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Chapter 31: A New Day Dawns
The sounds of people moving about the house were starting to interrupt Harry’s pleasant dream, as he lay with his arms wrapped around Ginny. Once he could no longer block out the sounds, he opened his eyes and rolled over, sighing deeply.
Beside him, Ginny lay with her head buried into her pillow, a smile on her face as she heard Harry’s sigh. While the Burrow represented many wonderful things to her, a quiet and peaceful house was not amongst those qualities. The solitude of their room at Hogwarts was not something they could hope for here.
Ginny rolled over to face Harry, draping her arm across his chest.
“Morning, my sweet Harry,” she said brightly, her mood light and cheerful today despite the long night they had endured yesterday.
Upon their return to the Burrow, Molly had gone about serving a very large meal for the four returning students. As the evening had worn on, no one had noticed the hour growing late as they all started to realise their time at Hogwarts was really over. To their surprise, they were already feeling nostalgic about the school and their years spent there, their minds already starting to gloss over some of the more unpleasant memories of their school experience.
As the conversation had meandered, Molly had eventually ordered everyone to bed as the clock now showed it was well after midnight, and a busy day was upon them tomorrow, including a small celebration to commemorate the completion of their Hogwarts studies.
So now Ginny lifted her head and looked at her Harry. She could see the small smile playing on his lips, and she knew it was going to be a good day. Not only did they have a celebration to look forward to, but they would also be checking on the progress of their house.
Harry meanwhile, was also contemplating the day ahead, and his excitement was already growing at the prospect of seeing their house.
“Morning, Gin,” said Harry, his back arching as his body stretched, shaking off the last vestiges of sleep.
Ginny couldn’t resist as she saw Harry stretch. She pounced onto his body, straddling him as she began tickling his ribs, causing Harry to yell out in surprise. As Harry’s stretch ended and he regained control of his limbs, he grabbed Ginny’s wrists and pinned her arms behind her back as he sat up.
“Was that really necessary?” asked Harry, trying not to laugh as Ginny giggled.
Ginny struggled briefly until she looked into Harry’s eyes and saw the mischief dancing behind them. She knew she couldn’t break the grasp he had around her wrists, but she always had other options.
Harry saw the smile on Ginny’s face as she leant forward, and he let go of her wrists as she kissed him. Harry moved his hands up her back as she put a hand on his neck, their kiss briefly intensifying until Ginny suddenly jumped out of the bed, grinning down at him as she backed away.
“That’s cheating,” said a slightly flustered Harry.
Ginny grabbed her towel off the back of the bedroom door, before pulling the door open. She turned back to face Harry, her happiness all over her face.
“You only think it’s cheating because you lost,” she teased, as she slipped through the door, pulling it shut behind her.
Harry chuckled to himself as he lay back down in the bed. He rubbed his eyes as he considered his next move. He knew revenge was not an option as he could never resist Ginny. As he pushed himself up and got out of bed, he sighed once again before he dressed and made his way down to the kitchen.
“It looks great, Bill,” whispered an awed Harry.
Ginny didn’t bother trying to put her emotions into words. Instead, she threw her arms around her older brother and tried to blink away sudden tears.
Bill’s face reddened as he patted his little sister on the back. “Why don’t you go and have a look inside? We’ll wait out here for a few minutes.”
Ginny broke away from her brother and nodded as she smiled up at him. As she felt Harry take her hand, she turned around and started to walk slowly towards her new house.
Her whole world appeared to be running in slow motion as she neared the little house, and she could distinctly hear every sound around her as she tried to take in every detail as they approached the dark red front door.
The dry grass crackled under her feet, and she could hear the birds in the distant trees as she tightly squeezed Harry’s hand. She looked up at Harry as she walked, wondering if he felt the same way.
Harry was looking at the wooden structure, scarcely able to believe what he was seeing. It was as if his imagination had come to life.
The sun was cresting behind the high peaked roof, giving the appearance the house was glowing as it sat nestled close to the trees which bordered this side of the property. The oak timbers which formed the visible frame of the house had not yet started to change colour, but once they did, Harry knew the house would take on a silver hue.
Harry and Ginny stepped up the one step onto the wooden decking which ran along the front of the house. Harry turned back and saw a collection of Weasleys watching him. He gave a small wave, but turned his attention quickly back to the front door as he heard the sound of the door being opened.
Ginny let go of the handle and stepped inside. Her knees threatened to give way as she looked around their living room. It was small and cosy, a large stone fireplace recessed into the back wall. On one wall two large windows allowed a view out over the fields in the distance, while the other wall contained bookshelves already lined with some peculiar looking ornaments and a number of books.
The couple made their way through the living room and into the kitchen. They both sat down at the small wooden dining table as they tried to take everything in. Harry was startled by how similar the kitchen in their new house resembled the kitchen in the Burrow, including a back door which led out into the field beyond.
“What do you think?” he asked Ginny, his voice almost catching in his throat.
Ginny looked at him and he could see she was struggling not to cry.
“It’s beautiful,” whispered Ginny.
“We’ll have to finish furnishing it before we can actually move in,” remarked Harry.
Ginny’s face fell a little. “I know,” she said forlornly.
“Don’t worry, it won’t be much longer before we can call this place home.”
Harry grinned as he looked around. There was a staircase which looked slightly out of place at moment, as it led up to the attic; but Harry knew if the house was expanded all the other bedrooms would be upstairs. He could also see a short corridor between the kitchen and living room, which led to the master bedroom and Kreacher’s room, as well as a bathroom.
“We’ll wait until it’s ready to move into before we bring Kreacher over,” said Harry, wondering how his house-elf would handle being presented with a room of his own.
Ginny regarded Harry thoughtfully for a moment. “We should bring some things over from Grimmauld Place to put in his room. He might have an easier time adjusting if his room feels familiar.”
“That’s a great idea, Gin,” said Harry. “We have to go into London anyway so I’ll stop by the house then.”
As they sat and marvelled at their new home, the sound of somebody knocking on the front door drifted into the kitchen. Harry and Ginny looked at each other, grinning as they both stood and made their way to the front door.
Ginny pulled the door open to reveal Bill, Arthur, Molly, Ron, and Hermione standing before them, all looking a little apprehensive; particularly Bill.
Again, Ginny threw her arms around her brother. “It’s beautiful, Bill,” she cried, and Harry saw everyone visibly relax behind Bill.
“Come in, come in,” said Harry excitedly, beckoning the group to enter his home.
The entire group made their way inside and began looking around. After twenty minutes they all assembled in the kitchen and took seats at the dining table.
“Are you sure you shouldn’t have built a bigger house than this?” asked Ron, as he found himself without a chair.
Harry glanced at Bill and nodded, noticing that Arthur was looking expectantly at Bill. Harry tried not to laugh as Bill made his way to the backdoor.
“You sneaky buggers,” said a chuckling Ron, who realised what his brother was about to do. “How big can it go?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows, but every room in the house can expand as required, and we can add bedrooms upstairs if needed.”
A minute later Ron took a seat at the table. “That’s really cool, guys.”
Hermione reached across the table and grabbed Ron’s hand. “When we build our house it has to have a really big library in it,” said Hermione wistfully.
While Molly gasped at the other end of the table, Hermione failed to notice how pale Ron had suddenly become. Harry realised Ron wasn’t quite ready to leave the nest just yet, but he knew it was only a matter of time.
“Who would like some tea?” asked Ginny, rising from the table.
Molly startled everyone as she jumped to her feet. “Don’t you trouble yourself, dear, I’ll make the tea,” she said.
Ginny was just about to object and remind her mother that this was her house, when Bill cleared his throat loudly.
“Actually, I’m afraid there’s no tea in the house yet, Ginny.”
“Oh...” Ginny looked lost for a moment before she brightened up. “Start making a list, Harry. We’re going to need more than just furniture.”
Harry laughed as Ginny sat back down. Running a house was going to be a lot more work than he initially realised. He consoled himself that at least Molly and Arthur would be close by, so they could provide them with some tips for getting by.
The morning drew to a close and the group made their way back to the Burrow, where Molly put on a meal that amounted to a small feast in honour of Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione completing their studies at Hogwarts. Bill had departed early to return to Fleur and his daughter, but George, Verity, and Percy had arrived to help them celebrate.
After the meal, Hermione and Ron had said goodbye to everyone. They were going to stay with Hermione’s parents for a couple of days, before returning to the Burrow.
The next week passed by so quickly Harry barely had time to think. He and Ginny had taken what seemed to be an endless number of shopping trips to acquire the things they needed for their house, but almost every trip had been cut short due to the interference of curious reporters and well wishers.
In order to escape the madness of shopping, Harry and Ginny had spent one peaceful afternoon with Andromeda and Teddy. A few hours of playing with a toddler had been just what they needed to help them unwind, but even that trip hadn’t come without its consequences.
Ginny had persuaded Harry, with very little effort, that they should keep a room prepared for Teddy at their new house. Harry thought it was a wonderful idea, but it would mean even more shopping, which was starting to become very draining. It also meant that their two bedroom house would already be converted into a three bedroom house before they even moved in.
Now Harry found himself sitting in the kitchen at the Burrow, determined to take a day off from shopping as he waited for Molly to finish cooking breakfast. Beside him, Ron and Hermione also waited patiently; Molly having refused all offers of assistance.
Harry looked at the staircase as he heard Ginny making her way down to the kitchen. She entered the kitchen and smiled at Harry as she sat down.
“Mum doesn’t want any help, I take it?” asked Ginny.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione all shook their heads. Harry was just about to answer when the sound of Molly shrieking caused them all to jump.
“Bloody bird,” yelled Molly out the window. “Bite me again and you’ll be served for dinner, you vicious little monster.”
Molly turned around and Harry could see the blood on her fingers. She wiped the blood off and then applied a dab of Dittany, a bottle of which was now kept next to the owl treats.
The Weasley’s new owl had become a bone of contention between Molly and Arthur. Their old owl, Errol, had been retired after falling asleep once too often while making a delivery, so Arthur had purchased a barely tame owl that delighted in trying to take a bite out of Molly at every opportunity.
At the dining table, Ron and Ginny were trying to suppress their laughter. Despite their best efforts, it didn’t escape Molly’s notice.
“Your father thinks it’s just being affectionate,” grumbled Molly. “It never bites me when Arthur’s in the room, the nasty sod.”
With her finger taken care of, Molly retrieved the copy of the Daily Prophet which had dropped into the sink. Harry caught a glimpse of the front page and was relieved to see that he wasn’t on the front page for the first time in a week.
As breakfast was served, another owl arrived at the window, but this owl was not familiar. Molly stood and made her way to the window, untying the letter attached to the owl’s leg before giving it a treat. As she made her way back to the table, Harry saw her eyes widen in surprise as she read the envelope.
“It’s for you, Hermione,” said Molly, handing the letter to Hermione.
Everyone turned their attention back to their plates while Hermione opened the letter and quickly read it.
“What...” gasped a startled Hermione.
Worry appeared on Ron’s face instantly. “What’s happened, ‘Mione?”
Hermione looked up and turned to Ron, smiling as she waved the letter above her head.
“It’s from Professor Slughorn,” explained Hermione, “and he wants to assist me in having the Potions book published.”
Harry grinned while Ron sighed in obvious relief. “That’s great, Mione, really,” said Ron.
“I wonder how he tested everything so quickly?” asked Ginny.
The smile disappeared from Hermione’s face as she thought about what Ginny had said. Before she agreed to anything, she decided she would find out exactly how much testing Professor Slughorn had really done. She was now worried that the Professor might be just trying to force things through quickly so he could earn a few extra Galleons.
“So what will you say to Slughorn then?” asked Harry warily.
Hermione looked around at the expectant faces before her. Her own face was an expressionless mask until a small smile appeared.
“I’ll say yes after I have checked on a few things,” answered Hermione, “and then I will make sure any proceeds go to a worthy cause.”
Harry, Ron, and Ginny all chuckled at Hermione’s idea.
Molly placed a tray of toast in the middle of the table. As she leant over she smiled at Hermione.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea, Hermione,” said Molly, before joining the four friends at the table for breakfast.
As the group all enjoyed their meal, Harry couldn’t help but think about how rarely they were all going to be able to sit down and enjoy each other’s company like this in the future. He made a promise to himself that he would make time at least once a week to catch up with his friends outside of any Auror or Ministry business.
The night before Harry, Ron, and Ginny were due to commence the Auror training program, Molly had taken the opportunity to have the entire Weasley family come to the Burrow for dinner. The night air was warm, and a gentle breeze swept across the nearby fields.
Dinner had been a rowdy affair, but it had given Molly her first real opportunity to extend her kitchen and dining table to accommodate her large family. To her delight it still felt cosy in her kitchen, and nobody had to worry about where their elbows were.
Following the meal, Arthur had produced a bottle of Firewhiskey, but Harry, Ron, and Ginny had all declined a drink as they were already nervous enough as they prepared themselves for Auror training the next day, and Harry and Ginny in particular had already had a big week.
Three days ago the couple had moved into their new home. The house had been ready for them to move into for almost a week, but Harry and Ginny had both remained at the Burrow for an extra couple of days, unable to bring themselves to leave as Molly burst into tears each night they attempted to move out.
Eventually they had made a pact to move out no matter what happened, and they had left the Burrow to the sounds of a sniffling Molly behind them, Arthur comforting his wife while Ron and Hermione stood at the back door of the Burrow and wished them farewell.
In an effort to ease the trauma Molly was experiencing, Harry and Ginny had made the five minute walk back to the Burrow a number of times a day to reassure Molly that they really would still be seeing a lot of each other.
For Harry and Ginny, life in their own house was a blissful experience. It was quiet and peaceful, and they spent the evenings curled up together on a sofa, either talking or reading as the hours floated by.
During the days they started to make plans to build a shed adjacent to their house, as they had also been spending a lot of time in Arthur’s shed, laughing as they tinkered away on various bits of machinery yet achieving little. Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the Weasley sons had all now been shown the shed, and it had become the meeting place of choice when anyone wanted to avoid chores.
Yesterday Harry and Ginny had received their first letter at their new home. The letter was from Neville, detailing the latest progress he was making with his attempts to create a remedy for his parents. Unfortunately he had not made any headway with his parents, but his tonic had shown some success when administered to people suffering from memory loss.
According to Neville, Gilderoy Lockhart had regained his memory for roughly half an hour each time the tonic was administered, but the staff at St Mungo’s had begged Neville to stop giving Gilderoy the tonic as he was insufferable as he recounted his many alleged deeds to anyone within earshot. Harry and Ginny had written back to Neville, promising to drop in soon and see how he was going.
And now, as dinner came to an end, Harry sat and chatted with the Weasleys. While Molly was distracted by Bill and Fleur’s daughter, Arthur tapped Harry on the shoulder as he made his way passed and headed out the back door. Harry smirked as he excused himself from the table, and followed Arthur outside.
The two men made their way into the shed and sat down to wait as they talked over a Butterbeer. They didn’t have to wait long. Ginny and Bill appeared first, followed shortly by George and Percy. Finally Ron had made his way into the shed, a large guilty grin on his face.
“I think we’re in the clear, Mum didn’t even turn around when I left the table,” said Ron, chuckling lightly.
“I hope you’re right, son,” replied Arthur. “Just remember, you still live here too if Molly ever gets wind of what goes on out in this shed.”
The others laughed as Ron paled for a second before Charlie handed him a Butterbeer.
“Thanks, Charlie,” said Ron gratefully. “So when do you head off?”
“Not until the end of the month,” answered Charlie, who looked pleased as he contemplated his return to the dragon colony in Romania.
Harry felt a tinge of sadness at the prospect of Charlie leaving. Despite his best efforts, Charlie had been unable to finish setting up a new dragon colony in England yet, so he had agreed to head back to Romania to assist there for several months. Eventually the location for the new colony would be ready for dragons, but due to the local population of the country, it was taking time to acquire all the land they would need from the few people who lived in the area.
Arthur sat back against the bonnet of his car. “If my sources are correct, you won’t be the only member of the family heading off to foreign parts in the future,” said Arthur, turning his gaze towards George and Percy.
George and Percy both froze on the spot, until George finally reacted. “How did you know that? We haven’t told anybody about our new shop yet.”
Arthur grinned at his two sons as Harry, Ron, Bill, and Charlie looked on, all of them clueless as to what George and Arthur were talking about.
“George, you seem to have forgotten where I work,” said Arthur.
“Oh...” replied George.
Finally Bill could take no more. “Would somebody please tell me what it is you two are talking about,” he said, bewildered as he looked from his father to George.
George grinned at his older brother for a second, before he turned to Percy.
“You do the honours, Percy,” said George. “It was your idea after all.”
Percy returned his brother’s grin for a moment before he began explaining.
“Well, you see, we’re going to open a branch of the joke shop in France, so we will be travelling a fair bit as we start running another shop.”
Bill scratched the side of his head as he looked at his two brothers. “France? Why France?” he asked.
Harry thought it was a good question, and a quick glance at Ron and Ginny told him they thought so too. He hadn’t been aware of any plans for the joke shop to open a branch overseas, but now he was intrigued to discover what was going on.
“Actually, Bill,” interrupted George, “it was you that gave Percy the idea. Well, you and Fleur anyway.”
“What... how?” asked Bill, his face a picture of confusion.
“Remember when you and Fleur visited the Diagon Alley shop before Victoire was born, looking to see if we had anything suitable for a baby?” asked Percy.
“I don’t know what you were thinking, big brother,” interjected George. “Since when do we sell anything you would let a baby anywhere near?”
Percy chuckled. “I must say I thought it was a rather odd request myself.”
Bill sighed. “Get on with it, you two, or I’ll have you both placed in a very dark vault at the bottom of Gringotts.”
Percy held up his hands. “Alright, alright,” he soothed before he continued, as the others tried not to start laughing at Bill’s growing frustration. “After we informed you that we didn’t carry any products that would be advisable, or probably legal, to give to a baby, Fleur made a comment that there were no shops in France like ours, and an idea was born.”
The others all shared looks as Percy finished explaining. To Harry it made perfect sense, as George and Percy had practically cornered the market in England for novelty products.
“When’s your first trip to France then?” asked Bill curiously.
“We’re just waiting on permission from the Ministry to take our products overseas, and then we will be open for business. We had some local wizards and witches set up the shop for us already,” said George.
Sudden realisation dawned for George and Percy as Arthur started to chuckle.
“No... don’t tell me,” uttered George, looking at his father, “you’re the one that has been delaying our permits from the Ministry?”
“No, nothing like that,” said Arthur. “But one of my people did advise me of the situation. He thought it was rather odd that two of my sons wanted to transport what amounted to a large quantity of explosives to a foreign country. The poor chap was blissfully unaware of the fireworks you sell.”
Harry and Ginny both laughed, along with Ron and Charlie as they imagined the situation being played out at the Ministry.
“I’m sure you will get your permission any day now, boys,” said Arthur reassuringly.
George and Percy exchanged looks of relief, before George turned back to Bill.
“You and Fleur will have to visit the shop next time you’re in France.”
“That may be sooner than you think actually,” said Bill, a wry grin appearing on his scarred face.
“What do you mean?” asked George.
“I’m taking a year off work to help Fleur,” said Bill, the happiness clear in his voice. “I don’t want to miss Victoire’s first big moments, and Fleur would also like to spend some time with her parents, so we will be spending a month or two in France during the winter.”
Harry looked at Ginny and saw that she was beaming at her older brother. This was just the sort of thing she had imagined her family being able to do now that money wasn’t an issue.
“That sounds wonderful, Bill,” said Ginny.
Bill grinned and hoisted his Butterbeer. “I can’t wait. I imagine I’m going to be having a lot more fun than our three Aurors here.”
“Oh, don’t worry about them too much,” said Arthur. “I’ll be staying at the Ministry for now, so I will keep an eye on them. You know, make sure they don’t lose any limbs.”
Harry, Ron, and Ginny laughed as Arthur walked across the floor and helped himself to another Butterbeer from the fridge under the bench.
“What about Mum?” asked Charlie. “Is she going to be okay with so many of us out of the country at the same time?”
Arthur nodded. “Molly will be fine. She still has the trust fund to run, Ron to look after, and enough money to drop in on any of you unexpectedly.”
Arthur laughed as he saw the smiles freeze on the faces of his son’s.
“Right, who’s going to help me figure out how to put oil into the motor?” asked Arthur, making his way back to his beloved car.
The lack of enthusiasm displayed by the entire group soon had them all laughing, before they started talking about upcoming trips as they assisted their father.
Back in the Burrow’s kitchen, Molly sat down at the dining table with Hermione, Verity, Audrey, and Fleur and Victoire. Their conversation quickly turned to babies, with Fleur telling everyone about how she and Andromeda had started to babysit for each other, so they could both have a break from time to time. She was particularly delighted by the way Teddy had taken to Victoire, playing with her for hours at a time.
Eventually Hermione noticed that all the men and Ginny had disappeared.
“Ah, Molly, do you know where everybody else went?” she hazarded.
Molly looked at the back door before rolling her eyes.
“Don’t worry about it, dear. Arthur and my boys have taken to spending a great deal of time in that shed of late. Unless I’m mistaken, Bill and Harry made a number of improvements to it, so it has now become a little club house for them.”
Hermione bit her bottom lip, hoping Molly never discovered that she already knew about the shed and its new dimensions.
Molly smiled before she continued. “I feel better if I pretend not to know what’s going on out there, and this way Arthur gets to think he is winning a little victory.”
The women around the table all laughed, before they all started to discuss how their partner’s were just like their father. By the end of the night they all agreed they could have done a lot worse for themselves.
Harry held Ginny’s hand as they walked back towards their house. In his other hand he held his wand aloft; letting the light from its tip show him the path that wove its way around the pond. As they reached their tree that had been the scene of so many peaceful moments for Harry, he stopped and turned to face Ginny.
Harry looked down into Ginny’s eyes as he wrapped his arms around her. He leant forward and kissed her gently, feeling her respond in kind. After a moment he broke their kiss and peered into her eyes again.
“I’ll love you forever, Ginny,” whispered Harry, his eyes starting to glow in the darkness.
Ginny smiled up at him. “My sweet Harry. I’ll be yours forever.”
Harry put his forehead against Ginny’s, feeling his heart start to beat faster as he held her. A sudden thought occurred to Harry. A thought so absolute he didn’t doubt the truth of it even for a second.
One day I’ll marry this girl.
To all who have read this story, I thank you.
To those who have posted reviews, know that your encouragement has been immensely valuable to me.
I will write to you all again soon.