Ginny Weasley was lying on her bed when there was a soft knock at her door that startled her from her daydreams and caused her to knock her mug of water out of her hands.
"Oh!" She cried in exasperation. "Just a moment, the doors open."
As she waved her wand swiftly to clean up the water and dry the sheets a slightly bemused but thoroughly entertained Harry pushed open the heavy door into Ginny's bedroom. He watched as the sheets dried themselves and the water seemingly evaporated from the floor.
"Sorry Harry, it's just you scared me and I don't know what's wrong but I've clearly been quite jumpy since we got home. I think everyone is feeling a little weird now that we're home and well, Fred isn't with us." Ginny twisted her hands around the base of her wand and walked over to the window that had once over looked a beautiful lawn.
Now after a year of terrifying nights and worried glances with only a quick scurry outside once a week, the lawn and the garden were a mess. The grass was grown out in some places and in others it was brown and crusty and obviously dehydrated. Harry remembered the night of Bill and Fleur's wedding a year ago. Of course everyone was on edge due to the situation of the wizarding world but it was still a carefree night that had given all and sundry a chance to forget about work the next day or the looming future of Voldemort in front of them. That night was also the only other time Harry had ever been in Ginny's bedroom and it was the only thing that had kept him going in those months searching for Voldemort. The feel of Ginny's hair in his hands had been a sanctuary and an escape from the duty Harry had been left to fulfill. These memories made him want to waltz up behind Ginny and wrap her up in his arms and be taken to the special place where nothing mattered once again. But he knew he couldn't because it was just too soon after only a week at the Burrow.
It seemed that since they had arrived at the burrow every person has sunk into a depressed stupor that controlled them from being happy or showing any signs of affection spare a kiss goodnight on the cheek from Molly every night. When they had been at Hogwarts, Harry realized, the truth hadn't settled in as much for most of the Weasley family but now it had. The missing place at the table and the empty bed were just constant reminders of what had happened. As much as Harry couldn't stand the pain constantly itching inside of him seemingly eating him up he also he couldn't bear not being close to Ginny in the quiet moments of the day when she would crawl up to her room with a book. But Harry knew that when she did trudge up the stairs most of the time she didn't even open up the book instead she buried her face in her hands and let the tears no one knew she cried fall freely.
"Ginny, come here." Harry said to Ginny still staring watery eyed out the window. She turned and raised her brow at Harry asking if that's really what he meant. Harry nodded at her and walked so that she was a foot from Harry's body. "We are all grieving right now and I know that everybody deals with it their own way but maybe, if it'll help we can deal with it in our own way together."
Harry pushed back a clump of hair sticking to Ginny's tear stained cheeks which were flushed at the moment. Ginny smiled which was something Harry had found rather rare since their arrival at the burrow.
"I'd like that Harry." Ginny felt for Harry's hands, clasped at his waist and wrapped her hands around them. She stood up on her tiptoes and reached her lips to Harry's. She kissed his lips but only let them remain there for a second when she pulled back to wrap her arms around Harry's waist.
She flopped down onto her bed and pulled Harry down next to her. There they lay for the next few hours, hand in hand; talking about nothing and everything there was to talk about. A few times Harry had to find something to wipe away a few stray tears of his own and then clean it so Ginny could do the same. When Mrs. Weasley called them down for dinner she had to look twice at the slight grin spread across Ginny's face. However the happiness of Ginny was not enough to affect Ron, who since Hermione's departure to Australia, a week ago, had been down in the dumps.
"Feeling peckish my dears?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
Behind her Harry and Ginny could see the array of food she had prepared for, unbeknownst to them, a special occasion. She had prepared jacket potatoes, a beautiful roast and there was a pie baking in the cooker. Molly's hair was in a mess and her apron was covered in baking substances. None the less one and all could not deny their mouths were watering in anticipation of the brilliant feast Molly had prepared them. They all nodded at her question and hastily sat down at the table which had been pushed to its limits.
Surrounding the table was an assortment of witches and wizards. At the head of the table was Mr. Weasley dressed smartly in a jacket and tie. He was squished tightly beside Ron who among the other children had a very confused look spread on his face. Lining the sides of the table were Percy, Charlie, Bill, Fleur, a very sombre looking George, Harry, Ginny and Molly at the other head. Harry had a feeling he wasn't the only one noticing the amount of space taken up by the empty chair near the head of the table.
"Well go ahead. I didn't make the food to just sit on the table!" Mrs. Weasley said.
"Aren't we forgetting someone Mum?" Ron pointed to the chair closest to him on the table's side.
Mrs. Weasley's head snapped to where Ron was pointing, her hands still busy tucking a serviette into Ginny's collar. "Goodness me! I completely forgot we were expecting someone else. I wonder where she could be."
Mrs. Weasley leaned back in her chair to look out into the yard which was still completely lit by the summer sun. "I can't see anyone. What do you reckon Arthur? Should we start without her?"
But before Arthur could answer there was a faint pop outside and the creak of the gate opening. Mrs. Weasley jumped out and her chair almost toppled backwards onto the tile floor. Footsteps lead the anonymous body to the kitchen door and a knock let Molly know it was time to open the door. The inhabitants of the table waited patiently for the door to open and to reveal their guest.
"Thank you Molly." A woman's voice came from the doorway.
Ron didn't have to see her face to know who it was. He pushed back his chair much in the same fashion as his mother and bounded to the door. He stopped so he could gently nudge his mother out of the way and then wrapped his arms around her.
"I missed you Hermione." Ron mumbled into Hermione's neck. He placed a cautious kiss in the crook of her neck and then pulled back. Ron looked at her asking if that had been alright. Hermione nodded and then returned Ron's kiss with another right on his lips.
Mrs. Weasley made a made a clucking nose at the faces the Weasley children, including Harry, were making. They all stopped immediately when Mrs. Weasley turned and looked at them sharply.
"Hello everyone. Sorry to keep you waiting to eat. I guess I'll just sit down right over there." Hermione pointed to the chair at the end of the table with the hand that wasn't occupied by being entwined with Ron's.
"No worries, Hermione. It's always wonderful to have you here." Mr. Weasley said. His comment was made to Hermione but his eyes were busy focused on the food in heaping amounts on his plate.
Mrs. Weasley bustled around Ron and Hermione until they were both seated and Hermione's coat was hanging on the door.
"Great to see you Hermione." And "How was your trip?" were uttered in a chorus around the table. Ron and Harry caught Hermione's eye in turn and she shook her head. Apparently she would tell them later.
Once everyone was done with their dinner and Mrs. Weasley had placed afters on all their plates Charlie cleared his throat loudly to acquire the attention of the table. He moved his hand to the collar of his shirt where he pulled on the collar nervously. Fleur sat up straighter and Ginny turned from talking intently with Harry and Percy. "I have something to tell everyone." Their eyes all urged him on. "I told everyone who was here last year about the lady I was dating in Romania, Stella. Well she came from Romania to visit family members and attend some funerals in the past week."
"Will we get to meet her?" Mrs. Weasley interrupted.
"I hope so Mum. I guess your going to have to only because, well, actually I asked her to marry me." Charlie looked down at his tie and waited for someone to say something. Maybe his parents would be angry or disappointed but he at least hoped they'd meet her.
"Well? Did she say yes?" Arthur asked as if Charlie were mental.
Charlie looked up at his family and they were all nodding in agreement with Mr. Weasley. He could see that some were shocked but he could also tell that all of them were hoping she had said yes so they could all congratulate.
"Yes." Charlie said in a small voice.
Bill jumped up from his place and came over to Charlie and wrapped him in a brotherly hug. Everyone either got up to congratulate Charlie or said they whole hearted best wishes from their spot at the table. Charlie's smile kept getting wider and wider with every pat on the back. His grin radiated around the room until his eyes feel on George who was standing awkwardly behind Ron. They locked eyes and Charlie nodded in an understanding of George's sad guise. George was saying he was happy for him but was not ready to congratulate and be cheerful as well. Charlie felt for a moment guilt pour into him but then remembered Fred's laughing face and thought of Stella waiting for him at her hotel.
Later that night Ginny, Hermione, Harry and Ron sat out beneath one of the big trees near the small lake. Ginny was sitting in front of Harry, leaning back in his chest. Ron sat leaned up against a rock with Hermione's feet in his lap. She had taken off her shoes and was now accepting Ron's foot massage with open arms. The sun had gone down only moments ago and there was an eerie glow across the hills.
"So how was the trip?" Harry asked dubiously. The reaction to their questions at dinner had caused Harry, and he expected Ron had figured as well, that something had gone wrong.
"It was good, the flight was great." Hermione said it like it was the only thing that was great.
"Oh right! You rode one of those buses in air? Wasn't that weird at all?" Ron exclaimed curiously. When it came to Muggles Ron was almost as bad as his father.
"It's not like it was the first time I'd ridden in one Ronald. I guess it is a little scary. You don't hear it quite as often as you used to but sometimes the planes fall from the sky into the ocean or just into the earth and everyone is killed." Hermione said nonchalantly. Harry expected she said it hoping to get a reaction from Ron more than anything.
Ron threw Hermione's legs off his lap and grabbed her shoulders firmly. "Excuse my French, but why the bloody effing hell would you do that?! You could have been killed 'Mione!" This was all rather amusing to Ginny and Harry who knew quite well that Hermione had been looking for Ron to overreact when she said it. "I can't believe it! While I was here missing you dreadfully you were off risking your life!"
Hermione pried Ron's hands off her shoulders and straightened her blouse. She picked up Ron's hands in hers and got that look Harry had seen her get before when she was speaking to Ron. Hermione was about to nicely call out Ron on his utter lack of Muggle knowledge. "Ask any Muggle Ron and they will tell you that flying on airplanes is much safer than it used to be. But as with anything there are still malfunctions sometimes."
"You are never getting me on one of those filthy electric things." Ron said haughtily.
"Oh come off it Ronald." Hermione put her feet back in Ron's lap and looked him in the eye. "It doesn't matter now because I am here back with you and there is no other place I'd rather be." Ron grinned sheepishly quite possibly regretting the overreaction just by looking at Hermione. Ron leaned in to kiss and make up, so to speak, but was cut off by a loud throat clearing.
"If you're going to get all mushy then we're going to leave." Ginny interrupted.
Hermione turned away from Ron so that his kiss would land on her blushed cheek. Her hands then guided Ron's to her feet and he began massaging again as Hermione picked up her story. "Right then. I landed in Sydney quite late at night but for me with the time change and what not it was only afternoon. Course I was still fairly tired from my trip."
"How long were on this airborne bus thingy?" Ginny asked. Her head was tilted back and resting on Harry's shoulder which left her long, fiery hair splayed out onto Harry's shoulder as well. Harry's lips had been daintily kissing spots along her neck and cheek while Hermione had been talking and so far neither Ron nor Hermione had noticed. When Hermione looked to answer Ginny's question she raised her eyebrow at the predicament Harry's lips were in but said nothing about it.
"Well I had to go to Singapore first so that took almost thirteen hours-" Hermione said but was cut off by an enraged Ron. "You spent a whole day on an untrustworthy piece of metal careening through the sky?!"
Harry and Ginny sniggered at how foolish Ron was being and by how surprised Hermione looked. "Ronald Weasley calm down. Maybe one day I'll show that planes aren't that bad."
Harry was getting frustrated with all of Ron's outbursts. "Ron, could you please just shut up and let Hermione tell us what happened!"
Ron huffed at Harry but then sunk back into his spot against the rock and completely annoyed, he pulled Hermione's legs back up onto him. Hermione continued, "Once I was in Singapore then I took another flight that was about seven and a half hours long which brought me to Sydney."
"Finally." Ron muttered under his breath. Hermione glared at Ron and pulled her knees to her chest. Harry, Ginny and Ron both felt the change of emotions in the air.
"Nothing went wrong with the spell, my Mum and Dad, they both remember me and everything and now they're back at home but it was just really awful seeing them after a whole year and them not recognizing me. They had a whole new life without me."
Ron shifted over so that he was closer to Hermione and wrapped an arm over her bare shoulders. She looked up at Ron with watery eyes and leaned her head onto his shoulder. As Harry and Ginny looked on, Harry only wished that he could relate to Hermione. Harry had gone almost his whole life without seeing his parents save for a few moments with the resurrection stone and the times he traveled back into the pensieve and had a glimpse of his parents. He wished desperately that he could go through only a year of not seeing his parents and afterwards be able to run into their arms.
"But I'm glad I erased their memory of me because it looks like Australia fared quite badly during the war. I don't know about the wizard causalities but I visited the Australian Ministry of Magic and they said 437 Muggles were innocently killed. It was bad down there." Hermione expression looked like she was back in Australia while she relived the memories.
"I'm sure though that once you performed the spell on your Mum and Dad everything was good." Harry suggested, trying to bring Hermione out of her remembrances.
"Well the aeroplane ride back was great. We caught up on everything although most of it was sad they were happy to hear that Voldemort was gone." Hermione looked at Harry gratefully.
Harry shook his head. "Did you tell them that you helped too?"
"I mentioned it and they were happy about that too." Hermione rolled up onto her knees from her sitting position. "But I'm glad that I'm back. And I am also very tired so I'll make my way inside."
"I'll come too." Ron jumped to his feet and helped Hermione up. "See you later, g'night." Ron said at the same time as Hermione. As they walked away Harry thought he saw Ron shoot a warning look back at him.
"Good to have Hermione back?" Ginny probed Harry.
"Absolutely and it's great for Ron because now he won't be hanging around us."
"Good, because I've been waiting all night to kiss you." Ginny said as she placed on knee on either side of Harry's leg.
"Can't say I haven't been thinking about that either." Harry moved his lips closer to Ginny's.
"Go ahead Mr. Potter, go ahead." Ginny said and quickly after she felt Harry's lips come crash on top hers. The force almost knocked her over except that Harry's hands were on her back holding her tightly against his chest.
Before long Harry was on top of Ginny who was lying on the grass. He hovered over top of her propped up on his elbows. "I think this is how I would like to spend the rest of my life."
"Me too Harry." Said Ginny peacefully, looking directly into Harry's eyes. "I can't imagine anything better than being here with you."
"Nor can I." Harry replied as he lowered his head and kissed both of Ginny's eyelids. She smiled in response and then Harry kissed both of her lips as well.
Harry let himself fall to the ground next to Ginny and draped an arm over her stomach. Ginny turned her head and kissed Harry lightly on the lips before turning back to look at the stars. And before long they were both asleep under the night sky.
A/N: I am not going to sorry for this chapter taking so long because i decided to live up the last days of summer by being outdoors and with my friends instead of confining myself to a computer.
I reeeeeeeallllyy hope you enjoyy because as you know it has been in the works for a while!