By Musings of Apathy
Here is my attempt at participating in the National Novel Writing Month. You can find more information on that here: NaNoWriMo
My goal will be to write 50,000 words in the month of November. What will be posted here wlll be un-beta'd. Upon completion of reformatting and Beta work, it will be reposted under it's correct sub-heading.
Appologies before hand on the quality of the writing of this story, as it will be written at such speed as to be a stream of conciousness, with little contemplation of each little detail. Correction of mistakes will be taken care of after the NaNoWriMo deadline for reposting as an edited work.
Family Inseparable: Chapter 7
By: Musings of Apathy
"We got our letters! We got our letters!"
"We got our letters! We got our letters!"
"Fred! George! That's very nice, boys, but if you would just sit down and open them, you might just know what they actually said," their mum chastised them.
"But, mum, we haven't finished dancing around yet!"
"Sit down and open your letters. If you are good, I'll let you visit Gambol & Japes when we visit Diagon Alley for your school lists."
Like two little angels, the twins both immediately took their seats at the table. Their behavior was nothing new, however. They fooled no one. While the twins were opening their letters, Charlie and Percy were reading theirs, having forgone the theatrics.
"Mum," Charlie called for his mum's attention. "Have you read this?"
"Of course not, dear. What does it say?"
"It's my NEWT classes. I wasn't expecting this," he mumbled, a stricken look on his face. "I wanted to take NEWT Care of Magical Creatures, but..."
Molly quickly moved over to see what was the problem. With a flick of her wand, the bacon and eggs would tend themselves for a few minutes. "What is the problem, dear?"
"It's the requirements for NEWT Creatures. It says here that there are weekend trips to some farms and preserves here and in the Carpathians. The school provides a tent for the students and food, but the portkeys aren't free and some of the weekend classes have fees," he said, sounding distraught. His dream jobs all included a requirement of a NEWT in Care of Magical Creatures. Dragons in Romania, Nundus in Niger, Sphinxes in Egypt and Chimaera in Greece all required that applicants to their programs have the more advanced certification before they could start. "All together, the letter from Professor Kettleburn says that students must be able to afford seventy galleons in expenses."
"Seventy galleons?" Molly gasped. She took a couple of breaths and started to go over figures in her head. The great extra expense would be hard for the family to manage, but they would in the end. Perhaps it wasn't all needed at the beginning of the year. If it were spread out, they could come up with the money as they needed. "We'll find a way, Charlie. You'll get to take that class, if that is what you want to do."
"Mum, George and I have a bit of savings," Fred said while his twin nodded his head. "It's not much, a galleon and some sickles if it'll help."
"That's very generous..."
"And I have some as well," Percy chimed in. "And I don't need new books. Bill has all of his old ones. The defense book is the same as he used in his fourth year, if that's all right with him."
"Sure," Bill agreed. "And I'm making money at the bank, and well, if I take a lunch with me every day, I really don't have any expenses. What I make there would help cover."
"And I have money too, mum," Ginny chipped in. She knew that she and Harry had a sack of galleons in the trunk that they could give. She knew Harry wouldn't mind. She remembered that Harry was there when he squeezed her shoulder, as if to agree with her on the use of their galleons.
"That's all very generous, kids," Molly praised her children. "Your father and I will discuss this, but I don't think that everyone in the family needs to spend their own money. You all earned that money and I expect that you have stuff that you need to buy. Percy, don't forget that you have Hogsmeade trips this year. Is the permission slip in with your letter?"
"Yes, mum, it is. But I still have money that I can..."
"Not necessary, any of you. We'll work it out."
After breakfast, Ginny saw Charlie slinking up the stairs to the room he shared with Ron, her youngest brother. The rest of the Weasleys seemed to have things to do on the ground floor or outside in the spotty sunshine, while the weather was not so wet. Faintly, she heard the second step creak with no one on it, telling her that Harry was heading up the steps as well. She politely followed after placing her plate in the sink to wash.
In her room she saw the trunk open and could tell that Harry was sorting their money sack. She closed the door, making sure the latch clicked closed.
"Here, Ginny," Harry pulled the cloak off his head so he could speak to her face to face. "I thought we should give Charlie this money."
"But mum said they were going to take care of it," Ginny reminded him. She had no hold on the money, but she was used to trusting her mum and dad to fix things.
"Sure," Harry agreed. "But when we went on a field trip last year, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon gave Dudley some money so he could have something to spend on the trip. Is Charlie going to have anything to spend on his trips?"
"I don't know," she answered. "Okay. I'll give him the money." With a smile, Ginny kissed her husband on his cheek and took the moneybag. Without a hesitation, she exited the room and ascended the step to the room a the top of the stairs.
"Charlie," Ginny called softly while lightly knocking on her brother's door.
"What's up, dragonfly?" he answered while opening the door. She followed him into the room and goggled at the decoration. Surrounding Ron's bed were posters of the only Quidditch team he supported, the Chudley Cannons. Her youngest brother had gotten involved with the team when his uncle took him, and just him, to a game between the Cannons and the Heidelberg Harriers, a German team. Ginny couldn't explain how the resounding defeat in an exhibition match had cemented Ron's support, but it somehow had. Since then, what walls he could were covered in the most violent orange you could imagine. His older brother who had to share the space kept it to a minimum, but it still hurt the eyes if looked at directly.
"I wanted to give you this," she said, thrusting the leather sack into Charlie's hands.
"What'cha got here? Have you been saving your allowance?"
"Yeah," she said truthfully, although the money sack was barely weighted by her contribution. The money was hers, as it was Harry's, through community property, not that either child thought about that.
"Ginny, that is really nice of you..." Ginny interrupted him with a great hug. She squeezed the life out of him, to which he returned a firm hug. "But I can't...Mum and Dad are going to take care of it, you heard her."
"That's alright, Charlie. You're going to all those great places. You'll need spending money or something."
"But..." he started until she fixed him with a glare, easily communicating that she had made up her mind. Under her insistent eye, he opened his trunk and placed the sack of money firmly in the corner, under his overturned cauldron. "Okay, dragonfly. Maybe I'll find something to get you in some exotic locale." Ginny gifted him with a smile in return, one he answered with his own, from ear to ear. "Thanks, Ginny."
Just after the kids had eaten their lunch, Charlie was drafted to look after his siblings. His mum was visiting Diagon Alley, although she used the excuse of stopping at the apothecary rather than Gringotts. Charlie knew that she needed to check the balance of the family vault to find how dire his class choice would prove to be. With just a lock-up for wizarding money, the goblins of Gringotts were there to control access, not keep a detailed count of a wizard's money. They effected transfers from vault to vault quite efficiently, and kept records of such transactions very well, but did not have a record of the value of the interior of any vault. After all, anyone allowed access to the interior of the vault could take our or entomb any amount of coins or other objects without the goblins knowing how the balance had changed. However, for a fee, any service, including a vault inventory, could be rendered.
"Sweet Merlin," she exclaimed upon opening the Weasley family vault. Before her stood towering stacks of sickles and knuts. "What on earth? Did Arthur get a raise and forget to tell me? Have we won the Galleon Draw and not been notified?"
The escorting goblin paid her no mind, the contents of the vaults being strictly none of his business. The patrons would have to pay extra for him to care what they chose to store in their vaults. Thus, anything Molly Weasley said, in any form of exclamation or surprise, fell on apathetic ears. What would someone think if goblins started listening in and responding to the myriad of absently asked questions asked each day inside the bank. If they wanted questions answered, they could deal with those grouches on the teller desks. Those guys could really stack on the fees when the mood hit.
Molly quickly gathered a large sack of sickles and knuts, enough to handle her purchase at the apothecary and a trip to the alley for the kids school supplies sometime later. To herself, she thought she should wait until the mystery of the fattened vault was solved before the yearly Hogwarts shopping trip. She hoped the reason was found soon, because the children wouldn't want to wait long with their letters in hand.
As she was exiting the bank, she didn't even think of asking the tellers to explain the bloated vault contents, knowing of the fees the bank was known for. Instead, she planned to ask Arthur when he returned home that evening. Maybe her husband would know about the mysterious good fortune that had bless the family.
While the others were distracted, Ginny slipped into the woods with Harry carrying a basket filled with her idea of picnic food from the cold cupboard.
The twins took no notice as they set an old, rusty cauldron to heat in the middle of the garden, poised over a fire ring built by their father before they could remember for clear summer nights during the full moon. They built a small fire with just a couple of split logs and managed to get the cauldron filled with water from the tap by the shed to the fire each holding a side. With the cauldron heating and an old book standing open on a bench, the two ran off to harvest the magical plants found around the garden and in the nearby wood. Really the variety of magical plants were a boon for experimental youth such as the twins.
Charlie kept a close eye, but his philosophy of child minding was to prevent any disasters. At the worst, he knew that the garden and surrounding area didn't have anything violently reactive, so the twins would be relatively safe. However, his minding of the twins left Ginny to her own devices. Charlie knew that she was a generally safe and good child, so he didn't worry. Besides, the half eye he had to spare was occupied with Ron's attempt at a simulated war involving a muddy puddle, a stick that seemed to still have a green leaf or two and two forts he was building from flat stones and wood from the wood pile.
Harry and Ginny ran along with the picnic basket held between them until they found a dense enough patch of trees to leave them concealed well from her brothers or any other intrusion.
As Ginny spread the blanket and set out the food, she asked, "Would you go and find some more vine like you did before, so we can try that again?"
"Sure," Harry said, standing up and spinning around, trying to get his bearings. "I don't know ... which ... which way did I go before?"
Molly Weasley left the bank and made her way to the apothecary for the very real needs of ingredients for the household. There she took her time to find the ingredients she needed, still with care as to what would get the job done most economically. She needed to make more healing potions to replenish her depleted supplies. Lucky she was a competent potions student in her day, or a family of nine would be paying a king's ransom for commercial potions, rather than the more reasonable ingredients.
Throughout her shopping, she could not shake the mystery of the larger bank account. To tell the truth, it worried her a bit. They needed the money, but if they spent it and it turned out to be a mistake, they would have no way of paying it back when the goblins came looking. While they paid rent on the land the Burrow was built on, Arthur and Molly prided themselves on being without debt. They had built up their lives and family without flexing their credit or living above their means. Money was always tight, but they managed to provide for their children and themselves.
They both loved their children, and loved having so large of a family around, but it did put a strain on the income at times. Soon ... soon, Molly knew, her oldest would be moving away from home, just because that is what adults did. However, with Bill in training at Gringotts, essentially, the pay was just at a minimum, so it would likely be that he wouldn't move out until his certification and first assignment as a full employee of the bank, much to the mother's joy with him being around for just that little bit longer. One less mouth to feed wouldn't save nearly anything, not nearly as much as it would effect her and her husband to have one of their children leave the nest.
When Harry explored the direction Ginny indicated, he didn't find the meadow that he remembered from before, just a farmers field on the far side of the wood they were playing in that stretched quite a ways in each direction. Nothing he saw would make him think there was a meadow anywhere in or around the woods behind the Weasley Family house. Nonetheless, he did find something that would work for the handfasting. Up in a tree he could see a large nest, and hanging from the nest was some pale tan silk, like the sash from a dress.
It didn't take him long to shimmy up the tree; he had lots of practice in getting away from his cousin in any manner that availed him, and trees always stumped the rotund boy. He quickly snagged the prize before the nest's owner could come to reclaim their treasure. Before long he was back on solid ground and headed back to his wife in the middle of the wood.
"You're back," was his wife's friendly greeting upon his return. "What do you have?"
"Couldn't find the meadow," Harry explained a bit out of breath. He had his hands on his knees as he bent over, filling his chest with air. "Found this though. Think it'll work?"
She took the silken ribbon from him and measured its length with her eye, finding it satisfactory. "It'll work. Sit down here with me."
They proceeded as they had the first time, this time with the silk rather than the vine. They were disappointed at first when the ritual wouldn't work as it had before. Right hands clasped, silk wrapped, vows given and received, but it didn't respond.
"Maybe it won't work for the right hand again," Ginny thought allowed.
"What about your name?" Harry asked. "What did your grandmum say about your name now."
"Oh! It's Ginevra Molly Potter, not Weasley. That might be it. Let's try it on the left with my new name and see if it works."
When Charlie saw his mum return from the bank, the look on her face was less than promising. He had hoped that she would return full of assurances, but instead she looked bewildered and confused. From her expression, everything had not gone as planned at the family vault, which didn't leave him very hopeful.
"Mum?" Charlie greeted her. "How was your trip to the alley? Did you get what you needed from the apothecary?"
"Hmm?" she replied absentmindedly. "Oh, yes I did. It shouldn't be a problem to replenish the potion cupboard now. I don't know what you boys get into, but it seems like you use more potions every summer. Were the others good while you were in charge?"
"Oh, sure!" he replied quickly. "Just ... well ... okay, the twins needed a minor burn potion each, but we got it all handled. Nothing serious. Ron's up having a wash-up in the tub. Seemed today was a mud day."
"At least you could get him to wash with little fuss, I should hope. The twins aren't trying anything out of your Uncles' book again, are they? I swear, Fabian and Gideon ran Mum ragged chasing after them when they were the twins' age. Fred and George seem to be determined to follow in their fading footsteps."
"What can you expect with a birthday of April 1st? They seem to think it was an omen handed down by Morganna."
"Merlin save us all," Molly agreed.
"Were you able to take care of the other ... business?" Charlie asked nervously. "Can ... can I help, any?"
"No dear. No help is necessary. This is your father's and my responsibility. You don't have to worry about it a bit."
"Okay," he said, accepting his mother's assurances as a son should. "Need help with anything else?"
"How did you do on burn and scrape potions in class?" she asked, pulling a number 4 cauldron from the cupboard.
By the time Arthur returned home, dinner was just coming to the table and the kids were done with whatever they had been doing throughout the day. Ron had an extra bath, due to his fascination with playing in the mud that particular day, and the twins had washed the cauldron they had used over the fire in the garden at Charlie's insistence. They seemed happy despite the need for a minor burn potion and the lack of success at brewing their potion. Charlie was just happy that he had prevented the ingestion of the sickly brown liquid. He had to shake his head. The twins were so eager to invent things and have fun. At least they hadn't used the day to prank any of the family.
"Arthur," Molly said after the rest of the family had cleared out from the table. "I had to check on the vault balance today, and I got a surprise."
"What was wrong dear? Have we overspent again?"
"Oh, no, not at all. From the looks of things, there was at least sixty or seventy galleons extra in the vault. I was wondering if you got a raise at the Ministry and forgot to tell me."
"Well," Arthur contemplated. "It has been a while. Maybe the new fiscal numbers came in favorably and the Wizengamot approved some for the department. I'll check with accounting sometime this week to make sure."
"I just didn't want it to be a mistake. The boys received their letters today, and you know that Charlie selected NEWT Care of Magical Creatures. Well, there was a letter from Professor Kettleburn about the additional costs of that course to pay for trips to professional farms and reserves."
Arthur could see that his wife was a bit distraught, but needed to know more before he could fix it and give her some substantive comfort. "How much?"
"Seems pretty fortuitous, all right, that we have the right amount extra." Arthur reached his wife's hands on the table across from him and held them both in his as he reassured her. His composed acceptance more than anything calmed her. "I'll check with accounting and see if I never got the notice about a raise, or something."
"And if it isn't?" she asked, still unsure. "I didn't take the kids to get their books and supplies yet, because I wanted to know how deep we are going to have to scrape. You know with four in Hogwarts..."
"I know, Molly. It's a lot. I wouldn't worry about where the money came from. If the accounting department doesn't clear this up, I'm sure Gringotts can tell us where it came from. I've never known them to make a mistake yet."
"You're right, but let's wait until the weekend for shopping anyway."
"Probably a good idea."
As the records of the magical world made their changes to reflect the day's events, Ginny's acceptance of her new name was recorded. By using the name Potter as her own in a ritual, she affirmed the change without ever having to register in person with the Ministry. The same changes were made in the registry at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unseen by school official in Hogwarts or by ministry official in the Ministry of Magic, Ginevra Molly Weasley was changed to Ginevra Molly Potter. Strangely enough, if Ginny had used this one opportunity to state her name as Ginny Molly Potter, she would have never had to worry about her dislike for the full pronunciation of her first name. She would have just been Ginny, rather than that being short for something else. But at eight years old, she didn't even know saying in a ritual that she was a Potter would effect so many changes.
Just as no official saw that he name had changed, none of her family could see the pale tan tattoo that now adorned her left wrist. Indeed, the silk sash was so pale as to be nearly invisible when represented as a tattoo on her creamy skin. The silk itself would be a keepsake with the rest of her treasures stashed away in her room.
And so, the summer would roll on without the Weasley house guest being revealed. The steps Harry and Ginny took to ensure this were becoming automatic in their effort. With a third bonding between them, Ginny could look Harry in the eye no matter if he was wearing the cloak and galaxy or not. The differences multiple bondings were making were subtle, but they certainly noticed them as they added up.
"Excuse me," Arthur asked at the information desk. Beyond he could see many other desks covered in parchment and personal nicknacks.
"Yes, how can I help you, sir?" the middle aged man who manned the desk asked.
"Good afternoon," Arthur greeted, a little kindness could go a good ways in finding what information he needed. "I needed to enquire about my pay."
"Certainly. Who is your specialist?"
"My specialist?" Arthur asked. "Oh, my. It's been years since I have been in here. I think it used to be Maryanne, is she still here?"
The clerk huffed out a breath. "No, she retired, the lucky witch, but she put in a good seventy five, so can't say anything against her for it."
"Hmm. Hope she is enjoying it. Got quite a bit ahead of me before I can consider that myself."
"As do I. Too many if you ask me," the clerk responded with the full sincerity of any government employee when discussing how nice life after the daily grind would be. "Which department are you in, I'll look it up."
"Misuse of Muggle Artifacts. I'm the head."
"Ah, yes ... that's under the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, isn't it?"
"You're specialist would be Mrs. Whithers. She's at lunch, but you can request an appointment with her through the normal means, if you wish."
By the time Arthur was able to make an appointment that wouldn't interfere with his own work, it was two days later. The woman was curt at best, but did tell him that a small raise, less than two hundred sickles, had been approved and sent with his regular pay. Did he not receive a notice?
All in all, the meeting had provided some of the information he wanted, but not enough to explain the rather larger sum in the vault. The raise, according to Mrs. Whithers, had only been given starting in July. On Saturday, which was rapidly approaching, he could go with Molly and the kids to Diagon Alley and visit the bank to inquire with the goblins while she took the kids shopping. A solid plan, indeed.
Arthur would have been glad for the end of the week, come Friday by five or six in the evening, quitting time, if not for an anonymous tip that came in to the investigators on the auror squad, giving the location for some dark artifacts in Chelsea. As was common practice, if they suspected to find artifacts, Arthur or his partner were asked to accompany the Aurors on their raid of the property. This meant a late night watching doors being bashed in with bludgeoning hexes and countless hours sorting through the brickabrack that someone stashed where they had no business. Only a small portion was dark at all, and only a bit of that was muggle in origin. A couple of biting tea sets and a rather nasty book of limericks that were not only quite dirty, but the book was enchanted to force the reader to sing each and every limerick loudly, in a public place, before it could be removed from their hands.
By the time he arrived home, he had little more than a couple of hours before his wife's normal time to greet the day. He shucked his robe with considerable less care than his norm and climbed in to snuggle with his Mollywobbles. It had been a long day, which would correspond with a very short night's rest afterward.
Come Saturday morning, Ginny found the twins up well before her, surely in anticipation for their first school shopping trip. Amazingly enough, their mum's promise still stood to allow them to go to Gambol & Japes for their joking needs. For as much as Molly Weasley complained about her son's concentration and dedication to the pranking pass-time, she also never seemed to refuse them their supplies for long. Occasionally they would step over some line and she would take the tricks away for a while, but if they stayed within boundaries, she would leave them be.
The plans for the day were a fiasco in the waiting, as both of her parents had planned on taking the whole family to the alley en masse. All nine Weasley's through the floo at the Leaky Cauldron for one trip. Even Bill had been recruited on this, his day off, to help supervise all of the young children. Ginny might have taken offense, but she loved being around Bill and really didn't think of the number of minders her parents were planning.
Unbeknownst to Ginny or most of her brothers was that her father's part of the trip was not solely meant to mind the children. Molly had asked him to speak with the goblins to see if he could ascertain the rightful place for the extra sickles and knuts in their vault. Like most traditional wizarding families, the Weasleys were still split greatly along traditional lines; Arthur provided for his family through his career, while Molly reared the children and cared for the family. As traditional, the father of the family was in overall charge of the money, although the mother bought everything needed to keep the family running and well fed. To them it was natural. Once Molly had found the discrepancy in their finances, Arthur was tapped to investigate the source, or at least the validity of the extra money. He'd share what he found, and she trusted him to sort it all out.
Much to Ginny's disappointment, Harry had to stay at home. She understood why, and agreed, but that didn't make her any happier with the necessity. She plodded from store to store at her mother's side, not feeling as adventurous, running a ruckus through the alley from store to store, as she would have if she had been her normal happy self.
"Hey, Gred," George said to his twin. They were in the book shop with the rest of their family, hidden from their mother's view where they could look at books she might not completely approve of.
"Have you noticed anything ... wrong with our sister the youngest?"
"Now that you mention it, yes, our sister the youngest is not her normal bouncy self."
"I agree. The rose seems to have left her cheeks, indeed."
"It is more like a sister the oldest."
"Although she is that as well."
"Ah, but we always preferred to think of her as sister the youngest."
"Of course, with Percy to deal with, we don't need a sister the oldest."
"Agreed. Do you have a solution for the melancholy of our sister the youngest?"
"Without knowing the ailment, a cure will be most elusive."
"Perhaps, if a cure will not be attainable, a treatment could be found."
"And what, my dear brother, is the best treatment for melancholy?"
"This we have always known."
"Then a treatment shall be administered immediately."
"Perhaps our visit to Gambol will aid us in this."
"Do not forget the genius in Japes, my dear fellow."
"Of course not. Silent though he was, he provided laughter from the shadows."
"As any true entertainment genius would."
"Of course. She deserves no less."
Had anyone seen them coming, they may have had the sense to be frightened. However, before anyone knew it, the twins had scooped the young girl from her mother's side and plopped her down at a small reading table across from the counter. Immediately, George went back to their mother while Fred talked to Ginny.
"Mum, we're going to take Ginny for some ice cream. She doesn't seem to be having any fun, and we think she could use some."
"I don't know, George. I don't know if it's safe for the three of you to be running around alone. You two are just eleven, after all."
"We're just going down the alley to Florean Fortescue's and then to Gambol and Japes. We'll be fine. You can find us in the joke store when Percy and Charlie finish with their browsing."
"And your books, dear?"
"On the counter, mum."
"Did you get a set for each of you?" she asked. "I won't have you falling behind on your schoolwork because you don't both have your own books."
"It doesn't seem necessary. We'll be in all of the same classes, but yes we did. It's all there on the counter."
"Very well. Keep your sister safe. Here's two galleons for the ice cream," she said as she retrieved two of the few gold coins in her money sack. "Buy your sister something fun but harmless at the joke shop, will you? Remember ... harmless."
"Yes, mum. We will."
Meanwhile, back at the table ...
"What's going on?" Ginny asked suspiciously.
"Well, little sister," Fred said. "We noticed that you seem down. That you weren't really into this shopping trip. And, while we understand that you don't get to buy your school supplies for a little bit yet, plodding along at your mother's side with a melancholy expression is not the way a lively girl such as yourself should be acting. At the very least Mum should have had to yell after you as you ran off to one thing or another. Yet, you are just moping along."
"I'm not down and I'm not moping," Ginny insisted vehemently. "Harry should just be..." By the time she realized that she had said the name of her husband, mind, the husband that her family didn't know about in the slightest, his name had already slipped her lips. Instantly she was stricken, her secret revealed, she was sure.
"What was that?" Fred asked with a dangerous smile. "That wouldn't be Harry as in the famous Harry Potter, would it?"
Ginny was trapped. She was struck dumb trying to find the words to defuse the mistake she had made and convince her brother that she had not just revealed something so secret. While Fred moved on in his musings, Ginny was mute in horror.
"And here I thought that mum and dad didn't poison your mind with the stories of the famous slayer of dark lords," Fred teased. "But it seems that their precious little girl fell in love with The Boy Who Lived nonetheless. What ever are we to do?"
"Fred, please," Ginny pleaded. "Don't say anything."
"What? That my little sister is in love with an icon of the modern wizarding world?" Fred asked. "You know ... I think there was some shots of little Harry some time ago in the Prophet. Seems someone saw him out amongst the muggles. You don't suppose that I could find a copy of that for you, some decoration for your walls, or some such?"
"No, you don't understand..." Ginny started but was interrupted when they were joined by her other current keeper and proposed entertainer, George.
"What is this over here, Gred? I trust you to make our sister happy, and she seems to be horrified at the thought. What in the world did you do? You didn't tell her that knock-knock joke. I told you not to tell that one to the kiddies."
"Not that," Fred said. "It seems that little Ginny here is depressed that her love, Harry Potter, could not join us on this little outing. I offered to find a copy of the Prophet from a year or two ago that had his picture, you know, for her walls, but she doesn't seem to be warming to the idea."
"Yes, I seem to recall that issue. Mum was looking at the photos, worrying that he was being cared for properly. So she has found the one, and it is he?"
"So it would seem, Forge."
"I seem to recall that, not so long ago, there were some more pictures of our sister's beau. Seems that he was here in Magical London, wondering around Diagon Alley. He was the right age, too. Just a year older than our little faery. Perhaps there is something there, Gred my brother?"
"Perhaps there is, Forge," Fred agreed. They both turned to the still horror stricken Ginny with smiles. "Would little Ginny like for us to find this potential suitor and show him the light that is our sister. Make sure he falls in love with you in return?"
Suddenly, Ginny realized that she hadn't revealed as much as her panic thought. She said his name and conveyed her wish that he could be shopping with them, but she hadn't mentioned her relation to him, or his current whereabouts. The relief flooded her nerves, opening the way for her to enjoy what her brother's were doing to improve her mood, now that she could see that that's what they wanted to do for her.
"You know," George said. "Harry Potter should be in the same year as Ronnikins, a full year before our sister. Perhaps we can work our magic when the time comes and sway the young lord to our sister's charms, if that is what she has her heart set upon."
"It would only be our duty, as good brothers, to offer such aid," Fred agreed. "That is, once we have made sure that he is at least good enough to be in the presence of our heavenly sister."
This worried her a bit. Her brothers would want to know if Harry was good enough for her, just like her grandmum had. She knew she couldn't count on the fact that her grandmum had approved being an indicator of the rest of the family. The dice would fall how they will.
"Of course. Wouldn't want any rabble around, would we?"
"Hey, guys, don't I get a say in my own future? You practically have him trussed up and at an altar already."
"But, of course, our dearest Ginny. We will be sure to ask you before you take your vows."
"In fact, I think that's one of the things the minister asks when he is performing a marriage ceremony. What is it..."
"'Do you, Ginevra Molly Weasley, take this man, Harry James Potter, to be your wedded husband, bound magically from heart to heart, till death do you part?'"
"Yes," Ginny agreed immediately. "They do ask you, but I'm talking before he's kidnapped and tied to an altar in dad's old dress robes."
For a moment after the traditional words were offered and she accepted, she was wistful, hoping that, someday she could agree to the words and complete the ceremony in front of all of those that cared about her, as she once again accepted a bond to Harry Potter.
"Of course we would, Ginny."
"We would never embark on such a high risk mission without making sure you would put the prize to proper use."
"It would only be what's right."
"Come along," George bade them. "Mum gave us some gold to entertain our little sis, and it would be against some code to not take full advantage of such generosity immediately."
"What say you to an adventure by way of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour with an eventual destination of Gambol and Japes?"
The twins loose in the joke shop was something not to be missed, especially without their mum there to tell them 'no'. Ginny would be glad to go along for the fun.
"A man of pure genius," George replied. "Great minds think alike."
"More likely," Ginny sniped with a smile, "one brain, even in two bodies, can still only come up with one thought."
"Oh, she doth wound us, Fred."
"Yes, a sister after our own hearts."
Amid Ginny's giggles, her twin brothers dragged her from the book store, towards one of the most liked stores on the alley, by adult and child alike; Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.
The answers Arthur was receiving at the bank were informative at the same time they were more perplexing than the original questions. So far, the goblins' nature to not put their noses into the private business of others, at least as they would talk to others about, had given him plenty of brick walls to run into. He asked his questions, but the answers were not helpful.
"Can you tell me why the trust that controls the land my house is on has seen fit to return a hundred galleons to my account? We have been paying the appropriate sum for that land for many years and this is the first time that anything has changed. Can you tell me anything about why?"
"I'm sorry, sir. I can only tell you what the transaction record has recorded, and, as you can see, we have never recorded the why's of the galleon transfers. Wizard's thought processes matter little to goblins. What does matter is that we follow the transfer instructions."
"If you're sure..."
"I can assure you, without a doubt, Mr. Weasley, that the money was rightfully transferred into your vault, and is indeed your money to spend as you see fit. I would not worry about what others thought when they made such a transfer. Perhaps they will see fit to inform you by post as to the change in your agreement."
"Maybe you're right. Either way, there isn't anything more I can learn today."
"Of course. Anything else, or can I get back to the other patrons?"
Arthur thought about it and remembered that the school had requested another transfer, the one that had started this whole mess of investigation into the origin of extra coins in the Weasley Family vault. Though his wife had guessed the amount of their mysterious windfall to be the needed seventy galleons, he had found it to be greater, a round hundred galleons, according to the register of goblin transfers involving his vault. All he had been able to learn, even after more than once asking his questions, was that the money was in his account on purpose, and was rightfully there as far as the goblins of Gringotts Bank were concerned. For now it would have to be good enough for him as well. He had still to pay for his second son's specialized education.
"Can you initiate another transfer for me at this time, seventy galleons to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?" Arthur asked. "And I would like a receipt in the name of Charlie Weasley sent to the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts with a note of 'NEWT Care of Magical Creatures Travel Expenses'."
When Ginny had to decide what to order at the parlour, it was all a bit overwhelming. Her parents had taken the family there in the past, but it was always with the question of what flavor they wanted their two scoops in, and now her brothers were insisting that she get something a bit more complicated. They, in fact, insisted on toppings and nuts and sprinkles, oh, and a cherry on top. They wanted to insist on adding something that would explode with each bite, or at least pop on the plate, but Ginny was quite certain that anything like that on her ice cream would just not be right. In the end, they had fun with family unity and ordered a single giant banana split with three bananas and six cherries. After the first bite, any negative emotion that she may or may not have been displaying earlier was washed away on a wave of joy and sugar.
The trip to Gambols and Japes was a rip roaring success. They had showed her the rubber chickens that could run after people and bash them over the head when they least expected it without a person to wield them at all. They showed her the dung bombs in all their variety, of which at least five packs were vitally necessary for the twins to purchase, at least according to their view of the world. Various colour changing potions and delayed reaction powders made their way into the twins' inventory, sure to be the terror of all coming Hogwarts students to one degree or another. Ginny selected something that wouldn't cause any harm, just as her mother had requested of George. Luckily neither twin saw the specific color of the hair colouring potion she selected, as she didn't have a credible excuse why she wanted a red that would be much the Weasley red, and so couldn't be used on the family. No one would notice if she did, after all.
Just at the doors to the joke shop is where the whole family reunited from three fronts. Molly was leading Charlie, Ron and Percy from the direction of the quill shop and Arthur was coming fresh from the bank, as they met their twins and daughter just outside the bustling shop.
Husband and Wife locked eyes for long enough to get through the questions that the children needn't know about. A small nod from Arthur let Molly know the money that mysteriously reached their vaults was legitimate and a small ease of her shoulders and the ghost of a relieved smile told him all he needed to know, that she was happy that it had been sorted and was theirs. The specifics, what little there were, would come later in private. Had there been any trouble with the kids, Molly would have let her husband know with a look and a scowl, but there had been nothing. The twins, in fact, had earned some points by looking out for their sister so well. Molly could see the bright smile on her daughter's face quite well, as could anyone in the alley that day.
"So, have we got everything we need?" Arthur asked. "Robes? Wands? Books? Cauldrons? Batteries?"
Ginny giggled, "Silly daddy! They don't need batteries at Hogwarts. They wouldn't even work!"
"Oh, yes," he said, hamming it up a bit. "My mistake. Never can have enough batteries, though, I say. Ingenious though they are, they don't last forever."
"Got everything just fine, Arthur. Come along, kids. Time to floo home."
Molly, Arthur and the kids returned home safely and to a cacophony as all of the kids took their purchases to their rooms for storage until school, or whenever they'd need them.
Molly went immediately to the kitchen to get dinner sorted. What she found was a clean kitchen, as always, but there was just something a little off about it. It felt, to her, like it had been disturbed, somehow, just a little bit. Like everything was just a little out of place. Not that anything seemed to have moved, but just that.... She didn't know what, but it was just off.
She decided that the long day herding children at Diagon Alley had just played with her senses and she must be imagining things. With a few flicks of her wand and a bit of direction, vegetables were chopping on the block, butter was melting in a pot and potatoes were shedding their skins like snakes. She busied her hands with preparing the piece of beef that was on the menu for the night's supper. It was easy to forget all else when she was busy preparing dinner for her family.
Thanks to Ronnie McMains for correcting the spelling of the word 'limerick'.
Thanks also to DukeBrymin for clearing me up on a couple homonyms.
Tanydwr pointed out that Chelsey, Endland is actually spelled Chelsea. Thanks for that.