Harry wiped off the condensation on the window of the Abraxan Stage and looked out at the rainy London night. He had rushed in order to make the departure time and now they were sitting in the courtyard ‘waiting for luggage.’ He could be using this time to be with Ginny, not sitting here trying to ignore Ron wolfing down a sandwich.
“Want some?” Ron asked, holding out the other half of the sandwich.
Harry shook his head and moodily returned to the window. Chocolate in the library.
Of all the memories, of all the experiences, of all the feelings they had shared — grief and love and fear and joy — the first thing Ginny remembered about their relationship was a brief, quiet talk they had had in the library back in his fifth year. It was mind-boggling.
But then, Healer Wood had said that how the mind worked — or the heart, for that matter —was often a mystery. When Harry had taken Ginny back to St. Mungo’s (Ginny protesting loudly the whole way), Healer Wood had been delighted that her thought pathways were ‘spontaneously healing.’ Then he hypothesized that maybe the taste of chocolate or the sound of something being pushed across the table might have stirred Ginny’s memory. It was hard to say.
Luckily, Ginny’s headache had dulled and her color had returned by the time Healer Wood sent them on their way with a flask of mild pain potion. Harry Side-Along Apparated Ginny to The Burrow since he didn’t think swirling around in the Floo would help her headache. Ginny complained about mollycoddling, but he ignored it, since he felt responsible. Even though Healer Wood had said that retrieving memories wouldn’t be as painful as her pathways healed, Harry was worried that he was going to cause her more pain as her memories came back.
And now that he thought about it, some of those memories were going to be painful for him, too. He shifted uncomfortably on the cracked leather seat. His fifth year had been horrible — and it seemed most unfair that Ginny remembered him at one of the most confusing moments of his life, when he had been thinking about his parents and their relationship. She had felt sorry for him then…
He almost groaned out loud as a new realization came to him. Ginny felt sorry for him now.
Today, she had acknowledged the difficulty of having your fiancée forget your very existence. It had been a compassionate, empathetic thing to say — and so very Ginny. But he didn’t want that.
He would rather she yelled at him like his mother had yelled at his father in the Pensieve. His mother had shown, not just anger, but passion and disappointment in wanting the boy she liked to be a better person. Ginny just wasn’t invested in him like that.
“Come on, Harry,” Ron said, interrupting his depressing thoughts. “If Ginny is already remembering things, she’ll be back to love-struck in no time.”
“She’s not remembering things in the right order.” Harry knew that sounded ridiculous, but it was true. So far, what she knew about him wasn’t very flattering.
Ron blinked. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“All she knows about me right now is that I once broke up with her and that I was depressed my fifth year.”
Ron’s eyebrows rose. “I thought you said she read the authorized biography?”
Harry waved that away. “I might as well be a character in a history book — none of that means anything to Ginny.”
“You’re the one who didn’t want anything about the Chamber in the book, mate.”
“It’s still the right thing,” Harry said stubbornly. “She was just a kid when that happened and no one else needs to know about it.”
“Don’t you think you should tell her?”
“No!” He didn’t know why he was reluctant to tell her. Maybe because he didn’t want her to feel any obligation to him. “She’ll remember on her own,” he hastened to add, at Ron’s skeptical stare.
Ron shrugged. “You’re probably right.”
There was a tap at the glass.
“Oy,” Ron said, pushing up the sliding coach window. “An owl.”
“Now what?” Harry muttered as Ron took a scroll off a soggy barn owl.
“More instructions,” Ron said as he scanned the parchment. “You were right about Atlantis. We’re to go to the Costa del Sol and then we’re instructed to swim to the North Entrance of Atlantis.”
“Is Atlantis near Spain yet?” Harry asked. It was a reasonable question since the “lost” city of Atlantis was really a drifting Merpeople colony that circled the shoreline of the continents with the ocean currents. For the past few years, it had been stuck in the Mediterranean, but it seemed it was poised to head past Gibraltar and out to the Atlantic before the year was out.
“Yup,” Ron said absently. “The rest is about that package we’re picking up.” He glanced over the parchment at Harry. “It’s encrypted.”
“What?” Harry’s heart beat a little faster. This was not a good sign. Obviously, the package they were going after was very valuable or very dangerous — or both.
“We’ll need both our wands to see it,” Ron said.
“Are we supposed to read it here?” Harry looked around the crowded carriage doubtfully. No one was looking at them, but it would draw attention if they suddenly started doing spells.
“Privacy Charm should do it,” Ron said, not looking too concerned. He took out his wand and cast a Cloak of Silence, and then added a Mirage Spell for good measure. All anyone would see would be Harry and Ron doing what they had been doing for the last five minutes: Ron eating a sandwich and Harry staring gloomily out the window. It was a surprisingly good charm, if you only needed five minutes, Harry thought with chagrin. He had tried casting it when he wanted some time to kiss Ginny whilst they were waiting for her train after the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, five minutes of Harry and Ginny standing on the platform not talking or doing anything didn’t fool anyone.
“Ready?” Ron placed the parchment flat on the seat next to him.
“Ready.” Harry waved his wand over the blacked-out section of the letter. The parchment glowed gold and then several sentences appeared.
You will proceed to Atlantis to escort Jade, Princess of the goblins, to England, where treaty talks between the goblins and the Ministry are to begin. She knows little about the human world, so she has requested a few days in Spain to acquaint herself with wizard customs. She has one official appearance in Spain, visiting the goblin works in Toledo, but the rest of her time is her own. You are to insure her safety while in Spain, as well as her passage to England. Princess Jade does not speak English or any other human language.
“A goblin princess?” Ron looked as appalled as Harry felt.
“Who doesn’t speak English,” Harry added gloomily.
“What does a female goblin look like anyway?” Ron asked.
It was a good question. The goblins rarely allowed their females to be seen by outsiders. “Stunningly gorgeous,” Harry said, rolling his eyes.
“Maybe she’ll make up for it with a winning personality.”
Harry snorted. “She’s a princess.”
“And a goblin.” Ron sighed.
Ginny drifted in an out of sleep. Pain potion was such a weird thing — or maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. Images of Harry kept drifting through her mind. He was thinner and younger-looking than the Harry who had taken her out to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. Part of Ginny’s mind tried to pin down when exactly these memories were coming from, while the other part of her mind simply watched impressions of Harry drift across her consciousness.
Grimmauld Place. His eyes were indifferent — almost haunted by something.
The Gryffindor common room. His mouth set in an angry line.
A corridor at Hogwarts. He walked right past her. It chilled Ginny to see someone so despairing and so immune to the world around him. Had Harry always been like that?
“Ginny, we’re off to Shell Cottage,” Mum said, opening the door of her bedroom. “Are you sure you’re going to be all right on your own? We can babysit Victoire here.”
Ginny rubbed her forehead and sat up on the bed. She felt much better now that the pain potion had done its work. “I’ll be fine, Mum. Victoire never sleeps well here.”
“But your headache—”
“Is gone,” Ginny said firmly.
Mum sat on the edge of the bed and held Ginny’s chin in her hand. “You look better.”
“I feel better, Mum, honestly.”
Mum sighed and dropped her hand. “I wish Harry could be here. He’d feel better to see you looking like yourself.”
“I always look like myself.” Ginny couldn’t help it. Mum could be so dramatic sometimes.
Mum snorted. “No, you don’t. Looking at Harry like he’s a stranger. Poor boy.”
“He is a stranger — to me at least.” Ginny tried to keep her voice even, but her heartbeat was increasing. She didn’t want to argue with Mum about marrying someone who never smiled and looked the part of the perfect tragic hero. Although, from what she could gather, he was the perfect tragic hero.
“Then get to know him,” Mum said briskly. “Give him a chance and you’ll fall in love with him all over again.”
Perversely, now that Mum was being practical and sensible, Ginny didn’t like it. “I went out to lunch with him today and ended up at St. Mungo’s. What’s going to happen if we go out to dinner?”
“The Healer said that the memories won’t always cause you pain.”
“I know what the Healer said,” Ginny snapped. Her headache was starting to come back.
“Rest tonight, darling.” Mum patted her shoulder and then stood up. “We’ll be back after midnight.”
Ginny didn’t know what she wanted. “I just—”
“I just feel like no one is on my side,” she said all in a rush. “That somehow I’ve made Harry unhappy by losing my memory, but no one can see that it’s made me unhappy, too.” She looked at her mother in appeal.
“Of course we’re on your side.” Mum rushed over to give her a hug. “But there are no sides to this — not really. We want what’s best for you and for Harry — we always have.”
“But I’m still me,” Ginny said. “No matter if I’m engaged to Harry or not.”
“You’re tired.” Mum smoothed a lock of hair out of Ginny’s face and kissed her forehead. “Rest tonight. Things will look better in the morning.”
Ginny gave up trying to make her mother understand. It was no use. Mum was so enamored with Ginny getting married, she couldn’t see any other point of view. Out of habit since Fred died, Ginny sighed and nodded. “Okay, Mum.”
“That’s my good girl.”
Once Mum left, Ginny decided that she would try to enjoy the novelty of being home alone. Maybe she would take a tray into the living room and listen to a program on the wireless while she ate dinner. It would be relaxing to stop thinking for a while. She moved to her dresser and began to brush her untidy hair. It was comforting to be in her familiar room again. There were her books and her posters of the Harpies and the Weird Sisters and a… picture of Harry. She slowly put her brush down.
She shouldn’t be surprised that she had a framed snap of Harry on her dresser. He was her fiancé, whether she remembered him or not. Ginny picked up the photo. It must have been taken in the orchard here at The Burrow. Ginny recognized the trees and the roof of the broom shed in the distance. Harry was in mid-air on a broom holding a fluttering Snitch in his hand. He was smiling — no, he was grinning — at the camera. His green eyes were alight with glee and he seemed perfectly at ease in the way he straddled that broom. A Firebolt, TNG, if she wasn’t mistaken. Wow. He really was attractive — especially when he was smiling and relaxed and looking a little smugly confident.
Ginny put the photo down. Attractive or not, she didn’t know him. There was no reason to feel fluttery at seeing his picture.
“Ginny? Do you remember me?”
Ginny turned at the sound of Luna’s voice. She laughed. “Of course, I remember you.” She gestured to Harry’s photo. “It’s Harry I can’t remember.”
Luna nodded solemnly. “It’s good you have a snap of him, but I could paint his picture on your ceiling. That’s how I remember my friends.”
“That’s all right, Luna.” Ginny didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She could picture Harry’s startled face on her ceiling with the word “fiancé” under it. “So,” Ginny said, turning to gather her hair in a pony tail, “what’s new with you?”
“Daddy’s sending me on an assignment.” Luna’s flat voice didn’t sound like Luna at all.
Ginny turned to face her. “Oh? Where?”
“Spain? Really?” Her thumbs pricked at the coincidence. “Ron and Harry are in Spain on some sort of Auror business.”
“This is for The Quibbler,” Luna said. “I’m supposed to interview Rolf Scamander.” Her soft mouth tightened.
“Who?” The name sounded familiar.
“The grandson of Newt Scamander.” Luna’s cheeks were now pink. “He’s also a naturalist — or he says he is.”
“Er—” Ginny frowned. “You don’t think this Rolf knows anything about animals?”
Luna crossed her arms in front of herself. “He says that you can’t learn anything about the natural world from myth or legends or books. That you have to do field work in order to understand a creature.”
“Well that sounds—”
“Ridiculous,” Luna nodded. “Legends give context.”
“And myths tell the truth — whilst field reports merely report facts.”
“I’m sure you’ll have an interesting interview with Rolf Scamander,” Ginny said. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen Luna this agitated.
“I doubt it.”
“Luna!” Now Ginny was wondering if her memory of Luna was also faulty. The Luna she knew was never this — adamant —about anything.
Luna had the grace to look sheepish. “Sorry. You’re right. I’m just angry with Daddy for sending me when he could have sent someone else. I don’t think I’m the right person to meet him.”
“Is Rolf old and set in his ways?” Ginny asked sympathetically.
“No.” Luna blushed. “He’s not old.” She reached into the Hello Kneazle! rucksack she was carrying and brought out a months-old edition of The Naturalist. “Here he is — on the editorial page.”
Under the headline, Magical Creature Live in the Wild, Not In Myths, was a photograph of a young, bronzed wizard in jungle fatigues with a brightly colored bird on his broad shoulders. It was hard to tell from the photo, but he appeared to have blond hair and dark eyes. He was also drop-dead gorgeous in a rugged, outdoorsy way. “Wow. Dishy.”
“You think so?” Luna took the magazine back and pondered the photo. “He seems to have a lot of teeth.”
“Because he’s smiling.”
“Laughing,” Luna said bitterly.
“He won’t laugh at you, Luna.”
“He already did. In this editorial. He cited The Quibbler and Daddy by name as being the worst of the perpetrators in standing of the way of modern techniques for learning about magical creatures. And that just isn’t true.”
Ginny held up her hand. “I know that and you know that. So why are you intimidated to interview him?”
“Well, aren’t you?”
Luna stared off into the distance. “Yes,” she said after a long dreamy pause. “I suppose I am. I don’t like to argue, especially with—” She peered at the photo. “—someone with so many teeth.” She looked up at Ginny. “I forgot, because I was remembering my anger at Daddy first.”
“I’m sorry, Luna.” She didn’t know what else to say.
Luna impulsively hugged her. “It’s not the worst thing that could happen. At least I remember how I feel about Rolf Scamander. If I suddenly liked him, it would be very disconcerting. Is that the way you feel about Harry now?”
“Er—” Ginny tried to follow. “Disconcerted?”
“Yes. It must have been awkward for your mind not to understand your heart.”
“I don’t know if my heart feels anything,” Ginny admitted. “My mind — well, my head — certainly hurts.”
“Oh, Ginny. Of course your heart hurts, too, being estranged from Harry.”
“We’re not estranged,” Ginny protested. “I saw him today.”
“But your mum said you got sick after you saw him.”
“Those are the facts, Ginny. But the truth is that you still love him.”
“Are we back to myths and legends?”
Luna’s eyes widened in surprise and delight. “I suppose we are. You still love him — that’s the legend your field work isn’t letting you see.”
“I wouldn’t call going out to lunch field work.”
“I’m sure Rolf Scamander wouldn’t either,” Luna said in a rare burst of sarcasm.
Luna wasn’t interested in joining Ginny for dinner since she had a lot of packing to do for her trip to Spain. She wanted to make sure she had the right textbooks to show Rolf Scamander how wrong he was. When Ginny asked her about what warm-weather clothes she was taking, Luna stared at her dismay. She hadn’t considered clothes.
Ginny shook her head as Luna Disapparated. If she had known earlier that Luna was going to Spain, she would have asked Harry to watch out for her.
She slowly walked down the steps. How did she know that Harry would look out for Luna? Wouldn’t he laugh at Luna like Ron often did?
When she reached the kitchen, she still hadn’t answered that question, even though she didn’t have any direct memories of Harry and Luna. He just didn’t seem the type to make fun of Luna. With that, Ginny felt better. Harry might be a tragic hero, but he seemed to be a nice tragic hero. Usually, her instincts were pretty accurate about these sorts of things.
Ginny had just sliced enough ham to make a sandwich, when she heard the Floo start to activate. She paused with her knife in the air, and watched Percy whirl out of the green flames.
“Ginny,” Percy said, straightening his well-cut business robes. Even after a trip through the Floo and undoubtedly a full day at the Ministry, Percy looked crisp and unruffled. “Do you remember me? Your older brother—”
“Percy.” She sighed. “I remember. It’s Harry I’m not remembering.”
“I see.” Percy stood awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen. “Mum and Dad around?”
“Shell Cottage.” Ginny said, pulling the breadbox toward her. “Why don’t you go see them there?”
Ginny looked over her shoulder. Percy was staring at the bread and ham. She sighed again. Her quiet night with the wireless was not going to happen. “Sandwich?”
“Love one,” Percy said with a smile. “Shall I bring up some bottles of butterbeer from the cellar?”
She was in training, but a butterbeer sounded like just the thing after today. “Why not?”
They settled at one end of the long kitchen table. Ginny added a packet of crisps to their dinner. If she was going to break training, she might as well go all the way. Percy ate his first sandwich without speaking. “Didn’t you eat lunch?” she asked.
“Lunch?” Percy looked up at Ginny with a dazed expression on his face.
“The meal between breakfast and dinner.” Ginny’s eyes narrowed. Percy was acting distinctly strange. “What’s going on with you, anyway? You usually don’t visit unless it’s the weekend.” She cocked her head in thought. “Did you ever find a new flat?”
Percy raised his eyebrows and deliberately set his butterbeer bottle down on the table. “Yes, I did. This weekend.”
“Where is it?”
“The Inglenook Building.”
“Yes. It’s close to the Ministry.”
“Is that why you came to see Mum and Dad on a weekday?”
“It’s part of it.”
Ginny pushed the bag of crisps away. “What’s the other part? If you’re worried about Harry and me—”
“I’m not worried about you and Harry,” Percy said. “I’m sure you’ll work it out.”
Ginny stared at him. Glasses. Curly hair. Smug certainty. Yes, this was Percy. “Er — you’re not worried?”
“Of course not.” Percy shrugged. “You’ll have the fun of getting to know each other again. And if it isn’t meant to be…” He shrugged.
“Fun?” Ginny tried to wrap her mind around the concept of Percy and fun, and failed.
“You know what I mean,” Percy said with a hint of a blush.
“Have you met someone?” Ginny asked suspiciously.
The blush deepened. “I have.” Percy cut his second sandwich in half and didn’t look at her.
Ginny pounced. “Who? Do I know her? Have you been going out for very long?”
“Audrey Anderson. No. And No. We just met this weekend.”
“Anderson? Is she related to Bill’s new boss at Gringotts?”
Percy glanced up at her. “Her father.”
“Oh.” Bill hated Owen Anderson. He had known him in Egypt when he first started out curse-breaking and further acquaintance hadn’t improved matters.
“Audrey isn’t like her father,” Percy said.
“Well, you just met her,” Ginny said. “How do you know that?”
“I know.” Percy’s ears were now red. “And I’m not going to defend her to you, because she can do that herself.”
“So are you here to ask Mum to invite her for Sunday dinner?”
“No, I’m here to tell Mum and Dad we’re getting married.”
“Getting married!” Ginny gaped at him. Cautious, follow-the-rules Percy was going to marry a witch he had just met this weekend?
“We’re already living together,” Percy said, with a hint of a smile on his face. “So Mum and Dad should be happy we’re getting married.”
Ginny let out a long breath and then she laughed as what Percy just said sunk in. “Be sure to point that out after the screaming stops.”
Percy laughed, too. “I will.”
There was short, comfortable silence.
“So where is — er — Audrey?” Ginny asked.
“She’s still at the studio. They had a problem with the Pensieve this morning, so rehearsals went longer and—”
“Rehearsals? Is Audrey on the wireless or something?”
“Just a small part now—” Percy tried and failed to sound nonchalant. “—on Days of Destiny.”
“Days of Destiny? No way!”
Percy laughed. “Audrey gets that reaction a lot.”
“Who is she? Which character?” Ginny’s mind raced. The new season of the magical world’s long-running soap opera had just begun and there was a new villain and —
“Roxanne,” she said suddenly. “Your Audrey is playing the singer with stage fright.”
Percy smiled. “I like the sound of ‘your Audrey.’”
“Well...” Ginny sat back in her chair and grinned. “…if she can get Roderick’s autograph, I think you’ll get Mum’s seal of approval.”
Percy shrugged. “I hope Mum will like Audrey for herself.”
“So when will we get to meet her?”
“I’ll bring her round for Sunday dinner,” he said. “Will you be here?”
“No.” Ginny sighed. As much as she loved Quidditch, she did miss being here for family events. “I’ll go back to training in a day or two. There’s nothing really wrong with me.”
“I’m sorry you’ll miss meeting Audrey,” Percy said, standing up to take his plate to the counter. “I’ll bring her to one of your matches, then.”
“Okay.” She smiled. “Is she a Harpies fan?”
Percy shook his head. “I don’t know. She grew up in Egypt, so I don’t know how familiar she is with British teams.”
“You don’t know her very well then, do you?” Ginny cocked her head. “Are you sure about this, Percy? I mean, it sounds like love at first sight and I don’t know how reliable that is.”
Percy raised his eyebrows. “You have forgotten Harry, haven’t you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that you seem to be forgetting some fairly powerful emotions.”
“Did I fall in love with Harry at first sight or something?”
“I don’t know, to tell you the truth. And I don’t want to say too much about my impression of your relationship with Harry, because I think this is a good way for you to be objective about it. When Penelope broke up with me, I couldn’t see that we had outgrown each other. It was only later that I understood.” He smiled. “Now, I’ve very glad — otherwise I wouldn’t have met Audrey.”
He was smitten. Ginny couldn’t help but be impressed. And depressed. Right now, she didn’t feel that way at all about Harry.
“I should just chuck this,” she muttered, pulling the ring off ,her hand.
“No, you shouldn’t.” Percy put his hand over hers. “You did promise to marry Harry and you do owe him the chance to prove himself to you. But if he doesn’t…”
Ginny wondered just what Percy really thought about Harry. It didn’t seem like they would have much in common — not that she had anything in common with Percy, either, but he was her brother and she loved him. She sighed. “I won’t. Some of my memories are already coming back. I think if I just wait it out…” Her mouth twisted into a rueful smile.
“Right. That’s the spirit.” Percy seemed relieved that he didn’t have to talk about Ginny’s relationship.
“So. Is Mum going to know that you live together? I want to make sure I don’t let any Kneazles out of the bag.”
“I’ll tell her, but she’ll be in denial.” Percy rolled his eyes. “Just like she doesn’t acknowledge that Ron lives at Hermione’s — even though he’s officially Harry’s roommate.”
“Ron lives with Harry?” Ginny asked. “Where does Harry live?”
“Grimmauld Place? You mean, Sirius Black’s house — that’s full of Dark objects? And that creepy house-elf, Kreacher?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never been there. But yes, Harry owns the house and lives there now.”
“Was I going to live there after we got married?” She couldn’t imagine living in such a horrible place. She must have been in love with Harry.
“I think you were going to swap houses with Andromeda? Harry wanted Teddy to have it, since he’s actually a Black by blood.”
“Harry knows Teddy?”
“He’s his godfather.”
“Oh.” Ginny rubbed her forehead. Now that she thought about it, there were blanks where Teddy was concerned. She had taken him out to a lot of places with someone else — the Golden Snidget Reserve, the Quidditch Museum, Blackpool… It must have been Harry along on all of those excursions. Were she and Harry playing mum and dad or something? Ginny had the nauseating feeling that she and Harry must have been a very fluffy couple.
“So, I’m off to Shell Cottage,” Percy said, putting on his cloak.
“Good luck,” Ginny said. “Have you set a date for your wedding?”
“New Year’s Eve.” Percy looked at her anxiously. “Unless you and Harry had that date in mind.”
Ginny tittered. “I have nothing in mind.” She tilted her head and looked Percy in the eye. “It’s almost October now. That’s not much time to be engaged.”
“I’d rather spend my time married than engaged,” Percy said loftily.
Ginny looked at her ring and wondered how she would have felt if she had forgotten Harry after they were married. This trapped feeling would have been worse. “I don’t know, Perce, a long engagement seems like a good idea right now.”
Harry flopped against the pillows of his hotel bed and watched Ron read yet another Tweeter Scroll from Hermione. He had been at it ever since they had returned from dinner.
“Hm?” Ron didn’t look up. He was using his thumbs to press different parts of his Tweeter Twig to send a return message to Hermione.
“We’re supposed to be at the beach at sunrise to meet the Merpeople.”
“I know.” Ron looked over his shoulder. “It’s not that late. Why don’t you send a scroll to Ginny?”
Harry groaned. He had been debating with himself all night about doing just that. “I thought about it, but…”
“She gave you that Tweeter Twig for your birthday. Have you used it yet?”
“No. I pulled that Azkaban duty and it doesn’t work there. Too much Dark magic.”
”No Dark magic here.” Ron shrugged and read the slip of paper that had just uncurled from his Tweeter Twig.
“Won’t it seem — er — stalkerish — if I send her a message? I mean... she doesn’t remember me and she hates to be hounded.”
“Harry, she gave you the Twig because she loves to get scrolls. Remember? Why not let her know you’re here?”
“All right.” Harry dug around in his rucksack and pulled out the magical device. He really wasn’t sure how to use it, but how hard could it be if all the unqualified Hogwarts students were using them now? He placed his right thumb on one half of the bottom fork of the twig. A wisp of blue magic hovered at the other end of the Twig.
“So write your message,” Ron said.
“Use both thumbs on each branch of the fork. Think of the letter as you tap. Then go right, left, right, left until you’re done. Check the message in the smoke and press the knot in the middle of the Twig to send it.”
“Okay.” Harry frowned and started tapping out a short message. When he finished, he checked his message in the blue smoke. “This is rubbish. I can’t send this.”
Ron rolled over his bed and came to Harry’s side. He laughed when he saw the smoke.
Harry didn’t blame him. It looked like a monkey had tried to write it. R0n and 1 aRe in spa!n nooow.
“Send it, Harry. She’ll figure it out.”
“At least she’ll get a laugh,” he said sourly.
In less than a minute, a scroll uncurled from his Tweeter Twig. With some trepidation, he took the tiny slip of paper.
“What did she say?” Ron asked.
“She said, ‘okay.’ With two letters.” Harry stared at the slip, trying to work out what Ginny meant by that.
Ron shrugged. “Maybe she’s not in a chatty mood.”
“Maybe she doesn’t care,” Harry said bitterly, resisting the urge to throw the stupid Tweeter Twig across the room. He knew he shouldn’t have sent her a message. Ginny didn’t like being hounded and that’s what his pathetic message must have sounded like to her.
As he gripped the Tweeter Twig, it started to vibrate. Another scroll of paper was uncurling from the end.
Luna will be in Spain tomorrow. Watch out for her?
“Luna’s going to be in Spain?” Harry said to Ron.
“Yeah. Hermione was telling me that in an earlier scroll. It seems Luna has to interview someone for The Quibbler. He’s here studying the snails.”
Harry looked at the pile of scrolls littering Ron’s bed, evidence that Ron and Hermione talked about everything. He had two pathetic scrolls from Ginny. He had never been jealous of their relationship before — but he was now. He couldn’t even get Ginny to care where he was.
His mouth twisted as he tapped out two letters on the Twitter Twig. If that’s all Ginny was willing to communicate — then he would do the same.
Ginny felt a stab of guilt when she received Harry’s terse reply of ‘OK.’ She didn’t know him that well, but she had the feeling she had insulted him by responding to his first message that way.
Her doubts were confirmed when she received an angry scroll from Ron.
He didn’t want to scroll you but I told him to. YOU gave him the Tweeter Twig for his birthday. YOU wanted —
Ron didn’t have enough room on the first scroll, so he rapidly sent a second.
—to hear from him more often. What’s your problem?
Ginny could feel the heat rise in her face. No problem, Ron. Except I CAN’T REMEMBER.
That’s no excuse.
Ginny snorted and sent a reply. I’m using it.
How’s that working for you? Happy now?
Angry tears pricked her eyes. She wasn’t happy, through no fault of her own. No, I’m not happy.
There was a long silence until another scroll uncurled from her Tweeter Twig.
Hermione wants to go to lunch with you tomorrow. Send her a scroll.
Ginny stared at Ron’s last message. He was obviously backing off now that she had admitted she was unhappy, but why would Hermione want to have lunch with her?
To talk about Ron?
Then she remembered. The book had said that Hermione was also Harry’s friend. Ginny sighed and realized the wisdom of meeting Hermione for lunch. Hermione was intelligent and she wasn’t marriage and wedding crazy. Maybe she could offer some new insight.