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Chapter 10 : Ginny's Favourite Bit
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Ginny’s favourite bit.
During the rest of the week Harry’s lessons went well and he had managed to pass his Apparition test at the first attempt. Dennis was a changed person almost back to his enthusiastic self. Word had, of course, spread round the school that Professor Potter had helped him. By Friday and the day of the first Cabinet meeting only the older Slytheryn’s were still voicing the opinion that Harry was to blame for the deaths. Professor Slughorn, as head of house had tried to get to the bottom of why his students were so reluctant to listen to another view of the events, but to no avail. Perhaps the memories were just to raw as yet, time would tell.
Kingsley and a group of ministry officials arrived just after breakfast for the meeting including Mr. Weasley who greeted Harry and Ginny in the entrance hall. He had some papers for Ginny in his hand from Mrs. Weasley; she put them in her bag and joined Hagrid. She was being his class assistant whilst the cabinet was meeting, she was looking forward to it, and looking forward to meeting Harry‘s Hippogriff Buckbeak properly. Hagrid was going to be using him in one lesson today. Harry was meeting her afterwards, to go back to Grimmauld place for the weekend; Lee was to arrive at ten the next morning for the interview.
The arrival of so many ministry officials caused quite a stir amongst the students. Many having theories that either the ministry was again interfering in Hogwarts or as some thought they were here to open a new Triwizard tournament despite it being near the end of the school year. This latter was quickly becoming the most popular rumour in the Great Hall, where many students were just finishing breakfast. Some remembered the last contest and were excited at the possibility that the contest would be here again. Of course non guessed that the real reason was simply a meeting of the Ministers new Cabinet as Luna had told them, She might be a hero but she was still odd in most students opinions.
Harry, Neville, Ron and Hermione were nervous as they entered the headmistress’s office for the cabinet five minutes later. Kingsley was waiting for them at the top of the spiral staircase.
“Morning you four,” he smiled reassuringly, “I thought I’d wait for you here, it’s all a bit intimidating isn’t it. Remember you are full members of this cabinet you are entitled to speak and vote don’t let those who are more used to it bully you, you aren’t the only new ones either ok. Ready?”
They nodded and Kingsley led them in. Five chairs were free, Kingsley took the centre one and indicated that they should sit either side of him. Then started the meeting,
“Welcome everyone to Hogwarts for our first Cabinet meeting.” Kingsley began. “We have a number of new faces I think you all know Arthur who is new head of Muggle relations, and Minerva who is head of this school and of Magical education, thank you Minerva for allowing us to meet here. We also have my new advisors in attendance, their brief is wide ranging and eventually they will be visiting your departments and my own on fact finding tours from which they will make further suggestions on reform. They are sat either side of me, Professors, Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Do not let their youth fool you, ladies and gentlemen, they are full members of the cabinet as you are and they each bring some valuable experience and views with them and have already proved their worth to the Wizangamot. Right we shall start with departmental reports, please introduce yourself before your report, which by the way to save time must be written and submitted ahead of the meeting in future.”
Each department reported its activities, it was clear that each was pitching the positive to the minister but across the board recruitment was needed. The department of the regulation of magical creatures got Hermione’s interest.
“Minister” She said “I believe we are missing an important trick here. In the past we have caused great resentment amongst those creatures of equal or higher intelligence to our own such as Centaurs, Elves and Goblins, by imposing our rules and restrictions on them. I think we need to be engaging these creatures in the process of reform and taking their views into account even employing them within the department thereby making the reforms inclusive, can I ask why no steps have been taken towards this.”
Some round the table chuckled Kingsley quelled them with a look “Well why haven’t we?” he asked
A short fattish wizard replied “ Well minister we have never had beasts in the ministry, think of the problems. They need regulating not including as the young girl proposes, there are non of equal or higher intelligence as she suggests such attitudes are the whim of fairy tales and the like.”
Hermione bristled at the young Girl comment but was calm as she replied “With respect to the Gentleman his attitude is precisely why we make no progress in this area, it causes resentment towards wizard kind and divides our community along species lines, and this weakens our community as recent events have shown. This is precisely why we need to include them in reforms of our laws and engage our entire community in the process.”
“Well put Professor” said Kingsley, “I think we have need here for a report on how what you suggest can be implemented. I think you and the head of department should get together and agree this report and progress this.”
The witch who had given the departments report smiled and nodded.
The meeting progressed slowly Neville, Ron, Harry and Hermione made suggestions in nearly all areas. Gradually nearly all the older wizards began to see that they were in fact helpful suggestions and began welcoming them. Kingsley closed the meeting after two hours.
“Right I think that was very productive, I hope you all agree and can see I am open to new ideas. Remember written reports next time but we shall not be holding a full cabinet for a while. Instead because of the amount of work we have to simply restore our systems never mind introduce new ideas and policies, I shall call only a few heads to attend each week. This will be on a rota basis over the next six weeks. We will then be able to concentrate on the work of those departments, In the meantime if any matters of urgency arise please notify me and they can be included in the agenda. Next week will be Creatures, Muggles, Education and Finance please. We shall meet in the afternoon, Creatures to meet with my advisors in the morning please. Thank you for your attendance everyone.”
Most of the wizards left, chatting as they went, the fat wizard remained to talk privately with a colleague, Kingsley, Mr. Weasley and Minerva came over to the four.
“Well done all of you, you handled that excellently I think most of them now have a respect for you by the looks of it. How are you settling in your new roles here?” asked Kingsley.
“Ok I think.” Ron said
“They are doing well in the circumstances minister.” said Minerva
“And the situation we discussed?” Kingsley queried
“Settling down thanks to Harry, minister just Slytheryn house to worry about now” She replied.
“Well I must go, see you all next week” the minister was stopped by the fat wizard who kept glancing up at Harry.
Mr Weasley told Harry he was taking him and Ginny to lunch in Hogsmeade to discuss the papers Mrs. Weasley had asked him to pass on “I’m afraid Molly might be getting ahead of herself Harry I want to help you calm her down ok?” he added.
“Thanks Mr. Weasley.” Harry smiled and they turned to leave.
“Could you wait a moment Harry, Arthur you might want to stay too.” called Minerva as the fat wizard finally let Kingsley go, he looked back at Harry, a smirk on his face, then left.
Harry frowned, he hadn‘t liked that smirk.
“Harry,” Minerva called bringing Harry from his thoughts. “The governors have insisted that the four of you plus Ginny and Luna are given these.”
The Headmistress handed them a piece of parchment each. “They are First class NEWTs in defence against the dark arts. They reason that no examiner could test you more than you all ready have been and what you have done is beyond the requirements of the exams anyway. I have certificates for Luna and Ginny, I will come down with Ginny’s in a moment, Luna is to receive hers this afternoon. They will be the youngest students to achieve a Newt in the subject. Congratulations to you all.”
“Bloody hell” said the stunned Ron
“Yes I think that’s what I said at the time too Professor Weasley” grinned the Headmistress.
“Right, I’ll see you this evening, except of course you Harry, shall we go and give Ginny the good news?”
They left the office and parted ways, Professor McGonagall was side tracked by Professor Flitwick, “I’ll see you at Hagrid’s don’t tell Ginny until I get there ok” she called.
As they walked Mr Weasley told Harry that Molly wanted Ginny and he to come to the burrow for Sunday tea hence the need to talk to them today.
“Well it would be good to come to the Burrow,” said Harry “we may need cheering up after Colin’s funeral” and he told Mr. Weasley the plans for the weekend.
They reached Hagrid’s as Ginny was helping the third year class. She was holding Buckbeak, Harry’s Hippogriff although the class was using his other name Witherwings. Since Harry’s third year they had used Buckbeak’s pseudonym to protect the Hippogriff. The creature had been sentenced to death after Malfoy had been attacked by him when the Slytheryn had ignored safety instructions. Buckbeak saw Harry and bowed, the class were amazed, Harry and Arthur bowed back and the Hippogriff walked to him.
“Sorry Hagrid” said Harry as he led the Hippogriff back to the class.
“It’s all right Harry It’s the first time he’s let anyone but Ginny near him all lesson.”
“Try again in a moment” Harry whispered. He led Ginny to Hagrid’s hut and told her to stay out of sight.
A boy nervously bowed to Buckbeak who bowed back then allowed the boy under Hagrid’s guidance to ride him.
After class was over Ginny was allowed back out, Buckbeak immediately walked over to her and nuzzled her.
Mr. Weasley and Hagrid ware amazed.
“I’ve never seen anythin’ like it said Hagrid, “no bowin’ or anythin’ just straight to ye Ginny.”
“That’s my Ginny” laughed Harry.
While Hagrid took Buckbeak to his stable Professor McGonagall arrived and gave Ginny her NEWT certificate.
“Thanks professor” Ginny stammered.
The headmistress smiled, “You will have to work for the others Ginny but going by your OWLs that won’t be much of a problem. Right I had better find Miss. Lovegood, have a good weekend you two.” she waved and left to find Luna.
Ginny fetched her bag from the hut, put Harry's and her scrolls in it then they all said goodbye to Hagrid, then she Harry and her father set off across the grounds towards the gate and Lunch at the Three Broomsticks. It was a beautiful day, very little cloud in the sky, as they walked chatting about Buckbeak and the interview the next day. They reached the gate which opened for them and they passed through and on to the forest lined lane to Hogsmeade. Harry felt the hairs on the back of Harry’s neck rise, usually a warning of danger but this was a familiar route. It was true much had happened on this wooded road in the last couple of years and Harry thought that it must be residue from those events combined with the enclosed feeling of the tree's on either side. He dismissed the feeling, but fell quiet as his senses became alert.
He relaxed slightly when they saw the village sign, they were almost there and off the lane. A flash of green light shot from behind them narrowly missed Ginny’s shoulder. They all reacted quickly before another flash followed.
“Take cover” yelled Mr. Weasley another curse flew over their heads quickly followed by another. As Mr Weasley dived behind a large boulder as the second curse hit the road on the spot they where they had been standing. Harry pulled Ginny behind a tree, they had all drawn their wands out ready.
Mr. Weasley sent two Patronus, one to Hogsmeade and one towards the school.
“Come out you murderer” a voice shouted from the trees
Harry glanced up and down the lane; it was empty so he kept an eye on the trees in the direction the voice had come from. The noise of feet rushing towards them from behind him made him whip round. A crowd of villagers were approaching, he recognised Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, leading the way. The inn keeper nodded briefly to Harry who relaxed a little, they were not the attackers. The villagers slowed and started to creep towards him as they approached.
“Harry Potter you murdering scum, show yourself, we’re not letting you spoil our plan or your ideas interfere at the ministry, come and get what you deserve.”
Harry recognised the voice, it was the fat wizard from the cabinet meeting, so that’s why he hung around after the meeting. It also explained the smirk he had given Harry before leaving. The wizard knew he could get at Harry, he had overheard the conversation with Arthur in the office.
“You stopped my Master but now we have a new leader who wants you dead. Come on you coward it’s inevitable we’ll get you, you can’t hide forever.” the wizard shouted.
“Now then Potter,” Aberforth greeted him,” We got the message has another gone to the school?” Harry nodded.
As he did Hagrid and most of the staff appeared at the other end of the lane and stopped. The villagers spread out into the trees on either side of the road and moved forwards, the teachers did the same.
“Stay there “Mr. Weasley mouthed as they waited listening and watching for their assailants in the trees.
Suddenly Curses were flying from the trees as the attackers were flushed out.
“There are three of them” a voice shouted, as three men emerged backwards onto the lane firing curses into the trees, a villager fell injured. The fight was fierce as the trees were illuminated by the curses and spells.
More villagers fell and one of the men charged towards Harry and Ginny wild eyed, roaring and wildly firing curses. They both took aim.
“Expelliarmus” yelled Ginny and the man’s wand flew from his hand.
He leapt for his wand as Harry’s stunning spell hit him; the man began to fall towards them.
“Levicorpus” Harry bellowed. The man hovered above their heads as Ginny caught his wand.
The fight still raged in the lane, though the attackers were loosing, the fat wizard spotted Harry. “Sectumsempra” He bellowed aiming at Harry.
Harry and Ginny dived for cover and Harry felt pain as the curse grazed him, and he rolled behind a clump of trees with Ginny.
“Harry” Ginny screamed at the sight of his wound.
Moments later the teachers and villagers finally subdued the attackers and Madam Pomfrey and the village healer rushed and knelt by Harry.
“Well Potter you might be a teacher but you still like to give me work.” Smiled Madam Pomfrey, as Harry blacked out.
“He’ll be fine, it won’t even scar” Harry heard the voice as if it was in the distance.
He opened his eyes slowly, he still had his glasses on at least, he was in a small room laid on a bed. The white walls with medical posters on them and height of the bed told him he must be at the village healers, but he still asked “Where am I?” In a croaky voice.
“It’s ok Harry we are at the village healers surgery my love,” Ginny’s voice was reassuring as she handed him a glass of water and he took a sip.
“Nice to meet you Mr. Potter,” The healer smiled.. “My name is Archie; we brought you here rather than the school because it was closer. How do you feel?”
Harry pulled himself up “Fine now a bit weak though. What happened?”
“You were hit by Sectumsempra but only a glancing blow. You’ve lost a lot of blood but the wound is repaired. Here drink this, it will help replace the blood you lost.”
Harry took the bright red potion and drank. He immediately began to feel better and managed to sit up on the bed.
“How long was I out?” he asked.
Ginny put her hand on his leg “About an hour love, I’m not surprised though the size of the wound.”
Madam Pomfrey bustled in, “Well Archie how’s my favourite patient?”
“He’s ok Poppy” Laughed Archie, “he’s come round and had his potion, wounds all fixed. He will be anaemic for a while and probably feel a bit weak and tire easily but he’ll be back to his usual self in no time. Take it easy for a week or so Mr. Potter, let this wonderful girl look after you, Ginny has never left your side you lucky man.” He grinned and winked then left. Hagrid and Mr. Weasley came through the door as Archie was leaving, Mr Weasley was rubbing his arm and flexing it as if testing it was working.
“Good work Poppy that feels a lot better. Typical of me, their curses miss and I slash my arm open on the boulder I took cover behind.” He grinned.
“You’ll be fine Arthur, sorry you had to wait but we had to treat the ones more seriously injured first.” Madam Pomfrey said as she fussed around Harry checking his temperature and pulse.
“Ok Harry” said Hagrid. Harry nodded the thermometer still in his mouth. Madam Pomfrey removed it and checked the reading.
“How’s everyone?” Harry asked.
“Two in St Mungo‘s, the rest minor injuries and three more for Azkaban including Romulus from the department of justice, the fool. Molly’s panicking about you so once your ready we had better get you to the Burrow and calm her down ok” Mr. Weasley grinned. “Hagrid would you let them know up at the school?”
“Course Arthur, I’d better get up their actually next lesson soon. See ye soon Harry mate.”
“Thank them all will you Hagrid” called Harry.
Hagrid nodded and left just as Ron and Hermione arrived.
“You all right Harry? We just heard what happened?” Hermione looked worried.
“Fine now Hermione. Can‘t even go for a stroll without something happening though can I.” He grinned reassuring them.
“Where did they get you then mate” Grinned Ron.
Ginny suddenly burst into tears “My favourite bit of him.” she sobbed.
Hermione started to giggle. Ron looked puzzled.
“His bum” Ginny finished
“Just like her mother.” muttered Mr. Weasley wistfully shaking his head as Ron fell about laughing.
When they arrived at the Burrow Mrs. Weasley was in tears as she hugged them. “Can’t they leave you alone, let you get on with your life.” she sobbed obviously angry about the attack. “It’s so unfair after all you have been through. If I got my hands on them...” she left her final thought unfinished.
She sat them all in the living room and fussed around making some sandwiches for lunch, as she brought them through and they tucked in she said “ I’ve let Percy know so he’s not expecting you tonight, you are both staying here, you can go home tomorrow.” it was not a request. ”He’ll tell Kreacher.”
There was a pop and Kreacher appeared “Master, Mistress are you both all right. I shouldn’t have left you, I have let you down.”
Harry stopped him from grabbing something to hit himself with. “Kreacher you are not to punish yourself it wasn't your fault. You haven’t let us down and we are fine. I take it Percy told you.”
“He did master. Now how can I help you?”
Mrs. Weasley glowered at Kreacher.
Harry saw the look on Mrs. Weasley’s face.“Er. I think you had better go back to the house Kreacher we will be back in the morning, Lee Jordan will arrive about ten o'clock for the interview at eleven so could you get the drawing room ready for that and let him in in the morning. In the meantime look after Percy and get things ready for us there ok.”
“Certainly master” he croaked, bowed and with a pop was gone.
“Thank you Harry,” Mrs. Weasley smiled “I love having Kreacher around at times, but it’s my turn to look after you two tonight. Ginny you need to get your room ready this afternoon.”
“Why? what’s wrong with it?” Ginny asked
“Well I assume you will want to look after Harry tonight dear and there’s only one bed, move the spare from Georges old room Ok.”
Ginny looked amazed “Thanks mum. Are you sure?”
“Yes love, if you push the beds together it’s more comfortable you’ll find some clean linen to put over them both on our shelf in the cupboard”
Ginny finished her sandwich and ran up stairs.
Mrs. Weasley took the plates through to the kitchen
“Well Harry I never cease to be amazed by Molly” He grinned and winked then leaned to Harry, “But don’t forget she’s plotting something for you two.”
Mrs. Weasley returned with some drinks as Ginny came back in.
“All ready” Ginny said.
“That was quick love” grinned Harry taking a long swig of his drink he knew Ginny had moved quickly worried her mum would change her mind about the sleeping arrangements.
“We Weasley women don’t hang about you know, especially when highly motivated in the the reasons for the task” said Ginny grinning, snuggled up to him and whispered “Besides I'm not going to give her chance to change her mind.”
“Speaking of not hanging about.” Mrs. Weasley began “did you get a chance to look at those papers I sent you?”
“No mum not yet,” replied Ginny.
“Oh well I’ll tell you about them, its plans for your wedding.”
“Molly stop.” Mr Weasley said firmly, “Give them a chance, they have only been back together a couple of weeks, and even if Harry weren't injured now is not the time. I know they are perfect for each other but they don’t need any pressure from anyone to move faster than they want, they will decide if and when they get married dear, just let them do it in their time not yours.”
“It’s only ideas for when they do decide Arthur.” Mrs. Weasley was a little crest fallen.
“Mum if all your ideas are in those parchments let Harry and I look at them at our leisure and let you know ok. If you want to arrange a celebration then how about a joint party for Harry’s and my birthday, its Teddy’s naming on Harry’s so we can’t have a party on the day for him.”
“Good idea Ginny we can hold it on your birthday though love You are coming of age this year so it‘s only right to celebrate that properly.” said Harry catching on to the diversionary plan.
“Great idea,” Mrs. Weasley perked up “Ok and you can let me know what you think of the rest when you get back in the summer.”
This had not quite gone to Ginny’s plan but as Mrs. Weasley then started coming up with ideas for the party they had at least deflected talk of weddings.. They spent the rest of the afternoon in the Garden talking over the ideas, but at sunset they went indoors and Mrs. Weasley started on Dinner.
After the meal Ginny snuggled up to Harry. The discussion returned to the party or at least Molly and Ginny discussed it. After half an hour of them sitting listening to them Arthur leant over to Harry .
“You do realise you aren’t going to get a say in this don’t you son. When those two get together just go with the flow it’s easier.”
“Yes Mr. Weasley I’ve got that idea.”
“Goes with the Weasley name I’m afraid son, half the attraction though isn’t it.”
They both chuckled and clinked their glasses together, smiling.
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