The Bond and the Philosopher's Stone by HarryBond007
Summary: Harry and Ginny need to face to challenges that come together with a bond while facing with the philosopher's stone
Categories: The Bond Challenge (2012-4), The Bond Challenge (2012-4)
Chapter 1: The Girl-Who-Dreamed
Chapter 2: The Burrow
Chapter 3: Surprises
Chapter 4: Journey And Arrival
Chapter 1: The Girl-Who-DreamedGinny Weasley was asleep when the sun appeared across the orchard on the Burrow. She was definitively not a morning person and as soon as the light reached her she got grumpy about the lost fantasy of her perfect dream. That wonderful dream was about a boy with a lightning bolt scar on the forehead that came to rescue her from an evil dragon, not that she liked to be a damsel on distress but with him she made an exception. His name was Harry Potter, a mysterious boy who saved the wizardry world when he was just a baby, she had been told stories about him ever since she could remember. She sat down on her bed half asleep while opening her eyes very slowly trying to remember how the dream had ended but she couldn't and let out a sigh. After a specially good dream like that one, she just hated so much waking up.
"Ginny! Ron! I want you ready at the table in five minutes! Hurry up, we're late already!" Her mum yelled from downstairs.
Ron was the second youngest child of the Weasley family, Ginny was the youngest. Ginny knew that her brother could sleep the entire morning if given the chance but she was certain that he was not going to take long time to be ready once that he realized that there was food over the table. Today would be a very stressful day and considering the current mood of her mother she knew it was best not to take a long time in doing as she said. It was that day of the year in which they had to go to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies.
It was always the same, first the rush to leave the house on time, then the pressure to not forget something that was needed and finally the concerns to afford everything. It was chaos, where his mother and his brothers went from one store to the other trying to complete school supply lists and amid the chaos Ginny was dragged from the hand the entire day.
When she came to the table her brothers were already there. Percy was explaining to anyone willing to listen about the duties that implied being a prefect while the twins were mocking him. Ginny had six brothers and two of them, Bill and Charlie had already finished school, they no longer lived at the Burrow. Percy was the oldest of those still in school.
While Percy was still talking to his mother about his great achievement, the twins Fred and George, took the opportunity to joke about the disaster that was having a new prefect in the family. Percy just glared at the twins while his mother scolded them. Ron barely paused for breath while eating.
"If you just took your studies more seriously there could be more prefects in the family in a few years!" their mother yelled.
"Mother! you can't possibly mean that.." Fred said, touching his chest with a false expression of pain.
"you had just hurt our feelings, so much.." George mimicked.
"Just shut up both of you and finish that bacon already" the Weasley matriarch said.
Meanwhile Ginny was still trying to recall the last night's dream with her face supported on her left hand. She wondered what Harry Potter would do on a normal day, what was he doing right now? In her dreams they always met and fell in love with each other, in some of them they even married. But she knew that that was barely possible, he was the famous savior of the wizarding world and she was only the small and unimportant Ginny Weasley.
"Is Ickle Ronniekins ready for his first Hogwarts shopping trip?" Fred said.
"Shut up! don't call me that" Ron answered. The twins always enjoyed messing up with Ron whenever they could. He on the other hand hated it, one time they even transformed his teddy bear into a spider and since spiders are Ron's greatest fear.
"Now Ron, don't lose control of that temper of yours.." George said
"if we didn't know better, you could say that you inherited all of the family's temper.."
"..not Gin-Gin over here!" George finished pointing at Ginny. She was surprised at first because she was not paying attention to the conversation, then she just frowned in their direction. The twins knew that it was best not to cross the line with Ginny, when they did it usually ended up with them being hexed with her famous Bat-Bogey-Hex.
"See Fred, our little sister is daydreaming again." George said when he saw that her sister was at a completely different place.
"Wonder about what.. or who.." Ginny blushed at this.
"maybe she is picturing herself as a prefect.." George said putting a finger on his chin questioningly. Percy snorted without looking at them.
"or maybe this is regarding a certain Harry P.." He never finished the sentence because her sister hexed him with the wand she took out of George's pocket. Then, she also hexed George and returned the wand with the face still red. Fred and George laugh while a bunch of large things kept flying out of their noses.
"Fred! George! leave your sister alone and hurry up we were supposed to be there 20 minutes ago!" Mrs Weasley shouted while clearing the table.
Ron was eleven so he was going to Hogwarts this year for the first time, on the other hand Ginny was almost ten years old so she would have to wait at home until next year. She hated not being able to go to school yet. Not that she did not like living at the Burrow, she did but as Ron was going to school this year she was going to have to stay alone with her mom all year. She would not have Ron to talk or play anymore. Besides, all of her brothers had said so many wonderful things about Hogwarts that she was so anxious to go.
When they were all ready they flooed to the Leaky Cauldron to start the day. Ginny's mother took all her children through the pub waving quickly several times as they walked toward the entrance of Diagon Alley. Ginny stood behind her mother all the time because Tom, the owner, scared her a little.
"Come on keep moving or we'll be here all day" she heard her mother say.
When they arrived at Gringotts, her mother entered the bank accompanied by the twins while she stayed with Percy, who was left to look after Ron and Ginny. Ginny did not want to see the goblins. She knew that her family did not have much money and every year her parents had a hard time providing school supplies for several children. Next year she would go to Hogwarts and that would make things even more difficult. Most of the things they had were previously owned by an older brother or second hand, the things she was getting next year will be the same.
Not even two minutes had passed since they left the bank when the twins found their friend Lee Jordan, who had told them previously that he was going to do his purchases the same day. The three of them set off for Gambol and Japes Wizarding Joke Shop in spite of their mother's complaints, Ginny thought she heard something about fireworks when they were out of their mother's reach.
Ginny had always been fascinated by the shops and stalls in the alley, it was a pity that most shady things were too expensive. Ron on the other hand was usually the first one in getting bored, this time it was a little different since some of the things being bought this year were for him so he was a bit excited. They bought some simple quills and parchment at Scribbulus Writing Instruments and only the indispensable ingredients for potions at Slug & Jiggers Apothecary before heading to Potage's Cauldron Shop where they spent a little more money since Ron didn't have a cauldron before.
Fred and George joined them by the time they reached Magical Menagerie. There they got some treats for Scabbers, Percy's rat. In fact the pet was now Ron's property since Ginny's parents promised Percy a present for making it to prefect and he wanted a new pet.
"So Percy, have you decided what kind of pet do you want?" Mrs Weasley asked his son.
"Not sure mother, maybe an owl can help me with my objective this year. I may be involved in some important mailing." Percy said looking up.
The twins smirked, they were pranksters and you didn't need to be a genius to guess that they were already thinking on some joke to use on Percy, even when he could take points from them now.
That's how they got out of the owl shop with a brand new screech owl for Percy which he named Hermes. George's robes were a bit worn out so they made a quick visit to the Secondhand robe shop then they were ready for the books which were the most expensive items to buy. The books that they didn't find on the secondhand book shop would need to be bought at Flourish and Blotts.
They were half way when they saw a huge bearded man standing next to a skinny boy, surely he was a first year.
"Look, it's Hagrid!" Fred yelled pointing at the bearded man.
"Who's Hagrid?" Ginny came forward asking and looking at the boy.
"He's the eleven feet guy over there" George pointed out also.
"He is the gamekeeper at Hogwarts or something like that. He's not a teacher but he is a nice guy" Percy stated
"Yeah, He's very cool, and he has this horrible beasts that.."
"Fred!" Mrs Weasley intervened frowning.
"That are one totally harmless mother" George finished winking at Ginny.
Mrs. Weasley said hello from the distance and Hagrid replied waving. To little Ginny the man could easily be a giant. The Weasleys headed their own way when a strange feeling made Ginny turn to where Hagrid and the boy were. He was following Hagrid in the opposite direction from Ginny when the boy stopped and turned to see in the Ginny's direction with a puzzled expression on his face. The rest of the Weasleys weren't aware that they kept walking and Ginny stood behind.
It was then that Ginny started walking towards the boy not sure of what made her take that decision. The boy stopped and waited for her, as she approached to him she noticed that he was wearing some round glasses. Mrs Weasley was yelling at her from far away but Ginny couldn't decipher her words, it was clear that Hagrid was as confused as Mrs Weasley. Ginny stopped and faced the boy directly. He had an unruly jet-black hair and had an expression of uncertainty. Then he saw her through his round glasses with his startling green eyes and opened his mouth after the weird silence.
"Hi" he said
"Hi.." she answered shyly "I'm .. Ginny" she extended her hand smiling at him.
The boy doubted for a brief moment, then he smiled back extending his hand. "I'm Harry" said as he approached his hand "Harry Potter". There was an instant when Ginny didn't know what those words meant. Her eyes traveled slowly to his forehead, she let out a silent gasp and lost her smile while her eyes went wide. Their hands touched and all went black.
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Chapter 2: The BurrowThe green light nightmare was happening again. It all seemed very surreal, first he had this wonderful dream were he was a wizard that had to go to this amazing school and then all went black and the dream changed into a nightmare. He tried to recall the events on the dream and were fantastic, there was a world where his parents were heroes that died protecting him and not on a car crash as he had thought all of his life. There was a giant man with a huge beard called Hagrid who was the first in being nice to him since .. ever, Hagrid told him that he was famous in a world that he didn't even know. He remembered a whole crowd wanting to greet him and a vault for him which was full with more gold than he had ever dreamed of. And all of he was certain of was that he had never been this happy before.
Over everything else that had happened in that dream the only thing that seemed to be really important was an image of this cute little redhead girl with lovely brown eyes and tiny freckles. He didn't remember exactly at what point of the dream she appeared or who she was but for some weird reason she seemed to be the highlight in a story filled with incredible things in which he discovered that he was a wizard. Ginny was her name and all that he knew about her, her shy peaceful voice still sounded around his mind. He was coming out of his slumber and all that he wanted was just to return to that perfect dream with that perfect girl.
And then, all of a sudden, orange. Orange everywhere.
His eyes started to travel from side to side rapidly to discover that he was in this unknown orange room. He was on a camp bed to the side of a bigger one but much more comfortable than his old mattress at his cupboard, both beds had orange clothes. There was a shabby orange wallpaper and some posters over it, the funny thing was that the people on them moved all around like they were no longer part of the printed paper. Those people were wearing some kind of uniform and it was also orange. He didn't have a clue about where he was but he was starting to believe that that beautiful dream could be real when something started to move by his side.
He fell out of the bed scared by the sudden appearance. "Sorry, didn't meant to scare you. Just heard you moving" a voice said. The voice belonged to a thin redhead boy that just popped up from the other bed, he had a long nose and freckles over his face. He wore some old blue pajamas with some orange decorations.
"Eh..don't worry about it" he answered
The boy seemed to think something for a moment and then he blurted out something that apparently he had been waiting some time to ask. "Are you really Harry Potter?" his voice was filled with enthusiasm and expectation.
Ok, he was famous, that dream was turning more real with every second. Harry nodded slowly without taking his eyes from the boy.
"So, where am I? who are you?" he asked
"Oh yeah .." the boy started scratching the back of his head. "Well this is the Burrow, my home, and I'm Ron. Ron Weasley by the way, this is my room"
"How did I get here?" He asked allowing himself to study in more detail the room. There were all kinds of weird stuff over a couple of stands most of them were orange, many were moving.
"Well we were school shopping in Diagon alley when our sister stormed out towards you, I didn't notice much, just saw a light from the distance. Mum tried to separate you, apparently you and my sister were the light source or something like that." Ron stopped to think a little. "Then Dumbledore came and couldn't do anything either, which is strange since he is supposed to be very powerful and all that. Well, a strange goblin also came and spoke briefly to Dumbledore and mum, not sure about what."
Ron stopped for a moment thinking that Harry was going to say something and when he didn't he continued. "Mum yelled a lot, not sure about what, even after the goblin left. Then the light disappeared and both of you kind of fainted. Mum ran and check on Ginny and after making sure you were both ok and talking with Dumbledore she brought you both home. You slept for the rest of the day, and here you are in my room".
Harry then realized that all that dream was real and after a brief moment of shock he couldn't stop from smiling. Ginny, she was real also and was Ron's little sister and there was a high chance that he will get to see her around in the house. It was strange but the thought of seeing her again comforted Harry. Still he needed to find out what had happened to Ginny and him.
"Hagrid, the big bearded man that was with me, do you know where is he?" Harry asked
"He was pretty worried when all happened, but when Dumbledore came he calmed down. Dumbledore told Hagrid that he could leave now and that he could see you once you get to Hogwarts" Ron continued.
"I'll be heading to Hogwarts with your family then?"
Ron nodded smiling. "It will be great, we can play Quidditch outside with Fred and George and I can show you how to play Wizardry chess and Exploding Snap. Is it true that you were raised by Muggles?" Ron asked fascinated
Harry was happy, he would not only learn to play all of these cool games but he also will be getting to school knowing a bit more about the wizardry world. Ever since Hagrid told him about going to school to learn magic with other wizard boys, Harry had been scared that he, without any knowledge of magic, would not stand a chance against other kids that have been living in wizardry environments all of their lives. "Yeah, they're not pretty cool though. It will be awesome to learn to play all of those things!" He smiled back.
Ron's eyes traveled slowly to Harry's forehead like he had been avoiding to do it for some time and stared at his scar. "So that' where You-Know-Who -" he said pointing at Harry's forehead.
"Yes," said Harry, "but I can't remember it."
"Nothing?" said Ron eagerly.
"RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY! what kind of manners have I taught you?!" Mrs Weasley yelled from the recently opened door. "the boy doesn't need you to be remembering him of such things!"
"It's ok, Mrs Weasley. I don't mind" Harry tried to defend Ron.
"Even so, it is not polite." Then after one last glare at Ron the expression of Mrs Weasley's face softened and turned to Harry. "Hello Harry, nice to meet you"
Harry stood and extended his hand to Mrs Weasley. "Nice to meet you too Mrs Weasley. Thank you for taking me here" As he raised from the bed he noticed that he was wearing clothes that he did not remember but they were orange. "Eh.. What am I wearing?"
"Oh forget it, we are happy of having you here. Ron will be happy of having you to play around." Ron nodded repeatedly. "Those are some of Ron's old pajamas, your trunk is over there and I think your owl got out looking for something to eat."
Harry smiled at her "Thanks a lot Mrs Weasley"
"Don't worry about it, as I said we're happy of having you here" Her expression turned a bit seriously and Harry tought that something worried Mrs Weasley, something regarding him. "So, how are you feeling today?"
"Very good Mrs Weasley just a bit stiff"
"Do you remember what happened yesterday? It may help us to figure out what happened to you" she asked, Harry knew that she was pretty interested in his answer.
"I was already finished with my shopping and Hagrid told me that we should be leaving.." He tried to focus on remembering as much as he could. "I met Ginny and then ... nothing"
"Oh ok don't worry dear." Harry noticed that she hoped for a little more information."Hagrid hoped you could write to him when you were feeling better. I also talked with Albus, your future headmaster, and he said something about checking if it was safe for you to return to your uncle's house" At this Harry scowled a little which didn't go unnoticed by Mrs Weasley. "He said it was ok for you to stay with us in the meantime"
"I don't want to cause any trouble by staying here.." Harry started but Mrs Weasley stopped him there with a smile. "You don't cause any trouble Harry don't worry about it"
"I can pay for my food and.." Mrs Weasley didn't even let him finish. "Don't. We won't take it and where is food for seven one more won't be a problem." Harry's eyes widen when he noticed how many people lived in there. "You just rest and let yourself feel comfortable. After breakfast you can play with Ron, he will be happy to have a partner"
"Thanks, I would love too"
"Ok, so hurry up that breakfast is ready, hope you can be down in five minutes"
"Sure Mrs Weasley"
"Yeah, Mum" Ron said at the same time.
Mrs Weasley was exiting the room when Harry remembered something that he needed to know. "Mrs Weasley, is ... Ginny all right?" Ron's mum was a bit surprised and smiled slightly when she answered "Yes it is, she was starting to wake up when I was heading here, she should be awake by now. Thank you for asking" and she went downstairs.
Harry looked for some clothes on his trunk and took the ones that fit him better. Ron talked him about his family and some of the things in his room while they were getting ready. He made a mental note to write to Hagrid after breakfast and proceed to walk out of the room talking with his new room mate. Ron became Harry's best friend instantly, he considered Hagrid as a friend also and he was surely going to talk to him when he arrived at Hogwarts. When they reached the table, Ron was already giving Harry a full speech of Quidditch rules. Harry was very excited about this whole world that just opened before his eyes and was eager to see a broom fly. On the downside he was still feeling a bit stiff but he thought that was because of the whole fainting thing.
"So little Ickle Ronnie has made a friend.." Fred said
"Seems so dear brother, unless that that friend isn't even listening to the bunch of stuff that our little brother is saying". George finished with a grin in his face.
Ron went red but Harry spoke first "I'm really enjoying that, haven't heard any of this before. It's really interesting. I'm Harry by the way"
"We know" said both of them.
"And I am Forge"
Harry looked at Ron and he just replied rolling his eyes. They walked in the direction of two empty seats that were together.
Once Harry sat on the table he greet Percy and all of them kept talking about the absent brothers. Ron had five older brothers two of them working abroad, Charlie and Bill. Percy was the oldest one still living at the Burrow and was a prefect this year, Harry thought that he was a bit mouthy so he liked him the less of Ron's brothers. The twins otherwise, Fred and George, were awesome and pretty funny.
It was then that he heard this gasp back on the stairs and he noticed Ginny Weasley standing up on the third step with her mouth wide open. Harry turned to see her and he couldn't avoid a huge smile being drawn on his face. Ginny's face was very red and when she tried to run upstairs she slipped down. Harry rushed to her and raised her from the floor letting his chair fall.
"Are you ok?" Harry asked and Ginny was, if possible, more red than before. Ginny didn't answer just laid there confused with wide eyes. Harry was lost for a second on her chocolate brown eyes.
After that, Mrs Weasley reached them and she calmed down when she noticed that Ginny was all right after that her daughter stood up. She was about to walk towards the table but then she seemed to remember that she was still on her pajamas, she turned to Harry and run upstairs to her bedroom.
"Don't worry dear, she is ok she's just a bit shy with new people" Mrs Weasley said. Harry nodded a bit disappointed, he was expecting to talk to her and he didn't even got to hear her voice.
Harry felt very strange about this girl he barely knew but he didn't want Ginny to feel uncomfortable. Even though he only got to hold her for a short period of time it just felt so right that he couldn't avoid to feel more complete. He returned to the table feeling less stiffer. Ginny came back when the breakfast was already on the table. She got to her seat very slowly with her eyes fixed on the floor, to Harry's disappointment she sat on the other end of the table.
"So Harry boy, since you are the most famous person to ever sit in this table.." George started as they were finishing breakfast.
"we were wondering if we could get a little bit of something.." George grinned mischievously.
"like an autograph that we could show to other people" Fred finished smiling.
"FRED!" Mrs Weasley scowled "leave the poor kid alone"
"We were joking Mum! and I'm George" Fred lied to her. Mrs Weasley just glared at him. "Besides he must be used to it!"
"It doesn't matter George, don't mess with him!" Mrs Weasley said
"I'm actually Fred" Mrs Weasley snorted
"I'm not. Used to it I mean. I'm a common boy. I just learned that I was a wizard yesterday. I may not be even as good as other boys that have been doing magic since they were born. Don't think anyone would want a piece of paper with my name" Harry explained as he lowered his sight.
"I know someone that would, right Gin-Gin?" George whispered to Ginny but loud enough for all of the table to hear. Ginny's eyes went wider and her face was crimson red. She turned to Harry and when he met her eyes she turned to face her dish very fast. "That was just perfect, now Ginny was going to take a lot of time before talking to him. Thank you very much George .. Or was it Fred?" Harry thought.
Mrs Weasley shot George a warning glare that seemed to say "We will talk about this later" and then turned to Harry "Don't worry dear, most of the boys know very little magic by the time they get to Hogwarts. You'll do all right".
After breakfast Harry offer himself to clean up but Mrs Weasley didn't let him do it. So he went upstairs to write a quick letter to Hagrid, fortunately Hedwig was already back.
Hope that you're all right. I'm very good, the Weasleys are a very nice family. I'll be learning Quidditch today I remember you said something about it. Hope you're ok. See you at Hogwarts.
After Harry was convinced by Ron that Hedwig didn't need an address to deliver the letter he gave it to her and they went downstairs. In the first floor he noticed a door ajar, but when they approached the door slammed with a quick squeal.
"That's Ginny's, just ignore her. She just talks all day about you and now that she met you she can't even say a word to you." Ron said. Harry just wished that she hadn't heard that, he didn't want her to feel embarrassed. If she did heard her brother, she might never talk to Harry.
"I think she seems like a nice girl" Harry said out loud. "Now let's go outside, I'm eager to see more wizardry stuff. Hope I don't fall"
Ron, Harry and the twins went to the orchard, there they taught Harry to play Quidditch and soon all four were playing a match with two per team. Sometimes Harry thought that there was someone watching through the window on the first floor. It was a wonderful day even when Ginny blushed and ran away from Harry every time they were in the same room. The only moments that he could actually see Ginny for more than ten seconds were on the meals and she never raised her eyes from her food. Harry tried to talk to her, he was thrilled about why he had these odd feelings towards her but she just kept avoiding him.
In the evening Mr Weasley arrived and met Harry, he was a very nice man and totally fascinated about Muggle stuff but he also seemed worried. They talked a briefly about the incident at Diagon Alley and he noticed Mr Weasley kind of serious, Harry thought that Ron's parents were hiding something important. Later Harry explained to him how some Muggle things worked and Mr Weasley's expression changed to fascination, he was particularly interested in all the things related to electricity. By the time Harry got to bed he was sure that the Burrow was the most wonderful place that he had ever been to, it felt much more like a home than Privet Drive ever will.
The days past at the Burrow and Harry discovered new things to do every day. He learned to play Exploding Snaps and got certain mastery riding the broom, the Weasleys told him that he was a natural to it. Ron taught him how to play Wizardry Chess and he lost spectacularly every single time, Harry's little chessmen were victims of disaster after disaster. The twins were very funny and he enjoyed talking to them or discovering one of their pranks. Percy and his prefect badge were their favorite targets, one time they managed to make him speak in rhyme the entire day. Harry laugh more those days than ever before, he even was glad to see a slight smile from Ginny one day that the twins transform Harry's glasses into triangle-glasses.
The only downside was that he was feeling stiff again and tired, he attributed this to his lack of sleep. Every day he had the green light nightmare and woke up screaming, they had never been this frequent before. Every day he was more tired than the previous one because most of the times he just couldn't sleep more than a couple of hours. Mrs Weasley noticed this and was completely puzzled about what was happening to him. Harry just told her that he was tired but he didn't mentioned the nightmares, for some reason she found out and gave him some kind of potion to sleep occasionally. Oddly enough also Ginny looked more tired and with puffy eyes, he didn't know if this was normal to her and that made Harry worry. He tried to ask Mrs Weasley a couple of times but she just said that she was going to get better. Ginny's health worried Harry more than his own health, anyway he was used to it. Harry was completely curious about this girl who had only spoken to him once.
Albus Dumbledore appeared one day short after Harry arrived at the Burrow irradiating serenity to the whole house. He was this tall old man with a long silver beard that wear a shinny purple cloak with vivid decorations, uncle Vernon would definitively not approve him as a normal person. The headmaster greeted Mrs Weasley and asked to speak with Harry.
"Good morning Harry, sorry that I haven't had the time to meet you previously but you may guess that I have a very busy schedule" the Headmaster greeted him with a smile.
"Good morning, you wanted to talk to me... Professor?" Harry asked
"Yes indeed I still want to" The headmaster replied. "I'm interested about what you have to say of the events that happened on Diagon Alley the day of your birthday"
Harry was expecting this and he already had the answer "I have already talked about this with Mr and Mrs Weasley sir, I don't know what happened between the time I met Ginny and when I woke up here at the Burrow".
Albus Dumbledore appeared to be thinking about it while looking at Harry with his soul-piercing blue eyes. He seemed to believe him because he adjusted his half moon spectacles and continued "I see, and you haven't noticed anything strange since then?"
"Well I have been a little tired since then I haven't slept much, too many bad dreams." Harry answered
"Interesting, would it be proper to ask what happens on those dreams?"
Harry hesitated for a moment "I don't even know I just see a green light flashing and lately also a laugh" The headmaster's face straighten at this.
"I won't lie to you Harry, that could be blurry memories of the night you got that scar" all of a sudden Harry's body felt much more colder.
"Do you have anymore questions my dear boy?"
"Just one, do I have to go back to the Dursley's?" Harry was hoping that he wouldn't have to, but he couldn't think of a place for him to stay. He didn't have any more relatives and even when he enjoyed the time spent at the Burrow he didn't want to be a burden for the family.
"I'm afraid that you have to, It is hard to explain but that is the safest place for you now" Then he appear to be thinking on a hard puzzle "Currently there is a problem with the protection there but I'm working on solving that problem. Hope to have all sorted out by next summer, that is the reason for your temporary stay at this house. I asked Molly to assist you until the term starts and she very kindly agreed"
"Oh, I was hoping I could go somewhere else" answered a bit disappointed
"Trust me it is the best option. But now, I am afraid I have to leave. I'll just speak briefly with Miss Ginevra and I'll be continuing my way" The headmaster smiled at Harry and started to walk toward the kitchen. "Nice to meet you Harry, see you in September"
"Nice to meet you too sir"
Albus Dumbledore spoke with Ginny and then discussed briefly with Mrs Weasley. A few moments later he was exiting through the main door. Mrs Weasley kept a worried face for more than an hour after the headmaster left.
Harry soon became Ron's best mate and both appeared as they had been friends for a long time. Ron and the twins also noticed Harry's tiredness since he wasn't doing as good on Quidditch as the first days of his arrival. One day after lunch they headed to Ron's room for another epic chess game when Ginny's topic came back to Harry.
"I really mean it Ron, I believe that your mother is trying desperately to make me explode with that amount of food since yesterday"
Ron just laugh "Well mate, I may have accidentally let something slipped about you not eating enough at your uncle's."
Harry went red "Why would you do that? Your mother will keep feeding me until I die!"
Ron burst out laughing and Harry joined him slightly, laughing also took too much energy from Harry "Just wait until Sunday's dinner"
"Sunday? why?" Harry asked intrigued.
"Sunday is Ginny's birthday and we will have much more food than usual" Ron said
Harry froze. Ginny wasn't talking in front of him yet. He wondered if he should be buying her a present maybe if he did she would be talking to him again. He kept remembering the tone of her voice when she introduced herself back at his birthday. Her family have been extremely nice to him but he knew that was not the reason for wanting to give her a present, but what if he got her a present and made her feel more uncomfortable, he definitively didn't want to make her feel bad.
"Should I get her a present?" He said after a few moments without laughing anymore.
"A present?" Ron looked surprised "why would you want to do that?. You barely know her and she doesn't even talk to you. You tried to talk to her once and you know how that ended"
That answer from Ron didn't make Harry happy at all. He cared about Ginny even when he wasn't sure why, Ron was her brother and shouldn't talk of her like that. On the other hand he didn't want to black out again. That day he asked Mrs Weasley about Ginny's present but she cut him of saying that he didn't need to get her anything, getting out to buy something was not going to be possible either. If he convinced Mrs Weasley of getting the present for him, he wouldn't get to pick it personally and surely Mrs Weasley won't allow to spend much on it.
Meanwhile his condition was worse each day. He barely slept at all now and if he did the nightmares were awful. He was restless and all of the family noticed it, oddly Ginny wasn't looking much better. Mrs Weasley was very worried now and she even made some floo calls trying to understand what to do to solve this problem. By the time he asked Mrs Weasley about Ginny's present he could barely walk before he needed to sit down. He left the Quidditch and focused on chess, his goal was to learn how to lose less spectacularly. It didn't work. Harry wondered again if his own condition was related to the Diagon Alley events or to Ginny's condition. He started to get worry also.
He made a decision regarding the present and prepared himself for Sunday. Saturday night was awful he started to believe that he may end up dying if he didn't get some rest soon. He trashed for hours around his bed with no changes, when he couldn't take it anymore he surrendered and fell asleep. He got ready to face the green light but it didn't come. There was an orchard on his dream probably the one near the Burrow and Ginny was there. She smiled and laughed and ran but the only thing that Harry heard her say was a distant "I'm Ginny". When he woke up he wasn't tired or stiff anymore and it felt so good. He knew that he could run outside and fly all day with all the energy that was running through his body.
When he opened his eyes he didn't get the expected orange instead he got a flaming red blur.
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Chapter 3: SurprisesLast days were surely the worst she ever had, the most embarrassing ever and for sure the best ones of her life. How is that even possible? She met Harry Potter, for real. Even since she woke the day after the black out she have been experiencing all set of emotions than for the most part she was having a hard time controlling. One may believe that you wouldn't need dreams anymore when you could get the real bloke around. But the problem was that she just couldn't help falling in an embarrassing situation after another whenever Harry Potter was around.
The first day she woke up thinking that all had been a dream, that the real Harry Potter couldn't possibly be walking calmly by Diagon Alley at the same time that she was there. Then her mother came into her room to wake her up, she was worried about her health and wanted to know if she remembered something from the previous day. The incredible part was that her dream was real and that "the Harry Potter" had just woke up at her own house. Obviously her eyes opened suddenly when she realized that she had indeed met the Boy-Who-Lived, that they had blacked out together and that now he was going to be the Boy-Who-Lived-In-Her-Brother's-Room for the rest of the summer. So she just proceed with her day in automatic while daydreaming about the possibilities of having Harry Potter at just a few floors above from her. Excitement took over her, she wanted to see him already and be sure that it was not just a wonderful dream. Although when she saw him she came back to reality, a reality where her hero was eating breakfast at her house joking gracefully with her brothers and she was just standing there on her silly and worn out pajamas with the hair completely messy.
"Are you ok?" Harry Potter's voice appeared to be the only sound around. "Say something" she said to herself while staring at his forehead but she couldn't and got lost looking into his emerald eyes. Her mum approached and checked her quickly, it all pointed out that she had fell from the stairs. "At least nod!" she almost screamed inside her head.
Then Ginny realized that she was on pj's and ran to her room. "I'm fine" her voice finally came out on the silence of her room, but it was too late. "That didn't go well" she thought sadly. When she came down she was so ashamed that she didn't even raise her face to look at where Harry Potter was sitting, she looked down trying to hide behind her red hair for most of the breakfast. As she was finishing, the twins made some comments about an autograph for Ginny and she felt herself blush. When she couldn't stand one more second without looking at the boy's reaction she lifted her face but she regretted it instantly. "Now he must be thinking that I'm just a stupid, shy, little girl" she thought.
Right after she finished eating she headed to her room again. At least she had heard him talk to her brothers, from their conversation it appeared that he was getting along pretty well with Ron and the twins. She recalled hearing him laugh and she smiled at that, she liked the sound of his laugh. He was very excited about the wizardry world and it seemed that he didn't knew anything about magic before yesterday, she hoped that she could find later something more about his past. The stories that her dad told her didn't got any details about his life after he went to live with his relatives. She felt sad, she didn't imagine a life without her own parents. It was then when she heard him heading to Ron's room. She seated there thinking that maybe if she find out more about him she could know how to talk to him and about what. The idea cheered her up.
When the sound of steps were heard coming from above she went to the door to see him pass through the hallway. She opened the door slightly and when she noticed that Ron was coming too she closed it quickly.
"That's Ginny's, just ignore her. She just talks all day about you and now that she met you she can't even say a word to you." Ginny went red inside her room she wasn't sure if from the shame, the anger or both. "Why did Ron had to say that?" she thought and sank the face in her hands.
"I think she seems like a nice girl. Now let's go outside, I'm eager to see more wizardry stuff. Hope I don't fall" Ginny's smile grew very big. Even when she knew that he was just being polite she couldn't keep from having a hopeful sigh. He was very different to Ron.
She leaned on the corner of her window while she was watching the Quidditch game. He was a pretty good player, Ginny believed that he was very impressive and it was only his first time in the air. Why couldn't he have something where he was awful at? That at least could give some hope to Ginny. Currently she just felt like he was this unreachable hero that could only notice equally impressive girls. Sure enough she was not that type of girl.
That night she had the nightmare for the first time. She was alone and cold in some dark place, then out of nowhere this bright green light appeared and filled all the space. There was something about it that made Ginny feel empty. A couple of nights after that day the frightening laugh appeared in the dream. Nights became unbearable. Ginny was afraid that one of those nights the shadows would consume her completely. She started crying and missing hours of sleep. Tiredness was increasing in her life and each day she was staying awake a bigger part of the night. She totally hated the situation, not only she had lost her wonderful dreams and her fantasies but she was also losing her life, it was like being drained very fast.
"Just try to sleep, think in something peaceful. I can't give you the potion for dreamless sleep that often" her mum was definitively over the edge. Every day she talked to her and every day she worried more.
One of the days following the "Day", Professor Dumbledore came to visit. That was an awkward visit and when he talked to her she couldn't avoid to mentally roll her eyes every time she heard "Oh, I see". He was very interested in her nightmares, not sure why, they were very brief and didn't show much of a revelation. On the positive side she discovered something new about the Boy-Who-Lived when he referred to the "Day" as "Harry's birthday", maybe if she worked on her crush and managed to talk to him by next year she could give him a gift. A smile couldn't be avoided at that thought.
Every day she managed to find another way to embarrass herself in his presence like the morning he asked her for butter and she decided that it was best to put her elbow there first. Everything was completely different, she wasn't this shy before he arrived, at least not at the Burrow. The conversations with her brothers only took place when Harry Potter was not around and she barely participated on the twins pranks anymore. This was not her, before when her brothers made her feel too embarrassed she just hexed the heck out of them now all she could do was go on crimson mode. But even when all those bad and uncomfortable things were happening she couldn't avoid to be happy when she saw him walking by the house or through the hallway from a crack on her "almost closed" door. Yes he was skinny but he had these beautiful eyes that was a shame she didn't have the courage to see more often. From what her family said and what she noticed he was a wonderful boy, friendly, funny and caring. From what she had caught on some conversations, his life at his relatives' house was far from being a good one and that worried her. She developed a feeling that wanted to make her go closer to him, to protect him, the same she felt on "that" day but she didn't try to approach to him and that was a shame. Gryffindor was being less likely to be her future house with every day that passed she was losing the courage to talk to him. Maybe in the future she thought, if he kept befriending Ron he may stick around.
Ginny was also worried that Harry didn't seem to be resting much more either. Surely her mother had already talked to him. Could it be related to what happened at the Diagon Alley? Was he having nightmares also? She didn't know. Could it be that some sort of connection existed between them? that was a good thought but if it did it didn't seem as a good connection. A tiredness connection didn't seem very romantic either.
The days passed and the night before her birthday arrived. Ginny was looking forward to hear their famous guest say "Happy birthday Ginny", she didn't know how her name would sound in his voice but when she got to bed all that she wanted was to have a nice sleep. She missed that so much, that day she couldn't have the potion since she took it the previous day. She wished with all her heart to have a nice and peaceful night and just sleep calmly. She wanted so badly to return to her safe world of fantasy dreams, she wanted to be in that place where she could be close to Harry Potter and be able to talk to him. Oddly enough that night she had her first nice dream since she met him. It was simple, Harry walking through the Diagon Alley with her by his side, holding hands, but after so many days of bad dreams this one felt like gold.
A comfortable sleep took over her, and she woke up with a smile on her face hugging her pillow very tightly. It was much more earlier than she was used to, she knew it, but it just felt so good that she didn't complain while opening her eyes. For a moment she was shocked, all that she could register was orange, the orange from Ron's room. What was she doing in Ron's room? She didn't remember arriving there the night before. Then realization came to her, she wasn't hugging a pillow, she was hugging someone. With her eyes more wide than ever she slowly turned to face who it was even when she already knew. Harry Potter. A soundless gasp escaped her mouth when she saw him there smiling at her, this was surely a dream. Then she saw Ron sleeping in the bed next to them snoring, that was definitely not the kind of dream that she would have. She had never been more red in her life, she stood up and stormed out of the room with a quick squeal.
With her back on the closed door of her room she began to slide until she seated on the floor with a completely shocked face covered by her hands. How did she ended up there? She didn't walk to Ron's room last night all that she could think of was accidental magic. But who cared how she got there the important question was what was going to happen now? No one saw her exit the room she thought, well no one beside Harry freaking Potter! What would he think of her now? Would he think that she just walked to his room in the middle of the night and slided by his side? This was just too much to take.
She let herself calm down without thinking about it anymore. Her breathing slowed down eventually and she tried to recall all the details of it. It just felt so good now that she thought about it. "Merlin! she slept in Harry Potter's bed!" she almost screamed in her head. How long did she stayed there? Was he angry? No, she didn't think so, he was smiling right? How long had he been awake staring at her? She went red again. He must've been as shocked as she was. After taking a couple of hours to settle herself she concentrated on what was supposed to happen next.
When she walked down to breakfast with her eyes locked on the floor as usual she wasn't sure if she would be able to talk about it with him. Would he try to talk about it with her? Would he try to say something to her mum? She just couldn't take any more questions on her head.
"Happy birthday sweetheart!" her mum greet her with a smile.
"Oh right, her birthday. That was the second most important news of the day" she thought. "Thanks, mum. I'm ten now" She said with a huge grin.
After a quick hug and congratulations from Percy and the twins she run to where her father was sitting to receive a birthday hug from him. Everyone was surprised to see her with that much energy this morning, they all had been noticing her lack of enthusiasm lately. Her mum seemed to notice this also.
"Feeling better today?" Her mum said with huge smile on her face.
"Much better. Must be because it's my birthday!" she replied happily. Her dad also smiled at her.
"Good morning Mr Weasley, Good morning Mrs Weasley." he was just arriving from the stairway looking very happy. Surely he had been awake for hours but he must've been waiting for Ron before coming downstairs. Ginny was surprised to meet his eyes which was very pathetic, he had been at the Burrow for some time now.
"Good Morning Harry" both replied. "I see that you're looking much better today" Ginny's mum asked him.
"Tons better, thanks" he replied. A questioningly look appeared on her as she returned to the kitchen. Ginny felt happier to see that Harry was doing much better also, this might be a better birthday than she thought, it had already started pretty good.
The boys said their good mornings to every one on the table except for Ginny and then unexpectedly the green eyes turned to her. Ginny froze thinking that he was going to say something about last night and she blushed. He just smiled and said "Happy birthday Ginny".
Ginny's heart slowed down when she realized what he said. Someone should have told him, it wasn't a secret after all but hearing it was wonderful. She blushed just a little this time, smiled and nodded at him without lowering her face. It wasn't much but it was something and it was better than running away. She didn't even heard Ron wishing her a happy birthday also.
Breakfast went as usual except that Ginny tried to look more normal, she didn't lower her sight and managed to look directly at the boy a couple of times without staring. At the middle of it a question came out that caught of Ginny's attention.
"Eh..Mr Weasley, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure Harry, as many as you like" he said lowering the edition of the Daily Prophet he was reading.
"Em..Can people disappear from one place and appear on another right after?" Ginny froze.
"Well yeah, of course is called apparition. Where did you saw it?". Ginny was getting more nervous by each second that passed.
She noticed that he also seemed very nervous before he answered Ginny prepared herself for the worst. "Well on school, I mean muggle school. Once I was being chased and suddenly I was on the top of a building" He said. "Why would he be chased?" Ginny thought and saw that her mother frowned.
Ginny let out a sigh that didn't go unnoticed by the boy and her mum. "That would be accidental magic. It's perfectly fine and may I say pretty impressive for such a young boy" her dad replied with admiration.
"Wicked!" The twins said at the same time.
The conversation moved to the apparition license and underage restriction of which the twins complained a lot. After breakfast she sat by her window and she saw the impressive Harry Potter playing Quidditch. He flew all day and if possible better than ever. At some point Ginny's mother came to ask her about her sudden health improvement but she left with a suspicious look when Ginny said that she didn't do anything different. She was obviously not saying where she spent the night because she didn't want to become deaf that young. Also it was her birthday and she didn't want to mess it up.
After lunch she went down to talk to her mum and prepare some stuff for dinner while the boys went upstairs to play some games. When she came back downstairs after showering and dressing for the night she saw a pile of presents wrapped in many different colors. Everybody was already there and she smiled widely while descending the remaining steps.
Dinner was fantastic and delicious as always, it was a shame that she hadn't inherited her mother's talent at the kitchen. When she saw Ron laughing at the table she realized that her brother was without doubt the best friend of the Boy-Who-Lived. Who would have thought that was possible two weeks ago?
There was an odd moment in the night when her mum offered more food to the boys. After the green eyed boy kindly refused Ron whispered something to him and they both ended up laughing, then the boy apologized as he always did. Probably "sorry" was one of his favorite words.
"That was an incredible meal, as always dear" said her father turning to her mother. Her mother's face turned slightly red.
"Now let's celebrate the ten years that we have had our wonderful daughter with us" it was Ginny's time to blush when her father said that while raising his pumpkin juice glass. "To Ginny".
"To Ginny" they all yelled. Ginny felt very happy and moisture covered her eyes.
"Now, the presents!" her father finished and he levitated the boxes until they were in front of Ginny. A big grin covered Ginny's face as she start opening gifts.
All of them were great, well except for Percy's which was a boring book about how to have an organized life in the wizarding world. She received some nice clothes from her parents and chocolates from Ron, Ginny loved all kinds of chocolates. The twins gave her a hand mirror that advised about weather and clothes to wear each day, they said that they found it on Diagon Alley. She even found presents from Bill and Charlie who were not at home anymore. Bill gave her an egyptian good luck amulet while Charlie sent some posters of the Holyhead Harpies which was Ginny's favorite quidditch team.
Ginny was very happy, it was an awesome birthday with wonderful gifts. She was preparing to take everything to her room when suddenly something over the table made her lose a single heart beat. It was a very simple maroon box with a golden ribbon on it, she sat again so she could read clearly the label. "From Harry, for Ginny" it said.
Her face traveled rapidly to were Harry was standing with a nervous smile. She was shocked and her mouth was wide opened, she couldn't understand what was happening.
"Harry dear, that wasn't necessary". Ginny heard her mum said.
"I told him so" Ron added.
"It was not a problem. I was glad to do it. And it's just a little thing" he replied. When he took the maroon box and placed it in front of Ginny she almost jumped backwards. "Happy birthday" he said and returned to where he was.
Earlier when he congratulated her for her birthday the thought of him giving her a present never crossed her mind. She was utterly shocked. Her mind raced trying to remember something that could have provoked that gesture. They never talked to each other and she barely looked at him, and here he was taking the time to give her a present when she had spoken to him only once. When she raised her sight to look at him again she had moisture in her eyes and she managed to give him a smile. Then her attention returned to the little maroon box which she now noticed was made of wood with thin golden borders. When she removed the ribbon from the top she saw that in the center of the box there was a single word written in a fancy stylish font. "Ginny".
She gasped. And while her heart was beating very fast she kept wondering about the wonderful thing that was inside. She opened it very slowly with her trembling hands. Inside was a simple but elegant inkwell filled with red ink next to it there was a white and red quill. She raised her face again trying to understand. She didn't have friends, who was she going to write to? she didn't complain, the present was elegant and beautiful but she would not need it in a long time.
Ginny's mum spoke first with a concerned tone "Harry that seems pretty expensive and I don't think that Ginny needs it". Ginny didn't want to return the present even if she wouldn't use it, it just meant too much to her now. So she frowned unconsciously to her mother.
Then he spoke without a concern in his voice "I loved the quill and the inkwell when I saw them on the Diagon Alley." he started then his green eyes fixed on Ginny and she jumped on a little. "By the way, they are supposed to change color, haven't tried them yet. I believe that the feather in the quill also changes with the color of the ink.".
He smiled and continued before he was interrupted again. "They seemed very interesting so I bought the box that had two of each. My own quill and inkwell are already stored in my trunk, so I didn't need the little box" he stated.
"And we gave him the means to put the gold ink over the box" George said proudly with a grin.
"The difficult part was to write your name" continued the boy facing Ginny who was still frozen. "Had to practice a lot before doing it on the box"
"By the way, Harry you owe us like twenty pieces of practice parchment" Fred said and all three began to laugh.
"Either way she is not going to need it" Ron snorted. Ginny agreed but this was definitively the best present of the night and her favorite part was that Harry Potter personally wrote her name on the top of the box with his own hand.
"Well whenever she feels alone this following year she will need that" He pointed at the box "to write to us some letters, won't she?"
That was it for Ginny, Harry Potter had just implied that she should be writing to him. "No, not Harry Potter, just Harry" she thought. Her chair slammed on the floor then she rushed to him, hugged him and spoke for the second time in front of him. "Thank .. you" she said and took her stuff upstairs leaving Harry there standing. Then everybody laughed at Harry stunned expression.
The following days changed a little for Ginny. One difference was her relation with Harry, it was now common to see her seated in the same room as him. Her chocolate eyes reacted to Harry's conversation and turned to him from time to time whenever he said something interesting. She didn't blush as much as she did before and smiled at him a lot. Every morning they greeted each other and Ginny was able to say a few words to him.
Every night on her room she analyzed her little maroon box that Harry had given to her like trying to find something new about it. She was looking forward to write to him, maybe by mail they could have a real conversation. A smile shined on her face with that thought.
It was a pity that not everything was better though. Her mother was throwing them more questioning looks than before and Ron kept taking Harry apart to play something whenever they spent too much time around Ginny. The nightmare had also returned and the tiredness was appearing again in both of them.
From pieces of conversations Ginny had been discovering Harry's previous life. She knew that they had been bad to him and that he hated it there. She noticed his worn out clothes that didn't seem to fit him. And by his constant need for apologizing for the most silly things it was obvious that he was used to do it. She just couldn't believe how someone could be so mean to a such wonderful boy.
One day he got injured while playing quidditch and they took him inside, Ginny's mom wanted to check if he had wounds so she removed his shirt. Ginny's eyes opened as saucers when she saw the bruises on his back and she started crying in realization. Her mum was furious and after attending Harry she hug him and made a floo call to someone, Ginny heard the yelling all the way to her room. She couldn't believe why someone would do something like that to him.
The tiredness and the bad dreams progressed more rapidly than before and Ginny discovered that it only calmed down on the days she appeared on Harry's bed. It happened two more time before the ride to Hogwarts and always on the days were she was feeling the worst. It was a strange scenario but Ginny kept storming out of the room and couldn't avoid to feel happier when it happened. No one else noticed and Harry tried to talked to her about it but she only said that she didn't know how she ended up there on those nights, it was still very embarrassing.
One day she was walking down the stairway when she heard her mum talking to Harry and she couldn't avoid to hear the conversation from where she was.
"Mrs Weasley, can I ask you a question?" he said from the kitchen.
"Of course Harry, what's the matter?" she replied
"Did you ever met my parents? Do you know something about them?" Harry asked
"Well, I met them a couple of times they were friends with my brothers.." she stopped there briefly, Ginny knew that her uncles died on the war, then her mother continued "They were good people, I think they were first or second years once we finished Hogwarts. I don't think I know more ofmet them than you should already know" she said
Harry answered very seriously "I only know their first names and how they died" he lowered his eyes sadly.
Ginny was surprised, and something broke inside of her. "That's all? what have your uncle and aunt told you about them?"
"Nothing, they say that I shouldn't ask questions. They didn't even tell me that I was a wizard and until I met Hagrid they made me believe that they died on a car accident also"
Ginny was going red but this time with anger. Harry's life wasn't fair, he had suffered a lot. She muttered something about awful muggles when she heard her mother with a different tone on her voice. "Well in that case, I do know a bit more. Maybe you already knew this but you are almost a physical copy of your father, except for your eyes. You have Lily's eyes. Your mother was very beautiful also and had dark red hair."
She continued "Your father was a prankster and very popular in school, he was a quidditch hero also I believe. His parents, your grandparents, died before him but as far as I know he had some friends that never abandoned him" For some reason her voice trembled here. "Your mother was quite the opposite, she was very fond to study and very kind also. She was pretty good at potions and charms as far as I know. They were always fighting, they didn't got together until their last year when Lily finally decided to give him a chance, your father was very persistent and loyal" she smiled. "I don't think I have much more information for you right now."
Harry sounded happy when he answered. "Thanks a lot, that's great to know". When Ginny decided to finally appear downstairs he was hugging her and her mother hug him back with moisture in her eyes before he ran back to Ron's room he was surprised to see Ginny on the stairs. Ginny then knew of all the love that fate was owing to her hero and promised to herself that she would do something about it.
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Chapter 4: Journey And Arrival
Author's Notes: I was pointed out to the fact that G goes before H. My bad. Hahaha if you already read this don't expected an important update. Just moved Harry's sorting to next chapter.
Life at the Burrow continued virtually unchanged for the rest of the month, so when Harry realized it, it was already the night before their departure. He was so eager to leave that his trunk was already full with all of his school things since a week before. Ron on the other hand, still had things over the floor on the first morning of September.
One side of Harry was sad that he had to leave the Burrow, he had spent the best month of his life there. He had learned to play quidditch which he loved, he had enjoyed the twins' pranks and he had felt that he was loved for the first time since he could remember. But if Harry was honest, he wanted to be at Hogwarts already.
Hogwarts offered him a whole new set of different opportunities. He would have the chance to make more friends besides Ron and the twins, at the muggle school Dudley threaten anybody who tried to befriend Harry and that made of him a very lonely person. Well that was not much of a problem now, Ron was his best mate and if he couldn't make new friends he could surely enjoy school with only him as a friend. Harry was also counting the minutes to see the wonderful castle by himself even when Fred and George made very good descriptions, but above all he was eager to learn magic.
The fact that Ron didn't knew much more about doing magic than he did calmed him a little bit, there wasn't much he could learn just by reading his books, he needed practice to understand.
"..wrestle a troll, but don't say I told you that is supposed to be secret" Harry heard Fred whispered to Ron at breakfast. The color drained from Ron's face.
Ron mumbled something back and Fred answered quietly "..it's a little one don't worry. No one has died in .."
Harry raised an eyebrow facing Ron. "Later" Ron's voice barely came out.
"Harry, can you please pass the butter?" Ginny said with a small smile. She had been talking more in front of him but that was sure the longest sentence he ever heard from her. Giving her that gift was probably the best he had done in his life.
"Sure Gin" He answered quickly moving the butter near her. He didn't even noticed the short name he used. Ginny turned bright red.
"Oh, you're in trouble my friend.." George started
"..no one calls Gin-Gin like that.."
"..and lives to tell it" they finished with a fake expression of concern.
"Oh, sorry Ginny" Harry blushed worried.
"It's ok" She cut him quickly with a shy smile.
He had enjoyed Ginny's company the last month especially after her birthday when she became more open in front of him. Still, she seemed to die with embarrassment every time she woke up at his bed. Harry knew that she didn't do it on purpose but there was something strange about the whole thing. No one had discovered their secret even when Harry had tried to convince her that someone could help them figure out what was happening.
The days when he felt more exhausted were the days on which she appeared by his side. Those times were the only days when he could actually sleep without nightmares for most of the night. Harry found himself more rested those days and what was more intriguing, happier. Even though, as time passed he was getting tired more quickly than the first time and Ginny woke up in his bed more often.
His tiredness, the tiredness he also perceived on Ginny and the fact that both problems vanished away on the nights they spent together was a mystery. Surely those things were related and possibly also related to the time they blacked out but the only cause he could think of was magic. He wished to have a place or a way to look for an answer to this. He also worried about what would happen once he was at Hogwarts, was Ginny going to appear there also? If so, that could be very hard to explain.
Everybody was on rush except Harry who had all already packed and Ginny who didn't have to pack. They smiled at each other while Percy was bringing down his trunk and Ron was looking for a missing sock all over the house. Meanwhile the twins seemed to be fueled by their mother's yelling.
Surprisingly they arrived at King Cross station on time as a big happy family and Harry felt as one more of the Weasleys. Harry was very distinguishable while walking next to seven redheads though.
When they were getting close he looked at his ticket. "Nine at three quarters?" He asked doubtfully.
"That's right Harry" said Mrs Weasley calmly.
"..and where is it?" He said looking from the distance at a big plastic number ten followed right after a big plastic number nine.
"Between platform nine and ten, of course" George intervened smirking at Fred.
"Oh sure" Harry decided that it was not time to argue.
"Ok Percy, you go first" Mrs Weasley said. When she said it Percy nod and ran toward the barrier. Harry almost closed his eyes preparing for the crash when Percy just disappeared through the solid wall. Harry just stood there with a shocked expression and Ginny noticing it, smirked at him.
The twins went next and then it was Harry's turn. He gathered all the courage he had and prepared his cart for the run. "Always be sure that no muggles are watching" advised Mrs Weasley and he nod.
He gave a last reassuring smile to Hedwig and ran toward the barrier.
Moments later they were all contemplating the large scarlet engine on a platform packed with people. He saw a sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, eleven o'clock, behind him there was a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it.
When everybody was there Harry asked with a smile while they start moving forward "So, why not Nine and One Half?". Everybody laughed at this.
A lot of boys and girls were at the platform receiving some last comments from their parents, Harry heard a boy that was looking for his lost toad. When they were close enough they prepared for the goodbyes. Ron was first.
"Mum - geroff." He wriggled free when Mrs Weasley started to rub his nose.
"Aaah, has ickle Ronnie got somefink on his nosie?" said one of the twins.
"Shut up," said Ron.
"Where's Percy?" said their mother.
"He's coming now."
He had already changed into his billowing black Hogwarts robes, and Harry noticed that he had the red-gold prefect badge on his chest.
"Can't stay long, Mother," he said. "I'm up front, the prefects have got two compartments to themselves -"
Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."
"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the other twin. "Once -"
"Or twice -"
"A minute -"
"All summer -"
"Oh, shut up," said Percy the Prefect.
"How come Percy get's new robes, anyway?" said one of the twins.
"Because he's a prefect," said their mother fondly. "All right, dear, well, have a good term - send me an owl when you get there."
She kissed Percy on the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins.
"Now, you two - this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you've - you've blown up a toilet or -"
"Blown up a toilet? We've never blown up a toilet.
"Great idea though, thanks, Mum."
"It's not funny. And look after Ron."
"Don't worry, ickle Ronniekins is safe with us."
"Shut up," said Ron again. He was almost as tall as the twins already and his nose was still pink where his mother had rubbed it.
"Harry" Mrs Weasley started "hope you have a good term dear. It has been lovely to have you around, you can write anytime you like.". When she finished she had a big smile and was hugging Harry tightly.
Mrs Weasley was a bit odd toward him the first days after he met her but quickly Harry developed a special feeling for the kind woman. She had been looking after him ever since he arrived at her house even when Harry was used to take care of himself, he was very grateful for that. Still he believed that she and Mr Weasley were hiding something from him since the Diagon Alley day.
"Thanks Mrs Weasley, I'm sure I'll do it" he said gaining a smile from the matriarch.
"Bye Harry" he heard a low voice from behind Mrs Weasley. It was Ginny.
Harry smiled and approached her giving her a quick hug. "Bye Ginny, have fun at the Burrow. I'll be waiting for your letters" he said and she blushed so much that he couldn't distinguish where her face ended and where her hair started.
A whistle sounded.
"Hurry up!" Mrs Weasley said, and the four boys clambered onto the train. They found an empty compartment and rushed to the window, from there the Weasley boys leaned out for her mother to kiss them good-bye, and Ginny began to cry.
"Don't Ginny, we'll send you loads of owls."
"We'll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat." Harry made a huge effort to not laugh.
"Only joking, Mum."
The train began to move. Harry saw Mrs Weasley waving and Ginny, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved. Harry waved at her from his window.
The twins helped them to settle their trunks on the compartment and then they left with their own trunks to find their friends. "We'll be back, just need to leave these with Lee" one of the twins said pointing at the trunks. Lee Jordan was their best friend and they were eager to find him.
"Okay" replied both Harry and Ron who still had a black mark on his nose.
The two boys started talking about all sort of stuff from quidditch to their future lives at Hogwarts. The twins visited them two or three times during the journey, they were talking about a giant tarantula that Lee had. One of those times Harry gave them some of the candies they had, apparently he had bought more than enough. They laughed a lot, Harry wondered how difficult could have this been if he didn't already have friends to tell him about this new world that for him was a mystery.
The candies were great and considering that they also had some sandwiches made by Mrs Weasley they were full in no-time. Harry found Dumbledore's card at a chocolate frog which was a shame, he had been eating them at the Burrow and from his collection of eleven cards, three were Dumbledores. Weren't there any more wizards? He knew he just had bad luck since Ron had a huge collection. If he could at least find Agrippa he could do a very good deal with Ron who still didn't have that one. By the time they finished with the candy, Harry had almost doubled his collection.
There was a knock on the door of their compartment and a found-faced boy harry had passed on platform nine and three-quarters came in. He looked tearful.
"Sorry," he said, "but have you seen a toad at all?"
When they shook their heads, he wailed, "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"
"He'll turn up," said Harry.
"Yes," said the boy miserably. "Well, if you see him . . ." He left.
"Don't know why he's so bothered," said Ron. "If I'd brought a toad I'd lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can't talk." The rat was still snoozing on Ron's lap. "He might have died and you wouldn't know the difference," said Ron in disgust. "I tried to turn him yellow yesterday to make him more interesting, but the spell didn't work. I'll show you, look . . ."
He rummaged around in his trunk and pulled out a very battered-looked wand. It was chipped in places and something was was glinting at the end.
"Unicorn hair's nearly poking out. Anyway -"
He had just raised his wand when the compartment door slid open again. The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was already wearing her new Hogwarts robes.
"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one," she said. She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.
"We've already told him we haven't seen it," said Ron, but the girl wasn't listening, she was looking at the wand in his hand.
"Oh, are you doing magic? Let's see it, then."
She sat down. Ron looked taken aback.
"Er - all right." He cleared his throat. "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow. Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow." He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers stayed gray and fast asleep.
"Are you sure that's a real spell?" said the girl. "Well, it's not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard - I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough - I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?"
She said this all very fast.
'I'm Ron Weasley," Ron muttered.
"Harry Potter," said Harry.
"Are you really?" said Hermione. "I know all about you, of course - I got a few extra books for background reading, and you're in Modern Magical History and the Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."
"Am I?" said Harry, feeling dazed.
"Goodness, didn't you know, I'd have found out everything I could if it was me," said Hermione. "Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around, and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad. . . . Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."
And she left, taking the toadless boy with her.
"Whatever House I'm in, I hope she's not in it," said Ron. He threw his wand back into the trunk. "Stupid spell - George gave it to me, bet he knew it was a dud."
They continued their chat, this time they talked about Hogwarts' houses from which Harry already knew a bit from conversations at the Burrow. Harry was glad that today was not one of those exhausting days, Ginny woke up at his bed the day before if it wasn't the case he would have been asleep by now. It was then when the compartment door slid open yet again, but it wasn't Neville the toadless boy, or Hermione Granger this time.
Three boys entered, and Harry recognized the middle one at once: It was the pale boy from Madam Malkin's robe shop. He was looking at Harry with a lot more interest than he'd shown back in Diagon Alley. "Is it true?" he said. "They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?"
"Yes," said Harry. He was looking at the other boys. Both of them were thickset and looked extremely mean. Standing on either side of the pale boy, the looked like bodyguards.
"Oh, this is Crabbe and this is Goyle," said the pale boy carelessly, noticing where Harry was looking. "And my name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy."
Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. Draco Malfoy looked at him.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford." He turned back to Harry who was getting angry. "You'll son find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
He held out his hand to shake Harry's, but Harry didn't take it. "I think I can tell the who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks," he said coolly.
Draco Malfoy didn't go red, but a pink tinge appeared in his pale cheeks. "I'd be careful if I were you, Potter," he said slowly. "Unless you're a bit politer you'll go the same way as your parents. They didn't know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it'll rub off on you."
Both Harry and Ron stood up. "Say that again," Ron said, his face as red as his hair.
"Oh, so you're going to fight us, are you?" Malfoy sneered.
"Unless you get out now," said Harry, more bravely than he felt, because Crabbe and Goyle were a lot bigger than him and Ron. The Weasleys were a good family and he wasn't going to allow him to spoke of them like that.
"But we don't feel like leaving, do we, boys? We've eaten all our food and you still seem to have some."
Goyle reached toward the Chocolate Frogs nest to Ron - Ron leapt forward, but before he'd so much as touched Goyle, Goyle let out a horrible yell.
Scabbers the rat was hanging off of his finger, sharp little teeth sunk deep into Goyle's knuckle - Crabbe and Malfoy backed away as Goyle swung Scabbers round and round, howling, and when Scabbers finally flew off and hit the window, all three of them disappeared at once. Perhaps they thought there were more rats lurking among the sweets or perhaps they'd heard footsteps, because a second later, Hermione Granger had come in.
"What has been going on?" she said, looking at the sweets all over the floor and Ron picking up Scabbers by his tail.
"I think he's been knocked out," Ron said to Harry. He looked closer at Scabbers "No - I don't believe it - he's gone back to sleep."
And so he had.
"You've met Malfoy before?" Harry explained about their meeting in Diagon Alley. "I've heard of his family," Ron said darkly. "They were some of the first to come back to our side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said they'd been bewitched. My dad doesn't believe it. He said Malfoy's father didn't need an excuse to go over to the Dark Side." He turned to Hermione. "Can we help you with something?"
"You'd better hurry up and put your robes on, I've just been up to the front to ask the conductor, and he says we're nearly there. You've haven't been fighting, have you? You'll be in trouble before we even get there!"
"Scabbers has been fighting, not us," sad Ron, scowling at her. "Would you mind leaving while we change?"
"All right - I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors," said Hermione in a sniffy voice. "And you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?"
Ron glared at her as she left. Harry peered out of the window. It was getting dark. He could see mountains and forests under a deep purple sky. The train did seem to be slowing down. He and Ron took off their jackets and pulled on their long black robes. Ron's were a bit short for him, you could see his sneakers underneath them.
A voice echoed through the train: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."
Harry's stomach lurched with nerves and Ron, he saw, looked pale under his freckles. They crammed their pockets with the last of the sweets and joined the crowd thronging the corridor. The train slowed right down and finally stopped. People pushed their way toward the door and out on to a tiny, dark platform. Harry shivered in the cold night air. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads of the students, and Harry heard a familiar voice: "Firs' years! Firs' years over here! All right there, Harry?"
Hagrid's big hairy face beamed over the sea of heads. "C'mon, follow me - any more firs' years? Mind yer stop, now! Firs' years follow me!" Slipped and stumbling, they followed Hagrid down what seemed to be a steep, narrow path. It was so dark on either side of them that Harry thought there must be think trees there.
Nobody spoke much. Neville, the boy who kept losing his toad, sniffed once or twice. "Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," Hagrid called over his shoulder, "jus' round this bend here."
There was a loud "Oooooh!". The narrow path had opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.
"No more'n four to a boat!" Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry and Ron were followed into their boat by Neville and Hermione.
"Everyone in?" shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. "Right then - FORWARD!" And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was a smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.
After they reached the castle's harbor they headed to the front door and miraculously Neville found his toad by the time they arrived there.
The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry's first thought was that this was not someone to cross.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said Hagrid.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here,"
She pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was so big you could have fit the whole of the Dursleys' house in it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches like the ones at Gringotts, the ceiling was too high to make it out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.
It was then that Harry noticed someone hiding behind the professor. It was Ginny.
"Ginny! what are you doing here?" Ron shouted walking toward professor McGonagall with an angry look on his face. Ginny seemed ready to cry which made Harry turn his face to Ron clearly not happy at his reaction. Ron didn't notice.
All of the kids from wizardry families looked surprised so Harry knew that this must not be a common situation. Then the professor cut Ron's reaction "Don't need to shout Mr..?" she asked for his name.
"Weasley. Ron Weasley, professor and this is my sister Ginny. She's only ten she is not supposed to be here" said with an accusingly tone.
"Well Mr Weasley, could you please calm down and return to your place?" Ron nod slowly and returned to his place and Draco Malfoy smirked at this.
"Now .. I was just heading here when I found this girl by the door. So .. Miss Weasley could you explain?" she asked her kindly.
Ginny was surprised of being addressed and got nervous of everybody looking at her. "I .. I was home and then I was here" she said with a low voice.
Professor McGonagall just remained thinking when a voice interrupted her thoughts. "But, professor, you can't apparate inside of Hogwarts."
"You're right Miss.."
"Granger. Hermione Granger"
"You're right Miss Granger. One can not apparate inside Hogwarts' walls. The headmaster will need to check this. In the meanwhile we're already late for the Sorting ceremony if you please come with me" She said to the group and then she turned to Ginny who was very scared. "Miss Weasley, everything is going to be fine we just need to talk to the headmaster but he is busy right now we will need to do it after the feast. I'll be informing your parents of your whereabouts as soon as I can. In the mean time you will have to go with us, you cannot stay here all by yourself." she finished and Ginny nod slightly.
They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Ginny was walking by Harry's side with her head down since she was avoiding Ron's looks. Draco Malfoy and his friends were joking behind them. They could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right - the rest of the school must already be here - but Professor McGonagall showed the first years, and Ginny, into a small, empty chamber off the hall. The crowded in, standing rather closer together than they usually would have done, peering about nervously.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your Houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your House will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your House, sleep in your House dormitory, and spend free time in your House common room.
"The four Houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each House has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your House points, while any rule breaking will lose House points. At the end of the year, the House with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honor. I hop each of you will be a credit to whichever House becomes yours."
"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarted yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."
Her eyes lingered for a moment on Neville's cloak, which was fastened under his left ear, and on Ron's smudged nose. Harry nervously tried to flatten his hair.
"I shall return when we are ready for you," said Professor McGonagall. "Please wait quietly."
She left the chamber with a last glance at Ginny. Harry saw Ginny, he had been worried about her but he knew she was fine in here and her parents were going to be informed soon. "Everything is okay" he said to her and she smiled. Then it was time for Harry to worry about himself, he swallowed.
"How exactly do they sort us into Houses?" he asked Ron.
"Some sort of test, I think. Fred said it hurts a lot, but I think he was joking."
Harry's heart gave a horrible jolt. A test? In front of the whole school? - what on earth would he have to do? He hadn't expected something like this the moment they arrived. He looked around anxiously and saw that everyone else looked terrified, too.No ones was talking much except Hermione Granger, who was whispering very fast about all the spells she'd learned and wondering which one she'd need. Harry tried hard not to listen to her. He'd never been more nervous, never, not even when he'd had to take a school report home to the Dursleys saying that he'd somehow turned his teachers wig blue.
Then, some ghosts appeared and talked about being sorted to one of the houses. Judging by the reactions some of the kids already knew that there were ghosts at Hogwarts. Harry contemplated them.
"Move along now," said a sharp voice. "The Sorting Ceremony's about to start." Professor McGonagall had returned, One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall.
"Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told the first years, "and follow me. Miss Weasley, stay by my side. Your parents and professor Dumbledore have been informed, he will be meeting you at the end of the feast."
Feeling oddly as though his legs has turned to lead, Harry got into line behind a boy with sandy hair, with Ron behind him, and they walked out of the chamber, back across the hall, and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.
Harry had never imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up here, so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them.
The hundreds of faces staring at the looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars.
He heard Hermione whisper, "It's bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts: A History."
It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heavens.
Harry quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizards hat. The hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty.
Harry then noticed Ron brothers on one of the side tables, their happy expression changed to puzzled and concerned when they saw Ginny. Harry was so focused on them that he didn't pay attention to the hat singing. The whole house burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.
"So we've just got to try on the hat!" Ron whispered to Harry. "I'll kill Fred, he was going on about wrestling a troll."
Harry smiled weakly. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than having to do a spell, but he did wish they could have tried it on without everyone watching.
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment. "When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbot, Hannah!"
A pink-faced girl with blond pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right across her eyes, and sat down. A moment's pause -
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.
The hat kept calling name after name of the kids on the group and after the hat yelled their house they ran towards one of the four tables. Harry noticed differences between the people from one table to another. Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the House at once, but other it took a little while to decide.
"Finnigan, Seamus," the sandy-haired boy next to Harry in line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.
Hermione almost ran to the stall and jammed that hat eagerly on her head.
"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat. Ron groaned.
A horrible thought struck Harry, as horrible thoughts always do when you're very nervous. What if he wasn't chosen at all? What if he just sat there with the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor McGonagall jerked it off his head and said there had obviously been a mistake and he'd better get back on the train.
When Neville Longbottom, the boy who kept losing his toad, was called, he fell over on his way to the stool. The hat took a long time to decide with Neville. When it finally shouted, "GRYFFINDOR," Neville ran off still wearing it, and had to job back amid gales of laughter to give it to MacDougal, Morag."
Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his with at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, "SLYTHERIN!" Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looked pleased with himself.
There weren't many people left now.
"Moon" . . ., "Nott" . . ., "Parkinson" . . ., then pair of twin girls, "Patil" and Patil" . . ., then "Perks, Sally-Anne" . . ., and then, at last -
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