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Chapter 3: Relationships Resolved
That first week was hard on everyone, the pain of losing friends and family was close to overwhelming. The Weasley family seemed to be holding up, what they lacked in worldly possession they more than made up for in love. Their home had always been a safe haven for Harry. The family had taken him in at an early age and they treated him like their own. Harry had always felt comfortable in the burrow, and that is where he was spending the first week. Kreacher had come to Harry and told him that the house at number twelve Grimmauld Place would be ready in a few days. When Harry tried to protest Kreacher firmly told him that it was already being restored with the help of the other Hogwarts elves.
“Please do not interfere or demand that we stop Master Harry, it is a way to begin paying you back for all you have done for us” Kreacher had told Harry with tears in his eyes.
The Minister of Magic had stopped by the burrow several times that first week, he was curious to see how the three were holding up and used the time to brief Harry about the upcoming funerals. He also spent the time talking with Harry, Ron and Hermione about their future plans and what he had planned at the ministry. He knew they were young but their wisdom was beyond a normal seventeen year old level. He gave them the opportunity to register their input and was able to utilize their thoughts during the long days of rebuilding the ministry. On one of their very first sessions Harry had made one of his casual ‘off the cuff’ remarks, he said
“Fire the whole bloody lot of them, and put the people you trust in charge.”
Harry had just found the answer to one of Kingsley’s biggest problems. Ever since he was appointed Minister, Kingsley had paced his office and the corridors of the ministry questioning ‘who can I trust’ and in Harry’s simple matter of fact way he answered the unspoken question. Kingsley realized ‘It’s not who can I trust, It’s who do I trust’ and he began to plan the future, with plans to start immediately after the funerals had taken place.
Three days after the war Harry awoke to the bright sun filtering through Ron’s bedroom window. He did not get much sleep the night before and he knew he would regret it. Today was the first round of funerals and Harry had planned on attending every one possible that he could. He also had a top secret special meeting with Kingsley that evening, Ron and Hermione would be coming along as well. He was awake before Ron so he quietly gathered his clothes and went to shower. He stood there allowing the hot water to run down his scarred body. The scars were mostly healed but they definitely reminded him of a hard youth and the need for ‘Constant Vigilance’. The shower had become a place of solace to him, a peaceful place he could retreat inward and reflect on where he was. He knew all too soon he would be by himself at Grimmauld Place and secretly looked forward to the peace. He loved the burrow, but it was always so packed and noisy that it was hard to get away sometimes. Last night he was able to slip away out into the orchard, but within minutes Ginny had found him and they finally had the chance to have ‘The Talk’. Ginny walked up to him as beautiful as ever, her eyes were blotched and puffy from days of crying and trying to console George over the loss of their brother. Harry had always found Ginny to be breathtakingly beautiful, and now was no different. She walked up and sat next to him on the log. “Do you mind if we talk” Ginny had asked with apprehension in her voice.
“Of course not, we should have done this a few days ago” was Harry’s reply.
Ginny began by telling him about the previous ten months and everything that had happened since Bill’s wedding. She told him about the fights between the professors and the students last year, and why they had tried to steal the sword of Gryffindor.
“Then you came back” she had begun to cry, relieving the poison that had built up in her for so long. “I saw you and needed to be close to you, but then the moment passed and everyone was running around. I felt you as you went down to the forest, you don’t even need to tell me, I knew you were close. I knew you were there just like I heard, and felt you longing for me last year, because believe me the feeling was mutual. I was devastated when I thought you had died.” She stopped there because the tears were flowing freely at this point; she needed a moment to compose herself.
Harry placed his arm around her and began to tell his story while she gathered her thoughts, he did not leave out anything, almost anything, he didn’t tell her about Ron leaving because no one needed to know that part. He finished with the procession back from the forest in Hagrid’s arms and then paused to give his next statement the weight that it deserved.
“My final thought as I placed my arms by my side and accepted my fate was of you, Ginny. Somehow I knew you would be protected by the same magic that protected me when my mom willingly died for me. When I was given the choice to do the easy thing and walk away with Dumbledore or do the hard thing and return here, I thought of you again and of the life that we can build here.” Harry finished speaking and Ginny looked up into his eyes and saw the power and resolution that resided in his heart, mind, and soul. She took comfort in his strength and it helped her through the next week, ‘if Harry can see so much suffering and endure so much in his life and only get stronger from it, then I can face the world with my head held high as well’ she thought.
They spent the next few hours talking about future plans and realized that there was no reason to rush things right now. They were starting over and they could start over whenever they wanted, they knew they were young and had a whole world out there. Ginny still had another year of Hogwarts and Harry had no clue what he was going to be doing in six months. They had each other, they didn’t need to date, or label it as anything. One day in the future they could be together forever but why rob themselves of the chance to experience life right now
At six o’clock that evening Kingsley arrived at the burrow through the floo. He had instructed the three of them to be dressed in their finest clothes and he would accompany them for this meeting. He took them back to his office and was bringing them downstairs. Kingsley did not tell them where they were going or what to expect, so when they walked out on the street beside the ministry, they were shocked to be escorted into a stretch limousine. It was a regular muggle limo that was very fine, the three took the rear seat looking forward while Kingsley took the other one facing the rear of the car.
“Kingsley where are we going” Hermione questioned
“I am not at liberty to divulge our current mission” Kingsley said almost apologetically behind a child like grin.
Moments later they pulled to a gate with an armed guard, and Hermione squealed with delight
“Are we really going in there?” Hermione asked and Kingsley finally relented and told the group that the Queen of England wanted to personally thank them for their service to the crown.
Ron was looking around and all he saw was a big old mansion, even Harry was not sure where they were. Hermione noticing the scowls on the boy’s faces told them they were at Buckingham Palace, the Queen of England’s home in London. All three of them looked back at Kingsley and began firing rapid shot questions at Kingsley. He began to answer them as quickly as possible, if he had thought ahead he would have realized that these kids would want to make the right impression. He was just flying by the seat of his pants though. He assured them that the Queen and all of the royal family were accustomed to magic, that none of them were magical but it was not unheard of in her family. That seemed to put them at ease as they enjoyed the beautiful grounds on the short ride up the drive. They stepped out onto a cobblestone driveway and were met by one of the Queens servants and led inside. Harry was blown away at the opulence and beauty of the palace. The group was taken into an antechamber off of the main entrance and asked to wait while the queen finished meeting with her grandson. Shortly after they were brought through a separate door off of the room into a large office, inside there were many faces Harry recognized. A few members of the royal family and the Prime Minister were there.
The Queen herself had walked over to the group and shook Kingsley’s hand. “It is a pleasure to see you again so soon Mr. Shacklebolt.”
“I assure you the pleasure is all mine, your Majesty” Kingsley confidently replied to the Queen.
“Yes well I must meet these three and get properly acquainted with them.” She turned to them and measured them with her eyes. First she approached Hermione and held out her hand.
“Pleasure to meet you my Queen, I am Hermione Granger” She said as she took the Queen’s hand and took an eloquent bow. “Oh my” the Queen responded and thanked her for her respect but assured them that this was a very informal meeting and then said “After the story that your minister told me, it is I that am indebted to you three” She then turned to Harry and he took her hand and introduced himself. Lastly she turned to Ron and something strange happened.
When Ron reached and gently touched her hand she bowed to him, and then she said “Thank you, your Majesty.” Ron replied “Arise my lady” in a strong commanding voice.
Everyone was speechless for a moment until the Queen quickly composed herself and turned back to the table, Hermione heard her say “that was odd” while she walked away. She asked everyone in attendance to gather around the three as they stood before her. She wanted this to be a private ceremony due to the nature of the events leading up to the awards but also because she wanted to get to know these ‘young ones’ as she referred to them. She bestowed Harry and Ron with the title of ‘Sir’ and officially entered them into knighthood; Hermione became a dame as she was entered into damehood. The service was casual and after they finished the Queen spoke to them as if they had known each other for years. She was very easy to talk to and the three of them enjoyed their experience. The Queen seemed very interested in Ron and one of her servants quickly wrote notes while she spoke to him, especially surrounding his surname Weasley. For a family who could trace its roots back for centuries, it astounded her that she had never heard of anyone with that surname before. They told her that the war was fought because of blood status, how certain older wealthy families felt they were better than the rest because they could trace their magic through their family tree. While they were talking Harry began to feel uncomfortable with his surroundings. It was beautiful and magnificent; honestly words could not describe how special this place felt. That was the thing though; it was easy to draw parallels between the royal family and the pure blood fanatics and the Queen sensing his unease pulled him off to the side as they were leaving.
“Mr. Potter, you are wise beyond your years. I have not a drop of magical blood in my body and I am not prone to prophecy, but I am a very old and very wise diplomat. I could see your concerns and I would like to put your worry to rest. The royal family requires, No I require, that my children and grandchildren serve in our military, do community service, and go out of their way to make the lives better for our citizens. I wake up every morning and know how blessed I am to live the life that I live and I see the suffering and pain my citizens go through. I do not take anything for granted and I give as much as humanely possible to ease the suffering that I see. Please do not draw conclusions on my family based on your wizarding community’s failings. We are good and decent people and treat all people equally, allow us the opportunity to show you what true nobility means.” The Queen finished with true compassion on her face
“Thank you, I needed to hear that, your Majesty” Harry smiled as the Queen got a distant look in her eye “I wonder” she responded and hugged Harry.
A/N - I am American and have very little education about english royal family procedure. Unfortunately I will need a lot of research on this topic since it will become a major plot line in a later book (Yes there will be more books)
So far I have been able to submit a new chapter as soon as one is validated but you are quickly catching up with the unwritten part so I need to type faster I believe. Please review my work I have stated that this is a first for me and I need to know how I am doing, or how I can improve. You should really like the next chapter, I wanted to bring back my O.C. and give some more information on him. Harry Potter will be strong in my books but this new kid will be unbelievable. Thanks for reading.