Anyone who happened to be in the kitchen could hear Ginny humming as she cooked breakfast for the household. Harry, meanwhile, glanced through the Daily Prophet with his hands still wrapped from breaking the mug the night before. When Mrs. Weasley first entered the room, she looked first to her daughter, then to Harry, before returning her gaze to Ginny as she sat at the table.
Ginny made a simple breakfast with some toast and eggs cooked to order. Harry preferred scrambled while Mrs. Weasley liked hers over-easy. Harry had once commented that he did not prefer oozing yolk and thus would tell anyone who made eggs to scramble them instead. Ginny smirked at the memory just as she finished preparing Harry’s food and set it in front of him.
“Why the smirk?” he asked.
“Oh, just remembering what you said about eggs,” she said, ignoring her mother’s questioning stare.
“Oh, that. Glad you remember,” he said with drawling sarcasm. “I swear the twins will find that out sooner or later, so don’t spread the story around too much.”
“The story about liquid chicken…”
“GINNY! Too early in the morning for that!” Harry exclaimed as he covered his ears.
“Just kidding. Enjoy your fully cooked liquid chicken,” she playfully said before starting her mother’s breakfast.
Harry sighed before starting on his food. He noticed Mrs. Weasley had a questioning expression on her face before she dismissed the banter and took a section of the paper from him.
He had just opened to the Quidditch section when he heard the twins come in. They came into the kitchen carrying several large boxes and wearing huge grins on their faces.
“Harry. How are you…”
“Doing today?” they said in the usual switching manner.
“Good, you two. What’s in the boxes?” he asked without looking up.
“Shh. Surprise for Ginny. You know it’s her birthday,” George whispered mischievously.
“It is?” Harry asked, surprised.
“You don’t know?” Fred stated in surprise.
“And we considered you family,” George concluded in the same manner.
“And as family, you should know when I am kidding,” Harry concluded with a smirk.
The twins looked at him, surprised that they were duped, before they left to prepare the living room for the party. As they left, Mrs. Weasley was snickering in her tea.
The rest of the household finally got out of bed and made their way down to the kitchen. Ginny grinned from ear to ear as she cooked, pausing once in a while to tussle the nest that was Harry’s hair as she carried someone their breakfast. He knew that his friends were watching him but he did not care.
Once breakfast was finished, the rest of the family went to the living room to relax before the party while Harry helped clean up the kitchen. Ron and Hermione decided to help him and almost tossed Ginny out as they cleaned.
“So…what’s with you and Ginny?” Hermione finally asked when the girl in question left the room.
“Being friendly. Is that a problem?” Harry asked innocently while filling the sink with soapy water.
“Only when she acts like you two are going out again,” Ron said as he put dishes in the sink.
“Okay, let me try that again. Is that a problem?”
“I thought you were going to ‘protect her’ from the evils of Death Eaters and Voldemort?” Hermione inquired as she got dishrags out. “Wait a minute…we’re missing two dish rags.”
“On the table,” Ron said.
Hermione reached for the rags, but Harry was quicker and put them in the dirty rags pile. Both friends looked at each other before grabbing Harry.
“I know you don’t do rash or strange acts. Now what was that about?” Ron asked.
“Nothing. They were just really dirty and…” he was stating before Hermione grabbed one of his hands.
He yelped slightly and sighed, knowing that he had given himself away. Hermione raised the hand she grabbed and saw the open wounds he got the night before.
“I accidentally broke a mug last night. Too much magic.”
“And you didn’t clean these cuts up? Why?”
“Well, Dr. Mom,” he said sarcastically, “I have these because I am a strange boy who keeps physical memories.”
“What?” Ron said, mortified.
“Oi, Ron, I’m just kidding! I haven’t had time to get some potion on them. Besides, I got them when Ginny forgave me. Now can we wash the dishes?”
Ron stared at him while Hermione rolled her eyes. Harry grinned as he ran his hands under the water so he could help clean up without spreading blood around the house.
“Well, at least you’re washing your hands,” Hermione noted as she handed Harry a dish.
20 September 1944
This is just awful. I would have never thought that this could happen to anyone. People. Hundreds of them just degraded to something less than rats. At least I managed, by the grace of God and Merlin, to keep this book. It must be a spell Jeremiah put on it to hide it. I thought it was to disguise it as an old book…I guess his spell also makes it invisible to enemies. At least it’s something to keep my sanity in check.
Ron is all right for now. As for me, I’m in so much pain. That bullet is still in my shoulder blade, I think, since my arm’s not hanging by its tendons. As least it didn’t sever a ligament or something; otherwise my arm would be useless and I would be in one of those mass graves. The Nazis won’t take the bullet out, and if they had, I certainly don’t remember it. They act so much like the dark wizards under Grindelwald I’ve heard about that I could have sworn Grindelwald was here himself. Then there’s the question about their involvement in this part of the Muggle war. Seems beneath him to do so.
These cells where they keep us are small, but at least it’s a roof over our heads. It could be worse. I sometimes hear some people around us moan in their sleep names of loved ones maybe, or something from their lives past. It’s a haunting lullaby. Songs in Yiddish sung in a sombre melody…
Harri could not sleep. He could see the silver light of the moon streaming through the window giving objects in the room unnatural shadows. Ron was curled up on the same bed since there was not enough room for him to have his own. Harri watched over him like a brother.
Harri, his eyes taking in the scene around him, could hear a man in a bunk across the room murmuring. It sounded like a soft chant. The man, Josiah or someone since he kept forgetting the name, was looking out the same window that let light in. The man’s posture suggested someone in prayer as Harri continued to look at him. Harri watched him with so much intensity that he did not hear Ron stir beside him.
“Watching him again?” Ron asked causing Harri to jump.
“You scared me!” he exclaimed. “Yes, to answer you. Look at him for a moment. Tell me what you see.”
Ron watched in silence before he sat up.
“I see a man with hope. Now, as much as it surprises you, I know some Yiddish. I think he is saying a prayer.”
“I get that. But what do you see?”
“I told you, hope. I also see what could be a beautiful picture in the mist of war and carnage. You need to see the beauty of the little things; otherwise you will lose yourself. Did you see the men that were executed earlier today? I could see they had lost hope and were hoping to find death. I hope we don’t do that.”
“Don’t do what?” Harri whispered.
Harry put down the journal and wiped away the sudden tears that streaked down his cheek. He was astounded by the similarity between Harri and himself. There was Ron to be the best friend and Harri to be the brave one despite being scared to wits end. The only good thing is that there was no Hermione- or Ginny-like women involved in Harrison’s life.
He looked at the clock to see it was late, again. It was a few days after Ginny’s birthday and the night before they would leave for America. He could not sleep due to anticipation of the trip so he passed the time away reading. The passage provided haunting, and sometimes, beautiful glimpses to this man’s life that was addicting.
Knowing he would not sleep for a long while, he decided to get a cup of tea. He quietly went downstairs and started to brew some. The owls were gone hunting and he was alone in the darkened house.
He sat in the living room and looked at the scenery around him. The moon was close to full and was very bright. The light seeped through the curtains giving a majestic glow to everything it hit. He could see Crookshanks sleeping on one of the couches; the subtle breathing of the cat could be seen as its fur moved in a soft, soothing rhythm. There was some dust in the air that caught the light and gave the look of mist to the otherwise clean room.
Harry went over to one of the windows and parted the curtains to look out. The dusty driveway before him was empty and quiet as it usually is. The broom shed, garage and hen house were dark and still while the trees moved with the wind. The coat of leaves swayed as the branches waved around like arms rising up to the sky as the wind continued to blow. He smiled at this before he finished his tea and returned to bed.
13 October 1944
It’s getting cold now. It’s icy too early for my liking, but that’s just me. Ron is starting to get sick and it worries me. I’ve managed to hide pieces of bread for him to eat but he needs medicine. My shoulder still hurts, but the pain has lessened for some reason though I don’t know why.
Josiah has been talking to us about the possible move to another camp based on rumours he’s heard from those who understand the Nazis. There are a few that come here after the dead are taken, and they speak some English so there is more communication between the mates. There is a man here with a different colour badge than the rest of us; he says it means he’s Polish. I have never seen a system of racism so elaborate as this.
Today was different though. The usual executions took place, but there was something different about this one. I knew this prisoner…
The woman was a fellow worker in the ash fields. Harri talked with her before she was executed. Her name was Janice, a French woman caught at the wrong place and wrong time. She had an air of popularity, but she never took that as status. Harri was immensely glad that he had learned French at school so he could talk to her.
Her mother had been Catholic while her father had been Jewish. Her parents were killed the instant they arrived at the camp while Janice was considered vital and needed for work. She and Harri were assigned to the ash fields together and talked softly so they would not get in trouble. Their mornings were spent clearing a pit and shovelling the ash piles down to an even level. The afternoons were spent burying the dead and redistributing the ashes. It was morbid work, but it kept them going and it was better than the tedious, busy work that would drive men mad. He knew about some men who had to move stones from one pile to another, and when they finished, they moved the stones back to the pile they moved them from originally.
Janice always had a friendly word for Harri when he walked to his section and they would converse in whispered French as they shovelled. One day, they talked about the possible future as rain fell hard upon the grey ground.
“Do you know what I think about this?”she asked him.
“About? This war?”
“No. About life beyond this grey covered ground we tread on.”
“It could be better than this. I think that there are places that are untouched by this spread of warfare,” he said while wiping some wet ash off his face.
“I want to go there.”
“You mean out?”
“Yes,” she answered.
He turned to her and saw determination in her eyes. When he tried to ask how, she ignored him. He would try to ask everyday after that, but she was still silent. Then one day, he did not see her at work. There was fervour on the grounds. Rumours were spread about an escapee that slipped past the guards.
He never told anyone that the person was Janice. The escapee’s identity was his secret until she came back beaten and brutalized from being captured. There were vicious rumours about her after that until her life was ended. He could not believe the audacity of people as she was being brought to the gallows. They spoke in hushed voices as she was presented as an example to the prisoners for the punishment for escaping. He could not watch, but could not turn away. He whispered her name as she took her last breath.
Her name resonated through him as all had to pass her now lifeless body. He wished he could wipe off the dirt that stuck to her face and brush away the stray hairs that covered her eyes. Ron was beside him as they walked away from the scene to their cabin. He had a hand on his shoulder as they walked; both were lost in their own thoughts.
Once they were inside, Ron started a round of coughing fits that had him curled up on the bed in pain. Harri knew that it was worse than a simple cold that could cause such fits. He watched his friend as his fits soon silenced and led him to sleep. As he guarded Ron, he saw Josiah come up to him from his vigil on the floor.
“Your friend, sick?” he asked in broken English.
“Yes. It’s getting worse. What can I do?”
“Nothing. Nazis may kill him if told. Be patient. He heal soon enough God willing,” Josiah said while wrapping his wrinkled hands around Harri’s.
“I worry about him though.”
“I see, but be patient.”
The old man soon moved back to his vigil leaving the two friends alone on the bed. Ron was sleeping quietly while Harri sat looking out the window.
Sighing, he moved to be near the elder to hear his prayers. The haunting lullaby was a mixture of Yiddish and English.
“I pray for those I cannot save. May they be sent to your hand swiftly if death comes tonight…”
Harry woke with a start as the words faded out of his mind. He knew these nightmares were from the journal, but he had not read those passages yet, if at all.
He quietly moved his bag nearer to his side of the hotel bed and searched for the book. Once he found it he noiselessly flipped through the pages to find the last entry he had read. He would read for only a little while; with a full day of sightseeing ahead of them, Harry did not want to disturb Ron or the twins who were sharing the room with him.
He reread the entry and saw that this dream was not part of the account. Where did it come from? Glancing at his watch, he saw that he might as well stay up since the family would be going out in two hours time.
He took a change of clothes and showered quickly before heading down to the eatery to meet with the rest of the family. While reading the American wizarding paper, Quicksilver Enquirer, he noticed Ginny and Hermione coming towards the table he was sitting at.
Looking up to greet them, he saw Hermione first. The way she held herself seemed eerily familiar, almost something from a dream. Janice…
He quickly looked back down at the paper and tried to drive the thought out of his mind. He knew there was something familiar, and it hit him hard.
“Morning, Harry, are you all right?” Ginny asked as she sat down.
“Yeah. Just a hard time sleeping last night.”
“Again? Harry, are you okay?” Hermione asked.
“I’ll be fine. Ask me later,” he said to his concerned friends.
Hermione cocked an eyebrow at him before shaking her head and taking the business section of the paper from him. Ginny took the metropolitan section, leaving him with the headline and the sports sections. Harry was amused that the American wizarding paper took after Muggle ones with their numerous sections filled with fluff content.
After reading the paper (the news of the Wizarding President was blasé to him and he laughed at the story) and eating breakfast (too many choices!) everyone went out to tour the city.
“Okay, Ron…will you please stop staring now?” Harry asked his friend as they walked down the sidewalk to a bench. They were in Central Park in New York City taking a break from touring the city before travelling to upstate New York for the Quidditch World Cup. At the moment, though, the two boys were enjoying the opportunity to people watch while they waited for Hermione and Ginny to meet up with them
“I’m sorry, but these people are just so weird,” he said in defence.
“They’re going to think you’re weird if you keep staring. What would Hermione say if she sees you looking like this?”
“She would scold me and follow that with a scolding for them. I mean, look at them!”
Harry rolled his eyes, then looked around some more. Muggle Americans were definitely different from British Muggles in mannerisms and dress. Their mode of dress was a strange sight to see. Ron practically ogled at the sight of the skimpily dressed girls walking around while Harry kept his head low so he would not see. Of course Ron had to make him look up, and what he saw were a few girls in (really short) shorts and tank tops with ‘flip-flops’ on their feet.
Ron smirked at Harry’s reaction, as his friend now looked everywhere but forward. Just as the words were coming, Ginny and Hermione decided to make their appearance that promptly quieted him.
“Honestly! Can’t these people cover themselves up more decently?” Hermione ranted as the girls made their way to the boys.
“Hermione, you forget that this is America. They are different from us. I mean, their weather is different from where we’re from; hotter for one thing and humid. Bleh,” Ginny commented as she fanned her face.
“Hi you two,” Harry said catching Ginny’s eye.
“What now?” Ginny asked as she sat next to him.
“Nothing. Just getting too warm for comfort,” he answered with as much honesty as he could muster.
“Getting a good view of the scenery?” she teased.
“It’s okay, Harry. They’re just people. Now if you were making a face like Ron is, then there may be a problem.”
“I’m not making a face!” Ron retorted.
“Yes, you are. I mean, you’re practically drooling!” Hermione snapped.
“It’s bloody hot! I’m thirsty!”
“Then get some water, you git!”
Harry and Ginny left quickly and walked hand in hand to another section of the large park. Anywhere one would walk ultimately led back to the streets. They walked along a path with a bridge that led to a castle-like edifice overlooking the amphitheatre. It was fairly crowded, but they managed to get through the throngs of people so that they could look out on the top.
“This is nice, Harry,” she said once they looked out long enough.
“Thanks. I hope that your family doesn’t get too worked up about us being gone.”
“They shouldn’t. Dad saw us go and he may follow at some point.”
“A chaperone?” he sighed.
“Yep. Comes with being the youngest and only girl in the family.”
“I thought it came with being the Chosen One to Wizarding Britain?”
“Either way, we’ll have to be watched.”
After staring out at the city, they made their way back to the group of red heads with Mr. Weasley struggling to read the map. Hermione tried in vain to help him while Ron made himself scarcely seen around her.
“I swear those two won’t learn,” Harry muttered as he took the map and flipped it right side up for Mr. Weasley.
“Thank you, Harry. Now then, if we go this way…”
There was a pounding at the door. Voices all around were panicked as a harsh yell in an unintelligible language was heard outside the door. It was dark as Harri opened his eyes to the mass of dark confusion of moving bodies. He got up and woke Ron from his light sleep so they could figure out what was happening.
Suddenly, the door was blasted open and a handful of German guards rushed in. They were yelling at the prisoners which only added to the confusion. Harri helped Ron up and out of the door where they saw a fresh snow covering the ground. When they were out of the way, Harri looked up to see other prisoners being shoved out of their cabins into the bitterly cold night. His eyes followed them and he was horrified to discover that the guards were herding the prisoners out the main gates. They were leaving the camp!
Ron looked around with bleary eyes as he tried to take in the chaos that formed.
“We’re leaving?” he asked softly.
“Yes, we are. On foot from what it seems like,” Harri answered.
“Oh. By the way, here’s your book. You left it under the pillow,” Ron said as he proffered the book to him.
Harri gave a grateful smile before helping his friend down the recently formed path. He could hear people all around moaning in pain from the cold, but he concentrated on what could be the end. At some point, he saw some victims fall either by the weather or by the trigger-happy guards.
The guards forced the prisoners to walk for miles. As the night wore on, Ron leaned more and more on Harri’s shoulder, becoming increasingly heavier with every step. Because Harri was conscious of Ron’s weakened condition, he made sure they walked in the middle of a group of prisoners; if the guards noticed Ron’s illness they would surely kill him since he clearly could not walk by himself.
They walked on through the night and saw the dawn approach as they neared a camp larger than the one they had come from. Harri could see this camp from the hill they climbed and knew they only had a few more miles to go. All of a sudden, Ron collapsed. Harri bent down quickly and tried to help him up.
“Harri, don’t,” he murmured.
“Because it is no use now. I’m too weak.”
“But you can’t just give up!”
“I’m not giving up. I’m letting God do his job. I can’t last much longer.”
“If I can just get you there then we could -”
“Do what? I would be killed for not working. They take the ill and do much worse than death. Let me go.”
“Take this,” Ron said as he held out his army dog tag and wedding band to him. “Please take these. If you do make it out of here, give them to my family and tell them…”
“Don’t make me do this. Please, Ron, don’t!”
“Please, Harri. Tell them I love them so much…”
Harry woke with a start as he panted for breath. Looking around, he saw Ron look at him surprised while the twins sat blinking the sleep from their eyes.
“Harry? What is it?” Ron asked as he made his way over to his now shaking friend.
“Oh God…” Harry managed to say before running to the bathroom.
Ron waited by the door until Harry stopped retching. Harry eventually came out of the bathroom to see three sets of eyes on him.
“Go back to bed,” he muttered as he crawled into his own.
“What’s going on, mate?” Ron asked.
“Just a really bad dream,” Harry muttered. “Don’t worry about it too much.”
“You screamed out my name. That is definitely something to worry about,” Ron worriedly told him. “Why don’t we talk this out over some breakfast? It’s not too early. We could go to that bakery with the really good muffins.”
“You and food. You’re going to make me sick with all this talk of food, you know,” Harry said darkly.
“Mum has this great anti-nausea potion that I’m sure she brought. I can nick it out of her room real quick and I’ll meet you downstairs.”
“Fine. I’ll be there,” Harry said.
He saw Ron give him a final worried look before going to the next room to get the potion. Harry slowly got dressed and headed down the stairs. Ron managed to get there first.
“How did you beat me here?” Harry asked when he reached him.
“While you were in the loo, I got dressed and got directions to that bakery we passed yesterday. It’s in walking distance.”
The two boys left the hotel and headed down the street. As they walked, they saw signs of city life starting as shop owners opened their stores and swept the sidewalk around the front. Other people were erecting sidewalk displays and they watched in fascination as huge trucks seemed to gulp the garbage which had been left at the curb the night before. Smirking, Harry watched Ron’s head swivel from one sight to another as the continued towards the bakery.
Harry took in his surroundings as they passed yet another hotel. He looked down the street to see Times Square with people already clogging the streets as they walked. He was surprised that Ron had not said anything about all the Muggle technology yet.
They finally arrived at their destination and paid for their breakfast. As they ate in silence, Harry was getting worried as to why Ron had not said anything since they left the hotel.
He jumped at the sound of his name only to realize that Ron was the one who said it.
“You finally speak. Thinking?”
“Yes, actually. As much as people like to think that I can’t do that, I can. Now, then, what’s going on with you? You barely sleep anymore, you’re too quiet and you’re not acting like yourself lately,” Ron said before catching his breath. “I’m just worried…much like the rest of the family is. But still, as your friend, I would like to know what’s going on with you.”
“Channelling Hermione there, Ron?” teased Harry with a smirk.
“Don’t change the subject.”
“Okay. Never knew you as one to be serious, but I’ll answer you to the best of my ability. First off, nothing’s wrong with me. I’m fine. And before you start arguing, please note that I have had not one vision of Voldemort happen to me so far since fifth year.”
“So then what’s wrong?”
“I’m getting there. Finish your muffin while I talk. That’ll keep you quiet.”
“Ha, ha, Harry,” Ron bantered.
“Good. Glad to see we can still joke around. Now then, if you tell anyone about what I’m going to tell you, I’ll get your brothers after you, then I’ll learn the Bat Bogey Hex and use you as the test subject. Got it?” Ron nodded as he ate. “Good. I’ve been reading a rather interesting book lately. A bit morbid for casual reading, but it has its good points.”
“What kind of a book is it? It’s strange enough that you actually read for fun. You seem like you’re channelling Hermione now.”
“Keep eating that muffin and let me talk,” Harry said, scowling with irritation. “Anyway, I found the book in my parents’ vault on my birthday and I believe it belonged to my grandfather’s brother. A book of memoirs I guess.”
“Oh, don’t be saying that out loud. That to me sounds like it’s a journal.”
“It is. Someone by the name of J. Harrison Potter. Whoever he is.”
“Just be careful Harry,” Ron advised. Then, in concern he continued, “But now that you’ve told me this, what does it have to do with me?”
“Do you really want to know?” Harry asked tensely.
Ron nodded as he finished off the muffin. Harry sighed before he started to talk about the narrator of the journal. After talking about the entries, he told Ron about his dreams that seemed to be connected to the writings. Ron listened with stoic intensity as Harry explained the POW stories he had read thus far of this man.
When Harry finished, Ron smirked before he said anything.
“This may be a sign of some sorts. Now please don’t tell me that I channel Trelawney. I’ll kill myself if you do,” Ron said before looking straight at Harry. “But this person is going through war times, much like you, and there is a bit of insight to some of these events thus far. It is a bit creepy though that those two share our names and that you see them vividly in your sleep.”
“That’s what frightens me,” Harry said honestly as he twirled a napkin in his hands.
“And this Ron friend of his?”
“Mousy brown hair and stocky. Nothing like you.”
“But still…the same name and their friendship is very close. And then that story about the woman who tried to escape, I mean, it sounds like something that Hermione might do.”
“Did you ever wonder why I could not look at her that one day?”
“You mean…? Bloody hell, Harry! You’re going to drive yourself batty if this keeps up.”
“I hope not. I just hope these dreams end when I finish the damn journal.”
“Well, that’s a first.”
“You swearing. Now finish your muffin so we can explore Muggle New York more,” Ron said with a grin. Harry threw his napkin at him.