Harry Potter faces life without Dumbledore has he tried to find the last Horcruxes. Will he learn to stop pushing away those he loves, thus harnessing the Power the Dark Lord Knows Not?
“Really, Albus, you cannot expect them to be able to do this on their own, the Order should at least know what they are doing,” ranted Professor McGonagall.
“Minerva, I’m afraid secrecy on this mission is of up most importance, if Voldemort were to find out what they are doing it would doomed our cause,” said the portrait. Any protest the Animagus might have had was cut off by a loud crack as Dobby appeared in the office.
“Dobby is sorry for interrupting Professors, but it I is having an urgent report on Harry Potter and his Ginny,” said the house-elf.
“What is it, Dobby?” asked Dumbledore.
“Dobby isn’t knowing the exact details, sir, as I is not being close enough to hear, but Dobby is watch Harry Potter and his Wheezy speaking during your funeral. They is both walking away and is looking very sad, sir,” said Dobby.
“I was afraid this would happen. Thank you Dobby,” said Dumbledore.
“Of course they would be sad, they both thought very highly of you Albus, what would you expect?” asked the confused McGonagall.
“I do not believe that is the primary source of Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley’s sadness. My guess is that Harry has ended his relationship with Ginny in an attempt to make her a less inviting target for Voldemort,” explained Dumbledore.
“The poor boy, he can’t even have a proper girlfriend without having to consider the war,” said McGonagall.
“I agree, Miss Weasley has been good for Harry. Dobby has kept his eye on them for me and we both agree that she makes him happier than he has ever been. Minerva, I need you to find them and bring them to me, I would like to speak with them. We must do everything in our power to keep them together, nothing is more important,” ordered Dumbledore.
Without bothering to wonder why Dumbledore considered Harry’s relationship with Ginny so important or why he had asked a house-elf to spy on them for him, Professor McGonagall left her new office in search for her students
Harry Potter sat at the edge the Hogwarts Lake, staring at the giant squid resting just under the surface. If one had looked into his troubled mind at that moment, they would have seen it doing battle with itself. One part of his brain, the part most closely connected with the monster that had found its way into his chest, was reminding him of the one who had made him feel more alive than he had ever felt. "Exactly," the other part of his brain responded as it sent image after image of those who had died to protect him. "That's why I can't be with her. How would I cope if Voldemort used her to get to me? I can just wait until it’s over with and be with her then."
"Do you really think you'll live to see the end?"
"Of course I’ll live. I have the power he knows not."
"And that power is what, exactly? Stubbornness? A saving people thing?"The voice then said, in a perfect imitation of Hermione whenever a teacher asked a question of the class, “Oh, I know. It’s love isn’t professor?”
“Excellent, ten points to Gryffindor.”
“Who says I love her. I don’t even know what love is. If you had asked 2 years ago, I would have told you I loved Cho.”
"Tell yourself whatever you want, but do you really think Tom will be fooled by your breaking up with her? Don't you think Snape and Malfoy have told him about your little rendezvous after the Quidditch match? He can get into your mind remember, he could find out your feelings."
For the first time since he saw Dumbledore get blown off the astronomy tower, Harry knew he was thinking clearly. It wasn't just that he wanted to be with her, he needed to be with her. He only hoped when would forgive him for being so stupid. He knew he must have been acting stupid if his own brain was mocking him. He only hoped Ginny would be willing to hear him out. She had understood when he had told her he couldn’t be with her, but could tell that it had hurt her just the same. Harry shuddered to think of the tongue-lashing he'd be in for when he approached her, and hoped he would be able to dodge the bat bogey hex he knew would be sent his way, but hopefully she would understand after that.
Harry got up and quickly made his way towards the Gryffindor common room. The monster in his chest was in a heightened state of alert, sniffing the air for that flowery aroma he remembered from his first day in Slughorn's potions class. God he loved that smell. As if Hogwarts was reading his mind, he caught wind of that same perfume, behind the tapestry that hid the short cut he had taken so many times it was almost second nature. He turned and saw those brown eyes he loved so much staring back at him.
"Ginny, I was just looking for you."
"Oh, I suppose you want to make sure I'm behaving myself and not doing anything too dangerous. Don't worry, I'm being a good girl," she responded harshly. Harry winced. He knew she’d be mad at him, but that didn’t make it any easier.
"I deserved that. I know you’re mad at me and I know that I hurt you. All I ask is that you give me a chance to say what I came here to say, then you can hex me to you heart’s content and I won’t stop you. I wanted to see if you were to give me another chance. I know I don’t deserve one, but I also know that I was wrong to try to protect you. I need you."
Ginny's eyes widened in shock. She had not expected this. Harry was normally so stubborn, especially when he got into his "saving people thing" as Hermione called it. She stood there in shock, and noticed the pained and lost look in his emerald eyes. It unnerved her. She had never seen him look so tortured, so unraveled, not even after losing Sirius.
Harry, who mistook Ginny's silence for a "no" continued on. "I understand if you don't want to. I mean I know I hurt you, and I'm dangerous to be around, but-" His ramblings were interrupted when Ginny yanked him towards her for a kiss many times more passionate than any they had ever shared before. In that moment, Harry's mind was cleared of all other thoughts. He forgot about Voldemort, Snape, or the fact that Ginny's entire family was in the castle at this moment, including several brothers who were known to be quite protective of the only Weasley female in generations. Unfortunately they were human beings and as such required oxygen. When this pesky need couldn't be put off any further, they were forced to break apart.
"Thought you could get away from me that easily did you?" Ginny said with a smirk as she took in Harry's appearance. His clothes were ruffled and his hair even messier than normal. She had to suppress a laugh as she imagined Harry sputtering and turning red when asked by one of her brothers why he looked so tousled. Ron was the only one who knew about them, and she knew Harry was worried about the reaction of the rest of her family when they did find out. Harry noted that in his life, his brain had had two arguments with itself. The first being over whether he should ask Ginny out to begin with and risk his friendship with Ron, and the second over whether or not to get back with her or stay away for her own safety. He realized that both arguments had ended with long snogging sessions with Ginny, and made it a point to make sure his brain argued with itself more often.
As they were each lost in thought about each other, neither of them had noticed Professor McGonagall had been standing in the hallway, viewing the whole scene. Once they noticed they were not alone they each jumped, startled and red-faced, expecting a reprimand for their behavior. However, they were shocked to find a smile on the face of their normally stern and proper transfiguration teacher.
"Sorry to interrupt Mr. Potter, but the portrait of Dumbledore would like to speak with you and Ms. Weasley in his office. The password is Lemon Drops," said their Head of house, who was chuckling at her students’ embarrassment. The two quickly made their way towards the headmaster’s office (headmistress’s office, Harry reminded himself). Harry was feeling apprehensive about the chance to speak with his mentor once again. It was a reminder of his loss, at the same time; he would be able to ask all of the questions he hadn't had time to ask the real Dumbledore.
They entered the office to find all off the portraits occupied except the one situated directly behind the desk, which Harry knew contained Professor Dumbledore. Both took seats and waited.
"So, am I too assume by your response in the corridor that your willing to forgive me for being so stupidly noble," Asked Harry, breaking the silence.
"Of course. I knew I'd have you back before too long," answered Ginny, grinning confidently.
"I'm amazed I escaped that conversation without at least one hex being thrown at me," laughed Harry. Ginny's temper, as well as her arsenal of jinxes and hexes (many of which she had learned from Harry in the DA), was famous in the school.
"I'll give you a free pass on that one, but if you try any of that noble crap again my bat bogey hex is gonna look like a massage compared to what I'll have in store for you," said Ginny menacingly, but smiling.She knew he wouldn't do anything like that again, and Harry knew she was only half joking.
“Don’t worry, I’m done pushing you away. I don’t ever want to find myself staring at the business end of your wand,,” said Harry chuckling.
“Smart boy,” praised Ginny. Both teens began to wonder how they got so lucky.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, I was exploring the other portraits in the castle and lost track of the time," said a warm voice the teens knew all too well.
"Hello professor." They chimed together.
"Well, I'm sure that you are wondering what I have called you here for. First, I have received word from the governors that Hogwarts is to be closed indefinitely. Most importantly, however, Harry, is that I wanted try to speak with you and make sure that you do not try distance yourself from you loved ones in an effort to protect them. I was sure, knowing you as I do, that you would attempt to leave Ms. Weasley here, and my purpose in calling you both here was to get you change you mind. However, if the state of your robes and your unkempt hair is any indication, you have already done so," said Dumbledore, his blue eyes twinkling as Harry turned a brilliant shade of red and Ginny smirked, enjoying her boyfriends discomfort.
Harry managed a "yes sir," as he hid is face in his hands, embarrassed to have been caught by not one, but two professors.
"Excellent. You greatest power is love Harry don't forget that. It would do you no good in you fight against Tom if you pushed it away. Now, onto other business. First, I would like you to take my pensive." Harry looked up in shock; he hadn't expected this. He knew pensives were valuable. He placed the familiar stone basin on his lap, as well as a manual on how to use it.
"Second, I would like to speak about your living arrangements for the summer. You know, of course that you must return to the Dursley's until your 17th birthday."
Harry scowled at this. "Sir, I don't think I can do that, I can't take how alone I am there. Not after what happened."
"Who said anything about you being alone? Actually, I was wondering how you would feel about Ms. Weasley here joining you at Privet Drive? You would be with someone you love, and another witch would be there in case the death eaters should come calling."
Ginny's eyes lit up at the idea of being able to spend to the summer with Harry and away from her brothers. Harry, however, didn't look pleased.
"No way! Do you know how they treat magic there? I'm not given meals half the time, I'm forced to do chores all day and avoid Dudley's gang in the meantime. It’s one thing for me to be forced with them, quite another for someone I love to be treated like that just to keep me company. You have no idea what I’ve been through at Privet Drive. I won't let her be subjected to that," Harry said forcefully, only vaguely registering that he had just indirectly told Ginny he loved her.
"I thought you would voice those concerns, not to worry. I am about to teach you a spell to make your magic undetectable to the Ministry. I am sure knowledge that you can do magic and get away with it will be enough to persuade them to treat you both with respect. If not, I think a recreation of the magnificent tail I believe you cousin once sprouted would certainly be. As for eating arrangements, I‘m sure Dobby and Winky will be more than pleased to bring you your meals.”
Harry grinned at the memory of Hagrid using his pink umbrella to give Dudley a tail the night he learned he was a wizard. It soon became the first memory he put in his pensive. Had it been anyone else, Harry would have been shocked to hear a teacher giving him an illegal spell and encouraging him to hex his relatives so he and his girlfriend could spend the summer together. However, Dumbledore had always been more inclined to aide mischief than to stop it. Harry soon found this thought being forced out of his head by yet another concern.
“Sir, are you sure Mr. and Mrs. Weasley will approve, I don’t think they even know that we’ve been dating.” He glanced at Ginny, who shook her head no guiltily.
“I’m sure that they won’t mind. They trust you, as long as you tell them before hand that the two of you are together,” assured the departed headmaster. “Before you go, I would like to apologize for not taking your concerns about Severus and Mr. Malfoy seriously. I’m afraid that I so wanted to believe that Severus had come back to our side that I refused to believe that it could be a ruse.”
“That’s okay. He fooled a lot of people, Professor,” Harry knew Dumbledore always wanted to see the good in people. While it had been frustrating at times, he also admired him for it. “Sir, I was wondering, if we could stay here periodically, both to make use of it’s research facilities and because it wouldn’t shock me to find some of what we are looking for within the castle. Also, someone beat us to the cave. The locket you found was a fake. From the note they left I‘ve determined it was taken by a Death Eater who had a change of heart. The initials were RAB.”
“Interesting. I do not have any idea who may have taken it. I feel this is where Miss Granger’s love of research will come in handy. As to your first request, certainly you may stay at Hogwarts as much as you please, so long as you keep it quiet. I will inform Minerva. I also agree that it is a possibility that some of our answers lie in this very castle. It is, after all, the one place Tom always felt at home,” reasoned Dumbledore. “Now, Harry I believe you have a conversation with Ginevra and her family you must attend to . When you are done, please tell Molly and Arthur that I would like to speak with them. I’m going to explain that you, Ronald, Miss Granger and now Ginny have been asked by me to pursue a mission which we are keeping a secret. We will also discuss the living arrangements this summer. Now, the incantation used to mask your magic is Deletrius Incantatem. Be warned that the ministry considers this spell be Dark Magic, as Death Eaters often use it to cover their use of unforgivable curses, so see to it that they do not know you have learned it. I know it may be hard, but I hope you manage to enjoy your summer.”
With that, the teens left the office. Only Dumbledore noticed the light surrounding to couples joined hands. His eyes widened in shock. He knew that glow. He had seen it twenty years before as Lily and James Potter had walked pass the Lake hand and hand. He had expected it, Harry’s heart contained more love than anyone he knew, and his hope would be to establish the bond over the summer. However, their love seemed stronger than even he had imagined.