By Musings of Apathy
Here is my attempt at participating in the National Novel Writing Month. You can find more information on that here: NaNoWriMo
My goal will be to write 50,000 words in the month of November. What will be posted here wlll be un-beta'd. Upon completion of reformatting and Beta work, it will be reposted under it's correct sub-heading.
Appologies before hand on the quality of the writing of this story, as it will be written at such speed as to be a stream of conciousness, with little contemplation of each little detail. Correction of mistakes will be taken care of after the NaNoWriMo deadline for reposting as an edited work.
Family Inseparable: Chapter 2
By: Musings of Apathy
In a room at the top of a stone tower in an ancient castle sat a man, his beard flowing in silver to his belt and glasses perched on his nose. He was busy, but with as little to worry him in the past years compared to the decade prior, he was happy, his smile evident behind his beard and in his twinkling eyes.
He monitored many things in the wizarding world, whether they be part of his duties as Headmaster, Supreme Mugwump or Chief Warlock. But what he considered his most important task in monitoring the world for the future was his protection of Harry James Potter. He did this through a few of the silver instruments on his tables and shelves, and, according to them, the outlook was better than it had been for years. The instruments mostly fed off of Harry's own feelings, and he was feeling more at home and safer than he had in a long time. Things were improving. Similarly, according to a monitor on the wards surrounding his aunt's house, not a single dark wizard or witch had approached his town in all this time.
His back-up, Mrs. Figg, was to be away from her post for two more months, at least, while she tended to her daughter who had just went through a difficult birth of her first child. The Headmaster was not especially supposed to do it, but he checked the enrollment roles of future students and saw that the family of squibs was going to get a pleasant surprise in eleven years, a most pleasant surprise indeed.
But Mrs. Figg being gone from Little Whinging wasn't a burden, because the instruments showed Harry home and safe from any dark wizards.
Mrs. Weasley knocked before walking into her daughter's room with a load of folded laundry. She bustled around, hanging and filling drawers. Ginny, however, didn't stir. Her crown of red locks peaked from under the quilt and Mrs. Weasley could see the lump her daughter made wrapping around the lump her companion made. Charlie had really hit the nail on the head by choosing the stuffed dragon, which Ginny dubbed Puff from a story her father had read her. She now slept with the dragon every day, without fail. The thing was as long as her! But Molly remembered her youth, before she was married, and her staunch use, then, of her own full length body pillow. Now she still liked to cuddle in her sleep, only now Arthur provided the cuddles in return.
She bustled around the bedroom, cleaning and tidying the small space. Ginny's was the smallest bedroom, barely enough room for a cot in case she had a friend over for the night, but not enough room for it to be any stretch of time. Ron's room was the same way, but with seven children, they had to make do with what they could. They took turns in everything. Arthur and her had their own loo, but the other children had to get by with sharing one. She tried to make it easier by teaching them early to clean up after themselves, but boys were harder to teach than she remembered being herself.
Ginny's dresser and night stand were littered with dolls and stuffed animals. She found several of her potion vials, undoubtedly from the 'potions' the twins made for Ginny at her insistence. She had watched with concern, at first, as the twins made the first. She talked to them about the 'potions', but they insisted they wouldn't hurt their little sister. She watched as they took various juices from the cupboard and minced flower petals from the garden into the mixtures. Molly knew the 'potions' to be harmless and without effect, but when Ginny wanted to play healer, the twins were her natural source for the 'medicine' that she pretended to give her dolls and animals. Really, Molly was sure that Ginny convinced her brothers to make her the 'potions' so that she could have more of the juice, and flower petals weren't toxic, according to her reference book, 'Household Hints for the Modern Witch' by Gilderoy Lockhart. The man knew his stuff, and he made it clear that the flower petals wouldn't harm. The book even told stories about his exotic travels and the things he had eaten in far flung countries. He had eaten violets in Venice, daylillies in Da Nang and roses petals in Raniganj, so some juice with ground up petals wasn't going to hurt her. Molly gathered up the empty potion vials so she could scourgify and store them for the next batch of potions she made for the house. She swore, with six boys, if she didn't have some potion making skills, the family would go dry in the vault. The boys were always snitching a healing potion of one sort or another when they scraped themselves up.
Ginny was neat, but was still learning the rest of the household chores that were a woman's duty. However, she had many years before it would be necessary. For Arthur's sanity, it would be at least a decade and a half before that day. But, who knows, maybe she would be like so many young adults and get married directly out of Hogwarts. Whatever made Ginny happy.
She finished tidying up in Ginny's room and moved on. Ginny was still sleeping, cuddling her companion, from what Molly could see, and oblivious to the world. A bit more sleep would do her good while the porridge cooked. Plain, it was nothing to look at, but the kids would eat it up with a bit of jam and honey.
Ginny awoke slowly, basking in the warmth under the covers. She didn't go through the shock of finding someone in her bed without remembering why; she remembered who and why he was there. When her father and mother told her stories repeated from the Daily Prophet about how Harry Potter had changed the world, she had imagined him a knight in shining armor. Her father cleared that up right quick. He reminded her that he was just a little older than her, not some grown man on his steed saving damsels in distress. He had done a great thing at a age when the only explanation could be his raw magic aided by something unknown. Still she had hoped that the reality of Harry Potter turned out to be as nice as she had imagined. What she found was a nice boy who was given to share himself with other caring people. Harry, however, was not a perfect knight in shining armor. He had problems; a family that hated him, a cousin that bullied him and children around him that treated him like he had the pox. But he had things going for him as well; he was kind, despite his treatment by his family, he was loving, she knew, he was powerful, as demonstrated by his accidental magic the previous day, and he was loved, which she hoped helped him, as she didn't plan to stop.
Beside her, Harry shifted. He twisted into her and clutched her tight from his dark position under the covers. Ginny lifted the covers to allow some light into their little world. She saw that Harry's bruises had improved and he no longer looked like her mum's meat cupboard, but he still needed some tending.
"Harry," she whispered.
He mumbled something unintelligible, but didn't do anything further toward awakening. She moved her hand to shake his t-shirt clad shoulders, which provided some more response, but nothing like actually waking. He still didn't seem to want to do that.
Ginny slid from Harry's grasp and exited the bed. She smoothed down her pajamas, where the top had bunched up and would have gotten a bit breezy, had it not been summer. Harry was left under the covers, the blankets covering to his lower back, leaving marks showing on the back of his shoulders and the side of his face that wasn't pressed into her mattress. Her heart ached for him and she promised to do what was necessary to keep him safe.
"Harry," she insisted quietly, "you have to get up, now."
Harry shifted, opening his face toward Ginny's voice.
"Harry," little Ginny said. "Wake up. You have to drink your potions now."
Harry mumbled something that seemed to end in a question mark, so Ginny repeated herself. Harry, too bleary to question, sat up and downed another round of healing potions before the foul taste shook the sandman from his head.
"Yuck," he declared. "What's in that stuff?"
"I don't know," Ginny said honestly. "Would it help to know?"
Harry was awake and aware for the first time since his trip through the ether. He examined Ginny's room; the dresser, the walls with hand drawn dragons and pictures of family, sign on the back of the door proclaiming the room a 'Brother Free Zone'. A thought came to him, albeit slowly.
"Ginny?" Harry cautiously asked. "Where am I?"
"You're in my room."
"But..." Harry stammered. "How? I don't remember leaving my aunt's."
"Well," Ginny temporized. "Um...Magic."
At his unbelieving look, she rushed on. "My daddy tells me bedtime stories. Sometimes they're about this evil wizard and the powerful and young wizard that defeated him. But daddy told me they weren't just stories. It really happened."
"Like Merlin?" Harry asked, pegging on the only wizard name he could think of.
"Yeah, Merlin was a wizard," she confirmed. "But a long long time ago."
"You mean, he was real?" Harry asked wide eyed.
"Yeah. Um...Harry," Ginny bit her lip. "I know how you got here. You're a wizard. I'm a witch. Magic is real."
"It can't be," he insisted. "I can't be a wizard."
"Why?" she asked.
"I'm just Harry. I live with my aunt and uncle. My parents died in a car crash when I was one. Would all that have happened if I was a wizard?"
"Car crash?" she asked. "What's a car?"
"Car, you know," he told her. "You know, big metal thing that moves people around?"
"Oh," Ginny realizes. "I've seen those. My daddy called them automobles, though."
"You're mum and dad didn't die in a car crash," she told him. "They died when the evil wizard killed them."
"But..." Harry argued. "The Dursleys told me that my father was drunk and crashed the car. I can't remember, but when I try real hard, I remember a flash of green light."
Ginny gasped, tears coming to her eyes. "That..." she stammered. "That's the killing curse."
"The..." Harry repeated.
"The killing curse," she told him. "It wasn't a crash. The evil wizard tried to kill you after your parents but it broke."
"Broke?" Harry asked.
"I don't know," she told him. "You're alive. He's not. He just vanished."
"But I'm not a wizard," Harry repeated.
"Yes you are," she told him. "When you were a baby, it was your magic that protectedd you. My daddy and mummy told me stories about Harry Potter who was magic just like me. Oh, and remember in the park? That was magic. You pulled me from that mean boy with your magic."
"I did?" he asked. "Then, last night when Dudley tried to hit me, his fist just stopped and he flew back into the wall. Did I do that?"
"Yeah," she affirmed.
"But," he rationalized. "How did I get here?"
"You must have wanted to be here," she told him. "Your magic brought you here. It's called appa...appa...app'rition. Yeah, app'rition. Your magic brought you."
"Wow," he said. "Can I go anywhere I want?"
"Eventually," she said. "They don't start to teach magic until you're a lot older and you can't get a license for app'rition until you're way older. Bill can do it."
"Cool," Harry said. "But how did I do it then?"
"I don't know," she said. "I once turned my brussel sprouts into green chocolate, but I have no idea how to do it again."
With a promise of food, Ginny put her dressing gown on and left Harry alone in her room. He got dressed in the shorts and t-shirt that Ginny had left out for him. Now all he could do is look around the room and wait. When he looked closer at the photographs that hung on the walls, he staggered back when he saw one waving at the camera. Not just with a hand up in a waving gesture, but actually waving back and forth at the camera from behind the glass in the picture frame. Curious, Harry looked at the cover of each of the books on the shelf, but didn't open any, as he didn't want to overstep his bounds. Eventually, all that was left was for him to wait on the bed for Ginny's return.
Meanwhile, at the breakfast table, Ginny was dishing plum jam into her bowl of porridge. She liked it best with jam and a dollop of honey right in the center. She didn't stir the bowl, preferring to get a bite of pure jam and honey with each bite. As she ate, she listened and participated in the conversation around the table.
"Mom," Fred started. "Forge and I have an experiment that we need to do, can we use the shed out back again?"
"What do you want to do?" she asked.
Meanwhile, Ginny was drawn into a conversation that Bill was having with his dad about Gringotts and his new job.
"I'm telling you, dad," Bill said. "Most wizards don't even come close to understanding what Goblins really are or how useful they can be."
"And why is that?" Arthur asked, drawing out the logical conclusion from his son.
"Well," Bill said. "I think that it comes down to the prejudices that most of our society have, both overt and ingrained."
"But many families," Arthur argued lightly, "such as ours, actively discourage bigotry. How do you think that effects things."
Ginny didn't understand everything that her brother and daddy were talking about, but she enjoyed listening to her big brother Bill bring such an adult.
"I think that it's ingrained," Bill said, "In our education and in how the ministry treats non-humans. They lead our society, for better or worse. Was Professor Binns the History of Magic Teacher when you were in school?"
Arthur laughed. "It hasn't been that long ago since I was your age, son. Professor Cuthbert Binns died in my third year, your mother's second. But he had taught history at Hogwarts for nearly a century before his death of old age. He may have even taught Dumbledore while the Headmaster was in his youth. If not, it was close."
"And that's part of the problem," Bill espoused. "For more than a century History of Magic has taught about goblin wars, but not the Goblin's reasons behind them. They make it out like they want to overthrow the Ministry, when they are fighting for their rights and for treaty violations."
"And who knows how long the same curriculum was taught before Professor Binns was on board," Arthur added.
"Yeah," Bill adamantly agreed. "And in truth the Goblins are right helpful in the things that concern them. In my first week there I saw a young couple come in there. They had been devastated by a fire in their home. They lost everything. They were trying to get a loan from the Goblins to be able to rebuild their lives, but were so shaken. The loan officer, Flintring, helped them out. He suggested a vault search before they entered into a loan, not a normal procedure for the bank when they are dealing with Muggleborns, which this couple both were, and they found that the wife's great-great-great-something-aunt was a witch, the last witch before a long line of squibs. It was a simple procedure, just a drop of blood, and they had enough to rebuild their lives without being monetarily indebted to the bank."
"Well, you're right," Arthur said. "Most witches and wizards wouldn't think to ask for help from non-humans, more their loss. Unless they know what they are asking for, our society isn't used to asking for anything from the Goblins."
What she was able to understand of her brother and father's conversation gave her an idea. The Goblins could help. She didn't know how, but isn't that what her daddy said? The Goblins could help even if you didn't know what help exactly you needed.
She finished her bowl of porridge and dished another, adding marmalade and more plum jamb and a dollop of honey. She folded a few pieces of fruit and some toast in a napkin as she stood from the table.
"Still hungry, Ginny dear?" her mother asked quietly.
"I wanted to take some food with me for a project in my room," she said. She hadn't lied, but her mum probably thought the food would be for her. "Can I take some pumpkin juice up with me."
"If you clean up all of your dishes before dinner tonight," Molly said, "then yes, you may."
Ginny readily agreed and fetched a jug from the cold cupboard before she took her bounty from the kitchen and up the stairs. Extra food was not unusual for the Weasley kids. They always seemed to be taking extra portions, but easily burned them off in one of many athletic pursuits. If nothing else, Molly was a mother that wanted to make sure that everyone around was well fed.
"Hmm," Arthur said to his wife, "I almost expected her to mention that Harry chap again. I wonder if she decided to trust that he is being looked after now."
"We can only hope," Molly agreed. "I do worry about the poor boy. But what can we do about a Muggle boy, no matter his plight."
"And the MLE's check of the shop the day after your visit only showed your's and Bill's wand presence that day, so the boy wasn't wizard-born," Arthur reminded her. "There's nothing we can do. The Ministry has no ability to find a Muggle boy by his name alone, and they did report as much as they could through the Muggle authorities, but that's all they could do. I'm sure the Muggles will be keeping an eye out for the boy."
"I hope you're right, Arthur."
Harry ate with appreciation as much as he could of the food Ginny brought him. With a large bowl of porridge, four pieces of buttered toast, two apples, a plum and three figs, he had more food than he normally received in an average day. Harry savored the flavors of the porridge, as that and the toast would not keep for his lunch and dinner later in the day. With an apple and fig for lunch, he would have a good sized dinner of the rest of the fruit before he went to sleep at the end of the day, where ever that happened.
"Mmmm, Ginny," Harry said appreciatively. "This is so good. Don't you think your mum will miss this much food? I don't want to be a burden."
"It's not that much, Harry," Ginny told him. "I'll try to bring some more for lunch and dinner, if I can."
"More!?!" Harry asked, wide-eyed. "This is already a lot of food. Aunt Petunia never let me eat too much."
"Eat whatever you want," Ginny said. "There's always enough food in Mum's kitchen."
"Okay," Harry agreed cautiously. He'd still save something for later, just in case.
"Oh," Ginny said. "Bill had a good idea! We can write the bank for some help."
"You...you told Bill I was here?" Harry asked, glancing at her door, as if expecting it to be stormed at any time.
"No," Ginny assured him. "Bill was talking about his job and how helpful the Goblins were. I think they might be able to help."
"G-goblins?" Harry stammered.
"Yeah, goblins," Ginny said. "They run the wizard bank, Gringotts. They could help."
Harry thought about it. He was willing to trust Ginny and her world; it had to be better than the one he came from. He didn't understand the magic part of what he was told, but his hopefulness let him accept it as a possibility, as did his trust of Ginny's word.
"How can we ask them?"
"Write them a letter, silly," Ginny said. "I'll help you."
After helping Harry to write a letter, she changed and set out with the rolled parchment to check if Errol was rested enough to carry it to London. The owl was sleeping with his head tucked, but Ginny could tell that he was rested in body, as he acted like a bird on his roost rather than a beleaguered feather duster on the table below. The owl had been in the service of the Weasley family for so long that he was old and bone weary in his old age. After a round trip delivering mail, he would come home to fall limp on any flat surface for some rest. He only made it up to the roost after a good sleep.
She roused the bird for the delivery, but despite the off-time request, the owl took it without argument. He was well used to this little girl's unusual mail delivery requests by now. After accepting his instructions, Errol swooped out of the kitchen doorway, which Ginny made sure was fully open for the bird.
For the rest of the day, Ginny told Harry everything she could about the wizarding world as she understood it. Harry absorbed the information like a sponge and was attentive to every word Ginny said. The attention made Ginny feel even more special. In a family of nine, even one that tried as much as the Weasleys, one individual tended to be washed into the background, and if one of them wasn't causing a ruckus, as the twins often did, they were more easily ignored. So Ginny enjoyed having Harry all to herself.
A knock sounded at the stately doors to the grand office. With a command of 'enter' called, the executive secretary brought in an envelope for the powerful inhabitant of the office.
"Pickrake," the secretary called. "This arrived from the mail room. The Goblins there thought it was best routed to you, from it's address."
"Bring it here," the Manager of Gringotts London instructed. "I wonder who would be writing me instead of their account manager?"
He took the parchment roll from his secretary and examined the wax to see if it could shed any light on the possible contents.
Dear Mister Goblin Head,
My name is Harry Potter. My friend said I should write. Her brother said that the Goblins could help with alot of things. I need help. Ginny said that I had to be honest with you. My aunt and uncle are not nice people. They don't like me and they hit me. It was really bad but I don't live there anymore. Ginny said I could live here with her. Ginny's real nice to me. But she says that if I'm found by her parents or brothers they will send be back with my aunt and uncle since they are my family. I don't want that. I want to stay with Ginny. But Ginny says that I would have to stay with family and she isn't family. I wish she could be my family. Her family is so nice. Can you help me so they don't find out that I'm here? Can you help me to not have to leave? They won't send me back if they don't know I'm here. Please help me so I'm not found.
From Ginny and Harry.
P.S. I put some blood on the bottom there. I don't know why. Ginny said to.
There was indeed a drop of blood, which a common goblin piece of magic revealed to be from the true heir of the Potter name and legacy.
The Goblin Manager stood from his desk with an amused grin on his face. Of course, while any goblin would recognize it as such, most humans would have to try to resist the urge to just run away in terror, as his feral, sharp teeth mashed together.
Oh this is so fun, so rich. The hero of the wizarding world was placed in such a deplorable environment and had found himself a way out when his own kind hadn't even lifted a finger, or even noticed, for all Pickrake knew.
Pickrake so loved playing with the wizarding world that had maligned his tribe so. He found pleasure when he could help cause the sort of chaos that would be coming when this was discovered. He liked to help humans, when he found them worthy, that is. And this human, heir to the Potter legacy, had just shown himself worthy, by helping himself and then asking for help when he knew he needed it. Well, Pickrake would find a way to help the whelp out.
"Morrknive!" he bellowed.
His door opened, emitting his executive secretary. She was a fetching goblin and quite capable, to have risen in the ranks to he his assistant.
"Send for the Potter family account manager," he told her. "And make sure that he brings the appropriate ledgers and keys. I wish to go to their vaults. Young Lord Potter has asked for assistance in a personal matter and I am going to grant his request."
"Right away," she said, excusing herself.
Pickrake sat back with his mind turning over what help he could offer the young Lord, and what entertainment could be had through his assistance.
Ginny had, indeed, come through with a modest lunch and a fabulous dinner, by Harry's standards, which left Harry lethargic and sated for the first time in his memory. He now had so much food that he ate a snack between lunch and dinner, as his stomach started to demand more. He placed the uneaten fruit in Ginny's nightstand with her permission.
That night, for the first time when he was fully conscious and coherent, Harry snuggled down with Ginny under the covers, her head once again the only thing peaking above the covers.
When they both awoke, they had been left undisturbed once again in her bed. This time, Molly had no clothes to put away in the early morning hours and so had left the couple alone to their sleep, even if she still thought the second lump in Ginny's bed was still a stuffed plushy dragon.
They awoke to heavenly smells of breakfast wafting up to them. Their mouths both immediately watered.
"Mmm," Harry hummed. "That smells good. Good morning, Ginny."
She yawned. "Good morning, Harry. You're right, it does smell good."
They both removed themselves from bed and stretched with smiles on their faces. Ginny looked at the door and back at Harry. She hated to just leave him there, but didn't have another solution. Outside her door, she heard two sets of heavy feet descending the stairs loudly. She counted that the twins had now gone to breakfast.
"Go ahead," he told her.
"Okay, Harry," Ginny said. "The bath is a flight up the stairs. Breakfast will take a while. It can't be heard from the kitchen. You could take a bath if you wanted."
"Um..." Harry said. He had got along the day before with a wash cloth and towel along with her ancient water basin in her room, but a bath sounded great. "Really?"
"Yeah," she confirmed. "Feel free. I'll, um...oh, you need clothes."
Harry looked down at himself. He was once again wearing the blindingly orange boxers and oversized t-shirt she had nicked the night he arrived. His other change of clothes, which she also nicked from the laundry room, were under her bed. The clothes he arrived at the Burrow in were completely missing, disposed of efficiently by Ginny.
"Just wear those," she told him. "You still need to rest. So just get back in bed. I'll find you something to read."
"Oh...thanks," he tentatively gave her a half hug in appreciation. She would have none of it and returned the hug in full, testing his newly healed ribs.
Outside the door they heard another cacophony as one more of her bothers descended to breakfast.
"Sounds like Ron," she said. "That'll be the last of them. Go bathe and I'll bring you some breakfast."
Ginny parted with a hug. She slipped her dressing gown on and exited the room.
Harry took the towel that Ginny had provided him the previous morning and cautiously pulled the door open. What he saw was stairs spiraling down and up from Ginny's small landing. Apparently they were in a tower of sorts as Ginny's room was the only one on this floor. He could not hear any sounds coming from the floors above, but the din from below spoke of the large Weasley clan. Harry was unsure of venturing from the safety of Ginny's bedroom, but a bath was what he needed more than anything at the moment. Turning back into the room, Harry snagged an apple from the nightstand drawer and cautiously left the confines of the girl's room.
He crept slowly up the stairs, staying to the outside of the tread, just in case any had loose enough nails to squeak as they flexed. Half a turn up he found another door, which proved to not be a bathroom, as it contained a bed and desk rather than tub and loo. The bedroom was neat as a pin and the door declared it to be Percy's. Harry vowed to himself to keep an eye out for signs on the other doors, so as to not risk discovery.
Another half turn up the circular stair found another door. This one unlabeled, although the door knob was porcelain rather than brass, and had little red roses painted onto the glazed surface. Harry slowly turned the handle and pushed the door. Inside he found the bathroom he was promised. The room was old and lived in, unlike anything that would have been allowed in the Dursley house. The floor was aged tile, with the glaze worn in front of the pedestal sink and still damp around the claw foot cast iron tub. Harry was glad that it was sunny out, as he couldn't see any switch on the wall for lights, not that he saw any fixtures with bulbs. All he could see were several candle holders with half burned candles encrusted in melted wax along one wall.
After the lack of electric lights, Harry was glad to see two taps overhanging the tub and a rubber stopper hanging from a beaded chain draping over the side. In a dish on the window sill were three bars of soap; one white, one orange and one blue. He replaced the stopper in the tub before trying the left hand tap. The water that came out was steaming and very hot to the touch. Harry let it run while he pulled the other open. He was rewarded with cold, nearly icy, water to temper the scalding hot from the other tap. Harry stripped as the tub filled. The tub was large and slow to fill, but Harry didn't want to rush it by opening the taps any further. The rush of full blast water could make too much noise, despite Ginny's assurances otherwise.
While he waited for the tub to fill enough, Harry investigated the sink. There he found many used tooth brushes in a variety of colors sticking from an old coffee mug. Harry, however, was only interested in the tube of tooth paste that was beside it. He spread a bit on his right forefinger, just as he had many times at the Dursleys', so that he could clean his teeth. He worked the paste into a lather and scrubbed each tooth until he could feel it smooth and squeaky. When he was done, Harry rinsed and spit, his teeth clean and sparkly.
Harry tested the temperature of the water before slipping into its hot depths. He turned the taps off when the water was enough to cover his chest as he lay down in the steaming water and wasted no time in grabbing each of the bars of soap and testing their fragrance to his nose. One, the blue one, he recognized as the one Ginny used, the others he wasn't sure about. He chose the white one, the one without fragrance, and lathered his body, cleaning himself thoroughly.
Down at the scrubbed wood dining table, the family, including Ginny, sat for a typical Weasley breakfast. There were bangers, eggs scrambled fluffy, eggs with their orange yolks still standing up and wobbling in the middle of a white apron, rashers of bacon, stacks of toast, and, since it was summer, stacks of fruit from the village market. The table was the normal study in a rambunctious large family, with many conversations and attentions divided many ways. Ginny sat next to her father, this morning, so she decided that he was as good a source of information as she needed.
"Daddy?" Ginny started. "What's family?"
"What do you mean, Ginny?" her dad asked.
"Well, I know that Bill and Charlie and Percy and Fred and George and Ron are my family because they're my brothers," she enumerated. "And you and mum are my family because you're mum and dad, but what else is family?"
"Well, baby, normally, family are the people that we care about and are related by blood to us," Arthur answered. "Like your Grandmum. She's your mum's mum, so she is family and we care a lot about her. The same's true of your fourth cousin Elsie, we don't see her often, but we care about her and she's related to us and is family."
"But," Ginny argued. "I understand that mum's my family, because were related, but is she you're family? She's not related to you."
Arthur stole a glance at his wife and found her following the conversation. He winked at her with a smile. "Oh, yes, she is part of my family and I'm part of hers," he told his daughter. "See, not all family is related to us. She is family because we loved each other and we married. So, she is family."
"What's married?" Ginny asked.
"Married is where a boy and a girl who love each other decide to spend the rest of their lives together and so they make a bond with each other," he told her. "In the Muggle world, the bond is simply a legal commitment with verbal oaths exchanged, but in the magic world, the bond is magical. There are no governments to say that you are or aren't married. Magic is the bond. A witch and a wizard perform a ceremony and bind themselves together in love for the rest of their lives."
"Wow," she said. "And you loved mum that much?"
"I still do," he said. "I loved her then and I love her now."
"Oh, okay," Ginny said. She then wrinkled her nose. "Does that mean that I have to marry my brothers? We're witch and wizard. I love them. Does that mean that we have to marry?"
"No, baby," he laughed. "You don't marry brothers. They're family already. When the time is right, you'll meet another wizard that you'll love and want to spend the rest of your life with and that is the man you will marry, if he feels the same. Then he'll be family."
"Oh, good," she proclaimed. "Thank you, daddy."
She gathered toast, bangers, scrambled eggs, bacon rashers, and cheese and assembled a sandwich of great proportions for Harry's breakfast. She was ignored as she once again wrapped the food in her napkin with a couple of pieces of fruit. She had news to tell Harry.
Off to the side, Molly wondered if Ginny's interest in extra food was the precursor of another growth spurt, or just normal kid stuff. These things tended to go in waves, she found. Her boys were always 'sneaking' food to their rooms, despite the abundance in the cold cupboard all the time.
When Harry finished bathing himself, he drained the water, careful to use clean to rinse the residue from the sides and bottom of the claw foot tub. He cleaned the bathroom as much as he could without mop and bucket, but didn't waste any time. He didn't know how much longer the family breakfast would last and didn't want to risk discovery.
Quietly, Harry padded down the stairs two doors to the one that said 'Ginny' and closed it behind himself. He was wearing the same boxers and t-shirt that he wore the previous two nights, but Ginny made a good argument that he needed the rest. While the potions that Ginny gave him managed to heal his wounds nicely, he was still sore and tired from the experience.
He found, quite to his surprise, a large owl on the ledge outside Ginny's window, waiting patiently as it perched on a brown paper wrapped, string tied package. If not for Harry's previous use of Errol, he wouldn't have been so bold as to open the window and let the great bird in.
The bird immediately made use of the window and launched himself into the air for a very stilted tour of the room. Its wings were so long that its laps seemed near pivots. It dropped the package on the bed and landed on the headboard.
"Is...is that for me?"
The owl didn't respond, though Harry hadn't expect him to. He kneeled on the floor in front of the bed so he could see what it had in store. A label stuck on the outside identified its addressee as:
Harry James Potter
Ginevra Molly Weasley's Bedroom
Ottery St. Catchpole
The first thing to strike him was the exactness that the magic world could use in addresses without using street numbers. He remembered Ginny referring to her house as 'the Burrow', although he didn't get the reference, but what surprised him was Ginny's real first name. He hadn't heard the name 'Ginevra' before, although it didn't bother him in the least. Harry decided that Ginny must not want to go by her full first name and he wouldn't force the issue.
Harry puled the loose ends of the bow and turned the package over. Without the string to keep the package closed, the paper opened right up revealing the most peculiar contents. Sitting there was a folded cloth so fine and transparent that it seemed to be spun clouds. On top of the fabric, whatever it was, was a letter addressed in coal black ink with an elegant hand.
Harry removed the letter and opened it, as it was addressed to him.
As you may see, I received your request for assistance and have decided to help.
Enclosed, you will find some articles that I found upon inspection of your family's vaults here at Gringotts bank. I hope that you will find the assistance you need in these items. There were more items that you may find interesting and helpful when making your way in the world of magic, but I believe that these most suit your request to be concealed and to stay at your current residence.
Please feel free to owl me again, as I would be pleased to help.
Managing Goblin of Gringotts London
Curious, Harry set the letter aside and explored the package contents. There he found that the fabric Pickrake sent was a square many feet across, large enough to cover his aunt's couch. When he draped it over his arm, he was surprised to find his arm gone from the crook of the elbow to the vee of his thumb. Sticking out in the middle of nowhere were his four right fingers, but he could not see anything else. It wasn't like he saw the bloody ends of his fingers, thankfully, they just sat there.
Smiling a conniving smile, Harry spread the fabric out between his hands and pulled the whole thing over his body. It draped to the floor and pooled at his feet with the excess. However, Harry could still see his body from under the drape. He decided that what he needed was a mirror. He started to walk from the room, careful not to step on his drape, but was caught short by a hoot.
Harry turned around, suddenly remembering the owl that had waited after he opened the package.
"Oh, sorry Mr. Owl," Harry apologized.
Harry went to Ginny's desk and penned a thank you note for the nice goblin who had helped him. He tied the rolled note to the owl's leg, as the owl must have intended, with its leg stuck straight out in offering. Harry thought to offer the owl a snack, but all he had left was some fruit and he didn't think that owls liked fruit. He thought he remembered from school that they liked little rodents. The owl didn't seem concerned, as it took flight when Harry seemed to be done and flew out through the window and off into the sky over the far trees.
Shaking his head to clear it, Harry redraped the cloth over himself and cautiously went to the door. Opening it slowly, he saw no movement up or down the spiral stair. He crept out, completely covered, and made his way up two doors to the loo, where he could find a mirror.
Ginny finished with her breakfast and fixing a sandwich for Harry, along with more fruit. She knew he had some left in her nightstand still, but he seemed to really like what she had brought so far. As soon as it was politely possible, she excused herself from the breakfast table and took Harry his breakfast.
"Does she seem to be acting particular to you, Arthur?" Molly asked.
"Well, she is taking extra food," he answered, "which she never has done before, unless it was biscuits. And she was asking the strangest questions for a girl her age. But I don't think anything's wrong."
"Well, I won't worry about extra food," Molly agreed, "as long as she doesn't make a mess of it. She just seemed different."
"Maybe it's that she stopped asking you about her little friend," Percy offered. "Up until yesterday, a day hadn't gone by that she hadn't asked you to go get him at least a few times. Now she doesn't even mention it."
"Maybe she heard from him that he's doing alright," Charlie said.
"Maybe," Molly said.
Ginny entered the room to find it empty, at least as far as Harry 's presence was concerned. On her bed was the remains of some brown paper wrapping with a couple of boxes on it and a letter set to the side. After reading the letter, she was excited and anxious to learn what the Goblins thought would be helpful. Of course, that relied on Harry's parents having put something in their vault that would have helped Harry stay concealed in a house without the owners of the house knowing for an undisclosed time.
Behind her she heard the door open and close. She turned, putting herself in front of the bed, concealing the detritus of the package. She couldn't see anyone or anything in her room, however. She swept her eyes over her whole room and still was alone.
"Ginny!" she jumped as she heard Harry just in front of her. "You've got to see this! It's so cool!"
"Harry?" Ginny responded. "Where are you?"
"Oh, sorry," his head suddenly appeared in front of her. Like a curtain being pulled back, Harry's whole body appeared. In his hand was a silvery cloth that looked delicate and exotic. "The Goblins sent this from my family's vault."
"What is it?" she asked.
"I don't know," Harry said. "I hoped you knew. Here," he offered, "take a look and see."
He handed her the cloth and she saw her arm disappear from the elbow down. She played with the cloth, letting it flow from one hand to the other back and forth. It almost acted like water when she let it cascade through her hands. Experimentally, she held it up to the light and could see through it as if it was hardly there. She flipped it over, and found the same thing; both sides appeared the same.
"Harry," she intoned slowly. "I think I know what this is. This might be an invisibility cloak."
"What's that?" Harry asked.
"It's this," she said. "It makes whatever's under it invisible. You could use it here. It's perfect. Mum always has food in the cold cupboard so you could get breakfast lunch or dinner anytime you're humgry."
"Do you..." Harry started cautiously. "Do you think that would be alright?"
"Sure it's alright," she told him. "Mum feeds everyone that comes here. Of course she would want you to eat."
"But," Harry argued. "She doesn't even know I'm here."
"She makes sure everyone that comes to the Burrow eats," Ginny insisted. "You're no different. Come on. What's in the other things the Goblins sent?"
Harry went with her to the bed and looked through the two boxes that remained in the middle of the brown paper wrap. He chose one, a large flat one, and opened it. Inside was a glass sphere with a beautiful, sparkling collection of points of light. They were gathered in a disk, bulging at the center, with two arms coming off in a spiral. The shape was beautiful and mesmerizing. Wrapped around it was a silver cage attaching it to a fine silver chain. Harry and Ginny stared at it in awe.
"Wow, what is it?" Harry asked.
Ginny reached into the box to a scrap of parchment that was placed in the center of the chain's loop.
"It has a note." She unfolded the scrap and read aloud, "I believe that this will be helpful. This pendant, a galaxy, has notice-me-not charms on it so that the wearer will have some anonymity. According to our vault records, this pendant has been in the possession of your family for half a millennium. Take care of it well."
She removed the silver necklace from the box and opened the clasp. Pulling his shoulder toward her, she turned Harry around and stilled him. She brought it around his neck and clasp it, letting it hang down his chest. As soon as she withdrew her hands, her eyes wandered to a picture of her two eldest brothers on the wall beside her window.
"Ginny?" Harry asked. "Did it work? What happened?"
Startled, Ginny tried again to look at Harry, but found her eyes sliding off him to the other side of the room.
"I think it works, Harry," she said. "I keep trying to look at you, but I end up looking at the other wall."
"Cool!" Harry said. "Is that what magic does?"
"It does a lot of things," Ginny said. "Oh, this is frustrating. I can't seem to look at you when I try."
"Oh," Harry said, concerned. "What are we going to do?"
"Bill says that a lot of magic is dependent on what you're thinking," she told him. "Try thinking that you want me to be able to see you."
Harry scrunched up his face in concentration, not that Ginny could see. He tried and tried, but to no avail.
"Can you look at me?" Harry asked.
Ginny tried again and found herself looking at a picture of Percy in his dress robes from a distant cousin's wedding.
"No," she answered. "Just keep trying. It might take a lot to let me see."
Harry pulled Ginny to the bed with him and guided her to sit beside him, his hand clasp in hers so that they weren't separated by whatever the charm was doing.
Some time of concentration later, aided by Ginny's calming touch, they found success. Ginny could fix her eyes on him easily. He just had to hope that it would work for the others while it still let Ginny see him.
"This is perfect, Harry," she proclaimed. "Between the invisibility cloak and this necklace, you won't have any trouble. This pendant is beautiful. Too bad that no one can see."
"So, what do you think is in the last box?" Harry asked.
Without answering, Ginny simply picked up the small, rectangular box and flipped the lid. Inside was two rings, one feminine with a ruby, etched with a lion's head surrounded by wings, set in a gold braided band. The other was masculine with another ruby, slightly larger with the etching filled with a fine string of gold, set in golden Celtic knots making up a heavier band.
This time Harry picked up the folded parchment and read aloud to Ginny, "These are the potter family rings for Lord and Lady Potter. You should wear these when it is appropriate."
"What do you think that means?" he asked.
"Don't know," she answered. "If you're Lord Potter, you're wife would be Lady Potter."
"But I don't have a wife," Harry said.
Ginny thought and remembered what she had talked to her father about at breakfast that morning. She related what she had learned about what family is.
"...And he said that mum is is family because they're married," she continued. "They loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together so they got married. Now she is his wife."
"And he is her husband," Harry concluded. "So, they're family now, but they weren't before."
"Yeah," she agreed. "That's what daddy said."
They were silent for a moment as they let their thoughts settle.
"Oh," Ginny broke the comfortable silence. "Mum always says that you should write a thank you letter when someone helps you or sends you a gift, so we need to write Mr. Pickrake a thank you letter."
"I did," Harry agreed. "I've seen my aunt send out thank you notes to people every Christmas. I wrote a letter to Mr. Pickrake and sent it with the owl that was waiting."
Special thanks to Narcissa Black for pointing out a mistaken use of a homonym multiple times. Thank you for the correction.