Harry Potter and the Final Chapter


Lewis M. Brooks, III


Legend tells of a weapon known as the Sword of Souls. The ebony blade has cut a path of destruction through the centuries. Passed from Dark Wizard to Dark Wizard by death, its only goal is to create the death, suffering, and blood it craves and to collect evil souls to add to its own power.

Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived fell to the ebony blade of the Sword of Souls. Thirteen hundred years later, The Sword of Souls may be Harry Potter's only chance to rid the world of Voldemort forever. But will the price of Voldemort's destruction be Harry's soul?

In 1945, Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald, transferring the allegiance of the Elder Wand to Dumbledore…but what other weapon of immense power called Grindelwald it's master? Upon Grindelwald's defeat, his home, Castle Grindelwald, which stands in the Black Forest of Germany, became magically sealed, and no magic has ever been able to open it. Did Grindelwald possess a weapon of untold power, far greater than the Elder Wand? Did the Sword of Souls call Grindelwald it's master? What other secrets lay within the sealed within the castle, and how can it be unsealed?

In Harry Potter and the Final Chapter, the lives of Harry, Albus, the rest of The Twelve, and their friends will be turned upside down, as a final confrontation with the Dark Lord approaches. It has been almost five years since Albus nearly died in the Chamber of Secrets. Voldemort has not been seen or heard from since…but that is about to change. Even as Harry Potter and his son prepare to celebrate the birthday they share, unbeknownst to them, Voldemort is about to walk the earth again.

As Voldemort and Harry both seemingly race to find the weapon that each believes to be their key to final victory, can Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius guide their family through another year at Hogwarts? Voldemort is not the only challenge they face.

As the first Triwizard Tournament to be held at Hogwarts since 1994 approaches, old friends will return, and new friends will be made. Young love will be tested, and new loves found. Before the year is over, Harry will travel to Castle Grindelwald and Nurmengard Prison. He will travel to Stonehenge, the most ancient and magical site in Britain, and he will seek out the tomb of the Founders themselves.

The Twelve and their friends will face dragons, magical swords, enchanted daggers, love, hate, ghosts, ancient books, funerals, proposals, weddings, exams, graduation, unicorns, nightmares, the press, and so much more, and perhaps the biggest questions of all…who will not survive?

Harry Potter and the Final Chapter, is (my version) of the conclusion to the story of Harry Potter.

Author's Note

This is a sequel to "Harry Potter and the Legend of the Twelve".

I have updated this story. I have corrected some typos and grammar errors. (Yes, I fixed all the question marks.) I have rewritten some lines here and there and added a little bit in a few places. None of the essential elements of the story have been changed. I fixed a few canonical issues, though some items that came out following my beginning this story have still been ignored. I've also added two very important authors' notes concerning the relationships in this story.

This is my second novel length Harry Potter Fanfiction. This story is around 644,000 words and one hundred and seven chapters, plus two epilogues and an alternate ending epilogue.

I have previously written a One-Shot, "Chapter 37, Picking up the Pieces," which is my take on the unwritten 37th Chapter of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". I would recommend reading that before reading this, as there are a number of references to that story. I also wrote a novel length Fanfiction called Harry Potter and the Legend of the Twelve. You really need to read that before reading this one.

I had intended that all three stories fit into established canon including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as other items J.K. Rowling has stated are true in interviews, but not included in the Epilogue to DH. However, knew canon has been revealed since I began this that contradicts my story.

This story is meant as the ninth Harry Potter story, picking up where the Legend of the Twelve left off. I set out to tell a story of an ending to Harry's story, and this one does just that.

As you probably noticed, this story is rated "Mature," and includes "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" among the warnings. I don't feel that it's "graphic", but it is there.

I have had a few comments on this story that all of the relationships fall into the category of "Love at First Sight". Some do, certainly, but I don't feel that most do. I don't want to give things away, so I'm going to put a note at the end of the story with my comments on this issue. It is item #7.

Chapter 1 – Past and Present

Harry James Potter is known by many titles throughout the Wizarding world. The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One, The Savior of the Wizarding World, as well as whatever other glory filled titles the Daily Prophet has come up with to sell newspapers. The only titles that matter to Harry Potter however, are the ones the people he love know him by, husband, father, godfather, uncle, and friend. No other title had, did, or ever would matter, except possibly grandfather some day, but he was much too young for that.

Harry sat on the polished stone bench in the garden of his home in Godric's Hollow. The garden was filled with beautiful flowers, several large trees that gave wonderful shade in the hot summer months, and a large ornate fountain that filled the air with the sound of splashing water. Harry loved to sit here on summer days with Ginny at his side. When the children weren't around they loved to kiss each other and hold each other on this bench.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, two days before the birthday he shared with his son, Harry's forty-third, Albus's seventeenth. Harry was working on what he always did for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. He was trying to find out more about the 'The Prophecy of The Twelve.'

Harry would only spend a few hours a week, usually Saturday or Sunday afternoon, on the prophecy. Sometimes that would entail reading books about Merlin. Other times, he would review copies of documents from Wizarding libraries or museums that could pertain to the prophecy. Many times he would just reread the prophecy and his notes looking for something he hadn't seen before. In the five years since Voldemort's return, Harry had found nothing but vague references to the prophecy.

Harry had contacted Susan Bones to see if anything else had been discovered in the castle in Romania that she had been working at. He didn't tell her about the thirteen-year-old box, as her memory had been Obliviated. He told her a story about being interested in Romanian castles. Susan told him all about the dig, but there was nothing else of consequence found in the excavation. Susan Bones was now the Curator of the Wizarding Museum of Britain, and Harry had been in contact with her recently regarding their vast collection of Merlin artifacts. Since Harry had found out no more about The Twelve than he knew the day the ancient book had come into his hands. He had expanded his search to include researching Merlin's life in the hopes of finding something, but he had thus far come up empty.

Though his efforts had proved futile, Harry had kept the promise he had made to himself five years earlier. He didn't let Voldemort's return rule his life. Of course, since Voldemort had not been seen in five years, that wasn't as difficult as it could have been.

It had taken a long time, but Harry finally came to terms with his children's role in what was to come. As much as he felt responsible, he knew he had no control over what was coming. He would certainly try to protect them all from of what was to come, but he knew that would not be possible, at least not completely. Harry vowed to do whatever he could to help them through it, and to stop Voldemort once and for all.

One thing had really helped Harry put what had happened to Albus in the Chamber of Secrets behind him. Three years after Albus nearly died there, the Ministry of Magic approved the destruction of the Chamber of Secrets. The statues were destroyed, and the entire chamber was filled with stone and debris. The pipe allowing access to the chamber was also destroyed. No one would ever enter the chamber again. Harry thought it was long overdue, and it helped put the terrible things that had happened there behind him.

After the events of his first year as a teacher, Harry had met with the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shackelbolt. He told Kingsley everything that had happened, except for Susan Bones' involvement, as he didn't want to involve her. Kingsley immediately had given Harry status as Special Investigator attached to the Office of the Minister of Magic and put the Department of Magical Law Enforcement on notice to watch for evidence of Death Eater activity. Kingsley effectively made Harry the most powerful law enforcement officer in the Wizarding world in Britain, much to the dismay of Head Auror Williams, who was now, once again, Harry's subordinate. Harry had received reports of all Dark Magic encountered by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement ever since. Over the years, he had personally investigated a few incidents that were reported to him, but nothing ever surfaced that was connected to Voldemort.

Each morning for the past five years, Harry woke up and checked the next page in the book to see if any new words had appeared. None had in the five years since they received it. Only Albus, of the younger six members of The Twelve knew of the book. Harry felt Albus had to know, but Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius all agreed with Harry, there was no need to worry the others about it yet. They agreed they would tell them when the time was right, which would hopefully not be for many years.

As for Harry's life that didn't involve Voldemort, the last five years had been wonderful. Harry never thought he would enjoy teaching as much as he had. It was rewarding to pass on the information he had learned to the next generation of witches and wizards. Being back at Hogwarts was wonderful as well. His home was wherever his family was, but as they were all at Hogwarts, it was just that much better. The castle was a special place for all of them.

Sirius had been Harry's assistant since his second year teaching, and had really taken to teaching as well. Sirius said he was going to get a place of his own after that first year at Hogwarts, but Harry and Ginny insisted he stay with them. Sirius refused to take back the inheritance he had left Harry. The money Sirius had received from the Ministry for his false imprisonment was more than he would ever need.

Ginny had also enjoyed teaching flying and coaching quidditch. Harry loved how happy she was after practice or a match. She had forgotten how much fun it was to be on a broom nearly every day. The years she spent as Quidditch Correspondent for the Daily Prophet had meant little time for flying. She had really taken to being Deputy Headmistress as well.

Ron was still Auror on Station at Hogwarts, seeing to security, except when occasionally called away for a brief assignment. He loved it. Harry would tease Ron, that if the Chudley Cannons could just win a championship, Ron would have everything he ever wanted. Ron was still his old self. If there were one thing Harry could always count on, it was that Ron would never change. He was still as good-natured and fun to be around as ever.

Hermione, Harry now knew, was born to be the Headmistress of Hogwarts. She had made a lot of changes at Hogwarts. It was now 2023, and many of Hogwarts practices hadn't changed in hundreds of years. She had updated a lot of the old practices, much to the approval of the students. First and foremost, she had discontinued to the mandatory wearing of hats that had been tradition for hundreds of years. Robes were still required of course.

Professor McGonagall had passed the previous year. Before she died, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius had gone to visit her. Professor McGonagall told Hermione what good hands the school was in now, and how proud Albus Dumbledore would be of how Hermione ran the school. Harry was quite sure this was true.

Neville was still teaching Herbology, and was as much a part of the family as ever. Harry knew he always would be family, for as long as he lived, and would be by their side when something happened. His loyalty was without question. Harry just wished Neville had a little more personal happiness though. He had never married, and Harry knew, he was often very lonely, something Ginny had made it her personal mission to remedy, but this far without success.

The last five years saw the New Marauders become even closer than they were that first year. They were all as close as brothers and sisters. They continued their extra training in defense and combat, and as of the end of last year, as a unit of seven, could have taken an army alone. In some ways, it still bothered Harry that his children, niece, nephew, and their friends had had to learn to fight, but he knew it was necessary. Harry also knew how things were about to change this year. The New Marauders were splitting up.

Heading into Albus, Carly, and Rose's seventh year, a lot of changes were in store for the New Marauders. Jason Wood had received an offer to play for his father's quidditch team, Puddlemere United, as soon as he graduated. In his first game just last night, he had silenced the critics who had said he only got the position because his father was the coach of the team. He helped the team annihilate the Chudley Cannons, much to Ron's dismay. James and Danny would be entering the Auror program in the fall. This would leave the New Marauders with only five members.

James had done very well in school, and had become nearly obsessed with his defense training. He was as good a fighter as anyone Harry ever knew, and he would be an outstanding Auror. Harry was sure he would be Head Auror some day. James had changed a lot from the start of his second year at Hogwarts. Everything that happened to Albus had made James become much more serious. He had become a fine young man, and Harry was very proud of him. Harry thought James seemed lonely sometimes though. He had been quite the charmer when he first went to Hogwarts, but since the end of his second year, he hadn't dated very much. He spent most of his time on training, though there was a girl he had hung out with quite a bit. She had graduated a year ahead of James. As far as Harry knew, they had never dated. Harry was never really sure why that was.

Rose was as smart as ever, and still Albus's best friend. She had become Carly's best friend as well. The three of them were inseparable. They reminded Harry so much of himself, Ron, and Hermione. Rose's grades were the equal of her mother's much to Hermione's delight.

Rose and Danny's relationship had grown over the years, and they were now very much in love. Everyone thought that Danny was just waiting for Rose to graduate before he proposed. Ron was less than pleased. Ron had a great deal of difficulty, seeing Rose as anything but his little girl, which had become a topic of many arguments between them. Rose would occasionally seek refuge with the Potters when she argued with her father during the summer months these last two years. It was far easier for her to avoid her father at school.

Lily, Harry's little princess had grown up so much. She was now fifteen years old, and heading into her fifth year in the fall. She had already decided she was going to be a Healer, and had read every book on healing she could find. Lily could already do many healing spells that should have been far beyond her abilities. She seemed to have a gift for it.

Hugo was still very much the prankster he had been, but was also very interested in Defense Against the Dark Arts. He was likely to follow in his father's footsteps and become an Auror some day, unless the allure of the joke shop got him, as he could always work at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Lily and Hugo were best friends, which worked out well, as Lily could heal his injuries when he had been practicing his dueling, or when a prank backfired. The latter rarely happened. Hugo had become very shy when it came to girls, and started to remind Harry a lot of Ron. Hugo always attended the school dances, but always alone.

Then there was Albus. Albus in fact had the ability to do advanced wandless magic, as they had suspected. He had been practicing it for years, and when he did pull out his wand, it was only because others were around, and he didn't want to make it known that he could do wandless magic as easily as he could. The fact that there was no spell he couldn't do wandlessly would have been a cause for concern to some. Not even Albus Dumbledore was able to do wandless magic on that level, and that was bound to scare some people.

Albus wasn't sure what he wanted to do after school. He had thought of possibly teaching, but he was still undecided. He knew he didn't want to be an Auror. Albus knew someday Voldemort would return, and he wanted to make sure that it was the last time he would have to deal with a Dark Wizard. That not withstanding, Albus had helped Harry a great deal with his research into Merlin, and often accompanied him on trips to museums or to meet with historians and to examine ancient documents and books looking for clues. Albus was not one to shirk his responsibilities. Harry just wished he could have grown up before having to deal with them. It seemed having to grow up fast was something he had passed on to James and Albus, along with his messy black hair.

Carly, wanted to be a writer after she was finished with school. She wasn't sure what she wanted to write yet, but she knew that was what she wanted to do. Although in their defense training, she could defend herself as well as anybody, she didn't enjoy the training the way the others did. She was much quieter and reserved.

Harry had to smile thinking about how Carly had really become part of the family. Harry loved her like she was his own daughter, and couldn't imagine life without her. He knew one day she would be his daughter-in-law.

Albus and Carly had been so very much in love for so long now, it was almost like they were already married. Those first three years, they were so close, always together, always holding hands and stealing kisses. Then came fourth year, and whenever you couldn't find them, everyone knew they were somewhere snogging. Unfortunately, Carly and Albus's relationship was why Harry was going over his notes in the garden and not in his study on this day.

Something had happened between Albus and Carly last week. They had hardly spoken since. They didn't seem angry, but it was like they couldn't look at each other. Harry didn't know what was wrong, but it had to be serious. In six years together, they had never had more than a minor argument that was quickly forgotten.

Ginny had decided that she was going to talk to Carly and try and find out what was wrong. Lily was in Diagon Alley with Rose, shopping, and James was with Danny and Jason celebrating the Puddlemere United victory over the Chudley Cannons, so this was the perfect day for Ginny to approach Carly.

Harry had decided he would make himself scarce while Ginny tried to find out what was wrong and see if she could get them to talk. Harry hoped that Albus and Carly would patch things up today, as the day after tomorrow was a big party for Albus's seventeenth birthday, and Harry knew how miserable they both had been this past week. He hadn't seen either of them smile in days. They would have little interest in a party. He hated to see them like this, but Harry thought that if anyone could help them through whatever was wrong, it was Ginny.

Ginny walked down the hall of her home toward her daughter's bedroom. She needed to know what happened between Carly and Albus, and thought she might have better luck finding out from Carly than from Albus. She knew how in love they were, and something had to be very wrong for them to be so distant with each other.

As she passed the living room, she saw Albus sitting on the couch, staring into the fireplace. It was not lit, as it was very warm. He was just staring at the empty fireplace.

"Hey, Al," said Ginny.

"Hey," said Albus softly, not looking towards his mother.

"I just baked some chocolate chip cookies," said Ginny with a smile. She knew how much Albus loved warm chocolate chip cookies.

"No thanks, Mum," said Albus flatly. "Maybe later."

Ginny sighed. She had never once seen Albus turn down chocolate chip cookies.

Ginny headed to Carly's room and knocked on the door. "Carly, can I come in?" asked Ginny through the door.

"Just a second," Carly called back. Ginny could hear the sniffles, and thought Carly had to be drying her tears. "Come in."

Ginny opened the door, and entered the room.

"Hi, Mum," said Carly, as she sat at her dressing table staring into the mirror at her own reflection. Her hand clutched the phoenix charm hanging from the chain around her neck. It was the first present Albus had ever given her. Ginny knew it still had Albus's blood on it from that terrible day in the Chamber of Secrets. It was Carly's most prized possession.

Ginny smiled inwardly. It had taken nearly two years for Carly to start calling them Mum and Dad. It was never anything they spoke about, it just happened one day, then more and more frequently. In every way that mattered, Carly was as much her daughter as Lily. It still made Ginny very happy that they had made her part of their family. Carly was such a kind, caring, loving girl. She deserved to have a family that loved her.

Ginny walked over and pulled a chair close to Carly and sat down. It was obvious Carly had been crying, her eyes were red, and weren't quite dry. Ginny put her hand over Carly's on the table and gave it a little squeeze.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?" asked Ginny. "Whatever it is you can tell me. I want to help."

Carly just stared into the mirror. She wanted so badly to talk to someone. Carly felt as if her heart had been turned to stone. She just wanted someone to tell her that everything would be all right.

"I can't," said Carly. "I really want to…but you are Al's mother. I can't talk to you about this, it's too weird."

"Carly, in every way that matters, you are as much my child as Albus is," said Ginny, giving her a smile. "Even if it is weird, I want you to tell me. Whatever it is, we'll deal with it."

Ginny was beginning to worry. If Carly thought it was 'weird' to talk to her about it, then she had a pretty good idea they were delving into something very personal. The thought that Carly could be pregnant crossed her mind, but she wasn't going to jump to any conclusions. Whatever it was, Ginny would do whatever she could to help.

After a few moments of silence, Carly finally spoke. "Mum, have you ever doubted that Dad loves you?" asked Carly barely above a whisper. "After you two started dating, I mean."

Ginny was somewhat taken aback. She knew Albus was completely, totally, and madly in love with Carly. Everyone could see it. He was completely devoted to her. Ginny had no idea what could prompt Carly to ask that question. Ginny thought the best thing to do was to answer Carly's question.

"Well, there was just one time," said Ginny slowly.

"What happened and how did you know he really loved you?" asked Carly. Her voice was flat, and she had another tear rolling down her cheek.

"It's a long story," said Ginny, gently wiping the tear from Carly's cheek. "You remember the story about how he defeated Voldemort, how Dad walked into the forest expecting to die?"

Carly nodded. It was a story she couldn't forget.

"Well, I thought since he hadn't said goodbye he didn't care anymore," said Ginny. "The next day, he said he couldn't have done what he had to do if he had tried to say goodbye, and he told me he loved me. I've never doubted how much he loves me since." Ginny paused. "Carly, tell me what happened. Whatever it is, it will be all right, I know it."

Carly sat a minute and decided she had to tell someone. "All right, I'll tell you," said Carly with a sigh. "Last week…the night you and Dad went out to dinner and Lily and James were out, Albus and I were on the couch snogging." Carly got a far away dreamy look on her face for just a moment. "I love it when he kisses me like that."

Ginny smiled inwardly, Albus had apparently inherited his father's gift for kissing.

"I wasn't even thinking," said Carly with a shrug. "I can't really think when he kisses me. I don't even know if I meant to say it…but I did." She stopped.

"What did you say?" asked Ginny.

"I said…'make love to me Al'," said Carly, another tear rolling down her cheek. "I don't even know if I really meant to say it. I love him so much, but maybe I was just caught up in the moment. I don't know."

For a moment, Ginny wasn't sure what to say. "Carly…I assume that you and Al have never…been together?" asked Ginny.

"No," said Carly. "We haven't." Carly chuckled mirthlessly. "I should have noticed before…Al has never even suggested it."

Ginny had to think about this for a minute before replying. Was she surprised by that answer? It wasn't anything she gave a lot of thought to. Having had older brothers who meddled in her life and over protective parents, Ginny vowed not to be that was. Of course, she wanted to protect her children from anything that would hurt them, but she wouldn't smother them. She made every effort to always be there to guide her children in all things, but she refused to pry into their personal lives.

Ginny had been young and very much in love once upon a time. She couldn't pretend that if Harry hadn't been gone sixth year that she would not have wanted to be closer to him. Albus and Carly were both intelligent mature young people. They were both capable of making the decision that was right for them.

Carly had grown into a beautiful young woman. Nearly every boy in their year was jealous of Albus. Albus had grown into a very handsome young man, nearly a head taller than Carly and with muscles well defined from quidditch, and a smile that made most all the other girls weak in the knees. They had grown up.

Ginny knew how often she would walk into the living room and find Albus and Carly in each other's arms on the couch. Often times they were snogging, but sometimes, they were just holding each other. Over last two years especially, Ginny could see a change in how Albus and Carly acted with each other. They didn't seem like love struck teenagers. They had when they were younger, but not anymore. If she didn't know they weren't. Ginny might mistake them for a married couple.

Ginny had to admit, if she had really thought about it, she would have assumed, after six years as a couple, they probably had been together. That was obviously not the case.

"All right," said Ginny with an understanding smile. "I see how you look at each other. You're in love, and you aren't children anymore. There isn't any shame in wanting to be closer to Al. I know when you're with the person you love you can get carried away. I'm sure Al understood when you changed your mind."

"You don't understand, Mum," said Carly softly, a note of exasperation in her voice. "It wasn't like that."

Ginny was more confused now than ever. "Carly, what exactly happen?" asked Ginny, trying to get to the root of the problem.

The tears began to fall freely from Carly's eyes. "He freaked out," said Carly with a sob. "He stopped kissing me, and remembered he had some homework to do. He was stuttering and practically ran out of the room like he was afraid to be near me. I didn't know what to think. Since then, I've tried to figure out the problem was, but I just don't know. Is he not attracted to me? Am I so unattractive he had to run away? Does…does he not love me?" With that, Carly broke down completely, and started sobbing uncontrollably on Ginny's shoulder.

Ginny was stunned. She put her arms around Carly and rocked her gently, trying to calm her.

"Carly, did you try to talk to Al about it?" asked Ginny. She wanted to make some excuse for Albus. Maybe he wasn't ready to take that step, that was perfectly understandable, but to run away like that? She would not have thought Albus capable of doing something so insensitive. She was sure there had to be some explanation, but she couldn't fathom what it was.

"No," squeaked Carly said through her tears. "He hasn't looked me in the eye since then. He has stayed away from me."

"Carly, you need to talk to him," said Ginny. She pulled Carly off her shoulder to look her into her tear filled eyes. "You need to talk to Al. I'm sure there must be a reason. He's probably just to embarrassed to tell you that he isn't ready."

"I can't," said Carly. "I couldn't face it if he doesn't love me anymore."

"Carly, I know that is not the case," said Ginny. "Al loves you. Maybe he just isn't ready."

Carly kept crying, insisting she couldn't talk to Albus.

"All right, would you like me to talk to him?" asked Ginny reluctantly. Ginny wanted Carly to do it, but she was afraid to let her go on like this. It had already been a week and Carly was a mess.

"No," said Carly. "You can't tell him what I told you. Please, promise me you won't tell Al. Please promise me."

Ginny was reluctant to make that promise, but right then, she needed to do anything she could to calm Carly down. "All right, but please talk to him," said Ginny.

Ginny just sat there for a long while, holding Carly and letting her cry and trying to reassure her that everything would be all right.

Late that night, Ginny was lying in bed. Harry was just coming in from the bathroom. He slipped into bed and put his arms around her. "Are you all right, love?" asked Harry softly. "You've been distracted all afternoon."

"I had a talk with Carly today," said Ginny slowly. "It seems while they were snogging, she asked Al to make love to her."

"Well, frankly, that's not really that hard to imagine," said Harry. "They are so in love."

"When Carly asked him, Al freaked out," said Ginny with a sigh.

Harry was not sure if his hearing had gone on him. "Did you just say…" began Harry.

"Yes I did. Our son's girlfriend asked him to make love to her, and he ran away from her," said Ginny shaking her head. "Now she thinks he's not attracted to her, and he doesn't love her."

Harry was stunned on so many levels. Ginny finished telling him the entire story, and he was still stunned.

"She won't speak to him about it?" asked Harry still flabbergasted by what Ginny had told him.

"She's too upset," said Ginny with a sigh. "I promised not to say anything to Al, but you haven't made that promise."

"You want me to speak to him?" asked Harry. "Couldn't I fight a dragon instead?"

"You're funny," said Ginny in an annoyed tone.

"I'm sorry, I'm just so shocked," said Harry softly. "I have no idea what to say to him. I can understand if he didn't think he was ready of course. I mean…I certainly wasn't ready for our first time. He really ran away?"

"Apparently," said Ginny. She couldn't help but smile as she thought of the first time she and Harry had made love. "It wasn't that you weren't ready, Harry. You were more than ready, you just couldn't take a hint."

Harry just looked at her with an annoyed grin for a moment. "Fortunately, you lost patience with me," said Harry.

As much as Ginny would have liked to talk about that wonderful night, they still had to try to find out what was bothering Albus. "Whatever is bothering Al, unless one of us speaks to him, it isn't going to get any better," said Ginny. "Carly wouldn't even come out of her room for dinner tonight, and Albus is hardly eating. Whatever is wrong, he is upset about it too."

"All right. Tomorrow Al and I are going to see Susan at the museum," said Harry with a sigh. "She owled me that I have been granted permission to view several ancient texts believed to have belonged to Merlin. I'll talk to Albus tomorrow while we are out."

"Don't forget to mail that package to your Aunt," said Ginny. "You said you would send her the photo of all of us. That was a nice touch adding the words 'Digital Photo Frame' to the edge of the frame so she could display it."

"Thanks," said Harry with a smile. "I have my moments."

Harry nodded. He had no idea what to say to Albus. Harry certainly would understand if he was nervous or wasn't ready. Lord knows he wasn't ready all those years ago, but to run away, something else had to be wrong. There had to be more to this story.