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Chapter 19 : Chapter 19
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The youngsters were out playing two-a-side Quidditch when the invitations to the Hogwarts re-opening arrived. Mrs. Weasley started to plan for the trip without telling them, leaving them to their game. She immediately sent Errol to Madame Rosmerta in Hogsmeade to book three double rooms at the Three Broomsticks, and Pidwigeon to the Ministry place a booking request for the Floo Network. Shortly after, she called them in for lunch. They trooped in, cleaned themselves up and sat at the table. Molly showed them the invitations and told them of the arrangements she had made.
“Great, it’ll be good to see the old crowd again.” said Ron.
“Thanks for doing that Mrs. Weasley,” said Harry, “I appreciate it, but I won’t be going.” The silence in the room was deafening, and then everyone stared at Harry, as he started to explain. “I’ve thought about it a lot since the announcement was made and it’s quite simple really, after everything that happened there last year, I don’t want to return there… ever.”
“But Harry,” said Hermione, “This is really important, it’s a fresh start for the school, perhaps it could be the same for you. Besides how would it look if Hogwarts most famous student didn’t show up?”
“I don’t care how it looks.” He had expected this resistance.
“Actually I think you do care.” said Ginny, “I think you don’t want to go because of all the attention you will inevitably get.” Ron joined in,
“I think that’s right, and if it is Harry, what are you going to do for the rest of your life, hide away out of public view?”
“You’ve got to come, Harry, please.” Hermione begged, “If you still have demons to face, what better place could there be than Hogwarts, with all your friends around you?” Harry was silent. Hermione went to speak again but Ginny got in first,
“Leave it Hermione,” she said sounding disgusted, “he’s not going to listen.”
“Stop Harry, I don’t want to hear it. Hermione has told me about the time that Remus was talking of leaving Tonks and her baby to go off with you chasing horcruxes, and you called him a coward. Sounds to me like you are saying the same sort of thing. Well I have bad memories of Hogwarts too, Harry. Remember Tom Riddle’s diary, the Chamber of Secrets? Not to mention the fact that I lost a brother there, what was his name again… oh yeah, Fred wasn’t it? But I also have lots of happy memories and friends, including Dean, who will be there, they’re the reason I’m going; you can stay and be damned.”
“Ginny, you will apologise immediately.” said Mrs Weasley.
“I will not…” Ginny snapped, there were tears in her eyes now, “I’m going for some air.” She crashed through the kitchen door and into the garden.
“Now what am I supposed to do?” asked Harry.
“Well for a start you can decide to come with the rest of us to Hogwarts.” said Hermione.
“And then,” interjected Ron, “You can get out in the garden. I think there may be a fence that needs mending.”
“Exactly right Ron.” Hermione still could not believe the conversation they were having. She could not see where Harry was coming from.
“It happens.” said Ron, turning to Harry he asked, “So what are you going to do?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do, I’m not going to be pushed around, I think I’m going to lie down for an hour. See you later.” He went hastily out of the kitchen and up to his room.
Harry and Ginny did not speak for two days, any contact between them was icy and silent, despite the efforts of the Weasley’s and Hermione to effect a reconciliation. The travellers had just about finished packing when Ginny knocked on Harry’s door.
“C’min.” said Harry, he was lying on his bed reading. He looked up from his book, “Oh it’s you.” Ginny looked distraught.
“Harry please don’t be like this, I can’t stand it anymore.”
“How should I be with someone who calls me a coward?” he said, letting the book fall onto his chest.
“I’m sorry about that, I didn’t really mean it.”
“Why say it then?”
“I was upset because…. because… I never thought you would give me a reason to be disappointed in you.”
“You were disappointed in me?”
“Not were, Harry, am. I’m still disappointed in you.”
“Nothing much I can do about that, is there?” Ginny went and sat on the end of the bed.
“Yes there is.” she said. “You can come with us.”
“Why? I thought you were looking forward to seeing Dean.” Ginny ignored that remark.
“I can’t give you a reason Harry. So I’m asking you to do it for me, because I love you and I’m wearing your engagement ring,” she paused, “and if that’s not reason enough then I’m not sure we have much of a future together.” Ginny stood and went to the door. “We’re leaving in about an hour.” she said. “Think about it… please.” She closed the door softly behind her.
Harry closed his book and dropped it on the floor. He closed his eyes and visions of Hogwarts came into his mind. scrolling through his memories of the school. As the visions came to an end, there were two names at the forefront of his brain. Voldemort and Ginny. One was gone for good and if he wasn’t careful the other one would disappear too. He could not let that happen, he decided. He remembered Hermione’s words about still having demons to face. She was right, he knew she was.
“Hermione’s always bloody right. Why is that?” he said out loud. He packed a bag, left it on his bed, and headed downstairs. He entered the kitchen and poured himself a glass of juice, and leant against the wall. “What time are you leaving?” he asked casually. Ginny’s face fell and she choked back the tears that started to form in her eyes. She lowered her head and stared at the table. Hermione looked disgusted, Ron was perplexed and Mrs. Weasley said nothing. Mr. Weasley said,
“Just over half an hour, Harry.”
“Sorry,” Harry began, “what I meant to say was, what time are we leaving.” Ron looked even more perplexed. Hermione responded first,
“You’re coming!” she exclaimed.
“Yeah, I thought I would.” The Weasley’s beamed with delight. A small voice came from Ginny.
“You… you… you….” Each ‘you’ sounding angrier than the last. She rose slowly from the table. “You absolute swine.” she said menacingly. “You did that deliberately. When I get my hands…” Ron interrupted,
“Harry, I’ve seen her like this before and I recommend that you run like hell.”
“No Ron, I’ll take what’s coming.” Ginny approached him with her hands raised like claws. Instead of sinking her nails into Harry’s face, she relaxed her hands and slid them around his neck. As they embraced Ron opened his mouth as if to speak. Ginny spoke without letting go of Harry.
“Ron, if you say one word you’ll be going to Hogwarts with flying bogies all over your face.” Ron quickly closed his mouth.
One by one they stepped out of the green flames into the hearth of Madam Rosmerta’s bar at the Three Broomsticks. George was waiting to greet them, a bottle of Butterbeer in his hand. Rosmerta approached,
“If you’ll follow me I’ll show you to your rooms and you can drop your stuff.” They followed her upstairs. On the landing Harry stood waiting while Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were shown to their room. He was thinking of the last time he was up here. He glanced at Ginny; she gave him a conspiratorial little smile.
Rosmerta took the girls next, and showed them to number 8, the room that Harry and Ginny had used. It was furnished exactly as it was the last time Ginny had seen it, and she wondered if the cover on the nearest bed was the same one that had been there when…
Finally Rosmerta showed the boys into the next room. She followed them into the room. “So sorry,” she said, looking at the double bed. She waved her wand and watched as the bed changed into two singles. Hermione looked around their room, while Ginny sat on her bed looking through her overnight bag.
“This must be the bathroom.” Hermione said.
“Yes it is. “Ginny replied without looking up. Hermione opened the door. Ginny realised her mistake as Hermione said,
“That was a lucky guess, Gin, unless…”
“I was going to say unless you’d been here before, but that’s not possible is it?”
“No it isn’t.” Ginny replied, looking back into her bag, breathing a quiet sigh of relief.
They gathered in the bar and when the drinks arrived Ron and George moved off to a quiet table in the corner to talk business. Molly Weasley looked around the room,
“We haven’t been in here for a long time, have we Arthur?”
“No indeed, it must be close to twenty-five or thirty years. Barnaby Shafter owned the place then.”
“That’s right; Rosmerta’s dad took it over after the trouble.”
“What trouble was that, Mrs. Weasley?” asked Hermione.
Molly answered, “Well, if sixth or seventh year couples wanted some… privacy, Barnaby was very…, shall we say… accommodating.” Hermione’s eyes widened,
“You don’t mean…” she started. Harry noticed Arthur Weasley seemingly inspecting the detail of the plain white ceiling. His wife seemed to have a little more colour in her face. Molly continued,
“Shafter’s defence was that as the students were over seventeen and legally adults they could do what they wanted. That didn’t cut any ice with the Ministry and he was heavily fined.”
“He could afford it though, he used to charge two Galleons an hour. Made a fortune. We used to have a saying, ‘You have to pay Shafter in order to shaft ‘er.’ It was funny at the time.” Arthur said. Ginny looked amazed,
“Dad, how do you know what he charged? Did you and…” she stopped with a look of disbelief on her face. She looked at Molly, “Mum you didn’t! Really! I would never have believed it.” Molly with a straight face replied,
“No Ginny, I didn’t. Your father used to come here with Rita Skeeter.” Eyes and mouths opened even wider, and faces paled. The three youngsters were lost for words. Arthur looked at his wife,
“Thank you for that Molly. Now, if you have to tell them, please tell them the truth.” With a grin Molly confessed to the joke and continued,
“Ginny there is nothing new under the sun,” Molly looked pointedly at Harry first and then her daughter, “I’m very sure that similar things go on today. I don’t think Rosmerta would allow it, but young love will always find a way won’t it?” Now it was the youngsters turn to feel uncomfortable. Molly continued “I should tell you that if my parents had found out they would have been very disappointed in me. You may think it hypocritical, given what you’ve just found out, but I feel the same way. Even so I think that deep down my mother knew. Intuition I suppose you might call it.” Harry and Ginny knew she was sending them a message. Colour flooded back to Ginny’s face. George and Ron returned to join them.
“Have we got something to tell you!” said Ginny.
“Not now Ginevra!” Mrs. Weasley said sternly, “we have to be going up to the school soon.”
They crossed the bridge out of Hogsmeade, heading for the school. They had plenty of time so they were walking at a fairly slow pace. Molly and Arthur were in front. Ginny, Ron and George were walking together; Ginny was explaining what they had just learned. Harry and Hermione brought up the rear. Hermione stopped and looked back at the bridge,
“Remember Katie Bell?” she asked.
“I do,” Harry replied “It was scary.” He was remembering the sight of Katie in the air, arms and legs spread-eagled and screaming.
“It certainly was.” Her scalp crawled at the memory of it.
“We lost her for nearly the whole Quidditch season.”
“It wasn’t funny Harry, why are you joking about it?” she said, looking puzzled.
“Sorry, but I’m not looking forward to the next few hours.” Hermione turned and slipped her arm through his,
“It will tough for all of us, but we’ll be OK.” Ron’s voice came from somewhere ahead,
“They what!” George roared with laughter. They passed through the gates of Hogwarts and up to the castle in silence, each thinking their own thoughts.
“It looks like it always did.” Ron said. Several young people in Hogwarts robes approached and gave each of them a copy of the official programme of events. Harry looked at the timings,
“We’ve got a little time, let’s go and visit Dumbledore.” The others concurred, and they set off for the lake. As they got nearer they saw that the area was laid out as it had been for Dumbledore’s funeral with the addition of a small lectern in front. They gathered near the white marble tomb and stood silently for a few moments Hermione dabbed away a tear from her cheek.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years.”
“Seems like yesterday.” Harry said. Ginny slipped her arm through his,
“You miss him a lot, don’t you?” she asked gently.
“Yes, I do,” he replied, “I suppose he was a sort of surrogate father, but we could never have done the things that fathers and sons are supposed to do. Things like kicking a ball around, going fishing or flying a broom for fun. It makes me wonder what I’ll be like as a father. I mean, you’ll be great as a mother because you have a fantastic example to follow.”
“You’ll be a great dad Harry, I’m sure of it. I hope we’ll find out together.”
“We’d better find a seat soon,” Hermione interrupted, “it’s nearly time.”
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