Chapter 39 : Dream A Little Dream
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“You might want to go and see if Ron’s okay.” Remus suggested and Harry shook his head.
“I can’t deal with him when he’s upset. I always say something stupid and he always hates me for it.” Harry told him.
“Still… it might be an idea to go, after all he probably won’t remember what you say whilst he’s in his current state, he’ll just remember that you were there. It’s the same with Ginny.” Remus told him and Harry nodded.
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right, I’ll go down to the Hospital Wing now and see how he is.” Harry said, “I just feel really uncomfortable being around them all like that.”
“I know you do, but wouldn’t you rather be in your shoes feeling uncomfortable around your friends, or in theirs, not seeing you through the grief at having lost a member of their family?” Remus asked and to his relief Harry nodded and didn’t retort with a remark about his not having a family to lose.
“I’ll see you later then…” Harry said and flooed to the Hospital Wing, leaving Remus wondering why no one but him ever used the floo.
“I ask that you return to your Common Room or wherever you’ve come from, Harry.” McGonagall said to him as he stepped through the fireplace and into the Hospital Wing towards the end, away from the patients.
“But I need to see how Ron is, Professor.” Harry said to her, hoping that she would let him go see his friend.
“I shall tell you just what I told Miss Granger…” She said to him and observed the boy over the top of her spectacles, “Mr Weasley does not wish company at the moment, it is best to leave the family alone in their grief for the present. I would suggest coming back tomorrow when Mr Weasley would be more willing to talk and less willing to hex you off the face of the earth.”
Harry sighed but agreed; there was very little he could do otherwise but leave the Weasleys to themselves and hope that they would be alright and be glad that at least one of their eldest sons had survived. “I would suggest finding something more productive to do in the meanwhile such as homework…”
“Wandless magic, hexing Trelawney, duelling…” Harry said, carrying on and making a list of the things he could do. A smile touched the corners of her lips as she heard his more interesting suggestion of the three.
“You’ve got the idea, Harry.” She said and ushered him out of the room.
Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Who would have thought it? Only a day ago he had been reassuring Ron constantly that both Bill and Charlie were going to be okay… nothing was going to happen and today everyone was trying to console him and his family that at least Bill had survived, even if Charlie hadn’t.
Poor Charlie… Harry thought absently as he walked along the well trodden route to Gryffindor Tower making his way there without realising where he was going.
Bill and Charlie had both gone into Azkaban, or as close to it as they could and then things had gone wrong. Their communication had been cut, almost as if someone had known that they would be coming. No one knew what had happened to them after that but Bill had appeared at Headquarters almost six hours after the agreed time, alone. He had been muddy, bloody and his face had been streaked with tears. He had told no one what had happened to him or how his brother met his end, but Harry had the feeling that no one would be knowing that was not a part of the family and although he was considered by them as a brother and a son, that did not mean that he would be receiving such information, unless Ron chose to reveal it to him.
“Harry…?” Hermione’s voice as he sat down in the common room brought him to his senses again. “Harry!” She said again, this time more sharply. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah… no … just shocked really.” Harry said to her and she nodded. She couldn’t believe that one of Ron’s brothers was gone either and neither of them could comprehend the awful blow it must have dealt to their family.
“Have you been to see them then?”
“I tried but McGonagall sent me back and told me to return tomorrow.” Harry told her and Hermione nodded, it was no more than she had expected really but she wanted to be there for Ron and let him know that when he needed them then they were there to support him in every way he needed.
“I thought she would, she did with me too.” Hermione said and glanced across the room, noticing the Quidditch team that were stood talking. “I’d go tell them you’re not training tonight if I were you.”
Harry nodded and got to his feet, crossing the room quickly and meeting Laura, Katie, Lewis and Dean who were stood waiting for him in their Quidditch robes.
“We’re not going to be training tonight.” He told them and they all began to ask him why and started trying to second-guess him. Harry lowered his voice and quietly told him that Ron and Ginny couldn’t attend due to a family tragedy, although he was deliberately not specific about it. The four of them nodded once they heard the news and agreed not to divulge the information, not that Harry had asked them to, and went to change back into their normal robes.
Harry sighed and sank back into his favourite chair by the fire as the Quidditch team wandered over to join him, leaving Hermione less than impressed by their appearance as they almost always wanted to talk about Quidditch, or something related to that topic. Today though, they seemed rather more subdued and she knew it was most likely because Harry had told them what was going on.
It was because of their rather more melancholy state that she found them more agreeable company that usual and spent some time talking idly with them about the upcoming Hogsmeade visit which was going to be held at the next weekend, although whether or not Ron would attend with the Weasley twins was debatable.
“You’re not going to Hogsmeade with anyone are you, Laura?” Hermione asked and shot a subtle look at Harry which she knew Laura had seen, Harry also noticed her sly glanced in his direction but chose to ignore it and knew that he would argue with her later about it; he had told her more than once that he didn’t want setting up with the fifth year Chaser.
“No, what makes you ask?” Laura asked, a slight smile touching her face and Harry glanced at her, catching her eye but shaking his head slightly at Hermione as he did so.
Half an hour later, Harry had finally become bored of the conversation being manipulated by Hermione who was still trying to set Harry and Laura up together. He sat writing quickly, his quill racing over the parchment as he tried to get his latest Potion’s essay written, after all, if he wasn’t particularly interested in the conversation around him he should at least make a vague attempt at completing his homework.
He sucked absentmindedly on a sugar quill as he tried to think of what to write next but he had just about exhausted all his knowledge on Shrinking Solutions, and although he could have listed what could have gone wrong (and his case what did go wrong) with the potion, he knew that hadn’t been asked for and Snape would be practically giddy with joy at the idea of having something to mark him down with.
Harry was still absorbed in his essay and didn’t notice that everyone had got up from around him and left. All but Laura that is and Harry had a sinking feeling when he noticed her singular presence as to what was coming.
“Harry…?” Laura started. “You know this weekend’s the Hogsmeade weekend…”
“Yeah.” Harry said slowly, hoping that he wasn’t going to have to decline her offer to go to Hogsmeade with her.
“Doyouwannagowithme?” She said quickly and Harry stared at her for a moment as he tried to comprehend what she had said.
“Uh… Laura, if it’s alright with you I feel really uncomfortable going to Hogsmeade with people, I’d rather just go as a group with my friends, you know.” Harry said, watching her face for the telltale signs which said she was either about to shout, cry or slap him. Fortunately he saw none of these and she nodded and smiled slightly. “You can come with us, if you want that is…” He suggested and that made her smile a little wider and more sincere than it had been before.
“Sure, that sounds okay.” She said, not being able to help feeling a little rejected by him but pleased that she would still be spending the time there with him, even if it wasn’t alone.
“Sorry about that though, Hermione thinks that I need to get a girlfriend…” Harry grinned sheepishly and ran his fingers through his hair.
“I know.” Laura said, “Ginny was saying that Hermione had been trying to ser her up with you as well but it clearly didn’t have any success. She ought to stop trying to set you up with people and start trying to set herself up with Ron.”
“Ron?!” Harry said in disbelief and Laura nodded, to the side of them Lewis laughed and Katie shook her head at him in disbelief.
“You mean you didn’t notice?!” Katie said to him, raising an eyebrow and Harry looked utterly mystified.
“What are you talking about?” He asked her, glancing around at the four people who were sat with him.
“You’re unbelievable.” Katie smirked.
“You mean you seriously didn’t know that they’re attracted to each other?! You’ve been their best friend for years!” Laura said, laughing by now.
“No way…” Harry said, hearing the doubt in his own voice. “Ron and Hermione? They can’t be…”
“So you don’t notice the way that they’re always looking at each other?” Katie asked him.
“But they’re always arguing…” Harry countered.
“Loads of couples argue all the time.” Lewis said, adding his own rare input to the conversation and Harry was reminded of the way in which people had told him his own parents fought. He remembered seeing them in Snape’s pensieve and they had hated each other then, well his mother had hated his father at any rate.
“Maybe we can set them up!” Laura said enthusiastically.
“But they never agree on anything, and they fight and most of the time they’re not speaking to each other and…” Harry ran out of things to say at this point and the other three shot him knowing looks and shook their heads, either in disbelief or amusement.
“Trust me, they’re attracted to each other.” Katie said, “It was exactly the same with Angelina and Fred, before Fred tested that flesh eating gunge on her, now they really do hate each other…”
“How’s that relevant?” Laura asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Well they hated each other and they really liked each other underneath.” Katie said.
“Liked each other enough to throw flesh eating substances at each other?” Harry asked, amused.
“Just shut up and start thinking of how we can set them up!” Katie said, clearly excited by the idea of setting up two people who she knew.
“You do know that Ron’s going to be upset for quite some time, don’t you?” Harry said to them and there was silence until Laura dared to ask just what had happened to upset Ron and Ginny. “Their brother died if you must know.” Harry muttered to them, deliberately keeping his voice low in order that no one else would overhear it.
“Oh my god…” Laura said, “I’m really sorry for asking...”
“You didn’t know.” Harry said, “But Ron’s not going to be too happy for some time and I can’t see him being set up with Hermione going down too well at the moment.”
“I understand.” Lewis said quietly and Harry glanced at him, wondering just what he meant by that but didn’t press the matter as conversation moved on.
“This is one of those things that we have to keep quiet about, isn’t it?” Katie asked and Harry nodded. He knew that under normal circumstances there would have been jokes made about how unlikely she was to keep such a thing quiet but after Ron’s brother had died, they all knew that it would not be spoken of within their small group or out of it either.
“So do you think Ron will be going to Hogsmeade this weekend?” Laura asked and Harry shrugged.
“Doubt it if someone’s just died.” Jamie said quietly.
“He might, to keep his mind off things.” Harry pointed out and they nodded.
“You could be right.” Katie said, “And what better way than to take his mind off things than letting Hermione comfort him?”
“Isn’t that going to make me seem like I don’t care if it’s always Hermione there?” Harry asked her, hoping that this plan wasn’t going to lead to his exclusion by Ron.
“No, because you are going to be there for him, it’s just that Hermione will be there more.” Katie pointed out.
“I suppose, and if Hermione’s there all the time then I have fewer chances to say something that will mortally offend him.” Harry said, wondering how on earth he had managed to get himself into a position where he was now trying to set up his best friends, together, one of whom was extremely upset and the other was so smart she would probably already know what they were trying to do despite her currently not being in the room and was studying in the library. “So how exactly are we going to set them up together?” Harry asked them eventually.
“Like this…” Katie said before going on to explain in detail just how they were going to set Ron and Hermione up.
Harry went to bed feeling exhausted and rather bemused. He had listened to Katie’s matchmaking plans for quite some time along with everyone else before they had started to give their own input. Their ideas seemed so bizarre that they would never work. They ranged from shoving them into a broom closet together and locking the door, right through shoving them into a green house together and locking the door to shoving them in the dorm together and holding the door shut. They were low on ideas basically, and all they seemed able to come up with was locking them in places.
Harry wondered what he would do if someone locked him in a room with someone he found attractive. Probably become more and more annoyed with them as I try to find a way out… Harry figured. They needed a new plan.
He closed his eyes and sleep drifted over him.
“Honestly Remus, I don’t care what you say; I am not going to give Ron my Firebolt as an engagement present!” Harry shouted at Remus.
“But he’s getting married in three years, you have to give him something nice…” Remus told him calmly.
“But my Firebolt? Can’t I just buy Charlie back for him? Voldemort said that he’ll only cost me three other people of my choice.” Harry said reasonably.
“No Harry! That’s an awful thing to do. If you want to buy Charlie back you’ll have to trade yourself instead.” Remus said to him and Harry sighed.
“Fine, but you owe me for this!” Harry muttered as he marched out of the room, throwing his Firebolt into the fire and storming over to where Hermione was already sat in her wedding dress.
“Calm down Harry!” Hermione told him as he sat down sulkily next to her.
“Calm? How can I be calm when I have to trade myself?!” Harry asked her.
“Well it could be worse. I’ve been locked in the common room with Ron for three years now and even though we’re getting married Katie still won’t let us out.” Hermione sighed, “I told her that if she wanted to set us up then she should have subtly left us in Hogsmeade or something but no… she had to try and lock us in places instead.”
“Uh huh… well as interesting as this conversation is, I’ve got to go to Azkaban and ask for Charlie back.” Harry said to her and got up, leaving the common room where he walked out onto the long winding path which leads up to Azkaban. Somewhere in the back of Harry’s mind he remembered that once upon a time Azkaban had been an island surrounded by water. “They must have drained the water…” Harry decided as he went up to the front door and knocked.
There was no answer so he calmly walked off the edge of the mountain and found himself swimming in the air. There was a small entrance underneath obscured by cloud but Harry knew it was there as surely as he knew that he was Harry Potter. He swam down into it with ease and walked inside a small cavern inside. All around him he could hear screams but he shrugged them off as natural sounds of the horrific prison. Ascending through a hole in the ceiling he found himself in a large room.
He had been here many times and knew exactly where to go to get to Voldemort. He marched straight ahead down a long and narrow passageway, taking a left turning… or was it a right? He turned left and found a sealed door ahead of him. He reached out and pushed at it as hard as he could but it didn’t budge.
“In the name of Dumbledore, open up!” Harry muttered and it swung open with ease. He stepped inside and saw his friends sat inside a large room talking between themselves. “Sorry, must have taken a wrong turning there…” Harry muttered apologetically and turned round, walking back towards Voldemort’s chamber.
He walked inside the large stone room which was Voldemort’s and saw the man there, playing chess with Lucius Malfoy and eating Jelly Babies.
“Ah, Harry!” Voldemort said, getting up. “Good to see you, Jelly Baby?” He offered Harry the bag which was full of small wriggling children, not the sweets he had first thought them to be. “No? All business I see.” A sliding door moved and Harry could see Charlie there.
“If you want Charlie back then you are going to have to trade yourself… is that alright?” He asked Harry and Harry nodded. “Excellent…”
“Thank you so much Harry, I’ll never forget this!” Charlie shouted to him and apparated out of the room in a puff of green smoke.
“Now Harry, this may sting a bit.” Voldemort walked over to Harry with a piece of paper with the Dark Mark upon it. It appeared to be a temporary tattoo that Muggles children used. He pressed it to Harry’s forehead and he felt a burning sensation course through his head.
Harry jolted awake in his bed, staring at the ceiling and wondering whether he really should write ‘Don’t panic, it was just a dream!’ on it in large gold lettering but decided he was too tired to do it.
He thought back to what Hermione had said in his dream whilst wearing a wedding dress.
“Leave them together in Hogsmeade?” Harry snorted with laughter, “Like that’s going to work!” The way things were going, it appeared that Ron and Hermione were going to spend a lot of time locked in rooms with one another over the next couple of months.
A/N: Hurrah, chapter thirty nine, that's almost (but not) forty chapters! So... Once again I find myself re-evaluating length, mostly because I want to write a long Christmas - I love writing Christmas you see - And I have to write the rest of the plot which is picking up now, honestly! So since I'm now on my Easter holidays for two weeks then I should have more chapters up soon and depending on how bored I get I could have about six, maybe seven chapters up this holiday :o) I'll try to have chapter forty up by Sunday evening GMT oh and I'm nearing 900 reviews so thank you very much to everyone who reads and reviews :o)
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