Chapter 3 : The Weasley Court for the Incredibly Foolish
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He also knew shortly he would have to leave his office and make his way to Gryffindor tower. There was bound to be a party going on and it was his duty as head of house to make sure it didn’t keep the students up too late. He was just comparing a sentence in an essay to a book to ensure its accuracy when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in.” He called not wanting to leave his place in the book.
The door opened to reveal George. Arthur regarded him kindly. The past year had been roughest on him with the loss of his twin. Things seemed to be improving now that he was seeing Angelina. He wasn’t quite the same though. Sometimes he would make a joke and look to his right for a follow-up only to realize that no one was there.
“Hey dad, I was at the Hogsmeade store today. I’m glad you invited me up.” George embraced his father warmly. He didn’t comment on the confused look his father had.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about George but it’s good to see you too.”
“Arthur did I hear George come in?” Molly peeked from their apartment that attached to his office. “Oh I did, George it’s great to see you. What brings you here?” She questioned as she enveloped her son in a bone crushing hug.
“I’m not sure mum. I got a message supposedly from Dad saying he wanted to see me at ten.”
Her response was cut off by the fire in the office turning a bright green. A few moments later Bill stepped out. “Sorry I meant to be here sooner but we just got Victoire down to bed.” Bill brushed soot off his robes as he spoke. “Oh George, mum and dad invited you too eh?”
Bill clapped his younger brother on the shoulder and then proceeded to be pulled into a hug by his mother. Another knock on the door interrupted the small reunion.
“Now who could that be?” Molly asked still holding her eldest son closely.
Percy strode into the room without being asked in. “Mum dad it’s nice to see you. The Minister said you had something for me.”
If they had been surprised by the appearance of the others Percy showing up was enough to make Molly cry. “Oh Perce it’s been so long it’s great to see you.” She wiped tears from her eyes. “I still don’t get what you’re doing here.”
“Personally I was delivering a dragon to the preserve in the Hebrides. My boss asked me to do it and Professor McGonagall thought I should pay you guys a visit. It was a weird time request but now I see why.”
“Charlie you’re here too!” Molly shouted and released Percy who gasped for air. “Oh the only ones missing are Ron and Ginny.”
“Maybe I should go get them. I’m sure they would love to see their older brothers.” Arthur offered.
“I would really rather you didn’t. That would ruin the reason I got everyone together.” The red-heads stared at the figure in the doorway in disbelief.
Harry had disillusioned himself after meeting with McGonagall and waited in the Muggle Studies classroom near the door to the office. He watched as first George than Percy and finally Charlie passed through the classroom and into the office. He saw that Bill had arrived by another method and assumed it was the fireplace that stood to the side.
Everyone had arrived that he needed to speak to and just then he heard Arthur suggest getting Ron and Ginny to join them. He couldn’t allow that plan to proceed so he removed the spell and announced his presence.
“I would really rather you didn’t. That would ruin the reason I got everyone together.”
Molly was about to rush to her surrogate son when Arthur held her back. Harry certainly looked like he had spent a year in tropical nation. His skin was darker and hair somewhat bleached out. He couldn’t be sure and none of his son’s took the risk. Five wands were leveled at the dark haired wizard.
“If you’re Harry you know the drill.” George said with his wand leveled at Harry’s chest.
He thought for a moment before speaking. He really hated to use this one but it was the best way. “I used my tri-wizard winnings for start-up funds for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.” George lowered his wand and the others followed.
“Harry James Potter you did what!” Molly screamed.
“I guess that cat is out of the bag.” George smiled as Molly finally got her hold on Harry to give him a hug.
“Don’t you dare scare us like that ever again.” She was shedding tears again.
“So just wait a minute here.” Percy interrupted. “Harry did you say that you arranged for all of us to be here. Why would you do that?”
“Oh god Harry you’re not about to do what I think you are, are you?” George asked both impressed and scared at the same time. Harry smiled sheepishly and blushed slightly. “Oh Merlin Harry, use your brain. Do you really want to do this?”
“Do you think I could survive the outcome if I didn’t?” George nodded his approval. One down, five to go, he thought.
“What are you talking about George?” Charlie said forcefully. “Harry why did you arrange this?”
Suddenly Harry’s throat went very dry. Charlie seemed to be upset and Harry was second guessing his plan. He looked around at the red-heads knowing this may be worse than facing Riddle. He was not looking forward to admitting what he was about to say.
“Well since you asked so nicely Charlie, I’ll tell you.” Harry ran a hand across his hair. “After events of the past two years I have come to a conclusion. So with that in mind I arranged to have you all here to ask a very important question.” Percy groaned in understanding and Arthur smiled at Molly. She still appeared confused. “Since so many of you know what I’m about to say I might as well say it. I am here to get all of your permission to ask Ginny to marry me.”
“I did a lot of soul searching this past year.” He continued before they could react. “I did as Ginny asked including dating other women and I know it hurt her in the process. When I was kidnapped from school and saw what happened to the others the only thing that kept me sane and allowed me to get through it was hopes of seeing Ginny again. I even considered fleeing the country once I was able to escape just so I could be with her. But I couldn’t leave without knowing my friends were safe.” The Weasleys looked at him surprised. They had never expected such an admission from Harry. “Once I returned to school we’ve talked at least once and often twice every day and I am certain she feels the same way as I do.” He was speaking from the heart, professing his love for the youngest of the Weasleys. But he didn’t know how to finish his sentiments. Instead he conjured an overstuffed chair again and sat down.
The group surrounding him was stunned by the admission. Only George had initially picked up on the purpose of the meeting. Charlie cracked his knuckles menacingly and Bill smirked at the thought of what they could do to him. The silence was broken by three sharp bangs. Percy had conjured a gavel and knocked it on Arthur’s table. “I now call to order the Weasley court for the incredibly foolish.”
George smiled at his pompous brother turned comedian. “The court is so called to order. Arthur Weasley presides, witnesses for the persecution: Bill, Charlie, Percy and Molly Weasley.”
“The court for the incredibly foolish,” Harry raised an eyebrow questioningly. “And shouldn’t that be prosecution George?” Harry asked nervously. “And you didn’t mention yourself.”
“No Harry in this trial persecution is probably more accurate. That is part of the reason that it’s being called the court for the incredibly foolish. You’re putting your future in the hands of some people who may hurt you for it.” Molly provided, trying to reassure him by patting his shoulder. Although she seemed supportive it was hard not to worry. Harry didn’t notice the glare she gave her two oldest boys. “And George you can list me as a witness for the defense. Harry doesn’t have to convince me. I’ve seen the love sick eyes on your sister.”
“I appreciate that Mrs. Weasley. Although you may want to leave for this, you may not want to hear some of the questions and answers.” Harry was starting to regret this decision.
“No Harry if you can take it. So can I.” Molly smiled reassuringly. “And from now on you can call us Molly and Arthur dear, or if things go well tonight, mum and dad.”
“Now this goes against my better judgment but I am going to allow this questioning to proceed, mostly because two of you seem to want to resort to violence.” Arthur stared at his oldest sons. “That is on one condition.” Arthur sat behind his desk that now seemed raised like the tiers of the Wizengamot. “I will not allow you to be hypocrites. I believe Harry will answer your questions honestly but I will not allow you to judge him for things you too have done. Harry doesn’t need your permission, he doesn’t even need mine. But here he is seeking our acceptance to join our family and we treat family fairly.”
George nodded and agreed quickly. He noticed his brothers were less quick to do so. He knew what they were thinking but he respected Harry for what he was doing. If he survived this experience he would truly be one of them.
“We agree to your terms so let’s begin.” Charlie addressed his dad before quickly turning toward Harry. “Harry are you still a virgin?”
“Charlie you can’t possibly ask that.” Molly cried.
Before Charlie could respond to his mother Harry answered the question. “No I am not. I anticipated this question would be coming but I honestly didn’t expect it to be the first thing that was asked.”
“Perhaps that was a little tactless on my part.” Charlie didn’t seem to be nearly as embarrassed as his mother. “Next, how many women have you shagged?”
Molly wanted to yell at her son again but she held off. Harry had volunteered for this and she was going to stand behind him. She noticed that Harry put more thought into this answer.
“Based on your choice of words I would say zero Charlie.” George looked intrigued by the answer as did Arthur. “I have never blindly jumped into bed with some random girl, or had one-night stands.”
“Let me re-phrase then Harry.” Bill spoke up sensing his younger brother was at a loss. He understood what Harry was talking about. “Harry how many women have you slept with.”
Harry sighed and took a deep breath before answering. “Three” He swore Molly was going to feint when he answered. She looked nearly ready to. Her sons though looked furious. “Don’t look at me as if I’ve done something wrong. I doubt any one of you save Percy could say that you’ve only been with one girl.” Now was his time to assert himself before he could be made to look like the villain.
“What makes you say that Harry?” Surprisingly it was Arthur who asked. He was definitely curious as to what brought about this conclusion.
“Charlie and Bill have lived fairly exciting lives traveling around the world. They have good paying jobs and money to burn. Well Bill less so these days.” Harry explained. “Not to mention even with the burns and scars they are good looking guys. I’d be willing to bet girls can’t stay away.” Bill and Charlie both reddened slightly.
“What about me?” George asked.
“I know about the Yule Ball George, Ron told me everything.” Harry challenged. “And now I hear you’re dating Angelina. I bet she can tell us how identical you two were.” It wasn’t often George was speechless but now he had no response. Although George swore he could hear a snicker from Harry even though his lips never moved. His brothers on the other hand couldn’t contain their laughter. Harry had been sure though to not mention Fred’s name. He knew it could be hard on them. “Not to mention you’re all very passionate red-heads. Now can any of you say I’m wrong?”
“I can Harry.” Percy admitted his ears getting redder by the second. “My number isn’t one either. I’m seeing someone new mother. We’ll be coming around for dinner once you’re home for the summer.” Molly nodded but didn’t add anything to the conversation.
“Remember what I said about being hypocrites boys. Harry answered honestly and from the looks of it none of you are innocent.”
“Don’t you go passing the buck Arthur Weasley. I know about the month you spent dating Jean in our seventh year after our first break-up.” Molly admonished her husband who turned a little red.
“I believe I can say the same thing about you and Leo at the same time.” Both adults were embarrassed at the admissions they had just made in front of their children.
“Oh Harry this is bloody brilliant.” George could barely talk. He still held his sides from laughing so hard. “Bill do you have anymore questions on this topic or can we finally move on.”
The laughter stopped immediately and Bill appraised Harry questioningly. “I do have one more, a two part question.” Bill studied Harry for a few moments before continuing. “How many of those three girls have you made love to and how do you know?”
Arthur looked over his son with a renewed respect. Bill was not willing to judge Harry for something he too had done. He chose his words carefully and knew Harry’s response would go a long way to gaining Bill’s approval.
“Even though I don’t think either one of us knew it at the time only one.” Harry admitted almost sadly. “That time was a spur of the moment passion but it was unique. The other girls were special to me at the time but there was something missing in the physical part. It just wasn’t the same satisfaction.”
“Go on Harry.” Arthur prompted. He knew exactly what Harry meant. But he wanted to hear Harry describe it.
He took a few moments before finally being able to put his thoughts into words. “Bill please imagine it’s your birthday at the burrow. You’re looking forward to your favorite dessert after dinner. Well dinner comes and instead of the dessert you were expecting your mom serves something else. While it is delicious and leaves you full its not emotionally satisfying as knowing your mom put the effort into making your favorite just for you.”
Bill smiled and nodded at the description. Focusing on food was a good way to relate to his brothers and Bill could see his brothers were ready to believe Harry. Although Charlie still looked angry at the entire situation. However he knew in order to approve he would have to get Harry to admit who the girl was. “Why do you say neither of you realized it at the time.”
“Because the very next day she told me that what had happened changed nothing in our relationship and put me on an airplane.” Harry had made the statement most of them didn’t want to hear. None of them wanted to think of Ginny like that even though she was an adult and of age. However, they knew that he wouldn’t sleep with anyone else before leaving the country.
“I knew you were the one that did it. I tried to tell everyone else but they would never listen to me.” Percy shouted in Harry’s face. “I can’t believe you put Ginny through that.”
“Percy what in the name of Merlin are you talking about.” Harry felt venom in Percy’s words. “I didn’t put Ginny through anything more than I put myself through.”
“So you really don’t know about the twins Harry?”
“Twins, what twins are those? I know about quite a few twins but none involving Ginny.”
“I’m talking about the twins Ginny gave birth too in March. I can’t possibly believe you never knew.”
Harry felt like he had been punched in the gut. Did he go off to an exotic paradise and leave Ginny to fend for herself? He’d never do that intentionally but why would Percy lie? He was the straight shooter of the family. Anyone else he wouldn’t believe. The facts didn’t add up though, Ginny had played in the amateur quidditch tournament. She had played in every Gryffindor game this year. And someone would’ve let the secret slip if not Ron or Hermione then Hagrid or Molly would. Harry let a smile crack his lips and buried his head in his hands.
“Oh Merlin Percy thank you for telling me, I knew something was off with Ginny during our conversations. If she couldn’t share that with me she must not care about me as I do. I’ll just leave now. Maybe one of my old girlfriends will take me back.” Harry stood to walk out the door swinging his bag over his shoulder as he went.
Charlie smirked happily. “I knew he wasn’t serious about her.”
“Harry wait you don’t have to go. We don’t feel any different about you. We still want you around.” George stopped Harry at the door.
Harry smiled still looking at the door. George was such a good actor. Finally he let a chuckle escape his lips. “Did you honestly think I believed you Percy?” He turned to see the family staring at him intently. “If it was anybody else I would’ve laughed in their face but you are the least likely to pull that type of trick. However the facts just didn’t make sense.”
“What lead you to that conclusion?” Percy wasn’t ready to admit defeat.
“First off had that actually happened I probably would’ve been beaten into pulp the second I walked in the door or at least slapped by Molly.” Charlie and Molly nodded their agreement. “Next had Ginny been pregnant none of you would’ve allowed her to continue playing quidditch this year. She’s played in every game so far. And finally someone would’ve spoiled the surprise. Maybe not anyone in the family, but surely Hagrid or Hermione would’ve let it slip. So all in all you played a good part but it just didn’t make sense.”
“Well I’m sorry you feel that way Harry. He is telling the truth.” Molly added from behind him. Harry knew it still wasn’t the truth but he had to push harder.
“Well then Molly, I want to see them. They’re barely two months old. If Ginny is celebrating with the house then they must be here. Someone has to keep an eye on them.”
“Damn ok you got us. It was worth a try.” George finally relented. “When did you know?”
“When he started to fake cry and threatened to go back with an old girlfriend. He wanted to get a rise out of you boys.” Arthur chuckled behind his desk. “And it worked didn’t it Charlie?” Charlie shrugged rather than reply. “Think about it Charlie, if Harry didn’t genuinely want to be with Ginny he wouldn’t be here. If he was just looking for sex he just admitted he already got that and could probably get it again. Hell Harry could probably get any girl in the school if he wanted and quite a few older witches too.” His son’s looked furious at what he had said though none could truly deny the honesty. “Tell me though Harry, what would you have done if you actually believe Percy.”
“I would’ve called Kingsley and we would be having a wedding right now if Ginny would take me. If not I’d leave her alone for now and set up vaults for the twins so that they never struggle to pay for school. I would keep in touch so the children wouldn’t think I didn’t love them but I wouldn’t force my presence or love on anyone.” Percy nodded. That was the reaction he had hoped for.
“Harry sit back down. I have some very tough questions that have absolutely nothing to do with your sex life.” Charlie directed. It was not a request. Harry did as he was told and waited for Charlie. “Harry do you remember how Ginny screamed when she saw you in Hagrid’s arms coming from the forest?”
Harry gave an involuntary shudder and nodded. “I will never forget that sound. It was the most heart wrenching thing I’ve ever heard.” He already knew where this was going. He was prepared but it was going to mean a little bit of a story.
“How can you assure us that Ginny will not suffer the pain of losing you any time soon?”
“You might want to sit down for this answer. It is going to take a while. Harry conjured chairs for the rest of them. Before I tell you about the steps I’ve taken to make sure Ginny never feels that pain again. Let me explain why it was necessary for you all to feel it once.”
The Weasleys settled into the chairs he had conjured. They knew he was about to tell the story of when he had disappeared and where they went. “First things first, do any of you know what a horcrux is?” Bill’s sharp intake of breathe confirmed that at least one of them knew. He wasn’t surprised it was Bill. “Bill will you explain the concept please. You might be able to explain it better than I.”
Bill dove into the explanation and described it elegantly. George let out a whistle at the end. “So now you’re going to tell us Voldemort created a horcrux and you left to destroy it.”
“Please call him Tom Riddle. The less we use that made up name the better. And no George he didn’t make a Horcrux.” He put extra emphasis on the word “a”.
“What was the point of telling us about the magic?”
“I had Bill explain that because he made six horcruxes and we had to find them all.” The gasps from around the room confirmed the understood the severity of the situation. “Two of them were luckily destroyed before we left. Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo Gaunt’s ring. And in my second year I destroyed Tom’s diary from Hogwarts.”
“You mean the one that possessed my poor Ginny.” Molly started to cry again, although Harry wasn’t sure if she had ever stopped.
Harry confirmed the identity of the diary and then proceeded to describe the events that had happened starting with Bill’s wedding. Harry brought out the pensieve to show his memories from various parts of the story. Arthur smiled realizing that it had been Harry he spoke with that morning at the Ministry. It had been that conversation that put the Weasleys on alert to be ready to hide if needed.
Harry glossed over Ron’s leaving the group in the woods although Bill looked at him questioningly. Before going into the Gringotts break-in Harry shared the memory of Malfoy Manor. Molly wept openly watching Harry and Ron trying to escape the dungeon and hearing Hermione’s screams. “This exact situation was my greatest fear. That is why I ended things with Ginny the first time. Yet it still played out, just not for me.” Harry couldn’t help but cry as he remembered what his friend had been through. Molly put a comforting arm around Harry’s shoulder as the scene played ended with Dobby’s death. After watching the Gringotts’ memory and escape the final night was relived.
Harry skipped through many of the scenes from that night. It was just extra filling and if they followed everything they would be watching memories all night. He showed them everything he felt was important including the memories that Snape had left him. Molly and George had a few choice words for Dumbledore when it was revealed that Harry was a seventh horcrux. Most of the group was crying quietly as they followed Harry on his solitary walk to the forest. They watched him pause and felt the inner turmoil as he was tempted to grab Ginny and run. He carried on and the Weasleys finally started to understand what the trio had been through. Everyone even Bill shuddered when Harry used the stone to resurrect the marauders.
They all watched in silence as Harry stepped into the clearing and confronted Tom. They gasped as he took the killing curse in the chest. He had never even attempted to defend himself. Hagrid’s anguished cries filling their minds and Harry’s emotions surrounded them. They felt his love tying him to the world of the living. The feeling of wanting to ensure that nobody ever felt the pain he had experienced. But not just that love, they also felt the pure love he had for Ginny. Harry attempted to show them what happened when he passed to the other side but even though he remembered it he couldn’t share the memory.
“So that’s why Kingsley went lenient on Narcisssa.” Percy commented as they watched her lie to Riddle. Harry nodded his agreement. Arthur fumed with anger as Riddle tortured what he thought was Harry’s dead body.
Finally they followed Hagrid and the death eaters back to Hogwarts toward the final confrontation. They all heard Ginny scream and Harry pulled them out of the memory. “I don’t think we need to watch more than that.”
“Harry show me your chest.” Molly commanded. He pulled his shirt up and exposed the lightning bolt shaped scar that now adorned his pectoral muscle.
The Weasleys looked pale and Arthur pulled a bottle of firewhiskey from his desk and poured everyone a glass. “To you Harry.” He added before downing the glass. His wife and sons raised their glasses and followed his lead. “Now, how much of this does Ginny know?”
“I told her the entire story before I gave my interview with Xeno. I didn’t share the memories with her but maybe she should see them at some time.”
“That might be a little overwhelming Harry. It’s enough to give me nightmares and I’ve made a living breaking curses.” Bill commented. “You really had no idea you would survive the walk did you?” Harry shook his head and Bill poured another drink looking dumb-struck at the thought.
“You know Harry in the end they never knew you had broken into the Ministry.” Arthur added trying to steer the question back to the topic at hand. “So can you answer Charlie’s question now?”
“Yes sir, I’ve already talked to Kingsley and turned down a position with the aurors. I know if we are ever seriously threatened and the Order is needed we will all be there but I am not going to make it my job to capture dark wizards. I won’t make Ginny a widow at 25 or 30. I want a long happy life.” He explained nervously. “Also as you may understand I can’t risk the elder wand falling in the wrong hands so dueling dark wizards constantly doesn’t appeal to me.”
“Well Harry we know you’re not the type to sit back and do nothing. So what are you going to do?” Charlie asked finally coming around.
Harry produced the bright orange parchment he had received a week prior and passed it to Charlie. He let out a low whistle and passed it to Bill. It wasn’t long and everyone had read it. “Does Ron know yet?”
“No Jason Kodysz is going to be here tomorrow to discuss it in person. For that matter so will Gwenog Jones.”
“Why is she coming Harry she’s only interested in recruiting witches.” Percy asked not making the connection.
“In case you didn’t know your sister just lead Gryffindor to the house cup. She’s one of the best chasers I’ve flown with. So basically I’m hoping to make both her dreams come true tomorrow.” Harry admitted.
“So I assume that means you have a ring already Harry?” Molly asked rather excited. Harry handed her the small velvet box he had taken from his vault. She looked over the rings and once again had to fight her tears. “Arthur look at this.” She handed him the box.
Arthur looked closely at the rings and studied Harry. “You took these from your vault didn’t you Harry?”
“How did you know?”
“Because Harry, we saw these rings on their original owner. These are the rings your dad gave your mom.”
Harry felt tears sting his eyes. He had no clue that this set had belonged to his parents. He suddenly felt he wasn’t worthy of those rings. “I think I’ll return them to the vault then.”
“No Harry, we knew your parents well and I think they would’ve been delighted to know that Ginny was wearing your mum’s rings.” Molly hugged him gently. “And the rings are lovely. Ginny will love them.”
“Now Harry, I have one final question. How do you know that my little girl feels the same way about you that you do about her?”
Harry had planned answers for all the previous questions. He had expected them. This one though caught Harry off guard and he had to improvise. His bag was still underneath the chair and he moved the paper-wrapped package aside and pulled out a pair of socks. Arthur looked at him curiously until Harry extracted the small glass ball from the center.
“Ginny can you hear me.” He felt foolish talking to the little ball in front of her family but he waited.
“Oh Harry, its great to hear from you, you should’ve seen the match. We won, but it was close because we didn’t catch the snitch but we kicked butt.” He could hear the smile in her voice more than he could see it in the small mist figure.
“I knew you could do it Gin. Has the party wrapped up yet?” She replied affirmatively so he continued. “I’ve got a question though for ya hun.”
“Sure Harry what’s going on?”
“When was the last time you cast a patronus?”
“The day before you left for Brazil, Flitwick hasn’t made any of us D.A. members perform the charm this year.”
“I know it sounds strange but can you cast one for me?”
Ginny didn’t question his request. But she thought of her happiest memory and let the emotions fill her. She cast the spell and watched the figure take shape. “Harry why is my patronus a lioness? It was always a horse.”
“I would rather tell you in person Ginny. Can you wait till then?”
“Of course Harry. It’s only a few weeks away. Although I think I know why.”
“I’m sure you do, but you had a long day get some sleep. I love you Ginevra Molly Weasley.”
“I love you too Harry James Potter.”
He tucked the small ball back into the socks he used to protect it before looking over the assembled group. “The fact that you get away with calling her Ginevra is strong evidence. But how was that going to prove anything?” Charlie was still uncertain.
Harry didn’t respond but rather cast a patronus of his own. The mist formed into a powerful cat with a large mane. It was unmistakably a male lion. Harry released the spell before talking. “I first saw this patronus at Halloween last year. However the day before I left I cast the spell it and still took the stag shape. This is why I said we didn’t know it at the time but we made love that night.” He blushed deeply and hid his eyes.
“Well I believe I have seen everything I need to. Even if I wanted to stand in the way I cannot deny my daughter her happiness. All in favor of letting Harry join the Weasley clan.”
George’s hand flew up immediately. Percy and Molly followed just a moment after. Bill regarded the young man before raising his hand in support as well. Only Charlie looked at him suspiciously. He was struggling internally and he hated to admit his sister was all grown up.
“Charlie, your sister is of age. She worked hard so she could finish school this year.” Arthur explained. “We know Harry inspired that but she is a strong intelligent witch.”
“Besides Charlie when this eventually does happen and Ginny asks Harry what took him so long do you want it to be your name that caused the delay?” George smirked as his brother got even more uncomfortable.
Finally Charlie waved his wand refilling the glasses that everyone had. “Good luck Harry. I’d rather face dragons than the wrath of my sister.” He raised the glass and his family followed.”
Arthur banged the gavel one more time. “Court dismissed, welcome to the family.”
“Thanks dad.” Harry beamed and was crushed in a Molly hug.
A few minutes later the family was lost catching up on various things when Bill spoke. “You know dad when I got the invite, I thought you wanted to talk about this.” Bill passed his father a parchment with a Gringotts’ letterhead.
Arthur appeared concerned. “Harry were you trying to bribe your way into our family?” He smiled as he asked knowing Harry would never do that.
Rather than respond to Arthur Harry directed a question at the eldest son. “Bill what happens to a wizard’s vault when they die with no will and no next of kin?” Harry asked knowing already what had happened. One of Gringotts’ goblins had asked him to be a witness to an account transfer.
“The money usually goes to the Ministry, with Gringotts keeping a portion almost like a finder’s fee.”
“And if said wizard or witch dies in a wizard’s duel and not of natural causes?”
“To the victor go the spoils. But I’m still not understanding where you’re going with this.”
“Yesterday at Gringotts, when I visited my vault, one of the goblins asked me to be a witness to an event that occurred on May 2nd 1998. I witnessed and gave my account of the wizard’s duel between one Molly Weasley and one Bellatrix Lestrange.”
“Oh Merlin Harry, is this the balance of the Lestrange account?”
Harry shook his head. “No this is just what was Bellatrix’s vault. The money is to do with as you wish Molly. I’m sure large portions of it will be donated since I know you think it’s unclean.”
“I will put it to good use yes Harry.”
“Wait Harry if that applied to mom and Riddle never expected to be killed…” Percy asked expectedly.
“Yes Percy exactly what you think, he spent years murdering entire families such that the final person would have no will. He inherited everything from them. Gringotts wasn’t going to allow me access to any of my vaults. Fleur leveraged this law in my favor.”
“That sly minx, how much are we talking about Harry?” Bill questioned cautiously.
“Not as much as we could have been. I didn’t want the gold but I had to take some of it. So thirty percent goes to the Ministry, thirty to the goblins, thirty to a foundation I set up and ten to me. Kingsley told me that the money has been keeping the Ministry going for the past year and helped them through a very trying time. I’m told the goblins keep finding estates that I own. Apparently I gave them double their normal fee so they help me to help themselves.”
“Bloody hell Harry, you should’ve started the conversation this way. I would’ve never even questioned you.” Bill admitted.
“As dad said I didn’t want to appear to be bribing the family.”
“Harry you realize that percentage is only liquid assets. You still inherit anything additional in the vaults.”
“That explains how I furnished Grimmauld Place so well. It seemed like every time I went to your vault there was furniture there I never saw before. I thought I was losing my mind but it makes sense.” Molly remarked.
“Well you did a wonderful job mum thank you.” He smiled as her tears threatened to flow again. “I stayed there last night after having lunch with Kingsley. I also made a stop at the shop it looks great George.”
“Thank you Harry but I was wondering if we could perhaps talk in private for a minute.” George asked. His smile noticeably forced.
Harry nodded as George approached. Harry kept by his seat and waited for George to talk. His brothers gave them a wide berth out of respect.
“Harry what’s it feel like to die?”
Harry knew where the question came from. He also knew he was one of a few people who could actually answer it. He took a deep breathe before answering. “As we saw Sirius say in my memories. It’s quicker than falling asleep and just as painless. If where we go afterward is anything like where I went then we have nothing to fear. From what I understand we will be reunited with loved ones and know no pain. Of course I could be wrong but I’d like to think otherwise.”
“Thank you Harry. You don’t know how much it means to me to know that I might see Fred again on the other side.”
“Don’t get all mushy on me. We have a reputation to uphold.” A disembodied voice came from under Harry’s seat.
“Fred is that you?”
Harry grabbed his bag and pulled out the brown rectangular package. He removed the wrapping with a flip of his hand. The bracelet he wore channeling the magic. “You just couldn’t keep quiet could you?” He admonished the portrait of Fred. “I knew I should’ve put you to sleep.”
“Hey at least I didn’t comment when you were talking to George about Angelina.”
“Yes but you couldn’t help but laugh could you?”
“Harry what in Merlin’s name is going on? How can you be talking to Fred?” George looked like he was ready to cry or punch something at a moments notice.
“Last year I commissioned a portrait. It is similar to the ones of the Headmasters of Hogwarts.” Harry explained turning the portrait to face the family. Fred sat on a pile haphazardly stacked skiving snackboxes. He was wearing his black dragonhide jacket and a Weasley jumper. He smiled and waved at his family from the painting.
“It’s great to see you all. Tell them the rest though Harry.”
Harry passed the painting to George who really did cry now. “There are seven copies of the small frame, one for each of you to put in your home. On Monday a life-sized version will be delivered to the shop in Diagon Alley. That way Fred can always be there to keep an eye on things with you George.”
Harry gathered the portrait frames and distributed them to the remaining family. He gave Molly three copies. “Hold on to these for Ron and Ginny. At least until they have a place to put them. Hopefully one of them will go in the drawing room of Grimmauld Place.”
George sat in a corner talking to the portrait of his twin for a long time. Nothing could ever replace Fred but having that little piece of him to share stories with had already made George happier. Before long the gathering broke up and Harry walked with George and Charlie to the gates. Percy and Bill took the floo to get home quicker.
It was well past midnight by the time Harry arrived at the Three Broomsticks where he and his friends were staying the night. They were in two adjoining rooms which shared a loo. Harry entered his room to find the lights on and everyone sitting around waiting. The girls were seated on his bed while Elimar was reclining on his own. It had been a long day but none of them could relax until they knew the response. He was grateful for their thoughtfulness but hid any expression as he looked over the group.
“Well?” Mari finally asked realizing he wasn’t going to come out and say it.
Harry stood by the door looking tired and dejected. “Well we talked and I told them a lot about what happened to me that they didn’t already know. Her brothers questioned my purity.” His friends snickered at the comment. “In the end,” He paused drawing out their impatience. “They said yes!” He screamed and hugged his surrogate sister. The others cheered and quickly followed overjoyed for his happiness.
Madam Rosmerta was glad the students were the only ones staying in her inn that night. The cheer they lifted up at his news nearly shook the building. She couldn’t help but smile and be happy for Harry as well. His friends had explained where he went after he had gone. They had come down for dinner in the bar. They all were nervous and it only took a little coaxing to get Elimar to confess everything.
She had stayed awake watching the bar until he came back in. It was still relatively early but the patrons had cleared out a little while ago. She closed the door and locked everything securely as she heard the cheer from the upstairs room. She knew that if anyone deserved a lifetime of happiness with the one he loved it was Harry.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I did. I had more fun writing this one than I have with many others. I can't help but smile when I think of this scene playing out.
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