|SIYE Time:9:57 on 21st June 2018|
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: 86653; Chapter Total: 4775
Awards: View Trophy Room
First, I'd like to thank my beta StephanieO for her work - it is much appreciated. Second, I would like to thank everyone for their kind emails asking after me. I had major surgery two months ago and unfortunately had several set backs, so it has taken me a while to get back to writing. I'm still not quite 100% so please be patient. For those who have asked about the next chapter of Perilous Journey - that is in the works.
"How in Merlin's name could you allow that to happen?" Molly screeched when they arrived back at Summerbee's. "She is just barely seventeen years old and you allowed her to become engaged?! Did you see her? Short skirts, makeup, earrings — she looked like a cheap tart. Not to mention the fact that she is acting like one. Leaving with her boyfriend -"
"Molly!" Arthur said sternly. "First of all, you must calm down. Do you really want to alienate your daughter?"
"No, I want her back home where I can keep an eye on her," Molly raged. "I need to get out of here."
Arthur was shoved back in a corner as she stormed around the room throwing her belongings haphazardly in her battered trunk. "Molly, you aren't doing anyone any good in this condition."
"I thought I could leave you at home to watch over the children, but you couldn't even manage that simple task. Obviously their physical relationship has progressed much further than it should have. You allowed our daughter to become…"
"Stop right there!" Arthur yelled, surprising Molly with his anger. "I know you were taken by surprise, but I will not allow you to keep denigrating our daughter and her relationship. Do I wish she was older? Yes, of course I do, but they are in love — a true and deep love. I wish you would have actually seen them this summer. They have leaned on each other and nurtured each other. He isn't going to forget about her and you know it isn't in his nature to stray."
Molly sank down on her bed still holding some of her robes. "But she is too young and she might get hurt and then where will she be?"
"She is young," Arthur agreed. "Yes, she might get hurt, but you know Harry would never hurt her on purpose. We can't fix everything for her anymore, Molly. We haven't been able to for years."
When he realized his wife was actually listening, he pressed the advantage. "Molly, she may have only just turned seventeen, but she is much more mature than that. She's had to grow up fast. The events of her first year saw to that, not to mention the past year. She had to learn to stand up for herself and others. Did you listen to everything Minerva had to say? How Ginny helped everyone?"
Molly nodded a bit uncertainly. "I heard Minerva, but I still have a hard time believing everything could have gone so wrong."
"It is hard to believe," Arthur agreed watching his wife compassionately. He knew she was having a hard time processing everything, but he felt she was calm enough that he could pull up a chair and sit down across from her. He was forcibly reminded of his discussion with Ron so many weeks earlier.
"Unfortunately, it really did happen. By pretending that it didn't we are minimizing her experience. Harry has listened to her and helped her deal with everything that happened to her over the past year," Arthur said earnestly.
Molly sighed, "I'm scared to listen to her. I don't think I want to know what happened to her." Tears welled up in her eyes. "She told me about them vanishing her robes and clothes during class and…I was so afraid they had taken advantage of her. I didn't want to hear anymore."
"I don't blame you," Arthur said gently. "Unfortunately, it isn't really about us, it's about Ginny. She needs to be heard and listened to. Fussing over Percy or Ron tells her that what she went through isn't important to you."
"I never meant to give her that impression," Molly said tearfully. "I just don't know what to say to her or G-Georgie."
"But we can't ignore them," Arthur said. "This is hard. Harder than anything I've ever done in my life, but I can't focus on my fears of having failed my children. I need to be there for them and comfort them as best I can. We can't fall apart on them now. Crying doesn't help them and that is what we need to do now — help them. I…I would love to have you there to help me and so we can comfort each other."
"So how does this help us with Ginny?" Molly asked after a few minutes.
"What do you want to do?" Arthur asked. "We fell in love when we were at Hogwarts. Why do you have such a hard time believing they have fallen in love as well?"
Molly fell silent pondering that question. "You really think they are in love? It just seems like they are too young. How can she be certain when she's been so sheltered? I am afraid she is dazzled by his reputation and not by him. This coming year he will be tempted in ways that most boys his age are not. He is wealthy and famous and…all those pictures in the papers…he can have any woman he wants or any number of women he wants. I'm just afraid that Ginny will be hurt in the end."
Arthur sighed. "You might be right. Harry might run wild with drinking and women and all sorts of unsavoury things. Do I think he will? No. We can't punish him for things that might happen. He loves Ginny and he wants a family."
"He does because he's never had a real family," Molly agreed. "What happens in ten years when he's still a young man tied down by a family? Will he end up cheating on her, feeling like he missed out on something? Bill, our Bill, dated for years before settling down. None of the other boys are that serious about a girl — why would Harry be so different?"
"He is different," Arthur said gently. "Like Ginny, he's had to grow up so fast. He's had to face death on more than one occasion — he doesn't feel like a kid anymore. Do I know what will happen in ten years? No, I don't. But I don't think he will cheat on Ginny or run around with fast women. That's just not the type of person he is. He's good and steady and noble."
Looking steadily at his wife, he said, "I trust that he will love and care for her." When he saw she was actually listening to him, he said, "If the worst happens and he breaks her heart and leaves her alone and heartbroken…" He shrugged, "If that happens, we will be there for her."
He fell silent as he watched his wife, he could easily understand how she felt. As much as he wanted to protect his daughter, he knew he could not. It was the same as he'd felt when they'd let Bill go to Egypt and Charlie go to Romania. He had to trust he had raised them right and just be there for them.
"Come on, love," he said. "Let's get you into bed and we will deal with this tomorrow."
Slowly, Molly agreed. He stayed and talked to her quietly about his day while she went about her night-time routine, much as he would have done if they'd been at home. It was almost another hour before he left.
Once Molly had finally fallen asleep, Arthur wearily Apparated back to the Burrow. He was quite thankful to find that none of his sons were still awake. He didn't feel up to more discussions tonight.
Ginny woke rather late the next morning. It took her a few moments after she opened her eyes to remember where she was and what had happened the night before. She looked around for Harry before she vaguely recalled him kissing her goodbye when he left for work.
Sitting up, she noticed a folded note and a rose on Harry's pillow. Smiling, she picked up the rose and smelled it before opening the note.
I hate to leave you here — you look so beautiful (and so right) sleeping in my bed. As much as I wish I could stay with you, I have to go into work today. I would really have loved to stay with you. I'll see you tonight.
I love you
Carrying the rose with her, she stood and dressed before heading down to the kitchen. She found Kreacher making some bread.
"Good morning, Mistress."
"Good morning, Kreacher," Ginny replied. "I was hoping to have some cereal this morning."
"Certainly, Mistress." Kreacher snapped his fingers and the table was set for eating cereal complete with three different types of cereal, as well as milk and fruits for toppings.
"Thanks, this is great." Ginny ate her breakfast and wondered what she should do for the day. She really didn't want to deal with either of her parents today and by extension decided she should probably avoid her brothers as well. She thought about visiting Luna, but in the end she decided to read her bridal magazines and do some tentative wedding planning.
As she stood to leave the kitchen, Kreacher said to her, "At the back of the house on the ground floor is the Mistress' study. If you would like to use it, I can open the room for you."
"Okay," Ginny said as she followed the elf up the stairs. He led her to the back of the house.
Ginny had to say she was honestly nervous about what the room might look like. She was amazed when Kreacher opened the door to a beautiful room that overlooked the back garden. It was bright and light and airy, in many ways the opposite of the rest of the house. It was decorated in gold and cream with shiny crystal accents. There was a large desk that faced the large picture window. Ginny's favourite part of the room was a beautiful water feature that flowed over prancing unicorns.
"Kreacher, this is amazing." Ginny turned slowly around the room again. "Why have I never seen this before?"
"There was no Mistress before," Kreacher replied simply. He gestured towards the desk. "There is a menu on the desk. If you fill it out, it will appear in the kitchen and I will prepare the meal you request. If you will be out for a meal, simply strike through it."
"Thank you." Ginny walked over to the desk to look at the menu.
The stiff, cream coloured parchment was beautiful with elegant calligraphy. She'd never seen anything like it before it her life. The thought that her mother would love something like this hit her with a force she didn't expect. She was angry at her mother for her attitude and actions, but she missed her more than she would have thought.
Pushing that thought out of her mind she sat down at the desk. There was an elegant quill and rather expensive looking ink next to the parchment. Ginny giggled to herself. She felt a bit like a heroine in one of her novels. She ordered sandwiches for lunch and chose a roast chicken with potatoes and green beans for dinner with a treacle tart for afters.
She settled onto the gold brocade sofa with her bridal magazines. For today, she was going to do what she wanted to do. In some ways, she felt almost like she was playing house, but she was going to enjoy it.
"Damn, mate!" Seamus exclaimed. "That's rough."
Harry nodded ruefully. The two of them were reviewing case files of Death Eater attacks to ensure that all of the Death Eaters had been indicted. He had just finished telling Seamus about Mrs Weasley's reaction to his gift for Ginny.
"Ginny says her mum will come around, but she was so angry," Harry said. "I just didn't expect that."
Seamus shrugged, "Me mam is like that. She'll blow a fuse over something small and blow it all out of proportion. She usually calms down and everything is fine, but it's not fun when she's yelling at you."
"I guess that's what got me," Harry said. "Mrs Weasley has always been so nice to me."
"She's treating you more like family," Seamus offered. "Have you talked to Ginny this morning?"
Harry blushed. "Actually she came home with me."
"What?" Seamus looked shocked. "And you haven't had a mob of angry red-heads hunting you down?"
"I don't think any of them know except Mr and Mrs Weasley," Harry explained. "Mrs Weasley was upset, but Mr Weasley told us to go."
"He gave his daughter permission to spend the night with her boyfriend?" Seamus asked in amazement.
Harry grinned. "He gave his daughter permission to spend the night with her fiancé."
"What?!" Seamus laughed. He reached out and pulled his friend into a hug. "Congrats, mate. When did you propose?"
As they worked, Harry told Seamus about the trip he and Ginny took to Paris. He couldn't believe how good it felt to share his happiness with someone.
"That's great," Seamus said with a smile. "I'm happy for both of you. So when are you getting married?"
"Ginny wants a Christmas wedding," Harry explained.
Michael knocked on the open door of the office Harry and Seamus were sharing. "It's lunch time, do you two want to join us in the Canteen?"
"We should celebrate," Seamus said. He turned to Harry. "How about we go out to that restaurant Terry was talking about in Covent Garden?"
"That sounds great," Harry said standing.
"Okay," Michael said a bit bemused. "What are we celebrating?"
"We'll tell you at the restaurant," Seamus said as he followed the others out of the office.
Arthur was relieved that all of his sons had decided to head into the shop today. He wanted to put off any confrontations until later in the day. After eating a bowl of corn flakes, he headed into the Ministry.
His staff in the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects had been cut in the aftermath of the war as fewer and fewer counterfeit items were being introduced. Kingsley planned to combine the department with Arthur's old department, Misuse of Muggle Artifacts, and place both departments under Arthur's control. He would have a larger staff and also oversee the department of Muggle Relations. Arthur was quite excited about the plans for the future.
Since the end of the war, Arthur had been working on Kingsley's special council set up to review the laws and regulations that had been implemented in the last few years. It was necessary work and Arthur was glad to help, but he had to admit he did miss his contact with Muggle inventions.
The morning was spent reviewing more of the files from the Muggle-born Registration Commission. While anyone who had been unfairly imprisoned in Azkaban had long since been released, they wanted to ensure that those who had managed to escape the Commission's reach knew it was safe to return.
As he returned from lunch, his thoughts returned to his daughter. Something would have to be done. He didn't want his family to be divided.
"So what are we celebrating?" Michael asked as they all sat down.
Harry blushed slightly, but he said, "Ginny and I are getting married."
"Congratulations!" Katie said with a smile. She went over and hugged her former team mate. "I am so happy for you."
Everyone added their congratulations. Harry once again recounted an abbreviated version of the trip to Paris and his proposal.
"So what did Ron say?" Susan asked.
"I haven't told him yet," Harry said. "We planned to announce it last night, but...well let's just say things didn't go as planned. I'm going to tell him." A thought crossed his mind. "Please keep this quiet for now. I want to make sure that Ginny's whole family knows before most people — certainly before it turns up in the papers."
"No problem," Seamus promised.
The six of them enjoyed their lunch before returning to the Ministry. As Harry neared the Auror department, he slowed a bit when he saw Mr Weasley waiting outside the department. He was trying to decide if he should come back or not when Mr Weasley looked up and spotted him.
"Mr Weasley," Harry greeted him cautiously. Figuring he should get this out of the way, he said, "I'm sorry I upset Mrs Weasley last night. I didn't mean to."
"I know, lad," Mr Weasley said reassuringly. "I'm just sorry Ginny's birthday dinner ended so poorly."
"Do you know why she's so against me and Ginny?" Harry asked a bit plaintively. "I somehow thought she would be happy for us."
"I can't totally speak for her," Mr Weasley began, "but she hasn't seen the two of you together. She's afraid this is a summer fling and you will break Ginny's heart. I know it is not, but she hasn't seen the two of you. Mrs Weasley sometimes forgets that Ginny isn't the little girl she used to be."
Looking around, Mr Weasley gestured Harry into an empty office. Once Harry had shut the door behind him, Mr Weasley said, "I was hoping you and Ginny would come over to dinner or after dinner tonight. I think you need to tell her brothers about your engagement."
Harry rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "I'd like that; maybe we could come over after dinner. I just have to check with Ginny. I…I want everyone to know, I told my friends in the Auror program today. I'm…I'm just a bit worried about how they'll take it." He raised his eyes to meet his future father-in-law's. "I know Ron can tend to overreact at times and I really don't know how Charlie will react. I don't want anyone upsetting Ginny."
Mr Weasley grimaced slightly. "I am hoping that they will be happy for you as well." He looked at the younger man speculatively. "Does Bill know?"
Harry nodded. "He and Fleur both know."
"I will invite them over as well," Mr Weasley said.
"Thank you," Harry said sincerely.
Mr Weasley smiled at him. "Don't worry. It will all work out."
Ginny was sipping her pumpkin juice as she sat waiting at the bar of the Leaky Cauldron. Mid-morning she had received an owl from Hermione asking her to meet for lunch. So after informing Kreacher, she headed out to the Leaky. Hermione was going to meet her there and they were going to lunch in Muggle London.
After ten minutes or so, a familiar bushy haired witch entered the pub. After scanning the pub, her eyes lit on Ginny. "Ginny!"
Standing, Ginny hugged her friend. "Hermione! I was so glad that you sent me an owl!"
Hermione smiled. "I didn't really get a chance to talk to you last night."
As the two girls stepped out into the bright sunshiny day, Hermione said, "I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to go to my favourite restaurant near Hyde Park."
"No, that sounds like fun," Ginny said as Hermione flagged down a cab.
It didn't take long before the cab was letting them out across the street from the park. On their side of the street were well kept Victorian row houses. Hermione led the way to the pub she had in mind. The pub had outdoor seating and the two decided to sit outside and take advantage of the beautiful weather.
Hermione smiled at her friend. "Thanks for meeting me and coming here with me. My parents always used to bring me here as a treat after we'd been sightseeing and it's one of my favourite places to eat."
Ginny smiled. "I can see why. It's beautiful here." She looked over at her friend and saw she was a bit distracted. "I thought you were working at your parents' office."
"I was," Hermione said," but they hired a regular receptionist so I'll only be filling in now and again. I don't mind, it gives me a chance to review my text books. I'm a bit nervous now that I've been away from school for a year."
Ginny laughed. "Hermione, you'll do fine."
The waitress approached to take their order and Ginny decided on a sandwich and salad. Once they'd ordered, Ginny looked over at her friend. "So what's wrong? And don't tell me you're worried about school. I can tell that's not it."
Hermione sighed. "I'm not sure." She looked out at the park. "I'm so confused and I really don't know what to do. The other night, at your party…Ron and I…we…"
Ginny looked at her in confusion for a moment before a thought occurred to her and she gasped. "Did you sleep with him?"
"Almost," Hermione admitted, her face bright red. "I never planned to and it wasn't until I started drinking that…We started kissing and fooling around. We've done that before, but I guess once we started drinking." She looked up at Ginny. "If he hadn't passed out…we might have. He's perfectly fine with it, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Not to mention I'm not on any kind of potion or anything."
Ginny digested everything Hermione said and cautiously asked, "Are you upset that you almost did or that you didn't?"
"I don't know," Hermione wailed quietly. "I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about it, but I'm not really comfortable doing that yet. I had always thought I would wait until I was sure that…well, he was the right one. As much as I like Ron, we've only been dating for a few months. Is he really the one for me? I think so, but…"
"Have you told him that?" Ginny asked.
Hermione blushed. "I don't know how to say it or what to say. I think his relationship with Lavender was a lot more physical and I don't want him to lose interest because…"
"Okay, stop right there," Ginny said sternly. "No boy is worth losing your self respect. Dean wanted a lot more from me than I was willing to give and I told him in no uncertain terms. He couldn't touch anything without asking."
"Weren't you afraid he would break up with you if you didn't so what he wanted?"
"No," Ginny replied frankly. "If he would break up with me over that, he wasn't worth my time. The same goes for my brother, but I don't think he's like that. The only relationship he's ever had is that…whatever you want to call it with Lavender and let's face it - she's a bit of a…tart. I don't know what they did or didn't do, but the point is you need to tell him what his limits are. He might not like it, but he won't break up with you."
Hermione sipped her water as she listened to her friend. "Have you had a talk with Harry?"
Ginny blushed a bit. "Trust me, Harry and I have had lots of talks. He had kind of the opposite problem of most guys — he was afraid to touch me." She ducked her head a bit. "I had to be a bit more aggressive with him."
Hermione gasped. "Have you…?"
Blushing, Ginny nodded. "We…we made love for the first time in Paris."
"Were you scared? How did you know it was the right thing to do?"
"One of my regrets last year was that he and I had never made love," Ginny said softly. "I kept thinking that if he died…he's the only person I've ever thought about doing that with. Once we got back together, it was really just a matter of time." She giggled softly. "He is such the gentleman, I thought for a while it would never happen. It always seemed to be the wrong time or wrong place. That first night in Paris was amazing. We'd been shopping most of the afternoon and Bill and Fleur took us out to dinner. When we arrived back at the hotel…well we both knew it was the right time."
Hermione laughed quietly. "I'm happy for you. I have a hard time seeing Harry in a romantic sense, but he is very different with you. I'm a bit jealous — not because it's Harry, but it just seems to work for you."
"It is working," Ginny agreed, "But it's been a long time coming."
"Are you worried about this coming year?" Hermione asked after the waitress dropped off their salads.
"About what?" Ginny asked.
"Being apart from Harry," Hermione clarified.
The younger girl shrugged. "It won't be fun, but at least we'll be able to write back and forth and I'll get to see him once a week in class."
"You seem so sure," Hermione said. "I keep thinking that Ron will be meeting all sorts of new people… and what if he meets someone he likes better?"
"He's been crazy about you forever and the way he looks at you…I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"You've said he's crazy about me and Harry's said Ron's crazy about me, but Ron has never said that. He'll say he likes me or compliment me, but he won't go further than that." Hermione said sadly. "I keep remembering the autumn of my sixth year when I was fairly certain Ron liked me and the next thing I knew he was snogging Lavender all over the place."
"Are you really afraid he'll find someone else?" Ginny asked uncertainly.
Hermione shrugged. "I'm not certain. I don't think so, but every once in a while…he still starts to drool when he sees Fleur. He's not as bad as he was, but he still reacts to her."
"You two need to sit down and talk about your relationship," Ginny said. "You're afraid he'll find someone else and he's jealous of any boy you talk to. I thought the two of you would have calmed down by now."
"It's hard to talk about your feelings," Hermione said defensively.
"It is a bit scary to open yourself up to someone else," Ginny agreed. "But if your relationship is going to progress and last, you need to be able to talk about your feelings. Did you ever ask him about his relationship with Lavender?"
Hermione shook her head. "I heard enough from Lavender's point of view. She kept hinting that the two of them…had slept together."
Ginny made a face. "I don't think so. I mean it's possible, but she knew how you felt about him and I think she was just trying to show you up that she'd gotten him."
"How did she know how I felt about Ron?" Hermione demanded.
Ginny stared in her friend in disbelief. "Seriously? I think the entire tower was waiting for the two of you to stop fighting and start snogging."
"Come on, Hermione. It's been painfully obvious to the rest of us for a long time that the two of you belong together."
Hermione blushed, but looked pleased. She looked over at her lunch companion. "Has Harry ever said he loves you?"
Ginny beamed. "He tells me that all the time."
She had replaced the charm that hid her ring prior to leaving Grimmauld Place, but she was bursting to tell Hermione her exciting news. The waitress refilled their drinks and brought out their sandwiches.
Once the waitress left, Ginny said, "Harry told me that in the forest that night he had a choice to stay with his parents or to come back. He came back for me."
Hermione's eyes widened. "He told you that?"
Ginny nodded. "He's been so much more open with his feelings. He loves me and can't wait to start a family with me."
Ginny discretely removed the charms from her ring and held her hand out for Hermione to see. Hermione gasped as she realized the meaning of the ring on Ginny's finger.
"He asked you to marry him?"
Ginny nodded smiling. "He proposed when we were in Paris."
"Wow," Hermione breathed as she looked at the ring, trying to wrap her head around it all. "The ring is beautiful."
"Thanks," Ginny said as she glanced down at her ring. "It was his mother's ring. It's kind of his way of including his parents in our wedding."
"That's sweet," Hermione said. She took a deep breath before saying, "Don't take this the wrong way, but aren't you a bit too young to be talking about getting married?"
Ginny frowned at her friend. "We may be young, but we are in love. We won't be getting married until next Christmas, so we'll have an extra-long engagement."
Hermione seemed to consider that. "How do you know you love him?"
"He completes me," Ginny said with a dreamy smile. "He's helped me so much this summer and I really can't see spending my life with anyone else. I don't know how to explain it, but he always makes happy. He listens to me and respects me. He always knows how to make me feel better, even it's just to sit and listen."
"My mum commented on how much in love the two of you looked," Hermione admitted. "I thought maybe she was just seeing things, she's rather a romantic at times. Aren't you afraid you're making a mistake? I mean you are so young. How will you play Quidditch if you're married?"
Ginny stiffened a bit at her friend's questions, but realized that part of that was just the way Hermione processed information. "I know I'm not making a mistake. I don't know how to explain it to you, but I love him and I am going to spend the rest of my life with him. As for Quidditch, I can still play while I'm married. Harry said that he will support me with whatever I want to do. If I want to play Quidditch or travel or whatever I want — he just wants to be with me. We aren't planning on having kids right away. We want to wait awhile."
Hermione listened as she finished her lunch. Part of her wanted to scold the two of them. They were obviously too young — how on earth could they be in love? Hermione knew she was nowhere near ready to even think about getting married, how could Ginny who was almost two years younger than her be ready?
"Don't you want to live on your own for a while? Be your own person, have your own things?"
Ginny shrugged. "Not really. I mean I'll still be my own person, but I don't have an overwhelming need to prove I can live on my own."
Hermione shook her head. "I can't even imagine getting married right out of school. There is so much I want to do. I want to travel and have my own place and just enjoy living in London."
"I'm still going to travel," Ginny asserted. "It's just that I'll be traveling with Harry. We'll have our own place that we can pick out together. At first we'll live in Grimmauld Place, but we'll eventually get our own place."
"What did your parents say?" Hermione asked.
Making a face, Ginny replied, "My dad is happy for us and gave Harry his blessing. My mum…well she's not as excited for us." Ginny explained what had happened the night before.
Hermione was shocked. "She asked Harry to leave the Burrow?"
Ginny nodded. "He was rather hurt over that. I just don't get my mum. She acts like she wants all of us to get married, but she hasn't been very welcoming thus far. She treated Fleur horribly and she's not been really nice to Harry either. I know she loves him, she's worried over him and fussed over him — I think that's why this has hurt him so much." She smiled. "Dad and Bill have been great."
"What about Ron?" Hermione asked. "He can't know or he would have said something to me."
"We planned to tell everyone after we told Mum," Ginny said a bit sadly. "I don't know what we are going to do now." She looked over at her friend. "Do you want to come back to Grimmauld Place with me?"
Hermione accepted the invitation and after paying the bill, the two witches headed back to Grimmauld Place. Ginny was happy to show Hermione the Mistress' study.
"This is beautiful," Hermione said as she walked around the room. "I can't believe this was here the whole time."
Ginny shrugged. "Kreacher said that as there was no mistress before, it wouldn't open."
Hermione raised her eyebrows. "Kreacher acknowledges you as mistress?"
Ginny nodded. "He has since Harry and I became engaged. He said something about Harry having chosen his mate."
"So that's why Kreacher was doing what you asked? I wondered about that," Hermione admitted. "I thought maybe it was because you're a pureblood and I'm a Muggleborn."
A knock on the open door made the two girls turn. Kreacher was holding a silver tray with a folded piece of parchment on it. "Master sent an owl."
"Thank you, Kreacher," Ginny said with a smile as she removed the note. "Kreacher, Hermione knows that Harry and I are engaged."
"Very good, Mistress." The wizened elf bowed and headed back towards the kitchen.
"Excuse me a minute," Ginny said to her friend as she opened Harry's note.
I hope you are having a good day, love! I told my friends about us and they were all happy for us. I hadn't meant to say anything, but I was talking to Seamus and the next thing you know I'm telling him everything.
I spoke to your Dad and he wants us to come over after dinner tonight and tell everyone. I think it's a good idea.
I love you!
"Oh good," Ginny said as she headed for the desk. "Harry wants to go to the Burrow after dinner and tell everyone." She looked over at her friend. "Do you want to come with us? You could stay for dinner and then come over to the Burrow."
"Sure," Hermione agreed. As she watched her younger friend write a message back to Harry, she thought that it would be a good idea to be there for Ron.
"I'm going to change and freshen up before heading to the Burrow," Ginny announced after they all finished dinner.
Harry had been happy to find that Hermione was there and knew their secret. Thus far the evening had been fun and relaxing, but he had to admit he was a bit concerned about the rest of the night.
"Okay," Harry smiled as her. She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek as she left the room.
He watched his fiancée leave the room before turning his attention to the other woman in the room. He could tell she was bursting to talk to him alone.
"Harry," Hermione looked at him a bit sternly. "What have you done?"
"I'm assuming you're talking about the engagement," Harry said after a moment.
"Yes," Hermione hissed at him. "Harry, don't you think you are too young for this? I mean, married?"
"We aren't getting married until next year," Harry replied. "We'll be eighteen and nineteen. This wasn't a spur of the moment decision, I want to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her."
"You've only dated for a few months," Hermione said. "Why can't you just date and see what happens?"
"Because I don't want to," Harry said patiently. "Hermione, I love her and I want to marry her and we'll face life together."
Hermione groaned. "But you are so young."
"You keep saying that," Harry said when she didn't elaborate. "I don't know what to tell you other than I love Ginny and she loves me. I don't feel too young. I know not everyone wants to get married at my age, but honestly I know that Ginny is my match, she is my mate. It doesn't matter how old we are."
He watched as she digested that. "Why are you having such a hard time with this?"
"I don't know," Hermione admitted. "My parents just always warned me against getting married so young. Both of you are younger than me and I don't feel anywhere near ready to get married."
Harry shrugged. "You don't have to be in the same place as us, but would it be too much for you to be happy for us? Mrs Weasley isn't very happy, but Mr Weasley and Bill and Fleur are all happy for us. Besides, my parents must have been very young when they married — they were only twenty when I was born."
Hermione looked at him for another minute before breaking into a smile. Standing, she headed over and gave him a hug. "I am happy for the two of you. I'm just worried, that's all."
"I know," Harry said as he returned the hug. "It's a bit scary, but I know this is the right thing to do."
She pulled back and searched his eyes. To her surprise, his sincerity and love for Ginny was shining in his eyes. "Just…I don't know - make sure you know what you are doing. I don't want to see either of you hurt."
Harry laughed. "Don't worry, we'll be fine."
Ginny soon re-joined them. Harry raised an eyebrow. She'd changed into a blue sheath and heels.
"You look gorgeous," he said with a smile. He leaned over and kissed her.
"Are you ready, love?"
Ginny made a face, but nodded. The three of them made their way to the front entryway from where they could Apparate to the Burrow.
Hermione hurried ahead of the two of them, while Ginny slowed down; Harry slowed down with her. He looked over at her questioningly. She smiled, "I'm okay. I just…I just wish I knew what was going to happen and how they were going to react."
"I know," Harry admitted. "Your dad and Bill have been great. I hope the rest of your brothers will…well, I hope they'll be happy for us."
"Me too," she said.
Gripping his hand, the two of them headed into the Burrow. Mr Weasley was waiting near the door. He hugged both his daughter and Harry, welcoming them to the house. Ron was talking with Hermione, while Bill and Fleur were talking to Charlie and George. Percy was the only Weasley brother not sitting around the table. Harry stepped forward and set two containers on the table.
"Kreacher made some treacle tart for me to bring over here," he said.
"Thanks, mate," Ron said.
Ginny helped her father put plates and silverware out on the table. In short order, everyone was seated around the table enjoying their treacle tart.
George looked over at his sister. "Where were you today?"
Ginny shot her father a look, but he just gestured for her to answer the question. Taking a deep breath, she said, "I was at Grimmauld Place."
Looking up at her brothers, she could see the confusion on Charlie's face and the darkening of Ron's. She reached out and took Harry's hand. "Last night after dinner, Mum…she became upset at Harry and said his gift to me was inappropriate because it was too expensive."
"The earrings?" Charlie asked.
Ginny nodded. "Yes, she got quite upset. Harry told her that he loves me and that's the only reason he gave me the earrings. She…she kind of lost it. She said we were too young to know that we were in love and she told Harry he had to move out of the Burrow."
"What?!" The brothers were all rather shocked at the events of the night before.
Charlie turned to his father. "Dad, what's going on?"
Sighing, Mr Weasley replied, "Your mother is having a hard time with the fact that Ginny is so grown up and the fact that she and Harry are so serious. Harry and I have spoken and he feels it is only right for him to stay at Grimmauld Place. It is only a few weeks earlier than he would have moved in anyway."
"I don't want to cause Mrs Weasley anymore distress," Harry said softly.
"It's not your fault, mate," George said.
"Thanks," Harry said, happy for the support.
"There's something else, isn't there?" Charlie asked.
Harry looked over at Ginny who nodded at him. "Ginny and I wanted to let everyone know that we are engaged. I asked her to marry me and she agreed."
There was a split second of silence before George jumped up and hugged both of them. "Congrats! I'm very happy for you."
"Thank you," Ginny said with a glowing smile. She turned to look at Charlie who was staring at her a bit bemused. He laughed. "I'm having a hard time believing you're old enough to get married, but I've seen how happy the two of you are."
He pulled his sister into a hug. "If you're happy, I'm happy."
Harry relaxed slightly as Ginny hugged her older brothers and showed off her ring. He looked over to Ron who was standing with Hermione. He raised his eyebrow and Ron approached him.
Harry nodded, wondering what Ron was thinking. "Yes. I love her and want to marry her."
"No more breaking up with her?" Ron asked a bit aggressively.
Harry shook his head. "It about killed me to break up with her, but at the time I felt it was the right decision. Now I know we are better off together."
Ron surveyed his friend for a moment before holding out his hand. "If you want to put up with her…"
Laughing, Harry took Ron's hand and pulled him into a hug. "Thanks, mate."
"I don't believe it."
The two boys turned to see Hermione standing next to them looking from one to the other.
"What?" Ron asked.
"You're okay with this? I would have thought you wouldn't approve."
Ron shrugged. "Now I know he's not messing her around. He loves her and she loves him. It's what she's always wanted and I know he'll take good care of her."
Turning, the three of them saw Ginny standing just behind Ron. He reached out and hugged his sister. "Congrats, little sister!"
As the impromptu party wound down, Hermione as well as Bill and Fleur headed home. George drifted upstairs while the others followed Mr Weasley into the sitting room. Ron immediately engaged Charlie in a chess match. Harry followed Ginny to the couch closest to her father's chair.
Once everyone had settled in, Ginny looked over at her father. "Did mum have anything else to say?"
Mr Weasley sighed. "She wasn't very happy, but I think she will come around. She just hasn't been around the two of you and wasn't really ready for it. She's scared that you'll regret it or get hurt."
"She still doesn't trust me, does she?" Harry asked sadly.
Mr Weasley smiled over at the young man, trying to diffuse some of the hurt he knew his wife was causing. "I'm not certain, Harry. Molly and I were married right out of Hogwarts and we have been very happy since then, but we realize how lucky we are. Not everyone who marries so young ends up so happy."
Ginny reached over and laced her fingers through Harry's. "We will be as well, Dad."
"I believe you will be," Mr Weasley said as he placed his hand over Harry and Ginny's.
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