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The summer passed relatively peacefully at the Burrow. Lestrange had gone underground and hadn’t been seen since the battle at Potter cottage. The Pure Blood Movement had been silent, showing no activity or outward signs of revival but Harry knew that wasn’t always a guarantee of everlasting peace. For the moment though the period of inactivity was relished and enjoyed. Harry went back to work after taking a week off. He had to admit he was thankful for that week of vacation. He decided to watch Teddy for a couple of days to give Andromeda a break and to bond and helping to take care of Teddy helped Ginny heal and come out of her melancholy. When Teddy went back to Andromeda there was a day of high summer heat and Ron had the idea for them to go swimming by the small pond on the Burrow’s property. It was a day of enjoyable relaxation for the four of them: Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione. Ginny was inseparable from his side with the exception, of course, of nighttime when they all went to bed and Ron and Harry reluctantly went to Ron’s room leaving Hermione and Ginny to hers. Harry found himself almost reluctant to go back to work to continue his training as an Auror.

Mrs. Weasley warmed up to the idea of the way her children had paired with their new loves. The male population of the Weasley family gave Ron quite a ribbing for his finally realizing what he had with Hermione and they all gave Harry stern warnings about treating Ginny right. Ginny had walked in on one such conversation, the Friday after her birthday, which ended up with Bill being hit with Ginny’s now infamous Bat-Bogey Hex. She didn’t remove it until the newly pregnant and overly hormonal Fleur complained to Mrs. Weasley who yelled at Ginny to reverse the Hex. The whole affair was found highly amusing to George who decided to imitate Bill, the way he acted when the Hex first hit him, the rest of the weekend. It was nice to hear George laugh so Bill took it in stride and let his younger brother have fun at his exspense. Harry thought the incident drew out the fire in Ginny that had been missing for a while and it was nice to see some of the way Ginny used to be. Still, there were times when Harry would see her staring into space, her mind miles away. Truth be told they all had moments like that. Harry thought that maybe that’s what war did to people when they’ve seen and been through too much.

Harry had made a decision he did feel good about. He’d made a deal with Flourish and Blotts to do a printing of Snape’s potion book (minus some spells) to benefit a special children’s fund. The money would be used to help pay for robes, books and supplies for children attending Hogwarts unable to afford them under normal circumstances. Harry was pleased that it was going well, perhaps that had to do with the fact Harry himself had written the foreword explaining a bit about Severus in his own words. Harry hadn’t forgiven Snape but he certainly understood him more and he knew in time that forgiveness would come. Harry was also surprised to find himself overwhelmed with letters from witches and wizards from all over. Letters of thanks and gratitude. Occasionally people would send money in the letters and Harry decided to set this money aside and put it in a separate vault for Teddy. When all was said and done Teddy had quite a hefty sum in his vault. He couldn’t possibly answer all the letters but after several weeks of being buried in owls Mrs. Weasley suggested Harry write a letter to the Daily Prophet accepting their gratitude and suggesting any monetary gifts be donated to a fund of Harry’s choice. Harry chose to set up a war orphan’s fund.

For Harry’s birthday Mrs. Weasley had wanted to have a big party but Harry insisted on a small affair. Harry was surprised to receive a card in the mail from Dudley, even if he only did sign his name and wrote nothing more in it; Harry made a mental note to remember Dudley’s birthday and maybe a Christmas card for him. George told Harry to stop by the shop on the morning of his birthday to pick up what ended up being a box of Whizbang fireworks. Harry was surprised to find the Wizarding Community celebrating in full force and even more shocked to find they were celebrating his birthday. George said that Fireworks had been a top seller ever since the Battle at Hogwarts. They set off the box of fireworks that night at the Burrow. The perfect gift Harry could have received for his birthday was holding Ginny as they lay upon a blanket in the grass watching the colourful display. Harry was sure Ron and Hermione missed half of the fireworks for when he took a quick glance at them they were in the middle of a snog session while Ron’s parents were distracted by the fireworks and did not see.

Ginny’s seventeenth was a huge affair with a fully decorated canopy and several friends on the guest list. Most were from the D.A. and Harry wasn’t surprised to see Neville and Luna once again. Ginny enjoyed the ability to use magic freely as everyone does on their seventeenth. Harry wanted to make sure the present he got her would be the best so he checked with the Weasleys to make sure he wasn’t going to get something they’d already gotten her before he made the purchase of Ginny’s very own Firebolt. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny both insisted it was too much but when Harry saw Ginny’s look of freedom and pure joy when she first flew on it it was reward enough for him and well worth the Galleons it cost. They danced well into the night under the canopy and twinkling fairy lights.

Since Ginny’s birthday was in August after it was over all thought turned back to the fact that Ginny and Hermione would be returning to Hogwarts soon. Harry hated the thought of being separated from Ginny but she promised to write him every day and he promised her the same. McGonagall had also offered special priveledges to the D.A. members which would allow Harry and Ron to visit them on school grounds on some weekends. Harry found himself looking forward to those weekends.

For now, though, Harry stood on Platform 9 ¾ trying to find a way to say goodbye. He straigtened Ginny’s shiny new Captain’s badge on her robes as he tried to find the right words to say. She smiled kindly at him waiting for him to speak, he was sure he was starting to look like a fish above water trying to pull water from the air his mouth had opened and closed so many times.

“Make sure you beat Slytherin at Quidditch for me, yeah?” the moment the words slipped past his lips he knew it sounded lame.

“You know I will,” she said with a sly smile then she frowned. “I’m going to miss you, Harry.”

“I’m going to miss you too,” Harry pressed his forehead against hers.

“You promise you’ll come visit me?”

“I promise, Ginny. Every Hogsmeade weekend, every Quidditch match, every chance I can that McGonagall let’s me.” Harry kissed her gently. “You know Ron will want to see Hermione just as much,” Harry laughed.

“Yeah and to chaporone me,” Ginny rolled her eyes.

“He’s your brother, he’s only trying to look out for you,” Harry tried to defend Ron’s behaviour even though sometimes it annoyed him too.

“Yeah, I know.”

“Stay safe, Ginny, stay out of trouble,” Harry said when the first train whistle sounded.

“I’ll try,” she said wickedly with a wink, “I’ve got Hermione to keep me in line.” Harry looked over to see Hermione saying her goodbyes to Ron, her new Head Girl badge pinned to her robes.

“Yeah, fat lot of good that did for Ron and I,” Harry laughed. “We brought her down to our level.” It made Ginny laugh and Harry knew he’d miss the sound.

“Harry?” she asked as they walked closer to the train.

“Hmm?”

“You make sure you’re careful too. Stay safe,” Ginny said seriously.

“I’ll try my best,” Harry kissed her forehead. He knew she was thinking about him and his job as an Auror. They were still on the hunt for Lestrange. As long as Lestrange was free he’d gain followers and power. They needed to capture him and his cohorts. Harry was heading the investigation, an assignment given to him two weeks prior. It was Harry’s first official lead on a case and in addition to being in charge of the search he was also continuing his training and aiding Kingsley in re-structuring the Ministry. Harry was glad to have Ron’s help in the latter as he was helping George and helping the Ministry, something that earned him points in Hermione’s eyes. The Ministry was undergoing lots of changes under Kingsley Shacklbolt’s leadership but it was a long and hard process to fix all the previous leaders’ mistakes.

The train whistle sounded again and Harry gave Ginny one last hug.

“I love you, Ginny,” he told her before he kissed her.

“I love you too, Harry,” she replied breathlessly when they broke apart.

“Ginny, Hermione, you two had best be getting on the train before you miss it!” Mrs. Weasley said as she bustled over from talking to Kingsley. She hugged Ginny then stole Hermione from Ron for a hug. “Take care of each other,” she told the two young women.

“See you soon, Hermione,” Harry told her.

“Yeah, be seeing you, Harry.”

The girls boarded the train and harry’s gaze tried to follow them through the windows. He lost sight of Ginny’s red mane and Hermione’s bushy brown hair a few times but they came to the windows after a few short moments and waved goodbye. Harry and Ron waved back, the two best friends standing side by side. They waved and watched until they could not see the train any longer. Harry sighed and he heard Ron do the same.

“When is the first visit?” Ron asked.

“Three weeks,” Harry said glumly.

“Three weeks too long.”

“Yeah.”

“I gotta get back to the shop. You coming to the house for supper?”

“Yeah, I’ll see you at supper. I should head to work too.”

“This is going to be a long year,” Ron said looking back to where the train had been.

“C’mon, Ron, compared to last year this one should be a piece of cake,” Harry nudged his best mate with his elbow. Ron chuckled.

“Yeah,” Ron guffawed, “well, see you tonight, Harry.”

“Yeah, tonight,” Harry echoed as he walked towards Kingsley. A moment later Harry heard Ron Dissapparate away.

Harry tried to force his worries from his mind and concentrate on the moment at hand. He wasn’t sure of much lately and it was strange to think that he could live without the looming threat of a prophecy hanging on his shoulders. Sure there were the dangers of his job but nothing was written in stone for his future that promised impending doom. His future was uncertain, his path to be determined by decisions he would make. His life was finally his to live, free of any restraints. He was free to love whomever he chose and he did so fully and completely. Dumbledore was right on that count, Harry thought, love was the most powerful force to behold; it continued to save him time and again every day. There were still some things that needed tending in his life, Harry knew. His life wasn’t perfect, not all was well, but he hoped to get there some day.

*Fin* 

A/N: So that's it I guess.  It's strange to finally be done with this little story of mine.  Thank you so much to everyone past, present and future that has stuck with this story to the end.  I love you all for that and even more for the reviews! 
--Mac

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