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Chapter 26 : Chapter 26: Family's important
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McGonagall sent a reply to Harry the next day, confirming she’d let out Hermione and Ginny for a weekend, and they agreed on Friday the ninth of October. The two girls spent the night at Grimmauld Place, although Harry privately thought he and Ron couldn’t have been much company-Gawain had been working the entire office round the clock in order to prepare for the planned assault on Grindelwald’s headquarters at Malfoy Manor. As a result, the two Aurors were almost fast asleep on the sofas when the girls arrived.
“It’ll be worth it,” Hermione told them firmly, once she’d listened to them complain. “Imagine if you capture him!”
“Just because it’s worth it doesn’t make it any easier,” Ron grumbled. “I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since we rescued Dedalus.”
“I’ve forgotten what it feels like to wake up when it’s light,” Harry said in a hollow voice.
“Aw sweetie,” said Ginny sympathetically. “Hopefully it’ll be over soon.”
“Hopefully,” Harry said, although for some reason, he didn’t really believe it.
The entire Weasley family, along with Fleur, Angelina, Lee Jordan, Harry, and Hermione, as well as Percy’s new girlfriend Audrey and Andromeda and Teddy were all crammed around the table in the garden. As ever, Mrs Weasley had lain on a truly magnificent spread, and by the end, everyone was stuffed. Finally, after everyone had eaten, a slightly nervous looking George tapped a glass with his spoon to get everyone’s attention. Even Teddy, who was on Harry’s knee pulling his hair, stopped to listen.
“Right,” George began, clearing his throat. “As you know, it was me who called you all here today. So a quick thanks to Mum for making us all this great dinner.” He shot a quick wink at Molly, who beamed at him. “Now, naturally there is a reason, and not just because I miss you all.” He took a deep breath before taking the plunge. “Everyone, I’m getting married,” he finished, taking Angelina’s hand, who turned a deep shade of pink. There was a stunned silence for a moment, before Charlie broke it.
“Well, let me be the first to congratulate you,” he said, grinning and leaning across the table to shake his brother’s hand.
“Thanks Charlie,” said George, shaking it.
“Oh GEORGIE!” cried Molly, leaping up from her seat and crushing George into a hug. “I’m so pleased. We’ll have to organise a wedding again, we’ll have it here of course?”
“I suppose,” said George weakly, and Harry noticed he didn’t quite meet his mother’s eyes. “If that’s alright with you, Angelina,” he said pointedly.
“Of course,” she replied, grinning at him. “My Mum and Dad will help, Molly.” George rolled his eyes in exasperation.
“We’ll go to dinner with them,” Arthur replied. “Congratulations son,” he added warmly, hugging George. “This calls for Firewhiskey!”
“Arthur…” Molly said warningly.
“Come on Mum,” said Charlie, summoning a large bottle from the house. “This is a legitimate reason to celebrate!”
“Everything is a legitimate reason to celebrate for you Charles Weasley,” Molly replied accusingly, poking him in the chest. “But I suppose you’re right this time,” she sighed. “Any more announcements then?” she said sarcastically, pouring herself a glass of Firewhiskey.
“Well actually,” said Ron slowly, getting to his feet.
“You’re joking!” Bill said, his jaw dropping.
“Really?” said Arthur, his mouth agape.
“No!” Molly shrieked.
“You all have so much faith in me,” Ron grumbled sarcastically. “I asked Hermione to marry me.” This time, the silence was even longer. Half the family gawked at Ron, until Ginny spoke up.
“Congratulations, I’m proud of you,” she said, and hugged him tightly. Ron looked surprised by her display of affection, but returned it.
“You owe me five galleons Gin,” said George cheerfully, grinning at her.
“OH RONNY!” Molly yelled, knocking George and Charlie aside and almost rugby tackling her youngest son to the floor. “I never thought you’d do it!”
“Thanks Mum!” Ron said indignantly.
“He had to use half my Firewhiskey,” said Harry huffily.
“Git,” Ron muttered darkly as Mrs Weasley moved away to fuss over Hermione.
“Don’t use my bed then,” Harry replied, winking. Ron snorted with laughter.
“To Ron and Hermione! And to George and Angelina!” Charlie said boisterously, raising his glass. The toast was echoed around the table, and everyone drank. Charlie refilled the glass and poured everyone another shot. “Anything else we’d like to toast?”
“To Harry and Ron, the best Aurors in the department!” George said cheekily. There was a fair amount of laughter, and Harry and Ron blushed furiously, but they drank all the same.
“To family!” Arthur toasted on the next round, and once again the cry was echoed on all sides. Pretty soon, there were a few swaying bodies. Harry soon found himself sat next to Arthur, who was looking a little worse for wear.
“So Harry,” he said, his voice slightly slurred. “When are you going to be my son in law?”
“Oh!” said Harry in surprise, looking around quickly for Ginny. She was dancing with Charlie by the old wireless George had brought out, a fair way from where Harry was sitting. “Well…I haven’t…I don’t know,” he admitted.
“She loves you,” Arthur told him, nodding his head sagely. “We all do,” he added kindly. “I see you as a seventh son.”
“Thanks, Arthur,” Harry said quietly. “It means a lot.”
“Take your time Harry,” Arthur said calmly. “You’ll know when the time is right. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my wife needs a dance.” And with that, he leapt up, spun Molly around and began to dance a rather energetic dance, far more so than he’d looked capable of. Harry had to say, he was quite impressed.
“Would you like to dance, Mr Potter?” whispered a voice in his ear.
“I’d love too, Miss Weasley,” he replied, grabbing her waist and lowering her. She giggled furiously, and they almost ran over to join everyone else to dance to the Weird Sister’s Dance Like A Hippogriff.
“Oh Jesus Christ,” Ron mumbled the next morning. Looking around, he noticed he’d somehow managed to return to Grimmauld Place’s living room.
“Morning sunshine,” said Harry cheerfully. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Mhm,” Ron said feebly. “What happened?”
“After we dropped the girls off back here, we snuck back out with your brothers and got very drunk at the Leaky Cauldron. Charlie’s here too, I just haven’t found him yet,” Harry explained.
“How come you look so radiant?” Ron grumbled, propping himself up on his elbows.
“Sirius had a little hangover remedy in his bedroom drawer,” Harry replied. “Finders keepers.”
“So have you come to gloat or what?” Ron grumbled, his vision still blurry.
“No, but it is quite fun,” Harry replied, grinning. “I came to tell you Hermione’s woken up and I told her you were making her breakfast.”
“Thanks,” Ron said sarcastically.
“Would you rather tell her where you were last night?” Harry said, raising his eyebrow. “Come on, I’ll help.”
“Can’t we get Kreacher to do it?” Ron moaned as they trudged through. “Oh, hey Charlie.” Charlie gave an incomprehensible moan from the kitchen floor and went back to sleep. “Somebody had a rough night,” Ron observed.
“He sure did,” Harry agreed. “And I think Hermione can tell the difference between our cooking and Kreacher’s, don’t you?” Harry said, chuckling. “Now what does she like-oh shit.” A large silver dog bounded into the room.
“Not today,” moaned Ron.
“Emergency situation,” said Gawain’s patronus. “Need you all here, bring brooms.” This was followed by a set of coordinates.
“Great,” Ron snapped. “I’ll never be able to jinx someone in this state.”
“Here,” said Harry, tossing him a bottle. “I lied.”
“You really are a bastard sometimes, do you know that?”
“I try. Our brooms are at The Burrow, we’ll have to take the bike.”
“Potter, what in Merlin’s name is that?” Robards asked as Harry skidded the enormous Triumph along the wet beach.
“My Godfather’s flying motorbike,” Harry said proudly. “I didn’t enchant it,” he added quickly.
“Good,” Robards said gruffly. “It’ll have to do.” He turned to the rest of the Aurors. It looked like the entire department bar Dedalus was there, as he was still recovering in a secure ward at Saint Mungo’s. “We’ve received a distress call from Azkaban. No details were given, but it was a red alert, hence I’ve called you in. Stay in Arrowhead formation, and keep your eyes open. Alright people, let’s move!” He roared, rising quickly into the air.
“Have we got enough room to take off?” Ron asked nervously, his arms tight around Harry’s waist.
“Course we have,” Harry said reassuringly, kicking the bike’s kick start. It thundered into life, an ear splitting noise on the almost silent beach. He revved the engine a little first before slotting the bike into gear and opening the throttle wide. The entire machine shook as it took off, before riding smoothly through the air.
“I preferred the car,” Ron whimpered.
“I haven’t crashed the bike into a tree yet,” Harry reminded him, twisting his wrist to catch up with the others, slotting neatly into the arrowhead formation, just behind Neville. “It’s a little more comfortable than a broom, I reckon.
“Maybe a little,” Ron admitted. “Does the dragonfire thing still work.”
“I’m not trying it here,” Harry replied. “I’ll have to clean Neville off the front.”
“WHAT?!” Neville shouted back over the wind noise.
“Nothing!” replied Harry and Ron innocently, grinning at each other. “Ron…” said Harry slowly as Azkaban Island drew into view.
“Shit,” Ron said simply. Gawain held up his fist, and the formation stopped, hovering over the sea. The entire fortress of Azkaban had been reduced to a smouldering, blackened heap. Fires still blazed in places, and there was absolutely no sign of life.
“What the hell happened?” Ray Lescott cried out, his voice unusually high.
“Look at the sky,” replied Hestia grimly. Sure enough, seemingly burnt into the sky, was an enormous Hallows mark. “Grindelwald.”
“We have to search for survivors!” Gawain ordered. “Let’s go, quickly!” The small team sped down towards the smoking wreck, and began digging through the rubble.
“There’s only bodies!” Ray yelped, his voice still unusually high.
“Keep looking,” growled Savage. “We can’t afford to leave anyone here.”
“Gawain, I’ve got something!” Proudfoot yelled. Everyone hurried over to where Proudfoot was digging, noticing a feebly stirring hand.
“Stand back,” Robards ordered. “REDUCTO!” he yelled, and a large chunk of rock was destroyed, revealing a battered, bloodied man, who was barely breathing. “It’s Terry Ogden! He’s the head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad,” Robards hissed. “Anyone know something that’ll get him out?”
“Levicorpus,” Harry said quickly, and Ogden was hoisted out gently by his ankle. Robards flicked his wand and conjured a stretcher, which Harry lowered Ogden onto.
“Richman, go to Saint Mungo’s, get him a healer, and we’ll need. Lescott, go find Arthur Weasley and explain the situation, tell him we’re going to need everyone we can to clean up this mess,” Gawain ordered.
“Yes sir!” Daisy said, jumping back on her broom and zooming off into the distance.
“Enervate,” Robards muttered, waving his wand. Ogden’s eyes flickered slightly and opened. “Hestia, patch him up.” Hestia’s boyfriend was a healer at Saint Mungo’s, so she’d picked up a few spells from him. She began waving her wand, flourishing it and healing some of his worst injuries. “Terry, can you hear me?”
“Alright Gawain?” croaked Terry, coughing violently, spitting up blood.
“Easy now,” Gawain said calmly. “Hestia here’s fixing you up a little.” Hestia winked at him before continuing her work.
“No!” Terry said urgently. “You have…to go.”
“Go?” said Gawain sharply. “Why?”
“They’re all here,” Terry whispered. “Hundreds of them attacked. We didn’t stand a chance. It’s an ambush!” For a moment, everybody seemed to freeze, before Gawain sprang into action.
“We’re leaving!” he thundered, slashing his wand and sending off two patronuses, before pulling Terry off the stretcher and onto his broom. “Sorry, this isn’t going to be comfortable.”
“Better than being stuck under a rock,” Terry croaked, smiling weakly, before wrapping his arms tightly around Robards’ waist.
“True. Alright, everybody off!” Robards yelled. Once again, the Triumph’s engine shattered the silence as it shot up into the air.
Then all hell broke loose. Spells came from every direction, forcing Harry to ram the throttle open to get out the way. There were at least fifty Consecrat members, all on broomsticks, who seemed to have appeared out of thin air.
“TO THE LEFT!” Ron yelled, hurling a hex over his shoulder.
“We’re surrounded!” Hestia screamed as she dived past, two foes on her tail.
“Shit,” Harry growled. “Shit shit shit.” He couldn’t risk using the bike’s gadgets for fear of harming his colleagues, and he was forced to use his wand with his left hand, limiting his usefulness.
“What do we do!?” Ron asked as he blasted someone neatly of their broom. “There’s too many of them!” As if on cue, a killing curse struck the bike, rocking it dangerously.
“Retreat!” roared Gawain. “Get out of here!” With that, he sloth-grip-rolled underneath a spell, Terry holding on tight, before shooting off through the circle, hotly pursued by Consecrat members.
“Dragonfire?” Ron suggested as he blocked an incoming curse. The Aurors had thinned out now-Harry wasn’t in danger of hitting them.
“It’ll scatter them,” Harry agreed, hitting the purple button. The whole machine blasted forward, and the Consecrat members did indeed scatter as the roar of dragonfire echoed across the ocean. Harry was thrown backwards in his seat, his glasses forced into his face, his lips pulled taunt across his teeth. He could fell Ron just clinging on, and hear him yelling in terror, using some of his choicest swearwords as the bike climbed above the clouds.
“WHAT THE HELL,” he gasped once the bike shuddered back to normal speed, “WAS THAT!?”
“Ask your Dad!” Harry replied, bent low over the bike’s handlebars. “Are there any on our tail?” Ron twisted to look back.
“Looks like four, I can’t see the others,” Ron replied. “Stupefy!” he yelled. “Make that three!”
“Nice one,” Harry replied. “Oh, I wonder what this button does!” he said, banging it. There was a loud pop, and a large net burst out of the bike’s exhaust, ensnaring another Consecrat member.
“Beautiful!” Ron laughed, shooting another stunner over his shoulder. “Damn, missed.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Harry said. “But it’s mad.” Without waiting for Ron’s response, he slammed on the bike’s breaks. Ron slammed hard into Harry, nearly throwing him off the front of the bike, but as expected, both the wizards flying behind them shot past. “NOW!” Harry yelled, and he and Ron both shot stunners. The two spells both found their marks, and the two Consecrat fighters plummeted through the sky.
“I’m sure the merpeople will thank us,” Ron laughed, and Harry joined in. “What about the others?”
“We can’t risk going back, it’s too dangerous. We’ll head back to the Ministry, explain the situation,” Harry replied, twisting his wrist and opening the throttle wide.
“Potter, Weasley, you’re okay,” said Gawain gruffly. It looked like most of the office had managed to get back in one piece.
“Fine, thanks Gawain,” Harry replied. “We took four of them down as well.”
“We got a few too,” Hestia said. “Unfortunately, we lost Wilfred,” she said miserably. Harry’s heart sank-Savage was one of the oldest and toughest Aurors in the department-his death was a huge blow. “Dolohov hit him in the face with a curse as he tried to protect me and Proudfoot.”
“Dolohov?” said Harry sharply. “He got out?”
“Along with plenty of others,” Gawain said grimly. “I saw Travers, Scabior the snatcher, Crabbe senior and both Goyles to name a few.”
“Brilliant,” sighed Harry. “We can’t keep this up, Gawain.”
“We have to end it,” Gawain confirmed. “As soon as we can.”
“Seems odd doesn’t it?” Ginny said quietly as she pulled her hair into a tall ponytail.
“What does?” said Hermione absently, as usual buried nose first into a book.
“That we’re sitting around here, studying and getting ready for the Halloween feast while the boys are out there risking their lives every day?” Ginny replied. Hermione looked up sharply.
“Hmm…do you worry about him?” Hermione said, closing her book and giving Ginny her full attention.
“A little…but he’s Harry,” Ginny said slowly. “It’s what he wants, I have to get used to it,” she said simply.
“Plus, we both know they’re more than good enough to fight anything Grindelwald throws at them,” Hermione reminded her.
“I hope so,” Ginny said softly. “Hermione?” she said nervously.
“Yeah?” said Hermione with a reassuring smile.
“Do you think he’ll ask me to marry him? Harry?” she said, avoiding Hermione’s gaze.
“Of course he will!” Hermione exclaimed.
“You seem very sure,” Ginny said, raising her eyebrow.
“Of course I’m sure,” Hermione said briskly. “He loves you. He’s just taking it slow, waiting for the proper moment. You were apart for over a year, remember.”
“I suppose,” admitted Ginny. “I’d marry him tomorrow,” she added with a giggle. Hermione laughed.
“I know how that feels,” she confessed. At that point, a silver terrier bounced into the room, perching on the end of Hermione’s bed.
“That’s Ron’s patronus isn’t it?” Ginny said, confused.
“Yeah,” said Hermione, staring at it. “What do you want?”
“Harry’s missing,” Ron’s patronus said. “Meet me at the Headmistresses office in ten minutes, password is ‘Phoenix’.” Ginny and Hermione instantly exchanged worried looks.
“Come on then!” Ginny said instantly, leaping up and sending her hairbrush and mirror crashing to the floor. She could hear Hermione hurrying after her, but her words seemed to be drowned out by her heart thumping furiously in her chest, as Ron’s words span through her mind. Harry’s missing…What the hell could have happened to him now? “Phoenix!” she blurted out almost subconsciously, and the gargoyle jumped aside.
“Jesus Ginny,” Hermione wheezed. “You pretty much ran all the way up here.”
“Course I did,” Ginny replied, tapping her foot impatiently as the spiral staircase took them up. “Harry’s in trouble.” She didn’t even knock on the door, merely bursting through into the office. McGonagall was sat behind her desk, looking very grave.
“Miss Weasley, what’re you doing here?” she asked in surprise. “Miss Granger was supposed to get the message.”
“I’m here,” Hermione said from behind Ginny.
“I was in the same room,” Ginny said quickly. “You mean Ron wasn’t going to tell you?”
“Your mother told him not too,” McGonagall replied, slightly disapprovingly. “She thought you’d go looking for him.”
“She’s damn right,” Ginny snapped. “I can’t sit here and do nothing!”
“Nor would I expect you too,” McGonagall sighed. She looked over her glasses at Ginny. “You’re far more like him than you realise,” she said softly. Ginny felt slightly stunned for a moment-it was unlike Minerva McGonagall to be so sincere. However, the moment was then interrupted by Ron’s arrival.
“Ginny!” he said in surprise. “Mum’s going to kill me.”
“I take full credit,” she replied. “What, in Merlin’s name, is going on?”
“When I woke up this morning, Harry was gone,” Ron explained. “Not that unusual, but he normally tells me where he goes. But then Kreacher said that he hadn’t seen him, and neither had James, Lily, Remus or Sirius.”
“So that’s when you started to worry?” Hermione prompted.
“Pretty much,” Ron replied. “I checked the Auror office, and he hadn’t been in for any reason. George and Charlie haven’t seen him, neither has Tom or Hannah at the Leaky Cauldron. I checked Hogsmeade too, no sign of him.”
“It’s Halloween,” said Hermione suddenly.
“Really, what gave it away?” said Ginny sarcastically, glancing around at the floating jack-o-lanterns around the office. Ron, however, seemed to see what she was on about.
“I can’t believe I didn’t think of that,” he said in a low voice. McGonagall clapped a hand to her mouth.
“Of course!” she exclaimed. “James and Lily!” Ginny finally got the meaning.
“It was today?” she said quietly. Hermione nodded solemnly.
“He won’t ever have been able to go,” she said softly. “Either he was living with the muggles, or at school. The first time he ever went was with me last year.”
“I’m going there now,” Ginny said decisively, standing up before remembering where she was. She looked at McGonagall. “Er, if that’s okay professor,” she added nervously.
“Go, go,” McGonagall said airily. “Just don’t tell anyone, favouritism isn’t fair,” she warned. She picked up an old, battered quill, tapped it with her wand and muttered “Portus.” It began to glow bright blue. “It will take you right outside the Potter’s old house,” McGonagall explained. “I feel it’s a good place to start looking. Good luck, Ginny.”
“Thanks Professor,” Ginny said sincerely, putting her finger to the quill. She felt the familiar sensation of a hook behind her navel, before appearing just outside the destroyed house. “Harry?” she called, but there was no response. She hadn’t really expected there to be-she had a very strong feeling as to where he’d be.
“I’m sorry I’ve never been here on this day before,” Harry said quietly. “Seems like something’s always stopped me, either Aunt Petunia or school.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “Having your portrait around is nice, but it’ll never compare to the real thing. Even after everything I’ve been through, I’d still like a hug from you Mum, or to go flying with you Dad. And because of one…bastard, frankly, I’ll never be able too.”
He paused to wipe a tear from his eye. “And now there’s another nutter about who will stop at nothing to kill me and everyone who stands with me. And I don’t know if I can stand losing anyone else.”
“You won’t have too,” said a small voice “You’ll beat him.” Harry turned his head sharply, raising his wand in fright.
“Ginny!” he said in surprise, lowering his wand. “What the hell are you doing here?” he said, turning back to his parent’s grave.
“Looking for you, obviously,” she said calmly, sitting down next to him. He moved away slightly from her.
“How’d you find me?” he asked. “I wanted to be alone,” he added shortly.
“Hermione,” Ginny said by way of explanation. Harry rolled his eyes in exasperation. “And no you don’t. You just think you do.” There was silence between the two for a while, in which Ginny edged closer to him, slipping her arm around his waist. “You okay?” she said softly.
“Last year, whenever things seemed at their worst, you kept me going,” he said suddenly, ignoring her question. “Just the thought of you, knowing that if, by some miracle, I came out of that mess alive, we could have a future together. I’d have given up long ago if it wasn’t for you.” Ginny blushed pink.
“We do have a future together,” she said earnestly. “I love you, you know that.”
“I’m scared, though,” he replied quietly. “He could tear it all away, from either of us, in the blink of an eye.”
“Please don’t say you’re leaving me again?” Ginny said, forcing him to look into her eyes. His gaze softened as her burning brown eyes locked with his.
“Course I’m not,” he said softly. “I love you too much for that. I made a mistake last time,” he admitted.
“Damn right you did,” Ginny said. “We’ll win, Harry. I know we will.” She kissed him on the forehead. “Are you ready to go?” Harry nodded slightly.
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go home.” He wrapped his arm around her waist, hers snaked round his shoulder, and they walked out of the cemetery together. “I just want to make one stop,” he said suddenly, walking up the street towards his parent’s house.
“You sure about this Harry?” said Ginny worriedly as they headed up the garden path. He nodded slightly.
“I own it,” he said shortly. “Never knew until a couple of days ago, Gawain found the paperwork,” he explained.
“It’s beautiful,” said Ginny softly. “The whole place, I mean. But what about Grimmauld Place?” Harry shrugged.
“It’s handy for work. I wouldn’t live here until I wanted to start a family,” he added. “And once Ron and Hermione have moved out, it’s too small for all of us.”
“True,” Ginny said. Harry began to move towards the door, feeling rather purposeful. “You want to go inside?” he heard Ginny from behind him. She sounded surprised.
“Yeah,” he said quietly. “I haven’t been in yet, not for seventeen years today. It’s only right.” She hurried forwards and gripped his hand. He squeezed it gratefully-he needed her now. The front door swung open at his touch. The hallway was exactly as Harry remembered it from his nightmares-with the exception of the pram that had been there. “This is where he killed Dad,” he whispered, his voice choked. “Dad’d been playing with me on the sofa in the living room,” he explained, pointing to a door on their right. “He didn’t even have his wand…” He’d never spoken about what he’d seen, to anyone, not even Ron and Hermione.
“Harry…you don’t have to tell me this,” Ginny began, but he held up a hand to stop her.
“No. I do. I have to tell someone, and I want it to be you,” he said softly. “Let’s look around,” he said bracingly, forcing the emotion out of his voice. They checked out the living room first-it was well furnished, with an ancient, moth eaten sofa and even an old T.V.
“Your parents must have connected the house to that muggle magic stuff Dad likes,” said Ginny curiously, prodding the tele with her wand. Harry laughed.
“Electricity,” he corrected. “Yeah, it makes sense since Mum was muggle born,” he said. Ginny shrugged. “I’ll show you how to work it another time,” he said, trying not to laugh as she gave a frustrated sigh and stood up. They went into the kitchen next. It seemed somebody had at least bothered to remove anything that might go off-at least the kitchen didn’t smell. It was fairly large, and included a table with six seats. Harry couldn’t help noticing a small teddy bear sat on one of the kitchen cabinets. He picked it up nostalgically, vague memories flashing through his head. Making sure Ginny wasn’t looking (she was too busy examining the microwave) he stuffed the bear into his inside pocket.
“This place is great,” Ginny commented. “You’re right-it’d be a great place to raise kids.” She rested her head gently on his shoulder. “Do you want to look upstairs?” Harry thought for a second-he was apprehensive, but his curiosity got the better of him. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he nodded.
“Let’s go,” he said, and they walked up the staircase. The damage from Voldemort’s attack was becoming more obvious now-Harry cold feel the cold October wind on his skin, and the floor was littered with debris-shattered wood and chunks of stone. Finally, they reached a door. It was hanging forlornly on its hinges, broken by the force of the rebounding killing curse. A small brass plate, tarnished and unreadable because of the passage of time, was screwed onto the door.
“Scourgify,” Ginny muttered, pointing her wand. The little plate cleaned itself instantly, revealing just one word.
HARRY. He felt Ginny’s hand tighten slightly around his. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the broken door aside. A scene of utter devastation met his eyes, causing his breath to catch in his throat. Most of the structure had been blown apart, and the elements had taken their toll over the years-nothing in the room looked worth salvaging.
“And this is where it happened,” he said softly. “Where I became world famous and my mother died,” he muttered bitterly. “Come on. Let’s look at the rest,” he said, having looked his fill. Ginny didn’t say anything, but pulled him into a tight hug once they’d left the room.
“It’s not fair,” she said quietly. “You don’t deserve it.”
“You’re right,” Harry replied. “I don’t. But nobody does. It’s done,” he said simply. “My life doesn’t seem to be turning out too badly does it?” he said, smiling at her. She beamed at him.
“Finally, you’re starting to see that,” she said, leaning back from him.
“Only because if you, Ron, and Hermione,” Harry replied. “This must be my parents room,” he added. He could hear the emotion in his own voice, feel the solid lump in his throat. But he had to do this. He pushed aside the door. The room was well furnished, but not ostentatiously so. There was a desk with a large box sat on the top, with a piece of parchment attached. Harry took it. It was a letter, written in an untidy scrawl almost identical to Harry’s.
“To Harry,” he read, “if you’re reading this, then sadly, your mother and I have passed on. I charmed this letter and the box to only appear if that should happen. First off, I want to say how sorry I am for leaving you, trust me it was never my intention. Secondly, everything in the box is yours. Remus, Sirius, your mother and I all added stuff to it (I have no idea where Peter was, he never showed up.) over the years, so hopefully you should find it enjoyable, useful and all that. I’ve charmed it so that it’ll open when you need it most, so it should be useful.
Finally, I just want to say that your mother and I love you very much, and we always will. Don’t miss us too much, and know that whatever you do, we’re proud of you.
All my love, Dad.”
Harry could feel the tears on his face once he finished. He turned to Ginny, and she too was crying freely.
“Oh Harry,” she said softly, wrapping her arms around him. He’d seen enough. He picked up the box, holding it tight to his side.
“Let’s go home,” he whispered. She nodded, and he disapparated, landing on the top step of Grimmauld Place. “Family’s important, Gin,” Harry said suddenly. “Don’t ever let them go. Being alone is, quite frankly, shit.”
“You’re not alone,” Ginny said sternly. “You’ve got us.” He looked at her, a strange glint in his eyes.
“Maybe someday,” he said evasively. And he wouldn’t say another word on the subject. “I should tell Ron I’m okay, he added, pulling out his mirror. “Ron Weasley,” he said clearly. A few seconds later, Ron’s face appeared.
“Harry!” he said in surprise. “You’re alive. Git.”
“Thanks,” said Harry sarcastically. “I’m at Grimmauld Place with Ginny.”
“Hermione was right then,” Ron said, a note of pride in his voice. “I’m at George and Charlie’s, we might go for a drink later if you fancy it?” he said cheerfully.
“I may do that,” Harry replied. “However, I have things to do for now,” he said in a sly voice.
“I don’t want to know,” Ron groaned. “See you later Harry.”
“See you mate,” Harry said, and Ron disappeared. He turned to Ginny. “Now, I think we have an empty house,” he said, scooping her up and carrying her upstairs.
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