Harry & Ginny
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Breanie - A Different Beginning
Chapter 14 - Summering with the Marauders
Chapter XIV — Summering with the Marauders
Chapter XIV — Summering with the Marauders
Harry didn't even know what to expect when it came to having three, instead of two, Marauders living with him. He didn't think that it was going to be too different from before, but he remembered from the stories that he had heard that Sirius and James had always been the more wild of the four Marauders.
Once Sirius had been caught up on important events and other things that he had missed out on in the years that he had spent in prison, James had given him what apparently was his old bedroom. Sirius had moved into Potter Manor when he was sixteen after he had run away from home. The Black family had wanted nothing to do with him because first of all, he had wound up in Gryffindor which they found to be incredibly insulting to their family; and secondly, he disagreed with everything that they did since they were dark wizards, or dark wizard supporters. Andrew and Gwen Potter had been more than willing to take Sirius in. They had loved and accepted him as a second son.
James had given him his old room and then the two of them had gone to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, the home that Sirius had inherited from his parents because he was the only Black left. There they had found his wand, his old motorbike and everything else that he wanted to bring with him. James had then taken money from Sirius and bought him a new wardrobe as he needed new clothes other then his ratty prison uniform. Once he was showered and his hair trimmed so that the black locks fell just so around his face, Harry understood why people had once thought that he was handsome. His sunken face was soon filled with Maddy and Mickey's good cooking, his eyes even lit up with laughter from the joy of just living again.
Harry also found that Sirius had not only stories to tell him, but pranks and tricks to show him. He had even offered to help Harry with his animagus transformation. James had started him off as promised with the potion. Harry had seen four animals which confused James, Sirius, and Remus to no end. He had seen a lion, an owl, a phoenix, and a wolf. Harry wondered if that meant he could be all four animals. The Marauders weren't sure but they agreed to help him out. They decided to start with the phoenix form since it was a magical animal and they weren't sure how that was supposed to work.
While James was at work, Sirius helped Harry work on the transformation. They started out slowly, having Harry focus on only changing one part of his body at a time, his left hand. Since Harry had mastered the elemental wandless magic so young, he was trying to change pieces of his body wandlessly. After two weeks of nothing, he was beginning to get frustrated.
"Harry, don't worry, this is a really hard thing to learn. It took James and I the better part of two years to master it." Sirius explained when Harry groaned in frustration.
"I just wish that I could change something! But I'm not even making my skin turn a different colour."
Sirius laughed. "You'll get it eventually, don't worry. Let's take a break for a bit. Want to go out and drag Remus outside for a game of Quidditch?"
Harry grinned. "Yeah!"
After playing Quidditch for a few hours, they went back inside just as James came home. They decided to work on the transformations some more, but after two hours Harry still hadn't managed to change anything. Neither James nor Sirius seemed to think that this was a big deal, though. They told him that he would get it eventually.
Harry sat down on the couch next to James. "Da, did you find it this frustrating when you were trying to become an animagus?"
James smiled. "Yes, Harry, really you'll get it soon. There are only a few vital parts of your body that are extremely hard to change but once you get them, the transformation will be a breeze."
Harry nodded. "Alright, so how was work?"
James shrugged. "Not too bad, I'm still leading the search for Sirius. Of course, I have absolutely no idea where he might be," he replied with a smirk. "But the Ministry is not too worried about finding him anymore. Fudge is much too embarrassed by the fact that he escaped right from under his nose!"
Sirius grinned broadly. "Well, I have Harry to thank for that one."
Harry grinned. "I bet Hagrid was ecstatic when he woke up and found Buckbeak in his garden."
James smiled. "Well, we hardly have any room for a Hippogriff and besides, Hagrid loves Buckbeak, he deserves to have him back. Dumbledore told me that he's changed his name to Wutherwings so that no one will get suspicious."
Harry laughed. "Very true, and very Hagrid."
Remus came into the room and took a seat. "It was too quiet in here, it worried me."
Sirius laughed. "What, do you think we're going to cause trouble or something? We're adults now, Moony."
"So?" James asked. "Does that mean that we can't cause trouble?"
Harry grinned at them. It was so good to see his Da so happy and carefree again. He couldn't remember the last time that he had seen his father so happy. When Sirius had escaped, and they had believed that he had betrayed them and wanted to kill Harry, James had been a wreck. He had lived the entire year in fear. Now that he knew the truth, he was laughing and joking around with his friends.
"Hey Prongs! Remember that time we went in to Hogsmeade and we were standing outside the Shrieking Shack and Betty Lamar came over to you, flirting so badly? She wanted you, brushing herself up close and telling you how sexy you looked on a broom." Sirius replied with a grin. "And then Lily showed up."
Harry grinned. "What did Mum do?"
Sirius laughed. "Well, she walked over and gave him this look of annoyance that he happened to even be there. This was in fifth year and she didn't like him then. James turns around and he sees her, so he grins, causing Betty to swoon but his eyes are all for Lily-Love. Then Lily gives him this disgusted look and says that since big-breasted blondes seem to be his style that he has no business flirting with her anymore. James turned beet red and tried to go after her, but she ignored him."
James glared at Sirius. "Yeah, well Lily didn't realize that she was in love with me yet at that point in her life. Besides, it was embarrassing, Betty was hanging all over me. She wouldn't take no for an answer. I was not interested!"
Sirius grinned, his eyes twinkling in laughter. "I was. It only took me two days to convince Betty that I was the guy for her, instead of James."
"Harry, Betty Lamar was an idiot," Remus replied. "Her goal in life was to marry James because he was handsome and rich and has a title."
Sirius shrugged. "Then she settled for me because I was sexier and rich."
Harry laughed. "But you didn't marry her."
"Hell no!" Sirius exclaimed. "I wouldn't ever want to marry her; we didn't have a single thing in common except for great sex! Besides she was a gold-digger/fortune hunter, whatever you want to call them these days. But she sure knew how to make a bloke ..." he trailed off at the look on James' face. "Er, well … after we broke up, she tried to convince me that she was pregnant with my kid. Scared the crap out of me at first. But she was lying, she wasn't even pregnant. That's the kind of girl she was. James never looked at her twice, his eyes were all for Lily."
Harry grinned. "Da told me that Mum never paid any attention to him until seventh year."
Sirius nodded. "Oh, she looked; she just didn't want to admit that she was interested, as Prongs was a prat. But he smartened up and Lily came to her senses. What about you, Harry, got a pretty girl in your life?"
Harry blushed. "No."
Sirius grinned. "Aw come on, there's not a girl at school that you fancy a bit?"
Harry shrugged. "There's this one girl … Cho Chang. She's the Ravenclaw seeker but she's a year older than me. She's really pretty. She's got long black hair and grey eyes."
"Ah, going to ask her out?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I don't think so. I wouldn't know how … I mean, well, erm, no."
James, Sirius, and Remus exchanged knowing looks and then James sighed. "Harry, I think that the four of us need to have a serious talk."
Harry glanced up at his father and his two honourary uncles. "About what?"
James blushed this time. "About uh … girls and stuff."
Harry nodded. "Er, okay."
Sirius grinned. "Alright, I'll start. Listen, Harry, you don't have to be worried about asking this girl out if you really like her. It's not that hard to ask a girl out. Girls are weird, but they are pretty predictable at times."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked quickly.
"Well," James replied. "You see, girls tend to travel with a bunch of other girls almost all of the time. So the only nerve wracking thing is getting them on their own, as you don't want to talk to a particular girl in front of all of her friends. But usually if you just ask them to speak to the one you have your eye on alone, they will usually step away from their friends."
Remus nodded. "Just ask the girl if you can talk. Maybe be friendly with her, ask her how her summer was, how classes are going, what she's been up to … simple things like that."
Sirius nodded. "And then, once the conversation starts going normally, you'll feel more comfortable with her, then you ask her out."
"But what would I say?" Harry asked. "I mean, she is older then me."
Sirius grinned. "Don't worry about it, you're Harry Potter! Now, all you have to say is: Cho, would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me? Simple as that."
Harry nodded. "Oh, well, what if she says no?"
James laughed and then he slid his arm around his son's shoulders. "You're really worried about this aren't you? Look, if she says no, just say something like … 'Alright, I just thought that it would be cool to get to know you but I understand, maybe some other time.' Then walk away. She'll think that you're a sweetheart, even if she isn't interested. But she'll tell her friends what a great guy you are."
"Exactly," Remus replied. "Girls are predictable that way. And when you begin dating them, well, then you've got to make sure that you treat them right."
"Treat them right?" Harry asked. "Why do you make that sound like something that I wouldn't do?"
Sirius shook his head. "No, not something you wouldn't do, it's just that when you're dating a girl, you treat her a bit differently. For example, girls like to hear compliments like that they look nice or their hair makes them look nice or you like their outfit. Simple things that make them feel good about themselves."
"And flowers, girls love flowers. I definitely suggest flowers for the first date, but after that it's your choice. Also, do gentlemen things for them like pulling out their chair for them to sit down before you, or opening the door and allowing them to walk through first. Girls go for that." James replied.
Sirius nodded. "And the first kiss … don't use tongue. Much better to save that for the second kiss."
Harry blushed. "Kissing … oh boy."
James laughed. "Harry, you don't have to be nervous. I understand that you are just at that age where you want to do it, but at the same time still find it embarrassing. Kissing is good."
"It's usually good to give the girl a kiss on the lips goodnight after your date." Remus suggested.
"Oh," Harry replied.
James nodded. "And now, onto the more serious end of this conversation. Girls and dating are easy enough and once you get the hang of it you'll be fine, but there is one very important thing that we need to also discuss."
"What's that?" Harry asked.
James sighed; blushing a bit himself. "Sex."
Harry turned scarlet, the blush starting at the nape of his neck. "Uh … I see."
Sirius grinned. "This should be embarrassing for all of us."
James nodded. "Okay, Harry, you see when a man and woman … love each other -"
"Don't sugar coat it, Prongs! Now, when a man and a woman want to shag each other senseless —"
"What? My statement's more true then yours!"
James ignored him and turned back to Harry. "Well, when the time comes, and you decide that you want to um … shag. There are some important things that you need to consider …"
One hour later, Harry was in his room staring at the wall.
That had been the most mortifying conversation of his entire life. He knew that his Da had not done it to embarrass him, but because it was important. His fourteenth birthday had been a week ago but the conversation had been embarrassing. He had learned more about sex then he had ever imagined. Once they had gotten through the basics and onto the proper protection charms and potions, Sirius had decided that it was also important for Harry to learn how to properly pleasure a woman. They had gone into specifics of things that Harry couldn't even imagine thinking about, let alone actually doing. But thanks to the marauders he now knew exactly what to look for to give a girl pleasure. But at the same time, while he was embarrassed he was extremely grateful to all three of them. He now knew that when his time came, he would be prepared in every possible way. Even over how to actually do it.
He laughed at himself as Foolish jumped up onto the bed. "Hey buddy, you heard that talk too, eh?" He scratched him behind the ears as Hedwig flew in through the window. "What's that you got there, girl?"
Hedwig hooted as she landed on his shoulder and held her leg out so that he could take the letter. Once he had the letter in his hand, he stroked her feathers softly. He ripped open the letter and his grin widened as he read what was there.
Guess what? Dad got tickets to the Quidditch World Cup! I can't believe it! But he managed it, something through the Ministry. He got tickets for you, Professor Lupin, and your Da as well. It's in two weeks!
Mum wants to know if you can come stay with us three days in advance so that we can pack up and get ready. Apparently there's a portkey nearby that will be set up to lead us straight to the camp. Hermione is coming too. Bill and Charlie are even coming back to England for the game. It's going to be brilliant!
By the way, tell Snuffles that we named the owl Pig, he's crazy and he never calms down. The bloody bird is going to drive us mad! Ginny actually named him Pigwidgeon — which is a stupid name. I tried to change it, but was too late, and now he's Pig.
Also, Percy got a job at the Ministry of Magic. Don't get him started on his boss, Barty Crouch, he goes crazy with Mr. Crouch this and Mr. Crouch that. He's working in the Department of International Magical Co-Operation. Hope to see you soon.
Write back soon with your response.
Harry grinned as he raced downstairs and into the living room, thoughts of the embarrassing talk gone from his mind. "Da, look what Ron sent me!"
James took the letter from Harry and quickly read it over. "Arthur got tickets?"
Harry nodded. "Can we go?"
James grinned. "Damn right we can." He turned to his friends. "Arthur got us tickets to the Cup."
Sirius sighed. "I wish I could see that."
Harry shrugged. "Well, are we allowed to bring pets into the stadium?"
James grinned. "We most certainly can! Brilliant, Harry, I think we'll bring our dogs Foolish and Snuffles."
"Brilliant! Can I write back to Ron and tell him we'll be there?"
James nodded. "Yeah and tell him that I need to know the price of the tickets to pay Arthur for our three."
Harry nodded as he ran back upstairs and quickly scrawled a response.
Da says 'brilliant'! Uncle Remus, Da, Foolish, Snuffles, and I will be there — after all, Da says that dogs are allowed in the stadium! Da wants to know the price of the tickets, though, so that he can pay your dad for ours.
Let me know what day you need us to come, and if you need us to bring anything specific. I can't wait!
Harry woke up with a start that evening. His breathing was heavy and his scar was hurting on his forehead. Foolish was growling at the air as he looked up at Harry. He closed his eyes and brought his dream back to the surface. Then he climbed out of bed and headed into the master bedroom. He shook James awake quickly.
"Da, Da wake up!" Harry murmured.
James groaned and opened his eyes. "Harry? What time is it?"
"Three a.m. I need to talk to you."
James sat up, rubbing his hands over his face. "What's up, Harry?"
Harry began to pace back and forth across the room. "I just had a dream, well but it feels like it wasn't a dream and when I woke up my scar was hurting."
James looked at Harry with concern now. "What happened in the dream, Harry?"
"I was seeing the dream through the eyes of this muggle named Frank … Bryce I believe. But he was thinking about how fifty years ago at the Riddle House in Little Hangleton, the three Riddles had been murdered. No one understood what had happened as the three of them were all in perfect health, except for the fact that they were dead. He was the caretaker of the mansion. He was brought in for questioning but they couldn't prove anything. Then it was back to present day. He woke up because his leg was bothering him, because of an injury from the war. He saw lights in the windows of the house, thought it was just some kids. He went in to investigate and he heard voices. There's a high-pitched whispery voice and Wormtail is there. The voice asks Wormtail where Nagini is, he says that he needs to be milked so that he can be fed. He tells Wormtail that they will stay until the Quidditch World Cup is over. Wormtail said something about something being done without me, but the voice says he wants me. Then, I realized that the voice was Voldemort. They said something about a woman named Bertha Jorkins being killed, but she had been useful. Then this snake appears and Voldemort starts talking to it. The snake is named Nagini. He finds out that the muggle is in the hallway, listening. Then he orders his chair to be turned. I don't know what was on that chair, but it was Voldemort. I don't think he had a body, but he could hold a wand because he killed the muggle. And then I woke up and my scar was hurting." Harry quickly blurted out in one go.
James was pale now as he stared at Harry. "You dreamed this?"
Harry nodded. "I think it might have actually happened. Last term, I overheard Trelawney predict that a loyal servant would escape and help Voldemort return to power, but I had forgotten about it because I was distracted by everything that happened with Sirius. But Peter he was … he was the one helping Voldemort plot to do something with me and Peter got away from us that night."
"If I ever lay eyes on that rat, I'm going to kill him with my bare hands," James replied in a cold voice that surprised Harry. "Listen, I'm going to tell Dumbledore about your dream tomorrow. But for now, there's nothing that you can do. I think that you should just head back to bed."
Harry nodded. "Alright, goodnight Da."
James nodded. "Goodnight Harry. And Harry?"
Harry turned to look at his father. "Yeah?"
"Thanks for telling me about this."
Harry smiled as he headed out of the room. "No problem, I just hope that it was really only a dream."
Finally, it was time for them to go to the Quidditch World Cup. Harry was practically bursting with excitement. They had spent the last evening at the Weasleys house. Percy really was going a bit crazy in Harry's opinion, and was apparently busy writing a report on cauldron thickness. He also finally got a chance to meet Bill and Charlie who were completely awesome, in his opinion. He got to know Bill a bit better though as Ginny seemed to be closer to Bill than Charlie and Harry ended up sitting next to her during dinner. But, before dinner started, Harry, James, and Remus had something important to do.
James stood up with his hand on Snuffles' head outside in the backyard of Burrow. Ginny was playing with Foolish, who seemed to have fallen in love with her. "Um, excuse me, but I have an announcement to make."
The yard fell silent as everyone turned around to look at him.
"Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Remus discovered something at the end of the school year. I know that Ginny is aware of what that is, but I would like to make everyone else that is here aware of it as well. But first I need for you to promise that you will not freak out and will not go to the authorities." James explained.
Percy looked flustered by this. "Are you doing something illegal?"
James nodded. "In a way, yes, but only because the Ministry doesn't have the full story, and refuses to listen to the full story. Can I count on you all?"
Once everyone had agreed, James gestured to Harry, who began to explain.
"You see, thirteen years ago, Dumbledore told my parents to go into hiding under the Fidelius Charm. Well, Da chose Sirius Black to be his Secret Keeper, but at the last minute, they changed it over to Peter Pettigrew. They thought that no one would ever suspect someone like him, and that Voldemort -" everyone shuttered but Harry ignored it. "- would obviously go after Sirius. But it turned out that Peter had been secretly working for Voldemort for two years. We didn't find that out until recently."
Remus nodded and stood up as well. "Sirius dragged Ron, Harry, and Hermione into the Shrieking Shack and I found them a few minutes later. To my surprise, there was another person there, someone that Ron knew as Scabbers."
Mrs. Weasley glanced up in surprise. "Percy's old rat, Scabbers?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, except that his name is not Scabbers."
James sighed. "When we were in school, Sirius, Peter, and I discovered that Remus was a werewolf. We hardly failed to notice that he disappeared during the full moon. We confronted him about it and he admitted to his condition. We wanted to help him. We understood that he went through a painful transformation, so we decided that if we became animagi we could be there with him during his wolf form. We worked on it for two years. I can become a white stag, Peter a rat, and Sirius a scruffy black dog."
Everyone's eyes went to the dog sitting calmly next to James.
James nodded. "This is Sirius. But no he is not a murderer or the one who betrayed me. Peter Pettigrew is still alive."
Ron made a growling sound in his throat. "When Sirius cornered him in the street he cut off his own finger and transformed into a rat. He's been living with us ever since as Scabbers. Remember how he was missing a toe? Professor Lupin and Sirius made him transform back into himself and he admitted to everything."
Bill looked up in surprise as Sirius transformed back into himself. "Then why is Sirius still a wanted criminal?"
Sirius spoke for the first time. "Because, as we were leaving the shack with Peter in tow, Moony transformed. Peter escaped in the chaos. Fudge refuses to believe the witnesses."
Everyone was silent for a few minutes except for Ginny. She walked over to Sirius and pulled him into a warm hug that shocked him to the core. "I told Harry months ago that I didn't believe that you had hurt anyone. He thought I was bit crazy but I was right. I'm glad that you escaped and don't worry, your name will be cleared soon." She kissed his cheek and then grinned at him.
Sirius grinned back at her. "Thanks. Ginny, right?"
She smiled up at him. "Yes, Mr. Black."
He grinned. "Call me Sirius."
After that, the evening went quite well. Percy continued to grumble but he was soon talking loudly during dinner about Mr. Crouch. Then, he began to complain that they weren't getting the support they needed from the Department of Magical Games and Sports and from Ludo Bagman, though Harry wasn't sure about what kind of support he was talking about. He then brought up about how careless Ludo was to lose someone from his department and that Bertha Jorkins had been missing for a long time now. Harry's eyes flew to James' and his father only nodded at him. Harry knew that James was telling him not to worry, but he couldn't help recall the name from the dream he had. He knew that his father was thinking the same thing.
Bill grinned at Harry. "It's nice to finally meet you, Harry. I've heard so much about you from Ron, Ginny, and the twins. I never did thank you for saving my sister's life a year ago either."
Harry smiled at Bill. "It was no problem. I would do it again if I had to. It wasn't her fault, it was Voldemort's fault."
Bill nodded. "I'm glad that you see that. It's nice to know it's not only me who is working on convincing Firefly of that."
Harry grinned. "I get what she's going through and she's doing fine now. I'm working on getting her back to normal."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Bill! Are you trying to embarrass me?"
Bill grinned and tugged her into his arms to hug her close. "Nah, just making sure someone's taking care of you, Firefly."
Ginny glared at him. "I can take care of myself!"
Bill nodded. "I remember, trust me." When she grinned, he sighed. "I never should have taught you that curse."
She grinned at him. "Too late." She kissed his cheek and hurried off to help her mother clean up the dishes.
After dinner, Harry learnt from Ron that the twins were in tons of trouble with Mrs. Weasley. Apparently they hadn't achieved nearly as many O.W.L.s as she had hoped. She had also discovered that they wanted to open a joke shop. The sounds and bangs that had been heard from their room for years were actually experiments. They had created a lot of different products for Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. They then talked about the game the next day, Ireland versus Bulgaria.
It was a tight fit that night when it came to sleeping arrangements. Ron, Fred, George, and Harry were in Ron's room; Remus, James, Bill, Charlie, and Sirius were in the twins' room; Hermione was in with Ginny; and Percy got his room to himself because he had to work.
Ginny couldn't sleep that night from excitement. When she finally did drift off, nightmares followed. She had tossed and turned in her bed, memories of the Chamber haunting her as she tried to sleep. Tom was there, smiling at her, touching her in ways that no eleven-year-old girl should be touched. He was whispering to her, telling her that he was going to kill her; that he was going to suck the soul from her body so that he could live; that no one would even miss her if she was gone. He also told her that no one loved her, and if she disappeared no one would even notice, or even care, that she was gone. He hit her with the Cruciatus and her screams echoed in her ears as she watched herself fall into unconsciousness. She bolted upright, the dream ending just as she had faded away.
She was drenched in sweat and shivering. She ran her fingers through her hair and closed her eyes. Why had she dreamed of that? She hadn't dreamed of the Chamber in a few months. She had gotten so good at blocking it out. She stood up quickly as the memory of the dream came back to the surface. She slipped into her robe and took a quick shower before she pulled on some pyjama bottoms since she had slept in a stolen Pride of Portree jersey from Bill before she headed downstairs.
She didn't want to wake anyone up, but she knew from experience that after a dream like that, she wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep. She stepped into the kitchen, heading over to rekindle the fire in the hearth before she moved to the stove to make herself some hot chocolate. She heard a sound in the doorway and turned around, surprised to see Sirius standing there.
"Ginny, what are you doing up so late?" He asked as he stepped into the room and took a seat at the table.
Ginny shrugged. "I had a bad dream. I was just making some hot chocolate, would you like a cup?"
Sirius nodded. "Sure, since you're making it."
She nodded and poured them each a cup before she sat across from him. "I'm going to go sit outside in the garden so I don't wake anyone. Want to come outside?"
Sirius smiled. "Sure that sounds good."
The two of them took a seat on the old wooden swing in the backyard. Ginny curled her legs under her and sipped her hot chocolate before she turned to him. "What are you doing up so late?"
"Same as you." He was quiet for a few moments and then he spoke up. "Ginny, can I ask you something?"
Sirius looked up at her. "Earlier, you just accepted the fact that I wasn't actually a murderer … I mean, the news had barely been told and you just … you hugged me. Why?"
Ginny managed a small smile as her heart thudded painfully in her chest. Her dream was still too close to the surface. She pushed the thought away and thought instead about the surprise that had radiated from him when she had hugged him earlier. "Because I just knew that you weren't. I said as much to Harry too; that I didn't think you were as bad as you had been made out to be. That you were a good person inside. It's something that I've been able to do for a long time; it's only gotten stronger since Tom."
Sirius gave her a puzzled look. "Tom?"
"Yeah, Tom Marvolo Riddle or Lord Voldemort. Depends on what you want to call him."
"I didn't know that was his name. But I guess he went through a lot of trouble to make sure no one knew his real name." Sirius replied. "How do you know it?"
Ginny jumped, spilling a bit of her hot chocolate onto the table. "I'm sorry, it's just … well, I guess I should be over it now, it did happen over a year ago. It's just, my nightmare, well it was about … Sirius, when you were at Hogwarts did you ever hear anything about the Chamber of Secrets?"
Sirius nodded. "Yes, I did. It was a legend. Salazar Slytherin supposedly built a secret chamber where he did his work. I heard he kept some kind of monster down there. James and I tried to find it once but when we couldn't we assumed it was just that, a legend."
Ginny nodded. "Well, it's not a legend. It's very, very real. The Chamber, the monster, everything. You see, my first year at Hogwarts, I assumed that Fred and George would you know, take me under their wing so to speak like they did at home. But naturally at school they had their own friends and hardly wanted their little sister hanging around. I mean, they weren't mean to me or anything and they were there when I needed them, I just … I was on my own. And Ron, well … I couldn't hang out with him. I had … well I had a terrible crush on Harry when I was eleven. Every time I was in a room with him, I would drop something or walk into something. It was terribly embarrassing. Once I even put my elbow in the butter dish. And of course it didn't help that my brothers were teasing me about it. He was my first real crush and all."
Sirius smiled. "So, because of Harry you couldn't be near Ron."
Ginny nodded, blushing a bit. "Yeah. I mean, I knew Harry wasn't interested in me anyway so the more I embarrassed myself, the worse it was. Anyway, when we got home from Diagon Alley, I found this diary in my transfiguration textbook. I didn't think much of it. I mean, I figured since it was in there, my parents must have known, right? Well, I started writing in it. I had just finished my last diary anyway, and I needed a new one. I've always kept extensive diaries ever since I was about seven years old. Bill used to call them the Ginny Chronicles." She smiled at the memory.
Sirius grinned. "Bill seems like a great guy. You're close with him?"
She nodded. "The closest. Other then Charlie, Bill is my favourite brother. Bill and Charlie were always the ones who were around when I needed them. Percy every once and while and as for Fred, George, and Ron … they just picked on me."
He laughed. "It's what siblings do I'm afraid. So, you were starting a new entry into the Ginny Chronicles?"
Ginny laughed. "Yes. So this diary that I found was empty except for the name Tom Marvolo Riddle written on the back. So I started writing in it … you know, explaining my problems and how I had a crush on the famous Harry Potter and how he was never going to notice me and the diary wrote back. At first, I panicked. I mean, Dad had always warned me not to trust anything when you couldn't see where it kept its brain. But I just thought, well, he's only answering me and being my friend. He was wonderful. I trusted him with all of my deepest fears and my secrets. Well, as many secrets and fears as an eleven-year-old can have. He was charming, and he made me feel important. But soon, I started getting black outs. Like, I would find myself in places and not know how I got there. Once I found myself covered in blood and feathers. I didn't understand. I talked to Tom and I told him that I thought I was going crazy. He was very supportive and assured me that I wasn't and that I was probably just a little stressed out over school work. Anyway, something in me snapped and I tried to get rid of the diary. You see, people in school were being attacked, and on Halloween, it said on the wall in blood that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened once more."
"But you got rid of the diary so you were okay?"
Ginny shook her head. "I did get rid of it, yes, but things weren't okay. Everyone in school thought that Harry was the heir of Slytherin. At a dueling club, he had spoken Parseltongue and everyone thought that he was attacking the students. Then, to make matters worse in my life, I lost a bet with Fred and George, and I had to send a singing valentine that the twins had written. Of course, they made me send it to Harry. He was so embarrassed when he received it. I mean, it didn't have my name on it or anything, but it was obvious that it had been from me. I mean, he's thick … but not that thick."
Sirius laughed. "He's a bit like James in that matter. What did the Valentine say?"
Ginny blushed. "It was so embarrassing. I had originally wrote – as part of the bet was that it had to be really cheesy – that his eyes were as green as a fresh pickled toad and his hair as dark as a blackboard. But that was all I could come up with. The twins added more to it. So when the dwarf cornered Harry, the Valentine sang: His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, his hair as dark as a blackboard. He's really divine, I wish he was mine, the hero who conquered the Dark Lord."
Sirius busted out laughing, the sound coming out as a deep rumble from his chest. "Oh that's rich! Poor Harry! I bet he was beet red."
Ginny smirked. "Maybe a little. I know I definitely was. I was embarrassed, but I saw that Harry had the diary that day. I panicked. The only thing I could think of was what if Tom told Harry all of my secrets. So, I stole it back, and soon it was happening again. The blank spots were back, and I was getting sick. I was pale all of the time. Fred and George began to hover a bit, and Percy was forcing me to take Pepper-Up potions. Then, Tom forced me to write my own message on the wall and to go down into the Chamber. I know now that it was some form of possession. Well, he came out of the diary. He was able to take corporeal form because I had fed my soul to him, unintentionally yes, but I had. He was touching me … telling me that I was pretty little girl. He was about sixteen years old. He did … well, it doesn't matter now, but I learned a lot of things that year; things that I have no business understanding now, sexual things, violence, hatred … it filled me. The last thing I remember is him fully coming out of the diary, talking to me, tort- well stuff, and then I was unconscious. When I woke up, Harry was kneeling over me, covered in blood and dirt, Dumbledore's phoenix was sitting on his shoulder, the diary had a huge bloody fang through it, Harry had a sword in his hand, along with the old Sorting Hat and there was a huge dead basilisk. I burst into tears. I told him everything and that I had done it. He told me that it wasn't my fault, and that everything would be okay. When I was in the hospital, Bill teased me about it. He told me that I could never do anything half-way. He said that I had to go get the boy that I had a crush on to rescue me. I dream about the Chamber a lot. It was just that I haven't had the dream in so long, and now … I don't know what brought it up."
Sirius nodded. He reached over to squeeze her hand gently. "I'm sorry, honey, that you would have to go through something like that. I'm also very honoured that you would tell me. Can I ask though, how did you find out that Tom Riddle was Voldemort?"
"I didn't, but when Harry was telling Dumbledore the story, I found out. I guess Tom told Harry that his name was Tom Marvolo Riddle, and when he switched the letters around it spelt I am Lord Voldemort." Ginny shivered. "I was possessed. It was a creepy feeling and really scary."
"I can imagine." He squeezed her hand lightly again.
The two of them sat in silence for a few moments until Ginny spoke.
"Sirius, what was your nightmare about?"
Sirius hesitated and then he swallowed. "Well, I guess it is only fair that I tell you, after what you just told me." He took a sip of his hot chocolate. "It's about the night that … well, the night I thought Lily and James died. I'm never going to forget it or forgive myself." When Ginny only looked at him oddly, he continued. "James wanted to use me as Secret Keeper when they went into hiding. I agreed at first, because I knew that I would die rather than betray my best friend. But then I thought, well, Voldemort is going to know it's me and come straight after me, so why not throw him off? I convinced James to choose Peter instead. I thought that Voldemort would never think that James and Lily would choose such a weak rat like him. James and Lily agreed and they did the charm. What we didn't know, was that Peter was secretly a Death Eater. He went straight to Voldemort and told him where James and Lily were hiding with baby Harry. He waited a little over a year to do it. To this day, I have never known why. That night, I was doing my check-ups on people. When I arrived at Peter's flat, no one was there. There didn't seem to be any sign of struggle, but I was still worried, and I was too late. When I arrived at the house in Godric's Hollow, it was destroyed, and James and Lily were … well, I thought they were dead. Hagrid was there, soothing Harry. I couldn't believe that Harry was alive. Hagrid told me Dumbledore was taking Harry to live with his godmother because I tried to get Hagrid to give him to me. Harry was screaming for me. But, I knew that I needed to find Peter, that something wasn't right … How did Voldemort find them? I always wake up aching, and now … James is alive and I don't know what hurts me more, to think that I thought that it was my fault that they were dead because I made a stupid mistake in judgment, or the fact that James has forgiven me for that mistake? Not to mention, my dreams still tend to be filled with memories of Azkaban."
"It's going to take some time to get over that, Sirius. Prison is a horrible place. I can't imagine what you went through in there."
Sirius nodded. "I think that I only stayed sane because I knew that I was innocent. I mean, we got bread and water once a day; we were never allowed to leave the cell; no bathing of any kind; just sitting there listening to the screams of other prisoners … it was horrible. But now that I'm here in the world again … I can't believe that both James and Lily survived. Lily's gone now but … I think that she would have forgiven me too and that's comforting."
"Lily sounds like she was wonderful and James is your best friend. How could he do anything else but forgive you?" Ginny asked.
Sirius nodded. "I don't know. Lily was wonderful. She was beautiful and she was so smart. James had a crush on her for ages, but she would never give him the time of day. She told him that he was a prat and that his ego was too big. She couldn't stand him. James never took any of it seriously; he just mooned over her, happily. Then, at the end of our sixth year he grew up. You know, stopped being a prat. He was more mature, and Lily started taking a second look at him. By the beginning of seventh year, they were together and they were inseparable. I loved Lily more then anything."
"I'm sure she would have forgiven you."
Sirius smiled. "I think she would have too. Remus and I used to flirt with her all the time. Just playful flirting, mostly because it pissed James right off. We called her Lily-Love. I used to always propose to her and tell her to come to Tahiti with me. She'd just laugh and kiss my cheek and tell me she'd see what James thought. She was like a sister to me. I can't imagine how it was for James to lose her. She was his everything. He's suffered so much."
Ginny smiled. "Yeah, James has suffered a lot, but so has Harry."
Sirius nodded, and then he tilted his head, giving Ginny a knowing smile. "You still have a crush on Harry, don't you?"
Ginny's mouth fell open in surprise. "Don't be ridiculous. I got over him ages ago."
Sirius grinned as he watched her carefully. "You love him, don't you?"
"You love him. Yeah, you got over the crush and fell in love instead. Am I right?"
Ginny shook her head furiously. "N-n-no."
Sirius grinned. "You're not very convincing. Don't worry; I'm not going to tell him. But I think that you're in love with Harry."
"Well, I'm not. We're just friends! I got over Harry way before he rescued me from the Chamber. He's my friend, one of my best friends."
Sirius nodded. "That may be, but it doesn't change your feelings does it?"
Ginny sighed, she felt comfortable with Sirius in a way she really only felt with Bill and Charlie. She grinned as she shook her head at him. "I told Hermione that I'm over him. And I am over him. It was a crush. He doesn't like me that way. I'm just Ron's little sister in his eyes."
Sirius grinned. "Well, that's his loss isn't it? Besides, he's probably just starting to look at girls. Don't lose hope. But I think he'll come to his senses eventually."
Ginny glanced over at him with surprise. "Why would you say that? We're just friends."
Sirius grinned. "Because the Potters tend to like red heads. Give him time, Gin."
She smiled at him, very pleased by the quick shortening of her name. To her, that was what people called her when they were close. "Well, we'll see. Right now, I think it's better if you would get it through your thick skull that we're just friends."
He grinned at her and decided that it was best to change the subject. "Hey, whatever you say, Gorgeous."
She laughed. "Gorgeous?"
He shrugged. "Well, you are. Hey, want to play a game of chess?"
Ginny smiled. "I'd love to. Besides, we've got hours until Mum wakes everyone up for the Cup. I don't think I can go back to sleep."
Sirius grinned. "My thoughts exactly."
By the time that morning finally came, neither Ginny or Sirius had gotten much sleep. They had stayed up all night playing chess and talking about anything and everything. They had really become close in a short amount of time.
When everyone else woke up the following morning, it was still dark outside. Once they were dressed and fed they stumbled out to the hidden portkey, led by Mr. Weasley. Sirius had made himself a dog by now and he and Foolish ran happily in circles around them.
They arrived at the campground and set up the two tents that Mr. Weasley had borrowed from someone at work named Perkins. The main tent had enough beds for Mr. Weasley, Harry, Ron, Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Remus, and James. Snuffles got to sleep on the floor as he had to stay in his dog form. The smaller tent was for Ginny and Hermione and to Ginny's delight, Foolish. The dog had fallen in love with her and was more than pleased to snuggle close as she slept. Hermione wasn't big on Foolish, as she was not much of a dog person, but she was pleased that he didn't seem to want to chase Crookshanks.
After walking around and running into Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, Ernie Macmillan, Cho Chang (which had caused Harry to blush and stutter) and Oliver Wood, Harry decided to buy a pair of Omnioculars — something specially used to watch the Quidditch game. He bought a pair for Ron, Hermione, and Ginny as well. Then he jumped in excitement as they finally headed to the game.
Viktor Krum was the talk of the tent at the end of the game. He was the seeker from Bulgaria and he had been brilliant. Harry was dying to try out some of the moves that he had done on his Firebolt. But later on that evening, Harry was woken up by James, and he could hear the screams.
Death Eaters were playing around the campsite, torturing the muggle campground owners as well as some wizarding families. They scrambled into the woods as the adults took off after the Death Eaters, hoping to stop them. The Dark Mark was cast into the sky, very near where the children were standing.
Once the chaos had subsided and the adults realized that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had not cast the Dark Mark, it was discovered that Winky, a house elf, had been found with a wand beneath the Mark. Barty Crouch's own house elf to be exact. He gave her clothes and set her free, causing her to scream and whine in panic and shame. Hermione was horrified by the treatment of the house elf, but the thoughts were pushed from everyone's mind as they realized that the Dark Mark was the sign of death for Voldemort. He placed it over homes after he killed the people inside of them.
They arrived back at the Burrow and found Mrs. Weasley in a panic. Apparently, a reporter named Rita Skeeter had written, in the Daily Prophet, that people had been killed at the World Cup and Mrs. Weasley was terrified since she had not heard from any of them.
Mr. Weasley managed to calm her down, and James suggested taking Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, and George into Diagon Alley for their school things. Mrs. Weasley was grateful for this and gave James a bag of money for her children. So the seven of them flooed to Diagon Alley that afternoon and left Bill, Charlie, Percy, Remus, Sirius, and Mr. Weasley at the Burrow with the daunting task of trying to calm down Mrs. Weasley.
James grinned at Ginny when they arrived at Diagon Alley a few hours later. "Ginny, I noticed that Foolish has taken quite a liking to you."
Ginny smiled warmly at him. "He's such a sweetie, Mr. Potter, you and Harry are lucky to have him. How old is he?"
"Foolish? He's eleven years old now. And please, call me James."
Ginny grinned. "I always wanted a dog, but it's nice to know that I can play with Foolish every now and again. I've been working on trying to convince Mum to let me get a cat. I don't have a pet of my own and this way I can bring the cat to school with me. But no dice yet, we'll see."
James laughed. "You'll get one eventually, don't worry. I'm sure that she can't hold out forever. I wanted to thank you earlier for what you did for Padfoot."
Ginny smiled. "It was no problem. I wasn't lying. I did say that I didn't believe Sirius did any of those terrible things to Harry. I think that he's a nice guy and he sure makes a handsome dog."
James smirked. "That he does. He told me you two had quite a long talk before the Cup."
"We did. Nightmares tend to bring people together."
James smiled. "That they do. He said he became President of the Insomniacs Club."
Ginny laughed. "Actually, I called president and told him he could be VP, but we're still working out the kinks."
James grinned. "I think that you two get along well. Well, let's go catch up with the others and figure out what the hell you all need."
Ginny laughed. "Good idea."
"Harry, how much new stuff do you need?" James called out.
Harry fell back a bit more towards his father as he glanced at the parchment. "Just some books and ingredients and … dress robes?"
James grinned. "Yeah, I believe you will need those. Do you all need dress robes?"
Everyone nodded but Ginny. "I don't. It must be only for fourth years and above."
James nodded. "Alright, let's get this show on the road."
Ron grinned broadly as they stepped into his bedroom later on that evening. "It was cool of your Da to help us pick out dress robes."
Harry nodded. "Yeah, I kind of like the bottle-ink green ones that Hermione and Ginny picked out. She and Hermione ganged up on me, though Da did tell me to get them too."
"I'm just glad that I was shopping with your Da … Mum would have made me get maroon! I hate maroon! But now, thanks to him I have black."
Harry laughed. "Well, Fred and George picked out sky blue and neon orange … now they're going to stand out."
Ron grinned. "I think that was their goal."
They laughed as they sorted through their things. Once Ron made sure that his bags were only filled with his things, he nodded.
Harry grinned. "Guess so. Well, I better go then. I'll see you tomorrow at the train station."
Ron nodded. "See ya."
Harry gathered up his bags and headed downstairs where James was waiting. Remus and Sirius had already taken Foolish back to Potter Manor. "Okay, I'm ready."
They said goodbye to everyone, thanked Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for their hospitality, and flooed back to Potter Manor. Harry put everything in his room. He came back downstairs, asking if he could work on his animagus transformations again.
Sirius agreed to help him, as James had to go into the Ministry. The Ministry was in chaos ever since the World Cup and had everyone working extreme overtime. Harry tried to focus on changing his left hand into the tip of a phoenix wing. The summer was over, after tonight, and he still had nothing. His frustration must have been showing because Sirius sighed.
"Harry, listen to me you can't get frustrated, you just have to concentrate hard and … let the magic flow through you. I know that you can do this."
Harry nodded. He took three deep calming breaths and closed his eyes. He concentrated on his magic, on that heat and intense power within him and then he imagined his left arm as a red and gold phoenix wing. His left arm tingled and danced and when he opened his eyes, he had a wing.
"I did it!" He exclaimed.
Sirius grinned. "Shit, you did do it! Damn it, Harry, that's brilliant! I think I should be jealous! It took me damn near to six months to get that far! Try to turn it back now."
Harry nodded. He brought back the concentration and did the same thing as before but when he looked at his arm he still had a wing. He tried again and again and finally after the fifth attempt, his arm was back.
Sirius beamed at him. "Bloody brilliant, mate. Try it again."
Harry grinned. "Slave driver!"
A few minutes later, he had a wing again.
"Try your other arm now." Sirius suggested.
Harry nodded and he concentrated on his right arm. But after two hours he still only managed to have one wing. He groaned in frustration.
Sirius only shook his head. "Don't worry about it, Harry! You're already way ahead of both James and I. It took us six months to get where you are and you've done it in less than two. I think that that's enough for today."
Harry nodded and then he grinned when James walked into the room. "Da! Look I did it!" When James looked up, Harry changed his left arm into a phoenix wing.
James grinned. "Bloody hell, Harry that's amazing! I'm proud of you! It took Sirius and I six months!"
Harry grinned. "I know, he told me."
"Can you change anything else?"
"No, only my one arm."
"You'll get it, don't worry. Listen, I'm going to give you a small hint of something that's happening at Hogwarts. I don't want to ruin the surprise though. But there's an important event happening at Hogwarts this year. It involves Hogwarts and the two other schools of magic; Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy." James explained.
"What kind of event?" Harry asked.
James smiled. "An important one. I'm not going to tell you anything else; I think that you can find out with the rest of the school. Now why don't you head on up to bed and make sure that you finish packing your trunk."
Harry nodded. "Okay, but can't you give me a little hint?"
James shook his head. "Nope, not even a little one. Goodnight, Harry."
Harry headed up to bed, wondering what kind of important event that involved all three schools of magic would be happening at Hogwarts.