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Supper was an uncommonly quiet affair in the Weasley household. George didn’t come back that night but he did have the presence of mind to owl his mother so she wouldn’t worry about him and told her he was staying in his flat above the shop for the night. Mr. Weasley dashed down supper as fast as he could because he had to go back to the Ministry and put in extra hours to help Kingsley Shacklebolt try and create some sense of order after so much chaos. Ron and Hermione kept giving each other looks across the table, which didn’t go unnoticed by anyone. Ginny refused to look at Harry over dinner or anyone else for that matter. She seemed lost in thought a few times and Molly asked her if she was alright when Ginny stopped eating and was idly twirling the spaghetti on her plate. Harry tried to avoid Mrs. Weasley’s gaze afraid that if their eyes connected she would know he was the reason for Ginny’s behavior. Harry thought maybe he was being paranoid but he felt that Mrs. Weasley was glancing from face to face of the people around her as she ate in suspicion of something.

“So…now that I’ve got you all in one room,” Mrs. Weasley said a little while later as she dished out the treacle tart, “what do you lot have planned?”

“Immediate or distant future?” Ron asked with a bit of cheek.

“Both, but why don’t we try immediate future first,” Mrs. Weasley said sounding a bit annoyed.

“Well, we need to take a trip to pick up my parents,” Hermione supplied in a sweet voice, “and Harry thought that while we’re at it we would pick up the Dursleys from the safe-house they got placed in.”

“Do you even know where they’re being kept?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Hermione knows where her parents are as she’s the one that hid them. As for the Dursleys, Kingsley said he’d fill me in on their location if I stopped by his office. I need to head over there anyway for another briefing. I was thinking about dropping by there tomorrow,” Harry informed.

“And all three of you are going?” Mrs. Weasley asked then looked over at Ron who merely gulped a large bite of treacle tart too early and nearly choked. He went into a coughing fit, his eyes watering, and couldn’t answer.

“Yes,” Hermione answered handing Ron his glass of pumpkin juice. “Well, actually, Mrs. Weasley, we were wondering if Ginny might be able to come as well?”

There was moment of tense silence. Mrs.Weasley looked for a moment as if she were about to lose her temper. Ginny looked up at her mother and pleaded with her bright brown eyes without saying a word.

“I really don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Mrs.Weasley finally answered. “I’ll need to talk to your father about it. I’d also like to know your travel plans.”

“Well, we were planning on Apparating into a magical village near where I placed my folks and catching a Muggle bus from there,” Hermione started to explain.

“Ginny’s not of age yet. She doesn’t have her Apparating License,” Mrs.Weasley pointed out.

“She can side-along with me,” Harry piped up. “I’ve done it already a few times.”

“And after you meet with the Grangers?”

“Floo Network,” Hermione continued. “I was planning on speaking with someone at the ministry to connect the fireplace in the house I put my parents in to the Floo Network temporarily.”

“And you expect to accomplish all this traveling in one day?”

“Erm, well, no, I thought that we could stay one night in the house my parents are in,” Hermione answered sheepishly. “I’ll have to have time to restore their memories a well.”

“So you’ll have a chaperone overnight. Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Ronald Weasley. You may be of age and quit school and spent almost a year alone with Hermione and Harry, and I know you were on an important mission, all the details of which I still don’t know, but your sister is sixteen and as long as she lives under this roof and until she comes of age she follows my rules, understood?” Ron just nodded his head dumbly. “Fine, so you’ve figured out travel and sleeping arrangements. What about if you get attacked? You-Know-Who may be dead but a lot of his Death Eaters and supporters are still at large.”

“Well, I’ll be there, Mrs.Weasley,” Harry said calmly, keeping in mind what Hermione said about putting Mrs.Weasley’s mind at ease. “If anything should happen I’ll be there to help protect Ginny. Besides, I don’t think they’d want to duel with me anyway, not now that they think I’m a force to reckon with. And I’ve seen Ginny at the top of her game, she knows how to defend herself, anyone who has seen her Bat-Bogey Hex knows it,” Harry added for good measure.

“True enough,” Molly conceded. “I still don’t know. I’ll talk to your father, Ginny, and we’ll see.”

“Maybe is better than no I suppose,” Ginny said looking a little less glum. She finally looked over at Harry and he gave her a quick wink. They all finished off their treacle tart and helped clean up. Ron and Ginny insisted that their mom sit down and relax as they washed the dishes. Harry and Hermione dried and put them away.

Mrs.Weasley had tuned the wireless to listen to her favorite singer Celestina Warbeck. When the quartet finished cleaning up they joined Molly in the sitting room. Ron and Hermione sat together on the loveseat. Harry sat on a stool. Ginny curled up on the floor at her mother’s feet and lay her head against Molly’s knees.

“I was just wondering,” Mrs.Weasley spoke after the song ended, “why it is that you won’t tell your father and I where it is that you three were hiding all year and what exactly was it that your mission was?” She looked at Ron, Hermione and Harry each in turn then looked down at Ginny.

“Don’t look at me,” Ginny said defensively, “I don’t know either.”

“I told you, mum,” Ron answered in exasperation, “we went to Grimmauld place then after that we had to stay on the move, camping in secluded places. As for the mission, you’ll know when the tie is right.”

“And I wonder just when that might be?” Molly said haughtily. A silence fell in the room where the Weasley kids and Hermione were afraid to speak lest they anger Mrs.Weasley further.

“Soon,” Harry said in a quiet voice. “I know it’s not easy wondering what we were doing, but we’re here now, quite safe and healthy. That’s not to say that what we were doing wasn’t dangerous, I won’t lie to you, it most definitely was. But it’s over and in the past.”

“Then why can’t you just tell me?” Mrs.Weasley pleaded.

“Because there are still some Death Eaters on the loose and some of Voldemort’s supporters that would probably cause trouble or worse if they found out what we did, what lengths we went to to take out Voldemort. The information needs to be kept quiet until we can be sure we can prevent it from happening again. We need to wait until things have settled down a bit more. I just feel that we should limit the people we tell. It’s not that we don’t trust you it’s just that it’s still not safe knowledge to carry. I don’t want you to become a target for any information you might know.”

“Then why bring Ron and Hermione in on it and put your best friends in danger?” Mrs.Weasley asked of Harry.

“When Dumbledore originally told me of the mission he asked me to share my knowledge with them in case I failed so there would be someone left who would know what to do to carry on. He told me to tell them and no one else.”

‘Yes, well, Dumbledore was very adept at keeping secrets,” Mrs.Weasley sniffed.

“Yes, he was,” was all Harry could say to that truth. “And I do keep that in mind. All I can do right now is assure you that in time you will know and I hope that will suffice for now.” Harry knew that Mrs.Weasley was angry with him. He understood her frustration at being kept out of the loop, when the Order of the Phoenix had rejoined at Grimmauld place no one had told him, he had spent a whole summer without anyone telling him their secrets.

No one spoke for a few minutes. Harry leaned his elbows on his knees and steepled his fingers and watched Mrs.Weasley over them. Ginny watched her mother as well, her neck craned to see Molly’s face. Harry glanced quickly over at Ron and Hermione and saw that they were holding hands discreetly. Ginny jumped a little when Mrs.Weasley let out a derisive snort.

“Well, I don’t have much of a choice do I?” Molly asked to no one in particular. She turned up the wireless volume again, leaned back in her chair, and closed her eyes. From afar she looked completely calm, but Harry could see a faint sparkle of a tear drop trickle down Molly’s cheek that she didn’t brush away because she did not want to bring any attention to it.

Harry watched Mrs.Weasley for a while longer until Ron stood up, walked over and tapped Harry on the shoulder. It gave Harry a start and he flinched a bit. Ginny stood up too but she moved toward one of the shelves in the room and pulled down a rectangular flower-printed box. She sat on the floor with it and lifted the lid off. Hermione joined Ginny on the floor to look at the contents of the box which was a collection of pictures.

“Fancy a game of Wizard’s Chess?” Ron asked Harry.

“Sure,” Harry answered not really wanting to but at least it would pass the time. They set up the chess game on the floor not too far from Hermione and Ginny. Harry was losing, as per usual when he was playing against Ron, but every now and again Ginny would mumble a hint to Harry. Harry’s interest in the game quickly waned when Ginny and Hermione started talking avidly about the photographs they were looking at.

“This one here’s a picture of Bill and Charlie when they were younger. You can see Mum in the background there,” Ginny pointed at the photo, “she was pregnant with Percy at the time.” Harry took a quick look at the photograph to see two mud covered young boys and a radiant, younger, very pregnant Mrs. Weasley trying unsuccessfully not to laugh at her sons.

“Oh, this one here you’ll like Hermione!” Ginny said holding up another photograph. “It’s ickle Ronniekins getting a bath, only about a year old too.”

“Oi! Don’t show that to her Ginny!” Ron said trying to snatch the picture out of Ginny’s hand, but Hermione plucked it away first.

“Oh, Ron, you were so adorable!” Hermione exclaimed upon seeing the picture.

“Yeah,” Harry said looking at the picture of baby Ron splashing around in a tub, “wonder what happened?”

“Oi!” Ron shouted and punched Harry on his bicep. All four of them settled into a fit of laughter. Harry and Ron abandoned their game of chess, Harry was going to lose in ten moves anyway, the surviving pieces complaining about the battle being unfinished. The boys joined the girls in looking at the photographs.

“Hey, Harry, look at this one,” Ron said pulling a picture out of the box. Ron handed the rectangular glossy picture over to Harry.

“What is that?” Ginny asked suspiciously.

“Baby picture of you, it’s only fair, you showed Hermione one of me. More than fair really, at least you have clothes on,” Ron retorted.

Harry looked down to see what looked like a two year old Ginny in a pretty flowered dress or at least it must have been pretty, Harry couldn’t exactly tell because the front of the dress was covered in chocolate cake and frosting. In fact all of Ginny’s face and fingers were covered in chocolate brown. As Harry watched the moving picture baby Ginny was still licking the frosting off her hands. Seeing Ginny as a baby gave Harry a weird giddy feeling inside. It made Harry wonder what any children Ginny might have in the future would look like. Would they all be just as beautiful as Ginny? Harry liked to think so.

Seeing her in a less than graceful state as a baby covered in chocolate gateau made Harry laugh politely. Hermione took the photo out of Harry’s hand so she could look at it.

“Aww, look at you!” Hermione commented on the picture. Ginny ignored Hermione’s cooing and reached back into the box for another picture.

“Who’s that?” Harry had to ask because he was looking at the photo of two Hogwarts students. Both were young, thin, and laughing. “Is this you, Mrs.Weasley?” Harry asked turning to her.

“Hmm?” Molly set down her wand that she was using to bewitch her knitting needles to get up and have a look at the picture. “Oh, yes, that’s me and Arthur. I think that was taken near the end of out fifth year.”

“This was taken on Hogwarts’ grounds?” Hermione asked. They had all circled around Mrs.Weasley.

“Mmhmm, not too far from the lake,” Molly answered. “Closer to the forest I think.”

“I don’t recognize the place,” Ron stated.

“I think I do,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ginny added, “it looks a lot different now but that looks like the hill that the Whomping Willow is planted on.”

“Oh, yeah, I see it now,” Hermione commented.

Harry couldn’t help but think of why the tree was planted. To block the tunnel that was dug to the shrieking shack, to prevent other students from finding the entrance. Dumbledore wanted a safe place for Remus Lupin to go during the full moon. Before Harry could dwell too long on his darker thoughts of losing Lupin Mrs.Weasley had taken the box of photographs and was holding up the next picture.

“Who’s that, Mum?” Ginny asked.

“That is Percy,” Molly explained, “and your father. I took this picture when Percy was three. He used to love getting horsy rides from Arthur. Used to beg him all the time for rides around this room.” Harry thought it was funny to see Percy in a situation that wasn’t so prim and proper. Apparently he wasn’t the only one because everyone began laughing as they watched Arthur Weasley crawl around the room with Percy on his back giggling and flailing his arms.

They spent most of the evening that way, going through pictures from the box and laughing if the pictures were amusing or in the case of a few pictures of Fred or Mrs.Weasley brothers there was some crying amongst them.

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