The Return

The Prologue: In the Night

Though no one searched and no body was found, a riddle, a Weasley, and steadfast conviction leads to an eye-opening realization and the sequence of acts that it caused. Sequel to In the Midst of it All.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything, sadly.

The night sky that had earlier that day been filled with witches and wizards on brooms was now silent. Some had been old and some had been young. But all had been celebrating nonetheless, and some had been celebrating for the past year. Now that the anniversary of the day had come, people were having the biggest celebration ever.

Unlike the first fall of the Dark Lord Voldemort, people were constantly assured by Dumbledore that the evil was gone forever. That day could only have been better if it had not been held on the day of Harry Potter's funeral.

Ginny Weasley sighed. That had been the most eventful day in her life. She glanced at the shining, emerald plaque on her desk. She, along with Hermione, had received the highest accolade one could receive in the wizarding world. They were honored with Confederation of Wizards issued Order of Magic awards, Hermione being the first muggle-born to be awarded and Ginny being the youngest female.

She smiled grimly into the darkness. They had accepted the award for Harry on his behalf. Even if he had been there, they were sure he still would not have accepted the award anyway. There was just way too much press, local and international alike.

There was a sudden banging at the door.

"Ginny, we have to leave for Hogwarts in a few, I hope you're ready." That voice seemed to always chill her lately with its depth of coldness.

Ron had been one of those individuals impacted deeply by Harry's death. Mrs. Weasley had been ailing tremendously the day of the Final Battle. Ron fought tooth and nail to go along with Hermione and Ginny, as they fought to keep him there. When his mother's condition was laid before him, Ron could not refuse to stay behind and help her. He still protested Hermione and Ginny going.

Ginny had an important role ahead of her, Dumbledore told Ron. Hermione was there because of her knowledge of the things Ginny could not 'remember'. Ron accepted his fate. Harry's death hit Ron like a ton of bricks. He locked himself in his room for days, and did not come out until Mrs. Weasley's condition worsened. She had been another person who was directly hurt and devastated by the news of Harry's death.

Ron grew colder and colder by the day. At Hogwarts, Ginny remembered vividly some of the spells he used on Slytherins who had taunted him over Harry's death. He was nearly expelled, and he did not seem to really care either.

"Let them expel me! I could round up the rest of the Death Eater scum!" He had laughed.

Ginny shivered. She quickly shut the window. The banging at her door returned. "Ginny-."

"I'm done packing. Everything is in the kitchen." She said kicking open her trunk and rapidly throwing her things into it.

"Sure." She could basically feel his smirk through the door.

Her cheeks went red as the door flew open swiftly. Ron and Hermione stood there watching her, both with eyes alight in amusement.

"I knew I heard scurrying!" Hermione began tossing some of the things from the dresser into the trunk. Ginny gave her a grateful look.

Ron gave a sigh and started grabbing things. Ginny hurried. She hoped that she could get finished, and get them out before-.

Peck. Peck. Peck.

Everyone aimed their wands at the window on instinct. A green, odd-looking bird hovered there.

"Who's that from?" Hermione asked. Ginny cursed herself mentally in every language that she thought she knew. She didn't dare to answer Hermione, and went to open the window. That girl could tell a lie better than a Legismency master.

"It's nothing important." The bird puffed out it's chest and looked at her indignantly.

"Of course it is." Ron stated piercingly. Ginny flinched. "You haven't been sending those letters-."

Another peaking appeared at her opened window.

Ginny hurriedly slammed the window closed, not before pushing one bird out, letter and all. Both birds pecked at her window continuously. "No, that was a letter from Michael!" Ron gave Hermione a look. They shared a look of suspicion.

"And the other one." There was a crash somewhere in the house.

There was a brief silence. "Uh, we better hurry and see if Tonks has broken something valuable." Hermione said attempting to sway Ron's attention.

"Hermione, now is not the time for your senseless distractions." He said coldly, Hermione flinched. He lazily pointed a finger at Ginny. "She is getting out of hand with these letters to him. At first, I could take it as a sign of grieving, but a year has passed." Ginny growled.

A booming sound from downstairs caught their attentions. The door rattled on its hinges. Their wand were back in their hands on instinct. Then there was a piercing scream.

Ginny was the first out of the room, blasting the door off its handles wandlessly, though she had been the farthest from the door. She ran down the hall. Lights flickered, it was a sign that dark wizards were in the house. She was jumping down the stairs three at a time. She was nearly to the bottom-.

BOOM

The stairs collapsed from beneath her. The very house was shaking up dust from its foundations to its roof. Ginny crouched in a kneeling position. The explosion had blown some dangerous material off of the ceilings and the walls. She quickly cast a Aegis Shielding charm over her head. A rather large chunk of roof fell on top of her, but the shield took most of the damage.

Ginny groaned at the pain in her back and righted herself. She couldn't even see her hands at her sides, the dust was so thick. The dust was stinging her eyes, making them water and preventing her from keeping them open. She rubbed her eyes continuously and her breath was becoming labored as particles were getting caught in her throat.

"GINNY!" Hermione's voice cut straight through the dust.

She cast a small shield over her face so she could breathe. Ginny barely observed it before she spun on her feet.

A spell whizzed past her. The malice of the spell made her shiver. The wall shriveled before her eyes and crumbled to dust. She sent out every spell she knew towards the origin of the spell. She heard a body drop to the floor.

This is ridiculous! She cast a mild wind spell and pushed the annoying dust out of the large opening where the front door and the wall used to stand. The spell managed to push some of the attackers out as well.

Ron and Hermione appeared out of no where. Damn, Apparation would be useful right now, she thought jealously.

From her acknowledging their arrival, she noticed something. What she saw in Ron's eyes startled her to the very marrow in her bones. He was… happy. He was oddly pleased. He wanted this fight.

The dust cleared in the atrium to the house. There was a grand battle taking place outside. Ron wielded his wand like a sword and made quick stabbing motions. Green sparks flew from his wand and hit the closest attackers. Ginny saw the victims convulsing for a few moments and then fall deathly still.

Ron walked over the bodies and joined the battle without a flinch or any other sign of remorse.

She was suddenly grabbed by the shoulders. "Ginny, go and finish packing! Hurry!" Tears shimmered on Hermione's face and in her eyes. Ginny knew who they were for.

Ginny knew better than argue with Hermione. She sent a powerful Oscillating Spell into the street, causing a brief lull in the battle, but more backup attackers were arriving by the second.

"I hope he comes." Ginny said clutching her vulture pendant around her neck.

Hermione sighed, there was a lost look in her eyes. "I-." Her voice caught her throat and she fled into the battle.

Ginny cast a hovering charm on herself. Attempting to fix the stairs would take too much time, time she could not spare. She threw herself into her bedroom, drowning out the shocks she felt running through the house to her, and the sounds of the fighting outside.

One of the owls from earlier was waiting on her trunk's open lid. How did it get in? She noticed then that her window was broken.

She approached it quickly. Before she could get to it, it spread its wings and let its parcel fall into her trunk. It shook itself and the brown and black feathers it held turned into pure white ones.

"Hedwig?" She breathed. The bird didn't stir Harry's owl… Her eyes went to the box. She launched herself at it with fervor. Paper went sailing. She found herself looking at a plain box. She hastily open it.

There was nothing inside. She tore the box apart looking for something, anything. She used her eyes, hands and magic, and came up with nothing.

Why would Harry give me an empty bo-. The nearly one-dimensional box began shuddering. Ginny put as much distance as she could between the pieces and herself. She looked for Hedwig. The bird had disappeared. The shreds glowed and slowly brought themselves back together into the form of a three-dimensional box.

SCREECH

Ginny jumped and instantly trained her wand on the green, odd-looking bird. She sighed, her heart pounded. Stupid nerves! Stupid bird!

"Just put my letter with the other returned ones." She turned and went back to looking at the book.

The bird gave an annoying peck at the back of her head. She growled and swatted him away.

"I knew I shouldn't have let George and Fred send you to me. You are more irritating than they were! And I still have no clue what to name you! I don't even know what you are."

The bird seemed to roll his eyes. Ginny would have laughed had the bird not brought the letter closer to her face. That isn't my hand-writing. The box glowed in her hand out of the corner of her eye. She paid it no mind. She held her breath.It took a second for her mind to register the manuscript.

She yanked the letter from the bird. It pecked at her shoulder indignantly. She paid it no mind as well.

The letter was quick, brief. There was hardly anyway to know it was Harry as it had no sender address or a signature.

Dumbledore has been subdued at St. Mungos, and the wizards are after you. I'll try to get some help there. I'll be-

Ginny did not dare to finish reading it. He's not dead. She dropped the letter and dashed from the room again. Before she even reached the stairs, she was casting a hover charm on herself. And when she got to the landing, the fireplace was exploding in colors as more Order members arrived.

She looked out the window, scrutinizing the scene for any sign of Harry. She saw nothing but the dark wizards and a few Order members along with Hermione and Ron fighting them.

She held her breath. She was sure he would be there now. The attack had been without warning. She was absolutely positive that Harry would not leave them to fight off a heap of dark wizards without any assistance.

He had before. That thought was what kept her in the house. She and Hermione had been the blunt of numerous attacks over the past six months. When the celebration of the fall of Voldemort had settled, other dark wizards began rising from oppressed darkness.

With Voldemort alive, most of the dark wizards knew that they would have to either side with Voldemort, or hide from him. They all wanted to have the control that Voldemort had, that fear that Voldemort welded. They were determined to wait until the Boy-Who-Lived would take care of Voldemort, then they could rise up and destroy him. With Harry's apparent suicide, many of those at the Final Battle, awarded afterwards for taking part in destroying Voldemort and his Death Eaters, were targeted in Harry's place.

Ginny, Hermione, and Ron had been through rigorous training and dueling practices in order to prepare them for their inevitable future battles.

CRASH

Ginny had ducked just in time as a well-placed Reducto Spell was sent at the window. She shied out of the way of the shattering glass. She ran from the house to meet her attacker. It was better to keep them out of the house, most of the plans from the meeting a few nights ago were still on the kitchen table.

She let one of the curses aimed at her hit her. It was a curse she knew well. She quickly muttered the counter-curse before she fell to the ground and began imitating the symptoms caused by the spell. The attacker approached, proud of his or her work.

She convulsed on the ground and shook herself the best that she could.

"This was too easy." The dark witch said smugly as she approached Ginny.

She raised her wand slowly.

Ginny stunned her quickly. She stood up, dusted herself off subconsciously, and swiftly removed the woman's arms with a single spell.

That was the new protocol. Instead of killing the dark wizards, they had taken to amputating. It was safe, cleaner than killing, and left the person fighting the dark wizards with a better conscience. It also allowed for more criminals to be held accountable for their actions and questioned.

After the Final Battle, many of the Aurors had to seek psychological assistance from the scenes that they witnessed. Many did not believe that they could ever kill another human being ever again. That was where the protocol had been born.

Ginny surveyed the battle scene. Some help had arrived but it was not enough. Whoever had planned this attack, did so wisely. They picked the perfect night, Harry Potter's birthday. Their stratagems had been perfectly crafted as well. They did not send all of the dark wizards at once. They sent them to the battle in an overwhelming distribution of little by little, with groups of wizards arriving almost immediately one right after the other. Many of the few fighters on our side are tired already.

Ron stood as the very center of the battle. Most of the dark wizards were flocking to him. They recognized him as the main enemy, and obstacle, on the field in front of the headquarters. He was weaving spells with his wand, some of the dark wizard stepped back and held off. They were waiting for him to get tired. Not bloody likely!

He was playing them all like chess pieces. He used the spells sent at him to attack other dark wizards and cast his own dark spells at the original castor. He was not even working at full power and he was taking out several dark wizards at a time. He did not seem to be tiring any time soon.

He was definitely not following protocol with his spells. Ginny was frankly sickened by the spells he used. But she knew he was was not likely to get in trouble from them.

Hermione was at the front of the battle. She seemed to be mainly on defense, the very opposite of Ron. She sent out powerful disarming and blocking wards, most of them were likely learned from one of their private tutors, Bill.

But there was still no sign of Harry. Ginny headed off to the battle to let out some of her frustration.

What if it was a hoax? What if he's-

Strong, invisible hands suddenly caught her wrists in a vice-like grip. She screamed and struggled the free herself. But whatever it was, it was powerful and did not loosen its grip.

She found herself being pulled back towards the house. She kicked and screamed, gaining the attention of some of the nearest dark wizards.

They sent spells at her in confusion. She was completely defenseless. Her wand was… being levitated in front of her. The spells hit some sort of barrier and bounced back at their castors.

"Shhh." A soft voice said from her left. She looked over, there was not anyone there. She began to panic.

A finger was placed gently at her lips. Her breath caught her throat. It can't be!

"Good, now that you've stopped struggling, you can have your wand back." That voice. That unbelievably familiar voice. She could not stop herself from crying as her hands were released.

"I knew you weren't dead! I knew it!" She cried into the darkness of the night.

There was not a reply. Something rapped at the top of her head. The icky egg feeling of a strong Disillusion Charm came over her. His presence disappeared.

Then dark wizards began falling in droves. Ginny saw the dark wizards began to scatter in confusion from the sudden ailing of their comrades. Ginny ran into the middle of the field. The dark reinforcements hit the ground before they had stepped two seconds onto the field.

Ginny had been horrified by the various brutal states of the maimed wizards around Ron, but she was taken aback by the vast and unsuspected brutality that Harry was using.

She shook with joy nevertheless. She had always known he had not committed suicide. Equally so, she knew that he would never kill his own child. Those were two things she had never associated with Harry Potter.

His story had hit the newspapers days after his 'death'. Many people wanted to know about Harry Potter, the real Harry Potter. The Daily Prophet asked the new heros, Ron, Hermione, and herself, to partake in their assessment of Harry's life.

All three them had refused at first. The wound was still fresh. But Ron, in one of his many-to-come moments of mature analysis, insisted that they get out the true story of Harry before they had another Rita Skeeter scandal on their hands.

There had been many installations, all dealing with a different part of his life. One focused on his home life and how he had grown up, provided by Ron. It got a lot of attention. The Daily Prophet was seeing dollar signs and began putting out special accompaniment to its paper.

When Dumbledore admitted in a private interview that the story was accurate, there nearly was a revolt. He almost found himself sacked and was close to being forced to abdicate from his place as Supreme Mugwump. Many associated that with his new and profound cold personality.

One segment of the profile dealt with his life at Hogwarts. Ginny remembered that well. It took two special Daily Prophets, along with the original, to get the whole story out. Everyone close to Harry at Hogwarts contributed to the story. It was a detailed profiling of each of his five years at Hogwarts. Ginny herself did not know most of the stuff in the paper. Hermione and Ron made sure everything was taken into account and was legitimate.

Another piece that sparked a damn near witch-hunt, was the one that talked about his tumultuous relationship with Bill, provided by Ginny herself. To legitimize the story, she said that she had talked to Harry on a regular basis, but in reality had only used the memories that Ares provided for her.

Many of the readers held the section with a sense of incredulity. It did seem rather odd that a sister would post something so damaging about her brother. Ginny did not hesitate to make sure that what she felt about her brother was present in the paper. It was pure libel. The editors were pulling to remove the selection, and publicly apologize to Bill, but Hermione stepped in and added some details of her own. Ones that Ginny had been trying soften or felt no need to add.

The Prophet got so many angry letters, most of which not directed at them rather than at Bill, that the Wizarding World Wireless, a wizarding world radio, began reading them one right after the another over a span of eight days.

Bill was forced, nearly, into exile. The goblins, who prided themselves on being completely independent of the politics and issues of the wizarding world, fired him. The whole wizarding world shunned him. He pretty much spent his time in the muggle world. He tried to hide from wizards and reality.

On that thought, Ginny was taking off the Disillusion Charm in order to cast the Medusa Spell. The fury from her thoughts of Bill powered the Medusa Spell. With such emotion behind the spell, it hit not only the dark wizard she held eye contact with, but also several wizards around him, turning them and the ground beneath their feet into stone.

His reclusion made her mad beyond belief. He tried to hide himself, but the wizarding world found him. Only here did Ginny feel a bit guilty. There had been numerous attempts on Bill's life, to the point where he had to openly seek help from Dumbledore. It was granted, but he was asked- commanded- to give Hermione some extra training that she had asked for and to help Hermione, Ron, and herself with dueling.

Dumbledore was killing two birds with one red-haired block head with a body. He was getting them some extra training, while giving Bill the punishment of training them.

They had put Bill through hell again and again and again.

One thing that really tugged at him was when he had asked them to conjure up angry thoughts and feelings, and fuel their spells with them. They had been practicing a Tossing Charm and Bill had been firmly implanted into the wall by Ginny.

"That was something!" He had said proudly, whilst nursing the back of his head. "What thoughts did you use?"

Ginny had sneered at him at this point. "I was thinking about how Harry's life would have been different if he had gone out with that Pete." His face had dropped to his knees.

She turned around as she heard voices coming from the house. It's about time! Not that we need them now!

BOOM

An explosion curse, probably from a dark wizards, tore the ground from beneath Ginny's feet. Having been taken off guard, she went flying backwards through the air. She landed awkwardly and felt several things break within herself. Judging from some of the other victims of the curse, she was one of the lucky ones.

"GINNY!" Ron and Hermione shouted. Ginny felt her senses going cold. Her head was getting heavy.

From her position on the ground, she saw what she believed to be an illusion. The explosion had sent the ground oscillating. Some people not close enough to be tossed, were toppled off of their feet. They quickly picked themselves up and continued fighting

An unearthly glow gradually surrounded the field. Ginny saw a figure standing in the middle of the field, in the center as the source of the glow.

Harry, as she was sure the figure was Harry, disappeared suddenly, taking the glow with him. There was a shock wave so strong that Ginny felt it from her position on the ground. Every single dark wizard in the area fell to the ground and did not get back up. Ginny felt cold as she saw all of the Order members along with Ron and Hermione fall as well. Before she could contemplate what happened, darkness met her.

Here we go! Next chapter is more or less an information chapter! Hint! Review !!!