Lifes go on after the battle at Hogwarts. Is everything as peaceful as it seems? Mild action in few chapters. Focuses mainly on H/G and R/Hr, but others will show up. Covers what's missing between the final chapter of Deathly Hallows and the Epilogue.
Chapter 1: Life After War
Fumbling for his glasses, Harry sat up in his four-poster bed. He felt like he had been asleep for days, but could still sleep for more. Hearing his stomach growl, he realized it had been a good long time since he ate the sandwich Kreacher brought earlier. Wishing for food, he left the dormitory and headed towards the Great Hall.
Harry noticed an eerie silence he never heard before as he walked through the halls. A great battle took place here and now the building lay silent. Stepping over rubble, he could not ignore the school’s state of disarray. Paintings, statues, and parts of walls were missing. Bits and pieces of the building and whatever else Harry could not make out littered the area, including all the materials and objects everyone used to fight.
If only I’d surrendered earlier, none of this would have happened. Harry thought.
As he continued his walk, faces filled his mind, faces of friends he would never see again. Fred. Lupin. Tonks. Dobby. Hedwig. Even random faces he didn’t know but had seen fallen, eyes staring at him, but not really seeing at all.
Reaching the Great Hall, Harry did not want to open the door and face those who had lost loved ones. He took a step back, his heart heavy with grief, and after a deep breathe, he opened that door, hoping to make a silent entrance.
Harry noticed the bodies missing first thing upon entering. He had not thought they would still be here, but he had also not thought they would not.
He spotted the familiar redheads sitting in a group at the table farthest from him, pain written all over their faces. He did not want to face them. It was his fault Fred was gone. It was—
“Harry!” Hermione mouthed.
She stood up from her seat next to Ron and rushed over to him.
“How are you feeling?” She asked quietly, leading Harry to the table.
Harry sat down next to Charlie Weasley. Charlie gave him a slight nod of acknowledgement, as did Ron. No one felt much like speaking.
“I’m fine,” Harry lied, rubbing his fingers over his scar.
The truth? Harry could not feel worse. He had just been involved in a great battle, killing the darkest wizard of his lifetime. It was over. He reached the destination he aimed for since he first heard of Voldemort at age eleven. What was he supposed to do next?
“Not still hurting, is it?” Hermione referred to his scar.
“No.” Harry took his hand away from his head. “It doesn’t hurt at all.”
Harry glanced up and down the table. A great meal had been prepared, but nobody ate. His eyes met with Ginny’s and they both looked away. He wanted to talk to her, comfort her, tell her everything was going to be okay even if it was not. But, this was not the time, not here, not in front of her parents, not in the midst of all this in the Great Hall.
Harry felt guilty for all the suffering he caused. If he had just—no. He must not think that way. He must keep his head up for everyone else.
He looked at the rest of the Weasleys at the table—Fleur and Bill sitting next to Ginny, Mrs. Weasley—oh, Mrs. Weasley. Her husband comforted with his arm around her as she laid her head on his shoulder. The pain she experienced, Harry could not imagine. He quickly turned his glance to the next Weasley.
Ron. He sat there staring at his empty dinner plate with his head in his hands. Ron, who loved food and under any other circumstance would be devouring it left and right after a season of mushrooms, stared solemnly. Harry had witnessed the same scene Ron did and as much as he tried to get it out of his head it would not budge. Ron must feel worse.
“Harry,” Mrs. Weasley spoke softly, finally taking notice of Harry’s arrival.
The Weasleys turned their attention to her.
“I—I’m sorry,” Harry began.
“No, it’s not your fault. We knew the stakes coming in. You did admirable.”
Harry looked down at the plate in front of him. If he did such a good thing, why did he feel so lousy?
“Harry,” she spoke again, clearing the sobs from her throat. “I would prefer you come home with us for the summer. I won’t take no for an answer.”
Home? Harry had not thought that far in advance. He had not actually thought about leaving Hogwarts at all, but he supposed he would have to as the school was in no shape for anyone to live nor did they allow students to stay the summer anyway.
Where would he go? The Burrow sounded like a good option, but he did not want to impose, not now. He did have Sirius’s house, 12 Grimmauld Place, if Death Eaters had not destroyed it. But, did he want to be alone? He would have Kreacher, so he would not be alone. Yes, Grimmauld Place seemed the best place to take up residence.
“I reckon I’ll go to Grimmauld Place.”
“You can’t mean you want to be alone,” Ron spoke up.
Harry thought about it. Could he really separate himself from Hermione and Ron right now after all they went through?
“No,” he replied. “I reckon I can’t.”
“You will come home with us, then?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
Harry sat in the stony silence when he noticed someone at the other end of the room that he needed to see. He nodded to Ron and Hermione hoping they would understand or at least not ask questions.
Passing by gawks and stares, Harry found Hagrid and wrapped his arms as far as they would go around him.
“Harry!” He pulled Harry into a bone-crushing embrace. “I can’ believe yeh did i’” Harry looked into Hagrid’s eyes filling with tears. “Yeh defeated You-Know-Who.”
Harry wanted to smile at Hagrid still not able to say Voldemort, but he did not feel the time was appropriate.
“I’m sorry.” Harry unwrapped himself from around the half-giant. “For—for pretending to be dead, for scaring you, for not letting you know I was alive.”
“Yeh did wha’ yeh had ta do. Yer alive now, tha’s all tha’ matters.”
“Yes.” Harry looked at the floor and then back up at Hagrid.
“I’ll be spending the summer with the Weasleys, I suppose.”
“Good, better than wi’ yer ruddy aun’ and uncle.”
Harry laughed. It felt good to laugh. Broke the tension.
Harry returned to the Weasleys. They looked as if they were leaving. Mrs. Weasley held onto Mr. Weasley as if she were holding on for dear life. Percy and Charlie helped George along. He looked like one of the walking dead. Harry’s heart hurt at the pain they were dealing with. He looked for Ginny, but she was mixed in with the rest of the Weasleys and unable to spot.
“We’re going to Hogsmeade to Disapparate to the Burrow,” Hermione mentioned.
Harry blindly followed the group out of the Great Hall and outside the castle. His stomach growled letting him know he still had not eaten anything.
“Let’s be quick! Hogsmeade is still not considered safe,” Mr. Weasley called out ahead of them as they reached the outer edges of the Hogwarts grounds.
“While you were asleep, McGonagall had a talk with us. She wants everyone to rest before we begin to rebuild the school. And,” Ron’s hand brushed Hermione’s but neither made to hold the other. “You probably noticed the bodies missing from the Great Hall,” she whispered.
Harry looked at Ron, who looked like he would break out in tears at any moment.
“They moved them to the hospital wing. McGonagall will notify us when arrangements have been made.”
Arrangements. Harry knew that meant funerals. Having reached Hogsmeade, he closed his eyes, grabbed Hermione’s hand, and disapparated.
This is the revised edition of chapter 1. I’ve changed the title. None of the plot has changed, don’t worry!
Last edited by leah49; October 22nd, 2007 at 5:15 pm. Reason: to change summary
Chapter 2: Back at the Burrow
Harry and Hermione hung back in the kitchen of the Burrow anxiously. They were used to the Burrow. It was like a third home. But, tonight, it felt different.
When the group entered the house, Ron had gone off with George. Mr. Weasley led a tearful Mrs. Weasley into the sitting room. Harry had not paid attention to where the rest of the group scattered.
“Ever since you went to your bed, Ron and I haven’t spoken much. He stuck with his family.” Hermione explained. “I know the Weasleys love me, but I felt like an intruder.”
“No. No.” Harry shook his head. “You needn’t feel that way.”
“Hm.” Hermione said slowly. “Er—let’s go up to Ron’s room.” She suggested.
On the way to the top floor, Harry saw a figure standing in a doorway. He stopped suddenly on the landing, not able to move.
“Go on!” Hermione urged him forward.
Not in control of his actions, Harry walked toward the redhead, put his arms around her, and kissed her. It felt so good, like everything he’d been waiting for, only it didn’t last long enough. He found himself standing there, hugging Ginny, her face buried in his chest. To his surprise, she was not crying. He knew she was not a weepy person, but she had been through something very emotional. Actually, he felt like crying, but because she wasn’t, he didn’t.
Gradually, she led him into her room and onto her bed.
“Harry, we need to talk.” She said shakily.
“Gin—“ He started not knowing where to begin.
“I felt betrayed by you.” Ginny interrupted. “You were out on this adventure with my brother and Hermione…not me. I thought maybe you didn’t want me along or want me at all. Hagrid assured me that was not the case, but I…”
“You talked to Hagrid?” Harry interrupted.
“Yes, when Snape punished Neville, Luna, and me by sending us to work in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. Harry, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I knew I had to do this. Things got worse and by Easter my parents wanted me to stay home. I felt like I was letting you down.”
“You never…you could never let me down.” Harry slowly put his arm around her, hoping it was the right move.
He felt a little awkward and hoped she could not hear his heart beat, which he thought was the loudest noise in the room.
Ginny sent him a smile. Harry knew he was doing the right thing.
“Without you,” he started, “without the D.A. I wouldn’t have been able to finish things.” There was a lot Harry wanted to say, but he didn’t think it was the time. “Thank you.”
Harry smiled at Ginny, and then leaned in for a kiss, a kiss almost as passionate as the one Ron had walked in on almost a year ago.
“Thank you?” Ginny squeaked, pushing Harry off her. “That’s it? That’s all I mean to you? Thank you? I risk my life for you at Hogwarts and all I get is a thank you?”
Harry was not sure if she was angry or joking.
“I—I—er—of course you…” Ginny interrupted him with another kiss.
Harry would not have minded staying with Ginny all night, but he knew he needed to get to Ron’s room. Begrudgingly, he made his way up to the room below the attic, not sure of what he’d find. This was sort of their reunion, too.
Slowly, he opened the door to…Ron laying on his bed and Hermione cleaning out the beaded bag. Harry had a suspicion the two had barely spoken to each other the entire time they were in the room together.
“How’s Ginny?” Hermione asked as she placed things into three piles.
Ron sent her a dirty look. Harry knew he did not want to hear about his younger sister’s snogging sessions.
“She’s dealing with things alright. How’s George?” Harry changed the subject. He felt a pang in his chest as he thought about all that was lost in the war.
Sadness crept over Ron’s face.
“He’s a mess. I dunno. I dunno what to do. Fred’s death is bad enough, but to see George in this state…” Ron’s face started to crumble.
Harry didn’t know what to do. He was not used to seeing his best friend like this. Fortunately, he didn’t have to do anything as Hermione leapt from her spot on the floor and wrapped her arms around Ron. They sat on his bed, buried in each other, for what felt like to Harry as an excruciating amount of time.
He cleared his throat to remind him of their presence. Was it going to be like this all the time now they were getting together?
The two broke apart both looking very embarrassed. Hermione shuffled her feet along the floor.
“Er—it’s—er—” Ron yawned a bit dramatically. “I’m going to bed.”
“Me, too.” Hermione agreed.
“’Night.” Ron said.
Harry watched Ron watch her walk out. As awkward as he felt, he knew the two getting together was for the best.
Last edited by leah49; August 23rd, 2007 at 5:52 am. Reason: Chapter Name
Chapter 3: Saying Goodbye
Harry woke up early, before sunrise, feeling oddly refreshed. He lay there thinking about his reunion with Ginny last night while Ron snored in the bed next to him. As quiet as possible, he climbed out of bed after grabbing his glasses and wand. With the house quieter than he’d ever imagined it could be, Harry slipped out to the back garden where he had spent a few summers playing pick-up Quidditch with the Weasley boys and sometimes Ginny. She was very good. Sitting down against a tree with his wand lit, he imagined her streaking across the yard on her broomstick. He thought of the time she tried out for Chaser on the house team, letting out the secret that all these years she snuck around practicing on her brothers’ brooms. He loved that bit of tomboyishness about her.
Thinking about Quidditch made him think about his first year on the Gryffindor team. Oliver Wood, captain, was a bit manical. The twins used to joke about his speeches.
Oh, the twins. Harry had not spoken to George since Fred’s death. He had no idea what to say. According to Ron he was in a right state and was afraid he would go mental. Harry knew it tore Ron up to talk about it, so he didn’t ask more.
Harry tried to think of the happy times he had with the twins, Quidditch, the Marauder’s Map, parties in the common room, the joke shop, the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup…
A few days had passed since they had arrived at the Burrow. McGonagall, named the new headmistress, contacted them with news on rebuilding. She was now looking for professors for Transfiguration, Muggle Studies, and Defense against the Dark Arts. A memorial was being planned in the coming weeks to honor all those who gave their lives in battle.
Harry stood outside at a cemetery a few miles from the Burrow in Ottery St. Catchpole. A light rain had started to fall as Ginny laid her head against Harry’s shoulder with tears slipping down her cheeks, one of the few times she let Harry see her cry.
Their relationship was no secret anymore. The morning after their return they tried to hide it, but as soon as they walked into the kitchen for breakfast, Mrs. Weasley knew something was up. Instead of hiding, they agreed, which turned out to be a slight mistake as she started planning for their wedding.
“After Ginny finishes Hogwarts, of course!” Mrs. Weasley had said, waving around her wand.
“Wedding? We have only just got back together!” Harry thought, wrapping his arms tighter around Ginny, her red hair falling over his chest. “There is absolutely no talk of engagement in the near future.”
Harry wasn’t too upset, though, since this was the first thing that seemed to take Mrs. Weasley’s mind off Fred.
Watching Fred’s casket lowered into the ground, Harry caught sight of Hermione weeping into Ron’s robes and he thought he saw tears escape Ron’s eyes as well. Not surprising, since Fred was Ron’s brother.
Harry thought back to their kiss at Hogwarts, not a very appropriate time for a first kiss, but then this was Ron and Hermione. Still very shy around each other, they weren’t officially together, but Harry knew, as did everyone else, it was only a matter of time. Just like Mrs. Weasley clued into Harry and Ginny, she knew about Ron and Hermione, but she told Harry privately since they were still dancing around the notion, that she would not say anything, but she did have a look about her like she was asking him if today was the day.
With the casket in the ground, everyone went up to pay last respects, before they filled in the dirt. The party consisted of Weasleys, Gryffindor Quidditch team members, Lee Jordan, Hagrid, and Verity, the girl who worked at the twins’ joke shop. As Harry walked up to the gravesite, he noticed George standing off to the side of the hole, alone, hugging himself, tears streaming down his face, just standing there, lost. Harry’s heart broke just looking at him and he hoped with all his might George would be OK. Fred would want that.
The following day brought sunshine, but not happiness. Harry stood outside at another cemetery with Hogwarts professors, surviving Order members, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Andromeda Tonks, and Teddy Lupin. Not able to look at the pair of coffins, Harry watched Mrs. Tonks. In her arms was a baby. The baby, Teddy, was the surviving child of the two who died, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. Harry made a promise he would not grow up the way he did and with a grandmother and a godfather, Teddy wouldn’t have to.
Harry hung around until everyone had paid respects, had peace, and what not. Even Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were no longer standing with him.
“Lupin,” Harry walked towards the hole as a tear trickled off his nose, “thank you.” He knelt down, staring at the brown wood containing the man’s body. “Thank you for everything. You did so much to help me fight Voldemort. You were the best professor…” He trailed off as more tears fell. “Thank you for naming me Teddy’s godfather. I’ll be the best godfather I possibly can. He won’t grow up like me. And don’t worry, Tonks, I won’t take him away from his grandmother. They need each other. But, I will be there as his godfather. I’ll teach him how to ride a broom…I’ll tell him all about his parents, how brave and loyal they were.” Harry stood up, not knowing how to end this. “Thank you, Lupin, for being me with me that night.” He whispered.
At the end of the week, Harry found himself at another gravesite, alone. He snuck off without telling anyone where he was going. He stared at the headstone that read “Severus Snape (1959-1998)” for a good long time before he gained the courage to speak.
“I know you disliked me,” Harry began, “because of my father, but you still protected me. I know it’s because you loved my mother.” He took a deep breath. “I wish you’d had a better fate.”
With that, he walked away.
Last edited by leah49; August 23rd, 2007 at 5:52 am. Reason: chapter name
Chapter 4: The Words
Ron Weasley lost his brother. It was not as hard on him as it was on his other brother, George. Fred was the one who turned Ron’s bear into a spider. Fred was the one who had almost gotten him to make an unbreakable vow. Fred was no longer here.
Ron tried not to think about Fred, but everything always led back to him. He’d think about the Chudley Cannons and that would lead to Fred playing on the house Quidditch team. If it was this hard for him, he couldn’t imagine how it was for George.
George was Fred’s twin. The twins were inseparable. They were always playing jokes and getting into trouble together. They even dropped out of school to open a joke shop. Ron did not know when the last time George had been to the shop—if it was even open at all. George had barely been out of his room since they’d arrived home a week and a half ago after the great battle. Ron was scared for him.
Bill, Fleur, Charlie, and Percy had all returned to their own homes. Mr. Weasley had returned to work. Life was relatively returning to normal.
Harry had the option of sleeping in Percy’s old room, but he had felt odd at being alone. Ron felt the same way since the endless camping trip and was glad for the company.
“Ron,” Harry called out, waking him from his stupor, “would you care to join us for some Quidditch?”
Ron sat up, looking at the three people in his orange clad room.
“Ginny’ll be on your team and Hermione’ll be on mine, to even things up.” Harry stated.
“You’ll play, Hermione?” Ron asked incredulously, his face brightening. He knew she was not fond of flying on a broom.
“Yeah…” Hermione replied uncertainly.
They played until dinnertime. Even though Hermione was playing, Ron’s heart wasn’t as into it as it usually was, but thanks to his younger sister, Ginny, they were leading the others by 20 points.
“Ron,” Hermione pulled him back as Harry and Ginny put away the equipment and headed inside the house.
His heart leapt into his throat and he was unable to speak.
“I’ve already spoken to Harry and Ginny. They suggested I talk to you in private.” She said softly.
The very first thing that popped into his head was that she had some kind of deadly disease. That must have been why she wanted to play Quidditch. Not seeing any blemishes on her face, he ruled out spattergroit. A worried look spread across his face.
“Would you like to sit down?” She offered.
Ron’s legs felt like they’d been hit with a leg-locking curse, so he didn’t think sitting was an option.
“Please don’t look at me that way. You’re making this harder than it already is.” She spoke in that same soft voice, which made Ron feel worse. “Er—Ron,” Hermione cleared her throat. “Ronald,” she paused. “I’m going to Australia tomorrow to reverse the spell on my parents.”
“Merlin’s beard, Hermione!”
Ron’s face relaxed. That was it? She had him worried over this?
“I would like to spend some time with them.” She said, ignoring his initial reaction.
That was perfectly understandable. They were her parents. She hadn’t seen them since last summer.
“I—I would like to go alone.” She spoke so softly Ron almost didn’t hear her.
Hermione took a deep breath.
“I want to make this trip by myself.”
Ron’s face fell. His stomach was now the home of a large rock. He wanted to say something, but he couldn’t speak. He could not hide his disappointment. Sure, they weren’t technically a couple. Sure, they were still shy around each other, but…
“Don’t be upset. I just want to spend time alone with my parents and possibly tell them some of the story of this past year. It is going to come as a shock and it’s best I do it alone. I don’t want to, I have to.” She said the last line so quietly Ron almost missed it. She put her hand on his shoulder, but quickly removed it. “I’ll stay in contact.” She looked deep into his eyes. “I will come back.”
Ron watched her walk into the house and even though he should follow her, he couldn’t. He hadn’t thought much about Hermione having to remove the charm she placed on her parents, but he knew she would eventually and he just automatically assumed he would be accompanying her, maybe Harry, too.
Needless to say, dinner had not been enjoyable. Ron, who liked to eat, barely touched the food. He couldn’t look at Harry and Ginny, and especially not Hermione. He quickly excused himself from the table.
Ron opened his eyes as he watched Harry walk into his room and over to the other bed. He must’ve been lost in a daydream.
“Are you OK?” Harry asked after changing into his pajamas and climbing into bed.
“I’m fine, mate.” He lied not looking at Harry.
“No, you’re not.”
Ron heard a clink, which sounded like Harry had placed his glasses on the bedside table, but since he wasn’t looking he didn’t know for sure.
“Did it hurt?” Ron blurted out.
“Did what hurt?”
“When you di—almost died?” Ron thought of the bit Harry had told him and Hermione of his sacrifice to Voldemort.
Ron lay there contemplating Harry’s answer. Death sure hurt the ones left behind. He was sure hurting now. Most of it was because of Fred, but part of it was due to Hermione.
Hermione Granger. Hermione Jean Granger. Bushy brown hair, deep brown eyes, pink lips…why did she want to make this trip on her own?
“I get it.” Ron said aloud, waking Harry from the half-sleep he’d fallen into. “Even I find spending nine months with myself is just too much.”
“Geroff!” Ron waved his arm in the air, smacking Harry’s hand after it had touched him on the shoulder.
“Hermione’s leaving soon. I know you want to say goodbye.” Harry spoke.
Ron blinked his eyes open. His mouth felt like cotton and he realized he’d fallen asleep in his clothes.
“She doesn’t want me to.” He muttered.
Harry said something Ron didn’t understand. Instead of complaining, Ron changed clothes and followed Harry down to the kitchen. Hermione and Ginny were already sitting over plates of eggs. Ron looked at Hermione and quickly looked away noticing that she starred at her plate and not him.
“Good morning, boys.” Mrs. Weasley greeted the two, placing places into spots, next to Hermione and next to Ginny.
Ron chose the seat next to Ginny and immediately stuck a forkful of egg in his mouth before Harry or Ginny could complain.
“What are your plans for the day?” Mrs. Weasley asked, staring at her clock. Some of the hands pointed at home. The others—Mr. Weasley, Bill, Charlie, and Percy pointed at work. Ron smiled slightly knowing wherever Fred was he was home.
“I plan, as soon as I’m done with breakfast, to travel to Australia to bring my parents home.” Hermione said.
“Do be careful, dear.” Mrs. Weasley spoke with sadness in her voice. “Do you plan to apparate?”
“Yes. It will be tough as it can only take me so far, but I’ve got my travel planned out.”
Ron thought about what she said. Hermione was very smart. Out of everyone he knew she would be the best to make this trip on her won. She didn’t need him. He’d just slow her down.
Ron busied himself with his breakfast paying little attention to the conversation Ginny and Harry were having about possibly going to 12 Grimmauld Place. Before Ron knew it, Hermione took her plate to the sink.
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.”
“You be good, dear. Tell your parent hello and do let us know when you’ve found them.” Mrs. Weasley wrapped her in a bone-crushing hug. “Be safe!” A tear dripped onto Hermione’s robe.
Free from the embrace, Hermione picked up her beaded bag and headed outside. Harry, Ginny, and reluctantly Ron followed her.
He watched her walk out the door, her bushy brown hair bouncing behind her. He was going to miss seeing that hair walk through the door. He was going to miss those eyes staring deep into his. He was going to miss their usual spats. He was going to miss her know-it-all behavior. He was going to miss her.
Hermione hugged Ginny, whispering something in her ear and she hugged Harry, whispering something into his ear. She turned and came face to face with Ron.
He looked deep into her brown eyes. He saw his past, his present, his future.
“I,” he croaked. He cleared his throat. “I,” this time it came out high-pitched. He cleared his throat again. “I,” that was much better. “I love you, Hermione.” He said without thinking.
He looked again into her eyes. This time he saw nothing. Without saying a word, she turned and disapparated with a pop.
I hope you all don't mind that I've switched points of view. It's not a permanent thing, but I may switch from time to time. If you find it distracting or anything at all, please let me know! Feedback
Chapter 5: Moving On
Harry watched Ron react to Hermione’s disapparition. He had heard him say those words and he had to admit, he was a bit shocked. Ron’s emotional state really had matured in the past year.
“I made the biggest mistake.” Ron headed in doors with Harry and Ginny following.
“I thought that was when you deserted me and Hermione last winter.”
“What?” Ginny asked surprised.
“No.” Ron headed up the stairs.
“Did you mean what you said?” Harry asked.
“What is this about you deserting Harry and Hermione?” Ginny asked at the same time.
Ron did not answer any questions. Instead, he just walked up the stairs and flopped on his bed.
“I should not have said anything.” He rubbed his face.
“Did you mean it?” Harry asked again.
Harry stood in the doorway with Ginny. Pig squawked in his cage.
“Does it matter? She didn’t say anything.”
“You deserted Harry and Hermione?” Ginny kept on.
“Long story, some other time.” Harry muttered. “You can mope about this, won’t do you any good. Ginny and I are going to Grimmauld Place.”
“Kreacher!” Harry called out upon entering 12 Grimmauld Place, the house he had received from his godfather, Sirius Black’s will.
Harry remembered his last visit to this house under very different circumstances. He noticed the spells placed to keep Severus Snape and others out had been removed.
“Yes, Master Harry!” The house elf appeared before him.
“Kreacher, did you remove the tongue tying curse?”
“Sir, Kreacher is given orders to remove curse when war is over. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is dead. War is over.” Kreacher looked up at Harry and flung himself on the floor. “Kreacher bad. Kreacher take orders from someone not master.”
Harry grabbed the house elf before he could bang his head.
“It’s fine. I want the curse removed.”
Kreacher sat up looking better than he had a minute ago.
“Ginny, Ron, and I would like to clean this house up.”
“Kreacher clean for Master.”
“You can help.” Harry heard Ron mutter something to Ginny. “Do you know anything about removing Permanent Sticking Charms?”
“Yes, Kreacher knows.”
The group spent the better part of the day moving Mrs. Black’s portrait into her old bedroom. They took down all the posters and hangings in Sirius and Regulus’s bedrooms, putting them in labeled boxes, and moving them to the attic.
“Better.” Harry said some hours later.
“Will Master Harry be staying for dinner?” Kreacher asked looking happy.
“No, thank you. Mrs. Weasley is looking for us to come home. But, we can stay for a tea.” Harry thought it would make his house elf happy to have something to do for him.
They sat down at the table as Kreacher went into the kitchen to prepare the tea. Harry and Ginny sat next to each other with Ron across. Ron looked positively miserable.
“Do you plan on moving here?” Ginny asked anxiously.
“I don’t know.” Harry looked around the room. It wasn’t so bad as a hiding place during the war. “I don’t know.” He repeated. “I don’t know if I want to be away from friends.” He finally said. He looked at Ron who was being unusually quiet.
“You know Mum will let you stay at the Burrow as long as you want.” Ginny supposed.
Kreacher walked in placing hot mugs on the wooden table.
“Thank you.” Kreacher went back into the kitchen.
Harry sipped his tea, not really wanting it. He didn’t know if he would feel comfortable staying here in Sirius’s old house. They did stay here to hide for some weeks last year. It was different. He was now thinking of actually living and raising a family here. He didn’t know if he wanted to do it here. He had starting cleaning up the place, so maybe he did want to live here.
Harry woke up with a sudden fright. Every so often since he had returned to the Burrow he would have occasional dreams of the deaths of the ones who had died in the war. It was not bad, but it did cause him to lose sleep. He liked to go outside and sit under one of the trees in the garden, like he did his first night back, when this happened.
Ron slept so soundly that Harry did not have to be quiet. On the way to the bottom floor he passed Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat, snoozing outside Ginny’s door.
Passing by the sitting room, Harry heard a sniffle and just about jumped out of his skin. He had gotten used to the silence that nighttime brought to this house. He stopped in his tracks, realizing someone was crying, the only light coming from a wand.
“Mrs. Weasley?” He whispered, noticing her wand illuminating a small book in her lap.
“Harry?” She replied, surprised.
Harry walked over, sitting next to Mrs. Weasley on the couch as she motioned, illuminating his own wand. He noticed the book was a photo album and the page was on a picture of Fred and George around two years old with a big, gooey, blue mess around their feet, giggling, one of the twins rubbing the mess into the other’s hair.
“Do you know what the last thing I did to Fred was?” Without waiting for Harry to respond, she continued. “I pushed him aside to hug Percy. I can hug Percy any time. I can’t…” She broke into sobs.
“Mrs. Weasley,” Harry started.
“Oh, Harry, I’m sorry.” She brushed the tears out of her eyes.
“A wise man once told me ‘Do not pity the dead.’ Mrs. Weasley, Fred has gone to a good place, like your clock says, he is home.” Saying that out loud made him recognize those who gave their lives in this war from Sirius Black to little Colin Creevey were home and possibly they were all together.
Mrs. Weasley reached over and put her arms around Harry for a hug.
“Thank you, Harry.”
She showed Harry other pictures in the album, pictures of the twins on toy broomsticks, making mischief, meeting their baby brother, baby sister…just being Fred and George.
And with that, Harry never dreamed of the deaths of those in the war again.
Hermione had been gone for about a week. There had been no news from her. Harry could tell Ron thought it was his fault. He looked terrible. He wasn’t sleeping well and he wasn’t eating like he used to.
Harry, Ron, Ginny, and surprisingly George sat at the table over bowls of porridge while Mrs. Weasley fiddled around in the kitchen. Ron sat there moving his spoon, but not eating it.
“Blimey, George, let’s get out of here.” Ron looked at his brother, who was actually eating.
Harry watched the two. They were acting like the mopiest two people in the world—very out of character for either of them.
“Where to?” George asked.
“When was the last time you’ve been to your shop?”
“You want to go?” George looked pained.
“Yes,” Ron stated matter-of-factly, “I think you need to open up again.”
“What a good idea.” Mrs. Weasley said, listening to the conversation.
An owl flew into the kitchen, landing on the table between Harry and Ginny. Harry pulled two letters off the owl’s leg, gave him a lick of porridge, and sent him back off. Ron looked concerned. One letter was addressed to Ginny and the other to “Harry Potter and the Weasleys.” Ron’s face dropped when no letter was specifically addressed to him.
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed. He began to read the letter out loud.
I found my parents! I performed the memory restoration charm and they are fine. I’ve told them some of what happened over the past year. They aren’t mad. They appreciate the measures I took to keep them safe, though they wished I had given them more detail beforehand. We are going to stay in Australia for a week. I want to stay with my parents for a couple of weeks when we return. I will contact you when I’m back in England.
“She’s safe.” Ron said softly, looking a tad relieved.
Harry knew Ron was expecting something more in her letter, but just hearing of what she did was good enough.
“George, let’s go open your shop.”
Harry turned to Ginny, who looked very interested in the letter she was reading.
“What does that one say?” Harry asked.
Ginny pulled the letter quickly to her body.
Ron left with George after breakfast. Mrs. Weasley looked pleased to see George and Ron, even, picking up the pieces of their lives. That left Harry with Ginny.
“Are you going to tell me what’s in that letter?” Harry asked, sitting on Ginny’s bed, with his arms around her.
“No. It’s private. If Hermione wanted to tell you, she’d have written you. Stop bothering me about it, please!” Ginny pleaded with her eyes and kissed Harry lightly on the lips.
“I’m planning on visiting with Andromeda Tonks today. Wanna join me?” Harry needed to talk to her about being Teddy’s godfather.
That’s how the two found themselves sitting in Mrs. Tonk’s sitting room. Ginny held little Teddy. He changed his hair from turquoise to flaming red and back to turquoise.
“You are such a cute baby.” Ginny said looking at his eyes.
Harry continued with Andromeda.
“Yes, Remus and Dora told me they named you Teddy’s godfather.” Andromeda spoke, her eyes on Ginny holding her grandson. “I think you’ll make a good one.”
Harry smiled putting his arm around his girl. She smiled at him.
“Hey, Teddy.” He rubbed the baby’s cheek. “I’m your godfather, Harry. I’m going to teach you how to fly a broom and if you want, how to play Quidditch. I’ll tell you all about your parents, with the help of your grandmother. Don’t worry, Teddy, you’ve got loads of people here who love you.”
Instead of making seperate posts in this thread for author notes and the like, I will be posting them in the feedback thread.
Last edited by leah49; September 1st, 2007 at 11:48 pm.
Chapter 6: A Beginning
A month had past. The weather was getting warmer. Ron wondered what the weather was like in Australia. No, Hermione was not in Australia anymore. His family had received a letter two weeks ago that the Grangers had made it safely back to England. Hermione wanted to spend a few more weeks with her parents.
Ron sighed as customers poured into the joke shop. He didn’t care about customers. He cared about Hermione Granger and why she was ignoring him. How could he have ever believed she liked him? The kiss was just a caught-in-the-moment thing. She probably found some tan, rich wizard in Australia who would never walk out on his friends when things got tough.
Oh, but that kiss was the most wonderful thing he’d ever been a part of.
“Excuse me,” a teenage witch interrupted Ron’s thoughts, “do you have any more Extendable Ears? You seem to be out of them on the shelves.”
Ron shook his head. He needed to get back to his job.
“I’ll look in the back.”
Ron made his way to the storage room, closing the door behind him. He remembered bringing George back to the shop for the first time since their brother’s death.
The two stood in front of the dark, empty building. The U-No-Poo sign had lost its luster and hung awkwardly to the side. The Weasley Wizard Wheezes sign looked misplaced. He made for the door, but stopped when he noticed George wasn’t moving.
Ron grabbed the arm of his reluctant brother, pulled him to the front entrance, unlocked the door, and led him inside.
The inside was dusty. Some stray Decoy Detonators had gone off in a corner knocking over packages of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. Shuddering, Ron watched a spider crawl over the mess. The whole place looked like it hadn’t been visited in years.
“I can’t do this.” George stated weakly, still standing in the doorway, looking like he might cry.
“Yes, you can.” Ron said slowly, realizing what he was saying for the first time himself. “Fred would not want you to close down the shop. I’ll help you.” He looked over at the spider that had found a friend. “As long as you get that corner.”
“Afraid of a little spider, Ronniekins?”
Ron smiled. That was the old George he was used to. Maybe things would be able to get back to a normal, comfortable level. Fred would want that.
The two worked together to clean up the shop, putting up a new sign out front—Weasley Wizard Wheezes and taking down the U-No-Poo sign. Eventually, they’d figure out what to put in its place. They invented new items like Laughing Licorice, which caused the unlucky eater to laugh uncontrollably for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. They contacted Verity and she wanted to come back.
“I could’ve found another job,” Verity wrote in her reply, “but I reckoned you’d need more help than ever.”
The two boys even moved back into the flat above the shop. Well, for George it was moving back. For Ron, it was the first time.
“Ron,” He woke from his daydream, hearing George open the door and call his name, “you’ve been back here for ten minutes. Are you trying to skive out on your job? Anyway, Mum sent us an owl. She wants us to come for dinner.”
Ron nodded and began looking for the Extendable Ears.
George and Ron closed shop at 5PM. Diagon Alley was still bustling with activity. With Voldemort gone and most of the Death Eaters captured people weren’t afraid to go on with their lives. It amazed Ron how quickly the area had returned to normal.
“Ready?” George asked, stepping onto the sidewalk.
Ron nodded and still in the magenta work robes, they both apparated to the Burrow.
“George! Ron!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed wrapping them into hugs as they entered the house. “Oh, you two look so thin. Good thing I cooked up a big meal.”
“Er—thanks, Mum.” Ron said trying to look around.
He looked around the table. There was his dad, Percy, Harry, Ginny, and Hermione. He looked away. After not talking to him, including personal letters, for an entire month she could just waltz on over and have dinner with his family? His blood began to boil. Oh, but she was so beautiful with her slight tan, her bushy brown hair falling around her shoulders, her black robes hanging…no, she left without a word. He wasn’t going to do this. He had been a prat. He was not going to make the same mistake twice. He sat down in the furthest available seat from Hermione, which just so happened to be the one right next to her.
Dinner was awkward to say the least. Ron was hungry enough that he didn’t leave early this time.
“How’s the shop, Ron?” Harry asked after scooping potatoes onto his plate.
“Ron helped George re-open his shop and George made him an assistant.” Ginny said to Hermione.
“That’s fantastic, Ron!”
Ron's ears turned pink, but remembering he was mad at Hermione he immediately stopped.
“It’s fine. The shop is back to normal. Pass the chicken, Harry.” Ron ended the conversation.
He had to sit next to Hermione, but he didn’t have to talk to her. He let the other three get involved in a conversation on well, honestly, he didn’t know since he wasn’t paying attention.
After dinner, Ron made his way to his old room under the attic. Hearing footsteps behind him, he walked faster.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
He made to slam the door in her face, but she edged her way inside.
“I know how you must feel.” Hermione began as Ron slumped onto his bed. She sat on the edge.
“No, you…” He stopped, remembering the time he left Harry and Hermione alone in the woods.
“I’m sorry.” She said softly, her face crumbling.
The ghoul in the attic banged loudly on the pipes.
Ron wanted to put his arm around her, tell her it’s OK, but it wasn’t. She had hurt him.
“That’s fine. You don’t have to forgive me. I made the mistake this time, Ron, not you.”
“Bloody hell, Hermione!” Ron exploded.
She was making him feel guilty for being mad at her.
“What? What? I’m sorry I left. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. You don’t…you don’t know what you did springing those words on me.” Hermione shouted tears streaming down her face. “What am I doing to you?”
Ron hated to see her cry, though he was good at causing it.
Hermione placed her head in her hands.
“Never mind. I’ll just go downstairs and visit with your family.” She headed for the door whispering loud enough for Ron to hear. “I love you, too.”
Ron sat there for a minute in silence, the ghoul having stopped his noise-making session. Did she think those words were going to make everything fine again? Wait, did she really mean it? No, it doesn’t matter. She left. She wrote letters, but not to Ron.
“No!” Ron shouted.
He stared at his Chudley Cannon posters trying to gather his thoughts.
Hermione knew how he felt. If she knew, why did she let him feel that way? But, he knew how she felt. She was always springing things on him like Krum and McLaggen getting him to evaluate his feelings. Ron knew, from his own experience, expressing emotion could be pretty difficult.
“It’s my fault.” He said to himself, jumping up. “I’m the bloody git.” He wasn’t going to continue in his childish ways.
Ron raced down the stairs and into the sitting room. Not caring that his family and Harry were watching, he scooped up Hermione off the couch, wiped the tears from her eyes, and kissed her full on the mouth.
“I love you, Hermione.” He whispered in her ear.
“I love you, too, Ron.” She whispered back.
Thank you to all my readers and to those who have reviewed.
Last edited by leah49; September 2nd, 2007 at 4:33 am.
Chapter 7: Hogwarts
Summer had fully arrived. Harry was enjoying his time off after saving the world, spending his days with Ginny while Ron worked at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes with George. Sometimes, Hermione popped in for visits. She had this new light about her like everything was right in the world. Harry guessed for her it was—Voldemort was dead, her parents were back safe and sound, her best friends were alive, and she and Ron were officially dating. Harry could not have been happier for her.
Harry woke early one day in mid-July. He still slept in Ron’s room, in Ron’s bed, actually. It felt awfully weird the first week or so after Ron moved in with George, but he was getting used to it now. He would not call it his room or anything. It was still Ron’s room. The same orange Chudley Cannon posters with the same Chudley Cannon players zooming across hung on the walls. The same tank, this time empty as the fat frog had died, stood on the windowsill. The room still held the essence of Ron.
Harry headed downstairs into the kitchen, surprised to see Mr. Weasley sitting at the table, reading the Daily Prophet, and drinking a cup of tea. Things had been crazy at the Ministry since the fall of Voldemort and most days Mr. Weasley went to work before everyone got up and occasionally arrived home after Harry would be in bed.
“Good morning, Harry.” Mr. Weasley peeked over the pages of the paper.
“Good morning.” Harry replied, sitting down and having a plate placed before him by Mrs. Weasley.
“They’ve caught two Death Eaters,” Mr. Weasley situated the paper on the table, displaying the picture of an Auror wrangling a Death Eater. “They also appear to be on the trail of Fenrir Greyback.”
“Good news!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed.
Mrs. Weasley had an outright dislike of Greyback, the werewolf, for scarring her eldest son, Bill, but since Greyback was not transformed, Bill would not become a werewolf.
“There are still Death Eaters on the loose, Harry. You need to be safe and be alert!” Mr. Weasley stood up. “I’m late for work, Molly.” He kissed his wife on the cheek and headed to the fireplace to travel by floo.
Mrs. Weasley stared at her clock as Mr. Weasley’s hand went from home to traveling and then to work.
“Good morning, Harry.”
He felt a soft hand brush his. Letting the wonderful flower scent overtake him, he looked up at Ginny taking the seat next to him. Harry looked past Ginny’s head at the two owls flying in and dropping letters by their plates.
“Hogwarts!” Ginny exclaimed softly, opening hers.
Harry followed suit wondering why he would be receiving a letter from his school. As he opened the envelope another owl dropped a letter off for him.
You may be pleased to know that Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic are allowing everyone who was not able to attend or complete their seventh years the opportunity to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If you accept the invitation you also have the opportunity to return as captain of the Gryffindor House Quidditch Team. Please send your reply as soon as possible.
Enclosed is a booklist in case you accept.
“Flitwick’s been named Deputy Headmaster.” Harry blurted.
“What else does your letter say?” Ginny prodded with a curious look.
“Oh, just that I have the chance to return for my seventh year.”
“You will, won’t you?”
“I don’t know. I was looking forward to a quiet year.”
“You can have that at Hogwarts…with me.”
Without responding, Harry looked at his other letter on the table.
“Ministry of Magic.” He stated.
I would like to inform you that I have been in discussion with Professor Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and have recently learned of your desire to become an Auror for the Ministry. With our recent losses I would love to accept you as a trainee in the program right away as I am sure you have remarkable skills in defending against the Dark Arts. Professor McGonagall, Gawain Robards, head of the Auror Office, and I have decided that it would serve you best to return to school as the information and knowledge you obtain will be important to your Auror training. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Please, do not hesitate to let me know of your plans.
Temporary Minister of Magic
“Kingsley wants me to be an Auror.” Harry declared.
“That’s great.” Ginny responded, not able to hide her disappointment.
“Kingsley only wants me if I return to Hogwarts to take my N.E.W.T.s.”
“So you will return?” Ginny’s eyes brightened.
“Yes, I think so.” Harry replied with not much thought.
Ginny placed her hands on Harry’s head and gave him a short kiss on the lips.
“Wonderful!” Mrs. Weasley cried.
After breakfast, Harry sent a letter to Hogwarts via Errol, the Weasleys’ owl, notifying them of his acceptance. He then went outside to appreciate the beautiful sunny weather.
He relaxed against the tree that had become his favorite spot recently. Ginny leaned her head against his chest looking up at the few clouds in the sky.
“Harry, what happened on your adventure last year?”
Harry could tell Ginny had been waiting to ask him for a long time.
“Oi, it’s a long story.”
Harry looked into the sky hoping a good starting point would drop into his lap. He wrapped his arms around Ginny.
“Let me begin at the beginning.”
“That’s always a good place to start.” Ginny smiled.
Harry did start at the beginning with Professor Quirrell and year one. He left out many details of the past seven years, details he was not sure he could or would tell anyone. He let Ginny know of the basics; of what he felt was appropriate for her to know. She asked questions throughout and he answered.
“…I visited the headmasters office, sneaking away from the crowd gathering the Great Hall.” He finished a few hours later, his throat dry from all the talking.
Ginny looked at him wide-eyed.
“What do you think of your hero now?” Hermione spoke with a smile, surprising Harry.
Harry had been so engaged in the telling of his story he did not notice her apparating into the garden.
“I love you.” Ginny responded looking deep into Harry’s green eyes.
“I love you, too.” Harry gave his favorite redheaded girl a squeeze. “How’s Ron?” He turned part of his attention to Hermione.
Hermione broke into a wide grin.
Harry had a feeling Hermione was in a state of disbelief that Ron liked her as much as she liked him.
“We’re meeting up tonight as soon as the shop closes.”
“I can’t believe you still want to be his girlfriend after he abandoned you in the woods.” Ginny commented. “The prat.”
Hermione’s face turned bright red.
“He did save my life, I think we can forgive him.” Harry interjected.
“The reason I’m here,” Hermione changed the subject, pulling the letter out of her pocket, “is I got a letter from Hogwarts allowing me to come back. You received one, Harry, did you?”
“You are going? It would be awkward to be there without you.”
“Oh, you don’t care about me. You can have Ginny to keep you company.”
“You are going? You’ll probably need to pass your N.E.W.T.s to become an Auror, if you’re still interested.”
“Kingsley sent me a letter stating that it’s in my best interest to finish school before I become an Auror, so yes, Hermione, I’ll be joining you.”
“Good. I’ll ask Ron when I see him tonight.”
“Good luck with that.” Ginny muttered.
Later in the week, Mrs. Weasley planned to help the rebuilding efforts of Hogwarts. Ginny and Harry decided to go with her and through owl post invited Hermione. Ron had to work, unfortunately, for he really wanted to join the three that day. Harry was surprised to see a distraught Hermione who looked like she had been crying when they met up with her on school grounds.
“You OK?” He asked, staring at the building.
With a chunk missing, it looked like a giant had taken a big bite out of the castle.
Wiping her eyes, Hermione replied, “Oh, just the state of the school makes me sad.”
Harry knew she was not telling the truth.
“Good to see you here, Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley, and Miss Granger.”
The three had run into Professor McGonagall upon entering the building.
“I’m delighted you two, Mr. Potter and Miss Granger, have decided to return to finish your education. Unfortunate that Mr. Weasley will not be joining you. Kinglsey and I were so certain he would.”
Ron said no? So, that must be why Hermione was so upset.
“Congratulations on the position.” Harry spoke before she walked away.
It had been the first time Harry had seen the former head of Gryffindor since she had officially been given the title.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter.”
Harry turned to Hermione as soon as McGonagall was out of earshot.
“Ron doesn’t want to come back. He said he’s got a fine job at Weasleys’ and doesn’t need his seventh year.” Hermione burst into tears.
Harry pulled her into a hug, hoping Ginny would understand.
“We got into a huge fight. I-I—“ She hiccoughed. “I don’t think he’s speaking to me.”
“The prat.” Ginny muttered.
Odd, thought Harry. Ron seemed fine in his letter, not mentioning any of this. Actually, he appeared that he wanted to see both of them, although, now that Harry thought about it, Ron never mentioned Hermione’s name, just that he wished he could hang out with the three of them. It took Harry by surprise to see Hermione’s reaction as well. Usually when Ron got angry, Hermione got angry, not upset. One of the side effects of being in a relationship, Harry guessed.
“In the end, you and Ron always make up.” Harry offered.
“Yeah…” Hermione wiped her eyes. “Let’s go see what state this school is in.”
Harry, Ginny, and Hermione tramped through the halls and stairways toward the Gryffindor Tower. The banisters and such had been fixed, but the walls were in disrepair and many portraits were missing. They reached the Gryffindor common room to see the outer area looking the same as it did when Harry last left it.
“Harry Potter!” The Fat Lady screeched upon spotting the dark headed boy. “September first already?”
“No, no. We’re helping rebuild.”
“What a fine boy. I’m proud to say you lived in the house I stand guard for!” She swung open. “No password needed.”
Hermione, thought to be a stickler for rules, gave the portrait a funny look.
The three climbed into the common room and sat down in the available squashy chairs, Ginny and Harry sharing a large seat.
“I made Head Girl.” Hermione said in a volume not much louder than a whisper. “I thought Ron would be happy.”
“My brother doesn’t understand girls at all.”
Harry thought of Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches, hoping there was something in there about making up for pitiful mistakes.
“I’m sure he is.” Harry leaned forward. “He’s just…well, he’s Ron.”
“Yeah—I—” Hermione shook her head.
“I’m happy for you. There’s no one else more suited. Congratulations.”
“Percy…” Ginny muttered. “Ron can be a bit of a git sometimes. Don’t take it personal, Hermione.”
The three did not stay in the common room long. They spent most of the day fixing up the walls, re-hanging portraits, and just generally cleaning up the debris that had made its way indoors. They broke for lunch and then went right back to work. They had done a great deal of work, but by the end of the day they were nowhere near finished.
“Ready to head home?” Mrs. Weasley found Harry, Hermione, and Ginny, dirty and grimy from the hard day’s work, near the library talking to Hestia Jones.
“I will be your new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor.” She stated proudly.
“Professor Jones,” Harry tried on for size, “Professor, you took the Durselys into hiding. How are they?”
“Complete nutters if you ask me.” Hestia winked. “We’ve released them. I don’t think their house was harmed in any way, not that I made to check on it. I was ordered to protect them not their house. Better off I never see them again.”
“Same.” Harry muttered. “Thank you and I think you’ll make a good professor.” He looked at Hermione, Ginny, then at Mrs. Weasley. “Yes, I think we’re ready.”
The group made it's way to Hogsmeade. Harry gripped Ginny’s hand and they apparated to the Burrow
---------I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Even if you didn't, don't hesitate to leave me feedback!
Last edited by leah49; October 22nd, 2007 at 5:16 pm.
Chapter 8: End of Summer
Happy birthday,” Ginny wrapped her arms around the dark headed boy and planted a kiss firmly on his lips.
“Is that my gift?” He asked, keeping her close to him.
“Er—well, no.” Ginny replied, pulling a small box out of her robes.
Harry opened it to find a framed picture of Ginny inside. He gazed at the picture of the beautiful red head smiling at him wearing her bridesmaid’s dress.
“Thank you.” He exhaled, pulled Ginny back in and kissing her with passion.
“I thought you needed something pretty to look at.” Her face turned red. “Besides, I reckon you need to put something of yours in Ron’s old room.”
Ron’s old room. Ron’s old room. I need my—
Ginny’s lips interrupted Harry’s thoughts.
“Blimey, are you going to do that every birthday?”
Ginny’s ears turned pink as she looked upon the face her brother, Ron. She opened her mouth and closed it. Probably to tell Ron off for barging into her room and then realizing they were actually in the hallway outside it, Harry surmised.
“Er—anyway, happy birthday, Harry.” Ron clapped his friend on the back. “I just came over for lunch. George isn’t giving me any time off.” He motioned down the stairs, but Harry made a move up.
“Let me put this away.” Harry smiled at Ginny to let her know he liked the gift.
Harry made it to the kitchen a few minutes later to see a small meal already set at the table for five.
“Happy birthday, Harry.” Hermione handed him a gift, a book on Quidditch in Europe. She stood close to Ginny, not looking in Ron’s direction.
It had been a week since the trip to Hogwarts, but it looked painfully obvious the two had not made up. Harry was not going to let that effect his birthday and quickly grabbed Ginny to sit in two seats next to each other.
“Thanks, Hermione.” He placed the book next to his plate.
Mrs. Weasley chose the seat on the far end leaving two consecutive seats remaining. Ron and Hermione reluctantly sat down.
Harry knew the two were in love. They had so openly expressed it in front of five Weasleys and Harry some weeks before. He didn’t know what was said during their latest fight, aside from it involving returning to Hogwarts, but he knew it could not be something that would tear them apart. He knew Ron and Hermione. He knew they had feelings for each other for years. He hoped nothing as small as this had changed that.
Maybe Ron had the right idea towards school. Harry shook the thought out of his head.
“How’s the shop, Ron?” Harry asked hoping to start pleasant conversation.
“Busy,” he replied between mouthfuls, ignoring Hermione’s huff. “It is good for George. As long as he’s busy his mind’s off you know.”
“How is George?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Doing better.” Ron stated.
“I’m so proud of you coming to your brother’s aid, helping him with his shop.”
Harry sent Ginny a look. She smiled back at him. Ron’s face turned a slight shade of red. Hermione just stared at her bacon sandwich.
After lunch, Harry went back up to Ron’s room to put his book away.
If Hermione keeps with tradition, I could start a mini-library in a few years.
His three friends followed him.
“I can’t stay long.” Ron flopped on his bed as Harry sat the book on the desk. “George’ll be upset if I’m late. He hates being in the shop alone.”
“He has Verity.” Hermione pointed out. It was the first thing she’d said to Ron all day.
Harry looked at Hermione. She had sat against the wall farthest from the bed, looking a bit dejected. He tapped Ginny on the shoulder. Ginny made to sit next to her.
“Oi, Harry, you’ve really turned this into your room.” Ron sat up staring at his posters.
“What?” Harry gave Ron a funny look. “The only thing in here is Ginny’s gift.” He paused waiting for Ron to say something. “So, er—“ He tried to start, feeling the tension in the room. “How are the Cannons?”
“Still in last place.” Ron replied.
“I can’t believe you fancy a team that never wins.” Ginny piped up.
“Better than a bunch of witches.” He retorted.
“What’s wrong with witches?” Ginny exclaimed as Hermione stood up.
“You think wizards are better?” Hermione declared.
Ginny tried to pull her back down.
“Well, I’ll tell you what’s better, Ron Weasley!”
Ron opened his mouth ready to say something.
“Shut up!” Harry shouted. “You are not going to ruin my birthday with your fighting!”
“George is expected me back. Happy birthday, Harry.” Ron left the room.
Hermione stood in place, stunned.
“I—I’m going to go, too. Bye, Harry.” He watched her walk out the same door.
“It’s fine, Harry.” Ginny stood up and put her arm around him. “You still got me to celebrate your birthday.”
Harry had not spoken to his two best friends since his birthday. He was angry with them but,
“I plan on talking to on today.” He said to Ginny as they stood outside the Burrow. The two were headed to Diagon Alley to purchase school supplies. Harry had his reservations, but he did want to spend the day with Ginny. “Ready?” He grasped her hand and apparated outside The Leaky Cauldron in the wizarding street.
“Harry,” Ginny began as they walked past Eyelop’s Owl Emporium. “Let’s get you an owl.”
Owl? Harry had not even thought of getting another owl. He could never replace Hedwig.
“No.” He replied rather quickly.
“You need something to send letters with.”
“No. Not now, OK?” He pleaded as they stepped into Flourish & Blotts.
Many students already filled the inside of the store. Harry and Ginny could hardly move around.
“It’s him!” He heard someone shout.
Harry tried to brush his hair over his scar.
“Him who? Harry Potter!” He felt the eyes stare into him.
“Harry Potter!” A third voice yelled.
“We can come back,” Ginny whispered. “Let’s go to Weasleys’.”
He pulled her out of the store and practically flew to the joke ship, which was not as crowded.
“Hey, Ron,” Harry greeted his best mate after entering.
“Come to yell at me, have you?” Ron placed packages of Canary Creams on the shelf.
“I was not about to let you and Hermione have a row on my birthday.”
“Sorry about that.” Ron took the empty box to the storage room and closed the door. “Hermione’s a bit miffed I won’t be coming back to Hogwarts.”
“I told her I accepted, but I’ve been having second thoughts.” Harry brought up.
“You should tell her. Take the load off me.” Ron muttered.
“Do I really need to go back?” Harry questioned.
“No. You’re Harry Potter. The Ministry’d give you a job in no a flash.”
“I want to earn my job, Ron, not just obtain it because I’m Harry Potter.”
“They know you’ve got talent. Well, if all else fails, I could get you a job here.”
Harry looked around the damp storage room.
“Is this really what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?”
“You sound like Hermione.”
“What did you say to her? She was all in tears when I saw her at Hogwarts.”
“Hermione—” Ron sighed. “She just doesn’t understand. I’m not like her. She’s into book and studying and well, I’m not.” He opened the door. “Ginny’s probably looking for you.” Ron ran off toward the counter to help a customer.
“Come on, Ginny. I need to get some gold out of Gringott’s.”
“Is everything OK?” She asked as Harry rushed her out of the building.
Harry had been dreading a return to the bank where the trio had caused damage including thievery not even half a year ago, but everything went smoothly, except for the feeling that the goblins had no trust in him. Harry picked up what he thought was a good amount for the year and the couple headed back to Flourish & Blotts.
“You’re going to need a new broom.” Ginny thought out loud as they stepped back into the less congested bookstore.
Harry had never bought himself a broom. The Nimbus 2000 had been given to him by McGonagall and the Firebolt by Sirius.
As he pulled out his booklist, Harry could still feel eyes boring into him, but fortunately, no one vocally pointed him out.
“What classes are you planning to take?” Ginny asked, looking at the copies of Modern Magical History, 2nd Edition.
“Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Only N.E.W.T.s needed to be an Auror.”
Ginny nodded and promptly gathered all the books the list claimed the two needed.
“Thanks, Harry, but Mum gave me some gold to buy my books.” She said after Harry offered to pay for her.
He noticed she had picked up the same set of books for herself that she had for him.
“Don’t you want to take anything else—oh, Divination?”
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“What do you plan to do after Hogwarts?”
“I haven’t ever really thought about it. I dunno.”
The couple made their way to the cauldron shop, passing Quality Quidditch Supplies, which Ginny gave a drawn out look. They were not making this trip in the most efficient way possible.
“You still need to buy a broom.” Ginny reminded him, after he purchased all of the necessary items. She dragged him over to the Quidditch shop.
“A new Nimbus is out.” She squealed, running her fingers over the Nimbus 2007.
The Nimbus 2007 was much improved over the 200 Harry had during his first two years, but it was still no match for the Firebolt. He gazed longingly at the Firebolt display, knowing it was not wise to spend that many Galleons on a broom for just one year of Quidditch, if he even returned.
“Oh, Harry, the Nimbus is great.” Ginny put her hand around his. “I know you miss your Firebolt, but you’ll be fine on a Nimbus. You were when I first saw you play. And the new model’s much improved.”
He smiled at her. She knew just what to say. Reluctantly, but on good faith, he bought the Nimbus 2007.
Later that evening Harry found himself, fully dressed, lying on Ginny’s bed with her against him.
She looked up at him without raising her head.
“I’ve done some thinking.” He knew this was not going to be easy, but he had to do it. “I’m not sure I want to go back to school.”
Ginny sat up and turned to look at Harry.
“I don’t know.” He sat up, reaching her hands, but she pulled away.
“Is it because of Ron?”
“No.” He looked at the ceiling. “No. I’ve just been thinking.” He looked at her face, at every curve, every freckle. “It has nothing to do with you, Ron, or anyone.”
“You, you already bought your books.” She looked down at her bedspread.
“I can return those and you can have the Nimbus. The Gryffindor captain deserves a broom like that.”
“You seriously don’t want to return to Hogwarts?”
“Are you joking with me?”
“No,” He honestly replied.
“Harry, what’s going on?”
“I’ve just been thinking. The Ministry needs me.”
“They also want you to finish school.”
Harry watched Ginny break. Of course this was hurting her. This was as if he was dismissing her.
“I—“ She stopped.
Harry reached for her hands. She allowed him to take them this time.
“I still love you and I always will. You never have to worry about that.”
“Okay.” She replied feebly. “This is so sudden. I thought you were happy about returning to Hogwarts with me. What if the Ministry won’t let you be an Auror?”
Harry shrugged. He had not thought about that.
“Alright, Harry.” She closed her eyes for a few seconds. “I want you to be happy. I’m not going to beg you to come back. Before you make your decision, you should contact the Ministry.”
“Good idea.” Harry gulped. She wasn’t going to like the next bit of news either. “I’ve also been thinking about something else.”
“I want—if I don’t go back to Hogwarts, I want to move to Grimmauld Place.” He searched Ginny’s brown eyes for emotion. “I think I need to be on my own.”
“Away from me.”
“No. No, Ginny. It has nothing to do with you.”
He pulled her in for a hug. She tried to resist but gave in.
“I love you. I just—I don’t want to be a burden on your parents. I’ve got a decent place to live. We spent all that time cleaning it up.”
“You’re not a burden.” She said into his shoulder.
He rubbed her back. Was he being selfish? Would the Ministry bend the rules for him? Did he want them to?
The next morning before Ginny woke, Harry sent Errol with a letter addressed to Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Happy birthday, Ginny.” Harry stepped outside to see Hermione and Mrs. Weasley decorate the outdoors for Ginny’s birthday. The seventeenth birthday is a very important one for witches and wizards.
“Hey, Harry.” She walked away from the conversation she was having with Bill and Fleur.
He handed her a small box, which she slowly opened.
“Wow.” She breathed. “Harry!” She fingered the silver bracelet.
“I saw it on our last visit to Hogsmeade. I wanted to give it to you a year ago, but…”
“Oh, Harry. It must’ve cost so much. I can’t—”
“Don’t—you’re worth it.”
“Oh.” She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a sweet kiss.
He slipped the bracelet over her right wrist, noticing the customary watch on her left one.
“What are you smil—oh, did you?” Hermione squealed, dropping her wand as they walked towards her with their fingers interlocked.
“Wha—oh, no, no. No, nothing like that.”
“Oh, sorry.” Her ears turned slightly pink. “Well, anyway, happy birthday, Ginny.” Hermione pulled the gift out of her beaded bag, which turned out to be a book on famous witches in history.
Harry looked over at the table to see Ron in a conversation with George and Percy. He was glad Percy was back in the family.
“Hermione, have you talked to Ron?” Harry asked.
“No.” Hermione puffed.
“Ginny, do you mind if I talk to Hermione for a moment?” He dropped her hand.
“I’ll go mingle with that lot.” She gave Harry a quick peck on the cheek and headed for the table.
“I’m not talking about Ron.” Hermione stated defiantly.
“Fine. I’ve got something to tell you that I don’t think you’re going to enjoy.” He took a deep breath. “I’ve been thinking about not returning to school.”
“First Ron and now you?”
“Please don’t cry. Don’t ruin Ginny’s birthday like you ruined mine.”
“Sorry.” She wiped her eyes. “You changed your mind about being an Auror, didn’t you?”
“No, I still want to be one.”
“You can’t do that without your N.E.W.T.s. You said Kingsley—“
“I wrote to Kingsley and am now waiting for a response.”
“Does Ginny know?”
“It was her idea to write to the Ministry. Hermione, you’ll be fine. You’re the smartest girl in the school. You’ll have Ginny and Luna and you’re Hermione!”
“Yeah,” Hermione nodded. “I guess so.”
Harry followed Hermione’s gaze to the tall redhead sitting between his brothers. He knew it wasn’t him she was upset about. It was Ron.
Last edited by leah49; October 22nd, 2007 at 5:05 pm.
Chapter 9: Another Year Begins
The morning of September first arrived and proved to be a very busy one. Harry and Ginny bustled about putting last minute things in their trunks. Ron dropped by to see his sister and best mate off, having been given the morning off when Lee Jordan stopped by the joke shop to help George out. Mrs. Weasley cooked up a big breakfast and Mr. Weasley went to the Ministry to obtain a car for the trip to King’s Cross.
Harry closed his trunk. Ron was downstairs waiting for him. He could go downstairs without his trunk and decide not to go or he could give in and just go. Deep in thought, Harry jumped at the sound of tapping on the window. He opened the window, untied the letter from the tawny owl, and allowed the bird to rest on the bed while he read the letter.
Thank you for responding. We understand your willingness to start Auror training right away. Certainly, it would benefit us, but do trust me when I say it would not benefit you. The importance of school is not just about grades; it is about knowledge. When you begin training you will understand this. I strongly recommend you return to Hogwarts. We will not accept you with the required N.E.W.T.s. This is for your benefit. I am sure you know this. You know where your heart lies.
Temporary Minister of Magic
Harry re-red the letter. He did know where his heart lied. Hogwarts was his second home. Of course he wanted to return. How could he have thought otherwise?
Harry patted the owl on the head and let him fly out the window without a return letter to the Ministry. He grabbed his trunk and started pulling out the door and down the stairs.
“’E’i’yed ‘o ‘oh ‘ack ‘aff ‘oo.” Ron spoke with a mouthful of scrambled egg.
“Ronald Weasley!” His mother scolded as she magicked a plate for Harry. “There you go, dear.”
“Sorry,” he replied nonchalantly. “Decided to go back, have you? Hermione get to you?”
“You are returning to Hogwarts!” Ginny squealed, bringing in her own trunk and pygmy puff cage. She ran over to Harry giving him a quick peck, turning pink realizing her mom was watching.
“Yes, well, it is like a second home.” Harry said.
“I knew you would.” Ron said, looking a bit downcast.
“Ron, you can come back, too. I’m sure McGonagall can work things out.”
Mrs. Weasley looked hopeful as they spoke.
Ron shook his head. “I got work at Weasleys.”
Harry could sense a dissatisfied tone in Ron’s voice, but he did not press the issue.
“Oh, I wish you had considered.” Mrs. Weasley said. “Who would’ve thought my three youngest sons wouldn’t finish school? Especially, my ickle prefect Ronniekins.”
Ron’s ears turned pink. The three ate their breakfast and when Mr. Weasley returned with the car, they loaded up and headed to the train station.
Harry stared at Platform 9 ¾ remembering the first he’d laid eyes on it. Back then he did not know how to cross it. He decided it was a good idea he didn’t. Had he not needed anyone’s help he might not have met the Weasleys.
“C’mon, Harry, don’t want to be late.” Ginny woke Harry from his daydream.
Harry smiled, remembering Ginny as a 10 year old as he pushed his cart past the brick wall. Smoke billowed around him as the Hogwarts Express came into view. He watched students run about meeting old friends, pulling parents along, and full of energy. How could he ever think he didn’t want to come back?
“I’ll go get us a compartment.” Ginny said dragging her trunk towards the train.
“Harry!” Harry’s other best friend, Hermione, ran towards him. “You’ve decided to come!” She eyed his trunk. “I knew you would.”
“Yes,” Harry replied. “Ginny’s getting a compartment.”
Hermione nodded and went off to join her other friend.
Harry looked at the three Weasleys. He looked at Ron.
“It’s going to be a funny year without you.”
“You’ll manage, mate. Blimey, you’ve got my sister.”
“Yeah, well…” Harry didn’t know what to say.
“Harry!” Ginny called out.
“I guess I better go.” Harry turned to walk away when Ron pulled him in for a hug.
“I’ll miss you, mate.” Ron whispered in Harry’s ear. “If you tell anyone about this, especially George, I’ll kill you.”
Harry stepped onto the train and into the compartment, his trunk having already found it’s way there. He saw Hermione’s trunk and wondered where she was. He sat down next to Ginny and gazed out the window to see Hermione heading towards the train.
Hermione began up the steps slowly, when something tugged at her shirt. Losing her balance, she fell backwards. Instead of hitting cold, metal stairs and hard concrete that something had broken her fall. He turned her around and planted his lips on hers.
Harry turned away from the window pretending he hadn’t seen anything. A few seconds later, Hermione joined them.
“I have to go to the front.” She said quietly, pointing to her badge.
Harry knew that was not what she wanted to do and was not surprised when she returned before the train rolled out of the station. She sat down opposite Ginny and Harry, sliding to the other end. She looked out the window as the train departed King’s Cross. A big fat solitary tear slid down her cheek.
Harry wanted to ask why she did not stay with the prefects and Head Boy, but her eyes were closed and he knew better than to bother her.
Halfway through the ride, Luna joined them.
“Hello, Harry, Ginny, Her—” She stopped when she saw the bushy haired girl asleep.
“Hello, Luna.” Harry greeted the Ravenclaw.
“Oh, are you two back together?”
Harry smiled, his arm around Ginny.
The rest of the train ride was pretty uneventful. After a few minutes Luna went back to the compartment she shared with Dean Thomas and a second year Gryffindor, Mary Johnson, who lived near Dean. Ginny and Harry spent the time talking and snuggling quietly so as not to disturb Hermione. When they got closer, Harry woke Hermione to change into her school robes.
“Thanks, Harry.” She replied.
As soon as Hermione changed she slumped back into her seat.
“I wonder who the new Transfiguration professor will be.” Ginny spoke absentmindedly.
“It will be different not having McGonagall teach that class.” Harry said.
“Loads will be different.” She mumbled.
“No Snape.” Ginny stated.
Harry looked out the window as they approached Hogsmeade Station. No Snape. After years of loathing the man, Harry might truly miss having a class taught by Snape.
“No random detention to try to keep us from winning the Quidditch Cup.” Ginny laughed.
Or maybe not.
Climbing off the train, Harry noticed a lot more people were in wonder as they stared at the carriages. He felt a pang in his chest remembering all those who died in the war and all those who witnessed it.
The three rode a silent carriage to the newly reconstructed Hogwarts.
Harry stared at the school as they got closer. The big chunk missing had been replaced. It looked truly magical. Stepping inside, he could not have imagined a great battle had taken place inside and outside these walls last May if he had not been here to witness it himself. He followed Ginny and Hermione to the crowded Gryffindor table, which had been magicked bigger.
“Hey, Harry,” Neville greeted as the trio sat down. “Ginny, Hermione.”
Harry spied a piece of silver gleam at him.
“You’re Head Boy! Congratulations!”
“Thanks. Gran reckons she doesn’t know if she can be any more proud of me than she already is.” Neville beamed.
“Hello, Nick.” Harry greeted the Gryffindor ghost, Nearly-Headless Nick.
“You’re red-headed friend is missing.”
Harry tried to cut him off but it had been to no avail. Hermione sighed. Harry watched her firmly place her hands in her lap and stare at them. He knew she was upset Ron was not here, but he didn’t think she’d take it this hard. If they had made up before they left, maybe she would be feeling better.
“I see.” The ghost glided to the other end of the table.
Harry looked up at the head table. McGonagall sat in the headmaster’s chair. He smiled at Professor Jones who waved back. He spotted two new professors, a witch and a wizard, Muggle Studies and Transfiguration. The empty chair, he presumed, was for Hagrid, waiting until he came in with the first years. Harry’s stomach grumbled as he realized sorting would be extra long tonight.
The doors of the Great Hall opened and Hagrid led the first years to Professor Flitwick, who had taken over deputy headmaster duties with McGonagall’s new position. He placed a stool on the floor before the crowd and on top, an extremely old, patched, and now singed wizard’s hat. The hat opened its brim and began to sing:
I told all houses to combine
We’ve had such things to fight
Together we could combat all
Divided we would fall
All houses they did come together
And battle evil forces
And once again we find ourselves
Here for another sortin’
Many years, a thousand or so ago
Four wizards came together
And created Hogwarts with four houses, lo
Gryffindor, the brave do dwell
Ravenclaw, for those full of wit
Hufflepuff, the loyal lie
Slytherin, the cunning dare
Place me snug on top your head
I’ve never yet been wrong
I’ll take a peek inside your mind
And tell where you belong!
The Great Hall rang with applause, much louder this year. Harry stopped paying attention at this point. He had thought, just a mere thought, that the houses would be demolished or combined or something, but with Quidditch and the like, the houses did serve some sort of purpose.
With the extra large first year, thanks to the Muggle-borns not allowed to attend last year, Gryffindor made way with 13 new students most in awe as they got to sit at the same table as the great Harry Potter.
“Tuck in!” McGonagall announced as the last had been sorted and food appeared at all four tables.
Harry filled his plate with his favorites and was about to chow down when he happened to glance up at Hermione, who had barely touched anything.
“I’m fine, Harry.” She tried to reassure her friend, but her tone told otherwise. “I’m just not hungry. Don’t worry about me.”
Harry would worry for he loved Hermione like a sister. She was going through a difficult time and he wanted to make sure she was okay.
“Have some treacle tart.” Harry offered when the pudding appeared, but Hermione politely shook her head.
“She’ll be OK, Harry.” Ginny reassured him.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts.” McGonagall began her speech. “Mr. Filch, our caretaker, has asked me to remind you of the list of forbidden items located in his office, which includes items from Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. Also, the Forbidden Forest is understandably forbidden.
Students,” She began in a different tone, “last year we did our best to rid the world of an incredibly dark wizard. While we succeeded that does not mean we have rid ourselves of all evil completely. I must remind you to be careful and always be prepared.
“I would like to introduce you to our three new professors; Hestia Jones, Defense Against the Dark Arts; Wilhelm Bullaviri, Muggle Studies; and Sara Travante, Transfiguration.” Each professor rose as his or her name was called.
“Let’s have a good year.” McGonagall finished her speech and the students got to their feet to exit the Great Hall. “8th years, I’d like to speak to you.”
The so-called 8th years stayed seated while the rest of the school left.
“I’ll wait for you in the common room.” Ginny kissed Harry before leaving.
“I am pleased you all decided to return to finish off your schooling.”
Harry looked around at the very small group of students remaining; Terry Boot, Anthony Goldstein, and Mandy Brocklehurst from Ravenclaw; Susan Bones from Hufflepuff; and Theodore Nott from Slytherin; as well as Neville, Hermione, and he from Gryffindor.
“I would like to congratulate our Head Boy and Girl, Neville Longbottom and Hermione Granger.”
The nine remaining clapped. Neville’s face turned red and Hermione looked at her feet.
“These two rightly deserve the position. I’m sure you all agree.
“You will be attending classes with the 7th years. For any who have not passed their apparition test, the ministry is offering special lessons and testing starting in October for 8th years and older only. Misses Brocklehurst, Bones, and Granger, you will be rooming with the 7th year girls in your respective houses. Mr. Nott, you will with the 7th year boys. Misters Boot, Goldstein, Thomas, Potter, and Longbottom, you will be in the 7th year male dormitories. Good night.”
McGonagall handed out the timetables and the students departed for their houses.
“Harry, I’m surprised you weren’t named Head Boy.” Neville said as they walked the long corridor toward Gryffindor.
“You deserve it more than I.” Harry replied, making Neville blush harder than he had in the Great Hall.
“I had the option of taking my N.E.W.T.s over the summer at the Ministry, but I missed so much time hiding out in the Room of Requirement that I felt it best to return.”
Harry peeled away from Dean and Neville and walked slowly with Hermione.
“I always imagined a year where Ron and I were together. When I received that latter I thought my dream had come true.” She looked at Harry, shuffling her feet. “I sound so stupid.”
“No. No, I think I understand.”
“Ron is such a prat. But, but, I—“
“You still love him.”
Hermione nodded ever so slightly.
“Hermione, he’s not doing this to hurt you.”
“I know,” she wiped a tear from her cheek, “I knew that when we got into our fight. Why do I have to be too proud to say I’m sorry?”
Harry was surprised to see Hermione open up to him about this. He could not remember another time when she had done so.
“Harry, I don’t want to do anything to lose Ron.”
He wanted to say the kiss looked like she wouldn’t, but Harry didn’t want her to know he’d seen it. He didn’t have to say anything as they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.
“Victorious.” Hermione said and the Fat Lady swung open, allowing the two to go inside.
How do you like the sorting hat song? I now know why Rowling made ways for Harry to miss out on so many sortings!
Last edited by leah49; January 30th, 2008 at 7:28 pm. Reason: Mary's a Gryffindor not a Hufflepuff!
Chapter 10: First Week Back
Harry sat at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning before his first Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson of the school year. He hated the stares he was getting, but he was getting good at ignoring them. Hermione appeared to feel better since the previous night. Ginny confessed to having a private girls chat with her. Harry was glad for he didn’t like seeing a weepy Hermione. Hopefully, getting into the swing of classes would make her feel even better.
“I’ve decided to hold Quidditch try-outs next week. I think we’ll need to get practice going right away. I suspect everyone will be a bit rusty after a year off,” Harry said to Ginny. “Of course, you already have a spot as my top Chaser.”
Ginny politely rolled her eyes.
“And just what if someone better comes along?”
“I’ve got other spots open. Obviously, there’s no one better than you.”
Hermione choked on her pumpkin juice, spraying a bit on Harry.
“I insist on trying out no matter what, Harry,” Ginny said.
Harry wiped his face and looked at Hermione spotting an owl looking very much like Pidwidgeon flying toward the head table straight to McGonagall.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked her, keeping an eye on the bird.
McGonagall opened the letter and read looking very curious, but in a happy sort of way. She pulled a quill from her robes and scribbled something on the back of the parchment, tied the letter to the waiting bird, and sent him off.
“Sorry,” Hermione replied, trying to conceal a giggle with a cough. “What are you looking at?”
“Nothing. Come on, don’t want to be late for class.”
“Good morning, Harry,” Professor Jones greeted the three as they entered the classroom and chose seats in the front.
Professor Jones sat nervously atop her desk as the rest of the students filed in.
“I never sit in the front,” Ginny said to Harry.
“Hermione likes to wave her hand under the professor’s nose,” Harry whispered.
Hermione glared at him.
“Can I help it if I’m the only one who reads the book?”
“Welcome students,” Professor Jones hopped of the desk to begin class. “I have all the information on your former professors. I’m here to prepare you for your Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test. N.E.W.T. There will be a theoretical portion, but most important is the practical portion. While I am here to prepare you for your N.E.W.T., I believe it most important you come from this class with the ability to defend yourselves.”
Professor Jones pulled out her wand and wrote on the board.
“Patronuses. Who here can tell me what a Patronus is?”
Several hands flew into the air.
“The Patronus is a silver-white creature conjured by the Patronus charm. It is used against Dementors and Lethifolds.”
“Thank you. Does anyone know the other use for a Patronus?”
Two hands shot into the air, Hermione’s and a girl in the back.
Harry turned to see a very timid girl speak.
“The Patronus is also used to send messages.”
“Yes, thank you. We will concentrate on the first and most important use. I’m sure you are all aware of what a Dementor is. Can anyone tell me about Lethifolds?”
Hermione was the only one to raise her hand.
“Go ahead, Miss Granger.”
“A Lethifold is an extremely rare beast found only in the tropics resembling a thick black cloak. It attracts sleeping humans, smothering and digesting them, leaving no trace,” she replied in her best textbook voice.
“That is correct. So, most likely you may never encounter a Lethifold within your lifetime.
“I have learned many of you are/were members of Dumbledore’s Army and thanks to your fabulous leader have achieved the ability to perform the Patronus charm. The rest of you may need to work on this.
“The spell used to conjure the Patronus is ‘Expecto Patronum.’ Say it with me—“
“Expecto Patronum,” the class repeated.
“It is not good enough to just say the spell with your wand pointed at a Dementor or Lethifold. Most important is to think of a happy thought,” Professor Jones raised her wand, wrinkled up her pink cheeks, and shouted, “Expecto Patronum!” Out of her wand a silver-white bird flew around the heads of the students before disappearing. “Now, I would like everyone to give it a try. Don’t worry if you do not get it on the first try. This is an advanced piece of magic.”
The class stood up and shouts of “Expecto Patronum” could be heard from all corners of the room. Harry did it once, thinking of his first kiss with Ginny, and his trusty stag pranced from his wand. Satisfied, he watched the other students. Feeling the urge to help, he remembered this was Defense Against the Dark Arts not the D.A. Many of the students he did not recognize were unable to get anything from their wands, while a select few produced a silver-white mist.
“Concentrate on the happiest thought you can think of,” Professor Jones said to a curly haired boy standing behind Harry.
The boy’s face scrunched up in the same manner Jones’s had and only seconds later a silvery panther came out of his wand. The boy smiled widely as the panther disappeared, the memory obviously being forgotten over the discovery of what his Patronus was.
After an exhausting day of classes, people gawking at him for being The-Boy-Who-Lives, and spending time with Ginny, Harry wanted nothing more than to slide under the covers of his four-poster bed and sleep. The moment shattered when Dean spoke up.
“Harry, Neville, you know Luna Lovegood.”
Harry opened his eyes.
“Yes,” Neville replied.
“She’s a bit of an odd girl, though very nice,” Dean stated. “Y’know, Seamus and I had a bet going on when you, Neville, and Luna would get together.”
“Oh?” Neville looked as surprised as Harry felt.
“Started it sixth year. We also had a bet going for ages on Ron and Hermione. Have they gotten together, Harry?”
Harry was not sure he wanted to divulge his best friends’ love lives.
“They kissed during the battle last spring.” Harry felt like such a girl and silently promised himself not to say more.
Neville looked at him wide-eyed.
“Not before then?”
Harry knew Dean referred to the incident at Malfoy Manor. He shook his head.
“Can’t wait to tell Seamus he owes me five Galleons,” Dean turned his attention back to Neville, mainly. “You two wouldn’t have any problems with me asking Luna out?”
Harry shook his head. He didn’t care. Dean and Luna might just make a cute couple. They did spend all that time together in the Malfoy’s cellar.
“No,” Neville replied hesitantly.
“Thanks,” Dean left the dormitory, but where he was going Harry did not know, for it was too late to wander the castle.
“You alright, Neville?” Harry looked at the boy staring off into space.
“What? Oh, I’m fine, Harry.”
Unconvinced, Harry closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
The first week of school went by fairly quickly. Harry posted Quidditch try-outs for Wednesday and could already feel a buzz among his fellow Gryffindors. One thing Harry hadn’t expected was how lost he felt in most of his classes, except for Defense Against the Dark Arts, which he excelled. He guessed missing a year of school would make him rusty and perhaps Kingsley Shacklebolt was right. He did need to come back.
“You coming, Hermione?” Harry asked, his fingers interlaced with Ginny’s.
Hermione sat in a squashy common room chair with a book in her lap.
“What?” She didn’t look up from the book.
“Ginny and I are going to Hagrid’s.”
“Oh, yes,” she snapped the book shut and stuffed it into her beaded bag.
Harry was pretty sure he had never seen her without the bag since returning from the never-ending camping trip.
The three made their way down the stairs, down the halls, out the door into the afternoon air, and across the grounds to the familiar wooden hut.
“Good ta see yeh three,” Hagrid greeted them before they got a chance to knock.
They say at his table while he poured mugs of hot tea and Fang slept.
“I go’ rock cakes fer yeh,” Hagrid motion towards the plate on the table after placing the mugs in front of his guests.
Harry smiled politely, but did not partake.
“Glad yeh came down. Worried yeh migh’ be too busy this year to visit wi’ ole Hagrid,” he gulped his tea.
“No, never,” Harry replied.
“I’m surprised summat Ron didn’ return to Hogwarts wi’ yeh.”
Hermione stared at her mug, trying not to show emotion, but failing miserably.
“I shouldn’ ha said anythin’. I’m sorry, Hermione,” Hagrid placed a big hand on her back, “His own fault fer not wantin’ ta spend time wi’ a beautiful an’ smart girl like you,” he looked over at Ginny, ready to say something else.
“Ron’s a prat,” Ginny responded, unphased.
They spent the rest of the visit discussing how they spent their summer holidays. Hermione talked of spending time in Australia, restoring her parents’ memories, and just being a daughter for a change. Hagrid mentioned helping to repair the castle and grounds as well as assisting some of the magical creatures back to their homes with help from his half-brother, Grawp.
Harry sat in the common room later that night, with Ginny leaning against his legs, in a suspended state between sleep and awake. He had visions of Hagrid sending the centaurs to live among the giants.
The common room was only slightly crowded. Neville sat in an armchair reading a textbook with a quizzical look on his face. Dean played Mary Johnson, the second-year, in wizard chess and to say she was winning was an understatement. Of course, she was a half-blood, growing up in the wizarding world and it was her set.
Hermione burst through the portrait hole carrying a stack of books and aimed for one of the empty desks. Harry opened his eyes and watched her spread out her material.
“Gotta get an early start if I want to be the best.”
“You already are the best.”
“I was the best in our old year, but who knows how I’ll fair with a new crowd.”
Hermione was the smartest witch of the whole school, everyone knew. She opened the biggest book and began scribbling on parchment.
“Merlin’s beard!” Ginny exclaimed. “Rita Skeeter’s written a book on Snape! I honestly can’t believe she came out with so—oh, it doesn’t say written. It says writing,” she scooted up to the seat next to Harry and showed him the article in the Daily Prophet someone had left lying in the room.
“’I know things about Severus Snape that would make your hair curl.’” Harry read one of Skeeter’s quotes. “I wonder where she’s getting her information from. Snape doesn’t have any friends, well, living anyway,” he said, thinking of his mother.
“I haven’t seen any beetles,” Hermione yawned. “I told her I’d report her if she ever showed up again.”
“I refuse to do an interview.”
Harry did want the truth about Snape to come out and not have anything tainted by what Rita Skeeter may write. Whatever she wrote, though, would have some basis in truth, just like her book on Dumbledore.
“Oh, let’s forget about the hag for a while,” Ginny tossed the paper aside and leaned against Harry. “Snape wasn’t exactly a good guy.”
“There’s loads more to Snape than I’ve told you,” Harry admitted.
“Yeah, what?” Ginny said lazily.
“I don’t feel comfortable speaking about it here. It’s a bit private.”
“Whatever you say,” Ginny yawned. “I’m going on to bed. You comin’, Hermione?”
“Still have studying to do,” Hermione balled up a piece of parchment.
“It’s Friday!” Ginny said, getting up and walking close to Hermione. “Take a break!”
Hermione placed her arm around her work like she was trying to hide it without looking so obvious.
“I think I’ll go to bed, too. Don’t stay up too late, Hermione. I don’t want to see you burn out your first week back.”
Harry kissed Ginny goodnight, whispering, “I love you” in her ear and they both headed for their respective dormitories.
I’m not sure I like this chapter, but eh, it’s my chapter 9, if you know what I mean! I hope I didn’t make things too corny or stupid. It will get better, I promise!
P.S. I hate creating chapter titles!
Chapter 11: Redheaded Dreams
It was too dark to see, but the girl knew she was being led down a dusty, stone corridor. She knew she was being watched, but by whom she did not know.
“Lumos!” The man shouted and the tip of his wand produced light.
“Let me go!” The girl shouted, squirming to get out of the man’s grasp.
Laughing, he performed the body-bind curse, drug her into an almost empty room, and bound her magically to a small, wooden chair.
Ginny woke with a start. The other four occupants of the dormitory slept on as if nothing happened. For them it didn’t. They weren’t the ones having a reoccurring nightmare.
“It was just a dream.” Ginny muttered to herself.
She rose from the bed, dressed, and brushed her long, red hair. Hermione’s bed was already made.
“Studying again?” Ginny quietly left the dormitory and headed down the stairs to the common room.
The first thing she noticed was Hermione laying with her face on the desk, books open, ink bottles empty or nearing empty, and crumpled parchment scattered all around. She didn’t stay up all night?
“Hermione,” Ginny quietly shook her friend’s shoulder.
“Wha—“ Hermione raised her head, eyes squinting at the sudden brightness of the room, peeling a piece of parchment off her face.
“Did you stay up all night?” Ginny questioned, spying the words Dear Ron on the parchment that had been stuck to Hermione’s face. “Are you writing to my brother?” She made for the parchment, but Hermione was quicker and stuck it in her bag. “It’s OK, Hermione. I know you love him. I was there for the declaration.” She made a face showing disgust at witnessing a significant moment in her brother’s love life.
Hermione’s face turned red. She crammed all her books, parchment, quills, and ink bottles into her beaded bag.
“My brother can be a thoughtless boy sometimes, well, most of the time, but he can also be a really great guy. He’s going to make loads of mistakes. That’s just who he is.”
“Yeah,” Hermione stood up, yawning. “Do you mind, I’m going to bed. Spending all night at a desk is not refreshing.”
Ginny smiled, watching Hermione make her way up the stairs to the girls dormitories as Harry made his way down from the boys.
“Good morning,” she greeted him with a very satisfying kiss. “Let’s go to breakfast. Hermione’s not going to be joining us this morning.”
“You’re coming with us,” a grizzly voice spoke, picking up the body of the girl who had just been stunned.
He threw her on his broomstick.
“Careful, I want her alive,” spoke up another voice.
“What good’ll that do ya?”
The first man grabbed the waist of the girl to keep her steady on the broom and kicked off.
“I like to torture them. No good if they’re dead,” the other man laughed following behind on his broom.
“I can’t keep doing this.” Ginny woke up.
This had been the fifth day in a row that she’d had this particular dream.
“Are you okay, Ginny?” Harry put his arm around his redheaded girl at breakfast.
“I’m fine.” She replied twirling her spoon in her porridge.
“Ready for Quidditch try-outs, are you?”
Ginny blinked her eyes. It was Wednesday. These dreams were making her too tired to remember the days of the week.
She opened her mouth to speak, but owl posts started arriving and a whole horde of owls headed their way. Harry pulled off letters on the legs of waiting owls.
Ginny looked over his shoulder and read as he opened the first letter.
How are you? How is everything? I hear you’ve returned to Hogwarts and are again captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. I have moved up in position on Puddlemere and will be playing in my first game as the regular starting Keeper in a few months. If you would like to attend let me know. I can get you up to five free tickets.
“Let’s go!” Ginny squealed. She loved Quidditch even if it didn’t involve her favorite team the Holyhead Harpies.
“Are you reading my mail?” Harry pretended to be mad.
“Eh, there’s nothing private in this one.”
Ginny returned to the letter.
The reason I’m writing is because our Seeker is soon to retire and, as you will be graduating from Hogwarts I am sending you an invitation to try out.
“You should!” Ginny squealed. She was tired, but she couldn’t control her enthusiasm for Quidditch.
Harry shook his head.
“I’ve never thought about playing professionally. I don’t think I want to. I think I’d rather be an Auror.”
Ginny grunted and went back to twirling her spoon.
“Why don’t you try out for Puddlemere?”
“I’m a Chaser not a Seeker!”
“You did good enough as my replacement.”
“I prefer to chase.”
Harry opened the next letter and immediately threw it back on the table in disgust.
“Merlin’s pants, its fan mail!”
Hermione picked up the letter and read it.
“She wants your autograph!” She giggled.
Harry sent her a look.
“OK, OK. I think there’s a spell or something to stop strangers from sending unsolicited mail. I’ll have to look it up in the library.”
“No problem. Are you sure you want to block all your adoring fans from contacting you?”
Harry glared at her.
“This one’s from Lee Jordan.” Ginny stated.
She was used to his letters to the twins over the summers that his handwriting was easily recognizable.
“Lee’s got his own radio show on the WWN.”
“Nice,” Ginny replied.
She had grown tired of reading over Harry’s shoulder.
“Yes, well, he wants to interview me on his show.”
“You should!” Hermione said watching Pigwidgeon fly towards them with delight. Her mood changed when she found the letter addressed to Harry and not her. This peaked Ginny’s interest and she went back to reading over Harry’s shoulder.
They’ve posted the date in Diagon Alley for the special Apparition lessons and testing. They start October 3rd and according to the signs if we want to take the test we have to show up to the first lesson at Hogsmeade. George’s letting me off for this. Write back if you’re going.
Say hi to Hermione and Ginny.
“Ron says hi,” said Harry.
“Hrmph!” said Hermione.
“What’s this about Apparition lessons?” Ginny asked.
“The Ministry’s offering special testing for anyone 18 and over in October. I think it’s to lessen the load on those who will be taking it in the spring.”
“Oh, so, Ron’s going,” Ginny said without thinking.
“Ron’s going to be there?” Hermione squeaked in an unnatural voice.
“Yes, George is letting him off.”
“Maybe George is finally able to be in the shop alone,” Ginny said.
Hermione dug in her bag and produced a very ragged looking quill. Harry tore the parchment in half width-wise, wrote his reply, tied the letter to Pig’s leg, and sent him off.
“I-I got to go,” Hermione left in a hurry.
“We better go, too,” Harry stuffed the remaining letters in his backpack. “I can finish these later.”
Ginny yawned, holding her brother’s Cleansweep 11 on the Quidditch pitch surrounded by loads of students. Since Ron was not going to be returning to the team he let her borrow his broom, as it was clearly superior to the Shooting Star she had previously used. She looked up into the late afternoon sky feeling even more tired.
“If you’re not in Gryffindor please leave the pitch,” Harry started.
Many giggling girls left. Saving the world obviously made Harry even more popular. Some gathered in the stands. Ginny looked up at Hermione who waved from behind the pages of a book. Her stomach growled. She hoped try-outs would go quickly so they could go in for dinner.
“Right, then. All trying out of Chaser over here.”
Ten students, including Ginny, gathered around Harry. Ginny saw a few familiar faced.
“Hey, Ginny,” Dean greeted her. “I’m surprised you have to try out.”
She smiled at her former boyfriend. He was good at Quidditch, not great, but good and she hoped Harry held no prejudices against him.
“I want to see you all run through a few drills. Five at a time.”
Ginny went with the first group, which included no one she knew, surprisingly. They went through a few drills, which included flying, passing, and shooting. She dropped a pass from a short blond boy with a round nose, but other than that she did fine.
“You looked good up there,” Harry complimented her as she landed.
Not saying anything, she shook her head.
"Good job,” Harry called out after the second group finished. “After I get done with the Beaters, I’d like to see Demelza Robins, Timmy Nettles, Dean Thomas, Veronica Elphick, and Ginny Weasley. All those trying out for Beater come see me.”
Ginny made for the stands and sat next to Hermione.
“You looked good up there,” Hermione shut her book.
“What do you know?” Ginny bit at her.
Hermione shrunk back, re-opening her book.
“Sorry, I’m just tired.”
Ginny wanted to tell her about the reoccurring dream, but she didn’t want to worry her. She did not have a direct connection to a dark wizard so they probably meant nothing.
“Ginny, Harry’s calling for you.” Hermione woke Ginny some time later.
She must have dozed off. Ginny grabbed her broom and made for the pitch.
“Are you all right?” Harry whispered as she mounted her broom.
As much as Ginny didn’t want to worry Hermione she didn’t want to worry Harry more. Instead of answering she flew towards the other promising Chasers.
This part of the try-out the Chasers were working with the potential Beaters--5 Chasers and 4 Beaters. Ginny did her best to avoid Bludgers while working on passing the Quaffle, but unfortunately, due to the increase in her tiredness, while passing he Quaffle to Timmy, she didn’t see the Bludger come at her and knock her off her broom.
The next thing Hinny knew she was laying in the hospital wing.
“Wh-what happened?” Ginny tried to sit up, but Harry pushed her down.
“You were knocked off your broom by a Bludger and cracked your skull. I’ve been there.”
Madam Pomfrey came over.
“You’re awake. I’ll let your visitor remain as long as things stay quiet.” She went back to her office after checking to make sure Ginny was healing.
“Who made the team?” Ginny asked reluctantly.
“Jimmy Peakes and Ritchie Coote are back as Beaters. You, Dean Thomas, and Demelza Robins are Chasers and Mary Johnson is the Keeper.”
“What?” Ginny exclaimed.
“Quiet!” Pomfrey shouted from her office.
“Mary’s a second year, but she was the best, almost as good as Ron.”
“No, I mean me. Harry, I had a bad try out. Don’t just do this because you love me.”
“So, you dropped the Quaffle and fell off your broom. Other than that you were great.”
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Gin, you’re an amazing Chaser. It would be stupid of me to not let you on the team. Everyone’s seen you play for two years. You deserve this. I told you, you didn’t have to try out.”
“Harry, this is nepotism.”
“Not really, we’re not related, thank Merlin! But, anyway, when we win our first game because of you, you’ll see you deserve the spot.”
Ginny leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She knew she was good, but she also knew she’d blown the try-outs. She also knew she only wanted to sleep without dreaming.
Ron fans: I hate spoiling, so I'm not going to, but please don't upset that he hasn't been in a few chapters. He will be, I promise!
Last edited by leah49; September 28th, 2007 at 2:56 am.
Chapter 12: Apparition
“Good morning,” Harry greeted Ginny when she woke. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” she replied.
“We brought you breakfast.” Harry motioned to Hermione, who sat next to him. “I know you haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday. Madam Pomfrey won’t let you leave until this afternoon.”
“That’s right!” she called out walking over to Ginny. “You have healed, but I want you to rest.”
Ginny nodded very slowly. Once Pomfrey went back to her office, Ginny reached for a piece of toast on the plate Harry brought her, full of toast, sausage, bacon, eggs, and fruit sitting on the bedside table. Also, there was a full glass of pumpkin juice.
Harry looked at Ginny lying in the bed. When she fell he lost it. He wanted to cancel try-outs, but kept going knowing or rather hoping Ginny would not wake up before he could get to hospital wing. It sounded selfish, but Harry couldn’t help it. Hermione left once Harry had arrived knowing when Ginny woke the two would most likely want a private moment.
“Ginny, this letter came for you.” Hermione handed the letter to Ginny.
She unfolded the letter and read quickly.
“My dad got a promotion.”
“Good news,” Hermione said.
“What about those other letters you got yesterday, Harry?” Ginny asked, biting into the toast and placing the letter on the table. She seemed to be in better spirits than she had been last night.
“The Falmouth Falcons want me to try out for their team.”
Ginny’s eyes widened.
“No!” Harry stated defiantly. Quidditch was something he did for fun. Making it career would take that out. “The Daily Prophet wants to interview me. John, er, Jack, er, I don’t remember. I don’t think I want to be interviewed. Not now anyway.”
“What about Lee?”
“I—well,” Harry paused. “He should be positive and not spin my words. Hm, I’ll talk to him. Oh, Kingsley sent me a letter. He’s glad I’m back in school. The Ministry is hosting a memorial on New Year’s Eve to honor those who fought and fell in the war. I think it sounds like a ball.”
“Oh, this should be fun!” Ginny said.
Harry could only think of the travesty that was the Yule Ball his fourth year.
“It won’t be like the Yule Ball,” Ginny promised.
“How do you always know what I’m thinking?”
“We need to get to class.” Hermione stood up abruptly.
“I’ll come for you this afternoon.” Harry kissed Ginny before leaving with Hermione for Charms.
Earlier than he promised, Harry arrived before lunch. Class had been tough without Ginny next to him, but he managed to make it through.
“Be careful, you two!” Madam Pomfrey called out as Harry and Ginny left the hospital wing. Harry thought he’d heard her mumble something about Weasleys and Potters.
“How do you feel?” Harry asked guiding Ginny down the stairs.
“I’m fine. Honest!”
Harry remembered the spat Ginny had with Dean over him helping her through the portrait hole that eventually caused them to break up. He took his hands off her and allowed her to walk down the stairs herself.
“Oh, look,” Harry noticed the sign posted near the Great Hall announcing Apparition Lessons for 8th years starting October 3rd and “our first Hogsmeade visit is the following weekend.” Harry put his down on the list for lessons.
Ginny looked a bit jealous.
“I wish you could come,” Harry said to make her feel better.
The days and weeks passed quickly. Class, Ginny, and Quidditch practice consumed Harry’s life. Quidditch was going great except for Ginny.
Ginny worried Harry. She was not her usual self. He thought try-outs might have been due to a case of nerves. It was the first time she tried out in front of Harry as her boyfriend. But, then, when the same abysmal play crept into practice he didn’t know what to think.
“Harry, just leave me alone!” Ginny shouted, marching up to the school alone after a practice where she’d dropped the Quaffle twice and almost flew into a tree.
Harry wanted to comfort her and get to the root of the problem, but apparently she didn’t want that.
“She’ll be all right, Harry.” Dean walked to the school with him.
“I hope so. What she this stubborn with you?”
Ginny was a stubborn girl. It was part of why Harry liked her.
“So, you’re taking Luna out next week on our visit to Hogsmeade?”
“She’s excited about this. I think this is her first date ever.”
Harry smiled. He remembered his first date in Hogsmeade. It had not gone so well with Cho crying over Cedric the entire time.
“Just stay away from Madam Pudifoot’s.” Harry warned.
A little bit later Harry and Dean stepped into the Gryffindor Common Room. Dean made for the dormitory, but Harry made for Hermione. Hermione was doing the same thing she did every evening. He wondered if she studied so much in preparation for her N.E.W.T.s or to keep her mind off Ron.
“Did you two get in a fight?” Hermione looked up from her Arithmancy textbook.
“No, but she did storm off the pitch in a load of anger.”
“Hm.” Hermione went back to her work.
Harry noticed she’d scribbled the initials RBW along the edge of the parchment, probably absentmindedly, and was about to say something when she spoke up.
“I don’t think Ginny’s been sleeping well. You see the dark circles under her eyes.”
“She’s also been moaning in her sleep.”
Harry’s eyes widened. What could be causing her to moan in her sleep?
“Wh-where is Ginny? I n-need to talk to her.”
“Calm down.” Hermione placed a hand on Harry’s sweaty shoulder. “She came in shortly before you did and went straight to the dormitory.”
Harry stood up, he had been kneeling to be eye level with Hermione, and turned towards the stairs.
“You can’t go up there. If she doesn’t come down soon, I’ll go talk to her. Now, you go and change.” Hermione wiped her hand on her robes.
Harry walked to Hogsmeade with Neville the next morning for the first Apparition Lesson. Ginny did not come down for the rest of the night and he had not seen her at all this morning. Not seeing her did not stop him from thinking about her. He had a dream about her being the opposite of Sleeping Beauty. Voldemort gave Ginny a spinning while and when she pricked her finger on it instead of going into a deep sleep she stayed awake for a hundred years.
“…no testing last year.” Neville finished up.
Harry nodded, pretending to have listened.
“Hi, Harry. Hi, Neville,” Ernie Macmillan, a boy who had been in their year from Hufflepuff, greeted them.
Harry walked inside the crowded pub, The Three Broomsticks, where lessons were to take place. He had to admit he was a bit shocked at the turnout. There were quite a few more older wizards and witches here than he thought there would be.
Harry nodded at Draco Malfoy, who definitely looked much worse than he’d ever seen him.
“I can’t believe you’re acknowledging that *******,” Ron greeted Harry.
“What? I—He’s—well, his mum saved my life.” Harry looked at Ron. There was something different about him. “What’s that on your chin?”
“Growing a beard, are you?” Harry eyed the red stubble on Ron’s chin. “Is this—doing this because of Krum?”
“I like the way it looks.”
“Yeah, alright,” Harry chuckled.
Harry’s attention was drawn away from the hair on Ron’s face to the wispy, colorless wizard who instructed lessons his sixth year.
“Good morning,” he greeted the group. “My name is Wilkie Twycross and I shall be your Ministry Apparition instructor for the next month. We have gone an entire year without testing which has brought us to the decision to give special lessons in the fall. Help take the load off regular testing in the spring. We know many of you have taken lessons before and not yet passed the test. We decided to test everyone willing today. If you pass, you will get your license. If you fail, you will return for lessons and re-take the test in November.”
“George’ll like that. I won’t have to take off any more time. If I pass,” He added glumly.
“You’ll pass. We did a lot of Apparating while on the run last year.”
This did not seem to brighten Ron’s mood. He was probably thinking back to the times when splinched, the worst being the Disapparition from the Ministry leading to the sudden Disapparition from Grimmauld Place that caused him to lose a chunk of arm.
“Those who will test today, gather with me. The rest go with my partner, Gertrude Watkins.”
Ron, Harry, Neville, Ernie, and most of the others followed Twycross outside the building.
“When I call your name, I want you to Apparate to outside the Hog’s Head and back. Adams, Alex.”
“Our first Hogsmeade visit is next week. Reckon you could join us? Hermione would love to see you.” Harry didn’t know if he’d said the wrong thing, but he knew he had to say it.
“Er—“ Ron cleared his throat. “George won’t let me off.”
“Yeah, how did you get off today?”
“I got Lee to come in again. He doesn’t mind. He likes helping George out. It doesn’t interfere with his radio show. Hear he’s got a radio show?”
“Yeah,” Harry quickly interjected. Ron talked so fast Harry wondered if he was trying to get away from the topic of Hermione as quick as he could. “You could get Lee to cover for you next week.”
“No,” Ron replied without hesitation. “How are you and Ginny?”
“Trying to change the subject?”
“How are you and my sister?”
“Fine. Well, not fine.”
“You’re not hurting her, are you?” Ron looked like a menacing older brother than Harry’s best mate.
“No! I love your sister. It’s complicated. I don’t even know all the details. She’s not sleeping well and has become quite irritable. It’s affecting her Quidditch. I think she’s having nightmares.”
Worry spread over Ron’s face. Harry hoped this wouldn’t affect his Apparating.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine. Hermione’s talking to her. I’m positive we’ll get to the bottom of this.”
Ron relaxed a tiny bit.
Harry walked over to Twycross with confidence.
“Hog’s Head and back,” the Ministry official said.
Harry nodded and with an air of experience he turned on the spot, felt the usual tightness, and with a pop appeared in front of Aberforth Dumbledore outside the Hog’s Head Inn.
“Back,” Aberforth muttered.
Harry nodded, turned on the spot, felt the tightness, and appeared in front of Wilkie Twycross. Twycross circled him, looking up and down.
“Pass,” he stated, handing Harry a form.
“Good job, mate.” Ron patted Harry on the back. “Hope I do as good.”
Apparently there were no wizards or witches with surnames between Potter and Weasley.
“Good luck!” Harry called out.
He watched Ron disappear with a loud crack. Harry crossed his fingers, anxiously waiting to see Ron in full again. A few minutes later Ron reappeared with a not as loud pop. Twycross circled him slower examining every inch. Harry’s heart beat faster with each passing second.
Ron smiled brightly.
“Congratulations,” Harry said when Ron walked over proudly showing off his form.
“Thanks. I got to get back to the shop.”
“Ron, please write to Hermione. She’s a right mess wondering about you.”
Harry glared at him.
“Fine. I’ll see you, Harry.”
Ron looked at his license, smiled, and Disapparated.
Harry turned to Neville.
“Passed?” Harry asked.
The two walked back to Hogwarts.
Last edited by leah49; October 4th, 2007 at 12:03 am.
Chapter 13: Hogsmeade
The first thing she noticed upon waking was Ginny’s empty bed. It was like this most morning and not because she spent exuberant amounts of time with Harry.
Hermione sat up, knocking Crookshanks off the bed. She glanced at one of the other girl’s Weird Sisters poster. She hated looking at it for it reminded her of the Yule Ball her fourth year. Viktor Krum was a nice date, but oh, if she’d just waited. Ron would’ve asked her eventually. She should’ve known it would take him time. He’s Ron Weasley—not the quickest when it comes to matters of the heart. Oh, but she wouldn’t have her Ron any other way. If she waited they would have avoided the fight—one of the many they’d had over the years, like the one now.
“Morning, Hermione,” greeted Harry.
Hermione found herself taking a seat in the Great Hall. She must’ve absentmindedly walked here while thinking about Ron. It wasn’t like Hermione to have a boy occupy her every waking thought, even if it was Ron Weasley.
“You got a letter.” Ginny pushed the letter towards Hermione.
Hermione beamed. She’d recognize that messy scrawl anywere.
Hi. I passed my Apparition test. Harry probably told you all about our “lesson.” It was a bit of a surprise, a good surprise. Work is going great. The shop is constantly busy. I think George fancies Verity, but she won’t give him any attention. He’s doing loads better, but still doesn’t want to be in the shop alone. You’ve probably heard about Lee’s radio show. He said he wrote to Harry. He’s on Friday evenings on the WWN. Have a listen. He’s real good. I’m doing all right. I’m not sure working in a joke shop is for me for the rest of my life, but I need to be here for my brother. I need to help him out. I need to be there for family. I’m sure you understand.
I miss you.
Hermione smiled. Not really a love letter, but definitely Ron’s type. Wait! He thinks after a month he can just send a letter like nothing happened? Like there’s no fight? She threw the letter aside and began shoveling food onto her plate.
“Ron?” Harry asked.
“He thinks he can ignore me for a month and then act like nothing happened?” She speared a fat sausage with her fork, but immediately dropped it. Ron.
“I’m not hungry.” She neatly folded the letter, placed it in a pocket in her robes, and left.
Hermione walked down the hall at such a quick pace and her head down that she didn’t notice someone else until she ran into him.
“Sorry, Neville.” She reached a hand to help him up.
Her eyes caught sight of the piece of silver pinned to his robe. She ripped her Head Girl badge off and threw it on the floor. Hermione hadn’t taken it off since she’d placed it so carefull the day she received it.
“I’m such a lousy Head Girl.”
“No,” Neville interjected.
“Yes. What have I done? I didn’t even stay for the meeting on the Hogwarts Express.”
“Hermione—“ He began before she fell into him sobbing.
Neville awkwardly put his arms around her.
“Ron would be insanely jealous if he caught the two of us,” Hermione spoke into hs robes.
Hermione enjoyed Neville’s comfort. Actually, she was surprised by it. It left her wondering if he’d ever held a girl like that before. Yes, he did take Ginny to the dance, but that was dancing. She wished it was Ron who was comforting her. Of course, if it was Ron, she wouldn’t need comforting for everything would be all right.
“You’re a good Head Girl.” Neville picked up Hermione’s badge and handed it to her to pin on.
“I’ve neglected my duties. No points given or taken. No taking away forbidden objects. No mentoring young prefects. Nothing. McGonagall will take away the position soon.”
A red light zoomed down the other end of the corridor.
“Here’s your chance.”
Neville led Hermione to three second years pointing wands at each other. Upon seeing the two Heads, they immediately lowered their wands. Hermione recognized the shortest one as a Gryffindor.
“What house do you two belong to?” She questioned his friends.
“Ravenclaw,” the tallest boy replied, eyes downcast.
“5 points from Gryffindor and 10 points from Ravenclaw for doing magic in the halls. Now get to class.”
The three students hurried past.
“You haven’t been neglecting your duties, have you?”
“Thanks, Neville.” It was Hermione’s turn to feel awkward.
She still felt like she didn’t deserve the position, but no one could say Hermione was completely ignoring it now.
“I reckon it’s time for us to get to class. I’ve got Transfiguration. What about you?”
Neville hadn’t scored well enough on his O.W.L.s to take Transfiguration under McGonagall, but under Travante thinks might have been different.
“Free period. Usually, I help Professor Sprout in the Greenhouses. She’s got Ravenclaw and Slytherin fourth years now.”
“You really have a knack for Herbology.”
Neville smiled turning slightly pink.
“Going to Hogsmeade tomorrow, are you?”
“I reckon we’re going to the Hog’s Head. That’s the impression I get from Harry. You’ll just us, won’t you?”
“Good. Have fun in the Greenhouses,” she called out as they went their separate ways.
Hermione looked into the sky standing outside Hogwarts waiting for the full group to assemble. Professor Jones would be leading the group as things were much stricter right now and they felt it necessary for a professor to lead the group. She remembered her last visit to Hogsmeade. To be honest, it wasn’t a visit. It was a thrilling adventure to get into Hogwarts. This time, she hoped, would be a lot calmer.
She felt a nudge in her ribs and glanced over at Harry who was beckoning her to come on. Hermione caught up to him, Ginny, and Neville on their descent to Hogsmeade.
“You-know-who is dead, Harry,” Ginny said in a smooth, calm voice.
Ginny did look like she felt better today. Hopefully, the tension between her and Harry had vanished.
Hermione had not heard Harry’s part of the conversation, but she wondered if he was having trepidations about going back to the village. He had gone back to Hogwarts where he fought Voldemort, although, to her knowledge he had not gone back to the Forbidden Forest where he said the real confrontation had taken place. Yes, he had gone back to Hogsmeade already, but that was with the intentions that the furthest he’d get was The Three Broomsticks.
“Nervous?” Neville asked her walking a few steps behind the couple.
“No, Ginny’s right. You-Know-Who is dead.”
“Voldemort!” Harry retorted bitterly. “He’s dead and cannot come back to get you just because you said his name. There is no TABOO!”
“Sorry,” she muttered.
Hermione spent the rest of the walk in silence watching Neville. He seemed quieter than usual, not that he was a big talker. She wondered what he was thinking, but did not feel right to ask.
They passed by the swelling crowd outside Honeydukes. Hermione remembered her first time inside with Ron. It was their third year and Harry had not been allowed to come. While it was technically because his aunt and uncle had not signed the permission form, Hermione could not get past the idea that McGonagall preferred he’d stay back at the castle. Of course, that was due to the escape of a supposed criminal from Azkaban and of course, with the aide of the invisibility cloak, Harry did not stay inside the castle.
Before walking completely past the candy shop, Hermione peeked inside. Every visit to Hogsmeade included a stop at Honeydukes, if not for the sweets for the atmosphere alone. Hopefully, before the day was done, they’d go in. One glance inside, though, gave Hermione a fright as she thought she saw someone she never thought she’d see again. She glanced inside again, bumping into Theodore Nott, but did not see that someone again.
“Watch it, Mudblood!”
Hermione ignored the weedy Slytherin and continued following Harry. Nott wasn’t worth it.
“You look white as a ghost,” Neville commented. “You okay?”
“I’m f-fine,” she lied.
Truth was, Hermione started to feel sick to her stomach. It wasn’t him. It couldn’t be. He wouldn’t show up here. She shook her head. She’d imagined it. Of course, that was it.
“You all right?” She asked Neville. He didn’t look like a ghost like her, but he did look kind of wistful.
“Yeah…” His word trailed off into the distance.
Hermione followed his gaze, which was also off into the distance and that’s when she faintly made out Dean and Luna walking into the Three Broomsticks together. At least she thought it was those two. She was too far away to make it out clearly.
Neville shook his head. Hermione didn’t know whether to believe him, but she did know not to press things further.
They’d been in the Hog’s Head for roughly an hour, drinking butter beer and conversing with Aberforth. Not many students or for that matter people came to the pub. The ones who did were mostly sketchy. Hermione had gotten use to it, but today she had an odd feeling. It wasn’t her stomach. That was feeling better after sips of butter beer.
Harry, Ginny, and Neville were discussing Quidditch. Neville not so much. Hermione didn’t think he was into the sport like the other two. She caught his eye right as she heard a female scream.
The foursome jumped up from their chairs, Harry’s half-empty bottle knocking over and spilling onto the floor. They instinctively reached for their wands as the door banged open and a man wearing a black hooded robe walked in causing Hermione’s heart to fall through her feet.
“Stupefy!” He shouted, wand pointed at nothing in particular.
The red light shot out, sending Aberforth into the bar.
Ginny was shaking, Hermione could clearly see. She was also muttering something under her breath.
“You may have killed my master, but we are not done. You aren’t the winner.” His wand now pointed at Harry, the object of his speech.
“Expelliarmus!” It was not Harry who shouted his signature move. It was Neville.
The wand flew out of the Death Eater’s hand and rolled to Neville’s feet, where he pocketed it. The others in the pub had gathered around Aberforth trying to revive im. They might be strange, but at the moment, they didn’t appear to be evil.
Wandless, the Death Eater made his way toward their table. 4 against 1, Hermione thought.
One of the wizards working on Aberforth called for the trip jinx sending the Death Eater falling forward, banging his chin on a chair. Blood ran down his face.
“Go!” Harry pushed Ginny, but she wouldn’t move. “Hermione, take Ginny.”
Hermione grabbed Ginny’s arm and made to pull her out of the pub. Surprisingly, she wasn’t arguing. Ginny was a strong witch and hated when others made her feel less than.
“Stupefy!” Another wizard with the same hood entered the building with a friend following.
No!” Hermione shouted.
The spell hit Ginny, knocking her against some tables.
“We knew you’d be here today, Potter!” He shouted. “Going back to Hogwarts was the smartest thing you’ve ever done. You’ve placed yourself right in our hands. Sending my son back to school was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”
Hermione ducked under another table. This Death Eater was Theodore Nott’s father. He and his buddy ran to the aid of the bloody one.
“Expelliarmus!” Neville and Harry shouted simultaneously. All three Death Eaters were disarmed.
The bloody one made his way toward Harry. No. He was coming for Ginny.
“Stupefy!” Hermione called out. “Petrificus Totalis!”
The man lay there, stiff as a board. Hermione ran to Ginny.
Slowly, the spell took affect, waking Ginny. Red light flew around her. Spells were being cast left and right. One of the Death Eaters had reclaimed his wand.
“You all right?” Hermione asked.
Hermione turned around to see one of the other Death Eaters behind her, about to hit her over the head with a wooden chair. She rolled out of the way.
“Stupefy!” But the spell missed.
“Stupid girl,” the Death Eater exclaimed. “Petrificus Totalis!” He shouted, wand aimed at the red-head. He laughed cruelly. “I got my consolation prize. Potter, the grand prize is you.” He shouted, picking up the girl.
The Death Eaters ran outside. Harry and Hermione followed after. Neville, tangled with a table, tried to break free. Once outside, the two realized something was not right.
It was early October, but Hermione did not remember it being this cold. Her eyes on the Death Eaters in the midst of Disapparition, she did not see what was coming until someone screamed.
“Expecto Patronum!” Harry shouted, but nothing came out of his wand, not even silvery mist. “Expect Patronum!” He tried again. Harry was too good at this to mess up. It was too late. The Dementors were on him. He collapsed and one of the dozen Dementors started sucking.
Hermione struggled to produce her Patronus. She usually had a hard time with the spell. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t let them suck out Harry’s soul. She couldn’t believe Dementors were here. How did those Death Eaters get control of Dementors? Tears slid down her face as she tried again. Nothing.
One by one, they came. First, it was Professor Jones’s bird. Then, the curly-haired boy’s panther, Aberforth’s goat, a toad, a beaver, a raccoon, Luna’s hare, a bear cub, and so many others Hermione had trouble distinguishing the animals. Finally, an otter.
I don’t know how I feel about this chapter, but I’m leaving it.
Last edited by leah49; October 25th, 2007 at 11:11 pm.
Chapter 14: Starting Point
“Back to Hogwarts!” Professor Jones began rounding up students.
Everything was in pandemonium. People ran in all directions, shouting incoherent things. Hermione just wanted to sit down for a second to process what happened, but she felt a hand on her shoulder, ushering her to Hogwarts, and straight to the Headmistress’s office.
“Have a seat, Miss Granger,” McGonagall offered.
Hermione sat down when a figure stepped out of the floo, crying her eyes out, followed by another taller figure who began comforting her.
Thoughts and feelings flew through Hermione’s mind. Anger, sadness, guilt, anger…she tried to brush them aside and remain calm. That lasted about two seconds.
“How dare you!” She jumped up and raised her right fist, ready to punch.
He put his hand up to block the punch. Slowly, Hermione lowered her fist.
“Protego!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed. “Do not beat up my son until we get my daughter back!”
Hermione sat back down and Mrs. Weasley released the charm.
“Have a seat, Molly, Ron.” McGonagall sat down in the chair behind her desk.
Hermione couldn’t think about Ron. She needed to concentrate on the situation at hand.
“Miss Granger, please tell us what happened today.”
Hermione took a deep breath and started at the moment they passed Honeydukes up to driving the Dementors away. Mrs. Weasley cried harder. Ron looked on the verge of tears himself. Hermione had the urge to put her arm around him, but she was still angry so she refrained.
“Dementors.” McGonagall shook her head. “How did they get hold of them?”
Hermione looked up at the portraits, all former headmasters listening intently. She caught the eyes of Albus Dumbledore. McGonagall turned to address them.
“I would like each of you to visit your other portraits and see if you can find any information.”
This was going to take a lot of work. For the moment, no one knew where Nott and his gang took Ginny. Without that piece of information, there was not much they could do.
“Thank you, Miss Granger. You and Mr. Weasley may visit Potter and Longbottom in the hospital wing, but do not go anywhere else. The rest of the school is under lock down. No student is allowed out of their common room. You two are not to be gallivanting about the school. Stay in the hospital wing, the Gryffindor Common Room, or my office. That’s it!”
Ron gave his mother a big squeeze and followed Hermione out of the office.
Hermione clearly did not want to see Ron, so she tried to walk a few steps ahead, but his long legs soon caught up with her. Tears had been running down her face, but now it was stony and cold. She knew it was. She didn’t want to look at Ron or speak to him, so when he said her name, she said nothing.
“Hermione,” He repeated.
She quickened her pace. He quickened his.
“I know you’re ignoring me. You have every—“
Hermione cut him off by opening the doors to the hospital wing. Neville sat up alertly with Luna hovering. Harry lay unconscious in the bed next to them. Hermione headed for Neville, meeting Madam Pomfrey on the way.
“Harry will be just fine. He’s resting now. As soon as he wakes make sure he gets a piece of chocolate.” She handed large chunks to Hermione and Ron. “You are allowed to visit, but do remain quiet.”
Ron quickly ate his, but Hermione fiddled with hers in her fingers.
“Are you okay?” She asked Neville.
“Broken arm. Pomfrey thinks it best I rest for a few hours after being attacked by Death Eaters. What happened after you ran outside? What happened to Harry?”
“The Death Eaters took off with Ginny and a dozen Dementors attacked Harry.”
Neville’s eyes grew wide. He was the only who didn’t know that part of the story.
“We’re going to have to do something,” he stated.
“What can we do? We don’t know anything.” Ron cried out.
“I do know one of the Death Eaters is Theodore Nott’s father.
“That weedy Slytherin?”
“It’s a starting point.” Neville pointed.
“Feels more like a dead end,” Ron whined. “We don’t now where to go from there.” Ron sat down in a chair next to Harry’s bed and stared at his best mate.
Hermione wanted to yell at him to stop whining, but she kept quiet. There were a lot of things she wanted to lay into Ron, but this was not the place.
“Dobby would have been a great help,” Luna spoke up, sitting at the foot of Neville’s bed.
“We don’t have Dobby. We do have Kreacher, though.” Hermione said, unsure if Kreacher would be useful.
“We also have Dumbledore’s Army,” Neville said.
A thoughtful look spread across Hermione’s face. She’d forgotten about the group assembled her fifth year to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. Neville had been in charge of it last year.
“Good thinking. Yes, we’ll need more people to help with this.” Hermione sat down in the other empty chair next to Ron. “As soon as we can we need to get the group together.”
They sat there in silence for roughly five minutes. Hermione thought over what they could do and kept reaching dead-ends when Harry opened his eyes.
“Oh, good, you’re awake,” Luna exclaimed.
“Hi, Luna,” Harry said weakly, reaching for his glasses.
“Oh, Harry, Pomfrey wants you to eat that chocolate on the table.” Hermione looked down at her hands. They were a big mess of melted chocolate she absentmindedly had been playing with.
Ron pulled out his wand and said “Scourgify.” Instantly, Hermione’s hands were clean.
“Thank you.” Her ears turned very slightly pink, but she tried not to let him notice.
“Ron, when did you get here? Where’s Ginny? What am I doing here?”
“Er, well, I got a message from McGonagall that Ginny had been kidnapped by Death Eaters. You were attacked by Dementors.”
Harry made to jump out of bed, but was pushed back by the shouts of Madam Pomfrey rushing from her office.
“No, no, you have been attacked. You need to rest. And you have not eaten your chocolate.” She forced the block into his hand. Harry gingerly took a bite. “You three are only allowed to stay as long as you keep the patients calm.” She retreated back to her office.
“I’m fine!” Harry fell back against his pillow. “We need to get Ginny!”
“And how do you propose we do that?” Ron asked.
For the first time since he had arrived, Hermione looked into Ron’s eyes. They were filled with a mixture of sadness and fear.
“We’ll get your sister back,” she tried to reassure him.
“What if we don’t?” His voice quavered.
Don’t do this, Hermione thought.
“We have to,” Harry replied quietly.
“The D.A. can do it,” Neville said. “Harry, we’ll get the D.A. together. Nothing can stop us.”
Hermione hoped he was right. Dumbledore’s Army was pretty good when they fought together, but would it be enough?
“The only thing I know, Harry, is that one of the Death Eaters is Theodore Nott’s father,” Hermione said. “He was the only one I could get a good look at.”
She watched Harry for a reaction and when he gave none, she spoke again.
“Would it be okay if Kreacher helped us? I can’t think of where to begin and if we ask him, maybe he’ll help.”
This did sound unlike herself, putting a house-elf in danger, but if they asked, he would be doing it willingly.
“Kreacher!” Harry called out and with a pop the sourly looking house-elf appeared before them on Harry’s bed.
“Remember when I asked you to trail Draco Malfoy?”
“Master Harry wants Kreacher to trail young Malfoy again?”
“No, I want you—“
“Harry!” Hermione interrupted.
“Kreacher, Ginny Weasley has been kidnapped. Will you help us get her back?” Harry asked.
“Kreacher is pleased to do what Master wants.”
“Will you follow Theodore Nott and return to me if you hear any important information?”
“Wait,” Hermione interrupted. “He doesn’t know what’s important. Kreacher, Theodore Nott’s father is a Death Eater and he kidnapped Ginny.”
“Will you do it?”
“Kreacher likes being asked. Yes, Kreacher will help Master Harry.” He Disapparated.
“So,” Harry said.
Hermione knew Harry hated lying around when there were things to be done. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened them again.
“Luna, how did your date with Dean go?” Harry asked.
“Luna went on a date with Dean Thomas?” Ron whispered to Hermione.
Hermione shrugged. She didn’t know this either.
“It was nice,” Luna replied dreamily. “Dean’s nice, for a friend.” She paused. “He’s too practical.”
“Am I too practical?” Neville asked.
“No, you’re Neville.” She patted the hand of his healthy arm causing him to turn a severe shade of red.
“We can’t just sit around doing nothing!” Harry shouted. His attempt at changing the subject had not worked.
“Sorry, mate,” Ron said. “I want to do something, too.”
“This is all because of me. The Death Eater said he was coming for me. Ginny was only a ‘consolation prize.’ I should have never returned to school.”
“Harry—“ Hermione began, offering him a hand to hold.
He didn’t deserve this. Harry was a good person. He never deserved for Voldemort to kill his parents, to be raised by such nasty relatives, to be the target of the evilest wizard of the time, and now to be the target of some leftover Death Eaters.
The door opened and Professor McGonagall and Mrs. Weasley walked in.
“Hello, Miss Lovegood, please return to your common room. Professor Flitwick will be escorting your house to the Great Hall for lunch,” McGonagall ordered.
Luna nodded, patted Neville’s hand, and left.
Ron stood up to give his mother his seat, but she protested, and the headmistress conjured up chairs for the two of them.
“I assume you will be starting the D.A. again?” McGonagall asked seriously.
“Is that all right, Professor?” Harry asked.
“As we have no leads at this point, I see no harm in getting others involved. But, Potter, you need to be careful. This may not be Vol—“ She paused. “Voldemort, but they know things you do not. This may be a trap.”
“I don’t care! They have Ginny. I will walk into any trap to get her back!”
“I trust you Potter, Longbottom, Weasley, Miss Granger.” She stood up to leave. “Please, be careful.”
Madam Pomfrey came over and quietly examined Neville.
“You are free to leave.” She swept back into her office.
Neville climbed out of his bed and threw on his school robes.
“I’ll talk to everyone in our house and get things going again. It’s going to be fine. We’ll get Ginny back.”
“Why don’t you get some sleep? You look weak,” Mrs. Weasley asked Harry softly.
“Sleep? Sleep? I can’t sleep! Ginny’s out there! She needs my help. We have to get her!” Tears sprang from Harry’s eyes.
Pomfrey ran back out of her office with a bottle in her hands.
“Drink this,” she ordered. “It will calm your nerves.”
It was a sleeping potion and slowly Harry’s eyelids drooped until he was in a deep sleep.
Mrs. Weasley sat in the chair, watching him sleep. Ron put his arm around her. She placed her head on his shoulder and let the tears fall. Ron looked uncomfortable at his mother’s melt down.
“I already lost a son. I don’t need to lose a daughter, too.”
That’s the price you paid for being friends with Harry Potter, not losing children, but being in danger.
“You won’t, Mum.”
“Thanks, Dear.” She kissed her youngest son on the cheek and sat up a bit straighter. “Oh, sitting her crying isn’t doing a bit of good.”
“Mum, would you like to join the D.A.?”
Hermione’s heart swelled at his act of maturity.
“Oh, no, that’s for you kids. I’m going to talk to Minerva and then get back to the Burrow to wait for you father to get home.”
“Mum, you don’t need to be alone. Let me send an owl to Fleur or Bill or someone.”
“Thanks, Ron, but I’ll be all right by myself.” She stood up to leave. “I love you. Stay out of trouble!”
“Love you, too.”
“Are you all right?” Hermione asked.
Ron didn’t reply. Hermione stared at his sad eyes. This was the second time in seven years he had to worry about his sister. He didn’t deserve this. Ginny didn’t deserve this. No one deserved this.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione said softly.
“For what?” He turned to look at her.
“For being me, caring about school too much, being stubborn, fighting with you.”
“Hermione,” he paused. “I’m sorry, too. I’ve been such a git through all this. I know how much you care about school. I should have been more respectful of your feelings.”
“You wouldn’t be Ron Weasley if you were.” She leaned closer to him, examining his face. “I wouldn’t want you any other way.”
Hermione leaned in closer, her lips finding Ron’s and they tasted good.
“What is that on your face?” Hermione regained composure.
“You don’t like it?”
“Its just stubble, Ron.”
“You liked Krum’s!”
“What? Not still jealous, are you? I chose you, Moron!”
He pulled her in for a deeper kiss.
“Oh, please get rid of that thing!”
Last edited by leah49; October 22nd, 2007 at 5:07 pm.
Chapter 15: Dumbledore's Army
A few hours later Madam Pomfrey released Harry with the order that he keep quiet for the rest of the day. So unfortunate that wasn’t to happen.
“You two back together, are you?” Harry glanced at Ron and Hermione holding hands.
They looked at each other.
“Yes,” Hermione said definitely.
“Good, got that out of the way.” Harry opened the hospital wing door. “Let’s rescue Ginny!”
Harry practically flew to Gryffindor Tower with Ron and Hermione at his heels. To his surprise, upon stepping into the common room, he found most every Gryffindor filling the spaces with Neville standing in front.
“Harry!” Neville exclaimed as all eyes turned to Harry. “I give you the Gryffindor section of Dumbledore’s Army.” Neville made to sit among the crowd when Harry stopped him.
“Neville, this is your army. You’re more the leader than I am. Stand with me.”
“Thanks,” Neville beamed, standing between Harry and Ron.
“I’m sure you know what’s happened,” Harry addressed the group. “Today, we,” he motioned to Hermione and Neville, “were attacked by Death Eaters. Yes, though Voldemort,” a few gasps were heard, “has fallen, his followers stills remain. We survived, but they made out with one victim. G-Ginny Weasley, my girlfriend and Ron’s sister, was k-kidnapped. Our mission is to get her back. One problem, we don’t know where she’s been taken.”
Harry wished at this very moment that he had a direct connection to the Death Eaters, like he had with Voldemort.
“What do we do?” Asked a blond boy who couldn’t be more than third year.
“I’m hoping together we can figure that out.”
Harry took a deep breath. He hated putting others in danger, but he honestly needed others to help come up with a plan.
The house talked for over an hour without coming up with a good formidable plan. They decided upon Professor Jones entering the room to meet up with the other houses after dinner in the Room of Requirement.
“It’ll be okay, Harry.” He felt a hand on his shoulder as he collapsed into an armchair while the rest of the house followed Jones to the Great Hall. “We’re all going to make sure you get Ginny back.”
Harry looked into the deep brown eyes of Mary Johnson, second year, Dean’s friend, Keeper on the Quidditch team, Angelina’s cousin.
“Thanks.” He watched her walk out of the room before he followed.
Her presence reassured him the entire house was behind him. Ginny wasn’t just his girlfriend and Ron’s sister. She was a Gryffindor. She was their friend.
“Are you staying the night?” Harry asked Ron after catching up with him and Hermione.
“George doesn’t like it, but he can deal. I’ve been there for him. Now, it’s time for me to be there for Ginny. Gah!” He dropped Hermione’s hand and threw his own in the air. “I can’t stand just sitting around. They could be t—“
Hermione clapped a hand over Ron’s mouth.
“Harry doesn’t need to hear that!” She whispered loudly.
“I know what he was going to say! No, he clearly said I’m the prize. He wants me. He’s not going to do anything too drastic to Ginny, not until I get there. I just wish I knew where there was.”
Harry didn’t believe most of what he said. He hoped they wouldn’t torture Ginny, but he did not know the mental state of the remaining Death Eaters.
“Harry,” Susan Bones ran up to him after he sat down at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. “So sorry about Ginny. I’ll do everything I can to help you get her back. Word’s that you’re starting up the D.A. again.”
“Thanks and yes, if we can get permission, we’d like to meet in the Room of Requirement after dinner. Bring any other willing Hufflepuff.”
The permission part had been Hermione’s idea. McGonagall knew about the D.A. and Hermione was trying her best to be a good Head Girl.
Susan was in the middle of a nod when Kreacher ran towards them causing her to stumble backwards.
“Master Harry,” Kreacher began, out of breath.
“Hello, Kreacher.” Harry looked at Susan who looked a bit alarmed. “This is my house elf, Kreacher.”
Before Susan could say anything and she looked like she wanted to, Kreacher spoke up.
“Kreacher is bringing Master Harry news. Young Nott is writing letter to father. Nott is addressing to Shrieking Shack.”
Shrieking Shack! Harry’s eyes widened. Kreacher brought him a very valuable piece of information. He opened his mouth, but Kreacher began speaking again.
“Kreacher is not able to read letter. Master is not mad at Kreacher?”
Harry wanted to laugh, but knew that might hurt Kreacher’s feelings.
“No, thank you. Kreacher, you do not have to tail Nott anymore. You may go back to what you were doing before.”
Kreacher nodded and headed off towards the kitchens.
“The Shrieking Shack, let’s go right now,” Ron said.
“No, we need a plan. We can’t just barge in there. That could be what they’re expecting. Getting ourselves killed wouldn’t do a bit of good.” Harry turned back to Susan. “After dinner, Room of Requirement.”
She nodded and walked back to the Hufflepuff table.
This was great. Well, OK, not great considering, but they had a location and could begin a plan of action.
Dinner could not end fast enough. Harry got permission from McGonagall to meet for only an hour. Death Eaters were at large and she wanted to take every precaution with her students. Harry thought she was being overprotective. They were planning on fighting these Death Eaters and bringing Ginny back. Walking around the halls of Hogwarts without a chaperone would be considerably less dangerous.
Upon entering the room, Harry was shocked. Most of each house, including a few Slytherins, filled the space.
“Blimey, I didn’t know Ginny was this popular,” Ron marveled.
“I reckon you all know why we’re here,” Harry began. Everyone turned his or her attention to him. “I’ve news the Death Eaters are at the Shrieking Shack.”
“Could this be a trap?” Spoke up a fifth year Hufflepuff.
Harry sighed. He didn’t want to put anyone else in danger if it was.
“That is why we need as many of you as we can get. Turn the trap around on them,” Ron said.
“McGonagall wants us to meet for only an hour, but we need to fight tonight. We need to fight now!” Harry said.
“The Shrieking Shack has two entrances,” Hermione spoke up, “Hogsmeade and the Whomping Willow.”
“I want some students guarding each entrance, including the entrance to Hogwarts. We don’t know how many Death Eaters there will be or what they plan on doing. We’re covering every base, just in case.”
After discussion, they decided on having a handful of students guard each entrance with a seventh or eighth year leading the group. Terry Boot was in charge of a group outside the Shack. It was true that the Shack could not be entered through outside means, there was always the possibility that Death Eaters might try to escape via Apparition or some other source and they might try to do this with Ginny. The curly haired boy, who's name turned out to be Joey, would lead the group outside the Whomping Willow, and Ritchie Cootes had the Hogwarts entrance. Some students, many first and second years, but at least one from each regular year, would stay behind in the Room of Requirement in case Death Eaters penetrated Hogwarts. This was a clever scheme to get them involved without having to involve them in anything dangerous. Eight students, including Harry, Hermione, Ron and Neville, would travel through the secret passageway under the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack.
“Here we go,” Harry muttered to himself as he led the large group out of Hogwarts.
I have put up the revised version of chapter one. I am going to be revising all the chapters as well as writing new ones. Don’t worry, the story isn’t changing. The writing is, hopefully, getting better. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get this chapter up as well as it being shorter than usual, but I had a small bout of writer’s block. Once I get past this I don’t think I’ll be having writer’s block for a long time. At least, I hope not!
Last edited by leah49; October 24th, 2007 at 5:27 am.
Chapter 16: Action in the Shrieking Shack
Please read the last chapter for an important change so you can understand this chapter. The change is in the final paragraph.
Harry wished he had left the very moment he found out the location of the Death Eaters. Ron wanted to. But, he knew that was not the smart thing to do. He had no idea how many Death Eaters would be at the Shrieking Shack, his feeling being the three that attacked them at the Hog’s Head were not the only ones. Bringing in a larger group might throw the Death Eaters off a bit and work in Harry’s favor. He could only hope.
They had reached the front doors.
This is too easy, Harry thought. Things aren’t supposed to be this easy. No Filch. No Invisibility Cloak. Harry shook his head as he stepped outside.
The group split up with the larger group heading for the Whomping Willow and the smaller group heading towards the edges of the grounds. Harry stood in front of the three. The last time he had used the secret tunnel, the last time he had been in the Shrieking Shack, he witnessed the death of Severus Snape. He hoped he was not to witness anything similar this go-round.
“Harry!” Hermione called out.
They had tamed the Willow and were beginning to crawl through the secret passage. Harry, who had been in charge, was now following and ended up being the last one to enter.
Finally, following behind Anthony Goldstein, he reached the Shack with his wand at the ready. Slowly, they stepped out of the tunnel and into the room.
“Expell—” Harry shouted after spotting a Death Eater, but the Death Eater was quicker.
Harry watched as the red light knocked Anthony against the wall.
Catching the Death Eater off guard Harry cried out, “Stupefy!” stunning his opponent.
Taking a quick glance around, Harry saw Neville and Susan working together to fight one Death Eater while Hermione, Dean, and Luna fought against two. All five seemed to be holding their own.
“Potter, I knew you’d come!”
Harry turned around to see Nott, Sr. address him. He kept his wand held high.
“You may have taken care of the Dark Lord, but I will take care of you.”
“You’re making the same mistake he made!”
“Am I?” Nott laughed. “What an ignorant boy! I shall rid the world of such an atrocity!” He pointed his wand at Harry’s chest.
“Expelliarmus!” Harry exclaimed before Nott could open his mouth.
Nott’s wand flew toward Harry and he quickly pocketed it.
“Oh, Potter, I don’t need my wand!”
Nott ran towards Harry ready to grab him.
Nott flew backwards, stunned.
“Stupid git,” Harry muttered.
Harry did a sweep of the group again. Hermione, Dean, Luna, and Neville fought Death Eaters. Susan had been stunned. Harry frantically searched for Ron while keeping his wand ready.
He spotted the tall red head on the other side of the room, motioning for him. He darted past everyone dodging spells.
“In there.” Ron pointed to a door with a Death Eater standing guard.
“Quietly,” Harry ordered in an obviously quiet voice.
Harry pulled Ron against the wall and edged down the hall to best avoid the guard spotting them.
“Stupefy!” Ron shouted and the guard slumped to the ground.
Harry stepped over the guard and made to open the door when he heard—
“Looks like they’re already here.”
That’s what he thought he heard anyway. He turned around to witness Kingsley Shacklebolt, Professor McGonagall, and a team of Aurors climb out of the secret passageway. Within seconds they had the Death Eaters bound together and sitting in a huddle in the middle of the main room.
One of the Aurors came over to get the stunned Death Eater at Harry’s feet.
“You are a brave boy, but this should have been left for us. This is our job. We’re trained to handle this.” He levitated the Death Eater into the air. “Don’t worry about feeling foolish. You’re just being you or so I’m told.”
Harry opened his mouth to speak when Ron pushed the door open.
Ginny sat unconscious tied with magical ropes to a wooden chair. She sported a big gash on her forehead. Harry’s heart fell to his feet as he ran to her.
“Diffindo.” Harry’s voice shook, but he was able to cut through the ropes.
Ginny fell from the chair and into Harry’s arms. He sat there feeling her breath on his shoulder. She was alive, unconscious and bleeding, but alive.
Sorry the chapter’s so short, but this gets the actions out of the way for a while. It was the toughest for me to write as you can probably tell with it being some of my weakest chapters as well as my first bout of writer’s block with this story. Don’t hesitate to tell me when you don’t like something. It’s the only way I’ll get better! On to the romance, which I think you should like better!
Last edited by leah49; October 24th, 2007 at 3:20 am.
Chapter 17: Realizations
Harry sat in the hospital wing of Hogwarts watching Ginny’s chest rise up and down. Madam Pomfrey performed her magic and the gash running across Ginny’s freckled face was now just a faint scar. When Harry started his Saturday he had not planned for this to happen, but then who really plans for a Death Eater attack?
He looked at the rest of the occupants in the room. Anthony and Susan, recovering from the stunning spells placed on them, were resting in the other corner of the room. Harry felt bad at the danger he put them in. If he hadn’t been so keen on playing the hero, he would have gone to the proper authority and let Aurors handle it. They would have as shown by them appearing shortly after Harry’s group.
“Don’t worry yourself.” Kingsley Shacklebolt sat down next to Harry. “You were just being Harry Potter and acting on instinct. I expect nothing less from a future Auror.”
“You—you still want me to join the team?”
“Don’t act surprised!” Kingsley chuckled. “Harry, you are a very talented boy, er, man, and will be a fine Auror.” Kingsley looked Harry in the eye. “When I requested you complete your seventh year of school it was not because I thought you not ready. No, there is no one more ready.”
Harry made to speak, but Kingsley hushed him.
“I thought you needed a year off—a rest. I failed to recognize you are Harry Potter. You just defeated the darkest wizard in history. You wouldn’t be getting any time off.”
“No, Harry. I want you to finish the year. Play your last season of Quidditch. Spend time with your girlfriend. Study. When school’s over you shall begin your training.”
“You seem intent that I will be passing my required N.E.W.T.s.”
“You’re Harry Potter.”
Harry smiled as Shacklebolt walked over to begin a conversation with McGonagall. He watched the others in the room. All the Weasleys were present, minus Charlie still in Romania, as well as Hermione. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sat cuddling together on the other side of the bed. Bill and Fleur sat on one side in similar positions. Percy sat on the other side. George sat in a chair at the foot of the bed.
Ron and Hermione sat down in the chair left unoccupied by Kingsley. Harry was glad they were back together, but if he had to watch them be romantic he was going to be sick.
“I’ve been talking to McGonagall,” Ron spoke up.
Everyone’s attention turned to him.
“Professor…” His mother said absentmindedly.
“Professor McGonagall.” Ron sent a glare to his mother, who didn’t notice. “I’ve decided to return to school.”
“Honestly?” Hermione asked.
“Professor McGonagall and I have kept in contact. She said I’m always welcome to come back as long as it was not too late in the school year. After all this happened I realized what I want to do. I want to be an Auror. I want to help people like this.” Ron looked over at George. “George, don’t be mad. The shop is great, but it’s not for me. You know that. You have to.”
“You’ve got Verity. You aren’t alone in that shop. But, if you need someone else to help, I’ll find someone.”
“You’re really returning?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, well, on the condition I find someone to tutor me.”
“I think I know someone…as long as you don’t expect her to do your work for you!”
Hours had passed. Bill and Fleur went home to Shell Cottage and Percy to his London flat. McGonagall and Shacklebolt had long since departed. Mrs. Weasley, looking extremely tired, leaned her head on her husband’s shoulder, but refused to go home. Hermione had fallen asleep in Ron’s lap. He rested his head on top of hers, but was not asleep. George sat in his chair, snoring lightly. Harry leaned forward, elbows on knees, head in hands.
At the sound a gurgled cough, everyone woke up and leaned forward. Harry sat up straight.
“Harry!” she choked out.
Ginny tried to sit up, but Harry placed a hand on her to get her to lie back down. She reached for the hand, holding it firmly.
“It was like the dream,” she whispered, “almost.”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“Are you okay, Ginny Dear?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Mum, my head hurts, but other than that, I’m fine.”
“What do you mean it was almost like the dream?” Harry asked again.
“The-the attack.” Ginny replied with a looking meaning she wanted to wait.
“I’m so glad you’re okay.” Mrs. Weasley embraced her daughter.
“I love you, Mum.”
“I love you, Ginny.”
Mr. Weasley hugged Ginny as well. They bid their goodbyes and left.
“Hi, George,” Ginny greeted her brother still sitting at the foot of the bed.
“Ginny—“ He began.
“It’s all right,” she said softly.
Harry couldn’t imagine what was going on in his head. He’d already lost his twin.
“I’m fine, George. You, on the other hand, look awful. Why don’t you go home and get some sleep? I’ll be here tomorrow.”
With that George made it to the head of the bed, wrapping his sister in a tight hug, and sobbed into her shoulder. Ginny rubbed his back.
“I love you, George. Don’t worry, I’m still here.” Tears fell down her cheeks.
“’M fine.” George stood up, wiping tears from his face. “I love you, too.”
“Go home, George.” Ginny paused. “No, go to the Burrow.”
“That’s my sister, ordering me around.”
“We’re going to bed, Gin,” Ron said after George left.
“I’m glad you’re awake,” Hermione said.
“Did you two make up?” Ginny asked.
“Yes,” Ron said.
“Oh, that hurts.” She rubbed her head.
“You ‘kay?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Just healing. Don’t worry. You staying here, Ron?”
“Yes. Already discussed it with McGonagall. ‘M returning to school. You’re attack made me realize I really do want to be an Auror.”
“You never came off as the joke shop type.”
“I could be!”
“No.” Ginny winked, wincing slightly.
“Good night, Ginny.” Hermione dragged Ron out of the hospital wing.
“What were you saying about it being almost like the dream?” Harry asked.
“Can you tell me how I was rescued?” Ginny asked at the same time.
“My question first, Gin.”
Ginny closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Opening her eyes she began to speak.
“For the past month I’ve been having nightmares. As you can tell, it’s been affecting everything—sleep, class, Quidditch, my relationship with you. Well,” she paused, “That attack was very similar to the dreams. It wasn’t exactly the same. In the dream, we always left on brooms and in the end I died.”
“Good thing it wasn’t exactly like the dreams. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”
“Now you know how I felt last year.” Ginny sighed. “I’ve been having other dreams. You know my first year I was possessed by Tom Riddle.”
Harry nodded. Ginny had done some awful things under the possession.
“One of the things he showed me in the diary was Myrtle’s death. Some nights I would dream of her death. Most of the time it was Myrtle, but sometimes it would be Fred, Lupin, or Tonks. One time it was you.”
Harry leaned forward and wrapped Ginny in a hug.
“You ever have dreams like this, you do not need to go through this alone.” Harry sat up. “That’s one thing I learned over the years. No one should have to go through anything alone.”
“It’s made me realize I could lose you. I don’t want to lose you.”
“No, Harry. I could lose you, but that’s the risk I’m going to have to take. I love you too much to stifle you, to have you spend the rest of your life behind a desk.”
“I love you, Ginny.”
Bad ending? Feedback!
Chapter 18: Quidditch
An hour later Harry returned to the 8th year boys’ dormitory in the Gryffindor Tower. He was surprised to see four beds and Ron still awake.
The other two occupants, Dean and Neville, were sleeping.
“’M just as surprised as you are,” Ron greeted his friend. “Came up where and there were four beds and my trunk was in front of this bed.”
“Don’t you find that a bit creepy?” Harry changed into his pajamas and climbed under the covers of his own four-poster.
“That’s magic,” Ron replied nonchalantly. “How’s Ginny?”
“She’s good,” Harry lied.
Physically Ginny was fine, so it was not a total lie, but he was worried about those dreams.
“Yeah,” Ron said leaning back against his pillows.
Harry leaned on his elbow and stared into the now darkness that was Ron realizing what the difference was.
“I see you got rid of that thing you called a beard,” Harry said.
“Yeah, got tired of it.”
“Hermione didn’t like it?”
“No, no. I—I.” Ron sputtered.
“Mm-hm.” Harry laid his head on his pillow, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.
Harry did not have anything to worry about. Ginny was released from the hospital wing a few days later. She rarely had any more dreams. When she did the faces were unrecognizable and she discussed it with Harry the next day. No longer were they affecting her life.
Ron fit back into school with the help of his new tutor. Most nights they were in the library or cuddled together in the common room. Harry was glad for his two best friends. They were truly happier and it allowed him to spend time with Ginny without grossing Ron out.
“Eat a good breakfast, but not too much. I don’t want to see anyone sick on the pitch!” Harry said to his team at breakfast in the Great Hall on the morning of the fourth of November.
Harry looked up at the blue ceiling happy to note the day would be clear and sunny. No better day for a Quidditch match.
“I wish I was playing today.” Ron sighed stuffing a sausage into his mouth.
“Your fault for skipping tryouts. I had to replace you,” Harry joked.
“How is the broom holding up, Ginny?” Ron asked.
“Fine,” she replied.
“You get to watch the match with me, Ron.” Hermione put her arm around his shoulder.
“You’re right, Herms.”
Harry sent Ginny a look. Herms?
“I know, Rons.”
Harry choked on his cereal. Ginny thumped in on the back.
“Can you save the love talk for later? Like when I’m not here?” Harry said.
“Sorry.” The two turned a slight shade of red.
Harry looked at his teammates as they stepped onto the pitch for his very last first game of the season. He smiled as he thought of his very first game in year one when he almost swallowed the Snitch. What an important Snitch that turned out to be.
“Ready?” He asked his teammates.
They nodded. Ginny patted him on the shoulder. He smiled.
“This is my last year and I’d like to win the cup, so let’s make this a good one.”
Harry shook hands with the Slytherin captain.
“Mount your brooms,” Madam Hooch said.
Harry turned to watch his team do so and followed suit. He looked into the stands and caught the eyes of Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Seamus Finnegan. Seamus must be here to cheer on his best mate, Dean.
Waiting for sight of the Snitch, Harry watched the action around him. The Slytherins gained control of the Quaffle first.
“And the Slytherins get the Quaffle past Mary Johnson. Such a nice girl. Must have been distracted by Blibbering Humdingers. Such distracting crea—“
“The score, Miss Lovegood!” Professor Flitwick exclaimed loudly.
Harry ducked as a Bludger buzzed by his head.
“10-0 Slytherin,” Luna said plainly.
Thinking he saw something gold glittering in the sun, Harry turned to see his Keeper, Mary Johnson, swoop for a spectacular save.
“Ginny’s got the Quaffle. Helped bring down Death Eaters last year. Such a brave—oh, she scored. Go Ginny!”
Flitwick sent Luna a look. Harry laughed and continued his search for the Snitch. He flew high and low, but spotted nothing. He wondered if the Snitch had even been released when he spotted gold near Ritchie Cootes’s ear.
“50-30 Gryffindor,” Flitwick said agitated.
Harry searched for the Slytherin Seeker and saw him on the other side of the pitch.
Sailing towards the Snitch, he noticed Ginny had the Quaffle. Before reaching his hand out, he let Ginny glide the Quaffle past the Slytherin Keeper. Slowly, he let his hand close over the metal.
“Gryffindor wins!” Luna exclaimed.
Harry flew to the ground to dismount his broom and was immediately swarmed by his teammates.
“Good game, mate,” Ron said sipping a butterbeer in the Gryffindor Common room. “That Keeper is impressive! Better ‘n me, I reckon.”
“No.” Hermione slipped her arm through Ron’s.
“She’s right there if you want to congratulate her.” Harry pointed to the dark skinned girl talking to other second years.
Excitedly, Ron hurried over to her, pulling Hermione with him.
“You know who was more impressive?” Harry asked the girl standing next to him. “You.” He leaned in to kiss her when he was interrupted with—
“Make me sick, Potter.”
Harry took a good look at the boy. He looked a bit more disheveled than he remembered.
“Good game,” said Seamus.
“Thanks. What’re you up to nowadays?” Harry asked.
“Got a job with Gringotts.”
“Always knew you were ½ goblin,” Harry joked.
“Ha-ha. I’m training to be a curse breaker.”
“Yeah, I’m also seeing Lavender.”
“Oh, how is she?” Ginny asked.
“Better. She spent most of the summer at St. Mungo’s recovering. She’s still has scars, but luckily, Greyback wasn’t transformed so she’s not a werewolf, but I’d like to kill that git.”
“I know what you mean,” Ginny said.
Harry thought of all the people he knew attacked by Fenrir Greyback. Only one, Remus Lupin, had been a werewolf, but others, like Ginny’s oldest brother, Bill, were still affected in some way.
“Nice seeing you,” Seamus headed off to find someone else to chat with.
“So, where were we? Oh, yeah.” Harry leaned into Ginny and passionately kissed her on the lips.
Chapter 19: Christmas
“Ah, there you are,” Slughorn huffed down the hall. The trio had just come from his Potions class and was headed toward the greenhouses for Herbology. “I forgot to invite you to my Christmas party. All of you are invited, Ron, Hermione, Harry, do come. It’s the day before the holidays start.” Slughorn nodded and headed toward his office.
Harry remembered the party two years ago. Ron had not been invited then and that started one of the biggest fights his two best friends ever had.
“Blimey, I’m a somebody,” Ron said.
“Ron?” Harry asked.
“Slughorn invited me to his party. He must think I’m important enough to want to make contacts with. Maybe he’ll ask me to join his club next.”
Harry rolled his eyes. He wasn’t fond of the Slug Club.
“Of course you’re important.” Hermione pretended to pinch his cheek. “You helped defeat Voldemort. You don’t need someone like Slughorn to tell you that.”
“I know, but it helps.
Harry walked down the stairs in his normal black school robes spotting Ginny in her school robes sitting in an armchair. The two decided not to dress up too much with this being a school party.
“Hi,” he said a bit shy.
Harry had no idea why he felt shy. This was Ginny Weasley! They dated the latter part of his sixth year and all this past summer. She was no stranger to him.
“Hey,” she replied putting on a smile that lit up her face.
“Do you,” He cleared his throat. “Do you want to wait for Ron and Hermione or do you want to go now?”
“We can wait, if you don’t mind.” Ginny slid over to make room for Harry.
Harry squeezed into the seat, putting his arm around Ginny when both Hermione and Ron walked down from their dormitories. They, too, were wearing their school robes, but had paid extra special attention to the detail.
“Ron’s brushed his hair,” Ginny said.
Harry reached his hand to his own hair. He’d brushed it, but knew there was almost no way anyone could tell.
“Your hair’s fine.” Ginny reached up to pull Harry’s hand off his hair. “I like it messy.”
Harry smiled noticing she wore the silver bracelet.
“Hermione,” Ron breathed stepping off the stairs.
Harry reckoned she’d used the same potion as the Yule Ball to straighten her hair.
“I feel like I’m intruding on a private moment,” Harry whispered to Ginny.
‘Yeah, it’s kind of gross.” Ginny pulled Harry up. “Let’s get to the party,” she said loudly.
They entered Slughorn’s over-enlarged office bathed in a red light.
“I forgot how hard it was to see at the party last time,” said Harry.
“Ah, there you are.” Slughorn walked over to them. “Glad you could make it. Gwenog, you know her, Ginny? She’s sorry she couldn’t make it, but she really wanted to see you.”
Ginny’s eyes widened.
“She—she wanted to see me! Harry, Gwenog Jones wanted to see me.” Ginny gushed.
“Of course, you are a fabulous Quidditch player. Perhaps she wants you to join the Harpies.”
“Stop that!” She playfully hit Harry on the arm.
“You think I’m kidding?”
“You really think I’m good enough for the Harpies?”
The Holyhead Harpies were Ginny’s favorite Quidditch team. Harry thought of the Jones poster in his girlfriend’s room at the Burrow.
“If not the Harpies at least the Cannons.” Harry waited for Ron to make a remark, but he and Hermione had broken off and were hanging near the punch bowl.
The two couples had fun at the party. They enjoyed the food, the guests, and the music. Some of their friends had also been invited. The same wizard who brought the mandolin last time was back and played slow music for everyone to dance.
Shortly after midnight the couples sauntered back to the Gryffindor Tower.
“That was much better than last time,” Hermione said quietly.
“With McLaggen,” Ron said.
Harry rolled his eyes. This was becoming a bit of a habit. He couldn’t believe Ron brought up that git.
“Well, I’m off to bed,” Harry announced rather loudly on entering the common room. “I’ll see you in the morning.” He kissed Ginny quickly.
Christmas Eve came quickly for the trio. Ron went back to work with George at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Lee Jordan had been filling in since Ron’s departure, but was okay with letting Ron come back during the holidays, especially since it freed him up to do more work at WWN.
Hermione went home to spend the holidays with her parents. She felt like making up for lost time, time when they were in Australia.
Harry wanted to start moving into Grimmauld Place. He had made the decision to live there once he finished school. Everyone pressured him into staying at the Burrow during the holidays, but he promised himself he would move into Grimmauld Place over the summer.
“I’m glad you decided to stay here,” said Ginny while decorating the outdoors.
Mrs. Weasley insisted on inviting their friends and family for a special Christmas dinner. They could spend a quiet Christmas day at home with their families, but she wanted everyone to gather for Christmas Eve.
The gathering was to be held outside under a tent set up to keep in the heat and out the cold. So many people were coming they would feel more than cramped inside.
“Me, too.” Harry pulled Ginny in for a kiss when he heard someone gagging.
“You’re making me lose my appetite,” Ron said appearing before them having Apparated straight from work.
“If that’s even possible,” Ginny whispered to Harry.
“Has Hermione arrived yet?”
Harry and Ginny both shook their heads.
“Good, I have time to change.” Ron rushed into the Burrow.
“Hermione’s parents are coming with her,” Ginny reminded Harry.
He was really glad he’d spent so much time at the Burrow over the years. He never had to worry about that awkward stage of having to meet the girlfriend’s parents. When he met Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to him they were just Ron’s parents.
“I’m going to see if Mum needs any more help in side.” Ginny went to the house. Harry followed.
Harry turned to see Andromeda Tonks sitting in a chair in the kitchen holding an eight month old, brown haired, brown-eyed Teddy.
“Do you mind taking Teddy so I can help Molly?”
“You don’t need to help,” Mrs. Weasley said having already shooed her daughter away.
“Nonsense.” Andromeda handed Teddy to Harry. Teddy grinned showing off some teeth coming in.
“Hi, Teddy,” Harry said. “I’ve a gift for you.”
Harry carried his godson up flights of stairs to Ron’s room. He slowly opened the door. Ron stood in black robes brushing his hair.
“I didn’t know I had a sister,” said Ginny, having followed Harry.
“Do I look okay?” Ron asked.
“You look fine.” Harry placed Teddy on Ron’s bed with Ginny and rummaged through his stuff pulling out a box.
“No, I don’t. Do you know any spells to fix my nose?
“I like your nose.” Hermione walked into the room. “Why are you so nervous?” She kissed Ron’s nose.
“I’m meeting your parents. I need to look perfect.”
Harry turned his attention from Ron and Hermione back to Teddy.
“Let’s see what’s in here.” Harry opened the box and peered inside.
Teddy giggled as Harry pulled out a stuffed wolf and handed it to the baby.
“Happy Christmas, Teddy. I debated between this and a bear,” Harry said. “I felt drawn to the wolf.”
Harry picked up the now gray haired baby.
“You like the wolf, don’t you?”
Teddy grinned, squeezing the wolf’s tail.
“Let’s show it off then.”
Harry took Teddy back downstairs with Ginny following, leaving Hermione and Ron to fuss over Ron’s appearance.
“Ginny, help us get this food outside,” Mrs. Weasley said magicking a bowl of potatoes.
Ginny pulled her wand out and followed her mother out the door with a plate of vegetables.
“You must be Harry Potter,” the brown haired woman by the counter said. “Hermione never told us you had a son.”
“Oh, this is my godson, Teddy. Would you like to hold him?” He handed Teddy to the female Dr. Granger. She looked a bit alarmed when he changed his hair and eye color to match hers.
“Don’t be frightened by magic. He’s a metamorphmagus,” said Harry. “His mother was one. It means he can change his appearance at will. He’s still a little young to control it.”
“I see you’ve met Teddy Lupin. I told you his parents passed away last spring.” Hermione entered with Ron slowly walking behind her.
“Poor dear. Aren’t you a little young to be his guardian?” Dr. Granger asked.
“He lives with his grandmother.”
“Mum, Dad, I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Ron Weasley.” Ron stepped out from behind Hermione where he tried to hide even though he was much taller. “Ron, these are my parents, Drs. Edward and Jean Granger.”
They extended their hands to shake.
Harry took Teddy from Dr. Granger and headed outside where everyone else was. Handing the baby to Andromeda he sat next to Ginny in the spot she’d saved for him.
“Where did you get the wolf?” Mrs. Tonks asked her grandson.
“Christmas present,” said Harry.
“Thank you, Harry. You say ‘thank you’, Teddy?”
Teddy said something in baby gibberish squeezing the wolf tightly.
“Oh, I’ll have him talking soon,” Andromeda promised.
Soon everyone was sitting around the table under the tent, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Percy, George, Ron, Hermione, Dr. and Dr. Granger, Ginny, Lee, Neville, Augusta Longbottom, Luna, Xenophilius, Verity, Andromeda, Teddy, Hagrid, and Harry. Mrs. Weasley insisted on inviting a few of the kids’ friends from school. Harry enjoyed the large company, but he knew something was missing. He looked at George, looking a bit lost.
“I get the feeling Mum organized this party to hide the fact that Fred’s not here,” Ginny whispered.
Harry glanced at Mrs. Weasley who was in a conversation with Andromeda and Hagrid. She acted as if she was purposefully not looking in George’s direction. Harry glanced at George. Percy and Charlie were having a conversation around him, but he was not joining in.
Harry looked at Ron, hoping he could shed some light on the situation, but he was in the middle of a conversation with Hermione and her parents.
“I got a letter from Robert Quigley, head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Kingsley talked to him about my campaign for Elf rights. He’s not sure how he likes it, but he does want to speak with me. He understands I’m still in school and won’t be able to start work until this summer. We’ve set up a meeting next week,” said Hermione.
“That’s Hermione, always the ambitious one,” Ron said spearing a potato with his fork.
“Elf rights?” Hermione’s dad asked confused.
Harry sighed. He knew an explanation on Elf rights by Hermione could take all night. He looked down at the food on his plate.
Many of the families had already left after dinner and conversation. Andromeda left with a sleeping Teddy who desperately tried to convince he wasn’t tired by keeping his eyes open despite his nodding head, but succumbed to sleep in the end, still clutching the wolf and wearing a dark blue jumper with the letter “T” on it, knitted by Mrs. Weasley.
Xenophilius and Luna Lovegood stood outside the fireplace with Augusta and Neville Longbottom. Harry and Ginny stood around to see them off.
“Harry, I do apologize for everything last year,” Xeno said for the hundredth time.
“I understand,” Harry repeated dryly.
“Come on, Neville, let’s get going. Goodnight and Happy Christmas, Harry and Ginny.” Augusta, Neville’s grandmother, threw her pinch of floo powder into the fireplace, shouted her destination, and disappeared.
“You’ll be at the Memorial, New Year’s Eve?” Neville asked.
“Yes,” Luna said.
Harry knew the question had been for everyone, but Neville looked pleased at Luna’s response.
“Happy Christmas, Neville,” Luna said.
“Happy Christmas, Luna, Mr. Lovegood.” Neville said before disappearing into the flames.
“Happy Christmas, Luna,” Harry said after Xenophilius disappeared.
“Be careful of the Nargles,” Luna replied following her father.
Harry looked up to see them standing under mistletoe. With a gleam in his eye he grabbed Ginny for a deep, passionate kiss.
With most of the guests gone, Harry pulled Ginny up the stairs to Ron’s room. Finding the door slightly ajar, Harry peeked inside quietly.
Ron pulled a jewelry box from his robes.
“Is he going to propose?” Ginny asked in a barely audible voice. Harry hushed her.
Ron opened the box and pulled out a chain. At the end of the chain dangled a gold heart.
“Don’t be afraid,” Ron reached for Hermione’s hand. She looked at him with wide eyes. “When I saw this I knew I had to get it for you. I wanted to give it to you for your birthday, but we were fighting then.” He clasped the chain around Hermione’s neck. “No, it’s not possessed with anyone’s soul. I wore it for a week just to make sure and the worst thing that happened was George taking the mickey out of me for wearing feminine jewelry.”
Hermione wanted to laugh at Ron for being so frightened of a locket. That locket must have done a number on him.
“You are a Gryffindor,” Hermione said causing Ron's cheeks to turn a slight shade of pink.
Ron opened the locket and a hologram of Ron and Hermione dancing at Bill and Fleur’s wedding popped out.
“It’s beautiful, but it must have cost you a fortune.” Hermione watched the images before her.
“Who cares? You’re worth it.” He pulled her in for a kiss.
“How romantic,” Ginny whispered pulling herself from the door. “Where’s my Christmas gift, Harry Potter?”
“Tomorrow. You’ll get your gift on Christmas.”
Ron stepped out of his room with a beaming Hermione at his side, the locket closed against her chest.
“Come to my house tomorrow for Christmas dinner, won’t you?” Hermione said.
“If it’s fine with your parents,” Ron said.
“It’s their idea. They really want to get to know you.”
“Perfect, I’ll see you in the afternoon.” Hermione began to step on her tiptoes. Instead, Ron leaned down to allow her to kiss his cheek.
“I love you, Ron.”
Hermione walked down the stairs. Ron turned around and tripped over Harry’s legs landing sprawled over Ginny.
“How long have you two been here?” He picked himself up.
“Long enough,” Ginny responded examining a new bruise on her shin thanks to Ron’s elbow.
He had been dreaming about swimming in the lake at Hogwarts. Harry was in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament and had to rescue Ginny from the merpeople, but there was this constant banging that kept him from getting close.
Opening his eyes, Harry spotted two owls waiting outside the window. He threw open the window, untied the parcel, and let the owls fly away.
“Close the window. It’s cold,” Ron mumbled in his sleep.
Harry did so and went back to his camp bed to open the package addressed to “Harry Potter c/o the Weasleys?”
“Oh my.” Harry fingered his old Quidditch robes. He removed the letter and began to read.
Hello. News spread to us that you defeated the dark wizard what’s his name. I would like to send my congratulations. We were released shortly after hearing the news. Good thing. Dedalus Diggle was driving your Uncle Vernon mad. Our house at Privet Drive was not destroyed. It did look as if someone had been through our stuff, but nothing was missing. I am proud of everything you did. I know that wizard killed my sister and deserved everything you gave him. Thank you.
Enclosed are some items you left behind.
“What is it, Harry?” Ron asked waking up.
Harry handed him the letter.
“Your Aunt Petunia? I thought she was foul?”
“I think she was jealous. According to Snape’s memories she wanted to be a witch.”
“That’s all the stuff you left behind?” Ron peered into the box.
“Most of it.” Harry looked at the old school books and pewter cauldron. Although this was stuff he’d already owned it was the best gift the Dursleys had ever given him.
“Happy Christmas, Harry.”
Christmas Day was a quiet affair at the Burrow. They’d opened most gifts in the morning. Harry promised Ginny she’d get her gift later. After a medium-sized lunch everyone went his or her separate ways. Bill and Fleur were in France visiting her family having left after dinner last night. Ron was with Hermione. Knowing how important it was for George to get out of the house, Lee invited him to spend Christmas with his family. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were at a wizarding neighbor’s house, which wasn't exactly close by. Mr. Weasley felt if they were out of the house Mrs. Weasley wouldn’t dwell on the missing member of the Christmas party.
The four remaining members gathered in the living room. Charlie and Percy were very badly playing a game of Wizard Chess.
“We stink at this,” Charlie announced. “The only one any good is Ron.”
“That’s why it’s his set,” Ginny said wrapped in Harry’s arms on the couch.
“You’re right. Do you mind if we put this away?” Percy asked.
Charlie reached for his wand when he let out a small moan.
“Are you okay?” Ginny sat up.
“Yes, just a fresh burn.” Charlie pushed up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal a new burn mark on his left arm in the shape of a donut.
“How do you expect to get a girl with all those burns?”
Percy smiled. He knew something the rest didn’t.
“Do you have—no! Charlie, you’ve a girlfriend?” Ginny asked.
“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?”
“I didn’t want Mum to make a fuss. We only started dating a few months ago.”
“How does Percy know?”
“I walked in on him writing a letter.”
“Before its gets to late, I want to take you somewhere,” Harry said to Ginny.
“Where?” Ginny asked as Harry pulled her from the couch and out the door.
“If your parents get home, tell them we’ll be back shortly.” Harry called out. “Close your eyes.”
Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny tightly, grasping the invisibility cloak he’d thrown over himself and Disapparated.
“Godric’s Hollow,” Harry said upon landing at the end of a street. “See that house?” He pointed to a house with part of it’s side missing.
“Is that your house?” Ginny walked towards it.
Harry watched her reaction as they got closer. She was a mixture of shock, awe, sad, and happiness.
“This is where it happened?”
Harry nodded and read the sign that appeared before him. He found new signatures stating “Congratulations, Harry!”, “You did it!”, and “Way to go!” He smiled.
“Do you want to go inside?” Ginny asked.
“Not tonight. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go inside.”
She nodded in understanding.
“I feel weird. Can you take the cloak off?”
“Here in Godric’s Hollow? This is a pretty important community for wizards and Muggles. If we want privacy I can’t reveal myself.”
Ginny nodded and reached out for Harry’s hand watching her’s disappear under the cloak. Harry walked her to the front of the village.
Both the small church and pub were alive with activity. There was music coming from both places—a piano and organ version of Silent Night from the church and a bawdy tune from the pub.
“This is where you would have grown up if your parents hadn’t died.” Ginny walked around in awe. Godric’s Hollow was a bit different than Ottery St. Catchpole.
“Would you like to live here someday?”
“Well…you wouldn’t have any privacy.”
“If we lived here they’d get used to us.”
Harry waited for a response before realizing where he’d led Ginny. The memorial turned into the statue of James, Lily, and baby Harry.
“Those are your parents?” A small tear trickled down her cheek.
“You’ve seen pictures.”
“Yes, I know.” She wiped away the tear. “It’s just—I can’t explain it.”
“I want to show you something else.” Harry led Ginny into the cemetery, past tombstones.
“’James Potter (27 March 1960 – 31 October, 1981)’ and ‘Lily Potter (30 January 1960 – 31 October 1981)’ ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.’ Oh, Harry.”
Harry remembered the last and first time he’d visited their graves. There were no mysterious creatures scurrying around this time. He was safe tonight.
“Hi, Mum. Hi, Dad,” Harry spoke. Ginny backed away to let him have his privacy, but he reached his arm out to pull her towards him. “As you can see, I survived. Thanks, Mum. Voldemort didn’t. He’s gone. I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley. I love her with all my heart. I hope she does, too.”
Similarly to what Hermione did last Christmas, Ginny conjured up a Christmas wreath. Harry placed it on his parents’ graves.
“I love you, Mum, Dad. Happy Christmas.”
Harry turned to Ginny and slipped off the cloak. Tears flowed down her cheeks. He reached out to wipe them away.
“I know you don’t wear much jewelry.” Harry pulled out a box. “But, I had to get you this.”
Ginny opened the box and fingered the silver necklace.
“To match the bracelet.”
Harry fastened the necklace around Ginny’s neck, drawing her close to him. He ran his fingers through her long red hair.
“Happy Christmas,” He whispered before allowing his lips to meet hers.
Sorry this took so long for me to put up, but at least I left you with a long chapter.
Chapter 20: Not Easy
“How was it yesterday?” Harry woke the day after Christmas.
Ron, already awake, groaned.
“That bad, huh?” Harry propped himself on his elbows to look at his redheaded mate.
“It started out fine. I thought dinner the other night went well. I made sure to eat slowly and not stuff my face.”
“A hard task, I’m sure.”
“Ha-ha,” Ron said sarcastically. “I paid extra attention to my manners. We had pleasant conversation, talking about Hermione, Elf Rights, and our future. You were there.”
“You did appear to be doing all right.”
“Yes, so I figured the next day would be a piece of cake. I Apparated to Hermione’s after lunch as we planned. She picked out a secluded area where no one would see me appear. She’s so smart.” Ron trailed off.
“Ron?” Harry made to throw a pillow, but Ron came back to Earth.
“Oh, yeah. I went to the Grangers. They let me inside. Hermione wanted me to take off my robes. I was unprepared for that. I should’ve been. I knew I was going to a Muggle house. I obliged to make Hermione happy. All I had on was jeans and a t-shirt. Hermione assured me it was fine, but they were dressed up. Not really dressed up, but Hermione and her mum wore dresses and her dad wore a nice shirt. I felt out of place. I mean Hermione was there, trying to reassure me, but I—“ Ron took a deep breath.
“Everything was set for tea. What a mistake. I never felt clumsier in my life. We did have a good discussion about, er, you know I can’t remember. The felytone rang causing me to spill my tea on their white carpet. Hermione did not want me doing magic so they cleaned it the Muggle way. There’s a slight stain. One day I’m going back to that house and using magic to get rid of it.
“As it turns out, one of Dr. Granger’s, Hermione’s dad’s, patients fell and broke his front teeth. They were all jaggedy. I made a joke about using magic to make it better. Hermione got mad muttering something about the Statute of Secrecy and her mum got mad claiming I wasn’t taking dental care seriously!
“Her dad left to fix the poor bloke’s teeth. Her mum started dinner so Hermione gave me a tour of her house. It’s a big house, Harry. They have four bedrooms! Her parents, Hermione’s, and two guest rooms. Hermione seemed embarrassed by all that. Have you seen her room?”
Harry shook his head. He had never been to Hermione’s house.
“Blimey, it’s huge and definitely not under the attic! She’s a huge queen sized bed, a dresser, a desk, a bureau, and bookshelves. Every inch of available space was filled with bookshelves. And books! She’s got enough to start a library. I knew she liked to read, but I didn’t know she liked to read that much.”
“You didn’t say anything about that?”
“I’m tactless, but I’m not rude.”
“I’m not! What I did do is step on Crookshank’s tail. He fled the room. That made Hermione mad. She reckons I’m still upset over Crookshank’s going after Scabbers. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing if Crookshanks had eaten him.”
Harry laughed. Scabbers turned out to be Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail. After Sirius Black outed Wormtail, he fled to Voldemort, bringing him back to power.
“So, she’s a little miffed, sitting on her bed and I’m nervous sitting at her desk. I’m in her room for the first time. She’s been in my room countless times, but I don’t know, this felt different. I finally decided to join her on the bed when her mum walks in. I reckon it looks suspicious, but honestly, we weren’t doing anything. I barely sat on her bed. Hermione and her mum decided it best we go downstairs. Her mum was in the kitchen, but we did more downstairs than in her room.
“Finally, Hermione’s dad came home and we had dinner. I put on my best manners again. I tried at least. I thought I was doing good, but Hermione kept sending me funny looks. Turns out, I had potato on my nose the entire meal. She should have told me! Right after I found out, I ended up knocking over Dr. Granger’s glass. She assured me it was okay, but that ended the meal rather quickly.
“As it was getting dark, Hermione walked me to the secluded area. She wanted to see me off and I didn’t want her walking back to her house too late in the evening. I love her and I’ll put up with anything for her, but that was the most nerve wracking night of my life.”
“It doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Oh, it was, believe me! Good thing you don’t have to go through something like that. Mum already loves you.”
Getting up to change out of his pajamas, Harry was hit with the image of George at the Christmas Eve dinner. He had barely seen him on Christmas. George was downstairs in the morning to open presents, but was very quiet and quickly retreated to his room. Immediately after lunch he had left for Lee’s.
“How’s George?” Harry asked, pulling a jumper over his head.
George had been doing well before Christmas Eve and was almost back to his old self.
“Not too well.” Ron climbed out of bed to change, himself. “Some things happened two days ago. Someone sent him a card. I reckon it was the first time it had been addressed to George and not Fred and George. A customer, I use that term loosely, tried to steal an entire box of Instant Darkness Powder. And shortly before closing a repeat customer accidentally called him Fred. He was doing so well and now he’s fallen backwards.” Ron sat down on his bed, shirtless. “I reckon I’ve to get ready for work. I’ll have to drag George there if he's still in his state.”
Harry headed out of the room as Ron changed into his Weasley Wizard Wheezes robes. Getting back to normal wasn’t going to be easy.
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