Post-Deathly Hallows. Incomplete concept.

* * * *

Harry and Ginny sat on the hill above the Burrow’s garden, watching as fireflies rose out of the tall grass, only to be chased by a few hungry gnomes.

“So, what are you going to do now?” Ginny asked, breaking the comfortable silence.

Harry sighed and shrugged. Up until now, he’d been towed along in the wake of all the funerals, trials, and meetings of various sorts. Now, it had finally calmed down. The last of the funerals had been held. The majority of the trials were over. After months of taking life no more than a day at a time, Harry suddenly found himself facing a future for which he had never planned. Life after Voldemort.

“Are you going back to Hogwarts?”

“I don’t think so. I know Hermione is, and Ron’s thinking about it…”

Ginny shook her head, her newly short hair shimmering about her neck. “He’s not going. He says he’s thinking about it, but I know he’ll go help George with the shop.”

Harry didn’t ask her how she knew. Ginny always had a way of reading her family and understanding what was going on under the surface. She looked at Harry intensely. “You’re not going back either, are you?”

“I guess not. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to finish up my education. It’s just…”

“You’ve moved on.”

“Well, yeah. After everything, I can’t imagine going back, holding Quidditch trials, helping lost first-years, studying for exams…” Harry trailed off, worried he was coming off condescending.

“It all seems a bit trivial now, doesn’t it?”

“No.” Harry said firmly “It’s all important. It’s what the war was all about. The right for eleven year olds, wizard-born or muggle-born to get on the Hogwarts Express, without fear. I want every young witch and wizard to have as fantastic a time as I did at Hogwarts.”

He sighed. “I just can’t be part of it anymore.” He looked at Ginny, hoping she would understand. Her light brown eyes locked on his and she nodded slightly.

“You’re right, as usual. And that’s why I am going back. I need to be there. There are going to be a lot of things that will be different, and the school needs people who remember how Hogwarts is supposed to be… we have to rebuild…”

“That’s fantastic Ginny. You’ll do great.” He pictured her leading first years to Gryffindor tower, introducing them to the Pink Lady and Nearly-Headless Nick. He could see her training the Quidditch team, and helping Hagrid replant his garden. He imagined her with Hermione, helping students catch up on the classes they’d missed the year before, maybe helping McGonagall with minor repairs and redecorating around the castle.

Ginny interrupted his reverie. “So if you’re not going back to Hogwarts, where will you go? You won’t be staying here, obviously.”

“Not that your mum wouldn’t have me, of course.” Harry said with a grin. “I think I’ll go back to Grimmauld Place. Do some rebuilding of my own. I have a few ideas to really spruce the place up. Now that I have a completely free future ahead of me, I think I want to put down some roots, and that’s where I want to do it.”

“Keep in touch, won’t you, Harry?” Ginny said earnestly. “Not through Ron… he’s too unreliable. If he remembers to send an owl at Christmas, I’ll be thoroughly shocked.”

Harry looked at her, his throat tight. “Ginny… when I said I’d moved on from Hogwarts… I didn’t mean I’d moved on from you.”

Her gaze unnerved him and he looked away. “I know we left things… somewhat ambiguous… and we’ve both had a really rough year apart, but…”

He felt the warmth of her hand covering his, and he met her eyes again. The sadness he saw there made his heart ache.

“Don’t, Harry. I know what you’re going to say, and I know your heart’s in the right place, but…”

“What?”

“I care about you Harry. I’ve never stopped. And maybe one day we will be together, free and clear. But now’s not the time. I have to go back to school, you have to go start building a future for yourself.

“A future I’d very much like you to be part of…” Harry began, a bit more forcefully than he’d planned. Ginny’s hand moved from his hand to his arm, touching him gently to cut off his frustrated words. When she spoke, her tone was gentle and sweet.

“I know. Me too. But don’t you think we’ll be better off starting over once we’re both more settled? As you said, this year has been truly horrible. We have a lot of grieving and healing to get through yet.”

“And I want to be there for you… or at least share in it with you.”

“You can. We can get through it together, even if it is long-distance. But I don’t want romance getting tangled up in it.”

“That makes sense.”

* * * *

SEVERAL WEEKS LATER:

RON: Well, you know, George is fantastic company and everything, but…

HARRY: He’s still depressed?

RON: I s’pose so. He seems normal most of the time, but when we’re in the flat alone, he just gets all quiet. He reads a lot. Says he’s researching new product ideas, but he doesn’t seem to really be putting his heart into it. I know he’s brilliant. Most of the products were Fred’s idea, but George is the one who figured out how to make them work. But he’s not even experimenting yet. Lee’s doing a great job with the management side of things. And he doesn’t say anything to George about developing new products, but I know he’s hoping to have something new before Christmas….

HARRY: What about you?

RON: I just do whatever needs doing really. Keeping track of what’s selling, handling the bulk orders, making sure George remembers to eat… things like that.

HARRY: Sounds like a lot of responsibility.

RON: It gets wearing sometimes. I thought I had no free time when I was in school… but now…. I think I’d take Professor Binns over George some days.

HARRY: Well since you’re here, maybe you can help me with something. I think I may have a way to counter the permanent sticking charm Mrs. Black put on everything. I want to try it on the tapestry first. If it works, she’ll be the next to go.

RON: I notice you’ve done quite a bit of cleaning. What’s with the hole in the plaster?

HARRY: I, um, I’m thinking of putting in wiring.

RON: What?

HARRY: You know, for electricity. Lights… maybe a TV…

RON: Whatever for?

HARRY: I know all you wizard-raised folks think muggle technology is quaint, but to be quite honest, I miss a lot of it. Sure there are ways to get around it by magic, but sometimes simpler is better.

RON: You’re a strange one, Harry, I’ll give you that. Wait till my dad hears. He’ll be down here every day trying to figure out how it all works.

HARRY: Actually, I thought I’d ask him to help.

RON: Aw, Harry… that may not be the best of ideas. He loves that muggle stuff, but he’s really just rubbish at actually making it work.

HARRY: I didn’t say I’d have him doing the complicated stuff. I just thought I’d let him be involved. Get him out of the house a bit.

RON: Away from mum and her weeping, you mean.

HARRY: Well, yeah. And then by Christmas, it will be done and everyone can come here.

RON: Really? That’s a fantastic idea. I was going to try to get everyone to come stay at the Leaky Cauldron, but this is better. Mum doesn’t need the stress of hosting everyone, and I think doing it somewhere besides the Burrow will make it less…well… it will make it different.

HARRY: And that’s what everyone needs, is something different.

RON: Right.

HARRY: So my electric lights should make it different enough, you think?

RON: I’d say. And if you get one of those video game things, I think George might just take his nose out of a book.

HARRY: Great. I’m glad you like the idea. Now let’s get to that tapestry…

* * * *

SEVERAL WEEKS LATER:

RON: Wow, Harry, you’ve got all the lights in!

HARRY: Really brightens the place up, doesn’t it?

RON: And you’ve painted!

HARRY: Funny, I thought it was going to be a huge job, but your dad taught me a charm to get the rollers working on their own, and it was all done in an afternoon.

RON: Are those new drapes too?

HARRY: Yeah.

RON: You’ve really gone all out. Those are kind of cool.

HARRY: Ginny picked them out.

RON: What’s that?

HARRY: I sent Ginny the catalogue, and let her choose. She’s picking out new carpets too. I’ll have to keep the furniture for now, but…

RON: Does my dad know about this?

HARRY: Er, no.

RON: Aha! It all makes sense now. That’s why you’ve had my dad over to “help” with the wiring. You’re trying to butter him up so he doesn’t blow up when you tell him you’re dating Ginny again.

HARRY: I’m not dating Ginny.

RON: Right… she won’t date you till she’s done with school. And yet she’s picking out drapes and furniture!

HARRY: It’s complicated.

RON: Doesn’t sound too complicated to me, mate.

HARRY: Anyway, I’m not buttering up your dad. I’m trying to build a relationship.

RON: You know, I don’t think he’ll be surprised to hear about you and Ginny. He knows she’s been smitten with you since the day she met you. And he likes you well enough…

HARRY: Well enough for me to marry her?

RON: Are you serious?

HARRY: Of course I’m serious. Aren’t you planning to marry Hermione?

RON: Well yeah, I mean, she sort of expects it by now. Figured I’d ask her at Christmas.

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