The Story takes off during the summer after fifth year on a nice Saturday morning.
Petunia picked up the ringing phone. "Dursley residence."
"Hello," said a deep man's voice, "I am calling to check up on Harry. Please put him on."
"Umm" stuttered Petunia, going white with fear "L-let me go get him."
Putting her hand over the phone, she turned around and screamed at Harry, who was just coming down the stairs to start on his assigned chores for the day.
"Boy! Get in here! One of THEM is on the phone!" Petunia shouted then threw the handset at him.
"Who could it be?" Harry wondered. He was sure it couldn't be Ron or Mr. Weasley, since neither of them knew how to use the "fellytone" as Mr. Weasley put it when he saw him last at King's Cross.
"Hello?" queried a hesitant Harry.
"Harry, this Mr. Granger, Hermione's father. Let me put her on. Cheers Harry!"
After a short pause, Hermione came on the line. "Hi Harry! Did you get started on your homework yet? The reason I had my dad ring you is he'd sound more intimidating on the phone to those horrid Dursleys than I would. Sorry I haven't called or owled earlier, but I've been helping out at my parents' dental clinic and they've been keeping me very busy. "
"Nice to finally hear from somebody. ‘Cause some GIT hasn't owled me for two weeks! Glad to hear at least one of my friends wants to talk to me," said Harry, a bit irritated.
"Well, last I heard from Ginny, she mentioned Ron was busy helping out the twins in their new shop in Diagon Alley."
"Ginny writes to you? I've --- not heard from her," Harry said with a catch in his voice. "Come to think of it, she's never owled me, even now with us actually talking to each other. She's never really spoken to me either until last year."
"Well then maybe you should write to her instead. You both have a lot in common and I think she might like to hear from you," said Hermione.
"What would I say?" asked Harry.
"You'll think of something. Now how are the Dursleys treating you? Getting enough to eat and everything?" interrogated Hermione. "Every time I see you at the beginning of the school year, you're too thin!"
"Changing the subject are we? I can't complain in that department. I should say to watch out for the twins, they have some particularly interesting new items out."
"Why were the twins owling you Harry? Is there something I should know?" queried Hermione.
"I owled them a few ideas for some new items that I'd like to see for the next school year. I plan on testing them on the Slytherins, especially Ferret Face," Harry said with a grin. "The Amazing Bouncing Ferret is one of my favorite memories of Malfoy. I know it's definitely one of Ron's."
"Harry! I'm surprised at you! You should know better than to consort with the twins. Who knows what sort of trouble they might get you into now that they aren't bound by school rules? Mrs. Weasley is still sending them Howlers for what they did to Ron a few weeks ago at the shop."
"Boy!" Uncle Vernon shouted, his voice echoing in the hallway after walking downstairs from his bedroom. "What are you doing," he screamed, the veins in his neck starting to purple.
"Umm... gotta go Hermy! I'll owl you later!" Harry let out in a rush and quickly put the phone back on the hook.
"Don't call me Herm-," he heard as the conversation cut off.
"You better have a good explanation for this boy," bellowed Vernon in Harry's face. "What are you doing with that telephone?"
"It was my minders checking in on me, like they said they would," replied Harry meekly.
"Well, then get your pathetic self upstairs, and stay there," Vernon stalked out of the room, sat down in his favorite chair and rustled the paper loudly.
Harry hurried upstairs to his room, taking the steps two at a time. Thoughts of a certain redheaded girl starting to run through his head; random images flickering past his eyes as he flopped down on his bed, all thoughts of chores completely gone.
He saw, unbidden, Ginny standing with her mother at the station staring at him, Ginny sticking her elbow in the butter dish, blushing as red as her hair. I always thought that was cute, but I'm glad she stopped that, thought Harry. It was hard to butter the scones with her elbow in the dish.
He next saw Ginny lying at his feet inside the Chamber with her eyes closed, her skin as cold as death. Harry paused in his thoughts, momentarily bewildered as to why that image frightened him more than anything his young mind had seen thus far, even more than losing Sirius. Tears slipped unbidden down his cheeks as he reflected on the events in the Department of Mysteries and how much he missed Sirius, which led to a session of self-blame. It was all my fault, if I had done better at Occlumency, none of this would have happened. I'd still have him and none of my friends would have gotten hurt. But as his thoughts continued down this trail, he had to admit, that it wasn't ALL his fault – Snape, Dumbledore, and Voldemort deserved most of the blame. Harry started to feel better.
Harry's thoughts took an abrupt, but happy turn, making a slight smile tug at the corner of his mouth. She said she broke up with Michael Corner. Now that was good news. He really wasn't her type grinned Harry.
With a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach, Harry thought about when she said she'd
chosen Dean. Now why would she want to choose him? She deserves better, Harry frowned. Wait a moment Potter, this is Ron's baby sister you're thinking about. Hmmm.
He realized with a jolt that he was seeing Ginny now, not as Ron's baby sister and not just as the friend that she had become over the past year, but as a girl and quite an attractive one at that. With a start, he realized that he actually was jealous of Dean. Could that mean that…? "Nah, it could never happen, she said herself that she gave up on me months ago." Harry sighed out loud. "Wait a moment…that means she actually …?"
Harry tried hard to remember exactly what Hermione had said when she told him that about Ginny. Harry racked his brains trying to recall.
"Ahah!" he exclaimed, remembering something Hermione had said during the year.
'Ginny used to fancy Harry, but she gave up on him months ago. Not that she doesn't like you, of course'
At that point Harry had a revelation. Hermione had said that she still liked him, but gave up on him? And why had Hermione said that Ginny would like to hear from him? What did that mean in boy speak, not girl speak? Then it hit him. It meant that he still might have a chance – if he played his cards right, but he would have to take it slowly. As he sat on his bed, Harry started to plan a form of attack.
Some of the above was quoted directly from J.K.R's OOTP Ch 16. I hope you've enjoyed it so far. My Thanks go out to Sorting Hat, dadaginny, and Jalyn for betaing this and support.