It took Harry and I about a half hour to gather all the stuff we thought we'd need to camp again. We haven't really talked about where we are going first. Only that we're going to stay at the Leaky Cauldron tonight before going to Gringotts in the morning. "Mate," Harry throws the duffel over his shoulder and moves through the garden. "Listen, while I'm at Gringotts you go over to Fred and George's shoppe. I want you to pick up a few of those items Draco had as well as some shielding equipment."We trudge through the damp grass and as we approach the back door I hear raised voices. "They're still going at it?" I ask as I toss my duffel towards the house. "Bloody hell, if we waited any longer for them to come to decisions we'd be as gray as Dumbledore.""Reds don't gray," Harry mutters and sets his bag beside mine. "Let's do this."I open the back door and I'm more than a bit stunned at the site that greets me. Remus and Kingsley are standing toe to toe, Tonks is trying to pull them apart, and I can see the veins pulsing in Kingsley's neck. "Remus, see here," Kingsley shouts. "We need to dictate their training! That's what Dumbledore wanted!"Remus shook off Tonks hand and growled, "They've done as much if not more than half the order!""It's what Dumbledore wanted!" Kingsley shouted again. "He told us that he wanted them trained separately to make them stronger."Harry steps around me and pulls his wand, "That is not what Dumbledore wanted and I've had just about enough of you all trying to run my life.""You don't know what you're talking about, Potter," Kingsley fixes his black eyes on Harry. "You haven't an idea what Dumbledore wanted for you.""Bullshite," I say softly. "Ron!" Mum shouts. "I will not have--"I look at Harry and watch him square his shoulders. Kingsley is in for a bit of a shock.
"You haven't an idea what Dumbledore wanted for you."His words are still resonating in my head when I step forward and point my wand at his neck. "And you do?" I ask pressing my wand against the hollow of his neck forcing him back as I step into him."Harry," Remus calls out behind me. "Harry, don't do anything foolish."I spin around so fast that Remus gasps when he's suddenly facing my wandpoint."Is that what you all think? That foolish Harry will run off and what... get killed?" I laugh and turn to face Kingsley again. "How's THAT any different from what I've been doing my entire life!""You're too young to know what you should do out there!" Kingsley growls."That's not true!" Ron shouts from the corner and I want to smile at him, to thank him for always believing in me. "Harry knows more than you give him credit for, Kingsley," Tonks says and Remus steps forward and presses his chest against my wand forcing me to turn to look at him."Harry, do you know what you need to do to defeat Voldemort?" Remus asks in that calm, Professor tone he uses when he's trying to reason with me."Apart from killing myself, you mean?" I ask facing Kingsley, keeping every bit of bite in my tone."You're not helping your case, Harry," Tonks whispers against my ear and I sigh and run my fingers through my hair as I holster my wand."This is MY fight," I begin to say and put a hand up to Molly when she opens her mouth to say something. "It's mine to face and I have a mission I have to complete." I turn and look into Ron's eyes. "WE have a mission to complete," I correct myself, "and we're leaving to fulfill it.""NO!" Molly shouts."Molly," Arthur says, putting his arms around her. "Let him speak.""What is this mission you're going on, Harry?" he asks and I take another deep breath."I can't tell you."
Mum turns towards me and I move out of the corner. This is it...something I've dreaded for years"You, Ronald Weasley," Mum shouts and shakes her finger at me. "You will tell me what foolish plan you and Harry have created."I cross my arms over my chest and straighten to my full height. I am more than a foot taller than Mum but she still terrifies me under the best of circumstances."This not a foolhardy plan, it's not something we just made up," I look at Harry and he gives me a slight nod. "It is what Dumbledore wanted us to do and we have a job to finish."Mum's face turns bright red and she slides her hands to her hips, "Yes, well we all know that Dumbledore's plans were not always..." Her voice trails off as she looks around the room. "There was some question about Dumbledore's judgment."Harry frowns and he opens his mouth to speak but I jump in before he can say anything. "I am going with Harry, Mum," I say firmly. "This isn't your decision, it's mine,and to be honest you can't stop me. I'm of age."Mum stomps her foot and I swear I feel the walls of the kitchen shudder, "Don't you try to play that of age card with me, Ronald Weasley! This is my house and as long as you live under my roof you'll do as I say.""I don't live under your roof," I reply softly. "I know your scared Mum but either way it's Harry that has to end this."Mum's lip trembles and my dad moves to stand beside her, "Molly, we can't stop him from going. We will help them in any way we can."Dad turns to look at Harry as he squeezes Mum's shoulder, "Harry, can you tell us anything. Not specifics just your plan? Where will you stay and how can we communicate with you?"
I shake my head and decide to look down at my shoes. I hate to see that look in his eyes. The one that says, 'I'm scared out of my mind, but I'm not going to show it because it's not going to make a difference.'"And that's supposed to instill confidence in your judgment, is it?" Molly asks. "Arthur talk to them!""Molly, they've made up their mind," Remus says from somewhere behind me. "But Arthur's right, Harry. We need to know where you'll be and how to communicate with you."Ron steps forward when did I end up standing in front of him looking for comfort? and puts his arm around me turning me around as he does so. "It's classified," Ron says squeezing my shoulder."Bollocks!" Bill pipes in, shoving away from counter he'd been reclined against. "I understand that it has to be you, Harry and I know that you need Ron with you. I understand that you know better than some of us what you're going to face because you've faced it in the past, but I know a hair-brained idea when I see one and this is one, if I've ever seen one.""We can tell you more as we know more," I say looking into his eyes. I turn and meet each of their gaze. "We're leaving tonight for The Leaky Cauldron and after that, we'll contact you when we've reached our destination.""So you plan to leave in the morning?" Arthur asks with a hopeful tone."Then stay here," Molly says and I smile when I see Tonks thump Ron on the back when he coughs."The longer I stay here, the greater danger I bring to you," I tell her. "We'll communicate via Patronus," I say turning to face Kingsley. "Owls and the floo will be monitored by Voldemort's lackeys in the Ministry but we will only send communication when we know it's safe to do so.""Sounds like they know what they're doing," Tonks pipes in and I have never loved her more than I do right now."Not quite," Remus chimes in. "Your Patronus, Harry is very well-known. It hasn't changed, has it?"I shake my head and Ron steps up behind me."But mine is not common knowledge," he says, "and if we say any more, we're going to put them in danger, Harry."The silence is deafening and when I turn to leave, Bill steps forward."One moment," he says and walks up to us, hands in his pockets.
"Look," Bill says as he pulls out a bag from his pocket. "Fleur and I were saving this to put a down payment on a little cottage near the sea but...""We're not going to take your savings, Bill," I feel my face heat bright red and shake my head firmly. "No way."Bill shoves the bag of galleons into my pocket and I attempt to pull it back out. "Bill," Harry says softly. "I have more galleons than I know what to do with.""I've been warding your vault, Harry," Bill nods his head. "Look--it would be better if you didn't go down to your vault right now, Harry. The Goblin's haven't decided which side their on. You shouldn't even be seen at Grigotts."My hand trembles slightly when I realize Bill is right, I'm going to have to change to money out, and Harry moves closer to me. "I guess," I swallow hard and bite my lip. "I guess that I could change the money into Muggle cash.""Mr. Weasley," Harry pipes up. "Could you take the money and do that for us? I'd also like you to get the Deluminator for Ron--Dumbledore wanted it with us and I reckon while it's safe in your vault it has another purpose.""Of course," Dad says softly and I feel his gaze lingering on me before focusing on Harry. "I'll bring them to the Leaky Cauldron before I go into the Ministry.""Bill," Harry turns quickly to my brother. "You take enough out for the down payment on your cottage. Ron and I might need a place to stay if things get too bad."Remus moves closer and nudges me, "Ron, I was wondering what shape your Patronus takes and how strong is it?"I blush and lower my gaze, "It's a Jack Russell Terrier and it's pretty strong--why?""I thought the two of you might need someone with experience to go along, I mean."I look at Tonks and watch her eyes widen and she grabs Remus' arm before I can say no. "No, Remus," Tonks says firmly. "Harry tell him no.""They might need my guidance and I'm a danger to you," Remus frowns and looks at Harry. "Tell her I'm dangerous, Harry. That I'll be more valuable working on the front lines with you and Ron."
"He's dangerous," I dead-pan while looking at him. "Terrifying, horrific, monstrous even."He turns to look at me with that pleading tone and seizes my elbow and leads me away from everyone. "You're going to need me, Harry.""SHE needs you," I say nodding toward Tonks. "What are you doing, Professor?""Stop calling me that," he snaps and runs a trembling hand through his wispy hair. "I can't just sit idly by while you face the dangers alone, Harry. I can help you and you know it. James would've wanted me to..." He reaches for me and I shake his hand off."When did you become such a coward?" I hiss in his face. His eyes widen and I look into his eyes. "My Dad would say the same. What are you afraid of?""I hurt her," he says staring at the floor. "I... she's better off without me, Harry. She deserves better.""Right, because your furry problem is far worse than a life without you!" I jab his chest with my finger and shove him back. "My battle is with Voldemort and yours is right here, leading these folks and keeping them alive. You want to help me? Keep them safe!""You don't understand," he turns to walk away and I seize his arm and wheel him around."I understand perfectly well that my father's best friend is a coward. That my mentor, the man I've looked up to since third year, would rather be a martyr than a father," his eyes widen and I hiss in his face."How... we haven't told anyone. How did you know?""I didn't," I walk past him and take Ron's hand. "Let's go," I practically growl and blast through the door, battling with the need to let my magic flow.
When we get outside Harry kicks his duffel and growls, "Coward--Baby on the way and he wants to come on some crusade with us."I hand Harry a fag and sigh, "Look, I'm sure he just wants to help."Harry lights the fag and motions that I should follow him to the back edge of the property, "Look--he can help by feeding us information from here. I'm not going to allow another child to be an orphan. I know what that's like."I nod and squeeze his shoulder, "Should we go to the Leaky now?"
I nod and wait for Ron to disapparate before taking one last glance at Remus through the kitchen window and following. They don't understand, I think as the room in the Leaky Cauldron materializes, it's our fight. I cross the room and wrap my arms around Ron, my head against his chest."It's going to be alright, mate. We did it."Looking up into his eyes, I nod. "I know."