Chapter 7: Coming Of Age
|Chapter 6||Chapter Index||Chapter 8|
Being the youngest in a family of seven children means you pretty much know the major events that are celebrated while growing up. And so it was with Ginny and her seventeenth birthday. She knew far too much for any type of surprise party for this special occasion. So instead, she took an active part in the planning, which suited her just fine. It was to start midafternoon and involve family, friends, brooms, and some fun quidditch.
Hermione was in the kitchen of their flat tying a bow on the present she was giving to Ginny.
"Harry, are you ready to go to the Burrow for Ginny's party?"
"Yes, almost done wrapping her gift," said the distant voice of Harry from his bedroom.
A moment later, Harry walked into the kitchen. "Okay, I'm ready. Just wish I had a broom to bring along."
"I'm sure the Weasleys will have one you can borrow," said Hermione as they moved to the fireplace.
"Yeah, but it's not the same as having your own." He nodded to her, "After you."
She stepped into the green flames and said, "The Burrow!" Harry followed a moment later.
He stepped from the fireplace into the Weasley kitchen.
"Hello Harry," said Arthur. "I think you forgot your glasses."
"I don't have to wear them anymore. I went to St Mungo's and they corrected my eyesight."
"Yes," said Hermione. "Doesn't he look handsome without glasses?"
"Hmm," said Ron with a smile. "Handsome might be a bit of a stretch."
First with a smile and then a scowl, she gently smacked Ron on the arm and shook her head.
Harry smiled. "So where's Ginny? I want to wish her a happy birthday."
Ron said, "She's outside, hasn't put down her wand since waking up this morning. She uses magic for every little thing now. I was never like that."
Arthur smiled. "No, you were worse."
Ron chuckled. "Seriously, she's doing some impressive magic. Have you been giving her lessons Hermione?"
She smiled. "I may have shown her a few things. Ginny did ask me about some of the spells I used in our sixth year."
Ron's eyes widened. "So in addition to bat bogies, she can also do attacking birds?"
With a head tilt and knowing expression, she gave him a single nod.
He thought for a moment. "Pity any guy who gets out of line with her." Then, realization slowly spread across his face. "Thanks Hermione."
Harry and Hermione laughed as they all stepped out into the backyard. Ginny was walking back toward the kitchen when she saw Harry and Hermione come out. She ran up to them excitedly and hugged them both. Harry and Hermione wished her happy birthday.
"Harry, you look handsome without your glasses." Ron rolled his eyes and shrugged. Then Ginny pointed to the meadow. "So what do you think?"
The meadow now contained quidditch hoops at each end of a playing field. There were also colorful banners and flags waving in the breeze. There was a refreshment table containing drinks and snacks.
"It looks great Ginny," said Harry. "Did you do all that yourself?"
Ginny nodded happily. "It's really great fun being able to do magic whenever I want. No more underage magic owls from the Ministry. Mum and Dad will be very pleased about that."
While they were talking, Molly and Arthur walked up carrying a package. Arthur said, "Ginny, this is our birthday gift for you. We think you should open it now."
Ginny's eyes went wide as she took the long thin package and excitedly ripped off the birthday wrapping paper. She let out a loud whoop and shouted with delight, "A Nimbus broom!" Beaming a smile, she hugged each of her parents thanking them.
Molly said, "Congratulations on becoming Gryffindor quidditch captain. We are so proud of you."
Everyone was enjoying themselves at the party. Harry, Ron, Ginny, George, Angelina, Ben, and Katie were on brooms playing quidditch in the meadow. They were all having a good time passing the quaffle and performing their favorite moves with each other. Ginny was enjoying her new broom and was easily out flying all of them. It was very clear to the others that she had been practicing. Even on a new and unfamiliar broom, Ginny flew with speed and precision.
After a while, Ginny took charge and got the others to try out some new quidditch moves. She wanted to see how they might work for the Gryffindor team. Her leadership abilities quickly became apparent to the others. They followed her instructions and helped refine her ideas. During breaks in the action, family and friends added magical happy birthday banners and well wishes to the field decorations.
While the quidditch activities were going on, the other guests sat a short distance away at a picnic table in the shade of tree. Hermione, Percy, Penelope, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Neville, Luna, Arthur, and Molly were all talking about family, work, school, and the Ministry. Hermione was talking to Neville and Luna who sat next to each other across the table from her.
"Neville" said Hermione, "What are your plans for school this year?"
"I'll be completing seventh year NEWTs in herbology. I've decided to become a herbologist. I've spent most days this summer helping Professor Sprout get the green houses back in order. She's been giving me extra lessons to help me catch up from last year."
"That's great Neville. You've always been so good at herbology."
"Thanks. The Ministry sent me an owl with some other career offerings. One of them was Auror. I thought a long time about that offer and following in my mum and dad's career. But after all we've through last year, I thought maybe I could do better by being at Hogwarts. Maybe I can help dissuade the next would-be Tom Riddle student and turn their thinking toward a better goal."
Hermione's eyes glistened as she looked at him. "Neville, that's so wonderful. I think your mum and dad would be very proud of your choice."
Neville smiled. "McGonagall asked me to be a staff assistant at Hogwarts this year. She seems to think that after helping lead the resistance last year, I know all the secret places at Hogwarts."
Hermione smiled. "Hmm ... I'll have to be careful then if I want to do any snogging in the hall."
Neville laughed. "Five points a snog." Hermione giggled.
"Seriously though, with so many people redoing parts of last year, Hogwarts will be at full capacity. McGonagall is being extra cautious this year."
A short while later, Neville got up to get the three of them lemonade refills from the refreshment table.
Hermione said, "Luna, are you and Neville still dating?"
In a dreamy voice she said, "No, it was a nice time and we are still the best of friends. We are so very different, unlike you and Harry who are perfectly lovely for each other." Leaning in close to Hermione, her eyes widened as she whispered, "I see it in your auras."
"Erm, thanks Luna. So ... What about you? What are your plans?"
"I'll be completing my seventh year studies and taking general NEWTs. I'm not sure yet what I want as a career. I might do a bit of world travel after seventh year to help me decide. Perhaps something in the Department of Mysteries. It was quite interesting that time we were there."
"I've thought about a career in the Department of Mysteries too. I'd like to work with charms."
"I think you'd be very good at that. Recently, I was helping Professor Flitwick with the rebuilding effort. As you know, Ravenclaw tower sustained a lot of damage. We talked about my career interests. He suggested that I was gifted in abstract thinking."
Luna smiled with a thoughtful expression. "I suppose that's how I got the nickname Loony. Anyway, Professor Flitwick offered to give me lessons in philosophy and abstract reasoning this year. It sounds so very interesting."
The quidditch game had been going on for quite some time. Hermione stood and walked toward the edge of the meadow. Harry was circling the edge of the meadow and came to a hover about thirty feet in the air close to where she stood. Glancing around, he caught sight of her and she waved. After looking down at her for a moment, he moved forward and descended from view behind a tree.
A minute later, Harry walked up beside Hermione and took her hand. "Come with me." They walked a short distance to an oak tree with a swing attached to one of the large branches. He had her sit down on the swing and began gently pushing her as they talked.
"How was the quidditch game?"
"Mostly just flying around and trying some new quidditch moves for Ginny. Everyone is having a good time. How are Luna and Neville? Are they still dating each other?"
"They're just good friends now. They both talked about getting ready to attend Hogwarts. Neville will be a staff assistant this year in addition to his classes."
"Have they chosen careers?"
"Neville definitely wants to be a herbologist. Luna is still undecided. She's thinking maybe something in the Department of Mysteries."
Harry smiled. "Well, like you, she's got the brains for that ... though in her case, somewhat unorthodox at times."
"Yes. But there are some areas where that kind of thinking is needed."
Carefully stopping the swing motion, he moved behind her and began gently massaging her shoulders at the base of the neck.
"So have you decided on your career?"
"It's hard to talk when you do that ... but don't stop. Yes. Of the choices the Ministry offered, I like charms development in the Department of Mysteries the best. It's an area that's has always interested me. The people I met there during the informal interviews were very nice. I think I'd like to study and develop healing charms."
"That's an excellent choice. You've always been good with charms."
"Thanks. It will be a lot of work even with all of the special Ministry of Magic arrangements. From what I've heard, the NEWTs are quite intense. What about you Harry? Have you decided?"
"Yeah, the Magical Bureau of Investigation. The job is a lot like a muggle detective. There's very little hand-to-hand combat. I need to pass NEWTs for the position. They're arranging a special work study program for me."
"Good. You've done quite enough combat. It may be selfish of me, but I want you around and in one piece."
She stood, moved around the swing, and kissed him.
Just then, Ron's voice called out. "Hey lovebirds, were sitting down to eat."
They separated and chuckled. Harry took her hand and they walked back to join the others. They sat next to each other at the table.
Harry was talking with Ron and Katie who sat across the table from him. Unexpectedly, a foot gently massaged the calf of his leg. He quickly glanced sideways toward Hermione. She was in conversation with Ginny. Hermione's head turned toward him for just an instant and she winked.
He looked across the table. "Katie, how are things at Florean Fortescues?"
"With so many shoppers buying school supplies, I've had to work more often. ..."
As she talked, Harry slipped off a shoe and swung his foot toward Hermione. His foot found her leg and began caressing its length.
Katie looked sideways, "And thanks to frequent customers like Ron, we're optimistic about the future."
Ron smiled. "Just doing my part, a burden I'm happy to bear."
Katie grinned. She looked at Harry. "As an honor to Florean, we carry on his practice of creating a new flavor each week. ..."
As toes teased and tickled, there was an occasional cough, a cleared throat, or a quick reach for a water glass. By the end of the meal, their feet were pleasantly intertwined and her left foot rested comfortably in his lap. Cake, candles, ice cream, and presents for Ginny followed.
The remainder of the evening was filled with fun and laughter. George tried out a few new products from the joke shop to the delight of everyone. Much later, Harry and Hermione were the only remaining guests. Hermione accompanied Ginny to her room for some girl talk. Arthur invited Harry and Ron out to his workshop to see some things he was working on. He went out the kitchen door. Harry and Ron followed a minute later.
They slowly walked toward the workshop. "Ron, have you decided on your career?"
"Yeah mate. I want to work in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. I was so glad when the Ministry offered it. I know it'll require a lot of work to achieve but it's something I really like."
They cautiously entered the workshop. In addition to Arthur's collection of plugs, old radios, lug nuts, and other oddities, they saw hundreds of round plastic shiny disks floating in a corner. Each had a hole in the center and rainbow patterns were visible as the disks gently twisted in the light.
Pointing at them, Ron said, "Dad, what are those round things?"
Arthur smiled. "Muggle sun catchers. I'm still not quite sure how best to hang them to catch the sun. I reckon they'd make good Christmas tree decorations too. Your mother, of course, might disagree on that use."
Harry smiled. "What's this old mechanical typewriter here?"
"Ah yes, it's almost done. These muggle typewriters are very fascinating and tricky contraptions. In spite of what it says above the paper roller, it doesn't have to be under wood for it to work properly. Here, let me put in a piece of parchment. ... Okay. Now Harry, speak something to it."
"Happy birthday Ginny."
There was a mechanical grind and then tapping sounds were heard. The bell dinged twice and the paper advanced a few lines. Harry and Ron grinned at each other. The typed line read,
appee burpday ynniJ
Arthur frowned. "Hmm... still needs some work. At least the letters aren't upside down any more."
As they were leaving, Harry and Hermione hugged Ginny and wished her a happy birthday. After returning to their flat, Harry began to move toward his room. Hermione put her hands on his back and began to scratch it. Harry stopped and bent over slightly rolling his shoulders forward.
"Down a little, yeah, better. Now a bit more to the left; ooh yes." He stood up straight. "That's the spot."
After a minute or so more, he turned to face her. "That was very nice, thank you."
"Thank you for the pleasant time on the swing."
She kissed him briefly. Then, they both went to their rooms.
|Chapter 6||Chapter Index||Chapter 8|
Bond of the Spirits is an original fanfiction story based on the seven book series 'Harry Potter' written by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter, the characters, names and related characters are trademarks of Warner Bros., Inc. Harry Potter publishing rights © J.K.R. This is an unofficial, not for profit site and is in no way connected with J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros., Inc. This site is not endorsed by any of these aforementioned parties. Rights to characters and their images is neither claimed nor implied. This fanfiction story is owned by the author and subject to copyright law under transformative use.
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Last Updated: 8/12/19