Chapter 1 : The Somber Ride
| ||Rating: 12+||Chapter Reviews: 1|
Background: Font color:
By Christina Rose Schultz
Chapter 1 - The Somber Ride
Harry Potter never remembered a more emotional ride back from Hogwarts. He always disliked the thought that the train would lead him back to King’s Cross Station, speeding him away from Hogwarts and from the people he loved most. However, the added fact that he was leaving Hogwarts for good made it even more unbearable for Harry. He wished that everyone would tell him the happenings of the past week were a joke and that he didn’t have to leave. There was no dark lord trying to kill him, Hogwarts was not robbed of its headmaster, and Harry was going to go back to Hogwarts again in the fall.
However much Harry wished it was so, as he looked at his reflection in the window of the train, his scar was still there. The lighting bolt shaped scar on his forehead served as a constant reminder to Harry that he indeed had a difficult past and what would be a much more difficult future.
The Hogwarts Express was eerily quiet on the ride back to King’s Cross station. If anyone talked, it was in hushed tones. Harry didn’t feel like talking. He didn’t feel like searching for the missing Horcruxes or killing Voldemort either, but then again it didn’t matter what Harry wanted.
“Harry?” said Ron gently.
Harry stopped gazing at his scar and turned towards his friend.
“You know, you’re staying with us for the summer, don’t you?” Ron said. “Mum and dad took care of everything. They actually talked to your aunt and uncle. Can you believe that?”
“That means you won’t have to see them,” Hermione said.
“That’s not true,” Harry said. “You know I have to go back.”
“Oh, right. But at least it’ll be a short visit, won’t it? And we’ll be coming along,” Ron said.
“But why? Why do you want to go with me? It’s the worst place in the world,” Harry said.
“Harry, you know why,” Hermione said. “We’re your friends and we want to be with you.”
“Yeah, we can’t leave you alone with those horrible muggles being bored out of your mind,” Ron said.
“You two are really stubborn. No one in their right mind would want to go to the Dursleys, yet…you’re willing to go with me.”
Harry felt a tear welling up in his eyes. What would he do without Ron and Hermione?
“Of course we are. We’re willing to go anywhere with you. We’re willing to leave Hogwarts, if it means helping you defeat Voldemort once and for all,” Hermione said.
As the train pulled up to King’s Cross and Harry looked at the familiar platform nine and three-quarters, he was so relieved to see that there were no Dursleys. No tall, horsy-looking Aunt Petunia; no short, fat, mustached Uncle Vernon; and no enormously fat cousin Dudley. Harry smiled at the thought of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley calling the Dursleys who hated magic, and even just the slight mention of it, and telling them that they need not pick Harry up. He was sure the Dursleys were happy to hear the news, but not happy having wizards calling them.
Who Harry did see was Mrs. Weasley, Ron’s mother, and Mr. and Mrs. Granger, Hermione’s parents, there to greet them.
“Hello, you lot!” Mrs. Weasley said hugging her two children, as well as Harry, and Hermione. She then turned to Hermione's mother. “Mrs. Granger, I trust you received the wedding invitation?”
“Oh, yes,” said Mrs. Granger. “Hermione is so excited about it. And to tell the truth, Rob and I are as well.”
She and her husband smiled. They had never been to a wizard house, let alone a wizard wedding, and were quite as looking forward to it as everyone else was.
“I hope you’ll have her stay with us for a while. The boys will be so miserable without her company,” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Yes, mum…dad. I probably will need to be there for a while,” Hermione said.
“Why is that, Hermione?” Mr. Granger asked.
“It’s because Ron and I want to go to the Dursleys with Harry, and also to Godric’s Hollow.”
“Godric’s Hollow?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “What on earth for?” However, a look of dawning spread over her face. “Oh, yes of course. That’s right…it’s only natural that you want to go, Harry. Of course Ron and Hermione can go with you.” In response to Mr. and Mrs. Granger’s quizzical faces Mrs. Weasley said, “I’ll explain later. But really, we must be off. Arthur had a car from the Ministry come to pick us up.”
They all hugged Hermione, said their goodbyes for the time being, and then set off.
“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said.
“No problem. You’ve had enough to deal with. I figured I’d save you the explanation. How was the ride?”
“It was bloody awful,” Ginny said. “I thought it’d never end.”
“Well, it has,” Ron said.
“And I’m glad. And no Dursleys sweetens the deal,” Harry said beaming.
“Pity they’re not here,” said Mrs. Weasley with a smirk. “I always look forward to seeing them.”
“Yeah, so do I,” Harry said sarcastically. “I’m glad you called them, though. Don’t want to start my summer off on the wrong foot.”
“Well, I figured you wouldn’t want to miss the wedding. It’s going to be the 1st of July. Only a few days away! Fleur and Bill will be so excited to see you, Harry.”
They walked through platform nine and three-quarters, dragging their trunks and animal cages, and exited the station. The nice, black car was awaiting them. The driver helped them all get settled and off they went.
After a little while, the long black car pulled up to a dilapidated-looking house, if one could call it that. It looked as though it was originally normal-looking, but then the builder decided to add rooms and chimneys on at a whim. It gave the house a very lopsided, strange look to it. The yard was large and filled with chickens and garden gnomes scampering about. The signpost in the front of the house indicated that it was “The Burrow”.
“It’s so good to be back,” Harry said as he looked lovingly at the house.
“Yeah, home sweet home,” Ron said. “I wonder what mum’s going to make for dinner.”
Harry had that thought on his mind as well. Mrs. Weasley, in his humble opinion, was the best cook in the world. Harry couldn’t believe that he was going to be at the Burrow.
Molly Weasley was always so warm and kind to Harry. She was the closest thing to a mother Harry had. She and her husband, Arthur, always treated Harry like one of their children, which is more than Harry could say for his aunt and uncle. They treated Harry more like a diseased psychopath. They never tolerated the use or mention of “magic” in their house. They thought that if they never discussed “magic”, Harry would somehow forget about the fact that he was a wizard.
The Burrow, by most standards, would not be regarded so warmly at first glance. It was a bit run-down, but to Harry, it was the one place in the world he felt at home. Well, it was one of two. Hogwarts was the other.
He walked into the house and felt happy for the first time in a while. He had so much on his mind. He vowed he would not return to Hogwarts because he had a mission. He had to hunt down the missing Horcruxes and kill Voldemort. With Headmaster Dumbledore murdered (or so Harry thought), he had no reason to go back to school. Dumbledore was his mentor and he would no longer be protected and guided without him there. He needed to seek out the missing parts of Voldemort’s soul in the Horcruxes, destroy them, and kill the weakened Voldemort.
Not being at Hogwarts meant he also had no place to live. With no parents (being murdered by Voldemort sixteen years ago), no godfather (being murdered by a Death Eater or worshipper of Voldemort a year ago), and an unloving and cruel aunt, uncle, and cousin, Harry had no place he could live. He couldn’t live with his aunt and uncle while he was trying to pursue things in the magical world because they were muggles.
Being back at the Burrow rather than at Privet Drive was enough to make Harry be happy for eternity. The all walked into the house and Harry and Ron decided to go up to their bedrooms, dragging their trunks up with them.
“Another year over,” Harry said as he sat on his bed.
“I know. I can’t believe it. Our last year…if it stays open.”
“I’m sure it will be open and it’s your last year. You know I can’t go back there.”
“Oh, come on, Harry. I need you. Hogwarts needs you.”
“I wish I felt the same way. I have so much I need to do that I wouldn’t be able to do at Hogwarts.”
“I guess I’m just jealous ‘cause no one’s forcing you to go back. If I told mum I was going off with you, she’d have my head. Although I really wish I could stay with you,” Ron said sulkily.
“I know, Ron. At least you’ll have Hermione.”
“Yeah, I suppose.” Ron looked away from Harry.
“What’s the deal with you two, anyway?” Harry asked curiously. “One minute you’re fine, the next you’re having a row. It never makes any sense. I have half a mind to think you two like each other.”
“You would think that, wouldn’t you?” Ron said turning slightly pink.
“Well, you and Lavender didn’t work out. And you’re still on about Hermione and Viktor. Admit it, you do like Hermione.”
“Shurrup, Harry. Worry about your own love life for a change, will you?”
“What? Me and Ginny? Let’s not go there…” Harry didn’t tell Ron that he had broken things off with Ginny. He didn’t want to think about it. “Let’s just unpack, all right?”
So Ron and Harry unpacked their trunks, gave Mrs. Weasley their dirty laundry and decided to play a game of Exploding Snaps before it was time for supper.
They had set up everything outside and Mrs. Weasley served up a veritable feast, just like Harry was dreaming of. Chicken and ham pie, roast beef, sausages, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, carrots, and gravy. And for dessert, treacle tart. Harry was so stuffed he felt that he had to take a nap right at the table. His mind was fuzzy and he sat with Ron, not saying much at all.
“When’s ‘mione coming?” Harry asked thickly.
“Day before the wedding,” he said as he unsuccessfully stifled a yawn. “Had to visit parents,” Ron answered equally as densely.
“Excellent food, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry managed to say to her.
“Oh, no problem, Harry dear. I enjoy cooking.”
“Oh goodness, if I eat like zis every night, I will not be able to fit into my wedding dress,” Fleur said with a smile.
As they retired to the house, Harry and Ron managed to help clear the table and finally traipsed up the stairs to their room. Harry and Ron barely changed into their clothes before they muttered “good night” to each other and went to sleep.
Harry’s head was swimming with good thoughts as he fell into a deep sleep. He woke up the next morning feeling extremely rested and happy. Ron was up, watching him.
“Were you watching me? That’s creepy, Ron!”
“Well, I thought you were having a nightmare. You kept talking to yourself. But then I realized you were having a good dream. You kept muttering about Ginny.” Harry blushed here. “And you kept saying ‘I did it’ over and over. I don’t know what you did, but you seemed pretty happy about it, Harry,” Ron teased.
“God, it’s not what you’re thinking,” Harry said as he sat up. “I had defeated Voldemort. I was telling Ginny that I could be with her and I…I asked her to marry me.”
“You didn’t see Voldemort or anything did you, mate?”
“No. But I was relieved in the dream. I assumed that I had watched him snuff it, ran to Ginny, and asked her to marry…” Harry trailed off.
“You must really love her,” Ron said.
“I can’t stop thinking about her. Is that pathetic?”
“No. Not at all…it’s perfectly normal to feel…” Ron also trailed off.
The door suddenly opened.
“You two slept well. Do you know what time it is?” They shook their heads. “Time for breakfast,” Mrs. Weasley said as she left the room.
“Fleur is right. If I keep eating like I did last night…I’m not going to be able to fit into anything!” Ron said as he and Harry dressed.
Harry and Ron walked downstairs to find the rest of the family assembled around the scrubbed wooden table in the kitchen: Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fleur, Bill, and Ginny.
“Good morning, sleepyheads,” Mr. Weasley said cheerfully as Harry and Ron had a seat.
Ginny kept looking over at Harry and he could feel his face burn. If only she knew what he dreamt.
“Oh goodness, zere is so little time left!” Fleur said. “Only two days! I ‘ope we ‘ave not forgotten anything.”
“Fleur, dear, everything will be fine. The guests, the food, the flowers, the ceremony, your dress, everything has been taken care of.”
“Thank you very much, Mrs. Weasley. I don’t know what we would ‘ave done without you.”
“Come now, dear. Call me Molly.”
“Thank you, Molly,” Fleur beamed. “I ‘eard from my parents and sister and they will be arriving tomorrow in time for dinner. I ‘ope we will ‘ave enough room for everyone.”
“Well, we’ll probably have to serve dinner outside again, won’t we?” said Mr. Weasley. “We’ve got the Delacour family, Charlie, Fred, George, and Hermione coming. That makes fourteen for dinner I think?”
“Just a bit more than usual,” said Bill smiling.
Harry ate his breakfast in silence. Ron kept telling Harry that Ginny was looking at him, but he just couldn’t bear to look back at her. Ever since Dumbledore’s funeral, the two of them had an understanding that they couldn’t be together anymore. Ginny had called it a “stupid, noble reason”, but Harry thought it was for the best. He loved her so much, he wanted to protect her. He didn’t want to have to see her funeral prematurely.
The rest of the day was spent quietly. Harry and Ron tried to avoid Ginny by playing games of Wizarding Chess and generally just stayed out of everybody’s way. Harry didn’t want to think about what he had to do after the wedding, so he and Ron generally just loafed around, watching Mrs. Weasley, Fleur, and Bill run around like chickens with their heads cut off making the final preparations for the wedding and awaiting the arrival of everyone.
Mr. Weasley was busy at the Ministry and with the Order of the Phoenix, trying to track down the Death Eaters that had made it into Hogwarts. Much to Harry and Ron’s delight, Draco Malfoy was on the list of people to put into Azkaban Prison. Snape was also lurking out there somewhere, and Harry was determined to find him, if the Ministry didn’t get to him first. Fred and George were off at their joke shop, Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, but were coming home for the wedding the same day that Hermione was slated to arrive. Charlie was also coming home for the wedding and it was even said that Percy was going to show up with some co-workers from the Ministry. The house was abuzz with excitement from everyone except Harry.
When everyone had arrived the house was incredibly crowded. However, the Delacour’s (including Fleur) very graciously agreed to sleep in the tents Mr. Weasley had used for the Triwizard Tournament. Hermione was staying with Ginny in her room. Fred and George stayed in their old room; Bill and Charlie shared a room, and Ron and Harry had theirs.
Dinner that evening was an amazing affair by Mrs. Weasley. She managed to make enough food, and then some for all fourteen people.
Monsieur and Madame Delacour were very warm towards everyone.
“Can I offer you some whiskey, Maurice?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“Oui. That would be marvelous,” he said.
“Oh Fleur, I simply cannot wait to see your dress. I ‘ear it is a beautiful creation made by Madame Malkin,” Fleur’s mother, Celine, said.
“Yes, tell us what your dress going to look like, Fleur.” Ginny said with wide eyes.
“Tell us, s’il vous plaît!” Gabrielle begged playfully.
“I think you will just ‘ave to wait and see!” She winked at Ginny.
“Ooh, I bet you’ll look simply stunning!” Ginny said dreamily. She suddenly glanced at Harry. He avoided her line of sight. He was still thinking about his dream and seriously hoped Ginny wasn’t at all a Legilimens. Ever since his Occlumency lessons failed, he always had the funny feeling that people were reading his mind.
As usual, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, seated next to each other at the table, ignored the rest of the chatter and began to talk.
“Ever since we’ve been back, all Ginny can do is talk about the wedding,” Ron whispered to Harry and Hermione.
“She seems to keep looking at you a lot, Harry,” Hermione added quietly.
“I know,” Harry said, utterly frustrated. “You’d think she wants me to ask her to marry her,” the image of the dream burning anew in his mind. He took a particularly violent stab at his pork pie with his fork.
“Maybe she does, mate. After all, you are the Chosen One sent to bring down you-know-who.” Harry glared at Ron. “Oh, all right. Lord Voldemort. But it’s true. You’re going to put him six feet under and since Ginny is your first proper girlfriend who’s to say you won’t get married?”
“Ron, could you not say that so loud, please?” Harry turned as scarlet as his Gryffindor Quidditch robes he kept thinking about. He would never wear those robes again.
“Yes, Ron, would you please shut up? Harry and Ginny aren’t going out anymore,” Hermione said.
“What? You never told me that, Harry! What happened?”
“I figured it just wouldn’t be right. How could I live if anything happened to her?”
“What? You think Voldemort’s got her on his list or something? He wants you. Not Ginny.”
“But Ron, think about it,” said Hermione. “Ginny has been mixed up in all this business. Remember Voldemort’s diary? He took Ginny into the Chamber of Secrets because she was very close to you. And with Harry being your best friend, it was good enough to lure you all down there! If Voldemort found out they were dating, perhaps he would try to use her again to put Harry into some awful situation—“
“Thanks, cheerful. Why not tell Harry he can’t love anyone anymore for fear that they might snuff it? That’s real good for him to hear! Are we not supposed to be his best mates anymore for fear that we might lead him to Voldemort?” Ron was beginning to turn red.
“That’s not what I meant, Ron. I just meant that Harry has to be careful of who he spends his time with. If someone untrustworthy was to let it slip that they saw Harry and Ginny together then—”
“Hermione, in case you haven’t noticed, we spend almost every waking moment with Harry. So what’s the big deal? When have we never come to Harry’s aide?”
“He’s got a point you know, Hermione,” Harry said gently. “You two are always around me. At the Department of Mysteries last year and even at the end of this term you all were fighting Death Eaters. Neville and Luna included. So, anyone who’s my friend is in some sort of danger…but not as much as me.”
“Harry, please don’t think that we don’t want to spend time with you, or that you can’t go out with Ginny because that would be a load of rubbish.” Ron said sincerely. “I think Hermione wants you to remember that once things start getting rough, we all need to be careful. Not just you.”
Harry nodded in understanding and there was a silence that lasted for a few minutes between the three of them. The rest of the table was lively with conversation. The women were talking about the wedding, and the men were griping about how much women fussed about weddings. Harry decided to change the subject a bit and turned from his two friends to face the table at large when there was a lull in the conversation.
“How do wizards get married?” Harry asked.
He was greeted with quizzical looks.
“’Ow do you mean, ‘Arry?” Celine asked.
“Well, from what I’ve been told about muggle weddings, there’s a church and a priest involved.”
“For us, there’s no church and ze person who performs ze ceremony is a Ministry of Magic official. But pretty much everything else is ze same,” answered Fleur.
“Do you exchange rings?” Harry asked.
“Actually,” Hermione began, “the wizard and witch getting married take vows on their wands. The wand is a most valued possession and at the end of the ceremony, the Ministry of Magic official has the couple touch wands, thus sealing the bond of love and devotion between them.”
“Do you always have to know everything?” Ron said with suppressed awe. He tried to wrinkle his nose in disgust but it really made him look like he was smiling.
Harry gave Ron a smirk and asked, “Do you do the whole ‘kiss the bride’ stuff?”
“Yes, that’s one thing from the muggle wedding us wizards really like,” Bill said as he glanced at Fleur. She began to giggle.
“You’ve got to have the kissing bit, otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a wedding, would it?” said Fred.
“Makes sense to me,” said George. “I wonder if we can rig our explosives to go off during the magic moment? Pun intended.”
“If you even so much as think of involving Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes in tomorrow’s ceremony, you are as good as dead!” Mrs. Weasley shrieked.
“All right, mum. Keep your hair on. It was just a suggestion,” George said.
“More like an improvement,” Fred muttered.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione giggled violently at the thought of some of Fred and George’s lovely fireworks going off as Fleur and Bill kissed.
Harry finally stopped laughing enough to ask: “Who’s the official presiding over the wedding?”
“Oh, didn’t you know? It’s Kingsley Shacklebolt,” Mr. Weasley said.
“Really? That’s great!” Harry said to him. He turned to his friends and said, “I sometimes forget he works for the ministry.”
Other Similar Stories
Diary of an ...
Love are the...