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Chapter 1 : Life Still Goes On
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Kreacher apparated with his usual loud crack and he bowed low and croaking in his bullfrog's voice,"Master, Harry,What can I do for you?"
"Will you do me a favor? I'd like some sandwiches. With ham or chicken, please," Harry said.
"Of course, master. Kreacher will bring them for you. Anything else? "
"Well, are there any clean clothes for me in Grimmauld Place?" Harry asked.
"Master Harry left his old clothes at Grimmauld Place. Kreacher can bring him some," Kreacher answered.
"Thank you. And towels and something to drink, if it wouldn't be too much trouble?" Harry asked.
"Of course, master," Kreacher vanished with a loud crack.
Soon, Kreacher reapparated back to the dormitory with a plate of sandwiches, a pitcher of pumpkin juice, mugs and a stack of clothes and towels. Harry thanked him, picked up a ham sandwich and took a bite. He poured pumpkin juice into a mug. Just then Ron and Hermione came into the boy's dorm.
"Sandwiches! Where did you get those?" Ron asked.
"Kreacher. Want one?" Harry offered Ron the plate.
"Yes, please. I'm starved," said Ron, taking a sandwich and shoving it in his mouth.
He sank down on his own mattress and Hermione sat next to him. Ron handed a sandwich to her and he took another.
"Have you seen Kingsley or Professor McGonagall?" Harry asked.
"No, why?" Ron mumbled through a mouthful of sandwich.
"Well…" Harry pointed to the Elder Wand, which was on the side table. "I need to get this wand back to .. to.."
"To Dumbledore's tomb?" Hermione finished gently.
"We can find them after we have finished eating. And I want a shower. Hermione, do you have my extra clothes in your bag? "Ron asked.
"I'm not sure. Wait a second." She rummaged in her beaded bag for a while saying apologetically, "I'm sorry, Ron. I can't find any."
Ron sighed. "It's okay. I'll ask mum later."
After they finished eating, Ron and Hermione left to find Mrs Weasley. Harry went to the Gryffindor boys’ bathroom. He touched the tap with his wand. The facility functioned as usual in spite of the destruction caused by the battle of Hogwarts castle. While waiting for the water to heat up, he was astounded at finding many bruises across his body, probably caused by dark magic during the battle. Perhaps he got some of them while he was being tortured by the Cruciatus Curse. Among them he found a big scar on the left side of his chest. It was the same shape as the one on his forehead. Below his Adam's apple, there was also a heart-shaped mark cursed by the Horcrux locket. When he stepped out of the shower wrapping a towel around his waist, Ron came in. Ron gaped at the new scar on Harry's chest. "Merlin's beard!" He gestured from the lightning scar on Harry's forehead to the new one on his chest.
"Yeah, and this, " Harry pointed at the mark on his throat.
"Oh, I got the same one, here," Ron took off his dirty shirt and pointed; there was the same heart-shaped mark on his throat. "Hermione's got one, too. We are all members of Heart-shaped Mark Club ." Ron joked. "But how did you get the new lightning one?"
"Tom Riddle used Avada Kedavra on me," Harry explained.
"You dueled with him twice?"
"Well, I didn't duel with him the first time, exactly. Ron, don't you remember? I told you about it yesterday."
"Oh yeah…sorry, mate. Got a lot on my mind."
There was a long pause, then Ron stepped forward and hugged him tight. "Welcome back to us, Harry," he said, his voice hoarse.
"Thanks, Ron," Harry choked, a lump in his throat.
After they'd hugged for a minute, Harry stepped back and asked, "So, we're all members of the Heart-shaped Mark Club , right?"
"Yeah, we're privileged. It's an honorable position," Ron grinned.
Harry grinned back and asked, "Could you find professor McGonagall or Kingsley?"
"No, but Dad said Kingsley has asked about you. He has a lot to ask you, I suppose. When dad finds him, he'll let you know. He told me he will be the temporary Minister of Magic!"
"Really? Wow, that's brilliant. He really deserves it."
"Yeah, but dad told me Kingsley was very reluctant to be Minister. He would rather be back at Auror Headquarters."
The word "Auror" reminded Harry of the remaining Death Eaters. "How many Death Eaters are on the run?" he asked.
Ron shrugged, "Only the Aurors know."
Harry groaned in frustration and pulled on his faded jeans.
"Harry, what are you going to do now? Do you still want to be an Auror?"
"Well, fighting Dark wizards is the only thing I'm good at, so yeah, I guess so." Harry shrugged.
"What about Quidditch?" Ron pointed out.
"Play professionally, you mean?"
"Yeah, you'll be able to play a Seeker at a professional level."
Harry grinned at him. "And you can also play Keeper."
"Nah, I lack confidence. But Ginny wants to be a professional Chaser, you know. She is very dedicated."
Harry's mind went to Ginny's passion and energy during Quidditch games, and his old feelings came flooding back once more. "Eh..Ron? Is it okay if I go find Ginny? We have a lot to talk about.”
Ron nodded, "I'm going to take a shower, see you later."
Harry went to the common room. Ginny wasn't there. He wondered she was in the girl's dormitory but he couldn't check so he went to the Great Hall. When he got there, he spotted Ginny sitting at one of the tables, but as he moved towards her he was stopped by Arthur Weasley.
"Good morning, Harry. Did you have a good sleep last night?"
"Good morning, Mr. Weasley It was alright."
"Good. I'm going to meet Kingsley at the Headmistress's office now. Will you come along?"
"Yes, I will, but before I talk with them, I would like to talk to Ginny. Can I?" Harry asked nervously.
"Sure. You have a lot to talk about, I suppose. Ginny, come here," Mr. Weasley called to her.
Ginny looked up and her eyes met Harry's. She got up and took a step toward him.
"Harry," she murmured.
Mr. Weasley nodded and left the Great Hall. Suddenly Harry felt nervous and he stuttered, "Ginny, I , eh..,well."
Ginny looked up into Harry's face steadily, her eyes were as brilliant as the day he left her a year ago. She took a step closer to him and said,
"I've never forgotten about you. There was always the silver lining , a hope to meet you again. Whenever I heard about you, when three of you broke into Gringotts, even when I tried to take the sword of Gryffindor from Snape, even when the Carrows tortured us, I never gave up the hope of seeing you alive again. But the worst scene I've ever seen was, oh Harry, when Hagrid carried you in his arms… I thought you were dead!" she whispered.
Her eyes were filled with tears. Harry once again had a lump in his throat. He hugged her tight, "I'm sorry, Ginny. I'm very sorry I left you alone like that. But I came back. I'll never leave you again."
"I know," she answered in husky voice.
She kissed him like the first time as she kissed him, and Harry kissed her back passionately. Then he took her hand, and they left the Great Hall together and went up to the Head Mistress's office.
On their way up the stair case, Ginny asked, "Where did you sleep last night?"
"Gryffindor tower. You?"
"I slept in the girl's dorm of Gryffindor Tower."
Harry stepped in front of the statue of the gargoyle."Can we still go up without passwords?" he asked.
"Free", groaned the statue.
They moved slowly up the stairs. Harry pushed open the door at the top and entered. There were McGonagall and Kingsley. McGonagall looked very tired but spoke in her usual crisp voice. "Good morning, Potter. Welcome back to us. I'm very glad to see you again." She smiled.
"Thank you, professor. I'm glad to see you, too."
Kingsley took a step towards Harry and said, "Welcome, Harry. I'm very happy to see you again," in his baritone voice.
"You too, Kingsley," he said.
The sight of Kingsley reminded Harry that they'd lost a lot of friends- Moody, Dobby, Lupin, Tonks and Fred. Yet the people in this room had survived through the battle of Hogwarts. Harry wanted to cry or yell.
His emotion must have shown on his face, because Kingsley said, "I know how you feel, Harry. Please don't hesitate to express your emotion. You are only seventeen. You don't need to hold back."
"Thank you, Kingsley," Harry managed to keep smiling and asked, "Well, do you want to ask me something?"
"Yes, I would like to talk about your future plans. Do you still want to be an Auror?"
Harry stared at Kingsley and said, "I..er, well, yeah, I suppose."
"I'm really glad to hear that. We lost a lot of Aurors during the war. And we need to clean up. We desperately need to recruit younger people. You can join us this autumn."
"But Kingsley, I haven't got my N.E.W.T.s," Harry pointed out.
"Well, I have talked with Minerva about your education. You can start as a trainee Auror from this autumn at Hogwarts. Your friend, Ronald Weasley can join you. The two of you will be assigned to help professors to guard the school."
Ginny squeezed his hand and whispered, "I'm glad to hear you'll come back to Hogwarts. We can study together."
McGonagall nodded and said, "You and Ronald Weasley will be able to take subjects suitable for your career. We have a plan. We will talk about it later."
"That's brilliant. But I'm not sure Ron wants to be an Auror," Harry said.
"I heard Weasley wanted to be an Auror two years ago. If he hasn’t changed his mind, you can both start training in the autumn."
"Wow, that's brilliant, really. Thank you, Professor." Harry fiddled with the Elder Wand which was in the pouch hung around his neck. He remembered what he needed to discuss with the two.
"I need your help, both of you."
Harry glanced at the portrait of Dumbledore and pulled the Elder Wand from his pouch.
"Can we return this to Professor Dumbledore's tomb? It was stolen by Tom Riddle. This wand should be left with Dumbledore. But I'm not sure how to seal the tomb forever. So I need your help. "
Harry glanced at the portrait again. Dumbledore's eyes were open and he was smiling.
Kingsley put his hand on Harry's shoulder and said, "I understand. We'll help you. When will you begin?"
"As soon as possible. This wand needs to be kept safe. If someone, a dark wizard or a Death Eater, found it, there could be another war," Harry said firmly.
Dumbledore's portrait beamed at Harry, "Well done, Harry! I'll tell Minerva how to seal my tomb forever. I'll also need your help, Kingsley. "
"Sure. We'll also need Bill Weasley, He's a curse breaker. His skill could come in handy ." Kingsley answered. He summoned his Patronus. His silver Lynx appeared and vanished out the window to find Bill.
Author's Note: Thanks to my beta readers, krazybotharryginny and chinaglaze. I started editing this and more Lily's magic information is coming.
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