|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: 80818; Chapter Total: 4358
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thank you so much to my beta StephanieO for all of her hard work!
Molly took extra care when dressing and preparing for the family meeting. She wanted to at least look as good as she could. As she was adjusting her robes, she noticed for the first time that she had lost quite a bit of late. She quelled a nervous laugh — she had tried to lose weight for how long and now she lost weight without even noticing.
A sigh escaped her lips, not noticing was what got her into so much trouble. Try as she may, she couldn’t for the life of her recall the last few days before her overdose. Honestly her memories of the whole summer were rather blurry. What she did know beyond any doubt was she had not been there for her family. In talking to Arthur over the past few days, she learned how much Ginny and Harry had done to help out around the house. Bill and Fleur had been keeping an eye on everyone.
The sound of voices made her turn from the mirror. A knock on the door heralded the arrival of Healer Sinclair. “Your family is here, Mrs Weasley. Are you ready for this?”
Molly smiled shakily, “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Standing, she accompanied the young healer to the family conference room where she knew the meeting was to take place. Her heart beat a little faster as they approached the room. She could hear the voices of her family.
Healer Sinclair pushed the door open and Molly could see her loved ones. She focused almost immediately on her daughter. “Ginny.”
She opened her arms and Ginny ran into them. For a moment it was just the two of them, but then another pair of arms encircled them and another and another. Soon all of the Weasleys stood wrapped around the two Weasley women. They stood like that for some time before Healer Sinclair cleared her throat.
The Weasleys unwrapped themselves and Molly saw her big, strong, boys all wiping their eyes. She sank into the chair Healer Sinclair indicated for her and Arthur sat next to her. The children all arranged themselves around them in a circle.
Molly cleared her throat, “I want to say that I am very, very sorry for what happened. I am especially sorry to you, Ginny. That must have been an awful thing to witness.”
“What happened, Mum?” Ron asked plaintively.
She sighed, “I’m honestly not certain, Ron. I am ashamed to say I don’t remember too much of this summer. I was taking Calming Draught and at times I would take it even when I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken it.” Tears sprang to her eyes, but she forced herself to continue. “I liked the numb feeling; when I took the potions I didn’t feel the pain of losing my son and I didn’t feel so useless that I couldn’t protect my children. Ginny getting tortured at Hogwarts, George…I would think of George and try to imagine his pain and I couldn’t even breathe.”
Forcing herself to look up at her children, she sobbed, “I am so sorry. I know I was very, very selfish and I wasn’t there for you when you needed me.”
Arthur wrapped an arm around her and she allowed herself to draw comfort from him as she had for so many years.
She straightened up when she saw George lean forward. He looked at her intently before he said, “I won’t deny that I’ve been upset with you, Mum. This has been the absolute worst period of my life and suddenly you weren’t there.” He reached over and took his sister’s hand. “Ginny and Harry have been brilliant. They’ve been taking care of us and talking to me. Harry really made me…he told me that he thinks F-fred was with his parents and Sirius. For some reason, that really made me feel better. Fred is waiting for me with the Marauders.”
Molly felt tears streaming down her face, but when she started to say something George shook his head. “It’s okay, Mum. I love you and I really just want you to come home with us.”
“Thank you, Georgie,” Molly whispered.
“I agree, Mum,” Ginny said. “I want you to come home, but I want you to really be there. I don’t mind helping out, but I hate that I have to. I had a horrible year last year, I was tortured and starved and you have ignored that and ignored me. If I say something about last year, I don’t want to hear ‘It wasn’t that bad’ or some other stupid thing. Can’t you just listen and believe me?”
“I’m sorry, Ginny,” Molly sighed. “I didn’t want to hear about how badly I’d let you down.”
“But it did happen, Mum,” Ginny said a bit more forcefully. “It isn’t about you. There isn’t anything you could have done. I had to go to school. It would have been nice to be able to talk to you about things that happened, but instead you minimized everything I went through.”
“I’m sorry,” Molly repeated. She hadn’t realized the extent to which she’d let her family down.
“I just want the Burrow to be a home again,” Ron put it. “I miss you, Mum. I wouldn’t even fuss if you yelled at me to clean up my room. Well at least not too much.”
Molly managed a watery smile for her youngest son.
She next looked at her oldest son. “Bill, your father’s been telling me how wonderful you and Fleur have been with your brothers and sister. Thank you so much.”
“It’s okay, Mum. I love them all and I’ve been glad to help out.” Bill smiled at his sister. “I’ve loved spending time with Ginny.”
George spoke up again, “Mum, you couldn’t have stopped Fred from fighting. We knew what we were doing and we knew there was the possibility one of us might not return. He believed in fighting for all of us to be free from….from Voldemort. We didn’t go in blindly.”
Molly nodded as she listened to him; she did know well how stubborn her twins were. Ginny added, “You did save me, Mum. I haven’t forgotten how you stepped in front of me to battle Bellatrix Lestrange.”
Arthur watched proudly as his wonderful children provided their mother with the support and love she needed. He didn’t fool himself that it was always going to be this easy, but he was glad that tonight was good.
H arry slid into the booth across the table from Hermione and her mother. He looked around the pub, “This is a nice place.”
Hermione nodded, “It is.” She looked at her mother, “It reminds me of the place near Grandma’s house.”
Mrs Granger nodded, “It does.”
“Ginny said that Bill used to bring her down here sometimes,” Harry commented as he perused the menu.
“Really?” Hermione asked. “I never had the impression that the Weasleys were down here much.”
“Ginny says they used to come down here to go shopping,” Harry said. “When we went to the butcher’s he knew her by name.”
Hermione shrugged, “Maybe Ron didn’t come down here as much. He always seems a bit more nervous around Muggles than Ginny does. I think Mrs Weasley used to keep Ginny with her more than she did with the boys. Witches and wizards can be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to gender roles.”
“I had noticed that as well,” Mrs Granger put in. She looked at Harry. “Arthur was amazed not just that you could cook, but that you are proficient at cleaning and willing to help around the house.”
“That’s something you’ll have to change,” Harry teased Hermione.
She blushed, but didn’t respond as the waitress had come to take their orders. Conversation flowed easily during dinner and Harry enjoyed getting to know Mrs Granger better. He found the interactions between his friend and her mother to be fascinating. They seemed to get along very well and in some ways seemed more like friends than anything else. Mrs Granger seemed to know a lot more about Hermione’s feelings for Ron and their relationship than he was certain Mrs Weasley knew about his and Ginny’s relationship. It was nice — it made him wonder what kind of relationship he would have had with his mother.
After dinner the three of them headed out to the town square. Harry wandered around the square while the other two spoke to Mr Granger on their mobile. His thoughts turned to the Weasleys. He wondered how their counselling session was going. He hoped everyone would keep their tempers in check, but he knew all too well how easily their tempers could flare.
The three returned to the Burrow as the sun was setting. It was a beautifully cool summer evening and Mrs Granger left the windows down as they drove back from town. Lights were on at the Burrow so they knew the Weasleys had returned.
As they walked towards the front door, Harry could hear laughter spilling out from the kitchen and felt a wave of relief sweep over him. He opened the door and found George, Charlie, Bill, and Ginny laughing at the kitchen table.
Ginny looked up when he walked in and smiled. “Hi, did you have a good time in town?”
Nodding, Harry dropped a kiss on her cheek as he sat down next to her. “Yeah, we went to the pub and then walked around the town square for a while.”
“They have surprisingly good food there,” George put in. He made a face, “We stopped at a diner near the hospital and the food wasn’t very good.”
“How’d the meeting go?” Harry asked hesitantly.
The siblings looked at each other and shrugged. Bill answered, “It seemed to go okay. Mum looks a lot better than she has in a while. She was clear and coherent. Dad seemed happy.”
“No fighting,” George put in. “I don’t know, in some ways it didn’t feel totally real.”
Charlie chuckled, “Yeah, everyone was too nice.”
Ginny looked up with a smile as Hermione entered her room. “Hi, Hermione how was dinner?”
“It was really nice,” Hermione replied with a smile. “My mum was glad to talk to my dad.”
“What did Ron have to say about the meeting?”
“Not much,” Hermione said with a sigh as she sank down on her bed. “I think he’s a bit upset with your mum, but he’s afraid to say so. He just wants everything to go back to how it was before. You know Ron — he doesn’t like to talk about his feelings.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, but didn’t comment. She sat up on her bed and set her book on the nightstand.
A knock on the door caused both girls to look up. Fleur was in the doorway with a stack of laundry. “Here you go, Ginny. I was doing some of my laundry so I thought I would do yours as well.”
“Thank you,” Ginny said as she got up and took the clothes from her sister-in-law. “Did you get some work done tonight?”
Fleur nodded. She had chosen not to attend the family meeting so as not to make anyone uncomfortable. Instead, she’d returned to Shell Cottage for the evening to do some laundry and get some work done. “Oui, I did laundry and wrote a letter to my parents. Bill and I had planned to go visit them, but with everything happening we didn’t feel right in going. Perhaps in a few weeks, if things have settled down we might go.”
Hermione watched the two girls talking and was struck by how comfortable and friendly they were with each other. It was a marked difference from their previous relationship — no more Phlegm. Even so she was shocked when Fleur leaned over and kissed Ginny on the cheek before leaving the room.
“What?” Ginny asked defensively as she started to put her clothes away.
“Nothing,” Hermione replied somewhat unconvincingly. When Ginny continued to look at her, Hermione added, “Well, the two of you are getting along so well. It just surprised me.”
Ginny laughed, “Trust me, it surprised me too.” She shrugged, “I think I grew up a little bit and actually got to know her. She’s actually really nice and she’s very smart. She helped me revise for my exams.”
“Really?” Hermione asked with a hint of disbelief.
“Really,” Ginny said firmly. She put the shirt away and as she started to put her lingerie away, she heard Hermione gasp.
“Ginny!” Hermione said shrilly as she got up to walk across the room. She picked up the bra on top of the stack in Ginny’s hand. “This is French lingerie.”
Ginny smiled and nodded, “I know.”
“It’s expensive,” Hermione said accusingly. “Do you have any idea how much all of this cost? This must have been hundreds of pounds.”
Ginny’s smile faltered, “He said it wasn’t that expensive.”
“Ginny, you can’t take advantage of him like that.” Hermione said reprovingly.
“I didn’t take advantage of anyone,” Ginny said defensively. “Bill and Fleur bought it for me. He said it wasn’t that much money.”
Hermione looked at her friend sceptically. She had recognized the tags on the lingerie, it was very expensive. She knew the Weasleys didn’t have a lot of money — how could they justify spending so much money on lingerie of all things. It just didn’t make sense.
On the other hand, she could tell Ginny was telling the truth. While Ginny could lie easily at times, the truth was shining in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Ginny,” Hermione said. “I…I just…it surprised me. That’s a lot of money to spend on lingerie.”
“Really?” Ginny looked a bit worried. “Bill said it was okay. He said it wasn’t a lot of money. I didn’t really understand how much it was.”
Hermione sighed, “I am so sorry, Ginny. I’m a horrible person. I shouldn’t have been so judgemental. It was very nice of your brother to do that for you.”
Ginny eyed her friend and judging her friend sincere, she decided to share the whole story with her friend. Both girls were in tears by the end of Ginny’s story. Hermione got up and walked over to Ginny’s bed and wrapped her arms around the younger girl.
“I am so, so sorry. That was very nice of Bill and Fleur,” Hermione said.
“I should have just told you,” Ginny said. “I know you were just looking out for Harry. It is something he would do.” She laughed, “No, I take that back. I don’t think he would have stepped foot in a lingerie shop on his own.”
“Did he really go with you?” Hermione asked.
Ginny giggled, “He did. He was so red, it was really cute. Bill was pointing out things for Fleur to try, but poor Harry he couldn’t figure out what was safe to look at.”
Hermione laughed, “I can see that. When we were travelling, he picked up one of my bras and he turned so red. I don’t know if he’d ever seen one before.”
The two girls started laughed together. Hermione smiled over at her friend, glad for the easing of tensions. “I’m sorry if I’ve been…a bit grouchy lately. I feel like I don’t know where I belong. I love spending more time with my parents and helping them set up their new practice has been great. We’ve been talking a lot and getting along so well. But, then I miss all of you and I miss Ron. It seems we’ve finally admitted our feelings to each other and we don’t get to see each other. I’m a little jealous of you and Harry.”
“Trust me, I understand,” Ginny said. “I was rather jealous of you last year. I know you weren’t having fun or anything, but at least you and Ron were together.” She grinned at her friend, “The fact that the two of you weren’t together is your own damn fault. You’re just both so stubborn.”
Hermione laughed, “I know.” She leaned back so she was sitting against the wall, while Ginny was sitting against the headboard of her bed.
“I didn’t want to be the one to admit my feelings first,” Hermione said. “I’ve had a crush on your brother for what…almost five years. I think I first noticed him like that at the beginning of our third year, but he never seemed to look at me that way. It really hurt me when he went after Lavender of all people. It just seemed to confirm that he’d never look twice at someone like me. I’m not as pretty as Lavender and Ron and I fight all the time.”
“He likes fighting with you,” Ginny pointed out gently. “He told me once that you are so beautiful when you get fired up and start yelling back at him.”
“Really?” Hermione looked pleased.
Ginny nodded. Hermione smiled as she continued, “I thought that after he broke up with Lavender he might ask me out, but he seemed content to let things go back to how they had been at the beginning of the school year. We kind of edged towards things, but I really wanted him to be the one to make the first move. He would be so sweet and he asked me to dance at the wedding — we would hold hands sometimes, but he never pushed anything. It was very frustrating.”
She looked over at her friend, “Did Harry tell you that…”
“That Ron left you?” Ginny finished for her softly. “Yes, he did.”
“I was so angry with him,” Hermione said. “I was angry at both of them actually. Harry didn’t really have a plan and Ron wasn’t helping at all. The locket just intensified everything. It was truly awful. I hate not having a plan and part of me really wanted to go with Ron. I was tired of being tired and I was tired of being hungry, but we’d promised Harry.”
Ginny smiled at Hermione’s loyalty. “What happened when Ron came back?”
“He just came back with such a different attitude. He was helpful and kind. After Malfoy Manor, he was amazing. He was so solicitous; he really was everything I could have hoped for. After the battle, he finally admitted that he likes me and asked me to be his girlfriend.”
“I’m so glad the two of you worked it out,” Ginny said. “I wish they were coming back to school with us next year — I’m going to miss Harry so much. I think I like just being able to look at him now. I had no idea where he was for so long.”
“Just look at him?” Hermione teased.
Ginny blushed, “Okay, I like doing other things as well.”
The girls started laughing.
By the time Hermione woke the next morning, Ginny’s bed was already empty. She made her way downstairs and found her mother and Ginny making strawberry scones.
“That smells really good,” she remarked.
Ginny flashed her a smile, “Thanks.”
After pouring cereal, Hermione settled at the table. “Where is everyone?”
“Dad went to see Mum before heading into work. Harry went in early to work out at the gym with Seamus. Bill and Fleur went into work and Percy and George headed over to Percy’s flat. He didn’t know if there was any damage, there had been fighting in the area so he and George went to check it out. Charlie and Ron are still sleeping.” Ginny ran through the family members.
She laughed, “I have a feeling once they smell the scones, they’ll come quickly enough.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” Hermione agreed.
After putting another batch of scones in the oven, Ginny joined Hermione at the table. “I was thinking. Usually Mum has a vegetable garden, but because they went to Aunt Muriel’s she never got to plant one.”
“So you want to plant one for her,” Hermione guessed.
“Exactly,” Ginny said. “I was looking through my Mum’s gardening supplies and found that we can still plant peas, beans, and lettuce. Do you want to help?”
“That sounds great,” Hermione said. She looked at her mother, “Mum?”
“Sure, I love gardening.”
Charlie and Ron joined the ladies and within a few hours, a respectable vegetable garden was taking shape.
Harry was listening to Seamus describe his testimony in court the day before when Auror Dawlish joined them. The students quieted down immediately.
“Good morning. I want to start by saying - I am pleased with how well all of you performed testifying in court. All of you did well and performed a great service to our country.”
Harry exchanged smiles with his fellow students. One of the things he really liked about Dawlish is he never called extra attention to Harry — unless he could contribute something unique to the class.
Drawing a packet of letters from his pocket, he announced, “I have the results of your testing.” He smiled at them, “I have to confess we did not administer these tests entirely to place you in classes, although that was part of our reasoning. Except for Miss Bell, the rest of you actually took your NEWTs.”
“What?” Harry could see Michael Corner panicking a bit.
“Not to worry,” Dawlish said. With a wave of his wand, he sent the envelopes to each student.
Taking his with a slightly shaking hand, Harry ripped open the envelope.
Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests
Pas s Grades
Exceeds Expectations (E)
Harry James Potter had achieved:
Defence Against the Dark Arts O
< u>History of Magic D
< u>Transfiguration O
Harry stared at his results in astonishment. How on Earth had he done so well? He looked over at the other student and they all looked rather pleased.
Clearing his throat, Dawlish recalled all of their attention. “Congratulations to everyone. We are very pleased with the overall results. I am so pleased to say that all of you received an ‘O’ in Defence.” He paused while they all cheered. “However, all of you did rather poorly in History of Magic.”
Harry didn’t think that was all that difficult to understand. With Professor Binns teaching, no one really learned anything.
“I have spoken to Professor McGonagall about the situation and we have come up with a rather unique solution. This year will be a rebuilding year for the entire wizarding world. Hogwarts will have new teachers in many subjects for the first time in years. Professor Michael Carter has agreed to take the History of Magic position. When I explained to him the problems all of you had with the test, he came up with a rather unique solution. He will teach seventh year History of Magic once a week. Because everyone will be taking History of Magic this year, there will be two classes. One in the morning and one in the afternoon; you will be taking classes with your former house.”
Harry broke out in a huge grin. He was going to have a class with Ginny once a week. He couldn’t wait to tell her.
Dawlish smiled, “I thought that would make some of you happy.”
Harry could feel himself blushing as Seamus immediately turned to look at him, but honestly he was too thrilled to care.
T he next morning, Harry was surprised to see so many people up and awake early in the morning. Ron and Charlie were the only two still in bed.
“Good morning,” he said as he kissed Ginny on the cheek. Of course this was not first time he had greeted her this morning, but he didn’t want to advertise that she had spent the night in his bed.
“Good morning,” she smiled back a bit sleepily.
“I made some eggs and bacon this morning,” Mrs Granger said. “Arthur put a warming charm on them, so please help yourself.”
“Thank you,” Harry said as he piled eggs and some bacon onto his plate.
“What are you doing today?” Hermione asked.
He smiled, “We are working on Potions this morning. I’m not sure what we are doing this afternoon.”
“Stepping out on my sister again?” George asked from behind the paper.
Harry groaned. “Now who?”
“Katie Bell,” George said with a laugh as he set the paper down on the table.
“Well, at least I know her,” Harry said looking at the picture. “Last week they had that picture of me standing next to some witch in the elevator — I didn’t even know who she was.”
“Is that in the Canteen?” Ginny asked peering over his arm.
Harry nodded, “They managed to cut out Neville and Seamus who were sitting with us.”
“You are awfully calm about it,” Hermione observed. She was rather surprised her friend wasn’t yelling.
He shrugged, “It’s annoying, but as long as Ginny knows she’s the only one for me — I couldn’t care less what other people think.”
“You know,” Ginny said with a mischievous smile on her face. “I’m not sure I do know that. I think you should take me out to dinner tonight to remind me.”
He grinned at her. “I think I can do that.”
Leaning over, he kissed her a bit more passionately than he normally did in front of her family. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Enough, enough,” George cried. The grin on his face, however said he was very happy for the two of them.
H arry handed in his potion feeling very good about it. He glanced over Seamus who seemed to be doing well. Harry was glad as Seamus and Susan hadn’t taken Potions past their OWLs. Madam Kelley seemed able to teach everyone. Seamus had confided that he’d been studying Potions since he’d decided to apply for the program.
The door opened suddenly. Dawlish appeared in the doorway, “Dementors have been spotted near York. Anyone who can produce a Patronus is needed.”
All of the students stepped forward. Dawlish smiled, “Excellent.” He pulled a piece of rope from his robe. “Everyone, ready?”
They all nodded and they were all pulled away in a nauseating swirl. As they landed, Harry already pulled his wand out.
The street was chaotic. Groups of people were huddled in the street or in doorways. To Harry’s dismay, he saw two still bodies he thought had already been kissed.
The cry was echoed down the street and Harry saw Seamus’s fox and Michael’s wolf join Prongs in running down the Dementors. He could see other flashes of silvery Patronuses, but he was too busy to look and see to whom they belonged. As they started directing the Patronuses, the Dementors started leaving.
Within a few moments, all of the Dementors were gone. Unfortunately, they left a lot of scared people behind.
“Aurors!” Dawlish called gathering them around. He handed each of them a large bag of chocolate. “Give everyone some chocolate. If you find someone who has been kissed, send up red sparks. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes will be on site soon.”
Nodding, the Auror students fanned out. Harry found himself kneeling in front of a little blonde girl and her mother. The little girl was crying, but her mother appeared to be going into shock.
“Here, sweetie,” Harry said gently as he gave the child a piece of chocolate. He watched as she started to chew before he looked at her mother. Unsure of exactly what he should do, he slipped a piece between her lips. He could tell when it started to work as her cheeks started to pink up.
With a smile for the little girl, Harry hurried on to the next group. By the time he was out of chocolate, he was rather exhausted. Looking around, he saw that workers from the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes were already on scene. He absently ate a piece of chocolate that he’d saved for himself as he watched them work.
They swiftly weeded out the Muggles and Harry could see the flashing of spells as they modified the memories of the Muggles. A muffled sob took him by surprise. Turning, he saw Susan Bones next to him. Tears were pouring down her face.
“Susan, are you okay?” Harry asked looking around nervously. Crying girls, unless it was Ginny, were a mystery to him.
“The little boy was right in front of me,” she sobbed. “I couldn’t get my Patronus there fast enough.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said sincerely. He almost jumped as she almost fell into his arms. Gingerly, he wrapped an arm around her and tried to be comforting. He knew he was rather rubbish at it, but he gave it a try.
To his relief, she stopped crying soon and he offered her his handkerchief. He kept his hand on her back as she wiped her eyes. In the background, he heard the click of a camera. Looking around he noticed a photographer moving away. Inwardly he groaned, he was sure this meant another picture in the paper.
Ginny stepped out of the fireplace at Summerbee’s. Her mother had been here a week now and things were slowly returning to normal.
“Good morning, Ginny.”
Turning, she saw Healer Sinclair, “Good morning. How’s my mum this morning?”
“She seems to be doing well,” the healer replied with a smile. “What do you have there?”
“Her knitting,” Ginny explained. “She makes Christmas jumpers for us all each year and she asked me to bring in her bag.”
“That’s excellent,” the healer said. “She must be feeling more like her old self.”
By this time they’d reached her mother’s room. Bidding goodbye to the healer, Ginny knocked on the partially opened door. “Good morning, Mum.”
“Good morning, dear,” Mrs Weasley replied.
Ginny leaned over and kissed her mother on the cheek. She set the knitting bag down on the bed before sitting in the chair next to the bed.
“Thank you so much for bringing the bag with you,” Mrs Weasley said as she started digging through the bag. “So how is everyone?”
“Good,” Ginny replied. “Ron, George, and Percy have been going into the shop the last few days. They’ve finished with the cleaning and now they’re restocking everything. I think it’s really helped Ron decide that he really does want to work with George. Percy has been really helping them with the books and identifying what are their most profitable items. Lee and Angelina are going to be helping them with the owl order part of the business.”
“That’s wonderful,” Mrs Weasley enthused. “My boys working together instead of arguing — that’s how it should be.”
She frowned slightly, “I wish Ron would finish school, but I do understand him wanting to help his brother out. I was hoping that Hermione might influence him a bit. Your father told me that Hermione and her mother left.”
Ginny nodded, “Yes, a few days ago. Ron’s been moping, but we’re going over to Hermione’s house this weekend and going to the cinema.”
“That’s lovely, dear.” A frown crossed Mrs Weasley’s face. “You are letting them have their space, aren’t you? They are a couple now.”
“Of course, Mum,” Ginny said rather shocked at her mother’s suggestion. “They invited me and Harry to go with them.”
“You’ve mentioned Harry quite a bit,” Mrs Weasley said. “What happened to Neville?”
“Neville? What are you talking about?” Ginny spluttered.
“Ginny, you can’t fool me. You talked about Neville a lot last year. I guessed you had a bit of a crush on him. Then this summer he’s been visiting you quite a bit.” Mrs Weasley smiled at her daughter. “I know you’ve always had a bit of a crush on Harry, but it’s not fair to Neville if you lead him on. Neville’s been there for you and he’s a solid, dependable young man. You would be hard pressed to do better than him.
“I love Harry, but honestly he’s never really noticed you dear. He may be turning to you more now that Ron and Hermione are dating, but you shouldn’t read anything into that. He’s a nice boy, but he’s going to be in London all year while you are at Hogwarts. I saw his picture in the paper with that blond girl, from the Quidditch team and another picture with Amelia’s niece.”
“Katie and Susan?” Ginny questioned, somewhat stunned at her mother’s thoughts. “Mum, they are both in the Auror program with Harry. I have never, ever dated or ‘crushed on’ Neville. I talked about him a lot last year because he and I were running the DA together. I have been dating Harry for over a year. Hell, we’ve been dating longer than Ron and Hermione.”
“Language, Ginevra!” Mrs Weasley said sharply. She looked at her daughter in confusion. “You’re dating Harry?”
Ginny wanted to tell her mother that she wasn’t just dating Harry, she was engaged to him. However, she knew that would not go over well. “Yes, Mother.”
“Does your father know about this?”
“Yes, Mother.” Ginny sat back in her chair and pushed her hair back.
“Ginevra Molly Weasley! Did you get your ears pierced?” Mrs Weasley yelled.
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, Mother. Fleur pierced them for me.”
Mrs Weasley’s nostrils flared. “How dare she? I will be having words with her and Bill. I have specifically told you I don’t want you getting your ears pierced. It looks cheap. What will people think of you?”
“I like it,” Ginny said defiantly. She glared at her mother. This visit wasn’t going at all as she had planned it. “Harry likes it too.”
“I will be having words with your father about this,” Mrs Weasley said angrily.
Ginny barely bit back a sarcastic comment. She wanted to rail at her mother that if she’d been paying any attention she would have known not only who Ginny was dating, but also that she’d gotten her ears pierced as well.
She looked down at the floor, trying to calm her temper. After all, she didn’t want to be responsible for her mother having some sort of relapse.
“Dad knows,” Ginny said evenly. “He knows about me and Harry and he told both of us he approves of our relationship. He also knows about the earrings.”
Defiantly, she pushed her hair behind her ears and showed her mother the earrings. “Harry asked me to wear his mother’s wedding ring as an earring. He is wearing his father’s ring as an earring. Bill made the rings into earrings for us and Fleur pierced our ears.”
Mrs Weasley shook her head, “He is letting you get away with too much, Ginny. As much as you want to think you are an adult, you are not. You are only sixteen years old.”
“I will be seventeen in just a few weeks, Mother.” Ginny replied hotly.
The two Weasley women turned to see Healer Sinclair entering the room. Mrs Weasley plastered a smile on her face, but Ginny didn’t bother. The healer pulled up a chair near Ginny and sat down.
She looked between mother and daughter. “It sounds like you are starting to talk out your differences.”
“No,” Ginny replied angrily. “She is just telling me that she has no idea who I’ve been dating and she thinks I look cheap.”
“That’s not exactly what I said, Ginevra.”
“You told me my boyfriend couldn’t be trusted, that I should date one of his closest friends instead and basically I’m too young to know who I want to date.”
Mrs Weasley glared at her daughter, “If I didn’t notice you were dating, maybe you weren’t too serious.”
“You didn’t notice anything!” Ginny raged. “I’ve spent all summer with him. When you were pretending that nothing bad happened to me, he was listening to me. When you were staying in your room, Harry and I were shopping, cooking, and doing laundry.”
Mrs Weasley paled at Ginny’s accusations. Healer Sinclair looked between the two women, “I sense you are rather angry at your mother.”
“I am!” Ginny replied. “She’s always been there and now when I really could have used her she wasn’t there.” Without even realizing it, Ginny was tearing up. “I told you I wanted new bras because the Death Eaters running the school liked vanishing my clothes and mocking me and you didn’t even say anything. Nothing! You just vaguely nodded at me and headed up to your room. Bill took me to France and bought me new bras.”
Mrs Weasley looked down at her hands, tears running down her face. “I didn’t know what to say.”
“You could have said anything,” Ginny replied. “Even if you just say ‘That really sucks.’” Ginny laughed a bit. “That’s what Harry always says when he doesn’t know what else to say. He’s so awkward and he doesn’t know what to say, but he doesn’t leave me. He listens and he loves me. So don’t you dare tell me I’m not old enough to be dating him.”
Mrs Weasley seemed to stop and think about it, “Is that what he does for you?”
Wiping her eyes, Ginny nodded. “He does. He listens to me, Mum. I don’t know what I would have done this summer if it weren’t for him. He listens and he doesn’t judge me. He’s never told me what I’m worrying about is stupid. He and Bill and Fleur listened to my ideas for this school year and helped me refine them. You thought I wasn’t responsible enough to be both Head Girl and Quidditch Captain.
“Do you know how that made me feel, Mum? You and Ron both thought I should let Hermione be Head Girl. Did you say that when Bill or Percy got their Head Boy badges? That you didn’t know if they were responsible enough?”
“What made you say that?” Healer Sinclair asked gently.
Mrs Weasley sighed, “Part of me was so proud of her and I really am very, very proud of her. Both Quidditch Captain and Head Girl — what an honour! Another part of me started thinking how much work that would be and I didn’t want you to bite off more than you can chew.”
“You don’t trust me, do you Mum?” Ginny asked quietly.
“It’s not that simple, Ginny.”
“Is it because of my first year?”
Mrs Weasley caught her breath. She wanted instinctively to deny Ginny’s accusation, but she started to actually think about it. “Maybe it is.”
Ginny looked up in surprise.
Smiling sadly at her daughter, Mrs Weasley said, “Maybe it’s to make up for the fact that I didn’t worry about you before your first year. I knew that you had four older brothers right there for you to turn to if you needed anything. It never occurred to me they wouldn’t have time for you. I saw you writing in that horrible diary and I didn’t know it was dangerous. I don’t know if I ever told you how sorry I was for not protecting you better. I am very sorry, Ginny.”
“It’s okay, Mum,” Ginny said as she hugged her mother. “It’s not something you could have known.” She shrugged, “The boys were prats, but I didn’t try very hard either. But, Mum, I have grown up since then.”
“I know,” Mrs Weasley said with a weak smile. She gently smoothed Ginny’s hair back from her face. “Minerva was so proud of you last year. She kept me as informed as she could. I couldn’t decide if I should be more worried or proud. My baby girl standing up to Death Eaters.”
She shook her head, “I know you are grown up. I really do, but sometimes I just…I’m afraid you won’t need me anymore.”
“Of course I need you, Mum.” Ginny replied in a much gentler voice. “All of us do. That’s what’s been so hard for us. We count on you to be there for us and support us when we need you to do so. We might not need you in the same way, but we still need you.”
She laughed, “You never know, you might be having grandchildren soon. Not from me,” she hastened to add, “but Bill and Fleur — who knows.”
Healer Sinclair smiled at them, “I don’t think you need me here.”
“Thank you,” the two of them replied.
As the healer left, she heard Mrs Weasley ask her daughter, “So tell me about your trip to France.”
That night, Ginny recounted her visit to Harry and George as they worked out in the back garden on Sirius’s old motorbike.
“That’s great!” Harry enthused. “It sounds like maybe she’s ready to start listening.”
George shook his head, “I still can’t believe she didn’t know about you and boy wonder here. I mean, come on you’ve been all over each other all summer.”
Not bothering to respond verbally, Harry threw one of the cleaning cloths at him.
Ginny shrugged. “At least I have someone to be all over.”
Harry laughed as George stuck out his tongue as his sister. He looked over at his fiancée, who nodded.
“George,” Harry began. “Ginny and I are hoping to have some friends over next week, in between our birthdays. Neither of us feels it’s really appropriate to have a huge party, but we want to have our friends over.” He looked earnestly at his friend, “We don’t want to offend you. If you don’t want us to have people over, we won’t.”
Looking between Harry and his sister, George appeared to be thinking it over. “Actually, that is a good idea. Who were you thinking of inviting?”
“Hermione, Seamus, Neville, Luna and Dean,” Harry replied promptly. He looked over at Ginny. “Who else?”
“Demelza and we should really invite all of people in Harry’s Auror class,” Ginny replied.
“Can we invite Lee, Angelina, and Alicia?” George asked. “It would be nice to see people for a reason that’s not sad.”
“That would be great,” Ginny said. She leaned over and kissed George on the cheek.
She watched Harry working with her brother and the thought crossed her mind that maybe they were starting to heal.
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