Arthur Weasley's workshop was private, which was its only charm, being even more cluttered than Ginny's room and more cramped than The Burrow. However, the shed was far enough from The Burrow to be private, so the youngest Weasleys had commandeered it for The Great Anniversary Project. It had all the equipment they needed to polish the bronze frame of their parent's anniversary present.
The main drawback of the workshop was that the windows were blocked with various Muggle devices that were supposed to cool the air inside. They may have worked for Muggles; all they did after Arthur Weasley got through with them was block any stray breeze.
"Not that there's been any of those lately," Ginny sighed. She stretched and shrugged off her light summer robe and flung it over the back of a chair before going back to polishing.
"Uh, Ginny, aren't you a bit under-dressed?" said Ron, trying to cover his sister.
Ginny pushed him away. "Honestly, Ron, it's so hot you could cook a Hungarian Horntail out there!" She looked down at her outfit. She was wearing denim shorts that touched her knees and a sleeveless blouse that might have possibly been blue when her mother was in nappies. "What's wrong with this outfit, anyway?"
"It shows too much skin!" Ron complained. To push his point across, he dropped Ginny's robe on the floor and plucked an ice cube from the bowl he was carrying and slid it down the back of her blouse.
"RON!" Ginny shrieked. She jumped up and did an impromptu war dance until she dislodged the ice. She glared at Ron, swearing under her breath that if he laughed, he'd be picking spiders out of his bed for a week.
Ron was frowning, though. "Honestly, Ginny, what if somebody saw you?"
"Ron, the Burrow isn't exactly the Leaky Cauldron. We don't get many visitors. There's nobody here to see me except family... all of whom are fond of reminding me how I used to run around starkers in weather like this!"
"Well, don't run around without clothes today, Harry's coming," Ron announced.
Ginny's eyes widened. "Now?"
Ginny snorted and went back to work. "And this means I have to get overdressed now and risk heat stroke why? Even if he arrived now, he won't see me until I leave the workshop."
Ron picked up another ice cube.
Ginny's eyes narrowed and the words 'Bat Bogey hex' slid out of her mouth.
Ron hastily replaced the ice.
"What's the ice for?" Ginny asked, eyeing the bowl warily.
"Watch and learn," Ron said loftily. He put the bowl down. Then he pulled a few 'batteries' out of a pocket and placed them in the back of one of their father's gadgets.
"Is this actually going to work?" Ginny asked skeptically.
"Hermione sent these batteries, plus instructions on how to make them work this 'fan'," Ron said proudly. "She also told me about the ice trick." He flicked a switch and the blades began to move. A breeze sprang up from nowhere. He placed the bowl of ice in front of the 'fan' and the breeze became a cool breeze.
"Ah, relief from the heat!" Ginny said gratefully. "Hermione's a genius. You have good taste in girlfriends."
"She's not my girlfriend," Ron grunted. He picked up a rag and started polishing.
"Don't get any on the glass," Ginny warned.
"Because the recipe says not to," Ginny sighed.
They polished in companionable silence for several minutes.
"She'd never be interested in me, anyway," Ron blurted.
"I know something that might help," Ginny teased.
Ron eyed her warily. "What are you on about?"
Ginny dropped her polishing cloth, wiped her hand on a clean rag and held up a book. Its cover was tattered, the spine was cracked, the pages were worn and there were scraps of paper, parchment and cloth peeking out at various angles.
"What's that?" Ron asked.
"It's Mum's recipe book," Ginny explained. She flipped her wrist around, causing assorted colored scraps to drip out. "This is where I got the polish recipe from. Mum was so distracted with something she was working on for the Order; I think she forgot that there were more things than polishes, soups and home remedies in here."
Absently, Ron wiped off his hand and picked up the nearest scrap. It was the newspaper clipping that showed their family after his father had won the 700 galleons. He put that down and picked up the next scrap.
"Fred, pink, George, purple?" he read.
Ginny plucked out a matching scrap. "Apparently, she used to dye them when they were babies so she could tell them apart." She held the scrap up so Ron could read it.
Ron shook his head and picked up a piece of greenish vellum. "And I thought the twins got it from Dad," he said. He frowned and read, "Eye of newt, toe of frog?"
"That's a quote from Shakespeare, not part of a recipe," Ginny said.
Ron shot her a sour look. "MacBeth." He flipped through the other scraps. "So, what's here that will help me with Hermione? A formula to make me smarter than a Ravenclaw prefect? Some recipe that will improve my looks, or the size of my Gringotts' account?"
Ron gaped. "You can't be serious. Mum would never let us look at..."
"I told you, Mum was distracted when she said I could use this," Ginny said. She pulled out a handful of paper. She waved a scrap of red paper under Ron's nose. "Here's one that's supposed to make the drinkers' love last forever." She put it back. "But you have to already be in love." She picked out a purple sheet that had suspicious brown spots on it. "This one is guaranteed to ignite fiery passion and produce two or three children on the first ... erm ..."
"Never mind," Ron said hastily. "This is silly, Ginny. I want... I don't want... never mind, what's this?" He snatched a pink sheet out of Ginny's hand. "Faith, Hope and Love?"
Ginny took it back. "Yep, this is a classic. It will not only make the drinker love the first person she... or he... sees after drinking. It will induce trust, too. This could be just what you need."
"Ginny," Ron said warningly.
"Most of the ingredients are perfectly legal and can be found in the kitchen, or our student potion kits."
"I bet the twins could get us the rest of them."
Ginny grinned at him and resumed polishing.
Ginny was fully dressed when Harry and Hermione arrived later that day. The next morning, Ron and Ginny (still fully clothed) took their guests to the workshop to show them what they had been working on.
"You're making a mirror?" Harry asked. He ran a finger across the elaborate decorations of the bronze frame.
"No, you prat, we're just polishing the frame," Ron said.
Ginny jumped in. "It's a family project, for Mum and Dad's twenty-fifth anniversary. Percy actually started it about three years ago. He read about these Transylvanian mirrors that were especially good for scrying."
"Transylvania is in Romania," Hermione said, nodding to herself.
"Which is why Percy thought we could get one for Mum and Dad," Ginny nodded back. "Anyway, Charlie tracked several down last year. He chose this one because the bronze..."
"Matched our hair, at least it will, when we finish polishing it," Ron put in. He gave a swipe at the verdigris-encrusted frame to show off the copper colored metal underneath.
"Fred and George came up with the money to buy it from the man who owned it," Ginny added.
"Ginny and I are polishing the bronze," Ron gave his sister a sideways look. "Being careful not to get polish on the glass."
"When we're finished, Bill will reactivate it," Ginny said. "After he makes sure that there are no curses or hexes on it, of course."
"Of course," Hermione looked at Harry, but he was still idly fingering the frame and apparently not listening.
"I thought of a present your parents might like," Hermione said. "I've got a collection of photographs of the two of you at Hogwarts, also some pictures of the twins, and a good one of Percy when Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup in his last year at Hogwarts."
"Brilliant idea. We've got some pictures that Bill and Charlie sent us when they were at school," Ron said. "We could make up an album, I bet."
"How about throwing in some pictures of you and Harry?" Ginny asked Hermione.
"Um, you think your parents would want pictures of us?" Harry asked, proving that he had been listening.
"Of course, you're practically family," Ron said.
"Oh." That was all Harry had to say.
"That's very sweet of you," Hermione added. "Harry, do you have some pictures you could contribute? I mean..."
Harry nodded. "Sure, I have my album." His mouth twitched as if remembering a foul taste. "I wouldn't leave anything at the Dursleys, you know."
Hermione nodded. "Of course not. That's why I asked. You don't mind contributing, do you?" she added a trifle anxiously.
Harry shook his head. "No."
"We won't have time to get the pictures copied before their anniversary party," Ginny said. "We can give you back the originals after we do, though."
Harry just shrugged.
"Um, how about a game of chess?" Ron asked.
"Sure," as Harry followed Ron out the door, he muttered something that sounded like, "Why would anybody want to be related to a monster like me?"
Hermione sighed. "He's getting worse," she said mournfully. "I don't know what to do."
Ginny looked at the calendar. "We got two days, twelve hours and 27 minutes to come up with SOMETHING!" she said.
Hermione shot her a stern look. "This is no time for joking. Harry is getting really depressed. I just wish I knew what to do about it."
"Maybe he'd feel better if we could convince him that he's not a monster?" Ginny said.
Ginny shrugged. "I'm not sure. Maybe by treating him like one of the family?"
So they tried that. The following week they played chess with him. They worked on their summer assignments with him. They inveigled him into helping to polish the bronze frame. They taught him how to cook some of the more innocuous recipes from Molly's book.
Harry was polite, but remained distant. The only thing that seemed to interest him at all was Molly's recipe book.
"You don't think that Harry's interested in those love charms, do you?" Ron asked Ginny as they polished. Hermione was busy keeping Molly from nosing around the workshop. Harry was off brooding, something he was doing with alarming frequency.
"No, I thought he might be interested in the notes about how Mum used to dye the twins, but those papers never got back into the book," Ginny responded.
"What else is in here?" Ron said. He picked up the book and it fell open to a page about...
"Rat poison?" Ron read with a frown.
"Maybe he's planning to kill Wormtail," Ginny said.
Ron's frown deepened. "We have all these ingredients around here," he said.
"Well, Mum used to make rat poison before Percy got Scabbers..." Ginny trailed off. "What?"
"Rats aren't the only thing this stuff will kill," Ron said.
"You don't think that Harry is considering..." Ginny trailed off.
They eyed each other uneasily, and then ran to find Hermione.
"You can't seriously think that Harry's planning to kill himself!" Hermione almost shrieked.
"I don't want to," Ron said. "But we can't ignore the possibility."
"What can we do?" Hermione asked.
"We need to distract him from his problems," Ron said. "Get him focused on something else, at least until school starts. Then, well, school will help distract him."
"Get him focused on what?" Hermione prodded. "We've been trying to engage his interest all week and nothing's worked."
"I think it's time for drastic measures," Ginny said. She pulled out a scrap of worn parchment and waved it at the other two. "Diseases desperate grown, by desperate appliances are reliev'd, or not at all."
"More Shakespeare," Ron said.
"Hamlet, Act IV, Scene III," supplied Hermione absently. "What did you have in mind?" she asked.
Ginny dug out a slip of pink paper. "Love potions."
"You're crazy," Ron said. "That's illegal."
"Only if we're caught," Ginny said. "Ron, do you want to spend the rest of the summer worrying about whether Harry is going to kill himself? The rest of the year? The rest of your life? We have to get through to him, and if he is considering taking rat poison, we are running out of time."
"He has a better chance of poisoning himself here than he does at Hogwarts," Hermione said unhappily.
"Please, trust me that I have Harry's best interest at heart," Ginny said. "I'm not just acting out a childhood fantasy."
Ron and Hermione exchanged uneasy glances.
"Please? I'm going to need your help."
Ron sighed. "All right, but make sure that you pick one that has an antidote."
Ginny shook her head. "The only one we have a chance of making is this Faith, Hope and Love potion. It doesn't have an antidote."
Hermione read the potion notes. "Well, it's not a very strong one, so Harry isn't likely to do anything... stupid."
"Stupid? You mean like slipping a love potion to his best friend?"
Ginny sighed. "If you have a better plan..." she flipped open to the rat poisons. "These are all very painful ways to die, you know. Nobody is very nice to rats."
Ron and Hermione exchanged another look.
Ron shook his head. "I'm going to regret this." He sighed. "What do you need us to do?"
"He'll love and trust the first person he sees," Ginny said. "So we have to make sure that it's the right person. And I know just how to do that."
For all that they were in a hurry, it took almost a week before they had a chance to put their plan into action. First, they had to talk the twins into getting the final ingredients of the potion for them. They finally had to confess what they were planning and why. The twins shook their heads in dismay, but were eventually convinced.
Then they had to make the potion. After that, they had to wait a nerve wracking three days before Arthur and Molly were both away at the same time.
Harry showed no signs of making rat poison, but he didn't show any signs of coming out of his depression, either. He never said anything, but they all knew he was blaming himself for Sirius' death.
It was on the day of the anniversary party that Molly and Arthur were persuaded to leave the Burrow for some family 'business.' The twins volunteered to close shop early to keep an eye on their younger siblings. However, they spent most of the morning in their old room, blowing things up for old time's sake.
Harry had spent most of the morning in Ron's room, doing Merlin knew what. Finally, Hermione went upstairs to request that Harry come down and help set up for the Weasley's anniversary party.
"Have some lunch first," she said. "You've skipped too many meals this week."
Harry came down and was surprised to find an empty kitchen. Assuming that the sandwich and pumpkin juice were his, he downed them without really tasting them. Then he looked around for the others. Not finding them in the Burrow, he concluded that they were in the workshop.
He opened the back door to check and almost ran into...
Harry jumped back to avoid smashing the mirror that they'd been polishing so diligently for the past two weeks. He looked his reflection in the eye and stared.
"Harry?" Ginny's voice came timidly from behind the mirror. "Are you all right?"
"Erm, yeah," Harry said. "I was just... I look different." He frowned at himself and reached out to touch the mirror's smooth surface. His black mood of a few moments ago seemed to fade away. He hadn't been able to look at himself in a mirror for a long time.
"Is something wrong with the mirror?" Ron said worriedly.
Harry shook his head, then spoke when he realized that they couldn't see him any more than he could see them. "No, it looks fine," he said. "I just... I dunno. I look different to me, somehow."
"You see yourself?"
"Well, I could hardly not, what with the three of you shoving this ruddy great mirror in my face," Harry grumbled, but without any real heat.
"Good, then we don't have worry any more," Ginny said as she peeked around the mirror.
"Worry about what?"
"The love potion we fed you," Hermione said. She looked around the mirror with a nervous expression on her face.
"Just a small one," Ron said. "One to make you love and trust the first person you saw after taking it."
"Why?" Harry sputtered.
"We wanted you to stop hating yourself," Ginny said timidly. "It was my idea."
"We were afraid you were thinking of... well... hurting yourself," Hermione added.
"Oh." Harry blinked.
"Were you?" Ron asked bluntly.
"I... dunno. I haven't been thinking clearly lately," Harry confessed. "I just felt like I..."
"Like you were responsible for Sirius' death and that you needed to be punished?" Ginny supplied.
"Something like that, yeah," Harry said.
"How do you feel now?" Ginny asked.
"Well... I dunno," Harry said. He looked at the mirror again. He saw a messy haired, green-eyed boy with a lightning scar on his forehead and deeper, nastier scars elsewhere. A boy who had made a lethal mistake. A boy... whom he loved and trusted? He wasn't sure, even then. The very idea seemed strange. "I guess I don't hate myself anymore."
"Oh, spare us the mush," Ron said overly dramatically. "You can repay us by helping us get this bloody thing inside," he added with a grunt.
"Ron, language!" Hermione scolded.
Harry leaped to help, feeling amused at how 'normal' things were. He was startled at the feeling, then realized it had been a long time since anything had amused him.
The four kids managed to maneuver the mirror into place.
"Why aren't the twins helping with this?" Harry panted as they finished. "They can use magic."
"Nobody asked us," Fred replied as the twins thumped downstairs.
"Besides, it's so much more entertaining to watch you do it," George confessed.
"You're too kind to me," Harry snorted.
"We can never be too kind to you, Mr. Potter," Ginny said. "After all, you're part of our family, like it or not."
Harry looked at the five of them, and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. It was a small one, but the first genuine smile they'd seen from him in months. "I think I like it," he said.