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Chapter 2: The Morning After

 

Harry woke up slowly . For the first time in a year, he had slept soundly. He had the best dream, and was reluctant to wake up and leave the pleasures of the dream world behind. As his awareness returned, he realized that there was a soft, warm presence snuggled against his chest. He opened his eyes slowly, then gave a sigh of relief. He really was in Hogwarts, with his beautiful Ginny sleeping peacefully beside him, all wrapped up in his arms. 

 

Harry watched her sleep, thinking how striking she looked and how much he had missed her. He studied her face. It was still covered in grime, and he could trace the tracks of her tears down her cheeks. He knew that he was the cause of so many of those tears, both from her despair when she had been certain that he was lost to her forever, and her joy at his miraculous reappearance, alive and well, during the battle in the Great Hall. Then there were the tears she had cried during  the conflict of her emotions during their reunion. 

 

Harry decided that he never wanted to be the reason that another tear of sadness ran down that beautiful face. He turned his attention to the scratches on her face. She had a long, thin scratch down her right cheek, and three short, slightly deeper scratches between the corner of her left eye and her hair line. 

They looked angry and red, standing in contrast to the pale, freckled skin of her face. He noted, too, that the bruise beneath her left eye was beginning to darken impressively. Still, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and he decided right then that this was how he wanted to wake up every morning for the rest of his life.

 

          "Good morning, sleepy head.", he whispered lovingly against her ear, and enjoyed the slight shiver that his breath sent through her body.

 

          "Umm," she said sleepily, stretching her body against his, and sending a thrill through his body. Her brown eyes slowly opened to meet his emerald ones. "That's great morning, Voldy Slayer," she said, as she flashed him a dazzling smile, then leaned up to kiss him on the cheek.

 

"Voldy Slayer. I do like the sound of that. Especially when you say it." He leaned down to return her kiss to her lips.

 

"Umm," she groaned softly as their lips parted. "It's a much better name than the Chosen One, don't you think ?" she said, then smiled at him again. "I love this." she sighed, as she stretched again.

 

"Love what?", Harry asked, suddenly unsure if she was talking about him, simply waking up, or making up names for Ol' Voldy.

          

"Waking up like this, silly," she giggled as she snuggled deeper into his chest. 

 

          Harry fought to suppress a groan. Her simple wiggling against his chest had sent a hot wave of agony through his body. He knew that he was going to have to have his injuries treated soon, but not now. Ginny was here, and close, and he would be damned before he let her know that she was causing him any discomfort or pain. Mastering his pain, he wrapped his arms protectively around her, and whispered, "Me too, Gin. Me too."

 

"I wanna do this forever. I never want to wake up without you.", Ginny responded.

 

"We can, Gin." Harry told her. "I meant what I said. I will never leave you again. I promise."

 

“I love you too, Harry.” Ginny said into his chest, then looked up at him with a pout. “But it's time to get up now. I’m hungry .”

 

Harry laughed. “May I ask, is there ever a time when a Weasley isn’t hungry?” Ginny stuck her tongue out at him, then bounced out of bed. Harry followed her, although he moved a little more gingerly. They spent a few minutes making sure they were decent. Harry gave Ginny an appraising look, then used his wand to remove the dirt and grime from her. 

 

Ginny returned the favor, but discovered that the blood stains on Harry's  shirt were too stubborn for cleaning with a quick spell. She glared at his shirt, clearly offended by its failure to bend to her will, then grumbled something about it at least not being fresh blood, and gave up. Deciding that they were about as presentable as they were going to get quickly, the couple headed down to the common room. As they descended the stairs, they peeked into the other dormitories to find that there was twice the usual amount of beds in each.

 

 

“I wonder why no one else came up to the dorm that we were in ?” Harry wondered aloud.

 

“If I remember correctly, it was Kreacher,” Ginny answered. “He nearly  scared me to death. I had come up the stairs looking for you, when he suddenly appeared in front of me. 'No one is to disturb Master Harry'” Ginny's voice dropped into a fair imitation of Kreacher's. “But he was very apologetic when he realized who I was. 'Kreacher is very sorry, Mistress Ginevra. Kreacher was only trying to help his Master sleep. Kreacher wasn't knowing that his Mistress was coming too. Kreacher thought his Mistress was asleep in the common room. Mistress forgive poor Kreacher ?' “ Ginny dropped her imitation of Kreacher, and continued her tale. 

 

“I told him that I forgave him, of course, but it was really weird. When did Kreacher become so nice, and when did he start calling me his Mistress ? And how does he know my name's Ginevra ? Nobody calls me that, except Percy. Well, and Mum when she's mad at me.”

 

“Well, Ron, Hermione and I won him over last summer, so he's been nice since then. Calling you Mistress, well, that happened when we got to the common room. When was it last night? This morning? I've sort of lost track of the time. Anyway, as for calling you Ginevra, I honestly have no idea,” Harry told her.


The pair entered the common room quietly, and looked around. Ron and Hermione were still asleep, snuggled together in their couch. Lee and George were asleep on the other couch, each still clutching his now empty bottle of fire whiskey. Charlie was snoring in the chair that Harry had left, and there were about fifty other people sleeping on conjured mattresses and hammocks around the room.

 

“Wow. I've never seen it this full,” Ginny breathed. They eased their way through the sleeping bodies to the portrait hole. With a last look back at the peacefulness of their friends and family, they slipped out of the portrait hole.

 

They made their way down to the Great Hall in silence, taking in the mass destruction to their beloved castle with wide eyes. Harry hadn't realized the extent of the damage during his last trip through the halls, given that his attention had been focused on Ginny. Ginny, of course, had been asleep during that trip, so this was her first real view of the damage, too. Harry reached for Ginny's hand, grasping it for comfort as he surveyed the destruction to what had been his first real home.

 

Harry was shocked. He had almost willed himself to forget that a battle had taken place here, instead wrapping himself inside the protective bubble that was Ginny's love. There, everything was safe and perfect, and he had allowed himself to forget about the pain that existed outside of his world with her. Now, it had all come crashing back in on him. He found that he couldn't look at the damage.

 

 Everything looked so much worse in the light of day. Instead, he focused his eyes on the floor and trusted in Ginny to guide him. She seemed to instinctively know that he wasn't strong enough yet to see the rest of the damage to the castle. She knew him so well that she understood that, being Harry, he would immediately blame himself for all of the damage, believing that since Riddle had returned to Hogwarts to find him, that all the resulting damage was his fault.

 

The couple entered the Great Hall. Parents, teachers, students, and friends were scattered around the four house tables; eating, talking, mourning the loss of loved ones, or simply enjoying the start of a day that free of the fear of Voldemort. Ginny searched the assembled throng for her parents, but was unable to find either one. She did spot Bill and Fleur, sitting with the newly appointed Headmistress McGonagall, and the equally newly appointed Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt. She led Harry over to them.

 

“Where's Mum ?”, she asked Bill.

 

“The last I saw of her, she was looking for you.” Bill replied, trying to hide his grin. 

 

“Should I ask where you've been that our beloved Mother couldn't find you ?” He stared at Ginny's face, as she started to blush. He noticed that Harry was blushing, too, although he was studiously trying to avoid Bill's eyes. 

 

Bill then pointedly dropped his eyes from Ginny's face to her hand, which was still tightly clasped in Harry's. “Or maybe I shouldn't.” he finished.

 

Ginny's face was defiant . She noted that Bill couldn't hide his grin anymore, and that Fleur and Kingsley had never even bothered to try. Only McGonagall seemed to be able to maintain a proper expression, and Ginny was pretty sure that even the corners of her mouth were upturned with the hint of a smile. She saw Bill raise his eyebrows in Harry's direction, and she turned to Harry for support, only to find him staring pointedly at the magical ceiling, and mumbling something about it still working, and allowing all this sunlight in just to mock their losses. 

 

Ginny rolled her eyes, and tried to suppress her own grin. She could feel the sense of terror building in Harry, as he feared what Bill's reaction would be to their relationship. She knew Bill would approve of them, but decided to let Harry stew a little bit. Noticing Luna nearby, Ginny stuck her tongue out at Bill, let go of Harry's hand, and stepped over to engage Luna in conversation.

          

Harry was stunned to suddenly find himself alone in facing Bill. He was sure that his face was now an appropriate shade of Weasley red, and couldn't decide whether he should look Bill in the eyes, or just wait for the death threats that were sure to come as a result of his having slept in the same room as Bill's baby sister. He hoped that Bill wouldn't cause him too much bodily harm while under Fleur's watch. 

 

At least, he hoped that Fleur would keep Bill's more destructive urges in check. He wasn't so sure that her control would apply to the rest of the Weasley men. He couldn't help but wonder what the rest of the family would do to him if, or more likely when, they found out that he had shared a bed with their little sister.

          

“Harry, why don't you come join us. “ Bill smiled, as he gestured to a seat between Kingsley and himself. Harry approached the two older men cautiously. He still wasn't sure what was going through Bill's mind, so he tried to slip into a seat on the other side of Kingsley, just to be on the safe side. Kingsley, managing to conceal his grin this time, slid down on the bench, so that Harry's only option was to sit between him and Bill. Harry pondered his options for second, then decided that he had none. He gulped, and tried to nonchalantly ease himself onto the bench. As he settled, he failed to notice the grin that Bill and Kingsley exchanged behind his back.

          

“That was quite a beating you took last night,” Kingsley laughed, as he nodded towards Ginny.

 

          

Bill made a quick check to be sure that Ginny was still engaged in her animated conversation with Luna, then laughed, “Yes, I can just see the Daily Prophet headline now: 'CHOSEN ONE BEATEN TO DEATH BY SIXTEEN YEAR OLD WEASLEY BRAT.' What  that wouldn't do for the old family blood traitor status”

 

          

“I did deserve it,” Harry mumbled. He refused to make eye contact with Bill, silently praying that Bill wouldn't question him about his relationship with the youngest Weasley.  Instead, he found his eyes straying to Ginny, who was clearly in the midst of her Kreacher impersonation for Luna. He smiled at her antics, watching her over Fleur's shoulder, who was directly across the table from him. The smile froze on his face, as Bill draped an arm around his shoulders. 

 

Fleur tried to hide her smile, as Harry's wide, panic stricken eyes locked with hers. He was clearly terrified of what Bill might think of his relationship with Ginny. She also noticed the quick grimace of pain that had flashed across Harry's face, as Bill's arm rested more heavily on him.

 

          

“Oh, Merlin,” Harry thought. “I'm dead.” Even in his terror, he noticed Fleur giving him an appraising look, as if she was counting up the number of cuts, tears, burns, and blood stains in his t-shirt. “Give it a few more minutes, and you'll have some new ones to count,” he thought.

 

“Harry James Potter, “ Bill said in his sternest voice. “Don't think I haven't noticed how you look at my baby sister. Don't think I didn't notice you trying to hold her hand. Don't think that I don't know where the two of you spent last night. She's my little sister, Potter. She's the pride and joy of my family. And if you ever, EVER think of doing something like that with her again, I want you to know exactly what will happen to you, what I personally will do to you. I'll give you my permission, for whatever that's worth, to be with her and love her for the rest of your life.”

 

“I'm sorry, Bill. I know she's your baby sister, but I....” Harry paused, as his brains caught up with his ears. “Wait. You'll give me your what ?”

 

Bill and Kingsley roared with laughter. Even Fleur stopped trying to count Harry's possible injuries, as she dissolved in giggles. Ginny, in the midst of her conversation, heard the uproar, and turned to give the group a puzzled look. She noticed Bill's arm around Harry's shoulders, and could feel Harry's panic and confusion. She quickly excused herself from Luna, and headed for the table. 

          

“Look,” Bill said. “I know how you feel about Ginny. I saw how you dealt with her last night, and I've  watched how you look at her. It's the same way that I've seen Dad look at Mum, and it's the same way that I look at Fleur. I know that you're head over heels for her, and I know that she feels the same way about you. I'm not especially happy that my little sister has had to grow up so fast, but I know that she has grown up.  I'm just glad that she has fallen for some one as good and decent as you. 

 

I know that you've been worried about how I would react about your love for her. I just wanted you to know that I'm OK with it. Just take care of her and love. If you ever hurt her, I won't have to kill you, because she'll do it herself. But I know that that won't happen. You love her too much for that. You're a good man, little brother, and I wouldn't have my Gin Gin with anybody else.”

 

Harry stared at Bill for a moment, his brain frozen. He was stunned at how much Bill was aware of his and Ginny's relationship. He couldn't believe that Bill was actually giving them his blessing, and that Bill had actually called him 'little brother'. “I...I... just don't know quite what to say.”, he finally managed to get out.

 

“I do,” Ginny said quietly, having finally arrived at the table. She threw her arms around Bill. “Thank you for approving, and thank you for putting Harry's mind at ease. I love you.” She pulled back from Bill, her eyes moist, and reached for Harry's hand.

 

“I know, Gin Gin.”, Bill said, as he reached out and ruffled her hair with his hand. “You've found a good man. Don't let him get away.”

 

“I won't.” Ginny said, as she looked up at Harry. “I promise,” she said, as much to Harry as to Bill.

 

“GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY.”

 

Everyone jumped as Molly came storming in behind them. “What now?!.” Ginny groaned, as she turned to face her mother. Still holding on to Harry's hand, she tried to smile as sweetly as possible. “Yes, Mum ?”

 

“Don't you 'yes, Mum', me, young lady.”  Molly glared at her daughter. “Where on Earth have you been ? I woke up and you were gone ! I was so worried about you. I didn't know if maybe a Death Eater had snuck back in, or what. I looked everywhere for you. Where have you been ?!?”

 

“Mum. I'm fine.” Ginny said quietly. “I'm sorry that I've worried you, but I was with Harry.” She looked up at him with a smile.

 

“You see, Mollee. I told you earlier that zere was no need to werry. Geeny was perfectly fine wiz 'Arry.” Fleur interjected quietly, trying to calm her mother-in-law.

 

Molly looked for a moment as if she was going to explode again, but then a deep sigh of relief shook her body, and she relaxed. Ginny let out her breath in relief. This was a mistake, as she suddenly found herself pulled into one of her mother's hugs. Keeping air in your lungs during one of Molly's hugs was always a difficult task, and Ginny had started with very little to begin with. 

 

Ginny gasped for air, her face turning red. 

 

“Oh, Ginny, I was so worried about you. I was afraid that something had happened.” Molly went on, oblivious to her daughter's discomfort.

 

          

Harry quickly stepped forward to try to rescue his girlfriend. “ I'm sorry, Mrs. Weasley. It's my fault. I should have thought to tell you that she was with me.” His words had the desired effect, as Molly released Ginny. Bill caught Ginny as she slumped back, franticly trying to reacquaint her lungs with the concept of breathing again. 

 

Molly turned towards Harry. She looked at her 'adopted' son proudly. “Thank you,” she whispered to him. “You've saved us all. Again. And I don't know how, but you've made my baby girl happy again. Thank you so much.”

 

And before he could move, Harry had been pulled into a bone crushing hug. Harry thought his chest was going to burst into flames, it hurt so bad. He was certain that something had actually cracked in his chest this time. Ginny, Bill and Fleur all reacted in panic, as Harry visibly paled in Molly's embrace, and a grimace of agony contorted his face. 

 

“Mollee !”, Fleur called.

 

“Mom !.” Bill roared, as he reached to try to pull Harry from Molly's embrace.

 

“MUM !”, Ginny screamed. “LET GO! YOU'RE HURTING HIM !” Ginny was pulling on her mother's arms, trying to wedge herself in between her mother and Harry.

          

Molly released her embrace in surprise. Harry collapsed against Bill, gasping for air, and wrapping his arms around his chest, as if trying to hold his body together. Ginny was instantly there to help support him. “Harry, are you ok?” she pleaded. “Please be ok.”

 

“M'alright.” Harry gasped. “Just couldn't breathe there for a second.” He tried to take a deep breath, and quickly decided that shallow ones were a much less painful alternative. He slowly tried to stand up. “I'm ok, now.”

 

He looked up to find himself staring straight into Fleur's eyes. She had stepped in front of Molly, and was now gazing at him intently.  She watched him struggling to breath, then pointedly dropped her eyes to his damaged and blood stained clothing. 

 

“ 'Arry, 'ave you seen Madame Pomfrey yet ? Or any 'ealer, for zat matter ?” Fleur asked quietly, staring intently into his eyes.

 

“Er, uh, no, actually.” Harry admitted, trying to look anywhere but at Fleur. He dreaded what he was pretty sure was coming next.

 

“ Take off your shirt, 'Arry,” Fleur sighed, as she pulled out her medi-witch bag. She was tired from all the injuries that she had already treated, but Harry was clearly in need of medical treatment now, and she was not willing to pass the task along to someone else. After all, Harry was family.

 

“I'm fine, really. I'm not in any pain,” Harry lied. The truth was that he ached all over, and that his chest was killing him. It had hurt after the battle, and had been getting progressively worse since. He had been meaning to see a healer, but hadn't wanted to let Ginny know that he was hurt. He had to admit, though, that the last hug from Mrs. Weasley had pretty much done him in.

 

“ 'Arry Potter, take off your shirt right now, so zat I can 'eal your wounds.” Fleur spoke quietly, but Harry could see a dangerous fire starting to build in her eyes. He was trying to gage his chances, when he heard McGonagall stand up behind him.

 

“Potter ! How dare you not go to Poppy last night to be healed ! How dare you ! Take your shirt off this instant, so that Miss Delacour...wait, it's Mrs. Weasley now, isn't it. Sorry, I...”, Professor McGonagall ranted. She paused, and seemed to gather her thoughts again. “It doesn't matter. Just let her heal you, Potter, or so help me, I'll take away 300 house points AND put you in detention for a month !” McGonagall finished with a huff, and then glared at him.

 

Harry considered telling her that there were no points to be taken, as the hourglasses had been smashed, and that she couldn't put him in detention because he hadn't been a student for the past year. Then again, he figured that if anyone could find  a way around these issues, it would be Professor McGonagall. Suddenly, there was an eruption from behind Fleur.

 

“HARRY JAMES POTTER ! Do it this instant !” It seemed that Molly Weasley had found her voice again. “ How could I not have realized that you hadn't been taken care of ! I've just had so much on my mind with Fred. How could I have forgotten that you were hurt, too ?” She rambled on for a few minutes, then started to cry.

 

He felt a gentle, but definite increase of the pressure on his hand. He warily looked down at Ginny, to find her giving him a meaningful look. “Now, Harry,” was all she said.

 

“It's a wise man who knows when to surrender with dignity.”, he heard Kingsley's deep rumble behind him.

 

          

“Might as well get it over with,,” Bill encouraged from beside him.



Harry started to take a deep sigh, but stopped quickly when his chest throbbed. He was beaten, and he knew it for several reasons. One, he had never been able to deal with crying women. Secondly, he had never been able to say an outright 'no' to McGonagall. Thirdly, he remembered the angry Veela at the World Quidditch match, and he knew that he never wanted to see Fleur like that. Next, he really didn't want to make the feisty little red-head beside him angry. 

 

Finally, he really did hurt. As a result, he decided that he might as well let Fleur do it. After all, Madame Pomfrey would probably decide that he needed to be confined to the hospital wing for the next year.

 

Harry gingerly pulled his shirt off over his head. He was afraid to look down, especially after the reactions he received. Fleur gasped, her eyes wide with shock. Mrs. Weasley stopped crying, with a whispered “Oh my.” Based on McGonagall's shocked gasp, he guessed that the back view wasn't much better than the front. 

 

          “Merlin !”, he heard Kingsley rumble.

 

“How on earth did you carry Ginny all the way to Gryffindor Tower?” Bill said in awed wonder.

 

He dared a glance at Ginny. Her eyes were wide with horror. “Oh, Harry,” she whimpered when her eyes met his. “Why didn't you say something ? I thought you had already seen a healer !”

 

Harry didn't answer her. Instead, he gave her hand a gentle squeeze to steel himself, then looked down at his chest and arms. He was surprised to see how scrawny he had become due to the lack of food over the past year. There was an angry red scar just below his throat from where the locket had tried to kill him. He counted three burns on his right arm, two more on his left, and at least four that he could see on his chest and stomach.

 

 These had to be injuries that he had gotten during the Gringott's robbery. His right bicep had a large, purple bruise on it, and there was long scratch running down his right forearm, parallel to the scar that Pettigrew had given him   in the graveyard three years before. There was a dark bruise on his left shoulder, and his left wrist and the back of his hand were swollen.

 

He saw the angry outline of a heart over where his real heart was, and guessed that it must be where the killing curse had stuck him. He thought, “Well, at least this time it isn't in a place where it will show.”  He had several long scratches across his stomach, and it looked like he had a broken rib on his left side, as there was a discolored bulge along that side. 

He guessed that it had been injured while Riddle had been playing with his supposedly dead body, but that it probably hadn't broken until that last hug from Mrs. Weasley. “Not that I'll ever tell her that,” he thought. The last of his injuries that he could see were about a dozen small bruises on his upper chest. He was pretty sure where those had come from, as they appeared to be just about the size of Ginny's little fists.

 

Harry looked up at Fleur and Mrs. Weasley, then down at Ginny, and shuddered to find that they were all still looking at him in stunned silence. He heard McGonagall's quiet curses from behind him, and imagined that his back probably looked just as bad as his front.

 

“Potter, how could you have slept like this ?”, the head mistress finally asked. Her tone indicated just how appalled she was at seeing the damage on Harry's body.

 

“Exhaustion, I guess.” Harry said quietly. “And the proximity of a certain little red head,” he added in his mind. He didn't believe that it was wise for him to share that reason, or at least not just at the moment. He sought out Ginny's eyes, and smiled at her, trying to convey that reason to her, at least. Ginny's eyes were still wide in her shock, and her growing sense of horror. She let go of his hand and stepped in front of him, then placed her hands on the Ginny-sized bruises.

 

“I did this, didn't I,” she said in a barely audible voice, a look of disgust on her face.

 

“It's ok, Ginny, you didn’t mean it ” Harry said softly to her. He winced slightly as her wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her against his bare chest.

 

Ginny's finger traced the outline of the new scar over his heart. She lifted her eyes to meet Harry's. “He did it, didn't he ? He really killed you ?”, She asked.

          

“Yes,” Harry answered simply. “But he's gone now.  He can't hurt us anymore.”


Molly’s POV

          

I just can't believe it. I look at poor Harry's chest and arms, and I simply can't believe it. How can he still be alive, let alone walking and talking? I've always considered him my seventh son every since Ron and the twins rescued him in that ridiculous car of Arthur's. I know I'm upset over Fred's death, but I can't believe that I missed how badly hurt Harry was. How close I came to losing my seventh son, too.  I guess I looked at his face, and not seeing any injuries there, I just assumed that he was OK.  It dawns on me know that Volde...He made  sure Harry's face was perfect. He believed that he had killed Harry, and he wanted to be sure that we would recognize his body. 

          

Wait,,, Did I just hear Ginny say that she inflicted some of these injuries on Harry ?Yes, she must have. She's just stepped in front of him, and place her hands against some of the bruises on his chest. I can see that her hands fit the bruises perfectly.

          

Why on earth would my daughter be beating on poor Harry ? What could he possibly have done to deserve it ?

          

I watch as Harry wraps his arms around her and pulls her into his chest. Despite the pain it is apparently causing him, he'd rather comfort her than protect himself. It seems to me that he'd be in too much pain to.....

          

I'm an idiot! How did I not realize  she loves him. She loves him and he left her for a whole year. That’s  why there are Ginny-sized bruises on his chest.

          

I'd heard that there had been some kind of scene between them in the Great Hall last night, but I had missed it. I had been off lingering over Fred's body, consumed with my grief. They told me that Ginny had finally collapsed in exhaustion, and that Harry had left, carrying her off to Gryffindor Tower. I gathered the rest of my family, and herded them off to follow. 

          

Then there was that strange scene with Kreacher. He popped in front of us, and told us “That his Master said to tell the Weasleys that Master and Mistress were fine, and that Mistress was sleeping.” Ron and George immediately wanted to know if Ginny had killed Harry yet. Kreacher seemed offended. “Master is fine ! As is Kreacher's M...” and then he was gone with a crack. 

Ron and George, followed by Hermione and Lee, immediately took off running for the tower. I didn't know what to think. I was shocked that Kreacher was suddenly being civil, and stunned that something that he had said had concerned my two boys enough to suddenly send them off running. Then we got to the tower ourselves, and I never thought to wonder why Ginny was sleeping on Harry, or why he was so concerned about not leaving her. All I could see was how tired he was, and that he needed to get to bed.

          

I see that Fleur had recovered from her shock at Harry's injuries, and has started to help him. I'm reminded that up until a year ago, I didn't like Fleur. I didn't think that she was good enough for my Bill. Then I watched her care for him when he was injured, and I realized how much she truly loved him. Now, she's my other daughter, and I can't imagine life in this family without her. I see Ginny stir, and suddenly she is doing anything that she can to help Fleur. Fleur was so gentle with Bill's injuries, and I can see Ginny taking the same care with Harry's. Every few seconds she stops and looks up lovingly at the man before her.

          

There's no doubt. My little girl has so much love in her heart for my other son Lilly's Harry.
 

The Chosen One. Some have even taken to whispering his name as The Phoenix. Given his sudden, miraculous appearance during the middle of the battle, his seeming sudden return to life, I can't say that I blame them. I'm a little in awe of him, too. I turn my attention to watch Harry, and it's suddenly no trouble to see that he loves  her also. Those deep green eyes of his watch her every move, following her wherever she goes. Clearly, he adores her.

          

And suddenly, all the pieces come together for me. They must have gotten together shortly before Dumbledore's death. Ginny's letters home at that time were the happiest she had ever written. But when Ginny came home, she stayed locked up in her room. This was unusual behavior for her, but I assumed that it was due to Dumbledore's death. Now, I realize that I was wrong. It must have been because of Harry. My guess would be that he broke things off with her, already planning to go off and do whatever he's been doing for the past year. I spent to much time worrying about trying to kepp Harry, Hermione and Ron safe in the burrow,  I didn’t take the time to keep up with Ginny. I do remember that her eyes would light up whenever his name was mentioned. And then there was the night of his arrival. Ginny was an absolute wreck. I assumed that she was scared about the rest of the family being in mortal peril, but I guess now that, while she was scared for everybody else, she was terrified for Harry.

 

          

I can't believe that I missed the signs. I remember now that during the week before the wedding that the Trio didn't spend any time with Ginny. Ginny had never liked being left out before, but instead of having a typical Ginny response,  she instead spent almost all of her time in her room, and every time I saw her, she appeared on the verge of tears. When Arthur and I finally told her that it was no longer safe for her to go back to school, she practically howled. “But what if they come back ? I've got to be there. He'll need me.” She pleaded with us, begged us even, but we were determined to keep our little girl safe, and so we didn't listen. After that, there were times that I would catch her at Muriel's, clutching a picture of the Trio, and crying. She even seemed to spend all of her time wearing a jumper that I could have sworn that I made for Harry. Even before the battle, Ginny backed down from an argument with me when I wanted her to stay safe. I remember now that she didn't back down until Harry told her that he wanted her to stay safe. 

          

I'm so annoyed with myself. I've always prided myself on knowing everything about my children. I knew from Ron's letters in his first year that he was in love with Hermione, and as soon as I met her, I knew that she felt the same way about him. It's taken them years to realize it, but I knew right then that they were meant to be together. How could I have been so blind to the pain that my little girl was in? Was I that caught up in first the wedding, and then the war ? The signs of her distress seem so obvious now, and yet, somehow, I missed every single one of them. My Ginny has never been one to cry, yet she had tears in her eyes everyday during her summer break from school. And I never noticed.

 

 Ginny's never been one to be left behind, she's always had to be in the thick of whatever was going on, and suddenly she spends three months in room alone, and I don't even notice. She cries over that picture at Muriel's. I notice it, but I never once thought to go talk to her about how she was.  I didn't even notice when she slipped up. I remember her clearly saying “He'll need me,”  when we told her she couldn't go back to school, and it didn't even dawn on me to ask who it was that would need her. No wonder she spent all of her time in Harry's jumper. I didn't seem to care enough to talk to her, and that had to be the only thing that she could do in order to feel close to Harry.

          

Merlin, but I've been a complete idiot. My Ginny never backs down from a fight, and yet she did, without even a word of protest, when Harry asked her to. I remember the look in her eyes now, and it may haunt me forever that I didn't notice it then. That look spoke of her fierce devotion to Harry, and how she wanted to do nothing more but to fight at his side, and her devastation that all he wanted to do was keep her safe. She was so hurt, but all I could do was be thankful that she was staying out of harm's way. Some mother I am. Me, Molly Weasley, the great mother hen, and I completely failed my little girl when she needed me the most. 

          

It didn't even dawn on me this morning. I went up the stairs to check on Harry, but Kreacher stopped me. “Kreacher's Master and Mistress are sleeping, and are to be left alone.” I didn't think anything about it, and went back downstairs to check on the rest of my family. I noticed that Ginny was missing, but I assumed that she was with Harry, Ron and Hermione. So off I set for the Great Hall to join them for breakfast. This despite the fact that I had just been told by Kreacher that Harry was sleeping, and that I had just seen Ron and Hermione wrapped up in each other's arms, still asleep in that sofa in the common room. When I got to the Great Hall and found that she wasn't there, I went a little mental and set off to hunt for her.

          

Fine. So I'm an idiot. I vow to never be that stupid again. I do wonder what Kreacher meant about 'his Master and Mistress'. Harry and Ginny aren't even engaged, let alone married. So how can Ginny be Kreacher's Mistress ?  Wait. I think I remember something about how house elves are able to tell their master's soul mates old magic at its core. But that means, if Ginny is Kreacher's mistress, that she is Harry's soul mate.

          

I look back at them. Fleur and Ginny have gotten Harry to sit down so that they can work on his legs. They seem to be cut up and burned about as bad as his chest and arms were. They finally finish, and Ginny grabs Harry's hand to help him up. Instead, Harry pulls her down onto his lap. Ginny giggles his name as she lands on her perch.

          

I see Harry turn to Fleur. “Fleur, thank you for everything,”  I hear him say. “I know that you are tired, but could you take a few minutes and heal Ginny, too ?” 

 

          

Fleur just smiles at him, and turns her attention to Ginny. In a few moments, she's healed the cuts and scratches on Ginny's face, and even taken care of her black eye. “Is that everything ?” Fleur asks Ginny.

 

          “Yes,” Ginny replies, and starts to get up.

 

          Harry holds her in place. “No, it's not,” he says. “She's been favoring her right leg. I think that she's hurt her hip.”

 

          Fleur looks at Ginny, who slowly nods. I watch Fleur gently probe Ginny's hip, then Ginny winces and lets out a yelp of pain. Fleur works for a few more minutes, then probes the hip again. 

 

This time, there is no indication of pain from Ginny, and she smiles and nods at Fleur. Fleur gets up and goes over to Bill, where she collapses tiredly into his lap. Ginny starts to get up, and Harry lets her this time. I hadn't even known that Ginny was hurt. Harry did, though, and he took care of my little girl again. I watch as Ginny takes his hands, and pulls Harry to his feet. He whispers something into her ear. She blushes slightly, but nods her head in agreement. She looks up at him with so much love that it makes my heart flutter. She takes his hand, and they start to walk out of the Great Hall.

          

I watch them go, and I'm so proud I'm ready to burst. For years, I've told people that I have nine children; Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Harry. The last two don't have the red hair of the family, but Hermione is the smartest witch of her age and deeply in love with my youngest son. Then there's Harry; kind, gentle, brave Harry, the saviour of the wizarding world, and the man of my daughter's dreams. I remember the first time that I told Ginny the story of 'the boy who lived'. She was all of four years old, and looked up at me with those bright eyes of hers, and declared, “Mummy, I'm going to marry Harry Potter, so you can be his Mummy too.” I smiled at her, and told her she could do whatever she wanted to.

 

          Now, it looks like she may actually have done it. I have become Harry Potter's Mummy, and she's walking out of the Great Hall, hand in hand, with the man of her dreams. It's clear that they only have eyes for each other. After a year apart, a year of fear, of tears, of heartache and danger, they've been reunited, more in love than ever. It's amazing how far they've come. Harry has finally let someone love him besides Ron and Hermione. And Ginny has become more confident of herself. She's no longer the little girl who put her elbows into the butter dish whenever Harry is near.

          

I feel blessed for the first time in a long time, this  war is finally over completely over . Yes there has been losses my brothers and my baby boy, but  I have only lost one son to this war, and I will miss until I die. But because of the bravery of my 'adopted' son, that is all I've lost. I've gained Fleur as a daughter, and it looks like I'm coming closer to having Harry and Hermione officially as parts of the family. I don't think I've ever been more blessed in my life, today is the start of a new beginning of a safer future for us all.

          

“They are an extraordinary couple. To be able to have lived this past year apart, and to have come through this war with their love still so strong.” Minerva comments, as she walks up beside me, and puts her hand on my shoulder.

          

“Oui,” Fleur says, as she walks up on my other side and slips her hand into mine. “Do you see 'ow much 'Arry loves 'er ?” Geeny is a lucky girl to 'ave found someone zat loves 'er as much as Bill loves moi.”

          

Bill comes up and puts his arm around Fleur. Kingsley moves up behind us, so tall that he can see over our heads. And together, we watch the happy couple disappear from sight.

 

Authors note:Just minor adjustments to this chapter 2017

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