Harry Potter and Ron Weasley walked the last few steps across the Auror Department together and Ron held the lift door open for his friend as Harry hobbled on under his own steam and turned to face the open door. He smiled and waved to his colleagues as gate began to close. However, as soon as the door clanged shut hiding them from view, Harry leaned heavily against his friend.
“Ginny’s going to kill me if anything happens to you,” Ron scolded.
“She might, but first she’s going to kill me,” Harry said. “Come on Ron. Levitate me a bit. I need to get the weight off this leg and I need to get home.”
An hour later, Ron and Mr. Weasley finally managed to get Harry back to the Burrow. Once he was there, Harry found he was completely knackered. His little excursion into the office had taken far more out of him than he could have possibly anticipated. Mrs. Weasley looked ready to scold him for how long he’d been gone, and his peaked condition as he stepped back through the floo supported by Ron.
“Not now Mum,” Ron told her as he tried to intervened on his mates behalf.
“Yes Molly, now is not the time,” Mr. Weasley agreed as he followed immediately after.
Together the two men levitated Harry and maneuvered him back to the sitting room and onto the sofa while Mrs. Weasley summoned pillows, cushions and a blanket to tuck in around him as they worked to get him settled.
“Now?” she demanded of her husband as the two men backed off.
Mr. Weasley nodded while looking apologetically at Harry.
“Sorry Harry,” Ron mouthed apologetically but Harry just hung his head. He knew he had it coming and it did.
“Now, as for you,” Mrs. Weasley began in a scolding tone as she rounded on Harry. “Have you learned your lesson? You’re just home from hospital. You need to follow your healer’s orders. You need to stay off your leg. You need to stay where you are and let us take care of you, and you need to do that for a while. Not just for today, or tomorrow, but for as long as Healer Grudeon tells you too!”
“Yes ma’am,” Harry said meekly. Somehow he’d known she couldn’t resist giving him what Ginny would have considered a well deserved scolding. He only hoped that when Ginny came that evening, she wouldn’t feel the need to scold him too.
“I’ll have you know that Healer Grudgeon called here today and when I told him where you’d gone, he asked me to call Ginny immediately after you got home to bring you in. She’ll be here as soon as she can and she’ll be taking you back to St. Mungo’s today.”
“But I’m okay!” Harry protested. “I’m sore and tired, but nothing bad happened.”
“None the less, those are your healers orders and unlike you, I intend to see that you follow them,” Mrs. Weasley insisted.
“Please, don’t call Ginny,” Harry pleaded feeling guilty that once again his medical condition was about to interrupt her day. “I’ll be good and stay put,” Harry promised trying to persuade her, but Mrs. Weasley was not about to be put off.
“Hermys, give Harry his potion,” she instructed still standing over him.
“Yes Ma’am,” Hermys responded. “Master Harry, yous must take this immediately,” Hermys told Harry as he hurried up to him holding a steaming vial.
“I took one of those this morning,” Harry protested. “Aren’t I supposed to get the other one now?"
“With moving around, Master needs this one more,” Hermys insisted. “Yous need another I brings you too,” and in his other hand, Hermys produced a second potion, this one a sickly green color, handing it also to Harry.
Harry accepted the potions, swallowing them both with a grimace as Ron looked on with a smirk.
“Well I’ll leave you to it Harry,” Ron remarked. “Call us if they make you stay in hospital.”
“I will,” Harry promised.
Ron nodded. “Come on Dad. We need to get back to work.”
Harry regarded the other two men with a sigh as Mrs. Weasley and his house-elf began to exert their control over him.
“Thanks, to both of you,” he told them from his place on the sofa.
“You’re welcome Harry. We’ll see you this evening…even if they do make you stay,” Mr. Weasley assured him and the two red-haired men disappeared back through the kitchen, into the fire.
Hermys doubled Harry’s potions for the rest of the afternoon and Mrs. Weasley confined Harry to the sofa, refusing to let him up alone to do anything. Even for the loo she insisted on levitating him to the door rather than letting him walk up the stairs on his own, so that by the time Ginny arrived to take him to St. Mungos, he was ever so glad to see her, even if it did mean going back to hospital again.
“I told you, you needed to stay off your leg,” Ginny admonished as she settled in beside him on the sofa.
“Aren’t we going to St. Mungos?” Harry asked.
“First thing in the morning,” Ginny promised. “I couldn’t get off early enough to take you in today.”
Harry nodded feeling slightly relieved.
“I’ll just go fix supper, shall I?” Mrs. Weasley consulted with Ginny once her daughter had arrived.
“Yes Mum. I’ll look after him for a bit,” Ginny said sweetly.
Harry did his best to smile pleasantly and to refrain from rolling his eyes. That is until Mrs. Weasley had left the room.
“I’m not an invalid you know,” he told her in mild protest.
“No, but you should act like you are for a while,” Ginny said firmly. “Harry, I know you hate to sit still and you hate to have Mum fussing over you like this, but you have to rest if you’re going to get better.”
“I know,” Harry said a bit guiltily. “But surely your mum has better things to do than to spend all day hovering around me.”
“But that’s what she loves doing and you need it, so let her,” Ginny implored, and Harry could tell she was doing her best not to beg or to scold. “It’s only for a few days at most. We’ll find out for certain at your appointment tomorrow morning. But if you don’t they’re liable to put you back in St. Mungos until they’re able to take that bullet out at the end of the week. Then you can go wherever you want, within reason.”
Harry nodded. Ginny wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know but remaining stationary all afternoon had been much more difficult than he’d thought it would be, even as tired as he was following his visit to the office. After being so unbelievably busy for more than a year, having absolutely nothing to do felt odd and unnatural and he told Ginny so.
“But you did do something today,” Ginny reminded him. “You met with Kingsley, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, and Robards too. And I spoke to Wendy and Smith, and of course Ron. My whole team actually,” Harry agreed with a smile. “They were all really glad to see me, but it did feel odd to go in for an hour or two then to just leave. Normally I’d have been there all day.”
“And normally you wouldn’t be walking around with a bullet in your leg,” Ginny countered as a bit of a scolding crept back into her tone.
Harry just frowned. He really didn’t feel like being lectured again.
“So what did they say when you told them you’d have to be off of work for so long?” Ginny asked she reigned in her temper once again, reforming her face into a pleasant and understanding smile as she settled herself on the sofa beside him. “Were they surprised?”
“Not really. Kingsley said it was part of the job and started telling me about how long he had to be off one time, then Robards did the same, then Smith did. It sounds like all the senior Auroras have at one time or another, some more than once. I suppose I never thought about that when I took this job,” Harry confided.
“So they expected it then,” Ginny concluded.
“Yeah they did.”
“And did they give you work to do?”
“Not really. I had to file all my reports today just to make sure they have enough to hold the Lestranges. And I’ll have to go in one more time for another Cabinet meeting, and then there’s this proposal for a change to the department policy to submit to the Wizengamot Kingsley wants me to draft, and I may have to go in for the Lestrange’s trial, but other than that, Kingsley advised me to enjoy myself and to rest.”
Ginny beamed at him.
“What?” Harry looked at Ginny’s pleased expression in startled surprise.
“I’m so proud of you! That’s quite important what they’ve asked you to do, but you’re right it’s not a lot, which means you’re going to have more time to spend with me.”
“Ginny, at the moment, I can’t go anywhere, and I certainly can’t do much,” Harry reminded her. “Your mum’s not letting me up to even go to the bathroom by myself.”
“True. But if you’re good and stay off of that leg, you will be able to in just three more days. Just think of it Harry, we’ll have six weeks after that to spend extra time together. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have time to start doing something about all those plans we keep talking about for our wedding.”
Harry’s martyr’s expression suddenly faded as a look of happiness and hope took its place.
“Do you mean that Gin? Really? Not just talking about plans for it, but actually start making some of the arrangements and everything?”
“Really. Tomorrow is April twenty-second Harry.”
“One year exactly from the date we set.”
“Exactly. If we plan to get married at this time next year, this would be the perfect time to decide on a place. We’ll be able to see what it would look like at this time of the year,” she explained.
Harry grinned. “Then we’ll have the date and the place. Two decisions down…”
“And only a million to go,” Ginny teased.
Harry smiled at her teasing as he slid his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, kissing her repeatedly about the mouth and face.
“Hey, hey, none of that Harry!” Ron exclaimed in a teasing tone as he and Hermione stepped into the room just before supper time.
“You’ve got rotten timing, you know that?” Harry retorted.
“No, we have perfect timing. Without us interrupting, you were liable to put even more strain on your injured groin and leg,” Hermione said primly as she and Ron settled them selves on the love seat adjacent to the sofa.
Harry groaned. “Not you too Hermione,” Harry complained. “It’s not enough that I have Molly, Hermys, and Ginny hovering about me, watching my every move, must I have you too?”
“We just want you to get better,” Hermione told him in a hurt tone.
“Yeah we want you healed for the wedding mate,” Ron told him seriously.
“I do too Ron. We were just talking about that in fact,” Harry told him.
“Really,” Hermione huffed in a tone of disbelief. “It looked like you were kissing to me.”
“Yeah of course, but that’s why we were kissing Hermione,” Harry explained. “We’ve been talking about the wedding and well…er…”
“And why would talking about our wedding make you want to kiss?” Hermione asked looking confused.
Harry exchanged a look with Ginny and the two broke out laughing. They glanced at Hermione who looked bewildered then at Ron who looked puzzled but was grinning too and laughed even harder.
“No, not your wedding Hermione, ours,” Ginny choked out between fits of laughter.
“Yours?” Hermione queried with a tone of non-comprehension.
“Yeah Hermione, our wedding,” Harry said. “You know, Ginny and I are engaged too? It’s not just you two.”
“Yes, but you’ve both said for months you wanted to wait to get married,” Hermione reminded him.
“And we have, but we have also set a date,” Harry reminded her.
“Yes but isn’t that date like over a year a way?” Hermione asked in confusion.
“Barely. It’s one year and one day from today,” Ginny answered hotly, “which makes now the perfect time to decide on the place.”
“We’re making decisions Hermione. It’s time, don’t you think?” Harry asked rhetorically.
“Like what kind of decisions?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Like I’ve decided to ask Ron to be my best man. Will you?” Harry asked his friend.
“Of course. After all, you’re doing it for me,” Ron replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Thanks Ron.” Harry grinned. Turning to Ginny he said. “That makes three.”
“Three what?” Hermione asked.
“Three decisions we’ve made,” Ginny explained. “Since Harry’s going to be off for a while, we thought that now was the time to start doing that.”
“So do you know where you’re getting married?” Ron asked curiously.
Harry turned to look at Ginny again. “We think we know Ron, but like I said, we want to check it out while I’m off since it’s the same time of year.”
“We’ve been talking it over,” Ginny explained. “Like Harry said, we think we know, but we want to be sure.”
Hermione nodded. “I can understand that. For us, that has been the hardest decision I think. It was really difficult to find a place that we both liked and where both our families would be comfortable and could come. I don’t suppose you’ll have that problem though.”
“Why wouldn’t we?” Harry asked. “There are muggles in my family too.”
“True but Hermione has a point Harry. There are fewer people in your family who are muggles who might want to come, and most of them have already been here,” Ginny pointed out.
“So you’re planning to get married here?” Ron asked in confusion. “Why would you have to check that out?”
“You’re planning to get married here in the garden? How lovely!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed happily as she came back in to check on them mid-conversation, catching just the end of what Ron was saying.
“No Mum, not in the garden for sure, but maybe here,” Ginny told her. “We haven’t decided for certain yet.”
Ron blinked at the two. “Where would you if not in the garden?”
“Yes where?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “The house couldn’t possibly hold enough people to host a wedding.”
Harry and Ginny exchanged a look again.
“We promise to tell you when we decide Mum,” Ginny assured her and Harry grinned.
“So anyways Hermione, that’s what we were talking about when you came in here,” Harry explained. “So why are you here?”
“Checking up on you of course,” Ron said. “And Mum invited us for supper.”
“Speaking of which supper is ready,” Mrs. Weasley announced. ”That’s what I came in to tell you. Come on, up you go Harry,” she said extracting her wand and preparing to levitate him.
Harry groaned slightly. “Just help me up; then I can walk to the table. I’ll use the cane,” he hastened to add.
“Ron and I can help him Mum,” Ginny offered.
Mrs. Weasley stood with her wand still in her hand but her hands on her hips in frank disapproval.
“I’ll have you know Harry that when Healer Gudgeon called here today to check up on you while you were out, he told me in no uncertain terms that if I expected to have grandchildren from you some day, until they get that bullet out of your leg, it would be best if you didn’t walk. At all.”
Harry glanced at Ginny as she and Ron lifted him to a standing position from the sofa. Her face was flushed slightly with embarrassment, but her expression was set.
“We know Mum. The healer has already talked to us about it,” Ginny assured her mother. “I really wish he hadn’t mentioned it to you though and that you hadn’t announced it to the room at large, but we know. Now, as Harry needs to eat along with resting his leg, and we are here to help him, I see absolutely no reason to not allow him to get to the table on his own.”
“Thanks Ginny,” Harry whispered his appreciation.
“You’re welcome Harry. Now do it like we practiced,” Ginny said as she slipped her arm firmly around his waist. “Lean on me and your cane. Use your injured leg only for balance. Ready?”
“Ready,” Harry said and together he and Ginny walked to the table.
“Could his injury really prevent Harry from having children?” Hermione whispered to Mrs. Weasley, but it was Ron who answered her.
“Yeah it could Hermione, because it’s…” he leaned down and whispered something in her ear.
“Oh!” Hermione gasped. “Poor Harry!”
“I heard that,” Harry called from where Ginny was helping him sit at the table in his chair. “It’s my leg that’s hurt, not my ears.”
“Sorry,” Hermione murmured as she and Ron took their places at the table.
Harry acknowledged her apology, silently ignoring any reference to his problems for the rest of the meal. Dinner time passed followed by time visiting in general with the family, after which Harry allowed Mrs. Weasley and Ginny to maneuver him up the stairs to Percy’s room for bed. Ginny stayed long enough to help him into pajamas before saying goodnight.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Harry. Rest up, okay?”
“Okay,” Harry agreed. “Do you know what time?”
“I’ll be here in the morning first thing to take you to your appointment. We may have a practice tomorrow in preparation for Friday night’s game so I’m not sure how long I can stay. But it’s not a sure thing, so with any luck I’ll be able to stay all day. I know I won’t be able to come Friday at all. But I’ll be here on Saturday for sure and we can visit the pond then. Okay?”
“Okay,” Harry said with a smile. “You know, I’ve heard you talk about your schedule before, but I don’t think I’d given it that much thought until now. As soon as they’ll let me, I want to come to all of your practices as well as your games,” he promised. “I want to do what I can to be there for you too Ginny.”
Ginny smiled. “I’d like that. We’ll talk more tomorrow Harry. Goodnight.”
Ginny stepped out as Hermys came in with a potion to make Harry sleep. It was quite effective and Harry barely knew when his head hit the pillow.
The next morning Ginny was at the Burrow bright and early, before Harry was even awake, to help him get ready for his appointment. Once again she helped him to dress after his shower, then down the stairs. On this morning though, Harry was even more uncomfortable than he had been the day before and after a step or two, consented to let Ginny levitate him down the rest of the stairs.
Ginny watched as a grimace played across his face as he sat down at the breakfast table.
“You’re really sore today aren’t you?” she asked unnecessarily.
“Yeah I am.” Harry adjusted his position again, somewhat painfully. There was simply no way to get comfortable this morning.
“Maybe that will convince you to be a good boy today and let yourself heal instead of trying to run around Harry.”
Harry grimaced again. “Please Ginny, don’t scold. I heard that from your mum all yesterday afternoon,” Harry pleaded.
“And you deserved it,” Ginny said firmly. “But you’re right. If you’ve been hearing it from Mum, you don’t need to hear it from me too.”
“Thank you,” he said as they finished their breakfast and got up from the table.
“I never could hold a candle to Mum when it comes to a thorough scolding,” she said with a bit of a smirk.
“Does that mean you intend to?” Harry asked guardedly as they got ready to go.
“Why? Don’t you think I need to?” Ginny teased. “Don’t you think there are times when everyone needs a good talking to?”
“Well yeah Ginny I suppose,” Harry agreed. “But do you really want to become like your mum?”
He looked worriedly at his fiancée, wondering how much of what she was saying she was actually serious about and how much was teasing. Ginny’s face erupted into a grin at his expression and she broke down laughing.
“Harry!” she gasped as they walked to the floo. “Do you really think this family needs more than one like my Mum?”
“No, not really,” Harry said. “But I was worried that perhaps you do.”
From her expression it was clear she’d been teasing and Harry broke down in laughter too.
“Good luck at St. Mungos,” Mrs. Weasley told the two. “We’ll be waiting to hear from you.”
The pair nodded as together, Ginny and Harry stepped through the fire and together shouted “St. Mungos”. A moment later, they stepped out into the receiving area of the wizarding hospital. Apparently they’d been expected, for an aide was waiting for them and Harry was shown immediately to an exam room while Ginny was made to wait outside.
Harry looked up guiltily when Healer Gudgeon walked in.
“Good afternoon Mr. Potter,” the healer greeted him.
“Good afternoon Sir. Look, Sir I’m sorry. I know I was supposed to stay off my leg, but I really had to go in. And I had help,” Harry started in defending himself when the healer raised his hand.
“Mr. Potter, did you think I summoned you here to accuse you of something?” Healer Gudgeon asked.
“Ah, er, well yeah. I mean I suppose I wasn’t really following your instructions. About staying off my leg I mean,” Harry said as the guilty tone returned to his voice.
“Were you taking your potions?” the healer asked.
“Yes, every hour. Except for the three hours yesterday when I was away. So I skipped those two doses, but then Hermys doubled my dose when I got back and gave me another green one as well,” Harry explained.
“Indeed. That is a highly talented house-elf you have there Mr. Potter.”
“He’s been training as a healer,” Harry explained.
“And a fine healer he will be, given the experience you yourself are giving him,” Gudgeon replied. “And have you been using your cane to walk?”
“Whenever they’ll let me walk,” Harry said with a slightly grumpy tone. “Mrs. Weasley has been insisting on levitating me everywhere.”
“I see. Well I hardly find that necessary, given the speedy recovery you are making,” the healer said.
“I am?” Harry asked in surprise.
“Yes. Why did you think I’d asked you to come in?”
“To put me back in hospital?” Harry answered warily.
“Only so as to remove the bullet in your groin. Clearly you are strong enough. Allow me to summon my aid and we’ll get started, shall we?” Healer Gudgeon asked.
Harry grinned. “Absolutely,” he agreed.
An hour later, Harry was bullet free, and using his cane, limped back to the waiting room to find Ginny waiting for him.
“Are they making you stay?” Ginny asked worriedly.
“Nope. They say I’m healed. Not strong enough to go back to work yet, but I’m on my way,” Harry said in a happy tone.
“But what about the bullet Harry?”
“They took it out. That’s why they wanted me to come into today. Apparently when Molly told them I’d gone into the office using my cane, he decided I was ready.”
Harry grinned as he took in Ginny’s surprise.
“So…are they getting ready to take it out now?” she asked, obviously not fully taking in what he meant, her tone laced with concern.
“Nope. They’re already done. They sealed me back up and told me to go home…or in this case back to the Burrow for the rest of the week. Then I can go home.“
“And what about your follow up care? Do you still have restrictions? What I mean is, are you allowed to walk?”
“Healer Gudgeon said yes, but that I should continue to use the cane for a few days. In fact I’m supposed to walk, so let’s go.” He smiled at her expression.
“Where?” Ginny asked in surprise.
“To the lobby, then you can apparate me home. I think it’s time I got out of the house and got some fresh air,” Harry said.
Ginny nodded. “Good idea Harry. A stroll around the garden might be just the thing,” she agreed and she took his hand as together they began walking towards the apparition point, but the whole way there Harry couldn’t help but notice her watching him surreptitiously out of the corner of her eye, as if expecting him to wince in pain or his leg to fail.
“I’m fine Ginny, really. Will you stop worrying?” Harry insisted as they left St. Mungo’s hospital together.
“You are not fine Harry. You just had a piece of muggle metal taken out of your leg,” Ginny scolded.
“It was out of my hip joint actually,” Harry corrected. “And it already feels loads better.”
He still walked with a limp and he was using his cane, but even Ginny could see he had improved.
“Well you promised you’d spend a few more days at the Burrow, so if you’re good and rest more, maybe we can go to the pond on Sunday?” Ginny suggested. “That’s in five days if you’re up to it.”
“I will be. In fact, I could probably do that today.”
Ginny looked at him dubiously.
“Really. I’m supposed to walk every day now to get my strength back,” Harry reminded her. “They sealed the injured tissues, but I have to use them for them to grow strong again, so long slow walks should be just the thing.”
“Hmmm,” Ginny said as she took him by the hand and apparated them both back to the Burrow.
“How’d it go?” Mrs. Weasley asked anxiously as she rushed out to meet them. The pair had lingered at the gate as an owl came and perched on Ginny’s wrist. “What did the healer say? I thought they were going to make you stay until they take the bullet out Harry.”
“They took it out today,” Harry beamed. “I’m allowed to be up and I’m supposed to walk…I’m doing better already Molly, honest,” Harry said.
“That’s good news Harry,” she told him earnestly with a hug. “Because there is someone here to see you.”
“Who?” Harry asked curiously.
“They’ve had quite a time trying to find you it seems,” Mrs. Weasley went on holding the door open for him but not really explaining.
Harry hobbled through the front door and into the sitting room to find Dudley and Rupert sitting there, with Ginny following behind holding the parchment the owl had brought in her hand.
“Hi Harry,” Dudley rose to greet his cousin with a grin as he nodded at Ginny.
“Hi,” Harry said smiling curiously at him. “You wanted to see me?”
“Actually, we need to talk to you about the AMASS Harry,” Rupert explained. “Ah…er…do you need to sit down first?”
“That depends. I understood from Ron…do you...ah, how do I put this…” he hesitated.
“We remember everything,” Dudley told him. “But according to your Ministry lot, we shouldn’t.”
“We don’t want you to get into trouble Harry,” Rupert explained. “Hermione shared a copy of your regulations with me.”
“Yeah well…don’t take those too seriously,” Harry told him as he made his way across the room and sat down in a chair instead of the sofa he’d been inhabiting for the past two days. Taking her clue from him, Ginny took a chair near the hearth where she could listen.
“I have reason to believe that legislation will be changed, eventually,” Harry was saying.
“But in the mean time you’re in violation,” Rupert acknowledged.
“Well, yeah,” Harry acknowledged. “I suppose I am if I do nothing.”
“Exactly,” Dudley agreed.
Harry nodded slightly. “So you’re here asking me to do what exactly Dudley? Modify your memories? Just so I don’t get in trouble?”
“Yes actually,” Dudley said.
“But your mum hates that!” Harry reminded him.
“Yeah but Harry, not even Mum has seen the stuff we’ve seen. The case is solved, Esme is safe, she still wants to marry me…there’s no reason at all for us to remember all that, but especially not if it could get you into trouble,” Dudley explained.
“But would you really be happier knowing you didn’t remember it? That you were missing some of your own past?”
“We’re not asking you to wipe them all out,” Rupert explained. “We need to retain enough to remember in a general way what we did…but we don’t need to remember the specifics of the mission.”
Harry nodded. “What about the cave?”
“I’m not sure if you can let us remember the cave,” Dudley answered truthfully. “But if you do have to remove it from our memories, Esme asked me to ask you if we could see it again first. She’s really fascinated by that place archeologically speaking.”
“It does represent an intriguing glimpse into our common history,” Rupert agreed.
“It probably would be good to know more about it,” Harry agreed. “I don’t think the Ministry’s quite sure what to do about it to be honest, but I have recommended already that we should let her have a look at it, just to see what we could learn.”
“So don’t do that bit,” Dudley suggested.
“Or wait until she examines it to do it,” Rupert offered.
Harry thought about what he was saying. “So what about if we decide together what you should remember? Would that work? We could leave clues…sort of ticklers to let you identify where things were missing. That way if you needed to get it back, you could. How about that?”
“You really don’t want to do this, do you?” Dudley asked.
“Not much. I can see why some of it does need to be done…but not nearly as much as my boss might think. We’ve made a huge amount of progress in exploring the ways that muggles and wizards can work together. Our experience in doing it is a big part of that,” Harry explained.
“So don’t obliverate that,” Rupert agreed.
“But you want to remember that we worked together?” Harry repeated just to confirm.
“Yes absolutely. We may again, if the situation ever warrants it,” Rupert said.
“It may even be useful as a way to check in…just to be sure a situation doesn’t warrant it,” Dudley added.
“We have done it and done it very successfully. I think that’s one thing we all want both sides to remember.”
“So let us choose,” Dudley suggested.
“Alright,” Harry said. “That might not be all I’ll have to do eventually, but it would be a start. So what is it exactly you don’t want to remember?”
“I want to remember the mission, just not all the details about all that dark magic stuff,” Dudley said.
Harry considered him thoughtfully. “Okay.”
“So what do I do?” Dudley asked.
“Think specifically of the stuff you wish was more difficult to remember, say it…and then it will be,” he told them.
Dudley nodded. “The dragon,” he said right off.
Harry flicked his wrist.
“The dark magic we destroyed…not that we destroyed it, just what it was…all that blood…” he said with a shudder.
Harry flicked his wrist again.
“The zombie women in the basement…and seeing Esme as one of them.”
Harry did it again.
“The dragon for me too,” Rupert agreed.
One by one they went through the memories, allowing Harry to omit or to blur the details. Not quite removing them, but leaving most vague and indistinct.
“Are they gone?” Rupert asked as he realized he couldn’t think of anything more he wished to forget.
“No, just suppressed. If you ever need them back…well then we can do that,” Harry said.
“Good. I wanted to remember working with you Harry, and I wanted to know that there were things I chose to forget, and I do, so I think that’s good. Will it be enough for your Ministry do you think?” Rupert asked.
“I hope so,” Harry answered. “As long as you don’t go round telling people about it, I think we’re good. What we do for the rest of your squad may have to be stronger though,” Harry warned.
“We understand,” Rupert assured him.
“Thanks Harry,” Dudley said with a grin. “I think both of us know better than to tell anyone the details of what you did.”
“Even if we could,” Rupert said with a similar smile. “About our team though, you might want to leave David remembering a little bit more. He’s just had a promotion as the result of recovering all those missing persons so he could be a big help to us if we have ever have to work together again in the future.”
“I suppose it would help if someone in charge knew what we going on,” Harry agreed. “I’ll talk to you again before we do it,” he promised as the two young men looked relieved.
“Are you boys staying for lunch?” Mrs. Weasley asked she looked in. “It’s almost ready.”
“No thanks. We’re both still on duty…evening shift. So we’d better get back. It’s quite a walk to the train station from here,” Rupert explained as the both rose from the sofa.
“I could take you…couldn’t I Harry?” Ginny turned to check.
Harry arched a brow at Dudley. “It’s up to you. Do you remember this?”
“Yeah, that I do, and I’ll walk thank you.”
Harry grinned. “Good seeing you Dud. Take care."
“You too Harry. Goodbye.”
Harry grinned as he and Ginny got ready to walk Rupert and Dudley to the door.
“Harry, I’ve got go too. Alisha’s been injured during practice. Gwenog wants me to fly in her place in Friday's game, so she’s called an unscheduled practice for noon and it’s almost that now. It shouldn’t be more than a few of hours though then I can come back and spend the evening here. So I’ll see you after, okay?” Ginny said showing him the parchment the owl had brought as soon as they’d gotten home.
“Sure Gin,” Harry agreed as he read the note. Apparently unexpected calls into work happened for Ginny too, it was just that he’d never been all that aware of her day to day schedule to fully appreciate that before. He leaned in to kiss her, holding her to him, just for a moment before kissing her lips. “Hurry back,” he whispered.
Ginny helped Harry to his feet smiling as he walked her to the door too. He stood there watching the two muggles and the witch walk up the garden path towards the front where Ginny Apparated away with a crack. Harry watched as his overly large cousin and his partner looked momentarily surprised before dismissively shrugging it off as they walked through the edges of the wards around the Burrow. The shimmer it caused gave Harry reason to pause and to wonder just for a moment how Dudley and Rupert had ever managed to find him.
Harry sighed as he watched them leave while Mrs. Weasley looked on in sympathy.
“This way Harry,” she said. “I’m sure we can find something for you to do to pass the time until evening.”
“Thanks Molly,’ Harry said as they stepped though the front door.
“Has Master seen his cousin yet?” Hermys asked as he popped into existence beneath Harry’s elbow.
“Yes he just left. Did you send him here?” Harry asked in surprise as suddenly things fell into place.
“Yes Master. I sees the dove and I answers the door and I brings Harry Potter’s family to him. I is a good house-elf and you’s is said family is always welcome,” he explained.
“That’s right Hermys. In my household, family always can find me.”
Hermys beamed then asked, “Is Master Harry ready for more potion?”
“Oh sure Hermys,” Harry agreed. “Can we do it in the kitchen though? I’d like to sit down.”
Harry hobbled slightly as he walked carefully back into the kitchen, still leaning on his cane, while Hermys followed him holding the smoking potion vial.
“Thanks Hemys, The healer said to tell you you’ve been making my potions really well by the way,” Harry said as he accepted the potion and sat down.
“Thank you Master Harry. I is spending lots of time with the healers at hospital while Master was there. I’s learned a lot,” Hermys declared.
“You’ve managed to keep up with your studies then?” Harry asked curiously. He’d wondered about that now that without Kreacher, Hermys was having to do everything on his own.
“I’s is getting ahead,” Hermys reported. “Master’s potions is easier than Papy’s…” he trailed off with his ears drooping just a bit.
Harry smiled wistfully. “Thank you for taking care of us Hermys…both of us.”
“You’s is welcome Master. Bottoms up,” he said nodding towards the vial that Harry still held in his hand, and watching him attentively.
Harry swallowed it handing back the vial and Hermys disappeared with a crack as Mrs. Weasley set a platter of sandwiches and a bowl of crisps on the table. Harry took his seat across from her as Mr. Weasley came home for lunch through the floo. The two of them joined Harry at the table and they all dug in.
After his two days of confinement and relative inactivity, Harry was more than ready to get out of the house. After lunch he took a turn or two around the garden under Mrs. Weasley’s watchful eye. He sat on the bench in the garden and watched the gnomes grubbing about in the chilly soil, enjoying the weak rays of the sun until it clouded over and threatened to rain. Still he sat there, just enjoying the sensation of being outside.
“Where is he Mum?” Ginny asked as she arrived back at the Burrow at a quarter to five, expecting to find Harry in his usual place in the sitting room.
“He’s outside. I don’t think he can quite stand being in the house any longer.” Mrs. Weasley nodded out the window towards the garden bench where Harry was still sitting.
Ginny nodded as she watched him sympathetically.
“Thanks,” she told her mother and went out to him.
“Hi,” she called as she strode across the garden towards Harry. “Aren’t you going to get wet sitting out here if it starts to rain?”
Harry shrugged. “So what does it matter? It’s only a little water.”
“It might not be good for you,” Ginny offered.
“I’m recovering from an injury Ginny, I’m not ill,” Harry reminded her. “Hi by the way.” He rose to greet her more properly, when she stopped in front of him. Leaning on his cane, Harry pulled her into a one armed hug, kissing her mouth, grinning happily by the time he released her.
“You’re feeling better, aren’t you?” she said knowingly.
“Yeah. Can you tell?”
Ginny regarded him with a smirk, but otherwise ignored the question. “So you want to go for a proper walk or what?”
“I’d love to Ginny, but your mum won’t let me out of sight of the kitchen window.”
“Well I’m here now, and I think we have about an hour before dinner, so if we take it slow, it’d be okay. Do you want to?”
“Yes. This way,” Harry said eagerly offering her his arm.
Ginny linked her arm with his to help steady him, but allowed Harry to lead as he guided her in a specific direction, along the path through the orchard and away from the house. At first she thought he just wanted to get out of visual range of the window, but Ginny soon realized that Harry had a specific destination in mind.
“Where are we going Harry?” she asked as he limped along.
“To the pond,” Harry replied.
“To the pond?” Ginny repeated in surprise. “Aren’t we going to go there for a picnic on Saturday?”
“Yeah we are.”
“That’s the day after tomorrow,” Ginny reminded him.
“Yeah I know, but I can’t wait. I’ve been thinking about it all day since you left. We won’t stay long…I know it’s late, but I just wanted to see it,” Harry started to explain.
Ginny smiled up at him. “Me too actually. But let’s just go to the rise for today, okay? I don’t want you to over do it on your first day out.”
“Okay,” Harry agreed.
Slowly they crossed the orchard then made their way up the embankment that separated the house from the pond. Upon reaching its top however the couple stopped. They arrived at the moment when the sun slid towards the horizon beneath the clouds, resulting in the brief golden brilliance that accompanies such events. As the sunlight flooded the space between the clouds and the hills, it illuminated the glade with dazzling golden color, bringing into sharp focus the colors of spring that were spread before them.
As quickly as it came, the moment passed and the sun slipped behind the hill, leaving behind the indistinct light and gathering gloom as dusk set in. Even so, the sight that was illuminated in front of them in that brief instant in time took them by surprise. Even Ginny, who had lived at the Burrow nearly her whole life, felt awed by what she saw.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been here in the spring,” Ginny gasped as the light faded and she could find her voice again. “I don’t know why. It looks like a different place entirely.”
“No it doesn’t,” Harry disagreed. “But it does look as though it’s been transformed. Do you suppose your mum planted all these here?” He waived an arm to indicate the many flowers in the landscape that lay before them.
The banks surrounding the pond which were lush and green in the summer were carpeted with clumps of white and purple and yellow crocus amongst the pale fragile shoots of new green grass just emerging from the ground. The trees, while the full and leafy in the summer, were just now budding out. Several had blooms of bright pink scattered amongst pale green leaves, while beneath them clumps of tulips in varying shads of red and pink and white bloomed. Even in the fading light, the flowers were lovely.
Harry shifted his gazed from the glade to the pond itself. The surface of the water which in the summer was quiet and empty except for the occasional visit by human swimmers was currently alive with activity. Several families of ducks with young ducklings were paddling about there searching for tadpoles along the muddy shallows in the fading light of day, while towards its center a small number of swans floated flapping their wings occasionally as the sky dimmed, settling in for a comfortable float for the coming night. As they did Harry realized just how dark it was getting as the last of the colors faded from the clouds.
“I suppose we should be getting back,” he commented.
“Yes,” Ginny agreed as she tore her eyes away and they turned to go. “It’s going to get chilly very soon. But I want to come back Harry, as soon as we can on Saturday. Earlier than we planned in fact.”
Harry nodded. “Me too Gin. I think we might have found our place.”
“Yes. I had no idea it could look so beautiful, and that was with the sun going down. Just think what it would look like in the day light when we can see it clearly!”
They two bent their heads together and talked about it all the way back to the Burrow. When Mrs. Weasley saw them through her kitchen window she gazed at Harry and Ginny in surprise. They were still talking, seemingly oblivious to everything except for each other. Neither of them had apparently noticed the soft blue glow emanating from Ginny’s ring.
“Hello Molly. What are you looking at so intently?” Mr. Weasley asked as he came in from work through the floo to find his wife transfixed by what she was seeing out the window.
“Look at that Arthur.” She nodded towards the couple walking through their garden.
“We’ve seen it before Molly. When they first got engaged,” Mr. Weasley reminded her.
“Yes, but you remember how things were for them as recently as last winter,” Mrs. Weasley commented.
“Ah but that was the winter Molly. The dark times are over. From the looks of things in the garden, I’d say that winter is over. Life everywhere is embracing the coming of spring.”