The door to a large office on the first sub-level of the Ministry of
Magic closed and its occupant gave a beleaguered sigh. It had been ten
years to the day that he’d first captured this office and now that he
was back in it, he was bound and determined to stay there. It
wasn’t that he felt particularly threatened, especially since
Dumbledore had died, but he knew that the only way to secure his post
was to make sure that every witch or wizard knew that the only thing
standing between them and unspeakable horrors was Minister Fudge, the
guarantor of peace and stability. What better place to start than at
Harry Potter, the man thought with derision. So what if he stopped He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s reign of terror again? It was certainly not murder the first time as he’d only been a baby and the Dark Lord clearly hadn’t died. But this time... This
time, there was no mistaking it. Fudge had proof, had witnesses, and
had an iron-clad reason for putting that boy away for the rest of his
natural life. Potter was a killer, one who took the law into his own
hands, standing as judge and jury. He was a threat to the people.
Anyone powerful enough to kill You-Know-Who was too
powerful. That’s why Fudge had been so suspicious of Dumbledore. He was
too powerful too; but he was dead now, so he wasn’t a threat any more.
That’s why he had to act now to ensure that Potter’s influence
didn’t corrupt the Wizengamot before he could be dealt with. That’s why
he was badgering Shacklebolt every hour on the hour with a status
update as to where the boy was.
Harry Potter was missing and
Fudge’s carefully crafted plan to keep him out of the limelight was at
risk. If the Wizarding world caught wind that You-Know-Who was dead and
that Harry Potter was the one responsible for it again, Fudge
wouldn’t be able to keep him locked up anywhere, despite the fact that
he was capable of becoming a Dark Lord himself. It was the only thing
that kept his carefully constructed house of cards from toppling over
and Fudge spent all his remaining time (the time not spent looking for
Potter) personally approving every single article that was to be
published in every single Wizarding periodical.
must be caught and punished for his crimes. The people deserved no
less, even if they didn’t know that he was a wanted man.
Place was Harry’s but Hermione Granger was borrowing it while he was
unjustly held in Azkaban for crimes he did not commit. She rifled
through her sheaf of notes on the link between the 1225 Prisoner Rights
Decree and current established law. So far, she hadn’t found any
amendments and there were only three more books to search through.
“You ‘bout finished?” asked Ron from the door to the library. “This place is giving me the creeps.”
she said distractedly and picked up one of the three tombs that focused
on wizarding criminal law in the last decade. “I need to skim through
this first, then we can take a break.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ron shrug and slink over to a sofa near the grimy windows.
had just found the chapter on prisoner rights when they heard the sound
of the door opening downstairs. A second later, there were two
identical cracks as Fred and George appeared directly in front of Ron.
“We thought we’d find you here,” said Fred at once.
Ron was clutching his chest. “Would you bloody wankers mind not doing that?”
“No time for that, now, Ronniekins,” said George with a Cheshire Cat grin.
“We’ve got news about Harry.”
Hermione slammed her book shut. “What? Has he been freed? Did Fudge finally charge him?”
They both shook their heads and, if it were possible, their grins got larger. “Harry’s not in Azkaban any more,” Fred continued.
“It seems that Fudge underestimated Mr. Potter and provoked the poor lad.”
“Broke through the Apparition Wards and everything.”
“We just saw him at the Burrow before a squad of Aurors descended on us like ants on a cucumber sandwich.”
Hermione threw a hand over her mouth. “Did they catch him?”
We gave him a Portkey to our flat, but that was over an hour ago.
Kingsley had us questioned three times by three different Aurors.”
stood and began to march for the door. She had to see Harry
immediately. He had to give himself up to the Aurors, or the situation
would be worse than before. They actually might have a case against him
if he continued to resist. But before she got to the threshold,
George’s had caught her arm.
“I wouldn’t see him just yet.”
eyes twinkled in the flickering light of the candles. “Ginny’s taking
care of him. I reckon he’s a bit knackered after punching through those
wards and she’ll skin anyone that disturbs them.”
relaxed her arm and turned back to her books. “He has to go back, Fred.
If he runs, they’ll be able to charge him for resisting arrest or
She was expecting Fred or George to argue with her and
had already formulated her response when, to her surprise, Ron spoke
“Let’s give him some time to recover, first, Hermione. Finish your research, and then we can talk to him.”
mouth was already open to reply, when she made the mistake of looking
into Ron’s eyes. There was a softness and concern there that she’d
rarely seen. It completely disarmed her and she found herself nodding.
“All right,” she said softly and sat down in front of the stacks of
books and parchment. “I’m almost ready to get him cleared.”
Then, glad for the company, and equally glad to have a distraction, she dove back into Criminals and Laws That Protect You From Them.
days later, the last ‘i’ was dotted and the last ‘t’ crossed on
Hermione’s outlined defence for Harry. She and Ron Flooed to the Burrow
and were pleased to see Ron’s parents there. Only, they were teary-eyed
as if they’d just lost a pet crup.
“Mrs. Weasley?” Hermione asked tentatively. “What’s the matter?”
“Oh, it’s wonderful,” she said tearfully. “It’s just wonderful.”
Ron looked askance at his father. “I didn’t realise crying and wonderful went so well together.”
“It’s Harry,” Mrs. Weasley said and collapsed on a nearby chair. “And Ginny.”
about them?” Hermione asked quickly, looking between Mrs. Weasley’s
misty-eyed expression and Mr. Weasley’s satisfied smirk.
It was Mr. Weasley that answered. “They’re married.”
Hermione’s jaw dropped. “They’re what?”
was such a lovely service, too,” reminisced Mrs. Weasley and then her
eyes came into focus. “We’ll have to have a more formal one, of course.
When they get back.”
“Where have they gone?” Ron asked incredulously.
“Don’t know,” replied Mr. Weasley. “That’s the whole point of a honeymoon, isn’t it?”
felt as if her lungs had all the air sucked out of them and she
couldn’t make them inhale any more. “Married?” she said dazedly. “I
can’t believe it.”
“I’m going to get some plans together right
away,” Mrs. Weasley announced and Summoned a pad of parchment and a
quill. “Flowers, invitations, catering...”
“Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione interrupted. “We’ve got to clear Harry of his charges first!”
older woman nodded and made another note on her parchment. “Yes, of
course, we’ll have to do that too.” She turned to her husband. “What do
you think, Arthur? A spring wedding?”
Hermione tuned them out
and engaged her mind to this new twist to Harry’s situation. He was out
of the country, which meant that he would have to be incognito or in a
country that didn’t support extradition to Britain.
“Mrs. Weasley?” Hermione said suddenly. “Where did they get married?”
she replied, not taking her eyes off the list. “In the Ministry chapel.
It really was lovely. And romantic too, despite the circumstances.”
Hermione grabbed Ron’s arm and pulled him back to the Floo.
“Where are we going?” he asked, but did not offer resistance.
“Paris,” she replied. “We’re going to find Harry before he can get into any more trouble.”
Harry decided, was an activity one engaged in when not in need of
distracting conversation. It was difficult to keep one’s concentration
both on the subject being discussed and on the shifty footing that
seemed common among the mountains of Southern New Zealand. Because of
the nature of the task, it also required a certain amount of deep
breathing, which made any attempt at speaking sound like a competition
involving a pair of trampled bagpipes. Forced into silence, Harry
fondly ruminated on the past two weeks.
Harry and Ginny had
decided to spend their honeymoon in a Commonwealth nation, and because
it was technically a foreign country, they would normally be required
to check in with the local Ministry and register as a visitor.
Unfortunately, that would have tipped off the British Aurors of his
location and Harry and Ginny would have spent half their honeymoon
duelling with various witches and wizards from the British Ministry. As
that wasn’t quite what Harry had in mind for his first week as a
married man, he was pleasantly surprised that their Portkey from France
delivered them to a deserted play park in Auckland instead of to the
local customs office. The park had been deserted because of the late
local hour and Harry and Ginny quickly found a nearby hotel to spend
their first night as husband and wife.
Over the course of
their first week in New Zealand, they took Muggle transportation from
Auckland to Christchurch, stopping in various locations for a day or
two until they took a ferry from Wellington to the South Island. They
spent the next week sampling the local scenery through various leisure
activities. Canoeing, camping, hiking, fishing, punting... It was all
part of a life that Harry had only dreamed of living. Now, married to
Ginny and shod of the prophecy and Voldemort, he was finally living it.
wedding rings were unremarkable if one took only a passing glance at
them. Hermione would be over the moon with their true nature, however,
because of the careful way in which Harry had enchanted them. The
normal eighteen-carat gold had been infused with several powerful
charms. On the exposed surfaces, Harry had then cast a Shield Charm and
on top of that a virtually unknown spell that negated the effects of
magic altogether. The result was a pair of rings that shrunk and grew
with the wearer’s finger, could never be removed except by the wearer,
were completely unbreakable, and because the inner surface of the ring
was not shielded, they allowed Harry and Ginny to communicate
non-verbally. Finally, because of the anti-magic charm, their abilities
were completely undetectable. The only catch was that the charms would
have to be recharged every year, which wasn’t nearly as difficult as
casting them all over from scratch.
Harry smirked to himself
as he thought about the rings. A spray of loose rock spit out from
under his boot as he and Ginny hiked along a level ridgeline some
distance from Christchurch. He threw out his arms to keep from toppling
over and let out a breath of relief when his feet stopped shifting.
Ginny turned around at the noise and gave him a worried glance.
“Feeling a bit dizzy?”
Harry straightened and took the
opportunity to look out over the trail behind them. A breathtaking view
of the Southern Alps stretched before them, complete with snow-dotted
peaks, and grass strewn valleys. “Nah,” he said, turning around to
catch up to her and re-adjusted his pack. “Just got distracted by your
Ginny gave him a lopsided grin. “It’d be a pity
to have to put that on your tombstone,” she said as they continued to
hike side by side. “Boy-Who-Lived done in by Ginny’s backside.”
a low chuckle, Harry slipped a thumb under one of the straps of his
pack and his other hand into Ginny’s. He leaned his head close to her
ear and murmured, “I can think of worse things to be done in by.”
She smiled conspiratorially but otherwise didn’t reply as they started to hike up a steep incline.
Several minutes later, Ginny had once again taken the lead and was well ahead of Harry.
Don’t worry about me, Harry said through his ring. I’ll be the bloke passed out under the overly-large backpack on the side of the trail.
Harry heard Ginny laugh. No pity parties for you, Mr. Potter. I’ll be waiting for you under a stand of trees.
Taking a set of deep breaths, Harry grumbled through their link and continued on.
trail narrowed and curved until he spotted Ginny chewing on a large
apple under the aforementioned trees. There were a few flat rocks and
fallen branches that looked like good spots to rest on. Harry bent over
and wheezed dramatically before he began to unfasten his backpack.
rolled her eyes, took out a water bottle, unsnapped the lid and took a