Standard disclaimers apply!

I do not own Harry Potter. I have nothing to do with Scholastic, Warner Bros or Bloomsbury. I'm not JKR and I am certainly not making any profit out of this.


Father

Arthur is in his shed, thinking things over – one month after Voldemort was vanquished.


Arthur Weasley was in his favourite thinking spot.

The Shed.

He fiddled aimlessly with his muggle artefacts ... but he wasn't really feeling it today.

This war had taken too much; this victory was too hollow.

All around him, not just his family; everyone he knew, everyone, had lost loved-ones – be it family or close friends.

The death of Robert and Helen Granger had shocked him – he'd only just been coming to terms with the loss of Fred. Only just stopped expecting to see Fred coming in for dinner, only just stopped hoping to wake up and find that his little boy wasn't dead. He'd only just barely considered the possibility that one day, perhaps, he and Molly might feel happy again ...

Robert and Helen Granger were people he considered friends. Granted, they didn't see a great deal of each other – the beginning and end of term, and once or twice during the school year when the sets of parents would come together in a muggle restaurant for dinner.

He couldn't help smiling, despite the great weight in his chest. They'd come to The Burrow once, while the children were in fifth year. Helen and Molly had talked up a storm, while Robert had been more than happy to patiently explain the exact functions of the various items Arthur had squirreled away. They were truly nice people.

Even when Ron and Hermione had been fighting, the parents had remained good friends, and when the two children had made up again there had been tentative plans for a group holiday ... just a few days away on the coast of Scotland ... but then the war had happened.

The Bloody War.

Arthur felt many things. One of those things, he had to admit to himself, was a large serving of guilt. He would never have wished anything like this on Hermione or her parents – never in a thousand years – but ... but ... since this had happened, George was finally coming back out of himself, and Arthur couldn't help but be happy for it.

He'd often come across Ron, Hermione and George together. In the garden, in the kitchen, in the front room and once in the attic. The setting would change, but the scene would be the same; Ron on one side of the girl – no, she was a young woman now, Arthur had trouble remembering that – and George on the other, as if she had grown two new shadows. It seemed to be doing both Hermione and George a world of good ... but what about Ron?

Ron was the strong one now, and Arthur had to admit to himself that he was having trouble accepting his youngest son in that role.

He'd found them this morning, on the settee in the front room, just before dawn ... fast asleep.

He'd wondered, then, when they had got there - having personally watched them all retire to their respective rooms the night before. Yet there they had been; Hermione tucked into Ron's side, his arm securely around her, holding her tight even in sleep.

This hadn't been a great surprise to Arthur; he'd seen them in that pose many times in the last month, although admittedly while they were awake, and usually Hermione was reading a heavy book while Ron was chatting with George.

The surprise, for Arthur, had been George curled into a ball with his head resting in Ron's lap, while Ron's hand lay heavy on his shoulder and Hermione's hand rested on Georges head. Ron's pyjama leg was wet with George's tears and his shoulder with Hermione's.

Ron's face, however, was dry. It had been since the day after Fred's funeral. If Ron was succumbing to his own grief, he was doing so in private.

Sometimes Harry and Ginny would be with them too, although Harry was so put upon by the Ministry these days – and Ginny was so often with him – that more often than not it was only at meal times the family would all be together.

Harry was another one who worried him.

They wouldn't leave him alone ... they being the mythical them ... everyone, really. No one seemed to understand what he'd been through – that he might just want to BE for a while. Harry seemed to be coping well enough; although Arthur had noticed that there were times, particularly after Harry had been out visiting grieving families, when the young man seemed to hold onto Ginny that much tighter.

Ginny was a trooper though, just like her mother. Arthur knew that she was up to the job of helping Harry through this – and he knew his daughter well enough to be sure she wouldn't let herself, or Harry, be consumed by it.

More owls were arriving by the day and soon enough it would not just be Harry who was harassed and put upon. Ron and Hermione had been with Harry through it all; and while Molly had been keeping the press at bay – Arthur laughed suddenly; yesterday a photographer had got as far as the garden before Molly had chased him away, cursing creatively – it couldn't last forever.

Even Percy had been running interference for them at the Ministry, so everyone could have time to come to terms with ... everything. But Percy had come home with bad news last night – the Ministry was becoming impatient. Kingsley – no, Acting Minister Shacklebolt now – had pulled him aside; told Percy that the Wizengamot was demanding answers and that he, Kingsley, even as Acting Minister of Magic, couldn't put them off for much longer.

Surely they had all they needed to know from Harry?

Apparently not. The Ministry wanted Ron and Hermione, and the Ministry would get them eventually.

Arthur sighed unhappily and looked out of the small dirty window facing the garden.

There they were again. Ron, Hermione and George. Ron's arm was around Hermione and they were laughing at George, who seemed to be pretending to vomit in the flower bed.

When had HE gotten so old, he wondered, that his offspring were now grown? All he wanted to do was protect his remaining children, Harry and Hermione included, but he couldn't do it. Not really. They had to face these things as the adults they truly were.

But not today.

Today, they could be kids for just a little while longer ... Molly would call everyone in for lunch soon; they would run into the kitchen and George would avert his eyes from Fred's empty chair. Ron would hold Hermione's hand under the table – as if no one would notice – and Molly would fuss over the fact that Harry and Ginny were absent again. He, Arthur, would help his wife serve the food and they, the parents, would worry as they always did.


It's summer holidays at the moment - WOOHOO - so the feral's are hogging the computer in the worst way possible. :-)

Updates will be patchy, at best.