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On the Mend by Limegreen47

Format: Novella
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 29,887
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Arthur, Molly, Neville, Luna, Ginny
Pairings: Arthur/Molly, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 07/27/2007
Last Chapter: 11/20/2007
Last Updated: 11/20/2007

Summary:
Banner by my amazing friend Andi




"To him, it seemed as though his whole life was divided into two parts: before Voldemort, and after Voldemort. During these next few years, the Wizarding world would be celebrating, mourning, and repairing. Harry didn’t want to be part of these celebrations. He would much rather spend these next few years with Ginny, Ron and Hermione."


Chapter 1: One: After the Battle
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One: After the Battle



He was feeling positively numb as he made his way back to Gryffindor Tower with Ron and Hermione leading the way. None of them spoke as they passed through the throngs of people, brushing shoulders, and arms. Some were crying, most were cheering. Many were injured. As Harry passed them, many would whisper words of congratulations to him, or just squeeze his shoulder. He found he could only give them a weak smile, he was so exhausted.

          But then he saw her. Sprinting down the hallway, her flaming hair flying out behind her, she was screaming his name. Tears were pouring down her face, but she was smiling as she pushed her way through the crowd towards him. Laughing, she dove on him, and he fell to the floor but he didn’t notice, because she was kissing him, like they had never kissed before. And she was crying on him, and bleeding on him, but he didn’t care because at that very moment, he thought she was the most beautiful, amazing creature in the universe. As he held her in his arms and kissed her back, he didn’t think about the fact that they were lying on the floor in the middle of a crowded hallway. He didn’t think about the fact that Ron and Hermione were standing right beside them, or that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley weren’t far behind them. No, the only thought that occurred to him then, was that he could spend his entire life with Ginny, and that there was no more Voldemort left to stop them.

          “Harry,” Ginny whispered as they broke away, “I’m so proud of you…”



           Sunlight streamed through the window of Harry and Ron’s bedroom at the Burrow. Harry could feel the rays warming his bare chest. He kept his eyes closed and let his mind linger on the memory he had re-witnessed in his sleep. It was a good replacement to the nightmares that had plagued him since the battle. He could feel Ginny’s small body curled up next to him, and he could hear her slow, peaceful breathing. One of her hands was flung out across his bare chest, and the touch made him tingle


            He vaguely remembered Ginny creeping into Ron and Harry’s room during the night and crawling under the sheets of his camp bed with him. It was comforting to have her presence nearby; everyone was still coping with the aftermath of the war, especially Harry. Harry knew Ron would probably kill him for this when he woke up; but for now he didn’t care, and relished in the moment with her.

       Ginny gave a little sigh and opened her eyes. Harry fumbled for his glasses, and put them on so he could see her properly.
            “Morning.” Ginny smiled lazily.
         “Morning.” Harry grinned, leaning on his elbows so his face was above hers. He brushed some of her hair off her forehead. There was a bit of a silence.
            “You do realize that you crawled in here while I was erm…well…” Harry said to her, lifting the sheet and gesturing to his bare chest and boxer shorts. Ginny giggled.
       “I didn’t mean to. But I’m not complaining.” She said, running her hand along his chest. Harry felt like she had sent a bolt of electricity through his body.
          “Ron’s going to think we…well, you know. And your mum and dad…” Harry worried aloud.
           “Ron’s dead to the world.” Ginny scoffed, looking over at her brother. It was true, Harry thought. Ron was sprawled across his bed, his face pressed up against his pillow. A bit of drool dribbled out of his mouth, and he was snoring. Harry resisted the urge to laugh.
           “And what my parents don’t know won’t hurt them.” Ginny said.
“Does Hermione know you left?"
"She will if I don’t get back now,” Ginny said, kissing Harry swiftly on the lips, “See you later.” As Ginny got up, Harry noticed she was wearing nothing but an oversized, lavender t-shirt. He swallowed and tried not to stare as she waltzed out of the room.

***
Mrs. Weasley was busy with breakfast, muttering a recipe to herself. Harry and Ron joined Mr. Weasley, Hermione, Percy, a tired looking George, and a demure looking Ginny at the table.

Harry slid in between Mr. Weasley, who was reading the Prophet, and Hermione, who was talking in a low voice to Ron on her other side. Ginny was sitting across from Harry and looked as though she had done nothing less that innocent during the night.
As Mrs. Weasley served breakfast to everyone, Mr. Weasley lowered the Prophet and looked around.
            “It’s only been a week since the battle and already the Ministry seems to be on the mend.” Arthur said to no one in particular.
            Percy nodded and swallowed some of his breakfast, “I have a feeling Kingsley will make a great Minister. He told me he’s thinking of hiring me again. I’m reluctant to re-join the ministry, but I feel like things are finally going to be under control. And better than before."
            Harry nodded. To him, it seemed like his whole life was divided into two parts: before Voldemort, and after Voldemort. During these next few years, the Wizarding world would be celebrating, mourning, and repairing. Harry didn’t want to be part of these celebrations. He would much rather spend these next fear-free years with Ginny, Ron and Hermione.
           “What’s going to happen at Hogwarts, dad?” Ginny asked. Harry had been wondering this himself. He, Ron, and Hermione hadn’t taken their NEWTs and nobody else attending Hogwarts the previous year had taken exams either. He supposed he had better get himself a job soon enough, he already felt bad enough about having lived off the Weasleys for so long. But without his NEWTs, he couldn’t really expect to be able to make much of himself. The faint traces of his Auror ambitions were had almost disappeared.
          “Well, nobody knows much right now. A lot of the school is in need of repairs right now, but I think they’re hoping to have the school open this year. All we really know is that McGonagall has been reinstated as Headmistress."
"They better have reinstated her,” Molly said, joining her family at the table, “Last year Hogwarts was in shambles!"
“I hope they’ll let Harry, Ron and I take our NEWTs.” Hermione said worriedly. Harry could see that Ron was holding her hand under the table, and his first instinct was to feel awkward. But he swallowed the feeling, knowing he’d have to get used to it.
"I’m sure they’ll figure something out,” George said, “All the students in your year missed taking their NEWTs last year as well. Fred and I of course, didn’t need to…” Suddenly George faltered as he thought of his brother. He muttered something and left the room. Molly burst into tears. Everyone stood up immediately and went to comfort her. Harry wanted to sink into the ground when he thought about how much this was his fault.
"I’m s-sorry,” Molly sobbed, “It’s j-just so hard for G-george. F-for all of us. I know F-fred would have wanted to g-go out the way he did. I j-just wish…h-he was s-so young..."
"We all miss him, mum.” Ron said tenderly. Harry had noticed a bit of a change in Ron since the battle. He seemed much more caring towards everyone. “Fred would be proud to go the way he did.” Ron added.
"Fred wouldn’t have wanted us to cry, mum.” Ginny said, “If you hadn’t noticed, he was more of a laughing kind of guy.” Seeing the tears glittering in her eyes, Harry went around everyone and joined her on the other side of the table. Her hand found his and squeezed. Harry squeezed back.
"I’m sorry,” Molly said, wiping her tears, “I need to be stronger, for all of you. Especially you, Harry dear. You’ve done so much for all of us.” Molly said, looking at Harry. Harry looked down at the table, and let go of Ginny’s hand. All eyes were on him, and he wished, again, that he might sink into the floor. Any other person would have relished in the fame that would come from destroying the horcruxes and killing Voldemort. But not Harry. He wanted nothing more than to be something he hadn’t been since he was eleven: ordinary.
"It was nothing,” Harry said quietly, “I mean, no it wasn’t, but it had to be done. I just happened to be the one that had to do it."
“It was much more than that, Harry, and you know it.” Hermione said.
"But you both helped. And Dumbledore. And Neville. And tons of other people. I can’t…I don’t want to take all the credit.” Harry said, standing up, “Can you excuse me for a minute or two?” Harry walked quickly out of the room and up the stairs. He needed…he didn’t know what he needed.

As he came to the second floor of the Weasley’s house, he suddenly heard something. It sounded pitiful…like…crying?

With a dawn of realization, Harry knew who it was, and felt instantly embarrassed to have heard George crying when he obviously wanted to be alone. But before Harry could escape to Ron’s room, the door to George’s room opened, and there stood George. His eyes were red and puffy, and his ear turned Weasley red upon seeing Harry.

"Harry…” George mumbled, rubbing his eyes.
"Sorry...” said Harry weakly, turning to leave, feeling utterly embarrassed.
"It’s OK.” George said from behind him. Harry turned around, and saw that George was smiling.
“Harry?” George said, “Thanks.”
"What for?"
"Just…thanks.” 

***

BANG, BANG, BANG! Harry and Ron were in the living room playing exploding snap when they heard the noise that sounded as though someone was trying to break down the front door. Ginny and Hermione were upstairs, having ‘girl time,’ as they called it
Harry heard Mrs. Weasley cursing as she went to open the door. Both Ron and Harry stood up and peaked around the doorway, curious at who was outside.
The doorstep was crowded with a huge crowd of reporters. Purple smoke from cameras and shouts filled the air.
"Mr Potter! What are you planning to do about the remaining Death Eaters?"
"Harry! Smile for the camera! Is it true that Hogwarts is allowing you back to school?"
"Potter, is it correct that you have romantic relations with a Miss Ginny Weasley?"
"GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Mrs. Weasley screeched, slamming the door and locking it. Ron stifled some laughter, but Harry was worried. He'd rather have to fight one hundred Death Eaters than be in the public's eye once again.

***

“Blimey, I really better get a job soon and start saving.” Ron said, as he pointed at the price of a Wizarding flat in Diagon Alley. It was after dinner, and Harry, Ron and Hermione were sitting on the floor in Harry and Ron’s bedroom, taking a look at the ads in the Prophet. Ginny was out with Mrs. Weasley to try and cheer her up.
"Wasn’t that what we were planning on looking for anyway?” Hermione asked. She had her head in Ron’s lap, and her brown curly hair was spread out over his legs. Strangely, it no longer made Harry too uncomfortable.
"Yes, but I wanted to see how much a flat would even be before I choose a job.” Ron said, scanning the ads again.
"Choose? Ronald, it’s not like anyone will be down on their knees begging for us to work for them,” Hermione said bitterly, “We don’t even have any NEWTs."
“Maybe Hogwarts will let us take them this year.” Harry suggested hopefully. He was still clinging to the scraps of his dream.
"Even so,” said Hermione, sitting up and bending over the paper, “We’ll be completely over worked next year. If we do get to take our NEWTs, we’ll barely have any time to work at all. Of course, money won’t be a problem for Harry.” said Hermione, matter-of-factly. She snatched the paper from Ron and turned the page. Hermione had suddenly given Harry a bit of an idea."
"Look, here’s one,” Hermione said, “Hiring: One Part-time clerk at Quality Quidditch Supplies. Must have good people skills and Quidditch knowledge. No experience necessary.” Hermione looked up. “Either of you two could do that.”
Ron pulled the paper back to get a look at the ad. “Yeah,” said Ron happily, “I think I’ll write to them. I’d like to do that, I mean…if you don’t mind Harry."
“No, I don’t mind.” Harry said. Hermione frowned.
"There doesn’t look like anything else here that we could do, Harry.” Hermione looked frustrated. Harry shrugged, but took the newspaper.
"Even so, I’d like to keep this for a bit, if you don’t mind.”

{A/N} First Chapter, what do you think? It's pretty nice and fluffy right now, but of course things get worse :) Leave a review!

Chapter 2: Two: Remembering
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Two: Remembering


The morning of the funeral was never promised to be a good one.
First, Harry awoke, sweat soaked, from his recurring nightmare. The only thing that seemed to calm him was having Ginny near him at night, but with Ron sleeping five feet away, that wasn’t a very possible option.

Second, he had awoken to rain splattered windows and a grey sky. The soft rain had stopped during breakfast, but the sky remained a dull grey.

Third, his hair wouldn’t lie flat, and he was dripping water on to his new black dress robes. He had been trying in vain for years to get his hair to behave, and he decided this was hereby the last time he’d ever try and flatten it again.

“Are you ready?” Ron asked Harry from the doorway of their bedroom. Never. I’ll never be ready and you can’t make me go.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m ready.” Harry said. He put his comb back on the dresser, and followed Ron out the door and downstairs.

Ron and Harry joined Hermione and Ginny in the kitchen. Hermione and Ginny were standing against the wall, wearing black dress robes and waiting for them. Hermione was already in tears, and Ginny looked shaky. Harry couldn’t help noticing that even though she was pale and worried, she was still so beautiful. Hermione walked up to Ron and wrapped her arms around him.

“We saw the bodies.” Hermione whimpered into Ron’s shoulder. Harry looked at Ginny, who stared fiercely into Harry’s eyes. Harry was overcome with gratefulness for her, and followed his impulse to slip his arm around her waist. Together, the four headed outside for the ceremony. It had been decided to have the triple funeral on the grounds behind the Weasley’s house. Tonks and Lupin were originally going to be buried side by side at the Tonks’, but Andromeda had said that the Weasleys were good as family to them, and that they would have wanted to be buried in the beautiful forest near Ottery St. Catchpole.

The three walked together out to the back garden. There was a large crowd of familiar black clad witches and wizards, and up in front of them a small podium, and with a jolt as Harry realised this, the three open coffins.

As the group walked, they were greeted by face after face of sadness in the black clad crowd. Hagrid, Kingsley, Neville and his grandmother, Luna, and Luna’s father, all of the Weasleys Harry knew and a good many more, Fleur, McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, and Slughorn, Dawlish and many of the other Aurors, Mundungus Fletcher and Aberforth Dumbledore, Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet and Angelina Johnson, Oliver Wood, and many, many other people who Harry didn’t recognize. Finally, Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny found themselves four seats near the other Weasleys.

When Harry sat down, he realized he had a perfect view of the bodies. Feeling slightly sick, he looked over. First was Tonks, lying peacefully in her open coffin. Her hair had returned to its natural light brown in death, and a slight smile graced her lips. Looking at her, you would never have known she had just left a child behind.

Beside Tonks, her husband, and Harry’s teacher. And friend. Harry thought fiercely, tears blurring his eyes. Lupin looked so young, so happy, even though he was dying. He would be happy to know he saved his son’s future. Harry thought, looking over at Andromeda, who was holding the tiny Teddy Tonks in her arms. Tears were streaming down Tonks’ mother’s face, and Harry felt for her.
Harry’s gaze returned to Remus. He’ll be with Dad again, Harry thought, And Sirius. Harry smiled at the thought of the Marauders reunited, wherever they were.

Saving the worst for last, Harry slowly turned his gaze to the ginger haired boy in the last coffin. Fred’s face was turned upwards in a permanent laugh, and beside him lay one of his toy wands.
Looking over at Ginny, he saw she was crying openly. He put his arms around her shoulders and felt her lean her head against his chest, and then they both cried. Harry was sick of being strong, sick of being a man. He wanted to cry for the people who had died for him, and he would. He would cry with the people he loved, for the people he loved.

After what seemed like an eternity holding Ginny, the ceremony started. Arthur Weasley, looking altogether shaken, walked slowly up so that he stood in front of the three coffins and all the chairs.

“G-good morning.” He started weakly, “Here we are today, t-to honour…”Mr. Weasley, stopped, took a deep breath and started again.

“We’re here,” he said, “To honour three amazing friends, confidents, and all around good people. Nymphaedora Tonks, Remus Lupin, and F-fred…”Mr. Weasley, stopped, but pushed himself onward, “Weasley. Fred Weasley. They’re no longer here with us…but I know that all three of them would be so very proud to have died against V-voldemort.” Everyone clapped gently as Mr Weasley stepped down from the podium and Andromeda took the audience’s attention, still holding baby Ted in her arms.

“Good morning, everyone.” Andromeda said. Her voice was surprisingly steady for someone so teary, “As one of the people who knew Dora best, I am proud to be up here today, speaking of her. Dora was…many things. She was kind. She was loyal. Sometimes she was clumsy, but she made up for it in spirit and strength,” Andromeda was smiling, and so was Harry, “She was smart, and hard working. It was her dream to be an Auror, and she did it. But then, as V-voldemort gained power, she sacrificed her career and was a loyal and important member of the new Order from the beginning.” Andromeda’s face darkened at the mention of Voldemort and the war, “Tonks always had a good sense of humour. She used her metamorphmaguising skills to make people laugh, even in the bleakest of times.” Andromeda was smiling again.

“But Voldemort has not taken all of her from me.” Andromeda said fiercely, “Because I still have Teddy,” she said, looking down at her grandson, “My grandson stands as a beacon for the future, a memory of Tonks, Remus, and my husband Ted. Because as long as he’s here,” She swallowed, “They will live on, and never be forgotten.”

Everyone clapped, and Harry looked behind him to see face upon face streaked with tears. Throughout the whole speech, Harry had held tight to Ginny, who still had her head on his shoulder. Hermione was sobbing into Ron’s neck, and Ron was staring forlornly off into the trees.

Harry watched as Hagrid, Kingsley and Mr. Weasley closed Tonks’ Coffin and laid it in the large pit dug for all three bodies.
Kingsley was next to speak about Lupin. “I know,” Kingsley started, “That there are a good many more people in here who knew Remus Lupin better than I. But from what I knew of Remus, he was one in a million.

“Remus had many…secrets…that made life so difficult for him. They affected his health, his life in general. They kept him from marrying his life’s love, Nymphaedora Tonks. They kept him from fully accepting his wife’s pregnancy when it first happened. But Remus was a strong man, and he overcame these obstacles everyday, and helped many people. He was a mentor to his students during his time at Hogwarts. He was a valuable member of the Order of the Phoenix. He was not afraid to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and that’s what made him such a great man. And I’m sure he’d be proud, proud of his son, proud of all of us.”

The ceremony continued, but Harry’s mind was filled with thoughts of those who’d been lost. Mad-Eye, Tonks, Lupin, Colin, Fred, Hedwig, Dobby, Snape…so many were brought down because of Voldemort. Did so many have to die for Voldemort to go down?
Finally, Harry’s gut was wretched out of him as he realized George would be the one speaking of his twin brother. But then, who else?

“Hi everyone. Beautiful weather, isn’t it?” George started, giving a smile. There were titters in the audience, and Harry heard Molly give a sobby laugh.

“I’m here,” said George, “Not to talk about a person, but an extension of myself. Because that’s what Fred was to me. No one, nobody here can know how hard this is for me. Losing an identical twin? It’s so bloody hard. So hard. It’s almost like…”George stared off for a moment, but then looked straight back at the audience, “Like losing part of myself.” George swallowed, and went on.

“Fred, well there’s so much I can say about him. We were twins; we…knew…everything about each other. He knew I was terrified of heights,” George said with a nostalgic grin, “And I knew how much he fancied Angelina Johnson in our fourth year.” There were laughs from the audience, and Angelina was laughing through tears.

“Fred was always the one with the ideas. He came up with them, I’d perfect them, and then he’d be the one to force them into action. He was daring, and brave, and so loyal.”

“Fred and I, we had a promising future,” George said, “As anyone who’s seen our shop has told us,” George grinned sheepishly. “But now his part of our future is gone. It was cruelly snatched away. By Voldemort.”

“At this very moment,” George said, loudly and fiercely, “I have two battle scars. This,” he said, pointing at his missing ear, “And in here.” George clapping a hand to his chest, “I’m missing an ear, and I’m missing my brother.”

“But if I know any one thing about Fred, he would’ve wanted to go out the way he did. Fighting for something he loves, and with a smile on his face.”

At the end of George’s speech, the audience roared with applause, and George’s remaining ear turned pinkish.

Ginny let out a sob, and Harry pulled her on to his chair and held her so tight, it hurt. He kissed her mouth and then looked her in the eyes.
“I love you,” he said simply, knowing it was true, “And I know Fred does too.”

***

Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny followed the black clad crowd slowly over to the grave to give their tributes. Just like a muggle funeral, they would take a handful of dirt and drop it on the grave. Then those who could would cast their Patronus as a tribute. Harry watched the many people stream forward to take their turns next to the grave. His face turned skyward, he smiled as rain drizzled on to his cheeks.

Soon the four of them stood next to the grave. “You first, Harry.” Hermione said. Harry took a breath and stepped forward, aware of the many people listening to him.

“To Tonks,” Harry started, “I didn’t know you that long, but for what I did know…you were great. You were never afraid to fight. And you were always willing to help. Thanks.” Harry took a handful of wet dirt from the side of the grave, and tossed it into the pit.

“To Remus,” Harry said, “I can’t even begin to list all the things you taught me. A Patronus, about my dad. Even with your little problem, you were never too tired, or too sick to go on. You always strived forward, and it makes me proud to call you my friend. Have fun with Dad.” He took another handful of dirt and tossed it into the pit.

“And finally, Fred. The thing I want to say most is sorry. I know I shouldn’t be, but it’s mostly my fault your future is gone. But in the time you lived, you did a lot of good. You made a lot people laugh even during the worst of times. Thank you so much.” Harry took one final handful of wet dirt and sprinkled it into the pit.

With a deep breath, Harry pulled out his wand. “Expecto Patronum.”
He said calmly. The stag shot out of his wand and galloped over to stand with the other Patronuses. Harry stood back and took Ginny’s hand. Now it was time to start over, live anew. That’s what they all would’ve wanted.

***

Most of the mourners stayed at the Weasley’s for lunch. Harry would have much preferred to go up to Ron’s room and be alone for a while, but he thought he shouldn’t be rude, seeing as it was his own fault that Remus, Tonks and Fred were dead.

So he sat down outside at the long tables where the guests were seated. He ended up between Ginny and Kinglsey Shacklebolt, with Ron, Hermione and McGonagall across from them.

Not saying anything, Harry ate when his food was served. He looked down at the table and held Ginny’s hand.

“Good afternoon, Harry.” Kingsley said, forcing Harry to look up. “I saw you in the prophet today.”

“Pardon?” Harry asked, feeling the food he had just eaten form a tight ball in his stomach.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t expect it, Mr. Potter,” McGonagall added, “Our whole world wants to know what happened during the battle.”

“Do you either of you have a copy of today’s prophet?” Hermione asked curiously. Kingsley nodded, withdrew the crumpled paper from his robes and handed it to Harry. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny all leaned over and read. Across the front page was a relatively blurry shot of Harry ducking into the Weasley’s living room.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BOY WHO LIVED?
Single handed, and only at 17 years of age, Harry James Potter has faced much more danger than an average man in his whole lifetime.
As many know, he first faced He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at only a year old, when his parents were viciously murdered by him. But when You-Know-Who turned on Potter himself, he was mysteriously killed, ending the second war.
Twice during his first years at Hogwarts, Potter stopped Voldemort from gaining power. But then, in his fourth year, he not only competed in the Tri-wizard Tournament underage, but witnessed Voldemort coming back to power. In his fifth year, he faced Voldemort once again and came out alive. But his most extraordinary moment occurred just a little over two weeks ago, and in result, the entire Wizarding World is celebrating. Harry Potter defeated Voldemort, the strongest dark lord to ever live.
Any normal man would bask in the glory, would let his story be known. But Harry Potter has been scarcely seen since the battle, making an interview with him a prized goal for any reporter.
There is an awful lot of speculation about what Mr. Potter may be planning next. Many reports claim that he is staying at the house of his long time friends and allies, the Weasleys. Says Talitha Crofton, 41, of Ottery St. Catchpole, “Harry Potter is most obviously plotting to round up the remaining Death Eaters. He’s probably using that run-down old house as a secret head quarters.”
Others report on his supposed relationship with a Miss Ginny Weasley. “Miss Weasley is the youngest of the Weasley children,” says neighbour Mylor Sylvanus, 53, “And the relationship between the two is quite the scandalous affair.” For more on the Ginny/Harry relationship, see page 34.
So what is Mr. Potter up to? No one can quite say at the moment. But it won’t be long before Mr. Potter has to come out into the open, and then we will truly know the story of the chosen one.


Harry slammed his fist down on the table with disgust.

“I thought the Ministry was changing, Kinglsey.” Harry said angrily. Kingsley looked slightly affronted, but quickly smiled.

“We haven’t yet managed to regain control of the Prophet. It should come in due time though. Barnabas Cuffe has had it coming for years.” Harry sighed leaned on the table, still holding Ginny’s hand.

“You two should be careful, though,” Kingsley said looking down and Harry and Ginny’s entwined hands, “The reporters might use you to get to Harry.”

“I think I’m strong enough to face them, but thanks.” Ginny said with a smile, making Harry’s heart swell.

“Mr. Potter,” McGonagall said, looking at Harry, “We’re having a memorial service for Severus Snape when the new school year starts. I know you’ve probably had enough of death and funerals at the moment, but I’d like to extend an invitation to you four.” McGonagall said. Ron, Hermione and Ginny nodded.

Snape. The subject Harry had stubbornly refused to settle on. He’d have years to ponder all the mistakes he made concerning the dead man; he wasn’t ready to face all that guilt yet.

“We’ll come.” Harry said finally. McGonagall nodded.

“I’ll make sure you know when to come nearer to the occasion."

***

After lunch, Harry spent some time with his godson. After Andromeda left, he took Ginny out to the copse where they had always played Quidditch. He snogged her so hard that he didn’t have to think about anything except how he was attracted he was to her. They lay there, not saying anything, just thinking, curled in each other’s arms.

Finally, a little before dinner, Hermione and Ron found them, and brought them back to the house, where Harry changed his clothes, ate his dinner numbly, and went to bed, saying nothing to anyone.

{A/N} Getting slightly frustrated with all the formatting restrictions that have made this chapter get rejected three times...anyway, fourth time now. I've actually finished writing this story, so I guess I'll just keep adding chapters...Leave a review.

Chapter 3: Three: Hogwarts Again
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Chapter Three: Hogwarts Again


It was a few days later, and Harry was finally starting to get over his grief from the funeral. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were sitting at the table one morning, when Hermione noticed four dark dots out the window; they were steadily coming closer.

“Look!” Hermione said, pointing, “I think they’re owls.”

Ron frowned. “Don’t we normally get our Hogwarts letters about now?” Hermione paid no attention to his remark, and hurried to open the window. Sure enough, the four handsome screech owls swooped in and landed on the counter, one sending a dish spinning.

Hermione had the letters off the owl’s legs in a flash. “There’s one for me…and for Harry…There’s one for each of us!”

Harry took his letter quickly and scanned the front, which bore the Hogwarts coat of arms. Was he going to be allowed back, one last time?
Ripping open the envelope, Harry started to read.

Dear Mr. Potter,

Under these unusual circumstances, the school will be permitting yourself, Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger to take your NEWTs along with your other classmates who did not complete theirs last year. All of the sixth year classes of this year will do half of the sixth year curriculum and half of the seventh year, so they will be prepared to take their NEWTs at the same time as you. As a result, you will only be at Hogwarts half days, and will take classes with the sixth years as well as your year. We unfortunately do not have space for your year to board at Hogwarts, so we suggest perhaps finding living arrangements in Hogsmeade. We wish for you to arrive at the castle the morning of September the second, where you will receive your schedules.


Attached is your booklist.

Sincerely,
Deputy Headmaster F Flitwick


“They’re taking us back! They’re letting us get our NEWTs!” Hermione screamed, grabbing Ron and jumping up and down.

“Blimey, Hermione,” Ron said, pushing her into a chair, “It’s just school.”

“I know, but I…I,” Her eyes widened, “We have so much to do! We have to get jobs, I have to visit my parents, and we have to buy books…”

Ginny was laughing, but she suddenly stopped as something fell out of her letter. She screamed as loud as Hermione had.

“I’m Quidditch Captain!” She yelled, jumping on Harry. Harry was about to say his congratulations, but she wrapped her legs and arms around him, and kissed his mouth, over and over again. Harry had to lean against a wall to support them both.

“Sorry,” Harry said to Ron and Hermione weakly, “and congrats, Gin,” Harry said, as Ginny kissed his neck, “When are you going to visit your parents, Hermione?” Harry asked, trying to push Ginny back into her chair. Ron was looking out the window and whistling.

“Well I was actually planning on leaving today to find them, un-obliviate them and then spend a few days with them. But now we have so much to do…”

“We’ll take care of your books, Hermione,” Ginny said, letting go of Harry and standing up, “Go spend some time with your parents.”

Hermione let out a rush of air. “Thanks. It’s just…I never get to see them, and I know they miss me.”

“No problem.” Ginny said, smiling, “Now Harry and I have something we need to work on right now.”

Hermione and Ron raised their eyebrows.

“I mean…I’m just helping him with something.” Ginny continued, “Oh come off of it, you two. C’mon, Harry.”

***

Needing help, and having no one to turn to, Harry had asked Ginny to help him with something he was working on. He was planning to surprise Hermione and Ron with a flat for the three of them to share. He had already picked it out; it was a relatively small one with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen/living room. Harry had wanted his own bedroom – his thoughts had created some wild fantasy involving Ginny and him in the middle of the night, without Ron or Mr and Mrs. Weasley to interrupt them. But this flat had been the best choice, and so Harry accepted he’d have to share a room with Ron.

Now the next step was to go visit the flat itself. Harry had already written to the landlord using Pig, (He had yet to find himself emotionally prepared to replace Hedwig,) and had an appointment to see the flat today. He was taking Ginny with him because he didn’t really want to go alone.

“So how are we getting there?” Ginny asked, once the door to her bedroom was closed and locked.

“I thought I could side-along apparate you. It’ll probably be easier than flooing.” Harry suggested. Ginny nodded.

“Okay. I told my parents we wouldn’t be here when they get back from that Ministry picnic. I was vague though, so no one knows where we’re going exactly.”

“Good. Shall we, then?” Harry asked. Ginny bit her lip.

“I hate apparating…I’ve only done it twice…”

“Take my arm,” he coached, and she obeyed, “And let me do the rest.”

Everything went black and tight.

***

Ginny looked positively shaken after her journey. “That was…horrible…” she said making a face. Harry laughed.

“You get used to it. The building is this way.” Harry said, and he wrapped his arm around her waist, and kissed her cheek. They walked casually along the road, passing other witches and wizards who were relishing in the warm summer sun. Finally, they turned along a side road called ‘Hengist Way.’

“234…”Harry read, “236…238…240. There it is, Gin.” Harry said, pointing at a medium sized, three-story building with brown bricks and small windows. There were daisies planted outside beside the hedges, and a small black wood sign with the address written on it was attached to the wall beside the door.

“Harry, it’s perfect!” Ginny said, looking at him with a smile. He smiled back modestly.

“It’s okay. And you haven’t even seen the inside.”

“I still think it looks very roomy,” Ginny grinned at him, “Let’s go in.”

The front room matched the style of the buildings outside. There was a large wooden staircase leading to the upper floors, and a door leading off to the flat where the Landlord lived. There were some chairs in the back arranged around a small fireplace.

Ginny was looking all around, taking everything in as she and Harry walked across the front room.

“He said to knock on his door when I arrived.” Harry said, pointing at the small door off to the side with “Landlord” engraved on it.

Ginny nodded and the two walked over to knock on the door. A middle aged wizard with greying hair and a moustache answered the door.
“Hello!” he said when he saw them, “You must be Mr. Potter! I’m so pleased to finally thank the man who rid us of the Dark Lord at last.” The landlord grabbed Harry’s hand and pumped it up and down enthusiastically.

“And who is this young lady? Your betrothed, I suppose?” the landlord asked when he saw Ginny. Neither of them bothered to correct him, and Ginny held out a hand.

“Ginny Weasley. Nice to meet you, Mr…?”

“Mr. Cole pleased to meet you as well. Are you and Mr. Potter buying this flat for yourselves?”

“No,” Harry said, “For my two friends and me.” Mr. Crawford nodded.

“I see. So I suppose you’d like to see –“Mr. Cole stopped abruptly when he was interrupted by a young blonde witch who came up behind him.

“Father, may I…oh, are these the new tenants?” Harry felt his breath whoosh out of him as got a good look at the witch. She was tall, and looked a little older than Harry. She wearing well-fitted purple robes, and her long blonde hair was left down. Long eyelashes framed her light brown eyes. Harry was instantly aware that Ginny was glaring at him, and he quickly looked away from the stunning witch.

“Armida Cole. And you must be Harry Potter! I’ve heard so much about you.” Armida shook Harry’s hand. Her hand was cool and soft against his.

“Thanks.” Harry said, trying to look anywhere else but her face, and settling on a potted plant behind her.

“And who is this? Your fiancée?”

“Girlfriend.” Harry said quickly. Ginny scowled and shook Armida’s hand stiffly.

“Nice to meet you too.” Armida said, but she didn’t seem nearly as interested in Ginny as she was in Harry.

“Armida, why don’t you show them around the flat? I’m doing some paperwork right now, and you know your way around.” Mr. Cole said, heading back into his flat.

“Sure, Dad.” Armida said, smiling, “This way.”

If looks could kill, Ginny had just cast Avada Kedavra. She followed next to Harry, arms crossed, glaring.

Harry had a feeling this was going to be a long tour.

{A/N} YAY Chapter three :) I've actually finished this story now and headed on to the next part (it'll be in three, if you're wondering) and all in all I'm quite pleased with it. I'll keep posting as fast as the chapters can be validated, as long as you guys keep reading ;) Don't forget to review!


Chapter 4: Four: Moving In
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Four: Moving In


In the end, Harry bought the flat. It was perfect; a great size, great location, great price. The only thing that wasn’t so good was Ginny’s opinion on it.

“It’s not suited for you three. You should look elsewhere.” Ginny had said to him sometime after they had returned to the Weasleys.

“You just don’t like it because of Armida.” Harry had pointed out. Ginny had scowled and stalked off to her room for a while. Later, Harry had apologized and the two had enjoyed a good snogging session, so Ginny had decided she didn’t mind the flat so much.

A few days later, Harry, Ron, and Ginny had headed out to Diagon Alley to pick up their books and some other things they would need before the school year started. Hermione was still visiting her parents, but she was due to return later that night. Harry had told Hermione and Ron that he had a surprise for them afterwards, but he wouldn’t say anything else.

Per Ginny’s request, the three of them had flooed from the Weasley’s to Diagon Alley. After dusting themselves off a bit, the group had left the Leaky Cauldron and headed on to the Main Road. Diagon Alley wasn’t too busy today; it was slightly cloudy out and people seemed to be wary of rain.

Harry, Ron and Ginny were ready to take the weather, however, and so they walked on, admiring the sights as they went.

“Should we head to Gringott’s first? Do you need money?” Ginny asked. Harry shook his head.

“Bill picked mine up for me again. It’s still a bit crazy in there.” Harry said as they kept walking.

“We have ours too,” Ron said, meaning him and his sister. Ginny nodded.

“I guess we don’t need to then. Let’s go to Flourish and Blott’s first.” Harry said.

***

Harry, Ron and Ginny were quick to purchase everything they and Hermione would need for school, and managed to get back to the Weasley’s before the rain came.

As the three of them stepped out of the fireplace and dusted themselves off, they realized the house was empty. Mr. Weasley was out in the shed tinkering away with his muggle artefacts, and Mrs. Weasley was out to lunch with one of her friends. George and Percy had both returned to their respective houses after the funeral.
Ron gave a yawn. “I’m tired,” he said, walking towards the stairs, “Wake me up when Hermione comes back.” Suddenly, he turned around.

“And no funny business.” Ron said with a frown.

“Oh, right, like you and Hermione don’t get your fair share of that.” Ginny said, rolling her eyes. Ron’s ears turned pink, but he stomped up the stairs and didn’t say anything.

“So…”Ginny said, walking over to Harry. She had her eyes to the floor, but she lifted her gaze, shook her hair out her eyes and grinned.

“So…” Harry said, not at all as smooth as she had just been. With a little flutter of his heart, he felt Ginny slip her fingers into his belt loop.
She stepped so close to him that their chests were touching. Her fingers stayed tight on his jeans.

“So what do you think Ron meant by funny business?” Ginny asked, looking up so she could see his face.

“Well,” Harry said, “I think it would probably go a little something like this.”

Eagerly, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her in, kissing her mouth. Her hand slid between them and she ran it up his thudding chest and around his neck and shoulders. Sliding his arms down to her waist he deepened the kiss, running his tongue along the warm inside of her mouth. Gently, he manoeuvred her backwards on to the couch. He pushed her down and climbed on top of her, running his fingers through her soft hair.

As they kissed, Harry felt Ginny slide her hands up under his shirt. He felt like his whole body was on fire as she ran her thumb along his pec and up around his nipple.

Moaning, Ginny adjusted herself on top of him, and pushed his shirt up. Her tongue snaked out of his mouth and down his neck. Her tongue was just about to reach his eager stomach when Harry heard someone clear their throat loudly.

Ginny and Harry’s heads both shot up to see a very embarrassed looking Ron and Hermione staring at them. Harry yanked his shirt down, and Ginny smoothed her hair. But nothing could disguise what they had just been doing, because both of them were breathing hard and blushing furiously.

“Um, welcome back, Hermione.” Ginny said, leaping off the couch. Ron looked furious, he was glaring at the floor.

“How are your parents?” Harry added, standing up.

“Fine, thanks,” Hermione answered, obviously trying to pretend she hadn’t seen anything.

“You said you had something to show us, Harry?” Ron said, teeth clenched.

“Oh yeah,” Harry said, suddenly remembering the flat, “Here, take my arm.”

***

Harry apparated Ginny and guided Ron and Hermione to Hengist road in Hogsmeade. Ginny had a little smile on her face. He could tell she was excited to see their reactions.

“Is this Hogsmeade?” Ron asked. Harry nodded.

“This way,” he said, leading them down the road.

“Harry, where are we going?” Hermione asked. Harry grinned and shook his head.

“You’ll see.”

Soon the group came to number 240, and Harry opened the door to the building. Hermione and Ron looked bewildered.

“Harry, is this a –“ Hermione began. Harry stopped her.

“You’ll see.” He repeated as he took them up the stairs and down the hall to the entrance of the flat. Smiling, Harry slipped a small key out of his pocket. He slid it into the lock and turned, opening the door.

As the group walked into the kitchen and living room, Hermione gave a squeal when she finally figured out where they were.

“Harry! How could you!” She screamed, but she was smiling intensely. Harry grinned back, putting the key in his pocket.

“Where are we, Harry?” Ron asked, confused.

“It’s our new flat, Ron!” Hermione shouted, grabbing him.

“Ours?”

“Ours! Yours, mine and Harry’s!” Hermione said, dancing around.

“You didn’t need to do that, mate! We would’ve found our own places.” Ron said. Harry shrugged modestly.

“I thought it would be easier, cheaper and more fun to live together. Do you like it?”

“I love it!” Hermione shouted. She was already in the kitchen area, opening and shutting cupboards.

“Did you decorate this by yourself, Harry?” Hermione asked, as she opened the refrigerator.

“Ginny did most of it.” Harry said, shrugging. Ron walked over and collapsed on to the sofa. The living room walls were done in a pale blue, and the sofas were white with small blue spots. A large window with white and blue spotted drapes stood next to the sofas. The coffee table and the fire place were done in grey, and Ginny had even placed a vase of pink roses on the table. Harry had let Ginny choose and do most of the decorations furniture spells, but he had done the research to find the spells.

“Ooo, I love these chairs!” Hermione squealed when she saw the kitchen chairs. The kitchen walls were beige, and they matched the counters and the seat cushions. The counter tops were a peach coloured stone, and the wood of the tables and chairs were also done in an orange colour. There were paintings of fruit bowls on the walls, complementary of Ginny.

“Do you two want to see the bedrooms?” Ginny asked. Hermione, who had finally finished going through all the cupboards, nodded and the four headed down the short hall. Ginny opened the door to Hermione’s room.

Because she was also a girl, Harry had let Ginny take complete control of Hermione’s room, doing only the magic for her, because she was still only sixteen. It seemed Ginny had done a good job, because Hermione had screamed and hugged them when she saw it.

All the furniture was done in white wood. There was a full wall of bookshelves for Hermione, and a desk and dresser. The curtains and bed spread were pale orange and lavender striped. The walls were something Harry was especially proud of. He had used a spell from his research that made the orange and lavender of the wall move and swirl together, never stopping. The effect was very relaxing, almost like watching purple clouds dancing against an orange sunset.

After Hermione had spent a while admiring her room, she insisted she see the boys room. Harry shrugged and led them too it. He hadn’t spent much time on his and Ron’s room; it wasn’t like they really cared all that much about the decorations. In fact, the room itself looked not unlike Ron’s room at the Weasley’s; expect the walls were blue instead of bright orange.

Hermione’s eyes widened when she entered the room. She turned around.

“You two are sharing a room?” Harry nodded.

“This was the best flat I could find and it was only a two bedroom.”

“Well, I can fix that. It’s just a bit of a conjuring spell and…” Hermione took out her wand and waved it.

Murus Licitum.” She said, and before Harry’s eyes, a wall appeared, and starting expending to fit the space between the floor and the ceiling. Hermione muttered under her breath and the wall sealed itself to the other walls. Another wand wave, and a door appeared between the two sides.

“Wow, Hermione.” Ron said, knocking on the wall, as if to see if it was really solid.

“It’s nothing really, just a spell I learned last year. Let’s get Harry’s stuff on this side.”

So Harry, Hermione and Ron used their wands to put Harry’s things on one side and Ron’s on the other, while Ginny watched. When everything was in place, Hermione put her hands on her hips, looking satisfied.

“Harry, Ginny, this was so great of you.” Hermione said, hugging Harry, and then Ginny.

“Yeah, great job, mate. Now we just have to find jobs.” Ron said, thumping Harry on the back.

“And you can do that for yourselves, can’t you?” Harry asked with a smile, collapsing on to his bed.

{A/N} Chapter Four, FINALLY. I really didn't think this story would ever get up and running, but now it has, and I'm pretty happy :) Chapters three and four I don't like too much just because they're short and uneventful, but they're necessary to the story. Anyway, I'll keep posting, and you keep reviewing, and everything'll be great :) :)


Chapter 5: Five: Newspaper and Firewhisky
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Five: Newspaper and Firewhisky


The trio moved out of the Weasley’s the very next day. A tearful Mrs. Weasley had hugged them packed a package of food for each of them. Mr. Weasley had been giving them advice every three seconds.

“Remember to write! And come back to stay any time! And always trust your employer! And –“Mr. Weasley said, hugging Hermione, and then Harry.

“And if you ever need food, or anything, just ask, we’re always here. Oh, and – “Mrs. Weasley added.

“Mum!” Ron protested as his mum kissed him over and over again. “I’m eighteen!”

“I know, but now it’s only Ginny living here… All my children gone…” Mrs. Weasley looked over at her daughter, who was clutching Harry’s hand as though she’d never let go.

“Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, withdrawing a small bag from his pocket.

“Yes, Harry, dear?”

“I just wanted to re-pay you for all the time I’ve spent here…” He handed the bag to Mrs. Weasley, feeling slightly awkward. Mrs. Weasley opened it. It was filled with gold galleons.

“Harry! How dare you attempt to pay us for all we've done for you! You're no less than a son to us.” Mrs. Weasley shouted at him, shoving the bag back at him.

“We never want to you to pay us for anything, ever, Harry. In fact, it should probably be us paying you for all you've done,” Mr. Weasley added, “Besides, you’re going to need this in the future.”

“Sorry,” Harry said weakly, looking at the floor. But then he felt and saw something small and red headed leap into his arms.

“I’ll see you later.” Ginny whispered into Harry’s hair. He stepped back.

“What?”

“Bye, Harry. I love you.”

“I love you too, but –“

“Get going, you.” She said, pushing him out the door. After that slightly confusing goodbye, Harry, Ron and Hermione stepped on to the porch and apparated back to the flat.

***

They had already moved all their personal belongings there previously, so Harry and Ron settled into the kitchen and talked as Hermione ordered dinner.

With a click of her tongue, Harry watched Hermione finish off her letter and strap it to Pig’s leg. Holding the excited owl, she walked over to the living room and nudged Pig out of it. When he had flown off, she joined Harry and Ron in the kitchen.

“The food should be here in about 10 minutes,” Hermione said. Hermione and Ron had explained the Wizard’s way of ordering food to him. It wasn’t very different from the Muggle way, expect instead of delivery men, they used owls. Harry had never seen it been used before, however, as Mrs. Weasley only served homemade.

“So, our first night in the new flat.” Hermione said as she slid into her chair. “Most muggles would celebrate this event with alcohol and music.”

“We can do that. At least the first part. What’s alcohol?” Ron asked, walking into the living room and tapping the radio with his wand. A rock song by the Weird Sisters flooded into the room, making Hermione stand up.

“It’s kind of like muggle Firewhisky,” She said, “Come and sit in here, Harry.” Harry got up and joined her on the sofa.

“We can get Firewhisky. We live in Hogsmeade, remember?” Ron said, joining the other two on the sofa.

“Why don’t you go get it then, Ron?” Hermione asked, frowning.

“Fine. See you. Don’t eat all the pizza.” He said, and then apparated.

Ron returned a couple of minutes later, holding two full-size bottles of Firewhisky. Hermione’s eyes widened.

“We can’t drink all that. Think of how we’ll feel in the morning!”

“More for another time, then,” Ron said with a smile. He hurried into the kitchen, and put one of the bottles in the fridge. Then he uncorked the bottle, and poured some healthy doses of the sparking, fizzing drink into three glasses.

“Drink up.” He said when he had returned to the living room and handed Harry and Hermione their own glasses.

Harry clinked his glass with Ron and Hermione’s and sipped. The burning sensation was familiar, and Harry was looking forward to more of it.

Hours passed and drinks were re-filled. Harry vaguely remembered Hermione taking her sweater off and dancing to the music at one point.

Suddenly Harry realized he was lying on the floor, Ron and Hermione next to him. Hermione was wearing only jeans and a thin tank top, and she was giggling and red-faced. Ron was staring at her with a lopsided smile on his face.

“Maybe we should…hic! Go to bed.” Hermione said. Harry found himself laughing intensely at this suggestion. But somehow, he ended up alone, wandering in to his bedroom.
Some of the fog in his mind cleared when he got clear sight of his room.

“Hi.” Ginny said, smiling, “You are so pissed.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, nodding and tipping to one side. Ginny was sitting on his bed. She had lit some candles on the floor and was sitting, legs crossed on the bed.

“Come sit.” She said quietly, smiling at him. Harry staggered over to his bed and collapsed on to it. Ginny giggled when he found his head in her lap.

“I love you.” Harry said, grinning lazily. Ginny bent down and softly kissed his mouth.

She pulled away, but Harry flung his hands around her neck and pulled himself up to meet her mouth. A low groan came from his throat. He rolled over so that he was lying on his side. He slid both his arms around Ginny’s waist and pulled her close. He let her head slid into the space between his head and shoulders. He could feel her warm lips kissing up along his neck and around his ears. Unable to standing it anymore, he grabbed her face with both hands and put his tongue in her mouth. As she adjusted her arms against his neck, he slipped a hand under her jumper. Reaching around the back to awkwardly un-clasp her bra, his hand slid up her torso, reaching higher, and higher, and higher…

***

When Harry came back to consciousness he felt as though one million tons of stone were being continually dropped on his head.

“Hey babe,” Ginny said from her spot beside him. Harry moaned and leaned over the bed. He retched.
When he was done, he sat up and collapsed back on to the bed.

“What a lovely home warming present,” Ginny said, eyeing the floor with disgust. Just then, Harry realized they were lying in each other’s arms, and Harry was only wearing his boxers. Ginny was wearing a little more, luckily, but her bra was strewn on the floor and her fly was un-done.

“Uh-oh,” Harry said, forgetting his hangover for one minute, “Did we…”

“No,” Ginny assured him, “But you were very eager. I managed to keep you off me, but it was difficult. I don’t have that much self control.” Ginny smiled sheepishly.

“I don’t think either of us are ready. I'm really sorry about that.” Harry said, shutting his eyes, as the light from the window was bothering him.

“I agree. I’m going to see if Hermione has any anti-hangover potion. That girl is ready for anything.” Ginny said. Harry nodded and desperately hopped so.

Ginny returned holding a vile smelling purple potion. Harry gulped it down and his head cleared instantly. He sat up.

Scourgify.” He said, pointing his wand at the pile of vomit on the floor.

“Thanks Ginny. How did you get here without your parents noticing?”

“I rode one of our brooms,” she said, pointing at the Cleansweep in the corner, “And climbed through the window. As for my parents, well, I always sleep later in the morning and I doubt they’ll think to look for me.”

“You really shouldn’t have,” Harry pointed out, pulling a shirt out of his drawer and slipping it on, “You could’ve gotten hurt and we could’ve done something we’d both regret.”

“You sound like my brothers. I know what could’ve happened. But it didn’t and I couldn’t bear being away from you.” Ginny said. She stood up and closed the drapes. Harry didn’t avert his eyes as she turned her back to him and slipped her light green bra on. She grabbed her t-shirt and put it back on, and then did up her fly.

“You can stay for breakfast, but then you have to go back. I’d die your parents were worried because of me.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Oh please.”

***

Ginny and Harry joined a tired Ron and Hermione in the kitchen. Hermione was eating cereal and reading The Prophet. Ron was chewed slowly on a piece of toast.

“Ginny?” Ron asked incredously as his sister sat down.

“Oh, hi Gin,” said Hermione, still reading the paper.

“Hi, Ron,” Ginny said, stealing some of his toast, “Sleep well?”

“What did you and Harry do?” Ron said loudly, standing up. Ginny smiled at him.

“Oh, didn’t you know? Harry and I just made wild passionate love during the night, right next door to you.” She said, crossing her arms. Ron looked like he was about to pound Harry to a pancake, but then something seemed to click in his mind.

“She’s joking, isn’t she?”

“Of course I am! I do know how to make my own decisions!” Ginny roared, looking more and more like her mother, “And if Harry and I did decide to do that,” she said, poking a finger into Ron’s chest, “IT WOULD BE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” Ginny turned away from her brother and looked at Harry.

“I’m sorry, Harry, I have to go,” Ginny said quickly, taking some toast and kissing his cheek. She ran back to his room to get her broom and slammed the door on her way out of the flat.

“You know I’d never do that if she wasn’t ready,” Harry said quietly, sliding into his seat, “I love her.”

Ron gave him a strange look, and then sighed, “I know, but it’s still sort of weird for me.”

“Well it’s weird for me too,” Harry said, stealing more of Ron’s toast, “With you and Hermione…”

“Why does everyone keep taking my toast?” Ron snapped, stealing it back.

“Fine, I’ll make my own.” Harry said, standing up and walking over to the toaster.

When Harry returned to the table, Hermione finally looked up from her paper.

“Well, Harry, Rita Skeeter’s finally attempting to sink her talons into you.”

“What?” Harry asked, grabbing the paper.

POTTER: PRICK OR PROTAGONIST?
With all the recent rumours surrounding the Wizarding World’s favourite teenager, it’s sometimes difficult to sort through what’s true and what’s fiction. But Ms. Rita Skeeter is here to set everything straight with her newest biography, Potter: Prick or Protagonist. A follow-up to her recent work on Albus Dumbledore, Potter is promised to be a literary master piece for years to come.

The book sorts out the many mysteries of Harry Potter. What really happened on the night Potter’s parents died? Who is Harry’s real love interest, the young Weasley daughter or the muggleborn Hermione Granger? The book also explores a popular theory: were Mr. Potter and Albus Dumbledore really plotting Voldemort’s downfall, or were they conspiring against those they seemed to be fighting with?

Either way, Ms. Skeeter’s novel seems that it will be an inspiring and moving piece about our hero, Mr. Harry James Potter.


Harry tossed the paper across the room. Hermione glared at him and went to pick it up.

“Why can’t they just leave me alone?” Harry asked, banging his head against the table. Ron clapped him on the back.

“It could be worse, mate. Remember when the whole world thought you were lying about Voldemort?”

“Yes and I’d rather not re-live the experience.” Harry said, teeth clenched.

“They’ll give up eventually. Someone else will come along, they’ll forget about you,” said Hermione knowledgably, “Besides, some of this stuff is downright hilarious.”

***

August 11th was Ginny’s seventeenth birthday. Harry had borrowed the help of Hermione to find the perfect present, and they had come through. Taking Pig, Harry quickly scrawled out a letter two days before.

Dear Gin,
Get ready for the best birthday of your life. I’ll pick you up at seven on the eleventh. Dress pretty.
Love,
You-Know-Who (and not the evil one.)


Smiling to himself, Harry tied the letter to the tiny owl and tossed him out the window.

***

With a pop, Harry apparated on to the Weasley’s front lawn. The night air rippled his hair, and he smiled, fixing his shirt. He was holding on to his Firebolt, and his pocket was slightly weighted down with Ginny’s present.

Taking a deep breath, Harry strode up to the front door and knocked. Mrs. Weasley opened the door.

“Harry, dear! Welcome! Have you dropped by for supper? I wasn’t expecting you but I’m sure we can fit someone else in…”

“Uh, no thanks Mrs. Weasley. Didn’t Ginny tell you…?”
Suddenly, Harry’s breath whooshed out of him as Ginny walked on to the stairs.

She was smiling at him, her long red hair twisted up on her head with small curled tendrils framing her face. She was wearing a form fitting black dress under a denim jacket. Her long freckled legs were bare and she was wearing small black heels.

“Wow,” Harry murmured as she brushed by him, and joined Harry and Mrs. Weasley in the front hall. Ginny was grinning.

“Sorry, mum, I forgot to tell you Harry was taking me out tonight. I hope you didn’t prepare anything much?” Ginny said. Mrs. Weasley shrugged.

“No, I didn’t really, I suppose. We can eat your cake tomorrow. Well, you two have fun now.” Mrs. Weasley said, with a wave and giggle. Harry had to stifle his laughter as Ginny made eye contact with him.

“I’ll be home by twelve, mum.” Said Ginny. Harry took her hand as they walked out the door.

As soon as the door was shut, Ginny started to laugh.

“Sorry about that. She gets muddled up in my business a lot. I like to keep her out of it sometimes.” Harry smiled.

“So where are we going?” she asked.

“I thought I’d take you to your first muggle restaurant.” said Harry with a grin.

“We’re not apparating, are we?” Ginny asked, turning slightly green. Harry laughed.

“No. I thought I could borrow one of your brooms?” He questioned. Ginny nodded.

“Let me just grab one really quick. I can’t guarantee it’ll be fast though.” Ginny said with a smile, and jogged off towards the back of the house. Harry marvelled at her ability to run in heels. She returned a few minutes later, panting slightly. Harry took the broom from her.

“Get on.” He said, straddling the broom. Ginny got on the broom behind him, and wrapped her arms around his waist. Harry kicked off the ground, feeling his hair whip all around as they rose steadily upward.

“This is beautiful!” Ginny said, leaning her head over his shoulder. Harry had to agree. The whole village was covered with darkness, expecting for pin pricks of light from the small cottages. Harry urged the broom forward, and felt Ginny squeeze him tighter.

“I love you.” Ginny breathed.

“I love you too.” Harry said, turning to kiss her. She let him but only a quick one.

“Let’s not crash on my birthday.” Ginny said, “We can snog later.”

***

A few minutes later, Harry soared into an alley way and landed behind a dumpster.

“No muggles will see us here,” he explained. Ginny laughed, straightening her dress.

“Let’s go,” she said, taking his waist. Harry complied, kissing her cheek.
Harry had already made reservations at the small café in a nearby town. The whole building was lit by candlelight, and an accordion player was playing soft songs in the background.

Harry led Ginny to a table, and sat down across from her. Her warm brown eyes were on him, and as the accordion music flowed through him, all he could see was her.

“Harry,” she said, looking around, “I should have done more for your birthday. This is beautiful.” Harry vaguely recalled his own birthday party between him and Ginny. It had involved a cake baked by Ginny herself, firewhisky and lots of kisses.

“My birthday was great. Just what I wanted.” Harry said, sliding his hand along the table to take hers. Harry was so wrapped up in her, he barely noticed when the waiter came and cleared his throat. Harry and Ginny jumped.

“Are you ready to order?” the waiter asked, pulling out a notebook. Harry nodded.

“Yes. We’ll both have spaghetti with the mushroom sauce and two glasses of champagne.” The waiter nodded.

“Very well. I’ll be back soon.” The waiter walked away and Ginny turned to Harry.

“What’s champagne?” she asked, looking confused. Harry laughed.

***

Ginny was rather giggly after the two of them had finished the champagne. Once they’d finished their dessert, Harry had timidly asked Ginny to dance. He had smiled and thrown herself into his arms. Harry led her to the dance floor where other couples swayed to the music and looked into each others arms.

Harry could feel her hands draped over his shoulders. Her head fit neatly underneath his chin, letting Harry smell the flowery scent of her hair. He breathed in, and buried his face in her hair.

“Harry, this was the best birthday I’ve ever had.” Ginny said, kissing him.

“And it’s not over yet. I have our own broom closet reserved.” Harry said with a sly grin.

***

A couple minutes later, Harry and Ginny emerged from a closet near the back of the restaurant, straightening their clothes. They were just about to return to the table to ask for the bill when there was a scream from the front of the restaurants.

Harry grabbed Ginny’s arm and ran forward, feeling his stomach sink into the floor as he heard spells shouted and saw lights shooting back and forth across the restaurant. Muggles screamed and hid as tables were knocking over.

Harry whipped out his wand, “Stupefy!” He shouted, as the stunner knocked over a table that was dodged by a black-cloaked figure. He sprinted forward, Ginny with her wand out next to him.

As they moved forward the scene in front of Harry came clearer. There were three black-cloaked and masked figures at the front of restaurant. One was laughing as he shot spell after spell at the terrified muggles. Death Eaters.

IMPEDIMENTA!” Ginny screamed, knocking one of the Death Eaters over. “Avada Ke-“

Protego!” Harry yelled, leaping in front of Ginny. The strong shield spell knocked the Death Eater into a wall. He slid down to the floor, knocked out.

Harry turned to Ginny quickly as the final Death eater approached them. “Signal the order.” Ginny nodded as she cast her patronus.

“So, Potter has taken his little blood-traitor girlfriend to a filthy muggle restaurant,” The Death Eater taunted, walking closer to Harry. Harry moved to the side slightly so he was standing behind a glass cabinet. “

SECTUMSPEMPRA!” The Death Eater yelled, and Harry’s first instinct was to duck. The spell collided with the glass cabinet, and glass shattered everywhere.

Prote-“ Harry was too late. He heard Ginny scream. His last thought as he fell backwards, covered in broken glass, was that the Order better hurry up.

***

Harry awoke to a pleasant white glow. He felt almost as if he was floating, and he decided he might like to stay here a while.

“Harry?” he heard a voice ask, from far away. A red blur disturbed the white and suddenly Harry’s eyes were open and Ginny was holding him.

“We were so worried!” Ginny said, kissing him. Harry reached over and put his glasses on, sitting up. He was aware he was in a hospital bed. Ginny was sitting next to him, and Ron and Hermione were sitting in chairs next to the bed.

“What happened? Are the death eaters gone?” Harry asked, rubbing his eyes. He felt a strange stiffness all over.

“The Order came right after you passed out. They finished the last Death Eater off and took you to St. Mungo’s. You came awfully close to not making it though.” Hermione said, looking worried. She looked as though she had had a long night; there were dark circles under her eyes and she was holding Ron’s hand.

“So we’re at St. Mungo’s?” Harry asked, and Hermione and Ron nodded, “Why did the Death Eaters attack?”

“Kingsley thinks it was just a coincidence that you two were there. He thinks it was just an unprovoked muggle attack.” Ron explained.

“It’s a good thing you were there though,” Hermione said, “You saved the lives of a lot of muggles. They’re having their memories altered as we speak.”

“How long have I been down?” Harry asked, wincing as he examined his arms. Long scars covered them, the result of the glass pieces getting lodged into his skin. A Healer must’ve removed them and healed up the wounds.

“Only a day or so.” Said Ron, checking his watch, “Do you mind if Hermione and I go down to get something from the café? I haven’t eaten for hours.”

“That’s a record for you,” said Harry, smiling, “Go ahead.”
Suddenly Harry was aware that he and Ginny were extremely alone.

“So I suppose you won’t find me as attractive now that I have all these scars.” Harry said, grinning at her as she curled up next to him on the bed.

“Quite the opposite. Very macho.” Ginny said, running her fingers along his forearm.

“So,” Ginny said, “They found this in your pocket last night,” Ginny said, grabbing something from Harry’s night stand. It was a small black box, “I was wondering who exactly it might be for.”

“Oh, it’s for my other girlfriend.” Harry said gravely, nodding, “She was in Slytherin, and she’s part Veela. I’ve been seeing her behind your back for a whole year.” Ginny hit his arm.

“Ow!” Harry yelled, rubbing his arm, “I’m injured, remember? And it was a joke! It’s for you.”

”It better be. I have five brothers, remember?” Ginny said, grinning, “Can I open it?”

“No.” Harry said, smiling. Ginny opened the black box and gasped.

“Oh, Harry,” she whispered, “It’s beautiful!”

The gift was a small silver bracelet. It was a delicate chain all around except for a flat piece of metal engraved with the words, ‘My Love.’

“It’s one of a kind. It’s supposed to let you know when your true love’s in danger.” Harry said with a small smile, “Here.”

Harry un-did the small clasp and slipped it around Ginny’s wrist. As he did it up, Ginny held out her arm, admiring it.

“I love it, Harry.” Ginny said.

“Good.” Harry said, falling back on to the pillow and closing his eyes.
He felt Ginny take his glasses off and heard her lay them on his nightstand. She pecked his cheek, and slipped out of the room.

{A/N} Eh? Eh? LOL, that was very Canadian of me. Anyway, I quite like this chapter, hope you did too. Don't forget to review!

Chapter 6: Six: New Year
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Six: New Year


Harry felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and happiness upon stepping into the great hall once again.

It was September the 2nd, and last year’s seventh years were filing into the great hall to receive their schedules and further instructions about their schooling.

The summer’s end had passed in a blur of heat, firewhisky, and relaxation. It seemed like no time at all before Harry, Ron, Hermione and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley accompanied Ginny to King’s Cross for her last year at Hogwarts.

Mrs. Weasley had looked more than teary at the sight of her last child headed off for her final year of school.

“We’re certainly getting old, Arthur,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling through tears.

“What, you hadn’t figured that out yet, mum?” Ron had asked, and Hermione had smacked him. Luckily Mrs. Weasley hadn’t heard.

Ginny’s goodbye had made Harry’s whole body throb. She had stood on her tip-toes and wrapped her arms around him. “See you, babe. I love you.” She said quietly. Harry had to keep reminding himself he was going to see her tomorrow. He couldn’t control himself, so he snatched a relatively long kiss as she pulled away, even with her family watching.

“I love you too. Bye Gin.” Harry said. He waved until the train was out of sight.

The next day, Harry, Ron and Hermione had walked the short distance from their flat to Hogwarts, discussing how things might work. Ron had his arm around Hermione’s waist. Harry almost said something, but realized if he wanted Ron to respect him with Ginny, he’d have to respect his best friends together.

“I doubt they’ll make Harry take DADA. He is the one who defeated Voldemort.” Hermione said. It was a chilly day out and her cheeks were red with cold.

“I like DADA.” Harry said defensively, “But I guess it’d be easier on my schedule if I didn’t have to take it.”

It wasn’t long before the trio had walked into the castle. The students were sitting at the house tables, eating breakfast. McGonagall was handing out schedules.

Harry scanned the familiar faces of the Gryffindor table, looking for her. And then he saw her, her red hair standing out against all the black robes. She was talking to a smiley brown haired girl who Harry thought was a year below him.

He waved, and she saw and waved back. Harry wanted to talk to her, but Hermione and Ron had already eased him forward towards McGonagall.

“Potter,” McGonagall said, handing him the paper. He took it and nodded at her. She gave a slight smile. As he wandered out of the great hall, he scanned it quietly. Students were whispering and pointing at him, but of course he was used to that by now.

“So you were right, Hermione,” Harry said, when he had joined them near the entrance, “I’m not taking defence. Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, and Charms. And I have Friday completely off.”

“I have the same as you Harry, but I still have to take Defence.” Ron said, looking at his own paper, “What about you, Hermione?”

“Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and Defence,” Hermione said, “I’m going to have barely any time to work! Look, Transfiguration and Arithmancy on Monday, Charms and Ancient Runes on Tuesday, Potions on Wednesday, Herbology on Thursday and Defence on Friday.”

“You’ll manage it. Remember our third year?” Harry said passively, “Let’s got to McGonagall’s class.”

***

Harry was greeted with a familiar sight upon setting foot in McGonagall’s classroom. Most of the Gryffindors in Harry’s year and those a year below him sat in the class. Harry waved to Ginny, who waved back and slid into a seat beside Ron. Hermione sat down next to Parvati Patil.

“Hi Dean.” Said Ron, to Dean Thomas who sat in front of them next to Seamus Finnigan.

“Oh, Hi Harry, Ron,” Dean said. Seamus waved. Harry looked around the room for the rest of his classmates.

“Where’s Lavender? And Neville?” Harry asked, worried.

“Lavender’s at St. Mungo’s.” said Dean quietly, “She was attacked by Greyback during the battle.” Harry felt guilt squeeze his heart.

“And Neville doesn’t take NEWT Transfiguration, remember? But everyone else is here.” Said Seamus. Suddenly, Professor McGonagall strode into the room, making everyone settle down and pull out their text books.

“Welcome back, 7th years and graduates, to NEWT level Transfiguration. As your studies were rudely interrupted last year, and some of you have yet to start 7th year Transfiguration at all, we are re-arranging schedules this year so that the seventh years will take both 6th and 7th year courses.”

“Now, we will now be starting back on human transfiguration. Turn to page 56 if you please…”

Harry sighed happily and turned the pages of his text book.

***

After class, Harry said goodbye to Ginny, who was off to charms, and headed towards the front door with Hermione and Ron. The graduates this year would be allowed off the grounds at any time they weren’t in class, but were welcomed to meals in the great hall. The trio, who were still looking for jobs, had decided to look around Hogsmeade for any job openings.

Harry yawned as they walked along the cobblestone streets. The wind was blustery, and the trees were just beginning to shed their green hues for colours a little bit warmer. There were few people walking around the village; but some of the shop owners already had morning business. As they passed the Three Broomsticks, Madam Rosmerta waved from where she stood cleaning a window. Ron stopped walking momentarily and waved back. Hermione frowned.

“She’s waving at Harry, you moron.” Hermione said, dragging Ron forward. Harry coughed to cover his laughter.

“Do you think she has any job openings?” Ron asked, dazed.

“No, I don’t think so!” Hermione said in a huff.

“Zonko’s does though, look,” Harry said pointing at the HELP WANTED sign in the window of the joke shop. He was trying to cool the argument before it heated up into a full blown wild fire. Ron opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, Harry had pushed him into the shop and returned to Hermione on the main road.

“That stupid, arrogant, woman-watching prat!” Hermione mumbled, fists clenched. She stomped along beside Harry, who laid a hand on her shoulder.

“He’ll come round, you wait, Hermione. He always does.” Harry said, struggling for words.

“Oh, of course you’d take his side, Harry! Blokes should stick together, right?” She asked angrily, not letting Harry defend himself, “Typical. I’ll see you later.” Hermione said, storming off. Harry shrugged, shoved his hands in his pockets and kept walking, all the way back to the flat. They’d sort it out. They always did.

***

There was someone in the flat when Harry returned, although it wasn’t a person. A large screech owl carrying three envelopes emblazoned with the Hogwart’s crest sat on the windowsill, pecking at it fervently. Harry quickly slipped his jacket off and ran to let it in.

The first envelope was addressed to Harry, and the others to Ron and Hermione. After Harry had removed them from the owl’s leg, it flew off, in the direction of the castle.

Harry ripped open the envelope, and unfolded the letter.

Dear Mr. Potter,

I am hereby inviting you to Severus Snape’s memorial on the 5th of November. It will be held at ten in the morning on the grounds in front of the lake. As one who knows the most of the truth about Severus’s life, would you be so kind as to prepare a speech for the memorial? I know even though Severus wasn’t particularly fond of you that he’d appreciate someone honouring the great deeds he did during his life time.
I will expect your reply before the end of September.

Sincerely,
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall


Harry folded up the letter and laid it on the coffee table. For a moment, he didn’t move. He remember those frantic truth-telling moments after the battle.

“Dumbledore wanted to die, Professor. He was dying. He wanted to save Draco’s life.” Harry, bloody and battered, sitting in the Headmaster’s office, explaining. McGonagall, worn out, sitting behind the desk.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Potter, how would you-“

“You have to trust me, Professor! I saw it! Snape was in love with my mother!”

“Now, Harry, I know you’ve had a rough night, but-“

“The Pensieve, Professor! It’s all there! I saw it! I swear!”


But he hadn’t thought of it since, and on purpose. How could he, the boy Snape had always hated, the son of the man who had tortured Snape his whole life, and had taken the woman he loved, how could that man write a speech in Snape’s memory? Harry was not worthy, his whole life he had mistrusted Snape, hated him, when really, he could be very well the bravest man Harry had ever known.

There was a slam, and Harry looked up. Hermione and Ron had entered the flat, arm in arm.

“So you patched things up?” Harry asked. Hermione nodded, her hair windswept and her cheeks flushed from the cold. She slipped her jacket off and hung it up near the door as Ron did the same.

“And we got jobs!” Hermione said, smiling. Harry’s eyes widened.

“Already?”

“Yeah,” said Ron, sitting down, “Zonko’s hired me right away.”

“And I’m working for a small bookshop. Merlin knows I’ve read enough.” Said Hermione, smiling.

“There are letters here for you two. From McGonagall.” Harry added, grabbing the envelopes and handing them out. Hermione collapsed on to the couch and crossed her legs as she read. Ron took his as well and opened it. Hermione was first to finish reading.

“So she invited us to Snape’s memorial. In November.” Said Hermione, folding up the letter. Harry nodded.

“She asked me to do…like a speech.” Harry said casually.

“Oh, Harry,” said Hermione, standing up, “If that’s too hard for you, I’m sure she’ll understand.”

“No,” Harry said, “I’ve been meaning to clean those skeletons out of the closet for a while now.”

{A/N} So this is a bit of a meh chapter...it's kind of short, but pretty important. It's basically just there to set everything up for the next school year :)
Anyway, leave a review :)




Chapter 7: Seven: Turners and Trials
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Seven: Turners and Trials


As September and October wore on, Harry became very accustomed to everyday life in Hogsmeade. He would attend his classes, which were usually in the morning or late afternoon, and then spend the rest of his spare time exploring Hogsmeade, working, visiting with Ginny, or else doing housework. As a result of living without Mrs. Weasley, Harry was getting quite good at cooking, with Hermione’s help of course. She had tried to teach Ron too, but he was just about as helpless as Hermione was on a broomstick.

“No, Ron, you have to follow the recipe!” Hermione had shouted one day as the two attempted to make lunch, “It’s like potion-making.”

“Oh, and Harry and I turned out to be loads good at that,” Ron had said, cursing at the spices under his breath. Harry did find cooking an awful lot like potion-making, except there was no teacher breathing down his neck, and he was able to relax a little more.

Soon after Ron and Hermione, Harry had been hired as a clerk at a small dusty shop in Hogsmeade called Turner’s Trinkets; it sold all sorts of small, mysterious magical items, much like the bracelet Harry had purchased for Ginny for her birthday.

He was finding work altogether quite pleasant. His boss, a middle aged woman called Tabitha Turner, was smiley and very knowledagble about all kinds of magical items. And Harry didn’t have to worry too much about being recognized, because Turner’s Trinkets didn’t see many customers who were up with the times.

Monday morning of Harry’s second week at Hogwarts, Harry had left the castle and headed off to work. Tabitha didn’t work on Mondays, and Harry was the only employee, except for Tabitha’s niece Morgana. So Harry slipped his key into the lock and opened the door of the dusty shop. The bells tinkled as Harry turned the ‘Closed’ sign around to read ‘Open’.

“Morgana!” Harry called as he hung up his jacket. Morgana was Tabitha’s thirteen-year-old squib niece, and both her parents had died when she was very young. As a result, she lived with her aunt and helped with the shop. Harry knew of the difficulties that Morgana must face being a squib, but he didn’t speak of them. Even so, Tabitha had told him that Morgana was working today.

“Morgana!” Harry yelled again. He slipped behind the counter and looked around to see if Tabitha had left him anything to do.

“Right here,” Morgana said, stumbling down the stairs. She was still wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown, and was carrying her black cat, Shadow, in her arms.

“Your aunt said you were working today,” Harry pointed out. Morgana yawned and scratched Shadow’s head.

“I’ll be dressed in fifteen minutes. Don’t tell Tabitha I overslept.” Morgana yawned again and tramped back up the stairs. Harry shook his head.

Fifteen minutes passed, and no customers came in. Harry was sitting behind the counter reading the Prophet, which was what he usually did when mornings were slow. Turner’s Trinkets didn’t usually see many customers before noon.

“Sorry about that,” Morgana said, rushing down the stairs. She was fully dressed now, in muggle clothes, her long dark brown hair streaming down her back, “I’ve just got some cleaning to do.”

“It’s all right.” Harry said, laughing. Morgana grinned, turned around and disappeared amongst the shelves.

Over the next hour or so, they saw the usual morning customers. There was Mrs. Letterman, who always dropped by to say hello to the Turners, and usually bought something. Then there was Mr. Dimbleby, who came by and was just as predictable as usual.

First, he would head over to peruse the small selection of spell books that the Turners offered. Then, he would turn to Harry and ask, in a wheezy voice, “Do you sell Sneakoscopes?” Everyday, Harry would reply with a no, but say that maybe he’d like to check out Defensive Supplies, which was just down the street. That morning, Harry finally decided to mention to Mr. Dimbleby that he’d been asking that same question every morning that Harry had worked at Turner’s.

“My dear boy,” Mr. Dimbleby had replied in a huff, “I most certainly have not. Young people these days, no respect,” With that, the funny old man had exited the shop. Harry certainly hoped that he had not lost any business that Mr. Dimbleby might have given the Turner’s.
Early in the afternoon, Harry was still sitting lazily behind the counter, staring at the wood surface. Morgana was sitting on the back staircase with Shadow, reading Witch Weekly.

Harry heard the door tinkle and open. He didn’t look up.

“Welcome to Turner’s, how may I help you?” Harry asked automatically. He heard a familiar laugh and looked up.
Ginny stood over him, still wearing school robes. “The Boy-who-lived not enjoying work?” She asked, smiling. Harry stood up.

“Ginny. Tell me you didn’t leave school?”

“Not happy to see me? I have a free period anyway, I don’t take Arithmancy. And I just took the passage out through the Room of Requirement into the Hog’s Head. Aberforth was a bit irritated, but he says he’ll let me go through every once and a while for you,” Harry walked around the side of the counter and wrapped Ginny in his arms.

“Well, I have missed you,” Harry said, smiling. Their noses were almost touching, his pale with her freckled, and he was looking straight into Ginny’s brown eyes. Harry was about to kiss her when he heard a giggle. Ginny and Harry broke apart and turned to look to where the sound was coming from.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Morgana laughed, “Aren’t you going to introduce me, Harry?”

“Oh, right,” Harry nodded, “Ginny, this is my boss’s niece Morgana Turner. Morgana, this is my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.” Morgana put her magazine down and stood up to shake Ginny’s hand.

“I haven’t seen you up at the school,” Ginny said, “Do you go to Hogwarts?”

“I’m a squib.” Said Morgana, straight out. She shared a common trait with Luna Lovegood; the ability to make things awkward by stating the things no one really wanted to say.

“Oh!” Ginny said, lost for words. She gave a very Weasley-like blush, “Oh, I’m sorry…”
Morgana grinned. “It’s okay. A lot of people ask me that. So how long have you and Harry been together?” Morgana leaned against the counter casually as Harry contemplated the question. He wondered why he’d never asked himself that.

“Basically a year,” Ginny said, “Right Harry?” Harry resisted the urge to count on his fingers.

“Right. A year.”

“Oh, of course you couldn’t be together while Harry was on the run from You-know-who,” Morgana said, nodding.

“Things must have been frightening living here during the war.” Ginny said to Morgana.

“Oh, I only moved in with my Aunt Tabitha this summer. I was still living in France with my grandmother during the war.”
Ginny looked over at Harry’s watch. “Uh oh, I have to go.” Ginny said. She kissed Harry’s mouth and turned to the door.

“Oh, wait, I forgot. I’m holding Quidditch Trials on Wednesday night. You’ll come, right?”

“Of course,” Harry said smiling, “Although you’ll never be as a good a captain as I was.” Ginny smacked him.

“Love you.” Harry said as Ginny opened the door.

“Love you too.” She said, blowing a kiss. Harry watched her head down the street towards the Hog’s Head.
Morgana giggled again, from where she was sitting on the stairs.

“You guys are cute together.” She giggled, picking up her magazine. Harry found himself blushing, although he couldn’t quite say why.

***

Later that night, Harry said goodbye to Morgana and closed up the shop. The sun was just setting as he walked out of the shop, holding his bag and taking in deep lung-fills of fresh air. Tonight, nothing could bother him. Everything was right.

As Harry entered the flat’s lobby, he waved at Mr. Cole, who was reading in on one of the sofas. The Landlord waved back, without looking up.

When Harry got to the door of their flat, he unlocked it to a very awkward sight.

Ron and Hermione were occupying the same couch, although neither was sitting. The two were kissing heatedly as though glued together, and Ron’s hands seemed to be roaming places that Harry never wanted to think about them roaming again.

“Hi,” Harry said loudly, and his two friends looked up, “Nice to see you’re having a good time.”

“You know how it is, mate,” Ron said, detangling himself with a grin. Harry could see a reddish mark revealing itself on his neck, matching the colour flooding his face.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to see it. Ever again.” Harry said, shaking his head as though hoping to remove the image from his mind. Hermione, whose hair was falling out of its loose plait, straightened her clothes.

“How was work, Harry?” she asked, as she unplaited her hair and re-did it.

“Good, I guess. Ginny visited and Morgana giggled the whole time.” Harry said, sliding on to the sofa.

“Well, she’s thirteen. Girls that age giggle a lot.” Hermione said.

“Girls giggle a lot in general.” Ron added, and Hermione gave him a look. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Ron went to open it.

“Hi, Harry! I just thought I’d drop by.” It was Armida Cole. She wore muggle clothes; a tight denim skirt and a pink camisole. Her blonde curly hair cascaded softly down her shoulders. Ron’s jaw hit the floor.

“Who’s this?” Hermione asked suspiciously, walking towards the door.

“Armida. Armida Cole.” Armida said, shaking Hermione’s hand, “I’m the Landlord’s daughter. I’ve been in Germany visiting my grandparents so I didn’t get to meet Harry Potter’s lovely flatmates. You are?”

“Hermione Granger.” Hermione said, shaking Armida’s hand.

“And this is Ron Weasley,” Harry said, nudging his friend. Ron dragged his jaw off the floor and shook Armida’s hand.

“H-hi.” He stuttered, holding Armida’s hand rather longer than necessary.

“Why don’t you sit down,” Hermione said stiffly. Harry saw her eyebrow twitch. Ron, Harry, Armida and Hermione sat down on the sofas in the sitting room.

“So how are you three settling in?” Armida asked, crossing her long, flawless legs. Harry made himself stare at her face. Ginny. Think of Ginny.

Ron however, did not have as much tact. His eyes kept straying to Armida’s short skirt. Hermione’s frown deepened.
Armida blathered on for a while, but none of the trio were listening. Harry and Ron were both trying not to look anywhere but Armida’s face, and Hermione was glaring at the floor. Finally, Hermione spoke up.

“Armida, it’s getting late, and as much as I know we’ve all enjoyed this, we really should get to bed. All of us have class tomorrow.” Armida nodded and Hermione escorted her to the door.

“See you, Harry, Ron,” Armida said, blowing a kiss. Ron turned pink as the door shut behind her.

Seeing Hermione’s expression, Ron skittered out of the room with a “Well, I’m tired, goodnight.”

Hermione looked over at the door to Ron’s room and sighed. “I’ll talk to him later.” She said, turning to Harry. Suddenly, her expression reminded Harry very much of the night she had set the birds on Ron and he gulped.

“Harry James Potter.” She said through clenched teeth, “You have a girlfriend. Small, red hair, freckles? Remember?” Harry sighed.

“I know, and I love her. Trust me, Hermione, okay?”
Hermione nodded. “All I can say, is you better not break Ginny’s heart again. One of her brothers will take it in his mind to kill you.”

***

On Wednesday evening, Harry said goodbye to Ron and Hermione and hurried back on to school grounds and over to the Quidditch Pitch. He walked on to it, Ginny’s back to him. He could hear her giving instructions to a large group of students holding broomsticks.

“…and so I think I’ll start with the chasers. I play chaser, so we’re looking for two this year. Anyone looking to play chaser, stay here, and everyone else – “

“Guess who.” Harry said, coming up behind her. Ginny screamed and jumped on him, kissing his mouth and wrapping her arms and legs around him. There were wolf whistles and giggles from the crowd.

“That was a greeting I would mind re-living,” Harry said, after Ginny had her feet back on the ground, “Go on, don’t mind me.”

“Aren’t you going to help?” Ginny asked.

“No, I lost my Firebolt last summer. And I don’t really fancy one of those school brooms,” Harry said, looking over at a second year who was holding a broom that quivered every few seconds.

“I’ll just watch.” Harry said, waving her off. She nodded and turned back to the crowd.

“What are you all staring at? Go on, everyone playing chaser in the air, all the rest of you stay here.” Ginny ordered, picking up a clipboard, mounting her broom and kicking off. The rest of the players
backed off to the side where Harry was standing. Harry recognized
some of his former team mates in the crowd, including Ritchie Coote and Jimmy Peakes, both 5th years. Demelza Robins was currently in the sky, trying out for chaser. Other than those three, Harry didn’t recognize many of the students there, as most of them were second or third years. However, all of them recognized Harry.

“Hi Harry!” someone squealed, and Harry turned to see an enthusiastic looking Romilda Vane, standing next to Dennis Creevey who was clutching a school broom.

“Hi Romilda, Dennis,” Harry said, forcing a smile and edging away from the crowd. What was even worse, was during the battle last year, Dennis’s brother Colin had been killed. Guilt wrapped around his middle like a snake, squeezing hard.

“Right!” Harry heard Ginny shout, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you, you and you, are right for this team.” Ginny said, picking out three nervous looking second years. They flew awkwardly to the ground and stumbled off their brooms. The remaining two players whispered to each other excitedly.

“Demelza, Simeon, welcome to the team.” Ginny said, shaking the hands of Demelza Robins and an agile-looking fifth year. The two newest team members and Ginny flew to the ground. Ginny ran her fingers through her hair and skimmed the notes on her clipboard. Harry had to admit she seemed much more organized than he had been as captain.

“Right, next are beaters…” The trials went on for a while, and finally Ginny narrowed down the players and found her team. As well as Demelza, Simeon and Ginny, the team included Ritchie Coote and Jimmy Peakes as beaters, a fourth year named Idony Ward as keeper, and a 7th year Ravenclaw named Crofton Brownlow.

Ginny took the team itself through some exercises and then finally, as the sun was setting, she touched ground and dismissed her team. Still holding her broomstick, she jogged over to join Harry.

“How did I do?” she asked as she and Harry walked towards the change rooms. Harry was holding her hand in his.

“Great. Almost as good as me.” He said, grinning. Ginny’s eyes narrowed but she was smiling. When they got to the door of the change rooms, Harry stopped.

“I’ll wait here.” He said, leaning against the wall. Ginny pulled him away.

“You can come in, it’s only me changing.” She said, leading him into the change room.

“This is the girl’s change room.”

“I’m aware of that, thanks. Don’t you forget about your second year. You were the who told me that story.” Ginny said, pushing him on to the bench and grabbing a towel. Ginny disappeared behind a wall and Harry heard the shower start. Her scarlet quidditch robes were tossed to the floor.

“Do you sing in the shower, Gin?” Harry asked, feeling spontaneous.

“No, and lucky for you. Ron is a better singer than I am.” Ginny said, from in the shower.

“Really, I didn’t know that. I should ask him to sing for me next time I see him.” Harry laughed, and he heard the shower go off. Ginny emerged, dripping wet and wearing only a towel.

“I thought girls were supposed to take a long time in the bathroom?” Harry asked, eyeing Ginny’s long bare legs.

“Not always. Eyes up, you.” Ginny said, walking over to grab her clothes. Harry watched her disappear back behind the wall and then re-appear wearing only her knickers.

Harry watched intently as she tied her wet hair back and pulled on her jeans and t-shirt. When she was done, she turned to him.

“I’ll walk you back up to the castle,” Harry said, taking her hand. The two headed out across the dark grounds towards the castle, and once they reached the doors, Harry kissed Ginny goodbye and started back off towards Hogsmeade, all the while thinking of her.

{A/N} Thank you to my friend Andrea and her cat for letting me borrow Shadow for this fic!

Okay, I like this chapter guys. It's all nice and happy :) Don't forget to leave a review!



Chapter 8: Eight: Remembering Severus
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Eight: Remembering Severus


November the fifth came much faster than Harry was expecting. The morning of was not unlike the last funeral Harry had attended; he was wearing black dress robes, and it was raining. This morning though, Harry had decided not to try and flatten his hair.

Once the three of them were ready, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out of their flat towards the Hogwarts grounds. Harry was clutching the parchment containing his speech on it, but all he could think about was whether it would be enough. He and Hermione had spent weeks working on it; she had been very good at helping him put his feelings on paper. Still, he doubted himself.

Hermione cast a protective charm around the three of them as they walked, keeping off the rain. Other people in Harry’s year walked nearby; Seamus, Dean and Neville, the Patil twins. They were all clad in black for the memorial.

The castle gates were open when the trio arrived. Filch stood there, his usual grumpy self, ushering the graduates on to the ground. As they walked, the crowd of mourners came into view. It was mostly students and teachers, although Harry noticed some members of the Order there too. Luna and Ginny were standing off to the edge, and when the trio approached they came to join them.

Ginny hugged Harry tightly. “How’s your speech?” she asked quietly.

“It’s not enough.” Harry said, trying a smile. It ended up more like a grimace.

“You’ll be good. Just speak from your heart and everything will be great.” Said Ginny, reaching up to move some wet hair out of his eyes. Harry fiddled with his parchment.

“Oh look, McGonagall’s signalling you, Harry.” Hermione said, pointing towards the front of the crowd where McGonagall stood, looking at Harry and beckoning.

Fiddling with his parchment, Harry walked up to the front of the crowd and stopped. Beside him sat a painting of the former Potion’s Master. The picture-Snape was looking around at the crowd. Harry had to look away. He couldn’t even meet the portrait’s eyes.

Harry looked back at the crowd, who were silent, waiting expectantly. Taking a breath, he unfolded the wrinkled parchment and smoothed it out, although he seemed to have permanently crumpled it.

“Hello - everyone.” Harry started, his voice low and croaky. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Hello, everyone.” That was better.

“Today I’d like you to listen to a story. It’s an important story, and not one that is very well known. But it should be known to all of you. It deserves to be told. And I encourage you to spread this story to others, so that they might understand the truth about Severus Snape.” Harry stopped for a second, almost to see if anyone would protest, but then he continued,

“There are a number of lies being spread about Professor Snape’s life. He’s a Death Eater. He deceived Albus Dumbledore. All lies. What you saw on the tower when Dumbledore died was not what it seemed. Let me explain, by telling part of my own story, and part of Professor Snape’s.”

“I can honestly say, that I have never enjoyed the company of Severus Snape. I met him in my first year, when he was my Potion’s Teacher. Most of you students, especially if you aren’t in Slytherin, can agree with me when I say Snape can make life difficult for you. I positively dreaded Snape in my first and second year, though evidence clearly pointed that I should think the opposite way. Snape saved my life in my first year, and in my third, he tried again to save me again, though I didn’t really acknowledge it. At this point, you might think I’d be a bit more sympathetic, but no, and there are many more reasons for this.”

“I also found out, that year about my father, and Snape. Snape and my father were definitely less than friends. In fact, my father was known to pick on Snape. But Snape told me, angry, of course, that my father had saved his life when he had almost wandered into the path of a werewolf. This only helped in confusing my feelings about Snape and my father even more.”

“In my fourth year, I discovered that Snape was a former Death Eater, and instantly took this as more evidence against him. I had inherited my father’s hate for the man, I admit it. But then again, Snape had always carried his grudge against my father to me too.”

“And then, in my sixth year, I saw Snape murder Dumbledore before my very eyes. This confirmed all my suspicions, and my hate for Snape grew intensely until I’m not ashamed to say, I wanted him to die. He killed Dumbledore. And I thought he should be killed for it.”
Harry stopped for a second to observe the audience. Their faces were all grave. Except for one woman, standing slightly apart from the others, who was smiling. Brushing it off, Harry turned over his parchment and kept going.

“It wasn’t until right before I killed Voldemort that I learned the truth about my former Potion’s Teacher. I watched as Voldemort cruelly disposed of him, for his own gains, and then as Snape died, he lent me his memories, so I am able to tell you the truth here today.”
“One of the first things I found, was that my mother had always been very good friends with Severus Snape. They had lived near each other before they started school, and even though they were sorted into different houses, remained friends.”

“As they grew older, my father began picking on Snape, and Snape started hanging out with those who would become Death Eaters later on. My mother disapproved of both of those habits; she absolutely despised my father and tried to get Snape to stop spending time with the Death Eaters. Then something happened that ruined their friendship forever.”

Harry went on explaining how the relationship between Snape and Lily had ended, and how Snape had become involved with Voldemort. He went on to explain how Snape had asked Voldemort to spare Lily’s life, and how she had died anyway. Harry found that re-living what he had seen in the pensieve was positively cleansing; it was as if all the bad memories were just washing out of him.

“…and so, Snape promised to protect me, for my mother, whom he loved. His patronus remained a doe until his death, just the same as my mother’s. This is what convinced Dumbledore of his loyalty.” Harry stopped and took a look at the audience.

“I know you’re all still wondering why Snape killed Dumbledore. In truth, it had been planned since the beginning of the school year two years ago. Dumbledore sustained an injury while doing something to fight Voldemort. He always knew he was going to die, so he arranged that Snape would kill him, to save a certain student by the name of Draco Malfoy,” At that moment, Harry was glad that Malfoy was taking his NEWTs with a private tutor, according to Seamus, and was not attending the memorial.

“Draco was ordered by Voldemort to kill the Headmaster, but Dumbledore did not want to taint such a young soul.” Harry almost cringed at the Hermione-ish phrase, but continued and explained the plot to wide eyes and dropped jaws, and went on to tell of Dumbledore’s instructions to Snape during the year.

“So, here are my final thoughts on Severus Snape. Professor, you know I have never liked you, and I know you generally felt the same way about me.” Harry said, smiling, “But that’s not the best thing to say at a memorial. So I won’t focus on the bad parts of Severus. How he bullied students, and hung out with Death Eaters. How he was a bitter, greasy git.” There were some concerned whispers from the crowd, but Harry was confident about the next part.

“I’m going to focus on the good stuff. Snape stretched out a hand to a small muggleborn, Lily Evans, so many years ago. He made mistakes, but ultimately he saved her son’s life time after time. He made potions to save people he didn’t like, including Remus Lupin. He was bitter, and sad, but he was still selfless and brave enough to conspire against Voldemort for the greater good. And for that, I am able to say this here to you today, and you can quote me on it,” Harry said with a smile, looking over at Ron, Hermione and Ginny.

“Professor, I am sorry. And I do believe that Severus Snape may be the bravest man I have ever met.” Harry finished looking down at his parchment, but his head popped up as the crowd roared with applause. He smiled weakly and wandered back through crowd towards his friends. Suddenly, he felt someone take his arm.

“Harry, I need to talk to you.” It was the woman who had been smiling earlier on during Harry’s speech. Harry was able to get a better look at her now. She was a little older than him, in her twenties, he thought. She had wispy brown hair tied back behind her head, and coal black eyes. Harry thought they were almost kind of familiar.

“My name is Runa Prince. I – “

“You’re related to Snape.”

“Yes, I’m his half-sister.” Runa said, staring straight at him. Her eyes were piercing, even worse than Voldemort, and Harry had to look away.

“Are you…are you using Legilimency?”

“Sort of, I’ll explain once we get out of this crowd. Can you apparate?” Harry nodded, and before he could do anything, Runa took his arm. Suddenly things were black and tight, and then Harry’s feet were on the ground again.

Harry shook his head and looked around once he could see again. In his view was a tiny cottage in a forest clearing. Harry shook his head again, wondering what he had gotten himself into. He had just met this girl, and now he was going right into her house. Ginny, Ron and Hermione would be looking for him.

Runa walked up the front steps of the door, opened it and beckoned him inside. Harry was too far now to turn back, so he followed her.

“How did you apparate us from the Hogwart’s grounds?” Harry asked as Runa shut the door behind her.

“They got rid of the spells on the grounds for the memorial. People were coming from all over.” Harry nodded and looked around the small cottage. They were in a sitting room; it was neat, with books stacked on shelves, and a fireplace in the corner. Runa took out a purple coloured wand and pointed it at the fire place. Flames leapt up, instantly warming the room.
Harry sat down beside Runa.

“Why is your wand purple?” Harry asked. He figured while he was here he ought to find some things out.

“I’m the most highly skilled Legilimens in the Wizarding world.” Runa said, as if that answered Harry’s question. He must have looked confused, because she explained,

“I’m able to read minds without a wand now, but I used to use this one while I as training. It’s made of a special type of wood.” Runa said.

“You can read minds? Why did you bring me here?”

“I wanted to talk about my brother with you. You knew a lot about him. The guilt is eating you up inside.”

“You just want to help me?”

“Who else to help you than his half-sister?” Harry’s eyes narrowed, this was more than slightly strange.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to heal your memories.” Runa said casually, as if this was nothing. Harry leapt back.

“What?”

“I told you, I’m the most highly skilled Legilimens there is. I can access those pained memories and paint them in a different light, so to speak. It will help you; let you get on with your life. I know it sounds -”

“Why are you doing this?”

“I want you to tell me about my brother,” Runa said. Suddenly her eyes were full of tears, “My mother and father both left me when I was young. I never went to Hogwarts; I had a tutor to develop my abilities. Severus cared for me, he loved me. But he left, right before Voldemort came to you. He loved your mother more than me.” Runa whispered, looking down, “I was only five years old when he left me. My tutor raised me, but he died when I was seventeen.” Runa wiped away some of her tears.

“By healing your memories, I can learn of my brother.” Runa said, “Will you let me?”

Suddenly, all of Harry’s guilt for how he had treated Snape came pounding down on top of him. Could he re-pay Snape by helping his little sister? Do it, His mind whispered to him. He shut his eyes, and then opened them. Runa was looking at him. It was strange to see Snape’s eyes reflected back at Harry, though instead of being cold and dark, they were filled with warmth.

“All right,” he said, “I’ll do it.” She smiled.

“Great. Shut your eyes and lie down. I promise this won’t hurt a bit.” Harry complied.

***

“Ughhhh…”Harry groaned as he came back to consciousness. His head was pounding. This was ten times worse than any hangover.

“Am I hung-over?” Harry moaned at the person who was nearby. He opened an eye. It was Runa, wearing different clothing. And Harry was no longer in the sitting room. He was lying in a half-lit bedroom; sunlight was shining through a gap in the blue curtains.

“Did you change your clothes?” Harry asked, rubbing his head. Runa smiled.

“You’ve been down for three days.” Runa explained, smiling meekly. Harry sat up and his head protested.

“WHAT?” He asked. Ginny would kill him.

“Those memories were a lot worse than I imagined.” Runa explained, wringing her hands. Harry automatically thought of Snape. It had worked. The memories seemed fainter, almost as if Harry was looking at them through a frosted window pane. And the guilt that normally seized him at the thought, had subsided.

“I have a girlfriend, you know! And flatmates! And school!” Harry moaned, standing up.

“They’re going to kill me. Thank you, but I have to go.” Harry ran outside and apparated, regret squeezing him more tightly than any Apparition.

{A/N} This chapter may be slightly depressing to some of Sevvie's adoring fans :) I know it's a bit cliché to give Snape a sister, but Runa is a very important character and her daughter even more so :) But she and her daughter don't really pop up again for a long long time. So don't expect anything :P


Chapter 9: Nine: Morgana's Mystery
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Nine: Morgana's Mystery


“HARRY JAMES POTTER I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” Ginny yelled, leaping on Harry and knocking him to the floor. She pointed her wand at his throat, her head thrown back, eyes wild, her mouth in a deep snarl.

This reminded Harry vaguely of Ginny’s reaction after Harry had defeated Voldemort, except angrier. He had just returned to his flat and met up with an extremely anxious Hermione and Ron, and a very, very angry girlfriend.

“Nice to see you too.” Harry croaked; Ginny was kind of crushing his lungs.

“Don’t you joke with me! Where the hell have you been for a whole three days, hmm? Didn’t think we’d be worried, did you? I had to come all the way out of the school just to find you!”

“Blimey, Ginny, get off hi-“ Ron started, but his sister turned her wand on him. Harry could of sworn her heard a growl come from her throat.

“Shut up, Ron! This is between me and Harry.” Ginny turned back on Harry and pressed her wand up against his throat.

“I’ll explain as soon as you get off my windpipe, Gin.” Harry gasped. Still snarling and pointing her wand at him, Ginny stood up. Harry dusted himself off and stood up too.

“Talk.”

“I went to visit Snape’s half-sister. Her name is Runa, she’s a Legilimens – “

“AND YOU DIDN’T THINK TO TELL US WHERE YOU WENT?” Ginny yelled, her wand poking right into his chest, almost a mirror image of her mother when angry.

“I’m sorry! I had so much baggage to deal with, and she helped me-“

“And it took three bloody whole days!?”

“Well she didn’t tell me it would take that long…Ginny I’m sorry, I love you, I was a git, please forgive me. I just wanted to…be happy. I want to start again.” Ginny stared at him for a moment, stony-eyed.

Then, her face melted. She put her wand away and stepped forward to lock her arms around Harry. Harry felt her nestle into his neck, breathing softly.

“I was so scared. I don’t ever want to lose you.” Ginny whispered.

“I’ll always come back. You remember that, OK?” Harry said, reaching down to stroke the bracelet he had given her for her birthday.
Hermione cleared her throat and Harry and Ginny let go.

“I’m sorry to you guys too,” Harry said, “I just had to clear my head a bit, all the things with Snape...”

“He was a jerk to you, Harry,” Ron said, “But we’ve dealt with those demons, right? Let’s forget about the war for tonight. Let’s go out. My treat.”

“Oh Ron,” Hermione murmured, her eyes getting misty. Ginny stuck her tongue out, so that Hermione couldn’t see, and Harry stifled laughter. He was so glad to have her. Someone he could always count on. The one who would always forgive him.

***

The girls had made a big fuss about getting ready, so Harry and Ron had to wait in the sitting room while they got ready. Ginny was going to borrow some of Hermione’s clothes so she didn’t have to go back to the school.

Finally, Ginny and Hermione emerged from the bathroom. Harry had changed his own clothes, having worn the same ones for three days. But he was nothing compared to how Ginny looked at this moment.

“You look beautiful.” He said to her quietly, so the other two couldn’t hear. And it was true. Ginny was wearing tight fitting jeans and a flowy blue top that showed the slightest strip of pale freckled abdomen. As they drew close, Harry ran his finger along the bare skin.

“Watch it,” Ginny said, grabbing his hand. But she was smiling.

“Ready?” Ron said from the doorway. He and Hermione were already putting their jackets on.

“We’re coming.” Harry said, and he and Ginny slipped their own jackets on and headed out of the building.

***

It was cool and dark outside in Hogsmeade. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny walked slowly, savouring the trip. The stars were bright overhead, and the group were the only people on the whole street. Merry lights danced from inside the buildings as the group headed up the front-steps of the three broomsticks.

Laughter and loud voices rang out from the pub as Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny stepped into the pub. Madam Rosmerta waved from the bar, and Harry determinedly grabbed Ron’s arm and steered him toward a table.

“So what’ll we have?” Ron asked, looking at the menu, “Our usual summer indulgence?” Ron pointed his wand at firewhisky, which was written on the menu, and tapped it four times. A couple minutes later, Rosmerta arrived, bearing drinks. Harry quickly edged his chair over so that he was in Ron’s direct line of vision to Rosmerta. After the curvy barmaid had left, Harry moved his chair back next to Ginny and sipped his Firewhisky. He was just letting his eyes linger on Ginny for longer than he should’ve when something came to him.

“You guys do know we’re out on a weeknight, don’t you? And Harry’s missed enough school as it is…” Hermione said. Ginny scoffed, taking Hermione’s glass and pushing it towards her.

“Here. Drink up. You need to relax a little and stop worrying about everything.” Ron nodded, gulping down half of his own drink. Harry shrugged and did the same.

***

Harry stumbled into Turner’s the next morning, holding a cup of coffee and yawning. They had stayed out until well past midnight last night, but Harry knew he had to make things right both at work and school since he had missed out on three days.

Mrs. Turner was sitting at the counter, and she waved when he entered.

”Harry! Are you all right? We were so worried when you didn’t come in
yesterday!” She stood up and came round the counters, grabbing his shoulders and looking him up and down.

“You mean you’re not going to fire me?” Harry asked. He had fully expected to be looking for a new job that day.

“Of course not, we know you wouldn’t just miss work on purpose. You’re a very trustworthy young man.” Harry felt his ears go red.

“Thanks. I’ll get started right away.” Harry saw Shadow come up to him and rub against his legs, purring.

“I have no idea why, but that cat just adores you.” Mrs. Turner said, bending down to pet him. Suddenly, she straightened up.

“I have some business to conduct in Diagon Alley today, but Morgana should be working later on. Remind her, okay?” Harry nodded, and Mrs. Turner left. Harry breathed a sigh of relief and sipped his coffee. He liked working for the Turners; he hadn’t been looking forward to finding a new job.

Harry slipped behind the counter and looked around for something to do. There were no customers in the store, and Hermione had taken the Prophet to work to with her this morning.

Harry noticed a copy of Witch Weekly sitting on the counter. Looking around to see if anyone was watching, he curiously snatched it up and leafed through it, stopping on an article entitled Charm Your Wizard. Engrossed, Harry kept reading.

Find your wizard spending way more time on Quidditch than you? Having trouble getting him to notice you at all? Not anymore. With Witch Weekly’s 10 failsafe tricks, you’ll have your wizard hanging off you all day, every day..

1. Look Flirty – Put some extra time into your look. Your wizard will definitely notice. Everyone cares about someone who cares about themselves.

2. Compliments are key – Ever noticed how Wizard’s give compliments out like candy when they want you to pay attention to them? Well the same works in reverse as well. Give your bloke a few well aimed –


Suddenly, Harry heard someone coming down the stairs. Shutting the magazine, Harry shoved it off to the side and tried to pretend he had just been sitting there the whole time.

It was Morgana. Shadow immediately jumped off the counter where she had been sleeping and went to rub up against her owner’s legs.

“Hi Harry.” Morgana said, walking slowly towards him. She was twirling a lock of hair around one finger and giggling. As Harry got a better look at her, he couldn’t help but stare in bewilderment.

Morgana usually had the air of someone who had just tossed on whatever happened to be around. Today she had on tight short shorts and a low-cut tank top. Her hair was curled up elaborately and she was wearing oodles of makeup, more than Harry thought Ginny had ever worn in his presence.

“Hi Harry.” Morgana repeated when she came up to the counter. She was leaning against it, giggling.

“Hi…Morgana…aren’t you a bit chilly in that outfit? It’s November. I mean…you know it might be because it’s warmer in France but here it’s pretty chilly in November…” Harry said, trailing off, and wondering exactly what he had just said. Morgana giggled.

“Oh, Harry, you are so funny!” She laughed, touching his arm. He found himself edging away slightly.

Look flirty….Compliments are key… some of the things Morgana was doing rang familiar to Harry. He gulped.

“I’m just going to sit back here for a while, kay?” Morgana said, giggling again, pointing at the stairs.

Harry nodded stiffly, and looking down at the wood counter. Out of the corner of his eye he watched Morgana pick up a quill and a small notebook and begin to write, sighing every so often. Harry shook his head. This was more than weird.

An hour or so later, Morgana closed her book and put her quill down. She giggled out a quick ‘excuse me’ and headed up the stairs.

Before Harry could think about it, his feet had taken him over to the stairs and he was holding the small book in his hands.
He knew he shouldn’t, but he had to. Looking around nervously, Harry opened the book.

Tuesday November 9th

Harry came back today. I was so worried about him, I couldn’t sleep for days. He didn’t really explain where he went, but I’m sure it was something to do with Death Eaters or something. He’s so brave.
I really think my new look had an effect on him. He couldn’t stop looking at me. Of course I couldn’t say anything intelligent and I giggled like a fool, but that didn’t seem to turn him off me.
I wonder if he and Ginny are still together. She’s really pretty, and there are other boys around. I bet they won’t be together much longer. Then I can comfort him in his time of need! Maybe he’ll turn to me!
Of course, we’d have to wait until I was a little older. But there’s really only five years difference.


Harry shut the book and dropped it back on the stairs like a burning coal. Never had he…this was…how could she…Harry shook his head. He had to figure out what to do about this. But he didn’t want to hurt her…

***

In the evening, Harry returned home from work and walked into a nearly-empty flat. Hermione was reading a book and taking notes, curled up on the couch, with a pleasant fire lit nearby.
Hermione looked up from her book when Harry came in. “Oh, hi Harry.” Hermione said.

“Hi, Hermione.” Harry said, sitting down. “Where’s Ron?”

“Oh, I don’t know. He was supposed to be back by now.” Hermione said, looking at her watch.

“Are you going to make supper or should I?” Harry asked. Hermione yawned again, and dragged herself to her feet.

“I’ll do it. This book is getting boring anyway.” Hermione tossed Advanced Arithmancy to the side and walked over to the kitchen. Harry heard some pots and pans clanking around the kitchen.

Suddenly, Harry heard a key pushed into the lock. The door opened, and Ron appeared, his cheeks rosy with cold.

“Where have you been?” Hermione asked from the kitchen. Ron grinned.

“I quit my job.” Ron said, “George hired me at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.” Harry stood up.

“You mean you’re replacing Fred?” Ron winced slightly. Harry instantly felt stupid.

“Sort of. George came in today and saw me, then hired me right on the spot. I have to admit, it’s looking a good deal better working with George than at Zonko’s. My boss was always playing practical jokes on me…”

“Ron,” said Hermione, peeking around the kitchen door, “Does this mean you have to wear magenta robes?”

Ron went as pink as the robes he would soon be wearing.

{A/N} The last line in this chapter makes me laugh every time I read it :) Hope you liked!

Now, about reviews. I have really liked all the reviews I've gotten so far, it's been mostly positive :) I especially like it when you tell me what I need to fix, too. I will usually answer most reviews that are more than a "That was great, write more soon!" so you can ask me any questions there. Otherwise, you can ask me on my "Me the Author" thread in the forums. The link to it is on my author page.

Leave a review!


Chapter 10: Ten: Happy Christmas
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Ten: Happy Christmas


The weeks of November and December whizzed by in a blur of work, homework, and snow. Before Harry knew it, he, Ron and Hermione were off to the Burrow for Christmas and New Years.

Ginny was already staying there for Christmas Holidays, and being so busy, Harry had yet to visit her. He was especially busy avoiding Morgana after what he’d read in her diary, and was hoping to ask Ginny what to do when he met up with her.

Early on the morning of the 22nd, Harry, Ron and Hermione flooed in the Weasley’s kitchen to a squeal from Mrs. Weasley. She enveloped the trio in a tight hug and then set them down on their feet.

“It’s been so long!” Mrs. Weasley, said, tearing up.

“Mum…” Ron complained, brushing ashes out of his hair. Harry fixed his glasses and looked around at the red-haired filled kitchen.

Percy, George and Mr. Weasley sat around the breakfast table, eating mountains of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking. Harry grinned and waved hello, remembering nostalgically all the time he’d spent here. But someone was missing.

“Ginny’s asleep, Harry dear. You can wake her if you want.” Mrs. Weasley said. Harry felt 10 pairs of male, protective eyes bare into his back as he left the kitchen and headed up the stairs to find his girlfriend.

Harry knocked on her door softly and he heard something hit the floor. A moan sounded and someone came to open the door.

“Urghhhhrabaa…” Harry heard Ginny croak, and he couldn’t help but grin. Ginny was wearing short shorts and a white t-shirt, and had a thick blanket wrapped around her. Her long red-hair stood up all over the place, and she had splotchy skin and bags under her eyes.

“Oh Merlin…” Ginny said, tramping back on to her bed and falling on to it. Harry grinned again and wandered into the dark room.

The room was absurdly messy and dark; and as Harry stepped over piles of who-knows-what, he noticed various articles of clothing that made him blush.

Ginny was tangled up in her sheets on her bed and had her eyes closed. Harry headed over to the window and spread apart the curtains. Light streamed into the room and Ginny groaned, hiding under her pillow.

“Rise and shine, beautiful.” Harry said. He had never had pet names for Ginny before, but beautiful sounded good on his tongue. It fit.

Ginny groaned again. “Don’t feel so beautiful right now.” She said to her pillow. Harry stepped over a pile of schoolbooks and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“You know what would wake you up?” Harry said, grabbing her pillow and throwing it to the floor. Ginny covered her eyes and moaned again.

“Coffee?” Ginny asked, curling up. Harry grabbed the bed sheets and tossed them too. Ginny curled even further when her bare legs were exposed to the air.

“No…” Harry said, putting himself on top of her, “Tickling!” Harry grinned maniacally and tickled Ginny under her arms and neck. She shrieked with laughter and writhed around.

“Stop! Stop! STOP!” She shouted, laughing and pushing him away.

“No, no, I think you need a bit more.” Harry said again, tickling her even harder.

Suddenly the door slammed open and both Harry and Ginny stopped to look at who was there. Ron, George, Mrs. Weasley and Hermione were standing in the doorway. Hermione and George both had a tight hold on Ron’s arms, but he wrenched away, storming into the room, his face in a snarl.

“Get off my sister, you bastard!” Ron yelled, pushing Harry hard. He fell off the bed and was too surprised to even retaliate. Ginny stood up to face him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You’re the bloody bastard, Ron!” Ginny yelled, standing up. Her eyes sparkled with fury.

“You were yelling for him to stop!”

“HE WAS BLOODY TICKLING ME, YOU IDIOT!” Ginny screamed, “Just get out of here! I don’t even want to see your stupid face!”

“That’s enough!” Mrs. Weasley brought a welcome intervention, “I won’t have anymore of this language or fighting in my house. I want you to get dressed, Ginny, and all the rest of you, back to the kitchen. Now.”

Ginny ran over to the other side of her bed to help Harry to his feet. She was glowering, but it was nothing compared to the feelings erupting inside Harry. How could Ron mistrust him so much?

Ron had a strange expression on his face. It was almost as though he was so ready to blow up, that when it didn’t happen, he wasn’t quite sure what to think. Harry couldn’t even look him in the eye. Ron was frozen to the spot, his jaw dropped. Hermione slid into the room, took his arm and whisked him away. George and Mrs. Weasley left too, until only Harry and Ginny were left.

“I’m going to get dressed now, OK?” Ginny said weakly. Harry nodded, and wandered back to the kitchen.

***

Harry couldn’t look at Ron the whole meal. He and Ginny exchanged sad glances as the rest of Weasleys tried to fill the silence.
After Harry had scraped some of the food around his plate for a bit, Ginny took his hand and stood up.

“Just in case you’re all wondering.” Ginny said, looking right over at Ron, “Harry and I are going to snog now. Buh-bye.” The entire family and Hermione looked downright aghast at this. Harry and Ginny left the kitchen to dropped jaws.

As soon as they were upstairs, Ginny collapsed into giggles.

“Oh…Harry…I’m sorry…I know you’re mad at Ron but that was…so hilarious!” Ginny finally caught her breath and shoved Harry into her bedroom, slamming the door. She collapsed on top of him, forcing him on to the bed.

“I missed you so much. How come you didn’t write?” Ginny asked, flipping over so their noses were touching. She was running her finger up and down his lightning scar.

“I was so busy with work and studying and everything. I’m really
sorry.” Harry said. He let his hands rest on her back.

“It’s OK. I just missed you. A lot.”

“I missed you too.” Harry said, stroking her hair. He loved her hair. It was so shiny, smooth and red. The colours reminded him of the colours of Fawkes’s plummage when he had still been at Hogwarts.

“Anything interesting happen to you?” Ginny asked, nestling her head down near his ear. His Adams apple bobbed as he swallowed.

“Actually. Yeah.” Harry started. Ginny’s eyes urged him on.

“And?”

“Well…you know Morgana Taylor?”

“Yes. Your bosses’ niece.”

“Well…I accidentally…sort of…got a look at…” Harry trailed off.

“At what?”

“Her diary.” Harry swallowed, and Ginny sat up, so that she was straddling his stomach.

“You did what? Harry how could you!”

“I didn’t mean to…I just…she was acting weird and I wanted to know why!”

“And did you find out?”

“Yes,” Harry said, swallowing again, “I think she sort of…sort of fancies me…” Ginny froze.

“Fancies you?”

“Yeah…” Harry couldn’t think of anything to say. Ginny crawled off him and went to sit beside him instead. She hugged her legs and looked down at the floor.

“I love you?”

“That’s a good answer, Harry.” Ginny giggled. But, she frowned.

“She’s only thirteen. I think you ought to let her down gently.”

“Well, thanks for that…” Harry said sarcastically.

“That’s not what I meant….I was just thinking aloud. I think I’d better do it for you.”

“What?”

“I better tell her. It’ll be easier, girl-to-girl. And you can’t get off admitting you read her diary or anything.”

“What, so you’re just going to waltz in and tell her I’m too old for her?”

“No, I’ll drop in one day to visit you, then I’ll say I’ve noticed some of the way she’s been acting around you and then let her down nicely. Simple.”

“Okay…thanks, Gin.” Harry said, wrapping his arms around her and sliding her back on to his lap, something else on his mind.

“Do I get a present?” Ginny asked, leaning back. Harry grinned and kissed her full on the mouth, dipping her down in his arms. Giving a throaty moan, Ginny slipped her arms around his neck and brought him down with her, deepening the kiss. He slid her tongue between her lips and felt her bring her own around the corner of his mouth. She sucked longingly on his top lip and pushed him down underneath her, so she was lying on top of him again. She kept kissing him as she un-buttoned his shirt and ran her hands all over his chest.

“Did I tell you I missed you?” Ginny whispered, as the kiss ended.

“I think you might’ve mentioned it.” Harry grinned and kissed her again.

***

On the afternoon of the 24th, guest upon guest arrived for Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas dinner. There was Hagrid, and Andromeda and Teddy, and Charlie and his new Romanian girlfriend, who Harry was pretty sure was named Camelia. Bill arrived with Fleur, who announced upon entry that she was expecting. Harry watched, amused, as Mrs. Weasley dove on a very blushing Bill, showering him in kisses.
Luna and her father and Neville and Augusta Longbottom arrived soon after everyone else. Harry was surprised to see the Lovegoods; especially since his last meeting with Xenophilius had involved him trying to give Harry to the Death Eaters.

Mr. Lovegood had shuffled in beside his daughter, holding a pot of something that smelled an awful lot like dungbombs.

“We brought some freshwater plimpie soup!” Luna said, as Mr. Lovegood held it out to Mrs. Weasley. “Good thing too,” Luna added, looking around, “Some of these decorations may anger the Gernumblies. The Plimpies and the Gernumblies are long-time allies.”

Mrs. Weasley had a forced looking smile on as she took the pot. As she thanked them, she sounded awful lot like she wasn’t breathing through her nose.

Mr. Weasley did a quick head count as the Longbottoms and Lovegoods filed into the sitting room with the rest of the guests. “Right,” she said, “Kinglsey and Minerva are visiting after supper. So that’s everyone. Better finish with supper, Molly.” Mrs. Weasley nodded and bustled out of room, but suddenly turned back.

“Harry, Ron,” she said, “Could you help me peel potatoes? And Ginny and Hermione, would you get some rosemary from the back shed for me?” Harry positively grimaced with thoughts of being alone in the kitchen with Ron.

Mrs. Weasley left to serve the appetizers as soon as Harry and Ron had graced the kitchen. Not meeting Ron’s eye, Harry snatched up a potato peeler and began fervently peeling the potato, all the while glaring at it.

Ron cleared his throat. Harry kept peeling. “You could just use magic, you know.” Ron said, picking up his potato peeler and tapping it with his wand. Harry grunted. He hadn’t thought of this, but it would look pretty stupid to start doing it magically now.

“Look,” Ron said, and Harry waited a moment, “I’m…sorry. I’m a git, okay? It’s just…” Ron looked around, almost as though he was hoping the right words might be written on the wall for him.

“I just…I just don’t want her to get hurt. You don’t know how it is, I just…I need to protect her.”

“From me? The bloke that loves her almost as much as you do?” Harry asked bitterly, stabbing his potato with the peeler.

“I deserved that,” Ron said, looking at his feet, “I’m sorry, Harry. I know you love her. And I know she doesn’t need me to protect her.” Harry nodded.

“I’ll forgive you,” Harry said, “Eventually.”

“Are we good?” Ron asked, holding out his hand. Tentatively, Harry took it.

***

Christmas dinner had to be one of Mrs. Weasley’s best. It was a classic meal of Turkey with Yorkshire pudding and potatoes. Harry finished the meal with a much drowsier head and much tighter pants.
After supper, Harry and Ginny were sitting on the sofa in the sitting room. Luna and Neville sat nearby, talking, and Hagrid and Charlie seemed to be arguing over something to do with dragons. Suddenly, a now nine-month-old Teddy Lupin toddled through the door over to his godfather.

“Ha-rry! Ha-rry!” Teddy called, and promptly toppled over. Grinning widely, Harry stood up and grabbed Teddy, swinging him around.

“Hey, Ted! How’s it going, mate?” Harry asked, as was their regular routine. Besides seeing Teddy at the funeral, the Tonks had also visited Harry’s flat a number of times. Harry was quite proud to say he had already learned an awful lot about babies.

“Good!” Teddy squeaked, and gave Harry a high-five. Harry laughed and blew on his neck, causing the baby to erupt into giggles. Still holding his godson, Harry sat back down next to Ginny. Wide-eyed,

Teddy squirmed away from Harry and grabbed a handful of Ginny’s hair.

“Ow!” Ginny laughed, “Watch it, Ted!” Ginny un-curled Teddy’s fingers from their death-grip on her hair.

“Ginny has very pretty hair, doesn’t she, Ted?” Harry asked, grinning at Ginny, “You remember her, don’t you? Uncle Harry’s girlfriend?”
Teddy laughed and made kissy lips. Ginny turned slightly pink.

Suddenly, Andromeda hurried into the room, looking flustered. When she saw Harry, she looked relieved.

“Oh, Harry, he’s with you. I swear, this boy’s going to drive me nuts when he gets older. It’s time for his supper.” Andromeda held out her arms and Teddy squirmed into them. Harry couldn’t stop smiling.

“Seeya!” Teddy yelled as he and his grandmother left the room. Harry smiled again and wrapped his arm around Ginny.
Ginny leaned her head on his shoulder. “I think you’ll make a great father, Harry.”

“And I’m sure you’ll be a great mum.” Harry said, squeezing her hand. He was about to kiss her when he heard someone come up behind him.

“Harry! Good ter see yeh!” Hagrid said, shaking the furniture as he clapped Harry on the back.

“Harry, I’m going to talk to Hermione, OK? I’ll be back later.” Ginny slid out of the room as Hagrid sat down next to Harry.

“So how is it goin’ with Ginny and yerself?” Hagrid chuckled as he looked at the door she had just left from. Harry found himself blushing slightly.

“Good. Really good.” Harry flushed as he looked down at his lap. Hagrid chuckled again.

“Just be responsible, tha’s all I got ter say ter yeh. Yer working in Hogsmeade, righ’?”

“Yeah, it’s great. I’m sorry I haven’t been up to the school to talk you. But I’ve been so busy with my NEWTs and everything.”

“S’okay. I’m proud of yeh, Harry. But yeh really should come see Grawpy sometime. Hermione and Ron too. He’s actin’ loads better.”
Suddenly, Hagrid stopped and sniffed the air.

“Ooh, that’ll be Molly’s apple pie. See you, Harry.” With that, Hagrid rumbled out of the room.

***

Harry and Ron were just about to head off to bed when Harry heard the sounds of people arriving at the front door. Curious, and no longer the least bit tired, Harry grabbed Ron’s arm and led him down the stairs. They arrived downstairs to the sight of Mr. Weasley greeting Professor McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“Thank you, Arthur, and I’m sorry we couldn’t be here earlier,” Kinglsey said, shaking Mr. Weasley’s hand, “I got held up at the Ministry and was unable to meet up with Minerva until a little while after that.”

“It’s perfectly alright,” Mr. Weasley said, “I’m sure there’s still a little food left it you’re feeling up to it.”

“No, no, we’ve both already eaten,” Minerva said, heading into the sitting room. Kinglsey stopped though, and his face brightened when he saw Harry.

“Why, hello, Harry, I’ve been looking to talk to you. Would you like to take short walk with me outside?” Finding this extremely similar to the behaviour of the former Minister, Scrimgeour, Harry waved to Ron, who headed off to find Hermione and Ginny, and followed Kinglsey outside.

Harry slipped his jacket on as he and Kingsley headed down the slippery front steps into the snowy yard. Harry jammed his hands into his pockets, wondering what Kinglsey wanted to talk to him about.

“Harry, I don’t think I’ve yet fully congratulated you for your victory last summer. It really was extraordinary.”

“Thanks.” Harry said, wanting him to get to the point.

“Minerva has mentioned to me that you have an ambition to become an Auror?” Harry nodded slowly, and Kinglsey smiled.

“I’d be honoured to offer you a spot among our trainees after you complete your NEWTs. You’ll be a year older than most of them, but I’m sure with your past experience, you’ll soon speed ahead.”

“How does the training work?”

“Well, first you go for an interview with the Head of Auror department. If he likes you, you’ll be able to start training. We usually accept about ten trainees per year,” Kinglsey paused, and kept going, “Then, you will have to either lodge at the Auror Headquarters, in Wales, or live nearby and come in everyday for your training. The training lasts four years, and afterwards, there is a ceremony to initiate you as a fully-fledged Auror. You will become part of a five person squadron, and together the five of you will complete your missions together, and have your offices at the Ministry. After that, if you do well, you can be promoted to Captain of an Auror Squadron, Head of Auror Office, or even Minister for Magic. It all depends.”

Harry’s breath left him temporarily. Would he be able to leave everyone he loved for a full four years in order to get his dream? Leave Ginny?

“Thank you, Kinglsey. I’ll think about things.”

With that, Harry turned around and headed back into the house.

***

Harry awoke to the feeling a pillow hitting his face where he was asleep on his camp bed.

“Oi! Wake up! It’s Christmas!” Ron was already out of bed, un-wrapping a Weasley jumper.

Harry almost stepped on a large pile of parcels as he hopped out of the camp bed. Grabbing the largest, lumpy one, Harry tore off the paper, revealing his new Weasley jumper. It was grey. Harry slid it on over his pyjamas.

“Thanks, Harry!” Ron said, having un-wrapped Harry’s gift. It was a case of firewhisky.

“No problem. Just don’t drink it all at once.” Harry grinned, and searched his pile for Ginny’s present. It was a large box of heart-shaped chocolates, with a note attached.

Happy Christmas, Harry!
These are custom-made day-dream chocolates. I had George pre-make them so all the day-dreams involve yours truly. It goes without saying that he wasn’t too happy about that.
Enjoy,
Love Ginny


“Harry...” Ron gasped. He was holding some kind of book in his hands, “Come look at this.” Harry joined Ron on his bed.

It was a leather-bound photo album, seemingly prepared by Hermione. The cover was a moving photo of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, taken in their sixth year, on the Weasley’s front lawn. They looked happy. This was before the battle. Before they knew about the horcruxes, and the hallows.

The first pages were filled with baby and childhood pictures of Ron that occasionally included a young Ginny or other Weasley brother. Ron laughed as he watched himself toddle around.

The next page was plastered with little Hermiones, un-moving because they were taken with a muggle camera. Harry couldn’t help but smile when he saw a five-year-old Hermione holding the first non-picture book she’d ever read.

The page with young Harry had a lot less pictures. There was the part one discovered from Grimmauld Place, and some copies of the ones from Harry’s own photo album that Hagrid had given him.

The next pages were plastered with photos from Harry, Ron and Hermione’s years at Hogwarts. Harry laughed at himself as a little first year. There were pictures of Harry on the Quidditch Pitch, and of the trio lazing around the grounds. There were picture of Harry in the Triwizard Tournament, and of Harry and Ginny during the short time they dated at Hogwarts. There was the picture of the Weasley family in Egypt, and of the trio, the twins and Ginny in Diagon Alley during Harry’s third year.

Once they’d looked through the entire album, Harry found himself with a lump in his throat. This was beautiful. A book of all that they’d gone through, of everything they’d done.

“Let’s go downstairs. I need to thank her.” Ron said, closing the album.

***

Later on, Harry and Ginny were sitting along on the front porch, watching the snow flutter down on to the front yard. Harry was holding Ginny’s warm gloved hand, and enjoying the scenery.

“Thanks for my present, Harry.” Ginny said, “Hopefully it’ll help us win the tournament this year. The team is pretty promising.” Harry had given her a broomstick servicing kit not unlike his own.

“No, problem. Thanks for mine too.” Harry added.

There was a bit more quiet. Ginny reached her glove out and caught a snowflake. She stood up and walked out into the yard, lifting her face and tongue to the sky.

She giggled as a snowflake melted on her tongue. She caught another and giggled again.

“You have snowflakes in your eyelashes.” Harry said, having come to join her in the yard.

“Care to brush them off for me?” she asked, eyes twinkling. Harry did so.

“You have some on your lips too.”

“Would you like to nab those ones as well?” As quick and as tender as anything, Harry leaned forward kissed her lips, melting the snowflakes. He stepped towards her, sliding his arms around her waist.

“Happy Christmas, Gin.”

“Happy Christmas.”

{A/N} Awww, cutest end to a chapter ever. So we're at 10 now, folks. That's a milestone, that is. Only 4 whole chapters left to go! Actually it might be 5, now that I think about it, but I'm too lazy to check.
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Chapter 11: Eleven: Letters from the Princess
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Eleven: Letters from the Princess


Dear Harry,

I know it’s been a while since we last spoke, and I’d just like to apologize for any problems I may have caused you. You must understand that I was only trying to help you with your guilt. Please tell your flatmates and girlfriend that I send my sincerest apologies.

I certainly hope you’ve had a good Christmas and New Years. I myself have spent it with some of my friends and neighbours and found it thoroughly enjoyable. How did you spend yours? I do hope it was a good one. You deserve a nice long break after all you’ve done for the Wizarding world.

I hope you don’t mind corresponding with me, as I really enjoyed your company last time we were together.

Best wishes,

Runa Prince



It was late a late Saturday morning in February, and Harry was re-reading this strange letter for at least the tenth time. There were already coffee rings on it, and it was quite disheveled. Harry hadn’t yet found a way to reply to it; there were numerous started-but-not-finished letters crumpled up in his trash can.

Sipping his coffee, Harry put the letter back down and observed the empty flat. He didn’t have to go into work until noon today, but both Ron and Hermione were already at work. Harry didn’t really have anything to do for the next two hours, except to finish off a Potion’s essay and start some reading for Herbology.

Sighing, he figured he ought to at least finish his essay. He retrieved the parchment and a quill from his bedroom and started to write.

Harry became so absorbed in his essay that he jumped when someone knocked on the flat’s door. Tossing the parchment to the side, Harry went to answer.

It was Armida. Today, she was wearing tight jeans and a stretched purple sweater with high heels. Harry instantly felt himself freeze up. He knew that all he was wearing at the moment were track pants, and his hair was even messier than usual.

Running his hand through his hair and crossing his arms to trying to cover his chest, Harry spoke, “Hi, Armida, er, what are you doing here?”

“Oh, I thought I’d just drop by and say hello.” Armida pushed past him into the flat, which was less than clean.

“Can I sit down for a few minutes?” Armida asked, but not really wanting an answer. She brushed some toast crust off the sofa and sat herself down.

Harry sat down across from her and crossed his arms tighter. “So…how was your Christmas?” Harry asked stiffly, trying not to look at how far down her sweater was sliding.

“Good! I visited some friends in London. Girlfriends.” Armida added as an afterthought, flashing her teeth, which were as white as the snow Harry had kissed off Ginny’s lips. He swallowed.

“How was yours?”

“Oh…I visited Ginny – that’s my girlfriend – and Ron – that’s my best mate –‘s family. I usually spend every year there.”

“That’s so cute!” Armida said. Harry blushed.

“Thanks…I suppose…”

“You know, Harry,” Armida said, sliding across to the other sofa so she was sitting next to Harry, “I think how you defeated the Dark Lord is really wonderful. You were so brave,” Harry edged away.

“Thanks.”

“You’re a really great man, Harry.” Armida said throatily, her voice coming closer and closer to him. He could feeling the gentle whisper of warm air on his neck. Suddenly, her mouth was on his ear, and moving steadily upwards. As they kissed, Harry felt her arms wrap around him and lean over, so that she was on top of him. Harry’s brain seemed to have turned to ice. His hands and mouth were reacting enthusiastically to her advancements, while his mind was screaming, “Ginny! Ginny!” Suddenly, he snapped, sitting up and pushing her roughly off him.

“I don’t think you should come back here anymore.” Harry said loudly, crossing his arms as she got to her feet, looking utterly humiliated.

“Well, if you think so,” she said curtly, her face beet red. She marched out of the flat. Harry breathed a sigh of desperation and collapsed on to the sofa.

***

Later on, Harry hurried across the main street of Hogsmeade to the Turner’s, trying not to think of what had just happened. He knew he couldn’t blame it entirely on Armida, either. Part of it was his fault. But what could he say to Ginny? As Harry entered the shop, Tabitha Turner was just leaving.

“Oh, Harry, there you are, there are some parcels that have been delivered recently, take care of them, won’t you? I have to go but I’ll be back around six when you can leave. Morgana is in the back room.” Harry nodded as Mrs. Turner bustled out of the store on to the main road. Shadow leaped gracefully off the counter and rubbed up against Harry’s legs, purring. Harry petted the cat absentmindedly, as he walked around behind the counter. He hoped that Morgana would not come out of the back room, at least for a while.

Unfortunately, out she came a few minutes later. Luckily, she wasn’t dressed the way she previously had been.

“Hi, Harry. How was your Christmas?” Morgana asked, as she walked in, holding a box. She placed it on the counter as she approached Harry.

“Good. How was yours?”

“Good.” Morgana said. She had a strange little smile on her face, “These are the parcels Tabitha wants you to unwrap. She wants you to sort them into categories, like you know, jewellery, defensive items, books, that sort of thing. I’ll help, OK?” Harry nodded, and for the next hour or so, he and Morgana didn’t speak as they un-wrapped parcels. There were quite a number of strange books, some in Runes, others in English with strange titles like Mugwamp’s Guide to Poisonous Mushrooms and The Night Sky: A Novel. There was tarnished and rusted metal jewellery, with dusty stones set in them. Harry and Morgana worked along minded the occasional customer in the shop, and sorting the merchandise into categories.

It was three hours later when Harry finally took a break. “I’m just going to head off to the bathroom, OK?” Harry turned and headed off to the back of the shop where the bathroom was. Just as he turned off the tap, Harry heard a scream and felt his blood run cold.

Morgana. Harry sprinted out of the bathroom and towards the front of the shop. Morgana was sprawled out on the floor, her eyes rolling to the back of her head. She was moaning, and her face was going deathly pale.

“Morgana…” This was not unlike what had happened with Katie Bell in Harry’s sixth year. On the counter was a partially opened parcel. Harry grabbed up his winter gloves from under the counter and slipping them on, he picked up the parcel, still covering the item with paper. Taking his gloves off, Harry carefully rolled up the cursed item in his gloves and slid it in his pockets. Then, he carefully slipped both of his arms under Morgana, and, cradling her like a baby, Harry ran out of the shop, not even bothering to put his jacket on. He ran, up to the castle, knowing Madame Pomfrey could help for a moment, and then McGonagall would help him get her to St. Mungo’s. She’d be OK.

Harry yelled as he ran, feeling Morgana’s limp body become colder and colder in his arms. I’ll get you there. I promise.


***

Harry returned late that night after delivering Morgana to St. Mungo’s and finishing up work for Mrs. Turner, who had gone immeadiately to her niece’s bedside. The healers suggested that Harry come back tomorrow evening to visit, as Morgana wouldn’t be awake until around tomorrow afternoon. After Harry hand handed over the cursed parcel, they told him it was a braided leather chain, and that it was probably passed on by some of the remaining Death Eaters, because Morgana was a Squib. Also, they explained, Morgana would probably be all right as there was only a slight tear in the paper when Morgana picked up the package. This was a relief to Harry, but he still didn’t know what to do about his run-in with Armida.

All three of the trio were home from work now, but after exchanging stories at dinner, had gone their separate ways. Harry was in his bedroom now, pondering his predicament.

At first, he decided he might ask Ron about it. They were both blokes, obviously, and he might better understand Harry’s point of view on this. But then Harry remembered how protective Ron was of Ginny. He shook his head. Ron definitely need not know about this.

So that left Hermione. But no, Harry could tell her either. She would scold him, and be extremely angry at his misjudgement. Then who?

Suddenly, Harry knew. Hurrying over to his desk, he pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill…

Dear Runa,

Thanks for writing me. I’m glad everything is going well with you. I know this may sound strange, but I’m in a bit of a predicament and I think you may be able to give me some advice…


***

There was a knock on the door the next morning, a Sunday, around eleven, but this time, Harry was ready. He was already dressed and waiting for Ginny to come to St. Mungo’s with him. Assuredly, he opened the door. Runa’s reply had arrived this morning, and Harry was nervous, but ready, to talk.

“Hi, Harry.” Ginny said, smiling. Harry felt his stomach twist with guilt, but he shrugged it off.

“Hi, Gin. Listen, we need to talk.” Harry was grim-faced as he led her to the sofa.

“What’s the matter Harry? Why aren’t we going to the hospital?” Ginny looked truly anxious as they sat together and Harry took her hand.
“Ginny, I made a mistake. And guilt is eating me up inside. So I’m going to own up to it and explain, or, at least try to…”

***

An hour later, Harry and Ginny sat in the St. Mungo’s waiting room, arms around each other, a bruise just beginning to reveal itself on Harry’s cheek.

“You, are such a jerk. But I love you.” Ginny said, managing to put equally as much tenderness as forcefulness in one sentence. Harry winced, rubbing his cheek.

“I know I deserved this, but it hurts. Can’t I-“

“No. I won’t let you fix it. Now let’s go see Morgana. I’m going to set her straight about whose boyfriend you are.” With that, Ginny stood up and set off at a brisk pace towards the elevator, Harry following behind her.

“But don’t you think you could let her down on a day when she hasn’t just almost died?” Harry said, as the elevator doors clunked shut in front of them.

“Oh, no. Definitely not. This can go on no longer.”

Harry shrugged, and, not wanting to get on her bad side again, let her go. The wizard standing beside them in the elevator gave him a curious look.

Healers bustled all about the corridor outside Morgana’s room. Timidly, Harry took Ginny’s hand and slid the door open.

“Morgana?” Harry asked quietly. A pale hand waved from the far bed.
“Hi.” Morgana whispered breathily, smiling, “Tabitha tells me…you saved… my life.”

“I save people’s lives all the time,” Harry grinned, “It’s nothing.”

“Thank you.” She said, taking deep breaths, “The healers say…they say…I can go home…next week.” She stopped, breathing harshly. Despite her weak condition, there was a blazing look in her eyes.

“Hi Ginny,” Morgana breathed, grinning. Ginny nodded.

“Listen, Morgana,” Ginny said, frowning, “There’s some stuff we need to talk about, OK? Harry’s going to wait outside.” Ginny turned, her brown eyes locked on his. He nodded and left the room, his heart pounding. Would breaking her heart in this state ruin her chances of healing?

Ten minutes seemed like ten hours as Harry waited outside the hospital room. Finally, right before Harry was about to come back in, Ginny emerged, looking worried. When she saw Harry, she sighed and fell into his lap. Wrapping arms around her, he rocked her back and forth, murmuring softly.

“What happened?”

“She apologized. And...and she cried.” Ginny almost whimpered, “It was the worst thing I’ve ever done, breaking her heart like that. Telling her it couldn’t be.”

“What did she say?”

“She said…oh, she said that she knew she never really had a chance, but she always wanted to believe…and it reminded me of…”

“Of what?”

“Of when I was eleven. And I had that huge crush on you. And it was like…like reliving the pain.” Harry held against his shoulder, shushing her.
“Hey…hey, we’re here together now. And I know Morgana. She’s a strong girl. Everything’ll turn out. You’ll see, love. You’ll see.”

{A/N} Sorry this chapter took so long, but it had a lot of re-writing to do. And I am now fairly pleased with the result. Hope you liked it too :) Leave a review!



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