This story has been very slow moving after Ghostchicken left for the next great adventure. It was a truly co-written story and losing her was like losing a leg. Trying to finish this story in a way I feel worthy of the co-written part has been very hard. Originally the final part of the story would've been a little more detailed and longer. But I've decided to finish the story with this chapter. I hope you will find it an end worthy the story. I'm happy with it, given the situation and I think Ghostchicken would've approved.
I still might add an epilogue to this story. We also had numerous ideas how to continue our saga about post war Wizarding Britain, and after finishing this story I might develop these ideas into a continued story.
To all of you who have sent encouraging messages, and questions about updates, I thank you all. Knowing you appreciate the story, and understanding that it's been hard to write these final chapters has been very helpful and inspiring.
I want to thank theelderwand1, who's been helping me with proofreading and beta.
Here it is, the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Right of Justice. Enjoy.
Chapter 54 – Enough is enough and sometimes too much
It was a gloomy morning with heavy grey clouds and a damp wind, not uncommon for Britain during the spring. But in an odd-looking house outside the charming Devon village of Ottery St-Catchpole the mood was anything but gloomy—a little bleary-eyed, but definitely not gloomy. The people gathered for Molly Weasley's grand Sunday breakfast were anxiously awaiting the post owl to deliver the Daily Prophet. Molly was happy that apart from the current inhabitants of the Burrow—herself, Arthur, Ron, Hermione, Jayce and Taya—Fiona, Seamus, Harry and Ginny were also there, having stayed after a wee bit of partying the previous night to celebrate the Holyhead Harpies advancement to the Quidditch Championship final, and of course Ginny's part in the advance.
A slightly bed-head ridden Ron slouched in his chair, next to his wife, who was shaking her head at him, with a small smile. "Still think that last shot of Old Ogden's was a good idea?"
"Seamus' fault," the tall redhead replied with a cock-eyed grin.
"Nae, mate. That was Harry's idea," the Irishman replied.
Ron shot a look at his best mate. "Come to think of it, Irish, you're right. Thanks a lot, Scarhead," Ron said with a smirk.
Harry feigned a hurt look. "See that, Gin? They've turned on me."
"You know I love you, but you brought this on yourself," she replied.
Jayce laughed as Fiona and Taya shook their heads. "Aunt Molly," Taya said, "is food the only thing that stops these folks from bickerin'?"
"It's the only cure I've found that's fool proof," the Weasley Matriarch responded with a smile of her own as she began to lay the spread on the table.
A hoot announced the approaching owl and after paying it they eagerly unfolded the newspaper. The owl didn't leave at once, but took its time to have a few owl treats from the tray between two perches. On one of them the retired family owl, Errol, was sitting trimming his feathers. He actually looked pretty good—by Errol's standards—since he didn't go on country-wide deliveries any longer. At the most he was sent to Harry and Ginny a mile up the road. The other perch which the post owl sat on was primarily for Pig, but the little energetic owl rarely used it.
Seeing the two owls reminded Harry once again that he and Ginny really needed one of their own. Sure, they communicated through their bond and Harry sent Prongs with messages, but the drawback with Prongs was that he delivered the message upon arrival, no matter the recipient was alone or not. A Patronus was for that matter not appropriate for delivering messages of a more personal or private nature. I'll just tell Ginny to take me to Eeylop's and Bat Bogey me if I try to exit the shop without an owl. Harry's thoughts were drawn back to the present as the family members commented on the front page image.
"Ginny, you sure know how to fly that broom," Taya said, as Harry took in the large front-page photo. It showed the Harpies flying together with Seeker Geraldine in the middle holding the Snitch over her head in triumph. The headline read: Harpies in the Quidditch final against the Kestrals.
The Welsh local derby between the Harpies and the Catapults had been a match best described as a roller coaster. The score had shifted back and forth and the Chasers on both teams had played at the top of their games. In the end it came down to a duel between the Seekers, each trying to outmanoeuvre the other once they both spotted the Snitch. Geraldine had caught it only by executing the crazy stunt of throwing herself off her Firebolt, snatching the Snitch as she tumbled through the air and then summoning her broom again before she smashed into the turf.
"What are they saying about the match?" Harry asked, proud of the Harpies in general and Ginny in particular. She'd scored more goals in this match than any other previously during the season. She was in fifth place among the top scoring Chasers, and would have the chance to continue to improve her standing during the final.
Hermione—self-appointed and unquestioned newsreader at the Burrow—opened the spread about the match and cleared her throat. "I guess I'll skip the summary of the actual match since we all were there to see it. Here's what they have to say about the upcoming final: The Kestrals have been a stable team in the top of the league for many seasons, while the Harpies have remained in the middle. This season however, they've taken a big step forward with the energy, speed and talent Ginny Potter has added to the all-witch team. The Kestrals have played in the final before, but lost to the Magpies. None of the current Harpies have ever played a final. The big question is if the Kestral's experience will work in their favour, or if the memories of that loss to the Magpies will plague their confidence. One thing is certain, the bookmakers consider it nearly a toss-up: the odds are 5-to-6, favouring the Kestrals. I think the final will be something to look forward to for all Quidditch lovers throughout the realm, even if you're not a Harpy or Kestral fan."
Every eye turned to Ginny, as the Weasley's waited for her to chime in on the article as Hermione refilled her cup of tea. The redheaded witch cocked her brow "Gwenog is positive we can beat the Kestrals but the reporter is right. We don't have the experience of playing the final, and it is a different kind of match. It's one single match, and no chance to repair a mistake the way we can if we lose during the season."
Molly was pampering Ron and his hangover by refilling his plate for the third time with more scrambled eggs, beans, bacon and bangers when she looked up. She didn't even bother asking if he wanted another serving. "I'm sure you'll give it your best Ginny."
"Of course I will mum," Ginny said confidently. "But it doesn't help much if we lose, does it?"
"I'm not that competitive I guess," Molly sighed. "I'll be proud of you no matter if you win the final or not."
"As will we all," Arthur added. Harry agreed by sending his love and pride through the bond and taking Ginny's hand.
Hermione again called for attention and once she had it she read another piece of news. "As usual the Quidditch final will be played at a neutral stadium. Because of the unrest we've seen during the season the Quidditch League is negotiating with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to host, since the school is the most secure location with a Quidditch pitch. The Daily Prophet also suspects the League will ask for extra security from DMLE," She lifted her eyes from the paper and looked at Harry, Ron and Arthur, "Did you know about this?"
"I'm sure the memos are waiting for us when we arrive at work tomorrow." Harry said in something that sounded like a happy sigh and reached for another piece of toast.
"Strawberry jam, Harry dear?" Molly asked, knowing Harry's love for it. She was already looking forward to cooking more since last year's batch was down to the last few jars.
"Yes please, Mum," Harry replied and spread a thick layer on his toast, before Ginny snatched it from his grasp. Harry rolled his eyes and prepared another for himself, as his wife ate his with a wicked smile and a wink. Molly pretended she hadn't seen Ginny's act of playful thievery; she thought it rather cute, actually. Harry turned to Ginny "Anything else Mrs Potter?"
"More tea please," Ginny smiled and placed a kiss on the tip of Harry's nose.
Harry poured another cup for his wife. Jayce had glanced at the newspaper and turned to Fiona, "Any chance you and Poppy will provide the first aid?"
"Sure we will," Fiona said resolutely, even though she didn't have a clue. "I cain't miss the chance to see Cousin Ginny in the final."
"Even if they'd request you wear the formal Healer outfit?" Ron smirked.
"What's the formal outfit?" Taya asked, who only had seen Fiona in her scrubs at Hogwarts.
"I ain't wearin' that dress," Fiona told Ron with a huff and turned to her sister. "It's what Poppy is wearin', with the glorified coffee filter on 'er head 'n all. It's stiff n' itchier than a flea infested coyote," Fiona informed her sister and turned to Seamus "What team'll ya cheer for Irish?"
"Kestrals vs Harpies. That's a tough one I tell ya," Seamus said "Me Irish brethren playing against my boss' wife, and favourite individual player."
"Admit it Seamus, you're too Irish to support a Welsh team in good conscience," Ron grinned.
"Sorry Ginny, but he's right," Seamus admitted. "Nothin' personal though."
"It's all right. I won't tease you much if we win." Ginny replied.
Not much more was said about the upcoming final and once breakfast was finished Harry and Ginny were soon ready to leave. Harry took a deep breath and took Ginny's hand.
"I'd like to take a detour on our way home," he told her through the bond.
Ginny felt his trepidation. "What is it love?"
"Something I've put off for far too long. Just take charge and get this done, Gin. We need to go to Eeylops."
Ginny knew how hard this was for Harry, and didn't ask what had caused him to procure a new owl on this particular day. "All right, Harry. Let's go," and she sent all the sympathy and encouragement she knew he needed.
A few minutes later Harry and Ginny entered the Leaky Cauldron. It was past breakfast time and Tom was in the bar with his wand raised and eyes focused on the floor. A witch was sitting in a corner still finishing her tea. The rest of the pub was empty.
"Good morning, Tom," Harry greeted.
"Good morning, Mr Potter," Tom said after looking at the newcomers. "Mrs Potter."
Harry looked curiously at Tom. "What are you up to?"
"I'm sure I saw a pixie hide behind the bar. I can't have it roaming freely. They're nasty little buggers and can cause quite a mess," he replied.
"You can ask your fair barmaid's husband about pixies," Harry grinned.
"I expect you're referring to Neville," a voice from the kitchen door said.
Harry and Ginny saw Hannah, who just had entered from the kitchen with a cloth she'd charmed to wipe all the tables. "The one and only," Harry confirmed. "Did he tell you about Lockhart's Pixie incident?"
"Yes, he did. Poor Neville, he hadn't quite the confidence he has now. The Slytherins teased him a lot about that." Hannah smiled, thinking about the insecure boy who'd grown up to the brave man—and loving husband—he was today.
"Care to let me in on the secret?" Tom asked from the bar.
"In our second year Gilderoy Lockhart set loose a score of Cornish Pixies in our class room. They descended on Neville and left him hanging from the chandelier," Harry recalled "So I've seen first-hand the trouble they can cause."
"Good luck catching it, Tom," Ginny said "And send Neville our greetings Hannah. We're off to Diagon Alley."
"Thank you," Tom said, again focusing on his Pixie hunt. "Enjoy your day and good luck in the final Mrs Potter.
"We will." Harry said with a smile and headed to the entrance to Diagon Alley.
A few minutes later Harry and Ginny entered Eeylops Owl Emporium. The owls looked at the customers with piercing gazes as if they silently asked Are you worthy of my services as a post owl? Harry and Ginny looked with equal curiosity at the owls. Harry felt his nervousness fade. That's when he realised he'd finally come to grips with Hedwig's passing and was having a hard time understanding why he'd been putting this off for so long.
"Good morning," a voice said from behind. Harry and Ginny turned to see the shopkeeper's eyes widen when he realised who he'd greeted. "Looking for an owl today, are we Mr and Mrs Potter?"
That's stating the obvious, Harry thought. "Yes we are. I've been putting it off after losing my previous owl during the war," Harry confessed. "Mister?"
"Grant. Geoffrey Grant at your service. And don't you worry Mr Potter, I'm sure we'll find the owl for you." He replied and cast his eyes about his shop as if he was looking for the right owl. "Any particular species in mind?"
"Uh, not really," Harry said. "Not a Snowy owl though. It'd remind too much of Hedwig."
Mr Grant smiled compassionately. "You're far from the only one not wanting the same species as the previous owl, Mr Potter," He revealed. "After all an owl becomes a very dear and trusted friend and family member."
It was obvious that Mr Grant took his work very seriously, that it was more of a calling and not just a means to putting Galleons in his pocket. "How about this one Harry," Ginny asked him, pointing at a Great Grey Owl that was looking back at her with a warm look.
Harry walked up next to Ginny and looked at the owl. "He looks like Errol, or rather how he must've looked when he was young... if he ever was," Harry smirked.
"He seems to like you," Mr Grant said.
"Is it with owls as it is with wands?" Harry asked and added a fair impression of Mr Ollivander "The owl chooses the Wizard."
"Not really Mr Potter, but they get a first impression of people they meet, and although they'd do their job for anyone, it helps if there's a mutual liking and approval," Mr Grant said making an effort to keep a straight face.
Harry looked at the owl and Ginny asked him though the bond how he felt about it. "We'll take him," Harry decided, feeling a great relief at finally taking this step toward leaving another part of the war behind him. Hedwig would still have a special place in his heart, but he was ready to move on.
"A splendid choice. Great Grey Owls can be very long-lived," Mr Grant revealed.
"Tell us about it," Ginny grinned. "Mum and Dad got Errol before I can remember and he's still alive, even if he's retired."
"Do you need a cage, perch, treats?" Mr Clark asked.
"Yes, we need the full package," Harry said.
Fifteen minutes later Harry and Ginny exited Eeylops, Harry carrying the cage with their new owl and Ginny with a bag containing the perch, treats and a few other trinkets. Ginny didn't need to ask Harry how he felt. He was radiating happiness and relief. She looked at the owl. "All that remains now is to take you to your new home, and come up with a name you'll like," Ginny cooed.
"Yeah, how will you top Pigwidgeon," Harry asked through the bond, just to make sure this owl wouldn't take a liking to the name as well. One Pigwidgeon could be argued to be one too many. "Rumpelstiltskin perhaps? Rump for short?"
"Actually Harry..." Ginny began mischievously.
"That's a name from a Muggle fairy tale. And we're not calling our owl Rump," Harry cut in.
"I'm just yanking your wand, love."
"Remind me to sort you out later," Harry sighed.
"And you love it."
With a soft pop the couple disapparated and went home.
Ron and Hermione walked along Station Road in Harrow, on their way to the flat they considered renting. Ron was looking at the various restaurants they passed by.
"That's a..." Ron said pointing at an Italian restaurant. "And there's... wow. I'm going to like it here."
Hermione just rolled her eyes. "Yes Ronald, there's a pretty fair selection of restaurants with cuisine from around the world to choose from."
Being introduced to the Black Dragon, and later Caribbean food during their honeymoon had opened up a whole new dimension for Ron when it came to eating. Even if his mum was an amazing housewitch and cook, and Hogwarts feasts were plentiful as well as delicious, he'd become aware of the wide variety that the Muggle world had to offer. And he liked it. A lot. Hermione kept her eyes on the street names to find the right address. Turning left and dragging Ron along they continued a few houses down the road before Hermione checked the address on the note her parents had given her one last time to be sure they had reached their destination. "Come on Ron, let's check the flat first, and then you can choose one place—yes, one place is enough—where we can have lunch," Hermione decided.
They knocked on the door and were let in by the current inhabitants, friends of Richard's and Helen's, who were moving to York. After the initial greetings and small talk Ron and Hermione were offered to look around before having a spot of tea. The flat had one bedroom, a living room, kitchen, loo and a rather small hallway. Ron and Hermione started looking in the bedroom.
"Blimey it's noisy," Ron commented listening to the cars driving by outside.
"Single pane windows are common among Muggles," Hermione informed him. "My parents installed double glass, but we'll just charm the windows here." Nothing a good silencing charm wouldn't fix.
The bedroom and the flat as a whole had light wallpaper on the walls, which made it feel inviting and homey. "I like it," Hermione said after looking at the other rooms. "And Harrow is a good place to live. The Metropolitan line takes us into London if we want to go by Muggle means. There's also a bus directly to Heathrow. There's also a lot of history here. Harrow school was founded in the 16th century, but there might've been an earlier school from the 13th."
Ron saw it fit to interrupt his wife before he got the full lecture about Harrow. Obviously Hermione had done some reading, in case they decided to move there. "That's 800 years, just a few centuries short of Hogwarts, " Ron said and continued. "I like it, when can we move in?"
"My parents said the flat will be available next month. I like it too. Let's see if we can make a deal."
Ron got a wicked gleam in his eyes. Catching her husband's mischievous expression, Hermione sighed. "Ronald, don't even think about Confunding my parents' friends in case they won't let the flat out to us."
"No, just having you on 'Mione." Ron grinned "Let's make the deal and then we'll have that lunch.
Half an hour later Ron and Hermione sat smiling as they enjoyed a wonderful meal in an Indian restaurant, the signed contracts for their first home tucked snuggly in Hermione's beaded bag.
Harry was pacing back and forth in his and Ron's shared office. He was barking mad. His desk was reduced to a pile of firewood and on the floor were black stains from incinerated memos. Ron sat behind his desk, his face as red as his hair, equally angry. "Damn it Ron. Damn it all!" Harry shouted "I've had it with that sorry excuse for an arse of a former Hit-wizard! We have to end this. Now."
Next to the pile that had been Harry's desk were the ashes of what had been the cause of Harry's ire: a twenty-page report from Cho. During the early morning, no less than ten Pureblood families had been attacked in a clearly coordinated assault. The whole thing had been over by the time Harry and Ron arrived at the Auror Office. Three of the homes had been under Auror surveillance and the attackers had been apprehended. The other seven homes had been burnt to the ground. The Healers at St Mungo's had their hands full. The flow of casualties had been so heavy that even Hogwarts Hospital Wing had been pressed into service to help handle the emergency. Harry felt as if all their plans had failed. After reading the report Harry and Ron had flooed to Hogwarts and the hospital wing, which received most of the young casualties in the attacks. Walking through the Hospital wing he saw Poppy and Fiona tending to a mother and infant. Professor Slughorn was present with his portable brewing kit working with all his skill to keep up with the growing demand for restorative potions. Professors Flitwick and Watson assisted with treating various curses and jinxes. Professor Sprout, Hagrid and Neville brought in ingredients for Professor Slughorn's potions from the greenhouses and the forest. Harry could see Fiona's heart aching for the injured children. She had a hard time dealing with what essentially was a field hospital situation. The war veterans weren't oblivious to the effects of violence but their wartime experience helped them put their personal feelings aside and focus on the tasks at hand. Fiona's tear-filled eyes met Harry's. "Cain't y'all Aurors put a stop to this madness?" she asked in despair.
"We can, and we will," Harry said with a determination that gave Fiona new strength to continue working. She even started humming after a little while which had a calming effect on the patients closest to her.
Harry's mind returned to the present. He'd told Fiona they could put a stop to this and by Merlin's dragon tattooed chest it would come to an end. Now. Seeing the children in the hospital wing had caused something snap inside Harry. Enough was enough. He turned to Ron and could see in his eyes that he was thinking the same thing.
"We were about to execute our black ops plan to set Gumboil up and catch him in the act, and now this, " Harry sighed "We can't wait. Hell, we don't even know if the plan will work and if it does, we don't know how long it will take to implement—or how many people will be injured or killed—before we nail that bastard."
"What are you suggesting, Harry," Ron asked.
"I'm saying we find Gumboil now and put an end to this," Harry said with a determination that convinced Ron that he meant every word. "Him and his gang of Anti Pureblood fanatics"
"But that would be..." Ron began but Harry cut him off.
"Hermione has our escape route to Rook Holler prepared. We've reached the point where we have to break the law in order to uphold it. I say we get this done, now. But if we cross that line and have to leave England, this has to work. I won't leave that ponce here with free reign over the whole island, with us in exile," Harry said with a determined voice. "That sodding ponce was right about one thing, we didn't defeat Voldy by following the rules. We used the Unforgivables, we robbed the bank. Even if our intentions were good, we broke the law. It's the same now. Gumboil just knows his way around the system too damn well to be brought down by it. We both know that, and he knows it, too. Let's finish this now. No more waiting, no more deaths or injuries. It ends now."
"I'm with you Harry, you know that, but what's the plan?" Ron asked.
"To obtain the objective, any means necessary. That's the plan," Harry concluded. "I hate to admit it, but we're walking the line here for the greater good. Dumbledore wasn't perfect, he made mistakes, but I'm beginning to appreciate the difficult choices he had to make, even if I don't agree with all of them."
"Are you considering killing Gumboil, if necessary," Ron asked.
Harry realised he'd been talking to Ron and not thinking about his options. "No, it won't come to that. I'm sure of it. Gumboil can handle himself in a fight, but he's no match for the two of us," Harry said. "But we have to stop him."
"But it has to be done outside the law. We have nothing to justify taking action against him. He's covered his tracks too well," Ron argued. "There's no way to bring him before the Wizengamot this way."
"As long as he's stopped I don't care about the Geezergamot. Let's go and get him," Harry said "Just you and me, I don't want anyone else involved. If this goes ape-shit I'll take full responsibility."
Ron, the master strategist, gave his friend and brother a glance. "I have a plan."
After the success of his early morning raids Gumboil had retreated to his home to plan his next move. Outside in his garden were Frank Stiles, Gerald Stormer and another roughly half dozen wizards, celebrating the blow they'd dealt the Purebloods. Harry and Ron approached the garden disillusioned, well outside the wards. They had no intent of announcing their arrival by tripping the wards. "Ron, what would Hermione do about the wards?"
Ron thought about it for a few moments. "Well, the general idea with wards is that you have to get inside before you can neutralize them. But in the process of getting inside, you end up tripping them…" the redhead trailed off as he pondered it. Harry knew his best mate had the answer as soon as a satisfied smile crossed his face. "Kreacher," he said slowly. "I think she'd suggest we ask Kreacher to help us, since he can pass through undetected."
"How's that for irony," Harry grinned. "ELF will be brought down by an elf."
"That's brilliant Harry," Ron agreed. "Do you think old Kreacher will help us?"
"Let's ask him," Harry responded. "Kreacher?"
With a soft pop Kreacher appeared looking around with a confused expression. "Harry," the old elf asked, seeing no one around. "Kreacher must be getting old: Kreacher was sure Master called from this location."
"I'm here Kreacher, disillusioned," Harry said with a low voice. Not that it was necessary, since the group in Gumboil's garden were too noisy to hear anyone talking outside the wards.
"That's a relief then," the old elf croaked. "Kreacher feared he'd gone to the wrong location. What is Harry's need of Kreacher in this Muggle neighbourhood?"
"There's a wizard's home over there," Harry said and pointed at Gumboil's house. "Ron and I need your help to get into the garden without alerting anyone of them."
"Kreacher will get Harry and Ron through," he replied.
"Good," Harry said and turned to Ron. "Once inside, provided we're not detected we put up anti apparation wards, port key wards, a silencing charm limiting the risk of Muggles hearing what's going on. Then we take the whole lot out and go inside to finish Gumboil."
"You're sure he's inside," Ron asked.
"There's a magical presence inside," Harry revealed. Professor Dumbledore was the one who had taught him that magic left traces when they entered the cave in search of Salazar Slytherin's locket. Since then Harry had obtained some of Dumbledore's skill at sensing magic. Discovering decades old traces as Professor Dumbledore had been able to do was still beyond him, but sensing the living presence of a wizard inside a nearby house was something he'd finally mastered. "I'm sure it's him."
"Plan of attack," Ron suggested. "I work from the left, you from the right and the poor sod in the middle will face the two of us."
Harry nodded his approval, "That works for me. Kreacher, take us inside the garden, preferably behind a bush or something. Despite being disillusioned they might notice us if we appear in plain sight. Once we go into action, you go back home Kreacher."
"As Harry wishes," Kreacher replied with a nod.
"Harry, once we're inside, as long as we're unseen, count three and drop your disillusionment charm. We'll need to see each other to avoid getting in each other's way."
"Good, idea. Ready, Kreacher?"
The house elf nodded, raising his arms outward so the two unseen Aurors could grasp his hands before he disapparated.
Kreacher took them right through the wards without trouble. They appeared behind a rhododendron bush. The two Aurors were a few meters from their prey. Obviously undetected they raised the charms that would keep their opponents from leaving. Harry also cast Muffliato, to ensure that Gumboil wouldn't be able to hear the fight that was about to erupt in his garden. With a firm nod from Harry to Ron they sprang into action firing off their first round of stunners. Two wizards fell to the ground immediately, but the others reacted quickly and threw themselves behind the nearest cover. Their shield charms were up, instantly. Despite the advantage of total surprise Harry and Ron had only gotten two of their opponents, and now they were outnumbered seven to two.
"We've got to even the odds a little," Harry hissed and with a twist of his left arm his spare wand appeared from its holster. Ron nodded and equipped with two wands each they went into action.
"Get them!" Stormer ordered "Stun them and then we'll Obliviate them. It's Aurors, so no crazy stunts."
Covering each other with shields, four wizards advanced on Harry's and Ron's position. The Aurors fired off two double stunners which shattered their attackers' shields. Harry took out two of George's stun grenades and tossed them in an arch above their opponents. At mid-arc, a thunderous stunning spell erupted above the wizards' heads. Then Ron and Harry let loose a withering barrage of curses. The four wizards were caught in a cross fire and one of them side-stepped from dizziness as the stunner brushed his side. Ron quickly took him out with another volley of stunners, while Harry shielded them as they advanced from tree to tree, moving quickly, blinding their opponents with a flurry of spells. Then all fell silent. The two aurors had simply vanished.
"Damn, that was Ron Weasley" Stormer said to Stiles as he recognised the tall redhead.
"Then the other one has to be Potter." Stiles concluded
"Are you sure that's it, only the two of them?" Stormer asked as he tried to catch his breath.
"You know those two. We're in trouble."
"We're still six to two," Stormer said. "Any chance we can get to Gumboil?"
"We sure can't make a run for it to the house. We'd be stunned instantly." Stiles said "and they've raised some kind of wards to keep us here."
"Let's take these two out then," Stormer decided.
Stormer ordered the others to flanking positions, in an attempt to use their greater number to outflank the Aurors. Ron and Harry saw what was happening. They waited until Stormer and Stiles approached in the centre and the others had formed a half circle around them. Scenarios like these were standard training in the Den and Ron had developed numerous tactics depending on the situation.
"Let's dust them," Ron hissed.
Harry and Ron broke cover, firing a series of blasting spells into the ground in front of the advancing opponents. Dirt and dust erupted impairing their opponents' vision. Harry and Ron moved quickly to the left and took out another wizard with their stunners. Escaping the half circle they fired another series of stunners, that were deflected by shielding charms. With their four wands, Ron and Harry decided they could take the remaining five head on in a full frontal assault. Back to back they advanced mercilessly before Stormer or Stiles had the chance to regroup their wizards from an offensive flanking formation into a defensive position. This meant the five of them basically were on their own, without the chance of tactically using their greater number. Ron and Harry didn't plan to give them any chance to breathe, pressing their enemies with rapid-fire curses. Within seconds, only Stormer and Stiles were still on their feet. The coordinated assault of the two aurors, their spells and fighting abilities honed by years of fighting together and tireless drills in the Den, had left their opponents completely off balance.
"I'll give you this one chance to surrender your wands," Harry said.
Stormer and Stiles replied with a volley of stunners and curses. Harry and Ron shielded themselves, waiting for a chance to strike. Instead Stormer surprised them by casting a shield charm and charging at the two aurors.
He can't really be trying to ram us? Ron thought as Stormer smashed into him at full speed. Stiles in turn hissed an incantation both Harry and Ron hated, "Crucio".
Temporarily off balance, Ron was hit by the torturing curse collapsing to the ground in agony. Stormer didn't wait to take advantage of the opportunity. Harry was distracted by the sound of his friend and brother screaming as the curse ripped through his body. Then Harry felt the curse hit him and the pain increased. "We've got them now!"Stormer grinned triumphantly. "Let's have some fun before we knock them out, gift wrap them and hand them over to Gumboil."
Focusing his will, Harry drew power from the bond between him and Ginny, using her strength and love to form a shield against the pain. He'd done it before in Auror training, but never in the field. With his shield finally overcoming the Crucio he cast the curse off. Then he levelled his wand at Stormer, his mouth pulling back in a sneer. Stormer barely had enough time to look surprised before a devastating stunner sent him flying ten feet through the air. Stiles couldn't believe his eyes. Harry Potter had beaten the Crucio. His own Crucio faded as did Ron's screams. Stiles was out of strength, having channelled so much energy into the Crucio he'd levelled at the redhaired Auror. Stiles began to shake as an enraged Ron came to his feet. "Mr Auror, please..."
"Stupefy," Ron shouted, blasting Stiles with a bright red bolt that sent him flying through the air. He landed in a heap next to Stormer. Harry turned to Ron, concern etched his face. "How are you, mate?"
"Right annoyed!" Ron panted. "And a little tingly after that Crucio, but give me a moment to catch my breath and we'll finish this." He said, resting his hands on his knees. After a few steadying breaths, Ron looked up toward the house. "I'm good enough, now. Let's do this."
Gumboil, oblivious to what was going on in his garden, was happy that seven of his attacks had been successful. It sent a clear message to Kingsley that Wizarding Britain wouldn't stand for injustice any longer. Soon Kingsley would have no choice but to dissolve the Wizengamot, and declare all seats open for election. Gumboil felt he was close to fulfilling his plans. And when he did, he would claim his rightful place in the Wizengamot, or possibly even as Minister for Magic.
"Yes, yes, why settle for being Chief Warlock when I can be Minister," Gumboil asked himself "The Bones woman can remain in her position. Yes, that would be wise, to show that I don't mind Purebloods, just their inherited seats and power. The Purebloods would still lose all their power without their seats and no matter what Bones would do, we'll still vote in favour of confiscating the Purebloods' wealth and redistribute it fairly among the people. And if they complain they can sell their ruddy manors for a hefty amount of Galleons and move into something of a more reasonable size."
Gumboil smiled wickedly at his own brilliance. Anyone not happy with this new order of things would be perfectly welcome to leave Britain. He wouldn't force anyone or oppress them. And that was—if he in all modestly dared to say so himself—very noble and forgiving of him since the Purebloods had abused the majority of the wizarding population for centuries. Everything would be conducted in an orderly fashion in the Wizengamot, according to the will of the people. The people demanded justice and an end to Pureblood elitism. He, Alastor Gumboil, would go down in history as the man who saved Wizarding Britain. Harry Potter would be justly mentioned in the preface of the history books as the wizard who played an important role in this change, by defeating Voldemort. But the true hero was Gumboil, the man with the vision and courage to do what was needed to change the centuries old system. Gumboil bowed to his imaginary audience.
That's when his front door exploded.
Ripped out of his daydream Gumboil didn't understand what was happening. He was still reeling from the explosion as two wizards burst through his shattered front door, one taller than the other. Even though the smoke just barely allowed him to distinguish their silhouettes, he knew who they were and that this wasn't a social call. The realisation made him feel rather awkward since visitors coming for a social call weren't known to blow up the front door. Gumboil desperately tried to reach for his wand which lay on the table next to him. "Incendio!" Harry Potter's voice cried and, in a ball of fire Gumboil didn't know that spell was capable of producing, his wand and entire sofa table was reduced to ashes in mere seconds.
"It ends now Gumponce," Ron said "The attacks, the violence, the anti-Pureblood movement. Everything."
Frantically, Gumboil looked out the open door for help. "No help for you out there," the redhead sneered. "Your friends in the garden are taken out and obliviated."
"You don't have any proof," Gumboil began before feeling his mind being forced open. Against most mental attacks Gumboil would've been able to resist, but the force behind this Legillimens was simply too powerful. It had taken him off-guard. His mental barriers crumbled immediately. He knew it was Harry behind the assault on his mind. Helplessly, he felt the Chosen One sorting through all his memories from the last year before finally withdrawing.
"You know I could report you for this," he gasped. "Auror or not, you don't have the authority..."
"Did we say we were here as Aurors, Gumponce?" Harry asked "We said we were here to end this."
Gumboil started to feel uneasy. He was unarmed. Harry knew everything by now. His two opponents knew enough magic to do whatever they pleased with him, and they'd still get away with it. They'd probably be put in charge of investigating whatever was about to happen to him. And they'd file their report to Arthur Weasley. That's very convenient now, isn't it? He sighed in defeat and looked Harry and Ron in their eyes. "What are you going to do? Kill me?"
"Just give me a reason. Go ahead, make my day" Harry said with a cold voice, trying to make Gumboil believe his life might be in danger.
"Dirty Harry today, are we?" Ron grinned, remembering this line from a Muggle police movie they'd watched at Helen's and Richard's house.
Harry continued as if he hadn't heard his partner's banter. "This is what we're going to do Gumboil. You will write a statement where you make a full confession. Then you'll go to the Ministry and surrender yourself, claiming you can no longer stand for the violence. You will also send your statement to the Daily Prophet, along with a call for everyone in your ranks to stand down immediately."
Gumboil burst into laughter. "And exactly why would I do that?"
"Because if you don't, I'll make you," Harry said, icily. "I have all your memories, and I can make you write anything I want you to write. I can make you forget Ron and I were even here. For all you know you'll believe that what I just told you is true." Harry took a moment to let that sink in before he elaborated. "I'll Imperius you to make you write the confession, I'll obliviate you to make you forget we were here. I'll use legilimency to replace any contradictory memories and plant them so deeply in your mind that no one will ever be able to realise what happened to you. The next thing you'll know you'll be sitting in a holding cell at the Ministry, revelling in how you've saved Wizarding Britain from chaos by giving yourself up."
"You'd better believe him, Gumboil," Ron added "But we prefer if you'll surrender voluntarily. No matter what you do, it's over for you."
Gumboil weighed his options. He was in no position to mount any kind of resistance. His wand was gone, his mental barriers crumbled. Escape was not possible. Becoming a martyr by physically assaulting the Aurors would do no good. They'd hex him before he'd even get the chance to give even one of them a nosebleed. There was no doubt Harry was both capable and willing to do everything he claimed he'd do. They had him cornered. No matter what he said after submitting his written testimony, he knew he wouldn't be believed. Even with the memories of this situation intact he couldn't bring Harry Potter down with him. Damn it all. Potter's magic and the Weasel's tactical brilliance have me cornered. The only question was, would he cooperate, or would he force Harry to live with the knowledge of what they would have to do with him?
Harry and Ron arrived at the Burrow early that same evening. Harry had asked Ginny to gather the Weasley assemblage and they were all there, with Molly preparing supper, of course. When the two Aurors entered the kitchen they looked tired. "What happened boys, why are we here," Arthur asked.
"It's over," Ron declared.
"What is," Bill wondered.
"Gumboil." Harry said "Fifteen minutes ago he turned himself in and submitted a written account of his involvement in the anti-Pureblood movement. His crimes will most likely land him life in Azkaban.
Hermione looked at them sternly. "What exactly did you do to him?"
"We cornered him." Harry said. "I threatened to Imperius him, to replace his memories to make him believe he'd given himself up because of all the violence."
"And?" Ginny asked, not sure what had happened, because Harry's anger had blocked any details coming through the bond. She only knew he'd drawn a lot of power through the bond at one point.
"He decided he preferred his mind intact," Harry said. "He considered forcing my hand, but just as he fought my Imperius he realised I'd made no empty threats. He gave up and cooperated."
"You cast the Imperius," Molly asked, gasping. "Don't you think he can use it against you?"
"Well, as it is I happened to take that particular memory from his mind, and besides I didn't use my wand to cast the curse. As far as Gumboil's concerned it never happened and it can't be traced to me."
The kitchen in the Burrow was deathly quiet, and everyone looked at Harry and Ron. Harry had insisted that they reveal what had happened to the family. They needed to know the dirty business of crime fighting for what it was. Arthur was the one to break the silence. "Well, if it's all over, I suppose this gathering is a celebration. Harry and Ron, I may not agree fully with the methods you used, but well done. Well done indeed."
Hermione's stern face had changed into a warm smile. "I know what that bastard was about to do to me, and I think you did well."
"You're not mad at us," Ron asked.
"After last night's attacks I think it's safe to say things were about to escalate. Stopping Gumboil is a good thing." Hermione concluded.
"Even if the methods were unorthodox, and even illegal?" Harry asked.
"C'mon Harry, how many school rules did we break at Hogwarts? How many laws did we break bringing down Voldemort?" Hermione asked "I'm the first one to acknowledge that rules can't be followed blindly, even if I consider myself to be a law-abiding citizen. And, I have to admit, it's what Dumbledore would've done. Sometimes," she hesitated for a split second, "the greater good requires it."
"Hypocrite," Jayce grinned, disguising it as a cough.
"Gesundheit," Hermione said with pretended innocence grinning back at him.
"Hear, hear" Charlie agreed and handed out glasses of Firewhiskey. "To Harry and Ron."
"To Harry and Ron" the Weasley assemblage echoed.
The following days passed in a blur. The fallout of Gumboil's surrender and testimony turned into a huge investigation led by the Auror Office. The Aurors made a couple of arrests without any opposition, among them Stiles and Stormer. The whole anti-Pureblood movement had deflated after Gumboil's arrest. Public opinion shifted over to Hermione's position of slow and gradual change of Wizarding Britain. No one doubted that the inherited seats would eventually be changed into elected ones. No one doubted that Blood status would become archaic. The Daily Prophet had already adopted First generation wizard or witch after Hermione had coined it publicly in an interview. At the same time they also talked about all-wizarding families, rather than Purebloods. It was a step in the right direction.
After the last year it was painfully obvious to everyone that change took—and had to take—time. This realisation had strengthened Kingsley's position as Minister and Madame Bone's as Chief Warlock. Virgil Greengrass had supported Hermione and that seemed to have bridged the centuries old prejudices between Purebloods and Mugglborns. Something that had never before existed in Wizarding Britain was growing stronger and stronger, a sense of unity. There was still a lot to do, but it seemed as if the wizarding population in Britain had come together as one. It had taken two wizarding wars and the aftermath to both of them, but out of the pain and hardship came something good in the end.
In a much needed break from work Harry and all the Weasleys watched the Harpies and the Kestrals in the Quidditch final. Ginny gave it her all, playing the best game of her career, but despite the Harpy Chasers efforts taking their team to a 120 point lead, they lost when the Kestral Seeker caught the Snitch. Gwenog Jones and her team mates could honestly thank the Kestrals for a game well played knowing they had done their best even though it wasn't quite enough. Ginny's season was capped off when she was elected the best Chaser in the league.
As things started to slow down for the Aurors and Ginny was relaxing after a long season Harry realised it was only a few days until Draco's and Astoria's wedding. He hadn't read about it in the Prophet, but the fact that he'd be officiating was reported as another proof of the new era in Wizarding Britain. On the morning of the wedding Harry woke up to Ginny kissing him. "Breakfast is served, Mr Potter," She said with a smile.
Ginny was well trained in household and kitchen magic, like mother like daughter. She had prepared a grand breakfast for them. Normally Harry did the breakfast cooking, but this morning she'd woke up early to give her husband a surprise. "Thank you Gin," Harry said as he saw the full English breakfast in the kitchen. "If I mess things up today at least it won't be because I'm hungry." Harry grinned.
"Harry Potter, are you nervous?" Ginny asked.
"No, not really, it's just that I haven't cast the wedding charm for real yet, just in training," he replied looking casually at their owl. "Did you give Merlin his treats this morning?"
Harry and Ginny had discussed name suggestions silently through their bond, but because of the amount of Merlin's this-or-that the Weasleys had used when they came to see with their own eyes that a new owl indeed was purchased, the owl had simply refused to listen to any other name after that. So Merlin it was.
"Yes, but just a few. He gets enough food from the mice he catches, and we don't want him fat. But he deserves a few well-earned owl treats." Ginny said with a smile.
After breakfast Harry took a shower and put on his Auror dress robes. He didn't like showing off, but on a formal occasion like this he was required to wear his Order of Merlin. The good thing about his dress robes was that instead of his Order being the only award as it would've been with normal dress robes, he also wore his Auror Commander badge and insignia, making the Order of Merlin one golden item among many. Thank you Jayce for coming up with the idea of Auror dress robes.
Thirty minutes before the wedding Harry apparated to the Greengrass manor. He quickly made his way to the main hall and met Virgil and Narcissa. "Welcome Auror Potter," Virgil greeted him. "I hope you excuse us for not welcoming you more grandly. We're a wee bit busy making the last preparations. My wife is overseeing the kitchen and we're making sure the decorations are properly charmed."
"It's quite all right, Lord Greengrass. I know how it was the day of my wedding," Harry replied and turned to Draco's mother. "Lady Malfoy, I'm honoured to cast the wedding charm for Draco and Astoria today."
"We're honoured that you accepted, Lord Potter," she replied, intrigued that Harry observed Pureblood tradition, by addressing them with their titles on a formal occasion such as this.
Harry looked around. The Greengrass main hall was decorated in the light green colour of their family. Garlands of green leaves and summer flowers hung around the hall. Guests had started to arrive and house-elves, properly dressed and with legally negotiated salaries and working hours, assisted them to find their place. "I won't take up any more of your time then. Is there anything I need to know about your wishes for the ceremony?"
"Just follow the traditional wedding ceremony. That's what we wish," Narcissa said.
Harry took his place and encouraged through the bond by Ginny he calmly went through the wedding charm and his training in casting it. Ten minutes before the wedding Draco entered the hall along with Goyle who obviously was Draco's best man. They greeted Harry before they took their places. Daphne followed shortly, curtseyed before Harry and assumed the designated spot of the maid of honour. To his surprise he didn't feel too uncomfortable by the formalities. Harry looked at the hall, by now full of guests. In the front rows were Lady Greengrass, and what Harry assumed to be other members of their house. On the other side was where Narcissa Malfoy was seated. Harry was surprised to see Andromeda sitting next to her. They hadn't talked about Draco's wedding, but Harry realised that even if the two sisters weren't close, Pureblood—or all-wizarding—tradition would've held it as bad form if Andromeda hadn't been present at her nephew's wedding. Further down the rows Harry could see several Slytherins, but also colleagues from the Muggleworthy excuses office where both Draco and Astoria were working. Clearly the change in Wizarding Britain had affected even an all-wizarding wedding such as this one, since their office mates wouldn't have been deemed worthy to attend otherwise. Several Wizengamot members were also there, including Madame Bones. She and Kingsley had concluded that one of them should attend and with Draco being a junior employee in a small office it was more appropriate for Madame Bones to attend, since both the groom and the bride's father were members of the Wizengamot.
Harry felt calm as he began the ceremony. His training kicked in and he performed each part of the wedding charm with a smooth and well governed hand. After Draco and Astoria had exchanged rings and declared their vows Harry looked at them. "By the power vested in me by the Ministry of Magic in Britain, I hereby declare you husband and wife." With a final flick of his wand a light flashed as a confirmation of the successful casting of the wedding charm. "Mr and Mrs Malfoy, let me be the first one to congratulate you."
Harry sighed in relief as he watched Draco and Astoria walk down the aisle; it had been a while since he'd attended a large gathering and not been the centre of attention. He found it refreshing The main hall emptied in favour of the wedding banquet prepared in the garden. Harry would follow the mandated tradition and stay for a while. Despite all the change he still didn't quite enjoy the company of Goyle, Pansy and the other Slytherins. Even now, he still felt the nagging sense that he should remain on his guard and, without Ron there to watch his back, that urge was even more pronounced. With a will, he forced those feelings to the back of his mind. Old thinking, got to let it go, he thought to himself. As he entered the garden, he snagged two glasses of champagne from a passing waiter, crossing the distance to Andromeda. "I shouldn't be surprised to see you here, I guess." He greeted her as he handed her one of the champagne flutes.
She smiled her thanks. "Harry, I thought a friendly face would be appreciated when you officiated your first wedding, deep within Slytherin territory."
"Actually I appreciated the strict observance of tradition today Andy, since I could follow the instruction to the letter. When Ginny and I got married, or Ron and Hermione for that matter, we used a little bit of liberty in the agenda."
"You did good Harry. This won't be the last time you cast the wedding charm," Andromeda predicted.
"I guess not. How's Teddy by the way?"
"He's with Bill, Fleur and Victoire and he's just fine."
"Just Floo me and Ginny when it's time for another sleepover for him at IB" Harry said.
"I will, he's already asking me about it. He's eager for more flying and he knows that with you and Ginny there's a lot of airborne time."
Harry soon left Andromeda to greet the guests. He stayed for dinner and after having a dance with Astoria he had fulfilled his obligations and could bid his farewell. He was very happy to return home.
"How much longer?" Ron asked.
"About twenty minutes," Hermione replied. It was the day the Hogwarts Express arrived at Platform 9 ¾ with all the students returning from their year at Hogwarts. Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny were relaxing by the pond at the Burrow, until it was time to meet the Spawn at King's Cross Station. Suddenly Ron got a nostalgic look on his face, as his eyes fell on the Burrow.
"Blimey, I can't believe the Burrow isn't home anymore," Ron said, referring to his and Hermione's move to Harrow two days earlier.
"The Burrow will always be home," Ginny said and added with a cheeky smile. "When are we invited for the house warming?"
"As soon as I'm certain the silencing charms will hold up for the test of a wizarding invasion of our Muggle-surrounded home." Hemione explained. "We wouldn't like to give the Obliviators or the Muggleworthy Excuses Office the pleasure of taking the Mickey out of us in case we had to call them in."
"True," Ron agreed "But we'll have it soon, keep your eyes open for Pig and the invitation letter."
"Kreacher also asked about your housewarming," Harry recollected. "I promised him I'd tell you that he's eager to take charge of your kitchen and roast a Hippogriff or two... or are you bringing in Sam Chang?"
"Or? Why the 'or'?" Ron asked while Hermione was mumbling something about remembering to enlarge the oven magically to fit a Hippogriff "Let's bring in both Sam and Kreacher." Ron's wide grin and Hermione rolling her eyes at his remark made Ginny giggle.
Before long it was time to leave for London. The quartet disapparated with a soft pop and soon made their way towards Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross Station. Only five minutes later the Hogwarts Express arrived and it had barely come to a complete stop before students stepped onto the platform. Cheerful greetings were heard and families reunited were hugging their young ones. Although the quartet attracted some attention most people were focused on finding their homecoming students. Hermione soon heard her name being called by Patricia and moments later the Spawn and the Golden Quartet exchanged greetings and hugs.
"I hear you did honour to the House of Gryffindor by winning both the House Cup and the final Quidditch match," Harry said, praising the Gryffs in general and his Seeker apprentice and Auror Cadet Dennis in particular.
"Yeah, it was a team effort really. And The House Cup was won greatly because of Patricia earning loads of points in class." Dennis explained.
"We were also fortunate enough that none of us messed up by getting busted for any of the mischief and mayhem we pulled of," Jessica grinned.
"George would be proud of you," Ron said.
"You've done great all of you, both on the Quidditch pitch and in the castle," Ginny said.
Slowly the group moved towards the exit while still chattering about everything. "Mum and Dad sent an owl telling us they're back home and everything is fine." Emma revealed. Desmond and Heather had stayed with the Templetons for some time before Gumboil was locked up.
"And we'll go on a holiday together this summer, my family and the Prewetts," Patricia added. "Camping, The Forest of Dean."
At this revelation a hint of a blush was seen on the Quartet's faces, since their camping trip there had levelled a substantial clearing in the forest after Harry and Ginny lost control of their bond for a few minutes. No one noticed since everyone was looking at Patricia and the twins.
"Dad wishes he could bring two tents," Erica said.
"Patricia explained how a Muggle tent works and Dad wouldn't have the Templetons crammed up like that." Emma said and turned to her fellow Spawns. "Did you know that a Muggle tent is as tiny on the inside as they are on the outside?"
"Really," Jessica asked in shock, "that would be like living three or four people in one Hogwarts bed."
"And that's considered being a holiday." Emma commented.
"You can borrow our tent," Harry promised. "We're not using it over the summer anyway."
Emma, Erica and Patricia screamed in joy and excitement. "Thank you Harry," they yelled.
"Tell Desmond and Heather to come over to IB and pick it up." Ginny told the girls. "And of course the Templetons are welcome to. If you're lucky Harry will cook something."
"Of course I will," Harry promised, before turning to Dennis and Jessica, "and you, Cadets Creevey and Spinnet, are welcome to the Auror Office any time you feel like practising your duelling skills."
"I am?" Dennis asked, looking first at Harry and then at Jess, "We are?"
"You are an Auror Cadet and once you pass your Auror Field Manual and Ministry Organisation tests you'll be approved to go with Auror teams in the field." Harry confirmed. "Of course we'll send owls to invite all Cadets, but since we're here now I thought I just might as well tell you."
"Thank you Harry," Jessica answered since Dennis was still processing the fact that being an Auror Cadet allowed him to go to the Auror Office and practise duelling.
The group were moving towards the exit and one by one they found their respective families. When the Templetons and the Prewetts approached, Jessica and Dennis were still with them. Patricia turned to Hermione as it was time to say goodbye. "Will you help me with third year preparations?"
"Of course. Ron and I live in Harrow now. You can take the Tube and visit us," Hermione promised.
"Oh, that's wonderful," Patricia beamed despite her friends' cheeky remarks about doing voluntary homework during the summer holiday. She turned to them. "Don't you prats practise flying during summer?"
"Sure, we do that for fun, not because we fly at Hogwarts." Dennis replied.
"There you go, I study transfiguration during the holiday because it's fun, not because it's on our schedule at Hogwarts." Patricia said, shutting her friends up. "And the great thing about doing it at Hermione's and Ron's place is that the ruddy Trace can't tell whether it's me or Hermione doing the magic, so I can do more than just reading about the spells."
"Dad, does that mean..." Emma started.
"That means the Ministry wouldn't send owls if you cast spells at home, but I'd send you to an early bed if you did." Desmond said sharply, but with a warm grin.
"Aw c'mon Dad, can't we even throw a hex or two on the gnomes before tossing them out?" Erica pleaded.
"Well, under my supervision with proper demonstration it might be all right," Desmond said thoughtfully.
Heather shook her head and giggled. "Desmond, just admit you'd love to hex the snot out of the gnomes as well. You and the girls have a good time doing it together."
With a slight blush Desmond nodded and looked at Paul. "She's right," he admitted. "Let's do it as soon as we got home."
Soon enough the Templeton and Prewett families were on their way for a lunch together before going to their respective homes. Suddenly Dennis looked shy as his mother and father approached. They knew about his and Jessica's relationship but they'd never met her. "Mum, dad," Dennis greeted them and hugged them both before taking Jessica's hand. "Jes, these are my parents. Mum and dad, this is Jessica."
"A pleasure to meet you Mr and Mrs Creevey," Jessica greeted them.
"Likewise Miss Spinnet," Mrs Creevey replied. "Dennis has written a lot about you, and I'm happy to finally meet you.
"And congratulations both on winning the House Cup and becoming an Auror Cadet." Mr Creevey added.
"Oh, let me introduce the Commander and Captain of the Auror Corps, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley." Dennis said and the Creeveys turned to Harry and Ron.
"An honour, sirs." Mr Creevey said and greeted both of them.
"Dennis is a fine young wizard, and I'm honoured to meet you Mr Creevey, and Mrs Creevey." Harry said. He still didn't like being called sir, but he'd have to come to terms with not being just Harry with everyone.
After ten minutes Dennis and Jessica left with the Creeveys. Ron turned to the other three.
"Don't say it," Hermione cut in before Ron even opened his mouth, "You want lunch."
Ron kept silent and nodded.
"All right, let's go to Sam and have a dinner for six." Ginny decided. No one protested and after finding a good spot they disapparated.
With the newfound sense of unity in Wizarding Britain summer seemed to be brighter and warmer than usual. Ron was stretched out on the sofa in his and Hermione's living room, relaxing after a full day of duelling practice in the Den. The only interruption had been a false alarm of a troll sighting in Wales. It had turned out to be a badly transfigured moss-covered troll-size boulder. Whoever had tried to improve their transfiguration skills had already left when the Aurors arrived at the scene and told the "troll" to stand down. After cancelling the spell, returning the boulder to inanimate state, the Aurors had apparated back to the Ministry.
Hermione put a cuppa on the sofa table and sat down next to Ron. "You look thoughtful," she told him.
"No, just a bit exhausted," Ron said and took a sip of tea. "Thank you, a spot of tea was just what I needed now."
"Well, it's been a busy couple of years, Ron. No wonder you're a bit exhausted." Hermione said.
"I was thinking about the workout today, but yeah, it's been busy. First the Dark Tosser, then our crazy cousin followed by the nutty Gumboil. Will it ever be over?" Ron asked.
"I think Voldy stood for everything that was bad about the Pureblood traditions and even twisted it further, and your dear cousin was a victim and a result of Voldy's insanity. That their reign was followed by a counter reaction was probably inevitable." Hermione analysed. "But that opened our eyes to the fact that the world isn't black and white. It's not as simple as saying Purebloods are evil and Muggleborns are good. There are good and bad people everywhere."
"It's a fine line 'Mione," Ron said "What is it that makes us good and Gumboil bad? We both acted according to our belief, putting personal agenda before even the law."
Hermione looked thoughtfully at her husband "I think the biggest difference is that Gumboil was driven by hate, and you are driven by love. And in this imperfect world, we sometimes have to come up with imperfect solutions to achieve victory for what's good and to defend what we love."
Ron thought about her words and nodded. "For the damnable greater good."