As May became June Harry’s spirts began to rise. The weight of the Battle of Hogwarts was lifting off of his shoulders and breathing seemed to be a bit easier. After he had almost exposed the Wizarding world to the Berke’s Harry became much more cautious about the things he did and said. Hermione had loaned him a speckled owl named Oswald, who often looked at Harry with an air of contempt and had to be coaxed with treats to deliver every single bit of mail Harry had. He had taken up a subscription to The Daily Prophet again and was surprised to find the face of Kingsley Shaklebolt smiling up at him from the front page. Harry snatched the paper from the delivery owl and shoved a few Knuts into the leather pouch tied on its leg. Harry scanned the front page and let out a shout of joy.
“Kingsley’s been made minister.” Harry said happily to a newly awoken Teddy. “I never thought Kingsley’d be minister. He didn’t seem the type.” Teddy smiled up at Harry and Harry returned the smile before picking Teddy up and feeing him his breakfast. Just as Harry was finishing up, he heard a loud pounding on his door. Setting the baby on a blanket he had spread out on the floor, Harry stood up and answered the door.
“Ruth.” He said as she walked straight into his flat. “Hi.”
“Hello Harry.” She smiled and knelt on the floor next to Teddy who was gleefully kicking his legs in the air. “Hello Teddy.”
“Is there something you need?” Harry asked. Ruth opened her mouth and was about to tell Harry exactly what she needed when there was a thump at the window. Hermione’s owl Oswald had flown straight into the window and was staring at Harry angrily as if it was all his fault.
“Is that an owl?” Ruth asked. Harry rushed to the window and opened it swiftly; Oswald swooped in through the window and took extra care to hit Harry on the head with an outstretched wing. Harry raised this hand to the side of his head where Oswald had hit him and rubbed it slightly.
“What’ve you got then?” Harry said to the owl. Oswald turned his head away from Harry but stuck out his leg. Harry took the scroll of parchment quickly and dug through his pockets before producing a small treat which Oswald snatched out of his hand as soon as he had seen it.
“Git.” Harry muttered. He was just about to unfurl the parchment, which was no doubt a letter from Ron, Hermione, or Ginny, when he looked up to find Ruth staring at him with wide eyes and an open mouth.
“Is that an owl?” Ruth asked again. Harry felt a lump in his throat.
“Er--yeah.” He said awkwardly. “Listen, Ruth, maybe you should leave.”
“But I haven’t even told you why I came here is the first place.” Ruth whined. A glass of water fell off our Harry’s counter and shattered on the floor.
“Well what is it?” Harry said impatiently.
“Mum wants to know if you have a job.” Ruth said.
“A job. Y’know—work?” Ruth said testily.
“I know what it is.” Harry said. “And yes I have one. Why does your mum care?”
“There’s no need to be rude.” Ruth said coolly. “She just wanted to know if you needed any help with Teddy.”
“It’s fine.” Harry said quickly. “I’ve got it sorted. Tell your mum thanks.” Ruth nodded and bade a quick goodbye to Teddy and Harry before leaving Harry’s flat. Harry walked into the kitchen and began to clean up the mess made by the mysteriously broken glass on his floor. With a wave of his wand the glass was fixed and the water had vanished. Harry glanced over at Teddy.
“We’re going to have to be more careful.” He said. “That’s the second time I’ve almost violated the secrecy thingy Hermione’s always talking about.”
Harry’s hand gripped the note Oswald had delivered. He unrolled it and found it was from Ron.
Mum reckons the hiding’s getting a bit old. She says there are rumors that you’re trying to off yourself. She wants to round at the end of July to celebrate your 18th. Hermione and Ginny want to come round soon—prepare yourself.
Harry laughed at Ron’s note before finding a quill and scribbling his reply on the back of it. He called out to Oswald who had begun to fall asleep on the top of a kitchen cabinet. Oswald looked him in the eye before turning his head back and tucking it safely under his wing. After five minutes and almost an entire bag of owl treats Harry had coaxed Oswald in to coming down and bribed him into tying the letter to his leg. Oswald ruffled his feather at Harry at took flight out of the open window. Harry shut the window after Oswald had left and turned to the Teddy. Scooping him up Harry made his way around his flat tiding things up.
“I’ll have to leave soon.” Harry said to Teddy, who didn’t seem to be paying that much attention to Harry. “I’ve got to go to work.” Unfortunately, Harry had received a telephone call from a nice-looking Muggle woman (the message was delivered via the Muggle who worked in the lobby of Harry’s flat block) that she was ill and couldn’t take care of Teddy. It was with great sense of dread that Harry knocked on the door of the neighboring flat.
There was a scuffle inside and the muffled sound of shouting before the door was opened and Harry was face to face with Ruth.
“Hello Harry.” She said. Harry could tell that she was still angry with him over their earlier encounter.
“Ruth, could you do me a favor?” Harry asked. Ruth looked him up and down and stood with her hands on her hips like Ginny used to. The thought of Ginny made Harry’s heart ache.
“What do you need?” Ruth asked reluctantly after a moment silence.
“I need you and your mum to keep an eye on Teddy. Hi Sam.” Harry said quickly. Sam was peering up at Harry from behind his sisters back at the sound of his name he ducked back behind his sister and refused to say anything.
“Fine.” Ruth said. “When will you be back?”
“Late.” Harry replied. He handed her Teddy and a small bag before roughly shoving a key into her hand. “You can stay in my flat if you like.” Harry rushed off without another word.
Harry had, much to Ginny’s amusement (he had written her about his doings in the Muggle world) taken up a job in a muggle shop. He was working the closing shift at a small greengrocers. The store was empty and he was sweeping the floor when the soft chime of a bell warned him that the door had been opened again.
“Look, we’re closed.” Harry said wearily.
“I’m not looking for groceries Harry but I will keep that in mind for next time.” Said a deep gravelly voice from the door. Harry’s head snapped up and he locked eyes with none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt. Big, bald and black, Kingsley was one of the best Auror’s Harry had ever known (besides, of course, Mad-Eye Moody) and he had recently been made the permanent Minister of Magic.
“Kingsley!” Harry exclaimed. “I heard about the ministry job. Congratulations!”
“Thanks.” Kingsley said. “I wanted a word with you.” Kingsley eyes the green apron around Harry’s neck and the broom in his hand “If now is an okay time.”
“Yeah, now’s fine.” Harry said taking off his apron and storing it, along with the broom, behind the counter. Kinsley opened his mouth and began speaking as soon as Harry had straightened up.
“Minerva told me you wanted to be an Auror.”
“I did.” Harry said. “I do.”
“That’s why I’m here.” Kingsley said. “I want to offer you a position in the Auror Department.”
“Seems a little trivial for the Minister of Magic, don’t you think?” Harry asked. “Besides, I haven’t been trained.”
“Think of it as a visit from a friend.” Kingsley gave him a wry smile. “You don’t need training Harry. You’re already one of the most powerful wizards I know.”
“I’m not powerful.” Harry muttered. “I haven’t even finished school.”
“The Auror’s Department is open, free of additional training to any Witch or Wizard who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. That includes you Potter. You’ll let me know by the end of the week?”
“Yeah. I’ll let you know.” Harry said.
“You can’t hide forever Harry.” Kingsley said opening the door. “I hope to hear from you soon.” Kingsley stepped foot outside of the shop and Disapperated on the spot.
Harry finished tidying up the shop and began the walk back to his flat. He gave a quick nod to the ugly, old Muggle who had rented him his flat. Harry took the stairs two at a time until he was at the door of his flat. He stopped in his tracks. He could hear shouting on the other side of the door. His hand closed around the end of this wand and with a small flick of his wrist Harry opened the door. Ruth was standing in his kitchen with Sam surrounded by broken glass. Standing opposite of her and looking very contemptuous was Hermione, Ron and Ginny. Harry looked with wide eyes between the two groups before clearing his throat.
“I tried to stop them Harry. I really did.” Ruth said in a scared voice. “They just appeared out of now where.”
“How in the name of Merlin’s saggy y-fronts were we supposed to know that there was going to be anyone here?” Ron asked.
“When you said you’d be stopping by,” Harry said taking Teddy from Hermione. “I assumed you’d call ahead.”
“I did.” Ron said. “I sent that owl.”
“So it was an owl!” Ruth cried. Hermione frowned at Harry. Taking the hint, Harry addressed Ruth and Sam.
“Why don’t you go home?” Harry said. “Thanks for watching Teddy.” Ruth opened her mouth to object but Sam, much to Harry’s surprise, elbowed her in the stomach and dragged her out of Harry’s flat.
“Who the bloody hell were they?” Ron asked sitting in Harry’s lone arm chair.
“Neighbors.” Harry said as he began to repair the broken glasses on the floor.
“Muggles?” Ron asked. Harry nodded.
“How’d the glass break?” He asked sitting down next to Ginny on his bed.
“I dunno.” Ron said looking around. “Nice place.” He snorted.
“Thanks.” Harry said. Hermione furrowed her brow and looked back and forth between Harry’s closed door and Harry.
“Do you think…” She said quietly.
“What?” Harry asked.
“Do you think they’re Muggleborns?” Hermione asked. Harry shrugged.
“Ruth seemed interested in Oswald, the little git. Sam never speaks.” Harry said. “She might be. She broken a glass before, wasn’t anywhere near it.” There was a poignant silence in the air before Ron spoke up.
“Has Kingsley been to see you?” He asked.
“Just now.” Harry said. “He offered me an Auror’s position.
“He offered all of us.” Ginny said. “Anyone who fought against You-Know-who at Hogwarts.”
“Mum won’t let Ginny do it.” Ron said. Ginny glared at him
“I don’t want to be an Auror.” Ginny said. Then, catching Harry’s eye, “Not that there is anything wrong with being an Auror.”
“I reckon you’re taking it then?” Harry asked Ron.
“I am. Hermione isn’t though.” He made a twisted sort of face. “She’s going back.”
“To Hogwarts?” Harry asked surprised. “Can you do that?”
“Yes.” Hermione said hotly. This had obviously been a source of contention for her and Ron. “McGonagall is offering to let anyone who needs to re-do their year.”
“She’ll be the top of your class then.” Harry said grinning at Ginny. She punched him in the shoulder.
“I won’t mind.” Ginny said. “I wasn’t top of the class anyway.”
“Are you coming back?” Ron asked. ”I reckon you’ve been away long enough and George has got some new things from the joke shop he’s been dying to give to you.”
“Not to mention,” Hermione added. “Kingsley’s offer.
“Everyone’s been asking about you.” Ginny said quietly. “Rita Skeeter us about to write a book about your untimely death at Hogwarts.”
Harry sat with his thoughts for a moment before looking at his friends. Hermione, Ron and Ginny. There was no way he could stay away from them forever. Especially from Ginny.
“Alright.” Harry said. “I’m coming back.”