"So, are you ready for next Saturday?"

"I think I am, but I wish I could skip the public ceremony. But that would look ungrateful to your father... and that's the last thing I want to do, after what your family has done for me all these years."

Harry and Ron were drinking butterbeers at their favorite table in the Three Broomsticks while they waited for Hermione and Ginny to be done shopping in Flourish and Botts
Hermione got excited about a new Runes Books collection and Ginny was looking forward to getting a gift for Angelina's birthday. Harry and Ron preferred having a drink in their favorite pub and chatting a bit while they waited. They knew the girls could spend a long time exploring a bookshop, especially Hermione.

Ron took a sip from his butterbeer and grinned. "No worries, mate. I would skip the ceremony too, but Hermione has been nagging that we can't do that - for all the same reasons you pointed out. I don't want to go because that annoying Rita will be there, and I can imagine what might appear in the newspapers the next morning... but Hermione said that most of the readers have stopped believing her, so we don't need to worry about it."

Harry nodded, making little circles with his bottle on the table. He, Ron and Hermione would receive their 'Order of Merlin' awards for services to the wizarding world in a couple of days, in an event which was being organized by Arthur Weasley - the new Minister of Magic since Voldemort´s death.

Six months had passed by since the last battle in which Harry killed Voldemort in self-defense, with help from his best friends. They received some minor injuries, but nothing too serious - because they'd had the nerve to use the right spells at the proper time to take advantage of their enemy.

Harry felt very proud of their performance and also happy and relieved for all of them surviving. He knew that he couldn't make it without his best friends, and he was thankful that they'd insisted on following him into the Horcrux hunt: with Ron's strategic plans to destroy each Horcrux and Hermione´s cleverness about deciphering encrypted clues & doing intensive research in every book about Dark Magic, they'd made it and finally gotten the desired peace in their lives.

Harry chuckled to himself, remembering that time when Hermione had made the brilliant move to put Rita Skeeter inside a flask as a beetle. Then he smirked. "Maybe that Rita wants to skip the ceremony, for some reason."

Ron snorted. "Yeah and Hermione will start to wear pink and fluffy clothes." Then his lopsided grin grew. "Unless she can close her inside a flask again."

Both laughed and Harry shook his head about Ron's funny side, which had improved greatly since he started dating Hermione. Although it was a bit awkward to see his best friends as a couple (and his memories about the times he walked in on them snogging were very embarrassing), it was much better watching them be gentle and relaxed with each other - instead of the constant bickering they were accustomed to doing during their Hogwarts times.

He'd also settled things with Ginny, and he felt a new hope about finally living as normal of a life as everybody else.

Ron looked at his watch. "It's about time we settled on picking them up. How about a chess game at the Burrow before dinner? Mum is going to make her best chocolate cake for dessert. When she sends hints like this to my ears, it's an invitation to get dinner, mate. I know my mother very well!"

Harry agreed and stood, putting some Knuts on the table to pay for the butterbeers. Ron protested, but he smiled at his best friend, poking his shoulder softly.

It was wonderful finally being home.