arms, but felt the task too tiring and let his hands rest on the table. I dont care for
where this is going
She looked at him slyly. Where is that exactly?
He didnt say anything, and she squeezed his shoulder before taking a few steps towards the door. Her father
saw her and waved his wand at the door. Harry saw a bright flash and knew hed thrown a muffling charm
on the door. Ginny turned around with an exasperated look. He tried not to look too amused, but to no avail.
She sat down heavily next to him and whispered, Thanks. That was very encouraging of you.
He smiled and said, Sorry, I cant help it. If you had gone there when I first said you should, youd be
hearing them now.
She gave him a half smile, but Harry knew she was worried. They had to be talking about George. By the
look on Ginnys face, Harry knew the conversation was getting increasingly heated. He turned away from
her, looking at the floor while trying to stay sitting upright.
Mrs. Weasley came back into the room and said, Whos hungry for dinner, then?
Harry didnt look up, and Ginny nudged him, but said nothing. Harry turned to her, but was fearful to hold
Mrs. Weasleys gaze. She didnt seem to mind that neither of them had replied, and bustled around the
kitchen quickly before heading out of the room.
Harry had kept his gaze away from Ginny and she poked him softly. What? Have you become afraid to
look at any of us now?
He shook his head and slowly turned to her. No, I justI feel bad. And I dont want you to tell me I
shouldnt!
She started to argue, but leaned back in her chair. If you want to level yourself with guilt, fine, but dont
expect me or anyone else in this house to help you.
He looked away from her and he knew she was not looking at him either. They sat there quietly for some
time before both Ron and Hermione came into the kitchen, sitting across from them. Ginny looked over at
the stove and got up; stirring something once she got there.
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No one said anything. Harry had never thought things could get any tenser at the Burrow, but amazingly
they had in one short day. Conversations were kept quiet, and there was no longer any laughter to be found.
Even if George was not himself, he still had a jovial air to him, and that was gone from the house for the
time being.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley came into the kitchen a quarter of an hour later, both looking tired. Mr. Weasley
looked around the room and said, Your mother and I will be taking turns keeping an eye on George. Percy
will be helping when he can. Ron, I know youre heading off with Hermione, and thats fine, but please be
cognisant of the help we could use here. Ginny, we believe youll be best suited tending Harry until he can
get back on his feet.
Harry started to argue, but Mr. Weasley shook his head. I dont want any arguments about this. Just do as
we ask, please.
Harry snapped his mouth shut and continued looking at the kitchen table. Mrs. Weasley said nothing and
headed to the stove, finishing the last preparations on the dinner. She served the dinner quietly. She set a
bowl of soup in front of Harry and said, This should get you up and about, dear.
He nodded weakly and noticed the most appetising aroma emanating from the soup. He couldnt believe it,
but he felt like the soup was the best thing hed ever smelled. Ginny shot him strange looks throughout
dinner. Everyone slowly stopped eating, yet Harry still felt famished. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley bid everyone
good night while Ron, Hermione and Ginny continued to look worriedly at Harry. He finally stopped,
putting his spoon down. What? Why are you all looking at me like that?
Ginny tried to suppress her smile and said, Harry, you inhaled that soup like it was running away from
you!
Ron and Hermione both laughed and Hermione said, I have to give your mother credit, I dont think Harry
expected that, did you?
Harry looked at her with a confused expression. What are you talking about?
Ron laughed and said, Harry, I think that fever is finally frying your brain if even I can figure these things
out! Mum put something in the soup to get you to eat more of it. Its just a little something to get your
energy up. But I dont think any of us expected youd take to it quite this well.
Harry gave them a perturbed expression and said sullenly, It was good soup.
Ginny patted him on the arm. Well, if youve had your fill, we need to get you some potions to get you
back to full strength.
Harry looked at the soup quietly and Hermione said quietly, Despite Harrys new affinity for soup, Ron
and I are going to head out. Are you sure youre going to be okay?
Harry started to say something and realised Hermione was addressing Ginny. She looked back at Hermione
and patted Harry on the arm. Well be fine. You two go have a good time.
She smiled sweetly at both of them and Ron gave her a disbelieving look. She said more emphatically, I
mean it, Ron. Dont worry. I promise; this will all be here when you get back.
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mean it, Ron. Dont worry. I promise; this will all be here when you get back.
Hermione started to argue, but Ron shook his head. We already planned this, lets go. Besides, your parents
are expecting us. Both of us.
Harry nodded and said, Well be fine. Give your parents our love, unless thatll get you into more trouble.
They all laughed and Ron smiled, getting up and pulling Hermiones chair out for her. Well head out soon.
Ill check in with mum and dad. Harry, if youre passed out when we leave
He gave Harry another hard look and Ginny broke in, Ron, stop it.
Ron stood up to his full height and retorted, Im your older brother before Im Harrys best friend. He
pointed accusingly at both of them. I dont want to hear about anything like that again. Am I being clear?
Ginny glowered at Ron. Youre not the boss of me.
Ron took a step towards the table but Hermione grabbed his arm to slow his progress. He didnt move
further but said forcefully, That may be the case, but since mum and dad are otherwise distracted, you
should know to act appropriately.
Ginny started to argue but Harry put his hand up. Ron, it was nothing. But like I said before, it wont
happen again, so just
Ron gave them one last look before Hermione pushed him out towards the stairs. She stopped for a second,
giving them both an apologetic look. I hate to agree with Ron about something like that but
Ginny interrupted her, Not you too!
Hermione smiled. Ginny, you know II think you and Harry are fantastic together, but HarryIm afraid
that even if youre sick, you should know better. She sighed and continued, I dont want to leave lecturing
either of you, justget better. Well be back soon. Ron will be at least. She gave Harry a consoling smile
and said, Harry, try to get better and dont give Ginny too much of a hard time.
Harry nodded and watched as she left the room, leaving him alone with Ginny. She looked over at him and
said, Looks like were going to have to keep our hands off of each other.
Harry sighed, stood up slowly and headed for sitting room. Ginny followed him and watched as he sat down
heavily on the couch hed been sleeping on. He felt much more awake than he had since the previous night
and was looking warily at the potions on the table. He didnt want to go into another potion-induced stupor,
but knew neither Ginny nor Mrs. Weasley would allow him not to take them.
Ginny followed him into the sitting room with a glass of water and he visibly cringed. She laughed. Im not
throwing this on you and the potions arent that bad.
Harry gave her a serious look. Youre not the one taking them.
She nodded and placed the cup down on the table, sitting down next to him. Harry, if you dont take them,
there could be somelasting effects. Please.
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She gave him the sweetest smile and he had a hard time resisting. Cant I at least wait until Ron and
Hermione leave?
Ginny gave him a tired look. They may take a while. Im not sure how good of an idea that is.
He leaned over, running his fingers up her arm. Im sure you can keep me awake until then.
She watched him quietly enjoying the attention, then, as if startled, slapped his hand away. Harry! Stop that.
You need to get some rest and take these potions. Dont turn me into the bad guy here.
He gave her his saddest eyes, but could feel the tiredness creeping up on him. I guess this is what its like
when kids are begging their parents to stay up late
She patted him gently on the back. It is. She sighed and relented, Twenty minutes, then no more arguing.
He nodded and said, Thanks. See, that wasnt so hard.
She took one of his hands in hers and said, So, how is it Im supposed to keep you awake?
Harry gave her a sly smile and squeezed her hand. Well, the most popular thing I can think about He
leaned over and kissed her softly. Involves me snogging you
He continued kissing her, but felt his weight falling across the couch. She grabbed his shoulders gently and
pushed him back, propping him up. She pulled away and laughed. Wow, this is going wonderfully. You
want to snog me silly and you cant even sit up straight.
He tried to argue but she turned to face him and said, Maybe you should just lie back for a bit.
He sighed and said, I feel like thats all Ive been doing.
She shook her head. I dont understand how someone whos so frequently in the hospital wing of Hogwarts
can be so impatient.
He smiled. Oh come on, you love me for my impatience.
She turned her head laughing. Of all of your endearing traits, that is one of my least favourites.
He trailed his hand down her back as she leaned forward. He wrapped his arm around her waist, trying to
pull her closer. He didnt have the strength. She looked at him dolefully and said, Harry, youre really
exhausted. Why are you insisting on staying awake? Ron and Hermione arent going to fault you for getting
some much needed rest.
He nodded and leaned closer to her. I know, but I wont see them for a while
She raised her eyebrows. And Im what, chopped liver over here?
She laughed softly; wrapping her arms around his shoulder Just lie down. But dont think I wont wake you
to take these potions.
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He sighed and shook his head. Im only a little tired. I thought you said I had twenty minutes.
She rolled her eyes. So now Im supposed to keep you awake for that time?
He nodded and smiled at her. She sighed. Fine
She grabbed his shoulders from behind and turned him away from her. She ran her hands across his back,
then let him relax against her. He struggled for a second but she pulled him back. How about you relax a
little?
He turned slightly and replied, Im always relaxed when Im with you.
She laughed softly; he could almost feel her laughter. Harry, youre rather tense from what I can tell.
She had the softest hands. He was very aware of how thin his shirt was and how her fingers were working
magic on his back. He felt his eyes shutting and whispered, Youve tricked me again, havent you?
She kissed him softly on the nape of his neck. Now, why would I trick you, Harry?
He felt his head lolling forward and fought to pull away from what was by far the most amazing massage
hed ever had, considering he had never gotten one. She wrapped her arms around his waist and whispered,
Where do you think youre going?
He put his hands over hers and replied, I think I get why your parents are afraid to leave us alone
He slowly turned, facing her and kissed her gently. I dont think I can fight you anymoreits been twenty
minutes, hasnt it?
She nodded and smiled. Youve got three different potions to take. Two you can take together, the other
one, tomorrow morning.
He sighed and nodded. You are quite theseductress
She laughed. Just so were clear, Im getting my way, again.
He leaned over, kissing her on the cheek. I dont know, I got something I didnt expectI He fumbled
for a moment, I dont think anyones ever even offered to give me a massage before.
She smiled sweetly at him. Play your cards right, and this wont be a rare occurrence.
She started to get up and he reached for her vainly. She gave him a curious look. No fussing, Harry, just
drink these and lie down.
He looked at her sadly. No more massages?
She laughed. Ill have to check and see if you need more ointment, but Im not sure.
He raised his eyebrows mischievously. Just dont undress me while there are others around.

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She laughed and handed him the first potion. He gave her a forlorn look and she shook her head warningly.
He drank it quickly and tried hard not to gag. The taste was atrocious. She handed him the water, which he
drank slowly. She opened the other potion and Harry looked at her warily. She sighed. Harry, you
promised.
He coughed. Are you sure I cant just take it later?
She handed him the bottle and took the glass from him. He gave her one last pleading look, but she gave
him a hard stare. Much to Harrys surprise, this second potion was sweet tasting. He took the water back
from her, finishing the glass and said, Why cant they all taste good?
She smiled. Its supposed to make you feel better, not taste good.
He was surprised that he wasnt feeling tired and looked up at her. She gave him a curious look and grabbed
the potion list. She stood there for another moment and said, Youre not feeling tired?
He shook his head. Not really, no?
As he said it he could feel the potions hitting him and struggled to stay awake. She smiled and sat down in
front of the couch, gently pushing him down across it. He searched for the blanket hed been using and
started to drape it across his body. He started to say something but stopped. She put her hand on his chest
and asked, Does this hurt?
He winced a little, but didnt say anything and she sighed. I guess it is time to apply some more ointment.
Harry opened his eyes wide at this and she gave him a questioning look. Was it really that bad the first
time?
He shook his head. Merlin, no! It was amazing, I want to enjoy it this time.
He winked at her and she rolled her eyes. She unbuttoned his shirt and slowly rubbed the ointment across
his chest. She leaned close to him and kissed him softly. I have to say, Harry, I didnt realise youd found
so much time to stay so fit.
He laughed softly. You know, I did have a lot going on, had to be in good shape.
She nodded. Very good shape.
She smirked at him and buttoned his shirt back up. He took her hand in his, kissing it. ThanksGinny?
She bent down next to him, smiling. Yes?
He looked up at her and said, Promise me youll sleep in your bed tonight?
She gave him a worried look and he squeezed her hand again. Harrywhos going to look after you?
He shook his head. Im moving a little slow, but Im fine, I dont need twenty-four hour watch. You
always look gorgeous to mebut you also look really, really tired.

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She nodded and ran her hand across her face. I am, Harry, but I dont want to leave you alone
He nodded and continued holding onto her hand. If I need anything, Ill send you a Patronusplease.
She smiled and knelt down. Close your eyes, love.
He nodded and let his body fall fast asleep.
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Chapter 23: Chapter 23 - Twisted Paths Cross


Author's Notes: Thank you all for the wonderful comments - I really appreciate knowing that people are
reading this fic! I also want to thank my wonderful Beta for making this fic better - she's faboo!
In case anyone's curious, I'm writing/editing chapters 35-45, we're hitting the last few strides, but I say that
with a grain of salt, sometimes a few chapters just hit me and the fic expands a bit. I do have this all plotted
out, but it's a loss outline to allow for creativity.
I hope everyone's having a lovely weekend and thank you again for your support :)
Harry woke to a brightly lit sitting room. The sunshine was pouring in through the windows and Harry was
happy to see Ginny was not sleeping in any of the various chairs around the room. He felt surprisingly
refreshed and reached across the table to pull his glasses and put them on. Ginny must have taken them off
after hed fallen asleep.
He sat up and looked around the room. There were no signs of life and he got up slowly, stretching and
realising he didnt feel any aches and pains. He was surprised hed healed so quickly and headed up the
stairs. He had a feeling he wouldnt need help bathing again, although he couldnt argue that he had enjoyed
the attention.
He made it easily up to Rons room. The room was clean, a rather unusual event, and Harry found his bag
and pulled some clean clothes out. He quickly showered and changed into proper clothes, heading back
downstairs. Ginnys door was closed and Harry didnt think it would be prudent to wake her up. Hed been
exhausting her for the last day and knew she needed her rest.
The kitchen was empty and Harry poked around, finding a few things to eat. He picked up the latest copy of
the Daily Prophet and flipped through it as he drank a cup of tea. He noticed a pair of letters sitting near the
window sill and got up. Both were addressed to him. He read them quickly. One was from Kingsley,
informing him that he should report to the Ministry in one week; Harry noticed the date was before Ginnys
birthday. He didnt want to miss it, but knew he had to report to work. The second letter was from Neville,
confirming that hed be joining the Ministry the same day Harry would be. Harry assumed this meant Ron
had also gotten the same letter and start date.
He looked up as Ginny trudged into the kitchen, yawning loudly, then covering her mouth quickly. Harry!
Youre up early.
He nodded and smiled. Not really, I think its half-past nine now. Did you get any rest?
She nodded and then smiled sheepishly. I did. Im glad I listened to you, I needed a good nights rest.
Harry laughed. Is it my turn to say you should listen to me?
She shook her head and smiled. No, Im the only one who can say that.
He smiled and watched her sit down next to him. He asked, Do you want me to make you a cup of tea?

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She raised her eyebrows. Youre going to make me tea?


He nodded. Sure, I think I can handle it.
She placed her hand over his. How are you feeling? The colour has really returned to your face.
He grabbed a couple of her fingers awkwardly and replied, I feel good. Those two potions knocked me out,
but I feel really refreshed.
She smiled. One more and then rest is all you need.
He pulled away from her reluctantly, and walked over to the stove, putting the kettle back on. He noticed
she hadnt gotten dressed and had her robe pulled tightly around her body. She had pulled her hair back
away from her face, but still had an air of exhaustion about her.
He grinned at her and said, Are we just going to hang about here today?
She nodded, stretching again. I think we shouldnt stray too far, in case you need to rest.
He gave her a skeptical look. I feel fine. If you want to head out for a bit
The kettle started to whistle and Harry turned his attention away from Ginny. He poured a cup for her and
turned to see her looking away from him. He placed the cup in front of her and she turned slowly, a faint
smile on her face.
She sipped the tea and said, I dont think, given everything thats happened, that going out is a good idea
for you.
Harry shook his head. I dont want you going out alone, so if you want to go out, lets go.
He smiled at her encouragingly and she cringed. Harry, I dont want you to feel obligateddo you think
you can stay here
She looked at him questioningly and he said urgently. Were going out, then?
She started to argue and gave him a small smile. Give me a half hour and Ill be ready. How much time do
you need?
He looked down at his clothes and said, Do I need to change?
She laughed. You look fine to me!
She got up slowly, kissing him on the cheek. Harry watched her head out of the room and took her empty
tea cup to the sink. The last thing he wanted to do was see George right now. Every fibre in his body was
screaming against this. He knew he had to go. He couldnt let her go there alone. He didnt know if he could
bear the look Mrs. Weasley would give him. He couldnt blame her if she was upset with him.
He should never have stayed here this long. As he sat waiting for Ginny, he knew what he had to do. Once
he was well enough, perhaps in the next day or so. He would go back to Grimmauld Place. He had caused
the Weasley family more grief in one summer than hed caused them the entire time theyd known him.
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the Weasley family more grief in one summer than hed caused them the entire time theyd known him.
Starting with Freds death, there was little Harry could think of that had been positive. The only positive
thing for him was his time with Ginny. That was something hed not trade for the world.
After three-quarters of an hour, Ginny came down the stairs. She was dressed in dark colours and smiled at
him. I think it would be best if we Flooed there, dont you think?
Harry nodded. I dont think Im up for Apparating right now.
She nodded at him and replied, Are you ready?
He nodded and watched as she headed to the grate and threw a handful of Floo powder into the grate. She
said clearly, St Mungo's.
She disappeared in a burst of green flame and Harry followed her, saying the same thing and arriving in the
foyer of the hospital. Ginny was standing only a few metres away and Harry felt anxious as Mrs. Weasley
was there talking urgently with Ginny. She looked up, startled, to see Harry walking towards them.
Ginny said something emphatically back to her mother. Then Mrs. Weasley gave her the worst glare Harry
had ever seen. He stopped for a moment and then mustered his courage. Hello Mrs. Weasley. I hope its
alright that Ginny and I have come.
He didnt finish his thought, but she shot him a warm smile and said. I just wish Ginny had told me you
were even planning on coming.
Ginny didnt look at Harry, but focused on her mother. Mum, I told you last night I wanted to come see
George.
Despite Harrys presence, Mrs. Weasley turned her back to him, cutting him out of the conversation.
Ginevra Molly Weasley we did discuss this last night and I thought I made myself very clear.
Harry could still hear her clearly and took a step back. He was feeling very anxious and almost hoped that
Ginny would relent and let them both go back to the Burrow. But he knew the chances of that happening
were very small, as Ginny accepted defeat from very few people.
Mrs. Weasley was pushing Ginny back through the foyer and Harry didnt know if he should help her or
stay out of it. The decision was made quickly for him as Ginny pushed past her mother and said to Harry
evenly, Lets go.
He looked at Mrs. Weasley for a moment, but could feel Ginnys gaze on him. He looked away from Mrs.
Weasley and followed Ginny to the nearest lift to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. He could feel a host
of butterflies flying through his stomach, but also noticed the blank, distant stare on Ginnys face.
She was trying to hold it together, but her eyes were glittering. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and
kissed her on the side of the head. She welcomed his warmth and wrapped her arms around him, hugging
him.
The lift stopped and they walked out slowly, hand-in-hand. Harry felt like his shoes were filled with lead.
Each step he took, it was harder and harder to lift his feet. He finally stopped in the middle of the corridor
and felt Ginny turn abruptly with a questioning look on her face. He couldnt look at her and said quietly, in
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and felt Ginny turn abruptly with a questioning look on her face. He couldnt look at her and said quietly, in
almost a whisper, I cantIm sorry
He knew she was hurt. He wasnt being there for her in any sense of the word. She had taken care of him,
helped him get better and he just stood there; unable to move, unable to speak, just standing there.
She released his hand and turned away from him. She walked down the hallway and didnt turn to give him
another look. Harry found a chair to sink into and sat down heavily, running his hand through his hair. He
could feel the tears slipping down his face and he wiped them away angrily. He was emotionally spent and
sat there, unmoving for three quarters of an hour before he heard soft footfalls coming down the corridor.
He couldnt help himself and looked up slowly. Ginnys face was blotchy and red; tears were streaming
down her face. He got up quickly and repeated, Im so sorry. Please forgive me.
She didnt say anything, but wrapped her arms around him tightly, crying into his chest. He rubbed her back
soothingly, whispering what he knew were worthless apologies. She caught her breath after a bit and pulled
away from him, wiping her face with her hand. She frowned at him and whispered, Hes not doing well at
all
Harry tried to pull her back into his arms, but she kept her elbows locked and he said, Its only been a
couple of days.
She shook her head. Hes confused, about everythinghehe asked me where Fred wasII didnt
know what to tell him.
Harry looked at her worried. What did you say?
She shook her head, the tears threatening again. I said I didnt know She pulled away from him, though
he held onto her wrist. I lied to himI couldntI couldnt tell himnot like this
Harry squeezed her wrist gently and said quietly, I think you did the right thing.
He knew that no matter what, he had to support her, whether he truly believed that what shed done was
right or wrong. She shook her head disbelievingly. I dont think sobut I couldnt bear telling him that
Fred isdead.
I hope you havent been more foolish than usual. Mrs. Weasley was coming down the hallway with Mr.
Weasley in tow, both looking disapproving.
Harry cringed, seeing them storm at Ginny. Mr. Weasley grabbed his wifes arm, slowing her down, and
walked past her. Ginny, I think youve acted imprudently today. You and Harry should both go home,
now.
He didnt look like he was up for any sort of discussion and Harry nodded. Ginny shook her head. I didnt
say or do anything. Harry didnt even come to Georges room!
Both Mr. and Mrs. Weasleys faces were washed over with relief. Harry gave them a sharp look, quickly
realising what the argument between Ginny and Mrs. Weasley had been about earlier. He looked away from
all of them, realising he was, once again, the cause of more grief in their lives. The lives of people he cared
about more than any other family hed ever known. He turned away from Ginny and looked at the floor. He
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about more than any other family hed ever known. He turned away from Ginny and looked at the floor. He
could distantly hear the argument continue, but was feeling sick to his stomach.
Mr. Weasley regrouped quickly and said, That being the case, I still think you and Harry should go home
and stay there. Is that clear?
Ginny nodded and said, You cant keep me from seeing my own brother he cant be happy not
knowing! And you didnt tell him what happened?
Mrs. Weasley stepped forward. It doesnt matter what we tell him, he doesnt seem to keep things in his
head.
Ginny said disbelievingly, You cant be serious?
Mr. Weasley narrowed his eyes and Ginny started breathing shakily. Why didnt you tell us?
Mr. Weasley clenched his jaw. We told Ron and Percy.
She shot back, And you didnt see fit to tell me! Im not so fragile Im going to break.
She was seething with anger, but Harry was barely discerning her. Something was happening. He was not
just anxious anymore, he was feeling sick. He could see the chair hed sat in earlier and sat down in it
heavily, though no one noticed.
Mrs. Weasley said sternly, Do not take that tone with either of us, young lady. You have your hands full as
it is
She stopped short, seeing Harry slumped in the nearby chair. She hurried over, putting a hand on his
forehead and giving Ginny an angry look. If you want to be irresponsible, thats fine, but you shouldnt be
doing this to poor Harry.
Harry shook his head, saying thickly, Im fine, Mrs. Weasley.
She bent down taking his head in her hands. Did you eat anything?
He nodded. Of courseI just wanted to sit down thats all.
Ginny shook her head. Im sorry, Harry.
He looked up at her. Dont be
Mr. Weasley looked disapprovingly at the two of them and grabbed Ginnys arm firmly. You are going to
go home. Youre going to take Harry home. And youre both going to stay there. He said more softly,
Well take care of George. You have far too many worries for a girl your age.
Mrs. Weasley stepped away from Harry, hugging Ginny tightly. She whispered, Just go home, dear.
Everything will be okay. George will be fine, in a bit.
Ginny was crying again and stepped over to Harry, reaching a hand out to him. He looked at her sadly. He
took a deep breath, getting up of his own volition. He looked at the two Weasley parents and said feebly,
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took a deep breath, getting up of his own volition. He looked at the two Weasley parents and said feebly,
Im so sorry, for everything.
Mrs. Weasley just shook her head, but didnt say anything. Mr. Weasley nodded at him and Ginny pulled
him forward with her, leaving her parents to walk back to Georges hospital room.
His head was swimming and he tried hard to stay upright as they walked down the corridor. Ginny had
wrapped an arm around his waist and said, Just a little bit further.
He nodded mutely. They approached the grate and she took his face in her hands. Speak clearly, I dont
think Ill be able to find you if you get lost.
He nodded again and shook his head to clear it. He grabbed a handful of Floo powder and walked into the
grate, saying, The Burrow.
He felt sicker than ever as he landed and fell heavily on the kitchen floor in the Burrow. He was surprised
to hear some one speak his name in a startled manner and lifted him under the arms out of the kitchen. He
could distantly hear Ginnys voice mixed with some one elses. He felt someone helping him to the couch
and passed out.
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Chapter 24: Chapter 24 - Coming to Terms


Author's Notes: again - thanks to all of you that are consistently reading/commenting - its gratifying to
know I'm not just doing this for my own amusement, though some days I wonder. This may be the last
update for a bit, I hit a few writers' block as well as getting distracted with another fic that I've been writing.
A big thank you to my Beta Ginny :) You are made of awesome :)
Happy reading Everyone :)
After that bracing visit to the hospital, Harry had spent the next few days resting and sleeping, thanks to a
very powerful potion Mrs. Weasley had given him. He was, apparently, suffering from a side-effect of
taking so many potions in such a short period of time, and the healers believed sleeping it off would be the
best option.
Harry was surprised to find Bill and Fleur at the Burrow when they had come back from the hospital. Bill
had carried him to the sitting room when he hit the floor so unceremoniously.
Harry had very little time alone with Ginny once Bill and Fleur had arrived. He wanted to broach the topic
of her birthday, but Ginny was rushing around getting ready for school and hadnt the time to spend more
than a passing moment with him.
On one of the rare days where Bill and Fleur were out and Ginnys parents were both otherwise occupied,
Harry found himself, happily, alone with Ginny. She had been tending him as best as she could, but he still
felt very guilty for bothering her. She had gotten her letter from Hogwarts and had been named captain of
the Quidditch team.
She had sat down across from him and they had gone over various strategies about how best to approach the
Gryffindor Quidditch team and their ability to win the House cup. Harry knew how competitive Ginny was,
and smiled at how she was feverishly writing notes and taking his ideas to heart.
He had been feeling very weak and had tried a few times to broach the subject of the hospital, but Ginny
had said next to nothing. He had tried to apologise, but she had dismissed it, saying she understood.
On that afternoon, Harry had reached a hand out to Ginny, beckoning her to sit next to him and she did so
reluctantly. He wrapped an arm weakly around her shoulders and said, Ginny, your birthday is coming up
and youre leaving for school soon
She nodded and looked up at him. Yeah, I am a little nervous
He smiled. About Quidditch, yeah, I got that.
She shrugged, caressing his arm playfully. Its a lot of responsibility! And I want to win like you did
when you were captain.
He nodded. It is an amazing feeling, but there better not be any blokes kissing you after you win other than
me.
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She giggled and kissed him on the cheek. Are you planning on being there?
He nodded. If I can get back onto school grounds, I will.
She sighed. Harry, youre working for the Ministry and youre the biggest Hogwartss hero, I think
McGonagall will certainly let you back on campus.
He nodded, enjoying the warmth he felt for being so close to her. She nudged him gently and said, Harry, if
youre going to fall asleep, then what do you need me for?
He smiled and kissed her gently. I do need youall the time.
He kissed her on the cheek and neck before wrapping both his arms tightly around her and pulling her
across the couch with him. He could feel her lie next to him, shifting nervously for a moment before he
leaned his head forward, falling asleep with his head resting against her shoulder.
He woke up with a start as he could hear a commotion breaking out and Ginny pulled away from him
abruptly. His glasses were off-kilter, but he could see Mrs. Weasley railing at Ginny and Ginny was fuming
and rubbing the tiredness out of her eyes.
Harry sat up quickly, feeling the room shift and said, Mrs. Weasley, we were just asleep
She walked into the sitting room glaring at both of them and said sternly, Ginevra Molly Weasley and
Harry James Potter: if I ever find you two in a compromising position like that again I will forbid you to see
one another, am I making myself clear?
Harry was mortified and Ginny stood there dumbly for a moment. They exchanged nervous glances and
Ginny said quietly, We werent doing anything, mum, just sleeping.
She shook her head and wagged a finger at them both. Im not an idiot. I hope you two enjoyed your time
alone because this is the absolute end of it until you are off to school.
She would hear no argument and Harry knew he had finally reached the point of out-staying his welcome.
He tried his best to get rest and avoid any more conflict, but he knew that Ginny was feeling the same
discomfort he did and he quietly packed his thing a few days later and, unbeknownst to anyone else, went
back to Grimmauld Place. He didnt anticipate anyone noticing his disappearance and found Kreacher was
very enthusiastic to have him back home.
Harry had received a few packages from the Ministry about his new job and had opened them finding
various forms of identification and charms hed have to apply to his person to gain entry into the Ministry.
After having a quiet lunch, he got a very loud Patronus from Ginny that said some things that even Kreacher
found alarming. Not ten minutes later she came bursting through the grate in the kitchen and railed into him.
What the bloody hell do you think youre doing disappearing like that?
He put his hands up defencelessly and said, I thought it was time to goI have to be ready for work next
week.

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She glared at him hard and said through gritted teeth. Harry James Potter I dont know whats gotten
into you, but Im telling you now, if this is what you have planned for our future, youve got another thing
coming.
He was shocked shed use such a tone with him and said apologetically, I think your mum really scared
thewell, you know, out of me
She shook her head and smiled at him softly. Harry, we didnt do anything wrongthat timeshe was
upset, with both of us
He replied sharply, No, Ginny, if were going to be serious, weI cant be taking advantage of you like
that.
She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Harry, Im getting tired of this defeatist attitude of yours. She
touched the locket and said, I thought we were going to be honest about thisto each other.
He watched her quietly and sighed. Arent we? Im scared of your mum!
She laughed. Not good enough, Potter.
She sat down across from him at the table and looked at the various packages. Youre going to be really
busy next week; sure youll have time for us before I go?
He nodded. Ill get us a Time Turner if I have to; Im not going to miss your birthday for anything.
She smiled at him and said quietly, Why didnt you just leave me a note?
He couldnt meet her gaze and said, I didnt know what to say. I tried a few times and just gave up. I
thought you would be glad for a break in nursing me back to health.
She sighed and furrowed her brow. Harry, did I ever make you feel like you were a burden?
He studied the table and replied quietly, Not in so many words, no.
He could feel her glare and didnt look up. Harry She said his name softly and reached her hands across
the table to his. Why are you doing this to yourself? To me?
He looked up with forlorn eyes and said, This is my faulteverythingwith Georgeyour whole
familyI made this mess. I dont deserve your
He couldnt finish the sentence and Ginny squeezed his hands. Harry, no one blames you for this except
you. If you want to keep blaming yourself, thats fine. But there wont be any place in your life for anyone
or anything else but that blame. Are you ready for that?
She was begging him, he could hear it in her voice, and yet he couldnt feel anything but grief. The last few
days of the battle with Voldemort were starting to catch up with him. He put his head in his hands and could
feel the hot tears streaming down his cheeks. She crossed the room quickly and wrapped an arm around his
shoulders, and cradled his head in her arms. She was whispering something soothing, but Harry hardly
heard anything. He wrapped his arms around her and let himself cry. Cry for Fred, cry for Tonks, cry for
Lupinfor every life lost.
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Lupinfor every life lost.


He composed himself after some time and could see Ginny looking at him imploringly. She wiped his face
with her hands and smiled at him. He leaned up and kissed her. She ran her hands down his neck and
whispered, Say something, Harry.
He choked out a few words, Im sorry
She hit him on the arm and replied, Something else!
He tried to laugh and said, I was justitsits been a long summer.
She rubbed his back soothingly. Its okay, Harry; its over.
He shook his head. Its never overisnt that what all this meant. If youre with meyoure always going
to be in danger, your whole family! Itll always be my fault.
She leaned forward and ran her thumb down his cheek. Harry, this is lifeisnt it?
He was feeling overwhelmed and turned away from her. I feel bad you came all the way out here.
She rested her hands on his knees and squeezed them. Harry, love, talk to me.
He looked up at her; he hadnt expected her to call him love again. It caught him off guard. He started
slowly, Idont know what to sayI just feel solost.
She smiled at him and said, Ill always find you.
She was so reassuring. He could see her love for him in her eyes and it calmed him. He said shakily, I still
see those final momentsright before he killed me. I can still hear the laughter of the Death Eaters. I know
its over. I mean, I know it is. He cant come back. They wont come back to power. But being out there,
being in the thick of it, pretending to be dead
He shook his head feebly and she rubbed his arm consolingly. He wanted to tell her more, but he was
nervous, if he said too much, what would she think? She smiled at him, urging him on and he said, I just
I want to forget and remember, you know?
She nodded. Yesit was the most awful thing, I hope, we ever have to live through. I want toto
remember for the people we lostbut I dont ever, ever want to live through anything like that again.
He took her hand in his and kissed her palm. I dont mean to depress you with me, but after what
happened, its been on my mind again.
She leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead. Are you going to come home?
He shook his head. I am home.
She gave him a tired look but didnt push. He said quickly, Why dont you stay here?

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She laughed. Yes, Harry, thats so much better than our falling asleep together.
He laughed softly. Well, at least stay and have tea with me?
She smiled and nodded. That does sound nice.
He didnt want to talk about the battle again, not with her, not now. Kreacher Apparated back into the room
and started preparing tea for them. He gushed about her visit, telling her how happy he was to see her and
asked why he hadnt seen more of her.
Harry tried to refrain from grinning, watching a house elf contend with someone with as fiery a personality
as Ginny. She didnt seem put off at all and nodded and agreed as frequently as she could. He headed out of
the room shortly after serving the tea, and Harry smiled at her as she sipped her tea nervously.
He laughed. Hell leave us alone, stop worrying.
She shook her head, her hair falling around her face. Im not worried, but hesnot a force to be reckoned
with.
He raised his eyebrows. I think we both know about that.
She laughed and replied, Are you insinuating something, Harry?
He smiled at her but said nothing. She smiled back at him. Fine, Ill give you that one, Harry.
He grinned at her and said quietly, Are you sure you dont want to stay?
She looked back at him. I have to admit, I would love tobut I think you are mad if you think I will
actually take you up on this offer.
He said quietly, I can hope, right?
She leaned next to him, squeezing his arm. I hope you never lose that.
He didnt want her to leave but could feel her gaze drifting back towards the grate and stood up slowly. Are
you going to be okay?
She nodded and got up. I just want to make sure youre okay.
He shook his head. Stop worrying about me. You got me back to good health. Wont you let me take care
of you?
She smiled innocently. I dont need taking care of right now. She said quickly, I wasnt the one who got
slammed with a serious curse.
He stretched and replied, Love, you really dont have to worry about me. Im all better.
She gave him a sceptical look. Harry, dont put on a front for me. Youre still tired.

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He nodded. Thatll go with time Im sure.


She stepped towards the grate and he said quickly, Why dont you come by and have lunch with me
tomorrow?
She sighed and looked as though she were going to decline, but nodded. Yeah, sureand let me know if
you need anything, tonight.
He smiled at her. I will.
He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly. After a few moments he still hadnt let go and he
could feel Ginny laughing at him. She patted his back and said, Harry, you can come with me. Mum
doesnt know youre not at home.
He shook his head and took her face in his hands, kissing her deeply. He could feel the surprise on her face,
but didnt stop kissing her. He needed to feel close to her and he didnt want her to go.
She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and nudged him with her forehead. She pulled away for a brief
moment, saying breathlessly, Harry, before he pressed his lips firmly against hers. She didnt let him
consume her and pushed her hands firmly against his chest.
Harry! She took a step away from him and was breathing quickly. What has gotten into you?
He didnt respond but took a step back. She shook her head, exasperated and said, Just stop this
foolishness and come home, now.
He said quietly, I cant. II need to do this.
She reached out and hugged him quickly. Ill see you tomorrow.
He nodded and tried to kiss her, but she pulled away with a mischievous smile. He said quietly, Good
night.
She threw Floo powder into the grate and disappeared in a burst of green flame. He sighed and sat down for
a moment before going back to the mounds of paperwork he needed to finish before reporting to work at the
Ministry.
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Chapter 25: Chapter 25 - A Family Affair


Author's Notes: I just wanted to apologise for this update coming so slowly. After reading all the
comments from Chapters 22 to 24, I thought I might add another chapter. So I went back, added totally new
content and added a completely new chapter. I didn't have any intention of having another 'Ginny' chapter
for some time, but I thought it would be good to explain things from her perspective, so you're not just
seeing one side of things. I wouldn't normally cave to 'peer pressure,' but I thought it would be horrifying if
I lost half my readership. That'd be like 4 people :p I'm totally kidding, or am I?
I want to thank my fabulous Beta Ginny who was able to give this back to me in less than a week! A pretty
quick turnaround considering I wrote this last week ;) I also want to thank everyone who's been leaving
such thoughtful comments. I am taking this story seriously and I'm glad those of you that have hung with me
and are reading it are too.
Ginny arrived back home feeling thoroughly exhausted. Shed never seen Harry this emotionally unbalanced
since her fifth year after Dumbledore was killed. She stood in the kitchen for a few minutes, trying to
compose herself. She wiped the tears from her face and turned to see Bill looking at her thoughtfully from
the hallway.
You okay? he asked quietly.
She nodded and tried to smile. Yeah, fine. You? Have you been to see George?
He nodded. Fleur and I just got back, shes sleeping upstairs. We were both feeling a bit exhausted.
She looked at him blankly and then said quietly, How was he?
He shook his head. Ginny, wheres Harry?
She furrowed her brow and said, I asked first.
He laughed. Im older, so I win.
She gave him an irritated look and said, He went back to Grimmauld Place.
Bill eyed her cautiously and said, He just left?
Yes, she replied and nodded. Hehe said he didnt want to be aburden anymore.
Bill shook his head and laughed. I dont know what hes thinking. Harrys not a burden, though I do agree
with mum that you both shouldnt have beensleeping together.
Ginny rolled her eyes. We were asleep, Bill. We werent doing anything!
She gave him an angry glare and he narrowed his eyes. Hey, I never did that kind of thing when I was your
age!

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Ginny continued to glare at him and shot back, You never had a girlfriend at my age either.
He crossed his arms and replied, Yeah, but even when I got engaged I wouldnt dare do something like
that. Both you and Ron have no control.
Ginny gave him a defiant look. Excuse me? Ron and I have no control! How dare you! It isnt like you
were dating while your girlfriend was in mortal peril!
Bill put his hands up and said, That isnt any excuse and you bloody well know it.
He shook his head and said, Ginny, I dont want to tell you how to live your life. But if you and Harry care
about each other, then I think hes right to not be here.
Ginny shook her head. I think that is the last thing he needs. Hes upset about everything She looked
down, remembering his breakdown and continued softly, If anything, he needs us, all of us, to be there for
him.
Bill sat down at the table and beckoned her to do the same. Ginny, I cant imagine what Harrys going
through, but it may have escaped your notice, our family isnt in the best shape either. We cant be of much
use to Harry if our own family is in disarray.
She gave him a confused and disbelieving look. What? Are you saying we should just leave him be and tell
him to find help somewhere else?
Bill shook his head. Ginny, no, I would never say that. But you cant be in the best shape either. I know
youre upset about everything, and I think youre fooling yourself if you think you can hide that from me or
anyone else in this house.
She turned away from him and shut her eyes. Bill, Im fine.
He reached a hand across the table and gripped her arm gently. Ginny, Im your big brother. Ive known
your temperament since you cast your very first Bat-Bogey Hex and I can still remember the look on mums
face when she had to fix both Fred and George.
Ginny tried to smile, but felt her head pounding. She said quietly, I dont want to reminisce, Bill
He leaned closer to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She felt the exhaustion double as he did
this and she tried to pull away. He said quietly, Ginny, you need to get some rest. I feel like youre taking
the brunt of this, and you shouldnt be.
She sighed and wiped her eyes. Im fine, Bill.
He sighed and said, Come on, Ginny, just do me this favour. Go get some rest and dont worry about
George or Harry. Theyll be okay.
She rubbed her temples; she felt so tired. Tired of arguing with everyone about their feelings and telling her
what her feelings should be. She didnt look at him. She started to get up when the flames from the grate
burst to life and her mother came out. She dusted the soot off of her cloak and looked worse for the wear.
She set her bag down on the counter and pulled her cloak off. She didnt meet either Bills or Ginnys
inquisitive gaze. Bill stood up, breaking his contact from Ginny and asked, Mum, how is everything?
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inquisitive gaze. Bill stood up, breaking his contact from Ginny and asked, Mum, how is everything?
She looked up, startled, as if she hadnt realised they were there and replied, Fine, thank you for coming,
Bill.
She sounded strangely detached and Bill gave her a strange look. Mum, are you okay?
She nodded. I should probably get supper ready.
Bill crossed the room and stood next to his mother. Mum?
She didnt look at him and Ginny watched, horrified, as her mother began to cry, openly and loudly. Bill
had wrapped his mother in a tight embrace and said quietly, Hes going to be fine, mum.
Ginny found the tears spilling down her face. Watching her mother cry was more painful than anything
shed had to witness for some time. The raw emotion that her mother was exhibiting was a good
representation of what the entire Weasley family was feeling. The despair that George had completely
succumbed to the Dark Magic; the frustration that they all had the power to do something about it, but
hadnt and the sadness that they could all finally mourn the loss of Fred.
After a few minutes, her mother seemed to gain control of her emotions. She wiped her eyes and took Bills
face in her hands, her fingers rubbing his scars. Hell be fine. But he is going to need our help.
Bill nodded. Fleur and I will stay as long as you need us to.
She nodded slowly. Do you think you can sit with him? We needwe need to tell him about Fred.
Ginny sat up. You still havent told him?
Molly turned abruptly at Ginnys outburst. Ginny, I didnt know you were here. Wheres Harry? Hes
usually attached to your hip.
She said the last part with some restraint and Ginny felt her teeth clench at the insinuation. Hes at
Grimmauld Place.
Molly turned abruptly. What is he doing there?
Ginny laughed bitterly. I dont know, mum, could it be because you ran him out of our house?
Molly glared at her and said, Do not take that tone of voice with me, Ginevra. If your boyfriend is so
fearful of me, then perhaps he should have the courage to come talk to me about it or explain himself fully
about what he was doing with my only daughter.
Ginny retorted, We werent doing anything! It was nothing, we were asleep!
Molly shook her head and replied, Ginny, do you know why were so concerned?
We? she asked. Whos we?

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Her mother shook her head. Your family. First of all, we have more than enough to worry about without
having to be concerned that our only daughter doesnt see the danger in being too familiar with a boyfriend
shes had for only a few months.
Weve been dating for longer than that! she retorted, her angry boiling over. And what about Ron?
Youre acting like hes above fault! Hes with Hermione now!
Molly shook her head and Bill stepped forward quietly. Ginny, no one is saying Ron is free of fault. But
hes with Hermione, and I think we can all agree that Hermione isnt the type to let anything get out of
control; including Ron.
Ginny looked defiantly at her older brother. Are you implying that neither Harry nor I know where to draw
the line?
Molly looked up, a tired expression crossing her face. That is exactly what we are concerned about.
Ginny started to storm out of the room but Molly called after her, Dont you storm out of this room,
Ginevra Molly Weasley. I am not saying that you and Harry arent sweet together, but in my day, I would
never be so bold as to fall asleep with your father in your grandparents house.
Ginny rolled her eyes and didnt say anything. She had a feeling a tiresome flashback was coming and she
didnt want to hear it. Molly continued, Come back in here, Ginny, were going to talk about this, I think
you need it.
I need it? Thank you for telling me what I need, she said the last part under her breath. Thankfully her
mother didnt hear it. Or if she did, she didnt let on.
Molly gestured to the table and Ginny sat down heavily, not at all wanting any part of this. She wished she
had taken Bills advice earlier and had gone to her room. Molly set a cup of tea in front of her and sat next
to her daughter. Ginny shifted uncomfortably, she was feeling a little more anger towards Harry for leaving
her to be hollered at while he sat at home.
Molly took a sip of tea and said, Ginny, when was the last time you slept?
Ginny sighed. Oh come on, mum, none of us have slept in days.
You were able to rest while Harry was here, werent you? she asked.
Ginny gave her mother a tired look and said quietly, Yes.
Ginny, her mother started slowly. I am really happy that you and Harry are together now. But youve
been apart for more than a year, or thereabouts, she added quickly. I think you and Harry still have a lot to
figure out about what happened in that year. What happened to you while he wasnt there, what happened to
Harry when he was on the run. I want you to be happy, like your father and I are, but if you rush now, dont
you wonder what you might miss?
Ginny gave her mother a confused look. What do you mean miss?
Youre going to be apart during your final year at Hogwarts, arent you? she asked. You dont need to
rush to get somewhere in your relationship, you have all the time in the world. All the time in the world to
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rush to get somewhere in your relationship, you have all the time in the world. All the time in the world to
remember why you care about each other.
Ginny furrowed her brow. She didnt want to be thinking about any of this. She had enough on her mind.
Molly put her hand on her daughters arm. Ginny. Your father and I love you, we love Harry, we want
nothing more than for you both to share the same happiness weve both been blessed with, but you need to
take it slowly. Doing something you cant take back might ruin what you could have in the future.
Bill was standing behind them and said, Shes right, Ginny. You and Harry are complimentary to one
another. You balance each other out, but youre not even seventeen. Hes only just turned eighteen. Youre
both moreserious thanmaybe you should be.
He looked at her nervously and she felt the weight of their words fall heavily. Her family thought she was
going to shag Harry Potter. She sighed. This was insane. She took a deep breath and said, Bill, mum, Harry
and I arewe care about each other, but wed neverwed never do anything to jeopardise that.
Her mother shook her head. Ginny, your father and I trust you, we trust Harry, but when you two are
together, I dont think either of you know where too far is.
Ginny was feeling her anger mounting again and said hotly, We do and we wouldnt dothat.
Molly looked her daughter in the eye and said, Doing that is something that people who love each other
do and those people are married. If you even think about doing that before youre married, you had best
not come back to this house, is that clear?
Ginny looked at her mother sharply and looked her right in the eye. She said in a very small voice, I would
never
She couldnt complete the thought and her mother continued on. I dont want to have that talk with you
either, Ginny, but it seems like youre pushing me to it.
She took a deep breath as if to start the conversation and Ginny got up suddenly. Mum, I reallyI get it
Bill had been edging towards the door, not wanting to hear the mother-daughter-talk and Ginny gave him a
distasteful look for deserting her. Molly put her hand up and pointed at the chair. Sit back, down.
Ginny shut her eyes and pursed her lips together. Mum
Dont mum me, young lady, she stated. We, clearly, need to have this conversation. You dont seem
convinced of my argument.
Ginny looked helplessly to where she had last seen Bill, but he was already gone. She clenched her jaw and
sat quietly as her mother went into excruciating detail about how inappropriate it would be for anyone her
age to even think about having relations with a boy who had yet to even become a man. Ginny had kept her
mouth shut, hoping it would be over soon. She never wanted to have this sort of thing laid out, but there was
nothing she could do. She distantly felt an annoying warmth growing from somewhere within her.
After the longest hour of her life, her mother finally stopped talking. Molly looked utterly exhausted and her
eyes had continued to stray to the clock on the wall. It indicated that George was still at St. Mungos and
that her father was on his way home.
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that her father was on his way home.


Molly looked at her daughter and said, Ginny, I didnt tell you all of this to punish you, but you need to
understand the seriousness of your actions, they have repercussions.
She continued more slowly, Men can be very simple in a lot of ways. They often take things at face-value,
and I have no doubt Harry is the same way. If youre willing to fall asleep with him, what else might he
think youll do?
Ginny looked at her mother, seething, and said, Harry would never take advantage of me, mum, and I
would never let him either. Were not at that point, at all. He hasnt even said he
She didnt complete her thought and Molly gave her daughter a no-nonsense look. Ginny, I want you to
really listen. You are too young to do anything this serious. And you are both full of so much emotion, I
worry that you wont realise whats happening until its too late.
Ginny shook her head. She just wanted this conversation to be over. She was exhausted. She was tired of
defending herself, defending her relationship with Harry, and his absence now was grating on her last nerve.
Mum, I am not ready to do She couldnt even bring herself to say it. Not in front of her mother, it was
too serious. She took a deep breath and started again, Mum, Harry and I are not ready for that. Honestly,
you and dad have nothing to worry about.
Molly didnt look like she believed her daughter but sighed. All I can do is arm you with the knowledge
you need to make an educated decision. I wish Arthur had time to speak with Harry about this.
Ginny looked mortified. I dont think thats necessary.
Molly shook her head. I really need to get supper ready; go freshen up and help me set the table.
Ginny sighed. She got up slowly and headed up to her room. She wanted nothing more than to get some rest,
but that didnt seem likely. She heard a knock on her door and said, Come in.
Bill pushed her door open slowly. Ginny, you okay?
She nodded, pulling her hair back. He continued slowly. Why dont you get some rest? Ill go help mum.
She raised her eyebrows at him and he nodded. You look totally knackered.
She rolled her eyes. Thanks, Bill.
He sighed and said, I wonder if Harry knows what hes getting into.
Ginny turned sharply, her mind on her hour-long conversation with her mother and said quickly, Nothing!
Bill laughed. That isnt what I meant. He shut his eyes tightly and said, I just mean you need to lighten
up.
She gave him an angry look and said, I dont think thats allowed in this house.

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Bill shook his head. Ginny, dont be stupid, mum isnt trying to be difficult, shes just worried about you.
We all are. Youyoure acting like its your fault Harry got hurt, and it isnt. It isnt your fault and it isnt
your job to make sure hes okay.
She ran her hand across her face and said, I need to help mum with dinner.
She tried to walk past him but he blocked her, putting his hands on her shoulders. Ginny, get some rest.
Stopstop thinking and worrying about things, itll be okay.
How can you say that? she eked out. Did you see the look on mums face when she came through the
grate? She was devastated. George doesnt seem to be getting any better!
He put his hands up. Stop thinking about it. This isnt something you need to worry about alone. Were
going to take care of things. You have to worry about school, okay? Mum and Dad are just really worried
about George right now, but that doesnt mean they dont care about all of us equally.
She didnt respond. She looked past him blankly and he reached over, hugging her awkwardly. Take it
easy. We can go visit George tomorrow, you can come with me.
He left her alone in her room and Ginny lay down across her bed, exhausted. She didnt want to have to
worry about all these things. Her brother had gone mad, her parents didnt trust her and her boyfriend was
not around to console her. She buried her face in her pillow and hoped she could push all of this out of her
mind for a little while longer.
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Chapter 26: Chapter 26 - The Tension Mounts


Author's Notes: After talking with drawjones and my lovely Beta, Ginny Guerra, I decided to make a more
substantive author's note. I have noticed in the comments an increasing dislike/disdain for the way this story
is going. Unfortunately for me, I've lived through a situation similar to this in the sense that there is one
child in the family that is totally mental and the rest of the family has to compensate for that. While I realise
some of you don't care for the stress and complication this creates for Harry and Ginny, it is as realistic as I
can write it. There is an end in sight and I will repeat what's in the summary, this is Canon - meaning, we
should all know who ends up with whom. So please, put the effigy of me down!
Also, I know there have been gobs of entries for the latest SIYE challenge, but I have an entry as well, so if
you want to see my take on it, I should have something up this week - the weekend at the latest.
A big thank you to all of you are continuing to read this story - I'm merging some of the chapters, as per my
Beta's recommendation and the realisation that this story is getting a tad long. I am trying to keep the entire
story under sixty chapters, I know, I finally told you, but I'm not sure if I can keep to that or not.
Also, if you don't see me over the next few days, Metal Gear Solid 4 comes out tonight at midnight *squee*
and I hope all of you saw the new image of Harry and Ginny/Dan and Bonnie from HBP? Very cool!
Harry had kept busy despite the lack of company. He had filled out all the forms Kingsley had sent him and
would drop by to chat with Gaunt about his training on his first day. Harry still had a strange feeling about
Gaunt, but he couldnt quite place his finger on it. The name had a familiar ring to it, but after everything
Harry had gone through, he was having trouble placing it.
Kreacher had, with much trepidation, allowed Harry to help prepare lunch and clean up the kitchen so it
looked more hospitable. He had dressed casually, Muggle jeans and a Gryffindor t-shirt. Harry hadnt given
Ginny any sort of time to arrive, so he was surprised to see her arrive before noon. She was wearing Muggle
jeans and a thin stripped jumper. She smiled at him and he embraced her warmly, but felt her stiffen as he
touched her.
How is everything at home? He asked quietly, pulling more pieces of the lunch together. Kreacher had
already set the table with a simple set of dishes and Harry had ushered Kreacher out of the kitchen once
Ginny had arrived.
She stood watching him and replied, Well, it was an interesting conversation with mum and dad about
where you were and why you werent home.
He turned and saw she was glaring at him. He grimaced and said, Im sorry about thatbut Iwell, you
know.
She nodded absently and continued, And they let me visit George again. I actually went with Bill.
She smiled at this. I didnt realise how much I missed having my older brothers around. Percy and Bill
have been reallydoting on me. She continued more slowly, Bill was a great comfort when we went to
see George.
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Harry nodded encouragingly. Was there any change in how hes doing?
Ginny didnt meet his gaze at this, but looked at the floor for a few minutes. The silence was palpable and
she said quietly, No, nonehes justhes like an empty shell.
Im so sorry to hear that, Ginny, he said to her genuinely. He could tell his words had little effect.
She gave him another hard look and said tersely, Thanks. Im sure hell be fine. The healers are optimistic
that hell come out of this sooner rather than later. She looked forlornly at the lunch and said quietly, He
has to.
Harry set the food on the table quietly and asked, Have you heard from Ron or Hermione?
She shook her head, surprised by the change in topic. Nothing. I know mum got an owl from Ron saying
theyd arrived there safely and was really nervous about spending time with Hermiones parents. But I
think, honestly, that this is good for both of them.
Yeah, I mean, they wont get to see each other most of the fall. He continued, Especially considering you
and Hermione will be off to school soon.
She nodded and smiled. I hate to say this, but Im really looking forward to going back.
He raised his eyebrows and she continued, I mean, yeah, a lot of sad memories there, but itll be normal.
I expect that it will, he replied. He gestured to the table and they sat down.
She ate quietly for a few minutes before saying, So, honestly, did Kreacher do all of this?
He laughed. No! He helped me, but I did all the cooking myself.
They continued eating in silence until Harry broke the silence, Ginny, you have avoided talking about this
with me for a while, what do you want to do for your birthday?
She sighed. Harry, that is the last thing in my mind right now.
He tried not to look hurt, but was feeling that sickening sense of rejection coming back and ate slowly, not
wishing to irritate her further. She had been through a lot and he knew he needed to be more cognisant of it.
He looked at his plate thoughtfully but said nothing.
She must have sensed something and said, It isnt that I dont want to do anything with you, but this has all
been a bit bracing.
He nodded. I know, but its still important to celebrate. I kinda remember someone used the same argument
on me a couple weeks ago.
He grinned at her and she shook her head smiling. It isnt fair if you remember the things I say.
He reached his hand out to hers and squeezed it. I want to prove Im paying attention.

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She smiled at him. You dont have to prove anything to me, Harry; I know youre paying attention.
He didnt want her to leave without making plans and said, Ill be starting work soon, so I really want to
set some time aside for your birthday. How about a date? A real one this time.
She sighed in a frustrated manner and replied, Youre not going to let me off the hook, are you?
He shook his head. No, not a chance. Have your parents planned anything yet? We can plan around that.
She shook her head with an air of sadness. They havent mentioned it.
Your birthday falls during the work week He continued tentatively, Do you think we can meet for a
dinner date?
She nodded absently. Surebut really, Harry, were both going to be so busy at that time. I dont want this
to conflict with your work. You want to make a good impression. She laughed. Who am I kidding?
Theyre dying to have you there. Im sure youll do brilliantly!
He shot her a restrained smile. Only about half of that sounded even remotely complimentary.
She grinned back at him. Dont be silly, Harry. I meant it in a positive way.
They spent the rest of lunch mostly in silence and Harry could feel the tension growing between them. He
wanted to say something to ease the worry, but knew Ginny was overloaded with things on her mind as it
was. He wanted to talk more about her birthday, but had a feeling that that wasnt a topic he should broach
again any time soon.
She sat up politely once she had finished eating and studied the table closely. He disrupted her
concentration by getting up and bringing the dessert to the table; a Muggle sweet Kreacher had
recommended. She looked at it warily and glanced at the clock.
Harry, I should really get going, she said quietly.
He set a plate in front of her, not taking a no for an answer and said, I dont think its that late. Youve
barely been here an hour!
She didnt smile. I know, Harry. And I do want to spend time with you, more time with you, she
corrected, but there are so many things I feel like I need to do.
He nodded and sat down next to her, placing a hand on her arm. I can only imagine. Is there anything I can
help you with? I can pick up your school stuff if you like?
She shook her head, though Harry felt like she was on the verge of accepting, and said, I couldnt ask you
to do that, Harry.
He smiled and squeezed her arm again. I wouldnt have offered if I didnt want to do it.
She took a deep breath, keeping her eyes downcast and said, Mum did mention setting time aside to get
that, so it shouldnt be an issue.
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Harry leaned closer to her and said, Yeah, but I dont mind and thisll be one less thing you have to do or
even worry about.
She narrowed her eyes and replied, Ill think about it.
He knew that was the best he could get from her and said, Ill send you an owl closer to your birthday and
we can set aside a time.
She nodded and stood up slowly. This was really lovely, Harry. Thank you.
He smiled at her and stood up as well. Are you sure you have to go?
He gave her a pleading look but she stepped towards the grate. I think I should get going. I told Percy Id
be by the store.
If you need company or help at all, Ill be happy to He looked at her forlornly. He could see her eyes
were vacant and yet pre-occupied.
Ill be fine, thanks just the same, Harry. She reached an arm out to him and he pulled her into his arms and
hugged her tightly, kissing her on the cheek.
She didnt kiss him back, and pulled away from him slowly. She threw Floo powder into the grate and
disappeared in a burst of green flame. Kreacher meandered into the kitchen shortly after Ginny left and
commented, Mistress Ginevra seems troubled once again.
Harry nodded, feeling utterly spent. I knowhow have you made out on her birthday gift?
Kreacher smiled broadly. I have asked the questions you needed answered, Master Harry, and have
comprised this list for you.
He set a piece of parchment on the table and bowed low. Harry smiled. Thanks much, Kreacher. Even
though she seemed pretty out of it today, I think shell really enjoy this.
Harry yawned and stretched and Kreacher gave him a disapproving look. Master Harry, you are still weak,
you must rest.
Harry nodded mutely and headed up the few flights of stairs with the list Kreacher had prepared. He wasnt
certain if hed wake before dinner and changed into his bed clothes. Before falling off, he wrote a quick
letter to Ron and gave it to Kreacher to send off. He wanted to make sure his friend would be there for
training when hed be there.
Harry sighed, wishing Ginny had stayed, but knew she wouldnt disobey her parents, especially after how
theyd been found not a day earlier. He gave the list Kreacher had provided him the once over, then marked
it in a few places and knew hed need to return it to Kreacher soon to make certain everything was ready.
As he felt himself falling fast asleep, he also realised hed left his ointment at the Burrow. Though, on
thinking about it, he realised, the only person hed want applying it was also there.
Harry woke up early the next morning, realising quickly he had indeed not gotten up for dinner. Kreacher
was waiting for him in the kitchen as he trundled into the room and had quickly prepared some tea and
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was waiting for him in the kitchen as he trundled into the room and had quickly prepared some tea and
breakfast. Harry was happy to see a response from Ron with the same start date he had.
Kreacher advised Harry that if he was feeling better, he should get some new robes for his new position. He
could not, according to Kreacher, be seen in the robes he wore for school.
Harry laughed, thinking that since the last time he had been at school he had grown a lot, both physically
and emotionally, and would not fit in those robes anyway. He had been feeling better and knew a short trip
to Diagon Alley would make him feel a tad useful.
He Apparated to Diagon Alley and headed towards Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. He knew
shed have something for him. As he walked towards the shop he could feel eyes following his every move.
He walked into the shop and was greeted quickly by Madam Malkin herself. She bustled around the counter
and ushered Harry into the back room.
She had two assistants measure Harry and questioned him thoroughly about what hed be wearing the robes
for.
Work mostly; I dont know whats expected there really he told her.
She nodded absently. Youll have to wear proper robes for that, not the ones you wore at school.
He nodded and she continued, Mr. Potter, I will have the robes ready in two-days time. We can send an
owl to you letting you know that they are ready. Will that be convenient for you?
Yes, thank you. He smiled at her and paid for his robes. He knew Kreacher would come straight here and
collect his robes and he wouldnt have to worry about them.
Once outside he couldnt help but feel drawn to Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. He knew there was a fleeting
chance Ginny would be there and that was enough to force him to go. When he arrived he was surprised to
see Percy standing behind the counter with a stack of papers in front of him. The darkness Harry had felt the
last time he was there was gone and the store seemed bright once again.
He walked quietly to the front of the store and Percy looked up, hearing the footsteps. Harry! What are you
doing here?
Harry waved in response. I was in the area, I thought Id stop through and see if
He trailed off and Percy smirked. She isnt here, Percy chuckled. You two are really hopeless, you know
that?
Harry could feel himself turning red and replied, I knowI just
Harry didnt feel comfortable opening up to Percy and Percy didnt seem overly interested. Percy put his
quill down and said, You knowI know we dont know each other all that well, but you really shouldnt
have run off like that. Dont blame yourself, Harry.
Harry looked at Percy with a shocked expression. He started quietly, No, we dont, but we probably should
get to know each other better.
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Percy crossed his arms and replied with a smile, Im not sure I can grasp what youre implying.
Harry returned the smile and said, I was hoping it wouldnt be too difficult to grasp.
Percy chuckled. When the time is right, for both you and Ginny, Im sure Ill be fine with it.
Harry started to walk around the store as Percy cleared his throat. Harry, Im serious. Mum and dad didnt
want you to run offthoughwhat you and Ginny were doing is not what Id callappropriate for your
age. For her age, he clarified.
Harry rolled his eyes and turned back to Percy. We werent doing anything. We both were physically and
emotionally spent. Whats wrong with falling asleep in the arms of someone you love?
Percy crossed his arms again and gave Harry a hard look. I can think of quite a few reasons that it isnt
appropriate, and if you dont see it, then perhaps you staying in your own home would be best.
Harry glared right back at Percy and said, Well, then I guess were all where we need to be.
They continued glaring at each other for some time and the door to the shop opened slowly. Harry tore his
gaze from Percy, hoping it was Ginny, but was surprised to see Ron sauntering into the store. He greeted
Harry warmly. Harry! What are you doing here? Ginny told me youd gone back to Grimmauld Place. How
come?
Harry smiled at his friend. I just felt like Id out-stayed my welcome. Hows Hermione doing?
Ron grinned at the question and said, Brilliantly. I mean, her parents are a bit rough on her, but they
seemed to warm up to me. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and continued, They didnt entirely believe
what we told them about last year, but the memory charms she used have gone completely, as far as I can
tell.
Harry shook his head at Rons exuberance and asked, So shes okay? Is she going to be around before she
leaves?
Ron shook his head sadly. No. Her parents want her at home. So II meanwe are going to have to
communicate via Patronus or owl.
Harry nodded. Do you mind if I send her an owl?
Ron looked surprised at this and said, You dont need my approval to send my girlfriend, your best friend,
notes. He laughed. Unless youre sending some sort of love notes then thats out.
Harry laughed. No, you know who Id like to send love notes to.
Ron rolled his eyes. Shes not coming, if thats who youre waiting for.
Harry sighed. Is she okay? We had lunch yesterday and she seemedupset with meto say the least.
Percy had been listening intently and Ron, noticing this, pulled Harry closer to the door and said, Look,
mate, I know this has been a bracing week for you, I know, and it has been for all of us. I dont know how
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mate, I know this has been a bracing week for you, I know, and it has been for all of us. I dont know how
shes doing, to be honest. I mean, George is in a pretty bad shapeandwell, she told me about that visit
where you got sick
Harry ran his hands through his hair. I justI couldnt do itand it seemed like your parents were
thankful for it.
Ron replied, Yeah, butwell, I dont knowI think shes pretty upset about the whole thing. All I know is
she doesnt want to talk about it.
Harry furrowed his brow in response. That cant be good. I mean, bottling things up isnt good.
Ron shrugged. I know, but this is Ginny. Shell talk when she wants to. And we both know shes not the
type of person to be afraid to voice her thoughts.
Harry laughed. She is definitely not that type of person.
Percy cleared his throat again. If you care about her so much, then maybe you should help her open up.
Percy was still glaring at Harry and Ron looked between the two of them curiously before saying, What are
you on about?
Percy tore his glare from Harry and said, So, mum and dad didnt tell you about Harrys and Ginnys latest
escapade?
Harry started to argue but could see Percy had caught Rons attention. Ron put his hand up at Harry and
turned to Percy. What happened?
Just a day ago, your best mate over there, was sleeping, with our only sister, in the middle of the sitting
room, Percy said smugly.
What? Rons eyes bulged and he turned on Harry quickly. Didnt I talk to you about this?
Harry put his hands up. No, wait, he is taking this completely out of context! We were fully dressed and
were just asleep, thats it! Nothing else happened.
Harry spoke earnestly but could see Ron was sceptical. Nothing happened?
Harry nodded. Honestly. I took to heart what you told me and I dont want to hurt Ginny for anything.
Ron nodded, accepting this, but Percy said forcefully, What did you need to take to heart?
Harry knew he was trapped now and looked beseechingly at Ron. Ron took a step away from Harry and
replied, I took care of it.
Percy glared at his younger brother. Obviously you didnt if hes still acting in a way that is not appropriate
to our sister.
Percy, Ron started slowly. This is Harry, weve known him for years, and I dont think he and Ginny are
in danger of doing anything that would be inappropriate. I really think this is getting out of hand. I mean,
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in danger of doing anything that would be inappropriate. I really think this is getting out of hand. I mean,
mum and dad dont say much to me or Hermione.
Percy glared at Ron and repeated, What did he need to take to heart?
Ron looked flustered for a moment, his loyalty to his brother and that to his best mate in clear conflict. He
turned to Harry with an apologetic look, despite Harrys pleading look in response, and stepped towards the
counter. He very quietly retold Harrys earlier indiscretion and Harry knew it took all of Percys self control
not to hex him right there.
Percy glared at Harry and said, I think Im more thankful now than ever that youre not staying at the
Burrow. He looked at Ron and asked, Do mum and dad know about that?
Ron shook his head. I didnt think it was a good time to tell them.
Percy continued glaring at Harry and said, Perhaps this should be brought up as well. Harry, I really
expected more from you.
Harry crossed his arms and glared right back. Believe what you like, but I care about your sister and I dont
think I did anything to compromise her.
Ron put his hands up as if to stem the heated argument and said, Harry, we all know how much you care
about Ginny, but everyones on edge right now...Mum and dad are actually upset that you just left, but they
dont have a lot of spare time for any of us, you includedbesides, we know you mean well, but this is our
only sister. Shes always fancied you, so its hard to watch when neither of you seem to know where to
draw the line.
Harry replied hotly, Were not children, Ron! I know where to draw the line and I think you are all being
over-protective.
Percy nearly hollered back, Over-protective! Harry Potter, my parents may not be here, but Im feeling like
youre less and less welcome at our home. How dare you judge our intentions?
Harry clenched his jaw and started to reply when Ron said, I think we all need to take a deep breath.
Everyone here cares about Ginny.
He gave Harry a warning look and Harry turned away, heading for the door. I dont have to listen to this
rubbish.
Percy bounded around the counter past Ron and yelled, Rubbish youd know a lot about that, wouldnt
you?
Harry turned, eyes blazing. What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?
The customers around them were watching the heated debate. Harry took a step closer to Percy and said
through gritted teeth, Your brother tried to kill me and your parents practically threw me out of your house
and youre telling me I know something about rubbish?
Percys expression changed for a moment, the guilt of Georges actions on him. No one ever meant for you
to get hurt. We thought what we were doing was for the best
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to get hurt. We thought what we were doing was for the best
Harry was seething and retorted, Do I look like I need to have things done for my best interest?
Percy glared right back at Harry and replied evenly, With that temper, Id say yes.
Ron stood between them quickly, pushing Percy back. I think both of you need to calm down. This isnt
helping anything. Or anyone.
Harry started to reply when the door to the shop opened and they all saw Ginny enter quietly. She looked
upset but her eyes widened as she saw them standing around in a clearly combative manner.
Whats going on in here? she asked softly.
Harry felt his anger melt slightly and he replied, NothingI was in the area and thought Id see if you
were around. He looked at her imploringly and asked, How are you?
She shrugged absently. Fine. She looked at Percy, seeing the look on his face and said, You alright,
Percy?
Percy pulled away from Rons grasp gruffly and replied, Im fine. His expression softened and he said
quietly, You shouldnt be here. I think you should go home and get some rest.
She tilted her head and rubbed her neck. I cant sit around there. I felt like going out.
Harry followed her with his eyes closely, but Ron was standing in his line of sight and shook his head
emphatically. Harry sighed and continued listening. Percy reached an arm out to Ginny and continued, I
know, butyou look like you could use some rest and once you get back to school you wont have it. I
know how you get with revisions. Your NEWTs are this year and youre captain of the Gryffindor
Quidditch team.
She nodded, paying no attention to Harry and replied, I know, but I just cant concentrate on resting. I feel
restless.
He led her behind the counter, sitting her in a nearby stool and said, What do you want to do? Im sure Ron
can take over and I can take you someplace.
Ron stepped forward, leaving Harry on the edge of the store. Yeah, Ginny, you and Percy can go find
something to get your mind off of things.
She shook her head. I feel like youre all treating me like Im going to breakIm in the same boat all of
you are in
Percy smiled at her and rubbed her back. Youre our little sister; we cant help but want to take care of
you.
Ginny shrugged at this, but Harry could see she had shut her eyes very tightly, trying to quell the tears. He
felt like he was intruding on an intimate family moment and didnt know if he should be witnessing it. He
took a tentative step forward.
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Percy continued to rub her back and said, Just think about it. We can get your stuff for school easily
enough. You need to clear your mind off all these worries before you start school. I think that would be
best.
She didnt say anything and Ron turned slightly, looking at Harry, but not conveying anything. They stood
there quietly for some time before customers started creating more of a commotion. Harry had never felt
more useless and while all the distractions were occurring, he quietly stepped out of the shop and stood
outside for a few moments before leaving to go back to Grimmauld Place.
Back to index

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Chapter 27: Chapter 27 - Hoping for the Best, Expecting the Worst
Author's Notes: I want to thank everyone that has continued to read this fic, my Beta and I are working
hard to keep these posts consistent, though I may speed up now, but then I'll have so slow down later
because I am not ready to send the next story arc to my Beta, Ginny Guerra, just yet. I know, another
reprieve, right?
I want to thank everyone who has continued to read and I believe that this chapter will move the story
forward, as all of you are pushing for. I know that some of the comments have been a little difficult for me
to read, and I know I shouldnt take it personally, but it is hard not to. I dont want you, as readers, to feel
like you dont have the right to tell me Im wrong, but I think theres a fine line when its constructive
criticism and where its downright unpleasant. I also wanted to note, after a few days of thinking about it,
that I should be more flattered that your expectations are so high that youre so upset to leave a comment
like that. Im glad so many of you are so vested in this fic and I am trying my best to amp up these chapters.
I know we had a massive confrontation and havent really gone back to it. I promise, itll all be sorted out,
but as I mentioned in a comment on the last chapter, I have written this story as a slow burn, things will
occur in a normal and, perhaps, realistic timeline. I know you dont want to read the minutia, but I feel like
we need it to offset whats happened.
Again, a big thank you to my lovely Beta Ginny Guerra and all you lovely readers that are leaving
comments and reading thank you!!
The next few days passed quietly and Harry was finally able to feel healthy again. He hadnt heard from
Ron or Ginny in those days and he suspected it had something to do with their last encounter. He knew
Percy had probably said something to Ginny about him and he didnt look forward to any more
conversations or confrontations with Percy. He really cared about Ginny and didnt know how best to
convey that.
He hadnt expected Ron to defend his actions, but he hadnt expected Ron to tell Percy what had happened
either. Harry grew up with no brothers and sisters and his concept of family was shrouded by his merciless
aunt, uncle and a cousin who could do no wrong.
Harry kept to himself for those days, glad for the respite from the disdain he was feeling from the Weasley
family. He wasnt certain if it was in his head or real, but he didnt feel comfortable spending too much
more time with them.
His new robes came and were slightly different than the ones he wore at school. Since he would be working
at the Ministry, he wanted to look his best. He had gone Muggle clothes shopping on one of his free days
and had acquired some new suits as well.
Hed written a hasty letter to Hermione and had still not received a response. He was surprised when she
came out of his grate a few days later. She greeted him sweetly, Harry! You look like youre doing better.
She hugged him in a friendly manner and he returned the hug. I think Im all better. Just needed some rest
and a tad less stress.
She nodded. So Ive heard.
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She nodded. So Ive heard.


Harry gave her a curious look and she said, I came to get my school things, even though we still have
some time. And I thought, if you dont have anything to do, maybe we could catch up?
He looked at her curiously and asked, Did Ron send you?
She laughed. No, but he told me what happened at the shop. I used my own mind to come visit you.
He smiled at her. I could use a pleasant distraction. And since my so-called-girlfriend doesnt seem up to
it
She shook her head. HarryI know Ginny and I have not spent as much time together as you, Ron and I
have, but I think youre not being entirely fair. You did just up and leave.
He nodded. I know, I know, but what was I supposed to do?
She crossed her arms and replied, Perhaps you could have started at acting appropriately. I mean, Harry, I
know sleeping and helping you change are both innocuous by themselves, but considering all the stress the
Weasley family is feeling, you could have slowed youramorous efforts a bit.
He didnt reply and she put her hands up. Harry, come on, lets just head out. This might help clear your
head.
He didnt look to be moving and she walked over, nudging him. For goodness sake, Harry! Snap out of it!
He nodded and grabbed his jacket. I dont think I need anything else, do I?
Youre not buying school supplies, are you? she asked.
He smiled. Lets go then.
They Apparated separately to Diagon Alley and Hermione headed towards Flourish & Blotts. Harry sighed
and tried to keep up. Hermione! he called after her. I really think you have all the books in the world!
She laughed and slowed down. Oh, come on, Harry. This is textbook shopping now totally different than
what I was getting over the summer.
Harry laughed. Does that make it more or less exciting for you?
She was brimming and replied, I am honestly not sure, Harry.
He couldnt help but smile at the excitement Hermione had for book shopping. She always had such an
affinity for knowledge. He wondered if Ron knew the competition he had in store for him. Hermione
managed to collect all of her textbooks and took a few home, having the rest delivered to the school.
Hermione, Ginny told me she was named Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, what did your letter
tell you? Harry asked.
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tell you? Harry asked.


She grinned broadly. You wont believe it, Harry I was named Head Girl! Can you believe it?
Harry smiled back at her. Hermione, thats brilliant! Congratulations! I cant imagine Professor
McGonagall choosing a better person for the position.
He didnt think she could be happier, but she continued smiling. Its amazing, isnt it? I am so excited to
go back to Hogwarts! I never expected to be treated differently for my part in Voldemorts fall, but that was
in the letter. Thank you for that, Harry.
He shook his head. This success is yours and yours alone. You deserve this. And whats even better, you
wont have to carry Ron and me through another year. You can focus on your own academics.
She looked down nervously as they walked down the street. To be honest, Harry, and please dont tell Ron
I said this, Im a bit nervous about going to school without you two. She slowed down, stopping in the
middle of the street. I know Ginny will be there, but I dont She struggled for a moment and said, I
dont have many friends save for you and Ron
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and said, Hermione, dont be absurd you will be the talk of the
school. Youre Head Girl and youre a hero. You are going to be just fine.
She smiled weakly at him. I hope youre right, Harry.
They walked quietly for some time before Hermione said, Harrythere was a reason I came to see you and
I dont think Ive done anything to make you feel better.
He gave her a surprised look. Was that what we were supposed to be doing?
She laughed. Well, I should be helping you, instead of you helping me.
He smiled. I think your going back to school is more exciting than me starting at the Ministry.
Arent you excited about that? She asked.
Sort ofI got my new robes earlier this week. Im just not that excited knowing that He stammered for
a moment before continuing, I really feel like I let the Weasley family downafter my birthday
He shook his head, unable to continue and Hermione patted him on the back gently. Harry, nothing that
happened is your fault She smirked at him and continued, Though, you and Ginny got a little
Harry didnt let her finish. Hermione dont tell me you listened to that rubbish from Ron and Percy!
She put her hands up quickly. Harry, you know I care about you and I value your friendship over most
things, but when it comes to Ginny, you dont seem to be able to think or act in a way that seems like your
normal self! She sighed and spoke more slowly, If I didnt know better, youre acting like Ginny did when
she first met you.
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Harry balked for a second but could come up with no response. He sighed and started walking forward, not
knowing in what direction they were going. Hermione walked quickly to catch up with them and said
tentatively, Harry?
He turned slowly and nodded slightly. Youre rightI may not be acting like I normally wouldshe
just He blushed and said, When Im around her, I really cant keep my hands off of her.
She smiled at him. Harry, I am really, really happy to see you so happy.
Am I? he retorted. I cant even get her to talk to me right now.
HarryI She looked around nervously and pulled close to him. I think that trip to the hospital didnt
get you any further in her good graces.
He cringed. I knowI justI felt sick to my stomach. He continued more slowly, I couldnt move. The
thought of coming face-to-face with George after what happenedI couldnt do it.
She patted him on the arm and said, HarryI cant say that I know how you feel. It cant be easy facing the
person who tried to kill you, especially considering hes a good friend, practically family. But he didnt
She flushed for a moment. He didnt know what he was doing. I know that doesnt make it alright, but he
didnt, and that has to mean something.
He nodded and took a step forward before stopping. What should I do?
She sighed and shrugged. You two only have a little bit of time before youll be separated for a long
timeI dont know about youbut Im trying to spend as much time with Ron no matter how crazy he
makes me.
He smiled and said, Im glad youre getting to find some time with Ronyour parents were okay with
him?
She nodded and blushed. They thought he was a bit odd, but both my parents agreed that he acted very
She blushed further and said quietly, Very devoted to me.
Harry leaned close and said, Thats because he is. He sighed. Now if only I knew how to get that across
to Ginny.
Hermione smiled encouragingly. I wish I could help, but I dont know how.
He nodded. I wanted to do something special for her birthday, but she didnt sound at all interested to
spend time with me.
Hermione stepped closer to him and said, I think, no matter what shes feeling, she still likes having you
around.
Harry laughed. That makes me feel loads better.
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That isnt exactly what I meant, she finished hurriedly. I just think that you being around wont offend
her further.
Harry rolled his eyes at this and said, Alright, Hermione, youve done your job, Im thoroughly uplifted.
How much more shopping do you need to do?
She smiled. Im done. Ive gotten my robes taken care of and didnt use any of my potions stuff since our
sixth year. But if you want to go back to Flourish and Blotts, I wont stop you.
He shook his head emphatically. Not a chance. I got my new robes and I dont have anything else to get
while were here.
No? she asked. She pointed towards Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. At least Ron might be there.
He shook his head. Or worse, Percy might be there.
Hermione nudged Harry towards the store and said, Even though you get to see Ron, I wont get to see
both of you together, wont you humour me?
He sighed and nodded. He couldnt deny her what would be one of the last times theyd see each other
before shed be off to school. Harry opened the door for her and was surprised to see Ron standing alone
behind the counter. Ron looked up, his eyes widened at seeing Hermione and he threw down what he was
doing to greet her. He bounded around the counter and embraced her tightly. She smiled profusely into his
shoulder as he kissed her passionately before finally breaking apart.
He mumbled under his breath, Hey Harry.
Harry smiled. Hey. You here by yourself?
He nodded and wrapped an arm around Hermiones waist, pulling her forward. Yeah, Percy and Ginny
went off to do something.
Harry wondered if he was being purposely obtuse, but didnt say more. Ron questioned Hermione about all
the things she got and she gushed about all the books shed been able to get.
It will be a fantastic year. I am so excited about all the classes that Ill be able to take and all the new
challengesbut Im really going to miss you two, she said quietly.
Ron squeezed her hand. Were going to miss you, too.
She grinned and said, I hope you two can take care of each other.
Harry replied, Im just hoping you can keep an eye on my red-head.
Ron and Hermione laughed. She said, Ill try, but you know how popular Ginny is!
Harry nodded and sighed. I knowjustkeep the other blokes away from her.
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Harry nodded and sighed. I knowjustkeep the other blokes away from her.
Ron laughed. Didnt we try that already? And it didnt work at all!
Harry ran his hand through his hair. Ron, I dont know what to do about your sister.
Ron laughed. Mate, I never know either.
Hermione poked him. Harry, youre worrying too much. She really cares about you, too.
Ron looked down and Harry caught the movement. What? Spit it out, Ron.
Ron put his hands up and said, I dont want any part of this.
Shes upset with me, isnt she? Harry asked.
Ron looked at Hermione, who looked away in response. Ron tapped her hand and she replied quickly,
Dont pull me in! I dont want to get on her bad side! Shes one of the few people Id consider a friend
thats going to be at Hogwarts next year.
Ron squeezed her hand. Dont be silly, Hermione, you have loads of friends.
She shook her head. I think theyre all in this room.
Harry waved both his hands. Excuse me, but I have a serious problem over here!
Ron laughed. Yeah you do. I dont want to get involved, but you need to do somethingbut not something
too overbearing, she wont like that.
Harry looked nervously at Ron. Is it that bad?
Ron shook his head. Thats all Im saying. Dont ruin this moment with my girlfriend.
Hermione rolled her eyes and Harry turned away from them, leaning against the counter. He had a feeling
they wouldnt say more and didnt know what his next option would be. He ignored the more provocative
activity that was going on behind him and continued to muse. Explaining himself didnt do anything and
spending silent time with her didnt seem to do it either. He didnt want to venture a visit to George that
might make both the Weasley parents kill him. He glanced over at Ron and Hermione but could see they
were both too busy to speak and started walking away.
Hermione caught the movement out of the corner of her eye and grabbed Harrys arm. She pulled away
from Ron, though he continued kissing her. She said breathlessly, Harry, dont go.
Harry pulled his arm out of her grasp and laughed. I love you both, but I dont want to get involved in what
youre doing.
Hermione laughed and Ron chuckled into Hermiones hair, continuing to kiss her. Ron wrapped his arms
around her waist and said, Come on, Harry. Well stop.
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around her waist and said, Come on, Harry. Well stop.
Harry laughed. No, I dont want you to, not on my account at least. You deserve to enjoy your time
together. Ill catch you both later.
With that he waved and headed out of the store. He could hear an argument erupting between his two best
friends but didnt think on it. As he headed out of the door he ran smack into the one person he was
dreading to see.
Ginny and Percy were on the other side of the door and Harry had to stop quickly not to knock both of them
over. Ginny grabbed Harrys shoulders for balance but quickly pulled her hands away realising who it was.
Percy stood behind Ginny, but Harry could feel his glare through her. Percy didnt say anything and Harry
ignored him.
He uttered quickly, Sorry about that. I didnt see you coming.
She nodded not catching his eyes. My fault, really.
He stood there dumbfounded and then said feebly, Have you gotten all your school stuff?
She looked up at him with a surprised expression and replied, No. Ive gotten my list, but havent had time
to go out and get everything.
Percy was standing as if he were a silent sentry and Harry continued to ignore him, taking Ginnys arm and
saying, Can I talk to you?
She didnt have any sort of response and he led her away from the shop and her older brother. Percy stood
stock still, watching them with a glare. He relented, shook his head and headed into the store. The street had
a scant number of people milling around. Few took notice of the exchange. Harry looked across the street
and spotted a stall that appeared to be serving some sort of beverages.
He slipped his arm through hers and took her hand in his, saying quietly, How are you doing?
She didnt look at him but replied curtly, Fine, you? You look well rested.
Kreachers been making sure Im resting. He led her to the nearby stall that was serving coffee, tea and hot
cocoa and purchased two cups of hot cocoa, despite her protests.
Ginny he started, but didnt know where he was going and stood there looking at her imploringly. There
were so many things he wanted to say, but his mind went blank when he looked into those dark, brown
eyes.
She laughed softly. Harry, you really have a way with words.
He grinned at her. Just saying your name makes me feel better.
She shook her head and smiled. I do get butterflies in my stomach when you say it.
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If thatll make you talk to me again, then Ill say it all day, he quipped.
Her face fell and she looked away. He said quickly, No, Ginny, thatyoure right, Im no good with
words.
She looked as if she were going to walk away and he said urgently, Ginny, talk to me. Something
She turned to him and smiled weakly. I dont know what to tell you, Harry. Between school and George, I
just dont know that I have time to deal with ourrelationship.
He moved the cup from one hand to the other and weaved his arm through hers again. Whats there to deal
with?
She leaned close to him and said, I dont know, HarryIve been feeling a little weird about things
between us.
He nodded and replied, I knowever since your mum hollered at us, Ive been afraid to get too close.
She looked up at him and said, I noticed.
He gave her a worried look and said, Ginny, theyre not my parents. I have to show them the utmost
respect; especially when it comes to you. He continued slowly, I mean...I want them to know that I plan to
respect you in the future.
She sipped her drink and said, I know. I meanI dont mean to judge you, Harry. I know were serious,
that isnt whats bothering me.
Then what is it? he asked. She looked down and he squeezed her arm. You can tell me.
She sighed and replied absently, I just want this summer to be over
He laughed grimly. Not me. Then I wont see you untiluntil Merlin knows when
He trailed off and she finished, Until the memorial. She continued, Harry, things are just over-whelming.
I feel like Im being pulled in three different directions.
She started to walk away and pulled him along, their arms still weaved together. Mum and dad want me to
rest and get ready for school. They also want me to spend some time with George. Percy wont get off my
case about you. On top of that you justyou up and left and I didnt know what to think
He pulled her closer to him and said, I know hes your older brother, but he was acting like I was trying to
take advantage of you in a way Id never
He didnt complete the sentence but could feel his anger boiling within. He would never dream of doing
anything that would jeopardise his relationship, his future, with Ginny. She rolled her eyes at him and said,
Harry, hes my older brother, and he feels partially responsible for Freds death. Hes just trying to be there
for me, for the whole family, especially with everything thats going on with my parents and how he was
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for me, for the whole family, especially with everything thats going on with my parents and how he was
before the war.
He sighed and nodded, whispering apologetically, I knowI know Im not helping things.
He leaned over and kissed her softly, not wanting to push his luck, but she leaned up and kissed him back.
They broke apart slowly and she mumbled, And then you go and do something like that and Im more
confused than I was before.
He grinned and leaned down, his lips almost on top of hers. I dont mind the confusion.
She leaned up and kissed him, letting her lips linger on his before pulling away slowly. I wouldnt mind
being able to think clear when youre around.
He leaned down to kiss her again but she pulled away. Harry She turned her face away from him and he
kissed her on the cheek.
That wasnt so bad, was it? He said.
She smiled up at him, sipping her drink. Not in the least. But I think you know what Im contending with.
He smiled at her and said, I dont mean to make things more complicatedI want to do right by youI
wish we had the answer as to what that would be.
She smiled weakly at him. I knowit would make things a lot easier.
He looked down at her and said, Barring mind reading, what should we do? What should I do?
She shrugged. I wish I knew.
He finished his drink and tossed it into a nearby rubbish bin. How about thisyou let me take you out for
your birthday, and you can block all of the background noise from your mind for one solitary night?
She grinned and then started laughing. You know, thats the best offer Ive heard in a while.
Good, then I will swing by the Burrow on your birthday, in the evening, and expect you to be ready. He
grinned at her and she nodded reluctantly.
Harry, I hope were not going to do something really outrageous, she said quietly.
Why dont you tell me exactly what you want to do, since youre so opposed to surprises? He smiled at
her and waited for her to respond.
She looked up at him and said helplessly, Harry
Okay, okay, Ill think of something that I know youll enjoy. Lookwell, Im thinking of a nice place to
take you. He smiled at her and continued, I know you always look fantastic, but, let me put it this way, Ill
be wearing something Muggle-like thats one step down from dress robes.
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be wearing something Muggle-like thats one step down from dress robes.
She shook her head and sighed. This sounds a lot like a surprise to me.
He shrugged and gave her his most innocent smile. I dont know what youre talking about.
She smiled. That sounds lovely, Harry. But She looked down for a moment and said, Harry, I really
enjoyed your birthday, so please dont go out of your way.
He crossed his arms and said, I want to go out of my way for you. It makes me happy.
She finished her drink and tossed the empty cup into the rubbish bin and put her hands on his arms and said,
Harry, you dont have to act like this is the last time well see each other.
No, but it is the last time well have some time alone without your parents or your brothers shooting me
death glares. He tried to smile but as upset as he was about the whole situation, feeling his anger return.
She shook her head and said, HarryI know theyre giving you a hard time.
She started to say something but looked away. I guess I cant really understand how you feel She
squeezed his arms and leaned up, kissing him softly. Im sorry, Harry.
He rested his forehead against hers and said quietly, Dont be. I wouldnt have it any other way. He started
to laugh. Well, maybe a little. I might feel differently once they stop hating me.
She slapped him on the arm lightly. Harry, no one hates you! They just want toto protect me.
From me? What the bloody hell do they think Im going to do? Force myself on you? He stepped away
from her, his expression full of anger.
She waved her hands in a sign of surrender and said, Harry, lets not argue.
He set his jaw but nodded slowly. Im sorryII love your family so muchhaving them upset with me
reallyconfuses me.
She stepped towards him and said, I know, Harry. They love you like their son She stopped a strange
expression crossing her face and continued, but this would be an aberration if you were their son.
They both locked eyes and burst out laughing. Ginny wrapped her arms around him and buried her face in
his chest. She said, Oh Merlins shorts, that was a disturbing picture!
He embraced her warmly and said, Lets purge that from our minds forever.
She rested her head on his shoulder enjoying their closeness. Harry, I better get inside before Percy comes
out here and shoots you the evil eyesend me an owl later this week?
He kissed her on the forehead and said, Anything for you, love.
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She pulled away slowly and smiled up at him before walking into the shop. He stood there for a few minutes
before Apparating back to Grimmauld Place. He had to start work in a couple days and had to get ready for
Ginnys birthday. What had started as a boring day had left him with a laundry list of things to do.
Back to index

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Chapter 28: Chapter 28 - A Fresh Start


Author's Notes: I didn't think I'd be able to polarise my audience quite so severely, but I'm glad to see that
some of you are sticking with me, while others are jumping ship. To each their own. I want to thank
everyone for the feedback, and I want to reiterate that this fan fiction is my interpretation of JK Rowling's
amazing world. I'm afraid I do not have psychic powers and can not see what everyone else thinks should
happen.
I also have to agree with the comments left by Enchanted and M_And, I can't suck as badly as some people
think if so many comments are so different. I even read a comment where one person hated how I'd written
the Weasley family, while another said they loved it *shrugs* I don't want to pander to my 'haters' anymore.
It's just wasting too much of my time. If you enjoy hating this fan fiction, have at it. Now I just find it
amusing :)
Also, if the updates come slowly...Metal Gear Solid is made of all kinds of awesome! And if you haven't
seen, I entered the latest SIYE challenge, I think it's decent story, though a tad long, check it out if you like
:)
On his first day at the Ministry, Harry had arranged to meet Ron and Mr. Weasley for breakfast before
heading over. He Floo-ed to the Burrow and was surprised to see that most of the household was awake.
The one person he wanted to see the most was not, as he expected, awake. Ginny had sent him an owl and a
small good luck package the day before, which had comprised of a very sweet note and some of his
favourite sweets.
When he arrived, he was happy to see that despite the stress surrounding George, both Mr. and Mrs.
Weasley seemed very happy to see him. Mrs. Weasley spent much of the breakfast admonishing him for
leaving so soon, and at the same time, trying to convince him that he was one of her sons. He wondered if
this was why Ginny had acted so distantly when theyd had lunch. Despite being an adopted son, Harry had
a feeling that Ginny most likely felt her mothers wrath for his disappearance more than not. Mrs. Weasley
continued to vacillate from railing into him and doting on him for the duration of the breakfast.
Harry could see the amusement in Rons face as his mother lectured Harry on a variety of things. Now,
Harry, you are very dear to us, and I know I may have given you the impression that youre in trouble, but
that does not mean you are not welcome here. I do believe that some space for you and Ginny is probably a
good thing, but we expect you not to be a stranger.
Harry nodded. He replied weakly, Of course, Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley, much to Harrys chagrin, did not stop there. I cant believe you were able to clean up so
quickly and head out. Is Kreacher treating you well?
He nodded. Yes, hes a very good cooknot as good as you, of course. He gave her a shamefaced look
and said, Mrs. Weasley, I didnt mean to up and leave, I just thought it was for the best
She hardly acknowledged his comment and shook her head. You still look like youve hardly eaten. You
have a long day ahead of you, best eat up, dear.
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She pushed a full plate in front of him and Harry could see Ron laughing into his hand. Harry rolled his
eyes at his friend and watched as Mr. Weasley chuckled at the two of them. Mr. Weasley smiled. Harry,
you neednt worry. Everything is going to go smoothly today. Kingsley is very happy to have you on board,
Ron and Neville too. You all are going to be brilliant Aurors.
Harry nodded, devouring the food in front of him. Ron leaned across the table and said, This is serious
stuff, dad.
Mr. Weasley nodded. Yes, of course. But you both are very ready to be contributing members of society.
Mr. Weasley continued to go over the basics of what may happen on their first day, but Harry had trouble
following. His mind was whirling through all the various possibilities of failure. He knew hed trained hard
last year, but this was entirely different. He wouldnt be living in a tent, nor have Hermione fall back on for
research help.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley seemed happy to see him, but despite Harrys best attempts, he was feeling very,
very nervous. He had never worked a day in his life and was concerned that hed say or do something that
would be wrong. Mr. Weasley did his best to assuage the fears that both Ron and Harry were feeling, but
the advice fell on deaf ears.
Harry kept turning his gaze to the staircase, but Ginny made no appearances. Mr. Weasley, Ron and Harry
left for work at a quarter to eight. As Harry emerged from the Floo in the central corridor at the Ministry of
Magic, he felt over-whelmed by this new step he was taking in life. They passed through security quickly
and walked across the corridor.
Harry was surprised to see Gaunt standing in the hallway waiting for both he and Ron. Kingsley was not far
off, and had cast a spell on his throat to allow his voice to boom across the entranceway. Good Morning!
Harry quickened his pace to shake hands with Kingsley and noticed Neville Longbottom out of the corner
of his eye. Neville was grinning from ear-to-ear and had on the nicest robes Harry had ever seen him in.
Gaunt stood quietly to the back, as if he were uncomfortable with the whole situation.
Kingsley and Mr. Weasley shook hands and Mr. Weasley wished them all good luck on their first day.
Kingsley motioned them down the hallway and said, Im so pleased you could all make it this morning. We
are ecstatic to have such excellent resources joining us.
Harry, Ron and Neville followed Kingsley closely as Gaunt skulked further behind, trying to avoid the
disconcerted gazes he was receiving. Harry noticed there were quite a few wizards and witches following
Kingsleys direction, but none seemed to want to venture closer. He showed them all into a small conference
room and brought out a few sheets of parchment for each of them.
Mr. Gaunt will be going over some basics that youll need to know, Kingsley continued, As you all are,
Im sure, aware, normally you would need to take your NEWTs to be an Auror, but we are going to tutor
you and have you sit for these exams, as I explained in the letters I sent you some time ago.
Kingsley motioned to Gaunt. He walked past the minister and said, Thank you, sir. I will have them all up
to speed in a few weeks. He turned away from Kingsley to address the three. I hope you are all ready for
some very hard work. We need you in the field as soon as possible and the only way we can achieve that is
by getting you ready for what youll need to know.
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by getting you ready for what youll need to know.


Gaunt grinned at them as he spoke. Harry felt a rather unsettling feeling but looked down at the stack of
parchment before him and waited with Ron and Neville for Gaunt to continue. Gaunt pulled a set of small
books from a nearby table and set one in front of each of them.
It is hard to determine where to start training without knowing what you know. Gaunt opened a copy of
the book and continued, This is an assessment test. Its a way for me to see where you are and what you
need to work on.
All three of them had horror-stricken looks on their faces and Gaunt laughed. I know you havent prepared,
but I assure you, based on everything youve done over the last year, you should be just fine. This isnt a
test that will be with you for your lifetime. Im going to find out where you are, toss these exams out and
get you ready to be top-notch Aurors.
Gaunt handed each of them quills and said, Youll have one hour. There is a charm in this room that will
alert me if youre trying to cheat, so please dont consult one another about the questions.
He headed towards the door and stepped out with Kingsley in front of him. Harry, Ron and Neville
exchanged nervous glances but dutifully opened their respective books and started filling the forms out.
Harry had felt nervous about his OWLs, but this was much more nerve-wracking.
The door opened in one hour and Gaunt stepped in quickly. That wasnt so bad, was it?
They made no response. Gaunt collected the books and sheets of parchment and said, I think that was rather
bracing for one morning. I have something different for each of you to do until we break for lunch.
They got up and followed him out of the room. Gaunt took them to the closest lift and lead them down a
long corridor. A large sign reading, Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, was
set atop the front desk.
Gaunt stopped for a moment and said, Mr. Longbottom, if youll wait right here, there is someone that will
be showing you around this section. After which, well be meeting again.
Neville shot Harry and Ron a smile and stood waiting as a tall wizard came towards him, beckoning him to
follow him. With that Ron and Harry were left with Gaunt. He didnt look them in the eye but said, Mr.
Weasley, youre next.
He hurried them down three dizzying corridors before depositing Ron at the Department of Magical
Accidents and Catastrophes. Harry watched as Ron was ushered away by a short witch who was speaking
too quickly for Harry to discern anything.
Gaunt smirked at Harry and said, Last but certainly not least
He led Harry back to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, but did not take him back to his own
office, but a small room at the end of the hallway. Gaunt ushered Harry in and gestured to the chair at the
table. Harry sat down awkwardly and waited for Gaunt to say something.
Gaunt pushed a stack of parchment across the table and said smugly, It has been left to me, Mr. Potter, to
make you the best Auror this department has ever seen. Kingsley has given me a carte blanche to teach you
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make you the best Auror this department has ever seen. Kingsley has given me a carte blanche to teach you
everything I know in the time that we have together and I have every intention of running you through the
wringer. He gestured to the papers and said, Care to explain this?
Harry gave him a quizzical look and started flipping through what he realised was the most recent issue of
the Daily Prophet. Harry balked, seeing a picture of him and Ginny that had been taken when hed seen her
last in Diagon Alley. He looked blankly at the image before Gaunt slammed his hand onto the table.
Potter! Are you seeing this? If you care at all about this young woman, youre going to do a better job of
protecting her identity from the media and by extension protecting her from being a target! What were you
thinking? Were you thinking at all? Gaunt yelled.
Harry put his hands up quickly. Look, Mr. Gaunt, sir, I dont know you and Im not sure what this has to
do with anything.
Harry was trying his hardest to keep himself in control, and knew he was feeling more and more furious at
what this man was assuming about him. Gaunt glared at Harry and replied, And here I thought you were
bright.
He pulled another issue out, this one with images of Harry, Ginny and some very provocative pictures with
ice cream that Harry remembered all too well. He flushed at the images and said, What? I was enjoying my
girlfriends company. That isnt a crime.
Gaunt chuckled. You are really thick. He sat up straight and said, Listen very carefully, Mr. Potter. You
may think Im over-stepping my bounds, but Im not. This is exactly the sort of thing you need to take care
about.
He pulled another article out and placed it under Harrys nose and said, You dont think this compromises
someone you care about at all?
Harry clenched his jaw but didnt say anything. Gaunt shook his head distastefully. You need to get your
head out of the clouds, Mr. Potter. This is serious. Your girlfriend could be attacked and targeted by people
who dont like you; who hate you. Is any of this sinking in?
Harry knew that Gaunt would be his supervisor indefinitely and could not afford to get off on the wrong
foot. He sighed and replied evenly, It was never my intention to put her in danger. But based on the last
time I came here, it makes no difference, I cant do anything about what people who are completely mad
might want to do.
Gaunt locked his eyes with Harrys and replied, As an Auror, that is exactly what you should be doing.
He got up and said, Mr. Potter. I expect you to read all of this rubbish until I come back into this room.
Youre going to tell me, before you leave, how much, if any of it is true about you and Ms. Weasley. Only
then, I believe, will you understand the gravity of your actions.
Harry stared forlornly at the stack of newspapers and sighed. He didnt have a choice. This was his job and
there was nothing for it. He read article after article from colouring Ginny as a disreputable girl taking
advantage of an honourable and trustworthy hero to himself being portrayed as a sex-crazed lunatic.
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When Gaunt finally returned some time later, he raised his eyebrows at Harry. And?
Harry sighed. Point taken, sir. These stories are all wrong, there isnt one true thing about either of us in it
and Im made out to be quite un-balanced.
Gaunt crossed his arms and said, That, Mr. Potter, is why you need to be more level-headed.
He sat down across from Harry and continued. Since you have been on my radar, there is one instance that
I saw no pictures of, but knew about, your birthday, of course.
Harry tried to stay calm but cringed as Gaunt smirked. What a lovely, intimate moment you had with Ms.
Weasley that day. She seemed quite taken by you and you couldnt keep your eyes off of her.
Harry set his hands on the table and replied, You were spying on me?
Gaunt laughed. Im an Auror, if I want to know something, I go and find out about it. I wanted to know
why there hadnt been any pictures of you in a few days and found out why. You spent a lot of time
planning that, didnt you?
Harry clenched his teeth and spit out, Yes.
It showed. She seemed touched. Gaunt drummed his fingers on the table. Quite boring to watch, I must
admit, but that is the way of watching and not doing, I expect.
Harry focused on one point on the table and said nothing. Gaunt laughed. If you ever get caught and
tortured you wont last five minutes.
Harry met Gaunts gaze and replied, Last time I got caught, I was killed.
Gaunt laughed loudly at this. Congratulations, Mr. Potter, that might as well be a failure. We will be
spending a lot of time together in the future, Mr. Potter, I hope we can enjoy each others company on some
basic level.
Gaunt got up and gestured for Harry to do the same. Come, let us find your friends and give you all some
reading to do for the week.
Harry maintained his immobilised facial expression and followed Gaunt back to both Ron and Neville. The
three ate lunch around the corner at a stall and returned for afternoon sessions.
At the end of a very long day, Harry declined Rons insistent request to come home. Harry said nothing to
his friend about what Gaunt had put him through and while Neville and Ron talked, at length, during lunch
about what theyd learned.Harry grimaced thinking about coming back the following days but knew that
through Gaunt he would become the Auror he wanted to be. He grabbed his heavy tome and Flooed back to
Grimmauld Place. Kreacher had a hot dinner waiting for him. Harry saw a note from Ginny, but was too
tired to read it at the time, and after doing his assigned revisions late into the night, passed out some time
after midnight.
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Chapter 29: Chapter 29 - Reconciling Two Halves


Author's Notes: thank you so much for reading and commenting - I appreciate it very much! Enjoy!
Harry was exhausted from Gaunts training. The first day had been unpleasant, but the training had only
gotten more rigorous. Ron, Neville and Harry had been assigned varying tasks each day. One day they
would practice various defensive spells, another day they would practice shields and protection charms.
Each day proved more challenging than the last, yet Gaunt had noted that they were all excellent candidates
to be Aurors and improving quickly.
Gaunt had gone over their test results from the exam theyd taken their first day and he had told them they
would have no trouble passing their NEWTs in one months time. Harry couldnt believe that they only had
a few weeks to prepare for what would determine how they would fare at the Ministry in the future.
On top of all of the revisions and reading he had to do, Harry also was trying his best to keep Ginnys
birthday on his radar. Kreacher had been an immense help. The house elf had found the restaurant, had
exchanged money and found the gift to give her. Even though Harry had given him instructions, it was still
a lot of work for the house elf to do.
Ron, Neville and Harry had taken to spending evenings holed up in Harrys sitting room with countless
books around them. Ron always seemed to be Apparating off to see Hermione, leaving Neville and Harry to
concentrate on what needed to be understood for the following day.
In the week between starting work and Ginnys birthday, Harry only had time to send her a couple of letters
by owl. She seemed more invested in the letters she sent back in response, but Harry kicked himself every
day for not going over to the Burrow or the Weasleys shop to see her.
He imagined Percy was thankful for Harrys new busy time, but he knew Ginny probably wouldnt be
pleased about it. Or maybe she would be. Harry knew the last few times theyd seen each other she had been
rather distant. He had a feeling she was finally able to mourn for Fred more openly, though probably not in
front of any one of her family.
Harry had asked Ron about how George was doing, but Ron had stayed mum about it. He knew that Mr.
and Mrs. Weasley had most likely told Ron that it wasnt something he should concern Harry with, but this
only made Harry feel more guilty.
As Ginnys birthday approached, Gaunt had made a point to note the date repeatedly, as if he also knew its
significance. Neville had no idea what Gaunt was alluding to, and Ron was oblivious about the topic
entirely. Harry did his best to ignore Gaunts pointed comments, but Gaunt made it impossible for Harry to
get away.
The day before Ginnys birthday, Gaunt called Harry into his office and said, Well, Mr. Potter, you seem to
be making solid progress. I see that your friends are more amenable to my teachings than you have been.
Any thing youd like to bring to my attention that is making it hard for you to concentrate?
Harry shook his head. No, sir.

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Gaunt laughed and smirked at Harry. Your little girlfriend has a birthday coming up, is that correct?
Harry knew not to argue. Yes, sir. And I took your advice to heart and have planned something that should
avoid any magical attention.
Gaunt smiled. GoodI have a question for you though. Do you think she knows about this and never said
anything to you?
Harry knew he was talking about the unwanted publicity and replied, I dont know, sir. I dont want to
stress her out more than she needs to be.
Gaunt looked hard at his desk and said quietly, Its hard to say whats best, knowing or not know.
Harry looked up saw Gaunt looking thoughtful. Harry could tell Gaunt was not, despite how he had treated
him, trying to make his life harder, but make it better, however hard that was to grasp. Gaunt continued
quietly, Trust me, Mr. Potter, one small thing Ive learned in my long life: life has such value, you should
never let anything get in the way of that. Nothing.
Harry looked at him curiously but Gaunts expression changed again. I am sure you expect to do something
special for your girlfriends birthday, but we have a lot of work to do and you, Mr. Weasley and Mr.
Longbottom will be doing a time-consuming project starting tomorrow, and I hope you are able to
remember whats important.
Harry nodded and walked out of the door. He sighed, knowing fully that Gaunt was going to do his level
best to make Ginnys birthday memorable. Most likely not in the way Harry had intended it to be.
Harry found Ron and Neville in what had become their makeshift office. Gaunt had set them up in a large
room with three desks and one table in the centre. The three of them had taken to stacking the various books
on the table and trying in vain to organise their desks.
He greeted them quietly, I think Gaunt has something special planned for us.
Ron nodded. Yeah, some new project. Not to mention all the revisions we need to do.
Neville muttered something, hardly looking up from his parchment. Harry walked over to Nevilles desk
and tapped the edge. Neville, what are you working on?
Neville looked up slowly. Mr. Gaunt believes I need some extra work in Defence Against the Dark Arts
and has given me some extra reading.
Harry looked at him in sympathising manner and said, Can Ron or I help?
Neville shook his head. Thanks, Harry, but I cant. Not until after weve taken our exams.
Harry looked at him incredulously. Did he say we couldnt help you?
Neville quickly looked back at the text he was studying and made no response. Harry didnt push. He felt
like Gaunt had been bullying all of them for the last week and there was no end in sight. Harry sighed and
sat at the centre table and looked over at Ron. Any idea what he has planned?
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Ron looked up and replied, Not a clue. Though, he lowered his voice and sat at the edge of his seat,
Hermione has been rather jealous when Ive told her what weve been doing.
Harry laughed. You cant be serious!
Ron laughed quietly. You know Hermione, she just loves this stuff. She even offered to help and come do
revisions with us.
Harry raised his eyebrows and waited for Ron to continue. Ron grinned. I told her, if we were spending
time together, thered better not be any books around.
Harry shook his head. I dont get it Ron. If its me and Ginny, it isnt okay, but if its you and Hermione
Ron narrowed his eyes. I havent asked her to undress me, thats one thing.
Harry sat up rigidly and said, Let it go, Ron. Nothing happened.
They glared at one another for a moment before the door opened behind them and Gaunt said, Ah, some
free time on your hands, Mr. Potter? Then perhaps I can find something extra for you to work on tomorrow
when you get in.
Gaunt dropped a large stack of parchment on the table and continued, Gentlemen, I hope you have
completed the revisions I gave you last week. I expect them on my desk tomorrow morning. Then well
have a new set of revisions and spells youll need to master.
They nodded and said nothing. Gaunt sighed. I expect to see you all bright and early tomorrow morning.
We have a lot of work to do and I dont feel like youre ready.
Harry knew both Neville and Ron would share the same dread he was feeling at the time. They all went
home, choosing not to revise together that night. Harry sent a Patronus to Ginny, asking her if he could
come see her that night and had received an owl back confirming it was okay.
He ate dinner quickly and Apparated to the Burrow. He didnt know why he hadnt Flooed, but thought it
best to knock on the door and act politely, respectfully. He walked up to the house hed so recently
considered home and could hear loud voices from within.
He knocked urgently and could hear silence answer. Mrs. Weasley opened the door and gushed, Harry!
How wonderful to see you! How are you feeling?
He smiled at her, not being able to see past her and replied, Im fine, Mrs. Weasley, thank you for asking.
How are you doing?
She waved her hand dismissively, Fine, fine. She moved away from the door and Harry looked in, though
he did not see Ginny around. I expect youre here to see Ginny. We havent had time to plan something for
herIm so glad you two are going to be able to find some time together.
She muttered something under her breath that Harry couldnt hear as she walked to the base of the stairs.
Whoever Mrs. Weasley had been arguing with, it didnt appear to be Ginny. She called up the stairs for her
daughter and Harrys breath caught in his throat as she jogged down the steps, her eyes flowing inquisitively
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daughter and Harrys breath caught in his throat as she jogged down the steps, her eyes flowing inquisitively
from her mother to Harry. She smiled as she saw him and Harry felt his heart lighten at this.
Mrs. Weasley started to say something and Ginnys attention was pulled away from Harry. He didnt know
what they were talking about, but Mrs. Weasley shot Ginny a warning glance that was met with frustration
and acceptance. Ginny turned away from her mother and beckoned Harry to follow her out onto the porch.
They sat down next to each other and Harry ran his arm across her back, his hand resting near her hip. So,
are you ready for tomorrow? he asked.
She shrugged and nudged him with her shoulder. I think so. Though if you told me more, then I might be
able to plan better.
He grinned at her but shook his head. He said quietly, Im sorry I havent been around
She patted him on the knee. Dont be silly, Harry. You just started work. Ron was telling me how intense
all the work Gaunt has you doing is. She turned to look at him and said, That man makes me very
uncomfortable.
Harry nodded. He has that way about him, thats for sure.
So, how has the training being going for you? The last Patronus I got from you was a little disjointed. She
smiled up at him.
Its been really tough, he confessed. Gaunt has us doing all sorts of things. Every day its something
different. He wanted to say more, about what Gaunt had warned against, but could still feel tension coming
off of Ginny in waves.
She nodded. It does sound rather intense. Ron says that even though Gaunt is layering things on, all of you
are staying afloat.
Harry chuckled. I dont quit. I dont see Ron or Neville quitting either.
She sighed and leaned against his chest. No, I wouldnt expect that of you either. She nudged him again
and said, Where are we going again?
She smiled sweetly at him and he laughed. Not so fast, Ginny. My lips are sealed!
She turned abruptly and kissed him, pressing her lips hard against his. She pulled away slightly and said,
Not anymore.
He wrapped his arms around her and said, No teasing, Ginny. He leaned over and kissed her on the side of
the head. How are you doing? You havent said much in your letters.
She looked across the lawn, pulling away from him and said, Its been fine. I mean She shrugged and
repeated, Its fine.
He shook his head and whispered softly, You can tell me. I want to know. I wouldnt be asking otherwise.

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She laughed softly. It is fine. I just need to make it to that train. Things will be a lot easier at school.
Harry rested a hand on her shoulder. It isnt like you to want to run away from things.
She kept her gaze away from him and said quietly, I know
He waited a few moments for her to say something more, but she didnt. He leaned over, wrapping an arm
around her shoulders and said, Ginny, love, I want to know whats going on so I can help you. If you dont
tell me whats going on with you, I cant help.
She gave him a sceptical look and he continued hurriedly, And if you bring up how busy I am, Im
definitely not going to tell you where were going tomorrow!
She turned away again, but leaned her back against his chest. A couple days ago, mum and dad finally told
George about Fred. She took a few quick, shallow breaths, clearly trying to keep her emotions in check and
wrung her hands together for a few moments before feeling more in control. She continued, He was
devastated. He had no idea. It was as if the last few months were gone from his mind.
She turned suddenly, her eyes swimming and said, But then, as if something was just turned on him, he
remembered; everything. He knew what had happened, what hed done.it was awfulPercy told me
about it afterwards. Mum and dad have been arguing about what to do about George ever since.
He leaned over and said quietly, At least thats progress, isnt it?
She looked at him blankly. Is it? What is progress?
Harry rubbed her back gently and said, I think you shouldnt put all the weight of your familys burdens
on your shoulders. It is progress. Hes remembering things and that has to be a way to getting better.
She didnt say anything but leaned against him, enjoying the closeness. He felt like she was finally allowing
him to console her. Something hed wanted to do the entire summer.
After a few minutes, she pulled away from him slightly and turned to him smiling. Harry, I know you have
an early morning tomorrow.
He nodded and said, I do. I will be by tomorrow before seven. We have reservations and I dont want to
miss any time with you.
He got up and offered his hand to her. She grasped it firmly and he pulled her up gently. She leaned up and
kissed him and he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, returning the affection. He pulled away
reluctantly and said quietly, Good night.
She embraced him and kissed him on the cheek. Good night, Harry.
She turned and headed back into the house. Harry stood for a moment, as if checking the time, quickly
Apparated home. Kreacher was awake and Harry asked once again about the preparations for the following
day. The house elf confirmed that everything was as Harry had requested it. He rushed up the stairs and got
ready for bed, realising he had a long day ahead of him and tried, in vain, to fall asleep.

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Chapter 30: Chapter 30 - Even the Best Laid Plans


Author's Notes: wow, so that last chapter was grossly uninteresting? Well, this chapter wasn't how I
wanted to write it, but I 'wrote' myself into a corner...so there isn't much I can say, save that this is how it
had to go given everything else.
I hope that the reason for the lack of comments is because the last chapter ended up on the second page of
'most recent' entries in less than twelve hours...I'm hoping for a longer stint on the front, but who's to say,
right?
Thanks to my lovely Beta and hope some of you enjoy this!
Harry looked up at the clock with an exasperated expression. Ron and Neville had long since left and Gaunt
had not stopped piling more work on Harrys desk. He knew Gaunt was doing it because today was Ginnys
birthday and seemed to be convinced that should he ruin Harrys plans, he would have accomplished
something.
Harry had sent Ginny a package earlier that morning, a little something that Kreacher had put together, a
sort of package of sweets. Harry had also sent her a Patronus over an hour ago, saying he was tied up at
work and would be there as soon as he could.
He was furiously writing and did not hear the door to the office open. Youre late, Mr. Potter.
He looked up to see Gaunt glowering at him. Harry sighed. Im not finished.
Gaunt shook his head. I really wonder what everyone sees in you. What was one of the first things I said to
you?
Harry studied him thoughtfully and said, I should protect the ones I care about.
Gaunt sighed. Yes, but was that the only point I was making?
Harry shrugged. Sir, I am running late, as you say, I dont have time for guessing games.
Gaunt shook his head. Then go.
Harry looked at him questioningly. But I havent finished these revisions.
Gaunt nodded. I can see that. Gaunt motioned to the door. Whats stopping you exactly?
Harry didnt have time to quibble with him and got up quickly, leaving the parchment where it was and
grabbed his coat. He didnt spare a glance at Gaunt as he ran down the hallway to the main corridor, quickly
Flooing back to Grimmauld Place.
Kreacher was there waiting, pacing nervously. Master Harry! You are late! Mistress will be displeased.
Harry nodded and sprinted past the house elf, yelling, I know! Is everything still ready?
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The house elf Apparated to Harrys room, continuing the conversation through the bathroom door as Harry
showered quickly. Everything is as you requested it. I had to use magic to extend the reservations you had
made and have a cloaking charm for you to use while you and Mistress are out.
Harry hurried out of the shower and grabbed the clothes hed already set aside for the dinner. He had
chosen a dark blue suit and a white button-down shirt underneath. He had bought a striped tie that had dark
blue and green in it. He hadnt worn a suit for a dinner before and dressed hurriedly. He checked a few
times in the mirror to make sure he was presentable.
Kreacher bustled around him, urging him to hurry and finally said, Master Harry you can not be any
more ready! Do not leave Mistress waiting!
Harry nodded and took the bouquet of flowers Kreacher was holding out to him and said, Ill see you in a
few hours, then. Thank you, Kreacher!
Harry Apparated from his bedroom to the Burrows porch. He took a few deep breathes before knocking on
the door. Harry was surprised to see Ron answering the door, looking like he had just woken up. Instead of
letting Harry into the house, he stepped out onto the porch. I was wondering when youd get here.
Harry cringed. How angry is she with me?
What? Ron asked. Oh, no, shes not upset about you being late.
Why not? Harry asked. He gave his friend the once over again and couldnt tell, but knew something was
amiss.
Ron just shrugged. No reason.
Harry stood there quietly and then said, Are you going to let me in or not?
Ron didnt move but said, Harry
Harry started to push Ron out of the way, not wanting to hear some lame excuse for why he couldnt see
Ginny and Ron put his arm out. Give her a few minutes. She knows youre here.
How can she know? Harry didnt like where this was going and narrowed his eyes.
Ron put his hands up. Come on, Harry.
Harry sighed and took a step away from the door, avoiding Rons gaze. After about ten minutes, the door
opened and Harry was disappointed to see Percy emerge, whispering something to Ron and giving Harry a
blank stare.
Harry took a step forward and Percy walked out onto the porch. Harry. Didnt think youd make it tonight.
Harry glared at him. I wouldnt miss it for the world. He took another step forward, Is she okay?
Percys expression softened. Shes fine.

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Then why am I still standing outside? Harry asked.


Percy shrugged. Couldnt sayIll go check and see if shes ready to go.
Thanks, Percy. Harry watched as Percy left him on the porch with Ron. Ron didnt meet his gaze.
Were having a slightwell, things need taking care of, he finished lamely.
Harry narrowed his eyes. Is this about George?
Ron didnt change his expression and the door opened again, this time Ginny emerged. She smiled weakly
at Harry and was looking absolutely gorgeous. Harry couldnt contain himself and let his jaw drop. You
look absolutely amazing.
Happy seventeenth. He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek, before presenting her with the flowers
hed brought. Is everything alright?
She nodded and said, Thank you, Harry, these are beautiful. She looked over at Ron. Can you put these in
some water and put them in my room.
He nodded. Dont stay out too late.
Harry watched as Ron retired and Harry took Ginnys hand in his, squeezing it. Are you sure that
everythings okayI dont want to pull you away from something
She sighed. Theres always something, Harry. You told me wed ignore the background noise for one
evening.
He smiled at her and said, I did say that, didnt I?
She nodded and wrapped her arm around his waist. He couldnt stop smiling and shut his eyes. One second
and well almost be there.
He could feel her shut her eyes and Apparated them to a secluded location not far from Grimmauld Place.
He hailed a Muggle taxi and helped her in. She giggled. I dont think Ive ever rode in a Muggle taxi.
He grinned. I promise this isnt the highlight of our evening.
Even if it is, this is still fascinating. I bet dad would love this! She kept peering out of the window, staring
at the traffic flying by them. Harry laughed softly. He knew theyd ridden the Knightbus together before, but
Muggle transport was different than magical transport.
The taxi stopped in front of a posh Muggle restaurant and Harry paid the driver before pulling his wand out
and placing a cloaking charm on both of them. She looked at him questioningly and he shrugged. I am an
Auror-in-training.
She nodded and they both walked into the restaurant. He gave his name to the host who seated them in a
secluded area in the back of the restaurant. Ginny poured over the menu, uncertain about what to get. Harry
had gotten the menu in advance and already knew what he would order.
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They ordered and Harry spent most of the dinner telling Ginny about the various activities Gaunt had put
him, Ron and Neville through. Ginny smiled and stayed attentive, interjecting questions when appropriate.
Harry was able to steer the conversation back to her and asked about her plans for her final year at
Hogwarts. She had been corresponding with Hermione since Harrys birthday.
Hermione thinks that I am going to have to fill the entire team. I think I was one of the youngest players on
the last team we had. She sighed. And Hermione is getting really nervous about her role as Head Girl.
Harry laughed. Youre not surprised by that, are you?
No, not in the least. She smiled. Im really getting to know Hermione more. Should be interesting not
having you and Ron there.
Harry raised his eyebrows and said, I just hope you two can keep an eye on one another and help each
other. He leaned forward. Last time I talked to her, she sounded a bit depressed about going back with
only one friend.
Ginny looked at him inquisitively. Me? But she is one of the Hogwarts heroes, she cant think she hasnt
any other friends.
Harry nodded sadly. I worry about her more than I worry about you.
She laughed. You dont have to worry about me, Harry.
I dont? He raised his eyebrows at her. Look at you blokes are going to be chasing you down.
She shook her head. Please tell me this is the most jealous youre going to get.
He shrugged. I dont feel like Ive been tested yet.
She didnt say anything, but gave him a hard look. He put his hands up quickly. Im not trying to argue
with youbut if I were a little jealous I dont see that hurting. Isnt it nice to be wanted?
He gave her a pleading smile and she relented. Just dont let it get out of control, Harry. I already know I
cant handle that.
He nodded and watched as the dessert hed pre-ordered arrived, much to Ginnys surprise. She balked at the
candle-filled cake that came to the table.
Harry leaned forward. Make a wish and blow the candles out.
Her eyes reflected the light and Harry could have sworn that she looked overcome with emotion. She shut
her eyes before gently blowing the candles out. The waiter took the cake away only to return a few minutes
later with slices for each of them.
She looked up at him. Harry, this is starting to remind me of your birthday. This is all too much.
He smiled. I wanted to do something youd never done. Im guessing Ive succeeded.
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She smiled at him, nodding. I never expected this. Especially


She stopped, clearly not wanting to remember what shed left at home. He reached his hand across the table,
squeezing her hand. Leave it at home, love.
She didnt meet his eyes but picked at the cake for a few minutes. Much to Harrys chagrin he caught a red
head walking towards them. Ron kept his gaze down and Ginny looked up suddenly, her eyes wide.
Ron! What are you doing here? She asked urgently.
He faltered for a moment. Im really sorry, GinnyHarry. Mum and dad think it would be best if you two
wrap this up and come home.
Ron put his hands up quickly. No, they want Ginny to come home and He didnt meet Harrys eyes nor
complete his thought.
Harry looked down, knowing fully that this meant he was not welcome at the Burrow right now. He looked
up to see Ginny looking imploringly at Ron. Ron shook his head. Im really sorry. I thought it would be
best if it were me coming
Harry nodded mutely. He gestured to the waiter who had the rest of the cake waiting in a take away bag.
The waiter brought it forward, resting it in front of Ginny. He smiled and left the table.
Ginny tried to speak light-heartedly, That isnt for you, Ron.
She got up slowly and looked consolingly at Harry. Harry, this has been absolutely wonderful.
Ron, noting the tension at the table walked back to the front of the restaurant, leaving the two of them
alone. Harry stood up with Ginny and said, It was my pleasure.
He reached his hands out to hers and pulled her into his arms. I have your gift, but Ill have it sent to the
Burrow.
She looked up at him. Harry, youve already done too much. I dont know how comfortable I feel about
you giving me all these gifts.
He bent down and kissed her forehead. Dont be absurd. It makes me feel like I have some use if I can do
something that might bring a smile to that gorgeous face of yours.
She blushed and whispered something into his chest that he didnt hear. She stood in his arms for a few
moments before pulling away. Harry, this has been amazing. You are by far the sweetest boyfriend Ive
ever had.
She leaned up and kissed him again before stepping away, grabbing the bag with the cake and walking
towards Ron. Harry stood there for a few moments before sighing, paying the cheque and leaving.
Once he arrived home, Kreacher gave him a questioning look. Shall I send the gift, Master Harry?

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Harry nodded. Please do. Thank you.


Harry sadly trekked up the stairs to his room. The date he had been looking forward to for two weeks was
over and he didnt feel any better about his relationship with Ginny. He went to sleep heavily, hoping that
the next day would be more restful than the last.
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Chapter 31: Chapter 31 - If Only Things Could Stay Simple


Author's Notes: I thought I'd update a tad early, I'll be going out of town later this week and may not be
able to update until later next week. Based on your comments from last chapter, I know a good number of
you aren't going to like this chapter either. And please, if you have something negative to say, at the very
least, could you please use proper spelling and keep your hate PM's/e-mails under 2 pages. If you hate this
story that much...well, some people just like to make others feel bad. But honestly, you have nothing to
worry about. I know where I stand writing-wise. But the constant negative comments are always humbling,
among other things that are humbling.
Harry woke up early the next morning and saw a letter from Ginny waiting for him in the kitchen. She
thanked him again for a lovely evening and seemed to be lost for words as to what to say about the gift hed
sent. He hadnt know what to get her, and Kreacher had found a fair bit of Quidditch coaching guides for
her. Hed sent that over with a box of her favourite sweets including Chocoballs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour
Beans, Fizzing Whizzbees and Droobles Best Blowing Gum. He smiled thinking back of the previous
night, but was quickly jostled back to himself when Kreacher nudged him.
Master Harry. You will be late, you must leave soon. The house elf bowed solemnly and Harry glanced at
the clock realising the time and flew out of the kitchen to his own room to get ready. He ran back through
the kitchen and quickly Flooed to work.
He managed to get to work without being late and found Gaunt hollering at Neville about something before
turning abruptly and scowling at Harry. Look what the Kneazle dragged in.
Im not late, sir. Harry stated. He knew he wasnt late.
Gaunt laughed. Didnt say you were. He glared at Harry and continued, Did you have a magical
evening, then?
Harry knew not to argue with him. It was wonderful, thank you for asking.
Gaunt narrowed his eyes. I see the training is coming in handy. I didnt see any images of you in the
Prophet this morning.
Harry nodded curtly and stood his ground. Gaunt waved his hand dismissively. Get to work. Help
Longbottom out. He needs it.
With that Gaunt left the room slamming the door on his way out. Neville looked sadly at Harry and said,
Sorry you had to see that, Harry.
Harry walked over to Nevilles desk and said, No problem, Neville. What can I help you with?
Neville sighed. I can do it.
Harry shook his head. He told me to help you. Dont let him force you to be alone. As Aurors, well be
alone as it is but we still have a team to fall back on.

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Neville eyed Harry nervously. Im not getting some of these defensive spells. I dont know why Im so
thick!
Harry smiled at him. Dont be stupid, Neville, youre not thick. These spells are really hard. And to be fair,
Ron and I had Hermione with us last year; she knows the techniques like the back of her hand.
Neville nodded and pushed a piece of parchment across the table. Harry eyed the list and smiled. Thisll be
easy, Neville. Let me just find the right books and youll be set in no time.
Neville grinned at Harry. Thanks, Harry; youre a real life saver.
Harry nodded. Its really no problem, Neville. We need to help each other get through this.
Harry and Neville both lost track of time and it wasnt until a few hours later that Harry realised Ron hadnt
come in yet. He looked at the clock and stopped instructing Neville, saying, Wheres Ron?
Neville shrugged. Gaunt said something about an emergency at home.
Harry looked at Neville in alarm. Why didnt you tell me sooner?
You didnt ask. Besides, hes your best mate, I thought you knew. Neville looked sheepishly at Harry.
Harry sighed and cleared his mind before sending a Patronus to Ron. He thought about sending one to
Ginny, but grabbed a piece of parchment and began jotting down a quick note to her. He didnt realise, but
hed signed the letter love, Harry.
Only after the letter was taken by a Ministry owl did Harry realise his gaffe and groaned. Neville smiled at
him. Sorry about that, Harry.
Harry shook his head. No, really, its fine, Neville. Maybe at lunch I can
He couldnt go there. Ron had told him point blank he wasnt welcome at the Burrow. At the same time, if it
was something so important Ron couldnt be at work, they might need his help.
Neville broke into Harrys thoughts, Im sure theyre fine, Harry. Mr. Weasley is a highly trained Ministry
official and Mrs. Weasley is a brilliant witch.
He knew Neville was right. If they needed him, he could go at a moments notice. But to just appear on
their doorstep would, most likely, be unwise. He tried vainly to concentrate on his work, but quickly realised
hed never be able to get anything done not knowing what was wrong with the Weasley family, his family.
As lunch approached, Harry eyed Rons desk nervously and said absently, Maybe I should go and see if
theyre okay.
Neville looked doubtfully at Harry. I know youre worried, Harry. But Im sure theyre fine.
Harry set his jaw and shook his head. Would it hurt to Apparate there?
He didnt expect Neville to respond. Neville chimed in quietly, Well, I dont know, Harry. It might not be
a good idea.
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a good idea.
Harry looked curiously at Neville. What do you mean?
Just Neville looked away nervously. I dont know, Harry. I know what happened on your birthday and
I know you care about them, butI dont know
Harry knew what Neville was trying to get at and sighed. I know youre right, but I hate not knowing.
Neville sighed. Why dont you send Hermione a Patronus?
But I dont want to worry her if she doesnt know, Harry replied.
Neville shook his head. Theres no arguing with you, Harry.
Harry looked at the clock again and said, Ill just take my lunch running over there. Im sure itll be fine.
He guessed it would probably be far from fine, but he wanted to make sure she was okay. He groaned
inwardly. He wanted to make sure they all were fine. He sighed looking at one of the pictures hed clipped
out of The Daily Prophet of himself and Ginny and smiled. He couldnt control how he felt about her.
As lunch approached, he used the Floo network to go to Diagon Alley and then Apparate from there. Once
he arrived he noticed the silence. It was as if there was a shield around the place. As he got closer
something shimmered around him and the front door flew open. Ron came running out and stopped short
seeing Harry. Ron looked exhausted and Harry was shocked to see Hermione following Ron out the door,
sharing the same expression Ron had only a moment before.
Is everything alright? Harry asked cautiously.
Ron looked at the ground and Hermione placed a hand on his shoulder. She asked, Harry, what are you
doing here?
Harry took a tentative step forward as Hermione waved her wand resetting the wards that Harry had walked
through. You didnt answer my question first.
I think its obvious She trailed off and Harry looked at the ground guiltily. They didnt want him here.
He started to turn away when Ginny emerged from the Burrow. Ron, was it
Her eyes went wide and Harry couldnt help himself and smiled broadly at her. She pushed a tuft of her hair
away from her face and said quietly, I didnt expect to see youhow are you, Harry?
She looked extremely nervous and Ron and Hermione both followed Ginnys tentative steps forward.
Hermione reached a hand out, grabbing Ginnys arm and pulling her back towards the house. Ginny and
Hermione locked eyes for a few moments before Ginny relented and stopped moving.
Harry raised an eyebrow. What the bloody hell is going on that youre not telling me about?
Ron reached around Hermione and squeezed Ginnys arm once before turning away without another word.
Ginny looked imploringly at Harry but was quickly led away by Ron. She didnt turn to look at him again.
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Ginny looked imploringly at Harry but was quickly led away by Ron. She didnt turn to look at him again.
Harry took a step forward but Hermione stood in his way.
Harry He continued forward but she put her hand on his chest and stopped him. Harry, listen to me,
you cant be here right now.
What? He was staring at the Burrow. Hermione, have you gone mental? Somethings the matter and
youre not going to let me help?
It isnt my call, Harry. She tilted her head and said, Harry, they love you like a son, like youre part of the
family. But they cant take care of things and worry about your safety.
He bristled. I can take care of myself, thank you.
He was pushing her back and she put both of her hands on his chest and said forcefully, Harry. No. You
can, Im sure. But you cant help.
Harry gave her a sullen look. And you can?
She pushed him back, edging him away from the Burrow. Yes, I can. And Im not endangering myself or
the ones I care about by being here.
Harry crossed his arms and stood stock still. Just tell me why Im such a menace.
Hermione didnt look at him but turned away. It isnt my place.
He turned harshly to her, grabbing her and turning her roughly towards him. Do not make me feel worse
about this, tell me what the bloody hell is going on!
He didnt realise he was yelling and her eyes went wide, then narrowed quickly as she shot back. Dont
yell at me, Harry! I am not the one whos hiding this from you Her tone softened, I dont mean to,
Harrythis has just gotten a lot tougher for the whole family.
Harry sighed and let go of her arm. She rubbed her shoulder where hed grabbed her and he said quietly,
Im sorryI just feel like such a git.
She wrapped an arm around his shoulders and said, Harry, I wish I could tell morebut I think Mr. and
Mrs. Weasley dont want anything to affect you anymore than it already has.
He half-turned to the Burrow and said, Cant I at least talk to her?
Hermione looked away. HarryI think itd be best if you went back to work. Ill let her know
Harry looked back at the house forlornly and knew Hermione wouldnt let him get any closer. He thought
about running for it, but knew she was too quick. He shook his head and thought about the entire Weasley
household seeing him tied up and sighed, slumping his shoulders.
Can I send her a Patronus? He asked quietly.

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Hermione shook her head. Just leave it alone, Harry, please.


He nodded and repeated, Im sorry, HermioneI didnt mean to
She patted him absently on the arm. Im fine, Harry. She grinned at him. Ill have Ron take care of it.
He smiled and said, Ialrightlet her know I
She nodded and nudged him forward. He sighed and Apparated back to Diagon Alley and then Flooed back
to the Ministry. As he got back to his office he saw Neville being railed at again by Gaunt. Gaunt turned his
gaze to Harry and narrowed his eyes. If you have questions, you ask me. You do not Apparate all over
England where-ever you please. Both of you had better stay in this office until all your work is done.
Harry shot Neville a worried look, but Neville gestured back to their office. Before sitting down Neville
asked, Ron and Ginny okay?
Harry sighed. I dont think so. Somethings going onbut you were right about one thing, I should have
sent a Patronus or letter to Hermione. She was there.
Neville looked up. I thought Ron said her parents wanted her with them?
Thought so too He sighed and returned to his work. He didnt want to think about the whole situation.
He had never felt so unwelcome at the Burrow. And to make matters worse, he wasnt even able to talk to
Ginny. Hermione had ushered him out of there like he had the plague.
He finished up the work he had late into the evening, and found Neville had fallen asleep on his desk. He
gripped Nevilles shoulder and shook him. Neville, its time to go. We can pick this up tomorrow.
Neville looked up at Harry with blurry eyes and said, Yeah He stood up slowly. I fell asleep?
Harry nodded. Im surprised I didnt. Im surprised Gaunt didnt come in here to give us hell either.
Neville stretched and grabbed his cloak. Hope Ron comes back tomorrow.
Harry nodded. You and me both. He headed for the door. Ill see you tomorrow, Neville.
Neville waved absently at Harry, and Harry made his way back to the main corridor of the Ministry. He
sighed heavily as he Flooed home, replaying his brief conversation with Hermione. As he burst through the
grate at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Kreacher greeted him nervously. He had set dinner, but was fidgeting.
He bowed low and tried to say something as the door to the kitchen swung open and Harry was shocked to
see both Ginny and Hermione walk in, stopping suddenly at seeing him.
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Chapter 32: Chapter 32 - The Things We Do


Author's Notes: thanks for all the continued comments! It's nice to go a chapter or so without being told
how much I suck ;) Though I do keep hearing the comment that my story isn't a normal story. Not sure if
that's bad or good :p
In case anyone was wondering, wedding, done and done - let's all breath a sigh of relief.
Also, a big thank you to my Beta Ginny! I think I've answered more questions in this chapter, but added a
few new ones as well ;) This is, out of all of what I've posted, one of my favourite chapters. I hope you all
enjoy it as much as I did writing it! Thanks!
Harrys eyes widened at seeing Ginny and Hermione and he tried to control himself but dropped the book
he was carrying. He balked and bent down to pick the book up, this vantage point giving him an amazing
view of Ginny from the floor. He flushed as he stood up again. They stood there silently for a moment,
Hermione lingering behind Ginny.
He smiled weakly at her and set the book on the counter. Sorry about this afternoon
He didnt know what to say and couldnt help but notice the overly vigilant watch Hermione was keeping
on Ginny. He took a step forward and Ginny threw out any inhibitions and crossed the short distance
between them, throwing her arms around his neck and embracing him fiercely. He shut his eyes and grinned
into her shoulder. This was the Ginny he knew and had fallen in love with.
She pulled away slightly. Harry, dont be sorry. Its been a mess since She turned away and looked back
at Hermione. The latter shrugged and sat down at the table. Harry hadnt realised, but the table was set for
three. Apparently they had been waiting for him.
He slowly loosened his grip around Ginny and took her face in his hands. Are you okay?
She nodded and he kissed her softly, lingering a moment before she shifted her weight back. Im fine,
Harry. Were all fine, for the most part
Hermione cleared her throat and Ginny sighed and looked away from Harry. He leaned down and said, Are
you going to tell me whats happening? Or do I have to guess?
She looked up slowly and replied, I cant, Harry, mum would kill me She grinned and nodded towards
Hermione. Besides, Hermiones here and wont let me say anything.
Hey! If I hadnt volunteered you wouldnt be here at all! Hermione shot back. She was smiling at them
and she rolled her eyes as Ginny trailed her fingers down Harrys arms playfully. She pulled away and sat
down at the table next to Hermione and Harry stood there for a few moments uncertain what to do.
Ginny raised her eyebrows at him and said, Harry, Kreacher made you dinner, the least you can do is sit
down.
Im wondering whats going onits hard to concentrate on food when Im He didnt complete his
thought and Hermione and Ginny exchanged worried looks. Kreacher stood in the doorway wringing his
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thought and Hermione and Ginny exchanged worried looks. Kreacher stood in the doorway wringing his
hands.
Kreacher Harry started. Its fine. Theyre my friends, you neednt worry.
Hermiones eyes widened and she turned to Kreacher. He wasnt worried about us. Was someone else
here? Is someone else here?
Kreacher shook his head. He left some time ago. But he was here some years ago, he was a welcome guest
then, I thought nothing of it.
Hermione grilled Kreacher. Did he take anything? Was he looking for Harry? She got up and bent down
in front of the house elf. If you see him again, you cant let him stay.
Harry crossed the room quickly standing behind Ginnys chair. She had turned in her chair but hadnt gotten
up. Harry was watching the exchange and said, Who was here?
Hermione looked as if she were trying to will Kreacher to say nothing, but Harry was his master and he
replied slowly, Mister George Weasley, he was looking for you and Mistress Ginevra.
Ginny got up quickly, the chair knocking into Harry. He reached an arm out to her but she blew past him.
He was here? When?
Kreacher bowed low to her, and Hermione had a questioning look on her face when the house elf did this,
but said nothing. They all watched expectantly as Kreacher said slowly. He was here earlier, about noon,
Mistress. But he left quickly after asking me if you or Master were here. I said no and he was displeased.
Did I speak out of turn, Mistress?
Hermione shot Ginny a warning look and the latter replied, No, you did exactly the right thing. But
Hermione is right, if he returns you cant let him stay here. Send him back to the Burrow. Use force if you
must.
The house elf nodded. As per your request, Mistress.
He bowed low once again and Harry crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. How long has he been on the
run?
Ginny was scanning the floor as if thinking what to do and Hermione put a hand on her shoulder. Ill send
Ron a Patronus; your parents need to know about this.
She sighed. It wont helphes long gone She looked up slowly at Harry, her hands hanging loosely at
her side. Harry, Im so sorryI She turned to him as Harry saw Hermione step out of the kitchen.
He took her hands in his and looked at her encouragingly. She continued slowly, He was out last night,
before we left for our date. Mum didnt want me to go with you, but dad thought youd get too suspicious.
He ran off during our date, thats why Ron came and got me. She looked down at their hands and
whispered, Merlin, Im so sorry, HarryI didnt want to hide this from you.
He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Forget about it. Is there anything I can do?
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She shook her head but leaned into him, resting her head on his chest. She whispered, I wish this would all
go awayI thought She pulled away and looked up at him, a sad look on her face. I thought Id finally
be able to really mournbut
Her eyes were brimming and Harry took her face in his hands and kissed her deeply. He wrapped his arms
tightly around her and rubbed her back soothingly. She leaned heavily against him and he could feel her
relax against him. You should be able to do that now
She looked up at him, the tears glistening in the corners of her eyes. None of us has, Harry. Its been like a
horrible nightmare.
She pulled away from him and turned away, but he reached his arms out, wrapping them around her waist.
She sighed against him and leaned back. I just want to go to school. Itll be okay there, wont it?
He nodded, resting his head on her shoulder. He said hesitantly, Youll get the peace and quiet you need.
She turned her head and said, Harry, dont make me feel guilty. II need this
He nodded slowly. I know, Im sorryIm just He let go of her slowly and ran his hand through his
hair. Im really going to miss you.
She sat down heavily at the table and he sat down across from her, trying to catch her eyes. She looked
down at the empty plate in front of her and Hermione came back into the kitchen.
Kreacher had been standing on the edge of the room and said, Shall I serve the guests, Master Harry?
Harry looked up suddenly and before he could reply Ginny said, Dont be silly, Kreacher, we can serve
ourselves. This looks amazing. Thank you.
The house elf bowed low again to her and Hermione watched the action closely. She looked as if she were
going to comment on it, but leaned forward, took a couple rolls from the nearby basket and placed one on
Ginnys plate before offering the basket to Harry. Harry watched both Ginny and Hermione closely and
said, Did you get to talk to Ron?
Hermione nodded. He replied to my Patronus straight-away. She waited for Ginny to meet her gaze and
continued, her eyes locked with Ginnys. Hes home. Bill found him. Theyve got him in his room and
there are extra protections around the Burrow. She slowly turned to Harry. Im afraid that ends your
surprise visits as well.
Harry sighed but didnt say anything, serving the dinner onto both Hermione and Ginnys plates. Ginny and
Hermione seemed to be having a silent discussion and Harry cleared his throat. Hermione turned to him.
That just means wecan stay for longer than wed expected.
Harry nodded and smiled. How long were you waiting for me?
Ginny didnt meet his eyes and Hermione said, We tried to time it right, but I guess you were staying late.
Weve been here for about an hour. You still havent done much to this place

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Harry sighed. Im sorry; Ive been a little busy.


She nodded. I noticed youve gotten some new books. Whered you get them?
He rolled his eyes and saw Ginny laughing into her hand. Jealous?
Hermione laughed. What? Ithats absurd! She tried to look grim but the grin was breaking across her
face. Sometimes you make me crazy! She shook her head and looked between Harry and Ginny. I dont
know how you stand each other!
Ginny reached a hand across the table and brushed her fingers across the back of Harrys hand. Thats fine,
Hermione.
Harry watched Ginnys fingers move across his hand and was lost in the hypnotic movement before
Hermione broke in. Unfortunately, Ron says I cant come back without you.
Ginny gave Hermione a sceptical look. What kind of request is that? He doesnt want you to come back
then?
She was grinning at her friend and Hermione slapped her playfully on the arm. Oh please! You know I
cant leave you alone withwell, I dont have to say it.
Harry looked up suddenly. What? They still dont trust me.
Hermione looked up slowly. Actually, Harry, youve been feeling an undue amount of guilt. They dont
trust either of you when youre together.
Harry looked up at Ginny and she nodded guiltily at him. Perhaps I should have mentioned that earlier
You think? Harry couldnt stay upset with her and grinned. That does make me feel slightly better.
He wrapped his fingers around her wrist and pulled her forward slightly. He leaned across the table and
kissed her softly, before trailing his fingers down her wrist to her hand. She smiled at him and he smiled
back at her. The discomfort he had been feeling for such a long time seemed to dissipate in a few moments
and he felt relieved; as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Hermione sighed. Im not supposed to leave you two alone. But I could be persuaded to give you some
time without skulking behind you
Harry rolled his eyes and Ginny shook her head, laughing. Dont tease us, Hermione.
Hermione smirked at Ginny but didnt respond. Harry sighed and watched as Hermione and Ginny once
again exchanged meaningful looks. Harry sighed, What is going on with you two? Something you want to
tell me?
Ginny laughed. Yeah, Hermione and I are having an affair. I didnt want to tell you.
Harry shook his head. When did you become such a tease?

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Ginny raised her eyebrows and looked at Hermione. Im not sure how thats teasing.
He sat back and shook his head. Im not getting myself into trouble with you. Im not saying a word.
Hermione laughed and shook her head. You two are incorrigible! It isnt any wonder
She stopped and didnt see fit to continue. Ginny nodded. I know, I knowwell control ourselves, I
promise.
Hermione rolled her eyes and said, Promises from you, Im wary of.
Harry raised his eyebrows but didnt say anything, watching the exchange closely. Now Im curiouswhat
is going on between you two?
Ginny and Hermione looked up at him and he looked down quickly. I cant have both of you glaring at
me
Ginnys eyes softened. Were not glaring. Were fineHermione and I have just been spending a lot of
time together
Hermione pushed Ginny in the back and started to laugh. Dont make it sound so sordid.
Ginny giggled. I think weve finally spent too much time together.
Perhaps too much highly stressful time together, Hermione corrected.
Harry sighed. At least now I know youll both have each other next year.
Ginny nodded and started to say something as Kreacher bustled back into the kitchen. Master Harry, the
dessert is on the counter, please let me get it.
Ginny turned and said before Harry could break in, Kreacher, you really have to forgive both Hermione and
I for breaking in like this. Please dont go to any more trouble because of us.
The house elf wrung his hands and bowed low again. Hermione raised her eyebrows and nudged Ginny at
this. Ginny turned and gave her a questioning look. Kreacher bowed again and said, Mistress, it is my
pleasure to serve you and Masters friends. You have but to call me and I will do whatever you request.
Harry didnt seem to notice the exchange between Hermione and Ginny and said, It is much appreciated,
Kreacher. But Ginnys right, please dont go to any trouble. Were fine. And the dinner has been amazing.
Hermione pulled Ginny back towards her and whispered something in her ear. Ginny blanched and gave
Hermione a disbelieving look. Harry got up and carried the dessert to the table and set a few plates out
before clearing his throat.
What are you two whispering about? He asked.
Hermione and Ginny didnt turn but Hermione smiled and said, Nothing, just girl stuff.

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Do you really think Im that stupid that Im going to believe that? He gave them both an incredulous look.
Hermione nudged Ginny and the latter responded, Dont be so paranoid, Harry. Were not talking about
anything important.
Uh huh. He didnt believe them in the slightest, but wasnt going to force the issue. He served the dessert
and watched as Ginny cringed.
Harry, I really dont know that I can eat anymore, she confessed.
Hermione nodded. Kreacher is really treating you to some amazing cooking. I still remember this from last
year, but hes improved a lot!
Harry nodded. I am really blessed to have him. Though, he gestured to Ginny, I cant say I havent been
missing your mums cooking, either.
Ginny smiled. Normally Id tell you to come over, but I think we all know that isnt the best idea for either
you or George.
Harry nodded. I understand. I doand Im gladno, Im relieved that I finally know, sort of, whats going
on.
Hermione laughed. I think you know enough not to worry so much anymore, right?
He nodded. Yes, Hermione. I wont do anythingunpredictable for some time.
She looked at her dessert warily and said, I have to agree with Ginny, Im feeling rather full. She gave
them both the once over and said, Perhaps Ill take a short walkcan I trust you two not to do anything?
Ginny grinned up at Hermione. Yes, I told you well be good. She leaned back and put a hand on
Hermiones shoulder. Ill be good.
Hermione nodded. Thats better.
She got up and said, Ill be back in a bit.
Harry got up quickly. You sure youll be okay?
Hermione shook her head. Harry, Ill be fine. No ones looking for me.
She headed out the door without another word and Ginny looked up at Harry. You seem to be more worried
than usual these days.
I think its the Auror training. Its keeping me on edge. He sat down and ate his dessert. Ginny slyly
pushed her plate towards him. He rolled his eyes and ate her dessert as well saying, Cant let it go to
waste.
No, indeed, Ginny replied, Merlin forbid that sweets should go to waste.

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He chuckled. You know I have a sweet tooth.


She nodded. And you seem to think I do as well.
She was smiling broadly at him and he replied, You do.
She started to get up and put the plates away, but he grabbed her wrist quickly, Ill do it. Youre the guest.
Ginny looked at him nervously and said, Come on, Harry, theyre dishes. I think I should be able to clean
up when Im here.
As if by perfect timing, Kreacher Apparated back into the kitchen and said, Mistress, please, do nothing, I
will clean up for you and Master.
The house elf bowed low again and Apparated out of the room. Harry squeezed her wrist and she relented
and sat back down. He set his fork down and said, I dont want to waste this time with you eatingmaybe
we should go into the sitting room.
She didnt say anything but followed as he got up. Are you sure we should just leave this?
He nodded and pulled her forward gently. Dont be silly. You heard Kreacher. He said hed take care of it
and he will. I dont think he likes it when you try to be domestic in my house.
She laughed softly and let him lead her down the hallway to the sitting room. Harry wondered where
Hermione had gone off to, but was thankful shed allowed them a little time to themselves. He weaved his
fingers through Ginnys and pulled her onto the nearby couch with him. She sat next to him, her legs
underneath her, and leaned towards him, their heads together. He kissed her softly and asked, How was the
rest of your birthday?
She sighed and shut her eyes. Stressful. Thanks to George, I wont ever forget your birthday or mine.
She turned suddenly and looked at him closely. She pulled her hand out of his and took his face in her
hands. Youre okay, arent you? I probably should have asked sooner
He nodded, enjoying the feel of her fingers gripping his face. She traced her thumb across his lips and
leaned down and kissed him deeply. She was sitting up on the couch and Harry rested his hands on her
waist, though he felt the urge to pull them lower. She loosened her grip on his face and broke their kiss
slowly. He tried to lean up and catch her lips again but she gave him a thoughtful look and sat back down.
He looked at her longingly and said, Are you okay?
She turned her face from his and said quietly, I dont know anymore.
He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her back against his chest. He rubbed her shoulders
gently and said, Shouldnt you know?
She nodded and sighed. That feels brilliant.
He grinned. I do enjoy giving you a massage, the feel of He trailed off as he brushed her hair from her
neck and kissed the exposed area from her back up to her chin, turning her awkwardly in his arms. They
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neck and kissed the exposed area from her back up to her chin, turning her awkwardly in his arms. They
both twisted at strange angles before Harry loosened his grip allowing her to shift and turn in his arms. She
turned and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, resting her weight across his body and kissed him softly.
After a few short minutes of intense snogging, Ginny pulled away and grinned at Harry. Can you even see
anything with your glasses fogged up like that?
He chuckled softly and ran his hands through her hair. I need to do something about this poor eyesight. I
would like to see you while Im snogging you.
So would I. She leaned close to him. Id really like to see those green eyes of yours when Im this close to
you.
She leaned down and rested her head on his chest and whispered, Please dont make me go back.
He sighed and rubbed her back. I wish I could, love. But Im turning into undesirable number one again
this year.
She laughed softly into his chest and said, You know, I still have one of those posters. It was one of those
things I kept around to give me hope. I knew they hadnt caught you if they kept making those posters and
putting them up.
He continued rubbing her back and said, I feel so bad I put you through all of that last year
She sat up and rested her elbows on his chest. I dont think either of us had a lot of choice in the matter.
Based on how you reacted on your birthday, Im guessing I would have been one big distraction for you on
the ground.
He didnt say anything but leaned forward and kissed her softly. Id never forgive myself if anything
happened to you.
She narrowed her eyes and pulled away. Harry, I am capable of taking care of myself She laughed and
continued, And apparently you as well.
He nodded. Maybe I should have brought you along for my own protection.
A sharp knock on the door to the sitting room drew Ginnys attention away from Harry. Hermione was
standing in the doorway and said, We should probably get going, Ginny.
She sat up quickly and nodded. Yeah, youre probably right.
She started to pull away from Harry but he grabbed her wrists and kissed her on her cheek, pulling her back
towards him. Ginny elbowed Harry gently and said, Harry
He chuckled and loosened his grip. You saying my name doesnt stop me from wanting to snog you.
She sighed and stood up, letting him trail his hands down her arms to her hands. I know, but its the only
thing I can think of besides something less polite.

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She grinned at him and he laughed and stood up. He looked over at Hermione, smiled and echoed, Yeah,
thanks, Hermione. Iwe He looked over at Ginny, we needed that.
I know. She nodded and laughed. You had that look of desperation earlier, I thought it incumbent upon
me to do something about it.
He grinned and crossed the room. He took Hermiones hand in his and said, You are a dear, dear friend.
Ginny laughed and patted Harry on the back. She isnt going to give us any more time.
It cant hurt to try, he chuckled and relented. He watched as Hermione led the way back to the grate in the
kitchen and she leaned against the counter. She raised her eyebrows at Ginny and Ginny sighed.
Ginny turned to Harry and wrapped her arms around him, embracing him. Am I going to see you before I
go?
You tell me He hugged her back and kissed her on the cheek. Or if you can get away and come into
London, we can do lunch or something
She nodded and turned away, her face darkening as she looked at the grate. Hermione stepped forward and
placed an encouraging hand on Ginnys back. She turned and smiled at her friend. See you soon.
Ginny leaned up and kissed Harry quickly before going to the grate and Flooing back to the Burrow. Harry
looked expectantly at Hermione. Thanks for keeping an eye on her
Hermione took a step towards Harry. Things arent as grim as all that, Harry. Just She smiled at him. I
know this is hard for you. And I know you want to feel guilty, but this was exactly what Ginny needed and
I think thats the important thing.
Harry gave her a questioning look but nodded. Thanks, Hermione. He reached an arm out and embraced
his friend. Give Ron my best. Will he be at work tomorrow?
She shook her head as they pulled apart. Probably not. I wont know more until I get back to the Burrow.
And my parents want me home, too. Ill let you know what I know as soon as I get home. Take care,
Harry.
He watched as she threw Floo powder into the grate and disappeared into a burst of green flame. The table
was already cleared and Kreacher Apparated back into the room. He started putting tea on and Harry soon
realised he was still wearing his work clothes.
He hurried upstairs and put on more comfortable clothes before coming back down and reading The Daily
Prophet and drinking his evening tea. He looked at the clock and realised it was much earlier than hed
thought and sat in bed for some time going over the events of the evening, hoping he could remember things
as they were and forget the hardships that he and Ginny had gone through so recently.
He wondered about what was happening at the Burrow and also wondered why George would come to
Grimmauld Place to find him. He wondered if George was trying to kill him, but now without any magical
encouragement. He hoped that wasnt the case, but didnt have long to think on it as Kreacher brought
Harrys work from the Ministry up to his room and reminded him of his duties. Harry sighed and got to
work, falling asleep with the books strewn across his bed.
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work, falling asleep with the books strewn across his bed.
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Chapter 33: Chapter 33 - Places to Go


Author's Notes: First and foremost, I want to thank everyone that have continued to read and comment - it
is a pleasure reading the comments, good or bad, they're both still amusing :)
I also wanted to say that this is the final chapter of the first half of this story. In my mind, I have broken this
story into six parts. This is the last of the third part and I'm writing the end of the fourth and beginning of
the fifth part. I have the whole story mapped out and for those of you that stick with me, I promise a flufffilled epilogue :) Though, that being said, this story is anything but fluff. This is, as I've said repeatedly, my
take on what I think Harry's life would be after Deathly Hallows, but I include Ginny's life with Harry's as
one can not go without the other.
There may be a slight break in posting, as I don't have any more chapters ready - but I know my
outstanding Beta is mad busy and I'm just happy to have her. Thanks again to all of you and I hope you
enjoy this story - we're half-way there :)
Harry was finally able to get a good nights sleep and woke up refreshed the next day. He went into the
Ministry early, but not before sending a note to Ginny about last night and then sending one to Hermione,
hoping shed have more information to share. He was surprised to see Neville already in and he trudged into
the office reluctantly.
Were you able to get in touch with Ron last night? Neville asked.
Harry shook his head. No, but Hermione and Ginny stopped by Grimmauld Place last night. They explained
thingsI dont think well be seeing Ron anytime soon.
Neville looked worried and Harry continued, I think things will be okay, but I do worry about them.
Neville nodded. We should be. I heard about George, but I am sure hell be fine.
Harry nodded and sat down at his desk. He said under his breath, I just hope theyll all be okay
The day passed with little fanfare and Harry went home at the end of the day hurriedly. He was sad to see
there was neither a letter from Hermione nor from Ginny. He asked Kreacher if there had been any visitors
but he had indicated there had been no activity at home. Harry ate dinner quietly and thought about sending
another letter to Ginny, but thought better of it.
The next few days passed in the same manner and Harry tried vainly to not get more agitated that there was
no word from either Ginny or Hermione. He knew he couldnt run to the Burrow, Hermione had made it
clear he shouldnt make any unexpected appearances. He also knew that Hermione would be true to her
word when she got the chance.
The days passed and turned into another week and Harry finally got the sign hed been waiting for. He
arrived home and Kreacher immediately presented him with a letter from Hermione. He sat down heavily at
the kitchen table and went over the letter a few times before he was able to take it all in.
Harry,
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I am sorry I couldnt write sooner. Things were a little crazy once Ginny and I got back to
the Burrow. I just got home myself and my parents havent given me a moments peace.
Ginnys okay, and I think she was really relieved to get to spend some time with you. I am
really glad youre able to put aside what I can only imagine are conflicted feelings about
George for Ginny.
Im not sure what I can say without compromising the confidences I have been given by from
the Weasley family. George shouldnt be causing you or anyone else any trouble in the near
future, but I think the stress around the Burrow couldnt be thicker. Please dont try to go
over there.
Ginny got your letter while I was there, but I dont expect her to get a chance to respond. Im
sorry, Harry. I wish I had something more positive to tell you, but unfortunately things arent
going to get better for the Weasleys anytime soon.
I think Percy is trying to arrange for George to be escorted to another country where he can
relax and escape the constant reminders of whats happened, but I have a feeling Mr. and
Mrs. Weasley wont go for that.
Ginny and I are planning on meeting early before the train leaves in a couple of weeks. I
know it would mean a lot to Ginny if you were there to meet us. Please dont be late, well be
meeting at eight in the morning at the train station.
Take care of yourself, stay safe and dont worry!
Love,
Hermione
Harry sighed and took the letter in. Things werent better and there wasnt anything he could do. He looked
at the calendar in the kitchen and sighed again. Two weeks and he couldnt talk to or communicate with his
girlfriend. He quickly replied to Hermiones letter, hoping he could get more information out of her. But
knowing Hermione, what she told him was all shed share.
The next two weeks dragged on for Harry as if he had a Time Turner and was forced to go over things again
and again. Gaunt was relentless with his work and Neville and Harry were forced to pick up the slack with
Rons continued absence. Gaunt made no mention of Ron having missed time but instead forced Harry to
take much of those tasks over.
Neville had finally gotten a mastery of the defensive spells Harry had been helping him with them and they
both took their NEWT in Defence Against the Dark Arts, passing it and their Charms and Herbology
NEWTs as well. Harry was nervous that Ron hadnt taken any of his exams, but didnt have time to think on
it. He and Neville were studying incessantly for their Transfiguration and Potions NEWTS.
Harry didnt have time to think about the drama going on with the Weasleys as he and Neville studied long
into the nights to get ready. Gaunt didnt let up with other work while they were studying. He had assigned
them cases that theyd need to investigate. Nothing in the field, but cases that allowed them to research what
had been done and whether what had been done was the most efficient and appropriate action.
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Harry received a short note from Hermione the day before she and Ginny were leaving for Hogwarts, and
Harry cursed himself for not remembering it sooner. He had to take his last NEWTs that afternoon and
didnt have time to send Ginny a personal note, but asked Kreacher if it would be appropriate to send
something over. The house elf complied immediately and sent something over on Harrys behalf.
After the exams, he and Neville were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. They had both passed all of
their NEWTs and could officially start their training as Aurors. Gaunt gave them formal letters from
Kingsley and told them theyd be reporting to new offices the following week. He made no mention of Ron
and Harry was afraid to ask.
Harry sent Hermione a quick Patronus before having dinner and got a prompt response telling him where to
meet her and Ginny. Harry was thankful the train was leaving on a Saturday so he would not miss work and
tried to go to bed early, though feeling strangely nervous about the whole thing.
He rushed around the house the following morning and Kreacher was ushering him out of the door as early
as he could. Harry arrived at the train station well before eight and grabbed a table in the back of the caf.
As per usual, Hermione arrived ten minutes to eight and grinned broadly at Harry. He got up and embraced
her.
Hermione, its so good to see you. You ready for your term? He asked.
She nodded. I can not wait! She pulled her trunk and things close to the table and continued, I think this
will be fantastic. She sighed. I will miss you and Ron, but I think thisll be a great year. Ill be able to
learn so many new things.
Harry nodded. Of course.
Did you take your NEWTs, Harry? she asked.
I did and both Neville and I passed. Were starting our official training next week! Harry couldnt hide
his enthusiasm. He continued more slowly, What about Ron? Gaunt didnt say anything.
Hermione looked around nervously. I dont know, Harry. Ron and I didnt talk about it much. Really, we
didnt have a chance to talk at all. I spent more time with Ginny than with Ron.
Harry laughed. I would have gladly traded places with you.
Im sure. She laughed. I have a feeling she would have preferred that as well.
Her face brightened as she turned and said under her breath, Speaking of the devil
Harry turned quickly and saw Ginny walking into the caf. She looked exhausted, and he walked over to
her, grabbing her trunk out of her grasp and bringing it to the table for her. He set it down, wrapped his
arms around her and embraced her warmly. She returned the hug and kissed him softly on the cheek. She
looked away from him and he kissed her softly before pulling a chair out for her to sit on.
She smiled up at him and then turned to Hermione. How was the rest of your holiday? How are your
parents?
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Hermione reached a hand out to Ginny and squeezed her hand. FineNo one came with you?
Ginny shook her head and looked down. No, they couldnt get away.
Harry looked nervously at Hermione but Hermione didnt meet his eyes. She was looking intently at Ginny,
but Ginny didnt look up. Harry sighed and pushed his cup of hot cocoa towards her and said, Here, drink
this, itll make you feel better.
She looked up at him with surprise and said, Whats in it? Liquid courage?
He chuckled. No! Its eight in the morning, Ginny! Its just hot cocoa.
She laughed softly and sipped the drink absently. Hermione didnt break her gaze from Ginny but Ginny
was clearly feeling bothered by it. Both of youstop looking at me like that. Its fine.
Hermione looked away guiltily and Harry said, Were just worried. I know I havent been able to get in
touch with you sincewellfor at least two weeks.
She sighed. I know; Im sorry, Harry. She looked over at Hermione and smiled. Rons been really missing
you, but mum and dad havent let us out of the house for anything.
Harry sighed and leaned back in his chair. He didnt like where this was going and knew Hermione was
most likely thinking the same thing. Ginny didnt look like she wanted to say more and Harry looked
helplessly at Hermione. The latter rolled her eyes and said cautiously, I know this is stupid to offer, but is
there anything we can do?
Ginny looked up slowly and said, HarryI know Rons way behind at work, is there anything you can do
to help him out?
Of course. I can send over what I think he needs and what weve been studying, but Neville and I are
done, Harry responded.
Ginny looked confused for a moment before grinning widely. Oh, Harry thats wonderful news! Im so
proud of you.
She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek quickly and Harry had trouble seeing straight as the words
proud of you rung through his head. Hermione cleared her throat to bring Harry back to the table and he
smiled at them.
Thanks, Ginny. Neville was a great study partner, no offence, Hermione, and we were able to get through
all five NEWTs. He smiled broadly at them both and continued, So, yeah, anything I can do to help Ron I
will.
Ginny nodded and said, I wonder if we should head for the train soon
Hermione looked at the clock and said, No, we have time.
She gave Ginny a questioning look but Ginny didnt look up. Harry sighed and knew Ginny wasnt going to
say more. He knew all this time apart wouldnt help their relationship, but knew there wasnt anything he
could do about it now. Theyd be separated until her first Hogsmeade visit. Hermione stared imploringly at
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could do about it now. Theyd be separated until her first Hogsmeade visit. Hermione stared imploringly at
Harry and he shrugged.
Ginny laughed softly. Oh come on, the two of you have to be able to talk about something besides my
dysfunctional family.
Harry laughed nervously and said, Well, were both a little worried about you and only one of us can go
with you on that train.
He gave Hermione an annoyed look and she grinned at him. Its not my fault youre not coming with us.
She laughed. Though I am a tad jealous youve passed your NEWTs and I still have a whole year to learn
about them.
Both Harry and Ginny sighed at Hermione and Ginny rolled her eyes. Are you going to make this a long
year for me?
What? Merlin, no! Im just excited, arent you? Hermione gave her a look like she had two heads and
Ginny shook her head at this.
Um, I dont think Im quite excited as you are. She smiled at her friend and continued, If I can convert
you to Quidditch maybe we can find a middle ground.
They chatted for a few more minutes before Hermione jumped seeing the time and said, Wed best get
going, Ginny.
Harry got up quickly and grabbed Ginnys trunk from under the table. She reached for it but he grabbed her
hand in his and squeezed it. She didnt argue but let him lead her to Platform 9 . Hermione hurried in front
of them and Ginny laughed into Harrys shoulder as she watched Hermione bound through the barrier.
Youre letting me go away with her? Shes mental! Ginny laughed.
I wish I could go with you, but I dont think youll need protection from Hermione. At least shell help
you with your studies. He grinned at her and they walked slowly though the barrier.
Hermione was waiting for them on the other side and said, Ginny, I have to head to the Prefects car, but
save me a spot with you and Luna.
Ginny nodded. Do you want us to take your things?
Harry nodded and said, Just leave it. Well get it on the train.
Hermione nodded and looked at Harry sadly. I guess this isgoodbye.
She actually looked upset and Harry let go of Ginny and wrapped Hermione in a warm embrace. Hermione,
Ill see you in no time. Just take care of my girl, will you?
Hermione laughed. Only if you take care of my man. She looked nervously at Ginny and she gave her a
consoling smile.

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Hermione turned slowly and headed onto the train. Harry looked down at Ginny and they headed onto the
train. Ginny found an empty compartment and Harry loaded both Ginny and Hermiones things into it.
Ginny reluctantly led her boyfriend back off of the train and looked up at him with a smile on her face.
She leaned up and whispered, her lips almost touching his, I have been looking forward to this for two
weeks.
He kissed her deeply, pressing his lips hard against hers, feeling her fingers run through his hair and down
his back. He pulled her as close as he could, but felt the deepening dread that hed have to let go soon and
not see her for some time. She gently pulled away though he tried his best to keep his lips on hers. She
pressed her forehead against his and said breathlessly, Im really going to miss you.
He nodded and kissed her forehead. The last two weeks have been torture, how are we going to last for
He couldnt finish and she smiled at him. Ill let you know when my first Hogsmeade visit is, but I think
thememorialwill come first.
He nodded and brushed his lips across hers. Ill be there, barring Gaunt giving me something idiotic to
do
He started to lean down again and she pulled away. Harry, if you keep kissing me Im going to miss this
train.
He grinned at her. I can Apparate you to Hogsmeade.
She sighed. I still have to pass my Apparition exam. She rested her hands on his chest. Harry, please dont
do anything dangerous.
He gave her a surprised look. Me? Gaunt wont He stopped, that wasnt what she meant at all.
Ginnyif your family doesnt want me around because it makes things worse, I wont go there. He leaned
down. One of the reasons I want to be there wont be there anymore, so you dont have to worry about
that.
She laughed softly. That is the one encouraging thing I can think of.
He bent down and kissed her on the cheek again. I He wanted to say something meaningful. He wanted
to tell her he loved her, but he thought she wasnt ready to hear that. If you need anything at all...
He looked at her helplessly and she smiled. Thanks, Harry.
She started to walk away and he grabbed her arm. Before I forget He handed her a large envelope. This
helped me since my third year, and it gave me a lot of comfort last year. II think you might like it and
find it useful.
She started to argue but smiled at him. She looked at the envelope and turned it over in her hands. Thanks,
Harry. She started to board the train and turned around. She looked up at him, a look of sadness and
remorse crossing her face.
He wrapped his arms around her quickly and lifted her off the ground. She giggled softly into his shoulder
and kissed him on the cheek. I shouldnt have encouraged you.
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and kissed him on the cheek. I shouldnt have encouraged you.


He grinned and lowered her back to the ground. Or teased me. He kissed her softly, letting his fingers run
through the hair he wouldnt be able to touch for weeks and whispered, Please make sure all the blokes
there know youre taken.
She giggled softly and said, Just remember, I dont want to see any pictures of you and other women
either.
He let go of her slowly and said, Only one woman I want to be seen with.
She boarded the train slowly and he watched as the door was shut and Ginny stood on the other side. She
wasnt the type of girl that cried, but she seemed to be overwhelmed with emotion. If Harry didnt know
better, she almost looked relieved.
The train slowly left the station and Harry walked briskly with it, his eyes never leaving Ginnys. He
stopped a few metres from the end of the platform and watched the red train disappear into a billow of
smoke. He hadnt felt so sad and detached in a long time. Everything that made him happy had left on that
train and he wished hed had the courage to tell her he loved her, even if he didnt know if shed say it back
to him.
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Chapter 34: Chapter 34 - Riding the Rails


Author's Notes: I've edited the summary for this story, now it takes into account that we've moved into a
completely new story arc. In my mind, I'm writing the story in six parts, I've just finished posting part two
and this is the beginning of part three. I'm writing part five right now and the story is nearing completion. In
case you're curious, faithful readers, I'm writing/editing chapters fifty-to-sixty-one.
I laboured over how to write this part of the story in a way that stayed true to JKR's vision, or at least what
she'd alluded to in all her interviews and the like. I didn't see any other way around this than to do what I've
done. I've fractured the story into two. This way the reader gets to see both Harry and Ginny's experiences. I
have to say, I never realised how much I'd enjoy writing from Ginny's perspective. I hope you agree with
me. Please keep in my, there's a long way to go, but I promise your patience will pay off - I'm aiming to
write a fluff-filled epilogue :)
Thank you to my amazing Beta Ginny for helping me with this and a big thank you to all of you that
continue to read and comment. I'm hoping this update gets posted this week, earlier than I'd wanted, but
since my birthday is this week, I thought I'd give you a treat and a glimmer into the rest of the story :)
Ginny watched sadly as Harry followed the train as it left the station. He had been giving her the saddest
looks shed ever seen and it made her feel immensely guilty that she was so thankful to leave for school. He
was right though. It wasnt like her to run away from her problems, but things at home had degenerated into
a living hell. She was worried about Ron the most. He was missing his chance to move on in life, but the
issues with George wouldnt go away quickly.
Ginny made her way back to the compartment Harry had helped her find and she saw Luna sitting quietly
with the most recent issue of The Quibbler. She smiled to herself thinking how little Luna had changed in
all the years shed known her.
Luna looked up brightly. Hello, Ginny! It looks like Harry is going to miss you fiercely this year.
Ginny grinned. Im going to miss him too.
Hes looking more grim than usual, Luna observed.
Ginny looked up sharply. He was, wasnt he? She didnt know what to think about it, but felt that both she
and Hermione probably had the same solemn looks.
Did something happen after Harrys birthday? Luna asked.
Wellthings are under control now. Ginny eluded Lunas inquisitiveness and was thankful that her friend
went back to her newspaper.
She sighed and let Crookshanks out of his carrier. The cat roamed around the car once before settling in
Ginnys lap. Ginny had missed seeing the cat since Hermione had left it with her parents. She petted
Crookshanks softly and the cat purred loudly.
Ginny slumped further into the seat and shut her eyes for a few moments. She woke up suddenly when she
felt the warmth on her lap jump away from her. She opened her eyes slowly and saw that Hermione had
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felt the warmth on her lap jump away from her. She opened her eyes slowly and saw that Hermione had
returned. She was wearing her Hogwarts robes and was proudly displaying her Head Girl badge.
She grinned at Ginny. Feeling alright?
Ginny yawned and tried to cover her mouth. Just feeling a bit tired.
Hermione glanced at Luna who had looked up, but went back to her newspaper. Ginny knew Hermione
wouldnt say more in front of Luna, but she seemed to be dying to ask her what had happened at the
Burrow.
They stared at one another for a few minutes, as if coming to an understanding before Ginny shook her head
to clear it, and got up slowly. She paced out of the car, trying vainly to ignore Hermiones irritatingly close
watch on her, and turned back around.
I dont know anything, Hermione. Stop looking at me like that. She grinned at her friend and Hermione
started to laugh.
Fine, fine. Im going to send Ron a letter. Think hell reply? she asked.
Ginny laughed. I think we both know Ron better than that. But as youre now his girlfriend, its more likely
than not that he will reply to you.
Hermione couldnt suppress her grin and said, I certainly hope so. I was getting worried when I didnt hear
from either of you for two weeks.
She seemed to be testing Ginny for more information, but Ginny sighed. It was not pleasant. I know Ron
was dying to write to you, but it was a full-time job.
Hermione nodded knowingly and said nothing more. The rest of the train ride was kept in relative silence,
though Hermione took a few trips around the train keeping an eye on things. Ginny didnt ask about who
the other Prefects were, but knew the Head Boy was Ernie Macmillan, a boy from Hufflepuff. Ginny knew
he had attended Hogwarts the previous year, but as with many students, was not able to complete his
studies.
On a return from one of her many rounds, Hermione commented, I am surprised to see so many students
returning.
It did seem as if The Daily Prophet was proclaiming the school unsafe, Luna interjected. She put her paper
down and looked seriously at Hermione. But father and I think thats all rubbish. Why wouldnt the school
be safer now than before?
Hermione shot Ginny a smile and said, My thoughts exactly. Now we know where all the fallacies may lie
and can fix them.
Ginny nodded but tuned the conversation out. She ran her hand across the seat and realised she hadnt
opened the envelope Harry had given her. As she lifted it she heard Hermione comment, Im just glad the
school is back open and I hope that this year is even better than I anticipate.
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Ginny turned back to her, lifting the envelope slightly. Hermione, I have no doubt that you will make the
best of this year.
What have you got there? Hermione asked, eyeing the envelope.
Harry gave it to me before the train left. She smiled thinking of the intense snogging she had been
receiving at the time and how much she was going to miss him.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. That was his parting gift to you?
Ginny smiled. Yes. Though I think hes given me far too many gifts.
Arent you going to open it? Luna asked.
Hermione raised her eyebrows expectantly and Ginny didnt feel the courage to disappoint them. She
opened the envelope to find a bit of parchment inside. It was blank and she turned it over in her hands a
couple of times. Hermione inhaled sharply and Ginny gave her an inquisitive look as she discovered a note
within. Hermione didnt elaborate on her exclamation and Ginny ignored her long enough to unfold the note
and recognised Harrys slanted handwriting.
Ginny,
I couldnt think what to give you. I know youre already over-loaded with enough, but this
might come in handy. Fred and George gave this to me my third year at Hogwarts. If you
ever need to know where people are on the Hogwarts grounds, this will let you know where
they are at all times.
This is the Marauders Map it was made by my father, Sirius, Professor Lupin and Peter
Pettigrew. To have it reveal its secrets to you, tap it with your wand and say, I solemnly
swear I am up to no good and the map will appear. If you get caught with the map and cant
let that person see it, like Filch, tap the map with your wand and say, Mischief Managed.
Please be safe this term. Hermione should be a great help academically, but just remember,
if any blokes ask, youre taken.
Im already missing you terribly.
Love,
Harry
Ginny smiled as she re-read the note and saw Hermione smiling back at her. Luna looked perplexed but
seemed to note there was little chance Ginny was going to say more. Ginny folded the map up and was
thankful to feel the train begin to slow down.
Hermione left Ginny alone with Luna to gather the first years and direct them to Hagrid as they would go in
a different direction than the rest of the students, as traditionally they came into the castle crossing the lake
in boats. Ginny grabbed Hermiones things as well as her own and magically moved them off of the train.
She could just make out Hermiones silhouette as she and Luna grabbed a carriage.
Ginny didnt have the ability to see the Thestrals until late in her sixth year. It was only during the
Hogwarts battle that she had actually witnessed death and let it sink in. She had ridden the Thestrals in her
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Hogwarts battle that she had actually witnessed death and let it sink in. She had ridden the Thestrals in her
fourth year to the Ministry of Magic, but hadnt been able to see them then. Looking at them now, she was
both terrified at their appearance and fascinated by them. She stepped towards one and it bucked its head
back, but allowed her to pet it. The skin had a leathery texture to it and felt almost smooth to the touch. She
patted the animal softly until she heard Luna call her name.
She turned slowly and boarded the carriage absently. Ginny kept Crookshanks with her. He had refused
adamantly to get back into his basket and Hermione was off sorting out the first years with Hagrid. Ginny
looked questioningly around. During her first year, Ginny hadnt noticed if Percy had road a carriage or the
boats towards the castle. She wasnt certain if she should wait for Hermione, but as she started to ask Luna,
Hermione and Ernie came walking quickly towards the last carriage that Luna and Ginny had been waiting
in.
Hermione smiled up at them. Thanks for waiting for us.
Ernie nodded his agreement and commented, Werent quite as many first-years as Id expected. He looked
at Hermione. Did they not send out as many letters this year?
Hermione shrugged. I dont know. Perhaps not as many people felt comfortable sending their kids away
this year?
Luna laughed airily. Thats absurd! If anything, the school should be safer! Voldemort is dead and most of
his followers have been taken care of!
Ginny looked up surprised, not expecting an outburst from Luna, but Luna had a look of resolve about her
that Ginny hadnt seen since the battle. She nodded at her friend and said quietly, Its unfortunate other
people dont see that.
Hermione nodded at Ginny and reached out to take the cat out of Ginnys arms. Crookshanks looked up, but
didnt show any signs of moving. Hermione sighed. Do you mind?
Ginny shook her head. Ive kinda missed him over the summer.
Hermione grinned at her. Im glad you were able to have quality time with my cat.
Ginny stroked Crookshanks and said, I wish mum and dad had got me a cat. According to Muggle
superstitions, cats are quite common for witches.
Hermione nodded. Youve been reading Muggle stories?
Dad has some books. He finds them fascinating. Plus, theres some rogue wizard that wrote about the
magical world with the Muggle world, Shakes-somethingI cant remember the name. Ginny looked at the
sky thoughtfully.
Hermione laughed. Its so funny, because growing up with Muggle stories, living in this world is
She seemed lost for words and Ginny grinned at her. Though she noted Luna and Ernie didnt appear to
show the same interest in Hermiones thirst for knowledge. Ernie, to Ginnys knowledge, was a pure-blood,
as far as nine generations. He always seemed very intelligent, but also seemed to be full of himself,
according to her. She knew hed had a few run-ins with Harry during her first year, but much of that was
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according to her. She knew hed had a few run-ins with Harry during her first year, but much of that was
due to Harry speaking Parseltongue.
Ernie started to talk to Hermione about proper protocol for the first years and Ginny happily watched the
scenery on the way to the castle, paying them no mind. She barely felt Lunas gaze on her, but did not turn
to acknowledge it.
Ginny wondered what awaited them in the castle and held her breath as they approached the last turn on the
road. She sat up as they approached the school. It was very much as she remembered it. If she hadnt been in
the battle herself, she would have never expected to see it in this condition.
The exterior of the castle was completely intact. Although some of the towers seemed to have shifted ever
so slightly, the castle was exactly as she remembered it. She tore her gaze from it and was thankful to see
Hermione, Ernie and Luna all having similar, awestruck expressions on their faces.
She caught Hermiones gaze and knew the smile on her face was most likely reflected on her friends face.
They stared at one another for a moment and Ginny said quietly, Im really glad we came back.
Hermione replied quietly, Me too.
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Chapter 35: Chapter 35 - Shifting Forward


Author's Notes: A big thank you to my lovely Beta Ginny - you're faboo! I have been writing like crazy
lately and have broken the sixty-chapter mark by a bit. I should be done with the fan fic in the next month
or so and I'm happy to say it's turning out how I envisioned it. Whether that matches up with what you all
expect has yet to be seen, but I hope we can all enjoy it. Thanks much for your continued support :)
Harry had watched the train leave and stayed as long as he could, re-playing the last intimate moment hed
had with Ginny; the touch of her lips on his, the feel of her fingers running through his hair. She had the
most amazing scent about her. He wished he had something substantive to remember her by.
He soon realised there were a great number of people looking in his direction and kicked himself for not
having used any charms to conceal his identity or Ginnys. He was flushed from the memory and hurried
out of the train station, heading home.
Kreacher was waiting for him as he got home, and grilled him on how his last meeting with Ginny had
gone. Kreacher had been very intuitive about the troubles Harry was feeling with respect to Ginny, and
seemed to know when to give the right advice.
Harry tried to stay positive as the day went on, and he was surprised to see Ron come out of the grate some
time after dinner. Ron looked worse for the wear and had the same tired, exhausted expression hed seen on
Ginny. Harry also noticed Rons clothes seemed to be dishevelled, as if he hadnt changed or showered all
day.
Ron! I didnt expect to see you. Ginny made it sound like I wouldnt be seeing you for a while Harry
said quietly.
Ron sat down heavily at the table and replied, I didnt expect to get away myself. But mum and dad were
feelingcharitable. He looked at the table with a guilty expression and said, Did Ginny and Hermione get
on the train okay?
Harry nodded. Yeah, no problems. He continued more slowly, How are things? You look totally gone,
mate.
Ron nodded and ran his hand through his hair. You have no ideaMerlin, I wish I could say more. Its
been hell, Harry.
Harry looked consolingly at Ron. Im really sorry, mate. I wish there were something I could do to help
you He looked at the paper in front of him and continued slowly, Based on what Ginny and Hermione
said, I dont think I canhelp you, that is.
Ron nodded. Im afraid theyre right. I would love an extra set of hands, they let Ginny go to school, so
were short-handed.
Harry nodded. Is he getting any better?
Ron shook his head and stared at the wall. No. But mum and dad seem to think hes making progress.
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Harry looked sadly at his friend. Merlin, Ron, Im no good at this sort of thing. I wish Hermione were here
to lift your spirits a bit.
Ron grinned at him. I have a feeling shed have an effect on more than just my spirits.
Harry and Ron chuckled for a few minutes before Kreacher brought tea to the table. Harry thanked him and
watched as the house elf left him alone with Ron again. He couldnt help but notice the disapproving look
that crossed Kreachers face when Ron mentioned Hermione.
He shook his head and tried to push it out of his mind as Ron drank his tea. Ron said, So, how are things at
the Ministry?
Harry didnt want to disappoint Ron and said cautiously, Well, Neville and I have taken our NEWTs.
Were going to start our official training on Monday.
Ron tried to conceal his disappointment and said, Good for you, both of you. Im sorry I missed that.
Dont worry, Ron, you can catch up, Harry said smiling.
Ron didnt look to believe his friend but didnt push it. Ron sighed. I am looking forward to Quidditch at
Hogwarts this year. Im sure Ginny told you she was named captain of the Gryffindor team.
Harry nodded. I think shell be brilliant. I expect Gryffindor to take the House Cup this year.
Ron nodded. Are you going to go to the matches?
Wild Thestrals couldnt keep me away, mate, Harry quipped.
Ron gave him a grim look. And we have that memorial to go to.
Harry nodded. I cant imagine what thats going to be like. He looked closely at his hands and continued,
At least now George might be, mentally, in a better place and he might be able to go.
Im not sure, Harry. Hes still totally gone with grief about FredEveryone is I think Ron looked
seriously at his friend. I think were finallyyou know, getting to the point where we can grieve.
Thats good, Harry replied feebly. He didnt know what to say to that. But looking at the state of his
friend, Harry knew he had to say something more substantive. Ron, is there anything I can do?
Ron shook his head, saying nothing. Harry sighed and started, Look, Ron, I know Im the last person that
should probably be offering you help, but your family is the only family Ive ever known. I know your
parents are afraid that George might hurt me, or something, but Im really not worried about it.
Ron gave Harry a serious look. Harry, you cant come over. It isnt just your well being, but Georges
mental stability that were worried about. Ron stood up slowly, pacing the room. I know you mean well,
but you should listen to Ginny and Hermioneleave it alone.
Harry nodded. Yeah, sure.
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They finished their tea and Harry said quietly, breaking the silence, So, you coming back to work soon?
Ron shook his head. No, Percys trying to keep the store afloat right now, but Im stuck with Georgewatching most days.
Are you going to stop training to be an Auror? Harry asked cautiously.
Ron turned to Harry with a sour expression. I dont want to worry about work right now. He took a step
towards the grate and said, Ill see you, Harry.
Harry got up quickly. Ron, if you get a chance, let me know how things are going. And if I can ask you to
do me a favour... Ron gave him a hard look and Harry continued, Send Hermione a letter. She really
missed you this morning.
Ron smiled at this and said, I miss her, too.
He walked into the grate and Flood home in a burst of green flame. Kreacher came back into the room and
Harry marvelled, How do you always know when someones left?
Kreacher bowed to him and replied, It is my duty, Master Harry.
Harry nodded, thanked Kreacher and headed out of the room. He sighed and walked into his study. There
was a stack of books and parchment sitting on his desk. He had avoided doing extra work all day, and knew
he could avoid it no longer.
He sat down at his desk and started working on the assignments until late into the night. Kreacher came in
before midnight and insisted he get some rest. Harry knew he had a long day ahead of him and drifted off,
still thinking about his last moments with Ginny.
He was dreading the memorial and knew an invitation would be coming soon. From his conversation with
Ron, it sounded like the Weasleys werent looking forward to it either. He didnt expect all of them to be in
attendance and realised hed be seeing his godson, Teddy, there. He tossed and turned all night and was
thankful there was one more day of the weekend to get some rest.
Harry spent his Sunday catching up on all the things hed put off due to Ginnys and Hermiones departure.
When he got into work on Monday, Neville was there waiting, looking more eager than ever.
Harry! Are you ready? Can you believe it? Neville asked.
Harry grinned and hung his jacket on the nearby coat rack. Wheres Gaunt? Im surprised he isnt here
with a stack of things for us to do.
Neville gestured to the desk Harry normally used and said, Theres a letter for you over there. Mine has me
meeting an Auror this afternoon. Thatll be the person to train me in my area of expertise. What does yours
say?
Harry picked the letter up off the table and noted hed be working with an Auror hed never met before. The
letter listed Sturgis Podmore as his adviser. Harry recognised the name, this was someone who had been
arrested briefly, years ago, for his involvement with the Prophecy that Harry and Voldemort had sought out
during Harrys fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron and Hermione had suspected that Sturgis Podmore was
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during Harrys fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron and Hermione had suspected that Sturgis Podmore was
under the Imperius curse and had not done any actual wrong doing.
Gaunt walked into the office before Harry could respond to Nevilles request and stated, Well, Im here to
tell you it doesnt get any easier.
Harry and Neville waited expectantly as Gaunt built the tension. Im sure you both read your letters. Thats
pretty much it for us. Try to contain your disappointment, he said sardonically.
He gestured to the door. Enjoy the morning; youre free to catch up on outstanding tasks. Your advisers will
be by later and youll be off doing work in the real environment now. Try to remember everything I taught
you, it could save your lives.
Harry started to say something but Gaunt cut him off, Please, youll both be seeing me around. Just
remember, any poor actions on your part will have a bad reflection on me. So act like you know what youre
doing.
With that he stepped out of the office and Neville and Harry exchanged relieved looks. Harry shook his
head. I cant believe we wont be trained by him. I thought thats what Kingsley meant in his original
letter.
Neville shook his head. I wasnt really sure. But I have to admit, I wont mind getting trained by someone
else.
Harry nodded. Although I wonder, will that be better or worse?
Neville chuckled. Whos to say, Harry? I mean, at least well be learning something and applying it, right?

Harry nodded and waited anxiously as the day passed on. A sharp rap on the door after lunch announced
Harrys new adviser. Sturgis Podmore stepped in. He was a round man, stout and had a full head of brown
hair. His eyes were bright and he locked them with Harrys. Well, Mr. Potter, shall we get to it?
Harry got up quickly and Sturgis said, Leave your things; youll still be using this office as a base. But I
have some things to go over with you and then Ill have some work for you to do.
He stalked down the hallway to his office and Harry kept pace with him. Sturgis continued, I like to
investigate things fully and I need to make sure you have a good grasp of all the proper procedures. As with
many things involving delicate subjects, as Aurors, we need to know the law by heart to enforce it properly.
Harry nodded. Of course, sir.
I have about a dozen books in my office Im going to loan you. I want you to be as familiar with all the
information within as possible, and then well go from there. He chuckled seeing the look on Harrys face.
Dont worry, Mr. Potter. It isnt that bad. This isnt medicine, so be thankful for that! Its the same sorts of
things youve been dealing with already. Thisll be a way for me to assess your analytical and problemsolving skills.
He opened the door to his office and Harry noted the same set-up that Gaunts office had. Sturgis motioned
to a stack of books on his credenza and said, Thats them. I dont want to go too fast without you looking
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to a stack of books on his credenza and said, Thats them. I dont want to go too fast without you looking
those over. You can stay in your office for the next few days and review those. Ill be sending you some
files Im working on, and if you could familiarise yourself with those, that would help as well.
He nodded and said, Im really happy to be working with you, Mr. Potter. We all have very high hopes for
you and know you wont disappoint. Youll only be working with me for a few months, but this is critical.
He clapped his hands together. Capital! Well then, Mr. Potter. Ill be checking in.
Harry nodded mutely and lifted the stack of books and headed back to his office. When he returned to the
office he noted Neville was gone. He sat at his desk and did his best to stay alert while sifting through all
the information at his fingertips. It wasnt until the clock rang five oclock that Harry realised how late it
was. He took a couple of the books and headed to the main corridor to Floo back home.
Kreacher had dinner waiting for him when he arrived. He ate quickly and took a bit of time to write
Hermione a letter. In his letter, he asked her to keep an eye on Ginny. He asked Kreacher to send the letter
off and went back to his books for much of the evening. As he went to bed, he couldnt help but think of
Ginny and how much he was missing her.
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Chapter 36: Chapter 36 - Coping with Escape


Author's Notes: A big thank you to my wonderful Beta, Ginny, who's been a tremendous help with this
crazy story. I think I'm closing in on writing the rest of the story. I fear giving you a timeline and not
making it. I had hoped to be done with this story during the summer, but that is, obviously, not going to
happen. I want to thank everyone who's still reading along and I believe the story is shaping up much as I'd
envisioned it.
The chapters continue to be separated between Harry and Ginny and this is another Ginny. I did not quite
distribute the chapters evenly, so you'll get a few more Ginny chapters to Harry chapters, but it flows best
this way. Thanks for reading!
Ginny had not paid much heed to the start of term feast and felt out of place at Hogwarts. It was so strange
to be back. No Ron, no George, no Harry, no Fred. She was extremely thankful Hermione had chosen to
come back, but they didnt know each other that well.
The last episode with George had forced Hermione to spend time with her, as opposed to Ron, and they had
had a few interesting moments. Ginny now understood why Harry and Ron were such good friends with
Hermione. She had this way about her, even if she were asserting her knowledge, to still make Ginny feel
comforted. She wondered if this was how Hermione and Harry had got on when Ron had deserted them last
year.
She felt like she was in a sort of trance. She passed many of the places in the school that held mixed
memories. She found herself walking around the hallways, passing the Room of Requirement and stopping.
It had appeared out of no-where, as it often would, and she couldnt help herself but go in. She pushed the
doors opened and stopped. The room had the same look that she recalled from the final battle. Everything
was the same, the chairs and pillows in the same places. She remembered spending time in that room,
nervously waiting for someone to bring her news.
She had finally gotten her chance to get away when Harry, Ron and Hermione had needed to use the room
to find the final Horcrux. She and Tonks had gotten the chance to defend the school and then all hell broke
loose. She shut her eyes tightly trying to push the memories out of her mind. The serene looks on Lupins,
Tonks and Freds faces as they were brought into the Great Hall. She couldnt forget. She had hoped it
would be easier being at school, but it wasnt.
The door to the Room of Requirement was still open and Ginny found herself hurrying through it. She
wanted to get away, get away from everything. As she hurried to the doors of the school she heard someone
calling her name. She turned abruptly and squinted, trying to make out who was calling to her. Light was
pouring through the hallway entrance, blinding her, and she felt a pair of hands grip her shoulders.
Ginny! Where have you been? Ive been worried sick! Hermione eked out.
She wrapped her arms around Ginny and pulled her into a warm embrace. She whispered, Whats wrong?
Ginny shook her head. I cantI cant do this
She was crying profusely now, she couldnt stop the tears. All the horrors shed witnessed, all the loss shed
seen, were passing before her eyes over and over again. Ginny didnt know what was happening, but could
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seen, were passing before her eyes over and over again. Ginny didnt know what was happening, but could
feel Hermione wrapping her arm around her shoulders and leading her away.
Youre going to be finethis is all just a bit too much, Hermione said quietly.
Ginny looked at her friend and could see through her tears that Hermione was upset too. She stopped in the
hallway on the way to the Gryffindor common room and stood there looking at Hermione. How can you be
so certain?
Her voice was shaking and she could see Hermione was thinking hard. Hermione took a few deep breathes
and uttered, Because things have to be fine. This is Hogwarts.
It was a simple statement. But as Ginny had already realised, Hermione had a knack for saying the right
thing. Ginny took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. I know youre rightI just
Hermione nodded and squeezed Ginnys arm. I knowMerlin, I know. I wish Ron and Harry were here.
Ginny nodded and started to walk slowly back to the common room. It had gotten rather late and Ginny
could feel the warmth from the locket increasing as she walked. She wondered if Harry was missing her as
much as she was missing him.
Hermione lagged behind Ginny for a few steps and Ginny stopped. What?
Hermione shook her head. Nothing
Ginny looked around, realising they were standing in front of the Room of Requirement. She looked around
the hallway and looked back at Hermione. Her friend didnt seem torn by unpleasant memories, she seemed
to be smiling.
Ginny walked back to Hermione. I have a feeling I just dont want to know.
Hermione grinned. I dont want to hear it, Ginny. I had to deal with you and Harry all summer!
Ginny rolled her eyes. It wasnt that bad. It was wonderful.
She grinned at Hermione and Hermione burst out laughing. Not from where I was standing! Especially that
last dinner where I was forced to watch you two paw at each other.
Ginny replied, Ha! Like you and Ron were really any better?
They both started laughing and Ginny felt a sense of calm wash over her. She grabbed Hermiones arm and
pulled her towards the common room. Ginny didnt feel quite as overwhelmed as she first had. But she had
a feeling that being back at school wouldnt be quite the escape shed anticipated it to be.
As they entered the very familiar room, Ginny noted the silence that echoed within it. All conversations had
stopped as theyd entered. There were many familiar faces there. Lavender Brown was sitting nearby and
tried to smile at both Ginny and Hermione. She only managed to turn the corners of her lips up ever so
slightly before looking away.

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Ginny looked down suddenly, a feeling of foreboding washing over her. Hermione shifted next to her and
then walked forward. I know we dont have classes yet, though they start soon, and as Head Girl, I dont
think you all should stay up too much later.
A bit of laughter broke out with more chuckles to follow. Hermione turned back to Ginny with a grin as
Dean Thomas stepped forward. Come on now, hero, cant you let us stay up late for one night?
Hermione turned and looked up at Dean. What kind of Head Girl would I be if I let you do that?
He grinned at her. The popular kind.
Ginny looked from Dean to Hermione but didnt say anything. She saw a few friends she recognised and sat
down, beckoning Hermione to join them. She sat quietly listening to people re-tell their stories about their
summers. All the stories had similar threads. She hadnt realised how detached things had gotten at the
Burrow and found herself being pulled into the memory of it before things had become so sombre and
depressing.
She looked up to see Hermione staring at her intently. Hermione had sat down next to her, picking up a
nearby book and raised her eyebrows at her friend. Are you sure youre feeling alright, Ginny?
Ginny nodded. Youre worse than my mum! You dont need to worry about me, Im fine.
Hermione didnt argue but stood up slowly. I think you need to get some sleep, Ginny. So do I; Im heading
to bed.
Ginny nodded and watched as Hermione left. She didnt realise how comforting Hermiones presence was
and tried to think where Hermiones room was. As Head Girl she may not be staying in Gryffindor tower.
Ginnys attention was diverted back to Dean and Seamus. They were asking her about her plans for
Quidditch, and she had to think back quickly to her conversations with Harry about it. They seemed
convinced of her strategies and both retired a little while later.
Ginny found the common room had emptied out not long after Dean and Seamus left, but she didnt have
the energy to move. She leaned back against the arm of the couch she was sitting in and propped her legs up
on the opposite arm. She felt exhausted, but everywhere she looked the memories came flooding back.
It was as if the presence of others kept them at bay, but now, now her thoughts were driving through her
like rain and she hadnt anything to shield herself with. She shut her eyes tightly, but could feel the hot tears
streaming down her face. She missed them. She missed her doting mother and father. She missed her funny
brothers Fred and George. Fred. How could he have left them? How could he have just left her and all of
her brothers? She wondered how Ron was doing with George now. She knew it couldnt be easy
She rubbed her eyes, trying to will the tears to stop, but they wouldnt. She kept going over the final battle,
going over the times with George in the hospital. She kept seeing that crazed look on Georges face when he
cursed Harry. She wondered if any of the other students had death attempts after the war as shed had to
deal with.
She heard the stairs creak behind her and sat up abruptly. Hermione had her bathrobe wrapped tightly
around her and her arms were crossed. She quickly crossed the room and bent down in front of Ginny.
Why arent you in bed?
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Ginny shrugged and looked away from Hermione. But Hermione would have none of that and grabbed
Ginnys shoulders and pulled her up on her feet. Come on. You cant sit here all night.
Ginny didnt want to go to bed, but she couldnt think of anything to say or do to stop Hermione. She let
Hermione lead her up a few flights of stairs before stopping and pushing the door open of a room Ginny had
never seen before.
The room was sparsely furnished, yet it felt warm and inviting. There was an overstuffed chair in the corner
and it was very clean. She waved her wand and Ginny saw a pair of tea cups float to a nearby table.
Hermione sat at the table and said, Ginny, you cant go on like thistalk to me.
Ginny shook her head, sat down across from her and said quietly, Theres nothing to talk about.
Hermione glared at her. Stop it, Ginny. This is the second time in as many hours Ive found you crying.
Can you blame me? she replied hotly.
Im not blaming you! Im trying to help you, if youll let me. Hermione had a worried look on her face
and Ginny immediately felt guilty for snapping at her.
Im sorry, HermioneII dont know She sipped the tea and felt the warmth soothing her. She looked
at Hermione and smiled.
I know, I mean, being back here is tough. I cant imagine what this is like for you. Hermione looked at the
table quietly.
Ginny sighed. Youre probably going through the same thing.
Hermione turned away from Ginny. Not the same. I dont have any brothers or sisters.
Ginny reached across the table and squeezed Hermiones hand. Dont be silly, Hermione. Weve all lost so
much. And you were closer to the battles than anyoneif anything, you should be affected more than me.
Hermione laughed. Great, then well both be messes this year!
Ginny smiled at her friend. ThanksI dont feel quite as depressed as when we first got here.
Hermione tried to smile. Ginny continued softly, But it looks like Ive brought you down with me.
She smiled consolingly at her friend and Hermione rubbed her temples with the tips of her fingers. No, Im
fine. Why dont you head to your room and get some rest.
It wasnt a question. Ginny knew Hermione was telling her to go. She got up slowly and Hermione did the
same. She hugged her friend and said, Alright, but send me a Patronus or something if you need some
company.
Hermione nodded and patted Ginny on the back. I think we could both use some rest.

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Ginny nodded and headed up the flights of stairs to the floor where the seventh years lived. All of her
roommates were already sound asleep and she quickly changed and got into her bedclothes. She tried to
push the memories of the battle out of her mind as she went to bed, but it was to little avail. As she got up
the next morning, she felt like she hadnt slept at all.
She walked in a trance through most of Sunday, seeing Hermione but once. She was instructing the first
years how to form proper queues. Ginny passed the assembly with little note and spent most of the day
hunched quietly in the corner of the Gryffindor common room.
As the day wore on, Ginny felt more and more tired. She found herself nodding off and heard Dean sit down
and say her name. Ginny, you look terrible
He chuckled. That came out all wrong. You know youre gorgeous.
Ginny raised her eyebrows and smiled. Uh, thanks, Dean.
He put his hands up quickly. Hey, I know youre taken. Doesnt mean I cant look, right?
Ginny looked at him curiously and waited for him to continue. He wiped his hands on his pants. What Im
trying to say is I think you need to go sleep in a proper bed or something. When was the last time you slept?

She looked down, thinking of that stolen afternoon with Harry and sighed. I cant recall.
She didnt feel up to sharing her intimate moments with Harry. Dean grinned. Hermione asked me to check
up on you. And as my duty under the orders of our Head Girl, youd better get some rest.
Ginny felt something brush up against her legs and looked down to see Crookshanks purring quietly up at
her. She sighed and could see Dean was still looking at her intently. The way he was looking at her made
her feel very uncomfortable. She got up quickly and reached down to scoop up Crookshanks. Ill go put
Crookshanks back. If you see Hermione, tell her not to worry.
She hurried out of the common room feeling Deans gaze follow her out of sight. She sighed in relief as she
made it to Hermiones room and pushed the door open slowly. She would have expected Hermione to put
some sort of charms on the door to keep it locked, but she obviously hadnt.
Ginny put Crookshanks down, but the cat persisted, rubbing up against her legs and then jumping onto
Hermiones bed. Ginny sighed. What are you on about you barmy cat?
Crookshanks purred loudly at this and Ginny sighed. Hermiones bed looked very inviting and she sat on the
edge of it. This was no softer than hers, but it felt more comforting than her own. Crookshanks brushed
against her back and she reached around to catch him, but he leaped back out of her grasp. She lied down
across the bed, trying to grab him, but to no use. She sighed and yawned. Maybe she would just shut her
eyes for a moment.
She woke up a few hours later. Someone was rubbing her back gently and she shook her head slowly. The
room was completely dark now and she could distantly hear someone talking to her. Crookshanks shifted in
front of her and she turned over slowly.
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Hermione was looking at her intently, a worried expression crossing her face. Ginny?
She nodded and rubbed the tiredness out of her eyes. Im sorry, Hermione, I didnt mean to fall asleep on
your bed.
Hermione patted Ginny on the arm. Dont be stupid, I dont care if youre sleeping in my bed. I camped out
in your room for the last few summers.
Ginny grinned. Yeah, but you didnt sleep in my bed. Ginny propped herself up on her elbows. What time
is it?
Hermione smiled. You just missed dinner.
I did? Im not feeling hungry at all, Ginny confessed.
It doesnt matter whether you are or not. I asked Winky to bring something up for you, itll be here shortly.
Youre not skipping any more meals, Hermione stated.
Ginny didnt want to argue and ran her hands through her hair. I must look a fright.
Hermione giggled and shook her head. Well, just be glad Im not Harry.
Is it really that bad? Ginny asked.
Not really, Ive seen worse. Hermione laughed.
Winky Apparated into Hermiones room with a laden tray and set it on the table Ginny and Hermione had
tea on the night before. Miss Granger, as you requested, dinner for you and Miss Weasley.
Ginny smiled. Thank you, Winky.
The house elf nodded and Apparated out of the room as quickly as shed arrived. Ginny got up slowly
noticing Crookshanks purring loudly at her. Hermione, is there something you want to tell me about your
cat?
Hermione grinned. No, but did you see that? Not all house elves say Master and Mistress. Just like I told
you before! They are very intuitive.
Ginny shook her head. Hermione, I really think youre seeing too much into this. Kreacher was just being
polite. I dont think he knows what the future holds.
Hermione shrugged. I think he does, youre just not giving him enough credit.
Ginny sighed and ate slowly. She said through mouthfuls, Really, are you saying that Kreacher knows the
future?
Hermione sat across from her nibbling on some bread. Not the future. But I think he sees something
between people that belong togetherlike you and Harry.

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Hermione was grinning at her and Ginny felt the heat rushing to her face. I know Harry and I are fond of
each other She looked down at her plate and continued softly, I dont know
Hermione raised her eyebrows. Ginny, you cant honestly tell me you dont think you belong with Harry?
I dont know, Hermione. I mean she looked up nervously. I have never pictured myself with anyone
else. Its been a long summer
Hermione placed her hands evenly on the table. I know this may be untoward for me to say, and it maybe
none of my business as well, but Harry doesnthe doesnt think about anyone else the way he thinks
about you.
Ginny looked blankly at Hermione and the older girl continued, I probably shouldnt say more, but last
yearhe was missing you so much. And he never wanted to say anything, but I knew.
Ginny sighed. Thanksthat doesnt really help me at all, Hermione.
Hermione laughed. Oh, come on. You know you love him and he loves you!
Ginny balked. Whoa! Wait a minute; were not even close to saying that sort of thing!
Ginny narrowed her eyes and Hermione shook her head. Fine, fine, but just remember that Ive told you
what you already know. Hermione grinned at her and continued, Now itll be easier for you and Harry.
Ginny rolled her eyes. I dont know about that. He doesnt talk about how he feels.
No, he doesnt, Hermione acquiesced. But I think if he opens up to anyone, itll be you, first and
foremost.
Ginny didnt look Hermione in the eye as she finished the dinner and Hermione busied herself with school
work. Ginny got up slowly and said, Hermionethanksfor looking after me. I promise, Ill get it
together as classes start.
Hermione grinned at the mention of classes and said, You and me both, Im sure. Hermione crossed the
room and said, Ginny, if you need anything
Ginny nodded and embraced Hermione. The same for you, too. Good night.
Ginny left Hermione in her room and headed slowly up the stairs. She tried to think positively about the new
term, but realised she was missing her brothers and Harry, perhaps Harry more than her brothers. She
noticed shed received a note from Harry, but decided she would reply tomorrow morning before she started
her first full week of classes.
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Chapter 37: Chapter 37 - Class is Back in Session


Author's Notes: I'm pushing this chapter a little more quickly than I might normally, as it took about a
week to get the last one through the queue. I just don't want to delay posting, as I'm getting closer and
closer to the end, I want to make sure I keep the story going as much as possible. I just feel bad that my
poor Beta probably feels like she's behind the gun all the time - sorry, hun!
This is the first of the 'extra' Ginny chapters. I don't quite go back and forth evenly, but you'll see as we go
along. Thanks to everyone who's continuing to read and I will try to update on a regular basis!
Ginny had woken up late the following morning and found herself rushing to the Great Hall to inhale some
form of breakfast before rushing off to class. She and Hermione, thankfully, had most of their classes
together. She knew Hermione was dying to take as many classes as physically possible, but had chosen not
to over-load herself as she had done her third year.
Ginny rushed through the common room and saw that there were only a few students around. She bounded
down the various staircases and rushed to the Gryffindor table. She spotted Hermione reading a copy of The
Daily Prophet and dropped her bag next to her friend, sitting down and helping herself to some cereal.
Hermione looked up slowly and said, Good Morning. Glad to see you got some rest.
Perhaps too much, she replied through mouthfuls.
Hermione smiled. You must have needed it. You were looking like a ghost the last two days. Missing him
that much, are you?
Ginny put her spoon down and said sadly, It isnt just Harry Im missing. Im just She really didnt
know Hermione that well and didnt want to say more than she should. But she knew that now that she had
spoken, Hermione wouldnt let her get away without saying more. She sighed and continued, I just dont
like being alone and having to think about things.
Hermione leaned close to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. How can you possibly get through
this year if you live with the weight of the entire world on your shoulders?
Ginny didnt look up at Hermione, but grimaced in response. Hermione continued, speaking quietly, Ginny,
Harry asked me to keep an eye on you, so I will, but you have to make a deal with me.
Ginny looked over at her slowly and replied quietly, What kind of deal?
Hermione grinned at her and said, Give me a little credit. I just want you to take it easy. I cant study as
much as Id like if youre going to act half-mad!
Ginny couldnt help herself and laughed. Ah, I see. You cant honour your promise to Harry if Im being
crazy and you want to get passing marks.
Hermione looked at her incredulously. I dont just want passing marks, Ginny.

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Ginny put her hands up quickly. Merlin, no! I meant the highest of marks.
Hermione shook her head and went back to the paper, giving Ginny a little space to finish her breakfast.
Ginny looked over her shoulder and commented, You know, I havent read that thing all summer.
I know, she replied quickly. Its probably not worth reading.
Ginny gave Hermione an inquisitive look and said, Nothing worth reading?
Hermione didnt meet her gaze and said, No, not a thing.
Ginny looked over Hermiones shoulder and her eyes bolted open. She tried to grab the paper, but Hermione
put it out of her grasp. Its all rubbish.
Ginny set her jaw and said, You give me that paper, Hermione Jean Granger, and you give it to me right
bloody now.
She must have looked fierce, because Hermione reluctantly moved the paper closer to her. She said quietly,
You cant believe a thing in it, you know that, right?
The students around them had turned their attention to the commotion, but Ginny paid them little heed. She
flipped through the paper and saw the article she was looking for. There, in black and white, were she and
Harry, holding each other very close at the train station. She could feel the heat rising on her face and
watched again and again as she and Harry embraced and slowly pulled away. She felt her eyes stinging with
tears, and could feel Hermione pull the paper out of her grasp.
How long have you known? she whispered.
Hermione was looking at her intently. Does it matter?
Ginny turned, her eyes blazing once again. Yes, it bloody well does!
Hermione didnt look to be interested in fighting and said, All summer. There have been articles all
summer about the two of you. At first I thought you knew She looked down guiltily and took a deep
breath. Then I figured it might be best if you didnt know. I mean, I was there, Ginny.
Ginny sighed and nodded. If their places had been reversed, she would most likely have done the same
thing. She took a few deep breathes and said quietly, feeling the gaze of the hall on them, Im sorry
She started to get up, but Hermione grabbed her arm and pulled her back down. Dont you walk away after
that, Ginny Weasley. She sounded cross, and Ginny knew she deserved it and worse. Hermione had been
keeping tabs on her the last few weeks and Ginny knew she should be more patient. She relented and sat
back down, not wanting to meet Hermiones gaze.
Hermione said quietly, Ginny, I know this must be upsetting, but theyre just pictures, they dont mean
anything.
No Ginny said quietly, but it does mean that people are watching mewatching himwatching us
She stopped, recalling Harry putting a charm on them on her birthday and her smile turned into a scowl. He
knew, didnt he?
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knew, didnt he?


Hermione shrugged. He never told me anything.
Ginny shook her head disdainfully. Why didnt he tell me?
I think you need to calm down. Hermione was watching her closely and was certainly not the only one.
Ginny could feel the anger coursing through her and said through clenched teeth, I am calm.
No, you are not. Hermione grabbed Ginny roughly and turned her towards her. Look at me. You need to
let this go for right now. Harry, if he did know, probably did it because he didnt want you to feel any more
pressure than you already do. I know thats why I didnt say anything to you.
Ginny turned away bitterly and reached for her bag. Hermione continued forcefully, Ginny, we care about
you. Harry and I care about you. You cant blame us for caring.
No. She glared at Hermione and said, But I can blame both of you for treating me like I cant handle life.
I dont see either of you doing this to Ron. He isnt as feeble and useless as I am.
Hermione glared right back at her. How dare you make that accusation? This has nothing to do with
feebleness. This has everything to do with who, out of all of us, is dealing with the most pressure. And
guess what, you got the short straw and won.
They stood there glaring at one another before Ginny said, Fine. Can we go to class now?
Hermione took a deep breath and said, Fine.
She grabbed her bag from the floor and followed Ginny out of the Great Hall. Ginny tried to keep a brisk
pace, and was surprised that Hermione was keeping up with her step-for-step. Their first class was
Transfiguration, which was still being taught by Professor McGonagall. During the Start of Term Feast,
Ginny distantly recalled being told that the Headmistress would be assisting in this class. She had been close
about who would be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. There had been some rumour that the class
would not start until second term, giving Hermione a veritable heart attack. She and Hermione had that class
the following day. As they arrived to Transfiguration, Ginny noticed the class seemed larger than usual.
She sat at a table in the middle of the classroom and Hermione sat down next to her. Hermione pulled the
requisite book out for the class, and a ream of parchment. Ginny slowly followed suit, noting there were
students from all four houses of Hogwarts in the class. She looked inquisitively at Hermione, but Hermione
shrugged and replied, I guess there arent that many seventh years to have more than one class.
Ginny nodded and started to say something when Professor McGonagall entered the classroom and said,
Good Morning. I hope you all are ready to master the art of transfiguration, as that is my intent for this
year.
She walked to the front of the room and waved her wand at the chalkboard. The days agenda appeared, and
Ginny couldnt help but notice the intense note-taking occurring beside her. She sighed and pulled a quill
out of her bag to follow suit.
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Professor McGonagall went on for the entire class explaining what would be happening that year and what
would get them passing marks on their Transfiguration NEWTs. As the class came to a close, Dean Thomas
raised his hand and asked, Professor, how come all of the houses are in this one class? Are we all going to
be together for the entire year?
She sighed and replied, Mr. Thomas, as you may be aware, many of the students have decided not to return
to Hogwarts, as is their choice, and because of this, I have decided that the seventh years will be taking all
their classes together. I know this is not a normal set of circumstances, but I believe this will be best.
He looked confused and said, Professor, theres a rumour about Defence Against the Dark Arts. We all
have it on our schedule, but theres no professor assigned to it.
She tapped her wand absently against her palm and replied evenly, We are still working on that. After last
year, we wanted to have a more active teacher, but the Ministry has, as of now, been unable to produce a
worthy candidate that can stay all year. For now, that class is on hiatus. There should be a professor for you
after Halloween break, and then a different one for second term.
She stood for a few more moments and said, Excellent. Thank you all and please have two rolls of
parchment for me when we meet next, on Monday.
Hermione balked. We will only have transfiguration once a week?
Yes, Ms. Granger. I do not have the time to lesson-plan for this class more than once a week. I will trust
that those of you that have returned for your seventh year can be industrious enough to manage yourselves
as best you can. She smiled at Hermione and continued, If thats all, I shall see you all next week.
She walked out of the classroom quickly, and Ginny watched her for a moment before seeing Hermione get
up out of the corner of her eye. She called out quickly, Hermione wait!
Hermione turned slowly and looked at her. Ginny took a deep breath and said, Im sorry. I shouldnt have
snapped at you earlier. I know you and Harry She lowered her gaze and couldnt bring herself to
continue.
Hermione stepped back to the table and said quietly, Its okay, Ginny. I mean, I can only imagine how
upsetting that sort of thing can be. Just, just do me a favour; Ill be honest with you if youre honest with
me.
Ginny nodded slowly and smirked. I really get it, you know, why Harry and Ron love you so much.
Hermione flushed and laughed. Come on, we have more classes to get to. I dont want to be late.
Ginny laughed and grabbed her things following Hermione to their next class. Their day was spent running
from one class to another and Ginny had only found time at the very end of the day to reply to Harrys
letter. She was much calmer after discovering her new-found fame and asked him about it in the letter. She
also made a point to thank him for the map, though shed not had a reason to use it.
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Chapter 38: Chapter 38 - Something to Plan For


Author's Notes: big ups to my fantastic Beta who just gave me this chapter and two more - I could post
them really quickly, the next two are very much linked - so we'll see. Thanks for the comments and
continued reading! Sorry for the short-ish chapters right now, they get longer and longer as we keep moving
- I promise!
Harry had spent the next day pouring over the books Podmore had given him. The codes and laws were
very specific. It seemed that, in conjunction with certain actions, virtually anything could be illegal and
could warrant an arrest. He and Neville had met up after getting their new advisors and had been given
similar tasks.
Neville had suggested they study together to get the most out of their time and on one such occasion they
were staying late at the Ministry. Neville had taken one set of laws and Harry another. They would quiz one
another on the various rules and see if the other could identify which law it would be in violation of.
Harry couldnt have asked for a better partner. Although he had found Hermione to be brilliant at revisions
and overall studying, Neville was an excellent replacement. Neville proved to be more organised than Harry
had expected. He had a to-do list for them that they had to fulfill daily. Harry was kept in line by Nevilles
dedication. When he finally met with Podmore, he knew it would pay off.
Harry spent a lot of his time thinking about Hermione and Ginny being back at Hogwarts. There wasnt a
moment where he both wished he could be with them and still be doing what he was doing now. Harry was
relieved that he hadnt gone back. There were still so many memories he hadnt sorted out since the battle
and he had tried to avoid thinking about the memorial.
He and Neville had talked about it in passing. Neville had said hed heard a rumour that it would occur
early in the fall. They sat studying in their office during their first week and a sharp knock on the door
announced they had a visitor. Neville called out, Come in.
Kingsley Shacklebolt entered and nodded at both of them. How are you both handling things? I have heard
very promising things from Mr. Gaunt, as well as from both of your advisors.
Harry smiled. Thank you, sir. I think both Neville and I are very appreciative of the opportunities weve
had here at the Ministry.
Neville nodded in agreement and Kingsley continued to smile. I am very pleased to hear that. He crossed
the room and took a seat at the table in the centre. There was another reason I came down here.
He looked at them for a moment and waved his wand, producing two pieces of parchment that floated to
each of their desks. Harry started to un-roll his as Kingsley continued, Ill cut to the chase, gentlemen. I
have been speaking with the Board of Governors for Hogwarts and we have decided to hasten the memorial
for those lost during the Battle at Hogwarts.
Harry tried to keep his face immobilised as Kingsley continued to discuss the details, Since both of you are
heroes of the Battle of Hogwarts and will soon be full-fledged Aurors, I expect both of you to make an
appearance.
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They both nodded dumbly and Kingsley chuckled. I dont expect you to make any speeches. I would
appreciate it if you were there for some photo opportunities. I think this could be a great time for the
Ministry to show that we have things under control and things will be moving forward in a positive
manner.
Harry took a deep breathe and asked, Are they, sir? Moving in the right direction?
Kingsley smiled reassuringly at Harry. I believe that they are, Harry. In a way, Voldemort did us all a
favour by showing where our weaknesses lie. Now we know and are able to fix the way we operate. We
have a much more thorough security check for all our Ministry employees and will be instituting even more
checks as things become more secure.
Harry nodded. That is good to hear, sir.
Neville said quietly, It would be my honour to be there, sir.
Harry kicked himself for not saying that sooner and chimed in, Yes, of course, Nevilles right. Its a great
honour, sir.
Kingsley nodded. I hope you dont think I am trying to take advantage of either of you, but I feel that this
would be best for all involved.
Harry and Neville both looked shocked. Neville said, Why would we think youd be taking advantage of
us, sir?
Kingsley sighed. There has been some murmuring that the only reason we ever let any of the three of you
to be hired was to parade you around.
Harry grinned and started to laugh. Only someone that didnt know how hard this was would ever think this
was handed to us on a silver platter. Neville and I have worked very hard for this and wanted it.
I know, Harry. I saw the marks you both received. Outstanding. Kingsley got up. The memorial is in two
weeks. I hope you will both be there promptly at nine that morning. And, please, refrain from visiting the
school until then. Thank you.
He smiled and headed out of their office. Harry looked over at Neville and sighed. Looks like we are
heading back to Hogwarts this fall.
Neville grinned at Harry. Based on the pictures in the Prophet, Id argue you have something to look
forward to!
Harry looked confused and reached for the Monday edition and flipped through it, stopping at what he knew
he should have expected. There in black and white was a picture of he and Ginny, embracing fiercely on the
platform at the train station. He felt the heat rush to his face as he recalled the circumstances that had led up
to that picture.
Neville cleared his throat. Harry?

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Yeah, he replied slowly. Sorryyeah, youre right, I do have somethingsomeone to look forward to.
Harry grinned broadly at this and knew he would reply to Ginnys later straight-away. Neville continued
talking as Harry mused, I honestly cant wait to be back. Even though this has been really exciting, Ive
missed studying. I want to get back to Herbology a bit. It is such a fascinating subject.
Yeah, it is, isnt it? Harry said absently.
I didnt know you liked Herbology, Harry? Neville said.
Harry shook his head. Wait, what? Um, yeah, its alright.
Neville shook his head. Why dont you just clip it and put it on your desk with the other ones?
Harry nodded. Ive asked Kreacher to find some frames so I can put them on my desk, and maybe one at
home.
Neville nodded. My gran has a picture of all of us after the battle. She had it enlarged and its hanging in
our entrance-way. Neville grinned at Harry. Ive never seen her so proud of me.
Harry leaned back and looked at his friend. Neville, Im sure shes always been proud of you.
I dont know, Harry. Neville looked up slowly. I know my parents were heroes, Harry, but me? I never
had the chance to do something that theyd be proud of until you started openly battling Voldemort.
Harry looked at Neville intently as his friend continued, And then, when things got bad last year, there
were just a few of us from the DA. We tried to fight the good fight; Ginny and Luna were really in it. She
got into a few scrapes with Crabbe and GoyleI never knew how vicious they could be.
Luna or Ginny? Harry asked.
Neville looked up with a red face and laughed. Ginny. You know what kind of temper she has! They were
hassling some student that wasnt a Pure-blood and she took personal offence.
Harry tried to act nonchalant but could feel his heart-rate quicken and his temper growing. What happened?

The important thing is were all fine now. Neville finished lamely.
Harry gave Neville a hard look and repeated, What happened?
Neville looked nervously at his desk. Harry, Ginny, Luna and I made an agreement about not talking about
what happened last year. I shouldnt have said anything in the first place.
Harry glared at him and said, You cant just drop something like that and not give me the full story!
Neville stared right back at Harry, showing an uncharacteristic backbone and replied, Yes, I can. He
continued more slowly, I know how much you care about Ginny, but if she didnt tell you, then it isnt my
place to tell you in her stead.
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Harry said bitterly, Thanks a whole bloody lot, Neville.


Neville shrugged. Im sorry, Harry. I have to be respectful of Ginnys wishes.
Harry lowered his gaze and said nothing. He wasnt sure if he was more furious with himself for losing his
temper, Neville, for being so loyal, or Ginny, for not trusting him enough to tell him. He and Neville spent
most of the day in silence.
As the day came to a close, Neville got up and said, Ill see you tomorrow, Harry.
Harry nodded and said, Yeahand Nevillethanksfor being such a good friend to my girlfriend.
He hoped he sounded sincere, but Neville just nodded and walked out of their office. Harry stayed at the
Ministry for a little bit longer before heading back to Grimmauld Place. Kreacher had laid out a small
dinner, as per Harrys request, and he brooded for most of the evening, saying next to nothing to Kreacher.
He was sad that Hermione hadnt replied to his letter, but imagined shed been too busy with her new
classes to have a spare moment to write. He set a piece of parchment on a book and sat on his bed for what
felt like hours, but was closer to three-quarters of an hour.
The letter hed received from Ginny was distant and terse. She had seen the most recent edition of The
Daily Prophet and asked him, point-blank, if he knew about the publicity and why he had hidden it from
her.
He was surprised she hadnt seen anything earlier, but tried not to be overly offended by her candour. He
finally hammered out a simple letter that told Ginny that he was worried about her and would be at the
memorial in two-weeks time. He also apologised for not telling her sooner, but said he didnt want her to
worry more than she needed to. He hoped shed find time to write back soon, but didnt hold out hope. He
knew he shouldnt send her a Patronus, he didnt know whod be around when that message arrived. Harry
sighed and gave the letter to Kreacher to send off the following morning.
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Chapter 39: Chapter 39 - Tryouts and Tribulations


Author's Notes: Sorry for the slow update, I actually had this chapter for a few weeks, and I have forty
ready too, but getting on-line has been a little challenging lately. I want to thank everyone who's still
reading and commenting - if you would rather I post all the chapters I have closer together, I can, but I try
to post once a week.
Thank you to my Beta Ginny Guerra - you're fab! Thanks everyone - enjoy!
Ginny got back into the normal school schedule fairly quickly. Hermione had kept her moving at a rapid
pace from their classes to the library with very little alone time. Ginny knew Hermione was doing it on
purpose, after what shed said their first day of classes. She had spent some time in the library, while
Hermione was busy with revisions, to put together a try-out schedule for the Gryffindor team. She had seen
very few students that had been on the last team in her fifth year, and wondered if shed be able to get
enough players to have a team at all.
Hermione had received a letter from Harry in the middle of the week. Ginny hadnt gotten a response from
him, and Hermione had reluctantly shared with her what Harry had said. They sat quietly in the library
talking about him.
Why doesnt he just ask me himself? Ginny said tersely to Hermione.
She sighed in response. He asked me to keep an eye on you; he must think that I know whats bothering
youwhich I do, she added slowly.
Ginny shook her head and put her quill down. Hermione, if he thinks somethings a matter, maybe he
should realise he shouldnt hide things from me if, as he says, he cares about me.
Hermione looked up at her, hurt, and replied, Ginnyhe does care about you. More than you, clearly,
know. Give him a break. Hes a boy; he doesnt know what to say.
Ginny picked her quill back up and tapped it absently on the parchment in front of her. She said quietly, I
really dont need this right now.
I know, Hermione said quietly. But I think there are countless girls that would trade places with you.
Ginny looked at Hermione sharply. That many girls chasing him?
Hermione looked confused and said, No; having a dedicated boyfriend.
Ginny took a deep breath and turned back to her schoolwork. She wondered, if she really had a dedicated
boyfriend. She still questioned why, after theyd had so many conversations over the summer about being
open with one another, he circumvented her and went to his best friend for information. She and Hermione
left the library late in the evening and headed back to the Gryffindor common room. Ginny, thanks to her
friendship with Hermione, had been privy to all the latest goings-on at the school. Earlier that day,
Hermione had told Ginny that a date had been set for the memorial, but had not told her more. She had also
informed Ginny that it would be prudent to have the try-outs either the coming weekend or later in
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informed Ginny that it would be prudent to have the try-outs either the coming weekend or later in
September.
As per the information Hermione had provided, Ginny had put up several posters around the Gryffindor
halls calling for any and all students interested in playing Quidditch and winning the House cup. The redheaded girl sat down in the common room, hoping to avoid any pointless conversations. She tried to
genuinely smile when Lavender Brown came and sat down next to her.
Lavender smiled at her and asked, How are classes going? I see Hermiones really pushing you.
Ginny turned the ends of her lips up in a weak smile and replied, Shes certainly going to keep me on task.
Lavender looked over Ginnys shoulder at the remaining flyers and commented, Im sure well have a great
team this year.
Ginny nodded. I hope so. Ive been trying to plan for this since I got the letter this summer.
Dean walked up, keeping his eyes down. Hey, I saw your flyers. Ill be there for try-outs.
Ginny looked up at Dean. Ill be happy to have you. Know anyone else thatll play?
Dean shook his head. I think youre going to have to go for a lot of second and third year students. I dont
recognise too many students from the fifth, sixth or seventh years that know anything about Quidditch.
Ginny looked around the room and realised Dean was right. She didnt know most of the students returning.
Many that were in her own year hadnt come back either. Many of the girls she had considered friends were
long gone. The girls she shared a room with didnt play Quidditch; she knew they wouldnt be interested.
Dean nodded, watching her survey the room and said, Yeah, not much to work with, yeah?
Well win this year, Ginny said defiantly. Were going to have to make it work.
Dean sat up. Yeah, sure. Just tell me what you want me to do, captain.
Ginny laughed, despite her usual brace of worries, and said, Thanks. Just find some people who can play
and are Gryffindors. I want to win; like Harry did when he was captain.
Dean seemed slightly disappointed with the mention of Harry, but nodded. Ill see what I can do. Maybe
we should have a meeting before the try-outs?
Do you think thatll drum up more support? Ginny asked.
It cant hurt, right? Dean responded.
Lavender nodded, having listened too much of the conversation. Ill see if I know anyone whos
interested.
Ginny spotted Hermione coming into the common room. Hermione waved her over and Ginny smiled
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Ginny spotted Hermione coming into the common room. Hermione waved her over and Ginny smiled
consolingly at Lavender and Dean and headed over to Hermione. She followed Hermione to her room.
Whats with the secretiveness? Ginny asked.
Hermione waved her wand at the door to put a non-verbal, silencing charm on the door and said, I know I
shouldnt tell you, but theyve decided on the date for the memorial and I thought I should tell you.
Ginny raised her eyebrows. I figured you werent going to tell me.
I changed my mind, she said hurriedly. Its not this weekend, but next. Im sure your family knows, but
you might want to send them a note nonetheless.
Ginny was eyeing Hermione suspiciously. Why would I do that?
So they know you know! Hermione exclaimed. This way they wont have to find a way to tell you. Youll
already know.
Ginny looked at her for a second and then nodded. Then they dont have to worry about me.
Hermione shook her head. Not because they dont want to, Im sure.
Ginny nodded absently. No, youre right. Ginny looked around Hermiones room and said, Im going to
head back to Quidditch business, are we revising later?
Hermione nodded. Do you need any help?
With revisions? I think Im okay. Ginny turned towards the door.
No, Hermione called to her. Do you need help with the Quidditch stuff?
Ginny turned slowly. You want to help me? How?
Hermione looked startled. What do you mean how? Hermione crossed her arms and said sternly, I dont
know if you know, but as Head Girl, I have met almost all of the students in our house. If any knew
anything about Quidditch, dont you think Id know?
Realising her mistake, Ginny smiled. Im sorry. I thought you meant you might come out.
Hermiones scowl disappeared and she started laughing. Can you imagine me on the pitch? Then wed
definitely lose the House Cup!
Ginny headed for the door and said, Why dont we talk about it at dinner?
Hermione nodded and started pulling books out of her bag, paying Ginny little mind. Ginny headed back to
the common room and saw that Seamus had joined Dean and Lavender. Ginny spent a few hours chatting
with them about everyone they knew and built a sizable list of candidates for the team. Ginny knew shed
be playing Chaser, she had a feeling Dean would reprise his role as Chaser as well. This left another Chaser
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be playing Chaser, she had a feeling Dean would reprise his role as Chaser as well. This left another Chaser
slot, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker. Now more than ever did she wish Harry were around to help
her. If he played Seeker, theyd surely win their matches.
Ginny was surprised to see a response from Harry so quickly. He apologised for not having said something
sooner and admitted hed both known about it and didnt want to alarm her or her family more. She didnt
know how genuine his apology felt, but tried to accept it at face value.
She felt a slight sense of betrayal and mistrust and tried not to dwell on it. The distance was making it
difficult for her to appreciate what Harry most likely did not intend to be hurtful. She chose not to reply to
him at that time, but would do so later in the week.
Ginny spent much of the week rallying support for the Quidditch team and trying to keep up with her
studies. As the week went on, her irritation with Harry had dissipated and she almost felt ready to make
some reply.
The day of the try-outs came and Ginny was surprised to see so many familiar faces. Hermione was true to
her word and had drummed up quite a few of the younger students. Ginny was concerned about how small
her team may eventually be, but tried not to let it bother her. She started off by having the students fly
around the pitch a few times to get a feel which ones had a good command of their brooms. Once that was
done, she noted on a roll of parchment who she believed had the most promise and then had the students
who were there for the position of Beater show their skill.
The day wore on and Ginny wasnt sure how much closer she was to filling the team. All the students had
tried out and she was circling the pitch and trying to score the latest Keeper candidate. Not one of the
candidates had been able to stop her from scoring on successive attempts. She had Dean swap positions with
her and the Keepers seemed to have more luck stopping him.
She flew down to where Hermione and Luna sat in the stands and commented, This isnt going as well as
Id hoped. Did Harry have this much trouble?
Hermione nodded. Im afraid so, yes. But he had you and Ron. That made it easier.
Ginny sighed and watched as Dean tried again and again to get past this latest candidate and was having no
luck. He flew down next to Ginny, winded and said, Ginny, you might want to give this one a go. She
hasnt let me through once!
Ginny looked up. The sun was starting to set, and she shielded her eyes with her hand and saw the student
still floating in front of the goals, her silhouette showing against the sun. Ginny consulted her roll of
parchment and noted that the current Keeper was Natalie McDonald. She was two years junior to Ginny and
had not gone out for the last Gryffindor team. She had been giving Dean an impossible time and Ginny
kicked off of the ground to try her best. Dean tossed the Quaffle to Ginny. She sized up Natalie and flew
closer to her.
Looks like youve been giving Dean a hard time. You up for another go? Ginny asked.
Natalie nodded and replied enthusiastically, Absolutely!
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Ginny could see she was tired, but was not going to give up. Ginny liked the spunk and nodded to Dean.
Youve been brilliant, but youve been up here for hours. Ill take care of this last one. Thanks for your
help.
Dean nodded and wiped his brow. Ill see you back in the common room.
Ginny flew around the pitch a couple times and flew straight at the goals. She flew straight at Natalie and
then stopped short, having the broom jump in the air in an awkward motion. Natalie didnt lose sight of her
and kept her eyes on the Quaffle at all times. Ginny threw it hard, but Natalie easily blocked it.
Ginny smiled and nodded with approval. The Quaffle flew high in the air and Ginny flew up to retrieve it
quickly. She hadnt realised how late it had gotten.
She snatched the Quaffle out of the air and thought shed try something different. Flying higher and higher
she thought shed try a technique Harry had mentioned to her. As she floated for a few moments she felt an
unusual darkness and foreboding around her. She looked around but didnt see anything. She looked at the
handle of her broomstick and felt her fingers chilling, as if a stiff breeze were being levelled at her.
She turned and looked around, and the sense of foreboding seemed to double. She couldnt see anything, but
started to fly downwards, thinking perhaps theyd worked enough that day. As she moved through the waves
a thick blanket of darkness hit her and she felt herself losing her grip on both the Quaffle and her
broomstick.
The ground seemed to be coming quickly and she felt like shed never be cheerful again. She fell of off her
broom and grabbed for it, but it fell just out of reach. She was hurtling to the ground and she tried to reach
for her wand but something hit her squarely, stopping her descent. She was stopped in mid-air and looked
around. There was a darkness descending all around her and a silver otter came flying towards her.
She was frozen for a few moments before she pulled her own wand out and called out weakly, Expecto
Patronum!
A horse came galloping out of the end of her wand, but it faltered and faded quickly. She finally felt motion
take hold again and was only a few yards above the ground. She could just make out Hermiones figure
from below. She saw her broom on the ground and called out, Accio! Her broom came flying back to her
and she grabbed it in just enough time to cushion her fall. She still crashed heavily into the ground, rolling
over once before stopping. She was dazed and confused and saw a hare come bounding past her and
jumping into the air behind her.
Hermione came rushing to her side and said desperately Ginny, you have to conjure a Patronus! Yours will
be strong enough to send them away.
Ginny felt herself shaking and shook her head for a moment. Hermione bent down next to her and said
urgently, If you dont, well all be done for.
Ginny took a few deep breathes and thought back to her happiest moments with Harry; the feel of his lips
on hers, the feel of his hands running through her hair and called out again, Expecto Patronum!
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This time the horse came galloping out with all the strength she had left. The horse bounded past her and it
was only then that she saw a brace of Dementors surrounding them. The entire pitch was enveloped in
darkness and the Dementors had come seeking them out.
Natalie was no where to be seen, but Ginny turned her gaze away from the Dementors to see both Hermione
and Luna standing behind her. Luna was looking serene as usual, but Hermione was showing an unusual
amount of distress. Ginnys Patronus was shielding them, and the Dementors closed in for a few minutes
before backing away into the night.
Ginny felt all her energy spent and slumped onto the ground, her hands falling limply to the ground.
Hermione was at her side in a moment, holding her up as best she could. She could distantly hear Hermione
saying to her, Ginny, you were brilliant!
Ginny nodded mutely, leaning heavily on Hermione. She was trying to take deep breaths, but still felt as
though shed never see her family again and even worse, never see Harry again. She had never been under a
Dementor attack before, and didnt know how many had been there.
Hermione was trying to help her off the ground, but Ginny was feeling too weak to move. She felt herself
falling forward and could feel Hermione wrap her arms around her and say something to Luna before she
blacked out entirely.
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Chapter 40: Chapter 40 - Safety is in the Eyes of the Beholder


Author's Notes: a big thank you to all of you that have continued to read and those of you who have just
joined! This chapter and the previous chapter are one of the better tandem chapters that I've got, so I hope
you enjoy the overlap :)
and a big thank you and big ups to my lovely Beta Ginny Guerra - who's now an official Beta here no less :)
Who knew I could get a real Beta to help me out with this rather strange story. Join me in congratulating
her :)
Since none of you said anything about the speed of updates, I'll keep to about one a week until my Ginny
Guerra and I can get on a more consistent rhythm :) I'm closing in on the last story arc, if I could find time
to write and not be bothered by half-a-dozen other things, it might be done by now. It's strange, when I'm at
work, they expect me to do work...odd...
thanks everyone!
Harry hadnt heard back from Ginny in a few days, but had gotten a response from Hermione that Ginny
had been consumed with all things Quidditch. The prospects for the new team didnt seem all that
promising. He tried not to feel too hurt by her choosing Quidditch over him, but in the same situation, he
probably would want to make sure his Quidditch team were in order.
Podmore had quizzed Harry a few times on what he needed to learn, but had yet to take him on any true
missions. As the weekend closed in, Harry was feeling lonelier. Ginny hadnt replied to him, and the entire
Weasley family was cut off from him as well. Harrys only comforts were Kreacher and Neville.
He and Neville had taken to eating lunch and dinner together. Neville was proving to be an interesting
companion. Previously, Harry had not spent much time alone with Neville save for his frequent rows with
Ron, Hermione or both. He had spent the last few weeks with Neville, and this had strengthened their
relationship more than either would have imagined back in their days at Hogwarts.
Hermiones letter to Harry said that Ginny was busy with revisions and was going to be having tryouts for
the Gryffindor team that weekend. Harry was surprised by how quickly she had set the tryouts up, but knew
Hermione must have told her about the memorial. Harry had a sinking feeling that there would be lots of
blokes trying out for the team and knew how gorgeous Ginny looked in her Quidditch robes.
Harry checked the calendar and realised that the tryouts would be that afternoon. What he wouldnt trade to
be there with her right now. He sighed and turned back to his paperwork. He and Neville had a meeting
later that day and knew he couldnt tear off to see Ginny and miss the meeting. Besides, he had been told, in
no uncertain terms, he was not to go onto the grounds of Hogwarts.
Neville ran into their office a few minutes before the meeting. Harry! Theres something big going on!
Wed better hurry over and see whats up!
Harry jumped from his desk and followed Neville down the hallway to a large conference room. A large
group of witches and wizards were milling outside of it. Harry cringed on seeing Gaunt standing at the
doorway. All of you need to get back to your offices. The reports of rogue Death Eaters have been grossly
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doorway. All of you need to get back to your offices. The reports of rogue Death Eaters have been grossly
exaggerated.
On seeing Harry and Neville, Gaunt locked eyes with both and gestured for them to come over. See, its so
unimportant, Ill be sending our two newest Aurors to go investigate.
Harry exchanged a surprised look with Neville, but followed him to the front of the group. The nearby
wizards and witches were still milling around despite Gaunts announcement. Gaunt ushered them through
the doorway and Harry saw a rather large map in the front of the room. A couple of wizards Harry didnt
recognise were standing at the front of the room, pointing to various locations. They turned and nodded at
Harry and Neville and then turned back to their work.
Try not to be so excited to see me, Gaunt commented. Harry grimaced at this and tried not to openly roll
his eyes.
Gaunt continued, Ill be borrowing your services for some surveillance. We know youre no where near
ready for action, but we need an extra set of eyes and youre the last pair we have. Up for it?
Neville nodded before Harry could reply and said, Yes, sir. Tell us what we need to do.
Harry stood stock still as Gaunt levelled his gaze at Harry. And you, Potter? You think youre ready?
Harry nodded, but said nothing. Gaunt proceeded to hand them each a roll of parchment and told them to
familiarise themselves with the individuals on the parchment and their crimes. He made it very clear that
they must be caught in the act and it had to be rock-solid evidence.
He and Neville headed out the door. Neville walked slowly back to their office. Harry followed and pulled
his coat on. Neville looked nervously at Harry. Was I too eager back there?
Harry shook his head. No, not at all. I mean, we need to get some action in the field.
Harry and Neville Flooed to Diagon Alley, meeting another Ministry contact who gave them further
location details. Neville took the map out and he and Harry Apparated to a location far outside of London.
He and Neville landed soundly in the countryside. They had to walk for about a half an hour to get to the
location where theyd be watching their potential mark.
Harry and Neville headed into a local pub and took a seat at the bar. They were forced to spend the time
chatting about nothing in particular. Harry couldnt help but let his mind wander back to Ginny and the
Quidditch she was playing while he was sitting with Neville drinking Muggle beer and waiting for their next
piece of information to fall into place.
As the evening wore on, Harry started to feel unusually glum. It was as if something dark was falling all
around him. Harry also felt strangely cold. He kept rubbing his hands together until Neville finally
commented, Harry, its blistering in here. Are you cold?
Harry blew on his hands. I feel weird.
Are you feeling okay? Neville asked.
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Are you feeling okay? Neville asked.


Harry tried to flex his right hand and felt like there was ice forming on his fingers. He stood up suddenly,
lurching on his feet. Neville got up quickly and grabbed Harry, pulling him back down. Were supposed to
be undercover!
Harry shook his head. I know! I dont knowI dont knowI feel cold all over.
Neville shook his head. If you cant get it together, Harry, you need to get going.
Harry nodded slowly. I mightI might have to
Harry looked around confused and stood up slowly. He was shaky on his feet and Neville commented, At
least you look like you had too much to drink, this might help me get what we need.
Harry nodded and said, Im really sorry, Neville. I dont know whats come over me.
He headed around the back of the pub and looked around to make sure no one was watching. As an extra
precaution, he hid behind a dumpster and threw his Invisibility cloak over his body. He concentrated hard
and Apparated back to Grimmauld Place. Kreacher started at Harrys entrance and exclaimed, Master
Harry! What are you doing here?
Harry nodded slowly. I think Im coming down with something. I feel cold all over.
Kreacher stepped forward quickly and said, Master Harry, you seem in fine health to me.
Harry eyed him curiously. How can you be sure?
Kreacher looked warily at Harry and said, I believe the answer, Master Harry, is with your ring.
Harry slowly looked down and realised Kreacher was right. The cold feeling was emanating from the ring.
His mind stopped. The ring that was connected magically to the locket hed given Ginny. He stood up
quickly and felt the floor come crashing towards him. He took a few deep breathes and tried to recall what
Hermione had told him. He needed to make a break from Ginnys mind to control his own body. He
wondered how Ginny had done this when hed been attacked.
The cold was finally subsiding and he slowly got to his feet. Im going to head to Hogwarts.
Kreacher looked mortified and said, Master Harry, you are not supposed to return there for some time!
Harry sighed and said, If shes in trouble, I have to help her.
Kreacher looked around the room and said quietly, Master Harry, if I may make a suggestion.
Harry nodded and urged him to continue. You should perhaps send a Patronus to Miss Hermione or the
Headmistress.
Harry had a feeling, where Ginny was, Hermione wouldnt be far. He took a deep breath and cast a Patronus
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Harry had a feeling, where Ginny was, Hermione wouldnt be far. He took a deep breath and cast a Patronus
to Professor McGonagall. He waited fifteen minutes and started to prepare to Apparate when he got a
Patronus in return, a silver cat telling him to use the Floo to come to her office, but not to worry.
Harry sighed and pulled his cloak on and tried to look slightly presentable. He headed towards the grate and
Kreacher clucked his throat disapprovingly. I do not approve of this idea, Master Harry.
Harry stopped at the grate and didnt look back at Kreacher. He headed through a burst of green flame and
landed in the familiar office. Professor McGonagall had not changed the office much; the trinkets that
Dumbledore had left behind still littered the shelves and tables. There were also signs of her feminine
styles; flowers blooming and a soft fragrance wafting through the room. The office was much cleaner and
brighter than Dumbledore had ever left it.
She greeted Harry warmly. Mr. Potter, I would have liked to have a better homecoming for you, but you
sounded rather insistent in your Patronus.
He nodded and smiled at her. Thanks, Professor. I really appreciate your letting me back on campus.
I cant say no to the man who defeated the greatest dark wizard of all time. She was beaming at him and
said, Dumbledore would have been so proud.
Harry felt himself flush at this and nodded. I hope so.
She continued smiling but said, I think it best we get you over to the hospital wing. Ms. Weasley is fine,
Mr. Potter.
Harry nodded and followed her down the many corridors to the hospital. I hope so.
There were no students in the hallway and this surprised Harry. He didnt realise what time it was. Professor
McGonagall motioned to the hospital doorway and said, She and Ms. Granger are within. Please do not
linger too long. Kingsley will not approve of your being here.
Harry didnt have time to think on her last statement as he entered the darkened room. Madame Pomfrey
bustled towards him and said, Mr. Potter, it seems your girlfriend has the same sense of adventure as you
do.
Harry gave her a worried expression and happened upon the last bed in the first row. He sighed in relief
seeing Ginny appearing peacefully asleep. Hermione was slumped over in a nearby chair, keeping a
watchful eye on her friend. Hermione shifted uncomfortably and blinked on seeing Harry.
She got up quickly, checking on Ginny once before walking towards him. She embraced him, the worry in
her eyes unmistakable. Harry, what are you doing here?
He hugged her back and said, I felt cold all over and Kreacher said it might have something to do with the
ring and locket. I think he was right. What happened? Is she okay?
He nodded towards Ginny and Hermione nodded slowly. Shes okay. She kept her gaze on Ginny and
continued, She was brilliant. II really should have paid more attention when you showed us how to
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continued, She was brilliant. II really should have paid more attention when you showed us how to
conjure a Patronus.
Harry let go of Hermione. Conjure a Patronus? She was attacked by Dementors?
Hermione locked her eyes with his and nodded slowly. Yes, they were on the pitch, above it actually. It
was as if they werewaiting for her.
Harry ran his hand across his eyes and took a deep breath. He never thought Dementors would return to
Hogwarts. After the battle though, he wasnt certain if theyd steer clear or not. He walked quietly to the
edge of Ginnys bed and took her hand in his. She stirred and turned her head slowly. He smiled and leaned
over and kissed her softly on the cheek. She opened her eyes slowly and said sleepily, Harrywhat are you
doing here?
He smiled at her. Checking up on you, love.
She tried to sit up but looked utterly spent. No worries, he said. Youre a brilliant witch, you know.
She grinned and leaned back heavily on the pillows. Harry sighed and watched her fall asleep once again.
He turned to look at Hermione. You look really exhausted. I can hang