Harry came downstairs, hair still damp from his shower, on Monday
morning after Ginny had left for work. Somehow, the two of them
had managed not to let the news of the new prophecy affect their quiet
Sunday together, and it had been all he'd hoped for—completely
uninterrupted Harry-and-Ginny time. Today he was off, as he was
most Mondays if there had been a match on Saturday, and he had very
little planned to do while Ginny was at work. Some laundry,
perhaps—he was as good a "househusband" as Ginny was a housewife, and
it was certainly not beneath his dignity to do a bit of work.
Read the paper in a leisurely fashion, front-to-back, over a hot cup or
two of tea. And, of course, his weekly meeting with Ron—he
glanced at his watch—which should be starting any moment now.
enough, the Floo connection in the kitchen suddenly roared to life, but
instead of Ron stepping through, a different but equally-familiar head
appeared in the emerald flames: Thaddeus Howe, Harry's agent.
"Harry!" he said jovially. "So glad I caught you. Not busy,
"That depends," Harry said carefully, crouching down before the fireplace. "What do you need?"
guffawed. "That's what I like about you, Harry," he said expansively.
"Always with a joke. The fact is, I've just got a very
interesting offer from the Firebolt Racing Broom Company, and I told
them I'd run it past you. It won't take but a few minutes."
"I've got a friend calling shortly—" Harry began, checking his watch.
"Excellent!" Howe interrupted. "I'll just be a moment, then."
wait—" But Howe's head had already disappeared from the fire, and
Harry had barely enough time to get to his feet and step out of the way
before the short, stout man came whirling out of the Floo. Howe
stood a good head shorter than Harry and weighed at least twice what
Harry did. He customarily dressed in a style that reminded Harry
uncomfortably of Cornelius Fudge: dark robes, a pinstriped cloak, and a
bowler hat—though, thankfully, Howe's hat was not lime green.
"Such a lovely home," Howe beamed, brushing soot off his shoulders and
pulling a packet of papers out of his inside pocket. "Well, shall we
get started? I don't want to inconvenience you or your company."
"That's very kind of you," Harry said dryly.
at all, not at all." Howe pulled one of the chairs out from under
the table and seated himself on it, placing the sheaf of papers on the
table before him and setting the bowler hat at his elbow. Harry,
somewhat bemused, sat as well. "I've received a communication, as
I said, from the Firebolt Racing Broom Company," Howe continued,
settling his broad bottom more comfortably on the cushioned seat.
"Perhaps you've heard the buzz about their newest broom?"
Lightning Bolt?" Harry said sceptically. "Supposed to have some
sort of top-secret Acceleration Charm, or so the rumours have it.
But they've been talking it up for years now, and nothing's ever come
"It has now." Howe tapped the pages he'd placed
on the table. "These, my boy, are pictures and schematics of the
Lightning Bolt. I've seen it in action; it can take a
fourteen-stone man across the pitch, from goalposts to goalposts, in
less than four seconds."
"Really?" Despite himself,
Harry felt the first stirrings of interest. That was half again
as fast as his Firebolt III, and more than three times as fast as his
first Firebolt, the beloved gift from Sirius all those years ago that
now hung in a place of honour in his office upstairs. "So they've
succeeded in making a viable prototype, then?"
said, his face shining with excitement. "Or rather, not only a
prototype. They're ready to begin taking orders, Harry.
Production is set up and ready to go. And—" He rested his elbow
on the table, jabbing a thick finger at Harry. "They want you to be the spokeswizard!"
A jolt of surprise went through Harry. He sat up straight and stared at Howe, disbelieving. "They want me to do what?"
their spokeswizard!" Howe repeated, delighted. "In exchange for ten
thousand Galleons a month over the next two years for you, five
thousand for the team, and the very first Lightning Bolt out of
production, you would agree to have your picture in all the
advertisements for the broom and to use the broom in your Quidditch
matches. That's why the team would get the money as well, you
see. And your broom would be a one-of-a-kind limited edition,
with a few extras most other brooms don't have. Perfectly legal
extras, of course," he added reassuringly; "the company was most
insistent that they've cleared every charm with the Department of
Magical Games and Sports, and their paperwork seems to be in
order. I checked it all thoroughly before coming to you."
sorts of extras?" Harry heard himself say. It wasn't what he
really wanted to ask, but given the media-hungry image he'd worked so
hard to develop and maintain over the past couple of years, 'Why me?'
seemed a stupid question.
Howe began ticking off points on his
fingers. "An improved Braking Charm. A Bludger Warning
Ward—attuned to you, so that no one else can hear it, and directional,
so you know what direction the little bugger's coming from.
Improved balance and stability—I watched this broom turn on a Knut, and
the demonstration flier hardly wobbled! And remarkable
responsiveness. The demonstrator actually stood on his broom and
performed all sorts of tricks, like the Muggles on those boards they
strap to their feet to go through the snow—"
interjected. "Or snowboards." He was trying very hard not
to be intrigued with all this. From the point of view of an
enthusiastic flier, the broom sounded wonderful; from the point of view
of a Quidditch player, it sounded a dream come true. But to have his
photo on advertisements all over wizarding Britain, perhaps even the
rest of Europe-- "How much are they planning to charge for this
amazing broom?" he asked.
"Well, yours would be part of your agreement, Harry—"
"Yes, I understand that," Harry interrupted.
"—and you wouldn't be permitted the limited edition broom with all the extras unless you signed on; it's not for sale—"
understand that, too," Harry said impatiently. "What I'm asking is
whether this is a broom marketed only to the very wealthy, or whether
the average witch or wizard would be able to afford one." He'd
had more than enough of snobbery growing up with the Dursleys, who had
always judged others by their clothes, their cars, and the houses they
"Oh, I see," Howe said with sudden
comprehension. "Well, you can put your mind at rest, Harry;
that's one of the best parts of this deal. You see, your photo
guarantees immense popularity, and so the Firebolt company wants their
brooms to be accessible to every facet of wizarding society—"
They want to be able to make money off as many people as possible, Harry mentally translated.
they've come up with a plan in which one can buy the basic Lightning
Bolt—not quite as fast as yours will be, but still faster than the
Firebolt III series—for quite a reasonable sum, and then one can add on
extras to fit one's budget. All the way up to the Lightning Bolt
Gold, which is the version most likely to make it into national and
international play. It's all explained in detail in the paperwork
there." Howe indicated the pile of papers that Harry still hadn't
touched. "But yours will still be top-of-the-line; they've
guaranteed that, and will put it in writing when you sign the
Harry reached out and spread the stack
of papers out before him so that he could see them. Some were
covered in writing, others in schematic drawings, and one was a
photograph of a man on what was apparently the Lightning Bolt, zooming
back and forth and performing some of the most amazing stunts. He
was feeling quite torn. On the one hand, there was the broom—he
couldn't buy the special edition, he could only earn it, and he knew
perfectly well that if he didn't sign on, some other Quidditch player
would jump at the chance, leaving his team potentially at a severe
disadvantage. On the other hand, he'd never been a fan of seeing
his own face in the media, and the prospect of having his features
plastered about everywhere was enough to turn his stomach. He had
more than enough publicity as it was. "How much time will they
give me to decide?" he asked at last.
"Time?" Howe's face screwed up into a confused expression. "Why would you need time, m'boy?"
think about it," Harry explained, somewhat nettled that Howe would just
assume that he'd jump at the chance. "To talk it over with my
wife. To decide whether the loss of privacy is worth ten thousand
Galleons a month that we don't really need."
Howe's jaw dropped. "Don't really—my dear boy!" he protested. "How can one not really need ten thousand Galleons?"
took a deep breath and gathered up the papers into a pile, tapping
their edges against the tabletop to line them up. "Mr Howe," he said
with false calm, "I'm more than prepared to consider the Firebolt
Racing Broom Company's offer to become their spokeswizard. What I
need to know is how long I have to communicate my decision before they
take their offer elsewhere. This is not a choice I can make without
giving it due consideration—as, I hope, I give all of my personal and
financial decisions of this magnitude." There, he thought. Give him a dose of Hermione; nobody can stand up to that.
leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath, releasing it slowly
and nodding his head reluctantly. "Fair enough, Mr Potter," he
said heavily. "I didn't inquire as to deadlines, but I shall do so
today, and inform you by owl as soon as I am able."
"Thank you." Harry slid the papers back toward him.
at all; it's my job." Howe gave him a wry smile. "The fact is, Mr
Potter, I made some assumptions about you, based on my own opinion of
this deal. I should remember that my priorities are not always
those of my clients." He picked up the papers, then hesitated and
seemed to change his mind. "Why don't you keep these, at least for
now?" he said, setting them back down in a neat stack. "Perhaps they
will assist you and your lovely wife in making your decision."
was twice that Howe had called him 'Mr Potter'—the only two times he'd
ever done it. Howe called all of his clients by their first
name—he called it 'making clients comfortable'—and Harry wasn't
entirely sure how to take the change.
Howe rose to his feet,
and Harry followed suit. "I'll return to my office and contact
the Firebolt company immediately," the agent continued. "Expect an owl
from me today." He flashed another grin. "I believe I can
persuade them to give you at least a week. Will that be enough time?"
"I'm sure it will," Harry said, and held out his hand. Howe shook it. "Thank you for coming by." Though next time, when I say 'no,' you might consider accepting that as an answer.
quite welcome." Howe turned, reached into the flowerpot full of Floo
powder on the mantel, and tossed a pinch onto the fire. The
flames roared up, bright green, and he stepped forward, calling out the
name of his firm as he went: "Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe!" With a whoosh, he had gone.
sighed and sat back down at the table, staring at the stack of papers
before him. He rested his elbows on the table and slid his fingers
through his thick hair. This was a fine mess. What was he
going to tell Ginny? 'Hallo, love. My agent came by today to ask
if I'd like to sell my features for a very cool new toy and money we
don't need. How do you feel about having your husband on posters
and magazines across the country?' "I'm an idiot," he muttered.
"You are if you don't take that offer, mate."
the speaker had even finished his sentence, Harry had thrown himself
behind the table and had his wand out, pointed toward the direction of
the voice. Ron was standing in the open doorway to the garage, an
expression of approval on his face. Harry blew out a breath of
relief and lowered his wand. "Bloody hell, Ron," he said wearily,
his heart thumping wildly with the sudden rush of adrenaline. "You know
better than to do that to me!" He rose to his feet, righting the
chairs he'd toppled over in his haste, and then slipping his wand back
into its wrist sheath.
"Had to see if you were keeping up your
reflexes," Ron said unrepentantly, coming fully into the kitchen and
shutting the door behind him. "You didn't even notice when I Apparated
in." He gave Harry a dark look.
"The wards are keyed to
you, as you very well know, and we're under Fidelius anyway," Harry
said with some asperity, well aware that his irritation was mostly at
himself, not Ron. "What if I'd hexed first and asked questions
later? I don't fancy explaining to Hermione why Sam would forever
be an only child." He sat back down and shoved the chair beside
him away from the table with his foot, in silent invitation.
Ron sat, stretching his long legs out in front of him. "Ha, ha. You know I had a shield up. I'm not entirely daft."
Harry said with a smirk, "because the life of a secret agent has taught
me to fight dirty. I don't have Ministry regs to deal with
anymore, so I can pretty much do as I please if I'm attacked—and most
of the time, I want to keep attackers alive to talk to. That's
why I said Sam would be an only child, not that Hermione would be a
widow. If you catch my meaning."
rose. "Point taken," he said with feeling. "I'll remember
that in future." He flicked an inquiring hand toward the papers
Howe had left. "So, are you going to do it?"
"I don't know yet." Harry leaned back, scrutinising his best mate. "How much did you hear?"
"I got here about the time he was describing the broom they'd give you for doing the advertising. Pretty slick."
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, actually. How'd you get here? You usually take the Floo."
"Apparated in. That's why I was in the garage."
"Silently," Harry noted, his eyebrows rising. "That's a good trick."
shrugged. "One of our R&D blokes worked it out a couple of weeks
ago; I've finally got the hang of it. Twilight gave me orders to teach
it to you as well; says he thinks it might give you a leg up on the bad
guys. It feels like being squeezed through a drinking straw
rather than a hosepipe, but there are situations for which it does come
"Like Apparating to your sister's house?" Harry said with amusement.
testing your reflexes, you git. Again, under orders. They're
pretty damn good," Ron added fairly. "Once you realised I was
here, at any rate."
Harry made an anatomically unlikely
suggestion and rose. "I've not had any tea yet this
morning. Fancy a cup? Maybe some toast?"
yes," Ron said gratefully. "They've got Hermione and me on the
six-to-six shift, four days a week, and while it's nice to get home in
time to have dinner with Sam, it's a bugger getting him up, dressed,
and fed in time to get him to the Burrow so Mum can watch him, and
still report to the Ministry in time. Hermione's been
re-assigned, by the way. They transferred her to R&D last
"You tosser," Harry said, waving his wand and sending
the kettle over to fill itself at the tap while he placed bread slices
into the toaster and pushed down the lever—an interesting mix of wizard
and Muggle kitchen skills which he hardly noticed anymore. "You
didn't tell us that at the Burrow on Saturday."
Ron pulled an
apologetic face. "Slipped my mind, with all the family
commotion. You know how it gets with all of us together.
Anyhow, Domina got in the way of a stray curse a couple weeks ago, and
the Healers say it'll be awhile before she's back up to par, so they
put Hermione where she'll do the most good."
Harry said sincerely as the kettle settled itself on the burner and he
sat back down. "She was thrilled to be there while she was
pregnant with Sam. Perhaps they'll make it permanent this
time. So did she come up with this silent-Apparition business?"
that was Lynx. He's been in Research and Development for donkey's
years. You remember him—tall, skinny, mousy-haired bloke? Always
"Yeah," Harry said, remembering. "Prominent Adam's apple. Squeaky voice."
"That's the one. Mind like a steel trap, though. Some of our best spells have come from him."
"Mm. Well, knowing Hermione, he's met his match."
doubt," Ron said, grinning. The kettle whistled, and Harry got up
to pour the tea, using his wand to send the hot toast toward the table
when it popped up. Ron took a piece and bit into it, chewing
methodically as Harry dumped three cubes of sugar into a cup of tea and
gave it to him before putting one lump into his own and sitting back
down. Ron swallowed. "Thanks," he said. "So, have you got a
report for me this week?"
"Yep," Harry said, reaching for the
marmalade and spooning a generous dollop onto a piece of toast while
Ron got out his notebook and his Quick-Quotes Quill, which was dark
blue rather than acid green and which he'd turned to its highest Truth
setting. "There seems to be a significant increase in the number
of Muggles appearing at hospitals with unexplainable pain or injury,
particularly in and around Nottinghamshire. I know I've been
reporting this every week for the past few months, but it's gone way up
the past two weeks, to the point the Muggle authorities are looking
"Bugger." Ron looked up from the quill, which was skimming quickly across the page. "Killings?"
that have been reported as being out-of-the-ordinary—that is, not that
the Muggle police have been unable to solve," Harry added, at Ron's
blank look. "But if the targets were homeless people, or runaways, or
criminals that the police didn't want to look too closely at—"
got it," Ron said heavily, and sighed. "So, an increase in
reported cases that may be torture, or at least baiting, of Muggles.
And we should look into death reports to see if anything suspicious
comes up. Anything else?"
Harry knew better than to ask
whether his previous reports of suspected Muggle baiting had resulted
in any arrests or even ongoing investigations; he may still have had
his security clearance from his time in the Corps, but information like
that was on a strict need-to-know basis. "There have been a few
scattered rumours floating about of cursed jewellery in Wales," he
said. "I made contact with a witch in Caerphilly a few days ago,
but all she could give me were stories of the 'my sister's daughter's
best friend's cousin knows a bloke who says he met a girl who said
she'd seen some' variety. I don't know that they ought to be
taken all that seriously."
"Are they meant to have been from
Muggle shops or wizarding?" Ron bit into another piece of toast
as the quill continued to whiz back and forth.
"The story changes depending on who's telling it, or so she said. I'd have your people look into both."
Ron gave him a sharp look. "Our people, Harry. You still work for the Corps, too."
but I'm no longer an officer, just an agent." It was still a little
painful to say that. Much as he loved playing Quidditch, he did miss
being on the front lines with the Corps.
that there were front lines anymore, really. Not since the battle
in May of Ginny's seventh year, when the Aurors and the Corps had
killed or captured nearly all of the Death Eaters on the island in one
fell swoop. The attacks had ceased abruptly thereafter, and
wizarding life had gone back to the peaceful normality it had not known
since before Voldemort's first rise to power, except perhaps for that
few years in Harry's childhood. That peace had gone on for two
years now, and people were beginning to believe that there were no more
Death Eaters at all, that the battle had been the end of them. Some of
those people, to Ron and Hermione's utter disgust, were employees of
the Ministry—though, thankfully, none of them were in the Department of
Mysteries or in the MLES.
Despite the increased
lethargy, within the first months of his first term as Minister for
Magic, Arthur Weasley had increased funding for the Intelligence
departments of both the Magical Law Enforcement Squad (which included
the Aurors) and the Unspeakable Corps. Most of that money went to
informants and agents, helping Harry create a network into which he
could tap, even beyond the members of the Order of the Phoenix.
There had been some dismay at the expenditure, but Arthur, along with
his advisors Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt, had been firm: there
was no way to know whether this was a temporary peace or a permanent
one, and an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. It was
that network which was beginning to bear fruit in Harry's reports.
"So is that everything?" Ron asked, levitating the pot of tea over and refilling his cup.
Harry said, taking a bite of toast. "There have been more and more
reports like this coming to my attention, though, Ron."
"I've noticed. And so have the Corps. Don't worry, Harry, we're on it."
"Good," Harry said, and to his surprise, he really did feel better. At least they were taking him seriously.
Ron said, and he gave Harry a significant look. "Do you want to
tell me what had Ginny so upset on Saturday? I'm assuming it had
to do with Gilbert calling her in on a week-end."
hesitated. He wanted to tell Ron about this prophecy, as he had
done with the first one, but Ginny had told him in confidence. He
wasn't entirely certain he should share it with anyone else. "I—"
he began, then stopped.
"If you can't, you can't," Ron said. "It's okay. But if you can, well, maybe I can help."
took another bite of toast, thinking. Having Ron (and
Hermione—but that would come) on his side had been all that had kept
him going for much of his life. He couldn't bear to be without
them now. Besides, he knew they could keep a secret—and if anyone
could help him work this prophecy out, they could. "Yeah,"
he said after a moment. "I can tell you. But you have to
promise that you'll let me tell Hermione, okay?"
Ron shrugged. "All right."
mean it," Harry warned. "No hints or anything. She'll pelt
you with a thousand and one questions that you'll not be able to
answer, and then she'll get all panicky, and for no reason. Don't
tell her anything."
"Okay, okay," Ron said, raising his hands
as though in surrender. "Whatever you say, mate. Blimey, it must
be something big."
"It is." The enormity of it suddenly
overwhelmed him; it was the first time he'd really allowed himself to
think about it since falling asleep Saturday night. He took off
his glasses, set them down, and rubbed his face wearily with both
hands. "There's another prophecy about me, Ron. A new one."
was silent for long enough that Harry dropped his hands to look at him.
He was staring, aghast, at Harry. "Another one?" he said at
last. "Bloody hell! No wonder Ginny was so upset."
Harry said, putting his glasses back on and leaning against the back of
the chair. "Put the Quill away and I'll tell you what it says."
Frowning, Ron slid the quill and parchment into the inner pocket of his robes. "Don't trust me?"
trust much of anything with this," Harry said darkly. "I don't want it
to get out. Anything that's in writing, accidentally or not, is a
potential for a leak we don't need."
Ron's eyebrows rose, and he said, "Well, yeah, that's only reasonable. All right, how does it go?"
Despite only having heard it once, he knew he could recite it in his sleep. Harry took a deep breath and said,
"The Chosen One's destiny was left unfulfilled When another vanquished the first Dark Lord. A second now reaches forth, Ticking fate to its rightful place. Adoring faces will turn away, Loving hearts will suffer. Only in turning from them can The power behind the throne be defeated. Only by taking the silver hand Can the world yet be saved."
listened silently, then slouched back in his chair, clearly thinking
hard. Harry didn't interrupt him; he knew that expression too
well. It was the same expression Ron often got during chess games, or
while trying to work his way through a thorny problem on the job.
The clock ticked away, filling the silence, until at last Ron sighed
and said, "Well. It's got to be about you, that's for certain;
you were the Chosen One. The bit about loving hearts suffering
has got me worried, though."
"You and me both, mate," Harry
said with feeling. Immediately some of the pressure he'd felt
since Saturday night lifted; Ron, as usual, had gone straight to the
point and put into words what Harry had been unable to.
"As for the rest—taking the silver hand? You do know who that's got to be."
"Wormtail," Harry said, nodding. "We never did catch him or find his body."
"No, we didn't," Ron agreed, standing up and beginning to pace. "But really—Wormtail? What good can he do, the slimy bastard?"
took a pensive sip of tea. This was something that had been swirling
about in the back of his brain for some time. "I almost think a better
question would be, what evil can he do?" he said after a
moment. "He's a follower, not a leader—but we've got all the
high-level Death Eaters. They're safely in Azkaban. All that's left are
the cowards who might take advantage of a Muggle walking alone at
night, but certainly wouldn't take the initiative to start up anything
public, even something as minor as what happened at the Quidditch World
"I'm not so sure of that, Harry," Ron said unexpectedly.
"Just because they didn't have a position of much importance before
doesn't mean they won't now. Maybe our arresting the Malfoys and
Lestranges and their like only cleared the way for someone else.
The prophecy did say something about the power behind the throne,
after all. Maybe they'd been quietly gathering followers until
the big names were gone, and now they're starting to consolidate their
Harry leaned back in his chair, resting a foot on the
stretcher of the empty chair beside him. "That's certainly possible.
But then why did we go a whole year without any suspected Death Eater activity at all? And when it did start up, why is it only this piddly little stuff lately?"
eyebrows rose again. "'Piddly little stuff'? Don't let the
Healers and Obliviators hear you call it that. We've four Muggles
at St Mungo's in the same state as Neville's parents. You've been under
the Cruciatus; can you imagine what they went through, in order to have
been sent mad?"
Harry felt a sudden surge of guilt deep within
him, remembering that horrible New Year's Eve two years before.
Ron winced. "Sorry, mate."
"Forget it," Harry said
flatly, not wanting to see the sympathy. He still had nightmares
about what he'd done that night and the months afterward, when he'd
really thought he'd end up in Azkaban himself. Sometimes he was
still amazed at the strokes of luck that had happened to him.
He'd performed an Unforgivable Curse while working for the Unspeakable
Corps, and yet he was a free man, happily married and playing the game
he'd adored since he first learned of its existence. In the
meantime, he was still helping to work against Dark wizards, albeit
secretly. A little part of him was convinced it couldn't last,
that he would be punished after all for what he'd done.
was a short, awkward silence, then Ron sat back down in his chair and
scooted in, resting his forearms on the table and leaning forward.
"Look," he said, "we can't possibly predict what this prophecy means
yet, right? We can speculate all we like, but we can't really know,
which means we can't really do anything. Remember what Dumbledore told you about the first prophecy?"
Voldemort decided I would be the one to face him when he came to
Godric's Hollow that night to kill me, and gave me my scar," Harry
said, remembering. He rubbed his forehead with his fingers, eyes
closed. "Yeah. So if we act now, we won't be preventing anything—we may
just be making it worse."
"Right," Ron said. "But since
we know about it, maybe we can recognise what's happening when it does
start to come true, and use it to our advantage."
up at him, startled. "How?" he asked bluntly. "How can we
turn it to our advantage? That's what Voldemort tried to do with
"Yeah, only he didn't hear the whole thing, did
he?" Ron said shrewdly. "We won't know what to do until the time
gets here—we may not even know then. But the point is, you
can't obsess over it, Harry. You can't focus on it. And you can't
let Ginny do that, either. She loves you, and she worries about you,
you know that. Just...keep on living. Keep going.
That's the best you can do for now. We'll worry about the rest of
it when it gets here. Don't forget about it, but don't spend too
much time on it, either."
Harry stared at Ron. He'd
known this man for nearly half his life, and had never heard anything
so philosophical from him before. "Where'd that come from?" he
Ron smirked. "You don't reckon I could live with Hermione so long and not pick up something alone the way, do you?"
laughed, suddenly feeling much better. It would never be easy being
Famous Harry Potter, but at least he didn't have to do it alone.
"Thanks, mate," he said.
"Anytime." Ron grinned.
"Why don't you and Ginny come over for an early dinner sometime this
week? You know Sam always loves to see you, and the four of us
can chew on this prophecy business a bit more."
"Thought we weren't to keep thinking on it," Harry said, smirking.
"I said you weren't to focus on it," Ron corrected. "There's a difference."
"If you say so. I'll talk to Ginny about dinner. Which day?"
Wednesday, but I'll have to get with Hermione and find out if she's
planned anything I don't know about." He finished his tea and
rose. "I'd better get back to the Ministry and give Twilight your
report. He'll want to get right on those investigations."
right." Harry, too, rose, and they thumped each other on the back
affectionately. "Ginny should be here for lunch in an hour or so.
I'll tell her what you've told me."
"You'd better." Ron looked
down at the papers Howe had brought over, and added, "I think you
should do the advertisements, Harry. Give the money to war orphans or
something if that's what's bothering you, but do it. If nothing
else, it adds to your cover story tremendously."
Harry blinked. He hadn't thought of it that way. "That's true, I suppose," he said. "I'll talk to Ginny about it, anyway."
"Good. See you later."
"Bye," Harry said, and Ron Disapparated with a pop,
without bothering to go out to the garage. Harry stared at the
place where he'd been for a moment, then said to the air, "But you
never did teach me silent Apparition, you git."
A/N: Yes, I'm still alive! Now
that life has settled down for me, I'm hoping to get going more
regularly on this story. Thanks for sticking with me!