Just a fluffy one-shot.
The Burrow was silent on Christmas Eve. Most of the Weasley family had gone to bed, except for one, a balding red headed man, sags under his eyes from his stressful job and a cup of cocoa on the table next to him. Mr. Weasley had a newspaper in his head, and a small kerosene lamp was burning next to him, providing an ample amount of light. He looked tired and old.
Another person staying in the house was awake as well. Harry Potter paced back and forth near the threshold of the room Arthur was in. Harry would glance in, take a step, and the retreat, wishing not to disturb the father figure but, also, he was simply chickening out. Tonight, Harry was asking Mr. Weasley for Ginny's hand in marriage. It wasn't something he was looking forward too. What man would want their daughter marrying a person who attracted danger and death? Harry tried convincing himself that Voldemort was gone, that the family approved of their relationship, but could he ever forgive himself if a death eater came to Harry, seeking revenge for his fallen master? The big threat may have been vanquished, but like a building that's collapsed, there are still bricks to be cleaned up. It's just not as big.
Harry stepped away from the entrance to the living room. Maybe it would be better, for now, if Ginny and he stayed the way they were. He picked up a glass and poured himself some milk.
"Harry?" The noise startled the young wizard and the glass fell, the milk spreading rapidly across the wooden floor. Harry leapt over to the counter and grabbed a towel, before realizing it was a failing effort, and then brought his wand and waved it over the spilled milk. The milk danced in the air for a moment, a thin white line that zigged and zagged, before disappearing completely. Mr. Weasley cleaned and dried the towel with his wand and placed it back on the counter. "Didn't mean to startle you,"
"Not a problem."
"Something like that," Harry said quietly, levitating the glass shards and dumping them in the waste bin. Mr. Weasley nodded and put his empty cocoa mug in the sink, then took down two new glasses and filled them with milk. He set them on the counter, then walked over to a cupboard. Harry knew this cupboard to be where Mrs. Weasley kept the special treats, such as cookies and candies, for holidays. He remembered a time where Ron got his hands smacked when his mother found him looking for sweets.
"Don't tell Molly," Mr. Weasley smiled and dumped a few cookies on a plate. Harry laughed. No, there was no way he would be the one to tell Mrs. Weasley. Ginny inherited her fiery attitude from her mother.
"Work alright?" Harry took a bite of a cookie. There was nothing like Mrs. Weasley's baking. The chocolate and peanut butter melted together in his mouth.
"Eh, a spot of trouble with some young wizards here, some young wizards there. Nothing that we can't handle. I must say, things have calmed down considerably since there isn't the eminent threat of death, yes?" he took a bite of his own cookie, chewed, and swallowed. "Now tell me, Harry. What's on your mind?"
"Well," Harry ruffled his already messy hair. "I was going to ask you something, Mr. Weasley." Mr. Weasley said nothing, simply nodded his head and took another bite of his shrinking cookie. There was a long strand of silence. A sip of milk, a bite of a cookie, and then another sip of milk; it became a pattern. Harry played with the crumbs on the plate, forming a small circle.
"I'm no good at reading minds, Harry." Mr. Weasley said. "Never was the top of my class."
"Sorry," Harry mumbled. "Mr. Weasley, I was wondering how you felt about Ginny and I, and our relationship."
"Your relationship?" he put down his cookie. "I think I see where this is going, Harry. Please, follow me." Mr. Weasley stood and pushed in his chair, and he didn't wait for Harry to get up before he started walking upstairs. Harry shoved his chair back and ran quickly after him, not wanting to lose him in the twines and sharp turns of the Burrow's staircase. It was dark and Harry had trouble seeing, even with his glasses. Mr. Weasley stopped at a door that Harry had never been in before. At first, he thought it was Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's bedroom, but when the oldest Weasley opened the door, Harry saw that it was in fact an office. There was an old, oak desk in the corner with drawers and shelves stacked with papers. Boxes lined the walls. Harry could see papers poking out of them. "We may be wizards, but organized we aren't."
"I never knew you had an office,"
"Oh yes." Mr. Weasley walked to the boxes and started digging through papers. "Yes, every household must have an office Harry, for where are you going to put the papers you really don't need but have to keep anyway? We don't go in here often." He moved from the boxes and went over to the desks. "I think… yes, yes it's here. Should've looked here first, Harry. Molly would have never just tossed something like this in a box." Harry lit his wand and walked closer to Mr. Weasley, hoping to get a glimpse of what it was he had come up here for, but Mr. Weasley shook his head. "To the living room!" They walked back down the stairs, Harry rubbing sleep from his eyes. They both took a seat, Harry in one arm chair and Mr. Weasley in another, and they both lit their wands for more light. "I'd like you to take a look at this, Harry. Another thing we must keep from Molly, I'm afraid. If she knew I've shown you this… well, bullocks to that. It doesn't really matter now, does it? Take a look, here."
Harry took the parchment from Mr. Weasley's hands. It was old, maybe a few years, and had tiny writing that consumed nearly the entire page. He saw his name here and there, some dates, and the Weasley's names as well.
"I don't understand," Harry admitted. It was late, and he was tired. The garble on the paper made no sense to him.
"It's adoption forms."
"What?" Harry looked back down to the parchment.
"That first summer you came to stay with us, Harry, Molly was worried sick. You were so skinny. She spent half of her time that summer concocting ways to fatten you up," he chuckled. "The stories Ron would tell her about your Aunt and Uncle, well, they weren't family friendly. It was ghastly, the things he told us. The cupboard, the chores, and the food you were given to eat. I remember the first night that you had come. Molly had stayed up nearly half the evening talking about how Fred and George said there were bars on your window." He shook his head. "The day we went to Diagon Alley, she went to the Ministry of Magic's Office of Family Services and had adoption papers formally written up."
"You were going to…" Harry paused, swallowing the lump in his throat. "Adopt me?"
"Yes," Mr. Weasley said. "And if Dumbledore hadn't heard of what Molly was doing through a friend at the office, we would have succeeded."
"Dumbledore stopped you from adopting me? But… why?" All those years, Harry thought. The years of torment, going hungry, the absence of love; it all could have been different.
"He wouldn't tell us then, but we all know now." He paused, hoping Harry would understand. "Your mother's protection?"
"Oh yeah," Harry muttered. "The Dursley's had to keep me."
"Yes," Mr. Weasley frowned. "Molly was upset. She was angry that Dumbledore refused to give a reason, and she so wanted you in our family. She's quite smitten with you, Harry. You're a special boy." Harry blushed.
"Why are you showing me this, Mr. Weasley?"
"You want to marry Ginny." It was not a question, it was a statement. Harry sat for a minute, staring at the man, his breath hitched in his throat. Harry nodded just slightly. "You've had my blessing from the moment you stepped in this house, Harry. You've always been a son to me, and, though we never did get to adopt you, I never looked at you as anything but my son. Good thing we didn't adopt you anyway, or we wouldn't be having this discussion, eh?" They both laughed. "You've been a part of this family since day 1. We're a very proud family, Harry. We take family very seriously. You, and Hermione for that matter, are my children." Harry felt his chest swell. He couldn't have ever asked for someone to say something nicer to him.
"Thank you," he said quietly, looking at the paper that was still in his hands. "I'm going to ask her to marry me, Mr. Weasley. I love her."
"I know you do, son." Mr. Weasley smiled. Harry looked up at him, his surrogate father. Yes, Harry had James for a brief time. He had Sirius, and he had Dumbledore. But Arthur Weasley, the man sitting across from him, he was one of the best men Harry had ever known, and there had been quite a few.
"Thank you, sir."
"No, Harry. Thank you." Mr. Weasley stood, shaking off his robes from any straggling crumbs from the cookies. "If you don't mind, could you put those dishes away? And remember, this…" he took the paper from Harry and put it in his pocket. "-is our little secret."
"Of course," Harry stood. "Goodnight, Mr. Weasley." He held out his hand for Mr. Weasley to shake, but instead, Mr. Weasley gripped Harry's arm and pulled him towards him for a hug. The two embraced for a moment before breaking away. Just before reaching the second step on the stairs, Mr. Weasley turned back around and stared at Harry.
"Oh and Harry?"
"I feel as though I must say this, as all dads of daughters getting married do…" he hesitated. "How do those muggles say it on the teletube… ah, yes. Break my daughters heart, and I'll break your face." Stunned, Harry didn't know whether to laugh or be frightened. "Was that correct?"
"Er…" he stuttered. "Yes. Yes, I think so."
"Splendid. Goodnight, Harry. Happy Christmas."