Harry woke up early the next morning in anticipation of making his wish. The sun was just lightening the sky in the east as he crept out of bed. He tried to stay quiet so he didn't wake Ron, but Ron wasn't in bed, either. Harry shrugged to himself and made his way downstairs.
As he descended the stairs, the smell of freshly baked muffins and cooking bacon assailed his nose. He breathed in deeply and then let out a contented sigh. His stomach responded with a loud growl, and he instinctively grabbed it with his hand.
"I'll assume that you're hungry, then?"
He looked up at the source of the feminine voice and noticed that it wasn't Mrs. Weasley at the stove, but Ginny. All thoughts of where Ron had got to left his mind. "Sorry," he muttered sheepishly. "I guess your cooking just brings out the worst in me."
She huffed and shot a withering glance in his direction. "Well, since you've never tasted my cooking, I don't see how you'd be one to judge." Her nose was slightly raised in the air, and a smile was barely visible through the feigned hurt on her face.
Harry popped a muffin into his mouth and devoured it quickly. "Seems okay to me. I guess I could force myself to eat it." He turned and made to get some plates from the cupboard. Before he could open the cupboard door, however, he was pelted in the head with a soft but heavy object.
"Hey! What was that for?" he shouted in mock pain. On the floor was an oven mitt with a bulge in the end. Harry picked it up and extracted a good-sized orange.
"Maybe next time you'll keep your comments to yourself, eh, Potter?" Ginny's eyes were twinkling as she set her hands on her hips, challenging him to fight back.
Massaging the back of his head, he calmly walked over to where she was standing by the sink. He placed the mitt and orange on the counter and looked directly in her eyes. Her eyes softened a little at this, and Harry almost lost his resolve. She was looking so intently back into his eyes that she didn't see his arm moving up from the sink.
In a blur, Harry launched a cup of water at Ginny's head, drenching the top half of her body. Ginny's face was frozen with shock, mouth agape, hands shaking as she wiped water from her eyes. "You. Will. Pay. Potter!" she ground out.
Harry may have been foolish enough to get Ginny worked up like this, but he wasn't stupid. As quickly as she got these words out of her mouth, he was sprinting out the back door into the garden. Much to his combined dismay and delight, he could hear her light footsteps behind him.
He made his way to an oak tree near the top of a low hill, still within the boundaries of the protective wards around the Weasleys' property. Slowing his pace to allow Ginny to catch up, he noticed that he didn't hear her footfalls anymore. Turning around, he couldn't see her at all, and his face fell with disappointment. Maybe he was too fast and she had given up. Just as he bent over to catch his breath, knowing he would have to return to face the wrath of Ginny Weasley, he heard an almighty screech behind him. The next thing he knew, he was tumbling down the hill with a pair of arms around his chest and something person-sized on his back.
As they rolled into a small hollow and stopped turning, Harry realized that he could barely make out the trees around them through his cracked glasses. As his head stopped spinning, he realized that Ginny was pummeling his chest with her fists and she was yelling at him.
"If you ever do that again, Harry Potter...." Harry started to laugh at this point and couldn't force himself to stop.
"What's this?" Ginny shouted. "Think it's funny, do you? Attacking an innocent girl and then running off into the woods!" Her face was twisted with a mixture of anger, shock, and a tiny bit of amusement.
Through his fits of laughter, Harry managed to get out a few words. "Oh, you were hardly innocent! Besides, the look on your face...priceless."
With a final punch to his ribs, Ginny sat on her backside heavily and folded her arms. Looking a bit mollified, she started in again. "I can't believe you threw water at me." She held up the still dripping ends of her hair as if to offer proof. "If any of my brothers had done that, they would be worse than dead."
Finally squelching his laughter, Harry propped himself up on his elbows and turned a serious face to her. "Well, I guess I'm lucky I'm not one of your brothers, then."
Looking equally serious, she looked at Harry and said, "Lucky for you. And me." This last bit was said in a barely audible whisper. The gravity of the moment lingered for a bit as they looked searchingly at each other.
"GINNY WEASLEY!" The booming voice of Ginny's mother made both of them jump, and the moment was extinguished. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" Mrs. Weasley appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, her finger shaking in their direction.
They immediately got up and started jogging over to the house. "Damn," Ginny muttered to herself. More loudly, she said, "We weren't doing anything, Mum, I promise." Harry just then realized that he was still in his pajamas and that they were torn and stained with grass in several places from their tumble down the hill. Ginny's dressing gown was equally mussed, and anyone could easily jump to the wrong conclusions. Harry moaned inwardly at the thought of Mrs. Weasley's disappointment if she thought he was taking advantage of her daughter.
This thought jerked something inside him. Was he taking advantage of Ginny? Over the past year, they had certainly become friendlier with each other. The incident in the Department of Mysteries had formed a bond between them, as it had for everyone who had participated. There was something about putting your life in the hands of another that did that. So what was Ginny to him? A friend, certainly, but he felt different feelings for Ginny than he did for Hermione. Hermione was like a sister to him; Ginny was....
Mrs. Weasley's voice interrupted his thoughts as they arrived at the Burrow's back door. "What are you talking about?" she asked. "I wanted to know why you left the bacon on to burn." She pointed at the smoke now billowing out of the kitchen window.
"Damn," Ginny muttered again. "I'm sorry, Mum, I guess I got a bit distracted." She glanced sheepishly at Harry, who began to turn red.
"Next time, mind the bacon first, then the boys." Mrs. Weasley winked at Harry, and he felt his legs wobble beneath him. To Ginny, she continued, "And watch your language. A girl can't expect a boy as nice as Harry to keep calling on you if you carry on like that." If it were possible to bury himself under a rock at this moment, he would have found a way. Nothing was as mortifying as being teased about Ginny by her own mother. And as he made his way into the kitchen, he decided that he definitely didn't feel like Ginny's brother.
Just as they were sitting down for breakfast and Harry's flushed face was returning to normal, Ron and Hermione came downstairs with distracted expressions on their faces. Harry and Ginny glanced at each other and shared a knowing smile. Harry couldn't resist and said, "Have a good lie-in, you two?"
Hermione's eyebrows shot up at Harry, and she began to splutter incoherently as a flush crept up her neck. As amazing as an inarticulate Hermione was, it was nothing compared to a supremely self-satisfied Ron. He strutted to the table with a goofy grin on his face.
"So are you two finally together, then?" Ginny asked nonchalantly, as if asking the current price of flobberworm livers.
"Ever since last night," Ron proclaimed proudly. Hermione was still red-faced, but was sitting much closer than normal to Ron on the wooden bench.
"Well, it's about time. I wonder who won the bet?" Harry eyed Ginny again, and she took out a piece of parchment from her pocket. Harry could see that the parchment was blank and gave her a quizzical glance.
Ginny pretended to consult the parchment and said in a deadpan tone, "Not me. I wagered it would take them at least until Christmas this year."
"What are you on about?" Hermione went from shy to hawkish in the blink of an eye. "What bet? About Ron and me? Since when?"
"Well, since the beginning of school last year," explained Ginny. "It was Fred's idea, and everyone jumped on as soon as it was announced. We were betting on which day you would finally admit that you liked each other."
"How did you know? I mean, were we that obvious?"
Harry broke into their dialogue and said, "Between this git's jealousy and mood swings...." He gestured to Ron. "And the mooning and constant bickering, it was only a matter of time until you either killed each other or started snogging."
"Humph." Hermione crossed her arms and glanced between Ginny and Harry. "Well, it's still no excuse to break the rules and start a betting pool."
At this, all four began giggling and then finally started on their food.
After a few minutes of silent eating, Hermione asked, "Harry? What did you do to your glasses?"
He fidgeted in his seat for a second and looked down at his plate. "Nothing, I just fell down in the garden."
"Well, go and get Mrs. Weasley to fix them for you. You certainly can't see properly through those." Harry visibly relaxed and nodded meekly in response.
Ginny had read up on how to use the wishing stone. After breakfast, she told Harry, "We've got to be specific in how we wish for something. So if we want to see a vision of your parents, you have to say that clearly."
"I think we should do more than just see a vision of them, don't you think? I mean, what's the point of having an all-powerful wishing stone if we can't use it to its full potential?" Harry looked almost pleadingly at Ginny.
"You're right, of course, but what should we wish for?"
"We could wish for a Pensieve with all their memories in it. But there's no interaction with Pensieve memories." Harry held his head in his hands dejectedly. "What about time travel?"
"Hmmm. Isn't that dangerous? I mean, didn't Hermione have a Time-Turner in your third year? Weren't there all sorts of restrictions on it, like not being seen and all of that?" Ginny closed the book on magical stones and focused on Harry.
Harry lifted his head from his hands and blinked his eyes in thought. "Yeah, but the Time-Turner was for short turns back in time. It was a real risk to be seen by yourself, since it would cause all sorts of damage. I bet if you went back far enough, the danger would decrease."
"Well, we are going to see your parents, and they would pick up on certain similarities between you and your dad." Ginny chewed on her nails and narrowed her eyes in thought. "What other relatives do you have on your father's side?"
"None that I know of. I guess I've never really thought much about it. Professor Dumbledore said that I have to stay with a blood relative of my mother to keep the protection charm she invoked working. He never really mentioned anything about my father's family."
"Why don't you send an owl to Dumbledore and ask him? I bet you've got cousins or something out there."
"But how will finding out about long-lost cousins help us travel back in time?"
"Well, if you have a distant cousin somewhere, you could just claim that you were him and wanted to visit some of the other Potters in the world. That way, there wouldn't be any harm to interact with them."
Harry's eyes lit up as he contemplated what she was saying. "I'll get on that owl right now. You try to figure out the wording for the wish."
Just before lunch, a large and important-looking barn owl flew in the kitchen window and landed on Harry's shoulder. After Harry took the letter from its leg, the owl immediately took off and flew back out the window.
Harry unfolded the parchment and began reading, just as Ginny came over to see who it was from.
Your father had many uncles and cousins, but I am afraid that they have not been heard from since your parents' wedding. There was one uncle of whom James was particularly fond. His name was Edward, but he was killed shortly after your parents died.
I believe that I can find a Potter family tree, if you would like to look at it when your return to Hogwarts this year.
As always, take care of yourself, and let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry folded up the letter after Ginny was done reading it and let out a small sigh of frustration. "Well, that does us a lot of good. We can't really wait around until September with this stone just asking to be discovered."
"Don't worry," said Ginny. "It sounds like your father wasn't really close with his relatives. That means that we have a chance of concealing who we really are."
Harry got up from the kitchen table where he had been sitting and walked into the living room with an armful of food to pack for their trip. "I suppose you're right. I just don't want to mess things up for my parents. I've been thinking about this since last night, and we can't tell them that they're going to die. If Voldemort didn't die that night because of what we might let slip, who knows what destruction he could cause between then and now."
"Look, Harry. That's one of the reasons I agreed to go along with you. I know how much you want to see your parents, but I promise that I won't let you tell them anything that would be too revealing." Ginny sat on the couch next to Harry and put a hand on his knee. "I've got the wording for the wish worked out if you want to see it."
Squirming a little on the couch, Harry motioned to the parchment in her hands and said, "All right, let's see it, then."
After working through some of the details of the wish, they finished packing and went up to Ginny's room.
"All right, Harry, you take the stone in your hand and read the parchment. I'll hold your hand to make sure that we don't lose one another." Ginny fidgeted a little with her T-shirt as she said this and looked down at the bed on which they were sitting. "I've also written a note to Mum telling them what we're doing, just in case something happens."
"That sounds like a good idea. I don't want them to worry, but I know if we tell them before we go they'll forbid us from doing it."
Taking his hand, Ginny looked up to Harry's face and said, "Right then, let's get on with it."
Harry took the stone from his pocket and held onto it firmly. Looking down at the parchment on his lap, he let out a breath and began reading.
"I wish to spend one week, fifteen years in the past, with Ginny Weasley and to return to this time with her when the week is up."
The stone glowed a bright green that lit up Ginny's room, and then it disappeared. A fraction of a second later, Harry and Ginny also disappeared with a small pop.