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The First Year, an Almost Happily Ever After story by Jet LaBarge
Chapter 2 : Meanwhile, at Gringotts and back at the Ministry
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8

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Bill Weasley came striding into Gringotts, and was immediately met by Kreacher, who said, “We needs to talks, Mr. William. Urgents.”

Kreacher looked exhausted and dirty from the battle, but there was no doubt that he was serious.

Meanwhile, Grabhook, the son of Griphook, had come up to Bill, saying, “Why are you here? Who do you represent right now, the bank or others?”

“Right now, I am representing the Ministry, trying to make sure supporters of Voldemort are not taking money out of Ministry accounts or stolen money out of their accounts.”

“Also Harry Potter,” Kreacher said to Bill. “Important, you is also representing Harry Potter.”

“I am also representing Harry Potter,” Bill said, wondering what this was about, but not about to defy Kreacher right now.

There was a huge roar from a large group of people, a group that seemed to be growing by the minute.

“We will make sure that all doubtful accounts are frozen,” Grabhook said. “Why would you be representing Harry Potter?”

“Kreacher says so,” Kreacher said. “Kreacher is Harry Potter’s house-elf, and Kreacher say so. Harry’s Ginny William’s sister. Mr. Weasley and Kreacher needs private talk now!”

Bill and Kreacher were led to a tiny private room, and Bill did several privacy spells. He then turned to Kreacher and said, “Harry’s Ginny! Already?”

“Soon enough,” Kreacher said. “If no one stops. Needs to be. Needs to be!”

“Why, what is going on?” asked Bill.

“Harry Potter killed Voldemort, Tom Riddle,” Kreacher said, as though this should be perfectly obvious.

“I know,” Bill said. “We were both there and, I think, saw it. So?”

“Single duel, wand to wand,” Kreacher said.

“Oh,” Bill said, beginning to get the point. In his curse-breaking career he had dealt with a lot of estates, and a few duels. “Harry inherited something from Riddle?”

“Oh, lotses and lotses of somethings!” Kreacher exclaimed. “Everythings. No estate, no heirs, no partners, no trust, no nothings, Harry gets everythings.”

Bill got a quizzical look on his face. “Because Tom Riddle made no provisions in case he died, and Harry killed him in a single duel, the old Wizarding law applies, and Harry inherits everything? I knew Riddle killed several families and stole their estates. How many families? How many Galleons?”

“Maybe a hundred families, millions and millions and millions of Galleons,” Kreacher said.

“Honest money?” asked Bill.

“No, no, not all honest,” Kreacher said. “Stolen and lots of bad. Ministry needs some of money. Very complicated. Mr. William knows about moneys. Harry Potter not know moneys. Mr. William needs to protect Harry Potter’s moneys.”

“And you, Kreacher?” asked Bill.

“Goblins lie. Goblins lazy and not find everything. But goblins cannot lie to honest house-elf of honest wizard. Mr. William needs Kreacher. But Kreacher not supposed to work for Mr. William. Is subversives. Even if Harry Potter gives permissions is subversives, but is best.”

‘Merlin!’ thought Bill. ‘This is going to get complicated.’

“I have one more question, Kreacher,” Bill said. “I heard that Riddle killed the Rothchilds who owned the Swiss Valley that holds the treasures of the Wizarding community, where the International Council of Witches and Wizards is headquartered. But he never inherited the valley or was even allowed on the council? Why, and did that pass to Harry?”

“Like trying to steal a dragon egg that one,” said Kreacher. “Riddle cannot meet the requirements to inherit. You see his face?”

Bill nodded yes.

“No nose,” Kreacher said, pointing to his own long nose.

Bill nodded again.

“No pokey down here either,” Kreacher said pointing towards his privates. “Cannot make baby, cannot inherit Swiss valley. No pokey, no inherit.”

Bill started to chuckle. “Pokey?” Bill started to visualize him and Fleur; making love to a Veela, Bill really had no basis for comparison, but he knew both he and Fleur …

“NOT HELPFUL!” Kreacher shouted. “Pleasant thinking of mate, but not helpful right now.”

“Sorry,” Bill meekly said, thinking, ‘Pokey? That was pretty graphic and not at all romantic.’

Kreacher then said, “Needs to get documents giving William Weasley power to manage Harry Potter Estate, need to get signed by Harry Potter tonight.”

“I’ll do my best. What next? Talk to the Goblins?” Bill asked.

Kreacher nodded yes, and together they left the room.

Again they were met by a huge crowd, but Bill walked right up to Grabhook and said, “Kreacher and I need a private meeting with the bank first.”

Grabhook and several other Goblins led Bill and Kreacher into a private office.

“What do I have to do next?” asked Bill.

“Who is going to pay for the damages to the bank?” asked a Goblin. “Harry Potter does not get anything until the damages to the bank are taken care of.”

“I assume Harry will pay for them. It sounds like there is enough money in the estates,” Bill replied.

“Lots of money,” Grabhook said. “Lots and lots and lots of money, hundreds of millions of Galleons. We Goblins will add up the damages. We want the sword of Gryffindor back, although we do not think we will get it. Wizards always cheat goblins with their laws.”

“I will mention it to Harry,” Bill said. “I do not know what we can do about the magic that lets the sword magically appear in the hands of a true Gryffindor, but maybe some sort of arrangement can be worked out.”

“You need permissions. You need a good lawyer to draw up documents,” Grabhook said.

“Marge Baker is the best one not working for Gringotts,” Bill said. “I will see her before going to the Ministry.”

“Marge is acceptable,” Grabhook replied. “You need Harry not to cheat the goblins. You need Harry to marry your sister.”

Bill was rather taken aback by the brutal frankness of the last statement, and looked at the goblins. “I’m not worried about Harry cheating you. I guess I’m probably not really too worried about Harry and Ginny, eventually, although, I am a little concerned about how fast you are pushing it.”

“The Money will be able wait,” Grabhook replied. “The Ministry may not be able to wait. The Ministry is broke. Gringotts will wait.”

Bill looked at Kreacher, who nodded. “Merlin, dragon dung,” Bill swore under his breath. “What have I gotten myself into?”

Kingsley Shacklebolt strode into the Ministry and went straight to the auditorium, followed by Arthur and Percy Weasley. Kingsley put his wand to his throat and said, “Sonorus!” and then said in a loud and commanding voice, “The wizard Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, has been killed by Harry Potter. His body lies at Hogwarts. He is not coming back this time. HE IS DEAD.

His supporters have mostly fled.

Pius Thickness, who was fighting on the side of Riddle, has resigned, giving me the keys to his office.

I want all department heads or acting department heads or, if everybody in any position of authority has fled, the most senior staffer to meet here in the auditorium. Anyone on the Wizengamot needs to be here too. We need to do some things as soon as possible

Within ten minutes, the auditorium was reasonably full.

Kingsley, with the support of Arthur and Percy, then had the Wizengamot pass a series of emergency laws, freeing any Muggle-born convicted of having stolen magic or any other crimes related to opposing the administration of Pius Thickness, and appoint Kingsley as temporary Minster of Magic.

Kingsley then appointed Arthur Weasley as head of Magical Law Enforcement. Kingsley also appointed Percy Weasley as his own Administrative Assistant.

The mechanics of freeing anyone falsely imprisoned was done within a half hour of the arrival of Kingsley; actually getting everyone released took a little longer.

From that time on, Arthur and Percy Weasley were at the centre of the government of the British Wizarding world.

Late in the afternoon, Bill Weasley finally walked into the Ministry. He had sent communications to Kingsley and the accounting department, letting them know that many accounts were now frozen until they could see what was going on, to make sure no one was going to rob the Ministry anymore.

When Bill came in, he was expected, and he was rushed into the chaotic office of the new Minister of Magic. Arthur Weasley was there, along with two other people.

Kingsley greeted him, saying, “Bill, I want to introduce you to Jane Smith, the closest thing we have to a head of finance at this time, and Al VanLente, from North America, head of the International Auror Association. Jane, what is the state of our finances right now?”

Jane answered, “Maybe enough cash for two weeks. Strange things have been happening with finances ever since Voldemort took over, and we cannot figure out where all the money went.”

Al said, “It’s going to be a tough sell to tell the countries sending Aurors and other Witches and Wizards to help, that Britain is broke. Do your best to find some money.”

Bill replied, “A lot is going on. Goblins are always honest, as they say, but they are not always helpful. There is a connection between house-elves and goblins that most wizards do not comprehend. When a house-elf needs to get money to buy something his master wants, there is a special area at Gringotts where house-elves go, very private. Harry burying Dobby and his friendship with Kreacher has changed something. With Kreacher's help, the goblins are becoming helpful! There may be money available, lots of stolen money that we can get fairly quickly. The only problem is that only Harry can access the money.”

Kingsley looked surprised, saying, “Only Harry? No one else?”

“Only the person who defeated Voldemort, or a relative, can get into most of the vaults,” Bill confirmed. “I can get permission to figure out where the money is, but then we need to get into the vaults. Only Harry can get into the vaults.”

“Only Harry?” asked Jane, reiterating Kingsley’s previous question.

“I think only Harry or his wife, of course he’s not married, but if he was, his wife could get into the vaults the first time. After that it gets a little easier. Relative by blood or marriage could do most of what needs to be done once the vaults have been opened that first time. The goblins would like me to help, but it is not easy. The only quick way to solve the problem is for Harry to marry my sister, Ginny. Any other possible solutions would take years.

The good news is that Ginny has always wanted Harry, and I think Harry may feel the same way.

The bad news is that Ginny is sixteen, and from what I’m told we don’t have a lot of choice but to rely on Harry, for the time being.”

“Bill,” said Arthur, his brows furrowed in thought, “are you telling me that if Harry and Ginny are back together, we should encourage it and not discourage it?”

Bill looked at his father, not knowing quite how to answer. “Dad, I’m just stating a problem. Maybe Kreacher can help. He is Harry’s house-elf and he has been a part of these discussions. Kreacher, can you come here please?”

There was a crack, and Kreacher was in the room. Bill asked, “Kreacher, are Harry and Ginny back together?” Kreacher nodded yes. “Should they be together?” Kreacher strongly nodded. “What do we need to do to encourage them?”

“Just keep them together. Old magic will work very quickly, Kreacher thinks,” Kreacher said. There was more discussion on just what various people were going to do during the next 24 hours and, to the surprise of everyone, Kreacher stayed and listened.

Kreacher walked out of the room with Bill and Arthur and said, “Kreacher has Harry’s permission to work with you, Mr. William. He has asked Kreacher to use his own judgment. That is, by far, the hardest order Kreacher has ever been given. Help me to do the right thing, Mr. William.”

“Thank you, Kreacher,” said Bill. “Doing the right thing is often not easy, but you are doing what Harry would want you to do.” Bill was beginning to feel very sorry for the old house-elf. Just obeying orders, especially when you have been bred and charmed to obey orders, was easy. Having to make your own moral and ethical judgments was hard for anybody, but for a house-elf it must be torture. Bill could see why the goblins had gotten Kreacher involved in the Potter estate issues as soon as Harry had killed Tom Riddle; it was probably necessary.

“Keep Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley together,” Kreacher said. “Needs to keep them working together.”

“I think I have a job for them for the next couple of days,” Arthur said. “Of course, the family will have to sleep apart.”

“NO!” Kreacher said. “Dangerous. Family must stay together.”

“He’s probably right,” Arthur said. “I don’t think it’s a really good idea if Ginny’s off by herself right now. It’s still really dangerous out there. Hogwarts is probably safer, but not safe enough.”

Back at Hogwarts, it was about six thirty when the Daily Prophet finally arrived.


Saturday, May 2, 1998






Many details unclear. Hogwarts and the Ministry in chaos. You are asked not to try to go to either place until things are under control. We will have many more details tomorrow. Please excuse us if the next couple of editions are late.

On the front page of the one-page paper, there was the limited amount of information that the paper knew about what Harry, Ron and Hermione had been doing the last months, plus some information on what others had been doing. Little of it was really new. There was also a little information on the Battle of Hogwarts, but the article was very incomplete.

On the back, there was an article from Rita Skeeter about, “The Life and Loves of Harry Potter.” Most of it was a rewriting of her previous articles on the subject. She finished up with, “We can only speculate what Harry Potter and Hermione Granger have been doing these last months. We do not see how Ron Weasley could hold much attraction for Miss Granger. As for poor little Ginny Weasley, who Harry dated briefly last year, it is hard to see how a little witch with such modest skills and looks could compete with all of the witches who are going to be after the Famous Harry Potter.”

Someone gave Harry one of the copies, and he read the front, looked at the Rita Skeeter article on the back but did not read it, and passed the one page newspaper to Ginny. He said, to no one in particular, “They didn’t say enough about Ron or Hermione or any of the rest of you or anybody else. The headline makes it sound like it was mostly me! I hope tomorrow they give others credit.”

“Harry,” Ginny said incredulously, “You were just telling Mum and me how you had to allow Voldemort to kill you, to sacrifice yourself, before he was killed. And then, after you came back you, YOU, you were the one who duelled him and killed him. Yes, other people helped, but give yourself some credit! In the end you did it.”

Harry reminded Ginny “Call him Tom Riddle, not Lord anything, please. He was just a man.” He looked at Ginny and tried to think of something else to say, trying not to be such a big hero, but decided that this was an argument he was probably not going to win, and one red headed female he did not want to be fighting with.

Ginny finally read the last article. It was all Ginny could do to keep from exploding. “Poor little Ginny Weasley…with her modest skills and looks…” Harry Potter was HERS! Ginny was terrified. Already, others were trying to take Harry away from her. How many older, bigger, better looking witches would be after HER Harry? ‘NO! NO! I’ll show them!’ she thought.

George took the paper from Ginny and read the last article. He looked at his sister and at the last sentence in the article and looked at his sister again, looked at her looking at Harry.

George showed the article to Ron and Charlie, and Ron related the scene he had walked in on earlier. They all looked at Ginny and Harry again as the three brothers continued their discussion.

When Ginny was done reading the paper, Harry got up and pulled Ginny up with him. The article had got him thinking and, in response, he went over to Ron and Hermione to have a word. Ron gently woke Hermione up, looking at Harry expectantly.

“We still have a job to do,” Harry said quietly.

Ron nodded as they all looked at each other. Then the two couples left, Ron and Hermione holding hands, Harry and Ginny holding hands.

Molly noticed, as they left, that Ginny seemed to be part of the Harry, Ron, Hermione group, and that they were two couples now. She wondered how long this would last. She thought back to some of the conversations over the last month or so, when Ginny had told her that Harry was the only boy she’d ever loved, that she had had boyfriends but Harry was the only one she could ever see marrying and spending the rest of her life with. Seeing Ginny and Harry together both pleased and worried her. They were so young, about as young as she and Arthur were when they’d become intimate, too young really.

“We need to put the Elder Wand back,” Harry said as he led the way from the room with his three dearest friends in tow.

“What is the Elder Wand?” asked Ginny, as they walked. “And where are we going?”

“To Dumbledore’s tomb,” Harry told her, as the two couples walked through the shattered castle and out onto the grounds. Harry tried to share with Ginny something about the Elder Wand and the part it had played in ending Riddle. The whole story was so complicated that he could only share little bits of it, and in the end he had to promise to tell the entire story from beginning to end. There were a few people around, as they walked and talked, who were trying to clean up and repair the castle, though not many, so they were more or less alone.

The walk to the tomb was through a grassy area that was full of the evidence of the battles that had been raging around the castle. As they were approaching the tomb, Harry continued, “As powerful as this wand is, I don’t want it. Too much death, too many black things are tied to this wand.”

Ron shook his head as his friend’s resolve. “I still think you’re crazy, not keeping the most powerful wand in the world.”

But Hermione piped up in support of Harry, reminding them that, “Dumbledore’s portrait said this is the right thing to do too.”

The tomb was shattered, and Dumbledore’s body was lying exposed. Fawkes the Phoenix was sitting atop the largest fragment of the broken tomb, watching Harry with bright, piercing eyes. Harry put the wand back and re-covered the body with the cloth wrappings. He then touched the edge of the tomb that was left standing and said in a loud voice, “Reparo!” Harry could feel the power emanate from his wand. He had never felt such a powerful spell. In less than a minute, the tomb was repaired, and looked like it had never been broken. Fawkes hovered above the now sealed tomb, seemingly inspecting Harry’s work. Apparently satisfied, he settled back on the restored monument to his former master Dumbledore, shifting his intense gaze to Harry.

Ron and Hermione backed away from Harry, startled by the power behind his spell. Ginny grabbed onto his hand but looked somewhat frightened. Ron looked at the wand in Harry’s hand and, in a quiet voice, said, “Are you sure you put the right wand back in the tomb?”

Harry looked at his wand, feeling a bit surprised himself, but it was the familiar Holly and Phoenix feather wand that he held in his hand. It just felt, not heavier, but different. Harry could never explain the difference. Years later, the closest he could ever come was “It is the same wand, but just more.” Right then, Harry tried to levitate a leaf, and it flew up out of sight. He tried levitating other small things he found lying around, and they did the same. It took nearly ten attempts with the simple spell for him to get some measure of control back.

Harry said, “This is different. I’m going to have to practice using the wand all over again. It feels right, really right, like it is the wand I’ve been using all of these years, but something has changed.”

Hermione said, “Harry, you were doing all the spells without saying anything.”

Harry replied, with a questioning look on his face, “The wand seems to be reading my mind, like it does when I am doing non-verbal spells, but easily. I could get used to this!”

His friends regarded him warily, but Harry simply smiled, pocketed his wand, as though it was an ordinary occurrence, and once again took Ginny by the hand. Harry and Ginny led the way back to the castle, with Ron and Hermione following a short distance behind, quietly talking to each other. Up in the sky, Fawkes flew along with the group as though he belonged.

Harry had his arm around Ginny, and Ginny was holding on to Harry as they walked. Ginny’s hand was roaming over Harry in a sensuous way, which was both pleasant and distracting, but for the moment, Harry was just enjoying it. Just before they entered the front door, Ginny put her arms around Harry’s upper back, pushing her body into him in a way that made Harry very aware that she was bustier than he remembered. His hands roamed from her narrow waist to her bottom, further reminding Harry that Ginny’s figure was even sexier and more enticing than he’d remembered. Ginny was really pushing herself into Harry. Harry was getting worried that this display was too public at least, if not too much too soon. Just as he was getting ready to break it off Ron said, “Harry, quit feeling up my sister. Oh, hi, Dad.”

“Hi, Ron, Hermione, hi, Harry, hello, Ginevra,” said Arthur Weasley, one eyebrow raised.

Ginny backed away from Harry and grabbed his hand but held it at a distance. She knew that tone of voice, and when her dad called her ‘Ginevra’ like that she was usually in trouble.

“Where is the rest of the family?” asked Arthur.

Ron said, “In the Gryffindor common room, I think.”

As they walked into the castle, a boys’ bathroom appeared and Arthur said to Harry, “Come with me, please.” Harry followed, worried that he was going to get a severe talking-to from Arthur.

Arthur turned to verify they were alone as the door closed behind them before turning back to Harry. In a firm but kind voice, he began, “Harry, I’m happy you and Ginny are together, but slow down. I don’t think you can count on that hot-blooded red-head to tell you to slow down, so I’m asking you. Please, do your best. She is not even 17. Please, do your best to slow her down.”

Harry answered, “I thought you were going to bawl me out. I’m sorry.”

Arthur looked at the young man whom he loved as a son, the one who had been through so much, and said, “I think I can trust you to be a gentleman, but Molly is protective of her only daughter and I would not want to get on the her bad side.”

“No, Sir. I don’t either,” Harry assured him, shaking his head in the negative for emphasis.

“Then I have your word, Harry?” Arthur asked.

“Yes, Sir, I will try,” Harry promised, not wanting to make a promise he might not be able to keep.

“That’s all we can ask of you, Harry. And as one man to another, who also loves a passionate red-headed woman, good luck.” Arthur’s expression was one of understanding, but also parental concern and Harry understood the faith being placed in him. Arthur wasn’t sure if he should add anything else, his mind full of what Bill had told him earlier about allowing Ginny and Harry to recapture the love that they’d begun to experience a year ago. It wasn’t easy, especially knowing that Harry was in for a rough time, trying to rein in his high-spirited daughter.

Fawkes had followed Harry into Hogwarts castle, but not into the bathroom. As soon as Arthur and Harry came out of the bathroom, Fawkes spread his wings and left the head of the statue he had been resting on, and continued to follow Harry. The phoenix seldom let Harry out of his sight during the two weeks Harry was at Hogwarts, but remained unobtrusively in the background.

Meanwhile, Ginny followed Ron and Hermione into the Gryffindor common room, followed moments later by Arthur and Harry. Although the rest of the people in the room had finished eating, there was a modest amount of food left. Together, they made short work of it.

Arthur left to speak with Professor McGonagall.

Bill Weasley came bustling into the room, followed by Kreacher. “I have some papers for you to sign,” Bill said, approaching Harry. “I need to handle some financial affairs for you.”

Harry signed about a dozen parchments.

“Do you want to hear about your estate?” Bill asked.

“Now?” a very tired Harry replied. “I’m exhausted. I’m not thinking straight.”

“No needs,” Kreacher said, moving to put a pillow behind Harry’s back and lifting his feet onto a small ottoman that he’d conjured. “Harry Potter needs to rest. William Weasley and Kreacher take care of, if Harry Potter says we can.”

“Please, both of you, take care of all the money stuff,” Harry said, feeling a little uncomfortable over Kreacher’s fawning, but trusting his and Bill’s ability to look after his finances completely.

“Kreacher will do what the noblest Harry Potter, friend of house-elves and goblins, says,” Kreacher replied. “Be fair to everybody?”

“Yes, Kreacher, be fair to everybody, goblins, even house-elves,” Harry said.

“Be fair to house-elves?” Kreacher questioned.

“Yes, Kreacher, be fair to house-elves, including yourself. That’s an order.”

“Subversive!” Kreacher replied, almost in the undertone voice he had used before Harry had given him the locket. “Kreacher obey most noble Harry Potter, friend of house-elves and goblins.”

Arthur returned, just as evening was turning to night. He and Molly went over to a corner, and Harry and Ginny watched as the couple talked, hugged, cried, and then talked some more. When it seemed they’d come to some decision, he called the family together again.

“We are lucky we are not all dead,” he began. He paused a moment, knowing that, like him, they were all thinking about the people that had been lost. “Thank you, Harry, and thanks to all of you. We were so close to losing this war.” Arthur stopped there, to let this revelation sink in. His voice had started to break. His eyes had begun to tear up and he removed his glasses to wipe his face with a handkerchief. It was how he said it, more than the words he’d used, that impressed on everybody just how afraid Arthur had been about losing his whole family to Riddle.

Arthur continued, “We are just beginning to find out how much damage Voldemort and his allies did; most of it before Voldemort was killed but some of it in a brief spasm of violence that occurred afterwards. The amount of death and destruction is staggering, and it ranges far beyond Hogwarts castle.”

“Call him Tom Riddle, please” Harry said to Arthur.

“Oh, yes, Tom Riddle” Arthur said. “Shortly after Harry destroyed Vol … Riddle, Kingsley Shacklebolt approached Percy and me and asked us to come to the Ministry. The Ministry is in terrible shape. Kingsley needed some people he could trust completely right away. Bill was asked to go to Gringotts to make sure Death Eaters were not drawing big amounts of money either out of their personal accounts or out of Ministry accounts, and we have we think stopped the looting of the Ministry.

Way too many of the Death Eaters and their allies escaped right after the battle. Unfortunately, the Ministry does not have enough people to protect Hogwarts or some of the key people that are going to be targets of the escaped Death Eaters. They are really in a desperate shape. Percy and I will be working twelve hours or more a day, seven days a week for at least the next two weeks or more. Also, Minerva is going to need help here, and, if you agree, I’d like to volunteer our extended family to spend the next two weeks here helping out.”

Arthur paused, looking expectantly around at their gathered midst. All seemed to be nodding or otherwise, tentatively in agreement with what he was saying so he went on.

“Thank you,” Arthur said, again having a hard time controlling his emotions. “I cannot begin to explain how desperate our situation is right now. After these two weeks we hope to have support from foreign Auror’s and other foreign help available to us as well, and we hope the situation at Hogwarts will be stabilized.”

Again it seemed that all within the extended Weasley family agreed and understood.

Arthur continued, “Minerva is at the edge of exhaustion. She cannot work 24 hours a day. All of the professors are working together, trying to fix Hogwarts, and so the first need we’ve identified is someone to supervise at night. Molly has agreed to work a night shift, 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Charlie, George, can you also work night shift, guarding the castle and helping in any way you can?”

Charlie and George looked at each other. “Yeah, sure, Dad, anything we can do to help,” Charlie assured him as the two nodded in agreement. Lee Jordan and Angelina Johnson also nodded in agreement and Arthur thought that was probably a good thing, more people, just in case.

Arthur continued, shifting his attention to Ron and Hermione, “Would the two of you be willing to guard the Hogsmeade entrance from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM?” Ron and Hermione looked at each other, and then nodded yes. Arthur then focused on Hermione and asked, “Could you also work with Molly to assign sleeping quarters for Gryffindor? We may have a couple of additional rooms shortly, if they are in good shape.” Hermione agreed.

Arthur then looked at Harry and Ginny and said, “Your job may be the hardest of all. We want you to be at the fireplace in the Great Hall, where most of the people will be arriving and leaving. You will be greeting the people who are going to be coming to pick up bodies. I expect that it will be an emotionally draining job, but, Harry, we think there is no better person than you to do this, and Molly and I feel that Ginny is the best person to support you in this. Are you willing?”

Harry and Ginny looked at each other, squeezed each other’s hands, and nodded yes. Arthur noted that both of them looked worried at the prospect, but determined. He felt bad that he had given them the worst jobs of all, but he knew that both of them were compassionate and would do an extraordinarily good job of it. This had, of course, been discussed at the Ministry, and keeping those two together was certainly an important thing. He rather doubted that Harry and Ginny would have accepted jobs that kept them apart anyway.

Finally, Arthur said to the group, “The last thing we are going to be talking about is sleeping arrangements. Because of the danger to the extended Weasley family, and that includes Harry and Hermione, we want all of us to stay together and with Minerva’s permission, we’ve appropriated the seventh-year boys’ dormitory for the family. We are going to be crammed in there, but we have had to bring a number of terrified families here to Hogwarts to stay because there is no other safe space for them right now.

Bill and Fleur will return to their own house nightly, since it was the only one to never be breached. Everybody needs to be dressed in at least underwear or pyjamas for bed. No sleeping in the same bed. Do you understand?”

Ron and Hermione looked at each other and nodded in agreement. Harry nodded yes and looked at Ginny, who was obviously having some second thoughts about this arrangement.

Molly looked at Ginny and said in a quiet voice, that did not hide the passion in it, “Ginny Weasley, if Harry can be a gentleman, at least you can be a lady! Control yourself!”

“Yes, Mother,” answered Ginny, with a wary look in her eyes.

Arthur looked at his daughter and thought about saying something to her, but decided to let it pass. Arthur knew that there was another reason he was keeping Harry and Ginny together, and that he was playing with fire in doing so. Instead, he said, “Finally, I want to say that Molly and I love you all, Lee, Angelina, Harry and Hermione included, and we are so proud of all of you. We could not ask for a better family.”

Harry was just exhausted. Ginny was too, but she was still terrified. She had a hard time answering ‘yes’ to her parents, partly because she was not quite sure what the sleeping arrangements were going to be. It wasn’t like she was going to jump right into bed with Harry for sex, not that she didn’t want to, but she knew that was hardly possible. How separate did they want them? Maybe it wasn’t right, but Ginny had to admit that, right then, she was terrified of letting Harry out of her sight. ‘Don’t cry, Ginny, don’t cry,’ she kept telling herself. ‘Act like you’re in control.’

Arthur motioned the two couples to follow him upstairs. Once he got there, he looked at the sleeping arrangements. Arthur sat down on one of the middle beds, utterly exhausted. “Once the four of you are down, I will go to bed.”

Hermione and Ginny went into the bathroom to put on pyjamas. Hermione put hers on, and then noticed that Ginny was fussing with hers. She had shortened the pants until there was only an inch of pant-leg left, and was working on the top. She had a scooped neck, and was lowering it and raising it until she was satisfied that it showed enough cleavage, and showed a scar that started above her right breast. She raised the bottom of the top so it showed as much of her middle as she thought she could get away with, and fussed with the top so it would not ride up over her breasts too easily. Sometimes, Hermione was amazed at how much time Ginny could put into looking good, or maybe it was just that Ginny wanted to make the right impression on Harry. Well, if the right impression was to have Harry lust after Ginny, she was on the right track.

Ginny was thinking, ‘I’ve got to show Harry I’m a grown up witch, not a little girl.’ The article in the Prophet still terrified her. ‘I grew up with boys, and you can usually tell when a boy is turned on. Physically, the sign is pretty obvious. Harry, I’ve got nice boobs! They are not all that small! I’ve got a nice butt and a narrow waist and I ought to be able to get you turned on, even without the ‘touch- of- lust’ spell!’

As the two girls came out of the bathroom, Harry noticed that Hermione had on rather modest pyjamas, with long pants and a top that came down well over the top of her pants. It certainly did not hide her feminine shape, but Harry was used to that, after living with her in the tent for most of the last year. Hermione went into one of the beds on one side of Mr. Weasley, taking the bed closest to the door, and then said, “Thank you for fixing up the beds this way, Mr. Weasley. We really appreciate it!”

Ginny went and sat on one of the beds on the other side of Arthur, and motioned for Harry to come over to those beds. She raised her hands over her head and the top rose up, and then put her arms down under her breasts and pushed them up, showing off her shape, and grinned at Harry. He just stared at her. “Ginny, how am I ever going to go to sleep after that?” he whispered. “After what, Harry,” Ginny said coyly, looking down at his pants. Praise Merlin, it seemed to be working.

Harry turned red when he realized where Ginny was looking and took another good look. He had noticed a rather large scar starting a couple of inches above her right breast. “What is that?” he asked, as he lost the physical signs of being turned on.

Ginny replied, a lot of pent up emotion in her voice, “A lot of good it did breaking up with me! Everybody knew I was your girlfriend, Potter’s witch, so I got questioned often and hard. Besides, Neville and I were leading the DA.” At this remark, Ginny had a very proud look on her face. Then, in a much more sombre tone, she added, “They put wands there,” and she pointed out a large spot where the scar started, “and over time that scar developed. Umbridge showed them how to do it so that it hurt and left a scar. I think it’s like the one on your hand,” and she pointed out the scar on Harry’s hand from detentions with Umbridge. There was another curse scar on Ginny’s thigh.

Harry was horrified by looking at the scars. How could he ever make up to Ginny, for what he had put her through? He said, “Oh, Ginny, I’m so sorry! What can I do?”

Ginny answered in a firm voice, “Do - Not - Ever - Leave - Me - Again!! Just treat me as your fairy princess and make me live Happily Ever After.” Ginny leaned over to Harry and gave him a gentle kiss, and then held it for what seemed like forever. Eventually, Harry pointed out that Ginny’s father was watching, and whispered, “We need to get to sleep.” Ginny then slipped into one of the beds, smiling at Harry.

Harry looked at Arthur, who was trying very hard to stay awake. Arthur thought of the discussion at Kingsley’s office this afternoon. He shrugged his shoulders at Harry, almost like, “she is your problem now.” Ever since he saw how the girls interpreted the bedding arrangement, he was thinking of how he could change it to boys on one side and girls on the other, but Hermione had made his task several times more difficult. He had already given Harry a talking-to, and he really did not want to say any more to him. In the end, partly out of sheer exhaustion, he just let Ginny sleep next to Harry and Ron next to Hermione.

Harry shook his head. Ginny was obviously a much more pleasant problem than what he had been facing, but the next weeks were certainly going to get interesting.

Harry stripped down to his boxers at the side of his bed and got into it. Once they were in their beds, Ginny said in a quiet voice, “Are we going to have to meet families of the people killed?”

Harry said, “Oh yes, we are. I did some of that after the duel, and it was hard. I expect tomorrow is going to be even harder. I’m glad you are going to be with me. When your father said that our job was going to be the hardest of all, he was probably right.” Harry and Ginny fell into an uneasy sleep.

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