A/N This is the first story that I have posted on Fan Fiction. If you enjoy it please let me know by your review. If you didn't enjoy it and can tell me why please let me know by your review. You reviews can help me make my writing better. Thanks to my witches for encouraging me to write
Aftermath - Chapter 1 – The job offer
Arthur Weasley woke up screaming for the fourth time since Saturday night. He saw a flash of green light then watched his wife Molly, the love of his life, fall to the floor lifeless. He kept hearing Bellatrix's cackling laugh inside his head even after he had woken up. Each night he relived what happened at the Battle of Hogwarts. Running up just as Molly and Narcissa Malfoy dueled Voldemort's evil bitch. Each time he got there just a fraction of a second too late but still firing two stunners at Bellatrix as she turned from Molly's body to point her wand at her sister. Even through his grief and anger he still could not bring himself to send a killing curse at anyone, even a person as evil as Bellatrix. The first hex hit her right in the middle of her chest, knocking her to the ground. Once she fell, the second hit the stone wall she was standing in front of causing the entire wall to collapse on top of her. The tons of stone crushed her still body. When her body was recovered it was almost beyond all recognition. The only part of her that was not crushed was her face. She had a peaceful look for the first time since Tom Riddle started his rise to power.
Every night he would go to bed praying not to have the nightmare again and at the same time praying that his life was a nightmare that he would wake up from. Praying that he had gotten there a fraction of a second earlier and that Molly was in bed with him, holding him while he woke up from the nightmare. Four times it happened since Saturday, and it was still only Monday.
Afraid to try going back to sleep lest the nightmare start over, he went down to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. Too many memories. Happy memories of Molly bustling around, not letting anyone help her especially when she was developing a new recipe or household spell. He heated the water in the kettle and when it was ready took his tea into the living sat sipping his tea lost in his own thoughts. This is how Charlie found him.
Charlie had woken up to his father's screams again. He was still very worried that his father would never get through the grieving process. After all he should have stopped having the nightmares every time he fell asleep without taking a dreamless sleep potion. Charlie had to go back to work soon and he didn't know what to do to help his father. The bereavement leave granted to him by the dragon tamers he worked for was done at the end of the following week and he would have to return to work in Bulgaria. Ron was in Egypt, enrolled in the pre-Auror training program Bill had managed to get him accepted into after he failed the entrance exam for the British program. They all had thought that his position as one third of the Golden Trio would have been enough to get him accepted. Maybe if he had been a little more serious and actually studied while at Hogwarts, instead of depending on Hermione to do his work for him . . . but that was water under the bridge. Bill and Fleur were still newlyweds and living in Shell Cottage. George was now living over the shop once he realized that that was the only way he had to honor his twin's memory. Ginny was back at Hogwarts for her final year. And Percy, well he was just Percy. Charlie knew that once he had to go back to work Arthur was going to be alone at the Burrow 24 hours each day. Coming down the stairs to join his dad, Charlie again tried to think of something to do.
"Hey Dad. Got enough tea for me too? Or should I put on another pot?" He yelled from the steps. Instead of hearing his father's voice answering he heard an insistent tapping on the window. It was an official looking ministry owl. When he opened the window the owl flew past him, landed on Arthur's mug of tea and held out its foot so Arthur could remove the parchment tied to it. It then flew back to the window sill and waited for an answer next to the tin of owl treats.
Arthur read the parchment and looked at his son with a smile on his face. He then threw it on the pile of similar parchments that he had received during the last two weeks.
"Are you ever going to answer him?" Charlie asked.
"Eventually I guess I'll have to. He keeps asking me to come in to see him."
Suddenly a second owl came in the same open window. This one had a red envelope on its leg. As the owl held its leg out to Arthur, Charlie looked at it and shuddered. He remembered the howlers his mother was famous for sending. "For Godric's sake dad, who would send you a howler?"
"Only one way to find out is to open it, son." Arthur opened the envelope and Kingsley voice boomed out.
"ARTHUR WEASLEY, I'M TIRED OF YOU IGNORING MY MESSAGES. EITHER BE HERE, IN MY OFFICE AT 8:00 O'CLOCK TOMORROW MORNING OR I WILL SEND AURORS TO BRING YOU TO MEET WITH ME!"
"He really sounds serious," the younger Weasley mused.
Arthur poured another cup of tea.
At 7:30 in the morning Charlie looked at his father and asked "Well if you have to be there at 8:00 shouldn't you get ready?"
"What gives you the idea that I am going?"
"You heard what he said, didn't you?"
"He's just full of crap!" As he said that Arthur dropped his head back into his hands. "She never could stand for my cursing in the house. She said it would be a bad influence on all you kids. What am I going to do? How will I live without her?"
Charlie reached for his father's hands. Suddenly there was a banging on the door.
"Arthur Weasley, we know you're in there! Open the door immediately!"
"Harry, is that you?"
"Minister Shacklebolt sent a dozen aurors to bring you in. I convinced him that I could do it more effectively by myself without anyone getting hurt. He's giving me half an hour to convince you to come with me to his office. If you refuse he's authorized the other aurors to bind you and bring you in. Now open the door and let me in before we have to blast our way in and someone gets hurt!"
Charlie jumped up running to the door unlocking it and releasing the wards.
Harry came in and confronted Arthur. "You have 20 minutes to shower, shave and dress presentably. Then we leave for your meeting. You know the respect I have for you and I hope you won't make me use any force."
"Harry, you know I love you like a son. What's this about?"
"I can't tell you. Kingsley made me take an oath not to say a word about it. The only thing I can say is that, knowing you, once you meet with him, you will understand and be pleased with what he has to say. Now get started."
While Arthur reluctantly went to shower and shave, Charlie and Harry pulled out his best business robes. 25 minutes later, Charlie watched as they walked past the anti apparation wards and heard a crack as Harry and Arthur apparated to the Ministry. "I guess I should have reconnected to the floo system, huh?" said Arthur as they approached the minister's office.
"Sure would have made my job easier" was the response that popped into Harry's head and right out of his mouth. There was a sneer on his lips as well.
"Don't be fresh to Senior Ministers, Auror Potter! New Auror trainees are supposed to simply do what they are told, without question no matter who they are or what they have accomplished," boomed out of Shaklebolt's office. "Arthur come right in and have a seat. You are a hard man to get a hold of."
"Cut the nonsense Kingsley. Since when am I a senior minister? You know I'm really just a low level functionary in a minor office."
Kinsley didn't say a word but just handed a parchment to Arthur.
Arthur skimmed over the first couple of paragraphs and blurted "You've got to be kidding me?! They will never go for this!"
"The Wizengamot has already approved it and funded the office. They will make it public only if you agree to be the head of the program."
"Can I take this home and discuss it with my family?"
"I know you're still mourning Molly, but I really need you for this. I'll let you take it home only if you take an oath to only discuss it with members of your family who take a wizards' oath not to discuss it with anyone else until after it's made public."
"I can easily agree to that stipulation and will give you an answer by the end of the week."
"We can't wait for the week to be over. I'll expect to see you and hear your answer by Thursday morning. Without any Aurors having to come and fetch you."
"Expect me by 8:00 Thursday morning Boss."
"Good. I'm assigning Auror Jordan to you. All Senior Ministers are going to have bodyguards from now on. He will accompany you home and come back with you on Monday. If you need to go anywhere, you will Floo him first so that he can arrange security coverage."
"That reminds me, I guess I have to reconnect to the Floo network this afternoon."
"It's already done. Now go and explain to your family."
Arthur went home and immediately locked himself in his room.
Charlie was shocked when he saw Lee Jordan with Arthur. Arthur brushed by his son and went into the bedroom he and Molly had shared. Not knowing what was going on he tried to ask Lee but could get nowhere since Lee didn't know either.
Arthur began writing to all of his children; Ginny at Hogwarts and George in Diagon Alley. Percy's letter went to his office at the Ministry and Bill's letter went to Shell Cottage. He sent Ron's letter to Harry asking him to forward it to his mate with Hedwig because of the distance to Alexandria where Ron was stationed. Charlie's letter simply appeared on the kitchen table. All the letters asked the children to meet at the Burrow Wednesday evening at 7:00. They were allowed to show them to their boss (or in Ginny's case the Headmaster and ask for permission to attend.
Wednesday evening everyone except Ron was gathered around the kitchen table at the burrow. Hedwig flew in an open window and stopped in front of Arthur, holding her leg out. Arthur took the small scrap of parchment from the owl and glanced at it.
"Ron isn't coming. We might as well get started. I guess Charlie told all of you that I was dragged in to see Kingsley Shaklebolt yesterday morning. He wants me to come back to work."
Charlie - "That's what I and all the others have been telling you for the past three weeks!
Bill – "Go back to work."
Percy – "Get out of the house!"
Ginny – "Stop being a recluse."
George – "Moping around the house won't bring mom back and you know it."
They all shouted at once.
"Have you been speaking to him as well? Those are the exact words he used. How many of my children have conspired with Shaklebolt about this…this…this wonderful idea?" Arthur looked around and saw a couple of red faces and guessed that they had spoken to Shaklebolt but the rest of his children simply had blank looks on their faces so he continued explaining. "He's creating a program that will acquaint witches and wizards with the muggle world. And he wants me to be the Senior Minister in charge of the program. He's giving me free reign not only to run the program but to create it from scratch. And he's convinced the Wizengamot to fully fund it only if I accept the position!"
"Do you really think anything we could do or say would make him and the Wizengamot do something like that? Have you lost it completely? Even Harry wouldn't be able to convince them to do that. Well? what are you going to do?" Bill and Charlie said in a tag team manner.
"What do you think I'm going to do? I'm going to the ministry today and talk to him. Once I get his oath that this is all true and we talk about salary of course I'm going to accept. In fact I might accept no matter what he says. I might even pay him to allow me to do it. Just don't tell him that. It's what I've been lobbying for since you mother and I were first married."
Suddenly, he slumped down into his chair again with his face in his hands. "Molly, Molly where are you now to see what I've been fighting for finally coming to pass? Oh no, Who's going to help me pick out what to wear? Or make sure I don't forget my umbrella. Or my briefcase. Or where I have to be each day."