It seems that everyone I love is destined to die before their time.
My parents died before I had the chance to know them properly, but the
dull ache I feel whenever I think about them tells me all I need to
know about how I feel –or felt- about them. I thought that I'd never
have to feel that again.
Then there was Sirius.
someone who was only in my life for two years, he was more important to
me than almost anyone or anything. He was the father I never knew, the
brother I never had the chance to have, the uncle who told incredible
stories that I was never quite sure were true. It seems mad to say it,
but I loved him. I never got the chance to tell him, because he was
taken from me, just like my parents.
When I came to the Burrow
this year, I was in a mess. The Dursleys had been their usual charming
selves all summer –why bother mentioning Sirius to them? They'd
probably be happy about him being gone- and I was ready to lash out.
came to breakfast one morning and found the perfect target. Fred and
George were teasing Ginny, and I stepped in on her side. She didn't
need it, of course. She can handle herself; I saw that last year. But I
thought they might have been teasing her about me, so I thought I'd
come in on her side, and then I'd have a go at the twins later on.
I spent the day unburdening myself to Ginny, a girl I'd barely noticed
until a few weeks ago when she started solving my problems for me one
by one. With her by my side it was just a few hours work to lay aside
the guilt I've been carrying around about all the bad things that
happen to people because of Voldemort. Cedric's death, Sirius's death,
the terror that good people feel... It's not my fault, it's
Voldemort's. Ginny got through to me in a way no one, not even
Dumbledore or Hermione or... or Sirius, has ever been able to before.
It's just so strange that here was this girl, who I'd barely spoken to,
and yet she knew what to say. I suppose we have a lot more in common
then I'd ever thought before. We'd both had run ins with Voldemort,
after all, and in many ways that was the least of our common interests.
spent a lot of the summer together and then, by a series of improbable
events, we started going out. This girl, who had suddenly and over so
many years come to mean so much to me, now meant even more.
What do I feel for her? I don't know. I don't know if I can
love her, but she makes me feel happy, makes me feel good about myself,
and if I can do as much for her as she does for me then I'll keep on being happy.
she's good to kiss, too. I know that doesn't really flow with all the
emotional stuff –the touchy-feely garbage, as Fred and George would
say- but it's true. In my not exactly vast experience, Ginny's the best
kisser I know. So it's been a bit frustrating to be stuck alongside Ron
and Hermione all the last week and not have a chance to get to know my
girlfriend that little bit better.
Of course, Hermione and Ron
are my best friends. Nothing will ever change that. They're everything
to me, probably the only people in the world who I know I could trust
no matter what happens.
But there are times when they're just
not the people I want to see. I'm a bit backwards about some things
–look how long it took me to talk to them about Cho, for heaven's sake-
and I couldn't imagine sitting Ron and Hermione down and telling them I
wanted a bit of time alone so I could kiss my girlfriend. I couldn't
really see it going down too well with Ron, especially after the
'friendly warning' he gave me. I said I understood, and I suppose I do,
but there should be some rules about where you can hit someone when
they're not ready for it.
Not that anyone is really ready to
be hit, well, below the waist. It's a good job Ron knocked the wind out
of me, otherwise there's a few hexes I've been reading up on for the DA
that I might have tested on him.
Still, Ginny sorted
everything out. She cornered Hermione, who it turned out was quite
happy to help us out, and the two hatched a plan to get Ron out of the
way for a bit. Wonderful news. I came up with the idea of taking Ginny
to the Room of Requirement. I knew I was the only person who would be
in the area that night who would know how to get in.
time Hermione had tricked Ron into losing their bet and bundled him off
to S.P.E.W, it was getting late. Dean and Seamus were the last ones to
go to bed –they seemed to have finally buried the hatchet- and after
about ten minutes I followed them up.
'What in blazes are you doing, Harry?' Seamus groaned as I hunted through my trunk.
it obvious?' Dean replied. 'Ginny's still down there, Ron and Hermione
have slipped off somewhere, the boy's going to have himself a little
A pair of pillows 'mysteriously' flew across the room and clobbered Dean, but Seamus picked up the thread.
if you want any tips,' he leered. 'Eighteen months with Lavender taught
me a fair few things. Now, a good place to start is the neck-'
I really, really will make it up to Neville for banishing him across the room and into Seamus. I was trying to get his pillows, but my aim must have been a bit off in the dark.
'Sweet dreams, gentlemen,' I said as I left the dormitory. 'Sweet, lonely, single dreams.'
was waiting back in the common room. The gasp of delight she gave as
she watched herself disappear was worth any trouble I got into, I
Anyway, it took a few minutes to get used to walking
under the Cloak. We're a bit bigger now than we were five years ago,
and the Cloak is really only meant for one person at a time. Still, it
gave us an excuse to be pressed right up against one another.
we ran into Snape and Filch, though, romance was the last thing on my
mind. Ron and Hermione disappeared into the Room of Requirement –remind
me to thank them properly for that- and I just held onto Ginny, trying
to make us as small as possible. Afterwards I realised that things had
got pretty, uh, pressed together under the Cloak. This was one thing I
was definitely going to keep to myself. I didn't need Ron killing me,
even if I would have died an innocent victim.
With Snape and
Filch between us and Gryffindor Tower, we decided to visit the
kitchens. Ginny had never been down there –so much for her taking after
Fred and George- and I thought we'd be able to get a drink of water or
something to calm our nerves. As it was, even with the Invisibility
Cloak on, as soon as we clambered through the portrait hole, the
house-elves seemed to know we were there.
'Who is being there?' one of them squeaked. 'We is not wanting anymore trouble tonight.'
voice was quickly hushed. What little I know about the house-elves
makes me think that the speaker had come about as close to challenging
their master as was possible.
'It's okay,' I said, taking the
Cloak off of us. 'I'm Harry Potter. I don't want to cause any trouble.
I just wanted to get some water for me and my friend.'
'Harry Potter, sir!' I'd braced myself this time. I do like Dobby, but his out-of-nowhere hugs are pretty hard on my ribs.
'Hi Dobby,' I wheezed. 'How have you been?'
'Very good, Harry Potter,' Dobby chirped. 'Dobby has new socks, new shirts, a whole new wardrobe Dobby is buying with his pay.'
There was a murmur from among the house-elves. Clearly they didn't want to hear about Dobby's repayment for his work.
sit, Harry Potter and Harry Potter's friend,' Dobby said, showing us to
a table. 'What can Dobby bring Harry and Harry's friend, sir?'
looked at Ginny, who shrugged. She was smiling with delight at the way
Dobby was acting around me, and I had a feeling she was seeing a little
of herself in the elf.
'Just two glasses of water, please Dobby,' I said. 'Our throats are a little dry.'
wish is Dobby's command, sir,' Dobby said, streaking off to the stack
of crockery in one corner of the room, then off to the water pump in
another corner, and then back to us. Ginny accepted her glass
graciously, thanking Dobby in a sincere way that made Dobby's ears
colour slightly. I think Dobby was blushing, and I sympathised. Ginny
had that effect on me at times as well.
'Where's Winky, Dobby?' I asked. Dobby's face fell.
is in a bad way, sir,' Dobby said. 'Nearly two years Winky has been
here and still she is not adapting to life at wonderful Hogwarts.'
looked concerned, thinking back to the attack on the Quidditch World
Cup that we'd been caught up in. She asked to see Winky, and while I
sipped my water, Dobby led her over to a small pile of rags that I
realised was the broken down Winky.
'Winky?' Ginny said gently. 'Winky, do you hear me?'
didn't move, so Ginny poured her glass of water over the slumbering
hous-elf. I was just about to say something when Winky sat up,
'Winky, you have to stop this,' Ginny said in a
gentle voice. 'Do you think Mr Crouch would want you to act like this?
Mr Crouch was one of Professor Dumbledore's great friends and he
wouldn't want you acting like this, would he?'
Winky sat shivering in her ripped clothes. A Butterbeer bottle dropped from her hand and tinkled away over the flagstones.
isn't what Mr Crouch would have wanted, Winky,' Ginny went on. 'He
wouldn't want you sitting around like this. Work, work, work, that was
Mr Crouch's way. He didn't let emotional problems get in the way of
work. He used work to help himself heal inside. He knew that you
couldn't sit around and mourn when people were gone. You kept on
working, making the world a better place for the living. Do you
understand me, Winky?'
Winky shivered, but somewhere in there was a nod.
you can start to help out around here, and Dobby will help you when it
hurts you inside. I know you miss Mr Crouch, he was a wonderful wizard
who helped a lot of people, but you remember him best by carrying on as
he would have done, okay?'
Winky sniffed, then squeaked 'Master is giving Winky clothes.'
Crouch was under a lot of stress, Winky,' Ginny said. 'You-Know-Who is
back, and Mr Crouch panicked. He wouldn't have wanted you to act like
this. He'd have wanted you to make yourself useful, wouldn't he?'
Winky sniffed and nodded again.
'Dobby, can you help Winky get cleaned up? I think she'll be ready to work in a little while.'
miss, thank you miss, on behalf of all of Winky's friends, miss,' Dobby
said. He took Winky's hand and helped her to the water pump where he
started spraying water over her.
'We should go,' I said, taking Ginny's hand. 'That was incredible.'
looked troubled. 'I hope I did the right thing. It seems cruel, but Dad
always says that house-elves are happiest when they're working. If she
can keep herself busy, Dobby and the others can help her get over Mr
I nodded. 'You and Ron and Hermione helped me
cope with, well, everything,' I said. 'Dobby has a good heart. He'll
make sure Winky is okay. I'll come down here in a few days and make
sure everything is okay, just to be sure.'
We made our way
back up to the Tower, fortunately avoiding anyone else. Wonder of
wonders, we found ourselves all alone in the common room. All the
trouble we'd gone to, and we could have just stayed where we were.
Still, I think we deserved a little time alone after all that.
that we were entirely alone. After about fifteen minutes the portrait
hole swung open and Ron and Hermione came through. I don't think Ginny
noticed them, and I'm pretty sure they didn't see us, or Ron would have
come over. They just slipped up to their dormitories and we were alone