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After the Horcrux by Manwe Valarian
Chapter 8 : July 1998 Part 1
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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Everyone arrived in London exhausted and happy to be home. Brad Carl made arrangements to have the Grangers’ home in Australia sold and their personal goods shipped to England. They had more luggage and items upon their return than when they had left. Not only had they bought several sets of clothes each, but they also brought back souvenirs. Yet, Harry never spent any of his money in Australia. The entire trip was paid for by the AMC. It was their way of saying thank you for help with the Goblin problem and defeating Voldemort. 

Harry and the Weasley’s had problems with the gifts and money, but John Granger reassured them that this type of treatment was normal for dignitaries in the Muggle world. He and Brad Carl told them this is normal for governments, when they want to build relationships with each other. The relationship with the British Ministry is important to the AMC and Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley’s are receiving the royal treatment. It took several minutes for the situation to sink in, but finally everyone realized that they were truly dignitaries or ambassadors from England. Mr. Weasley seemed the most embarrassed by this realization. He had spent so much of his time languishing in anonymity that being considered as an important member of the Ministry made him uneasy. 

The Grangers didn’t have a house to live in, so Harry offered them Grimmauld Place until they found one. The Weasley’s had insisted that they all stay at the Burrow, but the Grangers declined, because they wanted to get a house in the London area and reestablish their practice. Harry explained that it isn’t the cheeriest of homes, but hopefully they won’t mind. He will also be living there. Hermione asked Harry if she could stay there so that she could be close to her parents. He thought that this was amusing, because even if her parents weren’t staying there she would always be welcome. 

Ministry cars met them at the airport. Mr. Granger could be heard mumbling something about not being important to the Ministry, when he saw the two cars with drivers waiting for them. The drivers loaded their entire luggage in cars refusing help from the travelers. 

The eight people stood on the airport’s sidewalk for ten minutes discussing who should ride with whom and where they were all going. It was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon and everyone was suffering from jet lag, so the discussion got a little heated. Harry and the Grangers were going to Grimmauld Place in London, and the Weasley’s were going to the Burrow. Ron and Ginny wanted to go with Harry and the Grangers and Floo home. This arrangement was causing all the disagreement. Finally, Ron and Ginny won, and they left the airport to their destinations. 

Between the Harry, Ron, Ginny, and the Grangers, the luggage was taken inside of the house easily. The driver was told to drop them off a half-block away from the house. Harry was probably being paranoid, but he didn’t want anyone discovering where he lived. Everyone had just stepped through the door, when Kreacher appeared with a pop. Hermione’s parents jumped and looked horrified at the aged house elf. 

“Master should have called for Kreacher. Kreacher would have been honored to bring luggage in and put away,” droned the House-Elf as he bowed low to everyone. Ginny gripped Harry’s hand and stared at the House-Elf in shock. 

“Kreacher, I would like to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Granger and you remember Hermione.” Harry pointed at people as he introduced them. “They will be staying with us until they can find a new house. I want you to show them the same courtesy as you show me.” 

“What would you like Kreacher to do, Master?” The House-Elf asked politely. Ginny had a look of disbelief plastered across her face. 

“We need to put our belongings away, then maybe a meal,” said Harry, as he looked at everyone else. Hermione was giving him a look of disapproval. Ron looked happy about the suggestion, so Harry continued, “Something very British, steak and kidney pie with treacle tart for dessert.” Ron agreed wholeheartedly while everyone else gave a nod of approval. 

They spent the rest of the time until supper unpacking and organizing their rooms. Kreacher had been busy while Harry was gone because the house was very clean. The Grangers were a little uneasy about the house, even though Hermione said how much cleaner and less dangerous the place was. They thought the sight of Harry and Hermione pointing their wands at a set of draperies in the stairwell and saying “Muffliato” in the same casual nature that one straightens a crooked picture, seemed strange. 

Ginny was amazed at the place. It had been the first time she saw it since it was the headquarters. The four of them exchanged solemn looks between themselves, when she said this, remembering all the Order members who died since that time. 

Kreacher prepared a sumptuous meal that was very definitely British. It felt good to be home. Ron, Harry, and Mr. Granger went to one side of the sitting room for chess after dinner. The ladies sat and talked on the other side. Finally, around ten o’clock bleary eyed and after the two couples had several minutes of good-night snogging and completely knackered, Ron and Ginny bid everyone a good night’s sleep and Flooed to the Burrow.

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The next morning, Harry was sitting at the kitchen table alone. Hermione had left earlier with her parents to see about finding a new place to live. As he sat there sipping on tea and nibbling on toast, he started to wonder about the possibility of becoming an Auror. He said what he wanted was a quiet life, but he knew that he could not walk away from helping people. He even thought Ginny had come to terms with him facing danger on a daily basis. What was worrying him was the fact that he never completed his seventh year at Hogwarts and took his NEWTS. There are many things he realized he needed to learn if he wanted to be successful, but how could he learn these things without going back to school. 

He was thinking about writing to Professor McGonagall about returning to the school to complete his education. He knew Ginny would be very happy if he did this. An owl flew down his chimney and dropped a letter in front of him before leaving the same way.

Dear Harry, 

I am writing to you about the possibility of becoming an Auror. A Hogwarts Professor has told me that you had wished to become an Auror after leaving Hogwarts. I regret to inform you that at the present time the Auror department is severally understaffed. It would be impossible to start your traditional training until that situation is rectified. 

I am aware of your experience in this field. I am also aware that you did not complete your seventh year or take your NEWTS. The education that you missed would be a vital asset to becoming an Auror. 

There is a solution to these problems. As I have mentioned before the department is unable to accept any more trainees into the traditional apprenticeships. Yet, it is receiving a very large number of applications. The solution is that Hogwarts would open its school to qualified Auror trainees and the staff there, along with various members of the Auror department, would help teach these trainees. 

Even though you have not sent in an application, I am extending this offer to you. The initial testing will be August 2 at the Ministry of Magic. If you are interested in this opportunity than send an owl to Gwain Robards, Head of the Auror Department, Ministry of Magic. We have spoken of the possibility of you joining the Auror department and he is genuinely excited. 

Sincerely, 

Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic
 
Harry finished reading the letter and immediately looked for a piece of parchment to write to Mr. Robards. He couldn’t believe it. The thing that worried him the most was not finishing his education and here the solution was presented to him. He finished the letter when suddenly he felt very thick. He had lost Hedwig. He had no way of sending the letter. 

Harry appeared in the kitchen of the Burrow with his letter in his hand. He would borrow Pig from Ginny to deliver the letter. He stepped out of the fireplace looking for everyone to be crowded around the kitchen table, but everyone was gone. He looked out the windows at the garden and the orchard but he couldn’t see anyone. He looked at the Weasley’s clock and they were either at work or traveling. No one was in mortal peril. He breathed a sigh of relief and went outside to Apparate outside of the Leaky Cauldron. 

Just before he Apparated, Harry realized that he needed to change his appearance. He couldn’t walk around Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron as himself. Tapping his wand to his hair, it lightened to a mousey brown color, and he tinted his glasses so no one could see his telltale green eyes. He tried to pull his hair over his scar before turning on the spot. 

He was glad that he had done these Transfigurations, because everyone at the Leaky Cauldron looked at him. Tom seemed to be staring at him, as though he was trying to decide where he has seen this young man before. He was able to walk through the Leaky Cauldron and into Diagon Alley without having anyone noticing him. 

Harry purchased a barn owl, and named it Dobby. He did this hoping that the owl would be as faithful and helpful as the original Dobby. He sent the owl with the letter to Mr. Robards. His stomach seemed to tighten a little when Dobby took flight. Harry started to feel nervous about letting everyone down by being a total failure at the Auror training. He realized that most people would expect him to appear at the Ministry and be their top Auror. He knew better than to believe that it would be that easy. He will need to work at it and gain everyone’s respect in the Department. 

With that task out of the way, he decided to look around Diagon Alley. Occasionally someone would stop and stare at him, but no one said anything to him, which made him very happy.
 
He was surprised that Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was still closed. He thought George would have reopened it by now. Walking to the door, Harry knocked several times. He could hear people moving around in there. He kept knocking until he heard a familiar voice yelling that they were not open. He knocked again and Ron opened the door ready to give the annoying git an earful of obscenities. 

“I said we are closed, you bloody idiot,” shouted Ron. Harry chuckled at him as he lightened his glasses and darkened his hair. He pushed past Ron to get inside before somebody on the street recognizes him. “Harry, I’m sorry didn’t know it was you. Come in, come in everyone is here.” Ron said to Harry who was already inside. “We came over to see about George. He – a – seems a little unmotivated. We think he might be drowning his sorrows.” Harry just stared at Ron with this last statement. 

“Is that why the store hasn’t been reopened?” 

“He has even mentioned to Bill, that he might sell the place.” This statement surprised Harry. George had been inventing mischief and items to create it since before they first met. The two of them walked into the back room where George sat on a crate staring blankly at a wall as Mrs. Weasley, Lee Jordan, and Ginny stood facing him. He could tell that they were all deeply concerned about George’s state of mind. 

George looked at Harry as he entered the room. “Harry, welcome back,” he shouted with mock enthusiasm. He stood up and walked to Harry and placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. He stank of Firewhiskey, sweat, and his breath had the scent of sick. His face was ashen and he had dark circles under his eyes. “As the original financial backer of this fine establishment I regret to inform you that I am considering selling it.” 

“Why? Why would you want to sell this place?” Harry asked as he looked around the store. 

“I’ve lost motivation, and – I – a – just think it best right now.” George’s voice trailed off as he spoke so the last few words were barely audible. 

“It’s because of Fred’s death. Isn’t it?” George glared at Harry in response to this accusation. “I am very sorry that Fred is gone, and nothing we can do will bring him back, but I never thought you would sell his dream.” George pushed Harry away from him. His face turned a sickly shade of red. 

“It wasn’t only his dream. I also wanted this,” shouted George, while jabbing his thumb into his own chest. “We wanted this shop. Fred and I were partners. Now we don’t have it. I will never have him as a partner again.” George stood there, shaking with emotions, glaring at Harry. 

“Selling the shop will not make the loneliness go away! Fred is a part of you. The two of you have a bond that is beyond being brothers,” stated Harry a little more loudly than he had intended. He was angry. It wasn’t George that he was angry at, but the fact the Fred was killed. He was angry because the misery Voldemort caused is still destroying good people like George. 

“Harry your wrong. We HAD a bond. Fred is dead!” 

“Fred is most certainly dead, but you still have that bond. Trust me on this,” Harry calmly stated. He had been able reign in his emotions a little. “When you love someone that bond goes beyond death. George, if you want to sell the shop then go ahead. I don’t want any money. I think that if you want to honor Fred and everything the two of you stood for together. You should keep this shop open and create as much mischief as possible.” 

George sat down and placed his head in his hands. It seemed as though he was trying not to cry. Harry looked around at everyone. They all looked as lost as he was. Mrs. Weasley walked over and gave George a hug and he returned it. Harry looked at everyone and decided he should leave. They all were staring at George with deep concern, and he had just yelled at him and called him a quitter. 

Harry had walked through the sales floor and was standing by the front door. He had pulled out his wand to Transfigure his hair and glasses, when a hand grabbed his arm. 

“Don’t leave Harry,” asked Ginny quietly. “I need to talk to you.” 

Harry turned around and looked at her. She looked confused, almost as though she had too many emotions running through her mind to sort out. Without thinking, Harry reached out and pulled her into a hug. “I am sorry, if I upset everyone by yelling at George. I couldn’t stop myself…” 

“It’s all right. You basically said what we or, at least, I was thinking,” sighed Ginny. “He seems so lost without Fred.” 

“Yes he does. I am afraid if he doesn’t keep this store open then he will never have the desire to do anything fun again.” 

“Harry, did you mean that, about the bond of love extending beyond death?” Ginny had pushed herself away from him so that she could look him in the eyes. In the short time they had been together, he realized that she did this for serious conversations. 

“Yes, I do mean it, and I’ve felt it many times, with my parents.” 

“What about us?” Ginny was staring intently into his eyes. 

Harry knew what she was asking. Her concern about his death was real and justifiable. As he looked at her, she appeared to suddenly become delicate and frail in front of him. “I will do what ever I can to keep you alive. So don’t worry,” quipped Harry. 

“That is not what I meant.” Ginny’s eyes were starting to well up, and she didn’t appreciate his cheek. Her emotions had been brought to the surface by watching a childhood idol suffering. “If you hadn’t come back? If you had ‘moved on’, as you said? Would you have still loved me? Would I still have been able to feel you, in my heart?” 

“I will always love you,” reassured Harry, “Nothing could ever keep me from loving you.” He leaned over and gently kissed her and pulled her close to him. He held her for a few minutes. She tried to wipe her eyes without him noticing by turning to look at the back room. He pulled slightly away from her. “You should not worry about this. Honestly, Ginny, I am trying my best to die some barmy old codger.” 

Ginny started to giggle at his last comment. She leaned into him to kiss him, but an owl tapping on the window of the shop interrupted her. Dobby had returned. Harry had forgotten about his letter, but thought now wouldn’t be a good time to mention this to Ginny. He opened the front door and Dobby flew up onto his shoulder. He introduced him to Ginny, and she thought it was nice to name him Dobby. 

She looked at Harry and mentioned that he and the Grangers are invited over to the Burrow tonight for supper. Her mother wants to cook. She is tired of other people cooking for her. She kissed Harry good-bye and returned to the back room. 

The remainder of the day was uneventful. Harry returned to Grimmauld Place, to find the Grangers looking at brochures and information about various Estate Agents and their properties. Harry told Hermione about the letter, and she seemed genuinely thrilled for him. He also told them about being invited to the Burrow. Hermione looked at him with a puzzled look on her face. 

“Harry, how are we going to get my parents to the Burrow?” 

He had never thought of that. They decided that side along apparition would be the best way. The Floo might be too difficult for first time users. They didn’t want Hermione’s parents showing up at some strange house or business, if they mispronounced the destination. 

Her parents weren’t exactly thrilled at the sensation of being pulled through a rubber hose. However, they arrived at the Burrow with time to spare. 

The Burrow was buzzing with activity. Bill, Fleur, George, and Percy were there. George’s spirits seemed a little better, but he seemed to be avoiding Harry. Mr. Weasley was talking excitedly with Percy about the changes in the Ministry. Everyone went to greet the Granger’s and ask them how they are getting along. 

Ron was sitting with George. He went to hug and kiss Hermione hello, but returned to talk to George. Harry didn’t want to start a confrontation with George so he avoided them by helping Ginny set the table. 

The food was wonderful. Mrs. Weasley is the master of comfort food. She cooks simple dishes that fill you up and make you feel so good. Everyone was enjoying her cooking while talking about Australia and happenings here. Mr. Weasley was telling Bill and Fleur about Ginny’s race with Harry. 

“Well, Ginny do you fancy yourself a Quidditch player,” Percy said in a pompous manner. Harry wondered if he tried to sound like that or if it was natural. 

“Yes, Percy I do. I actually have been wondering about playing Quidditch after I graduate Hogwarts,” replied Ginny airily. 

“Well, you are in luck then.” 

“What do you mean, Percy?” Ginny looked at him with a mix of curiosity and annoyance. 

“I cannot say anymore, Ministry business,” announced Percy. He emphasized his statement lifting his right hand and turning his face away slightly from Ginny. A spoonful of mashed potatoes flew across the table and hit Percy on his glasses. 

Harry looked to his left from where the potatoes originated and saw Ginny, Hermione, and Ron smirking at him. George was across from Ron, and he looked like he was about to explode from glee. The rest of the table fell silent as Percy slowly reached up and removed his glasses and sat them in front of his plate. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley seemed shocked that anyone would do something like this with guests present.
 
Percy let go of his glasses and drew his hands back on the table until they were beside his plate. “Well,” he announced, “I see what you think of my announcement. So,” he suddenly grabbed his plate and flung it back in the direction that the potatoes came from splattering Harry and everyone to his left with food. “Back at You!” 

The air seemed to disappear from the room, as everyone stared at the very un-Percy like action. It seemed like an hour had passed, but it was only a second or two before Mrs. Granger scooped up a fork full of green beans and flung them at Hermione, who had gravy and mashed potatoes dripping off of her nose. “Don’t forget your vegetables, dear.” 

All inhibitions went out the window, as Mrs. Weasley’s wonderful meal became projectiles, flying around the kitchen. It took only five minutes before everyone was smeared with a well rounded meal and laughing so hard that his or her sides hurt. 

Everyone had their wands out and had the kitchen sparkling clean in a few seconds. 
After all the dishes were cleaned up, the Grangers apologized to Mrs. Weasley about ruining her wonderful meal. Only to have Mrs. Weasley reassure them that it was worth it to hear her children laugh and have fun. She walked over to the oven and pulled out a chocolate cake for dessert. She stood there and held it until everyone promised not to throw it. 

As everyone was enjoying their cake Bill returned to Percy’s conversation that started it all. “What Percy was alluding to is the Minister of Magic is trying to rebuild alliances with other countries. He wants to reinstitute something like the Tri-Wizard tournament.” Harry seemed to twitch at the memory of the last one. “It will not be one champion competing from each school, but several. One of the things the schools will be competing in is Quidditch. Hogwarts is getting Gwenog Jones to coach their team.”
Ginny almost choked on her cake when she heard that Gwenog Jones might be coaching the Hogwarts team. She had a poster of her in her bedroom. If there was ever an opportunity to get into professional Quidditch this was it. 

Harry asked if anyone has heard from Mrs. Tonks and Teddy Lupin. No one seemed to have heard anything about them so they were probably doing fine. Harry and Ginny helped clean up the dessert dishes, and then they took a walk outside. 

“Gwenog Jones, coaching at Hogwarts. I am going to need to practice up and get on that team. Oh, Harry, this is like a dream come true for me.” Ginny was bubbling with excitement. They were sitting on a bench by the back door of the kitchen. “If I make the team, I’ll be playing matches all over England. Then if things work out, I’ll get to travel all over the world playing….” She stopped talking and all the excitement left her. “Harry, would you be upset if I played professional Quidditch?” She was looking at him, waiting for him to say yes or no. 

“No! I wouldn’t be upset. What type of boyfriend would I be if I told you couldn’t pursue your dreams?” 

“A typical wizard kind,” she solemnly said. “Most wizards of your wealth and prominence don’t allow their wives – a – girlfriends to work or have their own careers.” Ginny was now looking down at her hands. 

“I was raised as a Muggle, Ginny. This is what your father talked about, living our life before settling down to raise a family.” Harry felt his face get warm as he mentioned them raising a family. Ginny also looked up at him when he said it. She seemed to be just as embarrassed as he was. “The only thing I will ask of you is to come back to me, after becoming an international Quidditch star.” 

“Thank you for being so understanding.” She pulled his face down to her and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her and they got lost in the sweet sensations of snogging. 

They finally stopped due to lack of oxygen. “Being understanding and marvelous comes with being The Chosen One?” Harry said with a laugh. “OW! That hurt,” he cried. Ginny had kicked his shin because of his last comment. 

“Is everything alright out there?” Mrs. Weasley had asked from the kitchen door. 

“It’s alright Mum. Harry is having leg cramps, from the long trip.” 

“Seems to happen a lot in the family,” chuckled Mrs. Weasley as she walked away from the door.

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The next day Harry and Ginny were going to see Teddy Lupin. They arrived at the front door of the Tonks residence and knocked. They noticed that the house was all closed up. The drapes were pulled tight and the garden hadn’t been tended in a while. No one answered but they thought that they heard someone moving around inside. 

Knocking again Harry shouted out. “Hello, Mrs. Tonks its Harry and Ginny. We stopped by to see Teddy.” 

They thought that they saw a drape move before the sound of several locks being opened. Mrs. Tonks opened the door just enough to let them inside. She quickly closed the door behind them and reset the locks. 

“Mrs. Tonks, what is wrong? Why are you hiding?” As Harry said this, he noticed that she looked several years older and extremely tired since the last time he saw her. 

“It’s the vigilantes. They think I am Bellatrix. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been mistaken for my sister.” Even her voice was tired. Her attempt at humor failed, because of her present state. 

“Bellatrix is dead. My mother killed her,” stated Ginny. “It was in the Prophet.” 

“I doubt these people read or believe what the Prophet has to say. They have been wrong before.” 

The injustice of this burned inside of Harry. Andromeda had lost her husband and only child in the fight against the Death Eaters, and now idiots seeking revenge against her dead sister were pursuing her. “What can we do to help?” Harry almost shouted this as he found his emotions hard to control. “I can’t sit by and watch this happen to you after all you have been through.” 

“Harry, Ginny, please sit down. If you want to help me, then what you could do is pick up things that I need for the house and Teddy. I don’t want the two of you chasing after these people.” They sat down on the sofa in her living room, while she went to get Teddy. He was awake and playing in a bedroom.
 
Mrs. Tonks returned with the baby and went to hand him to Harry but Ginny grabbed him first. They sat and talked about what she would need. She also told them that the Ministry was aware of the vigilantes but they are stretched so thin there was little they could do. Harry held Teddy and gave him the stuffed Koala bear that he picked up in Australia. 

He had just given him back to Mrs. Tonks, when the front door exploded and people jumped inside. Harry drew his wand, but Mrs. Tonks was in the way. Before he could do anything he heard at least six different voices shout “Crucio”. The pain shot through his body. He could hear the vigilantes laughing and taunting them as he writhed on the floor. 

“You can’t hide from us. We saw you were home,” taunted one of the attackers. “It’s your turn Bellatrix.” 

“How do you like it? This is for my cousin you slime,” shouted another. 

“Maybe we will stay here all night before we kill you all.” They all were saying things mistakenly directed at Andromeda. 

Harry could hear screaming in his ears. He thought it was his before he realized that he wasn’t screaming. It was Ginny, Mrs. Tonks, and Teddy. These scums were even torturing a three month old baby. Harry concentrated with all his might trying to push the pain out of his mind and only think about fighting back. He could feel control coming back to his arms and legs. There was still pain, but it didn’t control him anymore. 

“Protego” Harry jumped up and cast a Shielding Charm. He could still feel the Curses cutting through his Shield, but their intensity decreased. His Shield expanded out in all directions slamming the vigilantes against the walls of the room. They were shocked at this happening and broke the Curses. Before they could react, Harry silently Stunned them all. 

Ginny was slowly getting up. Mrs. Tonks also was recovering, but Teddy was screaming and twitching as though the curse was still on him. 

Harry knelt down beside Teddy and his Grandmother. “Mrs. Tonks, can you take Teddy to St. Mungo’s? Are you well enough?” 

“Yes! Yes, I can do that,” she said with great effort. “Harry, I will be all right.” 

“Then go! Go now! Please!” Harry was concerned what a powerful Curse like that would do to a baby that’s barely three months old. Mrs. Tonks walked with Teddy in her arms out the front door and Disapparated. 

“Ginny, how are you? Do you think you could go to the Ministry and get some Aurors to come out here? I’ll stay and make sure no one escapes.” He was looking at her with deep concern in his eyes. He had never wanted her to know what that Curse felt like. He wanted to hurt that filth that would torture a baby and Ginny, but a part of his mind kept telling him it would be wrong. 

“I’ll be fine,” replied Ginny as she stood up and stretched her legs and arms. “That wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that effin’curse.” 

“What do you mean, that wasn’t the first time?” shouted Harry. The shock of the statement had caught Harry off guard. 

“The Carrows use to give Cruciatus Curses for detention. Do you really think I was going to keep my mouth shut when some slime ball talked about how horrible you were?” Harry stood there numb at what she had just told him. The thoughts of her lying on the floor of a Hogwart’s classroom while being tortured, was causing his head to pound. 

“Relax, Harry, That wasn’t your fault. That is in the past, just let it go.” She saw the anguish in his face and told him this in a soft and reassuring voice. She gently kissed him. Thanked him for saving her, and walked out the front door and Disapparated. 

Harry looked around the room. All the vigilantes were motionless. He began to wonder if there might be more of them. He put his invisibility cloak on, moved back into a corner, and waited for Ginny to return with the Aurors. His head was still pounding with the thought of Ginny being tortured. He tried to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. He kept trying to heed her advice and let it go. Let it go, it is in the past. 

Harry heard movement outside of the house. He had been thinking of Ginny so much that he didn’t hear anyone Apparate. Even though he was invisible, he squeezed himself further back into the corner. He saw two wands appear in the doorway. The people holding them hesitated for a second, and then slowly entered the room. Harry didn’t recognize them. He pulled up his wand under his cloak in case he needed to use it. The two wizards looked around the room, and then spoke to someone outside. 

“There are six people here, and they looked stunned. No sign of Potter though. He must have left.”
 
Harry recognized Ginny’s voice. “He is there. He is probably hiding from you. Let me come in there.” 

“No, Miss Weasley, I don’t want you in there in case fighting breaks out.” This was said by another voice from outside. “Miss Weasley stop!” Ginny ignored his command and walked into the room. 

“Harry, its safe these are the Aurors. If you don’t come out soon you will be having more leg cramps.” The other two Aurors looked at her as though she had lost her mind. Then they jumped as Harry suddenly appeared in the corner with a big smile on his face.
 
The rest of the Aurors came into the house. They tied up the vigilantes and picked up all their wands for an investigation. They questioned Harry about what had happened, and how he was able to fight off and stun six attackers at one time. Gwain Robards was the Auror in charge of the group. He seemed a little perplexed by what Harry and Ginny told them. He had never heard of somebody fighting off a Cruciatus Curse before or using a Shielding Charm like that. The thing that puzzled him the most was that Harry didn’t seem to know how he did it either. He told the two of them that they are free to go. The Aurors dragged the vigilantes outside and disappeared. 

Harry and Ginny went to St. Mungo’s to see how Teddy was doing. They found Mrs. Tonks standing over him in the spell damage ward. The healers had put him to sleep, because he was still showing the effects of the curse. 

They walked up to Mrs. Tonks, stood on each side of her, and put an arm around her. She told them about how he wouldn’t stop screaming and writhing. She had to hold him very tight because she was afraid he might Splinch if he twitched while Apparating. The healers have no experience at this type of case. They were all shocked that anyone would torture a three-month-old baby like that. 

Gwain Robards showed up with a healer in tow. He had finished questioning the attackers, and checking their wands for prior spells. 

“Well. Good news, we have an almost rock solid case against those people. They may never see the outside of Azkaban again.” The three just looked at him and nodded recognition of the statement. “Have the three of you been checked by a healer?” They all shook their heads no. “I didn’t think so. Healer Alsop is here to check you, so please just cooperate.” 

The healer looked at the three of them individually, while he did this Mr. Robards talked to first Mrs. Tonks then Harry. Ginny noticed that the conversation with Harry wasn’t a questioning, but he seemed to be congratulating him as he was patting him on the shoulder and shaking his hand. After the healer gave them all a foul tasting medicine to drink, Mr. Robards told them all good bye.
 
“What did he talk to you about?” inquired Ginny. 

Harry started to get a little nervous. He didn’t think Ginny would be surprised, but he figured that she would be angry. “He just told me that I did a good job. He also said that he received my letter and I am scheduled to take the initial Aurors test.” He stopped and waited for Ginny to explode at him, but she didn’t. She looked at him as though he had just told her what the weather was like.
 
“The initial test? Does that mean that you are going to start training soon?” 

“I won’t start my actual training until September 1. If I pass the initial phase.” 

Both Ginny and Mrs.Tonks stared at him in disbelief that he said that. “You just took out six attackers, after fighting off the Cruciatus Curse,” scoffed Ginny. “You are worried about not being accepted for training. Sometimes, Harry, you are unbelievably thick.” 

“Ginny! It’s that I haven’t completed my education,” interjected Harry. “I am not that good at Transfiguration and Potions. Those are important aspects too. I am just glad that I’ll be going to Hogwarts to start my training.”
 
“What! You will be going to Hogwarts with me this year,” squealed Ginny. “Oh Harry, that is wonderful!” She hugged and kissed him passionately. Both Harry and her forgot about Mrs. Tonks being there and apologized for acting like that. 

“That’s alright I am glad to see you two happy,” she said with a smile. 

The three of them pulled up chairs and sat down beside the bed. They talked about the trip, and things that were happening in England. The time started to slip away. Harry noticed that it was almost five o’clock, and suggested that Ginny go home. He would stay the night with Mrs. Tonks. Ginny reluctantly agreed and left. Mrs. Tonks insisted that Harry leave also, but he didn’t want to leave her alone. 

Mrs. Weasley showed up an hour later with a basket of food and a ton of sympathy. She told Mrs. Tonks that Arthur was going to her house to fix the front door. She was so shocked at what Ginny had told her. Ginny and Hermione also arrived with her. They talked to Harry. Hermione seemed very interested in how Harry was able to Stun all six attackers. 

Harry became tired of people telling him what he did was impossible, and changed the subject by asking about Ron. Hermione said that he was still at the shop. He has been there all day, trying to get George to reopen it. 

After about an hour a healer showed up and told them that there were too many people and some would have to leave. Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, and Hermione said their goodbyes and left for the night. Harry stayed with Mrs. Tonks.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Hermione sat in Ginny’s bedroom talking about Harry. Ginny was becoming annoyed at the fact that Hermione was questioning what Harry had done. 

“Can’t you accept that he might be a really powerful wizard?” 

“Well yes, but he was never able to do things like that before. His sudden ability to cast nonverbal spells is surprising to me, along with his sudden improvement at Transfiguration,” stated Hermione in her analytical voice. 

“Have you ever considered that it might be because of the Horcrux?” replied Ginny. 

“The Horcrux? Which one and what would that have to do with it?” questioned Hermione. 

“The Horcrux he had been carrying around inside of him for seventeen years. That’s the one I’m talking about, Hermione. How could he have a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him for seventeen years and never be possessed by it. I was possessed from a diary that I wrote in. Harry had an actual piece inside of him. Living in him, yet he was never possessed. He must have had this internal battle going on inside of him that he never realized. That would require a great deal of magical power to resist. Now that it is gone all the energy and power needed to resist it can be directed to Harry’s other powers and abilities.” 

Hermione and Ginny sat there discussing what she had just said.
 
Hermione told her how the locket would make her feel when she wore it. The ability it had to affect your mood and at times, it seemed to be able to control your thoughts. Ginny had a valid point that Harry had been battling this evil since he was one year old. Now that it is gone, he would be a changed person.

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

The healers awakened Harry and Mrs. Tonks the next morning. They had fallen asleep on a settee leaning on each other. They stood up and stretched before asking about Teddy. The healers were going to break the sleep spell on him, and check to see how he is. Everyone was happy to find that the effects of the spell had worn off. Teddy lay in the bed and cooed at everyone staring at him.
 
“Thank you!” said Mrs Tonks. “For staying with me last night, it helped having someone here. Why don’t you go home and get some rest in your own bed.” 

“I might do that,” yawned Harry as he stretched again. “Is there anything you need me to get for the house and Teddy?” 

“No, with those vigilantes incarcerated I should be free to get things myself.”
 
“Well let me know if you need anything. Take care.” Harry was shocked when she pulled him into a warm hug. 

He left wondering how it is possible to have two sisters so completely different in personality. He was thinking about this and almost walked into Kingsley. 

“Careful there Harry. You almost knocked me over,” said the Minister of Magic. He was dressed in high quality robes that gave him a truly royal look. 

“I’m sorry King – um – Minister. I was just leaving Mrs. Tonks and Teddy.” Harry caught himself yawning again. He tried to suppress the yawn but wasn’t successful. “I wasn’t watching were I was going.” 

“How is Teddy?” 

“He is doing well. He was able to sleep off the effects of the curse.” 

“I’m glad to hear that. I wanted to check on them, and to talk to you. Since you are here, I’ll take care of business with you first.” Kingsley handed Harry two pieces of paper.
 
“What’re these?” asked Harry as took the folded piece of paper from him. 

“That is Miss Weasley’s Apparation license. And the other one is yours. She passed since she was able to Apparate to the Ministry yesterday,” he chuckled at the breach of Wizard Law that had occurred. Kingsley cleared his throat as though he was preparing to give a speech before continuing. “I am hoping. Well I am insisting that you come to the reopening of Hogwarts, on September 2. We are dedicating a monument to the people who fought and to the one’s that died. It would be great if you could say a few words.” 

“Another speech?” groaned Harry. 

“Yes, another speech,” laughed Kingsley, who couldn’t cover his amusement at Harry’s discomfort. 

“All right, I’ll do it.” Harry’s body language looked as though he was given some Herculean task to perform. “If this keeps up I might as well be a politician, instead of an Auror.” 

“Harry, stick to being an Auror. I’ve heard you’re a lousy liar.”


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