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The First Year, an Almost Happily Ever After story by Jet LaBarge
Chapter 8 : The Elves Funeral and Harry’s talk with his Mum
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3

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Harry Potter woke up Saturday morning, looked at the ring on his finger and looked over at Ginny. He thought of the last two weeks. Two weeks ago he had no idea if they could complete the tasks Dumbledore had given him, no idea if he would even survive. Not much more than a week ago, he had survived the killing curse the second time, and almost a week ago, about this time, he had defeated Riddle. Then everything started to get complicated, although certainly in a more pleasant way.

He looked at Ginny, beautiful Ginny. Ginny, whom he wanted to be with more than anything else in the world last year; Ginny, who had wanted Harry Potter for half of her life; Ginny, who was so determined to land Harry, especially after that newspaper article. Whoever married Harry Bloody Potter, the hero of …who surely did not feel like any hero, just a survivor…who defeated Riddle…whatever…was going to need to be a strong person. Well, Ginny, like her mother, was a strong person. Is that how he got engaged? Even Harry Bloody Potter was intimidated by his beautiful Ginny. This brought a smile to his lips. It was humbling to know that he could still be intimidated after having defeated the greatest dark wizard of all time.

When Harry got up, Ginny was still sleeping. After nursing Teddy in the wee hours of the morning, she’d gone right back to sleep. It had been a short night. Harry could change nappies twice and hardly wake up, but Ginny was awake for the nursing and usually from the time Harry started to change a nappy until he was done with the last one.

Hermione, however, was up when Harry got up and greeted him enthusiastically.

“Shall we go to see the house-elf monument today Harry?” she suggested, nearly in the same breath as she’d said, “Good morning.”

Harry grinned at his friend. He was hardly awake, but he knew the passion Hermione held for the house-elves. It was somewhat of a surprise that he too was eager to see how it looked.

“Sure, Hermione. No one else is up though. Could it wait until after breakfast?” Harry suggested.

Hermione shrugged. “Okay. Let’s eat first, but if they’re not up by then, they’ll just have to catch up. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” Harry said with a smile, and the two friends went down to the Great Hall, where they breakfasted together. As soon as they were finished, however, Hermione rose from the table, waiting impatiently for Harry to join her. The two made their way out to the grounds, eager to see the space they’d designated as the graveyard and the new monument.

It was just what Harry imagined: black marble with a wide arch and doorway in the middle and two walls coming out from the sides. On the front of one wall were over 2,000 names in elfish, with about 1,500 of them having English names below them. They stood admiring the impressive structure and were there reading all of the names and making plans for the funeral before any of the others awoke.

The elfish language had a different script, well more than a different script. When they talked about it later, Hermione said it looked like some of it was sort of Chinese or Egyptian, and at other times it looked to her like somebody had gotten carried away with different fonts and type styles. The names seemed to be reasonably long.

Aristotle came out. When Hermione asked about the names, she was told that an elfish name was much more than just an arbitrary thing appointed at birth, and that if you knew the language well enough, you could understand relationships and other things. Hermione thought that it reminded her of the way that Native Americans were named, to reflect personalities and roles within the tribe. “Very dangerous showing so much of what we are,” Aristotle said. Looking right at Hermione he said, “Good but not safe. No, not safe at all.”

Harry and Hermione were silent for about half of the walk back. Eventually Hermione said to Harry, “So you and Ginny are engaged. You really asked her yesterday?”

Harry looked a little embarrassed. “Well,” he said and then took a deep breath. “Bill is telling the truth about how much the Ministry needs the money. Several people have taken me aside and told me that I am very lucky to have someone as smart and honest as Bill Weasley working on my finances. And Mr. Weasley asked me about my intentions after I proclaimed that I was going to try to take Riddle’s estates. I said I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Ginny, and I knew the Ministry would be helped if Bill was my brother-in-law, but that everything was moving too fast. Mr. Weasley, Dad Weasley, gave me permission to ask Ginny.”

“You are avoiding the question, Harry,” Hermione mock-sternly said.

“Well, she put this ring on my finger,” said Harry showing his ring, “and then gave me the other ring and made sure I knew she wanted me to put it on her, and when I did she thanked me and sort of assumed we were engaged. I … I … What was I going to do? Tell her that I didn’t want to marry her? The Ministry wants us married so Bill can handle all the estate and money issues, and I surely don’t want to mess with finances. And I do love Ginny.” Harry looked at Hermione. “I thought her mother would kill us! I’m amazed we got away with it.”

“Are you happy you’re engaged?” Hermione asked.

“Sure!” Harry exclaimed, honestly. “Stunned and everything is happening too fast but Ginny and me, that’s fantastic. How are you and Ron doing?”

“I can’t believe it, how considerate he is trying to be. He really is trying to please me. He makes me laugh, keeps me from being too serious.” Hermione took a big breath, looked at Harry and said, “Life IS a lot better.”

As hectic and complicated as things were, Harry had to agree with her.

Ginny woke up shortly after Harry had left for the Great Hall with Hermione. Teddy was making some pleasant noises. She felt the nursing bra; it was almost out of Tonks’s duplicated breast milk, and Ginny knew she was going to have to make some more before Teddy decided he needed to nurse. ‘I think Harry can get up and change nappies and go right back to sleep,’ she thought. ‘I’m not even sure he’s awake when he is changing Teddy’s nappies, not if they are just wet. I definitely can’t sleep when I’m nursing.’ She picked up Teddy and felt the nappy. It was dry! Angelina and George were in the room, and Angelina looked sort of awake, so Ginny went over and asked, “Could you watch Teddy while I make some more milk and go to the loo?”

“No problem. I’d love to watch the little tyke,” said Angelina.

Ginny went to the loo and then got out the bottle with what was left of Tonks’s breast milk. She put in the proper amount of water and formula and said the spell that changed the formula into a duplicate of Tonks’s milk. She then said the spell that sent most of the breast milk into the bra.

Looking at her ring, Ginny thought, ‘I don’t need the Touch-of-Lust spell today; I need a Touch-of-Sleep spell. She thought this was going to be the second day in a row that she refrained from using the spell, although she was not totally sure why she did not want to use it. Fatigue had as much to do with it as anything, although the ring certainly helped. Ginny thought that Teddy had been up more that night than ever before, and she was seriously short of sleep. There were some really nice things about taking care of a newborn, but a good night’s sleep was NOT one of them.

Ginny had been awake for just over an hour, thinking how amazed she was that she had gotten the engagement ring on her finger, while she finished preparations in the loo before her next nursing session with Teddy. She briefly considered sleep as he finished, until Teddy made it very clear that he was not ready for sleep. Gradually, hunger overcame tiredness for Ginny, and she took the baby downstairs with her to get some breakfast.

By the time Ginny was done eating, Harry and Hermione appeared in the Great Hall too, having finished making the arrangements for the Elves funeral.

Ginny saw Harry and Hermione come into the Great Hall. “I’m not even engaged twenty four hours and you’re already out with another woman,” Ginny said in mock anger, leaning her cheek up for a kiss.

“A mighty beautiful woman too,” Ron jumped in, earning himself a lovely blush from the witch under discussion. Then, in a loud aside to Harry, he added, “I’m glad you’re engaged to someone else or I’d be jealous.”

Hermione laughed. Ron got up and hugged Hermione, and they passionately kissed. Molly was sitting at the table. She cleared her throat and said, “There are other people at the table, Ronald.”

“Oh,” said Ron, looking intently at Hermione. “I hadn’t noticed.” Then looking at his mother Ron said, “Sorry, Mum, but I was such an idiot ignoring Hermione the last seven years that I’d better make it up to her now.”

“Oh, you are going to spend years making up to me, Ronald dear,” Hermione said with a superior smile, and Ron got a mock horrified look on his face.

Harry sat down next to Ginny and they lightly kissed, certainly more chastely than Ron and Hermione had done. Then they turned to Molly, Ginny with a superior ‘I’m better than my brother’ smile on her face. For Ron and Hermione’s benefit, Molly pointedly said, “Good morning, my children who are engaged and who deem it fit to behave themselves.”

Harry said, “Er, thanks, Mum?”

He leaned over to kiss Molly’s cheek in greeting, and she smiled fondly at how he had addressed her. “You’re such a respectful son,” she said approvingly.

“Aw, Mum, he’s always been your favorite. Why pretend any different?” complained Ron, albeit half-heartedly and with a grin that indicated his approval of Harry’s inclusion in the family.

“She has good taste,” said Ginny, rubbing Harry’s knee under the table.

“That’s because I’m the black sheep, so she has to take my side in things,” said Harry knowingly, and he pointed to his hair to make his point.

They all enjoyed a good chuckle, even Molly. She sobered first though, and much more seriously said, “We really ought to start working on some wedding plans at some point soon. There’s very little time for us to get everything organized.”

Harry choked on his cereal. While pounding him on the back, Ginny said, “You’re right. There is quite a lot to do. Maybe Kreacher can get us some bridal magazines to look at.”

Harry decided that this funeral ought to be covered by the Daily Prophet and called for Fawkes to find Cindy Base. Arthur and Michael had to get back to work, but the rest of the family went out to the Elf graveyard. The service was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM. Just before it was to begin, Cindy Base showed up with a photographer. She went over to Ginny and asked her what was going on. Cindy was usually a very good reporter, but for some reason she was terrified of Harry Potter, and had a very hard time asking him anything. Ginny tried to explain as best she could but told Cindy that she really needed to talk to Harry or Hermione, who had organized everything.

Aristotle showed up with what must have been all of the house-elves at Hogwarts, over a hundred of them. One of the house-elves being buried was named Twinkle. Her mate was at her side, and two elves carried her. “It’s English for her elfish name, because her eyes always twinkled. I’ll miss those eyes,” said her mate with tears in his own eyes.

Hermione looked at the rather long name and thought that there was more to that name than just “Twinkle” but kept her thoughts to herself.

Harry was approached by another elf. “My pappy did not have a name except for his elf name, but if you agree we would like to call him Dobby after the hero elf who saved your life,” the elf said, looking up hopefully.

“I would like that,” said Harry. “Put on the monument that he is named after the Dobby who saved my life, please.” Aristotle agreed to the request.

The elves had two shovels, and Harry and Hermione went to the spot Aristotle indicated and started to dig the graves.

When Harry looked up, he saw more and more house-elves appearing. To his great surprise, Grabhook and Hammering had shown up to witness the funeral, along with a large number of goblins. Grabhook had the sword with him, and he smiled approvingly at Harry.

Once the graves were done, the elves gently laid the bodies in the graves. Aristotle looked at Harry, and he began the speech that he’d worked on with Ginny, Hermione and Ron. They’d gone over every word, to make sure that everything was said in the best way possible. In fact, they had put in the same amount of effort to this that they had for the news conference. “We are gathered here to honor the two brave house-elves who lost their lives in order to help us defeat Tom Riddle and his Death Eaters. No one had ordered them to do so. No one had asked them to do so. But when given the choice of whether to fight or to hide, they chose to fight. They chose to defend Hogwarts and the world that they lived in. We honor them because they did what was right, not what was easy. They deserve the same level of respect as anyone who fought in this war.

Twinkle, who was named for her twinkling eyes, will be missed by her mate, who dearly loved her. I’m afraid that I can’t pronounce the name for the other house-elf who was killed since it’s in Elfish. But his son asked that we call him Dobby, to honor the house-elf that I freed many years ago, who was killed a few weeks ago as well. That Dobby rescued my friends and me, during one of our most difficult times. He saved our lives, without regard to his own safety.

Let us have a minute of silence to contemplate these two brave and worthy house-elves who gave their lives so that we all might have a better world.”

Harry waited for the full minute, his eyes closed and his mind on the two elves. Then he looked out at the crowd, which seemed to have grown exponentially. Everyone’s heads were bowed reverentially. He cleared his throat discretely. “With this moment, we also honor all of the house-elves who have served Hogwarts for so many generations. They received no recognition from wizards. They got no thanks from the masters that they served. They took care of the wizards’ most precious commodity, the children. It’s time that we gave them the gratitude and respect that they have so arduously earned, with no expectation of award. We hope this monument is but the first of many things that will give the house-elves of Hogwarts and all of the house-elves the thanks and respect they deserve.”

Hermione then took up the mantle and said, “No house-elf should have to die and be discarded like a piece of property. We hope that this graveyard will be a model for how house-elves should be treated. This graveyard should be open to any house-elf who wants to be buried here.”

Harry looked around again and very quietly said, “Aristotle, how many house-elves are here?”

“125,256, almost every house-elf in world, sir. All decided to come, even if owners wanted them do something else. Are giving house-elves too much. Is terrible gift, Harry Potter. House-elves only had to obey, no freedom, no judgment. Now we has to decide rights from wrongs. Not easy. Most house-elves not accept this gift.”

“Just because we put the names on the monument in Elfish?” asked Harry.

Aristotle thought for a moment and said, “Is combination: Monument, Elfish, what you do with Kreacher, marker for Dobby, everything. Many other things happening. Free house-elves in North America. Many changes. Scary.”

“Did we do the wrong thing, Aristotle?” asked Harry, noticing how many of the house-elves displayed the signs of self-torture that had become familiar to him. There were bandaged fingers, black eyes and a fair amount of bleeding amongst many of them.

Aristotle replied, “No, Harry Potter. You is doing the right thing. Is house-elves’ problem.”

“It’s all of our problem” Harry insisted.

Aristotle looked surprised by that pronouncement. “Maybe so, Harry Potter, maybe so.”

Most of the other house-elves vanished, but there was a small group that was taking some time to move. It looked like there were eight injured or sick house-elves, and a like number taking care of them.

Hermione asked, “Were all of them hurt in the Battle?”

“Half,” answered Aristotle.

“And the other half?” Hermione asked.

Aristotle looked around. Cindy, the reporter from the Prophet, was there. “Cannot tell!” Aristotle exclaimed.

Cindy said, “Whatever the story, if it needs to be kept private, I will not write about it. I will pretend that I was not here.”

Aristotle looked uncomfortable, but continued. “Sometimes house-elves sick or hurt and owners give them freedom just so owners do not have to take care of them. Easier than killing them. Professor Dumbledore let them come here. Professor McGonagall says we may keep doing same. Just not so good medicine for house-elves.”

Fleur walked up to the group with a witch and two house-elves. “I ‘ave ‘ouse-elf ‘ealers I told you I would try to get, Aristotle,” she said. “Zey are from ze only house-elf medical center in ze world, in North America. They will work ‘ere, and then I am going to try to get them on ze staff of St. Mungo’s.”

“That’s fantastic!” Hermione said. Looking at Aristotle she commented, “Changing the magic? Maybe a good thing?”

Kreacher, who was also there, grinned and said, “Oh, very subversive. One house-elf owned by Harry Potter, very subversive. Many, many subversives!”

“Many, many dangers,” Aristotle said, nodding in agreement with Kreacher.

“More money and documents, Arry,” Fleur apologized, as she brought out a batch of papers. “Arry Potter foundation to pay.”

Harry looked at Ginny, who was right next to him. “It is going to be our money, not just mine,” he said. “It ought to be the Harry and Ginny Potter Foundation.”

“I will make ze shanges” Fleur replied. “Arry et Geenny Potter Foundation.”

The other house-elves and goblins all vanished within about five minutes. Aristotle and the house-elves went back to the castle, as did most of the staff and visitors who had assembled. Soon only Harry, Ginny and Teddy, Ron and Hermione and Cindy Base with the photographer, were all who were left. Cindy interviewed them all, collecting background information on Dobby and how he had saved Harry’s life. She promised to owl Harry and Hermione with a draft of the article before it was published.

The assembled group went back into the Hogwarts Great Hall for lunch. Harry sat with the extended Weasley family, while Cindy went around the hall, talking to other people. After the meal, Ron and George went off to talk by themselves. Teddy was fussy, and Ginny announced that she and Hermione were going up to the dorm room to feed Teddy, put him down for a nap and talk.

“Can I come?” Angelina asked when she heard what they were going to do. “I could use some girl-talk time myself.”

“Of course,” Hermione assured her with a glance at Ginny. “It is okay, isn’t it?”

“It’s okay if you don’t mind my feeding Teddy and changing his nappies while we talk.”

“I don’t mind at all,” Angelina laughed, and the three young women left the room.

Harry and Molly were the only ones left at the table when Cindy approached Harry, saying, “Thank you, Mr. Potter, for inviting me to the ceremony with the elves! It was so amazing!”

Harry answered, “You’re welcome, Cindy. Please call me Harry.”

Cindy turned red and shyly said, “Yes sir, Mr. Potter.”

He insisted, “Harry, please.”

Cindy looked embarrassed and a little frightened and said, “Oh, Mr. Potter, sir, I’ve never met anyone as important as you. My parents are lower class Muggles: my dad works in a factory and my mum at a greengrocer. They taught me to always respect my betters. I could never address someone so important as you, someone who has been famous and important his whole life, by his first name.”

Harry asked, “How long have you been a reporter, Cindy? I don’t remember you from Hogwarts. You must have met some important people in your career.”

Cindy said, “I was sent to school at the Salem Academy in the U.S. because of all of the dangers to Muggle-borns here. When I graduated a year ago, I had an offer for a job at the Daily Prophet, but then the Ministry fell and I was told to stay in the U.S. After you defeated Voldemort, the Prophet contacted me and offered me a job. I was in Tom Timmerman’s office when your Patronus arrived, and as soon as he got back, he said to me, ‘You have your first assignment. Stay close to Harry Potter and his friends and come back every day with stories.’ Ginny and most of your friends are easy to talk to, but sorry, sir, I am still afraid of you. You have always been famous and powerful and I have never been important.”

Harry said, “How much do you know of my history? I definitely did not feel important and powerful when I spent the first eleven years of my life living in a closet under the stairs at my aunt’s house, wearing my cousin’s hand-me-down clothes, no friends, never a toy to call my own.”

Cindy replied, “I never knew that, sir.”

Harry told Cindy, “Things got better after I got to Hogwarts except that I spent the last seven years with someone trying to kill me, someone who was killing my best friends. Every few months the students and Wizarding community would change their minds as to whether I was a hero or a mad delinquent. I still don’t feel all that powerful or special. I had so much help, and I wish other people would share much more of the credit. Cindy, do me a favor and write more about Ron and Hermione, Ginny, Neville and all of the other good people who were so brave and did so much to bring down Riddle.”

Cindy answered, “Yes, sir, Mr. Potter.”

Harry insisted, “It’s Harry, please.”

Finally, Cindy said, “Yes sir, Ha – Ha – Harry sir. Oh, H-Harry, congratulations on your engagement! Ginny told me. I think I need to put it in the paper to make the record accurate.”

Harry agreed to publishing news of the engagement.

Cindy went off to talk to other people, and Harry turned to Molly. “Am I really that scary, Mum?”

Molly looked at Harry and said, “I might ask you if I am really that scary, Harry.”

Harry thought about that for a few moments and said, “Your sons are still scared of you. I’m not sure if Ginny is.”

Molly shook her head and said, “Ginny! She isn’t scared of things she should be scared of.”

Harry asked, “Like taking care of Teddy?”

Molly answered, “Like taking care of Teddy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Harry asked, “How do you feel about her nursing Teddy? Is she too young to be a mother?”

Molly replied, “Arthur and I got married young, and because of that I ended up counseling a lot of very young mothers. The youngest turned 16 the month after she gave birth. It’s not easy being a young mother.”

“And nursing?” asked Harry.

“Well, I don’t really approve of bottles,” said Molly, wrinkling her nose in disgust. “Not natural at all. But nursing keeps Ginny tied to Teddy, and she is just so young.”

Harry then asked, “How old were you when you got married? How old were you when you had Bill?”

Molly said, “Arthur was 18 and I was 17 when we got married.”

Harry looked at Molly with a questioning look, and asked, “Did you graduate from Hogwarts at 17?”

Molly took a little time to answer, looking down at the floor and then back at Harry. “Well, no. . . Harry, I might as well tell you the whole story. You’re going to find out eventually, and you might as well hear it from me. Arthur was a year ahead of me at Hogwarts. He graduated June of 1970. I was in my sixth year. We got married that June, and Arthur took the first job he could at the Ministry. None of the jobs he has had ever paid well; the politics of the Ministry always worked against him. Plus being in the Order, he felt he could not make waves, in the last few years. He is making 50% more than now as he has ever made! And then Bill was born six months later, and no, he was not early.” There was an awkward pause. “Harry, this is hard for me to talk about,” said Molly with just a slight hint of embarrassment or even panic on her face.

Harry just looked at Molly, trying to be as compassionate as possible.

Molly then said, “Harry, it was not the first time, but please don’t ask me any more. You’re too close to the age we were. You’re engaged to Ginny, who is probably as eager as I was, and from all I can see you are trying to do the right thing. Well, I never went back to Hogwarts. That’s probably why I want Ginny to have her last year and graduate, why it was so hard that the twins never finished. I had my hands full trying to raise a family that kept getting bigger and bigger on a paycheck that never seemed to be enough. If I am good at magic, it is because I’ve had to be. Every used or broken thing we could get our hands on had to be transformed, stretched and made to do the work of ten non-magical things.

I never regretted having any of the children. I wanted them all and love being the mother of a big family. When the time is right, I am sure I will like being a grandmother. For all of the struggles, we have had a good life. With Voldemort gone, maybe we can go on to have a much better life without that threat hanging over us.”

“At least you have the Burrow,” said Harry.

Molly answered, tears starting to form, “Harry, we don’t even own the Burrow. We rent a couple of acres, and the rest is owned by an absentee landlord that we have never met, who lets us use it.”

Harry, who already knew some of the answer, asked, “How did you get it?”

Molly said, getting control of her emotions, “Dumbledore arranged for us to meet a property agent just before we got married. He said the owners wanted to rent and eventually sell land to poor witches and wizards.”

“But you had to build the house and shed,” Harry prompted.

“Yes,” said Molly. “The best wizarding houses are like your house at 12 Grimmauld Place, built sort of Muggle-like but strengthened and modified by magic. We never had any money to build anything except by magic. Arthur is really worried about The Burrow. He cannot get any indication that the fireplace is still connected to the Floo Network or that it even exists.”

To get her mind off of the possible state of her home, Harry then said, “I know who owns the property, Mum … Mum … Mother.”

Harry looked at Molly, who looked back at him. There was something about the way he was speaking, full of love and emotion, which clearly touched her.

Harry lost his train of thought then and said, “Do you have any idea how good it is too call you Mum? It feels so good to be part of a loving family. I really am lucky. We may not have a fairy tale Happily Ever After ending, but life is still good.” Harry had never had a person he could call mum, whom he could talk to as a mother. Aunt Petunia was never really a mother to him, never wanted Harry to call her mum or mother. In fact, she’d been quite vehement in reminding him that she was only his aunt and had not exactly volunteered to take care of him.

Molly, in a questioning voice and with a puzzled look in her face, said, “You sound like Ginny with the Happily Ever After.”

Harry followed up with, “She told me a little about Happily Ever After. I didn’t follow her script, her dream ending. I defeated Riddle on Saturday and did not marry her in a big fairy tale wedding on Sunday.”

Molly smiled and sort of thought out loud, “She did like those Muggle fairy tales. The books were old and worn, but they were the best we could afford. We didn’t have any little girl books when Ginny was born, and Arthur found those thrown out, and we repaired them. Ginny had, maybe still has, six little dolls that I charmed out of the chaff of some wheat. They could be transformed into whatever character she wanted. One was usually Harry Potter and another was Ginny. The others were a constantly changing cast of characters. And she would have Brave Harry Potter slay the wicked wizard, well usually she and Harry Potter would slay the wicked wizard together.”

Harry and Molly both laughed at this. “She never was much of the helpless princess type,” Harry said. “That’s one of the things I love about her, how tough she is.”

Molly replied, “Well, no, she’s never been much for the helpless princess role. She is a girl and really wants to be married, so after she had helped in the battle, her doll and the Harry Potter doll would kiss and the next thing you knew there was a big wedding and she would live Happily Ever After. Sometimes the Happily Ever After would have a doll transformed to be very small, a baby. Lots of times Happily Ever After was the end of the game.

Well, then she met the real Harry Potter. When you were dating, she told me, ‘the real Harry Potter is a lot nicer than the hero in my dreams. My dream Harry was always strong and brave, but he was not always gentle and good.’ The real Harry Potter is the person Ginny is in love with, the one we all love. Most girls want to marry someone who will be a good father. When you talk to Teddy, hold him and change him, I’m sure Ginny made a good choice.”

This sudden endorsement of Harry took him by surprise, and he did not know what to say. His throat felt tight and his eyes seemed suspiciously moist. He finally said, “Thank you, Mum. Your approval and trust means the world to me.”

They were quiet for a brief while. Then Molly said, “You said you knew who owned the Burrow.”

Harry said, “I do.”

Molly asked, “Who is it?”

Harry answered, “The Potter estate. I own the property now.”

Harry was very quiet. He knew what he wanted to do, but was not sure how to approach it. Molly looked like she was pondering this revelation, but she did not say anything either. Finally Harry said, “Remember the parchment that came along with the rings? It and documents attached to the property have said that if we want a happy marriage, if we want a happy life, then I have to be, we have to be generous with our wealth. The property was supposed to be given to you years ago. But my parents died, and I was not of age yet. You need a nice house and whatever it takes, I’m going to make sure you get it. That’s where Ginny and I will bring our children to see their grandmother and grandfather, so it’s not like it’s all just charity. It’s to our advantage as well.”

Molly hid a smile. She enjoyed his sneaky way of forcing her to accept the offer. She said, “I hope the Burrow is intact, but thank you for your offer. Could you build a couple of classrooms? Is there extra property that you could rent or sell to Rosemary and Michael? I have been talking to Rosemary about home schooling the six children, and I may be helping her if we can work it out.”

Harry said, “Bill is already working on it. You’re ready for small children?”

Molly answered, “They’re not that little, but yes, I miss having children underfoot.”

Harry asked, “Mum, what is going to happen to Teddy when Ginny goes back to school?”

Molly said, “I’m not sure, but I expect Andromeda will either move in with us so that we can share taking care of Teddy or I will end up taking care of him. Plus, you and Ginny will have plenty of time on weekends and holidays to give us a break. I want Ginny to have a good year at school, but she is not going to just walk away from Teddy!”

“I know I could never walk away from Teddy. Not after losing my parents and so many other people,” said Harry vehemently.

“Teddy needs some more clothes,” said Molly timidly.

“Anything he needs you can get. Tell Kreacher and he will get the money. I will give you money to shop for Teddy. Please, let me pay for everything,” said Harry.

“Thank you, Harry-… Son,” said Molly. “It will mean a lot to Andromeda to know that Teddy is going to be taken care of.”

Harry eventually excused himself and went up to find Ginny. She, Hermione and Angelina were still talking. Harry lay down and almost immediately fell asleep for a short nap.

Ginny decided how she was going to answer the letters from witches interested in Harry. She included a copy of the newspaper photograph showing Harry, Ginny and Teddy Potter. The letter said:

“Dear So-and-So,

Thank you for your letter. Harry Potter is indeed the kindest, most wonderful wizard in the world. He and I are very busy right now.


Harry’s Ginny”

Ginny was not going to tell those witches that she and Harry were not married yet. By the time they found out, maybe she and Harry would be married! All of the other witches who wanted her Harry were going to have to go through her! Ha! Ginny was still a little shocked that she’d got away with getting the engagement ring on her finger.

Ginny was tired the rest of the day, but she wanted to get all of the letters from witches that wanted HER Harry answered. As soon as she answered a letter, she destroyed the original. Ginny also made sure that all of the photographs were destroyed.

Harry spent the rest of the day answering mail as well, although in his case some of the letters contained difficult questions from people at the Ministry, most of them about Death Eaters, or if someone was a Death Eater, sympathizer or a person just trying to not get killed. Some of them were very difficult to answer, especially since he didn’t know every witch and wizard in England, despite his connection to Voldemort.

Shortly before dinner, Molly came over to Ginny and said, “I need a little time with you alone, women’s things.”

Ginny was very nervous, but she got up and left with her mother. About an hour later, she was back with a small package in her hand.

“What are those?” asked Harry.

“Birth control potions,” Ginny said, pondering the package and feeling rather shocked. “Mum said I’d better get used to using them, so that when we are married, I won’t forget and get pregnant before we want to have a baby.”

Ginny got her typical snarky look, gave Harry a long-lasting kiss, and with a huge smile, said, “I bet Mum doesn’t think we will be able to wait until August 11th!”

“I’m going to try my hardest,” Harry said, looking very serious. “Your dad trusts me.”

“Well, Mum doesn’t trust me,” Ginny replied offhandedly. She wriggled her eyebrows provocatively and added, “Probably with good reason!” She looked at the birth control potions again and smiled at Harry.

Harry thought, ‘Arthur warned me about passionate red-headed women. Ginny’s ready to have sex at any time, and it is going to be my job to make us wait.’ Harry was torn between his raging hormones, unknown to him augmented by Ginny’s Touch-of-Lust spell, and his desire to be faithful to the promises he had made to Arthur, his soon to be father-in-law. He was sure Molly wanted them to wait too. Just one more difficult situation.

The next morning, about 3:00 AM the entire Weasley clan was awakened by a Patronus asking for help at the Hogsmeade entrance. Harry told Ginny to stay with Teddy, and the rest of the family rushed out of the castle to the entrance.

The wards that protected the castle were under attack, but holding. Spells usually did not work across the wards in either direction, but Harry cast a powerful spell right through the wards, knocking out a couple of the attackers. At this, the attack was broken off, and all of the attackers vanished, taking the two knocked-out wizards with them. Less than an hour later, everyone was back in the dorm to try to get some sleep.

Ginny was awake and furious. “I hated having to stay behind!” she fumed.

Harry apologetically answered, “You had to stay with Teddy, Ginny. It was your choice to become his surrogate mother, and I love you for it. I’m sorry you could not be with us.”

Ginny mumbled to herself and tried to get back to sleep. But the commotion had awakened Teddy. Between watching and playing with him and fuming about not going with the rest of the family Ginny was awake another two hours.

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