|SIYE Time:0:55 on 4th December 2021|
Category: Pre-OotP, Post-DH/PM
Warnings: Mild Language
Summary: Impetuous Decisions made in childhood are meant to stay there, but Ginny's first year at Hogwarts was more life-threatening than most. She swears never to do anything to put Harry at harm again, but never is a long time. Voldemort is dead, but will echoes of the Chamber prevent her and Harry from ever finding happiness?
Hitcount: Story Total: 10721; Chapter Total: 1297
Awards: View Trophy Room
I'm sorry I got behind in my uploading of this story - I'm going to try to get caught up. Thanks to everyone who voted to give it a Silver Trinket!
Things were uneasy between the trio after their trip to Hogsmeade. Ron was upset that Harry had told Ginny so much. Hermione didn’t like that she had had to modify Ginny’s memory to keep her safe, even though Harry had been the one to tell her too much in the first place. Harry himself was frustrated that the others couldn’t see how useful having Ginny at Hogwarts could be.
He’d started watching her dot on the Marauder’s Map whenever he could, hopeful that he would see her in places that seemed likely hiding places for a Horcrux. Instead, he became increasingly concerned to see that, wherever Ginny’s dot happened to be, Draco Malfoy’s was not far away. Practically the only place he wasn’t near her was Gryffindor Tower; Harry even saw him standing near Moaning Myrtle’s loo once while Ginny was inside. Harry knew Draco was a tosser; that he was likely just enjoying throwing around his newfound power at the school, but he would have felt less unease had he ever seen Draco lurking around some of the other dots too. Instead, he seemed nearly chained to Ginny.
Harry didn’t say anything about it to Ron or Hermione. It was tense enough already, and Harry did not need to give Ron any more reason to think that Harry had done something to put his sister in danger. But it weighed heavily on his mind, and he’d started hinting to the others that it might be a good idea to visit the Burrow over Christmas. It was dangerous, to be sure, but that way Harry could question Ginny himself and hopefully put to rest his fears about what Draco might be doing.
“Harry, just stop. You know we can’t go to the Burrow. I don’t want to have to modify the memories of everyone in Ron’s family.” They’d all taken a break from wearing the Horcrux and Hermione was speaking to him fairly reasonably. She turned to Ron. “Don’t you agree?”
“Well, umm . . . .” Ron looked uncomfortable. Harry knew he wanted to agree with Hermione, but also that the thought of getting one of his mum’s home-cooked meals was tempting enough to make him forget the danger. And Harry had been slipping in mentions of some of Mrs. Weasley’s best dishes into conversation as often as he could.
“We wouldn’t have to modify any memories,” said Harry quickly. “We could sneak in, have a proper wash and a bowl of stew with that homemade bread Ron’s mum always makes to go with it, and then quickly check with Ginny about whether she’s found anything. We’d be in an out in less than a day.” He looked at Hermione as if something had just occurred to him.
“And didn’t you say that you wanted to visit the Lovegoods to ask him about that symbol he wore to Bill and Fleur’s wedding? They live right near by, don’t they?”
“Yes, but . . .” she began. She looked at Ron. “It could be dangerous for Ginny, to question her under a memory charm.”
Ron’s face, which had opened up at the mention of his mum’s stew, shut back down. “Well then, we won’t be going.”
Harry sighed to himself, but dropped the matter for now. But he knew he was going to get them to the Burrow somehow.
Ginny shook her head to clear it as she walked to Transfiguration. Ever since visiting Hogsmeade the week before, she’d had a dull headache she couldn’t seem to shake. It wasn’t so much painful as disorienting, and the disorientation, in turn, was making her nervous. Without telling anyone, she had taken to tracking the hours in her day again, to make sure she wasn’t losing time. Now, she frowned at the parchment she was holding.
8 am: Great Hall for breakfast
8:30 — 9:00 am: Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom
9:00-11:00 am: Double Potions
11:00-11:45: Trophy cases
12:00-12:30: Great Hall for lunch
12:45-1:15 Seventh Floor Corridor
Ginny hadn’t lost any time; she was not going to be late to her 1:30 Transfiguration class, but the thirty minutes in Myrtle’s bathroom and forty-five examining the trophy cases for things to remember Harry and Ron by seemed a little excessive. It wasn’t like she was really going to forget them right?
So lost was Ginny in her thoughts that she forgot to keep on her normal lookout. She didn’t even notice Draco approaching until he was close enough to snatch the parchment out of her hand.
“What’s this, Weasley?” he drawled. “Your family so poor it needs to recycle parchment now?”
“Give that back, Draco.” Ginny fingered her wand inside her robes but didn’t pull it out. Hexing a Slytherin could get a student a trip to the Carrows, and the Carrows liked using the Cruciatus Curse. Stupid Draco bugging her in a crowded hallway wasn’t worth the risk.
“Not yet, let’s see what secrets you’ve been writing.” He looked down at what was written and smirked.
“Trophy cases? What, you were hoping to see your name on one someday? Or did the shiny gold color help you pretend you were looking at Galleons. You’ve probably never seen any, right?” Malfoy’s tone was obnoxious, but not threatening and Ginny just rolled her eyes. It wouldn’t be the end of the world to lose that parchment. She didn’t bother to respond.
“And half and hour in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom? I know it’s probably the nicest one you’ve ever see, but really, that seems excessive.” Draco opened his eyes in fake understanding. “Oh wait, I know. That bathroom is where Ha.. . .” he broke off, looking confused for a second. “I mean, were you planning to . . .arggh.” This time, Draco seemed to choke on his words. He looked suddenly nauseated as he thrust the parchment back at Ginny.
“Whatever,” he said. “Don’t do it again.” He turned and hurried down the corridor.
Ginny stared at Draco’s back, confused at his behavior. But it whatever had happened, at least it had gotten his attention off her. Ginny shrugged and put the parchment back in her bag. She wasn’t going to complain.
A week later, she wasn’t so sanguine about Malfoy.
She lay on her bed, shaking at her latest encounter with the Slytherin. That she’d been able to throw off his curse, barely, was probably nothing more than the luck of Malfoy not expecting it. She’d have to be more prepared next time. Maybe her Patronus would help ease her nerves. She lifted her wand, searching for a good memory. Maybe Harry, giving her that hug? Where had that been?
Ginny wasn’t sure where the memory came from, but it made her feel good. She was about to cast the spell when Demelza came into the room.
“What’s up, Ginny? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Ginny shrugged, the unspoken rule not to talk about what was going on at Hogwarts this year prevented most conversations.
“Just Malfoy again,” she said. It would do no good to tell her roommate exactly what Malfoy had tried to do this time.
Demelza nodded. “He’s an arse, that one. Better to stay away from him.”
Ginny got up slowly, thoughts of her Patronus and Harry’s hugs forgotten. “Yeah,” she said. “He seems to be everywhere, though.” She picked up her bag. “Actually, I think I’ll stop by Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom before class. Draco seemed nervous about that place for some reason.” In the back of her mind, it occurred to her that it might be a good place to practice her Patronus. Maybe the memory of Draco running away from her would be a good enough memory.
“Myrtle’s bathroom?” Demelza interrupted Ginny’s musings. “I didn’t think anyone used that loo anymore, especially you. You know, because Harry . . .” her voice broke off and an uncomfortable look crossed her face.
“Because Harry and Ron might have left a trinket there for me to remember them?” Ginny shook her head. “I don’t think that’s it.”
Demelza swallowed hard. “I have to get to class,” she said quickly. She rushed out of the room.
Ginny picked up her bag, frowning. She had the same class as Demelza next. Why hadn’t she waited?
Harry didn’t know if it was Ron’s increasing hunger or the fact that they hadn’t been making any progress on either finding more Horcruxes or destroying the one they had, but he was slowly becoming more amenable to the idea of going the Burrow over Christmas.
“No memory charms,” he said firmly. “On anyone. But maybe Bill will have an idea about how to destroy this thing.” Hermione was wearing the locket and Ron waved vaguely in her direction.
“Are you pointing at my chest, Ronald? Show a little restraint please,” said Hermione testily before flopping down on her cot. “Fine. We’ll go to the Burrow tomorrow. I think term ended today.”
They arrived late the next afternoon at the Weasley’s apparition point; Hermione had thought it safest to appear under cover of darkness. They could see lights on in the kitchen and all seemed calm, but Hermione insisted on performing a number of spells before she would let them approach. After one incantation, she frowned.
“Harry, I don’t think you can enter the building. I think there’s a detection ward for you on the doorway.”
“What about you and me?” asked Ron.
“You are definitely okay,” said Hermione. Your blood matches the wards here and the Death Eaters think you are upstairs dying of Spattergoit anyway.” She looked pensive. “I’m not sure about me. I . . . I think Harry and I should go wait in the garden. Why don’t you go get Ginny and ask her to meet us there.”
“And don’t stop to eat first,” said Harry. “Bring food with you.” He suspected Ron needed to be told outright.
Ron made a rude gesture at him and started to walk away.
“Wait,” Hermione said suddenly. “Maybe we should disillusion you first. In case anyone is there that shouldn’t be.”
Harry pointed his wand at the Burrow. “Homonem Revilio” he said. A second later, his wand vibrated three times. “Your parents and Ginny,” he said. “I think it’s okay.”
When Ron and Ginny finally appeared in the garden, it was obvious he had not listened to Harry about waiting to eat. But he threw down a basket of meat pies and cookies and butterbeer and Ginny was there, and those combined things made Harry’s annoyance evaporate.
It was great to see her. It felt great to hug her, and Harry was relieved to see that the memory charm didn’t seem to have left her any worse for wear. Mindful on the limits on their time, Harry jumped right into questioning her.
“Have you found anything interesting at Hogwarts?” he blurted out around bites of a lemon biscuit.
At Ginny’s confused look, Hermione quickly added, “to remember us by, he means. You know, trinkets. ” She gave Harry a meaningful look.
Harry swallowed the biscuit. “Right, trinkets,” he said. “Where have you been looking for trinkets?”
Ginny frowned. “Well, I looked through the trophy case, and I tried to get into the Room of Requirement, but I couldn’t get it to open up to anything but that big room of junk.” She leaned over the basket and looked over the cookie selection before selecting something chocolate.
That gave Harry an idea. “Maybe you should go back . . .” he began, when Ginny interrupted him.
“Oh, and I went to Myrtle’s bathroom, of course.”
Ron sat up. “Why’d you go into Myrtle’s bathroom?” he asked. “The only thing in there is the entrance to the . . . and you . . . you . . . he . . . isn’t . . .” Ron choked as if he’d swallowed something the wrong way. Hermione thumped him on the back; she looked distressed.
Harry took a deep breath against his own sudden feeling of unease. “Ummm,” he began.
Next to him, Ginny frowned. “You lot too?”
“Us lot, what?” said Hermione earnestly. She leaned forward and peered in Ginny’s eyes. “How are you feeling? Is this about trinkets? Or . . . snakes? Are you still afraid of them?”
Ron gave Hermione a sharp look but didn’t say anything.
Ginny shrugged. “I’m still afraid of them, but there are worse things to worry about right now.”
That reminded Harry of something. “Malfoy’s been following you, hasn’t he?”
Ron put down this third meat pie. “What? Malfoy?”
Ginny looked surprised. “How did you know?”
Harry flushed. “On the Maurader’s Map,” he said, hoping she wouldn’t question why he’d been watching her.
But Ginny just nodded. “That’s useful to keep an eye on things,” she said. “And yeah, Malfoy’s been following me around. Mostly just being a prat, but last week he thought he’d be smart and try to Imperius me.”
“What?” Ron yelped. “That’s an Unforgivable! You have to tell someone, a professor!”
Ginny laughed without humor. “Where do you think he got the idea? All the professors from before can’t really do anything to help. The Carrows and Snape are in charge now. With regular visits from other Death Eaters they refer to as ‘guest lecturers.’” She shrugged. “I threw it off before he could make me do anything,” she said nonchalantly.
“But what did he want you to do?” asked Ron in a dangerous voice.
Ginny looked uncomfortable. “N . . . nothing,” she said quickly. “He never had the chance to ask me to do anything.”
Ron didn’t look convinced and started to say something else. Harry interrupted him.
“That’s amazing, Gin, that you were able to throw off the curse so fast. I’m glad to know you can protect yourself.” He wished they could stay and talk longer; there was so much Harry wanted to know about Hogwarts and how Ginny was faring there. But the shadows were deepening and their warming charms were wearing off. It was time to go.
The next three days were rather pleasant; Harry suspected it was because they still had leftover food from the Weasleys to eat. He had taken on the burden of wearing the Horcrux more than the others simply out of a desire to keep the peace, and while he was relieved to see the other two getting along, Harry’s own mood grew blacker. Every day they did not find another Horcrux was a day wasted, and he became silently angrier with Ron every for not letting him remove the memory charm from Ginny so that she could search Hogwarts properly.
He gave up wearing the Horcrux the same day Mrs. Weasley’s food ran out; in retrospect it was a bad time to ask Ron to take his turn wearing the locket again. They were camping in a desolate wooded area far from the Burrow. Without the locket around his neck, Harry was able to think more clearly about their visit with Ginny. He brought it up while they were sitting around the stove, eating a “meal” of ground nuts and a packet of crisps Hermione had found outside a schoolyard near their last camp.
“I meant to ask Ginny to keep searching the Room of Requirement; I really think there is a Horcrux in there,” he said around a gulp of tea.
Ron frowned. “She said the Room kept showing her that place where people leave their junk; why d’you think there’s a Horcrux in there?
Harry shrugged. “I just know there is, I can feel it. It would be just like him to have assumed he was the only one who knew about that room. If we could just tell Ginny a little more about what we are looking . . .”
“Absolutely not,” interrupted Ron. “You both have messed with my sister enough.” He turned on Hermione.
“And what was that all about, asking Ginny if she was still afraid of snakes? Does she really need to be reminded of them?”
“I wanted to know how the memory charm was holding up,” said Hermione hotly. “That was a pretty big thing we asked her to forget, and I’m not sure if it is affecting other parts of her emotions.”
“Her emotions are fine,” said Harry. “I could tell. She really wants to help us. And . . .I think she can.” The thought came to him suddenly and he blurted it out without thinking. “She was able to throw off Malfoy’s Imperius Curse, I know she can protect the secret.” He jumped to his feet. “We need to tell her more.” He pulled out his wand. “I’m going to send her a Patronus; she’s still at the Burrow so it’s a good time to tell her.” He looked at Hermione. “Do we need to do anything to loosen the memory charm first or can we just tell her the information again, like it’s the first time she’s heard it?”
“I, umm,” Hermione began. “I think we could just tell her again, but Harry, are you sure. . .”
“Of course he’s sure, can’t you see? He doesn’t care if Ginny gets tortured, as long as she helps find another Horcrux first!” Ron had gotten to his feet too, and now he walked up to stand in front of Harry, a mutinous look on his face.
“Relax Ron, I don’t want Ginny to get hurt either,” said Harry. “I just think that it might be safe now to give her more information.” Harry thought he was being reasonable; but Ron’s face grew red.
“Just because she was able to throw off Malfoy’s curse? What if it’s not Malfoy next time? How can you be so callous about members of my family — oh, I know, it’s because the Weasleys have so many kids, what wrong with one of them getting hurt, plenty more where that one came from!”
Ron looked rather deranged. He poked his wand into Harry’s chest, ignoring the sparks that shot out of the end.
“Ouch,” said Harry.
“Ron, that’s not fair and you know it,” said Hermione. “Harry doesn’t feel that way.”
Ron turned on Hermione. “Oh, take his side, why don’t you? Just like you were so quick to help him modify my sister’s memory in the first place!” He paced angrily around the tent. “It’s not like you even have a clue about what you are doing,” he said to Harry. “Your only plan is to put members of my family in danger. Well, you know what? I’m not having it anymore!” He pulled off the Horcrux and tossed it on a cot. “I’m out of here.” He looked at Hermione. “Are you coming? Maybe you can fix Ginny’s memory without putting her in more danger.”
Hermion looked close to tears. “Ron, I don’t think I can . . . and we promised to help Harry.”
“Fine,” spat Ron. “Take his side.” Without another word he strode out of the tent. A second later, they heard the crack of Apparition.
Harry and Herimione looked at each other. “Do you think he’s gone back to see Ginny?” asked Harry?
Hermione didn’t answer. She threw herself onto her cot with a sob and pulled the blanket over her head.
Harry knew he probably should comfort her but he couldn’t make himself move over to her. Instead, he slowly put the locket back around his neck and picked up the Marauder’s Map before remembering that it was still the holidays. Instead, he lay back on his own cot and thought about ways he could contact Ginny. Whether he wanted to talk to her about helping them or because he really needed a friendly face right now, Harry was not sure.
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