When Harry arrived in the kitchen, he found Mrs Weasley in full flow
conducting an orchestra of plates, bowls and cutlery with her wand as
she sought to satisfy four hungry teenagers. The door to the garden
closed with a ‘click’ behind Harry and Mrs Weasley looked up from her
labours to see who had entered her domain. In stark contrast to the
worried looks she’d been shooting him since his arrival, she gave him a
knowing smile, before carrying on with the cooking.
Molly’s greeting caused Harry to pause. She knows something, he thought. Someone must have told her; perhaps she’d crossed paths with Ron and he’d let her know about their conversation. But then, he reminded himself, Ron had not been around when he and Ginny had been talking. Curiouser and curiouser.
a bit early, Harry,” she said as she levitated the salad bowl over to
the kitchen table. “I’m not ready to dish up yet; can’t you wait a bit
longer? Honestly, you and Ron, you’ve got hollow legs.”
“I know I’m early,” he offered by way of explanation, “in fact I was wondering if I could help a bit.”
tapped a carving knife twice with her wand, and as it began cutting
thick slices of ham she popped her wand into the front pocket of her
apron. Wiping her hands on her apron, she looked with satisfaction on
the clatter of activity around the kitchen before she addressed him.
very kind of you, Harry,” she said offering him a sympathetic smile,
“but I’m not quite sure that you are up to domestic charms yet. Mind
you, if you’re keen to help there’s always the washing up, even Ron can
Rather than returning to her work, she stood and
waited for his reply in such a manner that suggested that she knew that
he had an ulterior motive in coming into the kitchen early. Plucking up
his courage, he pressed on lest his nerve fail him.
know that I’ve not really been the best of guests,” he began. His was
voice hesitant and suitably penitent. “In fact, I’ve been quite awful
really, haven’t I? What I wanted to say was…” He paused, unsure as to
whether he was ready for the scolding that was sure to follow his
attempt at an apology. “I’m sorry for how I’ve been, Mrs Weasley, will
you forgive me?”
He waited nervously as she glanced over her
shoulder to where the carving knife had come to a rest. Pulling
out her wand, she sent the slices of ham onto a plate and then sent the
platter onto the oak table. When she turned back to face him, to
his relief, she smiled at him warmly.
“There’s nothing to
forgive, Harry,” she said quietly. “The world asks too much of all of
you youngsters, especially you. You wouldn’t be normal, Harry, if you
didn’t lash out once in a while. It shows you’re human, proves you’re
“Well,” he replied astounded by the grace he’d been shown, “you’ve been so kind to me and all I’ve done is impose on you and –”
no imposition, Harry,” she said firmly. “I made up my mind long ago
that if that … that horrible stick thing of an aunt wasn’t going to
take care of you, then I would.” She had now warmed to her task and
started to give vent to her feeling. “I’m sure Dumbledore has his
reasons for making you go back to that place every year but I’ll be
blowed if I can see it.” She paused momentarily as if realising that
she’d let her own prejudices get in the way of what she’d wanted to
say. “There’ll always be a welcome for you here, Harry,” she said in a
gentler tone, “after all, you’re practically one of the family now.”
was flabbergasted, unsure of how to respond. Was he supposed to say or
do something? His confusion deepened when, instead of carrying on
the conversation, she turned away quickly from him.
until he noticed that she grabbed hold of the hem of her pinny to dab
her eyes, that he understood what was going on. In the few moments of
silence that followed Harry was pleased to find that far from being
made uncomfortable by it all, he felt accepted. If Mrs Weasley was
prepared to be this vulnerable in front of him then she truly had
forgiven him. As she turned back to face him, she gave him an
embarrassed smile before dabbing her eyes for a final time.
epiphany was interrupted by the rattling of a saucepan lid as the
potatoes came to the boil. Embarrassed by her inattention in the
kitchen, she became a flurry of activity sending dishes whizzing to the
table, knives chopping and spoons stirring. Suddenly, she was all
business and he was drawn into the whirlwind of preparation.
Harry, you wanted to help so if you want to make yourself useful then
you can start by laying the table.” Harry went to the Welsh Dresser,
took out the mats and cutlery and began to lay the table, smiling to
himself as he went. His day had gone better than he’d dared to hope and
even the prospect to trying to deal with Hermione couldn’t dampen his
Lunch was a bit of a curate’s egg. Ron arrived back
from the shop and wolfed his food down before dashing back to Diagon
Alley. He barely managed two words between mouthfuls but paused to
scowl at Hermione when she tried to give Harry a hard time about his
behaviour. Hermione for her part, seemed confused as to why Ron had
allowed himself to be so easily swayed by Harry, and his speedy return
to the twins’ shop may have been prompted by her less than subtle hints
to him. Ginny chose to ignore the older girl’s bad mood and was her
normal chatty self. In the end Hermione left the table in frustration
when Ginny had also refused to join her in rebuking Harry.
the dinner things had been cleared away Harry excused himself and
retired to his room. He spent a very frustrating three hours struggling
to find the right words to express his remorse to Remus. After almost
exhausting his supply of parchment, he finally settled on a form of
words with which he felt comfortable. As he watched Hedwig fly away
with his final version Harry wondered what the werewolf’s response
would be. Crossing his fingers he sent up a brief prayer that it would
be as magnanimous as Mrs Weasley’s had been.
That evening Mr
Weasley announced that Ginny’s forthcoming birthday would be a joint
celebration with Harry to make up for the fact that they hadn’t been
able to celebrate his birthday earlier. Hermione mumbled something
about ungrateful idiots not deserving to have even a candle let alone a
birthday party, and received equally reproachful glares from both Ron
Harry was pleased that he and Ron had reached an
understanding at least, if not a full reconciliation. He knew that the
battle at the Ministry had left mental as well as physical scars on Ron
and he was happy to let things progress at their own pace. He and Ron
would be fine but he was worried about Hermione. In between her barbed
comments he often found her staring at him in a way that unnerved him.
He felt like she was almost trying to provoke him into saying something
he didn’t want to. She had continued to be as unforgiving as ever even
though Ron, and especially Ginny, had begun to act more normally around
The following day after breakfast he cornered Hermione and tackled her on her attitude.
I don’t know why you’re carrying on the way you are. I’ve repeatedly
said I’m sorry, I don’t know what else you want me to do.”
not as easy as saying sorry, Harry.” Her tone was not bitter, or even
angry, rather he got the impression that she wished that he’d stop
playing games and cut to the chase.
“You think saying sorry is
easy? Believe me, Hermione, the only thing harder than forgiving
someone is asking for that forgiveness in the first place.” He knew
that wasn’t what she wanted to hear but that was all he was going to
“You know what I mean, Harry. It’s time you grew up a bit and stopped shirking your… responsibilities.” She fixed him with a penetrating stare daring him to contradict her.
knew what she was driving at. She had worked out that the prophecy was
about Harry and Voldemort and she wanted him to fill in the gaps for
her. Instead, he sidestepped her question and refused to be drawn.
Hermione,” he said, finding it hard not to be just a little
patronising, “I’ll start my NEWT revision as soon as I get back to
Hogwarts. In the meantime I’m looking forward to the party, aren’t
you?” He gave her a fixed grin to emphasise his lack of co-operation.
Hermione continued to stare at him refusing to answer his question.
stood in silence for a few moments in a battle of wills. For a moment
Harry contemplated telling her. At least, he reasoned, she would be off
his case and he’d have some breathing space. Or would she? Harry’s mind
filled with the avalanche of questions that she would surely fire at
him and he shuddered. Before he knew where he was, she would have made
a list of the sources to check and possible curses that he could use.
All of which would be very useful; after all, without her help during
the Triwizard Tournament he would have floundered badly, but now wasn’t
the time for all that. He was still trying to work it all out and
besides, he needed some time and space to work out what, if anything,
was going on between him and Ginny.
And it was also a matter
of control. He would tell her the prophecy, but when he was ready and
not when she’d bullied it out of him. He found himself comparing her
reaction to the way Ginny had responded. He’d all but told Ginny the
whole of the prophecy but she’d not pushed him on it. In the end
Harry broke the silence.
“Well I can’t stand around here all day, Hermione. I have to go and plan a party. See you later.”
left her standing there, saddened by her attitude, but he had resolved
to do things his way and no amount of bullying on her part would get
him to change his mind.
His relationship with Ginny had
continued to grow and he now found himself missing her when she wasn’t
around. Thanks to the continuation of their punishment for fighting,
they were spending an increasing amount of time together since Mrs
Weasley had started assigning them new chores together. Harry had been
happy just to be with her and away from Hermione, but Ginny had
continued to make a song and dance about it.
As they worked in
the garden and in the house Harry was amazed to find how much he had in
common with her and how much about her he didn’t know. She had an
infectious laugh and wasn’t above teasing him when she thought he was
becoming too serious. Much to his relief, she revealed that her remark
about ‘choosing Dean Thomas’ on the train home had been nothing
more than an extravagant wind up of her brother, which to her delight
he had swallowed hook, line and sinker.
The day of the party
finally arrived and Mr Weasley let Harry know that a full house was
expected. All the Weasleys, with the exception of Percy, were due to
put in an appearance, along with several members of the Order. Harry
and Ginny had asked that several members of the DA be able to attend
but her mother had only said, “We’ll see.”
The first people to
arrive were the Aurors. Tonks was there on official duty, but she’d
also been invited as a member of the Order. Prowling around with the
rest of people from the Ministry was ‘Mad Eye’ Moody. Harry was
grateful for the veteran Auror’s intervention at Kings Cross at the
start of the summer holidays, but he had no wish to be lectured about
the safest place to carry his wand.
Anxious to escape, Harry
scurried off in the direction the house, where he came across Bill
Weasley walking down the path from the house with Remus Lupin. The two
were deep in conversation and didn’t notice his approach. Harry slowed
down, unsure as to how he would be received. He had not yet had a reply
from the former professor, a fact that had cost him a lot of sleep in
recent days. As he drew near, the sound of his footsteps caused Remus
to look up from his conversation with Bill.
“Hello Harry,” said Remus. His voice was flat, guarded, betraying no emotion.
Remus,” Harry replied struggling to keep the emotion from his voice. He
wanted to do nothing more than wrap his arms around Remus and
give him the hug he’d needed the last time they’d met. He was, however,
unsure how the older man would respond and so he reluctantly kept his
arms by his side.
He searched the older man’s face hoping for
a sign, some hint as to how his owl had been received but the
werewolf’s countenance was impassive. The awkward silence continued for
a few embarrassing moments before the eldest Weasley took the hint and
made to leave. “I’ll leave you two to talk,” said Bill, “I know you
have things to discuss.” He gave Harry an encouraging smile before
walking off to join the rest of the guests.
Harry felt very
nervous and was unsure as to where to begin. He had never been the best
at starting even the most basic of conversations and this was going to
be far from that. He noticed that Remus was ill at ease; neither of
them would meet the other’s gaze.
Finally, Harry summoned enough courage to begin.
“Remus, I wanted to apologise -”
Harry could continue the older man stepped forward and enveloped him in
a hug. A wave of relief flooded over Harry as he returned the hug. He
was struck by how thin Remus was and he was reminded once again of how
selfish he’d been to think that he was the only one mourning the loss
Remus ended the embrace, but stood with his hands resting on Harry’s shoulder, a broad smile lighting up his thin face.
“Harry,” he said his voice now filled with emotion. “You don’t need to apologise. I was wrongto
impose on you. Even if you did owe me anything, consider any debt paid.
I’ve never been one to hold grudges and I’m not about to start with
you. Besides, Molly would never forgive me if I held out against
you.” Harry noticed a solitary tear began its slow progress down
his cheek, but that a large smile lit up his face. Harry half expected
a rainbow to appear.
He let out a long sigh of relief. “Thank you, Remus. You don’t know how much that means to me.”
“I think I might, Harry, but perhaps we could talk about that over a cool drink?”
and Harry walked away from the house towards the tressel tables that
had been set up in the garden. They stopped next to the one full of
drinks staffed by Hestia Jones.
“Hi Remus,” said the dark haired witch, “glad you were able to make it. What can I offer you two handsome fellows?”
“Just a bottle of Butterbeer each, Hestia,” he replied politely.
you are then, Remus,” she replied. She picked up two chilled bottles of
Butterbeer and handed one to Remus and the other to Harry. “Happy
birthday, Harry!” She raised her glass of pumpkin juice and saluted
him. Remus led a somewhat bemused Harry away from the young woman
towards a more secluded spot.
Harry sipped on the cool drink
as he followed in the older man’s wake. When they reached the Weasley’s
weather beaten broom cupboard Remus sat down on the grass and leaned
against the sun bleached wall. He motioned to Harry to join him, and
for a few moments neither said a word, content to enjoy the other’s
company in the sunshine whilst sipping their drink.
Remus turned to him, a more serious look on his face. “I wanted you to
know that Dumbledore told me about the prophecy, Harry. Don’t be angry
with him, I forced him to tell me. I was so upset after our meeting
that I stormed into his office raging about you. It was then he told
me. I also wanted you to know that I will be incommunicado for a while
on Order business. You won’t be able to contact me as I’ll be
Unplottable. Only you and Dumbledore know this, Harry, and I
would ask that you don’t tell your friends. I know it will be hard to
keep a secret but I can’t risk anyone else knowing.”
Harry suddenly thought how unfair life was. No sooner had he made up with Remus than he was leaving him. Story of my life, he thought.
can’t believe Dumbledore would do this to me, or to you. That man has
got no idea, has he? If it wasn’t enough that I lost Sirius, now I’m
going to be losing you, thank you, Headmaster.”
“You won’t be losing me, Harry; I’ll just be incommunicado for a bit, that’s all.”
“What…. What if I don’t see you again? What if…?” Harry couldn’t bring himself to say the words…what if you’re killed?
don’t plan on dying any time soon, Harry, if that’s what you’re
thinking. And besides, what I’m going to be doing isn’t that dangerous,
it’s just difficult.”
“That’s what you say…”
“It’s a war, Harry; and we’re all mortal… even Him.”
“So when will you be leaving?”
“As soon as I’ve finished this drink actually. Everyone knows I’m here so it seems the perfect time to be elsewhere.”
“I’m going to miss you, Remus.”
going to miss you too, Harry, but I should be back by Christmas.” He
gave the teenager an encouraging smile before drawing him into a hug.
held on to him as long as he could, almost afraid to let him go. Remus
was the last real link to his father and their recent contratent had
reminded him both how fragile things were and how much he’d taken it
for granted. Finally, slowly, he let him go.
Remus squeezed his shoulder and smiled at him, making sure that Harry was okay before he continued.
few words of advice before I go; firstly, you can trust Dumbledore
fully. I know you think he’s messed you around a bit but you can trust
him. He’s keen to make amends for his mistakes so please be gracious
“I’ll try,” said Harry reluctantly. He wasn’t
sure that he ever wanted to trust Dumbledore, but was willing to give
it a go if Remus thought it was the right thing to do.
“Secondly, much as it pains me to say this, you can also trust Severus.”
Harry made to object but the older man raised his hand to silence him.
I know he has a huge chip on his shoulder about James, but you can
trust him. That won’t stop him picking on you but he is a member of the
Order, and he has much to lose if Voldemort wins.” Remus looked at
Harry, waiting for the stream of objections that such a declaration
must surely elicit, but the younger man remained silent, his face a
studied picture of anger.
Harry stared back at Remus wanting
for all the world to scream at the werewolf and deride him for being so
simpleminded in accepting Snape as anything other than the pathetic
bully he surely was. But before he could respond, the image of Snape’s
humiliation at the hands of his father and the rest of the Marauders
rose unbidden to forestall his declaration. Reluctantly he nodded and
mumbled his acquiescence.
Remus looked at him, as if trying
to decide if he was going accept such a reluctant promise. Harry was
reminded of Professor Dumbledore when he knew Harry was being less than
honest with him; it was a look Sirius had never given him. Probably because I wasn’t in the habit of lying to him.
said Remus now looking very relived, “things are going to change a lot
between you and Ron, Hermione and… Ginny.” A knowing smile appeared on
his face and Harry half expected some fool theory about Potter men and
redheads. “Some of these changes will be good,” the smile turned into a
smirk, “but others will be very hard to take.” His face became serious
again as he continued. “It happened to the four of us when Lily and
James first got together. Hang on in there, Harry, when the time comes
you will need the help of all three of them.”
“Even Hermione?” asked Harry, recalling how uncomfortable he felt in her presence.
Harry, even her. I know you find her very difficult to deal with at the
moment, but she does have your best interests at heart so don’t push
her away. She wants to help you desperately, but she can’t until you
speak to her. This is her way of dealing with things, so be gentle with
“Okay, Remus, I will.” He knew Remus was right; he
couldn’t keep her at arms length for much longer, not without causing
real damage to their relationship. But when would be a good time to
tell her? Perhaps Ginny would know.
“And now I must go.” Remus
stood up and dusted his trousers down. As the dried dirt and bits of
grass fell to the floor, he fumbled in his pockets for something. “Ah
here it is,” he announced pulling a rubber out of his pocket and
holding it up in triumph. “Dumbledore’s Portkey,” he said by way of
explanation. “Well, I must say goodbye Harry, this will activate in a
few moments. Remember all I said and I’ll be back before Christmas.”
“Goodbye, Moony.” Harry stepped forwards and hugged his friend one last time before stepping back.
“’bye Harry,” and with a ‘pop’ he was gone.
Harry made his way back towards the party, searching through the guests trying to find Ginny and avoid Hermione. Moony was right, he thought as he nodded and smiled at the various guests who tried to waylay him. He
couldn’t keep pushing Hermione away, could he? He would have to tell
her about the prophecy; Ron too. But not yet. He would tell Ginny
first. Once he’d told one person it would be easier. And if he’d
guessed right, Ginny already knew.
Eventually he found
Ginny by the house chatting to Tonks. The young Auror was simply
dressed in jeans and t-shirt and she wore her black hair in a bob.
Harry noticed that her face had acquired a degree of hardness that
wasn’t there when he’d last seen her. Apparently the loss of her
favourite relative had affected her badly too.
As he approached them, Tonks gave him slight nod of recognition but left it to Ginny to greet him.
“Ah there you are Harry,” said Ginny smiling broadly. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Where have you been hiding?”
“Well, if I told you I’d have to find a new place to hide, won’t I?”
we the comedian today, Harry? Have you seen Professor Lupin, Harry? He
said he was coming today, but I haven’t seen him yet.”
“He’s gone, Ginny,” he said a tinge of annoyance at the older man’s sudden need to leave. “He couldn’t stay.”
“Did you talk to him, Harry?” she said in the same nagging tone that Hermione used. “Please tell me you did.”
“Well, we did talk…”
“Did you sort things out, Harry…? What did he say…?”
“Well… we didn’t…”
“Oh please tell me that you sorted things out…where is he now? Where did he go? Will you be seeing him again soon?”
“Well, I don’t think that I’ll be seeing him for some time, Ginny…”
“Oh that’s just brilliant,
Harry,” Ginny snapped with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I go to all
the trouble to make sure that he comes here so that you can sort things
out and…”Ginny stopped suddenly realising that she had said more than
she had planned.
“You set this thing up just so I could do what you thought was the right thing?” His voice was bitter. How could she do this to him?
course I did, Harry!” There was a desperate tone to her voice, mixed
with a healthy dose of defiance. “I didn’t think you’d have the wit or
the gumption to get your act together yourself.” She glared at him
daring him to argue with her. To her horror he was very willing to do
“So you thought that you’d join the rest of the world in
trying to sort my life out for me, did you?” He spat the words out, his
anger building with each word. Ginny now knew that she had made a
mistake and did her best to backtrack.
“No, wait Harry I just thought…”
Ginny? Think?” he snarled dashing all hope she had that this was going
to be resolved easily. “You never think; you just dive in there. You’re
as bad as Hermione. No wait; Hermione may want to organise me, but at
least she had the good grace to leave me to my own devices. You lot
make me sick. I was better off with my Aunt and Uncle. At least they
were honest with me.”
“No wait, Harry, you don’t understand…” She reached out to touch him but he shook her off.
“No, Ginny,” he said shaking his head, “I understand better than you think.”
And with that last remark Harry turned away from her and stormed off.
Ginny turned to Tonks with a look of desperation on her face.
“What do I do, Tonks?”
go and apologise, Ginny,” she said mater of factly. “Remus told me
before we left to come here that he was going to sort things out with
Harry. He told me of Harry’s owl, Ginny. Remus didn’t come here because
you asked him to, he was already coming.”
Ginny stared at the Auror, the full realisation of what she’d done dawning on her. How could I have been so stupid, she thought as her tears began to fall.
knows what’s going on Harry’s mind, Ginny. He’s talked to Dumbledore
and knows what burdens have been placed on him, burdens that no sixteen
year old boy should have to bear.”
And so do I; Harry’s already told me. She began to wipe the tears from her eyes cursing herself for missing something so obvious.
“Thank you, Tonks,” she said giving the older woman a grateful hug.
“Pleasure, Ginny, now go and sort it out before Harry goes and does something stupid.”
Ginny sped off in the direction she’d seen Harry disappear.
took Ginny longer than she’d imagined to find Harry. After all, she’d
written the book on the secret hiding places chez Weasley. In the end
she found him under the oak tree, arms folded, a huge scowl on his face.
Taking her courage in both hands, she walked boldly up to the trunk of the tree and sat down next to him.
“Hi Harry,” she said cheerfully as if nothing had happened.
“What do you want?” he snapped, the hostility in his voice palpable.
“I’ve come to apologise,” she replied softly. “I’m sorry, I really am.”
“Apology accepted,” he barked not even bothering to look at her. “Now clear off and leave me alone”
“No Harry, I won’t.” Her tone was firm, but not angry.
he retorted unfolding his arms and standing, “you can stay here and
I’ll find somewhere else.” He made to move away but she caught hold of
his arm. He turned and looked at the hand holding him and then at her.
Beneath the anger she glimpsed something else; fear? She took advantage
of his lack of movement and closed the gap between them. She slid her
hand down his arm until it rested gently on his hand. She was
standing very close to him and she could hear his ragged breathing .It
was fear she could see, he was getting reading to run and he was scared.
can’t hide from me, Harry;” she said gently rubbing the back of his
hand with hers. She felt like she was trying to calm down a frightened
animal. She risked a step closer; he didn’t back away. “I know every
nook and cranny around here. It’s a pointless exercise.”
I’ll go to my bedroom then.” His tone had changed, his breathing was
becoming easier, and he was calming down. He carried on but the intent
had gone from his voice. “You might be able to find me but I doubt that
your parents will tolerate you joining me in there.” His voice had
changed again. Was there a hint of a challenge in there, hidden beneath
the conflicting emotions?
“Oh yeah?” She quirked an eyebrow at him, unsure where this was leading but willing to take a risk.
“Yeah.” His voice was softer now, the panic had gone and he was in control of his emotions. Well done girl, now all you have to do is to get him to open up.
“Look, Ginny,” he said moving his arm so that her hand slipped off, “I accept your apology, really I do, but I do need to be left alone.”
Harry, you don’t.” She waited for his vehement contradiction but
instead he just looked at her; his head tilted sideways as if regarding
her for the first time. “You’re your own worst enemy, Harry Potter, and
I’m not going to let you sit and contemplate your navel until you
become depressed again.” Ginny realised that she was sounding like her
mum but she didn’t care. She’d got through to him and that was all that
“I was not depressed,” he said petulantly.
were,” she replied in a tone that dared him to contradict her. “There
was a huge black cloud hanging over you, and you skulked around with a
face like a wet weekend.”
“So?” he pouted. “I wasn’t doing
anyone any harm, was I?” He began to turn away from her. “So why don’t
you just leave me al-” She grabbed him forcefully by the arm and spun
“You were, Harry.”
“I was what?” He shook off her hand and glared at her.
“Doing harm.” She tried to reach out to him but he shook her away.
“Well, yourself for a start and -”
that’s my business.” He turned away again and made to leave. She didn’t
try to stop him this time; she admitted defeat. But she would tell him
what she felt. He had to know.
“And,” she began in a voice that was barely audible, “you were doing harm to me.”
He stopped suddenly and whirled round, his face no longer angry but concerned.
scared me, Harry,” she continued her voice trembling. “You were so
consumed with hatred that, well, I was worried about you.”
He took a step towards her. “You were?” He looked aghast at the thought that he had unknowingly hurt her.
she continued, emboldened by his new attitude. “The last time I felt
that much hatred coming off someone was… was in the Chamber and that
person was Tom Riddle.” Her head dropped when he spoke as all the
repressed emotions from that nightmare threatened to resurface.
“Oh,” he said totally deflated by her confession.
walked over to Ginny and hugged her gently. As he cradled her petite
frame he felt a wave of nausea wash over him. How had he ever been so
stupid to allow himself to ever come close to being like Tom Riddle? He
fought back the bile in his throat and a new sense of hopelessness
swept over him. He was back to square one.
Harry sat down
next to the trunk and motioned to Ginny to do the same. They sat in
silence as he contemplated what to do next. He didn’t really know if he
was coming or going anymore. He’d made more false starts than he’d
thought possible. Turning to Ginny, he grimaced, unable to hide the
look of despair on his face.
“You know, I thought
everything was going so well until half an hour ago.” He paused, let
out a long sigh and then continued. “I’d made up with you and Ron.
Hermione had backed off and I’d sorted things out with Remus and now
it’s all gone pear shaped.” He put his face in his hands and let out
another long sigh.
“Harry,” Ginny said shuffling closer to
him and placing her arm across his shoulder. “Things will be fine.
There’s no harm done, really there isn’t. I’m here, aren’t I? And
as far as everyone else is concerned, nothing’s changed.” She could
feel the dark emotions begin to swirl around him. She closed her eyes
and allowed her own magic to reach out into the core of the tree behind
her. Drawing on its strength, she projected it out towards Harry,
slowly pushing the darkness back. It didn’t move far, but it was far
enough to give her a chance to work on him.
“It’s not as simple as that, Ginny.” She felt the darkness push back, she struggled, but she held it.
Despite the battle she was engaged in, she found herself able to smile. “Well, it never is with you is it, Potter?”
no joking matter, Ginny! When I said the other day that you don’t
understand, I meant it. You don’t understand… you can’t…” His voice
trailed off and the darkness gained strength. She closed her eyes again
and focused on the magical core of the tree. It was strong, and she
drew on that strength. With a grunt worthy of a Muggle tennis player
she pushed the darkness away and set about weaving a barrier between it
At the sound of her grunt Harry lifted his hands
from his face, looked at the magical barrier she was constructing and
then back at her, an appreciative look on his face. The darkness
lessened and Ginny completed the barrier. It wouldn’t hold for long but
it would do. She wiped the sweat from her brow and gave him what she
hoped was an encouraging smile.
“Try me, Harry, you’d be surprised.”
“It’s about the prophecy…” The darkness surged again, but Ginny was content to let the barrier take the strain.
“What, the one about you and Voldemort?” There, she’d said it; it was out in the open, bugger the consequences.
He looked at her incredulously. “You know about it?”
all but told me the other day. It didn’t take a genius to work the rest
out, even you could have done it.” He ignored the jest and carried on.
“So why didn’t you say something?”
I knew that you hadn’t meant to say anything to me. After all,” she
said with a shrug, “I’m not very high in the pecking order, am I?”
“And just what do you mean by that?”
“Well, I’m not at the front of the queue like Ron and Hermione, am I?”
“Ginny,” he said calmly, “there is no queue and if there were, then you’d be at the front of it.”
“I’m not sure I follow you, Harry.” Or rather she did but she wanted him to say it.
you’ve treated me differently to the others this summer.” He looked at
her intensely, willing her to understand what he was saying so he
wouldn’t need to spell it out for her.
“Yes, well.” She let out an embarrassed laugh. “I was the only one who gave you a smack in the chops.”
He smiled back at her. The barrier had begun to unravel but the darkness had already started to dissipate.
you weren’t, Dudley did the same, but as I expected it I got out of the
way… well nearly. No, Ginny, you treated me like Harry, and not the
boy-who-lived or any of that rubbish.” And for that, his eyes said, I’m very grateful.
“Well, perhaps it’s because I spent some time being the girl-who-opened–the-Chamber.”
a minute Harry said nothing. Apart from a brief outburst last summer,
Ginny had never discussed the Chamber. They had an unspoken agreement,
forged in Dumbledore’s office, that certain things remained unsaid. He
reached out and let his hand rest gently hers.
“What was that like?” he asked softly, the silence of four years finally broken.
“Opening the Chamber?” she said her voice distant. “I don’t remember doing any of it. I have no memory of anything that bastard made me do.”
Everything in Harry told him to back off, but instead he let his fingers intertwine with hers and he carried on.
“No, afterwards, with everyone staring and the whispers.”
they died down when everything stopped and I had the chance to be a
normal girl the following year.” She was talking calmly, but Harry
could sense that she wasn’t at ease in talking about it. Perhaps one
“I wanted to -”
“Enough about me,
Harry,” she snapped pulling her hand away from his, “we were talking
about you and Voldemort.” She held his gaze in hers and it
pleaded for understanding.
He gave her an encouraging smile
and leaned back against the trunk. The darkness had disappeared and all
that remained were the last threads of the barrier she had woven.
sat for a while, each occupied with their own thoughts wondering what
the next step was. For all the talking they’d done, Harry was still no
nearer working out what to do next. His well laid plans were as
threadbare as the barrier Ginny had built.
“What am I
going to do, Ginny?” he said, not bothering to keep the desperation
from his voice. “I can’t keep him out of my head, let alone defeat him.
Everyone expects me to be the saviour of the wizarding world, I can’t
do this, Ginny, I honestly can’t.” The darkness had returned and began
to reform as the first tears rolled down Harry’s cheeks. He’d fought as
best he knew how, but he was now in a cul-de-sac; there was nowhere
else to go.
Ginny watched, heartbroken, as he began to cry and
then reached over and drew him to her. She wrapped her arms around him
as he succumbed to his feelings and began to sob in earnest. As his
body shook, she ran her fingers through his unruly mop of black hair
and whispered the same words over and over again as if casting a
“ShwshHarry, Popeth yn iawn. Dw i'n dy garu di.”
he’d finished she released him and rested back against the tree, giving
him space to recover and clean his glasses. Once he’d regained
his equilibrium he moved closer to her, and gave her arm a gentle
“What was it you were saying, Ginny? It sounded like
a charm. You weren’t trying to bewitch me, were you?” He grinned at her
and she felt her face flush. Not quite, Harry.
“No, Harry,” she laughed. “Nothing like that. I said you’re not on your own, we’re all here; I’m here.”
whatever it was, it meant a great deal, so thank you.” He took
her hand in his and held it tightly as if worried that she was going to
run away. He gazed at her with a look of longing in his eyes, all fear
and doubt gone, driven out by a stronger emotion.
what I said earlier, Ginny; you are at the front of the queue.” He
paused letting his words sink in, looking for a reaction. “I know we’re
just friends, but you have made a difference in my life and well… I’d
like that to continue.” She felt his hand close more tightly around
hers as if he were claiming her as his own.
“I’m not sure I know what you’re saying, Harry,” she said knowing full well what he was trying to avoid.
I’m saying is, I’d like you to be… well… you know… and then we can go
to Hogsmeade and everything and…” His voice trailed off to a mumble and
he nervously awaited her response.
“Harry?” she said placing her other hand over his.
“Yes Ginny?” he said hopefully.
An amused grin filled her countenance. “Are you asking me out?”
“… erm … yes, I think I am.”
“You think you are, Harry?” she teased.
“No,” he said firmly. “I know I am. Ginny will you go out with me?” He was smiling brightly now.
let go of his hand and stepped closer to him, placing her hands on his
shoulders. Standing on tiptoe, she gave him a gentle kiss on his
“Yes, Harry, I’d like that very much.”
stood smiling up at him, her hands still resting gently on his
shoulders, and he found himself looking intently into her eyes.
It seemed the most natural thing in the world when he placed his hands
on her waist and pulled her close. When their lips finally met,
the final remaining traces of tension left him and all thoughts of the
prophecy fled, and for the first time all summer Harry felt truly
Thanks to the people who help make this what it is; to Nat, my Phoenix Song beta Sarah, and Leslie.