Following Harry's acceptance of the situation, activity in Dumbledore's office picked up. Several of the Aurors were passing Dumbledore various scrolls and parchments. Dumbledore studied each one briefly, nodding as he reached the end of each page. Harry waited patiently, strangely reassured at the nods coming from Dumbledore and the Aurors. Every so often, he would squeeze Ginny, who was still holding him around his chest. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would smile at him whenever he glanced over. Ron and Hermione were watching the Aurors intently.
"Do you think they will read the part of the book where we…" Ginny asked tentatively.
That made Harry smile. "I dunno. Why don't you ask them? Ow!" Ginny poked Harry in the side.
"I just hope they don't try to make a best seller out of it." Ginny said.
Harry thought about this. "Well, at least not until we've passed on, anyway." Ginny nearly poked him again, but laughed instead. Harry did too.
Just then the door to Dumbledore's office opened. Harry barely had time to see Snape walk in before his scar started searing with pain. The pain broadened across his head and started working into his spine. A burning fire threatened to rip his body in two until a soothing coolness eased into his chest. It pushed the fire back up into his head and eventually out through his scar. Harry opened his eyes to see Ginny holding him. He was on the floor on his back. Ginny had her hand over Harry's locket which was in the center of his chest.
"Harry! Are you all right?" Ginny asked in fright.
"I thought we told you to knock before you came in, Severus. You knew Harry was here!" Moody scolded. Dumbledore lifted his hand to Moody but kept his eyes on Snape. Harry got to his feet with the help of Ginny, also not looking away from Snape.
Snape glared at Harry. "My apologies for inconveniencing Mr. Potter, but you know how prone he is to faint in these sorts of situations."
Mrs. Weasley went for her wand, but Mr. Weasley was ready. It took considerable effort to restrain Mrs. Weasley without angering her further.
"As I was saying, I have some news which I believe you will want to consider immediately," Snape continued, handing Dumbledore a small parchment.
Dumbledore unrolled the parchment and studied it carefully. As he did, Harry noticed the dark mark on Snape's arm glow.
"Forgive me, Headmaster, but I must go." Snape turned on his heals and left the room, not bothering to look at anyone.
Harry remembered what he was thinking. "Ginny! What happened? It felt like my scar was going to rip me in two!"
"I'm not sure, Harry. You collapsed, and I caught you just enough to let you down slowly, and I set my hand on your chest, and you started to come back around."
"Yes, and it's a good thing, too, Ginny," Dumbledore said. "Professor Snape, for one reason or another, neglected to knock before entering. Of course, having a chance to prepare yourself against a scar incident would have been preferable, but I believe we may have just discovered one of the powers of your Lover's Bond."
Harry looked at Ginny, then down to his locket, then back to Ginny.
"Your touch forced the pain out of me!" Harry said and hugged Ginny excitedly.
"See, Harry? Dumbledore was right! The Lover's Bond is the key! If a simple touch can fight the pain of your scar, imagine what it can do to Voldemort directly!"
Harry couldn't believe it. "It's actually true. It does have special powers!" Harry looked into Ginny's eyes. "It was your love, Ginny. It drove out Voldemort's pain." He kissed her lovingly on her lips.
Dumbledore sat down slowly. His eyes were glued to the parchment he was holding. As everyone noticed his gaze, they sat down, fixed on him. Harry and Ginny eventually noticed him too and took their seats.
"It would seem that one of our fears has manifested itself. Professor Snape, in order to maintain his cover, will no longer be able to visit us. It might be some time before we can see him again. It appears Voldemort is keeping a close eye on all his followers. We will have to switch to our backup plan." Dumbledore looked at Moody as he said this. Moody simply shook his head sadly.
"Now, Harry, it is time to reveal our plan to you. As it stands, what we are planning is amazingly simple. We need only to find where Voldemort is hiding. Once this is done, a signal will be sent to the Order using a method which was invented by Ms. Granger here." Dumbledore pulled out a Galleon from his pocket. Hermione blushed when she realized what Dumbledore meant. "When I activate the device, your own Galleon will get warm. A meeting location will appear along the edge. It will be coded so that anyone not of the Order will be unable to read it. You are to make your way to the location as soon as it is feasible. You must not be seen to leave urgently upon the call; to do so would arouse suspicion and could very well tip Voldemort off."
Dumbledore handed out coins to Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione. Realizing what this meant, Ron and Hermione looked at each other, took each other's hand, looked over at Harry, and gave him an acknowledging nod.
"Now, Harry, Ginny, the Order has several attack plans ready for this moment. Once we are ready, we will execute one of these plans. You will be given a guard and escorted into battle. Your only task will be to stay alive and together long enough to confront Voldemort. In order to keep Voldemort off-guard, we will use a Polyjuice Potion to transform Ron and Hermione into likenesses of you and Ginny as we go into battle."
Dumbledore turned to Ron and Hermione; Harry and Ginny followed his gaze. "Ron, Hermione, you no doubt realize the dangers associated with such a ploy. The benefits of doing so are immeasurable. However, I cannot ask you to participate in this plan. You must volunteer willingly."
Harry opened his mouth to say something, but Ron beat him too it. "Don't even think it, mate. You've saved our lives too many times for us to back down on this one. No way we'd miss this!"
"No appeal to his mum and dad either, Harry," Hermione added. "We're of age now and officially in the Order. We're in this with you to the end."
Harry just stared. "I don't know what to say."
Ron feigned disappointment. "How about, 'Thank you'?"
Harry swallowed. "Thank you!"
"Any time, Harry," Hermione answered.
Harry turned back to Dumbledore, who continued. "Now, the four of you are not to concern yourself with anything other than getting to Voldemort. It is the first priority of the Order to get you there. Nothing else matters. Everyone here assembled and those still in the field are prepared to give their lives to this cause."
It seemed the weight of the world finally settled onto Harry's shoulders. Enough people had died helping him. He didn't want anyone else to die on his account. Right on cue, Ginny squeezed his hand and whispered into his ear. "I know what you're thinking. Stop that this instant." Harry took a deep breath and nodded.
"Professor, what do we have to do once we reach Voldemort?" Ginny asked.
Dumbledore grinned. "An excellent question, Ginny. Once we have found Voldemort, those present will attempt to keep him occupied. You and Harry must then find a way to channel the power of the Lover's Bond charm into Voldemort."
"How do we do that, Professor?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore maintained his grin. "We can't be sure, Harry. But from what we've read, we are confident that the method will present itself when the time comes."
Harry thought about this. He wanted to know more and he knew Dumbledore would tell him exactly what he needed to know. He considered the fact that Dumbledore was holding information back from him, but he didn't think now was the time to question him. "I understand."
"Professor? What are we to do while we wait for the call?" Hermione asked.
Dumbledore looked down at the table for a moment. "I've been giving this a lot of thought. Originally, I had considered having you all work on Order business from headquarters. However, I have come to realize that there are some sacrifices that just should not be made. Therefore, for you three new graduates, you are encouraged to begin pursuing your careers in as normal a fashion as you can. We will, of course, find a way to keep everyone guarded and watch each other's backs. I trust Harry will be safe surrounded by other Aurors." That got a small laugh from several wizards around the table.
"As for you, Ginny; I have spoken with the administrators at St. Mungo's. They have an internship opening this summer. They have reviewed your O.W.L.s and your current school record and would be delighted to have you fill the position."
Ginny was visibly excited. "Did you hear that, Harry! I'm going to St. Mungo's! I've got an internship!"
Harry hugged Ginny, who then ran and hugged her parents. Harry knew Ginny wanted very much to work at St. Mungo's, and now she would have the opportunity to intern there. They all knew if she did well as an intern, she would have the upper hand at a permanent position. Harry had little doubt she would be hired as soon as she graduated next year. At the least, the internship would give her a great way to keep her mind off their inevitable mission. Harry, on the other hand, would be able to think about nothing else.
Harry watched as Ginny talked to her mom. She was talking a little too quietly. Mrs. Weasley suddenly got a much-too-large grin on her face. When Ginny turned around, she had a similar smile on her face. Ginny glanced at Hermione, who first looked confused, then seemed to be infected by the grin. Harry looked at Ron, who looked just as terrified as he did. The two of them looked to Mr. Weasley, who wouldn't look them in the eye.
"Um, what's so amusing, Ginny?"
Ginny sauntered over to Harry and put her arms around him seductively. "Oh, nothing. Mum was just suggesting we might start planning our wedding." She looked into his eyes, then glanced over at Hermione. Hermione winked and looked at Ron. "A double wedding. What do you two think?" Hermione asked.
Ron and Harry looked at each other. Harry could tell Ron actually like the idea.
"Well, it would keep us from arguing over who would be the first to do it, that's for sure," Ron said.
A thought hit Harry like a freight train. He suddenly turned around to face Dumbledore. He didn't even have to say it. The look on Dumbledore's face said he knew exactly what Harry was thinking.
"It would have to be planned carefully, Professor. There would be little margin for error. But it's the perfect opportunity. It could very well be the one event he couldn't ignore."
Dumbledore gave Harry one of his over-the-glasses looks. "Make no mistake, Harry; Alastor's plans for drawing out Dark Wizards are legendary, and justly so. I suggest in your apprenticeship that you learn from him. There is nor has there ever been any finer Auror."
"Harry, what are you talking about?" Ginny asked, somewhat annoyed.
Harry took Ginny's hands and looked into her eyes. "It would be next to impossible to keep the news of an event like our wedding from reaching Voldemort. So instead of trying to keep this under wraps, we can use it to our advantage. We'll go ahead with the plans, all the while expecting Voldemort to show up. Only we'll be ready for him when he does."
Ginny looked surprised. "You're going to use our wedding to lure Voldemort into the open?"
Hermione cleared her throat. "What on earth gave you that idea, Harry?"
Harry was suddenly surprised at himself. "Um, well, yeah, that was the idea. I'm sorry; I shouldn't have even considered that. Talk about ruining our special day."
Ginny laughed. "Harry, I think it's a great idea! Every wizard for miles around will be there, so Voldemort and the Death Eaters won't stand a chance. Besides, I can't think of a better wedding present than the downfall of the most powerful Dark Wizard of our time." Harry could hear Hermione giggling, only to be cut off by a kiss from Ron.
Mrs. Weasley turned to Mr. Weasley, a twinkle in her eye. "Well dear, we best be off. It's very late, and we have a lot of planning to do."