The rest of the week went by quickly. Tryouts for the open
Gryffindor Quidditch team positions were held on Saturday morning, with
practice scheduled for the following week. When Harry tried to tell
Katie that he and Ginny might be unavailable because of the spell
Dumbledore was going to cast on them, he found Ginny's foot pressed
down hard on his own.
"Ow!" Harry exclaimed. "What was that for?"
offered the two of them a quizzical glance and then turned to tell off
their beaters, Kirke and Sloper, for hitting the Bludgers at Ron again.
"Not at the Keeper, you nitwits. Your job is to protect him from getting hit."
Katie flew off, presumably to show them the proper way to beat, Ginny
turned to Harry and whispered, "Dumbledore said to keep the whole thing
hush-hush. He's got a cover story and everything."
"How come I didn't know about it?" Harry asked. "No one said anything about a cover story."
rolled her eyes in a way that reminded him strongly of Hermione. "You
were too busy looking at my neck, if I remember correctly. Honestly,
you need to learn to control yourself around me, Harry."
Instantly contrite, Harry shrugged and said, "Sorry. I can't help it if you're dead sexy."
When a pleasant shade of crimson graced her cheeks, Harry smiled and kicked off to finish practicing.
morning, Harry raised a fist to knock on the Headmaster's door, but was
cut off by Dumbledore's even voice, "Come in, Harry." It never ceased
to amaze the younger wizard at how perceptive his professor was,
especially when it concerned Harry.
Pushing the door open,
Harry and Ginny entered the quiet office. Even though he had been here
twice since term began, he couldn't help but notice that it was
re-occupied with the various instruments and devices that he'd smashed
last year. They whirred and clicked away, as if they had never laid in
pieces, strewn recklessly about the floor. Harry sighed inwardly at the
memory and hoped that he would never let his anger take control of him
that way in the future.
"You wanted to see us, sir?" he asked
nervously. Ginny held his hand loosely in hers and he led her to stand
between Dumbledore's desk and two squashy armchairs.
waved his hand, motioning him to sit. "No need to be uneasy, Harry. The
spell is relatively painless, even if it's extraordinarily complicated."
sat in the proffered chair, and Harry began to pick at the hem of his
robes. He could feel the older man's gaze on him and tried to master
Clearing his throat, Dumbledore said, "I've
asked Miss Weasley here as well, because I assume she is also aware of
the entire contents of the prophecy?"
Harry let his mouth hang open in his astonishment. "How did you – ?"
on, Harry," said Ginny with a small chuckle. "Did you think I would
have let you keep that secret to yourself for much longer? Had you kept
it inside, it would have eaten you alive by the end of the holidays."
shut his mouth and smiled. "I guess you're right, Gin. I never thought
about it much." Ginny's hand reached across the small gap between their
two chairs and her fingers laced with his, as if they had been made for
that exact purpose.
"As we've discussed, Voldemort cannot be
allowed to know what the prophecy contains." Dumbledore looked
plaintively at the two students and continued, "Were he to know what it
says at this stage of the war, it would create an undue burden on our
efforts to keep him contained."
A clock chimed in an adjacent
room and Dumbledore opened a jar on the edge of his desk with long,
thin fingers. "Care for a lemon sherbet?" When they both shook their
heads, he asked, "Do you have any questions before we begin?"
They shook their heads again, Harry feeling a sudden sense of dread deep inside his belly.
well," Dumbledore said as he rose from his chair and walked to Fawkes's
perch. "I have dismissed Professor Snape as your instructor for your
Occlumency lessons." Harry's countenance immediately brightened.
"Instead, I will oversee the instruction of both you and Miss Weasley,
but I warn you, it will not be an easy road to travel on."
"Anything has to be easier than more time in Snape's office," muttered Harry.
is the finest Potions master this school has ever seen, Harry. However,
his...communication skills are sometimes clouded by his emotions." He
stroked the Phoenix's head and neck, sending the beautiful bird into
shivers of happiness. "What I propose could very well put both of you
into a coma, Harry."
Harry did a double-take as the Headmaster
walked back to his desk and sat down. "How could teaching us Occlumency
send us into a coma?" he asked incredulously.
The aged wizard
folded his hands and rested them on his desk. "Actually, I'm not sure
if 'teaching' is an accurate way to describe what I have in mind.
Granger's research into Egretic bonds suggests that sometimes, the
creation of a magical connection transfers power or skill from one
wizard to another. This is why both of you can speak Parseltongue. It
is also why you, Harry, can see into his head and he can plant visions
Harry chewed on this for a moment and asked, "So you think that Ginny might be vulnerable to Voldemort through me?"
astute observation, Harry," Dumbledore said as he leaned back into his
chair. "But I'm afraid that simply isn't possible. Two Egretic bonds
cannot channel each other. Especially when one bond was formed from
love and the other from hate."
"So," said Ginny, who seemed to
tense up as the line of conversation developed. "If Tom can't get to me
through Harry, how do you think he can? I'm obviously the weak link in
the chain here."
Dumbledore fixed his gaze on Ginny and
allowed a smile to creep onto his eyes. "You are not weak by any
estimation, Ginny." It was a subtle change, but Harry noticed
Dumbledore's transition from the more formal use of her surname to the
casual and more equalising use of her given name. "The issue lies with
the fact that you have been marked by him, similar to Harry, and yet,
there is no outward scar to remind you of it. I fear that you are as
vulnerable to Voldemort's intrusions as Harry, only that he has not yet
chosen to utilise it."
Harry looked to Ginny, still holding on
tightly to each others' hands. Her face was set, but it looked paler
than normal and he could tell a glimmer of fear lingered in the back of
her mind. "So what do we have to do?" Harry asked, turning back to
The Headmaster rose once more and walked over to
the mantle. "You only have to follow my instructions. I will be
withdrawing all my knowledge of Occlumency, including the shield that I
built for myself against the Dark Lord. Then I will create two copies
of it and after removing the bits of knowledge that dwell within you on
the subject, implant the duplicates in your minds."
mind whirred as he tried to comprehend the implications of what the
professor had proposed. Dumbledore threw a handful of Floo powder in
the hearth and stuck his head in the fire. A moment later, Professor
McGonagall entered from the staircase.
"I'm here, Albus," she called as she strode across the hard stone floor.
"So do you wish to proceed, Harry?" asked the Headmaster. "Ginny?"
Ginny's back straightened and she nodded. "I'm ready."
his weight and leaning on one of the chair's arms, Harry said, "What
will happen when I have your memories of Occlumency inside my head?"
more serious, he peered over his half-moon spectacles at Harry and said
solemnly, "You will no longer be penetrated by the Dark Lord's thoughts
and will cease to be transparent to his mind probes."
Remembering the horrible experience of being trapped by Voldemort inside his own mind, Harry quickly nodded. "Let's do it."
turned to his deputy and nodded. "Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley have
agreed to undergo the process, Minerva. Please make the necessary
"Are you certain, Albus?" Her voice quivered slightly and Harry wondered at her concern.
"Wait a minute, Professor," he said, standing. "How will this affect you?"
him to follow, they walked into Dumbledore's private study, where
McGonagall quickly conjured three camp beds. There was an enormous
grandfather clock on one side of the room and on its face were almost a
thousand small hands. Each one had a tiny picture of a student and they
all pointed to things like "Studying", "Eating", and "Playing". There
were even a few on "Sleeping" and "Detention".
magic this advanced is never easy, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Since I
will be withdrawing a large portion of my knowledge and placing it in
you and Ginny, it will tax my magical strength considerably." He
stopped and took Harry's shoulders with both hands, staring him in the
eye. "I will be unable to act as Headmaster for quite some time.
Professor McGonagall will be the acting Headmistress while I am
"And us?" Harry asked simply, unable to
contemplate Hogwarts without Dumbledore, even if it was for a few days.
"What happens to the two of us?"
"You will be knocked out,
likely for several days until your minds have had time to incorporate
the new knowledge." Professors Snape, Flitwick, and Sprout appeared at
the study entrance. "Ah, yes...I'm glad you've arrived. I will be
handing over my responsibilities as Headmaster for an unknown number of
weeks to Professor McGonagall. I wish for you to aid her in whatever
way you can while I am away."
"Yes, Headmaster," they chorused and immediately left the office.
"Are you ready, then?" he asked Harry.
Harry hesitated for a moment, glancing from Dumbledore to McGonagall and squeezing Ginny's hand. "I'm ready."
waiting for anything else, Dumbledore positioned Harry and Ginny in
front of their own camp beds, then walked in between them to stand in
front of his own. He withdrew his wand and cast a spell in the air
between them. A bright flash lit the room and slowly faded to reveal a
spinning golden well. A flick of his wand connected Harry, then Ginny
with the well and another linked Dumbledore.
startled Harry at first and he felt a tingling sensation like a small
electrical shock reach down to his toes. He forced the feeling out of
his mind and concentrated on what Dumbledore was doing next.
was chanting slowly under his breath and the connection turned from a
white light to gold and began to softly vibrate. The vibrations
increased their rhythm and Harry noticed that they were in perfect sync
with his Headmaster's wand movements. A globe of blinding light left
Dumbledore's head and slowly made its way to the well, filling it with
its bright contents. Another series of chants and Harry saw sweat bead
on the elderly wizard's brow as the light in the well doubled and split
in two, with one travelling down each of the beams touching Harry and
Ginny's head, leaving the original light in the well.
bubble of light made contact with Harry's head, a million thoughts
flooded into his mind. He heard Ginny shriek from the other side of
Dumbledore and Harry reached out to her through their link, feeling her
panic and worry. He managed to look towards her and caught a glimpse of
a smile on Dumbledore's face as the world went dark.
his eyes open, Harry took a sudden, deep breath as a wave of
disorientation washed over him. Dim, sterile light illuminated white
walls and a familiar, chemically-clean smell assaulted his nose. The
He rolled over to see if he was in the same bed
the matron always seemed to place him in and was surprised to see
another bed close by, separated only by a small table. Perched on the
bed, sitting up and reading a book, was Ginny.
Ginny turned to
look at him and even with his unaided eyes, could recognize the smile
that stretched across her face. "Hello, Harry," she said, somewhat
"Hi," Harry replied, or tried to, as his throat was
so dry that the words came out only as odd hisses and crackles. He
swallowed, trying to get some saliva down to his parched throat, only
to discover that his mouth was equally dry.
Ginny took pity on
his state, however, and reached over to pour him a glass of water.
"Drink this and don't try to talk," she said, handing the cup to him.
"Your vocal cords will be a little sore for a while."
propped himself up on an elbow and took the glass. The cool water
soothed his throat and arid mouth. He could feel the liquid seep into
his tissues as it worked its way down to his stomach.
clearing his throat, Harry managed to make something that resembled his
customary grumble and decided to try speaking again. "How long?" he
asked in more comprehensible words, though it was still raspy. "Were we
Placing a strip of parchment in the fold of her book,
Ginny shut it and set the book on the table next to the pitcher. "Madam
Pomfrey says a little over a week, but I can't get a straight answer
out of her. Something's dodgy and I can't figure it out."
long," Harry repeated, but he had to clear his throat again. Something
cracked towards the end of the sentence and his normal voice broke
through. "How long have you been up?"
"For a few hours," Ginny said, returning to her book. "When did you grow a beard?"
brought a hand to his face automatically and was surprised to feel a
full, thick beard there. "I guess it grew while we were out," he said,
but couldn't recall ever having to shave before.
"Hmm," she said noncommittally and flipped the page in her book.
"Is there something wrong, Ginny?" Harry asked. "You seem a little upset."
a sigh, Ginny put her bookmark back and shut the book again. "Why do
you think that would be? Hm? I haven't forgotten what happened last
year, you know."
Harry gaped at her. "What are you talking
about? I thought that was all in the past? We apologized, we worked out
our problems and now everything's fine...right?"
narrowed her eyes. "What am I talking about? I think you should be
asking yourself that question. It seems like Dumbledore's spell has
made you more stupid than usual. We didn't work anything out, Harry.
You're a prat and you'll always be a prat. I hate you and I will
continue to hate you."
Stung by her words, Harry floundered
for something to say, but was interrupted by the appearance of Madam
Pomfrey. "Ah, good. You're awake," she said.
Ginny continued to give him a cold shoulder while Madame Pomfrey examined him. Strangely, Harry couldn't quite pin down how he knew that he loved Ginny, just that he did and that it hurt him immensely that she was pushing him away.
the Matron finished diagnosing him, Harry spied a pair of round,
wire-rimmed spectacles and idly wondered who had left them on his table.
A few hours later, Harry was shaved and trimmed -- thanks to the Burburus
charm -- and Harry and Ginny were cleared to leave the Hospital Wing.
As soon as they closed the door, Ginny sped up and accelerated away,
her book bag thumping on her hip. Aside from her strange behaviour,
Harry couldn't help but think that something else was different about
Ginny; whatever it was, she was wearing the wrong blouse, that one was
way too small.
Since it was a Sunday, Harry made his way to
the Gryffindor common room, only to find Ginny having a heated
conversation with her brother.
"What do you mean, he's my boyfriend?" she hollered.
"Will you just calm down, Ginny?" Ron said. Hermione took her hand and led her to a sofa by the fire.
There were several other students studying or playing games around the room, but most seemed intent on ignoring the kafuffle.
made his way over to where they were seated and plopped down on the
cushion next to Ron. "Don't you remember anything about your summer,
Ginny?" Ron continued. "You and Harry were nearly expelled. Dumbledore
had Harry fixing up the Burrow all summer and had you keeping him fed
If Ron thought his explanations would be
soothing, he was sorely mistaken. Ginny's eyes widened and a red flush
overtook her cheeks that Harry recognized as anger, not embarrassment.
do you mean I was to keep him fed and watered? That stupid pillock
isn't worth the time to tar and feather him!" A flash of anger flooded
into Harry's head through their link and Harry countered it with a
memory of their first kiss, under the Burrow.
Ginny grabbed her head, and squeezed her eyes shut. "What's happening to me? I don't remember that. POTTER! Get out of my head!"
"Ginny," Harry said in the calmest way he could. "We have a link between us – an Egretic bond," he began.
devil you say! I have no link with you – you're not my boyfriend and it
will be a cold day in hell before I ever consider you worth a tinker's
damn," she said vehemently.
Harry flinched. He didn't remember
much himself, but he knew that he loved her, with all his heart, and to
lose that would mean going over the edge. He took a deep breath,
summoning what he did remember, pushing his feelings across the
link: nearly drowning in the pond, the birthday party, their kiss
beneath the porch, the letter and the ribbon and bows.
stood up, a shocked expression on her face. Covering her face with her
hands, she ran up the stairs to the girls' dormitory, a choked sob
escaping her lips as she ran.
Harry sighed, looking at Ron and
Hermione. "Well, that went well, didn't it?" he said sarcastically. His
heart was beginning to break. Whether or not she remembered, she
certainly didn't feel the same towards him any more. He didn't realise
that hot tears were streaming down his face. Ron looked with concern at
Hermione. Hermione was the first to speak.
"Harry," she said,
tentatively, putting her fingertips on his knee. "It will come back to
her, I'm certain of it. I'm going to go talk to her," she said, rising
from the couch.
"Come to bed mate, you look terrible," Ron said, clapping a hand on his shoulder as he moved towards the stairs.
guess I will," Harry said flatly. He knew that sleep, if it ever came,
would not ease the pain that he and he alone was feeling just then.
Whatever it was that he had with Ginny, it was gone.
spent the entire night reliving the previous summer, trying to sort
through what had happened between Ginny and himself, what they had
together. He remembered clips and scenes from his summer assignments,
snips and phrases of dialogue with Ginny, and even the occasional surge
of emotion. But as the night wore on, he was able to piece things
together enough to know that he wasn't going to be able to put their
now aborted relationship behind him.
The next day flew by in a
daze for Harry. He didn't pay any attention to Hermione, who tried to
get him to catch up on his school work. He ignored Ron, who wanted him
to go flying at the Quidditch pitch. He avoided meals and ended up
walking around the grounds until he worked up a reasonable appetite,
but even then, he used his knowledge of the kitchens and relationship
with Dobby to get food instead of risking another bad encounter with
Ginny in the very public setting of the Great Hall.
brow furrowed, as he reached out a hand to tickle a specific spot on a
painting of a bowl of fruit. As the pear started laughing, Harry gave
it a sour look, and then walked into the brightly lit entryway of the
school kitchens. Dozens of house-elves were scurrying about, cleaning
and putting away the dinner's dishes as they appeared with a steady
stream of pops onto the tables. Harry walked towards the long
tables that mirrored the four house tables above them and sat down next
to where he knew Ginny would be seated.
automatically reached for the place where Ginny's hand would normally
be and he let out a shaky breath. Then with a pop, a dirty
plate, silverware and cup appeared in front of him. He instantly
recognized the dark-red lipstick that was smeared on the goblet's rim,
but was saved from a startled reply when a small elf appeared and
deftly grabbed the dishes.
"Excuse me, young master," the elf squeaked and ran towards the sinks.
His shoulders slouched, Harry's head hit the table with a dull thunk and he closed his eyes.
he opened them again, another elf was seated next to Harry. The
multi-coloured tea-cosy and mismatched socks told Harry exactly which
elf it was.
"Hello, Master Harry," Dobby said brightly. "Would sir like some after-dinner snacks?"
raised his head and said, "Actually, Dobby, I haven't had a thing to
eat yet and was wondering if I could have a sandwich or something. I
don't want to be a bother."
Dobby's eyes grew large. "Oh, no, Master Harry. It's not a bother at all. We are happy to helps the great Harry Potter."
scampered off and was lost in the midst of the busy elves. As the
popping plates reduced in frequency, so did the bustling in the
kitchen. A song of sorts broke out among the elves as they wound down
their labours and Harry found the sound strangely soothing.
When Dobby returned, Harry discovered that he was much hungrier than when he had arrived.
Master Harry," Dobby said, placing several plates of roast chicken,
heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, a large platter of different fruits,
and a tray of several kinds of pudding in front of him.
I couldn't possibly eat all of this," Harry protested. But when the
diminutive elf's eyes started to water, Harry amended, "I'll give it my
best, Dobby. Thanks for all of this."
"You is most welcome,
Harry Potter, sir." The beaming smile that split Dobby's face was
enough to brighten any mood. However, while Harry ate, he couldn't help
but wonder if he would ever be whole again.
next day, Harry woke extra early, knowing that Ron was a heavy sleeper,
so that he could avoid awkward questions. Much to his dismay, however,
Ron was already awake and was sitting in a chair right next to Harry's
"Finally decided to wake up?" Ron asked, his face impassive, his arms folded tightly across his chest.
Harry managed before Ron pulled him out of bed and pushed him towards
the loo. "Go get showered and dressed," Ron said, stuffing a bundle of
clothes into Harry's hands. "Then you and I are going to have a little
Harry swallowed. Hard. Then opened the door and got himself ready.
Harry came out again, fully dressed and his pyjamas in a ball under his
arm, Ron was waiting for him. Ron took the bundle from Harry and threw
it onto his open bed. The rest of the boys in the dorm were still fast
asleep and Harry silently wished for one of them to wake up so he could
manage an excuse to slip out.
"Let's go," Ron said and with a firm grip on Harry's shoulder, guided him down the stairs to the common room.
It was just after dawn when Harry and Ron walked to the empty courtyard and sat on a bench.
right," Ron started. "Let's get to the point. You've got to quit moping
around and do something about Ginny or you're going to flunk out of all
of your classes and then we'll have a depressed, deranged quitter as
our only hope for exterminating Lord Nutters."
Harry's felt his jaw muscles slacken. "What are you on about?"
killing you. This thing with Ginny," Ron explained. "You need to either
work it out with her or give it up. But you can't keep moping around
like a lovesick idiot."
"But I am a lovesick idiot," Harry protested hotly. "And I can't just give it up. What we had was special – Ginny's everything to me."
As Harry buried his face in his hands, he could see Ron shaking his head. "You're mad. Ginny's not worth all that."
head shot up. "She is to me, Ron. I love her and now that that's gone
it's like I can't breathe – like there isn't anything else that will
make me happy again." Harry hung his head once more and quietly, said,
"It's worse than Dementors – you don't know what it's like."
There was a long silence and Ron sighed. "I do know what it's like, Harry. I – I have a thing for Hermione."
to their right, Harry thought he heard something like a gasp, but the
wind rustled leaves across the stone floor and he didn't hear anything
Slowly bringing his head back around, Harry gaped at his friend. "What?"
"I'm mad for Hermione," Ron said unflinchingly. "Have been since fourth year, when she went with bloody Victor Krum."
himself, Harry smiled. Another muffled gasp came from a spot closer
than the last and was followed by urgent, but unintelligible, whispers.
Harry whipped around and pointed his wand at an area of space between
two stone pillars and shouted, "Accio Cloak!"
hand came up to deflect the spell, but it was too late. Harry's
Invisibility Cloak soared over to his outstretched hand, revealing two
girls clad in their pyjamas and dressing gowns, one with bushy brown
hair, the other straight red.
Harry and Ginny locked eyes,
while Hermione squealed like a pig and ran like a greyhound back
towards Gryffindor Tower, Ron in hot pursuit.
"Wait, Hermione!" Ron yelled as they disappeared around a corner.
Harry put his wand away and took a tentative step closer to Ginny.
took a matching step back and her lip started to quiver. "You really
feel that way?" she asked, her face a mask of indifference. She stood
there, silent, impassive. He could feel the loathing pouring out of
her, tinted with something unexpected, a whiff of fear.
Harry said simply. "Every word." A tense moment passed as they
continued to stare at each other, then Ginny nodded and walked away.
Breakfast was more than a little awkward, with Ginny sitting with two girls in her year and Hermione shooting daggers at Ron.
Harry had finished his porridge, he leaned over to Ron and whispered,
"What's got Hermione all peeved? Does the fact that you like her have
anything to do with it?"
Hermione's eyebrows rose as she
looked over her Arithmancy book at them. Ron shook his head. "Later,
mate," he said through clenched teeth.
Her eyes back on her
book, Hermione resumed eating her own breakfast and Harry wondered if
everyone in the castle had lost their marbles.
absent from classes an entire week, Harry was morbidly behind in his
studies, and despite his encounter with Ron, Harry just couldn't find
it within himself to care.
McGonagall deducted five points
when he improperly Transfigured Ron's arm into a wing. Flitwick
actually assigned him detention when a shrinking charm they were trying
on a trunk full of silverware backfired and the trunk exploded, sending
the metal flatware flying everywhere. But the worst was at lunch, when
Harry tripped over his own feet while staring at Ginny, landed headlong
into a pack of Ravenclaws, and found his hands in contact with Cho's
front as they both fell.
Unable to stammer out anything coherent, Harry bolted from the Hall, several students calling out taunts as he fled.
evening, Harry found himself on a small hill over looking the lake; it
was the same hill he had come to at the end of June, when he had been
mourning for Sirius.
The love that he had for Ginny, the surge
of emotions that had poured new life into him was nothing but pain now.
Harry could remember the excitement that had filled his mind when she
had Floo'ed to Number Four, a ribbon fastened around her middle and a
bow perched on her head. He could recall exactly how she tasted when
they kissed on the Dursleys' sofa, how sweet it was to be the object of
her affection. All of that was now replaced by a surge of pain. The
pain pierced the echoed joy and contentment, and he wondered if he
would ever be with Ginny like that again.
Harry bowed his head and closed his eyes, letting silent tears drop onto his lap.
sensed someone walking up the hill and a moment later, that person sat
downwind from him. Harry pinched his eyelids and wiped them as
surreptitiously as he could, but did not look up. Perhaps if he ignored
whoever it was, they would go away. Nothing could ease this pain, ever.
The intruder touched his hand. There was a small spark, causing them both to jump. Still, Harry did not open his eyes.
contact was made and this time, something warm flooded his soul. He was
so wrapped up in pain, however, that he was unable to understand what
it meant. His magical core was cold still, but the invading warmth was
persistent, unchanging, and powerful. He found himself clinging to the
pain, as if it were the only thing keeping him sane.
Harry, came a voice in his mind. He recognized it, but refused to believe that she could be there. Harry, it repeated. Open your eyes. Please.
Harry let his eyes open and found his hands tightly held by a pair of
pale, freckled ones in his lap. She reached a hand up and rubbed at his
cheek, wiping away the wetness.
"Please look at me, Harry," Ginny said softly. "I need you to see my face when I tell you this."
of its own accord, his head raised and turned to where Ginny was
sitting. The watery smile on her face further banished the pain he
felt, but he couldn't give in to the flicker of hope that lingered on
the edge of mind.
"I'm sorry," Ginny said. "You didn't deserve
to be treated so horribly, even last June when I had every reason to be
mad at you."
Harry blinked, the hope grew past a flicker and into a sliver of light, but he still ignored it.
wish I could remember something – anything – from last
summer; I can't remember anything past the last week of the old term
here at school," she continued.
"Do you love me?" Harry
blurted. "I'm sorry, that's not fair – you don't remember a bloody
thing," he said, looking back to his lap. He was silent for a moment,
then looked up again. "I think there's a way for us to share what
happened this summer. I've spent the entire night and most of today
going over in my mind what happened between us and I think I can show
you the highlights. That might jog your memory enough to let the rest
Ginny's smile faltered, but she did not release
his hand. "I honestly don't know what I feel for you, Harry. It's all
so confusing. One moment it's June and we're ready to kill each other
and the next it's September, Hermione tells me we've had this bond
happen and we're going out...." Ginny let out a shuddering breath. "The
only thing I know for sure is that I hurt inside – I don't hate you
anymore, Harry, I just hurt."
"If we try this, if you let me
show you my memories, I think the pain will go away," Harry said,
trying to not sound desperate. "Please?"
Their eyes locked and
Harry felt their link open, widening as they each let their guard slip.
Ginny's fear and pain mingled with his own. Deep underneath the layers
of her complex emotions, Harry found something dormant and tried to
reach out for it. Just before he was able to grasp it, his vision swam
and a flood of memories assaulted his senses.
outside, painting the shed. Ginny was humming under the tree; a tune
that he had forgotten existed, but now brought tears to his closed
eyes. Ginny was swimming in the pond, her long legs splashing in the
water. Harry was drowning, being pulled deeper by a Grindylow when
Ginny broke its fingers and pulled him to shore. They were rolling
around on the grass outside the Burrow, Ginny's hands a blur as she
tickled him without mercy. Then they were picking beans in the garden
outside the Burrow. When it came to the part where Harry showed her the
prophecy, the here and now Ginny gasped. Something snapped loudly in
their minds and they fell back into themselves.
said fearfully and flung herself into his arms. "I – am – so – sorry,"
she said with a sob. Harry held her tight and she continued, "I don't
know what happened to me; I don't know why I forgot about us but I need
you to forgive me, Harry. Please forgive me."
said, inhaling the pleasant scent of her hair and gently rocking them
back and forth on the hill. "I'm sorry that you had to relive all of
that anger. I'm sorry I was such a pill in the first place," he said.
but Harry," she said, pulling away. "What if I never remembered? What
if I hadn't let you show me those things? Our memories. It would have
killed me, Harry, not knowing why I hurt so bad," she said before she
began to sniffle again.
Harry just put his finger to her lips and pulled her back to him. "No 'what if's'. It's done. I'm your Harry. You're my Ginny."
pulled herself into Harry's lap and began to kiss his forehead, then
his cheeks and earlobes. Harry started returning the favour, finding
all his favourite places, winding his arms around her to keep them
Ginny was still kissing his neck, but her urgency had
been replaced with intensity. She kept mumbling, "I'm so sorry"
in-between kisses, sending shivers of pleasure throughout his body.
twisted her torso to get better access to her neck, pushing her hair to
the other side of her shoulders. Ginny pulled back and muttered,
"Sodding bra." She then proceeded to pull her arms into her robes and
she struggled -- doing what, Harry could only guess. She bit her lip in
a very distracting way.
With a sigh, she popped one arm out
and then the other, along with a powder-blue bra. "Much better," she
said, dropping the lingerie on the ground beside them. "Now where were
Things had gone past the 'interesting' stage and were now
into the 'dangerous' phase. Harry couldn't contain his desire for Ginny
and was intent on showing Ginny just how much he had missed her, how
much he needed her. For her part, Ginny was just as anxious and soon
had Harry pinned underneath her.
All of a sudden, a huge wave of water engulfed them and Ginny screeched in shock.
"Ahhh!" she yelled, jumping to her feet, her wand drawn in a flash. "Who did that?"
righted himself and wiped water from his eyes. Retreating from the edge
of the newly-disturbed lake was the Giant Squid, its tentacles slapping
lazily in the waves.
Ginny sat down and dissolved into a fit
of giggles. Soon, Harry joined her, frustrated, happy, and a bit
frightened by the afternoon's events. "George used to tell me tales
about the Squid extinguishing couples, and I always thought he was
having me on," she said, giggling some more.
laughter petered out, Harry stood and offered Ginny his hand. She took
it and performed a drying spell on both of them, tucking the bra into
her pocket. They straightened each others' robes, unmussed their hair
and gave each other a chaste kiss.
As they walked back towards the castle, hand in hand, Ginny asked, "Harry? What happened to your glasses?"
Harry thought for a second and said, "What glasses?"
Ginny back at his side, Harry was able to dive into his lessons.
Surprisingly, everything seemed to come to him like he had been doing
it for years. Transfiguration was particularly easy, and McGonagall
found herself praising Harry for his sudden surge of skill. Charms was
also pleasantly effortless, but it was in Defence that Harry really
The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was Matt
McTierny. He was a solidly-built man, with thin, brown hair and an
infectious smile. He favoured a balance between practical and theory in
his lessons that made both the intellectual-types and the hands-on
students happy. Much to the consternation of his students, he wore
Muggle sunglasses all the time and he refused to take a side on the
outcome of the war.
It had been a game of sorts of the past
week for students to try to guess his past profession, as he was
decidedly tight-lipped about it. In Harry's guarded estimation,
Professor McTierny was the best instructor they'd had in the subject
since Remus Lupin. Still, Harry did not open himself as fully or as
quickly to the man as he had with his father's old friend, especially
because he would not voice opposition to Voldemort.
"Good morning, class," McTierny chimed as he walked into the classroom.
"Good morning," the students said in reply.
McTierny set a stack of books on his desk and stood in front of the
class appraisingly. "As our last class dealt with the theory behind
shield spells, today will be a practical lesson."
There were several moans, but they were quickly drowned out by an excited murmur that forced their professor to call for quiet.
"Now if you will all stand up, we'll clear the room and prepare for the lesson."
students obliged him and with the wave of a wand, the chairs were
pushed aside. Harry had a word flash into his head when McTierny
performed the spell, Depulso. It was a modification of the
banishing charm, his mind told him. Harry had been having this happen a
lot lately – as different Professors would demonstrate spells or
perform unrelated magic that Harry was unfamiliar with, the incantation
would pop into his head along with a short explanation.
Shaking his head clear, Harry focused on his teacher.
will be pairing you off for you to test your shield spells. Remember to
focus on the strength of the spell and not on the hex your opponent is
casting. If you let your guard down for even a second, your shield will
Harry was paired with Parvati, much to his
annoyance, while Hermione was with Neville and Ron with Seamus. The
latter two pairings were a relief to everyone in the room, who could
sense Hermione's foul mood with Ron. Had they been paired up, Harry
doubted Ron would be able to withstand the anger-enhanced spells
Hermione would sling at him.
The pairs faced each other along
the length of the class and Professor McTierny raised his wand. "On my
mark, the line on my left will cast a jinx, while the line on my right
will defend against it."
The students nodded and readied their wands. A loud BANG
from the professor's wand indicated they could begin and Harry
instantly cast a stinging hex at Parvati. She deflected it, but just
barely. The rules were that once the first spell was cast, they were to
trade shielding and hexing until the final signal, usually twenty or
thirty minutes, while McTierny walked around the classroom.
"Excellent shield, Miss Bones. That was a whopper of a hex, Mister MacMillan sent at you, though!"
display of dodging Mister Longbottom, but you should focus more on the
shield charm. Miss Granger's tickling hex won't damage you too badly."
wand movements are a little loose, Mister Malfoy. Try snapping your
wrist a little more and I'll bet your shield will be able to hold off
Miss Parkinson's curses better."
Harry had yet to have his
shield fail, though Parvati may not have been trying as hard as she
could have. Still, every other student had let at least one spell slip
through their shields.
When class was over, Harry had just slipped his backpack on his shoulder, ready to see Ginny again at lunch.
"Mister Potter?" called Professor McTierny. "Might I have a word with you?"
a longing glance at the door, Harry gave Ron and Hermione a disgruntled
look, to which they both shrugged, before they left.
"Yes, Professor?" said Harry as he walked back to McTierny.
teacher was straightening papers on his desk and glancing at the door.
"Have a seat, please. There's a small matter I wanted to discuss with
McTierny drew out his wand and Harry tensed, instantly
on guard. But then in a manner strikingly similar to Dumbledore at
Harry's birthday party, McTierny rotated his wand in a small circle and
Harry sensed the noises coming from the hall blur.
hired me to teach Defence, this much you know, but he also hired me to
give you some specific instruction, related to certain recent events."
way Professor McTierny looked at Harry left no room for doubt as to
which events he was referring to. This man was to train Harry to fight
The older man nodded. "While I can't teach you everything you will need to know, I can
teach you certain...tricks I've picked up over the past few years –
things that will help you avoid some of the more common traps that are
A vision of Sirius falling through the Veil
appeared in Harry's mind and he shook it away with a mental wave.
Emboldened, Harry said, "When do I start?"
"How does tonight sound?"
"After dinner?" Harry shot back, eager to begin.
"Seven o'clock, here in the classroom."
Harry smiled. "I'll be there."
Standing to leave, Harry turned and walked towards the door. He heard the pop
of the privacy spell being cancelled and McTierny said, "Oh and Harry?
Bring your other half with you as well. If I've got a proper bead on
her, she'll be more than a little upset if she's left out."
Harry turned and nodded, then left to find Ginny and a warm meal.
A good three to five percent of the text in this chapter came from
Kokopelli's mind, so you can give him a nod in your reviews. For those
who couldn't tell, the scene with Ron and Harry in the courtyard was a
setup. Ron and Hermione convinced Ginny to go down to listen to an
unbiased Harry spill his guts about her with the thought that Ginny
would 'see the light'. What Hermione didn't bargain for was that Ron
let their secret out – that they were together. Hermione wanted to keep
it a secret, Ron didn't and he is now in the dog house. :-D