Version: 1.0 (2006); 1.1 (2012)
Chapter 23: Freedom
After Ginny had been released from the hospital later that day, she returned to Grimmauld Place with her parents. Harry still had trouble going there without feeling restless, so when her brother Bill showed up at the hospital, Harry talked Bill into letting him share his flat for the five to six weeks until the wedding. The little room Bill gave him was as small as the one he had stayed in at the Dursleys, but Harry didn't care; there were no bad memories there. Having a place to talk with Ginny that was not in front of her parents was an added bonus.
Harry felt bad that Grimmauld Place would be home for the Weasleys for some time as they couldn't afford to rebuild The Burrow. While he knew that theoretically the Weasleys were always targets for Death Eater activity because they were part of the Order, he also felt that it was really his fault The Burrow had been targeted, so he talked Mr. Weasley into going out to lunch the next day.
They met at the Leaky Cauldron, a place Harry could easily get to. Harry steered them to a booth in the back. "Mr. Weasley, thanks for coming."
"No problem, Harry. What did you want to talk about? I would suspect it's something about the wedding since you did not want to talk about it in front of Molly last night," Ginny's father said with an easy smile.
"Actually, no. I wanted to talk to you about helping with the repairs to The Burrow." When the man started to object, Harry put his hand up to stop him and hastily went on with his reasoning. "Mr. Weasley, I know that you think I shouldn't do this, and that this probably would have happened anyway. That might be true, but my being there last Christmas was the reason they came at that time. It's quite possible the war would have ended before they got around to coming after your family. Since I am a major reason for the damage, I should help with repairs."
"Really now, Harry. You don't need to do that. It's a little inconvenient, but we'll manage, we always have. Besides, I wouldn't want you spending any of your money on this, especially as you're about to start a new life," Mr. Weasley reasoned.
Reaching into his pocket, Harry pulled out a bank draft he had gone to Gringotts for that morning. "Mr. Weasley, what you don't understand is that I have more than enough money. In addition to what my parents left me, I inherited practically everything from Sirius, and the Black family was very well off." Harry put the draft down on the table and slid it over to the man. "Please, take this and rebuild The Burrow. It is home to the Weasley clan, and I think of it as home too."
Arthur looked at the paper and almost fell out of his chair. The bank draft was for 100,000 Galleons. "H-Harry, I can't take this. It's far too much."
"Of course you can, Mr. Weasley. I realise it may be for more than you need to rebuild, but don't forget you'll have to buy a lot of new furnishings too, not just rebuild walls."
Harry interrupted him to pull out his ace in the hole. "Mr. Weasley, I'm about to become part of your family, aren't I?" The man nodded. "Then please let me do this. Families do this for each other. You'd do this for me if the situation was reversed, wouldn't you?" Arthur nodded again and Harry could see he had won the argument. "Then allow me do this for you. Or if you prefer, let me do this for Ginny; I know she misses The Burrow too."
The lunch and the discussion went on for a while longer, but Harry had already won. In the end, Arthur said he would put it into the Weasley family vault and repairs would probably start by mid-July.
— — —
At the end of lunch, Harry Floo-called Ginny and had her come to Diagon Alley. As they walked around, they were amazed at all the celebrating going on. Fred and George's business was doing very well; their fireworks were their present top sellers. Harry thought the Ministry workers responsible for Obliviating Muggles were going to be working overtime for the next few days.
During their stroll, they made sure to stop by the watchmaker's shop Ginny had bought his watch from. Harry had looked at it while waiting in the hospital the day before and noticed that the hands had stopped. In addition, Ginny's special hand was frozen on Mortal Peril, when there was no reason for it to be.
Entering the old watchmaker's shop, Harry took off the watch to hand it over. "Hello, my girlfriend, well, fiancée now," Ginny smiled at his change, "bought this watch here. You told her it was spell resistant and everything, yet it's stopped working."
The old man took the watch from Harry and started examining it. "That's very strange, very little can completely ruin one of these." He looked up at Harry and saw the scar on his forehead, causing him to finally recognize the young man. "Are you really Harry Potter?" Harry nodded a little shyly. "Were you wearing this when you fought You-Know-Who?"
Harry sighed at yet another person who wouldn't say Voldemort's name. "Yes."
"First, I must offer my congratulations, Mr. Potter. I appreciate what you did." He smiled and Harry returned it. "Second, I'll happily replace this for you. Just hold on for a few minutes and let me get another one from the back."
The watchmaker came back shortly and pulled a new watch out of the box. "I assume you would like the personal hand to point to your young lady again?"
"Yes," Harry answered. "Also, what could have caused the watch to stop like that?"
The old man smiled at him as he personalized the watch. "As I said, very little could do this. However, there is one known spell guaranteed to cause it to completely malfunction: the Killing Curse."
Harry stared at the old watch lying on the counter as he contemplated how close he'd come to death. He kissed Ginny. "Thanks for the watch, Ginny!"
She grinned at him. "You're always welcome, Harry."
"Would you like something engraved on the back of it?" the old man asked. "I'll do it for free."
Ginny looked thoughtful for a moment before she smiled. "How about: To Harry, my personal hero, Love Ginny." Harry blushed and Ginny put her arm around his waist and pulled him closer.
A few minutes later, Harry walked out with his new watch. The watchmaker smiled as he watched the couple leave. He would put the old watch on display in the shop window with a sign about it saving the Chosen-One's life. It would be an advertiser's dream come true.
Harry had no clue how the old man had found him, but as he was finishing breakfast the next day, Albus Dumbledore knocked on the door to Bill's apartment. "Harry, would you have a few minutes to talk with me this morning?"
Not really having any special plans yet, Harry invited him in. "Sure, come in and have a seat. Bill's already left for work." While Harry felt better about the old man, he was still a little wary.
"Oh, excellent, that makes it easier. I had a few questions for you, and our discussion might be easier if it's only the two of us," the Professor said as he sat.
Harry had an idea of what was coming, but couldn't figure out how to get out of it. He also felt he should play host too. "I was just finishing breakfast so I have some extra tea. Would you like some?"
"Yes, that's very kind of you." Albus waited patiently and quietly until Harry joined him with two cups of tea. "Thank you, Harry. I trust you're enjoying your summer so far?"
"Ah, yes sir. Not being at the Dursleys is a wonderful thing. I'll be here until my wedding. Oh, Ginny wanted me to ask you if you officiated at weddings."
"Why yes I can. It's one of the privileges of being the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. I'd be happy to do that for you two."
"Thank you sir," Harry told him. "I'll tell her and let you know the exact time later, but the date is presently set for the 9th of August."
"Very good, I'll make sure that day is set aside for your wedding." Dumbledore had more of his tea and then looked at Harry solemnly. "Harry, would you please tell me what happened on the train, everything you can remember. I'd like to know for posterity's sake if nothing else, though I believe I might learn a thing or two as well."
Harry had been right in his guess. Trying not to think about it all too hard, Harry told him the full story. The memory of that fateful day was still a bit painful to relive as he explained how Ginny was hurt, but at least the story did have a happy ending. When Harry has finished, he went into his little room and came back with a small grayish pebble. "This small fragment is all that's left of what was Tom Riddle. Do you think anything could ever be done with it to restore him from it? Should I destroy this too?"
Dumbledore held out his hand. "May I see it?" Harry handed it over. The Professor waved his wand over it a few times before he said, "No, there is no danger from this, but perhaps I can ease your mind a little more," he said with a smile. "May I turn it into a souvenir for your?" Harry nodded and Dumbledore did a spell Harry had never seen before. When the old wizard was finished, the fragment was inside of a glass ball that was flat on the bottom. "For your desk," Dumbledore told him as the old man handed him a new paper weight with the grayish pebble suspended in the middle.
"Thank you, sir."
Dumbledore nodded and got up. "If you'll let me know the final plans for the wedding, I'll see you then, Harry. Have a nice summer with Ms. Weasley."
Harry decided that was a nice idea and called her on the Floo to see what they needed to do today for the wedding.
By the end of the first week home, Harry wasn't sure they were going to get married this summer after all. After Ginny had basically tricked her mum into agreeing to let them get married, Molly Weasley began having major second thoughts and wanted to take her permission back. Harry didn't think that was very fair, but as Mr. Weasley pointed out him, "Harry, you need to get used to the fact that women do change their minds sometimes."
Harry and Ginny had a long conversation about what to do and how to convince her mother to agree again. Unbeknownst to her, Hermione again saved the day. Looking through the Charms book that Hermione had given him for his last birthday, he saw a memory spell that looked very useful. After even more discussion, they decided it was the only way. After all, they would need Arthur and Molly's permission for Ginny to get married on Saturday the 9th, two days before her sixteenth birthday.
To make the plan work, Harry contacted Remus who was the only non-Weasley person living at Grimmauld Place and asked him to go out for the evening, which he willingly did with Tonks. As the Order of the Phoenix had little to do now, there was no meeting, so only the Weasleys were there. Harry also asked Ron to go elsewhere, like Hermione's, which he gladly did. Finally, Harry worked up his courage and returned to Grimmauld Place for the first time since his difficult episode last Christmas.
After Ginny's parents finished dinner with them, the four of them retired to the living room for the wedding discussion. The conversation during dinner had been quite cordial though everyone seemed to avoid the topic of the wedding. Harry locked the door and threw an Imperturbable Charm on the room to be safe, which raised the elder Weasleys' eyebrows, though they said nothing.
Ginny decided to go straight to the point. "Mum, Dad, we'd like to discuss the wedding with you."
"Ginny," her mum spoke up, "now that I've had time to think about it, I'm all right with you getting married, but I really do believe that you two need to wait until you finish school."
The bride-to-be tried to ignore that for a moment to see how hard this was going to be. "Dad, what's your opinion?"
Her father hesitated before answering. "I think it would be for the best for you to wait, unless you had a very good set of reasons why you shouldn't. I know you really want to get married now, but I'm not sure I know why you think that, so maybe if you could explain it, that would help your Mum and I to understand."
The young couple looked at each other and Ginny sighed, they were going to have to do it apparently. "All right, we're willing to tell you everything you want to know about this, but there is one condition." Her dad raised an eyebrow not expecting that. "The condition is that Harry places a Celare charm on you during the explanation."
"A what?" her parents asked at the same time.
"There is a spell called a Celare charm, which is related to a Fidelius. It allows you to know a secret, but hides it in you. Basically, you can know the information but you can't tell it, write it, or communicate it to anyone in anyway. If you're willing to do that, we'll explain everything to you, no matter how embarrassing it is." Ginny did her best to be matter-of-fact about it, but she still had a small blush.
"What could be embarrassing Ginny?" her mother asked her. "Unless you're doing something you're not supposed to be doing."
"No Mum, we haven't had sex yet, but we will be dancing around the topic a lot, which is embarrassing for me, not to mention how Harry will feel about it all since it's his future parents-in-law." Harry was looking down and thankful Ginny was doing the talking for the moment.
Molly couldn't stop herself. "But why does the reason for the wedding have to be so secret?"
"I can't tell you that," her daughter replied, "without telling you the secret. So do you want to know or not? Frankly, we'd prefer not to have to explain it all and have you just continue on and let us have the wedding next month, but we will explain it to you with the condition."
"What if we don't agree to the condition?" her mum sounded like she was being threatened, her verbal hackles raised.
"Then Harry and I will be forced to do something else." Both of her parents looked alarmed at that. "No, I'm not trying to blackmail you or anything, but we do want you to know that we are very serious about this. We don't know what we'll do, but we'll figure something out. Finding a country where we can legally marry anyway would be my first choice, but I'm sure there are other alternatives."
"Ginny!" Her mother was shocked.
"Do you understand how serious we are now?" her daughter asked.
"I will accept your condition," her dad told them in a attempt to stop the argument. "I really don't like this, but if you're going to be this foolhardy, then I would like to know why."
The young couple looked at Mrs. Weasley. After a few moments she finally gave an exasperated sigh. "Very well, I agree. I can't believe you're doing this though."
Harry reached to his left and grabbed Ginny's hand. She looked at him and they stared at one another for a few seconds before she nodded. He pulled his wand out and held it in front of him as he asked, "Are you sure? This is your last chance to back out." Both parents told him to go ahead, so he started the incantation. During the complex wand movement, he waved his wand around all four of them and a band of white air or fog came out of his wand and encircled them. Touching his wand to each of the parents' foreheads, he finally said, "Tell anyone you may not," just before he ended the incantation, though the band of white was still around them all.
The parents looked alarmed when he finished. "Is something wrong?" Harry asked.
"We lost all hearing for a moment," Molly exclaimed.
"Oh? The book didn't mention that. Thanks for letting me know, I'll mark that in the margins so I know for next time," the young man told her.
"That was at the end, right?" She nodded. "That was so you wouldn't hear the code words that lock in the spell. I have to remember those in case I ever want to undo it. By the way, everything said until I stop the spell you can remember, but you just can't ever communicate it, not even to each other or us." Harry waited for other questions but they had none.
"So, ready?" Ginny asked nervously. They nodded. "It all started about this time last year when we were attacked on Platform 9 ¾. Remember that?" They again nodded. "We can't tell you exactly what happened but during that time, a magical bond developed between Harry and myself."
"Why don't you know?" her mum asked.
"Because we don't, no one knows. Healer Davies is the only other person who knows about this and he has been sworn to secrecy too. He told us we are only the seventh case of this type of bond in the last thousand years." That made both of her parents sit up straighter and look at each other. "So while we can tell you some things, there are other things we can not because we just don't know the answer."
"This bond, as you call it, is the reason you think you need to get married so soon?" Her mum still looked puzzled.
"Yes, mum, please let me continue. This bond is called a life bond, or sometimes a love bond, or so we're told. It has a few interesting attributes."
"Like what?" her dad finally spoke up.
Harry decided to give Ginny a break. "Like we have an absolute awareness of the other. I know without a doubt this is my Ginny. You could have her and a hundred other girls on Polyjuice to look just like her in a room and I could pick the real Ginny out of that crowd about as fast as I could walk to her. She has the same ability with regards to me." Arthur looked impressed.
"Have you ever wondered how we beat Voldemort, Mr. Weasley? How two teenagers, with a combined eleven years of studying magic, could beat a man who has studied magic and the Dark Arts for over forty years?" Harry looked at him waiting for an answer.
"You said you used those two special spirit or soul spells on him," the older man replied.
"That was the ultimate cause of his destruction, but we had to kill his body first. Have you considered how we were able to best him in a duel?" Harry still wondered if anyone outside of the ones who trained with them had actually considered this question.
"Dumbledore said you two were very powerful," Arthur finally told him.
Harry smiled. "Each of us is for our age, but individually we couldn't hope to match Voldemort, though individually, we didn't do too badly for a short while. That being said, because of our bond, we naturally power share, except even that is not quite right. When we touch like we are now and do spells, they are several times more powerful then our two magical levels combined. That raw power is how we beat him, and all of our trainers too."
"Seriously?" Arthur was in amazement.
"Yes, sir. In fact, in our training sessions at the end of the year, the two of us were able to regularly beat Professors Tonks, Cobb, and Lupin in a three-on-two duel. We could even beat them when Professor Dumbledore joined them as long as they were all in front of us and didn't surround us." The parents were stunned silent.
"While that is all interesting to you I'm sure," Ginny said, "the part that matters about the wedding is that the bond also allows us to know what the other is feeling. A good example of this is last Christmas when Harry had his difficulty. You mum, thought he was scared from the fight, and from looking at him I can understand why you thought that. However, if you'll remember, I told you he was angry. I knew that because I could sense that from him directly. Of course, it's rarely that simple as everyone projects multiple feelings at the same time, but most people usually have one or two primary feelings that are the basis of how they act at that moment."
"So," her mum tried to come to grips with all this, "you're telling me you always know how he feels?"
"Yes, well, mostly. There are times I can't tell, but it's very hard to mask feelings." Ginny shrugged, not sure how else to explain it.
"About the only time I can't feel Ginny's emotions are when she's very neutral, like when she's asleep, or when my emotions are so strong then I can't find her emotions, like when I'm very angry during a fight. They get lost in mine I presume," Harry said.
"That's very unusual," her dad told them, "but what does that have to do with the wedding?"
"Probably the most powerful feeling is love, wouldn't you say?" Her dad nodded his agreement as Ginny tried to explain. "So imagine what happens when I feel Harry's love for me, and then I project my love back to Harry."
Neither parent said anything, so Harry tried to explain. "What happens is we get into a feedback loop." Still no look of recognition. "When we start feeling the love from the other, it returns back to them, but stronger, which the other feels and returns stronger still, and so on back and forth stronger each time until it's almost unstoppable." A look of comprehension was starting to dawn on their faces.
Ginny tried a different way, "Mum, it's like when Dad goes on a trip for awhile. How do both of you feel when he returns after a week?" Neither answered but Molly blushed a bit. "Take that feeling and multiply it several times, but don't allow yourselves to do anything but hold hands and kiss. If you can imagine that, you'll get close to how we feel right now. We think we can wait for sex until the wedding date I've set as is tradition, but in all honesty, we have so much pressure on us from the bond, I don't know that we can wait much beyond that."
Her parents just looked at each other for a moment, Harry and Ginny gave them time to think. Her dad finally looked back and asked, "Is there anything else about this bond we need to know?"
"It does do one other thing for us," his daughter said. "You remember I called it a life bond?" They nodded. "It is that literally. Our lives are tied. Healer Davies said that when one of us dies, the other will follow very shortly thereafter too."
"No!" her mother exclaimed.
"I'm sorry you see it that way," Harry told her, "but it's really a good thing to me." He could see she was about to tell him how wrong he was. "I know this isn't a fun topic, Mrs. Weasley, but think about how you'd feel if your husband were to die first." He could see a little bit of sadness come over her face. "I know that I'll feel that same way, but I also know that it won't last very long at all, and that very soon I'll be joining her on the next great adventure as Professor Dumbledore calls it. We'll essentially go together, and I think that's a good thing." Molly was thinking this through and a more understanding looking was replacing the look of sadness.
"That also makes us very protective of each other," Ginny told them. She exchanged a look of love with Harry.
"I can well imagine," her dad told her. "Is there anything else, or is that it?"
"That's it, Dad. So between our ability to share feeling which puts us on an emotional high that's very hard to ignore, and our life connection which makes us want to share every moment together, do you now see why we want to get married very soon?"
"I can't say I'm happy about all this, but I do understand." Her dad sounded a bit resigned. "I suppose you might as well get married then."
"Molly, if I don't like this, then I know you don't either. But you do understand what they're saying, don't you?" She didn't respond. "If they don't get married the normal way, they will either get married some other way or act like they're married. Which of the three choices do you prefer?"
"None of them Arthur, it's not normal."
"But they're not normal, Molly. You heard Dumbledore, they haven't led normal lives." That caught the young people off guard, and they wondered what else Dumbledore had said to the Weasley parents about them. "They are not normal teenagers. In the hospital, you acknowledged Ginny had grown up, and I agree. So, this is one of the results of her growing up."
Molly finally looked up at her husband. "Arthur, we really shouldn't argue about this here in front of them."
Harry wanted to point out that wasn't an option but didn't want to say anything; fortunately, Mr. Weasley thought of that. "I'm sorry, Molly dear, but because of the special spell we're under, we have to discuss it now and come to a decision."
Mrs. Weasley sighed and thought for a few moments. "Very well, Ginny. I'll give my permission and help you with the wedding if you'll promise to wait until your wedding night. I guess that's about as close to normal as I'm going to get."
"Mum, even with what Harry and I both feel, I'd like it to work that way too. So yes, I'll promise." The two women hugged, though Harry hung onto Ginny's hand so the spell would continue. "Is there anything else you want to ask us while you can before Harry ends the spell?" The parents looked at each other then both of them shook their head.
Harry lifted his wand and spoke the second part of the incantation, finally waving it in a circle, which caused the white band to shrink down to nothing around the parents. Deciding this was important enough to invade privacy, Harry tried to read Mr. Weasley's thoughts when he asked him, "So Mr. Weasley, will you please tell me the details of why we want to get married?"
He watched Arthur try to form the thought. In his mind, there appeared to be a non-descript silvery ball that looked to be too large for an opening so it couldn't get out. "You know Harry, it's, uh, important." The man looked surprised at his answer.
"Good, I was just checking." Harry smiled at Ginny. "The charm appears to work just fine." With that behind them, the wedding was again back on track. In fact, Harry found Mrs. Weasley to again be the mum he'd always wanted as she threw herself into planning and arranging the wedding. Even Ginny had a good time working with her.
As the month of July continued, and Harry and Ginny were madly making wedding plans, Harry became aware of how much love was in the air. Ron proposed to Hermione, who gladly accepted, though their wedding would not be until next summer. On one of his rare trips to Grimmauld Place, Harry was talking to Remus who admitted that things were getting serious with Tonks. During an inspired moment, Harry solved two problems at once. He told Remus he would give Grimmauld Place to him as a wedding present as soon as it was officially his, and Harry hinted that now Remus needed to do something. After he got over his shock, Remus grinned at Harry. "Thanks for the motivation".
July was also a month of interesting news, some favorable and some not, but interesting nonetheless.
Harry received offers from several Quidditch teams to quit school and play professional Quidditch. None of them were very good teams so he assumed it was more for publicity than anything else. He turned them all down with an "Ask me again next year after I finish school".
Professor McGonagall sent him a note by owl requesting him to come by for a visit on the morning of the 21st of July. He Flooed to the Headmaster's office and not only did she greet him there, but he noticed the office had undergone several changes.
She smiled at him and his recognition of the changes. "Yes Harry, Professor Dumbledore has retired and I'm now Headmistress. Don't worry, Professor Dumbledore will still be around as he has become a Professor Emeritus. He will be doing guest lectures in Transfiguration, Defense, and Charms from time to time. He wanted to stay in the castle and pass down knowledge and I thought that was an excellent idea." Harry nodded acknowledgement.
McGonagall jumped right to the point as was her habit. "Harry, would you like to be Head Boy this coming year?"
That shocked Harry, but he could see that was not really unexpected as he probably did have one the highest averages for marks in his year, even over many of the Ravenclaws. More importantly, none of then already had a single NEWT much less five. Then there was his work with the DA, which he assumed showed he had leadership skills, since he hadn't been a prefect. "I would be honored, but I really don't know," he told her honestly.
"If you'd forgotten, the Head Boy does have a private room; that might be useful to you." She held up his wedding invitation that had been sitting on her desk.
With all the wedding plans and other business this summer, he'd forgotten that special rooming would be extremely useful when they were married. "Would Ginny be allowed to live there too?"
McGonagall smiled and answered, "Yes, and the Amorous Monitor on the room would be removed since you would be married." He wondered what other living arrangements he could arrange if he refused, like maybe a guest suite; but there was something about the look on her face that prevented him from asking.
"Professor, who would the Head Girl be?" It could be either Hermione or Ginny because of grades, at least theoretically.
The Headmistress smiled as she understood why he'd asked. "It will be Miss Granger. In some ways I'm sorry because if Ginny was picked, that would give you an entire apartment; but it is Miss Granger's natural year so she is the choice. The Head Boy room might be a bit small and cozy, but it should do. Besides your private room which has its own water closet, there will also be the common room and a bathroom shared with the Head Girl. As I know the three of you get along so well, I thought that would work out. What do you think, Mr. Potter?"
In some ways Harry didn't feel like he had much choice, so in the end he told her, "I'll take the position."
"Very good, I appreciate you making my job easier" She smiled at him. "I do have a few other items of business to discuss with you. The first is merely something for you to think about over the coming year." Harry wondered what this was going to be with an introduction like that.
"I remember you telling me you were considering being an Auror, and I do believe you'd make a fine one if that's what you want to do. Do you still feel like pursuing that profession?"
"Honestly ma'am?" McGonagall nodded. "I'm not sure anymore."
She again smiled as if things were going her way. "No real hurry, but I do have a few thoughts for you to consider. I've also heard you say that professional Quidditch might be an option if an offer was made. In my opinion, if you play well this year, which I fully expect you to, you will have a number of such offers." Having seen a few already, he could imagine that being true.
"You might want to consider taking one of those offers. I understand such a career usually lasts for ten to fifteen years, barring major injury. Around that time, I would expect Professor Flitwick, who has just accepted the Deputy Headmaster position, would probably be stepping down. There would be an opening such that you could come back here, take that Deputy Headmaster position and teach any course you felt comfortable teaching, such as Defense," she said with a smile. "You should also know that I plan to be stepping down about five years or so after that time, which would leave the Headmaster position open for a knowledgeable young man to step into."
Harry was astounded to hear that career path laid out. "I'm quite surprised, Headmistress. I don't know how to even begin evaluating that." It wasn't until he said that that he remembered Hermione mentioning such a possibility just about this time last year.
"That's all right, Harry," she said politely. "As I said, it's something for you to think about it. Talk it over with your wife after you restart school. No need to bother her with this while she's rushing to put a wedding together, especially as this wouldn't happen anytime soon. We can talk about it some more next June when you have finished your last year."
"Uh, yeah, sure." Harry really was blown away by thinking on that timescale. So much of his life had been spent just trying to get to his next birthday.
"One last important thing. Please be sure to tell Ginny that I'm granting her request to double up some of her classes and make this coming year her last one if she still wants to do that. She'll need to take some classes via Pensieve to catch up. Professor Dumbledore has said the small Pensieve he bought for your training last year is now yours to do with as you wish, so you have that available to you. I know the expense of the lessons will not be an issue for you either. While I'm sorry to give her one more thing to do, she'll need to owl myself or Professor Cobb with her decision before you two leave on your honeymoon."
"Professor Cobb will be the new Gryffindor head-of-house?"
"Yes he will," she told him. "He's decided he likes this relaxed pace of life in his retirement from being an Auror. It also gives him time for research. Oh, that reminds me; I assume you'll take the position of Quidditch captain for this coming year? It's all yours as the most veteran player."
In all the hustle and bustle, Harry had forgotten about the captaincy opening up. "I would be honored by that too, though I wonder if Ron would make a better one. I know it would mean more to him than it would to me."
McGonagall looked surprised by that answer, but she acknowledged him with a nod and by telling him, "Why don't you talk about it with Ron and owl Professor Cobb. Again, before the wedding please." They talked about a few other pleasantries before Harry left. He wondered what Ginny would think of this development.
Both Harry and Ginny had received invitations from Minister for Magic Bones informing them their presence was required Friday the 25th of July at an awards ceremony. Harry wanted to run away to avoid all the publicity, and in many ways, so did Ginny, but she pointed out to him that if he didn't go to this one, the Minister would probably hound him all the more. When he started to argue again, she flat out told him, "Don't be a baby and just do it, Potter!" After he recovered from his shock, he told her "Yes dear." She kissed him to make him feel better.
It was worth going to though because not only did both of them receive the highest Wizarding award created, an Order of Merlin First Class with Special Distinction, but they also learned the news that all the captured Death Eaters were convicted and sentenced to life in Azkaban. To the couple's delight, Draco Malfoy was included in that group for his part in the plot, including his attack on other students. Lucius Malfoy was not included as he had died of injuries. Of all the Death Eater lieutenants, only Severus Snape survived, and he would be spending the rest of his life in prison.
Because Peter Pettigrew could now be accounted for, it was announced that all charges against Sirius Black were dropped and his name was cleared. Sirius's will was also finally probated and Harry officially took ownership of Grimmauld Place and everything in it, the small tropical island west of Morocco plus the small house on it, and close to three million Galleons as Sirius was the last of the Blacks and held the entire fortune. Harry promptly signed number twelve Grimmauld Place over to Lupin, and told him everything in it was his too. Though Harry did request of Remus that if he ever found any journals from Sirius or his dad there, he'd like to have those.
As July ended and Harry turned seventeen, there was a great birthday party in the backyard of the mostly fixed Burrow. It was a dual party so they could celebrate Ginny's sixteenth too, since she would be gone on her honeymoon on her actual birthday. The two decided not to give one another presents but instead buy something on their honeymoon together, which would be a trip to the small tropical island Sirius had owned.
Harry had ignored their decision on presents and as he sent her home late that evening, he gave her a small box to take with her. In her bedroom, she opened it to find a very small two piece bathing suit. Back at Bill's flat in the small spare bedroom, Harry could feel her embarrassment at seeing it. He sent her his feeling on what he thought he would feel when he saw her wearing it, and again to his surprise he felt the same desire returned. He was glad they were getting married in another nine days.
The time with Bill had worked out so well, Harry had asked Bill to stand up with him at the party, along with Ron who was his best man, and Neville. Harry didn't dare ask the twins; that would have been begging for trouble.
The next morning, which was Friday the 1st of August, Tonks took him down to the Ministry of Magic for his Apparation testing. They'd worked hard on it over the last month, which paid off when Harry passed with ease.
After his test was over and he was no longer nervous, Harry noticed a ring on Tonks' finger. Tonks blushed as she told him, "Remus got courageous last night after your party. I think we'll have our wedding during the Christmas holidays."
Harry gave her a hug. "Congratulations, Tonks! I'm so happy for you. I guess my giving him the house really did motivate him."
She raised an eyebrow, "Oh? I didn't know about that." A mischievous look then came over her.
As Harry Apparated to The Burrow to go see his fiancée, he imagined Remus was going to have a very interesting evening.
His interesting evening was coming in eight more days.