Chapter 4 : Chapter 4: Into the world of wizardry
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I just can’t stop thinking about her! And what she said to me last night! Bloody hell part of me is wishing I didn’t have to see Harry now just so I could spend more time with her. But I really do want to see my cousin.
I’ve re-read his latest letter about four times now and still can’t make much sense out of it.
I will be coming to collect you at noon. Dress warmly. And wait for me in your living room.
Wait in the living room? How am I going to let him in if I just sit around on my sofa waiting? Besides it’s already fifteen minutes past twelve and he still not here. I exhale deeply and throw my head back. I’m startled by a large CRACK! And Harry suddenly appearing out of thin air.
He doesn’t look much different to when I saw him last. He’s definitely taller and skinnier that’s for sure. His hair’s a mess as usual sticking up all over the place and his glasses are lopsided, His shirt is slightly torn at the hem and there are mud stains on his trousers. He really does look like he’s been in the wars. I also notice he looks a little flustered.
“Sorry I’m late... Ginny, my girlfriend wouldn’t stop fussing over me” He blushed crimson. I offered a small smirk.
“Harry Potter the ladies man....”
“Shut it!” He laughed.
“You’re pushing it!” I say giving him an awkward brotherly hug.
“You’ve lost a little weight by the look of it” He commented as he pulled away nervously. I guess he was just as scared about this meeting as I was.
“Have I really? Well obviously you have, they not feeding you or something?” I chuckled, he grimaced.
“Well when you on the run around Britain in a tent you tend to starve. So shall we go then? Kreacher will bring your bags later.”
“Yea.... err... who’s Kreacher?” I ask puzzled.
“My house elf.... remember you were there when Dumbledore told me I’d inherited him after my god father’s death.... He appeared right in front of you.” He mumbled. Oh yea I remember now... wow that was a long time ago.
“Sorry it slipped my mind for a minute.”
“No worries let’s just go. Hold onto my arm... tightly” he added. I gave him a quizzical look but obeyed his orders anyway. No sooner had I had a firm grasp on Harry I felt the sudden sensation of all the air being squeezed out of my lungs and my eyes felt like they were about to leap out of their sockets and everything was pitch black.
I gulped in big gasps of air as the sensation stopped and we appeared outside a rather grimy looking pub with another loud CRACK!
“The Hog’s Head?” I asked reading the sign. He nodded and pushed open the door.
First off most of the people in here look rather.... dodgy. The pub is filthy and the windows are coated in grime. The guy running this place doesn’t look much better....
He was a grumpy looking old man with long grey hair and beard although he looked slightly familiar... I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it, he smelt strongly of goat. At this point I realised we were getting many stares from the people in the pub and it was making me rather uncomfortable, I shuffled my feet.
“Alright you nosey buggers clear off! Just get your butt through the portrait Potter!” Grumbled the man at his customers and then at Harry.
“That’s Aberforth” Harry replied leading me over to a portrait of a girl above a mantel piece. “Aberforth is Dumbledore’s brother; this painting is of their sister Ariana.” He whispered in my ear. I raised my eye brows, no wonder I recognised the bloke; they do look slightly similar, old and bearded.
Harry climbed onto the mantel and pulled the portrait to one side to reveal the hole behind Ariana’s portrait. There were smooth stone steps on the other side. He pulled me up onto the mantel and onto the tunnel. Brass lamps hung from the walls making our shadows ripple on the walls, the earthy floor was worn and smooth.
We turned a corner and ahead of us lay the end of the tunnel; we went down another small flight of stairs and out of the tunnel into a large room.
“Welcome to the room of requirement. It transforms itself into what ever you need. But we won’t be staying, I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping and introduce you to a couple of friends, you’ve already met Ron once, he and his dad and brothers came in through the fireplace once remem...”
“Ha ha ha ha ha! I remember! They’re the ones with red hair right? The ones that blew up the fireplace and dad went mental?” I laughed remembering that faithful day back when we were fourteen.
“Yea, ha ha, come on let’s get out of here. I hope we bump into Ginny....”
“Hope we bump into......Oh dear she has you whipped already.”
“She does not! Sorry for being a gentleman and wanting to introduce her to my family!” He huffed blushing. I smirked.
“Aw! Don’t worry I’ll turn away while you snog her senseless” I laughed as he turned redder.
“Can we just go?”
I gave Dudley the dos and don’ts of Hogwarts.
1. Trust the Gryffindor’s
2. Be polite to the ghosts
3. Watch out for the moving staircases
4. Watch out for Peeve’s
1. Go anywhere near the forbidden forest.
2. Trust the remaining slytherin’s
3. Stand on the trick step on the stair case or you’ll be stuck
4. Go into an empty class room without knocking first.... for obvious reasons.
I’d shown him to the Gryffindor common room (telling him the password for the fat lady first and introducing him) and the dormitories. I’d also introduced him to Ron, Ginny and the other Weasley’s as well as Hermione, Neville, Luna, Seamus and Dean.
“This place is huge! It’s going to take ages to get this place back in shape!” Dudley mumbled.
“Oh we’re sorry.... we were under the impression you chose to help” Hermione said scornfully.
“I did! And I do! It’s just that....”
“That what?” She snapped repairing a gargoyle. “All you have to do is sweep up dust and help put things that have been knocked over in the right places and maybe help the house elves once in a while! We’re doing all the hard work with magic!”
“Oh I don’t know! Err maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been trying to turn my life around and I now have rent to pay and a girlfriend who has no idea where I am and I can’t contact her!” He replied temper rising.
We were all rather stressed out and tired and I think Hermione was still angry about all the things Dudley had done in the past and all the bad things that had happened here. Either that or it was ‘her time of the month’.
“Let’s call it a day shall we? We’re all tired and need to calm down.” I said quietly trying to restore the peace. Ron and the other Weasley’s nodded in agreement.
“He’s right Hermione love. Why don’t we all go and have a nice cup of tea?” Mrs Weasley said patting her on the shoulder. Her eyes were still red and puffy; clearly she was still crying and mourning Fred’s death.
There had been a large memorial service for all those who had died at the battle of Hogwarts and Professor Mcgonagal was arranging for a statue to be made on the Hogwarts grounds with all their names engraved on it as a sign of respect.
We all sat in the Hogwarts kitchen in awkward silence sipping tea. It was Mr Weasley that had the courage to speak first.
“So Dudley.... you mentioned a girlfriend, been together for long?” He asked nervously. Everyone looked at Dudley expectantly.
“No... Her name’s Penny. I bumped into her at the pet shop getting food for Hedge. We’ve only been on one date. I told her I was going away to visit my cousin because he’s just got back from travelling around Europe and I wouldn’t be able to contact her because we’ll be in the middle of no where and there’s no phone. Technically it’s not lying to her too much right.....?” He asked the older man hopefully. Hermione’s eyes became suddenly tearful.
“I’m so sorry Dudley! I didn’t know that’s why you were so worked up! It’s real sweet as you to be concerned about her!” She whimpered as Ron ran his hand along the back gently.
“It’s okay Hermione; we’re all a little worked up. As soon as all this fixing up is done we’ll all go out to dinner, my shout.” He replied kindly. Mrs Weasley walked over and gave Dudley a big hug surprising both him and everyone else at the table.
“Why don’t we all go back to the burrowtonight? This place is clearly still messing with all our emotions” She said.
“Mum there’s no way we’ll all fit” Bill said warily holding his wife Fleur’s hand.
“Dudley and I can stay here. You guys go home. You’re right Mrs Weasley we all need a break.” I say backing up Bill.
“Oh I’m sure we can all find a way to fit Harry, we all fitted in at Bill and Fleur’s wedding after all” Charlie added kindly, I didn’t like the feeling of putting the Weasley’s on the spot. They’d done so much for me already over the years and Dudley wasn’t one of their troubles, he was mine.
“Dudley can sleep in my room with me and Charlie and Percy, Ginny and Hermione can stay in her room, Bill and Fleur can stay in Percy’s and Ron and Harry can stay in Ron’s room.” George said quietly. George had barely spoken a word since Fred’s death. “You’ll never replace Fred Harry.... But you’re my brother now. Fred wouldn’t want us acting like this.... It’s....It’s time to start moving on”
I was speechless. I’ve always considered Ron as a brother and the Weasley’s as my family but I never expected to hear that, especially from George so soon after his twin’s death. I stood and embraced him in a brotherly hug. Causing Mrs Weasley’s eyes to tear up all over again.
The Weasley house is.... comforting. And Mrs Weasley’s cooking is to die for, I so badly wanted seconds but I remembered telling myself I wanted to loose weight. I had to help George move a few boxes for his shop out of the room so we could have more space. He actually let me sleep in the bunk that used to belong to Fred; it must have taken a lot of courage to do that.
He even taught me how to de-gnome the garden. It’s a great stress relief you know, throwing small grumpy gnomes. Also it’s great fun; until they bite you that is; I swear I saw George smile when one chomped down on my finger.
I can’t stop thinking about Penny; I know it’s barely been one whole day away from her but still.
After diner Ron, Hermione and Harry told us part of what happened while they were off travelling the country. They told us all about Dumbledore’s mission to find the Horcrux’s and what had happened after they left Bill and Fleur’s wedding. They got as far as telling us how they planned on breaking into the ministry of magic before they said they were tired and wanted to go to bed. I don’t blame them; just listening to them made my bones ache. I still want to know more though; I guess they’ll tell us everything when they’re ready.
Harry’s taking me to visit his god son Teddy tomorrow; he’s living with his grandmother Dromeda Tonks. I feel so sorry for Mrs Tonks; loosing a husband, daughter and son-in-law in this vile war. At least she still has her grandson.
“It feels so weird being back here. Especially knowing my cousin is sleeping down stairs” I tell Ron as we both get dressed into our pyjamas.
“I know what you mean. I know they hadn’t been living here for a while but it feels so different without......” He stopped
“I know what you mean; I’m here for you mate. You know that”
“Thanks Harry. I’m sorry for being such a prat when we were on the run.”
“You don’t need to apologise Ron, it’s in the past. I ‘m just glad I have my friend.” He smiled; there was a knock at the door and Hermione entered.
“I just wanted to say goodnight” she blushed and Ron followed suit.
“Night Hermione..... I’m err.... just going to go brush my teeth” I say pushing past her.
I’m not going to go brush my teeth; I did that ten minutes ago but I can tell when I’m not wanted.... besides I don’t really want to watch my two best friends snog. So I just stand in the corridor with my eyes closed and my back against the wall. I’ll wait till Hermione comes out before going back in.
“Hiya Harry” I open my eyes to see Ginny standing in front of me.
Her hair’s damp and tied in a side pony tail; clearly she’s just had a shower. She’s wearing fuzzy pink pyjamas and slippers to match. She looks beautiful.
“Hey beautiful” I reply, she blushes.
“Can I have a goodnight hug before I go to bed?” She asks mischievously. I wander over and take her in my embrace kissing the top of her wet head.
“Goodnight Love, sleep well”
“Do I get a good night kiss too?”
I smiled and complied. I kissed her moist lips softly and slowly before pulling away.
“Good night Ginny”
“G’night Harry” She said disappearing back down the stairs. I watched as her long red hair swished on each step....
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