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Ron sat at a table in the back garden of The Burrow. “Happy Birthday and Engagement Party,” he read off the banner, shaking his head and smiling. There was a lot going on.

‘Though that’s what happens when you have six siblings,’ thought Ron. ‘Five.’ He corrected himself.

He imagined Bill standing with Fleur helping with the newborn twins.
Dad would be congratulating Harry and Ginny for the three hundredth time. Mum would be fussing about as usual.

Ron felt a tear roll down his cheek and quickly, thankful no-one was watching, wiped it away on the back of his hand.

He didn’t know why he couldn’t cope with this. Maybe it was because he was the only one who didn’t have something to help him.

Charlie had retreated to Romania and spent time with his precious dragons before coming back a new person. Fred and George had their work. Percy had been terrible, but he’d seemed to come to terms with it. And Ginny had Harry. Only Ron seemed not to be able to move on, to let the scars heal over.

He didn’t realise that he was suffering from depression at the time, but he did understand that he had something that could make it all disappear.

Hermione was talking to Ginny again, about wedding dresses and hats and shoes. Usually they weren’t so girlish about clothes, but Ron guessed it was just one of those things a wedding brought out in girls.

He turned his head away. He would go and fly on his broomstick for a while, it always cheered him up a little, and no-one would notice if he wasn’t long.

Hermione looked over at Ron’s table. He was gone.

“Hey Ginny, I’ll be right back,” she said quietly, and slipped out of the garden.

Hermione walked quickly, trying to find out where Ron had gone. She was really worried about how he was coping. Hearing a crunch of gravel, she realised he was headed towards the orchard.

Ron had found the broom shed locked, and since the key was not on the hook, he decided that he’d just sit in the orchard for a little while. He chose a particularly tall tree and sat with his back to the gate.

Hermione opened the orchard gate, creaking it slightly as she did. Ron did not turn towards her, but she saw his arm sticking out from behind a tree.

“Ron?” she asked tentatively. “Why aren’t you enjoying the party? I thought everyone was having fun.”

She walked around to face him.

“Yeah everyone’s having fun. Of course they are,” he sighed. “I should be having fun. I just can’t. I can’t even smile.”

“Oh Ron!” exclaimed Hermione. “You can smile, I know you can.”

Ron slowly pulled his face into a grin, but it was very forced.

Hermione trembled. This was killing her, she had no idea what to do. How could see make it better?

“Ron, what can I do?” she asked sadly. “You’re always laughing, or making other people laugh, I hate you to be like this!”

“What?” shouted Ron. “Look I can’t help how I am. It’s not my fault that You-Know-Who, oh fuck it, Voldemort decided to be born and kill my mum, my dad and Bill!”

A tear slid down Hermione’s cheek.

“Oh don’t cry!” cringed Ron, wringing his hands. “I didn’t want you to cry - oh bloody hell I’m such an idiot!”

He stormed off to the other end of the orchard and spoke to himself - extremely loudly.

“Great Ron, just great. Make Hermione cry, that’s going to make you feel fab isn’t it! I mean it’s really her fault that you can’t deal with your own problems, you need psychiatric help mate. Now your talking to yourself! It’s not her fault that you’re the most repellent being ever. It’s not her fault she doesn’t like you!”

“What?” exclaimed Hermione rushing over to him. “You aren’t repellent! If you were I’m sure Lavender wouldn’t have been dying to go out with you!” She stopped and whispered “Lavender…” under her breath.
“And of course I like you Ron. How could you possibly think I didn’t?”

“Yeah, of course you ‘like’ me,” whispered Ron, his glowing ears making Hermione realise she’d been wrong in her translation of ‘like’.

“Oh,” was all she could manage to articulate.

“Hermione, you can go. I’m an idiot. And by admitting this whole stupid love thing I’ve suppose I’ve probably ruined our friendship now as well. What a wonderful day,” he added sarcastically, dropping to sit on the ground.

“Well not so fast,” smiled Hermione, kneeling beside him. “Love? You- you love me?” Ron turned to face her, then nodded nervously. They looked at each other for only a few seconds, but it seemed like years. Then slowly, Hermione leaned forward and kissed him slowly on the lips.

If Ron was surprised, he didn’t show it, he was far too busy having fun.

A little over ten minutes later, Hermione and Ron returned to the party, Hermione very happy with Ron’s arm around her waist and Ron, looking like he’d just lost in a fight to a stick of pink lipstick, smiling more than he’d ever done in his life.

“Oh well,” whispered Ginny to Harry, “It’s about time!”

* * *

Harry woke up early on Tuesday morning, two days after his engagement party. He couldn’t understand what was bothering him. He used to wake up a lot in the night as a child, but that was mainly because his scar hurt or he was choking on a spider in the Dursley’s cupboard under the stairs.

It was only now that Harry comprehended how horrible the Dursleys really were. As a child he had assumed that all adults were selfish. But now as an adult, he couldn’t even think of treating any child that way - especially not if that child were his own nephew.

Harry got out of bed and, tripping over a chair leg on the way, walked down to kitchen.

“What a headache!” he cried. Then he froze. This was no headache - it was his scar that was hurting.

“Oh no,” he whispered. “Oh god no!”

Voldemort was back? That wasn’t possible! All the horcruxes were gone! Every one of them! Voldemort had died, eleven people had seen him go down, no escaping spirits, no coming back to life. Gone.

Harry ran back upstairs, threw on his clothes, and apparated to the Ministry right away.

* * *

Harry knocked harshly on the door where he knew he’d find Mad Eye Moody working late into the night.

“Ye gods!” came the cry from behind the door, followed by a crash. “Come in Harry!” cried Moody, struggling off the floor. “Just resting my eyes! Not dosing! Constant vigilance!”

Harry flipped the chair up with his wand and set it back behind the desk.
“Yes,” nodded Harry, deciding it would be quicker to agree.

“Now what makes you come running to my office at… half three in the morning! I am late tonight!” exclaimed Moody.

“Well, Auror Moody,” said Harry, choosing to stay official. “The thing is - well my scar has been sore, not that that is so bad, but the thing is, that hasn’t happened since Voldemort died.”

“Ah, the scar. Well…” Alastor considered this for a while. “Well Voldemort is dead Harry, totally gone, no way of coming back. We know that from that handy new piece of equipment our friend Miss Granger came up with,” he paused to nod at the soul detector that Hermione had invented nearly a year ago.

“Although, I wonder if your scar could hurt from a fragment of him, a tiny piece of him. I’m talking of the Dark Mark that the Death Eater has, to show the dedication of his black soul.”

Moody looked into one of his many mirrors, which showed a faint blur, and occasionally a blonde head, a flash of a cruel face.

“The Death Eaters are either slain or locked away, except one. Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy. His son, Draco insists he is planning something. Maybe you can sense rising evil Harry, evil with, just a very small, part of Voldemort in him.”

“But I’ve been right next to Lucius Malfoy and my scar didn’t hurt then,” deliberated Harry. “Why would it happen all of a sudden? I’m not even near him right now!”

“Maybe the evil is rising very high Harry,” muttered Moody, furrowing his brow. “I just hope to hell we can swim.”

* * *

Harry unlocked his front door. His small house in Godric’s Hollow was built on the site of his parent’s old house, which he liked because he felt like he was closer to them somehow. It had only been finished recently. He liked it’s simplicity and it’s space - he couldn’t live in the Burrow the rest of his life, and Ginny loved it - although she said that when she moved in the bedroom was getting painted blue.

He flicked on the light.

“Boo!” shouted someone in his ear.

“Argh!” yelled Harry. His first thought was, ‘Oh fuck, there’s someone in my house!’ Then he saw Ginny rolling about on the floor laughing and collapsed onto the floor with sheer relief. It was totally unnerving to find someone waiting in your home when you’d just been talking about rising evil.

“Oh dear,” spluttered Ginny, shaking her head. “That was too funny.”

“Why are you here?” asked Harry, trying to stay polite.

“I couldn’t sleep and just apparated to see if you were still awake - I know you don’t always sleep that great - unless you’ve been at the Firewhisky,” she smirked. “But I think the real question is where have you been at four in the morning?”

“Oh I went to the Ministry…” said Harry, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Oh is something wrong?” enquired Ginny.

“Well….” began Harry, explaining what had happened, trying his best not to mention the words ‘rising evil’.

“Lucius Malfoy?” asked Ginny, eyes blazing behind her attempt at a calm expression. She hated Lucius Malfoy more than any other man dead or alive. He’d nearly ruined her life when she was only eleven by planting Riddle’s diary on her, and he’d killed her father.
She swore loudly. “Evil man!” she shouted, losing her temper.

“Ginny, Ginny,” murmured Harry in her ear, after catching her arms and pulling her close to hold.

She broke down into a sob on his shoulder, “I thought he was in Azkaban. I thought they had locked him away. How can my father’s murderer still be free?”

“Don’t cry,” whispered Harry, wiping away her tears. “I understand.”

Indeed he did. He had spent seven years asking himself the same question. Voldemort never paid for the crimes he committed. He had just been killed.

“We’ll get him. You have to believe we live in a world of justice Ginny, it’s all we have.”

Ginny smiled slightly. “Thanks. You’ll beat him Harry. And now you’ve got me standing beside you, he’s got no chance.”

Harry grinned. “Not a chance.”

* * *

Harry glanced out his window the next morning. “New neighbours,” he casually mentioned to Ginny.

“Oh yeah,” said Ginny, a little uninterested. “Well they’ll like it I’m sure… Luna?”

Harry looked out, and could not possible miss Luna Lovegood walking out the front door of the house across the street, wearing her brightest and most sparkly clothes for this special occasion. Luna no longer wore radish earrings or butterbeer cork necklaces, but no-one could possibly describe her fashion sense as ‘discreet’.

“If that’s Luna, then where is-”

“There’s Malfoy,” interrupted Ginny. “I mean Draco. That still doesn’t come easily.”

Luna spotted Ginny at the window and waved.

“Come on then!” declared Ginny. “We’ve got to go see them, they’ve been in Spain for ages.”

“Well I’ve seen Draco at Auror training,” Harry reminded her.

“Well, we haven’t seen Luna,” Ginny scowled, catching him arm. “Now let’s go!”

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