Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the works by JK Rowling. I, like so many others, am merely borrowing them as a basis for my own work of fanfiction.
Chapter 06 – Back Home Again
November 17, 2001, 11:00 am The Lion's Den, Godric's Hollow
After checking out of St. Mungos, Harry and Ginny made a quick stop in Diagon Alley so that Harry could visit his Gringott's vault where he retrieved the ring he had left there two years before. After Ginny had been found and rescued, she could not bear to wear the ring that Harry had designed and purchased for their engagement. Molly had caught her trying to destroy the ring in one of her episodes, and had retrieved it, returning it to Harry for safekeeping.
That ring, a one and a half carat oval cut ruby, flanked by a pair of three quarter carat brilliant cut emeralds and a pair of one half carat emerald cut brilliant white diamonds, in platinum settings on a ring of 18 carat gold, now adorned the ring finger of Ginny's slender left hand. The fire of the ruby closely matched the fire of her red hair, and the brilliance of the emeralds mimicked the twinkle from Harry's bright green eyes.
After the quick stopover at Gringotts, Harry and Ginny apparated to the Lion's Den. Upon their arrival, they were greeted enthusiastically by Dobby, who bypassed Harry in his excitement and tackled Ginny around the waist. "Mistress Ginny Wheezy, you have come back!"
Ginny gasped for breath as Dobby's welcoming hug squeezed the air out of her lungs. "Dobby!" She managed to get out, "I need to breathe!"
Not losing a bit of his smile, Dobby hastily released Ginny and stepped back. "Dobby is so happy to see you again, Mistress Ginny Wheezy!" Tears started to fall from Dobby's large, luminous, eyes, "Dobby was so worried about Mistress Ginny and Master Harry!"
"It's good to see you again, Dobby," Ginny said warmly after she caught her breath.
Leaving Ginny and Dobby to get reacquainted, Harry went into the kitchen and found Winky hard at work preparing a feast for an army. Taken aback at the frenetic energy of one diminutive house elf, Harry froze for a moment and watched the green whirlwind in action. Vegetables were lined up ready to be chopped by several flashing knives. A large turkey carcass was just lying down in a roasting pan. Bread dough was kneading itself on the large worktable, while several sauces and gravies were stirring themselves on the cook top.
As he took in the scene, Harry was shocked to feel his legs wrapped up in a fierce hug. Looking down, he saw the top of Winky's green head nestled into the side of his thigh. Breaking her hold on his legs, Harry knelt down next to her and returned her hug wordlessly. After a few moments, Winky stepped back with a huge smile on her face and returned her attention to the many food preparation activities taking place. Harry snorted to himself in amusement at the myriad differences between Winky's extremely shy, introverted character and Dobby's ebullient, extroverted nature. Never comfortable with words, Winky showed her devotion and affection to her friends through hard work and ensuring that her friend's lives were as comfortable as possible.
Not wanting to interrupt Winky for a second time in the midst of her preparations for feasting the flock of Weasleys that would be arriving later in the day, Harry grabbed the teapot from the cupboard and started preparing some tea, more to do something to occupy his mind than for any other reason. After putting the kettle on to boil and setting out the fixings, Harry stopped and stared out the kitchen window. Stretching away from the house was a well-tended garden ending at a large expanse of lawn that went on for several hundred feet, ending at a field flanked by a small forest. Beyond the forest, just visible past the field, was a small lake.
The whistling of the kettle grabbed Harry's attention, and he poured the now boiling water into the teapot and left it to steep while he put the rest of the tray together. Carrying the tray into the dining room, Harry set the tray at the end of the table and returned his gaze to the backyard once again.
As he stood there, Harry's mind flashed back to that horrible day from two years earlier when, during a picnic on the bank of that very lake, he and Ginny had been interrupted in the midst of a romantic picnic by the urgent summons from the DMLE. Later on during the chaotic night that had ensued, Ginny had been kidnapped while under his protection at St. Mungo's.
Harry was so caught up in his musings that he did not hear Ginny come up behind him. The feel of her arms wrapping around him from behind, and the warmth of her body pressed against his back surprised him. He turned in her arms so that he was facing her, but rested his hands on the edge of the windowsill behind him. "Harry … something is bothering you." Ginny said while looking deeply into his eyes. "Please tell me what it is so that I can help you."
Taking a few deep breaths, Harry spent a minute or two returning her gaze, taking reassurance from the love and trust that he saw in her eyes. "I was just looking at the lake and thinking back to two years ago … just before my world went dark." Harry felt as though his heart was trying to push its way out of his throat, and could not continue.
"It's okay, Harry. I know things weren't easy then." Shuddering at the memories she had, she continued, "They certainly weren't easy for me either … but that is all over and done with now."
"That's just it, Ginny," said Harry slowly, knowing what he had to say, but not knowing what her reaction was going to be. "Things happened after you were taken … I did things … bad things … things that you should know all about … before we can go any further. I know we've picked up our engagement again, but … I honestly believe that you should know what happened before we go any further."
Ginny examined Harry's eyes and expression carefully. She saw wariness, fear, hope, longing, and trust plainly written there for her to see. Loosening her hug, she took a small step back from him and ran her hands down his arms. Taking his hands in hers, she placed them between them, grasping his hands gently but firmly. "Harry, I don't care what you tell me … what bad or evil things you think you did … or actually did … nothing will change how I feel about you. You showed me very clearly how you felt about me … how much you love me … and how good a person you are … when you risked everything to help me heal." Ginny tried to push her love for Harry into him, willing him to recognize how she felt. "I will always love and trust you, Harry, no matter what. Nothing you have done in the past is going to change how I feel for you now, nor change the fact that I will always love you and want, desperately, to be married to you for the rest of my life."
Harry felt as though he were floating after Ginny finished speaking. He was amazed that she felt so strongly about him – yes, she had accepted his marriage proposal, but he had secretly been afraid that it had been the shock factor speaking and not her heart. The words she had just spoken were straight from her heart.
"Dobby, could you come here for a moment?" Harry's request puzzled Ginny for a moment, but she decided not to comment.
With a pop, Dobby appeared in the dining room. "Dobby is here, Master Harry. What can Dobby do for Master Harry?"
"Dobby, would you please go to that room in the basement and bring back the pensieve from the cabinet? I would go, but I really don't want to see that room ever again."
"Certainly, Master Harry, Dobby will be right back." With a pop, Dobby vanished, reappearing a minute later carrying a shallow pewter bowl filled with a silvery liquid. "Here is the pensieve, Master Harry." Dobby carefully placed the pensieve on the table. "Can Dobby help Master Harry with that room? Dobby can clean out all of the things that Dobby and Master Harry put in there for Master Harry." Dobby said the word 'things' with a shudder of revulsion, and Harry intuited that Dobby had been very familiar with implements such as those from his time as one of the Malfoy House Elves.
Harry smiled gratefully at the diminutive House-elf. "Thank you, Dobby. It would be wonderful if you could do that." Having that room gone would make things a great deal easier for Harry and, he suspected, Ginny, around the house.
"What would Master Harry like for Dobby to put in the room?"
"Umm … why don't you just leave it bare for now, Dobby. Maybe Ginny can help me decorate it later on."
"Dobby will get to work right away!" With a snap of his fingers and a small pop, Dobby disappeared from the dining room, leaving Harry and Ginny both standing, still holding hands.
"So …" Began Harry, not knowing where to begin telling Ginny about what was in the pensieve.
"Why don't we sit down, Harry," suggested Ginny with a gentle smile. She was fairly sure what the pensieve held, as she had talked with Ron and Hermione and the others while Harry was still in St. Mungos. After they were seated at the table, Ginny gently squeezed Harry's hand in reassurance. "Now, why don't you start with what is in this pensieve, and then go from there, okay?"
"Okay, Ginny." Taking a couple of deep breaths to steady his nerves, Harry started to tell Ginny what was in the pensieve. "This pensieve, Ginny, contains an integrated set of memories that span the time from the moment you were taken until you were rescued. I did some research with the help of Professor Flitwick, and was able to integrate my memories of that time with Ron's, Hermione's, Fred's, George's, Bill's, Charlie's, Luna's, and Neville's. The charm work merges our collective memories of a given event or sequence of events into a complete picture. You will notice that my memories starting from when you were kidnapped, until I joined up with Hermione, Ron, and the others, are less detailed than the rest. I was working alone until I met up with them, and then shortly after that, with the rest of your brothers and Luna and Neville, so those memories are just mine alone. Also at the end, I was the first one to arrive where you were being held, so those memories start as just mine as well."
Hearing the tremor in his voice caused by reliving, even for a moment, those days of terror, Ginny squeezed his hand again, and smiled reassuringly at him. "And you want to show me these memories?"
Relieved that he would not have to explain everything, Harry smiled gratefully back at Ginny. "Yes, Ginny. I think that you should know what I did after you were taken. It wasn't … nice … I used some … dark magic … and did some other things … that …"
"And you're worried that I won't love you anymore if I know this?" Ginny raised an elegant eyebrow in question.
Harry simply nodded his head miserably before dropping his gaze to their joined hands.
"Harry, it's not going to make any difference to how I feel about you … except maybe to make me love you more … knowing how much you did to get me back … even if it didn't work out exactly perfect."
Harry shook his head in denial. "You don't understand … I …" Unable to continue, Harry just hung his head in shame at what he had done.
"Harry, look at me." Ginny's voice was soft, but firm, and Harry looked up at her with fear written plainly on his face. "I don't think I can convince you until I have seen what is in the pensieve, and then you experience my reaction." She paused waiting for confirmation from him, and he nodded slowly. "Let's get started then, so I can show you that it makes no difference to me, okay?"
Reassured slightly by her words, Harry told her to touch the surface of the liquid on the count of three.
Ginny found herself in darkness that was dispelled suddenly as a scene formed. It was the emergency room at St. Mungo's where she had been working to stabilize the many injured flooding in at the peak of fighting. Harry was standing amid the stretchers with their load of wounded reading a slip of parchment, the look of fear on his face turning to icy determination as he finished. After pacing for a few moments, Harry apparated from the hospital.
The scene shifted and she saw Harry creeping up on a meeting of three hooded and cloaked people in a darkened building of some sort. Harry stunned and bound all three of them before they were aware of his presence. She watched as he questioned them for a few minutes and then cast and held an incendio spell on one of them, burning him alive while the other two looked on in horror. After another minute or two of conversation, she watched him kill both of the others using a reductor curse to their heads. As he left them behind, she saw a piece of parchment flutter to the ground.
A shift of scene later, and she watched as Harry ambushed five dark figures in an alleyway. After subduing and binding them, he snapped their wands and questioned them. With a certain amount of detachment, she watched him burn two of them to death before the others started talking. The scene closed with Harry walking away from five bodies, two charred almost beyond recognition, and three with shattered skulls. A piece of parchment lay beside them.
Scene after scene flashed by showing similar activities, until she saw Harry wounded by a cutting curse from one of the dark figures. After watching him subdue, bind, question, and finally kill them, she saw Harry appear in the kitchen of his home to find Ron and Hermione waiting. The next day, after a meeting with her brothers, Hermione, Luna, and Neville, the nine of them continued the work that Harry had started.
The scenes flew past, and the number of DeathEaters in each group grew larger. She watched as not only Harry, but all of the others as well took down DeathEater after DeathEater. She lost count of the number of dead that littered the trail the nine of them were blazing on their way to Merlin only knew where.
She watched as the nine of them fought a pitched battle against more than ten times their number of DeathEaters, including a tall figure in a dark cloak that had gleaming red eyes. More and more people started fighting beside her brothers and friends, until finally she watched Harry in one-on-one combat against the tall red-eyed figure. Their duel went on and on, with both of them evading the curses of the other, until finally Harry managed to dodge past the tall figure and catch him in the back of the neck with a strong severing charm, taking off the figure's head and dropping both parts of his body to the torn up ground. She watched as Harry quickly pulled a large crystal from his robes, placed it on the body, and utter a long spell over it. A bright light was emitted from the crystal, and she watched as it sucked a dark essence from the fallen figure. When the light stopped, the crystal was dark, and the figure on the ground had been reduced to dust.
Another shift in scene took she and Harry to a small castle on a lonely shore. She followed as he raced into the castle and down into the dungeons where he burst into a room. When the door burst open, she saw her own, beaten and battered, nude body chained to a table and a dark haired figure standing over her holding a glowing metal brand. The figure turned in shock, and she saw two Harry Potter's, one dressed in elegant black robes, and the other in tattered and bloody battle robes. After a quick exchange of spells, the elegantly robed Harry was blasted into and through a wall of the dungeon room. Tattered Harry climbed through the hole in the wall and stood over the groaning body of no longer elegant Harry. As tattered Harry stood over the fallen body of his foe, the features of elegant Harry blurred and shifted, morphing into the pale, sharp features of Draco Malfoy. Draco cursed Harry and then spat at him, laughing maniacally. Harry slowly raised his wand and sent a reductor curse at Draco's head, shattering it like a ripe melon dropped onto a stone floor. A whispered infernacio later, and Harry climbed back into the room where Ginny lay as Ron and Hermione burst in through the door.
The tattered Harry followed as Ron and Hermione entered the room and raced to her chained body. As he approached the table, she watched as her naked, bloody doppelganger screamed in rage and attacked him bare handed.
END PENSIEVE MEMORIES
November 17, 2001, 3:00 pm The Lion's Den, Godric's Hollow
Ginny came back to herself in a rush as she left the world of the pensieve behind. She felt stiff from sitting in the chair for so long, and shrugged her shoulders to loosen herself up. The sun, which had been pouring in the dining room windows when she entered the pensieve, was now completely over the house, casting part of the garden into shadow. Looking at Harry, she could see that his eyes were downcast, and he was carefully not looking at her. Sighing to herself in exasperation, she reached over with a gentle hand and lifted his chin until she could see his eyes. "Look at me, Harry," she commanded firmly.
Harry reluctantly looked at her. She could see the pain shadowed in his eyes, and knew that he was waiting for her to condemn him for torturing and killing those DeathEaters in his struggle to find her. Not wanting to keep him in suspense, she decided to act decisively, so she stood up, closed the short distance between the two of them, and settled herself comfortably across his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck as she did so.
"Now, Harry, I want to show you exactly how I feel about you … knowing what you and my friends and family did to get me back." As she spoke these words, Ginny slowly closed the small distance between she and Harry, and tenderly touched her lips to his. Closing her eyes, she tightened her arms around his neck and clung to him tightly, pushing all of the love she felt for him through the bond that still joined them together. After a few minutes spent enjoying the sensation of kissing him, she slowly opened her lips and ran her tongue across his, silently pleading with him to let her in. Opening her eyes just a bit, she watched his bright green eyes go wide with surprise before his lips slowly parted. Closing her eyes again, she slid her tongue into his mouth and relished in the feel of his tongue dancing against hers.
Harry was surprised and elated at Ginny's reaction to the events held in the pensieve. When they had come out, he had been afraid to look her in the eyes, but she had not stood for that and now he found himself wrapped in a tight embrace with the lovely redheaded young woman. As their kiss deepened and their tongues danced, he wrapped his arms around her slim waist and hugged her tightly.
Lost in their embrace, the two held each other and prolonged their kiss. Each felt the warm breath of the other on their cheek as they held the kiss, enjoying the sensations that were building throughout their bodies and hearts. After an eternity passed, they both pulled back a little, breaking the kiss but leaving their foreheads touching.
Harry broke the silence by asking a question that, while he felt driven to ask, he dreaded the answer he might receive. Almost stammering in his nervousness, Harry started to ask his question. "Ginny, I know you said yes … but are you really … sure … that you want to … marry me?"
For a long second, Ginny didn't move or say anything. She just continued to stare unblinkingly into Harry's eyes. Harry felt as though his heart was being squeezed in an icy hand. He was on the brink of trying to stand up and run from her when she smiled. "Are you truly worried that showing me the things you did to rescue me will make me no longer love you?"
Harry nodded slightly, still keeping his forehead pressed against hers. "Yes," he said miserably.
"Oh Harry," she said in a low, soft voice, "you have a lot to learn about me. You have rescued me from certain death what, three times now? The first time you fought a giant basilisk and a ghost that was attempting to steal my soul. The second time you fought a small army of DeathEaters and Voldemort himself, and beat them all. The third time you willingly gave yourself to a vengeful, homicidal witch who proceeded to torture and abuse you to within an inch of your life." Ginny laughed throatily before continuing on, "Oh my love, my dearest love. You have no idea of your worth to me, do you? You listen to me, Harry Potter; I will never let you get away from me. You are mine, and I am yours, for the rest of our lives and beyond if I have anything to say about it!"
Ginny's fierce determination in the face of his fears and doubts eased Harry's mind, and he pulled her into a grateful embrace. "I love you, Ginny Weasley, and if you will have me I will be yours forever." He whispered the words his heart was telling him to say into her delicate ear, before losing himself in the feel of her body pressed against his.
He felt Ginny move her head a little, and then her soft words entered his ear at the same time as her warm breath tickling his neck distracted him immensely. "Don't you ever forget it, Harry Potter. You are mine and I am yours."
Harry didn't know how long they would have remained in each other's embrace, when their private moment was disrupted by the sound of someone knocking on the kitchen door. Startled, they jerked apart. Ginny stood up so quickly that she almost fell over, and Harry caught her and steadied her while he stood up himself. Having learned through painful experience that Moody's motto 'Constant Vigilance' was, indeed, something to live by, Harry drew his wand and motioned that Ginny should draw hers before stepping into the kitchen. With a soft pop, Dobby appeared in front of Ginny, facing the still closed kitchen door. The look of determination, and his ready for anything stance, bespoke his intent to protect his mistress against all comers. Winky took her place by Dobby's side, in a stance that mimicked his. Harry, who had turned his head at the pop, nodded to the three of them before opening the door.
The crowd of people waiting on his doorstep mostly had red hair. Two of those present, in addition to their bright red hair, were wearing robes of eye blinding day-glo magenta and lime green. The rest were dressed more or less normally for wizards, in robes of various muted hues. A moment after taking this in, Harry was engulfed in a warm, motherly hug as Molly Weasley administered her affectionate trademark. Ginny had barely a moment to brace herself before she, too, was caught up in a gleeful group hug by her brothers.
After hugs, handshakes, backslaps, and greetings were exchanged all around, the nine Weasleys, Hermione, and Harry settled down at the kitchen table. Harry and Ginny wound up sitting next to each other with Harry on Ginny's left. They held hands under the kitchen table and Harry knew that Ginny was waiting for the right moment to reveal the ring that once again adorned her hand and announce to the world that she and Harry had once more joined their lives together. After several minutes spent catching up on the events of the last day or so, including Harry's release from St. Mungo's and Ginny's trip through the pensieve, the topics turned to other things.
Hermione, ever the studious one asked, "So, Ginny, are you going to continue your medi-witch studies?"
Ginny smiled broadly at her best female friend and replied, "Yes! As a matter of fact, I talked everything over with Healer Findlay while Harry was recuperating. He said that, based on the work that I had done on Harry before we got him to St. Mungo's, I would just need a quick refresher course before I could join the next class at my previous year level. He said that I could take the refresher course any time before September 1st, and in the meantime could get some practical experience working in one of the new clinics."
Harry, happily surprised by Ginny's announcement, hugged his fiancée. "Congratulations, Ginny! You never told me you were going to finish your studies!"
Ginny grinned back at Harry before quipping, "Well, you never really gave me the chance did you? I mean as soon as you woke up, you pulled me into your bed, and then dragged me off home as soon as they let you go, and then took me through your memories. When did I have a moment to get a word in edgewise?"
Harry laughed before replying, "You're right, Gin. I guess I was so happy to see you back to your old self that I couldn't help myself. You always did bring out the impulsive side of me!"
Ron, who had been startled by Ginny's 'pulled me into your bed' comment lost his temper a bit and shouted, "GINNY! YOU SLEPT WITH HA-"
He was cut off abruptly when Hermione slapped her hand across his mouth. "Ixnay the ellingyay, Onray!" She said firmly in pig latin, before continuing in normal English. "You know how hard this whole ordeal has been on both of them, so cut them some slack. It's not like she shagged him with all the matrons watching!"
"No, we didn't do anything like that … although if Harry hadn't fallen asleep so quickly …"
"Ginny, you are so evil! Stop baiting Ron like that." Harry was doing his best not to laugh at the impish look on Ginny's face, and the fact that the purple that Ron was turning rivaled the shade that Uncle Vernon used to get whenever magic was mentioned. "You're making Ron look like my uncle!"
Fred and George, by this point, were practically falling off of their chairs because they were laughing so hard at Ron's expression. Molly and Arthur were beaming as they realized that not only was the happy, spirited daughter they had thought lost forever was back, but that Harry too had recovered all of his old spirit as well.
"So, Harry," Bill jumped in to the conversation at this point, wanting to keep Ron from getting any more wound up than he already was. "What are your plans now that your quest is over? We know Ginny is going to be pretty busy for the next couple of years, but what about you? Are you going to rejoin the Aurors full time?"
Harry scooted his chair a little closer to Ginny's and clasped her left hand tightly under the table. "Well, Bill, I haven't decided about the Aurors yet, especially since there don't seem to be any Dark Lords left to vanquish, and I think I've done my bit of that. But I have this huge, empty house to fill, and I think that raising lots of little Potters with Ginny will keep me quite busy enough." With those words, Harry lifted he and Ginny's hands to the tabletop, revealing the exquisite ring prominently displayed on her finger.
December 24, 2015, 11:30 pm The Lion's Den, Godric's Hollow
The décor of the large living room had changed over the years. Ginny had slowly worked her own sense of style and color into the decidedly male environment that Harry had originally created in their home. She, the passage of time, and the births and lives of their many children had left an indelible stamp on the once austere home.
On this most special of nights, the young couple stood in front of the fire crackling in the large fireplace with their arms about each other. This was one of their favorite spots in the house, especially during the holidays. Arrayed on the wall over the simple mantle were many of the pictures that told the story of their lives together. Centered in the place of honor over the center of the mantle was a sizeable wizarding photograph in a simple yet elegant frame that showed off the owners and residents of the home. The photograph showed a wizard of middling height and slender build with short unruly black hair and sparkling green eyes standing next to a slightly shorter witch with long red hair and warm brown eyes. A sleeping baby swaddled in a green blanket, with a tuft of black hair escaping from under its folds was held in her arms. Two children stood to either side of the couple with happy smiles on their faces. The two standing next to their father were older, and shared the same freckles and red hair that their mother had. The taller boy had inherited his mother's almond shaped brown eyes, while the girl had her father's brilliantly green eyes. The boy and girl standing next to their mother were younger, both with their father's clear skin and black hair. This time the boy had his father's green eyes, while the girl shared her mother's brown. Standing in front of the family of seven were two house elves. The male was dressed in an eclectic ensemble of clashing colors and patterns that included mismatched socks, plaid trousers, a vibrantly colored striped shirt, and several hats perched atop his head. The female was dressed in a simple dress of a rich brown.
After a few seconds of posed perfection, the baby in the photograph opened its mouth in a silent wail of protest, causing the witch to jump in startlement, the four children to whirl and stare in astonishment with gaping mouths, the male house elf to leap high into the air, the female house elf to dart out of the picture, and the man to start laughing in obvious delight.
As Harry and Ginny watched their family photograph run through its cycle several times, Harry started chuckling in amusement, soon followed by Ginny. After a few minutes, both of them collapsed to the floor in gales of laughter. "I swear, Gin, I don't know how we got everyone to hold still for that long!" Harry's voice was full of laughter as he wiped tears from his eyes.
"It's magic," quipped Ginny Potter as she smiled back at her husband of almost 14 years.
"Truer words were never spoken, my love."
-- End --
I apologize for the delay in getting this chapter posted. It was ready a few days ago, but then FF wasn't, so I had to wait. This is the last chapter of the story (short story, maybe?), since it didn't seem necessary to continue it beyond the resolution to the problem (aside from the little glimpse of the future at the end). I hope everyone enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I would like to thank all of the reviewers to the current date (Silver Warrior; Nimbirosa; SanityEscapesMe; creative reader; Fantasizing-Lady-Knight; neilabz; Jaquelyne; Eris, Queen of the Shadows; MaraudersIce05; Bottled-Message-Inc; rebekah1; friendofdobby; Josh Maxwell; Hermey; and my first reviewer Anabel28) for taking the time to tell me what they thought. I appreciated each and every review, and your encouragement has given me the resolve to keep writing and posting. Now, of course, if I could only get the plot bunnies to get back in their cage until I can finish another story or two…