By Friday evening Harry had managed to finish the book Professor Marchbanks had given him. He was sure that he would be able to Occlumency after all he learned about it. The book had already taught him much more than his lessons with Snape.
He arrived in the potions classroom precisely at 8 ready to start his lessons. He had a lot of question about things he had read and was anxious to block Voldemort from his mind.
“So, Harry, Do you have any questions about what you have read?” the professor asked.
“Snape told me to clear my mind, but in this book is says to build a wall of sorts in your head around things you need to protect. That it is an extension of self hypnosis.” Harry said. “Which should I do?”
“How has practice of the techniques in the book been going?” He asked.
“I have found it a lot easier to relax at bed time and I have been getting much better sleep since I started doing them.” Harry told him.
“I think we should try the approach the book offers. Each night I want you to try and picture a wall in your mind that nothing can see through to protect your memories, and also continue what you have been doing as well.” Professor Marchbanks told him. “When you have practiced this for a few weeks we will start working on practical lessons, where I will use legimency to try and enter your mind. We will have your first practical lesson the Friday before Halloween.”
“Thanks Professor.” Harry said and headed back to Griffindor Tower.
Ginny, Ron, and Hermione were all waiting once again to hear about his meeting with Professor Marchbanks. Harry told them what little there was to tell and the mention of Halloween brought up a subject Harry wished could be forgotten, the ball.
“So Hermione, who are you going to the ball with?” Ginny teased.
“I don’t know, It depends on who asks me.” Hermione replied maintaining a serious face.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Ron shouted. All three burst out laughing at Ron, who blushed a bright red.
“You really should learn to take a joke big brother.” Ginny laughed.
“You will go with me though, right?” Ron asked Hermione.
“Of course.” she replied still laughing a little.
“Who are you going with Harry?” Ron asked.
“I’m not going.” Harry said softly.
“Why not?” Hermione asked.
“I can’t risk it getting back to Voldemort that I am going out with anybody.” Harry replied.
“What if I found a way so that no one would know who you were with, would you go then?” Hermione asked.
Harry could practically see the wheels turning in her head. “I guess then it would be all right.” Harry said.
“Then in that case who would you ask?” Hermione asked.
Ginny was afraid she was pushing too hard. “Someone who I am friends with I guess.” Harry started. “Ginny maybe.” he whispered.
Nobody had time to say anything because in that instant Ginny fell off the arm of the sofa. Harry looked over the side and was relieved to see that she was laughing. He offered his hand to help her up. When she was back on the sofa he continued. “It doesn’t matter though. I can’t possibly see a way that no one would know who she is.” Harry finished.
“Leave that up to me, but promise that if there is a way, you will go with Ginny.” Hermione said.
“All right I promise, but I have to be satisfied that no one will recognize her.” Harry told her. “I am going to turn in. I’ll see you all in the morning before quidditch tryouts. Good night.”
Once Ginny was really sure Harry was gone she spoke. “Tell me Hermione am I going to the ball with Harry?”
“Yes.” Hermione replied.
“Are you sure he even wants to go with me?” Ginny asked.
“Believe me sis, he wants to go with you.” Ron told her. “He’s practically in love with you.”
“How do you know?” Ginny asked.
“I guess it’s easy to recognize when you’re in love yourself.” Ron said. Ginny looked at Hermione, who had dropped the book she had been holding in her lap and was staring at Ron with tears glistening in her eyes. Ron turned to see what Ginny was staring at. “What did I ...?” he started to ask. “Oh...”
Hermione jumped up and threw herself on top of Ron knocking him back in to the chair he was sitting on. “You love me?” she asked. He nodded.
Ginny got up to leave. “Ginny, you can’t go yet.” Hermione said. “ You haven’t heard my plan.” Ginny sat back down, and Hermione revealed her rather brilliant plan.
When they had all agreed on what needed to be done, it was time for bed. Ginny was trying out to be a chaser on the quidditch team and Ron as co-captain needed his rest as well.
The next morning they all had breakfast together. Harry and Ron discussed at length how they would proceed during tryouts. When they finished breakfast Harry and Ron went out to the pitch to discuss in a more practical manner how they were going to handle the team and Ginny went with Hermione to speak to Professor Dumbledore.
“Excuse me sir.” Hermione said quietly standing before the head table. “I was wondering if you might have a moment to discuss something about the ball with me?”
“Certainly.” Dumbledore replied.
“I have an idea to make the ball a little different for the one we had fourth year. I think it would be fun to have it be a masquerade of sorts. It could be in robes or muggle dress.” Hermione finished.
“Interesting. Now tell me Miss Granger, this idea of yours, would it have anything to do with getting a certain Mr. Potter to invite a girl to the dance?” Dumbledore asked, with a twinkle of mischief in his eye.
Ginny and Hermione marveled at the headmaster. He really did seem to know everything that was going on in the school. “Yes.” Ginny said at last.
“I will let you know my decision about the idea of a masquerade Sunday at dinner, as to whether it will be robes, or muggle dress I will let the students vote.” Dumbledore told them.
“Thank you sir.” Hermione said and she and Ginny headed back to the common room.
“Do you think he will say yes?” Ginny asked.
“I’m almost sure he will. Why would the students need to vote on the dress if it weren’t going to be something out of the ordinary?” Hermione told her.
“You’re right.” Ginny said excitedly, never realizing that her brilliant plan might not work.
The reached the common room and Ginny and Hermione began working on their homework. They were so intent on their studies and conveniently facing away from the portrait hole, that they failed to notice Ron and Harry had returned from the pitch. The boys simply could not resist the opportunity to have a little fun.
The snuck up close to their victims and together reached out and grabbed them, yelling at the same time. Both girls let out wonderfully amusing screams of surprise. Harry and Ron were laughing so hard they barely managed to escape up to their dormitory, before Ginny and Hermione could get them.
When they finally stopped laughing Harry spoke. “We are really in trouble now.” He said. “They are going to get us back and with Ginny to help Hermione plan I can only imagine what will be in store for us.”
“Boy are you right.” Ron replied. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Ginny asks Fred and George for help.”
“Oh well. I still say it was worth it to see the looks on their faces.” Harry laughed.
“You’re right about that.” Ron said laughing too.
When they went to lunch they found that they were mostly forgiven for the earlier incident, but knew that they should still expect payback. They finished lunch quickly so their food would have time to settle before tryouts. Harry, Ron and Ginny headed straight out to the pitch to wait for others to arrive.
By two Harry assumed most of those wishing to try out had arrived, and he and Ron agreed to start the tryouts. Harry was elected to do most of the talking.
“All right, as the notice said we need 3 chasers and 2 beaters, but will also be accepting two well rounded players for back up positions. We would like to start with those wanting to be chasers. We need to see how well you handle the quaffle. So, if you are trying out for chaser please mount your brooms.” Harry said.
Harry took a quick count. There were nine people trying out for chaser. Ginny was among them as well as Neville, much to Harry’s surprise. There were six younger students Harry recognized, but wasn’t sure of their names, and Collin Creevey.
It was clear as soon as they started tossing the quaffle around, that Ginny, Neville and Collin had the best aim and ability to catch, but Harry also needed to see how well they could fly and face a goal keeper.
He split them up into teams of three and had them take turns flying against each other. In the end they dismissed three potential chasers. He and Ron instituted a similar plan with the beaters and in the end sent two of the six trying out back to the castle.
Harry and Ron set up two teams of players to play against each other in a game situation. They split up Ginny, Neville and Collin. Ginny was on her own with two fourth years and Dean and Seamus as her beaters.
When it was all over Harry and Ron walked off to talk amongst themselves. “Well, Ginny is clearly the best player out there.” Harry said.
“I agree. I also never thought I’d say this but Neville could be just as good with some practice.” Ron added.
“So do we agree that Ginny, Neville and Collin, should be the chasers?” Harry asked. Ron nodded. “And Dean and Seamus the beaters?”
“Sounds good to me, but what about the back up positions?” Ron asked.
“That girl with the short brown hair wasn’t too bad, and that one boy who dodged that bludger, from Ginny’s team was okay.” Harry said.
“Then it is settled. You go tell them.” Ron said.
Harry walked back over to the group of anxious hopefuls. “We have made our decision. First I would like to say, you all gave a good effort. Ginny, Neville, and Collin will be our chasers, and Dean and Seamus will be the beaters. The two reserve players will be Michael and Elizabeth.” Harry said hoping he got their names right.
When the two he meant to call started smiling he knew he hadn’t messed up. “We will let you all know when the next practice will be a few days before hand. Congratulations to all of you.” Harry finished.
Ginny smiled. She had thought when they had put her on the team with those two fourth years that she might not make it, because of Harry’s feelings for her. After they chose her though she was embarrassed to have thought that about Harry. He wouldn’t not let her on the team for selfish reasons.
Harry, Ron, and Ginny were greeted by Hermione when they made it back to the common room. She wanted to know who made the team. After they finished telling her about the try out it was time for dinner. Being on a broom all day had made Harry so hungry, he thought he might be able to eat as much as Ron.
Back in the common room after dinner Hermione made sure Ron got all his homework done, which had been easy when she suggested that if he didn’t have any work to do perhaps they could spend some time together alone. Harry and Ginny had laughed when Ron dropped all protest and ran up the stairs to get his books.
“If I would have known getting him to do his school work would be this easy I would have asked him out myself ages ago.” Hermione joked, which made Harry and Ginny laugh even harder. Ron came back and didn’t even ask why they were laughing. He simply set straight to work.
With nothing else to do Harry worked on his homework as well. It was late when they all went to bed but with their homework done, they didn’t have to worry about getting up the next morning.
It wasn’t really morning anymore when Harry woke up at last. He saw Ron was still sleeping. They had both missed breakfast. He woke Ron up and they went downstairs, thankful that it would soon be time for lunch.
Ginny and Hermione were already downstairs, but they hadn’t been there for long. They all went to lunch together. After lunch Ron and Hermione went off on their own leaving Harry and Ginny together, with nothing to do.
“I just realized something.” Harry said as they sat on a sofa in the common room.
“What?” Ginny asked.
“Well Hermione never asked you if you wanted to go to the ball with me, if her plan works that is.” Harry said trying to sound nonchalant.
Great Ginny thought. How am I supposed to answer that? She must have waited a little too long to answer because his smile faltered and he spoke again. “It’s okay, if you have someone else you’d rather go with. Her plan probably won’t work anyway.” Harry said.
“That’s not it.” Ginny told him.
“What is it then?” He asked.
“I don’t know what I am supposed to say. If I say the wrong thing you’ll probably start ignoring me again.” Ginny replied.
“I won’t. Just tell me the truth.” He told her.
“I want to go with you, not just because we are friends.” Ginny said. “I understand why you are so worried about that, but I can’t help it.”
“Neither can I.” Harry said softly. “I am going to go out and fly for a while. You can come if you want.”
“I think that’s a great idea.” Ginny replied.
They both took their brooms outside and walked toward the deserted pitch. Neither one had much to say, so the simply mounted their brooms and took off. They stayed out until it was time to go in for dinner.
Before the meal began Dumbledore stood to make an announcement, which was a surprise to everyone except Ginny and Hermione. “I will keep this as brief as possible.” He said. “I have decided that the Halloween Ball should be something entirely different than what has been done before. It will be a masquerade. There is however on decision that will be left up to all of you. Tomorrow at breakfast there will be a vote, as to whether you want to wear robes or Muggle dress. I have spoken to the shop in Hogsmeade and the owner will alter your robes into muggle fashion or you may exchange them for some muggle dress clothing she will order for this occasion. The choice will be yours. Now let’s eat.”
Most of the students seemed to think that a masquerade was a wonderful idea. The great hall was filled with talk of little else. Harry was the only one who didn’t look happy about it. “I take it this was your plan, Hermione.” He said.
“Yes.” she replied.
“It really was a good idea, but I still don’t think it will work.” He said sadly.
“Why not?” Ron asked.
“I know Ginny isn’t the only girl with red hair, but coming with me from Griffindor anyone with half a brain will be able to figure out who she is.” Harry said.
Ginny hadn’t thought of that either and her smile fell. “Honestly Harry, you worry too much.” Hermione said off handedly. “That was only the first part of my plan.”
The next morning they all went to breakfast together. At each place setting their was a small piece of parchment with a place to write your name and which type of dress you would prefer. Harry didn’t care, so he asked Ginny which she wanted and voted for that one, before dropping his parchment in the designated box.
Before and after every class that day all Harry heard in the halls were people talking about the ball. Who they wanted to go with, and what they wanted to wear. Harry wondered when they would find out. It was bound to take a while to count up all the votes.
Once again before dinner Professor Dumbledore stood to make an announcement. “The votes have been tallied and it was overwhelmingly decided that the ball will take place in muggle dress. There will be special trips to Hogsmeade this weekend for the purpose of obtaining what you will wear. Your group and time will be posted on the notice board in your house common room. Now let’s eat.”
While everyone was busy eating Harry turned to Ginny. “Gin, promise me that if we can’t go together you will go to the ball anyway and try to have a good time.” Harry whispered.
“All right I promise.” Ginny said, but she had no doubt that they would be going together. Hermione had assured her of that.
When they got back to the common room they checked the notice board. Griffindor 5th years and above would be going to Hogsmeade Friday after dinner.
“What are you going to do about a dress Ginny?” Hermione asked.
“I’m not sure. I did get new dress robes this year. I guess I’ll see what I can get trading them in and if all else fails I will have them altered.” Ginny replied.
Harry thought up a plan of his own when he heard Ginny talking to Hermione. He went up to his room and scratched out a note to the owner of the shop where they would be going to get their clothes, telling them top allow Ginny Weasley to select any dress she liked and that he would cover the difference in price. He also asked that it be kept a secret and was including ten galleons along as a deposit.
That done he told the others that he was going to send a letter to Remus and went to the owlery. He found Hedwig and sent her with the money and the note into Hogsmeade.
The rest of the week passed quickly and when Friday came the Griffindor common room was filled with girls talking about going shopping. After dinner the first group of students made their way to the front of the school. Most were carrying their dress robes with them.
When they reached Hogsmeade they were told to split into separate groups of boys and girls. Those needing to exchange their robes were to line up and have them evaluated, so they could be given a credit amount toward the purchase of a muggle dress or suit.
Harry had decided since he would probably need his robe, he would just buy a new suit. Just in case Hermione was able to pull it off. He went inside and since there were few students buying things outright, he was seen to immediately. He selected a simple black suit and tie. He figured that would go well with whatever Ginny picked out.
He went to the counter to pay. “Young Mr. Potter, how are you this evening.” the woman asked.
“Fine. Did you receive my message.” He asked.
“We certainly did. The young lady may pick out any dress she likes.” The woman said. “I assume this young lady is your date?”
“No, she is my best friends sister and he is really the one doing this, but incase someone finds out he doesn’t want her to know it was him.” Harry said quickly.
Harry turned and left the shop. He knew he was a poor liar and only hoped he had sounded convincing. He hadn’t thought about what paying for Ginny’s dress would mean if anyone found out. He hoped the woman wouldn’t tell anyone. He found Ron at the table handing over his robe.
Once Ron had found a suit, they went to find Hermione and Ginny. Hermione was already inside picking out a dress, but Ginny was talking to the woman at the girl’s table. “How much do I have to spend on a dress?” Ginny asked.
“You can pick any dress that we have inside.” The woman replied.
“How is that possible?” Ginny asked. “My robe wasn’t nearly as expensive as some of those dresses.”
“I only know what I was told, which was that you can select any dress and payment will be received.” the woman said. “Don’t complain dear, apparently you have a secret admirer.”
Ginny looked up and saw Harry standing a short distance away, trying not to look at her. She realized it was Harry who had arranged for her to shop freely. It was obvious when she thought about it. Who else did she know with a vault full of gold, who was generous enough to give it away freely?
She stopped arguing and went inside. She found Hermione looking at a particularly beautiful red dress. “That’s really nice.” Ginny said.
“Isn’t it, but even if I could afford it, it wouldn’t look right on me.” Hermione said. “But this style would work great on you.”
“You thinks so?” Ginny asked. “Too bad it’s red.”
“I could fix that. In fact changing the color of whatever dress you buy was already a part of my plan.” Hermione told her.
“Then I’ll get this one.” Ginny said.
“Do you have enough money?” Hermione asked softly. She was clearly embarrassed to be broaching such a delicate subject.
“No, but apparently Harry does. He made it so I can have any dress I want.” Ginny replied. “Now let’s find you a dress.
They found Hermione a dress and went back outside to meet Harry and Ron, so they all could walk back to the castle together. Ron and Hermione walked arm in arm with Harry and Ginny on either side of them. Both of whom were trying to pretend they were the ones in the middle.
Back in the common room Ginny thanked Harry quietly for the dress and they said their good nights. Harry went upstairs and fell asleep almost instantly.
The next morning they went to breakfast together. Just as they finished and got up to leave Hermione turned to Harry. “Room of Requirement in an hour.” She said and walked away.
Of course as usual Harry was more than a little confused. He decided to spend the next hour working on his homework. He worked on his Defense essay and was almost finished when he thought to check the time. He was already five minutes late. He shut his book and took off for the Room of Requirement.
He opened the door and stepped inside. The room looked strange. Almost like a cross between a salon and a fitting room. “Hello?” Harry called.
Hermione stepped out from behind a curtain. “Good, Harry, You’re here.” she said.
“So, what exactly am I here for?” he asked.
“This.” Hermione said, drawing back the curtain.
Harry didn’t know what he had been expecting, but it was nothing close to what he saw when she drew back that curtain. Standing before him was one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen. Her hair was such a dark brown that it was almost black. She was wearing a mask over her eyes and nose trimmed in feathers, and a deep blue strapless dress that sparkled, looking like stars on a midnight sky. It fit her perfectly through the waist where it spread out all the way to the floor.
“Who is she?” He asked in awe.
“Don’t you recognize me?” She said in a voice he knew well.
“Ginny?” Harry questioned.
She raised her mask and Harry saw that it was her. “I guess this means you are going to the ball.” Hermione said. “If you didn’t recognize her, no one else will either.”
Harry still hadn’t taken his eyes off Ginny. “How? What? Her hair?” he stammered.
“Are you going to ask her or not?” Hermione prompted.
Harry looked at her and then back at Ginny. “Will you go to the ball with me?” he asked.
“Of course.” Ginny replied.
“Good, now that we have that settled, I can finish my homework.” Hermione said. “Harry you have to go now, so Ginny can change and I can change her hair back. We can’t let anyone find out about this.”
Harry could only nod. He could believe he hadn’t recognized Ginny. She had looked so beautiful, though he had missed her red hair. He made his way back to the common room where Ron was waiting for him.
“Is Hermione a genius, or what?” Ron asked.
“She is amazing.” Harry replied.
Write a Review Harry Potter and the Dagda's Harp: Chapter 5 Occlumency and Quidditch