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After the Horcrux by Manwe Valarian
Chapter 34 : Unplanned
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 15

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Ginny fidgeted with her Quidditch robes. She was nervous about today. The Harpies are going to spend the entire day playing the school’s team. The Headmistress told her it was actually a tryout for her. The thought of that made her stomach tighten even more. Giving up on calming her nerves, Ginny grabbed her broom off her bed and trotted off to breakfast.

She was wearing the new Hogwarts Quidditch robes. They had the schools crest on them with the houses colours in rings down both arms. The rest of the robe was black. Ginny thought they looked ghastly, but they are the new robes, and she would even wear these ugly things to play Quidditch.

She entered the great hall and looked over the tables to find the Harpies sitting at the Slytherin table with the schools team. Slytherin house was so small this year, because few fifth, sixth, and seventh years returned, and no one wanted to be sorted into the house after Voldemort claimed it to be his and the only proper house in Hogwarts.

Ginny walked past the small collection of Slytherin students, and glanced down at Marion Gash and Percy Travers. They both looked away from her gaze. They have been very healthy ever since their little case of indigestion back in November. Harry had promised her that no one would suspect her. Those two tossers had accused her of poisoning them, but no one could prove it or even figure out how she could have done it. She smiled to herself as they sat there with their heads down eating their morning muffins.

The thought of that incident made Ginny sad. It reminded her of Harry. She hasn’t heard from him since Valentine’s Day. She still has his rose in her foot locker, and is planning on placing it with the bouquet that she was saving at home.

She stopped by Cootes to sit down when she heard her name being called. Looking up she saw Gwenog Jones waving to her to come sit with her. Ginny hesitated for a second before going to sit with her. As she walked away, she could hear Cootes chiding her about being special.

“Ginny,” called the manager of the Holyhead Harpies as though Ginny was a dear old friend. “Come, I want you to meet the team.”

Ginny’s stomach made another dangerous twist as she smiled sweetly, hoping no one noticed how nervous she was. She walked up beside Gwenog and turned to face the team. The all looked bigger, stronger, and far more experienced than her. She wasn’t sure if she should wave hello, introduce herself, or just ignore them, but Gwenog saved her from deciding.

“Ginny this is our Seeker Sara Vector,” said Gwenog while directing Ginny’s gaze the pretty young lady across the table. She had long brown hair, a pretty oval face, and soft brown eyes.

“Hello Sara pleased to meet you,” greeted Ginny.

“I am glad that I could finally meet you too, Ginny. Gwen has been talking about you all year,” stated Sara.

“Sara!” reprimanded the captain. “Ginny, these two here are our Beaters Greta and Zelda Muellerschmidt.”

Ginny looked at the two of them as they smiled back at her. They were two of the blockiest women she has ever seen. Their heads were almost square and at least three times the size of Ginny’s. They had thick necks and broad flat shoulders from which hung heavily muscled arms. They might be sisters or even twins, even though one of them had dark blonde hair and the other coarse black.

“Hello – er – Greta?” she said to one of them.

“No, I am Zelda. Zelda Schmidt, and this is my friend Greta Mueller,” explained the one Beater. “Don’t mind Gwen. She likes to introduce us like that. She thinks it is funny. Ha, Ha,” she stated rather flatly.

“Ginny,’ interrupted Gwenog while directing Ginny’s gaze to three other women at the table. “These are the Chasers. That is left, right, and center,” she joked with the three women.

The one called left stood up and pointed to herself, “Laura Finn, this is Cathy McDonough, and finally Rikki Ward.”

Another woman stood up and offered Ginny her hand, “Keeper, Karen Swan is my name, don’t listen to whatever else Gwen calls me.”

Ginny giggled at her comment. She felt relaxed around these Professional Quidditch players. They seemed so normal. She sat down in the seat Gwenog had reserved for her, and started to load her plate with food.

“Did you actually date Harry Potter?” asked the Chaser Rikki.

Laura slapped Rikki hard on the shoulder. “Sorry about that Ginny, Rikki is infatuated with Mr. Potter.”

The entire table went silent as Ginny stared at her, she wanted to tell her that she is still dating Harry but that wouldn’t be allowed. “I used to, but he is now in Australia with another woman,” she said calmly.

“His loss,” stated Sara.

Ginny enjoyed her comment and whispered, “Thank you” to her.

The conversation started up suddenly and it seemed to avoid Harry completely. Ginny was feeling good like she belonged with these girls. She was a little unsure about Greta and Zelda, but the rest of the team she feels very comfortable to be around. While they were talking, the morning post came. Owls flew in delivering letters and Daily Prophets to various people in the hall. Karen received a newspaper and looked at the front page and whistled.

Everyone turned to look at her, when she noticed this she turned the paper around to show everyone the front page. “Two Aurors were killed yesterday,” she told everyone at the table.

Ginny’s heart stopped in her chest. She couldn’t breathe. She was so nervous. She didn’t want to ask who it was, but Karen informed everyone, “They aren’t releasing names at this time, probably waiting to notify the relatives.”

Ginny wondered who they would contact if Harry died. He has no relatives except the Dursley’s. Would the Ministry actually contact them?

“Ginny, are you all right?” asked Gwenog. “You look rather peaky.”

Ginny looked around and noticed that everyone was looking at her. “I’m sorry. I lost a brother and several close friends at the battle last spring,” lied Ginny. That wasn’t the reason she was peaky. She was afraid that one the dead Aurors was Harry.

“Oh, Merlin,” exclaimed Karen. “I forgot you are a war hero, and I was being so insensitive. I’m sorry,” she apologized as she folded the paper and placed it in her hand bag. “There, let’s talk Quidditch, shall we.”

The subject of the dead Aurors was dropped and everyone started to talk about what it was like to be a professional Quidditch player. Ginny enjoyed their stories, but she still couldn’t completely forget about the two deaths in the paper. She found herself laughing at many of the stories that were told. She had this feeling that even though Gwenog is the Captain/Manager/reserve Chaser, everyone still treats her normally. She is fair, because she took herself out as a Chaser because the other three were better. This made Ginny feel good that players made the team because of their skill and team chemistry rather than who they are. Even though she wanted desperately to be on a team, she wanted to make it because of her talent, not her name or who she knows.

A hand gently touched her shoulder, turning she saw Professor McGonagall staring at her. The Headmistress looked as if she might start crying. All the fears of Harry’s death came back to her in a rush, making her feel light headed.

“I need to talk to you, in private,” the Headmistress said quietly. “Please follow me.”

Ginny sat there. It was as though her legs wouldn’t move. She turned back around and noticed everyone was looking at her. She didn’t know how to react. Slowly, mechanically she stood up and followed the Headmistress. This might not be what she fears. Maybe Harry isn’t dead. Maybe, this has to do with Walden. She would rather stand trial and have her morals publically ridiculed than find out Harry is dead.

The Headmistress led her out of the great hall and past the grand staircase towards the classroom that Firenze used for Divination. Ginny followed trying to think of anything but Harry being dead. When the Headmistress opened the door, Ginny saw that Madam Pomfrey and Hagrid were in the room. Seeing these two caught her by surprise at first, but then she realized that they must be here for some reason. The only reason she could think of is they are going to tell her that Harry is dead. The Headmistress knows that everything with Carmen was a lie. She would realize that Ginny still loves Harry. No one spoke to her as she walked into the room. Hagrid and Madam Pomfrey stood there wringing their hands, as the Professor McGonagall walked to a table by them. On the table was a letter, a letter addressed to Ginny Weasley.

“I received this letter this morning for you with several other letters from the ministry,” stated the Headmistress, her voice cracking as though she was fighting back tears. “I thought it best if you would open it in private.”

Ginny looked down at the letter. It was addressed to her at the school. It was from Gawain Robards - The Head Auror, Ministry of Magic. She stepped back from the table her insides were twisting up, and her head was getting light. He can’t be dead. He defeated all odds and destroyed the most evil wizard ever. He can’t just die now that they are back together. “No! I won’t open it.” She shouted and started for the door.

Hagrid blocked the door from her. “Ginny, dear it’s fer you. Ye - ye gotta open it,” he stammered.

Ginny turned back to face the Headmistress. “No, I said. You know what that letter is for. Two Aurors died yesterday! If I don’t open it then he won’t be dead. He can’t be dead. I won’t let him be dead. No! I won’t open it,” she ranted. Hagrid placed one of his large hands on her shoulders enveloping most of her upper back. Suddenly the tears that were not coming before when she was in shock threatened to pour from her eyes. She blinked them back trying to keep her composure. “I can’t open it. If I do he will be dead. I-I can’t …” she rasped out, while fighting the tears.

“Ginny, we are all ‘ere for ye,” consoled the half-giant, his voice cracking with emotion.

Ginny knew she was being silly. Whether she opened the letter or not, if Harry was dead, than he would still be dead, it just wouldn’t be confirmed. She walked slowly over to the table and picked up the letter. Ripping the envelope open, she looked at the other three in the room as she pulled out the parchment.

Dear Miss Weasley,

I am writing this letter to apologize for lying to you and causing you so much pain over the past several months.

Harry Potter has been on a mission that I and the Minister of Magic have forced him to take. The story of him running off to Australia was to cover up that they were working as Aurors. I realize that you must hate us for telling these lies, but it was felt that it was the lesser of two evils.

The mission is now over! We sent a retraction of the original story to the Daily Prophet, but they buried it in one of the back pages.

I am writing this letter for Harry, because he is preoccupied with finishing up the details of the mission. I also promised him that I would do anything possible to make up for the past few months.

He would like to see you this afternoon at one o’clock at the Hogs Head Tavern in Hogsmeade. He is sure that it is a Hogsmeade weekend. He desperately wants to see you again.


Gawain Robards, Head Auror

P.S. I want to add that Harry never wanted to take this mission. The entire time he has performed his duties beyond expectations, but you were never far from his thoughts
. All he ever wanted to do was get back to you. Please, allow him a chance to explain things. 

By the time Ginny had finished the letter, the tears that she had been keeping back wear rolling down her face. The tears weren’t from grief, but joy. She felt Hagrid’s hand on her shoulder again, and could hear him sobbing. She looked up and realized that they all must think Harry is dead.

“He’s alive,” she announced joyously. Everyone looked shocked at her statement. “He wants to meet me at the Hogs Head at one o’clock this afternoon. He remembered it is a Hogsmeade weekend. I must get ready…”

“Ginny, you are to play Quidditch this afternoon,” stated Professor McGonagall.

Being called Ginny, by the headmistress caught her off guard, and made her realize that she did indeed need to play Quidditch. She was wearing that ruddy robe. “If I don’t go he might think I don’t want to see him, and leave.”

“I’ll go, Ginny,” offered Hagrid. “I’ll make sure ‘e don’t leave,” he growled while smiling.
Ginny smiled up at her friend. “Thank you, bring him to the Pitch. We can talk afterwards.” She threw her arms around his midsection barely reaching his sides and hugged her big hairy friend. After hugging him she looked at the Headmistress and the nurse with a huge smile on her face, one that hasn’t adorned her face since before Christmas. “I guess I should get ready to play Quidditch,” she stated happily, before practically skipping out of the room.

When she returned to the great hall, she went first to Neville to tell him that the mission was over, and Harry is supposed to be back this afternoon. Neville’s eyes sparkled at the prospect of seeing Carmen again. She returned to the table with the Quidditch teams, but told them the meeting was Head Girl business.

The rest of the morning flew by with Ginny trying to focus on Quidditch. She didn’t know what she will do first when she sees Harry she might slap him or snog him. She will do both she just isn’t sure what order she should do it in. They will definitely need to find a place alone to talk. That could be easily arranged.

The first game lasted only forty-five minutes, when Ginny had captured the snitch, giving the school a surprising victory of a hundred points. She took a victory lap hovering in front of the Headmistress’ box a bit longer since her family was seated there. After that game, all the players from both teams went to Gwenog, who congratulated the school’s team, and reprimanded the Harpies for underestimating the opponents.

The second game took almost an hour and half to play, Ginny again captured the snitch, but the Harpies won by twenty points. The Harpies Seeker glared daggers at Ginny. She was obviously embarrassed by being beaten twice by a seventeen year-old. During this game, Greta and Zelda were aiming their Bludgers at Ginny most of the time, but that didn’t deter her from capturing the Snitch. The crowd was worked up into a frenzy with the one victory and the close loss. Everyone was being loud, but no section was louder than the one where her family was seated.

Everyone took a lunch break which was served by the pitch. It was lovely day to play Quidditch. The air was a little chilly and the sky had a slight overcast to it, so the sun wasn’t a problem. After a thirty minute break for lunch, they started the third game.

Ginny was getting nervous as she tried not to think about how Harry should be arriving at the Hogs Head any time now. The game started, but Ginny was searching the stands more than she was looking for the Snitch. She had almost been hit by Bludgers twice so far, but that didn’t deter her from keeping one eye in the stands and one on the game. The Harpies’ reserves were flying circles around the schools reserves. She had almost hoped that Gwenog had replaced her, but it seems that she wanted Ginny to fly all afternoon.

Ginny caught a disturbance at the other side of the pitch where the Headmistress’ box was located at. Her entire family was on their feet shouting trying to get into the aisle. She looked and saw Hagrid, Kingsley, Gawain and another wizard trying to hold them back. Then she saw him walking down the steps to the front of the box while staring at her. Even at this distance she could recognize his green eyes, but he was hurt. Half of his head had bandages on it

Forgetting about the game, she flew across the pitch and stopped in front Harry. He looked in terrible shape. He smiled at her and was getting ready to say something, but yelled, “Bludger”.

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Harry winced with every step as he crossed Hogwarts grounds.

“Harry, when I told the healers at St. Mungo’s to release you. I never bargained you would be doing this much,” reprimanded Kingsley who was walking to his right. “Your femur was shattered and you lost significant muscle and skin yesterday. Dammit! Potter you should be in the hospital.”

Harry gritted his teeth against the pain. “I feel fine. Stop worrying about me like a mother hen, you promised that you would help me with Ginny. I am just taking you up on that offer, Minister.”

“You are not feeling pain because they gave you the strongest pain killer possible and allow you to be coherent,” hissed Kingsley. “You never said anything about walking miles to see a Quidditch match. You are stressing your bones too much, and before you start on me about drinking Skele-Gro last night. You need four or five more doses of the stuff. I promised to get you into the infirmary here at Hogwarts as soon as possible. It is for your own good.”

Harry kept on limping towards the Pitch. He could see the players flying around the pitch. Occasionally he would see Ginny’s long red hair move past an opening. “Did she really capture the Snitch twice already Hagrid?” he asked his large friend.

“Yep, she sure did. Let me carry ye, ‘arry,” pleaded Hagrid.

“No it will hurt worse for you to do that. The new skin on my side is very tender,” responded Harry.

“So you are in pain then Harry,” questioned Gawain who was on his left side walking. “I thought it didn’t hurt.”

“I didn’t pull you out of that fireplace to have you kill yourself on the grounds of Hogwarts Harry,” scolded Rostis, from the other side of Gawain.

“If you lot think I am not going to see her when I am this close. You’re all mental,” Harry chided his four escorts.

They had reached the steps leading to the Headmistress’ box. Harry took the first step with his damaged left leg and groaned from the pain. The freshly mended bone felt like it bent under the strain of taking the step. Gripping onto the handrail with both hands, he ascended the stairs one painful step at a time, while everyone was grumbling at him.

“Hagrid,” questioned Gawain. “Has he always been this stubborn?”

“Hagrid laughed,” Yep, dat’s me ‘arry.”

Harry almost lost his grip when he started laughing at Hagrid’s comment. He recomposed himself and stated, “It is the only reason I am still alive.” The other four laughed at his comment, but they kept hounding him about his safety. Harry climbed the stairs feeling as if his leg would break with every step and being harassed about it by his four friends.

He was almost to the Headmistress box when he heard familiar voices. He recognized Ron and Hermione cheering. He wasn’t positive, but it sounded like the entire Weasley family was there. He knew he was going to have to face them eventually, but he had hoped he could have won Ginny over and then get help from her. He stopped to catch his breath and wipe the sweat on his forehead.

“Looks like you are going to make it after all, Harry,” said Rostis. “I was betting that you would be in the infirmary by now.”

“Thanks for the confidence, old pal,” gasped Harry as he tried to regain his breath from the difficult climb. “I think the Weasley’s are in the box up there. I hear Ron and Hermione, and I’m betting they are not alone.” Harry turned a looked at the Minister of Magic as he said that.

“We will make sure they don’t harm you, Harry,” Kinglsey calmly stated.

Harry pulled on the handrail and moved the last two steps of the stairwell. He could see the school’s Pitch. His eyes immediately started to search for Ginny. He saw her slowly flying above the stands at the far end of the Pitch. She was wearing the ugliest uniform that he has ever seen in his life, but she was beautiful. Everything went silent to Harry. There was nothing else in the world to him except Ginny gracefully skimming the tops of the stands looking for the Snitch. He vaguely heard his name being called then someone was bumping into him as he watched her fly. He remembered that when he saw her after hunting for Horcruxes, she seemed more beautiful than the last time he saw her. It was the same thing again. She was more beautiful than he remembered. He felt his legs moving and the pitch coming into sight.

He was halfway down the boxes steps when she noticed him. He kept walking towards her. She flew across the pitch in a blink of an eye. She was smiling at him. She was actually smiling at him. He wanted to yell to her “I love you”, but a Bludger bearing down on her caught his eye. It was going to hit her in the face.

“Bludger!” he screamed at her. She turned her head and it hit her square on the face driving her backwards off the broom. It must have knocked her unconscious, because she slid off the broom without resistance.

Harry stood there horrified as she limply fell towards the ground. The screams all around him brought him out of his trance. He reached for his wand in his robe sleeve. Not bothering to pull it, he shouted, “Accio Ginny.”

He watched as she changed directions and flew towards him. She rocketed into his arms almost knocking him down. He wobbled dangerously close to falling over the edge of the box as he wrapped his arms around her and holding her tight.

Pain shot through his body from his broken leg and every inch of skin that had been partially healed. The pain almost made him drop her, but he held on tight. Suddenly a large set of arms grabbed him and picked him and Ginny up as though they were feathers.

“I’m taken ye both to the infirmary ‘arry,” shouted Hagrid. He turned and pushed his way through the crowd of Weasley’s and Ministry officials taking two or three steps at a time while holding two adults in his arms.

Harry looked down at Ginny’s poor face. Her nose was broken and pushed to the left side of her face, and blood was pumping from the nostrils. There was a cut on her forehead, and the area around her eyes looked as though it was turning black.”Ginny, can you hear me,” he shouted, but she lay in his arms unresponsive.

He tried to look to see if she was still breathing, but the jerky motion of Hagrid’s strides made it impossible to tell. He yelled her name several more times with no response. He became aware that Hagrid was setting them down. “All right, Madam Pomfrey,” said Hagrid, breaking Harry out of his trance on Ginny.

They were on the grounds outside of the Pitch. Even as Harry’s feet touched the grass, he held on tight to Ginny’s limp body. The area around him was mayhem. He finally heard angry shouts of the Weasley’s, Kingsley, Gawain, and Rostis surrounding him.

“Potter,” ordered the voice of Madam Pomfrey. “Put her down so I can check her over.”

Harry turned towards the voice and finally registered that Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall were also in the crowd. They looked at him with concerned expressions. The nurse was pointing to the ground. He followed the direction of her point and saw a stretcher laying there. Harry carefully bent over not even registering the pain shooting through his body as he did. His entire focus was on Ginny’s damaged face. He gently laid her down on the stretcher being extra careful with her head. The school nurse bent down and started to wave her wand over her head.

Shouting from his right caught his attention. Turning he saw a red-faced Ron standing beside him. He was glaring at Harry with hatred in his eyes. Hagrid was beside him and Hermione behind and each was telling him to stay calm.

“Ron, please let me explain…” was all that Harry could say before Ron punched him on the right side of his face. Harry crumpled to the ground in pain as it felt as though the left side of his face exploded. He was sure all the newly formed skin under the bandages had just been flayed. Landing on the ground with his left side, the sensation continued down his side making him scream in agony. Every nerve that had been burned off on that side erupted in fresh pain. Harry tried to push himself up from the ground, but he felt and heard his femur snap again. It sounded like someone had stepped on a branch and broke it. In response to the new wave of pain he collapsed on the ground.

The crowd had gone silent as he laid on the ground and writhed in pain. Opening his eyes, Harry saw that Ron still looked angry, and Hermione was standing holding him back from further hurting Harry. “Harry, what is wrong with you?” she asked. Her voice and face was filled with worry.

“Yeah, and where is that bloody slapper,” spat Ron.

Anger welled up in Harry. He didn’t care if Ron didn’t know all the facts. No one was going to call his dead friend a slapper. Hagrid, Kingsley, and others were telling Ron not to call her that, when suddenly Ron’s head snapped back as someone grabbed him from behind knocking him to the ground in front of Harry. Neville rolled Ron over and grabbed the front of his robes. “Don’t you ever call Carmen that again!” he yelled. “Do you hear me?”

The crowd went silent. Harry could only imagine what Ron and the rest of the Weasley’s were thinking, at seeing the normally meek and mild Neville acting like this.
“Bloody hell, Neville, why are you…” questioned Ron.

“I love her. We love each other, Ron” he shouted at Ron. Ron made a face at Neville who released him and stood up over him. “Don’t you ever say anything like that about her again,” Neville hissed again at Ron.

Neville turned his gaze to Harry. It changed from anger to an expectant nervous one. Harry knew what he was going to ask and it made Harry sick to the stomach. How is he going to tell Neville that Monique is dead? Harry had brought the letter Monique had written to Neville, but he is still going to need to know. Harry was having a horrible time accepting Monique’s death, but how is he going to tell Neville that his girlfriend was dead. “Harry,” said Neville. His voice was soft and pleading. He might have even realized what the answer will be, because he was nervously wringing his hands, as he stood there. “Where is Carmen?”

Tears filled Harry’s eyes and choked his voice so he couldn’t respond even though he had opened his mouth to answer him. The pain of losing three more friends yesterday welled up inside of him. All morning he had been thinking only about Ginny and seeing her. Now Neville’s question had made him think about Blythe, Kreacher, and Monique’s death again.

“She is dead,” calmly stated Gawain, who had stepped out of the crowd. “Killed, when the mission she and Harry had been on fell apart.”

Neville looked at Gawain then turned back to Harry his face was contorted with anger. “How could you let this happen, Harry?” shouted Neville. “I thought you were going to protect her. She wasn’t that good at dueling. Why didn’t you protect her for me? I helped protect Ginny last year.” Neville turned and marched off towards the greenhouses.

Harry felt as if he had betrayed a trust or an agreement that he had never realized before. He did blame himself for the deaths. If he had thought to check for the second wands, when the French had come through the Floo, they would still be alive.

“Madam Pomfrey, take Harry to the infirmary,” ordered Gawain. “He is to stay there until he is completely healed. Did you receive his records from St. Mungo’s this morning?”

“No, I didn’t. I’ve been at the Pitch since ten.”

“They should be in your Floo,” stated Gawain. “I am going to talk to Neville.”

“Gawain,” interjected Harry, stopping Gawain before he could leave. Harry pulled Monique’s letter out of his robes. “Give this to Neville. Monique gave it to me in France…” Harry stopped talking to swallow a sob. “…in case she didn’t make it back. Check greenhouse number three, in the back; Neville might be there.” Gawain took the letter from Harry and left the group to search for Neville in the greenhouses.

Harry lay back on the stretcher as Madam Pomfrey levitated it and Ginny’s and floated them towards the infirmary. He looked over at her stretcher to see if she was all right. He couldn’t see her face, because her head was turned. As he glided towards the Hogwarts infirmary he heard voices of the Weasley’s, Kingsley, and Rostis following him. He didn’t try to make out what they were saying. His mind was too confused now. He was still unsure about Ginny, and hurting because of the deaths if his friends.

They made it to the infirmary quicker than he thought possible. Madam Pomfrey set his stretcher down on a bed and started down to the other side of the room with Ginny’s. “Madam Pomfrey,” shouted Harry. “Could you keep her a little closer?”

The nurse stopped for a second, before answering, “No.” Harry rolled on his back and stared at the ceiling. He wanted to be close to her. He wanted to be there when she opened her eyes. Maybe, if he was there, it would be easier to forgive him. He could hear Madam Pomfrey muttering something at the other end of the large room. He couldn’t make out what it was. It was probably some spell to heal Ginny. Harry started to wonder how long she might be out. He was positive he would be in here for six more days. The healers at St. Mungo’s told him that he needed at least a week to completely heal. He will probably be here longer considering nearly everything that had healed was now torn loose.

He listened to the sounds of the nurses feet padding across the room to her office and then back over to his bed. She was standing above him tutting as she turned the sheets of parchment from St. Mungo’s healers. She set something down beside the bed, but he didn’t look to see what it was.

“Well,” stated the nurse as she erected screens around him. “It looks like I will have to undress you and check your wounds. Whatever possessed you to come here today, Mr. Potter? You could have broken your leg again.”

“I did, when I fell.”

She didn’t say anything, but she tutted to herself and mumbled something about silly boys as she magically removed his clothes and checked his bandages. She applied a smelly salve to his burns that had reopened, before bandaging him and setting his leg. After nearly covering his body with bandages, she used even more than the healers did at St. Mungo’s, she waved her wand and straps appeared over him securing him to the bed. “Madam Pomfrey, how am I going to…”

“You are going nowhere for at least two days,” she interrupted him. “Is that clear, Potter. You put your life in serious danger today by coming here. I will not allow you to do that again.”

With a wave of her wand the screens blocking him from the rest of the room was gone. Standing there with an unreadable look on her face was Ginny. She was staring at Harry. Her nose was straight again and the cut on her forehead was healed. Only a pink line showed where it was. All the blood was cleaned off her face, but she still had the two black eyes. Each one was as dark as the one that Hermione had received from Fred and Georges gag spyglass. Even with her black eyes, Harry thought she was beautiful.

“What are you doing here, Harry?” she asked. Her voice seemed flat and emotionless.
Harry was caught off guard by her question. He had thought she wanted to see him. That is what Hagrid had said. She had told Kreacher to tell him that she wanted to see him. What had changed now that he is here? Whatever it is, he will try to resolve it, even if it takes years.

“I came to see you,” he meekly responded.

Suddenly her eyes flashed with anger. “You could have sent me a letter and told me you were St. Mungo’s, Harry,” she said loudly, as each word was louder than the one before. Her anger was building. “No! That isn’t how Harry Potter does things. He has the Head of the department send me a letter that has me thinking you had died, Harry.” The last few words were screamed at him. Her voice was now echoing off the wall. “Do you get some type of twisted pleasure in making me think you are dead? Do you? You could have told me you were at St. Mungo’s, Harry. I would have been there for you, but, no, you had to scare the hell out of me again. Well, are you going to just lie there and stare at me? What the hell happened to you anyway? Why didn’t Gawain mention anything about you being hurt in his letter? Are you going to answer me? I have waited for three months to see you again. I could have just as easily gone to St. Mungo’s. I am sure Professor McGonagall would have allowed me to go.” She stopped talking and stood there and stared daggers at Harry while breathing heavy from letting out all the emotions. “Well, I am waiting?”

“I wanted to give you a chance to walk away, Ginny. If I had told you that I was hurt then you would come, but I wanted to make sure you still wanted to see me. I love you Ginny. I wanted to ask you to forgive me for leaving you to go on this mission,” Harry stopped talking. He knew if he said anything else right now he would ask her to marry him, and it was too soon for that.

Ginny walked over to his good side and gently sat on the bed. “Harry, I asked you to come back to me. I told Kreacher that I loved you and wanted you to come back. Didn’t you believe him?”

“I just felt so terrible and guilty for hurting you like I did. Ginny.” He grasped her one hand with his right. “I would understand if you hated me right now, but I still love you and I am willing to do anything to make our relationship work. If you want me to quit the Auror department then I will.”

She took his hand with both of hers and gently caressed it. She sat like this for a few minutes staring off towards a blank wall. “Back after Christmas when you were trapped in France, I came to understand that you are doing what you were meant to do. As much as I hate the thoughts of losing you, I know that you are actually doing your life’s work. It hurt to see you and Carmen at Grimmauld Place with what had happened before, but you left me hints and messages to reassure me that it was just work. Most of all, Kreacher gave me the information necessary to understand that you still loved me. Even though you forbid him to call me Mistress Ginny, he told me that it still was my title, because you and I felt the same way about each other and were dedicated to each other. I knew even though my heart was all cut up, I still loved you. So, what he told me meant that you also loved me.”

When Ginny told him that Kreacher had helped her believe he still loved her, tears welled up in his eyes. The thought of Kreacher dying hurt all the more. This House Elf had been so loyal to him and Ginny.

“Harry, why are you crying?” she asked at his reaction.

“Kreacher died yesterday,” he choked out.

“No, how did that…” she stopped talking and looked at him. “The dead Aurors were with you, weren’t they?”

“Yes, it was Monique and Blythe. They died from the Killing Curse. Kreacher died when Grimmauld place burnt down.”

“No Harry, not your home.”

“He tried to save me.” Harry continued on, without responding to Ginny. “The House was falling down around us. We were able get most people out safely. I was inside holding back the fire with Shielding Charms. Kreacher hadn’t been at the house for two weeks. He suddenly appeared within my Shield and tried to Apparate me out. I told him to take Monique and her mother out. Mrs. Arana was holding Monique and wouldn’t move. If I left they would have died.” Harry stopped talking to wipe his eyes with the hand that Ginny had been holding. “I told him not to come back. The wards were down by that time. I could have Apparated out under from under my Shield. When I removed the Shield protecting the Monique and her mother, the house shifted and forced me to move a couple of steps. Kreacher must have been Apparating at that exact moment, because he reappeared in the bloody inferno. Right in front of me. I had to watch as he burnt to death.” Harry was sobbing by this time, His voice cracking with emotion. “I lost focus on my Shields and that’s when the timber came through them. It broke my leg and burned me.”

He stopped talking and cried. He felt Ginny gently wiping the tears away from his face. Looking up at her, he saw that she was also crying. They sat like that for several minutes, before Ginny finally spoke again. “Is Carmen all right?”

Harry looked at her shocked for a second before he realized that he had been calling her Monique. “Ginny, Carmen is actually Monique Arana. She is dead.”

“Oh – ah – I didn’t know that. Has anyone told Neville yet?”

“Yes, Gawain just told him,” he said. “Look around for my robes, there is a letter in them for you from her. She wanted me to give it to you if she didn’t make it back. I gave Neville his letter.”

Ginny waved him off. “I’ll look for it later. Why would she change her name, or is this some Ministry secret that you can’t tell me?”

Harry chuckled at her comment. “It was a secret until yesterday. Now it is front page news both here and in France. Monique or Carmen was a Basque.” Ginny gave him a puzzled look. “A Basque is an old nationality or people that had been at war years ago with France and Spain. In France they hate the Basque sorcerers so much that if one is detected the Ministry has a law that permits them to kill the sorcerer and their close relatives.”

“Merlin, why?”

“Hundreds of years ago, the French was at war with the Basques. The French outnumbered them, but the Basques nearly destroyed the French ministry and their magical community. The French feared them so much that they made that law.”

“Is that why you had to go to France?”

“No! Monique’s family had come under attack by wizards. They had no idea that she was related. The wizards were working for a Muggle developer that wanted their land. Monique came to England after her father had been tortured and killed by wizards. Madam Maxime hid her family from these wizards while she was here.

“Just before Christmas, the wizards came back to Monique’s relatives and killed several of them indiscriminately. Her mother and the other actual owners of the land fled the safe house with the Fidelius Charm on it to grieve for their relatives. The wizards were waiting for them. Since the French had no interest in helping, we went down and rescued them and brought them back to Grimmauld Place.

“When we were down there looking for Monique’s relatives, French Aurors attacked us and trapped us in the mountains. Once we returned to England, Kingsley negotiated with the International Confederation of Wizards and the French about this case of Muggle baiting. We thought the mission was over and the French Ministry was cooperating. Yesterday, the French Head of International Magical Cooperation, the French Head of the Magical Law Enforcement, and the Head Auror were to meet with Monique’s relatives and take their statements.

“They all arrived after handing over their wands at out ministry. We thought we were safe. They all had second wands on them. Blythe and Monique died first, because they were in the room with her relatives and the French. I was able to stop the French, only one other person died. One of the French attackers, in an act of desperation, released Fiendfyre in the room. By the time Rostis and I destroyed it, the house was ablaze.”

“Did you save anything?” asked Ginny.

“Only what I had on me. The photograph of us, my scrap books, my extra clothes, and my Nimbus are all gone. The only things that survived the blaze were the two chests of Basque magical books. In fact the homes number eleven and thirteen were also destroyed.”

Ginny sat there and stared off away from him. He could see tears forming in her eyes as she sat there. Harry held on to her hand to support her. He couldn’t do much else, with his other arm strapped down. He waited until she was ready to say something. They stayed like this for what seemed forever.

“Ginny, are you all right?”

She turned and looked at him as if she had forgotten that he was there. “Yes, I just don’t know what to feel right now. For a time I wanted to hurt you and Carmen – I mean Monique, but now I don’t know what or how I should act.”

When she said that she wanted to hurt him and Carmen, Harry tensed up a little. “I can understand why you would hate us and want to hurt us, but we didn’t …”

“I used to feel that way. The past two months I just wanted you back,” she said cutting him off. “Recently I have been trying to decide whether to Curse you or kiss you.” She started to laugh, “I haven’t done either one, so I guess those ideas didn’t work. Maybe the thing I should do is thank you.”

“Thank me?” asked a puzzled Harry.

“Yes, thank you for stopping Walden. If you hadn’t stopped him…” She stopped and looked at him. “He is a bloody monster. He has raped others, and then Obliviated their memories. I have been having meetings with other victims of his. It is terrible what they had to deal with.” Ginny stopped and took a deep breath. Harry could tell her talking about this was reopening a wound.

“Ginny, Kingsley told me about you leading these healing meetings, and your “Service to the School” award. I am very proud of you,” he stated with conviction. Ginny blushed slightly at his praise. “You shouldn’t be thanking me. I just did what anyone in my situation would have done.”

“Excuse me,” interrupted Madam Pomfrey. “I need to look at my two patients.”

She set a tray on the stand beside Harry’s bed. He couldn’t see what was on it, but he could smell something delicious. She looked at Ginny and handed her a bottle of something from the tray for her to drink. Ginny tipped it up and drank all of it with only the slightest of a shiver. The Nurse took the empty bottle form Ginny before speaking again, “Miss Weasley, I am going to keep you overnight for observation. I think you are fine, but I need to make sure. You took a nasty hit today. Mr. Potter here will be staying for at least a week. The first two days he will be strapped to the bed, so he doesn’t do another gormless stunt like the one today. Mr. Potter you will need to eat before you take all of your potions. This bottle with the red potion you will need to take it last. It will stop your pain, but you won’t wake up until tomorrow. I do want you to take it within the next hour or two. Is that understood, Mr. Potter.”

“Yes, mum,” he cheekily responded.

“Very well, make sure you do that. I am going to give the two of you a few more minutes before I allow people in. So make good use of it,” She said with a smirk, before tuning and walking towards her office.

Neither one said anything or moved towards each other. It seemed as though they had reached some type of impasse. Harry was afraid of saying anything, and Ginny seemed just as unsure as he was. She wasn’t angry, and this seemed to confuse him. He was expecting an irate Ginny flinging curse at him. Her being this quiet has him uncomfortable.

“What were you doing that allowed you to stop Walden?” she asked. Harry didn’t know what to say to her. “You were supposed to be home. You couldn’t have been, and made it there in time to stop him.”

“I was at the Professors’ Christmas party with Neville and Monique, when Gawain appeared looking for us. He ordered everyone else out and told us we had to go on a mission.” Harry stopped his explanation. Should he tell her that he was coming to propose to her? He suddenly decided to throw caution to the wind and ask her now. He grabbed his Moke –Skin bag and opened it. He stuck his hand down in and found the ring box. Ginny was staring at him. She had a puzzled expression on her face. Pulling the box out with one hand, he used his thumb to flick the lid open and turned it around so Ginny could see it. “I wanted to ask you to marry me. I still want you to marry me, Ginny. Would you forgive me and say, yes?”

Ginny’s eyes immediately became watery as she stared at the ring in the box. Harry watched as she reached forward with shaky hands towards the box. She plucked the ring out and held it up to the light to exam it. The entire time she never said a word, but he face glowed with excitement. Harry cannot remember her looking so radiant. She noticed the inscription and turned it to read it. She turned to look at him, but when she opened her mouth no words came out. With shaky hands she slid the ring onto her own finger. Harry was feeling a little disappointed he had thought that was what he was supposed to do.

“I suppose this means, yes?” he flatly asked her.

Ginny looked down at him as tears of happiness ran down her cheek. “Yes, Harry.” She said just above a whisper. “Of course, yes. I was so afraid that you wouldn’t …” she stopped talking and kissed him. If he had thought she got more beautiful when he was away, he was positive her kisses were even better. Warmth filled him, even though he didn’t feel cold before. Her long hair flowed down over him covering him in a silky blanket of red. Three months of loneliness were wiped away in seconds after their lips met. She had her hands on his face, but he didn’t even register the pain when she pressed against the bandages.

They were so busy snogging that neither one heard Madam Pomfrey opening the doors to the infirmary, until Ron spoke. “Will you two stop that!” he ordered. “That is something we don’t need to see.”

Ginny pulled away from Harry and whispered another,”I love you,” before turning on Ron. “Then don’t watch…” She stopped talking as Ron, George, and Bill started laughing. “What is wrong with your three?”

“Nice eyes, sis,” laughed Bill, who was in control of his laughter. When Ginny gave him a strange look, he continued, “Your black eyes, they are impressive.”

“Black eyes, what black eyes,” she exclaimed with a high pitched voice. Hermione conjured a mirror and handed it to her. Ginny looked into the mirror and screeched as she turned to Harry, “You proposed to me, with me looking like this?”

Harry smiled at her. “Your still beautiful to me,” he assured her.

The rest of the room went silent. Both Harry and Ginny realized this and turned to look at them. Hermione, Mrs. Weasley, and Fleur were beaming at Ginny, while the men seemed to be glaring at Harry. Ginny stepped away from the bed, and lifted her left hand to show them the ring. The three women converged on her with their congratulations.

Harry looked at the men surrounding him. They didn’t seem to be glaring at him with hatred. “Well Ron, I suppose you’re going to hit me again?” he asked his best friend.

Ron shrugged and stepped forward and snatched his sandwich off the tray. It never made it to his mouth, as Ginny was suddenly there grabbing his hand. “That is Harry’s sandwich, Ron. Not yours, put it down, and what does he mean ‘hit him again’?” she asked while glaring at her brother.

Ron smiled at her and said, “I told you I was going to hit him one.”

“You hit him in his condition. Ron you git,” she screamed at him. “You could have seriously hurt him.” She stood there breathing heavily while glaring daggers at him.

Ron shrugged his shoulders and looked slightly embarrassed. “He didn’t look that bad, at the moment,” he mumbled. “Besides, I only hit him once.”

“No more,” demanded Ginny glaring at her brothers. “What problems Harry and I have are ours to work out. Do you understand me?” she yelled so loud her voice echoed off the walls.

“No problem sis,” laughed George. “If we wanted to punish Harry, we couldn’t do anything worse than have him marry you.”

The three boys laughed openly at George’s comment, Mr. Weasley and Percy smiled while trying to hide it from Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny yelled at the same time, “George!” the room went silent for a second before the three women started to talk again.

Harry was watching Ginny show her ring to Hermione, her mum, and Fleur. Each one would look at it then gush. It seemed such a strange thing to do. The ring was nice but each one had already seen it when the other was shown it. Harry laid there and figured it was one of those female habits that have always confused him, like how they always traveled in packs.

“So Harry,” said George, with a gleam in his eye.

Harry could tell from that look that George was going to take the mickey out of him. “Yes?”

“Did you plan to propose this way?” George asked. “I mean it worked. She could hardly say no to you lying there all busted up. Did you surprise her with the ring? You know. Have a special plan?”

Harry was going to tell him no, but George interrupted him. “Let me guess. You had it in a bedpan and pulled it out and told her that you had something special for her?”

Harry, Ron, Bill, and even Percy and Mr. Weasley started to laugh at his comment, but Ginny and Mrs. Weasley turned at the same time and yelled, “George!” The men started to laugh even harder at this causing all of them to receive glares from the women.

Ginny walked over to the bed and looked at the sandwich that Harry was supposed to have been eating. “You’re not eating Harry,” stated Ginny. “Madam Pomfrey told you to eat then take the potions within an hour.”

“I’m not that hungry,” whined Harry.

“Doesn’t matter, eat!” she handed the sandwich to him. Harry took it and bit a mouthful off and started to half heartedly chew it.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from the other side of the Weasley crowd, Ginny turned to see who spoke. When Fleur stepped aside, Harry saw Gwenog Jones and another Harpy standing there. The other player was busy trying to catch a glimpse of Harry. While Gwenog was not paying any attention to him, she was looking like a star struck first year staring at Harry.

“Ginny, could we talk for a second?”asked Gwenog.

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Well, I am offering you a position as the reserve seeker for our team,” stated Gwenog, with practiced poise and delivery.

The room erupted in excitement. Ron was congratulating Ginny along with everyone else except Harry who couldn’t get out of bed to hug her. Their enthusiasm was curbed when Gwenog cleared her throat. “There is a condition Ginny. We leave on a world tour starting on May 1st, and won’t be back to England until December. The Headmistress said that you could take your NEWTs before leaving.”

“What about the Tri- School tournament in May?” questioned Ginny?

“I am pretty sure that without France, it will be canceled,” stated Harry from his bed.

“Harry is correct,” confirmed Gwenog. “The Headmistress also said that. I am going to need an answer today, Ginny. I am sorry for putting this pressure on you, but if you turn me down, I’ll need to find another reserve seeker. What do you say?”

Ginny turned and looked at Harry. He was in shock that she would even consider turning this down. “Take it Ginny! This is your dream, go for it. I’ll wait,” reassured Harry.

Ginny looked at everyone in the room. This was her big chance to play Professional Quidditch, She may hook up with other team, but this one is a guarantee. Biting her lip, Ginny calmly said, “I’ll take it.”

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