Harry and Ginny spend the summer at privet drive.
"Um, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Dumbledore’s portrait would like a word with you, but first, um-Ginny and I have something we need to tell you," said Harry nervously.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley smiled knowingly. Ron and Hermione looked up with interest, both clearly curious to see families reaction. Bill and Charlie looked up surprised. Whatever Harry had to tell them sure was making him nervous.
"Um. Well-you see. Ginny and I have started-um. Well you see, after the last Quidditch match we kind of, er-" stuttered Harry, when Ginny interrupted-
"Harry and I have started dating," Ginny stated unabashedly, without a fear in the world. The room was silent for a second, before all three Weasley brothers burst into laughter.
"Harry, mate, you should have seen the look on your face. You've fought You-Know-Who, what, five times, and the idea of dating our sister has you scared out of your wits,” laughed Bill.
"Can't blame him for being scared, can you Bill? Honestly, dating Ginny must be terrifying. Think of all the hexes you need to block! Does he know about the temper the Weasley women have," joked Ron. Harry then found out all about Ginny's temper and her hexes, as Ron ran around the common room trying to flee away from the bat-bogies she had sent at him.
"So, um, you're alright with it then?" asked a still nervous Harry.
"Harry, Molly can't think of anyone better for our little girl to be with. We know you'll treat her right," said Mr. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley, who was clearly ecstatic, nodded in agreement.
"Harry, just don't hurt her. You both deserve to be happy" said Charlie, extending his hand out for Harry to shake.
"I will Charlie, I don't fancy seeing Norbert anytime soon," assured Harry. Charlie grinned at the mention of his most dangerous (and therefore favorite) dragon back in Romania.
"Was’ tha about' Norbert?" asked a booming voice, and the family turned to see Hagrid squeezing into the common room.
"Harry here was just assuring us he knows the consequences of dating Ginny then hurting her," answered Charlie.
"Told you he'd come back around, Ginny," said a gentle voice and Remus Lupin entered the common room. "So, Harry, is all this rubbish about breaking up with Ginny to protect her done with?"
“You did what!” yelled Hermione. “Harry, you’re like a brother to me, but that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.”
“Yeah mate, and you fought a troll your first year,” agreed Ron.
“And flew a car to school your second year,” added Fred.
“And went to Hogsmeade illegally third year when you thought a mass murder was looking for you,” reminded George as the twins joined their family in the common room.
"He lasted for about an hour before he came running back to me," said Ginny, smirking at the indignant look on Harry's face.
"I didn't come running back. I asked that you give me the chance to fix a mistake. You make it sound like I got on my knees and begged. I have my dignity you know," said Harry, pretending to look hurt.
"Of course, whatever you say Harry," teased Ginny as her brothers snickered and George gave a cough that sounded suspiciously like "whipped." It was clear to everyone in the room that she had Harry wrapped around her finger and was enjoying every second of it.
“Just like Lily and James aren’t they Remus? James used ter bend over backwards for Lily. Only she could ever control James,” reminisced Hagrid.
"I'm sure that James would be proud. Potter men have always been suckers for redheads ," said the Marauder fondly.
It was now Harry's turn to chastise his former professor.
"And I'm sure that if dad were here, he'd smack you on the head for making the same mistake I made. You needn't worry about putting Tonks in danger. She's an Auror and a member of the Order. Life can't get anymore dangerous unless your name is Harry Potter."
Lupin seemed to contemplate this for a moment as he watched the boy who was a near spitting image of his long deceased best friend. He knew that somewhere James and Lily were looking down at their son with pride. "I guess you're right. I've got something I need to do. I'll see you later."
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley went to their meeting with Dumbledore and Lupin left to look for Tonks. Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione went to the privacy of the Room of Requirement.
“So, Harry, what’s this secret mission from Dumbledore we’ve got?” asked Ginny.
“What do you mean we? She’s not going,” insisted Ron.
“Dumbledore said to let her in on it. And besides, she has a right to know what we learned about that diary,” said Harry firmly.
Harry spent the day bringing Ginny up to speed about Horcruxes and told her the full contents of the prophecy. She had been shocked to learn that she had carried around a piece of Tom's soul around for almost a year, but started to feel better when they began to get ready for their visit to the Dursley's.
Harry was sitting in the common room when Fred and George entered, looking very serious.
“Harry, we need to have a little chat,” began Fred.
“You see, it’s come to our attention that you are dating our baby sister,” continued George sternly.
“And we have some concerns.”
Harry gulped. He had been afraid of this.
“You see, we would not be good businessmen if we did not make plans for when our main financer meets his demise.”
“Which, now that you’ve started dating Ginny, will surely happen sooner or later.”
“You’ve seen her temper…”
“And don’t take this the wrong way…”
“But we heard stories about your date with Ms. Chang a while back…”
“And it’s clear that you’re bound sooner or later to make a colossal mistake…”
“After which you won’t be the-boy-who-lived for much longer…”
Harry grinned and let out a sigh of relief. Of course the twins were having him on. They had looked serious. They were never serious. He knew he and Ginny would be teased mercilessly, but he also understood that this was their way of saying that he was family.
“I appreciate your concern, so just let me voice mine. I know that you have many ideas for pranks at the expense of Ginny and me. So let be just remind you of one little fact. I, Harry James Potter, am the son of a certain marauder called Prongs, who also happens to be the best prankster in Hogwarts history. I would advise you two not to start something if you can’t finish it,” warned Harry, interrupting the twin’s musings.
“You hear that Gred? He thinks we want to prank him,” said George, looking insulted.
“I know, Forge. Doesn’t he think we’re smarter than that? Was he not in the room when Ginny displayed her temper on poor Ronnikins?” replied the twin.
“Too right you are. Now, your sister and I will be spending a few weeks with the Dursleys. I need you to ensure that we are properly supplied for them,” said Harry.
With that, the twins flooed to their shops, returning with several of their finest products and steadfastly refusing any payment from their main investor.
Harry proceeded to his dormitory to pack his new supplies, where he found Ginny, who, having finished her own packing, had taken it upon herself to pack for Harry as well.
“Harry, don’t you have any Muggle clothing that isn’t for someone the size of a hippo?” Asked the redhead as she folded one of Dudley’s old shirts and put it in Harry’s suitcase.
“Afraid not, Gin, the only Muggle clothing I was given are Dudley’s old hand-me-downs,” answered Harry.
“Well, the first thing we’re doing is taking you shopping for some decent clothes. So, what’s your cousin like?” asked Ginny.
“Well, he’s huge and likes to break things. Like Grawp, except not as large of a vocabulary,” joked Harry, leaving out the fact that Dudley’s favorite thing to try and break was Harry.
“Now, I believe that we have meals to arrange. Dobby!”
“Yes Harry Potter, sir. You called?” said the excited house-elf as he appeared in the dormitory.
“Yes Dobby. We were wondering if you and Winky could do something for us. Ginny and I will be staying at the Dursley’s for a few weeks and were wondering if you wouldn’t mind bringing us meals? If memory serves me correct, you already know where to find me,” asked Harry.
“Yes Harry Potter, sir. Dobby would be honored to serve Harry Potter and his Ginny. Dobby is knowing how much Harry Potter loves all of his Wheezy’s. But Dobby is also knowing that Harry Potter is loving his Ginny most of all,” said Dobby.
“Yeah I like her alright, I guess,” smirked Harry, earning himself a smack on the head from Ginny’s heaviest textbook.
“Dobby is hoping Harry Potter is careful. Dobby isn’t wanting the Bat Bogey’s to be getting Harry Potter, but Dobby knows that Ms. Ginny must if Harry Potter doesn’t behave,” warned Dobby.
“Good advice Dobby. Thank you, that is all,” said Ginny.
Harry had ordered 2 copies of both Minding the Mind: A Guide to Legilimency and Occlumency and Animal Instincts, Your Guide to Becoming an Animagus. One copy would stay with him and Ginny, and the other with Ron and Hermione, who would both be spending a large part of the summer at the Granger's house. Ginny had teased Harry, telling him that he must have been Hermione in disguise, because only she would make up projects for herself and her friends during the summer. This earned scowls from both Harry and Hermione, but he explained that being unregistered Animagi would help them sneak into places This was especially important for him because he was well known and drew attention to himself. Plus, he figured, Prongs and Padfoot would most likely be disappointed in him if he didn't commit at least one crime that could land him in Azkaban. He was, after all, the son of Hogwarts most famed rule breaker, and as the heir of the Marauder's Map he had a standard to keep up.
He had other motives in getting his friends the Legilimency practice as well. He had given both Ron and Hermione the idea of using their Legilimency practice to get in the others minds and find out once and for all what the others feelings were. He thought they had been close the something at the funeral, and was beginning to get annoyed after having seen them dance around each other since 4th year. Also, Ginny seemed keen on getting the chance to get into Harry's mind to poke around. Whenever Legilimency was mentioned, she would get a mischievous look on her face that left no doubt that she was related to Fred and George. This made Harry extremely nervous. He couldn’t help but shake the feeling that there was something she wanted to find out, and he was scared at what she might find. He’d had more than his fair share of dreams about Ginny, and he was sure that if she or anyone of her brothers found out the content of those dreams, Voldemort would be the least of his worries. But, he figured he needed to learn those skills, and was certain he would like learning them with Ginny much more than he had with Snape.
The next morning, it was time to board the Hogwarts Express for what Harry knew could be the last time. Harry and Ginny stepped out onto King’s Cross and saw the Dursley’s standing with their usual scowls etched firmly on their faces.
“Come on boy, we haven’t got all day,” growled Uncle Vernon.
“Hold on, there are some things that need to be discussed. First off, I’d like you all to meet my girlfriend Ginny Weasley. She is going to be staying with me while I’m with you.”
“Absolutely not. I won’t have any more freaks in my house you ungrateful leech. I won’t have it,” yelled Uncle Vernon.
“Actually, you will. You see, we’ve just been taught how to hide our magic so that the ministry can’t detect it, meaning that both Ginny and I can do magic…” corrected Harry.
“How many times have I told you not to mention your abnormality in our presence you…” interrupted Uncle Vernon.
“And furthermore,” continued Harry. “Now that Dumbledore’s dead, the war is going to escalate. Ginny here is a very capable fighter, and should be able to assist me in defending the house in the event of an attack.”
Without waiting for a response the teens proceeded out to the family car, leaving Uncle Vernon muttering about “ungrateful freaks.” The ride back to Private Drive was silent. As if to make their point about being able to use magic, both Harry and Ginny levitated their luggage up the stairs to Harry’s bedroom. Harry made to open the door to his room but Ginny stopped him.
“Harry, why are their so many locks on this side of the door, shouldn’t they be on your side?” asked Ginny. Though she already suspected the answer, she wanted to hear Harry say it.
“Oh, um, they put those up when I came back from my first year. They used them to lock me in, since I can’t normally do magic outside of school,” answered Harry.
“They locked you in! For how long?” asked an increasingly angry Ginny.
“Pretty much 24/7. They’d let me out to use the bathroom and that was pretty much it,” answered Harry.
“And how did they feed you?” asked Ginny, barley containing her rage.
“They gave me some soup through that cat flap. Why are you asking all of this? I thought your brothers told you all of this when they stole the car?”
“They said they locked you up and wouldn’t feed you. We didn’t know it was this bad. We thought they were exaggerating,” explained a worried Ginny.
“It’s not that bad. I mean, it’s been, I mean it could’ve been worse. I could be in that cupboard under the stairs. At least now I have my own room,” Harry corrected himself, hoping beyond hope that Ginny hadn’t noticed his slip.
Unfortunately, luck has never sided with Harry.
“What do mean it’s been worse? Harry, what all have those people done to you?” said Ginny in a tone that was both worried and angry, both at the Dursley’s for treating him like that and Harry for keeping it to himself.
“It’s nothing,” said Harry, the tone of his voice betraying his words. His recoiled under the piercing stare he received from Ginny.
“Ok, I’ll let it go for now, but don’t think I’ll drop it forever,” said Ginny.
Harry spent the rest of the day walking around showing Ginny the neighborhood he grew up in.
That night, Ginny walked in as Harry was putting memories in his pensive. After he finished, he noticed Ginny standing in his doorway watching him intently. He gave her a chaste kiss and went to the shower. After he left her gaze turned to the pensive.
“You really shouldn’t, these are his personal memories, they’re private,” her conscience told her.
However, she reasoned, that if Harry was willing to let her perform Legilimency on him, he must not mind her seeing his private moments. With that, she dove her face into the pensive.
A small child with untidy black hair, brilliant green eyes and a lighting bolt scar was cowering before a very irate man she immediately identified as Vernon Dursley.
“HOW DARE YOU! You’ve disgraced this family. You’re a no good liar and a cheat!” Yelled Mr. Dursley.
“I didn’t do anything,” cried a young Harry.
“Don’t lie to me boy, you’re a cheater, how else could you have gotten better grades than our Dudders. Now go to you’re room,” ordered Mr. Dursley. “No meals for a week!”
Ginny followed Harry as he approached the stairs. However, he did not go up them like she expected, but rather to turned to the left of staircase, where he opened the door to the tiny cupboard. At first she figured he was just hiding out there, however, when he opened the door, she saw the tiny mattress, covers unmade, and small lantern he used for light. She knew Ron would hate the cupboard, as it was full of spider webs. She realized immediately that this must have been Harry’s bedroom. The memory continued just long enough for Ginny to hear the lock bolt shut before the pensive swirled again.
The same child, several years older, was running away from Dudley and his friends on the school playground. Then, Harry vanished, reappearing on the school roof.
The memory swirled, Ginny could tell this was the same day, as Harry had the same clothes on.
“Boy! Climbing on school property, what were you thinking? I always knew you were a freak! Go to your room, no meals!” shouted Mr. Dursley.
Ginny was in tears now, as she watched the memories. How could they do this to him? More so, how could Dumbledore do this to him? For the first time, Ginny found herself hating her recently deceased Headmaster, who she had always idealized. She and his portrait were going to have a little chat when they visited Hogwarts.
Harry stepped out of the bathroom, hair damp from his shower.
“Ginny, when do you want me to call Dobby for dinner?” he asked out loud, not knowing where Ginny was. He waited, receiving no response. “Ginny?” he called again.
After several minuets he was getting worried. After seeing she was not in his room he ran, wand out, from room to room, looking for Ginny without luck. He ran back to his room to grab his invisibility cloak and owl the order, when he briefly looked into the pensive and noticed a glint of red. He dove in, curious to what she was seeing.
Harry was now older, just about Hogwarts age, she figured, as he was the same height as she had seen him when he asked her mum how to get onto the platform. From the hats, she judged that this was Dudley’s birthday, which was being spent in the zoo. They entered the reptile house, where Dudley’s attention quickly went to the largest snake in the room. After tapping on the glass and yelling at the boa constrictor to do something, Dudley became bored and moved on to other reptiles. Harry looked at the snake, a sad, understanding expression on his face. He spoke kindly in a language she recognized as Parseltongue (well, as kindly as one can sound while hissing). Dudley noticed the snake’s strange behavior, and he and his friend rushed to the tank, shoving Harry to the ground out of the way. Then, the glass disappeared, and Dudley and his friends fell into the tank, the Boa Constrictor slithering out. As Dudley went to get out of the tank, he found that the glass had reappeared, trapping them inside.
It was then that she noticed that present-day Harry was there. He took her hand and they watched in silence as the pensive took them through his uncle’s reaction to the snake incident, his vain attempts to escape the Hogwarts letters, and finally, Hagrid’s visit in the cabin. They both laughed hysterically when Dudley sprouted his pigtail. Finally, Harry led Ginny out of the pensive.
“I’m sorry, those were your private memories, I shouldn’t have seen them without your permission,” said Ginny.
“Don’t be. I have nothing I want to hide from you Ginny. You’re welcome to spend as much time in my memories as you want to,” assured Harry.
“Why didn’t you tell anyone? If we had known how bad they were, we would have done something, gotten you out of here,” asked Ginny, the tears, momentarily suppressed by the laughter of seeing Dudley with a tail, were quickly returning.
“Well, before I went to Hogwarts I didn’t have anyone to tell,” answered Harry, his voice shaking. “It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. You heard Dumbledore; I needed to come back here once a year because of the blood protection. There’s nothing anyone could have done.”
Dobby brought dinner and the 2 teens ate in silence. Harry, who had eaten on his bed, dozed off. Ginny, looking out the window saw that Mrs. Figg, the squib who lived across the street, was still awake. Silently, she took the invisibility cloak and snuck across the street. Taking off the cloak, she knocked on the door and received permission to borrow her fireplace to speak with her family.
Sticking her head in the fireplace, she soon found herself looking in to her living room, where her entire family, minus Ron and Percy, was situated.
“Ginny! What a surprise, is everything all right dear?” asked her mother.
“Well, yes and no,” replied the young redhead. “I was in Harry’s pensive this afternoon. Tell me, what do you know about his life with the Dursley’s?”
“Well, when we went there five years ago, he had been locked in his room, and given very little food,” answered Fred.
“I know they never treated him well. Why do you ask?” said Mr. Weasley.
“Well, the memories I saw in the pensive were all of his life before Hogwarts. I knew they didn’t nurture him, but they were downright abusive,” said Ginny. “Dad, when you were in his house to pick up Harry, did you notice that cupboard under the staircase?”
“I vaguely remember it,” said Mr. Weasley, obviously confused as to where his daughter was going.
“That’s where they kept his stuff locked up after he first came back to Hogwarts. We had to run and pick the lock and get it out before we could fly out of there,” remembered George.
“Right, well, that was Harry’s bedroom for ten years.” Said Ginny darkly. The room immediately burst into angry shouts of “what” and “how could they?”
“I noticed the bed when we got his stuff, but I just assumed it was being stored there,” said Fred sadly.
“They used to lock him in there whene he did magic accidentally, when he got better grades than Dudley, or when he committed the ultimate sin in the Dursley household, asking a question. Most of the memories concluded with his uncle shouting ‘no meals’” continued Ginny. “They didn’t give him the room he has now until he began receiving his Hogwarts letter. They moved him because the letter came addressed to ’the Cupboard under the Stairs’ and they wanted to keep the letters from him. They didn’t tell him he was a wizard; Hagrid did when he found them hiding in a shack in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never seen him so angry.”
At this point it didn’t take a Legilimens to know that everybody in the room was trying to think of the most painful way possible to dispose of the Dursley’s.
“Well that explains why he always looks so thin when he comes here. I’m glad someone else is responsible for his meals this summer,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“I know. I always thought you were a bit over the top when I heard you complain about how thin he was. I mean, he had looked thin, but not too thin the first time I met him, right before the Quidditch World Cup,” said Bill, speaking for the first time.
“That would be Sirius’s doing. When Harry went there after meeting Sirius, who the Muggles had been alerted about, he explained that Sirius was his godfather. Of course, somehow the fact that Sirius was innocent slipped Harry’s mind during that conversation,” explained Ginny.
“Why didn’t he tell anybody any of this?” asked Charlie.
“There was nothing he could do, Dumbledore forced him into that prison every summer to renew the blood protection. Besides, you know what Harry’s like, he probably didn’t want everybody to pity him or treat him any different,” Ginny explained. “Bill, do you know if it’s possible to Bat-Bogey-Hex a portrait? Dumbledore is going to have a lot of explaining to do when I see him next.”
Ginny bid goodbye to her family and proceeded back to the Dursley’s. After sending Hedwig off with a letter to Ron and Hermione, she fell asleep clutching Harry’s hand and vowing that he would never be treated like that again. Had she not been exhausted by the days events, she would have been alert enough to notice that the light that had surrounded their hands while the teens slept.
When Harry woke up the next morning, the first thing he saw was two pairs of tennis ball size eyes moving across the room as Dobby and Winky set up their breakfast.
“Good morning Master Harry. You is up early,” greeted Winky.
Harry looked at his clock and saw that it was indeed only 6:30. It was then that Harry noticed that his room, which had had clothes and books lying every which way when he fell asleep, was now nearly spotless.
“Good morning Winky. I fell asleep pretty early. Say, Winky, Dobby, how long have you been here? My room was a mess when I went to sleep,” yawned Harry.
“We is being here since four thirty, Harry Potter sir. We is coming here extra early so we can be tidying your room sir. It is not normally taking so long, but we is not being able to use magic without getting you in trouble,” explained Dobby.
“Four thirty? How on earth did you see your way around, it must have been pitch black?” asked Harry.
“There was plenty of light from the bonding Harry Potter sir. We is having no trouble seeing,” said Dobby in an attempt at an explanation that left Harry even more confused.
“Bonding, what bonding?” asked Harry.
“The bonding between you and your Ms. Wheezy, sir. When she is going to sleep last night she is holding your hand, and together your hands is glowing,” said Winky.
“What kind of bond and why would our hands glow together?” asked Harry, dreading yet another way he is different.
“Dobby is only knowing what Professor Dumbledore is telling him, sir. He is saying that you is loving each other so much that you is becoming bonded. He says that you is both becoming more powerful, and is asking us after the Quidditch match to keep him updated on the bonding sir,” enlightened Dobby.
“So, the balmy old codger knew something was up all along,” laughed Harry. "I knew there was a reason he insisted Ginny come with me this summer."
Dobby and Winky left, leaving Harry’s head spinning with this new information as he ate his breakfast and watched Ginny sleep. Trying to clear his mind, Harry took to reading. After discovering this did not help clear his mind like he had hoped, Harry decided that he would need to be in better physical shape for his mission. So, after grabbing his wand, Harry proceeded to jog around the neighborhood and park that held nothing but bad memories for him. The jog was relaxing, but Harry couldn’t shake the feeling that he was not alone, even though there was no one in sight. Finally, after hearing soft thud near the trees to his right, the feeling became too powerful to be ignored. Wand out, Harry, in a momentary stroke of brilliance, muttered, Accio Invisibility Cloak. Harry was partially amazed when a silvery cloak much like his own flew into his hand. Harry recognized the Bubble Gum pink hair and, knowing the danger was passed, lowered his wand. He started to address the Auror when a voice interrupted him.
“Harry James Potter, don’t scare me like that ever again!” scolded Ginny from behind. “Bed empty, no note. And what were you thinking going off alone? What if something had happened?”
“I wasn’t alone,” pointed out Harry as he gestured to Tonks.
“Yeah, but you didn’t know that,” reminded Tonks with a smirk as she saw Ginny, whose face had momentarily relaxed, return to her previous state of nervous anger. “What gave me away?”
“Well, when I was running, I could help but sense that someone else was with me. When I heard you trip, I thought to summon the invisibility cloak just in case,” explained Harry.
“Really? How would you describe this feeling?” asked Tonks.
“It was like I feel whenever I know someone is there even if I can’t sense them,” explained Harry. Seeing Tonks grow more confused, he continued. “You see, for example, I have my back turned on Ginny right now, yet I’m still aware of her presence because I saw here there before. It was that same feeling of awareness, only I didn’t know who was there.”
“Wow, that’s interesting. I’ve heard Dumbledore was able to do that. You have to be really powerful,” commented Tonks, sounding impressed.
“I always had the feeling Dumbledore could see through my Invisibility Cloak, sometimes I’d swear he was looking right through it, even if he never said anything,” remarked Harry.
Harry returned the cloak to Tonks. He and Ginny and returned to his bedroom to begin practicing Occlumency and Legilimency. Bill had taught her the basics of these after her first year, so she would be able to help Harry get a grasp subject. After reading Minding the Mind they had discovered that the key to Occlumency was to create a kind of map of your brain. Once you had mapped your mind, you could find an intruder into your mind easier and force them out. While it was possible to map your own mind without assistance, an easier way was to allow a Legilimens to map it for you, section by section.
“The mind is divided into different sections that control different parts of your person, like different sections of a library. The more sections you have, the more prominent a section is in your person, the larger it is and the longer it will take to map,” explained Ginny She then raised her wand, pointing it at Harry’s forehead. “First, I need to find out how many sections you have, lie back, relax. Legilimens.”
After a few seconds, Ginny pulled out and started taking notes on what she saw.
“Your mind is much more complex than mine is,” commented Ginny.
“You see, you only have three sections, love, hate and knowledge, but the section of your brain that holds your love is also broken down further in separate sections. Some of these subsections even have their own subsections. There’s fear, loyalty, sacrifice, sadness, humanity, friendship and just general love. Each of these contains your dreams memories and thoughts related to the section you find them in. Now I’m going to go deep into these sections and help you create a detailed map of them.”
Reentering Harry’s mind, Ginny first entered the fear section. This section, she saw, was divided into different parts, one subsection for each of the people in Harry’s life. She was interested to find that the smallest of these subsections was the one on Harry himself, which only had a few select memories, such as the third task. After mapping this section, she proceeded onto his loyalty section, which held memories such as his conversation with the minister in which he declared himself to be “Dumbledore’s man through and through and through.” Ginny continued on through, learning more and more about Harry. She got to the general love segment, passing through the brief section on Cho, until she got to the section she’d been looking for. A wicked grin consumed her face when she saw the label, “Weasley, Ginny.”
Harry was now watching himself in Slughorn’s first potions class, discussing love potions. Then without warning, he was in the corridor with Dean, Ron and Ginny. He relived his desire to disembowel Dean and his internal attempt to convince himself he didn’t have feelings for Ginny. Fear struck his features when he noticed he was in the middle of the dream he had had later that night involving himself, Ginny and a very deserted prefect’s bathroom. Knowing Ginny was seeing the exact same thing, he desperately tried to break eye contact with Ginny to break the connection, but found himself to be in a full body bind, no doubt done by the aforementioned redhead. He lay there helpless as he watched dream after dream about Ginny (and the occasional dream involving Ron and a Beaters bat). Finally, Ginny had fully mapped the love section his brain and pulled out. As soon as she lifted the full body bind Harry jolted up, obviously considering making a run for it. Ginny turned towards Harry with a predatory gaze, and Harry backed up slowly, only to find himself trapped in the corner of his bedroom.
“Ginny, um, I, you see, um,” stammered Harry. This was all Ginny could take. Suddenly she burst out laughing. Seeing the confused (and slightly fearful) look on Harry’s face, Ginny got a hold of herself and approached him.
“Harry, its okay, you’re allowed to have those dreams,” assured Ginny.
“Of course, you just better make sure no one else is in those dreams of yours as long as you want there to be anymore Potters in the future,” added Ginny, asserting her point with a sharp jab of her wand into Harry’s trouser front. Harry gulped and cringed, knowing full well that Ginny was quite capible of making good on her threat. By the end of the day both Harry and Ginny felt they had mastered Occlumency and Legilimency.
The next few weeks were spent beginning Animagus training, beginning with first learning what animals they would become. Harry would transform into a lion with a dark mane and emerald eyes. Ginny was destined to become a golden retriever. They studied the theory of becoming an Animagus, practiced dueling and learned new spells from various Defense Against the Dark Arts books. Before long it was July 30th, the day before Harry’s 17th birthday. The next morning Mr. Weasley would take Harry to work to take his Apparition exam. Harry went to sleep, excited to be becoming of age and, most importantly, to leave the Dursley’s and return home to his real family.
The first thing Harry saw as a 17 year old was the face of Ginny Weasley firmly attached to his own. “Well, this is a nice way to wake up in the morning,” said Harry, grinning.
“Get up Birthday Boy, you’re leaving in an hour, you need to go by Gringott’s today also,” replied Ginny, tossing an official looking letter onto his lap. Harry opened the letter and read:
Dear Mr. Potter,
We request your presence at 8:00 am July 31st to discuss the state of your finances.
The teens packed, which took very little time, as they could both do magic.
“Boy! Get down here right now,” bellowed Uncle Vernon. Harry descended the stairs to find, not only Mr. Weasley, but also Ron, Bill and Hermione standing in the living room. The group exchanged greetings and happy birthdays.
“Bill, you wouldn’t happen to know why I’m going to Gringott’s today would you?” asked Harry.
“Yes actually, I’m taking you there because you are to receive the remainder of your inheritance. With the combination of the Potter and Black estates, you are now the richest wizard in England,” explained Bill.
“The money you’ve been using so far was a trust fund your parents set up.”
“That little freak had money all this time!” shouted an irate Uncle Vernon. “We spent lots of money on this ungrateful brat and I expect repayment.”
“Repayment?! For what? For locking him in a cupboard? For starving him? For beating him, for treating him like he’s trash?” said a fuming Ginny, entering the room, wand out.
“I won’t have you insulting me in my own house you little sl-“ started Uncle Vernon.
“I wouldn’t finish that sentence if I were you,” said Harry, who now had his wand out, in a dangerously low voice. When Vernon turned purple and silent, Harry lowered his wand and turned to Mr. Weasley. “We have our stuff packed and ready.”
“I’ll have them sent to the Burrow, but before we go I want to have a word with your aunt and uncle,” said Mr. Weasley, looking unusually stern. Sensing that this could perhaps take awhile, everyone in the room sat down.
“Harry, Ginny told us she saw some upsetting things in your pensive. Mr. Dursley, what do you have to say for yourself? Treating a child like that?” asked Bill.
“We gave the little monster more than he deserved. We took him in out of the goodness in hearts, and all we get are owls everywhere and not one thank you,” insisted Mr. Dursley, paling slightly when he saw the faint scars on Bills face.
“You locked him in a cupboard so small that he couldn’t even stand up in it,” retorted Mr. Weasley.
“He was dropped without warning by that old fool, we hardly had to make do with what room we had,” said Vernon.
“You had a whole spare room!” shouted Ron. “And you hardly fed him at all. Every year he’d come to our house at looking like he hadn’t eaten in days, worked like a slave when it’s clear your son never did anything but beat up Harry and eat.”
“Now see here-”
“Mrs. Dursley,” said Mr. Weasley, thinking Vernon a lost cause. “I only met Lily a couple times and didn’t know her that well, but I knew her well enough to know that if anything had happened to you she would have treated Dudley like her own son. Why couldn’t you extend her that same courtesy?”
Petunia opened her mouth for what Harry could tell was to be a snappy retort.
“I appreciate your concern, but I’m afraid this is a lost cause,” interrupted Harry. “You’ve given me a family, taken me in despite the fact that it made you a target. You don’t need to try to make up for the pain of growing up without love. You’ve shown me what a family is. That’s all I need.”
Mr. Weasley looked as though he wanted to protest, but resigned to the fact that this was indeed a lost cause. Hermione sent Harry and Ginny’s trunks to the Burrow while Harry and Bill left for Gringott’s.
“Welcome Mr. Potter, right this way,” greeted Griphook; the goblin Harry learned was in charge of the Potters account. He led Harry into an office where they both sat down.
“Now Mr. Potter, as you are now of age, you are coming into charge of your entire account,” began Griphook, handing Harry a sheet of paper. “These are your holdings from the Potter estate.”
Looking at the sheet, Harry read:
Potter Estate: To be Transferred
Land in Godric’s Hollow
Potter Manor in Whales
Manor and land in Montana, USA
Manor in Hogsmeade
Flat in Diagon Alley
10% in Weasley Wizard Wheezes
60 % of Nimbus Broom Corporation
10% of Daily Prophet Newspaper Corp.
Miscellaneous family heirlooms
Harry’s head was spinning. Not only was he rich, but he was RICH. And he owned the company that made not only his Firebolt, but also all the Nimbus series. But he was going to have to have a talk with the twins, making him part owner.
“I own all this? Can I see my vault please?” asked a stunned Harry.
“Certainly, but first we must review the rest of your holdings,” replied the goblin. “As you know, you were made heir to the Black fortune, as per the will of Sirius Black. You were to come into this money on your 17th birthday, with instructions to ‘live a little” and orders to ‘make sure my nut case cousin doesn’t get her hands on one knut of your money.”
The goblin handed Harry another sheet with the Black Family crest on it.
Black Estate: to be given to Harry James Potter upon his 17th birthday:
House under Fidelius charms (with the suggestion that it “continues its current use.”)
House in Tahiti
Flat in Knockturn Alley
5% of Weasley Wizard Wheezes
5% of Daily Prophet Newspaper Corp.
“The contents of the two estates, as well as what is left in your trust fund, have been merged into vault 713, which has been volunteered by Albus Dumbledore to hold the contents,” continued the goblin.
Harry was led to the vault, which he recalled had previously held the Philosopher’s Stone. The vault contained not only piles of money, but books on each and every subject, journals detailing his parents research for the Order of the Phoenix, his farther and Sirius’s notes on Animagus training and general mischief making, and, a staff which was said to double the power of any spell cast with it. Griphook produced an enlarged bag, in which Harry stuffed the books, journals and clutched the staff in his other hand. After instructing Griphook to sell his portion of the Prophet and give 50,000 galleons to Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Harry returned to the main lobby where Bill handed him a Portkey that took him to the main lobby of the Ministry. Harry met up with Ron and Hermione and, much to Harry’s chagrin, a throng of reporters.
“Looks like Scrimgeour told the press you’d be here. They seem to be under the impression you’re here for him to have some kind of meeting with you,” explained Hermione.
Harry looked at his watch, noted that he had plenty of time to take his exam, than looked at Hermione with a wicked grin on his face. “Well, if the press wants to hear from me, who am I to deny them?”
He then walked over towards the waiting reporters, who seemed shocked that the normally secretive Harry was going to speak with the press.
“Mr. Potter, what are your plans for the war? Do you plan to fight?” asked one reporter.
“I don’t really have a choice do I? The war has a knack for finding me.”
“How do you plan on joining the minister in the struggle against You-Know-Who?”
“No, I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t know who, could you please clarify?”
“Well if you don’t know his name how can I know what you’re talking about?”
“Ah yes, Voldemort, really that wasn’t so hard was it? Fear of the name fear only increases fear of the thing itself. Now as for how I plan on joining the Minister. I plan on doing no such thing. His ministry is just as corrupt as Fudge’s. He’s knowingly locking up innocent people such as Stan Shunpike under flimsy pretexts simply to make it look like he’s doing something. He had told me before that it’s “all about perception” meaning that he cares more about his image than about fighting Voldemort. Those pamphlets he printed last year on defense were a joke. Not one word on how to defend yourself against Inferni, fire drives them away, by the way, learned that from Dumbledore himself, not one mention of the Patronus Charm.”
At this point all quills were going frantic.
“If you’re not here to see the Minister than why are you here?”
“Well, today’s my 17th birthday so I’ve come to get my Apparition license, wish me luck.”
And with that Harry turned from the hoard of excited reporters to take his apparition exam, which he, Ron and Hermione easily passed. They went towards the Apparition point when Fred and George intercepted them.
“Well, if it isn’t the birthday boy…”
“Our main investor…”
“Is now a man…” ended Fred, wiping fake tears from his eyes.
“They grow up so fast Gred…”
“I know Forge. It seems like only yesterday we were helping him sneak into Hogsmeade,”
“Alright guys, I know you two didn’t show up on accident. What are you up to?” asked Harry.
“Right you are Harry. We’re here to make your first day as an adult a memorable one. So, off to Diagon Alley,” said George. Ron and Hermione Apparated to the Burrow and Fred, George and Harry went to the twins shop.
“So guys, why is Gringott’s under the impression that I own part of your shop?” Asked Harry as he went through the twins shop, pick up various items as he went. The twins went on to insist that Harry keep his share of the profits.
“So Harry,” said Fred as they left the shop. “What’s going to be your first reckless act as an adult?”
Harry looked around and saw a tattoo shop. Remembering Ginny’s comment to Romilda Vane, Harry decided to get a Hungarian Horntail painted on his chest. However, unlike muggle tattoos, this tattoo moved around Harry’s body at will, blowing the occasional fireball and behaving according to the mood of its owner. Harry picked up a bottle of firewhiskey at the twins insistence. When the twins found out that Harry had the journals of not one, but two marauders they insisted they review it with him, and the rest of the day was spent coming up with new ideas for pranks, products and promotions. When the three found out how the Marauders Map was created, they decided to make similar maps for both the Burrow and Grimmauld Place. Soon it was time to go, as Harry was expected at the Burrow for dinner at 6:00. Harry stepped into the twin’s fireplace, and stumbled out into the Burrow’s living room, where he was greeted by not only the Weasley’s, but the majority of the Order, all of the DA, Oliver Wood and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, all of the Hogwarts staff as well as other friends and acquaintances. Harry watched in shock as the group shouted surprise.
“So, this is why the twins had to keep me occupied all this time. Whose idea was this?” Harry asked Mrs. Weasley, who had engulfed Harry in one of her famous hugs.
“Ron and Hermione suggested it, it was Ginny’s idea to keep it a surprise,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Well, there was really no need to go to all of this trouble,” said Harry.
“Of course there was, dear. We had huge party’s for all the others when they came of age, and you’re my son as much a Bill or Charlie,” insisted Mrs. Weasley.
Harry turned, trying to hide the tears that were threatening to fall. No matter how much he heard it, the fact that Mrs. Weasley cared for him that much still touched him. Harry spent the rest of the time eating whatever food was forced into his hands and speaking with all the partygoers. Finally, it was time to open presents. These included sweets from Lavender Brown, an assortment of Weasley Wizard Wheezes products from the twins, several bottles of firewhiskey from Dean, Seamus and Charlie. Mrs. Weasley had even thought to give him a large jug of hangover cure potion. Kingsley and Mad Eye had gone in together to get Harry a dummy trained to duel, figuring Harry needed all the practice he could get. Harry even received a large box filled with all kinds of potions ingredients from Professor Slughorn. Finally, after opening up a set of practice golden snitches from the team, it was time to open the gifts from those that meant the most to him. Harry nearly choked up again when Mrs. Weasley showed him he had been added to her famous clock that showed the status of all her family. Then it was Hagrid’s turn.
“Arry, you remember that snake that you set on that dope cousin of you’re a few years back?” asked Hagrid.
“Um, yeah, what about it?” asked Harry. Hagrid then proceeded to pull out the python Harry remembered from the zoo and handed it to Harry, who couldn’t help but feel a certain kinship with the reptile that had grown up all alone much as he had.
“Remus suggested it, an I though a snake might be able to keep ya company, with ya bein’ a Parselmouth an all,” explained Hagrid.
“Plus, they’re excellent for catching rats,” explained Lupin. The partygoers who had not heard the story of Peter Pettigrew but noticed the murderous gleam in Harry and Remus’s eyes looked confused.
“Harry, Ron and I went in on our gift together,” explained Hermione. Her and Ron handed him a thin rectangular package. Harry removed the wrapping paper and saw starring back from the portrait a face he never thought he’d see again.
“Hello Harry,” said Sirius. “Happy Birthday.”
“Sirius,” croaked Harry. “I’m so sorry, it’s my fault. If I hadn’t-“
“Harry, don’t you dare apologize. I would have done the exact same thing. It’s not your fault,” admonished Sirius. “So, I hear that you’ve found yourself a redhead. James would be pleased.”
After a few minutes of conversation, Harry tore himself away from the portrait to open Remus and Tonks’ gift, the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which Dumbledore had suggested be given to him. After receiving several magical plants from Neville and a collection of Quibbler articles from Luna, it was time for Ginny gift. She handed him a small box in which Harry found a necklace with a lightning bolt charm that would warm when the person’s soul mate was thinking about them. The party then continued, with Harry making sure to thank each guest and to introduce them to Sirius. Harry began to feel uneasy, but soon shrugged the feeling off. That is, until he felt that all to familiar cold.
“Dementors! Anyone who can do a Patronus do it now!” shouted Harry as he saw thousands of Dementors glide towards the guest. Harry summoned his staff and, thinking of Ginny, shouted “Expecto Patronum!”
Harry expected the two stags that emerged from his staff, as he knew the staff doubled the power of his spells. What he did not expect were the two birds that Harry recognized as Ginny’s Patronus charms. Harry looked Ginny in time to see both his stag and another bird emerge from her wand and start driving the Dementors away. The mass of both DA and Order Patroni easily drove away the hoard with not lasting harm done. After the coast was clear the party resumed again, with the guests thanking Harry for once again “saving the day.” An impressed Order learned from the DA that it had been Harry who taught them how to fight off Dementors. Finally Harry was able to escape the mass of thankful students and speak to Ginny.
“Ginny, did I just see you conjure my Patronus as well as your own?” asked Harry.
“Yeah, I didn’t know that was possible,” responded Ginny. The teens then sought out Lupin, their resident Patronus expert.
“Hm, that’s interesting,” said Remus when told what had happened.
“Do you know why that happened?” asked Harry.
“I have some theories, but I’ll have to do some research and get back to you,” answered Lupin, who also agreed to have someone test the quartet in Occlumency and legilimency.
Soon the partygoers left, leaving Remus, Tonks, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione to catch up with Sirius. Harry told the group about his newfound fortune, and Lupin offered to take the teens to the manor, where they would hang the portrait and set up a base of operations for their mission.
The manor, Mooney told them, had, not only a Quidditch pitch, but a room designed for dueling as well as a library larger than that of Hogwarts (Hermione’s eyes lit up at this). Harry showed the group the journals he had removed from the vault, and the newly made maps. Hermione, who had quickly dived into the notes detailing Harry’s parents’ research, was impressed with the new spells and potions the two had created.
Soon Harry was the only one awake. He took the time to get to know his new pet snake, which he named Norbert, after Hagrid’s dragon. The snake was surprisingly sympathetic as Harry told it his life story, and offered to patrol the grounds of wherever Harry was staying, alerting him of any possible dangers. Harry climbed the stairs to his (previously Fred and George’s) room and went to bed; putting an end to what he was quite sure was the best day of his life.