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On the other side of the room, Harry and Ginny slipped quickly out onto the porch.

“Did you know about that? Ginny asked.

“I don’t think even Ron knew about it until it happened!” Harry said, with a half smile.

“Mum’s gonna go spare.” George said with a laugh. “She’s had no wedding planning outlet since Bill and Fleur.”

“We need to find the Grangers.” Harry said. “Once Hermione’s engagement high wears off she’s going to realize that her parents aren’t there to share it with her. I should see Carl about a muggle contractor. He would know who to use.”

Ginny nodded, and looked over at Harry appraisingly as he peeked in through the window. He’s always put everyone else ahead of himself. He doesn’t look after his own interests.

It wasn’t a new idea; everyone, particularly Mrs. Weasley had always noticed this tendency of Harry’s. But just at that moment, Ginny realized the extent he took it to. He’s completely avoiding his own problems, and using others to distract from them.

“I’m going to look in on the muggle house and see what it needs.” Harry said, hopping down the porch steps and heading across the yard.

“I’ll come with you.” Ginny called after him, jogging to catch up. “Afterwards we can drop by Carl and Ellie’s.”

Harry gave her an odd look, but didn’t comment and they made their way down he worn dirt path towards the house.

Ginny paid attention to Harry’s movements, making sure he wasn’t limping anymore, but he was walking strongly. After a few meters she stopped watching Harry’s knees and started looking around at the sweet smelling Eucalyptus, drawing her sweater tight as a breeze reminded her that it was still winter here.

After only a few moments, they had reached the cottage. They surveyed the outside, brushing away branches and bits of bark as they came across them. Harry muttering a charm here and there to repair a cracked railing or a bit of peeling paint.

“It’s really in quite good order!” Harry said happily. “We mightn't even need to bring in a repair crew.”

“Well lets check inside. We need to make sure the stove and things work.” Ginny pointed out, opening the front door.

They wandered in checking the furniture and appliances as they moved from room to room.

“They really did seal this house, there’s not even dust on anything.” Ginny said.

“The kitchen is like new!” Harry said, as he switched on the refrigerator and it began to hum. “I think a few spells to bring the colors up to date and we’re all set!”

Ginny watched as he changed the color of the appliances from seventies gold to clean white.

“I wish I had been to Hermione’s house back home.” Harry said, “I’d try to duplicate it.”

Ginny smiled, “Well the main area was pale blue.” She twitched her wand at the wall until it shone a pretty blue with white trim.

Harry’s eyes bugged out at Ginny, who shrugged and said, “I went with Dad and Ron to bring her to the burrow once.”

“Lets see...” Ginny said, scrunching her forehead in thought. “The kitchen was yellow, and there was a checkered cloth on the table.”

She worked her way around the house until all the colors had been changed. Harry had been surprised when Ginny had told him that Hermione’s room had pink walls.

“Well her mum painted it that way when she was little, and then when she got older she felt it went with all her Gryffindor decor,” Ginny explained.

They gave the house another quick once over, and headed back outside.

Harry leaned against the railing on the porch overlooking the river. It was a slow moving river, almost lazy, and quite relaxing to watch. Still, after a few minutes of silence, Ginny saw Harry’s gaze cloud with anxiety.

“Come on, lets get back.” Harry said, “I want to see about some portkeys to use when we get Hermione’s parents.”

“Wrong!” Said Ginny, blocking his way back to the big house.

“Gin, what...” Harry said, before Ginny cut him off with “Nope. Sit.”

Ginny, with her fists on her hips, looked so much like her mother that Harry plonked himself down on a bench immediately.

“Now, you said something about Carl’s grandmother being able to help you, yes?” She said, in a no-nonsense voice.

“Well, yes, he did mention that,” Harry said, looking at the ground. “But there’s just too much to do around here! Hermione’s parents need to be found, we’ve got to work out how to get the ranch working, your dad needs to decide what to do about work, Hermione needs coaching with her crutches...”

Ginny put an hand up, cutting off Harry’s sentence. “Harry James Potter, there are nearly a dozen fully capable witches and wizards living in your house. You have got to learn how to ask people for help. Until you can do that, I’m going to make your decisions for you. The only one of those problems that is even remotely yours is running the farm, and that is not a priority.”

Harry looked at the ground, and didn’t respond.

“Now, when did Carl say you could meet his grandmother?” Ginny asked.

Harry mumbled something, still looking at the ground.

“Harry.” Ginny coaxed.

“He said I could come over any time.” Harry said, only slightly louder.

“Brilliant. Let’s go.” Ginny said, starting up the path before turning and motioning to Harry.

Harry sat on the bench looking at his feet. What if she can’t help me, then I’m right back where I started. At least right now no one knows just how messed up I am.

“I don’t want to Gin, there’s no point.” Harry said quietly.

“Harry, please do it for me.” Ginny said, “If I can’t find you some help, then I’ll have to take you to Saint Mungo’s.”

Harry closed his eyes and nodded. Ginny reached over and took his hand, Harry jumped a bit at her touch but then calmed down and stood to go with her; Ginny’s heart broke at his involuntary reaction. Harry hadn’t been raised with any kind of normal affection. She was quite sure that he had never been hugged until he’d met the Weasley’s. The years of abuse Harry had lived through before starting at Hogwarts was just one more thing he was going to have to work through.

 

 



Ginny led the way up the path from the house. “Do you know where to go?” She asked.

Harry nodded, “I can apperate to Carl’s house.”

“I’ll come with you.” Ginny said, taking Harry’s arm.

With a pop, they reappeared outside Carl and Ellie’s house.

Harry was about to try and leave, when Ellie came out the front door with a wide smile on her face. “Hello there!”

“Hi Ellie!” Ginny said. “Is Carl around?”

“He’s out the back, working on the shearing shed.” Ellie replied. “Want me to call him for you?”

“Please!” Ginny said, “Harry’s come to meet his grandmother.”

Ellie’s smile faded and she looked at Harry with concerned eyes, “Oh, of course. I’ll call her as well.” She drew her wand slowly out of her pocket, held it up so Harry could see it, and then sent a patronus off.

They’re all acting as though I’m barking mad. Harry thought. Ellie was afraid of me just then. He resumed looking at his feet.

“Come inside.” Ellie said, “Lets have a cuppa.”

“Oh, thanks!” Ginny said, “That sounds wonderful.” She took Harry by the elbow and led him inside.

They gathered around the sitting room, and Ellie brought out tea and biscuits.

When they each had a cup, Ginny tried to break the awkward silence, “I love your home!”

“Oh thanks!” Ellie said with a smile, “It’s taken rather a long time to get it looking the way I like... most of the furniture is handmade.”

Harry stared into the dregs of his tea and didn’t speak, still mulling over Ellie’s behavior.

“Please don’t misunderstand my actions a few moments ago.” Ellie said, leaning down to try and meet Harry’s eyes. “I’ve been working with refugees for a while now, and I’ve learnt that it’s never a good idea to make sudden moments around any of you.”

Ginny smiled sadly, “yes I suppose that we are all a bit jumpy. I’ve been wondering if my nerves will ever calm.”

“I can’t speak from experience, but I’m sure with enough time you’ll all be feeling much better.” Ellie said.

“Thank you.” Harry said, looking up.

“Pardon?” Ellie said, looking confused.

“Thank you for not trying to sympathize.” Harry said plainly. “For not saying that everything will be ok.”

“Harry, I doubt that there are few people on earth, if any who could truly understand what you are going through right now.” Ellie said, cocking her head to the side as if trying to figure him out.

Just then they heard a door at the back of the house bang open, and Carl came in.

“Ellie! I still have half a plot to deal with, what's the big emer...” Carl stopped short when he saw Harry and Ginny sitting next to Ellie. “Oh hello! Sorry, didn’t mean to be rude, Ellie didn’t mention that you were here!”

“Sorry we popped over uninvited” Ginny said with a smile. “The timing just worked for us.”

Carl smiled and pulled up a chair, “No worries, no worries... gives me an excuse to knock off early today. Is Gran on her way?”

Ellie nodded, passing him a cup.

“We really appreciate your help, don’t we Harry?” Said Ginny.

“Yes, thanks.” Harry mumbled, dropping his gaze to the floor.

“Ginny, would you like to see the rest of the house?” Ellie asked.

“Oh, of course!” Ginny said, taking the excuse to let Harry talk to Carl in private.

When they were gone, Harry looked up at Carl, “So does everyone think I’m crazy?”

“No Harry, they just don’t know what to say.” Carl said, with a sad smile. “I really think my Gran will be able to help you though. I didn’t tell her what the problem was, but ten to one, she’ll spot it right off.”

“Really?” Harry asked, sounding interested. “Is she a Healer?”

“Not specifically, this is just something she’s gifted in.” Said Carl. “this sort of thing used to happen in the old days to my people.”

Just than the door opened and Carl’s grandmother came in, “Well what was so important that it couldn’t wait?” she asked, and then she set eyes on Harry.

“Oh my dear boy I’m so sorry, I should’ve hurried. Carl get out of here! We’ve got a lot of work to do and I want to get as much done today as I can. Go on, out! Out, out, out.” She said, practically shoving Carl out the door and shutting it behind him. She turned back to Harry, “So dear how are you feeling?”

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