"I'm sixteen years old! I don't need to be hidden away and minded like a baby," Ron huffed.
"Shh!" Hermione scolded without looking up from her book: 101 Things You Probably Won't Need to Learn About Magical History in School but Might End Up On Your N.E.W.T.S. Anyway. "Ms. Jones will hear you."
Ms. Jones was actually Hestia Jones, the kind but spacey and distracted woman who would be taking care of Ron, Hermione, and Ginny for the rest of the summer. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were on an assignment from Dumbledore and they insisted the teenagers have a minder. Hestia, along with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, was a member of The Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards headed by Albus Dumbledore that were working to defeat Voldemort.
Hestia was a small witch with shockingly black hair and pink cheeks. She was quite motherly although she always seemed a bit distracted; she also had a very… unique taste in decorating. Her house had a peculiar smell due to the incense burning in every room, which were covered in candles and strange looking objects.
"I don't care if that bat does hear me; she's nutters!"
"Ron!" Hermione reprimanded tiredly. She still hadn't put down her book.
"Well what do you think of our barmy minder?" Ron asked, rather put out.
"She's quite…different." Hermione had finally put her book down in her search for the right words to describe the odd woman. "I still can't see her as a friend of your mum's."
"By different, you mean strange," Ron said grumpily, "And I'm not surprised she's a friend of Mum's, they were school friends from the late sixties. Ms. Jones never left the sixties, Mum did."
Ginny sat back and watched as Ron and Hermione fought. It was highly entertaining and besides, Ginny liked Ms. Jones. As strange as she was, she seemed kind, and Ginny could tell that Ms. Jones meant well.
"Ron, I don't see why you're jumping to conclusions about me, your mother, or Ms. Jones. It's just plain rude!"
Ron and Hermione always went off on each other at the drop of a hat. It was quite ridiculous but still quite funny. Lately Ginny had been considering selling tickets to some of their fights, possibly making her as successful as Weasley's Wizard Wheezes!
"Hermione, I don't know why you're yelling at me. I did
not jump to any conclusions. I simply stated-"
Hermione rolled her eyes and Ron lost it. "Hermione, don't look at me like that! I'm right! You know that I'm right! Ginny, back me up! Ginny? Ginny?"
"Erm… what?" Ginny said distractedly as Ron jerked her out of her thoughts.
"Ginny, you've been distracted all day," Hermione noted, "What have you been thinking about?"
"I know what Ginny has been thinking about— her new boyfriend, Dean." Ron said sulkily.
Ginny resisted rolling her eyes at her brother. Ever since she had jokingly mentioned that she was dating Dean Thomas, Ron had never stopped bugging her about it.
"No, actually I was thinking of… erm… Harry."
"Really?" Ron asked, suddenly perking up, "Why?"
"I'm just worrying about him. You know… now that people know that Vo- Voldemort is back, he‘s free to do… things. I just don't think Harry is very safe."
"Dumbledore has set up protections for Harry at the Dursley's," Ron said as if speaking to a little girl, and not someone who was almost his age.
"I'm worried about Harry, too," Hermione announced. "Harry's going to go crazy locked inside that prison of a house. He doesn't know what ‘s going on in the wizarding world-"
"But neither do we, Hermione! And we're not going mad!"
"I know that! But we are still in the wizarding world! We're not under the stress he is. Everyone expects him to defeat Voldemort. And now, he's lost Sirius, the closest thing he had to a father. You know Harry, he'll blame himself for Sirius dying." Hermione paused. "And I expect he's nervous about his O.W.L. scores."
"Hermione, I don't think O.W.L.'s are the first thing on Harry's mind right now… and I don't know if Harry will blame himself for Sirius's death. He didn't take Cedric's death the way we thought Harry would."
"Oh, so you're saying you want Harry to bottle up his grief inside of him, so that he'll explode like a bottle rocket?"
"What's a bottle rocket?"
"Well, I can't believe you're trying to analyze Harry! He isn't an essay topic, leave him alone!"
In boredom, Ginny glanced at her watch, which looked like a perfectly ordinary Muggle timepiece. Her father had tinkered with it for a bit so that it would display little messages underneath the time. It reminded Ginny of their clock at home. Right now the watch read 10:30, but the message was: time for bed, young lady! Ginny agreed that it was a good idea, and left Ron and Hermione to their argument.
Hermione rolled over on her bed. She was still thinking about the fight that she'd had with Ron. It wasn't her fault, of course. She wasn't to blame; he had been a complete prat! In fact, she didn't even care. She didn't care that she and Ron were constantly at each other, or that he only thought of her as a brain. She didn't care how cute he looked when he was angry, his face full of determination, and his red ears betraying his frustration. No, she did not care about Ron Weasley at all.
If that's true, then why can't you sleep? one part of her mind asked. But Hermione scoffed at it. The idea that her insomnia was due to Ron was ridiculous! People got insomnia all the time; she just hadn't adjusted to this new house; that was all. She glanced over at Ginny, whose bed was across the room. Hermione felt better knowing that she wasn't the only one having problems sleeping. Hermione had just started to settle down when Ginny began to moan.
Hermione sat up and looked over at Ginny. She hadn't stopped tossing and turning and in between the moans; Hermione could tell that Ginny was muttering.
"NO!... I don't want it… Oh… but… NO!... I said…"
Hermione was a smart witch. She could tell that Ginny was having a nightmare, having read all about magical and non-magical dreams. All the books she had read agreed on one point: don't wake someone up who is having a nightmare, especially magical ones! It's safer for them to wake up on their own.
As much as Hermione hated to leave her friend in a lurch, she knew it was all for the best. Hermione rolled over to face the wall and tried to clear her conscience about Ginny. She really didn't look so bad, and she would probably wake up soon, anyway.
Hermione rolled over again, just to make sure. Everything seemed fine until Ginny sat up in her bed, still asleep, and screamed, making Hermione almost scream herself.
Everything in the room, except for Ginny's bed and Hermione's cot, was floating three feet off the ground.