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Aftermath... By DeeMarie Chapter 5. The Family Gathering They were all gathered around the kitchen table in the Burrow. Arthur and Molly sat quietly, worried looks on their faces. Remus was there. As Harry's guardian, he felt he should be there for Harry's sake. Harry and Ginny sat side-by-side. He had taken her hand to show his support. Ginny squeezed it. "What have you called us here for?" Arthur asked the young people sitting across from him. Ginny looked at Harry. He smiled at her. Ginny took a deep breath. "There's no other way to say this. Mum, Dad, I'm going to have a baby, Harry's baby." Molly gasped. Arthur's brow furrowed and a frown formed on his face. "Ginny," Molly sputtered, "how...when? Are you sure?" Ginny nodded. "It was that night, when Harry defeated Riddle. I found him at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. He was hurt. I had to help him. I took him to Hagrid's hut. I tended his wounds. He was going into shock. He needed to get warm. I crawled in beside him. We fell asleep. Then it just happened." "Just happened?" Arthur said quietly. "Things like that don't just happen, Ginny. Harry explain your behavior." "It's difficult to explain, sir. You're right, Mr. Weasley. It didn't just happen." Ginny looked at Harry, her eyebrows raised. "I was in shock. Ginny doesn't know this, but I was...well the best way to describe it was that I was tired, tired of the fighting, tired of life, I suppose. I was ready to die..." Molly and Ginny both gasped at that. "I had become someone I didn't know anymore. I didn't like it. I had caused pain and heartache to everyone I loved. Maybe the world would be better off without me. "Ginny wouldn't let me go. My heart was cold; she held me and warmth flooded it. She cared. If one person cared, then perhaps I could go on. We did sleep. We were both exhausted. "I had a dream. Ginny was there. Before either of us could stop, that's when it happened. You might say I took advantage of her." "No, Harry," Ginny said. "I should have said no." She turned to her parents. "We are both responsible for this." "Ginny," Harry said, giving her fingers a squeeze, "let me finish, please." She nodded. "I intend to stand by her, sir. She won't go through this alone. If she'll have me, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, I would like to have your daughter's hand. I want to marry her." There was stunned silence from the Weasleys. Remus smiled. He was proud of the boy. Ginny spoke first. "No, Harry, I can't marry you. Not if it's out of a sense of duty. Not if it's just to do the right thing." Harry turned to Ginny. "You said you would abide by my decision, Ginny. Did you mean that?" "Of course I did, but...." "No, Ginny. I've decided. Our child needs us. Both of us, together." He turned back to the Weasleys. "It is the right thing to do, though. It won't be easy, I know that. I will try to make her happy. I will try to do my best for both of them." Mr. Weasley turned to Remus. "As Harry's guardian, what do you say?" "Well," Remus began, "he's of age, you know, Arthur. I think that if this is what Harry wants, then I'll support that decision. I will be there for him, for them both. I trust Harry." Molly and Arthur looked at each other. Arthur turned to them. "If you'll give us some time alone?" The three of them left the kitchen. "Molly," Arthur said. "Arthur, I don't know what to say." Arthur smiled at his wife. "Reminds me of us, doesn't it?" Molly smiled back. "History repeats itself," she said. "I suppose so, sweetheart. Look how it turned out for us, despite your parent's objections." "They came around, eventually." "After Charlie was born. It was a long time before they trusted me to take care of you." "Yes, Arthur. We were in love." "I think they are too, my dear. They just don't realize it yet." "Are you sure? I know Ginny had a crush on him for years, but lately I'm not so sure." "Molly, don't you remember how I was at the beginning? I had my own crush on you since the day we met. I thought that I'd gotten over you too. It wasn't until you started dating god-awful Duncan Macsen that I finally realized I loved you." "That's true, but we were older...." "Molly, times were different then. Our children have had to grow up a lot sooner than we did." Molly's brow was drawn up. "Do you trust Harry to keep his word? Do you think he would hurt Ginny?" Molly shook her head. "No, he wouldn't hurt her. I do trust him. I love him like one of my own boys." "Then give him a chance." "It's not Harry I'm worried about, Arthur." "Ginny?" "She's still a little girl, Arthur. She's my baby." "Let her go, Molly. Let her grow up. She's 17 now. Neither of them need our permission, you know." "You're not angry?" "No, disappointed, but not angry. Life is risk, Molly. I say let's let them risk it." "I don't want to see her hurt." "I don't either, but I think there will be some hurt involved here. They have to learn to work through it and find their own happiness. Molly, let's give our consent." "If you're sure, Arthur." "I'm sure, love." Molly hugged her husband. She would trust to his judgment. She always had and things had turned out well. They called them back in. Arthur stood up and went to Harry. "Take care of her, son. Make her happy." He took Harry's hand and shook it. A small smile tugged at the corners of Harry's mouth. He turned to Ginny. "Ginny, if you want this," he said taking her hand in his, "if you trust me to take care of you," he reached into his pocket and took out the small jewel case, "marry me, please." He flipped the case open with his thumb. The ring was beautiful. A small but flawless square-cut emerald surrounded by diamond chips was set on a band of white gold. On either side a small ruby baguette was set into the band. Ginny's eyes widened, never had she seen such a piece. She looked up into Harry's emerald eyes. The green was for him, the ruby red for her. She wanted to trust him, she had to trust him. The sincerity of his request was plain to see. "Yes, Harry. I will marry you." Harry took the ring from the case and placed it on her finger. Tears were glistening in Ginny's eyes. "May I kiss you?" She nodded. He leaned down to her and placed the softest of kisses on her lips. Arthur had his arms around Molly. Molly hugged him to her. She was crying softly. Telling Arthur and Molly had been the easy part; Harry thought wryly, he still had to face six formidable wizards who were bound not to be happy. Without giving Harry time to prepare what he would say, Molly had contacted her sons to come for dinner. Ginny and Harry had asked, pleaded actually, for her parents to break the news. They had refused. If Ginny and Harry were going to face this, then they had to be the ones to break the news. "You're what?' Percy had shouted. He had leapt up from the couch where he had been sitting. Harry looked at the siblings arranged before him. Ron's mouth had dropped open. He quickly shut it, and the corner of his mouth curled into a small grin. He had wanted Harry and Ginny together. Bill and Charlie had glared at him, and then turned both their eyes on Ginny. She had a bemused expression on her face. She smiled at them. They weren't happy, preferring to reserve judgment. It was Fred and George who surprised everyone. George had beamed at Harry. Fred drew out his wand. "What did you do to her!"? Fred shouted. He started to cast a spell, but George had grabbed Fred's wand arm and directed the spell upward. It charred the ceiling where it had struck. "Fred!" Ginny shouted at him. Fred lunged at Harry. It took all of his brothers to stop him. Harry just stood there, shock on his face. Fred turned to Ginny advancing on her. "Ginny, you couldn't have. How could you have done that? You're better than that!" Fred was shouting. "Fred," Harry said stepping in front of him. "You bas...." George then conjured a silencing spell on him. "Fred, stop!" shouted Ginny. "It wasn't just Harry. He didn't do this alone." Fred stopped struggling. He turned to Ginny; there were tears in his eyes. "What's done is done." Ginny said to them all. "You'll just have to accept this. I'm not changing my mind. You all consider Harry a brother anyway. Well now he's really going to be one! Get used to it. We made a mistake and now we're going to fix it." That's the second time she's call this a mistake, Harry thought. "I was hoping you would all," she glared at Fred, "support us. Maybe I was hoping for too much, maybe...." Tears started rolling down her face. Ginny bolted to her room. "Thank you!" Harry spat at the men before him. "This is hard enough on her. She needs all your love, but I guess she can't count on all of you. Sorry Ron, George. I suggest you all take a good long look at yourselves. You all know I would never hurt her. I'm standing by her. I'm taking my responsibility for this seriously. I hope that after you consider what just happened here, you come to your senses." Harry left to go to Ginny. "Let Fred go," Bill said quietly. His tone brooked instant response. George cast the counter charm. "Harry's right, so's Ginny. We can't change what's happened." "You're going to let him get away with this?" Fred shouted. "Then what do you propose we do? You want revenge? What will that do to Ginny, Fred?" Percy said. Fred backed down. "Is what he did so terrible?" Ron asked. "Don't look at me like that. Are any of you still virgins? Even you, Percy, so shut your mouth. We were all smart enough to use contraceptive charms. What happened between them came in the heat of the moment. They weren't thinking straight. I can't blame them. They needed each other. Harry's is doing right by her." "Fred, you really shouldn't be angry, you know," George said. "You were nearly in the same predicament last year with Angelina, weren't you?" Fred's shoulders slumped. The boys all stared at him. "Why are you so angry about this?" "Because I don't know if I would have done what Harry did. I was too scared," Fred shouted. Charlie put his arm around Fred. "Fred, you're a Weasley. We're honorable men. You would have stood by her. Besides, this is Harry we're talking about. Do you honestly think he would hurt her? I don't, not really. If Mum and Dad are on their side then I'll not go against them." Fred looked at his brothers. Slowly the truth of Charlie's word sunk into all of them. Harry knocked on Ginny's door. "Ginny, may I come in?" She opened the door. Tears still stained her cheeks. She stepped back. Harry came in. He had never been in her room before. He looked around. The room suited her, he thought. The walls were pale green. Along the top, were stenciled vines of morning glories in shades of blue and white. There were some shelves that her schoolbooks sat on along with some cloth dolls, mementos of her childhood. She had a vanity and dresser both painted the same green as her walls with the morning glory pattern on them. The coverlet on her bed was a bright yellow, a stuffed unicorn rested against her pillow. It was elegant but sweet. Harry turned to her. "Don't let Fred get to you. They'll come around. We'll show them." "That's sweet of you to say, Harry," she said. "I'll be okay. It's just the pregnancy. My emotions have been hard to control. Hermione gave me a book. It says that my hormones are out of balance right now. Sometimes I'll get like this." "You'll have to let me read it. I want to know what's going to happen." She smiled at Harry. He was so sincere. He opened his arms and she walked into his embrace.

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