Chapter 10 : Birds and Awards
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He stretched out and slowly prepared himself to get up for the day. As he was putting on his pants, a knocking came at his window. Harry went and let in the great horned owl that had a letter from the Wizengamot attached to its leg. He replied in the same way as he had done for the last week, tied the letter back on the owl’s leg, and sent it on its way.
When Harry had finished breakfast he excused himself and disapparated to the main concourse of the Ministry of Magic. He went up to Kingsley’s office and told the receptionist that he wanted to talk with the Minister of Magic. The girl was new and maintained an air of superiority as she told him that the Minister would not be disturbed at this time. Harry stood next to her desk for a few minutes until Kingsley came out and spotted him. “Harry! What a nice surprise. Why didn’t you come in? You know you don’t need an invitation from me, to visit,” the Minister said, as he gave Harry a bear hug and walked him into his office. His receptionist sat there completely lost as to what just had happened.
The meeting lasted for only ten minutes, and the two former, Order of the Phoenix friends shook hands and parted. Harry made his way back to the main entrance and disapparated back to Grimmauld Place. The rest of the morning, everyone watched as Harry traveled back and forth from the kitchen to somewhere and back. After lunch had been cleared from the table, Harry asked the Grangers to come with him on a short trip.
A small Ministry car took Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Mr. and Mrs. Granger toward London. After traveling for some time through the back streets of the center of town it pulled up in front of a three story brownstone building. “Here we are, 123 Floral St.,” Harry said, as he helped Mrs. Granger out of the car. She looked around and spotted what was down the street.
“Harry, is that the Royal Opera House?” she asked, under her breath.
“Yes, ma’am it is. Ginny suggested it to me the other night, she felt that you should be near the opera,” Harry informed her. She stood there and looked at the building that they were in front of.
“This looks just like the brownstone we had in Sydney,” she realized, out loud.
“The Minister had some of his workers search their records to see if there were any three floor brownstone buildings up for sale. It was bought from the agent about three hours ago. It’s all yours. I truly hope that you enjoy yourself here, as much as you did in Sydney,” Harry told them as he handed over the completed mortgage paperwork.
“Shall we go in?” Harry asked Mrs. Granger, as he took her by the arm and helped her up the six steps to the front door. He touched the door lock and a clear click could be heard. The door opened up into the front parlour just as it did in their old home. When Mrs. Granger looked around she realized that all their furniture was unpacked and placed back almost in the exact same position as they had been in Australia. Harry handed her the keys and just stood there with a great, ear to ear, smile on his face.
Hermione came flying across the room and threw her arms around Harry’s neck. She planted a kiss on Harry’s check that was so forceful, that she almost dislocated his jaw. “Harry how did you find this place? It’s perfect!” Hermione gushed in admiration for what her best friend could accomplish.
“Son, there’s not much that I can say to show you how I feel right now. I don’t know how to thank you. This is, as my daughter said, perfect!” Mr. Granger agreed.
“How can I repay you?" Mrs. Granger finished.
“This is my gift; for all that Hermione did for me last year, and those years in Hogwarts. This was truly my pleasure. What will you call your new home? Do you have any ideas?” Harry wanted to know.
Mrs. Granger thought for a minute, looked out the front window and saw the street sign, for Floral St. “I think I’ll call it Floral Haven!” she announced.
“Oh, Mom that’s a beautiful name, I love it. It gives it a sense of peace and tranquility,” Hermione said, in approval.
The six of them spent the next several hours walking around and completing the unpacking. Hermione’s mother was amazed at how much clothing could be placed into that small purse around her neck. When the bedrooms were complete, they all went into the kitchen and found that it was completely stocked with all the groceries that they would need for the first week.
After a quiet lunch, Harry and Ginny asked to be excused. “We need to be getting back, we’ll come to visit again in the near future, I promise,” Harry said as he wrapped his arm around Ginny’s waist and stepped forward. “Good bye,” was the last that the four left in the new home heard, as Harry and Ginny disapparated back to Grimmauld Place.
Harry returned with Ginny to the Burrow for a quiet afternoon. He had been sitting on the couch, talking with Mrs. Weasley when an owl came zooming through the window. It landed on the floor in front of him and dropped a letter at his feet. The bird stood there and watched as Harry picked it up and opened it. “Not, another one,” Harry complained. He ripped it in half and handed it back to the owl. “Take this back to the sender, now!!” he commanded the bird. It did as it was told, and flew out of the window.
“I can’t wait until tomorrow, they won’t harass me after that,” Harry concluded. “I can’t understand why they want to talk to me on a specific day. You’d think that they would want me there as soon as possible. They just don’t make sense,” he thought out loud to Ginny.
“Maybe they need the information for their records, and the books will be closing on Friday,” she mused. With this, three more owls came into the room and dropped their mail on Harry’s lap.
“Oh, this is getting ridiculous. Can I close the window to keep them out?” Harry asked Mrs. Weasley.
“Of course dear, but I don’t believe that it will do any good. When the Wizengamot wants to see you, they usually get their way. I think, it may be a good idea to just go and see what they want, tomorrow. It will be faster that way and then they’ll leave you alone,” Molly suggested.
“This is so strange, why do they want to see me at five in the afternoon. You’d think they would want to do it in the morning. I can’t figure out Ministry personnel, they don’t do things in an easy, rational fashion,” Harry complained.
Two more owls came down the fireplace chimney and dropped their letters on Harry’s head. Harry pulled out his wand and if Ginny hadn’t intervened, both birds would have been blown to feathers.
“Harry James Potter, you’re not going to hurt those poor owls just because you’re aggravated with the Wizengamot. Calm down dear, I know it’s hard but don’t let it get to you, all right?” Ginny soothed him as softly as she could.
She wrapped her hand around his neck and pulled his head down onto her lap. She started to run her fingers lightly through his hair and continued talking to him about what the letters could mean. Some few minutes later, Harry was asleep with his head cradled on his love's lap.
Ginny woke Harry up for supper. Mrs. Weasley had made one of her famous roast, with the works. Mr. Weasley and Minister Shacklebolt arrived just as Molly and the others sat down for their meal.
Harry had no sooner taken the first bite of his supper when an owl came through the door as Ron and Hermione arrived to join them. The bird landed right in Harry’s plate and splashed the juice and potatoes all over Harry’s lap. Harry jumped up, grabbed the bird, spun around, and threw the bird out the door, only to realize, as he let it go, that the door had been closed. The bird bounced off the door with a sickening thud and hit the floor. The poor thing staggered around completely stunned. Harry stood there and looked on in horror, at what he had just done, in frustration.
He bent down and picked up the owl and was bit on the hand for his efforts. “Ow! All right, I had that coming,” he told the bird. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, don’t hold supper for me.” He walked out of the portal and disapparated away with the bird in his hand.
Harry returned a few minutes later without the bird, and continued his supper on a new plate that had been set for him by Ginny. “What did you do with the bird, Harry?” Ron wanted to know.
“I took him to Hagrid. I figured that if there was anything wrong with it, he could put it right. I’m sorry about that, I guess that I’m having problems with my frustration levels lately,” Harry confessed. “Kingsley, do you know why the Wizengamot wants to see me? It can’t be that important, I wish that they would leave me alone,” Harry finished.
“Harry if they want to see you, perhaps you should just go and get it over with,” his friend admonished him. “It’s not a good idea to go against them. They can be quite persistent when it suits them. My advice to you is show up at five and get it over with,” the Minister told him.
Owls continued to arrive every ten minutes or so for the rest of the night. Harry and Ginny couldn’t go for their walk, since the surrounding area was now overpopulated with owls. They couldn’t even go out on the porch swing because there were a dozen different owls standing on the top of the backrest to the swing.
At ten thirty, Harry decided to go back to Grimmauld Place for the night. He kissed Ginny, while just inside the Burrow’s front door. With his good nights given, he bolted out the door and ran through the portal. He had no sooner disapparated away when the entire contingency of owls lifted off at one time. The sound and sight of so many birds moving out of the surrounding trees caused Ginny and her parents to watch in awe.
Harry went to bed but couldn’t sleep. There was a continuous cacophony of birds tapping on the windows and doors. Exhausted, frustrated, and irritated to his breaking point, he took his pillow and went into the bathroom and lay down in the tub since this was the only room without a window for a bird to tap on.
The next morning found Harry stiff, sore, and in an unpleasant mood. Kreacher gave him breakfast and told him to go back to bed. When Harry went to return upstairs he was stopped by the front door bell ringing. He opened the door and a two meter high wall of letters cascaded over him. He pushed and struggled until he was free of the paper tidal wave. With a single flourish of his wand, all of the letters vanished in a puff of smoke.
“One more! One more! I swear I’ll go there and feed each member of the Wizengamot his letters until they choke!” Harry screamed to no one in particular. “I’ve had it!”
Harry awoke around three that afternoon and returned downstairs. The windows to the kitchen were dark and the normal sound from outside was muffled. He went over to see what was happening and found that the windows were covered in a huge pile of letters. He opened the window closest to the rear of the house and once again waved his wand. The pile of letters that had now grown to some three meters in height disappeared.
A pop behind him made him turn around to find Mrs. Weasley and Ginny in his kitchen. “Am I glad to see you! These crazy birds won’t leave me alone,” he said. The three of them went and sat in the parlour. To take Harry’s mind off of what was happening, Ginny started to discuss what she was going to do for school since there was only three weeks left of vacation.
Harry and Ginny went down to the kitchen around four thirty to get some tea and sandwiches. A shattering of glass behind them caused Harry to grab Ginny and push her behind the table. His wand was in his hand and Ginny could feel tremendous waves of energy surge from Harry. She glanced up and saw a howler hanging in the air in front of him.
“Harry James Potter you are here by ordered to present yourself in formal robes at five o’clock this afternoon or we will send six Aurors to bring you here by force if need be. We’ve been quite patient with you in the preceding weeks, but time is of the essence now,” it screamed at him in full volume. Ginny thought that she recognized the voice but wasn’t sure, since it was so magnified by the howler.
Before the howler could finish, Harry grabbed it with his hand and crushed it so that the rest of the message was garbled and indistinct. He threw it in the kitchen fireplace and turned to Ginny and Mrs. Weasley.
Ginny had never seen Harry so mad before. His face was contorted into a visage of rage. “If they want me so badly, whatever happens is their fault,” Harry growled out in a deeper voice then Ginny had ever heard him use. He grabbed her around the waist and gave her a long passionate kiss. “If I wind up in Azkaban, please don’t come and visit me. I wouldn’t want you exposed to a place like that. Remember, I will always love you, goodbye,” he said with a finality that terrified Ginny. Before she could stop him he turned and walked to the front door, as he disapparated away, Ginny saw him transfigure his clothes to his Red Robes.
“Mom, he’s going there to fight them!” Ginny screamed in panic. “We’ve got to stop him! Everything that he’s accomplished will be ruined.”
“Ginny, send your Patronus to your father. Tell him what’s happening. Tell him, he needs to get to courtroom ten, right away. Do it!” Molly yelled to her daughter. “Then go put your robes on!”
Mrs. Weasley sent her Patronus out to Ron and Hermione, at the same time. Afterwards, she gave Ginny a hand putting on her new robes. Once this was done she and Ginny side along disapparated to the Ministry.
Harry stepped into courtroom ten. The atmosphere immediately became charged with energy that everyone felt. He waved his hand at the four Aurors standing off to the left side of the room. They flew up against the wall like insects on flypaper. Their wands were in Harry’s hand before anyone could see them move. He dropped them on the chair that he had sat in the last time he had been called before the Wizengamot. The members that were there caught their breath as they realized that Harry was standing in front of them with dueling robes on. He had their full attention.
“For the last few weeks you’ve been sending letters to me. Don’t you know when to accept the answer, NO!!?” Harry growled at them. “Now that I’m here you may be sorry! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!” he screamed. A soft pop occurred to Harry’s right causing him to turn quickly in that direction. A hand gently slid over his right hand and slowly pushed it down.
“Harry it’s all right, calm down, everything will be explained,” Mr. Weasley told him. “It’s all right, Harry, put your wand away, son. I’m here with you now, all right?”
The door, opening up in the back of the chamber, caused Harry to roll to his left, stepping back in front of Arthur. Ginny came running in, dressed in a beautiful emerald green robe that Harry hadn’t seen before. “Ginny get out of here, it’s too dangerous,” Harry yelled, almost in panic.
She walked up to him and took his right arm in her hands. Looking in his eyes, she pulled his wand against her chest so that it was pointing up at her throat. She stepped close, so that Harry’s arm was pinned between them. “Harry stop, it’s all right. Please, before you hurt someone, put it away,” she begged him just loud enough for him to hear.
Before Harry could do anything the door opened, once again, as Ron and Hermione stepped into the chamber. Hermione was dressed in a pale lavender robe and Ron had on his new formal black robes. Both of them came over to Harry, where Ginny was still holding his wand hand. “Ron, get the girls out of here!” Harry told his friend.
The door to the left of the front of the room opened and the Minister walked in. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Harry with his Red Robes on. “You still don’t know. Do you?” he asked.
“Know what?” Harry retorted, completely lost as to what was going on.
“Harry, did you come here expecting to do combat with everyone here?” Kingsley asked, with a shocked look on his face. “Harry, didn’t you read any of the invitations we sent you over the last several weeks?” When Harry shook his head no, Kingsley broke up laughing.
“What’s so funny? Mr. Minister? I’ve been inundated with the same letter that I’ve destroyed over and over again, because I wasn’t going to come here to answer questions. If you knew this, then why didn’t you tell me when we were together the other day?” Harry asked his friend.
“If you had read all the way down to the bottom of the letter, you would have noticed that it asked you to wear your formal robes. That’s what wizards that are going to receive the Order of Merlin, First Class, usually do,” Shacklebolt said, as he smiled. “You were invited to attend in the P.S. of the letter,” he told him.
“Did everyone know?” Harry asked.
“I found out after you left, Grimmauld Place,” Ginny confessed. “This is wonderful, Harry. You’re receiving the highest award that any wizard can receive. I’m so proud of you,” she finished.
“Harry, could you release your honor guard?” Kingsley asked as he pointed to the four Aurors still stuck to the wall. Harry waved his left hand and the four men stumbled forward. “Sorry, I thought you were part of the six Auror team that was going to take me in by force if I didn’t come on my own,” Harry explained.
“Where did you get an idea like that?” the Minister wanted to know. Someone clearing their throat to the left of him caught his attention. The Minister turned and saw Percy sitting at his scribes’ desk.
“Percy?” Harry said, stunned.
“I knew that the only way of getting you here, Harry, was to order you to come. You are thick headed sometimes, you know that? I was tired of writing all those letters to you. I figured that one howler would do the trick. See, I was right.”
“You and I will be having a discussion about this dear brother,” Ginny said with a clear threat implied. “You almost got everyone here killed and my boyfriend thrown into Azkaban. I’ve got all sorts of things to practice on you with, just wait.” Percy swallowed hard. He knew the types of jinxes and curses that Ginny could use when she was really upset. He didn’t look forward to his next visit home.
One of the Wizards of the Wizengamot stepped forward. He was tall and had a large black mustache. Harry remembered him from the last time he was here. “Tiberius,” Kingsley greeted him. “Allow me to introduce you. Harry, this is Tiberius McLaggen, he’s one of the senior members of the Wizengamot,” the Minister explained to Harry.
“So we meet again, Mr. Potter. Did you really think that you would have been successful, in fighting all of the Wizards here? You must have a very high opinion of yourself,” McLaggen said with clear disdain in his voice.
“I would have started with you, and continued until either I would have run out of members or someone here would have killed me. Either way it would have been messy!” Harry stated in a very matter of fact voice.
Tiberius turned to Kingsley, “do you believe this, Mr. Minister?” he asked in amazement.
“I know Harry. If he said that he came here to fight the entire Wizengamot, then you better believe that you all came very close to having to run for your lives. If you don’t believe me, as far as Harry’s power is concerned, just go to Diagon Alley. Look at the shadow still burnt on the wall of the old ice cream parlour,” Kingsley told Tiberius.
“Mr. Potter, do you remember me?” an ancient, completely bald wizard, asked him, as he made his way in front of McLaggen.
“Yes sir, you’re Professor Tofty. You tested me at my O.W.L.S. a few years ago. How are you sir?” Harry asked him kindly, as he calmed down from his earlier tirade.
“Very good now, thank you. Can you still produce a Patronus?” the ancient wizard asked.
Harry twitched his wand and his stag stepped out of its tip. It walked over to the Professor, its mouth opened and said, “Is this, what you wanted to see Professor?”
“Amazing! You can produce a Patronus without using verbal spells and it says what you want. Wonderful, Mr. Potter! I hear that you also taught some of your fellow Hogwarts students to do the same, is that true?” the old Professor asked.
Ginny lifted her wand and softly said, “Expectro Patronum.” A silvery stallion erupted from her wand and cantered around the courtroom.
“Marvelous! Marvelous!” Professor Tofty exclaimed, as he clapped his hands, in pleasure.
Ginny’s Stallion came over to Harry’s stag and they touched noses. The two Patronus disappeared into a puff of smoke that slowly reconfigured itself into two Valentine hearts interlocked with each other. They slowly faded away, as everyone in the room stood transfixed by what they had just seen. “Wow! Mate I never saw anything like that before! You and Ginny are scary at times, you know that?” Ron asked in awe.
“It’s time. We need to get upstairs. Harry, would you mind changing out of your Dueling Robes, please?” Harry waved his wand up in front of himself and his robes turned to the Cobalt Blue robes that Ginny loved. “Ginny will you escort your young man to the lifts, please?” the Minister asked her.
“Gladly sir,” she retorted. She took Harry’s arm and walked out of courtroom ten. The four friends, the Minister, and Mr. Weasley, rode the lift up to the main atrium of the Ministry.
When the gate was pulled open, everyone inside the lift was caught in a barrage of flashbulbs going off. Harry instinctively stepped in front of Ginny with his wand in his hand. She gently pushed his arm down and gave him a hug as they started to step from the lift. “Stay with me, Ginny. Don’t go too far,” Harry whispered under his breath to her, as they were ushered to a large Dais.
“I’ll be right in front with my parents, Harry, I love you,” she mouthed as she went with Arthur to join Molly, where she was standing.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron were escorted up onto the Dais by their honor guard that kept a wary eye on Harry. When the three of them came into view next to the podium the crowd, filling the atrium, simultaneously erupted into deafening applause. Harry looked over and saw a contingency of news reporters and photographers clamoring for the best spot to get their shots.
He heard someone yell his name and spotted all the members of Dumbledore’s Army standing together in a cordoned off area next to the other set of steps to the Dais. Neville and Luna were standing in the middle of the group. Each of the members wore new robes with a blue and white intertwined cord on their left shoulder. The group began to chant, “Har-ry! Har-ry! Har-ry!” until he raised his hand up to quiet them down. People in the crowd chuckled at the enthusiasm of these most important young students.
Minister Shacklebolt stepped forward and began to address the crowd. “My fellow Witches and Wizards, I welcome you here tonight, to witness the presentation of the highest award we have, to three of the youngest recipients ever! I need not state the reason for being here. We, in fact, all of the Wizarding Community, owe a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Hunted unfairly by the Ministry under the control of the Death Eaters, these three continued on with their mission that was assigned to them by the late Albus Dumbledore. Against great odds, and mortal danger they were able to stop the dark lord’s minions.”
“Many of us were witness to what Harry Potter accomplished that night in Hogwarts. We must never forget what great sacrifices had to be made for the downfall of the greatest threat to our world. Our safety and security have been championed by these three incredible young people.”
“Harry would you step forward, please?” the Minister asked. Harry took two steps toward the podium. Hermione was on his right and Ron was on his left. They stood on either side of him and placed their hands on his shoulders.
The minister removed a blue and white ribbon with a gold owl hanging as a pendant from it, from a brown presentation box. “Harry, my friend, it gives me great pleasure to present you with this Order of Merlin, First Class award, for meritorious service to our world,” he said as he placed the medal around Harry’s neck. Under normal circumstances, the Minister would have shaken hands with the recipient of the award. Kingsley gave Harry a bear hug that lifted him off the floor. Then patted him on the back and then shook hands with him. Ron patted him on the shoulder and Hermione gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“Miss Granger,” the Minster intoned as he lifted the second of the medals from its case. Hermione stepped forward, blushing furiously. Ron placed his hand on her left shoulder and Harry did the same on her right. “I’ve been told that you are the brains of this triumvirate. It gives me great pleasure to present this award to you with our sincere thanks,” he said as he slipped the ribbon around her neck and tucked it under her hair. Hermione looked down and watched as her mother sobbed uncontrollably on her husband's shoulder. Her father had a smile on his face that told her exactly how he felt about his little girl.
“Last, but not least, Mr. Ronald Weasley,” Kingsley said as he removed the third medal for presentation. Ron switched places with Hermione and she placed her hand on his left shoulder. “The best type of friend is one who will give up everything for his friend and not look for repayment or rewards. I know that you’ve been there in our hour of need, of all of us you have given the greatest measure,” Kingsley said softly so that only the three could hear him. Ron choked up and Hermione gently patted him on the back to let him know that he wasn’t alone. The minister hung the medal around Ron’s neck and adjusted it so that the owl hung in the center of his chest. He gave Ron a bear hug and patted him on the shoulder.
“Witches and Wizards, I present to you the three newest recipients of the Order of Merlin,” he said as his raised his hand to signal the applause. The thunderous applause continued for a much longer period of time then Harry would have wanted. He was becoming embarrassed at what was happening. Every time he tried to quiet them down they would get louder. After what seemed far too long, the Minister raised his hand and the applause slowly subsided.
Several members of the DA began to yell, “Speech! Speech!”
“Your friends seem to want you to say something Harry,” Shacklebolt said, with a large toothy grin.
Harry stepped forward and thought for a moment before he said anything. “I never wanted any of this, but I found that I really had no choice. I was truly lucky in that in my first year of school at Hogwarts, I met my two best friends that have stood by me for these several years. Their willingness to help me when things seemed darkest, their bravery that they showed in never running away from the battles that we were forced into, make them the true heroes of this war,” Harry said, as he pointed back to Hermione and Ron who were standing together, arm in arm, watching Harry give his speech.
“To the members of the DA, I’ve always been so proud of all you. You’ve always sought to confront the evil of Tom Riddle and his followers. People have asked what a bunch of school children could do against Death Eaters. We’re still here; they’re not!”
Neville began to chant, "DA! DA! DA!" Soon the chant spread to the rest of the people in attendance in the atrium. After a moment or so the walls were reverberating with the chant. Harry, Hermione, and Ron joined in as well as the Minister himself. After several minutes of trying to quiet the crowd down Kingsley was able to regain some semblance of the awards presentation that it had started off as.
“We have other awards to be given tonight, but no one knew of them except a small contingency of the Ministry, until now. As you’ve just heard, for the last two years, a group of Hogwarts students have been waging a war against Death Eaters and anyone who would aid Voldemort. They have become known as Dumbledore’s Army. These young people were recruited and trained by the three Heroes standing beside me. Harry would you care to present the citations of thanks that the Ministry has awarded to each of the members of the DA?” the Minister asked as he handed the first of the rolled parchments over to Harry.
Each member was called onto the Dais, one at a time. Harry handed the scroll to each member of the DA, and then shook their hand. When Luna was called up to receive her scroll, Harry handed it to her then gave her a kiss on the cheek that made the generally unshakeable girl blush and giggle. Harry wanted her to know how much he appreciated her friendship and bits of imparted wisdom that she seemed to be able to give him in his greatest time of need.
Neville Longbottom was called up midway through the group. After Harry handed him his scroll, he took his hand and held it up over his head to signify how Neville had championed their cause all year long in Hogwarts as they were out doing what Dumbledore wanted them to do. The members of the DA gave Neville a roaring round of applause when this was done. Neville stepped off the Dais blushing, his Grandmother was cheering louder than anyone else in the front rows.
When Colin Creevey’s name was called a hush fell over all of the DA. Colin’s mother was escorted up on the Dais by as many members of the DA as could fit near the podium at one time. Harry presented the scroll to Mrs. Creevey and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. She broke down crying as she clutched the parchment to her chest. Ron started to clap his hands and within seconds there was a resounding applause for this woman who had given her son for the cause. She was escorted off the Dais by the rest of the DA.
Kingsley smiled at Harry and handed him the last of the scrolls. “Would Miss Ginevra Weasley please step forward?” the Minister asked with a broadening smile on his face. He knew what was about to occur. Ginny stepped up on the Dais as everyone in the DA started to clap and cheer. Many of the boys were whistling and kept yelling Ginny’s name. She stepped up to Harry and received her parchment from him. Harry wrapped his arms around her waist and in front of over two thousand members of the Ministry, newspaper reporters, family members, and Ginny’s parents, gave her a kiss that had everyone screaming and clapping for joy. After several seconds he lifted her completely off of the floor and held her in his arms to complete the kiss.
The reporters were double checking to make sure that they had spelt her name right. Photographers were pushing and shoving to get the best angle for the picture of the kiss that they were sure would be front page center, for the morning paper. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were laughing along with everyone else. Molly noticed that Harry had closed his hands back into the clamshell configuration again. It was just too important tonight, to let everyone enjoy themselves, to say anything at this time. She would have to start from scratch with Harry again tomorrow.
Harry stepped down from the Dais with his arm still around Ginny’s waist. The photographers were all yelling and begging them to kiss again, for them. Harry looked down at the face of the girl he loved and just stared at her for a moment. The cameramen, who were really good at their jobs, realized that this was the best picture of the night and fought each other to get a shot before the couple moved. Harry kissed Ginny once more for himself; no one else.
One of the reporters that was close to them, asked if they were engaged. Harry looked at him for a minute, smiled, and slowly shook his head. “We’re dating right now. Who knows what the future holds. I’m just glad that I have this angel for myself,” Harry told the reporter. Many of the photographers asked if they could take the couples picture again. Harry looked at Ginny and she smiled and nodded yes. The two of them were lit up by a barrage of flashes for the next several minutes. When the pictures died down, Harry pulled Ron and Hermione into the pictures as well.
With the aid of several Aurors and the cooperation of the Ministry’s janitorial squad, a stepped platform was quickly set up so that all the members of the DA could be posed for a formal picture. Ron had been standing with his arm around Hermione, watching what was happening with Harry and his younger sister. Hermione turned to him and before she could say anything, he kissed her in a spur of the moment impulse. This set off another barrage of flashes as the reporters realized that there were two couples two catch the attention of their readers in the morning papers with.
After hundreds of pictures more had been taken, the three recipients of the Order of Merlin, along with Ginny and the DA were ushered out of the atrium. They were brought to an office at the back of the security desk. This was so that they could catch their breath and allow the audience to disperse.
Harry and the others disapparated back to the Burrow. Mr. Weasley brought Mr. and Mrs. Granger there by floo network. Harry and Ron caught Mrs. Granger as she spun out of the fireplace. “Oh,my!” she exclaimed as she righted herself with Harry’s help. “I think I prefer the portkey method, rather than this. I’m so dizzy,” she finished.
“That was fun!” exclaimed Mr. Granger, as he spun out of the fireplace. “Hermione do you travel this way often, dear?” he asked as he put his arm around his daughter’s waist.
“I agree with Mom, I always get dizzy when I use the floo network,” she admitted to her Dad.
Mrs. Weasley set out plates and silverware and started to serve a late night meal as a finish to the activities of the day. Harry was never so happy to be eating as he was right then. He hadn’t had anything except a sandwich earlier on that afternoon, and the activities of the day had given him a raging appetite. He took off his Order of Merlin Medal and placed it around Ginny’s neck since she was sitting next to him. She giggled when he called her, “My hero.” She had no idea how much Harry was going to need her in the upcoming several months. For tonight, she was happy, just being with the boy that she loved.
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