It was one of the most surreal moments in her life, much more so than his funeral. Ginny didn’t give a damn about Fred’s money or what he might have left her.
“Nearly there, Mr. Weasley,” said the Ministry driver politely.
It was odd hearing her brother referred to as ‘Mr. Weasley’. It almost made him sound like an adult.
Her brother cleared his throat before speaking. “Thank you, Reggie.” It was the only sound as the rest of the family road in silence. Her parents weren’t there. They’d received a letter by owl post just before they’d left.
Ginny was thankful for the comforting hand of Harry as it squeezed hers reassuringly. She leaned her head against his warm, solid shoulder and closed her eyes.
Harry stared blankly out of the window as the limo sped through the crowded London streets. He couldn’t bring himself to look at anyone today. Why would Fred have even made a will? Did he know that something might happen? George hadn’t made a will and was shocked to learn that his twin had.
What were they doing in Muggle London, anyway? What had Fred been thinking? Why hadn’t Ron’s parents been included? There were a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
Very briefly his eyes flitted down to the top of Ginny’s head, where it rested against his shoulder. Very lightly he placed a kiss on her sweet smelling red tresses. She looked so tiny next to him.
They’d not really talked since the last battle, but he was sure that they would talk soon.
Harry wasn’t worried about his relationship with Ginny. He was sure they would work it out in the end; both of them had other things going on in their lives.
Like his godson.
The first time he held Teddy Lupin, he’d cried into the baby’s green hair. Andromeda had been very understanding, although he thought she might have been a bit worried that he’d drop his godson.
It was a valid concern; Harry had been worried about it as well.
George jumped slightly when the limo pulled to a stop in front of the Barrister’s office. He was glad he’s hired a limo to take them there. It was an easier ride this way. Absently he scratched at the place where his ear used to be. It reminded him of Fred, which was a good thing.
The hole thing was easier when he thought about his twin. No pun intended, of course.
Slowly, shakily he got out when they arrived at the office building. Immediately he saw Angelina waiting for them, her eyes showed her sadness, but she was otherwise composed. They met each other halfway and embraced. It was a comfort having her here, almost like a lifeline to his twin.
Together he, and his entire family, walked into the building.
It was a posh place, Bill noted. Scrupulous in details and full of the finest things that money could buy. A receptionist posed a question to George, and nodded at whatever she said. She led them through the silent room, with its cathedral ceilings, towards a set of elevators in the back.
The clack of her heels on the marble floors was like a drum in his already pounding head. Why did women insist on wearing those ridiculous shoes? Fleur’s small hand took his and she firmly steered him after the family.
She had been his rock in all of this. Without her, he didn’t know where he’d be.
They road the elevator to the top floor and were met by yet another secretary who led them into a large conference room, with a table in the middle and chairs around it. They all took a seat and waited.
Not more than a minute later a middle-aged woman came in with a large folder, closing the door securely behind her. “Hello, my name is Sarah Wiggums. I am Mr. Fred Weasley’s barrister, and I am also a squib.”
Bill felt himself stiffen in surprise.
Charlie eyed the woman, but he saw nothing in her eyes that caused him concern. “Why did my brother hire you?”
She smiled kindly. “With the war, he knew that he might need a will and that he could not trust anyone in the magical world, and he could not file it with the Ministry. I know magical laws, so I was able to process the will and file it through my cousin without arousing too much suspicion.” She waited for them to ask more questions, but when none came, she moved on. “Fred made a tape for you, which is why we had to meet here, so that I could play it for you.”
Without another word, she pushed a button on a television behind her that he had not noticed before, and took a seat in the corner.
His brother’s face appeared and his heart leapt at the sight of it.
“If you’re crying,” Fred said firmly, “stop right now.”
Charlie shook his head. Typical Fred.
Hermione shifted uncomfortably and did try to restrain her tears. Under the table Ron squeezed her hand reassuringly as they continued to watch Fred.
“So,” Fred continued, a jovial smile on his face, “down to business. If you’re seeing this, then I’m dead, and I’ve always wanted to say that.”
Hermione glanced sideways at Ron, whose mouth was hanging open. “What-” she began to whisper, but Fred’s voice interrupted her.
“I don’t want any tears, unless I died in a stupid way like blowing myself up. Hopefully I died fighting You-Know-Who and if I did, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.” His eyes seemed to lose focus. “The only better way to go would be in the arms of some beautiful witch…” he cleared his throat and shook his head. “But enough about that! Sarah, you’ve been fabulous, but I really must insist that you leave the room, otherwise you’d have to be calling the police.” He paused, looking expectant.
Sarah stood up, smiled kindly and left the room.
Fred waited for a bit, then said, “Is she gone?”
Percy, unbelievably, answered, “yes,” then blushed.
“Good!” Fred clapped, seeming to know that someone had answered, and went on. “Now down to business. If someone that I’m leaving something to has gone on to the other side with me, then their stuff automatically goes to whomever is left. I’m not fussy. To Bill,” Fleur looked over at her husband, “I leave you my bungalow in Calcutta. I’m sure Fleur will love it and if not, the natives are.very accommodating.” Fred gave him a wink, and Bill nodded, trying to look stoic. Fleur shook her head, knowing that even from the grave Fred was trying to get a rise out of her.
“Fleur, my beautiful sister-in-law, I’m leaving you my stock in Harrods in hopes that you will enjoy it.” Fleur gasped. How had Fred learned that she secretly loved that particular store?! “Where did ‘e get stock for-”
Fred was one step ahead of her. “George and I wanted a balanced portfolio.”
“Oh,” Fleur answered, trying to fathom this.
Charlie sat dispassionately listening to his brother happily dole out his possessions. He didn’t want anything. He didn’t want to be here. He just wanted one more chance to see his brother alive… and this video of him, joking and jovial just felt hollow and empty.
“To Charlie, I’m leaving my car, plus the money it takes to get it shipped to Romania” Charlie froze and George groaned. “It goes fast, it’s been magically modified, it’s completely illegal so you should have fun with it.” He looked over at George and saw that his head was resting on the table.
“What’s wrong with the car?” Charlie asked suspiciously. As far as he knew, Fred hadn’t even owned a car.
George didn’t even look up. “You don’t want to know.”
Charlie realized suddenly that he probably didn’t.
“To Percy,” Fred said suddenly, and Percy felt his stomach flutter. He hadn’t expected to get anything and he wouldn’t have deserved anything. He knew that. “I have ten years worth of PlayWizard for you in my room at the Burrow. It’s all magically concealed, so Bill will have to help you get it, but I hope it helps you get a clue about what you’ve missed.” Percy sat stunned, not sure if he even wanted the box. To that end, his face was tomato red. “Don’t worry,” Fred assured him. “It won’t blow up, but make sure Mum isn’t around when you open it. It isn’t for a mother’s eyes.”
Percy sat back in his chair and shook his head
“To Ron, my youngest brother, I leave you 10% of my stock in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”
Ron gasped, “You’re joking!”
“No, I’m not,” Fred answered and they all jumped in surprise. “Of all of us, you’re the most likely to be helpful and after you marry Hermione, I’m hoping you can talk her into adding her brilliance into making the shop better, since she’ll have a vested interest.”
Ron turned slowly to Hermione who was grinning feebly and shaking her head. “You’re impossible,” she whispered, looking at Fred.
Fred went on. “Since we’re on the subject of Hermione, I am also leaving you stock, but in Flourish and Blotts. I do hope you enjoy the perks of that, although don’t forget to come up for air sometimes.”
Hermione full out laughed now, although it sounded odd in the otherwise somber room, but strangely enough, it also sounded good. “I will,” she assured him, her eyes full of tears but a large grin on her face.
“Ginny, my lovely baby sister, who isn’t a baby anymore…”
Ginny stayed slumped in her chair, waiting.
“I’m leaving you my 15th century chastity belt, and I’m insisting that you wear it.” Fred’s face was completely serious.
“Why you rotten blighter!” Ginny couldn’t help herself. A chastity belt?!
Fred finally grinned. “I know what you’re thinking, since I’ve had those same thoughts myself, which is why I’m giving it to you. We don’t want any baby Potters coming along anytime soon.”
Ginny chucked the crumpled tissue that she’d had balled in her hand at the television screen, but it didn’t even get halfway there. “Fred, that’s not funny!”
Percy looked confused. “Why would Fred have a chastity belt?”
Harry looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
Her other brothers sat staring at her. “Oh sod off, the lot of you,” she muttered and crossed her arms.
Harry wanted to crawl into a hole and die. He and Ginny certainly weren’t doing… well that.
Fred went on. “Is she bloody furious yet?”
George answered this time. “Yep.”
“Excellent,” Fred said, rubbing his hands together. “Ginny, I prefer you mad to weepy. It’s more you. I’m also leaving you my broom and all of my Quidditch gear. I want you to continue playing as often as you can.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, but smiled.
“Harry,” Fred added, “I’m leaving you my baby sister. She’s all yours and good luck with that.”
Harry’s mouth fell open in shock. “Wha-”
“She gets rather testy once a month,” Fred went on blithely as everyone snickered, “but she’s otherwise a good enough girl. I expect you to treat her well.”
“I will,” Harry promised quietly as everyone else laughed. Except Ginny, who simultaneously yelled at her brother’s image. “I am not yours to leave to anyone! Of all the-”
“Now, now Gin… you need to watch your language,” Fred admonished.
It was scary how he was doing that.
“No, I bloody well won’t!”
“I still want to know why he had a chastity belt,” Charlie said.
George shook his head quickly. "Trust me, you don't want to know."
“My dearest Angelina,” Fred continued, not having actually heard Ginny swear at him, or his brothers' comments. “I’m sorry it went this way. However, I want you to have my dragon skin coat, so you’ll always be able to wear it and remember me.”
George saw Angelina smile her pretty smile. He was glad for it.
“Now, to my twin George. I hope you’re still tottering around, old man. Someone’s got to keep up the family business. For you I leave everything else, and request that you name one of your kids after me. There is, however, one condition to all of my bequests.”
If George knew his twin, and he was pretty sure that he did, he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear where this was going.
“This is my final request and I expect it to be carried out by all of you,” Fred eyes twinkled in an almost Dumbledore-ish way. “George, you will need to carry out the annexation of Puerto Rico.”
George groaned. He knew they should never have drunk that whole bottle of firewhiskey.
“The annexation of Puerto Rico?” Hermione looked at George curious. “But that happened July 25, 1898 when the Americans-”
Fred cut her off. “You know the plan, but in case George has gotten more holes in his head, I’ve left sealed instructions with Sarah that can be opened like the Marauder’s Map. You have one week to plan and put it into place and you must be sober for it.”
“Well that takes all the fun out of it,” George muttered.
“If my final wish is not carried out, everything gets left to Auntie Muriel. Good luck and don’t get arrested!” With that the screen went blank.
George gaped at the television. “That’s low! Auntie Muriel?”
Ginny turned slowly to look at him. “George… what is the annexation of Puerto Rico?”
George shook his head. How best to answer that? “I do believe that the Muggles call them ‘crop circles’.”
“That has got to be the dumbest code name I have ever heard,” Charlie grumbled, running along in front of Hermione, crunching through the newly fallen leaves. They’d waited until the fall harvest before deciding that it was time to fulfill Fred’s final request. “Where the ruddy hell did you come up with it anyway?”
Hermione, however, was immune to the beauty of the changing seasons and the harvest moon that rose overhead. She was too worried about being caught. She saw George shake his head, “No idea. I had had my fair share of Ogden’s and I was drunk off my arse.”
“We’re going to get arrested,” Hermione groaned, as they struck through the farmyard towards the rows of corn. A cow ‘mooed’ somewhere in the distance. “I just know it!”
“Keep quiet or we will be!” Ron whispered under his breath, hitching his broom over his shoulder.
Hermione hated the whole idea. She’d questioned the ethics of it, but George had assured her that this particular farmer made money from the tourists so he wasn’t going to mind a new circle. It was small consolation, but she’d have refused otherwise. She wasn’t about to ruin some poor man’s livelihood.
“It will be all right, Hermione,” Ginny promised, her breath coming out in a fog in the chilly autumn air. She seemed to enjoy the thought of making a crop circle- after Hermione had explained what it was. Her eyes were alight with mirth, and her cheeks pink. Apparently all crop circles were wizard made. “This bloke hasn’t had a new circle in months. I’m sure he’ll be glad to have one.”
Hermione wasn’t convinced of that, but at least they were fulfilling Fred’s last wishes, bizarre as they were.
Everyone else seemed to be happy to be doing this. They all needed a bit of frivolity and this was the perfect opportunity. She was going to try not to ruin it.
“Right,” Bill said quietly. “We all know the plan. Ron, with Hermione on his broom, and I will fly up and lay out the grid. Percy, Angelina and Fleur will stand guard, in case the Muggles spot us. Charlie, Ginny, Harry and George will start forming the crop circle while Hermione and I keep the pattern in place. Go slow and keep it even.”
“We know, Bill,” Charlie grumbled. “I still can’t believe that the Muggles think that aliens make these things.”
“What amazes me,” Angelina added, “is that it’s actually drunk teenagers. I mean, how do they get the patterns perfect when they can barely fly straight?”
George shook his head. “No idea. I can’t even remember the last time we did it. Probably why he specified that I couldn’t be drunk. Personally, I think it’s a lot funnier after you’re sloshed.”
Percy, who Bill could tell was only here to get back into their good graces, said, “What is the penalty for getting caught?”
Charlie slapped his hard on the back. “Don’t worry about it, Perce. It’s Dad’s department that would get us if we are caught, so all that will happen is Mum will find out and she’ll blow her lid.”
Bill was sure he’d rather go to Azkaban than have his mother find out, but they were just going to have to risk it. He grinned at his baby sister, who was resting comfortably in Harry’s arms.
“All right, then,” George said, “let’s get started.”
Harry shifted in his comfortable, worn chair. His study was ablaze in orange light from the setting sun, but he couldn’t seem to focus on the words. He feared that it might be time for new glasses; a stronger prescription. But he wasn’t quite ready to admit that yet, though. Forty-six, after all, wasn’t old.
Harry looked up from his paper to see his daughter enter his study. “Hm?”
Lily went over to his trunk in the corner. “Is your cloak in here?” Her long hair fell over her shoulder as she bent to search through it, the early autumn sun, streaming through the window as it set, causing her hair to glow in just the same manner as her mother’s.
“I think so, why?”
“I could tell you,” she added with a grin as she pulled his old cloak from the depths of an old trunk, “but then you’d have to arrest me and where’s the fun in that?”
Harry just shook his head and went back to his paper. Lily was eighteen and out of school. She could do as she pleased, and he trusted her. She had a good head on her shoulders and she had recently started Auror training. Still he couldn’t help but glance up at the chastity belt that Ginny had received so long ago, framed on the wall. Harry had thought about giving it to his daughter, but he knew how that would have gone over. She was her mother incarnate.
Lily bent down and kissed him swiftly on the cheek. “I’ve got to go. I told Al I’d meet him in 10 minutes. Don’t wait up for me.”
“Right,” he murmured, as he heard Ginny tell their daughter to have fun. His wife came in and he put his paper down again as she perched herself on his lap. “Do you know what she’s up to?”
“Of course I do,” Ginny said, smiling, the crinkles around her eyes showing the many years of laughter. “I was even going to join her, but James asked us to watch David for him, so he and Marjorie could go.” James, just as his grandfather had done, got married right out of Hogwarts and had soon after had a son.
Harry kissed his wife’s cheek. “So we’ve got David for the night?”
“Yep,” Ginny answered happily. “I love being a grandmother. All of the fun, and none of the work.”
Harry laughed as he heard his son’s voice from out in the sitting room. “They’re here.”
They walked out to find David toddling along in between his parents, both of whom had their brooms and were wrapped in warm sweaters. “Hi my darling!” Ginny said, scooping up their laughing grandson.
Harry raised an eyebrow at the brooms. “Going for a fly, then?”
James grinned wickedly. “Just a bit of one. Thanks for watching David for us.”
“As your Granddad once told me, grandchildren,” Ginny said in a singsong voice as she danced David around the sitting room, “are God’s reward for letting your children live.”
Marjorie laughed and James rolled his eyes. “Right, we’ll be off then and Dad, if you hear that a group has been arrested, can you come bail us out?”
Harry groaned. “Just don’t get arrested. I don’t want to have to explain that to your grandmother.”
“And don’t get too drunk,” Ginny added helpfully.
“We’ll try not to,” Marjorie assured her, giggling. “Now, let’s go meet up with your Uncle George.
“I think Teddy is joining us as well.”
“Really?” Marjorie asked as she kissed her son goodbye. With that they Apparated out of the sitting room.
Harry took his grandson from his wife and kissed her fiercely. He then lifted David above his head as the little boy screamed in delight. “So what are they doing?”
Ginny giggled in a way that he hadn’t heard in many years. “What all young witches and wizards like to do, well and George, of course.”
“The Annexation of Puerto Ricco?” Harry groaned as his wife grinned mischievously. “That is still the stupidest code name I’ve ever heard.”