Chapter 2 : Carpe Diem
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Ginny Weasley's best friend Luna Lovegood was waiting when she reached the bottom of the second flight of stairs. "Is everything OK? Are they still up there?"
"Yes. But I bet they are more tired than we are. The Headmaster was asked to wake them up at 4, so I want to beat them back to the Great Hall" replied Ginny.
Luna took her best friend's hand and began to walk towards the hallway which led to Gryffindor House. "Could you hear anything? I hope they are all right? But then I guess none of us are all right are we?"
Ginny always wondered where Luna's insights came from. More often than not she was right. None of them were all right, and probably would not be for quite some time. Her brother Fred was probably still lying in the Great Hall, surrounded by the rest of her distraught family. When she had left them two hours ago, on the pretext she needed to lie down, her thoughts were torn between him and Harry. The first several months she alternated between cursing him and praying for him every night. As conditions worsened in the Castle she, along with Luna, Neville Longbottom, and her fellow DA members began a resistance movement. Their goal: to stay alive and to help as many of their fellow students as possible. As long as Harry, Ron, and Hermione were alive they had hope.
The next thing Ginny knew was they were in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, who guarded the entrance to Gryffindor House. "Are you sure you don't want to lie down Luna?"
"No thanks. The Grey Lady and I have a date" she replied, winking to Ginny as she left with the ghost of Ravenclaw House. She waved good bye and skipped along down the hallway.
Ginny looked up into the large round eyes on the portrait and realized she didn't know the password. Tears began to fall as she believed she was alone.
The portrait took pity on her and whispered. "Don't worry dear. I'm sure you will remember the new password. It's all anyone can say right now."
Ginny's tears stopped immediately as she spoke the words "Harry Potter". Silently the door swung open and she entered. Amazingly there was very little damage. A few personal items were scattered about which was not out of the ordinary. She hesitated at the foot of the stairs and decided to go up the boys side. Near the top was the boys sixth year room. Wordlessly she pushed the door open, cringing when it squeaked. She remembered Ron telling her he put a charm on it so it would do that unless it was Harry, Ron, Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, or Dean Thomas opening it. In a large circle were five four poster beds complete with canopies in Gryffindor's colors. She smiled thinking it was exactly like the girls side, except for the lack of mirrors and extra wardrobes. One by one she touched each bed, trying to figure out which belonged to Harry last year. As she ran her hand along each bedpost her finger caught on something. Pulling the maroon and gold canopy back she found something scratched in the underside of the frame which held the material up. Craning her neck to see it she fell over onto the bed. No one else was around so she flipped herself over and read:
Harry and Ginny
April 26, 1997
Ginny was puzzled until she realized it was the day of their first kiss. Harry had carved it by hand into the bed so he could see it every night. Underneath it was another date:
August 11, 1998
'What is so important to him that he did this? Yes he knows August 11 is my Birthday. But why will this particular one be so important? All it will be is when I turn ... '
Ginny sat straight up barely missing hitting her head on the canopy (actually her brother Ron had to keep remembering to turn as he sat up or he was in for another headache). Now fully awake she began to pace. 'OK so I will be 17. I'm and adult according to Wizarding law. I bet my parents will treat me like I am still 3 years old, not old enough to ... ' Ginny froze in her tracks. "Could that be it? He wants to propose to me on my Birthday? The day I can say yes without asking my parent's permission? Is that what Harry plans?"
There was a loud 'Pop' and Kreacher appeared next to her. "Yes Miss Weasley? You called Kreacher?"
"Ahhh yes Kreacher thank you for coming. Can you tell me please is this Harry's bed?" she asked. Her hands were trembling as she ran them through the canopy curtains, wishing Harry was there waiting for her. All she needed to do was to hop in and pull the curtains and ...
Her dream was stopped when Kreacher answered. "Yes Miss Weasley this is Master Harry's bed. Would you like me to tell him you are here?"
Ginny stopped herself from screaming yes. "Not right now thank you. I suspect he is very tired like I am."
"Then perhaps you should lie down Miss. I'm sure Master Harry won't mind." Kreacher snapped his fingers and the bed covers rolled themselves back.
"Well if you're sure Harry won't mind" she replied through eyes that threatened to close themselves even before they hit the pillow. "Kreacher please wake me before Harry? I want to look as good as I can."
As Ginny fell asleep, her dreams filled with the thought of cuddling up next to Harry, Kreacher began to talk. "Miss Weasley Master Harry loves you. At night when he stayed at #12 Grimmauld Place he would dream about you. Sometimes he blamed himself because of the danger he put you in, but most of the time they were happy ones. He talked about how much he loved you, and how terribly he missed you.
What helped keep his spirits up was a map his Father and Master Sirius made. Everyone at Hogwarts was represented and late at night he talked to your image. How much he loved and missed you. At times he regretted not asking you to accompany them, but deep down he knew if he had the risk was too great. Many times Kreacher heard him say he wanted to talk to your Father about you and him. About your future. But Kreacher talks too much. I will watch over you for Master Harry and wake you in plenty of time." Kreacher bent over and kissed Ginny's forehead much like her mother did at night.
"Good night Kreacher" she softly said, her smile getting brighter as she slept. Kreacher settled back into a chair next to her and allowed himself to doze also, setting his internal clock for 3:30.
* * *
For the first time in months Ginny's sleep was filled with dreams and hopes. Gone temporarily were the nightmares of what was happening to them. The Carrows used to tease the students with "Did you see today's Prophet? They found their bodies lying in a ditch" or "Lord Voldemort has captured them. As we speak they are being tortured for information about the Ministry and the School." While worried sick for them she knew nothing really bad had happened.
Still in her dream she felt the covers move and someone slide into bed. A pair of arms wrapped themselves around her and gently began to kiss her. She responded pulling the person closer, sliding her hands up his back as she kissed him more passionately. Her hands traveled further to reach for his unruly black hair (which she thought was too long when he reappeared in the Great Hall) when she froze. The hair she had hoped and dreamed to run her hands through forever was not there. Instead it was short and wiry. Her eyes snapped open to reveal the face of one of Harry's roommates Dean Thomas.
"Wow I was right you did miss me" he replied trying to kiss her again.
"GET AWAY FROM ME" she screamed. Both her hands hit him in the chest propelling him out of the bed and onto the floor.
"What did you do that for?" he asked as he got back up. He leaned over to kiss her again when she slapped him as hard as she could.
"I SAID GET AWAY!!" she yelled again. Now she had her wand in her hand and was about to use her famous 'Bat Bogey' hex when there was a loud 'pop'.
"Mistress Weasley it is time to wake up ... what is going on here?" asked Kreacher. He was startled to see her with her wand pointed at Dean Thomas, who had a nasty purple welt on the left side of his face.
"Nothing Kreacher. Mr. Thomas was just leaving" Ginny replied through gritted teeth.
"This isn't over" he responded as he stepped towards her. He found his feet were stuck to the floor.
"I believe Mr. Thomas Mistress Ginny said you were leaving" Kreacher darkly told him. He snapped his fingers and Dean Thomas disappeared.
"Kreacher that was horrible!" Ginny told him as she collapsed back onto the bed. "I was having a dream about Harry. We were on our honeymoon in Paris France. He had just gotten back into bed and started to kiss me. But when my hands touched his hair I realized it wasn't him! I woke up to see Dean's face not Harry's!!" Ginny put her face into her hands thinking she had betrayed him and his love.
"Mistress Ginny do not blame yourself for this! Mr. Thomas tried to take advantage of the situation. Together we will talk to the Headmistress" he gently said. "And now if I remember correctly you wished to arrive at the Great Hall before someone else did."
This helped to perk Ginny up. A quick trip to the loo and she was ready. Taking Kreacher's hand they apparated to near the entrance, avoiding the destruction littering the corridors where some of the fiercest fighting took place.
"I'm telling you she led me on! I went back to our old room from last year to find a few things and she was in my old bed waiting. She asked me to join her then pushed me away and gave me this!!" Ginny heard Dean Thomas say as she and Kreacher rounded the final corner.
"Mr. Thomas those are serious charges. What proof do you have?" asked Headmistress McGonagall.
"He doesn't have any because it isn't true" Ginny stated as she and Kreacher approached. "I had fallen asleep in Harry's bed not his. I don't know or care which one he used last year. I was asleep and he crawled in pretending to be Harry! When I woke up I pushed him out. He tried to kiss me again and I hit him."
"Kreacher arrived and sent him away Headmistress. He left these behind he was so ashamed of his actions." Kreacher snapped his fingers and the pair of trainers Dean had been wearing appeared. When Kreacher made him leave they remained stuck to the floor.
The Headmistress looked sternly at Dean. "What do you have to say for yourself Mr. Thomas?"
"That Kreacher wasn't there when this happened. He only saw me after I got hit" he smugly replied. During this last year he had tried to rekindle his relationship with Ginny. Yes they cried on each other's shoulders along with many others, but she refused his advances each time. "I love Harry" would be her response.
"Is this true Kreacher?"
"Yes Headmistress. But Kreacher believes Mistress Weasley's version not Mr. Thomas."
"That's because Harry Potter owns him! I bet he was ordered to lie on her behalf!" laughed Dean.
"Mr. Thomas Master Harry has given Kreacher permission to speak his mind whenever he wishes. And right now Kreacher has one word for you. It is LIAR!"
"Your opinion doesn't matter since you are a house elf. Headmistress I came to you with this. I want to see her punished!" Dean said his voice rising.
Newly appointed Headmistress Minerva McGonagall was in a pickle. She had two conflicting stories, either of which could be true. Or neither for that matter.
"You just want to get back at me because I wouldn't go out with you anymore!" Ginny yelled.
"Don't make me laugh! I can have whatever girl here I want. I don't need you!" he responded as his voice got louder too.
"Kreacher will not allow you to talk to Mistress Ginny that way!!" He was now standing in front of Ginny, and he appeared to want to hex him.
The Headmistress stepped between Dean and Ginny. By now people were coming out of the Great Hall to see why people were yelling. She waved her wand and closed the doors on them. "No one is going to be hurt further today. I am consulting the Aurors for how best to handle this" she firmly told both.
"Headmistress I believe I can help." Surprised they all turned to see the Gryffindor ghost Nearly Headless Nick float up. He too had a grim look on his face.
"Yes Sir Nicholas? What can you tell us?" Minerva asked.
"As you requested earlier I went into your office to check on the Trio. Professor Dumbledore informed me that he would wake them up by 4 so they could finish one final thing for him. He told me that Miss Weasley had overheard and asked me to make sure she made it to the Gryffindor Common Room safely" he stated.
"Oh and you are eavesdropping on private conversations too! Wait until I tell Ron, or better yet your parents. They will lock you up until you turn 30!!" Dean laughed.
Ginny put her head down for a moment. "Headmistress Sir Nicholas is right. I did go there wanting to talk to Harry. They were talking so I did not want to interrupt. I plan on apologizing to Professor Dumbledore later today."
"And what about me??" Dean gleefully asked. "Not that I would take you back anyway, but Headmistress she owes me an apology too!!"
Before the Headmistress got a chance to respond Sir Nicholas interrupted. "As I was saying I went to check on Miss Weasley. Kreacher was sitting in a chair next to her."
"Excuse me Sir Nicholas but where was the chair located again?" Minerva asked.
"It was under the window next to the bed. Kreacher asked me to remain while he went to check on Harry Potter. I moved to the opposite side of the room to inspect a picture hanging on the wall of a Wizard preparing to battle a dragon. While it does not move whoever drew it is very talented."
"I did! And I keep it hanging next to my bed to show people" Dean exclaimed. He didn't understand why Ginny and the Headmistress were smiling. They had no proof- it was her word against his, and since he brought it to the Headmistress's attention, he figured she would believe him.
"The door opened and Mr. Thomas entered. I heard him say 'at last she will be mine. 'Carpe Diem' is what I always say'. He approached Miss Weasley and pulled back the covers and got into bed with her. I overheard her ask 'Harry?'. He replied 'Yes' as he began kissing her. When she realized he was not Harry Potter she hit him harder than I thought she could. He flew through the air and landed on his back side 6 feet away. He came back to kiss her again when she hit his face with her right hand. Mr. Thomas staggered back and Kreacher reappeared. When Mr. Thomas refused to leave he was stuck to the floor so he was prevented from attacking Miss Weasley again. Kreacher sent him away, leaving the shoes you see him holding behind."
"Thank you Sir Nicholas. You may go." The ghost nodded his head to the Headmistress and left through the wall he had arrived from. "Well Mr. Thomas it seems we now know the truth. I want you out of my castle immediately." She waved her wand and the doors to the Great Hall reopened. Dozens of faces peered around the corner, anxious to see the conclusion to the argument.
When he heard the doors open Dean relaxed. He knew he was caught lying but he felt he could still cause Ginny and Harry problems as he left. Ever since he and Ginny had broken up during his fifth year he had wanted to get back with her. But she blocked every attempt, convinced she had a chance to finally be with Harry. Even after they 'broke up' she had a special place in her heart for him . One that no one else could possibly fill. She was prepared to wait as long as necessary for him to return. She felt she owed him that, knowing he, Ron, and Hermione were trying to discover how to kill Voldemort and make their World a safer place. 'How can I not wait for him?' she asked herself on those days and weeks when it seemed like her World was crumbling around her.
Dean spied another of his roommates Seamus Finnigan and was about to give his version of the story when he saw the look the Headmistress was giving him. Slowly she walked up to him and said "Mr. Thomas you have been caught lying to the Headmistress and for indiscretions with another student. You will leave immediately and never return. I will be making a full report to the new Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt. If I hear you discussing this with anyone, or if I see anything in the Daily Prophet concerning this, I will be the one pressing charges against you not Miss Weasley. Are we clear?"
"Yes Headmistress" he meekly replied. He turned to leave when he felt something being pressed into his hand. It was the painting he had made, which ironically was titled 'Carpe Diem' or seize the day. He kept his head down as he quickly walked out the front door of the school and down the path to the main gates, where he knew he could apparate from.
"Headmistress I am really sorry for the trouble I have caused. If you wish I will leave too" Ginny told the Headmistress. She dreaded telling her parents about what had happened. Like Dean joked she probably would be locked in the Burrow until she turned 25 at least, maybe even 30.
"Miss Weasley you are a victim here. I am very proud of you not only today but for how you inspired your school mates. In fact you remind me very much of someone right now."
"Really Headmistress? Who is it?" she honestly asked. In her mind it was Hagrid, because he is so brave and strong. Or one of the founders, who each had special skills. Together the four of them opened Hogwarts 1000 years ago.
"I suspect if you think about it you will know who I am thinking of" she whispered into her ear as she passed by.
Ginny had a blank look on her face which quickly turned a bright shade of red. She ran back up to the Headmistress and gave her a big hug not unlike the ones her Mother was famous for.
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