Standard Disclaimer: This disclaimed has been censored by the International Disclaimer board for foul content. Sigh I didn't think they'd accept that disclaimer so ok, here it goes. I OWN NUFFIN! NADA! NIX! The Potterverse belongs to JK Rowling.
Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, breakfast in the Great Hall…
Harry and Ginny arrived late to the Great Hall. She had taken the time to replace the salve and bandage on his hand, and then helped him with his shoelaces, much to Harry's embarrassment.
It wasn't that he didn't like her taking care of him, but tying his shoes? That made him feel like a three year old all over again.
It had been two days since his speech in Hogsmeade and to be honest, the sensation it had caused was more than a bit overwhelming for him. He really wished he could just run away and hide from it all.
Yesterday the fifth years had finished their OWLS, much to the relief of the entire school. Harry was especially relieved, as Ginny seemed much more relaxed now that her OWLS were behind her. Most of the classes had ended at this point. The students would leave the school in a little over a week. The school remained open during this time as students completed long term projects and handed them in. For Harry and Ginny, this was like one long relaxing weekend. Hermione, on the other hand, had volunteered for several projects besides the ones she was working for Harry and the Order.
The couple paused as they entered the Great Hall. The room was silent. Everyone was looking at them. Hermione and Ron rushed up to the couple and shoved a newspaper at them.
Potter topples Fudge Government!
By Rita Skeeter
In a late night session of the Wizengamot, a vote of no confidence was successfully held, removing Cornelius Fudge from office. The Wizengamot elected Amelia Bones, formerly Director of Magical Law Enforcement as the new Minister of Magic. Ms Bones, a former Senior Auror herself, appointed Senior Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt to head up the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She also appointed Arthur Weasley, formerly manager of the Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office, to the post of Deputy Minister in charge of Muggle Relations and Relations to Magical Creatures.
Minister Bones promised swift action in rebuilding the Auror forces and spoke of initiating sweeping reforms, overturning years of rules and regulations put in place by the former administration.
The call for a vote of no confidence came as a result of a public speech given by the Boy-Who-Lived in Hogsmeade following the terrible battle, which ensued there. The Boy-Who-Lived, it is rumored, played a pivotal role in that battle, and later on in his speech, revealing former Minister of Magic Fudge's mistakes…For a complete Bio on the Boy-Who-Lived, see page 2.
Full text of the Boy-Who-Lived's Hogsmeade Speech, page 2.
The Boy-Who-Lived Engaged, complete story, page 3.
Stories from friends and former lovers of the Boy-Who-Lived, page 3
Harry gasped seeing that last one. Why didn't they just dissect him here and now? He peered up from the paper and looked about the hall. Everyone was still staring at him, although there did seem to be a fair amount of envious looked being cast at Ginny.
Ginny laughed at Harry's reaction, and linked her arm with his. As they moved to their seats, Blaise stood up raising his cup in salute to Harry. Then the rest of the Slytherin squad stood, copying his gesture. Then it was the DA. By the time they got to their spot at the table, nearly everyone was standing, even the teachers.
Harry was blushing furiously, but thanks to his new tan, only a few people could tell. The telltale sign was rather subtle, the tips of his ears got darker, much darker. He wanted to climb under the table and pull it in behind him.
After everyone finally sat down, Dumbledore remained standing. He looked to the Gryffindor table for a long moment before he began to speak.
"Harry, I will be brief since I know how much you hate this attention. I know you hate being called the Boy-Who-Lived, or being called a hero. But I would like to ponder this. The true measure of a hero lies not within the deeds he performs, but rather in what he gives to people. You give people hope for a future. I pray you will think long and hard on that in the time to come. Now everyone, tuck in."
Ginny watched Harry stare down at his plate, burning with embarrassment and then she snorted. "Yeah, some hero, can't even tie his own shoes!"
He stared at her incredulously until he noticed the shine to her eyes. She was once again grounding him by poking him when he needed it most. He hugged her and started to laugh. She more than anyone else understood him best. But wasn't that the way it was supposed to be?
Harry looked with longing at the thick slices of ham that filled the platter in front of him. He still couldn't hold both a knife and a fork, and Madam Pomfrey told him just yesterday that his hand would probably take another three weeks before the sensitivity fully faded. She mentioned something about damaged nerves and how it took longer to repair them than it did skin.
"Gin? Would you?" He looked at the ham slices again. She smiled up at him sweetly and speared a slice to put on his plate.
"Look at it this way mate, at least she isn't hand feeding you! OW!" Ron turned to Hermione, glaring at her.
"What did you kick me for? That bloody well hurt!"
Harry and Ginny snickered at the both of them.
Hermione read to them all from the articles as they ate. Harry was upset when they identified Ginny in the article again, but couldn't fault their calling her a "Ravishing Red Head" with a feisty temper. After all, she did have a temper, and she was a red head, and ravishing was only the least of the accolades he'd be willing to agree to. Then Hermione switched to the next article.
"In talking with the Mr. Potter's classmates, it was revealed to us that during his fifth year, he had an entirely different love interest. A Miss Cho Chang, a member of the house of Ravenclaw and like Harry, the seeker for that team. Miss Chang is a year older than Mr. Potter. It is said they dated extensively during his fifth year, and according to some, even planned to marry until this new love interest came into his life. Miss Chang is quoted as saying 'I am so much better for Harry than that Weasley girl! She's from a poor family! All she wants is his money! What can she offer him? Besides, I know for a fact he won't be going to his marriage bed inexperienced'…" Hermione trailed off and looked up at Harry.
Harry sat there stiffly, his one good hand balled up into a fist, the fire behind his eyes blazing. Ginny looked totally aghast and ready to cry. Harry glanced down at Ginny and he felt his anger drain from him. This was going to take more drastic action than just peeling Cho out of her skin with a dull knife.
He stood and looked down at Ginny. She smiled weakly at him and he offered her his hand. She looked confused, but took it and stood up. He led her up to the front of the hall and stood there, holding Ginny with one arm. She had buried her face into his shoulder. Slowly the hall grew silent as heads turned to look at the couple.
He spotted Chang, sitting at the Ravenclaw table. Levitating her to stand on top of it, he then he cast a truth charm on her.
As she looked around fearfully, Harry spoke in a soft voice that somehow reached to every corner of the Great Hall.
"Miss Chang, I warned you once before about saying anything bad about my family or Ginny. Why did you lie to the paper?"
"I wanted to get you back for refusing to go out with me."
"So you admit what you told the Daily Prophet was a lie?"
"Yes. I was hurt. I did everything to try to seduce you and you still rejected me! You wouldn't even touch me!"
"You will retract the statements you made," Harry said. It wasn't a request.
She looked back at him defiantly. "Or what?" She snapped.
He released her from his truth charm and asked, "Have you ever heard Pinocchio, Cho?"
The muggle-born in the hall started to grin. Hermione's eyes lit up devilishly. Normally she wouldn't condone such a thing, but this was too perfect!
When she scowled at him and refused to answer, he shrugged and continued. "You're about to become intimately acquainted with the story."
And with that, he raised his hand and murmured softly under his breath. Cho was incased in a soft, eerie green light and she gasped. When the light faded, Cho Chang stood amid the snickering, laughing, cackling students, horror stricken and groping her new, not really improved, seven-inch nose.
"Harry…" Cho whispered.
"It will grow two inches every day, until you retract your statements to the Daily Prophet." Harry said. "You've lied about me and mine for the last time. After your retraction, the charm will be suspended and your nose will return to normal."
As Cho started to sob and tried to cover her new growth, Harry continued in a hard, relentless tone.
"However, if you ever lie about me, the Weasley's or any of my friends again, it will return. Aim your spite elsewhere, or pay for it. This is the last warning I'll give you."
As the laughter in the hall increased, Cho looked around wildly. Seeing only mocking, laughing faces, she jumped from the table and fled the hall, sobbing.
Harry and Ginny continued to stand there until the sound died out again in the Great Hall.
"You can say what you want about me. But I warn everyone here and now, speak ill of my family, or of my Ginny and I will come for you. I see no shame in calling myself a Weasley. Or in loving one. It's a proud family with a long history and I'm glad to be part of that!"
At that point he led Ginny back to their seats. She had calmed down while they stood up in front of the Hall, but now that she was seated she seemed to be fuming about something.
He was about to take another bite of his breakfast when there came a sharp pain as his earlobe was pulled hard, and of course, he had no choice but to follow it.
"'My Ginny' Mr. Potter? Am I some sort of property now, to be traded or bought?" She hissed, her own eyes flashing.
"Um… what I meant Gin… you see…" He started stammering. Everyone at the Gryffindor table was watching with glee as Harry squirmed under her gaze.
But Ginny was just winding up. Her arms started waving as she told him exactly what she thought of his comments. As Ginny reached her crescendo, he decided to throw caution to the wind. He grabbed her by the shoulders, ignoring the flair of pain in his hand, pulled her close and kissed her. She pounded her fists against his back, but slowly even that stopped, and she then ran a hand through his hair returning the kiss.
He whispered in her ear, "Gin, we belong to each other. That's what I meant."
The looked up to the sounds of catcalls and howls from the Gryffindor table and most of the other tables as well.
"I wonder if that will work with 'Mione?" Ron said foolishly. "OW! Bloody hell woman! Why did you stomp on my foot?" He exclaimed staring at Hermione.
Meeting with the Headmaster…
After breakfast the four of them went up to Dumbledore's office. Harry had requested a brief meeting with the headmaster and wanted them all present.
As the group filed into the Headmaster's office, Dumbledore sat at his customary position watching them all. He didn't know what the purpose of this meeting was for, and to say he was curious would be an understatement.
"Harry, you asked for this meeting, therefore I suggest you start first." Dumbledore said kindly. In the past few days, their relationship had been repaired, something for which he was very grateful.
"Sir, is your Pensieve empty at the moment?"
Startled by this strange question, Dumbledore nodded and pulled it out of a drawer in his desk.
Harry got up from his chair and walked over to the Pensieve. He pulled his wand out of a pocket. He felt it very awkward using the wand in the wrong hand, but he finally managed to get a copy of the memory into the Pensieve. He then cast a charm over the Pensieve to preserve the memory for later use.
Turning to his friends, he spoke to them in a low soft tone. "You guys are family to me, and I have shared everything with you, but I'm asking you to please understand me when I say I do not want to you see this memory. Please I beg you. Never ask to see it, never ask me about it."
Turning back to Dumbledore he continued. "Sir, this is the vision which I have not shared with you as yet. Only myself and two others have seen this. And after Professor Snape and his wife helped me with this vision, I willingly allowed Professor Snape to obliviate parts of my memory."
Dumbledore looked thunderstruck. What was in this vision that was so bad for Harry that he'd willingly undergo an obliviate?
He returned his attention to Harry.
"The Snapes and I went into this vision, as you will undoubtedly do. We were able to ascertain a time frame for the vision to be between April 7th and April 15th of next year, here at Hogwarts. I will not willingly re-enter this vision Sir, so please do not ask it of me. If you feel it necessary, I will not mind if you share it with others, including Minister Bones. But I would suggest that she be the only one from the Ministry to see it. I wouldn't show it to too many or some who see it may lose hope. Finally, I'll remind you this is only a vision of what will happen if I fail in my task."
"Harry? Is it really that bad," Ginny asked softy.
Harry looked at her, and his memory of his desperate need to make sure she was ok that night shuddered through him. He looked at her with a haunted, pained look. "You have no idea Gin and I pray you never do."
She reached up a hand and pulled him down to sit next to her, wrapping her arms around him while he fought the echo of that memory.
Dumbledore watched the young couple and reflected on how differently things might have turned out if Harry hadn't put his foot down back at the beginning of the semester. Miss Weasley's role in all this becomes more important with each passing day. He thought. Harry has a tenuous grip on his humanity and it's through the love of his family and Miss Weasley most of all that he is able to maintain that.
"Harry…", Dumbledore began gently, "I promise you I will be most circumspect with whom I show this memory."
"Thank you Sir. That's all I really had to say today. I just wanted everyone here to know how important it was, and why I wouldn't let them see the vision."
"Well then Harry, I have two things to discuss with you. Both come from Minister Bones and need your attention. First, she instructed me to say that, and mine you, this is a direct quote, 'a good leader takes care of their people and rewards them on occasion'. Therefore, she directs me to give you this."
Dumbledore pulled pushed a rather large box forward. "These Harry, are Order of Merlin Awards. The Minister expects you, as the leader of your group, to hand them out to your companions. In the box you will find First Class awards for yourself, Mr. and Miss Weasley, Misses Granger and Lovegood, and Mr. Longbottom. The others are Second Class awards for all the rest of your companions. I further understand that Professors Snape will both be receiving awards for their groundbreaking work on the Anti-Cruciatus potion.
"Minister Bones knows how you dislike the attention Harry, but she reminds you that you have a duty as a commander to perform."
"Yes Sir. I don't want the award, but I guess I can't keep fighting the government either. I'll see they get handed out."
"Good. Now, second, Minister Bones has been extremely impressed with what you have done. As you know, her niece, Susan, lives with her since the girl's parents passed away in the last war. Susan has talked extensively over the past few days with her Aunt. Minister Bone has directed me to tell you that every one of your companions, as well as yourself, will be granted a special permit, allowing you to perform magic this summer. She also says the first piece of legislation she intends to introduce will be to lower the underage magic limit to fourteen. If the legislation passes, she would like you to witness her signing that bill into law."
"I'd be honored Sir. It sounds like Minister Bones is going to do a great job if you ask me."
"I agree. Although she and I don't see eye to eye on everything, I feel she will be most effective in her new post."
As they turned to leave, Harry remembered the box.
"Um.. Ron, can you grab the box? I'm still short a hand."
"No worries mate. It's better than cutting your food or tying your shoes," he said with a chuckle.
Albus Dumbledore sat back heavily in his chair, his heart aching. Fawkes from his perch sang a soothing song to him.
"Yes Fawkes, it seems our Harry does carry an unfair unburden if this vision is just part of what he's had to deal with."
Dumbledore had just finished reviewing the vision Harry had left him in the Pensieve and he came to the unmistakable conclusion that Harry had been right in having Severus obliviate his memory. He only wished he could be afforded the same luxury.
The images he had witnessed in Harry's vision pressed down hard on him. His school! The finest school in the world, the pride of the English Wizarding world. So much death and destruction.
There has to be a way of helping Harry. He has shown enormous power in this past year, and dedication to the cause. But did he have enough power to kill Voldemort? For that matter, how could you kill someone that was nearly immortal?
Now that was something to think about. Voldemort returned possessing Professor Quirrel in Harry's first year, then again as a specter of his younger self in Harry's second year. Then achieved corporeal form in his forth year. Would that mean that, even if his body is killed, he might still possess the ability to capture another body?
Dumbledore smiled briefly when he considered Harry's second year. The signs were already in place, but Harry was too young and immature to see them. And I was too wrapped up in my own arrogance, that I had forgotten what its like to be young. His bond to Ginevra Weasley was sealed in the Chamber of Secrets. He thought.
First thing I must do in order to help him is to strengthen his belief that I am willing to help him. Therefore, I will make the Headmaster's private library open to him and his friends. I fear, however, the shock might be too much for Miss Granger. All the really fun books are in there. And that thought cause him to chuckle.
Amelia Bones office, Ministry of Magic…
"Director Shacklebolt to see you Minister," said one of the many nameless assistants hoping to get recognized and promoted.
"Send him right in please."
Director Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped into the room. He had inherited the Minister's job when she moved up and was faced with the unenviable task of trying to rebuild the Aurors into an effective fighting force again.
"Minister…" he began.
"Kingsley, we've been co-workers for years. I think we can dispense with the formalities," she said, waving him into a chair.
"Very well Min… Amelia. I wanted to tell you we have forty-five Aurors effective with another nine on light duty. The rest will be out of action for months to come. That's the bad news. The good news is we've counted up a total of 497 Death Eaters, of whom 80 managed to survive in varying degrees of insanity. From what we can tell, that represents the bulk of Voldemort's forces. Estimates suggest that our two forces are probably evenly matched at this point, assuming that nothing else goes wrong.
"My primary concern is rebuilding our forces. Even if we accelerate the Auror training program and shave a year off, it will take us two years before we can even begin to flesh out our forces. And we know Voldemort can rebuild his forces quicker.
"That's the crux of the problem Amelia. We're in a race, and its one we're not prepared to run. I doubt Voldemort will give us the time we need."
Amelia sighed. "What do you suggest we do about it Kingsley?"
"Amelia, I think its important that we talk to Potter and see if we can adapt his training methods to help us bulk up faster."
"I'm already ahead of you on that. From what I understand, Harry will be leaving Hogwarts this Sunday to return to the Weasley's home in Ottery St. Catchpole. I have arranged for us to visit there, after he's had a week home to relax. So we're talking about the later part of June. I realize you're itching to get started Kingsley, but even you would want a week or two off after that battle."
"Oh I quite a agree Amelia. Besides, a week here or there won't make much difference. Would you have an objection to my writing him once he's home and asking if he needs anything to prepare for that meeting?"
Amelia thought that one over. "No, that's a good idea. He may want to call in other people to help assist at the meeting."
"Thanks Amelia, I'll do just that. In the meantime, I'll get back to my department."
Kingsley stood and left the room.
The Weasley Twins…
Remus and Tonks met with Fred and George at their shop. The twins had quickly capitulated to the Marauders and were rather apprehensive about their coming meeting with the Marauders and New Marauders. The meeting was to take place, once again, at Hogwarts.
This time the twins came expecting to be pranked.
The four of them took the shop's floo to the Three Broomsticks. Both Fred and George were curious about that. Everyone had heard about the now famous battle of Hogsmeade, but there was no sign of any damage. Magic did have its advantages.
Remus and Tonks had a pleasant walk from the town to the school although her leg did ache from time to time. The twins were still so nervous that it was hard to enjoy the pre-summer weather very much, or the polite conversation.
Entering the school, Remus and Tonks escorted them directly to the Room of Requirement.
Inside was a long table. Seated behind it were Harry, Ginny, Luna, Ron, Hermione and a recently released Neville.
Fred and George looked around warily before Harry spoke.
"Come in gentlemen. Take a seat. We have something we'd like to talk to you about."
Ron and Ginny both were snickering at the significantly thinner hair the two sported.
"Harry we promise…"
"…no more pranks…"
"…we'll swear an oath…"
"…to you as our dearest…"
Harry chuckled for a moment. "Fred, George, that's not why we asked you here today, but I can promise you will not be pranked by us. For today, anyway."
"…are we here?"
"Now that is the important question, is it not?" Harry replied. "I know you two have been inducted into the Order of the Phoenix. I also know for a fact that, except for using some of your products, they have never used you on a mission for them. Now, my question to you is a simple one. Would you like to play a more active role in this war? Really make a difference?"
"But Harry we're already…"
"…doing something for the order…"
"…and we do have a business to run."
"Quite so! We are respectable…"
Harry sighed for a moment, then said softly, "Fred, George, I know your secret. Now you wouldn't want your mum to find out from me, would you?"
"Secret? We have no secrets Harry," Fred said, indignantly.
Ron leaned forward and looked at Harry, "What secret are you talking about, Harry?"
Harry smirked and buffed his nails before answering, "Oh it's nothing much Ron. It's just that your brothers are probably smarter than Hermione and they deliberately failed their OWLS, along with most of their other tests here in Hogwarts. I wonder how Molly and Arthur will take that news?"
Fred and George looked stunned. Hermione looked doubtful and Ron confused, but Ginny tried to hide her smile behind her hand. She knew.
"Oh come on guys. Look at your product line. You've developed hundreds of pranks, most far better than anything Zonko's ever did. Many of those pranks show a surprising degree of work in them. How could you possibly do that and still only take three OWLS? You guys deliberately hid your intelligence in school."
"He has found us out," George said sadly.
"Oh quite, but did you notice the implied blackmail?" Fred inquired, looking quite cheerful.
"Yes I did. It's quite good really, almost as good as a prank!" George agreed.
"Are we sure Dad didn't sleep with his mother?" Fred asked.
"The green eyes! No Weasley's have green eyes," George comment sagely.
"Well, Ginny will fix that," Fred corrected slyly.
"So what do we do?" George asked his twin.
"He threatened us with blackmail so I say we hear him out," Fred said with a shrug.
They both turned back to Harry and motioned for him to continue. Ginny was openly snickering.
"Fred, George, I want to kill two birds with one stone here. We have a brother that is currently unemployed and feeling quite depressed at what he's done. So what I am going to suggest is you turn over your shop for him to manage for you, because you two are going to be too busy to run it yourselves. What I have in mind for you, and Remus has all of the paperwork here for you to sign, is to open a subsidiary of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes that will be dedicated to making stuff to help defend this castle. I want more things like your portable swamps. I want things that will slow down an advancing army of wizards, confuse and confound them. I want to be able to deliver those items from the safety of the castle, without exposing anyone to danger. In short guys, I want you two to put your heads together, talk with Ron and see what you can come up with that will help us defend Hogwarts."
Fred started to protest. "But Harry, we don't have that kind of capital! And we'd need to hire on brewers, charm makers, find space for a new facility…"
Harry interrupted him by holding up his hand. "Fred, Remus has the paperwork. He and I are going in half each on this, and we'll be minority partners. You two will own fifty one percent while Remus and I will own the remaining forty nine percent. We're prepared to immediately transfer 100,000 galleons to your account for hiring, salaries and supplies, and another 50,000 galleons for the facility. Remus and I both feel that the products you develop will have markets with Wizarding governments in other countries. My primary concern is what's coming to Hogwarts early next year. But I expect after that, you will have governments around the world banging on your doors to buy your goodies."
Fred and George gazed at Harry, a maniacal gleam in their identical eyes. When Remus slid a sheaf of documents in front of them, they signed eagerly.
Meanwhile, Hermione was staring at the twins in horror.
"You two deliberately failed your exams?" She said in disbelief.
The Last DA Meeting of the Year…
Harry hated this. He could see the logic behind Minister Bone's request that he hand out the awards. And that's what he had planned on doing, quietly. Dumbledore and the Minister had other ideas, however.
He had received an owl this morning asking if it would be all right if the Minister were present when he handed out the awards. She apparently would be in the school this evening and asked that he do it then. So much for just running around shoving boxes in people's hands!
Then Dumbledore had come along and told him he'd handle all the arrangements for the presentation this evening, and that Harry should be prepared to meet in the Great Hall, an hour after dinner.
To add to his nervousness, Ron, Ginny and Hermione all seemed to be up to something.
In the Gryffindor common room, after dinner, Ginny told him that she had laid out a dress robe for him to wear. She had removed his bandage yesterday and, while the hand was still very sensitive and sore, she said he should have no trouble getting dressed.
The dorm room was eerily quite as he entered it. No one was there, which was strange. He had figured Ron and Neville would be there getting dressed also, but they weren't.
Stepping over to his bed, he found a new robe. It was silver gray with a black trim at the cuff. Over the heart was the monogram of a phoenix. He didn't know where it came from, but it was obvious that Ginny expected him to wear it. It did take him longer than usual to get dressed, but it wasn't long before he was heading back down to the common room. It was empty.
Maybe they went on ahead? He thought.
To be honest, the lack of people was starting to creep him out a bit. Harry hurriedly exited the common room and went down to the Great Hall.
Harry paused when he entered the Great Hall. The tables been cleared away and the room enlarged to allow the entire student population to be seated. What really gave him pause however, were the silver gray robed figures standing in squad formation before the head table.
Ginny approached him, her robe molded to her body like a glove. The robe was nearly identical to his, except for the white cuff, where his was black.
She took his hand and, pulling him forward, murmured, "This is Remus and Jack's idea Harry. They're dress uniforms. The color of the cuff indicates what that person does. Jack also wants to talk to you about a uniform that we can fight in."
He was having a little trouble taking this all in. Ginny looked so beautiful in her robe. The way the phoenix on her robe swelled outward on her was enough to make his breath catch in his throat.
Finally she turned to him and whispered, "Aren't you listening to me Harry?"
"Um… not really Gin. I can't get over how beautiful you look in that," he said shyly.
She beamed a perfect smile at him in return, then pulled him up to the head table where Minister Bones, Dumbledore, several order members, including Molly and Arthur and Remus and Tonks were waiting.
Harry stood next to Ginny, looking expectantly at the head table. Without even realizing he was doing it, he reached out for her hand and gripped it in his.
Minister Bones stood up to address the crowd. She smiled when she saw Harry's gesture.
"Mr. Potter, for centuries the Aurors have had a tradition of the unit leader handing out the awards to their unit members. From a leadership standpoint, it makes perfect sense for the leader to show his thanks for the performance of a unit member. It also reinforces solidarity within the unit.
Tonight I will be giving you and your leaders their awards. Then you shall hand out the rest, thus passing our Auror tradition to your group. And while I've never seen a unit leader holding hands with one of his subordinates on duty, I suppose, in your case, it is appropriate…" She paused while crowd tittered at this, and then motioned Harry forward.
"Mr. Potter, the Order of Merlin is one of our highest honors. Most recipients of the award did not ask for it, and did not want it, which means you're going to be in very good company…"
He groaned inwardly and knew this was going to be a long night.
Word had been passed among the DA that one of the command team would contact them if they were needed over the summer, but other than keeping up with their early morning runs, they were told to enjoy the time off.
To be honest, Harry did have some plans that might end up bringing them together during the summer, but not until August at least. He wanted some time off for himself as well.
The six friends sat in their compartment on the Hogwarts Express. The only real sign that a battle had taken place nearby was the fact that there was a new Stationmaster. Hermione was supposed to go with her parents to the south of France in July, but would be coming to the Burrow in August. Luna and her father were planning a trip to Columbia where they would seek the fabled miniature Uni-roo, supposedly a cross between a unicorn and a kangaroo. Neville nodded interestedly at hearing that. His plans, like Harry's, were much simpler. He intended to relax, if he could.
Harry sat in the corner of the compartment watching his friends. He had pulled out a sketchpad and was trying to capture some of the images before him. Madam Pomfrey had finally gotten around to telling him that his drawing would help him to work through some of his issues he had with the Dursleys. She gave him a lot of advice on how he should draw things that expressed his emotions, but he found most of that too dark and disturbing, even for him. The one piece of advice he did accept from her was to branch out from his jewelry patterns and crystal drawings into drawing other objects. The drawings, in Harry's opinion, really weren't very good. But he kept at it.
Ginny had just finished playing some exploding snap with Hermione and glanced over to see Ron and Neville engrossed in a game of wizard's chess, and Harry in his book again! He had been sketching in that book for nearly two months now and no one, absolutely no one, had managed to get a look at it. He had it charmed so the pages were blank as long as he wasn't using it. She knew, she had snuck up to his dorm to try to take a peek at it.
Noticing that Ginny's attention was on him, Harry started to put his book away. She stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"Harry, you've been drawing in that book for weeks now and you won't show anyone what's in it. I don't think it's very fair of you, keeping secrets from us… come on, let's see it."
"Gin, I'm just doodling. It's not very good. It's just that Madam Pomfrey said I should do this… you know… to help me work through issues. I tried doing what she suggested, but it didn't really make me feel better, so I started doodling other things instead."
'Issues', was Harry-speak for the Dursley's, and what they did to him. The rest of them knew that.
"Harry," she asked softly, "may I please see it?"
Seeing the concern and love in her eyes, he released the charm on the book and handed it to her.
Flipping through the first few pages, Ginny shuddered at the dark images. A cupboard with a small figure in it, a hand holding a belt, a window with bars. But after the first few pages, the images changed radically. There were several homes of varying types, from modest to palatial. Ginny's eyes widened as she started to spot herself intermixed in the images.
There were others as well. Neville and Luna, sitting at a table in the Great Hall, laughing, Ron on his broomstick, Hermione with her books. Ron and Hermione walking down to the lake, holding hands.
She blushed when she found one of herself that had obviously been a nude drawing, with a bathing suit tastefully drawn over her body at a later point. She knew for a fact Harry had never seen her in a bathing suit!
She glanced up at Harry and he shrugged. "I knew sooner or later you were going to insist on seeing it, or showing it to others. Besides, that's an image I'll always have right here." He tapped his head.
The train started to slow as it pulled into Kings Crossing. From his window he could see Molly and Arthur and the Grangers waiting for them. Harry's trunk was in his pocket, like the others. With the waiver to perform magic this summer, they all took advantage of it.
The six of them piled out of the train, eager for the summer to begin, although Ron and Hermione were saddened by the time they would be away from each other. Neville and Luna said their farewells to everyone and turned to leave. Neville's Gran was picking up both of them, and she was in a hurry.
Harry and Ginny walked over to Molly and Arthur while Hermione and Ron went to the Grangers. Molly engulfed them both in bone crushing hugs, then the two adult Weasleys turned to watch their son. Molly had tears in her eyes and Arthur looked like he was bursting with pride.
Ron talked for a bit with Hermione's parents, and Hermione showed her mum the ring Ron had made for her. Dan Granger frowned for a bit and looked at Ron like he was eyeing a cut of beef before nodding at him and smiling at his daughter. Hermione threw herself into her father's arms, nearly knocking him off balance, and then went over to Ron. The two embraced and kissed passionately.
Ginny looked up at Harry with a wistful look. He smiled and leaned down to give her a tender kiss, then murmured in her ear, "Lets allow them their time Gin. We'll have a whole summer, while our brother will only have a piece of one."
"How'd you get so smart, Mr. Potter?" she asked softly.
"Didn't you know Miss Weasley? All us Weasleys are smart!" He smirked.
When Ron joined them, Molly again issued one of those patented bone-breaking hugs. Even Arthur gave him a hug.
Then Molly turned to Harry and Ginny. "Well? You ready to go home?"
"I don't know about Ron and Ginny, but home sounds real good right about now," Harry said, happily.
And thus ends our tale of Dumbledore's Army, an Angsty, Romancy, Adventure tale. We will pick up this tale in our as yet unnamed sequel.
My wife and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we've enjoyed writing it. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to walk the feeling back into our legs and argue over who gets the bathroom first!
We are working on the plot line for the next book and I can assure, once thats done, we'll start churning out chapters.