The second book may be over, but now Harry, Ron, Hermione and most of their friends and family are starting the third book. A fourteen year old crime will finally be solved, and the once guilty may...
Harry Potter woke up to someone shaking him gently. That didn’t stop him from nearly jumping out of bed and hexing the person though. In fact, the hex probably would have flown and hit its target if he hadn’t caught sight of the red hair.
“Ginny,” he said. “Were you trying to give me a heart attack?”
Ginny Weasley smiled innocently at him. “Heart attack? Of course not. I was just trying to get you up in time for you to eat breakfast before we start reading the next book.”
Harry groaned. He had been spending the first two days of the Easter break reading books that were about his first two years at Hogwarts with his friends, teachers, and as-close-to-family-members that he got. So far he could have been expelled numerous of times for some of the things the books were revealing and he was certain that if she got her way, Dolores Umbridge, the most hated Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and evil ministry hag, would have him out of Hogwarts and made a laughing stock. In a way, it was almost a good thing these books showed up because now he could prove to her that he was telling the truth and everyone else could see what a…well, what a witch she was.
“Are you coming or what?” Ginny asked snapping him out of his thoughts.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled. “Why aren’t you waking Ron or Neville up?”
“Because they are already in the hall, pigging out on breakfast, well Ron is at least,” she told him. “You’re the last one up.”
Normally, this would have bothered Harry since he was normally an early riser, but he knew why. He had spent half the night drifting off to sleep, only to be awoken by a flare or flash of a dream or snippet into Voldemort’s mind, jolting him awake only to have the process repeated. He really hadn’t fallen asleep until late that morning, and now he was going to be paying for it.
“Okay, give me five minutes,” he sighed to Ginny, who backed out of the dormitory. He pulled out some clothes, went into the bathroom, changed and got ready only slightly after the five minutes he promised Ginny. He walked down into the Common Room and found her waiting for him.
“Ready?” She asked, her lips curving upward and Harry found himself smiling.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
They walked down into the hall in companionable silence and Harry wondered what had changed for Ginny to be able to actually walk with him not be bright red. Well whatever it was, he thought happily, thank goodness for it.
They reached the Great Hall and Harry was about to go in but Ginny’s hand caught his wrist.
“Harry,” she began. “Listen, I wanted to…to say thank you for yesterday.”
He gave her a gentle smile. “Anytime Gin.”
“And,” she took a breath. “And that you can talk to me about your dreams.”
Quickly covering his shock, Harry feigned ignorance. “What dreams?”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “You know very well what dreams. I just want you to know that well…that I know what’s it like to have him inside your head and that if you want to talk about it, I’m here.” Then, before he could respond, she turned and walked into the hall, acting like nothing had happened. He watched her go, her red hair trailing down her back. Thank goodness indeed.
After eating a hasty breakfast and trying not to dwell on either his dreams or what Ginny had said, Harry followed Ron and Hermione up to the Room of Requirement along with Neville, Luna, and Fred and George. There they were met by Dumbledore, McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick, Hagrid and Snape. Harry gave a smile to Hagrid but glared coldly at Snape, both of which were returned. After a moment, Mrs. Weasley came up to them, smiling when she saw Harry’s questioning look.
“Arthur had to go back to work today; he said something about exploding toilets.” Harry nodded understandingly, remembering Mr. Weasley talking about those before his hearing over the summer. He looked around and saw that the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, Madame Amelia Bones, Umbridge, and Percy Weasley had all arrived. The only ones missing now were…
“Where are Remus and Si- Snuffles?” Harry asked.
“Late, because someone wouldn’t get up,” a voice said from behind him and Harry turned to find Remus Lupin standing behind him with a large black dog next to him. “I had to dump a bucket of water on him and he didn’t want to leave until his precious hair was dry.” Remus rolled his eyes and Snuffles yipped indignantly.
“Well now that we are all here,” Dumbledore began, his eyes twinkling merrily. “Shall we head inside?”
There was a murmur of assent and a rush to the door. If their mother hadn’t been there, it would have been safe to assume that Fred and George would have pushed their way through to get inside first. As it was, the teachers and Ministry officials went in first, followed by Mrs. Weasley, and then the rest merely filed in.
The room still had the same number of couches as it did the day before and the same seats were filled by the same people. At the long table in front of the room, Dumbledore sat in the middle with Snape to his left, followed by McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick, and Hagrid, who took up the entire end of the table. To Dumbledore’s right, Madame Bones sat down, looking quite comfortable, followed by Percy Weasley, who looked anything but comfortable, Cornelius Fudge, who had a faint inkling about what was going to happen today, and finally, Dolores Umbridge who was giving everyone her sickly sweet smile. Arranged in a half circle in front of the table were six couches, each seating two people. Mrs. Weasley sat the closest to Umbridge, with Ginny next to her. Neville and Luna were sharing a couch, Fred and George were together of course, Harry sat down and Snuffles jumped into the seat nearest George, Remus sat down next to Harry and Hermione sat next to him, leaving Ron to have a couch to himself near Hagrid.
Once everyone was situated Dumbledore pulled out a hardcover book. “This book is entitled Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Harry gave a faint smile when Snuffles barked joyfully at the title. “However, before we begin I must ask something of you Cornelius, and of you Amelia.” Dumbledore continued gravely.
“What is it Dumbledore?” Fudge asked wearily. He wasn’t sure how many more surprises he could take.
“I must ask that no matter what is read about during this book, you both refrain from judgment until the book is over.”
“That is reasonable,” Madame Bones agreed readily. “Isnt it Cornelius?” She gave the Minister a meaningful look.
“Yes, yes fine we won’t judge until the book’s over.”
Dumbledore smiled genially. “Excellent. In that case, would you be so kind as to join us Sirius?”
Snuffles gave an agreeing bark and a second later where a large black dog once sat was a handsome man with long black hair and grey eyes that held both laughter and sadness. He was, of course, Sirius Black.
The reaction was slightly delayed but amusing all the same.
Fudge jumped to his feet, losing his balance from the rapidness of his movement and wobbling a bit. Neville paled and his eyes went wide, but he remained in his seat. Luna seemed unfazed by the sudden appearance of a mass murderer, as did Madame Bones, both of whom were watching everything calmly. Professor Flitwick gave a slight squeak and slipped in his seat, Professor Sprout paled and fingered her wand.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Oh come on, he’s not that scary, and trust me, he’s looked worse.”
Sirius looked offended. “Oi, I have always been handsome Pup.”
Remus coughed loudly and Harry snickered.
“B-but B-black!” Fudge stammered. “He…dog…how?”
“I assure you Cornelius, all will be revealed.” Dumbledore smiled. “Now, shall we begin?”