Pulling off her robes and nodding a hello to Tom, the bartender of the Leaky Cauldron, Ginny stepped into the autumn sunshine of Muggle London. Autumn had been her favorite season since before she could remember. The colours of the leaves made nature seem more wonderful than in any other season. In her early years at Hogwarts, she and her friends would jump in piles of leaves, laughing with glee. Smiling, she crossed the street, making her way toward the nearest Underground station.
As she swished past the Muggles on their mobiles, a breeze picked up from behind, and Ginny pulled her red hair into an elastic to keep it out of her face. The breeze, added to the Muggles’ Sunday afternoon carelessness and slow pace, irritated Ginny. She was running late, and needed to get home to change her clothes. Every Sunday, she and her best friend from Hogwarts, Felicity Goodenow, would meet at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade for dinner. Felicity was an Obliviator for the Ministry of Magic and always had interesting stories to tell. She was always able to make Ginny laugh, no matter how trying the rest of Ginny’s week had been.
Barely making it through the tram doors, she grabbed the last seat next to a toothless old woman. Ginny saw her often on her rides home. She was fairly certain that the woman was homeless; her clothes were old and wrinkled, usually giving off the scent of the filthy garbage littering London’s dingy alleys. Although she was obviously Muggle, carrying Muggle newspapers and magazines with her all of the time and complaining about the Prime Minister to herself, the woman reminded Ginny of the old woman she, her brother Ron, and her friends, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter had come across in her sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It was a cold winter’s day in Hogsmeade. Ginny, Harry, Hermione and Ron were laughing as they headed toward the city centre and the carriages that would return them to Hogwarts. Though the cold nipped at any exposed skin, the four had taken advantage of the excursion; Hogsmeade trips had become few and far between since the beginning of the War nearly two years earlier.
“Spare change? D’you have an extra sickle, kiddies?” an old woman asked, giving them an odd toothless smile and extending a wrinkled, old hand. Ginny looked at Harry with a begging stare, silently asking him to give the woman just one coin. Sighing and smiling, Harry dug through his pockets until he found a sickle. Ginny could hear and see Hermione hissing at Ron, who had been her boyfriend since the previous Christmas, and Ron spitting out some response in a hushed tone, but couldn’t decipher what the pair was saying. Such arguments were common between the couple. When Harry and Ginny looked back at the woman, ready to give her the sickle, she had extended a wand, pointing it directly at them. Several pops sounded out behind the quartet.
They were under attack!
They duelled for several moments before help arrived. Finally, Professor Dumbledore, who had brought the Order with him, handed the four friends a portkey to his office, and when their defenders finally returned to the castle, they were sent back to the Gryffindor Common Room without any information, other than that all was as well as it could be again.
Ginny climbed the steps to the ground level of Brixton, London, still recalling that day--those days. She and Harry had fancied themselves in love, and even ten years later, Ginny still believed that they had been.
When he was released from St. Mungo’s after the Final Battle, which had triumphantly ended in Voldemort’s demise, Harry had suddenly disappeared, without leaving any messages, though when his friends found his Hogwarts trunk and other belongings gone, the group realized he had left of his own free will. He no longer Floo’d, nor owled, and he no longer spoke to any of them.
She finally arrived home and got ready for her meal with Felicity, trying very hard to ignore her puppy, Sam’s insistent pleas to play. Grabbing a cloak, she Disapparated to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. She found Felicity and sat down, a butterbeer waiting for her, and listened as Felicity recounted a date with a handsome wizard two days before. They had gone to some café, also in Hogsmeade, one whose name was not currently stored in Ginny’s mind, and walked around the little town for over an hour.
By the time Ginny returned home, she wasn’t nearly as happy as she usually was after seeing her best friend. The date Felicity had talked about the entire evening reminded her of Harry. Dating was out of the question for a year after he abruptly deserted her, but it had taken her another five years before she could commit to a serious relationship, her heart had been so torn.
Slipping between the sheets, Ginny turned on the Wizarding Wireless, thinking of the black-haired teen, wondering how he’d been lately as she drifted into sleep.
“Goyle! What do you want?” Draco barked as the stocky man entered his elegant office.
“Nott sent me,” Goyle replied.
“Then what does he want?”
“We want to know when this search business is going to end,” Goyle said, attempting to sound sure of himself, even though his once friend--and boss--had a tendency to scare him.
“Not until I get Potter and the Weaslette together. I want them to suffer like I did.”
“But it’s been ten years! I don’t think they’ll ever get back together.”
“I don’t care what you think!” Draco yelled, standing from his dragon-hide chair. “They’ll have to get back together someday, you fool, and then they’ll suffer. I’ll make them suffer. Now get out of my office.”
Goyle ran out of the office, not bothering to close the door behind him. Draco grabbed his wand, casting the colloportus spell and slouching back into his dragon-hide chair. He pulled one foot off the floor and rested it on the desk, staring intently at a photograph of his father. Lucius Malfoy was the reason Draco wanted Harry Potter. Potter had killed his father ten years ago, the night of the final battle. But he wanted the Weaslette, too. If he had her, Draco could kill her and make Potter suffer as he had, before killing the Boy Who Lived as well. But the last ten years hadn’t made Draco’s revenge easy. Neither of them had seen the other since just after the Final Battle, and both were constantly moving from one end of the world to the other. However, now they were both in England again. Only one more step, and Draco’s plan could be set in action.
“I’ll avenge your death, Father, I will,” Draco said to the portrait opposite his desk before leaving his office.
“Mummy! Daddy’s on the Floo!” Ellie yelled to her mother from the lounge. Hermione rose, marking her place in Memories of a Minister with her finger, before going to answer her husband’s fire call.
His head stuck out of the fireplace, his vivid red hair contrasting with the green flames in a way that reminded Hermione of Christmas and always put a smile on her face.
“Afternoon, love,” Ron said as Hermione watched Ellie curling up on the settee in her peripheral vision. “How is everything there?”
“Good. Aidan’s sleeping, and I was catching up on some reading. How’s work?”
“Oh, not too bad. I ran into Neville at lunch and invited him and Luna over to dinner.”
“Good. We haven’t seen them in a long time. They were just in America, weren’t they?” Hermione inquired, silently wondering if their friends had seen the famous Harry Potter while they were out of the country.
“Yeah, in Florida. Neville said he tried to look Harry up, but his Floo was out of service by the time he got around to trying. I guess he’s back in England; I haven’t been paying attention.”
“Who’s Harry?” five-year-old Ellie asked from the settee.
“Harry was Mummy and Daddy’s best friend at Hogwarts, but we haven’t seen him in a long time,” Hermione explained.
“Oh, yeah, Harry Potter!”
“Yes, El, Harry Potter. Dirty, rotten—”
“Ron!” Hermione hissed, sending him a warning glare. Changing the subject before Ron could go on with his tirade, she asked, “What time do you think they’ll be here?”
“I think around six-thirty. I should be home at five, so I could help you make dinner, if you want. I’d better get back to work though. I’ll see you both later,” Ron said.
“Bye Daddy,” Ellie said to her father.
“Bye, Ron. Have a good rest of the day,” Hermione smiled.
“Goodbye, my girls. See you later.”
With that, his head disappeared.
“Darling, why don’t you go put your shoes on so we can go to the store? I’ll get your brother. He’s been asleep long enough.”
Ellie jumped up and scurried up the stairs. Hermione went a little slower, remembering what her husband had said about Harry being back in England.
In some ways, she was so furious with her old friend that she couldn’t breathe, but she still missed him. He had become like a brother to her in their seven years at Hogwarts. She and Ron had postponed their wedding in the hope that he would come home to them. They searched Muggle England for months, but finally had to hold the ceremony without him, unable to wait any longer to start their life together. A year later, they discovered he hadn’t left the Wizarding World at all, just the country. According to later reports in the Daily Prophet, he had been in Australia during their wedding.
Since then, she had borne two children, and she and Ron were contemplating having a third. Ellie, at five, had more energy than Hermione had ever seen, and Aidan, two, was always happy, as he should be.
At the top of the steps of the old English Tudor that she and Ron had inherited from her paternal grandparents, she entered what they called the great room. Quietly, she went through the closed door at the other end, into the nursery. Aidan was still asleep in his crib, his dark red hair in tangles on his pillow. Hermione combed her fingers through the curly mass. “Darling, it’s time to wake up,” she whispered. He moaned but opened his eyes. “We’ve got to go to the store. Come on, now.” The little boy sat up as Hermione got his shoes. She pulled them on as he recounted his dream in toddler-speak.
Two and a half hours later, the table was set and the food was almost ready. Aidan and Ellie were watching the tell-i-wiz, a contraption that Justin Flinch-Fletchley, one of their Muggle-born friends from Hogwarts invented. Finally, the Weasleys heard the roaring in the fireplace that alerted them to someone arriving through the Floo, and they went into the lounge to greet their friends. When Hermione gave Luna a hug, the wand that Luna had placed in its usual spot behind her ear poked Hermione’s jaw.
After ten minutes of convincing the children to go to bed, the four adults sat down in the kitchen.
“Anyone for a bit of wine?” Neville asked, presenting a bottle of Napa Valley Merlot. Hermione went to the cupboard, pulling out three glasses.
“None for me, thanks,” Ron said with a smile for his wife.
“Me either,” Luna chirped.
“Neville, will you be having any?” Hermione asked, putting one of the glasses away.
She took the remaining two glasses, and let Neville—who had followed her into the kitchen--pour the wine.
“No wine, Luna?” Ron asked, remembering that she usually had a glass as well.
“No, none for me. I’m pregnant!” the blond blurted in an uncharacteristically clear voice.
The four adults stood again, Hermione and Ron congratulating their friends. Several minutes later, they gathered Ellie and Aidan to the table to start eating.
The evening went well, much of the talk focusing on Luna’s pregnancy. It was the Longbottoms’ first child, and Luna was sure it was going to be a girl. None of them really understood why, but Luna always made odd predictions like that, so they decided not to spoil her mood with questions.
After seeing their guests away two hours later, Hermione climbed into bed next to Ron, contemplating their future. With Harry back in England, would they get to see him again? And would she and Ron ever have another baby? Long ago, Hermione had decided that she wanted three, or even four, children with Ron. That dream had yet to die, but the realities of life as a Weasley made her wonder if the dream was practical.
Harry came from behind the wall in the training yard, noticing his trainee was checking his watch again. He had been checking it every three minutes for the last hour.
“Have a hot date, Laud?” Harry asked, a bit irritated.
“No, sir,” Laud replied.
“Then why do you keep checking your watch? In battle, that sort of inattention could cost you your life.”
“Yes, I know. I’m just…supposed to be somewhere in half an hour.”
“Then go; I’m not forcing you to stay,” Harry replied.
“Really?” Laud asked.
“Sure. I’ve got better things to do than watch you look at that bloody thing. I’ll see you on Wednesday, eight o’clock sharp.”
“Thanks, sir,” Laud saluted with an almost fake, cheerful smile, not seeming to notice Harry’s dark look. Waving, Laud ran back to the changing rooms. Harry rolled his eyes and sighed; his new trainee was far from a future as a top-rated Auror, but Harry continued to train him under orders from Tonks.
Yanking his wand from his pocket, Harry Disapparated to his flat in Wulfric, Scotland. Wulfric was a purely Wizarding village, one of the many to pop up since the end of the War. With Voldemort’s demise, many wizarding families came out of hiding, and there was a baby boom. People weren’t afraid to bring children into the world anymore, and the couples who had been separated during the war were more than eager to get back together and “perpetuate the species,” so to speak.
Pulling off his robe and throwing it onto a chair, Harry headed for a hot shower, tripping on a book, an empty glass leftover from dinner the previous night that he had carelessly knocked over during his usual morning rush to get to work, and the ottoman that somehow reminded him of chess games with Ron at the Burrow—though he couldn’t figure out why--as he went.
After his shower, he pulled on a pair of boxer shorts and t-shirt, sitting in his favorite chair. He turned the radio to a Muggle rock station. Barely hearing the words, he stared at the bookshelf before him. On the centre shelf, a cluster of books sat collecting dust. He hadn’t been able to force himself to read them; all he could do was stare at them, at the author’s name—Ginny Weasley--and remember the pain he had probably caused her all those years ago.
His last year at Hogwarts, though filled with fear and battle, had been a blissful time for Harry and Ginny. But after the final battle, and the loss of so many lives, he couldn’t bear to have her love him knowing that he was a . . . a murderer.
Continuing relentlessly to think about the war (his “favorite” hobby when he wasn’t at work), Harry recalled the last few years of the war.
Sirius had died in his fifth year, followed closely by many people he didn’t know. In the last year of the War, though, things had gotten bad. Percy was first. Though he had never come back to his family, he was dead, and that pained Harry. He watched in those days as Mrs Weasley cried, as they all cried and grieved for their brother. Bill had gone next, throwing himself before the Killing Curse to save his fiancé, Fleur. In the next curse aimed from the same wand, she had dropped to the ground, lifeless. Remus had been slain when he had been found hiding in the Forbidden Forest in the form of a harmless wolf, helping to watch over the school. The Final Battle, however, had killed the most. Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, the Creevey brothers, Hagrid, Cho Chang, Filius Flitwick, and in the last stretch, Mr Weasley had fallen from the Cruciatus, driven to the brink of insanity. He had died three days later in St. Mungo’s from injuries.
Worse yet, Ron couldn’t fly, his most adored hobby, beside Chess. Harry doubted he could face his friends again, however much he missed them. Each day, he remembered each of them, silently wishing them every wonder life had to offer.
After her last year at Hogwarts, Ginny worked for a year as a reporter for the Daily Prophet before writing the books Harry had on his shelf. She’d done rather well for herself, and Harry longed for the days when they were together, Ron and Hermione not far away.
He knew Ron and Hermione had married eight years before, but nothing more. He always wondered if they had children, and if there were children, how old the children would be. How many more second-generation Weasleys had come into the world? Did Mrs. Weasley still live in the Burrow?
As he stared at the books on his shelf, Harry wondered how Ginny was doing on her own. Had she found someone else to love her? He knew only what the “About the Author” page—the only portion of her books he could bear to read--told him, and he had memorized that summary:
Ginny Weasley was born outside Ottery St. Catchpole in 1981 to Arthur and Molly Weasley. She attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, graduating in 1999, a year after Ronald Weasley, head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports at the Ministry of Magic, and the youngest of seven. Upon her graduation, she worked for the Daily Prophet and played a strong role in the last stretch of the Second War with Voldemort. Since the end of the War, she has lived in many countries including France, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Greece. She now resides in London with her dog, Sam.
He stood up and went to take down one of her books, just wanting to look at the photograph again. He remembered running his hand through the long mane of hair atop her head, looking into her bright eyes, and swearing that he could feel them reading his soul. He smiled, remembering everything she had done for him during the war, from comforting him after Sirius’ death to giving him something to live for during the Final Battle.
Setting the book back on the shelf, he returned to his chair, wishing that he could see her again, yet knowing that it would only bring disappointment and pain to them both.
Thoughts of Ginny still wafting through his thoughts, he fell asleep in the old lounge chair.
A/N: And it’s here! The very long awaited (by me, anyway) prologue of Sunrise in Berenice! Thanks SO much to my beta, Darcy (a.k.a. DSDragon).