Chapter 2 : The Call of the House-Elf
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by Christina Rose Schultz
Chapter 2 – The Call of the House-Elf
After dinner, Harry, Ron and Hermione sat in the living room and talked. Ginny was trying desperately to get Harry’s attention, but whenever she looked at him, he suddenly found the patchwork quilt of Mrs. Weasley’s fascinating.
He was sitting in between Ron and Hermione on the couch and somehow felt safe that way. He didn’t want Ginny to sit on the couch with them. She just sort of sulked in the armchair by the fire, stroking Crookshanks a bit too zealously.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow! I really hope everything goes as planned,” Hermione said to Ginny.
“Yeah,” she said without looking at Hermione.
“I just hope Fred and George weren’t serious about those fireworks,” Ron said. “I know mum and dad would kill them in front of all the guests. They’ve invited over a hundred people! Although it would be funny, wouldn’t it, Harry?”
“Yeah,” he said, still fiddling with the quilt.
“Look. This is bloody ridiculous. The two of you are driving me insane!” Ron said as he jumped up off the couch.
“Ron’s right,” Hermione stood up as well. “Can you two please stop acting like this? I would like to have my old friends back. I don’t like this sulky Harry or this miserable Ginny. This whole not talking business has gotten quite out of hand.” She grabbed Ron by the hand. “Let’s go. You two better sort things out or I’ll hex the pair of you, and I mean it. There’s a wedding tomorrow, not a funeral.”
Hermione and Ron walked up the stairs leaving Harry and Ginny alone.
For a few minutes, Ginny continued stroking Crookshanks and Harry kept examining Mrs. Weasley’s quilt. But all of a sudden, Crookshanks leapt up off Ginny’s lap, leaving her looking rather awkward. With nothing to focus her attention on, she finally turned to face Harry.
He didn’t immediately look at her, but he did stop fiddling with the quilt.
“Look, Harry, you can’t always be the bloody hero.” Ginny’s eyes were blazing dangerously. “I have waited to be with you for so long and you have to end it because you want to protect me? Can’t you see that if we’re not together, it will ruin us completely? Ever since we’ve come back here, you can’t even talk to me or look at me! I quite agree with Hermione. This really has gone too far. Our behavior is upsetting everyone else. No doubt mum and dad will notice the way we’ve been acting around each other. It’s going to spoil the mood before the wedd—”
“Ginny!” Harry couldn’t help but scream at her. Ginny looked startled but stopped talking. “Everything you say is true. I’m an idiot. I can’t take this anymore. All I do is think about you. I thought I could tell myself I didn’t need to be with you but who was I kidding? I need you, Ginny. I love you.”
Harry buried his face in his hands. He began to rub his scar from habit. That was the source of all his misery. It’s not a scar, it’s a bloody curse. Harry wanted to shield Ginny from himself. Harry didn’t want Ginny to be hurt, but she was. The emotional pain was far more unbearable than the physical to Ginny.
Ginny sat down beside Harry and put her hand on his back.
“Did you say love?” Harry could feel Ginny’s breath on his neck as she spoke. It made every inch of his body tingle.
“Yes. I love you, Ginny. It took me far too long to notice you weren’t just Ron’s little sister anymore. This past year I thought I’d lost you for good. The fact that you treated me like a celebrity crush annoyed me at first. But you got over me. I couldn’t handle that. I had to have you.”
“And now you do, so what’s the problem?”
“The problem, Ginny, is that I feel like a selfish prat for being in love with you.”
“Harry, don’t talk like that. You can’t protect me from everything. You can’t try and hide from me because the fact of the matter is, I love you too. I think it would be silly to deny the fact that we both love each other.”
“She’s right, you know.” Mr. Weasley had stepped into the living room.
Harry immediately sat up straight. He never really said anything to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley about him dating their only daughter, but it was foolish of him to assume that he knew nothing of their relationship. Ron, Hermione, or even Ginny herself could have let something slip.
“Harry, we know that you have some business of a rather dangerous and dodgy nature to attend to,” he gave Harry a rather piercing look, “but that doesn’t mean that you can’t date my daughter in the meantime, now does it?”
“I suppose not.” Harry sighed. “I just don’t want anything to happen to her, Mr. Weasley.”
“And I thank you for wanting to protect my daughter, Harry. But if you haven’t noticed, it’s been utter madness watching you two go about the way you have. Every other minute it looks like Ginny’s going to cry because you’re trying to ignore her. Although I might add, you do a poor job of it.”
“How can I help it? I can’t stop thinking about her.”
“My point exactly. So why carry on the charade? You’re hardly going to lead her to Voldemort, are you? I mean, you know what you have to do, and most of it doesn’t include Ginny.”
“You’re right,” Harry said with a sigh of relief.
“And it’s not like we can’t see each other while you’re out hunting for Horcruxes, is it? I mean, you’re not going to be at Hogwarts, but there’s no reason why I can’t nip round to wherever you’re staying and—”
“Oh, there’s a reason, all right. It’s mine.” Mr. Weasley began to take on a very Mrs. Weasley-like tone. “Granted that Hogwarts is open in the fall, you cannot just ‘nip round’ to Harry’s. You know the rules of Hogwarts and although I trust you both, to a point, I’m not about to give Ginny permission to go tramping off to see you, Harry, especially if you’re alone together.”
“I understand, sir. I’m just glad you think it all right that Ginny and I continue to see each other.”
“Of course it’s all right. When things get rough, you might see each other less, but that’s no reason to break up. That’s like saying just because you won’t see each other, you won’t love each other, which isn’t true, am I right?”
“You’re always right, dad.” Ginny got up and hugged her father. “I’m glad you’re the one talking to us rather than mum. I think there would have been a bit more screaming, don’t you think?”
“Maybe just a bit,” Mr. Weasley said with a grin as he walked out of the living room.
“Then it’s all fine. I guess I just needed to hear it from someone a little wiser. I thought I was crazy to have a girlfriend knowing what’s going to happen this year,” Harry said.
“But you don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does.
"But I do know one thing,” Ginny purred.
“What’s that?” Harry asked.
Ginny leaned over and gave Harry a kiss that left him feeling like nothing could go wrong, even when he saw Kreacher’s head in the fire.
“Master Potter, your help is needed here,” he said in a scared tone; although he still had time to add, “Even though he is a filthy ungrateful brat.”
“What’s the matter, Kreacher? Is something wrong at Grimmauld Place?”
“Fire. Fire in the house, Master Potter. Please, you must come at once!”
Harry didn’t know what to think of this. Was this a hoax? Was he going to be lured into a trap? Was a Death Eater going to be waiting for him at the other end?
“Can’t you call the muggle fire brigade?” Harry said.
“Um, Harry…the house is unplottable, remember?” Ginny said. “They wouldn’t be able to find it. And Grimmauld Place doesn’t have telephones.”
“Damn! I forgot. Then what should we do?” Harry looked panic-stricken. Even though he told himself he couldn’t go back to 12 Grimmauld Place for fear that the memory of Sirius would be too strong, he didn’t like to think that the house where Sirius grew up was burning to the ground.
“Dad!” Ginny called for her father. Kreacher was waiting patiently in the fire, although he was muttering about the Weasley family being filthy blood traitors.
Mr. Weasley and Mrs. Weasley came bolting into the room and looked startled to see Kreacher in the fire.
“Quick, Master. The house won’t last much longer!” Kreacher screamed.
“What’s going on?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Grimmauld Place is burning down! I have to go,” Harry said as he stood up.
“Now wait a minute, Harry,” said Mr. Weasley. “I can’t just let you go alone. I’ll go first and you’ll follow, if it’s a trap…well, we’ll get to that later. We need to make sure that Kreacher is telling the truth.”
“Yes, very good idea, filthy blood traitor that you are.” Kreacher was practically in tears but managed to make nasty comments.
“Arthur, are you sure this is a good idea?” Molly was clutching at her robes.
“Molly, there’s no other way to find out if Kreacher is telling the truth. Harry, I’ll go first. If I don’t apparate back here within a minute, come on after me. Got it?”
Ginny ran up to Harry and hugged him very tightly. She did the same to her father and watched him disappear into the fireplace in a burst of green flame.
“OK, Harry, keep an eye on the clock, dear.” Mrs. Weasley looked absolutely petrified.
Harry didn’t know what to expect. It was less than a week after they got back from Hogwarts. Could the Death Eaters be planning something already?
He didn’t have any more time to think about it. Mrs. Weasley told him that it had been more than a minute. He grabbed a handful of floo powder, threw it into the flames, jumped into the hearth and shouted, “12 Grimmauld Place!”
He was whirling through the various grates and finally landed with a thud in the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place. He could definitely smell smoke. Harry just hoped it was for the reason Kreacher said it was, and not some trap.
He saw no sign of Kreacher or Mr. Weasley, so he decided that the fire must be somewhere upstairs. He ran up the steps and when he opened the door to the hallway it was heavily clouded with smoke.
“Mr. Weasley?” Harry shouted. “Kreacher?” No answer.
He continued to climb up even more stairs until he found what he was looking for. A door was flung open and Bellatrix Lestrange was laying spread eagle on the floor, encircled by flames. It seemed as though the fire would not touch Bellatrix – although her robes were singed – however the flames had caught the curtains, the bed, and other bits of furniture in the room so it was definitely creating quite a hassle for Kreacher, who was positively howling about his precious things, and Mr. Weasley, who was looking positively panic stricken.
Harry stood there watching Kreacher and Mr. Weasley, although it was getting extremely hard for him to breathe and to see. He pulled his robes up over his nose so he didn’t have to directly breathe in the smoke.
Why wasn’t Mr. Weasley putting out the fire? Harry watched Kreacher crying and Mr. Weasley watching the scene before with his mouth open, for what seemed like an eternity. Why weren’t they doing anything? Harry thought of the spell he had learned last year.
Harry suddenly shouted “aguamenti” and pointed his wand at the flames that had spread around the room. Water spurted from his wand and completely put out the fire. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of it sooner.
“What in the bloody hell happened?” Harry demanded of Kreacher.
“I don’t know, master.”
“Is she dead?”
“I don’t know, master.”
“Well, what do you know, you worthless pile of dung?”
“Someone broke in,” Kreacher sounded frightened.
“Who was it, Kreacher?” Harry asked.
“Someone in black.”
“How did they get in?”
“I don’t know. I was in my bed, looking at pictures of my most beloved pureblood family, and then I started to hear things. I saw the fire. I had to let you know, this being your house, even though you’re not worthy of it. She should be my most beloved master!” Kreacher began to sob as he clutched Bellatrix’s robes.
Mr. Weasley was bent over Bellatrix checking for signs of life.
“She’s definitely dead, all right.”
“Who could have done this?”
“I don’t know, Harry. None of this makes any sense.”
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