first evening back at the Burrow passed in a blur. The dinner, as ever,
was excellent, and Harry's arrival was celebrated by one of Fred and
George's magnificent fireworks displays. Even Percy was coaxed out of
his room long enough to join in the fun.
it was time for bed. The Weasleys mounted the stairs together, slowly
shedding family members until only Harry and Ron were left, climbing
the last flight of stairs to Ron's room. As they passed through the
door, Harry heard the family ghoul clattering in the attic, making Ron
be up all night now," Ron said. "He's always like this after a party.
Anyway, I didn't really get much chance to talk to you tonight. How are
Harry smiled. "I'm great, Ron. It's good to be here. Being back here is much better than being back with the Dursleys."
"Best not let mum here you say that," Ron grinned. "She'd probably explode with happiness."
They got ready for bed, and were about to put out the light, when Ron asked, "What about You-Know-Who?"
"I'm not worried about him," Harry said. "I know that sounds strange, but from here through until next summer
I'm surrounded by powerful wizards and witches. I know I can't ignore
him, but so long as I don't let him grind me down I feel like I'm
halfway to beating him."
"That's just what Dad always says. Keep your spirits up, and you'll be fine. You must be growing up," Ron said, with a smirk.
"I hope not. I still don't know what I'll do when I leave school."
could always ask Professor Trelawney," Ron said, laughing.
"Black-haired boys born in July will become binmen or bookkeepers," he
added, in a misty voice reminiscent of their Divination teacher. "Or
you could just do what everyone thinks you will, and play Quidditch.
Wish I could."
why not?" Harry said. "We need a Keeper to replace Oliver this year.
You could try out. Have three Weasleys on the team. We'd be unbeatable."
"Who's going to be captain this year?" Ron asked, ignoring Harry's suggestion.
know," Harry said. "George or Fred, maybe. The girls and them have got
a lot coming up, though, with their N.E.W.Ts this year and all.
"Probably Fred or George, then," Ron said. "They never did pay much attention to school work. Drives mum potty."
woke up later than usual the next day, and hurried through getting
dressed in order to make it down to breakfast. His stomach grumbled as
he headed downstairs, and he walked in just as a large brown owl glided
through the kitchen window and dropped several large envelopes in the
middle of the table.
"Oh, it's your Hogwarts letters," Mrs. Weasley said, handing them around. "That's funny. There's an extra one here..."
"Maybe Percy's being called back?" Fred said. "I mean, he only got 98 percent in that last exam."
very heavy," Mrs Weasley continued. "It's addressed to Ron, Harry and
Hermione." Then, she smiled. "Oh, I know what this is. It's been a
while since we had one of these arrive," she added, with a pointed look
at Fred and George.
handed the envelope to Ron, who slit it open with his knife and tipped
the contents onto the table. Three silver objects clattered onto the
wooden surface, and Ron groaned. "There must be some mistake," he said.
"Ron, we're so disappointed in you," Fred said, with a laugh.
"We feel let down. We thought you were keeping up that fine Weasley tradition we started," George added, grinning.
all on Ginny's shoulders now. Do you think she can cope with the
pressure?" Fred said. "All that mischief is a lot to ask of one
fourteen year old girl..."
"Oh, shut up," Ron said. "There must be some mistake. They've sent Hermione's badge along, and sent two for us by accident."
Ronald Weasley, the way you go on, you act as though it was something
to be ashamed of," Mrs Weasley said, tutting. She took one of the
badges, and pinned it to the front of Ron's jumper. "There. The silver
goes well with your hair."
"Mum, I can't be a prefect! What'll people think?"
a prefect?" Hermione asked, as she and Ginny walked into the kitchen.
Harry had noticed the night before that the two were virtually
inseparable, and wondered if Ron knew what they were talking about.
you are," Harry said, handing Hermione her badge. She took it with a
huge smile, and laughed at the sight of Ron slumped in his chair,
staring incredulously at where his mother had pinned his badge.
Ron," Ginny managed, before breaking into a fit of giggles. Harry
glanced at her, and bit his lip as he tried not to join her in
laughing. He pocketed his own badge, and noticed that there was also a
letter in the envelope. He pulled it out, and smiled as he read it.
Professor Dumbledore thinks that we'd make ideal Prefects, as we seem
to know how to break all the rules that we have to enforce," he said,
handing the letter to Ron. "There's a list of all the other Prefects
this year, as well."
scanned the list. Anything, Harry suspected, to take his mind off the
horror of being made a Prefect. Harry suspected that he himself had
been made a prefect for the reasons he'd outlined to Charlie; he was
someone people looked up to, and would listen to. So long as they
weren't in Slytherin. Speaking of which...
"Malfoy!" Ron spat. "Malfoy is a prefect? They must have been desperate."
and Goyle didn't make it, though," Hermione, who'd been reading the
list over Ron's shoulder, commented. Ron, who hadn't realised
Hermione's proximity, looked up and blushed furiously, before looking
once more at the list. "Ernie and Hannah from Hufflepuff made it... I
know a lot of these people," he said, still a little flustered.
they are in our year, Ron. We've been having classes with them for four
years. What did you expect?" Hermione teased. Ron coloured again,
muttering something under his breath. Charlie and the twins were in
silent fits of laughter at their brother's all-too-evident discomfort.
"Oh, shut up," Ron snapped, jumping up from his chair and storming out into the garden.
Fred looked at Charlie, who groaned and stood up, taking one last mouthful of bacon before heading out the door after Ron.
been being moody all summer," George whispered to Harry as he took a
seat. "We've been taking turns trying to get him to calm down. Any idea
what it's about?"
"Hermione," Harry replied, immediately.
grinned. "Yeah, that's what I said. Charlie reckoned it was school,
with O.W.Ls and everything this year. Fred reckoned it was another girl
at school, that Padme, or whatever her name was. Ten Sickles to me, I
group finished their meal in comparative quiet, broken only by Charlie
and Ron's return, and the good natured banter that the twins kept up
with their older brother in an attempt to lighten the mood. Mrs Weasley
moved through the crowd deftly, adding more food to empty plates,
scanning Hogwarts letters, settling a whispered quarrel between Fred
and George about how much money had ridden on the bet.
go to Diagon Alley tomorrow, if that's okay with everyone," she said,
looking at Harry's letter. The suggestion was met with a few nods of
approval, and Hermione in particular looked eager to get back into the
Wizarding world. She explained why as the younger Weasleys and their
guests went to play Quidditch in the paddock.
"There's a book on international magical relations Viktor's been telling me about. I can see if Flourish & Blotts have it."
muttered something under his breath, and increased the length of his
stride to catch up with Charlie and Ginny. Hermione looked after him in
"What's up with Ron?" she asked. Harry looked at her incredulously.
"Hermione, you must have noticed the way he reacts when someone mentions Krum," he began.
"He's not still upset, is he? I thought he was past that." Harry stopped mid step in order to frame his reply properly.
"I think he's just concerned for you. He doesn't want you to be hurt. That's my guess."
"Hurt? By Viktor? Why would I be hurt?"
with the two of you having a long-distance relationship..." Harry
stumbled over the words. This wasn't exactly familiar territory for
him. Where was Ginny when he needed her?
And where had that thought come from?
that what Ron thinks? I'm not going out with Viktor. We're just
friends. Just because we went to the Yule Ball together, doesn't mean
we're a couple. I don't see either of you with Parvati or Padma Patil."
"Have you told Ron that? That you and Krum aren't dating, I mean?"
hasn't asked," Hermione replied, grinning impishly as she walked off.
Harry stayed where he was and, not for the first time, was left to
wonder about the mind of the female sex.
rousing game of Quidditch had the six players gasping for breath when
they finally landed back in the paddock. Harry, George and Ginny had
narrowly lost out to Fred, Hermione and Ron, mainly thanks to Ron's
impressive display in goal. Harry and the twins were badgering him to
try out for the vacant goalkeeper's position once Quidditch began again.
in particular had enjoyed the match. With the exception of the first
task, he hadn't had much time on his Firebolt since the previous
summer, and it felt wonderful to be back on it again. It was almost
like meeting up with an old friend, and he'd quickly returned to his
form of old. The Firebolt felt as good under him as it ever had, and
several of his interceptions had drawn cheers from both sides. He'd
even had time to help Hermione with her broomstick issue; staying
upright. Together with Ginny, who'd had the same problem when she'd
learnt to fly, Harry had taught Hermione how to grip and sit so that
turning wouldn't make her spin around the axis of her broom.
Ron had agreed to try for the house team, he and the twins began to
gently tease Hermione about her initial problems. Harry grinned to
himself, knowing that Hermione would find a way to get even soon
enough. He also felt that not being the best at everything she did was
good for Hermione to experience.
Harry noticed that he was now walking alongside Ginny, and turned to her with a grin.
really needed you earlier, you know," he said. She looked at him with a
curious look on her face, and waited for him to go on.
was talking to Hermione," he said, suddenly feeling that he was
treading in deep water. "I could have done with a translator in girl
suddenly grinned. "What makes you think we understand it any better
than you do?" she asked. With that, she grabbed one of the footballs
they'd been playing with and hurled it at Ron's head. It connected with
a heavy thump, and Ron staggered forward, before turning and glaring at
"What did you do that for?" he asked, rubbing the back of his head.
floundered for words, alternately looking between his best friend and
his best friend's sister, who herself merely looked innocent, swinging
her broom behind her as she looked anywhere but at Harry's face, biting
her lip as she tried desperately not to laugh.