1:Ginny is Sorted and Begins Classes-September, 1992
The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Bold Face Text indicates a direct quote from Chapter Five, The Whomping Willow, or Chapter Six, Gilderoy Lockhart, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling.
On the first of September, everyone at The Burrow was trying to get ready to go to King's Cross at the same time. People were searching for spare socks and packing odds and ends. It did not seem possible that eight people, six large trunks, two owls, and a rat were going to fit in one small Ford Anglia.
'Not a word to Molly,' Arthur whispered to Harry as he opened the trunk and showed him how it had been magically expanded so that the luggage fitted easily.
Molly and Ginny joined Arthur in the front seat. She was surprised that all five boys fit easily in the back seat. 'You'd never know it was this roomy from the outside, would you?'
Arthur started the car and drove toward the road but had to return to the Burrow three times- first for George's fireworks, then, for Fred's broomstick, and finally, for Ginny's diary. By the time they had clambered back into the car, they were running very late, and tempers were running high.
Arthur tried to convince Molly that they should fly, using the Invisibility Booster, but she would have none of it.
They reached King's Cross at a quarter to eleven. Arthur parked the car in a small alley, dashed across the street to get trolleys for their trunks and they all hurried into the station.
'Percy first,' said Molly, looking nervously at the clock overhead, which showed they only had five minutes to disappear casually through the barrier.
Percy strode briskly forward and vanished. Arthur went next; Fred and George followed.
'I'll take Ginny and you two come right after us.' Molly told Harry and Ron, grabbing Ginny's hand and setting off. In the blink of an eye they were gone.
Platform Nine and Three-quarters had a few parents still waving at their children on the Hogwarts Express. Arthur took Ginny's trunk and hoisted it up into the carriage. He turned and kissed her and said, 'Ron and Harry can put it up in your compartment. Have a good year. We'll see you at Christmas."
Molly was already crying. "My baby girl is leaving us. Oh, Ginny, study hard! Your brothers will take care of you. Write and tell us about the Sorting. Maybe Harry will let you borrow Hedwig.' She gave Ginny a crushing hug and kissed her again and again.
Hermione leaned out of a window and saw Ginny getting on the train. She waved and shouted at Ginny, 'Come share a compartment with me. I'm saving places for Ron and Harry.'
Ginny scampered up the steps of the carriage and waved at her parents as the train blew steam from the engine.
Molly suddenly realized that Ron and Harry were not on the platform. The Hogwarts Express pulled out of the station and disappeared down the track. She had a very bad feeling about this. 'Ron and Harry are not on the train!' Molly was frantic. She and Arthur looked at one another and Apparated to where Arthur had parked the Ford Anglia. The space was empty.
'I don't believe it!' said Arthur, looking very concerned and a little pale. He stared at the empty parking place. 'Mollywobbles, don't get too upset, but I'm afraid that Ron decided to drive himself and Harry to Hogwarts.'
'But how will they know which roads to take?' asked Molly, saying each word louder than the one before it.
'I suspect they will fly,' said Arthur resignedly. 'Ron will figure out that following the train will get them to Hogsmeade. Then they could drive on the path to Hogwarts. I suppose there must be a rule against students having automobiles because otherwise everyone would want one.'
Molly started to fan herself. 'I knew that flying car would bring us nothing but trouble! They are sure to be seen. We'd better go home and Floo Professor Dumbledore and ask him what to do. I hope neither of them falls out on the way.'
Arthur took her by the arm and said, 'Come Side-Along with me. You are too distraught to be safe Apparating. You'd be sure to splinch yourself.' Both Weasleys looked around to be sure no Muggles were watching and disappeared from the alley across from King's Cross.
When they arrived back at the Burrow, they tried unsuccessfully to reach Albus Dumbledore. 'I suppose he is busy with the start of school, and all,' said Molly. 'I'll make us a cup of tea and some sandwiches. I always think more clearly after a bite to eat.'
A Ministry owl came, as they were finishing lunch. Arthur retrieved it and opened the parchment tied to its feet. 'Oh no! It's from Mr. Perkins in my department. Reports of a flying car are coming in from London. Ron must not have known where the Invisibility Booster was. I know I showed the button to Fred and George.'
Molly turned red. 'You showed the twins how to fly about without anyone seeing them!' She was beginning to lose her temper. 'Arthur, how could you? Now our baby boy and Harry Potter are flying, Merlin knows where, in a car that everyone can see!''
'I'll go take care of it,' he said as he kissed the air close to Molly's cheek. "Not to worry!' He Apparated to The Misuse of Muggle's Artifacts Office, leaving Molly sputtering.
Molly needed to keep busy so she summoned the sheets from the beds of the children who had left for Hogwarts that morning. 'Not that all of them got there,' she muttered. She levitated the sheets into the laundry cauldron and it started filling with water.
While the cauldron was filling, she began cleaning the kitchen and starting a soup for Arthur and her to eat when he finally straightened out the mess about the car. She had to be reminded by the laundry cauldron several times to perform the charms for the next step in washing. 'How long are you going to rinse these?' She finally took the clean sheets out into the yard to hang them in the sunshine. She decided that she needed a bit of a lie down while the sheets were drying but could not stop worrying about Ron and Harry.
Arthur called over the Floo around teatime. 'Molly, don't look at the Evening Prophet. Perkins and I will be busy for a while yet. Don't wait dinner. I might be quite late.'
Molly was too worried to do much more than pace back and forth between the lounge and the kitchen. It was well past bedtime when the owl from Hogwarts came. Molly noticed it was addressed to Mr and Mrs Arthur Weasley in green ink. She opened it and read-
Dear Arthur and Molly,
You will be relieved to know that your son, Ronald, and his friend, Mr Harry Potter, have arrived safely at Hogwarts. They each suffered some cuts and bruises as a result of driving your Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow, therefore landing rather more quickly than was prudent. Your automobile was severely damaged and seems to have driven itself deep into the Forbidden Forest.
Professor Snape greeted your son and Mr Potter as they arrived, brought them to his office, and notified their Head of House, Professor McGonagall, of their unusual mode of transportation. Ronald said that they had taken your vehicle because they could not get through the barrier at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. It did not occur to them to send Mr Potter's owl for help.
Both Ronald and Mr Potter have flouted the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry and caused damage to an old and valuable tree, as well as to your family automobile and to Ronald's wand. Madame Pomfroy healed their injuries, food was provided for them as they missed the Welcoming Feast, and Professor Mc Gonagall assigned them both detentions. I will be communicating with the Dursleys about Mr Potter's role in this incident.
This is certainly an inauspicious beginning to their second year. One can but hope that the rest of the year will be less adventurous.
However, on a happier note, you will be pleased to learn that your daughter, Ginevra, was sorted into Gryffindor. She is following the tradition in both the Prewitt and Weasley families. I sincerely hope she has a less eventful first year than Ronald had.
Sincerely yours, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Order of Merlin, First Class, and Grand Sorcerer Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Molly was flabbergasted. On one hand, she was glad that no serious harm had come to Ron and Harry. But she was also furious with them for not using their heads and staying by the car until she and Arthur had returned to it. Molly began muttering to herself, 'Surely, they knew that we could have Side-Along Apparated them to Hogsmeade. What could those boys have been thinking?'
Arthur arrived by Floo just as Molly was getting out the special red parchment and flammable ink that she needed to send a Howler. She handed him the letter from Dumbledore without a word. Arthur read it through and hung his head. 'It's my fault entirely. I never should have enchanted that car so it could fly. It was too much of an attractive nuisance for our sons. I am so ashamed of what I did. There is going to be an inquiry at work.'
Molly put her arms around Arthur. 'They can't blame you. There is no way you could have known that Ron would leave his brains behind when we went to King's Cross. It is his fault, and his fault only. What was he thinking, endangering Harry Potter's life and his own? Just promise me, no more flying cars! At least Ginny was sorted in with her brothers so they can take care of her. Come and eat some soup. You'll feel better after something to eat and a good night's rest.'
Molly and Arthur climbed the stairs together after dinner. The cuddled for a while and then Arthur fell into a fitful sleep. Molly kept thinking about Lily and James. They would have been as worried about Harry as she was about Ron. Finally, just after midnight, she decided to get up and write a Howler to Ron.
She knew what she wanted to say, so the words just tumbled out on to the page.
'WHAT WERE YOU THINKING OF - STEALING THE CAR, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SURPRISED IF THEY'D EXPELLED YOU, YOU WAIT TILL I GET HOLD OF YOU, I DON'T SUPPOSE YOUSTOPPED TO THINK WHAT YOUR FATHER AND I WENT THROUGH WHEN WE SAW IT WAS GONE –'
'WE GOT A LETTER FROM DUMBLEDORE LAST NIGHT, I THOUGHT YOUR FATHER WOULD DIE OF SHAME, WE DIDN'T BRING YOU UP TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS, YOU AND HARRY COULD BOTH HAVE DIED –'
'YOUR FATHER AND I ARE ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED – YOUR FATHER'S FACING AN INQUIRY AT WORK, IT'S ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT AND IF YOU PUT ANOTHER TOE OUT OF LINE WE'LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT BACK HOME.'
'Now lets see, where is that Howler spell? Ah, here it is in Spells for Special Circumstances.' Molly recited the Speak at Full Volume and Burn Document incantation: 'Narro procul plenus volubilis quod exuro tabellae!' Then she gave Errol a Strengthening Pellet, sealed the red envelope, and put it in his beak. 'Errol, take this as fast as you can so Ron will have it at breakfast.'
Arthur left for work early the next morning, obviously worried about the inquiry into the flying car. Molly wrote a short letter of congratulation to Ginny while she had a second cup of tea.
We miss you already even though you only left yesterday. We have had some excitement around here because Ron flew himself and Harry to Hogwarts in your father's car. Professor Dumbledore was forced to write us a letter detailing all of his misdeeds. They were seen by Muggles, so the situation is very serious.
Professor Dumbledore had the kindness to tell us that you had been sorted into Gryffindor. Your brothers will be able to look out for you there and help you make the adjustment to school. I know you will apply yourself and make us proud.
How was the trip? Did you sit with Hermione the whole way? Do you like the girls you share a room with?
'Percy will write soon and Hermes can take this back with him,' said Molly to herself as she went up the stairs to dress. 'I wonder if Ginny is going to be able to listen to the Days of Destiny marathon on the weekends.'
Predictably, Hermes arrived that night while Molly and Arthur were eating dinner. They gave him an owl treat and told him to rest in Errol's empty cage. Both Molly and Arthur were glad to have something to talk about besides the possible disciplinary hearing about the enchanted Muggle automobile. Arthur read aloud-
Dear Mother and Father,
I am pleased to inform you that all five of your offspring have finally arrived at Hogwarts, although I am sure you are aware of how your youngest son brought disgrace on the entire family by his thoughtless actions.
When Hermione Granger and Ginny informed me that neither Ron nor Harry Potter were on the train, I organized a search party immediately. Fred and George cooperated with me, for a change, but the lost boys were nowhere to be found. I informed the first Professor I encountered as soon as the Hogwarts Express got to Hogsmeade. Professor Snape said he would take care of informing our Head of House, Professor McGonagall. She is in charge of the first years before they are sorted so was otherwise occupied.
At any rate, Ginny was sorted into Gryffindor and Ron and Harry Potter had the good sense to avoid the Welcoming Feast and go directly to our common room. Unfortunately for proper decorum, their method of transportation made them heroes to those housemates who are constantly challenging authority. I attempted to reach them to admonish them but unfortunately was prevented by the crowd surrounding and congratulating them.
I will continue to show my younger brothers a good example and will take special care to be a companion to my little sister.
'I am so glad Percy will be there for Ginny,' said Molly.
'All of her brothers will take care of her,' said Arthur with the first smile he'd had since he arrived home. "Let's make it an early night, dear Mollywobbles."
Molly sent her letter to Ginny with Hermes the next morning. She hoped that Errol would make it back to the Burrow soon but it was two days before he limped in with a letter from Ginny. Molly fussed over Errol and gave him another Strengthening Pellet before she opened the letter.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I miss you too, but I love Hogwarts. Hermione was so helpful on the train. She made Percy look for Ron and Harry Potter and kept telling me that they would show up. She is very mature for her age even though she is only two years older than I am. She's going to be thirteen this month.
Ron and Harry Potter suffered some minor injuries flying Dad's car into a big tree, but everyone in Gryffindor except Percy and Hermione treated them like they were both clever and brave. I know that they have detentions this Friday night. Fred says he hopes Harry Potter doesn't have to stay up too late because they have Quidditch practice on Saturday morning early.
I don't know my new roommates very well yet. They seem nice but sort of 'girly'. They all have lots of clothes and make-up. One of the first year boys has a camera that works at Hogwarts. He's taking lots of pictures of Harry Potter.
I like most of my classes. Professor Lockhart is very much full of himself in real life. I am spending lots of time reading my books and doing homework assignments and writing in my diary. I am tired, so I am also sleeping a lot.
Lots of hugs and kisses for both of you,
Molly put the letter from Ginny at Arthur's place at the kitchen table. 'Too bad Gilderoy Lockhart is not as nice as he looks. He certainly has a nice smile,' Molly smiled to herself as she started the breakfast dishes washing. She thought it was very sensible of the Wizarding Wireless Network to schedule the new program Bedside at St Brigid's right after Days of Destiny. She hoped she'd be able to keep the new characters straight in her mind. The kindly old Healer was named Finnbar O'Toole and the girl from Scotland who was just starting Healer training was called Mackenzie Campbell and the young man from Wales was Dylan Jones. There was an Irish lad named Declan and his older sister Siobhan. Molly was sure all the names would make more sense as she learned more about them.
When Arthur got home, he was happy to read the letter from Ginny. 'You should save this for her baby book since it is the first letter since she went away to school,' he suggested to Molly. 'I have a bit of good news, as well. The Ministry is not going to press charges against me over the car being able to fly. The law is very clear that the alleged perpetrator must have intent to use the Muggle artifact in a magical way. I admitted that I did charm the car so it could fly and become invisible but I had no intention of actually using the car to fly. My modifications were, therefore, a science experiment rather than actual Misuse of a Muggle Artifact. I may have to pay a fine but will not lose my job.'
Molly squealed. 'Oh Arthur, that relieves my mind. I was so worried. I know how much you love doing what you do. You really enjoy your work. Tomorrow morning I am going to start walking with some friends to try and lose a bit of weight. Some of the other women from Witches and Stitches think we should call ourselves the Walkers and Talkers.'
'You know I like you just the way you are but for the first time in many years you can choose what you want to spend time doing. Go Molly Go!' said Arthur as he hugged her.
Harry Potter's owl Hedwig arrived at the Burrow the following Saturday with a letter from Ron. Arthur read it aloud while they ate sausage and eggs and toast.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I am sorry that I disappointed you and for all the trouble I caused. We should have waited for you by the car when we could not get through the barrier. Harry says he is sorry he didn't think of sending Hedwig with a message. He loaned her to me so you would get this letter quickly. I will buy Dad another car when I get a job. Maybe I will play for the Cannons and make a lot of money.
My classes are harder this year. It has not been a good week. Professor Lockhart made us catch Cornish Pixies and they bite. And my wand malfunctioned and I belched slugs for a really long time. But it wasn't my fault. Malfoy called Hermione a very bad name. And then I had detention and had to polish everything in the Trophy Room. Harry just had to help Professor Lockhart with his fan mail. He says it was awful! I am worried that Harry is doing too much because he is hearing things that nobody else hears.
Our friend Hermione is turning thirteen today so there will be cake in the common room. I better go check it out before Fred and George eat it all.
P.S. Ginny's in her room a lot. She says she has to do homework all the time and is sleeping because she is tired. I'd be tired too if I had a lot of homework when I had just turned eleven.
'I'm so glad that Ron apologized,' Molly said. 'He had us half worried out of our minds. It seems strange for it to be so quiet here with all the children gone.'
"Do you fancy a mid day nap, Mollywobbles?' asked Arthur, waggling his eyebrows. Molly blushed and led him up the stairs.