The shock of Harry’s revelation made Ginny shiver. “Oh Merlin, Harry!” Ginny exclaimed. “Are you scared?”
turned to look at her, shaking his head. “Frankly, I don’t know what to
feel. It’s strange, ambivalence,” he hesitated as if trying to decide
something. “And no…I don’t think I’m scared. I’ve thought for a long
time that Voldemort might try something like this and…and now that he’s
made his move…I’m almost…relieved,” he said slowly.
“But what about the Dursleys? Surly you must feel something for them,” Ginny said, stepping closer and searching his face.
snorted. “You know I don’t have any positive feelings for that family.
It’s the place I’m incarcerated every summer until Dumbledore decides
it’s safe to let the inmate out.” He began searching the ground again
and spotting several suitable stones, hurled one at the water where it
skipped over the surface several times before sinking. He stood there
at the edge of the water shifting the rocks from one hand to the other,
his face set; the movement was the only indication of his agitation for
Ginny. She waited patiently for Harry to continue.
said, “Half of me wants to ignore this warning and carry on as if last
night hadn’t happened; the other half wants to summon the Knight Bus
and warn them right away, if only because Aunt Petunia is my mother’s
“Do you think they’ve been notified of the Walton-upon-Thames attack?”
shrugged. “If anything, there were too many attacks to go unnoticed by
the Muggles, so some sort of story was probably in the Muggle papers
this morning and on the News.”
“You’re probably right,” Ginny
murmured standing a little closer to Harry and holding out a hand for
one of his rocks. He gave her one and watched as she expertly bounced
it off the ice before it skipped into the water next to the giant
squid’s waving tentacles.
“Yes!” she cried pumping an arm
into the air. “I did it and I have a witness. Wait ‘til Fred and George
hear about this!” She knew her jubilance was inappropriate for such a
solemn occasion, but she couldn’t help feeling happy when she had just
achieved what her brothers had been trying to do for the past five
winters. As the squid sank back into the depths of the lake, she
glanced over at Harry, only to find him completely lost in his thoughts
Finally, Harry threw his last stone out into the middle
of the lake and didn’t bend down to get more. “I’ve got to tell them,”
he said abruptly as though coming to a decision. “They’ve got to know.”
“What is it, Harry?” Ginny inquired.
Without taking his eyes off the water, Harry said, “Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna. It’s time they knew about the Prophecy.”
“Why now?” she inquired curiously.
Voldemort is going to go after the Dursleys, he’ll probably go after
the rest of those who were in the Department of Mysteries with me last
year. You know things others don’t. Besides, if I tell everyone at the
same time I’ll just get the good-byes over with all at once.”
dug the toe of his left trainer into the frozen mud of the bank as he
replied, “I don’t think any of them will want to associate with a
murderer, Ginny. And that goes for you as well.” He thrust his hands
into his pockets and seemed to sag as he voiced the comment.
would you like to tell them?” Ginny asked in quiet fury. Harry could be
so sweet at times and at others, like right now, so infuriating she
just wanted to throttle him. Good-bye, indeed! What sort of
prat would give up his friendships because he was in danger? Harry,
that’s who. The noble, stoic Harry who wanted to keep his friends safe
while he faced the worst Dark wizard in nearly a century all alone with
only a wand for company. Well, if she had anything to say about it, he
wouldn’t go into battle alone at all. Harry needed his friends more
than ever now that old Tom had announced his intentions.
For the first time in ten minutes, Harry looked at her. “As soon as possible. I might as well get it over with,” he answered.
sighed inwardly as she squared her shoulders and gave him a pointed
look before saying, “All right. How about we meet you in the Room of
Requirement in a half-hour’s time?” She smiled slightly at her next
thought. “I hope I find Luna first. It’ll take her that long to find
Harry just shook his head, a small smile playing
about his lips. “If you convey the message like a Ravenclaw, I think
she’ll be the first one there.”
“Whatever,” Ginny replied with a sigh. She stood on tiptoe to give him a quick kiss. “I’m off. See you in a bit.”
Harry didn’t answer. He had already turned back to the lake and sunk into his own thoughts.
headed for the Great Hall, hoping Ron and Hermione were still at the
Gryffindor table. They were and agreed to go upstairs at the appointed
“What’s this all about?” Hermione inquired as Ginny began searching the Ravenclaw table for signs of Luna.
Ginny answered vaguely. “See you later. I’ve spotted Luna.” She
half-sprinted over to the Ravenclaw table and sat opposite her quarry.
looked up from her contemplation of the platter of assorted pastries
sitting in front of her plate. “You scared off the sugar wasp,” she
“Sorry,” Ginny said absently. “Listen, Luna.
Can you meet Harry, Neville, Ron, Hermione and me up in the Room of
Requirement in twenty-five minutes? It’s really important.”
Luna looked at her sceptically. “More important than this morning’s issue of The Quibbler?
I really want to get started on it. Dad told me about his article on
the Moravian Morning Rover and I was hoping to be done with it before I
met my study group in the library.”
“Yes, Luna. More important
than that. Harry has something to tell us and he wants to get it over
with all at once. Will you be there?”
“Of course, Ginny. Now exit quietly because the sugar wasp is back and I don’t want to scare it away.”
“Whatever,” Ginny said in exasperation and went back to the Gryffindor table to find Neville.
was sitting with Seamus and Dean who were arguing their favourite
morning topic; whether Muggle football was a more difficult sport to
play than Quidditch, or some such variation of the familiar theme.
Neville obligingly moved over to make room for her
grabbed a piece of toast and poured herself a goblet of pumpkin juice
before telling Neville about the meeting. As she sat munching on her
toast an alarming thought barged its way into Ginny’s mind. Harry’s not prepared in any way to fight Voldemort! she thought frantically. She glanced about the Hall and spied Professor Dumbledore by the doors to the Entrance Hall.
Turning to Neville, she asked, “Are you done eating? I’d like some company going upstairs.”
shrugged and looked forlornly at the remaining bit of porridge in his
bowl.He gulped it down as Ginny stood up and accompanied her out of the
Hall. She was looking everywhere for Professor Dumbledore and had only
part of her attention on what he was saying about something he had
accomplished in his Herbology lesson the day before.
an apologetic farewell to a very surprised Neville at the top of the
marble staircase and went flying along the first-floor corridor. She
thought she had seen the headmaster walking this way and hoped her
hunch was correct. Seconds later, she was rewarded with a glimpse of
the hem of his robes as they swished around a corner not ten metres
“Professor Dumbledore!” she called sliding to a halt
and clutching at the wall to keep from colliding with Professor
Flitwick with whom the headmaster had been conversing. “Professor!
Excuse me…can I have a word, please?”
Both men turned and
seeing the frantic expression on Ginny’s face, Professor Dumbledore
nodded at Professor Flitwick. “We’ll finish this later, Filius,” he
murmured. Then, turning to Ginny asked, “What is it child?”
“Professor, you’ve got to do something for Harry!” Ginny burst out.
Dumbledore regarded her over the top of his half-moon spectacles.
“Shall we continue this conversation in my office, Miss Weasley? The
walls of this castle seem to have ears sometimes and I wouldn’t want
what we have to discuss to become common knowledge.” He led the way up
to his office making pleasant small talk until the door had securely
latched itself behind them. Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix,
trilled quietly in greeting. The headmaster stopped briefly to stroke
the magnificent bird’s scarlet head. For her part, the phoenix song
gave Ginny the courage she needed to see this meeting through to its
“Now, Miss Weasley, you wanted to talk about
Harry…” he stated taking his seat behind his desk and indicating that
Ginny should sit in on of the two chairs opposite him on the other side.
“Professor, you must
do something about Harry,” Ginny stated trying to keep the panic she
was feeling at the delay out of her voice. (Twenty of her precious
minutes had elapsed and at this rate she would be late for the meeting
in the Room of Requirement and she wanted to be there on time.) “He’s
beside himself over the attacks and I’m afraid he might do something
rash that he’ll regret later.”
Professor Dumbledore sighed. “I thought as much,” he breathed wearily.
studied her headmaster almost as intently as he was examining her and,
to her chagrin, he looked older than he ever had. Tension and worry had
etched the lines around his eyes deeper than she had ever seen them.
tried again. “Sir, Harry knows about the Death Eaters trying to find
the Dursleys. He expected Voldemort to try something like that, but not
so soon. He’s feeling exposed, vulnerable right now. He knows he’s not
prepared to fight Voldemort any more than he could pass the Potions
NEWT on Monday. But if he had to face that evil incarnate tomorrow, he
“Why didn’t he talk to me after breakfast? I expected him to.”
“He refuses to, Professor. He doesn’t trust you any more. He lost faith in you last June,” she stated boldly.
“I see,” he murmured. “So you’ve come instead.”
“Yes, because I care
about Harry, Professor. He’s important to me. I could never treat him
like a weapon that has no feelings! To me, he’s not something you can
just throw away!”
“Are you saying that I don’t care about Harry, Miss Weasley?”
sir. You lied to him, kept him ignorant of facts that would have helped
him greatly last year. You let him down when you turned Hogwarts over
to Professor Umbridge!”
Somewhere behind Ginny a painting or
two made itself heard with a soft gasp or murmured, “Oh!” Glancing up,
she noticed that none of the elderly wizards and witches was sleeping
now. Her statement seemed to have struck a chord among the previous
occupants of the office.
Professor Dumbledore seemed to have noticed as he said, “That was not my intention, I assure you!”
but you did!” Ginny exclaimed, her temper flaring. “You let us all down
when you looked the other way when Professor Umbridge began posting her
Educational Decrees and using a blood quill on students during her
detentions. Yes, Professor. A blood quill. Did you know that Harry has
‘I will not tell lies’ permanently etched into the back of his right
hand?” When the headmaster shook his head negatively she continued,
“Well, he does. All because he felt the need to make sure other
students knew that Voldemort had returned. He wouldn’t give in, no
matter how much it hurt to stick by his convictions, and spent many
nights last year carving that horrible sentence into his hand for it.”
Dumbledore looked rather disturbed as he said, “I am truly sorry about
what happened with Dolores Umbridge last year. But some things in this
world cannot be helped. Sometimes we just have to make the best of a
“Is that what it was, a ‘bad situation’?” Ginny squealed.
In this case, my hands were tied by the Ministry of Magic, and there
was nothing I could do for Harry specifically to change the situation
without making things worse for him.”
“All Harry wanted was for someone to believe him.”
“The teachers did. Some of his classmates did.”
but that wasn’t enough. He needed the Wizarding world to understand and
not follow Minister Fudge. And you looked the other way!”
exactly, my dear. I was watching, observing, and feeling rather guilty
that I could not take a more active role in helping Harry as Miss
Granger found a way of doing.”
Ginny sighed. This conversation
was going nowhere quickly. “I understand that, Professor,” she stated.
“But that’s not why I’m here. We could talk all day about who did what
for Harry last year trying to assuage our own guilt and it would not
make one hill of difference to what he’s feeling at this moment.
want to know what you’re going to do for Harry now. I want to know
what’s available to him over and above what he didn’t learn last year
in Defence class or by teaching the D.A. This year’s Defence teacher is
trying hard to help us all catch up, but that’s not enough for Harry.”
She stood up, unable to sit when she felt the volume of her voice rise
with every word. “How can I explain it except to tell you that I DON’T
WANT TO HAVE HARRY MURDERED BY VOLDEMORT BECAUSE HE’S UNPREPARED?”
Ginny sank back in her chair shaken and mortified that she had just
punctuated her point by banging her hand on Professor Dumbledore’s
desk. Had she really and truly just yelled at her headmaster?
Weasley,” Professor Dumbledore began calmly. “Your defence of Harry
shows me how deeply you care about him and I whole-heartedly agree with
your accusations. I did let Harry down. I am guilty of
short-sightedness because of the grand plan I conceived on the night of
his original attack by Voldemort; unfortunately, it was an old man’s
plan which forgets the impetuousness of youth. Please forgive me and my
shortcomings because I, like you, am only human. However, I did try to
help Harry last year.”
Ginny’s temper rose again. “The
Occlumency lessons he had with Professor Snape were a joke!” she spat.
“They did nothing other that seemingly open Harry’s mind to further
attack. He needs more than that, Professor, and he needs it now!”
getting to that, Miss Weasley. Please be patient.” He waited until
Ginny leaned back against her chair before resuming. Fawkes fluttered
over to perch on Ginny’s knee and she immediately felt the bird’s
calming presence. Professor Dumbledore smiled at the two before him
before saying, “You stated earlier that Harry has lost faith in me.”
He told me you had to summon him to find out what was going on with his
scar yesterday afternoon,” she said in a more charitable voice.
you see that the first order of business is to begin rebuilding that
trust. I still believe that Harry needs Occlumency lessons and have
engaged someone he trusts to resume his lessons: Remus Lupin.”
A smile lit up Ginny’s face. “That’s brilliant, sir. What’s next?”
combat training in the martial arts. Something akin to an abbreviated
course in Auror defensive training. Mr. Kinsley Shacklebolt will
oversee this phase of Harry’s training with various Aurors as they
become available and finally, if he’ll come willingly, advanced spell
work with me.”
Ginny was pleased with the plans, but found
there was one thing that nagged at the edge of her awareness.
“Professor,” she started, “Why didn’t Harry have all these courses as
part of his timetable in September?”
“Was he ready for them then?”
thought for a moment. “No, sir. He wasn’t ready. He was still mourning
Sirius and dealing with what the Prophecy indicates he must do.”
“That is why, Miss Weasley.”
“All right. Then tell me something else; where do Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna and I fit in with all these plans?”
Dumbledore sat back and studied her over the top of his steepled
fingers as Fawkes returned to his perch. “Let me ask you this: where do
you want to fit?”
“Me?” she asked, startled. “I—I suppose right along side Harry. Just as I was at the Ministry of Magic last spring.”
“I thought as much,” he commented. “How much do you know of the aftermath of the battle?”
you mean the Prophecy and its contents, I know what Professor Trelawney
said and what it means for Harry, if that’s what you’re getting at.”
“Yes. I’m glad you know. What about the others?”
looked at her watch. She was five minutes late. Harry would just have
to start without her. “Harry was going to meet them in the Room of
Requirement five minutes ago to tell them. Because of the attacks last
night, he feels they should know and…and…” she faltered. This next idea
was too difficult to understand for her. “…and be given the chance to
sever their friendships with him if they so choose.”
“Do you think they will?”
on your life!” she stated fiercely. “Wherever Harry goes, we go. He
needs us and whatever we can do to help him, even if he still feels he
has to go it alone.”
“I am pleased that you think his friends
will stick by Harry. He’s going to need as much support as possible
during the coming months and I think knowing he is sharing the training
with his elite group of supporters will go a long way toward
eliminating his feelings of dread and inadequacy, if not the fear of
fulfilling his role as set by the Prophecy.” The headmaster stood from
his chair and Ginny knew her time was up.
“Thank you, Professor,” she beamed. “When will the training begin?”
the outcome of your meeting today, Professor Lupin will be here Monday
to begin work with Harry. It may take a few days to organize our
strategy for the rest of you. I’ll send an owl with more information as
soon as arrangements can be made.”
“I’ll be looking for it.”
Ginny rose and walked to the door. She had just placed her hand on the latch when Professor Dumbledore called her back.
the way, Miss Weasley, you do your mother proud. I have not been
properly dressed down since the last time she sent me a Howler.”
could feel her face growing warm. “Oh!” she gasped, a hand flying to
her mouth. With that, she left the office at a sprint, her
embarrassment spurring her on until she reached the seventh floor.
said she’d be here. So where is she?” Ginny heard her brother complain
as she slipped into the Room of Requirement a few minutes later. The
Room had outfitted itself as a small version of a generic common room
complete with a fireplace surrounded by comfortable chairs at one end
and a small study table at the other. Ron was pacing back and forth in
front of the fire. The others had taken seats wherever they seemed to
be the most comfortable with Hermione at the table while Neville and
Luna had taken chairs by the hearth.
“I’m right here,” Ginny told him walking further into the room.
“You’re late,” Ron stated in a voice that sound almost like the one Professor Snape used on tardy students.
“Couldn’t help it, Ron. I needed to speak to Professor Dumbledore,” she explained.
Neville sighed. “So that’s why you went dashing off! I thought it was something I said.”
nothing like that. I apologize for rushing off like that, Neville,” she
said sincerely. “I take it that Harry hasn’t come in from the lake
“I’m right behind you,” Harry told her and the others
as he closed the door behind himself. “Peeves decided that I’d make an
ideal target for peashooter practice and it took me several minutes of
defending myself to persuade him to go pester someone else.”
“Hey, mate,” Ron greeted him. “We were worried when you left the Great Hall in such a rush.”
why I had Ginny call this meeting,” Harry began, his voice becoming
businesslike and somewhat dispassionate. He walked over to the nearest
sofa and dropped onto it, staring into the dancing flames as Hermione
took a seat on the floor close to where Ron was pacing.
something I reckon you lot should know about since anything that
pertains to Voldemort has to do with me in some way,” Harry stated.
Ron stopped his pacing with a visible shudder. “That’s nothing new,” he said sitting down next to Hermione.
scowled at him, but other than that didn’t acknowledge Ron’s aversion
to hearing You-Know-Who’s name. Instead, he went on, “The Daily Prophet reported fifty-three new deaths this morning. Voldemort
has upped the ante by trying to make me feel threatened: one of the
villages, Walton-upon-Thames, is less than ten kilometres from Little
Whinging where the Dursleys live.”
Hermione’s eyes grew
large with this bit of information and a breathy “Oh!” escaped from
between the fingers that had flown to her mouth.
steadily at her as though willing her to calm herself. “I’m not scared
about that, Hermione. What I’m concerned about, though, is you lot.”
Harry made a sweeping gesture with his hand that included everyone
seated around him. His five companions exchanged startled looks as he
continued. “I’m thinking that since Voldemort knows all of you were
with me at the Ministry of Magic last June, he’s going to make you
targets to try to get to me because there’s the possibility that you
might know what the Seer saw. Anyway, I think you should know what was
in that little glass sphere.”
Neville spoke for the first time. “No one will ever know, Harry. I smashed it, remember?”
glanced in Neville’s direction. “That particular record of the Prophecy
may have smashed, but others do exist. It’s one of the things I want to
talk about, but first I need to some answers.”
He turned to
Ginny who had settled herself next to him on the sofa and looked her
directly in the eyes. “Ginny, you insisted on coming with me to London.
I know I wasn’t too nice to you about it, so why did you get involved
in the first place?”
Taken aback, Ginny sputtered, “I heard
you yelling…through a closed classroom door and…and wanted to see if I
could help. You didn’t have a very good year last year and we all knew
you were on edge about a number of things. I…I just hoped I could do
something for you.”
Harry seemed to accept her statement, so
she said, “It wasn’t hard to determine that you needed me and Ron and
Hermione looked at their wit’s end because you were so distraught.” She
stopped and smiled at her boyfriend. “Besides, by the time I’d hexed
Malfoy, I knew I was in so much trouble that I wasn’t going to let you
make me stay behind for anything…not even one of Mum’s Howlers!”
pretty smug about that hex, Ginny, and I reckon I don’t want to be on
the receiving end of your wand any time soon,” Harry commented wryly
earning himself a chuckle from the others. “In the end, though, I was
glad for your company. I’m sorry you broke your ankle.”
“’s nothing, Harry. Honest.”
Harry turned to Luna. “How come you got involved?”
“Hermione said Ginny needed help directing traffic and warning people out of that hallway,” she stated calmly. “So I helped.”
“But why did you help her to begin with?”
heard you shouting through that classroom door and knew something was
wrong. I didn’t want to get involved, but Ginny insisted on finding out
what was upsetting you.”
“I understand that now. But you still insisted on coming to the Ministry when you didn’t even know Sirius.”
considered for a moment. “Somebody had to help you with the thestrals.
Besides, I thought I might get to run into Stubby Boardman. Daddy was
quite taken with the idea that the man allegedly responsible for
turning your parents over to the Death Eaters was actually an escaped
prisoner. I wanted to meet Mr. Boardman if I could.”
Harry goggled at Luna. Not so much that she had answered, but that she had given him a straight answer for once.
he said looking around at his friends who were trying hard not to
giggle. “I want to thank you for looking after Ron and Ginny when we
got separated and for helping me seal as many doors as we could.”
was part of the adventure, Harry,” Luna said dreamily. “By the way, I
did get to see Stubby Boardman. He rushed past me on his way to rescue
you. He must have loved you very much to come out of retirement.”
“You did not see him, Luna,” Neville muttered. “You were out cold by the time the Order members came to the rescue.”
opened her mouth to make a comment but Ginny caught her eye and
whispered, “Shut it, will you? You two can argue about this some other
Shaking his head, Harry turned his attention to
Hermione next. She looked rather uncomfortable now that she knew what
Harry was asking his friends to tell him. “Hermione,” he began, “Why
didn’t you stop me?”
Hermione began fidgeting with a lock of
her hair as though the motion would help her thought process. At
length, she answered, “I tried, Harry. You know I did, but you were so
positive that what you saw in your dream was real, it was useless to
try to dissuade you.”
“But you were sceptical about what I saw.”
“Yes, but I also knew that there might be some truth in it, too. You had to discover that truth for yourself.”
Harry stared at her, anger clouding his features. “What I found was a lot of nothing!” he said vehemently.
you didn’t know anything before we left other than what you’d been
dreaming all year,” Hermione shot back.“The only other information you
had was what you knew through something that Muggle educators call
‘prior knowledge’: you had successfully rescued Mr. Weasley, so why
shouldn’t you have trusted your next dream?”
Harry snorted, “Some help that was.”
Hermione tried again. “Oh, it was! We all learned that there are indeed prophesies.”
prophesies…” Harry shook his head, a disgusted expression replacing the
anger. “Please be honest with me, Hermione. Why did you eventually
agree to go with me?”
Hermione’s stubborn determination showed
in her pretty features as she said, “I wanted to be there, Harry: just
like I have every other time you’ve needed someone to help you. There
were things I needed to know, things I needed to experience for myself; things that can’t be learned from books.” She nearly whispered the last part and Ginny strained her ears to hear her friend.
“So I provided a convenient learning experience for you, did I?” Harry demanded.
Harry,” Hermione protested urgently. “You’re my oldest friend: you and
Ron. I care about what happens to you. I don’t know what I’d do if
something happened to you and I wasn’t there to be a part of it.”
“You weren’t there at the end of the Third Task, Hermione.”
but I had done my part to get you to the centre of that maze and I’ve
hoped since that night that what we practiced together our whole fourth
year helped to get you there and then back to Hogwarts. I hope it made
The harshness left Harry’s face as Hermione
spoke. He was silent for a time, the others remaining quiet as well.
After a while Harry said quietly, “It did, Hermione, it did make a
difference…as did your coming with me last year. Thanks. I don’t think
I’ve ever said that to you or told you how sorry I feel that Dolohov
hurt you so badly. I…I,” he faltered, biting his lip and closing his
eyes. Ginny reached over and gave his hand a squeeze of encouragement.
Harry glanced over at her and then back at Hermione. “I hope you know
how important your friendship is to me.”
Hermione seemed to relax onto Ron’s shoulder and he put his arm around her as she told Harry, “I do.”
group let the emotions of this exchange wash over them and by Ginny’s
watch five minutes elapsed before Harry said, “Ron, mate, it’s your
turn. Why did you come with me last year?”
“Ginny would have killed me if I hadn’t,” he quipped causing everyone to chuckle self-consciously.
Ginny scowled at her brother, muttering, “Not me, Mum!”
glared back at her before looking at Harry again. “No, seriously,
Harry. We’ve been friends since our very first ride on the Hogwarts
Express,” he added. “We’ve done battle together since Malfoy challenged
you to that wizard’s duel in first year, then didn’t show up. You
needed a second then and every time since and where you go, I go. It’s
“It wasn’t that way between Halloween and the First Task in fourth year,” Harry reminded him.
shut his eyes before he answered. “I was such a git that year and I’m
not proud of it, Harry. I had a lot of time to think while I was
hanging around Fred and George and I came to the conclusion that what
made me distinctive from my brothers is our friendship. You were my
friend first and no one can take that from me. I went with you last
year because it’s what a friend does.”
“Thanks, Ron,” Harry said looking slightly embarrassed.
Ron wasn’t through. It was as though he had wanted to say something
like this for a long time. “I want to do my part against You-Know-Who,”
he stated determinedly. He had everyone’s attention now. “Mum won’t let
me and Ginny join the Order ‘cause she says we’re too young to fight,
but if there’s any way I can help keep you alive, Harry, I’ll be with
you.” He looked pointedly at the boy sitting next to his sister as he
said this. When Harry just stared back, Ron added, “I wasn’t going to
let Umbridge keep you from trying to help Sirius last June, not when
you were so desperate to save him. For all we knew after that exam,
your dream was real. You were hurting, mate. I had to do something to
support you and the only way I could think of was helping you get where
you thought you had to be.”
Harry sighed, and still said
nothing. His eyes, though, searched the face of his oldest friend and
Ginny thought she felt him fighting to control his breathing. She
squeezed his hand again and this time, Harry squeezed back.
glanced at the scars on his right wrist as it protruded from his
too-short sleeve. “It was worth it, Harry,” he said smiling shyly and
tightening his arm around Hermione. “I got something out of that
At this, Hermione blushed a deep pink and hid her face in Ron’s shoulder as Neville teased, “Aw, how sweet.”
“Shut it, Neville,” Ron said defensively and placed an affectionate kiss on the head of the girl in his arms.
Harry took this opportunity to shift the focus over to Neville, the last of his companions. “What about you?”
went mainly because I was already going to be in trouble with Gran for
letting the Inquisitorial Squad catch me.” He paused and then added
softly to his trainers, “Something told me we were going to find the
Harry goggled at Neville as did Ginny and the others.
“You…you knew about the Prophecy?” Harry sputtered incredulously.
“Yeah,” Neville said not meeting Harry’s gaze.
“How? No one knew but Dumbledore and Voldemort!” Harry said, the urgency in his voice growing with each word.
“My Gran told me there was one before I came to Hogwarts,” Neville said quietly.
Harry looked panicked. “How did she know? No one else was supposed to know!” he insisted.
told my parents before I was born and they told Gran the night
You-Know-Who disappeared," Neville mumbled looking rather scared under
“Why didn’t you say something?” Harry demanded.
Neville’s head came up. “You never asked, Harry,” he challenged. “You don’t confide in me the way you do Ron.”
Harry’s anger dissipated immediately. “Oh. I don’t, do I?”
could have helped you with the Second Task much more than Ron and
Hermione, Harry. I had that book Professor Moody had lent me. But
that’s not the point here, is it?” Neville shot back still somewhat
“No. How…how much do you know?” Harry asked.
Neville looked directly at Harry now as he said, “Enough to know that it places you in more danger than it does me.”
“And you still came with me,” Harry mused in an awed voice. “Why?”
consider you my friend, Harry. Our situations could have very easily
been reversed; you know…it’s only a twist of fate that you were chosen
over me,” Neville replied.
At this point, Ron interrupted. “Will somebody please tell the rest of us what the two of you are talking about?”
“It’s the Prophecy, you idiot,” Ginny hissed at her brother. “Aren’t you listening?”
Ron nodded, his mouth only slightly open in protest. Ginny could see he wanted to ask more, but didn’t dare cross her.
Meanwhile, Neville was asking Harry, “Do you want to tell them or should I?”
Harry stared at his hands which were shaking slightly and said, “It’s about me. I have to, I need to, tell about it.”
tell us already,” came Ron’s impatient comment. “Ow!” Hermione elbowed
him sharply in the ribs as the three girls scowled at him.
looked around at his friends, taking a deep steadying breath. “I heard
the Prophecy that night in Dumbledore’s office,” he began.
“Who was the Seer?” inquired Luna.
“Professor Trelawney,” Neville said before Harry could answer.
that’s why Professor Dumbledore insisted on keeping her at the school!”
Hermione exclaimed her eyes widening. “I wondered why he was so adamant
that she stay. Now I get it…”
“Get what?” Ron asked earning himself another scathing look.
I’ve always thought Trelawney was a fraud—she’s certainly not a very
good teacher—but was at a loss as to why she stayed around for so many
years when nobody really learned anything from her…” she mused.
“You can say that again,” Ron interrupted.
ignored him. “Don’t you think it’s strange?” she asked nobody in
particular. “Well, if she made the Prophecy, then Dumbledore is
protecting her from V-V-Voldemort by employing her!”
a collective gasp as everyone saw her point. “And the night Umbridge
tried to fire her, Dumbledore stepped in and told her that her home was
here at Hogwarts,” Harry reminded them. “even though she would no
longer be teaching here.”
“I remember that,” Luna said.
“Umbridge was really enjoying herself that night, too, until Firenze
showed up to take Professor Trelawney’s place.”
“So if Professor Dumbledore is protecting Professor Trelawney…” Hermione said slowly.
“…then Voldemort only knows half of the Prophecy,” Harry finished for her.
“What part doesn’t he know?” Neville asked curiously. “I thought he knew all of it.”
“He didn’t,” Ginny said.
“How do you know?” Ron demanded giving his sister and Harry an appraising look.
told me last November that Voldemort’s spy was caught and removed
before Professor Trelawney finished speaking,” she said evenly.
“When? How?” Ron sputtered.
Ginny was growing impatient. “Later,” she hissed at him as Neville repeated his question. “What doesn’t Voldemort know?”
parts about him marking the boy who would have the responsibility of
trying to kill him and the fact that only one of the two will live to
see the end,” Harry said bleakly shoving his fringe out of the way to
reveal his lightning bolt-shaped scar. “No matter what, it’s my
responsibility to do the deed.”
The ripple of shock that went
through the group was almost palatable for Ginny. Each of the others
responded with their own versions of “Oh, Harry!” or “Blimey, mate!” as
the reality of the situation made its impact. Ginny squeezed Harry’s
hand and put her head on his shoulder thinking, It’s almost over, Harry. You’re nearly through this. You’ve survived. She felt him relax slightly as she finished her thoughts.
At length, Hermione asked timidly, “May we hear the Prophecy, Harry? I know you must have it memorized.”
Harry drew a shuddering breath and began to recite in a dull, listless voice. “The
one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born to those
who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark
Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord
knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can
live while the other survives…The one with the power to vanquish the
Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”
reigned over the group gathered around Harry for a third time in an
hour. Only the crackling of the flames in the grate broke the stillness
of the Room. The faces of those hearing the Prophecy for the first time
registered every emotion from disbelief to horror to anger and, in
Luna’s case, curious amusement. Ginny closed her eyes and willed the
others to accept Harry’s fate as either murderer or victim as openly as
she had. He needs you all, she thought desperately. Show him
he’s not alone. Tell him he’s not a monster to be feared or hated. Tell
him you’ll stand with him and not forsake him. Tell him. Tell him…
was the first to speak. “I’m with you, Harry. I’ll do whatever it takes
to get rid of You-Know-Who: for you, for my parents.” He stood and
approached the couch where Harry was sitting and extended his hand.
Harry took it and, instead of shaking, Neville pulled Harry up into an
awkward hug and clapped him on the back.
Hermione and Ron come
up next. “I, we, thought it was something like that,” Ron said with a
significant glance at Hermione who nodded vehemently. “I hope you know
I’m your second wherever and whenever you need me, mate.”
been through a lot together, Harry. You and Ron saved me from that
troll in first year and now it’s my turn to see that you survive,”
Hermione sniffed as two large tears rolled unheeded down her cheeks. “I
may try to make you see my point of view, but I’m in this to the end,
Harry. You can’t get rid of me.” She sniffed again and pulled the two
boys into a three-way hug which eventually opened to include Neville as
Ginny sidled over to where Luna was watching placidly from her chair. “Well?” she asked.
“I’ll go over in a moment,” Luna responded. “You Gryffindors just included me today because I was involved last June.”
may be, Luna, but Harry’s responsible for saving the Wizarding world
and knowing he’s not expected to battle Voldemort alone will make a
huge difference to him,” Ginny observed passionately.
hug broke up, Luna rose to her feet and sauntered toward Harry. She
stuck out her hand and leaned close to whisper something in his ear
that caused him smile and blush slightly.
“Thanks, Luna,” he told her excusing himself to come over to Ginny. He pulled her into a tight hug.
you, Ginny. This helped a lot,” he breathed into her hair. “I’m going
to go back to the common room with the others. It would be rude to
leave Luna to go back to her dormitory alone. Would you walk her to the
“Sure, Harry,” she smiled up at him. “You go
on. We’ll be along in a moment.” And disengaging herself from his
grasp, she walked over to the door where Luna was already standing. The
others joined them and as they were going out the door, Ginny nudged
“Meet me in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom in an hour,” she whispered.
Hermione nodded and departed the Room with Ron holding tightly to her hand.
accompanied Luna to the head of the stairs leading down to the Entrance
Hall. The two witches stayed several paces back from the others who
were surrounding Harry and talking in low voices as they turned to go
to the Gryffindor common room. At the staircase, Luna stopped and
turned to face Ginny.
“I thought it was something like that,”
she said matter-of-factly echoing Ron’s statement from earlier. “He’ll
be better now, Ginny. He’s carried it inside and let it fester. Now he
can breathe easier.”
Ginny stared at the other girl. Was this
the same Luna who talked about Nargles and Snorkacks and sugar wasps
all the time? Was she seeing the part of Luna that had put her in
“How…how do you know this?” she asked.
smiled. “Experience,” she said simply. “I may not have to fulfil a
Prophecy like Harry, but I felt a lot like he does when my mother died.”
“You did?” Ginny asked, surprised.
you know, the five stages of the grieving process. Everyone goes
through them; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Maybe not in that order, but they go through it just the same.” She was
thoughtful for a moment. “You may not remember, but you played with me
several times after Mum died. I think your mum thought having some
company would help me not be sad all the time. She was right.”
do remember playing with you. Mum made me play whatever you wanted. I
didn’t understand why until now,” Ginny smiled, reminiscing. “We went
hunting for fairies in the bushes in our back garden one afternoon and
you got bitten by an angry garden gnome. Remember?”
Luna held up her left index finger. “I still have the scar,” she said matter-of-factly.
frowned. “I understand Harry grieving for Sirius, but that doesn’t
explain why it took until now to for him to finally tell Ron, Hermione,
you, and Neville about the Prophecy.”
“Yeah, it does. I think Harry had to go through the process twice so it took longer: once for Sirius and once for the Prophecy.”
“You mean he went through all those stages just to accept that he has to kill Voldemort?” Ginny asked in awe.
think so. They’re two very different and difficult things to accept.
The emotions of one could not be used for healing the emotions of the
other and having to deal with both at the same time made coming to
terms with each of them twice as hard.”
Ginny was thoughtful
for a moment. “I guess that before he could tell us he had to accept it
himself,” she said slowly. “And it took the senseless deaths of
fifty-three people last night to finally nudge him over the edge enough
to face the truth and tell you lot.”
Luna nodded. “That could
be, but he may not be too happy with his lot in life. Be patient with
him, Ginny. He needs you, us, more than ever now.” She turned to go.
“Well, good afternoon. Oh, can I borrow your Potions notes? I can’t
find mine. Someone took them and won’t give them back.”
Ginny sighed. “Your test on the Longevity Concoction is Friday, right? I’ll copy mine and give them to you tomorrow.”
smiled and started down the stairs toward the Ravenclaw common room.
Ginny turned around and rushed to the portrait hole and climbed in when
the Fat Lady swung away from the wall.
minutes later, her bag considerably bulkier and heavier than it usually
was, Ginny climbed back through the portrait hole and headed down to
the second floor girls bathroom. She knew she had every right to be in
this particular corridor in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon, but
because of her history with this particular bathroom (which she usually
avoided) her heart began beating double-time as she approached the door.
was no sign of Moaning Myrtle anywhere in the dank, dingy room. Ginny
checked all the cubicles and chose the one with the most light in which
to set up her cauldron. A flick of her wand enlarged it and all of her
ingredient jars which she arranged in order on the water tank. She was
nearly done grinding, chopping and measuring and had just begun looking
through Uncommon Uses for Everyday Potions for the dosage chart
she needed when the door opened and Hermione entered the bathroom. She
closed the door and cast an Imperturbable charm as well as an intruder
warning signal on it.
“There. That should do it,” she said coming to stand at the door of Ginny’s cubicle.
put her pestle back in her potions kit and looked up at her friend.
Hermione looked distracted and worried, but as she pulled her own
potions kit out of her bag, she managed a wan smile that didn’t quite
reach her eyes.
“How’s it going, Ginny?” she asked. “I brought
my kit just in case you needed something, but I see you’ve got
everything under control.”
Ginny stepped out of the cubicle
and pulled Hermione into a hug. “I’m almost ready, Hermione. I
appreciate your being here,” she said honestly. She patted the other
girl supportively on the back and asked, “Is there something I can do
“Oh, Ginny! It’s worse than I thought!” the older
girl sobbed. “How could this happen to Harry? Why didn’t either of you
tell us sooner?”
Ginny sighed and pulled back to look at her
friend.“We didn’t tell you for the simple reason that Harry had not
accepted the contents of the Prophecy until now.”
wiped her eyes. “I suppose something like that would be hard to deal
with. Hasn’t someone published a book somewhere on what to do magically
for someone like Harry who is tormented by grief?”
Hermione, no one has. I looked in the library and even asked Professor
Flitwick for books on grief counselling and depression. No one has
written so much as a book on specialized cheering charms. And even if
someone had, we couldn’t have used their advice because Harry’s
situation is one of a kind.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “How so?”
fiddled with her ladle, finally hanging it on the cubicle door.
“According to Luna, Harry had to go through the grieving process twice:
once for Sirius and once to accept the contents and conditions of the
Prophecy,” she said matter-of-factly. When Hermione still didn’t seem
to understand she asked, “Wouldn’t you find it hard to come to terms
with the fact that you had to do murder or become the murder victim? I
know I would.” Hermione silently nodded in agreement as Ginny moved her
bag out of the cubicle for more room. “Well, that’s what Harry has had
to resign himself to and it’s doubly hard for him because he’s such a
morally upright person. He had to go through all the emotions of the
grieving process in order to do so.”
“I never thought of that!
But it all fits…” Hermione mused. “Professor McGonagall must have
understood, so she gave Harry the benefit of the doubt and didn’t
recommend expulsion because of his poor marks.”
that wouldn’t have made any difference,” Ginny said exasperatedly.
“Professor Dumbledore wouldn’t have gone for expulsion because of
Voldemort. Don’t you realize that Harry would already be dead if he had
been expelled? He’s as much a prisoner here at Hogwarts this year as he
is on Privet Drive! That’s why the teachers did what they did.”
looked at Ginny, an angry scowl on her face. “So all the grief
counselling Harry got was expulsion from the Quidditch team and
homework sessions in Professor McGonagall’s office?” she asked
heatedly. She began pacing in front of the row of slimy sinks. “Merlin,
Ginny! I wish I’d known what was really happening. I could have owled
my mum and dad for books…”
“Hermione, you did know. You
were there every night in the common room and the library with Harry
when he was there,” Ginny interrupted heatedly, “but you and Ron were
too wrapped up in each other to pay more than passing attention to what
was happening with him. You didn’t even bother to find out where he
went when he didn’t show up for dinner.”
“We were not,” Hermione protested.
you were,” Ginny fumed. Then she stopped herself and looked at her
friend. “Hermione, this is silly. We’re arguing over something that
happened last October! I don’t have time to argue and neither do you.
Don’t you think we’d be better put to act on the fact that we can do
something for Harry now, today? Right. Let’s get this potion done; then
we can argue all we like about the past. Agreed?”
Hermione smiled, nodding. “I’m sorry, Ginny. I’m just overreacting. Shall I conjure the Bluebell flame?”
shook her head and stepped into the cubicle to get a flask. “Not yet.
Fill this up with water first. I need to read the method one last time
just to be sure before we start.”
Hermione took the flask and glanced at the slimy sinks. “Erm…Ginny, do you really want to use the water from these sinks?”
Ginny followed her gaze and shook her head. “No!” she exclaimed. “I’d poison Harry for sure!”
giggled. “We can’t have that, can we? I’ll just nip over to the boys’
loo and get some from there. I’m sure it’s a bit cleaner in there. See
you in a few.” With that, she cancelled her spells and left the room.
minutes went by before Hermione returned, breathless and rather
flustered. “Ginny!” she squeaked handing over the flask, then quickly
recasting her previous spells. “I was almost caught by…by Draco Malfoy!”
Ginny’s eyes widened. “What happened?”
giggled nervously. “I’d just filled the flask when the door opened and
Draco walked in. I nipped into a cubicle and closed the door. When he
asked who was there, all I could think to do was pretend to be sick.”
She giggled again. “He left in a hurry after that.”
“Good one, Hermione,” Ginny smiled. “Let’s get this potion going.”
measured the water into her cauldron and Hermione lit the flame for
her. As they were waiting for the water to heat, Hermione showed Ginny
the correct wand movements and soon she was as adept at casting the
spell as Hermione.
They began adding ingredients; Hermione
reading the instructions from Ginny’s notes while Ginny followed as
precisely as she could. While they were on step three, Hermione related
the story of her and Ron and Harry’s first Potions lesson from fifth
year. Ginny felt righteously furious with Professor Snape for vanishing
Harry’s potion in front of the entire class and said as much.
shrugged. “That’s pretty much how it was our entire fifth year,” she
said matter-of-factly. “If Harry managed to produce a half-way decent
potion during a lesson, nine times out of ten Professor Snape found
some way to mark him down whether it was through ‘accidental’ breakage
or failing to mark Harry’s work as soon as he had turned it in.”
“That’s so unfair!” Ginny exclaimed as she added a measure of pulverized puffskeins. “Why didn’t Harry protest?”
“Do you think he really would have in his frame of mind that year?”
I suppose you’re right; he was keeping things so close to his thumb
nobody could have convinced him to rat out a teacher…especially
“Well, there’s the crux of it. Harry’s still
carrying things too close to the vest. I just hope that our
conversation this morning will give him some hope,” Hermione sighed
Ginny paused in her stirring to glance over her
shoulder. “I think it did, but with Harry, you never know how long it’s
going to take him to realize that there are people who care about him
until he’s been hit over the head with a Beater’s bat. He seemed
genuinely relieved at the end, you know.”
“I had that
impression myself,” Hermione mused. “It’s as if he was expecting all of
us to reject him because the Prophecy names him as Vol-Vol-Voldemort’s
Ginny went back to her stirring again. “He was,” she said.
Hermione raised one eyebrow and shook her head in reply as she glanced at the parchment in her hand again.
was silent for a moment, gathering her thoughts and using the
repetitive movement to compose herself. “I have this theory about
Harry,” she finally said.
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Well, you know what an awful childhood he had growing up in that dreadful Muggle house…”
“You mean his treatment by the Dursleys…”
The cupboard under the stairs, the extra chores, the name-calling, the
cast-off clothes, being denied food as punishment…that sort of thing.”
don’t understand why anyone would do that to a child,” Hermione
remarked shaking her head. “I’d think anyone would have psychological
scars from stuff like that.”
“I agree,” Ginny said pausing in
her stirring again. “And I also think the Dursleys tried so hard to
stamp out Harry’s magic that they also taught him that he wasn’t worthy
of other people’s love.”
“But Harry is worthy,” Hermione
protested. “He’s had Ron’s friendship since their first ride on the
Hogwart’s Express and mine since Halloween that year! Yes, the troll.
Ron was a git until then!” She shook her head at Ginny’s amused
expression. “Seriously, though. You’re his girlfriend, for Merlin’s
sake! Isn’t that proof enough that Harry’s capable of forming
friendships that last?”
“He’s capable of that and of
giving love back in whatever form it takes whether it’s romantic love
or otherwise,” Ginny sighed, letting her ladle dangle from her hand. A
little of the unfinished potion dripped onto the floor causing a clean
spot to appear. She ignored it as she continued, “I just think Harry
wonders why his friends choose to give it back. It’s as if he can’t see
that he isn’t a freak like he’s been told for years and years.”
he still doesn’t understand that because we think so highly of his
leadership that we refuse to let him face Voldemort alone!” Hermione
Hermione suddenly lunged forward,
grabbed the ladle and began stirring the potion which had almost boiled
over. A few anxious seconds later, both girls heaved a sigh of relief
as the potion suddenly changed colour and a silvery mist began rising
from its surface.
“That was close,” remarked Hermione as she
poked her wand into the toilet bowl and lowered the flame. “Now we wait
and let it simmer.”
“How long before I can take the cauldron
off the fire?” Ginny inquired her thoughts about Harry and his
self-image problems all but forgotten.
Hermione peered at the
method. “Thirty minutes,” she answered. “Let’s clean up. I don’t want
to spend more time in here than I have to: even when I was making the
Polyjuice Potion I always left as quickly as I could. It’s so creepy in
here. I think Mr. Filch neglects this bathroom on purpose.”
Ginny began gathering up the items she hadn’t already put away. When she was nearly done, she handed Hermione the Uncommon Uses
book asking, “Will you please look up the dosage chart for the Draught?
I’m guessing Harry weighs somewhere between ten and fourteen stone.”
took the book and opened it to the page Ginny wanted her to look at.
She gave a little squeak, then covered her mouth to suppress a gale of
embarrassed giggles. With her free hand, she began fanning the pages of
the little book, periodically stopping to read a recipe or table name
silently to herself.
“What’s so funny?” Ginny asked while extracting some graduated dosage vials from one of the pockets of her bag.
Hermione stopped flipping long enough to gasp, “The potions…they’re all…they’re all lovepotions and…and aphrodisiacs, Ginny!”
snatched the book back and leafed rapidly through its pages. “All I’m
seeing is dosage charts and different variations for the Draught of
Peace,” she said, slightly put out. She found the page she wanted and
ran her finger down one column of numbers in the table printed there
and made a mental note of the size vial she needed. As she gave the
book back to Hermione she remembered what Madam Pince had told her the
night she had checked the book out.
“Hermione,” she asked in a suspiciously slow voice, “Just who or what are you currently thinking about?”
Hermione’s eyes grew large as she squeaked, “Ron!”
“I thought so,” Ginny grinned slyly. “And just what were you thinking about doing with my brother, Hermione?”
Hermione blushed prettily. “S-s-snogging…in the…in the nearest…broom cupboard…” she stammered, obviously mortified.
“Well, Madam Pince was right,” Ginny said smiling. “This book is dangerous! It’s read your thoughts about my brother and—”
it came up with information it thought I’d want! Oh, dear! That really
is embarrassing,” Hermione admitted turning the book over and
inspecting its cover without opening it. “I’m going to try something…”
She composed herself and concentrated on her thoughts and then opened
the book. Again, her eyes grew wide. “It worked, Ginny. It worked!” she
“What worked?” Ginny asked as she put a holder with a dozen correctly-sized vials on the back of the toilet.
thought about needing a potion to change my appearance and when I
opened the book the first potion is the Polyjuice Potion,” Hermione
said as Ginny came to peer over her shoulder.
“That’s really something,” Ginny said eyeing her watch. Their brewing time was almost up.
closed the book and again concentrated on something. When she reopened
it, the love potions were back. “It worked again,” she said.
“Let me see,” Ginny said, peering over Hermione’s shoulder.
moved the book a little to her left and immediately the page facing
Ginny changed from a potion called “Passion’s Promise” to a tea to aid
restless sleepers. The two girls exchanged amazed looks as Hermione
shifted the book back to its original position. “It must work by
sensing our magic,” she mused.
They continued paging through
the book until they came to a section which contained potions for
temporarily exciting or enhancing certain body parts. Hermione closed
the book with a loud snap. “That section’s for Lavender and Parvati! I’m not looking at those!” she stated firmly handing the book back to Ginny.
that Hermione meant what she said, Ginny told her, “Good. I don’t even
want to know about what you and Ron do in those broom cupboards you
were thinking about. It’s none of my business.”
Hermione smiled. “If you don’t kiss and tell, neither will I.” She
looked at her watch. “Time’s up. The potion’s got to cool a little
before you can bottle it.”
The two entered the cubicle and
Ginny carefully lifted the cauldron high enough for Hermione to
extinguish the flames. Suddenly, murky water gushed from the toilet as
an irate Moaning Myrtle shot from the bowl with a loud squelching
sound. Ginny stepped back hastily, gripping the cauldron’s handle and
searching desperately for a safe place to set it down. Hermione wasn’t
so lucky. As the ghost emerged, she sprayed the front of Hermione’s
jumper with water causing her to jump backwards and slip on the wet
floor. She sat down with a thud and skidded backwards toward the sinks
leaving a slightly cleaner streak in her wake.
“What on earth…” Hermione exclaimed. “Argh!Myrtle what are you doing?”
The ghost wasn’t in any sort of mood to be reasonable, it seemed, and she yelled right back, “How
dare you seal my door with an Imperturbable Charm! Do you realize how
much work it is to get through one of those spells? Not to mention
“We…we…we thought you were in your cubicle,”
Ginny stammered having decided the safest place for the cauldron was
between her feet at the moment.
“Well, I wasn’t,” Myrtle
pouted at them as she settled on the sink opposite her cubicle. “And I
find it very aggravating when not only am I repelled from my own door,
but one of my toilets is plugged with a waterproof fire and a dirty
great cauldron!” She pointed to the cauldron at Ginny’s feet. “What are
you making anyway…a love potion?”
“Certainly not,” Ginny
replied indignantly. “What we were brewing is none of your business.
Besides, it’s complete and we’re clearing out right after we bottle it.”
is too my business,” Myrtle snapped. “It’s also Mr. Filch’s by the
looks of the mess you’ve made in here. I ought to report you.”
Ginny sucked in a startled breath. “You wouldn’t,” she challenged.
Myrtle grinned at her. “Tell me what you concocted and I just may
forgive you for causing me so much inconvenience,” she commented
nastily. If a ghost could have a calculating gleam in its eye, Ginny
was certain that this particular spectre had one at the moment.
scrambled to her feet and surveyed the muck sticking to the back of her
jeans. She then scowled in disgust at the clean streak on the floor as
she tried to wring the excess water from her sodden jumper. Ginny took
pity on her and pulled out her wand; with a quick flick of her wrist
she restored Hermione’s appearance to its original state. Her friend
smiled gratefully back at her and turned her attention to Moaning
“We’re terrible sorry,” she said making eye
contact with the ghost. “The potion we were making isn’t anything
illegal. In fact, it’s a gift of sorts for Harry. He’s got a lot on his
mind at the moment and we thought this cheering potion would lift his
spirits a bit.” She gestured toward the cauldron at Ginny’s feet. “As
soon as it’s cool enough to bottle, we’ll restore the bathroom to its
Moaning Myrtle considered this
information. “The last time you were here you said you’d bring him with
you,” she sulked. “I haven’t seen him in ages and thought it would be
nice to chat a bit. Maybe I could cheer him up a little.”
“You could try,” Hermione said trying hard not to smirk.
can’t make any promises about when we’ll be by next,” Ginny began, “but
I’ll try to convince Harry to come with me next time. You never know. A
conversation with you might be just what he needs.” She glanced at
Myrtle hoping this news would mollify the ghost. She seemed less
irritated, so Ginny continued hopefully, “I promise that we won’t use
any Imperturbable Charms on the door. I realize it wasn’t nice to do
that to you and Hermione and I are truly sorry. It’s just that it was
important to us that we weren’t disturbed while we brewed our potion.”
She bent down to test the sides of the cauldron and found it almost
cool enough to bottle. Just a few more minutes and we’ll be out of here! she thought.
seeing Ginny’s smile, brought over the vials and the ladle. “Be careful
with what you say to Myrtle,” she hissed handing the equipment over and
steadying the cauldron as Ginny began filling the first vial. “I don’t
think she liked that last comment.”
Indeed, Moaning Myrtle
hadn’t. Her face contorted and she let out a spine-tingling wail. “You
don’t want me in here, do you?” she cried. “No one wants to be
disturbed. Not you. Not Harry. Not the Merpeople in the lake.
Nobodyyyyyyyy!” She ended her complaint with a shriek and swooped into
her toilet where she landed with a splash that sent water cascading
over the walls and floor. The two witches could hear her sobbing in the
U-bend and knew their clean-up time was limited.
clean-up charms, Ginny,” Hermione instructed urgently surveying the
water that was now seeping toward their position. “Let’s just get this
potion bottled and leave before she completely floods the bathroom
Five minutes later, Ginny and Hermione strode out of
the bathroom just as the first rivulets of water slithered under the
door, smiling in happy relief. They had survived their encounter with
Moaning Myrtle and had a dozen doses of perfectly brewed Draught of
Peace in their possession. If Harry needed to calm his thoughts after a
dream tonight, Ginny was confident that her potion would help him get
the sleep he needed.
Hermione paused and cancelled her spells
on the door while Ginny continued down the corridor. Suddenly, the
older girl began to giggle.
“What’s up?” Ginny asked curiously.
Hermione pointed, still giggling. “You’ve got toilet paper on your shoe!”
End of Part Four
My beta, Aggiebell, breathed a sigh of relief when I sent this chapter
to her because she could now “connect the dots” between Parts 3 and 5.
Thank you, Aggiebell, for being patient with me and for betaing Part 5
before this one.