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Chapter 3 : Catching Up
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Once again his mind drifted and he realized how many things he had to decide about his future. It always seemed that his life was mapped out for him and no matter what it all led to one thing. Now he could see numerous paths opening up and it was difficult to try and imagine all the possible outcomes.
Did he really want to return to school in the fall? He was sure that he’d be able to land a job being the famous Harry Potter. Even the auror office would be glad to have him he was certain. This troubled him slightly because he knew that in all truth he did not posses any abnormal amount of skill or magic, he had not really been able to overpower Voldemort it had all been in the wands. Had it not been for that circumstance he was sure Voldemort would have easily bested him in a duel.
Still, he thought, that is true for nearly every wizard alive. He had held his own against many talented death eaters in battle and admitted that he considered himself skilled with a wand when it came to fighting. He still had plenty to learn though and knew that he deserved no special treatment. There would always be talk if he were to be accepted so readily into the ranks without even completing his NEWTs. He would have to complete his final year of education.
As far as the rest of the summer went, he was sure that he did not want to spend it here in the Gryffindor dormitory. He remembered Elphias Doge’s article and how it spoke of wizards taking a trip around the world after graduating. An old tradition which Harry knew to have died off but one that he would thoroughly enjoy given the opportunity. It would be an awesome time with Ron, Hermione and Ginny traveling to distant countries and seeing all kinds of new magic.
Oh, Ginny, she definitely had one year left at Hogwarts and no exceptions would be made for her. The trip around the world would have to wait. He couldn’t go without her.
Well if he wasn’t going to travel and wanted to leave Hogwarts he knew he’d need a safe-house. Someplace he could convince Professor McGonagall that he would not be found. Grimmauld place would certainly be acceptable; the Order had probably vacated it by now. With Kreacher being friendly to him it had almost started feeling like home those few weeks they had been there.
As he fantasized about Ginny coming to stay with him at Grimmauld place he drifted back into a light sleep.
Bill, Charlie and Percy arrived just after midnight and had some spectacular stories to share about the effort to hunt down the remaining Death Eaters. Immediately after being offered the job of Minister for Magic Kingsley had organized the able surviving ministry workers and Order members into teams to scour the country for any remaining servants of Voldemort.
The Malfoy’s had been captured in their home mere hours after the battle ended and had come peacefully without a struggle. Immediately offering up all information they had on any death eaters still at large they were awaiting judgement based on their helpfulness.
Others it seemed preferred to go down fighting. Rodolphus Lestrange, having lost his wife in the battle seemed to decide that an assault on the ministry itself would be the best way to go down in a blaze of glory. He attempted to force his way to Kinglsey and managed to take out 3 aurors including Dawlish before finally being killed.
Dolores Umbridge, although never a Death Eater, was arrested for crimes against muggle borns and sentenced to 3 years in Azkaban.
Azkaban was no longer being guarded by the dementors but by trained security wizards backed up by Grawp, Hagrid's half brother. It had been proven beyond a doubt that the dementors could not be trusted and they had been banished to Antarctica. There they would eventually starve held away from all human contact by powerful wards.
Many more stories of deaths and captures kept them up to the wee hours of the morning until finally Ginny fell asleep sitting up and slid right off the bed onto the floor. At this point Mrs. Weasley forced them to call it a night.
Having just awoken from a three day nap Harry was surprised at how tired he still was but as he lay back down in his comforting four poster he knew he would have no problem falling back asleep.
He was awoken much earlier than he expected the next morning by a strange feeling that he was being watched. As he blinked his eyes open he could tell that the sun had barely risen and everyone else was still dead asleep. Everyone that is except for Ginny; she was in the bed to Harry’s left that Hermione had vacated and now lay propped on one elbow watching Harry wake slowly. He opened his eyes fully now and looked back at her. Smiling he mouthed, “Good morning,” silently.
Ginny glanced around making sure everyone was still asleep before slipping out of bed and coming to kneel beside Harry on the floor taking his hand that dangled from the edge in hers. “Good morning,” she whispered back, “how did you sleep?”
“Great.” He replied still smiling goofily. It was the first time he’d had a proper conversation with Ginny since his last birthday in her bedroom right before they were interrupted by Ron. He still couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have come out of this monstrous war alive and with so many people he loved still around him.
“I was hoping I’d catch you before everyone else got up.” Ginny spoke again very softly. “I wanted to talk with you privately.”
“Well seeing as how I’m forbidden to leave this room and I’m not sure your family would like waking to us coming out of the loo together this may be the best chance you’ve got.” Harry smirked at her teasingly.
She gave him a stern look and continued, “Well I’m not exactly sure the best way to go about bringing this up but I was kind of thinking that- Well, now that you're back and-“
“Will you marry me Ginny?” The words were out of his mouth before he even finished forming them in his head. He was surprised by his boldness but did not wish to take them back. He had just been looking at her barely hearing the words coming out of her mouth when he realized that there was no one else in the entire world he could imagine spending the rest of his life with and it hit him.
Ginny looked like she’d been hit with a Petrificus Totalus jinx. She sat staring back up at him, her mouth frozen open with the words she had been trying to form. Harry began to grow nervous, thinking that this was not at all what she wanted. “I’m sorry Gin, I-if you don’t want to then- I just meant that-” He began stuttering trying to cover up his blunder.
“No, Harry," his face fell, "I mean yes of course yes. I meant no that i didn't want- You just startled me.” Harry was lost.
Now smiling up at him she clarified bluntly, “Yes I will marry you. It's all I've ever wanted since we met!” She had to stop herself from raising her voice in excitement as she almost leapt into his arms. He caught her shoulder with his hand though holding her down gently. He then pulled her a bit closer and gave her a short soft kiss. This was something he had waited ages to do and it felt heavenly.
"Plus you're loaded. I'd have to be an idiot-" Ginny began teasingly but he interrupted her with another kiss.
They broke apart as the sound of somebody stirring startled them. It was as if they had forgotten other people existed. Ginny turned to get up and back into her bed but quickly turned back to Harry and whispered, “Keep it secret for now.”
Harry drew an X across his heart with his right index finger signifying the promise. She smiled at him and climbed back in under the covers. They lay there in bed looking at each other across the gap silently reveling in their secret commitment for another 5 minutes before others began moving about and stumbling towards the bathroom. Ginny closed her eyes to feign sleep as Charlie walked past and glanced at the pair of them. He seemed a bit too groggy to notice the broad grins they each wore though their eyes were shut tight and as he left the room Ginny burst out in a fit of silent giggles.
Another 10 minutes and Mrs. Weasley tiptoed out of the room no doubt to check on breakfast.
Suddenly thinking of the house elves in the kitchen brought his mind to Dobby. His smile faltered and Ginny looked worried but he shook his head to let her know it was nothing.
They all got up and ate breakfast together in the common room. Mr. Weasley had returned while they slept but had been unable to get Kingsley alone to talk while he'd been away. He informed them all that Kingsley may show up there later in the day and Harry would be able to give a first hand account if he chose.
Hermione and her parents did not join them. Professor McGonagall said that they had requested breakfast in their room wanting more time to catch up with their daughter to try and remember as much as possible. Ginny and Harry could not help but keep shooting each other looks over the breakfast table and he was pretty sure Ron gave him a suspicious glare.
After breakfast while the Weasley’s went back upstairs to wash up Harry asked Professor McGonagall for a word.
“What can I do for you Harry?”
He noticed the use of his first name again, “Well Professor, I was wondering how much longer you were planning to keep us here.”
She looked suddenly sterner, “I am not trying to hold you against your will Mr. Potter. I am simply concerned for your privacy and safety.”
“I know that professor, I didn’t mean to sound er- ungrateful I just- Well I wondered how long you thought it would be necessary."
“Now that you are all awake and have been reunited with your families I know that The Weasley’s will want to return to the Burrow. Arthur and the older boys will need to go to work and if they keep coming and going from here it will look suspicious. People will eventually catch on. I have been trying figure out where to move you to.”
“Can’t I go to the Burrow with everyone else?” He hadn’t considered that option last night and was surprised. It seemed like the obvious perfect answer.
“I’m afraid the Burrow would be too obvious of a place for you to go right away. Once someone finds out Ron is home they are certain to assume you are with him. For at least a few weeks you need to be elsewhere until word gets out that you are not at the Burrow.”
“Ok, where did you have in mind? Because I was thinking that I could go to Grimmauld Place. It’s secure enough isn’t it?”
“We are not sure how many people have found out about Grimmauld Place since the ministry discovered it last fall. We don't know how they got in but we know that they believed you to be residing there for a short time last fall.”
“Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that. We accidentally apparated Yaxley within the wards.”
“Indeed? Well that settles it then, considering that Yaxley is one of the death eaters still at large." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "There is one other house that you can go to that I don’t think anyone would expect.”
“I’m not going back to Privet Drive ever again.”
“No of course not,” she pursed her lips in disgust at the thought of Harry’s aunt and uncle’s house. “I am speaking of your home in Godric’s Hollow.”
Harry couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It had never occurred to him that he actually owned the house at Godric’s Hollow. When he had seen it over the winter it had just been a wreck. He wondered if it was fixable since the damage was so magical or if it had purposely been left that way as a monument.
“Now that Voldemort is gone I think that the magical damage inflicted on the house can be repaired.”
“Won’t people notice someone is there if the house starts getting fixed up?”
“Wards can be put in place to ensure your privacy. No one will expect you to want to return to the place where-” she stopped short and looked at him with a worried expression. “It will continue to look as it has for the last 17 years to anyone outside of the wards.”
“Well that sounds good Professor. Will anyone be able to visit me?”
“Certainly Harry. Anyone you wish to allow in just let me know. I had planned to be your secret keeper wherever you went if that’s alright?”
“Of course professor. I can’t think of anyone better.”
Professor McGonangall blushed slightly and smiled. “Now now Mr. Potter. You’d best get upstairs and get cleaned up. We’ll be moving you out this evening if you’re ready. Best to travel in the dark.”
“Great! Thank you professor.”
Harry turned and rushed up the stairs to tell everyone the good news. As he rounded the corner on the sixth floor he ran smack into the back of Mr. Granger as the family emerged from their dormitory room.
“I’m sorry sir, I didn’t see you.”
“It’s perfectly alright Harry,” Mr. Granger looked to his daughter as if making sure he’d gotten the boy’s name right. “Apparently we owe quite a bit to you. You kept our daughter safe and ended this nasty man’s reign over the world.”
Harry thought calling Voldemort a "nasty man" may have been an understatement but he let it slide considering the circumstances. “Well I’m sure Hermione was quite modest in her version of things but I assure you that I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for her Mr. Granger.”
Mr.Granger stuck his hand out to shake Harry’s, “Please call me Troy, and this is my wife Helen.”
Harry shook both of their hands in turn and then looked to Hermione. “McGonagall says we will be leaving tonight, are you all going back to your house?”
“Yes, I can’t wait to go back, it has been so long.” She looked at her parents now, “and there will be pictures and all kinds of things I can show you to help jog your memories.”
“How is that coming along?” Harry asked tentatively.
“Well we aren’t necessarily remembering so much as accepting for now.” Mrs. Granger spoke up for the first time. “It is so much to take in and so unbelievable. I half expected to wake up this morning and have it be a dream.” Her eyes began to well as she stared into her daughter’s face. “I’m just so glad to have my little girl back.”
Feeling a suddenly uncomfortable Harry told them he must be getting upstairs to clean up and pack his things.
“Send that boy Ron down when you get a moment will you son?” Mr. Granger called up to him, “I think I may need a word with him too from what I’ve been gathering.” he winked at Harry.
“Dad, no!” Harry heard Hermione whisper to her father as he rounded the corner out of sight.
Yikes. He was glad he had been so well accepted into the Weasley family before him and Ginny started dating. He didn’t envy Ron if he had to go have a heart-to-heart with Hermione’s father about their newfound relationship.
He opened the door to the dorm and for the second time in ten minutes ran directly into someone. This time it was Ginny, Harry caught her arms as she stumbled back a little. She had her hair tied up in a towel and smelled of shampoo.
“Oh hi Harry.” She smiled up at him. “I was just going down to see whether I left my hair band down in the common room. Care to join me?” She gave him another one of her mischievous grins that drove him absolutely wild.
“Oy Harry!” Ron called from across the room. He had just emerged from the bathroom in a towel, “You won’t believe how good that shower feels after so many months in a tent.”
“Yeah, as much as I’d love to Gin I’m not sure I smell nearly as good as you do right now and I really do need to start getting ready.”
She gave a slight pout, “Alright but we’re going to get a moment alone if I have to lock Ron in the vanishing cabinet.”
Ron couldn’t have been more right about the shower. He was sure that someone had cleaned them up before knocking them out or else he didn’t think he’d have been able to stand the smell of himself but it wasn’t the same as taking a nice hot shower.
He spent far longer than he normally would have rinsing off and just standing under the stream. When he came out Ron and Ginny were in the midst of a row.
“What do you mean I need to ‘slow down’? Who are you to tell me how I should handle my life?”
“I’m your older brother and Harry’s best friend and I just don’t want you guys jumping into anything too quickly just because emotions are running high after all the action.”
Ron seemed to be keeping a surprisingly level head although he seemed a bit sheepish but Ginny was furious. “You are such a complete hypocrite Ron! How about you and Hermione getting all smoochy in the middle of the bloody fight! What about that?”
Ron’s face turned red immediately and he opened his mouth but nothing came out. Clearly he thought Harry had been the only other person to hear about that. Neither of them had seen Harry yet and he stood like an absurd statue in the door to the bath with one hand in his hair and the other holding the towel on his waist.
Ginny finally looked past Ron’s shoulder and saw him standing there. “Uh oh Ron, look. I better go before things get too steamy in here for you!” and she stormed out of the room.
Harry was the one to turn red now. He wasn’t exactly sure how he should feel at the moment because a part of him was telling him that he should get dressed and start packing but another part was wishing it had been Ron who’d left the room instead.
Ron bustled about not making eye contact with Harry. He looked extremely embarrassed that he had been caught trying to discuss Harry and Ginny’s relationship with his sister. Once again Harry was torn, he thought Ron had approved last year when Ginny and him had first gotten together but now he seemed to think they were just riding the emotional wave from the war. On the other hand he wondered how he would feel if he had a sister and the tables were turned. Ron had been pretty upset when Harry had dumped Ginny last year.
Ron began to walk towards the door to go downstairs but Harry called to him. “Mr. Granger asked me to tell you to stop by their room when you were finished getting ready.”
Ron’s face turned from the pink tone it had faded to into a ghostly white. There was terror in his eyes that Harry hadn’t seen even when facing the spiders in the forbidden forest their second year.
“What? What do you mean? What did he want?”
Harry couldn’t help but feel for his best friend, “Don’t worry Ron, he seems like a great guy. I’m sure he just wants to meet you.”
“Easy for you to say, you aren’t the one who wants to-” He stopped short and Harry was glad. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear details about what exactly Ron wanted to do to Hermione.
“Good luck mate.” Harry tried to sound cheery.
Ron let out a long breath, “Alright, thanks.” He left the dormitory shutting the door behind him.
Harry got dressed slowly thinking all the while about Ginny and Ron, trying to find a way to explain to his best friend what was really going on without divulging their secret. Were they moving too quickly? Was asking Ginny to marry him too forward? Maybe he should have waited and just asked her out to start.
He finished getting dressed and packed what little possessions he had into a small trunk provided for him. As he descended the steps to the common room a few minutes later he thought he heard raised voices. Mr. Weasley for sure and the unmistakably low voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
"How could you have let this happen!" Arthur screamed.
"Come now Arthur, how can you lay the blame solely on me." despite his plea Kingsley looked embarrassed and scared. It was clear he knew he'd made a mistake.
"You never should have started this foolish nonsense to begin with! It should have been destroyed!"
"We are working to cover up the break in as best as we can Arthur, the public need not know about this. You said yourself it's not dangerous, so even if the death eaters do have it what will they do?"
"You know that's not the point Kingsley. Cover ups and public image was how the old administration ran things and look where that put us. How did they-" Mr. Weasley noticed Harry standing at the bottom of the stairs and stopped. Kingsley turned his head to follow Arthur's gaze and his face sunk even lower.
"Harry, I'm sorry," he fumbled, "I'm sure you heard but Voldemort's-"
"His body was stolen." Harry was furious at the man but he kept his voice even, "How did they get to it?"
"We're not entirely sure how they bypassed the wards. We had it in a secret room that few people even knew existed. Four unspeakables were found dead this morning in the room and the body had vanished. It had to have been more than one powerfully dark wizard to get in."
"Are you sure, because unless security has improved I remember it being pretty easy to get into the department of mysteries." He wasn't sure why he felt he need to attack the man he had always been fond of.
"Security has improved Harry. I'm telling you, this is a force we haven't encountered before. Even the remaining known death eaters still out there would have been hard pressed to pull off such a theft so quietly."
"What are you saying Kingsley?" Arthur chimed in. "You think it's someone other than death eaters?"
"Or they've recruited from abroad or there were some we didn't know about."
"Who else would care to steal Voldemort's body back other than death eaters?" Harry asked becoming slightly more curious than angry. It was clear that even though he was certain Voldemort couldn't be reincarnated again that whoever stole it had a plan. Whatever that may be he was sure it wouldn't bring peace and happiness to his life.
"I have no idea Harry. But whoever did take it, they are powerful. Extremely powerful."
Harry was still upset at Kingsley for allowing Voldemort's body to disappear but his anger was now overpowered by his fear. Kingsley had seemed genuinely worried at the idea of the amount of power whoever captured the body possessed. If it wasn't the known death eaters out there then who could it be? He needed to get his old think tank back together but Hermione and Ron were nowhere to be found. He didn't dare knock on the door to the Granger's room not knowing what conversation could be happening in there so he just walked back up to the top dorm room even though his packing was finished.
When he entered the room Ginny was waiting for him alone sitting on his bed. Everything else was momentarily forgotten and some not so pure thoughts flashed through his head.
"Hello Harry," Ginny said with a hint of the anger she had unleashed on Ron earlier still in her voice.
"Hi Gin, everything alright?" Knowing better than to corner an angry Weasley he stayed where he was near the door.
"Can you believe that git? Who is he to be judging us for getting back together after the war? He and Hermione had never even dated before the battle and now look at them! He's so infuriating!"
Waiting for her to finish a bit of relief flooded him knowing her anger wasn't directed at him. "You know Ron Ginny, he's always been protective of you. Take it as a sign of how much he cares for you."
She rolled her eyes at him, "A bit cliche isn't it Harry?"
"Don't be like that Gin. How could they understand without knowing about the engagement. For all Ron know's I just want to snog you silly." He grinned at her.
"Are you saying you don't?" She finally smiled at him.
"Well it did cross my mind." He said teasingly feeling safe enough to begin moving slowly across the room towards her.
Her expression shifted to terror so quickly he barely saw it coming. "That was for real though right Harry? You really do want to get married and it wasn't just euphoria of surviving or anything right?"
"Ginny, I haven't regretted for a second asking you to marry me and I don't plan to take it back. And you already said yes so don't try sneaking out of it now." He sat down beside her and nudged her shoulder to get her to look up at him.
The reassuring smile on his face brightened her up a bit and she smiled back.
"I'll have a talk with Ron about it if it'll make you feel better."
"Better you than me," she scoffed, "I think if we'd gone on any longer I'd have hexed him into oblivion."
"Burying the best man would put a damper on the wedding don't you think?"
She chuckled, "Yeah, I guess so."
Well now that that's cleared up," Harry looked around the room theatrically, "I think you've finally gotten me alone Miss Weasley so what else was it you wanted to discuss?"
"Discuss may not be the exact right word," she grinned mischievously and snaked a hand around the back of Harry's neck pulling their faces closer together.
At that exact moment the door to the dormitory swung open and Ron and Hermione both entered holding hands.
"Oy!" Ron yelled the hint of a wide grin leaving his face quickly, "What the hell-"
Hermione grabbed Ron's arm to silence him and Harry caught Ginny's eyes before she could round on her brother.
She gave him a look that said "fix this!" then she stood and exited the room looking daggers at Ron the whole way.
Ron strode quickly across the room towards Harry but was startled when Harry stood up and looked him directly in the face. "I-" Ron stammered.
"Come on Ron, really? I thought you'd see this coming." Harry was calm even though Ron had nearly half a foot on him in height and was much broader. He knew his friend wouldn't actually resort to violence. Ron apparently didn't know how to respond so he looked at the floor to avoid Harry's gaze.
"You know the only reason I split with Ginny last year was to protect her. You know I would never do anything to hurt her. What's the problem?"
"The problem is she's my sister!" Ron finally retorted, "I don't need to see you two snogging out in the open every chance you get."
"We were under the impression we were in an empty dormitory until you two showed up." Harry nodded his head in Hermione's direction and added, "What exactly did you two plan to get up to in here by yourselves anyways?"
Hermione turned red but not as red as Ron who looked even more furious. "Well that's just none of your-"
"Exactly what I thought." Harry smiled. "There's nothing wrong with it Ron. Don't you think we all deserve a little happiness now more than ever?"
The indecision was visible in Ron's face as he battled between winning the argument and preserving the relative peace that they finally had a chance at. "Alright Harry listen, I know that you and Ginny had a thing last year and I gave you my blessing then."
Harry didn't necessarily like having his relationship with Ginny called "a thing" but he let Ron continue.
"Then you dumped her," Harry raised a hand to interject but Ron pushed forward, "I know why you did it and I know you say now that we have nothing to fear but there're still dangerous people out there."
Harry made another attempt to butt in but was cut off.
"You want to be an Auror right? What's gonna happen to Ginny every time you go off fighting the next Dark Lord or whatever? Just gonna leave her behind again and pretend it never happened to protect her? I'm not sure she'd take to that very well. I know you Harry and if theres one thing you can always be counted on for its to act irrationally trying to protect the people you love. "
It was Harry's turn to be taken aback now. Apparently when Ron got those little cogs turning he actually had a point to be made. "Listen mate, I understand your concern and it's well noted. But I've learned my lesson on that one. I think we both need to realize that Ginny is perfectly capable of taking care of herself."
They stood silent for a moment and Hermione watched them tentatively as if waiting for an explosion. Ron still had a stubborn look on his face.
"Alright then," Harry was the first to speak, "it doesn't look like we're going to come to an agreement here and now but I do have some news to share with the two of you." He looked to Hermione and back, "Unless you'd like some alone time." he gave a wicked grin hoping to lighten the mood.
Both of his friends turned another shade of red but shook their heads. "What's up Harry?" Hermione questioned. "Did Arthur get back from the ministry?"
"Yes," Harry said, "and Kingsley showed up too." the tone in his voice giving away that the news was not so good.
"Kingsley's not refusing to destroy it is he?" Ron asked incredulously, "doesn't seem like him."
"No, in fact it's worse than that. Someone's stolen the body. "
Hermione gasped. "How?" she breathed, " I thought it was locked away in the department of mysteries."
"It was, someone broke in and took it."
"I suppose it wasn't that bleeding difficult for us was it?" Ron sounded angry and annoyed just as Harry had been upon hearing the news.
"Actually Ron, according to Kingsley they had stepped up security substantially and even more when the body was brought in. He says it had to be extremely powerful wizards to overcome the wards they had in place and escape with the body so quietly."
"Well who's left out there?" Ron asked, "haven't we nearly rounded up all the stray death eaters by now?"
"He doesn't think it was death eaters."
"But who then?" Hermione asked.
"They don't know but they're almost certain that none of the known death eaters out there posses the intelligence or power even combined to pull this off."
The three of them sat thinking in silence. "Well so much for peace and quiet," Ron remarked. They all smiled weakly at the joke.
Suddenly Harry remembered something, "Where were you two just now? Did you meet Hermione's parents?"
This time a true smile broke out on Hermione but Ron looked a bit bashful. "Yeah, not nearly as bad as I thought it would go." Hermione shot him a look, "He didn't pressure us or anything just wanted to meet me and say thanks I guess." Ron gave Harry a look that said he had more to say but not in front of Hermione.
"Well that's great guys." Harry smiled genuinely happy for his two friends but also hoping his approving attitude would rub off on Ron. "Is that what you came up here to celebrate then? A bit tactless with them right below you don't you think?"
Hermione looked scandalized by Harry's insinuations but neither her nor Ron denied them.
Harry just laughed, he was enjoying teasing his friends far too much. It was like he actually felt like he had time to be silly and immature now he'd finished off the hard stuff. Maybe is was good he would be back in school for another year before trying to get a job. Much more room for immaturity in school.
"Hey Harry," Ron interrupted his thoughts, "Mum said you wouldn't be coming back to the Burrow right away. Where are you staying?"
"Oh yeah! You won't believe it, McGonagall is setting up my old house at Godric's Hollow for me to move into."
Hermione and Ron looked shocked. "Wow," Ron managed, "that's gonna be strange huh?"
"Well I haven't really had a whole lot of time to think about it." The more Harry did think on it though the less confident he became. He'd be staying in the same house his parents were killed in. Possibly walking over the exact spot where they fell, eating at the table where they had there last meal, or even sleeping in their bed. That was a lot to take in emotionally.
"Will you be staying there by yourself?" Hermione asked sounding worried.
"I guess so at first, McGonagall said people could come and visit whenever they like."
"Well that's just awful," Hermione almost seemed upset with their professor, as of she hadn't thought the situation through. "We'll come stay with you the first night at least." She looked to Ron for confirmation and he nodded vigorously.
Harry thought for a moment but then made up his mind. "No, thanks but I think I need to do this on my own first." He knew it would be very emotional his first night and he'd rather be alone for it.
"You're sure mate?" Ron's voice held no more anger towards Harry. "We don't mind coming with you. You might want at least someone to talk to instead of being there all alone."
"I'm sure. You guys can come by and visit in a couple days once you're settled in. I'm sure you're both dying to go home. It's been nearly a year."
"We don't mind Harry really." Hermione insisted. "What's one more day?"
"I said I want to go alone!" Harry snapped. He was surprised by his own outburst. Why did everyone seem to think he was some fragile little doll all of a sudden. Kingsley got all soft and apologetic with him, much different than how he'd been talking to Mr. Weasley, McGonagall hadn't even wanted to mention his parents and now these two, acting as if he was a little kid afraid of the dark. He knew they were just being nice and trying to help him but he was sure now more than ever that he could use some space.
"I'm sorry guys, I just have a really strong feeling I need to be there on my own. I know you're just trying to help but I'll be fine. I can take care of myself."
"We know you can Harry," Hermione looked hurt by his sudden coldness. "But I can't imagine if I were to have to go stay at my house alone knowing my parents had been murdered there. Just promise us you'll let us know if you need anything?"
"Yeah, no problem." Harry lied. He knew he wouldn't be sending for any help. This was something he just needed to face and get over with.
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