|SIYE Time:18:36 on 23rd May 2017|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 71029; Chapter Total: 2363
Thirteen: Summer 1994, Part Three
Since it was getting close to three o’clock, Remus suggested the goblins transfer the gold and objects from Harry’s parents’ personal vault to the family vault, and Harry asked for everything in his personal vault to be transferred as well. Boldblood agreed to do as the two of them asked, and returned them to the main hall on the cart.
They left Gringotts with both Harry and Sirius’ pockets filled with gold. Harry tried to give some to Ginny, but she stubbornly refused it. She was willing to accept a gift from Sirius, but straight out money she had to turn down out of honor.
They met Harry’s grandmother, Tonks, Ron, and Hermione in Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlor, where Harry bought a large chocolate sundae and shared it with her and Sirius bought more ice cream for everyone else. After finishing their treats, they left the parlor and wandered Diagon Alley. Harry went with Ron, Remus, and Sirius towards Quality Quidditch Supplies while Hermione and Tonks pulled Mrs. Evans and Ginny towards a new shop on the alley, called The Jade Dragoness, very reluctantly in Ginny’s case. The shop was larger on the inside than it was on the outside, and filled with not only wizard fashions but Muggle ones too, ones that appealed to her small — very small — girlish side.
“Okay, since it’s so big and we have very different tastes, let’s split up,” Tonks suggested. Mrs. Evans opened her mouth to say something, but Tonks raised a hand before she could. “And, yes, without leaving the minors all by their lonesome. I’d say that Hermione would benefit from you, Thea, more than me, and Ginny me more than you; so I’ll take Ginny and you take Hermione, deal?”
Mrs. Evans thought a moment, then shrugged. “Sounds fair. When and where should we meet back?”
“Here at,” Tonks glanced at her watch, “near five. That gives us an hour and a half. Oh, and Thea, mind what I told you earlier.”
The two of them exchanged odd glances, and Mrs. Evans nodded. “Hermione, you lead the way, dear.”
Hermione waved to Ginny and started off towards a section of Muggle fancy clothes.
“Ginevra, if you would follow me, I shall instruct you in the art of dressing in a gorgeous way without trying,” Tonks crowed gleefully, throwing an arm around her and pulling her towards a section of mixed Wizard and Muggle clothing.
Tonks grabbed several things before Ginny could even protest, then tugged her towards the back and a set of changing rooms.
“First, I’ll need to figure out what looks good on you,” Tonks said, handing her a stack. “Put that on and then show me.”
“What the heck am I doing this for?” Ginny said, flustered.
Tonks looked around as though checking for eaves-droppers, then leaned in close and lowered her voice. “I’m not supposed to tell you, but something is happening at Hogwarts this year, something grand and dangerous at the same time. In addition to that, this Christmas there is going to be a formal dance for which you need formal dress robes. You need to try those on because, A, the owner of this shop is doing a very large sale that ends very soon and I want to take advantage of it by getting you a new wardrobe — don’t interrupt yet! — and B, you need dress robes and, since your mother knows nothing about the current fashions nor how to take advantage of a bargain, I offered to pick out the dress; your mum gave me some money to pay for it. To figure out what best flatters you, you need to update your style from hand-made and second-hand. Okay?”
“Um… wait, why are you getting me a wardrobe?” Ginny asked, still flustered.
“Late birthday present from me and Sirius,” Tonks said. “The gifts he’s insisting on buying are a cover for thanking you, Harry, Ron, and Hermione for helping him capture Pettigrew. I am helping pay for yours and Ron’s because your mother trusts me and will believe me when I tell her that it was all fairly cheap. Mrs. Evans is getting Hermione’s, and in about fifteen minutes, Sirius is going to announce that he needs a new wardrobe, drag the boys into a shop, and get both Harry and Ron new clothes. Remus is getting new stuff too, but his is already bought and is being delivered today. Any more questions?”
Ginny blinked. “Okay. Uh, no, not really. Uh, is it really cheap?”
Tonks shrugged. “With the sale, it is less expensive than it would normally be, but even with that, your parents probably would not be able to afford it all at one time. That is the truth. Anything else?”
Ginny glanced down at the stuff in her hands. “Err, no, I guess not.”
Tonks clapped her on the shoulder. “Good girl! Now, go try that on.”
Half an hour later, Ginny had tried on several things, and half of it she did not like. So, Tonks dropped the rejected things in a bin and what she did like was folded up and set aside. They went back to the section they came from, and Ginny picked out a few more things. After that, they moved on to dress robes. Ginny was very nearly overwhelmed by all the Muggle formal gowns and Witches’ dress robes taking up half of the store.
“What about this,” Tonks said, picking a Muggle dress off the rack. It was bright pink, had a fluffy skirt that would not reach her knees, and no straps let alone sleeves. Ginny shuddered and vehemently shook her head. Tonks laughed and pushed it back.
“See, it’s not that hard,” she said, giving her a one armed hug. “Now, do you want to show off your legs, boobs, or back?”
Ginny looked up at her friend with a look of utter confusion. Tonks laughed again.
“Do you want a long dress?” she asked. Ginny thought a moment, after double checking that Harry was not paying attention.
“Yeah, ankle length please.”
“Do you want a high neckline, a low neckline, or a modest one?”
“Modest, I guess.”
“And do you want straps or sleeves?”
“Depends. No really thin straps, though.
Tonks grinned. “We’ve narrowed it down now. What color do you want?”
Ginny thought back to what she had picked out earlier. “A cool color,” she decided, proud that she had remembered the correct category.
And so they turned to the racks of dresses. Tonks pulled out a few, Ginny pulled off one or two, and soon they had finished the first rack, then the second and finally the third.
“Modeling time now!” Tonks said, steering her towards the changing rooms again. As they went, Tonks grabbed a pair of shoes. “You’ll want to wear these while you’re trying them on, just for kicks.”
The first dress Ginny tried was higher in the front than the back, so the front hem rested in the middle of her shins. It was a bluish green, and had see-through sleeves that reached her wrist. The neckline dipped a little in the center, but not much. It was, as Tonks described it, a mermaid dress. Ginny failed to see how it made her look mermaidish; she was lacking scales, a trident, and wild weed-like hair. The shoes were a glossy black, had a very high heel, and made her wobble as she walked. Ginny glanced in a mirror and groaned. The dress was tight enough to show off her immature curves, yes, but also the fact that she still had some baby fat left.
Tonks studied her. “First, we’ll need a lower heel. You’re taller than Harry in those. And some shapewear. Stay put, I’ll be right back.”
Ginny frowned. Shapewear?
Tonks returned a minute later with a full slip that looked a bit too small for Ginny. “Put it on under the dress,” Tonks told her.
“It looks a bit small,” Ginny said.
“It’s a body shaper, it’s supposed to. It’ll smooth out everything.”
Ginny turned pink as she returned to the changing room. “I don’t really like this dress,” she called over her shoulder as she went.
She peeled off the mermaid dress, and tugged on the body shaper. Without looking in the mirror, she pulled on the next dress: a deep blue gown with short sleeves that like the other dress was fairly tight but it didn’t flare at the knee like the last one had. She stepped out, and Tonks clapped her hands. Ginny looked in a mirror, and was quite impressed. Now, there were no flaws in her figure that she could see, and her curves were curvier! But the dress was not so hot.
And tried on the next. Over the next half hour, she tried on dress robes, mermaid gowns, something called a Cinderella ball-gown that Tonks had picked on the next trip to the dress racks — she did not even finish the zipper in that one, but discarded it hastily — dresses with ‘empire waist’s that seem less empire-like and more older girl, and a single dark green sheath dress that lacked sleeves.
Standing in the green sleeveless one, Ginny frowned at herself. The green complimented her hair and even her freckles fairly well, but that was the only good thing about it. Tonks agreed.
“Green is good on you, but that one is bad,” Tonks said. “Here, try this one next.”
She handed her a black dress. Ginny took it, and wearily went back into the changing rooms. She hoped that Hermione was having more luck on her side of the store.
She swapped the sheath dress for the black one, and stepped out. Tonks gasped.
“Spin around!” Tonks commanded. Ginny fought an expression of exasperation, and did. “It’s perfect!” Tonks cried.
Ginny turned to the mirror, and her eyebrows rose. It was another mermaid gown, but unlike the other ones, it worked. The lace sleeves were slightly off the shoulders and were tight to her arms down to her wrist, where they flared out to drape over her knuckles. The neckline was a sweetheart neckline, as Tonks described the curve of it that dipped down and exposed just the smallest amount of cleavage. The black fabric shimmered in the lights, and was smooth to the touch. The way it flared at her knees was subtle and elegant.
“That one,” Tonks declared. “If you refuse it, I will do a Sirius and buy it for you anyway.”
“It does look nice,” Ginny agreed.
“Nice?” Tonks said with raised eyebrows. “Girl, that is gorgeous! You’ll turn Harry into a puddle of goo with that beauty.”
Ginny thought it over. None of the other gowns had felt as comfortable as this one, nor as beautifying. She glanced at the tag on her sleeve.
“I can’t,” she said with a sigh. “It’s too much.”
Tonks flung an arm around her shoulders and gaped her reflection. “Too much? There’s no bloody thing as too much in this situation! You buy this, you’ll have it for life. Every black tie occasion, you’ll never need to buy another dress, only want to. Hell, the only occasion I can think of where you couldn’t where this is your own wedding, but that’s only ‘cause you’ll want white. Come on, Ginny! And remember that it’s thirty percent off the original price.”
Ginny glanced back at the tag, then did a quick mental calculation, silently thanking Hermione for her insistence that Ginny should take Arithmency. What she had left once she subtracted the thirty percent seemed a little more approachable.
“Ginny, agree or disagree, I am buying this for you.”
Ginny sighed. “Fine,” she relented. Tonks let out a girlish squeal and hugged her.
“Now you need a smaller heel and professional make-up,” Tonks said. “Come on.”
The clock had ticked past five thirty and was getting close to five fifty by the time Tonks was satisfied. Ginny also had two new pairs of shoes: A dark velvet green peep toe pump — whatever the heck peep toe meant — for the formal occasion Tonks would not name and a pair of glossy black wedges, as well as six different tubes of make-up, two blushes, one bronzer, four eye-shadow palates, two perfumes, and three lipsticks. All of which Tonks swore to demonstrate to her before term started.
“What’s our total?” Ginny asked, looking over the three stacks of casual Muggle clothes, two sets of nice but not formal robes, three other sets of robes for everyday wear, her formal gown, shoes, and make-up. Tonks pointed a finger to each, one eye half shut, and mumbling under her breath.
“Less than I expected,” Tonks said with triumph. “Which means less than our budget. And Sirius expressly told me that I had to be at least ten Galleons over the limit when I finished with you.”
“Let’s say we are, and quit while we’re ahead,” Ginny said.
“Nope, let’s get you another pair of shoes. That should put us ten Galleons over, as promised.”
“No, I’m doing it. Stay put, I’ll be right back.”
Ginny sighed and shook her head. Tonks was almost as stubborn as she was. Tonks returned with a pair of fancy sandals.
“We are now nine Galleons over,” Tonks said with a victorious smile. “I have nothing further to get you.”
“This is a lot,” Ginny said with raised eyebrows.
Tonks waved a hand. “Didn’t you see how much Sirius has? He wants to do this for you, Ginny. He feels like he owes you, which really he does because you did help bring Pettigrew in.”
“But this is still a lot of money!”
“You heard him, turn any of it down and he’ll buy it anyway. Please, please, please, don’t let Weasley pride get in the way of this very generous and half off the original price gift!”
Ginny sighed, again, and nodded. “Okay,” she said, “fine.”
Tonks clasped her hands together and mouthed ‘thank you!’ “Come on, let’s go pay. We should meet with Thea and Hermione too.”
Hermione turned out to have even more than Ginny, with at least five pairs of shoes and four sets of robes. Tonks dropped a fat bag of money that Sirius must have slipped her along the way onto the counter, and the clerk handed her two Sickles change.
“And now we meet the boys,” Tonks said, shrinking each of their bags with a tap of her wand. Ginny’s four shrunk backs were pushed into her pocket with the bag of books, and they left the store.
They met the boys outside a shop of odds and ends, where Ginny’s eyebrows rose and smiled appreciatively at the brand new clothes that Harry wore. He grinned at her and threw an arm over her shoulders.
Like the new threads? Harry thought.
Ginny suppressed a snort. Threads? What on earth does that mean?
Sirius told me to say it. Anyway, like ‘em?
Ginny let her gaze drift over his well-fitting jeans, Weird Sisters tee shirt, and plaid button up that was un-buttoned with the sleeves pushed up.
Did Sirius pick it out?
Yeah, but I like it. Sirius said that I’ll need to fix the sleeves and button it when we go for dinner, so I meet dress code. Did you get anything?
Ginny nodded. A few robes, some shoes, jeans and shirts.
Nice! Did Tonks or Gram say anything about formal robes?
Actually, yes. Tonks made me get a formal dress and Hermione has new dress robes. Tonks told me that something is going to happen at Hogwarts this year, something she called both grand and dangerous. And that there’s going to be a formal dance at some point.
Dance, huh? Wanna go with me?
Ginny shoved him lightly with her shoulder. Of course, goose! Who else would I go with?
I dunno, McLaggen?
Ginny suppressed a shudder and Harry chuckled.
Do you even know how to dance? Ginny mentally asked him.
A bit. Gram showed me a few moves. Do you?
Not really. I’ll ask your grandmum to show me the same ‘moves.’
Cool. Are you wearing perfume? You smell more intoxicating than normal.
Ginny smiled and nodded. Harry grinned at her and kissed her cheek.
“Watch it!” Sirius and Ron called out. Both Ginny and Harry stuck out their tongues.
They ate dinner at an Italian place called Luigi’s, where Sirius told them they were not allowed to get any dish that cost less than twenty pounds. He needn’t have bothered; there were only three dishes less than twenty and all were appetizers. Harry and Ginny shared something called Surf and Turf, and after dinner the adults had wine and everyone had expensive and delicious desserts. With their belts loosened, they all Floo’ed back to the Ministry. They said goodbye to Hermione and her parents, then piled into Mrs. Evans car. Tonks offered to drive since Mrs. Evans had drunk three glasses of wine, and they left for Ottery St. Catchpole.
When they arrived home, Mrs. Evans dropped Ginny, Ron, and Harry off at the Burrow. Tonks had instructed her to keep the bags with her casual wear and make-up shrunk, but to show her mother the new dress and shoes. Ginny agreed, because she suspected that if her mother knew exactly how much Sirius had insisted on spending, she’d have to return it all. Ron and Harry showed her parents their new dress robes, then ran up to Ron’s room to do ‘guy stuff’.
“All right, missy,” Ginny’s mum said, with her hands on her hips. “Let’s go see what you got. I want to know what dress Tonks got you, and if there are any modifications that I need to make.”
“There aren’t any,” Ginny assured her. “It’s very modest.”
“Well, let’s go see!” Mum said. They went up to their room, and while her mum was turned around for her to change, Ginny stuck the shrunken bags under her bed.
“Oh, it’s wonderful!” Mum gasped when Ginny had finished changing. Ginny curtsied and spun in a circle. “I love it,” Mum said.
“I’m good?” Ginny asked, raising her eyebrows. “No modifications needed?”
Mum glanced over the dress again, and nodded. “I’d say you’re good. And you know, this will probably last you a long time, since we can just alter it when you finish filling out.”
Ginny let a wide smile spread across her face. “Awesome! Oh, and Tonks got me a few other things too. Do you mind?”
“Well, as long as it’s appropriate I don’t mind,” Mum said. “Did Ron get much else other than his robes?”
She shrugged; “I wasn’t with the guys.”
“Ah, well, Arthur can handle them. Did you enjoy your day out?”
Ginny grinned broadly at her mother. “It was great.”
Mum smiled again. “Good. All right, time for bed. See you in the morning, sweetheart. Remember, you’re leaving early for Dad’s surprise.”
“Where are we going?” Ginny asked. Mum didn’t answer, but hugged her and left the room. Ginny sighed, and pulled out the shrunken bags and prodded them with her wand. They became full size with a pop and Ginny stared at them for a moment. To be perfectly honest, she wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Finally, she took everything out of the bags, sorted them into piles and pulled her trunk over. Opening it, she glanced over the second-hand clothes and few new ones they’d bought the previous summer already in there. She had several pairs of jeans, a few tattered shirts and a few less abused ones, and a single pair of sneakers that had once been a crisp white but now was a dull cream. The sneakers she decided to keep, but she pulled out almost all of the shirts and the majority of the jeans, since they were mostly all too snug. When she finished, the only Muggle clothes remaining in the trunk where two pairs of jeans, a single tee shirt, a Quidditch jersey that had been Bill’s she slept in, and an old sweatshirt.
She dropped the old clothes on the floor of her closet to be dealt with later. Most of her old robes joined them. And into the trunk went the brand new jeans, shirts, sweaters, robes, the formal dress, and everything else Tonks had bought her. The make-up went into a case Mum had given her for her twelfth birthday that she had never used, and the shoes were tucked under all the clothes at the bottom of her trunk. She shut the lid and pushed it out of the way. Ginny glanced at the clock — 12:47 — and pulled out her pajamas. She plopped onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling.
Aren’t you supposed to be asleep?
Ginny rolled her eyes at Harry’s comment. I was packing.
Why couldn’t you do that in the morning?
Because I wanted to do it now.
Fine. What does your new dress look like?
It’s a surprise.
Come on! I’ll tell you what my robes look like.
Nope. It is a surprise.
Harry huffed. Ginny closed her eyes and peeked through his eyes. He was staring up at the ceiling of Ron’s room. Ron was in his bed, one arm dangling over the side of the bed and snoring.
Night, Ginny thought.
Harry, she thought warningly.
He huffed again. Good night, my dearest spoil-sport.
Ginny scowled at the ceiling. Good night, my pestering boyfriend.
Prettiest stubborn girlfriend.
Oops, I meant to make that sound rude.
Ginny rolled her eyes again. You’re being sulky. I just want to surprise you.
Yeah, I know, he grumbled. Fine, you’re not a spoil-sport.
Thank you. And for the record, you are not a pest.
I feel so special.
Ginny smiled as she fell asleep.
The next morning, Ginny woke up to thundering feet on the stairs and her parents shouting for them to wake up. She jumped out of bed, startled, and tugged on her bathrobe. She tugged open her door and stepped out into the hallway.
“Watch out, squirt!” George hollered as he ran past.
“Careful, little sis,” Fred paused in his stampede downstairs to ruffle her hair. She slapped away his hand as he kept going.
“What’s going on?” she asked Percy; he was walking rather than running.
“Father and Mother have something to tell us,” Percy said. He was already dressed with his hair combed neatly and his glasses perched upon his pompous face. He walked past her in a way she was sure he thought was mature and regal, but Ginny thought it was more bratty and smug than anything else.
Rolling her eyes at her older brother, she darted up the stairs to Ron’s room. She knocked on the door before sticking her head in. Ron was still in bed with his hands holding firmly onto the bedframe; Harry was tugging on his ankles, grunting with the strain.
“What are you doing?” Ginny said.
Harry dropped Ron’s feet. “Your brother won’t get up.”
Ginny walked over and prodded Ron. “Up. Mum and Dad want us.”
“Ffomph,” Ron mumbled.
Ron clamped his pillow over his head. Ginny huffed and set her fists on her hips. Then she glanced at the door, and stepped off to the side.
“Back up,” she said to Harry. He did as he was told.
“Ron, Fred and George are eating your bacon!” Ginny said loudly.
“The gits!” Ron roared, and a second later he had shot out of bed and was rocketing down the stairs to defend his nonexistent bacon.
Harry turned to her with raised eyebrows. “I’m impressed,” Harry said.
“Thank you,” Ginny smiled and kissed his cheek. “Come on, let’s go see what Mum and Dad want.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him out the room.
Downstairs, Ron was standing in the kitchen with confusion on his face.
“Where’s the bacon?” he said.
“In the icebox, Ron,” Mum said, one eyebrow raised, setting a plate of toast on the table. “I can make some if you want it.”
“Ginny said…” then Ron scowled and rounded on her. “You evil little liar,” he growled.
“How else was I going to get you up?” Ginny asked with a smirk. Ron raised a scolding finger and wagged it in her face, but dropped into a chair with a scowl when Mum turned her gaze on him. Everyone else was seated, so Ginny and Harry sat down by Ron.
Dad walked into the kitchen sipping a cup of tea; and then walked in Bill and Charlie. Ginny squealed happily and ran forward to throw her arms around each of them in turn. Bill laughed and Charlie ruffled her hair.
“What are you doing here?” she asked. “Not that it’s not good to see you.”
“They’re coming with us,” Dad said, dropping into a chair.
“Where are we going?” George asked.
Dad pulled a sheaf of papers from his trouser pockets, and waved them at the group. Every jaw dropped.
“The World Cup?” Ron gasped.
“You’re joking!” Fred and George shouted.
“I am not,” Dad said with a chuckle. “We leave in about half an hour to catch a Portkey there. We might be staying a few days, so go pack some clothes. We’re going to meet Sirius, Remus, Tonks and Hermione there too. Hurry now!”
Ginny darted from the kitchen with her brothers and Harry hot on her heels. Except Percy. Perfect Percy must have already known since he wasn’t running to pack.
Ginny threw open her door, grabbed a rucksack from her closet, then tugged open her trunk again to get her new clothes. She shoved three pairs of jeans, two sweaters, Bill’s old Quidditch jersey and a pair of shorts, two tee shirts, one blouse and three sets of underclothes. She paused, then pulled one sweater out and tossed it onto the bed to wear later. Ginny added one of the books Hermione had given her for Christmas the previous year, a comb, a sketch pad and a case of pencils, and half a dozen socks. Then she tossed the rucksack into the hallway, shut her door, and changed quickly into jeans, a Weird Sisters shirt, and tugged on her sweater.
Throwing her rucksack on her back, Ginny ran down the stairs and skidded to a stop in the living room. She set her bag down by the door and calmly walked into the kitchen.
“Need any help, Mum?” she called.
“Yes, thank you, dear,” her mother said over her shoulder as she stirred a pan of eggs. “Can you go and get the bacon from the icebox?”
“Sure.” Ginny turned from the kitchen and walked to the pantry and laundry room, where the icebox stood. She pulled a pack of bacon from it and went back to the kitchen. “Got it, Mum.”
“Thank you, Ginny, would you mind cooking it?”
Guess the joke’s on you now, Harry thought.
Shush yourself, Ginny thought with a shake of her head. “Sure, Mum.” She pulled a pan out of a cupboard and set on the stove while her mum started rolling out dough for scones. She prodded the burner with her wand and it ignited. Soon the pan was beginning to smoke; Ginny laid several pieces of the bacon into it.
“I smell bacon!” Ron shouted joyously from the dining room. He darted into the kitchen and threw an arm around her shoulder. “You are an awesome sister, you know.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows at him. “Really? I thought I was evil.”
Ron shrugged. “That too, but you’re making me bacon. That makes you awesome.”
Ginny shook her head and flipped the bacon in the pan. Ron gave her another squeeze and went to steal some of the sweetened scone dough from their mother.
Ten minutes later, Ginny, her brothers and boyfriend were seated at the dining table, scarfing down breakfast.
“Come along, gang, we’ve got to leave in about five minutes!” Mr. Weasley shouted, gulping down the rest of his tea. Ginny glanced at Ron, and stifled a snigger at the sight of his bulging cheeks.
“Don’t choke yourself, brother mine,” Ginny warned, standing up with her plate. Ron managed to stick his tongue out at her through his mouthful of food. Rolling her eyes, Ginny went into the kitchen with her plate.
Another ten minutes later, they were waiting outside for Mum to finish screaming at Fred and George about the Ton-Tongue Toffees. Ginny checked her watch and huffed.
Be patient, darling, Harry thought, weaving his fingers with hers.
We were supposed to be gone by now! Ginny groaned mentally.
“What are you thinking?” Ron asked.
“That I’d like to whip George’s hide,” Ginny grumbled. “He’s probably the one who thought to try and sneak the sweets out.”
“Probably,” Ron agreed. Bill and Charlie came out the back door, Bill paused to ruffle Ron’s hair. Ron swatted his hand away.
“Dad said we could head off,” Bill said. “He’ll catch up with Fred and George.”
“What about Percy?” Harry asked.
“He’s Apparating,” Charlie replied. “He’ll leave later.”
“Let’s go then,” Ginny jumped up, adjusted the straps of her rucksack, and started down the lane.
Ginny stopped. “What?”
Bill pointed west. “We’re going that way.”
Her cheeks tinged themselves pink. “Right.”
Dad and the two trouble-makers caught up with them about twenty minutes after they left. They walked about an hour before Dad stopped them on Stoatshead hill. Ginny glanced around, and found two people walking towards them.
“Are we meeting anyone?” Charlie asked.
“Amos Diggory,” Dad said. “And his son, I think.”
“Hullo!” called the older of the two people. “Pleasant morning, eh?”
“Yes, it is, Amos!” Dad called back. Amos Diggory and his companion climbed the hill to stand before them; Ginny recognized the boy, Cedric Diggory, Hufflepuff’s Quidditch Captain and Seeker.
“Good lord,” Amos chortled, “are all of these your children, Arthur?”
“Ah, all but one,” Arthur chuckled. “This is my oldest boy, Bill, and Charlie, these two are Fred and George, then Ron and my daughter, Ginny.” He pointed to each of them as he introduced us. Bill and Charlie shook Mr. Diggory’s hand. Fred and George waved politely, but Ginny noticed they didn’t smile. Seems they still weren’t over the fact that Cedric had beaten them at Quidditch the year before.
Mr. Diggory turned his eyes on Harry. “And this young lad? What’s your name, son?”
Here we go again, Harry thought as he stepped forward to hold out his hand. “Harry Potter, sir.”
“Merlin’s Beard!” Mr. Diggory said. His gaze shot instantly to Harry’s scar. Ginny huffed. Mr. Diggory pumped Harry’s hand. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter. A great honor.”
Harry forced a smile and stepped back.
“Uh, well, shall we gather ‘round the Portkey?” Arthur asked.
“Oh, yes, let’s.” Mr. Diggory moved to the crest of the hill, where the Portkey, a worn out boot, was waiting. He touched a finger to the tongue of the boot. Ginny’s brothers gathered around, each touching a finger to the boot.
Er, what is that?
The Portkey, Ginny thought. Portkeys are usually things like that so Muggles won’t pick them up by accident.
Ginny grabbed a shoelace between her thumb and forefinger. Harry raised an eyebrow. Ginny raised both. Harry shook his head and grabbed the shoelace. Dad checked his watch.
“Three, two, one…”
The Portkey glowed bright blue; something jerked Ginny forward by her navel, the blue light expanded over them, and they dropped onto flat soggy ground.
They checked in and left for their campsite, saying goodbye to the Diggorys as they did. Harry helped Dad build the tents, one for the guys and one for Ginny, Hermione, and Tonks, while Ron and she went to get water for tea.
About an hour later Percy showed up, followed by Sirius, Remus, Tonks and Hermione. Ludo Bagman visited, asking for bets. Fred and George bet all they had that Ireland would win but Krum would get the snitch. Tonks pulled them into the girls’ tent, which was magically expanded on the inside, for the make-up tutorial she had promised when Percy’s boss, Barty Crouch, showed up. After she finished, they goofed around for a while, doing girl stuff, until lunch. Tonks agreed to charm Ginny’s hair to have green highlights. Later, Harry laughed and told her she looked like a leprechaun. A cute one, he admitted, after she drew her wand. And after lunch, it was time to start off to the stadium.
Ginny was in awe as she gawked at the huge stadium. It rose hundreds of feet in the air, and even the lowest seats were far above her head. It was packed with people, decked out in red and green to support their teams. Vendors sold memorabilia, rosettes that shouted the names of the players on their team, little models of the players, programs, scarves, hats, everything. Sirius bought Irish scarves for everyone and personally wrapped Remus’ around his face. Remus rolled his eyes and jinxed Sirius’ dark hair to flash Ireland’s colors. Sirius laughed and left it that way. Tonks mimicked Sirius by turning her hair green with white stripes. Harry bought Omnioculars for her, Ron, Hermione, and himself. Ron bought a model of Bulgaria’s seeker Victor Krum. Hermione bought a program.
Ginny bought a green and white rosette and pinned it to the front of her sweater. Fred and George took a leaf from Remus’ book and painted their faces green and white. Dad looked on with amused bewilderment. They head off to their seats in the Top Box ready for a good match.
Ginny ended up between Tonks and Harry, with Hermione and Ron on Harry’s other side. Hermione was reading trivia from the program, while the boys ignored her and discussed possible outcomes. Ginny had her eye on the opposite end of the Box, where a little house-elf sat with her hands covering her eyes. She stood up, and walked towards the house-elf.
“Are you all right?” she asked the elf.
The elf peeked from between her fingers. “Oh, miss, Winky is fine, miss.”
“You sure? You look a little green.”
“Well, Winky is not liking heights, miss, but Winky is being told to save her master’s seat.”
“Where is he?”
Winky glanced around, her large green eyes flicked to the seat beside her, then fixed on Ginny. “Master Barty is having lots of work to do, miss. Winky thinks he should be here soon.”
“Oh,” Ginny said. “Barty Crouch, you mean?”
“Yes, miss.” Winky glanced out of the box and shuddered. “Winky is really not liking being so high up.”
“I’m sorry,” Ginny said. “I could sit with you and keep you distracted if you’d like.”
Winky turned her large eyes back on her. “Miss is very kind.”
What’s up? Harry thought as he stepped up behind her.
“Harry, this is —”
“Dobby?” Harry said, cutting her off.
Winky looked startled. “No, sir, I is Winky. Do you knows Dobby, sir? Dobby is being a friend of mine.”
“Yeah, I’ve met him,” Harry said. “How is he?”
“Oh, Dobby is not good, sir,” Winky said with a shake of her head. “Freedom is getting to his head, sir. He is going around asking for a pay, sir.”
“He is? What’s bad about that?”
“House elves is not meant to being paid,” Winky said solemnly. “Winky is telling him sir, ‘Get yourself a nice family and stop being so silly,’ but sir, he is not listening.”
“I hope he does get someone to pay him,” Harry said. “He deserves it.”
“Oh, sir, Winky is not hoping that. Winky is hoping he is going to be coming to his senses soon. All the elves Winky is knowing is agreeing with Winky.”
“Well, maybe he will, maybe he won’t,” Ginny said. “Anyway, would you like to come sit with us?”
Winky glanced at the empty seat next to her again. “Winky would like to, miss, but Winky is needing to stay here. Winky must save Master’s seat.”
“Oh, okay,” Ginny said. “I hope he gets here soon, then.”
Winky nodded meekly. Ginny patted Winky’s shoulder and turned to go back to her seat. Harry waved and followed her.
The match was just about to start, when more people filed in. Ginny was a bit startled to see the Minister for Magic and the Bulgarian delegates, but it did make sense since these were the best seats in the stadium. She got to shake hands with them all. The Bulgarians recognized Sirius from his wanted posters, but Minister Fudge quickly explained that he had been cleared. They recognized Harry as well, and the Bulgarian Minister for Magic got a photographer to take their picture. Barty Crouch never did show up.
She was less pleased when the last of the people seated in the Top Box entered. Draco Malfoy, his father, and a woman Ginny assumed was Mrs. Malfoy climbed into the box and moved down the aisle. Mrs. Malfoy stopped when she caught sight of Sirius. Sirius turned, and stood up with a scowl. Tonks glanced up, and stood hastily.
“I heard you had been pardoned,” Mrs. Malfoy sneered. “Shouldn’t you be drinking yourself into a stupor in some tavern?”
“I might say the same thing to you, Narcissa,” Sirius spat. Mr. Malfoy glanced over his shoulder at the two, then continued to his seat.
Narcissa Malfoy straightened herself, glancing at Ginny’s family, Remus, and Tonks. Tonks green and white hair tinged red at the tips.
“You’ve sunk even lower, Sirius,” Mrs. Malfoy said with contempt. She turned her scowl on Tonks and wrinkled her nose.
“I suggest you walk away, Cissy,” Tonks said. Ginny frowned. Cissy? What did that mean?
Mrs. Malfoy looked burned by the comment. She glared a bit longer, then tossed her hair and moved to join her husband. Draco lingered to sneer at Sirius and Tonks, then stepped forward to exchange insults with Harry.
“Not worried your friend’s going to do you in, Potter?” Draco snapped.
“He was cleared,” Harry said calmly. “I’m not interested in anything you have to say, Malfoy.”
“Yeah? Do you know how the bloodtraitors managed tickets? I’m sure not even their hovel could be worth one ticket.”
Ron shot to his feet, his ears bright red. Hermione tugged on Ron’s sleeve; he shook her off.
“Shut your face, Malfoy,” Ron growled.
Malfoy chuckled coldly. “Did you sell your dignity, Weasley? Wait, I forgot, you haven’t got any to spare.”
Ginny jumped up and grabbed Ron’s arm before he could take a swing at Malfoy. “Sit down,” she warned her brother.
“Yeah, listen to your baby sister,” Malfoy sneered. “Don’t strain yourself.”
“Hey, Draco,” Tonks said, stepping up. She clapped Malfoy on the shoulder. “Walk away. Now.”
“Who’re you to tell me what to do?” Draco snapped.
Tonks pulled something from her pocket. She flipped it open, showing him an Auror badge. “Walk away,” she repeated. Draco glared at her and shoved her hand off his shoulder. He scowled at them once more and moved to his seat. Tonks smiled at them and patted Ron’s shoulder before sitting down again. Ginny pushed Ron into his seat and gave him a warning look before returning to her own.
Ludo Bagman bounded into the Top Box, grinning at them all. “Let’s get this party started!” he said, then touched his wand to his neck. “Sonorus.” He stepped to the edge of the box and opened his mouth once more.
“Welcome, one and all,” Bagman said, his voice magically ringing throughout the entire stadium, “to the final of the 422nd Quidditch World Cup! I give you… the Bulgaria National Team mascots!”
Ginny leaned over the edge to stare down at the field, where about a hundred women were streaming out onto the field.
“What are they supposed to be?” Harry asked.
“Veela,” Hermione, said consulting her program.
“Bird-women?” Ginny asked, looking down. Hermione nodded, but her attention was taken by Ron, who was staring at the veela with his mouth hanging open. Ginny glanced around; all her brothers were gazing at the veela, who were now singing something, with similar expressions. Even Draco Malfoy rose to his feet to gawk.
“What’s gotten into them?” Harry asked, waving a hand in front of Ron’s face. Hermione glanced at Harry, then at Ron, then at the veela, then back to Harry.
“What’s gotten into you?” Hermione said, looking at him with surprise in her eyes. “You should be gawking too.”
“What are veela?”
“They’re bird-women,” Ginny answered. “They’ve got this magic that enchants all men around them. It makes the men think that the veela are the most beautiful people in the world.”
Harry looked back at the veela, then at her, then back to the veela, before turning back to her with a shrug.
The veela stopped singing. Hermione smacked Ron’s shoulder to catch his attention, as Bagman introduced the Irish mascots. They were real leprechauns. Harry pointed out the similarities between her and her green hair and one of the leprechauns, while Ginny shook her head at him.
After the mascots came the teams. And then, the game begun.
Two hours later, Ireland was ahead by more than one hundred and fifty points, so when Krum caught the snitch, Ireland still won. The players all came up to the Top Box to receive the trophy, and Ginny went a little starry eyed at the sight of all the professional players just feet from her.
They went back to their tents and talked most of the night until Dad insisted they go to bed. Tonks, Hermione, and Ginny left the boys’ tent for their own.
But not long after they fell asleep were they woken up.
“Get up!” Tonks shouted. “Get up, get a jacket, now!”
Ginny rolled out of bed, rubbing her eyes. “What’s the matter?” She glanced around, Tonks pulled jeans over her pajama pants and a cloak over her tank top. There were lights outside the tent, people were shouting and Ginny heard something disturbingly like spells firing.
“Something’s happened, you need to get to safety,” Tonks said throwing Ginny’s sweater at her. Hermione climbed down from the top bunk and tugged on a jumper. Ginny pulled the sweater on over her jersey and shoved her feet into her sneakers. She grabbed her wand as Tonks shepherded them out of the tent. The lights Ginny had seen turned out to be fires; there were tents blazing and torches swinging through the air.
Dad had rallied the boys already, they were waiting for them. Dad wrapped an arm around Ginny and kissed her temple. “We have to go help,” he said. “The adults, I mean. Fred and George, you’re in charge. Take Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Harry into the woods over there. Stay on guard, keep your wands out, don’t let them out of your sight.”
The two nodded, their faces serious for once. Dad was still dressed, as was Percy. Bill and Charlie had on jackets over their pajamas, Remus was wearing a cloak, and Sirius stood with his wand drawn wearing only a pair of sweatpants and a white tee shirt. All of them look grim in the firelight. Dad squeezed Ginny’s shoulder and let her go. “Go!” he said, waving a hand. “Get going!”
Fred grabbed Ginny and Hermione by the hand while George pushed Harry and Ron forward. Fred pulled them towards the trees by the edge of the moor. Harry grabbed her other hand as they ran.
“Light your wands,” Fred ordered. Ginny dropped Fred’s hand to pull her wand from her pocket.
Harry! Ginny thought, cutting him off before he could begin swearing. “Lumos. What’s the matter?”
“My wand,” he groaned, turning out the pockets of his jacket. “I’ve lost it!”
Ginny glanced around, shining her light over the ground. Hermione and Ron lit their wands and looked with her and Harry while Fred and George stood guard.
“It’s not here,” Harry said, panic rising in him. Ginny laid a hand on his shoulder to calm him.
“It’s probably back in the tent,” Ron said.
“We’ll have to find it later,” George said. “We need to get going again.”
“Right,” Harry mumbled. Ginny slipped her hand into his and squeezed it gently. It’ll turn up.
He nodded glumly, but let her lead him through the trees. Ginny held her brightly lit wand up to cast its glow over the trees. Hermione fell into step beside her.
“Is your wand brighter than normal?” Hermione asked. Ginny glanced at it, then at Hermione’s wand tip. Her friend’s spell did seem a bit dimmer.
“I don’t know,” Ginny said with a shrug. “Maybe you’re just more tired than I am?”
Hermione nodded, her eyebrows knit together. “Maybe.”
Ginny let go of Harry’s hand briefly to push a strand of hair behind her ear. “Look!” Hermione said, pointing.
“What?” Ginny asked, taking Harry’s hand again.
“It — it got darker for a second,” Hermione said. Ginny shrugged. Hermione stared at Ginny’s wand tip contemplatively, until she tripped over a tree root.
Your spell is brighter than normal, Harry thought. And it did dim down when you let go of my hand.
Ginny narrowed her eyes, staring at her wand. She let go of Harry’s hand; her wand tip dimmed slightly. She took his hand again, and the spell brightened.
Interesting, Ginny thought. We’ll have to tell Dumbledore later.
They stopped walking about ten minutes later. Ron dropped onto the ground and leaned up against a tree. Hermione paced between two oaks, while Fred and George stood with wands drawn watching the trees.
Ginny leaned against a tree, looking at her wand tip. Harry wrapped an arm around her, yawning tiredly as he did.
A minute later, a soft rustling sounded behind them. Ginny turned, her wand raised. A clump of bushes trembled slightly. Harry stuck his hand in his pocket before he remembered that he had left his wand behind.
“Who’s there?” Ginny called. The others looked up; George walked over, his wand held at the ready.
“Morsmordre!” a voice shouted from the bushes. Green light shot out of the bushes, and came to rest in the air. Ginny clapped a hand to her mouth, hastily stopping a flow of foreign memories ignited by the word and the image in the sky.
Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand and tugged him away, calling to the others “We have to get out of here now!”
“Why, what is that?” George asked.
“We have to run!” Ginny insisted. “That’s the Dark Mark, George! It’s Voldemort’s mark!”
Fred grabbed Ron’s arm and pulled him to his feet; Hermione darted away from the green skull and snake hanging above her head. Harry stared up at the mark in horror.
Several loud cracks came from behind them; Ginny turned to face a line of Ministry officials, all with their wands drawn.
“Get down!” Ginny said just as the Ministry workers shouted “Stupefy!” She dropped to her knees, pulling down Harry; Fred shoved Ron back to the ground; George pulled Hermione down with him as he crouched. The red spells shot past them, soaring through the trees. From the bushes where the spell had shot, Ginny thought she heard a gasp of surprise.
“Stop! Stop, those are my children!”
Ginny looked up at the sound of her father’s voice. Dad pushed through the line of wizards, running to them. He grabbed Ginny’s hand and pulled her up.
“Are you all right?” he asked, pressing a palm to her cheek. He glanced at the boys, and Fred and Ron by the tree and George rising with a hand still on Hermione’s shoulder.
“We’re fine,” Ginny said. Dad nodded distractedly; he hugged her quickly, then went to hug George, Fred, and Ron.
“Which of you conjured it?” said a harsh voice. Ginny turned to see Barty Crouch stepping forward. “Which?”
“It wasn’t us!” Fred snapped.
“Why would you think that?” Hermione asked, her voice shaky.
“Someone was hiding in those bushes,” Ginny said before Crouch could answer her. “A man, I think. He conjured it.”
Crouch hissed an obscenity under his breath. “They’ll have gotten away by now.”
“Our stunners went right through there,” Amos Diggory said, moving forward. “Maybe we caught him.”
Diggory parted the bushes, and let out a shout of surprise. “Blimey! I don’t believe it!”
“What? Who is it?”
Diggory pulled from the bush the limp body of Winky.
Crouch was horrified. He checked the bushes himself before Mr. Diggory revived Winky and questioned her. It turned out that she had been holding a wand. Harry's wand. Mr. Diggory checked it and declared that it had been the wand to conjure the Dark Mark. Then Crouch, saying that Winky had dishonored him by picking up the wand, gave her clothes. Winky begged him to let her stay, but he turned his back on her. Diggory returned Harry's wand, and Dad led them back to the tent, where Sirius and Remus were waiting. Dad went back out to help, while Remus and Sirius gathered them in the boys' tent. Ginny fell asleep on the couch, to be awakened a few hours later by Tonks saying they had a Portkey back to Ottery St. Catchpole.
They hurried home; Mum surprised them all by nearly choking George and Fred in hugs, sobbing that she had been panicking that Voldemort had gotten them and her last words to them had been out of anger. Mrs. Evans was there too, she grabbed Harry in a tight hug, silent tears slipping from her eyes. Ginny understood what the woman was feeling.
Hermione stayed that night before Flooing back to her parents’ house. Harry went back to his house, to find out that his aunt had been worried enough to hug him when he got back.
There wasn’t much left of summer, and September was coming very quickly. Before long, Ginny was hugging her parents good-bye on the platform before boarding the Hogwarts express. They found a compartment, and the train pulled from the station.
‘! Go To Top ‘!