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Memory Dust by shadowycorner
Chapter 7 : As If By Magic
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 74

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Memory Dust

Chapter Seven: As If By Magic

Opening his eyes grudgingly, Ron looked around, squinting, and sat up slowly. It took him a few moments to realize where he was since his surroundings didn’t look much like his shabby flat. Finally it hit him and instinctively he turned his head around. Hermione was still sleeping with her hair sprawled all over her pillow, her breathing soft and regular.

Unable to take his eyes off of her, Ron wondered, being quite honest with himself, whether he had feelings for this woman. She definitely did strange things to him – making him feel things he had never felt before, things he longed to feel. It was starting to get harder and harder, though, telling the difference between what he should or should not be feeling. He remembered that she was engaged to someone who was probably better than him in everything. And he remembered Chelsea.

Rubbing his eyes and sighing into the quiet morning, Ron slid out of bed and went to get himself a glass of water. He had promised to return, Chelsea was probably waiting for him patiently, maybe even lovingly. The kiss still resonated in his mind strongly, making him turn away from Hermione the moment it entered his thoughts.

Chelsea was now the only thing still binding him to his life in Edinburgh. Living in that city for as long as he could remember, ever since graduating he couldn’t remember having much of a life. There was his childhood and adolescence before, but it felt boring and insignificant whenever he thought of it. And then the same gap Hermione spoke of between that phase of life and the present. As if one day he just woke up a different person living someone else’s life. Living a lonely life, Ron always missed a family and close friends. Strangely, he never really had them. But that had never troubled him when he was younger, for he was an only child and so his life had always been devoid of large family gatherings and such. At the same time, he longed for it immensely.

Leaning against the door of the bathroom, Ron thought that he would give anything to discover something that would give meaning to his lackluster life. Glancing at Hermione again, he wondered vaguely whether she wanted it as much as he did. Sure, there was the drive in her for discovering all that was hidden. That always managed to amuse him greatly, the way she pondered every little thing and was never satisfied with the given information unless it was complete.

But had she really been as hungry for a change? After all, she had a wonderful life and she seemed to enjoy it. Even if it was hard to admit, somewhere deep in his heart Ron wondered wildly whether she would become a part of his life eventually. The thought of finding something and then parting made him feel somewhat empty. He just wasn’t sure whether things were set and done…would she stay?

Gone were the days when Diagon Alley was lacking life and people, its windows barred and shops closed. It was alive as ever with the tinkling of opening and closing doors ringing through the crowds of bustling people. The sun shone pleasantly, and people shopped and chattered.

All thanks to him - a simple man with black messy hair and very poor eyesight. Witches and wizards greeted him as they passed him while little children stared at him in awe, not yet understanding why they looked up to him. All this attention still made the man feel uneasy. He thought he'd never get used to it. Nonetheless, he acknowledged all the pleasant greetings with a smile and a bow of his head.

Glimpsing their faces and the world around him made Harry Potter sure that peace in the Wizarding World was finally settled. 

The time of reconstructing the Wizarding Society was over what with the re-established and improved wizard cooperation and de-corrupted Ministry. It had taken a lot of effort and energy, but the results were finally blooming into shape and the balance in the world filled Harry with joy. That joy was only tarnished by the fact that two of his friends who had worked so hard for this achievement were gone.

Passing Flourish and Blotts, Harry remembered, upon spotting all the books, Hermione’s unfinished folders at the Ministry about house-elf rights and her many essays on equality between all magical beings. A man passing him by dressed in violently orange robes sporting a picture of the Chudley Cannons reminded him of Ron and his undying support of the team that never failed to perform pathetically in the national league.

Ginny’s ghosts were haunting him at every step. All her illusions and phantoms were viciously after him, because they were also his own. Sometimes Harry felt like a traitor for trying to move on, but hadn’t he been the one to understand death and its rules?

But what if Ginny was right, what if they weren’t dead?

Shaking his head, Harry smiled sadly to himself as he walked on toward the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny’s determination and enthusiasm really was infectious, but in all honesty, it did him no good. Thankfully, she hadn’t mentioned the subject again since their heated argument, and Harry was glad.

All the effort Ginny put into not bothering him with it made him love her even more. Although Harry had to admit to himself that from time to time he missed her endless reminiscing about Ron and Hermione.

Without realizing it, Harry reached the brick wall. People were passing through it, so he just slipped inside without having to take his wand out.

“Hey there, Mr. P!” the waitress called after him cheerily, batting her eyelashes and smiling a large smile.

Grinning back awkwardly, Harry’s eyes immediately landed on a hunched man walking toward him. He was limping slightly, leaning on a stick. Looking up at Harry, the old man revealed a rather ugly face with warts of all shapes and sizes upon his nose. The look in his warm eyes, however, made up for this unprepossessing appearance.

“Hello, Mr. Potter, it’s so very great to see you,” he said and stuck out a hand for Harry to shake through his long white beard.

“And you too, sir.”

“Just call me Ludwig,” the older man said and smiled a toothless smile. “How is your friend George doing? Still having those weird dreams resulting in walking naked around Diagon Alley?”

Chuckling, Harry shook his head. “I have to say, after the sessions with you it is getting better. I saw him just a minute ago and he seemed as unabashed as ever.”

“Of course, of course. He didn’t look very troubled by that fact at all. Said there’s nothing wrong with exposing one’s privates if they look as lovely as his do. He was only disturbed by the dreams that made him feel exhausted.”

“At least he’s finally smiling. You know, it was problematic, getting him to not give up on the shop and life after losing…” Harry’s voice trailed off as the sudden lump in his throat didn’t let him speak those words.

Nodding slowly, understanding in his eyes, Ludwig smiled kindly. “Yes, the loss of another brother was tough for him. But with family and friends that stay close to him, it’s not as difficult to move on. And besides, we all know that those who are gone are always very close, in a way.”

Clapping him on the shoulder gently with his walking stick, Ludwig kept smiling and Harry felt thankful for this brief, but all the more deep chat in the middle of the Leaky Cauldron. And perhaps Ludwig Steiner was right. The departed are always close.
The very notion made Harry’s head spin for just a second as he thought of how Hermione and Ron might be very close that moment, maybe drinking coffee and waiting for him to join them for a late lunch. Automatically, he almost felt the need to turn his head around, expecting to see them smiling somewhere close.

Sighing, Harry looked at the little man and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Thank you, Ludwig.”

“Anytime, Mr. Potter, anytime. If ever there is another family member with psychological problems, you know where to find me. It’d be good for the business.” He chuckled wholeheartedly.

“Sure, I’ll remember that. Bye then.”

Ludwig let Harry pass him by toward the exit.

Harry walked out of the pub almost deliberately without looking anywhere but in front of himself.

Feeling the warmth of the sun peering through the curtains and smelling something delicious in the air, Hermione opened her eyes. Sitting up and stretching her back, she ran a hand through the tangle that was now her hair.

“’ood mo’nin’!”

Startled by the muffled sound, Hermione’s eyes darted to the small conference table set in the corner of the room. There was Ron, literally stuffing his face with bacon and toast at the same time, a tray full of food in front of him. Rolling her eyes, Hermione noticed another tray was there as well. “’ow did you sleep?”

“Could you please not talk with your mouth full?” she asked as she got off the bed and sat opposite him.

Right as she said it, though, Hermione herself went red in the face. She was in no place to be bossy around him.

Ron gulped, and looked at Hermione sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t really want to say it.”

“Oh, go ahead. It’s not a very nice habit, I guess.”

Cracking a smile, Hermione averted her gaze and went back to her food. Sure enough, Ron was so lively that morning he kept on talking and talking, with his mouth full, but Hermione now felt closer to laughter than actual irritation.

After they were done with breakfast, fully dressed and well-rested, Ron paced up and down the room, turning to Hermione,

“Okay, so, we’re in London. What do we do now?”

That seemed to be a very good question. Hermione was looking at Ron deeply, her face fixed into a thoughtful frown. “I don’t really see a way of finding my supposed sister and brother-in-law. The best start would be to check the records . Maybe that way we will be able to find someone, some distant family. Perhaps they will know something. Or maybe we can find our own names

“What if we don’t? For all you know, we might’ve never been in London until now. Maybe only those two moved here after leaving you at your flat.”

“I know. Still it’s worth a try.”

“Okay. I just wonder what will be the next thing we’ll try if this fails….”

“I haven’t figured that out yet, but there’s always room for improvisation,” Hermione smiled nervously.

“I don’t know what else we could do. I mean, we have no other information about the people that brought me to my flat. They might as well be dead or living in another city. No names similar to ours in the registry, absolutely no record. The City Hall has no records, nothing in the telephone books. This was a stupid idea. How could we come to London so empty-handed? Two days of searching and still nothing!” Hermione exclaimed in a shrill voice, not bothered that she was bumping into people passing her on the street. “It seems to me as if our names were hidden on purpose!”

“Come on, Hermione, we might try looking a bit more. I mean, something might just fall down into our laps. You know, appear out of nowhere,” Ron replied, but he himself didn’t believe this statement very much. He was wearing a cap over his red hair, fixing it so that it would shield his eyes from the bright sunlight.

“Things like this do not just find their way into our laps, Ron,” she sighed. “Maybe we should visit the library, we haven’t been there yet.”

“What for? The library will have nothing more than what we already checked.”

“That’s not true,” Hermione said indignantly. “The library has old newspapers, we can search through those. You can always find something useful in the library.”

“Always going to the library,” Ron said, rolling his eyes in between. “That won’t always give you an answer for everything.”

“How do you know I always go to the library?”

Shrugging, Ron gave Hermione a meaningful look. “I seem to just know it.”

“Well then, I’m sure there will be something useful. Two days, but no matter, this takes time,” she said, more to herself then to Ron, pacing steadily forward, holding her chin in her fingers thoughtfully. “We just have to remain patient, oh how I hate being patient in these things!”

“Okay, whatever you say. Let’s forget this and eat something. I’m hungry.”

“Again?” Hermione asked and followed him down the street. After the heavy English breakfast, Ron had treated himself with a hamburger and a sandwich already.

Ron craned his neck to look for the nearest food place. Once he spotted something, he smiled to himself excitedly and headed toward a very shadowy looking pub. Hermione thought that hadn’t Ron pointed toward it, she wouldn’t have noticed it at all.

Hunger does wonders, Hermione thought to herself with a smile as she followed him inside.

“The Leaky Cauldron? What a funny name,” Ron chuckled, pushing the door open with a loud creak. They appeared in a dark little hall that led to a large room. Expecting an empty and gloomy place, it surprised Ron and Hermione to see the place so busy, with people bustling around, wearing funny clothes.

The place was quite old-fashioned, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, candles burning in their sockets. The windows were covered with torn curtains and the walls were adorned with many pictures, newspaper clippings and notices. Had Hermione not known better she would think it was a hide-out of some secret organization. Or it was, at least, a place for rather odd or bohemian folk. There was a woman dressed in heavy rags sitting in a far off corner, accompanied by two other women with their hair sticking out at odd angles, smoking pipes.

Raising his eyebrows at Hermione, Ron shrugged and led the way to a small, rickety table in the opposite corner, sitting so that his back was turned to the rest of the room. Hermione glanced around, and her jaw dropped open at spotting actual bats fluttering around the chandeliers.

“It seems there’s some sort of very early Halloween party going on,” she remarked as she sat down, a fascinated smile playing over her lips.

“I think it’s cool, a place like this,” Ron said, turning around and eyeing the place.

Few minutes later, a tall waitress walked up to them, wearing a skirt so short it attracted even Ron’s look. Hermione only rolled her eyes impatiently, crossing her arms. In addition to the short skirt, she also sported a huge blond hairstyle that looked as if it had been blown out of proportion.

“Anything I can get you?” asked the waitress and Hermione gasped as a small snake crawled out of her giant hair and slithered to the other end of her blond locks. The waitress noticed Hermione’s horrified glance and laughed. “Don’t you know? It’s the new Slytherin fashion. Green is the new black.”

Casting her eyes away from the woman, Hermione rather fixed her eyes at the pictures adorning the walls on the other side of the pub. She must’ve been very tired, but the blurred pictures seemed to move. However, Hermione’s eyesight was quite poor due to all the reading she did, therefore she was used to seeing things far off dance a bit.

“One beer and…” Ron looked to Hermione.

“I’ll have a beer, too, thank you.”

“So that makes it two…wait, do you mean butterbeers?” she asked, furrowing her eyebrows.

Snorting with laughter, Ron gawked at her. “Butterbeer? Is this how you call it here? Another part of your spooky day? Well, okay then, bring us a butterbeer!” he exclaimed cheerily and slapped his hand on the table. When the waitress left, muttering ‘idiots’ to herself, Ron turned back to Hermione and sniggered at her.

“Ridiculous place.”

Yeah, Hermione thought, but as she was taking in her surroundings more and more, the place looked too ridiculous and weird. She had to look twice to make herself sure she actually saw a woman dressed like a witch, holding a broom, passing the pub. Lots of people seemed to come into the pub and just walk through it, through some door at the back of the room. And the other way around. Hermione wondered whether there was a sort of gathering in the other room or perhaps it was just a passageway to some dodgy street.

“Hey, ginger!” Ron turned toward the bar and spotted the waitress holding two bottles. Just as she seemed to walk from behind the bar toward them, she just let go of the bottles and they kept on floating to their table. Ron’s eyes widened as the bottles landed on the table with a clunk. Waving his head above them, he looked up to the ceiling to find a string or something to explain this occurrence.

Still watching the crowds passing to and fro, Hermione gazed intently into each face. Little sparks of knowledge seemed to ignite within her every once in a while. Her skin tingled as she set eyes on a dark haired man that walked in from the unknown place. He seemed to be very popular in the pub, for many heads turned to him and greeted him. One particularly hunched man in shabby robes and large warts on his nose walked up to him to shake his hand. The man didn’t even blink at the ugliness of the other man and smiled at him kindly.

Seeing only his profile, Hermione sharpened her gaze, but he wouldn’t turn around. After all the people cleared his way, he seemed to be considering something, and just before she could even fathom the idea of walking up to him he set out of the pub. The black hair sticking out at an odd angle was the last thing she saw.

“What the bloody hell? There is no string! How’d she do it?” Ron blurted beside her and she started, turning back to him.

“What is it? Oh, finally a drink. I was really thirsty.”

With a sigh, she reached for the bottle, but Ron slapped her hand away.

“Don’t touch them!” he hissed under his breath.

“Why not?”

“Do you know what just happened? These bottles…they just…flew here!”

“Bottles don’t fly, Ron,” Hermione replied reasonably.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot, I saw it!” he snapped back defensively.

“Okay, I admit the place is a bit strange, but that doesn’t mean I will be so foolish as to believe every stupid thing you say. Stop pulling my leg and just get on with your drink. It looks very good.”

Hermione reached for the cold bottle and uncorked it. Taking a sip, she made a strange face, but gulped down the liquid nonetheless.

“This is nothing like beer!” she said, setting it back down.

“See? They’re trying to poison us, maybe!”

“Please don’t be ridiculous! It’s very good, try yourself. I’m just saying it’s not beer.”

Hesitantly, Ron took the bottle and sipped from it. After the first sip he gulped down half the bottle immediately.

“Yeah, the stuff’s good, but there’s still something fishy going around here,” he said suspiciously, peering over his shoulder. “They’re wearing cloaks for Heaven’s sake. I heard fashion in big cities is very innovative and all that, but this?”

“Don’t mind it; they’re just creative in setting up the decorations and treating the customers. I’m sure that’s all.”

“Yeah? Look at this,” he whispered in awe and pointed behind him. Five people just stood up from one table and were heading for the exit. As if by magic, the chairs pushed themselves back to the table while the dirty dishes and cups floated over to the waitress’s already outstretched arms.

Watching the entire scene with her eyes focused and eyebrows knitted together, Hermione stared after the waitress as she took to wash the dishes in the sink, looking as though dishes flying around her pub were a customary thing.

“That was like magic,” Ron said bewildered, turning back to Hermione and giving her a troubled look. The notion hit Hermione as well, and there it was again, the tingling to her skin, the fascination she spotted in Ron’s eyes and felt herself. However, thinking it through a second later, she shook her head.

“But magic…there’s no such thing as magic.”

Her throat seemed to burn after the words parted her lips. It felt like a lie, what she had just said. It felt just like the type of lie she felt when looking at Jonathan, going to his parties and living her life like she had up until this point. The meaning of the words seemed to pain her in a way that made her feel robbed of something. Grabbing her bottle and downing it in one gulp, she tried to blink away the unexplainable tears welling up in her eyes.

Silence pressed in on them. Ron’s eyes were unfocused and he seemed to be deep in his own thoughts, scratching his beard. He kept glancing over his shoulder every second, not warily, though, almost as if he wanted to witness such a moment again.

“Ouch!” Hermione yelped, yanking her hand away from the table. “What…?” Ron goggled at the butterbeer cork that grew actual teeth and was clinging to Hermione’s finger strongly.

“Don’t you worry!” yelled the waitress in a sing-song voice. Striding toward them, she waved her hand and the cork fell off Hermione’s finger in an instant. “It’s a new charm of mine, you see,” she said beaming. “Every time someone finishes their drink, their corks will bite them in the finger to remind them to return the bottle,” she pointed to a little sign reading ‘Return Bottles’ on the wall that went unnoticed by most customers probably. “Wizards need to recycle too.”

Smiling cheerily, obviously very pleased with this invention, she gathered Hermione’s bottle and walked off to where she had been stationed previously.

Observing the light gash in her finger, Hermione stood up from the table abruptly. “That’s it,” she snapped shakily, “I’m getting out of here.”

Just that moment, there was a rumble at the entrance and Hermione saw a small, furry animal burst into the pub, jumping up onto one of the tables. It looked like an overgrown-ferret and that almost made Hermione giggle. The apparent owner of the animal strode in seconds later, sweaty-faced .

“Dommy!” he said in what would be a patronizing tone had he not been completely out of breath.

“Don’t dare you touch me, you ugly, foul-faced, smelly fart!” the animal shrieked in a high-pitched voice, making both Ron and Hermione wince. It talked?

“Easy now, Dommy, that’s enough. Be a good boy and come back. I’ll buy you a few tasty biscuits and deliver you back to the shop.”

“Not going anywhere, blasted dung-licker. Bogey-eater!” it shrieked again as its owner attempted to take a step closer.

Hermione and Ron watched the scene with their mouth hanging open when suddenly the owner lunged himself at the fur ball.

The creature leapt backwards, straight onto Ron’s head. It hissed loudly, sending Ron flying through the pub, screaming obnoxiously just to get it off. His cap fell off his head and got lost somewhere under the tables.

“Don’t worry, sir, it’s just a Jarvey!” shouted the owner in panic, running to Ron and seizing the animal into his hands. “He’s harmless except for that dirty mouth of his.”

“Darned, stupid son of a banshee!” the Jarvey spat at Ron and struggled out of the firm grip of his owner. Now he jumped at the woman dressed in rags. She jumped up from her chair and tried to shake it off, but to no avail. Other customers seemed to want to help her, slapping her back with brooms in an effort to chase the Jarvey away.

Suddenly people were jumping and yelling all over the place, while the Jarvey still screamed horrible, disgusting insults everyone’s way. As all of them fell over and pushed into each other, the chairs and tables jumped out of their way, as if trying not to get damaged.

Panic overtook them, and so Ron grabbed Hermione’s hand and set out straight for the exit of the pub. They ran through the jumping chairs and pushed an old man dressed in a scarlet cloak out of their way. Through a shower of insults and a loud commotion, they didn’t hear at all a woman’s voice calling their names into the chaos.

Sometimes your own happiness is blinding. Just like Ginny’s new ring, it seemed to blind her, but in a good way. Happiness was good for washing away all the bad and dark in one’s soul. Even though it wouldn’t be gone permanently, it was pushed to somewhere in the back for just a while. And you could breathe again. After all, it was time to be happy, Ginny thought.

She could allow herself and Harry to be happy after all they had already gone through. He of all people deserved it. There was no denying she loved him more than anything in the world, and so it wasn’t very hard to succumb to the blissful happiness that engulfed her.

Her only regret was that those she loved just as much weren’t there to share her happiness and enjoy a happiness of their own. Not a day would go by, no matter how happy she would ever be, that she wouldn’t think of them.

Turning the ring over her finger, Ginny ran a hand through her hair and sighed into the emptiness of the flat she shared with Harry. She couldn’t wait for him to get back home and look through all the congratulation notes they had received from the Weasleys and other friends. Crookshanks, older and graying, was resting in her lap, purring comfortably. It was only that day that he had returned from his two day absence of running about the streets and hunting for mice.

After Hermione disappeared along with Ron, Ginny took the cat in and loved it very dearly.

She stood up from the comfortable armchair and Crookshanks jumped off her lap, curling on the carpet under the table.

Ginny walked around the living room aimlessly, waiting and feeling more and more anxious by the minute. She kept glancing to the little cupboard where she kept all her ‘clues’ about Ron and Hermione. After the row-turned-proposal with Harry, he'd promised not to squash her hopes, and he hadn’t thus far. Ginny, however, pushed it away herself, no longer sure whether it was any good keeping on like this. That moment, though, the same old determination seeped into her with every new tick of the clock.

Ginny was never one to believe in telepathy or other Muggle nonsense, and so she suspended these strange feelings once again.

An owl behind her window took her out of her daze and so she strode over to it merrily, thinking it was congratulations from perhaps Charlie. He was always late in his correspondence. Letting the owl inside, she took the letter and opened it. It was not from Charlie, but a smile found its way to her lips anyway.

Hannah Longbottom, Neville’s wife, was writing to her.

Hello Ginny,

I don’t want to distress you or anything like that, but something strange happened today. I was at work, just doing my stuff and watching after my new waitress Amalia (a feisty, foolish little thing) when some sort of commotion started. It appeared as though a pair of Muggles appeared in my pub, but that’s impossible since Leaky’s invisible to them. Still they looked mightily freaked out when seeing magic and one especially misbehaved Jarvey jumping around, insulting everything with a brain. They ran for it, but I can’t help myself…just as they left my pub, I could’ve sworn on my best stew that it was Ron and Hermione.

I’m not sure, though. Maybe they were just a couple of exhausted and frustrated wizards copying hairdos of old heroes from the war. People have a weird thing for hair lately, take Amalia for instance.

I hope you’re well,

Love, Hannah

Ginny winced and set the letter down on the table with deliberate force, not wanting to place it into the folder where she kept any information about her brother and Hermione. She strode into the living room, biting at her fingernails, and jumped when the door opened and Harry walked in.

Her first urge was to tell him straight away, but even though he promised he wouldn’t doubt her, there was still the possibility he wouldn’t like it at all.

Crookshanks ran to Harry and let himself be stroked behind the ears. Harry then walked to Ginny with a smile and hugged her, throwing in a kiss. When Ginny didn’t respond quite the way he’d wanted, he took off his cloak and hung it up in the hall.

Harry’s silence irritated Ginny to no end, and she had to bite her tongue to stop herself from telling him about the letter. Since she hadn’t even had five bloody minutes to think Hannah’s letter over, her heart was racing and her eyes kept darting all over the place.

“You won’t believe what happened to me today,” Harry said slowly as he emerged from the hall and sat down on the sofa comfortably, looking through the congratulations letters and smiling at each one. Dropping them to the table, Harry looked up at Ginny solemnly. “I understand now what it was for you to have strange feelings about Ron and Hermione and whether they’re alive.”

Ginny’s stomach did an immediate lurch as she heard him bring up the very subject she forbade herself to speak of. Her eyes widening, she went over to sit beside him, reaching for his hand and squeezing it tightly.

“Why? What do you mean?”

Shrugging, Harry stroked her hand softly. “I don’t know. I was just passing through the Leaky Cauldron today like any other day when I suddenly got this…feeling, this urge to turn around. It felt as though I’d heard their voices or would find them chatting over a coffee, waiting for me to join them as if nothing ever happened. In the end I did realize it was just a random wave of nostalgia, but still, it was very strong.” Leaning back into the sofa as if nothing had happened at all, Harry gave Ginny a smile. “It’s all right now. I just know how you feel and I apologize for doubting you as much as I have.”

Staring at Harry blankly, Ginny’s jaw dropped open and she could only mutter a soft, shaky, “What?”

Even Crookshanks seemed to be holding his breath, his eyes set on Harry intently.

Furrowing his eyebrows, Harry got suddenly worried telling her this had been a mistake, as it meant treading into very fragile territory. “It was nothing, Gin, really…”

But Ginny had already stood up from the sofa. “What are you doing?” Harry asked as he saw Ginny putting on her shoes.

“I’m going to go and look for them,” she said breathlessly.

“What?” exclaimed Harry, following her swiftly, grabbing her arm and turning her to face him. “It was just a feeling, nothing more. I shouldn’t have told you this.”

“Don’t you think it’s a bit strange? Stop ignoring all that’s coming up!” Ginny shouted, her voice near a scream. “The article I saw, all the feelings you and I experience, and then Hannah’s letter!”

“What letter?”

“There, on the table, read it!”

Upon hearing the tone in her voice, Harry didn’t dare disobey that order. Striding into the kitchen, he took the letter and read it quickly, his eyes moving from one end of the paper to the other. The more he read, the paler he got.

“But…this, this has to be some kind of a mistake. I-I don’t get it,” he said with a trembling voice, dropping the letter from his hand. It floated slowly to the ground, twirling in the air while Harry looked at Ginny hopelessly. Her eyes were flashing and upon seeing disbelief still etched in Harry’s face, she leaned against the wall and let out a frustrated sob.

“Please Harry, don’t be stupid…” she began slowly and quietly, but Harry knew that inside she was far from quiet. His own heart seemed to be beating far too wildly. Walking toward her slowly, taking each step as if he were in a daze, he reached her.

“Okay, Ginny, let’s go. Let’s go, but if this is just a false alarm, if it’s just another…lie or an illusion,” he said, tears glistening in his green eyes and his voice hoarse with emotion, “it’s on you, Gin, I won’t take any responsibility in your disappointment.”

Kissing him abruptly on the lips, Ginny flicked her wand and Harry’s shoes suddenly stuffed themselves onto his feet.

Just as they were out the door, Crookshanks leapt onto Harry’s back and sank his claws deep into his sweater.

“No, Crookshanks, you have to stay. Stay!” he yelled, trying to push the cat off him, but the animal wouldn’t let go.

Grinning widely, Ginny held Harry so he would stop trying to shake Crookshanks off himself.

“I think he wants to go with us,” she said knowingly, giving Harry a meaningful look. He only sighed and relaxed, and Crookshanks allowed himself to be taken into Ginny’s arms and out of the flat. As Harry locked the door, Ginny was already running down flights of stairs. Although dread settled over his face, he felt hope taking over his entire being, experiencing just the thing he was afraid of most. But throughout his life he learned that not all hope was useless. And closing your eyes before obvious destiny was as foolish as hoping in the impossible. Maybe, just maybe, there really was nothing to lose, Harry thought wildly to himself before running after Ginny.

Author's Note: here you go, dearies. Thanks to my barely existing internet connection, this chapter has been done quite fast. As always, thank you Megan (momotwins) for the quick and fabulous beta reading. She's what makes this story so grammatically wonderful. To all my reviewers who point out the perfect grammar, this is my amazing beta's work. :) Second, there might be some confusion as to why Hermione couldn't find her name in any registry since she grew up as a Muggle. I was thinking that when she changed her parents' memories and shipped them off to Australia, she even tried to hide their records as well, just in case, planning to replace them back once all would be over. Due to the Memory Dust business however, she didn't get around to doing that. I'm still not one hundred percent sure about this, so if it's too wrong, I'll be more than willing to change it. 
Okay, ending this overly large author's note. I hope you liked this chapter as it was the longest yet and full of important things. Please, please let me know. I'm dying to know what you think. Thank you very much for reading and all your support. You have no idea how much that means to me. 
~Liz *huggles*

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