Harry hurried around his room, collecting the last few things he'd left scattered about the place. As he threw his last book into the trunk at the foot of his bed, he looked about the room thinking of the house. It had been sixteen years since he'd been dropped off, six years since he'd moved into this room, five since he had been locked in it, four since he'd run from the house, three since he'd been rescued by the Weasleys, two since he'd been rescued by the Order, one since he'd been escorted to The Burrow by Dumbledore. Now he was off to the Weasleys’ again, to attend Bill and Fleur’s wedding, though the happiness of the occasion might be spoiled by the copious amounts of fog hanging around.
Harry nodded decisively. He picked up the handle of his trunk, put his wand in the holster Hermione and Ron had given him for his birthday. He took a deep breath, made his way from the room and walked down the hall towards the stairs.
"Just where do you think you're going, boy?" Vernon demanded as Harry stood in the hall.
"I'm leaving. This is the last you'll ever see of me, if I have my way." Harry walked past Vernon, pulling his trunk along behind him. He had cast a Featherweight Charm on the trunk at the end of term, knowing that it would make the Dursleys nervous to see him carrying it around on his shoulder.
"Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" Vernon yelled down the stairs after Harry.
Harry slammed the door after himself, then felt a small twist on his mind. The wards must have collapsed.
Harry shrugged and pulled his wand out. As he had left without telling anyone that he would go, he had no choice but to use the Knight Bus. He stood on the sidewalk and raised his wand. As a purple, triple-decker bus roared down the far end of the street, three Aurors strode silently around the side of the house, having Apparated behind it. Harry raised his wand at them, ignoring the Bus pulling up behind him.
The Aurors stopped when they saw that Harry had his wand raised, focussed entirely on them.
“Who are you?” Harry demanded. “Why are you here?”
The Aurors raised their hands, showing that they were unarmed. Harry kept his wand on them.
“We’re just here for a little… chat!”
The Auror to the left swished his fingers and Harry found himself flying through the air and hitting the Dursleys’ car, causing a great dent. As Vernon opened the front door to see what was going on, an Avada Kedavra hit him in the chest, coming from the second Auror.
Inside the house, Harry heard Petunia scream. It was cut short by another Avada Kedavra.
Harry stood up as straight as he could with a splinter of bone protruding from his arm. The Aurors turned to face Harry again as ten people appeared around them, their wands trailed on the Aurors.
Among the new-arrivals, Harry recognised Mad-Eye Moody, a haggard Remus Lupin, a furious Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt. They all shouted Stunning Spells at the three Aurors, who crumbled to the ground, overwhelmed.
“Harry, come here,” Lupin said, motioning Tonks to approach as well; Tonks obliged, but Harry hung back.
“How do I know it’s you?” Harry asked, watching Lupin and Moody.
“Ask me a question,” Lupin said, and Harry frowned.
“What was playing at the Weasley Christmas last year?”
“Celestina Warbeck,” Lupin answered, then motioned Harry closer. This time, Harry obliged.
Lupin Side-Along Apparated Harry to The Burrow, and Tonks acted as a scout to drop him off at the edge of the wards. She tapped the broken bone of his arm with her wand and it healed, the skin closing over it; Tonks had seen and repaired worse fractures than Harry’s.
“We have to go see to the Aurors,” Tonks explained, looking back at his face. She was looking as she was at Dumbledore’s funeral, with bubble-gum pink hair.
Harry nodded to Tonks and Lupin. They looked over his shoulder, smiled and Disapparated.
"Harry!" a voice called from behind him as he turned to look at The Burrow, coming from a red-haired figure making his way through the fog. New scars flashed in the weak sunlight.
"Hello, Bill. How are you and Fleur?" Harry asked as the muscular Weasley picked up his trunk, set it on his shoulder and shook Harry's hand.
"We're all great. Mum sent me down to collect you when you arrived. Best not keep her waiting." Bill grinned at Harry. "I'll race you to The Burrow."
"But you've got my trunk --" Harry protested, but Bill cut him off.
"That'll even it up. I want to see how the Boy Who Lived matches up to me." Bill grinned and took off up the drive, jogging along the trunk bouncing on his shoulder. Harry rolled his eyes and started running, keeping his wand in his hand as he negotiated the fog-covered track. He was barely keeping Bill in view.
"Come on, Potter," Bill called over his shoulder. Harry shook his head and used the last of his energy to shoot ahead of Bill, tripping over a hen in the front yard. Bill jogged over and helped the red-faced Harry to his feet. "You need to work on your fitness, Harry. How are you going to defeat You-Know-Who if you can't even beat me?"
"Just--just don't put me up against--Charlie," Harry said, panting for breath as he straightened up.
Bill and Harry walked towards The Burrow. Just as they reached the door, it was thrown open and Ginny and Hermione stood in the doorway.
"Harry!" they yelled, throwing their arms around him.
The three of them tottered backwards. Bill, who saw it coming, had stepped out of the way and was grinning down at Harry, who was being hugged by the pair of girls. The faces of Fred and George appeared above Harry.
"Oh, breaker of hearts--"
"--what are you doing--"
"--lying in the dirt--"
"--with our sister--"
"--and your friend--"
"--our brother's girlfriend--"
"--hugging you like--"
"—you’re their --"
Harry yelped, turned red and moved to sit up. Ginny hugged him tighter. Hermione stood up, fixed her sweater and grinned at the boys. "Jealous?"
"--but our brother--"
"--might be a different case."
Hermione rolled her eyes and held out her hand to Harry. Harry, grinning, took it and shook it.
"Nice to meet you, Hermione," Harry said, then looked to Ginny, who was smiling at him. He smiled back before he shook his head and moved to sit up again.
"Harry? I need to talk to you." Ginny didn't move, even as Harry tried to sit up. He gave up, and looked at Bill, Hermione, Fred and George from where he was, still lying in the dirt.
"We'll let you talk to Ginny --"
"--oh breaker of hearts--"
"--as long as you promise to return her--"
"--with a grin on her face."
"It's not very good to see her frowning--"
"--since Hogwarts was closed for the year."
"You two have got to stop doing that," Harry complained, lying back in the dirt and holding his head as Ginny and the twins grinned.
"--oh breaker of hearts."
Harry groaned as the twins left with Hermione.
"I'll take this up to Ron's room," Bill said, then patted Ginny on the shoulder. "Don't be too hard on him." Before Harry or Ginny could say anything, the eldest Weasley child walked into The Burrow and shut the door behind him.
Ginny turned to Harry, whom she was still lying across. "I'll let you up if you promise not to run."
"Promise," Harry said.
Ginny sat up and Harry followed suit, sitting in the dirt across from Ginny. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. Looking at his feet rather than at Ginny, Harry felt himself blush. Ginny stared at Harry's head, waiting for him to look at her. When he did, she finally started to speak.
"Harry, I've been thinking about what you said at the end of last term--"
Harry looked away. "Please, Ginny, don't--"
"Don't interrupt!" Ginny glared at him, and then smiled when he looked down. "As I said, I've been thinking about what you said. I have a few points to bring up for you to think about. I know I seemed to have accepted what you said, but I screamed my lungs out a few times. I won't accept your reasons anymore.
"My first reason is that I want to get Voldemort back for possessing me in first year. I barely did anything to stop him at the end of term and at the Ministry I only helped to delay the Death Eaters. I need to help you with this, Harry, if only to stand by and watch you destroy the evil bastard."
"But, Ginny, I--"
"I said, don't interrupt. Let me give my things for you to think about. You can give me your arguments after the wedding.
"You said that Voldemort uses those you love to get to you. Harry, if I were to stay behind with Mum and Dad, I'd still be as big a target as I would be with you. Whether you realise it or not, because I dated you, Voldemort will come after me, if not to get to you, then because I'm part of a family that supports Dumbledore and the Order: my parents are open conspirators against Voldemort himself, I didn't exactly stop you from destroying him, nor have I expressed any desire to join him. Like my family, I'm as high on the list of people to kill as you, or Hermione, or Dumbledore."
Ginny got to her feet as the kitchen door opened and a collection of blonde-haired people walked out of The Burrow and called out French hellos to Harry.
"Think on it, Harry. We'll talk again after the wedding."
With that, Ginny vanished amongst Fleur's relatives, leaving Harry to think about all she’d said to him as a sea of Delacours washed over him, helping him up.