|SIYE Time:18:50 on 23rd September 2018|
Memoirs of a Red Headed Witch
By My Wicked Quill
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Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Post-HBP, Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Humor, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Summary: Ginny Weasley was always overlooked. Always the youngest, always the smallest, and was never really given the chance to let her voice be heard. But sometimes the best insight comes from those who were always in the background. Her story of redemption, loyalty and love, proves that she was never just the Weasley brothers' little sister.
Hitcount: Story Total: 109391; Chapter Total: 175
Awards: View Trophy Room
Hello readers here in 2018, this is one of the new chapters I've written on my quest to fill all the plot whole I left wide open when I initially wrote this story when I was 16 years old. So if you are still here reading updates, or a new reader, I hope you enjoy!!
Of Parties and Poisons
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Where does it hurt.
When you open your heart
there's always so much to lose.
So far to fall
and nowhere to go when it's true.
But if you let me in,
I won't let you down.
Put your faith in me.
'Cause whenever you crash,
wherever you lay, that's where I'll be.
And for every endless midnight,
there's a sky full of broken stars.
And there'll always be a place for you,
inside my arms.
- “Where Does It Hurt” Alexz Johnson
I would have been an idiot not to notice the way’s Harry looked at me, especially when he thought no one was watching. I would have been mad not to see how he oriented himself around me, how he was always asking me to tag along, on Hogsmeade trips even. And I did notice how he was starting to get bashful in my presence.
But I denied it. I constantly told myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me: I had convinced myself that since I was over him, it would have been funny to see him start liking me.
I think, back then, I was just afraid of getting hurt again. Scared of hoping and wishing and watching when it never led to anything.
Whenever Harry asked me to do something with him, I’d decline and say I had made plans to meet with Dean. I’m kicking myself, now, for having done that. We could have had so much more time.
However, as luck would have it, problems were evolving with Dean. I found him becoming needy. He always had to know where I was and who I was with. He was entirely too gentlemanly. That wasn’t a problem exactly, it was that he was old fashioned to an extreme. Sure some girls would have loved to be fawned over, but I wasn’t some girls. I grew up with 6 older brothers. I stood on my own two feet; I did things for myself. When he would help me through the portrait hole, I would roll my eyes and sweetly ask him not to.
Of course, he didn’t listen.
Quidditch was still going extremely well, but I couldn’t deny the amount of bludgers Harry had been taking because of a certain… distraction. I pretended not to know why, though it was obvious. After practice he would complement each one of my moves and give me endless pointers. He wasn’t watching the snitch he was watching me. Despite my pony tail sagging all over the place and the thick coat of sweat, Harry was watching me.
Ron and Lavender were officially an item and seemed tied at the hip. Once the scandalous gossip wore off, the Gryffindors were in unanimous agreement that the couple’s antics were uncomfortable and tiresome. I’d never even seen them have a conversation and suddenly they were each other’s only priority. And even then, I still hadn’t seen them have an actual conversation.
If Harry, myself and the rest of Gryffindors were over Ron and Lavender, then one could only imagine Hermione’s feelings.
“Ron and Ron alone is accountable for his own actions, Ginny, there’s no need to apologize for his immaturity,” she told me.
“But if I hadn’t put the idea in his head-”
“What? The idea to snog a perfectly normal, nice looking girl at all times of the day? I’m sure
you had little to do with that.”
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
Hermione served her breakfast nonchalantly, “I’m used to being at odds with Ron, you know. Only… last year we, well, I thought we had made progress, Harry insisted on spending most of the time on his own and Ron and I would attend to our prefect duties together and-” she had stopped midway through a serving of gravy and I could see she was lost in thought.
“And well, I guess I was wrong. Ron hasn’t done one bit of maturing. If this is all to do with that fact that I kissed one boy two years ago, then I’m glad to be without him.”
I pushed my sausage around on my plate, “If it’s any consolation, I’ll always think my brother is a fool for not realizing that you-”
“Don’t say it!”
“Hermione you’ve been in love with my brother for years and as much as I wish I could say
you should snap out of it because he’s worthless, he’s still my brother and I know you two would be perfect together.” Hermione had pressed her hands against her ears. “I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!”
“What are you yelling about so early in the morning?” Dean said through a yawn as he wiped sleep from his eyes. He slumped into the spot beside me.
“Just telling Hermione here that these early morning study sessions are completely unnecessary. I’m going to pass my O.W.L.s regardless because I’m brilliant.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were studying with Hermione? I can help you instead. I passed all mine.”
I gave him a polite grin, “Yes I know, but it’s all the girl talk in between that makes it fun.”
Dean nodded, “Okay, just let me know what your study schedule’s going to be like that way I know where I can find you.”
I tossed Hermione a pointed glance as Dean began to fill his plate. She rolled her eyes, “Cause that’s totally unreasonable,” she muttered sarcastically.
I scowled and returned to my breakfast hating the fact that deep down I knew she was right.
Despite being swamped with school work and my O.W.L.s drawing nearer, I managed to keep my head above the water and not let Quidditch, my grades and my social life drown me. I somehow even managed to make time for the Slug Club. Professor Slughorn’s silly club of promising students hosted regular events and reunions in which we were expected to network, or well, Slughorn expected to network and befriend us. I couldn’t say he was a bad man for doing so, thus I didn’t mind when he would stop me in the halls to chat or ask me to stay behind after class and invite me or other slug club members to have lunch with him on a rare weekend afternoon.
It was actually a nice change of pace to take part in something that none of my brothers were part of and something I had gotten recognition for on my own. Again, as silly as it all was. But when Slughorn announced he was going to have a Christmas party and that guests from outside the school would be attending as well, everyone seemed pretty excited. Members of the club were allowed to bring dates, and all the girls were in a tizzy about who’d ask who.
“Dean, you’d like to come with me to Slughorn’s Christmas party, wouldn’t you?”
Dean smiled and put his arm around my shoulders, “You didn’t even have to ask.”
I smiled back at him.
“Hey Harry,” he called to the boy across the common room. Harry looked up curiously, “You’re going to that Christmas Party too then?”
“Err-” he seemed to be thinking it over. “Wasn’t sure, honestly.”
“Well I’ll be there with Ginny, so you should definitely come, it’ll be fun!”
Harry gave a half-hearted smile, “Yeah, I guess, yeah, I’ll be there,” Harry replied looking at me quickly then looking away.
“Wonder what’s with him,” asked Dean in a lower voice.
I looked over his shoulder again and glanced at Harry. “No idea.”
“It’s out of pity is what it is,” said Eliza the day of the Christmas party, “He only asked her because he feels bad for her. No one even really talks to her.”
“Talks to who?” I asked walking into the conversation in my dormitory.
“Well, except for Ginny of course,” Eliza muttered rolling her eyes.
My defenses were immediately built. “Excuse me?”
“Eliza is just upset that Harry has a date to the ball,” explained Maurine.
The news hit me like a bag of bludgers.
“Oh please, every girl in Hogwarts is upset that Harry didn’t ask them to the party tonight,” quipped Varity.
“It would be better if he’d ask someone, normal, is all I’m saying. Why he’s wasting his time taking Luna Lovegood on a pity date when there’s so many of us perfectly eligible-”
My roommates looked over at me, “Well, haven’t you heard? I thought Looney Lovegood was a close friend of yours,” asked Eliza.
“Harry asked Luna to the party?”
Varity nodded, “Yes, just now.”
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the information. Honest to Merlin, I felt so torn between jealousy and happiness for my friend and hurt and indifference for myself that it all seemed to cancel out. I felt rather fine.
Now. Had it been anyone else, say, Romilda Vane or any other girl that was not Hermione or Luna, I might have…. well. There’s no telling how I would have reacted.
“Not jealous too, are you? With a lovely date to the party yourself, I’d say you’d be damn well gluttonous.”
“Shut up, Eliza,” I snapped. “I’ve just been caught off guard.”
“Well, no need to worry any way because, as I was saying, It’s all out of pity. He’s just being a martyr-”
“Harry happens to be actual friends with Luna, Eliza, she’s a good person. There’s nothing wrong with her. Now, stop spreading rumors, or I’ll start spreading the truth about what your nose actually looks like in the morning before you take your wand to it!”
Eliza’s hands went to her nose with a shocked shriek and Varity and Maurine cackled with laughter.
When I found Luna a bit later she was positively glowing.
“A party!” she said, “I’ve never really been to a party before, do you think there’ll be cake?”
“Maybe,” I giggled, “But it’s not a birthday party.”
“Is there a difference? Oh it doesn’t matter! Harry was just so thoughtful to have asked me to go with him as a friend!” Luna quickly sobered and turned to me with her signature soft-eyed gazed, “You’re not upset with me, are you, Ginny?”
“Why would I be upset?”
“Because you’re still in love with Harry and I-”
“WHOA- wait, Luna. You know that I’m with Dean. Dean is my boyfriend.”
“Well, yes I know that. But what does that have to do with your feelings for Harry?”
I shook my head, recognizing a lost cause when I saw one. “No, I’m not upset with you. Not one bit. I’m glad you’ll be there.”
“Good because he did just ask me to go with him as his friend, I’m sure he would have asked you to go not as friends. If Dean wasn’t your boyfriend, I mean.”
My jaw dropped to the floor but before I could even utter a response she continued, “What should I wear to a party anyway? I have these pants that have the universe charmed on them, they even expand to show different galaxies-”
Sh aking my head of all her silly words I said, “Just wear a pretty dress.” Luna opened her mouth to speak again, but I clamped my hand over it before she could speak again. “And shoes.”
“And don’t wear these earrings,” I advised, motioning to her token radish earrings.
I lowered my hand and started to walk away before she began to call out, “What about-”
“Or your cork necklace!” I added over my shoulder for good measure.
Walking in to the Great Hall for dinner, I couldn’t help but over hear my prat of a brother,
“You could’ve take anyone! Anyone! And you chose Loony Lovegood?” (HBP page 312)
I paused behind Harry, “Don’t call her that Ron,” I scolded and then turned to Harry, “I’m really glad you’re taking her, Harry, she’s so excited.” I meant it. I truly did. He smiled and I went to sit with Dean, Colin and Demelza.
The party was rather dull in my opinion. It was a bunch of Slughorn’s old colleges talking about the good old days and about all the recent changes in politics. Dean was enjoying himself greatly, finding the food absolutely brilliant and speaking to anyone with questions about Muggle culture. I was rather hoping there was going to be music and dancing. But it was better than being in the common room with everyone else anyway.
Harry and Luna showed up together looking quite nice. Luna had taken my advice and looked normal. I suddenly decided that stripping her of her unique style might just be for special occasions. I actually rather missed her earrings. Though, I was sure Harry did not.
“What are you doing?” I asked Hermione when she suddenly appeared behind me.
Hermione was, for some reason, using me as a human shield and ducking behind my back.
Dean laughed, “She came with Cormac McLaggen to make Ron jealous.”
I gasped, “Hermione, you did not!”
“Be quiet, he’ll find me!”
“McLaggen?” I asked, “Well that’s your fault for coming with someone vile!”
“It worked though!” Dean said, “Ron’s been going on and on about it since he found out. You’ve got him all worked up, Hermione!”
I laughed, “My stupid brother-”
“He’s coming this way!” whispered Hermione before disappearing like a puff of smoke.
I turned to see Cormac headed our direction, but it was what was happening behind him that caught my attention.
“What’s Malfoy doing here?”
I shrugged, “I have no idea.” Malfoy was speaking to Slughorn, Luna and Harry and I knew that he certainly was not anyone’s date.
“Wonder if he’s delusional enough to think he’d been invited.”
“More like entitled enough to feel as though he didn’t even need an invitation.”
“Cheers to that!” Dean replied clinking his glass of pumpkin juice with mine a bit too hard. “Oh sorry!” Dean apologized as pumpkin juice spilled onto my dress robes. He immediately began blotting the fabric with a napkin, fussing and apologizing. I rolled my eyes and softly pushing him away.
“Oh it’s alright! It’s just a spill.” I took out my wand, “Scourgify.”
Dean blushed, “Oh-yeah. Magic. Err-I’ll go get you some more pumpkin juice!” he said and promptly rushed to the refreshment table.
Feeling slightly relieved at his absence, then feeling very guilty about my relief, I looked back to where Harry was standing with Professor Slughorn, Professor Snape and a humbled looking Malfoy. I watched Snape drag Malfoy out of the party and then, curiously enough, watched Harry follow them. Luna was left all alone.
“Where has Harry gone?” I asked when I made my way to her.
“He said he was going to the bathroom, but I have the distinct feeling he was not being truthful.”
“Why would Harry lie about going to the bathroom?”
“His aura changed the moment Malfoy stepped into the room. He became overwhelmingly suspicious. I think he’s gone to spy on Professor Snape and Malfoy.”
“You know what, Luna? If you were speaking about anyone else, I’d say you were the one being overly suspicious, but since it’s Harry we’re talking about…I wouldn’t put it past him.”
“Here you go, sweetheart,” came Dean’s voice as he handed me a new glass. I grimaced at the pet name, it reminded me of Lavender and Ron all too much. Or perhaps I just didn’t like the way it sounded coming from Dean.
I smiled politely anyway.
“Oh hello, Dean!” said Luna.
“Hi Loon- er- Luna!”
I threw him a sharp look.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something actually!” she told him, “Daddy’s been working on this new article about the new found evidence of wizards and witches participating in muggle sports!”
Dean sputtered on his juice, “What?”
“Oh yes! Daddy says that what muggles have deemed to be abuse of steroods is actually-”
“You mean steroids?”
“Yes! So you’ve heard this too then? That’s perfect because I was hoping you could explain to me the American sport football, because Daddy needs all the research he can gather.”
I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. But at the mention of the word football, Dean beamed and began a lecture that seemed almost practiced.
My mind wandered to what Harry could possibly have been listening in on. Realizing Dean was not going to finish up anytime soon and that Luna was completely enthralled, I excused myself to the bathroom as well.
If Harry thought Malfoy was up to something, then perhaps he’d need some back up?
I was lost in my thoughts as I walked out of the party and nearly crashed into Severus Snape.
“Watch where you’re going, Weasley. I’d expect you to have better reflexes than that, seeing as everyone seems to think you have a talent for Quidditch,” he snarled. Snape was obviously in a worse mood than usual. And that was saying something.
“My apologies, Professor,” I replied, swallowing a mouthful of pride.
He returned to the party and I started down the hall wondering where Harry had gone, until I bumped into solid nothingness.
“Ouch!” I cried in surprise.
“SHH!!” came Harry’s voice out of thin air. Suddenly, I was covered by a thin sheet and was nose to nose with the green-eyes wizard.
Even in the dim light of the hall I saw his blush when he noticed our proximity. And for the first time in what seemed like forever, I blushed back.
“Um…why are we under here?” I whispered.
“If Snape hears-”
“He’s already rejoined the festivities.”
Harry’s eyes widened in recognition, “Oh! Erm, guess I was lost in thought…didn’t realize.”
“Hear anything good at least?” Harry tried to give me an innocent glance. “Please, even Luna knows what you’re really doing out here.”
Harry shrugged, “Snape gave Malfoy a good earful about party crashing and being out of the common room so late, is all.”
I raised an eyebrow, but decided to believe him. “So, this is what it’s like to be invisible, huh?”
Harry let out a laugh, “Yeah, it’s nice to disappear once in a while.”
“You can get up to some pretty interesting stuff under hear I’d assume,” I joked waggling my eyebrows.
Harry’s eyes glowed with interest, “Yeah, one can’t help but imagine,” he said in a low voice.
My mouth went dry.
A few moments of tense silence passed between us before Harry shook his head and stepped out of the cloak.
“Feel free to ask for it whenever you’d like,” he said, somehow still looking straight into my eyes though I knew I was invisible. “Just-not- not to use it with- err Dean,” he added.
“Thanks! I might ask to just use it now, that party it pretty boring.”
Harry shook his head again and reached for the cloak, revealing me once again. “Not tonight. You look too nice tonight to hide away.”
There were no words. If there were, I could not think of them. So I did something I had never done before. I kissed him on the cheek.
I honestly don’t remember the rest of the party.
“Why, this place looks absolutely stunning.” Said a familiar voice. I turned to find a thinner than ever Remus Lupin leaning against the door frame of the living room.
“Remus!” I cheered, dropping the decorative tinsel to the ground and running over to hug him.
He laughed at my enthusiasm and hugged me in return. “How are you? You seem in much better spirits since the last time I saw you.”
“Yes, well, it’s been an alright few months, honestly, well I suppose except for the incident with Katie Bell.”
“Yes I heard about that. We are still trying to investigate who gave her the necklace and who the necklace was really supposed to be for.”
“Wait, there’s more to it than Katie accidently coming across a cursed necklace in Hogsmeade?”
The incident landed Katie in the hospital, but from what I knew she was going to be alright.
Remus eye same curiously, “Well, perhaps not, but it’s still a dire situation for a Hogwarts student to come across a dark object, and something that needs to be investigated but… I would have thought that you’d…. well, I don’t want to put ideas in your head-”
“What are you talking about, Remus?”
“Well Harry has been preaching about all of this being a scheme of Draco Malfoy’s. He’s convinced that Malfoy is up to something and that he is working for the Dark Lord. I thought you of all people would be the first to back up his statements.”
I stared blankly at him for a moment. “Well I guess that would require being told anything. Which as you very well know, I never am.” I was a bit hurt that Harry wouldn’t mention any of this to me, as I thought we had gotten much closer. I suddenly realized he’d lied to me about the conversation between Snape and Malfoy. Something was obviously going on. “Do you believe him, then?” I asked.
“Well. I’m not sure. I don’t want to rile Harry up and encourage him to seek truths to questions that may not have good outcomes in any capacity. I just want him to keep out of trouble.”
“Tall order, I’d say,” I muttered picking up the decorations once more and continuing to deck the halls.
“On a brighter note, I’m glad you are doing better.”
“Yes, no voices for a while now. I mean, I’m sure that with all the dark news going on I’m not hearing anything or having dreams because I’m too preoccupied with school and exhausted from Quidditch.”
“And, I’d assume, because you are in such good spirits. I can tell you’re happy, Ginny.”
I turned to him again. “I am.”
“And that’s all to do with a certain boy, I hear,” said Bill, joining the conversation.
Remus laughed, “Brave soul that one. Six older brothers, I’d deem him half-mad.”
“Well, I’ve heard Dean Thomas is as harmless as they come.”
“That he is, dear brother,” Fred appeared beside Bill
“Only perhaps too harmless,” added George.
“A little boring, honestly-”
“Not nearly good enough.”
“Well that’s for me to decide. Not anyone of you,” I said.
“Let’s asked someone completely unbiased shall we?” asked Bill. “Hey Harry,” Bill called into the kitchen.
“Yeah?” he replied through a mouthful of treacle tart.
“This Dean Thomas fellow, is he good enough for our Ginny?”
Five pairs of eyes were fixed on Harry as he nearly choked on his bite, “Er- Dean’s my friend, good bloke,” he shrugged looking away from Bill and meeting my eyes. “But that’s a tall order, I’d say.”
My heart swelled a bit.
Bill nodded in approval, “Harry, my friend, that was an excellent answer. You should be a politician.”
I couldn’t help but confront Harry about his theories on Christmas Eve. I was sitting playing exploding snap with Fred and George when I noticed my father, Remus and Harry having a whispered conversation in the corner. It looked rather…involved.
I tried to listen in but they were too far away. And so that night as everyone headed off to bed I made sure to bump into Harry on the stairs.
“Any chance I could use that invisibility cloak tonight?”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “Sure- but…what are you gonna use it for?”
“Why don’t you come along and find out?”
The moment the mischief in his eyes appeared I knew I had him convinced. He rushed upstairs and was back in moments.
“Did Ron ask where you were going?”
Harry rolled his eyes, “Did you see how much he had to eat tonight? He’s already in his second dream.”
I had to hold my laughter in. “Let’s go!”
Harry threw the cloak over our heads and I carefully lead him outside. We walked past the field into the trees and didn’t stop until we reached the frozen pond.
“Cast a warming charm, won’t you?” I told him, handing him Fred’s wand. He paused, recognizing that it wasn’t mine and only shook his head disapprovingly. I watched as he obeyed.
“What are we doing?” He asked once I took the cloak off and settled in by the shore.
“What?” I could tell he was bewildered.
“Well, now that I’ve got you here, in a secluded place, out of ear shot and alllllll to my self….”
“Oh don’t look so scared I’m not going to kill you and hide your body. I just want some coveted information.”
“Wait. So you tricked me into coming out here?”
“When have you ever said no to joining an adventure?”
Harry narrowed his eyes, “Your brothers are terrified of you and yet, I still think they completely underestimate you.”
“Yeah, well they aren’t the only ones are they?” I gave him a knowing glance. “You lied to me about what you heard from Snape and Malfoy, didn’t you?”
Harry didn’t bother excusing himself. “Yes. I did. I just, I don’t want you-”
“Getting involved? What are you afraid I wouldn’t believe you? Afraid I’m going to get my ankle broken again because I knew what was going on? Harry, I’m sorry, was I stupid enough to actually think you trusted me?”
I jumped at his sudden remark, but stayed silent.
“Can I talk now?”
“Ginny, it’s not that I don’t trust you. Look, I’m not used to have so many people to tell things to. I’m not used to having to relay all the details of my life to so many different people. First, it was Ron and Hermione, then it was Dumbledore then Sirius an Remus, and now your parents and…I’m just a private person okay? Why didn’t I tell you what I heard? Because I wasn’t sure what it meant at first. I’m trying not to make mistakes like the ones I’ve made in the past.” I knew he meant Sirius, and running to the trap at the Ministry.
“I’m sorry if that upsets you.”
I sighed, “Not upset. Honestly. I guess I get it now. I understand you Harry. But I just don’t like being lied to.”
Harry twisted his hand together on his lap. The last thing I wanted him to feel was as though I was scolding him, I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. “Can you tell me what you were talking to my father about a little bit ago?”
Harry seemed hesitant. “Was it to do with Snape and Malfoy? I know you suspect Malfoy as the culprit for the necklace Katie found… were you telling my father?” I prodded.
Harry narrowed his eyes, “I thought you said this was an exchange of information.”
I grinned, “Of course. I can offer you one secret about each of my brothers in exchange for your thoughts.”
I wiggled my eye brows, “Reputation ruining secrets…”
Harry laughed, “Deal!”
“I suppose I’ll start, Charlie once had a girlfriend who broke up with him because she thought he was such a bad kisser.”
“Charlie? Really? How could you possibly know that?”
“Well he was really upset about it; she sent a letter to him that summer and I just happened to come across it in the garbage bin.”
Harry smirked, “Just happened?”
“Yes, right after I used my mum’s wand to tape the pieces back together so that I could read it.”
Harry was laughing so hard he could hardly breath. “You’re awful!”
“I’m resourceful,” I corrected. “Now out with it Potter; what’s going on?”
I was glad to see that Harry’s smile didn’t fade as he said, “I saw Malfoy looking at the necklace that hurt Katie in Borgin and Burke’s last summer. I mean, after finding out that Lucius works for Voldemort, is it such a far jump to suspect that Draco is following in dad’s footsteps?”
“Not at all,” I reasoned.
Harry stared at me expectantly.
“Continue,” I urged.
Harry shook his head, “Another secret Gin, you’ve got five more brothers to go.”
“Fred wet the bed until he was twelve.”
The laughter started again. It took a few moments for Harry to say, “I’ve been trying to explain to everyone but no one wants to accuse Malfoy wrongfully, which I understand. I just feel that he should be watched. McGonagall had an alibi for Draco when Katie was cursed but I think he could have gotten anyone to make sure she received it.”
“What do you think the necklace was meant to do? Why would Malfoy want to hurt Katie Bell?”
“I think it was meant to reach someone else in the castle.”
“What do you have on Bill?”
“Bill took my dad’s flying car out at night once without permission and ruined the back bumper. He framed George the next morning and George took all the punishment. It was a huge fight in my house. If my parents ever found out…Bill would have to move back to Egypt to escape mum’s wrath. And I supposed George’s vengeance.”
Harry let out a deep whistle, “You knew this and never said anything?”
“I was really young and I didn’t want Bill to hate me. For some reason disappointing Bill is even scarier to me than disappointing my parents.”
“Bill adores you though, I don’t think there could ever be anything he wouldn’t forgive you for.”
I shrugged, “Maybe. Anyway, your turn.”
“I don’t know who the necklace might have been for…but I do know this, Snape told Malfoy that he had made an Unbreakable Vow with Mrs. Malfoy to help him complete a certain task if Draco was not up to it.”
“That’s what I heard. Malfoy needs to do something for someone and Snape if going to help him or die. Your dad and Remus think I’m being blinded by my prejudice against Malfoy but I think they are wrong. I don’t think Snape can be trusted.”
Even in the faint moonlight, I could see Harry’s face was a mask of fierce conviction. “I can understand why people underestimate your logic Harry,” I started slowly. “After all, you don’t have the best track record when it comes to judgment and Dumbledore is vouching for Snape.” Harry was about to interrupt but I held my hand out and continued, “But these aren’t things they should take so lightly. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t believe something you actually heard.”
“They think Snape is placating Malfoy, acting the part to gain Malfoy’s trust.”
I exhaled sharply. Well that did make sense.
“You believe me, don’t you?”
I looked in his green eyes, and melted, “Of course.” Tossing any shred of logic, I went with my gut. I would always stand by Harry.
Harry visibly relaxed, his shoulders dropped and he leaned back onto the warm snow. “You owe me the rest of the secrets for that.”
“Percy can actually see just fine; he just thinks the glasses make him look smarter. George used to pretend to be Fred at school sometimes to make Fred look like a fool in front of pretty girls and Ron went an entire year only wanting to wear the color pink. He was eight.”
Harry’s mouth was hanging so far down, I warned him he’d get stuck like that.
We made our way back to the house a few moments later, making sure to erase our footprints in the snow as we passed.
“Well that was… different,” I said once we were safe inside the drawing room.
“It was enlightening to say the least.”
We silently made our way up the stairs and stopped at my door, “I didn’t actually get you anything for Christmas, Harry,” I feebly admitted, “But I was thinking I could give you something that can’t be wrapped.”
I’d said it like that on purpose. I watched as the color rose to his cheeks and as he began to shift uncomfortably. “Err–what?”
“I can tell you one secret about myself.”
I might have been crazy, but he looked disappointed for a moment. Then excited. “What is it?”
“I’ve never told anyone this, and you have to promise to keep it between us. I don’t care what you do with the other secrets, use them as leverage in the future or what not, but this… this you can’t use against me. Can I trust you?”
Harry smirked again, “With your life.”
Shoving him a bit for his cheek, I then took a deep breath and said, “I’m deathly afraid of frogs.”
Harry raised an eye brow, “Frogs?”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Hey! It’s true! That was really hard to admit!”
“You have a pond in your back yard, you have six older brothers, Neville has a pet toad! Gin, there’s no way you could have survived this long.”
“Harry. If my brother’s knew I was afraid of frogs, I wouldn’t have survived this long. I’ve become a master at hiding it.”
Harry stared at me for another moment then began to laugh. “What about chocolate frogs, where do you stand with those?”
I knew he was mocking me so I hit him on the arm hard enough that he stopped. “Ouch.”
“I’m baring my soul to you here. I’m trying to make you see you can trust me.”
Rubbing his arm, he replied, “Ginevra-” I punched him again on the other arm for using my full name, “Ahh! Cut it out, I have a secret for you now.”
“You didn’t have to do all this. I would have told you everything if you just asked. News flash: I already do trust you.”
I felt rather silly, then. God, why was I always trying to prove myself to Harry? Why couldn’t I just treat him like any other friend? I was an idiot.
“But this was a lot of fun,” He was smiling and I knew he meant it.
“Happy Christmas, Harry,” I said opening the door to my room.
“Happy Christmas, Gin.”
I found a small piece of parchment amongst my other Christmas presents the next morning.
“I tell people I’m allergic to bananas, honestly, I just hate them.”
I laughed so hard Fleur woke up with a start in the bed across my room. That Christmas, I wished Harry Potter wasn’t ‘The Chosen One’. He deserved normal. And it had nothing to do with the fact that when I picked a random maggot out of his hair at breakfast he blushed hot enough I could feel it. He was my friend and I wanted that for my friend.
But my wish did not come true, for Christmas day came with unwelcomed guests. Percy actually made an appearance at home for the holiday. After having a fall out with my father about politics and the way Fudge handle the Voldemort situation, Percy ex-communicated us. He was offended by our restarting the Order and had made his choice. So, of course, when he came home, it was with an agenda. He brought the Minister of Magic.
The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, came to recruit Harry as a mascot for the Ministry. An offer Harry full-hearted declined. While Fudge might have been replaced, Malfoys were still running rampant and Umbridge still held an office. The Wizarding World definitely needed a leader, needed an image of hope but Harry refused to be that person if it meant backing up the Ministry.
Or so Harry told me the next day.
I was actually impressed that life at Hogwarts had been relatively normal for as long as it had. It was Ron’s 17th birthday in March that arrived dramatically.
And because when it comes to my loved ones, everything always had to be worse case scenario.
“What’s going on?” I urged the moment I ran into Harry outside the hospital wing. “Ron- he’s been- he’s been poisoned?” I was shaking.
Harry lifted his head from his hands and looked up at me from his seat on the floor. “Yeah. I just barely managed to give him the antidote in time. As far as I know, he’s going to be fine but no one will tell me anything!”
Madam Pomfrey’s head popped out of the door. “Mister Potter, if you must insist on waiting out here all day, I warn you to keep your voice down.”
She disappeared before we could ask anything.
“Hold on,” I said, “Start from the beginning- Ron ate what?”
“Is he alright? Please tell me he’s alright!” Hermione called from down the hall, the last time I’d seen her run so fast was at the Ministry of Magic the year before.
“The idiot ate the chocolates Romilda Vane gave me before Christmas. The one’s you warned me about Hermione, that were laced with a love potion.”
“Romilda Vane did what?” I asked darkly.
“Ron thought they were a birthday present and ate half the whole package!”
Hermione shook her head, “But-but- love potion shouldn’t- how-”
“I took him to Slughorn’s office thinking he’d be able to get Ron to fall out of love with Romilda, it had only been two minutes and he was ready to die for her.”
“Romilda Vane did what?” I asked again.
“And after Slughorn snapped Ron out of it he offered us a drink to cheer him up and that’s how he drank the poison. It was in Slughorn’s Meade.”
Hermione became dead silent.
“I’m going to kill that witch!” I cried, “Of all the stupid schemes! A love potion? LOVE potion? Please why would anyone bother to give you a love potion? That’s the most ridiculous- ugh!”
“I should have tossed them out! Why had I been so stupid as to keep them in my trunk all these months?!”
“What in Merlin’s name was Slughorn doing with a bottle of poisoned Meade??”
Harry began to pace back and forth. “He had it in his cabinet of other drinks, I guess it was old or something- I —I don’t know!”
I stood before him and stared, “Was it a brand new bottle?”
“Did- Harry- did Slughorn lace Ron’s glass?”
Harry looked hopeless, “Maybe, but I was right there, he just poured it out and-”
Harry’s eyes flashed with recognition. “He said it was meant to be a Christmas gift for Dumbledore.”
These were serious accusations. Harry and I looked down the hallway but it was just us and a teary, silent Hermione.
“What happened next?”
“Ron was choking and I just knew what to do.”
I narrowed my eyes, “You save him? What was Slughorn doing?”
“He was scared, he was surprised, he just froze and I stuck a bezoar down Ron’s throat and then we rushed him here.”
“Harry since when are you so good at potions?” I asked, “I thought it was your weakest subject.”
“I hate Snape, doesn’t seem surprising to me that I’d excel with another Professor.”
I eyed him warily but said, “I’m glad you were there. None of this is your fault. Ron ate something he wasn’t meant to and you saved him. End of story.” I began pacing. “Tell me again step by step of exactly what happened.”
“So the poison was in the drink?” (HBP page 401) asked Fred. It was hours later and my parents and the twins had arrived. Poor Harry was recanting the story for what seemed like the hundredth time.
“Yes,” said Harry from the other side of Ron’s hospital bed. Hermione sat beside me motionless and strangely quiet. “Slughorn poured it out –”
“Would he have been able to slip something into Ron’s glass without you seeing?”
“Probably, but why would Slughorn want to poison Ron?”
“No idea,” Fred sighed looking worrisome and tired. “You don’t think he could have mixed up the glasses by mistake? Meaning to get you?”
My heart dropped as I realized it just as easily could have been Harry who drank first and I doubted Ron would’ve known to force a bezoar down his mouth. “Why would Slughorn want to poison Harry?” I asked.
“I dunno,” said Fred, “but there must be loads of people who’d like to poison Harry, mustn’t there? ‘The Chosen One’ and all that?”
He was absolutely right. Harry was in danger no matter what he did. Being the Chosen One put a target on his back. Anyone who sided with Tom would love to get Harry out of the way. “So you think Slughorn’s a Death Eater?” I asked.
“Anything’s possible,” said Fred darkly.
George shrugged, “He could be under the Imperius Curse.”
I had rather liked Slughorn and he didn’t seem to me as the dark wizard type. There could have been a million explanations for the accident. I knew I didn’t suspect Katie Bell of being a Death Eater; I figured her a victim. Perhaps Slughorn was too. “Or he could be innocent,” I countered. “The poison could have been in the bottle, in which case it was probably meant for Slughorn himself.”
“Who’d want to kill Slughorn?”
Harry tilted his head to the side and gave me an approving look, “Dumbledore reckons Voldemort wanted Slughorn on his side,” he said. “Slughorn was in hiding for a year before he came to Hogwarts. And... and maybe Voldemort wants him out of the way, maybe he thinks he could be valuable to Dumbledore.”
That’s when I membered a very vital piece of information. Knowing we were safe from eavesdroppers, I said aloud the most worrisome and probably the most logical theory.
“But you said Slughorn had been planning to give that bottle to Dumbledore for Christmas. So the poisoner could just as easily have been after Dumbledore.”
We all looked at each other at a loss for words and Hermione finally spoke for the first time. “Then the poisoner didn’t know Slughorn very well. Anyone who knew Slughorn would have known there was a good chance he’d keep something that tasty for himself.” (HBP page 402)
Harry and I exchanged a glance. It was clear we both thought the poisoner must not have known Slughorn at all then.
“So what are we to do about Romilda Vane?”
“Hermione. We need to do something. The girl nearly killed my brother!”
“Ginny, the Meade nearly killed your brother, not the love potion.”
I crossed my arms. “You’re not seriously thinking we let her get away with this?”
“Are you sure this about vengeance for Ron? And nothing to do with Harry?”
“What does this have to do with Harry?”
Hermione sighed. “It’s just as well, it’s not like anyone is listening to me at all this year.”
It had been several days since Ron’s incident and I had been stewing in my anger for Romilda. I nearly cursed her each time I saw her in the hall.
“So are you going to help me?”
Hermione closed her book, “As long as you promise that’ll you’ll start taking the O.W.L.s more seriously, you’ve canceled our last two sessions!”
“FINE, I promise! Help me!”
The courtyard was busy with students enjoying the Saturday afternoon. Romilda was on the other side of the quad tossing her hair and flashing smiles at anyone who’d look her way. I barely noticed Hermione stealthily peek her wand out of the pocket of her sweater. “Ribbitus Repeatus,” she whispered.
Suddenly, a thunderous croak came from Miss. Vane. It was the most bewildering sight to see Romilda crouch on all fours and begin hopping about the square. The crowd began to holler with mirth and several students called to others to see the display. Colin Creevey was taking pictures left and right and even the ever-serious Eliza was laughing her head off at Romilda’s expense.
I tuned back to Hermione only to find her enthralled once more in her text book. “That was incredible!”
Hermione shrugged, “I always have tricks up my sleeve, you know, just in case.”
There was never a truer statement.
Romilda was relieved from her jinx all too soon by Professor Sprout, but the damage was done; the pictures would live on forever. I made sure to get a copy from Colin for Harry with a note signed on the back: “The one frog who should be afraid of me.”
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