Chapter 3 : Chapter Three: Summer Begins
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The next two days at Hogwarts were very time consuming for those who made the choice to remain. The majority of them were sent around the school repairing what could be repaired. Harry had taken his trip to Professor Dumbledore’s tomb and returned the elder wand, in hopes that its magic would be destroyed eventually.
The bodies of the fallen defenders had been transported to St. Mungo’s for burial preparations. Fred’s body was accompanied by a distraught George Weasley who had refused to leave his side and by Percy who ensured his mother he’d take care of George. The bodies of Tom Riddle and his followers were taken by Aurors to be disposed of. Harry felt a sense of satisfaction and relief as he watched Voldemort’s lifeless shell being removed and hoped that he would never have to see it again.
On the second day of repairs the school looked to be in noticeably better shape. The remaining Weasley family along with Harry and Hermione had just entered the Great Hall for lunch tired from a long morning of rigorous work. Ron and Hermione hand in hand led the way to the Gryffindor table. As they all took a seat at the table plates and platters full of a variety of food appeared in front of them.
“Brilliant!” exclaimed Ron as he began to pile food on to his plate and was already shoveling food into his mouth before anyone else finished making their plates. Ron then continued with his mouth full, “I’m so hungry I could eat a hippogriff.”
“Ronald Bilius Weasley do not talk with your mouth full.” Hermione scolded. That with along with a glare from Mrs. Weasley was enough for Ron turn red to match his hair and lowered his head.
Ron hurriedly chewed and swallowed his food before looking up still red faced from embarrassment from being scolded by Hermione and murmured, “Sorry.”
Harry was enjoying a conversation with Arthur and Ginny about quidditch when with a pop Kreacher appeared beside him. Harry shifted in his seat as did a few others turning their attention to the new arrival. The old house elf still wearing his tea cozy gave a deep bow to Harry.
“Master Harry Potter, Kreacher requests permission to leave Hogwarts sir?” Kreacher asked as he straightened up.
“Of course Kreacher is everything ok?”
“Yes Master. Kreacher has a few things he would like to take care of if Master doesn’t mind. Kreacher doesn’t wish to tell Master what it is though, but will if Master orders Kreacher to do so. A good house elf always obeys his Master, sir.”
“That is okay Kreacher you don’t have to tell me why. You may go. While you’re here I would like to express my thanks to you for your help during the battle. Thank you Kreacher.”
The old house elf bowed again to Harry and with a shake of his head, “Master it is not necessary to thank Kreacher. Kreacher wanted to help Master finish the job and keep Master safe, sir.” Then with another pop he was gone.
Harry then returned his attention to his food and those at the table who casually went back to their meal. Harry noticed Hermione starring at him with a smile. Confused he asked, “What?”
“You made him very proud Harry. Not many wizards take time to show appreciation to house elves and I say it’s safe to bet that you were the first to say thank you and actually meant it.” Hermione advised smiling.
“Well I was really happy to see him help.” Harry declared.
“I know we all were.” Hermione agreed.
“I’m just curious as to what he is leaving to do,” Harry admitted turning back to his plate of food.
“That’s my Harry always the detective,” teased Ginny causing them both to blush a little when everyone commented about “her Harry”.
“Harry dear you are going to be joining us at the Burrow tomorrow and staying for the summer won’t you?” Mrs. Weasley inquired. Harry hadn’t really thought about it. He assumed that the Dursleys wouldn’t be to keen to see him. Then Harry realized that he needed a place of his own to stay.
“Yes Mrs. Weasley for a few weeks at least, that is if it is ok with you.” Harry confirmed looking to her for an answer.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, dear.” Molly declared and seeing that Ginny was paying very close attention to the conversation she continued, “And I’m sure Ginny would furious with me if I did.”
“Mum!” Ginny exclaimed as she turned beet red in embarrassment and glared at her mother which resulted in a laugh from everyone at the table.
“No worries Molly I’m sure we would of shared that fury had I not agreed,” Harry teased.
“Harry James Potter, don’t you dare,” admonished Ginny turning her blazing glare on him which resulted in further laughter.
“Well mate now that Voldemort is gone you better start preparing for that Bat-Boogey Hex.” Ron seated next to Ginny in fits of laughter joined in. This caused everyone including Ginny to break out into laughter.
It’s good to see this lot laughing, McGonagall thought as she and Minister Shacklebolt entered the Great Hall. They approached the group and went unnoticed until Kingsley cleared his throat, “Sorry to interrupt I was just hoping to have a moment of your time.”
The laughter subsided and everyone’s attention turned to the Headmistress and the Minister. Mrs. Weasley was the first to speak, “Of course Minister.”
“First I wanted to commend you all for your diligent work to repair the school. I also wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your efforts in defending the school during the battle. I wanted to come sooner but was tied up at the Ministry as things were left in shambles.” Kingsley stated lines of exhaustion visible on his forehead and black bags under his eyes testified to long nights with minimum sleep. “I also wanted to take an opportunity to ask Harry and all the other seventh year DA members to join the Auror department.”
“Me sir? I didn’t get to complete my seventh year here at Hogwarts. Blimey I don’t even have my NEWTs Minister.” Harry stated looking at the Minister in shock.
“Well Harry in the light of recent events I am sure we could work something out, and for a few more of you lot too if I am not mistaken.” Kingsley stated, “You can take some time to think about it Harry. Hmm let’s say we met again in say two days and discuss it further?”
“That sounds fine Minister I will think about it.” Harry replied.
“I also have news,” Professor McGonagall informed catching everyone’s attention.
“What is it Minerva?” asked Mr. Weasley.
“I have talked to the school Governors,” She began with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile. “I have been appointed permanent Headmistress of Hogwarts. I also wanted to let you lot know that those that missed their seventh year for any reason may return in September to complete their schooling.”
“Really? That’s great.” Mrs. Weasley declared looking at the three that had missed their entire seventh year due to the war. It was followed by many congratulations. Hermione of course was very excited to return to school. As for Harry and Ron this would make their decision on what to do next even more difficult.
McGonagall smiled, “Yes I quite agree with you Molly. I would need a response from those who intend on attending by the end of the week.”
The group finished their lunch and the rest of the day involved more repair work to the school. There was still much to do before the school would return to its condition prior to the battle, but everyone was making progress. Harry noticed Ginny was having some difficulties levitating recently repair gargoyle back onto his mount. He walked over to help, “Mind if I give you a hand, Ginny?”
“No not at all.” She said happily. She had enjoyed her day even though for the majority of it they had been working very hard but Harry had been there all day long working beside her. They would sneak a kiss and a quick but warm hug when they thought no one was looking and had multiple times. Ginny was secretly hoping this would be another one of those times. Together they were able to return the gargoyle to its rightful place.
“Much better,” Harry commented as he joined Ginny in another warm embrace and giving her a tender kiss. He sighed happily as he looked into her bright brown eyes, “I could stay like this all day.”
“Me too,” Ginny agreed flashing Harry a mischievous grin and giving him a firm squeeze.
“Alright you lot I think that’ll be enough for today. Go get cleaned up before diner.” Molly instructed wiping sweat from her brow.
“Ginny, it must be nearly two hours before diner would you care to take a walk with me?” Harry asked as he looked down at her.
“I’d love to but only after I clean up its been really hot today, I’ll meet you by the front door.” Ginny replied looking up at him with an embarrassed smile.
“That didn’t stop you two from snogging all day did it.” Ron teased getting a laugh from a couple close by and causing both Harry and Ginny to blush knowing they weren’t as discreet as they had hoped.
“Merlin Ron you don’t always have to be a prat you know,” fumed Ginny as she stormed away, followed by Hermione who flashed a glare at Ron as well.
“You know Ron you can be a real git sometimes,” Bill laughed when Ginny and Hermione were out of sight.
“What? I was only teasing.” Ron frowned.
“Did they tease you or Hermione about your snogging that you thought no one noticed?” asked Mr. Weasley. Ron looked embarrassed from being caught. He apologized to Harry then headed into the castle to clean up as well. Neither said anything about Ron’s latest teasing attempt until they were in the bathroom in their dorm.
“Sorry about earlier Harry.” Ron repeated as they began to wash up and put on a fresh pair of clothes.
“Don’t worry about it mate, but maybe you should be practicing your defense to that Bat-Boogey Hex too with the rate your teasing Ginny it’s more likely you’ll need it before I do.” Harry warned his friend as they shared a laugh.
Harry was waiting at the front door when Ginny bolting down the staircase. She blushed slightly when she noticed that Harry was already waiting and had seen her rush to meet him. Harry gave her an excited grin as he took her hand and asked, “Shall we go then?”
“Yes lets,” Ginny responded breathlessly with a smile.
Their walk as it normally did, took them to their favorite spot at the base of the tree by the lake. They sat there embraced and holding onto each other enjoying the warm weather and gentle breeze and sharing multiple lengthy and passionate kisses. After one of these exchanges Ginny asked, “Have you thought about what Kingsley and McGonagall said earlier?”
“To be honest yes I have a little and I would love to do both, but I think I am going to take Kingsley up on his offer Gin. With the war over and me being of age I will have to find a place to stay one way or another.” Harry replied then seeing the sad frown form on Ginny’s face he continued, “We’ll still get to see each other Gin.”
“You know you could stay at the Burrow, Harry.”
Harry frowned, “Yes I know but I think its time for me to have a place I can call home Gin.”
“I understand I do I was just hoping you would choose to come back here with me for my final year,” She stated honestly.
Harry replied softly, “I was really considering it.”
“We’ll figure it out Harry,” Ginny said as she pulled him closer, “Enough of this talk for now. Right now all I want is for you to kiss me.”
Harry laughed. How could you argue with that he thought to his-self? He was hooked on this beautiful redhead with light freckles along her light skin. Well at least the skin I have seen Harry thought as he embraced her with a warm passionate kiss that would end well after diner had started.
In the Great Hall Ron and Hermione were eating and chatting with the rest of the Weasley family. No one had noticed Harry and Ginny’s absence so far, or if they had no one commented on it. Ron had just finished discussing with Hermione about the possibility of joining the Auror Department without returning to school. Hermione was talking excitedly about returning to school. “Ron wouldn’t it be great for all of us to return and have a normal school year?”
“Hermione, Hogwarts hasn’t had a normal school year since Harry started,” commented Ron. He then looked around and noticed Harry’s absence, “Speaking of Harry, does anyone know where he and Ginny got off to? I’m sure they’re hungry after all the work we did today.”
The other Weasleys scanned the table, while Molly and Arthur shared a glance at each other and a smile. Mrs. Weasley said, “I am sure they’ll be along in due time Ronald, here have some carrots.” With that she began to pile carrots on Ron’s plate.
Ron was about to protest when Harry and Ginny rushing into the Great Hall hand in hand and giggling. They ran up to the Gryffindor table and took seats next to each other on the other side of Mrs. Weasley giggling. Molly and Arthur looked at the young couple and noticed that the bubble surrounding them was glowing brighter that before. Molly shot Arthur a worried look, who returned it with a shake of his head which warned Molly to relax and let them be kids.
The young couple sat close together talked quietly and sharing mischievous giggles as they tried their best to eat diner with one hand as they tightly held each others hand under the table. Each time one of them would drop something off of the silverware onto the table or their shirt it would solicit a shared laugh.
“Nice of you two to join us for diner,” Arthur mused with a twinkle in his eye. He had a soft spot for young love. He knew his daughter was more than capable of taking care of herself and as for Harry well if it was anyone else he too would have been sending Molly worried looks.
“Sorry Mr. Weasley I lost all track of time.” Harry said as he and his collaborator blushed enough to match Ginny’s hair each trying to avoid meeting the eyes of her parents.
“Yes, I too loose track of time when I am out on a stroll with a beautiful lady,” Arthur teased, sending Molly a secret message with the twinkle in his eye and causing the young couple to blush even more and the rest of the family to chuckle.
The rest of the evening was spent in the Gryffindor common room with the Weasley siblings playing wizard’s chest and conversations on the future. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had returned to the Burrow after diner to prepare the home for everyone’s arrival the next morning and to begin preparations for Fred’s funeral with would be on the upcoming Saturday. Eventually everyone drifted off to their beds except for Harry and Ginny who remained snuggled together on the couch in front of the fireplace until they fell asleep in each others arms. The pair stayed there well into the next morning.
Harry laid there on the couch watching Ginny sleep taken away by her beauty and peacefulness of her breathing. He had just woken moments earlier feeling more refreshed that he ever had since Voldemort first returned. He realized that it was most likely because his sleep was not invaded with the nightmares as had become the custom. His thoughts returned to Ginny as she stirred in his arms.
“Good morning beautiful,” he greeted her with a smile when she opened her eyes to find him watching her.
“Morning handsome, how long have you been up?” she smiled groggily as she stretched to greet him with a breathtaking kiss.
“Not long,” Harry replied breathlessly as he recovered from her passionate greeting. “Just long enough to notice that I had an angle beside me all through the night.”
This resulted with Ginny giving Harry another passionate kiss this one would last until they were finally interrupted by two pairs of feet running down the stairs of the dorm rooms. Probably heading to the Great Hall for breakfast Harry thought. That was until Ron and Hermione walked up to the couch.
“Oh, here you two are.” Hermione exclaimed.
“Did you both sleep here last night?” Ron asked with a frown.
Ginny gave an impish smile and replied, “Nope we both went to bed last night in our clothes and got up early enough to spend some time alone.”
Hermione smiled and Ron looked at Harry with an unapproving glare. Harry did his best to suppress the laughter he hid behind an innocent smile.
“Well now that you four are awake should we head to the Burrow?” came a groggy voice behind them causing all four to jump. There sitting in an arm chair facing a window with its back towards the couch and staircases sat Bill.
“Bill! How long have you been sitting there?” Ginny asked as she shared a worried look with Harry.
“Long enough that I was about to “wake” the two of you up myself if Ron and Hermione hadn’t come stampeding down the stairs.” Bill grinned.
“Sorry bout that,” Harry said as he and Ginny once again felt the heat of embarrassment flood to their cheeks, which was becoming a common occurrence the last few days. Harry didn’t really mind that he and Ginny kept getting embarrassed. They were happy and that’s all that mattered to him.
“No need for apologies Harry you know its not very common that a wizard gets to spend the night snuggled up on a couch with an “angle”,” laughed Bill causing the pair to blush even more. Then turning to Ron and Hermione who shared a confused looked wondering what they were missing he said, “Ron can you go and wake Charlie? And Hermione I believe Fleur is in the female dormitory. Mum is expecting us all at the Burrow for breakfast this morning”
Once everyone was roused out of their sleep and had of their things together they all used the floo to go to the Burrow. They were greeted there by Mrs. Weasley who had breakfast on the table already and began to assign chores for the group to take care of after breakfast.
This was going to be a busy summer they all thought and with a sigh they all sat down and dug in.
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