Chapter 19 : 19- The Winning Condition
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Now I must add that for anyone who, rather understandably, doesn't want to go back a re-read an entire book all over again, that's completely fine! Nothing story-wise has been touched! The only brand new material you'd miss out on are some character scenes on those I didn't realise would become so important later on.
Well, now that that's out of the way please sit back, relax and enjoy Chapter 19!
19- The Winning Condition
The Remembrance Garden of the Italian Ministry sat at the back of the island upon which the building was situated; though in Harry’s personal opinion the name Remembrance Field would have been more appropriate. It was at least the size of the largest of Quidditch pitches and flooded with colour thanks to many varying flowers that decorated the grass and waist high wall. Despite the tremendous amount of colour however, at least half of the garden was filled with tall, bright white barked trees. Stuck to the thick trunks of these trees were golden plaques engraved with the name of the Auror to whom it was dedicating, their birth and death date and how they had met their fate.
Before he had taken his seat for the service, the Italian Minister had given Harry a brief tour of the trees and pointed out some of the most notable heroes of the Italian Ministry; the majority of which, Harry noticed, had died fighting against Grindelwald’s rebellion.
Now seated in what he had to admit was surprisingly comfortable wooden chair in the middle of the assembly, he waited patiently for everything to begin while watching the birds that flew around them. It was the only thing he felt comfortable focussing on. This would be his third service in the past two days after the Russian memorial that had taken place the previous evening and the Mongolian service that morning but, although they had all been exhausting for him, Harry feared that this would be all the harder for, as opposed to the others, this service would also be a burial where all of the Italian Aurors who had been killed in the battle would be laid to rest beside their predecessors.
When the sound of what seemed like a singing choir began the entire assembly began to stand. Harry scanned around for the source of the soothing music before realising it wasn’t coming from a choir, but instead the blue-feathered birds that soared around them.
“You okay?” The Supreme Mugwump asked from beside him, her ruby coloured robes dazzling in the Sun and her dark hair done up in a respectable bun.
Harry nodded as he stood with the rest of the crowd; the majority of which he recognised from the other services. It appeared that everyone who had fought against the Bowton twin’s army wanted to pay their respects to those who had died in the fighting, regardless of who the fallen had been or whether the mourners themselves had recovered. Some were still sporting heavy injuries that were concealed behind bandages while others had to be accompanied by Healers and a few were even still in wheelchairs; but all were there today to once again give their thanks.
One by one the white, wooden coffins glided down the centre with the Italian Minister, Bruno Calogero, at the head of the precession dressed in pitch black dress-robes.
As Bruno took his place at the tall podium at the front of them all, the coffins continued to glide until they were all in a neat line behind him. The moment Bruno began to speak, the singing birds stopped and was replaced by the sniffs and fake coughs of his onlookers.
Harry wished he could understand what Bruno was saying. He had asked the new Minister before the service but the only response was a grim “Just the usual.” For those who could not speak Italian, as opposed to translators that all agreed would have caused far too much noise, the attendees had each been given a sheet of Translator Paper and as Bruno spoke, Harry watched as his words appeared in English on the brown piece of paper in his hands. Despite the risk of the paper being less accurate then a translator, Harry had to agree that hundreds of people talking at once may have ruined the mood.
With an unpleasant pang Harry then remembered that Enzo had just started to learn English and suddenly felt guilty for not learning enough Italian in return to understand a sermon dedicated to him. Not that he’d had any time to learn Italian in the first place. In the three long days since the battle for the Russian Ministry, Harry had been involved in the restoration of the Russian Ministry, both its exterior and its running; the scheduling of the next meeting of the entire Confederation; the security for the one prisoner from the battle that had escaped Russian grasps as well as Bruno’s rise to Ministership.
It had been a tough job for the Italian Ministry’s Magical High Council to stick to a suitable replacement after Alice Mulvenna’s unanimous sacking from the position but recommending Bruno for the job had been one of the first things Naomi had done upon her meeting with the Council. Pruning the rest of the old Minister’s elk with an investigation that was still going on had proven tricky at first as a good number of them had put themselves forward for the title of Minister. However, once Lawrence’s location had been discovered and his evidence against his captors had been given, the applications for Ministership swiftly turned into court dates.
Naomi’s handling of the entire ordeal had been one of the few bright things that had helped Harry with his time away from his wife and children. It was as though a woman much older and wiser had awoken from the coma, though Harry knew that this wasn’t entirely true. He had merely missed Naomi’s transformation from his young and ambitious protégé to the stern and forward thinking political leader that now sat beside him. In fact, she had been so impressive these past few days that it had even got to a point where she was turning just as many heads as Harry.
But nothing was going to stop Harry from returning home this evening. He’d had it all planned out; after an overdue meeting with Kingsley, he would be with Ginny once more.
The thought of her seemed to flare something up within him as he listened to Bruno, as though a warm fire had been lit in the cold space that had become his mind-set.
Looking down, Harry saw that Bruno was now talking about each individual Auror.
Gianna Elbaro who had devoted her free time to volunteer work with mistreated Magical Creatures.
Angelo Molbreson, a senior Auror who had served his Ministry for nearly fifty years.
Elpheeni Rondo, a loving mother of four.
Harry felt his eyes burning.
Enzo Mulvenna. Harry snapped his eyes shut. He didn’t deserve this. From the moment Harry had met Enzo, he’d always done his best to fight for what was right. Volunteering to go to Azkaban with the rest of the British Aurors, fighting Selwyn’s army, helping Harry to try and find his family and thwart Mosby’s plans. And now his reward was to be laid to rest with the rest of the unfortunate Wizards and Witches who had decided to come to the Russian Ministry’s aid.
Not so long ago, Harry would have loved to have heard the Italian Minister say what Bruno was now stating. His devotion to making sure their lost ones did not die in vain, his commitment to working alongside the Confederation and his vow to bringing down Mosby and his Alliance. Now Harry just felt drained.
After finishing his final statement, Bruno stepped down from his podium and waved his wand. At once the lid at the head of each of the coffins glided open for those who wished to say goodbye.
Alongside Harry, every single combatant of the Russian invasion queued to pay their respects to each of the fallen, thanking them for their sacrifice; even Berkoff, who had been uncharacteristically quiet since the Russian memorial service went about pinning a thick golden medal to each of their robes.
The former Italian Minister, whose face was hidden behind a black vail, stood over the coffin of Enzo murmuring something Harry could not understand as he stood behind her to say his own goodbye. Once she had finished, Harry could tell that she had spotted him for her head did a small double take towards him, however he could not discern her expression through the dark vail.
Finally, Harry stepped up to Enzo’s coffin. Like his fellows, Enzo looked peaceful, as though he were merely in a deep sleep.
“Thank you…” Harry said in a cracked voice. He wanted to say more, to say something deep and meaningful that befitted Harry gratitude and Enzo’s bravery when the large golden medal Berkoff had pinned to Enzo’s robes caught Harry’s eye. Suddenly, the image of Enzo’s awe-struck face when being handed a D.A Galleon sprang to Harry’s mind. Without thinking, Harry drew out his own Galleon and tucked it beneath the enclosed hands on Enzo’s chest beside his wand.
Once the final mourner had said their goodbyes, Harry saw Bruno wave his wand a second time at the line of coffins. Slowly, they all hovered into the holes behind them and allowed the ground close around them until they were hidden from view. The second the ground returned to its undisturbed beauty however, the crowd looked on as a white wooden sprouts sprang from the place where each grave once sat. Higher and thicker they grew, twisting and turning majestically as branches began to sprout off from the now thick trunks in all directions until several mighty trees stood before them, the details of those they commemorated already carved onto their trunks.
“It was beautiful, Bruno.” Naomi said as she took the new Minister’s hand once the service was over and the mingling of the mourners began. “Well done.”
Harry placed a comforting hand on Bruno’s shoulder and gave him a nod of agreement.
“I meant every word I said you know.” He said to the pair of them. “I refuse to let my Ministry go down in history as the one who bowed in fear when we faced our greatest threat.”
“Well speak like that at the next meeting and our support will be all but sorted.” Naomi said encouragingly.
Bruno laughed. “I only hope can speak full-stop. I’ve never even been to a simple Confederation meeting let alone spoken at one with the entire membership present.”
“Well from what I hear Naomi is one to learn from.” Harry said and he felt a moment’s relief as he and Bruno let off a snort of laughter at Naomi’s blushing.
They were interrupted by the arrival of a small Witch dressed in lime-green hemmed robes; the robes of a Magical Transportation employee at the Italian Ministry.
“Apologies Ministro,” The Witch bowed. “But a Portkey has just arrived from Paris for Signor Potter.”
Bruno bowed his head gratefully before patting Harry on the back. “Rest well, you’ll need your energy.”
“Thank you,” Harry replied. “For everything. Naomi, are you sure you don’t want to come? You’ve more than earned a night off.”
“And risk everything falling into despair while I’m gone again? No chance.” She replied with a grin and a wink to Bruno who had started laughing again. With one last hug from his old protégé, Harry departed the Remembrance Garden with a final glance towards the tree that stood sentinel over Enzo’s grave where he saw the tall figure of Alice Mulvenna staring at the plaque.
Reappearing within the French Ministry in a flash of blue light, Harry expected to see the Ministry’s Magical Transport Department. What he saw instead was a crowd of people applauding him. Before he could even take note of who was gracing him however, he had Ron wrapped around him and yelling over the applause.
“You mad bastard!” He shouted jubilantly. “You mad brilliant bastard!”
At this, the applause was replaced with laughter and Harry realised that the majority of those that surrounded him were Aurors with the French Minister at the head.
“Zank you!” Bernardine blurted out as she moved Ron to one side and gripped Harry’s hand.
“I’m not the one who needs thanking, Minister.” Harry said, half laughing. “It’s Naomi and Bruno you need to thank. Without them Russia would’ve-”
“Oh shut up and take the compliment!” Ron bellowed as he slapped Harry on the back. “Remind us, who was it that captured Morgana Bowton? Who helped oversee Russia’s defences?”
Harry felt his face flush.
“I don’t know, fifteen years and you still don’t know how to appreciate a bit of glory!”
As the crowd of Aurors roared with laughter, Bernardine pulled Harry close so that only he could hear what she next said. “Kingsley is waiting for you in his office.”
Harry nodded but was brought back into the spotlight by Ron gripping his shoulder and pulling him back to his side. “So are you going to give us details of how many arses you kicked or are we going to have to spike a drink with truth serum?”
Harry feigned a laugh as the others drew closer to hear his story. “Sorry guys, maybe next time. But for now… I have to see to our next win.” Harry finished with as much enthusiasm as his drained self could muster.
The surrounding Aurors roared and cheered as Harry then made his way to follow the French Minister out of the Transport Department.
“You caused a lot of worry while you were away.” Bernardine said once the pair were free from the throng of Aurors and striding towards Kingsley’s office. “And on top of all ze patrolling they’ve had to do… Well… It’s nice to see zem so hopeful again.”
“Let’s hope they stay that way.” Harry said wirily as they walked through the sapphire sphere that was the main hall of the Ministry, the glass statue of his companion standing tall in the centre.
“Um, I was wondering if you ever got my message? It’s just I never heard back and-”
Bernardine smiled. “I got it. Everything’s sorted for you.”
“And the present?”
“I believe Hermione took delivery of it. It’s currently in her wardrobe at the Manor waiting for you to conjure.” Bernardine reassured and her smile grew at the look on Harry’s face
Once they arrived, Bernadine knocked on the door lightly before it opened for her.
Upon entering the handsome, old fashioned office Harry saw Kingsley standing brightly behind his desk and sat before him was…
“Potter!” Cried the thick Texan accent of Lance Ryder as the blond haired bulk of a man stood from his chair to greet him.
“You!” Harry cried.
The moment Lance was close enough, Harry felt his frustration over Enzo and the rest of the fallen boil over at the sight of the American Co-Minister and punched him hard in the side of the face.
“I warned you Lance.” Kingsley said casually as Lance fell to the floor as though Harry had done nothing more than given him the cold-shoulder.
“What the hell were you thinking sending Naomi into Mongolia?” Harry yelled at the now dazed man. “She nearly died in there! They tortured her!”
“Do I really have to explain this again?” Lance groaned as he felt the bruise on his cheek. “I knew she could handle herself.”
“She was in a coma, Lance!” Harry pressed.
“Well I didn’t make her drink that damned potion!” Lance replied as though that relieved him of all blame. “That one’s on Chingis!”
“As satisfying as yelling at Lance is, Harry,” Kinsley interrupted before Harry could retort. “We have updates… Major updates.”
Harry glowered at Lance as the Co-Minister got back to his feet before replying “What kind of major updates?”
“The kind that could allow us to take back Scandinavia.” Lance answered as he opened and closed his jaw as though checking he still could.
“What?” Harry exclaimed, his anger at Lance temporarily evaporating from his mind.
“I received a message from Dagfinn shortly before the Russian invasion. He says he may have a way into the Scandinavian Ministry.”
“That’s… That’s brilliant!” Harry exclaimed. “Well when can we act? I could spend tomorrow putting a team together-”
Kingsley raised a hand. “I have decided to wait until after the Confederation meeting, when we have our numbers. You might be able to get into the Ministry with a task force but to fully take and hold it will take an army if you’re up against Akrahn Colby.”
Harry nodded. “Okay, what else?” He pressed looking between Kingsley and Lance.
“Remember my Auror that got caught?” Lance began. “Well he was able to escape with the help of a level three target. He’s since been working with them against Mosby ever since resulting in a good chunk of information on our favourite Minister as well as the death of Dolores Umbridge and a number of her cronies earlier today.”
Harry stared at Lance. “Umbridge… is dead? How?”
“Tricked her into signing a jinxed piece of parchment the Ministry was using.” Lance explained. “There was a fight shortly after that killed her most loyal too. Hang on I’ve got the names somewhere…” And he pulled out a slim silver file from the inside of his robes before flicking through its pages. “Ah, here we are. Albert Runcorn, Doran Everling, Gregory Goyle and Pansy Parkinson are all confirmed K.I.A.”
Harry felt his heart skip a beat as Lance recited the last two names. Goyle… Parkinson… Umbridge… All people who’d taken part in some of the worst moments of his life… All dead. Harry felt the scar on the back of his hand tingle.
“Who?” Was the only thing he seemed capable of saying for several seconds. “Who helped your Auror? Who was this… Level three?”
At this, he noticed Kingsley and Lance exchange a worried glance with one another before Kingsley waved his arm to invite Lance to answer.
“It’s Marietta Edgecombe.”
“What?” Harry shouted, his anger at Lance returning so quickly he felt the urge to hit him again. “Are you completely mad? She was helping Selwyn from the start! She’s the one who snuck the Erumpent Horns into the Quidditch final! She granted the Death Eaters access to my home!”
“Look, she’s a bitch, I know but-”
“And you?” Harry continued, ignoring Lance but instead rounding on Kingsley. “Are you backing this? After everything that traitor’s done? How do we know the Auror hasn’t been Imperiused by her?”
“Because Saxon Murphy is an extremely talented Auror who would be very difficult to curse like that, if possible at all.” Lance answered, flaring up for the first time in the defence of his Auror.
“Harry!” Kingsley intervened, raising his own voice. “I have spoken to this Auror and I don’t believe him to be Imperiused. We have taken precautions,” He continued quickly as Harry was about to interrupt. “And are taking the information we gain from him with caution but we believe that he succeeded in helping Marietta rescue her mother.”
“Her mother? Wait, are you saying that Umbridge had Marietta’s mother?” Harry pressed, putting the pieces together. “Why?”
“Because she found out that you got your details on Selwyn’s original gang from Edgecombe.” Lance answered and Harry stared at him dumbstruck. “It’s why she went to the trouble of rescuing Saxon in the first place.”
Despite himself, Harry felt a small twinge of guilt in the pit of his stomach.
“So… So what new info do we have on Mosby then?” He asked, calming down and trying to distract himself from his own feelings.
Lance handed over the slim file. “Basically that the man’s lost it. He’s no longer switching between gentlemen and berserker and seems to be in a perpetual state of anger.”
“Hang on,” Harry said as he read though the file. “These notes… Was someone following and keeping tabs on Mosby.”
“Yep,” Lance answered. “Umbridge had this Doran Everling guy tail Mosby. Apparently after he ordered the Dementors kiss to be performed on Benjin, she began to lose faith in her Minister not killing half the council.”
“Hanging around Dementors…” Harry read in disbelief. “He’s been studying the history of the Confederation. Any ideas on what he was looking up?”
“Not yet.” Kingsley said as leaned down to pick up a bag full of books. “But thankfully Doran gave us a full reading list to go through.”
“It’s possible he was just reading up on previous tactics the Confederation might’ve used,” Lance explained. “Know your enemy type of thing, you know. But if was looking for something in particular, I’ll find it.”
“You?” Harry said in surprise for he was about to consider Hermione for such a book-heavy task.
“Yeah, me!” Lance said indignantly. “It may surprise you to learn that I can read, Potter!”
“I just figured… Being a Co-Minister for Magic and all…”
Bernardine gave a shard snort of laughter from behind. “Zat might be ‘is title, but it is far from being ‘is job!”
Lance flushed. “Yeah, well… My agreements with Clair aside I’m still apart of this and I’ll go through all four-hundred years of Confederation history if I have to to find something.”
“Well, as long as it doesn’t distract you from making your Co-Minister’s tea.” Bernardine quipped with a smile making Lance’s flush more prominent. “But if I may, ‘arry, you ‘ave an appointment to keep.”
Harry quickly looked down at his watch. “Damn, you’re right. Kingsley do you think-”
But Kingsley had raised his hand. “Go, Harry. We’ll talk in more detail tomorrow.”
With a final grin and nod towards both Kingsley and Bernardine, ignoring Lance completely, Harry sped off out of the office.
The Delacour Manor towered before Harry as he Apparated in front of its gates. Despite its long and winding front path, Harry made it to the front door in nearly no time though he could feel his heart pounding from the running. He had just raised his fist to knock, when it creaked open to reveal Hermione peering around and beaming at him.
Without a single word, she jumped him and pulled Harry into a tight hug.
“You insane… brilliant bastard.” She said in a muffled voice.
Harry couldn’t help but laugh. “You’ve been hanging with Ron for too long.”
“She’s upstairs.” Hermione started. “She doesn’t know anything and the dress-”
“Is in your wardrobe. Bernardine told me.” Harry explained, smiling as he and Hermione walked inside.
Immediately he was greeted by a whole host of members of the D.A, though clearly not for a party. It appeared Hermione had once again kept her word to Harry and had assembled members to keep the manor and its inhabitants safe. On the ground floor alone there were at least half a dozen people keeping a watchful eye on the grounds and patrolling the corridors, each and every single one of whom smiled and welcomed Harry or else gave him an encouraging wink and a grin.
“Did you have to tell all of them?” Harry murmured to Hermione as they crept upstairs.
“Well I had to let them know or else they’d raise the alarm that Ginny was missing and that would be a clear up on its own.” Hermione explained before stopping abruptly. “Oh, I almost forgot, Bernardine ordered this for you just before you arrived.” And she handed over a small paperweight. “It’s a-”
“I think I know what it is, thanks.” Harry said as he took the paperweight and pocketed it.
Hermione grinned at him and seemed to be about to say something when a loud crash of breaking glass rang throughout the floor. Harry instinctively drew his wand but was held back by a raised hand from Hermione. Harry looked at her bemused. She was clearly keeping her ear pierced for something but before Harry could ask what, he received an answer.
“George!” A combination of Angelina and Molly Weasley’s combined voices shouted and Harry remembered the similar noise George had made during his welcome back party.
“You have no idea how infuriating that has been.” Hermione whispered as she lowered her arm. “Telling the entire house to stand down every time George breaks something… He’s a bloody nightmare.”
“What’s he working on?” Harry asked as he withdrew the Elder Wand back into his pocket.
“He says he can’t say.” Hermione answered bitterly, clearly frustrated by her inability to get the information. “Keeps going on about how he doesn’t want anyone to know about it.”
Although Harry’s curiosity enticed him to ask George himself, something much stronger urged him towards the room that held Ginny.
With a final pat on the shoulder from Hermione, Harry went on upwards towards the door that led to his and Ginny’s bedroom.
She was standing by the crib that currently held one of their two sons. Albus was in her arms, feeding from a bottle while James appeared unconscious under his blanket.
“Hope they haven’t been too much trouble.”
Ginny spun around, so quickly in fact Harry feared she might drop Albus.
“Harry!” She beamed as he approached. “Why didn’t you tell- We had- I wrote to you just this-” But Harry cut her off by kissing her, their son the only thing between them.
“Surprise.” Harry said in a quiet tone once they broke apart and he took the now wiry child from her arms, kissed him once on the forehead and laid him next to his brother before tucking him in.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” She asked though Harry could tell that she was only trying to be angry; a sign that he had done something right.
“Because then I would’ve missed that spectacular look of shock just now.” Harry said with a faint grin but before Ginny could retort, he continued “And because it’s my turn to arrange the surprise.” And the moment he slid is arm around her waist, he delved his hand into the pocket that contained both paperweight Portkey and wand and the pair vanished with a faint pop and a flash of bright blue.
They reappeared in the corridor of what was clearly a handsome restaurant with crimson coloured carpets and windows that spanned the entirety of one side of the wall.
Ginny searched around them. “Where are we?” She asked and Harry invited her to look out of the window. Ginny looked from the window to Harry and then back again before he led her closer to the view, hand in hand.
The almost birds-eye view of Paris twinkled at them as they looked down, obscured only slightly by strong metal beams that scaled above them at the far side of the windows.
“The Eifel Tower…” Ginny said in a voice that was barely a whisper.
“Well I did promise.” Harry quipped as he pulled in closer and kissed her on the top of her head. “Now close your eyes.” Ginny looked up at him narrow-eyed but grinning. “Close your eyes.” Harry repeated and begrudgingly Ginny obliged.
Harry looked around to make sure all was clear before drawing out his wand and waving it around the pair of them. At once the worn robes he wore were replaced with a smart dark red suit and tie to match while Ginny’s casual house-clothes changed into a sparkling indigo blue dress with a single shoulder strap and a cut just below her waist that revealed a smooth bare leg beneath.
“Well it certainly feels nice.” Ginny said with a smile, her eyes still closed.
“It looks even better.”
Ginny opened her eyes and down at herself. “It’s beautiful…” She stated softly. “So who picked it?”
Harry laughed. “I’m offended. You really think I can’t buy you anything without the help of Hermione? Or Naomi..? Or your mother..? Or the Minister for Magic of France..?”
Ginny laughed and Harry couldn’t help but smile. It had been the hardest she’d laughed in some time.
“And tell me, whose idea was the choice in shoes?” She continued with a smirk. Harry looked down to see that she was still wearing a pair of fluffy slippers. “Honestly, I can’t trust you with anything.” She laughed. “Do you have my wand?”
Harry delved his hand into his blazer pocket and pulled out a handbag that matched Ginny’s dress.
“That was all me.” Harry bragged mockingly as he indicated the bag.
Ginny smirked as she drew her wand from her new bag and, with a single wave, her slippers were replaced with a pair of strapped high-heels.
“I dunno,” Harry said as he admired them. “I think I prefer the slipper look.”
“Well, when we get back, you can have them.” Ginny replied as she took his hand and led him towards the restaurant.
The moment Harry had given his name, the tall wiry man at the front desk glided over towards a table for two by one of the windows that looked over the capital before they were then greeted and seated by another waiter carrying a tray of two glasses and a full bottle of champagne.
“Well, here’s to those you lost, Harry.” Ginny said consolingly as she raised her glass once the champagne had been uncorked and poured.
Harry stared at her for a moment. As he raised his glass he tried to say “Thank you” but his voice seemed to have left him at the thought of the white tree that had grown over Enzo’s grave, leaving him only to mouth the words.
He coughed in an attempt to get his voice back. “There’s something I think you should know.” He said after a mouthful of champagne. “We have a pretty reliable source telling us that Umbridge was killed earlier today.”
Ginny nearly chocked on her next drink. “Are you sure?”
Harry nodded. “Parkinson and Goyle too.”
Ginny stared at him. “Well that’s good isn’t it? Umbridge was one of Mosby’s most trusted advisors wasn’t she?” Harry felt the scar on the back of his hand tingle again. “How did it happen?”
“That doesn’t matter.” Harry replied quickly, knowing that the real answer of Umbridge being as good as burned to death may dull the mood somewhat.
“Talk to me, Harry.” Ginny ordered soothingly as she took a hold of the scarred hand in both of her soft ones.
“I… realized something at the burial service today.” Harry began, choosing his words carefully. “We’ve reached a point where there is no real win anymore.”
“Don’t say that.”
“But it’s true.” He replied. “We have lost so much, Ginny. And maybe we can beat Mosby and his Alliance and maybe we can rebuild like we did after Voldemort but there’s no replacing what we’ve lost.” He felt Ginny grip his hand more tightly and caress the back of his hand. “There’s only one win condition for me now.” Harry continued. “And that’s you and the kids coming out of this unscathed.”
“I’m not going to lie to you, Ginny.” Harry interrupted before she could stop him. “It’s why I’m going to ask Hermione and Corin Delacour to see about using more D.A members at a time. There should have been patrols in the front yard and we could easily position lookouts on the roof-”
“Harry.” Ginny cut him off with a sad smile. “You’re ranting.”
Harry took a deep breath. “I’m sorry.” He said quickly. “I’m sorry, I just-”
“It’s fine, Harry.” Ginny interrupted, gazing at Harry with her soft brown eyes. She understood. Without even saying a word, Harry knew that she understood. “It’s fine. We can talk more about that later. Here,” And she took one of her hands off of his and put his champagne glass into his grasp.
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