This is a look at the day Harry goes to see his aunt and uncle after the war. I don't own Harry Potter
BACK TO PRIVIT DRIVE
"I'm going with you!"
There was no denying that defiant tone. Harry hesitantly looked up from his breakfast plate and straight into a lovely pair of bright, brown eyes. Eyes that were narrowing at him as if waiting for the inevitable argument. Harry sat chewing his sausage much longer than necessary as if contemplating what he was going to say. Ginny sat back in her chair, never breaking eye contact.
"All right, then."
Shock registered on her face and Harry had a hard time not laughing. He smiled at her and said, "I really could use your support. I'm not sure what kind of day I'm in for."
It had been three weeks since the great battle of Hogwarts. Three long, hectic weeks of funerals, trials and organizing what was left of the ministry. Harry didn't envy Kingsley Shacklebolt in the slightest as he tried to bring order to the chaos that the Death Eaters left behind. The Auror department had been gutted with so many killed over the last two years. The Department of International Magical Cooperation had been working overtime convincing Aurors from all over the world to relocate to the U.K. for an undetermined amount of time. How long would they need to rebuild? The Death Eaters were mostly rounded up and more supporters were being brought in daily for questioning. Those who supported Voldemort's line and had, up till May 2, enjoyed prestige and power were now finding themselves under intense scrutiny. Although Harry was dismayed at how many were willing to follow Voldemort's rule, he was delighted when he heard about the arrest of Delores Umbridge. Her actions within the ministry as well as against the students of Hogwarts were going to be put before the Wizengamot. Harry had been asked to appear as a witness. Umbridge's trial wasn't the only one that needed his attention. He was also scheduled to appear for the trails of the Malfoy family as well. He still couldn't figure out if he was a witness for the prosecution or the defense. After all, Narcissa did help him on that fateful morning. Her help may have been for her own reasons but he couldn't be upset about a mother desperate to find her son.
The first few days after the battle were the hardest as family and friends of the fallen converged on Hogsmeade. On Harry's suggestion, many of the dead were given the honor of having Hogwarts being their final resting place. Dumbledore's tomb was no longer alone as the honored dead were laid to rest in one funeral procession after another. Harry himself had spoken during Fred's funeral, talking about the almost-brother he knew and loved. The next day he spoke once again as they laid Remus and Tonks side by side. He spoke of the honor he felt being part of their lives.
He also attended the funeral of Colin Creevey. His father didn't want his son so far from his Muggle family so the story was spread that Colin was killed in a car accident. Harry tried not to think about the story he'd been told by his aunt and uncle about how his own parents died. He knew that Colin's family were only trying to make sense of such a tragedy from a world they didn't understand.
Now things were somewhat settling into an almost-normal pattern. Harry was staying at the Burrow offering and receiving comfort where he could. He and Ginny began taking long walks every evening, getting away from the eyes of the rest of the Weasley family. Slowly he told her about the nine months they were apart, sparing no details (with the exception of Ron's brief departure) and telling her for the first time about the horcruxes. Ginny listened in horror when she found out the lengths Voldemort when to in order to become immortal. When Harry told her about Voldemort's 'unintended' horcrux, she needed to sit very suddenly along the peaceful, wooded lane where they were walking. The very idea that Harry was carrying around a piece of Voldemort's soul! Yet it explained so much! His ability to see in Voldemort's thoughts and being a parslemouth! Harry's old insecurities surfaced and he wondered to himself if that would be too much for her. Would she would not be able to touch him knowing that he was part of something so horrific? But no sooner had he though this, she took his face in between her hands and kissed him, hard. Soon the kiss softened and he felt the relief wash over him.
Now life was starting to grind forward again. George went back to his joke shop to assess the damage. He came home that evening with a worn look on his face and quietly pulled Ron aside to speak privately. The next day the rest of the family and Harry went to Diagon Alley and helped with the cleanup. The three former employees of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes were on hand as well and the day was productive. Harry noticed that Ron and Hermione speaking seriously throughout the day as they worked. Finally around suppertime, Ron approached George and spoke softly to him. George started to smile, the first they'd seen since before the battle and called everyone to attention. "I just wanted to say that thanks to you all, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes will reopen for business next week. And also," George put a hand on Ron's shoulder, "I would like to introduce you to my new partner!" The cheers and applause was loud and long. Harry watched as Ron's face got as red as his hair and then Hermione ran to hug him and kissed him in front of everyone causing several people to start wolf-whistling. Harry quickly glanced at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Their smiles were evident, even from across the room.
A few days later, Hermione went to the ministry and took a portkey to Australia. Three days later, they received news that she had found her parents and successfully removed the memory charm she had placed on them to keep them safe. She said she was going to stay with them for a few weeks. Not only to spend time with them but to help them decide if they should return back to England or stay. They had grown to love Australia over the last year. Ron wasn't happy about her lengthy absence, but he understood her reasoning and tried not to complain. Not much anyway. Besides, George was keeping him busy at the shop. It was obvious that Ron didn't have Fred and George's brilliance when it came to inventing their merchandise, but George had admitted that he did show promise. Ron's self confidence had grown in the last few months and he seemed ready to grasp the bright future that was available to him.
Now Harry was getting ready for another difficult task. He had sent a note to his Aunt Petunia asking if it would be alright if he came back to Privet drive and retrieved the rest of his possessions, if they were still there. The Dursley's had returned two weeks ago to their home to find it none the worse for wear. The Death Eaters must have realized that no one would come back to that house as long as Harry was alive so, other than a walk through ransacking the place, they left the home intact. Dedalus Diggle had returned to No. 4 a few hours before the Dursleys and straightened the entire house up with a flick of his wand. He had also checked the place from top to bottom for any 'unpleasant surprises' that the Death Eaters may have left. The entire house was clear.
Harry's trunk and the possessions he felt wouldn't be necessary while hunting Voldemort were still in his bedroom. At first he thought of leaving the whole mess there. But upon reflection, he remembered the golden egg from the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, his quidditch robes, his spellbooks and cauldron. He came to the conclusion that those things were an important part of his life and he wanted them back. So once more, he planned on going to Privet Drive.
He had used Muggle post to send the letter and, thanks to the ministry, he had a London address that his aunt could mail the reply. Her note was short saying that Saturday at 3 would be fine. They would expect him then.
Harry had told his plans to the Weasleys that morning as they all sat the table eating breakfast when Ginny declared that Harry wasn't going without her. She had fully expected an argument from Harry and was desperately trying to come up with a good reason for her to come along. She really did want to see where he had lived. She had never been to a Muggle home before.
"How are you going to get there?" asked Ron.
"I figured I'd just Apparate to an area I know nearby that doesn't have many people so I should go unnoticed. I mean," he added hastily, seeing Ginny's face, "GINNY and I will Apparate…"
"No need for that, Harry." Said Mr. Weasley. "You said you'd be there by three?" At Harry's nod, Mr. Weasley reached into his pocket and said, "I guess I got this going again right on schedule." And with that, he tossed Harry a set of keys. Harry turned them over in his hand and looked Mr. Weasley, confused.
"Sirius' motorcycle." A grin crossed his face. "I was able to smuggle it to Auntie Muriel's when Bill came to warn us to go into hiding after you three had been caught by the snatchers. Since I didn't have anything else to do, I spent a lot of time working on it."
Harry started to grin. "And you've got it running again?" To his delight, Mr. Weasley smiled and nodded. "And you'll let me borrow it?"
"Harry, it's your bike!" Mr. Weasley said. "Sirius left you everything his owned, didn't he?"
"But you put all that work into it!"
"I was glad to do it," Mr. Weasley assured him. "It gave me something to do while in hiding."
"Arthur, I don't like the idea of Harry riding that Muggle contraption!" Mrs. Weasley burst out. "Muggles get hurt on them all the time!" She glared at her husband for a moment and, after he wilted a bit, turned to Harry. "Don't feel you need to ride that silly thing, dear. Apparition or even a portkey would be safer…"
But Harry's face was glowing. "I can't wait to try it out! Thanks Mr. Weasley!" Then turning to Mrs. Weasley, "And I'll promise I'll be careful, Mrs. Weasley. I'll put a balancing charm on it while we're on it." Harry could have bit his tongue when he saw her face.
"Oh, I don't like the idea of Ginny on it at all!" she exclaimed. "They're so dangerous!"
At that point, everyone in the kitchen began to speak loudly, all claiming that Harry would be a safe driver (despite the fact he'd never driven one before). Mrs. Weasley put her hands up to silence everyone and kept saying over and over, "I just don't know…"
"Please mum?" from Ginny.
Standing up next to her and looking her straight in the eye, Harry said quietly, "Please Mum?"
The effect was immediate. She wrapped her arms around him tightly and gave a soft sob. Everyone was completely silent.
"Oh. All right," she said weakly as Harry hugged her.
Cheers filled the room.
The motorcycle was beautiful. The last time Harry had seen it, it was in several pieces in Mr. Weasley's shed. Now he circled it slowly watched by all the Weasley's except Molly who had suddenly decided that the 3rd floor linen closet desperately needed straightening (ironically where she kept her supply of handkerchiefs). Harry looked sheepishly at Mr. Weasley and admitted, "I've never driven a motorcycle before. In fact, I've never driven a car before!"
"Well, no better time to learn!" Mr. Weasley said jovially. Soon he, Harry, Ron and George were pouring over every inch of the cycle. Ginny watched from a distance with just a bit of trepidation. She had just volunteered to ride with Harry on that thing. She hoped he could figure it out!
But it didn't take Harry long and soon he was driving down the road with Ginny seated behind him with her arms around his chest. He had a difficult time concentrating on the road with her clutching him so tightly and he couldn't help but think about his godfather's bedroom at No. 12 Grimmauld Place with its posters of Muggle girls on the walls. No wonder Sirius loved this bike! Harry wondered how many girls rode on it with him.
He arrived in Little Whinging about twenty minutes sooner than he expected so rather than go straight to his Aunt and Uncle's, he rode slowly around the various places that he knew and gave Ginny a tour of his former hometown. Ginny was surprised when she saw the school he attended before going to Hogwarts. "How many kids were in that building?" she asked.
"I donno. A couple hundred, I suppose"
"A couple hundred?" She was amazed.
"Why does that surprise you?" he asked. "Was that bigger than your school?"
"We never went to school before Hogwarts," She said. "Mum and dad taught us at home."
Harry thought about what it would have been like to be taught by Aunt Petunia with Dudley as his only schoolmate. Brrrrr.
He turned down Privet Drive and started slowly down the street. His heart was starting to beat a bit faster than usual and he wondered why he was starting to feel nervous. After all, Dedalus and Hestia who had stayed with the Dursleys after their forced sabbatical from normal life, reported that there were no major difficulties. Uncle Vernon, of course, was the hardest to deal with. He hadn't wanted to talk to Dedalus or Hestia no matter what the conversation and spent a great deal of time reading whatever Muggle newspapers they could scrounge for him. Dudley, on the other hand, had become quite interested in the wizarding world that his cousin seemed so important to. He had listened to each Potterwatch broadcast with relish and seemed to glow in the reflected fame that Harry brought. Aunt Petunia said very little the entire time but also listened to the radio with, as Harry had been told, a tight and almost worried look on her face.
On May 2, when the news went out about the great battle and its outcome, Aunt Petunia had collapsed in a chair with a handkerchief over her face for some time. When she emerged her eyes had been dry but very bright. Dudley had peppered Hestia with questions after she had returned from Hogwarts castle to get a firsthand account of what had happened and was disappointed that she didn't see Harry because he had already disappeared into Gryffindor tower. Harry had a hunch that the Dursley's willingness to see him now had mainly to do with Dudley.
With a growl, the motorcycle edged its way into the driveway at No. 4 and Harry could see curtains fluttering as someone had just looked out the window and then hurriedly stepped back. As he came to a stop, put the kickstand down and shut off the engine, the front door slammed and Dudley hurried outside. His cousin hadn't changed much over the past year except perhaps to add more muscular bulk with his constant boxing practice. However he did have a hesitant smile on his face that Harry rarely ever saw when Dudley was looking at him. He came to a halt in front of Harry and Ginny and waited till they had removed their helmets. "Ah. Hiya Harry." A large, pink hand extended toward them.
"Hi Dudley. I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley. Ginny, this is Dudley." The two shook hands and then Dudley extended a hand towards Ginny and, very bashfully, shook hands with her and murmured softly, "H'Lo" Harry was astonished to see a patch of pink across his cheeks.
Ginny smiled warmly and said "Hello Dudley. It's so nice to finally meet you! I've been looking forward to meeting Harry's family." Harry had to hide a grin. Ginny had often talked about using her famous 'Bat Bogey' hexes on Dudley after hearing how Harry had grown up with Dudley considering him to be little more than a moving target.
Dudley got even redder and stared down at the ground. Ginny had a hunch that Dudley knew that all the Weasleys knew exactly what Harry's life had been like before Hogwarts. After all, it would be hard to forget the toffee that Fred 'accidentally' dropped in the Dursley's living room four years ago.
"So, is your parents here?" asked Harry, knowing full well they would be.
"Yeah. Mum and Dad are waiting for you," Dudley said with a jerk of his shoulder toward the front door. Harry gently put his arm around Ginny and led her to the house. As they approached, the door opened to reveal Aunt Petunia, smiling slightly. Behind her, Uncle Vernon was looking at Ginny with a mixture of astonishment and disgust. Harry quickly made introductions and Ginny shook hands with Aunt Petunia. Then she boldly walked up to Uncle Vernon with her hands outstretched and he rather reluctantly took her hand, gave one shake then dropped it as if she had burned his fingers.
Harry sighed and said, "Excuse us just for a moment, Aunt Petunia. I just want to take Ginny to see my room upstairs. Then I'll take care of my things." He lead the way up the staircase and to his bedroom door which was slightly ajar. They stepped inside to find his trunk overturned and his old schoolbooks, quidditch robes and other assorted items from his Hogwarts years strewn around the room. Some of his books lay in tatters and his robes were laying in heaps all over the place. His Triwizard egg was on the floor of his wardrobe, the door of which had been ripped off and was jammed between the bed and the wall.
"Were you always this messy?" Ginny asked astonished at the destruction. Harry sighed.
"No, although I was never very clean." He stooped to scoop up the egg. "The Death Eaters must have had fun going through all this." He put the egg in the open trunk and, because he didn't want to be here any longer than necessary, he flicked his wand in one smooth motion. Everything flew up from where they had fallen, circled around the room in a whirlwind then fell into the trunk in an untidy mess. A very untidy mess as the trunk would not close. A couple of adjustments and the trunk was soon latched shut and the room was completely empty. No sign at all that Harry had ever lived there. Another flick of the wand and it disappeared from the house for the last time. Ginny knew that he had sent it to the Burrow for the time being.
They grasped hands and Ginny made to go out the door but Harry pulled her back and kissed her gently. They spent a moment or two holding each other before heading back downstairs.
"Dudders, where are you?" called Aunt Petunia out the front door. Dudley hadn't come into the house with Harry and Ginny but had stayed back to look over every inch of the motorcycle. Now he was grinning as he bounded back into the house. Harry knew that Dudley would soon be badgering Uncle Vernon for a motorcycle of his own and wondered how that would all turn out. Uncle Vernon hated motorcycles but also had a very hard time denying Dudley anything he wanted. He was glad that he wouldn't be around for the ensuing arguments.
As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Ginny looked at the door to the little cupboard under it. Looking back at Harry, she asked the question silently with her eyes. He nodded and she walked over to it, grasped the knob and pulled it open. Harry leaned over around her and pulled the cord that turned on the light. She stared into its interior and glanced, astonished, back at Harry. He smiled and said softly, "I was rather small, you know."
She just looked at him in astonishment as he pulled the cord to turn the light off and firmly shut the door. Looping an arm around her waist, he lead her back to the living room, intending on telling the Dursleys that they would be leaving when the sight of what was waiting for them prevented him from speaking for a few seconds. Petunia was setting down a large tea tray on which was a large sugar-frosted cake and her best tea set. "Won't you stay for tea?" she asked.
"We'd love to, Mrs. Dursley. Thank you!" Ginny replied politely. Petunia led Ginny to one of the chairs while Harry sat in the other. The three Dursleys sat on the couch as they enjoyed their tea and cake. Ginny praised Aunt Petunia's cake and the pretty living room and slowly, very slowly, the conversation became less stilted. Uncle Vernon remained completely silent throughout refusing both tea and cake and glaring at Harry and Ginny. Harry was used to this but he was concerned that Ginny would take offence. She, however, rarely looked at Uncle Vernon and instead focused her attention to Aunt Petunia. They briefly spoke of the war and Harry assured them both that the danger to them had passed. He didn't tell them about the basic protection that he had set up on their house (with some help from an Auror) just in case there was a Death Eater or a stray Voldemort follower that they hadn't accounted for. He felt there were some things best left unsaid.
Just as it was getting obvious to everyone that it was time to leave, Harry reached into his jacket pocket and pulled an envelope out and handed it to Uncle Vernon.
"What's this, boy?" said Uncle Vernon, refusing to touch the envelope.
Harry sighed. "I inherited some money from both my parents and my godfather. Ginny's brother works for the bank and he helped me put some money into a, ah, regular bank account." He shrugged. "It's always a good idea to have some normal money on hand if necessary. Anyway, I've made out some cashiers checks for you. They're to pay you back the money it cost to raise me."
Uncle Vernon couldn't have been more astonished. "Pay us back?" he roared, startling Ginny. "Pay us BACK? Do you have any idea what the last year was LIKE for us? How do you propose to pay us back?" His face had gone purple and his vein was starting to throb.
Ginny got quickly to her feet. In two strides, she was standing in front of where Uncle Vernon was sitting and leaned over him till her face was mere inches from his. "Do you have any idea what it was like for Harry?" she said in a soft but deadly tone. "What it was like on the run for nine months with every dark wizard in the country looking for him and a price on his head? No home to go to, no help to be found because people were too terrified that Voldemort would kill them if they so much as thought about helping Harry?" Ginny had not raised her voice but it became a growl as she continued. "Don't you realize that the night you all left this house, one of our toughest people DIED trying to protect Harry? Don't you realize that only a few weeks ago, over fifty people DIED in the final battle against Voldemort INCLUDING MY BROTHER?"
Ginny stood up abruptly as Harry also got to his feet, crossed over to her and took her in his arms as she shuddered against his shoulder. For a few moments, all was silent as Ginny collected herself. Harry looked over her shoulder to Aunt Petunia who was very white and said softly, "I think we'll be leaving now. Thank you very much for the tea. It was…" The words 'good to see you again' got stuck in Harry's throat so he settled on "very nice." Harry couldn't think of anything more to say and he and Ginny left the room.
"Harry?" Dudley came into the entryway as Harry and Ginny reached the door, Aunt Petunia right behind them. "What about your trunk? How're ya going to get it on your bike?" Harry explained that he'd already sent the trunk ahead.
"Harry?" This time the call was from the living room. Uncle Vernon was standing there holding the envelope and looking at the cashiers checks. Harry approached him and didn't say anything. Uncle Vernon was having an internal war with himself again and, while usually amusing to watch, Harry really did want to leave. "Ah, well, thank you for the money."
"No problem." Said Harry and turned to leave. Just then, there was a doorbell ringing. Harry could hear the sound of the front door opening and a booming voice shouting, "Vernon! There's one of those horrid motorcycles in your driveway! You'd better not have let my precious neffy-poo have one of those contraptions!"
Harry peeked around the corner into the entryway just in time to see Dudley being squashed by his aunt that incredibly, despite Dudley's size, still overshadowed him. Her back was to Harry so she didn't spot him right away. She did, however, notice Ginny as she leaned against the wall, trying to make herself as invisible as she could.
When Aunt Marge let go of Dudley, she took to steps toward Ginny and demanded, "Who're you?"
Dudley stepped forward and stammered, "Auntie, this is Ginny…"
Aunt Marge exclaimed, "Are you my nephew's girlfriend?" At Ginny's confused nod, she suddenly found the breath squeezed out of her as Aunt Marge wrapped her large, meaty arms around her. "What a pretty one you've got here, Dudders!"
"No, Aunt Marge!" Duddly exclaimed! Marge released Ginny who staggered backward a bit and gasped for breath. "Ginny isn't my girlfriend!"
Marge glared at Ginny and said in an accusatory tone "You said…"
"She's with me, Aunt Marge," Harry said quietly. Marge's head whipped around so fast, her neck (what there was of it) cricked. She stared dumfounded at Harry for a couple of seconds before she began to swell with fury.
"What are you doing here?" she screamed. "I came to visit my family and I don't want my time with them ruined by your presence!" Ginny's eyes widened and she looked at Harry with astonishment. Even her Auntie Muriel wasn't this bad!
"Don't worry," said Harry with a bit of a chuckle. "We were just leaving anyway. Besides," he continued as he squeezed past her, "I'm not interested in making small talk with you either!"
"HOW DARE YOU!" She screamed, in such a fury that she was shaking from head to foot and Harry could feel the floorboards tremble beneath him.
Harry stopped and looked back at her. "Unless, of course, you want me to stay?" Smiling he led Ginny to the door. Aunt Petunia and Dudley both followed and stepped outside with them. The four people could clearly hear Marge's incoherent shouts of rage through the closed door. Harry turned to Ginny. "Sorry about that. Did she hurt you when she hugged you like that?"
"Not really," said Ginny rubbing a sore arm. "Just startled me more than anything."
"I'm sorry about my sister-in-law," murmured Aunt Petunia. "She's…" But Petunia didn't have any idea as to how to finish that sentence.
"That's alright, Mrs. Dursley," said Ginny graciously. "I've got some relatives in my family that are indescribable as well." Aunt Petunia gave her a small smile in return.
The goodbyes were short as Aunt Marge would need to be tended to. Harry and Ginny shook their hands and Harry pressed a piece of parchment in his aunt's palm. "Here's an address for me if you need to reach me." At her apprehensive look, he laughed. "It's a Muggle post office box. Regular post will reach me there." He shook Dudley's hand and they watched as the two of them climbed aboard. Ginny waved as Harry started off down the street. As he accelerated, his heart grew lighter. Never again would he ever need to come back to Privet drive!
"Harry?" Ginny asked when he came to a stop at an intersection.
"Your Aunt Marge…"
"Keep in mind, she's not my aunt." Harry corrected her. "She's my uncle's sister."
"Yeah, I know. But I've still got a question."
"Back when you were 13 and she was visiting? How did you stop at ONLY blowing her up like a balloon?"
Harry's laughter echoed throughout the neighborhood.