Content Harry Potter
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It all started innocently enough, with an instant message on my Yahoo! Account.  

But wait, first things first.   I'm Aibhinn, one of the Founding Feathers of, public school teacher, musician, writer, and, fortunately or unfortunately, Kokopelli's beta.   It's not a high-maintenance relationship, but it has its moments, rather like this one.  

As I said, it started with an instant message on my school computer.   You know, the one that's not supposed to have any instant messaging software on it.

TLOSGinny: Hello, are you going to be home tonight at 7:30?

I could have ignored it; I suppose that I should have.   I didn't.

AIBHINN:   Yeah.

TLOSGinny: Good.   I'll give you a phone call then.

Whoever TLOSGinny was, they were in for a rude surprise — there are about a dozen people in the world who have my home phone number, including my mother.   It's not common knowledge, or even in the phone book—that whole 'public school teacher' thing I mentioned before.   I put the message out of my mind and went back to grading papers.   I desperately wanted to leave all of my schoolwork at school so I could do something else when I got home.   I finished the papers, bundled up some stuff that I promised that I'd read after dinner, schlepped it all into the mighty Maus (my car, so named because it's small, grey, and fast), and drove home.

My apartment is small, cluttered, and occasionally messy beyond belief, but despite all that it's my sanctum sanctorum, the place where I eat, read, think, write, and when I get exceptionally lucky, entertain visitors.   I'd made a crock-pot of stew earlier that week, and had rerun dinner to look forward to — which, when you live alone, is better than pulling meals out of little boxes that need to be microwaved.   I had no practices, concerts, or other commitments, just some blessed quiet time alone.   Before I hit the stairs, I pulled my wad of mail out of the box, quickly separating it into bills, which went into a big box to be dealt with later, advertising, which went straight into the trash, and magazines, which went onto the table by the couch for later reading.     Rerun dinner went into the microwave (how did single people cook before these things were invented?), and three minutes later, I was settled on the couch with a bowl of stew and my favorite mindless drivel on the television.

The phone rang.   I looked at the clock — it read 7:30.   Caller ID was no help — it read "Incoming Call" which meant simply that whoever was calling had blocked the Caller ID.   Curiosity overwhelmed me, and rather than letting the machine get it, I picked up.

"Hello," I said.   Brilliant opening — always works for me.

"Hello.   Is this Lissa?"   I couldn't place the voice; this was definitely not someone I'd talked to before.   It was a young, female voice, with a mild British accent.   And she pronounced my name right, too—most people who only see it written pronounce it Leesa.   "Please don't hang up.   You don't know me, but I sent you an Instant Message earlier today.   I'm Tea Loss Ginny."  

"Tea Loss?"

She laughed.   It was a bright, musical sound.   "That's how I pronounce T-L-O-S."


"The Letters of Summer — you know, Kokopelli's story.   I'm Ginny, Ginny Weasley.   I need to talk to you about the story.   Please don't hang up, this isn't a crank call, and I'm not one of your students, really I'm not."

So anxious to talk to me she was repeating herself.   Interesting.   I decided to play along.   "Okay, tell me something that only Ginny would know."

"Oh, gee, Hermione said you'd probably ask me something like that.   Um, okay, The Big One, Kokopelli lost the first draft of the letter and had to recreate it from memory."

"Uh-huh.   Keep going."

"Um, in the first draft, Harry wrote about how I got zits at a certain time of the month."

"And what time would that be?"

"Uh, on the New Moon."  

There was a long silence.   I was gobsmacked.   As far as I knew, Kokopelli hadn't shared that detail with anyone. "Okay, ‘Ginny,'" I said cautiously, "what can I do for you?"   If this was a prank, it was a brilliant, world-class prank—and if I didn't have respect for world-class pranks, I'd have no business teaching school.

"I wanted to talk to you about the story, actually."

My eyebrows went up.   "I'm honoured, but shouldn't you be talking to Kokopelli?   All I do is edit his work.   He writes it."

"Well, you see, that's part of the problem.   I can't find him, so I went looking for you."

"What do you mean you can't find him?   You're a figment of his creativity!"

Ginny began to cry, not loudly, but I could hear her sniffling on the other end of the line.   "I know what I am, there's no need to be brutal about it."

Rolling my eyes, I decided that a little distraction was necessary.   "Where are you calling from?"

"England, of course, it's the middle of the night right now."

"Where in England?"

"Leeds.   I'm using the phone in Hermione's mum's office at the Uni."

"Why don't you call from home?"   Damn.   Which university is in Leeds?   I should know this.

"Don't be silly," she snapped, "everyone knows that the Burrow doesn't have a telephone!   You're trying to change the subject.   I need to talk to you about the story."

"What about the story?"

"Well, for one thing, it's thirteen chapters into the story--fourteen if you count the prologue--and I'm still stuck at home in the middle of July, grounded for the rest of the summer!"

"I'm sure you'll not be grounded after Harry's Birthday Party," I replied glibly, hoping that Kokopelli had said something like that in one of his e-mails.   Then something hit me.   "Wait a minute," I said slowly, "we're only up to Chapter 11 on the web-site.   How do you know about chapters twelve and thirteen?"

Ginny laughed again.   It was such a pretty sound.   "Kokopelli shares the stories with the people you call pre-betas.   We come alive as the story is read and shared."

I winced.   "So you're not going to chew me out for not finishing the betaing of chapters twelve and thirteen?"

"No, of course not, we looked at your schedule.   You are one busy woman.   Hermione and I are amazed at what all you pack into a week."

Looked at my— "How did you look at my schedule?" I demanded.

"It's on your computer - the one at home."

"My computer?"

"Yeah, Hermione says your firewall has holes in it big enough to drive a lorry through - I don't know what a firewall is, but I don't think that's good."

"No, it's not."   And apparently I need to make a phone call to a certain software company.   And turn my computer off when I go to bed.   "Why were you looking in my computer?"

"Well, I kinda wanted to see how the story turns out."

Hm.   Can't exactly blame her for that, I suppose.   "And?"   I had a feeling there was something she wasn't telling me.

She sighed.   "Okay, I wanted to know what was happening between Harry and that - that War Witch Jasmine.   Satisfied now?"

"I thought it might be something of the sort.   Why didn't you check Kokopelli's computer?   More of the story's likely to be there."

She made a 'tuh' sound of impatience.   "Do you know where he works?"

"Uh, yeah, he works for the government."

"Exactly, he works for a three letter agency of the United States Government.   Hermione says their firewalls are all top notch.   We couldn't tap into his computer at work, and we couldn't even find his computer at home.   Poor man doesn't have a cable modem.   Hermione said something about a cheap dial-up, whatever that is."

Heh. Sounds like him.   "Well, in all honesty, uh, Ginny, I don't have any chapters beyond 13, and I'm not even finished with that one yet.   What can I do for you?"

"I need his phone number."

I nearly choked.   After the long day I'd had and with my sense of the absurd well in gear, I had to restrain myself from telling her it was 1-900-555-BABE.   "Would his work number do?" I asked.

"Yes, admirably.   He's in the Eastern Time Zone, right?"

"Yeah, but he keeps kinda strange hours."   I glanced at the clock. 7:45 my time was 10:45 his time.

"I'll call tomorrow, he's already home."

I gave her the number.   I thought of giving her his home phone number, I really did, but no married man needs to explain to his wife of twenty-one years why he's getting long distance phone calls from fifteen year old girls.   Besides, I didn't have his home phone number—just   his work number (from which he'd called me once upon a time; it was on my Caller ID).

After Ginny hung up, I shot off a quick e-mail.

From: Aibhinn

To: Kokopelli

Subject: Crank Call?

I got the weirdest phone call today from a girl who may well be Ginny Weasley - the Ginny Weasley from your TLOS story.   She may call you at work tomorrow.   She's concerned about the story.   I think she's worried about Jasmine.   This is either the best-executed prank call of all time, or something really and truly strange is happening.   Keep in touch; I want to know how this one turns out.

I remembered to shut the computer down after sending.

The phone rang again.   Caller ID was blocked, so I took a wild guess and thought it might be Ginny again.


"Lissa, it's me, Ginny.   What's he like?"

"He's about six feet and an inch or so, brown curly hair and a beard.   No mustache, though.   Weird look."

She snorted in amusement.   "No, not that, I mean, what's he like as a person?"

I blinked.   "I don't know him all that well; I'm just his editor."   I didn't figure saying he's got a very dry sense of humour would go over very well.

"Is he gay?"

WHAT?   "NO!" I exclaimed.   "Why would you ask that?"

"Well, he does write like a woman, you know."

"I never thought so, though I know others have commented on that.   As far as I know, he's as straight as a laser beam."   My best friend Helen's voice echoed in my brain, reminding me that scientists have got laser beams to bend recently.   I ignored it.

"What character does he resemble?"

I shrugged—a brilliant move while on the phone.   "He doesn't — he's not writing himself into any of the stories."

"Are you sure?"

Was I?   I furrowed my brow.   "Let me think about that."   I pondered for a moment.   "Okay, I take that back.   You know Miller, from my story?   He's kinda like Miller, only he says that that character is based upon a lawyer he worked with in the 1980s.   He's also kinda like Abelard, except that he's funnier and not so creepy.   Oh, yeah, and he can be moody, too.   Is that any help?"

She chuckled.   "Somewhat, thanks.   You don't know how much this means to me.   By the way, your Ginny says ‘Hi.'"

"My Ginny?"

"Yeah, your Ginny, from Heal the Pain — we run into each other from time to time.   She's really pretty."

My mind is slipping a gear here.   "Don't you two look alike?"

"No!   Heavens no.   I'm not as geeky as Full Pensieve's Ginny, but I really do look like a fifteen year old girl, not some model from central casting."

"Neither does my Ginny!" I said defensively.   "My Harry wouldn't go for anyone who did."   I pause, then add, "She's not, uh, torqued at me for the whole baby thing, is she?"

"Torqued?   Oh, angry.   No, I don't think so.   At least she's getting snogged on a regular basis."   There was a pause and what sounded like a voice in the background.   "Thanks for all your help.   I've got to go — Hermione is calling for me."

I was absurdly disappointed.   If she wasn't the real Ginny, I was going to make an appointment with a psychiatrist.   "Goodnight, Ginny."

"Goodnight Lissa — and thanks."

I tried to say goodbye, but the phone line is already dead.   Kids, they have no sense of manners.

I can't wait to hear from Kokopelli — this is going to be good.


Copyright © 2004 J Cornell - All rights reserved

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