|SIYE Time:17:28 on 23rd June 2018|
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: 109967; Chapter Total: 3858
Awards: View Trophy Room
Se ven: The First Year In a Nutshell
The rest of the summer passed by in a flash. September First rushed headlong at the Weasley family plus one, and ended up knocking the wind out of them. The morning before they had to leave found them all rushing around, trying to get last minute packing done without incurring the wrath of Mrs. Weasley.
The ride to King's Cross was over and done with before Ginny could blink. She was past the barrier. Her mother was hugging her tightly She was on the train. She was waving good-bye to her parents. The train was pulling out of the station. And she was gone.
She sat alone with Harry in a compartment, staring out the window. Harry sat beside her, accepting her silence and providing silent comfort. She was gone, and she would not see her parents again until Christmas. Even though she had been looking forward to going to Hogwarts for years, she still felt like she had left a small part of her behind.
Sometime after lunch, her head drooped onto Harry's shoulder, and she curled up on the bench.
“Is all you ever do is sleep?” Harry asked her teasingly. Ginny lightly punched his arm.
“I'm not sleeping,” she said. “I'm getting comfortable.”
“What, you weren't comfortable before?”
Ginny smacked him again. He moaned in fake agony, but smiled at her. She smiled back. She felt a little better now.
It did not last. Moments later, the door to their compartment slid open, and three boys strutted in, led by a boy with sleek white blonde hair.
“So,” he drawled lazily, “it's true. Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts.”
Harry frowned. “Uh, hello?”
The boy glanced at Ginny, and made a face, but turned back to Harry. “My name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.”
Ginny made a face too. He scowled at her.
“What?” he said. “Think my name's funny, do you?”
“No, not in the least,” Ginny snapped. “Go away.”
Harry glanced at her.
What are you doing? He thought.
Dad's met his father, and he's a right horrible man. I highly doubt his son will be much better.
“I think you should be the one to leave,” Malfoy sneered. “I know who you are. Red hair, second hand robes, freckles. You're a Weasley.” The name rolled off his tongue like it was dung in his mouth.
“You got a problem with that?” Harry asked. Ginny knew Malfoy was getting on Harry's nerves.
“You ought to know that some wizard families are better than others,” Malfoy said. “The Weasley's are the worst of the lot. You can do better. I can help you there.”
Malfoy stuck out his hand for Harry to shake. Harry would rather eat dung.
“In the few minutes you've been in here,” Harry said slowly, “you have given me the impression that you're an arrogant, spoiled child. I'm not interested in your offer. Please leave.”
Malfoy's face twisted in anger. “You'll regret that move, Potter,” he said softly. He turned on his heel, and was gone. Harry sank back against the seat with a huff. Ginny squeezed his hand and lay her head on his shoulder again.
No one else bothered them the rest of the trip. When a voice announced that they would be reaching Hogwarts soon and advised them to change into their robes, Harry stepped outside so she could change, and then they traded places.
The squeal of the brakes could be heard. The train huffed and puffed as it pulled into the station.
On the platform, a large man called for all the first years to follow him. They piled into boats and floated across the lake.
The castle was large and warm and inviting. The first years filed inside, and waited for the doors to open so they could be sorted. A strict looking woman, Professor McGonagall, explained about the houses and how the sorting worked.
Ginny clutched Harry's arm as the doors opened, and Professor McGonagall led them inside. They walked past four long tables, where the rest of the students already sat. McGonagall stopped before a raised platform, by a little three legged stool on which sat a patched and ragged old hat.
Everyone was watching the hat. Ginny and Harry watched it too, curiously. Then, much to Ginny's surprise, a rip near the brim opened, and the hat began to sing.
“Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see.
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me!
You can keep your bowlers black,
And your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat,
And I can cap them all!
There's nothing hidden in your head
That the Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you,
Where you ought to be!
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart.
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil.
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind'
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't afraid!
You're in safe hands (though I have none),
For I'm a Thinking Cap!”
And the hat fell into silence.
Professor waited for the applause to end before calling out names. Ginny wasn't really paying attention. She was thinking about the song. So when Professor McGonagall called Harry's name, she jumped. He squeezed her hand, gave her a smile, and walked up to the platform. All around her, people were whispering 'Harry Potter?' 'The Harry Potter?' He took the hat from McGonagall, sat down, and dropped it onto his head.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” a voice whispered in her ear. She looked around, frowning. No one was near her, they were all staring up at Harry.
“A joint mind,” the voice said. “How very interesting.”
Uh, sorry? Harry's voice said.
“Come now, young miss, speak up. This is your mind just as much as it is his.”
Ginny blinked in surprise. She had not expected this.
Hello, she thought.
“There,” the Hat said. “That's it. What is your name, young miss?”
And this is Harry Potter, of course. Your mind is much like your mother's, Harry.
It is? Harry thought.
“Yes. Now, to sort you two. I can't read Ginny's mind right from here, so I will sort Harry and then Ginny will wait her turn like the rest. It would be best if the school did not realize what it is you two have just yet.”
Okay, Ginny thought.
The Hat was silent a moment. Then, it spoke again. “You have a very powerful mind, Harry Potter. I see great potential in you, bravery and loyalty, intelligence and ambition. But I think the two houses you are most fit for are Gryffindor and Slytherin. What say you?”
Didn't Slytherin turn out to be mostly bad wizards? Harry thought, and Ginny knew it was aimed towards her.
Well, yeah, she answered.
“It is true,” the Hat said. “But it has also turned out many great wizards in the past.”
I don't want evil.
“Of course you don't. Slytherin is not evil. Many Slytherin students chose that path, yes, but not all. And regardless of their morals, every student had great power, much like yourself.”
Ginny was silent, but she could hear Harry thinking. She kept her thoughts quiet, not wanting to influence him.
“I think you would flourish in Slytherin,” the Hat said.
I don't. I don't want Slytherin, Harry said. Ginny let out a sigh of relief.
“Are you sure? You are destined to be great indeed, and Slytherin would aide you in ways no other house could.”
“If you insist.”
“GRYFFINDOR!” the Hat yelled for the whole hall to hear. The table behind her erupted in cheers. Harry pulled off the Hat and grinned at Ginny. She grinned back as he handed McGonagall the hat. As he passed her, he touched her shoulder with a smile of reassurance.
The line emptied slowly. But, soon, McGonagall called out “Weasley, Ginevra.”
Ginny winced. She hated her full name.
Your real name is Ginevra? Harry thought as she walked up to McGonagall.
Yeah, but I never use it. I don't like it.
I think it sounds pretty.
The blush that crept up her cheeks was not because she tripped on a step on her way to the stool. She took the hat from McGonagall, and seated herself on the stool.
“Ah, Ginny, you have returned. Very good. I got a fairly good reading when Harry was wearing me, so this should not take long. I assume you wish to be in the same house as he is?”
“Are you sure? You do have the potential to be in Ravenclaw, or even Hufflepuff.”
Gryffindor, I'm sure.
“I see. You won't even consider others?”
I want to be in Gryffindor with Harry.
“GRYFFINDOR!” the Hat shouted. Ginny beamed as her brothers all cheered for her, but as Harry cheered, a warm feeling spread through her. Even though Fred and George made a space for her to sit between them, she dropped down beside Harry.
Knew you'd make it, Harry thought with a grin.
Then why were you biting your fingers and panicking? Ginny thought back teasingly. That shut him up for a good five minutes.
Dinner was amazing; she ate so much that Harry teased her that her robes would not fit her. She punched him lightly and returned the compliment.
Dumbledore gave a few announcements, including a ban on going in the Third Floor corridor, which she found odd, and sent them off to bed.
The first few weeks of school were great, even though they were hard. They jumped right into learning, and half their time was taken up with homework. In October, Harry was inducted into the Gryffindor Quidditch team, even though he'd only ever ridden a broom once. Malfoy had hoped that he would get in trouble, but he was disappointed. Ginny felt like punching Malfoy when he challenged Harry to a duel and didn't show up. She kept that nugget of information to use for later blackmail. And, when they- they being herself, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville- ran from Filch when Malfoy didn't show, they ended up in the Forbidden Corridor, right in front of a three headed dog. Needless to say, they were out of breath and scared near witless when they got back to the common room.
By the time Halloween rolled around, both Ginny and Harry were looking around to figure out where the time went. Halloween night brought on excitement, because a troll got into the dungeons. Ron, Harry, and Ginny ran off to go save Hermione, and ended up getting only ten points for Gryffindor.
Harry was a wreck of nerves before the first game, but he did amazing. Nearly swallowed the Snitch but Gryffindor won. But during the game, Ginny nearly had a heart-attack when his broom suddenly tried to buck him off. Hermione fixed it by setting Snape on fire, but she still had to pinch her cheeks before she went to congratulate Harry so she didn't look white as a sheet.
Time flew again. Before either Ginny or Harry could look up, Christmas was charging them head on. Ginny wrote home two weeks before Christmas begging her mother to save her because she'd forgotten to get Harry a gift. A few days later, her mum sent her a reply telling her that she had made Harry a sweater and was giving him the normal gift of pies and candies. Ginny's panic lessened but she still didn't have a gift for him. Then Mum sent her a catalog and some money, and she bought him a new pair of Seeker gloves.
Christmas morning, Ginny woke up to Harry practically shouting in her brain.
WAKE UP! I'VE GOT PRESENTS!
Even thought Ginny was still half asleep, she smiled. Harry had never gotten presents on Christmas. He sounded shocked, excited, and amazed. She rolled over, trying to go back to sleep, but Harry woke her up again.
Meet me down in the common room so we can open our presents, he thought.
Sleep... she thought in a mumble.
Ginny sighed, and sat up slowly. She had a pile of presents at the bottom of her bed too.
I'm bringing Ron, you drag Hermione out of bed. Ever since Halloween, Hermione had joined their group, and the four of them were inseparable.
Fine, but I'm blaming you if Hermione hexes me.
That's okay, just come downstairs!
Ginny rolled her eyes, swung her legs out of bed, and shoved her feet in her slippers.
“Hermione!” she called.
“Go back to sleep,” Hermione mumbled. They were the only ones in the dorm, since most people had gone home for the holidays. Ginny had stayed because Harry wasn't going, her brothers had stayed because their parents were visiting Charlie, and Hermione stayed because her parents were going to a dentisty or something conference, and she wasn't particularly interested in dentisty.
Ginny poked her head through Hermione's curtains. Hermione lay on her side, hugging one of her pillows and curled up in a ball. Ginny nudged her shoulder.
“Come on, we're going to open presents in the common room,” Ginny said.
“Why?” Hermione whined.
“Because this is the first Christmas that Harry's got presents and I want to see his face when he opens them. Get up.”
Hermione rolled onto her back and glared at Ginny. “This is your fault,” Hermione growled.
“Nope, blame Harry.”
Ten minutes later, Ginny and Hermione- still yawning- made their way downstairs with their presents. They found Ron sitting in an arm chair, vibrating like he was a dog wanting to chase a squirrel as he stared at his pile of presents before him, and Harry sitting on the couch. Harry jumped to his feet when they entered the room. Ron raised an eyebrow at him, and Harry dropped back to the couch blushing. Hermione giggled. Ginny rolled her eyes again, but smiled at Harry.
The instant she and Hermione were seated, Ron tore into his presents. Ginny was used to his frenzy on Christmas morning, and Harry had heard about it from her, but Hermione had never seen him. She stared in shock a moment, before opening her own presents.
Harry opened each of his presents with care. Ginny was almost too focused on her friend to open her own presents, but managed it. Harry beamed as he opened the gifts from her mother, and grinned wider when he unwrapped the gloves she'd given him.
“Open that one next,” Harry told her, pointing to a medium sized box near the bottom of her pile. Curious, Ginny extracted it without toppling her pile. She pulled aside the paper, and gasped. She pulled out a wooden box. She ran her fingers over the flowers and dragons carved on the lid, and lifted it open. There was a mirror inside the lid, but she was more interested in the picture tucked inside. It was a photo of her, Ron, Hermione, and Harry, all grinning madly and waving.
“Like it?” Harry asked.
“It's amazing,” she said, beaming at him. “Thank you!”
A while later, Ron, Hermione, and she had finished their presents. Harry had only one left, and everyone was watching him, wondering what was in the unmarked package. He tore open the paper, and shook out a cloak.
This was no ordinary cloak though. Ginny watched it fall open like a jug of water turning over and spilling its contents over the floor. The cloak shimmered in the half-light pouring through the windows and glimmered in the glow of the fire. Ginny reached out a hand and felt the fabric. It did feel like water, softer than any silk she could imagine.
“What is it?” Ron asked in a low voice.
Hermione clapped her hands to her mouth, her face registering shock.
“What?” Harry said, frowning.
“That- I think, oh, Harry!” Hermione said, obviously at a loss for words. “Try it on, if it's what I think it is- put it on!”
Harry glanced at Ginny, and shrugged. He swung the cloak around his shoulders, and suddenly he vanished.
Ginny gasped and shot to her feet. Ron let out a yelp and knocked his chair over. Harry looked down at his body, but it wasn't there anymore.
“It's an invisibility cloak!” Hermione said, “I was right!”
“Look, something fell out,” Harry said. His head bent down and lowered, Ginny guessed he was now squatting, and a slip of parchment was lifted into the air as though on its own. Ginny shivered. It was creepy, and awesome.
“'Your father left this in my possession before he died,'” Harry read aloud. “'It is time it was returned to you. A very merry Christmas to you.' No signature. Huh, wonder who it was,” he said, looking down at the paper with a frown.
Ginny stepped forward, staring open-mouthed at the floating head of her best friend. She reached out, and poked what she guessed to be his chest, since she couldn't see him.
“Ow,” he said pointedly, dropping the note onto a table.
“You're invisible,” Ginny muttered. A grin broke her face. “We are so pranking Fred and George with this!”
Hermione made a noise as if to argue her statement, but Ginny flicked her wand over her shoulder and Hermione found herself unable to talk due to the fact that Ginny had conjured a gag over Hermione's mouth.
“Will it fit over two?” Ginny asked. Harry lifted the cloak, revealing his body, and grabbed her arm. He threw it over her too, and Ginny found herself standing very close to him and invisible. She could see Ron tugging at the gag, and Hermione looking around to see where they had gone. Harry had pulled the cloak over his head, so they were both completely invisible. Her heart thumped in her chest. Harry's breath fell on her face.
What charm did you use? Harry thought as Ron and Hermione started looking around the room for them.
Praeligus charm. Fred and George taught it to me.
Nice, Harry thought. Teach me?
Harry grinned. She grinned back.
The cloak was tugged off them by a very not amused Hermione.
“That's enough of that,” she said. “Come on, it's lunch time.”
That night, Ginny was half asleep when Harry's voice startled her so badly, she fell out of bed.
Ginny, wake up!
Rubbing her bum, and a glower on her face, Ginny rose to her feet. It is bloody half past one. WHAT?
Geez, no need to be irritated. I want to show you something.
Ginny sighed. An image of Harry sticking out his bottom lip, clasping his hands together below his chin, and his eyes wide made her smile. He rarely resorted to using his begging face on her, whatever it was had to be important.
Fine, but promise to let me sleep past nine tomorrow.
Ginny grabbed her robe, slippers, and wand and hurried down to the common room. Hermione slept on.
Harry? She thought, looking around for him.
Suddenly, something grabbed her arm and tugged her forward. She let out a yelp of surprise, and found herself standing next to Harry beneath his brand new invisibility cloak.
“Come on,” he whispered, still holding her arm.
Ginny glared at him. “Don't do that again,” she chided him.
He shrugged. “Come on, I have to show you what I found!”
His hand moved from her arm to grasp her hand, and he pulled her from the common room, through the halls, down stairs, until she had no idea where they were, and stopped before an opened door.
They were both panting, but Harry pulled her through the door before she could catch her breath.
It looked like an unused classroom. All the desks had been pushed up against the walls, there was dust floating in the moon's glow. But what caught Ginny's eye was the huge mirror leaning against the opposite wall.
Harry, she thought, since she was still too winded to speak, we are still wearing the cloak, right?
“Yeah,” Harry panted.
Then why can I see us in that mirror?
Harry shrugged again. He pulled her forward, until they stood right before it.
“I saw something in the mirror,” he said, looking at her. “And I just had to show you.”
Ginny glanced at the mirror. Show me what?
Harry let out a little groan. “Can you please talk?” he said.
Ginny crossed her arms over her chest. Why?
Because I like to hear — “Never mind,” his voice interrupted his thought. Ginny raised an eyebrow, and he blushed.
“You like to hear what?”
“Forget it. I want to tell you what I saw.”
Ginny sighed. She'd get it out of him later. “What is it?”
She looked at the mirror, at her confused expression and Harry's eager one. “I only see us.”
“Look at it properly, here, I'll move.” Harry pulled the cloak off her and stepped back. She glanced at him, and saw him reappear by one of the desks, dropping the cloak onto it. She glanced back at the mirror, and clapped her hands to her mouth.
She was looking at herself now, but Harry was still standing by her. She glanced around, and Harry was standing by the desk. Slowly, she lowered her hands.
“What does this mirror do?” she asked quietly.
“I'm not sure. But when I stood in front of it earlier, I saw my parents, Ginny. And a bunch of other people that looked like the rest of my family.” Then his cheeks colored, and Ginny frowned at him. She saw the image that came with the memory Harry was focusing on. Him standing before the mirror, looking on in shock at a room full of people. A dark haired man with glasses and a woman with red hair like hers. And her, standing beside him with her hand in his.
Ginny glanced back at the mirror. Harry by the desk watched her curiously. Harry in the mirror smiled and took her hand.
“Harry,” she said softly. “I don't see your family...”
His shoulders shrugged. “I figured you wouldn't. Do you see your family?”
She shook her head, and, deciding there was no point in not telling him, she said “I only see us.”
Harry frowned. “But I'm over here.”
Ginny nodded. “I noticed.”
She glanced down at Mirror Harry's hand holding hers. Her eyes flicked between the two faces, as the Harry in the mirror leaned over and kissed her cheek. Her hand flew to her cheek.
Real Harry walked back over, and then there were two Harry's standing on either side of her.
“I- it- but-” she stammered. Harry frowned at her. Wordlessly, she thought of the image of mirror Harry leaning down and kissing her cheek; it was the only way to convey her surprise. Harry blushed scarlet. Ginny realized with a start she was too.
“Well, it doesn't show family,” Harry said, still blushing.
“Quite right you are, Mr. Potter.”
The two children jumped around, Ginny with her wand drawn. Sitting on one of the desks in the corner by the door, was Professor Albus Dumbledore.
He slipped off the desk and approached them, a twinkle in his eye.
“It shows neither the past nor the future,” he said. “Take a look at the inscription.”
Ginny turned, and her eyes flew over the words carved into the metal frame. Her eyes darted over it again, the gears in her brain turning. It didn't look like Latin, maybe Irish? She'd seen a letter from one of her mum's friends written in Irish, and this looked similar. But, as her eyes went from the end back to the beginning, she noticed something.
The very last word was 'erised'. But when her eyes moved over it in the other direction, it looked like 'desire'.
You getting what I'm getting? Harry thought.
Like in a mirror.
Ginny nodded absently, and ran her eyes over the words again, this time end to beginning. The words had been jumbled up and scrambled, but, with Harry's input, she translated the simple sentence into English.
“I show you not your face but your heart's desire,” she said, turning back to Dumbledore. He smiled, a smile of pride, at her. She'd seen a similar smile on Fred and George's face when she'd turned all of Ron's underwear into the classic cartoon white with red hearts boxers. Harry caught her eye and raised an eyebrow at the image that had popped up with it. She explained quickly, and he stifled a snort.
“It is indeed,” Dumbledore said. If he noticed Harry's snort, he did not acknowledge it. “This is called the Mirror of Erised. I trust you now know what it does?”
Ginny looked back at the mirror, and thought of Harry holding her hand. She'd held his hand before. It wasn't all that special. But that kiss... It had felt strange, even if she'd only seen it, but a good kind of strange. 'I show you not your face but your heart's desire'... It had shown her standing side by side with Harry, and it had shown Harry his family and her. She set her mind working. Harry had never had people who cared about him until he met her family, until he met her. He wanted someone to care about him. He had seen his family, so the inscription had to mean that it showed the onlooker what their heart wanted most.
Why aren't you in Ravenclaw again?
“It shows us what we want most,” she said aloud. Dumbledore beamed at her.
“That it does,” he said. “The deepest desire of our hearts, even if we have not yet realized what it is.”
She could have sworn his eyes rested on her when he said that.
Before she knew it, Christmas holidays were over and school was back to bother her. January flew by in a flurry of snow, February rushed them with a load of lacy pink paper and giggles, March took its time stopping the snow, April showed clearer skies and warmer weather, and before she knew it, it was May and her birthday choose to smack her upside the head with a two-by-four. On the morning of the eleventh, Ginny was expecting a lie-in because it was Saturday, but apparently, Harry had other ideas.
Like she had on Christmas, Ginny gave a startled gasp and fell off the side of the bed.
Quit that, you're going to hurt yourself.
You try having someone scream inside your head while they're sleeping!
Okay, gimme a second to fall asleep, then you can yell.
Ginny smacked her forehead with her palm.
“Ginny, are you okay?” called one of her roommates, Lavender Brown.
“Fine,” Ginny called back. See what you did? You woke up Lady Lavender.
And here I was thinking only a hurricane could. I feel so accomplished. Ginny rolled her eyes at his sarcasm and stood.
What did you want?
STOP YELLING! What?
I said happy birthday.
It's my birthday?
It was Harry's turn to roll his eyes. Ginny glanced around and spotted a calender by Hermione's bed. Hermione had gone somewhere already, so her bed was empty and made. Ginny scrambled over to the calender, and her eyebrows shot up when she saw the date. May 11th, her birthday.
Wow, I forgot my own birthday.
Seriously? How do you do that?
Guess it's easy when Mum isn't pestering me about what I want to do. A second later, she realized her mistake. I'm sorry, Harry, I forgot-
Yeah, it's easy to do that. He didn't sound angry with her. It's okay. Relieved, Ginny turned to her trunk and pulled out clothes. She dressed at top-speed, forgot shoes, and ran downstairs, nearly knocking Harry over when she came rocketing from the girls' dorms.
“Sorry,” she said, blushing. For some reason, she had been blushing more around him ever since Christmas.
“It's okay,” he said again. “Come on, I got Fred and George to tell me how to get into the kitchens. We are going to have a good Saturday brunch.”
“Ron and Hermione coming?”
“Nah, I gave Ron his present earlier. I wanted to give you yours in private.”
Ginny fought down images of just what could happen in private, and, after cursing whatever part of her mind that had brought them up, she prayed Harry hadn't seen them. Harry grabbed her hand- he'd been doing that more often since Christmas- and pulled her from the common room.
When he finally stopped dragging her, they stood in front of a large painting of a bowl of fruit. He reached up and tickled the pear. It giggled — could pears giggle? — and turned into a large door-knob. Harry turned it, and led her into the kitchen.
The kitchen was alive and bustling with house elves. They seemed to expect her and Harry because they surrounded them and led them over to a small table set up by a fireplace. Harry gave a low mock bow, and Ginny laughed.
“All this for me?” she said, taking a seat.
“My best friend deserves the best birthday.”
Ginny couldn't help but smile. Harry grinned at her and dropped into a chair. House elves swarmed them again and plates with pancake stacks were set down before them, drowning in delicious smelling boysenberry syrup.
Ginny did not hesitate to eat her fill. After the plates had been cleaned, Ginny propped her elbows up on the table and looked at Harry, who for some reason didn't want to meet her eye.
What's up? She thought warily.
Can't I give my best friend a great birthday?
You only use the best friend card when you're hiding something. What's up?
Harry sighed. “You got me.”
“Course I did. I know everything about you.”
He nodded. “You really are my best friend though,” he said.
She blushed. “I know,” she said. “You're mine.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So what's this about?”
Harry propped his chin on his hand, looking at her. His intense green eyes were full of something she had never seen there before.
“I'm going past the trapdoor,” he said suddenly.
Her eyebrows shot up. “You're what?”
“I'm going down the trapdoor. Snape will steal the stone if I don't.”
Ginny stared at him a moment. Then she reached across the table, grabbed his hand, and gave it a squeeze. “You mean we.”
His eyes lit up. “It will be dangerous.”
“Danger is my middle name.”
“I thought it was Molly?”
“Don't change the subject,” she said, shaking a finger at him. “I can hold my own in a fight, you know that.”
He did know. The two of them were tied for best marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
“It won't be easy.”
“I'll live. I'm going with you.”
I can't convince you to stay behind?
Harry nodded slowly. “Knew it. I told Ron you wouldn't stay behind, but he wanted me to try.”
“Ron's in on it?”
“Yeah, I had to tell him. Not mad I told him first, are you?”
Ginny shrugged. “Not really.”
Harry squinted at her. “What?” she said.
“I'm trying to decide whether you've been taken over by a Martian or a a unicorn.”
She laughed. “When are we going down?”
“I can't be sure, so stay on your guard.”
They didn't go after the Sorcerer's Stone that night, not even that week. By the time exams came around, they still had not chased it down, so Ginny was beginning to wonder if they were going at all. But the last day of exams, Harry came to her with a look of determination.
Tonight, he thought.
Ginny squeezed his hand. Tonight.
That night, she, Ron, Hermione, and Harry were crowded under the invisibility cloak. Ginny still felt guilty for hexing Neville, but he couldn't stop them.
Harry played his wooden flute to lull Fluffy to sleep. They jumped past the trapdoor, and landed in devil's snare. Hermione beat it by conjuring fire. Then they had to fly on brooms to catch a flying key, Hermione stayed on the ground for that one. Then, giant chess, and Ron led them to victory. But he was injured pretty bad, so Hermione stayed back to care for him. She and Harry moved on. They passed a knocked out troll and pinched their noses, and went on to the next room.
The instant they passed over the threshold, purple flames sprung up in front of the door and black flames before the next. A table stood with seven bottles and a roll of parchment on it. She and Harry moved towards it warily.
Ginny unrolled the parchment.
“What is it?” Harry asked. Ginny's eyes flew over the paper, and she let out a sigh.
“Logic,” she muttered. “Why logic?”
“It's a logic problem,” she said. “Here.”
Harry read the paper quickly. “Okay, how do we do it?”
Ginny took the paper back and spread it across the table. Seven total, one would take them forward, one would take them back, two were nettle wine, three were poisons. The poisons would be on the wine's left, the ones on the end would not bring a person forward, the biggest bottle and the smallest bottle were not poisons, and the second on the left and the second on the right looked different, but tasted the same. The second on the left and right seemed to be the wine, which meant that the poison would be to the left of them, so the left end was poison. The bottle to the very left of the second on the right, which was the biggest, was most likely poison. The one on the right end was not going to move someone forward, but it was also not a poison nor a nettle wine, so it had to be the one that took you back. The smallest was to the very right of a nettle wine, and it was also not a poison, which had to mean that it was the one that brought someone back.
Again, you should be in Ravenclaw.
Ginny smiled at Harry. She picked up the two potions, and looked at them worriedly.
“It looks like only enough for one person,” she said, looking at the bottle to move a person forward. She glanced at Harry, and sighed.
“I've got to go on,” Harry said. Ginny nodded.
“Just be careful,” she told him. She took the potion to go back, he took the one to go forward, and, together, they downed the contents.
Ginny watched Harry cross the flames, and, for the first time in her life, she couldn't hear his voice in her mind.
When she, Ron, and Hermione got back out to the school, they ran into Dumbledore, who didn't even pause to ask why they were out of bed. He just asked “He's gone after it, hasn't he?” and ran off.
Ginny refused to return to the tower, or even go to the Hospital Wing, and waited outside the door to the corridor for Dumbledore and Harry to return. She still could not hear Harry's voice in her head. When they did, Harry was unmoving and silent in Dumbledore's arms. Ginny nearly had a heart attack, until Dumbledore assured her that he was just unconscious.
Ginny would not leave his bedside in the Hospital Wing. Dumbledore let her off classes while she waited for her best friend to wake up. She held his hand and begged him to open his eyes. Madam Pomfrey had fixed his physical injuries in a heartbeat, but said she could not be sure how his mind had been affected until he woke. Ginny prayed that he would still be fine when he finally woke up.
Three days after they had gone down the trapdoor, Ginny was slumped in a chair, her fingers loosely clasped around Harry's, asleep, when Harry opened his eyes.
Ginny started, to see Harry's eyes open, unfocused, and looking at her.
“Harry!” she gasped, and flung her arms around his neck.
“Whoa, don't strangle me!” Harry said, patting her back. Ginny pulled back, suddenly angry.
“Don't you ever do that to me again,” she snapped. “You hear me? Never!”
“Wait, what? What did I do?”
Ginny hugged him again. “I thought you would never wake up,” she mumbled in his ear. Harry was silent a moment, then he gave her a gentle squeeze.
“I won't,” he said. “I promise.”
Ginny sank back in her chair, blinking back tears of relief. “I couldn't hear you,” she said. “After you passed through the fire, I couldn't hear your thoughts.”
“I know, I couldn't hear you. I nearly panicked.”
Ginny let out a small chuckle. “You're a goose, you know,” she said.
“Oh, I'm hurt,” Harry said sarcastically.
The rest of the year passed quickly. All too soon, the Leaving Feast was over and they were boarding the train. She and Harry sat with her twin, Hermione, and Neville on the ride back to King's Cross.
Ginny ran to hug her mother when they left the platform, and her father too. Hermione left to find her parents after hugging Ginny and telling her and the boys to have a good summer. Harry, almost shyly, hugged her good-bye, and walked over to where his aunt stood waiting for him with his shoulders slumped.
You'd better come visit me, Ginny thought. Harry turned back to her, and smiled.
You know I will.
And then, he was gone.
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