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Chapter 32 : Rumors and Scrutiny Part II - Darks secrets revealed
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He is still in the holding cell at the Ministry. His father has been pressing the Ministry for a trial, but it has been delayed because the Ministry still has Death Eater trials going on. They had been delayed for months and now they all need to be tried and judgments passed. It sounds like poor Walden won’t have his trial until sometime around May. This doesn’t bother Ginny in the least. She just hopes that Harry is back by then.
It has been three weeks since she had last seen him, and the ache in her soul has steadily increased with every passing day. She has reread his letter so many times that the parchment is starting to fall apart. There have been a couple more reports about Harry and Carmen hiding from reporters in Australia. The Daily Prophet sent Rita Skeeter to Australia to find him and get an interview. Ginny hopes Rita stays down there until she finally meets Harry in Australia. Let her rot.
Sitting up and stretching in her chair Ginny surveyed the library. It is filled with students on this blustery cold January evening. It was even too cold for her to play Quidditch tonight. Every time she thinks about Harry sending the broom to her, she smiles. At times she even feels guilty, because she has never told him that she has forgiven him. Kreacher would appear occasionally and she would just smile at him and say “not yet.” The House Elf would leave again with a smile on his face.
She has already forgiven Harry in her heart and mind. She just doesn’t want him to be too comfortable with receiving her forgiveness. Ginny sighed and shook her head at the games she has been playing with Harry. In some ways she feels justified making him twist in the wind, but other ways she still doesn’t want him to give up on her. That would be the absolute worst thing that could ever happen. She will need to talk to Kreacher the next time she sees him. Ask him how Harry has been acting, and if he really misses her.
Grabbing one of the books from the table, she has been using for research. Ginny stood up to return it to the shelves. As she walked between the aisles, the feeling of someone watching her returned. She turned to see those girls from Ravenclaw staring at her, Kendra Bowers and Millicent Graves. They both had dark hair and blue eyes. Kendra always kept her hair cut short, while Millicent had poker straight hair that hung down her back. They were always properly dressed in their Ravenclaw robes. Ginny now remembered that she had once thought they were twins, but, in fact, were only two people who acted the same and looked the same.
The girls exchanged looks and walked towards Ginny. Ginny did a mental check for access to her wand. She wasn’t sure what these girls wanted with her. Ginny knew that they were friends of Walden’s. The two girls were holding books and clutched them close to their chest, as though they were afraid that Ginny might attack them. Stopping an arm’s length from her, they whispered to each other as they gave Ginny furtive glances
“Yes?” asked Ginny. She was nervous about these two’s actions.
“Thank you,” whispered Kendra, after she said that she turned to look to see if anyone was listening.
“What are you thanking me for?” asked Ginny, when she had said this both girls shushed her. “Why have you two been watching me, and acting so scared?” she whispered to them. “I don’t understand.”
“You stopped Walden,” said Millicent, so softly that Ginny barely heard it.
“What do you mean stopped…” Ginny stopped midsentence as she realized what they meant. Walden has done this before. “He – he raped you, didn’t he” whispered Ginny excitedly. Both girls cringed at her statement making Ginny regret her bluntness.
“Yes, I think,” replied Kendra this time. “Us and at least three more.”
“Why didn’t you report it,” exclaimed Ginny. Her voice was no longer a whisper, but she didn’t care. She couldn’t think of a single reason why these girls wouldn’t report being raped. They stood there slightly red-faced and anxious. Her raised voice made them cringe again and look around. They turned to leave, and Ginny grabbed Millicent’s arm. Kendra also stopped and looked at her. Millicent had tears in her eyes and it broke Ginny’s heart to be acting this way, but she needed to find out the reason. She hoped it wasn’t because they felt they deserved it.
“Be-because he Obliviated us,” she struggled to say. “I can’t be sure. I’m sorry we can’t talk here.” She tugged her arm out of Ginny’s grasp.
Ginny was strong enough to have held on to her, but she didn’t want to do that. She followed them out of the aisle as they went to the table they were studying. They started to clean up their books. Ginny realizing they were leaving went over and tossed everything in her book bag haphazardly, so she could catch them and talk to them somewhere more private.
As Ginny walked out of the library behind them, they kept looking over their shoulder at her. They didn’t walk faster, but they were talking quietly between each other. Ginny quickened her pace and caught up to them. “Please, talk to me about this. The empty classroom up there,” she pleaded with them.
They whispered to each other and walked towards the classroom. Once they were inside and the door closed. They turned to look at Ginny straight in the eye. Kendra was the one that started the conversation. “Walden used to help us with our studies, last year. He would study with us individually several times, before he – we realized that we had been shagged. In each of our cases, the last thing we remembered was studying. Then the next morning, we would be in some other classroom with absolutely no memory of anything but studying with Walden. Each of us knew someone had shagged us…”
“It’s called RAPE!” hissed Ginny.
“We confronted him about this. He told us that we both left with some Slytherin while studying. He told us that nothing happened and if we said anything about this to get him in trouble he would tell his Dad and his father would fire our fathers. His father is the head of the Department of Mysteries. I – we can’t take that chance.”
“Hold on,” interjected Ginny. “You’re telling me that he said he was innocent, but he still threatened you. It sounds like he wasn’t so innocent to me.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Millicent. “We have no memories, and if we cause trouble it would hurt our families. We need to go.” They turned and started to walk out of the classroom.
“What if I can guarantee that I can protect your fathers’ jobs? Would you be willing to talk then? It might help with what had happened to you. Believe me, it helps to talk to someone who cares and wants to help you.” Ginny watched them think about her proposal. She couldn’t believe that they had kept this a secret for so long, and that she used to think of Walden as being so naive and shy around women. He was a bloody monster.
“How could you guarantee that our fathers won’t lose their jobs?”
“Oh, there are some Ministry officials who right now owe me,” stated Ginny, she was sure that Kingsley and Gawain would be cooperative with her, for no other reason than to appease her. Kendra and Millicent looked at each other and exchanged glances. It appeared as though they were able to talk through their bond of friendship.
“We – we will think about it,” responded Kendra.
“What about the others? Can you help them?” asked Millicent.
“Yes! Of course, I want to help all of you,” Ginny reassured them.
“Thank you!” they told her before turning and leaving the empty classroom.
Ginny stood there and watched them leave. She was in shock at what she had found out. Walden was a serial rapist, here in Hogwarts. Thoughts of him and all the girls she has seen him help with their studies came back to her. It was sickening that someone could be so cruel and sick to do something like that. He wasn’t unattractive. Why would he do such a thing?
As she was thinking about what Walden had done, she realized what Harry had saved her from. She would have awakened somewhere in this castle with no memories, but knowing that she had been raped. How horrible of a feeling would that have been? Ginny collapsed into a nearby chair, and wrapped her arms around her hugging herself.
“Kreacher,” she called.
The House Elf appeared in front of her. “Yes, Miss Ginny?”
“Kreacher, tell Harry…” she stopped to think what she was going to say. “Tell Harry, thank you and that I love him. Please tell him that.”
“Is that all Miss Ginny?”
“No, tell him – tell him to come back to me, soon.”
“Yes, Miss Ginny,” said Kreacher with a bow, before he disappeared again.
The next four weeks were a whirlwind for Ginny. She had gone to the Headmistress with this information immediately after talking to Kendra and Millicent. Professor McGonagall nearly fainted when Ginny told her. She in turn contacted Gawain and Kingsley.
The next day Ginny was called to the Headmistress’ office to meet with Kingsley. She could tell he was uncomfortable talking with her, but his reaction to the information was honest and real. He nearly exploded that a high ranking official in the Ministry would threaten to do such a thing. He wanted to meet with the girls straight away, but Ginny told him no. They would need guarantees that their fathers wouldn’t lose their jobs over this.
Kingsley assured her that what these girls would say would in no way jeopardize their fathers’ jobs. He also stated that there might be a way to extract the memory, even if it has been Obliviated. It is a complicated procedure, but safe.
Ginny returned to the same classroom to talk to Kendra and Millicent, and found three other girls there also Orla Quirke, Glynnis Timms, and Agatha MacDonald. They spent two hours talking to each other, about what had happened to them. Ginny told them about Kingsley’s offer and they all seemed to respond well to it, but they all wanted to think about it. The next week, they met and talked on several occasions, about extracting the memories, and if they actually wanted to press charges.
Only Kendra and Millicent’s fathers worked in the Department of Mysteries. The other three were just as reluctant to talk publicly or press charges about what had happened to them. They were afraid of their family’s reaction. Ginny told them that she was too. She thought they would all blame her for what had happened, but they actually have been very supportive of her.
After several meetings with these girls, Ginny had finally convinced them to allow the Ministry to extract their memories. They all met in the Headmistress’ office one evening. The Minister was there, Gawain, and some wizard to actually do the extracting of memories. Kingsley spoke for several minutes about how terrible of a crime this was. He looked at it like an Imperious curse, an unforgivable crime. He also assured them that no one would lose their job at the Ministry because of what their children did or did not do.
There was an area partitioned off from the rest of the office. They took the person into it, to perform the procedure to extract the memory. They first gave you a glass of water to drink, which Veritaserum had been mixed in with it. There were a series of questions that Gawain asked about when Walden attacked you. Every question was written down and approved by the girl, so Gawain wouldn’t inquire about anything other than being attacked by Walden. When they had you thinking about the night of the attack, the third wizard would extract your memories and place them in a labeled vial.
Ginny went first to show the other girls that they had nothing to fear. Eventually each girl went and had their memories extracted. Kingsley had told them that they would view them at the Ministry and determine if they could be used for testimony. If they could, then each girl would be able to view the memories before the Ministry presented them for evidence. What they would never do is allow the memories to be viewed outside of the Gawain’s office or a closed Chamber in the Wizengamot.
After Kingsley left, the other girls and Ginny went to their meeting room and talked until curfew. Ginny walked with the other girls to the Ravenclaw common room, before going to Gryffindor’s. When she walked in the portrait hole, she met Sylvia and Marty waiting for her.
Ginny had been so preoccupied with helping Walden’s victims, practicing Quidditch, training for the schools Transfiguration team, studying for NEWTs, and being Head Girl to spend time talking with her friends.
“Where have you been tonight, Ginny?” asked a tense Marty. She was shifting uncomfortably on her feet as though she was afraid of something.
“I was busy. I have a full schedule, Marty,” Ginny replied to the question.
“Were you with those girls again,” spat Sylvia, as though she was disgusted with the thought of Ginny talking with the Ravenclaws.
“Yes, I was. Why does that bother you?”
Sylvia and Marty looked at each other nervously, before Marty spoke again. “Ginny, I know Harry leaving you was quite a blow, but I never thought that you would – well – you know – go over like that,” Marty nervously said as she wrung her hands together.
“Ginny, you’re a beautiful girl who half the male population would want to go out with,” quickly added Sylvia. “Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I – oh – I never figured you to be that way.”
“What the hell are you two talking about?” asked a shocked Ginny. She had figured out what they were accusing her of, and had no idea why they would think that.
“You have suddenly been hanging out with those girls from Ravenclaw, who refuse to talk to any boys. Everyone in school thinks that they are lesbians, and now you are spending evenings with them. Ginny, I mean if you are like that then – well – I kind of understand, but if this is just because of what Harry did to you…” Marty was cut off by Ginny’s laughter.
“You think I am a Lesbian,” she howled while laughing. She was so loud that several people in the common room looked at her.
Sylvia clasped a hand over her mouth to quite her. “Shh, Ginny, everyone can here you. With all the rumors about you, you don’t want everyone to think that. Do you?”
Ginny pulled Sylvia’s hand off her mouth and smiled at her. “Let me assure you, that I am not. What rumors are going around about me?”
“Well, you have been spending evenings alone with those girls from Ravenclaw, and everyone thinks they are,” stated Sylvia.
Ginny looked around the common room, and then at her friends. She didn’t know what to do. She wanted to tell her friends, but she also didn’t want to betray the trust the other girls have in her. “Follow me,” she stated and started walking to the dorms. Sylvia and Marty fell in behind her as they ascended the stairs to their dorm room. She opened the door and surveyed the room to see if it was empty. Satisfied that they were alone, she turned to them. “Look I have promised those girls that I would keep their secret, but I will tell you two, only if you promise not to tell anyone. Is that clear Marty!” Ginny stressed to her gossip loving friend.
Marty looked a little hurt at her comment, but her and Sylvia both nodded their heads that they would.
“I want to hear you say it!” insisted Ginny.
“Yes, I promise that I won’t tell anyone else what you are going to say,” huffed Marty.
“I’ll keep the promise Ginny. What is the big secret?” asked Sylvia.
“We have been meeting and talking, because I wasn’t the only person that Walden attacked. However, in their cases Harry wasn’t there to stop him. The bloody bastard Obliviated their memories, and then threatened them that if they accused him he would cause them problems.” Ginny stopped talking to let what she had said register with her friends. She could tell that it had, because they both looked pale and shaken.
‘What have you been talking about?” asked Sylvia.
“What it feels like to have that happen; the anger, the feeling of worthlessness, the guilt, and the shame. We have been helping each other realize that it wasn’t our fault, but we truly are victims of Walden. I know I had all those feelings when he attacked me,” stated Ginny.
The room was silent for several seconds until Marty then Sylvia apologized for accusing Ginny of being a lesbian. Then Sylvia said something that shocked Ginny “is that group only for ones that have been raped by Walden?”
‘Sylvia, have you been…”Ginny couldn’t finish the statement.
“I haven’t always agreed to shag. In fact I don’t do that as often as many people think. Once I said no, but…” Sylvia couldn’t finish her statement, as she broke down in tears.
Ginny and Marty both went and comforted her. Ginny felt absolutely awful. She had always thought that Sylvia was a slapper, but to find out that she wasn’t and what had happened to her, was an awful feeling. “I’m so sorry Sylvia,” Ginny whispered in her ear. “I’ll talk to them. I think that I could convince them to let you come and join our group. It is all about supporting each other.”
The next meeting Ginny had with the girls she asked them about Sylvia and if she could come to these meetings. To her surprise Agatha mentioned someone she knew who had been a victim of a sexual assault. It was quickly decided that they would put the word out that anyone was welcome who was a victim of sexual assaults. The next meeting Sylvia and a Hufflepuff girl joined them. The following meeting a Slytherin and another Hufflepuff was there. It was a sad thing to realize how wide spread this crime was, but it was encouraging to Ginny that they have now found help and support to cope with it.
She was now staring up at Kingsley in the Headmistress’ office. Kendra, Millicent, Orla, Glynnis, and Agatha were all seated facing him. The tension in the room was rising quickly. Ginny wasn’t sure, but he looked nervous about something.
The Minister finally broke the tense silence. “I have good news for all of you. Selected members of the Wizengamot have viewed your memories and determined that they are all usable in a trial. None of you will have to appear at Walden’s trial to testify,” he assured them. A collective sigh of relief went through the room, until Kingsley went to speak again. “However, being that the crime was committed before you had come of age, to file charges your parents had to be contacted.”
All of the girls looked mortified that their parents had now heard they had been raped. Ginny remembered how Glynnis was particularly afraid of her parent’s reaction. She was sure her parents would disown her for her indiscretion. It took a great deal of reassuring to get her to agree to file charges and participate in the investigation. Ginny could see that she was pale and sat still as a statue staring blankly at the Minister.
“Almost all of your parents have agreed to file charges against Walden,” said a very nervous Kingsley. Ginny was wondering who hadn’t pressed charges. She was hoping it wasn’t Glynnis’ parents. “We have also set up some counseling session with you and your parents at St. Mungo’s . In fact, your parents, who have filed charges, are waiting there for you now. We have set up the Floo connection from this office to St. Mungo’s. So you can Floo there in privacy. You can start one at a time…”
“Minister, what about my father’s job?” asked Kendra.
“When Gordon Ridgebit was told about the new evidence, he resigned.”
Kendra sighed in relief, before she spoke again, “Whose parents didn’t…”
Millicent cut her off. “My father, I bet.”
Kingsley shuffled uncomfortably on his feet. “Yes, Millicent you are correct.”
Ginny felt herself standing up to go and hug Millicent. She looked miserable sitting there on the chair all alone, but, before Ginny reached her; she was surrounded by the rest of the girls. They were all offering comforting words to her, but none asked why she knew her parents wouldn’t file charges. Ginny was at a complete loss. Why would a parent not want to have the person who violated their child punished regardless of how they felt about her?
“Millie, how did you know that your father would do this?” asked a confused Kendra. The two of them had been inseparable since they were sorted. She was obviously confused why Millicent never told her about this before.
“Because he hates me like my mother,” she replied. The entire room went silent and stared at her. It was as though they were back in the classroom and everyone was there to support her. She looked at everyone. “My mother left us four years ago. She was an Obliviator for the Ministry. After putting me on the train to Hogwarts, she left to go to some town called Little Hanged town, or something like that. We have never seen or heard from her again. The ministry investigated, but said they found no evidence of foul play. My father has always been suspicious of her, and accused her of having affairs with coworkers. He has since transferred all his hatred towards me.”
“But you were afraid of him losing his job?” questioned Ginny.
“He is still my father,” she weakly replied.
Kendra put an arm around her, “You are not sitting here alone. Come with me, Millie,” she told her close friend. “I need you there to help me.” She added to help convince Millie to come with them.”
Millie looked up to her with a watery smile on her face. “Anything for you,” She shakily said, before standing up and hugging her.
Ginny watched as the girls left via the Floo from the Headmistress’s office. Soon it was only her, Kingsley, and Professor McGonagall left in the room. “Ginny, you were of age when attacked so Arthur and Molly didn’t need to be contacted. If you would like to meet with the St. Mungo’s healers about this, I could arrange the meetings,” offered Kingsley.
Ginny, thought about the offer for a minute. “No thank you, we have talked about this and we seem to have things sorted out.”
“If you change your mind, I’ll arrange it. I guess I had better get back to the Ministry. Thank you Ginny, for all the work you’ve done here with these girls. I had never realized this problem was so – so widespread,” Kingsley congratulated her, before stepping into the Floo.
“Ginny, would you please sit down. I would like to talk to you,” asked Professor McGonagall. Ginny sat down on one of the chairs and stared at the Headmistress, who conjured up a steaming pot of tea and two cups. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“No thank you Professor,” she replied.
The Headmistress poured herself a cup and added sugar and lemon to it, before speaking. “I am going to recommend to the board of governors that you receive an award for services to the school. The work you have done these past few weeks have been remarkable.”
“Thank you Professor.”
“You also will not be calling me that next year, Ginny. I have decided to retire at the end of this year.”
Ginny looked shocked at her old Transfiguration Professor. She had always thought that teaching was the only thing she ever wanted to do. “Why now, Professor?”
“It is time. I have taught through two wars, and now this. I can’t believe that I appointed Walden as Head Boy. I should have seen that he was a monster. After hearing what he had done and how he accomplished this, it all seemed so obvious.”
“Professor, no one guessed that he was capable of this. Most of the students didn’t think he even liked girls, and I was one of them. I don’t think I could think of Hogwarts without you being here.”
The Headmistress blushed slightly at the statement. “I am sure Hogwarts will be just fine without me. I want to have the time to follow my first real passion in life, Quidditch,” stated the Headmistress.
“Yes, I was a reserve on a several different teams before starting my teaching here.”
“Blimey, I never knew that,” exclaimed Ginny.
“That was many years ago, Things were very different back then…” She took a sip of tea, before continuing. “ … I used to have to ride the broom sidesaddle.”
“What!” Ginny had said before she saw the slight smile on the Headmistress’ lips. “You’re winding me up,” laughed Ginny.
The Headmistress laughed at Ginny’s reaction. “We never did ride sidesaddle, but we did wear heavier robes, back then. I want to spend my retirement going to Quidditch matches and taking time to get reacquainted with my old friends. I am excited about the possibilities of seeing one of my favourite students playing for several years.”
“Who’s that Professor, Oliver Wood?” asked Ginny.
“No my, dear,” laughed Professor McGonagall. “I am talking about you. I am ready to send an Owl to Gwenog Jones. She asked for permission to bring the Harpies here next month on Saturday the twentieth, so they can help the school team get ready for the Triwizard tournament. I, however, suspect it is really a chance to see how a certain Seeker for the school team would fare against professional talent. She has been raving about your abilities since the first day she saw you fly.”
Ginny was so shocked that she didn’t know what to say. “I didn’t know she was planning this,” stated a shocked Ginny. “You say in one month.”
“Unfortunately, it will be the same date as our next Hogsmeade weekend,” she said with a sigh. “I think most students would rather see a Quidditch match than go to Hogsmeade. So if I were you Miss Weasley, I would start practicing more, before March twentieth arrives. You do want to be playing for the Harpies don’t you?” The Headmistress looked at Ginny with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
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Ginny stood in the icy drizzle that was soaking her Quidditch robes. Everyone else had left the Quidditch pitch to go to Hogsmeade. It was the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, and everyone seemed to have dates. She was staring down at the box of practice Snitches that Gwenog had left her. They were old Snitches that are unable to hold a charm or were too badly beaten up to be used for a match. She was getting herself mentally ready to spend the afternoon practicing. She couldn’t tolerate seeing happy couples strolling down the street of Hogsmeade, knowing Harry wouldn’t be there. It has been almost two months since the last time she kissed him and was held in his arms.
Opening the lid of the box she watched as the Snitches took flight. There were twenty-four of them flying at various speeds. Mounting her broom, she took flight after them. This was a training session to help her hand-eye coordination. She flew among the Snitches grabbing the slower ones first and returning them to the box. While she did this the faster ones spread out around the pitch, making their capture even more difficult. It took excellent broom control at high speeds to be able to capture and return all the Snitches to the box.
Ginny was exhausted when she finished capturing all the Snitches. Looking at her watch, she realized that it took her two hours, because it was now two-thirty in the afternoon. Even thought she was exhausted she walked over to the box and kicked the lid open. Allowing the Snitches a head start, she took off again after them. The second time she caught them all in just over an hour. So, she decided to have another go at them before dinner. Kicking the box open, she took off after them again.
Ginny had captured the last Snitch as the day faded into night. She placed the box of training Snitches in the Quidditch dressing rooms and walked into the castle. The evening meal was just finishing up, so she walked into the great hall still in her wet cold Quidditch robes, and grabbed something quick to eat, before clomping up the stairs to the dorms. When she entered the common room, everyone turned and stared at her. She must have been a sight. Wet hair sticking to her face and robes, which were still dripping wet, dragging a broom, she ignored them and climbed the stairs to the dorms.
A half hour later, she was soaking in a tub full of warm soapy water. It felt good after flying in the raw air all afternoon. The cold seemed to exhaust her as much as the exertion of flying. As she soaked in the tub, she thought about Harry, and how wonderful it would be if he was here right now. She smiled to herself as she thought about sharing a tub with him. She suddenly became angry that he wasn’t here, but off somewhere on a mission. She hasn‘t heard from him for some time now, and it was really starting to bother her. Stepping out of the tub, Ginny dried off. Her anger had taken root in her now. She was going to be alone on Valentine’s Day, because her prat of a boyfriend was out saving the world, again.
Tossing on her night shirt and bath robe, she marched out of the bathroom and pulled back the hangings on her four-poster bed. She hopped into it and pulled them shut again, before flopping down on the bed in a huff. A sharp pain on the side of her face made her sit back up. Illuminating her wand, she looked and saw lying on her pillow a single red rose, with a piece of parchment.
She had suddenly remembered that her hangings had been closed again. The last time they were like that, Kreacher had brought a note from Harry. Picking up the piece of parchment, she saw words forming in Harry’s familiar scrawl.
I haven’t stopped thinking about you, but I also can’t leave where I am at. It is agony to be separated from you for this long. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, or today, depending when you come to bed.
I love you! I love you! I Love you!
Please, don’t give up on me!
P.S. I told Kreacher to get a rose that still has thorns. I figured that I deserve another beating after all.
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