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SIYE Time:22:50 on 17th September 2021


The Duke
By sweeet_babe

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, James Potter, Lily Potter, Other
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, General, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: R
Reviews: 43
Summary: Some time ago a prophecy was made, one that said about two powerful and strong souls who would be able to defeat even the strongest of wizards, bringing peace that the Wizarding World has not seen for centuries. But for that to happen, they would have to be entwined through marriage.
Everything was going well, the children were born healthy and were promised to each other, until one of them was kidnapped.
Hitcount: Story Total: 6973; Chapter Total: 542





Author's Notes:
I know it took me a while to update, really, sorry, but it was because it was difficult to organize this chapter as I wanted.
thank you so much for the comments, as always, is what motivates me to write
I promise to take less this time

I hope you like it




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| G.W |

‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever been this anxious.’’ Ginny comments, watching Henry move his wand and stack her suitcase with the others who are concentrated by the fireplace. ‘’I’ve never gone this far. You know, when I was little, I climbed the trees and dreamed of the day that I could go as far as I wanted.’’ She smiles from ear to ear, anxiously walking around the room, her dark green dress still a little wrinkled. She didn't even want help getting ready, she tied her hair with magic and tied the bodice as she could.

‘’I’m glad you managed to convince them, Miss.’’ Henry smiles at her, wearing the black uniform and maintaining the most serious tone he can, even though he also looks excited. ‘’I’ve never gone this far, either.’’

‘’We still have hours, hours , until we go.’’ Ginny watched the auror, a smile on her lips taking over her freckled face. ‘’We could fly! If my father agreed to take me to the Dueling Ball, then I can fly!’’ She comments as if she were a ten year old child asking for the cookie that is in the jar on top of the cupboard.

‘‘Sorry, Miss, but the shed is still locked.’’ Henry smiled awkwardly, shrugging. ‘’But we can go to the greenhouse, we haven’t been there in a while.’’

‘‘I don’t want to go to the greenhouse.’’ Ginny sat down on the mustard-yellow armchair that her mother insisted on keeping in the living room, even though it didn't match the rest of the decor. ‘’Can we do something else? Can we go to the city?’’ She didn’t even like going to the city, but if it meant leaving home, she would be accepting. Ginny just wanted time to pass as quickly as possible. ‘’Can we do anything? I just don’t want to sit.’’

‘’Your mom asked you to train the dance.‘’

‘’Nooo,’’ She stood up, approaching Henry and looking him deep in the emerald green eyes, she could almost see the reflection of herself in his round glasses. ''Let's do something fun ... You can take me somewhere fun, can't you?'' Henry sighed, looking quickly at the bags on the floor, then at the clock where he pointed out that everyone - apart from Ginny - was out of the house, and finally for her.

‘’We have to go back before everyone else,’’ Her eyes widened as she jumped in place and smiled like she hasn't smiled in days, locked up inside the house. ''And you must promise me that you will obey me.'' Ginny laughed, throwing her arms around Henry as if it were the most natural thing, hugging him tightly and feeling his chest tighten with intimate contact. He had never even touched her shoulders.

‘‘I promise.’’ Ginny stood on tiptoe, fearless enough to kiss him on the cheek flushed with shame. ‘’I’m going to get my hat!’’ And then she leapt out of the room, running up the stairs like a child who had won the cookie, almost screaming with joy.

It has been a difficult few days, locked up at home and barely able to go to the garden itself, without being escorted by Henry or one of her brothers. Her name had returned to the tabloids, but now, they said it was all a lie on the part of her family, to create fame. They went so far as to accuse her of being psychotic mad, and that respectable ladies should stay away from her. Some women even removed her mother's name from their guest lists for afternoon tea.

Ginny still didn't know how the family was still invited to the Dueling Party, but something told her that Mrs. Potter understood what it was like to have her name in the tabloids with several lies made up about her.

She also didn't know why she was so excited. Something inside her made her think that the party could be good after all, living a week in a completely different house and with new places to explore. If no one danced with her, at least she would have new gardens and new libraries to visit.

Putting on her hat and gloves, not even bothering to look in the mirror to check her clothes or put on more perfume, just running down the stairs again, almost tripping over her dress, but being held tightly by Henry, who was waiting patiently for her.

‘’Calm, Miss.’’ He smiled, and something inside Ginny burned and trembled, like that night when she dreamed that he kissed her. ‘’If you get hurt, you won’t be able to travel or go out to the city. ’’

‘‘I’m sorry, I’m looking forward to it.’’ She running her hand over her dress and waiting for him to give the orders to know where they would go. ‘’Should I get my cape?’’

‘’Of course, we don’t want anyone to recognize you, and there are always eyes everywhere.’’ Ginny didn’t think his over-care was stupid, not after the attack and having spent days locked up Ginny would even put on a wig if that meant leaving the house and seeing daylight, smelling new smells and seeing people besides her family.

[...]

‘’This is incredible.’’ She smiled, almost standing up so she could see even more of that man sitting on the stage below, concentrating on playing the piano, while ten women wearing white and black clothes, danced perfectly and synchronously around. They stood on tiptoe, rolled, jumped, and never seemed to lose their balance, always in the rhythm of the music.

That was their first stop, at least that's what Henry said. They Apparated into the middle of Muggle London, which Ginny had seen less than twice in her life, and then rode in a carriage to that huge building from which very loud classical music came, and some people entered. There were several columns, a huge staircase - the biggest one Ginny had ever seen - and several pictures that didn't move, scattered all over the place.

No one looked at her, except for the man in the suit at the door, no one even seemed to pay attention to her, which was a divine sensation, to say the least.

Henry managed to get them up to the top floor, entering a mezzanine that had the walls covered in a wine red velvet that reminded her a lot of the color of the dress that Fleur wore at one of the balls she went to, and that the wizarding world spent weeks talking about every little detail of the piece and how the woman was one of the most beautiful in the night. There were chairs, too, and a parapet that kept them from falling over to where the dancers and the man playing the piano were.

‘’What’s the name of that?’’ She whispered, unable to take her eyes off how the skirts of those women were static and round, and how they tiptoed with frightening ease.

''Ballet. It's just a rehearsal, the presentation is always done at night... They are rehearsing Romeo and Juliet.'' Ginny almost couldn't resist the temptation to look away from the women when she felt his hand next to hers on the arms of the chair, but maybe not even Henry noticed how their fingers were almost touching, and how close they were now too, given the fact that they needed to whisper to each other.

His scent flooded Ginny inside, something that reminded her of fresh herbs and male soap. Her chest heated up, her hands tingling as if something was out of control inside her, which Ginny believed was her lack of human interaction in recent years, and it suddenly became difficult to breathe with Henry so close, so hot it seemed to burn her shoulder where they touched, and so overwhelming that it seemed that every key on the piano that was played on stage resonated inside her head as if all her demons decided to dance to the beat of a racing heart.

‘’It’s a beautiful piece, too bad it’s a tragic story.’’ He kept talking, the women down there dancing at an even faster pace, which made Ginny more euphoric. ‘’I don’t know if there’s a version in the wizarding world for this, but if you want,’’ And this time, Henry actually put his big palm over her hand, squeezing it lightly and smiling gently at Ginny. ‘’I can lend you. I have the book stored in my stuff. I brought it as a reminder of my mother.’’

The woman did not understand how they went from almost never touching, to that stage. She didn't understand what it was that shone in his green eyes, let alone her fast beats, disagreeing with the now calm music.

She had already read several books to know that if it were described in a love story, it would be the prelude that the romance between the couple was emerging; racing heart, inappropriate thoughts that invaded her mind - did Henry kiss as well as he kissed her in the dreams that tormented her the last few nights? - and a feeling of numbness that made her almost unable to think. If that were a love story, Ginny was smiling like an idiot for the book and would feel as flustered as the protagonist.

But Ginny Weasley had no chance of having her own love story. Not when her entire reputation was destroyed by people who tried to kill her, and men who never accepted that her, a madwoman without a hopeful future, says no. There were no love stories for a woman like her, who, unlike Fleur, Hermione, and all the other women who had a line of men waiting for her, was abandoned at the back of the room like a long-forgotten widow.

She allowed herself to feel just one more second of that feeling that burned in her stomach, before blinking and turning her eyes to the dancers, pulling her hand back to her own lap and trying not to pay attention to the pain that seemed to plague her chest now more still.

‘’Thank you, it would be amazing, I’m sure we don’t have it in our library.’’ She sighed, steadying her hands so that the magic that seemed to burn her fingertips would cease.

The rehearsal continued and she and Henry remained silent for the rest of the time, just admiring the dancers and the pianist, from time to time she would glance at him just to catch him looking at her fingers, covered by the white gloves, resting in her lap. It was kind of silly that they still tingled, but Ginny made a point of ignoring it, for her own good.

When everything went quiet a few minutes later and people on stage started to talk, they got up to leave, still in silence and avoiding contact as if the two had some contagious disease.

Before they could walk out into that hall full of photos and trophies, a tall, dark-haired man appeared in front of them, wearing all-black robes like the ones she saw some men wearing at dances, with a snake badge that Ginny did not recognize for being from no family. But Henry seemed to recognize it, mainly because he put his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him in a few seconds.

''Put your head down and don't say anything.'' Henry's voice sounded in her mind, and Ginny followed the orders without thinking twice, feeling the tingling again at her fingertips, but now, it wasn't something that seemed happiness. In fact, it was the same feeling she had felt before being attacked in the park.

Something burned inside her and an acidic taste took over her mouth, while her survival instinct made her magic swirl inside her chest and seem close to exploding. But never really getting to do it.

‘’Good afternoon, Sir.’’ Henry speaks, but his voice is louder and thicker than usual. Ginny just pretends to fix the wrinkles in her dress, avoiding as much as possible to look at the coat with the snake again, trying to remember where she had already seen one like that.

‘’Good afternoon,’’ the male voice responds, taking a step to the side and letting them pass, even though she feels that for the first time in the hour they’ve been out of the house, they were being watched. ''Beautiful wife.'' Only then does she notice the delicate ring on her left finger, and Ginny knows it's just an illusion, but can't help but be surprised for a few seconds, before returning to normal and continuing to keep her eyes down.

''Thank you,'' but Henry doesn't move, and before she can understand what's going on, a cold shiver runs up and down her body, even causing her eyes to close to the weird sensation, before finally being pulled away by Henry.

‘’What was that?’’ Ginny whispers, feeling the air return to her lungs as soon as they step on the street in front of the theater, the afternoon light flooding them, as well as the sounds of a London that never seems to stop.

‘’I don’t know, but that man was a wizard.’’ Henry hasn’t released her yet, walking with her as fast as he can down the street, towards something Ginny has no idea what it is. ‘’And not a good one.’’

''What do you mean?'' They walk into an old library, a lady smiles at them as if she's never seen anything like it, and Henry directs them to one of the most hidden sections, then lets go of Ginny, and the shiver runs through her again, but this time, it's like she fell into a volcano. Was it that hot?

‘’He was a Death Eater.’’ Henry speaks in alarm, his hands running through his messy hair naturally, pulling on the strands as he leans on the shelf behind him, closing his eyes and sighing.

‘’Sorry.’’ Ginny asks, embarrassed and still a little moved by the latest events. A death eater! She had only known two in her life, and her father always said that she shouldn't want to be in the presence of another a third time. ‘’I put us at risk again.’’

‘’Don’t say that,’’ The man seems to allow himself to roll his eyes, taking his glasses off his face so he can wipe the lenses, as if he wants to buy time to process the ideas. ‘’You liked the rehearsal, and it’s a pity that you can’t see the whole performance, but at least we left the house.’’ He shrugged, then suggested. ‘’We have less than an hour yet, if you want to… do something.’’

''Aren't you going to demand that we go back to my house?'' Ginny's eyes flashed, the thought of being able to spend more time outside, lit her up like a hundred thousand lit wands towards her.

‘’Well, we’re already here, right? We can venture a little further. That wizard didn't recognize you, or me.’’

‘’How are you sure about this?’’ Henry shrugged.

‘’Something tells me that no. The ring was pretty convincing as well.’’ His cheeks burned, but his green eyes held steady on those of Ginny, who also felt her cheeks warm up. ‘‘Forgive me for that, Miss, but it was necessary.’’

‘’Oh, don’t worry,’’ Ginny meant he could have kissed her to convince the man, and even then, she wouldn’t care. ''You were fast.''

‘’A quality that I acquired working for you, Miss. You never know when I'm going to have to do a non-verbal spell and protect us,'' Henry whispered, moving a little closer to her and making her feel that whirlwind of emotion again, before turning away and resting his back on the bookshelf. ‘’But we’ll have to be careful if we stay here. We can go to more reserved places, that no wizard would visit. ’’

‘’How you know so much about the Muggle world, if I may ask?’’

‘’I worked for a few years with the Muggles, Miss.’’ He smiled simply, lifting his shoulders. ''Shall we go?'' Henry took her arm, as he sometimes did - in rare exceptions - and Ginny nodded, ignoring her belly being mistreated by the thousand bats that flapped their wings inside, and followed him for a walk through London Muggle, as if it were very natural for everyday life, to walk arm in arm with a handsome man as they strolled.

She knew that she needed to enjoy that moment with all her heart, as she probably wouldn't have many more, and for the next few hours, Ginny would pretend that she was not a ruined woman and without a very hopeful future.

| ? |

‘‘She isn’t a normal witch.’’ The man sitting at the end of the table looked up at the woman on his right, looking a little desperate at the blood dripping from the body hanging on the table. ‘’I’ve seen her up close, her magic… it’s scary.’’

‘’Scary? Is a 23 year old girl scary?’’ He rolled his eyes, looking again at the photo of the redhead in front of him, dressed in a long blue dress and looking bored, sitting on one of the chairs at the party. ''Who is he?''

‘’Her bodyguard. One of Robards best aurors, I heard.’’ Another man, this time on the left, replied, not even seeming to care when the blood of that filthy woman dripped near his hand.

''A scary witch and one of the best aurors... What a great pair '' His humorless laugh echoed through the dining room, his finger running over the photo of the redhead and then that of the man who was dressed in the black uniform, proudly displaying the coat of arms of the Ministry and Aurors. ‘’Kill them. Don't waste any more time and hit him first.'’ He smiled, looking at the woman’s lifeless body, hanging from ropes that went from the ceiling to a few meters above the table, her dying hand falling near the frightened woman’s plate. ‘’They’re going to the Dukes ’party,’ Looking down, he watched all his followers there, ready to do anything he assigned them. ‘’Kill them too.’’

| H.F |

‘’Why are we going to go in a carriage?’’ Ginny asked as they waited in the living room, she perched on the window like a child, watching the three magic carriages posing in the gardens, the thestrals waiting patiently to fly back into the sky.

‘’It’s safer, and it would be too tumultuous to use the Flu or Apparate, we would end up overloading the flow and maybe some people would end up stopping at different places. Furthermore, the exact location of the Dukes' country house is unknown for security reasons.’’ Henry replied, standing near the door so he could escort the family when he was called, ready for the most important job of his life.

Robards had warned him to escort the whole family as safely as possible, even sending two other Aurors to travel together in the other two carriages, to avoid any surprises, since the protection around the house had been removed so that the Thestral could enter and leave with ease.

He would obviously stay with Ginny, escorting her at all hours, especially now, still a little affected by the presence of the Death Eater they encountered.

If he were alone, Henry would probably have followed the man and tried to find out some new information about the possible attack that Voldemort was planning, but with Ginny at his side, all he had to do was move on, but always with his eyes open to any stranger to follow or look at them.

The bewitched ring had already disappeared from her finger, but Henry thanked himself for having remembered the spell in time, happy that he managed to protect her. Of course, they shouldn't have even gone to the theater in the first place, but Henry thought the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face for all the hours they spent together had been worth it.

Ginny deserved a few hours of a 'normal' life, without a thousand eyes judging her and commenting on her every step.

‘’Do you know where it is? You told me the road is long.’’ She looked over her shoulder, her hair tightly tied in a complicated hairstyle that unfortunately left the red hair hidden in a bun. Ginny had also changed the dress, wore a much more elegant one and that Henry knew had cost a very high price, as well as some others that she would wear during the week ahead. The purple color looked great on her - like all the others, Henry suspected - and the white and silver details made her shine.

"I was allowed to know only as a security measure, in case we need to escape in a hurry, but I had to swear with my own life that I wouldn't tell anyone." He clasped his hands behind his body almost automatically, vaguely remembering the light pain he had felt. Ginny's brown eyes bulged, and she jumped off the couch, hurriedly walking over to him, holding out her gloved hand as if asking to see the mark.

‘’You… why?’’ Henry reached out, feeling warm and electrified when her delicate fingers touched his palm, his chest feeling like it wanted to explode with the gesture.

It was almost distressing that he felt so… sick when she touched him. It always seemed like something inside him was stirring, and Henry was ready to die.

‘’For your safety, of course.’’ He would do anything to guarantee that she would be okay, he thought.

‘’This is eternal.’’ Ginny looked at him, brown irises shining toward him like the caramel candies that the elves make every Thursday afternoon, and Henry always eats.

‘‘I will hardly have another opportunity to go to the Dukes’ house, Miss, so it won’t bother me, I promise.’’ Henry smiled, politely pulling his hand away from hers, his palm feeling like it was on fire. ‘’Now, let’s see… I’ll have to go talk to your father, but another Auror will be taking care of your safety until we need to go, okay?’’

‘’Why can I never go with you? You will talk about me.’’ With her chin up and her eyes defiantly staring at him, Ginny raised her eyebrows, looking a lot like when he met her.

‘‘I don’t think your dad approves, Miss.’’ He wanted to laugh, but he kept his face straight and his hands were behind him, as the label said. ‘’We’re just going to go over the protocol, it’s pretty boring and you won’t miss anything very fun, I promise.’’ As if in sync, he hears a knock on the door, and Thomas, the other Auror, bowed to Ginny. ‘‘Please forgive me for having to leave you,’’ Henry did the same, despite not remembering the last time he bowed to her - not being in public. ‘’But you will be in good hands.’’

‘’I don’t believe that much,’’ she whispered, making a face. ''But that's what I have.'' With that, Henry withdrew from the room, waving to Thomas, who kept an unfriendly scowl, and making his way to the office on the third floor of the house, where Arthur was waiting for him.

Henry wanted to think that when he got there, he wouldn't have to listen to the same conversation that Robards had passed on to him and the other Aurors, but it was almost possible that Arthur would repeat the speech about taking care of Ginny and, as much as the Duke and Duchess were good people, keep an eye out for any strangers. Deep down, Henry knew that it was only Arthur father's concern that made the man say something Henry had already heard from the boss, but he couldn't even imagine what it must be like to know that his daughter is being threatened with death.

''Excuse me,'' He opened the door, entering after confirmation from Arthur, who was sitting in the usual chair, shuffling some papers, which Henry suspected was the letter the Duke had sent him a few days ago, reassuring the man about security. ‘’Did you call me, Sir?’’

''Of course, of course, sit down, my man.'' Unlike Mrs Weasley, Arthur was much more affectionate with Henry, respecting the limits of the hierarchy, of course, but still not taking some rules very seriously. His wife treated him very well, but Henry felt that the woman harbored a little dislike for him, but it may not be something directed at who he was, but the work he did in Ginny's life. Again, Henry would never be able to imagine the pain of needing his youngest daughter to be escorted, for fear that someone will kill her. ‘’I call you here to talk about something…’’

‘‘Say sir.’’ The man sighed, running a hand over his red hair that seemed to fall more each day.

‘’I found a good husband for my daughter.’’ Henry swallowed, happy that he managed to keep his face serious, but feeling out of breath in his lungs. ‘’He’ll be at the party, and I need you to watch him for me. If he’s respectable, he will marry her as soon as we get back.’’

Henry's tongue seemed to burn with unspoken words, like; will you marry your daughter to someone she doesn't even know? Your daughter is not an animal to be sold. Does she even know that? Will I have to leave her? But the man took a deep breath, clasped his hands on his knees, and continued to stare at the boss in front of him.

‘’I’ve already had him track down and everything is clean, but I need you to see the way he’s going to behave next to Ginny. My daughter does not deserve a man of arguable morals at her side.’’ Henry nodded, still a little dizzy. ‘’Furthermore, Mr Potter also knows him and has guaranteed that his family will more than approve the bond, as they need allies if they want to fight against You-Know-Who.’’

''I'm sure yes.’’

"And Ginny is an excellent witch, you know that yourself, the last two years she has perfected her art of dueling and the control of magic perfectly, so it will make a lot of difference for the family." Ginny hadn't improved her magic and control, to marry a weakling who needs a woman to defend himself. She needed someone to keep her safe enough, so she no longer had to worry about staying alive. The woman was barely 24 years old, and seemed to duel and defend herself as an Auror with over 30 years of service.

She definitely shouldn't marry someone who couldn't provide her with the least amount of security, so that her biggest concern would be that tomorrow the weather would be good enough to fly.

‘‘Sir, excuse the question, but does she know him?’’

‘’Oh, no, no, she’ll meet him at the ball.’’ Arthur assured him, pouring some Firewhiskey into two glasses that were already there on the table, but Henry denied it when the glass slid towards him.

‘’Thank you, sir, but I think I need to be sober for the trip.’’

‘’You’re a good man, Mr. Figg, an Auror of respect.’’ Arthur smiled at him, bringing the drink to his lips and then closing his eyes, as if he had headaches. ‘’This situation,’’ The cheeks almost automatically turn red with the liquid ingested. ‘’It has driven me almost crazy... Mr Potter organizing this party again called attention to the things that happened between our families.’’

‘’The kidnapping of the Potter boy?’’ Arthur nodded.

‘’But not only that, Mr Figg, actually, I wish it were just that… But the king has been pushing me too.’’

‘’The king?’’ If Henry had never even met the Dukes, the King was the last person he dreamed of seeing.

‘’Yes, Dumbledore has.. has been reminding me and James of something that connected our families for a long time.’’ Arthur drank some more, seeming to gain liquid courage to continue. ‘’A prophecy that made all this happen… ’’ Henry waited for him to continue, barely knowing what to say in the face of it. "It said that.. That two kids would be born 10 days, 10 hours and 10 minutes apart, and that they would be the only ones, with the wedding bond, to kill You-Know-Who." The man sighed, and Henry noticed that he was looking at the picture of Ginny on the wall, dressed in a light pink dress, and with a mouth dirty with blackberries. ‘’Are you aware of what it is like to look at your little girl, so small, and think that she is destined to kill one of the greatest wizards that ever existed? That if she doesn't do that... ’’

‘’If she doesn’t?’’ Henry insisted, thinking he was never under so much stress as he was at that time.

‘’She will die.’’ Then Arthur was silent, watching little Ginny laugh and hide her dirty hands behind her back, looking away, as if he wanted to get into the photo. ‘’Die like Harry Potter died.’’

‘‘I’m sorry, sir, but I thought the Dukes had said it was just a lie.’’

‘’No, James just doesn’t want to accept the idea, but Dumbledore believes that the boy will not have survived until now. The prophet who predicted this, was clear in saying that the farther the soul mates got, the weaker they would be, and the more likely they would end up being taken by You-Know-Who. After Harry disappeared, she was consulted by the king, who thought it pertinent to warn us now that she made it clear that if the boy had indeed survived, he would have died at the age of 20 or 21, and would not have passed that age. ’’

''Why that?''

‘’Because he would have spent a long time away from the protections that the soul mate and prophecy govern him. It was at that same age that Ginny was attacked. On her 21st birthday.’’ The man denied, closing his eyes again. ‘’Dumbledore insisted that I marry her once and for all, so that she is safe about marriage protections. It’s not much, but it’s much more than we can offer.’’

‘‘Do you believe in this prophecy?’’ Arthur laughed humorlessly, opening his blue eyes towards Henry.

‘’Harry Potter was never found, was he?’’

[...]

''Miss, I beg you to wait for me, then go inside the carriage,'' Henry asked, feeling an irritating headache, redoing the security spell around the carriage that Ginny would travel in, just as Thomas and Joe did with the other two.

The Weasleys were all talking behind the Aurors, eagerly waiting to board. Ginny was the happiest of all, barely stopping in place as she chatted excitedly with Ron about what she imagined they would do during the week they would be away from home, looking much happier than Henry remembered seeing her.

But at the same time that he was happy that she was happy, Henry remembered her conversation with Mr Weasley, and how desperate he looked. Ginny was getting married. Ginny could die.

Damn Harry Potter, who arrested her in that fate.

‘’All done, come on in, Miss.’’ Henry signaled to her, interrupting the conversation between the brothers, and smiling apologetically at them.

‘’Thank you, Mr Figg.’’ She jumped into the vehicle, followed by Ron, the twins, and lastly, Henry. As soon as he closed the door, and touched the magic coin that was the point of communication with Thomas and Joe, the carriage began to move and leave the floor. ''This is so exciting!'' Ginny opened the window curtains, and Henry even thought about asking her to close, as it was safer and prevented anyone from seeing her inside, but there were so many charms around them, that he thought it was okay to let her have fun for just a few minutes.

There were two benches, facing each other, the twins and Ron were in front of him and Ginny, and everyone seemed to marvel at the view of the property from above, much higher than they normally went with the brooms.

‘’How long to wait, Mr Figg?’’ Ron asked, still looking out the window, before he got tired and closed the curtain.

‘‘I think two or, at most, three hours. Thestrals are fast animals, they tend not to linger.’’

‘’Do you see them?’’ It was Fred who asked this time, and Henry nodded.

‘’He has seen death several times.’’ Ginny spoke before Henry was able, as if to say the obvious. ‘’Almost all Aurors have seen someone die, and if they haven’t, they’re not doing their job in the right field, because in the midst of wars, it’s impossible not to witness it.’’

‘’You shouldn’t know about that.’’ Ron pointed out.

‘’But I know, because I ask him. What else would we talk about? One hour this matter would come up, Mr Figg has been with me since I was 21.’’

‘’Miss Weasley doesn’t know any macabre details, only that I’ve seen death.’’ He lied, thinking that her brothers shouldn’t know that Henry once described how a man’s eyes were pulled out of his face. ‘’I would never give that kind of detail.’’

‘’Besides, Ron, I think I’m better able to hear about it than you are, because although I remember, when you first saw blood, you passed out.’’

Henry did not listen very much to the conversation between the siblings, looking at the small window beside him, and watching the clouds.

If Ginny married, he would be forced to walk away from her and never work with her again, even if her husband asked for a security guard, Henry would no longer be assigned to work. His contract, of course, said that when she signed her name on the wedding paper, he would automatically be disqualified as her personal security guard, and for some reason, it saddened him.

Henry had spent so much of his life alone, without many friends besides his mother and the boy who took piano lessons with her, without much vision for a profitable future. As soon as he was able to join the aurors, he imagined that he would prosper and be more social, but soon it proved much more difficult than expected. When you worked with arresting, killing and looking for murderers, there was not much time and energy left to make friends and date, and most guys didn't want to be friends with the same guy who helped him carry the body of a dead child in a confrontation.

It turned out that he just stayed at home, reading some book or the record of someone wanted, making theories and trying to think of a plan for the next day. Always trying to stay alive, even though it seemed to get more difficult with each passing day.

He had been so sorry for Robards when he told him about Ginny. The girl had lost control of her magic and now in addition to being threatened with death, she suffered public retaliation. Henry understood, at least in part, the pain she was suffering, as he felt the same thing when he saw someone dying in front of him for the first time - a colleague - and also lost control of the magic.

It had been traumatic, and Henry almost took his own life when memories of Cedric's icy white body fell in front of him. That had been the closest to a friend he’d had in years, and even though they had only known each other for a few months, the man tried to stop the Death Eater who raised his wand for Henry.

He understood what it was like not to be able to control even the wand in his hand, feeling his body tremble and his chest warm with magic, even looking like the spells would come out of his fingertips. He was desperate to say the least, and Henry sympathized with Ginny before he even met her.

A woman shouldn't feel as out of control as he had, a few weeks before he met her.

And now, he was going to see his best friend - and the woman who moved his poor heart - marry a guy who wouldn't even bring her so much security, and all Henry could do is nod, bow, and leave.

Henry sighed, closing the curtain and realizing that the argument between the brothers had stopped. ‘’Do you think the transfiguration festival will take place?’’ George asked - Henry knew how to differentiate them, no matter how difficult it was.

‘’Sure, it’s a tradition,’’ Ron said, running a hand through the red hair so characteristic of the family. ‘’I trained all week, I want to show that I’m good.’’

‘’Hmmm, is it because of Miss Granger ?’’ Ginny winked at her brother in front of her, a smirk on her lips. ''Oh, Mr Weasley, you are so good at transfiguration spells, please marry me.'' She spoke of what should be an imitation of the Miss in question, the back of her hand on her forehead dramatically, and the other, stretched out towards Ron, who had red cheeks like curtains.

‘’She doesn't talk like that, you idiot.’’

''Hey. Women don't like men who treat their sister badly,’’ Fred warned him, punching Ron in the arm. ‘’And neither are the brothers!’’

‘’Women like polite men, who take her for a walk and treat her politely.’’ Ginny raised an eyebrow, arms crossed under her chest as if she could duel with her brother right there. Ron rolled his eyes.

‘’I treat her with respect... And what would you know about it? As far as I know, Mom didn't tell me about anyone taking you for walks.'' Ron looked sorry for saying that the next moment, but before he could apologize, or whatever, Ginny seemed to bristle like a wildcat.

''Because I'm a woman, you imbecile, and unlike the three of you, my head doesn't work just to think about when I'm going to sleep with someone.'' The three in front of her opened their eyes wide, and Henry almost laughed, but he thought they were too far from the ground to risk being thrown from the carriage. ''What's it? Now, after all, will you think I don't know about that? Oh, please, that's why the three of you are single, you very much doubt a woman's intelligence.’’

[...]

As soon as they landed on the floor, Henry felt the headache bothering him again, especially the scar on his forehead, the one that was always covered by his hair. After making sure it was safe, he got out of the carriage and undid the necessary protections for Ginny, Fred, George and Ron to get off too, and as much as he closed his fists around his wand, relaxed his shoulders, and took a deep breath, he still felt that tightness in his chest and burning on his forehead, which had bothered him since they started approaching the village where the house was.

It was much more than he ever thought he would have the honor of entering; it was a bigger mansion than any he had ever seen. There were more windows than he could count, large columns surrounded by rose vines, the stone-clad house was much better cared for than any he had ever known. The garden was very well maintained, with trees well over 100 years old, and flowers perfectly pruned. There were even statues, like the ones he had seen in a Marquis' house, but unlike that of the man, it was not just one, but several scattered around the garden in a way that looked beautiful and made sense. Some waved at them, and others just continued in their poses, were very well made and almost made him think that they looked like humans covered in plaster.

It was like going to an enchanted place, which brought an immense sense of peace and something even familiar, as if Henry had already been there before. What was silly, he knew.

As soon as they were ready, the Aurors followed the family to the front door, the path was long and well defined, separated from the rest of the garden, with bushes decorating the sides of the small road, and as far as he could see, the Dukes were waiting for them, wearing neutral and elegant clothes.

Henry hadn't been prepared to meet the Dukes in person, and he guessed it was nervousness that made him feel a strange urge to cry or run, as if something stopped him from breathing fully and made his knees look weak. He never imagined performing for such important people.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were the first to greet, bowing first and then giving hugs and smiles, then the children, who just bowed one by one as the rule dictated and spoke a few words, and finally, the Aurors.

The Duke and Duchess looked at Henry as if they recognized him - perhaps Arthur had shown them his identification as Auror, where there was a photo. The Duchess had red hair that was darker and shorter than the Weasleys', and green eyes that looked like big, shiny emeralds in her thin and pale face. The Duke was almost the opposite of her, tall, with skin that was darker and tanned than his wife's, black hair and cropped but still a little messy, and dark eyes.

The clothes looked of great quality, much more than he could buy in his life. The thick fabrics covered them without any wrinkles, and the Potter Family crest, carved in gold, was proudly displayed.

Something inside Henry burned even harder, and as if his memory tried to remember where he had seen them - probably, in a newspaper in the past few weeks, which had several pictures of the two - his head hurt a lot. He wouldn't show weakness in front of them, so he just closed his eyes and bowed completely, swallowing the desire that had arisen.

‘’Mr, Mrs Potter, it is a pleasure to meet you.’’ Henry said as soon as his turn came, much closer to the two, who didn’t seem very comfortable with the situation. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the first party they had been throwing in years, and after what Henry had heard from Arthur, he couldn't imagine that the Dukes were happy knowing that their son was probably really dead. ‘’My name is Henry Figg.’’



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