A/N: I have edited the story very slightly for typos and such and have squashed a couple of chapters together, but the story is just the same as it was before, in case you read it then. So here it is:
The sun shone very brightly on the large grass field on which Ginny Weasley sat, watching three of her brothers and Harry Potter practice Quidditch high above her. Ginny felt the sun blazing on the top of her head, and had to squint and use her hand to shield her eyes every time she looked up at the boys. She was gradually becoming very irritated at the hot sun, as it was giving her a headache, so she turned to her companion for a distraction.
"Unusual weather we're having, isn't it?" Ginny commented to her sister-in-law and good friend, Hermione (Granger) Weasley.
"Very," answered Hermione. "I don't suppose you've any pumpkin juice? I'd really like a cold glass right now." Ginny said, "Stay here, I'll go check." She pulled herself to her feet and ambled across the lawn, into her parents' house, where she was visiting from her own London flat for the evening to have supper. She slid open the rickety screen door and entered the heavy, woody air of the Burrow's parlor. Her mother could be heard preparing dinner in the next room. Ginny entered the kitchen to find her mother stirring a sauce with her wand and tuning the WWN. Ginny waited until a big band could be heard clearly on the radio, then turned to her mother, who was now directing her attention to some chives.
"Is there any pumpkin juice, Mum?"
"Yes, dear, Daddy's just bought a case for the party."
This evening's dinner was in celebration of Ginny's brother Charlie's engagement to a Romanian girl he had met at an international dragon-care summit. They were now both working on the reserve in Romania. Ginny had only seen her once, but had liked her very much. Apparently, so had Charlie.
Ginny found the crate in the pantry and extracted two bottles from it.
"Hamrog's Best?" said Hermione incredulously when Ginny handed her the juice five minutes later. "I've seen this advertised: 'Just one sip, and you'll know it's Hamrog's.' What a cauldron!" She screwed off the cap and took a swig. "Aaaurgh! Ginny, it's warm!"
"Then why'd you drink it? Right, sorry," Ginny amended as she pulled out her wand and tapped the bottles, feeling hers instantly chill. "Thanks," said Hermione.
"BLAGGING! BLAGGING! FOUL!" screamed a voice from about 10 meters above them. "Fred, let go of MY BROOM!" Ginny now discovered that it was Ron who was yelling, and the reason: Ron was holding the Quaffle (transfigured from an apple by Harry), but just barely. Fred had seized the tail of Ron's broom and was slowly tugging Ron backwards, trying to prevent him from scoring. George was cackling madly a little closer to the ground, and Harry was trying to suppress his own laughter, out of respect for Ron.
"Only having a bit of fun, brother!" Shouted Fred, ducking Ron's flailing arms (he had long since dropped the Quaffle, allowing George to score several times.
Ginny and Hermione giggled wildly at the spectacle as George and Harry drifted down towards them and dismounted, leaving Fred to tow Ron's broom backwards with increased velocity as Ron yelled louder and louder.
"Gin, where'd you get the pumpkin juice?" asked George as he stood above her, leaning on his broomstick. "I fancy a nice, cold bottle myself."
"Go get it, then," replied Ginny. "In the pantry. Whole new case."
"Want one too, Harry?" asked George.
"Definitely." George grimaced at them in concentration and disappeared with a loud CRACK.
"Still showing off, that one," sighed Harry, plopping down on the grass on Ginny's left. At 24, the twins were just as flamboyant, eccentric and clever as they had always been, and now they were also very handsome and successful. This meant that every time Harry saw the twins, they had new robes and new girlfriends.
To say that the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes were popular was a huge understatement. Every young witch and wizard in the country consumed heir products, and the twins had shops in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (giving Zonko's a run for their money, to be sure), and had sold franchises in Paris, New York, and most recently, Singapore. The Burrow had been somewhat refurbished since the twins' success: the windows had all been replaced; the old floors pulled up and new ones lain; the kitchen re-done to Mrs. Weasley's specifications; and, to everyone's delight, the ghoul in the attic banished.
Indeed, all the Weasleys had grown up. After the Ministry's initial confirmation that Voldemort had regained power, Percy had apologized to his parents, saying that he had been selfish and blind, wanting only to further his own career, and that he should have trusted his own parents above all. So Percy had been admitted to the family once more (though the twins never really forgave him), and had soon married his old Hogwarts sweetheart, Penny Clearwater. He again earned his parents' good graces by presenting them with their first grandchild, a boy named Corinthus who was four now. Ginny very well remembered the day in her seventh year that Harry, visiting Dumbledore on some errand for his Auror training, had told her that she was an aunt. She was very pleased, although she considered the choice of names somewhat questionable. She had been upset hat they hadn't owled her sooner: Did they really need someone to deliver the message on foot? But Harry told her that Corinthus had only been born the previous night, and as Harry had business at Hogwarts anyway, he thought it would be nice if he told her. In all actuality, Harry had just wanted to visit Ginny, to see her familiar bright red hair and watch her pretty, freckled face break into a smile when he told her the news. It was not customary for family or friends to visit Hogwarts students during the year (except for school breaks), and Harry had really missed his best mate's baby sister. Harry had not realized it then, but he was in love with Ginny Weasley.
Now, however, as Harry sat on the lush grass, watching with detached interest as Ron broke free of Fred and proceeded to run him down on foot, he was acutely aware of his affection for Ginny. He surreptitiously glanced to his right at the young woman, who at that moment was snorting with laughter as Ron made to pummel Fred "Muggle-style".
Hermione called out, "Ronald! Just drop it, dear, it's not worth going to Azkaban for!" To which Ron replied "Oh yes, it is, 'Mione!" And just as Harry became concerned with Fred's welfare, Fred disappeared from Ron's headlock with a POP.
"Well, Fred," shouted Ron toward the house, "I'll see you again at dinner, and when I do…"
"Oh, Ron," sighed Hermione dramatically.
"So, Harry, have you given any more thought to continuing you career as an Auror?" asked Percy from the end of the table, chewing noisily as he spoke and shoveling mashed potatoes onto his son's plate. Penelope looked up quickly, and then looked apologetically toward Mrs. Weasley, then Hermione and Ginny, as if to say I'm so sorry my husband's an insensitive git. Most of the family knew that Harry had recently made the unpopular decision not to be an Auror, and was still a little touchy about it.
"Actually, Percy, I've decided that I don't want to do it. I mean," Harry paused and set his fork down, "training was really interesting, and I'm glad I qualified, but…I've really had enough of fighting Dark Wizards, I think."
Molly, who was sitting next to Harry, took his hand in hers and cooed a little in a motherly way. Mrs. Weasley was remembering, of course, Harry's defeat of Lord Voldemort. Thanks to the Order of the Phoenix displaying 'constant vigilance', threats toward Muggles and Wizards alike were quashed quickly and safely. As was predicted, the Death Eaters who had been captured after the Battle at the Ministry escaped from Azkaban. However, several of Voldemort's chief followers were detained from him long enough for the Order to formulate a plan. Under Dumbledore's instruction, several members of the Order of the Phoenix (all of whom were Ministry Aurors) launched a surprise attack on Voldemort at his old hideout, the Riddle House. He was nearly caught unawares, since his primary sources for information, his Death Eaters, were cut off from him. Unfortunately, being a very powerful wizard, he sensed that the attack was coming. He was able to rally a fairly large group of his supporters to fight the Order. A long battle ensued: almost the entire Order of the Phoenix showed up to fight, so that several very powerful witches and wizards effectively weakened the Dark Lord, allowing Harry to deliver the final blow. The power of this curse alone almost killed Harry, who spent a week unconscious at St. Mungo's and three weeks after that recuperating.
Under Dumbledore's orders, no one was to seek out a Death Eater. He was quite aware of the sincere wish of many in the Order to cause Bellatrix Lestrange immense suffering, but also understood that they would need all their available power concentrated on Voldemort himself. Bellatrix was now in a cell in Azkaban, accompanied by every other Death Eater the Ministry was able to capture.
All in all, the toll of the Second War was much less than that of the First. Few members of the Order died. Those who did were part of Harry's advance guard, and were top Aurors. Kingsley Shacklebolt, Emmeline Vance, and Alastor Moody bravely died fighting for Harry.
Reviewing all this in her mind, Mrs. Weasley felt a great surge of affection for the young man sitting beside her. Poor boy. Robbed of a childhood, expected to save the whole world at the age of seventeen. No wonder he doesn't want to do it anymore.
Harry's thoughts, however, were quite far removed from Mrs. Weasley's. He was happily engrossed in a conversation about Quidditch, debating the pros and cons of the Porskoff Ploy with Charlie.
"You can't possibly say that it's fool-proof," Harry said.
"Well, no, of course not, but it is usually very effective."
"Usually? Only if the opposing chaser is blind with very slippery hands and is on an old Oakshaft 79."
At this, Charlie gave Harry an incredulous look and spooned some more peas onto his plate.
"Right, then," said Mr. Weasley loudly as he stood up and raised his glass of butterbeer high. "A toast! To Charlie and Camelia…" There was a pause as Mr. Weasley groped around wildly for something to say. "…May their children not look like…dragons!"
Charlie looked very puzzled at this, but stood up and put his arm around his fiancée as everyone around the table lifted their glasses.
At about ten o' clock, Bill, Fleur (they were engaged three years ago, but neither had much drive to actually get married), and Ginny finished the dishes and joined the rest of the family in the parlor, where Mr. Weasley was dozing in a large, magenta armchair; Fred, George, Charlie, Camelia, Penelope and Percy were squeezed onto the sofa; Mrs. Weasley sat in another armchair knitting; Corinthus was perched on an ottoman; Ron and Hermione lay on the rug beside the fire, and Harry stood by the bookshelf, skimming through one of Gilderoy Lockhart's books with a bemused expression set on his face. Ginny came up and stood beside him.
"Reliving fond memories of old Gilderoy?" She teased.
"Afraid not, Gin. Though I've been thinking about anonymously sending a dozen roses to St. Mungo's for him. Think how happy he would be if he thought he had a secret admirer!"
"That's cruel, Harry. Completely unethical."
"I guess. But it would be fun, wouldn't it?" He said, winking at Ginny.
As there were no more seats in the living room (Bill and Fleur had gone back to the kitchen as a result), Harry pulled out his wand and conjured two puffy chairs. They landed with a thud and he and Ginny sank into them.
"You're getting quite good at this, you know, Harry," said Ginny approvingly. "They get more and more comfortable every time."
"Harry, don't look too pleased with yourself, now. They're only chairs," said George helpfully as he and Fred stood up to leave.
"Well, sorry to depart so suddenly like this, but we've got some work to finish at the labs, and -"
"It's ten-thirty!" Exclaimed Ron from the rug.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again," began Fred. "Time is Galleons! And don't forget, we're very busy wizards, Ron." And with that, the twins waved quickly at various people around the room, told Mrs. Weasley that they'd owl her soon, and Disapparated.
"Workaholics," muttered Ron. "Completely barmy! Why would anyone want to work after hours, no matter how much fun their job is?"
This obviously offended Percy, who declared, "Actually, I think it shows some real commitment on their part. Anyway, we'll be off too. Corinthus doesn't usually stay awake this late." Percy hoisted himself off the sofa, gave his mother a peck on the cheek, said to his father, "I'll see you at work tomorrow, Dad," and threw some floo powder into the fire. Still holding Corinthus, he stepped into the fireplace and said clearly: 'Weasley-Clearwater Residence' and the two of them disappeared in a whirl of green flame. Penny then got up, said her good-byes to everyone, and did the same.
By eleven o' clock, only Harry, Hermione, Ginny and Ron were left downstairs after everyone else went home and to bed.
"Now that it's just us," Hermione said quietly, "Ron and I have news."
Harry glanced at Ginny, who glanced back: they'd seen this coming a mile away.
"Ron and I are…expecting a baby." She finished awkwardly.
Ginny made a big show of looking surprised, Harry gave Ron a big back-patting man-hug and after a last cup of tea, Ron and Hermione Disapparated home.
"Well, I can't say I'm shocked by the news," said Ginny, sitting in her father's favorite magenta armchair. Harry nodded. He suddenly became aware that most of the Weasley children were married, engaged to be married, or were at least in long-term relationships that looked as though they might constitute a marriage. Even Fred, who was really quite a playboy, had been seeing Angelina Johnson for almost a year.
Harry thought about how many Wizards married people they had dated in school. When Hermione and Ron had announced their engagement, Hermione's parents had been invited to the Burrow for a celebratory dinner like the one they had had tonight. Mr. Granger was puzzled by his daughter's choice to marry so young (she was only twenty at the time), so Harry had explained a theory that he had held for some time, to the effect that Wizards generally married earlier than Muggles, were very likely to marry school friends or sweethearts, and stayed married for longer (Not only did Wizards seldom divorce, they also lived longer than Muggles). The thought that Hermione would probably not divorce Ron held some consolation for the Grangers, and by the time the wedding rolled around, they were no longer concerned about their daughter marrying in a hurry or the wrong person.
Actually, thought Harry, that match has turned out quite well. Ron and Hermione were very happy together. They did argue fairly often, but Harry thought that maybe the only reason was so that they could make up later.
As Harry sat in the firelight thinking thoughts of love, Ginny was wrestling with her own decisions. That chamomile conditioner made my hair really soft, but the lilac smells so much better…