Chapter 3: Plans and Options
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Later that day, her feet up on the sofa, Hermione was reading a book. Harry came in and sat down in the chair across from her. She looked up from the book. "Finish telling me about your meeting with Kingsley."
"Let me call Ron and have him come over first. He should hear it too." Harry got up and moved to the fireplace. A few minutes later, there was a flash of green light and Ron appeared.
"Hi Harry, hi Hermione." Ron waved his hand as he stepped forward and the soot on his clothes drifted back into the fireplace.
"Hi Ron," said Hermione. He sat down on the sofa next to her.
Ron looked at Harry. "So what's up?"
"I had a really good talk with Kingsley today. ..."
"Hello Harry. Please come in and have a seat. How are you doing?"
"Very well Minister."
"Please Harry, call me Kingsley. I thought you'd like to know, Aurors have apprehended five individuals who were part of a snatcher cell. Thank you for providing the information that led to their capture."
"We overheard them talking when we were being taken to Malfoy Manor. Are snatchers still rounding up people?"
"There have been a few attempts. The Auror Department's highest priority is to apprehend these individuals. Some cells are actively trying to recruit new members. Their tactic is to spread false information about the Ministry in an effort to cause fear, mistrust, and division. Vigilance and prompt reporting of suspicious activity will bring the remaining dark force members to justice."
"Seems like you're making good progress; we've read about it in the Prophet."
"Thank you. Now if I may, I'd like to ask you a few questions. In accordance with your earlier expressed wishes, I have kept silent about you and your activities over the past year. Only general statements have been made to the press stating your well-being and desire for privacy. Is this still your desire?"
"Yes. I've had some limited discussion with Ron and Hermione. Perhaps at a future date, a single publication interview would be possible. The content of the story would need to be agreed upon by Ron, Hermione, and myself prior to publication."
"Excellent Harry. That is very much in line with my thinking. Do you have any thoughts about that future date?"
"No, not really."
"The reason I ask, there is planning underway for a ceremony to be held at Hogwarts sometime in late August. The purpose is to rededicate the school and to commemorate those who were involved in its defense. There will be a Daily Prophet story related to the ceremony and it would be a good time to have something of your story also. If published together, there would be diversion that is favorable to your desires. What do you think?"
"That seems okay to me but let me discuss it with Ron and Hermione."
"Very good. I would appreciate knowing your decision in the next few days."
"We will ... Kingsley."
"Now with respect to the rededication ceremony, and the available space at Hogwarts, only those who were directly involved in the battle, and their immediate families, will be invited to attend. There will be a single reputable reporter, accompanied by a photographer, from the Daily Prophet present. You, Ron, Hermione, and others, identified by headmistress McGonagall, will be formally invited to attend. No one will have to speak unless they so desire. Your attendance would be most appreciated by our wizarding world."
"That seems agreeable to me. I'll check with Ron and Hermione on that too."
"Thank you. Now I also want to mention that planning is underway regarding careers in the Ministry of Magic for you, Ron, and Hermione. Please share what I am about to say with them. Many of the Ministry departments desire each of you in their ranks. These departments are drafting career proposals. The proposals will be sent to each of you by owl within the next few weeks. You could then meet with the department heads of your choosing to learn more about the careers that are of interest. ..."
"... So Kingsley really wants to help us get things sorted out."
"That's great," said Hermione. "Did he mention anything about school or job requirements?"
"He said the Ministry is short-handed right now and special arrangements for necessary course work will be made available depending on the career choice. Existing knowledge and skills will be taken into consideration."
Ron said, "Wow, we get to pick the job we want?"
Hermione said, "At least from the choices they give us. What if we don't want what they offer?"
"Any other career still has the normal school requirements and application process. But Kingsley said that we'd likely be very happy with the offers."
"My dad mentioned there are available positions in his department too. I've been thinking about that. Or maybe work with George at the joke shop."
"We each got a job pitch from Kingsley too. He said that after recent events, an Auror career is also an available choice."
"Blimey," said Ron. "Really?"
"Well, I for one do not want to be an Auror," said Hermione.
"Speaking for myself, I told Kingsley that I'm not interested in being an Auror right now. I said that after this last year, something with much less hand-to-hand combat is more what I'm thinking."
Ron smiled. "Yeah, I had a similar conversation with Mum and Dad. They said they'd support me in whatever career decision I make but hope it will be a less dangerous one."
Harry said, "So what do you think about an interview and publication? I'm inclined to do it so we can get it over with."
Hermione said, "What Kingsley suggests would minimize us being in a direct spotlight."
Ron said, "Publish in the Quibbler like you did in fifth year?"
She said, "To get the best diversionary advantage, it should be in the same publication as the other stories. That means it would need to be in the Daily Prophet since it's the official Ministry newspaper."
Ron said, "The person doing the interview should do all three of us together. That will make the story consistent and we can help each other stay clear of questions about the prophecy and Horcruxes."
Hermione said, "We would still need to be careful about what we say. The interviewer could talk to others any they could publish without our consent."
Harry said, "Okay. What about the rededication ceremony at Hogwarts?"
Ron said, "I think we should do it. After working on the Hogwarts rebuilding effort, it will help give people final closure."
"I think so too Harry. Not attending would make it appear that we don't care about Hogwarts or what happened there."
"Great. I'll send Kingsley an owl tomorrow. Either of you fancy a butterbeer?"
Ron and Hermione both nodded. Harry got up and went to the kitchen. He returned and handed a glass to each of them. Then he sat down again in the chair. There was a quiet minute where they all were just thinking. Ron was intently studying the butterbeer foam in his glass. He looked up.
"I want to talk to you ... about us."
"Do you mean us as in boyfriend and girlfriend?"
Harry stood. "I think I'll check on something in my room."
"It's okay with me mate if you stay. This won't be a shouting match. Besides, since the Forest of Dean, I'm comfortable with you knowing my feelings."
"That was quite the reunion we had in the tent that night," smiled Hermione.
Ron looked at Harry and his eyes spoke differently. "No, the image we saw from the locket."
Harry sat down again and began to study the foam in his glass of butterbeer.
"Hermione, we've had the romance part of our relationship on hold for a while now and it has given me time to sort it out. I think our arguments are because I'm being overly defensive of my opinions. Growing up the youngest brother in the family tended to put me on the receiving end of practical jokes, embarrassing situations, and a lot of hand-me-downs. These things never seemed to bother Ginny. I reckon it's because she's more self-assured than I am.
What I'm trying to say is, I need more time to become the right person for you. I want to stop the romance part of our relationship and give both of us time to see and date other people. That way, we'll find out if we're really meant for each other. If we're destined to be together someday, I want it to be freely chosen and based on a more peaceful foundation."
In a soft voice she said, "Ron, that's beautiful. But to be fair, our arguments are not all your fault. I've been bossy and opinionated with you too."
With a smile and questioning tone of voice he said, "Really? Since when?"
They all broke into laughter.
"Seriously Ron," she said in a contrite voice, "You know I'm an over achiever. I'm still trying to find the right balance. I understand now how that must have made you feel. I'm very sorry about that, please forgive me. I'm okay with doing what you suggest for us. I know we will be dearest friends and I want that to continue no matter what. I really, really mean that."
"Me too Hermione."
Ron looked at Harry and then back to Hermione. With a sincere expression he said, "You're both my best friends and I know each of you really well. ... I think you and Harry should spend some time together too. But I don't need to hear all the details about that." The three of them smiled.
Hermione turned to Ron with teary eyes. She gave him a long strong hug. "Thank you Ron."
"Thank you Hermione."
She kissed him on the cheek and then looked into his eyes. "Like brother and sister for now?"
"Yes, and so much more."
After a long pause Harry said, "What say we go get something to eat?"
"That sounds good to me," said Ron. "Is there an Italian place nearby?"
She grinned. "Yes, this is an almost completely muggle neighborhood. There are a couple of Italian places just a few blocks walk from here."
"Great," said Harry. "Let's go."
The remainder of their evening included talking, eating, and laughter. They felt a satisfying enjoyment being in each other's company. The genuine trust, joy, and understanding between them seemed boundless.
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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: 8/31/19