Harry rushed out of his room and out into the garden as fast as he could. This can't be happening, Harry thought.
Once he was down in the garden, he took one look at Ginny and knew that there was nothing he could do by himself. He checked to see if she was breathing, but he couldn't tell. No! he thought. This is just like my nightmare. She can't die! I care about her too much.
Harry was shocked by his own thoughts. He had finally figured out how he felt about her. Now if he could only figure out what do about her fall.
Then Harry, being the calm, cool individual that he was, quickly ran inside for the portable phone and dialed the "emergency" button while running back outside.
"Hello, what's the emergency?" a nice female voice answered.
"Help, my, er, friend fell out of a second-story window, and I don't know if she's breathing . . ." Harry rambled, thinking quickly, because he didn't think she would believe him if he said what really happened.
"Okay, sir, I'm sending an ambulance. Now I'm going to tell you how to tell if she has a pulse, all right?" the woman answered swiftly.
She told him where to touch Ginny's neck, and Harry, despite the fact that this was an emergency, couldn't help but notice how soft Ginny's skin was.
He felt the right point and shouted, because he couldn't feel a pulse. "I can't feel anything!" he told the woman on the other end of the line.
"Okay, I'm going to tell you how to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."
Harry did his best to listen to what the woman was saying, but couldn't help being nervous. What would happen if Uncle Vernon woke up and saw him outside like this? He would never believe what Harry told him.
Once the woman was done explaining how to do mouth-to-mouth, Harry took a deep breath and started. He tilted Ginny's head back and opened her mouth, and slowly placed his mouth over hers and began to blow into it.
About a minute or so after he had started, he felt Ginny weakly try to push him off of her. She tried to get into a sitting position and grimaced when she couldn't because of her leg. She settled for propping herself up on her elbows, then began to cough. Once she was finished coughing, she looked at him strangely.
"Harry, what were you doing?"
"Ginny, are you all right?" he yelled, tears of frustration pouring down his face.
"Of course, I'm—argh!" she screamed, trying to get back onto her feet. "Blimey, Harry, what happened?"
"You fell out of the window," he said plainly.
Ginny saw half of a broomstick in the tree next to the window. "My broom!" she cried, trying to grab it, but falling back down in pain. "Oh, my God," she said, starting to get dizzy. "Mum's going to kill me!"
Then she looked straight up at Harry. "Hey, what's the matter?" she asked, watching the tears fall down his face. "You look like your Niffler just died."
"Nothing," Harry said, swiping at his face, trying and failing to stop the flow of tears. "I'm just so glad you're okay."
"Well, it's nice to know that you care about my well-being," Ginny said, "but is it really a reason to cry?"
"Well . . ." Harry started. "Ginny, there's something I need to tell you."
Harry stopped to think about what he was about to do. It's now or never, he thought. She deserves to know the truth, even if she doesn't feel the same way about me anymore.
"I need to tell you that the—" he started, but stopped when he heard the ambulance siren in the distance, getting closer and closer.
"What is that, Harry?" Ginny said. She had heard the siren, too.
"I called the Muggle emergency. Sorry, but I didn't know what else to do."
"Harry! I can't go to a Muggle hospital!"
"I'm sorry, Ginny, but I saw you lying there, and I thou—" Harry stopped.
"You thought what?"
"Don't worry. . . ."
"Harry! Tell me!"
The ambulance had arrived, and Harry ran off to show them where Ginny was. He told them what had happened, leaving out the fact that she was on a broom. They carted her off to the ambulance, and Harry went with Ginny, lying and saying she was his sister.
They were now bumping along in the ambulance, and Ginny turned to Harry.
"Why were you crying, Harry?"
It was then that Harry realised he must have had something in his eye. "Uh, you see, Ginny, I've, er, you see. . . ." Harry began rubbing his eyes with both hands. "Er, when you fell, the dust and dirt blew up in my face and, uh, got in my eye." He peeked to see her expression, and quickly returned to rubbing his eyelids raw.
Ginny's face was unreadable, and Harry was relieved when the ambulance pulled into the emergency room entrance. As Harry stepped out of the vehicle, he froze. Standing in front of the hospital doors were a very large group of angry-looking redheads.
Harry was terrified.
They were going to kill him. He was going to die six times. Of course, Bill and Charlie weren't there, but Harry was sure they would Apparate in to kill him, too.
Ron would punch his face in, and Fred and George—oh, Merlin, what would they do?
Harry's thoughts were cut off, however, by the surprisingly colourful words coming from Ginny's mouth. Continuously.
"Virginia!" her mother shouted.
Oh, Mrs Weasley. He forgot. She would probably boil him like a potato and serve him for dinner.
Yep, he was terrified.
Mrs Weasley came storming towards her embarrassed daughter, her face a thundercloud, her body swelling with fury.
"Virginia Elizabeth Weasley! What on earth were you thinking? Flying off like that on your own! How many times have I told you not to fly on your broom by yourself? You're lucky you're even ali. . . ." Mrs Weasley trailed off, as she realised that they were surrounded by curious Muggles. "Oh, bother."
Mrs Weasley suddenly looked very embarrassed and stepped back from the ambulance, trying to disappear.
"I agree with your mum. You shouldn't have left your house in such a hurry! Flying like a bat out of hell," Harry added, trying to cover up what Mrs Weasley had said.
Mrs Weasley looked over at Harry, as though she were just then seeing him there.
"Hi," he said slowly. "Sorry—"
"Harry, you have nothing to be sorry for. Ginny, however, might be sorry she was ever born," Mrs Weasley said, as she turned her attention back to her daughter.
The very confused-looking driver of the ambulance stepped forward and addressed Mrs Weasley. "It seems your daughter is in perfect condition, but we're still required to perform some tests—unless you're willing to sign liability waivers."
Harry watched as Mrs Weasley followed the driver inside. The crowd of curious Muggles were slowly returning to whatever it was they were doing before the ambulance had arrived. However, a few remained, staring at Mr Weasley, who had begun to poke at various pieces of equipment in the vehicle. Harry turned to look at Ginny.
Her face shone with frustration and annoyance, but when she noticed Harry staring at her, she dropped the angry act and looked at the ground. "Sorry," she mumbled. "It's my fault I got you into this mess."
Harry couldn't help but laugh, and Ginny looked up at him, surprised. He couldn't believe she would blame herself. "If I hadn't written that letter in TheQuibbler, you wouldn't have had to come to Privet Drive. It's my fault you almost di—" Harry didn't continue, due to the curious way that Ginny was staring at him.
She looked around, checking to make sure none of her family members was within earshot. "Wait a minute," she whispered in an undertone. "It was your letter?"
Harry couldn't say anything. Everyone's eyes were on him, especially the Weasleys'.
"Er, yeah," Harry said very quietly, so only Ginny could hear, but the Weasley boys already knew the answer. Ron had told them when he arrived back from Privet Drive.
"But then why did you say that you didn't write it? Why did you lie to me?" Ginny said, and Harry could see the hurt look in her eyes.
"Ginny, it isn't that simple." Harry wanted to scream, but he didn't want to cause any more of a scene.
"Sorry, lad, but we have to take this girl inside and make sure she's okay," said one of the ambulance officers, heading towards Ginny.
"I'm fine, except for my leg, okay?"
"Come on, miss," the ambulance officer said, as he wheeled Ginny into the hospital and into a room. Mr and Mrs Weasley followed, after instructing the boys to wait in the waiting room. Harry didn't like this. He was now left alone with four of the Weasley boys, and he had just admitted to Ginny that it was his letter in TheQuibbler. Harry wished he could start the night over.
Harry sat, his head in his hands, sulking silently. Just great, he thought. Now, not only does the hottest girl in existence think I'm a prat, but she won't even be able to give me grief about it, because her brothers will kill me first.
"Harry," said Ron tentatively.
"What?" snapped Harry, jerking his head up to look at Ron.
Ron jumped as if someone had hit him with a twitching hex. "Harry," he continued, "I'm, er, I'm sorry," he finished quietly.
"What for?" Harry nearly shouted. "You're sorry that I nearly killed your sister? You're sorry that some Muggle doctors are about to do Merlin-knows-what kinds of tests to her? You're sorry that—"
"Harry!" said Fred quickly. "Be quiet!" Harry looked around. Half of the Muggles in the room were staring at him curiously.
"Yeah, I thought you had stopped jumping down all our throats after last year," said Ron.
Harry took this accusation ungracefully. He shifted in his seat.
"Anyway, Harry," said Ron, "I'm sorry for what I said before, in your uncle's house. I really—"
"All right," said an anxious voice from the doorway. "What's going on? Where's Ginny?"
Harry turned around. Dean Thomas, dressed in Muggle clothing and looking harassed and tired, was standing in the doorway.
Harry paused as he realised why Dean was there, and immediately became nervous, wondering if Dean had read TheQuibbler. "She's, er, in there. The doctors are running some . . . tests."
Dean walked forward, straining to see through the window in the door. "What happened?"
Before anyone could answer, Bill stepped in and asked, "Why do you want to know? And who the heck are you, anyway?"
Dean shuffled self-consciously in the taller man's shadow. As he spoke, Ginny walked back in, followed by a doctor. "Er, well, she's my girlfriend."
Ginny blushed furiously, Bill and Charlie looked surprised, Fred and George were doubled over with laughter, Ron's hands twitched angrily, and even Mr Weasley stopped examining the plugs in the wall to say, "She's your what?"
Harry felt all the blood rush out of his face. Dean was standing in the hospital next to them. Ginny's Dean, Dean who was going out with Ginny, Dean who would probably—no, not probably, would kill Harry when he found out what had happened.
"What do you mean, she's your girlfriend?" fumed Bill.
"Bill!" Ginny said, embarrassed.
"Well, we're going out," Dean said nervously, as he looked at the five Weasley brothers.
Suddenly, a doctor walked in and called Ginny back, since she had to discuss what had happened for paperwork. Ginny sighed, but before walking back with her parents, she gave a warning to her brothers to be nice to Dean.
"What happened?" Dean questioned again.
"Well, not like you need to be here," said Bill through clenched teeth. "She was at Harry's, and she fell—"
"Harry's?" Dean said hastily and looked over at Harry, as if he had just noticed Harry was there. "What was she doing there?"
"Look, Dean—" said Harry, before Dean cut him off.
"What the hell did you do to her?" yelled Dean, and everyone in the waiting room was staring at them.
"Dean, it isn't like that—"
"Well, what is it like, then? She's at your house in the middle of the night, and then she ends up here! What am I supposed to think?"
"Dean, listen to me—"
"No! Don't you dare come near her again, you hear?"
The Weasley brothers had just been watching what was going on, but much to Harry's surprise, they now stood up to face Dean.
"You can't tell Harry what to do!"
"Hell I can!" replied Dean.
Luckily, at that moment, Mr Weasley stepped in.
"Boys, boys," he said, coming between them, "there's no reason to be upset. Now, just sit down, Dean, and we'll explain what happened. Yes, that's right, sit, sit. . . ."
Dean sat in an uncomfortable hospital chair, and was followed by Harry, with Mr Weasley sitting between them.
"Now, Dean," said Mr Weasley, with a very serious expression, "am I to understand your parents are both Muggles?"
"Er, yeah, but what's that got to do—" He was cut off by Mr Weasley.
"Fascinating! Simply fascinating! Now, could you tell me the exact function of a rubber duck?" he asked with great curiosity.
"Excuse me?" Dean said.
"Can you tell me the function of a rubber duck?" Mr Weasley asked again.
"Uh, I don't. . . ."
"Dad!" Ginny said, as she was coming towards them. "Don't harass him. Just leave him alone."
"Ginny," Dean said, "can we talk for a minute?" He looked at Harry. "Alone."
"Sure . . . I'll be right back," she told her brothers, because they had started to protest.
When Dean and Ginny were alone, she asked, "What was it that you wanted to talk to me about?"
"I want to know exactly why you were at Potter's house in the middle of the night. You had no right to be there!"
"What do you mean, I had no right to be there? He's my friend, and I can visit him as I please. Are you jealous?"
"No! I mean, no, of course not. I mean, it isn't like you still have a thing for Potter, or like he wrote that letter to TheQuibbler, right?"
"Well . . . well, I don't still have a thing for Harry. . . ."
"So he did write that letter to TheQuibbler?" said Dean. Ginny wished he would pace. She couldn't stand him standing perfectly still, staring at her, fuming with rage.
Ginny nodded, leaning on the crutch that the Muggle doctors had given her.
Dean threw up his hands in frustration. "So now," he positively screamed, "so now, Potter's letting you visit him in the middle of the night, and you're at the hospital! What're you naming the baby, eh?"
It took Ginny a moment to work out what Dean had said.
"What? Naming the baby? Oh, my God!" she said as she realised. "No, Dean! Harry didn't. . . . Harry and I haven't. . . . I just visited him!"
"What other explanation is there, then?" fumed Dean. "You've only been snogging? Is that it? You're cheating on me now? With Potter?"
"No, Dean! Let me explain!" said Ginny. Tears of desperation were streaming down her face now, but she didn't care. "I just—I flew over there on a broom to talk to him. I was going to give him something—"
"What, a contraceptive for you two to use later?"
"No! It was from Hermione." Dean flushed. "Anyway, Harry reached through his window to grab it, and I fell off my broom. That's why my leg's broken." She nodded down at her cast.
Dean was silent. He stared guiltily at Ginny. "Oh," he said quietly. "Oh, Ginny, I'm so sorry," he said, and made to embrace her. Ginny stopped him.
"Well, Dean, I'm glad you're sorry and all, but I just can't go out with someone who blows up in my face like this." She stared at his horror-stricken face. "I'm sorry. We're through together."
Dean stared at her a moment, a look of absolute shock on his face. He then relaxed, and whispered, "Does that look shocked enough?"
"Looks good enough to me," Ginny replied mischievously.
"You know, you're really going about this in an odd way," Dean said. "You didn't really need me to make Harry see the light. I think he already has."
Ginny chuckled silently. "Yes. But now I finally know he likes me!"
"Should I stomp out of the room now in a huff?" Dean asked.
"Yes, that would be a nice touch," Ginny replied.
The two grinned at each other, and Dean stormed out of the room, saying, "Well, if that's the way you want it, fine!"
"See if I ever give you your bloody socks back, then!" Ginny screeched after him.
Harry watched as Dean stomped out of the room in a huff. He walked right past Harry and the other Weasleys without looking at them.
"Dean, wait!" shouted Harry, jumping up from his seat to catch up with his dorm-mate.
"What?" Dean snapped, one hand on the cool glass of the hospital door.
"Well," said Harry timidly, "what happened in there?"
Dean took his hand from the door and let it hang at his side, though he was visibly shaking. "The bloody bitch broke up with me!" he said.
Harry was silent. "Oh," he finally said. "Look, I'm really—"
"You know what?" shouted Dean in Harry's face, putting his hand back on the door, "I don't care if you're sorry! I have half a mind not to come back to Hogwarts next term so I don't have to be anywhere near you! You got me into this, Potter!" And he stormed from the hospital, letting the door shut behind him with the soft tinkling of a bell.
Ginny giggled to herself at the look of utter confusion on Harry's face, then tried to fight off the smile now forming on her lips. She glanced back over to her brothers—their faces were as red as the hair on their heads.
"Well, then, is everything finished?" Mr Weasley said, as he began to investigate Ginny's crutch.
"Yes, dear." Mrs Weasley sighed. "Let's get back to the Burrow."
Harry was staring at the ground when he heard Ginny ask, "What about Harry? Is he coming, too?"
Harry turned around abruptly. The prospect of going to the Burrow so early in the summer was tempting.
Mr Weasley's ears went scarlet, just as Ron's did when he was under pressure or hiding something. "Come to stay? I, er, Dumbledore wanted him to stay with his aunt and uncle."
Harry's heart sank. He really did want to go to the Burrow. What he would give to play Quidditch again, even if it was only in the orchard. Not to mention he also wanted to stay with Ginny.
"Let's owl Dumbledore and see what he says, perhaps?" suggested Mrs Weasley.
Ron had stood up, and he exchanged a hopeful glance with Harry. "Maybe we could try talking to him through the Floo?" he asked.
"Now, Ronald," said Mr Weasley, "Albus Dumbledore is a very busy man. Consider, too, the return of You-Know-Who. I mean to say, he's already busied with those matters. Why give him the worry of Harry coming to stay as well?"
"Well," said Fred, who had also stood up, "if Dumbledore's so busy, then he won't know if Harry's staying with us, will he?"
He and George exchanged mischievous looks. They all made their way out of the hospital and across the car park.
"Fred, the Ministry do have ways of determining a wizard's location, so unless we can block his signature—"
"Say no more, Dad," said George, pulling a purple cloak from his knapsack. "As long as Harry wears this Concealing Cloak all the time, the Ministry won't know where he is."
Mr Weasley gaped at it for a second, then seemed to come to his senses. "But they'll see that he isn't at Privet Drive, won't they?"
It was George's turn to smile and retrieve something from his knapsack. It was a small, square, metallic-looking box, about the size of a Bludger. "This, Father," he said, holding it up, "is a Position Placer. It makes a fake position signature of the wizard who touches it last."
It was Harry's turn to gape. "And you guys didn't even get N.E.W.T.s! How did you figure this all out?"
"Well, Harry, some of us," said George, "unlike certain bushy-headed people associated with this family, were born with a natural affinity for these things."
"Better hope that a certain bushy-headed person doesn't find out you said that," said Ron.
Fred gave a slight smirk and turned on Ginny. "That was quite a row you two had in there." His grin became broader when he said, "‘Contraceptive'?"
Ginny turned red. "He was upset, as you could tell." She turned to Harry. "Sorry you had to hear that, Harry."
"It's all right; it's all right," Harry said quickly, ducking his head down. He'd never hear the end of this one.
"Amazing, isn't it, Fred," commented George, "how we heard the entire first part of it, but couldn't hear the end?"
"Why, yes, my dear brother, it was. Funny we couldn't hear that last bit."
"He got really upset then," Ginny said quickly. "Really let me have it."
"Oh, did he, sister of mine?" said Fred sweetly. "Too bad other ears weren't around, eh, George?" George winked at him and then waggled his eyebrows at Ginny.
And that's when she remembered the Extendable Ears.
Ginny smiled at them sweetly and said, "Well, then, you know exactly how awful he was. You should be comforting your only sister about now, and threatening dismemberment of Dean Thomas. But I guess I can only expect that of Bill."
The twins were still grinning from ear to ear. Harry was looking at the floor again, shuffling his feet around.
"Dad, could we go now? I really want to get home so Mum can give me that potion," Ginny said, as she shifted her weight on her crutches. "I can't believe Muggles walk around on these things for weeks at a time!"
Mr Weasley began to guide his children towards the exit. "Yes, well, Harry, I'm afraid we'll be escorting you back to your home on Privet Drive. Will your aunt and uncle be upset about your absence?"
"No, they won't care," said Harry glumly, his heart sinking to the pit of his stomach.
"Oh, can't Harry come and stay? Please, Dad?" pleaded Ginny, beside Harry.
"Your father said no, Ginny dear," said Mrs Weasley.
"Well," said Mr Weasley, "let's just owl him and see what he says. But in the meantime, Harry, you should stay at your aunt and uncle's house."
Harry nodded. His mood was lower than it had been in the last few weeks. The only visible ray of light to him was that he was the one who had his arm around Ginny's waist, helping her along as she hobbled on her crutch. . . .