Bill ducked, narrowly missing the jet of red light.
“Volatilis bat pennae!” someone shouted.
He wasn’t quick enough to avoid the second spell. Ginny’s Bat-Bogey Hex hit him square in the face, which erupted into a huge mass of flying bat wings.
Charlie Apparated into the Burrow and took a moment to take in the scene before shouting, “Expelliarmus Totalus!”
Three wands floated through the air and into Charlie’s outstretched hands.
“What the bloody hell is going on here?” Charlie asked. A mixture of confusion, curiosity, and alarm marked his face. “I thought you were just Side-Along Apparating them.”
“I was,” Bill answered as he swatted at his face. “Get these off me, won’t you!”
“Finite, Reverso volatilis bat pennae!” muttered Charlie. He also tried a couple of other spells, but none seemed to work. “Sorry, Bill, you’re going to have to wait until Mum gets here. She’s the only one in the family who knows how to remove Ginny’s Bat-Bogey Hex.”
“I’m sorry, Bill,” Ginny apologised. “I was waking up and I heard Harry send a Stunner, and I thought we were being attacked.”
Harry slumped to the floor, bringing his knees to chest. “Sorry, Bill, I guess I’m still a little jumpy.” He rested his head on his knees. “When I heard the ‘Crack!’ when we got here, I woke up and thought….”
“It’s all right,” Bill assured them as he continued to swipe at his face. A minute later, there was another ‘Crack!’ and Percy appeared with Ron and Hermione in tow. However, it seemed Ron and Hermione had been wide-awake and well aware they were Apparating to the Burrow.
Ron laughed at Bill’s face. “I told you not to get on Ginny’s bad side.”
“Stop it, Ron” Hermione snapped. She turned toward the others. “What happened?”
“It seems Bill forgot to wake up these two and let them know he was going to Apparate them here,” Charlie explained, laughing. Percy joined Ron and Charlie’s laughter. Hermione, Bill, Ginny, and Harry, on the other hand, were not amused. Hermione shot the three laughing redheads an indignant look, which only served to intensify their laughter. Bill was still swatting at the giant bat wings flapping around on his face.
“Very funny, guys,” he muttered. Ginny kept apologising to Bill and Harry looked around, mortified, before putting his head back on his knees.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
With each ‘Crack!’ Harry’s head twitched but other than that, he remained motionless. The others looked at the new arrivals. Fleur, Molly, and George had appeared in the middle of the whole mess.
“What happened? What did you do to my Beel?” Fleur rushed over to Bill and reached out to touch his face, but jumped back as the bat wings tried to attack her long, delicate fingers. George had looked rather grim when he first appeared, but he took one look at Bill and joined with his other brothers in laughing.
“It’s about time you had a makeover, Bill,” he laughed.
“Not helping!” Bill snapped.
“Wasn’t trying to,” George sang back.
Taking out her wand, Molly strode over to Bill, made a simple circular motion with her wand, saying, “Evanesco.” A silvery glow enveloped Bill’s face and a moment later, it was free of the bothersome hex. Bill rubbed at his face, just to make sure it was okay.
“Thanks, Mum…” he started to say before she turned to glare at her four giggling sons. She shot them a look that would have terrified a Basilisk. They stopped laughing instantly and diverted their eyes from her.
“Would somebody like to tell me what happened?” she asked in a low voice.
“Well, I Side-Along Apparated Ginny and Harry here like you asked me to…” Bill started cautiously.
“But I heard the ‘Crack!’ and woke up thinking someone had kidnapped us…” Harry continued.
“Harry shot a Stunner, and when I heard it, I also thought we were being attacked, so I shot off the Bat-Bogey Hex, which hit Bill in the face.” Ginny interjected.
“When I got here, I Disarmed everyone and tried to fix Bill’s face,” Charlie cut in. “But I didn’t know the counter-hex, so I told Bill we’d have to wait for you.”
“Then we got here,” Hermione nervously interrupted and gestured at herself, Ron, and Percy.
“And we started laughing at Bill,” Ron and Percy said together.
“And then you three got here,” everyone finished, minus Fleur, Molly, and George.
Ron grabbed Hermione’s hand and held it tightly. Percy and Charlie stood next to each other, gripping their wands in case Molly exploded further at them. Fleur was hugging Bill, who kept telling her that he was fine. Ginny had sat down on the floor next to Harry and was stroking his head, trying to get him to lift it up and look at her. Lastly, George was standing away from everyone, looking completely and utterly alone.
Molly sighed. It had been a long, hard day, a long, hard year, in fact. This wasn’t the time or place to blow up, especially since it had been an accident.
“It’s all right,” she comforted the group. She left the room and the group stood still, or sat in some cases, as they heard her say “Reparo!” and “Scourgify!” in the kitchen. Fleur headed into the kitchen to help Molly with lunch. Bill retrieved his wand from Charlie, and, along with Percy, started to walk upstairs to repair whatever damage the Death Eaters had done up there. After handing Harry and Ginny their wands, Charlie followed them.
George looked at the four teenagers before saying, “I’ll do the outside.” He headed out toward the garden and makeshift Quidditch pitch. With slumped shoulders and a barely-raised wand, he started fixing the damage.
Wanting to feel useful, Harry stood up and walked around the bottom portion of the house with Ginny, Ron, and Hermione, repairing and cleaning away the rubble the Death Eaters had so thoughtfully left for them.
Excluding the mutter of a “Reparo!” or “Scourgify!”, not a word was uttered. For half an hour, they worked side-by-side quite uneventfully. Then, while Harry was trying to repair a window that had been blown out, he tripped over a section of wood from where part of the roof had caved in. He fell forward, swinging his left arm out in front of him to break his fall. A sickening crunch was heard, and Harry flinched in pain. In a second, Ginny was down by his side.
“Are you all right?” a worried Ron asked.
“I’m…” Harry stopped. Ginny was staring at him with bright amber eyes. They were filling with boldness and mischief, daring him to say he was just ’fine’.
“Whenever you tell me or Ron and Hermione that you’re just ‘fine’, I know you’re lying.”
It was Harry’s sixth year. He and Ginny were sitting down at the lake. It was the weekend, and Harry had just managed to pull Ginny away from studying for her O.W.L.s for an hour by the lake.
He had teased her, saying, “You’re becoming more and more like a certain bookworm brunette I know.” Aloofly, she had told him she had no idea to whom he could be referring. “Come on, Gin,” he had grovelled on his knees, “take a break with me.”
“Fine,” she replied, closing her Transfiguration book and walking down to the lake with him. They had laughed, joked, and generally just enjoyed each other’s company. But then she had turned to him and told him she hated to hear him say he was ’fine‘ when she knew that he wasn’t.
“I don’t want to worry anyone,” he argued. However, she remained steadfast.
“Promise me that you’ll never say you’re fine when you’re not, Harry. Promise me.”
He looked deep into her eyes and saw concern and stubbornness, but primarily, love.
“I promise I’ll try.”
“Ok, and I’ll promise that the next time you tell me you’re ‘fine’ I’ll Bat-Bogey Hex you into next year. Deal?”
He laughed. “Deal.”
“I’m not fine,” he murmured, looking into her eyes.
“Well, of course you’re not,” Hermione stated matter-of-factly. “Look, Ron and I will finish up here. Ginny will take you to Molly so she can Heal you.”
Gingerly, he stood up and extricated himself from the rubble. Ginny took his right hand and laced her fingers through his, a habit she wouldn’t be breaking soon. It was as if she did it just to reassure herself that he was still there, that he wasn’t going to disappear. They walked into the kitchen just as Molly cast “Sonorus!” on her throat.
“Everyone come to the kitchen. Lunch is ready,” Molly announced, her voice booming throughout the house and garden. Turning around, she saw Ginny and Harry, whose left arm was drooping at his side and broken in at least two places. “Quietus!” she said, pointing her wand at her throat to remove the Voice Amplification Charm. “Oh, dear,” she said, her voice at its usual volume once more. “Come here, Harry, dear.” She sat him down at the table and pointed her wand at his arm. Jerking her wand upwards, Harry’s arm started to straighten itself out. After a few moments it looked completely normal again. Then it was time for the Healing part. “Episkey!” she said, and a warm feeling coursed through Harry’s arm; with that, it was completely Healed.
Seeing the efficiency with which she Healed his arm, Harry could not help but wonder why Molly had never trained to be a Healer – she certainly had the temperament for it, and a definite aptitude for it, a matter he never would have pondered prior to last night, dismissing it as unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but now he had all the time in the world to consider little things like that
“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley.”
She smiled at him. “You’re welcome, Harry.”
By this time, everyone was making their way to the kitchen. On top of the huge kitchen table was a myriad of sandwiches piled high on a huge serving platter. As each person sat down, they grabbed a sandwich or two and started to eat, although Ron avoided the corned beef ones at all cost. Gradually, everyone started talking and soon they were laughing at a childhood adventure involving Charlie, Bill, their father’s wand, and a stash of treacle tart.
Once again, Harry flinched. This time it was Mr. Weasley Apparating home. He greeted everyone, sat down next to Molly, and whispered something in her ear. A sad smile appeared on her face. She leaned over and kissed him.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“So, what happened while I was gone?” he asked, grabbing a sandwich and looking around expectantly at everyone.
Ron and Charlie launched into describing the earlier incident; soon the whole table was laughing again, all except for Hermione, who was watching Harry and Ginny. They were laughing too, although not as whole-heartedly as everyone else. Harry’s eyes held a glint of guilt; Ginny’s, a hint of worry as she watched Harry.
“Hey, Hermione,” Charlie said, snapping his fingers in front of her face to gain her attention. She turned and looked at him. “Tell us about the time Ron blew up his cauldron in Potions and got a week’s worth of detentions from Snape.” She smiled. That was a story worth telling.
“Well,” she started, visibly relaxing as she prepared for the tale. “It all started when were supposed to being making the Draught of Living Death….”
Soon, she was in the middle of a story that had Ron’s face turning a shade of red to rival his hair. She forgot about her worry for her two friends, at least for then.
Author’s Note: I got the chapter title from this quote:
“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.” –Herbert Hoover