Vulnerability

"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." Phoenix Lancaster is just as extraordinary as she appears, she is a muggle-born metamorphmagus, and she has never had a quiet life. Thanks to her courageous and troublesome best friends, Fred and George Weasley.

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32. Final Farewell

The week that followed was the quietest Phoenix had seen the castle. Cedric's death weighed heavily over the students and Phoenix could feel a Cedric-shaped hole in her heart, where they spent Potions together mostly laughing secretly about Snape or discussing Quidditch in Madam Pince's library. But with Cedric gone Phoenix's Potion classes remained dull and silent, her time in the library was awfully lonesome.

The morning after Cedric's death, Dumbledore had given a heart-breaking and mournful speech about Cedric. At one point he had difficulty being heard as Cho Chang had exploded in sobs. He also asked for the students to give Harry the space that he needed. The reason behind Cedric's death however, Dumbledore had decided to leave out of his speech. Phoenix understood this, as telling the entirety of Hogwarts and several other pupils from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang that it was because of Lord Voldermort's covert return may have caused slight distress. And, though Phoenix didn't wish to admit it, who would have believed him?

Phoenix had been left shaken when Ron and Hermione had informed herself, Fred and George about just how Cedric had died. How he had been cast aside by the Avada Kedavra curse like so many wizards before him. The mere thought of Lord Voldermort returning to power and even being alive was enough to push her over the edge.

When Phoenix walked into the Great Hall alongside Fred and George for the Leaving Feast, they found that the drapes (which usually harboured the winning House's colours) were decorated black. They were for Cedric. As she noticed this, her entire body seemed to sag as she slumped into a seat on the Gryffindor table. She felt a nudge to her right and knew immediately who it was.

"I'm fine George," she reassured him, sending a small smile. "It's just a little sad, you know?"

He nodded understandably, seemingly unsure whether or not he should comfort her or leave her be. But his uncertainty turned into empathy when Phoenix took his hand in hers under the shelter of Gryffindor table and squeezing their hands together.

George and Phoenix were yet to talk about exactly what their 'relationship' was but considering the events at the Third Task, Phoenix didn't feel like talking about her feelings (she hardly ever did) and George didn't want to intrude.

Phoenix's now grey eyes roamed over the staff table and she almost choked on her drink when she saw Mad-Eye Moody. Following the days after Cedric's death, Hermione had disclosed the information on exactly where Harry had gone after the Third Task. Hermione had told Phoenix with wide eyes that Alastor Moody had practically dragged the injured fourth year to his office, interrogating him on what happened in the graveyard. This was when Harry realised that something was wrong, he had not told Mad-Eye about the graveyard. That sent shivers down Phoenix's entire being.

"Mad-Eye's a Death Eater?" Phoenix had exclaimed, Fred and George both lost for words from either side of her.

"No, it's much worse than that," Hermione had said, shaking her head.

It turned out that Professor Moody, wasn't actually the real Mad-Eye. Somebody, who was presumed to be dead, had been brewing Polyjuice Potion for the past ten months, acting as the ex-Auror. This had shocked Phoenix greatly, but the person who had been acting as Mad-Eye was the reason she had very nearly cried in front of Hermione and the twins.

"Who was it?" Fred had asked.

"Barty Crouch Junior, Mr. Crouch's son."

Those words had choked Phoenix. She let out a noise between a sob and a small scream. One of the Death Eaters, present at her mother's death had been in the castle since September. She had taken his classes. They had spoken about her dream to be an Auror. She had been face to face with him countless of times and it made her feel almost paralyzed from shock. So to see Professor Moody at the staff table made her stomach plummet.

George must have registered the look on her face as he said, "It's not him Pixy. Alastor was released from the Hospital Wing this morning. Crouch's son is worse than dead."

Phoenix gulped, knowing George was referring to the Dementor that had admitted it's kiss, sucking his soul from his mouth, leaving him without a soul. Lifeless, but not dead, much worse than being dead. "I should have known." She didn't know what else to say, so she simply laid her head against his shoulder and his arm moved, hesitant, around her waist.

"The end," Dumbledore's voice rang impressively around the silent Great Hall, "of another year."

Phoenix could see Dumbledore's eyes rest upon the Hufflepuff table. It had been horrible to see the Hufflepuffs, the most loyal and caring of all the houses, walking the corridors with red eyes and saddened expressions. Phoenix couldn't imagine how Cedric's most closet friends felt as Dumbledore surveyed them.

"There is much that I would like to say to you all tonight. But I must first acknowledge the loss of a very fine person, who should be sitting here," Dumbledore gestured toward the Hufflepuff table and Phoenix felt a tear roll down her cheek and land on George's lap, "enjoying our feast with us. I would like you all, please, to stand, and raise your glasses, to Cedric Diggory."

Phoenix did so, slowly. Cedric's death had made her feel numb. She raised her goblet, along with the entirety of the Great Hall and an echo of "Cedric Diggory" reverberated around the room. George held her hand the entire time.

"Cedric was a person who exemplified many of the qualities that distinguish Hufflepuff house. He was a good and loyal friend, a hard worker, he valued fair play. His death has affected you all, whether you knew him well or not. I think that you have the right, therefore, to know exactly how it came about."

Fred and George exchanged a look and Phoenix raised her head, feeling her throat restrict tightly.

"Cedric Diggory was murdered by Lord Voldemort."

The reaction was immediate. Whispers of panic ran through the Great Hall. Many were staring at Dumbledore in utter disbelief, in horror, in shock. He allowed for the whispers to die down before he continued.

"The Ministry of Magic does not wish me to tell you this. It is possible that some of your parents will be horrified that I have done so - either because they will not believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, or because they think I should not tell you so, young as you are. It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies, and that any attempt to pretend that Cedric died as the result of an accident, or some sort of blunder of his own, is an insult to his memory."

The occupants of the Great Hall were clearly distressed by this information. First and second years were all clinging onto one another and many faces were pale, eyes wide and staring at Dumbledore.

"There is somebody else who must be mentioned in connection with Cedric's death," Dumbledore then continued. "I am talking, of course, about Harry Potter."

Many heads turned to look at Harry before they turned back to direct their attention back to Dumbledore.

"Harry Potter managed to escape Lord Voldemort," Dumbledore's voice rang through Phoenix's ears and she didn't know whether she wanted to listen anymore. "He risked his own life to return Cedric's body to Hogwarts. He showed, in every respect, the sort of bravery that few wizards have ever shown in facing Lord Voldemort, and for this, I honour him."

Dumbledore raised his goblet to the Boy-Who-Lived. Many followed suit, murmuring Harry's name, those who didn't was (surprisingly) the Slytherins and they remained in their seats, barely moving, and their goblets untouched.

"The Triwizard Tournament's aim was to further and promote magical understanding. In the light of what has happened – of Lord Voldemort's return – such ties are more important than ever before."

Phoenix knew Dumbledore was talking about the Durmstrang students and Phoenix looked at them. She felt deeply for them, prejudice aside their headmaster had left them very much alone at Hogwarts. Phoenix saw Alicia exchange a glance with Jason. "Every guest in this Hall will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again – in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

"It is my belief – and never have I so hoped that I am mistaken – that we are all facing dark and difficult times. Some of you in this Hall have already suffered directly at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Many of your families have been torn asunder. A week ago, a student was taken from our midst.

"Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."

Phoenix found that goodbyes were always difficult. She watched as Alicia said goodbye to Jason, him kissing her face gently and promising to visit her whilst her eyes glistened with salty tears. Hogwarts students lined in the school grounds, the Beauxbatons carriage and magnificent horses ready to go and the Durmstrang ship ready to be boarded. Jason and Alicia were saying their rather emotional goodbyes in front of the ship while Phoenix, Lee and Angelina waited for them in order to secure a carriage that would take them to Hogsmeade station.

"This almost makes me feel bad for taking the mick out of them," said a guilty looking Lee Jordan.

"As it should do," Phoenix replied with a small smile, "You never really believed that they were actually in love, did you?"

"Lee doesn't understand anything he doesn't feel," Angelina teased.

Lee scoffed and looked at her indignantly, "As a matter of fact, I love many… things."

Phoenix laughed just as Jerome approached her. She surveyed him with a raised brow and he smiled. In light of recent events, Phoenix realised that she did not care nor have the patience to hold a grudge against a French guy whom she doubt she'd ever see again.

"Back again, eh Jerome?"

"I come to zay Au Reviour Fhoenix," he swept into a low bow and Phoenix swatted at him playfully.

"No need to bow for me Jerome," she said with a laugh.

"I 'ope to zee you again soon Fhoenix," he grabbed her hand and made to kiss it, as he had done on their first meeting but Phoenix pulled her hand away.

"Nice try Jerome," and she was surprised that Jerome laughed, she had barely ever heard him laugh. She held out her hand and he took it, shaking it in a friendly manner for several moments. "See you around, Jerome."

"Au Reviour Fhoenix!"

"Is it bad I'm actually going to miss him," Phoenix asked her friends with a short laugh, "just a little bit."

"I hope you won't," came George's amused voice as she turned to face him. "Wouldn't want to be replaced by somebody from Beauxbatons."

"I've always admired your prejudice George," Phoenix had a coy smile on her face as George approached her, Lee and Angelina leaving in a hurry to leave the two of them alone.

George put his hands purposefully in his pockets, not knowing exactly what to do with them. Phoenix knew that he wanted to hold her and she couldn't deny she wanted him to, "At least I don't have any competition with a handsome French guy."

She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling brightly in the setting June sun, "You really didn't have any competition in the first place, Georgie."

This reply made George smile but still his hands remained in his pockets.

"For Merlin's sake George," she couldn't help herself any longer, letting out an uncharacteristic giggle and tugging his hands from his pockets, "Kiss me you prat!"

"Oh right," George looked rather flummoxed at Phoenix's sudden outburst. But when he met her eyes, the clearest blue he had yet seen. He melted. His hands cupped her face gingerly, her hands gripped his arms in anticipation. "Are you sure?"

"No, I was actually thinking of going after that handsome French guy you have crazy competition wit–"

His lips met hers and it was as though Phoenix had forgotten how to breathe. She had forgotten they were standing in front of the Durmstrang ship. She didn't even register Lee and Fred's wolf whistles and Angelina's shrieks of 'Merlin's pants!'. George's hands moved to grip her hair as she kissed him back, her fingers gripping his robes before they made their way to encircle around his neck.

"You will do no such thing Miss Lancaster," George breathed against her lips, just as breathless as Phoenix was, both their hearts racing at an astounding speed.

Phoenix smiled as her eyes roamed his face, taking in every detail. The freckles that spattered his face, the plumpness of his pink lips, the chestnut brown of his eyes and the small scar above his brow. "Oh Mr Weasley, believe me I would do no such thing."

The journey back to Kings Cross Station consisted of teasing Lee about a love bite he had acquired whilst 'going to the bathroom' and Fred dramatically retelling the scene in which George and Phoenix had their epic and dramatic snog in front of the entirety of Hogwarts to which Alicia had, unfortunately, missed.

"So are you guys together or?" Alicia asked, cutting across Fred's exaggerated story, where George had to apparently duel Jerome to win Phoenix's kiss.

George looked at Phoenix for a moment, a frown on his face, "Uhm."

Phoenix tried her best to look apprehensive, but after five months of battling with her emotions and feelings towards George, she really didn't feel like waiting round for something to happen much longer. She motioned her head towards the door to their compartment. Both Lee and Fred made the same wolf whistles they had done only hours before. George made sure to flash his middle finger at them before following Phoenix out of their compartment.

There were no empty compartments left, so Phoenix stopped in front of one of the windows, briefly staring out of it as the Hogwarts Express passed through countryside.

"So…" George began, his hands once again residing in his pockets.

"Is little Georgie scared for once?" Phoenix began teasingly, tilting her head so to make eye contact with him.

"No… well… maybe?" He shrugged, locking eyes with her and, to Phoenix's relief, removed his hands from those damned pockets of his. "We've been friends for years Phoenix, so forgive me for my nervousness."

"Understandable George," she shot him a small smile, leaning against the wall of the carriage. "I've been cautious about my feelings for you for months. It's been toying with my mind and I've been torn between not wanting to risk our friendship and…" Phoenix looked down at her muggle shoes as she muttered, "…just how much I like you and," she wanted to smack herself for saying something so… gushy, "how much I want to be with you."

George couldn't stop himself, he laughed. "Goodness Phoenix, who knew you could be so romantic?"

"Oh shut up," she moaned, making to slap his arm but his reactions were fast and he grabbed her hand with his, their fingers lacing together slowly.

He bit his lip before he moved a little closer to her, the pads of his thumb grazing softly over her cheek to hold her face gently with one hand, "You drive me crazy Phoenix."

"The feeling is mutual George."

He laughed and Phoenix couldn't help but take in just how beautiful his laugh was and how it was her favourite sound to hear.

"And I'm going to put it all on the line and ask if you would, have the pleasure," Phoenix gave a snort of laughter, "to be my girlfriend?"

Phoenix smiled, feeling as though she was sure to burst with happiness, "I wouldn't exactly call it being a pleasure," George smiled, the hand that had been holding her own now cupping her other cheek while Phoenix's hands held the front of his robes. "In fact I would consider it to be the most grievous punishment to be stuck with you. But, if anyone has got to be your poor girlfriend, I would love for it to be me."

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes, you git!" She pulled at the front of his robes and their lips crashed together. Phoenix felt as though she was weightless as she and George kissed in the middle of the carriage, in clear view from other students' compartments but neither cared at that exact moment and Phoenix doubted that she would ever care what people thought of her and George Weasley. The only thing that mattered was that she and George were together, that George was hers and she was his.

"There are children around! Do you two have no dignity?" Fred's voice ripped through their second moment of passion that they had shared that very day. Phoenix jumped away from George, accidentally hitting her head on the wall of the carriage.

She glared at Fred while she rubbed her head to soothe the pain of bashing her head against the wood, "May we help you Fred?"

"I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to become an uncle any time soon."

Phoenix burned scarlet and George let out a bark of laughter.

"And, I wanted to make sure you two actually talked," Fred surveyed the two of them with raised brows.

"We did," replied Phoenix, her face still burning from embarrassment. "We're– well we're together."

"My deepest condolences," he teased with a bow towards Phoenix. "Just how much is he paying you for your time Phoenix?"

She beamed with a teasing look in George's direction who was eyeing her with a look Phoenix couldn't quite put her finger on, but it made her feel happiness as she had never felt before.

"Not enough Fred, not enough."

"I can't quite believe that my brother and my girlfriend–" Phoenix's stomach did several backflips at being referred to as George's girlfriend, she doubt she was ever really get used to it. "–are ganging up on me."

"I can," Phoenix replied with a giggle. "You should have known George, just because you're my boyfriend now–" George had to stop himself from grinning widely, "–doesn't mean I'm going to stop teasing and taunting you–"

"Very clever. Granger."

The three of them turned around. Draco Malfoy and his cronies, Crabbe and Goyle had just slid open to door to the compartment where Harry, Ron and Hermione resided in, interrupting the sixth years conversation.

"Oh bloody hell," George groaned. "Can't they give them a break?" the twins

"I think we should have some end of term fun, shouldn't we?" She pulled out her wand, and with identical mischievous smiles the twins mirrored her actions, pulling their wands immediately from their pockets.

"You've picked the losing side, Potter!" Malfoy was saying as the three sixth years crept up behind Malfoy and his bodyguard baboons. "I warned you! I told you you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we met on the train, first day at Hogwarts? I told you not to hang around with riffraff like this! Too late now. Potter! They'll be the first to go, now the Dark Lord's back! Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers first! Well – second – Diggory was the f–"

Not only had Fred, George and Phoenix's spells had hit the three Slytherins but also Harry, Ron and Hermione had hit them with their own individual spells. The sound of six spells hitting them was deafening, almost like several fireworks going off all at once and Phoenix had to blink several times to regain herself before she felt something on her shoe. She used her shoe to move Crabbe's head away from her, a look of disgust on her face as she saw the enormous amount of tentacles that had sprouted on Crabbe's face.

"Thought we'd see what those three were up to," said Fred with a grin, making sure to step on Goyle as he waltzed into the compartment. George and Phoenix were careful to trample on Malfoy as they followed Fred inside of the fourth years compartment.

"Interesting effect," mused George, who was looking down at Crabbe with an oddly impressed, yet disgusted expression. "Who used the Furnunculus Curse?"

"Me," Harry answered, also looking down at Crabbe.

"Odd," commented George casually. "I used Jelly-Legs. Looks as though those two shouldn't be mixed. He seems to have sprouted little tentacles all over his face. Well, let's not leave them here, they don't add much to the decor."

Phoenix watched in amusement as Harry, Ron and George made a show of kicking, rolling and pushing the three unconscious students out of their compartment and into the corridor, George grinning as he rolled the compartment door shut.

Fred then pulled out a game of Exploding Snap, to which Phoenix plainly refused (he was such a sore loser and equally a not-so-modest winner) and watched the game play out. It was through their third game when Ron asked the question that was clearly eating him away.

"Are you and Phoenix together?"

George, who had his arm around Phoenix, shot his younger brother a look and casual grin, "What gives you that impression?"

"I don't know, maybe the fact you were snogging each other in front of the Durmstrang ship."

"Ah," said George lightly. "Well, your suspicions are correct. Myself and Phoenix are in fact courting–"

"George!" Phoenix scolded with a laugh.

Ron smirked and looked between George and Phoenix with glee, "Mum is going to be horrendous."

George waved this away with his hand, "I've already been told everything about the birds and the bees." Phoenix very nearly blended in with rouge colour of the cushions. She did not want to imagine a conversation with Molly that involved anything to do with the birds and bees.

During the game of Exploding Snap (which Phoenix had finally joined in after much convincing from George) Harry had questioned the twins on exactly who they had been blackmailing.

"Oh, that." George said darkly, placing his cards on the seat beside him.

"It doesn't matter," Fred said idly. "It wasn't anything important. Not now, anyway."

"We've given up."

But Harry, Ron and Hermione would not take no for an answer. They kept on questioning the twins, and thankfully, Fred said, "All right, all right, if you really want to know… it was Ludo Bagman."

"Bagman?" Harry replied, sitting up in his seat immediately. "Are you saying he was involved in–"

"Nah, nothing like that," said George dismissively. "Stupid git. He wouldn't have the brains."

Phoenix gave a snort of laughter, "That's true."

"Well, what, then?" asked Ron, surveying both of his brothers.

Fred paused for a moment before replying, "You remember that bet we had with him at the Quidditch World Cup? About how Ireland would win, but Krum would get the Snitch?"

"Yeah," Harry and Ron nodded slowly.

"Well, the git paid them back in leprechaun gold that he had caught from those Irish mascots," Phoenix told them, shaking her head in disbelief at the old Quidditch player's actions.

"So?" said Ron.

"So," continued Fred peevishly, "it vanished, didn't it? By next morning, it had gone!"

"But – it must've been an accident, mustn't it?" Hermione said reasonably.

George gave a resentful laugh.

"Yeah, that's what we thought, at first. We thought if we just wrote to him, and told him he'd made a mistake, he'd cough up. But nothing doing. Ignored our letter. We kept trying to talk to him about it at Hogwarts, but he was always making some excuse to get away from us."

"In the end, he turned pretty nasty," Fred went on. "Told us we were too young to gamble, and he wasn't giving us anything."

"So we asked for our money back," muttered George.

"He didn't refuse!" gasped Hermione.

"Right in one," Fred laughed bitterly.

"But that was all your savings!" exclaimed Ron.

"Tell me about it," George said with a sigh. "'Course, we found out what was going on in the end. Lee Jordan's dad had had a bit of trouble getting money off Bagman as well. Turns out he's in big trouble with the goblins. Borrowed loads of gold off them. A gang of them cornered him in the woods after the World Cup and took all the gold he had, and it still wasn't enough to cover all his debts. They followed him all the way to Hogwarts to keep an eye on him. He's lost everything gambling. Hasn't got two Galleons to rub together. And you know how the idiot tried to pay the goblins back?"

"How?"

"He put a bet on you, mate," said Fred to Harry. "Put a big bet on you to win the tournament. Bet against the goblins."

"So that's why he kept trying to help me win!" Harry gasped in a moment of sudden realisation. "Well – I did win, didn't I? So he can pay you your gold!"

"Nope," stated George. "The goblins play as dirty as him. They say you drew with Diggory, and Bagman was betting you'd win outright. So Bagman had to run for it. He did run for it right after the third task."

Nothing more was said on the matter and George began to deal the cards again.

The Hogwarts Express rolled into platform nine and three-quarters in what felt like no time at all. The usual hustle and bustle filled the corridors, students beginning to disembark from the train and onto the platform to the welcoming arms of their families. Phoenix 'accidentally' stepped on Draco as she left the compartment to get her luggage from her previous compartment with Lee, Angelina and Alicia.

"Where on earth have you been?" Angelina enquired when Phoenix opened the compartment door.

"Oh you know, the usual," Phoenix said casually. "Jinxed three nasty Slytherins, rendering them immobile and played a few games of Exploding Snap–"

"What happened between you and George?" Alicia interrupted, clearly bursting with excitement and curiosity.

Phoenix's grin said it all and Angelina looked as though she was torn between shock and pure excitement. Lee looked disheartened, stating that his chances were over and Alicia looked thrilled.

They retrieved their luggage, Phoenix noticing that Fred and George had not followed her but then thought they were probably casting a few more spells on the three Slytherins that lay unconscious in the corridor, for good measure.

"Phoenix!"

The violet haired witch was engulfed in a hug from William almost immediately as she stepped through the magical barrier from nine and three-quarters.

"Bloody hell Will!" Phoenix said gruffly against his coat, which was clearly made of dragon skin. "Well, hello to you too."

She then proceeded to be hugged by everyone member of her immediate family, her father Cecilia, Will and Edmund. Anastasia was apparently far too pregnant to have made it to the station, but Phoenix understood, being nearly nine months pregnant of course had its restrictions.

Soon, Mrs. Weasley and Bill came ambling over, Ginny and Ron in tow. Phoenix was concerned that Ron had blabbed about she and George but she and Cecilia simply engaged in a conversation about the events that had happened during the Triwizard Tournament that Phoenix had refused to join in. Phoenix wondered whether her father had received the letter from Dumbledore concerning Karkaroff but she decided to ask about the fact later, since Fred and George had just materialised from the barrier Phoenix had just stepped through, Harry following close behind them.

Phoenix watched humorously, as she had done every year prior, to see Mrs. Weasley showering her sons with affection, scolding them about the letters she had received through the year and attempting to kiss their sons only to have them duck out of the way.

"Where did you both go?" Phoenix quizzed as they approached her, looking as though they were itching to tell her something but just as they were about to, George turned to Harry whom was just about to leave with his uncle.

"Harry – thanks," George thanked him quietly and Phoenix knew it was so their mother would not overhear them. This made Phoenix raise an eyebrow at her boyfriend as Fred nodded beside his twin.

Feeling the intensity of Phoenix's stare, George turned to face his girlfriend who looked between the twins with a patient look upon her face. Fred made a movement with his head, motioning to a pillar further down the platform out of earshot Mrs. Weasley.

"So?"

George said and instead took out a sack from the pocket of his muggle jacket and placed it into Phoenix's hands.

"Bloody hell!" She gasped, weighing it in her hands. "Is this what I think it is?"

"Harry's Triwizard winnings, yes," Fred breathed hurriedly.

"He's mental," Phoenix concluded, handing back the gold to George. "But why would he give you all that gold?"

"For the shop," explained Fred. "It's investment money for the joke shop."

It was evident just how grateful they were from the looks on their faces.

"Wow," Phoenix whistled. "He really didn't want the gold then?"

"I think he didn't feel like he deserved it," said George. "With him essentially tying with Cedric and all. He was keen to get rid of it, tried giving it to the Diggory's."

"But a thousand Galleons!" Phoenix's eyes were wide, the shock slowly fading away and being replaced with a feeling of excitement. "Do you realise what this means?"

When Fred and George did nothing but exchange a look, Phoenix said impatiently, "You can buy a property in Diagon Alley! Really make Weasley's Wizard Wheezes a reality!"

The smiles on the twins could only be described as utter excitement.

"Fred! George!"

Mrs. Weasley was beckoning for them to come over and Phoenix's father was ushering her over while Ed and Will carried her luggage, including Silvano's cage who was fixing Phoenix a curious stare.

The three of them followed their families, all still in awe of Harry's actions and willingly giving away a thousand Galleons! She couldn't quite comprehend the amount of money Harry had given to the twins. With the money the twins could finally purchase a property in Diagon Alley, they could produce more products, sell more products, make this dream they've had for years into a reality. Phoenix's heart was swelling with pride for her friend, and boyfriend.

Outside of Kings Cross Station, Mrs. Weasley said her goodbyes to Cecilia and Phoenix felt her heart sink ever so slightly at the thought of saying goodbye to the two boys who stood beside her, she was so used to seeing them every single day. Will and Ed were placing Phoenix's belongings into the car and Will ushered her over, pointing to a clearly distressed Silvano in his cage.

"Calm down you idiot," Phoenix soothed and when Silvano met the eyes of his owner, he gave soft hooting sounds. The young witch rolled her eyes, opening the lock to the owl's cage and holding out her arm for her owl. He leaped onto her arm happily, stretching his large wins and ruffling his fathers importantly. Phoenix dug into her pockets and retrieved a cauldron cake which she let him nibble before holding him high into the air.

"See you at Lavender Cottage," Silvano did not need telling twice, he took off immediately, his impressive silhouette soaring high into London's blue sky, circling for several moments, then taking off east towards his destination.

"I hope you treat me as well as you treat that owl of yours," arms circled around her waist and Phoenix snorted at George's statement.

"I tend to keep Silvano in a cage," she turned to face him, her arms around his neck, fingers playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. "Unless you'd like to be kept in a cage also."

"I wouldn't mind it," George said with a wink that made her hair and cheeks go red.

"You're outrageous," Phoenix smiled, her eyes then dropping from his to stare at his chest. "I'm going to miss you George."

"I'm going to miss you too Pixy. We'll see each other in the holidays," he reassured her, using his fingers to tilt her chin upward. "We have that blasted Apparition test in July remember?"

"And my birthday," Phoenix said indignantly, playfully hitting the side of his head.

"I knew I was forgetting something."

Mrs. Weasley could be heard calling her children and George glanced over his shoulder before looking down at his girlfriend with a longing expression.

"Oh, you're not worrying about what your mother is going to say if she sees us snogging are you?"

George hesitated and when Phoenix raised an eyebrow he replied, "Have you received a lecture about contraceptive charms from Molly Weasley?" Phoenix shook her head, giggling. "Exactly, it's not something for the faint hearted."

"I'm worth it though, aren't I, Georgie?"

He didn't answer, instead he connected his lips with hers.

"George Weasley what on earth– oh my! Andrei! Cecilia! Come look at this! Just come and look what has happened!"

Phoenix burned in embarrassment as Molly Weasley pointed shamelessly at George and Phoenix, screaming about grandchildren and Merlin knows what else.

"Oh Merlin," Phoenix groaned, tucking her head under his chin, as though this would prevent the Weasley's, her father and the Blacks from staring at the young couple.

"Get used to it Phoenix," George snorted, making Phoenix look up at him. "Our families are far from secretive."

"At least you're right about one thing George."

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