“You need to leave. We should have never welcomed you to this family. You broke my daughter’s heart; you got my son killed! It’s all your fault!” Molly had never shouted at him like this before, not with acid and hatred, barely holding on to her composure. Harry couldn’t look away as if he had stumbled upon a train wreck. The train wreck, he realised, was his own life.
They were all there to watch his humiliation, summoned but distant when Ginny had started screaming at him. Ginny always screamed when angry. They hadn’t watched them, wanting to give them as much as an illusion of privacy they could get within the walls of the burrow. Molly had snapped finally though when sounds of things been thrown had come.
Molly had taken Ginny’s side instantly, pulling her daughter beside her and standing to glare at Harry, not accepting that Harry just wasn’t ready for a relationship, for marriage and happily ever after but respected Ginny too much to lead her along. Molly had ignored Harry’s bleeding cheek from where the ugly vase no one liked had smashed against the skin. When Molly had started to scream as well, the boys had come tumbling quietly into the room. Harry could see them all behind Molly, shock in their eyes. Hermione and Ron were looking at him with concern, flicking between the hurt in his eyes and the blood dripping down his cheeks. Percy stood back, still hesitant on his place in the family, his arms crossed, a glimmer of surprise at the scene. George watched listlessly, still failing to show barely any emotion.
The whole of the currently convened family let out a gasp at Molly’s current words. It would be impossible to miss the agony that filtered over Harry’s face, tears mixing with blood. Even George’s head snapped up.
“Mum, that’s not fair, Fred would never blame him.” His voice was quiet, his voice tripping over Fred’s name as if it was physically painful to speak. But Molly could not be convinced.
“No! If he had never come into our life it would be fine,” Except it wouldn’t Voldemort would have still existed and there was a chance more would have been lost, but Molly was blind in her desperate grief, “GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT.”
And Harry could not hear the words anymore, his heart breaking over and over. His heart broke because Molly’s accusations mirrored his own tortured thoughts. His heart broke for losing his family one more time. He apparated out of the burrow, no place in mind but trying to think desperately of safety. But there was no safety, the Burrow had been safety, the only safety he had ever known. A savage diffindo rang in his ears as he escaped.
Instead of safety guiding his trip it was misery, and when he crashed back to earth he was sobbing over Dobby’s grave, another victim of his inability to act fast enough.
Bill and Fleur had been curled up around each other, books in hand, enjoying the simple quiet of a summer’s day, when they felt the trip on their wards. Both sat up straight, feeling the wards curiously with their magic. It did not feel like a malicious invasion, but it did not feel pleasant either. It felt heavy.
Bill kissed his wife deeply as he pulled out his wand. The desperate kisses before danger a habit picked up in war, fear it would be the last one always the flavour of their desperation.
“Stay here, it doesn’t feel dangerous, but I’m going to see what it was.” Fleur nodded, the protection of their home a fine honed dance now as she pulled her own wand, getting to a vantage point where she could see all the points of entry. Bill dived in for another of his kisses, eyes mapping out his wife’s face before he strode out of the house, determination in his gaze.
He kept his back to the house, eyes searching in the bright daylight sun. It took him nearly ten minutes until he found the intruder, down by the beach, hunched over a grave they had erected for a house elf. Bill lowered his wand, not understanding why Harry Potter was there but understanding there was no risk at least. Bill thought Harry would have at least asked before going to visit Dobby, knowing the grave was just on the edge of the home’s wards.
It wasn’t until he was closer to the man that he heard the sound of the sobs over the sounds of the sea crashing and breaking. He never thought he’d hear a sound as heart breaking after seeing George agonise over his twin’s body, he wished he’d never have to hear such a sound again.
“Harry?” When he looked up Bill didn’t think he looked much like a saviour. He looked desperate and miserable, his eyes blazing with agony that Bill didn’t think was caused by the injuries scattered on him, the look in his eyes saying it went soul deep. Harry didn’t reply, looking more like a frightened animal as tears still dripped down his face. Bill crouched down in front of the man, his eyes soft and calm, not knowing what had happened. “Harry, what happened? You’re bleeding.” The man just shook his head, more tears spilling. Bill wasn’t sure if it was memories or his presence, because Harry was looking at him as if he was a ghost, “Harry, it’s okay. You’re safe here. I’m going to send my Patronus, Fleur will bring help, I am terrible at healing spells.”
He was going to anyway, but Harry looked so skittish he didn’t want to surprise him. He summoned the eagle from his wand, the memory of Fleur agreeing to marrying him powering the spell. He spoke quietly to its intangible form before it soared the short distance towards the house. He was thankful that Fleur was well versed in healing spells else seeing to Harry would be a lot more difficult.
Fleur’s eyes were wild with concern as she headed towards them near the beach. Her hands were laden with the medical kit that they kept in their kitchen cupboard for emergencies.
“’Arry, you are ‘urt!” It was obvious straight away, the blood starting to cake rather than run on his cheeks. But with the adrenaline still running through his veins he hadn’t noticed his other injuries.
“I’m fine, Fleur. I… I didn’t mean to come here.” His voice was quiet, lost and a hundred miles away from the conversation. The Veela’s eyes softened despite the disbelieving snort that left her mouth.
“You are bleeding, you silly boy, you are not fine. I do not know why you are ‘ere, but you are, so come, William will carry you to the house so we can treat you.” Husband and Wife shared a look, before Bill scooped their guest into his arms as tenderly as he could.
“Please, you don’t need to, I’ve burdened you enough.” His words were heavy, Bill wasn’t sure if the desperation in his tone was a cry to be left alone, or a desire to be cared for despite his words. But as soon as they saw Harry’s leg, almost hanging off, it was decided they would treat the boy.
“Bill, I do not know if I will be able to treat ‘im. It may be beyond ‘ealing.” She whispered the words, knowing the boy was too out of it to truly hear her anyway. By how neat the cut was it was clearly done by a severing curse, Fleur only hoped whoever had done this to Harry was not following the young man, Fleur did not want a fight on her hands.
Bill placed Harry in his and Fleur’s bed, before stepping back to allow her to work. He was glad she had received official training, knowing how severe the situation was. He watched her work, eyes dark but focused as she ran scan after scan.
“Bill, I need towels and some warm water,” She took a deep breath, “The leg, it iz beyond saving, the nerves ‘ave been sliced.” Bill’s eyes widened, it would take an enormous amount of power or anger to fuel a severing spell that caused that much damage, usually the spell was hindered by the thick sturdy bones, especially in the legs. He nodded at her, leaving to find the items she needed.
When he returned the man was clearly asleep, and yet his face did not relax, still scrunched up in pain.
“How is he?” He hadn’t seen his wife look that troubled since the war, he hated to see anything put it back on her face. He pulled her into his arms, a sigh escaping her as his chin rested dutifully upon her crown of golden curls.
“I do not think ‘e meant to turn up ‘ere. He was splinched, ‘e must ‘ave apparated in distress. The leg is the worst, the lower ‘alf is unsalvageable, but I ‘ave done what I can for what is left. The other injuries are just superficial. We should call Ron and ‘Ermione, ‘e will need a friend.” Bill nodded, it was only sensible, he would want his friends when he woke up.
The Burrow had descended into Bedlam after Harry had disapparated. Ron and Hermione exchanging worried glances remembering just how bad apparating could be without the right mental state.
Molly had entered a state of shock, dropping to the floor, and yet somehow George had come alive, or as close to, taking charge of the difficult situation. Where everyone else was not sure what to do, he had a determined glint in his eyes.
“Percy call Dad, he needs to know what has happened. Ron and Hermione, you need to find Harry, he could be splinched and we don’t know if the spell hit him.” Ron couldn’t believe where it had all gone wrong, they didn’t even really know what had happened to upset their mother to such a point, he couldn’t imagine his best mate been overly harsh while breaking up with his sister. Ron wasn’t sure he wanted to know; it must be terrible if his mum cursed Harry. She loved Harry.
Ron and Hermione apparated to their own small apartment to plan.
“Ron, you should stay here, someone needs to man the Floo make sure he doesn’t turn up here. I’ll go check any property he might turn up. Send your Patronus if we find him.” She kissed his cheek, worry for her friend filling her mind.
Ron wished he’d been the one to go, he hated the restless feeling in his bones as he just prayed that either Hermione’s Patronus would turn up or Harry himself.
It had been a good hour and no news had been heard, from Floo nor Hermione, when Bill’s head pushed through the fireplace.
“Bill? You okay?” He tried to keep his concern out his voice, but he wasn’t sure he could handle anymore today. His eldest brother looked entirely too tired for this to be a mere social call.
“I think you and Hermione need to come to Shell Cottage, Harry tripped our wards. Fleur has been looking after him.” Ron’s eyes widened, Bill looked entirely too serious, his eyes grave as he looked at his younger brother.
“Give me five minutes to get Hermione, we’ve been looking for him for a while now. He went to you guys?” Bill’s eyes flashed in surprise.
“We found him by Dobby’s grave, we think he turned up by accident. You know what’s happened? Are you and Hermione okay? Is everyone else okay.”
Ron sent off his Jack Russel before replying to Bill.
“I’ll explain when we get there. It’s been a rough day.” Bill nodded, exiting the Floo so his brother and girlfriend could step through.
Hermione fell into Ron’s arms as she returned to the flat before pulling back.
“He went to Bill and Fleur’s?” Ron just shrugged.
“Apparently. Come on, we need to go through.” She nodded, letting Ron call out Shell Cottage into the flames first. It was clear when they stepped out that they were both physically fine if not very worried.
“What happened? Was it rogue Death Eaters?” Ron gulped down a difficult breath, both because he didn’t want to tell Bill the truth of the situation and because he knew Harry couldn’t be in good shape for Bill to assume it was Death Eaters.
“It wasn’t Death Eaters. I think you need to sit down Bill, this isn’t going to be easy to hear.” Bill slumped down, much like Ron and Hermione, the adrenaline from the short time since he’d found Harry finally catching up to him. He buried his nose into Fleur’s hair as she sat by him, informing them all that Harry was stable and just needed rest.
“I’m not going to want to hear this am I?” Bill got a deep sense of foreboding by the grim expressions on his brother’s face. Said redhead shook his head, playing with his fingers as if he couldn’t bear to look at him as he told the tale.
“Harry broke up with Gin. We knew he was going to; the war was difficult on us all, but Harry didn’t expect to live through it. He doesn’t know who he is or what he wants to do with his life, and he didn’t want to give Gin false hope knowing she was expecting to just fall back into a relationship with him. She didn’t take it well. It was just screaming at first, she was hurt, and he let her shout. We let them go at it until we heard things crashing, mum went in then. We thought she would calm the situation down, but she started in on Harry as well. She was cruel, Bill, really bloody cruel.” Ron swallowed the lump in his throat that had formed from the memory. “She blamed him for Fred’s death. George argued against the accusation, we all know that Fred would have been on that battlefield whether we had known Harry or not. She practically disowned him from the family. When she started to scream at him, he disapparated and she shot a diffindo at him. We think it was too late for the curse to hit though.”
Bill felt sick. His own mother had done this to a man she had previously seen as a son.
“It hit.” Fleur spoke up from beside him, her voice gentle, sympathy in her voice, “’is leg was severed. I was unable to save it.” Bill couldn’t bear to look at the horror on Ron or Hermione’s faces as the girl gasped, her hands lifting to her mouth.
“You can’t mean it? He’s lost his leg?” There was denial in her tone. Bill wasn’t sure if it was because it was his mother who had done it or because she knew what it took to lose a leg from a severing charm. Fleur gripped his hand, beating off the feel of sick rising from in his stomach.
“I am sorry. I did all I could. His other injuries and the splinching will ‘eal just fine.” And then Hermione was sobbing on one of Shell Cottage’s couches, and Bill kind of wished he could join her. When he had first seen Harry’s leg, he had imagined a number of scenarios, but in none of them had he ever considered his own mother had done this. His mother, the kind woman who had patched up all their scrapes and bruises over the last 28 years, the woman who was fiercely protective of anyone she deemed as family, the woman who was affectionately called Molly-Wobbles by their father. His mother who he had always idolised. He knew she was hurting, but this was, quite literally, criminal.
“We need to fill George in. He stepped up when we were all still in shock.” Ron nodded towards the Floo. Bill nodded, heading on almost stumbling feet to the fireplace. It felt wrong to call the Burrow after all that had happened, the Burrow that had only been rebuilt due to Harry’s funds and willingness to help.
“Son, how can I help you.” Every time he called it felt like his parents looked older, both age and life catching up quicker than Bill would like to see with them.
“Do you know where we can find George?” Arthur ran a hand through his hair.
“He went back to the shop. Have you heard what’s happened?” Arthur looked troubled, and suddenly Bill felt bitter about the whole situation. He thought after the war his family was done with been torn apart, but this situation would change the family forever.
“Yeah, I’ve heard, Hermione is sobbing on my couch and Harry is unconscious in my bed. Ron said George took charge so would probably want an update.” Arthur dismally nodded.
“Is he okay? I think I need to get Molly into therapy, this isn’t her.” And the bitter faded into suffocating anger.
“Okay? His leg was nearly cut clean off, to the point it’s unsalvageable and he didn’t even notice because he was distraught. No, Dad, he’s not okay.” And then he cut the call, a hand running through his hair as his father’s concerned and horrified face flashed behind his eyes.
Fleur’s hand on his shoulder let the darkness fade away as he prepared himself before the next, or maybe it was her lips on his cheeks as he sat knelt in front of the fire. George looked positively weary; eyes red from what Bill thought was tears. Bill wasn’t sure if it was better, better than the absolute nothing that had been there before this whole situation, or worse because of the misery in the man’s eyes.
“Georgie.” The old nickname came out as a sigh, seeing the lines already forming in his younger brother’s face. Sometime Bill hated being the eldest, hated seeing his younger brothers in any kind of misery. His brother took one look at his face before replying.
“You’ve heard.” It wasn’t a question, George was sure just by the look in his eyes, “Is there any news?” He looked the tiniest bit hopeful.
“Ronnie filled us in, you wanna come through?” The old childhood nicknames came out more often now, with Fred gone they all became more aware of how important what was left was. George turned away from a fire, having a conversation that Bill couldn’t hear.
“Sure, can I bring Ange?” Really, they didn’t have the space, but Bill nodded anyway stepping away from the Floo once again to let another brother through. They settled back into the couch, the number would have been hard to accommodate without Bill pulling Fleur into his lap, peace returning to him as he took in the familiar scent.
George’s gaze went straight to Ron as he stepped through.
“Did you find him?”
George couldn’t even begin to imagine the damage their mother’s words would have done to Harry, couldn’t believe she had uttered them. Calling Harry responsible for Fred’s death would be the same as calling him responsible for the war. It was no one but Voldemort and the Death Eater’s fault for his brother’s death. Harry was younger than him, he was a school child and yet was expected to win a war that adults before him had been unable to. He thought his mother understood that, that behind all the grief, like George, she was still the same person.
Ron shook his head at the question.
“Nah, Bill found him. Or well apparently, he turned up here, Bill found him by Dobby’s grave.” Ron shared a look with George then, one that he understood. Harry might not have been family by blood but as far as he was concerned Harry was his brother, and he knew his brother enough to know he would have taken every death hard. George turned to Bill, though he could almost imagine the answer before asking the question, his grip on Angelina’s hand the only thing keeping his strength now, the whole situation had been a wake-up call for him. He had spoken of how Fred wouldn’t have blamed Harry and then all he could think of was Fred, and so for the first time in months, since he had first cried over his brother’s body, he started to grieve, knowing just what Fred would say if he saw how catatonic he had been in previous weeks.
“Not good, he was too distraught to even notice he was injured. He looked at me like I was a ghost and told Fleur she shouldn’t treat him because he was a burden. We ignored him of course, he’s got a Dreamless Sleep in him currently.” As much as smiling felt foreign at the moment, he offered a wan one to Fleur.
“Thanks Fleur. How bad was it?” Her eyes dropped away and George got the impression that alive did not equal good.
“Zhere were a few superficial injuries, from what Ron said we think they may be from ‘is argument with Ginny. ‘e had severely splinched his left arm and part of his chest, but I was able to patch him up, though his arm will be weak for a while. The leg was ze worst, ze severing curse had cut through bone and nerve, it was beyond ‘ealing.” George’s head snapped up at that, staring woefully at Fleur as she met his gaze sadly. George was suddenly furious, as if now he was feeling again it was coming at him full force. He stood abruptly, pulling dust from above Bill’s fireplace.
“The Burrow.” His phrase was more growl than word. His dad looked up when the fire flared.
“George, I thought you were with Angelina?” George just stood there, arms crossed, blue eyes a storm.
“Where is she? Where is my mother?” George had never been the most demanding, that had always been Percy or Ron.
“She’s in bed, George. Maybe I can help.” George had to resist the urge to spit distastefully, as angry as he was, this wasn’t his father’s fault.
“I’m not here for help, I’ve come to try and make her understand just what she’s done.” And with no further ado George made the familiar trip to his parent’s room. His mother looked miserable, curled up under the old threadbare blanket. The anger and hurt did not leave him at the sight, but the fury did as he sunk down on the old bed where he spent numerous nightmares curled up between his parents.
“How could you mum?” His question was almost desperate, looking for understanding in the darkness.
“It hurts George, it would have all been okay if we hadn’t met him. Fred would still be with us.” She seemed to be almost desperately holding onto the belief.
“Maybe he would, but maybe not, more likely without Harry we would have lost more than just Fred,” Fred had never been just anything, but he needed to get understanding through to his mum, “We all hurt mum, I feel like part of me missing, Fred was part of me, but taking it out on family isn’t going to solve anything.”
“He’s not family!” It was almost barked out, his dad’s pillow being clutched closer to her chest, “He broke Ginny’s heart, and Fred has died because he couldn’t act fast enough.”
“Mum are you even listening to yourself. Because he couldn’t act fast enough. He is being a seventeen-year-old boy. You all expected so much from him, but he was seventeen, Fred’s death lies with Voldemort and Rookwood. Blame the whole of the death eaters, blame adults who drug us into war, but you don’t blame Harry. Harry is our brother. Harry and Ginny weren’t together, she was angry of course, she had pinned all her hopes on him from a little girl, but she would have gotten over him. He didn’t even fight back as she screamed and threw stuff at him.”
“I didn’t mean to get so angry; I love Harry you know I do. We didn’t deserve to lose Fred though, and it hurts. Is Harry okay?” All the anger faded away.
“Of course, we didn’t deserve to lose him, but you know that isn’t Harry’s fault. He’s lost so much, more than we ever have. Mum you really fucked up, you and dad were the last people he looked to as parental figures, and you blame him for Fred’s death, kicking him out of a place he looks as at home. You know how he is, I’ll bet ten Galleons he was already blaming himself, that’s how he is.” And then his mother was sobbing, guttural soul cleansing cries he had only heard on the night of Fred’s funeral.
“Can I make it up to him?” George wasn’t sure, wasn’t sure Harry had any trust left to give after all he had gone through, all the losses during the war. If he had been Harry, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to look at his mother again, and yet Harry was often exceptionally forgiving.
“I don’t know mum. Maybe he’ll trust you again with time. But you should know now some of what you did was irreversible.” She nodded.
“I know.” And yet he doubted she did, thinking he just meant in a metaphysical sense.
“Mum, I don’t mean emotionally. If he decides to trust you again, it will be completely or not at all. I mean his leg; your severing curse was so deep that Fleur was unable to save it.” George could barely stand to watch as understanding dawned slowly and all at once on his mother’s face. She wasn’t a bad woman, just a grieving mother, but her actions had consequences, even if they weren’t for her.
“What have I done, Georgie?” Her question came out as desperately as his that had started the conversation, and yet he had no answer for her.
“Mum, I think you need to talk to someone. Someone who can help, you can’t let the grief or guilt consume you.” He wasn’t sure if it would help or hinder, but he added at the end, “Freddie would want us to be happy. We can’t tear each other apart.”
And then he left, because he had no other words. He hugged his dad tightly, trying to stop the tears from falling before he stepped back through to Shell Cottage. He ignored the look of concern the occupants in the room were sending him, instead settling beside Angelina. She had not left him much, only when he was at the Burrow, even when he was catatonic and no company, she had been a friend. Maybe when he healed, they’d be the chance of something more once again.
“She understands the consequences of her actions. Me and Dad are pushing her towards therapy.” Any other words he or any of the others may have said were cut off by a scream though, the noise carrying easily in the small cottage.
Fleur placed a kiss to her husband’s cheek.
“Stay, I will go.” Bill nodded to her, gripping her hand as he slipped out of his grasp. The other’s watched her retreat. Harry should neither be awake nor in a nightmare due to the potion, Fleur wept for the distress the man must be feeling to have worked through it.
He was not awake, he was merely thrashing in the bed, part screams, part whispered apologies, part names of those he’d lost. Sweat clung to him like a second set of clothes, making what little he was wearing cling to his clammy skin. Fleur climbed into the bed, wrapping her arms around the young man, trying to stop the flailing, it wasn’t difficult, they were nearly the same size and he was weakened. She remembered when she had first met him as a boy, thinking him unworthy and a cheat, until she had seen him in action, saving her sister where she had been unable, facing a dragon, and all manner of trials. The trials had neither started nor finished since that time.
“’Arry, you need to calm down. You will hurt yourself more.” She spoke gently as possible, her words trying to coax him back into slumber. But slumber did not claim him, instead between the nightmare and the presence he was awoken. And with waking came the sobs that had documented their finding of him. Her grip loosened from restraint to comfort as the man released his sorrow in her arms.
Time lost a little bit of sense, she wasn’t sure how long Harry had been crying, wasn’t sure it was healthy for how long it had been. But with time came a thawing. Sobs quieted to teary sniffles, and with time they quieted too, Harry breathing fitfully in her arms.
“I’m so sorry, Fleur, I didn’t mean to turn up here, or take up your space, or cry on you.” He blushed as though embarrassed about the whole situation. Fleur wouldn’t be too surprised if he was. “Can I get up, I really need the loo, to be honest.” The blush flared.
“Let me go get Bill, you will need the ‘elp.” Her tone was soft with sympathy as she disentangled herself. Harry pushed himself up.
“Honestly, Fleur, I’ll be fine, I’ve got two legs, I’ll just take it slow.” He was still blushing, clearly not liking the idea of anyone helping him to the bathroom of all places. Fleur almost wanted to cry, the day had been exhausting, and he was so innocent, hurt by so many, and still so fiercely independent.
“Oh, ‘Arry. ‘Arry, you lost your leg.” The word seemed almost comical, lost would imply they didn’t know what happened to it, but they knew. His leg wasn’t lost, it was severed. He looked to Fleur where she hovered between the bed and the bedroom do, saw the deep sympathy held in her pretty blue eyes. He flung the bed sheets off him, before dropping them heavily to the bed as his lower half was revealed. He looked lost, shocked, too dumbfounded to even consider crying for his loss.
Fleur heard someone approach the door as Harry spoke again, though they did not interrupt, his voice almost distant despite been in the same room as her.
“I shouldn’t have apparated while upset. You shouldn’t have bothered to treat me.” He spoke like it was a fact. As if it was just a logical conclusion to his actions.
“No, no you shouldn’t have, but your leg wasn’t splinched.” Fleur had to fight a jump as George stepped up beside her even despite knowing he had been there. If Harry had looked at Bill as if he was a ghost, then he looked at George as if he was death himself. Tears that hadn’t come since he’d seen what was left of his leg bunched in his eyes now.
“George, I’m so sorry.” The reply that came was equally sharp as it was tender.
“It is not your fault, Little Brother, ending a war should never have been placed on the shoulders of a group of 17 years olds.” There was a finality in his tone, his words a sentiment that Fleur believed equally. “Now stop been so stubborn and let me help you to the bathroom.” He huffed under his breath good naturedly, a small grin on his face, the first grin Harry or Fleur had seen, as he approached the bed.
Fleur headed back to the lounge, knowing Harry would be safe with George. She sank into Bill’s embrace, his lips coming down to her head.
“’e is staying with us Bill. ‘e needs care, and we will give it.” There was a determination in her voice. Maybe the natural choice would have been Ron and Hermione, but while closer to Harry, they were too young, needed to heal themselves first. She met Bill’s gaze steadily as he searched her eyes, looking for something in her gaze, before he nodded resolutely.
“He can stay.” Fleur wasn’t asking permission, but she was thankful for the easy agreement.
“Are you sure? We don’t mind helping him.” Fleur’s look to Hermione was almost cold, a steely determination in her eyes.
“Non, we will care for him. ‘e needs a lot of attention, and you need to give each other attention. Zis is for the better.” Hermione nodded in return, still biting her lip, though all argument died as George entered back into the room, Harry tucked under his arm. Their walk was slow, but George was steady and secure as he led Harry to the couch. Harry was not looking at any of them, as if he dare not. Once Harry was comfy George settled on the arm of the sofa, not wanting to needlessly disturb Angelina.
The rest of the day had felt tense, Ron and Hermione had left soon after, Fleur suspected they could not bare to see the truth. Yes, she had made the right decision about him staying here. She could not blame them though, they were young, not children certainly not, but young, nonetheless. They seemed to have the opposite problem with George, as if he could not bare to leave Harry now.
It was George’s behaviour that made her realise how close they had come to losing more family. Even then, things would be a tense for a while now. Fleur did not even want to think about the first family gathering after this situation. Finally, though, later into the evening than Fleur would have liked, Bill, with Angelina’s help, managed to cajole George into leaving. There was not much he could help at the minute, Harry had fallen asleep on the couch, his head resting against Bill’s shoulder. With the way he eyes moved behind the closed lids Fleur feared it was not a peaceful sleep.
When everyone was gone, Bill looked at her, eyes weary yet steady. His strength was one of the many reasons she loved him so very much. His hand in hers was the security she needed at this moment.
“It’ll be okay. You are strong and steady, and between us we will help him heal. The family will heal.” And Fleur nodded for there was nothing to do but to believe those words.
“I will go prepare the guest room and change our sheets.” Bill pulled a funny face at the thought of the blood that now stained their bed sheets. Despite everything been still so very serious, she laughed at the look.
“Do you want me to come help?” His eyes were imploring, always so eager to help. Again, she let out a soft laugh. Yes, she was sure everything would be alright.
“Non, you stay Bill, you are terrible with bed sheets and there’s no need to disturb ‘im unnecessarily.” Bill looked down on the mop of black on his shoulder, a tender understanding on his face as he nodded at Fleur.
Harry was placed carefully into the guest bed once it was prepared, and Fleur was glad to have Bill to herself for just a while, a quiet comfort as they prepared their evening meal together. Neither of them was amazing cooks but they got by, the peace from the task outweighing their lack of skill. When they crawled into bed that night sleep claimed them hard and fast.
The first few days were difficult. Difficult because of the exhaustion and the emotional weight of the situation. It was a sign of how lost in themselves everyone had been that no one had seen the absolute misery rolling off Harry before now. It was like, now that he had allowed it to show, he could no longer hide it. Or maybe it was just the new blow.
Bill hated to see the look of shame on his face every time he cracked and asked help to get to the bathroom, hated the despondent look that never quite seemed to leave his face whether he was awake or asleep.
The nights were the worst though, almost like clockwork Bill and Fleur would be woken by the screams from their guest room. Almost as if it was feeding duty, they would take turns comforting him until he fell back asleep.
It was only on the third day that they were not awoken, and yet when Harry joined them that morning, he looked more exhausted than ever. Bill sighed softly, he did not think the nightmares had stopped, rather he had just silenced them from his and Fleur’s ears. Something needed to change, physically he and Fleur were helping, but mentally, Harry was still fading. He slid coffee over to the man as well as a plate of breakfast. There was little point, Bill knew he wouldn’t eat it, but he carried the pattern on in hope.
“You used a silencing charm?” He asked it as a question. They hadn’t wanted to push Harry, but maybe it was worth a try. He could feel Fleur in the doorway, he assumed by her lack on interruption she approved of his attempts. Harry flicked his eyes up to Bill but didn’t look at him properly.
“I could see how tired you and Fleur were getting.” Bill nodded. He wasn’t surprised by the answer.
“Have you considered talking to someone. A therapist? Even me or Fleur?” Harry blinked up at him, as if he was seeing Bill for the first time. He stood steady as he could be, back to the counter, mug in his freckled hands. He was surprised when Harry started talking to him, thought it would be more of a battle, his eyes planted firmly on his plate where he pushed the eggs around.
“The nightmares keep twisting the memories. I don’t know if you know, but Voldemort he killed me, but because of the Horcrux I was able to come back, that died in my place. It’s what allowed him to stay dead this time. I met him in the forest knowing, because of Snape, that I had to die. But in the dream, last night at least, it wasn’t Voldemort that struck me down, it was Molly.” His breath shuddered from him, as if the words were as difficult as the memory.
Bill wasn’t sure if there was a right response. Maybe there wasn’t. Maybe Harry just needed someone to listen. That his mother had taken the place of Voldemort in Harry’s dream was a sign of the emotional damage she had done.
“She’s starting therapy. Dad was going to force her, but she went willingly after George spoke to her. I’m not sure you want to hear it, or can even believe it, but she does love you.” Harry snorted, as if the notion wasn’t something to be trusted. When he spoke again his voice was dead.
“She shouldn’t, she was right. It is my fault.” And Bill made a decision right there, made a decision that he would argue this man until he finally believed, and then he’d repeat it ten times more for good measure.
“It is not your fault. You did not start this war and it should never have been expected of a child to end it.” Because while he was an adult now, the responsibility had been placed on him as a child. His little sister only alive because of trials this young man had faced at 12. He held Harry’s chin, so he was forced to see the sincerity in his eyes, his green eyes beautiful despite the hurt that blazed there. It was only at that point that Fleur finally made her presence known, pouring a strong coffee into her favourite mug.
“Good morning, boys.” She acted as if she had heard none of the previous conversation. Bill smiled thankfully at her, placing a welcoming kiss to her cheek, “When Bill goes to work today, he will ask the Goblins about crafting you a prosthetic. Their craftmanship is certainly better than any wizard I have seen, and I would ‘ate to see you in anything as tasteless as Alastor’s veritable peg leg.” Her voice was strong, decisive. “You will need ze independence. While you will remain ‘ere for the foreseeable, zhere will come a time where you will wish to pursue a life of your own.” There was a soft smile on her face, Bill wondered just what Harry would end up doing now being an Auror was out of the question.
Harry must of heard the determination in his wife’s voice because he did not argue, he merely nodded with a quiet thank you, his plate now pushed in front of him, the food moved but no less. His coffee had gone though.
“The Goblins said they would have your leg in a week.” The goblins had grumbled, but he had offered them a month of his wages and they had acquiesced.
“How much do I owe you?” His question was almost immediate after the announcement.
“The cost is not your responsibility.” And it wasn’t, while it wasn’t him that had done the damage, it was his family, so it should be a Weasley to pay. And yet, for the first time since they had found Harry on their property a few long days ago a fire blazed in his eyes.
“I’m not your responsibility either, yet here we are. How much, Bill?” Fleur watched the proceedings before her with amusement, the small smile hidden by the book in her hands.
“Maybe an agreement then Harry?” The man narrowed his eyes.
“I’m not a fan of ultimatums Bill.” His voice was stony, and Bill had the feeling he had miss stepped somewhere, but he was both a Weasley and a Gryffindor so ploughed on regardless.
“I’ll let you pay, if it means that much to you, but in return. See not an ultimatum, a request. In return you don’t put up silencing charms.” Harry snorted. It was the most emotion Bill had seen from the man in a while, even if it wasn’t positive emotion.
“You want me to keep you awake? Have you gone mad?” Bill laughed, a quick sharp sound that was almost a bark in response, despite the severity of the situation.
“Nah, not mad yet. Harry you’ve never dealt with the nightmares, never had time to, but you have time now and we, me and Fleur, we want to help you. We can’t help when we don’t know you’re suffering.” Bill watched as the fire faded, a softness entering his eyes as he looked at the redhead.
“Name your price.” With his agreement Fleur no longer hid her smile, though it be one of support over amusement now.
And with that admission the week passed once again in a blaze of sleepless nights. A pattern was built, Harry would scream, Fleur or Bill would wake him, Harry would cry as a Weasley held him, and then when the tears stopped, he would talk. Little slips of what plagued him.
“Their ghosts hovered as they did in reality, but they didn’t support me, there was more, everyone who died, and they blamed me.”
“I couldn’t save Ginny from the basilisk; I was too late.”
“Remus didn’t hold me back from the veil, he pushed me through it because he blamed me.”
“I killed a man at 11. He was possessed by Voldemort, but I killed him anyway.”
“I nearly killed Malfoy. I found a spell in Snape’s books and used it without knowing what it did.”
“Sometimes I remember when Snape killed Dumbledore, sometimes I dream I killed Dumbledore.”
“They leave me in the cupboard for days, sometimes I was so thirsty I’d have to suck on my own hair just for some moisture. Summer was the worst; I’d sweat it off.”
Some of the stories the couple heard they weren’t sure if were real or just nightmares. Some were only obvious only because of the wording. Every single one was horrific though.
And though he talked his nightmares did not lesson, and yet he became more alive in the days. He’d gone from staring listlessly at a wall, eyes empty and saying very little unless directly engaged, to spending his days reading. He would engage them in conversation, light and tentative, and one night Bill even managed to talk him into a game of chess.
And as the Goblins promised, a week later, Bill returned home with a package in hand. They hadn’t seen Harry look so scared by the light of day until he set eyes on that package, like the replacement more than the emptiness reminded him of the incident.
“Is that… the leg?” His voice was quiet, wary, as if the package would hurt him.
“Yeah, it’s charmed so only you can remove it. It’s certainly better than Moody’s but also clearly not real.” He uncovered the leg as he spoke, knowing telling the truth would be better for Harry. The lie would only last a few seconds anyway. Truth be told, it was only a step up from Moody’s, while his had been completely straight though, Harry’s was bent and curved to resemble an actual calf. There was no foot, the bottom flaring out to a flat steady circle, “They also provided a cane. They don’t know if you’ll need it permanently or just while you adjust.” Harry just shrugged.
“Good job I no longer wanted to be an Auror.” The small laugh was mirthless, though it was news to Bill and Fleur.
“You didn’t? What do you want to do?” Fleur’s question had not meant to be a distraction from the leg, it was born of genuine curiosity.
“Honestly, I’m not sure, I just knew I didn’t want to fight anymore. I was, am, going to study a bit first, explore.” He seemed sure of himself, like the façade he had displayed during the war, except maybe it wasn’t a façade this time, “Well then, guess I should try this monstrosity on, the sooner I can walk, the sooner I can get out of your hair.” He looked determined, but that glint in his eye was one they recognised from the nighttime, when he spoke of burdens and horror. Bill put the leg to the side for a minute, sitting down beside Harry, smiling over the man’s head as his wife did the same on the other side.
“Harry, we’re not going to force you to stay, but we’d like you to. You can study here, and I hope been here has been good for you to an extent. We can continue to help.” His voice was steady and honest, and Fleur’s hand on Harry’s knee cemented the point he was trying to make.
“I’d rather not return to Grimmauld yet, but I don’t want to impose any more than I already have. I doubt you intended to spend the early years of your marriage with an emotional and physical cripple.” There was bitterness in his voice.
“And zat, ‘arry, is exactly why you should stay. We knew what we were getting into when we decided to care for you. You are our friend, and we want you to get to a point where you are ‘appy.” And if Harry had been right, that they hadn’t planned this for after the war, then it didn’t change the fact they didn’t hate it. They hated Harry’s misery, to know how much he had gone through in such a short amount of time, but they enjoyed having Harry with them.
And then Harry was crying, not the great heaping sobs of his nightmares, but tears of gratitude and healing as he hugged them each in turn as tightly as he could.
“Come on, let’s get that leg on you.” Harry nodded, as if knowing the support was there had bolstered him. Bill was gentle as he fitted it to Harry’s leg as per the Goblin’s instructions. Bands wrapping tightly around Harry’s thighs as the prosthetic rested over the globe that was the stump of his leg. Bill patted the thigh as he finished before stepping back.
“How’s it feel?” Bill bit back a laugh at the distasteful look on Harry’s face.
“Wrong.” It was one word, but it summed it up well enough.
“Do you wanna try standing with it?” Harry looked like he had to physically steel himself to prepare, before he nodded.
“I should. Chuck the cane.” Bill did not, in fact, chuck the cane, he passed it over to Harry with an eye roll.
Harry hated it. Absolutely detested this lump of Goblin carved wood he was expected to call a leg. It was better than no leg though, it was better than been sickeningly dependent on Fleur and Bill as he had for the last week and a half. This wasn’t how he had expected life after the war to be. And yet it was.
He used the, admittedly quite beautiful cane, to support his weight as he stood unassisted for the first time since the accident. Except it wasn’t an accident, because Harry knew the intent required to do such serious damage with a severing curse despite its name. It was made for dressmaking originally, not this kind of harm. That Molly had done it hurt more than the injury itself ever had.
He nearly toppled over at first, the leg feeling too heavy and very wrong. Bill was quickly there to steady him, and he fought the natural urge to shrug off any kind of support.
“Easy there, Harry.” Harry snorted; he was starting to feel very bitter about the whole situation.
“Easy there. When has anything been easy. It feels like dead weight.” He growled the words out, glaring daggers at offending object rather than Bill. And with that he pushed off from Bill, taking his first very shaky steps. He felt like he’d ran a race with the effort it took to coordinate steps with his new leg.
“Take it, easy, ‘arry. Do not over-exert yourself. It will come.” Harry nodded, defeated, at least for now. Walking back to the sofa felt like enough of a chore. Almost as if Fleur could taste his defeat (she was very perceptive like that) she reiterated her last point, “It will come.”
And she wasn’t wrong. With time he would adjust. But it would never be the same. Harry was glad there was no stairs in Shell Cottage. He didn’t want to contend with them as well as flat ground.
Harry felt helpless as he woke in a tangle of limbs and blankets once again that night. He just wanted the nightmares to stop, but as soon as whichever visitor was stroking through his hair had left, they would return.
“Memory or nightmare?” By the rumble in the voice, it was clearly Bill.
“Memory. Not even a proper memory, it was just Cedric getting killed over and over again.” He could still hear ‘kill the spare’ ringing in his ears as Bill coaxed him back to sleep. It was still there, as if it hadn’t left, just pushed to the side by Bill’s presence.
Despite the words he felt himself starting to drop off, and then Bill starting to disentangle himself. The further the redhead got away, the louder the words rang in his ears, slowly taunting him. He reached out blindly, grasping onto Bill’s retreating form. Harry wasn’t even sure he was awake, but he felt relief wash through him as Bill turned back towards him.
“Stay,” And then tacked on, with all the desperation he was feeling, “Please.” Bill didn’t even think, slipping his slippers from his feet, wrapping an arm over Harry’s torso. It was the best Harry had ever slept, ‘kill the spare’ on the edge of his consciousness but unable to reach him.
“Should I be concerned to find my ‘usband in bed wiz another man?” Harry jerked awake at hearing Fleur’s strong French accent. He tried to sit up but realised quickly that he was pinned down. He flashed his eyes open, first taking in the scarred and freckled arm wrapped around him, then Bill’s face next to his on the pillow. The other man was still asleep, heavy breath blowing Harry’s hair as if in a breeze. The next thing he noticed was Fleur standing in the doorway, smile on her lips and laughter in her eyes. The gaze quelling the fear threatening to choke Harry. Seconds later, her gaze softened.
“’aving someone with you? It helped?” Harry nodded tentatively at the searching question. The smile returned, and yet there was a glint in Fleur’s eyes as if she had come to some kind of decision. Whatever decision she did not deem to share it with Harry yet.
It was adorable, in its own way, to find her Bill and Harry as they were. Maybe it was because it was the most content, she had seen Harry since he had been here, Hell maybe since she had ever known him. Knowing her husband was not completely straight she might have been concerned, but she saw it for what it was. It was nice, if not cold, to sleep the whole night through, she felt more rested than she had for a while. And when Bill finally awoke, he looked likewise rested.
She held in a giggle at the very confused look on Bill’s face as he discovered that the person under his arm was in fact not his wife, then as sleep deserted him, the understanding spread across his face. He had yet to notice her, but that was understandable, why would he expect her there in Harry’s room.
“You didn’t awake again?” Harry shook his head, a small smile on his face. Bill nodded, a small pleased look on his face, dropping a kiss to the crown of Harry’s head, a small and affectionate gesture, before rolling out of bed. It was then that Bill finally noticed her, he assessed her features, looking for disapproval, but she had none. This was the breakthrough they were looking for she hoped. He matched her smile, pulling her in for a kiss when he was confident she was in no way mad.
“I’m sorry for stealing your husband, Fleur. Maybe I could make breakfast in apology.” He was already aware she was not mad, shown in the slight cheek in the grin he sent her.
“Oui, that would be pleasant. Would you like us to assist you to the kitchen first?” Harry shook his head, slow but confident, “We will meet you after a shower then.” He nodded, and so Fleur dragged Bill to the bathroom, confident that Harry would call them if he found himself in trouble.
She enjoyed the quiet intimacy of showering with her husband, feeling worshipped by his gentle strokes of the washcloth over her body, feeling loved by the look in his eyes. And when the shower was done, and they dried each other off, she finally brought up the idea that swam into her head while she had spoken to Harry.
“’arry slept well while not alone.” Bill nodded, giving her a querying look.
“I know you are planning something Fleur, what are you thinking.” He looked at her steadily, no judgement just curiosity in his eyes.
“We should bring him to bed with us.” Bill’s eyes widened, yet not with alarm.
“I don’t think he’s ready for that.” Fleur snorted, swatting at Bill’s arm.
“Zhat is not what I meant. I meant to sleep. You did not look uncomfortable, we will all sleep, I would not be opposed,” and then she shot her husband a sharp look, not quite accusatory, “I must say it iz interesting where your mind went there, ‘usband.” She grinned as he blushed bright red, his cheeks nearly matching his hair.
“Don’t go getting ideas, wife of mine,” He kissed her nose, a fond smile on his mouth, “I am sure that even if he was in such a position, we would not be something that would interest him.”
“Non, you are right, this is not a matter for now. Though I would not be so sure about his lack of interest, at least when he is in a healthier mindset.
And so, time had continued, a pattern had developed. Harry had been hesitant at the suggestion, hesitant until he had been cajoled and slept the whole night through without waking. Waking to Fleur’s legs tangled with his, Bill’s arm thrown over his torso. It felt right in a way that many things hadn’t in a long time.
He had become the unspoken chef within the household, since the first meal he had cooked in which Bill had declared him better than Molly. He had flushed at first, looking to see if he had upset Harry, but the man just nodded, accepting the praise for what it was.
Harry would cook breakfast as Bill and Fleur showered. Sometimes he felt bad that this was often the only private time they had, but they would wave him off. Assuring him they had their ways. They would then go off to work, and he would shower, make sure to keep the house clean and then spend hours down by the beach studying. He had never enjoyed studying up until this point, and yet now he soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. He would never consider Grimmauld Place a home, but he was thankful for its library.
On rare afternoons he would visit Ron and Hermione, glad to see their relationship blooming in the three months since the accident. It had taken them a few visits to look past his new leg, he couldn’t blame them, it had taken him longer, and while he could now walk fine it still felt wrong and foreign. More often than with Ron and Hermione he would find himself spending afternoons at the shop with George. Between the accident and Fred’s death they had taken each other under the other’s wing. Supporting each other through the misery. Of course, the others desperately missed Fred, but no one quite understood his misery like George did. If Fleur and Bill were a crutch, allowing him to get up and walk, then George was a rock, allowing him to not just move past the pain but accept it too.
It was only through George, everyone else too hesitant to bring up their mother, that he heard about Molly’s therapy and that it was going well. That the therapist was ready to release Molly from their regular sessions. While they didn’t plague his nightmares anymore, the memories still existed, and he felt, for closure purposes at least, he needed to talk to Molly.
He finally found the courage to bring the idea up when Friday at dinner. He had made Fleur’s favourite. He wanted to butter her up a little, she was the more protective of the pair and would be most likely to argue against it. He waited until they had tucked him, a look of happiness on both Bill and Fleur’s faces as they dug in.
“I have a couple of things I want to discuss.” Both looked up at him at that, a tenseness entering the air.
“Is everything okay?” Harry’s heart melted at the concern in the faces that faced him. He wondered how he would have gotten through this whole situation without the pair.
“I think so yes.” He hoped it would be, “I think I’ve finally decided what I want to do. I’ll need to talk to Professor McGonagall of course, but I want to teach.”
“I think you’d enjoy that; I remember hearing stories about the DA. It is no small feat to guide a group of 14 and 15 year olds into producing a corporeal Patronus.” Harry smiled at the memory; it had been thoughts of those days that had inspired the idea. Hogwarts had had to miss a school year for rebuilding, September not long coming and passing with everyone still at home. By the time the next school year came around he thought he would be ready.
“That is not all you wanted to discuss?” It was barely a question, Fleur’s acceptance of his desire to teach in her lack of comment. Harry bit his lip, not sure how to bring the next thing up, “Do not overthink it ‘arry. We will not judge you.” Harry nodded. He knew that.
“I want to see Molly. George said she’s practically done with therapy. Whether that meeting leads to healing or closure I think it would be good for us both.” He didn’t look at either of them. He did not want to see the expressions on their faces. When Bill’s response came the words were slow, as if he was calculating every word.
“I don’t think you’re wrong. If mum agrees we won’t stop you, you’re an adult. However, you won’t go alone.” Harry looked up; Bill’s gaze steady. Fleur did not look like she liked the idea either, but her words gave acceptance.
“We will be with you every step of the way.”
“Thank you, not just for this, for everything.” They smiled soft smiles at him, his heart skipping small beat as he looked at the beautiful couple.
The meeting had felt like a good thing at the time, a way to bring closure for not just him for the whole family. Now the day had come though, Harry felt positively sick. When he had heard, George had announced that he would be there too, Harry was glad.
“This is your choice Harry; you can back out at any time.” Bill’s hand on Harry’s back was strong and comforting, as each week passed the couple became increasingly more tactile with him. Maybe it was because he no longer acted like a skittish lamb, maybe it was from the sheer familiarity afforded from sleeping in the same bed for three months, Harry wasn’t sure. But he did know, while not this comforting, steadying touch, some of the softer, more passing touches drove him crazy.
And when the warmth flooded through him, so too did the guilt. He had never much considered his sexuality before now, just assuming he was straight. And yet now that he had time, he could think of time’s he had thought on the attractiveness of a male and had failed to recognise it as the attraction it was. Bill had awakened the feelings, but he realised they had always been, as real as any attraction he had to a female.
But his wondering feelings for the couple that had come to care for him was not of importance now. No, he had no time to think of anything but the Burrow looming almost ominously in front of him.
“No, I need to. You’ve both shown me I need to face my fears head on.” And they walked on, Fleur’s hand squeezing his, Bill’s hand on his back, stroking just slightly with his thumb. Between the pair he was as calm as he could have expected to be.
Harry was glad it was George who opened the door. His smile light, though there was some worry in his eyes. He pulled Harry into a warm hug, even more of his nerves melting away.
“Thank you, little brother.” Harry was surprised by the thanks, and yet maybe not so much either. George needed his family as whole as could be after losing Fred, Harry would make amends with Molly if it meant George had more security.
“Family argue, big brother, but love pulls through.” And despite it all, despite the memory of Molly’s awful words he couldn’t think of her as anything but family.
That did not make seeing her any easier, not even with Bill, Fleur and George by his side. He didn’t think anything could have stopped the flood of fear, not even for her actions, from the thought that maybe it had not just been the grief talking, that it had been her true and deepest thoughts. Yet, she did not scream or rave when she saw him, she sobbed, her eyes transfixed to the prosthetic.
“Oh Harry, I hurt you so badly.” And she was looking at the leg, and suddenly he wanted her to understand.
“My leg doesn’t didn’t hurt. What is done is done, and it is gone. I never wanted to be an auror, no dreams died with its loss. Your words were what hurt, they nearly killed me. Both literally and figuratively.” Harry took a deep breath, not wanting the answer to the question, “Did you mean it? Do you really blame me?” The pressure Bill and Fleur provided, a physical comfort where they dare not say words.
“How can you even bare to look at me after what I did, what I said?” And she had not answered his questions, but her own and her distraught face spoke for her. The answer was simple to Harry.
“Because we are family. You’ve been the closest I’ve had to a mother since I was eleven, how could I hold your grief against you.” Molly was crying again, tentatively she had stepped to pull him into a hug, and he couldn’t resist. The hug, despite the time and what had transpired had not changed, Harry wasn’t sure if it made him want to rejoice or cry. He remembered a time when the Burrow had been home, but now he just wanted to go home. And home felt like Shell Cottage, home with Bill and Fleur holding him between them as the only way to chase away the horror.
“I’m so sorry, Harry. For everything.” And she meant it.
“It’ll be okay.” But it wasn’t, not yet, but it would be. It would take time to build broken bridges, but they weren’t broken beyond repair.
“You love him.” Fleur’s words had come out of the blue, a scant few days after the meeting with Molly at the Burrow. Like every morning they were in the bathroom, drying off from their shower. Bill searched his wife’s eyes, looking for something, whether it was accusation or reciprocation he wasn’t sure. And yet her gaze was unnaturally steady, so all that was left was to tell the truth.
“I do.” And it should have been a lie, but it wasn’t. Spending so much time with the man had allowed him to see all the good and bad within the man. As much as he couldn’t wait to see Harry follow his dream, he dreaded the day that he would leave Shell Cottage. The ten months from November to the following September seemed a lot shorter. He was unprepared for the dazzling smile his wife gave him. It is a rare occasion that a person would accept their spouse admitting to been in love with another person.
“I do too.” He shouldn’t have been surprised by the admission. The signs had all been there now that he had the confirmation. Part of him wasn’t surprised. There was a pause as they took in each other’s confessions, but they didn’t feel much like confessions, just fact, “We should bring him to bed with us.” Bill smiled at the reminder of their earlier conversation, one that felt like a lifetime ago now.
“Do you think he would want to?” Last time he had argued if the man was ready, but he had come out of his shell now, and Bill just wasn’t sure if Harry actually wanted this.
“I do not know if he feels for us as we do him, but I am certain he appreciates the view.” There was a smirk on her face, and while everything felt very uncertain, he kissed his wife until she was panting, hope blooming in his chest that this could work. And so, they plotted.
Their plan was enacted a few days later. Fleur and Bill had by chance awoken before Harry. They had discussed their plan, weak as it was, enough to not need words to convey they would follow through with it today. They lay there, enjoying the silence, waiting for Harry to wake up.
Fleur did not even wait until he was fully awake, swooping in to claim a kiss from Harry. Bill certainly could not deny the sight was a beautiful one, Fleur and Harry like day and night as they battled together. Bill ran a hand over his wife’s hip, pushing closer to Harry’s back, hoping their younger bedmate could feel his appreciation for the sight.
“Fleur.” Her name came as a mewl from Harry’s lips, giving himself into the kiss in his half-asleep state. Speaking seemed to have awoken him properly though, pulling away immediately, almost headbutting Bill’s chin. “Fleur, what are you doing?” He whispered the words to Bill’s wife, as if afraid of waking her husband. Bill grinned at said wife, leaning in beside Harry’s head.
“Hmm yes, what were you doing, wife of mine?” Bill didn’t even need to see the man’s face to imagine the panic that must have lit up his face.
“Shit, Bill, I’m sorry. I thought it was a dream.” Bill chuckled. He didn’t want to end the game quite yet.
“Do you dream of my wife, mon belle Fleur, often Harry?” His voice was low, and he felt the heat as a blush rose in Harry’s cheeks. Harry started trying to scramble a little then.
“I’m sorry. I should go. I’ll go to George’s.” And the game was over.
“Harry don’t go. Do you think Fleur would kiss you in our marital bed while I was this close without permission?” He smiled at the confusion, pushing his still straining erection against the man’s back, whispering into his ear, “Do I seem like I disapprove.” The gasp of shock showed the man had gotten his point. Harry looked at Fleur, seeing amusement and desire mirrored there.
“It is not just me you dream of is it, ‘arry?” Her smile was beautiful and secretive, and Bill was sure his heart would burst.
“No. I should have left as soon as my feelings started to change.” There was insecurity and nerves there, but also a promise. Fleur met the man’s eyes steadily, a calming presence on Harry as much as Bill.
“Maybe so, and maybe we should have kicked you out of our bed when ours started to change,” Her eyes flicked to Bill, a teasing glint in her eyes, “Then again, if that was the case Bill probably should have never let you into our bed.” Bill tried to glare, but he couldn’t this moment too tender, a moment in time that would make or break what they had here. Bill heard the man let out a little ‘oh’ of shock.
“What does this mean? Do you just want sex? I thought Bill was straight.” Bill thought maybe this wasn’t a conversation they should be having while he was so turned on, it deserved the severity it tried to demand. And yet none of them made to disentangle from the other. Bill let out a small chuckle at the question, but let Fleur do the talking.
“Bill is as straight as you are. His interests lie many places, it’s where his heart lies that matters. It means whatever you want it to mean ‘arry. If you just want sex, we would settle for that, but we would much prefer if you joined us as a third in both body and heart.” Fleur had always been the poetic one, he had stumbled upon many a word when romancing her. Between his family and his lack of suavity it was a wonder they had reached this point.
“Both of you want this?” This time the question was clearly directly at Bill, the man’s head twisting around to look at him. Emerald eyes glittered with excitement and hope and uncertainty.
“We wouldn’t have approached you if we weren’t sure.” And before Harry could question anymore, he leaned in to claim a kiss, it seared through his body, so very different to Fleur’s kisses, yet so very right. Bill even thought he could taste his wife in the kiss from where they had kissed earlier. Any lingering doubt Bill had about Harry only wanting Fleur floated away as Harry melted into him, kissing back just as needily as he gave into the kiss.
When Bill finally pulled back, for air more than any desire to stop, he watched as with a dazed look Harry pinched sharply at the skin of his own bicep.
“What on earth are you doing Harry?”
“I had to make sure this definitely wasn’t a dream.” The reply was almost impish. Bill laughed heartily, Fleur’s tinkling laugh in tandem, and it was freeing.
If Harry had opened up under their care, he had positively flourished under their love. Time was nearly a joke with how it flew. Somehow very little changed in their patterns, except kisses here and there. The touches that had drove Harry wild more open, as if they didn’t need to hide them any longer. He touched them too sometimes now, his own signs of affection in this new dynamic.
There had yet to be anything more than kissing and heavy petting yet in the bed, but then it had only just been over a month, and Harry was okay with that, it would come with time. They were both so beautiful, and though he knew Bill did not always believe it, inside and out. They made his heart race from want and his heart stutter from their affection.
But Christmas was finally approaching, and he needed to leave Shell Cottage for the very first time. No one outside of the family knew of his accident yet and he knew he would have to answer questions when he went outside to the public for the first time. He called upon Ron and Hermione for his trip, picking a day they were not working, and Bill and Fleur were. Part of it was because of his desire for his own independence, part of it was because he knew Fleur would be overprotective, wanting to shield him from prying eyes and their questions. But she wouldn’t be able to forever.
Maybe he had underestimated Hermione’s own fussing. He had been there for half an over and they still hadn’t left.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this, Harry?” No, he wasn’t sure, he was positive it was going to be insufferable, but if he told anyone that they would keep him in a gilded cage of protection, and he would never truly heal.
“It’s just over a week before Christmas, I have only one present that is in progress so far, yes I am ready.” She took in the independence in his eyes, that steely glint she had seen so many times in his life, saw the fact it had more life than she had ever seen. She nodded as a smile bloomed on her face.
“You’re happy. Truly happy.” She did not question it, merely hooked her arm around Harry’s, Ron at his other side as they stepped through the Floo to the Hogshead. They stepped to the bar before going to outside, Harry wanting to stop for a chat with Aberforth for the first time since the war.
“Well what’s this riff-raff then?” The man hadn’t really changed in the months since he had last seen him, still so very Dumbledore but yet so very rough.
“Christmas shopping.” As the inn keeper pushed their drinks over, he flicked his eyes down to Harry’s leg.
“Well what’s the story there then, boy? Last time I heard you didn’t lose a leg in the war.” His voice was as gruff as ever, straight to the point, no bush to beat around here. The lie he had decided on slipped out easily.
“Got hit by a curse that made my leg start to rot. Tried to find a reversal but it was spreading too fast, so they culled it at the source.” Harry could see the disbelief in the elderly man’s eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was because he knew Harry so well, the snort from Ron, or just that his story was unbelievable. He hoped it was the first. Though maybe the second because seconds later Ron was whispering almost angrily in my ear.
“You’re protecting mum?” Harry nodded at Ron. If the public heard the truth, they would call for Azkaban.
“You protect family, Ron.” Ron snorted at that, some of his drink nearly escaping back out his nose.
“She sure as Hell didn’t protect you.” Harry forgot that they didn’t know that peace had been made, they wanted to keep it secret for now, both because of the tentative nature of their bridges and so it would be one more Christmas surprise.
“She wasn’t herself.” Ron still didn’t look like he particularly liked it, but he accepted it, nonetheless.
When their drinks were done, they went to start their shopping. The town was busy, and Harry thought it was that reason he was able to pass unnoticed for as long as he did. Nobody was certainly expecting him to be the man walking through Diagon with a prosthetic leg.
But his luck did not last all day, they had just exited Flourish and Blotts to discover a hoard of reporters outside his door. He sighed, taking in all of the expectant faces, and there, at the back, was Luna, curiosity but not expectation on her face, he smiled at her, thankful for the friendly face.
“Firstly, if you all shout at me, I cannot answer any of your questions. Secondly, even if I could answer any of your questions, I’m not going to. Exclusive rights to any story regarding my private life will be given to the Quibbler, a place I trust that truth will out.” He nodded at Luna as her eyes glittered. This could be mutually beneficial, subscriptions to her paper would flourish and he would have some control over what was said about him.
They continued to shout at him for a minute, but stayed stony faced, not bending nor breaking. Harry wasn’t sure if he intimidated them because of, or in spite of, his new leg. Regardless, he was glad when all but Luna left.
“Harry, I had to come when I heard the rumours around the circles. I was thinking we were more likely to finally find the Crumple-Horned Snorcrack than see you in public.” Harry smiled at the blonde. It had certainly been too long.
“I have been healing. Sea air is good for the soul.” They walked together with Ron and Hermione, Harry casually guiding them Towards George’s shop, knowing they would get some privacy there.
“Shell Cottage.” She seemed to flicker back to her own memories of the quaint home, before her eyes looked at him with an assessing intensity, “Bill and Fleur, they make you happy.” It was not a question, and there was a look in her eye, a startling reminder of just how astute she could be, that said she knew just what kind of happy they made him. His reply was quiet, so Ron and Hermione could not hear.
“If the sea is good for my soul, then they are good for my heart.” The smile he received in response was serene.
George greeted them jovially as they entered the shop. Pulling all but Luna into a warm hug. For their familial quality, Harry much preferred George’s hugs over Molly’s now. The twins had been a constant in his life since he was a boy, their support more steadfast than Ron’s often. Ron was his best friend still, certainly, but George was his brother.
“Well this isn’t how I usually see you in my shop.” His eyes were questioning.
“Had some shopping to do. Bumped into the press, I thought you wouldn’t mind me giving a private interview.” He ducked his head towards Luna, indicating the ethereal blonde.
“Ah yes, how could I deprive the adoring fans. How did you get rid of the others?” Harry grinned.
“Stared them down and informed them Luna had exclusive rights” George shook his head at that, his gaze set on Luna.
“Can your paper cope with the kind of sales this will bring.” Luna smiled easily.
“Yes, Daddy knows how to expand production easily.” With that George nodded, opening the door to the backroom so they could talk.
“You are both going to tell me the public story and the truth, Harry.” Her voice did not change, that same serenity. He’d only heard her shout once, that was enough for him. He blinked in shock.
“Are you a seer?” It was the only logical excuse.
“Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes I just know things.” She shrugged as if it meant little. “Let us start with the truth, and then you can tell me what you want to print.”
And so, he did, somehow telling the story to someone who didn’t have the name Weasley (or were at least on the way to becoming a Weasley) was cathartic. She listened and did not judge, him nor Ginny nor Molly. She did not comment, merely asking for the story she was going to print. She smiled at that.
“Do you know what you want to do with life now that an Auror is out of the question.” There was a twinkle in her eye as if she already knew what he thought of been an Auror.
“I had no desire to become an auror. I had considered a number of things before the curse, but if McGonagall will take me, I’d like to go into teaching.”
“You were very good at it. I appreciate how much patience it took for you to help me focus enough to produce the Patronus.” Her disposition was pleasant to be around, but certainly in places, it had its weaknesses.
“It was the memories of the DA that made me want to teach.” She smiled, wrapping up the impromptu interview. Ron and Hermione had waited downstairs, catching up with George and some of his newer products. Harry loved seeing them, but more than that he loved when George would take him into the lab and let him help make them.
“I must be off; Daddy will need this article as soon as possible if it is to be printed by tomorrow.” Goodbyes were said to the blonde as the floated out of the room. George turned to him.
“Did you tell her the truth?” There was no accusation. Just curiosity, and maybe a little hope that he had not.
“Yes, before I had even told her anything, she informed me I was going to tell her both the truth and the story. So, she has the same story for the public that Aberforth heard, but she also knows the truth.” George nodded, looking slightly discomforted that someone else knew the truth, but was thankful that Molly would stay protected.
“Right, I should go soon, I still have another shop to visit, and I wished to meet Bill and Fleur out of work.”
Ron and Hermione followed him to the shop but then left for home when they got to Gringotts, leaving Harry waiting alone for his couple. He took a seat, grateful for its presence, while the prosthetic was a godsend his good leg still ended up aching after long days from where it overworked to compensate for his lost leg.
Fleur entered the Floo room first, her eyes settling on him almost immediately, panic entering her eyes.
“’Arry, what are you doing ‘ere? Is everything alright?” Harry smiled serenely as her hands came to his cheek, assessing his face, looking for anything.
“Calm down, Fleur. I came shopping with Ron and ‘Mione, they went home but I decided to wait for you and Bill. Thought maybe we could go for dinner together been as I haven’t had time to cook.” The panic deflated, a kiss coming to the crown of his head. He had the distinct feeling she wanted to kiss more than just his forehead but daren’t while they were still in public.
“Kissing another man, mon Belle Fleur.” Bill’s voice was jovial as he stepped up to them, wrapping an arm around Fleur’s waist. These comments had become a running joke between the married couple whenever they saw the other being intimate with Harry.
“I thought there was something wrong. ‘E came shopping without us.” She crossed her arms as if dissatisfied.
“I didn’t come alone. I took Ron and Hermione with me! I couldn’t very well get you Christmas presents while you looked over my shoulder could I.” He stuck his nose out at the almost petulant look on Fleur’s face. Before finally she settled into a grin.
“You said you were taking us for dinner, non?” Harry rolled his eyes affectionately before standing to leave with them. Yes, Fleur certainly would have been fussy if he had gone with them if that behaviour was anything to go by.
“We do not have to go. We can spend Christmas here.” It was Christmas Eve and they were ready to set off for the Burrow. It had been decided that everyone would stay in the house from Christmas eve until the 27th, at which everyone would return home. Fleur had, unsurprisingly, picked up on his nerves.
“No, Fleur we do. It will be fine. Plus, Charlie visits so rarely, this is one of the few chances Bill gets to see him.” Harry couldn’t take that from the man, just because he was afraid. Fleur gave him one of those assessing looks, looking for some kind of security. Finally, though, she relented, sweeping in for a kiss.
“Okay. No matter any of them say though, you will sleep wiz us.” Harry couldn’t see that been much as a chore.
“Are you both ready?” Bill had stood back for the conversation, letting his wife fuss as she always did. He already knew the man would say yes.
In all Harry’s worrying about Molly he had completely forgotten about Ginny. That was until she was there standing right in front of him. He stepped back just slightly, so Bill’s hand was firmer against his back, Fleur’s hand almost in a death grip in his. She approached him. Shock in her eyes at his new leg, someone must have told her surely?
“Harry.” She looked him in the eye, and he searched for the anger, but like him there was none.
“Ginny.” He wasn’t going to lead this, not after the way she reacted last time.
“I’m sorry. I was petulant and childish. They say hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I now understand why you did what you did. I can see how healthy you are now, both in your eyes and the fact you’re actually a healthy weight for once. Thank you for respecting me when I didn’t give you that in return.” Harry shrugged, surprised by her words. Maturity was beautiful on her, and he imagined in another life he would have found his way back to her. A life where Bill and Fleur did not exist perhaps.
“I may not be in love with you, but I do love you very dearly, Gin. Can we be friends again?” Her smile was calm, as she stepped forwards to wrap her arms around him. He returned the hug easily, the embrace familiar and warm.
“I’m glad you did break it off, without that I may never have noticed Luna right under my nose.” Her smile was shy, blushing on the thought of new love.
“I gave her exclusive rights to my private life, and she didn’t even tell me she was dating my little sister.” He snorted playfully, and the tension melted away. With the air cleared between Harry and Ginny a round of hugs spread around the room.
Christmas eve was quiet, spent with board games and quidditch. Well until Charlie had turned up that is. Like when they arrived Charlie was swamped in a sea of hugs. Well until Molly noticed the miniature dragon with Charlie, his little scaled body wrapped in a Santa Claus onesie.
“Charles Weasley, there is not a dragon in my home, in a onesie.” Except there was, Charlie chuckled sheepishly.
“This is Thea. She’s only a pygmy breed, she won’t grow. She’s a sweetheart.” Molly looked just short of a heart attack.
“she’s adorable.” Everyone turned to Harry as his words came out in a hiss. No one even knew what he had said, except for Thea apparently. She preened at his words, fluttering on tiny wings to his shoulder.
“am not I am a noble dragon.” Her words were hissed back at him. And he chuckled, noble dragon certainly, but also very adorable.
“See it’s fine, ma. She’s already made a friend.” Charlie’s comment brought Harry back to the room. “You ever considered coming to work with Dragon’s. We’d never turn down a speaker.” Harry smiled at the new redhead. It was tempting, especially if all the dragons were as beautiful as Thea.
“My home is here, and plus it likely wouldn’t be safe.” He shifted his prosthetic as answer, with a shrug, “Though I’m probably going to miss Thea by the time you return to Romania.” He smiled down at the small dragon on his shoulder, her eyes blinking sleepily as she curled up on his shoulder. Charlie merely shrugged it off.
“Worth a try.” Before conversation fizzled within the house, filling the Burrow with warmth of a collected family.
As was common when two of them woke before their third, Harry and Fleur spent Christmas morning exchanging soft kisses, her hands gently on his cheeks, his hands almost reverent gliding over her hip. Harry loved mornings like this, where there was only steadily filtering light, heat from the sun and the two body’s around him, kisses almost lazy as they just waited for whoever wasn’t awake to wake.
His quiet morning was interrupted with a bang though. George bursting through the door. While some of his exuberance had been dampened by the first Christmas without Fred, he seemed almost determined that it would be as happy as could be.
“It’s Christmas, time to…” But his words trailed off as he took in the scene, Bill asleep peacefully while Harry and Fleur lay in embrace, “Fleur? Harry? What the FUCK.” His last word was louder than the others but not enough to wake the whole house, just Bill, and seconds later Ginny came running down the hall. Her room was on this floor and George had already been to wake her.
“What’s going on Georgie?” She looked at her big brother in concern.
“Harry and Fleur were making out while Bill was asleep.” There was disgust in his tone as he looked at his little brother and his eldest brother’s wife. He had not expected a small chuckle from Bill or the almost mocking laugh from Ginny.
“Yeah, and with your interruption you probably stopped Bill from joining in on the action.” She sent a wink to her eldest brother who just shook his head ruefully.
“Is someone going to explain?” Because he was feeling like he was missing out on something important.
“I’m not sure anyone should. You’ve been around Harry, and Bill and Fleur, regularly since our tiff and haven’t worked it out. George, I worked it out within five minutes. Well I suspected at least; this has just confirmed it.” She shrugged, “Do you not think it’s a little weird that they’re all topless?”
George hadn’t honestly noticed, too shocked by the sight to take in the details. When he finally looked away from Ginny all three bedmates were looking at him steadily, if not a little sheepishly. It finally came to him what the evidence all meant and what Ginny was trying to suggest.
“A triad? How on earth did you figure it out so fast?” Ginny grinned.
“I think it was the murderous look in both their eyes. I think the werewolf attack made Bill a little possessive, and we all know Fleur already was.” She laughed with her words, making it clear that she meant no harm. “Now this drama is over is someone going to explain just how Harry lost that leg?”
“You haven’t read the paper?” It took one look at Ginny’s stony gaze for Harry to realise she wasn’t here for the bullshit.
“I watched Luna write the bloody thing. Her nose flares when she lies. I also know you had no such bloody curse.”
“It doesn’t matter Gin. It’s done. It’s Christmas.” Harry felt a little uncomfortable about having this conversation after been caught in bed with his two lovers by his brother and ex. Ginny had no such qualms.
“What are you trying to hide?” But Harry couldn’t bare to tell her, not today of all days. Maybe never.
“It was Mum.” George’s reply was soft. He knew his little sister enough to know she would make a scene if she didn’t get her answer. All the fire left Ginny’s eyes.
“And you’ve still come?” Harry nodded.
“It was an accident. I’ve made my peace with it.” Ginny still looked troubled, but she finally stepped away, taking George with her. As much as it was nice for there to be a non-Weasley to know the truth, it was also nice for there to be a Weasley that didn’t know the truth, if Charlie picked up any of the tension, he did not comment on it.
When the other’s left Bill let out a hearty chuckle.
“Honestly, we shouldn’t expect anything to stay quiet for too long here. We should take bets with George and Gin on how long it will take everyone else to figure it out.”
“Hermione will figure it out first, Ron will be last.” He knew his best friends; Ron wasn’t always the best at spotting emotional things unless they were pointed out to him.
“I reckon he’ll have to fight Perce for that spot.” They laughed together as they made their predictions. They hadn’t quite wanted to go public so to speak, so early. Finally, though, their fun was brought to an end, George returning to them warning them it was time for breakfast.
If there was one thing that Harry had missed, it had been Molly’s cooking. By the end they were all stuffed and half sleepy, barely awake and yet excited for presents. As they pottered over to the tree, collecting on the miss matched couches, Harry turned to Bill.
“I can’t believe you said my cooking was better than this.” There was a glazed look in his eyes. Bill’s eyes were alight with amusement and affection, his fingers running over the nape of Harry’s neck. This was one of Harry’s favourite signs of affection, he wondered if he was succeeding in keeping the content grin off his face.
“Christmas is special. Having said that, I would sell my soul to see you team up with mum next year.” Harry patted the eldest Weasley’s thigh.
“I’m sure that can be arranged, no soul selling involved, as long as Molly will allow me in her kitchen.”
“Well after a recommendation like that, I have to see if it is truth.” She looked like she wanted to pretend to be offended, but the smile on her face kept any of the irritation from her.
“Come on now, settle down, it’s time for presents.” Molly, as always, took the reins, designated gift giver.
Strangely, his gifts to Bill and Fleur were not the one’s he was most nervous about. He knew they would appreciate them; knew they would see the significance in them when no one else would. No, his nerves came when Molly came to her gift.
“It will be fine, ‘arry. She will love it.” Her tone was soft and calming, or maybe it was her head on his shoulder. Thea, the little dragon barely leaving his side, rested on his other shoulder, blowing puffs of warm air in what he thought was comfort.
Harry felt his heart break a little to see Molly look surprised to get a gift from him at all, and it reminded him just how little time had really passed since the accident. He’d spent some of his early days cramped up in Shell Cottage learning how to knit, and so once he had made up with Molly, the gift she would receive at Christmas became obvious.
She treated it preciously, like the way he had when he had received his first one, surprised this family that barely knew him had thought of him at Christmas. In her hands lay her very own Weasley sweater, the M loud and proud on the front.
“Oh Harry, you shouldn’t have.” He shook his head, drawing her in to a hug as she cried just a little.
“Your jumper was one of the very first Christmas gifts I ever received. It’s been difficult Molly, but I love you.” Her words were whispered in her ear. She pulled the jumper on as she collected herself, though her eyes still looked a little teary.
Though it had not been intended as a gift at all, Charlie didn’t really know him, his best gift came from the dragon tamer.
“I called my boss last night; Thea was rejected by her family so likely wouldn’t be safe without relocation. If the way she reacted last night when I tried to put her to bed was anything to go by, we think the best place for relocation will be for you.” Harry had looked so surprised, turning to the dragon to ask if that was what she wanted. She had nuzzled into the crook of his neck, blowing warm air like a balm.
If Christmas Eve was calm, Christmas day was boisterous, then Boxing Day was reflective. He was introduced to a new Weasley tradition, wherein after lunch they would share one thing which they were grateful for. The circle started with Ginny on his left.
“I’m glad for love. That which brings us to each other, and to new things.”
“I’m glad that Hermione has finally decided that while I might have the emotional range of a teaspoon, I’m her teaspoon.” Everyone laughed as he brought their hands on the top of the table.
“I’m glad I’ll get to spend the rest of my life with said Teaspoon.” Ron lifted his hand from Hermione, revealing the ring that sat there, simple and very, very Hermione. Proceedings were interrupted by an onset of excited squeals from the women in the room, while Ron’s brothers all thumped him warmly on the back. When they had settled, they carried on around the room.
“I’m glad that despite all that had gone wrong this year, that we can all heal from the past.” Molly’s words were heavy, but very true.
“I am glad that my grandchildren will not be brought up in war.” They had none yet, but with everyone coupling off, they would unlikely be soon. Arthur couldn’t wait for the knitting frenzy that Molly would become.
“I am grateful that I found love in my work, though I feel the dragons have spoilt me off people for life.” There were a few soft chuckles at Charlie’s statements, he was certainly no blushing virgin, but he had yet to find someone willing enough to stick around, possibly daunted by his pure obsession with his dragons.
“I am grateful for the fact that Fred will always be a part of me.” George was the first person to explicitly bring up Fred, but his eyes were at peace and his tone steady. No one doubted there wouldn’t be bad days, but he would heal.
“I am grateful for the easy way I was accepted back home, into my family despite all I did.” Percy’s words were said with striking sincerity. Accepting him back had not been a difficult decision for the family.
“I am thankful to be the first to start a new generation of Weasley.” His fiancée beside him smiled softly, as she placed her hands over her stomach. Once again, the Weasley’s came alive in congratulations and Molly promptly cried at the words. Arthur smiled; the knitting frenzy would come sooner than he thought.
“I am grateful that my house is a home to those that I love.” Fleur’s words could have had a number of meanings, but Bill and Harry understood it for what it was, both offering her warm smiles.
“I am grateful for those that were able to see past the scars on my face to the love in my heart.” He remembered the fear that Fleur would leave him after the attack, his disbelief that Harry would want him as well as Fleur in all her beauty. But he knew better now, both his lovers’ hands rested on each of his knees, he could imagine that their pinky fingers were interlaced under the table.
Harry looked to Bill and Fleur before making his own thanks, looking for permission in their eyes. He saw surprise. He shrugged, it would only out in time.
“I am thankful for my partners, that not only healed me, but brought love into my life.” He squeezed Bill’s knee. The hand coming down on top of his, the only reassurance he needed.
“Why is the first time I hear about you dating someone is on boxing day.” Ron sounded positively cranky, “Who even is it?”
Harry laughed as Hermione mouthed teaspoon to him, like he had predicted she had worked out what he was saying. Ginny looked less amused.
“God you’re even slower than George and you were meant to be Harry’s best friend for 8 years. She rolled her eyes.
“Gin, love, I don’t think it’s just Ron been slow here.” Charlie and Percy looked just as confused, as did Molly and Arthur. Charlie looked around the table, before zoning in on his only older brother, “Fill us in big brother, you clearly know what’s going on.” Ginny was having too much fun, and George would undoubtedly join her in winding up the rest of them. Those in the know let out a little snort of laughter at just who Charlie picked on.
“He bloody well should know.” Ginny snorted the words under her breath, as Harry swiped playfully at her arm. As Charlie had predicted, Bill did not play games. He took Harry and Fleur’s hands from where they still rested on his knee, lifting them on the table where everyone could see.
And chaos descended on the Weasley Household.