Harry takes care of some things after the battle
“What do you mean?” asked Harry.
“I overheard Ginny talking with Hermione. I couldn’t make out anything she said, but she didn’t seem too happy with you,” said Ron.
With a sigh, Harry got up and went to look for the upset Red Head.
“Do you know where Ginny is?” asked Harry when he entered the kitchen, where Hermione of sitting with a rather large book.
“I think she went out to the Quidditch pitch,” answered Hermione.
Harry went out to the pitch, to find Ginny a lone blur in the air. This was not a good sign. If Ginny was flying by herself, she was likely trying to release some of her frustration. Ginny saw Harry approach and landed.
“Hey Gin, can we talk for a moment?” said Harry tentatively.
“I guess since Cho’s not here you’ve got to fall back to me,” said Ginny harshly.
“It’s not like that,” said Harry.
“Then why have you shut yourself off from everyone? Don’t try to pretend like you’re not brooding over Cho. It’s like you lost someone you love,” said Ginny.
“Yes, I’m upset over Cho, but I never loved her, Ginny,” insisted Harry.
“I lost Dean and you don’t see me ignoring everyone. Why is this any different?” demanded Ginny.
“BECAUSE I FAILD HIM GINNY! I KILLED CEDRIC AND THEN I GOT ONE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE KILLED!” yelled Harry. Ginny hesitated a bit, she hadn’t considered how Cedric Diggory might have factored into the equation. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled at you. But I promise that my heart will always belong to you. It was your voice that gave me the power to send Voldemort’s Killing Curse back to him. I didn’t stop to think about how it must have looked when I wasn’t talking to anyone.”
“You didn’t fail anyone, Harry. You succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Without you so many more people would have died,” said Ginny.
“Do you think Cedric cares about what would have happened to everybody else? Do you think anyone looks at the big picture when they lose someone they love? Of course not,” argued Harry.
“She died for a good cause,” said Ginny.
“She didn’t have to die,” said Harry. “Would the outcome of the battle of changed if Cho didn’t fight in it? What difference would it have made?”
“Then you would be morning someone else who died in her place,” reasoned Ginny.
The pair sat in silence for a few moments before Harry spoke, “I know I’ve put a lot of pressure on you. It can’t be easy being the one who has to get me to snap out of it whenever I’m in one of my moods. I’m sure that it’s a lot to deal with.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. And besides, it’s not like you’ve never been there when I needed you,” said Ginny. “You were there after your taught the D.A. about the Chamber.”
“One time. We’ve been together for about a year and I’ve been there for you one time,” said Harry.
“You’ve had a lot more on your plate than I have,” said Ginny. “I’m sorry I doubted you, it was unfair of me.”
“It was reasonable, given my actions, for you to get a little jealous,” assured Harry. “So, are we okay?”
“Yes. What’s really unfair is that I can’t stay mad at you. No matter what you do, whenever I plan on yelling or hexing you, you give me that look that makes my heart melt and I can’t help but forgive you,” said Ginny. “You have know idea what I had in store for you after you broke up with me. I was ready to yell and to hex you into some kind of unidentifiable blob. But when you found me I knew I’d never be able to do it, no matter how much you needed it.”
“I suppose I should be glad,” commented Harry. “For the record, I don’t think that I could ever be mad at you, not that you’ve ever given me a reason to.”
“Harry, Ginny, it’s about time for us to leave for the Ministry,” said Mr. Weasley. The teens were scheduled to testify at the trial of Delores Umbridge, who had been apprehended shortly after the battle. Scrimgeour had waited for a day before finally realizing there was no way he could defend Umbridge, as he had seen her serve Voldemort himself. The trial was quickly becoming a media circus. Scrimgeour was taking a lot of heat for allowing an apparent spy to run freely at his Ministry. The Wizengamot was called to order and Umbridge was brought in.
“Mr. Potter, you, along with Miss Weasley, Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley, have been summoned by the Wizengamot to testify against suspected Death Eater Delores Umbridge. We understand that you have evidence you wish to present to the court,” said the Minister. “I open the court for questions from the Wizengamot.”
“Mr. Potter, when did you first begin to suspect that Maddam Umbridge was working for the Dark Lord?” asked an member Harry did not recongnize.
“Last Semptember, Ginny and I had arranged for a Portkey to take us to Paris, where we would spend the day. I had been afraid to travel by Portkey due to my, shall we say, heightend security concerns, but I was assured that the Portkey could be kept top secret, that only people very high up would be able to know about it. When we arrived however, we found a group of Death Eaters were waiting for us. We escaped, but that incident, along with the escape of several Death Eaters from Azkaban the next day, led me to conclude that there had to be a mole high up in the Ministry,” answered Harry.
“And did you inform the Ministry of your concern?” asked Kingsley Shacklebolt, who had taken Umbridge’s seat on the Wizengamot.
“Yes sir, I spoke with the Minister himself about this,” responded Harry.
“And what was the Minister’s reaction,” continued Kingsley, who Harry would later swear was supressing a smile.
“He was dismissive. Despite the fact that Voldemort had learned the location of a top secret Portkey, he refused to believe that he might have a spy,” said Harry, trying not to sound too pleased by the situation.
“But at our meeting you never mentioned that you suspected Umbridge,” said Scrimgeour, trying to save face.
“At the time I hadn’t given much thought as to who the mole was. I was under the impression that that was the responsibility of the Ministry,” said Harry.
“And what did lead you to suspect that Umbridge might be spying for You-Know-Who?” asked Tiberius Ogden.
“We knew from our expierences when she was at Hogwarts that she had several characteristics that were frequently found in Death Eaters. It was when we realized that she had visited Azkaban shortly before the escape that we began to consider her a suspect,” answered Hermione.
“Delores Umbridge worked at the ministry for twenty years, and in those years there was nothing to indicate that she would turn to the Dark Side, what characteristics are you saying may her a suspect?” asked a nameless Wizengamot member.
“Her hatred of so-called “half-breeds,” along with ambition to get to the top no matter who she hurts. She was also a cruel teacher. She threatened to use the Cruciatus Curse on me while she was a teacher at Hogwart and I can still read the words in my hands that she made me write with a blood-quill,” said Harry.
“Was Umbridge present at the final battle?” asked another unknown member of the Wizengamot.
“Yes, she was present at the meeting that Voldemort had called, the one we attacked. They discussed her efforts to convince the Minister to give me Veritserum, and from what I gathered she was also responseble for kidnapping the Minister,” answered Harry.
“Is there any chance that she was under the Imperius Curse?” inquired Ogden.
“It’s doubtful. It wouldn’t make much sense for Voldemort to call her to a meeting, much less advise her, when he could simply force her to do whatever he wanted her to do,” said Ginny.
“Unless anyone has anything else to add I think we have heard enough to vote, does the accused have anything they wish to say in their defense?” said Kingsley Shacklebolt. Umbridge just glared at Harry.
“All in favor of conviction raise your hand,” said Scrimgeour after a brief pause. The entire Wizengamot raised their hands. “And those in favor of acquittal… the accused has been judged guilty and is sentenced to life in Azkaban. Unless there is any new business the Wizengamot will go into recess and reconvene at…”
“I have some new business,” announced Griselda Marchbanks. Harry, who had been heading towards the door, stopped. “I call for a vote to remove Minister Scrimgeour in light of the revelation that he was presented with, and proceeded to ignore, evidence of a spy working for You-Know-Who in the Ministry.”
“I second that motion,” said another member.
“This is preposterous!” said Scrimgeour.
“Nevertheless, now that it has been seconded we must vote on the motion,” said the member to Scrimgeour’s right.
“Very well. All in favor of replacing Minister Scrimgeour raise your hands,” ordered the Minister. Harry watched the hands rise into the air and, confidant that there would soon be a new Minister, left the courtroom.
“Wow, I never thought they’d get him out of office so fast,” commented Ron.
“People are really fed up now. This is two Ministers in a row that have turned out to be crooks,” said Hermione. The discussion ended when the teens heard two familiar, angry voices arguing in an otherwise empty room.
“He’s an unstable child who’s holding our careers back!” shouted Percy.
“He’s family,” insisted Mr. Weasley.
“Why is he more a part of this family than I am?”
“Because he’s acted more like a member of this family!” said Mr. Weasley.
“He’s done nothing but bring us down,” said Percy.
“He’s done nothing but save us!” shouted Ginny, making the teens known. “While you were out slandering Harry and kissing Fudge’s arse he saved dad’s life. You didn’t even visit your own father in St. Mungo’s.”
“I know this is hard for you to understand, but Father made his choice when he joined that group. As a Junior Assistant to Minister Fudge I wasn’t about to endorse such vigilante activity,” said Percy in his best Prefect voice.
“And that’s more important than being with for family when they needed you? Where were you when Ron got poisoned? What did he do to deserve to wind up in the Hospital Wing? If Harry hadn’t been there Ron would have been dead,” fumed Ginny.
“I don’t have time for this. The Minister is expecting me to go with him to Professor Slughorn’s funeral,” said Percy.
“Scrimgeour’s been sacked,” informed Harry.
“What? That’s preposterous,” said Percy.
“That’s exactly what he said before the Wizengamot voted to remove him,” said Harry.
“What did you do?” said Percy.
“Well, it seems that the Wizengamot wasn’t pleased to learn that Scrimgeour had ignored evidence that Umbridge was a spy,” said Ron.
“Once again the Wizengamot falls for Potter’s slander…” said Percy.
“It’s only slander if it’s false,” corrected Hermione.
“Whatever, I can’t be lectured by a bunch of bratty teenagers, I have more important things to do,” said Percy before quickly leaving the room and his angry family behind.
“Stupid git, I thought he’d see some sense once the war ended” said Ron.
“He’s still too ambitious for his own good, I’m afraid,” said Mr. Weasley, looking older than Harry had ever seen him look. “How did everything go?”
“She got life in Azkaban,” said Harry.
“Excellent. What about the Malfoy’s? I didn’t get a chance to ask you about that yesterday,” asked Mr. Weasley.
“Life in Azkaban for Lucius and Narcissa, a year for Draco, and once he gets out a life spent with a trace on him that can only be removed by the wand that put it there” said Harry, who was the only one of the group that had been at the Malfoy’s trial.
“I still can’t believe you testified in that ferret’s favor after everything he did,” said Ron.
“You didn’t see him in the tower that night, he had started to lower his wand and side with us before Snape and the rest of them came bursting in,” said Harry.
“That was very mature of you, Harry. I know that the two of you didn’t get along very well at school,” praised Mr. Weasley.
“He may be a spoiled brat, but he’s not a murderer, Dumbledore was right about that,” said Harry. “Besides, somehow I think that having to rely on my help was a more excruciating punishment than anything the Wizengamot could have thought of.”
After chatting for a few moments Mr. Weasley had to return to work and the rest of the family made their way back home to Potter Manor, where Mrs. Weasley was currently packing up most of her belongings.
“What’s going on here?” asked Harry.
“Oh, we’re just getting ready to move back into the Burrow. The war’s over now so I figure it’s time to get out of your hair and stop intruding on your generosity,” explained Mrs. Weasley.
“Well don’t feel like you have to be out soon,” said Harry. “You’re welcome to stay for as long as you want.”
“You’re kind to offer that but we should get back home,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“At least let me go through and make sure the Burrow is safe. Who knows what kind of traps Voldemort set for you,” insisted Harry.
“I think that Bill was planning on doing that in a little while. You’re welcome to go and help him,” agreed the Weasley matriarch.
Harry found the eldest son, who accepted Harry’s offer to help him secure the Burrow. Harry began to head to the gates, where the wards ended and he would be able to Apparate, but Bill stopped him and instead led him towards the Quidditch pitch. Harry looked at the broomshed had two doors as opposed to one.
“What’s this for?” asked Harry.
“Open it and find out,” said Bill. Harry opened the new door, and walked into the pitch black space that was where Harry thought the brooms should be. Harry expected darkness when he crossed the threshold, but instead found himself looking at the familiar paddock that the Weasleys used to play Quidditch. Harry turned around as Bill came through a second door on the Burrow’s own broomshed.
“It seems mum wasn’t quite ready to let her seventh son out of her grasp just yet. Apparently you’re going to starve if you don’t have direct access to her kitchen. Never mind that you’ve got an army of House Elves,” said a smiling Bill. “Plus, by little brother and sister seem kinda fond of you, so we figured we’d let you stay around.”
“Wow, it’s amazing,” said Harry, whose mind was spinning with ideas about how he and Ginny could put the new door to use.
“Before you get any ideas just remember this door works both ways,” said Bill, who apparently knew exactly what Harry was thinking.
“Right, well, thanks. I’m glad I have a way to quickly get over here,” said Harry. “Do you want to check the house now?”
Harry and Bill entered the Burrow, which had been mostly emptied when it had been evacuated. The two men went room by room, casting various detecting spells as they went. They found nothing of note until they entered the bedrooms, which had scorch marks along the walls.
“Looks like someone had a bit of a tantrum,” commented Bill upon seeing a huge hole that had been blasted in the wall of Fred and George room. “This room has seen its share of explosions but I’ve never seen anything as much as put a scratch on these walls.”
“I almost feel bad for the Death Eater who was unfortunate enough to have faced Voldemort’s wrath when he found out that we’d been tipped off,” said Harry.
It was then that Harry noticed a Quidditch glove laying on top his old bed. Seven years of having Voldemort after him had made Harry very aware of when things were not where they should be. Harry knew that all of the Weasley Quidditch supplies were currently at his house. Therefore, it made little sense for there to be a Quidditch glove laying on a bed neither he nor any of the Weasley’s had seen in months. A quick incantation confirmed that the glove had indeed been heavily cursed, and would have killed anyone who attempted to touch it.
“This curse was placed recently, as in some time after the battle, I’d say. A more powerful one was used to protect tombs in Ancient Egypt. It lasts a fairly long time, but we can generally get an idea of when the curse was cast,” said the Curse Breaker. “I reckon some escaped Death Eater figured that with you out of the way they could restart the war.”
“And to think I thought I was done with people trying to kill me,” said Harry.
Harry and Bill finished making sure the house was safe and, finding no other cursed items, returned to Potter Manor to help the Weasley’s pack.
“Too bad we won’t be seeing as much of each other when we move back tomorrow,” said Ginny.
“I’ll still be spending a lot of time at the Burrow,” said Harry.
“I know, but still, it’s nice to have you close by at all times,” said Ginny.
“Come with me, I want to show you something,” requested Harry. Harry led Ginny outside and towards the broomshed as Bill had done earlier.
“Taking me to a broomshed? Smooth, Potter,” said an amused Ginny.
“Get your mind out of the gutter, Weasley,” joked Harry, though he thought that the idea was not without merit. Harry opened the new door and gestured for Ginny to come with him through the threshold.
“So this is what Bill was working on all day,” said Ginny. “Promise you’ll come over everyday.”
“You’ll be sick of me before too long,” said Harry.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Ginny. “Have you thought about what you want to do after Hogwarts?”
“I’m not sure anymore. I’ve always assumed I would be an Auror if I could get the right NEWTS,” said Harry.
“You’d be brilliant at it. Are you thinking that you don’t want to do that anymore?” asked Ginny.
“I don’t know. I’ve been fighting dark wizards since I entered Hogwarts. Besides, I’d imagine that with that kind of job it would be kind of difficult to have a family. I mean, if we had children I’d want to be around for them. Aurors have to travel a lot and work a lot of late nights,” said Harry.
“You want kids?” said Ginny, sounding surprised.
“Well, yeah eventually. Not right away, of course. I want to experience life some before I take that step,” said Harry. “I really don’t know what I want to do.”
“Quidditch is an option for you,” said Ginny.
“I don’t know. I’ve done alright at Hogwarts but I couldn’t keep up with the professionals,” said Harry.
“I’ve heard Krum was pretty impressed with your flying,” said Ginny.
“Even if I could, Quidditch players have to travel maybe even more than Aurors,” said Harry.
“You’d travel from match to match but you’d stay in England for the most part, and I doubt you’d spend as much time at work as you would if you were an Auror, so you could Floo or Apparate everywhere,” reasoned Ginny.
“What about you? You’re a great player in your own right,” said Harry.
“Well, I have dreamt of playing for the Harpies since I was little, but I haven’t been playing all that long. And anyway if either of us are good enough we’ll probably get approached by scouts at the end of the year,” said Ginny. “Charlie got approached by a few teams in his seventh year.”
“That would be fun, playing Quidditch for a while,” agreed Harry. “I have a lot of options, and a lot of time to decide what I want to do.”
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione attended Slughorn’s funeral that afternoon. The service was attended by several of the notable names that Harry remembered hearing Slughorn boast about. Harry noticed that most of the attendees seemed to be there more out of obligation than out of a deep attachment to the fallen Potions Master.
When they got back home, Harry learnt from a very tired Arthur Weasley that the new Minister, an ex Auror named Bill Havelock, was making it a point to clear out those who he felt had earned their job as nothing but yes-men and replace them with those who had proven to be reliable, sound minded people. While on the whole Harry thought that this was a good idea, Percy had been among those who had been demoted and had decided that Harry was to blame.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened in the next month or two. Harry was frequently the target of fan mail, which Ron, Hermione and Ginny took great pleasure in reading. The letters ranged from those asking him to endorse certain products to the occasional marriage proposal. Rita Skeeter, amongst others, had asked for an interview with Harry, a request Harry responded to with a respectful no and a reminder of the penalties that faced unregistered Animagi. Harry and Ginny took a trip to a nice Muggle restaurant to celebrate their anniversary. Occasionally they would drop by Diagon Alley and visit Fred and George, but these visits were short and normally ended when word got out that Harry was nearby and people came and started mobbing him. Hermione was getting them ready for the school year, which would begin the coming September along with their NEWTS at the end of the year. For the first time, Harry had a future. Ever since Harry had entered the wizarding world, Voldemort had cast a shadow over Harry’s life, and even as Harry’s powers grew under the bond he had still felt as though he would never escape that shadow. Now, the shadow was gone, and Harry could finally look ahead to the future. Harry still had not determined where he would go with his life, but at least now he could state with reasonable certainty that he would actually have a life.