After the Horcrux by Manwe Valarian

Summary: Harry and Ginny were meant to be together, but that doesn't mean things will be easy. They must deal with a rebuilding British magical community, fame, and even overprotective family members.
Rating: R starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Post-DH/AB
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2011.02.28
Updated: 2018.07.15


Chapter 1: Chapter 1 A New Day
Chapter 2: Diagon Alley and the Wizengamot
Chapter 3: Off to Australia
Chapter 4: Finding the Grangers
Chapter 5: Goblin City
Chapter 6: Surprise Affection
Chapter 7: Returning to England
Chapter 8: Vigilantes

Chapter 1: Chapter 1 A New Day

Author's Notes: This is my version of what might have happened "After the Battle". This chapter is strictly from Harry's POV.

Harry opened his eyes and wondered where he was. He relaxed when he realized that he was in his four-poster bed in Gryffindor Tower. His mind started swirling with the events of the past few days. Voldemort was dead. His most important Death Eaters were captured and the rest are fleeing.

He sat up and looked around at the dormitory. This was the first place he ever felt at home and that he belonged. Could this be the last morning that he will wake up here? He didn’t attend any of this school year, but it was supposed to be his last. He did not want to go back to Privet Drive, and they wouldn’t want him back there even for a brief visit. Harry dreamed about his escape from that place, but now it was a reality. He could go to Grimmauld Place, but that house with all of its Black Family Legacy, was so very depressing. The possibility of him actually defeating Voldemort was so remote that he never considered what he would do afterwards.

All these thoughts about where to live and what to do for the rest of his life, he quickly pushed to the back of his mind. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and breakfast were what he wanted to think of. He listened to hear the sounds of Ron snoring in his bed, but the room was silent. He must be at breakfast or in the common room. Harry quickly got out of bed and put on his trainers, before starting down the stairs to the common room.

Checking his watch he noticed that it was eight; breakfast time in the Great Hall. It suddenly occurred to him that there might not be breakfast with all the damage to the castle. The kitchens probably had been emptied of food with yesterday’s celebration. He looked across the common room and saw a gaping hole in the outside wall. Walking to the hole, Harry looked out at the grounds of Hogwarts. Witches and wizards were scurrying around some cleaning up debris and others taking pictures.

“Good Morning, Harry.”

Harry snapped his head around to see Professor McGonagall sitting in a chair in the corner of the common room. “Good morning, Professor. I see the clean up of the castle has begun.”

“Yes, I only wish that the workers were the only people outside though.”

“What do you mean? Who are the other people?”

“Reporters, photographers, people who want to see where You-Know-Who was defeated at the Battle of Hogwart’s….”

“Battle of Hogwarts?” asked Harry.

“Yes, the Daily Prophet is calling it one of the greatest battles between magicians and magical beasts in history. So, naturally, wizards and witches are showing up by the hundreds to see it and the hero.”

“Hero?” asked Harry.

“Yes Harry, you!” Harry shook his head in disbelief, as Professor McGonagall spoke. “If you think you were news before because of your battles with You-Now-Who...”

“Professor. He is dead. You can call him Voldemort and even Tom Riddle if you want.”

“I know Harry. Old habits I guess. However back to the famous Harry Potter, the boy who lived and went on to amass an army of…”

“I didn’t amass an army!”

“Harry, my dear, surely by now you should be use to the type of stories that come from the Daily Prophet.” Her sarcastic comment brought a wide smile to Harry’s face. “So now the magical world looks to you as a saviour, conquering hero, and even a sex symbol.”

“What?” he spluttered.

“Why the Daily Prophet has a special edition dedicated to Harry Potter, his life and many loves. Pomona and I were amazed that with everything else you were doing this past year. You had time to father at least six children!” Professor McGonagall rarely ever smiled so the mirth that beamed from her face seemed to catch Harry by surprise.

“I never! How could they!” Harry’s expression changed to fear as another realization came to him. He needed to see Ginny! NOW! “I need to leave and see someone, Professor.”

“Well, Harry you will just have to be patient. Travel plans for you will take some time to arrange.”

“Why can’t I just go into Hogsmeade and Apparate from there?”

“My dear boy, didn’t you hear what I told you about the level of your fame. If you would walk out on any street, in a magical community, well-wishers would mob you. Therefore, it would be best if you stay in this common room until we can get the fireplace connected to the Floo network. This entire castle is crawling with people.”

“Can’t you get rid of them?”

“I’ve tried Potter, but a few of them are parents of the students. They are here to pick up their child’s things that were left behind; the ones we evacuated and the ones that–that were hurt and died. I don’t have time to spend sorting everyone out.”

Harry saw that Professor McGonagall’s eyes were tearing up, so he decided to be patient and wait for the Floo network. “Professor, Could I get something to eat while I wait?”

“Yes Harry.” She pointed her wand at one of the low tables, and toast, marmalade, and pumpkin juice appeared. “I do believe that there is something you need to give me for safe-keeping?”

Harry looked at her with a blank expression. He wasn’t sure what she meant.

“Albus’ portrait has informed me about the wand that you carry. He thinks it would be best if it was replaced to its resting place. As the new Headmistress of Hogwarts, I have the ability to set up better shields.”

Harry suddenly remembered “I almost forgot about the Elder Wand. It needs to be placed back in his sepulchre. Hopefully no one else will ever try to use it again.”

Harry reached into his robe and pulled out the wand that had been Albus Dumbledore’s and handed it to Professor McGonagall. She took the wand gave it an appraising look before sliding it into a hiding place in her sleeve.

“I’ll make sure that this is replaced after everyone has gone.” She then turned and left through the portrait hole.

As Harry devoured the toast and marmalade, he started to feel all alone in this common room. After spending almost an entire year with Ron and Hermione, it seemed strange for them not to be here. Why had they left without saying goodbye? Hermione had his rucksack, and he therefore had no clothes except what he was wearing.

He noticed that there was a copy of the Daily Prophet with the food so he started to read it. Most of the stories seemed to be written by Rita Skeeter; they were so sensational that instead of being angered by the lies he found them amusing. This helped occupy his time, but he was getting impatient. There had always been people in this room to pass the time with, but now it was just big, vacant, and lonely. The more he looked around the room, the more he missed someone else, Ginny.

The fireplace erupted with green flames, and Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped out of it.

“Good Morning, Harry”

“Good morning Kingsley, or should I say Royal,” he said with a smile.

“So you heard the broadcasts we made?”

“One. I think? That seems so very long ago.” The thought of living in a tent and Apparating to a new place everyday seemed like a distant memory now. “I see the Floo network is working. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“Well, there are some things that I need to discuss with you before you leave. First, are you planning to live at number twelve, Grimmauld? I will keep it a secret from the rest of the Ministry; any contact with you will be by me or one of the Order.”

“Maybe, I really don’t have any other place but the Burrow. I know that they would take me in, but with Fred dying and everything. I don’t want to be a burden to them.”

“The second is the business at Gringotts. As the acting Minister for Magic, I have been able to convince the goblin’s to drop all charges and grudges against you, Ron, and Hermione.”

Kingsley stopped talking and looked around the room. He seemed to be surprised that Harry was alone. “Where are they?”

“Don’t know, Maybe they went to the Burrow with the rest of the Weasleys. I woke up this morning and I was the only one here. Kingsley, do you know anything about funeral plans for Fred, Remus, and Tonks?”

“Well that kind of relates to the last couple of things that I wanted to talk to you about. You do know about the press that the battle created ‘The greatest battle in history of magic’ or whatever you want to call it. The Ministry wants to create a special award to honour all the people who fought in it, who of course weren’t Death Eaters. The people who died will be given Orders of Merlin, Third class. You though will be given an Order of Merlin, First Class.”

“Well I don’t think I deserve that alone. What about Severus Snape? I found out that he truly was on Dumbledore’s side; he should get an Order of Merlin, Third Class. What about Hermione, Ron, Neville Longbottom, and Professor McGonagall they were just as important as I was. I think they should also receive a First Class award.” Harry stopped talking and stared at Kingsley. He suddenly realized that he had just given the Minister for Magic orders.

Kingsley stared at Harry for a minute or two before finally speaking. “I can see why Dumbledore cared so much for you. You truly do think of others. I don’t know if I can get the Wizengamot to agree with all those things, but I’ll try.” He stood up and placed some Floo powder on the table in front of Harry. “There are very few wizards who are as famous as you and remain as humble. Be careful where you go! Not only Death Eaters but fans, admirers, and if the stories in the Prophet are true, paternity suits.”

Kingsley's deep bass laugh filled the room. Harry just sat there irritated, wondering how many more times he is going to hear that remark.

Would Ginny believe it?

“You never said when and where the funerals are at. Moreover, I’ve only ever attended Dumbledore’s. Are they all like that?”

“No, they are not.”

“Fred, Remus, and Dora’s will all be this afternoon. Why don’t you just go to the Burrow?”

“Yeah, maybe I’ll do that.”

Kingsley turned and disappeared into the emerald flames.

Harry needed to go to the Burrow, but he wasn’t sure how they would treat him He wanted desperately to see Ginny. I many ways he would really like to go there to live for a while also, but he didn’t want to be a burden to them. As he sat and thought about this, he realized that it had been two days since he left Shell Cottage and his clothes were dirty and torn.

Harry stepped into the fireplace and said number twelve, Grimmauld Place. When he stopped spinning, he stepped out into the kitchen. It was spotless and clean. He was amazed at the change in Kreacher in the past nine months.


“Yes, Master,” said the aging house elf, who bowed low enough to touch his nose to the floor.

“I cannot remember if I thanked you for your help fighting against the Dark Lord. It was most welcome and of great service. You are a great and loyal elf, Kreacher.” He hoped that the compliment wasn’t to superfluous. He wanted to make sure Kreacher knew how much he appreciated his help, but he didn’t want it to sound fake.

“Thank you, Master! Whats can I dos for you?”

Harry walked around the kitchen trying to think what he should do, and if Kreacher could get it done in time. “Kreacher, can you go and get me new clothes, ones that would be appropriate for a funeral. I would also like some flowers, like a bouquet - Roses. Yes, that would be nice. Can you go and get these things this morning, while I get cleaned up? Can you buy things for me at Diagon Alley?”

“Yes, Master! I’s can do thats.”

“Good, that would be fantastic.”

There a pop and the house elf was gone. Harry went upstairs and started filling the tub. Even though the Death Eaters are suppose to be hiding Harry still refused to bathe without his wand at his side.

As Harry soaked in the tub, the simple pleasure of a warm bath was wonderful. It took many of the aches and pains away that he had from the fighting. As he lay there soaking in the warm water his thoughts wandered back to Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. Actually all of the Weasleys, the night Fred died; he didn’t have the time to be there with the family. He had to stop Voldemort. Then after he was victorious there were so many people that it seemed like he could never spend more than a minute talking to anyone. Is this what his life is going to be like? Will he ever be able to walk down a street without people staring and sometimes pointing at him? If it is, then will Ginny be able to put up with it.

SNAP! Kreacher suddenly reappeared in the bathroom with a bundle of clothes and a large bouquet of roses.

“Kreacher has returned with new dress robes fors Master Harry. I’s have these roses, only one flower shop was open. Is Master pleased?” croaked the old elf.

“Yes I’m very happy with what you bought.”

“Does Master needs help with his bath?” Kreacher stepped towards the tub as though he was going to assist Harry bathing.

“NO! I can manage on my own. Thank You! That will be all.” Harry shivered at the thought of the old elf washing him.

The elf left with a pop. Harry quickly finished his bath got dried off and found to his surprise that the clothes not only fit but looked very nice. He stuffed his invisibility cloak into a pocket in his robe, and found a little pocket in his sleeve for his wand. He hung his Mokeskin bag around his neck. He was ready. He checked his watch and it wasn’t eleven o’clock yet. It was time to go to the Burrow.

As he walked through the house he thought about all the work it would take to make this house livable. He reached the fireplace in the kitchen. Tossed in some Floo powder and he was off to the Burrow.

“Harry!” His name was said by four people before he even stepped out of the grate. Ron and Hermione were there. They were talking to George and Charlie, while sitting around the kitchen table.

“Where have you been?”

“Where did you get those clothes?”

“Why didn’t you come sooner?”

George asked for some hints about girls. Harry turned to tell him to “sod off”, but stopped when he noticed the sadness in his eyes. He had the wicked smile that the twins would wear when they were up to mischief, but his eyes looked hollow and lifeless.

Mrs. Weasley came into the kitchen from the sitting room. Her eyes were swollen and her face puffy from crying. Mr. Weasley was following close behind.

“What lovely flowers, dear,” said Mrs, Weasley staring at the bouquet in his hands.

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley. Is Ginny here?”

“Yes, she is up in her room. Would you like to see her?” She had a slightly puzzled look on her face.

“Yes! Yes, I would! If it’s alright?” Harry never thought after all he had done that asking to see Ginny would make him so nervous.

“Ron, will you get Ginny. Harry dear would you like me to take those flowers for you?”

“No. Well — actually they are for Ginny.” This statement seemed to catch both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley by surprise as they shot each other quizzical looks.

“GINNY! HARRY’S HERE! COME DOWN,” shouted Ron at the top of his lungs.

“Thank you, Ron. That was such a help,” said Mrs. Weasley sarcastically.

Harry heard a door open very slowly up the stairs. He saw Ginny slowly and mechanically walk down the stairs towards him. Every eye in the room seemed to be on him. This felt wrong! He never imagined this type of a reception.

Ginny’s face seemed to be drawn tight. She didn’t look to have been crying, although she seemed to be sad enough. Harry’s throat tightened, it hurt to see her like this.

“Hi. Harry,” she said stoically, without looking at him.

“Lovely seeing you, Ginny.” This definitely wasn’t how he saw this moment happening. Ginny was supposed to happy. There weren’t to be six sets of eyes staring at them.

“Who are the flowers for?”

“Harry said they are for you dear,” interjected Mrs. Weasley. “Would you like me to get a vase?”

“No — I don’t think I’ll need one.” She took the flowers slowly from Harry’s hands. He wondered what was wrong. He wanted to look into her lovely brown eyes, but she wouldn’t look at him.

“Ginny is there something wrong? Don’t you like the flowers? They remind me of you, and the way your hair smells.” Harry whispered trying not to let anyone else hear, as he leaned in towards her.

“What are you going to do with them if you don’t put them in a vase, dear,” inquired Mrs. Weasley.

“THIS!” Ginny swung the flowers with all her might and smacked Harry across the face. This caught him by surprise and his glasses flew off. She immediately hit him with the bouquet on the other side of the face. The room exploded with laughter from George, Charlie, and Ron.

“WHAT WAS THAT FOR!! Those things have thorns,” Harry yelped, while trying to guard from further attacks.

“GOOD! I am glad they have thorns. Serves you right!” screamed Ginny.

“You don’t believe any of the rubbish that Rita Skeeter is writing.”

“NO!”She spat swatting Harry again with the bouquet.

“Then, WHY are you so mad at me?”

“Ginevra Molly Weasley! Stop that this instant! What is going on around here,” demanded Mrs. Weasley.

The three boys were laughing, Hermione was in shock, and Mr. Weasley had a quizzical look on his face like a dog trying to focus on a distant sound.

“You want to know why I’m hitting you Harry Potter. It’s for what you put me through this last year!” She stopped talking and took another swing at him. “I have loved you since I first laid eyes on you. Then last year we started dating. — I was in heaven!”

“That’s the reason?” No sooner had Harry said that then Ginny smacked him twice.

“NO!! You had to go off and save the world. You did the noble thing — as always, said that we had to stop seeing each other. Because The Death Eaters might find out and hurt me.”

“Yes. Well that is true. They do that dear,” Mr. Weasley said matter-of-factly.

“Then at the wedding the three of you take off, and I don’t hear from you or see you again until two nights ago.”

“Ginny, I couldn’t contact anyone you know how dangerous it was,” Harry pleaded with her.

Tears started leaking out of her eyes. She let the bouquet droop towards the floor. “I had no idea if you were alive. I used to listen to hear if you had been caught or sighted. Night after night I’d lay awake afraid to go to sleep. It was always the same dream. You were lying dead and Voldemort was standing over top of you laughing.”

Unsure and upset seeing Ginny crying, Harry stepped forward to touch her, to comfort her. Ginny immediately hit him with the bouquet again. “I am not through being mad at you! There you were at Hogwarts DEAD in Hagrid’s arms and that vile creature laughing about it. It felt like someone had ripped my heart out.”

“Ginny I am so sorry for…” Harry didn’t finish his statement because Ginny hit him with the bouquet and ran off up the stairs crying. Harry ran up trying to apologize, but when he turned to look into her room she hit him with a Bat-Bogey Hex, and slammed the door in his face.

Harry slowly walked back downstairs with bits of flowers in his hair and bat shaped bogeys flapping on his face.

“Well Harry, was that the way you planned it,” sniggered Ron.

“Can someone break this hex for me, and help me find my glasses.”

“Now you know why I prefer to work with dragons. They aren’t as mean.” Charlie was laughing so hard that he had difficulty talking or breaking the jinx.

Hermione found his glasses and handed them back to him. “Harry, please be patient with her. You didn’t see what it was like for her. The dead were everywhere. She knew you would go out. When she saw you, it took several of us to keep her from running out there to you. Please be patient. It might take some time for her to recover.”

“Well I learned one thing from this experience. Buy flowers without thorns,” Harry said while picking thorns out of his face.

“Harry, could I have a word with you, alone.” Mr. Weasley had a similar expression to Ginny’s. Harry sat down at the kitchen table, while Ron, Hermione, Charlie and George walked to the sitting room. After they had left the kitchen Mr. Weasley walked up to Harry and stood over top of him and stared down at him.

“So how long have you been dating MY little girl?”

Harry spent the next fifteen minutes talking about him and Ginny and hoping that he wasn’t going to say anything that will anger her again. After he had finally stopped talking, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley seemed to relax.

Whatever Harry said must have been acceptable, because after a couple of statements about honour and virtue (mixed with hints of some jinxes that Mrs. Weasley’s father had used or threatened to use). Mrs. Weasley started cleaning his scratched face, and asking questions about what he would like for lunch, and where he was at this morning. She thought he would have come with Ron and Hermione when they Apparated at ten o’clock this morning. Harry made an excuse about going to Grimmauld Place, and changing there. He then excused himself and went into the sitting room to talk to Ron and Hermione.

“Better think of a good lie, you two. Also where did you camp last night?”

“Oh! Welll — we — a — should have told you, but you were really tired,” stuttered Hermione, while her face turned pink. Ron just sat there with silly grin on his face. “Are you mad at us?”

“Me! No! Actually I’m happy for the both of you. It’s just that I was talking to McGonagall at eight and Kingsley at nine. So I just thought I’d warn you. Your mother was asking me a couple of questions”

“Why l'il-ickle-Ronniekins! You bad boy,” chimed in George and Charlie, from the corner of the room.

“Shut up you two!” Ron tried to say this as loud and forcefully as possible without his mother hearing. Hermione seemed to turn a deeper shade of pink and took a sudden interest in her fingernails.

“You know what, Ron? If you keep this up I may even start telling people that we are related. Of course, I’ll tell them you’re a cousin.” George seemed to be delighted. Ron just sat there and glared at him.

Harry quickly decided to change the subject. “So Hermione, I was wondering when you’re planning to go to Australia. I figured you would want to go and find your parents.”

“I am not sure. I want to be here for the memorial service. There is also the problem with getting plane fare. How do I explain what has happened, and what I did to their memories?”

“If there is anything I could do to help, just ask.” Harry thought how pedestrian that statement seemed compared to what she had done for him through the years. “When is the service?”

“The memorial for Fred, Remus, and Tonks is going to be out in a secluded valley, around sunset. More friends can come then.” Charlie told Harry, and then added in a whisper. “George has something planned. It is Fred’s service after all. Can’t leave without a laugh, it wouldn’t be a proper memorial.”

Everyone in the room started to question George about his plans, but he kept quiet and just said “You’ll have to wait and see.” While everyone’s attention was focused on George, Ginny came creeping back into the room.

“Harry,” her voice was barely above a whisper.

“Oh, hello again.” Harry jumped at the sound of her voice. He stood there nervously looking for her wand.

“I am not going to hex you. I just want to talk. Alone!”

“Not in your room, young lady! That isn’t proper,” shouted Mrs. Weasley. She had moved into the room without anyone noticing, so when she spoke everyone seemed to jump as though stuck with a pin. “Lunch will be ready soon. If the two of you want to talk, then go outside, where your father and I can keep an eye on you.” She turned and walked back into the kitchen.

“Well, Harry, I’m glad you came over. Mom’s back to her old self. Thank You! A Job Well Done!” A statement like that should be coming from George’s mouth but instead it was Charlie.

Harry and Ginny walked through the kitchen followed by the inquisitive stares of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. While walking through the yard, Harry touched Ginny’s hand. She quickly pulled it way. About half way to the gate, Ginny stopped and looked up at Harry.

“Harry, I am so confused. There is so much I need to tell you, but I am not sure how to say it.” Ginny was pacing back and forth in front of him.

He could feel his throat tighten fearing that she was going to tell him she found someone else. He reached for her again, but she stepped away from his hand, again.

“What I told you in the house about being in heaven when I am with you is true. I never expected you to be interested in me.” Harry wanted to tell her that he felt the same way with her. “I was always worried that you would forget about me…, there would be other more important things to think about. If I didn’t fear your death I was afraid you would stop caring about me.” Ginny looked at Harry with uncertainty in her eyes. “When I saw you in the Room of Requirement, I thought my heart would explode with excitement. I am amazed that you didn’t hear it beating. When Fred, Remus, and Tonks were killed whatever excitement I felt was destroyed. Then I saw you. I — I thought you were dead.” Her voice started to shake with emotion. “The pain was unbearable. I wanted to run out there to be beside you….”

“Ginny, I am so sorry for that but…” pleaded Harry.

“ Don’t interrupt me; please, I need to tell you — to tell you.” She took a deep breath before continuing. “I didn’t care then if I died, because I could be with you. I just wanted to go out fighting. Then you reappeared, alive in the middle of the fight. I thought about what might have happened. I would have been alone, instead of with you. After you fought Voldemort and won I just wanted to go to you and hold you. There were so many people all wanting to see you too. Then the day wore on. I — I still couldn’t be alone with you. Night-time came and people started leaving and you — you were gone. I saw that Ron and Hermione also were gone, so I thought you were with them. I came home, went to bed, and cried most of the night because I thought you forgot about me. That I wasn’t that important to you. When Ron and Hermione showed up this morning without you, I figured you had other places more important places to be. When you finally arrived and gave me those flowers, all the fear and worries that had been building up just erupted from me. I need to know how you feel about me. Am I just a silly little girl crushing on someone — someone who is beyond my reach? I need to know!!”

Harry stood there looking at her. Guilt washed over him as he realized how much he had hurt her. “Ginny, I am so sorry that I caused you this much pain. You are not a silly little girl! Without knowing it, you helped me through some difficult times this past year. When I was lonely and feeling like a failure, I — I would use the Marauders Map just so I could see your name. I missed you so much. I wanted this morning to be special. I wanted you to know how much I care for you. Seeing the type of pain that I have put you through makes me feel that — that I don’t deserve you. Faking my death was necessary. When I heard you cry for me, it tore me up inside. Leaving yesterday without saying goodbye was — inexcusable. There were so many people who wanted to talk to me, to celebrate, and grieve with them that I just had to get away. I am so sorry. All I wanted to do is protect you. I didn’t want you to get hurt like everyone else I have ever loved.”

Ginny looked surprised when Harry said that he loved her. “Harry, please don’t tease me.”

“What? What do you mean tease you?”

“Don’t tell me that unless you mean it, Harry. I don’t think I could stand being hurt again.”

“Ginny, I do love you,” he said softly. Her face suddenly softened as she stared at him. Her brown eyes filled with tears as she stepped towards him. She was kissing him. It was soft and tender. Warmth filled him like he had never felt before. Perhaps finally admitting his feelings for her allowed him to feel this.

Ginny pulled back from him and stared in his eyes. “I love you Harry.” She kissed him gently again, before leaning her forehead against his chin. “Even though I never gave up on you, I never thought you’d say that to me.”

Harry lifted her chin up with his hand to look in her eyes. “Why do you think that I wouldn’t fall in love with someone as beautiful and intelligent as you?”

“You’re, HARRY POTTER, the champion of the magical world. I am just Ginny Weasley…”

“Don’t say that!” pleaded Harry. “I don’t care about all this fame. The only thing I want in this world is to be with you. Please! Believe me!”

She whispered. “I love you so much.” Her lips were on his. One of her hands grabbed his hair, the other his shoulder, and pulled him in tight to her. His one hand reached into her silky hair and the other was around her waist, as he pulled her tighter against him. The kisses were no longer soft and gentle, but urgent and needy.

“Harry! Stop groping my sister!” yelled Ron from beside them. “Lunch is ready. Everyone inside is watching you two.”

“Ron you’re a git.” said Harry and Ginny in unison. When Harry looked towards the Burrow, he saw the angry faces of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley staring at them from the kitchen windows.

Ginny swore under her breath as she looked at her parents glaring at them. He was going to ask her about her parents reaction, when she spoke up.

“Ron and my brothers aren’t the only overly protective ones in this family.”

“Yes, I did discover that earlier.”

Ginny looked fearfully at him. She gripped his hand tight and started to walk towards the Burrow.

Everyone was already sitting down at the table, when they entered the kitchen. Hermione and Charlie smiled at him, but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley with Ron were rather tight lipped. George sat there reading the Prophet’s Special edition “Harry Potter his life and many loves” enjoying the effect it had on everyone else.

The only open chairs were one both sides of Ron and Hermione. Ginny looked at Harry and rolled her eyes before sitting down beside Hermione. She pulled her wand and set the newspaper on fire while it was still in George’s hands.

Without any reaction to Ginny setting the newspaper on fire, they all tucked in and started to eat. Mrs. Weasley cooking was excellent, and the conversation was pleasant, until Ron asked Harry were he was going to stay now. Ginny offered him Percy’s old room.

“I don’t think that is a good idea. It wouldn’t be proper considering the present circumstances,” stated Mrs. Weasley.

“Fleur stayed here with Bill, before they were married,” shouted Ginny. “I bet you wouldn’t protest Hermione staying here, then why can’t Harry stay here. It isn’t fair.”

“The only way Harry would be able to stay here, is if he and you allow me to cast a few Charms,” stated Mr. Weasley calmly.

“Ginny, I am planning to stay at Grimmauld Place,” said Harry, hoping to stop the heated argument. “Hermione, I was wondering if I could get some things from your beaded bag.” He said hoping to get away from the fight brewing up in the kitchen.

Hermione started to stand up, but George brought her up short.

“Why didn’t you get them this morning, Harry? It would have been easier, when there was only the three of you.”

Ron and Hermione’s faces turned to ash, as all the eyes around the table turned to them.

“I forgot,” stated Harry. “I had other things on my mind and didn’t think it would be a problem asking later.”

Everyone seemed to be satisfied with Harry’s reason. They went back to fighting over the injustice of Ginny not being allowed to have her boyfriend sleeping under the same roof as her.

Ron and Hermione quickly left the kitchen and practically ran up the stairs to his old room. Harry followed along and was getting out of breath by the time he reached the attic. Once inside, Hermione cast a Silencing Charm and Ron began to yell about his brother. After several minutes of screaming about George, he finally calmed.

Hermione started unpacking her beaded bag. She handed Harry his rucksack and Ron his. Harry silently went through everything that was in his rucksack. Most of it was going to be thrown in a rubbish bin. It didn’t fit him and he never wanted to wear another one of Dudley’s hand-me-downs. He roughly stuffed everything back in the rucksack. He noticed that Hermione was sitting and staring at her hands. He had to look again to realize that she was staring at the last of her money.

“Hermione, are you all right?” Harry asked her.

She looked up at him teary-eyed. “I don’t have enough money to buy a ticket to Australia.”

“Maybe Kingsley or Dad could get you a Portkey,” offered Ron.

“The way things are now, it would take days to arrange one. However, I don’t have any other choice.”

“I’ll pay for the tickets, Hermione,” stated Harry. “I have money in my vault.”

Ron chuckled at his comment. “You think any of us would ever be welcomed back to Gringotts?”

“Kingsley, excuse me, the Minister for Magic informed me that Gringotts has agreed not to press charges against us.” Ron and Hermione gave out a small cheer at his news.

“He also told me that I was to get an Order of Merlin, first class.”

“Of course, mate, you just finished off the most evil wizard of all time,” stated Ron proudly.

“I told him I wouldn’t accept it unless you two, Neville, and Professor McGonagall also get one. I didn’t do this alone.” Harry stopped talking as the emotions of realizing how much they had sacrificed for him overwhelmed him. Friendship like that was rare to find.

The mood was broken, by Ginny storming into the room. She walked across the room and plopped down on Harry’s lap, before proceeding to snog him.

“Alright, enough you two,” demanded Ron. “I am not going to be put through watching the two of you doing that all the time.”

Ginny broke away from Harry and smiled at Ron. “When you come back next year, I will be in the same classes, and Harry and I will be spending a great deal of time...” she stopped talking and stared at Harry. “...studying.”

“No,” shouted Ron. “If last year was any indication, of what you two call studying...”

Harry tuned out Ginny and Ron fighting with each other. Her comment made him think about his future again. Could he return to Hogwarts? If he didn’t, could he get a job based on his abilities rather than his fame? Could he find a job that would hire him to be anything but a figure head? If he didn’t get a job, how long could he last on the money left to him in the vault?

Suddenly the realization of having a future beyond having Ginny in it flooded into his mind. He was a godfather. What would he have to do to be a good one? He had a godfather, but he was locked in prison for twelve years. He had Grimmauld Place, but he really couldn’t see living there the rest of his life. He had told Professor McGonagall that he wanted to become an Auror, but without receiving the proper N.E.W.T.’s he couldn’t even start training to be one.

“Harry!” shouted Hermione.

He snapped his head up and realized that everyone was staring at him. Ginny was looking puzzled, but Hermione and Ron looked afraid.

“Please tell me that your scar isn’t hurting,” Hermione said fearfully.

He involuntarily touched it and looked at her. “No, it isn’t. Why are you asking?”

“Your face was scrunched up like you were in pain?”

“I just realized that I have a future now. I need to start thinking about life after Voldemort.”

Hermione looked like she might start crying and Ginny ran her fingers through his hair. She started lean over to kiss him, when Ron spoke up.

“It will be a short future if you can’t keep your ruddy hands off my sister.”

Harry turned to protest along with Hermione and Ginny, and they all saw that Ron had a lopsided grin on his face.

“Prat!” Ginny called her brother. She grabbed Harry’s hand and dragged him out the door.

Harry followed along without protest. He was still thinking about Teddy Lupin, and if he will need to help raise him. He would be willing to try, but he doesn’t know anything about babies, except they cry, eat, and soil their nappies.

They entered the kitchen to find Percy and Bill there. Fleur was leaning on Bill’s shoulder. She looked to be crying. There was an intense discussion between them and their parents.

When Ginny and Harry entered the kitchen, Percy and Bill turned to look at them. Percy had a haughty air about him. Bill had look like he might leap from the chair and physically attack Harry. He glanced down at their hands clasped firmly together and scowled at him. Fleur seemed to be whispering something to him that got him to calm down

Ginny never wavered under their intense stares. She walked over and sat down at the kitchen table while keeping a firm grasp of Harry’s hand.

The discussion changed to who would be Disapparating with whom. Ginny was underage. Harry and Ron can but never passed an exam, this fact seemed to concern only Percy and Mrs. Weasley. All the time no one said exactly where they were going. Finally after forty-five minutes of negotiation and bickering, they were ready to leave.

The destination really had no name it was a valley north of town that the magical community would use for gatherings. Ron, Harry, and Hermione decided to Apparate together. Ron would lead. Ginny had to go with Mr. Weasley.

Within minutes the entire family was standing in a deep valley surrounded on all sides by steep wooded hills. The valley reminded Harry of a large Quidditch pitch. The floor of the valley was a large flat grassland with one stream flowing through it.

The memorial service wasn’t what Harry expected. Their bodies had been interred earlier in the morning. Only Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and George were present at Fred’s. There were sandwiches, pastries, cookies, Butterbeer, and Firewhiskey.

There were twenty or thirty witches and wizards, many Harry recognized as Order of the Phoenix members. Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle were there, and telling stories about how unpleasant it was to be stuck with the Dursleys all that time. Harry and Ginny walked around the party holding hands. They were accompanied by Ron and Hermione who were doing the same.

People were constantly approaching him and congratulating him on defeating Voldemort. He would say that he didn’t do it alone that he had loads of help, but so many people didn’t want to believe him. They all insisted that he was just being modest, before asking what he was going to do next.

As they walked around, they noticed that in the centre of a congregating mass was a picture of Fred and one of Tonks and Lupin holding Teddy. It was strange to look at their images all so life-like moving in the picture frames. The four of them stood transfixed and saddened by the fact that they were gone.

“It’s difficult looking at former students like this,” stated Professor McGonagall. She had walked up behind them with out being noticed. “I can remember all three of them in classes; where they sat, the trouble they would get into. I will never forget those fireworks and that portable swamp. Fred and George sure gave that Umbridge woman fits.” Professor McGonagall chuckled as she said this. “Now you two (looking at Ron and Hermione) need to think of an explanation for last night. I was just talking to Molly and Arthur, and they seemed to have been under the impression that the two of you spent last night at Hogwarts with Harry.”

Ron’s entire face, neck, and ears turned pink. Hermione’s face was the same colour, and she appeared to sink into the ground from embarrassment. Ginny looked around Harry’s shoulder and whispered, “hypocrite.”

Hermione who seemed to be the most embarrassed by Professor McGonagall’s statement stammered out an apology. “I’m — I’m — sorry Professor — It’s — a — well — I’m just sorry.”

“My dear, you didn’t break any school rules. I think after what you three did this past year, you are definitely mature enough to be respected as adults. I just thought I’d give you a heads up. Well, I think, I shall walk around and see who else is here. Oh, if you three return again next year.” She was staring at them with steely eyes. “I’ll treat you like any other student, understand!”

Professor McGonagall turned and walked away. Ron immediately turned his embarrassment into anger and directed it towards Ginny. Harry and Hermione intervened between the two, in an attempt to stop it from escalating to a full-blown fight.

They decided to walk over and get some Butterbeers. They saw Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson, Katie Bell, Alicia Spinnet, and Oliver Wood standing in a circle around George, who was cracking jokes and telling funny stories so that everyone was howling with laughter. The only person who seemed to mind was Percy. This wasn’t the sad and sombre event that he had expected.

Harry noticed Bill and Fleur talking to someone, and Fleur was acting extremely silly. It wasn’t until Bill moved that he saw Andromeda Tonks, so Fleur must be entertaining Teddy. Harry wanted to talk with Mrs. Tonks, and the girls wanted to see the baby. The four of them walked over and Harry tried to introduce himself to her.

“Hello, I’m Harry Potter.”

“Well that’s obvious,” she said looking at his forehead. “We have met before, when you were at my house.”

“Yes, I wasn’t sure if you would recognize me.”

“I remember you tried to curse me,” she said with an accusing tone.

“I am sorry, but you look like Bellatrix” He had hoped she had forgotten that.

“Yes, well that is a curse!”

“I don’t now if Professor Lupin told you, but he made me Teddy’s Godfather.”

“Yes, he did. He also told Dora and me why. It seems you told him to go home and be a husband and father to Dora and Teddy.”

“It was something like that. Maybe not that nice, I am sorry that I spoke to him that harshly. He was just very afraid.” Harry remembered yelling at Remus in the basement of Grimmauld Place.

“I’m glad you did for my daughter’s sake. Thank you.”

Harry was shocked by her compliment and stood there for several seconds before speaking again. “Mrs. Tonks, I really have no idea what a godfather is suppose to do. I really want to be there for Teddy.”

“Have you ever watched a baby before?”

“No. I don’t even know how to change a nappy.”

“I can teach you. I’ll come over and help you watch Teddy,” chimed Ginny. She seemed to have a strange gleam in her eye.

Harry had forgotten to introduce everyone. When he introduced Ginny as his girlfriend she seemed to be so pleased that he could almost feel a warm glow coming from her. After the introductions, they all started a pleasant conversation, which was centred on babies. Bill seemed to be a little uncomfortable with this topic. He mentioned that it was time to go and give the farewells, and pointed towards the pictures. Harry turned and noticed that people were starting to line up to walk past the pictures. George was offering everyone a glass of Firewhiskey so that they could toast the departed.

A knot was forming in the pit of Harry’s stomach. He started to think about finally saying goodbye to his friends.

Percy had gone through the line and was now crying on his father’s shoulder. There were witches and wizards from the Auror department saying goodbye to Tonks. The old Gryffindor Quidditch team had gone past and paid their respects.

Ron and Hermione were in front of Harry. They took a glass from George and stood in front of the pictures mumbled a goodbye and I’ll miss you before downing the whiskey. Hermione had to help Ron off to the side with the other people who had gone through the line.

The knot in Harry’s stomach had now climbed to his throat as he and Ginny took their glasses and stepped up to the pictures.

“Fred, you were like a big brother to me,” croaked Harry. The lump in his throat seemed to be making it hard to speak. “Tonks, I only knew you a short while, but in that time I came to love you as a friend, thank you for being there. Professor Lupin, Moony, I am so sorry that this happened to you so soon after finally finding love. I won’t forget what you wanted me to tell Teddy. When he asks why you died, I’ll tell him it was to help make the world a better place for him to live in. I will also tell him, that you made the world a better place by just being in it. All three of you did! I thank you for that.” He tipped his glass and the Firewhiskey burned his throat. The lump in his throat melted and started to leak from his eyes.

He felt Ginny’s hand squeeze his tightly. Grief had overwhelmed her. Harry put his arm around her and helped her over by Ron and Hermione. Bill and Fleur walked up and paid their respects, and Mrs. Tonks said goodbye to her daughter.

George stepped up to the pictures.

“Mr. and Mrs. Lupin, I hope you are together and happy.” He said before emptying his glass.

“Fred, I couldn’t ask for a better brother, business partner, and fellow trouble maker. I will really really miss you.” George had refilled his glass only to empty it again. “My dear brother, you always said you wanted to go out with a bang. I think you deserve about a thousand,” with this statement George pointed his wand to distant part of the valley. It erupted with a thousand Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Fireworks.

The mood of everyone changed immediately from sad and sombre to one of excitement as the fireworks seemed to fill the entire valley with lights, sparks, pops, and whistles. Whatever sadness Harry was feeling was gone almost immediately; even Percy seemed to be cheering up. People were laughing and giggling. The four of them were standing and watching the fireworks zoom around, when Mrs. Tonks approached Harry.

“I heard what you said up there. I think you will be a good godfather. You already have the most important thing.”

“What’s that?”

“You’re loving and caring. Don’t be a stranger, stop by and visit regularly. You can even bring a friend,” she said looking at Ginny. “I need to leave now, bye.” She turned on the spot and was gone.

They went and picked up a Butterbeer, and sat down on the grass to watch the fireworks. “Hermione, I am paying for us to go to Austalia,” said Harry. “Ron, I also want your parents and Ginny to come along. I think we all deserve a long restful holiday.”

“Harry that will be very expensive are you sure you want to pay for it?” questioned Hermione.

“Yes, I am sure. For the past two days, people have been asking me ‘what I’m going to do next’, and I usually didn’t have an answer. I have decided to spend as much time with people I care about and love. Everything else, I will deal with as necessary.”

Back to index

Chapter 2: Diagon Alley and the Wizengamot

Author's Notes: I guess it is time to complete this story. The magical community is starting to move on from Voldemort's reign of terror, but evil hasn't been eliminated.
I would recommend reading Forgotten before reading this chapter, because it will explain the present state of the Ministry and magical society in general. If this chapter seems a bit rushed, it is because I wanted to give that feeling. So many things are happening to Harry as his life has changed dramatically in the past two days.

“Ginny, its time to go home,” Mr. Weasley stated firmly.

“I want to stay longer with Harry. Please Daddy!”

“No! Your mother and I are leaving now, and you shall come with us. I don’t want to hear about being of age in less than two months. You’re still my… you’re still under seventeen. Ron, we are expecting you home tonight also,” said Mr. Weasley stiffly.

Ginny leaned over and quickly kissed Harry goodnight. She stood up and stomped off with her father. Ron and Hermione sat there in shock. They had never heard Mr. Weasley so stern with anyone. Harry knew that Mr. Weasley had almost called Ginny “his little girl” as before when they had their private talk.

“All right, you two! Snap out of it! Your Dad is just upset because I’m dating Ginny. I don’t think it’s anything personal.” Harry paused, but Ron and Hermione sat there looking dejected. “It’s like he sees her as a six-year-old. He referred to her as a ‘little girl’ earlier today when he talked to me alone in the kitchen. The two of you just happened to get in the way of his mood.” Harry thought this was rather funny, because she was definitely not a “little girl” anymore, at least, not in his eyes.

Harry looked at his friends’ long faces, waiting for them to respond. “Why don’t we see if George needs help cleaning up here? Then go home, get up early tomorrow and plan our trip to Australia.”

They started walking around the valley looking for George. He was sitting off by himself staring at the fireworks, and did not hear them until they were upon him. He stood up and quickly wiped his eyes.

“Hey, George, you need a hand cleaning up?” asked Ron.

George looked at the three of them before speaking, “Yeah, I guess we should be cleaning up. I want to take this stuff back to the shop tonight.”

“Why don’t you come back to the Burrow with Hermione and me?” Ron asked, as they walked around the valley cleaning up. Hermione and Harry Levitated trash to the area by the refreshments.

“No. I need to get on with my life and business. I can’t just give up and move home. Besides, there’s so much work to be done at the shop, we’ve — I mean, I’ve been closed for over two weeks. We also lost our biggest money maker because of Harry,” he said pointedly at Harry.

“Because of me? What did I do?” Harry stared back at him, puzzled by his comment.

“You defeated you-know-who and now no one is going to need those Shield Cloaks. So I have an entire store room full of merchandise that I can’t move.”

“Why don’t you sell them to students at Hogwarts…,” interjected Ron. “…to protect them from sneaky attacks by other students.”

“What? Sell Shielding Cloaks to students. They couldn’t afford them.”

“Advertise them to the parents as a way of protecting their darling little children.” Ron looked at George, and nonchalantly offered an advertising slogan. “Concerned about bullies? Our Shielding Cloaks will protect your loved ones.”

George stood there in thought. A smile started to stretch across his face as he contemplated what Ron had said. “It might work. It will be a different approach, almost respectable. Yes, it might just work out. Brilliant idea, Ron! Thank you! Hey, have you ever considered working at the shop? If this idea works out we — er — I will be needing help.” George pulled out his wand and tapped the leftovers and trash from the party and they all disappeared. “Well, I’m off to the shop. If the three of you get time, visit me at the shop tomorrow, think about what I said, Ron. Bye!”

Ron stood there with a shocked expression on his face.

“What’s wrong?” asked Harry.

“Did he actually ask me to work with him at the shop?”

“Yea, it sure sounded like it,” stated Harry.

“I never imagined he would ever do that,” said Ron still gobsmacked.

Harry and Hermione shared a look, as they tried to control their laughter.

“I think it’s time to go home. I’ll be at the Burrow first thing in the morning. Have a pleasant night you two.” Harry shook Ron’s hand and hugged Hermione goodbye, before Apparating outside of his house. He went straight to the kitchen upon entering.

An owl was sitting on the table with a letter attached to its leg. He removed the letter and noticed it was from Kingsley, the Interim Minister of Magic.

Dear Harry,
The Wizengamot has agreed to your request. Everyone that you mentioned will receive Orders of Merlin First Class. You and all the recipients must appear at the Ministry tomorrow at one o’clock in the afternoon. Please send a reply by return owl. Be prepared to tell the assembled members about your defeat of Voldemort, and the involvement of the other recipients.

Kingsley Shaklebolt, Interim Minister of Magic

Harry wrote a quick note to Kingsley that he would be there. The owl flew up the kitchen’s chimney. Making a cup of tea, he sat down to reread the letter; suddenly the fireplace erupted with green flames. Instinctively, he drew his wand to defend himself.
Ron, Hermione, and finally Mrs. Weasley came out of the fireplace. The first two were clutching letters from the Ministry, and Mrs. Weasley had tears of joy in her eyes. She pushed past the other two and ran to Harry and gave him a rib-breaking hug.

“Ron told me what you said to Kingsley. That he should also receive an Order of Merlin, First Class. Thank you! I can’t believe that my son has received such an honour.” She said this while hugging and kissing Harry. “Well I must be getting back. Come for breakfast tomorrow. Looks like it’s going to be a big day!” She released Harry and left by the Floo.

“Thank you! You really shouldn’t have done that.” Blubbered Hermione, as she hugged and kissed him. “That was so sweet of you.”

“Yeah — thanks mate!” said Ron with a lop-sided grin. “I hope you don’t mind if I don’t hug and kiss you.”

“Not at all, in fact, I would prefer it,” laughed Harry. “Hermione, I would not have survived without the two of you. It was only right that you receive any accolades that I get. Now, no offence, but will you let go of me? I think Ron is jealous.” Hermione released Harry and stepped back to survey the kitchen.

“Harry!” Hermione drew her wand. “Death Eaters!”

Harry and Ron also drew their wands and looked around for the Death Eaters.

“Where Hermione?” Ron and Harry said almost together, as they glanced fearfully around the room.

“Harry, we didn’t return here because Yaxley broke the Fidelius Charm.” She spoke to him as if he was daft. “Don’t you remember when we invaded the Ministry? Dammit! I can’t believe I forgot about it until now.” The three friends stood in the kitchen with their wands readied for an attack. Each one now remembered the incident that Hermione had mentioned and were angry that they had not remembered it earlier. It was the reason that they had gone to live in a tent.


“Harry why are you calling him?” Hermione finished asking this, when there was a pop and the old House Elf appeared beside Harry.

The elf bowed low to Harry. “Yes, Master?”

“Kreacher, has there been anyone in this house except myself and my friends? I am only concerned since the three of us left last September.”

“No, Master. Kreacher knows when people are in his house. Kreacher is a good and loyal elf to good masters.”

“Thank you, Kreacher. You are a good elf. That is all.” The elf disappeared with a pop and they lowered their wands.

“I don’t understand why Yaxley didn’t enter this house when he had a hold on my robes. We Apparated onto the stoop. He had to be inside of the Charms protection.” The three of them looked at each other trying to solve this mystery. Hermione continued, “Yaxley would have turned this house over to Voldemort without hesitation. What stopped him?”

“Maybe he didn’t see the house or wasn’t inside of the Charms protective Shield,” Harry offered, as a reason occurred to him. “Hermione, whenever I would go on recognizance missions to the Ministry, I would sometimes stumble when Apparating onto the stoop. The Death Eaters across the street would react as if they saw something. The Charm’s wards are close to the door. It could be possible that when we Apparated Yaxley landed outside of the ward. The security of the house was never compromised.” He looked at Hermione’s face and could tell she was not convinced.

“Hermione, I think Harry is right. I remember that Yaxley grabbed at my arm when you Apparated us to the woods. That’s what caused me to splinch.” Hermione looked at her two friends for a minute, before conceding that they might be right.

“I guess. I mucked that all up and made us live in that tent for nothing.” Disappointment showed on her face and in her voice.

“Hermione, you were fantastic. We all believed it too. It all worked out didn’t it?” Harry walked over to her and gave her a reassuring hug. “I owe you my life.”

“Ahem. Hands off my girl Potter. You have your own.” Ron said with a smile, moving Harry away so he could embrace and reassure Hermione.

They spent the next half an hour talking about the awards, and things that they would like to do tomorrow. Finally, Harry said they should all be getting to bed and reminded Ron that he was expected home. This statement made Ron grunt something under his breath, as he and Hermione Flooed to the Burrow.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

The next morning after a relaxing bath, Harry quickly dressed and Apparated to the Burrow. He appeared on the walk by the kitchen. There seemed to be a mist in the air that the morning sun had not burnt off yet. He started walking towards the house and before he reached the door Ginny flew out in her nightclothes. She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a passionate good morning kiss.

“I missed you. I love you. Daddy wouldn’t let me come over last night. He’s being really strange towards me since yesterday.”

“I love you too. Yeah, I noticed that about your Dad. We’ll talk later. I think I know why.”

“Ginevra! I raised you better than to run around outside in your nightclothes,” Mr. Weasley said from the kitchen door. “Good morning, Harry.”

Harry and Ginny entered the kitchen to find Ron and Hermione up and dressed. Ron was holding his letter. The kitchen was filled with the delicious aromas of bacon, eggs, toast, and tea. Ginny gave Harry a little hug and peck on the cheek under the watchful eye of Mr. Weasley, before leaving to change out of her nightclothes. He sat down at the table and Mrs. Weasley immediately put a plate stacked with food in front of him.

Harry took a deep breath and worked up the courage to ask about Australia. “Mr. Weasley, the three of us are planning to leave for Australia soon to find Hermione’s parents. I would like for you, Mrs. Weasley, and Ginny to come along with us. I think we all could use a holiday.”

“I — um — appreciate the offer, but I’m afraid we wouldn’t be able to go. I will need to get back to work and well — it just wouldn’t be possible.” Mr. Weasley seemed to blush slightly while saying this.

“If it is a concern about money, I was going to pay for the trip. I owe the two of you so much that I would really like to do this for you. Besides, we will probably ride on an airplane, please come along.”

At this point both Ron and Hermione joined in to convince his parents to accompany them. The discussion lasted several minutes with the usual comments about Harry “should not be doing this” and Harry insisting, “I want to”. He was very careful not to mention that the only way Ginny could come was with them. Finally, the Weasleys consented to accompany them to Australia.

“Ginny, you, your father, and I are going to Australia with Ron, Hermione, and Harry,” announced Mrs. Weasley, when Ginny came back into the room.

“You convinced them! Wonderful!” Ginny squealed, as she hugged and kissed both her mother and father before sitting down right next to Harry. She put her arm around his waist, and leaned her head on his shoulder. Harry was sure he heard Mr. Weasley mumble something from the other side of the Daily Prophet.

Ginny only ate two pieces of dry toast and some eggs, insisting that she wasn’t hungry. The entire time she was eating, she refused to let go of Harry. After breakfast was finished, they decided that everyone should go to the Ministry of Magic.

Mr. Weasley said that he would take them to the Department of International Magical Cooperation to see if they could plan their trip. After that, they would go to Diagon Alley to see George, and Harry could go to Gringotts. If they left right away, they should be able to do this and still get back to the Ministry in time for the awards.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

They were at the Ministry by nine-thirty. Australia, they discovered was not an easy destination to reach. The witch told them that all the Magical governments had broken off relations with the British Ministry during Voldemort’s control, because of abuses against Muggles.

They would have to use Muggle transportation the entire way there and back. There also was not any normal type of communication either. The owls just could not travel that far over the ocean. It seemed that Muggle communication would be used. When they said that they wanted to leave the next day, the witch, helping them, nearly fainted. However, since this was for Harry Potter and his close friends she would try her best.

Kingsley and Professor McGonagall were right about his fame. Even at the Ministry, he was drawing stares from everyone, and people were constantly thanking him and congratulating him. They even asked for his autograph. One particularly attractive witch cornered him in the lift and insisted he give her his autograph. Hermione grudgingly gave him a quill, and Harry, mumbling under his breath, asked what she wanted him to sign. She pulled up her robe and insisted that he sign her thigh.

Luckily, the lift reached her floor before Ginny could break free of her mother’s and Hermione’s grip. Therefore, the witch escaped without Harry’s autograph and being hexed to bits by Ginny.

The plans for the trip would be finalized later that afternoon. They had two hours to go to Diagon Alley, before they had to be back for the meeting. They decided to Apparate directly into Weasley Wizard Wheezes back room. The sudden appearance of six people in the back room, where George was taking inventory, made him jump and throw a box of joke wands. They landed on the floor and turned into forty rubber chickens.

“Bloody hell! What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?” cried George.

“We have great news. Ron is getting an award, an Order of Merlin, First Class, this afternoon,” proclaimed Mrs. Weasley proudly. George congratulated Ron and proceeded to harass him about receiving such a lofty honour. Harry decided to take his leave so that he could go to Gringotts and get the money needed for the trip.

When he stepped out of the front door, the street was busy, and everyone seemed to be happy. Unlike the last time, he was on this street and going to Gringotts. Harry started walking towards the bank and had not walked a quarter of the distance when someone shouted, “Hey, it’s Harry Potter.”

The street suddenly became impassable. People seemed to emerge from everywhere, and they all wanted to see him. It was a repeat of the Ministry; pats on the back, handshakes, an attempted hug and kiss on the check, and people wanting autographs. Harry tried to keep moving towards the bank, but it was almost impossible with everyone crowding around him like this. He started wondering if Dumbledore went through this after he defeated Grindlewald.

He became disoriented as to where he was on the street. He hoped that he was not heading away from the bank, when he heard. “Avada…,”

Harry’s fighting instincts took over. In a swift fluid motion, he fell to the ground, while turning towards the sound and pulling his wand out of his sleeve.

“…Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot over Harry’s prone body.

“Stupefy!” Harry shot a stunning spell back at the place where the killing curse originated. He hit his mark. The other wizard fell to the ground stunned unconscious.

As he fell, Harry felt something fall across his legs. Looking at his legs, he saw a wizard with a look of shock on his face, and his eyes and mouth were open. Dead! Killed by the curse Harry had avoided, just an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The street suddenly erupted with hundreds of shouting voices. Harry could only hear bits and pieces as he pushed the wizard off him and looked around for more attackers.

“Potter’s been attacked!”

“Two are down!”

The street quickly cleared out, as people were Disapparating to get away from the fight. Harry slowly walked over to his attacker. He looked to see if he could recognize him. Sensing movement behind him, he turned and saw all the Weasleys and Hermione running towards him. Ron was the first to reach him followed by Ginny and George.

“Are you all right mate? What happened?” exclaimed Ron.

Harry was going to tell him, when a small voice crying out pierced his heart.

“Please, get up Daddy!” A little girl no older than six was leaning over the dead wizard. Her long blond hair fell over periwinkle robes that looked brand new. She was looking into his blank dead eyes while her little hand shook his shoulder.

“I want to go home now. Please get up. I don’t want ice cream. I just want to go home to Mummy. Please get up.”

Her sweet innocent voice rang through the street like a bell. No one was talking anymore everyone stood staring at this little girl trying to wake her dead father. Harry started to walk over to her, but Mrs. Weasley reached her first.

“Dear, Your Daddy can’t get up. He’s — he’s has been hurt. Is your Mummy or someone else here that you know?”

“Mummy is at home. I don’t know anyone else. Why — why did someone hurt my Daddy?”

“I don’t know why.” Mrs. Weasley answered as she started to cry. She reached her hand out to the girl. “Why don’t you come inside, and we will try to find your mother.”

“I don’t want to leave my Daddy out here.” Tears started to fall from the girl’s eyes.

Mrs. Weasley took the girls hand as George levitated her father’s body and followed them into the joke shop. As she walked, she asked Mr. Weasley, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione to try to find someone who knew her. Harry noticed that as they dispersed, Ginny was holding on tight to her father’s hand.

Two cracks shocked Harry back to reality, turning he saw two Aurors that he recognized from last night’s memorial service walking towards him. After taking the attackers wand and binding him head to foot with rope, they questioned Harry and many of the people still on the street. Harry could not help feeling responsible for the wizard’s death when he told about ducking out of the way of the Killing Curse.

The Aurors went into the joke shop to check on the little girl and see her father.

Harry turned towards the bank when he felt a hand on his arm. He turned expecting to see Ginny, Hermione, or Ron, but it was an old man, who walked with a cane.

“It wasn’t your fault that man died. You weren’t the one that fired the curse,” wheezed the man. “You can’t save the entire world, Harry Potter.”

It was as if the man could read his thoughts. Harry had been thinking about how this should not be happening anymore. Voldemort is dead! Families should not be torn apart like this. Another family ripped apart by death and hatred just like his, Neville’s, the Bones’, the Weasley’s, and Teddy Lupin’s. It was supposed to have stopped.

Harry acknowledged the wizened man. He had no choice but to continue with their plans of finding the Grangers. The little girl was being taken care of by Mrs. Weasley and the Aurors should be able to help, so there was not anything for him to do. He swallowed his guilt of the wizard’s death and started walking towards the bank. He felt queasy, as he strode through the street, as though he had swallowed a bit of rancid food.

The bank was under a great deal of repair. He found it humorous that here he was going into this bank to check on his vault, when four days ago, he was breaking into the Lestrange’s. When Harry stepped through the inner set of doors, he could swear that every goblin turned to look at him.

He walked up to the nearest window. “Hello, I’m here to check on my vault and to make a withdrawal.”

“Do you have your key, Mr. Potter?”

“No. I would like to check on the Black Family vault willed to me by Sirius Black. I was never given a key.”

The goblin dropped off his chair and walked to one of the back offices. Harry could see them back there talking and occasionally staring out at him. After ten minutes of this, the goblin returned with a scroll of parchment.

“We checked the records and it seems that you have been left the entire contents of the Black Family vault. However, you will not be able to go to it for some time. It seems that someone broke into this bank a few days ago and flew our security dragon out of here. Therefore, we are now in the process of training a new one. It is too dangerous to allow anyone down there, except our own specially trained staff. If you want to make a withdrawal, you will need to write it down the amount, and we will retrieve it for you.”

“Well. I need two thousand Galleons sent to the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and I would also like to have some Muggle money. I think twenty-five thousand pounds should be enough. Do you think I would have enough in the vault for that transaction?”

The goblin looked at Harry with his jet-black expressionless eyes, and then down at the scroll he was carrying. “I will get your Muggle money now. The rest will be sent to the Ministry this afternoon.”

“Is that a record of the vaults transactions,” Harry asked about the scroll.

“Yes. Would Mr. Potter like to see it?” The goblin extended his hand with the scroll.
Harry took the scroll and started to read it. The vault had initial holdings of 8,705,266 Galleons 14 Sickles and 3 Knuts. There were eight or nine withdrawals of ten to twenty Galleons, probably Kreacher buying things for the house. Then he saw a transaction of 1,327,008 Galleons for a dragon and repairs.

As he was reading the scroll, the goblin had counted out his pound notes on the counter. It looked at Harry with a nasty smile on its face. “Dragon rides are very expensive, aren’t they Mr. Potter.”

Harry took the cash and squeezed it into his Moke Skin bag before leaving the window. He left the bank liking goblins even less than before. No wonder they “forgave” the three of them. He had to pay for everything.

Checking his watch, he noticed that it was almost noon. He walked down the bank’s steps to Diagon Alley. The attack must have chased people away. At least he did not have to worry about people flocking to him. They were no doubt afraid of being hit by a stray Killing Curse.

Entering the joke shop, he smelled lunch. He didn’t have much of an appetite, but he wanted to know if they found the little girl’s mother.

Ginny was waiting for him behind the counter. She was playing with some of the Muggle magic cards.

When Harry walked in, she got up and gave him a warm comforting hug and kiss. “I am happy to see you’re all right. I should have done that before, but seeing that little girl was so upsetting. She’s home now. The Aurors were able to locate her mother.” Ginny stopped talking to look him in the eye before continuing. “How are you feeling? You’re not blaming yourself, are you?”

“He died because he was standing next to me. Yes! I am feeling guilty. Ginny, that could have been you.”

“I know being at your side will be dangerous. I am willing to accept that. What I won’t accept is you trying to shove me away to keep me safe. I want you to love me and to be with me! Please, don’t tell me to go away for my protection.”

“I won’t, but I can’t help but want to protect you. Is that okay with you?” He did not wait for a response. He just wrapped both arms around her and kissed her.

“Excuse me! Lunch is ready.” Mr. Weasley was standing in the doorway to the back room. “We need to get moving if we are going to make the presentation.”

Ginny pulled from Harry’s hug and faced her father. “Daddy we need to talk. I mean you, me, and Harry need to talk.”

“Must it be now, dear? Can’t it wait until later?”

“No! We need to come to an understanding. The sooner the better, is how I look at it. I love you, Daddy that will never change. I know that when you look at me. You see me as a little girl, and I don’t want that to change. I will always be your little girl, no matter how old I am. But, I am not a little girl anymore and I need a different type of love…”

“I know that. I know a great deal more about this than you may realize. Your mother and I are concerned that you two might rush into marriage and family too quickly.” When Mr. Weasley said this both Harry and Ginny were taken back. “We couldn’t think of a better man for you than Harry, as long as he is careful about signing autographs.” He looked at Harry and smirked. Harry’s face turned red, as he remembered the witch in the elevator.

“We are concerned about you being caught up in this whirlwind of passion that the two of you emit whenever you look at each other.” Harry and Ginny looked at each other, their faces turning bright red. “A blind man can see the excitement when you two looks at each other. You aren’t seventeen and Harry is only a year older. Spend some time together without being married. Ginny, you are too much of a free spirit to settle down at a young age and try to raise a family, Go, discover, meet new challenges, after a while, you will have time to start a family. Promise your mother and me that you won’t run off and get married. Please promise me.”

Ginny and Harry stood there, taken back at what they had just heard.

“I promise, Mr. Weasley,” Harry said sheepishly.

Ginny looked at Harry and then her father. She seemed to be thinking about something before she said, “All right, I agree.”

“Good, now, why don’t the two of you come back and get a bite to eat before we go to the Ministry?”

All the Weasley’s were there sitting around several small tables that had been pulled together to make a long one. There were cucumber sandwiches and pea soup from the Leaky Cauldron, but no one was eating much. They all seemed to be preoccupied with the attack. Harry had to answer a barrage of questions about what had happened. He took a sandwich and a bowl of soup but did not finish either one before he had to leave for the Ministry.

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The entire party arrived in the Atrium at twelve-forty, and the two Aurors that were at Diagon Alley met them. They informed Harry and everyone else that they were to go to the Minister’s office first. All the recipients and their guests were to meet the Minister before going to the Wizengamot. While in the lift, the Aurors told Harry that the attacker was a cousin of the Death Eater, Runcorn.

The Minister’s office was on floor number one. Harry had been there last year when he removed Alastor Moody’s magical eye from Umbridge’s door. They were led back to the exact same area where Umbridge had her office. Neville and his Grandmother were there along with Professor McGonagall. Everyone was extremely excited about seeing each other, Neville and his Grandmother could not stop thanking Harry for suggesting this honour. While everyone was talking, Harry slipped away to look at the door that had held Moody’s eye.

While Harry stared at the door, Kingsley walked up behind him. “All right there, Harry? You seem to have a great interest in this particular door. Any reason why?”

“This was Umbridge’s office. When we broke into the Ministry, I ended up here…”

“You broke into the Ministry?”

“Yes! Didn’t you know? Moody’s magical eye was planted in this door by that toad, Umbridge. I almost got us captured because I took the eye out of the door. I could not stand the thought of someone like her using it to spy on her workers. Stupid and impulsive wasn’t it?”

“Maybe it was. I would have done the same thing. Mad-Eye was the Auror that trained me.” Kingsley placed a reassuring hand on Harry’s shoulder. “It is time to go. You can reveal everything about last year. The entire Wizengamot has been screened and sworn to secrecy. Did you prepare a speech?”

“Me? No! That’s the type of thing that Hermione would do. I’ll wing it. Although I am a little concerned about revealing too much to the members of the Wizengamot. Are you sure you can trust them?”

Kingsley chuckled. “Yes, we can trust them. Many of the corrupt ones have been removed. They all thought that Voldemort would reign forever and were not afraid to show their true allegiance.”

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Everyone entered the Wizengamot chamber. Harry and the other recipients sat down in front by the doors, and their guests were seated in a special section. Harry stared up into the seats that held the Wizengamot. The last time he was here the seats had all been filled. Now barely a third of them had members sitting in them.

Kingsley called the meeting to order. He introduced Neville, Professor McGonagall, Hermione, Ron, and finally Harry. He stated that these people were responsible for the downfall of the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Harry chuckled, as these sorcerers seemed to jump at the sound of his name.

One wizard stood up and asked. “Why should we honour all these people, when it was Harry Potter that killed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?”

“Because, I could not have accomplished it without their help,” Harry stood up and stated this emphatically. “My friends put themselves in grave danger to help me accomplish a task given to me by Albus Dumbledore. If they had not done this Voldemort would still be alive, and I would be the one that is dead. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger accompanied me and helped all last year in accomplishing my tasks. Neville Longbottom led a resistance at Hogwarts that allowed me to enter there and complete my mission, and, unknown to him, he also destroyed a piece of Voldemort. Professor McGonagall organized the defense of Hogwarts and the evacuation of its underage students. She did this so that I could accomplish my mission, even though, I would not tell her exactly what I was doing. If any of these people had not done these things I honestly believe that I would have failed, and Voldemort would still be alive.”

“Are you sure that he is dead?” We thought that before,” shouted another wizard.

“Albus Dumbledore knew that he wasn’t dead. I should say completely dead. Professor Dumbledore knew that Tom Riddle had made Horcruxes.” A murmur went through the chamber when Harry mentioned Horcruxes, and many of the members turned pale. “My mission was to find these Horcruxes and destroy them, until I did, Tom Riddle could not be killed. Yes! His name was actually Tom Marvolo Riddle, not Lord Voldemort.”

Harry started to tell the assembly about how they had theorized that there were six Horcruxes when actually there were seven. He told about each one; how it was discovered and then destroyed. He looked over at the Weasleys when he talked about the diary. He explained about Dumbledore destroying the ring and their pursuit of the locket the night he died.

He even spoke about Kreacher’s and Regulus Black’s involvement. He talked about taking the locket from Umbridge and Ron destroying it. Breaking into Gringotts and taking Hufflepuff’s cup.

He described all the help that Neville had given him to hunt for the Diadem of Ravenclaw, and for calling in Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix. He explained about Ron and Hermione entering the Chamber of Secrets to get basilisk’s fangs and destroying the cup. This was all accomplished because Professor McGonagall believed in him and organized the castle to fight against the Death Eaters, so he could locate the Diadem and destroy it.

He talked about the death of Severus Snape. Even as he died, he gave Harry the knowledge to defeat Tom Riddle, but Harry never revealed the reason why he became a spy.

When Harry talked about the last unknown Horcrux and the fact he would have to die by Tom Riddle’s hand, a gasp seemed to circulate the room. He described going into the forest and being hit with the Avada Kedavra Curse. He told them about how the blood that Riddle had taken from him three years earlier kept him from being “completely” dead and allowed him to come back.

Harry stopped talking to get control of his emotions as he thought of his parents, Remus, and Sirius. He did not reveal anything about the Resurrection Stone or the Deathly Hallows. Looking over at the Weasley’s, he saw Mrs. Weasley and Ginny’s faces were shiny with tears. He stated that his sacrifice had weakened Riddle’s powers, as his mother’s sacrifice had protected him.

He described Neville opposing Riddle and eventually destroying the last Horcrux when he killed Nagini with Godric Gryffindor’s sword. Only after all these tasks were accomplished could Tom Riddle be killed, and fortunately, he was.

Harry had finished talking about the destruction of Riddle when the memory of the dead wizard and his daughter came back to him.

“Tom Riddle or Lord Voldemort is dead. Evil is not. Today someone tried to kill me. They missed and killed an innocent man, left his little girl without a father. No one person can conquer evil. It takes everyone working together, just like at Hogwarts where all the Houses joined to protect the school.

“When I say everyone, I am also including Giants, Half-Giants, Werewolves, House-Elves, and Centaurs. They were there at Hogwarts fighting evil alongside of purebloods, mixed-bloods, and Muggle-borns. Unless we put aside our prejudices, evil will rise again. So please, I implore you as leaders of the magical community to work together with branches of our society to make it a better place to live. Thank you for listening.”

Harry stopped talking, and the room erupted with thunderous applause. The wizards and witches started coming down out of their seats to shake everybody’s hands. It was almost a repeat of when Harry killed Riddle. Everyone wanted to talk to and congratulate not only Harry, but also all the other recipients. Neville looked very surprised. Seven years ago, he seemed to be destined for failure. Harry looked at Ron wondering if he will ever feel overshadowed by his family again. Hermione looked like she was talking everybody’s ears off. She was probably discussing House Elf rights.

He noticed that Ginny and her father were gone. He was a little disappointed, because he wanted to introduce her as his only girlfriend, contrary to what Rita Skeeter has been writing in the Daily Prophet.

Finally, after an hour of handshakes and questions by Department of Mysteries employees about his beyond life experience, Kingsley announced that the recipients and their families were going to leave. He led them back to his office.

Mr. Weasley and Ginny were waiting for them. They had left the chamber and went shopping in Diagon Alley. They wanted to pick up a few things for the trip. Everyone, except Hermione and Ron, treated Harry differently. They were so moved by his story about walking to his death.

Kingsley handed them all official scrolls stating that they have received an Order of Merlin, First Class.

Mr. Weasley stated that they should get going because there will be plenty to do tonight to get ready for their big trip tomorrow. “I went to the Department of International Magical Cooperation and picked up our information and aireoplane tickets. We leave the Burrow tomorrow at noon, so we can be at Heathrow to board our aireoplane at four-thirty. The Ministry will be sending cars to pick us up. So, we must get home and pack.” Mr. Weasley announced to everyone while walking to the lift.

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The next several hours were controlled mayhem as everyone was rushing around trying to find things to take. The trio was finished in less than an hour, since they never unpacked their rucksacks from the past year. They went outside to get away from all the noise and confusion.

Sitting on the grass in the orchard, Ron and Harry were chatting about the witches and wizards at the Wizengamot. Hermione had her nose in a book that Mr. Weasley had bought her The Magical History of Australia.

“I thought you weren’t supposed to tell anyone about the Horcruxes,” inquired Ron.

“I think that was to keep Riddle from realizing we were hunting them. He didn’t invent them. The Horcrux has been around for years, so I imagine other witches and wizards knew about them,” Harry replied.

“You seemed to leave some other things out of your story today, Harry,” said Hermione, without looking up from the book. “I didn’t hear a single word about the Deathly Hallows.”

“Well. I thought it best not to mention them. The same with Professor Snape being in love with my mother is something that they did not need to know. I just wanted everyone to know what the four of you had done.”

“I agree that was a very wise thing to do,” replied Hermione. She closed her book and looked up at Ron and Harry. “I thought your ending was wonderful. How you stressed co-operation between all the factions of the magical community. Professor Dumbledore would be so proud of you.”

“Yeah, thanks for not mentioning the fact that I left the two of you out there in the woods,” Ron added sheepishly.

“We never stopped thinking of you, and you never stopped thinking of us. You weren’t really gone,” Harry reassured Ron with a smile. “Hermione, I need some advice. It’s about Ginny.” Harry felt a lump in his throat as he tried to form the words. “She seems — a — little distant — after hearing about what we had done. I realized that she never had a chance to ask me what had happened.”

“I think hearing you had walked into those woods to die for everyone else was a pretty big shock. The fact that you died and then came back is an intense thing to comprehend. Everyone in that chamber was shocked at that revelation. Did you notice how everyone was treating you, almost with reverence? You don’t need to worry about her loving you any less,” Hermione chuckled at this last statement.

“Thanks, I wasn’t sure,” Harry said with relief.

“You mean that you thought my sister would stop loving you? It’s a good thing that we were with you, because you are really thick, mate,” laughed Ron.

Harry punched Ron’s shoulder as the other two were laughing at him. Hermione moved to kiss Ron’s shoulder and within seconds they were lying on the ground snogging. Harry quietly stood up and slowly wandered back towards the Burrow. He saw Ginny walking through the garden looking for something and walked towards her.

“Hi. I came out here to tell the three of you that dinner is ready. Where are Ron and Hermione?” Ginny asked quietly, still with the same uneasy distant expression, as she had at the Ministry.

“They’re busy, at the moment. Do you want to go with me to get them?”

“Busy? I suppose they are snogging?”

“Yeah. We had better talk loudly so they can hear us coming. Are you feeling all right? You seem — um — distant.”

“It was what you said about sacrificing yourself. You actually died?”

“Not exactly, but it was close. I was still able to return.”

“I think that I owe you a huge apology for the things I said and did yesterday.” Ginny walked into Harry’s chest and wrapped her arms around him. “I understand things better now. I don’t know if I could have made that walk.” She relaxed her grip, looked into his eyes, before tracing his scar with her left index finger. “I can’t believe that you had a piece of Voldemort’s soul in you and it never possessed you. I was possessed from writing in a book. How could you resist it?”

“I am not sure how I was able to resist being possessed.” Harry returned her loving gaze. “There are many things I could tell you about my walk, but the most important was thinking about never being with you again. Just before I — he cursed me. I thought about holding you and snogging you.”

“You know, I really want to snog you senseless. However, dinners ready and I’m rather peckish.” She smiled at him and touched his lips with a finger. “I think I’ll have these for dessert. Now, where is my brother? I want to spoil his fun for once,” said Ginny with an evil smile.

Back to index

Chapter 3: Off to Australia

Author's Notes: Harry, Hermione, and the four Weasley's are leaving for Australia to find Hermione's parents. Hermione proves to be a truly clever witch, but she can also be a very emotional witch. Harry gets to go on a first date with Ginny, and it is relatively uneventful.

Harry looked at himself in the mirror. His hand-me-down clothes were worn and ill fitting, but they were all he had. He needed to look like a Muggle for the plane ride, and these were his best Muggle clothes.

I wonder if I will embarrass Ginny. Harry laughed about his concern for embarrassing her. It felt good to be able to worry about simple things like that. It was even better to realize that Ginny was his girlfriend again. He was worried that she would find someone else, but she waited for him. He smiled as that thought processed through his mind. She actually waited for me and said she loves me.

The past two days had been wonderful with her. Harry chuckled at how much her attitude changed towards him after hearing about his “adventures”. Yesterday morning, she held onto him as if he was going to run away, if she let go. After hearing what he had been through and telling her about the last thing he saw before being cursed, she realized that he was there to stay, and was more relaxed around him.

Picking up his rucksack, he started downstairs to the kitchen. He stopped at the bathroom to pick up the last of his toiletries. Closing the rucksack, he continued his descent. On the bottom flight of stairs, he heard voices coming from the kitchen.

Pulling out his wand, he tentatively walked down the last of the steps. He had just reached the bottom step when he recognized Ron and Hermione’s voices. They had made themselves a cup of tea and were sitting there waiting for him.

“We had to get away,” groaned Ron. “Mum’s in a real state trying to get everything packed and arrangements with Bill, Fleur, George, and Percy to take care of the place.”

“What time should we be arriving at your house,” asked Harry.

“We all should be there by eleven o’clock, or Ron’s mum will go mental when we do arrive. I have something that I need to do this morning, so I’ll see you at the Burrow by eleven o’clock sharp.” Hermione stated in a bossy voice and then walked out the front door and Disapparated.

Harry noticed Ron’s disappointment at her not kissing him goodbye and puzzlement about where she went. “Don’t worry about it. She must be all twisted up inside not seeing her parents in a year. So, don’t be surprised if she starts acting like your mother.”

“Oh, wonderful - two of them to deal with,” snapped Ron. Both of them laughed about this, while dreading the possibility.

Harry looked at Ron for a second before calmly speaking to him. “Hermione has always been strong and stable for us. This is the first time that the problem has been personal to her.” Ron looked at Harry and raised an eyebrow as though he was going to argue with him. “Hold on! I mean it is the first time her blood family is affected. It’s different.”

Looks of realization shown on Ron’s face, “You’re right, it is different when it is family like that.” An unspoken understanding passed between the two friends, that it was their turn to be strong and stable for Hermione.

The conversation quickly changed to other things, which means Quidditch and brooms. They talked spiritedly until Harry checked his watch and saw it was 10:45. He ran around the house for one last check, before Apparating to the Burrow with Ron.

Ron was not exaggerating. Mrs. Weasley seemed to be in a particularly foul mood as she ran around the house giving orders. Her voice echoed through the house and out into the garden. She was yelling at Ginny about finishing her packing when they arrived. Ron and Harry placed their rucksacks[G2] on the ground by the curved pathway that led to the front door of the house and decided that standing guard over them outside would be a smart thing to do.

Hermione arrived a few minutes later barking orders to the two of them making sure they had everything. She then marched off into the fray inside. Ginny appeared later, dragging her school trunk. She placed it on the ground beside Harry and gave him a good morning kiss. Five minutes later Bill and Fleur appeared with looks of concern etched on their faces. They walked up to the three of them.

“Mum’s settling down now. I hope everything goes well for you, and Hermione’s able to locate her parents without much problem. The three of you have a great time. Keep an eye on Ginny for me,” said Bill.

“I will,” replied Harry.

“I was talking to Ron,” Bill stated rather coolly. Harry felt his face get warm as Ginny’s eldest brother stared at him. Ginny’s and Fleur’s giggling didn’t help Harry keep his composure either. After a few tense moments, Bill and Fleur walked outside of the wards and disappeared.

Mr. Weasley came out of the house with Hermione at eleven-thirty-five. They brought a couple of suitcases with them and joined the three already standing in the yard. Everyone was dressed as Muggles. Harry noticed, for the first time, that Ron had done a very good job with his clothes, probably with a little help from his girlfriend.

“Hermione, where did you go in such a rush this morning?” inquired Ron.

“I went to pick up letters my parents wrote me from Australia.”

“I thought that you altered their memory, so they forgot that they had a daughter,” questioned Harry. “Why would they write to you?”

“They weren’t writing to me. They were writing to Mrs. Mary Teabring a friend I implanted into their memory. I rented a post box in London for two years. I figured if we hadn’t succeeded in two years then…”

“That was bloody brilliant!” exclaimed Harry. “So, you have their address on the letters. That will make things easy. We should be able to find them within a day and…”

“They will probably hate me and never speak to me again,” said Hermione, tears leaking from her eyes.

“That is why I thought we all should go with you. If your parents get angry with you, we will try to explain your actions,” assured Harry. “I think once they hear about what happened here. They will realize that you were only trying to protect them.”

Everyone was busy trying to reassure Hermione that her parents would forgive her, for altering their memories. Her tears were still flowing when Mrs. Weasley finally joined them in the front yard.

“Ron, what did you do to make Hermione cry?”

“Nothing, Mum,” Ron snapped back at his mum. “She’s just worried about her parent’s reactions.”

“Oh, Hermione, my dear, don’t worry; we won’t stop until we’ve made them understand.” Mrs. Weasley walked over gave her one of her big motherly hugs.

“Thanks everyone! You’re all really wonderful friends. Oh! I love you all!” Hermione blubbered, while crying even harder from happiness.

The cars arrived at exactly noon. They were all loaded up and leaving the Burrow within fifteen minutes. The long three-and-a-half-hour trip to Heathrow was pleasant. Hermione’s spirits had improved greatly. Mrs. Weasley seemed to be excited to be going, now that all the preparations and packing was completed.

Arriving just before three-thirty, they were unpacked and hauling all their bags, without magic, into the airport. Hermione and Harry took the lead with getting their luggage checked in, and the tickets arranged.

The only flights that the Ministry could get tickets for were three separate flights that eventually ended up in Australia. They would fly from London to Cairo, Egypt, then Cairo to Mumbai, India, and then finally to Sydney, Australia. At each stop, they would have at least a four hour wait[G6]. Harry added up the time and figured that if all goes as scheduled the trip would take twenty-seven hours. He wondered if everyone would be friends when they finally arrived in Australia.

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The first thing that they ran into was the security screenings for carry-on luggage. One of the security guards asked, “if they packed their own bags”, and Mrs. Weasley responded by saying that she did not have a House Elf, so “yes”.

A security guard asked Hermione “to please empty her beaded bag onto the counter for inspection”. Harry used a Confunding Spell to avoid problems. Hermione completely forgot about all the security in airports. She never had problems before with her parents. Ginny had to use her wand to write on a piece of paper; when she was questioned about the “wooden stick”, she was carrying on the plane with her.

By the time, they had boarded the third plane, they did not even wait until they were questioned they just went through security Confunding anyone who looked at them[G9]. Hermione was worried that those spells would not wear off and something tragic might happen[G10]. Everyone else was so tired of the security checks they tried to ignore her, and when she persisted, Mr. Weasley assured her that the charms would have minimal effects on the Muggles.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

When the first plane took off from Heathrow, Harry leaned his head back against the seat and let out a long sigh. The days since Voldemort died were as frantic as the days leading up to it. The celebrations and memorials wore on him. Harry realized that he was the figurehead of the magical world now, as much the leader as Kingsley. A position he didn’t want but was his regardless. His life had changed, and there was nothing he can do to stop it. Without Professor Dumbledore, he was now the most celebrated wizard in their world.

All he wanted to do was spend the time in Australia relaxing, and enjoying his time with Ginny. It was good that he was getting away from England because he would never be able to do that, without hiding from everyone. He was tired of hiding from people, and the all the attention. It would be wonderful to be able to walk around without people running up to him, but that was not possible in England.

As he cleared his head of everything dealing with the British magical community, Harry realized that he had never taken Ginny on a date. The only date he had ever been on was with Cho on Valentine’s Day, and that had been a bloody disaster. Ginny and he spent time with each other in quiet places, but they never went on a proper date. He looked to his left, stared into her brown eyes, and gently squeezed her hand. His life was changing, but with Ginny by his side, the changes might not be all bad.

Trying to find something to do beside sleeping and eating became difficult. Ron wanted to play Exploding Snap or Wizard’s Chess, and he became extremely frustrated when Hermione reminded him that those games would draw to much attention. Therefore, they read magazines and watched movies on the plane. The movies fascinated the Weasleys because it was their first exposure to TV or video. Harry noticed that Ginny became very interested in various fashion magazines, at the airport waiting areas. She kept looking at the different dress styles and asking his and Hermione’s opinion how they would look on her.

Mr. Weasley was his usual over-excited self. He was threatened with restraints on the first plane when he tried to open one of the emergency hatches. All he wanted to do was go out and look at the wings while they were in flight. He resigned himself to looking out the window at the wings.

That did not prevent a reprimand from the flight attendants after he yelled out; “the wings were flapping, I knew that they must have flapped”. Mrs. Weasley was finally able to pump enough gin into him during the layovers that he would just sit in his seat and hum to himself until he fell asleep.

The travelers finally arrived in Sydney at eight o’clock in the morning, Australia time. It took two hours to retrieve their luggage and find a taxi large enough to take them to the hotel. Everyone had to find warm clothing upon arriving, because the temperature was only nine degrees Celsius and it was raining. The long trip was showing on their faces, as nobody was talking, and their expressions were blank.

The hotel was an hour’s drive away from the airport, located in the southwestern suburban outskirts of the city. It sat on a small hill in the center of a large plot of well-manicured land. The main building rose like a beige monolith from the center of a sprawling complex of buildings. It appeared light and pleasant even with the ugly grey skies and rain. The drive arched its way into the center of the complex at the base of the monolith.

The travelers walked into the lobby and were impressed at the sight. It was large and airy, decorated with earth tones and natural plants with a high ceiling. The décor was beautiful and gave the impression that you were outside on a patio. No one expected the hotel to be this nice. Harry once again felt uncomfortable wearing his worn-out Muggle clothing.

They walked up to the main desk and introduced themselves as the Weasley party. The woman behind the counter looked up their reservations and immediately went into her introduction to the hotel.

“Weasley party of six, a two-day reservation with three adjoining suites, and your dinner reservations for tonight are at six-thirty in the main dinning room, which is down that hall and to the left.

“Excuse me,” interrupted Mr. Weasley. “What dinner reservations?”

“They are part of your reservations, sir. There are also complimentary spa and boutique privileges with your rooms. Many guests who travel from Europe enjoy them. It helps them to relax, reenergize, and forget about the trip,” She said with a sweet smile. “There are also a variety of shops in our complex. You may find them an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Here are your key cards and the lifts are to your right. Your luggage will be taken to your room shortly. I hope you enjoy your stay in Australia.”

On the way to their rooms, Harry pulled Hermione to the side and put a wad of notes in her hand. “I want you to take Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, and yourself to the spa and shopping. Buy yourselves something nice, if you need more come see me. I am going to do the same with the guys. Wait until I try to convince Ron to go to the spa.” Harry was hoping what the clerk said about the spa was true. He wanted to forget about the plane ride and be ready for tonight.

“Are you sure about this? It could be very expensive.”

“I know. I don’t care; its only money, but you are my family.” With this statement and the look on his face, Hermione conceded and took the money. She also reminded him that it is normal to tip workers; bellhops, door attendants, and waiters.

Harry had found his room, and unpacked his rucksack, before telling Ron his idea for the afternoon.

Ron was objecting to going to the spa, when everyone else came in the room.

“Harry, dear,” Mrs. Weasley spoke first. “This isn’t necessary, you know. We can get by just fine with the clothes we have.”

“I know this isn’t exactly a holiday, but I would like to treat all of you to a day of shopping and a night out. Mrs. Weasley, all of you please try to indulge me this afternoon. You never know. You might actually enjoy it.” Harry stood there, resolute in his plan. “I won’t take no for an answer.”

Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley left his room. Ginny stayed behind, “Harry, why are you insisting on this? It isn’t necessary, you know.”

Harry stepped close to Ginny, so his face was inches from hers. “I just want all of us to have a wonderful time. I think we deserve it.” He smiled at her and moved to whisper in her ear, “I want tonight to be special for us.” He kissed her before she left for her room.

After they had a light lunch, everyone went to the spa. The men went to their section and spent time in the steam bath before they had a massage. Then they went to a salon to get haircuts. Ron looked absolutely repulsed at the idea of having a manicure. Harry started laughing at his reaction, which led to a round of manly arm punching.

Harry and Ron had to keep his Dad under control. His excitement of anything muggle had him asking questions about everything, even to the workers. The ladies also had the same treatments, except they accepted the manicures and pedicures.

The men were done first so Harry ushered them off to find new muggle clothes to wear tonight. He was quite amazed at this hotel. It had several clothing shops for both men and women. It even had a jewelry store and a flower shop.

After finishing their shopping, they all went back to Harry and Ron’s suite. Ron was finally allowed to play wizard’s chess and soundly beat Harry four times in a row. Mr. Weasley was busy looking at all the electronic gadgets while gushing about all the things they had seen.

Finally, the women returned from their shopping, when they heard Hermione and Ginny’s door close in their suite. The girl’s suite was located between the other two. Mr. Weasley told the boys that they should be getting ready before leaving for his room.

An hour later, Ron’s parents left for dinner first, but not before knocking on the other two doors reminding them that they need to get a move on.

Harry and Ron were getting their ties straight and making sure the buttons were aligned on their new suits. They both had black trousers and jackets. Ron wore a light blue shirt with an azure silk tie to bring out the blue of his eyes, as the salesmen assured him it would do. Harry’s shirt was a pale green and his tie a deep green for the same reason. The salesperson had tried to get them to buy shirts the same shade as the ties, but when they tried them on and looked in the mirror they both thought they looked too peaky.

Harry went to pick up the rose he bought for Ginny, when Ron grabbed his arm. “I want to know why you are doing all this,” asked Ron. He looked nervous and slightly edgy.

“Doing all what? Going out to dinner? I want to relax and — um — celebrate you might say.”

“What did you whisper to Ginny earlier? When you thought, I wasn’t looking.” Ron stared intensely at Harry almost daring him to say something. “I am not as thick as you seem to think I am.”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at Ron’s last statement, which only made him angrier. “Ron, you don’t need to defend your sister’s honour. I am so happy and excited because this is the first actual date I have taken her on and…” Harry suddenly stopped talking and got a faraway look in his eyes, his mind had wandered to some super happy thought because a wide smile crossed his face.

“And WHAT?” Ron said this forcefully and leaned even closer into Harry.

“She says she loves me.” Harry stopped talking as if he had to catch his breath. “I know she told me for the first time three days ago. I’ve been so preoccupied that it didn’t sink in until the flight down here.”

“Of course, she loves you. She’s fancied you since she was ten. So now that you two are a couple it is only natural she would love you,” Ron said this to Harry slowly as though he was exceedingly thick.

Harry looked at Ron again. He has no clue, what this means to me. “She’s the first person to ever tell me that, well, that I can remember.”

Ron sudden pulled back from Harry. He saw in his friend’s eyes a gleam of happiness that he had never noticed before. The thoughts of never hearing that someone loves you is so foreign to Ron, that the possibility of being almost eighteen and never hearing anyone say that is absurd. Being a Weasley, he has been told that he’s loved by his parents all his life, and even his brothers and Ginny had told him that. It was simply part of being a Weasley, like having freckles and red hair. “Oh, - well — I guess we should — a — go and collect the girls then.”

They left their room carrying the roses, and Ron could not help but comment on how Harry must have been studying that book he gave him last year. They knocked on the girls’ door and only Hermione stepped out.

“Good evening don’t the two of you look positively dashing. Harry, Ginny will be a little bit longer. Hope you don’t mind?” Both Harry and Ron were surprised at Hermione. They had known each other for almost eight years and they had never seen her look so elegant and mature. She was wearing a bright red strapless dress that went down to mid-thigh that fit tight to her curves. She had her hair French braided to control its bushiness. Ron was speechless when he saw her. He walked up to her, handed her the rose, and escorted her down to the dining room.

Harry stood in the hall waiting for Ginny to get ready. As he did this, he started to look around at the various decorations while wondering what was taking her so long.

Ginny had been ready for over a half an hour. She was nervously pacing the floor concerned about how she looked. All afternoon she had been a nervous wreck about tonight. All she could think about was Harry telling her that he wanted this “night to be special”. She even had Hermione upset with her earlier:

“Ginny! Stop that pacing you’re making me crazy. You look beautiful. Harry will be speechless.”

“You think so? I just feel so lost. I never went to out like this before. I don’t want to make a fool of myself, not tonight.”

“I know you said he wanted tonight to be special. He seems to want us to celebrate that we made it through this war.”

“Why did he whisper it in my ear, so that Ron couldn’t hear it?”

“Maybe he just wanted to get close to you. He seems to like it.” Hermione had a slight smile on her face; this seemed to upset Ginny even more.

“I know he does, and that’s why I’m so nervous”

“Ginny you don’t think…? He meant — that he wants to get that close — do you?”

Ginny had been looking through the eyehole of the door since Hermione closed it. She was watching Harry wait in the hall. She wanted to make a grand entrance by stepping out of the door while his back was turned. Even through the distorted view of the eyehole, he looked handsome in his new suit. He was looking at the picture on the opposite wall, now was her chance. She quietly opened the door and stepped out into the hall.

“Good evening, Harry.”

He immediately turned towards Ginny and was almost speechless. He was able to stutter the phrase, “Binny you’re Geautiful!” This had both of them laughing; Harry from embarrassment and Ginny from satisfaction.

He could not help but look at her from head to toe. Her hair fell gracefully around her face and over her shoulders. She had pearl earrings and a little gold heart necklace. Her dress looked to be the same as Hermione’s, but it was black. This seemed to give her complexion a soft peachy glow. Her shoes were high heeled with open toes showing off her new pedicure. The shoes helped accentuate her legs, which Harry had suddenly realized he had never seen before. She had always worn long robes or jeans, which seemed almost criminal now.

“Well, do I pass inspection?” asked Ginny as she noticed him looking her over. Harry blushed furiously.

“I am sorry. I couldn’t help myself. I never realized you were so beautiful. Here… here is a rose for you.”

Ginny took it from him and he even thought her hands were beautiful with her fresh painted nails.
“Thank you, it’s lovely.”

“Next to you, it’s just an ugly stick.” He offered her his arm. “Shall we go to dinner?” They slowly walked to the elevator.

“Harry, I noticed that there aren’t any thorns on this rose.”

“That’s the way it came. I didn’t request it special. I promise I won’t leave to save the world tonight.” This brought a chuckle from her. They finally arrived at the table where the rest of the party was impatiently waiting. Harry refused to walk fast. He wanted to savor his time alone with her.

Everyone at the Weasley table had been waiting for them for what seemed a very long time. Mr. Weasley had insisted on going up to get them, but his wife told him to sit down and be patient. When Harry and Ginny appeared in the dining area both Ron and Mr. Weasley thought that her dress was to short and to tight for her to be wearing in public. They immediately winced in pain as Mrs. Weasley kicked them under the table, in response to their comments about Ginny’s appearance.

“Arthur and Ronald, I don’t want the two of you ruining her evening. This is her first date with Harry.”

“Ron. You didn’t say that about my dress, and our dresses are identical except the color.” Hermione said this with little smirk, which left Ron stammering for a response.

Harry held the chair for Ginny, and then sat down beside Mr. Weasley who was rubbing his leg. Ginny asked what was wrong with her father and Mrs. Weasley quickly replied, “leg cramps — it seems Ron and your father are getting legs cramps from the long flight.” Harry who was looking at Ginny, noticed Hermione suppressing a grin.

A waiter came with menus and told Mr. Weasley that their dinner would be added to the room’s bill. He left after taking their drink orders.

“Harry, I still have all that money you gave me. They did the same thing for the clothes and jewelry we bought.”

“Same here. Hermione, remember what you told me about giving tips to workers? Every time I tried they would refuse.”

“Yes, that has been happening to me also.”

“Maybe Australia has different rules of etiquette.”

“I doubt that, every place I ever went with my…” Hermione’s voice seemed to fail her, and everyone could see the sadness on her face. Ron reached over and took her hand in his. The awkward silence was broken when another waiter appeared with a bottle of champagne and the other drinks.

“I’m sorry, but no one ordered any champagne,” stated Mr. Weasley.

“This is a complementary bottle from the hotel.” The waiter popped the cork, poured six flutes of champagne, and bowed before leaving. Everyone at the table looked at each other to see who wanted to propose a toast.

Ron cleared his throat and said, “Here is to Hermione and her parents. May they soon be reunited.” Everyone heartily agreed.

“When we get back to London, I should thank the person who booked this hotel. It is simply fabulous. Then I’ll strangle them for arranging our flights down here.”

“Now Arthur, it was short notice after all. Don’t be making trouble when you get back,” scolded his wife.

A third different waiter showed up to take their dinner order. Harry, who had no experience with fine dining, thought this was strange. He looked over at Hermione and saw a look of puzzlement on her face. Harry looked around the restaurant to see if other tables were getting similar service. He noticed that their table was in the center of the large ornate room. They were also next to the dance floor. The place seemed to be filled to capacity. He wondered if this was normal for a Monday night.

The band started to play shortly after the waiter took their order. Harry looked at Ginny and asked her to dance.

“I didn’t think you liked to dance,” she asked him, as they moved slowly around the dance floor.

“It depends who I’m dancing with.” He did not care for dancing, but he could hold Ginny and look at her without irritating her father. She seemed to have a peaceful and serene look on her face that captivated him.

“Ron, why don’t you dance with Hermione?”

“It’s all right, Mrs. Weasley; Ron only dances when Viktor Krum is around.”

“Hum — is that right — vell, Her-my-o-nee do you vant to dance?” Ron stood up offered his hand to her and they walked onto the dance floor

“Harry, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy before,” stated Ginny as they moved around the dance floor.

“It’s all because of you,” he softly told her. “Because you told me you love me.”

“Is that all? Of course, I love you,” giggled Ginny

“You’re just like your brother.” Ginny eyes widened when Harry said this.

“He asked me why I was so happy earlier. I told him that you are the first person, that I can remember telling me, that they loved me.”

“Oh, Harry didn’t your parents…” Ginny stopped in the middle of her sentence. She realized that he would never remember that. “I’m sorry, that was insensitive, but surely your Aunt or…”

“No! They never told me… they just never.”

Ginny felt tears forming in her eyes at the fact that Harry had to live a childhood like that. She turned her face away from him to control her tears.

“Look, Harry, we’ve started something,” Ginny laughed at her brother on the dance floor with Hermione, happy for the distraction so that she could control her tears. She turned back to him and looked dreamily into his eyes. “You amaze me. With all you’ve been through you can still be so kind and loving. It’s simply amazing.” She pulled herself close to him and laid her head on his shoulder.

“I love the sound of this.”

“Yeah, the music is good. I guess.”

“Not the music, silly. I love listening to the beating of your heart.”

“Molly, you see how close they are!” Mr. Weasley stood up from his chair as though he was going to separate Harry and Ginny.

“Arthur, you want to dance!” Mrs. Weasley grabbed his hand and led him onto the dance floor, where she pulled him into a tight embrace like Harry and Ginny’s.

The three couples danced together for several more songs until a fourth waiter brought out their meals. They ate, talked, and laughed for over an hour.

The band was now starting to play faster paced music, and other guests were getting up and dancing. Ginny dragged Harry back to the dance floor. Ron and Hermione soon followed, along with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley excused themselves and retired to their rooms. Ron and Hermione left at midnight, but Ginny did not want to leave.

Harry never knew Ginny loved to dance like this. Once dinner was finished, they spent almost the entire night on the dance floor. Harry, whose only dance experience was at the Yule Ball in his fourth year, was clueless. He tried to follow Ginny the best he could, as she swayed and moved to the music. She had a smile that showed pure joy and happiness. He enjoyed watching her hair gently sweep across her shoulders and face.
They hardly ever sat out a dance. If they did, it was only to have a quick drink, or to take off her shoes. Ron and Hermione tried to keep up with them, but eventually ended up sitting more than dancing. Finally, around two in the morning Ginny decided that it was time to leave. They left the dance floor hand in hand looking very tired but extremely happy.

“Well, I guess you do know how to dance, Harry.”

“No, I don’t. I just followed you. I felt like a troll out there most the time. I never knew you loved to dance so much. I guess there are many things I don’t know about you.”

“Mrs. Potter. Excuse me, Mrs. Potter, you left your shoes at the table.” Another waiter that Harry hadn’t seen before that evening came running out of the dining room carrying Ginny’s shoes. Harry turned and gave him a quizzical look.

“Oh, thank you so much! I wouldn’t want to lose those.” The waiter handed the shoes to her, bowed low and then returned to the dining room.

“Mrs. Potter? Your dad wouldn’t like that statement much. I noticed you didn’t correct him.” She giggled and gave Harry a sly little smile as they waited for the lift. Once inside Ginny let go of his hand and leaned back against the wall of the lift. She sniffed the rose and a mischievous look appeared on her face.

“Excuse me. Excuse me. Could you tell me how to get to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters?” she said like an eleven-year-old boy. Harry blushed.

“I can’t believe you remember that.”

“I fell in love with you that day. I thought you were so cute, and you were standing there all alone looking lost. I just wanted to go over, give you a big hug, and kiss. You see, Harry, I fell in love with you before I knew what your name was. When I found out that the little lost boy was the famous Harry Potter — well — you remember how I was.”

“Well, I must say, that was probably the luckiest day of my life.” He took her hand as they exited the lift and walked toward their suites.

Stopping in front of her door, Harry turned and looked into Ginny’s eyes.

“I truly enjoyed my first date with you. I wish this night would never end, but it’s late and we need to go to bed. Tomorrow we must go sort out Hermione’s problems.” A loud thump could be heard from her parents’ room.

“I wonder what that was.”

“Sounded like someone fell out of bed,” stated Ginny. “I hope no one’s hurt.”

Harry leaned into Ginny to kiss her goodnight. He stopped when he felt her hand on his chest and she had turned her head and was looking away from him.

“I’m sorry Harry. I am so sorry — but I don’t think — that I can do this. Not tonight.”

“Ginny, what’s wrong? What can’t you do?”

“You know I love you, and someday, I do want to become Mrs. Harry Potter, but I don’t think — not tonight — I’m sorry if I ruined everything for you.”

“What are you talking about?” he whispered. “All I wanted to do is give you a kiss good night.”

“What? That’s it? I — a — thought you wanted — to — ah — spend the night with me.”

Harry gave her a little smile. “Yes, someday, but not tonight, and not until you’re ready. I can wait.”

“I thought you wanted this night to be special for the both of us.”

“It was. This was our first date, that’s why it was so special.”

“Oh, I feel like a fool.”

“Kiss me you fool! Then we need to get some sleep,” he said teasingly.

Ginny crossed her arms and gave him a stern look, “Not if you’re going to use stupid lines like that.”

They both shared a laugh and a kiss good night before going to their separate rooms.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Mrs. Weasley stood over her husband who was lying by the door with his arms and legs clamped firmly together. She was winding up a long flesh colored tube, one of her sons’ Extendable Ears. Mr. Weasley had one still against his ear as he lay on the floor. “I told you that we could trust our daughter and Harry. You didn’t need to go rushing out there to keep them from doing anything rash. I will not let you embarrass Ginny, as my father embarrassed me, with his spying and interfering. The more we more interfere with them, the more likely that hardheaded daughter of yours will rebel. Finite.”

“Well thank you for lifting that curse. What made you change your attitude over the past few days?” Mr. Weasley sat up and glared at his wife. He rarely talked to her with such a harsh tone, but she rarely put him in a Full Body Bind.

“Emotions were different then, with the — the — deaths and Harry’s victory.” Mrs. Weasley’s voice changed it seemed to get distant as she spoke. “They had that huge row. I was afraid they might rush things a bit. It’s different now. They are calmer, more like a normal couple.”

Mr. Weasley looked at his wife deeply concerned about her sudden change in mood. “Well, you still didn’t have to curse me. That hurt when I hit the ground,” he said softly.

“I’m sorry, dear.” Her eyes were now filling with tears that threatened to roll down her face. She pulled back the bed sheets and lay down. “Now, why don’t you come to bed? We all need some rest.” As Mr. Weasley lay down beside her, she whispered, “Hold me Arthur, please.” Then she started to cry.

Back to index

Chapter 4: Finding the Grangers

Author's Notes: Harry and company learn about how the magical society of Australia. Everyone thought it was going to be easy to find Hermione's parents, but it quickly gets complicated.

Harry woke up with a smile on his face. He had a good night sleep filled with pleasant dreams. They were all focused on a red-haired girl with brown eyes and a warm inviting smile.

“Hey wake up! Just because you’ve been out all night with my sister doesn’t mean you can lie in till noon. Mum and Dad want all of us downstairs for breakfast in a half an hour. We to meet a Mr. Carl from the Australian Ministry.”

“Are the girls up?”

“Mum said Hermione is up and dressed but Ginny is refusing to get out of bed.” Ron stood towering over Harry with a look on his face as though he was ready to pummel his best mate.

Harry sat up and put his feet on the floor. The muscles in his back and legs, fatigued from last nights dancing, screamed in protest.

“You have yourself a good time with my sister last night?” The question was filled with danger. Harry, even in his groggy state, picked out the emphasis Ron put on the words “good time”.

Looking at Ron in his present state of distress, Harry chose his words carefully. “I enjoyed dancing with her, as you probably noticed.” He kept talking ignoring Ron’s grunt. “Then I escorted her to her door, where I kissed her goodnight, before coming in here for a kip. I hope that is acceptable behavior, for you.” Ron blushed slightly before nodding and turning away, walking towards his side of the room. “I told you yesterday that this was just a date. I wasn’t trying to shag your sister.”

“Yeah! What if she had offered?” Ron had stopped walking and looked at Harry with a raised eyebrow. “Would you have said no?”

Harry was shocked at Ron’s question. He had never even considered that possibility last night. “Are you calling your sister a ….”

“I am not calling my sister anything,” shouted Ron, clearly offended by Harry’s accusation, and then continued talking softer. “The way she looks at you and acts around you…,” Ron stopped talking and looked at Harry, before talking barely above a whisper. “The last time I saw a girl look at a man like that was Fleur looking at Bill at their wedding. You can guess how that night turned out. Look! I just don’t want her to end up a…,” he cleared his throat, “… a young mother.” Ron finished and went to his side of the room and started playing chess.

Harry sat on his bed with his head swimming with what Ron had said. He would never want to do that to her.
He knew he would have declined her last night, but if she would ask another time. What would he say? If he said no, would she think he doesn’t care that much for her? Harry vigorously ran his hand through his hair as though it would help sort out his thoughts.

Standing up he took a deep breath before walking over to Ron. “I — I want to tell you,” stuttered Harry, as he tried to organize his words. “That I would never want to get Ginny — um — that way.” Ron nodded in response to Harry’s statement. “I’m…,” Harry cleared his throat nervously. “I’m not sure if I’m ready — for — for that, yet. I’m just — a — trying to understand dating and snogging.” Ron didn’t look up at him, and Harry turned and walked towards the loo to get showered.

“Harry,” He stopped when he heard Ron say his name.

“I want to — say — thanks. I don’t want to lose you as a friend. I know you love Ginny, and all, but if you would hurt her…” Ron’s conflicted feelings about his best friend and his sister were evident, as saying every word seemed to be a huge effort.

The two friends stared at each other for several seconds, before grunting, “All right then” and, “fair enough”.
Harry continued into the loo. After a quick shower, he dressed and was ready for breakfast. Hermione had already come over and was sitting on a chair, while Ron rubbed her neck.

She stated that she did not have a good night’s sleep. Hermione carried with her the book on Australia that Mr. Weasley gave her and the letters from her parents.

“I am really worried about having sent my parents here now. This book told about how Australia was a British penal colony for years, and many outcast witches and wizards came over on the same boats as the prisoners. This country could be filled with Death Eaters or very similar wizards.”

“Hermione, what are the odds of anything happening,” stated Ron.

“I know its long odds, but I’m nervous for their safety anyway.”

“When was their last letter to you?” asked Harry.

“A month ago, so I guess they are still fine.” Hermione seemed to relax a little when she said this. The three of them talked about last night, and what Mr. Carl would be like.

“There you are,” Ginny said as she entered the suite. Her hair was still damp from her shower. “Did you and Ron have a good night sleep last night?” She asked Harry as she gave him a hug and quick kiss good morning. He noticed that she seemed to give Hermione a wry smile.

“Yes, brilliant, we had better get down to breakfast, now, before your parents send out a search party for us,” replied Harry.

Harry and Ginny left after the other two, saying that he wanted to check on some things before leaving. This gave him a private moment with Ginny, to snog, and tell her how much he enjoyed last night.

Ginny started giggling at the last statement. “Hermione and I were talking, yesterday, and she also thought the same things about your plans for last night.”

“Oh really,” replied Harry, slightly offended.

“Yes. She didn’t want to interfere, so she slept in the closet, with a silencing charm on the door. That is why she is so stiff and sore this morning.” They both broke out in giggles over the thought of Hermione curled up in a closet while Ginny slept peacefully in her bed. After a few seconds they looked at each other and realized that, they should be ashamed of themselves, but that didn’t stop their sniggering.

By the time, they left the room, Ron and Hermione had already gone down the lift to the dining room. Harry and Ginny arrived as the waiter was taking orders for breakfast. Before he left, Harry caught him by the arm, and whispered something in his ear. The waiter nodded and left.

“What secret plans are you formulating now?” inquired Mrs. Weasley.

“You’ll see.” Harry had a pleased look on his face.

“We ordered for the two of you,” said Mrs. Weasley, as she smiled at her daughter. “We weren’t sure when you would show up.”

The waiter returned with tea and orange juice for everyone and a Daily Prophet for Mr. Weasley. Everyone was in shock, that the hotel had a wizard’s newspaper.

“I figured out what was going on last night. This place is filled with wizards and witches, or at least, the workers here are. When we left the dining room last night, Ginny forgot her shoes. The waiter ran after us with her shoes and called her, Mrs. Potter, but all the reservations were for the Weasley family. I assumed that this place must have wizards and witches on staff. It would be logical, considering the Ministry made our reservations.” Harry looked over at Hermione whose eyes were full of excitement at having a puzzle to solve. Everyone else looked at him, not quite believing what he just said.

“Of course, look at all the things that happened yesterday: they wouldn’t accept tips, we had at least six different waiters serving us, and they all bowed like we were the royal family. I wonder if our Ministry runs this place, since Australia doesn’t have one.” Hermione was now looking around the dining room as though looking additional clues.

Another waiter returned with breakfast, after serving it, he bowed and left. Everyone noticed that it was to Harry that the bow was directed. Ginny looked at him and simply said, “What, no autographs, he looked like he had nice legs?” The table howled with laughter at this statement. They all joined in harassing Harry about his celebrity status, which made him feel good that they found it amusing instead of annoying.

“Well I’m glad that everyone is enjoying themselves,” said a middle-aged man. He appeared to be a typical Muggle on vacation, with tan trousers and a light green polo shirt. “I am Brad Carl.” Everyone turned to look at him and say hello. He was tall and muscular. His thinning hair was a mix of colours, from reddish brown to dirty blonde, with grey sprinkled in around his temples. He had clean-shaven square face with hazel eyes. He also spoke with a slight Scottish lilt. Harry mused that he would be a person that Uncle Vernon would view as “perfectly normal”.

“I need to know. What made you realize that this was a hotel for magical people? We were trying to be inconspicuous, even though you were the guests of honour.”

“Last night, when a waiter called Ginny, Mrs. Potter, instead of Weasley,” stated Harry, then as an afterthought he added. “I should have realized something was up earlier, when we had the best table in the place, and the band seemed to play according to what we were doing.”

“That was a good observation, particularly after a long night on the dance floor. Most people would be too exhausted to notice much.” Brad Carl said this with a smile that made Harry and Ginny blush. “This hotel acts as the center of Australia’s Magical Community. We don’t view being magical as being different or better but blessed. We were preparing to celebrate the fall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, when we received notification that you would be arriving here in a couple of days. “

“Mr. Carl, I thought you didn’t have a Ministry of Magic here?” inquired Hermione.

“We don’t call it that, but this place functions as one. Unlike in England, we want to blend in with non-magical people. We call them folks here. If you hear someone saying “folks” then they are talking about Muggles. We find it’s easier to talk between each other without giving away our secret.”

“Excuse me again…,” Hermione piped in again. “… but do you have problems here with dark wizards,”

“On rare occasion, yes,” his reply had an impatient tone.

“According to A Magical History of Australia dark wizards use to come over here on prisoner ships.”

“Do you always believe everything you read?”

Ron, Harry, Ginny all emphatically answered. “YES!” Hermione seemed to be a bit put out, by either his question or everyone’s answer.

“Well, when you read a book about potions, spell casting, or anything that isn’t subject to opinions, you can believe it. Topics that are subjective like “good” and “bad” wizards, you must use discretion when reading. A good example is your friend, Mr. Potter. Every year the Daily Prophet seemed to be changing their opinion of him.”

“That is different, it’s a newspaper writing what the Ministry tells them, or lets them,” replied Hermione.

“Do you really think the Ministry doesn’t control the publishing of books also?” Mr. Carl hesitated to let Hermione digest the possibility of her beloved books being published under the scrutiny of the Ministry. “I am not trying to demean you, my dear. I just want you to realize that what you read is not exactly how things have occurred. Many of the undesirable wizards that have come to this country were trying to get away from the pure blood fanaticism that exists in England. Many, of us, still have loved ones there that we want safe. That was why we are so happy that the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was defeated. I am an alumnus of Hogwarts. I am a Hufflepuff and five years ahead of Arthur and Molly. My name then was Ignatius Bradley Carlyle. I made it more folk friendly after moving here.”

The next half hour was spent eating breakfast and listening to Mr. Carl talk about living in Australia as a wizard. He lived in a neighborhood of folks and used all their devices; telephone, microwave ovens, television, and even computers. He said that the magical community even has its own website and many of them communicate using email. Only Harry and Hermione had a vague understanding of what email was, as they both had technology classes in public school, before going to Hogwarts. They also have a Floo network but it isn’t widely used because of the lack of fireplaces in most homes. When Apparating to a place, they have, buildings and locations designated for that purpose, so no one sees them appear or disappear. They even have their own court system and governing body to help control misuses of magical powers.

“Now that I’ve bored you all with my version of Australia, we get to the reason you are here. Ms. Granger, have you any idea where your parents might be in this country?”

“Yes, I do. They have been writing to a ‘friend’ I implanted in their memory. Here is the address.” She handed him one of the envelopes with a return address on it.

“I am impressed. A very smart thing to do, this will make the search quick and easy. I need to go to my office, look this address up, and make plans accordingly. I shall be right back.”

Hermione had a relieved look on her face as he walked away from the table, when she realized that she might be able to find her parents quickly and easily. Everyone else, at the table, was chatting animatedly, about the things that Mr. Carl had told them.

He returned after ten minutes. “Well I’ve checked the location and there is an Apparating site thirty kilometers away near the city of Brisbane, where we can pick up a van. We should be there in an hour. Now if everyone will get ready to travel as folks and meet me at the front desk in fifteen minutes, we shall be on our way. Oh, the rooms are yours for as long as you want, free of charge. The bill is being paid by the wizards and witches of Australia’s Magical Community, as a thank you.”

Everyone finished eating and hurried back to their rooms. Harry was thinking about what to take along. He decided to grab his invisibility cloak, a habit he developed over the past two years. They all met again at the front desk and were escorted into Mr. Carl’s office.

He took them, to an adjacent boardroom, which had a plastic dish sitting on the table. Mr. Carl activated the Portkey after everyone grabbed a hold. The landing spot was a large warehouse that also housed a variety of vehicles. They spent several minutes finding a van large enough for them to get into without magic. Once inside they drove out of the warehouse and through the suburbs of Brisbane north, to a town called Brighton. Mr. Carl drove, and Hermione sat in the other front seat. Ron and Harry sat directly behind Mr. Carl and Hermione, while the other three squeezed into the back seat.

As they drove, Hermione became increasingly nervous and irritable. No one reprimanded her but tried to support her. They knew she was feeling anxious.

Harry was wondering if she had any plan to get close enough to her parents to reverse the spell. He laughed to himself at the thought of her knocking on their door, saying good day, and hitting them with a spell in the doorway.

The van had an electronic navigation system, which guided them through to their destination. They drove into a housing development in Brighton, which vaguely reminded Harry of Little Whinging. The houses were set close together, but they each were unique in their own way. The houses in the Dursley’s neighborhood looked almost like they came from a die, they were so much alike. When the navigation system stated that at the next intersection turn left and proceeds 100 metres to your destination. The tension and anxiety were thick in the van. No one spoke to each other. When Mr. Carl turned onto the road, Hermione uttered a nervous, “Oh No!” The navigation system told them to stop in front of a house and Mr. Carl checked the address. Tears spilled down Hermione’s cheeks. Yellow tape surrounded the property, and the front door had tape on it along with a sign, “Do not cross by order of the police.”

“Oh no…nooo what did I do? What did I do?” wailed Hermione.

“Mr. Carl what is going on?” asked Ron, as he reached forward to comfort her.

“I have no idea what has happened?” he replied

“Can’t we go and look or ask someone?” asked Mr. and Mrs. Weasley from the back seat.

“NO! We must leave! We can’t stay here!”

As all this shouting and confusion was happening, Harry slipped on his cloak as he stepped out the van.

“Who left? Where is Harry? We must leave before someone calls the police!” Mr. Carl was getting nervous and angry at this point.

“He left under his cloak. I think he is going inside to see what happened. We must wait a little longer!” demanded Ron. “He knows what he is doing.”

After Harry closed the door of the van, he Apparated inside of the house. He wanted first to determine if this was the Grangers’ home, that they had not moved. Then he wanted to see, if he could figure out what happened. He found the answer for the first question within seconds, as he saw pictures of Hermione’s parents on the wall.

He looked around the house quickly and noticed that there was an appearance of a small struggle. As he looked more carefully, he noticed some unusual footprints in the plush carpet. Among these footprints were strange looking leaves and berries. After finding these, he decided that he should leave. He Apparated out to the van and found that the police had arrived, to question why it was parked in front of the house.

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When Hermione heard that Harry had left she began to calm down. She knew that he would be back with information. They sat in the van waiting in silence. Time seemed to creep along. Harry needed to get back, and soon.

A police car appeared around the corner with its lights flashing and pulled up to the back of the van. The officer got out and started to question them and ask for identifications. He stood away from the van’s window, so he could see everyone inside. They made the excuse that they left their visas back in the hotel. He said he was going back to his car to call for support and they were not to leave or get out of the vehicle.

Mr. Carl nervously sat in the van and watched the officer walk back to his car and reach for the radio, without taking his eyes off the van. He pulled the microphone to his mouth and hesitated before replacing it on the dash. He then walked forward to the van’s window and told them that everything checked out. The officer returned to his car and left without looking back.

“I hope I Confunded him in time?” Harry’s voice outside of the van’s window made Mr. Carl jump. “Let me get in and we can leave.”

He opened the door and sat down after Ron had budged over but did not pull off his cloak until the van turned a corner. Hermione besieged him with questions about what he found.

“Hermione, I am not sure what happened. It appeared that there was a struggle, but no signs of blood. I found some footprints and some type of berry. The footprints were either Goblin or House Elf.”

Mr. Carl glared at him in the rearview mirror. “There has never been any evidence of Goblins or House Elves in Australia. We use folk banking methods and… ”

“I know what I saw. They were Goblin or House Elf footprints. Does anyone know anything about this type of a berry?” He handed the berry first to Hermione, who took it and made a repulsive face because of its odour. It was small, round, and a beige colour. The leaves were deep green, elongated, and had spiny white fibers covering them. The stem was woody, grayish brown, and appeared to be octagon in shape, and a pungent oily substance covered the leaves and the berry. Eventually, everyone in the van looked at the berry, and all commented on its strong odour of dung, but had no idea what type it was.

Brad Carl reached down and pulled out a cell phone. “Hello, Lisa, this is Brad. I will be at the hotel in about fifteen minutes with some guests. I need you to check the news for the Brighton area look for incidents on Seaview Lane. Thanks. Bye. We will be arriving at another hotel shortly. There we will be able to do some research into what is going on.”

This hotel was small, barely thirty rooms which stretched along the parking area away from the office. They pulled into a parking space outside of the office entrance. Everyone got out of the van and entered the door marked employees only. Lisa was a middle-aged witch who looked like a typical Muggle secretary, except when she got up, her keyboard kept typing. Walking over to Mr. Carl, she handed him some sheets of paper with printing on them. “Well, Brad, I found what you are looking for,” she informed him.

He showed them the print out of a newspaper headline; Mysterious Disappearance: another one in a long string of disappearances. Hermione walked over and took them from Mr. Carl, who said that if she wanted to read them, then she could go to the employee’s lounge. Hermione walked towards the door and everyone else followed.

“Mr. Carl, Regi’s back there celebrating,” stated Lisa with some concern. “She’s been drinking.”
When they entered the room, they saw Regina McKinnon. She was leaning back in a chair, with her feet up on the conference table, reading several Daily Prophet’s about the fall of Voldemort. She was an intimidating sight. She did not appear to be taller than Ginny or Hermione, and she had the look of someone who has lived off the land for years. Her skin was bronze toned and appeared to be as tough as leather. Her arms and legs were lean and muscular. The arms of her shirt were cut off, and she wore shorts. Her hiking boots looked beaten and worn and she wore them without socks. Her hair was sun bleached blonde, and her eyes were bright blue and beamed with intensity, which added to her striking appearance. Sitting beside her was a half-finished bottle of scotch. She closed the newspaper and looked at who had entered the room. She looked at their faces and back to the front of the newspaper where she also saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s pictures.

“Harry Potter! I am so glad to see you! Thank You!” she stood up, ran to him, pulled him into a tight hug, and kissed him on the lips. She also turned to Ron and did the same thing. She grabbed Hermione, hugged, and kissed her on the lips. Harry, Ron, and Ginny almost started laughing, as Hermione’s eyes became as big as a House Elf’s.

“I can’t believe He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is dead. Finally! Justice for my family!” Everyone stood there in shock, taken back by her aggressive personality, raspy voice, and the strong odor of scotch. “Whoa, who stepped in crocodile shit?” Everyone’s expression now was one of puzzlement at what she said. “You mean you people can’t smell that?”

Hermione suddenly realized what she was talking about, “Do you smell this?” She reached into her jeans pocket and produced the berry that Harry had found.

“That explains what the odour is. You people just get back from Queensland?” inquired Regi, looking at the odd berry.

“No, we found this in my parent’s house in Brighton.”

“I wonder how it got there. This thing only grows in the swamps in Queensland, and only in one spot. This protects the crocodile’s domain, according to the originals.”

“Originals? Who are they?” asked Hermione.

“Aborigines, the original inhabitants of Australia. They say that this plant protects the kingdom of the crocodile because it grows as a giant hedge in the middle of the swamp. No one has ever been able to cut through it and live.”

“Great, we know where to start. Can you take me to this place?” Harry had a look of determination as he said this. They had an actual lead to where Hermione’s parents were.

He immediately wanted to know how long it would take to get there. He was told that brooms would be best, but it would take several hours from the nearest Apparation point, which was in the outskirts of Cooktown.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley tried to convince him to wait and plan this better and give Regi time to sober up. She took offense at this statement and said that she has flown in worse shape than this.

It was decided that everyone would Portkey to the next point and wait there for Harry and Regi to investigate. Ginny insisted on going with the two of them, but was loudly told no, by her parents.

The eight people appeared in the middle of a storage room. There were brooms placed along the one wall. The place also had other rudimentary provisions in various cubbies. Harry and Regi picked up two of the short heavy brooms and readied themselves to leave.

They took some food and water along with them, since it was close to noon, and they would be flying for a long time. They could eat in transit, or after they located the place.

He said goodbye to everyone. Ginny hugged, kissed, and wouldn’t let go of him, without a promise that he return.

Once they stepped out of the warehouse, the oppressing heat made Harry realized they were in a subtropical jungle. The brooms length was beneficial, since the path, they would take wound through the thick tangle of trees. They stayed below the canopy to prevent accidental sightings and flew around and though limbs and leaves. The jungle foliage was so thick that they couldn’t see more than ten metres in front or behind them. The only way they kept on course was by using the compasses that were on the brooms. The flight was long and tiring, but, finally, they arrived at the location.

The hedge was enormous, almost twenty meters high and capped by a thick canopy of trees. It stretched in both directions in a slow arc. The area around the hedge was thick jungle. Someone could stand a few meters away from it and never notice it for the thick foliage, but the odour of the berries was oppressing.
They flew along the face of it for a few minutes, looking for openings to the inside.

Harry asked how far it was to go around it. Regi said that she had no idea because no one had ever bothered to do that. After landing, he stepped up to the hedge pulled out his wand and yelled “Reducto” and large potion of the hedge fell away. He repeated this several more times until he had started to form a tunnel into the hedge. Suddenly he hit something as his hex deflected and almost hit him. When he had stepped to the hedge he had felt a tingling on his skin, he thought there was magic present. Now he was sure of it.

“Regi, Get the others I am going to investigate further. Where will I be able to find you, when I’m done?” She told him that she has home thirty kilometers down the river at the base of a large hill of stone. He will be able to see it from the river since no trees grow on the hill.

Harry realized that the clothing he was wearing would be to warm for this place. He removed his heavy jumper leaving only an undershirt. He then used his wand and trimmed the legs off his pants. With that task taken care of, Harry pulled out his invisibility cloak threw it over him and disappeared.

Back to index

Chapter 5: Goblin City

Author's Notes: As the title names implies, Harry found something out there. Let us see how he handles it.

“Any sign of him,” asked Hermione, as Ron, Ginny, and Regi returned from their search. It had been five days since Harry disappeared. They had looked for him for four days straight, and still no sign of him. They had circled the hedge the last two days, a trip that took over five hours on brooms, because of the thick jungle.

“Face it, he’s dead,” Regi had been saying this for the past two days. “The originals say that area is cursed. No one has ever gone inside of it. I’m sorry but Harry has become another victim.”

“No, he isn’t. He’s still alive. I know it,” replied Ginny. What amazed everyone was that she did not get angry or worried. She just spoke with confidence. She was the only one though. Everyone else was feeling that something terrible must have happened to him. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were apprehensive at the thought of Harry’s death, and their daughter’s grief.

“If he doesn’t show up today, I want to try to get inside of that place, and hunt for him,” stated Ginny, with determination.

Regi went to say something but stopped. She looked over to Brad Carl, who shrugged his shoulders. She seemed to accept Ginny’s determination to find Harry, even if she disagreed. With a sigh, she and Mrs. Weasley set off to the kitchen area to get food for everyone.

No one spoke as they sat in Regi’s home eating and watching the growing shadows of the trees from the setting sun. Her home was a building designed for the tropical climate, and sat on a low outcropping of rock, that extended out from a large stone hill. It had a thatched roof, and three sides were open to the surrounding jungle, which was only a short distance from the building.

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Harry had left the area of the hedge and was looking for Regi’s house. What he found behind the hedge shocked him. It was a city of Goblins; there were thousands of Goblins, and a hundred captives. He was flying under his invisibility cloak above the jungle canopy to avoid detection. He had been under his cloak for the past five days. He was in a hurry because the sun was low in the sky and he didn’t want to be lost out here after dark.

Following the river, in the direction Regi had told him, the stone hill soon became visible. It rose out of the lush green jungle like a basalt witches hat, with a rounded tip instead of a point. He changed his course and headed directly towards the hill. As he approached, it became larger than he had expected. It rose thirty metres above the treetops and was ten metres wide at the very top. The closer he got the more he noticed the large opening in the dense jungle that surrounded it. It may have been a solid spike of stone thrust up from the ground, but the stone surface was cracked to give it an appearance of a pile of stones meticulously stacked to form this shape. Lichens and some grasses grew in the cracks of the stone, which gave them the appearance of green veins, once he was close enough to see them.

Upon reaching the hill, he dropped down into the clearing and flew around the hill to find the house. He flew around the clearing twice, before he recognized the house. The thatched roof made it blend in with the long grasses that surrounded it. It was situated on an outcropping of rock, as large as a Quidditch pitch. The outcropping rose vertically up from the jungle floor almost two metres. There appeared to be a set of steps carved into the stone that opened to a path running towards the river that he had been following. The surface of the outcropping was nearly flat with a slight slope away from the stone hill. It had long grasses on its surface except at the farthest point away from the hill, where there was grove of trees surrounding a large pool of clear fresh water, about twenty metres away from the house. The pool appeared to be five or six metres in diameter and the excess water bubbled over the edge of the rock outcropping, in a little stream that fell onto the spongy jungle floor.

As he descended to the house, he looked for Ginny. She had never been far from his thoughts these past few days. Seeing her, he glided over close to her before setting his broom down and taking off the cloak.

“Harry!! Harry’s back,” exclaimed Ginny as she ran to him and wrapped her arms around him. “Oh Harry,” She let go of him and stepped back. “You stink. Really bad!” Harry was covered with dried slime, a mixture of mud and rotting vegetation, and it smelled like crocodile dung.

“I am happy to see you too, dear,” Harry said with a laugh. Everyone else had come towards him and formed a semicircle in front of him waiting to hear his news. He looked at Hermione and tentatively said. “I found your parents, and they are alive.”

“Why didn’t you bring them back,” she shouted. “You were gone five days. Why didn’t you bring them back, Harry?”

“It’s complicated. I need to explain some things. It’s really unbelievable what I’ve seen.”

“Well — I am waiting — explain!” Hermione crossed her arms and glared at him.

Harry started talking about the complex. A hedge twenty metres high and almost ten kilometres in diameter surrounded it, and there is a Shield Charm in the middle of the hedge. It is a city of Goblins, perhaps as many as five thousand Goblins, hundreds of House Elves, and a hundred humans.

The Goblins use the House Elves and humans as slaves, to tend their fields of fungi, dig roots and harvest crocodiles for meat. Some of the Goblins carry wands, but he never saw them perform magic. They use the House Elves to go out and capture humans by Side-Along Apparation. He estimated three or four people a night. He was able to Apparate inside of the complex, but not outside in or inside out.

“Harry, stop!” demanded Hermione. “If they are capturing four people a night, there should be more than a hundred captives. Are you sure you found all the captives?”

“Yes, I located them all.” He tried to avoid her eyes, because he was holding back one thing from her.

“What is happening to the captives, Harry? Don’t avoid the question! You are not telling us something.”

Harry stood there dreading to tell her but knowing he had to. “Every day the Goblins take four captives who have been there the longest — and — and feed them to what I think is the ruler of the Goblins.”


Hermione hit Harry on the nose with all her might and started to swing at him with both fists and kick him with her feet. Ron had grabbed her around the waist to pull her away and he was also getting hit by her. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU LEFT MY PARENTS IN THERE TO DIE LIKE THAT. HOW DARE YOU! I HATE YOU!”

“Petrificus Totalus,” Ginny cast a Full Body Bind on her, and then looked at Harry. “Well, we are waiting for an explanation.”

Harry looked nervously at everyone and tried to ignore his swelling nose and welts from her attack, before explaining. “Hermione, your parents are not due for five more days. I think with just a handful of wizards we can go in there rescue the captives and make it impossible for this to happen again. If we can’t rescue everyone, then I will go back and bring your parents out. We have twenty-four hours to decide what to do. Then I’ll get your parents and leave everyone else to suffer the consequences.” Hermione was lying on the floor immobile, but tears were running from her grief filled eyes.

Ginny lifted the hex. Hermione sat up, and melted into Ron’s arms, sobbing. Harry felt the cold stares of everyone penetrate him. They were looking at him in disbelief, that he could allow people die horrific deaths, as he watched and gathered information.

Harry left the building and walked outside into the gathering darkness. He was hungry and tired, but he did not want to be with anyone right now. The way they looked at him chilled him to the bone. He was trying to do what was best for everyone.

The memories of seeing the captives being attacked by the Goblins came back to him. It was his first day inside of the city. His first instinct was to fly to their rescue. However, the thoughts, of what might happen to the Grangers, prevented him from doing that. He wanted to go and rescue them that second. On his flight to find them, he realized this would leave the other captives for instant death.

He watched and learned all he could about the Goblins and the captives. If he could find a way of rescuing everyone and making sure this never happens again, then he will do it. Therefore, he watched the Grangers and made sure they were safe. After gathering enough information, he returned here. To be hated and reviled by everyone.

Mr. Weasley came out with fresh clothes for him. “Why don’t you take those things off and go to the pool to get cleaned up. Then you can get something to eat, and we can talk about your plans.” Mr. Weasley lowered his voice and spoke with sympathy. “Harry, you hit us with a load of bad news all at once. No one hates you, not even Hermione.”

After bathing and changing clothes, Harry returned to the house. They had moved all the tables together with seating of various types for everyone around them. They had also set a place with water and a couple of sandwiches for him. Hermione had calmed down and simply stated. “We all would like to hear your plans. There is parchment and quills for diagrams. We need to decide what to do.”

Harry sat down and ate, while describing what he saw, and what he thought would work to free the captives. Four hours later, they had a plan of attack. Regi and Brad sent urgent messages out to all that could come and help. The biggest argument occurred when Harry wanted Ginny in the attack team too, because of her abilities on a broom.

“She is the best flyer here besides me,” he pleaded with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. He wanted her to stay aloft under the invisibility cloak and attack from the air. He had thought of this while he was flying around the compound invisible.

“She’s underage. I won’t put my little girl in danger like this,” snapped Mr. Weasley.

“I AM NOT A LITTLE GIRL!” she screamed at them. “I’ve survived Death Eaters! I won’t be in danger under the cloak. I am doing this whether you like it or not.” Her parents finally conceded to let her join the fight. The only question left was if enough witches and wizards would show up. Harry decided to go for a kip, since he barely slept for the past five days.

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When Harry woke, the next day, people were already arriving. They said that by nightfall, there could be twenty or thirty more and even more showing up the following day. Brad and Regi were briefing them on the plan and introducing them to the visitors from England.

Harry looked for Hermione to talk to her and reassure her that he would not have left her parents there to die. He found her, Ron, and Ginny by the forest. She had the spell books from her beaded bag out. She was reviewing them to make sure everyone was ready.

“Harry, I want to talk to you about this Shield that surrounds this city.” Her tone was businesslike as she spoke. “You think we can destroy it from the inside out. Why exactly do you think this?”

“I noticed that plants can grow from the inside outward, but if you push them back into the Shield then they are cut off. The Shield’s primary function seems to be to keep things from getting in. I wouldn’t trust to try to walk through Shield though.”

“No that would be extremely dangerous, what would happen if you stumbled backwards. Let me do some more reading so I can decide which spells we should use.” The rest of the day, she had her nose in books reading and preparing for the task. Ron sat beside her watching and supporting her, when her anxiety and frustration overwhelmed her.

Harry tried to be there also, but he kept being pulled away to answer questions and meet people. Ginny went with Harry sometimes but eventually stayed with Ron and Hermione.

Evening arrived, and there were forty witches and wizards ready to set out the next morning. It was decided, that the operation would start before dawn. Regi had also contacted a tribe of Aborigines that lived near by, and let Harry know that they were coming to help, if possible.

Brad, Regi, and Harry thanked everyone who showed up and suggested that everyone try to get a good night’s sleep. Finding an open spot on Regi’s floor was difficult, so Harry and many new arrivals slept outside, under the stars.

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Brad walked around Regi’s house at five o’clock in the morning shaking and rousting everyone out of bed. By five-thirty, everyone had eaten something and was flying on a broom towards the Goblin City.

The entire party landed at a site outside of the hedge. Harry started taking people inside to locations under the cover of the invisibility cloak. Each trip would take thirty minutes and they had until two-thirty in the afternoon to get sixteen people inside and in place for the initial attack.

At noon, Harry was getting tired, from flying constantly since early morning. He asked Ginny, if she could transport the rest of the people. He could take her inside and show her where to drop people off, and then she could come back for the rest.

She sat on the broom and Harry covered them up with the cloak. He kissed her and asked her to promise not to do that with anyone else, that comment earned him an elbow in the ribs.

They rose up to the top of the hedge, and she saw that the trees within the hedge had grown tall enough to create a solid canopy over the ground below. Harry directed the broom towards a dark spot in the sea of green. The hole, which he had cut in the leaves, was barely two metres wide, and it wound through and around branches until it emerged into the city.

Under the canopy, it was dark, and a putrid fog filled the air. The thick canopy of leaves blocked out almost all the sun, and the trees cooled the air enough, that it seemed to be chilly compared to the hot humid jungle surrounding the hedge. There were fires burning at various spots that they could see. The canopy left only enough light in to give the appearance of a moonlit night. You could see but not great distance or clarity.

As they lowered the broom toward the ground, clumps of goblins appeared around the fires. They did not seem to be living in houses or caves just out in the open under the trees. The putrid air caused Ginny’s eyes and lungs to burn, and the sight of the Goblins revolted her. She was used to Goblins in England. These ones were fat and dirty. They did not appear industrious or hard working like the Goblins at Gringotts, just fat, ugly, and lazy.

The lack of sunlight allowed mushrooms to grow wild. They were covering the dry ground and growing on trees. She saw Goblins eating them as they lay around the fires. The ground itself was about half solid and half swampy quagmire. The Goblins had cut paths through the mushrooms and any other vegetation that grew in this dark place. The paths connected various clusters of Goblins throughout the City.

Harry flew her to the spot where she was to drop people off. It was a ten-minute flight from the hole in the canopy. The site was by a large swampy area, where she could see humans chained together foraging for roots for the Goblins. Harry took her back to the opening in the canopy before returning to the drop point to be sure she was familiar with the area.

They sat the broom down, and before coming out from under the cloak, they hugged and kissed, as other wizard and witches watched them from the surrounding brush.

Harry’s feet sank into the marshy ground when he stepped off the broom. He stood there staring at nothing as he tried to follow Ginny leaving under the cloak.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Gerruk sat on his throne like all his forefathers had. The Throne of Bones was its name. They called it that because the skeletons of the wizards that brought the Goblins to this land lay here.

Years ago, a group of wizards convinced a rebellious band of Goblins to leave England and come with them to this land. Together they would live and rule without the repression of the Ministry. The wizards brought the Goblins to this swamp and made the protective walls to keep their enemies out, but Gerruk’s great-great-grandfather realized that the Goblins became their slaves along with the House Elves.

The Goblins rebelled and suffered many losses, before finally killing all the wizards. They had trapped the wizards on this island in the middle of the swamp. It was the wizards’ domain. No Goblin was permitted to set foot here. His ancestors finally killed all the remaining wizards on this island before taking their wands and burning their remains and all their belongings. The only thing that survived the fire was this chair.

His great-great-grandfather claimed this chair, as his throne, and took control of their wands. Never again will Goblins be subservient to humans. The thought of all this brought a sick sinister smile to Gerruk’s lips.

His grandfather was the ruler who started using the House Elves to capture humans as slaves. Gerruk remembered working as a guard over the slaves, when one attacked him. He was carrying a wand, one of the wands taken from original wizards. They had long ago stopped working for the Goblins, but they carried them anyway as a symbol of superiority.

The slave’s attack caught him by surprise and knocked the wand out of his hand. Gerruk stabbed the slave with a dagger but the slave kept fighting. He finally bit the slave in the neck and did not release his bite until the slave was dead. He still remembers that first distinctive taste of human flesh. Crocodile is adequate meat, but human was so much better.

When he became the ruler, he immediately had slaves brought to him and his personal guards every day for their meal. Remembering this made him hungry and he began to wonder when today’s meal would arrive. If the House Elves did not show up soon he would have to call them, for only a ruler on this throne could order the House Elves.

Gerruk’s large belly was starting to rumble. He wanted today’s meal soon. Suddenly three humans appeared before him, his meal had arrived. Gerruk in his laziness and eagerness for food never noticed these humans were not accompanied by House Elves.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

At 2:15 PM Ginny dropped the last person off and went airborne, to wait for the battle to begin. Harry had located the two wizards who were to Apparate with him to the Goblins’ ruler, at the same time the thirteen witches and wizards here would attack the guards and free the captives. The remaining people on the outside will then cut a large hole through the canopy on the far side of the city, enter on brooms and attack the Goblins on the ground there before flying back up to the treetops to come over and assist with the captives. If everything worked, as planned, they should be able to rescue everyone, and all get out alive.

Harry Apparated before a fat Goblin who was sitting on a large chair that appeared to be carved out of algae and slime. There were human bones lying all over the ground haphazardly discarded, by this ruler and his henchmen, who lay on the ground around him. The ruler, looking at Harry and his companions, leaned forward and started to salivate while the surrounding Goblins sat up.

“STUPEFY,” shouted Harry, and this ruler flew over backwards, knocking his chair over before hitting the ground himself. The other two wizards joined in, and within minutes, all the Goblins were lying on the ground stunned. The three wizards looked at each other, joined hands and disappeared into the mist.

When Harry returned to the swamp the last of the Goblin guards were being stunned. Several of the witches were releasing the captives. Hermione had already released her parents and started crying and asking them to forgive her. It appeared that the captivity had broken their memory charms because they had recognized her. Harry decided that he would go and try to attack the Shield Wall. Everything seemed to be going incredibly smooth and easy.

“Goblins coming! Hundreds of them! To your left!” The shout came from thin air. Ginny had been keeping watch for such an occurrence. She must have left immediately because there were curses cast from thin air, and the squeal and shouts of enraged Goblins sounded in the distance.

Harry ran over to where the captives were and rallied them to follow him, Ron, and Hermione. He led them through the sticky mud to the hedge while the others battled the Goblins. Running over the ground was difficult. Either, you were in mud, or you had to fight through the densely growing mushrooms that released their spores to create a brownish fog around you. He had nearly reached the wall when the people on brooms showed up. They told him about another group of Goblins approaching from near the hedge. Some went to intercept that group, and the others stayed with Harry to guard the captives.

Harry, Ron and Hermione were in the lead. They came to the hedge, stood in a line and started attacking it. They started using the Reducto Charm but this was to slow. They changed to the Blasting Curse. Large chunks of the hedge started to explode as they created a gaping hole several metres high and wide.

They quickly reached the magical Shield hidden in the hedge. When they hit it, with the Blasting Curses, a loud deep boom resonated throughout the city and the hedge shook violently. They sent another trio of Blasting Curses at the Shield, and the hedge again shook violently, and pieces of the plants started to fall off in chunks. The sound was so powerful that everyone felt it compressing his or her chest.

The trio looked at each other and cast another group of Blasting Curses at the Shield. This time the Shield exploded outward away from them destroying the hedge on the outside, and the thundering sound and shaking of the hedge seemed to increase.

The Shield was weakening. They were going to be able to destroy it.

The next barrage of Curses produced the same result, but this time a burst of energy came back at the trio. They had only produced Shielding Charms in time to protect them. When the energy burst hit their Shields, it ricocheted upwards and blasted a hole in the canopy of leaves.

“Stop, we need to get everyone together before this thing blows,” Harry shouted to the others. “We need every Shield we can produce, to protect the captives. We also need to get Ginny down on the ground.” The Shield in the hedge was vibrating and crackling loudly. The sound was almost deafening, and the hedge was visibly wavering.

As his warning was being passed between the others, Harry saw Ron point at something behind him. Turning he saw Ginny had landed. At first his heart stopped, she was holding the broom in her left hand, but her right arm was missing its forearm and hand. He quickly realized that she had tied the cloak around her wand hand so that she could fire off curses more quickly.

She ran over to Harry. “Everyone’s coming back to the captives. The Goblins turned and ran for the inner areas,” she yelled in his face, from centimeters away. “So, is this where the action is at?” Her eyes sparkled with excitement and her lips had a crooked little smile.

Standing almost shoulder-to-shoulder, they cast another barrage of Curses at the Shield, this time they could see a gaping hole torn in it, before a beam of energy flew back at them. It hit their Shields and bounced upwards through the trees again. They stumbled backwards a few steps. The next barrage tore a larger hole followed by a stronger beam of power that knocked them all down when it hit their Shields. The hedge’s Shield had become so unstable that there were bolts of energy like lightning blasting from it at various places illuminating the darkness with brilliant blue-white light. The hedge itself was falling apart as the Shield was waving and buckling along its entirety.

There was a slight hesitation before the next barrage of Blasting Curses. They looked at each other. “Are you sure this is safe?” screamed Hermione.

“I’m pretty damn sure it isn’t!” retorted Harry, as loud as he could. “If we don’t destroy this shield than they will do this all over again.”

The four friends looked at each other with determination. As one, they lifted their wands, and cast four Blasting Curses in unison at the Shield. The hedge’s Shield shattered.

At first, Harry thought he went deaf. The sound had stopped, and the entire area was silent. The hedge’s plants disappeared and were replaced by a silvery glow, as if it had produced a Patronus. He suddenly realized that the glow was the Shield’s magical energy. It wasn’t a beam of energy, but a wall twenty metres high. Harry saw it coming and had time to think Protego, but the word never left his lips before the wall of magical energy collided with him.

Back to index

Chapter 6: Surprise Affection

Author's Notes: Some clumsy and awkward moments with Harry and Ginny.

Brian and forty other originals crept through the jungle towards the forbidden area, the Realm of the Crocodile. The area had haunted his people for generations. It hadn’t been there from the beginning of time, but no one remembers when it appeared. One day, a group of hunters came upon it. They tried to cut through the boundary hedge and were killed. Various other hunting parties tried to discover what was inside of the hedge, but none survived. It was soon labeled taboo, and now generations later the thought of walking near it strikes fear in everyone in his tribe.

The forty warriors accompanying him were frightened by the hedge but are curious what was inside of it. Brian told them that a powerful man was going to a tear a hole into the hedge. Brian couldn’t tell the nonmagical people about goblins. He just hoped they reacted to a flood of goblins rushing out of the opening.

Regi had sent him a letter asking for help in stopping the goblins. They had met years ago and had struck up a friendship with their common love of Herbology. Magic had run in Brian’s family for as long as records were kept. His fellow tribesman didn’t scorn or fear him. Being magical in his community was revered not scorned. He just never did magic with a wand in front of his fellow tribesman.


At the sound of the loud noise, Brian held up his hand. It was unnecessary because everyone had stopped walking. They were all craning their necks to try to see where the noise was coming from.




Brian could feel the pulse of magic flowing through the trees that surrounded them. He could not see where the noise and magic were coming from. There was another loud noise accompanied by an even stronger pulse of magical energy.

“Look!” shouted one of the tribesmen. He was pointing to his left.

Brian moved to the left and saw what the man was pointing at, it was the hedge wall and it was quavering. It looked as if it was alive. Another loud boom was heard, and the hedge shot out chunks of the vine twenty feet into the jungle.

“Everyone get behind a tree and stay low. Remember, don’t shoot anything human coming out of the hedge,” he ordered them.

“If it isn’t human than what is it,” asked an older man.

“Our enemy,” said Brian. He could tell that the rest of the people in his group didn’t believe him completely. It was obvious he was not saying something. No one questioned him.

Another loud Boom was heard and this time a beam of magical energy shot out of it towards them. It splintered two trees that grew too close to the hedge.

“Move back,” Brian ordered. “We may be too close!”

Everyone moved further away from the hedge which was now wavering. The noise was happening every second and blasts of energy kept erupting from the hedge destroying large sections of the jungle. The intensity of the noise and eruptions of energy kept increasing until there was a blinding flash of light. All the noise stopped, and the hedge had disappeared to be replaced by this wall of bluish-white energy. It seemed to stand there for a second before moving away from them at an incredible speed.

It destroyed everything in it path as leaves, limbs and various debris from the trees flew into the air. The wall of energy rushed towards a point; miles away from where they crouched behind trees. It stopped there for a second before exploding outward. The blast was so intense it knocked them over.

Standing up Brian looked out over the area that had haunted his ancestors. It now a massive hole in the jungle. A large expanse of swamp that stretched out for miles and was littered with splintered wood and debris.

“Crikey, mate, that looks like a nuclear bomb exploded in there,” said Elea. He was the eldest of the group. He carried the scars of the traditional rights of manhood and his nose had been pierced for a bone.

“Yes, it does,” said Brian looking at the massive destruction. He had never imagined that magic could do something like they had just witnessed.

“I suppose we should go in there and see if any of your friends survived,” said Elea.

“Yes, I suppose we should,” said Brian, as he started to walk slowly to the hole in the jungle.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Pain and confusion filled Harry’s mind. His right side pulsed with pain with every heartbeat. His back was also throbbing, but its pain was different. He tried to move his head to better see where he was and the extent of his injuries, but something was holding his head in place. He probably could not see anyway, because his glasses were not on his face. The light was mottled as though it was partially blocked by something.

Every effort he made to move resulted in a sharp pain from some other place on his body, and the feeling like he was being restrained. He thought he could hear voices around him, but they were strangely muffled.

He thought he heard someone shout that they found him. A second later the light hit his face full force as a branch was pulled off him. The face that might have been Regi McKinnon appeared over him. She quickly waved her wand over him. He recognized it as a diagnostic spell that Madam Pomfrey had used on him many times before.

Regi’s mouth moved, but he couldn’t understand what she was saying. He saw her reach her hand beside him and say something to person beside her. Mr. Weasley appeared above Harry with a worried look on his face. He placed is wand beside Harry’s neck. Harry could feel water being siphoned off beside him. He hadn’t realized that he was partially submerged in water until it disappeared. As the water ran out of his ears, he could understand what everyone was saying.

“Harry, can you understand me know?” asked Regi.

Harry could barely croak out a yes.

“You are a right mess. I am going to Levitate you out of the mud before I try to fix you up. This is going to hurt so try to bare with it.”

Harry could feel the pull of magic on his body, but something was holding him back. Pain started to throb from his back with greater intensity causing him to groan in agony. The spell was gently canceled as he was lowered back down into the mud.

“Something is holding me down,” Harry was able to say in a harsh whisper. “It hurt.”

Regi leaned forward and thrust her hands down his side and under him. While this was happening, he felt someone place his glasses on his face. When the world appeared to him with greater clarity, He saw Ginny. She was beaming down at him. Her face looked as if she had been crying there were tracks of tears on her mud smeared face. Her hair was a mess. It was a jumble of mud, sticks, and leaves sticking out in every direction.

“Hi Harry,” said Ginny weakly. “You did it again. You saved us all.”

Regi’s hand hit something that caused Harry to groan in agony.

“He is impaled through back and the root is still stuck in the ground.,” she said to the people who were gathering around him. “I am going to Stun you, Harry. I am afraid the pain will be too intense when we move you. We will fix you up before Ennervating you. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Harry whispered again.

“Any questions or anything you want to say?”

Harry turned his head as much as the mud would allow him. “Nice hair Ginny,” he said with a laugh.

Ginny eyes went wide for second, before she pointed her wand at him. There was a flash of red and the world went black.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Harry awoke feeling wobbly headed. He tried to open his eyes, but they didn’t seem to want to react at first. When they finally opened, he saw that he was some place different, but it was too bleary to see where he was.

Ginny appeared in his vision and kissed him before placing his glasses on his face.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“I hurt all over. What happened? How is everyone else? Did everyone make it?” Just asking those questions made Harry feel weak.

Ginny smiled at him before looking somewhere else. “He is awake.”

“Good, I’ll be right over.” Said some man out of Harry’s vision.

“That is Healer Swanson,” said Ginny. “Regi sent for him when we got you back here.”

Healer Swanson appeared in Harry’s vision, and started to run diagnostic charms on him. He was an older gentleman with a sallow complexion, a narrow face, and pale eyes behind large glasses, and white hair that was combed back. He spent several seconds waving his wand over Harry’s right arm, his chest, and his left leg.

“How are you feeling, Mr. Potter?”

“Sore, and I can’t move.”

Healer Swanson laughed a little. “I doubt if you are just sore with the amount of injuries you sustained” Ginny laughed at the healer’s statement. He looked at her with a strange expression.

“Harry has been injured so many times over the past seven years that he had his own bed in the infirmary at Hogwarts.”

“Really that often,” asked a shocked Healer.

“Yes, it comes with fighting dark wizards every year,” said Hermione. She and Ron appeared in his vision.

“How are you doing, Mate?” asked Ron.

“I am trying to ascertain that information,” said the Healer rather stiffly.

“Sorry, we will return after he is done, Harry,” said Hermione. She bent down and kissed him on the forehead. “Thank you.”

They moved from his sight before the Healer spoke again.

“I have placed you in a medical body bind. It is to keep you from moving while you heal. Even with your history of injuries, you are in a very fragile state, Mr. Potter. You have multiple internal injuries from being impaled on several roots. Your wand arm sustained multiple fractures and your left leg was broken in four different places.

“The most amazing thing is it seems that your magical core hasn’t been depleted considering the spell you cast. It will take several days before you can be released from the body bind and even then, you will need to be in bed for several more days, before you can resume normal activities.

“I have left several days of potions with Regi and Miss Weasley. They will be administering them. I will also return every day to monitor your condition. You need rest. The Pain potion will make you sleepy, so fall asleep.

“It has been an honour to make your acquaintance Mr. Potter.” Healer Swanson said to him. He then looked around him. “You can talk to him but remember he needs his sleep.”

Healer Swanson moved out of Harry’s sight and Ron, Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, and finally Regi encircled him.

Harry went to ask if everyone was alright, but Ginny placed a finger on his lips to silence him.

“Everyone is alright Harry,” she said. “The entire goblin city was destroyed along with everything that wasn’t protected by your Shield Charm.”

“Harry,” said Hermione. “That Shield was so powerful. That it protected everyone, but the force of that wall of energy colliding with your Shield must have done all this damage to you.”

“Your wand was driven through your right hand and the bones in your arm were shattered,” said Regi. “We figure you were bracing yourself with your left leg and that is the reason why it was so badly damaged. The force of the collision drove you so far into the mud that we couldn’t find you for several minutes. It also impaled you on a couple of roots. I was concerned about infection and your internal damage was out of my abilities to heal. Brad Carl called for Healer Swanson.”

“Once again Harry, you saved us all,” said Mr. Weasley.

“And nearly died in the process,” snapped Ginny. Everyone looked at her. “Well he did,” she added defiantly.

“I don’t understand,” said Harry. “I never cast a Shield Charm. I never had a chance to say the charm, and I am rubbish at nonverbal spells.”

“You weren’t this time, mate,” said Ron. “Hermione believes it’s that save-the-world complex you seem to have.”

“Its time for you to take your potions and get some rest,” Ginny spoke up. She sounded just like her mother. “I don’t want any argument from you take them all. So, open up and start swallowing.”

Ginny put one vial after another to his lips and poured them down his throat. Each one seemed to taste worse than the last. It may have been the combination of the potions, but it didn’t matter he shivered from the taste. Even before he finished the last vial, he could feel his eyes getting heavy.

“Go to sleep Harry. The sleep potion will wear off in eight hours, when it will be time for another round of potions.” Ginny leaned over and kissed him good night.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Every eight hours for the next two days, Harry would wake up to Ginny kissing him. She would then talk to him for a few minutes along with Ron, Hermione and others. He had discovered that Hermione’s Memory Charm on her parents had broken with the stress of being kidnapped and exposed to the slave labor in the goblin city. There seemed to be some tension between Hermione and her parents, but it didn’t seem to be too severe. Ron and Mr. Granger had bonded over their love for chess. A couple of times when Harry was awake Ron wouldn’t come and talk to him because he was in the middle of a chess game.

He was pleased to hear that all the people who had been captured and enslaved had survived the destruction of the city. They cannot be sure, but they believed that none of the goblins survived the destruction of the shield. It can only be assumed that the House Elves also perished. Hermione seemed a little sad about that, since the House Elves were slaves to the goblins.

Healer Swanson appeared to examine him every day. After two days, he was pleased with his progress and lifted the medical binding on his body. He still insisted that Harry remain in bed for another three days before trying to get up. If everything progresses properly Harry can have his bandages off in five days and be free to resume normal activities.

After having the medical bind lifted Harry tried to move and found he could barely move because the bandages were so constricting. He could move his left arm and his right leg. The rest of his body was wrapped up so tight that he couldn’t even bend to sit up.

He could move his head to the left and right and up a little, so he could see around him instead of just the thatched roof above him. There were people here that he didn’t recognize. Ginny had told him they were officials from the Australian magical community. They were coming up to inspect the goblin city and talk about how things were in the city. They were also bringing Daily Prophets, so her Dad could keep up with news back home.

“How is everything back in merry old England?” he asked her.

She smiled at him. “Let me get a paper and show you.”

Ginny stood up and walked over to where her father was sitting with her mother on a wicker settee. She looked through the stack of papers and pulled out a section from each one. Harry knew she was up to something by the smile on her face as she walked towards him.

Ginny sat down and showed him the headline of the page, Potter Watch: I spent the night with Harry Potter. “I am jealous Harry,” Ginny said icily. “You skipped out on me and traveled half way around the world to sleep with her. There was also the time you were seen driving a car through Muggle London, shopping in Liverpool, and the multiple other times you spent the night with other women sometimes with more than one in a single night. Well, what do you have to say for yourself.”

“Yeah, Potter quit cheating on my sister,” said Ron from his chair as he and Mr. Granger were involved with a game of chess.

“You know, Harry. If it is in the paper it has to be true,” said Hermione.

Harry could hear the sarcasm in Hermione’s voice. “Don’t they have anything better to write about?”

“Its even better,” laughed Ginny. She put down that paper and picked up another. “There are pictures of you with another woman and your baby.”

Harry stared at the picture of a young couple. The man who the paper claimed was Harry Potter had black hair, round glasses and fair skin. Those were the only similarities between him and the man in the picture, who resembled Seamus Finnegan more than him.

“Bloody Hell,” exclaimed Harry louder than he intended.

“Language, Harry,” said Mrs. Weasley from the settee.

“Sorry, don’t those reporters have anything better to do than to make up stories about me. This bloke doesn’t even look like me,” he shouted. “What do people think of Kingsley and what he is doing with the Ministry?”

Ginny gave him a warning look a second before a man started talking to him.

“Hello, Mr. Potter, my name is Gregory Bobbins the Secretary of International Cooperation here in Australia.” He had walked to Harry’s left and extended his right hand. Harry shook his hand awkwardly with his left.

Gregory Bobbins was a tall thin man with greying brown hair and fine-featured face. A person might even call him delicate. His dressed neatly and stood with an air of formality. He reminded Harry of Percy Weasley.

“Minister Shaklebolt has been doing a wonderful job with the British Ministry. He has been working tirelessly to reestablish communications with all the other magical governments. Mr. Arthur Weasley would be able to give you a better update on what is going on within the Ministry itself. He has been receiving daily communications from Minister Shaklebolt.

“After you have fully recovered, I have many things planned for you and Mr. Weasley to attend to help improve relations with magical governments from this section of the world…”

Harry’s eyes glazed over as he listened to Gregory Bobbins go on about schedules, dinners, and dignitaries.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Harry sat and stared up at the starry sky. It was midnight and he couldn’t sleep. Healer Swanson said he was completely healed. He wasn’t given any potions today. He had been sleeping constantly for the past week, and tonight he wasn’t sleepy.

Regi’s complex was still filled with Wealsey’s, Grangers and other friends of hers. Everyone was sleeping on temporary mattresses placed on the ground. She had a Charm placed around her property to keep out crawling and slithering things. He had to be careful not to step on anyone as he walked out of the building.

Harry smiled as he could hear Ron’s snoring all the way out here. He was a good fifty feet out of the compound. He decided to lay down on the soft grass that covered the ground. The night was warm, but not uncomfortable. The sky was clear, and it seemed that every star was shining extra bright tonight. He laid there for several minutes trying to pick out any constellations that he had studied in Astronomy class. He never paid much attention to the chapters on the constellations of the southern hemisphere, since they couldn’t spot them on the tower. The only thing he could spot was the Southern Cross.

Even though he was focused on the stars, he heard the soft sounds of someone walking in the grass. He instinctively rolled over and reached for his wand. In the moonlight, he could easily tell it was Ginny.

“Harry is everything all right?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep. How about you?”

“I couldn’t either,” she replied softly. “Do you want company?”

“Yeah, sure, come lie down,”

Harry laid back and put his arm out to his side thinking she would lay next to him. Ginny laid down, so her head was on his stomach, so they formed a large letter “T”. He laid his hand on her stomach, which she grabbed with her two hands. He could feel tension in her hands.

“Couldn’t you sleep? Did you have a nightmare?”

“I got up to check on you, and you weren’t there.”

“I have slept so much in the past week. I doubt if I will be able to get to sleep for another week.” He laughed at his comment, but Ginny didn’t say anything.

“Thank you for taking care of me,” he said and gently squeezed her hands. “You don’t need to check on me anymore.”

“We all thought you were destroyed by that wall of energy. We couldn’t find you for almost ten minutes.” She squeezed his hand even tighter. “That’s twice in two weeks Harry.”


“That is twice in two weeks that I thought you had died.”

“I am sorry, Ginny. I — I don’t know what to say.”

“Do you love me, Harry. I love you. I really love you.”

Harry was taken aback by this question. “Yes, I really love you too, Ginny. Why?”

She turned and looked him directly in the eye. “Make love to me.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. He never expected this request. He was expecting her to yell at him. As he laid there in shock Ginny got up and sat on him straddling his hips. She leaned down and kissed him while starting to unbutton his shirt.

Harry was further shocked by Ginny’s behavior. Her kiss wasn’t her normal passionate kiss that made his heart melt it was mechanical and devoid of all passion. Her fingers fumbled with the buttons on his shirt.

He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Please stop,” he whispered to her. “I love you, but I am not ready for this. I -I don’t think you are either. Ginny we still have time.”

A single tear hit his face, before Ginny almost jumped off him and sat on the ground with her back to him. Her head was down so her hair covered her face. Harry could tell she was crying. He reached out to comfort her, but she pulled her shoulder away from him.

“I have watched you die twice, within two weeks. That doesn’t include the person who tried to kill you in Diagon Alley. Do you have any idea how much that hurts to see the one you love die? You remember what it felt like when Sirius and Dumbledore died. I have had to go through that twice now.”

Ginny, I…,”

“Don’t tell me that you won’t put yourself in danger. Danger will find you.”

“…I know I will always be marked for danger. I can’t promise you that I will always be safe either.”

“You said you broke up with me to protect me. You couldn’t stand the thought of losing me. It hurts just as much for me, Harry. If you die, I am not sure if I could go on. If I did, I don’t think I would ever want to be with anyone else. I just wanted to…”

Ginny stopped talking and lifted her head up as so to stare at the woods. Harry could tell if she had stopped crying.

“…I’ve bollocks this all up,” she said and started to get up.

Harry grabbed her hand. “Please stay with me. I am sorry that I wasn’t ready to — to make love to you. I can’t promise that I will live to be a hundred, but I do love you and need you in my life. Please stay.”

“You probably think I am a stupid bint.”

“No dear, you are not a bint,” Harry said.

“You prat,” Ginny said and turned and pushed him to the ground.

They hesitated to look each other in the eyes for several seconds before kissing. It was as Harry remembered her kisses, soft warm and full of love. The kiss turned into a snog. After a few minutes of snogging, they laid down on the grass and stared up at the stars. Nether one spoke for several minutes, when they did it was about how beautiful this all was. The warm jungle night, the stars, and having each other.

After some time, Ginny started to fall asleep on Harry’s shoulder. He nudged her to wake her up.

“I think you need to get to bed,” Harry said to her. “How much sleep have you been getting over the past week. Every time, I woke up you were right there.”

“I couldn’t sleep more than an hour or two. I had to check to see if you were still alive.”

“I am sorry that I’ve put you through so much pain and worry.”

“I guess I should expect it, after all I am The Harry Potter’s girlfriend.”

“You are my girlfriend. I am not The Harry Potter.”

Ginny leaned into him. “I am glad I am your girlfriend, because The Harry Potter in the Prophet isn’t very fit.” She kissed him, then stood up and offered him her hand.

“Isn’t the man supposed to offer the woman his hand?” he asked.

“Do you really think like that? That I am the little woman and should be all sweet and delicate.”

Harry grabbed her hand and pulled himself up. “I think you are sweet, but not delicate.”

“Good,” she said as she wrapped her arm around his waist.

They were walking back to the house, when they could hear giggling and splashing from the natural pool. Ginny stopped walking and looked at Harry.

“I think Ron and Hermione are up to something naughty,” she whispered. They were almost to the open sided building.

“Let’s give them a little surprise.” She pulled on Harry’s hand.

“Ginny, I don’t know about this. It sounds like they are doing more than just a little snogging. I don’t know If I want to see that much of them.”

“Oh, come on,” she said with an evil glint in her eyes that reminded Harry of the twins.

She pulled him down the path that led to the pool. The pool was surrounded by undergrowth, so no one could see who was in it. The path wound around so you could be on it and not be seen from the pool until you were standing on the banks.

In the short distance to the pool, female giggling could be heard, and low male laughter also be heard. Harry was having a bad feeling about this. There was a splashing sound that Harry could only imagine what was happening. Ron has a nasty temper and Hermione would not appreciate him gawking at her.

Ginny stepped out of the path pulling Harry after her. He only saw a bit of the water, before Ginny’s hand was slapped over his face.

“MOM, DAD, what are you doing?”

“Ginevra, what do you think you are doing out here at this time of the night,” shouted Mrs. Weasley. “And with Harry. You go back to the house this instant.”

“I can’t believe you, two. Acting like this,” shouted Ginny, while holding her hand over Harry’s eyes. “Why can’t you act like — like old people.”

Ginny pushed Harry back into the brush before taking her hand off his eyes.

She turned and walked back to the house pulling him in the other direction along the path. Harry couldn’t help himself. He started to snigger at Ginny.

“What is so funny, Potter.”

“They were acting like adults. After all, there is a reason they have so many children.”

Harry never saw Ginny’s wand before the Bat-Bogeys erupted from his nose.

“Find your own way home, you prat.”

“What, Ginny why did you do that. Damn, I hate this Curse,” shouted Harry.

Back to index

Chapter 7: Returning to England

Author's Notes: It is time for the heroes to return to England. The title may seem a little deceiving, because this chapter is about Ginny and some of (my interpretation) of her feelings.
Her flashback memories will be in italics. There is an Authors note at the end of the chapter.

The plane leveled off at thirty thousand feet, and the “fasten seat belt” lights went off. Harry, the Weasleys, and the Grangers were going home to England. They had left the Singapore airport on their way to Heathrow. In twelve more hours, they will be landing on British soil, and it will be time to start rebuilding their lives.

The stay in Australia lasted an entire month. The first two weeks involved finding Hermione’s parents, and a bit of business with Goblins. The rest of the time had been spent sightseeing, courtesy of the Australian Magical Community. The AMC owned hotels and uses them as their offices. Magical people could Floo from one hotel to another without drawing attention to themselves. There were always magical rooms available for special meetings and purposes at these hotels. Hermione and Harry were amazed at how efficient this system worked to keep ‘folks’ from noticing magical activities.

Hermione had asked several officials how they were able to run electronic devices around all the magic. Electrical items don’t work in the magical homes and locations of England. She discovered that certain concealment charms interfered with the electrical systems. The Muggle Repelling Charm was the most notable. They don’t use these in Australia, so they can also use Muggle electrical devices.

Brad Carl had arranged for the return trip to Sydney to take eight days so that everyone could spend time enjoying Australia. He had even made sure their return flight was a standard Sydney to London flight, with only one stop at Singapore, for a couple of hours. He arranged diplomatic passes for them so that they did not have to go through security scans in the airports.

“Are you going to sleep?” asked Harry. It was eleven o’clock at night, and people all around them were turning off their personal reading lights to go to sleep.

“I think I will stay up for a bit,” replied Ginny, as she pulled out a scrapbook filled with loose newspaper clippings, photos, and various memorabilia of Australia. “I want to do a little studying, to try to figure out where you will be in tomorrows Daily Prophet.”

This statement made Harry grunt and shake his head. “I can’t believe you are still playing that game, besides you need to find three locations. We have been receiving papers a day late, plus our day for travel, and there will be a new Prophet tomorrow morning.” The Daily Prophet has been reporting “Harry Potter sightings” everyday, while he has been in Australia. He has been reported to be all over Great Britain at various residences, and sometimes the sightings have even been accompanied with pictures of someone with glasses and black hair. The sightings have been such a joke to everyone around him, they started a “Where’s Harry” pool. The Grangers, of all people, thought of the idea. It seems that this is a common thing among Muggles to get friends together and make friendly wagers on various things, usually sporting events, like football, cricket, and rugby. Ron has been the only one to guess right so far, with his standard “downtown London” and “Diagon Alley” guesses.

“That’s right,” she said with a laugh. “I definitely need to think about this. I don’t want Ron to beat me, and he is the only person to even guess where the Prophet sighted you. Besides, I would like to know who else you have been with these past few days.” She looked up from her scrapbook and stared at Harry with a raised eyebrow. The sightings have usually been by witches that many times have claimed he spent the night or weekend with them. These sightings made Ginny uneasy, even if she outwardly laughed about them. Harry has become the “most eligible bachelor” in the magical community. Gilderoy Lockhart had propagated this mystique of a handsome powerful wizard, with all his false accomplishments, but Harry’s were real and witnessed, and he’s younger and better looking, at least Ginny thinks so.

“Blimey, Ginny, you’re not going to believe these reports whenever we get back? Are you?” Harry asked with a bit of concern in his voice. “I mean most of those pictures don’t even look like me. You know where I’ve been the past month.”

Ginny smiled at his concern. It made her happy that he wanted to reassure her that he was dedicated to her. She doesn’t have any doubts about Harry’s love for her. She doesn’t trust the other unscrupulous women out there, like Romilda Vane and Australia’s “Tart Brigade”. “I won’t be concerned, until these pictures start looking like you, instead of these cheesy imposters.”

“Good point!” snorted Harry. “I certainly don’t look like any of those blokes. One of them even had grey hair.”

Ginny smiled at his comment, because Harry doesn’t look like any of the pictures in the paper, not even the ones of himself. He appears to have become younger looking, in the past month. There were lines of worry on his face and he always appeared tired in all the pictures of him, even the ones from the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Ginny had never noticed those things before, because they had always been there. She didn’t even notice them leaving his face, because she was seeing him everyday. It was Hermione’s parents, who noted the difference in Harry’s looks, from the pictures in the paper. Once they said something, then Ginny saw it straight away. The change in Harry isn’t unexpected, since he no longer is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and a piece of Voldemort’s soul inside of him.

After realizing how Harry had changed, Ginny started to notice how everyone else had also changed. Her mother had changed the most dramatically. She can’t even remember her mum looking so young and happy. When they first arrived in Australia, her Mum was looking tired and haggard. Everyone assumed it was the death of Fred weighing heavily on her. She was having terrible nightmares. When they were at Regi’s house her Mum and Dad was up most of the nights, because of her nightmares. No one realized how bad off she was until then. It seemed that her Dad had been taking care of many of her Mum’s normal responsibilities, because of her state. Then suddenly she was happy again, and Ginny and Harry stumbled upon them skinny-dipping and Merlin knows what else. The thought of that night still makes her shiver.

After that fateful night and the argument that followed, the vacationers were split into two groups of four. Ron, Hermione, and her parents spent almost all their time together, since Hermione hadn’t spent much time with her parents since her fourth year. Harry, Ginny, and her parents were the other four, since her parents didn’t trust to leave the two love birds, as they were called, out of their sight. This annoyed Ginny in two ways: first, was they didn’t trust her, and second was that her parents continued to act like a couple of newlyweds, always holding hands and snogging in public.

Ginny looked over at her parents and there they were holding hands and her Mum had her head on her Dad’s shoulder. “Why must they do that?” whispered Ginny.

“Who, your parents?” asked Harry. His voice startled Ginny, because she hadn’t realized she spoke her thoughts aloud. “I think it’s good to see them still so in love. Don’t you want to still be that in love when we’re that age?”

Ginny smiled at Harry’s last statement, as thoughts of the two of them still holding hands and snogging, with grey hair, filled her head. “That’s not the point…” she said. “It’s the fact that they are MY PARENTS, and it’s embarrassing.”

“You are such an old prude, Ginny,” said her Dad with a smile. He had been earwigging while pretending to be sleeping. “There is nothing wrong with married couples showing affection.” Ginny noticed that he stressed the word married.

“A kiss goodbye or good morning is enough affection, in front of your children,” she replied. Harry, her Dad and Mum both laughed at her comment. “The last thing I need is another sibling.”

“Don’t worry dear, your father and I have that sorted out already.”

Ginny blushed and opened her mouth to say something but quickly closed it. She looked over at Harry to see what his reaction was to her parent’s comments, and he was smiling at her. He said the entire time they had been touring Australia that he enjoyed seeing parents acting that way. He often made comments about how different it was from being with the Dursley’s, but he wouldn’t offer any more information about them. “I think I’ll go back to my scrap book, thank you very much for that information,” Ginny said in a whisper that came out like a hiss.

Her parents closed their eyes and leaned on each other for their kip. Ginny opened her scrapbook, oblivious to what Harry was doing. She stared at the articles but couldn’t get her parents actions out of her thoughts. After leaving Regi’s, they traveled to Cooktown, and stayed there for several days. The AMC had a hotel on the beach where they stayed. She can remember the second day there, Harry had convinced her, to wake up before dawn, so that they could watch the sun come up over the ocean. Of course, her parents had joined them. They wouldn’t even trust her alone with him for a couple of hours. They sat on the deserted beach wrapped in a blanket and watched one of the most beautiful things she has ever seen. As the sun rose, its rays made the ocean appear to glisten as though covered with millions of little stars, which changed from red to gold and finally to silver. The sight was so breathtaking that watching the sunrise became a daily activity for the rest of the vacation. Even when they were not staying within walking distance of a beach, they would Apparate to a beach then back to the hotel for breakfast. The only problem, with getting up this early, is they all needed a kip in the afternoon, but it was a vacation, so it wasn’t a big deal. This turned out to be a good thing for Ginny, most of the time her and Harry would fall asleep in each other’s arms somewhere, as long as they weren’t alone in their room. As she thinks about waking up in his arms, a warm dreamy smile graces her face.

“… Edinburg, and…” Harry’s voice brought Ginny out of her trance.

“What did you say?”

“I said,” stated Harry. “I will be spotted writing a novel in a coffee shop in Edinburg and teaching a fifteen-year-old Slytherin to cast a Patronus in Suffolk, and weeding gardens in Little Whinging. Those are my guesses, aren’t you going to write them down?”

“Oh yes, I shall do that, but those are some of the dumbest guesses I’ve ever heard,” she scoffed at him. Ginny wrote down what Harry had said, on a loose piece of paper and stuck it in her scrapbook.

“I think they are all dumb, to be honest with you,” he said with a hint of sadness in his voice. “I wish I could just walk down around Diagon Alley holding your hand, without ending up on the front page of the Daily Prophet. That would not be possible, unless I’m in a disguise. I’m sorry Ginny that things have to be this way.” Harry had wrapped both his hands around her left hand and looked pleadingly into her eyes.

Ginny was so absorbed by this, she couldn’t think of anything to say. She stared into his green eyes for a moment, amazed at the love that filled them. “I don’t care as long as we are together. Hermione and Dad both say that you are excellent at transfiguring your hair and features. Don’t worry Harry; I am sure the Prophet will get bored with you eventually.” She leaned over and kissed him gently on his lips. “Just remember, I will not go out in the public if you transfigure your hair red and you have freckles. I will not date someone who looks like one of my brothers,” she stated rather firmly. She looked at Harry to see if this last comment had bothered him. The first time she told him that, she continued talking and mentioned Michael and Dean. When she looked at him again, he had a pained expression on his face, almost like he was jealous of those two. If that is true then Harry is being silly, because she never loved Michael or Dean.

“I wonder how your brothers are doing?” asked Harry.

“You mean George?”

“Yes, mainly him, but I am concerned about all of them. I feel like I have abandoned them, by going to Australia, but I owed it to Hermione. She has done so much for me over the years,” sighed Harry.

“I am concerned about George too. He is your typical Weasley man. Tries to be all-tough and not let anyone know that he is falling apart on the inside. All my brothers are like that,” mumbled Ginny under her breath so that only Harry could hear.

“Yeah, I guess your right, except it isn’t confined to the Weasley men,” Harry shot back at her with a pointed stare.

“You’re right. I am like that, but I came by it honestly…” Ginny’s thoughts returned to when she was six years old, and her and Ron had been running and playing in the garden. They collided, hit their heads, and fell scraping their knees.

“…there, there Ginny, everything will be alright,” consoled Fred. He had picked up his crying little sister and was trying to get her to stop and find out what was wrong with her, a very considerate thing to do for a nine-year-old boy. “Can I look at your knees now? I need to see how hurt they are.” Ginny wrapped her arms tighter around his neck and pulled her left knee up for him to see.

“Ron, stop your sniveling and get off the ground. Blimey, you were run over by a little girl,” barked George. “Act like a man, not some whiney little girl.” Ron had also hit his head, fell, and scraped his knees, but the twins seemed to have no compassion for him.

“Ron ith hurt too, George,” said Ginny. “Why don’t you pick him up and thee if he ith hurt.” Ginny was missing her front teeth and spoke with a pronounced lisp.

“Because he is a boy, and boys, or I should say men don’t cry,” stated George imperiously. “Men are to be strong for girls, because girls can’t help but cry.”

“Thatth thtupid!” spat Ginny. George’s indication that girls are weak angered her. “You make it thound, like we girlth are weak.”

George and Fred both laughed at her statement and then said in unison, “You are what you are.”

“Who told you that? You two are making it up!” Ginny had pushed herself away from Fred and stood there facing the twins with her hands clenched in fists. She stomped her right foot with each statement for emphasis. “Who! Who told you that lie!!”

“Dad!” replied the twins.

“Did not!”

“Did to!”

“Did not! Did not! Did not!” her last words were almost a high-pitched scream.

“He told Bill, after Uncles Fabian and Gideon’s funeral, that it was the man’s job to be strong for the women. That was why he didn’t cry at the funeral, because he was being strong for Mum! So There! He said it!” yelled George at his little sister, who still looked like she would start throwing punches at any second.

Fred took over for George and said mockingly, “You girls can’t help it. It is just the way you are.”

“I am not weak!” shouted Ginny. She crossed her arms in defiance of her older brothers. “I will never cry. I am jutht ath thtrong ath any man. Jutht becauthe we are prettier, it doethn’t mean we are weak.” Ignoring her bloody knees and the egg sized knot on her forehead she turned and walked away from her brothers and went inside to her room.

“Hello Ginny! Are you in there?” Harry asked as he waved a hand in front of her face. “Whatever you were thinking about must have been good.”

“I was just remembering the time that I promised that I would never cry again in my life,” replied Ginny. “Only two things made me break that promise; Fred’s death and you.”

Harry looked taken back by her candid revelation. He looked ashamed of himself and shakily muttered, “I’m sorry.”

Ginny smiled at him before reassuring him, “I cried over our break up and when I thought I’d never see you again.” She wrapped both her hands around his right and looked lovingly at him and whispered so softly that he had to lean in to hear. “I also cried when you told me you loved me. So, you have made me cry for good things too.” She kissed him gently on the lips. As she was pulling away from the kiss, she looked him in the eye with a hardened expression and whispered, “If you tell anyone that, I will curse your bits off.” She let out a little laugh, “I must keep my reputation intact.”

Harry threw his head back and let out a loud laugh at Ginny’s last statement. This stirred many of the passengers around them, who woke up and gave him dirty looks for disturbing their slumber. After several minutes of mumbling, everyone fell back to sleep except Harry and Ginny.

“We should try to get some sleep, or we’ll be completely knackered when we get home,” plied Harry.

Ginny looked at him, still thinking about him laughing at her comment. His laughter wasn’t mocking or fake, but for some unknown reason to her it made her feel good. He seemed so pleased that she was strong and determined. She had always been afraid that he would want her to be more submissive, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Without even saying a word, she grabbed his shirt with both hands and pulled him into her for a deep passionate kiss. As she felt his strong arms wrap around her, she melted into him. She never felt inferior to him, but his equal. All ability to think about these things disappeared as she reveled in the feel of his warm lips and strong tongue. As she breathed through her nose so that she wouldn’t need to stop snogging his scent made her head spin. She wasn’t sure if it was his aftershave or if it just the way he smelled, whatever the scent is, it stirs her deeply and passionately. She lost all thoughts about where they were, and she grabbed the back of his head with one hand and his shoulder with the other and tried to pull him tighter to her. The feel of her fingers in his thick hair and on his strong muscular shoulder made her want to be even closer to him. She pulled herself to him only to feel the armrest dig painfully into her side. She broke the kiss. Looking up at Harry, he looked like he had just been hit in the head with a Bludger. She loved making him look like that.

She was going to snog him again, “Oi! Stop that! You two. We are on a plane and people are watching.”

Ginny turned to see Ron staring at her and Harry with murderous look on his face. She looked over at her parents, and luckily, they appeared to be asleep.

“I’ve been trying to get your attention for hours…”

“Ron, that’s a pile of troll dung!” exclaimed Ginny with a forceful whisper. “Can’t I even kiss Harry goodnight?”

“He should be good for about the next two weeks, if you ask me.”

“Nobody asked you! Now leave us alone,” countered Ginny. She looked at Harry who had lost his dazed look.

“I should be getting some sleep, Ginny, besides Ron is right, that was one hell of a goodnight kiss,” offered Harry. He leaned over and kissed her gently on the forehead, before reclining his seat. He leaned back and turned to face her. He ran his fingers over her cheek and through her hair, before whispering, “Good night.”

Ginny sat there staring at his face, as though she was trying to memorize every millimetre of it. She had done this already. She could close her eyes and tell someone every detail of his face from memory. However, she still sat there looking at him for some time, until everyone around her was asleep.

Sitting awake, while everyone around her was asleep, was when Ginny stopped to think about life. Many times, she would wake up at the Burrow, Hogwarts, her Aunt Muriel’s, and various places this past month and sit, and wonder, and worry about her life. Up until a month ago, she was always concerned about defeating Voldemort and his Death Eater and hoping that everyone she loves would still be alive. For the past month, she worried that everything that happened was actually a dream. She will wake up back at her Aunt Muriel’s and the war will still be going on.

No one was supposed to survive the war. She should be dead. Harry should be dead. All the Weasleys and Grangers should be dead, but they are not. One of her most confusing feelings were when she thinks about Fred dying. She loved him. Dearly loved him and George, they treated her like a young friend, not an annoying little sister. However, every time she thinks about Fred she also rejoices that he was only one that died out of all her brothers and dear friends. Colin, Tonks, and Remus were also friends, but not as close as Harry and Hermione. Sometimes she even wondered if feeling this way makes her heartless and selfish. Ginny stopped her present train of thoughts, sighs, and tried to clear her head.

Ginny hears Harry’s slow regular breathing. She can’t stop the desire to look at him and watch him sleep. He has an innocent and calm look to him, now. She hopes he never has another nightmare for as long as he lives. He has seen so many terrible things in his mind, but he is still the same gently boy that she fell in love with. A smile graces her beautiful face as she thinks about her first year at Hogwarts. Harry was very decent to her nicer to her than most students were. With all the bad things that happened to her and she went through, she truly fell in love with him that year. She was infatuated with him, because of his legend, and she thought he was very cute on the platform the year before. It was his reaction, to her singing Valentine, which made her love him. That was probably the dumbest thing she has ever done in her life. She embarrassed him when the troll tackled him in the hallway crowded with students. Then sang that song she had penned. She ran away because of her own embarrassment from Draco’s vicious comment. Harry never said anything to her about it. He seemed to feel sorry for her embarrassment. Most boys would have ridiculed her, yelled at her, or shunned her completely. Harry was still as nice to her after that incident as he was before. It takes someone with a big heart to behave like that.

Ginny pulled her gaze away from Harry’s face. She stared down at her scrapbook. She wanted to write down for her three guesses: shagging Ginny Weasley, shagging Ginny Weasley, and shagging Ginny Weasley. No one would probably find any humor in those. Therefore, she wrote down three towns she thought about and conceded defeat to Ron.

She looked through the rest of the things in the scrapbook, after writing down her three lame guesses. She was looking at the various pictures that she had of everyone in Australia. One picture brought a frown to her face. It shouldn’t, but it brought her back to the realities of dating Harry Potter. It was a picture of her and Harry at the going away party the AMC threw for them, the last night they were there. Harry wore in a rust coloured suit and had his arm around her. She had a pale blue dress. It was short sleeved and came to just below her knees. She had dressed conservatively for this event, because the entire AMC would be there, and she wanted to appear proper for Harry. In the background of the picture, there stood a group of young witches, daughters of the high-ranking officials in the AMC, which followed Harry around all night trying to get him away from her. She could have worn her little black dress from the first night and still looked conservative next to the “Tart Brigade”. They were all showing more skin than many would show in a one-piece bathing suit.

Ginny walked over to the bar. “I want something strong, but it must taste good,” she asked the bartender with a sweet voice and smile. He looked at her for a few seconds before starting to mix up some complicated drink. She turned to look at the exit where the loos are located. Harry was in one, but what was irritating her was the gaggle of witches standing by the exit waiting for him.

As she stood there watching them, the bartender returned with a large glass with an umbrella and a bunch of fruit on a plastic sword. She looked at it, then at the bartender. “It’s called a Grogg,” he said. “You can only order one a night, Miss Weasley, because its one of the strongest drinks we make.”

Ginny took a sip, “It tastes like fruit juice.”

“It’s a mix of coconut milk, pineapple juice, and doubles of rum, vodka, tequila, triple sec, and crème de banana so drink slowly, Miss Weasley.”

Ginny thanked him again and walked towards the buffet table. She looked over towards the loo and saw Harry being dragged off by Mr. Carl towards some other dignitary. This had been going on all night, she had accompanied him the first ten times, but everyone ignored her, so she would wait for him to come back. She watched Mr. Carl and Harry walk across the large hall weaving between tables, and the witches following behind them.

“What are you scowling about, Ginny,” asked Hermione, she had walked up to Ginny as she stood by the buffet table.

Ginny looked at Hermione. She had accompanied Ron to the buffet table for probably the fifth time that night. He was looking around trying to decide what to eat next. “The local collection of tarts over there,” Ginny said sarcastically as she pointed directly at the group of girls who were now trying to get Harry’s attention as he spoke with another high-ranking wizard.

“Tarts, where are there tarts?” asked Ron as he looked around the collection of food.

Ginny and Hermione looked at each other and had to suppress their laughter at her brother’s remark. “There, over there Ron, with the desserts.”

“Do you think they have any cherry…”

“Not a chance, Ron, not a chance,” laughed Ginny. As Ron walked away looking for the desserts, Hermione slapped Ginny’s shoulder.

“You really are in a cheeky mood tonight,” commented Hermione.

“If you had that gaggle of tarts following Ron around all night trying to tear him away from you, how would you feel?”

Hermione stood there and looked at the collection of young witches, the way they were dressed, and how they were trying to catch Harry’s attention. She looked at Ginny with an apologetic expression. “I am amazed you haven’t cursed the whole lot of them?”

“I have felt like it, but I don’t want to make a huge scene, to upset Harry. I guess I had better get use to this type of thing,” she said gloomily. Looking over at her boyfriend and all the people paying attention to him, she took a long sip of her drink.

“That looks refreshing, what is it called, maybe I’ll order one,” stated Hermione trying to break Ginny’s focus on the events unfolding in front of her.

“It’s called a Grogg. You may want to think twice before you order it. It is pretty strong.” As Ginny told Hermione what was in the drink, the expression on her face went from concern to shock to her bossy prefect look.

“You shouldn’t be drinking that. You could get inebriated and start cursing half the women in this place for looking at Harry,” demanded Hermione.

Ginny started to laugh at her friend. “Inebriated! Inebriated, only you would say that Hermione. No! I don’t plan on getting pissed. Unless, Harry leaves with one of them, then I will probably end up getting destroyed.”

“I couldn’t find any tarts on the dessert table, so I grabbed a couple of these things. I think they are called Cannoli.” He handed one to Hermione, who took it from him. She rolled her eyes with pleasure after taking a small bite from the one end.

“Ginny, why don’t you come and join us at the table. Harry will be back over soon,” asked Hermione. The three of them walked over to their table, but, before Ginny could sit down, Harry came back and dragged her out onto the dance floor.

They stayed out there for several songs and talked. It was the only place, they could get time alone together, and Brad Carl seemed to leave them alone if they were dancing. At least one of the “Tart Brigade”, tried to cut in on them with each song, but Harry always refused them. Even during the fast-paced dances, he kept close to Ginny and ignored them as they danced around them. Eventually Ginny had to leave to use the loo, as she was walking off the dance floor she saw Harry being whisked away to another table of dignitaries.

Ginny had used the facilities and was now standing in front of the large mirror in the make-up area of the fancy loo. She was starting to have doubts about herself. Harry tells her that she is pretty, but compared to so many other women, she doesn’t look that pretty. Her red-hair and brown eyes are nothing spectacular. There are so many blonde-haired blue-eyed girls around. Her complexion is what bothers her the most. It is pale. Some people will call it milky, but to her it just looks pale compared to the other witches and their dark tans. The past month she has been spending more time in the sun than she normally does, and now her freckles are dark and plentiful, while the rest of her skin has a slight pink hue to it. What bothers her most, some people who don’t know her, think she is only fourteen or fifteen. It must be because she doesn’t have large breasts. Then there are all those others, who have large breasts, athletic bodies, deep tans, and plenty of money from their family, but Harry still thinks she is pretty.

As she was staring at herself in the mirror, one of the “Tart Brigade” approached her. Cassandra Carl was one of the leaders of the brigade. She was the type of women who spent all day making herself look beautiful, and at night wears skimpy clothes to show the results off. Ginny had been nice to her, because she liked her father so much, but her patience with this self-centered wench was wearing thin.

“Aren’t you the lucky one,” Cassandra told Ginny while staring down her nose. Ginny was immediately reminded of Draco Malfoy’s attitude.

“Why do you say that, Cassandra?”

“You have been getting all the attention tonight from that sexy Boy-Who-Lived,” mocked the conceited witch.

Ginny clenched her fists and had to keep herself from cursing or punching the haughty witch. “Harry!” Ginny stressed his name. “Is not the Boy-Who-Lived to me. He is the Man-Who-Loves me,” spat Ginny, before she walked past Cassandra making sure to bump into her on her way out to find Harry.

She walked back to her table to find Harry sitting there looking nervous. He jumped up grabbed her and kissed her passionately disregarding the fact that Ron and her parents were watching them. He pulled away from the kiss and looked at her. “You can’t leave my side the rest of the night. I am so tired of those witches hitting on me. It’s really getting pathetic.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!” whispered Ginny. This time, it was her turn to initiate the kiss.

Ginny put the pictures back into her scrapbook. She looked around, to ensure no one was watching her, before placing it inside of her magical purse. Leaning her chair back so she could be face to face with Harry, she kissed his sleeping lips. “Good night Harry Potter, the Man-Who-Loves-Me.”

A/N: I feel the need to explain something in this chapter. When I had originally posted this story on another site, people interpreted Arthur’s comment about why he didn’t cry at Gideon and Fabian’s funeral to mean he truly felt she was weaker. It was a case of him not fully explaining himself. He stayed strong and focused on Molly to help her through the funeral of her murdered brothers. The boys were the ones that thought it meant that girls were weak, not Arthur.

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Chapter 8: Vigilantes

Author's Notes: Harry and company return to England. The Ministry has made some improvements, but there are still many problems.

When I started reposting this story, I thought that it would be quick and easy. That plan went out the window when I discovered that there are some chapters missing. So, now I must rewrite, I wrote it once ten years ago, it should be easy. Ha!

Everyone arrived in London exhausted and happy to be home. Brad Carl arranged to have the Grangers’ home in Australia sold and their personal goods shipped to England. They had more luggage and items upon their return than when they had left. Not only had they bought several sets of clothes each, but they also brought back souvenirs. Yet, Harry never spent any of his money in Australia. The entire trip was paid for by the AMC. It was their way of saying thank you for helping with the Goblin problem and defeating Voldemort.

Harry and the Weasley’s had problems with the gifts and money, but John Granger reassured them that this type of treatment was normal for dignitaries in the Muggle world. He and Brad Carl told them this is normal for governments, when they want to build relationships with each other. The relationship with the British Ministry is important to the AMC and the other magical governments from the southern pacific. Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley’s had received the royal treatment. They knew that they were representing Britain and more importantly Kingsley emissaries, but their status and foreign diplomats didn’t hit them until about the time they were to leave. Mr. Weasley seemed the most embarrassed by this realization. He had spent so much of his time languishing in anonymity that being considered as an important member of the Ministry made him uneasy.

The Grangers didn’t have a house to live in, so Harry offered them Grimmauld Place until they found one. The Weasley’s had insisted that they all stay at the Burrow, but the Grangers declined, because they wanted to get a house in the London area and reestablish their practice. Harry explained that it isn’t the cheeriest of homes, but hopefully they won’t mind. He will also be living there. Hermione asked Harry if she could stay there so that she could be close to her parents. He thought that this was amusing, because even if her parents weren’t staying there she would always be welcome.

Ministry cars met them at the airport. Mr. Granger could be heard laughing about not being important to the Ministry, when he saw the two cars with drivers waiting for them. The drivers loaded their entire luggage in cars refusing help from the travelers.

The eight people stood on the airport’s sidewalk for ten minutes discussing who should ride with whom and where they were all going. It was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon and everyone was suffering from jet lag, so the discussion got a little heated. Harry and the Grangers were going to Grimmauld Place in London, and the Weasley’s were going to the Burrow. Ron and Ginny wanted to go with Harry and the Grangers and Floo home. This arrangement was causing all the disagreement. Finally, Ron and Ginny won, and they left the airport to their destinations.

Between the Harry, Ron, Ginny, and the Grangers, the luggage was taken inside of the house easily. The driver was told to drop them off a half-block away from the house. Harry was probably being paranoid, but he didn’t want anyone discovering where he lived. Everyone had just stepped through the door, when Kreacher appeared with a pop. Hermione’s parents jumped and looked horrified at the aged house elf.

“Master should have called for Kreacher. Kreacher would have been honored to bring luggage in and put away,” droned the House-Elf as he bowed low to everyone. Ginny gripped Harry’s hand and stared at the House-Elf in shock.

“Kreacher, I would like to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Granger and you remember Hermione.” Harry pointed at people as he introduced them. “They will be staying with us until they can find a new house. I want you to show them the same courtesy as you show me.”

“What would you like Kreacher to do, Master?” The House-Elf asked politely. Ginny had a look of disbelief plastered across her face.

“We need to put our belongings away, then maybe a meal,” said Harry, as he looked at everyone else. Hermione was giving him a look of disapproval. Ron looked happy about the suggestion, so Harry continued, “Something very British, steak and kidney pie with treacle tart for dessert.” Ron agreed wholeheartedly while everyone else gave a nod of approval.

They spent the rest of the time until supper unpacking and organizing their rooms. Kreacher had been busy while Harry was gone because the house was very clean. The Grangers were a little uneasy about the house, even though Hermione said how much cleaner and less dangerous the place was. They thought the sight of Harry and Hermione pointing their wands at a set of draperies in the stairwell and saying “Muffliato” in the same casual nature that one straightens a crooked picture, seemed strange.

Ginny was amazed by the place. It had been the first time she had seen it since it was the headquarters. The four of them exchanged solemn looks between themselves, when she said this, remembering all the Order members who died since that time.

Kreacher prepared a sumptuous meal that was very definitely British. It felt good to be home. Ron, Harry, and Mr. Granger went to one side of the sitting room for chess after dinner. The ladies sat and talked on the other side. Finally, around ten o’clock bleary eyed and after the two couples had several minutes of good-night snogging and completely knackered, Ron and Ginny bid everyone a good night’s sleep and Flooed to the Burrow.

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The next morning, Harry sat at the kitchen table alone. Hermione had left earlier with her parents to see about finding a new place to live. As he sat there sipping on tea and nibbling on toast, he started to wonder about the possibility of becoming an Auror. He said what he wanted was a quiet life, but he knew that he could not walk away from helping people. He even thought Ginny had come to terms with him facing danger, on a daily basis. What was worrying him was the fact that he never completed his seventh year at Hogwarts and took his NEWTS. There are many things he realized that he needed to learn if he wanted to be successful, but how could he learn these things without going back to school.

He was thinking about writing to Professor McGonagall about returning to the school to complete his education. He knew Ginny would be very happy if he did this. An owl flew down his chimney and dropped a letter in front of him before leaving the same way.

Dear Harry,

I am writing to you about the possibility of becoming an Auror. A Hogwarts Professor has told me that you had wished to become an Auror after leaving school. I regret to inform you that at the present time the Auror department is severally understaffed. It would be impossible to start your traditional training until that situation is rectified.

I am aware of your experience in this field. I am also aware that you did not complete your seventh year or take your NEWTS. The education that you missed would be a vital asset to becoming an Auror.

There is a solution to these problems. As I have mentioned before the department is unable to accept any more trainees into the traditional apprenticeships. Yet, it is receiving a very large number of applications. The solution is that Hogwarts would open its school to qualified Auror trainees and the staff there, along with various members of the Auror department, would help teach these trainees.

Even though you have not sent in an application, I am extending this offer to you. The initial testing will be August 2 at the Ministry of Magic. If you are interested in this opportunity than send an owl to Gawain Robards, Head of the Auror Department, Ministry of Magic. We have spoken of the possibility of you joining the Auror department and he is genuinely excited.

Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic

Harry finished reading the letter and immediately looked for a piece of parchment to write to Mr. Robards. He couldn’t believe it. The thing that worried him the most was not finishing his education and here the solution was presented to him. He finished the letter when suddenly he felt very thick. He had lost Hedwig. He had no way of sending the letter.

Harry appeared in the kitchen of the Burrow with his letter in his hand. He would borrow Pig from Ginny to deliver the letter. He stepped out of the fireplace looking for everyone to be crowded around the kitchen table, but everyone was gone. He looked out the windows at the garden and the orchard, but he couldn’t see anyone. He looked at the Weasley’s clock and they were either at work or traveling. No one was in mortal peril, which was reassuring. He breathed a sigh of relief and went to the Weasley’s fireplace to Floo to the Leaky Cauldron.

Just before he tossed the Floo powder, Harry realized that he needed to change his appearance. He couldn’t walk around Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron as himself. Tapping his wand to his hair, it lightened to a mousey brown color, and he tinted his glasses, so no one could see his telltale green eyes. He tried to pull his hair over his scar before turning on the spot.

He was glad that he had done these Transfigurations, because everyone at the Leaky Cauldron looked at him. Tom seemed to be staring at him, as though he was trying to decide where he has seen this young man before. He was able to walk through the Leaky Cauldron and into Diagon Alley without having anyone noticing him.

Harry purchased a barn owl and named it Dobby. He did this hoping that the owl would be as faithful and helpful as the original Dobby. He sent the owl with the letter to Mr. Robards. His stomach seemed to tighten a little when Dobby took flight. Harry started to feel nervous about letting everyone down by being a total failure in the Auror program. He realized that most people would expect him to appear at the Ministry and be their top Auror. He knew better than to believe that it would be that easy. He will need to work at it and gain everyone’s respect in the Department.

With that task out of the way, he decided to look around Diagon Alley. Occasionally someone would stop and stare at him, but no one said anything to him, which made him very happy.

He was surprised that Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was still closed. He thought George would have reopened it by now. Walking to the door, Harry knocked several times. He could hear people moving around in there. He kept knocking until he heard a familiar voice yelling that they were not open. He knocked again, and Ron opened the door ready to give the annoying git an earful of obscenities.

“I said we are closed, you bloody idiot,” shouted Ron. Harry chuckled at him as he lightened his glasses and darkened his hair. He pushed past Ron to get inside before somebody on the street recognizes him. “Harry, I’m sorry didn’t know it was you. Come in, come in everyone is here.” Ron said to Harry who was already inside. “We came over to see about George. He — a — seems a little unmotivated. We think he might be drowning his sorrows.” Harry just stared at Ron with this last statement.

“Is that why the store hasn’t been reopened?”

“He has even mentioned to Bill, that he might sell the place.” This statement surprised Harry. George had been inventing mischief and items to create it since before they first met. The two of them walked into the back room where George sat on a crate staring blankly at a wall as Mrs. Weasley, Lee Jordan, and Ginny stood facing him. He could tell that they were all deeply concerned about George’s state of mind.

George looked at Harry as he entered the room. “Harry, welcome back,” he shouted with mock enthusiasm. He stood up and walked to Harry and placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. He stank of Firewhiskey, sweat, and his breath had the scent of sick. His face was ashen, and he had dark circles under his eyes. “As the original financial backer of this fine establishment I regret to inform you that I am considering selling it.”

“Why? Why would you want to sell this place?” Harry asked as he looked around the store.

“I’ve lost motivation, and — I — a — just think it best right now.” George’s voice trailed off as he spoke so the last few words were barely audible.

“It’s because of Fred’s death. Isn’t it?” George glared at Harry in response to this accusation. “I am very sorry that Fred is gone, and nothing we can do will bring him back, but I never thought you would sell his dream.” George pushed Harry away from him. His face turned a sickly shade of red.

“It wasn’t only his dream. I also wanted this,” shouted George, while jabbing his thumb into his own chest. “We wanted this shop. Fred and I were partners. Now we don’t have it. I will never have him as a partner again.” George stood there, shaking with emotions, glaring at Harry.

“Selling the shop will not make the loneliness go away! Fred is a part of you. The two of you have a bond that is beyond being brothers,” stated Harry a little more loudly than he had intended. He was angry. It wasn’t George that he was angry at, but the fact the Fred was killed. He was angry because the misery Voldemort caused is still destroying good people like George.

“Harry your wrong. We HAD a bond. Fred is dead!”

“Fred is most certainly dead, but you still have that bond. Trust me on this,” Harry calmly stated. He had been able reign in his emotions a little. “When you love someone that bond goes beyond death. George, if you want to sell the shop then go ahead. I don’t want any money. I think that if you want to honor Fred and everything the two of you stood for together. You should keep this shop open and create as much mischief as possible.”

George sat down and placed his head in his hands. It appeared he was trying not to cry. Harry looked around at everyone. They all looked as lost as he was. Mrs. Weasley walked over and gave George a hug and he returned it. Harry looked at everyone and decided he should leave. They all were staring at George with deep concern, and he had just yelled at him and called him a quitter.

Harry had walked through the sales floor and was standing by the front door. He had pulled out his wand to Transfigure his hair and glasses, when a hand grabbed his arm.

“Don’t leave Harry,” asked Ginny quietly. “I need to talk to you.”

Harry turned around and looked at her. She looked confused, almost as though she had too many emotions running through her mind to sort out. Without thinking, Harry reached out and pulled her into a hug. “I am sorry, if I upset everyone by yelling at George. I couldn’t stop myself…”

“It’s all right. You basically said what we or, at least, I was thinking,” sighed Ginny. “He seems so lost without Fred.”

“Yes, he does. I am afraid if he doesn’t keep this store open then he will never have the desire to do anything fun again.”

“Harry, did you mean that, about the bond of love extending beyond death?” Ginny had pushed herself away from him so that she could look him in the eyes. In the short time they had been together, he realized that she did this for serious conversations.

“Yes, I do mean it, and I’ve felt it many times, with my parents.”

“What about us?” Ginny was staring intently into his eyes.

Harry knew what she was asking. Her concern about his death was real and justifiable. As he looked at her, she appeared to suddenly become delicate and frail in front of him. “I will do whatever I can to keep you alive. So, don’t worry,” quipped Harry.

“That is not what I meant.” Ginny’s eyes were starting to well up, and she didn’t appreciate his cheek. Her emotions had been brought to the surface by watching a childhood idol suffering. “If you hadn’t come back? If you had ‘moved on’, as you said? Would you have still loved me? Would I still have been able to feel you, in my heart?”

“I will always love you,” reassured Harry, “Nothing could ever keep me from loving you.” He leaned over and gently kissed her and pulled her close to him. He held her for a few minutes. She tried to wipe her eyes without him noticing by turning to look at the back room. He pulled slightly away from her. “You should not worry about this. Honestly, Ginny, I am trying my best to die some barmy old codger.”

Ginny started to giggle at his last comment. She leaned into him to kiss him, but an owl tapping on the window of the shop interrupted her. Dobby had returned. Harry had forgotten about his letter, but he didn’t think this would be a good time to mention it to Ginny. He opened the front door and Dobby flew up onto his shoulder. He introduced him to Ginny, and she thought it was nice to name him Dobby.

She looked at Harry and mentioned that he and the Grangers are invited over to the Burrow tonight for supper. Her mother wants to cook. She is tired of other people cooking for her. She kissed Harry good-bye and returned to the back room.

The remainder of the day was uneventful. Harry returned to Grimmauld Place, to find the Grangers looking at brochures and information about various Estate Agents and their properties. Harry told Hermione about the letter, and she seemed genuinely thrilled for him. He also told them about being invited to the Burrow. Hermione looked at him with a puzzled look on her face.

“Harry, how are we going to get my parents to the Burrow?”

He had never thought of that. They decided that side along apparition would be the best way. The Floo might be too difficult for first time users. They didn’t want Hermione’s parents showing up at some strange house or business, if they mispronounced the destination.

Her parents weren’t exactly thrilled at the sensation of being pulled through a rubber hose. However, they arrived at the Burrow with time to spare.

The Burrow was buzzing with activity. Bill, Fleur, George, and Percy were there. George’s spirits seemed a little better, but he seemed to be avoiding Harry. Mr. Weasley was talking excitedly with Percy about the changes in the Ministry. Everyone went to greet the Granger’s and ask them how they are getting along.

Ron was sitting with George. He went to hug and kiss Hermione hello, but returned to talk to George. Harry didn’t want to start a confrontation with George, so he avoided them by helping Ginny set the table.

The food was wonderful. Mrs. Weasley is the master of comfort food. She cooks simple dishes that fill you up and make you feel so good. Everyone was enjoying her cooking while talking about Australia and happenings here.

Percy announced that Hogwarts is almost finished with restorations.

“Do you know if there will be Quidditch this year?” asked Ginny.

“Why, yes, the pitch had only minor damage.”

“Great, I can’t wait to get back and play Quidditch again. Playing out back is fun, but I want to get an actual game with a Quaffle.”

“Well, Ginny do you fancy yourself a Quidditch player,” Percy said in a pompous manner. Harry wondered if he tried to sound like that or if it was natural.

“Yes, Percy I do. I actually have been wondering about playing Quidditch after I graduate Hogwarts,” replied Ginny airily.

“Well, you are in luck then.”

“What do you mean, Percy?” Ginny looked at him with a mix of curiosity and annoyance.

“I cannot say anymore, Ministry business,” announced Percy. He emphasized his statement lifting his right hand and turning his face away slightly from Ginny. A spoonful of mashed potatoes flew across the table and hit Percy on his glasses. Harry looked to his left from where the potatoes originated and saw Ginny, Hermione, and Ron smirking at him. George was across from Ron, and he looked like he was about to explode from glee. The rest of the table fell silent as Percy slowly reached up and removed his glasses and sat them in front of his plate. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley seemed shocked that anyone would do something like this with guests present.

Percy let go of his glasses and drew his hands back on the table until they were beside his plate. “Well,” he announced, “I see what you think of my announcement. So,” he suddenly grabbed his plate and flung it back in the direction that the potatoes came from splattering Harry and everyone to his left with food. “Back at You!”

The air seemed to disappear from the room, as everyone stared at the very un-Percy like action. It seemed like an hour had passed, but it was only a second or two before Mrs. Granger scooped up a fork full of green beans and flung them at Hermione, who had gravy and mashed potatoes dripping off her nose. “Don’t forget your vegetables, dear.”

All inhibitions went out the window, as Mrs. Weasley’s wonderful meal became projectiles, flying around the kitchen. It took only five minutes before everyone was smeared with a well-rounded meal and laughing so hard that his or her sides hurt.

Everyone had their wands out and had the kitchen sparkling clean in a few seconds. After all the dishes were cleaned up, the Grangers apologized to Mrs. Weasley about ruining her wonderful meal. Only to have Mrs. Weasley reassure them that it was worth it to hear her children laugh and have fun. She walked over to the oven and pulled out a chocolate cake for dessert. She stood there and held it until everyone promised not to throw it.

As everyone was enjoying their cake Bill returned to Percy’s conversation that started it all. “What Percy was alluding to is the Minister of Magic is trying to rebuild alliances with other countries. He wants to reinstitute something like the Tri-Wizard tournament.” Harry seemed to twitch at the memory of the last one. “It will not be one champion competing from each school, but several. One of the things the schools will be competing in is Quidditch. Hogwarts is getting Gwenog Jones to coach their team.”

Ginny almost choked on her cake when she heard that Gwenog Jones might be coaching the Hogwarts team. She had a poster of her in her bedroom. If there was ever an opportunity to get into professional Quidditch this was it.

Harry asked if anyone has heard from Mrs. Tonks and Teddy Lupin. No one seemed to have heard anything about them, so they were probably doing fine. Harry and Ginny helped clean up the dessert dishes, and then they took a walk outside.

“Gwenog Jones, coaching at Hogwarts. I am going to need to practice up and get on that team. Oh, Harry, this is like a dream come true for me.” Ginny was bubbling with excitement. They were sitting on a bench by the back door of the kitchen. “If I make the team, I’ll be playing matches all over England. Then if things work out, I’ll get to travel all over the world playing….” She stopped talking and all the excitement left her. “Harry, would you be upset if I played professional Quidditch?” She was looking at him, waiting for him to say yes or no.

“No! I wouldn’t be upset. What type of boyfriend would I be if I told you couldn’t pursue your dreams?”

“A typical wizard kind,” she solemnly said. “Most wizards of your wealth and prominence don’t allow their wives — or — girlfriends to work or have their own careers.” Ginny was now looking down at her hands.

“I was raised as a Muggle, Ginny. This is what your father talked about, living our life before settling down to raise a family.” Harry felt his face get warm as he mentioned them raising a family. Ginny also looked up at him when he said it. She seemed to be just as embarrassed as he was. “The only thing I will ask of you is to come back to me, after becoming an international Quidditch star.”

“Thank you for being so understanding.” She pulled his face down to her and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her and they got lost in the sweet sensations of snogging.

They finally stopped due to lack of oxygen. “Being understanding and marvelous comes with being The Chosen One?” Harry said with a laugh. “OW! That hurt,” he cried. Ginny had kicked his shin because of his last comment.

“Is everything alright out there?” Mrs. Weasley had asked from the kitchen door.

“It’s alright Mum. Harry is having leg cramps, from the long trip.”

“Seems to happen a lot in the family,” chuckled Mrs. Weasley as she walked away from the door.

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The next day Harry and Ginny were going to see Teddy Lupin. They arrived at the front door of the Tonks residence and knocked. They noticed that the house was all closed up. The drapes were pulled tight and the garden hadn’t been tended in a while. No one answered but they thought that they heard someone moving around inside.

Knocking again Harry shouted out. “Hello, Mrs. Tonks its Harry and Ginny. We stopped by to see Teddy.”

They thought that they saw a drape move before the sound of several locks being opened. Mrs. Tonks opened the door just enough to let them inside. She quickly closed the door behind them and reset the locks.

“Mrs. Tonks, what is wrong? Why are you hiding?” As Harry said this, he noticed that she looked several years older and extremely tired since the last time he saw her.

“It’s the vigilantes. They think I am Bellatrix. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been mistaken for my sister.” Even her voice was tired. Her attempt at humor failed, because of her present state.

“Bellatrix is dead. My mother killed her,” stated Ginny. “It was in the Prophet.”

“I doubt these people read or believe what the Prophet has to say. They have been wrong before. There are reports of vigilante’s attacking purebloods all over Britain. The Ministry is so over whelmed that they can’t do anything to stop it. The vigilantes attack and then disappear within before the Hit-wizards or Aurors can show up.”

The injustice of this burned inside of Harry. Andromeda had lost her husband and only child in the fight against the Death Eaters, and now idiots seeking revenge against her dead sister were pursuing her. “What can we do to help?” Harry almost shouted this as he found his emotions hard to control. “I can’t sit by and watch this happen to you after all you have been through.”

“Harry, Ginny, please sit down. If you want to help me, pick up things that I need for the house and Teddy. I don’t want the two of you chasing after these people.” They sat down on the sofa in her living room, while she went to get Teddy. He was awake and playing in a bedroom.

Mrs. Tonks returned with the baby and went to hand him to Harry, but Ginny grabbed him first. They sat and talked about what she would need. Harry held Teddy and gave him the stuffed Koala bear that he picked up in Australia.

He had just given him back to Mrs. Tonks, when the front door exploded, and people jumped inside. Harry drew his wand, but Mrs. Tonks was in the way. Before he could do anything, he heard at least six different voices shout “Crucio”. The pain shot through his body. He could hear the vigilantes laughing and taunting them as he writhed on the floor.

“You can’t hide from us. We saw you were home,” taunted one of the attackers. “It’s your turn Bellatrix.”

“How do you like it? This is for my cousin you slime,” shouted another.

“Maybe we will stay here all night before we kill you all.” They all were saying things mistakenly directed at Andromeda.

Harry could hear screaming in his ears. He thought it was his before he realized that he wasn’t screaming. It was Ginny, Mrs. Tonks, and Teddy. These scums were even torturing a two-month-old baby. Harry concentrated with all his might trying to push the pain out of his mind and only think about fighting back. He could feel control coming back to his arms and legs. There was still pain, but it didn’t control him anymore.

“Protego” Harry jumped up and cast a Shielding Charm. He could still feel the Curses cutting through his Shield, but their intensity decreased. His Shield expanded out in all directions slamming the vigilantes against the walls of the room. They were shocked at this happening and broke the Curses. Before they could react, Harry silently Stunned them all.

Ginny was slowly getting up. Mrs. Tonks also was recovering, but Teddy was screaming and twitching as though the curse was still on him.

Harry knelt beside Teddy and his Grandmother. “Mrs. Tonks, can you take Teddy to St. Mungo’s? Are you well enough?”

“Yes! Yes, I can do that,” she said with great effort. “Harry, I will be all right.”

“Then go! Go now! Please!” Harry was concerned what a powerful Curse like that would do to a baby that’s barely two months old. Mrs. Tonks walked with Teddy in her arms out the front door and Disapparated.

“Ginny, how are you? Do you think you could go to the Ministry and get some Aurors to come out here? I’ll stay and make sure no one escapes.” He was looking at her with deep concern in his eyes. He had never wanted her to know what that Curse felt like. He wanted to hurt that filth that would torture a baby and Ginny, but a part of his mind kept telling him it would be wrong.

“I’ll be fine,” replied Ginny as she stood up and stretched her legs and arms. “That wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that effin’ curse.”

“What do you mean, that wasn’t the first time?” shouted Harry. The shock of the statement had caught him off guard.

“The Carrows use to give Cruciatus Curses for detention. Do you really think I was going to keep my mouth shut when some slime ball talked about how horrible you were?” Harry stood there numb at what she had just told him. The thoughts of her lying on the floor of a Hogwart’s classroom while being tortured, was causing his head to pound.

“Relax, Harry, it wasn’t your fault. That is in the past, just let it go.” She saw the anguish in his face and told him this in a soft and reassuring voice. She gently kissed him. Thanked him for saving her, walked out the front door, and Disapparated.

Harry looked around the room. All the vigilantes were motionless. He began to wonder if there might be more of them. He put his invisibility cloak on, moved back into a corner, and waited for Ginny to return with the Aurors. His head was still pounding with the thought of Ginny being tortured. He tried to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. He kept trying to heed her advice and let it go. Let it go, it was in the past.

Harry heard movement outside of the house. He had been thinking of Ginny so much that he didn’t hear anyone Apparate. Even though he was invisible, he squeezed himself further back into the corner. He saw two wands appear in the doorway. The people holding them hesitated for a second, and then slowly entered the room. Harry didn’t recognize them. He pulled up his wand under his cloak in case he needed to use it. The two wizards looked around the room, and then spoke to someone outside.

“There are six people here, and they looked stunned. No sign of Potter though. He must have left.”

Harry recognized Ginny’s voice. “He is there. He is probably hiding from you. Let me come in there.”

“No, Miss Weasley, I don’t want you in there in case fighting breaks out.” This was said by another voice from outside. “Miss Weasley stop!” Ginny ignored his command and walked into the room.

“Harry, its safe these are the Aurors. If you don’t come out soon you will be having more leg cramps.” The other two Aurors looked at her as though she had lost her mind. Then they jumped as Harry suddenly appeared in the corner with a big smile on his face.

The rest of the Aurors came into the house. They tied up the vigilantes and picked up all their wands for an investigation. They questioned Harry about what had happened, and how he was able to fight off and stun six attackers at one time. Gawain Robards was the Auror in charge of the group. He seemed a little perplexed by what Harry and Ginny told them. He had never heard of somebody fighting off a Cruciatus Curse before or using a Shielding Charm like that. The thing that puzzled him the most was that Harry didn’t seem to know how he did it either. He told the two of them that they were free to go. The Aurors dragged the vigilantes outside and Disapperated.

Harry and Ginny went to St. Mungo’s to see how Teddy was doing. They found Mrs. Tonks standing over him in the spell damage ward. The healers had put him to sleep, because he was still showing the effects of the curse.

They walked up to Mrs. Tonks, stood on each side of her, and put an arm around her. She told them about how he wouldn’t stop screaming and writhing. She had to hold him very tight because she was afraid he might Splinch if he twitched while Apparating. The healers have no experience at this type of case. They were all shocked that anyone would torture a two-month-old baby like that.

Gawain Robards showed up with a healer in tow. He had finished questioning the attackers and checking their wands for prior spells.

“Well. Good news, we have an almost rock-solid case against those people. They may never see the outside of Azkaban again.” The three just looked at him and nodded recognition of the statement. “Have the three of you been checked by a healer?” They all shook their heads no. “I didn’t think so. Healer Alsop is here to check you, so please just cooperate.”

The healer looked at the three of them individually, while he did this Mr. Robards talked to first Mrs. Tonks then Harry. Ginny noticed that the conversation with Harry wasn’t a questioning, but he seemed to be congratulating him as he was patting him on the shoulder and shaking his hand. After the healer gave them all a foul-tasting medicine to drink, Mr. Robards told them all good bye.

“What did he talk to you about?” inquired Ginny.

Harry started to get a little nervous. He didn’t think Ginny would be surprised, but he figured that she would be angry. “He just told me that I did a good job. He also said that he received my letter and I am scheduled to take the initial Aurors test.” He stopped and waited for Ginny to explode at him, but she didn’t. She looked at him as though he had just told her what the weather was like.

“The initial test? Does that mean that you are going to start training soon?”

“I won’t start my actual training until September 1. If I pass the initial phase.”

Both Ginny and Mrs.Tonks stared at him in disbelief that he said that. “You just took out six attackers, after fighting off the Cruciatus Curse,” scoffed Ginny. “You are worried about not being accepted for training. Sometimes, Harry, you are unbelievably thick.”

“Ginny! It’s that I haven’t completed my education,” interjected Harry. “I am not that good at Transfiguration and Potions. Those are important aspects too. I am just glad that I’ll be going to Hogwarts to start my training.”

“What! You will be going to Hogwarts with me this year,” squealed Ginny. “Oh Harry, that is wonderful!” She hugged and kissed him passionately. Both Harry and she forgot about Mrs. Tonks being there and apologized for acting like that.

“That’s alright I am glad to see you two happy,” she said with a smile.

The three of them pulled up chairs and sat down beside the bed. They talked about the trip, and things that were happening in England. The time started to slip away. Harry noticed that it was almost five o’clock and suggested that Ginny go home. He would stay the night with Mrs. Tonks. Ginny reluctantly agreed and left. Mrs. Tonks insisted that Harry leave also, but he didn’t want to leave her alone.

Mrs. Weasley showed up an hour later with a basket of food and a ton of sympathy. She told Mrs. Tonks that Arthur was going to her house to fix the front door. She was so shocked at what Ginny had told her. Ginny and Hermione also arrived with her. They talked to Harry. Hermione seemed very interested in how Harry was able to Stun all six attackers.

Harry became tired of people telling him what he did was impossible and changed the subject by asking about Ron. Hermione said that he was still at the shop. He has been there all day, trying to get George to reopen it.

After about an hour a healer showed up and told them that there were too many people, and some would have to leave. Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, and Hermione said their goodbyes and left for the night. Harry stayed with Mrs. Tonks.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Later that night, Hermione sat in Ginny’s bedroom talking about Harry. Ginny was becoming annoyed at the fact that Hermione was questioning what Harry had done.

“Can’t you accept that he might be a really powerful wizard?”

“Well yes, but he was never able to do things like that before. His sudden ability to cast nonverbal spells is surprising to me, along with his sudden improvement at Transfiguration,” stated Hermione in her analytical voice.

“Have you ever considered that it might be because of the Horcrux?” replied Ginny.

“The Horcrux? Which one and what would that have to do with it?” questioned Hermione.

“The Horcrux he had been carrying around inside of him for seventeen years. That’s the one I’m talking about, Hermione. How could he have a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him for seventeen years and never be possessed by it. I was possessed from a diary that I wrote in. Harry had an actual piece inside of him. Living in him, yet he was never possessed. He must have had this internal battle going on inside of him that he never realized. That would require a great deal of magical power to resist. Now that it is gone all the energy and power needed to resist it can be directed to Harry’s other powers and abilities.”

Hermione and Ginny sat there discussing what she had just said. Hermione told her how the locket would make her feel when she wore it. The ability it had to affect your mood and at times, it seemed to be able to control your thoughts. Ginny had a valid point that Harry had been battling this evil since he was one year old. Now that it is gone, he would be a changed person.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

The healers awakened Harry and Mrs. Tonks the next morning. They had fallen asleep on a settee leaning on each other. They stood up and stretched before asking about Teddy. The healers were going to break the sleep spell on him and check to see how he was. Everyone was happy to find that the effects of the spell had worn off. Teddy lay in the bed and cooed at everyone staring at him.

“Thank you!” said Mrs. Tonks. “For staying with me last night, it helped having someone here. Why don’t you go home and get some rest in your own bed?”

“I might do that,” yawned Harry as he stretched again. “Is there anything you need me to get for the house and Teddy?”

“No, with those vigilantes incarcerated I should be free to get things myself.”

“Well let me know if you need anything. Take care.” Harry was shocked when she pulled him into a warm hug.

He left wondering how it is possible to have two sisters so completely different in personality. He was thinking about this and almost walked into Kingsley.

“Careful there Harry. You almost knocked me over,” said the Minister of Magic. He was dressed in high quality robes that gave him a truly royal look.

“I’m sorry King — um — Minister. I was just leaving Mrs. Tonks and Teddy.” Harry caught himself yawning again. He tried to suppress the yawn but wasn’t successful. “I wasn’t watching were I was going.”

“How is Teddy?”

“He is doing well. He was able to sleep off the effects of the curse.”

“I’m glad to hear that. I wanted to check on them, and to talk to you. Since you are here, I’ll take care of business with you first.” Kingsley handed Harry two pieces of paper.

“What’re these?” asked Harry as took the folded piece of paper from him.

“That is Miss Weasley’s Apparation license. And the other one is yours. She passed since she was able to Apparate to the Ministry yesterday,” he chuckled at the breach of Wizard Law that had occurred. Kingsley cleared his throat as though he was preparing to give a speech before continuing. “I am hoping. Well I am insisting that you come to the reopening of Hogwarts, on September 2. We are dedicating a monument to the people who fought and to the one’s that died. It would be great if you could say a few words.”

“Another speech?” groaned Harry.

“Yes, another speech,” laughed Kingsley, who couldn’t cover his amusement at Harry’s discomfort.

“All right, I’ll do it.” Harry’s body language looked as though he was given some Herculean task to perform. “If this keeps up I might as well be a politician, instead of an Auror.”

“Harry, stick to a career as an Auror. I’ve heard you’re a lousy liar.”

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