Adam had heard several strange noises around The Burrow over the last few hours. He thought he'd heard people moving up and down the stairs. He had even thought he'd heard Ginny get up, but looking at his watch, he realised it was only just gone six. Ginny never got up before eight during the holidays.
Adam, deciding he must have been hearing things, tried to see if he could go back to sleep for another few hours. He was traditionally an early riser, but six was a bit ridiculous, even for him.
Adam finally gave it up as a lost cause just after seven. He got out of bed and started down the stairs. The house was completely silent. Strange, normally Mrs Weasley at least was up by this time.
When he reached the living room, he saw that the door to the kitchen was closed. Adam pushed open the door and walked in.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" voices shouted as he entered the room.
Adam jumped back violently.
"W-W-W-What?" Adam asked. What was going on?
"It's a surprise, Adam!" Ginny said, beaming at him from the other side of the kitchen.
Adam looked around the kitchen. Someone had put streamers up around the room and there was a pile of presents on the table. All of the Weasleys that Adam knew were there, even Percy.
Ginny came around the table and, grabbing his arm, ushered Adam to the place of honour at the head of the table.
"There're some presents for you, dear," Mrs Weasley said warmly. "And this evening I'll make you a special birthday dinner."
Adam just sat there, completely speechless. "T-T-Thanks!" he eventually managed to stutter as Mrs Weasley placed the pile of presents in front of him.
Adam stared at them for a minute, unable to get the grin off his face.
"Go on, Adam," said Mr Weasley. "They're all for you."
Adam hesitated slightly, savouring the moment, before he started eagerly ripping the paper off the first present.
Best birthday ever!
August 12th 1994
"Hogwarts letters!!!" Fred shouted as he burst into the living room with a pile of letters in his hand.
Adam's attention quickly shifted from his game of chess with Ron. His summer, so far, had been quiet, apart from his amazing birthday party. He seemed to have had, strangely, less homework than he remembered from last year. Most importantly, this summer there had been no drama, no dramatic escapes or late night Knight Bus trips. Adam had savoured the quiet time. He had no real worries. He had simply been able to relax. He had been able to fly, play chess, spend time with Ginny and he had even helped out with the chores. Life was good right now.
"Here you go, Ron," said Fred. "And you, Ginny," he continued throwing Ginny's envelope to where she was sitting on a sofa. "And Mr. No Name!" he said, winking as he passed Adam his letter.
"I can't believe Professor Dumbledore hasn't sorted that out yet," said Ron.
"I don't think he even knows why it happens," replied Adam.
"Adam!" Ginny chirped excitedly from where she was sitting. She had a wide smile on her face. "Forms for us to get signed so we can go to Hogsmeade!"
Adam opened his envelope in a rush; it contained two sheets of parchment. One was the normal Hogwarts letter. The second was a form asking for a signature to allow him to go to Hogsmeade at the arranged visit days during the year. Adam's face fell; he needed a signature from a parent or guardian, and he didn't have either of those.
"I need a signature from a parent or guardian, I don't have either of those," said Adam glumly.
Ginny sprang to her feet, bounded across the room, and sat down next to Adam.
"Maybe Mum or Dad can sign it? Or Professor Dumbledore? I'm sure you'll be able to go!" said Ginny with a smile.
That perked Adam up. "I'll go and ask your mum, see what she says," he said.
Adam stood up and walked over to the kitchen, where Mrs Weasley was currently working on making lunch.
"Mrs Weasley," said Adam, trying to attract her attention.
"Oh hello, Adam, dear," she said with a smile. "Do you need anything?"
"Um, I just wondered who would sign my Hogsmeade form?" asked Adam.
Mrs Weasley paused for a second. "Oh, I don't think Arthur or I can sign it, but I can certainly ask Professor Dumbledore."
Adam grinned. "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley."
Maybe he would get to go to Hogsmeade after all.
Ginny August 17th 1994
Ginny sat down at the table ready for dinner. She was sitting at her usual place with Adam on her right and the empty place for her father on her left. He was late home from work, again. Percy managed to get home from his new ministry job on time. Why couldn't Dad?
The fireplace burst to life suddenly and her dad stepped through. As he emerged from the flames, she saw that he had a massive grin on his face.
"Hello, Weasleys!" he called out. "I've got fantastic news!"
Ginny saw the entire table turn to face her dad.
"I have managed to get everyone, plus Bill and Charlie, tickets for the Quidditch World Cup in a few days!"
Ginny jumped out of her seat and hugged her dad. The Quidditch World Cup! It would be so incredibly awesome! She saw Adam was sporting a massive grin and she heard Ron whoop with joy.
"Thanks, Dad!" she squealed excitedly.
"Ginny, come sit down. Arthur, come and eat your dinner before it gets cold," Mrs Weasley called, interrupting the celebrations.
Dad sat down at the table and began eating his dinner.
"Dad, can Hermione come? She's coming to stay tomorrow," asked Ron.
"Yes, I remembered she was coming to stay for the summer," said Dad between mouthfuls of food.
While the dessert was being served, Mr Weasley announced their travel plans. "I'll be taking those of you that are too young to Apparate. We will need to leave early on the 25th and I mean early."
"What about those who can Apparate?" Percy asked.
"You can Apparate over later in the morning, so you get a lie in," replied Mr Weasley.
"Mr. Weasley," said Adam, blushing slightly, "I guess I should know this, but what is Apparition?"
"It's a method of moving instantly from one place to another. You will learn how to do it in your sixth year, you need to be seventeen and pass the test."
Adam nodded and said, "Thanks, Mr. Weasley"
As she tucked into her desert, Ginny chatted to Adam excitedly about the World Cup. She couldn't wait. She had never dreamed she would actually be able to go and see the cup final live!
Adam August 22nd 1994
Mrs Weasley awakened Adam by gently shaking his shoulder. "Up you get, dear," she said. "Nearly time to go."
Adam got out of bed, and dressed in some jeans and his treasured Weasley jumper. Once dressed, he grabbed his bag and dashed downstairs for breakfast.
"Adam, you're probably the expert on this," Mr Weasley said, standing up from where he was sitting at the kitchen table. "Do I look Muggle?"
Adam glanced at Mr Weasley's clothes. He was wearing a jumper and a pair of jeans.
"Yes, you're fine, Mr. Weasley," Adam replied.
Ginny and Hermione soon trooped into the kitchen. Ginny looked sleepy and her hair was ruffled.
"I hate early mornings," she complained through a yawn.
Once they had all eaten a quick breakfast, they grabbed their packs and put on their coats.
"Wait!" Mrs Weasley called.
Everyone stopped and turned to look at her. Mrs Weasley raised her wand and pointed it at Fred and George. Suddenly a selection of sweets and other small packaged items flew out of the twins' pockets.
"Mum!" they cried. "We spent six months making them!"
"That would be why you didn't get more OWLs then!" she snapped. "You need to forget those silly plans of yours and start working towards a proper career!"
The group left the slightly unfriendly atmosphere and set off walking through the garden of The Burrow.
"Are we walking?" Ginny asked her dad.
"We're taking a Portkey, so we just need to walk to the Portkey site," replied Mr Weasley.
Adam didn't know what a Portkey was. The Wizarding world, even after two years living in it, seemed to still be able to surprise him.
"What's a Portkey?" Adam asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"They are objects that can move large groups from one point to another at a pre-arranged time. All the wizards that can't or don't want to Apparate to the World Cup will use Portkeys. Ours is up on Stoatshead Hill."
Adam felt a tap on his back and, glancing over his shoulder, he saw Ginny had caught up to him. She was grinning excitedly.
"Got over the early start?" Adam asked, winking.
"No!" Ginny replied with a fake pout. She giggled. "Did you see those things Mum took off the twins?"
"They were the pranking sweets they have been developing. They call them Ton-Tongue-Toffees."
"What do they do?" asked Adam.
"They make your tongue swell up to a massive size!" Ginny said.
Adam laughed in response, but he didn't fancy having a massive tongue. His was quite big enough as it was.
"The twins are planning on making an entire range of joke products. Maybe one day they will even open their own shop," Ginny continued.
"Keep an eye out for the Portkey!" Mr Weasley exclaimed as they now seemed to be reaching the top of the hill.
Adam glanced around, pretending to be searching for a Portkey. He didn't mention to Mr Weasley that he didn't actually know what a Portkey looked like.
"Arthur! Over here, I have it!" a voice called from the other side of the hilltop, attracting everyone's attention.
As they got closer, Adam saw that there were two people standing near an old boot. Adam recognised one of the two as Cedric Diggory. Ginny had beaten him to the Snitch in the first Quidditch match of last year.
"Amos!" Mr Weasley called as they approached the two.
"Hello! Are these all yours?" the man called Amos asked.
"Just the red heads. This is Hermione, a friend of Ron's, and that's Adam, a friend of Ginny's. Everyone, this is Amos Diggory, he works with me at the Ministry, and his son Cedric."
The two groups exchanged greetings. Adam noticed Ginny looking slightly smug as the twins mentioned that she had beaten Cedric to the Snitch last year.
"The Portkey will be leaving soon, everyone hold on!" Mr Weasley announced.
Adam quickly moved to stand next to Ginny and he placed his hand on the boot. Suddenly he felt a pulling sensation from his belly button and abruptly he was flying off his feet. He felt himself bang into Ginny and the two of them spun around. Adam felt dizzy. Suddenly, his feet hit the ground hard and he fell to the ground. He felt something that was strangely soft crash into his chest.
Raising his head, Adam discovered that Ginny was sprawled across his body. Blushing, she quickly got to her feet and then helped Adam up.
"Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill," said a voice in the background.
Adam glanced around, trying to locate the source of the voice. A grumpy pair of wizards, both of whom were dressed very oddly, in Adam's opinion, were standing nearby. Adam guessed one of these had been source of the voice.
Adam saw Mr Weasley already talking with the wizards and realized that he had been, somehow, able to land on his feet after the Portkey trip.
"Come on, let's head to our campsite!" Mr Weasley called excitedly.
They trudged across what appeared to be a stretch of mooreland but they soon reached their pitch, with only a brief encounter with the Muggle that ran the campsite.
"Right. Adam, you know how to put up a tent, right?" Mr Weasley said with a hopeful look on his face.
They all chipped in to get the tents up and between Adam and Hermione they were able figure it out, with only a limited amount of raised voices and banged up fingers. Adam decided that he wasn't going to let Mr. Weasley anywhere near a mallet again... ever.
Adam stood back and admired the two two-man tents they had put up.
"Mr. Weasley, how are we all going to fit in the tents?" Adam asked.
"Go inside!" Mr Weasley said smugly. "Girls in the left one, boys and me in the right."
Adam crawled into his tent on his hands and knees. When he got inside, he looked around and felt his jaw drop. The tent had a living room and three bedrooms!
"Impressive, eh?" Mr Weasley commented as he crawled in behind Adam. "I borrowed it off a friend from work."
Ginny and Hermione soon joined them in the tent.
"We need to get ourselves some wood and water!" Mr Weasley said, with his eyes shining. "We're going to cook like real Muggles! Adam and Ginny, you two pop off and get the water, the rest of you fetch some wood," Mr Weasley ordered.
Doing as they were told, Adam and Ginny trudged off towards where the campsite map told them the water was. As they walked through the campsite, Adam took in the sights with great curiosity because he hadn't been at a large gathering of wizards before. They passed through a group of Irish tents, which were decorated all in green. When they passed through the Bulgarian tents, Ginny pointed out the posters of Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker.
"He's the best Seeker in the world right now," she commented as they walked past one of the moving posters. "He always seems to look grumpy though."
When Adam and Ginny returned to their tents, Adam saw Mr Weasley, unsuccessfully, trying to light a fire.
"Do you want a hand, Mr. Weasley?" Adam asked.
Adam took the matches from Mr Weasley and lit the fire.
"Well done!" Mr Weasley exclaimed.
Adam began to laugh, but when he noticed Mr Weasley's strange expression he said, "All these magical things are amazing to me, but so many simple Muggle things are amazing to you!"
Adam saw Mr Weasley smile in return. "It does seem that way sometimes," he replied.
Once the tea was made, Adam and Ginny retreated inside the tent where they sat down in the living room and both soon fell asleep.
"Time to go, kids!" Mr Weasley called as he stuck his head inside the door.
Adam walked with the Weasleys and Hermione towards the stadium, meeting up with Bill, Charlie and Percy as they walked. The path to the stadium followed a lamp-lit trail through the woods. As they got closer to the stadium, the crowds grew and they began to encounter large numbers of saleswizards selling souvenirs to fans of both teams. Adam spotted Ginny trotting over to a one that was selling giant hats in Irish colours. Adam ignored the saleswizard; he had no money.
Adam was walking along when suddenly everything went black. He reached up to feel his eyes frantically. He encountered a soft material covering them. Pulling the material up, he realised that a large Irish hat had been placed on his head.
Ginny was standing in front of him and she stuck her tongue out. "I bought you a hat!" she said excitedly.
"Thanks! But, Ginny, you didn't have to!" Adam exclaimed.
"Don't worry, I've been saving pocket money for this!" she replied. "I wanted you to have something to remember the match with."
Adam smiled self-consciously. "Thanks, Ginny," he said in a quiet tone.
When they reached the stadium, they were directed to the top box by a witch who exclaimed that they had prime seats. Adam wondered how Mr Weasley had managed to get such good tickets. After climbing for what felt like an hour they finally reached the top box and Adam saw about twenty richly decorated seats, all facing the pitch. He and Ginny ran straight to the front of the box, which was currently empty, and peered over the edge.
"Wow..." Adam said, his breath taken away. The stadium was by far the biggest thing he had ever seen. The pitch seemed far, far below him and, opposite where Adam was sitting, there was a large notice board. From time to time, it flashed advertisements for various wizarding products. The entire stadium seemed to be bathed in light.
Over the next half-hour, the box slowly filled with people. Adam even spotted the Minister of Magic, one of the few people in the box he recognised. Adam and Ginny, however, stayed in one corner of the box, almost hanging over the edge in eagerness to see everything that happened and so were largely ignored.
Suddenly Adam felt Ginny tense by his side.
"Lucius Malfoy!" she whispered, looking firmly in front of her towards the advertising board that was on the opposite side of the stadium to her. "Just ignore him!"
"Slimy gits," Ron said, as he approached them with Hermione. "They were looking at Hermione as if she wasn't good enough to be in this box!"
"The Malfoys?" Adam asked.
"Yeah," replied Ron.
"Just ignore them," Ginny repeated.
Ron and Hermione joined Adam and Ginny standing at the front of the box, presumably, so they had a good view of the game. Adam saw Scabbers peeking out from Ron's trouser pocket.
"Why did you bring Scabbers, Ron?" Ginny asked, obviously having seen the rat as well.
"He might like to see the World Cup," Ron replied and he encouraged Scabbers to come out of his pocket.
Adam laughed as Ginny rolled her eyes.
Soon the Minister of Magic began the proceedings. As he was speaking, Adam was nearly blinded by the flashing of camera bulbs and he guessed the press were frantic to take pictures of the Minister and the other occupants of the top box.
Soon the Bulgarian team entered the stadium and with them came their mascots, a group of women, incredibly beautiful women. Something about them was just so enticing to Adam.
Suddenly, Adam felt a tug on his back and he found himself lying flat on his back on the floor below his seat. Adam shook his head, trying to clear the haziness from it. He looked up to see Ginny standing over him.
"They must have been really pretty for you to want to climb out of the box to get them!" Ginny exclaimed with an evil smirk on her face.
"They're called Veela, Adam, and they have that effect on all men and boys that aren't ready for it," she said, smiling kindly.
Adam looked over and was relieved to see that Ron was caught in an equally silly position. Hermione was looking at him disapprovingly, clutching Scabbers in her hands.
"I thought Scabbers was going to jump as well!" she exclaimed.
Ginny laughed. "Maybe it works on boy rats as well!"
The Veela left, to Adam's relief, as the Irish team and their mascots entered the stadium. The Irish mascots zoomed over the stands in an intricate display that formed a giant shamrock hovering over the pitch. Soon a golden rain began to fall from it and Adam realised that it was actually raining gold coins.
"Don't bother. The gold will disappear after a few hours. Bill told me," Ginny whispered to Adam.
Adam giggled as he saw Ron frantically gathering up as much of the gold as he could.
"We're not telling Ron, then?" Adam asked.
Ginny shook her head and put her finger to her lips.
With the preliminaries over the game began. Adam and Ginny, coming to an unspoken agreement that they were supporting Ireland, cheered frantically when Ireland won the initial possession as the referee released the Quaffle.
Ginny August 23rd 1994
"Ginny! Hermione! Up! Now!" Dad's voice called from the flap of their tent.
Ginny reluctantly opened her eyes. They hadn't got to sleep until late. The game had run on late into the night until Krum had finally caught the Snitch, but Ireland had still won, their Chasers were simply too good.
"Ginny, put some clothes on, then meet me outside! Right now!"
From the tone of her dad's voice, she knew he was serious so she leapt out of bed and slipped on a pair of jeans and a jacket while Hermione did the same. Then they dashed outside the tent.
On the far side of the campsite a group of wizards in dark robes were marching across the field, blasting tents apart and hooting joyfully as they caused chaos. Ginny squinted as she saw several objects floating above the group of wizards. Suddenly, as the group passed a burning tent, Ginny recognised the things floating above the wizards. It was the Muggle campsite owner and presumably his family.
"That's sick," Ron commented. "That is really sick."
"We're going to help the Ministry officials. Fred, George, Hermione, Ron, Adam and Ginny get into the woods and hide!" Mr Weasley ordered as he dashed across the field with Bill, Charlie and Percy.
Ginny followed the others as they ran into the woods. She stuck close to Adam, not wanting to be separated. Once they entered the woods, she realised the lanterns that had been lit the previous day were now extinguished, so they blundered through the wood in the darkness. There were crowds of people attempting to hide in the forest and Ginny felt herself being buffeted from side to side as they rushed passed her. She continued walking but the buffeting had turned her around and she realised with horror that she could no longer see any of her brothers or Adam.
"Hello?" she called into the darkness.
"Ginny?" Adam's voice called in return.
Ginny was relieved when she saw him push his way through a group of wizards towards her.
"I think the others went this way," he said, pointing in the direction that he had come from.
Ginny clasped Adam's hand and let him lead her through the darkness. They walked for several minutes.
"Where are they?" Adam said to no one in particular.
Suddenly a loud bang sounded nearby. Ginny and Adam jumped violently.
"Let's carry on," said Ginny.
They walked slowly through the woods, unsure of the direction in which they were going. They hoped that they would soon reach something familiar. Ginny could still hear the sounds of spells and the noises of people moving through the woods, so they couldn't be that far away from the others.
"Who were those wizards?" Adam asked.
"I don't know," said Ginny. "I've never seen anything like that before."
Ginny heard the crunch of footsteps from behind her and she spun around, taking Adam by surprise.
"Who's there?" she asked.
There was no reply.
"MORSMORDRE!" a voice shouted.
Suddenly the forest was bathed in a sickly green light.
"A skull!" Adam exclaimed.
Ginny looked up and shuddered as she saw a giant skull with a snake emerging from its mouth. It lit up the sky.
"What is that?" Adam asked.
"I don't know, but I don't think its good. Let's get out of here."
Ginny and Adam ran, pounding through the trees. They didn't particularly care what direction; they just wanted to get away from the eerie green mark in the sky. Suddenly the forest around them was filled with the pops of Apparition. Ginny looked around and realised they were now running towards a large group of wizards all with their wands out.
"Down!" Adam shouted and Ginny felt herself being pulled down onto the ground, narrowly avoiding a bright red ball of light that sailed through the spot where she had been standing only a second earlier.
"Stop! That's my daughter!" she heard her dad's voice echo through the forest.
"Ginny, Adam," she heard him call, "are you alright?"
Ginny got to her feet shakily and approached her father, who pulled her into a hug.
Suddenly a man that Ginny didn't recognise pushed her dad away and rounded on herself and Adam.
"Which of you did it?" he said in a cold voice.
"Barty," whispered a nearby witch. "They're kids; they couldn't conjure the Mark."
"Where did the Mark come from, Ginny?" Dad questioned.
Ginny pointed in the direction from where she and Adam had just run.
"We heard a voice and then saw the skull in the sky. I didn't know what it was so we ran away," Adam added.
"Search that area, then! Our Stunners went right through there! We probably got them," said Amos Diggory excitedly.
Ginny watched as the wizards searched the area.
"Got something!" one of them called, as he came running back towards the man named Barty.
"Aha! We have their wand!" Barty said, holding the wand in his hand.
Oh No! Ginny recognised the wand. It was Adam's. She looked over at Adam and saw he had gone pale.
"Sir," Adam said in a quiet voice.,"that's my wand. I must have dropped it."
"We will have to check it out anyway," said Barty. "There are ways to tell what the last spell a wand has cast."
"Priori Incantato!" said Barty, pointing his wand at Adam's.
Suddenly from Adam's wand, a giant green skull emerged. Ginny heard everyone gasp.
"No!" Adam shouted. "I didn't!"
Ginny watched as Adam turned to her father with a pleading look.
"Mr. Weasley! I didn't... I don't even know what that skull is!"
"Dad! He didn't do it. He was with me the entire time!" Ginny shrieked.
"SILENCE!" Barty roared. "That is all the evidence I need, he shall be taken in for questioning."
"Barty! He's just a boy and Muggle-born at that! He couldn't have cast the Mark; he doesn't even know what it means, for Merlin's sake!" Mr Weasley yelled.
"He will come into custody, Arthur, and there we will determine the truth of the matter."
Adam looked as if he was about to be sick. Ginny felt as if she was about to cry.
"Dad..." she said, trying to plead with him to help Adam.
"Adam, go with him for now. I'll be coming with you. I believe that you're innocent. I'm going to call Professor Dumbledore so he can help me sort this out."
As they trooped back out of the woods, two of the wizards who had tried to Stun them earlier walked on either side of Adam so that neither she nor her father were allowed anywhere near him. He looked incredibly miserable. Eventually, the group reached the path that ran through the forest and they followed it until they reached the campsite. Ginny couldn't believe these people actually thought Adam could have done this. She didn't fully understand what was so bad about the skull in the sky.
Ginny saw the rest of her brothers and Hermione waiting for them as they emerged from the forest. Her father pulled Ginny over to them.
"Bill, I have to go to the Ministry. You're in charge. Pack up the tents and then get the others all back to The Burrow. The Portkeys are leaving within the hour to take everyone home," instructed Dad.
"What about Adam?" Ron asked.
"Long story, but I need to go with him to the Ministry. Ginny can explain when you get home. I need to go. I don't want to let Adam out of my sight."
Ginny watched as her dad dashed off, back towards the crowd of Ministry wizards. She felt Bill take her hand, obviously picking up on her distressed state.
"Let's get you home, Ginny," he said kindly as they began to make their way back towards the tents.
Authors Note: Here is the first chapter! Thanks to all the reviewers and my beta, Arnel.