It has been a fortnight since my seventeenth birthday and a week since I became Harry's fiancée. The wars over, but the wizarding Britain is far from in peace. It would take ages to restore all that was lost and recover from all the scars, scars would take time to heal, or they may never…
But life goes on.
George has busied himself in his shop. He spends every waking hour there, setting it up. Angelina, Fred's girlfriend helps him too; they find comfort in each other.
As Ron, Harry and Neville accepted Kingsley's request to join the Aurors, Hermoine and I offered to help fix Hogwarts, and Professor McGonagall willingly accepted. In our busy lives, I hardly get much time with Harry. But when I do, I make the most of it.
Right now, I am sitting in a muggle park waiting for Harry and Teddy to arrive. I hardly meet Harry without Teddy, but I do not mind; I love the kid, and it's not like he minds our snogging.
Today Harry had dropped him off at Mr. Lovegood's. I never knew I was so unforgiving, but I cannot forgive that man. I wonder if dad would have done something like that for one of us. No, I don't think so. He would have stayed strong; Arthur Weasley is an honorable wizard and would die before he let go of his esteem and virtues. But what if his children were on stake? He still won't! And I won't expect any less from him; He is not a Gryffindor for nothing.
So no, I cannot forgive Mr. Lovegood, just as I cannot forgive Mrs. Tonks. How could she just take off like this and leave Teddy in Harry's inexperienced hands? Harry is not yet eighteen and is now raising a child on top of a full day job. Everything I do to help him always seems feeble.
But Harry forgave both of them.
"She lost everyone dear to her, Ginny," he would tell me calmly. Then who's Teddy? Didn't she love him? Harry says that maybe Teddy is a sad reminder of her dead daughter. So to him it's totally acceptable to shove your month old grandson to his seventeen year old godfather and leave the country!
Mr. Lovegood is forgiven too! "He was desperate," "Luna's all he has," are some of Harry's typical excuses he'll feed me with. I believe that Harry gets Mr. Lovegood to babysit Teddy only to convince him that there are no hard feelings between them. But I don't think it's coincidence that every time Harry leaves Teddy there is when Luna is at home. Even though he is forgiven, I reckon, it would take time to reestablish the trust.
I glanced at my new watch. Dad had got it with Hermoine from muggle London and charmed it to work on magic. It was beautiful, but still a runner-up in my favorite possessions, loosing sorely to my engagement ring which I fell in love with as soon as Harry slipped it on my finger.
We were having a friendly moonlight match, Harry and I. Just two seekers and a snitch. I got the snitch on the very first match, which was highly suspicious since it's usually the fifth or sixth game that I manage to outrace Harry to the snitch. He was too good; maybe it has something to do with the fact that I spent more time admiring him on his broomstick than I spend searching the snitch! But on that day I got it on the first match. When I looked towards my opponent questioningly, he was flying closer to me and grinning.
"You let me take it didn't you?" I accused.
"Well, It is meant for you" Harry replied evenly.
"Huh?" I noticed he was getting nervous about something, but he intently held my gaze.
"In opens," He said. As if that explains anything!
I answered with a blank look.
He leaned in closer, pried the snitch from my hand only to turn it to make it face me, and returned it back. There was a thin lining, which 'could' be indicating an opening, if any.
"This?" I asked him, indicating the lining.
He nodded, "It opens only at your touch now," he said, trying, and miserably failing to keep the nervousness off his voice. "Slide it upwards," he instructed.
There sat the most unanticipated thing- an engagement ring; I just didn't see that coming. I don't remembered if I laughed first or cried, I don't even remember if I let him ask me to marry me, but I guess I did, because I do remember jumping right on him and chanting, "yes, yes ,YES!".
Ron and Hermoine, who were multitasking: arguing, snogging and babysitting, probably abandon all three and hurried out to figure out the commotion. And, they probably found us having a passionate kiss midair, because I do remember Hermoine shrieking at us to come down pronto and start lecturing at our recklessness. But I heard none of it and launched myself into Ron's arms, "He proposed! Ron, he proposed!'
"Oh, Harry!" I heard Hermoine say, and engulfs him in a bone crushing hug.
Ron, surprising said nothing about how young we were or whether we were sure of it. He just smiled and pulled my hand off his back to see the ring. Instead, my hand clung around the snitch. "So it's not done yet?" Ron asked Harry.
"Nope. Your sister spoiled my master-plan." He deadpanned in reply.
Hermoine gave a short laugh through her tears and head back inside to retrieve Teddy, while Ron started chastising Harry for not telling him beforehand. He specially stressed his disappointment about Harry buying the ring all by himself.
"I didn't buy it Ron, it's my mum's." he told him softly.
Apparently, Harry found the ring in his parents' belongings in the vault, the fact that he gave me his mum's ring makes this relationship more significant to me. And yes! The ring is beautiful… and yet so simple; I liked James Potter's taste!
In the witness of Hermoine, Ron, and Teddy, the people who meant most to both of us, we had our little engagement ceremony. Even though this was not how Harry intended it to be, it could act as the strongest memory I could use for a patronus!
And it's memories like this that help me control myself from hexing him after making me wait like he is presently making me.
Just as I ponder about getting worried about their absence after all, I see my man plodding towards me with a black haired Teddy in his arms.
When I glare at him, he looks down ashamed and sits beside me.
"Sorry," he muttered; it was almost inaudible.
"Well, you better have a good explanation, Mr. Potter." I said dryly and pulled Teddy in my lap.
"I was stopped after work." He said after which seemed to be ages.
"Were you?" I said.
"I - I, they say…" he seemed to be struggling with his speech, which gave the impression that something truly must have happened, so not managing to hold my coldness any longer, I turned towards him, "go on, Harry?" I said gently.
"I didn't even think of them all this while Ginny! Not even once! Not once did I ask what happen to them, or even if they are alive!"
"Who Harry?" I urged, cutting him off.
"The Dursleys!" he told me, and then buried his face in his hands. My free hand automatically went to pat his back.
"Well, it's nothing to bang your head about, it's actually great news that you don't think about them," I told him, "did something happen to them," I then asked, which sounded too much like an afterthought.
He shook his head. "Still in some Kruket Manor where they are kept with other Muggles, squibs and the likes. Privet Drive had been raided so it's no place they can go back to just yet. Anyway, they are released only if they are received by someone who would take responsibility for their protection."
"Or they stay there till we get all the death eaters."
I was tempted to suggest that he leave them there, they were alive and well, why to worry more? But how can I forget? This is Harry Potter and of course, he'll go for them.
So I just nodded and asked him, "Why didn't they inform you earlier?"
"They didn't know who's whose. All the refugees were bought there and left on their own account. After the war, they were told that it's still dangerous to go out and had to stay there until it's safer. But some wizards started taking their muggle families home, so Uncle Vernon demanded that they be taken too, but it took time for him to convince them that I'm his nephew. They thought he was bluffing at first, but somehow Aunt Petunia convinced them," Harry narrated.
I gave him a nod and asked, "So now what?"
"I'll go get them now," he said as if that's the only right thing to do. "You stay with Teddy, and take him to the Burrow, I'll meet you there."
I sighed and nodded. Harry planted a kiss on my lips and Teddy's forehead and then disappeared between the oak trees to find a secretive place to apparate from.
I fussed over Teddy for a while, and contentedly watch him giggle. His hair firmly stayed black and eyes brown as they always do when we are in Muggle surrounding; Harry always sees to that. In not quite five minutes, I start worrying. We, girls do it way too much, Ron says. Harry is going to face his dreadful relatives, who would be surely mad at him for coming so late on top of everything. Was it right for him to go there alone? As a snap decision, I know what to do. Teddy? He'll be fine, not like he's old enough to remember anything later.
I darted to the cluster of trees and apparated to the auror office. They secretary tests my wand and asks the password (which actually only Aurors are supposed to know) and then inform me Harry have left a few minutes ago. I thanked her and found my way to the floo. I held Teddy firmly in one hand and fistful of floo power in another, which I wasted attempting to floo to Kruket manor. Nothing happened. It's probably protected. With hope against hope, I performed the tracking charm and tried again. I could get in a lot of trouble for this if I land up somewhere I am not supposed to be, or maybe it's Harry and Ron who'd get into trouble; it's on their say that I am allowed here… But it worked. I ended up in an office, where sat a women who confirmed it indeed is Kruket manor.
"So who are here to collect, Miss?" She inquired.
"The Dursleys." I told her.
"Someone else was sent to collect them. How did you get here?" She demanded.
I told her about the tracking charm and requested to join Harry, who I assured won't mind my company. She nodded, "If you say so, Miss Weasley. Go straight; take the second left, Mr. Potter is waiting for them in the first room on the right." I never knew my name works that well to get things done too!
I muttered my thanks and start out following the instructions. I reached just in time to see last of the Dursleys enter the room.
I took a deep breath and followed them, anyone inside would think we are together. And that's exactly what happened to Harry as he looked between the Dursleys and me.
Dudley breathed out a muffled "Hi", which was cut by Vernon's "Took you long enough, boy."
Before Harry could reply, I decided to make my entrance and move from the door to Harry's side, "Hello Dursleys, Hello Harry, here take Teddy," which he did, mumbling "what're you doing here?"
Before I could reply Vernon thundered, "So that's what you were doing! THIS STUPID RADIO MAKES YOU SOUND LIKE SOME HERO AND WHILE WE WERE STUCK HERE YOU WERE SHAGGING AND MAKING MERRY"
My blood started to boil, the man was staring between me and Teddy; black haired Teddy. The whale would have certainly met with my Bat-Bogey if it hadn't been for Harry.
"Enough, Uncle Vernon," Harry ordered firming yet with a level voice, he draped his arm around my shoulder, which got me to loosen my tight grip on my wand. I wonder what happened to that hotheaded teenager, yelling the place down not so very long ago! The Harry you see now is always calm in the most stressing situations.
He turned towards me and gave me a smile which asked are you fine. I nodded my yes. I raised my eyebrow as I saw his eyes getting a bit mischievous.
"Here, take Teddy. Better to keep your hands full." He said, as he passed his godson back to me. "I don't want to arrest you for muggle-assault, do I?
I gave him a short laugh, "You can't arrest me Junior-Auror Potter."
"Ah! But I certainly can, Miss Weasley." He countered and started patting his pants in search of his wallet. I spared the Dursleys a glance, their expressions made me smirk, Vernon was fuming, Dudley was bemused and Petunia was...blank.
Harry finally pulled out his wallet, and flashed his auror license, "See? Now you better beware, Miss." Where ever did he get that from? They usually get that after three years of training at the least!
"So Robards decided the great Harry Potter can not only skip NEWTS but Auror training too?" I taunted aiming on his soft spot.
Harry was so pleased with himself, that he grinned more and explained much like one would a small child, "Of course not. If we do happen to get our hands on someone, then detaining him, summoning a licensed Auror, who might be doing something more important, and all and all can get counter-productive, so they worked out a few trusted recruits and gave them the license. We are still Junior- Aurors, but have full rights of an auror. Ron and Nev got it too.
Oh, and yes, we are answering our NEWTS; externally."
Before I could process the information and make my comeback, Harry had turned back to the Dursleys. "Well, I guess that didn't go well. Let's start again okay."He said joyously.
Vernon grunted, Petunia surprising smiled and Dudley nodded and said, "Right Harry, I am glad you're alive."
Harry nodded at him, "Sure big D", and turning towards me continued, "Well, then Ginny, these are my relatives, My Uncle and Aunt, Vernon and Petunia Dursley and that is my cousin, Dudley."
I decided to play along, "Nice to meet you," I said curtly, trying to make it as sarcastic as possible.
Vernon didn't reply, while Petunia nodded and Dudley replied earnestly, "and you too."
Then Harry again took me in his arms and turning towards them said, "This is my fiancée, Ginny Weasley, and my Godson, Teddy Lupin."
"Godson? And Fiancée? But your just 18! And it sounded like you work when you were talking earlier. And you have a godson. And you're getting married. And- And" Dudley busted.
" And?" Harry promoted.
"And he looks like you!" Dudley said, waving his hands around. My! He looked as idiotic as the twins had made him some back in third year…
"Ah!" It seemed like the reason of his uncle's accusation finally dawned him. I, on the other hand had worked it out instantly, If not to young, everyone just assume we were Teddy's parents, if they didn't already knew… but he still had no right to talk like that!
"And she looks like her."
This was Petunia. She was staring right at me now. And I knew exactly who she was talking about and Harry did too, Thank Merlin!
"Who, Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked anyway, he had to hear it from her, Harry had told me once about how his relatives never even mention his parents, this must have been the first time she volunteered something, anything related to his mother.
"Lily. The three of you look exactly like a threesome who had turned up on my doorstep one day." She said. There was no spite in her voice which I was expecting to hear.
Harry gave her a smile despite himself, "that mustn't have gone well, did it?"
Vernon huffed angrily, while Petunia replied, "How could it? We took them in just because the neighbors would have started talking… the Potter boy didn't even have the decency to wear acceptable cloths!"
"And talked utter nonsense! Then he proudly declared he's unemployed…" Vernon added, disgusted at the memory.
Harry looked down, digesting the information with a smile playing on his lips; I wonder what he found pleasing in it.
"Well Teddy looks like Harry only because his hair has been charmed black. He's special; he can change his appearance at will. And about me, what can I say? Potters seem to have something on redheads." I said.
Harry laughed. "I guess so", he said. "So, I am here to get you out of here, are you packed?"
It was evident they weren't. "Come on then, I'll help you, it would be faster." I said to them, "And where are you going to take them Harry?"
"Home; Grimmauld Place." He replied shortly.
"WHAT?" I and Vernon yelled together.
"You are getting us home boy!"
"Didn't they tell you? It's destroyed. The death-eaters did come looking for you after all"
Dudley's eyes widened, "they did tell us, but we thought they were lying. And what is this Grimmauld Place."
"They are not staying there Harry" I told him decisively before he could answer Dudley. I can't believe he was actually thinking of having them under the same roof as Teddy!
"That's where I live, Dudley; me, my friends Ron and Neville, and Teddy. And Ginny, where else can I take them?" He answered both of us.
"Anywhere!" I replied firmly, "I thought your dad had a lot of safe houses, put them in one, I am sure they are warded." Like Vernon said, James Potter was certainly unemployed, and it is totally warranted if he declares it proudly; he was way too rich to think of 'needing' a job, and he wasn't exactly sitting around with his hands on his knees. Both the Potters gave their service to the Order, and Mr. Potter spent his resources buying all the properties available to house the displaced refugees…
"They are not livable Ginny."
"Ravenhall Palace seemed quite livable to me."
"That was the only one, and that's to be opened as an orphanage next Tuesday, so I can't take them there."
I took a deep breath and glanced at the Dursleys, they were just listening to us bicker, not daring to interrupt, and I wondered whether it was because of me.
"Don't you need to ask Ron and Neville first Harry? They surely have a say in this."
Harry sighed, "I'll just have to convince them; there isn't anywhere else I can take them."
"I'll take them to the Burrow if you want."
Harry looked bewildered at the suggestion," What! Mrs. Weasley already has enough on her plate."
"Then, I'll take Teddy." I said determinedly. "He'll be fine with me; do you think you'll survive?"
"So that's your problem." It wasn't a question. Why are boys so thick? They need to be told everything.
"Precisely; Teddy is not staying under the same roof as them." I couldn't meet the Dursleys eyes while saying this. The Uncle and Aunt, I don't think so, but Dudley might have got offended.
Harry nodded. "Okay, take him. I don't like it, but I'll survive."
He then turned back to the Dursleys and said in a solemn voice, "Well, I guess I have to say this once so just hear me out. I have to apologize." What! "Firstly, I confess I totally forgot about you. After the war, there were funerals, then there was Teddy, I had no idea what I should do for him, just the day after the war, we were offered jobs, the auror office desperately needed manforce, then I had a girlfriend I dumped a year ago and had to get back, and the rest of the time I had to stay with the family. I am guilty about it, but between all this, I didn't get time to wonder about you." I smiled at him. If I would have said that, it would have sounded like a ridicule, but coming from Harry it sounded so genuine; it was genuine!
"If you forgot about us, it's more of our fault than yours Harry." Dudley said, he seemed to have wanted to say more, but didn't dare in front of his parents.
Vernon glared at his son and Harry, "Get along with it boy. We took you in, and fed you all this years, and you put us through all this trouble, and you're not even grateful."
I was tempted to interrupt, but I reasoned that I'd do more damage than worth, so I just let Harry talk.
"But I am grateful, Uncle Vernon." He said, "And I know what you all had to go through. You could have had a totally normal live if it weren't for me, and I know you didn't want me. But, you have to understand that I didn't walk to your doorstep myself, I was left there. The freakiness which you had a hard time explaining at school, was accidental magic, I had no control over it. The war, I didn't start it, I was involved due to a prophecy made before my birth. I assure you I too wasn't actually happy about living with you myself, but I apologize for all of it, because if not for my mum's sacrifice and Dumbledore's blood wards you wouldn't have had go through all of this.
"You might not have minded so much, if you managed to love me an ounce, but not your fault you couldn't, is it?"
I offered him an encouraging smile when he looked at me after his speech, even though I don't agree on him apologizing to those mere excuses of human beings, Harry was right, they had to go through a lot of trouble ; which was nothing compared to our troubles ,but how can they understand that? Maybe Dudley could…unlike his parents he did seem capable of other human expressions other than anger.
"Alright then, so Harry, you are checking them out, then taking them to Grimmauld, I am taking Teddy to the Burrow, am I right." I confirmed… to break the silence.
"Right," Harry said. "Should I help you pack, Aunt Petunia? It would be faster magically…"
"Harry, the packing will surely be done magically, it would take ages the muggle way, and it's already getting late. And I'll do it; you take Teddy, and make sure they let us take them."
"Oh, come on, you'll do in with levitations and packing charms, you don't know the Wingodium Locomotum do you? It's covered in seventh year."
"Well, you talk as if you know it."
"Of course I do, Neville taught us in DA. Quite useful for speedily moving firsties out; along with their things."
"Ginny…"He tried pleading this time; and that's my indication of victory.
"Have faith Harry, I won't kill them. You guys lead me to your rooms." I said, and walked right out, fortunately, the Dursleys followed.
Dudley took the lead, me second, and Vernon and Petunia trailed behind.
We got to Dudley's room first. I instructed him to remove all his stuff from the cupboard while I started shrinking his numerous Muggle devices. Vernon sat on the bed and closed his eyes, not bearing all the magic, while Petunia helped her son.
"You want to say something" Dudley said.
"I do?" I asked.
"Of course you do," he said as he bought another pile or cloths on the bed, which I levitated into the trunk. I was surely not using Wingodium Locomotum, it's too fast, and I needed time. "You want to say something without Harry around, or curse us…" Dudley's certainly not stupid. Curse his parents; he too is a victim of their shameful parenting.
"You're right, But don't worry, I won't curse you. I actually wanted to warn you, Harry's far too forgiving, almost to a fault, but the rest of us aren't. Staying at Grimmauld, you'd meet people who actually love Harry, and may not have forgiven you.
"Dudley, I think you remember the ton-tongued toffee. That was a prank by my brothers, revenge on Harry's behalf. Of course no one is in the mood for pranks these days; or revenge, but just hold your tongue okay, or else I'll personally see that you'd never recognize yourself again."
"We'll try our best," Dudley said. He seemed more amused that scared.
I nodded and continued with packing.
"So how did you meet Harry? Was he talking about you when he said he had to get back to a girlfriend he dumped?" Dudley asked after a while.
I sighed, so it's small talks now.
"My brother's Harry's best friend, so I always knew him. He spent Christmas with us. And yes, he was talking about me. The noble-git thought I'd be targeted as he girlfriend."
"The child, has no one? Relatives?"
"No, and it's the godparent's duty which Harry's not going to skive, is he?"
"Are you the godmother?"
"Nope, Professor McGonagall, she's trying to get Hogwarts back to business before term starts. Comes to visit now and then."
"Harry manages? Looking after a child…he is young…"
"He has to manage, no choice, and he has a lot of help. And if you call him young, think again."
"Yeah! I would have never guessed he's eighteen if I didn't know… It's the war isn't it?"
"Partly; and Teddy. Harry changed himself drastically after he took Teddy in. Cleaner rooms, orderly cloths and a very mild temper!"
Dudley laughed, "I noticed; the last one specially."
I smiled too. I might actually like that guy… if I decide to forget the past that is.
The packing was done by then. I asked them too direct me to Mr. and Mrs. Dursleys room, which they did. This time I did use Wingodium Locomotum; it hardly took a minute.
They exclaimed, I smiled.
I, levitating the trunks behind me, trailed by Dudley, who was in turn followed by his parents trooped to the reception where we found the receptionist coo over Teddy as Harry watched over proudly.
"Done?" he asked me as we entered.
"Done." I confirmed.
He observed the Dursleys for any bodily damage and then smiled at me sheepishly when he found none. I shook my head it mock disapproval and went up to the receptionist to get my baby back.
"I connected the floo and got clearance. We are ready to go." Harry declared. "You all know how to floo don't you?"
"Obviously." Petunia replied, "How else did we end up here?"
Harry nodded and continued, "Well then, here's the floo power. 12 Grimmauld Place; say it loud and clear, I'll take care of the luggage. If you meet my friends there, tell them who you are, and that I am right behind."
Vernon went first, he was desperate to get out of there, Petunia went second, Dudley lingered around, "are you coming with us now Ginny?" He asked me.
"No, I'll go home. I'll see you around tomorrow."
"Okay. Nice meeting you."
"And you." I said, truthfully.
Then it was just me, Harry and Teddy. Harry was quite reluctant to leave; he had never been separated from Teddy ever since he took him.
"Thanks for coming Ginny" he said. I wasn't expecting that. I thought I'll have to listen to the music for barging in and taking his business into my hands.
"I thought you won't like it."
"Why?" he asked
"You didn't ask me to come. But I thought you might need me."
"I'll always need you." he confessed. "And I really needed you today, for support."
"You'll drop it before bed, right." I planned to keep him there till morning, but no need to mention it just then.
"I will. See you in a bit." He said, then pressed his lips against mine.
And the fire blazed, he was gone.
I turned to the child in my arms, giggling to himself, oblivious to surrounding happenings.
I pressed my nose to his and gave him my pinkie; he grabbed it tight. I speculated today's events and inwardly admired my fiancée for the hundredth time... Thousands of people admire him for being brave, some for his selflessness too. But hardly anyone knows the real Harry, anyone could hardly comprehend him, sometimes even I can't… But I will one day; I'll understand why he respects Snape, understands Mrs. Tonks, sympathizes with Mr. Lovegood, and pity's Malfoy. I'll understand why he still thinks he's obliged to give his service to the auror office after all he has done for this world. I'll understand how he manages to love every people in his life… with no expectations.
He has lost so much, suffered a lot more that his share, but it didn't stop him from being a beautiful human being… who loves me, and Teddy. We'll soon be a proper family. And I'll make sure I'll keep both my boys happy…and loved. Teddy would be raised with all the love and care humanly possible; he'll get everything Harry didn't, and be everything Harry is. Remus and Tonks would be proud of him…so would we; Harry and I.
We will be happy…soon.