Chapter 2 : Chapter Two
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“Bloody hell,” Ron collapsed into a chair in Ginny’s room, tilting his head back and staring at the ceiling. He and Harry had just returned from the Apparition practice session. Hermione was sitting on the bed reading and Ginny was playing with Arnold on the floor.
“It went that badly, then?” Hermione inquired sympathetically, moving to kneel beside him, resting her clasped hands on Ron’s knee.
“You have no idea, Hermione,” he replied, still staring at the ceiling.
Harry, who plopped onto the ground next to Ginny, chuckled,
“Hermione, if you are at all attached to your boyfriend’s head, you will never let him Apparate. Unless you want to be dating a member of the Headless Hunt.”
“Oh, Ron! You splinched? I’m so sorry,” she said, looking concerned, “Did you use the three D’s? Because if you used them, there should be no reason-”
“Hermione, don’t mention the D’s to me, please. And what are you talking about, Harry? You didn’t do too well yourself.”
Harry’s laughter stopped abruptly. Ginny looked amused,
“You didn’t splinch did you?”
“No,” Harry said indignantly, “I just ended up Apparating a bit south of my intended location, that’s all.”
“Just south? Harry, you ended up in Australia! The Apparition instructor had to go and fetch him.”
Ginny and Ron laughed. Hermione looked torn.
“It’s not funny! Harry could have landed somewhere really dangerous!”
“Yeah, aren’t you lot the slightest bit worried that I could have landed in the ocean and had my head bit off by a shark?”
Ginny was positively rolling on the floor laughing.
“Ginny! Don’t you care? What if something had happened to me?”
“Please, Harry. After all of the things you’ve been through, I’d think you could handle landing a bit farther away than you had meant to go. Just the idea of you popping up in your robes on a sunny beach in Australia was quite funny, if you think on it.”
Harry saw the point, but he refused to laugh at himself. Hermione was still looking cross at Ginny and Ron’s laughter.
“How many more practice sessions do you two have before you test?”
“Two. One at the end of this week and another the day before the test,” Harry answered grateful that he was no longer an object of mockery.
“I’m sure it will come back to you. You’re just a bit rusty.”
Ron nodded fervently, seizing on this excuse,
“Yeah, that’s what it is, Harry. We’re just rusty.”
Harry hoped so. They would have to pass this exam to be able to set their plans in motion. His thoughts strayed to the fact that the Hogwarts letters should be here any minute now. He usually received his letter right after his birthday. The trio really needed to decide what they were going to tell Mrs. Weasley. As if reading his mind, Hermione spoke up,
“You all probably realize that we’re getting our Hogwarts letters very soon.”
There was a silence in the room in which Harry knew that everyone was thinking over what this meant. Hermione seemed determined to keep talking. Ron looked as though he was deciding whether or not to enter the lion’s arena with a chair or a cube of sugar. Ginny was surprisingly quiet. Her expression was blank, and though Harry thought it was odd that she still hadn’t asked, or told-as was more Ginny’s style-, them that she was going with them. Every time the topic came up, she would adopt this blank face. Harry didn’t argue. He loved Ginny, and while he wanted nothing more than for her to come, it wouldn’t be logical. She wasn’t of age until next August, and that would be an awfully long time to have to take care of her when she couldn’t use magic. So she would be safer, and Harry didn’t argue with Ginny’s lack of response in the conversations about Godric’s Hollow.
Hermione had begun to speak again,
“I was thinking that if I sat down with your mum, Ron, and explained the circumstances, that maybe she and I could come to a rational agreement that maybe-don’t take this the wrong way, Ron-you wouldn’t have the patience for.”
Ron contemplated for half a second and said,
“No, I think that’s a brilliant idea. You can probably make everything sound so much more important to her than I could.”
Hermione smiled up at Ron, and he squeezed her hands that were still in his lap.
“So, what are you going to do about your parents, Hermione?”
Hermione looked troubled.
“I thought I’d speak to Ron’s mum, see where that gets me before I write anything definite to my parents. I love them, but they don’t really understand the wizarding world. I’d like to see them once more before we go, just in case…” Hermione’s voice faded, and they all knew what the silence implied.
Harry said before he even thought about it,
“Look, Hermione, we’ll stop in at your parents before we go to Godric’s Hollow, alright?”
“Really?” Hermione looked so happy that Harry felt selfish for not having thought of this before. Of course she would want to see her parents.
“So, I’m wondering if I should talk to your mum now, Ron. Should I wait?”
“Too late,” Ginny said, speaking for the first time since the topic had fallen on the trip to Godric’s Hollow. She gestured out her window where the tiny, but unmistakable specks of four owls made their way towards the Burrow.
“Damn,” Hermione muttered, “We’d better go downstairs and I’ll try to talk to your mum now. Fred and George are at work, so you lot collect your letters, and find an excuse to go back upstairs. I’d rather those with less than subtle tempers not be in the room,” Hermione gave Ron, Harry, and Ginny a significant look.
They all feigned a look of innocence as they clambered down the stairs.
“Harry, I’ve just thought of it!” Hermione said sounding very concerned.
“What is it, Hermione?” Ron asked, placing a hand on her shoulder, looking worried.
“How could I have possibly forgotten?” Hermione looked positively stricken with guilt.
They were all worried about Hermione’s passionate outburst.
“Hermione, just tell us what’s wrong,” Ginny said, genuinely panicked now.
“What about Kreacher? Poor thing, I forgot all about him.”
Ginny and Ron rolled their eyes, fortunately, Hermione was too caught up in her thoughts of Harry’s inherited house elf. Harry held back a laugh. He knew better than to poke fun at Hermione and her elf rights.
“Well, I’ll have to write to McGonogall, but I expect she’ll let him stay on in the kitchens. I mean, it was what Dumbledore did,” Harry said quietly. Dumbledore had always shown compassion; often misplaced compassion, but Harry was sure that McGonogall would let Kreacher stay.
Hermione immediately dropped the subject. Any mention of Dumbledore’s name had them all attempting to change the subject all at one time. They were saved the effort, however, as they entered the kitchen and Mrs. Weasley nodded at the four letters sitting on the table.
“The owls just brought them, dears.”
Harry, Ron, and Ginny dashed to their letters. Before Mrs. Weasley could launch into the usual schedule of when they would shop for school things, Ron coughed and said in a halting voice,
“I…um…I need to go upstairs. Something I’ve forgotten.” He looked pleadingly at Harry as Hermione rolled her eyes. Harry thought she had rather been hoping for a lot or Ron to be able to quietly slip away from an argument.
“Yeah, I need him to help me write to Professor McGonogall, Mrs. Weasley. I have to ask her if Kreacher can stay in the kitchens again this year,” Harry said, smoothing over Ron’s stuttered excuses, glad that Hermione had brought Kreacher up in the first place.
“Oh, and I need to run upstairs, too,” Ginny said, looking believably concerned, as though she had really forgotten something, “I left Arnold out, and Crookshanks may have already eaten him.”
Harry realized that Ginny really had left Arnold out, and he streaked after her to help rescue Arnold. Thankfully, they reached Ginny’s room to find Arnold curled in a tight, frightened ball under Ginny’s bed where Crookshanks’ large body could not possibly fit. After saving Arnold, Harry, Ron and Ginny sat quietly, awaiting Hermione’s return. Harry couldn’t help but think that if this conversation went badly, the whole plan would go down the tubes. And so they waited, each one contemplating how many different ways this scenario could go.
A/N: It’s soooo short, I know. I’ve never written anything this short, but I really am going through something here, and I can’t concentrate (becoming pathetic girl who misses boyfriend that is thousands of miles away-now ex b/c of distance). I’m so sorry. If you have a heart, review this piece of crap that I had the nerve to post as an update. I swear, I’ll get over whatever it is that I’m going through and I’ll make up for my serious lack of anything good in this chapter. It was important, though. I did need to set up this scenario, I just hoped to do it better. Again…soooooo unbelievably sorry.
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