|SIYE Time:4:07 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: 80819; Chapter Total: 3838
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks to my betas StephanieO and seekers_destiny! Thanks so much for the reviews and for the Silver Trinket Nominations :)
She could see all the details clearly. She watched Hagrid carrying the clearly dead and bloodied body of the love of her life out of the Forbidden Forest with that monster gloating all the while. Her scream blended in with the screams of the others defending the castle. This time, Harry didn’t come back to life. As Ginny watched in horror, Voldemort cast one Unforgivable after another at her fiancé. Each time he landed on the stone courtyard, the sound of broken bones was audible and the Death Eaters jeered.
She woke stifling a scream. Sitting up, she reached over to Harry’s side of the bed to find it empty. With tears streaming down her face, she remembered that she had stayed at the Burrow tonight at her father’s request. Harry was at Grimmauld Place.
Without even pausing to think about it, Ginny pulled on her dressing gown and hurried down to the kitchen. She quickly lit the fire and threw in a handful of Floo powder and called out, “12 Grimmauld Place!”
She hurried through the dark kitchen and up the stairs, not stopping until she reached Harry’s room. Pausing outside the door, she laid her hand on the warm wooden door catching her breath. She opened the door and her sense of panic left as she saw her fiancé sleeping.
Even though she’d known he was fine, something wouldn’t let her relax until she saw him with her own eyes. She neared the bed and smiled as she watched him sleeping. He was lying on his stomach, facing the door.
As she watched, he raised his head. “Gin?”
Sitting up a bit, he held up the covers so she could climb in. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
Climbing into the bed, she snuggled up close to his warmth. “I had a nightmare and you weren’t there and I kept seeing you dead and…well I just had to see you.”
Wrapping his arms around her tightly he whispered, “I’m fine, baby. Not hurt at all.”
He must have been able to feel the shivers in her body and the tears were hard to disguise. Harry held her tightly and dropped kisses on her head all the while reassuring her that he was fine and in one piece.
Once she had calmed down, she rested quietly in his arms. “I was so scared.”
“I know, baby,” he said. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you.”
“I haven’t had a bad nightmare like that in a few weeks,” Ginny said. “What am I going to do when I’m at Hogwarts?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted after a minute. “I’ll see if we can think of something.”
She smiled up at him and kissed him gently. “Thank you, love.”
Together they lay back down on his bed, Ginny with her head on his shoulder. She closed her eyes. Normally she wouldn’t be able to sleep after a nightmare, but she was always able to sleep in Harry’s arms.
The next time she woke up, she felt much warmer and much calmer. Turning she looked at her still sleeping fiancé. Running her hand through his hair, she just watched him sleep. It was amazing to her that just looking at him could calm her so much.
The thought of spending the next three months apart was something she didn’t want to spend a lot of time contemplating. She smiled when he leaned into her hand. At least this year they would be able to write and see each other every week.
Reluctantly she got out of bed and headed for the loo. After using the bathroom, she washed her hands and brushed out her hair. As she headed back towards the bed, a rather wicked thought crossed her mind. She took off her dressing gown and stripped off her night shirt.
Climbing back into bed, she snuggled up close to him and started kissing her way down his neck. She liked the fact that he was sleeping in just a pair of sleeping pants. As she ran her hands down his body, his eyes fluttered open.
With a smile she leaned up and kissed him deeply before working her way down his body. She proceeded to give him a very enthusiastic thank you for being there for her.
“You’ll eventually need to wipe that smile off your face,” Ginny teased him.
He shook his head. “I really don’t think so.” Pulling her close he kissed her rather thoroughly. “I love you and that was truly amazing this morning.”
Ginny giggled. “I guess my reading trashy romance novels my mum doesn’t approve of is paying off.”
“Maybe I should start reading them,” Harry said as he linked hands with her.
“Maybe so,” she teased. “You can learn all sorts of interesting things in romance novels.”
The two kept up their teasing banter all the way to the Leaky Cauldron. When they arrived at the entrance, Harry sighed. He really preferred navigating in the Muggle world these days.
“It will be okay,” Ginny said as she kissed him.
Together they headed onto Diagon Alley. Harry slowed as they stood outside of Eeylops Owl Emporium. Ginny squeezed his hand as they stood there for a moment. He smiled down at her. “Are you ready to get an owl?”
The owl emporium was rather crowded. Many owls had either been wounded or abandoned over the past year, the clerk explained. The lights in the shop were kept dim for the owls, so in some ways it was like walking into a cave full of owls. There must have been some sort of magic embedded in the floor because there was no evidence of owl droppings on the floor.
Ginny was entranced by the variety of owls available. Some of the owls were flying around the shop, some were sleeping on perches, and a few were in cages. There were owls of all shapes and sizes from a large, haughty looking eagle owl to a tiny Scops owl that reminded her of Pigwidgeon.
Harry made a gasping sound and Ginny turned to see a tiny white owl with black tipped feathers in front of them. She quickly looked up at Harry and to her surprise, he was smiling.
He reached out to the little owl. “Hi there, little owl.”
The owl seemed to look at him for a minute before hopping closer to him. Harry gently ran his finger down the back of the owl. He looked down at Ginny who smiled. He asked, “What do you think?”
“I think she’s cute,” Ginny said softly.
Harry nodded and gestured to the clerk. The clerk smiled when he saw what had caught their attention. “Oh, the baby snowy. She’s a beauty. We didn’t think she was going to make it. Someone brought her in after the tree her nest was in was destroyed. She was only a few weeks old at the time.”
“She’s perfect,” Harry said with a smile.
The clerk laughed. “She certainly seems taken with you. Another customer was looking at her last week and she wouldn’t hold still for him. He chose another owl.”
Harry laughed and bent down to look at the owl. “Were you waiting for us?”
The little owl gave a hoot and Harry and Ginny started laughing. Harry straightened up. “That seals it; she was just waiting for us to come get her.”
The clerk took the owl up to get the paperwork together and put the bird into a carrier. Harry grabbed some food and treats and went to find Ginny. She had already picked out two perches and was looking for a cage. Harry found her looking at a pretty purple metal cage with a decorative metal flower design on the outside.
“Is that the one you want?”
She jumped slightly. “Oh, no, we can get that one.” Harry followed her gesture and saw a standard white bird cage.
“Don’t be silly,” Harry said. “This one is much nicer, get it.”
“It’s over 12 Galleons,” she said regretfully.
“Ginny, what’s the point in having so much money if I never spend it?” Harry asked teasingly. “It’s only 12 Galleons. Get the purple one, I know you want it.”
Ginny looked between him and the bird cage before she grinned. “Okay, it is pretty.”
They carried everything up to the counter and set it down. The clerk started to ring everything up when he realized who he was waiting on. He gasped, “Harry Potter?”
With a bit of a sigh, Harry said, “Yes, I’m Harry.”
“I’m Wyatt,” the man said. “I…Thank you for all you did. My mum was scheduled to go before the Muggle-born Commission in the middle of May. I can only imagine what would have happened if she had to go before them.”
Wyatt tore up the receipt he’d started writing up. “Please, this is on me.”
“No,” Harry tried to protest.
“Please let me do this,” Wyatt said quietly. “I’m not a fighter and I tried to do what I could to help those fighting, but it wasn’t much. This is my way of saying thank you for saving our way of life.”
Harry glanced down at Ginny before he said, “Thank you, Wyatt. I really appreciate it.”
Reaching out, Harry shook Wyatt’s hand before accepting the carrier with the owl. Wyatt bagged up the rest of the things they were going to purchase. Ginny shrank the packages and the couple left the emporium.
Ginny smiled up at Harry. “I’m very proud of you.”
He blushed. “I hate that people want to do that kind of thing for me, but Kingsley pointed out that it is their way of saying thank you and if I refuse it’s rather churlish behaviour. I just don’t want people to feel they have to give me things or anything like that. I’d be more than happy to pay.”
“I know you would,” Ginny said. “I know it’s hard on you, but you handled that much better than you used to.”
He laughed. “Maybe I’m growing up a bit.”
By this time they’d reached the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny looked around. “I guess we should take the Floo back rather than walk.”
Harry nodded. “I think we might be a bit conspicuous carrying a baby owl through the streets of London.”
The two returned to Grimmauld Place in good spirits. Harry let the baby owl out of the carrier and set up one of the perches in his room. As they watched the owl fly around the room, Harry said, “We need a name for her.”
“How about the name Athena?” Ginny said. “She was always associated with owls.”
“Athena,” Harry said as he tested the name out. He looked over at the bird. “Do you like the name, Athena, girl?”
The baby bird hooted and the young couple laughed. Harry said, “I guess that means she likes it. Athena it is.”
Ginny tightened her hold on Harry’s hand as the two of them headed down to the hall to the small conference room where the Weasley family conference had been held just a few weeks before. The couple had received a letter from Mrs Weasley asking to meet them.
When they reached the door to the conference room, Ginny stopped. She looked up at Harry. “I love you. Just don’t forget that.”
He smiled down at her. “I know, I love you, too.”
Ginny knocked on the door and her father opened it. She smiled as he swept her into a hug. “You look lovely, Ginny girl.”
Mr Weasley shook Harry’s hand. “Thank you for coming.”
Harry nodded and followed his future father-in-law into the room. Mrs Weasley was sitting in an armchair and Harry nodded to her before taking a seat in one of the two chairs set up opposite of the pair of armchairs in which the older couple were sitting.
“Harry, Ginny, thank you for coming,” Mrs Weasley began. “I’d like to apologize for the way I reacted at your birthday dinner.”
Ginny merely nodded at her mother and reached for Harry’s hand. Mrs Weasley sighed. “I overreacted and for that I apologize. However this was all rather a shock for me, I hadn’t heard anything about you dating and then you were suddenly getting married.”
“I don’t know why it was a shock,” Ginny replied coolly. “I may not have told you about our relationship at the end of my fifth year, but since…since the end of the war I haven’t tried to hide our relationship.”
“I saw the two of you together and honestly I thought you were spending time together because Ron and Hermione were spending so much time together,” Mrs Weasley explained. She smiled. “They are so sweet together.”
Ginny rolled her eyes at that statement. “We aren’t spending time together because Ron finally got a clue and realized Hermione is a girl. Harry and I have been close friends for a while even before we started dating.”
Mrs Weasley looked between the two of them. “I didn’t mean to insult you or your relationship. Your father and Bill have both been telling me only good things.” She sighed. “I’m just worried that you are rushing into a serious relationship. You are both so young and have so much living to do. Ginny, you are headed back to Hogwarts and who knows where you will end up. Harry, you are already in Auror training in London. You will be meeting a lot of new people and having many new experiences. I don’t want the two of you to jump into a serious relationship only to find you’ve made a mistake in a few years.”
“Why do you assume our relationship is a mistake?” Ginny asked more hurt at this point than angry.
Mrs Weasley looked rather surprised at the question. “Ginny, you are young and you’ve had a crush on Harry forever. I’m afraid that a relationship based on an unrealistic view just won’t last.”
“I don’t have a crush on Harry,” Ginny said angrily. “Why can’t you take me seriously? Did I have a crush on him? Yes, I did when I was a kid. I thought he was a storybook hero come to life, but Mum that was years ago. After…after my first year, I realized that while he is a hero he is also just a boy. He’s moody and noble and would rather play Quidditch than do homework. You act like I think he’s perfect.”
Ginny turned to look at her fiancé who squeezed her hand tightly. “I know he’s not perfect and he knows I’m not perfect, but we work together. He’s listened to me talk about my experiences during the war and he’s helped me see there is something beyond all of that.”
“Mrs Weasley, I don’t know why you don’t approve of our relationship, I really don’t,” Harry said. “It hurts to hear that you are so sure I’ll leave her or break her heart. I won’t. I love Ginny and she’s it for me. Are there other women in the world, of course, but Ginny gets me — she loves me. She doesn’t love me because I’m Harry Potter, she loves me — Harry. Why would I want to give that up or ruin that? Yes other women are throwing themselves at me — I can’t help that. I wish they wouldn’t and I honestly can’t wait until someone else comes and takes my place as most sought after wizard or whatever the hell they’re calling me. I don’t enjoy the attention.”
As Ginny watched her parents exchanged a look. Mrs Weasley managed a smile. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset the two of you. I can’t pretend I’m happy with the way you’ve chosen to conduct yourselves, but I do understand I don’t have much choice in the matter. As everyone keeps reminding me, you are adults. I thought I had raised my daughter to act with more decorum.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Enough Mum. I got that, you don’t approve of me and Harry sleeping together. You don’t approve of my earrings or my clothes — I do understand that. I’m sorry to upset you because honestly that is not my intention. Harry and I are very happy together and we are getting married next Christmas.”
“Have you started planning?” Mrs Weasley asked after a moment.
“No,” Ginny replied with a smile. “Not really, I just thought that Christmas is my favourite time of year and it would be cool to have Christmas trees at my wedding. We know we don’t want anything too big.”
This time Mrs Weasley did smile. “I would love to help you.”
Harry sat mostly quietly while Ginny and her mother talked about weddings and colours. He honestly didn’t care as long as he ended up married to Ginny. At the end of the visit, Harry was happy to see Ginny was much more relaxed. He knew she’d been rather upset at the rift between her and her mother.
Mrs Weasley hugged Ginny and Harry before they left. “Harry, I am sorry for how I acted. You don’t need to move to Grimmauld Place you can stay at the Burrow.”
Harry shook his head. “No thank you. I’m in my own house now. I don’t need to stay someplace that I can get kicked out of for no apparent reason.”
“I’m sorry about that,” Mrs Weasley said earnestly.
“I believe you,” Harry said, “but what happens next week when something happens you don’t like. Will you just kick me out again? Sorry, no. I spent years living where I wasn’t wanted. I will not do that again.”
Once the younger couple had left, Mrs Weasley turned to her husband with tears in her eyes. “What have I done?”
“Molly, you cleared the air with Ginny and that was what you wanted to do, right?”
She nodded as she wiped her eyes on a clean handkerchief. “I didn’t realize how much I hurt Harry.”
Mr Weasley sighed. “I know you didn’t mean to, but you know we’ve talked about our suspicions about how he grew up. I don’t believe he was treated well and I know he’s said his uncle wanted to kick him out more than once. By asking him to leave, you’ve told him that he can stay as long as he follows certain rules. Did we ever do that for anyone else?”
When she made to protest he said, “Even Fleur, who you made sure knew that you didn’t approve of her relationship with our son, was never asked to leave our house. Harry knows that. We’ve said he’s like one of ours, but you just put limits on it. Basically we said to him you’re one of ours if you behave in a certain manner, if not you have to leave. He’s always done what was expected of him and asked nothing in return. He saved Ginny, he saved me, he saved Ron and when you come down to it he saved all of us. He walked out to die for all of us and you tell him he’s not welcome in our house because he fell in love with our daughter.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Mrs Weasley protested.
“That’s what he heard,” her husband replied gently. “You’ve always wanted Ginny to be your sweet little girl to teach all of the secrets of making a house a home. You’ve tried to teach her to sew and knit, you’ve taught her to cook and clean, and you taught her to love. Remember your last year at Hogwarts? We spent every moment we could together. I don’t believe your mother would have thought you acted with proper decorum.”
Blushing, Mrs Weasley shook her head with a laugh. “I know my mother wouldn’t have thought I acted with proper decorum.”
She sighed. “I can’t believe I sound like my mother. I always swore when my baby girl fell in love I would be nothing but supportive. I pictured her coming to me and sharing her crushes and me giving her comfort and support.”
“So what happened?” Mr Weasley asked with a smile on his face.
“I ended up with a tough little girl not the girly-girl I dreamed of,” she admitted ruefully. “When she was little and she had such a crush on the Boy-Who-Lived, I scolded the boys for making fun of her, but I tried not to encourage it. I never imagined they would actually meet; I wanted her to focus on someone a bit more realistic. I was so pleased when she told me she had a date with Neville for the Yule Ball. I thought she’d gotten over her crush on Harry and would move on to other boys.”
“She did, right?” Mr Weasley asked thoughtfully. “I thought she told me she dated that boy Michael in Harry’s Auror class and Dean Thomas.”
“She did, but she never came to me,” Mrs Weasley said sadly. “She never really confided in me the way I’d hoped. She told me she broke up with Michael because he was a sore loser, but she didn’t go into any details. I heard more about Dean from Ron than Ginny, she didn’t want to talk about her relationships. I honestly thought she had a crush on Neville. I never heard a word about Harry.”
Mr Weasley smiled at his wife. “She truly loves him. In her little interactions with him and the interest she shows in him. He loves her as well. I don’t think poor Harry has known much love in his life and he has blossomed under her care and love. I can see it in his eyes as he watches her, he can’t believe his luck.”
“I think you ended up with a perfect mix,” Mr Weasley said. “Ginny can be girly and she knows her household charms, but she loves to play Quidditch and fly. She is Harry’s perfect match.”
Harry headed into the classroom at the Ministry. The one downside about living at Grimmauld Place was the fact that Harry didn’t feel comfortable running around the neighbourhood. He’d been going into the Ministry early and working out there.
As he entered the classroom, Seamus whistled loudly. Harry looked at him strangely.
“What’s that for?”
Seamus laughed. “I guess you haven’t seen the morning paper.”
Harry shook his head. “I don’t get the Daily Prophet, they usually only tells lies about me.”
“This time they have pictures, too,” Seamus said as he unfolded the paper.
On the front page there was a picture of him and Ginny kissing at the river. Harry instantly recognized when the picture had been taken. It had been the afternoon of their visit to see Mrs Weasley. After an overly emotional morning, they had wanted to cut loose and have fun.
Harry groaned as he watched his photographic self undo Ginny’s bikini top. Luckily for him, the photo restarted at that point.
“You didn’t see the photographers?”
Harry shot him a look. “Does it look like I was looking for photographers? I never even thought about it. We always go swimming at that spot in the river. I thought we were still on the Weasley’s property and didn’t even think about privacy charms or anything.”
Evan Choudry, the Charms Master, entered the room calling the class to order. Looking out over the room he said, “Today we are going to review privacy charms and proximity alerts. It seems that some people in the class need a review.”
Harry buried his head in his hands as the rest of the class burst out in laughter.
By lunch time, Harry had recovered his composure and discovered that Mr Choudry was actually an excellent teacher. As the class filed out for lunch, Harry approached the instructor.
“Learning something, Mr Potter?” Mr Choudry asked cheerfully. Evan Choudry was a tall, thin, cheerful man of Indian descent. Harry wondered briefly if cheerfulness was a requirement for teaching charms.
“Yes, sir,” Harry said blushing. “Sir, I was wondering if you could help me. When my father and godfather were in school they charmed a pair of mirrors so they could contact each other. If you looked into the mirror and said the person’s name, they would hear.”
Mr Choudry leaned back against the desk as he considered what Harry was saying. “That would be an impressive layering of charms.”
Harry nodded. “My godfather was really good at charms. Unfortunately, I only have one of the mirrors. After my godfather died…well, I broke mine. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me how to make another pair. My fiancée will be at Hogwarts this year and…” He blushed as he tried to figure out how to explain what he wanted.
Mr Choudry smiled at him. “This fiancée would be the beautiful young lady in the pictures?”
“Yes,” Harry said with a smile. “We both tend to get really bad nightmares and talking to each other is the only thing that will help. I hoped maybe I could make a new pair so if she had a really bad nightmare she could call me.”
Mr Choudry raised an eyebrow. “Charmed mirrors. Can you bring in the other one?”
Harry nodded and Mr Choudry said, “Excellent. Bring it in and we’ll see what charms were used to make the mirrors.”
“Okay, thank you.” Harry grabbed his bag and started to head for the door.
“I hope I didn’t embarrass you too much, Mr Potter.”
Harry blushed again. “No, I can only imagine what my future brothers-in-law will have to say. I imagine they won’t be too happy with me.”
“Young love,” Mr Choudry laughed.
Looking around Harry realized that everyone else had already headed down to the canteen. He caught the lift and had a moment of embarrassment when Mr Weasley joined him.
Blushing, Harry said, “Mr Weasley, I’m really sorry about the pictures in the paper.”
Mr Weasley looked at him over his glasses for a moment. “I can’t pretend I wasn’t upset when I first saw the pictures. No one wants to see his little girl plastered all over the paper like that.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry repeated as he looked down.
“I have already spoken to Ginny,” Mr Weasley said. “I know you love my daughter, but I would ask you to remember that you are famous. People are flocking to take your picture to both idolize you and put you in a bad light. I would really rather my daughter’s name not get smeared in the paper.”
Harry’s head jerked up, fear in his eyes. “Please, Mr Weasley. I am really, really sorry. I know I should have looked around and I should have cast privacy spells. I promise I will be much more careful. Please don’t say we can’t see each other.”
Mr Weasley eyed the younger wizard seriously. “Harry, I know I can’t keep the two of you from seeing each other. As my daughter pointed out this morning, you could get married now. I don’t want to break the two of you up, I know how good you are for each other, but I am rather disappointed in you. Please try to guard my daughter’s reputation a little more closely.”
Harry hurried down the familiar path to the Burrow. He was still feeling rather ill, he’d felt nauseated since his confrontation with Mr Weasley. Luckily, his afternoon class hadn’t lasted long.
He’d run into a few reporters at the Ministry, but he’d not seen any at the Burrow. Bill had done a great job with the wards.
As he neared the Burrow, the door opened and he smiled for the first time that afternoon. Ginny was standing in the doorway waiting for him. She was wearing a white and blue sundress and had her hair pulled back in a ponytail.
When he reached the door, Ginny reached out and pulled him into her arms. He lifted her slightly and held her tightly, burying his face in her hair.
“Are you okay?” she asked after a minute.
He nodded and pulled back a bit. Ginny pulled him into the kitchen and pushed him down in a chair. She curled up on his lap.
“I’m sorry, baby,” he said. He looked into her eyes. “I should have made sure there was no one around.”
“Hey,” she said gently, running her hand through his hair. “It’s not your fault. I didn’t look either.”
She leaned up and kissed him softly. “Did everyone give you a hard time?”
He groaned. “Choudry had us working on privacy charms and proximity alerts today. Seamus seems to have an unending supply of the pictures. I can handle that, but I ran into your dad as well.”
“Oh no,” she said. “What did he say?”
“He’s disappointed in me and wishes I wouldn’t drag your name through the papers.”
“I’m sorry, love.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “My mum sent me a howler this morning.”
“Yeah, George at least thought it was hysterical how she went on about me shaming the family name.” Ginny giggled. “It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a howler from her. The twins used to look at them as badges of honour, but I was always scared at how loud they were. I used to watch her make them. She would get a Floo call or letter from Professor McGonagall and she would storm around the kitchen raging about whatever they’d done. Once she was worked up she would charm the howler. I swore I’d never do anything bad enough to get a howler.”
She looked up at him. “It sounds silly now, but when I was in the hospital wing after the Chamber of Secrets my biggest fear was that my mum was going to send me a howler.”
Harry hugged her a little tighter. “She didn’t do that, did she?”
“No, she was actually very understanding.”
Harry sighed. “The howler she sent Ron was so mortifying. I felt so badly that I’d let your parents down after they let me stay at your house.” He looked down at her. “What did the rest of your brothers say?”
“Percy told me I was behaving in an inappropriate manner. George thought it was funny and Ron just pretended to throw up,” Ginny recounted. “I don’t think they are too upset. I mean honestly, most of the picture is just us snogging and even when you took off my top they cut off the picture so you couldn’t see anything.”
“Thank God,’ Harry murmured. “I felt so guilty that I’d betrayed their trust in me. I was so afraid your dad was going to say we couldn’t see each other. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
She tightened her arms around him. “You will never have to worry about that. I’m never going to leave you.” She kissed him again. “Don’t feel too badly, I know you hate disappointing my parents, but honestly we weren’t doing anything wrong.”
Mrs Weasley walked around her room at the Burrow looking around in satisfaction. “Arthur, it looks wonderful.”
He smiled gently. “The kids all pitched in and repainted the room. Harry and Ginny re-stained the nightstand you were always complaining about.”
“It looks lovely,” she said. “I’m so glad to be back home. I was afraid I wouldn’t be released in time to see Ginny and Hermione off to Hogwarts.”
The room looked bright and clean. She hadn’t even realized how dingy the walls and become, but the kids had repainted the room. The floors had been buffed and shined with a new area rug. On the bed were new sheets from her oldest son and daughter-in-law. The thoughtfulness of her children impressed her.
As she headed back down to the kitchen, she noticed more evidence of cleaning and repainting. The sitting room was clean and she noticed the sofa had been recovered with a new slip cover. Heading into the kitchen, she had to smile. This was really her room. She had spent hours in this kitchen cooking and feeding her family. Like the other rooms in the house, it was also clean and looked newer. Arthur told her she could chose to redo the kitchen however she wanted so they hadn’t really done anything to the kitchen.
While she loved every scratch on the floor, every bit of missing countertop, and every broken drawer pull, maybe a new kitchen would be a good idea. A new kitchen for a new era. Her children were all grown and hopefully grandchildren would be arriving in the next few years. Humming, she wandered around the kitchen trying to imagine how she might change it.
The kitchen door banged open and Mrs Weasley turned to see her daughter.
“Mum!” Ginny hurried over and hugged her mother. “You’re home, why didn’t dad say something?”
“We wanted to surprise you,” Mrs Weasley said as she kissed her daughter on the cheek. “You look lovely.”
Ginny’s eyes were bright and shiny and her hair was in disarray. She gestured outside. “I was flying. Practicing a bit, getting ready for Quidditch. Are you okay, Mum?”
“I’m much better,” Mrs Weasley said. She watched her daughter move around the kitchen easily. “I am so sorry I wasn’t here for you this summer.”
Ginny didn’t look up from where she was putting the kettle on. “Mum, you’ve already apologized like a million times. I get it. I wish it had been different, but it wasn’t.”
She turned to look at her mother. “Can we just start now? A lot of things happened this year that shouldn’t have. Can we just move on? I don’t want to keep reliving and keep talking about what happened.”
Mrs Weasley looked at her daughter. It amazed her that this beautiful and strong young woman was her little girl. “Of course, love.”
Ginny brought two cups of tea over to the table and the two women sat down at the table. Before Mrs Weasley could say anything the door opened again.
“Gin,” Harry broke off when he saw the two sitting at the table. Mrs Weasley smiled.
“Mrs Weasley, welcome home.”
“Thank you, dear.”
Mrs Weasley bustled over to the cupboard and retrieved another cup. While Harry and Ginny weren’t talking, she could see that they were having a rather intense, silent conversation. By the time she returned to the table, Harry had sat down next to his fiancée. Mrs Weasley handed him a cup of tea.
“Thank you, Mrs Weasley.”
“You’re welcome, dear.” She took a sip of her tea. “I was just thinking I might like to redo the kitchen.”
“Really?” Ginny asked. “That would be really cool.”
“Going to push for granite countertops?” Harry asked teasingly.
“Granite countertops?” Mrs Weasley looked between the two of them.
“Harry and I went to see a Wizarding architectural firm,” Ginny said excitedly. She smiled over at her fiancé. “He’s looking into rebuilding in Godric’s Hollow so we met at the firm’s office and they had mock kitchens set up. It was amazing. They have so many cool things.”
“Are you thinking of moving into your parent’s old house?” Mrs Weasley asked. “I thought you were living in Grimmauld Place.”
“I am living in London for now,” Harry said. “It just makes sense and Ron, George, and Seamus will all be living there as well. But once Ginny and I get married, we might want someplace out in the country more. Godric’s Hollow is really pretty and a nice town.”
He paused for a moment taking a sip of his tea. “We have to do some structural work, especially in my old nursery so we decided to add onto the house.”
“We are going to add a few more bedrooms and we are going to have an ensuite — a bathroom and small sitting room attached to the master bedroom. Mrs Potter had a really nice garden in the back with flowers and rose bushes. There is even a fountain there. The architect can make it into a courtyard and we will have a small balcony overlooking the garden.” Ginny said enthusiastically.
Mrs Weasley dearly wanted to warn them not to spend all of their money on a house, but she held back. “That sounds lovely, dear.”
“It will be,” Ginny said.
“So the two of you went to Godric’s Hollow?”
“Yes,” Harry replied. “Hermione and I were there last Christmas. That is when we found Bathilda Bagshot. We saw my parents’ graves and went by the house, but we didn’t go in.” He smiled over at his fiancée. “I wanted to wait to go in with Ginny.”
Ginny leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. Harry smiled at her. Mrs Weasley watched the interactions between the two of them intently. She could clearly see the love between the two of them. Harry normally didn’t show his emotions, but every time he looked at her daughter his love for her was obvious. His face lit up when he talked to her and he was constantly touching her. Not in an off-putting way, but he held her hand or brushed back her hair. He refilled her tea and fixed it for her without a word from Ginny.
The affection certainly wasn’t one sided. Ginny glowed when she looked at her fiancé. She had never liked anyone to take care of her, even when she was a child, but with Harry she allowed it. The smiles and kisses and small touches were very sweet to behold.
Unaware that Mrs Weasley was observing them so closely, Harry scooted a bit closer to his fiancée. “Ginny came in the house with me. It was hard, but it was really nice seeing the pictures they had all over the house. Growing up I never knew what my parents looked like, so it was great to see pictures of them.”
“There were a ton of pictures of Harry,” Ginny said tenderly. “His parents obviously loved him very much. There were pictures of Harry and Sirius.”
“Most of the large pieces of furniture were put in their vault, so it was just the pictures and…the nursery,” Harry said. “We are…we are going to turn it into a sitting room. I don’t think I could use it as a bedroom again.” He took a deep breath and Ginny squeezed his hand. He turned to look into her eyes and seemed to take comfort from what he saw there. “We found the toy broomstick that Sirius gave me on my first Christmas. We are going to put it on the wall in my old nursery.”
He laughed. “We definitely need to paint some of the rooms.”
Ginny giggled and Harry smiled at her before continuing. “Some of the colours my parents picked were…a bit 70s.”
Mrs Weasley laughed. “Oh dear, I imagine some of their choices were a rather questionable.”
“The orange shag carpet,” Ginny giggled. “That has got to be the ugliest carpet I’ve ever seen and they put orange and yellow wallpaper on the walls.”
“I don’t know,” Harry said. “The lime green tiles in the bathroom were pretty nasty.”
“It will be fun to pick out new carpets and flooring,” Ginny said.
Mrs Weasley nodded. “I loved setting up our first house together. Are you going to paint it yourself?”
Harry shrugged. “We had a lot of fun painting here. I was hoping when the time comes we can have the family come over and help us paint. We just need to decide the colour schemes.”
“It sounds lovely,” Mrs Weasley said sincerely.
“So you’re home now, right Mum?”
“I am home.”
Standing Ginny hugged her mother tightly. “I’m glad you’re back.”
Harry smiled over at his fiancée as they sat in the Weasley’s back garden and watched George set off fireworks. The smell of honeysuckle wafted through the evening air and Ginny leaned her head against his shoulder. Tonight had really been a perfect night. Her mum seemed like she was back to normal and George was even joking around a bit. While it wasn’t as cheerful as a normal back to Hogwarts night, it was much better than it had been most of the summer.
Across the table Hermione and Ron were either arguing or flirting, Harry still wasn’t sure which it was. As he dropped a kiss on Ginny’s forehead, he wondered if he was doing the right thing in not going back to Hogwarts. In his heart of hearts he knew he was, but he was really going to miss Ginny.
As the last of the fireworks faded from the sky, Mrs Weasley began clearing the tables and putting away the left-over food. Ginny tugged on Harry’s sleeve and he followed her to the edge of the Quidditch paddock. Before he could say anything, she was kissing him passionately.
Harry wrapped his arms around her, losing himself in her embrace. It was some time before the two of them actually started talking. By this time, the couple were laying on a blanket Harry had conjured up. Harry’s shirt was missing and Ginny’s had been hastily replaced.
He looked around and summoned a package from his shirt pocket. “This is for you. Well, it’s for us.”
Ginny took the package and opened it. Lying inside were a matching set of silver mirrors. Ginny looked up at him in confusion.
He laughed as he lifted one of the mirrors out of the package. “When my dad and Sirius were in school, they made a pair of charmed mirrors so they could talk to each other in detention. Sirius…Sirius gave me my Dad’s for Christmas during my 5th year so I could tell him if Snape was giving me a hard time.” He sighed. “I never opened it because I didn’t want to do anything that would get him caught. I opened it after the Ministry and I threw it across the room.”
Ginny lifted her hand to his face. She hated to see him so tortured by his past. He smiled at her and kissed the palm of her hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so lost in the past.”
She smiled gently. “That’s okay, love.”
“Anyhow, Mr Choudry helped me figure out what charms they used to make the mirrors and I was able to enchant this pair of mirrors for us.”
“Really?” Ginny picked up the other mirror. “How does it work?”
“Say my name.”
“Harry Potter,” she said as she looked in the mirror. To her delight, he appeared in the mirror. “Harry this is wonderful!”
“I hoped it would work so if you have a really bad nightmare you can call me anytime,” Harry said with a smile. “Did you look at the mirrors?”
She turned it over and smiled. Carved on the other side of the mirror was an owl that looked remarkably like Athena and Ginny’s name was engraved underneath. “Where did you find these?”
He set his mirror down and snuggled in closer to her. “I searched through a bunch of shops until I found these. They have unbreakable charms on them so they shouldn’t break.”
“Thank you, love,” Ginny said. “It’s a wonderful idea.”
Harry looked reluctantly at the Burrow. “I guess it’s time to head inside. I’m not sure where your mum put me tonight.”
“You don’t seriously think you’re not sleeping with me tonight,” Ginny said as she looked up at her fiancé. “Hermione is in my room and we are in George’s room.”
Smiling down at her, Harry said, “That is a great idea.”
The couple spent the night making love, finally dropping off to sleep in the early morning hours. Harry heard the sound of feet pounding down the stairs, lifting his head he groaned when he saw it was a little after nine.
Shaking his still sleeping fiancée, Harry said, “Sweetie, you need to wake up.”
She snuggled closer to him. “No. I’m sleeping.”
“I know you’re sleeping, my love,” Harry said as he rubbed her back, “but you need to get up. It’s after nine and you have a train to catch.”
Grumbling, Ginny raised her head and swore under her breath when she saw the time. Leaning up she kissed Harry and climbed out of bed. Pulling on her clothes, she said, “I’m going to take a quick shower.”
Harry nodded. “I’ll go to Grimmauld Place to take a shower. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Even though he knew it meant he would soon be separated from Ginny, Harry had to smile when they walked through the barrier to Platform 9 ¾. With so many changes in the wizarding world over the past year, it was nice to see the shiny red Hogwarts Express hadn’t changed at all.
The normal cacophony of the train and hundreds of parents, children, and pets was almost overwhelming. Overwhelmed first years and Muggle-borns stared at the engine in awe while older students were calling out to their friends in greeting.
Ginny sighed as she looked at the train. Looking up at her fiancé she asked, “Will you help me get my trunk on board?”
“Of course,” he replied.
Soon enough he’d settled her trunk and the cage containing Athena into a compartment. Hermione’s trunk and Crookshanks were already there and Dean, Luna, and Demelza were sharing the compartment.
“Ginny! We need to go up to the Prefects’ Car,” Hermione said urgently.
“Okay, Hermione,” Ginny grumbled. “Let me say good-bye to Harry first.”
Hermione followed the two of them back out onto the platform where she hugged Mrs Weasley and Ron. Ginny didn’t see anything else as she was swept up in Harry’s arms. Closing her eyes, she wrapped her arms around his neck and inhaled his uniquely Harry scent. He was so warm and strong, she felt like she could stay in his arms forever.
All too soon, he pulled back slightly and kissed her deeply. She threaded one of her hands through his hair, the other rested on his heart and she could feel the rapid beat of his heart beneath her hand. Finally it was Hermione’s scandalized, “Ginny!” That broke them apart.
“I love you,” he whispered.
She managed to smile up at him. “I love you, too. I’ll talk to you tonight and I’ll see you on Friday.”
He smiled at the thought. Leaning he dropped a quick kiss on her lips. “I’ll see you Friday.”
Reluctantly Ginny left his arms and hugged her mother. Mrs Weasley held her daughter tightly. “Good luck this year! Have fun and don’t forget to write.”
“I won’t, Mum,” Ginny replied as she kissed her mother on the cheek. She smiled up at her Mum, happy to have her real mum back. “I love you.”
Her mother smiled broadly, pleased at the affection. “I love you, too. Your father and I will be there for the parents’ weekend. I can’t wait to see what you’ve planned.”
Ginny smiled. “Good! I think you’ll love it.”
Turning, she hugged her brother briefly. “Bye, Ron.”
“Bye, Ginny.” Ron actually hugged her back before returning his attention to Hermione who was currently hugging Harry. Glancing up at the clock, Ginny saw they had less than five minutes before the train left. Tugging at Hermione’s sleeve, she pointed to the clock.
Squeezing in one last hug for Harry, Ginny waved to her mother again before joining Hermione on the train. Resisting Hermione’s efforts to drag her to the Prefects’ compartment, she leaned out of the window and waved until the train pulled out of the station.
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