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.
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 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.”
“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.
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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
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.
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