September went without any confrontation with Williamson. As October rolled around Harry’s mind was less on the cases on hand and the project Kingsley had given him and Ron and was more on the upcoming Hogsmeade trip. Ron, as it turns out had also been invited and the two of them made plans to Apperate together.
Ron was beside himself with joy.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been to Hogsmeade.” He kept saying.
“I reckon,” Neville had confided in Harry one morning. “That’s Ron is just excited to see Madame Rosmerta again.” Ron’s schoolboy crush had not gone unnoticed by any of his fellow Gryffindors.
“Rosmerta doesn’t work at The Three Broomsticks anymore.” Harry said off-handedly, reading over one of the reports he had written.
“She doesn’t?” Ron was surprised by this news.
“She was working for Lord Voldemort.” Harry said, raising his eyes to meet Ron’s. “Not exactly the type parents want serving their children.”
“She was under the Imperious Curse.” Ron said. “She can’t be held responsible for what she did, can she?”
“Stan Shunpike was.” Harry said coolly. “Why should it be any different for Rosmerta?”
“Who’s running The Three Broomsticks then?” asked a dumbfounded Ron.
“I have no idea.” Harry said. “But I suppose you’ll just have to find out for yourself.”
“I don’t think I want to go anymore.” Ron said childishly. Harry rolled his eyes.
“You would travel all the way to Hogsmeade to see some witch that never gave you the time of day, but you won’t go to see your girlfriend?”
“Weasley’s got a girlfriend?” asked an overly cheery Erlanger. “What’s her name?”
“Hermione Granger.” Ron said irritably.
“Trouble with the missus, eh?” asked Erlanger with an overly exaggerated smile.
“Not quite.” Harry said. “Is there something you need, Erlanger?”
“I’ve caught a case and I was hoping you could assist me.” Erlanger said. He seemed awfully proud of himself for doing his job. Harry didn’t particularly like Ulick Erlanger, he found him to be over zealous and incredibly pompous not to mention exceedingly arrogant about what little extraordinary ability he possessed. But Harry was bored out of his mind filling out paper work day after day.
“What is it?” Harry asked. Erlanger grinned wider, Harry was afraid that his face was going to split in two if he continued on like that. He slapped a file into Harry’s hand.
“I hope you don’t have any one you plan on coming home to.” Erlanger said. Harry laughed awkwardly as Erlanger bounded away.
“I suppose I’ll tell Andromeda when I drop Teddy off tomorrow.” Harry grumbled to Ron. “I don’t think she’ll mind.”
“Cheer up mate.” Ron said. “We’re going to Hogsmeade.
The next morning Harry woke up extremely early and after he made sure Teddy had everything he needed Harry transported the two of them to Teddy’s grandmother’s house.
“So you want me to keep him for an entire week?” Andromeda asked Harry, her hands planted firmly on her hips. “I told you that you are not prepared to do this alone.”
“I never said that I was going to do this alone.” Harry snapped. “It’s my job, there’s not much I can do about it.”
“You could ask Kingsley to make arrangements.”
“I’m not using Kingsley as a way to get special treatment.” Harry said hotly. “I don’t want special treatment.”
Andromeda sighed and shook her head at Harry.
“You’ll be back Saturday next?” She asked.
“Yes. I promise.” Harry said.
“Alright, I’ll take him for the entire week then. But you must be back on time.”
“I will. I promise. Thank you!” Harry called as he left the house. The air was getting colder, Harry Disapperated as soon as both feet cleared the threshold. He reappeared moments later on the Burrow’s doorstep. He entered without knocking and was greeted with a smiling Mrs. Weasley.
“Hello Mrs. Weasley.” He said brightly.
“Oh Harry dear.” She said from the kitchen. “Ron will be down in a moment.” Mrs. Weasley returned to her cooking. Harry looked around the room. It was a bit messy, as the Weasley’s front room always was a tab bit messy but Harry thought it added to the hominess of the Burrow. Harry’s eyes found Mrs. Weasley’s unusual clock. A black cloth was still draped over the face. Harry was still staring at it when Ron came bounding down the stairs.
“Are you ready?” Ron asked, shrugging on one of Bill’s old jackets. Harry nodded and the two of them said goodbye to Mrs. Weasley before exiting the Burrow. Just like at Andromeda’s house as soon as they had crossed the threshold the pair linked arms and Disapperated.
Hogsmeade had always been on of Harry’s favorite places. The High street was full of shops from Dervish and Bangs—a helpful repair shop to Zonko’s—a joke shop that was the inspiration for the Weasley twins’ own store. Harry breathed in the fresh autumn air. It felt good to be way from London and its smog. Hermione and Ginny were to meet them at The Three Broomsticks in five minutes. Harry and Ron took their time strolling down the lane looking at the shops and ignoring whispers from nearby students are residents.
“I reckon I’m nearly as famous as you now mate.” Ron said cheerily, as the two of them walked into the pub and ordered two butterbeers.
“But not nearly as handsome.” Ginny said as her and Hermione sat down. Ron made a rude hand gesture in her direction, but Ginny didn’t seem to mind as she busy giving Harry a kiss.
“Could you save the snogging for somewhere I can’t see?” Ron asked giving Harry and Ginny a disgusted look when the broke for air. Harry grinned sheepishly and took a sip of his butterbeer to keep himself from laughing. Ginny, however, returned the same rude hand gesture to Ron, who scowled at her.
“How have things at the Auror’s Office been?” Hermione asked. “Besides, that one incident.”
“What incident?” Ginny asked. “What happened?”
Harry and Ron began to tell her everything that happened in the Auror’s office since the beginning of July. Harry and Ginny hadn’t written each other many letters, and when they did write letters to each other they tried to keep the topic’s as light as possible. There had been too much trouble in their worlds recently; it just didn’t make sense to either of them to bring that sort of heavy feeling into their lives again. Harry watched Ginny’s face with intense focus, watching her reactions, seeing if she found any fault with his actions. Ginny seemed disgusted by Umbridge and horrified by Williamson, but she didn’t seem incredibly disturbed by anything Harry had done.
“How’s the seventh year?” Harry asked absent-mindedly.
“I’ve been made Quidditch captain.” Ginny said proudly. Harry bestowed a congratulatory kiss on her lips and Ron looked away feigning vomiting. Hermione, who never really understood Quidditch, steered the topic of discussion to the subjects she was taking at Hogwarts.
“Of course it is rather odd to be in the same year as Ginny and Luna,” she said. “But all the subjects I’m taking are incredibly fascinating. In Arithmancy the other day Professor Vector…”
Harry tuned Hermione out. As much as he loved Hermione, and he did love Hermione he thought of her as family, he just wasn’t very interested in the classes she took. He found that he couldn’t understand half of what she was saying and it was easier to smile and nod as opposed to trying to get her to explain. Hermione spent several minutes speaking about her class and Harry just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” Harry muttered in Ginny’s ear. She nodded and the two of them stood up.
“Where are you going?” asked a slightly crestfallen Hermione.
“For a walk.” Harry said. “We’ll meet up with you later, alright?”
“See ya mate.” Ron said. If he wasn’t with Hermione right now, Harry thought that Ron would have nearly pushed them out of the pub. He hated seeing anyone kissing his sister and even though Harry was his best friend, Ron still wasn’t all that keen on their relationship. Harry threw several gold galleons on the table before walking out with Ginny’s hand in his. They spent a considerable amount of their walk in silence, looking at the shop windows. One thing Harry liked about his relationship with Ginny was that she didn’t push conversation on him. She understood what he had been through and she understood that sometimes he just wanted people around him without having to say a word.
“What are you going to do about Williamson?” She asked. They were on the top of a hill looking down at the Shrieking Shack.
“Gather evidence?” Harry said. “I’m not quite sure. Kingsley has us spying on him.”
“So he knows?”
“Yeah. He suspected it. Ron and I just confirmed it.” Harry said. He furrowed his eyebrows. “Do you have Heller?”
“What?” Ginny asked. She had been staring at a flock of birds.
“Heller. He’s supposed to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Do you have him?”
“Of course.” Ginny said. “Why? What’s wrong with him?”
“Nothing. I think.” Harry said. “I met him once. At the Ministry, he was talking to Kingsley. There was—something felt off about him. Does he act odd in class?”
“Not in class.” Ginny said. Harry shot her a questioning look. “He asks about you a lot.”
“He asks about me?”
“Harry, it’s not that unusual. Loads of people ask about you, about the battle, about Dumbledore’s Army. People who weren’t there want details, people who were there have things they want clarified. McGonagall’s at her wits end. I think she’s going to ban talking about it.”
“No!” Harry said. “I mean, they should be allowed to talk about it if they need to. It doesn’t help to keep it all bottled up inside.”
“How’s your cat?” Ginny asked.
“He’s fine.” Harry said. “I’ve decided to call him Colin.” Colin Creevey was a student a year younger than Harry and spent all his time at Hogwarts following Harry around with a camera taking pictures. Harry had been rather annoyed with him at the beginning but after a few years the two had an amicable friendship. Colin died in the Battle of Hogwarts. He was sixteen.
“What’s it like?” Harry asked. “Being there after the Battle. Knowing what happened.”
“It was difficult at first.” Ginny admitted. “But it became easier. I stopped seeing it as a battleground and began to see it as Hogwarts again. I think there are a few students who are having a harder time with it, but they won’t say.”
Harry and Ginny lapsed back into silence. As the sun began to set they decided it was high time they return to the main part of the village and find Ron and Hermione. They were greeted by several students as they walked down the hill, including Romilda Vane, a seventh year who tried to slip Harry a love potion nearly two years ago. She waved at Harry and gave him a big smile but she glowered at Ginny when she saw her. Ginny, not to be outdone glowered back and tapped her wand against her thigh as a type of warning.
“I never liked her.” Harry whispered to Ginny. “Much too clingy. Well, that and she basically poised my best mate.” Ginny laughed.
Finding Ron and Hermione was not as hard as Harry thought it was going to be. They were in the middle of the street surrounded by a gaggle of excited students who happened to be in the midst of shoving quills and parchment at them every chance they could. Harry presence diverted the attention and soon he found himself standing in a small huddle with Ginny, Ron and Hermione desperately trying to escape the mass of children surrounding them.
“If this is what being famous is like,” Ron roared. “You can count me out.”
“Little late for that mate.” Harry whispered. He pulled his wand out of his back pocket and motioned for Ron and Hermione to do the same. As soon as they all had their wants out. Harry raised his voice.
“OI! LISTEN UP!” Harry shouted. “IF YOU DON’T CLEAR OUT NOW, WE’LL CURSE THE LOT OF YOU!” The Hogwarts students scampered away. The Golden Trio and Ginny Weasley were not ones to be messed with.
“I would rather you don’t threaten my students Mr.Potter.” said a cool voice. Heller was standing not five feet away from him.
“I would rather I was free to walk through the streets.” Harry replied.
“You’ve gotten students involved.” He said, eyeing Ginny and Hermione. “Perhaps they would benefit from a week’s detention?”
“That won’t be necessary.” Harry said smoothly. “They weren’t involved. There were merely caught in the fold.”
“Very well.” Heller said haughtily. “But I will remind you Miss Weasley and you Miss Granger that attacks on fellow students are not tolerated at Hogwarts.” Heller walked away.
“He’s worse than Snape.” Ginny muttered.
“Come to the castle for dinner.” Hermione said.