The Next Chapter by Prongs
Summary: What happened between the defeat of Lord Voldemort and the scene on Platform 9 3/4 when Albus Severus was leaving for the first time?
Also, this was my first attempt at fan-fiction, which should explain why the chapters are so much shorter than what I write now.

Categories: Harry Potter Characters: None
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Spoiler Alert
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 25 Completed: Yes Word count: 35524 Read: 148328 Published: 16 May 2008 Updated: 16 May 2008

1. The Next Day by Prongs

2. The Redemption of Severus Snape by Prongs

3. One chapter ends, another begins by Prongs

4. Birthday Dinner by Prongs

5. A blonde Weasley, besides Fleur? by Prongs

6. Ron's bargain, and a plan by Prongs

7. Not your normal zoo trip by Prongs

7. The Hogwarts Hop by Prongs

9. Tea, and an understanding by Prongs

10. Memories, and a request by Prongs

11. A plan is set in motion by Prongs

12. One big, happy, disfunctional family by Prongs

13. A brave face isn't always best by Prongs

14. A persistent bug, and the other woman by Prongs

15. The Deal by Prongs

16. Bonded by blood by Prongs

17. A slight interruption by Prongs

18. Riverdancing and an odd book by Prongs

19. Do you, Harry Potter..... by Prongs

20. Another wedding, already? by Prongs

21. Potter Manor, and duel preparation by Prongs

22. An uneasy truce, at last by Prongs

23. Meeting the in-laws by Prongs

24. Anniversaries and first trips by Prongs

25. Epilogue: The Interview by Prongs

The Next Day by Prongs
As Harry reached the Gryffindor dormitory, the weight of what had happened over the last few months seemed to crash in around him. He had barely grasped the immense danger he, Ron, and Hermione had placed themselves in since leaving number four Privet Drive only days before his seventeenth birthday, until now. He slowly climbed the stairs to the room where he slept each night since his first in the castle, and to his relief, it had been left empty, even though he had not returned to Hogwart’s last September. As he changed into pajamas conjured for him by someone, although he suspected he knew who, he smiled, and felt he was home at last.
 
Only a moment later, or so it seemed, he was awoken by the voices of Ron and Neville. He hurriedly put on his glasses and stared into their faces, and after a few more moments, convinced them to speak one at a time, and more slowly. They looked at each other, and apparently decided to let Ron tell Harry the news. Ron began to tell Harry that Professor McGonagall was named Headmistress just hours ago, and she had announced that Hogwart’s “will not close as long as I live, no matter how impossible the repairs seem!”. In addition to this news, Ron told him that they had all been invited back to Hogwart’s despite having officially dropped out to search for horcruxes last year, to finish their N.E.W.T. year of studies. Harry honestly did not know how to feel at this point, but did not protest or even try to talk to Ron just yet.
 
Slowly and deliberately, Harry dressed and began to walk toward the great hall, to find the mourners already assembled. Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout and Slughorn all sat on the raised platform at the head of the room, expressions of fatigue, pain, and sorrow on all of their faces. As he entered he met Professor McGonagall’s face, and she gave him as much of a smile as she could manage. He made his way down the table row and found Hermione and Ginny sitting with the other Gryffindor students, and he took his place between them, as Ginny placed her hand in his. As he looked into her eyes, she leaned forward and kissed him gently on the cheek, and settled into his arms to listen to the announcements. Harry knew then and there that he would be staying at Hogwart’s for his, albeit post-poned, N.E.W.T. year.
 
As Professor McGonagall rose, a silence fell over the great hall, Harry looked to the podium that Professor Dumbledore had spoken from so many times and listened intently. After announcing that despite initial desire to simply close the school, the decision had been made to continue the tradition begun all those centuries ago. Naturally this would mean that extensive repairs would be needed, in addition to putting up new defensive wards, but this was not seen as a problem, simply a challenge. Professor McGonagall announced that as Headmistress she would immediately begin the search for a new D.A.D.A. Professor, and that hopefully this one will stay on longer than the previous seven had. There was weak laughter, as the mood began to lighten somewhat, and she continued. After a few seemingly mundane announcements, covering the fact that unlike previous years, the Hogwart’s Express will be making daily trips from King’s Cross at 11:00 in the morning, and returning each night at 11:00, so to accommodate those few ministry officials and parents as needed to be able to come and go, she announced that she wished Harry Potter to come to her.
 
With a look of confusion, Harry stood and still clutching Ginny’s hand in his, and refusing to let go, both of them made their way to the front of the Hall, where Kingsley Shacklebolt had joined Professor McGonagall, and was smiling as never before. As Harry and Ginny climbed the few steps, Kingsley began to read from a parchment he had just unrolled on the podium. “In honor of his great service to the ministry of magic, Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the wizarding world as a whole, Harry James Potter is hereby awarded the Order of Merlin First Class.” Harry could hardly believe it, but before he could speak, the Great Hall erupted in cheers and applause, and he could not refrain any more. Pulling Ginny to him, and looking into her eyes, he kissed her. After a few more moments, the applause began to subside, and Kingsley, looking a bit embarrassed, walked over to the couple and quietly said, “I know how you feel son, but this may not be the best place, not to mention you now have to face Molly when you’re done.”
 
Harry reluctantly broke the embrace, but neither of them blushed out of embarassment. After looking at Mrs. Weasley, and giving her the best look of “I’ll explain later”, approached the podium, and after steadying himself, said “This award is not one I would be receiving without the contributions of everyone in this hall. While I know I would be hexed as never before by everyone before me if I turned it down, I do wish it to remain here at Hogwart’s school, with the request that the plaque read this way.
 
“With gratitude to all of the students and staff of Hogwart’s during time of need, and all who came to her aide when called”
 
Again the cheers and applause erupted, but this time it was Harry who held his hands up for silence.
 
As the crowd noticed him, they began to slowly fall silent, and when he again heard nothing, he spoke again. "For the past 17 years I have been the boy who lived, and recently I became the chosen one, but a few people have seen me only as Harry Potter, and did not expect anything grandiose from me, unless you count good marks and better study habits." Harry shot a grin at Hermione, who turned a glorious shade of Weasley red and buried her face in Ron's chest, "I would like to personally honor those people who became my family, became the people without whom I would not stand before you today. Ms. Hermione Granger, all of the Weasley family, Mr. Neville Longbottom, Mr. Rubeas Hagrid, please stand.” After a few moments, when only Hermione and Ron were standing, Harry crossed his arms and Ginny placed her hands on her hips in a wonderful imitation of Mrs. Weasley.
 
"Don't make me come down there and drag you up with with me, because I will, and I have help." Ginny barked as the others simply gaped at her in surprise. Mrs. Weasley gave her daughter a slight grin and pulled Mr. Weasley up with her as the others stood sheepishly. Harry began to applaud and soon the entire Great Hall erupted with cheering once again. As the applause continued, Harry and Ginny descended from the platform to join the others, and for the first time Harry felt he knew what it was like to have a real family.
The Redemption of Severus Snape by Prongs
Harry could not remember a time when he was happier, even the image from the Mirror of Erised seemed to be second to his feelings now. He was surrounded by people who loved him, truly loved him, not for being “the boy who lived” or “the chosen one”, but just for being Harry. After a hurried meal he received a note from Professor McGonagall asking him to meet her in the Headmaster’s study, immediately. He was not sure why she had called him there, as she had been the first to agree to abandon caution and fight when he entered the castle to search for the last horcrux. He excused himself, and after assuring Ginny he would be fine, went to the gargoyle.
 
“Password?” asked the gargoyle, and having been repaired, and Professor McGonagall assuming the role of interim Headmistress, it now was able to block the path. Harry hurriedly re-read the note, and when he reached the end he noticed that the final word was written differently.
 
“Tabby” Harry replied, and the gargoyle leapt aside to allow him to pass. Pausing only to knock, he entered the office to find Professor McGonagall in a heated argument with Professor Dumbledore’s portrait. Seeing Harry enter, his old Headmaster simply smiled.
 
“Harry, thank you for joining us. Minerva is attempting to remove the portrait of Severus, but I have persuaded him to refuse until she speaks to you.” Professor Dumbledore said, peering over his half-moon spectacles as he had so often done in life.
 
“I’m not sure I understand Professor, you can’t move the portrait?” Harry asked, but as Professor McGonagall was about to speak, Harry saw the familiar smirk and raised eyebrow on Professor Snape’s face in his portrait.
 
“Potter, I am rather surprised that Miss Granger has not educated you on ever minor fact about this castle, seeing as she can practically quote every book she has ever read.” Harry heard Snape’s normal derisive tone and were it not for what he had seen in the pensieve, he would have left right then, but he simply waited for Snape to continue. “You see, Potter, while the portraits of past Headmasters and Headmistresses are honor bound to serve the current Headmaster or Headmistress, their portraits can only be removed if they consent to it. Albus consented to have his portrait moved when I was brought here after my death. I would prefer that I not be afforded this place of honor, but Albus has seen fit to let you present some evidence, and I will not stop you from saying anything you wish to say in this.” And with that, both portraits fell silent, allowing Professor McGonagall to speak.
 
“Well, Potter, what say you about this?” Professor McGonagall asked, seeming to want Harry to simply agree with her, but after a few moments thought, he looked to Professor Dumbledore.
 
“Professor, I did not replace your pensieve last night after I used it. Is it where I found it, or has it been moved?” Harry asked, and after being told it was back in the cabinet, he retrieved it. As he poured Snape’s memories into the bowl, he looked to Professor McGonagall. “Until last night I would have agreed with you in a heart beat, Professor, but I cannot now. Professor Snape deserves the same respect and thanks that any other Headmaster or Headmistress now receives. Please, just view these memories, and if you still wish to remove his portrait, I am sure he and Professor Dumbledore will respect that choice, and I know I will.”
 
To say that Professor McGonagall was shocked would be an understatement, but she simply entered the pensieve to view the memories, leaving Harry alone with his two mentors.
 
“Professor Dumbledore, I would like a moment alone with Professor Snape, could you help me?” Harry asked, smiling at his old mentor.
 
“Certainly, dear boy, certainly.” As Professor Dumbledore looked up, he spoke to the other portraits in the room. “Mr. Potter needs some time in confidence with Severus, I suggest we all go to the Great Hall to congratulate those still here, and share their grief for the fallen.” With that, every other person walked out of their portrait, but not before surveying the young boy now standing behind the desk.
 
Phineus Nigelus Black spoke before leaving, “Potter, please do one favor for me, and ask Miss Granger to never defile any portrait again, especially mine. I still have a headache from bumping around in that blasted blindfold!” and he then left his frame.
 
“Professor, I am sorry for the way you have been treated. Until last night I did not know just how firmly in our camp you were. I have mistrusted you, and even accused you of crimes you did not commit, can you forgive me?” Harry seemed to be begging for some sort of sign that Snape would forgive, or at least think about it. How could the boy that was his sole torment for six years have turned around so quickly?
 
“I see that your year away from school has matured you, Potter, no small feat in deed, but you need not seek my forgiveness.” began Professor Snape, “I chose my path long ago, mere days after your parents were murdered. While I did not put my hands to them, nor did I tell the Dark Lord.”
 
“Please, sir, the only way we will be able to truly move past this war, and Voldemort’s crimes, will be to no longer grant him any title he chose. If you cannot call him Voldemort, can you at least call him Riddle?” Harry interrupted.
 
“Very well then, I did not tell Riddle where they were, but had I not told him of Trelawney’s prophecy, he would never have chosen as he did. I am the reason your parents are dead. It is I who should be seeking your forgiveness.” He stopped there, as Professor McGonagall had just come back from the pensieve.
 
“Severus...I...you...I called you...” spluttered Professor McGonagall, but Snape cut her off.
 
“There is no need to apologize Minerva, as I have told Potter, I chose my path long ago. I was able to turn from it, but even when I realized who Riddle was, and what he planned, I could not completely leave that world. Albus offered me a chance not only to live, but to aid in the fight. I took it, in the full knowledge that I might one day be seen as a traitor, but knowing what the end product would be. Do you still wish my removal from this office?” He surveyed her with the eyes of a man much older than himself, but he did not say anything else.
 
“No, Severus, I would be honored to have your company as long as this office is mine, as will the next Headmaster. Potter, thank you for what you have shown me. Now, we must simply convince the rest of the world of Severus’ redemption, although you and I making the case will, I believe, add more than enough weight to the argument.” she trailed off, still trying to apologize to Snape, as Harry slipped out of the office and back to the Great Hall.
 
“Harry, what’s going on?” Ginny asked, but he simply took her hand and led her out into the grounds.
 
“Ginny, I need to tell you something, something you aren’t going to like, but you need to know about last night.” he began, and seeing the fear and pain in her eyes brought tears to his. “Last night, after I watched Riddle order the snake to kill Professor Snape, he gave me some of his memories. I saw him as a boy before Hogwart’s, in his first year, and many other memories.”
 
“What did you see, Harry?” Ginny was looking him directly in the eyes, he sighed and then, taking a deep breath, continued.
 
“Ginny, I was a horcrux. I don’t want to go into details, but when Riddle told you all I was dead, he thought I was. I went to the woods and faced him, I didn’t even raise my wand, and he used the killing curse. Both of us were just knocked out, because of the horcrux part of me, and because he used my blood to come back, so as long as he lived, so did I, but I didn’t know that part. After that, when Neville killed the snake, well, you know what happened then. On my way into the forest, I passed you with the young girl, and for a minute, I thought you knew I was there. I couldn’t let it go on, I had to stop it, even if it meant dying.” Harry stopped, he couldn’t seem to speak any more, and Ginny just stared at him for a moment.
 
“YOU - COULD - HAVE - REALLY - DIED - YOU - INSENSITIVE - GIT! WHY - WOULD - YOU - DO - THAT?” Ginny punctuated every word with a slap to his arms, and after she stopped talking and slapping him, she collapsed in his arms. He led her to the shore of the lake, and they sat down together.
 
“Ginny, I couldn’t let anyone else get hurt, or die, knowing I could stop it. All this time, I thought I just had to fight him and win, but when I found out I could just end it quick, I did. I didn’t want to die, but because I had accepted it, and did not fight it, I was spared. I’m sorry Gin, but I had to.” Her sobs were stronger now, but she looked up at him through her tears.
 
“Harry James Potter, if you ever do anything that stupid again, I will make sure you live, just so I can kill you!” she said with a smile. Finally seeing that he made his point, he leaned in and kissed her. Holding her in his arms, kissing her as he never had before, he felt nothing could ever be more perfect than that moment.
One chapter ends, another begins by Prongs
“Gin, I need to do some things, before I can come to the Burrow. I promise I won’t do anything stupid, but I just need to take care of some things first, OK? I’ll be along in about a week, and I promise after that everything will be over.” Harry couldn’t keep the longing out of his voice as he asked her to let him go for even a short time. He could see tears forming in her eyes, and pulled her to himself in as close to a Weasley hug as he could do.
 
After a few moments, she pushed away a bit, looked into his eyes but did not speak. Searching those emerald eyes for some way to comfort him, but seeing only pain, she finally spoke. “Harry, I love you. You don’t have to go through this alone, that’s what family is for, right?”
 
“I know Gin, but I have to do something before I can put any of this behind me. I’ll be fine, after all, if Tom couldn’t kill me, the death eaters on the run probably think I’m Merlin reincarnated, or the devil himself, and I doubt they’ll come near me.” Harry tried to smile, but thinking of facing any of the death eaters who managed to escape filled him with fear, and anger.
 
“Promise me you’ll be at the Burrow in a week. If not, Mum and I will have to hunt you down, and I don’t think I would be able to save you if she found you first.” Ginny was able to smile this time, and seeing Harry smile back, she reluctantly agreed.
 
After dinner, Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys who remained made their way back to Hogsmeade Station. The ride back to King’s Cross was a solemn one, broken only by George’s persistent jokes, which were finally able to get the group to laugh a little, although they still refused to call him St. George, as he constantly demanded. Saying goodbye after crossing the barrier back to the muggle station, Harry hailed a cab, thankful he had written to Gringott’s a few days earlier requesting it, Harry set off to Grimauld place.
 
As he walked in, he couldn’t help but feel the loneliness of the place. Sirius had hated this place, and he was going to give it to Lupin, before he died. After the familiar feeling of his tongue rolling up in his mouth, and the cloud of dust, he walked to the kitchen.
 
“Kreacher” he called, not at all surprised any more by the loud “CRACK’ which meant the small elf had appeared.
 
“Master has returned, would Master like some stew, or perhaps some of the Treacle Tart he is so fond of?” Kreacher croaked in his bullfrog voice, bowing low as he asked.
 
“No Kreacher, just some tea please, then I need to ask you for some help around the house.” Kreacher moved to the fire, and after the water was hot enough, returned with a small tea set and set it before Harry. “Kreacher, I am sorry for the way you were treated while Sirius lived here. I’m sorry for the way I treated you before last fall, but I am glad that we are now able to be on good terms.”
 
“Kreacher lives to serve, and is happy that Master is satisfied with Kreacher.” the small elf croaked.
 
“Kreacher, I would like you to talk to Mistress Black, and see if you can get her to stop yelling and spitting at anyone who comes into the house, or I might have to remove her portrait, and I know you would not like that. Also, ask her if she would like to be moved to the sitting room, where she can see the family tree, I think she would like that.” Harry stopped, considering how best to phrase the next part, “and I need you to start cleaning the house completely, we will have some company in a few weeks, and I would like the house to be clean, can you do that?”
 
“Kreacher will speak to his mistress and will make sure Master Harry has a clean home to bring his friends to when he returns.” Kreacher croaked, but Harry saw a small bit of confusion and sadness at having to move his mistress’s portrait. But soon after, he was struck with what he thought was a master plan.
 
“Kreacher, I need you to get Mistress Black to agree to talk to me without yelling or spitting. I want to tell her just how brave Master Regulus was, and I want you to help me tell her. You told me she was mad with grief when he left, maybe we can help her mourn his loss.” Harry knew it worked, because Kreacher left to talk to the painting almost immediately. After a few moments he returned and told Harry she had agreed.
 
“Mistress Black, my name is Harry Potter. The Dark Lord murdered my parents when I was only fifteen months old, and tried to murder me. You see, Lord Voldemort had created many horcruxes and hidden them, to ensure he could not die. He even forced Kreacher to drink a horrible potion which could have killed him, had Regulus not ordered him to return once Voldemort finished the task.” Harry paused, seeing the look of shock that Voldemort had tried to kill Kreacher. “When Kreacher told Regulus about this, Regulus knew Voldemort must be defeated. He had Kreacher take him back to the cave, where Regulus drank the potion, had Kreacher swap the locket for a fake, then return here, before Regulus himself died fighting Voldemort.”
 
“Kreacher, is this true? Did my son actually die to stop the Dark Lord? Why did you not tell me this?” She snapped, but Kreacher had begun to sob.
 
“Kreacher was ordered not to tell any of the family, and as long as you, or Sirius was his master, he could not. Only when I, not being related by blood, inherited him from Sirius, could he tell me. I have also inherited this house, and I want to uphold the honor of this line, the family who produced brave men such as Sirius, who died protecting me, and Regulus, who died fighting Voldemort. Would you like that?” Harry stopped here, not wanting to push his luck at all.
 
“You are a strange young man, Mr. Potter. So young, yet your eyes betray age beyond your years, and wisdom that few show until near death. I will permit you to stay, and I will no longer insult anyone in this home who opposed the Dark Lord. Now, Kreacher also told me you may wish to move my portrait, why is this?” She seemed almost shrewd in asking, but did not go on.
 
“Mrs. Black, Sirius did not appreciate your family tree, and I must say I do not see how anyone could burn it as you have, as old and unique as it is. I was wondering if you could help me to repair it, and then allow me to place your portrait there so as to enjoy it’s beauty.” Harry was careful, as he mostly just wanted her out of the hall, and unsurprisingly, she did not agree. She had agreed to no longer yell and spit, but not to be moved, or to change how she left the tapestry. Harry counted his blessings and left her, this time with the curtains open.
 
After cleaning Sirius’ room alone, finding everything he could that mentioned his parents and the marauders, he collapsed into the bed. Waking early the next day, he realized he had been at Grimauld place nearly a week. After showering and dressing he went downstairs to find Kreacher already busy making breakfast. Sitting down, he thanked the elf, and told him he would be leaving for the Burrow until one week before school was to begin. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would be coming by to collect anything left from the days when the house was Order Headquarters, and to end Moody’s jinxes meant for Snape, and would also be spending Christmas and Easter holidays there, as it was larger and more comfortable than the Burrow.
 
After a last cup of coffee, he flooed to the Burrow, only to be nearly tackled by Mrs. Weasley, who immediately began yelling at him for leaving without telling them anything, but just as quickly began bemoaning how thin he was.
 
“Careful there Mrs. Weasley, Kreacher will be cooking for us on holidays, and if you say that around him, he may think you don’t like his cooking.” Ginny could not suppress a snort, and helped Harry fill in the details of plans for the holidays and the week leading up to classes.
 
The rest of the summer passed in a blur, with two-aside quidditch, afternoons with Ginny by the river, and evenings of stories and jokes from George, Bill, Charlie, and Fluer when they joined the family. Harry hardly noticed any time had passed when he saw that it was already August 8. After breakfast as he and Ginny walked in the garden he told her he needed to go to London for a little while, and after promising not to miss her birthday, thereby leaving her alone with her only Hermione to save her from her family, he flooed back to Grimmauld Place.
 
“Kreacher!” he called, and once the elf appeared, he told him to expect himself and Ginny back soon for dinner.
 
“Yes, Master, Kreacher will have everything ready as Master desires.” Kreacher croaked. As the elf disappeared into the kitchen, Harry apparated to the Leaky Cauldron, and went to Diagon Alley. After picking up a few things for school, and of course a rather good supply of products from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, and a good amount of sweets, he set off for a small jewelry shop near the end of the row of shops.
 
“Good morning young sir, how may I” but the young witch behind the counter seemed to freeze when she saw Harry, “Mr. Potter, an honor sir, how may I help you today?”
 
“Well, for starters, please do not call me sir, Harry will do just fine. Second, my girlfriend’s 17th birthday is coming up, and I want something special for her.” Harry said, smiling at the young witch who looked only a few years older than himself.
 
“Well, as you can see, we have a rather wide assortment, was there something specific you had in mind? Perhaps something in line with one of her hobbies or something else you think she would like?” She asked.
 
As Harry surveyed the shop, seemingly lost in thought, and mumbling to himself, the young girl only caught a few words “...quidditch...too formal...not her style...bugger”, smiling she took Harry’s arm and led him to a small case of charm necklaces. Harry’s eyes landed on the necklace almost immediately, a small golden snitch, “THAT’S IT, IT’S PERFECT!” he almost shouted, excitement in his voice.
 
“Would you like us to place a charm on it for you, we have many options as you can see here.” Handing Harry a list of charms and enchantments as she spoke. Harry skimmed the list, landing on a thinking of you charm. Harry asked about it, and the young girl smiled as she began, “That is a very special charm. When your girlfriend is wearing this necklace, with that charm on it, it will warm when you are thinking of her.”
 
“That’s perfect, I’ll take it.” Harry said, paying the sales witch, and barely able to keep from running back to the Leaky Cauldron. He apparated back to Grimmauld Place, told Kreacher to keep the small box safe, and to ensure it was brought with Ginny’s tea after dinner on the 11th, and then flooed back to the Burrow.
 
“Mrs. Weasley, I need to ask you something.” Harry began sheepishly, “and you too, Mr. Weasley, would you join me in the sitting room?”
 
Looks of bewilderment on their faces, they followed, and once all three were inside, Harry locked the door, and cast a silencing charm on the room.
Birthday Dinner by Prongs
As soon as Harry turned around, he saw the most unlikely thing he could think of, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, speechless! Sitting down across from them, he began. “First, I wanted to thank you both for everything you have been and done for me. If you hadn’t taken me in simply because I was Ron’s friend, not to mention treating me like a normal kid, not The Boy Who Lived, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today.” Mrs. Weasley cut him off here.
 
“Harry, when you showed up here before your second year, we felt as if we already knew you, mostly from Ron’s letters. You will always be family to us, you don’t need to thank us for anything, dear.” She spluttered, and rushed to hug him. After he freed himself from the bone crushing grip of his surrogate mother, he continued.
 
“Well, that’s kind of why I wanted to talk to you. You see, this last year was hard on me, as well as Ron and Hermione.” Mrs. Weasley was about to say something, but Harry pushed on. “No, before you ask, I don’t want to go into detail about what we did, not yet, but I’m sure the time will come when we all will be able to talk. I bring this up because, well, Ginny is the reason I survived. Every time I thought it was over, and I couldn’t go on, I saw her face and I found I could. I,” Harry seemed to not be able to breathe. After a few very tense moments, he continued, “I love her!” Once again, Harry was almost crushed by Mrs. Weasley but this time Mr. Weasley pulled her back to her chair.
 
“What are you saying here, Harry? Are you asking what I think you are?” Mr. Weasley began, then as he stopped he kept a hand on his wife and looked into Harry’s eyes.
 
“Yes, sir, I am. I want to ask Ginny to marry me, not until after we finish school of course, but I want to spend the rest of my life with her, but I also want your blessing. Before any of this, though, I want to see if it’s OK for Ginny and I to have dinner, just the two of us, at Grimmauld place on her birthday. She already told you she preferred the party be a lunch affair, so we wouldn’t have to re-arrange anything. And, no, Mrs. Weasley, I’m not planning on proposing until Christmas, as long as I have your blessing, of course.” As Harry finished, it seemed a large weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He simply stared at the two people across from him, wanting to beg them for permission, but knowing he had said enough, and it was their turn to speak, so he waited.
 
It didn’t take long, although it felt like an eternity to Harry, for them to speak. Looking at Mrs. Weasley and smiling, Mr. Weasley turned to Harry. “Harry, son, we would be proud to have you in our family, although you really already are. Ginny is a lucky woman to have found you, just don’t underestimate Weasley women, they can be quite, erm. persistent, at times.” Mrs. Weasley finally succeeded in freeing her hand, and after a playful slap at Mr. Weasley’s shoulder, hugged Harry, who then offered his hand to Mr. Weasley, who proceeded to hug him as well.
 
After Harry removed the silencing charm and unlocked the door, he found George, grinning from ear to ear, standing outside. “What’s with the look, your holey-ness?” he asked, trying not to betray what he had just said in the room.
 
“Harry, you really need to learn to cast an imperturbable charm when you used silencing charms. But don’t worry mate, I won’t tell Ginny anything, mostly because I don’t want to find out what’s worse than the bat bogey hex for ruining it.” Harry was pulled into a one sided hug, and led back outside where the others finally kicked off for one last game of two aside quidditch before dinner.
 
After the party began to thin out, Harry managed to extract Ginny from the group. “Ginny, are you busy tonight? I thought we could have dinner, just the two of us.” Harry said, now feeling like his heart would burst through his chest as he waited for her to answer.
 
“Sure Harry, what time and where are you taking me?” She asked, grinning at him slyly.
 
“Well, just be downstairs at 6:30, and it’s a surprise.” was all he could manage to say before his heart started doing back flips. She ran back to tell the others of her plans, and he apparated to the Leaky Cauldron to get to the florist in time to have flowers delivered for her.
 
When he got back, only a few minutes later, he found Hermione and Ron, who were shooting him odd looks. “Don’t ask guys, it’s a secret, although I’m sure Ginny will tell you” he nodded at Hermione “everything tomorrow. Right now, I need to know how to make a port key. I don’t want Gin to know where dinner is until we get there.”
 
Hermione asked him where he wanted the port key to be to, and after he told her, she closed her eyes in concentration, pointed her wand at the stone Harry had selected, and said “PORTUS!” The stone glowed blue for a moment, then was seemingly normal again.
 
“It won’t activate until both of us touch it at the same time, right?” Hermione nodded, and Harry picked it up and placed it in his pocket.
 
6:30 came at last, and Harry was more nervous than ever. He had flooed to Grimmauld place earlier to check that everything was ready. The sitting room had been set up just as he asked, with the flowers lying on the table with the card. Kreacher assured Harry he would be waiting for them, and would serve the tea as soon as he saw both of them had been seated, and had the necklace ready as well.
 
Ginny came into the kitchen, her red hair flowing down her back, held by a simple green ribbon. She had not been sure about what to wear, and Hermione had suggested a simple, yet elegant off white sun dress. Harry was stunned, to say the least. As she walked over to him, taking his hand, she simply looked at him and said, “You’re going to attract flies if you don’t close your mouth, Harry”. He came out of his stupor somewhat, grinned as he blushed, and pulled out the portkey. “Still not telling me where we’re going, I see.”
 
“Nope, for once, I want a surprise to be a good thing.” he grinned, pressed his finger to one side, and as she did the same, they felt that familiar pull behind the navel, and began to spin. As their feet his the floor, they gathered themselves, and he led her into the hallway. Stopping only at the portrait for a moment, he said, “Mrs. Black, may introduce my girlfriend, Miss Ginevra Molly Weasley. She has been here before, but never had the opportunity to meet you.”
 
“Harry?” Ginny began, but Mrs. Black simply nodded and Harry led her downstairs.
 
“I’m trying to bring her around. After all, it was her house, and I don’t want to have to tip toe around to avoid waking her. I find a bit of formality helps her to accept, or at least tolerate us, but I don’t ever see her being friendly to us.” Harry smiled a little as he led her into the sitting room. Ginny gasped, she had never seen the room so beautiful.
 
As Harry pulled out her chair, she blushed a little and sat down. No sooner than Harry sat, Kreacher appeared and brought the tea. “A very happy birthday to you, Mistress Weasley, and many happy returns. Kreacher will return with dinner soon, Master Harry.”
 
“OK, now I know I’m dreaming. The portrait is quiet, and not spitting at us, and Kreacher is actually being nice.” Ginny spluttered.
 
“What do you think I was doing before I came to the Burrow? I had to make sure both of them would at least behave, but I must say, Kreacher is coming around nicely.” Harry chuckled. Dinner passed quietly, the two teenagers talking about school, quidditch, and other seemingly un-important topics. When Harry handed her the small box, though, Ginny lost all ability to speak. After she saw the locket, a single tear slid down her face and she beamed at him.
 
“Harry, didn’t you wonder what I got you for your birthday? It was nearly two weeks ago you know?” Ginny asked.
 
“Well, I told you all I wanted was for us to have time together to just talk after the party, and I got it.” Harry replied, “Why do you ask?” he continued, how more than a little suspicious.
 
Ginny pulled a box out of her purse, and Harry saw the exact same charm on a different chain. They laughed a little, but as they put them on, both charms began to warm immensely, but not burn.
 
“Thinking of you charm!” they said together, and began laughing again.
 
“It’s getting late, Gin, we really should get back, or else they’ll think we’ve eloped.” Harry said.
 
“Why can’t we, you know, just run away?” she asked, but as he gaped at her, she ruffled his hair, laughed, and said “come on Harry, you know we’d never survive with Mum on the war path for that, right? Let’s go, they will be worrying you know.”
 
With that, they walked out of the sitting room, clasped hands over the portkey, and went back to the burrow.
A blonde Weasley, besides Fleur? by Prongs
The next morning came and the quartet made their way to the Great Hall with the rest of the Gryffindor students. As they tucked into eggs, bacon and toast, the conversation was light. As they agreed in the carriage before reaching the castle, none of them would discuss anything to do with the Marauders unless they were sure they could not be over heard. Before Professor McGonagall, who was still acting as head of Gryffindor House, until the arrival of Professor Blair, who was to take over Defense Against the Dark Arts as well as become the new head of house for Gryffindor, could reach them to approve their time tables, Hermione spoke up.
 
“So, Ron, have you decided what style you would like your dress to be? I was thinking a nice evening gown would look wonderful.” Hermione was having great difficulty in suppressing laughter, but as of yet, was merely shaking a little as she spoke. Before Ron could say anything, Ginny joined the conversation.
 
“Not to mention the hair do, I suppose we will need to meet in the common room before lunch so I can do your hair, big brother.” Ginny was not even trying to suppress her laughter, as Harry had already begun clutching his ribs and doubled over on the bench.
 
“Lousy sister, threatens to tell my girlfriend how to tickle me, makes me wear a dress, long blonde hair...” As his voice trailed off, Professor McGonagall approached them.
 
“I doubt that I would even want to know what you three find so funny, and Mr. Weasley here finds upsetting. I only hope it will not prove to be too great a distraction for the school.” She was eyeing Harry and Ginny steadily, who were now having to support each other to avoid falling to the floor. “Well, as to the matter of time tables, all of you achieved the necessary grades in your sixth years to continue with the same courses this year, and I assume that is your desire, am I correct?” All four of them simply nodded, as none of them wanted to chance giving anything away. “Very well then.” She tapped a time table for each of them, which filled in with their schedules. “Oh, Potter, we have, as in your sixth year, had a large number of people apply for the Quidditch team. Our captain from last year is no longer attending Hogwart’s, so you have been reinstated. I shall pass the list to you in time, so you can arrange try outs.” Harry nodded, and set off with the other three, still giggling slightly.
 
“Hey, we all have a free period before lunch!” Ginny exclaimed, and as she glanced at Ron his face was a darker red than before, until it went pale. He dropped his head and simply followed them toward the D.A.D.A. classroom.
 
Professor Blair turned out to be a young witch in her late twenties, and had served as both an auror and curse breaker for nearly ten years. This year was definately looking promising, although Ginny and Hermione would periodically elbow Harry and Ron in the ribs, whether they were staring at the young brunette or not. Before any of them realized the time, they were all in the common room for their free period.
 
“Well, Ron, I took the liberty of deciding on the dress for you. I chose a pale pink, as we don’t want to go to bold, it would clash with your hair, blonde or red. I would be willing to change it to gold, and we could give you the same dress style Ginny wore last summer.” After a few moments of silence, she simply transfigured Ron’s robes into a floor length pink evening gown. Ginny had moved up behind Ron and begun muttering under her breath. When Ron faced the mirror, he had waist length blonde hair, and was wearing what he believed to be the ugliest dress he had ever seen.
 
“Personally I think I’d rather you just kill me now.” Ron began, but Hermione cut across him.
 
“You know how to get out of this, Ronald Weasley, are you saying you’d rather me hear the secret?” She was smiling quite mischeviously as she said it, hoping he would refuse so she would get to see the reaction in the Great Hall, and she was not disappointed as he simply walked toward the door, and left for lunch.
 
The reaction was instant, as Ron entered the room every head turned to watch him. After almost tripping on the dress more than a few times, he made it to his seat and waited for the others. After joining him, they tried to talk about classes, but kept having to thump each other on the back to avoid choking when they began laughing. After what felt like an eternity the bell sounded to call classes back to session, and Ron practically sprinted to the common room to change back into his robes.
 
“You know Ron, if you moved that fast on a broom, nobody could score on Gryffindor.” Ginny said, between gales of laughter.
 
The rest of the day went quite smoothly, with only a few cat calls as Ron walked back to the dorms after dinner. Meeting in the small sitting area of the Head’s dorm, Harry announced the next prank would be the next day. He would not tell any of them what he had planned, only that he had issued credit to “Friends of Hogwart’s” knowing that any use of the term Marauders would mean they were caught before the year even really started. After over an hour of trying to get the information out of him, all four retired to their beds, and settled into an uneasy and excited sleep.
Ron's bargain, and a plan by Prongs
As the quartet left the train, headed for the familiar carriages, Harry could hear Hagrid’s booming voice crying “Firs Years, this way!”, and to say he was happy to be back was by far understating the situation. When they reached the carriages, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny stopped dead in their tracks. Harry realized why after a few moments, and turned to them smiling.
 
“Thestrals, they can only be seen by those who have seen death. Don’t worry, they really are quite gentle.” he finished as he patted one of the smaller animals on the neck.
 
“So, Head Boy and Girl, WOW!” Harry started, “My Mum and Dad were Head Boy and Girl, you know, Gin.” he finished, grinning at his girlfriend, both of their snitch necklaces began to warm almost uncontrollably, as Ginny rapped him smartly on the shoulder.
 
“What was that for?” he asked innocently, but unable to suppress his grin.
 
"HARRY JAMES POTTER! What in the world are you thinking? We are to, what was it McGonagall said, set an example for the rest of the school, as upstanding students." Ginny imitated Professor McGonagall almost perfectly, then continued. "And wipe that silly grin off your face, right now, or I'll do it for you." Ginny said as she raised her wand menacingly.
 
"OK, if you want to have nothing but boring walks around looking for rule breakers, but I can only control myself, so you'll have to promise to be have too, won't you, ickle-Gin-Gin?." Harry began laughing as Ginny's mock anger at him was instantly a murderous glare at Ron, and he didn't have to wait long for the reaction.
 
“WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT!" Ginny's face was now a darker red than Harry had ever seen it before. She was glaring at Ron with murder in her eyes. "RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY!” Ginny made to punch Ron, who spoke up immediately, while dodging punches from his little sister.
 
“It wasn’t me, must’ve been George, or maybe Bill, they were both spending a lot of time with Harry all summer, hit them!” but Hermione landed a playful slap on his cheek, “What, I’m serious, it wasn’t me, I just told him you’re ticklish.” Ron finished as he began to nudge Ginny in the ribs, who began fighting fits of laughter.
 
“And that is something that is quite good to know!” said Harry, as Ginny composed herself and glowered at him, or at least tried to.
 
“You’re ticklish too, Harry, and I know where!” Ginny snapped, as Harry held his hands up in mock surrender. Ginny was moving toward him slowly, but stopped suddenly.
 
“I didn’t know you gave up so easily, or do you think I'd just pin you down and tickle you in stead? I am bigger and stronger you know.” Said Harry, a slight smirk on his face, as he puffed out his chest in his best immitation of a super-hero.
 
“I don't, and don’t start thinking you can can best me there, or do you need a demonstration of what will happen if you try to tickle me?" Ginny had momentarily paused and was looking back at Harry, who resigned himself to test the ticklish spots later. "The reason I'm not torturing you right this minute, is not that you don't deserve it, and no, I feel no remorse for what I'm planning. It's just, well, I just thought of something. So far, I know about two of you, when it comes to being ticklish, but not.” Hermione had gone quite pale, a look of horror crossed her face and it looked for moment like she might jump out of the carriage. Ron grabbed her right arm as Harry grabbed her left arm, and Ginny moved in menacingly. No sooner than Ginny touched Hermione’s stomach did she begin laughing hysterically and wriggling so hard Harry and Ron almost lost their grips. After no more than a minute or two, Ginny stopped and sat back down, as Harry quickly jumped back to his seat.
 
“RON, HOW COULD YOU?” Hermione choked between breaths.
 
Ginny's face was suddenly covered in a wide, devilish grin. "Sorry Hermione, but a girl needs to know these things, and you are quite cute when you're being tickled. But, if you're really upset, I could always tell you just where to tickle Ron here, just in case you ever need to, erm, protect yourself." But before Ginny could say anything else, Ron cut across her, a pleading look in his eyes.
 
“You promised you wouldn’t!” shrieked Ron, “You promised, Ginny, please, no!”
 
Despite Ron’s begging, Ginny continued as if he had not spoken. “Now Ron, it’s only fair. You now know where she is ticklish, so I should think Hermione has a right to know. If you tickle his ribs he will giggle, but he can’t stand it when you.”
 
“STOP! I’LL DO ANYTHING, ANYTHING!” Ron shouted, his tone close to pleading for his life.
 
“Well, I think Hermione should collect, seeing as you are denying her the knowledge. Ginny and I watched as the twins tortured you almost every summer, so we both know.” Harry said, as Ron gave him a look that said thanks a lot.
 
“Well, I think you should either tell me, or at least let one of them. But, if you insist on keeping your secret," Hermione stopped, thinking about just the right way to ensure Ron's torture was equally horrible, tickle spot or no, "you can show up to lunch on the first day of classes in a pink dress and long blonde hair. I’m sure I can do the hair, but Ginny will need to pick out the dress.” Hermione said, her arms folded, but a gleeful smile on her face, “And, if you don’t, we'll make it much worse. I suppose I could just put a body bind on you in the Great Hall, then after Ginny here tells me what you won't let her, we can demonstrate for the school.”
 
“Bugger, great friends you lot are, torturing me after Mum nearly crushed me...Saint George and his little...Ginny, evil little devil, tells Harry...” his voice trailed off into less than a whisper as the others roared with laughter for the rest of the journey.
 
“Well, I guess we can give Icke-Ronniekins here a break, I have something I want to talk to you guys about. I’ve been thinking” Harry began, but was cut off by Ginny.
 
“That can be dangerous Harry, after all, you are a boy.” Ginny began, but Harry clasped a hand over her mouth and continued.
 
“It’s time for the Marauders to come back to Hogwarts.” Harry saw the looks he was getting and smiled. “Listen, I know it’s been hard on all of us, this last year, so I think it might do everyone a great deal of good if we, um, lighten the mood a bit. After all, with all of the bad guys dead, in jail, or being hunted, we need something, or else it’s just going to be studying to get us by.” Harry saw a grimace on Hermione’s face, and decided not to poke direct fun at her, yet.
 
“So, what’s the plan, Prongs Jr.” Ginny sang sweetly, sarcasm and innocence dripping from every word.
 
“Well, first of all, I’m not Prongs Jr., at least not here, too easily caught, right?” he began, “and, I’ve been thinking about that too.”
 
“ANIMAGUS MAGIC!” Hermione had found her voice and realized where he was going. “Harry, that’s very difficult magic you know.”
 
“Well, if two goof balls like my Dad and Sirius could do it, and on their own, I figure we’ll have no trouble with you as our tutor.” Harry wondered if he needed to do more buttering, but his question was answered almost immediately.
 
“OK, so when do we start?” Hermione asked “and where?”
 
“Tonight. We’re all on patrol until midnight, and we shouldn’t have class until after breakfast, so meet in the Room of Requirement at midnight. I've been reading about it, and with all the stuff we had to learn last year, this isn't much more difficult, and it's actually not as hard a mastering a patronus.” Hermione looked as if she was going to congratulate Harry for reading outside of assignments, but he plowed ahead, “I'm sure you've read a little bit on it, Hermione, and ickle" Ginny snapped her head to face Harry, who coughed a bit "erm, Ginny here stole my book last week, so we only need to work on Ron.” Harry grinned as he saw Ron’s face, but the carriages were pulling up to the castle, so they had to stop for now. Walking into the Great Hall, none of them could believe their eyes. If possible it looked better than it had ever looked, with the banners of each house above the tables, and the staff beaming down at them as they entered. As the feast ended and Professor McGonagall took the podium for her speech, the quartet looked at each other. None of them seemed too happy just sitting there, and it seemed McGonagall would never stop talking, midnight, it seemed, might never come.
Not your normal zoo trip by Prongs
After what seemed to Harry to be an eternity, Professor McGonagall dismissed the students to their dormitories. Not wanting to cause suspicion, and wanting as much time with Ginny as possible, he pulled her to the entrance to the Great Hall and began pointing students in the right direction. Once the Prefects had control of their houses, he and Ginny began their patrol.
 
“It just doesn’t seem real, does it, Gin? I mean, Voldemort’s gone,” Harry smiled at his girlfriend as she shuddered a little at name, but didn’t reproach her, “here we are, back at school, and finally no one expects me to be anything but a student.” Harry sighed as he finished, and turned to face Ginny.
 
“Harry, the only thing I ever expected of you,” Ginny paused, looking into the emerald eyes that filled her dreams for the last year, and then continued, “was to come back to me. You did that, and I will never let you go again.” As she said this, she felt tears forming in her eyes, but as she made to look away, Harry leaned in and kissed her. When he pulled away, both of them were smiling, and continued their patrol in a pleasant silence.
 
“Ron, we have to get the students to the dorm first, then we patrol.” Hermione was saying, while trying to keep Ron from running off into the corridors.
 
“C’mon Hermione, they know the way, and there’s plenty of people to get the first years up there, why can’t we just patrol now?” Ron asked, and Hermione noticed the gleam in his eyes.
 
“Ron, we have to set an example, and we also need to make sure everyone knows the password. We did decide to change it on the train you know.” Hermione had already begun walking away from him, so he just resigned himself that time alone with her would be somewhat short.
 
At last, all of the Gryffindor students had been accounted for, except for Harry and Ginny, who were on patrol already, allowing Ron and Hermione to begin their rounds. Taking Ron’s hand as they left the fat lady, Hermione leaned in to Ron’s shoulder. “Ron, don’t misunderstand me, I want to be with you, I would much rather just sit and do nothing with you, but we need to focus a little bit, OK? Trust me, we have our whole lives ahead of us, especially now, and I want everything to be special, so let’s take it slow OK?” Hermione grinned as she said this, knowing she wanted to just throw herself into his arms as much as he wanted her to, but also wanting to make him work for it.
 
“Hermione, I love you, and if you want to take it slow, then slow it is, but please promise me we will still have some time alone together, OK?” Ron had met her eyes as he said this.
 
For all the words forming in her mind, all she managed was a hoarse “OK”.
 
The patrol seemed much longer than just a couple of hours, and while all four of them wanted to start in the Room of Requirement as soon as they could, the time alone with each other was bliss. Finally, Harry looked at his watch as he heard the chimes start sounding. “We need to get upstairs, Gin, otherwise Hermione will have the whole school looking for us, and an owl sent to your Mum.” Harry said, pulling Ginny toward a staircase.
 
The two couples reached the corridor with the portrait of dancing trolls at the same time. Hermione and Ginny met each others eyes and started giggling, as Ron and Harry just looked at them.
 
“What’s so funny?” demanded Ron, but before Hermione could answer, or Ginny could slap him, Harry answered.
 
“Ron, if there’s one thing I have learned in the last seven years, it’s never to try to figure out women, just smile when you need to, and always learn their ticklish spots.” Harry gave a little nudge to Ginny’s ribs and she jumped, glaring at him. Ron didn’t even have time to try to tickle Hermione before she slapped him, and began pacing before the wall.
 
“We need somewhere to be alone.” She repeated in her mind, as she marched three times past the wall. Just as in their fifth year, a large wooden door appeared, and the familiar room from D.A. meetings awaited.
 
Hermione sat down on a cushion, Ron beside her with Harry and Ginny opposite them. Once they were all comfortable, she began explaining what she had read, with small interjections from Harry and Ginny, but Ron just gawking at all three of them.
 
“The main thing I have learned,” Hermione began, “is that you need to already know what you’ll become before you can transform. The closest thing I can think of to explain it is what the American Indians refer to as a spirit guide.” She stopped here as Harry pulled four vials from his robes.
 
“This potion will put you in a short trance, where you will meet an animal. No matter what the animal is, it will not harm you, remember that.” As he finished, he passed out the vials. “I suggest we all lie back, so as not to fall over, or into each other.” And, lying back on the cushions, all four drank. The effect was instant, as they all sank into a deep, sleep like state. Almost an hour later, they awoke, almost simultaneously.
 
“Well, what did you all see?” Ginny asked, as she straightened up, “I saw a wild mustang. Red, with a long mane.”
 
“No way!” shouted Harry, “That’s what I saw!” Ron and Hermione were now staring at the couple, as they began to snuggle.
 
“Ugh, please, not in front of me!” Ron gasped, and they turned their attention to the other two people. who were momentarily forgotten. “I saw lion. He was huge, and he roared at me, but I wasn’t scared.”
 
“OK, this is getting just freaky.” Hermione began, “Because I saw a lioness, she didn’t roar at me, but she looked right into my eyes and seemed to talk to me, but I don’t know exactly what she, well, said.”
 
Harry was grinning so wide it looked as if his ears had begun moving backward.
 
“What’s with you, Harry?” Ginny began, but seemed to pick up on it almost as soon as she had spoken, “SOUL MATES! But, them, and us? How?”
 
“It’s rare that two sets of friends end up being soul mates, but think about it. All the stuff we’ve been through, watching each other’s backs, protecting each other. It kind of fits, doesn’t it?” Harry said, still grinning as he looked at his watch. “It’s after one, we really should get some sleep, we all have class in the morning. Let’s say meet here on Saturday nights at eleven, and we can keep working, OK?”
 
Everyone began to get up, and as they made their way to the common room, they knew this year would be anything but ordinary.
The Hogwarts Hop by Prongs
As the quartet moved to the Great Hall the next morning, despite their night’s sleep being short and marred by excitement, Hermione, Ginny and Ron couldn’t help but notice a slight spring in Harry’s step. Each time they asked him about it, however, he simply replied he was happy to be back at school, and not having to worry about Voldemort attacking at any minute. Ginny, however, was keeping a very close eye on her boyfriend by this point, not to mention Ron and Hermione being more attentive than normal for an early morning.
 
Once all of the students had come to breakfast, Harry leaned over and whispered in Ginny’s ear. “It begins! I love you Gin!”
 
Ginny was about to really start pushing for information now, but before she could say anything, all of the lights in the hall went out, only to be replaced by a massive banner bearing the words “Welcome to another year at Hogwart’s. For your entertainment, we give you the Friends of Hogwart’s first gift.” As the candles flickered slightly, everyone’s gaze was glued to the staff table. Professor McGonagall had grown a long tail, which was actively trying to knock over her goblet. Hagrid, however, had just noticed his hair was much shorter, and his beard had been transformed into a very short goatee. The greatest attraction, however, was Professor Trelawney, who had been transfigured into a centaur, and was now being eyed quite closely by Firenze, who had been invited back for another year of teaching seventh year students. As the lights slowly came back to their normal level, the students also noticed something different along the tables. Every student in the hall had grown long, rabbit like ears, and found themselves unable to stop bouncing.
 
As the mass of students bunny hopped out of the hall, Ginny couldn’t help but watch Harry, who was still roaring with laughter, as were many of the other students, at Professor Blair, whose hair had turned a bright shade of bubble gum pink, and was now fighting to drink her tea, as her nose and mouth were changing from one animal to another.
 
“Harry - James - Potter!” squeeled Ginny between hops, “Why did you have to prank us as well?” but she answered her own question before he could. It wouldn’t look too innocent if four students were somehow spared from the grand prank, and she too began to laugh quite loudly as they bounced toward their D.A.D.A. lesson.
 
Professor McGonagall was, naturally, not as amused as the others by the change in her appearance, but once she noticed Hagrid, Professor Blair, and Professor Trelawney, she couldn’t suppress a slight chuckle. Making a note to herself, however, to have Professor Flitwick break out the old list of the Marauders’ pranks. It could prove quite interesting to compare father and son, especially if Harry was intent on honoring the spirit of the Marauders, this year would not be uneventful, but it would be fun.
 
Once in her office, Professor Blair was able to stop her changing faces, but was not able to get her hair back to it’s original color for more than a few seconds. After many attempts, she noticed it was no longer just pink, but had begun to change color on it’s own every few minutes. Professor McGonagall had of course answered many questions about Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny especially in her interview, but when she told the story of Harry’s Father, Godfather, and their friends Remus and Peter, Professor Blair had just passed that off as being in the past, but now seeing her changing hair, she determined that Harry Potter would pay for this, and she would enlist his girlfriend’s help in ensuring this.
 
“Good morning class, I am Professor Blair, and I would like to compliment the person who was able to pull of that amazing display of magic earlier.” Harry grinned at Ginny and Hermione, both of whom were trying to get rid of their ears, and Ron who had accepted they would go away eventually, but kept his face as innocent as possible. “I am pleased to see that someone has taken the initiative to bring some levity to the school, but I must warn you all, and ask you to pass the message that I LOVE my hair, and I will be searching for the person who defiled it.” Harry felt a small twinge in his stomach, but felt sure that his having also been a victim would at least cover the scent somewhat, thus allowing him to play the innocent card for a bit longer to let it go cold. “Now, moving on, I must ask two students to stand for a small demonstration of some simple spells, Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley, would you join me please?” Professor Blair moved to stand on the opposite side of Ginny from Harry, and as Harry looked over, she was whispering something to Ginny.
 
“Thank you Professor, I completely agree that we need to demonstrate how to reverse jinxes such as we have seen today, and I would love to help my dear boyfriend regain his looks as this demonstration.” As Ginny finished, Harry began looking for any exit he could run for, but noticed he was at the opposite end of the room, and the new D.A.D.A. classroom had no windows, he was trapped, and he knew it. He bowed his head just as both witches cast their charms, and when he looked back up he was sporting, in addition to his ears, a rabbit nose, complete with teeth, and a fluffy white tail.
 
“Well, it appears our prankster is more advanced than we thought. As you can see, I have tried to repair my hair, but succeeded only in making it change colors at will, and the cure we were trying on Harry only furthered his change. I am glad that we now know it won’t work, and therefore don’t have a class full of half rabbits, but I am sorry that we have given Mr. Potter the burden of the back firing anti-jinx.” Professor Blair was obviously fighting laughter, but doing so quite well.
 
As Harry and Ginny sat down, he leaned over and whispered, “You are SO going to get it for that, Ginevra!” But Ginny just sat and smiled innocently, batting her eyes at him, in her attempt to appear completely innocent, and much to his annoyance, she did seem to have garnered the support of the class, and the sympathy of many girls at not being able to kiss her boyfriend until the jinx wore off. “Yup, you’re in for a major tickling, or maybe something else, when I get you alone.” He whispered as she turned back to the front of the class.
 
By lunch, everyone but Harry had completely reverted to their normal appearance. Harry, who had accepted his fate, which seemed to be a full day in this state, was at least happy that most everyone assumed him innocent, and Professor Blair simply somewhat star-struck, and that she simply wanted to help Harry first. In addition to this, he had found that if he kissed Ginny’s neck, she squirmed almost as much as she he tickled her, and he was enjoying this quite immensely.
Tea, and an understanding by Prongs
By dinner Harry had returned to his normal appearance, but soon after lunch Ron, Ginny, and Hermione had noticed he had become very quiet and solemn. Ginny had decided to let him be for a while, but knew she had to make him talk if he didn’t do so on his own before long. Harry also noticed that his friends were watching him more closely than before by this time, and made a valiant effort to hide his thoughts, but this proved nearly impossible, especially with Ginny. “Gin, I’m fine,” he started, but seeing the look of worry in her eyes, and tears already forming in them, he found it hard to continue on that path, “I’ve just been remembering all the hell we all went through last year. Being back here is helping, but it’s also bringing back memories I didn’t think I’d be hit with this soon.”
 
Ginny just stared into those deep emerald eyes for a moment before wrapping her arms around him. “Harry, I know it’s hard, and I know it’s more than just memories. Please promise you won’t shut me out, that you won’t shut us out, OK?” Ginny began. All four of them were gathered around the small fire place in the sitting area of their private dorm. “We’ve all been through some tough times, and I know it was a lot harder on you, especially at the end. Trust me, if you bottle it up, it comes back to bite you, and it will be worse. Just promise me you’ll come to one of us to talk if you need to.” Harry smiled at Ginny, and the two made their way back to Griffyndor tower together.
 
Glancing at his watch, Harry noticed it was nearly 11:00, and it was once again his and Ginny’s night to patrol until midnight. Taking her hand, the two left the sitting room and began their patrol. Ginny knew she could probably force something out of him, but he needed to want to talk, and forcing the issue would only make things worse, which was not what she wanted.
 
“Gin, I know you were worried about me, and I was worried about you. I don’t even really know everything I’m thinking and feeling right now, it’s all just jumbled up on me, but I promise, if I need to talk, you’re the first person I’ll come to.” Ginny wrapped her arm around his waist as he put his around her shoulder, after that they walked in a nice silence for a while, until they met Peeves.
 
“Ugh, it’s Peeves.” Ginny obviously did not want to have to face the school poltergeist right now, but Harry stopper her as she tried to turn around to find another way.
 
“Hey, Peeves, I need to talk to you.” Harry called, and Peeves made to leave, but Harry yelled again, “Oh trust me Peeves, if I wanted to get you for something, wouldn’t I have brought the Bloody Baron?” This seemed to stop Peeves in his tracks, and Harry pressed on, not wanting to chance Peeves getting away. “Listen, I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us in the battle. And, I’m sure you remember when the Marauders were here, right? Well, the stuff they pulled will seem like kid’s stuff compared to what I have planned. So, good night old boy.” Harry didn’t even try to suppress his laughter at the bewildered Peeves left hovering behind him as he and Ginny continued on their patrol, and it was a few minutes before Ginny spoke up.
 
“You know, I’m sure George would be willing to help supply us too, as long as he can brand the stuff, should we ask?” Ginny asked, trying to lighten the mood.
 
“Well, not quite yet, but I’m sure we can work some of his stuff in eventually, we do have all year, my dear.” Harry chuckled at the thought, and the two walked on. After what felt like only a few minutes, they heard the chimes sound that it was midnight, and they made their way back to the dorm. “Victory” said Harry, and as they climbed through the portrait hole, both of them noticed something strange.
 
“Ginny, did we miss Ron in the common room? He isn’t in bed.” Harry thought it very strange that Ron Weasley would voluntarily miss sleep. As he turned around to head for the common room, Ginny was motioning for him to come over to her.
 
“Look!” she said, pointing into the girls’ room. “Isn’t it sweet?”
 
“Well, looks like we now have some information that could prove useful” Harry began, but Ginny elbowed him in the stomach before he could continue. After a bit of a row about their own sleeping arrangements, with Harry insisting he would sleep on their sitting room sofa, and Ginny insisting that they were both mature enough to handle this, he gave in. He did insist that he would change into his pajamas in the sitting room, while she changed in the bedroom, and only when she assured him she was in bed would he enter. After a few minutes of waiting he heard her call that she was done, and he slipped into bed.
 
“Good night, Gin.” Harry said, “I love you.”
 
“I love you too rabbit face, I mean Harry.” Ginny chuckled, “Good night.”
 
“You’re really going to be sore now, you know” Harry replied, but he could already hear the deep, rythmic breathing coming from the other bed, and just smiled as he too drifted off to sleep.
 
Harry woke up the next morning to find that Ginny had switched beds in the night, and he now had his arms around her as she continued to sleep. Unwilling to wake her up forcibly, he simply kissed her forehead lightly and lay there for a few more minutes until she finally looked up at him, blinked in the light, and smiled.
 
“See, I told you we could handle it.” She admonished Harry as she snuggled in close for a hug. “Now, let’s get ready quickly so we can be outside before the other two come out of their room, this is going to be fun!” Ginny was positively beside herself at finally having something to hold over Ron’s head.
 
Harry chuckled and slipped his robes on and went to the sitting room, but before he left the room, Ginny heard him ask, “I’ve created a monster, haven’t I?” No sooner than he had asked it, however, did a pillow hit him square on the back of the head, and, smiling, he went to start a pot of tea.
 
Ron and Hermione emerged from the girls’ room a few minutes after Harry and Ginny had started their cups of tea, Harry simply smiling at them, and Ginny grinning devilishly.
 
“Well, well, well, what have we here? It seems, Mr. Potter, that our esteemed Griffyndor Prefects have been a little naughty. What ever should we do?” Despite her attempt, the absolute glee in her voice was still quite obvious.
 
“Oh Merlin! What if McGonagall finds out? What if your parents find out, Ron? What if my parents find out?” Hermione was in classic worry form now, and to avoid a complete melt down, Ginny spoke up.
 
“Don’t worry, no one outside this room knows, and we aren’t telling, are we rabbit boy?” Ginny nudged Harry in the ribs, and he agreed.
 
“Just don’t let it happen again, or we might have to give you detention. I think some of Filch’s ideas might be useful, we could tie them down and tickle them, we could gag Ron and watch him as we tell Hermione every little dirty secret we know, but that wouldn’t really punish Hermione, would it?” Ginny was still grinning as Harry cut in.
 
“Oh, I don’t know, there are quite a few things I would rather not have heard about Ron there, so it could be punishment, but I think the tickling is a good start.” Harry finally noticed the pleading look on Hermione’s face, not to mention the somewhat angry, and somewhat confused look on Ron’s face, and simply suggested they all go downstairs for breakfast, as he pulled Ginny toward the door. Ginny, however stayed on the sofa, and continued drinking her tea.
 
Once Ron regained his voice he moved over to the table where it looked like he was going to get some tea, but he pinned Harry’s arms to his side, as Hermione and Ginny proceeded to tickle him for a good 15 minutes. “Now, don’t forget that we can do that virtually any time we want, got it?” Hermione said
 
“Oh, I get it, but don’t forget, I know where all of you are ticklish, OK?” Harry smirked at them, then exploded in roaring laughter again as Ginny set upon him alone. When he finally made it to breakfast his ribs were so sore he had trouble eating. As they made their way to their classes, he moved to where they could all hear him before whispering, “Tonight, in the room, midnight.” Having said that, he knew none of them would be able to concentrate all day, and he walked on, grinning from ear to ear.
Memories, and a request by Prongs
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione were sitting in their small sitting room three days before they were to leave for the Burrow for Christmas break. Their meetings in the Room of Requirement were progressing as well as any of them could hope for. Actually, as far as Harry and Ron were concerned, they were progressing exactly as they expected, with Hermione the first to transform, followed soon by Ginny. Harry and Ron had yet to transform, but they were working quite hard at everything, so they didn’t plan to master this in a short time, although Harry had to admit, he couldn’t wait to be running in his animagus form with Ginny next to him.
 
Ron had begun asking very soon after the first prank why they couldn’t use the name Marauders, much to Harry’s amusement, Hermione was in classic form explaining that this would only ensure they got caught, with Harry always chiming in that their last prank would make reference to the name. Ron didn’t like having it, but being out numbered three to one, and two of them knowing exactly where to tickle you, he surrendered yet again. “Well, at least tell me if we’re going to prank anyone before the holidays, or if I should go on and start packing.” Ron finally said, the anticipation and exasperation in his voice quite evident.
 
“Oh, I think after our last prank, we might want to lay low for a while.” Harry’s eyes went somewhat dreamy, with the memory of their most recent, and to date, greatest prank ever.
 
FLASHBACK
 
The quartet was headed to lunch on what seemed to be a perfectly normal and random day. Professor Slughorn was still raving about Harry’s natural talent, but lamenting that the war had obviously had such an effect that he might never truly rival Lily. Hermione had been shooting Harry dirty looks since their sixth year because of that book, and she hadn’t stopped now, as if she expected Harry to tell Slughorn how he had gotten such good marks, but he wasn’t about to do that. Just as they rounded the last corner, and the Great Hall came into view, Harry pulled them to a stop, as if he knew something was about to happen.
 
“What’s wrong Harry?” Ginny had turned to face him, but before he could answer her, it happened. “What in Merlin’s name?” But Harry was already rolling with laughter, so the other three just set off for the Great Hall. The scene before them would have blinded almost any normal person. Lights of all colors filled the room from a great ball in the middle, the staff table had begun to walk around the room, complete with chairs filled by professors who didn’t know if it was better to attempt to stand up, or just wait it out, and were arguing about that very point. The student tables had begun to float one over another on each side of the room, but the benches had begun to circle the tables, leaving students to either old on for dear life, or attempt to grab some food when they passed the table on the right side.
 
Harry caught up with the trio, who had been standing in the doorway with about 30 other students and staff since the prank began, and just watched with them, a look of amazement on his face as he had finally quit laughing enough to play innocent.
 
“What if someone falls, with all of that going on, if they fall, Oh Merlin.” She made to run toward a third year who had lost his grip on the bench and catch him, but Ron held her back.
 
“Look, he isn’t falling, must have a sticking charm on the benches.” Ron was pointing to the boy, and Hermione seemed at least to tolerate the prank now.
 
Within 5 more minutes the room went dark, which was no small feat at lunch time, and by the time any light came back to the room, everything was back in the right place, complete with Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sitting in their places, food on their plates.
 
Professor McGonagall was sure she hadn’t seem them at the table when the fiasco started, but it seemed impossible for anyone to move that quickly, in the dark, without making a noise, and resigned herself to simply keep a closer eye on Mr. Potter and his friends.

 
“Harry, you still with us?” Ginny snapped her fingers again and brought Harry out of his thoughts.
 
“Huh? Oh, yeah, just thinking about something. What’s up?” Harry knew they all knew what he had been remembering, and was proven correct when Hermione smacked him on the head with a pillow.
 
“Well, as I said, only three days until Christmas holidays, and we don’t have class after today. Shame we can’t leave early, isn’t it?” Ron was lost in thoughts of chocolate, his mother’s cooking and presents almost instantly.
 
Checking his watch he saw that he only had an hour until curfew, and he needed to see Professor McGonagall. Kissing Ginny as he rose, he said he had to go check with Professor Slughorn for something, and he’d be back before curfew. Ginny offered to come with him, but he refused, kissed her on the forehead, and left. He couldn’t believe he had pulled such a big prank that close to Christmas, there was no way McGonagall didn’t know it was him, and now he was going to ask a favor? Well, didn’t hurt to ask, right? “Peace” he said as he reached the gargoyle, which leapt aside to reveal a moving circular staircase. When it stopped at the top, he walked to the door and knocked, only to hear, almost immediately, an invitation to come in.
 
“Ah, Mr. Potter, what can I do for you tonight?” Professor McGonagall definately knew something was up, she was never this nice or straight forward with any prankster, and she had taught the Marauders, surely she knew Harry was behind it.
 
Steeling himself, he walked forward and sat down opposite her desk. “Professor, I need to ask you for a rather large favor.” Harry took a deep breath and continued. “I need to leave the school for about two hours tomorrow, and I will need to use your fireplace so I’m not seen.” There, he asked her, now all he had to do was wait until she said no, then go to bed.
 
“Why do you need to leave tomorrow, Mr. Potter? Your holiday is only three days from now, and unless you have a good reason, I am afraid I cannot grant you permission.” Professor McGonagall was actually grinning at him, now he knew something was up, this woman never grinned.
 
“I, erm, need to buy something, but it’s a surprise for someone.” How the bloody hell did she do this, turn Harry Potter, the person who defeated Voldemort into a stammering child? He knew she knew, but he wasn’t going to make it easy.
 
“Well, Mr. Potter, as long as you promise that you will be careful not to be seen, as many people know you face, and that you are here, I do not see any harm. When were you planning on travelling tomorrow, and where?” Professor McGonagall had stopped the toying tone, and Harry was quite glad of that.
 
“I’ll be up here at around 2:00 tomorrow afternoon, and I should be back before 4:00, well before if I’m right.” Harry was nervous, but he sat still and waited for her response.
 
“That sounds fine Mr. Potter. Now, it is late, and I’m sure it would be bad enough to get detention this close to the holiday, not to mention being tired when purchasing a wedding band, would it now?” Professor McGonagall wasn’t just grinning, she was beaming now.
 
“What...when...how...who...what?” Harry couldn’t believe it. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley wouldn’t have told anyone, and George hadn’t been to the school since Harry’s fifth year, how did she do it?
 
“Mr. Potter, I have watched students for some time now, and if I have mis-read yours and Miss Weasley’s relationship, I’ll eat my hat. May I see Lily’s ring?” She wasn’t smiling as widely now, but she was still smiling. All at once, she lay the ring on her desk, and began tapping it with her wand.
 
“What’s going on Professor?” Harry was beyond confused now, but he had to know.
 
“Well, Mr. Potter, as you know, wizarding jewelry shops sell rings that conform to the size needed by the wearer. This ring, however, if my memory serves me correctly, was purchased at a muggle shop in London. I also happen to know that Lily was a bit more petite then our Miss Weasley. Now, when you slip this on her finger, it will fit perfectly.” She handed the ring back to Harry, and after a few moments he managed to croak thanks, and left for his dorm.
A plan is set in motion by Prongs
Harry stepped from the fireplace into the Leaky Cauldron and immediately went to the little courtyard in the back that led to Diagon Alley. George already knew he was coming and he was ordered to come by, but Harry was on a mission today. Walking right passed Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes, Harry went directly to the little jewelry shop where he bought Ginny’s snitch necklace only months earlier and went in.
 
“How can I help you today, son?” The sales person today was an older man, although he didn’t look much older that Harry’s grand-parents would be, which actually helped put Harry at ease. Of course, he noticed Harry’s scar, but to Harry’s relief, never mentioned it.
 
“I need your help with something.” Harry held up Lily’s wedding band, which would become Ginny’s engagement ring, and simply stared at it.
 
“Ah yes, I remember when James bought this.” Harry was stunned by the shop keeper’s words, and continued to stare at him.
 
“I thought this was sold in a muggle shop?” Harry said, still staring through the ring at the man.
 
“Yes, in deed it was, I worked there at the time, having just moved to London, and of course, liking to eat, I needed work, no matter where. Of course, once I settled in, I opened my shop here, and I’ve never left. In fact, I believe it was my grand-daughter who sold you and young Miss Weasley those charms, was it not?” before Harry could answer, the old man continued. “Now, of course this ring will not...” the ring had begun to grow to fit the man’s finger, who set it down at once. “Oh ho, I see you have solved that problem, we must now simply find a companion.” After a few minutes he returned with a tray full of rings.
 
Harry saw it almost instantly, the metal was the same as his mother’s ring, but in stead of one large stone, it was a simple band with diamonds set back in it, all the way around the ring. “May I see that one?” Harry asked, and the salesman smiled as he handed the ring to Harry.
 
“An excellent choice for a quidditch player. Nothing to get in the way of gloves, should she decide to wear it during games, although I believe most players prefer to not wear rings these days, especially chasers and seekers, am I right?” The old man was almost laughing at Harry’s bewildered face now. After a few moments he explained that his grand-daughter had been in her seventh year while Harry was off the team in detention with Snape, and had watched Ginny as both seeker and chaser. After signing the bank note and tucking the rings into his pocket, he set off to see George.
 
Not even 20 minutes later, but much more weighed down with shrunken and disillusioned packages, Harry emerged into Professor McGonagall’s office, and upon seeing he was alone, set off for his dorm. They would be headed home the next day, and everything must be perfect.
 
Time seemed to pass so quickly now that Harry was constantly cursing himself for waiting so long to buy the ring and start preparing. He wanted everything to be perfect, the dinner at Grimmauld Place, a walk through moon-lit London, and a ride on the ferris wheel, where he would make sure they stopped at the highest point, where he would propose. The night before leaving, though, he noticed something. Ron hadn’t taken a second helping in the last 5 meals, and had been keeping Ginny occupied. Harry couldn’t get upset there, as he had been tucked away in the library or somewhere else with Hermione since his return from Diagon Alley the day before.
 
“Hey Ron, got a minute?” Harry called his best mate over the common room, the girls had just left for the library, so he had plenty of time to check on this. As soon as he cast a silencing charm on the sitting room, he turned to Ron. “Ron, mate, are you ok? You aren’t eating or sleeping like your normal self, and it’s kind of worrying me. You’re not sick are you?”
 
“No, I’m not sick, but now that you mention it, I did nearly throw up earlier.” Ron was looking very tired and well worn, so Harry continued.
 
“So, you and Ginny planning a prank to get me back for her two days as a half-rabbit, and your hair?” Harry knew he should lighten the mood, and Ron took to it well, perking up a little.
 
“Not really, but now that you mention it.” He trailed off, seeming to go a little dreamy, until Harry threw a pillow that hit him square in the face, thus starting a full on pillow war.
 
What Harry didn’t know is that Ginny was helping Ron plan his proposal to Hermione. By this time he had it all worked out, dinner in Paris, followed by a carriage ride through the city, and propose just as the carriage passes the Eiffel Tower. What none of them knew is that two people were planning to propose, and on the same day, Christmas Eve!
 
The next morning, just like always, Ron and Harry were running to find everything they wanted to take with them, having forgotten to pack the night before. Ginny and Hermione just laughed at them and set off for Hogsmeade station without them, only to be caught up to soon after leaving the castle. The train ride was just as Harry remembered his first ride to the school. The scarlet steam engine passing field that would normally be a deep green, but now were covered in a blanket of fresh snow. As they neared London, the houses began to pop up, all with snow covering their roofs, and smoke issuing from their chimneys. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were waiting on the platform, and once everyone was off the train, meaning Harry and Ginny could leave, all six apparated to the Burrow. As they walked up the small path, Hermione caught up with Harry in time to whisper, “only 5 days, are you ready?” His smile was all the answer she needed.
One big, happy, disfunctional family by Prongs
Harry never ceased to be amazed at how fast time passes when you want it to last. On the 23rd he flooed to Grimmauld Place to go over the dinner plans one more time, Kreacher ensuring everything was ready. As he went upstairs to clean up and rest before returning to the Burrow, however, Mrs. Black stopped him. “Well, Mr. Potter, did I hear correctly that you are to propose to the young woman you introduced me to, and tomorrow night is the night?”
 
“Yes, Mrs. Black, you heard correct, why do you ask?” Harry didn’t really care about her thoughts, but as long as she was being cordial, he wasn’t going to do anything to upset her, as he hated the ratty curtains that were used she when got upset.
 
“Well, I know you do not conform to all of the traditions of our world, such as your hair is too short for the head of a family, and I doubt you took the time to declare your intent to marry and then wait for her parents to seek you out, but did you at least seek their blessing?” Harry smiled. It was true, he did not conform to many of the old ways, if any at all, but this tradition was not just a wizarding one.
 
“Yes, Mistress, I did. The very night before I brought her here for her birthday dinner, in fact.” Harry stopped. He was happy that Mrs. Black was not only willing to stop her yelling and spitting, but he was also amused that she seemed to want to know so much about him.
 
“Well, I wish you the best, young man, and I only remind you to treat her right. If what I heard in your time here only three years ago was correct, she is a gifted and passionate witch, not to mention she has many brothers to defend her honor.” Mrs. Black gave Harry a curt nod, and seemed to indicate she was finished talking.
 
Nodding back, Harry ensured her he would be a perfect gentleman, and knew just how lucky he was to have found Ginny.
 
Christmas Eve came rather quickly, and after breakfast of pancakes and sausage, Ron and Hermione disappeared into the sitting room, while Harry and Ginny walked in the fields. “Just doesn’t seem real does it Gin?” Harry began, “I mean, by this time every year until now something pretty big had happened and normally I was right in the thick of it. Feels good to just be normal doesn’t it?” He kissed her lightly as she smiled, and steered them back toward the house.
 
“Is everything OK Harry, you seem distracted.” Ginny asked as they walked back toward the house, Harry had been staring off into space the entire time since he spoke.
 
“What? Oh, I’m fine, just thinking. What were you and Ron hold up talking about the other day? Not planning a prank on your dear old boyfriend I hope.” Harry layed the innocence on as thick as he could, but only received a nudge in the ribs for his troubles.
 
“That, dear, is between Ronald and myself.” Ginny threw her head to look away, hitting Harry in the face with her hair, and once she realized that, she began to do it again and again, until he tackled her in the snow and began to tickle her.
 
By the time he let her up and made it to the house, lunch was already on the table. Mrs. Weasley dried them both with her wand, then simply pointed them to the table and said “EAT!”. Neither of them took any time in obeying, although Harry kept looking at his watch, until Mrs. Weasley said something to him, which caused him to blush and begin coughing.
 
By evening, Mrs. Weasley had yet to start dinner, much to Ginny’s and Hermione’s confusion. Right about the time they were going to ask about this, Ron and Harry entered the room, grinning from ear to ear. “Would you join me for dinner tonight?” Harry asked Ginny as Ron asked Hermione the same thing. With a look and a grin to each other, both girls stood and took their boyfriends’ hands. Ron noticed Harry giving him an odd grin, but played it off for now. Ron pulled out his portkey to Paris, and Harry his to Grimmauld Place. Once all four were gone, Mr. Weasley pulled out a portkey and simply pressed it between his and Mrs. Weasley’s hands, a surprise dinner date, no wonder she loved this man.
 
Harry was so nervous that he dropped his fork twice during dinner and once during desert. Ginny even offered to use a permanent sticking charm, which did get him to laugh a little. After dinner, with Kreacher bowing them out, Harry put a traveling cloak over Ginny’s shoulders, fastened his own, and led her out into the night. By the time they stopped at the top of the ferris wheel, Ginny was snuggled up to Harry so close that he actually had to wriggle himself away to turn to face her.
 
“Ginny, since our second year I knew I wanted you in my life. Until my sixth year, though, I just thought we were good friends, but every time I saw you that year my heart did back flips, and then we kissed. I love you Genevra Molly Weasley,” Harry swallowed, reached into his pocket, and continued. “this ring was my mother’s. Will you wear it, as my fiance’?” Harry stared into those brown eyes he knew so well, and waited.
 
“Yes, Harry, yes I’ll marry you.” Ginny was barely able to speak, and as he slipped Lily’s ring onto her finger, he met her eyes again. Right on cue, Neville and Luna, who were watching from near by, started shooting sparks into the air, thankfully taken for fireworks by the muggles.
 
Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione had finished their dinner and were nearing the Tower. Ron was in full form, bumbling his words and maintaining his glorious shade of Weasley Red, which Hermione found quite disarming and actually somewhat charming. As they rounded a corner, Hermione gaspsed. The tower was lit for Christmas and looked amazing. Passers by were just as awed by the sight, but Ron was staring at his girlfriend. “Hermione, we’ve known each other for a long time now, and if it wasn’t for Quirell’s troll, we wouldn’t be friends, but we are. Last year,” he stopped, evidently remembering how he had run out on the search, and looked away, only to have Hermione pull his face back to look at her, and smiled. “Last year, after everything was over, I knew I wanted more from our relationship, and these last few months have been amazing.”
 
“Ron, what are you saying?” Hermione was beyond curious now, and had to know why Ron was so tongue tied.
 
“Hermione, will you,” Ron seemed unable to speak for a moment, “will you marry me?”
 
Hermione squeeled, and threw her arms around Ron’s neck. “Yes, you adorable man, YES!”
 
Ron slipped the ring on her finger, and as looked into her eyes, he said “Now, all we have to do is tell my parents, yours have known for a while, and I see they didn’t spill the beans.”
 
Hermione landed a playful slap on his shoulder, then snuggled in beside him as they continued their ride.
 
By the time the two couples arrived home it was nearly midnight. As Harry and Ginny stepped from the fireplace, seeing as Harry lost his portkey somewhere, but as it only worked for him, he wasn’t worried, they noticed the house was completely empty. Just as they were about to call for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ron and Hermione walked in the door. “Do you know where Mum and Dad are, Ron?” Ginny asked.
 
Ron shrugged, but just then Hermione noticed a note on the tree, simply address Kids.
 
Dear Kids,
 
Molly and I are having dinner in Rome tonight, and will most likely return early tomorrow morning. I hope you all enjoyed your evenings, and we will see you bright and early for Christmas.
 
Dad
 
“Well, house to ourselves huh?” Ron began, but before either of the girls could chastise him for such thoughts, he made a bee-line for the kitchen, sending all three of the others into hysterics, until the girls noticed a small glint coming from each other’s left hand.
 
“What’s that on your finger?” Both of them asked at the same time, and just before they could answer, Harry bolted for the kitchen, followed closely by both Ginny and Hermione.
 
As they all exchanged hugs and congratulations, Ginny noticed an expression on Harry’s face. “Well, I think it’s time we all turned in for the night.” After confirming that Ron and Hermione were in deed sharing his room, Ginny pulled Harry to hers. “Are you OK, Harry?”
 
“Yeah, just thinking.” He leaned in and kissed Ginny on the forehead, and then fell asleep.
A brave face isn't always best by Prongs
Author's Notes:
I have heard that JKR noted that the "quartet" would never become animagi, so let's just say that's what will make this "slightly AU"
Harry found himself back in the graveyard of Little Hangleton, the body of Cedric Diggory lying limp to his left, as he was trapped by the stone figure. Once again he found himself propelled into a duel with Voldemort. As Voldemort screamed “CRUCIO!” he woke, finding himself in a cold sweat from having relived one of the most horrible nights of his life, yet again.
 
After groping for his glasses, he was able to see the clock at last. Noticing it was only 3:00 in the morning, but realizing he would not be able to sleep any more, he made his way to the kitchen for a cup of tea, only to find George sitting alone at the table. His shoulders were slumped and shaking slightly. Harry moved slowly to his friend and lay a hand on his shoulder, thankful he did not shrug it away.
 
“George, what’s wrong mate?” Harry thought he knew what was wrong, but he also knew that talking was necessary now.
 
“I just can’t believe, how can I, he can’t be” George trailed off, but Harry did not speak. “I don’t even know who did it, do I? He was with Percy and you three, I told him to stay and help while I went to find out if the others were OK. If I had stayed,” George broke down at this point, Harry still just sitting beside him.
 
“George, why didn’t you talk to us before? You need to let it out mate, trust me, it’ll eat you alive.” Harry pulled his friend into a sideways hug, and after a moment longer just sat with him, as both of them continued to drink their tea.
 
“I thought it would help more if I made jokes, you know, like we always did. He wouldn’t want me moping around like a troll now would he?” George had given up on the tea, now almost ice cold.
 
“Well, I don’t think he’d want you exploding either, or being locked up in St. Mungo’s. He’d want you to remember him, but not let this whole mess destroy you. George, you know you can talk to me, right?” Harry gave his shoulder a squeeze and moved to put more water on the fire. Just then, however, Ron, Hermione and Ginny came downstairs.
 
“Blimey Harry, you scared me half to death, wandering off!” Ginny was about to get into full flow for a rant, but noticed her brother sitting at the table.
 
“Don’t let me stop you, I’m sure Harry here deserves a good lashing, dunt he now?” But George was not able to smile.
 
“George, what’s wrong?” Hermione asked as Ron, Harry and Ginny joined her at the table.
 
Over the next hour George told about what happened in the battle, how he and Fred split up for a bit, how he wished he was with Fred, and thought he could have saved him. All five of them were still sitting there, tears having stained all of their faces, when Mr. and Mrs. Weasley walked in. As if they had heard the entire conversation, Mr. Weasley just hugged his son, then Mrs. Weasley. As he was pulled into a hug by his mother, it was as if all bonds broke, and he started crying again.
 
“Look at me, bawling like a little baby.” he finally croaked, but was cut off by Ron.
 
“George, we all need to let stuff like this out, like Harry said. If we don’t it will eat you alive from the inside, and Mum wouldn’t like not being able to make you clean up that mess.” Ron chuckled, and was happy to see that George cracked a small, watery smile.
 
Over the rest of the day the entire group talked about the weddings to come, often starting to cry afresh at so many people not being able to see it. It was as if George finally being unable to bottle it up any more allowed the others to let go as well. By the end of the day, all of them were feeling a little better, George having managed to demand, yet again, to be called St. George, only to be denied, yet again.
 
Harry and Ron led Ginny and Hermione upstairs, where all four of them fell asleep almost instantly, having actually gone to the correct rooms this time. Despite fears that his dreams would once again be nightmares, Harry still fell asleep as soon as he hit the pillow.
 
He awoke the next morning, surprised that he had not dreamed at all, or at least couldn’t remember if he had. Ron was still snoring, until Harry dropped all of his pillows and blankets on Ron’s head, only to be nearly attacked for it. “We have to pack, Ron. We’re supposed to be on the train in three hours!” Harry had already begun running around the room, silently swearing that he was, yet again, running around at the last minute packing for a ride to Hogwart’s.
 
As usual, the quartet had barely managed to cross the barrier and load their trunks just before the scarlet steam engine roared to life and started out of the station. The ride was much more solemn than any he could remember, the image of George breaking down still fresh in his mind. “I’ve been thinking about our schedules for this term. We’re all very busy with N.E.W.T. preparations, so we may not have time to do anything but study.” Ron and Ginny grimaced as Harry grinned slightly at Hermione, who appeared quite happy at the news.
 
“Well, mate, does this mean no pranks at all?” Ron spoke up, looking a bit crest fallen at the idea, and stared at Harry.
 
“Well have to see how it works out, but maybe we can work in one last tribute to the Marauders, and Fred, of course.” The mention of Fred’s name seeming to render all of them unable to speak, the remainder of the ride was broken only by the lunch trolley, and Harry buying plenty of sweets for the group.
 
As they all thought, the second term of the year was much more demanding, all of them having so much assigned each day that they all seemed to forget about anything else. Late in the term, as all four of them were getting quite short with each other, mostly due to lack of sleep and increased studying, Harry realized that the entire school could use a break. Only Ginny noticed that Harry seemed to be in better spirits as they walked to the Great Hall for lunch, but as they entered, everyone just stared. All four tables were gone, as was the staff table. The room had been transformed into a large wooded clearing, complete with birds singing from the branches. Strewn about the ground were blankets, covered with sandwiches and jugs of pumpkin juice, as if the entire school had been invited to an enormous picnic.
 
“Well, are we going to eat or what?” Harry took Ginny’s hand, who simply nudged Ron as he and Hermione began to walk with them. Settling down at one of the blankets, the quartet seemed to forget everything that had been occupying their minds for the last few months, and spent a wonderful lunch just chatting. The effect was just as Harry planned, as it seemed everyone, staff included, was in much better spirits after their picnic. Professor McGonagall even implied that the idea may be repeated from time to time, as needed, all the time smiling at Harry.
 
Even with their N.E.W.T. exams approaching, the quartet seemed relaxed once again. As they climbed into the common room that night, not even Hermione suggested studying, rather just sat by the fire and chatted with her friends until they all went to bed.
A persistent bug, and the other woman by Prongs
Harry was sitting in the common room alone when Hermione, Ginny and Ron came in. Despite their greetings, Harry did not seem to even know that someone had come into the room, he just sat staring into the fire. After a few confused looks at each other, Ginny motioned for Ron and Hermione to leave them alone for a bit, and managed to send the other Griffyndors out of the room as well. Once she was convinced they were completely alone, she sat moved to the chair he was in, leaned over and kissed his cheek softly.
 
“Ginny? When did you get here?” Harry had nearly drawn his wand in surprise, but Ginny was simply looking at him.
 
“I’ve been here for about 10 minutes, and I’m rather surprised you didn’t hear me, with all the yelling I had to do so we could be alone. What’s on your mind, Harry?” Ginny tried to keep the worry out of her voice, but her eyes told the story on their own. Harry was staring directly into them, and she wondered what could have distracted him so greatly to not even notice when she had to threaten to hex people so they would leave. After a few minutes, although to Ginny it seemed an eternity, Harry smiled.
 
“I’m fine love, it’s just this,” Harry held up the latest copy of the Daily Prophet, “she’s done it again. Will I ever have a normal life?”
 
Ginny took the paper from him, and after reading Rita Skeeter’s latest gossip column nearly exploded. “I’ll kill her! She can’t do this to you, to us! Where’s my broom, I’m going to London right now!” Ginny’s ears were far more scarlet than Harry had ever seen, and despite her anger she was more beautiful to him than she had ever been. Only when she noticed him grinning did she turn her attention back to him. “And just what do you find funny now?”
 
“Nothing sweetie, it’s just that I never cease to be amazed at how much that little bug of a writer can set you and Hermione off, it’s actually kind of, well, cute!” Harry would normally have been punched for saying that anger was cute, but it caught Ginny so off guard that she was actually speechless, her mouth opening and closing in a wonderful imitation of a fish. Only when she noticed Harry still grinning did she finally react. Harry moved as Ginny did, the pillow she had thrown flying over his head as he ducked under it and moved toward her. Scooping her up in his arms he spun and sat down on the sofa.
 
“Don’t think that you’re off the hook yet, Mr. Potter! You still have to explain to me why you were grinning like an idiot while I was ranting about Skeeter!” Ginny was trying to free herself from his grip, only succeeding, however, in causing him to tighten his hold on her, until he leaned in, and looking her in the eyes, kissed her. Both melted instantly and nothing seemed as if it could do anything to harm them.
 
“I suppose the only way to stop all of this will be to either give an interview, or just fade away, and I don’t think I could live as a hermit, do you?” Ginny shook her head, smiling, and agreed that he would have to tell his story, although he did not want to have to relive all of the pain he had suffered since learning of his place in the wizarding world.
 
“You realize we have to show Ron and Hermione this, don’t you?” Harry waved the paper again, Ginny once again reminded of what had just happened. “Do you think you can calm Hermione down after she sees it?” Harry grinned at the red head, and as they stood up, Ginny grinned at him.
 
“We should probably take both of their wands before they read it, we don’t want them blowing up the tower, do we now?” Harry just laughed as Ginny finished.
 
“NOT AGAIN!” Hermione was fighting with both Harry and Ginny for her wand, which was laying on the dresser, Ron was just staring at her, unsure what to do.
 
“Listen Hermione, McGonagall has agreed to let us out of classes tomorrow so we can go to London and set things right. We have three days to, well, correct this. Just promise me you won’t do anything rash, OK?” Hermione shot Harry a look that he was sure would have sent him flying if she had been holding her wand, and was quite sure she would have to be restrained if Skeeter was in the same room with them. “I promise she’ll live, nothing more!” Hermione was still fuming, but as Ron spoke up she softened a bit.
 
“Do you still have that unbreakable jar? We could always, well, make sure she knows we still have it, couldn’t we?” Ron asked, sure that Skeeter would remember being put in that jar during the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
 
The next morning after breakfast, and making sure all of their professors knew they would miss class, the four met in the Headmistress’s office. They were to floo to the Leaky Cauldron and go directly to the Diagon Alley office for the Daily Prophet and meet with the Editor. All of them were prepared to give as full an account of their last year as possible, leaving out, of course, the most painful and unpleasant parts.
 
Harry had convinced the others to let him do most of the talking, mostly due to his celebrity status, and the fact that Hermione would probably be unable to speak without hexing Skeeter into the next county. As he entered the busy office the young witch at the front desk looked up. “I need to speak with the Editor and Ms. Skeeter, now!”
 
“And you are?” she asked, seeming unimpressed by his attitude, until she noticed his blazing emerald eyes, and the unmistakable scar on his forehead. “Oh, Mr. Potter, of course. Please wait here.” She rushed into an office and only seconds later a slightly balding wizard appeared, and invited them in.
 
Only when Skeeter had arrived did Harry speak. “Ms. Skeeter here has, once again, completely bumbled her latest article. I chose to let it go in my fourth year when she chose to paint me as a glory seeking student, not to mention giving my age as 12 years old when in fact, I was 14 and I made sure she knew this, but I cannot remain quiet any more.”
 
“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mr. Potter,” Rita began, but Harry flicked his wand and cast a silencing charm on her.
 
“You will sit there and listen to the facts, and I do not plan to allow you to interrupt!” Harry was glaring at her such that she simply sank into her chair. “I realize that the column Ms. Skeeter writes is not one that depends on fact completely, and is often not much more than a gossip rag, but I will not allow my friends to be dragged into this as well.” Both the balding wizard and Skeeter were dumbfounded, Harry had never shown anger directed toward anyone before, save perhaps Voldemort, but he was certainly angry now. “I am going to give some lucky member of your staff, aside from Ms. Skeeter here, a once in a lifetime interview, after that, I will not speak of last year again. My friends will be on hand to answer any questions they are asked as well. You will print only our words, nothing else, am I clear?” Harry was standing to leave, as both the editor and Rita Skeeter just nodded. “My N.E.W.T. exams are in June, I will consent to the interview no earlier than September, until then, I would appreciate that nothing, save perhaps mention of the upcoming interview, be printed regarding myself or my friends.” With that, the quartet left the office, Harry pausing only to reverse the charm he cast on Skeeter, although she still sat silent, only blinking at where he had been sitting.
 
“You realize that waiting will only make people wonder and talk more, don’t you?” Ron asked, confused at Harry’s decision to set September as the interview date.
 
“I don’t care, I will not put my life on hold just because of some gossip column writing hag, nor should you. Now, we have the rest of the day, and all of tomorrow to ourselves, what do you guys want to do?” Harry had rounded on them and after seeing that he was starting to relax, the quartet decided to spend some time shopping, after which they would visit the Burrow to ensure that everything was OK after the article’s appearance.
 
The next two weeks were a blur, and it wasn’t until Ron noticed that Ginny and Hermione were both spending a lot of time shut up in their room did he or Harry realize it was almost Valentine’s Day. “We’re dead, you know that, don’t you mate?” Ron said, as both of them sat in the common room. “Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and we forgot.”
 
“Ron, they think we forgot, but that doesn’t mean they have to know we forgot.” Harry winked at him. After explaining to Ron that they could just pretend to have meant the girls to think they forgot, but actually have been planning something, they set to work. Harry sent an urgent owl to Madame Rosemerta asking for a secluded table for each couple, complete with roses on each and a bottle of wine. Both of the boys slipped into Hogsmeade early, having left Hermione and Ginny notes to meet them for lunch, and bought sweets and a gift, and headed to the Three Broomsticks.
 
“HARRY JAMES POTTER! Don’t even think of trying to convince me that you didn’t forget today!” Ginny was in full flow as Harry simply grinned. Hermione had been giving Ron an earful as well, much to the amusement of the others in the bar, but both girls had just noticed the roses and chocolate on the tables behind their fiance’s, and just stared. After a quiet lunch, both Ron and Harry presented the girls with a lovely set of ear rings, and both of them were once again speechless, something only seemed to amuse the boys, until the last bit of fun Harry had planned was put into motion. “Hang on Gin, the ride is about to get bumpy.” Harry was edging around to sit beside her, where both of them had a wonderful view of Ron and Hermione.
 
Just as he settled in beside her, Madame Rosemerta came through the door. “Ron, what is the meaning of this? You send me this sweet card, and then show up with another girl? And she’s wearing an engagement ring! Were you planning on telling me there was another woman?” Ron was staring at her, completely surprised, just as Hermione was, when Madame Rosemerta ran from the main room. Hermione looked from where the matron had disappeared to Ron, then ran to catch her. Harry was almost rolling on the floor, and after a few minutes Ron followed, determined to find out what happened.
 
As he entered the back room, both women rounded on him, Rosemerta having let Hermione in on the joke.
 
“RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY! You take me to Paris and propose, only to come back and spend your time writing love notes to another woman! How could you!” Hermione had thrown a large pile of parchment at Ron, who was staring at them in disbelief. Harry and Ginny entered the room, both trying to act confused, and doing a horrible job. Only when Harry collapsed did Ron realize what had happened.
 
“What the bloody hell..” but he was cut off by Hermione launching herself at him, and kissing him. Rosemerta had begun to help Harry up as she began to laugh along with Ginny.
 
“C’mon Ron, we couldn’t let a whole month go by without some fun, could we?” Ginny was smiling innocently, Harry still unable to speak. Rosemerta simply propped Harry up against a chair and walked to Ron. Smiling wryly, she kissed him on the cheek, and sat down. Ron was more confused than ever, but as he saw Harry’s eyes full of tears he realized that his best mate and his fiance had set him up, and launched at Harry.
 
After almost 30 minutes, Hermione and Ginny were able to pry the boys apart, and settled down for a proper lunch in the back room, although Ron’s ears were still bright red, and he kept leaning over to whisper to Hermione. Harry and Ginny knew something was up, but they just couldn’t tell what. After all, Hermione had been in on the joke, but she and Ron were together, so it was a mystery.
 
As the quartet walked back to the castle, Harry and Ginny a bit in front, Harry heard Ron mutter something and he knew what the plan was. He and Ginny were solidly stuck together, as if glued, Harry’s hand around her shoulders, and hers around his waist. Neither, of course, let on that they knew what happened until they reached the common room. Ron and Hermione sat down, and as Ron leaned in to kiss her, Ginny reacted with the same charm Ron had used earlier. He and Hermione were now stuck in an eternal kiss. When the laughter stopped, Ron having carried Hermione to the sitting room, Hermione was able to release Harry and Ginny, after which Ginny release the other couple. All four collapsed in laughter before staggering to bed.
The Deal by Prongs
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione were just settling down from the fun of Valentine’s Day, not to mention having finally stopped laughing that Harry was finally able to put Skeeter in her place when they received their notices about the times and places of their N.E.W.T. exams. Harry and Ron were, as usual, unconcerned, as the tests were still over three months away. Hermione, however, immediately set to work making them all schedules for practice time and studying time, leaving Ginny thoroughly amused as the boys seemed to be constantly getting under Hermione’s skin by ignoring them.
 
After about a week of ignoring Hermione, she had a revelation. Pulling Ginny aside after lunch on Saturday she set her plan in motion. “Ginny, listen, I know that my normal way to get the boys to study won’t work this year because, well, it’s never worked. We all need to study, this year more than ever, so why don’t you focus on Harry and I’ll focus on Ron. This way, at least, we might get them to crack a book before the night leading up to the test, OK?” Hermione watched for some sign that Ginny was going to help her, while Ginny was just amazed at how much Hermione seemed to care about all of them.
 
“Well, if you think you can break through my brother’s thick head, I’m sure I can handle Harry.” Ginny grinned as both of them began invisioning ways to get the boys to study, rather than play chess or talk about quidditch.
 
Satisfied, Hermione looped her arm through Ginny’s and walked back into the castle, both of them giving innocent, yet still highly curious looks to Ron and Harry, who just watched as the girls headed for the dorms, both of them highly confused.
 
“I don’t like the looks of that, mate. Their plotting something, I tell ya.” Ron said as Harry just stared at the girls who were obviously satisfied with themselves.
 
“Yeah, and from the looks of those two, I really don’t see how we stand a chance.” Harry replied, unable to keep the confusion from his face. “I guess we’ll just have to be on our toes, won’t we?”
 
It only took an hour for the girls to spring the trap. Hermione cornered Ron in the corridor, while Ginny waited for Harry in the common room. Both of them launched immediately into full blown rant mode, leaving the boys speechless.
 
“Harry, we need to do something about your studying. After all, if you’re going to be an auror and all that rot, you have to get good marks, and at this rate, you might get out of here by the time you’re 30!” Ginny had begun advancing on him, and despite her smaller stature, Harry found himself backing away from her.
 
“Gin, what’s gotten into you?” Harry spluttered, but as he started to speak again Ginny launched herself at him, pinning him on the sofa. Almost immediately he began fighting to free himself, but Ginny was quite adept at keeping him right where she wanted him. She leaned in and kissed him, teasing him more than she had dared to before. As she leaned back she looked directly into his eyes, and waited for him to stop fighting.
 
“Good, now that I have your attention, I have a proposition for you. As I see that I will not be able to just convince you to study, I have to play hard ball. I will not be spending any time alone with you unless you earn it. For every hour you spend studying, or getting ready for your practical exams, you will earn 20 minutes with me.” Harry was just staring at her, and he had begun again to try to free his arms, only to have Ginny reposition herself to pin him more soundly before continuing. “Harry, you want to spend time with me, don’t you? I know I want to have some free time with you.”
 
“Gin, of course I want time with you, but you don’t have to force me to study this way, I’ll be fine.” Harry protested, and finally managed to free his arms, only to have Ginny grab his wrists as he moved to cup her face for another kiss.
 
“Harry, I’m serious here, one hour of study for 20 minutes with me.” With that, she cupped his face in her hands, and as he moved to kiss her, she simply kissed his forehead and walked away grinning.
 
“GIRLS!” Harry bellowed, causing a group of fourth years behind him to laugh, until he rounded on them and yelled at them to shut up.
 
“Ron, I’ve tried for six years to get you to study for exams, and every year it’s the same thing. You ignore me until the last minute then beg for my help.” Hermione was looking Ron directly in the eyes, determined to get through to him this year. “I want you to do well on your exams, and if you really want to be an auror, like you and Harry say, you need excellent marks.”
 
“Hermione, I’ll be fine, you’ve been helping us study all year, seeing as we all missed last year, why the sudden worry?” Ron thought he had impressed her with this logic, but Hermione sighed and continued.
 
“Ron, last year was a learning experience for all of us, but not in all the classes we are taking. We didn’t brew any potions, and aside from the food, none of us even tried to transfigure anything. The only experience we did get was defending ourselves.” Hermione was in full row now, and Ron knew it was better to just let her finish. “I’ll make you a deal. You have said I need to lighten up and I’ve said you need to study more. So, how about this, you study with me for an hour, and I’ll goof off with you for 30 minutes, OK?” Hermione saw the somewhat mischevious grin forming on Ron’s face and immediately slapped his shoulder. “RONALD!”
 
“What was that for?” Ron had begun to blush slightly, but had not lost his grin.
 
“You know very well what that was for, and don’t you even begin to think those thoughts!” Hermione was turning quite red while continuing to berate Ron about his improper thoughts. After a few more moments he raised his hands in surrender, and the two returned to the common room.
 
Being Friday evening, the girls decided that they would allow the boys one more Saturday of freedom before their arrangements went into affect. All four of them went into Hogsmeade once again, Ron and Harry spending most of their time at Zonko’s, much to Hermione’s and Ginny’s dismay as they knew something was being planned, but, being unable to prove it, the subject was dropped. Ron managed to turn a glorious shade of red again as they entered the Three Broomsticks for lunch, as Madame Rosemerta had, of course, not forgotten her little part in the Valentine’s Day fun. Harry, however, intervened quickly to avoid another row with him.
 
As they returned to the castle, having made sure to remind both Ron and Harry about the deal, Hermione and Ginny set off for the library, leaving Ron and Harry alone to get in one last good game of chess, despite Harry never having won against Ron before, and holding to tradition, Ron won again, although it did take him much longer than previous years.
 
Both Hermione and Ginny were pleased to find the boys more than willing to live up to the bargain, and were surprised to find that they actually spent a good amount of time studying. Harry, of course, claimed that he had figured out how long he would need to study during the week to have all day Saturday with Ginny, despite Ginny’s reservations about his math skills. Ron, however, simply said he decided that he wanted to finally beat Harry’s marks in something, although he knew it wouldn’t be D.A.D.A.
 
By the time their N.E.W.T. exams came, all four were quite at ease, having studied relentlessly for months. By the time the exams were over, even Hermione had begun to admit she was glad to not have need to study any more, although she could still be found with a book in her hand almost constantly. Her normal reply to this was that reading for fun is never tiring, reading because you must can be, though. Naturally, Ron never quite understood this, causing Ginny and Harry to collapse in fits of laughter each time, only deepening his confusion. The night before the end of term feast, Harry leaned over to Ginny at dinner as McGonagall was talking about something, though he had stopped listening to her speeches a long time ago.
 
“We’re on patrol tonight at 11:00. Meet me in the room at midnight, OK?” He was pleased when she just nodded, and he went back to pretending to listen to the Headmistress talk.
Bonded by blood by Prongs
Harry and Ginny left the common room at 11:00 that night for their patrol. Harry began nudging her in the ribs as soon as they were out of ear shot of the portrait hole, despite the feaux-angry glances she kept shooting at him. The patrol was rather quiet, as Peeves had learned of Harry’s new found love of mischief, and therefore decided not to give him any reason to change his mind. After a quick search of the Astronomy Tower, which took a bit longer than other prefects’ patrols, Harry asked Ginny to check the girls lavatories, while he checked the boys lavatories, after which they would meet in the Room of Requirement. As soon as he was out of her sight, he ran for the corridor on the seventh floor.
 
“I need a place to be alone with Ginny” Harry thought as he passed the spot three times, and as before, a door appeared. Despite his experience in the room, Harry was awestruck as he entered. This room was absolutely amazing, with a high vaulted ceiling. The walls were lined, as the corridors were, with torches which cast dancing shadows all along the room. To his right, a small table with a centrepiece of red roses. To his left a small sofa in front of a blazing fire. In one of the far corners was a large four poster bed. Soft music played throughout the room, and seemed to put an air of romance in the place.
 
Harry stood stock still, staring at the absolute beauty of the place, and just as he was about to speak, a small voice came from his pocket.
 
“Five minutes! Get a move on!” Harry was thankful he had the watch set to remind him, as he might not have had time before Ginny arrived had it not brought him out of his reverie.
 
“Kreacher!” Harry called, but as he did, he remembered Kreacher was at Grimmauld Place. To his surprise, the elf appeared before him with the usual loud CRACK!
 
“Master Harry called for Kreacher. How may Kreacher serve Master?” croaked the elf, in his familiar bullfrog voice.
 
“Kreacher, I need you to get me some things, and I need them very fast. First, I need tea for myself and Ginny, as well as some chocolate, or your Treacle Tart, if there is any left. Ginny will be here in about three minutes, can you get it before she gets here?” Harry hoped he had not wasted too much time, he wanted tonight to be perfect.
 
“Yes Master.” Kreacher nodded and disapparated as he did, only to return a few moments later with a large tray. A tea serving set and a plate of Treacle Tart on it.
 
“Thank you Kreacher, now, please go back to Grimmauld Place, and you are not to do any work for 8 hours, do you understand?” Harry grinned at the confused look on the elf’s face, but despite this, Kreacher bowed low, and with the usual CRACK, he was gone.
 
No sooner than Harry had put the tea set and desert on the table, Ginny came through the door. I need to be sure no one else gets in this room until I leave, he thought before he turned around. He was quite thankful Neville had told him about that as he returned to Hogwarts almost a year before, as he did not want to be disturbed tonight.
 
Taking a single rose from the table, he turned to Ginny. “Welcome, to a night of pure relaxation, and if my calculations were correct, I still have eight hours of time from our study deal, so you are not allowed to leave until then.” Harry thought he might have seen an odd look on her face, but as soon as he thought that, she smiled at him and crossed to the table. Leaning in to kiss him, she ran her hand through his hair, as he cradled her head in one hand, with the other at the small of her back.
 
As they separated, he pulled a chair back from the table for her. Then, seating himself across from her, poured her some tea, then some for himself. For what seemed an eternity they sat and enjoyed their tea, talking of nothing important at first, then moving to the topic of their wedding and beyond. Ginny told him that Mrs. Weasley had agreed, albeit begrudgingly, to let them have the wedding on the pitch at Hogwarts, although she did insist that the stands be removed, and the hoops be disillusioned. Harry smiled knowingly, as Professor McGonagall had done just that earlier that very day. They were to be married two days after the students left for home, allowing time for their guests to arrive for the rehearsal, and of course, making sure everyone had a place to sleep that needed one.
 
After a few more long moments lost in conversation, their tea was finished, and he pulled her from her chair. Crossing to her, he swept her into his arms and carried her to the small sofa, where she snuggled in close to him and they kissed again, this time the kiss did not break for much longer.
 
Although neither of them said anything during their time by the fire, it seemed much was said just the same. Finally, Harry spoke.
 
“Ginny, I’ve been thinking about something. I know we’re going to be married in a few days, and I couldn’t be more excited. Both of us will finally be able to have as close to a normal life as we can.” Harry trailed off and Ginny spoke up.
 
“Harry, you’re not getting cold feet are you? We can always move the date if you want to.” Harry put a finger to her lips and smiled.
 
“Not in a million years, and not just because your Mum would kill us both for making her wait longer.” They both laughed at the thought of having to tell Mrs. Weasley that after all of her planning, the date had been moved. “No, I found something in the library.” Ginny grinned at him. “I do know how to read you know.” Harry said, nudging her in the ribs as she wriggled a bit. “It’s called a blood bond. This bond is considered as sacred as the bond of husband and wife, parent and child, or siblings, and it would allow us to share our memories and our thoughts.” Ginny sat up and looked at him.
 
“Do you mean we could talk without talking, like Legilimancy?” She asked, a slightly confused look on her face.
 
“Well, with time, perhaps, but at first it would be like a super charged Thinking of You Charm. We would know how the other is feeling, and we could apparate to the other person, even without knowing where they were. It’s very old, and that’s probably why people don’t really know about it, but it’s not that hard.” Harry pulled an old book from the table by the sofa. As he showed Ginny how the bond works, her eyes darted from the book to Harry and back. “Gin, I don’t want to force you to do anything, I just thought this was interesting.”
 
Ginny appeared deep in thought for a moment, before taking the book from Harry. It felt like an eternity that she sat reading the pages describing the bond, leaving Harry to think she did not want to. He was quite serious that he was not going to force her to do this, but from his own reading, he wanted this desperately.
 
Harry did not have to wait long for an answer, as Ginny set the book back on Harry's lap, she closed her eyes in deep thought. As she did, two very small, and very ornate silver daggers appeared on the table next to her end of the sofa, as well as a small stone, exactly like the one pictured in the book. Without speaking she handed a dagger to Harry and set the stone between them. They both smiled as they made a very small cut on their left hand ring finger and let the blood drip on the stone. After three drops from each of them had hit the stone, Harry picked it up and turned it over, allowing three more drops from each of them on the other side. Then, clasping hands around the stone, they both read the incantation from the book, after which the stone began to warm. When the stone was no longer warm, they looked at their hands, the cuts they had made were healed.
 
“Did it work?” Ginny asked, “Can you tell?”
 
“I don’t know, can you sense how I’m feeling right now?” Harry asked
 
“Well, anyone could see you’re happy and relaxed, but there’s something else I’m feeling, it’s almost like you’re,” Ginny stopped and immediately blushed so dark a shade of red that Harry was startled. “HARRY! What would my mother say if she knew you were thinking that about her little girl?”
 
“Well, not to be rude, Ginny, but,” Harry paused, blushing now as well, “it appears you’re thinking it too.”
 
Without another word, Ginny lunged at Harry, pinning him to the sofa and kissing him. For a few long moments they were lost in each other’s embrace, until Harry managed to free himself. Once again scooping Ginny into his arms, he carried her to the bed, never breaking their kiss.
 
When Harry awoke, he wasn’t sure if the previous night had been a dream or not. Only after looking at the beautiful woman lying in his arms, feeling her skin against his and her breath against his neck did he know it was real. Leaning down slowly, he kissed her softly on the forehead, causing her to stir slightly. “Well, good morning Mrs. Potter, did you sleep well?” Harry beamed at her as he asked.
 
“Why yes, Mr. Potter, I slept magnificently, but I dare say we might get some odd looks if you keep calling me that before the wedding. OH!” Ginny gasped, and leapt from the bed. As she did, she was frantically dressing, and only after throwing Harry’s robes to him did he do the same. Once they were both dressed, Harry looked at her.
 
“What was that all about?” he asked, grinning at her.
 
“Harry, elves can sense bonds that humans can’t. That’s how they recognize family members when ownership changes, and why Kreacher had to obey you. What if they give us away?” Ginny was flustered still, but Harry smiled at her, and turning to the room she knew why.
 
“Kreacher!” he called, and with another loud CRACK, the elf appeared.
 
“Master called Kreacher?” he croaked, but Harry did not wait to ask his question.
 
“Kreacher, I need your help. I know you know who this is, but I need you to tell me her full name, as I know you can recognize people you have not met.” Harry was almost frantic.
 
Looking to Ginny, Kreacher spoke. “This is Mistress Ginevra Potter, Master.” he answered, bowing again to Harry.
 
“Kreacher, I need you to do something for me. I need you to go to the elves in the castle and tell them that they are not to call her that until after our wedding. I’m sure they know when it is, as I believe they are cooking for us. Can you do that?” Harry tried to sound calm, but after Kreacher called her Mistress Ginevra Potter, he was only more worried, despite the fact that Ginny was grinning at him and giggling the entire time.
 
“Yes Master, Kreacher will do it right away.” Kreacher bowed as he said this.
 
“Thank you Kreacher, and please return to Grimmauld Place after that, oh, and don’t tell Mistress Black just yet, I would like to be the one to tell her I am married, OK?” Harry smiled as Kreacher bowed again, and was gone. “Well, that’s that solved, now we just avoid any elves until the wedding, and we’ll be fine, won’t we?”
 
Ginny grinned at him, and taking his hand, the two walked back to the dorms, only to find a grinning Hermione and a cranky Ron waiting for them in the common room.
A slight interruption by Prongs
As Harry and Ginny entered the common room, both Ron and Hermione followed them, still staring at the couple as if something had changed. Harry waited until he knew for a fact that they were alone before speaking.
 
“What’s gotten into you two? Hermione looks like she just found out she got a new book and Ron looks like he just got a vomit flavored Bertie Bott’s bean.” Harry tried to keep his tone casual, but he knew what was going on, if for no other reason than the look in Ron’s eyes.
 
“Harry, don’t play dumb with me mate, you two didn’t come back to the dorm last night,” Ron trailed off, obviously unable to talk about what he was thinking.
 
“So, tell us everything!” Hermione squeeled, before Ron groaned and bolted for the portrait hole.
 
“Gin, remember that we have to start getting ready for a wedding, so we don’t have a lot of time to just chat right now, do we? I’ll go get Ron.” Harry made to leave as Ginny stuck her tongue out at him and pulled Hermione to the sofa, both of them giggling uncontrollably.
 
It didn’t take Harry long to find Ron, seeing as he was standing just outside the portrait hole, almost waiting for Harry. “So, do you want to tell me what you were doing, keeping my little sister out all night, or should I just punch you now?” Ron was alternating between confusion, anger, and obvious repulsion at thinking about his sister in that manner.
 
“Ron, nothing happened! Ginny and I went to the Room of Requirement for tea. We talked for a long time and fell asleep, trust me mate, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything like that, at least not until we’re married.” Harry had to suppress a laugh at Ron’s face, but he could tell Ron believed him.
 
Ron opened his mouth to say more, but students began flooding the corridor, heading for the train. A few stopped to congratulate the two standing in the hall, as well as more than a few girls gave Harry tearful looks as they passed, apparently mourning the fact that someone else had caught Harry Potter, causing Harry and Ron to laugh.
 
Meanwhile, back in the common room, Ginny had just finished telling Hermione about the blood bond, not to mention Kreacher calling her Mistress Ginevra Potter. Ginny had to admit that despite the wedding still being three days off, she loved the sound of that. Hermione was fascinated by the bond, and pulled Ginny out of the dorm toward the library. After reading the passages on the bond, she was more fascinated than ever, and determined to convince Ron to go through with it as well, but somewhat worried he might not want to.
 
Her worries, however, were soon pushed aside, as the entire Weasley family, her Parents, and a great number of people she hadn’t seen in almost a year flooded into the Great Hall just before dinner. Harry was pulled aside by George, Bill and Charlie while Ginny was pulled the other way, with Hermione in tow, by Mrs. Weasley, Katie Bell, Fleur, and Angelina Johnson. Angelina was asking her how to catch George almost immediately, causing Mrs. Weasley to stare at her, confused, only causing the rest of them to burst out laughing.
 
By the end of dinner, Harry had managed to get back to Ginny, and after enduring what seemed like an endless conversation about robes, flowers, what song they would dance to, and more, until a large brown owl swooped in and dropped a letter in front of Harry.
 
Almost immediately, all conversation stopped as everyone noticed the letter, knowing it was not normal for letters to be delivered so late. As Harry opened the letter, he paled.
 
“What is it Harry?” Ginny was obviously worried by Harry’s expression, only growing more worried when he spoke.
 
“Malfoy! He wants a duel!” Harry had gone from pale to bright red, obviously quite angry that Malfoy would dare request this only days before his wedding. Standing up, he crossed to McGonagall, whispered something and left the hall, Ron, Hermione and Ginny running after him, catching up to him just as the gargoyle guarding the Headmistress’s office leapt aside, allowing him to jump onto the staircase.
 
“Harry, wait, please!” Ginny called, taking the stairs two at a time to catch him. As Ron and Hermione caught them at the door to the office, they were finally able to hear the conversation. “Harry, the wedding is in two days, don’t do this, please! Malfoy’s a spoiled little git, he’s just trying to rile you, please Harry, don’t go!”
 
“Harry, Ginny’s right, Malfoy doesn’t care about anyone but himself, you can’t do this, not now.” Hermione had joined the argument, only to have Harry cut her off.
 
“Girls, I’m not going to duel him tonight, you can come to make sure of it, but I’m not backing down from that little rat, I’m going to tell him that I will duel him on my terms, not his. Ron, still my second?” Harry was livid, his eyes darting between his fiance and two best friends.
 
As Hermione and Ginny rounded on Ron, they were shocked to find he had drawn his wand. Expecting him to hex Harry, both were even more surprised to see him nod. All four of them entered the office, ignoring the groans of protest from the portraits who were obviously woken by the argument. Harry crossed to the fireplace, grabbing a handful of the light power, he yelled “Malfoy Manor”, and vanished in a blur of green flames, only to have Ron, Hermione and Ginny follow him.
 
Stepping from the grate in the large manor house, Harry brushed himself off and bellowed, “MALFOY! SHOW YOURSELF, YOU COWARD!”
 
“POTTER! How dare you barge into my house at this hour, and call my son a coward!” Lucius Malfoy was standing less than four feet from Harry, wand drawn, but before he could cast a single charm, Harry reacted instinctively.
 
“Expelliarmus!” Harry watched as the wand soared into the air, catching it and handing it to Hermione. “Do not return this until I have finished.” Hermione simply nodded, apparently surprised at Harry’s current state. “Where is your son?” Now pointed directly at the elder Malfoy’s chest, was Harry’s wand, while his eyes bored into the elder man’s skull.
 
“I am here, Potter. I am surprised you accepted my challenge, and this soon.” Draco Malfoy had entered the room, obviously stunned at the appearance of Harry Potter this quickly.
 
“If I remember correctly, Malfoy, you were the one who chose not to show up for a duel in our first year, and had to cheat in our second to even stand a chance. Now, you choose to challenge me only days before my wedding, can you sink no lower?” Harry’s voice had become a low growl, causing even Lucius to back away. “Now, you will listen to me, and if you value your life, you will not try my patience. I will duel you, but not on your terms. I will not let you disturb my wedding, and you would be wise to stay far away, unless you want to feel what Bellatrix felt, because Mrs. Weasley will not like any interruptions any more than I will. Once I have returned from my honeymoon, I will contact you to inform you of the time and place.” Malfoy appeared to want to contradict Harry, causing Harry to disarm him as well, passing his wand as well to Hermione. “Now that I have your full attention, Ron will be my second, who shall be yours?”
 
“I will have that honor, Potter.” Lucius had found his voice once again, but did not press the issue.
 
“Wonderful, I may be able to face both of you, but I doubt you would want that, Lucius. Now, should I even think that you are planning to be anywhere near my wedding,” Harry paused long enough to meet both of their eyes, “I can promise you that Azkaban under the dementors will seem pale in comparison.” Harry turned and stepped back into the blazing emerald fire, followed by Ginny. As Ron crossed to the fire, Hermione laid the two wands on the table next to her, and entered the fire, followed by Ron.
 
Once back in the Headmistress’s office, the quartet found themselves face to face with an enraged Mrs. Weasley, now in full row about being kept from her children.
 
“Mum, it’s fine. Harry didn’t duel him, and I don’t think they’ll bother us at all, Harry was quite convincing on that point.” Ginny had finally managed to speak, only to cause a near explosion.
 
After calming his soon to be Mother-In-Law, Harry assured her that the duel would take place, but not until after the honeymoon. In addition to that, it would take place at either the Burrow or Hogwarts, where everyone could be assured that neither party would be seriously injured or worse. While this did not do much to calm Mrs. Weasley, she did finally agree not to press the issue, leading the group back downstairs where they split into two groups and went to bed.
Riverdancing and an odd book by Prongs
Even after a full night’s sleep, Harry and Ron were discussing nothing but how to teach Malfoy a lesson. Harry even contemplated challenging Lucius to a duel after finishing Draco, but after he caught Ginny’s glare, he decided against it, and the boys stopped that conversation.
 
The day of the rehearsal flew by, Harry having been whisked off to Hogsmeade with Ron for new dress robes, as both of them were much taller than they had been in their fourth year, and the robes they wore at Bill’s wedding were rented due to their color not being anything either wanted to own. After a what seemed to both of them to be an eternity of measuring and pinning, they were told the robes would be delivered that night to the school, and set off to the Three Broomsticks for Harry’s bachelor party, despite his arguments against it.
 
Meanwhile, Ginny was standing in the Gryffindor common room facing a full length mirror, and wearing a beautiful white gown. She was hardly able to believe that she was not dreaming, but as she closed her eyes, she began to concentrate on Harry. To both of their surprise, Harry heard her voice in his head. “Is this real? Am I really going to be married tomorrow?”
 
After he got over his shock at hearing her voice, and realizing that it was their bond, he closed his eyes as well. “Well, Mrs. Potter, we technically already are, but yes, we are getting married tomorrow.”
 
“HARRY? How is this possible?” Ginny was quite surprised, but she did her best not to let on what was happening.
 
“Well, we all know that you are quite an amazing witch, and I guess couple with my greatness, the bond grew stronger quite quickly.” Harry had to suppress a grin.
 
“Well, you will be proving that tomorrow night, now won’t you?” Ginny blushed slightly, as did Harry. “But, unless we want people thinking we’ve gone mute, we should get back to the people who can actually hear us. Enjoy your party love.”
 
Harry grinned, and after a moment, both of their necklaces warmed immensely, but their conversation had ceased.
 
“C’mon mate, the party can’t start without you!” Ron called as Harry had fallen back from the group.
 
As they entered the small pub, Harry was instantly sorry for his little prank on Halloween, as he saw none other than Cho Chang standing at the door, with Hermione and Ginny behind her, all glaring at him.
 
“Um, what’s wrong Cho?” Harry asked, surprised to find his voice so sheepish.
 
“What’s wrong? You go snogging me after the D.A. meeting, then you write me that letter saying it was just the wrong time, with the D.A., your Godfather and Cedric. Now I find out your marrying someone else! Harry, I’m hurt, I thought we had something and you’d come back to me. How could you?” Cho was quite a gifted actress, as Harry had gone pale.
 
After a wonderful show by all three women, complete with Harry trying more than once to leave the room, only to have one of them jinx him and bring him back to face Ginny and Cho again, both of them burst out laughing. As Harry just stared at Ginny and Cho, Hermione lost it as well. After finally composing herself somewhat, Ginny crossed to Harry.
 
“C’mon Harry, Ron couldn’t be the only one to be pranked out of us, could he?” Ginny grinned innocently at him as she said it, sure to bat her eyelashes to complete the effect.
 
Once Cho had finally stopped laughing as well, she crossed to Harry and kissed his cheek.
 
As she opened the door, she turned around for a moment, “Congratulations you two, I’ll see you both tomorrow, and Ginny, don’t be late, we’re starting your party in an hour.”
 
Ginny kissed Harry on the cheek as well, then pulled a still giggling Hermione out of the bar with her.
 
Instantly, Harry rounded on Ron, both of them pulling their wands. “I think you know what we have to do mate. Outside?”
 
Ron nodded, and both of them went to the street. Harry couldn't believe his luck, as he wanted to pull something on George, even if it had to be with him as part of a group, and this allowed the perfect way to do it. As they left the room, the rest of the party goers just watched, surprised such good friends had come to dueling, especially over a prank at a bachelor party.
 
Once they were just outside the door, Harry whispered something to Ron, careful to make sure no one heard him, or saw him do it. As the rest of the guys watched, Ron and Harry walked to the middle of High Street and faced each other. After a salute and bow, they turned and paced apart, where Harry counted down from three. Then, as he reached one, both of them turned to the other partiers, and shouted at the same time.
 
“DUBLIN TARANTALLEGRA!” Harry had been working on this little twist to the jinx, and was pleasantly surprised when all of them began to river dance uncontrollably, George laughing his head off the entire time. Harry reached into his bag and produced a camera, as he knew this was not something to forget. After reversing the jinx, all of them retreated to the pub for the party.
 
Ginny was still laughing about the joke with Cho, thankful that she had agreed to help give Harry a little taste of his own medicine. After all, Harry had been pulling all the pranks all year, but had yet to get one pulled on him. Ginny had gotten close once, but before she could pull it off, Harry had found out.
 
Tonight, though, was about relaxing with her friends. As she looked around the room her heart swelled, Luna, Hermione, Angelina, Katie, Alicia, Cho, and so many more of her classmates were there with her. As she sat down she felt tears begin to sting her eyes, but blinked them back. At first it was just a simple gathering of friends celebrating her last night before the wedding. Angelina had convinced her that she was going to have a guy show up to dance or Ginny, causing her to worry all day about what would happen if Harry found out about it, or her Mum, but by the end of the night, it hadn't happened. After a few butter beers the girls all brought out gifts for her, from lingerie to chocolates, and from Hermione, although no one was shocked, a book. As Ginny took the package in her lap, she knew it was a book, most likely something to help her try to understand men, but she could not have been more wrong.
 
"HERMIONE! Is this what I think it is?" Ginny was blushing quite severely, but grinning from ear to ear at the same time as she looked into the box.
 
"Yes, Ginny, it is. Trust me, if that book as half as helpful as it looks, both of us are in for a few surprises." Hermione gave a devilish giggle as she said it, causing Katie Bell to grab the box.
 
"The Kama Sutra? Hermione, I would never have guessed!" Katie was just staring at Hermione, who was thought of as the good little book worm, but it appears they were wrong.
 
Ginny made a gagging sound, and taking the box back, she looked to Hermione. "I don't want to know what you do with my BROTHER, Hermione." As she finished, both women blushed, causing the rest of the partiers to burst into raucus laughter.
Do you, Harry Potter..... by Prongs
The next morning found Harry and Ron both unable to sleep past sunrise. After finally getting Harry to stop pacing, Ron found him quite amusing.
 
“Blimey Harry, you fought off Voldemort! I wouldn’t think you’d be this nervous about a little wedding.” Ron was fighting not to laugh too much, especially after Harry launched a clock at him.
 
“Ron, what if something goes wrong? What if Malfoy shows up? MALFOY!” Harry was pacing again, unable to control his nervousness.
 
“Harry, trust me, Malfoy can’t get inside the grounds without someone knowing. McGonagall already closed off the passage from the Shrieking Shack, and he can’t apparate in, or portkey unless McGonagall makes one, and she didn’t. But, if he does, I’ll make sure you get to finish him, but after the honeymoon, like you promised.” Ron saw Harry calm a little, but still chuckled a bit at his best mate’s nervousness.
 
Above him, Ginny was near hyperventilation as well. She had managed to find something wrong with her dress, which was perfect the day before, and even thought she saw a pimple on her forehead, although Hermione was able to convince her is was just the light. After calming down, mostly due to Mrs. Weasley’s work, Ginny saw Hermione, Fleur and Angelina in their bride’s maid dresses, she found herself speechless.
 
Hermione had convinced her to choose a simple, yet very elegant, lilac gown for her bride’s maids. As she saw her best friend, her sister-in-law, and someone who could be a sister-in-law as well standing there, ready to stand beside her as she married Harry, everything melted away, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.
 
“Ginny, you’re crying, what’s wrong?” Angelina spoke up, handing Ginny a tissue.
 
“Nothing, I just can’t believe this is finally happening.” Ginny dabbed at her face. Turning back the mirror, she continued. “I don’t know if I’ve ever told you guys this, but I’ve dreamed of marrying Harry ever since I can remember. Mum just thought I had a crush on him because he was famous,” she paused, smiling, “and at first it might have been something like that. But after the Chamber of Secrets, something changed. He wasn’t worried about saving himself. He didn’t even seem to care that he was going to die, until Fawkes saved him, but only wanted me to get out.”
 
A collective sigh could be heard from the other three as Ginny spoke.
 
“I knew then that it wasn’t just a crush on a celebrity, but I was still young. Then, after we won the Quidditch Cup two years ago,” Ginny paused as Angelina grinned, “and we kissed, I just knew.”
 
After another few moments, Mrs. Weasley came in. “Well, are we ready? Arthur just told me Harry is going a little stir crazy downstairs.” All of them laughed at the thought of Harry Potter being nervous about a wedding after having fought Voldemort. After they composed themselves, as well as Ginny hugging each of them, they went to the small classroom where she was to wait.
 
As Harry descended the steps, he was awed. Professor McGonagall had outdone herself. A large tent, larger than the one at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, now stood on the pitch. Everyone turned as he, Ron, Bill, and George walked up to the dais. Just as he took his place, soft music began to play from above them, and he saw Hermione coming into the tent, followed by Angelina and Fleur. As they reached the front, he saw her. Ginny was absolutely radiant, and seemed to be floating beside Mr. Weasley as they came forward. As she reached the front, Mr. Weasley kissed her cheek and Ginny took Harry’s hand. Giving a small squeeze, they both turned to face Professor McGonagall. Harry had asked her to officiate the wedding, mostly because of the fact that she was as close to himself and Ginny as she was, and she had agreed.
 
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” she began, “we are gathered today to witness the union of two young people I have known for some time. Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley have been my students for a few years, giving me to watch them grow and mature into the fine young man and woman you see before you.” She was positively beaming at both of them, all traces of the strict teacher having vanished. “Last year, during the height of the battle, Harry fighting as he was, Miss Weasley returned to the castle as well, despite having been asked not to. Her efforts to assist the wounded and her skills saved many lives. Mr. Potter, also, has had countless brushes with danger while at Hogwart’s, yet through all of this, he has only grown closer to his friends, proving that love and friendship can truly overcome any obstacle.” Professor McGonagall turned to Harry, “Harry James Potter, do you take Ginevra Molly Weasley to be your lawful wedded wife? To have and to hold, in sickness and health, through any trial that may come your way?”
 
“I certainly do.” Answered Harry, as he stared into the chocolate brown eyes he had grown to love so much.
 
“Ginevra Molly Weasley, do you take Harry James Potter to be your lawful wedded husband? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, through any trial that may come your way?” Professor McGonagall was smiling as Ginny looked up at Harry.
 
Staring into his eyes, Ginny replied, “I do.”
 
“Then, by the power granted me by the Ministry of Magic, I pronounce you bonded for life. You may kiss the bride.” Professor McGonagall finished, as Harry pulled Ginny to him and kissed her.
 
As Harry’s and Ginny’s lips met, the crowd exploded in applause. Pulling back and smiling, Harry met Ginny’s eyes. Just as the day before, Ginny could hear his voice in her head.
 
“Are you sure we have to stick around for the reception?” Harry grinned even more widely as he thought this.
 
“Yes we do, Harry, Mum would kill us for running out like that, but you have the portkey, and we’ll be alone soon.” As she finished her reply, she leaned in and kissed him again, before turning to face the crowd.
 
Just as at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Professor McGonagall asked the crowd to stand as she changed the seating for the reception. After everyone had cleared the floor, a soft waltz began to play as Harry and Ginny walked to the center. For what seemed to be much longer than the few moments they were alone on the floor, Harry felt as if he and Ginny were the only two people on the planet. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had joined them, as well as Ron and Hermione and Bill and Fleur. Angelina was busy fighting George and did succeed in pulling him to the dance floor eventually as well. After a long evening of well wishers, a lovely dinner and of course countless toasts, Harry stood up.
 
As he cleared his throat, everyone looked to where he and Ginny were standing. “Eight years ago, I walked into Hogwart’s for the first time. I didn’t even know about magic until Hagrid told me on my eleventh birthday, but I could never imagine just how much it was going to change my life. In my first year I made two friends who are as close to me as a brother and sister, and in fact they will be married soon as well.” Ron and Hermione both began blushing brightly as Harry chuckled. “A year later, although I didn’t know just how far I would grow to love her, I met the woman beside me. Over the next five years she and I would become friends, and now we are married. I can honestly say that today is the happiest day of my life.”
 
As he finished talking, he and Ginny walked to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Almost before he reached them, Mrs. Weasley pulled him into one of her famous hugs, as Ginny hugged her Dad. After they switched and hugged again, the party resumed. Ginny looked at Harry and could see that he was very tired, but he was hiding it well from the others.
 
Finally, after what felt like hours, the guests began to leave. Once they were alone with just the Weasleys, Hermione and Angelina, Harry pulled out the portkey. After saying good bye to everyone, he and Ginny touched the parchment and vanished, reappearing seconds later in the entry hall of Grimmauld Place, Kreacher bowing low as they entered. After telling Kreacher they were not in need of anything but sleep, and thanking him for cleaning up the master bedroom, they began to climb the stairs, pausing only for a moment at the portrait of Mrs. Black.
 
“Mistress Black, may I introduce you to Mrs. Ginevra Molly Weasley Potter, my wife.” Harry said, his tone very formal, as Ginny remembered that formality was helping at least keep her cordial. Mrs. Black gave a small nod to each of them, and after nodding back, they continued upstairs, where they both fell asleep almost instantly, ready to begin their life together.
Another wedding, already? by Prongs
Author's Notes:
Being mostly a H/G story, this chapter is going to be VERY short.
Harry spent the next morning cleaning his dress robes for Ron and Hermione’s wedding the next day. After he had ensured they were ready, he went back into the bedroom and, leaning over, kissed Ginny softly on the forehead, causing her to stir.
 
“Good morning sleepy head, ready for lunch?” He asked as she smiled up at him.
 
“Lunch? Aren’t we supposed to,” she paused, considering his question, “what time is it?”
 
“Almost noon, you were obviously tired.” Harry said, pushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear, and then continued. “I have your dress and my dress robes all ready to go to your parents’ tomorrow for the rehearsal and then the wedding the next day, so the rest of today is ours.”
 
Ginny just stared at him for a moment before pulling him into a rough embrace and kissing him firmly. By the time either of them had gotten out of bed again, it was nearly 10:00 that night, which prompted Harry to simply get two cups of tea, before suggesting that they should actually sleep before the rehearsal and wedding coming up over the next two days.
 
Arriving at the Burrow the next morning, neither of them could help but laugh. Mrs. Weasley was once again shouting orders to everyone in the house, except of course Hermione, who was busy worrying about everything. Grinning, Ginny gave Harry a quick kiss before rushing upstairs to help her best friend calm down, leaving Harry to help with anything and everything else to be done. After a few hours he had helped de-gnome the garden, muck out the chickens, carried gifts into the sitting room, and helped as a tent similar to the one used for Bill and Fleur’s wedding was set up. By the time everyone was ready for rehearsal, Hermione was settling down, leading Ron to begin worrying now, and of course causing the girls to laugh while Harry began trying to calm him down.
 
The rehearsal went perfectly, and after a wonderful dinner, everyone went to their rooms to sleep, while Harry and Ginny returned to Grimmauld Place.
 
10:00 the next morning found Harry trying to keep Ron from going insane, and Ginny doing the same for Hermione. As Ron walked to the front of the tent, with Harry, Bill, and George beside him, however, he somehow was perfectly calm. Ginny, Fleur, and Angelina came down the aisle, followed by Hermione and her Dad. Ron didn’t hear any of the ceremony until the minister coughed, prompting him out of his reverie.
 
“I do.” he said, his voice strong despite a slight crack at first.
 
As Hermione said the same, they were beaming at each other. Neither of them were able to take their eyes off of each other for the entire reception, just as Harry and Ginny had been at their own wedding. By the end of the day, Harry and Ginny once again collapsed, falling asleep as soon as they hit the pillow, but knowing they were off on their honeymoon the next morning.
Potter Manor, and duel preparation by Prongs
Harry could hardly believe two weeks could go by as fast as they had, but before he knew it, he was back at Grimmauld place. After a quick breakfast, he set off to Diagon Alley to inquire as to his full estate, then off to meet Ron.
 
Once he arrived at Gringott’s, he walked to the first goblin he saw and asked to see someone about his full estate and account. He learned that not only did he have more gold than he could see any way to spend in a lifetime, but also several properties, Potter Manor catching his eye immediately. After having a portkey made to the manor, and setting a few of the properties that held no special meaning to him to be sold, he left for the Leaky Cauldron.
 
Ron was waiting for him, and as he entered he could tell something was bothering him.
 
“What’s wrong Ron? You look worried.” Harry said, sitting down and offering a fire whiskey to his friend.
 
“It’s the duel, Harry, are you sure about it?” Ron was obviously worried if he was trying to talk Harry out of a duel with Malfoy.
 
“Trust me Ron, I have everything planned. Malfoy will either play fair, or will be forced to concede the duel.” Harry grinned as he said it, leaving Ron only more confused. “An unbreakable vow, Ron. I’ll make Draco and Lucius swear an unbreakable vow not to cast any curse, hex, or jinx that will cause permanent damage, and of course making sure they can’t use an unforgivable.”
 
“Bloody brilliant, Harry. Malfoy won’t do it, because he doesn’t know how to fight fair.” Ron was sure that Harry would be fine at this point, and the two finished their lunch talking about quidditch, and other non-important subjects.
 
After lunch, Harry went back to Grimmauld place, only to find Ginny had packed everything already, despite his message to her only having been an hour ago.
 
“Wow Gin, I didn’t know you’d be done this fast!” He said, quite shocked to see their bags and everything they were taking with them already sitting by the fireplace, ready to go.
 
“Nothing personal Harry, but I really don’t like this place, it’s kind of creepy.” She said, rather sheepishly.
 
“Well, I think we can agree on that.” Harry flicked his wand, causing all of the bags and other items to shrink, and after putting them in one of his pockets, he took her hand, and activated the portkey.
 
Both of them were in awe when they arrived in Potter Manor. The house was easily twice the size of Malfoy Manor, and gave the air of old aristocracy. Almost immediately, a small house elf appeared before them.
 
“Greetings Master and Mistress, I am Hinky, how may I serve you today?” The elf was nowhere near as old as Kreacher, and much more pleasant, despite the change in Kreacher’s attitude.
 
“First of all, I would prefer you not call us Master and Mistress, but just Harry and Ginny. Second, would you please bring some tea to the master bedroom, we are a little tired, and would like a nap before we begin to explore the manor.” Harry grinned as Ginny whispered in his ear about what Hermione would say about the elf, but Hinky hurried off, and was soon in the master suite with a tray bearing a pot of tea and two cups.
 
“Thank you Hinky, that is all, please take some time to relax as well.” Ginny said, and as the confused elf left, both of them laughed.
 
Almost as soon as the door closed, Ginny practically threw Harry onto the bed, and proceeded to jump in with him. Some time later, both of them woke to see it was nearly sunset. Rather than explore the manor all night, Harry simply took a few minutes to modify the wards to allow all of the Weasleys, as well as Mrs. Tonks, and a few other close friends to be able to enter the manor, and after writing a few letters asking them all to come for lunch the next Sunday, he and Ginny settled in for their first night which did not have an early morning following it.
 
After several days of exploring the manor, complete with many yells for the other to run and see something, Harry finally sat Ginny down in the kitchen to talk.
 
“Gin, I know you don’t want me to, but I can’t let Malfoy win this battle by not dueling him.” Harry knew the look she gave him, one that said she was going to stop him at all costs, but he pressed on. “I told Ron the other day that I will demand that Draco and Lucius make an unbreakable vow with me that neither will cast any spell causing long term damage, and of course guaranteeing they won’t use the unforgivables, I’ll be fine, Gin.”
 
“Harry, I just don’t see why you are still letting that pompous prat get to you.” Ginny was tempted to yell at him, but she knew it would only cause him to want to go sooner. “After all, you killed Voldemort, what more do you have to prove?”
 
“I want Malfoy to know that I will not let him get away with this, and I won’t let him have any reason to say anything about me, or you.” Harry had the same look in his eyes that Ginny had seen so many times. A look of determination, which was, ironically, one of the reasons she loved him so much.
 
“If I can’t stop you, just promise you’ll come back in one piece, or you’ll face me.” Despite her grin, Harry knew that she was concerned, and he smiled as he said he would be fine.
An uneasy truce, at last by Prongs
 Harry sat at his desk, staring at a letter he had just received. Malfoy had accepted his terms, even the fact that Harry would choose the bonder, who would also be on hand for the duel to ensure everyone played fair. The only remaining task for him, finding that person, and convincing them to do it. As he sat, pondering this problem, one name kept swimming in his mind, Neville, but could he ask him to do this?
 
With a small groan, he pulled a fresh piece of parchment from the desk and began writing. He planned to ask Neville to join him for lunch, not mentioning anything about the duel until he was able to do so face to face. Once again, Harry found himself nervous, despite the fact that he had faced far worse in his life. Finally, Neville walked into the Three Broomsticks, and after spotting Harry, sat down.
 
“Hey Neville, how’ve you been?” Harry decided that small talk would be best to start with, as he had not seen Neville in nearly a year and a half, save at his and Ginny’s, and Ron and Hermione’s wedding.
 
“I’m great, Harry! Professor Sprout asked me to work for her, and I could get the job eventually, if she ever retires.” Neville had obviously been bursting to tell Harry this, and it also explained why Neville chose Hogsmeade over London to meet.
 
“Neville, that’s great! I know you’ll be great.” Harry tried to sound casual, he knew he had to ease into the subject of the duel, but he just wasn’t sure when or how he could.
 
“So, Harry, are you going to tell me why you wanted to have lunch today, or not?” Neville had grown over the years, and had become quite intuitive, often to the amusement of others, although Harry found it could be annoying at times as well.
 
“Neville, you remember the letter I got at dinner the night before my wedding? Harry began. Neville just nodded, taking a sip of his tea. “Well, it was from Malfoy, challenging me to a duel.” Neville did not seem surprised, as Harry had guessed he would, but then again, Neville was with him during first year when they went to find Malfoy in the trophy room.
 
“And you’re going to do it?” Neville asked, a flicker of excitement or anxiety in his voice, Harry could not tell which.
 
“Yes.” Harry began, but before Neville could interrupt, he pushed on. “Neville, I made Malfoy, and his Father agree to make an unbreakable vow in order to accept. They won’t be able to use any spell, curse, jinx, or hex that would kill or seriously injure me, nor will I be able to use those against them. This will only be to settle the score, as Malfoy put it.”
 
“So, why tell me this?” Nevile had completely given up on finishing his tea at this point, and was staring at Harry intently.
 
“I want to ask you,” Harry paused, taking a breath, “to be the bonder for this vow, as I can’t, and Ron can’t either. I can’t ask Gin or Hermione, because I don’t want them there. So, will you?”
 
Neville just stared at Harry, deep in thought. After a few moments, he spoke. “Sure Harry, without you, people would have made my life more miserable than they did at school, and you taught me loads in the D.A., so yes, I’ll do it.” Neville smiled, but Harry knew he was worried too.
 
“Thanks Neville, are you free this afternoon?” Harry knew he should have given Neville more time, but was shocked when he nodded. After finishing their meals, and discussing Neville’s favorite topic, plants, they asked Madame Rosemerta to use her fireplace to return home, thus saving the time needed to walk from the apparition point to Ron’s apartment. As they stepped from the fireplace, Ron stood.
 
“Well?” He said, obvious anticipation in his voice.
 
“Let’s go, we have 5 minutes before we would be late, and I won’t give either of them the pleasure of taunting us for anything, and yes, Neville agreed.” Harry said, plainly, as he pulled his wand holster from his pocket and strapped it to his arm to hold his spare wand.
 
Moments later, after all three of them stepped into Malfoy Manor, Neville had his wand hovering over their four entwined right hands as Harry spoke.
 
“Lucius and Draco Malfoy, do you agree that no spell, curse, hex and/or jinx you will use in today’s duel will cause serious injury or harm?” Harry said, his voice cold and harsh.
 
“I agree” both of them said, Draco continued, “Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley, do you agree to the same?”
 
“I agree”, Harry and Ron said at the same time. As they said this, a thin flame escaped Neville’s wand and wound around the four hands, as Harry continued.
 
“Do you both also agree that you will not use any of the Unforgivable Curses in our duel?” Harry continued, surprise showing on both Malfoys’ faces, yet they both agreed, Draco asking the same of Harry and Ron who both agreed, as a second flame wound around them.
 
Harry spoke again, “You both agree to these terms upon pain of death should you break them?” Both Draco and Lucius hesitated, but agreed, again, Draco asking Harry and Ron who agreed in an instant, as the third flame escaped, sealing the bond.
 
“Well, now that I know you won’t be using sectumsempra, or the unforgivables, where would you like to do this?” Harry could hardly suppress a feral grin, knowing that he had worded the vow perfectly to keep either Malfoy from doing any real damage. Draco led the other three outside to the back of the manor, where he and Harry faced off, saluted and bowed before walking away from each other. Just as in their first duel, during Lockhart’s club meeting, Draco launched a hex before the count of three, but Harry was ready this time, silently blocking it with a shield charm, while firing his own hex with his spare wand.
 
As the two dueled, multi-colored lights filled the yard, Lucius and Ron shouting encouragement and advice to their own dueler. Harry and Draco fought for nearly an hour before Harry was able to hit Draco with a stunner, allowing him to disarm his opponent and win the duel, but nothing surprised Draco as much as Harry’s next move.
 
Offering his hand to help Draco up after he regained consciousness, Harry spoke. “Draco, you and I will never be close friends, I know this. However, this duel was to settle the score, so I suggest we just part company civilly and agree that this is the end of any problems we may have had in the past. Agreed?”
 
After a few moments of stunned silence, Draco extended his hand to Harry and actually smiled, Lucius just staring in bewilderment at him, actually smiling and shaking hands with Harry Potter.
 
As the three of them returned to Potter Manor, Neville in absolute shock at seeing it for the first time, Ron immediately began telling Hermione and Ginny about the duel. Ginny’s face reddening at finding out Harry did it without telling her.
 
“HARRY JAMES POTTER! HOW DARE YOU DUEL MALFOY WITHOUT TELLING ME!” She was in full flow, hair flying, hands on her hips and advancing on Harry. Harry knew better than to interrupt her, and just waited for his turn to speak, which came sooner than he thought. “Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” she asked, still quite angry.
 
Without speaking, Harry pulled her into a fierce kiss. After pulling back from her, smiling, he looked her square in the eyes. “Would you have honestly not tried to stop me, or tried to get involved?” As she shook her head, he explained the vow, which ensured neither Malfoy could have hurt or killed anyone in the duel.
 
“You’re still not out of the woods on this, Potter!” She said, grinning the same feral grin Harry had shown so often, and Harry knew what was coming, as did Ron. “BOGUS BATES!” Harry simply ducked his head and covered his face as he raised his wand.
 
“Finite!” As the bat bogey was ended, he looked up at Ginny, “OK, happy now?”
 
“Not really, but I’ll wait till we’re alone to do anything else.” She said, causing Hermione to giggle as Ron made wretching noises. When Neville asked what was so funny, however, all four of them roared with laughter, leaving Neville even more confused.
Meeting the in-laws by Prongs
Sunday arrived at last, with the entire Weasley Family arriving together, followed by Mrs. Tonks, who of course walked immediately to Harry to pass little Teddy to his godfather, and to hug him fiercely.
 
After Neville and Luna, as well as everyone else who was invited arrived, Harry stood up, still holding Teddy, who was actively trying to rip the glasses from Harry’s face, in his arms. “I can’t tell you how happy I am that everyone was able to be here today. The last year of my life has been absolutely amazing, and,” he paused to again free his glasses from Teddy’s grip, passing him to a giggling Ginny, who immediately began to play with him. “I want to share with you all what my year away from you was like.”
 
Many people gasped, while everyone present just stared at him.
 
“Harry, are you sure you want to relive all of that?” Mrs. Weasley asked, obvious concern in her voice.
 
“Mrs. Weasley, too many people have seen their family torn apart by secrets. I won’t pretend that what I am about to say is going to be every little detail, as I’m sure that would only serve to upset you more, but I need to tell you.”
 
Harry proceeded to tell the group about setting off after the wards fell at the wedding, only to have Dolohov and Rowle find him, Hermione and Ron on Tottingham Court Road. After getting the locket from Umbridge and escaping the ministry, he told them of the journey up and down the country for almost the next year, leaving out exactly what each item they were looking for was, hunting for the cup and the diadem. Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Granger both looked on the verge of tears, and as he expected, both began to sob when he told them of their experience at the Malfoys’ home, Hermione crying a bit at remembering Bellatrix’s torture. By the end, it seemed everyone in the room, Harry included, was in tears.
 
After a few long moments of silence, Teddy brought the group out of their contemplation.
 
“Harry, up!” He squeeled, bring a gasp from Mrs. Tonks, causing everyone to stare at her.
 
“His first words!” she said, excitement on her face, as Harry picked up the toddler, who once again, grabbed for his glasses, Harry letting him try them on this time. He realized now that he was free, having faced the man who had tried to kill him for 17 years, having faced his one nemisis from school, he had no more battles to fight.
 
“Well, I guess that means we should eat.” He said, “I’m sure Ron will waste away if we don’t.”
 
As the group laughed at Ron’s red ears, they retreated to the dining room, collective sounds of awe as they moved through the manor. After a wonderful lunch and much conversation, Angelina cleared her throat, and elbowed George in the side, causing him to stand.
 
“Well, I guess I should tell you all, seeing as you will want to,” but Angelina interrupted him.
 
“WE’RE ENGAGED!” she yelled. No one made a sound, George Weasley, engaged, the world truly had changed.
 
“Well, if you were going to do that, why did I have to get an elbow to the ribs?” he asked, bringing a slap to the shoulder from Mrs. Weasley, as she nearly bowled him over running to hug Angelina.
 
“Well, I guess the only question now, is when should we all be at the Burrow?” Harry asked, grinning as George turned a wonderful shade of red under the looks from everyone at the table.
 
“Actually, Harry, your darling wife offered us the use of your home, seeing as you have so much room, and we want Mrs. Weasley to enjoy one wedding without having to work so hard.” Angelina was again trying to free herself from Mrs. Weasley’s grip, although having very little success as Ginny grinned at Harry.
 
“Absolutely!” he said, raising his glass to toast the couple.
 
Harry sat in the sitting room of Potter Manor, a faded picture album in his lap, as Ginny walked into the room with two cups of tea.
 
“What is it love? You’re only quiet when something is really getting to you.” she said, sitting down beside him.
 
She had just retired after three seasons with the Holyhead Harpies, as Harry had retired with Ron from the Chudley Canons as well. Both of them having lived their dreams of being professional quidditch players, and having played against each other as seeker enough times to finally agree they were equally matched, even though Ginny would remind him now and again that she had one capture more than he did, grinning widely each time.
 
“I was just thinking about Mum and Dad, they would have loved to see that last game,” but he trailed off, a tear sliding down his cheek.
 
“Harry, I know you miss them, but I know they are proud of you, wherever they are.” She kissed him softly as she leaned against his shoulder and turned the pages. Pictures of James and Lily turned to photos of Ron, Harry and Hermione at school, then pictures of Harry and Ginny holding Teddy, and finally pictures from all of their weddings.
 
Smiling, Harry looked over at his wife, setting the album on the table beside the sofa, he stood. Pulling her up with him, he walked to the front door, and out into the evening. After a few moments, Ginny asked him where they were going, but he only smiled. As they reached the little church, she knew.
 
Reaching the head stones, Harry knelt, tears flowing freely from his eyes.
 
“Mum, Dad, this is Ginny. We’ve been married for a while now, but I haven’t brought her to meet you yet, I’m sorry.” Without even noticing it, Harry was brushing leaves and twigs from the graves, still crying in earnest.
 
Ginny knelt beside him, taking his hand as she began to cry too. Before either of them could speak, though, they heard something behind the markers they were brushing clean.
 
“See, I told you he was more considerate than you are, even if it did take almost five years! And straighten your hair, you look rediculous!” It was a woman’s voice, Harry was almost sure he had heard it before, but he couldn’t remember it that well. Standing up, both he and Ginny just stared, James and Lily Potter were standing behind their own head stones, smiling radiantly at them.
 
“What, how, what?” Harry couldn’t believe it, he knew them to be dead. They had appeared in the graveyard when his and Voldemort’s wands connected, and again when he used the resurrection stone, they shouldn’t be here, yet they were.
 
“Well, he gets his eloquence from me, obviously.” Said a third person, from behind them. As he joined James and Lily, Harry saw Sirius beaming at him, and he was sure now that he must be dreaming.
 
Finally finding her own voice, Ginny spoke. “How is this possible? You, you’re, dead, aren’t you?”
 
“Yes dear, we are, and to be honest, we didn’t expect this either, but,” Lily paused, smiling at her son and daughter-in-law, “we heard Harry talking to us, and before we realized what was going on, we were here.”
 
“But, Mrs. Potter,” Ginny began again, only to be interrupted by James.
 
“Ah, no Mr. and Mrs. Potter from you young lady, call us Mum and Dad, or we’ll just have to send Peeves to live with you for a while.” James laughed as Sirius just gaped at him.
 
“OK, Mum, how long have you been here?” She asked, smiling at last.
 
“Well, I’m sure you know that not everyone who dies becomes a ghost. We aren’t always here, but as I said, when we heard Harry talking, we just found ourselves here.” She said, then, looking to Harry, she continued. “Sweetheart, we are so proud of the man you have become, I’m just so sorry we couldn’t be there for you.” Tears were now showing in her own eyes, as James put his arm around her shoulder.
 
Before any of them could speak again, a fourth voice came from behind Harry and Ginny, and as they turned, they saw Remus Lupin and Tonks walking out of the forest. “So, Harry, how is our little guy doing?” he asked again, smiling even more widely as Tonks grinned at them all, but before he could say anything, Lily spoke up.
 
“And when were you going to tell us you got married, Mr. Lupin?” feaux annoyance in her voice.
 
“And to my little cousin too!” Sirius added.
 
“Ah, well, we just married less than a year before we joined you, and we just didn’t think of saying anything.” Tonks said, her eyes darting from person to person.
 
Sirius pulled her into a hug, then Lupin was attacked by the three as well, Harry and Ginny smiling as this happened, until James looked back at them.
 
“Well, it seems we have forgotten why we are here.” He said, “So, Harry, Ginny, when can we expect grand-children?” Lily elbowed him as the others laughed at Harry and Ginny turning quite red from embarrassment.
 
“Um,” Harry began, “We haven’t really had a lot of free time, what with Ginny playing for the Harpies and Ron and I playing for the Canons, you know.”
 
“My son plays professional quidditch? What position, how long have you been playing, where are you in the standings?” James was beside himself, bouncing like a child waiting to be told they could open presents.
 
For what seemed like days, Harry and Ginny told James and Lily everything about school, quidditch, and more. James of course interjecting little things about the Manor, such as secret rooms and passageways, when they told him they had moved in. When Harry told Sirius that Kreacher was actually being nice to them, and his Mother’s portrait has stopped yelling, he looked like he had been punched in the stomach, but when Harry told him how Regulus had decided to leave the death eaters, and died to bring Voldemort down, tears showed in his eyes too.
 
Once they had finished, Harry still did not want to leave, but when Lily told him they would always be watching over them, but had to go for now, Ginny was able to pull him back to the Manor.
 
“Well, I suppose we’ll have to get started on that family, now won’t we? After all, both our Mums want grandkids, so it’s settled, right?” She grinned mischeviously at him as she said it. Then, kissing him on the tip of the nose, darted for the house, giggling as she did.
Anniversaries and first trips by Prongs
Author's Notes:
This chapter actually covers a good amount of time, starting 11 years after Voldemort's defeat and carrying to the end of the epilogue of HPatDH.  Sorry if it's confusing, but it's the way it fell.
As Harry sat at the table, surrounded by family and friends, he could hardly believe he was already celebrating his tenth anniversary with Ginny. So many times he had to remind himself that he wasn’t dead, and this isn’t a dream that Ginny had taken to just walking up and pinching him, something which normally caused him to tickle her for hours.
 
James had just come into the room, happily babbling away to Mrs. Weasley, who was absolutely beside herself to be a grandmother, followed by Mr. Weasley, the Grangers, Ron and Hermione, George and Angelina, and Neville and Luna. Ginny had been planning today’s celebration of not only hers and Harry’s anniversary, but also Ron’s and Hermione’s for weeks, and Harry had to admit that he was quite pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of people who had shown up. Kingsley, Hagrid and Professor McGonagall had arrived with Mrs. Tonks earlier, and were quite busy answering Teddy’s questions about everything in the world, most of the centering on Hogwarts, of course.
 
After the group milled around for a while, Victoirre having managed to extract Teddy from the group, despite his cries that he had more questions, Harry called for everyone to move to the sitting room for tea.
 
“So, what can I say after ten years?” he began, only to be cut off by Ron.
 
“Well, I’d say you should be thanking us for saving you from Ginny so many times.” Ron said, causing most everyone to burst into laughter and applause, but Hermione and Ginny were glaring at him.
 
“Well, it looks like I’ll have to save you from Ginny and Hermione now Ron, but I don’t know if I would even be able to face them both, you might be done for mate.” Harry choked, through tears of laughter.
 
As the laughter began to thin, Teddy brought the group back to earth. “Uncle Harry, you told me you would tell me about my Daddy when I was old enough to go to Hogwarts.” He was staring up at Harry, eyes fixed on Harry’s as he did, until Harry spoke.
 
“Well, Teddy, I think we can do that, seeing as all of us knew him, and Professor McGongagall over there, well, she taught him when he went to Hogwarts.”
 
For more than two hours the group shared stories of Lupin, Sirius, Tonks, James, and Lily, most of the stories causing raucus laughter at one of the Marauders’ pranks, although Harry thought he could have lived a hundred years more without having to hear about Sirius in a pink tutu. Teddy was in heaven, hearing about his father and all the fun he had at school, about Lupin teaching Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny, and all of his work to defeat Voldemort. No one knew what to say when he spoke next, though.
 
“Is it true he was a werewolf?” Teddy was shocked when the entire room went deathly silent at his voice, but he waited for an answer.
 
“Yes, Teddy, he was. Why do you ask?” Ginny said, smiling at the child before her.
 
“Well, it’s just that I’ve heard werewolves are mean and never have families, and that people never like them, but you all loved Daddy.” He was obviously worried, but Harry spoke next.
 
“Well, not all werewolves are mean, your Dad was one of the nicest, and bravest men I ever knew. He was just also a werewolf, but that only made his friendship that much more valuable to me, because he trust me to be close to him.” Harry said, and he smiled as Teddy beamed at hearing his father spoken of so lovingly.
 
As Albus stirred in Ginny’s arms, Harry smiled. Taking his infant son, he began to walk around among his friends, and family.
 
“I think it’s time that Ginny and I told you all something, and I want you to wait until we’ve finished to say anything, OK?” Harry said, then, seeing the looks he was getting, he turned to Ginny.
 
“Well, actually, we have two things to tell you, but I’ll go first.” she began, “My news,” she paused, searching the eyes in the room, then, settling on her mother’s eyes, she continued, “I’m pregnant again, and Lily should arrive sometime around Christmas.”
 
“LILY! You’re having a girl?” Mrs. Weasley was beside herself, she had wanted a grand daughter for some time, and now she had been told she would be meeting hers in a few months.
 
“Yes, Mum, I’m having a girl!” Ginny squeeled, and she went to hug her parents, only to be nearly tackled by Hermione and Angelina.
 
After a few moments, Harry cleared his throat. After smiling at little Albus, he continued. “We didn’t tell you all this, but after Ginny and I moved back here following our much lamented retirement from professional quidditch,” Harry chuckled as Ron groaned, “Ginny found me in here with my picture album one night. After we looked at it for a while, we went to Mum and Dad’s graves. Ginny hadn’t asked me to go in all that time, but I knew she thought I needed to say good-bye, so we went.” Harry paused, the words seeming to be caught in his throat.
 
As Ginny moved over to him, she smiled. “We saw James, Lily, Sirius, Remus and Tonks that night. I can’t explain it, because they wouldn’t have been ghosts, but still, they came and talked to us. They told us they would always be watching us, and from then on, it has felt like they are with us.”
 
Almost at once, questions began to fly. Harry and Ginny answered as many as they could, but everyone was just floored by the fact that they had seen four people who should not have been there, and would never have become ghosts. At the end, they agreed that it was something they would never be able to explain, and moved again to seemingly meaningless conversation, and eventually back to questions about Hogwarts from Teddy, now joined by Victoirre.
 
Harry woke early that morning, James and Albus would need to be at the platform early to ensure they found a compartment, and he didn’t want to chance problems on the journey.
 
Much to Ginny’s amusement, Harry and Ron had gotten their muggle driving licenses, and Ron was coming to get them at 8:00. Rolling over, he nudged Ginny awake, seeing her smile he told her it was time to get up.
 
“Oh Harry, we didn’t pack, we’re going to be late!” Harry was always amused by Ginny’s first reaction to waking up on the 1st of September, despite having been out of Hogwarts for 19 years now. After convincing her that she didn’t need to pack, and that James’ and Albus’ trunks had been packed for three days now, he went to the kitchen for breakfast, only to find Albus already sitting at the table going over his list of supplies.
 
“So, ready for your big day?” he asked, grinning at the black haired boy who was just as nervous as Harry had been 26 years earlier.
 
“Dad, what if I don’t get picked for a house? Does that happen? What if I’m in Slytherin?” Harry held up a hand to silence the questions he had been fielding for a month.
 
“Albus, I told you, you will get a house, or you wouldn’t have gotten the letter. And it doesn’t matter at all to me what house you are in, OK?” Harry sat down across from his son, and waited for the question he knew was next.
 
“Is it true I have to wrestle a troll, too?” he asked.
 
“Albus, I told you not to listen to Uncle George, and no, you don’t, but after your Mum finds out he told you that, he might wish he could only wrestle a troll.” Both of them laughed, knowing that Ginny would make sure George payed for scaring her little boy.
 
After a few minutes, Ginny came in for some tea, and after kissing Albus on the head, sat down next to Harry, only to start fielding questions herself. After half an hour, they found themselves in the back of Ron’s car, headed for King’s Cross.
 
Smiling to himself, Harry leaned back and closed his eyes. He hadn’t had any nightmares for a long time, and in a few minutes, he would be sending his youngest son to Hogwarts for the first time. After making sure all of the trunks were loaded on trolleys, and the owls were shut safe in their cages, they began to cross the barrier.
 
After a while, Harry knelt beside Albus. “Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts, and one of them was one of the bravest man I knew.” he said.
 
“But what if I’m in Slytherin?” he asked again, obvious fear and sadness in his voice.
 
“Then Slytherin will have gained a wonderful student, but if you really don’t want to be, the hat will let you choose Gryffindor,” seeing the confusion on Albus’ face, he continued, “it did for me.”
 
And after he helped load the trunks, he stood waving as the train sped away. As it rounded the corner, he lost sight of it, still waving as Ginny walked up beside him.
 
“He’ll be fine.” she said. As she did his hand fell unconsciously to his scar, it hadn’t hurt for 19 years, everything was going to be OK after all.
 
Taking Ginny's hand in one of his, and Lily's in the other, they set off, back toward the muggle world.
 
"Well, how about we all go to Diagon Alley? Maybe get in ice cream?" He grinned at Lily as he said it, seeing her eyes light up.
 
"Can we Dad? Can we really?" she asked, excited at going out with just her parents and her.
 
"You bet sweetie, just try and stop me!" He scooped her into his arms, and three of them crossed the barrier together.
Epilogue: The Interview by Prongs
Author's Notes:
I received more than a few requests for the interview scene mentioned early on, so here it is.
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione entered the Daily Prophet office in Diagon Alley on September 2, as they did, everyone turned to watch them walk directly to the editor’s office, where he was already waiting with Rita Skeeter.
 
“The offer has not changed, we refuse to be interviewed by her.” Ginny said, her voice clearly communicating her dislike of Skeeter, and anger at having to be in her presence once again.
 
“Do not worry Mrs. Potter, you will not be. She is simply here to listen to the story, and has agreed not to say anything during the time I interview you.” Perceval Ogden, the editor of the Prophet, simply stared back at them, trying to guage their reaction to the fact that he would personally interview them, but found himself unable to read any of them.
 
“Well, I assume that she will not protest to a silencing charm then, to ensure we are not here any longer than necessary.” Hermione grinned as Skeeter squirmed a bit at Harry’s statement, but to her surprise, Skeeter nodded her agreement, and allowed Harry to cast the charm.
 
“Well, seeing as you are no longer in opposition to Ms. Skeeter’s presence, shall we begin?” Ogden said, hoping to have a juicy article for that day’s paper.
 
“Actually, sir, you will not that,” Harry said, pointing at a list of questions he knew came from readers. The prophet had publicized the upcoming interview, and had also asked for readers to send in questions they wished answered. Harry continued, “I will tell you what happened during my absence, at which point Mr. and Mrs. Weasley will tell you what they wish to tell you. My wife,” he motioned to Ginny, “was not with us, but was involved in the battle at Hogwarts, and she does have a few things to say as well.”
 
“So, you will listen to us, and we will leave. We have no intention of answering questions, and we will be transcribing today’s conversation.” Ginny had cut across Harry now, “You, and Ms. Skeeter,” she sneered at the writer, “will be signing the transcript, and we will keep it to ensure you do not change anything about what we tell you. If you don’t like that, we can leave now and give our story to the Quibbler, and I am sure you remember how that worked out three years ago, don’t you?”
 
“That will not be necessary, Mrs. Potter, your terms are fair, and I am sorry you have had problems with our paper in the past. If you will set your transcription quill to work, we can begin, but before we do, would any of you like a cup of tea?” None of the quartet accepted, and after pouring a cup for himself and Skeeter, he sat back to listen and take notes.
 
“Last year, after leaving my aunt and uncle’s house, I went to stay at the home of my wife’s parents. This had come to be almost expected since my second year at Hogwarts, as Ron and I became very close friends during our first year. After my brother-in-law’s wedding on August 1st, when Tom Riddle was able to fully control the ministry, Ron, Hermione and I left and went about ensuring the downfall of Riddle.”
 
The editor spoke, unable to suppress a question. “Who is this Tom Riddle you keep referring to?”
 
“Tom Riddle was also known as Lord Voldemort, but with that surname having been given to him by a muggle, he chose not to use it, and it would anger him when others used it. Now, continuing with my story. Riddle, or Voldemort as many know him, found a way to almost ensure his own immortality using such evil and dark magic, that the only way to kill him was to destroy 5 objects known as horcuxes.” The editor gasped at the word, causing Harry to eye him suspiciously. “You know of this?”
 
“Yes, but I have never heard of any witch or wizard creating more than one.” He said.
 
Well, Voldemort created 7. Our search led us through many places in Britain, including Hogwarts as well. Along the way, we found ourselves captured and brought to a group of death eaters to wait for Riddle to come and kill me. Were it not for Aberforth Dumbledore and a house elf named Dobby, we would all likely be dead.” Harry paused at this point, searching for the right words before continuing. “In the end, we were able to enter Hogwarts, destroy the last of the horcruxes, and as I am sure everyone knows, due to certain laws of wand lore, and Riddle’s own ignorance of other simple things, I emerged victorious, and he is now very much, dead. I am sure there are those who will say I was lucky, or had help, and to them I would simply say that they are right. Much of my journey was luck, and were it not for the three people with me today, I would most certainly be dead.” Harry stopped here, looking to Ron and Hermione, and Ron spoke.
 
“The point of this entire story is simply to put the matter to rest. We are tired of people constantly asking us, expecting some harrowing tale, or rubbish like that. We simply found and destroyed the horcruxes, and for those who keep asking, we are not going to tell you how to make one, where to find that information, or anything else. I am not even going to tell you what it is, except to say it is a horribly evil object, ” he stared at the editor, “and if it ends up in this article, we will know who put it there.” He tapped the parchment where the quill was writing down every word spoken, and looked to Hermione.
 
“Ron said it perfectly, we are not super heroes, we are two witches and two wizards. We had leadership and responsibility thrust upon us, and we did not shirk it. Now, with Riddle dead, we want to live our lives with as much normalcy as possible.” Hermione sat back, and as she took Ron’s hand, everyone looked at Ginny.
 
“Here is the final point any of us wish to make. We did what we did for the simple fact that is had to be done. Not for glory, fame, money, power, or any other reason. All of us fought, a great many people died, and those of us left behind will never forget it, all because of one lunatic’s desire for power and immortality. We have told you all we are going to tell you, and if we are hounded for more answers, or if you,” she gave Skeeter an icy glare, “print another story that is so flagrantly wrong about husband again, you will find out first hand why every man in my family fears my mother, and now myself and Hermione. No one messes with a Weasley woman, and especially not her family!”
 
With that, the quartet rose, Hermione duplicating the transcript and waiting for the editor to sign the copy Harry was to keep. Just before leaving the office, Harry turned and released the silencing charm on Skeeter, then, looking her directly in the eyes, “And Ms. Skeeter, it is the trauma of my past concerning you that has driven me to do all of this!”
 
As the group walked back out into Diagon Alley, Harry smiled, and pulling Ginny to his side and looking at Hermione and Ron, said “Who’s hungry? I could go for lunch right about now, my treat!”
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