Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

A Walk In The Garden

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Back at The Burrow, everyone rests and recovers, but now Harry and Ron are facing personal dilemmas they can't resolve.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Arthur Weasley,Ginny,Harry,Hermione,Molly Weasley,Ron - Published: 2016-10-09 - 3618 words - Complete



It was inevitable: we all went to the Burrow for breakfast. Molly put her foot down – she was not going to negotiate those “bloody lifts” again while levitating a hot meal. And it wasn't like we were in any shape to accomplish anything at the office, anyhow. Harry sent a couple of those flying memos to Kingsley and Elliott; they would hover around the door until people showed up. Bill begged off, saying he really ought to get back to Fleur, and Kenji was reluctant to intrude, he said, until I insisted he come along and everyone backed me up.

Breakfast was on the table in an amazingly short time, partly because Kenji, to everyone's surprise including mine, turned out to be a cook, and sweet-talked Molly into letting him help. She agreed, I think, mostly because Arthur was no help, Bill was gone, and Ginny was clearly grafted onto Harry. But let me tell you, Kenji has the touch, and everything he did came out “G.B.D.” as chefs say, “golden brown and delicious.” By the time they served the meal he and Molly were old friends, chattering away, and everyone was smiling.

Try this: pull an all-nighter, concentrating hard, doing strenuous physical things that give you repeated adrenaline rushes. Then drink six or eight cups of coffee and eat full servings of eggs, bacon, ham, oatmeal, pumpkin juice, buttered toast and cinnamon rolls. Wait ten or fifteen minutes. Then try to stay awake. Neither could we.

Charlie Weasley was back with his dragons again, so I crashed out in his room. The dragon posters all woke up when I went in, but all I did was say, “Hiya, fellas,” and fall into bed. When I woke up, it was mid-afternoon, judging by the scene out the window. When I made my way downstairs I found that one of us did stay awake. Kenji, Molly, and Arthur were sitting in the kitchen with the teapot and cups, several plates of cookies and muffins, and a yellow sponge cake over two feet long. Kenji was saying,

“...basic principle of a wok is that the heat varies – hottest right at the bottom, and cooler as you go up the sides. That's why the food has to keep moving, but the Chinese spell works differently than the Japanese spell. You put the Chinese spell on your favorite utensil, like your big metal spoon, and it keeps the food moving equally through the heated places until you stop it and take over. But you put the Japanese spell on the food itself – and the food moves on its own. You don't use the utensil at all until you're ready to take over manually. The spell I learned in class also insures that each piece of food, when it gets close to being done just right, moves itself up the side of the wok and just keeps warm. Makes using a wok so easy! Doing it all by hand, like my mother, is a lot of work, you can't do anything else at the same time, and it really takes a lot of skill.”
“Ah! Welcome back to the land of the living.” Arthur had noticed me standing in the doorway, and Molly looked up.

There you are! Here now, sit down and have a nice cup of tea with us.” A cup and saucer were already flying out of a cupboard, and they landed in front of an empty chair. “Kenji's been telling us about Oriental cooking, his family's Japanese you know, and it's got me all in a whirl. You do have such lovely friends, Ryan. Have a muffin. And you must try some of Kenji's sponge cake, what's it called again, castle cake?”

“Castella,” said Kenji. “That's the English pronunciation. The Japanese would make it more like kasu-terra. It was something I could make with what Molly has on hand; most of the Japanese recipes I know use things like sweet bean paste and rice flour, and I'm going to pick some things up in London and come back here, one of these days soon, and we'll have some fun!”

“That we will!” Molly was beaming as she set a plate of cake in front of me and made the sugar bowl and cream pitcher scoot over to my place. “There you go, tuck right in, dear, we've had ours! We were just talking – well, Kenji has a lovely way with kitchen magic, and we got to going on about household spells and all, and would you believe it, his parents are Muggles!” She patted Kenji on the arm. “I mean, I'm sure they're awfully nice people, dear, and your mother sounds a wonderful cook, but Ryan, he had no one to show him things, growing up. Now, when I was a girl I always saw my mother using magic for cooking, and to keep things clean and neat, you know. When I was old enough she taught me all her charms and spells, of course. And when I asked Kenji how he learned his kitchen magic, he said they teach ordinary household magic at your school! I was ever so surprised.”

“Yes!” Arthur jumped in. “When Molly and I were at Hogwarts, we both knew students who had Muggle parents, and we were always showing them some of those little ordinary everyday sort of spells, to fold clothes or remove a spot or pack a suitcase, that sort of thing. Never thought of having a proper class for household magic, but it would certainly be more useful than some of the classes I tried to keep awake in.”

“Actually,” I said, as I washed down the last of my sponge cake (it was really good!) with a swallow of suitably adulterated tea, “I learned at least as much in that class as any other I took. Kenji and I both went to Indiana Wizarding, but he was a few years ahead of me. Kenji, did you have Livermore for Household Magic?”

“I sure did! She had just started. Tallulah Livermore! A ball of fire, never stopped moving, run you right off your feet.”

“If you didn't trip over her.” I looked at Arthur and Molly. “She's only about three and a half feet tall. But her class was very popular. You learned things you could use all the time, and that was fun. Kids from Wizarding families signed up for it too, and she always encouraged them to show the class things they learned at home. If a student could show her a better way to do something – or a different way that was worth teaching – she'd give extra credit.”

“You mean she'd learn from her students, as well as teaching them.” Molly was obviously fascinated.

“Yes. That's another reason everyone liked her class.”

“Well I never. I should have loved to have a class like that back at Hogwarts. Would you have signed up, Arthur?”

“Of course I would...if you were in it. That's how I chose all my electives. If Molly was in a class, I took it too.”

“Oh, go along with you.”

“Well, actually, I think I would have taken that sort of class even if we couldn't be in it together. Aside from being useful, a boy might learn something he could use to impress his best girl! Seriously, though, I think an elective class in household magic would be a very good idea for Hogwarts...and I know who would be the perfect person to teach it.” Arthur paused there, deliberately poured himself more tea, and patiently went to work thickening it up.

Finally Molly said, “All right, who then?”

“You, Molly.”

“Me? Teach?”

“Haven't you been teaching me and a houseful of children all these years?”

“Well, yes, but that's different.”

“Is it? I wonder.”

“Now really, the likes of me, a professor at Hogwarts? Tchah! And even if there were such a class, just when would I have time to do that, now I ask you.”

“In a few months.”


“After Ron and Ginny move out and start their own households.”

That stopped Molly in her tracks, and she and Arthur looked at each other with smiles on their lips and sadness in their eyes. Fortunately, before the moment became awkward, we were interrupted by Ginny and Hermione coming downstairs.

They were settling in at the table, which somehow was large enough now, when Harry poked his head in from the front room and said “Ah, there you are!” He had gone home to Grimmauld Place on the floo network, and just now returned the same way. He declined the offer of tea and cakes, though: he was full. His house-elf had gone to the trouble of having a breakfast ready the moment he awoke, and Harry couldn't bring himself to disappoint him. So he greeted everyone cheerfully, adding, “Quite a night, wasn't it?”

“Oh, yes, it most certainly was!” Hermione led a chorus of agreement.

“It really was a very nice bit of work,” said Arthur. “You got everything you went after...and a few things you didn't!”

Harry took that as a cue, came around and kissed Ginny briefly, not more than ten or fifteen seconds. Then he looked up and said “Where's Ron?” and when we all looked upwards he grinned and added “ if I had to ask. He'd sleep a week if he could, but then he'd be mad at us for letting him! I'd better go get him. It's easy enough. Just whack him with a Quidditch bat for five or ten minutes, and he'll open his eyes and yawn.”

“Oh, very good, Harry!” bubbled Molly, laughing with the rest of us. “I must remember to try that!” Harry had Ron down among us, rubbing his eyes and yawning, in a jiffy. (In Britain, one jiffy equals half a tick.) Then he took Ginny off for a walk in the garden, while Hermione fed Ron tea and kissed him thoroughly, which finished the job Harry had started.

Arthur and I decided to go to the Ministry, telling everyone else we'd check with Elliott and Kingsley, and send for them if they were really needed. Making ourselves presentable with Molly's help, we climbed out of the fireplace on the empty side (across the hall, people were already lining up to go home) and went straight up to Kingsley's office. He sent for Elliott, who arrived promptly, and we told our tale.

“A very nice job indeed,” said Kingsley. “But after all that, I am a little surprised that Harry didn't come with you.”

Arthur smiled and looked at me, and I said, “Well, Harry had some, uh, very intense personal experiences last night. They helped him a lot, I think – he came to the Burrow when he woke up, and he was happier than I've ever seen him when we left. Arthur and I thought this ought to be encouraged. Fortunately, there was someone handy who's very good at that.”

Kingsley was smiling and nodding when Elliott spoke up. “I can certainly understand that. A letter from his father, after all this time...great heavens, what that would mean to Harry. Well, I got his note this morning, and Abner's already gone back to Godric's Hollow. I had an owl from him an hour ago, and it's all arranged. He'll stay with his friends as long as needed.”

“That's good, thanks Elliott. It's probably not necessary, but I do feel better.”

“All in a day's work. And I checked on the prisoner, Mr. Holiday. He's fine, he's secure, and he's very unhappy with us.”

“Golly gee whillikers, now ain't that just too bad?”

“That brings up a question, Ryan.” Kingsley raised a finger. “Will the United States want to extradite him?”

“I'm not sure, but I'll find out. I don't know if he's wanted for anything back home, although it wouldn't surprise me one teensy little bit if he was. But he's surely broken your laws, and I know the Department takes a very dim view of that.”

“Yes, quite,” agreed Elliott, “we've got him for Criminal Misuse of Magic, Unlawful Restraint, and Assault and Battery, to begin with. Might make a case for Kidnapping. We can tuck him away for quite awhile, if you don't need him back.”

I couldn't resist. “Tuck him.” I was looking at the wall over his head, or I couldn't have kept a straight face. “Go right ahead and prosecute, by all means. If it turns out we want to try him, we'll talk about it.” I turned back to the Minister. “The main thing I'm concerned with now is getting into that space in the old Bagshot house, and Bill Weasley's taking the lead there. He said it might take two or three days to prepare, and then we'll go back and pull its cork.”

That was it, really, for the day. Arthur checked his office while I sent a longish wemail to Blackstone, reporting our progress and asking about Holiday's status, and then we took the floo network back to The Burrow. When we got there, though, I found things had changed. Harry was sitting in the front room with Ron, and the happy mood had evaporated. Harry was looking troubled, and Ron looked like he was busy putting up with something.

“All right, Harry?” Arthur had noticed it too.

“Yeah, I'm fine.” Harry's smile seemed a little forced. “Ginny and Hermione have gone off for a girl talk, they said. Don't know why they have to do that.”

Arthur chuckled, and headed for the kitchen, saying “There are some things, Harry, that Man was not meant to know.”

“Cheer up, Harry, she'll be back soon.” My attempt at heartiness bounced off him.

“Yeah, I know, that's all's...actually...well, more than that.”

“Can I help?”

“I don't see how. But thanks! Here, let's all take a walk, outside. I can't sit still.”

“Good idea. I usually think better on my feet anyway.”

Harry led the way and the three of us went out the front door, heading around the house to the back. The Burrow is built toward the road; there isn't a whole lot of front lawn – there's a garage and a chicken coop, complete with chickens. Most of the land is in the back. There's a big garden, and behind that, an orchard surrounded by trees. The garden was lush, too lush actually, because it was pretty well overgrown. Still, it was nice, and chock full of flowers. I didn't know them all, but I recognized phlox and lillies and gladioluses (gladioli?) and there was lily-of-the-valley over in the shade around the pond, and we swished through the long grass toward that.

“Let's not go too far,” said Harry, “I think Ginny and Hermione are in the orchard.”

“So what's up?”

Ron answered; Harry was looking at the orchard. “It's about getting married. We've both got problems, but Harry's is worse.”

“Frankly, mate, I'm terrified.” Harry sounded afraid. Also frustrated and bewildered.

“Of getting married?”

No!” You had to be there to see how wrong I was. “I want to be married to Ginny more than anything in the world.” He drew a long breath. “It's the wedding. It's out of control. Look, Ginny and I sat down to try making up a list of the people to invite, and in about five minutes we had almost three hundred names. It comes down to a lot of 'well, if we invite so-and-so, we have to invite this other person – or this other three or four people! – or they'll feel slighted.' It's crazy. There's no way I could deal with that, and more to the point I suppose, there's no way Arthur could pay for it, either.”

“Dad's been looking forward to Ginny's wedding ever since she was born, I think,” put in Ron. “And he's absolutely bound and determined to do it up right – I mean, you know, only daughter and all that.”

“Of course.”

“And you know,” Harry sounded miserable now, “there are quite a lot of people we really would like to invite. It's just that after all that's many people...” his voice trailed off.

“I'm beginning to see what you mean. You submit a nice little engagement announcement to the Daily Prophet...and they run it as the front-page headline. 'BOY WHO LIVED GETTING MARRIED' – with pictures and columns of gushing speculation. Presto! Social event of the year.”

“Oh my god.” Harry looked positively stricken. “I hadn't thought of that.”

“You're right, though.” Ron told me seriously, and looked at Harry. “Even if you don't announce the engagement, that's what'll happen as soon's the invitations go out. Merlin's trousers! People'll try and crash in – we'll need security.” He looked at me. “Hope that doesn't mean security at our wedding – Hermione's and mine. We'll have to have a Muggle wedding, it's looking. I mean, her parents know she's a witch, that part's all right, but she's got other family, and some old friends...” He drew a breath. “Ryan, have you got any ideas that don't make things worse?”

“Well, maybe. Let's think about this for a minute.” I was stalling. “What you want is a nice, quiet, private wedding with your families and a few close friends – and a Wizarding wedding, in your case, Ron. Right?” They both nodded. “That way, you don't have to announce anything in advance; the people you invite would be people you can trust to keep quiet; and the Daily Prophet – and everyone else – would only hear about the wedding after it was over. You with me so far?”

Harry spread his hands. “But that's exactly when rather a lot of people would feel--” “No, wait, stay with me. Now we've got to the nut of the problem, how to keep people from feeling bad. OK, what you need to make that happen is a reason. Not an excuse, but a real reason – preferably one that's pretty obvious to everyone – a good reason not to invite a whole lot of people.”

“Well, yeah, that'd work,” said Ron thoughtfully. “For Harry, anyway...for us...”

“I see what you mean now,” Harry picked the thread up after Ron's voice trailed off into silence. “Ginny said something like that, but we couldn't think of anything and gave up on it. But it does seem to be the only real solution, doesn't it? Trouble is, I can't--” I don't know what my face looked like, but things had started making connections in my brain, and Harry suddenly stopped and looked at me intently. Then he cocked his head and asked, “ I very much mistaken, or are you having an idea?”

“Maybe.” I didn't speak for a moment. I could see ramifications, but I hadn't run into any roadblocks.

“Well, come on then, fess up!” urged Ron.

“OK...try this on for size. If the reason involved your official duties as Aurors, especially as Head Auror, Harry, it would be an acceptable one, wouldn't it?”

“Maybe,” They both said in unison, and Harry added, “depends on what it is.”

“Right. OK, Harry, suppose you had to leave the country on official business, something that came up, and were going to be gone for some time. You decided you really had to get married before leaving, so you could bring Ginny with you, and a nice quiet family wedding was organized on very short notice.”

“I like it so far. If anyone ever says anything, it's 'sorry, but we just didn't have time to do anything else, would have loved to have you there otherwise,' and that would be perfectly true! But what's the official business?”

“That visit to the United States we've talked about. To coordinate, see the Research Institute, meet everyone at the F.B.A., check out schools – any and all of that. The thing is, the public does not need to know that your trip would actually start with a honeymoon, and you'd only get on with visiting the Department and all that after you'd finished having a proper one!”

“I like it a lot, actually!” Harry was beginning to brighten up. “Do you think you could arrange things on your end?”

“Sure – I don't have to sell it to Blackstone. Thank the stars, he's been here, he's met you all. He'll do it. Include an invitation for him and I'll absolutely guarantee it.”

“How long would it take to set it up?”

“If I go back and pitch the idea in person...a couple of days. Week at the most.”

“That's brilliant,” said Ron, “but it doesn't do anything for me and Hermione.”

“Oh, I dunno. It might. Listen, I joked about it when we first met, but did you folks ever actually talk about having a double wedding?”

“Not really.” Harry shook his head.

Ron did too. “Oh, it might've got mentioned, but we never seriously thought about it. No reason for Harry and Ginny to have a Muggle wedding.”

“Well, if you decided you just had to have a double wedding, after all, and then Harry had to push the date ahead...” Ron's eyes opened wide. “...and there's no telling at this point, but it's possible you and Hermione might get named to that American Liaison Team.”

“Either way,” said Ron with growing excitement.

“Or both!” agreed Harry, and they looked at each other. In a moment they were running towards the Orchard, and I decided to walk around the pond and see if I could spot the bullfrog I'd been hearing for the past few minutes.
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