"I can't tell you," Harry said as they walked in the shadow of the hedgerows that led toward The Burrow. Ginny had been teasing him on and off about her birthday since the moment he had arrived from the Ministry. She didn't care, really, what he had planned as long as they were together, but he seemed to like the teasing, so she kept it up.
"It's my birthday," she wheedled. "I think I have a right to know."
"It's not your birthday until tomorrow."
"By then I'll be able to do magic," she threatened.
He laughed. "By then I'll be able to tell you."
She maneuvered in front of him, being careful not to step in the puddles that were still standing in the grassy lane. "It's something good, isn't it? Is it bigger than a bread bin or smaller than an inkbottle? Whatever it is, I know you're happy with it."
He did look happy, but more than that, there was that confident gleam in his eyes that she loved. "Yes," he replied to all of her questions.
"Oh, you!" She giggled, feeling a little dazzled by his smile and the green of his eyes. It was a cloudy day, but everything seemed sunnier now that he was here.
He must have been feeling that way, too, because he swooped down and swiftly kissed her. "Your mum said dinner was to be on the table at six sharp."
"Okay." She couldn't stop smiling at him.
"That means we have to keep walking." He didn't move either.
"Okay," she said, tilting her head so he could kiss her again.
Ginny stood in the door of the kitchen in shock. Gathered around the table was her entire family.
"You didn't forget my birthday!" she blurted.
"How could we?" Ron groused. "Harry managed to send Ministry Howlers to all of us this morning."
Mum cuffed him on the back of the head as she set of bowl of steaming mashed potatoes on the table. "I think we all remembered Ginny's birthday without Harry's help." She looked up at Ginny and Harry. "Sit down. Everything is on the table."
Ginny glanced at the clock. Ten past.
"Happy Birthday, Ginny," Dad said once she was seated. He was smiling, and Ginny realized with a start that she hadn't seen him really smile since Fred died.
She smiled back and looked over at George. He was flanked by Percy and Harry, and he was smiling, too.
"This is so nice," she said, her voice cracking. "I'm so surprised."
"You should be surprised – since it's not your birthday," Ron pointed out, reaching for a bowl of carrots.
"Why iz it we are celebrating the day before?" Fleur asked as she delicately took a small piece of white meat from the platter Bill was holding.
"Because tomorrow Harry is taking Ginny out for her birthday," Ron informed her. "For a meal."
"I hope you realize how much Ginny eats, Harry," Percy deadpanned.
Ginny giggled at Harry's startled expression. Percy hadn't shown his sense of humor around Harry very much.
George agreed with Percy. "She eats loads. Order two of everything."
"Make sure you bring enough gold with you," Ron reminded him.
"So you will be of age tomorrow?" Fleur asked Ginny, ignoring the silliness at that end of the table.
"Yes." She bounced in her seat at that happy thought. "I'm going to take the Apparition test in the morning."
At that, everyone immediately launched into stories about their Apparition tests.
"I lost half an eyebrow and didn't pass the first time."
"What about Charlie? He had to take the test three times."
"Was it three? I thought it was just two."
"Bill didn't – he passed the first time."
"What about you, Perce?"
"Well – I –"
"Harry!" Ron talked over Percy. "You never took your test, did you? I forgot. I took mine last July."
All eyes swung toward Harry, who squirmed in his seat. "I didn't exactly have a chance, now did I?"
"You should take the test tomorrow, Harry," Dad said firmly. "I'm sure you have something scheduled, but I think it would be good for Kingsley to be reminded that you are only eighteen and have had an interrupted education."
"I agree," Mum said from her end of the table. "The way Kingsley is leaning on you has been a bit much."
"I don't mind –" Harry began.
"I know, dear," Mum said. "But I think a day off now and again wouldn't be amiss."
"How is Harry going to revolutionize the Ministry if he's not there everyday?" Ron asked.
Everyone grinned, since that was a phrase from Rita Skeeter's first article after Harry defeated Voldemort.
"Hermione has to come back, idiot," George scoffed. "She's the brains behind you two."
"Oh, right," Ron replied. "Why am I helping you again?"
"To drive away the customers with your incredible charm and diplomacy," George answered without missing a beat. "Stick with your building crew, Ron."
"I'm sure Ron is a big help, George," Mum said vaguely. "But you'll have to do without him when Hogwarts opens again in October."
"October?" Ginny looked to Dad, since he was now on the Board of Governors for Hogwarts.
"We just heard today," Dad said. "The repairs on the castle are taking longer than they thought, and the faculty is trying to establish some guidelines and a new curriculum for the students who missed last year."
"Are they going to allow day students?" Harry asked.
Ginny noticed that Harry and Ron exchanged quick glances. Her stomach dropped. They weren't going back to Hogwarts – she just knew it.
"You could apply as a special student," Dad said. "But the Ministry is going to provide NEWT-study classes in London. You two aren't the only ones who have had an interrupted education."
Ginny tried to breathe through the clenching of her stomach. It was her birthday party. She wasn't going to think about school and more separations just yet.
"Remember, a lot of families weren't allowed to work last year," Bill said. "There are financial concerns for some of the students as well."
"Yes, we really must count our blessings," Mum began.
"Harry's going to feed Ginny one meal, so that should save some gold." George nodded
"Right, Mum. I'll say no more. We want Harry to ask her out again."
Ron rolled his eyes and asked for more chicken and the conversation turned to the Wizengamot and the trials being held.
Some of the things that the Death Eaters had done, all told with relish and in great detail in the Daily Prophet, made Ginny nauseous. She didn't want to think about what Hermione had been through at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange – or Luna – or Dean. She put down her fork.
Harry noticed that she had stopped eating, but it was Percy who changed the subject.
"Justice is being served at last," he said pompously. "So we don't have to discuss Death Eater crimes here. In happier news, I heard that Quidditch is going to be played again. The long odds are on the Harpies beating Puddlemere."
"Since when do you bet on Quidditch?" Ron asked suspiciously
Percy blushed. "Just a friendly wager in the office."
"I don't know how anyone can place a bet on teams who haven't played in over a year," Ron said. "Who knows if any of them can remember their positions?"
"Indeed. Why would a Keeper remember he's supposed to fly in front of the Hoops?" George scoffed.
"The Harpies have all new players," Percy said, "but Puddlemere has the same line-up."
Ron whistled. "No wonder the odds are long on the Harpies."
"Yes, but the Harpies are a young team," Ginny cut in. "No one knows what they can do. Puddlemere will turn up with the same moves and the same faults
"And the same strengths," Bill said.
Ginny nodded. "And strengths. But don't underestimate youth and surprise." With that she speared a piece of chicken with her fork and looked up to see her entire family smiling indulgently at her. "What?" she snapped. "Did little Ginny say something smart?"
Bill laughed. "No."
George held up his hands. "Youth and surprise. You heard it here first."
She could feel herself blushing, and she didn't dare look at Harry.
"Well, I bet on the Harpies," Percy said smugly. "For the same reasons Ginny gave."
Her heart warmed toward Percy – at least she didn't sound totally ridiculous.
"Now I want to see that match," Ron whined. "But the tickets sold out in an hour."
"Why don't you ask Kingsley if he can get you tickets?" Harry asked. "That's how I got – " He shut his mouth with a snap, but it was too late.
"Harry!" Ginny shrieked, her heart pounding with excitement. "You didn't? You got tickets to the match?"
"Yes, and he's taking me," George said, putting his arm around Harry's neck. "Aren't you, old friend?"
"Gr off!" Harry said, pulling away from him. "I'm taking Ginny."
"It zounds like fun for a first date," said Fleur. "Dis way you do not have to worry about ze – what is the phrase?" She snapped her fingers and nodded. "Small talk."
Ron roared with laughter as Ginny shared an amused glance with Harry. "It's hardly a first date where they would be nervous. Don't worry, Fleur, Ginny'll do all the talking and Harry will stare at her."
Harry grinned. "Sounds about right."
Harry wandered off with Ron outdoors, while Ginny helped her mother clear the table. She noticed the Fleur hadn't eaten very much and so did Mum.
"I must have overcooked everything," Mum sniffed as she Vanished the leftovers.
"I don't think Fleur's feeling very well," Ginny said in a low voice. "She hardly talked."
Mum frowned in concern. "She did look a bit pale."
"Mum, Fleur and I are leaving." Bill breezed into the kitchen and swiped a piece of chicken off the platter as he talked. "I have an early meeting tomorrow, and Fleur's a little tired."
Mum tilted her head to look him in the eye. "Is Fleur feeling all right? I noticed she didn't eat very much."
A telltale patch of red bloomed on Bill's cheek. "She's fine, Mum."
Mum's eagle eye was certainly back in working order, Ginny thought with amusement.
"Look, we didn't want to say anything for another month or so –"
"She's pregnant!" Mum gasped
"Yes, but we didn't want to say –"
"How far along is she? Has she seen a Healer yet?" Mum's eyes were shining from excitement. "Oh, my goodness, our first grandchild! Wait until I tell Arthur!" She hugged Bill around the waist and then abruptly released him. "Where is Fleur?" she demanded.
"Out by the brooms –"
Mum turned on her heel and hurried out into the yard toward the broom shed. Through the open door, Ginny and Bill watched her address Fleur and then wrap her in a bone-crushing hug. "So," Ginny said dryly, "I'd say your secret is out."
Bill's laugh sounded a bit bewildered. "I don't know how Mum sussed that out, but Fleur is going to kill me – her parents don't know yet."
Ginny patted his arm. "Mum's got her eagle eye back – it's not your fault."
"What eagle eye?" George asked as he too entered the kitchen and picked at the chicken on the platter.
"Mum's eagle eye," Ginny replied. "You know, the one that always gets the truth out of you?"
"Fred always called it Basilisk vision because it would Petrify the victim first."
Bill winced at the mention of Fred's name.
"So whose secret did Mum guess?" George must have missed Bill's expression because he smiled at Ginny. "Was it yours? Have you kissed Harry yet?"
"Of course, I've kissed Harry," she answered scornfully. "We did go out my fifth year."
"Say that again." George feigned shock. "That was my bad ear. Otherwise I'm supposed to believe that the savior of the wizarding world is doing something as untoward as snogging an underage witch."
She bristled. "Tomorrow I'm not an underage witch!" She knew he was just joking, but didn't like what she felt for Harry characterized that way. She glanced at Bill. "You tell him the secret."
George raised his eyebrows at Bill.
Bill put up his hands. "Fine. It's out now anyway." He took a deep breath and tried not to smile too broadly. "Fleur's pregnant. She's due in March."
George's eyes widened and stuck out his hand. "Way to go."
Bill grinned smugly.
"Oh, for heaven's sake!" Ginny exclaimed. "Don't give Bill all the credit! Fleur is doing the real work."
"Hang on." George shook his finger at her. "You aren't supposed to know anything about the mechanics of the cabbage patch."
"So, are you going to give me the talk?" she countered sweetly.
Bill laughed at George's dumbfounded expression. "She's got you there, little brother."
George jabbed his thumb in the direction of the open door. Fleur was standing with her arms crossed next to two hovering brooms. "Ha! You've got your own problems."
"Beel, it iz time to go!" Fleur called.
"She sounds a little put out." George nodded. "I know women. I can tell when they're angry."
"Coming!" Bill kissed Ginny on the cheek. "Happy birthday, squirt." He cuffed George on the arm. "Stay out of trouble."
"If it'll help, I'll explain to Fleur about Mum's Basilisk vision," George called after him.
Ginny laughed. "Bill doesn't need help from the likes of you. I do, though. Come on. You can help me with the washing up. I can't do magic until tomorrow."
George grumbled, but dutifully waved his wand at the sink full of pots and pans. As they worked, Ginny found out that he was thinking of moving the business to Hogsmeade after Christmas and that he was tired of everyone tip-toeing about the fact that Fred was dead.
"It's like they're afraid to say 'Fred is dead'," he said, idly making a soap-bubble figure out of the foamy suds in the sink. "It's not like I'm going to forget."
She watched as he added a crest to the head with his wand. "Maybe they don't know how you're coping, and they don't want to remind you –"
"I'm not about to burst into tears," he said impatiently. Now the soap figure had wings, and was starting to rise above the rest of the bubbles.
"But you've been hurt." She sighed as she watched the beautiful shimmering bubble bird catch the torchlight during its ascent to the ceiling. "No one wants to hurt you again – not even inadvertently."
"Yeah," he said gruffly. "I suppose."
"I think maybe Fred's King's Cross is a dance club," she blurted. The bird stopped gently at the ceiling.
He laughed. "What?"
She told him about Harry's experience after he 'died.'
George was silent for a moment and then looked up at the bird. It was gone. It must have dissolved while they were talking. "That's what it feels like."
"What?" Her mouth went dry. Now she wasn't sure if she wanted to hear George's feelings – not when her emotions were so precarious.
"That he really died. That he really existed. That this isn't all a horrible dream." His mouth twisted in a parody of a smile. "I suppose that's why I want to hear about him."
She could do this for him, at least. "He's really dead, George." There was a choking lump in her throat. "But Fred was really here. He really existed. He looked just like you and he was very funny and he liked to dance, but he looked stupid when he was doing it."
George looked down and rubbed the side of his head where his ear had been.
Impulsively she added, "And he didn't want to leave you."
He met her eyes unflinchingly. "Do you think so?"
George was angry, she realized suddenly. Angry his brother had died and left him with a fledgling business, angry that he was alone, angry that he was the twin who had to cope without the other. "It's okay to be angry," she said softly.
The muscles in his jaw worked. Then he turned and cleaned another plate with a swish of his wand.
Ginny snatched it out of the air and started to dry it with a cloth.
"Why aren't you angry?" he asked as he flicked his wand at other dish.
"I have been angry," she admitted. "I probably still am. When Harry showed up yesterday I wasn't very nice to him at first. And Mum's been angry, too."
"I overheard Mum telling Dad that she wanted to talk about Fred more." She didn't want to tell him about Dad crying.
George nodded. "I don't suppose you needed Extendable Ears to hear them."
"No." She sighed.
"Poor Gin-Gin trapped here all summer with Mum and Dad."
"Don't." Tears stung her eyes. "I can't handle sympathy right now."
"Me, neither," George said, turning toward her. "Let's argue instead."
She laughed and threw her arms around his neck, almost clouting him with the dishtowel. "Anytime you're up for a row, you pop in."
"I will," he said, hugging her back. "I won't stay away so long. I promise."
After having a too-brief conversation with Ron and hearing the baby news from Mrs. Weasley and saying good-bye to Bill and Fleur, Harry was ready to see Ginny again. He turned toward the house and, through the open door, saw Ginny talking earnestly to George. He blinked in surprise when they abruptly embraced. The Weasleys were certainly hugging each other a lot today. To his relief, neither Ginny nor George was crying. In the next instant, Ginny said something that made them both laugh.
His heart swelled as he watched the two of them. George still looked vulnerable with that hole in the side of his head – and Ginny was being so tender to him.
"So, are you going to tell her tonight?" Ron asked from behind him.
Harry sighed. "Yeah. If I wait until tomorrow, then I'll ruin her birthday."
He didn't need to turn around to know Ron was nodding in approval. "Better this way, mate. It won't be like last year when you couldn't write to each other or visit."
"Yeah." He wasn't looking forward to the disappointment in her eyes. "What's Hermione going to do?"
"She hasn't heard the official announcement yet, of course. But I'm guessing she'll take the NEWT-level classes at the Ministry with us, since she's keen to start working on rights for all creatures or whatever it is she's got in her head."
"Ginny will understand why we're not going back," Ron said, reading his mind. "She knows we don't care about detentions and house points and all of that."
"What about Ginny, though?" Harry wondered aloud as the thought just struck him. "Why would Ginny care about detentions and house points? Is she going to want to go back to Hogwarts?"
"She'll have Quidditch," Ron assured him. "She's a shoo-in to be Captain. Plus, Mum will lay on the guilt."
Harry felt a little better knowing that Ginny could do something she loved at Hogwarts, but he hated the idea that Ginny would be forced into a situation she didn't like – again. He felt a pang of guilt, remembering her stricken face when he had joined forces with her parents in the Room of Requirement.
"I'd stay and back you up, but my Portkey to Hogwarts going to go off in about five minutes," Ron said.
"S' okay," Harry replied absently. Ginny and George were stepping out into the twilit yard.
"Your timing is impeccable," George observed sarcastically. "We're done with the washing up."
Ron laughed. "Now you're Mum's favorite."
"I don't think so," Ginny said. "Today Bill is Mum's favorite."
"Ah, but tomorrow Mum's favorite will be Ginny," Ron said. "Again."
"He's just jealous that Harry likes you better," George told Ginny. "Happy Birthday." He kissed her on the cheek. "I'll toddle off before Mum finds more for me to do." With a nod at Harry and Ron, he Disapparated.
"How's he doing?" Ron asked Ginny.
"He's all right." She shrugged. "You know."
They were quiet for a moment. A soft breeze stirred Ginny's hair and brought with it the scents of hay and damp earth.
"So, I'm not going to apply as a special student at Hogwarts," Ron blurted.
It was becoming difficult to see in the fading light, but Ginny's expression didn't change. "I gathered that at dinner."
"I don't think Hermione will, either."
"I don't blame you," she said, much to Harry's relief. "You lot don't belong at Hogwarts."
"That's what I thought," Ron said eagerly. "In fact, I'm wondering if I need NEWTs at all. I'm making a lot of gold helping the builders and if I enter the guild as an apprentice, my hourly wage will go up –"
"Are you out of your mind?" Ginny demanded. "You'd better get your NEWTs or Mum will have kittens. And what about Hermione?"
Ron let out a breath. "Yeah. I suppose you're right." He scuffed his foot through the pea stone in agitation. "I just want to be done with school. It's like life's on hold until those stupid exams."
"Or Hermione comes back," she said.
Ron stopped kicking the gravel around. "Maybe." Harry felt sure that Ron was blushing at this point.
"When's she due back?" Ginny asked.
"September." He sighed.
"Did George leave?" Mrs. Weasley's voice cut through their quiet conversation.
"Yeah," Ginny answered. "He said to say good-bye."
Mrs. Weasley snorted in disbelief. "He never did like good-byes. Both the twins, really. But George more than Fred."
"He helped me with the washing up."
"Thank you, dear. I forgot all about the dishes once I heard Bill and Fleur's news."
Something blue started to glow in Ron's shirt pocket.
"Oops, that's my Portkey," Ron said, taking a glowing nail out of his pocket. He kissed his mother on the cheek and then Ginny. "Happy Birthday, Ginny," he said. "Your seventeenth will be better than mine, since I doubt you'll be poisoned."
"Ron!" Mrs. Weasley and Ginny said together as he disappeared with the Portkey.
"Oh, that was a terrible day," Mrs. Weasley fretted. "Why did he have to bring that up now?"
"He and your father are in the shed," Mrs. Weasley answered. "Doing who knows what. Percy was never interested in Muggle things before." She strained to see her watch. "Do you think it's too late to Floo Muriel?"
"Not at all," Ginny said a trifle too heartily.
"I think I'll nip in and tell her the news."
Once her mother was gone, Ginny pulled Harry behind the rhododendron and slipped her arms around his waist. "Finally."
He ran his hand down her back. "You realize that I'm not going back to Hogwarts either?"
She stiffened, but didn't pull away. "I know."
When she didn't say anything more, he started to get nervous. "Are you okay with that?"
"I'll miss you."
"Ginny, talk to me!"
"What am I supposed to say?" She pulled away. "I'm not happy to be apart – again. But then, I really wasn't expecting you to be at school with me."
Now he wondered if she was telling him how she really felt – or if she was just being strong and sensible for him. Watching the various emotions play over her face at dinner had made him realize that Ginny had a lot more going on inside her than just grief about Fred.
"What were you expecting then?" he asked, not at all sure he was keeping the sarcasm out of his voice.
She bristled. "I always knew you were one year ahead of me and there would be a time when I would be at Hogwarts without you or Ron."
"We already had that year," he said, his heart sinking at the thought.
"Well, we'll have another one then." She crossed her arms in front of herself.
"Do you…?" He was going to say "Do you mind?" But then he realized that he minded that they were going to spend another school year apart. He ran his hand through his hair and turned to look at the rhododendron – its glossy leaves looked almost black in the dim light.
The sterile existence that was his immediate future loomed in front of him. He would go to classes at the Ministry. He would help out Kingsley as best he could. He would visit Teddy Lupin and try to not to think about how Andromeda looked like Bellatrix Lestrange. He would wait for Ginny without a life-or-death mission to keep him occupied. Now he was starting to understand what kind of year Ginny had had during their separation.
"Do I what?" Ginny demanded after this long silence.
He turned back to her. She was waiting for him to say something. Anything. His heart started to race and he listened in astonishment to the sound of his own voice revealing his deepest fear. "When you're at Hogwarts…" He licked his dry lips. " I mean… we'll still be going out, right?"
"Harry." There was astonishment in her voice. "Of course we'll still be going out! What are you thinking?"
"I don't know what I'm thinking." To his horror, his voice started to wobble. "Or feeling."
"Harry." Her arms were around him again and this time she pressed up close to him. "It's all right. I'm here."
A tide of emotion washed over him at the words he hadn't known he'd been longing to hear until she had said them. He buried his face in her hair and tried not to weep.
"Harry, why didn't you talk to me about this earlier?" she whispered in a sad voice. "Why did you stay away?"
"Because I didn't want to feel anything," he blurted, again surprising himself with an impromptu answer. He stood up straight and roughly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
"Do I make you feel that bad?" Ginny asked. He could see the tears shining in her eyes in the dim moonlight.
"No!" He said in a loud voice. Then he grabbed her upper arms. "No. You don't make me feel bad at all. You make me happy."
"Happy?" She sounded so confused and hurt.
"After the Battle and during the funerals I felt so… numb. And I was grateful."
"Yeah." She nodded. "I think it's only been the past month that it's all really hit me."
"That's not what I meant," he said quickly, before he lost his nerve. Now he knew that being honest with Ginny – with himself – was the only way he was going to get through this. "I haven't wanted to feel happy…"
She gaped at him. "You haven't wanted to feel happy?"
"The last time I was happy was my sixth year," he said, feeling another wave of misery wash over him. "What if I lost my happiness again? At least I couldn't lose a thought of you."
"Oh, Harry." She melted against him. "You deserve to be happy. I deserve to be happy. Let's look forward to tomorrow and not worry about being apart."
He knew she was right, but he still wasn't feeling good about their upcoming separation. "I know, but now that the war is over, you'll be able to go out to Hogsmeade – and what if I can't meet you there and –"
"I think dating opportunities at Hogwarts are going to be pretty thin on the ground."
He recognized his words from last summer and the tightness around his heart eased. Ginny might be going off to school and leaving him behind, but she was going to stick with him. Her feelings for him hadn't changed any more than his feelings for her had done. However, the fact that Ginny was the prettiest witch at Hogwarts was also unchanged. "I don't think dating opportunities are ever going to be thin on the ground for you."
"Ha!" She snorted. "I won't be thinking about dating opportunities because I'll be too busy thinking about you and writing to you everyday." She hugged him tightly. "Once you get an owl we'll be able to stay in contact like – well – like normal people."
He tested that phrase in his mind.
Normal people parted all the time, he realized. Not just for big, dramatic reasons, but because they had to work or they had to get an education or they were simply a year apart in age. Even the workers in the Hall of Desks kept little mementos to ease the pain of separation during a workday.
He was a normal person now, dealing with normal problems. It seemed hard to believe, but it was oddly freeing. "Maybe if I had a mug," he said, feeling more hopeful.
"What?" She giggled in surprise.
He told her about the Hall of Desks and she listened like she always listened.
"You should have a mug," she said tenderly, touching his face.
She was pressed so close to him that he could feel every soft curve of her body. "Yeah," he said inadequately, bending down to kiss her. He certainly knew what he would be thinking about in the months to come. Her hand was on the back of his neck and her mouth was so sweet…
The sound of footsteps crunching on the pea stone brought Harry back to reality. Mr. Weasley and Percy were going back into the house. Either they hadn't noticed them behind the rhododendron or they were choosing to ignore them.
"I guess I should go," he said reluctantly.
"Right. You can practice for your Apparition test." She kept her arms hooked around his neck.
It was a tempting idea. He could Side-along Apparate her with him anywhere… And Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would kill him. Another breeze stirred around them and the clouds that had covered the waning moon parted. He could see her upturned face in the soft light. "I know the Destination, but I don't think I have the Deliberation or the Determination." It was a feeble joke, and they both knew it.
"Well, I'm looking forward to tomorrow," she said. "I can't imagine what we're going to do, since I forgot all about the Harpies/Puddlemere match."
"Ginny, I did get you something else for your birthday." He hated that he had messed up one of her surprises already.
Her eyes were dark in the moonlight. "I was teasing you earlier about my birthday," she said softly. "I'm just glad we'll have the day together."
They really were going to have the day together, Harry realized with mounting eagerness. This outing wasn't just a thought to treasure against an uncertain future – it was really going to happen. "I'm glad, too," he said. Not only did he mean it, he felt it, too.
A/N: My beta pointed out that for Victoire to be going to Hogwarts nineteen years later, she couldn't have been conceived that close to the victory over Voldemort. D'oh! So why did JKR name her that then? I have several theories for the timeline discrepancy:
"Oh dear, maths."
Victoire is Bill and Fleur's second child.
Victoire has already left Hogwarts in the epilogue, and has taken over the snack cart on the Hogwarts Express.
Gestation for Veelas is fourteen months long.
Pick one or float your own theory in a review. I'm keeping Fleur newly pregnant for this story. Molly needed good news on this day and she got it.
Beta Note: Just so y'all know... St.Margaret's is traveling this week and won't be around to respond to reviews until she gets back. Part 3 will likely be posted not too long after she's home again, too :-)