|SIYE Time:16:53 on 22nd January 2019|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny
Genres: Angst, Drama
Warnings: Disturbing Imagery
Story is Complete
Summary: The summer after the Chamber of Secrets was difficult for everyone. Ginny was having nightmares and her parents were at their wits end. Slowly they came to the realization that Obliviating her was the only option. *A prequel to 'Remember'.*
Hitcount: Story Total: 3710
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
This is a prequel to my story 'Remember' but it can stand alone. I was cleaning up and editing 'Remember' when the idea for this story came to me. Thank you to seekers_destiny for his super speedy beta work!
As the sun rose, Molly Weasley finally gave up the fiction that she’d been sleeping and slipped from the bed she shared with her husband of almost twenty-five years. Wearily, she pulled on her worn dressing gown and slippers before trudging down stairs in the eerily quiet house. She paused as she passed in front of her daughter’s door, but as it was quiet she resolutely headed down to the kitchen. It was rare enough for Ginny to get any sleep; she didn’t want to risk waking the poor girl.
From rote, she mixed up dough for several loaves of bread perhaps kneading them a bit harder than necessary. As the bread rose, she slipped out to the hen house to collect eggs. Normally this was one of Ginny’s chores, but the one time Ginny had come out here this summer, she’d broken into tears when she caught sight of the rooster. It had been heart-breaking to watch her strong, beautiful daughter reduced to tears over a stupid rooster. Molly had wanted to get rid of the rooster right then and there, but Arthur had convinced her that wouldn’t be the best idea.
Returning to the kitchen, Molly checked the bread, but it wasn’t quite risen yet. Entering the small utility room off the kitchen, she set the mangle to wash a load of clothes. With seven people in the house, there was always laundry to do. After pressing a load of robes for her husband, Molly went back to the kitchen. By now the bread was ready to go into the oven.
Checking the cold cupboard, she realized she was running out of butter. With an ease born of long experience, she set the old butter churn to make more butter. She decided she would make a batch of plain butter and a batch of honey butter. Arthur always liked honey butter with her homemade raisin bread; perhaps she could entice Ginny to help her with that later. As a child Ginny had always enjoyed working in the kitchen with her.
As she finished with the first batch of bacon, sausage and eggs, Arthur entered the kitchen. Molly quickly fixed him a cup of tea and plate of breakfast. “Good morning, love.”
He gave her a tired smile even as he leaned in to give her a brief kiss. “Good morning. How are you holding up?”
Sighing, Molly joined him at table. “I’m not sure. If I knew she was going to be okay, I would be fine, but…nothing seems to be helping. I hate to lie down to sleep because I know she’s going to wake up screaming at some point during the night.”
“She didn’t talk to the mind healer at all?” Arthur asked a bit desperately.
Molly shook her head. “She curled up in the chair and didn’t say a word. Healer Miller said that whatever she went through was so traumatic she’s having trouble accepting it. He said that therapy would be helpful once she’s willing to talk, but he doesn’t believe that forcing her to talk would be helpful. It might even be detrimental.”
Arthur nodded absently as he broke his piece of bacon. “Albus is coming over today, right?”
“Yes,” Molly looked troubled. “I am rather distressed about what I’ve heard from Percy. Did you realize that Harry is a Parselmouth?”
Arthur almost dropped his tea. “A Parselmouth?”
Molly nodded unhappily. “There was an incident at a duelling club. Harry set a snake on another boy. When I asked Ron, he claims that Harry didn’t know there was any stigma attached to talking to snakes. Harry claims he told the snake not to attack the boy, but then that boy was petrified just a few days later.”
“Molly, you know that Harry had nothing to do with the Basilisk or any of the attacks,” Arthur said a bit reproachfully. “Why don’t you ask Albus?”
“I plan to,” Molly replied. “I…I just don’t know how to help my daughter. It frightens me to hear her calling out for Harry night after night. I’ve asked all of the boys and all of them agree — she and Harry never really talked. Why would she keep asking to talk to him?”
“He did rescue her,” Arthur reminded her. “It must have been a very traumatic experience for both of them. She may just want to be reassured that he is okay. I know one of her nightmares is that the Basilisk actually kills Harry.”
“I know,” Molly agreed. “He seems like a very sweet, polite boy and of course he tugs at the heartstrings, but what do we really know about him? In two years, he and Ron have gotten into all sorts of scrapes — that business where Ron was injured at the end of their first year, stealing your car, detention in the Forbidden Forest.” Molly shook her head. “I don’t believe those relatives of his treat him well, which while it is unfortunate; it raises all sorts of questions as to his values. It worries me that she keeps asking to talk to him, but she refuses to talk to anyone else.”
Arthur frowned. “What would it hurt to let him come over? He spent most of last summer here. He’s a nice polite boy and he did save her life. If it would reassure her, I would have no problem with him coming over.”
Molly shook her head. “I don’t know why, but I don’t believe that is the right thing to do. I will double check with Albus, but I can’t think that is the right answer. From what Percy has told me, I don’t that Harry is a proper friend for Ginny.”
“I don’t know that Percy has a clear view of young Harry,” Arthur said. “I think he’s a bit jealous of how well Harry gets along with everyone. George and Fred have nothing but good things to say about him.”
“That might be true,” Molly admitted. “I wish I could explain what I’m feeling, but somehow I don’t think Ginny should see Harry right now.”
“You usually know best,” Arthur said with a smile. After finishing his breakfast, Arthur headed off for work.
Molly cleaned up the dishes and prepared more food for the children. She’d already cleaned up the kitchen and started another load of clothes before the first of her children made their way downstairs. Percy, of course, was the first.
By mid-morning Ron and the twins were outside flying in the paddock, Percy was still in his room reading, but it was Ginny who had Molly the most concerned. She silently made her way down to the kitchen. The change in Ginny since the previous summer was heart-breaking. Her eyes had lost their sparkle and her hair sat lank and lifeless on her shoulders. The dark circles under her eyes had gotten bigger over the course of the summer.
“Have something to eat, dear,” Molly said as she leaned over her daughter. She lay her hand on her daughter’s shoulder, wincing at how easily she could feel Ginny’s shoulder bone. Ginny was small to begin with, but she’d lost a considerable amount of weight. She was defying even Molly’s legendary skills at feeding children. Molly had cooked all of Ginny’s favourite meals, but that didn’t work. She’d tried insisting that Ginny eat, but unfortunately Ginny would vomit.
Listlessly, Ginny picked up a piece of toast. “I’m fine, Mum.”
Biting back a sigh, Molly walked over the cupboard and pulled out a vial of nutritional potion. Walking back to the table, she handed the vial to Ginny who swallowed it without complaint.
Running her hand down Ginny’s hair, Molly suggested, “Why don’t you go sit in the garden to a while, love? It’s a lovely day out.”
Ginny shrugged and followed her mother’s suggestion without another word. Molly banished the remnants of Ginny’s breakfast almost breaking into tears when she realized that once again Ginny hadn’t touched any of her food.
Ginny walked out to her favourite tree in the back garden. She hated worrying her parents so much, but she couldn’t help it. The nightmares were awful. She hated even closing her eyes anymore. Tom haunted her dreams every night — she relived the whole awful year. Killing the roosters, slowly realizing that Tom wasn’t her friend, but the worst was that last awful day. Tom coming out of the diary. He forced her to write her goodbyes on the wall and forced her down into the Chamber.
Tom laughed at her naïve belief in Harry. Ginny blushed as she thought about Harry. He proved himself to be a true hero. When she woke up in the Chamber with Harry leaning over her…it was both horrible and wonderful. She’d realized that he wasn’t really the story book hero she’d dreamed about as a child, but he really was a hero. He’d risked his life to come down to the Chamber and save her.
She smiled as she remembered the week after she’d been rescued from the Chamber of Secrets. She’d been walking back to the common room from Professor McGonagall’s office.
Turning, Ginny saw Harry coming towards her. She fought down a blush. “Hello, Harry,” she said shyly.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked curiously.
“I was talking to Professor McGonagall,” Ginny said. “She was really nice.” She blushed slightly, but when Harry just smiled encouragingly she gained the courage to continue. “I’ve always been a bit nervous around her, but she was so nice to me. I thought…I thought she would hate me, too.”
“No, Ginny,” Harry broke in. “Why would anyone hate you? None of this was your fault.”
Harry’s defence warmed her. “Thank you. Anyhow, Professor McGonagall reviewed some things with me and I remembered everything. I was afraid I’d have to repeat my first year, but Professor McGonagall says I won’t have to.”
“That’s good,” Harry said. He looked around the corridor. “Do you want to go outside? I’m tired of being inside and it’s really nice out today.”
“Sure,” Ginny said happily.
Together the pair headed out of the castle. For the first time since arriving at Hogwarts, Ginny had a wonderful afternoon. She discovered that Harry was a bit shy, but he was very friendly. He didn’t automatically assume she wouldn’t be able to do things like her brothers usually did. They climbed a tree near the Black lake and played with Fang for a while.
It was a fun stress free day. Ginny was reminded of many summer afternoons playing with her brothers at the Burrow. Harry wasn’t like a brother, but she felt safe with him as she always did with Bill.
The sounds of her brothers shouting back and forth to each other recalled her to the present. She didn’t know why, but she really just wanted to talk to Harry. In the last few weeks of the school year, she and Harry had stolen away numerous times. Unlike in her foolish dreams, there was no declaration of undying love or anything like that, but they just had a great time together.
Harry had told her he’d try to send her an owl, but he wasn’t sure if he’d be allowed to. That had confused her, until he’d softly explained that his uncle wasn’t fond of owls. The thought of poor Hedwig being caged up for the whole summer was awful. She wanted to volunteer to let Hedwig stay at the Burrow, but she didn’t want to take his owl away from him.
She couldn’t explain the longing she felt to see Harry. It was a bit scary to be honest. Somehow she knew that if she could just see Harry the nightmares and horrid feelings would…not go away exactly, but maybe be more bearable. She’d tried explaining this to her parents, but her mother didn’t believe her.
“Severus,” Narcissa Malfoy smiled as the Hogwarts’ Potions Master was shown into her sitting room. “It is lovely to see you.”
Severus bowed to his hostess. “Thank you, Narcissa.”
“You said in your message that something was important,” Narcissa said as she poured tea for each of them.
“I have some troubling news,” Severus reported. He looked around the elegantly appointed sitting room. “Is Lucius home? This is something he should hear as well.”
“No, I’m sorry,” Narcissa replied. “Lucius took Draco to France for a few days. Lucius has some
business and he’s planning to introduce Draco to his future responsibilities.”
“Of course,” Severus said. It was rare for parents in the Malfoys’ social set to take such an interest in their child’s life, but the Malfoys had always doted on their only son. “I spoke to Dumbledore this afternoon. The Weasley chit has been having trouble all summer — nightmares, weight loss. Honestly, I stopped listening after a while. The important part that the old man shared was that while Molly Weasley is committed to keeping the girl and Potter apart, Arthur Weasley is wavering.”
Narcissa raised an eyebrow. “Really? I never would have imagined Arthur Weasley would have enough magic to counteract my spell.”
“Me either,” Severus said.
Narcissa sipped her tea as she considered her options. “There is a hospital guild meeting at the Ministry this afternoon. I will be able to reinforce the spell.”
“Excellent,” Severus said. “I think that will help things. Dumbledore is considering Obliviating both of the brats. I’ve, of course, encouraged him in this way of thinking. Even better, he is seriously considering binding the Potter brat’s powers.”
“Binding his powers?” Narcissa was shocked. “Why would he do that?”
Picking up a delicate looking cake, Severus sighed. “As much as I hate to admit it, the brat does have a lot of power. Dumbledore is afraid it will overwhelm the little brat. He keeps bleating about the importance of a normal childhood.” He laughed a bit cruelly. “I don’t know how he can expect the boy to have a normal childhood when he’s living with a small minded, petty, magic hating Muggle.”
Narcissa laughed. “That is because Dumbledore is a fool. Lucius came so close to getting rid of the old man.”
“If that brat hadn’t figure out how to rescue the littlest Weasley, Lucius would have succeeded,” Severus consoled her.
Narcissa smiled proudly, she was very proud of her handsome and aristocratic husband. “Thank you.” Glancing at her watch, she realized she would need to leave soon to make the hospital guild meeting.
“I’m sorry, do you need to leave?” Severus asked.
“Yes,” Narcissa said apologetically, “the meeting starts in less than an hour.”
Standing, Severus gave her a courtly bow. “Good luck, if you run into any issues please let me know. I shall be at Hogwarts for the rest of the day.”
“I shall let you know when it is done,” Narcissa said as she stood gracefully. “Please keep me up to date on the plans to Obliviate the children.”
“I shall,” Severus replied. “Have Draco contact me when he returns from France. I will work with him on next year’s curriculum. He definitely has some of your skill with potions.”
As Harry entered the play park, he could hear the whispering beginning. His uncle’s rumours that he was attending St Brutus’ Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys seemed to have spread rapidly. Harry ignored them, unfortunately the whispering was something that he’d become used to since he’d entered the wizarding world.
Fellow students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry seemed to delight in gossiping about him. This past year for more than half the year the other students believed him to be the Heir of Slytherin and avoided him at all costs.
Walking past the swings and play area, Harry made his way to a large tree towards the back of the play park. The tree was half dead and surrounded by overgrown shrubs and a large patch of weeds, but it had the advantage of being private. No one wanted their children to play near the tree so Harry was guaranteed solitude. He sat down under the tree and pulled out his Potions book.
He’d taken the simple precaution of using a paper bag to cover the book so no one would glance over and wonder what it was he was reading. Uncle Vernon had tried to lock all of his school things in his old room under the stairs, but Harry had managed to pick the lock on the door and retrieve his school books. He would hate to think what Professor Snape would say if he showed up with his summer essay not done.
After reading the required chapters, Harry started the required essay set by Professor Snape. He paused a few times to double check his facts, but to his surprise he was able to complete the essay. He had to admit, he probably would have enjoyed Potions much more if it wasn’t for Professor Snape.
For some reason, Professor Snape hated him. Not disliked him or was annoyed by him, Professor Snape flat out hated him. The Potions professor had gone to school with Harry’s parents and apparently had always hated Harry’s father, James. The fact that Harry looked enough like James that they could have passed for twins didn’t help at all. Professor Dumbledore claimed that Professor Snape hated the fact that James had once saved his life, but that really didn’t make a whole lot of sense to Harry. He didn’t understand why Professor Snape was allowed to treat him so poorly and why Professor
Dumbledore didn’t step in and do something about it.
Putting away his homework, he pulled a bottle of water and a peach from his bag. He’d managed to sneak them away this morning. Aunt Petunia was trying to get everyone to eat more healthily this summer so she’d bought quite a bit of bottled water, fruit, and vegetables. Harry thought this scheme may have had a better chance of working if she’d thrown away the crisps, sweets, fizzy drinks, and other assorted unhealthy snacks that his cousin loved so much.
But the good part about this scheme was it allowed Harry to sneak the food Dudley wouldn’t eat. Harry was quite certain his cousin would never have eaten the salad Harry had eaten for dinner the night before, but Harry didn’t mind.
As he sipped the water, his thoughts turned once again to his friend, Ginny Weasley. He was so worried about her. She’d spent the previous school year being possessed by a sixteen year old version of the worst Dark Lord in centuries, Lord Voldemort. Under Voldemort’s sway she’d opened the Chamber of Secrets and turned Slytherin’s pet monster, the Basilisk, onto unsuspecting students. Luckily, Ginny had been able to fight against Voldemort’s influence once she’s realized that something bad was happening and no one had been killed.
One good thing had come out of Ginny’s experience. Before she’d had an almost debilitating crush on him, she always blushed and stuttered whenever they were in the same room. In the weeks since he’d been able to rescue her, the two of them had become good friends. They’d spent several afternoons together. It had been great fun.
A smile crossed his face when he recalled the one afternoon when he and Ginny had ventured into the Forbidden Forrest.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Ginny asked cautiously as they entered the edge of the forest.
“This part is,” Harry reassured her. “There are parts we definitely need to stay away from.” He shuddered slightly as he told her about the Acromantula colony that he and Ron had discovered earlier that year.
“Poor Ron,” Ginny said once Harry had finished his story. “He hates spiders. It must have been terrifying.”
“I’ve never had problems with spiders and I was terrified,” Harry laughed. He led the way forward into the sun dappled clearing he’d wanted to show Ginny. The large trees cast long shadows, but the forest floor was covered with brightly coloured flowers.
Ginny gasped when she saw where they were. “This is so pretty.”
The pair sat down on the soft ground covering. Ginny showed Harry how to make a flower chain. “This is so beautiful,” Ginny said with a sigh. “There is a clearing near my granny’s house that has a fairy ring and somehow this reminds me of that.”
“What is a fairy ring?” Harry asked curiously.
“It’s a ring found in the grass made by fairies dancing round and round,” Ginny explained. “They are marked by a dark circle or sometimes by a ring of mushrooms. My granny used to say that the mushrooms were there to provide sustenance to the fairies as they danced. On days that are sacred to the fairies, they will dance around the circles in celebration. They will drink dew from the grass or nectar from the flowers and eat the mushrooms during their celebrations. No one knows exactly when these celebrations are, because so few people have actually seen the fairies dance. When I was a little girl, I always wanted to see the fairies dancing.”
“That’s so cool,” Harry said. “I never knew fairies were real.”
Ginny’s eyes widened as she tried to imagine not knowing about fairies. “They are. They look like tiny little humans with wings. We used to see them flying around the Burrow. They are vain little creatures and will often agree to act as decoration for witches and wizards. I’ve never understood that part — why would you want to just be a decoration?”
A soft noise interrupted their conversation; the two children turned and were shocked to see a small golden unicorn poking its nose out into the clearing. Harry looked over at Ginny and the two sat perfectly still. After a moment the little unicorn cautiously made its way out into the clearing and headed towards Ginny.
“Hi, little unicorn,” Ginny said softly. The unicorn somehow seemed to realize she was talking to her for she made a soft nickering noise in return. Ginny smiled as she slowly moved up on her knees. “Are you lost?”
The unicorn stayed still to allow Ginny to pet her soft golden coat. The spot on her forehead where her horn would eventually grow was visible, but the unicorn was too young to have a horn.
“She’s so soft,” Ginny whispered. “Talk to her.”
Nervously, Harry tried to copy Ginny’s soft soothing voice. “Hello unicorn.”
The baby unicorn whinnied at the sound of Harry’s voice, but it didn’t run away. Slowly Harry was able to gently stroke the baby’s coat. “Look at the golden hooves,” Harry said quietly. “Isn’t she beautiful?”
“She is,” Ginny replied. She looked around at the surrounding forest. “I hope her herd is nearby. She’s really too young to be out by herself.”
As Ginny finished speaking, a larger pure white unicorn appeared at the edge of the clearing. The baby whinnied happily. She brushed against Ginny as she scampered over to the other unicorn. The adult unicorn was more skittish, but seemed to nod at the two children before darting off into the forest.
“Unicorns!” Ginny squealed. “I’ve always wanted to see a unicorn in person. I can’t believe the baby came up and let us pet her.”
“I know,” Harry said. “I thought they ran away from people.”
“I think the babies aren’t as scared of people,” Ginny said. “I used to love to read about unicorns. They are so beautiful.”
“They are,” Harry agreed. “I’m glad we got to see them.” He thought about the unicorn he’d seen Voldemort drinking blood from the year before. He didn’t want to bring that up right now, he was glad to see unicorns in a happy and positive way.
Harry grinned as he thought back on that day just a month before. He had really enjoyed the time he spent with Ginny. He wasn’t exactly sure how to classify their relationship. Certainly they were friends, but he felt something for her that he didn’t feel for Hermione. He couldn’t explain it exactly. It was times like these that he really wished he had someone he could talk to, maybe someone else could help him sort out these confused thoughts and feelings he’d developed for Ginny.
In addition to his confusion about how he felt about Ginny, he had strong feeling that he needed to see her. He couldn’t explain it, but he needed to see Ginny. He wasn’t exactly sure why, but he knew it was important.
It was so important that he’d broken his word to Uncle Vernon and sent Hedwig to Professor Dumbledore with a message. He really needed to see Ginny. Hedwig had returned with a short note from the headmaster stating that it wasn’t a good idea for him to see Ginny at this point. The only good thing was the professor promised to come visit him in the next few days.
Harry had promised his uncle he wouldn’t use Hedwig to send letters to his friends. He figured that he could argue he wasn’t friends with Professor Dumbledore so technically he hadn’t broken his word, but he knew that writing to Ginny was out of the question. He wished again that Ron hadn’t been the one to call him. While he’d love to talk to his best mate, Ron had no idea how to use the phone and Uncle Vernon hadn’t taken Ron’s phone call well.
The beating Harry had received was by no means the worst he’d ever received, but it still wasn’t pleasant. Hermione would have probably been able to call without arousing his relatives’ suspicions. He wondered briefly how Ginny would do on the phone. She didn’t seem to have any more experience with Muggles than Ron, but she was a little better at reading situations. She probably wouldn’t have shouted.
He briefly debated the idea of sending Ginny a letter through the Muggle post, but he didn’t think the Muggles had any idea where the Burrow was located. The Burrow was one of the most magical buildings Harry had ever seen so he didn’t think the Royal Mail delivered there.
Maybe he could write her letters and save them until he could send them. As he turned that idea over in his mind, he liked it. Scooping up his books and snacks, he hurried back to his aunt and uncle’s house.
Avoiding his aunt and cousin, he hurried up to his room. Rummaging through his trunk he found a small stack of parchment. He pulled out the parchment, his best quill, and blue ink. The thought crossed his mind that he wished he had nice parchment to use for his letters to Ginny. Some of the anxiety that had been building up in him over the past few weeks eased a bit as he poured his thoughts and feelings out onto the parchment.
Albus Dumbledore headed out to the Burrow with a heavy heart. He was truly distressed that Ginny Weasley’s first year at Hogwarts was causing her such distress. He wondered once again if he’d done the right thing in letting events unfold as they had, but even as he wondered that he still didn’t know what else he could have done.
He’d realized that Harry knew more than he was telling, but he didn’t feel it right to invade his students’ minds. Perhaps he should have shut down the school, but he’d been afraid that if Hogwarts were shut down it would be very difficult to reopen. Where would all of Britain’s wizarding children get their education if Hogwarts were shut down?
Most of the previous year he’d spent trying to uncover exactly who the heir of Slytherin could be using to carry out their plot. To his dismay, he never would have suspected young Ginny Weasley. He’d suspected Draco Malfoy and he knew Harry somehow knew more than he would say.
How could he get Harry to trust him? If Harry had felt more comfortable in coming to him with his problems, they probably could have solved the matter more quickly. A Basilisk had occurred to him as the more likely of Slytherin’s monsters. The death of Hagrid’s roosters seemed to confirm it, but try as he might he’d never been able to find a trace of the actual beast.
It shamed him to realize he’d never even thought to ask Myrtle what she recalled about her death. As he understood it, that is how Harry discovered the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. Albus realized that he tended to overcomplicate things at times, but it was shocking to discover he’d overlooked something so basic.
As he’d arranged with Molly earlier in the day, he arrived at the Burrow after dinner. As he walked towards the Weasley family home, he was surprised how quiet it was.
Before he could knock on the door, Molly Weasley opened the door. Albus was rather shocked at her appearance. Molly seemed to have lost some weight over the past weeks and the toll of so many sleepless nights could be seen on her face.
“Albus, thank you for coming,” Molly said as she welcomed him into her home. “I’ve sent the boys into town for some ice cream. I didn’t want to have to deal with the distractions they can cause.”
“Of course, good thinking, dear lady,” Albus said kindly. As he entered the kitchen, Arthur Weasley rose from the table. Albus greeted the other man and the three sat down around the table.
“Albus, do you have any idea what we can do for poor Ginny?” Molly burst out. “I’m at my wit’s end. I am truly afraid I will lose my daughter.”
“It’s as bad as that?” Albus asked.
“I’m afraid it is,” Arthur said. “Ginny isn’t eating, she sleeps poorly, and she shows no interest in anything. Last summer if we’d sent the boys into town and kept her home she’d be yelling about it being unfair and trying to sneak out to follow them. She just nodded and headed up to her room tonight. It bothers me that she keeps asking for Harry Potter.”
Albus shot Molly a surprised look. He’d understood from his communication with her earlier in the day that Arthur wasn’t bothered by Ginny’s insistence upon seeing Harry Potter. Now it appeared he had come to see things their way. Albus was grateful Molly had prevailed upon her husband.
“I agreed,” Albus said. “I don’t believe Harry would ever cause young Ginny any harm, but it does bother me that they keep asking to see each other. I received a letter from Harry asking if he could see Ginny. It bothered me that he didn’t ask about his other friends, he just asked about Ginny. From what I observed during the school year, they didn’t seem to be close friends.”
“Could something have happened in the Chamber?” Molly asked worriedly. “Are they under some spell or curse?”
Albus shook his head. “No, I checked both of them myself and had Madam Pomfrey check them as well. I couldn’t detect any spells or curses that would explain their continued requests to see each other.”
“Is…Merlin, I feel awful asking, but is there some way to make her forget what happened?” Molly asked tearfully.
“Molly!” Arthur seemed truly shocked at the idea, but Albus had been considering the matter all day.
“Would you permit me to talk to young Ginny?” Albus asked. “I would like to talk to her and see if I can get a sense of what is happening.”
“Of course,” Molly said. She disappeared up the stairs and returned a few minutes later bringing Ginny with her. Albus was shocked, if he’d thought the stress of the situation showed on Molly, it was much worse with Ginny. She’d lost weight she could ill afford to lose and she just looked ill and lost.
“Good evening, Miss Weasley,” Albus said genially.
“Are you going to let me see Harry?”
Albus was taken aback by her direct request. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible right now. Harry needs to stay with his relatives.”
“Why can’t I visit him?” Ginny demanded. “I just want to see him.”
Albus frowned, this was not at all what he’d expected. “Miss Weasley, I don’t believe that would be a good idea. I’m rather concerned about you, my dear.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “I’ve spent most of the last year possessed.”
“Ginny, be respectful,” Molly hissed at her daughter.
Albus reached out to Ginny’s surface thoughts. He didn’t understand the overriding thoughts of Harry. It was very concerning. Harry didn’t need any entanglement with Miss Weasley — he had a prophecy to fulfil. After speaking to Ginny for several minutes, he was convinced that the best thing would be for both Harry and Ginny to be obliviated. It was obvious that the minor distraction charms weren’t working on them as they were on the rest of the students. Severus seemed to be the only staff member who clearly recalled the events of the previous year, but that didn’t concern Albus — Severus was to be trusted.
Once Ginny had returned to her room, Albus turned to her concerned parents. “I believe it would benefit your daughter and Harry to modify their memories of this past year. Molly, you indicated you didn’t feel comfortable sending her back to Hogwarts this year.”
“No, I don’t,” Molly said firmly.
Arthur reluctantly agreed. “I can’t see sending Ginny back to Hogwarts. She isn’t eating, she isn’t sleeping, and I can’t see her learning anything.” Looking over at the older wizard, Arthur asked, “What happened? It seemed at the end of the school year she was doing better, but since arriving home she’s gotten much worse.”
Albus frowned. “I will admit I am at a loss to explain what is happening. She should have continued improving.” He stood. “If it is acceptable to you, I will visit Mr Potter tomorrow and see if I can determine what is behind this determination to see each other, but I fear I will end up recommending memory charms for both of them.”
“What about the boys?” Molly asked.
“Wait!” Arthur looked between the two of them. “There must be another way other than wiping away Ginny’s entire first year.”
“What?” Molly asked angrily. “What do you want to try now? We’ve tried giving her time, we’ve tried forcing her to confront things, we’ve taken her to a mind healer, what else do you want to try?”
Arthur crumbled in the face of his wife’s pain. “I don’t know what to do, but it hurts to think that we have to wipe away her first year and keep her at home. She’s wanted to go to Hogwarts for so long. Every time one of the boys started she would ask when she could go.”
“Albus, are you sure that Harry didn’t do anything to Ginny?” Molly asked hesitantly. “He seems like a nice, polite, lovely boy, but why is she asking for him? I even checked to make certain she is still pure — she is, but there is something wrong with her asking for him over and over.”
“I can’t imagine what Harry might have done,” Albus said. “I double checked that she is not under any spells or curses. It concerns me that both of them have asked for the other. It could just be a matter of a shared experience, but I feel we should be some distance between the two of them.”
Petunia Dursley opened her front door to find one of them on her front door. “Come in,” she hissed. “What do you want?”
“I need to speak with your nephew, but I wanted to speak with you as well,” Albus said courteously.
Wavering for a moment, Petunia beckoned the old man into her kitchen. “What?”
Albus raised an eyebrow. “Have you noticed any problems with your nephew this summer?”
“No, what’s the brat done now?”
“He’s not done anything,” Albus conceded. “He was involved in an unfortunate situation at the end of last school year. I would like to speak to him about it, but I may end up needing to perform a memory charm on him. I may also need to bind his magic. This will result in him being very tired for twenty-four hours. If I need to do this, will you allow him the time to recover? I can assure you it would be very detrimental if he is not allowed this time.”
“Very well,” Petunia snapped. “I won’t take care of him. I will be busy with my own son, so he can’t expect me to wait on him.”
“Of course,” Albus replied. “Do you know where your nephew can be found?”
“He should be back any minute,” Petunia said glancing at the clock. “He was helping a friend of my husband’s in the garden.”
Even as she finished, the front door opened. Before Professor Dumbledore could say anything, Petunia snapped, “Boy! Come here.”
When Harry entered the kitchen, it was obvious that he’d been working. Although he’d made an effort to clean up, his oversized clothes caught and held some of the soil he’d been working with and his shirt was sticky with sweat. He looked tired, but not nearly as exhausted as the Weasley women appeared to be.
“Professor Dumbledore!” Harry said excitedly when he caught sight of the headmaster.
“You can take your professor to your room,” Petunia broke in before the older wizard could respond. “I expect you down here to help with dinner. You may take a quick shower before — five minutes only. I won’t have you wasting our hot water.”
“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” Harry replied trying to placate his aunt. He gestured to his headmaster. “Please come with me, sir.”
Albus felt a twinge of disquiet when he saw the broken toys and run down appearance of Harry’s room in comparison to the rest of the house.
As soon as they’d reached Harry’s room, Harry sat on the edge of the bed and left the rickety chair for Professor Dumbledore.
“Harry, I received your owl,” Professor Dumbledore began.
“You didn’t tell my aunt that, did you?” Harry asked anxiously. He coloured and dropped his gaze. “I’m not supposed to send any owls, but I was so worried about Ginny. I promised my uncle I wouldn’t write to my friends.”
“No, Harry, don’t worry,” Professor Dumbledore said soothingly. “I didn’t mention that to your aunt. I admit, I’m a bit confused why you are so concerned about Miss Weasley.”
“Ginny went through such a horrid experience. Her brothers don’t really talk to her much and I’m worried about her,” Harry explained earnestly. “I told her that I probably wouldn’t be able to send her any owls this summer, but…I can’t really explain it, sir. I just feel there is something wrong.”
Frowning at what he was hearing, Albus reached out to search Harry’s memories. He scrupulously avoided any memories of Harry and his family — he didn’t want to intrude on the boy’s home life. Harry seemed to realize something was wrong, but he didn’t have any type of mental defences. Albus was confused to discover a cache of memories of Harry and Ginny talking and playing together at the end of the school year.
There was nothing overtly romantic about the memories, but Albus could clearly see where this friendship was leading. While Harry might be confused about his feelings for Ginny, Albus could feel his fascination, interest, and fondness for the young girl.
“Harry, I wish to cast a spell to detect any ill effects you might be suffering from your experience in the Chamber of Secrets.”
Harry was confused by the seemingly unrelated request, but if it would help him get to Ginny he would comply. “Okay, sir. If you think it is necessary.”
“Thank you, Harry.” Albus cast the spell to gauge magical power. His eyes widened as he read the results. Harry’s power and wandless abilities were off the charts. While he was no match of Voldemort or even Albus yet, the potential was simmering there under the surface.
Severus had been advocating for binding Harry’s powers. It hadn’t seemed necessary as Harry wasn’t a stand out student. He did well, but many of the professors put that down to Miss Granger’s steadying influence. Albus had inquired about Harry’s progress at the end of the past year. Except for Severus, all of the professors felt Harry was intelligent, but did not apply himself. His grades were attributed to Miss Granger’s pressure upon him to do well. Minerva was in a minority of those who felt Harry had untapped potential and Albus was seeing proof of her beliefs. Unfortunately, he would not be able to give her the satisfaction of knowing she was correct.
“What did you see?” Harry asked anxiously.
Albus felt a moment of guilt as he looked in the concerned brilliantly green eyes. “I’m a bit concerned, Harry. Have you had any pain in your arm?”
“My arm?” Harry looked bewildered. His face cleared. “Oh, you mean from where the Basilisk bit me. No, I’ve not had any pain.”
“Excellent,” Albus beamed at the boy. “I am glad you’ve not had any long-lasting effects from your adventures, however I believe another dose of the potion to neutralize the Basilisk venom would be prudent. If it is acceptable to you I will bring that back to you tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Harry said uncertainly. He didn’t realize he’d ever received any potion to neutralize the Basilisk venom in the first place, but if the headmaster thought it was necessary he would do it. “Will I be able to visit Ginny?”
“Perhaps,” Albus prevaricated. “I will need to speak to Mr and Mrs Weasley. They are also concerned about their daughter. If I may speak candidly, they are rather concerned about your insistence upon seeing her.”
Harry blushed a deep red. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a bother. I’m just worried about Ginny.” He dropped his gaze to the ground. “D-do they not want me to be friends with her? I’m sorry. I promise I won’t bother anyone. I just want to talk to her. Can’t I just talk to her? I’ve written some letters to her.”
“I thought you couldn’t send any letters,” Albus said harshly.
Reacting to the tone in his voice, Harry flinched away from his headmaster. “I’m not, I promise. I just want to write to her. I plan to keep them until I can see her again.”
“Very well,” Albus said heavily. He really didn’t understand the desire the two children had for speaking to each other. Quite frankly it made him very nervous — what was behind this? Making a note to research the matter, Albus took his leave.
“You wished to see me?” Severus asked as he entered the headmaster’s office.
Albus sighed heavily as he waved the young Potions’ master into a chair. “Yes, Severus. It is this business with Harry and Miss Weasley. For some reason they are determined to see each other. Harry didn’t even ask about his other friends, he only asked to see Miss Weasley.”
“Is it possible they developed a romantic relationship?” Severus asked with obvious distaste. “It is rumoured that she had a crush on Potter. Is it possible he took advantage of the situation?”
“No, I looked into his memories.” Albus reluctantly admitted. “Apparently the two of them developed a friendship after he rescued her from the Chamber of Secrets. He is rather confused about his feelings, but it is quite obvious to me that he is infatuated with the girl. I’m concerned if this relationship is allowed to flourish it will interfere with Mr Potter’s destiny.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Have you decided on memory charms?”
“I fear simply memory charms will not suffice,” Albus admitted. “They will both need to be Obliviated.”
“The Weasleys are agreeable to this plan?” Severus asked. “I thought I understood from you earlier that Arthur Weasley was not in favour of this plan.”
“Thankfully Molly must have gotten through to him,” Albus replied. “He was in favour of the plan this evening. I will take care of the Obliviations, but I will need your assistance to bind his powers.”
“I thought you didn’t wish to bind his powers,” Severus said while internally he was dancing around gleefully.
“I don’t believe I have a choice,” Albus replied. “He is magically very powerful. I tested his magical power today and he was almost off the charts. In order to erase an entire year from his memory we will need to bind his magic beforehand. I believe he would be able to break through minor memory charms. Miss Weasley, while she is magically powerful, is so devastated by her ordeal that I don’t believe we would need to bind her powers.”
Fawkes trilled unhappily in the background. Albus sighed. “Fawkes in rather unhappy with me and my decisions, but I don’t feel I have any other options.”
A blood curdling scream ripped through the Burrow startling Molly and Arthur awake. Arthur was up and out the door first. He hurried down to his only daughter’s room and threw open the door.
Ginny looked impossibly small tangled in her bedclothes. She was struggling as if with an unknown assailant and crying. “No, Tom!”
Arthur hurried over and sat down on the edge of Ginny’s bed. Reaching out, he gently shook his daughter. “Ginny, wake up, love.”
It took a few moments of Arthur’s reassurances before Ginny woke. She took one look at her father and burst into tears. It tore at Arthur’s heart as he gathered his baby into his arms. He would gladly rip Tom Riddle to shreds at this moment. “It’s going to okay, sweet girl.”
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” Ginny whispered. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“No, love, there is nothing you need to apologize for,” Arthur said before dropping a kiss onto the top of her head. “If I could take this away from you, I would do so in an instant.”
“Please, can you see if Harry can come visit?” Ginny asked softly.
Arthur stiffened at the thought of his daughter asking for a boy, even if it was Harry Potter. “Why, Ginny?”
“I don’t know,” Ginny cried. “I just need to see him. Please, Daddy. You can talk to Professor
Dumbledore, can’t you?”
Shaken Arthur realized that his wife was right, it would be much better for Ginny if she couldn’t recall what had happened to her. He hated that Harry would need to be obliviated as well, but he couldn’t worry about the boy right now. He needed to protect his baby. “I will talk to Professor Dumbledore tomorrow.”
In the end, it only took a few quick spells to obliviated Ginny’s memories and cast minor memory and misdirection charms on the boys. Professor Dumbledore worked with the Weasleys to cast distraction and misdirection charms on both Bill and Charlie Weasley.
Albus handed Harry a vial of potion. It had nothing to do with the Basilisk bite, but it would temporarily lower Harry’s magical powers. Severus had just finished brewing it this morning.
Handing the vial back to his headmaster, a wave of dizziness overcame Harry. Albus smiled reassuringly at the young boy. “Lay down, Harry. The potion might make you a bit sleepy.”
Harry nodded as he lay back against his pillows. “Did you talk to the Weasleys? Will I be allowed to visit them?”
“I did talk to the Weasleys,” Albus reassured the boy. “Everything will work out, don’t worry.”
Trustingly, Harry nodded and yawned widely. Albus smiled at the boy. “Go to sleep, Harry. I will see myself out.”
Once Harry dropped off to sleep, Albus gently removed the child’s glasses. He hated having to do this, but he didn’t see any other options. He’d taken the precaution of setting a charm to block any magic performed. He didn’t need a repeat of the previous year when Harry had been blamed for the magic of a house elf.
Closing his eyes, he took a moment to centre himself before he began the spell to obliviated Harry. Almost immediately Harry’s magic rose up in his defence. It took most of Albus’ own considerable power to overcome Harry’s automatic response. Several long minutes later, Albus looked down at Harry.
He was sleeping now with the memories of the previous year hidden safely behind a wall and with a little less power. As an educator, Albus felt a twinge of grief knowing he was going to handicap Harry’s magical education, but this was for the best. He would release the bonds on Harry’s magic gradually once Harry reached magical maturity. Recalling what Harry had said the previous day, Albus looked through Harry’s desk and found the letters Harry had written to Ginny Weasley. Regretfully, he burned the letters.
Molly watched her daughter laughing and joking with her brothers. The changes in her daughter since having her memory wiped were nothing short of miraculous. Ginny was once again the fun-loving vivacious girl she’d been prior to starting at Hogwarts. She’d gained the weight she’d lost and was sleeping regularly.
As Ginny shrieked with laughter and jumped in the pool at hotel in Cairo, Molly was confident they’d made the right decision. Ginny was much better off not remembering anything.
There had been a moment of concern when Bill started to ask about Ginny’s first year at Hogwarts, but Albus had warned them this might happen. He’d given them a document that would reinforce the distraction charms. Luckily that worked well and Bill hadn’t brought it up again.
Ginny fell into a deep sleep after a full day of sightseeing and playing with her brothers. Egypt was so much fun and she loved spending time with Bill. She hated that he lived so far away, but unlike her other brothers, Bill was an excellent letter writer.
An hour after she’d fallen asleep, Ginny whimpered softly as she slipped into the scary, dark cave. She’d had this dream several times over the past week. She had no idea where she was in the dream, but she was some place scary.
Ginny jumped as she turned and saw a young boy standing behind her. He was around her age with black hair and brilliant green eyes. She knew him, she couldn’t recall his name or how she knew him, but she knew she was safe around him.
“What is this place?” the boy asked curiously.
Ginny shrugged and blushed. “I’m not sure. It’s a bit scary.”
“I guess,” the boy replied. Ginny watched him for a moment and realized that he honestly wasn’t scared. She looked around the cave and didn’t feel quite so scared.
As she realized that, the background changed and the two children were standing outside the Great Pyramid. “Wow! Are we in Egypt?”
Ginny nodded. “I’m in Egypt right now with my family. My oldest brother is a Curse Breaker for Gringotts. My dad won a prize draw at work and we used it visit my brother.”
“That’s brilliant,” the boy said looking around curiously. “What have you seen?”
For the next several hours, Ginny talked to her new friend. She told him all about her trip and what she’d seen. Neither child mentioned their names, but somehow it didn’t matter. He was her friend and they had fun talking. It was a bit unusual to meet a friend in your dreams, but she didn’t question it.
“Albus, have you heard anything?” Minerva asked in concern.
“Yes, don’t worry,” Albus reassured her. “Harry will be staying at the Leaky Cauldron for the next few weeks until it is time to return to school. Cornelius has authorized an Auror to stay there as well to ensure Harry’s safety. Protective spells have been cast over the inn. He will be fine.”
“Thank Merlin,” Minerva murmured. “When I heard he’d disappeared…”
“I know, I was concerned that Black had somehow managed to get to him,” Albus admitted.
“Do they know how he escaped?” Minerva asked.
Albus shook his head. “I went out to Azkaban myself. There were no spells cast on his cell and he’s not had a visitor for years. The last person who spoke to him was Minister Fudge.”
“I imagine he’s quite insane by this point,” Minerva said regretfully thinking about the mischievous fun-loving boy she recalled.
“Strangely, no,” Albus said. “I’m not certain how he’s managed to retain his sanity, but he undoubtedly has. I reviewed Cornelius’ memories. He spoke to Sirius.” He shook his head. “We will need to keep a close eye on Harry this year.”
Making his way back to his office, Albus had to admit when he’d received word that Harry had disappeared from Privet Drive his first thought had been that the memory charms had failed. It had only taken the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes a short amount of time to find Marge Dursley and discover what had led up to Harry’s flight from his aunt and uncle’s house. While Albus was a bit uneasy at the level of anger Vernon Dursley showed towards his nephew, he didn’t feel comfortable interfering in a family.
Once he’d settled at his desk, a house elf popped up next to him. “An owl message for you, Headmaster.”
“Thank you,” Albus said kindly before the little elf popped away. It was customary for the Hogwarts elves to review all of the headmaster’s mail. They would sort the mail, deal with any complaints, and reroute any mail that needed to be dealt with by someone else.
He was surprised to find a letter from Molly Weasley.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
Thank you so much for all of your help. Ginny is recovering nicely. She’s re-gained her lost weight and most importantly she’s re-gained her poise and confidence. Our trip to Egypt did her a world of good
I am sorry to bother you after you’ve done so much for our family, but I wasn’t sure who else to ask. Ginny is asking about school. She believes she was home schooled last year. Arthur managed to sell her books and robes. All of her notes are packed away in the attic, but she wants to attend school. I planned to teach her here at home, but I was wondering if there were any other options available.
Albus was happy that Miss Weasley was recovering so well. Although he’d not voiced his concerns to the Weasleys, he’d felt rather uneasy about Obliviating students. He turned his thoughts to Molly’s request.
Obviously having Ginny returning to Hogwarts was out of the question. It was in the best interest of both children to keep them as far apart as possible. Beauxbatons was an obvious alternative. It was an excellent school with an excellent reputation. Payment would be an issue.
Albus had been able to offer the Weasleys several discounts based on the number of children they had attending the school as well as the fact that they were legacy students. That is they were children and grandchildren of Hogwarts alumni. For a new student to Beauxbatons, the fees could be quite high.
It was too bad; Harry could have easily afforded the fees. The thought turned over in his mind. It didn’t seem fair to Harry, but he could afford the tuition, room and board at Beauxbatons. The Weasleys could be quite touchy about accepting charity. Perhaps he could present it as a scholarship opportunity.
Within several hours, he’d made the arrangements and spoken to his counterpart at Beauxbatons Madam Maxime. Ginny Weasley was to attend Beauxbatons ostensibly on a scholarship. Albus was pleased, this was an excellent solution. The pair would be separated and could each heal from their ordeals. He resolved to watch Harry closely during the year. If Harry showed an interest in any young lady, Albus would be able to encourage the interest. Luckily Severus was the only staff member who remembered the events of the previous year. Whilst some other staff members might have had qualms about administering any types of love potions to children, Severus would not.
Albus smiled. This would work out well. Ginny Weasley would receive an excellent education and Harry would be able to concentrate on just being a normal average boy. It was an excellent solution. In time, Harry would regain his magical ability. Once Harry had fulfilled his destiny, Harry could be re-introduced to Ginny. Albus even thought they might make a cute couple eventually.
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