Chapter 25 : Ch 25 Decorating Grimmauld Place and New Security
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Jim had a note from Al VanLente that he read, and asked Harry “Could you call Kreacher, please.”
Harry called “Kreacher” and the old house elf appeared with a crack.
Jim then asked “Kreacher, how secure is the flue at Grimmauld Place.”
Kreacher replied “as long as Kreacher is there no one can come in the house unless Master Harry or Mistress Ginny wants them to come in.”
Jim asked “And are you always at the house?”
Kreacher looked at Harry, looked at Jim, looked back at Harry, and then said “Master Harry has asked Kreacher to help Mr. William Weasley, so he cannot always be at Grimmauld Place.”
Harry asked “Does a house elf have to be in the house to protect the floo?”
Kreacher answered “Yes, Master Harry.”
“Could I assign one of the single house elves to protect the flue and the house, and let you help Bill when he needs you?” asked Harry.
“Yes, but it would be best if they lived there, and there is no space for more house elves. When you remodel the house is there going to be a space for poor old Kreacher?” (Kreacher was being very bold in saying this. House elves usually found some cupboard or small corner in the kitchen to live, and Kreacher was all but asking for his own space.)
Harry asked “What kind of space would you want for yourself and a couple of other house elves? I may not need more help at Grimmauld place, but the North American Aurors use house elves and I might as well be prepared to house a couple for the Aurors.”
Kreacher smiled, and he almost looked excited, as he said “You could make nice rooms in the attic, not high enough for big people but nice for house elves. I can show you what to make. The two single house elves would much rather work for Harry Potter than be in the kitchens of Hogwarts where their help is not needed.”
Harry said “We will be talking to Griffin and Grunt tomorrow. Think of what you want, and I will make sure they make a heated, air conditioned suite of rooms in the attic for you. And thank you, Kreacher. I will give you an order. Be an example of how house elves should be treated, by living in a comfortable space and not some forgotten dirty little corner. I would really appreciate that.”
“I will do as master has commanded” said Kreacher with a big smile on his face.
Later on that night Harry Potter pondered the exchange between himself and Kreacher. He knew that there were changes going on in the relationships between wizards and house elves. He knew that he was a catalysis in fomenting that change, and that his loving and burying Dobby had been very important in starting the change. He was in some ways more comfortable dealing with an independent Kreacher than he was in dealing with an obedient and fawning Kreacher, and he sure liked this Kreacher more than the first one he met, the old hostile Black house elf. At the same time he did not have any idea how many things the old house elf had been doing, and he was not at all sure if it was good to try and find out. He knew that he was going to have to talk to his brother-in-law Bill about Kreacher soon.
Monday about 9:00 AM Harry, Ginny and the Aurors went over to Grimmauld Place and met with Mr. Grunt and a Jack K., the interior designer that John Braun had found. They spent about an hour looking at different styles of decorating, narrowing down what types of furniture and rooms they most liked.
Harry and Ginny had never talked about what they liked in furniture and home decorating. Neither of them liked ‘frilly’ furniture. Harry said “This type of furniture and decorating remind me of Aunt Petunia.” They didn’t like ultra-modern either. They finally settled on an Edwardian English style of furniture for most of the house, a very Old English style of furniture, with nice wood finishes. It just looked like a comfortable style they could live with.
Then they went down to the kitchen. After some discussion they decided on a kitchen that was going to be very modern and very light. The cupboards were all European style, almost looking like it came out of IKEA. There were going to be a full complement of new appliances, gas stove and oven, electric refrigerator and freezer with magic backup in case the electricity went out due to too much magic or to forces outside the house. The decorator had a fantastic appliance catalogue from Whirlpool for Wizards. There was also going to be a full complement of gas, magical, natural and electric lighting.
The table and chairs were going to be modern as well, all wood and heavier than some of the new modern tables and chairs. The table was going to be the right size for 8 chairs at its smallest, but when needed they could magically expand the table to hold as many as 24, with the table growing as well. Of course the room would also have to expand, but all the utilities that were being put in allowed for the expansion of the room. It all looked like magic, and it was, but to make it work took more work than Harry realized. There was of course going to be a very large fireplace attached to the floo network, with room for a couple of large cauldrons being used at the same time as someone used the floo network. The fireplace was going to be fixed up so it could burn either gas or wood. Some potions only worked if they were made with a wood fire.
The kitchen was going to be so nice that Harry decided that the Potions room down the basement ought to be redone in a similar style, and that is how the Potters came to have one of the nicest and most well equipped potions making rooms in Britain.
The two main floors, the one with the living and dining room and the one above it with the large drawing room, were going to be done in a much more classical style, leather overstuffed furniture, antique wood finishes. The dining room had a similar size table, which could grow from 8 to 24; with of course you duplicating chairs as you needed more seating.
The living room was similar in style to the dining room, with overstuffed leather chairs and wood tables and chairs. The living room was also going to serve as a library, with plenty of bookshelves and a large desk at one end. All the windows were at the ends of the room, and at the window overlooking the garden they put in a built in window seat surrounded by bookshelves, and ideal place for children to sit and read, and large enough for an adult to sit with their feet on the window seat and a child on each side.
The Drawing room on the next level was more of a challenge. It had a large tapestry of the Black family, with certain members blasted off. The colour was dark, and the whole thing was ugly. At the same time it was obviously a very old and valuable heirloom, and Harry did not want to just throw it away. As they were talking about it Jack the decorator asked “Is there any way to change the colour of this huge thing?”
Kreacher said “Master only has to touch the tapestry.”
Harry and the decorator changed the tapestry until everybody was satisfied with the colour. Harry asked “Kreacher, can the names that have been blasted off be restored?”
“Kreacher try” Kreacher replied, and he took a ladder that was in the house from the previous construction and after some muttering and work restored the names. Harry looked at the tapestry again. He said to no one in particular “I wish the Potter family could be on there.” Kreacher answered “That is no problem, master. Give me a few minutes.” Kreacher went up on the ladder and started moving some things around, and eventually the Potter family tree was on the tapestry.”
The decorator looked wide eyed at what was being done. “This is going to be hard to decorate around, but it is such a magnificent piece we need to keep it.”
Harry asked Kreacher “Could you put the Weasley family on it as well?” Kreacher put the Weasley family on the tapestry.
Mr. Grunt looked at his watch. “I’m sure Kreacher could do more to the tapestry, but we have more work to do” he said.
Jack the decorator had made a couple of sketches of ideas for the drawing room, but it was going to take more thought. He promised to have several ideas by the end of the week. They were going to put a small bathroom on all three of the lower floors, but the small bedroom that was part of the drawing room floor was going to be eliminated.
The Aurors did not want anyone going out for lunch, so a lunch was brought in before the group tackled the bedrooms.
The next floor was going to hold the master bedroom, master bath, and a smaller bedroom that was going to be designed as a nursery. The Master bedroom was going to have a walk in closet, and rather modern painted furniture, with a spring theme that matched the apple blossom spring scent of Ginny’s hair, but somehow looked like, Harry could never quite describe it but Ginny’s hair smelled or felt like apple blossoms as smelt at the old -Burrow, and not just Apple Blossoms. There was tartness to her shampoo, to any scent she wore, a little sharpness. The furniture in the room was just a little edgy as well.
Harry was amazed as the decorator and Ginny talked about what she liked. Harry could do a lot of magic, but turning a feeling that was currently expressed as a scent and making it come alive, the style of bedding and the decorations on furniture and walls, was as much magic to him as anything he had ever seen. When they were done the design of the bedroom looked like his and Ginny’s bedroom, almost like he was walking into Ginny’s mind. It was not frilly feminine and Harry was thrilled with it but it was Ginny’s dream room. Harry was very happy at how this house decorating project was turning out. The closest he had ever come to having a home was Hogwarts, or the Burrow. This was going to be home, their home!
Neither Harry nor Ginny had any idea how luxurious a master bathroom could be. Two sinks, a two person shower, a large 2 person tub, enough storage. It was going to be a room not only for the necessities but to enjoy as a couple.
The other room was outfitted as a nursery. It was going to be Teddy’s room when he came and visited, and Harry and Ginny knew that some time it was going to hold their own children. It had its own bath, sink and loo, a special loo one that could shrink down to a child’s size, and a tub that would be ideal for a small child to take a bath in.
There was enough furniture from the Black family for the rest of the bedrooms. All of it was going to be re-finished, and snake decorations were changed into some other decoration, mostly lions or deer, the colours freshened up. All the walls were new in the entire house, and they all needed painting. There was nothing fancy about the rest of the bedrooms. As Harry and Ginny had children the décor of the other rooms would be decided.
The entire house had enough gas lights to get by in case they were needed, electrical lights and electrical outlets. Each room had an outlet for phone or internet and another for television, usually several outlets, all home run down to a utility room in the basement. All the utilities were put in for the potentially changing size of magical spaces, although everything was “Muggle space” right now.
Both 2 top floor bathrooms were the same, nice bathrooms with slightly smaller showers and only normal size tubs. Both room entered a common area with 2 sinks, and the room with the shower and bath was separate, as was the room with the loo, allowing 2 people to share the bathroom area with some privacy.
From the upstairs rear bedrooms you could see the open area in the back. Since they were on the level below the attic they decided to do the house elf area first, then the garden.
Kreacher and Harry had ideas on what to do with the house elf area. Harry wanted a small staircase so the house elves did not have to apparate to get into and out of the attic, and they settled on a spiral staircase too small for adults (Harry and Ginny could both just use it, but they were small people) but ideal for house elves. The rooms were small and low ceiling, but comfortable with the heating and air conditioning from the main house continuing up to the attic. There was a living room area with a skylight, a bath, and 3 bedrooms, each bedroom big enough for two house elves and a baby if necessary. The space was furnished with furniture sized for a house elf. The beds were at Kreacher’s request made big enough for a couple. Kreacher remarked that he could never remember having a bed that was his own; even at Hogwarts where the quarters were far better than for most house elves the beds were large shared beds, not individual ones, with little space for privacy. The space was reasonably primitive by modern standards, but maybe the most luxurious house elf quarters in Britain. Kreacher was almost in tears by the time Harry, Jack and Mr. Grunt were done. He said “Kreacher is doing what master wants. Kreacher cannot thank master enough. This is too much. This is too much.” At the same time he did not say no to do anything that was being proposed, and Harry and Ginny knew that if it really was too much Kreacher would have said something.
There was also a pull down stairs to the rest of the attic, for owls or storage.
They finally went to the garden. Mr. Grunt said that if they wanted to put in a garage this was the time to do it. “How can we get a car back here?” asked Harry. Mr. Grunt explained, “Since there are already garages at the end of the street, you put in a magic garage door in the same place as an existing garage door. When the magic door opens you drive into your garage. We need about 10 feet of space in the back yard for a 25 foot long garage. This kind of “impossible” magic use of space always delighted Harry. At the kitchen level there was a door to the garage, and there was a door from the garage to the outside. The top of the garage was made into an extension of the dining room, and from the dining room you could walk on to the top of the garage. The rest of the garden was at the kitchen level, and it included a play area for children and some sitting area for adults, plus nice plantings. That design, like the drawing room, was going to be done at the end of the week.
Mr. Grunt was going to finish the house elves area first, so they would have a place to stay and so there could be a house elf protecting the house at all times. The rest would take time, but by spring the house would be finished and ready for Harry and Ginny to move in.
Tuesday the 29th Harry had to spend part of the morning reading some reports from Bill, and late in the morning he had to be at the office for a couple of hours. Ginny came along, and Bill was glad to include her.
When it was close to lunch time Bill asked Harry and Ginny “Why don’t the two of you eat lunch with Fleur and me. There is a nice pub close to here, with booths that are private and with a Muffliato spell can be totally secret and private. Fleur and I work too hard, and we work to try and get a little time together away from the office most days.”
Fleur was in an office right next door to Bill’s, with a wall between the two that seemed to be able to appear and vanish like, well like magic. Bill said something and a window opened onto the room next door. Fleur nodded and the wall vanished, and Bill and Fleur’s desks were suddenly next to each other. “This is real handy when Fleur and I are working on things together” Bill said.
Harry never lost his delight in some of the ways magic made things easier.
After they sat down and ordered food at the restaurant Fleur said “Beel and Arry working too ard! Work work work. Is necessary but as to stop. Beel and I go back to my ome after Christmas for vacation. Is necessary to ave lettle vacation.”
“I’m certainly not forcing you to work this hard, Bill, Fleur” Harry said.
“No, Harry, you’re not” Bill sighed. “There is just so much to do, and I feel the weight of all the money and people I’ve been given to manage. You are doing so much good for the Wizarding world with this estate, and I just feel I have to do a good job, for you and for everybody.”
“We ave summer place, family. Beel and I ave been there. Arry, Ginny, you go too. Everybody work too ard!” Fleur exclaimed.
“Thank you, Fleur” Ginny replied, filing away this information. She was going to have to get Harry away from work, and knowing that Fleur’s family had a vacation place might come in handy someday.
“I am so lucky to have been adopted by the Weasley family, and not just because of Ginny and Ron” Harry said. “Thank you, Fleur, for all you are doing with the charitable work of the estate.”
“You are welcome, Arry” a beaming Fleur responded. “Is a pleasure to elp. So many sad stories. So many sad stories. So many ways we elp to make better. Is good!”
“You take care of yourself too, Fleur” Ginny said, reaching over and touching Fleur. “I’m worried that you are working too hard.”
“Es only for now” Fleur said. “Es time to think babies soon.”
“I know Mum expects grandchildren from you someday” Ginny said.
“Ginny too” Fleur said, reaching over and patting Ginny’s hand.
There was a pause, as it appeared both couples were contemplating children and the changes that were bound to come in their lives. Finally Bill said “I am amazed at how good a job Riddle did in, I hate to say he did a good job in killing because killing is so terrible, but Riddle accumulated a lot of assets and power by his killing families. As we get into the oldest of his killings he did a good job of appointing managers. Of course after he disappeared the first time some of those managers began to cheat. When he came back to life he was so focused on you that the really did not care about the money anymore.”
Harry and Ginny were very glad to have a chance to talk with Bill and Fleur. “I didn’t like Fleur at first” Ginny told Harry after they were back at the New Burrow. “Even when Mum started to like her, after Bill’s face was damaged, I wasn’t sure I liked her. Too French, to different.” Ginny looked right at Harry. “I was wrong. Fleur really cares for all of us, you and me. We are all lucky she married Bill.”
They spent the rest of the day playing with Teddy, talking to Molly and the rest of the expanded household including the two Prewetts, and hanging out. They made sure to have enough couple time, including time in bed.
Wednesday Harry and Ginny spent looking over drawings and books that Jack K. had sent over, playing with Teddy, and relaxing. They went over to Neville and Hanna’s to visit and see baby Frank. (The Longbottom mansion was on the side of Ottery St. Catchpole closest to the Weasleys’, actually across a Muggle road from Harry’s property, and was in the area protected by Aurors.) Ginny spent some time looking over her school textbooks, and Harry started to look at the information in the books and papers from his parents. The more he read the more excited he became. His father was an extraordinary wizard, and his mother had notes in her potion book that were almost as good as the notes in Snape’s mother’s book. Harry could not wait to show Hermione. Harry spent all of his free time Thursday in the library going over the books and papers, and at least half of the time Ginny was in with Harry helping.
Friday morning was New Year’s day, but it was going to be a working day for Harry and Ginny. Harry and Ginny were at Grimmauld Place about 8:30 in the morning. Harry had asked Kreacher to help him with the tapestry. They found out that by shrinking the size of the names they could get a lot more people on it, and really show the connections between different wizard families. By doing a little more work Kreacher was able to bring out small symbols that could show if a person was home, traveling, in danger. It was very much like Molly’s clock in what it showed.
They spent some time looking at it. Most of the married couples had golden threads connecting them, some thicker than others, some shone more than others. Occasionally there was no thread, or only a dark one. They asked Kreacher about those, but Kreacher said “house elves not talk about that. Not good. Not good.” Some of the names seemed to glow, and the strongest golden threads seemed to usually go between glowing names. Once in a while there was a golden hued name and thread connected to a name that did not glow. Harry asked about that too, but Kreacher just shook his head.
Harry asked about the rings. Kreacher added a very small symbol to the couples that wore the rings. Most of them had golden glows behind their names and strong golden threads, but not all. “The magic helps but does not force” said Kreacher.
Kreacher was asked if he could add house elf family trees to the tapestry. Kreacher was alarmed at this. “Why does master need to know?”
“Because Harry loved Dobby, and loves you, and wants to see house elf families too” said Harry. Kreacher looked up at Harry for a long time after this remark, and just before Harry was going to say something Kreacher put house elf names in small letters, showing who was mated to whom. Mates often did not live in the same household, which bothered Harry. Occasionally a house elf would have 2 mates, just like a human, and Kreacher said that was always because one of the mates died. “Masters could not force house elves to mate. That was in the magic from when the house elves were enslaved” said Kreacher. Kreacher had had a mate, but she had died. Their children, two girls, were serving other households.
Harry asked Kreacher “when you die are you the end of the line of house elves serving this house?” Kreacher bowed low and said “The widow of a friend would like to come here, but house elves do not know how to ask. You would have to arrange for a replacement. Difficult, expensive, hard. Grabhook knows how.”
“What is your lady friend’s name?” asked Harry.
“Azalea” said Kreacher.
Harry said “I order you to give me instructions that will tell Grabhook all he needs to know to have your lady friend move in.”
Kreacher answered with a big smile “I will obey the most noble Harry Potter, Friend of House Elves and Goblins.” Kreacher wrote out on a parchment all the information that Harry needed to give to Grabhook and on another parchment what he had to give to the Ministry to allow Azalea to become a Potter house elf and move in with Kreacher.
Harry asked “Do house elves have to be young to have children?”
Kreacher answered “Even if old, if house elves asked to have children they have to try and obey, and usually can. Even for old house elves like Kreacher elf children are great joy, and great trouble.”
Kreacher was getting very good at “suggesting” to Harry things he would like, and if he knew it he was getting very good, much better than almost any of the British house elves, at having a mind of his own and expressing it. There was some magic working between Kreacher and Harry that was changing their relationship, but that was even at this time starting to change the relationships between house elves and witches and wizards in general. Harry said to Kreacher “If you want family to follow you and your fathers in serving this house then you had better make work of having a family.”
Kreacher answered “I will obey, with great joy, most noble and generous Harry Potter.”
About this time Jack K had come in. One of Griffin and Grunt’s other employees had also come, since both of the owners seemed to be busy. It was New Year’s Day, after all. Jack was pleased at the changes in the Tapestry. He had some minor suggestions on the colouring, but the more complex the tapestry became the better he liked it. Jack had a variety of room arrangements, using mostly the same furniture, and could give them several spells that would make certain pieces of furniture appear, others disappear, and the furniture arrange itself in about 10 different ways. Ginny thought that would be nice. Harry was still amazed at all the things magic could do. It really was magical how one room could do so much, and furniture could just appear and disappear and re-arrange itself. That they would have to buy enough furniture for a room and a half was not a problem for Harry.
Harry asked where the furniture went when it disappeared. Jack and the Giffin & Grunt employee had a discussion, and then talked to Kreacher. Jack then answered “There are two possibilities. The first is ‘we do not know.’ The only problem with this is after a long time you forget what you had disappear, what the family owned. There is a spell to make everything that had disappeared show up again, but that can bring back construction debris, dead mice, old sandwiches, and so much furniture and other stuff that the house is full and the stuff runs out the doors and all over. The other way takes a little work, but you can make a magical room that holds all the stuff you want to keep and send it there. You have to remember to use the correct spell, but then you can find things. We could create a sub-sub basement room for this type of storage if you want.”
Harry and Ginny gave their OK to making the magical storage room.
One additional room was decided on, a small private secure office in the basement for Harry, so he could keep confidential documents safe. The door to that room looked like a regular basement wall unless you knew the spells to open it.
At noon Harry and Ginny took the flue to the Potter Estate/Foreign Auror offices. Al VanLente and his son were back, and the vacation was over.
All the Weasley’s, their spouses and intendeds, including Percy and Audrey, were there. They all had lunch together, and then the room was rearranged and Al and clan, Kingsley, Gawain Robards, and many Aurors were there. Al said “I want to introduce you to the world’s best expert in the kind of magical communication that Hermione discovered with the DA’s coins, the kind we use on the back of the wizard mobiles. Every Auror and key ministry executive is going to carry one of these. Everyone we feel is in danger, including all the Weasley family and anyone that looks like they may become part of the Weasley family is going to have one of these, as well as anyone else who logically might be a target of the Death Eaters. They have been reprogrammed to allow you to call for help in several different ways. If you disappear they will remember your last position and we will know where you were. If wards are let down for more than a couple of minutes the phones should be able to send us your position.
They will be charmed so that if the phones are taken away from you they will signal us.
Witches and Wizards, this is Peter Y. Pan.”
Peter explained in some detail how the phones worked. He had clear pictures, sort of like a wizard’s Power Point presentation. The phones were set up so there was a red “panic button” but the charms on it could sense if you really wanted to push it. You could not push it accidentally, and most witches and wizards could learn easily enough to push it non-verbally as long as the phone was within a couple of hundred feet. Hermione remarked that just that charm was really magical. There were also a lot of other ways you could use it to communicate. Peter explained that talking on the phone and many of the other more advanced things Muggles use a mobile for could also be done with these, but only using the Muggle technology. Someone asked why, was there not enough bandwidth in magical space. They had magical radio. Peter said that if he really wanted to know to see him after class, yes there was a bandwidth problem but it was a lot more complicated than that.
Gawain explained some of what had been going on the last 2 weeks, mentioned the attack on Harry and Ginny, and deferred to Al to explain more about the attack. It looked to Harry that Gawain was the nominal head of the department, but with Kingsley’s support Al had effectively taken over running the department.
Al explained to everyone about the concept of “safe space.” All the living areas of everyone there, the Weasley family, all the Aurors, everyone that potentially were at risk, had wards around the space, and the wards were going to be strengthened. They all were going to include one of the mobiles and some other magical way of communicating back to the headquarters so if the wards were broken there would be at least 2 and sometimes more ways of finding out. Once this was done a team of Aurors was going to be going to every potential victim of the dark wizards, the escaped death eaters, and strengthen the wards around their houses and places of employment. The first families that were going to be included were the Grangers and the Dursleys.
The meeting lasted about 3 hours. When it was done Al and Kingsley wanted to speak with Harry alone, and Ginny spent some time with her family as Harry took the other 2 to his office. They all sat down and Harry waited for one of them to speak.
Kingsley spoke first. “Harry, I want you to know that Gawain Robards is a good man. He was my partner for some years as an Auror. He was and is intensely loyal to the Ministry and to the Auror department and it was very hard on him when Tom Riddle’s people were running the ministry. He was my second in command when I ran the department, and he engineered his own demotion so he could serve doing a few of the necessary tasks that still had to be done while avoiding doing any of the bad things. Gawain is not the kind of dynamic inspiring leader we need in the department, but he is the best we have. All the other logical candidates either compromised themselves too much over the last year or are weaker than Gawain.
In your generation there is one logical candidate for the head of the department, and that is you. You are both too young and too inexperienced to head the department now, but starting today you are going to be groomed for the position. You could mess up and loose the right to lead the department, but unless you do not grow into the position it will be yours someday.”
Al then said “You will be working closely with me and Dan and other managers of the Aurors. We need you to learn the difference between doing and managing. We also need you to learn how to find and promote good subordinates. Starting tomorrow morning you will be working with me or with someone I delegate to learn how to lead this department. We are not publicizing it, and as Kingsley said you could still mess up, but it is an open secret that you are being groomed for the position.”
Harry said “I’ll do my best. Thank you for your confidence in me.”
As Harry was in his meeting Ginny was waiting with her parents. Almost everybody else had gone on to whatever they were going to be doing. Molly was looking at the Wizarding mobile in her hand, looking very worried and more than a little upset. “These things are thousands of Galleons” Molly said. “How can anybody afford these?”
“Actually Molly” Arthur replied, “Because they are being bought in bulk, and because Muggle electronics keep getting cheaper and cheaper, they only cost Two Hundred Galleons each. We have talked about the advantages and problems using them are going to cause the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. We think they will get to under Fifty Galleons and under Ten Galleons a month, and at that price almost every Witch and Wizard is going to want one.”
“And you don’t use a wand, but you push these little buttons?” Molly questioned. “And you can talk to Muggles and our people with this?” It was obvious to Arthur and Ginny that to Molly the mobile was as powerful and scary as magic was to Muggles.
Friday night Ginny was in the kitchen with her mother. Harry was in the living room. He had been playing with Teddy, but after a while Teddy had gotten a little fussy. Harry recognized that Teddy was tired, held him with Teddy’s head on Harry’s shoulder. Harry patted Teddy on his back and softly talked to him, and Teddy fell asleep. It felt real good having Teddy sleeping on his shoulder thought Harry. He looked over to where his father-in-law was sitting. Arthur was looking at Harry and Teddy, smiling.
“Feel good?” Arthur asked.
“Fantastic” said Harry. “I feel bad that Ginny and I cannot be his parents, but I don’t want to take him away from Andromeda.” Harry closed his eyes, and said “In some ways I feel like a teenager, and in other ways I feel so grown up. I’d like life to be more like this, holding Teddy, with a nice family, but I have so many things that need to be done, that people need me to do. Kingsley and Al VanLente asked me, told me, that I am being groomed to take over the Auror department. In some ways that’s what I want, but it’s like people expect so much of me, like I’m some sort of hero that can make everything right again. I’m just 18. I’m no big hero like Dumbledore or Kingsley.”
“You were already something of a hero when you survived Riddle’s killing curse as an infant, Harry” said Arthur. “Then at the end of the Tri-Wizard tournament you survived him trying to kill you again. Finally you let yourself be killed, something that took almost unimaginable courage, and survived. And don’t forget that in the end you did kill Riddle, and in the most dramatic way possible.”
“I didn’t do any of that to become a hero” said Harry. “I just wanted to do the right thing. I’m not sure I had much choice.”
“Sure you’ve had choices, Harry” said Arthur. “You said yourself that instead of going to Riddle you could have gotten Ginny and run away.”
“And leave the rest of you to be killed? I couldn’t do that, and I don’t think Ginny could either” said Harry.
“You have enough money to retire, get out of England, go to where no one knows you. You could even go into hiding” said Arthur. “I don’t think you will, because as you said so many people are counting on you, but you could.”
“I want to help make the world a better place for my children and my children’s children, if I didn’t try I’d be no better than Fudge” said Harry. “I just cannot see running away and not trying.”
“I knew what Kingsley and Al were going to say to you” said Arthur. “You are in my department, after all. And I agree with them, that you are too young and inexperienced to lead the department right now, and that you are the right candidate to lead the department with Robards retires. By the way, Al is a little hard on Gawain. Al’s impatient. Gawain has been through a lot of battles, and has always been on the side of the good people in the end. He also knows the rules, and the workings of the Ministry. He’s a good man, and you could learn a lot from Gawain.”
“Ginny seems impatient too” said Harry. “It’s like she always wants not only what she has but more. I hope she gets to play Quidditch for the Harpies, but then she will have to put off becoming a mother. I think she wants to play Quidditch and be a mum and help me catch dark wizards, all at the same time. You can’t do that, can you?”
“Ginny will get a lot of what she wants, but not right away and not all at once” said Arthur. “Just keep encouraging her to make a choice, and support her. She is a good person down deep, just as you said a little impatient, wanting everything right away.”
“I’m not sorry we got married early” said Harry. “It’s a lot easier not having to worry about finding a wife, and we really love each other. I don’t have to worry about witches throwing themselves at me. That’s nice. I really never wanted to have lots of girlfriends.”
“You’re a one woman man, Harry” said Arthur, “and that’s good. Until you have a daughter that is. Now I’m a two woman man, with Molly and Ginny, except I’ve given Ginny to you, but I have all these other women in my life, my daughter-in-laws. No little children to look up to daddy, but it looks like grandchildren are coming soon. I’ve been told that grandchildren are even better than children.
I need to correct that, Harry” Arthur said. “I guess Teddy is something between another child and a grandchild. It would be nice if Andromeda was more stable, but Molly and I are going to have to be the stable people in his life.”
“Ginny and me too” said Harry. “I wish we could be his parents, not that I want to take him away from his grandmother. I hope he’s happy here.”
“We’ll do our best, Harry” a sombre Arthur said “and I know you will as well.”
Since they were going to leave for Hogwarts on Sunday January 2 1999 Saturday was spent getting ready. Harry was going back on the train since his first formal day back at work was going to be Monday January 3.
Saturday night as they were getting ready for bed Ginny asked Harry “Does it seem strange to you going back on the train to Hogwarts?”
“It’s a little unusual” Harry replied, “but I think it will be nice. I kind of think of it as the last day of my vacation.”
“I just spent part of Christmas break with an Interior Designer on the, Harry, Grimmauld Place is really big!” Ginny said. “It’s not huge huge like, Oh, sometimes it seems the Longbottom house goes on forever. It’s not a mansion. But with all the furniture, all the floors and they are big, much bigger than the old Burrow. It’s not as big as the New Burrow, but, and here I am going back to finish my last year at Hogwarts, Harry I’m only seventeen and we just are going to spend a lot of money, a lot of money on a house like I’m grown up and rich and I’m still a school girl! It’s just really strange.”
“Sorry you got married on your seventeenth birthday?” a grinning Harry kidded.
“NO!” Ginny exclaimed. “You’d better make love to me tonight AND tomorrow morning for that remark! I would be so crazy if we had waited, if we’d tried to wait, if you had tried to wait, Harry that’s awful!”
“It is a little strange being Harry Potter, too” Harry reflected. “People treat me as a hero and like I know so much. I feel over my head all the time. I guess I’ve been lucky in having friends who knew what I didn’t, and who helped me when I needed it.” Harry looked at Ginny reflectively. “Having a loving wife to come home to helps, even if she is a horny broad.” At this remark Ginny threw a pillow at Harry, finished taking off her clothes, and proceeded to show Harry just how horny a broad she was, to the great delight of both of them.
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