|SIYE Time:4:09 on 23rd November 2017|
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Disturbing Imagery, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Summary: The year after the war was a confusing time for the teen warriors. They had fought against the greatest evil - what was next? Follow them as they try to find out. Canon pairings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 80827; Chapter Total: 4611
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks to my beta StephanieO!
Sitting down in the sand, Harry pulled Teddy in front of him so the baby was sitting up against him. He steadied the boy with a hand to his stomach. Teddy squealed as the water swirled up around them.
"You like the water, Teddy?" Harry smiled down at the baby.
Teddy reached into the wet sand and squished the sand between his fingers, holding a sloppy hand up to his godfather.
"That's sand," Harry said as he wiped the sand off the baby's hand.
Harry lifted the little boy and turned him around so he was facing Harry. Setting him on his feet, Harry held the boy around the middle and let him move his feet in the sand.
"He looks like he's having fun," Ginny remarked as she joined them in the sand.
"I think he is," Harry said as he passed the baby over to his fiancée. Ginny lifted the baby high over her head and brought him down blowing raspberries on his stomach. Teddy shrieked in laughter. Harry smiled as he watched the two of them play.
"Do you want to go out into the water?" Harry asked.
Ginny nodded as she stood up and handed him the baby. Harry held Teddy up high in his arms and discreetly cast a shield charm that would prevent the water from splashing the baby in the face.
The three of them walked out into the water until Harry was waist deep in the water. Teddy's feet were dangling in the water and he kept making faces as water lapped around his feet. Harry and Ginny were laughing at Teddy's expressions.
Looking around, Harry couldn't help but smile. The three of them were spending the day at Carbis Bay on the north western side of Cornwall. The beach was rather secluded and very beautiful with beautiful blue-green water.
"Teddy, look," Harry said pointing to the horizon, "boats."
Teddy babbled at him and Harry laughed, "That's right boats. Aren't they pretty?"
When the baby babbled again, Harry couldn't help but smile at his adorable godson. "Well, of course, Ginny is much prettier, but Ginny is prettier than everybody, right?"
"Harry," Ginny protested laughing. He shrugged. "Well that's what he would be saying if he could talk."
She shook her head as Harry lifted the baby over his head and lowered him so they were at eye level. Teddy laughed and patted his godfather's cheeks. He tried to change his eyes to match his godfather's, but they ended up more of a hazel than truly green. Harry kissed the boy on the cheek.
After playing in the water for a while, the three headed back to the beach. They sat down on the blue polka dotted beach towels they'd left on the sand. Harry quickly changed Teddy's nappy and discretely vanished it.
He lay down on his side with Teddy lying down next to him. Handing Teddy his bottle, he let the baby hold his own bottle. Ginny lay down on Teddy's other side so they were on either side of him. The teens just watched him as he drank his bottle and fell asleep.
"He is so sweet," Ginny said as Harry put the bottle away and covered him up with a small blue blanket.
"I know," Harry replied as he stared at the boy. "I just love spending time around him."
Ginny smiled as she watched her boyfriend watch the sleeping baby. She pulled two bottles of water from her bag and handed one to Harry. He smiled over at her. "Thanks."
"You're welcome." She stretched and closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of the sun. "It is so nice here."
He nodded a bit dumbly as he watched her. At times it still took his breath away how beautiful she was. He'd watched her on the beach earlier. Several guys had tried hitting on her, but she didn't pay any attention to them. It kind of surprised him that he wasn't really jealous of the other guys that talked to her and flirted with her. He didn't know how to describe it exactly, but he knew she loved him and somehow that made all the difference.
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. "So did you have fun at our party?"
He nodded. "It was great. I still keep seeing everyone moaning at breakfast the next morning. Seamus was so funny — complaining how much he hadn't missed listening to Ron snore."
Ginny giggled, "I don't think Hermione and Katie even realized they were sharing a room."
"What about Alicia and Angelina sleeping on the sitting room floor?" Harry laughed. "Your poor dad was so embarrassed when he found them. I heard him yelling at Charlie. No one even slept in Charlie's room. He slept in Ron's room thinking the girls would sleep in his room."
"Except no one told them," Ginny laughed. "Lee and George ended up in Bill's room, but at least George found a camp bed for Lee to sleep on."
She rolled over on her side and propped herself up on one elbow. "Did Hermione say anything to you?"
He shook his head. "No, why?"
"I don't know," Ginny said. "She and Ron were just acting strange. I don't know."
Harry shrugged. "I thought they'd get along better once they started dating, but they still tend to argue quite a bit."
"I think they like arguing," Ginny said. She leaned over and kissed him. "I don't."
"Good," Harry laughed, "because I don't either."
It was early afternoon when the three left the beach. Harry and Ginny dropped the baby off with his grandmother and great-aunt before heading back to the Burrow.
"I think I'll go up and take a shower," Ginny said after she emptied her bag and put the towels in the laundry basket.
Harry moved up behind her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her tightly back against him. He started raining open mouthed kisses down her neck. Ginny moaned slightly and leaned back against him, enjoying the feel of his body against hers.
She reached back with her left arm threaded her hand through his hair. When he lifted his head, she turned hers to capture his lips in a rather passionate kiss. The warmth of his body and the feel of his lips on her were rather intoxicating.
After pulling away slightly, Harry said, "I think you'll probably need some help in the shower."
Ginny's eyes widened as she looked up at him. They were alone in the Burrow and it was something she'd thought about before, but it wasn't something they'd ever tried. A vision of him soaping her up flashed through her head and she nodded. "I think you're right."
His eyes took on a look she found hard to identify, but it was rather exciting. He didn't say anything, but Apparated them to the bathroom. Ginny turned on the shower, adjusting the water before turning back to her fiancé. He'd already undressed and was obviously waiting for her.
A bit shyly she shimmied out of her bikini and stepped into the shower. He quickly followed. Leaning down he kissed her deeply and at the same time he backed her up slightly so the water was hitting her body. He broke the kiss and for a moment he simply looked down at her. "You are so beautiful."
She smiled up at him. "Thank you." She ran her hands up his arms. "I think you are incredibly gorgeous."
He blushed. "I don't think so, but I'm not going to argue with you."
Laughing, she picked up her shampoo bottle. She suddenly felt a bit awkward, not exactly sure what to do. He took the bottle away from her and poured a small amount in his hand.
She laughed a bit nervously. "If you're washing my hair, you'll need a bit more shampoo than that."
He blushed a bit. "I guess it would make sense you would use more than me."
She got her hair wet and turned her back to him. He dropped another quick kiss on her neck before turning his attention to her hair. With much laughter and a bit of instruction, he was able to wash her hair for her. Running his fingers through her hands reverently, he made sure the soap was out of her hair.
"I love your hair," he said. "There are so many colours in it."
She smiled over her shoulder at him and turned around a bit shyly. Harry had already picked up the soap and was lathering up his hands. Very gently, he cleaned and teased her. She delighted in returning the favour, teasing and touching him. As their teasing became more passionate, Harry's foot slipped and he almost fell.
He laughed a little and said, "I think we should move this to my room."
Reaching over, he turned off the water and he quickly dried off and took a bit more time in drying her off. He kissed her deeply before lifting her up and carrying her to his room.
It was almost three in the afternoon before Harry roused again. He lifted his head and glanced at the clock. Glancing down at his sleeping girlfriend, he hated to wake her, but he knew it wouldn't be good if they were caught.
"Sweetie," he said, shaking her shoulder gently.
Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled up at him. He smiled down at her. "I think it's time to get up."
She momentarily snuggled in closer to him. "I don't want to get up."
"That makes it a bit difficult to celebrate your birthday," Harry said with a smile.
He knew she was excited about her birthday dinner. They planned to have dinner out at a rather new restaurant in London with the whole family. Molly had received permission to leave the hospital for the evening and was looking forward to seeing everyone.
"I've been having a great time celebrating my birthday," Ginny said as she planted a kiss on his chest. Turning her head, she rested her head against his chest. She ran her left hand down his arm before lacing her fingers through his.
He smiled and lifted their intertwined hands, kissing hers. "I love you."
"I love you too."
Harry stood in the door of the kitchen enjoying the scene playing out before him. Ginny had climbed up on the kitchen counter and was stretching up to put away a rather large platter.
"I don't think your mother would approve," he remarked with a laugh as she clambered down.
"Probably not," she agreed. "I think it's Ron's fault"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "It was Ron's fault you were climbing on the counter. He's not even here."
She nodded. "He's older than me and you might have noticed he is way too tall and I am not. I think he stole all the height and didn't leave any left over for me."
He started laughing. "I don't think that's really how it works, love."
"Do you have a better explanation?" she demanded as she walked past him and kissed him quickly.
"Genetics? Luck?" he offered. At her pout, he laughed. "I'm sorry what was I thinking, of course your explanation makes so much more sense."
He was rewarded with another kiss for his capitulation.
"That's what I said," she said with satisfaction.
"Is now a good time to point out that you are seventeen and you can do magic?" he asked.
He almost laughed at the look on her face. "That's right," she said with a smile. "I can do magic."
Pulling out her wand, she conjured up new kitchen towels and then proceeded to change their colour several times before banishing the lot. "I can't believe I didn't think about that."
Harry laughed. "I still forget sometimes." He shrugged. "Besides, some things are just easier to do the Muggle way."
The sound of the Floo startled both of them. They turned towards the fireplace and Ginny was pleased to see her sister-in-law.
"Hello, Ginny. Happy Birthday!" Fleur said as she made her way over to the couple. She was carrying a white and gold make up case as well as a dress sheathed in plastic. She kissed Ginny on both cheeks before drawing her into a big hug.
"Thanks, Fleur." Ginny returned.
"I was thinking that maybe I could help you get ready," Fleur said with a touch of uncharacteristic nervousness. "I would always help my sister before we went out somewhere."
Ginny smiled up at her sister-in-law, while playing with hair and makeup wasn't exactly her favourite thing to do she thought she and Fleur might have fun. She looked over at Harry who smiled at her.
"You go ahead, love. I'll read the new book I bought."
"Okay." Ginny smiled as she stood to follow the other witch. "Don't forget to get ready yourself."
"I won't," he promised.
When the two witches entered Ginny's bedroom, Fleur said, "Thank you for this. I think you might have some fun as well."
The older witch quickly took charge, seating Ginny in front of the mirror in her room. After carefully hanging her dress up in Ginny's closet, she opened the make-up case on Ginny's desk. Ginny didn't think she'd ever seen so much make up in one place before, she wasn't even entirely sure what all of it was. She shrugged, that's why Fleur was here, right?
Fleur must have seen Ginny's uncertain look for she said, "Don't worry. It won't be all that bad."
She brushed out Ginny's beautiful hair until it shown and with a few waves of her wand had Ginny's hair piled on top of her head in an intricate pattern. Carefully examining her hair, the two decided it was a bit too formal. Ginny found herself having much more fun than she could have imagined trying out different hair styles. The two laughed and talked about the upcoming dinner. Both of them were nervous, but for different reasons.
"I just want your mother to approve of me," Fleur admitted as she curled Ginny's hair. "She's been much more…cordial since Bill and I have been married, but I always sense that I wasn't her first choice of daughter-in-law."
"I've long since given up on understanding my mother," Ginny said. "I know I misjudged you. I thought you were too beautiful and too…I don't know, too girly for Bill, but obviously I was wrong. You are beautiful and girly, but you're also very strong and smart and a lot of fun. I think Mum can see how much you love Bill and that counts for a lot with her. She just needs to see that the two of you do have things in common."
Fleur smiled at the younger girl's image in the mirror. "Merci, I just always feel like she likes Hermione better than she likes me. She's always telling me how smart Hermione is and what a good influence she is on Ron. It always seems to mean that she doesn't think I am a good influence on Bill."
"She's always like that," Ginny dismissed the thought. "Remember during the Tri-Wizard Tournament when Skeeter was going on about how Hermione broke Harry's heart?"
Fleur nodded and Ginny continued, "That Easter Mum sent Hermione a tiny little egg in comparison to all of the rest of ours. It was her way of telling Hermione she didn't approve of her actions. Mum just…she's always very conscious of what other people think and she seems to think others are judging her by our actions." Ginny shrugged. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but that's the way she is."
"Is it because I'm part Veela?" Fleur asked.
"I don't know," Ginny said honestly. "She's never said anything bad about Veela or anything."
Fleur smiled. "That's something at least."
"She is upset about the earrings, though," Ginny warned. "She might say something about that."
"That does not bother me," Fleur said. "You are old enough to decide if you want your ears pierced. She doesn't approve of Bill's hair or earring, either."
"I don't think she approves of Harry's either," Ginny said with a conspiratorial grin. Her grin faded as she thought about the upcoming night. She looked up at her sister-in-law. "I'm just afraid that she doesn't really approve of me and Harry. I don't know why."
"Why do you think so?" Fleur asked gently.
Ginny sighed. "When I was little, I had such a crush on Harry. I just fell in love with his story and I made up all kinds of stories about him in my mind - how wonderful he would be and he would always have time for me and he would play what I wanted to play — that kind of thing. It was silly, but at the time, that was what was important to me."
Fleur nodded understandingly and Ginny continued. "My mum…I wouldn't say she encouraged me necessarily, but she never made fun of me like the boys would. Once we all actually met Harry, she still didn't really encourage me, but again she wouldn't let the boys make fun of me. I would talk to her about how wonderful Harry was and she would just smile and tell me that I was young."
Ginny laughed, "I guess she's doing the same thing now."
"Does she realize your feelings are different?" Fleur asked gently.
"What?" Ginny looked up at her.
"Does she realize that you are no longer that little girl with a crush on an almost mythical Harry Potter?" Fleur clarified.
"She should," Ginny said indignantly. "I got over my crush after my first year. I realized that he wasn't the perfect boy I had imagined. He was shy and funny and brave and totally a boy." Ginny laughed. "I was so distressed when I realized he could be a prat just like my brothers, but he never dismissed me like they did. He might smile shyly or kind of wave awkwardly, but he didn't ignore me."
"He is very nice," Fleur agreed.
Ginny nodded. "My mum knew that I still liked him, but it was in a different way. I liked him — the real him. She encouraged me to just be friends with him. I think at first she was afraid that Harry and Hermione would start dating and break my heart and Ron's. Now that Ron and Hermione have started dating…I don't know, she's accepted them and has them practically married in her mind. They aren't anywhere near that, but Harry and I are and she doesn't believe me."
"I wish I knew what to tell you," Fleur said. "My mother was so happy when I told her about Bill. She wasn't as happy that I was leaving France, but she was happy for me and encouraged me to follow my heart."
"That is what I wish my mother was like," Ginny said sadly. "She just wants to keep me that little girl."
"Well you are not," Fleur said with a smile. "You are a beautiful, grown up woman and she will have to learn to like it."
"I like the sound of that," Ginny said happily.
"I heard a rumour that you have decided on a Christmas wedding," Fleur said. "Is that so?"
"Yes," Ginny said with a smile. The two spent the rest of the afternoon talking about weddings and relationships. Fleur even taught Ginny some simple hair styling spells.
Harry read for a while before heading up to his room to change for the dinner. As he passed Ginny's door, he smiled when he heard laughter coming from the room. He was glad that Fleur had become such a good friend to Ginny.
After taking a much shorter and much less fun shower than before, Harry changed into a pair of nice trousers and a green and white shirt that Ginny had picked out for him. He returned downstairs to wait for the girls to come down. Bill joined him shortly before six and the two men waited together.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs caused the two of them to look up. Harry caught his breath as he saw his fiancée. Her hair was pulled back with a pair of decorative combs while her curls fell loose down her back. She was wearing a pretty yellow and cream coloured sundress that was fitted at the waist with a tiered skirt and a pair of cream coloured high heeled sandals.
Harry stared for a minute, unable to say a word. A nudge from Bill caused him to finally say, "You look amazing."
Ginny blushed slightly under his admiring gaze. Harry stepped up next to her and kissed her gently. Keeping his arm around her, he turned to see Bill and Fleur watching them. Bill stepped forward and kissed his sister on the cheek. "Happy Birthday, Ginny."
"Thank you," she said as she hugged him.
"You look very beautiful," he said sincerely. He shook his head. "Where did your braids and scabby knees go?"
She laughed. "Don't start; I can only imagine Mum tonight."
"That's true," he agreed. He looked over at the other two. "I've made arrangements for us to Floo to the…George's shop. We'll walk to the restaurant from there."
Harry and Ginny followed the other couple through the Floo. The work of the other Weasley siblings was evident in the cleanliness of the shop. Some of the shelves had been destroyed, but much of the contents of those destroyed shelves had been salvaged and were boxed up on the floor.
Bill led the way down Diagon Alley past Gringotts. Their destination was a short walk down one of the side alleys to a new restaurant named Merlin's Wand. Mr Weasley had requested a private room for their party. As they entered, Ginny was happy to see that her brothers and Hermione were already there waiting for them.
Mr and Mrs Weasley arrived a few minutes later. Ginny had to grit her teeth when her mother started fussing almost immediately.
"Arthur, this has to be rather expensive. Why don't we just go home and have a nice dinner?"
"No, dear. This is fine," Mr Weasley replied soothingly.
"Are you sure?" Mrs Weasley asked.
"Of course," he replied.
Looking around, he spotted his daughter. "Ginny, don't you look lovely? Happy Birthday, love."
He held out his arms to his daughter who hugged him before turning and hugging her mother. "Hello, Mum."
"Hello, darling. Happy Birthday." Mrs Weasley. She hugged her daughter. "You look…nice."
"Fleur helped me with my hair and makeup this afternoon," Ginny said, correctly interpreting her mother's meaning that she didn't like it.
"You're a bit young to be wearing so much make up," Mrs Weasley declared. Ginny stepped back in fear that her mother was going to produce a handkerchief and start wiping her face.
She glared at her mother, but responding to the pleading in her father's eyes she simply said, "I like it."
As Mrs Weasley greeted each of her other children, Ginny hugged Hermione.
"You look great," Hermione said sincerely.
"Thanks," Ginny replied. She gestured vaguely to her mother. "She's a bit much sometimes."
"She's looking good though," Hermione said as they all sat down at a large round table.
"She does," Ginny said. "It looks like she's gotten a lot of rest. Earlier in the summer she just looked so tired all the time."
Hermione nodded. "So did the two of you have fun at the beach this morning?"
"The three of us, yes," Ginny replied. "Teddy came with us."
"Harry is so good with him," Hermione said in a bit of amazement.
"He is," Ginny said proudly as she smiled at her fiancé.
Conversation swirled around the table. George and Percy were telling their mother about the progress they'd made at the shop. Harry, Ron and Charlie were talking about the prospects for the Quidditch season.
"Ginny," Hermione turned to her friend. "I was thinking of coming into London to go school shopping next Monday. Can you go then?"
Ginny looked over at her father who nodded, so she said, "Sure, that sounds good."
Hermione smiled, "It will be nice to do something normal like school shopping."
"I guess, but you've always liked school shopping more than most of us," Ginny teased gently.
Hermione laughed. "I guess you're right."
"Did your parents get their practice open?"
Hermione nodded. "They did and I've been working in the office — answering phones and making appointments. It's been fun and I really have liked spending time with them. I even saw Justin, did I tell you?"
"No," Ginny said as she looked over the menu. "When did you see him?"
"He came in with his sister who was getting her teeth done," Hermione explained. "He's coming back to Hogwarts as well."
"He's going to be a prefect with you," Ginny said.
"Who is?" Ron interrupted.
"Justin," Hermione replied.
"He's going back to Hogwarts?" Ron asked sounding a bit nettled.
Hermione nodded. "Yes, there are five of us going back. Justin, Dean, Lisa Turpin, Mandy Brocklehurst, and I will comprise what they are calling the eighth years."
"And we'll be in class together too," Harry said with a smile.
"That's true," Hermione said with a smile. "Do you know how that will work?"
Harry nodded, "Dawlish said that Hufflepuff and Slytherin will have the morning class and Gryffindor and Ravenclaw will have the afternoon class. We'll travel via Floo to the Headmaster's office."
"Will you be able to stay or come early?" Ginny asked.
"We'll be allowed to stay to use the library if we wish," Harry explained. "Professor McGonagall told us we can also stay for dinner and the morning class can stay for lunch, so you will probably see all of us at some point in time."
"I still can't believe you took your NEWTs," Hermione complained.
"Not to mention the fact that you did so well," Ginny said admiringly.
"Dawlish said that all of you did well on your Defence NEWTS," Mr Weasley interjected. "He was quite impressed with how all of you did overall."
Harry coloured slightly. "Thanks, it was quite a surprise to all of us. We thought they were some sort of placement tests."
"They didn't want to put too much pressure on you," Mr Weasley explained. "They weren't certain how well any of you would do after the last year and they were very pleasantly surprised."
"That is wonderful," Mrs Weasley said. "How many of you are in your class?"
"There are six of us," Harry replied. "This is the largest Auror class they've had in years. Dawlish said they might be enrolling more students in January, depending on the interest. They've had quite a bit of inquiries from people a few years out of Hogwarts who are interested."
"Shouldn't there be less of a need now?" Mrs Weasley asked in a bit of concern.
"Not really," Harry said. "The Auror corps was heavily depleted in the war and Dawlish said they want to have a higher number of Aurors to prevent any Death Eater wannabes from trying to take over."
Conversation continued to flow throughout dinner. Ginny was enjoying her birthday dinner very much. She was very happy to see her mother looking well rested and interested in what was going on in everyone's lives. George and Percy were telling her mother about their plans for the pizza parlour.
"We already have the building and Perce here has been interviewing managers," George said. "Dean Thomas is coming in next week and he's going to be drawing several murals for us on the walls."
Percy frowned at the sound of his hated nickname, but he didn't object.
"That sounds wonderful," Mrs Weasley said. "How did you find a place in such a short period of time?"
"Harry owns it," George said. "He's renting it to us. We're lucky it was fairly easy to convert to a restaurant."
"That was very nice," Mrs Weasley said with a smile for Harry.
Harry smiled back at her. "I was glad to help. I think it's a great idea and it will really take off. Plus I think it will help bring back Diagon Alley. So many of the businesses had to close or were just abandoned, it's nice to walk by and see new places opening up."
"Very true, lad," Mr Weasley said. "I heard that a Muggle clothing store is opening up in the next week or so. They want to be open for the school shopping crowd."
"Muggle clothing?" Mrs Weasley asked a bit disapprovingly. "Is that really necessary?"
"Mum," Ginny groaned. "Muggle clothing is fun and a lot of kids like wearing it."
"It is more geared towards the children," Mr Weasley hurried to interject.
Mrs Weasley pursed her lips in disapproval, but to Ginny's relief she didn't pursue the topic. The waitress came in to clear their dinner plates and replaced them with clean plates for dessert.
Fleur produced a lovely berry filled sponge cake. Ginny's eyes lit up at the sight of the cake. "Fleur, this is beautiful!"
"Merci," Fleur blushed prettily. "I asked Bill what types of cake he thought you would like and I thought it would be a great way to use some of the berries."
"That's great," Ginny smiled.
Her smile dimmed a bit at her mother's expression. Anger rose up in her; if her mother wanted to make her birthday cake then she shouldn't have been taking so many potions. It wasn't fair to Fleur who had worked hard on her cake. As she watched, her father leaned over and spoke rapidly to her mother. Deciding to ignore them, she smiled at her sister-in-law. The cake was cut and distributed.
"Fleur, this is really good," Harry said after his first bite.
"It really is," Hermione said sounding a bit surprised. "Don't tell my mum I said this, but this is better than hers."
Fleur blushed and smiled her thanks.
Arthur wanted to groan when everyone started complimenting Fleur on the cake. He could see his wife getting more and more upset. Molly had been quite upset at the plan to have Ginny's birthday dinner at a restaurant. Originally she'd wanted to come home and cook a large birthday dinner and cake for her daughter, but Arthur and the healers thought she wasn't ready for that. Ginny had come up with the plan to eat out at the restaurant and Arthur thought it was a good compromise. He didn't want Harry or Fleur making his daughter's birthday dinner because he knew Ginny would end up helping.
Molly had fussed about the cost, but Arthur had finally assured her it would be fine. He wasn't sure she believed him.
When Ginny had excused herself to the loo, Molly had commented on how short her dress was and it wasn't appropriate. He only hoped that she would be able to control her temper until it was just the two of them.
"Mum, do you want some cake?" Ginny asked, her eyes shining.
Molly shrugged. "I guess. It's rather different from the type of cake I normally make."
"I know," Ginny said. "It is different, but it's good. Fleur made a great carrot cake for Harry's birthday."
Arthur quietly ate his cake, wishing there was a way to support his wife without insulting his daughter-in-law. Fleur did make an excellent cake. Arthur thought there was room enough for both types of cakes, but he didn't think Molly would think so.
Once the cake was cleared away, everyone slid a present in front of Ginny. Molly glanced at him. He knew she was surprised that Ginny hadn't already opened her presents.
"We decided she should open her presents tonight with everyone around her rather than by herself this morning," Arthur explained.
"I wanted to open my presents with you," Ginny piped up. Molly softened at that and nodded.
Ginny ripped into her presents. She was delighted to receive a box of Quidditch supplies from her brothers, including a broom servicing kit and a practice Quaffle. Hermione gave her a set of new quills and ink. Bill and Fleur gave her a new dark green winter cloak.
As she fingered the silky inside lining, Bill said, "It has warming charms that will activate once it gets below a certain temperature outside."
"That will be great for Hogwarts," Ginny said with a smile. "Thanks."
Arthur smiled as he watched his daughter open her gifts. He handed her a brightly wrapped gift. She opened the box and found a beautiful women's watch with a mother of pearl face and diamond accents around the edge.
"Daddy," she said with gasp. "It's beautiful! Thank you."
She hugged both of the parents before fastening the watch around her wrist. Hermione and Fleur admired her watch before showing it to Harry. He also admired the watch, dropping a kiss on her cheek.
Arthur watched, concerned as Harry handed Ginny another box. Ginny smiled up at her boyfriend and opened the box to find a pair of purple moonstone and diamond earrings. She squealed in delight. Immediately she took out the diamonds that had been in her ears since they had been pierced and gave them back to Fleur before putting in the new earrings. Bill conjured up a mirror so she could see how they looked.
"Thank you, sweetie!" Ginny said as she admired her gift. She leaned up and kissed him briefly.
"You are welcome," Harry replied with a smile.
The party broke up soon afterwards. Ron left to accompany Hermione home and Bill and Fleur left after saying good night to everyone. Charlie took his other two brothers out to investigate the bar in the front of the restaurant.
Before Harry or Ginny could say anything, Molly interrupted them.
"Harry, Ginny, I would like to talk to the two of you."
The couple exchanged a nervous look, but sat down across the table from the older couple.
Molly's lips tightened. "Harry, dear. I'm sure you meant well with your gift, but I don't think it is appropriate. I don't approve of earrings for proper young ladies in the first place, but the pair you gave her are way too expensive."
"Molly," Arthur began.
"Don't try to shush me, Arthur," she retorted. "I know I've made mistakes, but that doesn't mean I've given up my right to have opinions."
Harry looked between the older couple uncertainly. "I'm not sure why they are not appropriate."
"Because they are too expensive," Molly snapped. "It is not proper for a boy to give a girl such an expensive gift."
"Why not?" Harry looked puzzled. He looked at Ginny for help. She shrugged.
"Because it might make her feel obligated to you and might lead to inappropriate actions," Molly said. "If you give her expensive gifts, people will talk."
"I'm sorry," Harry said after a moment. "I still really don't understand."
"She's afraid I'll feel obligated to sleep with you because you bought me expensive gifts," Ginny said in a hard tone.
"What?!" Harry exclaimed. "I would never…I wanted to give them to her because I thought she would like them, not because I expected something from her."
"That may be," Molly said, "but it looks bad."
"How does it look bad that I give the girl I love a pair of earrings?" Harry demanded.
"Love?" Molly shook her head. "I'm sorry, but you are a bit too young to know if you are in love." She looked at Harry. "You will be in London and she will be at Hogwarts. You can't know what will happen in the future. It might be better if you went ahead and moved into Grimmauld Place now. The two of you are getting way too serious too fast."
"Molly!" "Mum!" Arthur and Ginny both yelled at the same time.
Molly turned to her husband. "What? Am I wrong? She is just seventeen — way too young to know her own heart. She's had a crush on him for a long time and is probably flattered that he is paying attention to her."
Ginny flushed both with anger and embarrassment. "Mum! I am old enough to know my own mind. He isn't just paying attention to me. He loves me and I love him."
"It is a summer romance!" Molly yelled. "You will be back at school in a few weeks and find another boy. He will be at the Ministry with all sorts of women throwing themselves at him. How long do you think your romance will last?"
"For the rest of our lives!" Ginny yelled back. She pulled her wand and cancelled the charms that hid her ring. Brandishing her left hand at her mother, she said, "Harry asked me to marry him and I said yes."
Molly looked from one to the other in horror. She turned to her husband. "Did you know about this?"
"Yes," Arthur said. "They told me about it a few weeks ago."
"You knew and you did nothing?"
"What would you have me do? They are in love and planning to get married. Have you not listened when I told you how much they've been relying on each other and how good they are together? I know they are young, but they are both of age."
"Barely," she snarled. Standing, she glared at Harry. "I want you out of my house."
"Fine," he said. He also stood. "I love your daughter and I will marry her."
He looked down at Ginny who was still glaring at her mother. "Do you-"
"Yes, I'm coming with you," Ginny interrupted him.
She gathered up her birthday presents.
"Don't you dare, young lady!" Molly yelled, affronted.
Arthur rounded the table and was saddened to note that Harry automatically stepped between Ginny and her parents. He raised his hands as if in surrender. "Ginny."
"No, Dad, I think we need to leave now."
Arthur nodded sadly as he looked between his daughter and his wife. "Go, be safe."
Darting around from behind Harry, she hugged her father and kissed him on the cheek. She then stepped back to Harry who wrapped his arm around her and Apparated with her to Grimmauld Place.
When they arrived at Grimmauld Place, Ginny seemed to sag against him. Harry took the presents from her and called for Kreacher.
"Master," the elf intoned when he popped into the room. His eyes widened when his saw the state his mistress was in.
"Kreacher, can you please take these upstairs to my room and then go to the Burrow and gather up all of my belongings?"
"Of course, Master," the little elf nodded. "What about my Mistress?"
Ginny lifted her head from Harry's chest. "Can you just bring some clothes?"
"Of course, Mistress," Kreacher replied before leaving.
Harry guided his fiancée to the couch before sitting next to her. She immediately climbed onto his lap and rested her head against his shoulder drawing comfort from his closeness.
"You ok, love?"
Ginny made a noise that was half a laugh and half a sob. "I don't know. I had such a great day earlier and…I didn't expect her reaction to be quite so violent."
She sighed. "She'll calm down in a few days, but I wish she wouldn't over react like that."
"You're sure -"
"Yes, I'm sure I made the right choice," Ginny said. "Dad gave us his blessing and he will talk to Mum. As angry as I am with her, I know it must have been a shock to her."
Sitting up straight, she smiled. "I'm not worried about her tonight. It is my seventeenth birthday and I am alone with my fiancé in his house."
Harry smiled. "Well, when you put it that way."
He leaned over and kissed her. She laughed and darted away up the stairs. He took off after her and found her in their room. They continued their celebration of her birthday long into the night.
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