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SIYE Time:2:11 on 25th September 2017


Realizations
By potterfan2008

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Category: Post-Hogwarts
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Disturbing Imagery, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Rating: R
Reviews: 227
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: 78800; Chapter Total: 5316
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Thank to my beta StephanieO for her hard work! I want to say thanks for the Silver Trinket nominations - I really appreciate it. I hope you enjoy the story :)




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Harry woke slowly the next morning. As he opened his eyes, the events of the night before flooded over him. He was sure there was a huge smile on his face, but he found that he really didn’t care.

Rolling over on his side, he gazed down at his still sleeping girlfriend. She was so beautiful. He couldn’t help himself, he leaned down and kissed her softly. After a few moments, her eyes fluttered open.

She smiled up at him, “Good morning, love.”

“Good morning,” Harry replied kissing her again.

She giggled and pulled him closer, “Let’s make this a really good morning.”

After they made love, they cuddled together. Harry wrapped his arms around her so she was lying with her head on his chest and one arm and leg wrapped around him. He sighed, he would be perfectly happy to never leave this room.

“We should get married.”

Ginny sat up a bit and looked down at him, “What?”

Harry blushed, “I didn’t say that right, did I?”

Disappointment crossed her face, “So you didn’t mean it.”

“No, baby, no. I did mean it. I love you and I want to marry you. I mean you are smart and strong and sexy and beautiful and we are so good together. I know we are really young, so maybe this isn’t the right time to ask, but I want to marry you.”

Ginny looked at him as though trying to read his thoughts. “Is it because we made love?”

“Not exactly,” Harry said squirming a bit. “I mean that’s part of it. I can’t imagine doing that with anyone else or feeling that way about anyone else. You’re it for me. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I mean I know you have another year of school left if you choose to go and you have plans and all of that…I just want to be there with you no matter what comes — as your husband.”

She continued looking at him for a few minutes and he got a sinking feeling that he had stuffed everything up. Finally he had to break the silence, “Did I ruin everything?”

Suddenly she smiled, “No, Harry. You didn’t ruin anything. Yes, I will marry you. I don’t know when, but I love you and I want to experience everything as your wife.”

Harry’s smile lit up his face, “Really?”

He jumped out of bed and lifted her into his arms, swinging her around. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Ginny giggled as she wrapped her arms around his neck, “You are so silly. Did you really think I would say no?”

Setting her back on the bed, Harry shrugged. “It took you long enough to answer. I just keep thinking that one day you’re going to realize you can do so much better than me.”

She shook her head, “No, I think we were made for each other.”

Turning his back on her, Harry walked over to his bag and started rummaging around in it. He returned to the bed with two boxes in his hand. Sitting on the bed next to her, he set one of the boxes down on the bed and opened the other. In the box was a beautiful square cut emerald with two smaller diamonds on either side.

He held the box out to her, “This was my mother’s ring. I…I hoped you would want to wear her ring, it would kind of include my parents in our wedding.”

Ginny gasped and covered her mouth with her hand, “Harry, that is beautiful.”

He nodded, “It is, I found it in my vault and thought it would be perfect for you.”

She held out her left hand and with a slightly shaking hand, Harry slid the ring on her finger. The ring automatically sized to her hand and she gazed down at it with a smile.

Leaning over, she kissed him. “It is perfect.”

He picked up the other box and opened it. Inside lay two plain gold wedding bands, one larger than the other. “These are my parent’s wedding rings…I had a thought…I don’t know maybe it’s stupid, but…” He picked up his father’s wedding band. “I want to get this made into an earring and wear it. I thought maybe you would do the same with my mother’s ring.”

“Harry, that’s a great idea,” Ginny said with a smile. “Maybe we could get that done today.”

Glancing over at the clock, she was surprised to realize that it was almost nine in the morning. She was kind of surprised that her brother hadn’t come knocking on their door yet.

“I expect my brother will be knocking on the door soon,” Ginny said a bit regretfully. “I would like to take a shower.”

“Oh, sure,” Harry said as he closed the box that held his parents’ wedding rings. He watched as she got up to head towards the bathroom.

“You’re okay, aren’t you?”

She flashed him a smile, “I’m fine, just a bit sore. Nothing I didn’t expect.”

A short time later, Ginny was getting dressed while Harry showered. A knock sounded at the door. Ginny smiled as she let Bill into the room. To her delight he was carrying a tray with a large basket of pastries and a pot of tea.

“Fleur is still getting ready,” Bill said as he placed the tray on the low table in the sitting area. “I hope you don’t mind. I ordered breakfast.”

“Not a problem,” Ginny said as she hugged her brother. “Harry’s in the shower, I expect he’ll be out soon.”

Bill nodded as he helped himself to a pastry. “So was this a good idea?”

“The absolute best,” Ginny said sincerely. “Thank you so much for arranging this.”

“You’re welcome.”

Ginny giggled, “Guess what?”

Bill raised his eyebrow and Ginny held out her left hand.

“Merlin, I didn’t expect that,” Bill said as he took her hand. Pulling her into a hug, he said, “I am so happy for you.”

“Thank you,” She beamed. “I didn’t really expect it either. He just asked me this morning. I don’t know when we’ll get married, next year or the year after, but it just seems so right.”

“Good,” Bill said.

“Well, that’s one worry off my mind.”

The siblings turned to see Harry standing behind them. Bill laughed, “A bit worried about the family’s reaction?”

“A little,” Harry admitted as he joined the siblings. “Where’s Fleur?”

Before Bill could respond, there was a knock at the door. “I bet that’s her.”

Fleur was thrilled to discover that Harry and Ginny were engaged. Ginny explained what Harry wanted to do with the wedding bands and Bill and Fleur were eager to help.

With a few spells, Bill was able to transfigure the rings into earrings. Fleur pierced Harry’s ear first.

Turning to look in the mirror, Harry was thrilled with how well it turned out. He looked at Ginny. She grinned, “I think it looks sexy.”

He blushed, but returned the grin.

“You don’t have your ears pierced at all,” Fleur remarked.

“I always wanted to have my ears pierced, but my Mum isn’t a huge fan of earrings,” Ginny explained with a laugh. “I think that was part of the reason she was upset at Bill’s earring.”

Fleur laughed, “I think it looks sexy.”

Turning back to her sister-in-law she said, “I can either just do one piercing for this ring or I can pierce your ears and add this as a second piercing in one ear.”

Ginny looked at her reflection in the mirror, she had always imagined having pierced ears. She looked over at Harry, “What do you think?”

“I think you would look great with the double piercing,” Harry replied promptly.

“I don’t have any earrings,” Ginny said.

Fleur smiled, “Don’t worry, ma soeur. I’ll be right back.”

She hurried over to her room and returned a few minutes later with a small pair of diamond earrings in her hand. “These will be perfect. We can find something you like later, but you should leave these in for a few weeks.”

“Okay,” Ginny said with a smile.

She secured her hair back in a ponytail and waited for her sister-in-law to cast the spells. She felt the warmth of the spells hit her ears, but to her surprise there was no pain. “Wow, that didn’t hurt at all.”

“Bon! That means I did it correctly.”

Ginny turned to Harry, “What do you think?”

He smiled as he loosened her hair, “I think it looks beautiful.” Leaning in he placed a gentle kiss on her lips. “Thank you for agreeing to do this.”

“Thank you for asking,” Ginny whispered. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a heartfelt embrace.
______________________________________ _______________________________
Soon after, the two young couples were walking down Rue des Bernardins towards the Seine River. Ginny looked at all of the shops and hotels in amazement, she’d really never seen anything like it. While she’d been to London before, most of it was spent in the magical section, not the Muggle areas.

“It is so beautiful here,” she remarked as they came within view of the Pont de l'Archevêché that would take them across the Seine to Île de la Cité. “Is that a cathedral?” Ginny asked, wishing not for the first time she had learned a bit more Muggle history.

“That’s Notre-Dame, isn’t it?” Harry asked.

“Oui,” Fleur replied. “I thought you two might like to see Notre-Dame and La Sainte-Chapelle. They are two truly beautiful churches and then I thought we could walk down the Seine towards the Tuileries garden. Does that meet with your approval?”

Everyone agreed and as they headed across the bridge, Harry said Fleur, “I remember learning about Notre-Dame in primary school, but I don’t remember much.” He laughed, “The main thing I remember is the Flying Buttresses because everyone thought that was such a funny phrase.”

Fleur smiled, “Notre-Dame is one of our most famous landmarks. I used to love to come here as a child and stare at the stained glass.”

Looking around Harry asked, “This is going to sound like a stupid question, but do wizards go to church?”

“That’s not a stupid question,” Bill replied as they started walking toward the entrance to the cathedral. “The short answer is some do. I think that the magical community in general is a bit distrustful of the religious community, but there are still those who attend church. There are probably witches and wizards in just about every religion in the world. My family has never been overly religious, but we learned the basics and Mum used to have a Children’s Bible for us to read when we were little.”

“My parents attend church regularly,” Fleur said as they reached the entered the cathedral. “I enjoy going to church services, but I haven’t gone lately.”

As they entered, Harry was amazed at the sheer size and majesty of it. Reaching out for Ginny’s hand, the two of them peered at statues and goggled at the stained glass.

“I will get us tapes so we can take the audio tour.” Fleur stated after they’d looked around for a few moments. Bill and Harry nodded.

“What does she mean?” Ginny whispered.

Harry smiled, “Do you see those people over there with the ear buds?”

Ginny looked around and nodded, “Yes, aren’t those like those phones you were telling me about?”

“The ear buds can be used for more than just phones,” Harry explained. “You can listen to music or in this case they have information about the cathedral. A lot of historical sites have them so you don’t have to wait for a guided tour, you can wander around on your own, but still learn about the place you are visiting.”

Fleur returned with audio players for everyone and soon they were walking around the cathedral listening to history and learning about its architecture, statues, and windows.

Upon leaving Notre Dame, Fleur led them over to La Sainte-Chapelle. “I think you will really like this. This chapel was built by King Louis IX to house all of his relics. He had obtained the Crown of Thorns, the Holy Lance, and a fragment of the True Cross. What most people don’t know is that he also collected magical relics, I will show you when we enter. There is a separate section for that collection.”

“So did Louis IX know about magic?” Harry asked in surprise.

“Oui, the magical and Muggle community lived in harmony for many centuries here in France. It wasn’t until after the Revolution that the Ministry of Magic was founded. Several Dark Wizards participated in the Reign of Terror that followed the Revolution, and after they were brought to justice, the families left withdrew from society.

“Vercingetorix was a powerful wizard who helped unite Gaul and fight the Romans. His wand is one of the relics housed here, as well as the sword that brought down Benoit Roux, one of the participants in the Reign of Terror. There is even a cauldron that is reputed to have been used by Merlin.”

After exploring La Sainte-Chapelle, the two couples crossed the river and headed towards the Tuilleries gardens. They walked past the Louvre and entered the gardens. The garden with its board walkways and beautiful statues was beautiful. Harry thought they were a bit too regimented, but they were still pretty.

By mid-afternoon, they were eating at a café located between the Louvre and the gardens. Talk flowed easily between the four of them. Once the sandwiches had been dispensed with, they watched the tourists rushing by.

Ginny looked around the table and she was filled with contentment and warmth. She wished the rest of her summer could be like this. As she listened to the others talk she realized that she had some decisions to make and she needed to make them quickly.

“What’s wrong, love?”

Ginny smiled at her fiancé, “I’m just thinking about what I need to do.”

“What do you mean?” Bill asked curiously.

“I’m not sure I want to go back to Hogwarts,” Ginny said. “I really hate it there.” She glanced over at her older brother, “It’s really not fair. I listened to all of the stories you guys told and it seemed like the most magical place in the world. Magic, pranks, Quidditch, I mean what’s not to like. Then I started Hogwarts — the only good year I had was my fifth year.

“Part of me wants to say screw it, I want to play Quidditch and I don’t need my NEWTs, but another part of me wants to have a good year at Hogwarts.” Ginny lapsed into silence playing with the straw in her drink.

“So what do you think you will do?” Bill asked curiously.

Ginny groaned, “I don’t know.”

“Okay, if you don’t go back, what will you do?” Bill asked reasonably.

“Play Quidditch,” she replied promptly. She sent a sideways looks at Harry, “And get married.”

Harry smiled at her, “If that’s what you want, love.”

“But then I start thinking about everything we fought for and it seems like giving up not to go back,” Ginny said. “I’ve been thinking about things we could do to make things better.”

“Like what?” Bill asked.

Ginny leaned forward and explained her ideas. To her delight, her three companions not only all liked her ideas, they added ideas of their own. She ended up jotting down some of their ideas on a serviette. If she had to go back to school, she was going to make it the best year yet.
__________________________________ ___________________________________
He smiled as he thought about his holiday with Ginny in Paris. It had been an amazing trip in more ways than one. In the end he and Ginny had decided not to announce their engagement until after her birthday. While it was not a perfect solution, Harry had deferred to Ginny when she decided she didn’t want to upset her mother more than necessary. Fleur had taught them the charms to hide her engagement ring until they were ready to share their news.

He finished his third circuit around the Burrow before starting on his sit ups. As he exercised, he looked up at the still dark house. He had been a bit surprised that Ginny hadn’t joined him this morning as she had been joining him most mornings to exercise.

As he finished his last push up, a light came on in the kitchen. Standing, he wiped his face on the towel he’d left on the porch before entering the kitchen. Instead of Mrs. Weasley, he found a much younger female Weasley putting on the kettle for tea.

“Good morning, beautiful.”

Ginny turned and smiled, “Good morning.”

As she neared him to hug him, he warned, “I’m all sweaty.”

“I don’t care,” Ginny replied as she fit snugly in his arms. He held her tightly and ran one of his hands down her hair. He dropped a kiss on the top of her head.

“Nightmare, baby?”

She nodded into his chest, “I had that same stupid dream about Carrow torturing me in the dungeon. “

Harry nodded and held her tightly. In the two months since the battle, both of their nightmares had lessened, but they both still had them.

After a moment she pulled away and looked up into his face, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, love.” Harry replied. He was truly glad that he was able to provide comfort to her. “Do you think…do you think it’s because you’re headed to Hogwarts today?”

She sighed, “I think maybe so.” She pulled out of his arms and headed over to the cupboard. “You will be there, right?”

He nodded, “I will. Kingsley asked us to help with the rebuilding effort. We’re hoping we can finish clearing the rubble from around the Astronomy tower today. If you need anything, come get me.”

She smiled, “I will, I promise.”

“Good.” Harry replied. “I’m going to run upstairs and take a shower, I’ll be back.”

Twenty minutes later Harry rejoined Ginny in the kitchen. He poured himself some cereal and helped himself to some toast. The two talked quietly until they heard steps on the stairs. After a moment, Ginny sighed, “It’s Dad.”

She got up to get a cup of tea and prepare some toast for her father. If her father came down first, that meant her mother was having a ‘bad day.’ Unfortunately, her bad days were outnumbering her good days.

“Hi, Daddy.” Ginny said as her father entered the kitchen. He looked a bit worn and tired. She kissed her father on his cheek and set his tea and toast down in front of him.

“Hello, love.” Mr. Weasley replied before greeting Harry. He turned back to his daughter, “I talked to Bill last night. He should be over soon and he’ll take you over to Hogwarts.”

“I’m a big girl, Dad.” Ginny said a touch sulkily. “I can get to school by myself.”

“I thought Ron was coming with us today,” Harry commented.

“He is, but Molly felt it more appropriate for Bill to take her over.”

“Mum is acting like I’m still a little girl,” Ginny burst out.

“She’s scared,” Mr. Weasley explained with a sigh. “Please, just indulge her.”

The Floo flared up and Bill emerged. He greeted everyone with a smile and he clapped his father on the shoulder as he joined them at the table.

Looking over at his sister, he smiled, “Are you about ready to go?”

She nodded, “Let me just go grab my cloak. I’ll be right back.”
________________________________ ___________________________________
Gin ny took a shaky breath as she looked out over the once pristine grounds. Now there were holes in the grounds, some small and some large almost crater-like black holes. The grass was torn and brown and there were holes in the landscaping where bushes and trees had been upended and torn out. The edge of the Forbidden Forest was raggedy with large swaths of trees missing.

The castle itself was a hive of activity. Workers were clearing away broken stone, glass, and furniture. She could see a crew of workers on scaffolding working on the Astronomy tower.

“Are you okay?”

Ginny turned to her boyfriend, “I’ll be fine. It’s just a bit…shocking to see everything like this.”

“I know,” Harry sighed, “I thought the repairs would be happening much more quickly.”

She nodded, “I know.”

Glancing at her watch, she said, “I’d better get going.”

Bill looked at the others, “I’m going to head to work.” He kissed his sister on the cheek, “Good luck, sweetie.”

“Thanks, Bill.”

With that he headed back to the gates to Apparate to London. Ron cleared his throat, “I’m going to check in over there.” He gestured to the tent set up near the Astronomy tower.

Harry nodded, “I’ll join you in a few minutes.”

Ron headed towards the Astronomy Tower while Harry and Ginny headed towards the castle hand-in-hand. Ginny took a ragged breath as she passed the spot where Hagrid had laid down Harry’s lifeless body. She looked over at him and managed a wan smile. He squeezed her hand. “Are you okay?”

She nodded, “Yes, just bad memories.”

Entering the Great Hall, they were greeted by a witch in Ministry robes. “Good morning, are you here to work or take exams?”

“I’m here to work,” Harry said.

“I’m here to take my sixth year exams,” Ginny said.

“Excellent,” the witch said with a smile. Her eyes widened as she realized who was in front of her. “Mr Potter, it is an honour to meet you.”

“Thank you,” Harry said blushing.

“All workers are to check in at the tent near the Astronomy Tower.”

“Okay,” Harry said. He turned to Ginny and kissed her quickly, “Good luck. I’ll be here if you need me.”

After watching Harry head outside, Ginny turned back to the witch who smiled at her, “What is your name, dear?”

“Ginny Weasley.”

“Miss Weasley, Professor McGonagall would like to see you once your exams are complete.” The witch announced as she examined the clipboard in front of her.

Ginny nodded her understanding, she had asked for a meeting so she was glad the Professor was able to meet with her. She headed into the room where exams were being conducted, clearing everything else from her mind.

Several hours later, Ginny headed up to the seventh floor entrance to the Headmistress’ office. The gargoyle had been repaired and was sitting back upright; for some reason that comforted her. Something was getting back to normal. Giving the gargoyle the password she’d been given, Ginny headed up to the office.

She paused a moment before knocking on the door to gather her thoughts. This was a meeting that she had requested, but one that she felt was very important. She had dressed carefully for this meeting. Instead of her usual casual summer clothes, she was wearing black trousers and a pretty dark green blouse. It was important that she look her best for this meeting.

Knocking on the door, she entered when bidden. She smiled at the sight of her Head-of-House.

“Good morning, Professor.”

“Good morning, Miss Weasley,” Professor McGonagall greeted her student. “Please have a seat.”

Ginny sat in one of the chairs in front of the desk while Professor McGonagall settled behind the desk. The large portrait of Professor Dumbledore was displayed prominently on the wall while a much smaller portrait of Professor Snape was placed among the other portraits of former Headmasters.

After offering Ginny a biscuit from the plaid tin on her desk, the older witch said, “How were your exams, Miss Weasley?”

“I think I did well,” Ginny said with a smile. “I’m glad I got them over with.”

“Good,” Professor McGonagall replied. “I received your letter. What can I do for you, Miss Weasley?”

“I wanted to talk to you about the upcoming school year,” Ginny said.

Professor McGonagall nodded and Ginny continued.

“I have to be honest with you, ma’am, I don’t really want to return to school this year. This past year was so horrible and after watching so many people die here, I really don’t want to be here,” Ginny stated. “But I realized that I don’t want to let the Death Eaters deprive me of my education.”

“I do understand and I am pleased to hear that you plan to return,” Professor McGonagall replied.

Ginny smiled, “The reason I asked for this meeting is to let you know what I believe would help the returning students. I have spoken with many of the students both last year and over the summer, and we wanted to let you know our thoughts.”

“Of course,” Professor McGonagall said. “The faculty and I realize that this past year was awful and whatever we can do to help we will be happy to consider.”

“First and foremost,” Ginny began, “is security. None of us felt very safe over the past year. We had Death Eaters teaching us and Death Eaters attending class with us. Unforgivables were being used as punishment. I’ve heard rumours of certain students taking advantage of others, especially the girls. I know that Carrows’ helpers would routinely offer to skip punishment for any of the girls if the girls would ‘perform’ for them. That pig, Zabini, told me he would not use the Cruciatus if I would…” Ginny blushed but continued, “perform oral sex on him. He was shocked that I chose the Cruciatus.”

Professor McGonagall paled and Ginny was happy to see her pull out a sheet of parchment and begin making notes. Looking up at the young girl, the older witch said, “I am truly sorry for what you endured last year. We tried to protect you as much as possible, but I know we could not protect everyone. I will tell you that we have the workers placing new charms in the castle. Any use of an Unforgivable will alert the staff, and a system is being put in place that any student just need to call for help and again the staff will be alerted. All of the protections on the girls’ dorms have been reinstated so no boys or men will be allowed in the girls’ dorms.”

Ginny smiled, “Thank you. That is great to hear.”

“We also have a new zero tolerance policy towards those with the Dark Mark,” Professor McGonagall explained. “Any student found having the Dark Mark will be expelled and any staff member found having the Dark Mark will be asked to leave.” She looked up at Professor Dumbledore’s portrait, where he sat on his large chair, sleeping. “Professor Dumbledore always saw the best in everyone and never stopped trying to offer a different path, but I don’t feel I have that option. This school has been terrorized by those with the Dark Mark long enough and I will not allow them in the school.”

“Thank you,” Ginny breathed.

Professor McGonagall handed Ginny a sheet of parchment, “Is this a complete list of the Carrows’ helpers?”

Ginny read over the list carefully, “I believe so, but please ask Neville or Seamus to look over the list. I’d hate for someone who joined at the end of the war escape because I didn’t know who they were.”

The professor nodded and set the parchment down on her desk. Ginny stole a look up at Professor Dumbledore’s portrait. She relaxed slightly when she saw he was sleeping; her feelings about him were rather mixed.

“I know what I am going to say might sound a bit disrespectful, but I feel it needs to be said,” Ginny began.

“Go ahead, dear.”

“Professor Dumbledore kept professors who really had no business teaching because he was trying to keep them safe. Professor Tralawney predicts a student’s death every year; do you know how distressing that is? Professor Snape, no matter how much he may have done for our cause, was a horrible teacher. He bullied and insulted anyone who wasn’t a Slytherin. He was especially awful to Harry. Professor Binns — he needs to go. He is horribly boring and doesn’t teach us anything that is useful. If I had been taught Tom Riddle’s name, my first year would have turned out much differently. How is it I didn’t recognize the name of the worst Dark Wizard in recent history? Our students need to know about our recent history and how it affects all of us.” Ginny blushed. “I know it can’t be easy being Headmaster of Hogwarts, but I think the students need to be the first priority.”

“I agree that the students need to be our first priority,” Professor McGonagall agreed. “I hadn’t even thought about Professor Binns, he’s just been here so long. I will make a new history professor a priority. I have had several talks with Professor Tralawney and she has decided to go into private practice.”

Ginny smiled, “Good. Harry never really complained, but I know he hated being told he was going to die all the time.”

“What else can we do?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“I think we need to make sure the students can communicate with their parents.”

“What do you mean? We encourage them to write to their parents,” Professor McGonagall replied.

Ginny nodded, “I know you do. Colin told me that in Muggle schools they have something called a parents’ weekend. I was thinking we could combine a parents’ weekend and Hogsmeade weekend. If we have the parents meet in Hogsmeade, the Muggle parents could be taken to the school if they would like to see it. Maybe we could have some of the older students give tours of the castle. It would give the students a chance to show their parents what they can do and it will give the parents the chance to see the school and meet all of the teachers.”

“That is a very interesting idea,” Professor McGonagall said as she took notes. “I have missed that interaction with the parents. Parents who attended Hogwarts I know, but other parents don’t feel as comfortable answering owls or corresponding with someone they have never met.”

Ginny smiled, happy that her idea was so well received. “In the DA we talked about that, and as I said Colin gave me the idea. That also gave me the idea of having more of a common area for the different houses to mix. It’s hard right now to meet your friends in other houses; we can meet in the library or outside, but it would be great to have a room were we could meet and talk.”

“To encourage unity among the houses,” Professor McGonagall nodded. “In the past, we have had a common room accessible to all of the houses, but during the first war the animosity between the houses became too much to handle. We can certainly look into restarting that.”

She smiled at her student, “I am very pleased with your suggestions. I think that for this coming year we need to provide that feeling of home and safety. That will be our biggest priority this year. I really like the idea of the parents’ weekend. I will talk to Professor Flitwick and see what we can arrange.”

“Thank you,” Ginny replied sincerely. “My last suggestion is actually one given to me by my brother. He suggested we have both a Muggle Studies and a Wizarding Studies for the first year students. It would expose the wizarding children to Muggles and help the Muggleborn students understand our world better. Harry still runs into things he doesn’t understand or just has never heard of, even after seven years in our world.”

Professor McGonagall nodded, “We have discussed that among ourselves. Once I have a Muggle Studies professor I will discuss that with them.” She looked down at her desk, “I really like the idea of the Wizarding Studies. I will have to think about that, see how it would work.” She wrote a few more notes on her parchment.

“Miss Weasley, You have given me a lot to think about and I appreciate that not all of this was easy to tell me. Thank you for coming to me. I have to say I am thrilled that you have chosen to take the position of Head Girl for the upcoming year,” Professor McGonagall said. “I know you were not a prefect, but in talking to the other students you have truly been a leader. The way you looked after the other students last year, I think you will make a wonderful Head Girl.”

“Really?” Ginny asked in surprise. She had accepted the position of Head Girl, but to hear other students thought of her as a leader was encouraging.

“Yes,” Professor McGonagall. “The other professors have commented on it as well.”

Ginny smiled, “Thank you.”

“I am hoping you will continue in the role of Quidditch captain as well. I know you didn’t get to play last year with the season being cancelled, but you were who I had chosen to replace Mr Potter as captain.” Professor McGonagall said with a smile. “As headmistress, I am supposed to be impartial, but I am still a bit biased towards my lions.”

Ginny laughed, “I would be thrilled to be both the Head Girl and Quidditch Captain.”

“Excellent,” Professor McGonagall replied. She softened a bit, “How is your mother?”

Ginny shrugged, “I don’t know. Some days she doesn’t even come out of her room and other days…she is acting like we are little kids. I don’t know how to explain it. Ron and I will go swimming and she fusses over us to make sure we have the Sunscreen Charm and tells him to watch out for me. I can’t even imagine how hard this all must be for her, so I am trying to just get along with everyone.”
Professor McGonagall nodded, “I also can only imagine how difficult it must be for her. I am glad she had you and your brothers at home to provide her comfort. I understand that Percy and George are both staying at the Burrow.”

“Yes, my mum is thrilled to have so many of us at home.”

A knock at the door caused both women to look up. “Come in!” Professor McGonagall called.

Harry and Professor Flitwick entered.

“Hello, Professor.” Harry said with a smile.

“Harry, it is good to see you. Please sit down.”

Harry grinned at Ginny and shyly kissed her on the cheek. He sat next to her while Professor Flitwick sat on her other side.

“How has your summer been, Harry?”

He smiled, “It’s been really good actually. I’ve been working with Kingsley, helping to prosecute the Death Eaters. Mr Robards has me doing physical training every morning and I have a lot of books to read. Seamus and I will officially start Auror training in September.”

“I heard the Goblins had you working at Gringotts,” Professor Flitwick said with interest.

He nodded, “As part of the reparations, I worked with a Goblin warding crew in the lower levels repairing some of the damage we caused. I also had to pay a small fee, but now I can use Gringotts without any difficulty.”

“That is good,” Professor Flitwick replied, his eyes sparkling. “I’ve heard that many of the Goblins were well very impressed with your work ethic.”

Harry blushed while Ginny smiled proudly.

“Minerva, young Mr Potter had an excellent idea we wanted to share with you.”

Professor McGonagall looked over at Harry. “Yes, Mr Potter.”

Harry squirmed a bit, “I was reading about some advanced charms and it seems there is a charm that can mark where those who died in battle fell. We can modify the charm and mark those who died on our side with a white star. It would have the person’s name and dates. For those who died fighting for the other side, they would be marked with a black circle.”

“What is your reason for including both sides?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“I think people need to see that those who died on both sides came from the same place. Not to honour them exactly, but to show that our choices in life really do matter.” Harry explained earnestly.

Professor McGonagall nodded, “I think it’s an excellent idea.”

Turning to Harry, Professor Flitwick asked, “Would you like to cast the charm?”

“Me?” Harry looked surprised.

“Yes,” both professors said firmly. Professor Flitwick reviewed the charm with the young wizard.

“Does it matter where I am when I cast the charm?” Harry asked a bit nervously.

“No,” Professor Flitwick replied. “As long as you are on the grounds you can cast the charm. Why don’t you do it here?”

Standing, Harry drew his familiar holly wand and cast the charm as he had been shown. A bright light shone around him before branching off and leaving the room in many brightly lit strings.

“Excellent,” Professor McGonagall said. “Shall we go see the results of your spell?”

Standing, Harry held out his hand for Ginny. The two of them headed downstairs hand-in-hand trailing after the professors. Ginny gasped when they came across the first white star. It read — Elizabeth Allen born 4 Jan 1955 died 2 May 1998. There was a small badger engraved above her name.

“Can we go see w-where F-fred…?” Ginny trailed off unable to put her request into words.

“Why doesn’t Mr Potter take you while I review your excellent suggestions with Professor Flitwick.?” Professor McGonagall asked almost tenderly.

Harry smiled his thanks as he and Ginny headed back up towards the seventh floor corridor where Fred lost his life. The young couple didn’t feel the need to talk as they walked, just taking comfort in the other’s presence.

They passed another white star and two black circles before they found Fred’s star. Ginny knelt down and read her brother’s star.
Fred Weasley born 1 April 1978 died 2 May 1998.

There was a lion above his name. She traced the words, barely aware of the tears making their way down her face. Harry sat down on the cool stone floor next to her, his knees drawn up with his arms hanging limply off his knees.

“I’m glad that he will be here for others to remember,” Ginny said after a while. “I wasn’t so sure about this when you first mentioned it, but I like the idea of a little memorial to each of those who died.”

“Good,” Harry said. “I just…I think it’s so important that we don’t forget all of those who died.”

Ginny wiped her tears away, “I should get back home.”

“Your mum will be so proud of you — Head Girl and Quidditch Captain. That’s brilliant.” Harry enthused as he helped her to her feet.

She smiled and hugged him tight, “Thank you.”

“I’d better head back out to work. Ron and I should be home in time for tea.”
_________________________________ _____________________________________
“ There you are, dear.” Mrs. Weasley said as her daughter tumbled out of the Floo. “How were your exams?”

“I think they went well,” Ginny replied. “I had a meeting with Professor McGonagall while I was there.”

“What about, dear? You weren’t bothering her, were you? She’s a very busy woman right now.”

Biting back her annoyance, Ginny said, “No, we were meeting about our plans for next year. Professor McGonagall really does want me to be both the Head Girl and Quidditch Captain! I mean she offered the Head Girl position a few weeks ago, but today she was telling me how she and the other professors were impressed with my leadership ability.”

Mrs. Weasley stared at her daughter for a moment. “That’s nice, dear, but that’s a lot of responsibility. Are you certain you are up for it?”

Ginny felt tears sting her eyes, before she blinked them away. Ron had been angry when she’d first been named Head Girl, thinking that Hermione deserved it more, but she never expected the same attitude from her mother. She wasn’t going to let her mother know how much she’d hurt her. “I am certain, Mother. Professor McGonagall was certain that I would be able to do both.”

After a moment, Mrs. Weasley looked up, “I’m sorry, dear. Congratulations! I will let your father know. He will be thrilled. Charlie will be excited to hear that you are Quidditch captain.”

She smiled at her daughter, “Why don’t we have a nice roast beef for dinner? I’ll make one of those strawberry tarts that you like so well.”

Ginny smiled, “That would be great, Mum. Do you need any help?”

“No, I’m fine.” Mrs. Weasley replied with a tired smile. “Why don’t you go fly in the orchard for a while? I’ll call if I need any help.”
________________________________ ______________________________________
“Minerva, are you okay?” Professor Flitwick asked his long-time colleague as they returned to the Headmistress’ office.

She smiled shakily. “I am, I think it is just hitting me how horrible last year was for all of the students. I keep thinking of things I could have done differently or other ways I could have helped the children.”

“I know,” Professor Flitwick replied sadly. “The horrors these children saw is awful. We are going to need to work hard to counteract all of the bigoted information they were fed last year.”

The Headmistress nodded, “Miss Weasley actually had an excellent idea that might help with some of that.” She related Ginny’s ideas to her colleague.

He smiled, “We definitely chose well for our Head Girl.”

“We did,” Professor McGonagall replied. She sighed as she gazed up at Professor Dumbledore’s portrait. “I need new teachers for Muggle Studies, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, and Transfiguration. I have letters out for potential Defence and Transfigurations teachers. I have reviewed Charity’s records and am meeting with two of her top students — Mr Handel, if you recall he was in Hufflepuff, he graduated almost ten years ago and Miss Rossi, she was one of your Ravenclaws.”

He nodded, “Either of them would make an excellent addition to our faculty. Did I understand you to say you are replacing Binns?”

“Miss Weasley pointed out the deficiencies of some of our former staff. She mentioned that if she had known who Tom Riddle was her first year, it may have turned out quite differently.”

“That is true,” he said sadly. He looked up suddenly, “I think I might have a candidate for that position. I’ve kept in touch with one of our old students, Michael Carter. Do you remember him?”

Professor McGonagall’s brow furrowed for a moment as she tried to place him. “Yes, I remember him. He was an excellent student and not a bad Quidditch player.”

“Yes, he’s been studying in Rome for the past several years and he wrote to me after the battle. His uncle was killed and he came home to stay with his mother for a while; she was widowed during the first war. I could write and see if he would be willing to meet with us.”

“That would be very welcome,” Professor McGonagall replied gratefully.

As Professor Flitwick left, she relaxed into her chair for a moment. Running the school was much more difficult than Albus had ever let on.
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