As we sat in George's shop, I noticed a change in demeanor from Ron and George. They talked and joked with Harry just fine, but it seemed tense. I observed Harry and he seemed just as cool and collected as he had been when I had visited his home. I glanced at my watch, it was typically the time I started my paperwork.
I looked up and met Harry's eyes. He mouthed to meet him at his place later, I nodded. The exchange took a few seconds and went by unnoticed by Ron and George. I stood and stretched.
"Well, gentlemen, I have paperwork to file and I have to update Kingsley on you, Harry. Ron, should I take care of your paperwork?" I inquired.
Ron glanced up. "I can take care of it, I will come with you. George..."
"Nonsense Ron, it's the same paperwork I have to do. You're catching up with your best friend whom you haven't seen in forever. Besides I feel like I'm intruding on a conversation that you three want to have but can't while I'm here." I stated factually.
Ron rolled his eyes. "If you were going to insist on doing it anyway, why did you even ask? I owe you one, mate."
I nodded and was going to say something more, but the flash of green from the fireplace interrupted me. "George? Is Ron there?" Molly Weasley's voice called.
Ron went over to the fireplace. "I'm here, Mum. What do you need?"
"I going to assume Draco is with you as well. You, George and Draco are coming to dinner. It has been far too long since I have seen any of you boys and I'm afraid you boys are going to become twigs because you don't eat properly, and don't you roll your eyes at me, either one of you boys. You're coming for dinner whether you like it or not. Five-thirty sharp." She stated sternly.
Ron looked over at me, "Apparently, you are coming to the Burrow for dinner." I nodded, Ron's eyes settled on Harry and he turned back to the firepit. "Mum, you had better set an extra plate, I'm going to be bringing someone."
"Ronald, is it a girl? You know I want grandkids..."
"Mum, it's a surprise! It's a good surprise, so be prepared. I have to go though, Draco and I have paperwork to get to. Bye, Mum." Ron said quickly.
Molly said her goodbyes and the fireplace returned to normal.
George chuckled a bit, "Boy, is she going to be surprised when she sees you Harry."
Harry chuckled as well, "I suppose so. We might need to bring smelling potions. Think you could manage that, George?"
"Make Draco do it." George said teasingly as he took the empty teapot into the back to make more.
I chuckled, "If I must. I really must be getting to the office to work on that paper work if I don't want to encounter the wrath of your mother."
"Thanks again Draco, see you at the Burrow." Ron said as I took my leave.
I left the shop and apparated to the office.
"So, where have you really been Harry? Because "Oh, here and there" isn't good enough for me." Ron asked as soon as Draco left.
George came back into the room with more tea. "You better spill, Harry. You have been gone for years, you don't write ever. No word from you, Ron was doing everything in his power to not go insane. I really thought he was going to lose it when he was partnered with Malfoy."
I laughed, "I have been travelling. I would go to the airport and choose a location at random, then go there for a while and when I got bored there, I would go back to the airport and choose a new location. I didn't really want to be found by the press or by psychotic fans. I figured if I did disappear for awhile, I would be able to live a happy normal life. And I have, I have been able to just be me and it's incredible. Nobody came up to me asking for my autograph, nobody wanted a picture or an interview. I was just able to relax and be somebody who didn't have to save anybody." I sighed a breath in relief.
"So you didn't write because you didn't want to be found?" Ron asked incredulously.
"Not just not found, I wanted a chance to be free. Besides with as much as I was travelling the owls would have all gotten lost trying to find me." I said casually.
"The owls would have been able to find you just fine, they would have followed your magic signature." George countered.
I glanced over to him, "But I haven't been using magic at all. I've gone full muggle since I last saw you guys. I grew up without knowing about magic, and was hardly able to use it outside of Hogwarts, so I know how to live without magic."
"No magic, ever?" They said it simultaneously. I smiled faintly, I had heard the third voice, the echo of George's voice.
"No magic ever."
"All because you didn't want to be found?" Ron asked.
I poured myself some more tea, "I felt it unnecessary to use magic. It would have drawn attention to me, when that was something I was trying to avoid. So with that logic I was perfectly fine."
"You were perfectly fine while the rest of us were bloody worried about whether you were alive or not." Ron said grimly.
I nodded, "I know and I feel horrible for that, but I also had to sort things out for myself to be able to get on with life. There were times when I..." I hesitated trying to reword my thought so as to not hurt the two. "There were times when I would just not be able to feel things and I would have minor panic attacks because I felt like Voldemort was still around. I knew how people I was close to would react and I didn't want that. So technically speaking I was away for my health."
Ron and George exchanged a look and continued to grill me about where I had been and what I had been doing. I answered the questions well enough. I wasn't entirely lying, I had traveled quite a bit early on in my state of isolation, but I had been in isolation at my home for the past few years. Within the few hours that I was there, Ron and George kept the questions coming. The questions stopped as it drew near time for us to depart to The Burrow. We stepped outside to and walked to the apparation point, Ron had apparated more than George and I had, so George and I side-apparated with him to The Burrow.
We took about five steps before there was another apparation sound behind us. We turned, then greeted Draco as he stepped up and joined our group. When we turned back to the burrow, I mentally braced myself for the bombardment of hugs, embracement and other forms of affection as well as the second round of questioning.