A/N: I own nothing, just the plot and that may in fact have been sparked by something else I read. JK is the mastermind, I am just taking my favorite Magical folk out to play a bit. Promise to return them all healthy and a live as they should be. Thank you to Love From A Muggle for reading this over for me.
Right After The Final Battle
The Golden trio was exhausted and confused but mostly exhausted. A weeping Molly corralled them and what was left of her family towards the gates so that they could Apparate back to the Burrow. There was nothing more she could do for Fred now, nothing any of them could do, really. He was in a better place and that thought was the only thing that allowed her to hold it together.
"We can't just leave him there, mum," George cried into her shoulder, "He's all alone."
"Georgie, he is not alone. Remus and Tonks are with him and Bill and Fleur are watching over their bodies. He's safe now," Arthur soothed when he realized his dear wife couldn't respond.
The Trio had collapsed at the familiar wooden table in the kitchen. Ginny and Charlie were getting dinner together. A soft knock on the door started them all.
Arthur went to the back door. Upon opening it his face lit up, "Percy! I am so glad you are here your mother will be thrilled. Oh and, my dear, hello, I know I recognize you from the Ministry but I don't know your name."
Percy and his guest walked into the kitchen, where Molly promptly released George and encircled Percy, "Son, I am so glad that you came."
Percy trying to be as gracious as possible, introduced his guest with what little breath was left in his lungs, "Everyone this is my bride, Audrey."
"YOUR WHAT?" Molly squealed. Audrey shrunk back, the rest of the rooms occupants sucked all the air out of the room in a gasp.
"Audrey and I have been together as a couple for some time and with the likelihood of one of us not surviving the battle, I beseeched her to take my hand in matrimony," Percy said straightening himself and pulling Audrey to him in a protective hug.
"You did what?" Harry asked, his brain was too foggy to understand what he just heard but the look on Molly's face told him something important had just been revealed.
"They eloped," Hermione said flatly.
"We hardly just eloped," Percy said fiercely.
"What else do you call stealing off to get married?" George shot back.
"Regardless if you snuck away to get married secretly or if you merely ran off to do it, isn't it all the same. Must we really get stuck on semantics, Percy? I am too tired to argue with you today," Hermione said with a sigh.
Ron looked at the rest of his family and noted that they looked as confused as he felt, so he didn't think it would make him look stupid to ask an obvious question, "Perce, how'd you know to come to the portrait? And, not to be insulting, but I thought you were on the other side?"
A wave of embarrassment mixed with sadness passed over Percy's face, but before he could say a word Audrey spoke up, "Percy and I have been working under cover for the Order for the last three years. We were recruited while we were Hogwarts. We had to make the Ministry and everyone else believe that we were absolutely loyal to the Ministry and whatever darkness was going on there. The only ones who knew what we the truth were Snape, Dumbledore and Amelia Bones. When Amelia was killed Dumbledore said we had to go in deeper."
"I'm so sorry, mum. I was so callous to you and dad, but I had to because if I wasn't then I wouldn't be able to fake it. I have missed you all so much. Please forgive me. I did it for the Order and for the greater good."
"Son, leave it to you to go at an assignment 100 percent," was all Arthur could manage as he and Molly hugged their lost son and his new wife.
"We'll have to plan a real wedding for you just as soon as we can. We'll start planning right away." Molly said to the couple she was crushing to her. She didn't see the look of fear in their eyes.
After a moment of hugging all round with in the Weasley's, Percy broke free and sat down at the table where Hermione and Harry were sitting shell shocked in the corner, "I owe the two of you more apologies than I can ever express. The things I said to and about you were depraved, and I didn't mean a word of them. I beseech you both to reach into your hearts of compassion and excuse me from my behavior. The both of you are as much family to the Weasley's as blood. Please know that I was only playing a role and that I may be a pompous arse, but I am not a monster."
Harry nodded at him and put out his hand to shake. Hermione tried to smile. They were still lost in the land of grief and shock.
Charlie and Ginny finished putting the food on the table and in true Molly fashion, everyone was ordered to eat. There was no one unaware of the empty seat beside George though.
"I suppose the Ministry will make a schedule for the funerals," Percy said somberly. Harry, Hermione and Ron just looked at him slack jawed. "How could you be so matter of fact about it, you pompous git?" Ron bellowed. "It's only been a few hours, that your brother is dead can't you be a little more… more…and you say I have the emotional capacity of a teaspoon!"
"RONALD!" Molly yelled in shock.
"Molly, they don't know," Arthur said quietly.
"We don't know what?" Hermione asked, she didn't like to ever not know something especially something that seemed important.
"Oh, I assumed that when you were at Shell Cottage, Fleur and Bill told you. I thought you were included. OH MY GODS you went into that battle with out the binding!?" realization dawning on Molly. The rest of the Weasley's looked equally horrified.
Charlie was next to start bellowing, "You mean you went into that Battle with no protection. Have you lost your fragile minds? Don't answer that, I know the answer to that question. You have no minds!"
"What binding?" Hermione tried again, "What are you talking about? What are we missing?"
Charlie laughed, "Fleur, Bill and Remus worked out a binding protection. Each Order member provided a sample of blood and Bill applied his curse breaking skills to come up with a spell of protection. As long as one member survived the rest could not die."
"That sounds a lot like dark magic to me," Hermione said confused.
"He'll have to explain it but really the inspiration came from the magic Lilly used that kept Harry alive. Remus and Bill spent months working it out, it was only after Tonks had Teddy that Fleur figured out the last bit. We all assumed that you had been included too," Arthur explained further.
"But they… We saw them… They… Their bodies… They're dead," Harry finally worked out.
"No," George finally spoke, "No they aren't. Do you think I'd be sitting here stuffin' m' face if half of me was dead?" A look of disgust clouded his face.
"What George is trying to say is that, when someone that is bound is mortally wounded or AK'd their body shuts down. It goes into this, um what is the word Dad?" Gin asked.
"Suspected abomination, I think Bill called it," Arthur replied and Ginny shook her head.
"Suspended animation?" Hermione corrected him.
"Yes, that's it!"
"Well it's not really suspended animation…" Percy interrupted
Ginny continued loudly over top of her brother, "So their body is in this coma like state where it can't incur more damage and they are completely unconscious. That way no one would know they weren't dead."
"Now, Bill, Fleur and the other Order members are getting them squared away at St. Mungo's," Arthur added. "Their bodies will have to heal before they can be brought back around."
Charlie spoke next, "The dark curse wounds will have to heal with time, so for some it will be a long time. For the those like Fred, who merely had a wall collapse on them, they should be back to normal in a couple of days."
Harry's eyes lit up, "You mean Moony is alive? He and Tonks aren't dead? Teddy isn't an orphan? And and Fred, he is still alive too. What about Snape?"
"Well Harry, we didn't know that Snape was on our side, so he wasn't included."
"That's alright," Ron, who was now able, joked, "He'd just have died of embarrassment later if Harry tried to befriend him." The table laughed at the image.
"Wait, if that was the case, then why did you and Audrey say you got married because one of you may die?" Hermione asked Percy.
"No one, knew that we were actually part of the Order so we weren't included either. I only found out because Bill told me when I went to say goodbye to Fred's body, before they took him off to St. Mungo's."
"Once everyone has a chance to clean up, we'll go over to hospital and see what help we can be. Harry do you want to go see Andromedia or go with us?" Molly asked when she started clearing the dishes.
"I'll go see Andromedia and Teddy. Maybe she can go to the hospital if I stay with him," Harry said.
Ginny smiled at him, "I'll go with him, Mum. He may need some help with the nappies."
"I will go with you to the hospital, if that is all right," Hermione added, "I have some questions for Bill and may be able to help out with the countercharm. I'd also like to be able to report back to Harry about the Lupins."
Percy and Audrey left with promises to meet the rest at St. Mungo's in an hour.
The Weasley family found Fred awake but groggy in the room he shared with the Lupins. Neither of them were awake yet as they had more extensive curses to heal including some dark curses.
"George!" Fred exclaimed thickly as his twin bound into the room. The sudden sound startled Bill who had been dozing off in the chair by the bed.
"Nice to see you too, brother o' mine," George said as he launched himself onto his brother.
"Ouch, still a little sore there, you big lug," Fred laughed.
"Just wait till mum gets her hands on you," George winked as Molly ripped him off her child so that she could hug him.
"Mum, I'd hate for all our hard work to be for naught when you squeeze him to death," Bill laughed. Molly gave him a glare but released Fred.
While the rest of the Weasley clan had entered the room and were gathered on Fred's bed, Hermione set down in the chair between the Lupins and prayed.
She hadn't been brought up particularly religious but as much as she believed in magic she also believed there was someone out there that had created the world and she was silently calling out to them to help her friends heal. She knew that the longer it took the Lupins to heal the worse the effects on Harry and he didn't need any more scars.
Fred was encircled by his family but noticed the reverently bent head of the bossy girl on the other side of the room. He had developed a fondness for her during their time at Grimmauld Place years ago and had enjoyed giving her a hard time at Hogwarts. He had been particularly pleased to hear that after they had opened Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, Hermione had been sure to confiscate as many of their banned merchandise as possible at Hogwarts, to help drum up their mail order business. Ron had been thrilled to because he got keep all the confiscated items.
Hermione had also sent Fred a lovely thank you note for the Day Dream potion he had given her, again complimenting him on his extraordinary charm work. Compliments from her about their magic skills were better than any review in the Profit. In fact, he and George had discussed asking her for permission to put "Hermione Granger Approved" on future packaging.
"How's the 'Perfect Prefect' and 'The Boy Who Won't Die' holding up," Fred asked Ron?
"Harry and Gin are with Teddy. I don't think Harry was up to seeing them like that," he answered nodding at the other side of the room. "She on the other hand is, well she's Hermione. She just keeps going, no matter what happens to her she just keeps on going just like it's all a problem to be solved."
"So you two a couple now? George said you two were snogging during the battle," Fred teased his brother after their parents had left to join Bill and the Medi-Witches with the other patients.
"Ugh, that's going to be a problem, I think. It was just in the heat of the moment and I just don't … What am I going to do, I know she fancies me now," Ron said miserably.
Hermione laughed from the other side of the room, "No actually, Ronald, I was thinking the same thing. How was I going to break it off with you. All that kiss did was prove that we are best mates and that is it."
"Thank gods!" The relief flowing off Ron was tangible.
"So now what, Granger? Want to try out snogging a real man?" George cooed as he walked towards her swinging his hips wildly.
"What? No! You? Oh my, stop it George Weasley this is a hospital room not a pub!" Hermione scolded, but the smile on her face showed she was amused by his behavior not offended. The rest of the Weasley boys were in hysterics.
Just then, Luna wandered in, "I thought I heard your voices," she said in her dreamy affect. Hermione noticed she was still wearing the same clothes Fleur had given her at Shell Cottage and that she had worn in the final battle.
"Luna, what are you doing here?" Ron asked her.
"My father is on the same ward as Neville's parents and Professor Lockhart. The Medi-witch says he couldn't cope with my disappearance and what happened after he turned you three in. He is in a catatonic state," she said sadly. "Really, I think that when the house blew up all the Nargles got him at once. That many on him at once and it could make his mind more fuzzy than normal."
"Oh, Luna, that's terrible. Where are you staying," Hermione asked as she came over to put her arm around her friend. It was true that Luna originally annoyed her with the over the top creations of nonsense but after their time in the DA and the Ministry and especially after Malfoy Manor, they had developed a strong friendship.
"I don't know," Luna said to the floor. "Honestly, I hadn't thought about it yet."
"None of that, my dear," Molly said as she walked in the door, "You'll stay with us. We have plenty of extra rooms even with Hermione and Harry moving in." With that, it was decided, Harry, Hermione and Luna were moving into the Burrow.
"George, speaking of home, have you been by the shop?" Fred asked.
"No, but Lee has, he is there now bringing down all of our anti-entry wards. He'll be by in a bit to give a report."
Molly and Arthur brought Luna home with them to help prepare dinner, while Charlie and George helped Fred home. Ginny and Harry were back and glad to see their friends. Ginny offered to go up and expand her room right away so the three girls would fit.
"I don't think that is necessary," Molly said. "We have Bill and Percy's rooms available too, so we can move Harry into one and Luna and Hermione in the other. Charlie, do you know how long you will be staying. Not to push you out dear, just want to prepare myself for you running off to Romania again."
"Actually, Molly, Kingsley wants to talk to Charlie about working for the Ministry of Magic's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. He'll be by tomorrow with one of the heads." Arthur was hopeful that Charlie would take the job and stay a bit closer to home.
"Oh, that would be wonderful. Charlie, do you think you'll take it?" Molly asked excitedly.
"Mum, this is the first I've heard of it, I have no idea, but I don't really see myself sitting behind a desk."
"Wouldn't hurt any of you to go sit behind a desk for a while," Molly huffed. "I guess you three will be going in to sign up as Aurors tomorrow won't you," she said turning on the Golden Trio pointing a wooden spoon at them accusatorily.
"Um actually, Mrs. Weasley, uh Molly," Harry quickly corrected himself at her glare, "I think I can speak for the three of us and say that we would like to take a bit of a break from fighting Death Eaters. I for one would really like to find out more about the Potter side of my family and I'm sure Hermione wants to find a way to bring her parents back when it's safe." Turning to Ron, "What about you, mate?"
"I'm with you. I have seen enough fighting to last me a long, long time. I figured we'd help rebuild a bit and stay near to mum," Ron said. He really had missed his family more than he had let on.
"Mione, Ginny, Luna what about you three? Are you going to go back to Hogwarts for a seventh year. What about your NEWTs?" Molly asked.
"I think, I'll have to think about it and talk to Professor McGonagall really," Hermione answered.
"Right now I can't even wrap my mind around it," Luna said in a moment of clarity.
"I know, Luna," Hermione said, "I really just want to try to catch up with myself and then I'll want to try to right my parents."
Ginny smiled, "Mum, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's just focus on this week, then we can start looking at next fall. I plan to help out Andromeda as much as she needs it until Tonks and Lupin come home."
Molly beamed at her family. They were so grown up now, doing the mature thing – waiting and resting not running out to face danger again.
The fireplace roared and out stepped Lee Jordan and Verity Hale, who were covered in dust.
"Well, how bad is it?" Fred and George said in unison.
"Dusty but still standing," Lee smiled.
"Yes, well it would be less dusty if someone hadn't missed a trip line that set off a series of Peruvian Instant Darkness powder bombs," she snorted. "It was a miracle we stumbled into the floo and landed here."
"Oh loosen up Ver, no harm done. It was kind of fun having to find you in the dark like that," Lee winked at her.
"I'll tell you now, Lee Jordan that is the only time you'll ever find me in the dark with you. I pitty any girl that ends up with you." Verity was so used to the flirting from Lee and the Twins that she wasn't nearly as annoyed as she sounded, but she had to put on a good show. She was so incredibly relieved that they had all made it, but that didn't mean she couldn't give them a hard time. She also noticed the gorgeous red head in cargo trousers and tight t-shirt barely covering his muscles.
"So I see you two have ended up a happy couple in our absence? George is going to be jealous," Fred joked, "He's been after Jordan for years."
George who had been nodding and leering at Verity, nearly choked when he caught what Fred implied and turned bright red, which sent the all in the kitchen into hysterics. Keeping with the show and proving he was quick on his feet, Lee grabbed George in his arms and dipped him low while making loud wet kissing sounds.
"Enough you two. You're making a mess of my kitchen," Molly said shooing them out the door. Go out back and set up tables and chairs for dinner. I believe we have out grown the kitchen and we haven't eaten out in the garden in a long time. Verity dear you can go freshen up in the washroom up the stairs on the left. Ginny be a dear and show the girls to their rooms."
Fred stuck his head back in the door after the girls passed, "Mum, it looks like after tonight we'll be staying at the flat above the shop. We'll go clean it up tomorrow. So our room will be free too."
"You know you don't have to rush, there is plenty of room," Arthur said.
"No, George and I would like to get things back to normal at the shop as soon as possible. I think it will help keep spirits up if folks see businesses opening back up."
"When did those two get so mature and grow a social conscience?" Molly asked her husband in a moment of awe. Equally shocked, he just shook his head.
Bill and Fleur popped in just as Molly was guiding the last dish to the table and Arthur had set all the lights in the trees to twinkle. It wasn't yet dark but they would be a wonderful help when the sun did finally fade and put an end to this long day.
Percy and Audrey who arrived shortly before, stood to raise a glass, "I would like to toast all of you who are family by blood or by circumstance. Thank you for welcoming me back into your hearts and for welcoming my beloved, as well. I'd also like to commemorate all of those who have not made it back to their families. May we always be reminded how very fortunate we are."
"Well, Percy the Pompous Prefect is back to making speeches," George said while ducking rolls thrown at him by his brother and new sister in law.
"Blimey, that's new," Ron exclaimed.
"Yeah who knew, old Perce had been paying attention during all of those Weasley family food fights," Charlie joined in. He had somehow managed to get himself sitting right beside Verity. Much to his surprise she could actually handle his brothers, it was the most entertaining part of the night.
"PUT THE FOOD DOWN!" Molly bellowed, "This is our first meal together as a family in almost a year PUT IT DOWN NOW. Fred that means you too."
After dinner Ginny and Harry walked down in the field a bit, "Everything alright, Harry?"
"Yes and no. I am just thinking about how close Teddy came to losing his parents and that made me think about my parents and Sirius. Gin, do you remember reading anything about the Potters beyond my parents and me?"
"Well, not really much was mentioned, but I am sure my dad will know something. Bill can probably find out information from Gringott's I would imagine all the documentation is there if it isn't at the Ministry. I'm sure that Proffessor Lupin will be able to tell you all about them when he is up and around, too."
"True, I just have to be patient I guess," Harry shrugged.
"Yeah, we all know how well you handle that," she smiled.
"I also keep seeing Neville and Oliver carrying Collin across the lawn. He wasn't supposed to be there," Harry said dropping to sit on the ground by a tree.
"Harry James Potter, are you, the boy who has been everywhere he shouldn't and managed to save the world at the same time at all surprised that a boy who idolized you did exactly what you would have done?" Ginny asked incredulously.
"Well um when you put it that way I guess not."
"Harry you can't think of them all right now. In fact think about this, if it wasn't for Bill and Fleur how many others would we have lost?"
"I know, I just, it's just all so much right now. And then there is us," Harry said looking her in the eye. She sat down in front of him.
"What about us, Harry?"
"It's not over, Gin. The press, the people, they'll be all over me now. I mean, there won't be any Dark Lords looking to torture you to get to me but the press, the Rita Skeeters out there won't let you be," he looked defeated.
"Harry, I have loved you since I was a little girl. First, it was a boy in a story. Then it was my brother's friend, then it was as you, my Harry, who is none of those things and all of them. I loved you when you said we had to be apart and I loved you when we were apart. Now I have you here and I love you still. I think I can handle those reporters, I lived through the Carrows, didn't I?"
Harry reached over and pulled her to him, "I guess your right, now can we pick up where we left off the morning of Bill's wedding?"
She smiled at him and gently kissed his lips. He pulled her into his lap and momentarily reveled in this happiness. This moment was special because he knew that reality would come crashing down the next morning. For now though, he and Ginny were all right. Most of the people he loved were all right.
Amongst all the kissing there was also quite a bit of talking and even more crying. Harry wanted her to be heard. She explained in detail what life at Hogwarts had been like. When she told him about how the Carrows made the students practice Unforgivables on each other, he was barely able to contain his anger. When she told him about how she and the other DA members hid the weaker students and the ones who were being targeted, he could barely contain his pride in her. When she told him about the few students who disappeared at the hands of the Carrows and how Neville had managed to make a few more students on their list disappear to safety, he beamed. He was so proud of his friends and he couldn't even begin to wrap his mind around how he felt about Ginny.
"Ginny, I know that you were upset that I couldn't take you with us, but honest to Merlin, what you accomplished was just as important as what I was doing," he said making her look him in the eye so that she'd know how sincere he was.
"No, you are the Golden Trio and you love are the Chosen One," she giggled.
"I may be the Chosen One but you love are my chosen one, and I love you," he said slipping his mother's ring on her finger. "One day will you choose me, too?"
For the first time in Ginny's life, she was speechless. All she could do was stare at the ring, he had magically sized to her finger.
"Ginny, say something. Anything?" He could feel the fear gripping his heart.
"Harry, I can't-"
He stopped her, "Don't say no yet, just-"
"Harry, stop. I wasn't saying no, I was saying I can't wait to be your chosen one and you don't have to wait to be mine, I chose you years ago," she was beaming at him.
Now it was Harry's turn to be speechless, but then a thought occurred to him, "Bloody hell, your brothers are going to kill me." They both laughed until they couldn't breath and then just held on to each other knowing they would always have each other to lean on.
"You know that not all of my days are going to be happy ones, right, Gin," he said sobering up a bit?
"No you must be kidding me, you mean to say that Harry Potter could be facing days of moodiness and survivors guilt? I simply don't believe it," Ginny feigned disbelief.
"Well you're a right smart arse, now aren't ya?"
Looking quite proud of herself she smirked, "I did learn from the very best you know."
When they walked back up to the house holding hands there were the predictable cat calls, but there was also a beaming Mr and Mrs Weasley. Harry asked Ginny to wait until he had the opportunity to ask her father properly for her hand before wearing the ring publicly. Until then she had it on a chain around her neck under her robes. She knew that doing this right was very important to Harry and enjoyed being the only one to know. That didn't mean she couldn't have a little fun with him though in the mean while and perhaps rile her brothers up a bit at the same time.
Charlie and Ron were playing Exploding Snap at the table and called Harry over to join them. "Keep in mind, Potter that you have to get passed me and Ron's rooms to get to Gin's. And I am a very light sleeper."
Harry paled then grinned, "Thought hadn't even crossed my mind, mate. And I have bunked with both of you before, you sleep like the dead and snore like the Hogwarts Express."
"Just wanted you ta know," Ron said in his best imitation of Charlie before their noses started to pour mucous. "What the hell?"
Ginny was standing a few feet away, "You'll mind your business or this will seem like your best night ever for picking up a girl."
Harry laughed, "I think I have enough to worry about from her, then to suffer threats from you two."
"I think I am going to bed, sweet dreams boys," Ginny said. "Harry, you coming up now or later?" She followed up cheekily.
"Uh, I'll be up in a bit. I'll see you in the morning love?" Harry replied, knowing that it was not really an invitation to join her, just a dig at her brothers.
"Yeah, see you in the morning. Luna, 'Mione, I'm going up. Lets gets you something to change into, I'm sure all of your old clothes are too big now." When the girls caught up with her she added, "Don't worry mum's cooking will bring your curves back out in no time."