You and I have memories, longer then the road that stretches out ahead.
Two of us sending postcards, writing letters on my wall,
You and me burning matches, lifting latches on our way back home,
We’re on our way home, on our way home, we’re going home.
As Ginny was the first to awake, she could feel Harry beside her still sleeping; his breathing relaxed and soothing to her. Wake up, my love, Ginny thought, speaking to Harry with her mind. It’s an important day. Harry stirred and stretched as he faced her; smiling, yet still sleepy. As they kissed, they could hear movement throughout the house. The children were already up and Dobby must have been milling around. There were many mornings where they would lie beside each other, trading thoughts and having conversations with each other without uttering a word before getting up. Their Soulmate and psychic connection was often at its strongest when they would first awoke, when their relaxed bodies and minds were most vulnerable and open to sharing thoughts.
“Is my honorary Quidditch champion ready for today’s event?” Ginny asked, as they both scooted up on the pillows.
“As ready as I could expect to be,” Harry replied. “LaRoy is real competition as far as a rival seeker.”
“Well, thank Merlin that you’re not a real Quidditch player,” said Ginny, “and that this is for charity. Dad is really pleased with how this year’s event is turning out.”
“I don’t think your dad expected to get so many volunteers for the championship matches.” Harry replied. Ginny’s father was still the Minister of Magic. About four years before, he had envisioned a Quidditch sporting charity event that would help to benefit Muggle orphans. The donations were sent anonymously so the orphanages wouldn’t discover that the donors were wizards. The majority of Muggles were not meant to know about the Wizarding world.
“Shall I shower or do you want to go first?” Ginny asked.
“Go ahead,” Harry replied. “I’d like to sleep a little longer. I need my strength.”
Harry slid back down on the bed as Ginny got up, and she grabbed a robe, heading for the wash room.
* * * *
After Harry finished with his shower, he got dressed and headed downstairs. He found his two children on the living room. His 15-year-old daughter Joely was already dressed and brushing her wet hair in the couch, while his 14-year-old son David was still in his pajamas, procrastinating and practicing a classical piece by Rodrigo on his acoustic guitar.
Joely had her mother’s hair and Harry’s green eyes. David had his father’s black untidy hair, as well as being thin with knobby knees, but David’s eyes were blue which reminded Ginny of an uncle of hers, although he had the characteristic Weasley red hair. Joely had an interest in plants, both in Herbology and Muggle botany. She seemed to have a natural talent with plants; they seemed to respond to her in a way that went beyond the magical abilities of the average wizard herbologist. She truly defined someone with a ‘green-thumb’. Joely had known her Herbology teacher, Neville Longbottom, her entire life. Neville and his wife Susan were quite fond of Joely.
A natural musician, David’s musical ability was exceptional for his age. He could make the guitar play by itself without touching it, an ability of most wizarding musicians, but he also enjoyed physically playing it; he enjoyed the sensation of the strings vibrating on his fingers. He was learning to use his fingers to cause the strings to vibrate on their own, to have the strings drawn like a bow across a violin, to have each digit work independently so he could play more involved passages. If he continued to practice, he would soon be able to execute things that other classical guitarists could not do. His end goal was to have the ability to project musical notes with his mind, but he would have years before he could perfect such abilities.
“David, I thought you’d be ready by now,” said Harry.
“Joely beat me to the wash room,” David replied. “I was just about to go.”
Harry’s very old friend, Dobby the house elf walked into the room.
“Coffee is prepared for you Sir,” Dobby announced happily.
“Dobby, it’s your day off, there’s no need to do things like that, as I’ve mentioned before,” Harry replied.
“But Dobby is liking helping master Harry and his kind and brave family. Dobby is so honored that you are so generous to Dobby,” he replied.
“I appreciate that Dobby, but you have two days off, use it,” Harry replied, “We really don’t mind you having free time.”
Dobby had come to work for the Potter home a number of years ago when the children were still young. Harry always made a point to ensure that Dobby was well paid, that he was given two weeks vacation, two days off per week and was never asked to do anything that didn’t fit in with the established job requirements that were explained when Dobby came to serve them. Harry was very strict with that last point with the children; they were not to take advantage of Dobby’s willingness to assist with anything.
Harry remembered what Professor Dumbledore has once said to him about wizards mistreating and abusing our fellow magical brethren. Dobby’s employment had to be by his own free will, since Harry was all too aware of the nature of house elves to help wizard families, Dobby had to want to help. The only problem was that Dobby loved Harry, Ginny and the children so much, that he usually didn’t want to leave them for very long.
Dobby looked awkward, “Dobby is most aggrieved, sir. Dobby has nothing to do today.”
“I thought you were going to visit your friend Fletcher today?” Harry asked.
“But that is only for a few hours,” Dobby replied sadly. “Dobby doesn’t know what else to do.”
“Harry,” said Ginny, walking into the room, “why doesn’t Dobby join us today?”
“Great idea, Mum,” Harry replied.
“Dobby would be so thrilled and honored to come!” Dobby exclaimed as the children chuckled. Ginny smiled and headed into the other room.
“Done then,” Harry smiled. “What about your visit with Fletcher this evening?”
“Dobby can do that,” he replied. “Fletcher won’t be minding. But Dobby will still have some time tonight before the honorable Potters go to their Ministry Banquet. Dobby still won’t know that to do.”
“Dobby, I still have a summer homework essay to finish writing,” David said hopefully. “You could help me with that when we get back.”
“Dobby would like that.” he replied.
“David,” Harry said, with a frown. “You know the rules.”
“Yes, Dobby must listen to Harry Potter’s wishes,” said Dobby glumly.
“So while we cook and have breakfast,” Harry said looking at Dobby, “can you find anything to do?”
“Dobby will tend to the garden,” he replied as he wandered toward the back yard. Joely watched him leave, looking somewhat alarmed.
Harry glanced over at his desk in the corner, frowning. His eyes fell upon a stack of opened letters that needed replies. One of the burdens of Harry’s life was how in-demand he was; he rarely had a moment when he wasn’t pressed for assistance. The other reality had to do with the ‘public Harry’ as opposed to the ‘private Harry’. He didn’t particularly like all of the Wizard media publicity he had to deal with, or the pressure from certain members of the Wizengamot to have his assistance with the Ministry. If it were not for his father-in- law, he’d have nothing to do with the Ministry. His past history with the Ministry gave him no reason for loyalty.
One of the reasons Harry ran off to America all those years ago, as much as it was an escape from himself, had to do with the ‘iconic Harry Potter’ that many wizards had built up in their minds. They loved the ideal of Harry Potter, the savior: the man who always knew what he had to do. Yet they didn’t know the flesh and blood man and they never could understand completely. It took Harry some time to make the distinction between the two, although it nearly caused him to lose the one person that mattered most to him: Ginny. Harry usually hated the fact that all those close to him, his family and friends, to stand in his shadow. The one blessing was that kids were not in the intense spotlight that he and Ginny were.
He walked over towards the couch and spoke quietly to the children once he knew Dobby was away.
“You know, David, actually that wasn’t such a bad idea.” said Harry. “I have so many owl posts to reply to that I wouldn’t mind having Dobby do my correspondence for me.”
“Harry, dear?” Ginny called from the other room. “I know what you’re thinking, so put that idea right of your mind.”
Harry gave a sheepish grin. “Well, I better go and help your mum fix breakfast. Remember kids, you do the dishes after.”
Joely and David nodded as their father left the room. Joely frowned.
“I already watered the garden this morning,” Joely said turning to her brother. “What’s Dobby going to do?”
“Don’t worry, Joely, I’m sure Dobby will find something,” David replied as he set his guitar down. “He always does.”
Harry walked into the dinning room to find a stack of papers that Ginny had been working on before she had headed to the kitchen. There was already coffee on the dining room table. She was working on a new Auror training schedule for the new season. Many years ago, Harry and Ginny had established a new Seer - Auror department that, due to its success, lead to the development of a training program for the more gifted Aurors who demonstrated limited Seer ability. After a number of years of both divisions running smoothly, Harry was approached by Headmaster McGonnagall and his father-in-law take over the Defense Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts. Harry would be starting his fourth year teaching.
Harry walked into the kitchen, where Ginny was cooking some sausage.
“What should I do first, love?” Harry asked as he hugged her from behind.
“Why don’t you peel,” Ginny laughed as she used her wand to make several potatoes fly towards Harry. He stopped them deftly before using his wand and started to peel.
“As much as I enjoy Dobby’s cooking,” said Harry, “it’s nothing compared to when we cook.”
“Harry James Potter, what are you insinuating?” Ginny asked, laughed. Harry didn’t reply; he continued peeling and gave her a coy smile.
Within an hour, the five of them used a Portkey to travel to the main stadium. The Potters knew that this year’s volume of people was staggering. It seemed close to the hundred thousand people Harry remembered attending when he went to his first World Cup. Harry walked briskly with his broom over his shoulder. The Potter family walked towards the stadium with Dobby trailing behind. Joely frowned as she glanced at David, who wore a tee shirt of the Muggle band, The Clash, under an open cloak, as well as an old baseball cap of the muggle band, Judas Priest.
“David,” said Joely, “Why on Earth are you wearing Muggle clothes at a Quidditch match?”
“Had nothing to wear,” he replied. “I don’t think other people will notice anyway; they’ll be too busy looking up.”
He had a point, although Joely would never admit it.
As they made their way to the rear entrance, a number of Daily Prophet photographers appeared and started taking pictures of Harry. In spite of the distraction, Harry kissed Ginny and hugged Joely and David before walking towards the locker room.
Ginny led Dobby and the children continued on towards their seats in a swirl of confusion due to the shuffling of the crowds. The stadium was massive, with flags from all the teams flying on the top tiers. There ware several teams on the continent, as well as from most of the major British and Welsh teams. It was a bright, warm summer day. In the midst of the crowds, wizards, including children, were allowed to fly around the stadium on their brooms until the games began.
As they neared their seats, Ginny spotted Hermione waving at her. Ron was beside her, already seated with their sons, Arthur Jr. and Connor. She could see Fred and George with their children, and her second oldest brother Charlie. Bill was in France and could not make it to the match. There were other familiar faces in the crowds of the Weasleys: Amelia Bones, Shacklebolt and Doggins, Neville and Susan with their son, Frank Jr, and Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan with their wives and children.
Fred’s wife, Muriel, was absent, as they had separated, trying to patch up their marital troubles and avoid divorce, much to Molly’s displeasure. Molly was fond of Muriel. Ginny knew how upset her Mum was upset about the matter, as Molly and Ginny had engaged in a number of private conversations on the subject. Ginny felt caught between her mum and Fred. Ginny had to lend a sympathetic ear to both people, yet she did agree with her mum that Fred was being a foolish git. Molly, as much as she didn’t like to admit it, had to blame Fred’s immaturity, choosing work and nights out with the boys over the domestic life, as the cause of their problems. Molly could only hope for the best, while Ginny hoped that one of Harry’s private talks with Fred would help to straighten him out.
Ginny’s parents stood in the middle of a growing crowd of people. Arthur was dressed in a light three-piece suit and Molly looked very elegant in a summer dress. Upon spotting Ginny and the family, Arthur and Molly beamed and excused themselves, making their way over to her.
“How are you lot today?” Arthur replied. “Is Harry ready for the match?”
The children hugged their grandfather as Ginny laughed, “Yes Dad, Harry is quite ready.”
Ginny, the children and Dobby followed the Weasleys to their sets. Hermione gave Ginny a hug as Joely and David settled in with all of the other kids. David gestured Dobby to follow him, as they settled down beside Connor and Arthur. Fred’s son, Lance, and George’s son, Henry, sat behind them, along with Isabel, Dean Thomas’ daughter. Remus and Tonks were sitting in the row above the children.
“How are my favorite kids?” Remus said warmly as Joely and David took their seats. “And how nice to see you, Dobby.”
“Thank you, Sir Lupin,” Dobby replied.
David and Joely smiled at Remus as they sat down. Connor leaned beside David and mumbled while Dobby distractedly glanced around.
“Why is Dobby here?” asked Connor.
David shrugged. “He had nothing to do,” he said simply. “Anyway, Dobby’s family.”
Connor laughed with disbelief. The Potters treatment of Dobby was to be expected, as Harry and Ginny known Dobby for years; however, Connor had never known, since the Elf Emancipation Act, of another elf that was so willing to spend time with their employer.
“How’s Harry?” Hermione asked Ginny.
“Nervous,” she replied. “But he’s ready; he enjoys doing this more than he lets on.”
“Oh, he’ll be brilliant,” Ron replied. “He has to be; I was betting on him being tied with LeRoy.”
“Ronald,” Hermione said crossly. “I don’t think betting on a Quidditch match sets a good example for our children.”
“Hermione, it’s only a few Sickles,” Ron replied. “Besides, the occasional friendly wager helps Wizard relations. Either way, Connor and Arthur aren’t any wiser.”
Ginny knew that wasn’t true since she heard from Joely that the boys mentioned their father making a wager with another wizard days before.
Suddenly, a thin vapor of mist about a yard above them formed into a giant screen, as a voice boomed throughout the stadium. The screens appeared at several ends of the stadium.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this year’s Celebrity Quidditch Championship. Before we introduce our first team, we have something special: and exclusive interview with two old classmates who will be competing today in just a little while.”
Suddenly, Harry and Oliver Wood’s faces appeared beside a witch. They looked as though they were standing just outside the locker room.
“Ivania Brussels here, with famous Auror and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Harry Potter. In addition we have the famed Keeper for the Montrose Magpies, Oliver Wood. Harry Potter will be playing for the Magpies today as their honorary guest Seeker.”
Harry and Oliver nodded, smiling. Ginny could feel that Harry was blissfully enjoying the moment, in spite of his ambivalence several days before.
“So Oliver, you’ve had quite a career - after playing for the Puddlemere United team for a spell, you signed on with the Magpies, and have stayed ever since. How does it feel after so many years, to play with your old teammate?”
“Brings back a lot of memories. Potter was one of the best Seekers I’ve ever come across, which is saying a lot.” Oliver replied before giving a wry smile, “Of course, I did teach him everything he knows.”
“Well I seemed to remember showing Oliver a thing or two,” Harry teasingly replied with a nudge of the shoulder.
“So, Harry, you’ve been enjoying this?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Harry.
“We’ve been having a lot of laughs this week,” interrupted Oliver.
“So is Harry ready to compete against the Seeker for the Kenmare Kestrels, Julian LaRoy?”
“Quite, Harry hasn’t lost his touch,” Oliver replied, “Julian is quite brilliant, considered the greatest Seeker strategist to play professionally in a century, but I think Harry will show him a thing or two.”
At that moment, another man walked over. Blond, short, and broad-shouldered, the man had a similar build to Ginny’s older brother Charlie.
“I hope I’m not ruining this interview, you’ll pardon me.” Julian said as he reached out his hand to Harry then to Oliver.
“Mr. LaRoy, quite an honor,” beamed Ms. Brussels while Harry, Oliver and Julian laughed to each other.
“I just wanted to say that I’m looking forward to playing with Potter,” said Julian. “I have been watching him a little at practice and I have to say, he would have made a brilliant professional Seeker in his own right.”
“Thanks, mate,” Harry replied as Oliver nodded.
“So there’s no bad blood between any of you?” said Brussels.
“Not at all,” replied Oliver “The competition stays on the field. Harry and I are mates and Julian and I have been known to share a few drinks.”
“Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, no bad feelings between these players.”
said Ivania Brussels as she signed off.
The screen faded and turned into a thin cloud. Arthur walked towards Ginny, Hermione and Ron and leaned forward.
“Would any of you like to accompany me to the concession stand?”
“Sure,” said Ron.
“I’ll come too,” said Hermione.
“Dad,” Ginny said curiously. “Your assistants could do that for you. Isn’t that….”
Ron gave Ginny a glance then returned it to Arthur “A little risky, Dad?”
Arthur gave his youngest son and daughter a smile.
“Well,” he replied with a laugh. “I am quite certain Ministry security is keeping a suffocating watch on me; enough to prevent anything happening on the walk down. Besides, I rarely get to enjoy such trivial pleasures as buying snacks for my loved ones.”
After finding out which Weasley’s wanted snacks, Arthur, Ron and Hermione made their way through the crowds.
“Tonks is worried about Remus,” Hermione said to Ron. “She says he’s been sullen for weeks.”
“Remus seems fine,” said Ron.
“She’s really hoping that this event will brighten him up.” Hermione continued, “She says he’s lost a touch of his old spark. She thinks he’s feeling restless and weary about life.”
“Well, it sounds as though she’s being a typical wife,” Arthur replied.
“Think this has to do with what Neville and Susan brought back recently?” asked Ron.
“I’m certain of it,” said Hermione. “He’s been insistent on helping with whatever discovery Neville and Susan made.”
“You know how reasonable and cautious he is,” Ron replied. “I don’t think he’d do anything reckless.”
“I know, but Tonks did say that he’s been talking about James and Sirius a lot,” she replied. “She seems to think he misses them greatly, and that he feels old and obsolete.”
“Well, we know what rubbish that is,” Ron replied, “Remus is liked and loved by so many.”
They didn’t speak for several minutes as they continued onward. They were less than thirty feet from the concession stand when a man bounded towards them.
“Kircher,” snarled Ron quietly as Hermione took his hand to appease him.
“That man is such a nuisance, he keeps trying to get an interview with Harry and Ginny for his bloody book. Honestly, why can’t he get a clue that Harry isn’t interested?”
“I know, Ron,” replied Hermione, “He is a nuisance, but please be pleasant; Harry and Ginny don’t need a tabloid writer making things up about them.”
Hermione and Ron smiled insincerely as Kircher reached Arthur.
“Minister, such a pleasant surprise, I must say,” Kircher said pleasantly. “Can I have a moment with you?”
“Ah, Mr. Kircher,” Arthur said. “How can I be of assistance? I take it you are still researching for your book?”
Arthur was showing amazing composure, considering that Mr. Kircher had been hounding him for months, asking the Minister to persuade the Potters to allow Kircher to write an autobiographical book about them. The problem was no one within Harry’s inner circle trusted Kircher’s integrity.
“Yes, indeed, which is why I must ask again if there’s any way you can persuade Harry Potter to agree to give me an interview,” Mr. Kircher said. “My backer is pressuring me for an exclusive.”
At that moment Kircher seemed to become aware of the presence of Ron and Hermione.
“Oh, hello Mr. Weasley, Ms. Granger,” Kircher said, glancing as an afterthought.
“I am afraid that my son-in-law has already made it clear that he is not interested.” Arthur replied smiling. “He seems concerned that his family’s life story will be sensationalized and not told accurately.”
“I certainly understand Minister, This is why I want to get Harry’s life story in his own words: his childhood, his defeat of Voldemort, his achievement with the defeat of that Fagan fellow, everything.”
Arthur cleared his throat “I must correct you, Mr. Kircher. My daughter played a part in Voldemort’s defeat, and she had a significant role in the defeat of Louis Fagan, as she and Harry both stopped Mr. Fagan. Harry and my daughter are equals in every aspect.”
“Oh certainly,” Mr. Kircher replied tactfully. “I meant no disrespect. What I meant was I wanted to get both their stories in their own words.”
Ron could no longer contain himself. “Look mate, Harry’s not interested,” Ron said. “Find someone else to write about.”
“Ron, please,” Hermione murmured under her breath.
“Perhaps Harry Potter’s best friends will agree to an interview,” Kircher replied, without missing a beat.
“Sorry, Mr. Kircher, we’re not interested,” Hermione replied.
“Well, it isn’t like I already don’t know about the two of you, Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley,” Kircher retorted, “I’ve already researched both of your histories, I found some interesting accounts in the Daily Prophet about some minor, sordid events from your youth.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” said Ron tersely.
“Just that…” Kircher paused; he seemed to be gathering how he should phrase his statement. “That there are stories from other sources, that if I was you, I’d want to separate the fact from the fiction. I am aware that certain members of your family don’t want me writing about them or their favorite son-in-law. Just last month, I received an anonymous letter with a minor jinx included I suspect from a member of the Weasley family.”
Ron’s face turned red: he was the one who had sent that letter, but Hermione wasn’t to know about that.
“Mr. Kircher, I can assure you that no member of my family would do such a thing,” Mr. Weasley stated.
“Well Minister, I can assure you that my intentions are quiet honorable” Kircher replied.
“Understood, Mr. Kircher. I hope you have a pleasant day,” Arthur said. “I have to respect my children’s wishes; I have no sway over their dealings with the press.”
With that, they left Mr. Kircher and proceeded to the concession stand. Soon their hands were filled with snacks, drinks on silver trays. As they returned to their seats Hermione could hear Ron mumbling something about transfiguring Kircher into a rodent under his breath. There were many qualities that she loved about Ron, especially his loyalty and protectiveness of his family and friends; yet she knew that this was going to a long morning indeed if it was spent with him ranting. She could not wait for the games to begin, so he would be pleasantly distracted. I just hope Harry does well, she thought. I’ll go mad if Ron is upset tonight.