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Chapter 17: Forenoon Musings
Ginny woke up and was at first very unaware of where she was. She looked around the unfamiliar darkened room and saw the sleeping figure of her best friend, Hermione, and was reminded of the daunting task facing them today.
Ever since Hermione had disclosed the shocking news of her adoption, she had been pressuring Ginny to help her start her search for who her real parents were. Ginny had tried talking Hermione out of it, saying that the people who raised her and took care of her for her whole life were her parents despite not being blood relatives, and while Hermione agreed, she still was insistent on knowing the identity of the people who had given her up.
Ginny tried to understand her determination, but could not even begin to fathom the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts that her friend has been struggling with since her discovery. While she herself, had so many times, wished for a different less chaotic family at the times when life at the Burrow had seemed to difficult for her, she never truly meant it. She could not ever imagine anyone else as her parents, nor would she ever want to.
She supposed she could understand, however, Hermione’s need to know more about the circumstances of her adoption, but wasn’t sure that it was a good idea for her to find out the truth. It was obvious that there was someone from the wizarding world involved since there had been a powerful memory spell placed on both of her parents. Did this mean that perhaps Hermione was not a muggle-born as she had been led to believe for her whole life? Of course Hermione insisted that this didn’t matter to her at all, but Ginny could not help but feel angry that perhaps her friend had been subjected to such horrible prejudices and hatred unnecessarily.
Why the need for such secrecy about the whole adoption anyway? Although Ginny was not overly familiar to the adoption processes either in the wizarding world or the muggle world, she was certain that there were procedures in place that would conceal the identity of the birth parents from the adoptive parents or child if desired. She did not want to believe that the Ministry would have processes in place that would advocate the use of memory spells on unsuspecting muggles for such a trivial thing like an adoption. Which would likely mean that the Ministry might not have sanctioned this adoption.
Ginny had, of course tried to discuss all of this with Hermione, but she felt that her concerns only solidified Hermione’s determination to uncover the truth about it all. Which was brought her to this muggle bedroom, wide awake before the sun rise, awaiting to embark on a potentially disappointing detective mission that would take them to the Ministry and unknown muggle agencies.
Despite her misgivings about this whole investigative mission, Ginny had immediately agreed to accompany Hermione as soon as she had asked her. She knew that her friend was trying very hard to try to deal with everything in a rational way without being overly emotional, but it was clear to Ginny that she wasn’t being as successful as she pretended to be.
Besides, her being here to support Hermione was a great way for her to take her mind off of her own emotional issues regarding Harry. After spending the afternoon with him at Prewett Manor, she had been allowing herself to hope that things between them could actually pick back up to where it had been before he had dropped out of Hogwarts to save the world. Of course they hadn’t really talked about anything too significant while they were together, but she had expected to have heard from him by now.
She really was trying to be understanding about what he was dealing with, but it was very difficult when he wouldn’t even trust her enough to be able to confide in her what it was that he was feeling. And it wasn’t like he was the only one that was struggling to deal with the horrible things that have happened.
Things at the Burrow had undergone such drastic changes since Fred’s death that Ginny felt as though it was a completely different place. Her mother, who always had been able to stay on top of the duties of running a household, was now reduced to sitting in her rocking chair for hours on end doing nothing but staring at the family clock that now had one less hand on it since Fred’s death. Her mother had been outraged when she had discovered the missing hand, but it was quickly discovered that it must have been the magic of the clock that had eliminated Fred’s hand upon his death.
Her father and Percy both had been working so many extra duties at the ministry trying to get things cleaned up was rarely home except to eat and sleep. Bill and Fleur had returned to Shell Cottage and Charlie was busy trying to help repair Gringott’s. Ron spent nearly all of his time either following Hermione around, writing to Hermione or daydreaming about Hermione.
Then there was George…oh poor George. George had taken to locking himself inside of the room that he used to share with Fred. He only ever left his room for meals and several times when Angelina Johnson came to visit. Ginny had tried to ask him about the shop and when he wanted to re-open and had even offered to help him get things back off the ground. Unfortunately he vehemently refused to even discuss the joke shop and even said that he could never go back there without Fred. Not knowing how to respond or help her brother she was careful to not bring up the subject again.
With all of these disturbances at the Burrow, Ginny had been feeling as though she needed to step up and take up the slack around the house. So she had been cleaning the house, preparing meals, greeting the still continuous flow of well-wishers and even was the one to greet Minister Shacklebolt when he had come to the Burrow for a visit.
Kingsley had immediately seen through her attempt at deception when he asked how things had been going. He had told her that he could see how tired she was and assured her that things were going to get better. He had said that he could see how stressed her father was and he had wanted to stop by and offer any help or support in any way that they needed. Not wanting to admit how bad things had gotten for them; she had lied to him and had told him that everything was going perfectly well. As he had left to return back to the ministry he had told her that she didn’t need to feel like she had to take the weight of the world by herself anymore and tried to make sure that she knew that she could always ask for help whenever she needed. The kind words and the prospect of having someone to share her worries and troubles with had almost been enough to tempt her to confide in him, until her father had made an unexpected appearance home from the Ministry and Ginny had lost her chance.
All of this was probably one of the biggest reasons that she had agreed to help Hermione on her fact-finding quest. It felt good to be getting out of her house and away from her own problems was rather refreshing even if the task that they were undertaking could very well be an impossible one.
“Kinda early for you to be awake isn’t it,” said a sleepy voice that interrupted her thoughts.
Ginny smiled. Her friend knew her well. She hadn’t ever been an early riser. Actually she had often needed extra prodding and coaxing to get her out of bed in the mornings in the days before the war.
“I guess I just have become accustomed to waking up earlier since everything that has happened,” she replied.
She knew that she was only being half honest with her friend, but she didn’t see a need to admit that she had been having troubles sleeping at all since the beginning of the school year last year. She had really been hoping that once things calmed down that her sleep would resume to what it had previously been, but thus far it had only seemed to have gotten worse.
“I was thinking that we should start the day out today at St Mungo’s,” Hermione mused. “If my birth parents were magical, then there should be some record of it at the hospital.”
“Maybe,” Ginny began. “If things were done as they should be, there should have been a birth record started for you at the hospital and added to the registry at the ministry. However, I have been thinking…It doesn’t seem likely that the ministry would be acceptable to the use of a memory charm on a muggle for something a menial as an adoption. Do you think maybe that it was done at a muggle agency?”
Hermione nodded. “I was thinking that as well. But then why the need for the memory charm? Muggle agencies have procedures in place that would conceal the identity of the birth parents.”
“You realize that it is entirely possible that we do not find anything anywhere,” Ginny said timidly. “It is obvious that someone did not want the specifics of your birth. If things were done outside the scope of official agencies, either muggle or wizard, there may be nothing for us to find.”
“I know,” Hermione said sadly. “I have thought the same thing myself. I have told myself, though, that I can’t let that possibility stop me from looking. I know you don’t understand, but if I don’t at least try to find out the truth I will always wonder.”
“I do understand,” replied Ginny with relief. “And I am more than happy to help however I can. Maybe we can even ask my dad where we can start looking at the ministry. I know he would know and we can count on him to be more discreet than anyone else.”
“That sounds perfect,” Hermione agreed. “Let’s go down and get some breakfast and then we can get going.”
Ginny brightened. “Can we use the microwave to make breakfast? I never really understood it when we discussed it in Muggle Studies and would love a demonstration of it.”
“I’m sure we can find something to make in the microwave,” Hermione said with a laugh as she led the way out of her bedroom.
Severus relaxed into his worn armchair and tried to focus on the lesson plans that he had been given by Shacklebolt the previous day. He needed to find a way to break things up between the professors that had volunteered to help with the additional auror classes. Luckily for him most of the things on the curriculum were things already well in-line with the subjects already taught at the school.
The concealment and disguise material easily fell under Professor McGonagall’s transfiguration area of expertise and Professor Slughorn could more than handle the potions and antidote requirements. There was only a few limited of information needed in the Herbology and Magical Creatures departments and he himself could more than handle tracking, defense and curse breaking. The areas that he was having the most amount of difficulties with was the legal studies, basic life saving courses and the physical conditioning. Perhaps he could ask Alexis if she would mind the healing spells, but who in the world would he be able to find that would be stupid enough to take on the ministry laws & regulation topics?
Huffing in frustration, he dropped the papers on the floor next to his chair as he stood and began pacing. There was too much on his mind for him to be doing any serious thinking. With the exception of the few hours when he had passed out in a chair at Prewett Manor, he hadn’t slept at all in the past two days.
The night that him and Alexis had brought Harry back from Grimmauld Place he been too keyed up from the excitement of the night to sleep. At least that is what he had been telling himself. That it was nothing more than the left over adrenaline from the dangers of the night and nothing to do with worry or concern about the boy that he had felt compelled to check on every couple of hours or so. When he had finally been able to relax and close his eyes he was haunted by the image of Harry curled up on the dirty floor writhing in pain. In this dream version of the events, Lily was standing over her troubled son looking helpless and distraught. When Severus entered the room she turned her attentions to him, displaying the anger and disappointment she felt towards the man who had promised to keep her son from such harm.
When Severus woke, there was such an ache in his chest that he rushed immediately into Harry’s room to make sure that all was still well. He tried to reason and assure himself that there had been no way that he was responsible for what had happened and that it had just been Harry behaving like some typical Gryffindor hero wannabe. Until, of course, when Harry woke and explained about how he had been overwhelmed by the crowd at the ministry, confirming the fears that he had originally dismissed when Alexis had expressed them. How was he supposed to have known that things were as bad as they were? He had assumed that the ministry of all places would have been filled with more rational and mature wizards that would be able to leave an already troubled and exhausted boy alone to go about his business.
No, there was no rationalizing his ignorance. Alexis had warned him that things were not well, and he had chosen to ignore her warnings. If anything more serious had happened to Harry he knew that it would have been largely on his own conscience. As much as this angered him to have been guiltied, first by Lily and then by Alexis, into taking responsibility for this boy, he had to admit, if only to himself, that there really was no one more capable or qualified to adequately keep the boy safe until he was better equipped to stand alone on his own two feet. Perhaps, he promised himself, he might even have a few chances along the way to discreetly slap some common sense and self-preservation into the kid’s head as well.