Disclaimer time again- Only the plot and original characters belong to me. All the famous ones still belong to JKR, as it should be.
Fun and Games
The Burrow was a very happy place to be for the next few weeks. It was filled with the sounds of teenagers being teenagers, not heroes or warriors. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny lived, loved and laughed as any normal adolescents, which was music to Molly and Arthur’s ears. Their children were happy, their youngest son and only daughter along with their two best friends were simply happy and enjoying time spent together.
Hermione helped Ginny study for her Healer placement tests and prepared for her own N.E.W.T.’s as well. Neither Harry nor Ron ever picked up a book, and although neither of them ever said so directly, Hermione figured they’d never go back to school again unless forced to. The boys spent every morning on flying drills, working out and jogging as they practiced and trained for their Chudley Cannons tryouts.
Harry was still spending quite a bit of time with Mr. Weasley, although he and Ginny would still go sit under the willow tree and talk. It had been a Herculean effort by Ginny, but Harry was finally able to talk about many of his feelings. He himself didn’t notice, but the others did. With whatever time was left over the boys tried their best to practice their snogging with the girls, which was keeping Molly busy as she tried valiantly to slow the romantic proceedings.
"Hey you two," Harry said as he burst into Ginny’s room. The girls jumped at the interruption shuffling their books and their parchments, looking rather flushed at being surprised. "There’s still enough light left tonight, how ‘bout two on two quidditch?"
"Okay," they replied grinning at each other.
The four friends grabbed brooms from the closet and set off. Harry and Hermione versus Ron and Ginny were the most balanced teams. Hermione was simply awful at the game, but she was always willing to play. Harry figured this was because it was the one time when Ron was really in his element, and she spent as much time watching him as playing the game. This was fine with Harry, since he could spend the time chasing Ginny around the field on their brooms, watching her red ponytail flashing by and seeing her competitive streak come out.
Ron and Hermione were wrestling for the quaffle about fifteen feet off the ground, while Ginny and Harry hovered about thirty feet up to their right. Harry saw Ginny inch forward getting ready to receive the pass from Ron. It was an almost imperceptible shift, but Harry saw it. He was ready and just as the quaffle came shooting by, Harry was able to intercept it.
He cut up and to his left and then flew as fast as he could towards the goal, Ginny hot on his tail and gaining. He swooped twice, dove under a tree and shot nearly vertical spreading the distance between he and Ginny. He looked back and saw her muttering under her breath. ‘Wow, that girl hates to lose,’ he thought as she chased him, leaning forward on her broom trying to lessen the wind resistance.
He focused back forward, pulled a sweeping roll to his right and felt a thump in his side as Ginny caught him and tried to swipe the quaffle. He broke left sharply, but she stayed right with him, hounding and grabbing him unmercifully.
"Come on Gin, come and get it," Harry teased as he looked back at her.
"Pay attention seeker boy," she retorted.
Harry looked forward and ducked just in time to miss an old oak tree used to mark one end of the pitch. "Ouch, Damn," he cursed as the branches grabbed at his arms. He lost his balance momentarily. It was just enough.
Ginny was already on the other side of the tree. She punched the quaffle loose from his arm and jetted towards the other end. Harry rounded and tried to catch her, but just wasn’t getting the speed he needed. It was like he was being held back; he just couldn’t quite do it. Just as he got to her she slid her broom sideways stopping almost instantly, pulled up and to the right brushing over Harry’s outstretched arms, and continued around, diving under him and throwing the quaffle through the makeshift ring for ten points. Harry was still not quite able to catch up.
"What’s the matter Potter? Did you get beat by a giiiirl?" Ginny mocked him.
"What was that move?" Harry said, his words coming more slowly than he though they should. Ginny straddled her broom grinning at him and snickering.
Harry was hovering raggedly, having some difficulty with the simple maneuver, as his broom weaved unsteadily. He looked down. Ron and Hermione were sitting under the tree watching Harry and Ginny.
Ginny giggled again, distracting Harry’s gaze from his friends below. He looked at Ginny and tried to grab her, but she scooted just out of reach, now laughing audibly.
"That’s cheating! You hexed me didn’t you?" Harry accused. Ginny responded by bolting. Harry gave chase. Ginny was a remarkably good flier and was able to keep ahead of Harry just by inches. He chased her up the pitch bobbing and weaving trying to upset her balance. He managed to get her to look into the setting sun, and used the distraction to grab her shirt tail and reel her into his arms. Gently guiding them both under the twisted oak tree he’d crashed through earlier, they settled to the earth. Harry leaned against the tree trunk. Ginny wrapped his arms around her, settling between his legs with her legs drawn up to her chest.
"Dearest Ginny, do you think you could possibly unhex me?" he asked slowly, his speech still not really clear.
"What makes you think I hexed you?" she said squirming back against his chest, letting him hold her even tighter. She was a bit chilly from the wind on the brooms even though it was the middle of summer.
"Why do I think you hexed me?" Harry paused. "Because your lips were moving." He laughed softly in her ear causing her to squirm again.
"But, I would never…" she protested.
"Yes you would," Harry cut her off mid sentence.
"You should trust me more," she said as she turned up and started kissing his neck.
"Riiihhhgt, of course if you want to continue with this," he murmured back as he kissed her deeply, slowly turning her so he could slide his hand around her waist pulling them closer, "the hex might effect my performance."
Ginny giggled a bit, pulled her wand, and recanted the hex, "Reageo Naturalis."
Harry feeling normal again said, "So that’s a new one huh, what’s it do exactly?"
"Oh, well when it goes just right, it delays your body’s reaction to your thoughts by about a half second or so. But I just winged you with it, ‘cause you didn’t slow down that much. But it was enough for me to beat you," she said with more enthusiasm than Harry liked.
"Cheater," he said softly, as they sat and watched the sun set.
After watching the sunset the two couples came back into the Burrow. Bill and Fleur had arrived for a visit and were chatting with Molly and Arthur at the kitchen table. Ron grabbed a sack of snacks from the counter, Harry a jug of pumpkin juice and some glasses. They all talked late into the night reviewing the last month or so. At long last everyone headed upstairs to sleep.
It was early the next morning when Molly came in to wake Ron and Harry. They both dressed quickly, grabbed the bags they had packed and made their way down to breakfast. Mrs. Weasley had really outdone herself preparing the morning meal. There were platters of bacon and sausages as well as plates heaping with waffles, and several types of juice ready to be consumed.
Bill and Fleur were already seated, enjoying the breakfast.
Ron and Harry both dug in with relish and ate all they dared, knowing the Cannons tryouts would be grueling. Hermione and Ginny arrived only half awake.
"How come when we’re up first, we always wake you guys with a nice warm kiss, and when you’re up first we wake to the sound of you slurping breakfast without us?" questioned Hermione sleepily.
Ron and Harry glanced at each other, knowing they were busted.
"Well," said Harry trying to recover smoothly, "we were going let you sleep in, since we were up late last night, and then make you some trays for breakfast in bed. But now you’ve come on down and messed it all up."
"Right, if you two would lie in late like normal people it would have been bloody romantic," Ron added.
Hermione looked at Ron with adoration. "Oh, you’re so sweet. I’m sorry I messed up the plan," she said as she circled around behind him, draping her arms over his shoulders and giving him a hug.
Ginny leaned over Harry’s back wrapping him in a hug whispering, "Uh huh, I’m not quite that gullible." She kissed him on the cheek and set down next to Harry as she started to serve herself some waffles.
"Boys, its time to get going, don’t want to be late now do you?" Mrs. Weasley prodded as she shoved a lunch sack into each of their hands.
Harry and Ron gave the girls each a brief kiss, grabbed their equipment bags and strode out the door. With two ‘pops’ they both vanished off the front porch.
The party was not supposed to start before Ron and Harry had arrived, but there was no holding the family back. Not this time. Even after the final battle the family didn’t celebrate. The loss of friends and family, the strain on family members had tempered the victory over Voldemort. But this time there wasn’t any reason to hold back.
Harry had sent his patronus to Mr. Weasley informing him that both Ron and he had made the team and to please tell everyone else. When they arrived at the Burrow the backyard already contained a large tent illuminated by glowing spheres, loud music played from Mr. Weasley’s charmed muggle radio.
Harry came bursting into the tent grabbing Ginny by the waist and flinging her over his shoulder. "We did it Gin, we did it!" he laughed as he spun her around trying to make her dizzy.
"I know, I know. It’s pretty hard to ignore a giant silvery stag galloping through the kitchen," she screamed in laughter.
Ron nearly tackled Hermione in front of the buffet table as he smothered her in a bone crushing hug.
"Mione, I made it, I’m going to be keeper! It’s what I’ve wanted since I was a boy!" Ron couldn’t keep a grin off his face. "I might even get to start if I do well in training camp."
Bill, Fleur, Arthur and Molly joined into the fray as everyone congratulated Ron and Harry on a job well done. Harry threw a large canvas bag up onto the table and proceeded to pass out all manner of Chudley Cannons logo hats, scarves, trinkets and clothing to everyone. As the news traveled more family and friends started to arrive. Neville and Luna soon arrived, followed closely by Andromeda Tonks and Teddy. George and Percy arrived a bit after that bringing with them more friends and a large crate that was set out back.
Harry wasn’t that happy to see Percy. Most of the family was giving Percy a chance. Harry still hadn’t forgiven him for taking the Ministry’s side when they were slandering Harry in The Daily Prophet. ‘Maybe I’m holding a grudge for too long,’ Harry wondered. He saw Ginny run forward to give Percy a hug. ‘If the family can forgive him why can’t I?" he questioned silently.
Mr. Weasley brought up a case of leftover champagne from Bill and Fleur’s wedding and a couple bottles of fire whiskey. Mrs. Weasley brought out a few bottles of cinnamon flavored liqueur. As the drinks flowed the music grew louder and the crowd became livelier.
Hermione and Ginny started the dancing, dragging others out to the floor to suit their needs. Arthur and Molly joined them quickly and danced with such grace that many just stood and watched. Neville and Luna danced as did Bill and Fleur. Ron and Hermione were groping more than dancing and for once Hermione wasn’t pushing Ron’s hands off her bum. Harry had grabbed Teddy from Mrs. Tonks so she could relax a bit. He set Teddy in his lap letting the boy play with the snitch Dumbledore had given him the previous year. Teddy laughed and squealed with delight. Harry glanced up to the dance floor and caught Ginny watching him. Harry winked at her and mouthed ‘I love you’ to her. Ginny pointed to him and made a come hither motion with her index finger. Harry picked up Teddy and made his way to the dance floor to meet Ginny.
"Is it okay if you dance with two men?" Harry asked with a smile.
"Of course, as long as least one of you isn’t going to drool on me," Ginny replied wiping Teddy’s spittle off Harry’s shoulder.
Harry chuckled and spun Teddy around, looking him squarely in the eye. "I was counting on you being the one that didn’t drool." Ginny laughed and the three of them closed into a smooth rhythm and danced across the floor.
As Ginny held Teddy his hair would turn red to match hers, and when Harry held him his hair would darken becoming decidedly sloppier looking. Harry thought back to the Yule Ball and how it had been so disastrous. He’d only danced when he had to, leaving his date infuriated. Back then he thought he never cared if he danced again. But tonight was so different. Holding his Godson in one arm and holding his girlfriend in the other he could dance all night. He was so absorbed he failed to notice the tempo swings of the music. He simply kept dancing with Ginny and Teddy. They danced to their own beat. He kissed Ginny gently on the cheek every now and again, lost in their closeness.
George soon announced the show was ready and as everyone filtered out of the tent, he started to set off the fireworks. Glittering golden dragons, whistlers and rockets screamed into the night.
"Hello Harry," Percy said offering his hand in greeting.
"Hello Percy," Harry replied shaking the man’s hand.
"Harry, I’ve never apologized for how I acted, or what I said regarding you in the past. And while I know you do not truly have reason to forgive me, I do wish I might have the chance to win back your friendship if not your trust." Percy stood uncomfortably in front of Harry, waiting for a reply.
Harry waited to answer until the latest set of fireworks went off. So you want me to forgive and forget?" Harry questioned him. "Just like that?"
Percy watched in silence, not knowing what to say.
"You turned your back on the one thing that I hold most precious, family. Did you know that for all my fame, money and notoriety I never felt like I belonged anywhere? I was always the freak, or the hero, or the outcast, until I came to the Burrow."
‘BOOM, BOOM, BA-BOOM!’ Cannonade explosions reverberated through the valley.
"They all forgave me," Percy explained tersely.
"Yes, and I’ll forgive you as well, but I’ll never forget," Harry said solemnly.
"Why so tough Harry?"
"Because Ron is my best friend, because I love Ginny with all my heart. And because Molly gave me the first hug I can remember, and the twins pranked me, and your Dad teaches me…" Harry caught a breath.
More fireworks exploded across the sky, lighting the ground around them.
"What can I say, Harry, I was wrong. I know that now, and I am trying. All I want is a chance," Percy said watching Harry for his reaction.
"I know you’re trying. And I can promise I’ll try hard not to be so unforgiving." Harry watched as more shells launched into the air with a whoosh and a screech before detonating.
"So?" Percy raised an eyebrow as he sized up Harry.
"I think we can move on from here," Harry said offering his hand.
"Deal." Percy smiled and grasped Harry’s hand firmly. A white flash shot from their clasped hands and a shock stung Harry’s hand, leaving it numb.
"Ouch!" Harry shouted, pulling back his hand quickly. Percy broke into a fit of laughter.
"That’s the first joke that’s my idea," Percy gloated. "We still need a name for it. I remembered all the times I wanted to do something like that to someone at the Ministry. Now I can"
"I like it," Harry laughed, flexing his fingers to encourage the numbness to evaporate.
"Me too," Percy said as he left Harry alone and wandered back to the tent.
Brilliant flashes and ornate shapes flew through the air lighting the landscape around the Burrow. The finale was a firework that created a giant Chudley Cannons logo in the clear night sky that slowly dissolved, raining gold confetti down on the party guests.
Most of the adults retired to the Burrow after the fireworks allowing the younger crowd to take over the party. Harry passed Teddy back to Andromeda Tonks giving him a quick kiss on his small forehead. Harry poured himself another whiskey and Ginny a fresh flute of champagne and went to find her. Wandering through the garden he found Hermione and Ron on a bench in what he would consider a furious snogging session. He also noticed Hermione’s Cannons jersey was off, leaving only her thin tank top between her flesh and Ron’s hands. He stepped by quietly not wanting to disturb Ron’s obvious progress.
He found Ginny leaning on one of the tent’s thick support posts, her back towards him. Her hair was loose and sweeping down her back, covering the top half of the numerals on the back of her oversized jersey. Just below the hem of the jersey Harry could just make out the fringe of her cut-off shorts. He admired how beautiful she looked in the warm glow of the party lights. Harry slid in behind her. "Would you like to dance with only one man now?" he whispered and nibbled her ear a bit.
"Yes," she replied turning towards him and looking into his deep green eyes. Ginny folded herself into his arms and they once again set off dancing. On the slower dances Ginny would drape herself on Harry’s shoulders holding him as close as she could. On the faster dances she would dance around him, turning her back towards him pushing her hips back against him. More often than not he would emit a groan of pleasure when she did this.
"I saw you talking to Percy."
"Yeah, we made peace," Harry replied.
"Good…Did you see Ron?" she asked.
"Yes I did. I believe Hermione’s going to have a tough time slowing him down tonight," Harry said.
"Boys, I swear, you don’t have a clue. She has no intention of slowing him down. She told me the other day that it was time. And judging from the fact that they went into the Burrow together about twenty five minutes ago I would think our friends have already progressed to a new chapter in their relationship," Ginny replied.
"You think?" he grinned.
It was now incredibly late. Harry and Ginny were the last two party goers in the tent, everyone else had returned to the Burrow. They entered the Burrow through the back door and at the landing on the stairs he kissed Ginny goodnight. When he opened the door to the room he and Ron shared he saw two forms on Ron’s bed slowly moving under the covers. He backed out of the door bumping into Ginny.
"They’re uhh, busy," he said smiling at Ginny.
"Well, Luna and Neville are sleeping in the beds in my room and the other girls are asleep on the floor," Ginny said. Together they checked the remainder of the rooms. George was in with Percy in Percy’s cramped room. Bill and Fleur were together in his old room. Andromeda and Teddy were in the twin’s room. The couple headed back down the stairs. Seamus and others were sleeping on the floor of the study. "Hmmm, we’ve effectively got nowhere to sleep," Ginny stated quietly.
"Well, come on then," Harry whispered as he led Ginny back out to the tent.
Harry waved his wand around the tent allowing the sides to lower. He passed his wand over the buffet transfiguring it into a fireplace complete with blue flames to keep the tent warm.
Ginny turned one of the folding benches into a large bed, and then waved her wand towards the brightly glowing spheres lowering their light output to a mere fraction of their previous level.
Harry took Ginny’s hands in his own lowering his head to kiss her. As they kissed he picked her up and set her gently on the edge of the bed. He stood between her knees, leaning her back, kissing her deeper with each passing minute. Harry felt Ginny’s hands on his chest pushing him back up. Her glassy eyes looked back at Harry as she lay back on the bed.
"Harry, I want to, you know I want to, but you promised Mum and Dad," she sighed. "I can’t believe you did that, you and your damn noble streak," she added crossly.
"Ginny, I love you. I want to finish tonight with you sleeping in my arms. We can do that and still keep our promise," said Harry.
Ginny relaxed and Harry offered her a hand to help her set up. Once sitting upright she pulled her arms inside her jersey and with a bit of wiggling unclasped her bra, sliding it out of her shirt sleeve. She then stood up, unzipped her cut-offs, and swished her hips back and forth so her shorts fell to the floor, kicked off her shoes and slid under the covers leaving Harry standing near the bed staring at the pile of clothes on the floor, speechless.
Ginny watched as he removed his shirt, shoes, socks and jeans leaving only his boxers on and he too climbed into bed.
They embraced under the covers, intertwining their arms and legs, kissing and exploring each others bodies. After a long while Ginny and Harry slowed down, both breathing heavy. Ginny rolled off Harry, both of them sweaty from the passionate activities. They lay silently holding each other, Ginny resting her head on his shoulder.
Harry was the first inhabitant of the tent to wake the next morning. "Ohhhh," he groaned softly. His pulse was throbbing through his head, pounding away relentlessly, no doubt the after affects of the fire whiskey from the night before. He shifted himself a bit. Ginny was next to him, her head rested on a pillow that was laid over his outstretched right arm which was completely asleep judging from the numb feeling he was experiencing. He tried to slide his arm from under the pillow without disturbing her. She wriggled a bit but didn’t wake. After extracting his arm the barrage of pinpricks enveloped his arm as circulation returned. His mouth was extremely dry as well, another after affect of the previous night’s choice of beverage. He rubbed his eyes and kissed Ginny on the head. He wasn’t sure what time it was, but he was sure it was late in the morning.
Ginny stirred beside him, snuggling closer to him. He could feel the warmth of her bare skin on his chest. Instinctively he wrapped his arms around her. As she awoke she stretched up kissing him. "Good morning."
"Good morning to you too," Harry replied as he brushed her hair off to the side so he could kiss her again. "We should get inside before everyone wonders where we are."
"It’s late, I’m sure they know where we are. I’m also pretty sure they’re leaving us alone on purpose," said Ginny yawning. "I’ve no idea how Mum and Dad are going to take this though."
"Look, I told your Dad we wouldn’t, you know, until you were of age, and not while we were at the Burrow. And we didn’t right? So I think we’re good," Harry explained.
"Harry dear, first I could hex you silly for making those two promises. Second while we didn’t actually do it, I think we got about as close as we could without crossing the line," she said, "and even under that circumstance, we slept in the same bed, naked, fooling around for half the night. And he is still my Dad, so the repercussions may be a bit harsher than you think." Ginny smiled at him and continued on, "But whatever he wants to dish out I’ll take it too. I wouldn’t trade last night for any other."
"Accio Cannons stuff," Harry called. The pile of logo wear and merchandise landed on the foot of the bed. He passed a pair of workout shorts and a T-shirt to Ginny so she could dress. He grabbed his jeans and a clean shirt for himself, watching her dress from across the bed.
Ginny and Harry were greeted in the kitchen with a range of different looks. Ron and Hermione were sitting as close to each other as humanly possible, grinning like a pair of Cheshire cats, but mostly looking at each other. Luna smiled, Neville didn’t notice. Bill and Fleur nodded. Percy looked at them disapprovingly and George gave Ginny a quick wink, smiled and continued to eat.
"Look, we didn’t. I swear it!" Harry blurted out. Everyone at the table snickered under their breath.
"I’m sure you didn’t," said Mrs. Weasley with a bit of doubt in her voice as she walked back into the kitchen from the pantry, glaring at Ginny and Harry. "Get some food dears; I’m sure you’re both hungry after last night," she said looking at her daughter doubtfully.
"We didn’t!" shot back Ginny. "But if this keeps up then we’ll go right back out and do it for real!"
Harry coughed up the milk he was drinking. The others stopped eating in shock at her statement.
"I would like to think that the young adults residing in my house acted as they have promised me they would," Mr. Weasley stated as he entered the kitchen looking directly at Ron and Hermione, and then switching his gaze to Harry and Ginny. "Can I be assured that this is the case?"
"Yes," answered Harry and Ginny simultaneously. Ron and Hermione remained silent.
"Good, then have some breakfast," Mr. Weasley offered now looking at Hermione and Ron sternly.
Harry and Ginny sat and started to eat. Both really were hungry.
Harry saw Hermione mouth ‘we need to talk’ to Ginny who nodded lightly. The girls got up and headed to their room.
The guests left as the day progressed, everyone else helped clean up from the party.
That night the Burrow was once again a flurry of activity. The next morning Ginny and Hermione would be headed for Hogwarts, Ginny to take her placement exams, and Hermione to take her N.E.W.T.’s. Both would be gone for over a week much to the dismay of Ron and Harry. Unfortunately it also meant that neither would be at the Burrow for Harry’s eighteenth birthday. They agreed to celebrate Harry’s birthday later in the summer.
Harry and Ron apparated with the girls to Hogsmeade the next morning so they could return to school. The two couples shopped casually and wandered through the small village stopping at The Three Broomsticks for lunch. The quartet was laughing and talking, but the conversation grew quiet as they each realized they were going to have to say their goodbyes. They left the restaurant and slowly made their way to the edge of town.
Ron backed against a fence, holding Hermione’s hands and talking to her softly.
"Do well on your tests Gin," Harry said holding her hand. Ginny responded by nodding and gently rubbing her thumb across the scars on the back of his hand.
"I will, I think I’m ready. Sorry I’ll miss your birthday…" her voice trailed off as she looked at the castle over Harry’s shoulder. "I’ll miss you, I don’t like saying goodbye," she said sadly.
"I’m not a real big fan of them either, but at least this time I know you’ll be safe. I love you, bye Gin," as he finished speaking he gave Ginny a soft kiss.
"Good luck Hermione," Harry said giving her a brotherly hug, "as if you need it. You’re the smartest witch I know, by far."
"Thanks Harry," Hermione said returning his hug. After breaking their hug she looked to Ginny. "Well let’s get going," and with that the two young witches headed towards the castle.
"This really sucks," said Ron.
"Yeah it does, it really does," Harry echoed his friends sentiments. "But it does mean at some point we get the welcome home rewards right?"
Both of them smiled and apparated back to the Burrow.
A few days later on his eighteenth birthday Harry received an owl from Ginny.
Happy Birthday, I wish I could be there in person to celebrate with you. I miss you so much. I miss seeing you across the table or holding your hand. I miss the feel of your lips on mine. It’s hard to sleep or nap without you holding me. Mostly, I miss just being near you after being apart for so long. Your present is enclosed. It’s the best I can do for now. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty figuring out how to read it.
My exams are going well. I know I’ll get to be in the best classes. The instructor seemed impressed with my potions work. Charms went excellent as well I was able to do each requested spell on the first attempt.
Anyway, I love you Harry.
All my heart,
Oh, Hermione says Happy Birthday too (the present does NOT include her!)
Harry looked at the extra blank parchment enclosed with the letter. "Hmmm?" he wondered. He pulled his wand, tapped the parchment saying, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." The parchment revealed itself:
I Ginny Weasley offer Harry Potter not less than 2 hours of intense snogging.
(No restrictions apply).
"What the HELL?" yelled Ron in Harry’s ear, having read the note over Harry’s shoulder.
"Ow, not so loud you git!" Harry said turning to face a very flustered Ron. "It’s my birthday present from Ginny."
"But, but… my coupon from Hermione was only for one hour," he said a bit hurt.
"Well, sorry mate," Harry replied with wide grin. "Hey, I know, I’ll have Ginny send you a coupon for an extra hour snogging with her, and then we’ll be even."
"Not my own sister, that’s gross. You’re mental," said Ron, grabbing Harry and putting him in a headlock. Harry laughed loudly.
"Ron, Harry, come down here please," shouted Mrs. Weasley. Ron released the head lock and both of them headed down the stairs to the kitchen.
"Three things, first your Cannon’s training schedules have arrived and you have rookie camp starting tomorrow," she handed the schedules to Ron, "Second, Harry, what would you like for your birthday dinner? Third, Harry, Mr. Weasley needs to see you in the shed."
"No…" said Ron in frustration as he perused the schedule, "Back from rookie camp on the fifth, but we leave for training camp on August tenth. Training camp is at the facility outside London. We don’t get back until August twenty-fourth."
"I won’t be here for Ginny’s seventeenth birthday," Harry groused, "She’s going to hate that…So am I."
"Ginny will be leaving on the first too; we’ll barely see each other," Harry’s speech pattern slowed as he finished the sentence. His last weeks of summer with Ginny slowly dissolved before his eyes.
"Oh, and the girls will be at Bill and Fluer’s from the twenty-fourth to the thirtieth," Mrs. Weasley added.
‘We only have the days between the fifth and the tenth, and the night before she leaves to be together,’ Harry figured silently, suddenly feeling very sad.
"Mrs. Weasley as far as my birthday dinner, anything simple is fine, although I am a bit partial to your treacle tart."
"Oh Yeah!" screamed Ron. "Look, look, we got our signing bonus checks Harry! Oh Merlin, Mum its a thousand Galleons. I’ve never even held fifty before. I’ve got to write Hermione and tell her! Pig! Pig come here!" Ron’s miniature owl fluttered to his shoulder while Ron sat to write a letter. Harry took the envelope with his bonus and pushed into his pocket.
"Oh Ron, I’m so proud," Molly said giving him a hug. "Harry, don’t forget to see Arthur."
Harry walked out to the shed he and Mr. Weasley had spent so much time in and stepped into the cluttered space. As he looked around he realized that it wasn’t as cluttered as when he first got to the Burrow earlier in the spring.
"Hi, you wanted to see me?" asked Harry.
"Hello Harry, happy birthday. How are you doing today?" said Arthur looking up from the bench.
"Alright, wish Ginny was here," he replied. "You know I just noticed that the shed has a bunch more space in it now. We really fixed a lot of things this summer didn’t we?"
"Yes we did son, yes we did. Only two really important things though," Mr. Weasley smiled.
"Just two, no we did loads more…" Harry stopped mid sentence. "Oh, me and Gin, right?" he finished.
"Yes, you and Ginny," Arthur replied.
"That’s one, what’s the other?" Harry queried.
"Me Harry, me." Mr. Weasley continued, "After Fred died I didn’t want to go on, didn’t feel I could. It was the worst, most unnatural feeling I’ve ever had in my life. When parents have to bury their children it is wrong on so many levels, and I couldn’t deal with it. I even quit talking to Molly for a while. And you were gone too, I felt like I’d lost two sons." He paused. "I wasn’t able to function, so I came out here to be distracted by all the muggle stuff. The muggle stuff is safe you see. There’s no magic in it good or bad. No magic to cause anyone any pain, so much pain. That first week was so distressing, so horrible."
He breathed slowly and went on, "Then you came back into our lives, with quite a bang thanks to my rather feisty daughter. But you were back. I saw you after the fight that day and I saw part of you dying, dying right there in my kitchen. A part of you that I knew could live and be happy with Ginny was disappearing right before my eyes. I knew I had to keep that from happening. So I asked you to help me in the shed, to try and help you survive. But as we talked, learned and fixed things I started to heal too."
Arthur sipped from a glass of water before continuing. "As we fixed things that Percy, George, Fred, Charlie, Ron, Bill or Ginny had broken over the years I thought about them all growing up. Growing up so strong, standing up for right, not wrong. Without you out here, helping me repair moments of our family’s past, I wouldn’t have made it. I know you saved the world Harry, but to me you saved my family. You saved Ginny years ago. You saved Ron. You’ve saved me twice."
Harry walked over to Mr. Weasley and gave him the biggest hug he could, neither breaking away.
"But enough, lets get to this stuff," Mr. Weasley said a bit more energetically pulling away from Harry’s grasp. "Last summer, after we got you from Privet Drive, we all laid low. But the next day for my work I had to go back and help clean up the mess, adjust memories and so on. I retrieved this for you, not knowing if you’d want it or not. After being with you all summer now, I’m very glad I did," as he finished talking he walked over to the corner of the shed where a dark tarp covered a pile of things in the corner. He pulled back the tarp revealing the remains of Sirius’ motorcycle.
Harry’s eyes welled up with tears as he moved towards the wreckage. He prodded it a bit with his foot. The once glossy black paint was dull and scorched from the curses that ricocheted off it. Most pieces of it were bent or broken. Some of Hedwig’s feathers still lay in what was left of the mutilated sidecar. "I can’t fix this," said Harry.
"I think you could Harry. You have the talent to do it and I think you now have the strength and heart to do it as well. Although it wasn’t this bad after I wrecked it," Arthur chided him lovingly.
Harry was still picking through the pile of parts, remembering the horror of that night. "I… I… do you really think I could?" he asked Arthur. Then it dawned on him. "Mr. Weasley is this the same one?"
"Yes, Harry. Molly made me give it up. Sirius took a liking to it being a rebel like he was and he sent it to a shop to get it fixed. Later he had the charms put on it so he could fly it. Look, Harry, I’ll say the same thing I’ve said to every one of my children," Arthur assured him. "If you really believe in your heart that you can accomplish something, then you will."
"I wish I’d had a dad like you," Harry said smiling.
"You do Harry," replied Arthur hugging him again. "Well, its not going to fix itself is it? Let’s start sorting the pieces so we know where we stand." The two men started separating the parts according to the amount of damage. Some things, like the seat were completely ruined, other parts just needed cleaning, and others were deemed fixable. The two men worked in unison for a most of the afternoon.
"Let’s go see if we can poach some of the treacle tart before dinner," Arthur said, turning off the lights as they left the work shed. Harry led the way to the kitchen where the smell of warm dessert wafted from the window.
After dinner Harry retired to his room and wrote to Ginny.
Thanks for the letter today. It brightened my day hearing from you. I miss you too. I know it’s only been a few days, but I miss the smell of your hair, the soft smiles you flatter me with.
My day was really calm for the most part. Ron saw the coupon and was upset for a bit. It seems Hermione’s birthday coupon to him was only good for one hour so he feels a bit cheated. Your Mum fixed me treacle tart for dessert. She’s the best. Your Dad had a surprise for me too. He was able to recover what was left of Sirius’ motorcycle after my escape from the Dursleys last year. It’s really a mess. I don’t know if I can fix it, but I think I’d like to try. Other than those things I’ve spent most of the day thinking about redeeming the coupon the next time I see you.
Speaking of which, we got our training schedules today. We have to report to rookie camp tomorrow. We have a week off, then training camp after that. The worst part is that training camp is three weeks long, so I won’t be at the Burrow when you return. And Ron and I will miss your birthday party too. I thought we would still have some time together before you have to leave for school, but your Mum told me about you girls visiting Bill and Fleur. We’ll be lucky to get a day. I wish it could be more.
Ron and I went to Diagon Alley to get some stuff we need for camp. We got our signing bonus checks with the schedules. My bonus was 1500 galleons, Ron’s was 1000. We had to get a tent to stay in while traveling, plus Ron got a Firebolt and some other things too. I’ve purchased a pair of owls for us so we can write more often.
Sorry about the schedule Gin, I wish we could have more time. Please keep doing well and concentrating on your exams. I know you’ll do great
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