Content Harry Potter
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"‘lo, Ginny," Hermione said, looking up from her parchment as her best friend came in through the portrait hole.   "You look steamed."

"I think someone needs to acquaint Madison with the notion of boundaries," she said quietly, her nose wrinkled.

"So, into which topic has Miss Norbeck poked her very cute button nose?" Hermione asked.

Ginny rolled her eyes.   "She asked me if Harry had asked me out to Hogsmeade yet."

"And you said?" Hermione asked.

"Not the first thing that came to mind, that’s for sure," Ginny said with a curled lip.   "I told her ‘not yet’ after which she muttered something about ‘presumptuous’ and took off towards the library.   Galloping gargoyles, what I could have done with that much nerve at her age."

"It’s not like you’ve suffered from lack of nerve during your short lifetime, Ginny," Hermione said wryly.

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah, I do, but still, the little dynamo’s refreshing most of the time.   She hexed Malfoy in the hallway this morning, you know," Hermione observed.

"Did she get caught?" Ginny asked, her curiosity piqued.

"Only by me," Hermione said with the faintest of smiles.

"What did she do?"  

"Penetrating freezing charm," Hermione said before letting a deep chuckle escape.

"She froze his knickers?" Ginny asked incredulously.

"Assuming that he was wearing any," Hermione said before rolling her own eyes.   "I prefer not to think about that."

"Oh, that’s just too good," Ginny gasped between laughs.   "I’ll take back half of the things I’ve thought about her this morning."

Ginny collected herself, hoisting her bag back up on her shoulder.   As she was halfway up the stairs to the girl’s quarters, Hermione called to her.

"I will talk to her today, if you’d like.   About boundaries," Hermione said.

"That would be great," Ginny called over her shoulder.


Dinner that night was a quiet affair.   They had agreed to use their privileges at Chez Dobby sparingly, which made the private dining room all the more special as a respite from the buzzing of the Great Hall.   Although the meal was basically the same as that served above them, Ginny suspected that the students were not getting the choice of two different fruit pies for pudding.

After dinner, Harry poured up a cup of coffee, their usual postprandial ritual.   She noticed that he was on edge, but refrained from engaging her Legilimency.

"So, Ginny," he began.   He was swallowing a lot.   Ginny smiled.   "Um, yeah, this weekend is the first Hogsmeade weekend," he said, avoiding eye contact.

"Mm-hum," she replied, taking a sip of coffee.   Watching him squirm was delicious payback.

"Youwannago?" he blurted.

"Go where, Harry?" she asked sweetly.

"To Hogsmeade, with me," he said.

She smiled broadly.   "Of course, I’d love to."

Harry exhaled forcefully.

"That wasn’t so hard, was it?" she asked.   "Did you think I’d really say no?"

"I dunno," he replied.   "I thought I didn’t need to ask.   I thought we’d already talked about it."


"When what?"

"When did we talk about it, Harry?" she asked.

"August first, in the Herb Garden, at the Burrow," he said, sliding his hand across the table until it was on top of her own.

Ginny shivered as she felt a burst of emotion come across the link that Harry had opened with the physical contact.   She tossed her head, moving a strand of hair behind her ear with her free hand.

"We did talk about it then, didn’t we?   Well, you got it half right, I suppose," she said, drawing a gulp of coffee from her cup.   She flashed a smile as she returned the cup to its saucer. "I did agree to be your date at the Ball, so you don’t have to ask me again, but I only agreed to the concept of going to Hogsmeade, not any particular weekend."

She watched a flicker of expression pass across his face.   "That’s mad, you know," Harry said after a moment.

"I’m a girl, that’s how these things work.   I suppose I have Madison to thank for this.   Where did she get you?" Ginny asked.

"In the shins," he answered.


"I was in the Library, taking a power-nap between assignments.   Mm’lau woke me up just before she struck, otherwise I might have accidentally hexed her," Harry said.

"Mm’lau didn’t protect you?" Ginny asked.

"Maybe she didn’t think Madison represented a threat, or maybe she thought I deserved it or something," he said.

"Probably the latter," Ginny murmured.

Harry pulled a face.   "Bloody conspiracy it is," he grumbled.

Ginny gathered up the dishes and banished them to the serving door before she slipped around the table to sit on his lap.   "I’ll make sure it was worth the trouble," she said, pushing her fingers through the hair on the nape of his heck as she kissed his forehead.

"What trouble?" Harry asked.

"See? Better already," she said before she returned to laying down a strand of kisses around his eyebrows and down the side of his face.   Harry was making a quiet, guttural sound she’d dubbed the ‘Harry purr’ which inspired her to take things a bit further.

"It’s still mad," he protested.

"Hush," she said, tilting his chin to get better access to those wonderful lips.


"Ginny?" Harry asked several minutes later when she was resting her head against his.

"Yes, Harry?" Ginny answered sleepily.

"Why do you flinch whenever I mention Daphne?" he asked.

Ginny pinched his arm.   "It’s not nice to soften my resistance and then ask me a question like that," she protested.

"I wasn’t softening you up, and, I might add, I didn’t start this bit of spontaneous nuzzling.   I thought we were going back to the Tower when I found myself pinned under my Krulach," he said, placing an appreciative hand on her bum.   "Besides, you didn’t answer my question."

Ginny pushed back the hair that was attempting to cover her face, worrying her lower lip with her teeth before she took a deep breath.   "I feel so inadequate around her," she said. "Her perfect hair, her eyes, that figure, her family’s been active in the C of E since the time of good Queen Bess, plus, I’ve seen how she looks at you," she said with a pout.

Harry began to shake.

"You’re laughing at me!" she exclaimed as she placed a knuckle between his ribs.

Harry captured her hand, holding it still.

"Do you know what she wants?" he asked.

"Aside from stealing away to the Room of Requirement and having her way with you?" Ginny asked.

Harry snorted.   "I’m afraid that the only girl with that fantasy is you, dear."

Don’t bet on it, Ginny thought to herself.

"Daphne spent her summer with the Daughters of Charity," he said, shifting Ginny on his lap.

"Is that a band like the Weird Sisters?" Ginny asked.

"No," he replied, shaking with mirth again.   "It’s a bunch of Anglican nuns.   Daphne is trying to figure out whether or not she has a religious vocation."

"A what?" Ginny asked.

"She’s trying to figure out whether or not God is calling her to be a nun," he explained.

"But she’s so pretty," Ginny protested.

"It’s not just the ugly ones that get called to religious life," he said.

"And how do you know so much about the topic?" she asked as she squirmed on his lap.

"Chats with Father Martin," he replied.

"So she’s not asking you out to Hogsmeade?" she said playfully.


"Not asking for a demonstration of the proper wand motions for the full body bind?" she said.


"Not trying to sit close to you during Morning Prayer so you can look down her blouse?"

"Uh, no.   She attends services with you," he said.

"Oh, right," Ginny replied.

"So, have you been looking down her blouse on Saturday nights?"

"I don’t play on that team," she replied.

"You didn’t answer the question."

"I’ve seen her starkers, I don’t need to look down her blouse."

Harry raised an eyebrow.

"Quidditch practice, last year.   I was dating Michael at the time and felt very good about my, uh, development when I came into the showers as the Slytherin team was leaving.   There she was, starkers in the shower.   Set my self image back by years," she said bitterly.

Harry wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her back gently.   "I don’t give a flying fig about Daphne.   The woman of my dreams is sitting on my lap right now."



"You know, for someone with the social graces of a troll, you do say the sweetest things sometimes," she said as she plucked off his glasses.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"They’ll be in my way," she explained as she repositioned herself in his lap, placing her hands on his ears.   "For this," she said as she placed her lips on his.


The week passed fairly quickly.   After a gruelling Friday and a tedious but productive Friday night, Saturday morning came.   Ginny met Harry in the common room before they walked to breakfast.   On most Saturday mornings, the Great Hall was quiet, but not today.   The room was buzzing with excited students, third year and above, chattering about Hogsmeade.   She looked up at Harry.

"You seem worried," she said.

"Nah, just preoccupied.   You ready to go?"

"I was born ready," she replied.

"We’ll see about that," he said with a smile.

As they made their way to the gate, she saw McGonagall and Filch, checking names off of a list.   "Harry?" she asked, "who signed your form?"

"Uncle Moony," he replied.

Filch scratched his quill on a list as they passed by.   Professor McGonagall coughed lightly.   "Potter, a word, please?" she asked.   Harry pulled aside, cocking his ear towards her.

"You’ll have minders today — they will be discreet," she whispered.

Harry nodded.   "If they lose me, Dobby knows where I’m taking Ginny for a picnic," he volunteered.

"Very well, PotterH," she said as a brief, cryptic smile played across her lips, "make it count."

Harry looked up at her, startled, but she’d turned away by that time, returning her attention to the queue of students.


Hogsmeade with Ginny was not all that different from Hogsmeade visits with Ron and Hermione, except for the hand-holding and occasional furtive kiss between shops.   Aside from that, many of the destinations were the same: Honeydukes, of course, and a brief visit to Zonkos before making the obligatory visit to the new WWW kiosk which was manned by George in the morning and Fred in the afternoon.    The bulk of the morning, however was taken up by the visit to Gladrags where Ginny spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time looking at fabric, giggling over sketches with the proprietress, and what seemed like an endless discussion of shoes, purses and accessories (including a discussion of foundational garments that sent Ginny into yet another fit of the giggles), and finally a brief session of measuring.   When that was done, Harry selected dress robes in a complimentary colour, which took all of five minutes, and they left the store.

They were walking along the crowded thoroughfare when Ginny tugged on Harry’s sleeve.   "There’s a problem here, Mister Potter," she said impishly.

"Oh, and what might that be, Miss Weasley?" he asked.

"Your beloved is hungry — you need to feed me," she said.

"I think that can be arranged," he said, his eyes scanning the crowd.   He took her hand, nodding to indicate that she needed to lower her Occlumency shield.   We’re going to walk into the thick of that crowd up ahead and then turn invisible.   We take a left at the Ironmonger’s shop.

So we’re not eating at the Three Broomsticks?

No.   With a bit of assistance from our favourite house-elf, I planned a bit of a picnic.  

Oooh, a surprise.   Unlike you, I like surprises.

Ready now?   On my mark, one, two, three.   Lovely job, Miss Weasley.

Thank-you, Mister Potter. Just who are we avoiding?


They walked hand in invisible hand down a quiet lane and then took an overgrown trail that seemed to peter out a hundred or so feet from a rocky foothill.  

"Now what?" Ginny asked, reappearing after Harry did.

"A wee bit of a climb up this hill," he replied.

"Then what?" she asked.

"Then I feed you," he answered with a smile, scrambling up the rocky face.  

They reached an outcropping when Harry took her hand.   "Now we go in," he said, disappearing into the rocks.   Ginny followed, marvelling at the charms that concealed the opening.

"You’ve been here before?" she asked.

"During the Tri-Wizard tournament.   I used to meet Sirius here when he was on the run, before he went to Grimmauld Place," he said, closing his eyes, leaning back against the wall, biting his lip.

"Harry, are you all right?" Ginny asked with concern.

Harry shook his head, whispering "no."

Ginny pressed herself against him, hooking her thumbs into his belt, collecting her thoughts before she pressed her forehead against his chest.   She pushed a carefully collected bundle of thought and emotion to him, hoping that she could express it without words.   Harry resisted at first, and then accepted the surge, raising his hands inside her cloak, feeling the crisp fabric of the back of her blouse.   He gave her a brief squeeze before breaking away.

"Thanks," he said.   "Just when I think I’m over mourning him, something else crops up," he explained as they walked into the cave.   They passed through a narrow switchback before the cave opened into a larger chamber.   Harry took a path that led around the perimeter.   "Mind where you step," he said, "there’s a bit of guano in the middle."

"Guano?" Ginny asked.

"Bat poop — in the warmer months, this cave houses a goodly colony of bats."

"Oh," she said.   "You take me to the nicest places, Harry."

"Hush," he said playfully, leading her to an opening that led away from the chamber.   After passing through another switchback, they began to see sunlight, or at least what appeared to be sunlight.   The tunnel opened up to what appeared to be a wide balcony, overlooking the village of Hogsmeade.

"The opening is charmed, just like the back door.   From the outside it looks like a rocky hillside.   As far as I can tell, it’s Unplottable, so we shouldn’t show up on any of Uncle Moony’s maps.   Sirius kept Buckbeak here.   I’m fairly certain the charm work is his, but we never discussed it," he said, before he clapped his hands.

The clap echoed in the cave.   When the echo subsided, a picnic basket had appeared.   Harry knelt by the basket, removing tiny chairs and a table from it.   He tapped the chairs and the table, and they sprang to full size, then tapped the table, and linens and table service appeared.   Ginny gave him a puzzled look.   "Dobby doesn’t quite grasp the concept of picnic," he said, "but he does understand what a Weasley wants."

"So there’s a little heart-shaped bed in there as well?" Ginny asked mischievously.

"Uh, that would be a ‘no.’    There is a couch, however," Harry said, a blush moving up the back of his neck.

"I’m sorry, Harry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you," Ginny said, placing her fingers lightly on his cheek.

Harry nodded.   "Let’s eat, and then we can talk about it."

"Sounds like a plan," Ginny replied, touching the tip of his nose lightly with her little finger.

The basket contained chilled butterbeer, hot chicken, cold potato salad and a plate of fresh fruit.   Pudding was a collection of chocolate biscuits.

"Ummmm — I take back what I said about your taste in dining establishments — that was almost as good as Mum’s," Ginny exclaimed.

"Dobby does do nice work," Harry said, topping off Ginny’s glass of butterbeer before he tossed the now empty containers back into the picnic basket.

"So where’s that couch?" Ginny asked.

"Eager, are we?" he asked.

"I’m a Weasley — satisfy one need, another crops up to take its place," she said.

"And what need might this be?" Harry asked, as he pulled another miniature piece of furniture from the basket.

"The need to be with you, to touch you, to have you all to myself," she said.

With a tap, the couch became full size.   Harry nudged it so they could take advantage of the scenic overlook. "I think I can accommodate that," he replied, sitting down on one end of the couch, patting the cushion next to him.   Ginny eyed the couch and then Harry, kicking off her shoes before stretching out on the couch, using his lap as a pillow.

"So, what was up with all the whispering?" Harry asked, once Ginny stopped squirming for a comfortable position.

"What whispering?" she asked.

"Everywhere we went, people were pointing and talking," he answered.

"Oh, that — well, I guess the word is finally getting out that Harry Potter has a girlfriend," she said with a smile.

"C’mon, everyone knows that we’re together," Harry protested.

"Not really," Ginny said.   "Other than the Gryffindors, who, I might add, do a pretty good job keeping mum about anything involving you,  we’ve kept a low enough profile that a number of people in the other houses are totally unaware that we’re a couple.   Hermione still gets discreet inquiries as to whether or not you’re available."

"You’re having me on," he said.

"Nope — I’m not.   So today, walking down Cauldron Lane, hand in hand, we kinda went public in a big way.   I wouldn’t be surprised if we show up this week in Teen Witch or the gossip section of the Daily Prophet," Ginny said, rolling her eyes at the last statement.

"That’s inevitable, I guess," Harry sighed.

"Just so long as it’s written up as ‘Scarlet Haired Sex-Kitten snares Boy Who Lived’ rather than ‘Boy Who Lived takes pity on scrawny sister of best friend,’" she said with a grin.   She squirmed a bit, trying to find a more comfortable position until she sat up, snuggling into his side, moving his arm so that it was draped around her.   "Much better," she sighed.

"I agree," he answered.

They sat in silence for a while, watching the fat puffy clouds travel across the sky over Hogsmeade.   Ginny finally broke the silence.



"Do you remember the time we went to Gringotts?" she asked.

"I’m not likely to forget that day anytime soon," he answered.

"Why did you touch me then?" she asked, looking over her shoulder to glance at him before looking away again.

"Touch you?" he asked.

"Yeah, like this," she said, moving his hand until it was cradling her bosom.

Harry stiffened and then relaxed.   "Oh, that," he said.

"Yeah, that," Ginny said, placing her hand on top of his to keep it in place.

"Well, uh, I thought I was going to die that day," he said.

"And?" she asked.

"And that was something I wanted to do before I died," he said, feeling the warmth return to the back of his neck.

"And it was so terrible that you haven’t wanted to repeat the experience?" she asked defiantly.

"No, not exactly," Harry said.

"So why do we always stop at kissing?" she asked.

"Good question," he answered, sitting silent for a moment.   "Lack of time, mainly, lack of privacy, and, uh, I guess I just don’t want to go further right now," he said.

"Why is that, Harry?" she asked.

"It’s not because I don’t want you, that’s for sure," he blurted.  

"So why do you stop?" she asked.

"Because I want to treat you respectfully, because I told your Mum and Dad that I’d treat you like a lady," he said.

"And treating me like a lady means that I’m going to be a virgin on my wedding day?" she asked.

"Pretty much," he said.

"And I don’t get a say in this?" she asked petulantly.

"Uh, no, of course! You get a say, you do!" he said, feeling unprepared for this whole line of conversation.

Ginny looked down for a moment, looking like she was trying to choose her words carefully.   "Harry, when the time comes I’m going to promise to love, honour, obey, and protect you in front of God and my family, but even then, I’m not going to be controlled by you.   Making decisions about us without consulting me is controlling — I didn’t care for it when it was Tom and I don’t care for it from you," she said, gazing straight into his eyes.

He blinked.   "I’m sorry," he whispered.

"I forgive you," she said, kissing the tip of his nose lightly.  
"I don’t want to wait that long."

"How long?"

"Until we’re married — I’m terrible at waiting," she said.

"And I’m terrible at skulking around," he replied.

"Which means?" she asked.

"I might remind you that we’re students, living at a residential school, in dormitories.   When we, uh, do that stuff, I don’t want to be doing it in some broom closet or empty classroom and then go sneaking off, afraid that Filch will catch us, like we’re doing something wrong," he explained.

"No?" she asked.

"No — when we, uh, do that, you should have a ring on your finger and my name tacked after yours, a flat to call our own with stuff," he said, searching for words.

"Stuff?" she asked impishly.

"Like sheets and beds and doors that can be charmed shut without a prefect or the school caretaker banging on the other side," he said.

"Fair enough," she said, a wry smile curling on her lips.

"So you agree?" he asked hopefully.

"No, but I respect your position," she said, moving around until she was sitting on his lap.   Reaching up to play with the hair over his ear, she kissed him, tenderly at first, followed by deeper, more forceful kisses.   "Relax," she said, breaking off from a kiss, "I’m not going to have my wanton way with you today; at least I’m not planning on it."   With the hand that wasn’t curled around his shoulders she began unbuttoning her blouse.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Compromising," she answered as she undid the last button.

"Oh, is that what this is?" he asked.

"Yeah, I read in one of Mum’s Witch Weekly magazines that it was important for couples to work out compromises," she said before she kissed him on his neck, just below his ear.   She then nimbly began unbuttoning the buttons on his shirt.

"Well, in that case, I guess I’d better . . . compromise," he said, sliding his hand across her stomach and up her side.

"Yeah, if you know what’s good for you," she murmured.


"Harry Potter, sir, Dobby is looking for you!"

"Shite!" Ginny exclaimed as she leapt down the couch, frantically rebuttoning her blouse.

"Harry Potter, sir, Dobby regrets to inform you that Professor Dumbledore wants you to return to the castle, immediately," Dobby said as he passed through the illusion charm that shielded the mouth of the cave from the outside world.   Dobby blinked as he looked up at the two teenagers solemnly.   "Was the picnic to your liking, sir and miss?"

"It was excellent, Dobby, the best picnic basket I’ve had the pleasure to eat in ages," Ginny said, carefully but casually buttoning the last button on her blouse.

"Dobby is most pleased, young miss.   Dobby takes great pleasure in caring for Harry Potter and his friends, especially such a beautiful young lady friend such as you is," he said.   Turning to Harry he said, "Harry Potter, sir, would you prefer that Dobby pops the two of you back to Hogwarts, or would you prefer to goes back to Hogwarts by the special Portkey that Professor Dumbledore provided Dobby when he was sent to find sir and miss?"


Dear Diary,

Oh, dear God, forgive me, because I’m a miserable slag.   Amen

Somehow I doubt that will take care of it.   Oh well, I’m still trying to get the hang of this thing.

What a day.   What an utterly splendid, lovely, frustrating, horrifying day.   Ever since my first trip to Hogsmeade as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed it.   When I was little, Mum preferred to do most of her shopping at Hogsmeade over Diagon Alley.   In hindsight, I suspect that she was worried about the twins wandering off — although they can find trouble wherever they go, it was probably a good move on her part to minimize their access to Knockturn Alley.  

Being in Hogsmeade, with Harry, was lovelier still.   As Harry noticed, there was a lot of pointing and whispering wherever we went.   If he ever wanted to keep our relationship a secret, that’s probably not possible.   There was a certain satisfaction to going public with Harry.   I imagine that it’s not as satisfying as being pelted with rice as we leave church, but it’s a start.   We stocked up on the usual supplies, visited the new WWW kiosk and then went to Gladrags.   It appears that the woman who runs the shop was an old flame of Sirius.   But for last June’s tragedy, she would probably have been the next mistress of the House of Black, Harry would still have a godfather, and I would still be without Harry.   If you think I don’t feel conflicted about this, you don’t know me very well.   But I digress again.

For reasons known only to Abigail Loomis, she’s outfitting me in a complete wardrobe for the All Hallow’s Eve Ball (and I do mean complete) for the paltry sum of ten Galleons.   Harry says that it’s not charity insofar as she’s banking on receiving some favourable publicity when a picture leaks out (and we know it will) with me in her gown standing next to Harry.   I suppose that I should feel guilty about trading on Harry’s notoriety, but the inner bargain hunter in me wants to tap-dance on the tables for finding a great deal.

I thought we’d be eating lunch at the Three Broomsticks, as Harry’s not likely to darken the doorway to Madam Puddifoot’s any time soon and he’s not too keen on the Hogshead either.   The delightful lad is full of surprises — we went for a very romantic picnic.   I dropped more than a few hints that I was on the randy side, to little effect.   Note to self: hints are wasted on Harry.

We managed to have a very grown up discussion about the physical side of our relationship, which was a bit of a shock.   I don’t care what Hermione says, Harry is not a normal boy.   He desires me, that much is clear every time I touch him with my shields down, but his intentions are so honourable.   His commitment to my being a virgin on my wedding night is no doubt attributable to Mum, but I wouldn’t put it past Father Martin either.

It’s not so much that I mind the whole purity thing — when I give myself to Harry I know that it will be forever.   Rather, what rankles me is that he made a decision, no, a commitment, on something that concerns us without ever talking to me.   I respect Harry — he didn’t back down, not much, but he did realize that he’d stepped in it again.   I pressed my advantage and unbuttoned my blouse, unbuttoned his shirt, rearranged a few things and had some quality skin-on-skin time with the boy I love.   Lest you think, dear diary, that I am no longer qualified to call Unicorns, rest assured that whatever base plans I might have had for slaking my carnal lusts today, we were interrupted. By Dobby of course.   Damn.

The time alone with Harry was — well — magical, but in hindsight, I’m worried.   In less than one hour (I have only the haziest notions of time for that day — my watch was in my pocket and that was one place my hands didn’t roam) I went further with Harry than I’d gone with Michael during the course of a year.   I think what amazes me is that I didn’t have an exit plan, I didn’t have a bright line, beyond which I could not cross.   In hindsight I realize now how foolish I was to push Harry further today.   He has boundaries and I don’t, which may be a problem the next time I throw caution to the wind.

We took a Portkey to Dumbledore’s office, where, much to my surprise we were met by Jasmine.   Talk about cognitive dissonance.   Of all the people I expected to see in Dumbledore’s office, she was not on the list.   There we were, hand in hand, looking like — well, two teenagers in love.   She swept her eyes over us, noticing everything, smiling that Mona Lisa smile.   Dumbledore needed to speak to Harry in private for a bit, during which Jasmine pointed out that I was misbuttoned.   With a flick of her wand my blouse was set right, which was a nifty charm to be sure.   I’m going to practice it tonight when I finish writing this entry.   ;-)

Jasmine and I grew close together this summer when I was training with her.   Aside from the training, of course, we had a topic of mutual interest: Harry.   We’d discussed my then nascent relationship with Harry frequently.   So it wasn’t a big surprise that the first thing out of her mouth when Dumbledore closed the door to his office was "So, how’s the kissing thing working out?"   We shared a hearty laugh together and I got a sisterly hug after dishing out some of the details.   She drew herself up straight after her Hermione sized hug and solemnly said "Remember, you’re the experienced one in this relationship, Ginny.   Harry hasn’t a clue how these things work."   I nodded and was rewarded by her knowing Mona Lisa style smile.  

Harry finished up with Dumbledore and we walked to the inner courtyard by the gate that led to Hogsmeade.   Jasmine summoned the Portal, gave me a wink and then disappeared into a brighter, sunnier garden on the other side.   Harry gave me a firm, but chaste kiss before following after her through the golden door.

While waiting for Harry, Jasmine told me that Abelard was in the hospital — he’d had what appeared to be a stroke.   Jasmine believed that seeing Harry would lift his spirits, so she came to Hogwarts, requesting permission to borrow him for the day.   I really wanted to go along, but Jasmine was insistent that while she could probably sneak one visitor into the hospital, she’d get chucked out if she brought two.   After much wheedling and whinging, I relented.   Jasmine seemed to be fairly immune to the typical tactics I’d employed against Mum since I was a toddler.  

I walked back to the tower in a funk.   Although I had had almost a full day out with Harry, I felt short-changed and abandoned.   Although I could still sense Harry after he’d left, what normally gave me comfort now mocked me.   I’d been left behind.

It was no surprise that my brother and his brilliant girlfriend were the last Gryffindors to return from Hogsmeade.   When I saw them approach the castle, I scrambled down to meet them so I could have someone to sit with at dinner.   Although I tried to put on a happy face, I was still dangerously out of sorts.   Hermione leaned over and asked if I was okay, to which I replied, "Yes, sort of," and then she asked where Harry was.   Explaining that he was away visiting his tutor in the hospital explained a lot.

"Harry’s not going to do well with this," she said to me.   I put on a wicked expression and said "I’ll have to see what I can do to take his mind off of it when he returns," which seemed to shock my bushy-haired friend.   Ron finally lifted his head up from his dinner plate and asked me how the Hogsmeade visit went.   When I told him that it was brilliant, but cut short, he reminded me that we’d get a chance to do it again in three weeks.   He was in enough of a good mood that I wheedled him into trading my treacle tart for his serving of apple cobbler, so I hadn’t completely lost my touch.   If there were any scintillating bits of conversation at the table tonight, I’m sure I missed them.   I was distracted by Harry being gone, and still wallowing in self-pity at having my time cut short.   I walked back to the tower alone, using the solitude to stretch my senses out and feel for Harry’s signature.   I could tell that he’s worried, but he was also reasonably content, so I guessed that Abelard was okay.   I’ll know tomorrow, I guess. Speaking of tomorrow, as I’d missed the Saturday evening service, I guess I’ll attend morning services with Harry, which means that I’d best wrap up inscribing my immortal thoughts upon your creamy pages, dear diary of mine.


6 October, 1996

Dear Diary,

Well, it’s Sunday morning, but Harry was still gone when I woke up today.   Wherever he is, he’s still there.   After the world’s quickest shower (being small has its advantages) I made my way out of the tower to Professor McGonagall’s office, but it was unexplainably sealed.   As I couldn’t get to church, and Harry was still away, I decided to do something about the gnawing hunger in my middle, so I took off to the Great Hall for breakfast.  

As I hadn’t felt like eating much last night, I took additional servings on everything for breakfast: porridge, toast, eggs, kippers, tomatoes and a bowl of fruit compote, snickering at myself for assembling a breakfast sized for Ron, or maybe Jasmine.   Midway through the porridge, I felt the familiar bloom of warmth in my middle signifying that Harry had returned to the castle.   Part of me wanted to run off to meet up with him, but I was still out of sorts, so I stayed in place; better that he finds me rather than the other way around.   All at once, the Great Hall seemed to fill up with chattering students.   Ron and Hermione were carrying on an elliptical discussion which indicated that either they were rowing again,   or they were trying to talk about something without tipping me off.   Puleeze — I’m kept in the dark enough as it is.   I was tempted to fire up the old Legilimency, but that’s a dangerous task at best when surrounded by magical minds in the Great Hall.

Harry made it into the Great Hall, taking his place opposite me at the table.   "Aren't you forgetting something, Mr. Potter?" I called out to him, tapping my finger on my cheek where I wanted a kiss.   Harry took the hint and leaned across the table to kiss me.   Just before he pecked me, I grabbed him by the collar and gave him a proper kiss.   Hermione tutted softly and Ron began to choke on his coffee.   I let go of Harry, letting his sit down again with a broad smile on his face.   "Mmm," he said, licking his lips.   "Kippers."

Neither one of us noticed Zaharias Smith as he approached.   He plunked a folded up copy of the early edition of the Daily Prophet down on the table between us.   The paper displayed a photograph of a Dark Mark shimmering above what appeared to be a burning house.   Smith was fuming. "So, Potter," Smith growled.   "How long is this going to go on?" he asked Harry in a loud voice.

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," Harry replied.   Zacharias unfolded the paper, displaying the caption "Dozens killed in Death Eater attack in Brighton."

Harry sat still for a moment.   Conversation in the Great Hall had stopped.   All eyes and ears it seemed were on our table.   "You from Brighton?" Harry asked Smith, using his very best Snape impression voice.

I worried that Harry was going to let loose just then, but he didn’t do anything other than gripping the table.   I noticed afterwards that Harry had left little scorch marks on the table’s surface.   Harry stood up, addressing Smith with a quick and quiet "I’m sorry for your loss," before he darted out of the Great Hall, looking back over his shoulder at me long enough to mouth "I gotta go."

Smith stomped back to the Hufflepuff table.   The conversations in the Great Hall resumed.   I crossed my silverware on my plate and left the Great Hall.   Hermione caught up to me in the corridor outside.   She grabbed me by the elbow, turning me around.   "Go to him," she implored as she looked me in the eye.

"I don’t think so," I replied.   "I think he’d rather be alone right now."

Hermione gave me an odd look, fury burning in her eyes.   Although her lips weren’t moving, I heard her next thought as clearly as if she’d spoken it aloud.

Just because you’re sleeping with him doesn’t mean that you know what’s best for him.

I blinked.   I’m fairly certain she didn’t know that I was picking up on her thoughts.   I decided to lash out at her a bit.   "I disagree.   I think I do know what’s best for him.   That’s one of the differences between us, which is why he chose me over you, Hermione.   I know when to leave him alone."

The look on Hermione’s face was worth the trouble.   She let go of my elbow (which I believe broke the accidental Legilimency link) and I scurried off to my room to write this diary entry.   Hermione, I’d discovered this fall, is a natural Occlumens most of the time.   Evidently eye contact and touch combined can overcome this natural defence.  

I’ve just reached out to sense Harry’s presence, recoiling at the flavour.   He’s doing something with his magic right now that dampens my ability to tell where he is and what he’s doing.   By the strength of his signature I’d swear that he’s in the castle, but I’ll be hanged if I can tell where.   Maybe I’ll nip up to his room after I finish my homework and nick his copy of the Marauder’s map.   My homework, incidentally, refuses to do itself in my absence.   So much for the notion that being a witch solves practical problems.




The voice was unmistakable.   "Harry Potter, Sir, Dobby is looking for you," Dobby cried.

Ginny zipped to the end of the couch, scooping herself into her brassiere before she began to furiously button her blouse.   Harry watched in fascination, smirking as he buttoned up his own shirt.

"We’re up here, Dobby," he called once Ginny was covered up.  

"Harry Potter, sir, Dobby regrets to inform you that Professor Dumbledore wants you to return to the castle, immediately," Dobby said as he passed through the illusion charm that shielded the mouth of the cave from the outside world.   Dobby blinked as he looked up at the two teenagers solemnly.   "Was the picnic to your liking, sir and miss?"

"It was excellent, Dobby, the best picnic basket I’ve had the pleasure to eat in ages," Ginny said, carefully but casually buttoning the last button on her blouse.

"Dobby is most pleased, young miss.   Dobby takes great pleasure in caring for Harry Potter and his friends, especially such a beautiful young lady friend such as you is," he said.   Turning to Harry he said, "Harry Potter, sir, would you prefer that Dobby pops the two of you back to the castle, or would you prefer to goes back to Hogwarts by the special Portkey that Professor Dumbledore provided to Dobby when he was sent to find sir and miss?"

Harry glanced at Ginny, who shrugged.   "We’ll take the Portkey, I guess," he said with a frown.  

Dobby giggled as he pulled a tiny miniature white rose from the pocket of his harlequin checked trousers.   He shook it with a grand gesture, transforming it into a full-sized rose.   "Harry Potter must hand this to his lady while he expresses his feelings for her.   Both sir and miss must be touching the rose for the magic to work," he said, stifling another giggle when Harry shot him a dirty look.

Harry took the rose from Dobby, raising one eyebrow as he looked from Dobby to the rose and then to Ginny.   Extending the rose with a flourish he said "Fair maiden, a token of my esteem."   A quizzical look passed his face when nothing happened.

"Harry," Ginny whispered, "you have to express your feelings."

"Hmph," Harry snorted before he bent forward to give her a tender kiss.   The now-familiar yank behind the navel grabbed them both as the cavern disappeared.   Instead of the cavern, they were now standing in the outer chamber of Professor Dumbledore’s office.  Sensing someone to his left, he let go of the rose long enough to twist into a battle stance, albeit one where he was still holding Ginny’s hand.   He took a deep breath.   "Hello, Jasmine.   I wasn’t expecting you," he said as he straightened up.

"Even so, you took the initiative after being surprised.   It appears that my efforts this summer were not wasted," Jasmine said with a grin.   "It is so good to see you both.   I know it’s disappointing to be yanked from a Hogsmeade weekend, but Abelard dearly wanted to see you, Harry."

"Is something wrong?" Ginny asked.

"Abelard fell ill yesterday and asked me to fetch Harry," Jasmine answered.   "But first your Headmaster asks for some time alone with your Krulach." She gave the word the throaty sound it deserved.  Harry went through the door to the inner office, closing it carefully.

"Oh Ginny!" Jasmine said as Ginny launched herself onto her mentor.   "It is so good to see you two together.   Are you happy?" she asked.

"Very," Ginny answered.

"And Harry?" she asked.

"Well, according to Harry, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him," Ginny said with a bit of a blush.

"I suspect that he’s right," Jasmine said sagely.


"Harry," Dumbledore exclaimed as he rose from behind his desk.   The two wizards shook hands before Dumbledore gestured that he should sit down.   Harry looked about the office, noting with gratitude that most of the items he’d smashed last summer were back in their proper places, repaired and whole.

"I’m sorry," he muttered.

"They were things, Harry.   I have too many things and each of them can be replaced, but our friendship is unique, and if damaged can not be replaced.   It is a shame that it took me this long to learn that simple fact," Dumbledore said.

"Thank you, sir," Harry said.

Dumbledore chuckled.   "Your father would be proud of you — you gave your minders the slip in Hogsmeade.   Can I assume that you were using Padfoot’s old lair?"

"Possibly," Harry replied with a smirk.

"It is my business to know things, Harry.   There are two unplottable spots in Hogsmeade.   The Aurors know of but one.   I know them both.   I appreciate your desire for privacy, especially on a fine autumn day with a lovely companion.   I appreciate that you insured that someone knew your whereabouts.   To the extent that I can, I will respect your wishes for privacy," Dumbledore said warmly.

"Thank you, sir," Harry replied.

"You may dispense with the ‘sir’ while we are alone, Harry," Dumbledore said.

"Yes, s - er, Headmaster," Harry replied with a grin.

Fawkes gave a gentle crowing sound, appreciating the humour in the exchange.

"Harry, I called you back from the attention of the lovely Miss Weasley because Abelard fell ill yesterday and requested this morning that you be allowed to visit him.   At first I was going to dismiss the request out of hand, as I have reliable reports of Death Eater activity, both here and abroad, but Miss Kadakia was most persuasive.   Unfortunately, for operational reasons, Abelard can safely receive only one visitor," Dumbledore said.

"I see," Harry said.   "How bad off is he?"

"He is in no danger of meeting his maker any time soon, much to his regret," Dumbledore said with a wry expression.   "I also wanted to advise you that I will be away from the castle for a bit more than two weeks, coming back just in time for the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match on the twenty-fifth.   While I am gone, I only ask that should anything untoward happen, that you would confide in the members of the Order that are on faculty."

"Uh, right," Harry said, thinking that it would be a cold day in Hell before he voluntarily confided anything to his Potions instructor.

"I also wanted to relay to you that Professor Snape has repeatedly requested the opportunity to test your progress in Occlumency.   I have begged off until now, but if you are willing to put up with him for a brief moment, I’m sure that it would be informative for all involved," he said, nodding at Fawkes as the phoenix began trilling an odd, humorous tune.   "All I ask is that you leave me with a functional Potions instructor when you finish."

"You mean you want me to leave him better than I find him?" Harry cracked.   "Not to worry, I think I can do what I have to do without leaving marks."

"Excellent!   Now, if you would be so kind, I have a small package that needs to be transported to Abelard.   Notwithstanding your prior plans, you may need to stay overnight, but in no event should you stay past Sunday evening," Dumbledore said.

"How is he, exactly?" Harry asked.

"As of today, he is conscious and able to communicate after a fashion.   His attending physicians and healers believe that he experienced a minor stroke, although they are divided upon his ability to recover from this malady.   My own opinion is that nothing would be better for him than seeing his summer student again," Dumbledore said, twisting in his chair to open a drawer in his desk.   He pulled out a zippered portfolio that appeared to be made of some sort of exotic leather.   "This case is charmed so that only Abelard or Jasmine may open it.   I would not tempt those charms if I were you; George Weasley did the charm work for the last layer of protection."

"Thanks for the warning — I’ll kerb my curiosity," Harry said lightly.

"Most satisfactory.   Now, enough with business.   How are you Harry?   Classes, the D.A., Quidditch, Miss Weasley?" Dumbledore asked.

Harry chuckled.   "All of them are faring better than I’d imagined, especially the latter," he said with a broad smile.

"You do make a lovely couple.   I’ve had to shake myself more than once to argue with my eyes that I’m not seeing your parents out of time," Dumbledore said.

"You’re not the first person to make that mistake," Harry said wistfully, thinking of Abelard.


Harry felt torn as they walked to the inner courtyard of the castle.   He wanted to see Abelard, but not at the expense of leaving Ginny.   Pulling his shield to naught, he snagged Ginny’s hand, opening up their touch-talk link.

I don’t want to leave you.

I know, but you need to do this, Harry.

What are you not saying?

I don’t like to be the little woman, waiting behind for the hero to return.

You know that I’d rather have you with me, don’t you?

Good answer, Harry.

He squeezed her hand and received a sunny smile in reply.

As they gathered in the courtyard, Jasmine called the portal, opening the golden door swiftly, her battle wand clutched in her left hand.   Stepping through the portal she scanned the new vista and then beckoned to Harry.   Ginny stood on tip-toe, kissing him soundly before whispering in his ear.   "Take as long as you need and then hurry back," she said.

Harry nodded and then walked through the portal, closing the door behind him.  

Ginny stood in the courtyard, arms wrapped around her chest, watching the portal disappear.


"Where are we?"   Harry asked Jasmine.

Jasmine looked around the neatly manicured grounds of the park they’d just entered.   "In a park of course," she said with a smile.

"No, I mean, where is this park?   We’re not in Uganda, the trees are different, the light is different."

"Very good, Harry," Jasmine said with an appreciative nod.   "We’re in Capetown, South Africa.   There’s a small private hospital here that’s jointly run by Muggle doctors and Magical healers.   It’s the only place he trusts when he’s ailing."

"So, what’s the security concern?" he asked.

"Well," she said, placing one hand on her hip, "aside from your problems with Voldemort, Abelard has accumulated a number of adversaries over the years, any number of which are always waiting and watching for an opportunity to take a practicing seer out of play.     A hospital is a difficult place to secure."

"So, why can’t Ginny come along?"

"Oh, Harry," Jasmine sighed, reaching out to smooth a bit of hair above his ear.   "You don’t have the luxury of being a teenager in love.   Everything you do — everything you and Ginny do — has to be considered in the light of how it fits into the grand strategy.   If the two of you are gone on a Sunday, watching eyes and ears at Hogwarts will report that to the other side.   If just one of you is missing, it’s less likely to be thought of, much less reported.   You and your inner circle are watched all the time.   When we visit the hospital, you’ll be under a Glamour that will make you look like my brother Ravi — the people who watch here will find nothing odd in that, while it would be quite out of the ordinary for a major player from England to be seen visiting one of the last seers on the continent.   Information is important.   Denying information to the other side is doubly important."

"Okay, I guess," he said.

"Hold still," Jasmine said as she plucked her delicate wand from her sleeve, chanting softly as she swept the wand in arcs over his head.   He felt warmth trickling over his head, not unlike the cold dripping sensation of a Disillusionment charm.   Jasmine looked at him carefully and then smiled broadly.   "Mum would be proud,
 she said, conjuring a small hand mirror.  

Harry looked into the mirror, seeing a dark haired, dark eyed Indian man looking back at him.   "So, this is what Ravi looks like?" he asked.

"More or less," she said.   "Let’s go see Abelard."


As they walked in silence along the sidewalk, Jasmine slipped her hand into Harry’s, earning a sideways glance from the teenager.   He felt a tingling in his hand.   Jasmine was attempting to open a touch-talk link.   Harry set his shield to naught.

Can you hear me? said a lilting mind so unlike Ginny’s thought pattern.

Loud and clear, he replied.   I didn’t know that I could do this with anyone other than Ginny.

Any fairly accomplished Legilimens can do this, although I could see how this would be a cosy link between lovers.

"We’re not lovers," Harry bristled aloud.

No? How about two companions, sharing a life bond, who are very much in love? I could see it when the two of you arrived in your Headmaster’s office.   I have no doubts that your intentions are honourable, Harry.


Now, remember, we’re brother and sister.   Stay close to me, I’ll walk and talk us through the security at the hospital.

Yes, dear sister.

That’ll do.


The sign in front of the building read "St. Luke’s" in English and another language that Harry didn’t recognize.   They stood before a registration desk, were issued stick-on badges inscribed with their names and a room number, presumably Abelard’s room, and directed to a hallway leading to a large lift.   Jasmine produced another card, passing it across a panel beside the lift door.   The panel lit up briefly and then a delicate bell chimed, announcing the arrival of the lift.   Once inside the lift, Jasmine examined her faux brother carefully and then turned to face the lift door, apparently satisfied with her examination.  

The hallways had few windows, but they were well lit without being overly bright.   From one of the windows Harry could see a formal garden within the walls surrounding the hospital.   Someone, Harry couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, was trimming a hedge.   Jasmine took his hand again.

He’s just woken up.

Your bond?

Yes — I was terrified when I couldn’t feel him across the bond yesterday.   I never moved so fast in my life.   Mum was a bit frosty with me for dropping a tray of buns in the kitchen until she figured out what I was doing.

The hallway ended.   Jasmine touched the wall with her fingertips.   A small rectangle appeared.   Jasmine nodded and then motioned for Harry to place his hand beside hers.   He felt a tingling similar to what he’d felt when the portal had been attuned to his signature.

"It knows you now," she said.   "You could come back without me and still gain admittance, which says a lot about your relationship with my master."

At Jasmine’s nod, they removed their hands from the wall, causing a doorway to appear.   Opening the door revealed a room that was a close copy of the guest room in Abelard’s villa.   Several pictures adorned the walls not covered by bookcases.   A hospital bed sat beside a window looking over the same courtyard that Harry had seen earlier.   The figure on the bed was impossibly small, but when he turned his head with difficulty, the sparkling eyes remained the same.  

"Hhhh," Abelard hissed with difficulty.   "Haaaryy," he said, his eyes darting from Jasmine to a spot on the end of the bed.   Abelard patted the bed with his left hand.   Letting go of Harry’s hand, she climbed nimbly onto the bed, curling up beside Abelard.   She gave his forehead a kiss before taking his hand.   Bowing her head briefly, she looked up and spoke.   "It is so good to see you again, lad.   I trust that you and your lady friend are well," Jasmine said, using the precise, measured diction that Harry associated with Abelard.

Harry looked at the two quizzically.  

"I can speak with great difficulty today.   Jasmine has been my hands for years, now she is my voice as well," Jasmine said.

Harry looked at Abelard.   "You’re speaking through her?"

"Do not be troubled, lad, I’m not possessing her, it is rather more like the touch talk you two shared on the way here," Abelard said through Jasmine.   Abelard then smiled.   "It is difficult for her though, not speaking her own words."

Jasmine made a face and then spoke.   "That’s not true!   I can still talk!"

Abelard laughed a wheezy laugh and then winked at Harry.

"I have a package for you, sir," Harry said.

"You’ve been at school too long, lad.   I’m neither your headmaster nor a knight — you need not call me sir," Abelard said.

"Yes, - uh — Abelard," Harry said.

"Place the package on the bureau over there — I will attend to it tomorrow," Abelard said, gesturing a sloppy motion with his right hand.   "I am merely impaired, not dead, lad.   I’ve lost fine motor control on my right side and have great difficulty speaking.   Thanks be to God, I can still read and my magic appears to be intact.   Thanks to the swift action of my bodyguard, assistant and amenusis, the physicians and healers were able to minimize the damage done by the stroke.   So, enough about the deteriorations of an old man; how is school?"

Harry looked around, bringing a chair alongside the bed.   "I’m ahead in most of my classes, except Potions, which hasn’t changed much.   I’m teaching the D.A. again.   I’m playing Quidditch again, and I see as much of Ginny as I can, given all the rest of the activities," Harry said.

"You realize, lad that your eyes sparkle when you talk about your lady?" Abelard asked.

Harry felt the beginnings of a blush on his neck. "Well, they should sparkle, she’s very special," he said proudly.

"Indeed she is," Abelard said. "How is Father Martin?"

"I don’t know; I haven’t seen him since I started school.  I’ve been attending at the chapel in Hooper on Sundays," Harry said.

"Oh?   Who is the rector there?" Abelard asked.

"Father Harper."

"Michael Harper?"

"I’ve heard him called ‘Father Mike’ by some of the adults," Harry said.

"Michael Harper!   I was his discussion group leader for his first retreat with the Grey Friars.   I do not want to think how many years ago that took place," Abelard said through Jasmine.   Jasmine laughed while Abelard gave a weak chuckle.

Harry heard a small chime ring next to the door.   Jasmine was up in a flash; opening the door and helping Mrs. Paprikash carry in a large basket.   The room was soon filled with savoury smells.   Dinner had arrived.

"It is so good to see you, Mister Potter," Mrs. Paprikash said, bowing slightly to him.   She looked about the room and served up two plates, one with normal portions, and the other with double portions.   Jasmine took the larger plate, sitting down again next to Abelard. While they ate, Mrs. Paprikash reviewed the folder of medical records and forms at the end of Abelard’s bed.   Although it took some getting used to, Harry was soon able to tell when it was Jasmine speaking and when it was Jasmine speaking for Abelard.   The fact that she was eating and feeding Abelard from the same plate seemed unremarkable.   After their meal, Mrs. Paprikash bundled up the plates and containers into her basket and left.   They continued with their after dinner banter for a while until there was another chime at the door.   A healer wearing turquoise robes asked to speak to Jasmine.   She looked to Abelard, who nodded, and then left with the healer.   The healer returned shortly without Jasmine, examining Abelard briefly before making notes in the chart at the foot of his bed.   The healer nodded at Harry and then left.

Abelard looked up at Harry.   "Hhhh," he said, or tried to say.

Harry moved his chair closer to the bed, taking Abelard’s hand, remembering to set his Occlumency shield as low as possible.   His hand crackled as the touch-talk link opened.   The thoughts were booming at first, until Abelard discerned that he didn’t need to project his thoughts as forcefully with Harry as he did with Jasmine.

Harry, lad, could you read to me?

"Sure Abelard, what would you like?" Harry asked.

On the end table are two books — the burgundy coloured one is in Greek, the green one is in English.  

Harry pulled the green book off of the table, opening it with one hand.   It was a Bible.

Read me some psalms, lad.   Start with Psalm 62, you’ll find it in the middle of the book.

"For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation," Harry began to read, looking up from time to time at Abelard.   Although his eyes began to droop, his lips were moving along as Harry read.   From there he moved on to another psalm and yet another.   Abelard held up his hand, looking at Harry, who put the Bible down.

Read to me from Romans, lad.

Harry paged to the New Testament, and then past the Gospels and book of Acts, finding the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

Pour yourself a glass of water, lad.   It’s a long book.

Harry smiled and then poured two glasses, one for himself and one for Abelard.   It was a long book.   The book was prose, not verse, so it wasn’t as easy to read aloud as the Psalms.   He stumbled from time to time on the odd names and the awkward syntax, but after the second chapter he developed a rhythm.   Again, although Abelard’s eyes drooped, his lips moved in time with Harry’s reading, word for word.   He took a break at every chapter, extending Abelard’s glass so he could sip on the straw, and then sipping from his own glass.   Abelard interrupted him as he was a few paragraphs into chapter five.

Read that again, lad.

Harry read the paragraph again, reading slowly and emphatically.   "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.   Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.   Gut God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!   For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

Does this make sense to you, Harry?

Harry paused a moment.   "I guess so," he answered.

Do you believe that it is true?

"I don’t understand what you mean, Abelard," Harry said.

You know more of life and death than most men ten times your age.   Would you die so that others might live?

"Yeah, I would.   That’s the point, isn’t it?" Harry answered.

But would your death reconcile men to God?

"Of course not — that’s already been taken care of," Harry responded.

How has that been taken care of?

"By the Son," he answered. "That’s what I believe.   Do you believe that, Abelard?"

With all my heart, lad.   Abelard motioned for the water glass, taking a long draw of water through the straw.   Let me rest a bit - I am weary.

Harry sat in silence, wondering briefly where Jasmine had wandered in the hospital.   Surely Abelard was not to be left alone.   He resolved that he would stay there until he was relieved by Jasmine or told to go home.   Abelard stirred slightly and then reached out for Harry’s hand.

Before my stroke, I was doing something foolish, lad.   I was scrying the paths of your lifeline.

"I don’t understand, Abelard," Harry said quietly.

I found your magical signature and then followed it forward in time through the various possible futures.  Difficult work at best, nigh unto impossible when the subject’s life has as many swirling eddies of magic and counter-magic acting on it as there are on your path.

Harry said nothing.

I cannot read very far into your possible futures, but what I can read indicates that you are in grave danger; danger within, danger without.   You are not yet strong enough to engage the darkness.  

"What can I do?" Harry asked.

I cannot see the answer with certainty.

"Do you have a guess?" Harry asked.

We began your training this summer.   You are a powerful wizard, Harry, but you need to be stronger still.   But that is not enough.   Where a man’s treasure is, there is his heart.   Protect your heart, Harry. Enough of this — I am quite weary, it is time to rest.

Harry gave Abelard a last sip of water and then lowered the bed a bit.   Jasmine returned while he was making these adjustments, placing a kiss on Abelard’s forehead.   He was already asleep.

"It’s too late to take you back to Hogwarts, Harry," Jasmine said softly.   "There’s a guest room here in Abelard’s suite — why don’t you get some sleep and then we’ll return you to school in the morning?"

"When was the last time you slept, Jasmine?" Harry countered.

"Wednesday," she said sheepishly.

"How about we split the night?   You crash now and I’ll wake you in a few hours?" he asked.

Jasmine nodded, smiled and then kissed him quickly on the cheek before turning quickly away towards a door at the back of the room.   Harry pulled a book from the shelf and settled into the chair next to Abelard’s bed. He heard the sound of a quick shower and then saw the sliver of light under the door wink into darkness.  

The book was an interesting, if somewhat unusual explanation of various charms.   Why anyone would want to cast a charm that made objects glow faintly was not entirely clear to him, but it was an interesting charm that had not been covered yet in the sixth year syllabus.   He looked up from the description of the next charm when he heard Abelard snap his fingers.   Harry took his hand.

Do you think that you could cast that charm?

"Yeah, I think so," he answered.

Could you do so while also casting the sensor cloaking charm?


Then do so, now, using me as the anchor of the Aurora charm.

Harry cast the Aurora charm wandlessly while casting the sensor cloaking charm with his wand.   Abelard’s body glowed briefly and then the shimmer of light disappeared.

"What was that about?" Harry asked.

It cloaks my magic from Jasmine’s bond; otherwise she’d wake up once she discerned that I was awake again.

"That’s very considerate," Harry said.

Abelard laughed, wheezing softly.   I may be old, but I’m not dead.   Help me down from this bed, lad, I need to pull a few books from the shelves.

"Let me get them for you," Harry said anxiously.

I have been resting for a day and a half — I think I am able to stand for a minute or two without causing calamity.

Harry helped his mentor rise from his bed, hobbling over to one bookcase and then another, pulling volumes from the shelves.   Abelard stacked the books on the table beside his bed and then shrank them to the size of small coins.   He nodded at Harry and then returned to bed, pulling the covers up to his chin with a satisfied sigh.   Within minutes Abelard was asleep again, seemingly exhausted from his brief expedition from his bed.   Harry scooped the miniature books into his pocket, noting the time on the wall clock.   He figured he’d give Jasmine another hour before he rousted her, knowing that she’d flay him alive if he attempted to go without sleep himself.   He yawned and then returned to the odd book of Charms, having a new appreciation for the Aurora charm.   The next charm described in the book is odder still.


Jasmine placed her hand on his shoulder, shaking him gently.   The guest room had been dark, but a slice of light flooded in from the opened door.

"Harry, it’s time.   We have to get you back to Hogwarts," she whispered.

Abelard was still sleeping, the early morning light playing across his features.   Jasmine bent low, kissing his forehead before leading the way out of the room.   They walked in silence through the now empty hallways of the hospital and out into the chilly morning air.   Five minutes later, the Portal arrived and ten minutes beyond that he was in the Great Hall, slipping into a seat at the table across from Ginny.   A pang of emotion burst within him as he caught her eye.   She was indeed his treasure.

"Aren’t you forgetting something, Mr. Potter?" she asked, pointing to her cheek.   Harry bent over the table to kiss her cheek, but was not entirely surprised when she grabbed him by the collar and kissed him soundly.

"Mmm, kippers," he said.

He startled slightly when a copy of the Daily Prophet was slapped onto the table beside them.

"So, Potter, how long is this going to go on?" an angry Zacharias Smith snarled.


Copyright ©   2005 — J. Cornell — all rights reserved

Write to me — I write back

Author’s Note: Abigail Loomis is courtesy of Katrinka of the and is used with her permission.   All of the Stories from Sixth Year are intended to be stand-alone stories, rather than chapters in a larger book.   Valley of the Shadow is one story, broken into two pieces for the ease of my readers.   I have requested that the two pieces be posted the same day, allowing the impatient reader the opportunity to blitz on into the next chapter.   We see here in this story the same events from two different Points of View.   Not surprising, the narrative is slightly different when Harry is recounting it from when Ginny is recounting it — life is like that — deal with it.

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