|SIYE Time:14:05 on 22nd January 2019|
Harry Potter And The Twists Of Fate
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fluff, Humor
Warnings: Extreme Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Story is Complete
Summary: What if the fates let Harry's parents live that night he got his scar, plus gave him a younger sister and become friends with the Weasleys, especially Ron earlier. What would be different?
Hitcount: Story Total: 220733; Chapter Total: 7005
Well, here's the next chapter. I'm sorry for the delay. I haven't had the time to write lately. Unfortunately, that may be the way for a while in terms of updates. Just know that I'm still writing this story. Oh, yeah, this story will end at the beginning of the summer before Harry's fifth year. I will continue the plot and storyline in the next fic which will be entitled "Harry Potter and the Prophesized Six." Just for the information of those faithfully following this story.
Chapter 50: Dates and lockets
The kids returned to Hogwarts two days later on the Hogwarts Express along with the rest of the students. Harry told his friends that the New Marauders would resume their physical regimen upon the resumption of school, including Maggie, if she wanted.
On the first night back, Harry, in a rare show of studiousness, convinced Dumbledore not to exempt him from the end of year exams simply owing to him being a Triwizard champion.
Hermione was beside herself with admiration over her friend’s dedication to his studies. Harry confided to Ginny that he just wanted to deserve the grades he would receive at the end of the year. He had always been near the top of the class in the past three years and didn’t want to remain there just on the basis of being in the tournament.
The first two weeks of January passed quickly for the students, as they were preoccupied with their new lessons. The third Saturday of January was a scheduled Hogsmeade trip as well as the day of Ron and Hermione’s first official date.
Harry awoke that day to find Ron sitting on his bed, looking green and nervous. He got out of bed and sat beside Ron, a look of concern on his face.
“Ron?” Harry asked his best mate, “What’s wrong? You aren’t getting sick, are you?”
“It’s not that, Harry,” Ron said, now getting pale, “Do you realize I’m taking Hermione to Hogsmeade today on a REAL DATE! I don’t know what to do. I want to make it special for her, for us, but I don’t know how.” He looked like he was starting to hyperventilate.
“Okay, Ron,” Harry said, putting a hand gently on Ron’s shoulder, “First of all, close your eyes and take a deep breath.”
Harry waited until Ron did as he asked then continued, “Now, relax. It’s your first date. From what Sirius and Dad used to tell me, you should keep it simple. It’s usually the one where you get to know the girl better. Of course,” Harry paused, clutching his chin with his thumb and index finger, “you’ve known Hermione for the past three years, so that’s not the purpose of the date now. You’ve also gone to Hogsmeade with her before, though I’m usually with you guys.”
Harry thought for a moment, and then sighed as he came to a decision. Before he could say something to Ron, Ginny’s voice broke into his mind.
“Harry! You are not inviting them along with us today! I don’t want to spend the day with my brother and Hermione! I wanted to spend it alone with you. We haven’t had that since we got back to school,” she whined in his mind.
“Please, Gin,” he begged her, “Don’t you want this to work out between the two of them? With us along, we can make sure that Hermione has a great time.”
“Come on, Harry! Leave the prat to his own devices. He invited her out weeks ago. He should have planned for something in all that time.”
“Come on, Ginny, let’s help them, please? I’ll make it up to you, on Valentine’s Day, I promise. Please?”
After a few seconds of silence as she thought it over, “All right, Harry. I’ll go on a double date with Ron and Hermione. But, Ron better not mess this up. And you better make it up to me, okay?”
“Thanks, Gin. You won’t regret it. Just don’t peak into my mind looking for clues about my Valentine’s Day plans, okay?”
“Oh, all right, Harry. I promise. Now, I’ll tell Hermione about the double date. See you guys for breakfast.”
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Ron, “Uh, Ron? If you like, you and Hermione could go with Ginny and me, sort of like a double date.”
Ron looked at him with wide eyes for a second before grinning, “That’s a brilliant idea, Harry. That way, you can show me how to act on a date and how to please Hermione.”
Harry frowned, “In a way, Ron, but not exactly. I can give you general ideas but for specifics, you better learn how to please Hermione on your own. What I do to please Ginny is probably different from what may please Hermione.”
Ron also frowned, “Then, how do I know what will make her happy?”
“Ron, you should know some of that stuff,” Harry said, exasperated, “You’ve been her friend for more than three years.”
“Well,” Ron said, looking down at his feet, “I do know she likes books and knowing about all sorts of stuff, thing like that.”
“All right, Ron,” Harry said, shaking his head, “From now on, you better pay attention to what she says and does. Know what her favorite color is, her favorite foods and other things.”
“How do I find out those things?” Ron asked, frowning again.
“Pay more attention to her, you git,” Harry said, “Then talk to her about anything, not just Quidditch. You know she doesn’t like it, especially since it involves flying.”
Ron’s eyes widened, “Then what do I talk to her about?”
Harry rolled his eyes, “All right. I see this isn’t going to be easy. I do remember some stuff about her I’ve learned over the years. I’ll tell you about them while we get dressed. We’d better get a move on. We’re supposed to meet Ginny and Hermione over at the Great Hall for breakfast.”
Over the next ten minutes, Harry gave Ron as many facts about Hermione as he could remember as they changed. Then they hurried to the Great Hall where they found Ginny and Hermione sitting at the Gryffindor table, already eating.
After a leisurely breakfast, they walked together out the Front Doors, through the grounds down to the front gates of the school, where Filch was waiting to check out the students going to Hogsmeade.
Once they got passed the caretaker, they walked side by side down the path to the village, talking about their recent lessons, especially in DADA where Moody was teaching them very useful information on Dark creatures.
The pathway they followed to Hogsmeade was still wet and soggy but clear of any snow for the first time in weeks.
When they got to the village, Harry whispered to Ron, “Ask Hermione where she wants to go first.”
“Uh, ‘Mione?” Ron asked, “Where would you like to go first?”
Hermione looked at Ron in surprise since on previous visits to Hogsmeade, Ron would impose his choices on them.
“Well,” she said, smiling, “why don’t we look at Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop first? I need a couple of new quills. Then we can check out Gladrags.”
Ron looked like he almost choked on what Hermione said, but nodded anyway, “Sure, Hermione, uh, let’s go.” He offered her his slightly shaking hand and she took it with only a second of hesitation.
Harry and Ginny followed behind them, holding hands themselves. They noticed that Ron barely looked at Honeyduke’s as he and Hermione passed it.
“Wow!” Ginny said to Harry in his mind, “I didn’t think Ron could walk past the sweets shop and spare it only a glance.”
“You’re telling me,” Harry said to her, “He must really like Hermione to follow her like this.”
“Maybe this will work out after all, Harry,” Ginny said.
“I hope so, Ginny,” Harry said, “Merlin knows we could do with less of their rows.”
“I doubt that will change much. Like I said when we discussed this during the Ball, rowing excites them, like a form of foreplay.”
“Don’t say that, Ginny. It conjures images in my head that I wouldn’t care to see,” Harry shuddered.
Ginny just smirked and tugged him along in the wake of their friends into the quill shop.
Ron tried hard not to look too bored as Hermione spent fifteen minutes deciding the kind of feather she wanted for her quills. In the end, she chose some eagle quills.
Ginny and Harry spent their time there looking at the more exotic tropical bird quills, laughing as they imagined in their minds what the birds whose feathers they held actually looked like.
From Scrivenshafts’, they proceeded to Gladrags Wizardwear, where Hermione and Ginny went off to look at the coming spring fashions in robes, leaving Harry and Ron to their own devices.
The boys found chairs near the front of the store, where Ron noticed he could barely see Zonko’s. He looked wistfully at the joke shop. Harry thought he might be regretting that he had asked Hermione to lead the way around the village.
“Hey, Ron,” Harry said, hoping to distract him from any regrets, “Have you thought about what to get Hermione for Valentine’s Day?”
Ron looked at Harry with a surprised look on his face, “Why would I be thinking of that, Harry?”
Harry sighed, “Ron, you and Hermione are dating. When a girl and a boy are dating, Valentine’s Day becomes very important. You need to think about doing something special for Hermione. It will really prove that you like her a lot.”
Ron gulped, “If you say so, Harry. I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Well, you better think about it now, Ron,” Harry said, “it’s just three weeks away.”
“All right, Harry.” Ron said, nodding his head, then he looked sheepishly at Harry, “Er, can you give me any suggestions?”
Harry rolled his eyes, “Come on now, Ron. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen your dad do something special for your mum for Valentine’s Day? My dad has done loads of stuff for Mum over the years.”
“Like what?” Ron asked, genuinely interested.
“Well, like give her lots of flowers, take her out to dinner or a show, things like that,” Harry said.
“Did you do that for Ginny last year?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, I gave her a bouquet of roses and a gift then took her out for a picnic,” Harry said.
Ron gulped, “It sounds a bit expensive to me, Harry.”
“Well, I saved part of my allowance for them, though I got my Mum to put together the food we had for the picnic,” Harry said, “so I was able to afford it.”
“So, what are you going to do for Ginny this Valentine’s Day?” Ron asked, eagerly.
“Oh, no,” Harry said, “I can’t tell you. If I think about it, Ginny might find out what I have planned. Besides, I don’t want you to steal my idea.”
Ron scowled but before he could say anything, Hermione and Ginny came up to them.
“Hey,” Hermione said, “what are you guys talking about?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Harry said immediately. He could sense Ginny was barely holding her tongue.
“We’re going to talk about this later, Potter, when we’re alone,” She said to him in his mind.
Harry gulped mentally but didn’t answer her.
They exited Gladrag’s and stood in front of the shop.
“So, where do we go next?” Hermione asked. Harry and Ginny exchanged glances then looked at Ron.
“It’s your call, Ron,” Harry said.
“Well, um, why don’t we go to that shop that opened last year?” Ron said, “you know, what’s its name, the shop where we bought the Christmas gifts?”
Harry groaned a bit mentally since he had wanted to go there without the girls but said, “You mean “The Little Menagerie,” Ron.”
“Yeah, that’s the one,” Ron said, after which he reached for Hermione again. She gave him a smile and took his hand.
They walked into the store and immediately started looking around separately. It seemed to Harry that there were more pieces of jewelry on display. He saw several items he thought Ginny would love but found the price a little daunting in spite of his considerable allowance. Nonetheless, he put them on his hidden mental list of items he wanted to give Ginny over time.
After a half-hour, Ron approached Harry and whispered to him that he found some things he thought Hermione might like. He showed them to Harry, all the while trying to make sure the girls didn’t notice them. Harry gave his opinion on the things he was shown but told Ron that it ultimately was his decision, something Ron didn’t really like.
Hermione and Ginny came up to them after a few minutes and dragged them around the store to show them items they found interesting, nice or affordable. Harry knew a hint when he saw one and decided to tell Ron about it later in their dorm.
After another look around, they headed for the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Ginny suggested that they get separate tables for each couple. Hermione agreed wholeheartedly while Ron looked a bit unhappy with that suggestion but said nothing.
With no further words, Ginny dragged Harry over to a booth in the back, away from the other two-thirds of the trio. Harry noticed a large number of students inside the pub, including Cho Chang who was with Cedric Diggory and Neville who was with Seamus and Dean. Rose was at a separate table with Luna Lovegood, Melinda, Lisa and Colin.
Ginny drew his attention away from the rest of the pub by rubbing her fingers lightly on his knee. Harry gulped and struggled to control his reaction. Ginny smiled impishly at him but subsided when a waitress came by to take their orders.
They ate while holding hands and talking through their bond about the things they had seen in the three stores.
When they were done, Harry glanced over to where Ron and Hermione were seated. There were several empty plates around them but it seemed they were talking animatedly. It appeared that they were enjoying themselves well enough without his help.
“Come on, Harry. They’re all right over there. I think we can leave them be.” She leaned over to him, whispering in his ear, “let’s spend the rest of the day away from them, please?”
Harry shivered as her breath brushed his ear, making him forget where they were. He brought his lips down to hers as he said in her mind, “All right, Gin. Let me pay the bill and we can go.”
They soon slipped out of the Three Broomsticks, avoiding Ron and Hermione. They walked past Dervish and Banges to the opposite edge of the village from the train station. The lane followed a winding path past a few cottages with large gardens. Beyond them was the foot of the mountain in whose shadow Hogsmeade laid.
They turned a corner and saw a stile at the end of the path with some trees just beyond it. Harry and Ginny climbed over the stile and looked back. They could barely see the village. There was no sign of any other student. In fact, the only sounds they could hear now were the sounds of nature.
They moved toward the trees. Harry spread his cloak on the ground at the foot of an exceptionally large pine and they sat down on it with Ginny in Harry’s lap. They spent a pleasurable hour of intense snogging, with barely a word exchanged between them, verbally or mentally.
Finally, they got up and headed back to the village where they found Ron and Hermione coming out of Dervish and Banges.
“Oi, Harry,” Ron said, “where were you guys? We’ve been looking for you for over an hour.”
Ginny spoke up before Harry could answer, “If it’s any business of yours, Ron, we took a walk among the trees.”
Ron’s eyes narrowed a bit but he then shrugged, “How about heading for Zonko’s and Honeyduke’s now?”
They all agreed and went first into the joke shop. After about twenty minutes, they transferred to Honeyduke’s where they spent almost an hour.
Finally, it was time to head back to the castle. They trudged back all the way to Gryffindor Tower.
At the foot of the stairs to the dorms, Hermione thanked Ron for a nice time then she went up to her dorm to rest before dinner. Ron grinned and thanked Harry for his help. Harry breathed a sigh of relief but hoped Ron could do the rest of the dating thing on his own.
After that day, Ron and Hermione began to sit beside each other during meals instead of across from each other as they used to do. They also seemed to bicker less and with less of the energy they used to. During the New Marauders’ early morning runs, they paced each other. Harry and his other friends were bewildered by the change but were glad of it.
Then, before anyone knew it, it was Valentine’s Day. It was a Sunday and Dumbledore had allowed another Hogsmeade visit day.
Harry awoke that day feeling proud that he had kept his gift to Ginny a secret from her. He could just imagine the happiness she would feel when she saw the gift he had carefully wrapped for her. Looking at his bedside clock, he saw it was just after six in the morning.
As he felt Ginny stir from her sleep, he softly spoke in her mind, “Good morning, dear Gin. Happy Valentine’s Day, love.”
“Harry,” she replied, still a bit sleepy. When what he had said finally registered in her mind, she came fully awake, “Harry! It’s Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s to you too, sweetie! Now, when are you going to give me my gift?”
“Impatient this morning, aren’t we?” He said to her, a laughing tone in his mental voice.
“Well, I’ve been very curious about your gift. I couldn’t get anything out of you for the past three weeks. It’s been frustrating to say the least,” She said.
“Okay, Ginny. Meet me in the common room in ten minutes.” Harry said.
“Make it fifteen, Harry. I still need another five minutes to fully wake up.”
Harry was sitting in the still empty common room twelve minute later, in his usual armchair in front of the fireplace. Three minutes later, Ginny came bounding down the stairs, dressed in a green blouse and blue jeans and sat down promptly in Harry’s lap.
“Oof,” Harry cried, “You really are eager, aren’t you?”
“Of course, Harry,” Ginny said, wrapping her arms around his neck, “I’m always eager to be with you. I can’t wait to be married and wake up every day beside you.”
Harry’s eyes bulged and his face turned crimson as his mind assimilated what she had said, “Er, me, too. I didn’t realize you felt that strongly about it.”
“You bet I do, Harry,” Ginny said, “You can feel it through our Bond.” She then brought her lips up to his. Harry eagerly returned the kiss.
When they broke the kiss before passing out from lack of air, they noticed several minutes had passed. Ginny laid her head on Harry’s chest as they caught their breaths.
Once their racing hearts were back to normal, Ginny raised her head to look up at Harry, “All right, Potter.” “That’s enough stalling. Where’s my present?”
Harry chuckled, “all right, you little minx. Here it is. I hope you like it.”
Harry gave her a bouquet of a dozen roses then pulled a small box wrapped in white paper covered with red hearts out of his pocket and handed it to her.
Ginny carefully placed the flowers to one side. She quickly removed the wrapping from the box and opened it.
Inside was a heart-shaped golden locket on a gold chain. She opened the locket and inside was a picture of the two of them, arms around each other. Every so often, they would share a kiss.
Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry and gave him a hug worthy of her mother followed by another passionate kiss.
“Thank you, Harry! I love it.”
“There’s an engraving on the back. Go ahead and read it.”
Ginny turned the locket around and sure enough there was writing on the back. It read:
To my darling Ginny, my one and only love,
Let this locket remind you always of our love.
For all eternity, Harry
Ginny embraced him again. Harry could feel his shirt getting wet. A bit alarmed, he pulled back and gently lifted her chin with his finger. He was surprised to see she was crying.
“Gin, what’s wrong,” he asked her softly.
“It’s so lovely, Harry,” she said in his mind, “I just don’t have something like this to give you.”
“Don’t worry your pretty little head over it, Gin,” he said to her mentally as he looked into her eyes, “It doesn’t matter whether you have a gift to me or not. Being with you is enough.” He bent down and gave her a very passionate kiss, his tongue seeking entrance into her mouth.
She eagerly parted her lips and their tongues engaged in a battle of dominance. Their arms clung tightly to each other.
Suddenly, they heard someone clearing their throats noisily as well as some snickering. They broke apart and looked in the direction of the voices.
Standing there beside them were Hermione, Ron, Rose, Fred and George. The twins and Hermione had smirks on their faces while Ron looked like he was about to hurl.
“I thought I told you not to do that around me,” Ron said.
Ginny quickly became angry, “For your information, Ronald, you weren’t here when we started. It’s not my lookout if you just happen to come while we’re in the middle of showing each other how we feel.” Her hand was inching toward her back pocket where her wand was.
Ron gulped and said, “All right, all right. I’m sorry for saying that.”
Ginny glared at him before turning to Hermione, “Good morning, Hermione, Rose. Hermione, has this git greeted you yet or given you anything?”
Hermione smiled, “Yes, Ginny, he has, on both counts. He gave me a nice bouquet of roses and a large box of chocolate.”
“Good,” Ginny said, “I was afraid he’d forgotten what today is, though I think he may have had some help.” She looked pointedly at her boyfriend/soulmate, who was looking up at the ceiling, whistling a little out of key.
Hermione put her hand on Ginny’s shoulder, “That’s all right, Ginny, for now. I know Ron is a bit new to this. So, what did Harry give you?”
Ginny moved away from Harry to show Hermione the locket while Harry came up to Ron and the twins.
“So,” Harry said, “I guess she liked the flowers and chocolates, right?”
“Yeah,” Ron said, “you heard her. Thanks for helping me get them, mate. I’ll pay you back what you leant me. Thanks also for the note you left at my bedside reminding me to greet Hermione for Valentine’s Day.”
“Wait a minute, Ron,” Fred said.
“Do you mean to say….” George said.
“That you needed Harry….,”
“..to remind you to greet…..,”
“…Hermione a Happy Valentine’s day?”
Ron gulped. He shouldn’t have said that in front of Gred and Forge. Now, he’d regret it.
“Guys, please, don’t mention that to her,” Ron pleaded, “I’ll do anything you want.”
Fred and George’s eyes lit up like Christmas had come again.
“Really, Ron,” they said together, “anything?”
Ron gulped again, “Well, anything within reason.”
“All right,” Fred said.
“We’ll let you know,” George said.
“In the meantime, mum’s the word,” they said before walking off.
Ron wiped his brow as he sat down across from Harry.
“What have I let myself into,” he moaned, “letting them have something on me.”
Harry shook his head in sympathy and patted Ron on the arm, “I don’t know, mate. You never know with those two.”
Ginny came up to them just then, “So, shall we go down to breakfast?”
Ron looked up, his misery at being at the mercy of the twins forgotten over the mention of eating, “Yeah, let’s go.”
“You go on ahead with Hermione and Rose, Ron,” Ginny said, “I still haven’t given Harry his present.”
“You mean snogging me senseless wasn’t it?” Harry asked, “I thought it was a brilliant present.”
Ginny slapped his arm as Ron scowled, “Stop that, Harry, at least don’t say it in front of Ron. I don’t want him souring the day anymore with his negative reactions.”
Harry grinned but turned to Hermione and his sister, “Oh, before you girls go off to breakfast, I’ve also got something for you two.” He pulled out a couple of cards and boxes of chocolate frogs.
Hermione and Rose were both delighted and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek before leaving the common room with Ron.
Ginny sat down in Harry’s lap again and looked sternly at him, “You know, Potter, if I wasn’t aware of how you felt about me through the Bond, I might be jealous over you giving Valentine cards to other girls, even if one of them is your sister.”
Then her face softened, “but, then, your thoughtfulness and caring for others is a part of you I’ve always liked. Never change that, you hear me?” She then proceeded to kiss him again.
They broke apart after a few minutes breathing heavily again. Ginny then pulled out a package from her robes. Opening it, Harry found a copper bracelet engraved with their names intertwined together.
Harry grinned, “This is great, Ginny. I like it a lot.” He put it on his left hand and helped Ginny place the locket around her neck.
As they walked down to breakfast, Ginny asked Harry, “Harry, speaking of lockets, have you gotten that locket from the first task open yet?”
“Er, no, Gin. I haven’t. I can’t seem to find anyway to get it open.”
“But, Harry, it’s only ten days to the second task and you don’t know what you’ll be doing.”
“I know, Gin, I know. Look, let’s just enjoy the day. We’ll try the task locket again later.”
“All right, Harry. If you say so.”
After breakfast, Harry and Ginny said goodbye to the others.
As he led her out of the Great front doors, Ginny said, “Harry, you said three weeks ago that you were going to make up to me having to spend a Hogsmeade visit with Ron and Hermione. I hope you don’t think those flowers and this locket make up for it.”
“Oh, of course not, Gin. I’d already planned to give them to you before that day,” Harry replied, as they continued to walk outside the castle onto the grounds, “No, I have a great day planned for us.”
Ginny then noticed where they were headed, “Harry, why are we headed for the Quidditch pitch?”
“Well,” Harry replied to her, “I know you love to fly as much as I do and we haven’t been able to do that since summer. So, I asked Professor Dumbledore for permission to fly for about a couple of hours within the pitch.”
“Oh, Harry, that’s great!” Ginny said to him as she again threw her arms around his neck and gave him a quick kiss. She then grabbed his hand and together they ran down to the pitch.
Harry stepped up to the broom shed beside the team lockers and drew out a key from his pocket. He fit it into the lock and opened the shed. Harry reached in and pulled out two brooms, his Firebolt and Ginny’s Nimbus 2001 which was a Christmas present from Bill and Charlie.
They mounted the brooms and flew around the pitch a few times to get used to them. Then they drew up and hovered beside each other.
Ginny gave Harry a wicked smile, “Let’s see you try and catch me, Potter!” She sped away before she even finished the sentence.
Harry took off after her with little hesitation. They were soon doing loops, spirals and dives that would make other people sick as they played a dizzying game of aerial tag while trying to remain within the pitch.
Finally, Harry overtook Ginny and pulled past her. He stopped at one end of the pitch and hovered a few feet above the ground. When she caught up to him, Harry leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss on the lips,
Checking his watch, Harry was surprised to find that it was half past ten.
“Gin, we better get these back in the shed,” he said to her.
“Aw, Harry, do we have to?” she asked, a pout on her lips.
“I’m afraid so, Ginny. The two hours I asked Dumbledore for are almost up. Anyway, we having lunch at Madam Puddifoot’s. We need to get down to Hogsmeade.”
Ginny’s eyes widened, “Madam Puddifoot’s? That little tea shop?” “Why did you set up our lunch there?”
“Well, I heard some of the older students saying it was a nice place to have a romantic lunch.”
“Which older students were these?” Ginny asked, her eyes narrowing in suspicion, “A couple of them wouldn’t be Fred and George, would it?”
“Uh, yeah.” Harry replied, “Actually, they’re the ones who recommended it.”
Ginny slapped her forehead then shook her head, “Harry, luv, I would have thought that after being with them all these years, you would have taken any advice, especially romantic advice, from those two with a grain of salt, in fact, a whole bag of salt.”
“Er, you mean their advice won’t be good for us?”
“Duh, most definitely, Harry. Whatever advice they give may be guaranteed to embarrass us.”
“But I thought they approved of our relationship.”
“Harry, they may approve of it but it won’t be above them to tease us and embarrass us over it. Now I know why they didn’t tease us this morning when they caught us snogging.”
“Just great, that was part of my ‘make it up to you’ plan.”
Ginny could feel the disappointment coming from him and reached out to gently touch his cheek with her hand.
“That’s all right, Harry,” she said softly, “I’m glad you went through all this trouble to try to make up to me for what happened three weeks ago. It really touches me that you care so much.” She then squared her shoulders and smiled, “If you went through so much trouble, the least we can do is go there.”
Harry smiled back, “Really, Ginny? Thanks. Come on, let’s put these brooms away.”
They dismounted and put the brooms back in the shed. Harry locked the shed up and they walked down to the front gates.
After getting past Filch, they walked around the village for a while, visiting Zonko’s and Honeyduke’s. At twelve, they strode down to the side street where Madam Puddifoot’s was.
When they entered, they saw that it was a cramped, steamy little place. Frills and bows seemed to decorate just about everything in the shop. The tables were small and circular, many of them already occupied by couples staring into each others’ eyes.
“Harry?” Ginny said in Harry’s mind, “you do remember I don’t like lace anymore, don’t you?”
“Er, well, I do remember hearing you complain whenever your Mum gave you something lacy for the past three years now.”
“That’s for five years now, Harry,” Ginny said, patiently, “I’m not sure we should go in now.”
Just then, a very stout woman with a shiny black bun came up to them, “Hello, m’dears, I’m Madam Puddifoot, a table for two?” She smiled so sweetly that Harry couldn’t bear to refuse her.
Sighing resignedly, Ginny said as brightly as she could muster, “Yes, please.”
As Madam Puddifoot led them to a table in the corner, Ginny noticed something else.
“Harry, look at those cherubs. Are they actually doing what I think they’re doing?”
Harry looked around and saw a number of golden cherubs hovering over the tables, throwing pink confetti over the occupants.
“Uh, if you mean throwing pink confetti over the diners, then, yes, they are.”
“Oh, Merlin, you know I do not like pink!”
It seemed to be getting worse and worse. Luckily, none of the cherubs was hovering over their table.
They found that the only food and drink available in the shop was sandwiches, coffee and tea, so they ordered some ham and cheese sandwiches and tea.
“Fred and George are so dead!” Ginny grumbled.
“We can leave if you want, Gin. We don’t have to stay.”
Before Ginny could reply, they heard a familiar voice from the door, “Oh, Ron! It’s so cute!”
Harry and Ginny turned and saw Hermione standing in the door, a look of delight on her face while Ron was behind her, a look of horror on his face.
Hermione saw them and said, “Oh, look who’s here, too.” She walked over to them. Ron followed her in, looking like he wanted to hide his face.
“Hi, Harry. Hi, Ginny,” Hermione said, “I’m surprised to see you two here. I didn’t think you’d like a place like this.”
“Well, we just thought we’d see it for ourselves,” Harry said, “just to see how it looks.”
“Oh,” Hermione said, “well, we better find a table. Come on, Ron.”
Unfortunately for Harry and Ginny, Madame Puddifoot put Ron and Hermione in a table just a few feet from them.
After she and Ron had ordered, Hermione went to the bathroom.
Harry took the opportunity of Hermione’s absence to talk to Ron.
Leaning over to Ron he asked, “What are you doing here? I didn’t think you’d take Hermione to a place like this?”
“Me?” Ron asked back, “What about you? I know my sister well enough to know that a place like this isn’t her style.”
“I’m right here, Ron,” Ginny said, a bit irritated, “I don’t like you talking about me like I’m not present.”
Ignoring Ginny, Ron said to Harry, “Look, I was wracking my brains wondering where to take Hermione for a romantic lunch. I wasn’t sure if she’d like eating at the Three Broomsticks, never mind the Hog’s Head. I asked someone I thought might know Hogsmeade better.”
Harry groaned inwardly, “Let me guess. You asked Fred or George, right?”
Ron’s eyebrows rose up his forehead, “Yeah, I did. How did you know?”
“I made the same mistake,” Harry said, “Here comes Hermione. Just act like you’re enjoying being here.”
Harry and Ginny’s orders arrived just then. They found that the sandwiches tasted like sandpaper. They ate as fast as they could without choking on the sandwiches, all the while discussing through their mind ways of getting back at the twins.
Once they were done, they quickly stood up. Harry placed a few galleons on the table. They said goodbye to Ron and Hermione, ignoring the glare Ron was sending them for leaving them.
They headed for the Three Broomsticks where they had a bottle of butterbeer each to remove the terrible taste of the sandwiches. After that, they walked around the other stores for an hour.
“Gin,” Harry said to her mentally while they were looking at the candies at Honeyduke’s, “I’m really sorry about lunch. I guess that ruined the day for us.”
Ginny couldn’t stand the sadness in his mental voice, “Harry, you don’t have to apologize. We know the twins are the ones at fault here. You are just too trusting sometimes. Don’t worry. There’s a very simple way you can make it up to me.”
“Oh?” Harry said, “How?”
Instead of answering him, Ginny grabbed his hand and led him back to the castle. She brought him up to the third floor into the same passageway where they had told Rose and Hermione about the Bond a year before. They emerged an hour later a bit disheveled but much happier and satisfied.
However, as they walked to Gryffindor Tower, Harry caught a glimpse of the locket he had given Ginny earlier, which reminded him of the other locket he had to open to discover the nature of the Second task. He wondered once again how to get it open. Fortunately, he would be provided the answer to that question by Neville that very night.
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