Chapter 22 : Chapter 22
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'Urgh! Why did Professor Vector have to set us so much homework?' Ollie moaned to Heather as they left their Arithmancy lesson. 'We've only been back at school a week and it's horrible and I can't remember anything!'
'Well you should have looked over your notes over Christmas' Heather remarked as they walked along the corridor to their next lesson.
'Heather, it was a holiday! You're not meant to do work and besides my holiday was quite eventful'
'Well not everyone can have fathers or godmothers magically turn up in time for Christmas' Heather replied coolly.
'Oh, I'm so sorry' Ollie said remembering how upset Heather had been when she had written to Ollie to tell her that her mother had not bothered to see her at Christmas since she was too busy in Milan with her latest boyfriend. 'You still had a good time with your Aunt and Uncle?'
'Yeah' Heather replied 'but it's not the same'
'Hey guys!' came Phoenix's chirpy voice cutting through her friend's glum thoughts. 'Looking forward to Lupin's lesson?'
Before either Ollie or Heather could reply, Jon appeared, huffing and puffing. 'Phee, I wish you would not walk so quickly' he stated catching up with his friends. 'You dropped this in your haste' he added, holding out her care of magical creatures textbook.
'Thanks' she replied, shoving it into her bag. They neared Professor Lupin's classroom and slipped into their usual seats at the back of the room.
'Books out and turn to page 47' Lupin said, sitting at his desk at the front of the classroom. The full moon, just after New Year had not been a good one and the professor was still feeling its effects. 'We will be studying werewolves, read and take notes in preparation for next lesson when we will have a quick test'
There was a loud rustling noise as pieces of parchment, quills and ink appeared and the class set to work.
'You'll never guess what we saw during Care of magical creatures' Phoenix whispered to Ollie and Heather as they began to take notes.
'What?' Ollie asked
'Well as Professor Hagrid was leading us into the forest to show us some baby unicorns we saw in the distance Professor Longbottom and a mysterious woman sitting on this fallen tree trunk.'
'What did she look like?'
'She had short blonde hair and it looked as if she had her wand tucked behind her ear. She seemed to be alternating between holding Professor Longbottom's hand and scribbling something in a notebook. This page blew away' Phoenix said, passing a piece of parchment over to Heather and Ollie. It had a dark skeletal horse sketched on it with various annotations. 'To be honest, I don't know what she was drawing since there was nothing there, just forest'
'Merlin's Beard!' Ollie exclaimed loudly
'No talking at the back' Lupin said sharply, glaring in the direction of the group of friends in the back row.
'I can't believe it! I thought there was something going between them' Ollie muttered
'What is it?' Phoenix asked eagerly
'That blonde haired woman you saw, I think it could have been my Aunt Luna' Ollie replied 'She's writing a paper on magical horses at the moment'
'Yes, but that does not explain what she was doing with Professor Longbottom'
'McQueen, Potter, if you can't stop talking, I'll have to split you up and have you both back for detention tomorrow evening' Professor Lupin said firmly.
'Sorry Professor' the two girls mumbled before returning to their notes on werewolves. Professor Lupin was definitely in a bad mood today.
The Lesson had finished with Heather and Professor discussing werewolf rights, much to the disgust of some of the slytherins in the class. Heather's Aunt, Lavender, had been attacked by a werewolf during the battle of Hogwarts and had nearly died as a result of her injuries. On recovery she had been refused entrance into the Auror Department and other departments of the Ministry, even though she had the right qualifications, just because of her scars. Lavender now, with the help of Hermione Weasley ran and organisation campaigning for equal rights.
They walked back up to Gryffindor tower to dump their stuff before dinner. Ollie sat in the corner of the common room with her fellow third years, Heather, Jon, Phoenix as well as Maisie and Elenora and Jon's roommates Dylan and Archie. As they started a quick game of exploding snap there was a tapping sound on the window. Everyone looked up to see a brown owl hovering at the window. Teddy, who was closest to the window stood up and opened it, allowing the imperious looking owl into the common room.
It swooped in, landing in front of a startled Ollie, dropped the letter before flying off again into he night. Aware of everyone's curious gaze on her, Ollie retreated up to the safety of her dormitory, where she opened the letter. I was from Susan, who was defending her father. Susan had written to tell her that she was needed as a witness for her father's defence. Susan needed her to tell the court about what happened in Egypt. Ollie had not a clue how what happened in Egypt related to her father being tried for the murder of Dawlish, but she trusted Susan.
Sinking back into her four poster bed, she remembered Egypt, how horrible it had been and how happy she and been when her father had managed to rescue her. She hated reliving those days in the darkness. Suddenly another though occurred to her, the date of the trial was the same date as the next quidditch match against Hufflepuff. What was she going to tell Samuels? He was going to kill her for missing the match! With that she buried her head into her pillow.
Harry put down the long letter Ollie had sent him. She had been writing to bemoan the fact the fact that even though she could not play in the quidditch match, Samuels was still making her turn up to all the practises so she could help the seventh year, Smyth, her temporary replacement, fit into the team. She had written stating how Samuels had come up with a mad scheme of trying to make them start practise at five in the morning. However his plan had failed because he was not able to get into the girl's dormitories so all the girls on the team had been allowed to sleep. Harry smiled, remembering how obsessive quidditch captains could be, he recalled Oliver Wood's catch it or die trying motto!
This letter was written in a much lighter tone, compared to the one she had sent a couple of days ago, telling him about Susan's request. Her letter had been scribbled hastily onto a piece of parchment as she told him she was going to do it. Harry knew how hard this was for her, even though she was now a teenager, what had happened to her when she was eight still haunted her. At that moment, Harry had wanted to grab his cloak and wand and go up to Hogwarts and just sooth her fears. Instead he had had to settle for telling her that she was extremely brave and if she had any worries she could always talk to Remus or speak to Madame Pomfrey about getting some dreamless sleep potion if the nightmares came back.
Harry reread the postscript on the latest letter: 'Ps. You never guess what' Ollie had written at the bottom of the letter 'we keep seeing Luna and Professor Longbottom together in the grounds, what do you think is going on there?' Harry was glad that Luna was talking to Neville.
As the flowery scent of Ginny Weasley came down the stairs, Harry's mind wandered to Ollie's final comment 'PPS. Dad, are you and Ginny talking yet? Come on Dad go for it, the past is the past, think about the future, I don't want you to be alone'
Harry looked over at the red head; she had just entered the kitchen and was making herself a cup of tea. Her hair fell across her face, shielding it from Harry's gaze. Harry pocketed the letter and stood up straight, mustering all his Gryffindor courage, he walked into the kitchen.
Ginny looked up and the sound of someone entering the room. It was Harry and she began to move away from him. They had been playing this game of avoidance for nearly two weeks now, which was actually quite a feat, since they were living in the same house. She had started avoiding him because she thought that he did not want to see her, after he closed the door on her and shut her out. She knew he had good reason to; he had every right to be mad at her. Harry, had then started avoiding her because he probably though that she was annoyed at him, so now they were caught up in one big tangled web of confusion. However she was prevented from moving by Harry who was blocking her way.
'Hi Ginny he said hesitantly 'how was your practise? He asked, referring to the Harpies practise she had been to that morning.
'It was good' she replied, wondering why he was now suddenly talking to her.
'Um so' Harry tried to work out what to say next, it had never been this hard to talk to Ginny. 'Do you want to go for a walk?' he asked finally
Ginny looked down, taking a sip from her mug of tea nervously
'Please' Harry insisted 'There's something I really need to talk to you about'
Curiosity finally got the better of Ginny and she put down her cup of tea. Soon they were walking in the cold outside the Burrow. Ginny's hair and green Harpies scarf was blowing around in the wind as Harry led her to the Burrow's apparition point.
'Harry, where are you going? You can't leave the Burrow' Ginny stated walking behind him. Harry held out his hand and with a moment's hesitation she reached out to hold it. With a 'pop' they were gone.
'Harry, you're under house arrest, you can't be doing this!' Ginny said as they appeared in a field in the middle of nowhere.
'Ginny you're starting to sound like Hermione; I can do this' Harry replied. 'This is how Tonks was able to get me out of the Burrow for Ollie's Birthday, though since she does not live at the Burrow she had to pull a couple of strings. Basically being under house arrest means not only being kept in one house, in wizarding law it also being under the watch of the people living in the house as well. It means that I can't leave the house myself and escape but I can leave under the supervision of one of the members of the family that owns the house. I can leave with you but not with Hermione or Ollie.'
'I didn't give you permission to leave' Ginny stated
'But you agreed to come with me' Harry replied smirking
'I just really needed to talk to you'
'So talk' Ginny stated stopping in her tracks and folding her arms, waiting for Harry's response.
Harry turned to look at the red head. She did not look angry but merely curious. 'I guess I haven't been entirely honest with you' he said, watching her face closely to see what her reaction was. When her facial expression remained neutral he continued cautiously. 'I didn't tell you the truth as to why I went away in the first place-'
'-I know it was because of me Harry' Ginny interrupted
'Our argument wasn't the full reason and it was not because Luna wanted to go travelling, she just tagged along with me on my little quest'
'After the war I moved back to Grimmauld Place' Harry replied. 'Kreacher, at my request was restoring the house, which included the Black Family tapestry, you remember, the one Sirius was blasted off?' Ginny nodded remembering the holes in the tapestry, where the Blacks who had not lived up the family's expectations, had been blasted off. 'Well as Kreacher restored it, we noticed names appearing on the tree. When Andromeda was restored both Tonks and Teddy appeared on the tree. Anyway, when Sirius was restored another name appeared underneath it, according to the tree, Sirius had had a child...'
'Ollie' Ginny whispered, finishing Harry's sentence.
'Yes' Harry replied. 'Kreacher was determined to find her, but was not up to doing it and I took the opportunity to get out of the country and escape from the madness, so I offered to find the child, however at that point I did not think I would be away for over a decade'
'So why were you?'
'It was after we found Ollie and Luna said I had to adopt her in order to protect her'
'Ginny, this was just after the war; you remember what it was like? Ollie had the surname Black, which had, and still has dark connotations. That's why Ollie doesn't like to tell people her real heritage because of what they might think about her.'
'So why are you telling me?' Ginny asked, puzzled as to why Harry was telling her is daughter's secret.
'Ollie gave me permission to tell you' Harry replied 'she though you deserved to know the truth since she was one of the reasons I stayed away for so long. I love her so much and I didn't want her to grow up in a society that still judged wizards and witches by their last name.'
'What was the other reason?' Ginny wondered
'The Minister! What did he have to do with anything?'
'I had to come back here to register Ollie's adoption; I snuck into the Ministry to fill in the paperwork where I bumped into Kingsley. He asked me to join the Auror Department, he said that they needed me since they were lacking in numbers. To be honest I was tempted but then I remembered that they were under the control of Dawlish and what they had down to Luna's father. I told him that I could not join since I now had Ollie to look after. However he said it was my duty to help the wizarding world and we got into an argument because I stated that I had already sacrificed so much for the greater good of the magical world. I was not going to let the ministry take any more away from me. My Parents had been murdered, I had had a miserable childhood, both my Godfather and mentor had been killed before my eyes and I had just spent a year on the run before killing the darkest wizard of all time. I was not going to let the Ministry, the institution which had taken so much away from me, take over my life and take me away from my daughter, who needed me.'
'What happened after that?' Ginny asked, stepping closer to Harry and reaching out to hold his hand.
'Kingsley said that I was letting everyone down since I was expected to lead the wizarding world into a new age, not play Daddy to, I quote, an illegitimate dark brat'
'He said that about Ollie!' Ginny said, absolutely outraged 'but he knew who her father was, he worked alongside Sirius in the order!'
'I have no idea what was going through Kingsley's mind at that time' Harry replied 'I guess he was just stressed since he had just been elected Minister for magic'
'But that's not a reason to make such a demand of you. I guess you're quite lucky not joining the Ministry, everybody I know seems to hate working there. Ron hates it; Dad is thinking about taking early retirement, Hermione resigned and even Percy is thinking about revolting!'
'Susan said it was horrible' Harry said. 'Kingsley basically told me that I was not welcome in the country which meant that I had to go and everytime I wanted to see you or Ron or Hermione I had to sneak back in, usually using Muggle forms of transport to be undetected'
Ginny took another step closer to Harry and gave him a hug, grateful he had finally opened up to her. 'Thank you for telling me this' she whispered 'I'm sorry I was so mad at you'
'You had every right to be angry' Harry replied
'No I didn't' she said pulling out of the hug and looking at him crossly. 'Please stop blaming yourself for everything Harry. I am at fault as well, I should be apologising to you, I'm sorry'
Harry pulled her back into his arms and kissed the top of her head. 'We're good now?'
'Yeah, we're good' Ginny replied snuggling into his arms. She had missed his comforting embrace so much; it felt so right to be in his arms. Holding hands they continued to walk across the barren field until they reached the top of the hill. 'Where are we?' Ginny asked looking out across the vista, the sun breaking through the clouds and landing on some hills in the distance.
'Look over there' Harry replied, pointing to a rather grand looking house in the distance. 'That's Potter House'
'My ancestral home' Harry replied 'it's been in the family for hundreds of years but I'm renovating it at the moment in the hope that if everything goes well in the trial Ollie and I could move in. She loves her house in Italy and her room in Grimmauld Place but I think if she stays at Hogwarts she would want to closer to her friends.'
'You said if all goes well?' Ginny asked 'Don't you think it will, is there something else that you're not telling me Harry?'
'I hope everything goes well' he sighed 'but this is Susan's toughest case yet and I have know I idea how she is going to do it, if she wasn't family, I don't think she would've accepted it. I'm trying to be optimistic for Ollie's sake, but no matter how much evidence and reasons Susan can put before Wizengamot in my defence, I still killed Dawlish and helped mastermind the break-ins into Gringotts and the Ministry'
'But it was Gabrielle and Dennis who actually broke in...'
'...And I was the one who gave them the orders to do so' Harry replied. 'Besides they have their whole married lives ahead of them and I couldn't bear to see them punished for things which I'm to blame for'
'What about Ollie?'
'If the worst come to the worst, I know she is loved and will be looked after. She has Luna and the Lupins, who are all her family.'
'What about me?' Ginny whispered, turning to look up at Harry. Her big brown eyes, filled with love. 'What about me?'
'I just want you to know that whatever happens, I love you' Harry replied, finally telling Ginny what he felt about her 'I love you'
At those words, Ginny launched herself at Harry, pulling him close to her, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him with all the passion she had for him. It was better than their first kiss in the common room, or the one in her bedroom, it was better than the one they had shared on the sofa at the Burrow, it was amazing and suddenly she felt whole. 'I love you too' she replied resting her forehead against his 'I don't want you to go away again, you can't go away now. Not now I've just got you back'
Harry hugged Ginny tightly 'we're going to get through this' he said.
'Together' she added burying herself into his arms and closing her eyes.
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