Ginny was glad to be back at Hogwarts. She had missed her friends during the summer and was looking forward to her fifth year, despite all the hard work it would mean. Last year was so dismal with the emergence of Voldemort and the death of Sirius. It had been hard on Harry; she had worried all summer about the toll these events had taken on him. Bill had noticed something was eating away at her. She picked at her meals, taking an infrequent bite while distractedly moving food around her plate.
"Ginny, is everything okay? You haven't had much of an appetite lately. You're not coming down with something are you?" he had asked her after several nights of seeing her behavior at the dinner table.
"I'm fine Bill," had been her response; she knew that she hadn't fooled him. Still, he didn't question her anymore about it, and she was glad for once that he hadn't pushed it.
She hoped that this year would be easier on Harry. She had felt his pain and his anguish all through last year, and she had decided that she would be more proactive in being there for him.
Her crush on him had never really gone away. Somehow her feelings had changed since her first year, reaching a peak after Sirius' death. Harry was naturally devastated, and he blamed himself. Her heart went out to him, and she hoped that this year their friendship would deepen.
Sitting near him at the feast, she surreptitiously glanced at him throughout the Sorting and the Welcome. He seemed to be coping better than she expected, and perhaps had forgiven himself. He smiled and laughed at the stupid things the other boys were saying, and he no longer bore the haunted expression he'd worn after Sirius' death. She would love to know what had happened to change him. Whatever it was, she was grateful, and she hoped that he would tell her sometime this year what had caused the change. She was a bit hurt by the fact that he had barely spoken to her since last year, but he was busy catching up with Ron and Hermione.
Perhaps if she had been with them on the Hogwarts Express, instead of with her other friends, they would have talked. Somehow, he seemed to notice what she was thinking, and he flashed her a smile. The smile was all that she needed for reassurance. She returned her attention to her plate with her heart a trifle lighter.
When the feast ended Harry walked towards her. "Hi, Gin. Sorry we didn't talk much at the feast, but I'll make it up to you. I'll see you at breakfast in the morning, okay? That is, if you'd like to sit with me?" His cheek reddened.
"Okay, Harry," she said grinning.
Ginny left the feast feeling much better about her relationship with Harry, hopeful that this would be a special year for them both. Ginny wandered upstairs to her dorm. As she neared the door, she heard a kitten's mewling. She quickly opened the door, and there on her bed sat a box. Atop it perched a large owl; its underside bore light gray feathers with dark bars and a white band of feathers on the upper breast. Large, yellow-orange eyes bordered by an orange-buff facial disc stared at her. A note was attached to its leg; as she approached, the owl gave her a deep, clear "hoo-hoo hoooo" and raised its leg to her, revealing a note. She took the note and unrolled it before reading the large, smooth flourishing script.
Hello Ginny. We are gifts from someone who cares for you more than you realize. We will be yours as soon as you name us. In time, who your someone is will be revealed. –Until then, just know that you are adored.
Owl and Kitten
Signing for . . . your secret admirer
Ginny flushed red, her mind spinning with the thought that she had a secret admirer. The Great Horned Owl flew up to her bedpost while Ginny attacked the box. Inside the box lay a tiny silver kitten with a black spotted coat. The little feline mewled up at her in a tiny voice, more like a squeak than a proper meow. Ginny's heart melted at the sound. She quickly picked up the kitten and hugged it close. Ginny held her and examined the other contents of the box: a jar of owl treats, a bag of kitten food, a water dish, and a food dish. Ginny sat, offered a treat to her owl, and stroked her kitten. Ginny thought about what to name her owl; he was very big, sporting an impressive six-foot wingspan at the least. He was probably a great hunter, and he would probably be the king among owls here at Hogwarts. . . then she remembered a story from class about a legendary hero in Mesopotamia, and it seemed appropriate so she called him Gilgamesh. A knock sounded from behind the door, and moments later in walked Professor McGonagall.
"Miss Weasley, I just wanted to check and see if everything was all right. I saw a large owl flying towards your window with a big box, and I was worried about its contents--" She stopped, taking in the scene before her, eyes widening in surprise as they fell on the tiny kitten in her student's arms. "What a lovely Egyptian Mau you have there. They're a wonderful breed, very curious cats; I think you'll like her." The kitten looked up at the professor and stretched a foreleg out towards her, fanning its little paw in what almost seemed like a wave. Then it voiced another tiny squeak. Professor McGonagall smiled warmly at the little kitten. "You may want to find a little place for her that she can call her own, and make sure you have nothing breakable on your shelves. Maus are natural climbers, and she'll always seek a high perch. Have you named her?"
"Not until just now. You said she's Egyptian, so I think I'll call her Isis. My brother Bill said in ancient Egyptian legends she was the Goddess of Magic and Life, and it seems to fit. Do you like her name, Professor?" Ginny asked, remembering the Professor's Animagus form.
The Professor's stern face softened slightly. "I think that's a perfect name. Well, I'll leave the three of you to settle in. Goodnight, Miss Weasley."
"Good night, Professor," Ginny said.
Professor McGonagall smiled and in turning to leave, had an afterthought, "By the way Miss Weasley, what is your owl's name?"
"I named him Gilgamesh." Ginny responded.
"Ah yes. A reference to the Mesopotamian wizarding hero; another fine name; sleep well Miss Weasley," the Professor said.
"Good night Professor McGonagall, and thank you," Ginny responded.
Professor McGonagall smiled once more and left the room.
Ginny sat Isis on her bed and watched as the little Mau pawed unsteadily across the uneven surface. With a grin Ginny turned her attention back to the gift box to empty it. Taking out her wand she transfigured the box into a cat bed lined with thick plush carpet and then seized upon an empty chocolate frog container to become a litter box. She placed the items on the floor near the head of her bed.
Gently placing the kitten in its new bed, Ginny whispered, "Sleep well little Isis, and welcome to your new home."
Isis circled her bed's perimeter three times before mewing happily and curling up to sleep.
Ginny curled up to sleep herself, thinking that the year had begun well and wondered what other great things were in store for her, now that she had two new friends and a secret admirer as well. Remembering the slight blush that had crept up Harry's cheek when he had spoken to her earlier, one final thought occurred to her before sleep overcame her. . . could it be him?