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Chapter 1: The Lovers' Medallion
He's dead. Ginny Weasley sat up in bed clutching her pillow tightly and rocking back and forth. The bad dream's feeling drew her like a magnet - though her reason claimed it false. She fumbled at her throat; found what was there - and now her head was nodding firmly in conflict with the pitching of her body. He's alive!
She swung herself out of bed and walked to the window, discarding the nightmare and her pillow on the way. There was just enough moonlight to see the orchard where they had played Quidditch together. Twisting around, she stared at the empty place on the carpet where they had stood and kissed. He was right there. Her medallion was next. Out it came on the slender chain around her neck. While it was there she knew he lived. It was too dark to read but she knew his last message by heart: 3 OK. Later.
When he had had to leave her, the grown-up self had known what was sensible and performed it well for his sake but now the little baby self was hurting unbearably. Dying by his side would only be frightening - it would not ache and ache inside like this.
She couldn't lie down. She couldn't stand up. She couldn't go downstairs. She couldn't look out the window. There was no escaping the pain.
There was a sound; a footstep on the landing outside. The door opened silently and she knew the person coming in was her mother. No use hiding. The figure stared at her standing there in the darkness for just a few moments then came forward and held her for a long, long time.
"Did you think I didn't know?" whispered Mrs. Weasley.
"What can I do, Mum?" Ginny whimpered. Her voice conveyed the misery that her dark-standing figure had only implied.
"Only wait, Ginny. All we women can ever do." Her arms tightened a little around the young girl. She had never referred to her daughter as a woman before. Ginny wanted to be just a little girl with a grazed elbow to be kissed better - now she was aware of her mother's own sorrow so she returned her squeeze.
"Come on - cup of tea and a chat," whispered Mrs. Weasley, guiding Ginny to the door. "There are a few tricks you learn about waiting."
"Do they help?"
They sat in the kitchen and talked about events - not directly about Harry. The only light was the flickering glow of a coal fire above which a large iron kettle happily swung, quietly whistling to itself. Ginny was pouring them both a second cup when she yelped and slopped tea on the tablecloth.
"ah ... ah ... ah ..." Ginny thrust down the teapot and got up, excitedly waving her arms, trying to control herself.
"Ginny! What is it?"
"Nothing." Ginny turned, thinking hard. "Just gotta go to the loo, Mum." She dashed off.
Thinking of you. Ginny had lit a candle in her room and was staring at her medallion, reading the tiny silver disk over and over then holding it to her face like a lover's hand. The ornament stopped its trembling, seemingly satisfied its magical message had been conveyed. He's thinking about me right now. Ginny stayed as long as she dare but she had a secret to keep. The long red hair was pushed aside while she touched the emblem with her lips, Me too, then once the kiss was sent, Ginny went back downstairs.
Her mother had charmed away the spilt tea and was sitting there again, waiting in the semi-darkness.
"Sorry, Mum - I'll make some more." Ginny took the teapot to the kettle, trying to hide both her face from the fireglow and a beating heart from her mother. When she sat down again she could see her mother was still holding her wand.
Ginny lowered her head but she knew the game was up. The teapot was forgotten where it lay on the table.
"You're in touch with him aren't you?" said Mrs. Weasley, searching every inch of Ginny's radiant expression.
""Can't say, Mum." She still held her head down, unable to suppress her rapture.
After a while Mrs. Weasley spoke again, "Ron?"
"OK - they're all alright."
Ginny looked up when she heard her mother take a deep breath. Her Mum was crying. Ginny got up and put an arm around her shoulder.
"Ron'll be fine..."
"Reckless!" Mrs. Weasley wiped the tears from her face with the side of her hand.
"Ron?" queried Ginny.
"Harry!" exclaimed Mrs. Weasley. "Don't you realise they'd... hurt you to get anything you might know?"
There was a slight noise upstairs and they both looked to the ceiling but it was no more than a moan from the ghoul in Ron's room.
"Listen - you must not tell anyone else - not even your father!"
"But... Yes, Harry said no one must know."
Mrs. Weasley's expression clouded again when she heard Harry's name. She got up and paced the kitchen as far as Arthur's chair near the mantelshelf. She stood there muttering now and again, "Rash! Reckless!" and then came back.
"Ginny - I have to... I'm going to do something... You'll have to trust me..."
"Don't be silly, Mum - of course I trust you."
Mrs. Weasley paced back to the chair.
"We need to hide your... - I mean when... something happens... You're a dead giveaway. You can't go acting like that when you get back to Hogwarts." Mrs. Weasley absent-mindedly adjusted the chair's rotation to the angle her husband preferred.
"How? Not Obliviate, Mum - please Mum!"
"No. Not that."
"I need to fix... It's your feelings, Ginny... Let me think a while..."
"No Mum! Please! - I'd rather hurt. I'd rather hurt than not feel what I feel for him..."
Mrs. Weasley stared at her daughter who was looking distraught. She shook her head and came back smiling to Ginny at the table. "It's only about showing excitement at the wrong moment. It's something we did during the first war. It won't stop a powerful wizard searching your mind but at least you won't... you won't wet yourself every time you... hear something."
She leaned over and raised her wand towards Ginny. "Look at me Ginny."
Ginny stared at her mother. There was no effect she could detect except a sense of great familiarity. She waited.
"You won't react when... it happens." Mrs. Weasley paused. "You've got your...?"
Ginny saw the direction of her mother's gaze, nodded, and raised her wand.
"You have to Obliviate me, Ginny."
"No Mum!" Ginny jumped to her feet. "What..."
"You have to do it, Ginny - then go back to bed. Leave me here. Pour me a cup of tea first, love. Shame to waste it."
"Do it good, Gin."
Ginny hesitated, then, "I will."
Afterwards, she left Mrs. Weasley there and made her way back up to her room wondering if there would ever be a day when she could tell her Mum about their little night-time chat. Mrs. Weasley sipped her tea - she was wondering why she had got up in the middle of the night and why there were two cups. Then she started worrying about Ron again - if he was safe.
"Harry? It's me."
Hermione tapped gently on the door to Sirius' bedroom at 12 Grimmauld Place. It opened a crack and Hermione pushed her way in.
"Oh yeah - I'm decent. Just come in why don't you?" said Harry in his shorts.
"How long do you think he'll take?"
"Kreacher? Who knows... Seems to me that Dung is not the kind of person anyone might find easily," said Harry. "Why?"
"Look, that's not the reason you're here is it, Hermione?"
"No, I just wanted to make sure the medallion is--"
"You said never to speak of it again! You were the one who nagged me remember?"
"I know - that's what I want to talk about." Hermione hesitated. "You must Obliviate me, Harry. We have to be absolutely sure."
"Hermione! You'd never--"
"We can't trust that... If I were... under duress. Nobody knows what I'd do. Or if my mind was searched..."
Harry sank down onto the edge of his bed at the thought of Hermione being in the hands of the enemy.
"I wanted... The reason I came here... I want to know it's working alright first. Has Ginny got the hang of it now you think?"
She dragged the only chair in the room across and sat down nearer to Harry.
"Oh yes - It took a while to explain just using short messages but--"
"It was all I could do, Harry. There's no--"
"I know, I know. I'm not complaining. It's great, Hermione! You did a great job! Just saying..."
"And you see Ginny's image engraved on it?"
"Yes - and she sees mine. They both have a house on the back."
"Not always, Harry! There's a ship to show when someone's travelling; a marquee for temporary shelter; a castle if you're a guest; and... a portcullis means... I thought it would be--"
"It's a nice touch, Hermione," said Harry. "Pity you can't... What do you see again, exactly?"
"Harry! You're supposed to remember! Roman soldier and erm... Bowl of flowers on Gin's."
"Yeuk! No wonder it slipped my mind!" said Harry. "Still, main thing is - it works."
"And it erm... It comes through like... it should?"
Harry grinned. "Oh yeah!"
Hermione punched him playfully on the arm. "So... it's... I thought it might just be symbolic... From the book I mean... They say things that..."
"It's a kiss alright, Hermione," said Harry.
Hermione folded her arms in her lap and stared silently at Harry. She halted a quizzical expression that was forming on her face and asked casually, "So... What's... How does it..."
"What's it feel like you mean?" smirked Harry.
Hermione's offhand expression flushed slightly. "Well, just so... just for academic reasons you understand - so I know I got it right." She tried to look around the room but her eyes rivetted back onto Harry's face as soon as he began to speak.
"Well, you just think what you want to say then... It's just like a kiss, Hermione - but without the physical if you know what I mean," said Harry. His expression turned more serious. "It's that deep feeling you feel inside when you kiss the one you love except no lips; no soft fingers caressing your face; no..." Harry stopped. Hermione was lost in his description, hanging on his every word. Harry thought of offering her a handkerchief to wipe away some imaginary drool but instead he said kindly, "Bless you, Hermione Granger, for saving me from going completely mental. I don't think I could carry on without--"
Hermione blinked and broke away. "Oh, it was nothing." She stood up. "And it... won't..."
"You'd have to make your own," smiled Harry.
"Me?" huffed Hermione. "What would I need one for!" She walked to the door then stopped and turned around.
"How'd you get it to her anyway?"
"Put it in her bed - just before the wedding," said Harry,"with a message on it: Kiss and Wait."
Hermione smiled and her head tilted to one side for a while - then she turned a sigh into a shrug and turned back to the door.
"Yes?" Hermione spun round again.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Harry jiggled his wand in the air. "Obliviate?"
"Oh... yes... Well you can hardly do it here can you?" said Hermione. "I mean, if I suddenly found myself in your room I'd probably run screaming--"
"You have to... You have to wipe everything - everything I know about charming a lovers' medallion," said Hermione, slightly tearfully. "I've already destroyed the book. It might be..." She paused for a long, long time. "I think... It might be... It's... It was... possibly the only one in existence."
Harry stared silently. He could see she felt some deep sense of loss from her expression.
"Can you wait till I'm asleep, please Harry?"
Harry looked at her. "Sure. Sure I will."
"Oh, and make sure Ron doesn't see you or he'll go mental--"
"What's it got to do with him?" said Harry with a grin.