Chapter 19: Shell Cottage Holiday
|Chapter 18||Chapter Index||Chapter 20|
Ken and his work crew completed the heavy reconstruction work of the Quidditch pitch. The sight of the Hogwarts flags waving gently in the breeze above the pitch gave Ginny a warm feeling of pride and satisfaction. Walking together, Headmistress McGonagall, Madam Hooch, Ginny, and Ken made an inspection tour of the pitch and team rooms. McGonagall was very pleased with the workmanship and praised both Ginny and Ken for the exceptional job they had done. Ken said that it had been a pleasure working with Ginny. The Quidditch pitch, he said, would serve Hogwarts for many years to come due mostly to her dedicated efforts and vision. McGonagall mentioned that the Daily Prophet would be doing a story on the rebuilding of Hogwarts and felt certain they would want to interview Ginny about the pitch reconstruction.
Ginny's crew of volunteers busily worked to complete the remaining details. Their efforts had already resulted in painted grandstands, a groomed pitch, shiny goal posts, and flags on each tower. Now part of the crew was installing floating scoreboards, loudspeakers, and grandstand banners. Others worked on the interior of the team rooms applying coloring charms to the walls, arranging tables and chairs, and mounting magical planning boards with sticking spells. Pictures of professional Quidditch players were also magically stuck to the walls. Each picture showed a player performing a noteworthy move in both real-time and slow motion. The picture of Josef Wronski demonstrating his classic Wronski Feint maneuver brought smiles and admiration from those who watched his flying. Trunks containing Quidditch balls and bats, gloves and safety gear, first aid supplies, and maintenance equipment were stored and made ready for use. To ensure completion of the work within the few short weeks remaining before start of term, Ginny kept the new brooms in secure storage.
Amid his Auror training and helping Ginny, Harry traveled to Godric's Hollow to visit with Father O'Reilly and tell him about the resolution of his parent's property. Gladdened by the news, Father O'Reilly said he hoped Harry and Ginny would keep in touch. Harry visited his godson one afternoon and talked with Andromeda about his desire to set up a trust fund for Teddy. With all this activity, both Harry and Ginny were more than ready for a restful holiday weekend at shell cottage.
On Saturday after breakfast, Molly and Arthur sat at the kitchen table looking over a number of owls that had just arrived.
"Any owls for either of us?" said Ginny as she and Harry stepped into the kitchen.
"No," said Arthur. "But I'm sure you'll both be happy to know that an owl arrived from Meara O'Hea requesting IWROC assistance."
"That's good to hear," said Ginny.
"Such a tragic circumstance," said Molly sorrowfully. "We're meeting with the aid group later this morning. We'll see that the family gets help very soon."
Harry said, "They were discharged from St Mungo's yesterday and moved into a temporary family care facility. There are other families at the facility too."
"Maybe Aric and Deirdre will make some new friends," said Ginny. "Well, we'd best be off to shell cottage. Bye Mum, bye Dad."
"You both have a nice time," said Molly. "Be sure to give our best to Bill and Fleur."
"We will Mum."
Harry and Ginny went out into the backyard of the Burrow and after joining hands, disapparated.
The scent of salt air greeted them as they apparated close to the front porch of shell cottage. Stepping up to the screen door, Ginny lightly knocked. "Fleur, we're here."
"Ginny, 'arry," said Fleur from inside the cottage. "Bonjour, please come in."
"Bonjour," said Ginny as she embraced Fleur and they lightly kissed on each cheek. "Thanks for inviting us to spend some time with you."
"Bonjour," said Harry as he and Fleur lightly kissed on each cheek. "I hope it's no trouble."
"Non, you are family and welcome any time. Please, be seated and feel at home."
"Mum and Dad send their best. I hope everything is well with you and Bill."
"Oui, all is well. We arrived home yesterday from a visit with Mama and Papa. Bill had Gringotts business to conduct in France. Eet was very nice time but we are both happy to be home."
"Business travel for Gringotts?" said Harry. "Bill must be doing very well."
"Oui, zay have finally realized the good job he can do for them. Bill is happy but remains quite cautious and careful. The goblins can be rude and change their opinion quickly. Bill is courteous and many important business people choose to do Gringotts banking only with him."
They talked for a long while catching up with each other. Fleur talked about her parents and her sister Gabrielle.
Later, the warm afternoon enticed Harry and Ginny to go for a walk along the beach. Ginny wore a light dress and a hat with a large brim to shade her face. Harry wore shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt. On their way toward the beach, they stopped in the garden at Dobby's grave. After a few silent moments, he guided her away with a somber expression on his face. They descended a sandy path that led through some sea lavender down to the beach. Pausing briefly to remove their shoes, they walked barefoot out onto the damp coolness of the water's edge and leisurely walked toward the distant Tinworth pier that jutted out into the water.
After walking a short distance in silence Ginny said, "Can you tell me about Dobby and what happened?"
He looked off into the distance ahead of them. "We were captured by snatchers and taken to Malfoy manor. Ron and I were locked in the Malfoy dungeon. Luna and Mister Ollivander were in the dungeon too and they said there was no way out. Then we heard Bellatrix use the cruciatus curse on Hermione trying to get information out of her. My blood ran cold each time I heard Hermione scream in pain. We were desperate to get out and rescue her. I had a broken piece of a mirror Sirius had given me. When I look into it, there was an eye looking back at me. I called out for help and a moment later, Dobby apparated right there in the dungeon."
"So it was Dobby's eye you saw in the mirror?"
Still looking ahead in the distance he said, "No, it was Aberforth's eye. Dobby must have been in the room and heard my call for help. I think Dobby knew he was the only one who could get into Malfoy manor in time. I saw fear and dread on his face when he apparated. Hermione screamed again and Dobby's face became set with firm resolve and determination. He disapparated with Luna and Mister Ollivander and brought them here to shell cottage. Then he quickly came back and helped us rescue Hermione. As Dobby was taking us away with him, Bellatrix threw a knife toward us. ... We couldn't do anything for his injury. He ... peacefully said my name and then passed away."
Ginny stopped and held him back. When he turned to look at her, she saw his eyes were glistening.
She said softly, "He was a very brave, loyal, and courageous elf." She looked into his eyes. "He freely chose to stand with you."
Harry nodded with a grim expression. She put her arms around him and they stood for a long moment holding each other. Then breathing a deep sigh, he took her hand and they continued walking toward the pier.
Much later on their way back, they playfully chased each other, darting in and out of the water and sometimes running in circles. There were shrieks of laughter as they splashed water on each other and made their way along the beach toward the cottage. Their faces beamed with smiles as they picked up their shoes and climbed the path to the top. They went inside to help Fleur prepare the meal.
A while later, with their heads bent down, they stood at the kitchen counter with Fleur between them. Ginny was stirring a small pot of sauce. Harry was carefully slicing mushrooms with a knife. "Zat is good 'arry, thin and angular to bring out the full flavor. They are from France and will be magnifique when you taste them. The Béchamel is superb Ginny. We will all enjoy it with the Gnocchi."
"Turning our house guests into French chefs?" said a deep voice from behind them.
They all turned and smiled. Fleur moved to welcome Bill home from his day at work with a warm hug and kiss.
"Oui, zay are both very good cooks."
"Fleur is an excellent teacher," said Harry. "There's so much to learn about French cooking."
"It's been a lot of fun," said Ginny. "I'm sure you enjoy coming home to supper in the evenings."
Bill smiled. "It's one of the fringe benefits of falling in love with a beautiful French girl."
"Oui, my secret charm on his heart." She grinned and patted him on the stomach. Everyone laughed.
While Bill washed up, they placed all of the prepared dishes onto the table. After everyone was seated, Bill touched a bottle of wine on the table with his wand. The cork twisted itself out of the bottle with a hollow pop and dropped lightly into his hand. The wine glasses then partway filled with wine.
Bill took hold of his glass and raised it saying, "To my lovely wife and our special guests."
They all touched their wine glasses with each other.
"Bon appétit," said Fleur with a smile.
Later, Bill conjured up two comfortable loveseats so they could all sit outside and watch the sunset. The gentle breeze and distant sound of the waves was relaxing especially after the sumptuous meal they had shared. Bill talked about how things at Gringotts were getting back to normal. Despite the lucrative Gringotts deal he had completed in France, some of the goblins insisted that it could have been better if he had pressed harder. Fleur was beside herself with disgust for the goblins. Ginny talked about the Quidditch pitch and the rebuilding activities at Hogwarts. Harry talked about the contents of his parent's cottage and the property he selected in Godric's Hollow.
"Harry," said Bill, "do you have any celebration plans for your upcoming birthday?"
"No plans. I just want to spend time with friends and family. What about you and Fleur? It will be your first wedding anniversary."
Bill smiled. "I'm taking my lovely wife out for a romantic dinner in London followed by an opera."
"That sounds wonderful," said Ginny. She looked at Fleur, "Which opera are you going to see?"
"Le Barbier de Séville," said Fleur. "Eet is one of my favorites."
"You've got a birthday next month sis, the big one, coming of age."
"Yes and it can't get here soon enough. No more trace and I'll be able to use magic whenever I want. I'll be going straight away to the Ministry to take the apparition test."
Bill grinned. "Mum and Dad won't be getting any more of those Misuse of Magic owls from the Ministry."
Ginny smiled. "As I recall, you were the subject of a fair number of them too."
"Yeah, but not as many as Fred and George."
"No, they're definitely the family record holders when it comes to misuse owls."
Bill's expression softened. "You know, Mum and I were talking a short while before the wedding last year. She's kept every misuse owl they've ever gotten for each of us. Mum and Dad treasure them like merit badges."
"So while we were being scolded, Mum and Dad were accumulating bragging rights?"
"Something like that," smiled Bill. "Mum and Dad take great pride and satisfaction in each of us. They will never show it, but your birthday will likely be a bit melancholy for them. The last of their children will be all grown up."
Late morning the next day, Harry and Ginny made their way down to the deserted beach below shell cottage. As on the previous day, they were dressed for the warm weather with Harry in shorts and t-shirt and Ginny in a light pull over dress. Finding a place between two small dunes, they spread a large blanket on the sand. Harry set a large umbrella and unfolded two beach chairs in its shade. They sat in the chairs and looked out toward the sea. They watched the waves roll in and listened to its gently tranquilizing roar. A few gulls silently glided on the breeze and a pelican flew past skimming low across the water just beyond the waves.
After a short while, Ginny looked at Harry with a self-conscious smile. "Harry, I have an early birthday gift for you. I'd like to give it to you now."
"You don't have to give me a gift."
"But I want to," smiled Ginny. "I got it when we were in Australia and I think you'll like it. But before I give it to you, you have to close your eyes. And no peeking, it'll spoil the surprise I've planned. Best put your hand over your eyes just to be sure. Don't look until I tell you."
"Okay," smiled Harry. He took off his glasses, looked down at his lap and closed his eyes. Then with his free hand, he covered his eyes.
She waved her hand in front of his face. Seeing no reaction from him, she stood. After a brief moment she said, "Almost ready." Then she took a few steps away.
"Okay, you can look now."
He put his glasses back on and then opened his eyes. "Oh Merlin!" and his jaw dropped.
She stood before him wearing a green two-piece swimsuit that had a tropical pattern of leaves and red flowers. She smiled mischievously as her long hair fluttered in the sea breeze.
"Like it?" said Ginny as she did a quick turn.
With a dreamy expression, his captivated gaze took in all the details of the wondrous sight before him. It was beyond his imaginings.
"Cracking! It's incredible and so ... beautiful. Turn one more time?"
Smiling delightedly, she slowly turned looking over her shoulder at him.
"It's the best birthday gift ever. You'll have a tough go topping this one."
With a coy smile she said, "We'll have to wait and see about that."
She knelt on the blanket in front of him, sat back on her heels, and then reached into her handbag.
Looking at him with a smile she said, "Your gift came with an unbirthday gift for me." She handed him a small bag-like package.
He opened the top of the bag and peeked inside. He smiled when he saw swim shorts with a similar colored pattern as she was wearing.
"Try them on for me?"
He looked at her. "That seems only fair. Okay, look that way and no peeking. Cover your eyes."
She grinned. Then turning to face the ocean, she covered her eyes.
He stood and took a few steps back behind the chairs. Quickly changing and taking off his shirt, he moved a short distance in front of her. Striking a bodybuilder pose he said, "Okay, you can look."
She opened her eyes and laughed as he flexed his muscles and did various bodybuilder poses. Then he put his hands on his waist and said, "So, do you like your unbirthday gift?"
She held out her hand to him and he sat down next to her on the blanket. "Yes, I like it very much."
After a moment, she reached into her handbag and withdrew a small bottle of lotion. Handing it to him she said, "Would you put some on my back? I don't want to get sunburned."
"I'd be happy to do that for you." She lay face down on the blanket and made a small squeak as cold lotion from the bottle landed on her back. Then the warm pressure of his hand made her sigh and she closed her eyes. Seeing the pleasant expression on her face, he spent some extra time massaging her neck and shoulders.
When he finished applying the lotion, she sat up and took the bottle of lotion from him. Moving behind where he sat, she put lotion onto his shoulders. He felt chills at her touch and she smiled. Then with both of her hands, she spread the lotion and rubbed his shoulders and neck.
He sighed and tilted his head back, "That's wonderful."
She smiled delightedly and kneaded his shoulders and back. After a moment she said, "Harry, I'd like to start practicing for Quidditch. Will you help me train?"
"Sure." He looked over his shoulder at her with a smirk. "So long as it doesn't involve any wagers."
She giggled and then put her arms around him. "No wagers will be necessary."
"Right then, what do you have in mind?"
"Some of the drills we did when you were captain of the Gryffindor team. They really helped me sharpen my flying."
"Okay, when do you want to start?"
"How about tonight?"
"Umm, is it okay to fly around here? We're not that far from the Tinworth pier."
"Maybe we can practice at dusk out over the water. If we're far enough out, we won't need any concealing charms. The moon's nearly full so we'll have flying light a bit longer."
"Yeah, that sounds good. What about brooms?"
"Bill should have a couple of brooms. I'm sure he'll let us use them."
"Okay, you've got a date."
She smiled. "The date part comes after the flying practice."
"That last run was good," said Harry with a satisfied expression. "Your turns were much better this time."
"Thanks. Your roll was more on axis and you didn't lose as much speed."
Hovering on brooms a short distance apart, they faced each other a few hundred feet above the water. They were a fair distance out to sea but the glowing light from the windows of shell cottage was still visible in the distance. They wore jeans and long sleeve shirts. Ginny's hair was pulled back and tied in a bun behind her head. The wind was light and the air was beginning to cool. The light of the moon mixed with a fading twilight in the western sky. Anyone looking out from shore would see only dark bird like specks.
"I think there's enough light for one more go," said Ginny.
"Okay. Let's do zigzag, a bit faster this time."
They each pivoted on their brooms a small amount to the left. After an acknowledging nod, they moved forward and past each other about five feet apart. Then they both began calling out to the other.
Lean to the left, half circle to the right,
Loop over back, pass twice each other tight.
Fake to the right, three quarter to the left.
Pass through the loop, you're flying skill is deft.
Pivot round about, then forward lying low,
Right three sixty roll, look out for bludgers blow.
Corkscrew to the left, twice round and climbing high,
Roll inverted half loop, now that's the way to fly.
Arc steeply down, then pull up into the clear,
Flip zigzag wiggle, keep an eye out on your rear.
Three quarter right, and mindful of the plan,
Outside half with roll and you're back where you began.
Harry called out, "One more time and faster." Without stopping, they flew past each other and began the drill again.
Completing the drill, they slowed and glided toward each other. Ginny called out. "Catch me and you win a prize."
She pulled up sharply into a half loop and then rolled upright. Lying low on her broom, she darted away. He grinned and lying low on his broom, quickly accelerated after her. There was a great rush of wind in their ears as they sped along. He caught up with her and she began weaving left and right trying to stay ahead of him. But with each turn, he shifted to the inside of the turn and inched closer. She looked toward him and then briefly tilted her head back looking skyward. He gave her a single nod and an instant later, they pulled steeply upward into a vertical climb. They spiraled around each other as their speed slowed.
She called out, "Three, two, one, now!" They looped away from each other in opposite directions. Completing the loop, they slowly flew toward each other and stopped side by side panting heavily.
"Whew! That was some workout," said Ginny taking deep breaths. "I need to rest a minute."
"Me too," said Harry breathing deeply. "I'm really out of shape."
"Well, it's been over a year since we've flown drills. Nothing that a little practice can't fix. Let's fly double for a while."
She circled around behind him and then carefully maneuvered her broom between his legs. He reached down and took hold of the handle of her broom. As he pulled her broom alongside of his, she straddled both brooms. Then she moved close behind and wrapped her arms around his waist. He gently pivoted and began slowly flying toward the western twilight.
With the side of her face resting against his back, she took a deep breath and gently sighed. "Thanks for helping me practice. It was exhausting but I feel like it did a lot of good."
"I liked it too. Doing the drills again was fun."
"Are you going to try out for the Gryffindor team this year?"
"No, I think that would be intimidating to whoever is chosen to be the new captain."
"I don't think that would happen, especially with Gryffindor. You'd make the team by skill, not popularity."
"You're right. But with the extra Auror lessons this year, I'm not sure how much time I'll have for Quidditch practice. Maybe I'll help with training."
"Okay. Hope I get an evening of flying with you once in a while."
He looked over his shoulder at her. "No doubt about that."
They flew on toward the dim red tinted clouds on the horizon. After a short while she said, "Stop for a minute and give me back my broom."
With some careful maneuvering, she got back onto her broom and moved a short distance ahead. He watched intently as she slowly pivoted on the spot and removed a band holding her hair. She gently shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair a few times fluffing it out behind her shoulders. Then she slowly flew back toward him. The broom handles slid very close past each other and she stopped about a foot in front of him.
"Brilliant flying there Weasley," he said with a grin. "Does this mean practice is over?"
She reached up and laced her fingers behind his neck. "Yes, it's time for that date you mentioned."
He thought for a moment. Then he held out his left hand and placed his right hand on her waist. "Well then, may I have a dance with you?"
"You may." She delightedly placed her hand into his. "I've never danced on brooms before."
"Neither have I. Reckon we'll just make it up as we go."
He tightened his thighs around the two broom handles. Looking into her eyes, he began to rock his shoulders and head gently from side to side. She smiled warmly and did the same, following his lead to a rhythm that was born of the wind and waves. The brooms began moving from side to side, like a pendulum, in ever-greater sized arcs. Then in a seamless motion, they began gently pivoting at the peak of each arc. Gliding in circles and figure eights, they turned, twirled, and weaved their way across the sky as if ice-skating. The stars twinkled brightly above and the light of the moon sparkled off the rippling water below.
Their broom dance went on for quite some time, though the graceful motions across the sky gave way to hovering in very close proximity. It was midevening when they touched down at shell cottage and put away the brooms. They collected their belongings and thanked Bill and Fleur for the wonderful weekend. Then joining hands, they disapparated back to the Burrow.
The next morning at the Burrow, Arthur, Molly, Ron, Ginny, and Harry sat around the kitchen table eating breakfast. They were all sharing their plans for the day.
"I'll meet you at your office after lunch," said Molly to Arthur. "We're traveling to Worcester to help coordinate IWROC aide distribution. The need is great and I expect we won't be home until nightfall."
Ron said, "After Auror lessons, Hermione and I are traveling to the centaur reservation to meet with Redotus."
Harry said to Ginny, "What are your plans for the pitch today?"
"We're going to finish the work on the team rooms. The volunteers need to start getting ready for start of term. I've arranged a thank you lunch celebration for the crew on Wednesday. Will you be able to join us?"
"Yeah, count me in."
Arthur said, "I heard that Kingsley is very pleased with the progress being made at Hogwarts. Volunteer help and donations have been much more than he or McGonagall expected."
"The IWROC too," said Molly. "We've been able to help so many who are in need."
From outside the window they heard the screech of an owl.
"Sounds like Pigwidgeon is here with the post," said Molly.
An instant later, Pigwidgeon sailed in through the window. After dropping a number of letters on the table, he circled and landed on Ginny's shoulder hooting happily.
"There's my special post owl. Welcome home." Ginny stood, carried him to his perch, and gave him some owl treats.
Arthur picked up the envelopes and sorted through them. "More IWROC letters, Oh, here's one for you Ginny." Arthur handed the envelope to Ginny as she sat back down at the table.
"It's from Headmistress McGonagall," said Ginny as she looked at the envelope with a puzzled expression. "I just talked with her on Friday last week."
Everyone watched as Ginny unsealed the envelope and read the enclosed parchment. A jubilant smile dawned on her face.
"Whoo-hoo!" said Ginny in an exuberant loud voice as she punched the air. "Listen to this!
Dear Miss Weasley,
In recognition of your Quidditch skills and leadership abilities, I am pleased to inform, that you have been selected to be the Gryffindor Quidditch team captain for the upcoming school year. Please schedule your tryouts and use of the pitch with Madam Hooch.
I extend to you my heartfelt congratulations, and sincerest thanks, for your exceptional efforts in making Quidditch at Hogwarts a reality this year. Good luck to you and the Gryffindor team.
I'm Gryffindor Quidditch team captain!" Ginny beamed and turned the letter so they could all see it. "Look!" She pointed to the badge that was pinned to the bottom of the letter.
"That's fantastic Ginny!" said Harry enthusiastically. "Gryffindor is sure to win the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup with you in charge."
"Really excellent sis," said Ron as he and Ginny high-fived across the table. "You'll be great!"
"Oh how wonderful Ginny," said Molly. "I'm so happy for you."
Arthur gave her a high-five across the table. "That makes two for the Weasley family. Well done!"
"I'm so excited," said Ginny. "I need to get my Quidditch playbook from my room." She stood and bounded toward the stairs.
Arthur said in a low voice to Molly, "I think we'll need a new broom for her birthday."
"Yes," whispered Molly. "But goodness knows she deserves it after all the work she's done to mend the Hogwarts pitch. We'll manage."
After a quick glance toward the doorway, Harry whispered to them, "Not a word to Ginny, I've already got that detail covered."
Arthur and Molly smiled warmly at Harry and nodded with knowing expressions.
"You knew?" said Ron in a whisper to Harry.
"Not for sure. But can you think of anyone better qualified than Ginny to be the Gryffindor team captain?"
"No, I can't," smiled Ron. "She's the best. What'd you get her?"
"It's a surpri..." Harry's voice trailed off as he heard footsteps on the stairs. Ginny stepped back into the kitchen carrying a notebook and sat down next to Harry.
"I haven't looked at this since end of fifth year," said Ginny leafing through a few pages. "I've got so much planning to do. I'll need to change things to account for those new brooms we'll be using."
Ron smiled. "Bit of an edge on the other house teams?"
"A bit," smiled Ginny. "But they'll find out about the brooms soon enough."
"Let me know if I can help," said Harry. He looked at Ron. "Well mate, we'd best be off to Auror lessons."
"I'll be off to work too," said Arthur. "Congratulations Ginny; well deserved."
Harry and Ron stood, each taking hold of their Auror training book. Arthur stood and the three of them wished everyone a good day. They stepped out the kitchen door and into the backyard. Three pops were heard as they each disapparated.
Molly dabbed at her eyes with a hankie. "Your father and I are so very proud of you."
"Thanks Mum. Listen, I know we can't afford a new broom. That's okay. Cleansweep donated some really good brooms to Hogwarts. I'll use one of those."
Molly dabbed her eyes with the hankie. "Very well Ginny dear."
Seeing an absent look on Molly's face she said, "Are you okay?"
"Yes Ginny, I'm fine," said Molly regaining composure. "You'd best be on your way to Hogwarts."
Ginny stood, put the notebook under her arm and stepped toward the fireplace.
She smiled back at her mother seated at the table and waved. "Bye Mum, see you this evening."
"Have a nice day Ginny."
Ginny disappeared in a flash of green flame. After watching her go, Molly took hold of an IWROC letter on the table and opened it.
|Chapter 18||Chapter Index||Chapter 20|
This is an original fan fiction 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 fan fiction story is owned by the author and subject to copyright law under transformative use.
Copyright © 2015-2017 Don Buczynski
San Diego, California
Last Updated: 11/08/17