Chapter 6 : Hedwig's Quill
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Her image of the new DA was very similar to the old one, that of Hermoine and Har-. She closed her eyes in anguish, biting back the memory of Harry. “Later,” she told herself. “He's got his duty, and I've got mine.” She pulled herself together and focussed on her task of eavesdropping on her neighbours. Much of their talk around her was unimportant to her, just friends catching up after a long summer, exchanging news and gossip:
"So how was your summer?"
"He didn't! Well that two timing..."
"... no, it was so embarrassing!"
"I can't believe that Josh Falconer went to the Magpies, they'll ruin him!"
“But how was I supposed to know that muggles have ways of flying as well?”
Now and then, however, other snippets of conversation reached Ginny’s ears that were of greater interest to her. To these she listened more intently:
"Where's Harry Potter? I hear the Daily Prophet have been saying that he was the one that murdered Dumbledore last year."
"My dad says You-Know-Who has got to be behind it."
"Rubbish, the Ministry has Aurors, Unspeakables even trolls I heard, there's no way He got in."
“He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in charge of the Ministry? Don’t be ridiculous! Things are tough and we’ve got to stick together and back our government.”
Ginny was pleased to see people discussing it, but precious few believed Harry's story. It was these believers that the DA should target first. She turned to find some peas to go with her meal. "Seamus, could you pass me the peas?” she asked. “They're to you left."
"Sure Ginny." He passed them over and continued his conversation with Neville. Ginny noticed that they were speaking in hushed tones and leant over to listen in. "Me Mam made him go, it just wasn't safe for him to stay around, not with Umbridge and her Registration Committee checking up on all Hogwarts students."
"But Seamus your Dad..."
"...is in hiding. It sucks, in fact it eats me up but until this war ends, I can't ever see him again." Seamus was doing his best to look determined, but the tears forming around his eyes told a different story.
"So where's he gone?" Neville asked.
"My Mam found him and his parents a place in Ireland, just outside Ennis in County Clare. She decided not to put Magical protection around it so as not to attract attention. I wish I could have found Dean, he ran off before I could get to him. He would have been safer if he could have hidden with my Dad, but then for Muggleborns nowhere is totally safe unless we fight back and win this war!"
"Well we are," Ginny spoke for the first time and the other two looked at her bewildered, unaware that she had been listening in.
"We're reforming the DA. We're going to do whatever we can to stop Snape and these Carrows from having an easy time here."
"But what can we do?" Ginny was surprised to hear Neville this time sounding defeatist. She had thought that she had persuaded him on the train, but it seemed that he still needed a bit of convincing.
"We can disrupt, we can irritate, we can annoy." Ginny was looking at each boy in turn as she spoke, where eyes flaming with a glint that none had seen before. "We will recruit members and do all those things. We'll be like Fred and George but on a bigger scale. We can teach the kids that muggles are not the slaves of wizards; that Harry Potter is not a murderer; that Vol-," she was still not ready to say his name, not like Harry. She shuddered again, just thinking about him brought pangs of worry and sadness to her heart. "That He is in control and we must do everything in our power to stop him. That is what we must do Neville."
"Ok," Seamus looked awed by Ginny's speech, "to do that then we're gonna need a lot more members. A lot of people have left since Fifth Year. Who do we have?"
"To tell the truth Seamus, I don't know totally yet." Ginny got out her notebook," I guess that Ernie, Justin, Colin and Lavender will be up for it," she said, looking at her list." As for the rest of the old guard, I don't know. A few like the Patils have pulled out of school, we've a few have finished school like Cho Chang and Cormac McLaggen. As for Zacharius Smith, Michael Corner and their friends, well I don't know. Of course there's us three and Luna too."
“No the Patils are back,” Neville said, pointing at a pretty girl with long dark hair at the opposite end of the table. “Remember, attendance at Hogwarts was made compulsory and they are pure-bloods after all so they had to come back.”
"So at the moment, as I understand it, you have 8, possibly a few more but certainly no more than 15, teenagers pitted against Snape, the Carrows and well Him." Seamus looked incredulous, "We'll be crushed like flies."
"I never said it was going to be easy."
Once the feast was over, everyone stood up and headed towards their respective common rooms. Ron and Hermione had not been replaced by any new seventh year prefects, and so it was the new sixth year prefects that led the way. Ginny and Neville helped them along, but it took a while to organise everyone and escort them all the way to Gryffindor Tower. The sole new first year Drew Organa was bouncing around like a rubber ball, hardly believing that he was in Gryffindor. Neville and Ginny could both hear him babbling on about how he had dreamed of being a Gryffindor ever since he had first heard the stories about Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter.
The Common Room for the returning students was a welcome relief. One could not help feeling relaxed and at home in the Gryffindor Common Room with its roaring fire, its squashy armchairs and warm red and gold furnishings. Neville and Ginny took two of the seats nearest the corner and Ginny shared those whom she thought would be good candidates for Dumbledore's Army.
"Apart from Ernie, Justin, Colin, Lavender and us three, I think we should ask Michael Corner, Zacharias Smith, Demelza Robins, Terry Boot, the Patils, Tony Goldstien and Susan Bones as a start. They were in last time, and hopefully will come back. After that we should try and expand, but we need a solid base of core members. That way when new people come there will be lots of familiar people which would build a friendly atmosphere." She went on like this for a little while, thinking about other possible people, and what they should do. Neville was just shocked that she had been so alert at dinner. All he had been concerned about was eating and catching up and he could not help feeling slightly inadequate in the presence of such obviously good leadership.
After about twenty minutes Neville and Ginny had brainstormed many more names of people that they thought could be suitable Dumbledore’s Army members, including some possible lesson plans for the coming year. Realising that they had not noted any of it down, Ginny excused herself from Neville in order to get a quill and parchment from her trunk.
She went up the familiar stairs slowly, running her fingers along the stone spiralling walls as she always did. The steady and uniform masonry had always been comforting to her, and it guided her up to her dormitory. It was empty when she entered and she took in its familiar surroundings: the four poster beds, the window overlooking the lake and the red and gold curtains and decor giving it a feeling of homely warmth.
She went over to the foot of her bed where her trunk lay and rummaged around inside for a quill, ink and parchment. She retrieved the latter two, the ink in her favourite shade of emerald green. She rummaged further and pulled out her favourite quill and stopped dead. It was a snowy white quill, a gift from Harry for her fifteenth birthday. They hadn't even been going out then, but she had treasured the quill ever since as it had been so thoughtful.
Ginny loved remembering the story of this quill. Harry had forgotten her birthday that year, too preoccupied with other things as usual. It had been on one of Harry’s frequent visits to the Weasley’s home and so when he came downstairs at the Burrow, it had been a shock to find all the presents lying in the living room for her. His face had been a picture, red as the drapes in the Gryffindor Common Room. So she had pretended to be really angry at him, and demanded a present from him. Harry had apparently, according to Ron, come bursting into their room, snatched up a Owl Order catalogue and feverishly searched for something but couldn’t find anything suitable. Eventually he walked over to Hedwig, who was screeching, to give her a treat, and saw a feather on the cage floor. He had carefully sharpened it and given it to her, apologising profusely.
It wasn't the biggest, or the best quill, but it reminded Ginny of Harry, of her love of him, the love she had felt for as long as she had known who he was, although at first she had not known those feelings had meant.
These memories were too hard for Ginny to bear. She collapsed against her four-poster bed, tears streaking down her face. Ginny never cried, having six brothers had made her tough. She hadn’t cried when Harry had broken up with her, she hadn’t cried when, after the Death Eater attack on Bill and Fleur’s wedding had ended, they had found Harry and the other two missing. Now, however, she cried, face scrunched up and red matching her hair which was now obscuring her deep brown eyes
Ginny looked up, and saw Demelza Robins staring at her, barely concealed surprise etched on her face. Ginny took one look at her and ran out of the room, knocking Demelza down, who fell with a small shout, and ran down the stairs two at a time. Three steps from the bottom she tripped, falling hard on the red carpet, bouncing her head off the floor with a horrible thud.
Neville jumped out of his chair and ran over to her and asked, "Ginny, are you alright?" He moved to help her up, but she already was getting to her feet and began to sprint towards the portrait hole, but Neville blocker her way.
"Get out of my way Neville!" She went to dodge him, but he blocked her progress. She fainted left and moved right, but Neville was wise to that.
“Ginny please, what’s wrong?”
“Get out of my way!”
She went to pull out her wand, but Neville pinned her hands to her side.
"Ginny! Ginny! Please calm down, what’s the matter? Please tell me!"
He shook her slightly, but in doing so lost control of her left hand which swiped him aside, and she ran out of the portrait hole, and out of sight.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Castle, the Ravenclaw prefects had just managed to finally escort everyone up to the common room. One of the first years had wandered off from the main group and got lost which had delayed them for quite some time. Michael Corner and Luna had finally found her and escorted her into the domed Ravenclaw Common Room. The room resembled the Gryffindor Common Room in many ways, except the hangings were blue, and the domed ceiling was covered in stars. The statue of Rowena Ravenclaw situated prominently in the room always aroused the attention of new students, and this year was no exception.
Jess went up to Luna, and pointed at the statue. "Who is that?"
Luna looked at Jess kindly. Normally first years got some details of the character of their house and their founding fathers from the song of the Sorting Hat, but that, of course had been lacking this year. "That is Rowena Ravenclaw, the founder of our house, and one of the most brilliant witches of all time." Luna looked proudly at the beautiful woman idolised in stone, a diadem placed prominently on her head. "She symbolises what it means to be a Ravenclaw: wit, intelligence, logic and beauty."
"But I'm not intelligent, I don't know any magic!" Jess looked terrified at the prospect of possibly not fitting into the house the Hat had assigned her. “My parents are both just ordinary people. My mother is a secretary and my dad is a taxi driver. That man already tried to stop me getting here on the platform, now I’m here and everyone is talking about how much magic they already know and I know nothing!”
"Magic is inherent, its inside you.” Luna said kindly. She thought about mentioning the merpegs, which infest certain muggle embryos when young which helped give them special magical powers, but thought against it. Enough full grown wizards had been confuse about those when her Dad had written about them in the Quibbler, best keep it simple.
“It doesn’t matter how much you knew before you come here. Some of the best witches and wizards started their lives in Hogwarts knowing absolutely nothing. The magic you will learn here is far beyond what they all could have learned at home, all you need is diligence.”
“But I was always bottom of my class at my primary school, here it’ll be the same.”
“Magic is different,” Luna continued patiently. Magical intelligence is very different.
“No buts. The Hat is never wrong, if you were chosen as a Ravenclaw, you will be brilliant."
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