Chapter 14 : Chapter 14: When It Rains
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Ron shot his fiancé a quick glance. “Don’t bother mate. I’ve already tried.”
Hermione slammed the book down. “You told me it was rubbish! Honestly Ron, I want to have a well rounded understanding of our world and the muggle world and I don’t see anything wrong with that!” She picked up her book again and this time Harry caught a glimpse of the title. Gods All Around Us, A Study On Muggle Religions.
“So are you learning to be Catholic or something?” Harry asked her.
Hermione grinned at him. “It’s a book on all the major religions that muggles follow. Catholicism is in here, of course, but it also has information on Buddhists, Christianity, Mormonism, Hinduism, Muslims, the Jewish religion and so many others. My parents were Presbyterian, you know and I missed that when I came to Hogwarts so I thought I would do a study on each of the major religions… well and a few of the minor ones, in my spare time. I think it’s all so fascinating.” She went back to her book.
Harry turned to Ginny to see that she was on her third helping of shepherd’s pie. “Ginny… you do know that you eat far too much food for someone so small, don’t you?”
Ginny grinned at Harry. “Mum’s always saying that to me, you know.”
Ron snorted. “That’s not all she says… Ginny you have to have the biggest appetite for a girl that I have ever seen! I don’t want to be anywhere near you when you are pregnant… I’d be likely to lose a finger.”
Ginny blushed. “I’m not that bad!”
Ron grinned at her. “If Fleur is any indication of how much a pregnant women’s appetite changes, then yes, you will be bad.”
Harry looked over at Ron. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t you remember Harry? Fleur was constantly picking at her food so that she wouldn’t get fat!” Ron then imitated his sister-in-law. “’I ‘ave to watch my figure’ and all that. Well at Christmas I saw her eat a full serving of her own food and then she stole food off of Bill and Fred’s plates. Bill didn’t even flinch so apparently she does that often. Fred was going to protest until Ginny smacked him. So if that’s anything to go by Ginny, who already eats almost as much as I do, will be eating enough feed a small herd of dragons at every meal. You’re going to never get anything to eat mate cause she’ll have stolen it all.” Ron’s smile was about to split his face.
Harry chuckled and looked over at Ginny who was beet red. Harry supposed that the thought of having children should scare him, and if they were talking about having them in the next year even he probably would have run out of the hall screaming. But he liked the thought, although he wouldn’t admit it to anyone but himself. “I reckon that I can handle having my food stolen. I mean, it doesn’t last forever and you do get a baby at the end of it, right?”
Ginny looked up at him hopefully and when she saw that he was serious she smiled. “You are the best Harry.” She kissed him and whispered so that only he could hear. “I love you… someday I do want to have a baby with you. I was just afraid you were going to freak out or something.”
“Nah,” he whispered back. “It’s far enough in the future that I’m not going to faint… I love you too.”
Ginny returned her voice to normal volume. “So what happened in Transfiguration with McGonagall?”
“Oh, she said that she had seen I was getting bored and she was going to talk to my other professors about letting me skip out of class and just take my NEWTs. She didn’t think Snape would go for it, though. I told her that I would probably still go to Potions, Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures since a lot of that is hands on. She also said that if I wanted to become an Animagus that she would help me but she thought that I could probably do the first few part of it myself. She said she would send for the forms that I need from the ministry.”
“That’s great. When do you think you’ll start that?” Ginny asked.
“Probably in the next few weeks.”
“Speaking of the next few weeks, I have to tell you what to get me for Valentines.”
Hermione looked startled and stared at Ginny. “What do you mean? You’re going to tell Harry what to get you? Why?”
Ginny’s smirk was obvious. “He said that he wanted me to make his life easier by just telling him what I want.”
Ron turned to face Hermione. “Why can’t you tell me what you want? Do you know how hard you are to shop for? I mean the answer used to be simple… I’d just buy you a book but now that you have a small library, I never know which ones you have!”
Hermione frowned at Ron. “I like surprises and I like everything you get me. If it’s from the heart then it’s a wonderful gift.”
“Well…” Ron’s ears were turning pink. “Yeah but still! I’d like to get you things that you want. If you told me what you wanted then I could get it for you.”
“If I told you what I wanted Ron, I could just as easily buy it for myself. What is the point in that?”
Before it could escalate into a full-blown row, Ginny intervened with her best Umbridge impersonation. “Alright children, do I have to remind you that there is no fighting in the Great Hall?” The four of them laughed and Ginny turned to Harry. “So, I would like a lily.”
“You mean the flower?”
“Mm… they’re my favorite. I’m sure that if you ask Neville that he’ll be able to find one for you. I like the white ones best, they are called Easter Lilies but whatever you can get is fine.” Ginny took another bite before wiping her mouth and setting down her fork. “Is that specific enough?” Harry nodded. He was sure he could handle that.
Ron looked incredulous. “All you want is one flower? ONE RUDDY FLOWER?” Ron looked over at Harry and winked. “You need to keep her around, she’s cheap.”
“RON!!!” Hermione and Ginny both yelled at him while Harry just laughed.
Ron looked over at Ginny as if studying her. “Are you serious Ginny?” When she nodded he went on. “I’ve never met a less fussy girl than you.”
“Must be because I was raised with six boys who were all prats to me!”
“We weren’t,” Ron stopped suddenly and looked up. Harry looked up as well. A large brown owl flew into the hall and went straight towards Dumbledore. They watched the Headmaster quickly read the note, a startled expression growing on his face. He stood up and addressed the hall.
“I want all students back to their common rooms immediately. Prefects are in charge. Hogsmeade is under attack so I will need you to stay in your common room until your head of house comes to get you. Prefects should stun anyone who tries to leave. Get moving!” All the students got up and a hush fell over the crowd. All that could be heard were to noise of shuffling feet.
Harry turned to walk towards the Headmaster, who was talking to Professors Snape and McGonagall. Ginny grabbed his arm, to restrain him. “Harry what do you think you are doing? You can’t go and fight now!!”
Harry looked at her. “They’ll probably need me. I’m going to go and volunteer. If Dumbledore says ‘no’ then I’ll head back to the common room.” He leaned over and kissed her quickly. “I love you.”
Ginny looked for a second like she might cry but managed to refrain. “I love you too. Come back safely or you’re a dead man, do you hear me Potter?”
Harry smiled and turned to join the staff, some of whom were herding students out of the hall. He walked up to the Headmaster to speak to him but Snape spoke first. “Potter if you cannot follow the simple instructions of ‘go to your common room’ then I think you should just,” whatever Snape was going to say was cut off by a raised hand from Dumbledore.
“Severus please! Not now. What is it Harry?”
“I am willing to help if you need it.” Harry said, somewhat lamely looking down at his shoes. He felt stupid offering to help the most powerful wizard in the world. What could he really do anyway? Sure he’d fought in duels and had come out on top and he had faced Death Eaters and Voldemort face to face but luck had been what had got him out of those situations… luck and help from the outside. Walking into a fight was not the same as accidentally landing in one and being saved by someone else.
Harry looked up swiftly. “Seriously?”
Dumbledore did not respond to his question. “Go with Professor Flitwick, he is heading down to Hogsmeade right now. I will be there shortly.”
Harry nodded and ran off towards the tiny Professor who was heading out of the Great Hall. The older man gave him a searching look when Harry had caught up with them but did not comment. They were halfway across the ground when Hagrid joined them, carrying his crossbow. He too, did not say anything.
It was quite a walk down to Hogsmeade, as they had to go around most of the lake before they hit the entrance to Hogwarts. Harry thought that most of the village would be destroyed by the time they got down there. He wished fervently that he could Apparate to Hogsmeade and help the villagers quicker… POP… as the thought had crossed his mind he found himself right in the middle of Hogsmeade standing in front of Honeydukes.
Harry had no idea what had happened. It felt like he had Apparated but that was impossible to do from Hogwarts. In any case he did not have time to think about it as a killing curse was shot at him. Harry ducked and rolled instinctively and shot a stunner back at the black robed and masked figure. He hit his mark and the man fell. Harry shot ropes out to bind the man and broke the Death Eater’s wand. A sudden thought occurred to him and he called “accio wand!” and two more wands flew from the man’s robes that Harry snapped as well.
Harry turned and looked around... it was pandemonium everywhere. He saw several Death Eaters dueling with Ministry Aurors near Zonkos. There were twice as many Death Eaters as Aurors so Harry ran down to join in the fight. He shot a Stunner at one of the Death Eaters who fell instantly before Harry fired a Banishing Charm at the other Death Eaters who were close together and to his utter amazement all five of them were thrown back twenty feet. The Aurors quickly subdued them with binds and snapped their wands. Harry walked over and summoned for more wands and six flew at him. The Aurors looked at his in amazement as he quickly broke all the wands in half and took off towards a scream that came from further down the street the Aurors close on his heals. He had not run very far before he felt the cold, mind numbing cold that only mean one thing… Dementors. Harry came up to Gladrags and looked down the street towards the Hog’s Head to see a hundred Dementors gliding down the street. Harry saw several people who appeared to have already been kissed and a few who were about to be. He heard the Aurors stop behind him and one whispered “oh sweet Merlin!”
Harry closed his eyes, trying to block out the horrible thoughts that were coming into his mind. He needed to think about something happy… something… he heard the Aurors trying feebly to repel the dementors, there were so many of them and the cold was unbelievable, but the Auror’s voices were muffled as screams filled Harry’s ears. Sirius was falling through the veil; Dumbledore was telling them that Charlie was dead; Ginny’s lifeless body in the Chamber of Secrets… Ginny… Ginny telling him that she loved him. Happiness filled Harry so fully that the thought he might burst. “EXPECTO PATRONUM” Harry yelled it with all his might and opened his eyes to see his stag charging the dementors but it was not like his third year. The stag hit one of the dementors and a horrible screech filled the air. It then started to chase the other… the ones it hit were making the screeching noise while the other dementors floated quickly away, retreating before the stag could get them. When they had gone Harry expected the stag to fade but it didn’t. It walked back to him and waited. Harry could not understand why it was still there… nor it seemed could the Aurors who were murmuring about the still corporeal Patronus. Harry heard one of them ask, “what in bloody hell did it do to those Dementors?” But he didn’t have an answer so he ignored the man.
“Right, let’s keep going.” Harry said to the group behind him. They nodded and followed him back out to the main road. Down the street Harry saw several of his professors dueling with more Death Eaters. He and the Aurors took off towards them and Harry could sense that the stag was cantering along behind them. Harry got down to them and started dueling with one of the Death Eaters that Professor Flitwick had been fighting. He quickly restrained the man before turning to take on another… this Death Eater was looking at him but not moving.
“So has little baby Potter finally learned how to play?” Asked the simpering voice of Bellatrix Lestrange through her mask. He saw her head turn to look behind him and she seemed stunned by the sight of Prongs.
A rage filled Harry like he had never felt before. This woman had killed Sirius and Hermione’s parents! Hate coursed through him and the urge to kill her was so great that he almost did. Harry took a deep breath to calm himself and instead pointed his wand at her and yelled “REDUCTO!” It his her before she even had time to react and she flew back, hitting a wall. Harry walked over to her and saw that her robes were shredded and that there was blood everywhere. The sight nearly made him sick but be bound her in ropes, broke her wands and moved on still followed by his Patronus.
Harry looked over to see Hagrid fighting with a tall Death Eater. Hagrid fired an arrow at the Death Eater but missed and was quickly hit by what must have been a Conjunctivitis Curse because Harry saw the half giant stumble and fall to his knees. Harry stunned the man and bound him as he had the others before running over to Hagrid. “Hagrid, are you all right?” Hagrid moaned but did not answer. Harry muttered “Finite Incantatem” and Harry saw Hagrid take a deep sigh of relief.
“Thanks ‘Arry.” Hagrid struggled to his feet and saw Harry’s Patronus. “Blimey ‘Arry what is that?”
Harry turned to his Patronus and was about to explain when the stag took off down the road towards the Hogsmeade station. Harry didn’t know why but he followed as fast as he could. When he rounded the corner past the Three Broomsticks, right behind his Patronus, his heart leapt into his throat. The Dementors that he thought had fled Hogsmeade were heading up towards the castle… where the students were… where Ginny, Ron and Hermione were. “NOOO!!!!!” Harry screamed and he saw his Patronus charge one again. Like before when he hit a Dementor, the creature would emit a screech and the stag would move on. It had hit about twenty before the rest fled back away from the school… Harry thought they would come straight for him but instead they veered to Harry’s right… past where the Shrieking Shack was and out of sight. Harry stag cantered back to him, bowed its head and disappeared. “Thanks Prongs.” Harry whispered and he turned and took off back towards town.
When Harry reached the center of Hogsmeade again he found several of his professors talking to an Auror whom Harry recognized was Laurel. He ran over to them. Professor Dumbledore looked at him with relief. “Harry, I am glad you are safe. The fight is over for now. I would like you to return to the school immediately. Professor Hagrid will accompany you.”
“Sir, is anyone dead?” Harry asked quickly.
Dumbledore’s eyes told him everything. “Yes, I’m afraid that Ms. Tonks and Professor Flitwick are dead along with about forty of the Hogsmeade residence.”
Harry froze. Tonks? Professor Flitwick? FOURTY? No… it just couldn’t be. “But…” Suddenly Harry wanted out of there. He wanted to be with Ginny so badly. So many people were dead… despite their best efforts. He looked up at the Headmaster but looked away. He did not want the old man to see him cry. He closed his eyes again. He just wanted to be in Ginny’s arms… POP… Harry heard several people scream so he opened his eyes. He was standing in Gryffindor common room with about thirty wands pointed at him. He looked around and saw Ginny. She looked back and dropped her wand and pushed through the others to get at him, throwing her arms around him.
“HARRY! How did you get here? What happened? Are you all right?”
Harry couldn’t speak; he just clung to her and felt himself start to shake. He heard Hermione order everyone up to their dorms and felt strong hands grab his shoulders. He was led over to the couch in front of the fire where he sat, still shaking, with Ginny in his arms. He felt a blanket being thrown over his shoulders and heard Hermione say that he was in shock. He didn’t care… he held onto Ginny, pulling her into his lap and burying his face in her hair. Tears spilled down his cheeks and he quietly sobbed for those who had been lost.
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