Stories that inspired/influenced this chapter:
“Thru Ginny’s Eyes” by pinkpirategirl
”Persistence” by Kegel
“Beloved of a Hero” by tyldari archer (HPFF)
“Promise” by nesserz
“The Gift of Instinct” by Emerald Olive
Chapter Fifteen: Approaching Destiny
Sitting on the edge of my bed, I stared out the window towards the rising sun. The rays of light bathed our Quidditch Pitch in dawning colors and I couldn’t help but think about playing Harry out there last summer. I rubbed my eyes in exhaustion. It had been a sleepless night for me. I wondered if it had been the same for Harry.
The reality was still setting in. It was only yesterday that I had arisen from sleep still being someone’s girlfriend. It was only yesterday that I was still being held, and kissed, and loved. I wrapped my arms around myself and imagined it was him, scolding myself for thinking he no longer cared.
It might have been easier if that really was the case.
There was a soft knock on my door. I considered not answering, making the unknown visitor think I was asleep, but I needed the company, whoever it was. I needed something genuine instead of the haunting images of Harry. I muttered a half-hearted invitation to the unidentified knocker.
The door slowly opened and Ron cautiously stepped in from the hallway. From the dark circles beneath his eyes, I figured he had not slept either. He ran his hand through his red hair and hesitated before meeting my gaze. Had Ron known all along that Harry had planned to ditch me?
“You okay?” he asked with more confidence than he was displaying.
“No,” I answered truthfully.
“Do you want me to thrash him?” Ron asked.
I smiled. The protective side of my older brother was one of my favorite things about him. Of course, it was also the most annoying and bothersome, especially when it extended to my kissing habits. “No, Ron,” I replied. “Thanks for the offer though.” I held my hand to out to him and he took it. I pulled him close to me and leaned my head on his shoulder. “Do you really have to go?”
Ron nodded, moving the bed up and down slightly. “I’ve been watching his back for six years, Ginny. You know I have to.”
“Promise me you’ll take good care of them.”
“I don’t think-”
“Promise me that you’ll watch over them…” I whispered.
“I promise I’ll try my damnedest,” he replied, studying me for several moments, perhaps to consider if he wanted to further this part of the conversation. Finally, he nodded, and said, “Did you hear about Tonks and Lupin?”
“Other than how they’re finally in love?” I asked. I mentally kicked myself for missing that one. For a girl who prided herself in her knowledge, I sure had been completely ignorant and shamefully uninformed of their love affair.
“They’re getting married in two weeks,” Ron said. “Moving right along, aren’t they?”
“Married?” I squealed as much of the despair that had plagued me slipped away. I was happy for them. If anyone deserved a bit of bliss, surely it was those two. “Are we invited?”
Ron nodded his head. “Any Weasley that can make it,” he replied. “And Hermione, too.”
Hermione had gone home after Dumbledore’s funeral to take care of a few personal matters. Although we hadn’t talked about it before she left, I suspected that it had to do with her parents, to say goodbye in case the quest she was embarking on failed. “When is she getting here?” I asked.
“Monday next week.”
The week went by slowly. Trying to separate my mind from everything that had been going on, I shacked myself up in the attic, pouring through yearbooks of my parents, searching for the mysterious R.A.B. that had taken the real Horcrux. I had no success.
As I was looking through Mum’s old yearbook in my room, someone knocked on my door. I invited the guest in and looked up. Remus walked in with a small box.
“Remus!” I greeted. “I heard about the engagement. Congratulations.”
Remus set the box down upon my bed and thanked me. “Are you coming to the wedding?” he asked. “Dora is looking forward to you being there.”
I nodded. “I wouldn’t miss it,” I replied, eyeing the box up. “What’s this?”
Remus opened the cardboard flap and extracted a yearbook as well. “Your father said you’ve been looking through these things,” he said, opening the book up and thumbing through the pages. “I thought you’d like to see some more, back from my days.”
“Thanks,” I replied, eager to search through the new material.
“Hmm,” he muttered, frowning. “That’s odd.” He placed the book down and grabbed another one from the box. When he was done scanning that one, he smiled. “This isn’t my box,” he replied.
I opened the book he had set on the bed and turned to the first page reserved for messages. They were all addressed to James Potter. “Harry’s dad?” I exclaimed. “Why do you have them?”
“After James and Lily passed, I stored some of their belongings at my house until the Ministry decided what to do with them,” Remus answered. “I must have forgotten this box.”
I found a photograph of James. I smirked at how handsome he looked. Forgetting about our break-up for a second, I asked, “Can I show Harry this when he gets here?”
Remus nodded. “Be my guest,” Remus said. “In fact, why don’t you tell Harry that as soon as he’s 17, he has access to his second family vault?”
“Second?” I questioned.
“That’s where the Ministry stored everything,” Remus said, looking at his watch. He patted me on the shoulder and said that he had to leave.
I said farewell and immediately started scanning through all the books, hoping to find something of importance. I soon lost myself in the faces of people I knew and recognized. In James’ seventh year, I opened to the last page and found a message from Lily. It had been the first one in all of James’s yearbooks that she had signed.
James Peverell Potter
When I first saw you, I thought you were an arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic show-off. As the years followed, you never once failed to support that idea. The more I got to know you, the more you proved me right.
Then there was this year. When I was told you were going to be Head Boy and we were going to be working so close together, I almost told Dumbledore that I couldn’t be Head Girl. I was sure that this was going to be the worst experience of my life.
For the first time in my life, you proved me wrong. You had changed. You were still arrogant, egotistical, and narcissistic. And you never tried to hide that you were showing off. But it was different. You were different. You were always sure of how you felt towards me but it took me longer to realize.
I love you, James Potter, and I’m glad you never gave up on me.
Yours Forever, Lily Autumn Evans
I closed the book. Harry had told me how his mother had seemingly despised his father for most of their school years together. It was heart-warming to make his stories become real. I placed the book back inside the box, noting that I’d have to show Harry later.
Hermione arrived the following Monday. She wasted no time informing us what she had done for her parents and where they were soon going to move. She had said all this with barely a tear in her eye, but she wasn’t fooling anyone.
Ron placed an arm around her. It was nice to see that they were beginning to work things out, but I felt a sudden stab of loneliness. I put my eyes to the floor and heard Hermione ask Ron if he could fetch some snacks for her. Ron happily obliged.
“I’m fine,” I said to Hermione as soon as Ron left the room, knowing that she had sent my brother away to ask if I was coping all right. Before she could ask anymore, I said, “I tried to do some research, Hermione, but I couldn’t find out who R.A.B. is for you.”
Hermione simply stared at me and shook her head. “You shouldn’t know those initials,” she said. “You shouldn’t know anything. They will torture you to find out where we’re doing.”
“What are you going to be doing?” I asked curiously.
Hermione frowned at me and shook her head more viciously. “If Harry wants you to know, that’s a different story, but it’s his decision, not mine.” She stood up and muttered incoherently under her breath.
Was she right? Was that why Harry wasn’t telling me? Snape or Draco would have told Voldemort already that I was Harry’s girlfriend and they all would assume that I knew what he was doing. Would I be able to hold out under the torture curse? Would I be able to shield my mind? I shuddered even thinking about it.
Remus and Tonks’s wedding was a small ceremony. The only decoration was the archway they were being married beneath. Before the procession had begun, I had been introduced to Ted and Andromeda, both whom I instantly liked.
“Do you, Nymphadora Tonks…”
I glanced around the yard. Very few people were there. Ted and Andromeda sat in the front row. Mad-Eye was sitting there along with a handful of other Order members that I barely knew. Out of my family, Mum, Ron, and the twins were the only other Weasleys besides me in attendance. And Hermione was seated to my right.
“And do you, Remus Lupin…”
My mind drifted dangerously to Harry. He would have loved to have been here, watching his former teacher and his favorite Auror tie the knot. And Dumbledore, he would have rejoiced that there was a bit more love in the world. Unfortunately, it was still unsafe for Harry to leave his house because the Order was still in the process of planning his escape… and Dumbledore… well…
“Then I declare you bonded for life. You may kiss…” But Tonks and Lupin had already begun kissing. “Oh, well, I see you don’t need my permission…”
When I could, I hugged each of them in a congratulatory embrace. “Tonks,” I said, “I’m disappointed in myself for completely missing this.” I motioned my hand back and forth between the newly married couple. “I mean, when you first met each other, I saw the attraction, but then…”
“Ginny,” she scolded, “you were caught up in your own romantic adventures, if my information from Molly is right.”
My insides twisted and begged for a change of subject. I had not yet spread the news of my break-up with Harry. I figured I shouldn’t expect to dodge these awkward revelations. “Harry and I broke up,” I admitted.
Tonks, who had looked joyous seconds earlier, quickly dropped her smile and replaced it with a frown. She placed a hand on my shoulder and looked compassionately at me. “I’m sorry, honey. Are you alright?”
“It was mutual,” I lied. What was I really supposed to say to Harry? I’m sorry. You might be breaking up with me, but I’m not breaking up with you.
“I don’t believe you,” said Lupin, who had obviously been listening in. “You know why he’s doing this, don’t you? He thinks it’s his fault that Dumbledore died and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen to you. He thinks he’s protecting you.” I didn’t respond as he slipped his hand into Tonks’s waiting hand. “Remind you of anyone else we know?”
Kissing her husband, Tonks replied, “I wore you down.”
Lupin nodded, and addressed me again. “He’ll come to his senses.”
As much as I wanted to believe it, as much as I desperately clung to the idea, I knew this wasn’t about coming to his senses. The only thing that made sense to Harry right now was killing Voldemort. Once that happened, he truly would be free.
Harry’s seventeenth birthday was still ten days away, the day he would be back in my life and the day was unavoidably susceptible to attack.
Mum, Hermione, and I sat together in the kitchen. Mum and Hermione were once again discussing the Trio’s early departure from school. I listened intently, hoping Hermione might slip up and mention something new, but she was good.
I turned to our clock in the kitchen. Every one of our hands was pointed to mortal peril and I wished that Hermione and Harry had a place up there. We might be able to keep a better eye on them when they were away. After all, we considered them family. I saw Dad’s hand change to traveling and a few seconds later, he walked into the room, looking distressed.
Mum turned to him and saw what I saw. His face was painted with dread. Although he always looked worried nowadays, this was a new kind of concern.
“Thicknesse,” Dad replied. I recognized the last name of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. “We think they’ve got to him.”
Mum shook her head. “How long before…?” She stopped and looked at Hermione and me, refusing to ask such questions in front of us.
Dad was a step ahead of her. “They’ve got to know, Molly,” he said and she reluctantly agreed. “We aren’t sure how long until they have complete control but it’s certain that as soon as the Ministry is theirs, so is Hogwarts.”
Mum stood up fast, her chair falling to the floor in a clatter. “Then it’s settled,” she shouted and looking at me. “Ginny, you are not going back this year.”
I was baffled that Mum would suggest such a thing when she had been advocating for the Trio to return to school. I didn’t know how to feel about this. If Voldemort’s hand really did stretch to the school, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be there.
“No, Molly,” Dad said, picking her chair up from the floor. He placed his hands on her shoulders and lowered her to the seat. “It would draw far too much attention not to have two of our children returning. I’ve spoken to Minerva and the other teachers and they will all be returning, even if it is just to protect the children. I honestly think she’ll be safer there for now.”
Mum looked livid at first, but calmed slightly as she let Dad’s words sink in. She sat there, arms crossed in front of her chest, and said, “I don’t like it, but you’re right.”
“What about Harry?” Hermione piped up and I looked at her curiously. “If they’ve got Thicknesse, they’ll have no problem getting to Harry, right?”
Dad nodded. “As soon as Harry turns seventeen, they’ll be in there faster than we can imagine. To put it short, Thicknesse has made it illegal to connect that house to the Floo network, put a Portkey anywhere near the place, and to Apparate in or out. He says he’s preventing Voldemort from getting in.”
“I thought Harry’s Mum did that for him,” I said.
“That’s not what they’re trying to do,” Hermione stated. “They’re just trying to keep him in there, aren’t they?”
“Couldn’t be righter,” Dad said. “Which means that sending Mad-Eye alone is out of the question.”
“Then how are we getting him here, Arthur?” Mum asked.
“Mundungus did have an idea,” Dad replied. “A risky one, but everyone seemed to agree that it was a smart one, though he didn’t look too keen on actually participating in the plan himself.”
“I’ll help,” I said quickly without even thinking twice about it. Mum almost killed me with her best dagger-like stare. “What? I’m much more reliable than that lousy thief.”
“As true as that may be, Ginny, I can not allow you,” Dad said, his eyes meeting mine with heaviness. “Not this time, not this plan.”
Mum looked towards Dad with eyes full of questions. “What exactly is the plan?”
Hesitantly, Dad explained the details… the Polyjuice Potion, the false trail, the safe-houses and their protective wards, the Portkeys, and Mum and me staying behind, waiting for our warriors to return to the Burrow.
Hermione shook her head. “He won’t let you all risk your lives like that for him,” she said.
I agreed, adding, “Not after what happened with Dumbledore.” I figured Harry wouldn’t be given much a choice in the matter, not with so many there to force him.
Mum and Dad left the kitchen to discuss the upcoming events in more detail, allowing Hermione and me to silently think about the impending plan. Seven Harry Potters, I thought and then smiled. I don’t suppose I’d mind…
“It’s getting closer, you know,” Hermione said, breaking my thought process. “Have you decided what you’re going to do about Harry?”
She knew me all too well. For the past several weeks, I had been running every scenario through my head, asking him to stay, begging him to take me with him, merely wishing him luck, but nothing seemed satisfactory.
Then there was the whole issue of how to treat him. Now that I had a taste of what it was like to be Harry’s girlfriend, I wasn’t sure how else to act around him. I couldn’t very well do what I wanted to do with him and I couldn’t just ignore him completely. Where was the happy medium?
“Maybe it’s back to putting my elbow in butter dishes around him,” I answered jokingly.
Hermione grinned, remembering the story fondly. “You’ve got to talk to him before we leave,” she said.
“I know,” I replied, dreading and looking forward to the moment at the same time. I wanted to be everything I could for him, whether that meant being his girl while he was away or simply waiting.
“What are you getting him for his birthday?”
I froze. That hadn’t even crossed my mind. I groaned loudly and said, “Thanks, Hermione. One more thing to worry about.” I absentmindedly played with a strand of my hair and I asked Hermione how long I’d have before they left.
“I can only guarantee until the wedding,” she answered. “After that, it’s up to Harry… what we’re doing, where we’re going, all that.”
I had been helping her pack a few items for the past several days, but I was sure there were more things that needed placed in her bag that I couldn’t see. “Are you finished packing yet?” I asked.
“Not even close,” she replied. “You helped me with the tent and the money, but I need to figure out which books I’m taking and what clothes are staying or going with us. Besides, there’s all those protective spells to ward off intruders, although I am certain I don’t need to know anymore. I’m still trying to learn how to make my Patronus talk…”
“You haven’t mastered that yet?” I asked in disbelief. That was one of the first things she had attempted when she stepped foot in this house and had free time. Our Hermione was having difficulty with a spell?
“It’s far more complicated than it looks,” she said, obviously annoyed that she hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet. Her left eye twitched at the thought. Suddenly, perhaps more to change the subject than anything, she pulled her bag from beneath her chair and placed it on the table. “You remember what your Dad just said about Hogwarts?”
“The part about it belonging to Voldemort?” I asked, eyeing the bag as she untied the drawstring. “How could I forget?”
She pushed her hand far into the depths of the bag, reaching further in than it would normally allow a person. I had assisted her with that spell four days ago and I was pleased to see it was working. She rummaged through it, saying, “I brought them all with me because I didn’t know if we’d need them, but I think that you could use them.” She pulled out several Galleons and dropped them in my cupped hands.
Insulted, I replied flatly, “I don’t want your money.” I let the coins fall to the table in loud clanking noises.
“I’m disappointed that you don’t recognize these,” she said.
Looking at the last coin that stopped moving, it suddenly dawned on me. These were the communication coins we used for Dumbledore’s Army. Picking up one and staring at it between my fingers, I asked, “Do you really think we’ll need to start the DA again?”
She shrugged. “Do I really think I’ll need 100 pounds in Muggle money?” she questioned, shaking her head. “No, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”
She took her own coin from her pocket and showed me how the Master coin worked the other coins. “I suspect only a few of the DA members will still have their coins,” she said, “but that’s fine. I had these extras.”
“Thanks,” I said, hoping that I would never have to use them. I pressed a couple of the serial numbers and felt my coin grow hot and wondered if the members of the DA around the country had felt their coin grow warm as well. I wondered if they were confused to see that it was active yet again. I wondered, most importantly, if they would think to bring it with them when they packed for Hogwarts.
Days later, I paced back and forth, holding the oil can that had appeared in our front yard only a minute prior. I could still feel the magical residue that had brought it there but failed to bring Ron and Tonks. Mum said not to worry, but I couldn’t help it, and I could tell she couldn’t either.
When the sneaker appeared next without Fred or Dad, I looked at Mum pleadingly, silently begging her to do or say something, but I knew she was as helpless as I was.
Four of them hadn’t been able to return and I trembled as I sat down, holding the sneaker tightly against my chest. Something had gone wrong. Had my family, friends, and mentors been compromised? Were they all caught, taken captive, and being tortured right now? Were they dead? Was… was Harry dead? No, I said to myself. I would know… I would have felt it….
“Harry and Hagrid are next,” Mum said quietly.
No sooner had Mum uttered the words, a blue light appeared in the sky, coming towards us fast. I recognized the light as a Portkey. Please please please, I repeated in my head towards nobody in particular.
Hagrid and Harry fell to the ground. Harry stumbled to his knees. He looked so weak, but it was Hagrid who had fallen completely to the ground, groaning in pain. I screamed in worry, threw the sneaker into the grass, and joined Mum as we helped the half-giant up to his feet, though I doubt we aided him much at all.
Mum turned to Harry. “Harry? You are the real Harry? What happened? Where are the others?” Mum cried, the agony of ignorance spilling from her voice.
“What d’you mean? Isn’t anyone else back?” Harry panted, the look of full responsibility on his shoulders. Mum didn’t need to answer with words. Harry started in a sputter, explaining what had occurred, trying to make her understand that he was sorry and didn’t know what had happened to her sons and husband.
Mum shut him up with a tight embrace. “Thank goodness you’re all right,” she whispered. After Hagrid asked for brandy, she rushed into the house, trying to hide the tears that were already forming.
The tightness in my chest grew stronger as I thought about the ambush. I had to be strong for now, for myself, for Harry. I met his eyes for the first time in over a month and he silently begged me for answers. I had become quite talented at reading his facial expressions.
“Ron and Tonks should have been back first,” I said, telling him about the Portkeys and who had missed them so far. “If they made it,” I continued, “George and Lupin ought to be back in about a minute.”
When they appeared, the tightness in my chest clenched even tighter. George was… was he dead…? There was so much blood on his head and shirt. I couldn’t lose George, not so close to having lost Dumbledore. My heart couldn’t take another blow like that.
I cradled my brother’s head in my arms as Mum wiped the crimson away from the side of his face. Where an ear was supposed to be there was only a scarlet hole. He was breathing, I could feel his shallow breaths against my arms, but he had lost so much blood.
Mum waved her wand several times over the wound but nothing was happening. The hole refused to rapidly grow shut and the ear was not being replaced. Mum’s wand hand quivered as she despairingly flicked it around his head.
“Wake up, George,” I whispered into his ear, stroking the dry side of his red hair. “You’ve got to wake up. Fred will be here soon. He’ll want to hear you laugh.”
“I can’t…” Mum muttered. She was on her knees beside the couch and she placed her wand on the floor. “It’s been cut off by dark magic… I can’t…”
George was going to live his life without an ear. I can only imagine what kind of replacements Fred and George would invent to make up for his lack of one. I suppose it could have been worse, I decided. After all, he could have…
I stopped, listening. I heard voices from the yard, new voices. Someone else had come back. I breathed a sigh of relief and looked back at Mum, who had picked her wand back up and began to work fruitlessly again.
After several moments, she stood up and said, “I’ve stopped the bleeding.” She took my hand and asked me to let George rest. “Clean yourself off, too, Ginny. You look a fright.”
Not worrying about underage magic, I pointed my wand at George’s blood upon my clothing and muttered, “Scourgify.” The drying liquid was siphoned from the fabric and into my wand. I summoned a washcloth from the kitchen and wet it, wiping George’s head and trying to cool him while Mum cleaned his wound.
“How is he?” Harry asked from the door and Mum explained. Harry’s look of worry lessened and said, “Thank God.”
“Did I hear someone else in the yard?” I asked and when he answered that it was Hermione and Kingsley, I felt the tightness lessen again. “Thank goodness,” I breathed a sigh of relief. And I looked at Harry, so troubled and so bothered, and I wanted desperately to be in his arms and to tell him that everything was fine. No one dead, no one seriously injured… just an ear, Harry, it could have been worse…
His muscles flinched a fraction, but I recognized the gesture from all last year. He had wanted to touch me, any part of me, to feel alive and real again. Before he could give into the urge, there was a great uproar from the kitchen and that’s when we knew Dad and Fred were home.
The tightness in my chest again decreased as I listened to George’s voice, weak and weary, but cracking jokes at his predicament. I knew everything was going to be okay. I knew that my last two brothers were going to return home and we were going to be a family again, whole and untouched except for a missing appendage.
Harry motioned for me to follow him. I swallowed hard, noticing the terror in his eyes. He hated being the reason for our pain. Without thinking or planning, I took Harry’s hand and held it tight. As I expected, he didn’t pull away. He entwined his fingers around mine, the same as he had done during our Hogwarts romance, and his body relaxed. It should have been no surprise that I had this effect on him.
Hermione glanced down at our hands but she didn’t say anything nor did she react at all. If it pleased her, it didn’t matter. She turned her face towards the sky and waited, her hand nervously twitching by her side, waiting to be held by the one person who hadn’t returned yet.
Still clutching each other’s hand for dear life, Harry and I scanned the tree line for any sign. They all should have been back by now. They all should have returned.
When Ron and Tonks finally arrived, I ran into the house and gathered my parents up. By the time we reached the outside again, they barely had a moment of welcome when Bill and Fleur at last were spotted.
“Mad-Eye’s dead,” Bill said with no welcome, no warning.
His words echoed in my mind before I fully processed them. Mad-Eye’s dead… I felt a slap of sadness against my already aching heart. I hadn’t been close to Moody as I had been to Dumbledore so the feeling wasn’t the same, but it still hurt nevertheless.
It was difficult to fathom. Out of everyone that had gone tonight, I expected Mad-Eye to live. His perpetual talk of constant vigilance set him apart from the rest of us, his always-on-guard attitude should have saved him… but Death plays no favorites, but I can guarantee that she holds grudges. Mad-Eye had escaped her seedy grasp far too many times over the years… and it was that miserable little thief Mundungus’s fault… Death had used the thief to collect her bounty…
I knew he couldn’t be trusted.
Harry wanted to leave, to protect us all, and to stop Voldemort from finding us. As much as I didn’t understand it, he would never accept that it’s not just his war to win, that others are fighting, too. Everyone here would brawl to the death to stop what was coming, even if we had never heard of the famous Harry Potter.
After several comments about his wand, Harry wandered outside. He had claimed his wand had acted on its own accord but no one had ever heard of that before. While no one else believed him, I did. When it came to Harry, there were so many things that happened which no one could ever imagine.
I stopped myself when I took a step to join him outside. I looked at Hermione and jerked my head towards the door. She nodded, grabbed Ron’s hand, and led him outside. I sat back down, thankful that it was with a family I hadn’t lost. The tightness in my chest, except for the part reserved for Harry, had slowly diminished.
The following days, Mum barely left any free time for anyone. With the pretense of wedding chores, the Trio was unable to be in the same place at the same time for more than a few minutes, leaving them absolutely no time to plan their departure. Mum wasn’t dumb; she knew what she was doing. As much as I hated to admit it, I was almost thankful that she was trying to keep them home.
On the second day of Harry’s arrival, Mum assigned Hermione and me to change all the sheets in the house. This was a daunting task since the amount of beds practically doubled since the Delacours would be arriving.
I took one corner of the sheet and Hermione took the other. Together we pulled the fabric off the bed and let it fall to the floor. Hermione had been distracted today and I had a feeling I knew what it was about.
“Feeling guilty?” I asked her, knowing it had only been several hours since she swiped the Polyjuice Potion from Mad-Eye’s stock.
She nodded and picked up the clean sheet from the chair we had placed it upon. She unfolded it slowly and said, “I hate doing it under your Mum’s nose.”
“If Mad-Eye had a choice, I’m sure he’d want it to be put to good use before it spoils,” I answered, grabbing the other corner of the sheet that Hermione gave me and holding it.
“There’s no turning back now,” Hermione muttered.
She and I positioned the sheet on the upper portion of the bed and tucked it beneath the mattress. We repeated this action for the lower section of the bed. Standing there, looking at our handiwork, Hermione sighed. “I nicked something else from Mad-Eye,” she said softly. “We already have one, but I figured you could use it.”
Before I could respond, she led me over to my room and opened her bag. She pulled the case of Polyjuice Potion out and placed it on the floor. Rummaging again, she lifted a silvery cloth from the annals of the bag. She handed the smooth fabric to me.
“Moody’s Invisibility Cloak?” I breathed, not feeling worthy of having it. “I can’t take this. You take it.” I pushed the Cloak back into her hands and she refused to touch it again.
“No,” Hermione said firmly.
I grasped the silky material in one hand and ran my other hand through it. “It doesn’t feel like Harry’s,” I said, examining the Cloak. “This one doesn’t feel as light.”
“I noticed the same thing,” Hermione replied. “I asked Mad-Eye about them once while he was updating the charms on this one. He said it was made from the hair of a Demiguise. “
“Has Harry ever updated the charms on his Cloak?” I asked curiously.
Hermione furrowed her brow and thought about it. “Strangely, I don’t think he has. That’s rather odd, seeing that cloaks like these gradually fade.”
I wrapped the Cloak around me and watched as my body faded from visibility. I grinned, remembering fondly of all the times in Hogwarts in which Harry had hidden us beneath its concealment. “Do you really think I’ll need this?” I questioned.
“Never can be too prepared,” Hermione replied.
“Since you lot aren’t coming back and you think I’ll need all these things,” I said, thinking of one object that would be very useful for us, “do you think you could convince Harry to give me the Marauder’s Map?”
“No,” she answered. “You can ask him.”
“Hermione! Ginny!” came the voice of my mother from downstairs.
Hermione motioned for me to follow as she left the room. I quickly stored the Cloak in the same place that I had stored the Galleons. Closing the trunk, I rushed to catch up with her.
The following day, Hermione and I had once again been assigned to change the sheets. Grinning at her knowingly, I took Hermione by the hand off to the side of the house and said, “I’ll cover for you. Get out of here. Go talk to the boys.”
Hermione stared at me curiously. “You’re helping us? After what Harry said to you earlier, I didn’t think you’d offer your assistance.”
My mind thought back a few hours, when Harry and I had been setting the table for dinner. He had almost let slip the details of his journey, stating that he had to kill Voldemort. I knew this already, but to hear it spoken aloud was heart-breaking. If we hadn’t been interrupted, I think he would have spoken to me.
I shook the memory from my head. “You’re leaving and I can’t stop that,” I said, my voice barely quivering. “If helping you keeps you all alive, then I’ll do what I have to do.” I motioned for her to leave. “I’ll take care of Mum.”
After a swift embrace, Hermione entered the back door. I watched Dad lead Harry into the chicken coop, where he was keeping the parts of Sirius’s motorcycle, and I knew I’d have to act fast. I ran towards Mum and found her chasing a gnome around the garden.
“Ginny, give me a hand, please,” she requested.
“I think I saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione walking towards the stream,” I lied, knowing that the stream was a good walk away and it would take her some time to return, especially if she was searching. She immediately strolled towards the destination just as Harry exited the chicken coup, walked to the Burrow, and entered the door.
Staring at the entrance, I knew what I was about to do. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it, since Harry and Ron always eavesdropped to find out information. If they caught me, they had no right to be mad. It’s not like I was going to spread the information. I just wanted to know. I had a right to know.
I feared that Hermione might have used the Muffliato charm but when I heard the voices from the stairs, I knew I was in luck. Approaching the door, I leaned against it to listen in the best I could.
“…but you know what he’d say to us if he was here?” Ron voice said.
“C-constant vigilance,” Hermione’s voice said. She must have been crying.
They had been talking about Moody. Hopefully, I hadn’t missed anything important. After all, they had only been in there for no more than four minutes before I arrived. They went on to insult Mundungus and then started talking about the books that Hermione had obviously been searching through.
“Just trying to decide which ones to take with us when we’re looking for the Horcruxes,” she said.
I flinched… Horcruxes… plural… more than one… Whatever the mystery word meant, I hadn’t known there were multiple ones. I listened closely for more information.
I half-grinned when Harry tried to convince Ron and Hermione not to come with him. Hermione and I both had been expecting this. Hermione went into a long explanation as to why they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. After Hermione explained, she asked Ron to show Harry the ghoul.
I swore, wishing I had grabbed my Cloak from my room. I wouldn’t have had to move as they exited the room to ascend into the attic. Although, after our time together, I knew that Harry could sense me beneath his Cloak. I slipped out of sight and waited until I heard them return to the room.
They spoke for awhile about the plans with the ghoul and I listened, bored since I already knew this part of the arrangement. There was silence in the room when Ron was done speaking.
“GINNY!” From four floors below, I heard the shouts of my mother returning from my deception. I swore under my breath again. I hadn’t heard anything new yet except that there were more than one Horcrux. I dared not leave now, not while they were alone for the first time since Harry’s arrival.
“I know you said you wanted to go to Godric’s Hollow first, Harry,” Hermione said. “And I understand why, but… well… shouldn’t we make the Horcruxes our priority?”
New information at last. That was one of the places they were going, the place where Harry was born and lived for a year, the place where his parents and Voldemort fell in the same night, and the place where James and Lily rested beneath the earth.
Next, they discussed R.A.B. but no new information was revealed there, despite that they’d have to find the real Horcrux and make sure he had destroyed it. Hermione next revealed that she had acquired several books about Horcruxes.
I heard Mum coming up the stairs. Fighting every urge to keep listening, I left the door and met Mum one floor below, out of breath. I smiled at her, hoping she wouldn’t catch on to what I was up to.
“I didn’t find them at the stream,” Mum said. “Are you sure you saw them?”
“They came back,” I said quickly. “I saw them from my window. I think they have gone around the other side of the house.”
Mum’s eyes refocused from me to the stairs I stood on. “Why are you out of breath?” she asked.
I hoped she would remain where she stood. “Chased a gnome up here,” I replied. “He got in from the garden. You better hurry though,” I said, pointing down the stairwell. “I think I heard Ron say they’re leaving right after the wedding.”
Mum turned on her heels and bounded down the stairwell as fast as she could. Relieved, I hurried up the steps as quietly as I could and positioned myself in the same place I had earlier, just in time to catch the end of one of Hermione’s explanations.
“…from all that I’ve read, what Harry did to Riddle’s diary was one of the few really foolproof ways of destroying a Horcrux.”
I suddenly felt very sick. Whatever they were hunting, whatever these Horcruxes proved to be, I had been in possession of one for a full school year. I held it, cradled it, wrote to it… I had revealed to Riddle my most guarded secrets. Would the same thing happen to Harry and Ron and Hermione? Would they become possessed?
The diary and the locket were both Horcruxes but I was still no closer to figuring out what a Horcrux was. There seemed to be no connection between the two, no noticeable pattern that I could figure out. And all they were talking about was how to destroy it with basilisk venom or…
I heard Mum coming up the stairs and I gritted my teeth. I was sure I was about to find out exactly how I had been bewitched by Voldemort and I felt I was privileged enough to know. With every ounce of willpower, I forced myself from the door again and met Mum just as she entered the bottom portion of the stairwell.
She looked at me and I could tell that she had finally figured out what was going on. “Ginevra Molly Weasley, what do you think you’re doing?”
“I haven’t caught that gnome yet…”
“Oh really?” she hissed, her hands on her hips. “I couldn’t find them at the stream and I couldn’t find them anywhere outside and they aren’t anywhere in the house that I’ve looked. The only place I haven’t looked…” She pointed up the stairs. “Now move, Ginny.”
“Get to your room,” she said. Her words were final and I knew that I had bought all the time I could possibly buy for the Trio. Defeated, I hung my head and descended the stairs. When I entered my room, I felt the house-shaking slam of the bedroom door opening.
“You owe me,” I whispered to Hermione later that night in my room. She agreed and I decided that the next day would be when I’d call in that favor. “I need you to distract Ron tomorrow for me. I’m going to talk to Harry.”
Sitting in my room the next day, I gripped the yearbook in my hands. I nervously sat on the bed and thumbed through it. I planned to show Harry the message his mother wrote and then talk to him. I thought he would appreciate a conversation with me more than he would like receiving an actual physical object. It would be an appropriate birthday gift for him. Plus, you know, it was good for me, too.
I heard them ascending the stairwell and I jumped from the bed, throwing the book upon the pillows. I opened the door and called, “Harry, will you come in here a moment?”
I watched Hermione pull a reluctant Ron up the stairs. I turned into my room without actually seeing him follow me, but I knew he would come. Butterflies danced in the pit of my stomach, noting that we had never been in my room together, but then again, there were a lot of things we had never done together.
“Happy seventeenth,” I said after a deep breathe. He thanked me and commented on the view. It was a nice view, and I tried not to laugh at this ridiculous observation, but I continued without acknowledging the statement. We chatted for a few seconds about what I had planned to get him for his birthday and his usual modesty was heard. “So then I thought, I’d like you to have something to remember me by, you know, if you meet some veela when you’re off doing what you’re doing.”
My insides clenched as I thought about little Gabrielle hitting on Harry the day before. Though she was only eleven, she was part veela and was almost a perfect copy of her older sister. I didn’t know if they had their seduction powers at that age, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. I put her in her place.
“I think dating opportunities are going to be pretty thin on the ground, to be honest,” Harry said.
I had not realized how close I had come to Harry until I could smell his familiar scent. It teased my nostrils as I breathed him in. I recognized his touch as he placed his hands on my arms. “That’s the silver lining I’ve been looking for,” I whispered.
The month of separation, the weeks of longing, and the desire to be close for so long ripped away at the very moment that our lips touched. And I was kissing him harder and more passionately than I had ever kissed him or anyone before. It was a kiss of assurance to each other that we would wait. It was a kiss of promise that we would never love anyone else again. It was a kiss of goodbye, the proper farewell that we never officially had.
I never wanted to stop, not even for breath. If I passed out from this, it would be worth it. If we stopped, we would have to return to our miserable lives without each other. If we stopped, we would be accepting the fate and destiny that was approaching each of us fast. If we stopped, it would be over… no turning back, no second chances, just over.
But as quickly as the kiss had begun, it had to stop. Ron’s unwelcome entrance broke us apart. I stumbled backwards, turning my back towards everyone and glaring out the window. I felt the tears building again and I refused to let Harry look at me like this.
“I’ll see you later,” he said.
And he was gone. And I knew he’d have to stay away from me because Ron would make him promise, because another session like that and he wouldn’t be able to accomplish what he was ordained to do. That was our goodbye kiss, I decided. Finally, our goodbye kiss…
Goodbye, I thought and the weight of the word pressed down on me and I sank to my knees and began to weep. After several long minutes, I placed a hand on my bed, pulled myself up, and wiped the tears from my eyes.
How was I going to make it through this wedding without breaking down again? The same you have managed for the last month. No crying, no thinking about it. Be strong.
The feeling of loneliness only strengthened as the next day came and the wedding ceremony took place. I couldn’t escape that kiss, the thought of the euphoria that it had given me, the maturity of it all, the way a woman would kiss the man she was in love with.
Standing beside Fleur, I imagined it was me as the center of attention in a white gown, marrying a man with deep green eyes, glasses, and raven-colored hair that hid the lightning bolt shaped scar that, for one day, no one would care about.
“How did the DA meeting go?” Luna asked me later as I approached her. “I was with Daddy when I got Harry’s message. Was anybody able to make it?”
“DA meeting?” I repeated.
“I’ve had owls from Seamus, Lavender, Dean, and Neville,” she said, listing off a handful of original DA members. “They assumed Harry was here and figured they couldn’t send letters to him, so they sent them to me.”
I understood what she was talking about at last. When Hermione had given me the coins, I had turned the Master coin on, inadvertently alerting everyone else’s coins. I pictured my coin sitting on my trunk with the rest of the collection beneath my new Invisibility Cloak.
“Hermione and I were looking at them. Luna, I didn’t mean to make everyone think we were having a meeting,” I said.
“Oh,” Luna said, disappointed. “I hoped we would restart Dumbledore’s Army. It was loads of fun the first time and I learned a lot.” She pulled the coin from her purse and held it up, the sun reflected off the gold. “Daddy said it won’t be long before we’ll all have to unite together. It’s our destiny.”
I contemplated her words. “Keep it with you, Luna. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”
She smiled, pleased with my revelation. “I spoke to Harry earlier,” she said.
Fred and George had borrowed some hair from a red-headed village boy and Harry was disguised as our cousin. No one was supposed to know that he was here. I glanced towards him. Looking agitated, he was sitting with Krum, who had just pointed in my direction. Krum stood up and departed from the table, leaving a disgruntled looking Harry there.
Ripping myself from the distraction, I looked back at Luna. Keeping up with the subtle subterfuge, I remarked, “Harry isn’t here.”
“Oh yes,” she replied. “He’s going by Barney today. Is that why you aren’t with him?”
“No,” I said quietly. “We broke up.”
“Another change?” she exclaimed. “I can’t keep up with Barney today.”
There came a tap on my shoulder and I turned from Luna’s uncomfortable truths to find Lee Jordan in handsome-looking blue dress robes. It was rare to see my brothers’ friend look so nice.
I greeted him with a smile. “Hey, Lee.”
He held out his hand. “Care to dance, Ginny?”
I took his hand as a slow song came on. Whisking me onto the dance floor, he asked, “Why aren’t you dancing with Harry?” Before I could respond, he continued, “And don’t tell me he isn’t here. Fred and George told me was disguised.”
I sighed, looking towards the table where Harry had been sitting with Krum but neither of them were there any longer. He must have slipped into the crowd to wander aimlessly. Sighing again, I said, “Lee, we broke up.”
Lee twirled me around slowly. “That still doesn’t answer the question,” he replied, “as to why you haven’t asked him to dance. He hasn’t taken his eyes off you all day long.”
I felt my cheeks grow hot and answered, “Ron made him promise not to lead me on.”
“Since when do you listen to Ron?” Lee asked. “Besides, you’d just be dancing. Doesn’t mean you’d be snogging in front of everyone.”
I grinned and thought, I wouldn’t be so sure of that. If we started dancing, I doubt we would care who’d be watching. I, for one, know that I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself. “I just want to be what he needs,” I answered. “I refuse to be the one who keeps him from… who keeps him from…”
“Saving the world?” Lee finished for me. “He’s not the only one trying to defeat You-Know-Who. We’re all in this together.”
He twirled me around for a second time before continuing. “I’ve watched you grow up, Gin, into this beautiful young lady. You have the twins wrapped around your finger. You can do things with a wand and a broom I didn’t know were possible. And I’ve heard what you can do to Harry. You are what he needs. For that, I think you deserve a dance.”
It had always been extremely easy to talk to Lee. He had such a way with words, probably the main reason he was the favorite Quidditch announcer for our school. “Thanks, Lee,” I said.
“Before you leave, I wanted to talk to you about something.” He reached into the pockets of his robes and pulled out his DA coin. “I know Hermione, Ron, and Harry are leaving. Do you know why this alerted me the other week?”
I explained to him what Hermione had said and how I had activated the coin. I added my conversation with Luna. “What do you think, Lee, do you think we’ll need to restart it?”
He looked around to make sure that no one was listening and then in a hushed voice, he whispered, “It’s a lot worse than most people know. The rumor circulating now is that the Carrows will be teaching at Hogwarts.”
I gasped, recalling the horror stories of the Death Eaters. “How did you find this out?”
“You hang around the pubs long enough, people start talking,” Lee replied. “My point is that I think it’s a good idea to stand united this year, but be careful. This isn’t Umbridge you’ll be dealing with.”
I thought about how Lee wouldn’t be returning this year since he had graduated a year before. “What are you going to be doing while we’re in school?”
“Fred and George had an idea,” Lee said. “We would represent the DA outside the school. Since the Daily Prophet won’t report anything worthwhile, we want to keep the public informed. We haven’t worked out the details yet so it might take awhile, but we promise to keep you informed with everything, even if you are at school.”
He let go of me as the music changed tempo. “I think it’s time you look for another dance partner.”
I nodded and drifted through the crowd, ready to find Harry and ask him to dance. As I saw Ron dancing with Hermione, I didn’t care what my brother thought today. I was entitled to at least that much attention.
Lights flashed as people took photos with loved ones. I wished Harry looked normal so we could pose and document our time together. That was another something we didn’t have and something I could use during lonely nights this year. On second thought, it wouldn’t look innocent if a Death Eater found me with it.
I found Harry speaking with Aunt Muriel and Doge. He exclaimed, “The Dumbledores lived in Godric’s Hollow?” His face was unmistakably hurt by the revelation.
I was tempted to save Harry from the blatantly rude behavior of my relative but another argument behind me had started. I turned to see Viktor Krum with his wand pointed at none other than Xenophilius Lovegood. Several dancers backed away, creating a small circle around the pair of wizards.
“What is the meaning of this, young man?” Xenophilius demanded.
Krum’s face contorted with anger. The mysterious symbol, which resembled an eye, around Xenophilius’s neck magically levitated several inches in front of his chest. “How dare you come here vearing Grindelvald’s sign,” Krum growled.
Xenophilius grasped the symbol and lowered it to his neck and he laughed as if this was a joke someone was playing on him. “Dear boy, you have been misinformed,” he said. “This is no sign of dark magic or wizards of any kind.”
“Do not laugh,” Krum commanded, his jaw clenched. “Grindelvald killed my grandfather and this vas his symbol. I vill show you vat ve do to those in my country who think it is a joke.”
“I certainly take this seriously,” Xenophilius explained. “This is the sign of the Deathly Hallows. Come sit with me and I will enlighten you.”
Krum raised his wand but Fleur had entered the small circle. She placed her hand on Krum’s extended arm and lowered it, whispering something I couldn’t hear into his ear. He scowled and placed his wand away, taking off through the crowd seconds later.
It was then that a flash of silver glided right past me and a lynx was perched directly in the middle of the dance floor. Emanating from the mouth of the Patronus, a feat that Hermione had yet to master, came the voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.”
Screams from every member of the party echoed as the music stopped abruptly. Panic and pandemonium ensued. I watched Xenophilius grab Luna and Disapparate from the dance floor and I realized that our protective wards had been broken. I regretted leaving my wand inside because I couldn’t find a comfortable place to store it.
I fearfully searched the mob, screaming, “HARRY!” My eyes were full of fear as I repeated his name even louder. I took a step but tripped, tumbled to the floor, and tried to shield myself from oncoming feet. Before I could cover my head, something hard smashed into my temple violently and I blacked out.
“Don’t lie to me! Travers saw your son Disapparate from the crowd!” said a voice that I didn’t recognize.
“Did he have red hair?” Fred said. “Freckles? Tall and lanky?”
“Like all the Weasley relatives?” George said.
Why was it all black? My eyes were so heavy. I wished I could open them. I wished I could see what was happening.
“This is not a game!” the unknown voice said. “It would be wise to treat this situation seriously.”
“Yaxley,” said another unfamiliar voice, “They’re telling the truth. The boy is upstairs in his bed.”
The first voice I heard responded, meaning that he must be Yaxley. “Are you sure it’s him?”
“If you’d like to take a closer look, Yaxley, be my guest, but I’m not willing to contaminate myself.”
I opened my eyes slowly and squinted. The light from the window shined directly onto my face. I tried to move but I was bound in sitting position. My head pounded as if I had been trampled upon, which most likely was the case.
“Any sign of Potter?” Yaxley asked another man.
That man shook his head. “We’ve searched every room. Nothing. He’s not here.”
“Where is Harry Potter?” Yaxley bent low to meet my father face to face.
“I don’t know,” Dad said. “I’ve already told you.”
“Convenient,” Yaxley replied. “It is well known that your son is good friends with the Potter boy. And rumor has it that your daughter,” he motioned towards me, “and him share a special relationship.” He turned from my father and met my gaze. “Ah, I see you have finally decided to join us.”
“Harry and I barely dated a month,” I said groggily, the pain in my head causing me to see spots. “We broke up. If you want information of where he is, I would be the last person you should ask.”
Yaxley’s mouth slowly formed a grin and he quickly pointed his wand at me. “Crucio!” he shouted before anyone had time to react.
I never felt such agony as the torture curse. The pain pulsated through every part of me, eating away at my muscles, locking my fingers and toes in place. Through the torment, I heard my brothers and father screaming obscenities.
When Yaxley pulled the curse off of me, he bent low like he had to my father and looked directly into my spinning eyes. “Let me repeat, child, where is Harry Potter?”
I met Dad’s eye as Yaxley glanced to him and I moved my head a fraction to indicate not to reveal anything because of me. I could handle whatever this goon had.
“We don’t know,” Dad repeated.
“I want to hear it from you!” Yaxley sneered as he put the curse back on me, trying to break me, trying to make me talk.
I must have bit down hard on my tongue because I tasted blood and felt the hot liquid flowing on my chin, dripping from my face, and staining the new dress I was wearing. “I don’t know,” I mumbled.
“Where is HE!?” he screamed and repeated the actions.
“I DON’T KNOW!” I shrieked, my hair wild and my eyes crazed. “He broke my heart! He left me behind! Why the HELL would I know or care where he is?” My breathing came in heavy pants as my head and body thumped with pain. I’m sure I had a concussion.
Yaxley grinned, satisfied at my pain and torment. He motioned for the other members of the interrogation. “We’re done here. If she knew, she’d crack. She doesn’t know.”
Mum tended to my wounds later, healing my skull and fixing my tongue. As she worked, I thought about what I had said to Yaxley under the influence of the Cruciatus Curse. Surely it had been a lie to protect Harry, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of truth behind the words.
I definitely cared where he was. There was no doubt in my mind about that. I cared too much for my own good, but the feeling of resentment had surfaced unexpectedly. I was angry to have been left behind. I didn’t even care that I was stuck in this house while he was out there gallivanting to rescue us all… he left me behind in knowledge… and all I ever wanted was to know what was going on with the man I loved.
Before I drifted to sleep and entered the nightmares that were sure to follow, I felt the overwhelming need to prove myself to Harry. I was no longer that fragile little girl he rescued from the Chamber.
The infiltration into our house had not been an isolated one. Every house around the country connected to the Order had been invaded and everyone there had been interrogated in similar ways. No Harry Potter had been found and luckily there had been no casualties beyond a few aching bodies.
The takeover had been fast and silent. It might have even been relatively unknown if Kingsley had been caught. He was fortunate to have escaped alive. Thicknesse was appointed as the Imperius-controlled, puppet minister and Yaxley had been promoted to Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Several days after the attack on our family, I sat in the kitchen eating lunch and reading the Quibbler that Luna had dropped over earlier. The front page featured a frightened looking Harry and the headline: “BOY-WHO-LIVED HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH DUMBLEDORE’S MURDER.” Inside, Xenophilius retold Harry’s version of the Headmaster’s demise.
My family had been extremely busy these past couple days. Dad, who wanted to remain at the Ministry, had managed to keep his job. Bill and Fleur had gone on a very short honeymoon to Iceland. Mum and I were left to take care of the house. Charlie, the twins, and Lee had been assigned a special job. Since the Muggleborn Registration Act had been passed, Professor McGonagall had passed along a list of all the Muggleborn students to them. Their job was to find and transport them to safety.
Fred and George had strolled into the kitchen, looking satisfied. I placed my copy of the Quibbler onto the table and dropped my partially eaten sandwich on the plate.
“How did the mission go?” I asked, thinking about my friends that would have to go into hiding and couldn’t return to Hogwarts. Dean, Colin, Dennis, to name a few. “Where did you take them?”
“Wish we could tell you,” George answered. “Just know that everyone is perfectly safe as long as the Secret Keeper isn’t caught.”
“And he won’t be,” Fred continued. “We’ve forbidden him from leaving the house.”
“Who is the Secret Keeper?” I asked.
“Colin,” they said together.
“What?” I cried. “He’s underage like me! Why can’t his parents do it?”
“It doesn’t work with non-magical folk,” Fred said.
“And it doesn’t matter the age as long as no one gets to the Keeper,” George replied. “And Mr. and Mrs. Creevey insisted, saying if they were going to run a safe house, they would be making the decisions.”
“But…” I stammered, trying to find a reason for Colin not to do it, but none were coming. If it were me and I were given the choice, I would have done the same thing.
“When we got there, they were already harboring several Muggleborns from your year,” Fred informed. “And seeing that it was too risky to use any houses used by the Order, the Creeveys were more than willing to offer their help.”
“They have enough supplies to last three months,” George said. “Once they need more, Colin will contact us.” He held up his DA coin and smiled. “Dumbledore’s Army back in action.”
“Colin sends his apologies that he can’t attend this year with you,” Fred said, “but he asked you to give the Carrows hell for him.”
I was impressed. Colin had come a long way from the hero-worshipping, annoying little boy. He was becoming a brave young man, displaying what it meant to be a true Gryffindor. It made me itch to be doing something, anything, for the Resistance
“What about Dean?” I asked, thinking of my ex-boyfriend.
“He wasn’t there,” Fred replied.
“His mum said he packed some things and ran,” George said. “Smart kid, knew exactly what this Act meant for him. Wish he would have stuck around an extra day. We could have used his help.”
“Did you find Delia?” I asked.
Fred and George nodded but didn’t answer. I could tell by their lack of informing me that something bad had happened to my former roommate.
“But she hasn’t used magic in over a year,” I exclaimed. “She left the school. She wanted to go back to her normal life. Why did they go after her?”
Softly, Fred replied, “She may not have been in school for awhile, but I wouldn’t be so sure about your other assumption.”
“We found her,” George said as delicately as he could, “with her wand right beside her.”
“From all evidence, she put up a good fight,” Fred explained. “There was a lot of blood, but it didn’t belong to her or her family. I’d hate to be the Death Eater she cursed.”
“She… she fought back?” I questioned.
“Looks like you rubbed off on her,” George said, grasping my hand to comfort me.
I would never get used to the feeling of grief and I prayed silently that I never would. It might hurt to have emotions but that’s what separated me from the scum that caused those emotions. An overwhelming desire to provide justice for my friend took control. Would this war ever end? Would Harry find a way?
I refused to cry, instead I let my insides take the brunt of the pain. “Have you found them?” I asked, knowing my brothers would understand who I meant.
“We didn’t,” Fred replied. “But Lupin just got back from Grimmauld Place and found them there.”
“I thought it wasn’t safe there,” I said with surprise.
“There are Death Eaters waiting on the street,” George explained. “Why Snape hasn’t revealed the secret yet is beyond me.”
“Maybe he’s feeling guilty?” Fred suggested.
“That greasy git?” George said.
“No,” I said. “Whatever it is, it’s not remorse.”
We stayed in silence for several minutes and I processed the information that had just been revealed to me. The war had started a long time ago but it was finally reaching into every aspect of my life.
Fred, without warning, waved his wand and a brightly wrapped box appeared on the table. The tag was marked with Happy Birthday, Ginny. Love, Fred and George.
“My birthday isn’t until next week,” I said although I hadn’t expected anything from anyone. There were far too many things to worry about other than my birthday.
George pushed the gift into my waiting hands. “We wanted to give it to you early,” he said.
“It’s not a very personal gift,” Fred explained, “but we thought you could use it for school.”
I unwrapped the paper to reveal a hand-carved wooden chest. I lifted up the cedar lid. Inside were about a dozen handheld mirrors. I picked one up and curiously studied my reflection.
“We developed a line of these for a July release,” George said. “They were supposed to be our big summer seller.”
“For obvious reasons, dear sister, we have indefinitely closed the doors to pursue more heroic goals.”
They each picked up a mirror of their own and chanted, “Speculum!”
With each statement, the mirrors had also proclaimed their words in unison. Fred handed his mirror and I saw the unmistakable image of George.
“Sorry, Ginny, I know I look a fright, but I haven’t had time to tidy up in ‘ear.” George grinned, pressing a palm against the place where his ear should have been.
“Two-way mirrors,” I whispered.
Fred and George each chanted, “Finite Speculum.” The mirrors returned to their normal mode. They placed the objects into the chest with the remainder of them.
“Instructions are in the bottom,” Fred said.
“Just in case?” I asked.
“No,” George replied. “You will need this.”
“Period,” Fred finished.
As August faded into oblivion and the news was revealed that Severus Snape would be the new Headmaster, I knew that it didn’t matter who I was or was not dating. As long as I stood against the most evil man in the Wizarding world and refused to respect Dumbledore’s murderer, I would not be safe. Harry’s desire for me to be protected was a reality that could not happen. We were both fools to think it would.
Stepping into King’s Cross on the first of September, I noted that the crowd was not as thick as it usually was. The Muggleborns were not present, I noticed, and each Slytherin that walked by me had an arrogant look on their faces.
I joined Neville and Luna, not saying a word, but letting a silent understanding pass between the three of us. I palmed the DA coin in my hand, pressing the serial numbers to alert any member that still possessed their coin that we had reformed. Slipping the galleon back into my pocket, I knew where my place would be in the destiny that was approaching fast.
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