"W-where are we going?" Harry asked nervously as he stood up.
"We're going home, Harry," Mr. Weasley. "To the Burrow."
"The Burrow?" repeated Harry.
"Yes," said Mr. Weasley shortly.
He picked up an item from his desk before shoving Harry's belongings into his arms.
"Neville," he said turning to the young, anxious man, "you may go home. I don't think we'll be getting any
more work done today."
He turned to the other men. "Thank you, Macmillan, Taylor. You may go home if you wish."
"Thank you, sir," they said.
"Portus," he muttered, pointing his wand at a ballpoint pen. "Just touch the pen, Harry . . . one
- two - three -"
For the second time in one day, Harry felt a sharp pull behind his navel, rushing him forward in a blur of
colour - wind rushing past his ears as they sped -
Mr. Weasley caught Harry before he fell to the floor.
They were inside a long hallway, which seemed in itself uneven. Harry could hear voices below. Many of them.
"White?" said a thickly accented voice. "I am whiter than white - I'm Irish, Fred Weasley."
Laughter followed this announcement.
"Who's down there?" asked Harry.
Mr. Weasley cast and anxious glance down the hallway, but the older man did not answer him.
"This way, Harry," he said, taking the young man by the elbow. "We have some of your old clothes somewhere."
He led Harry further up the hallway.
"Just wait here," he said, stopping outside of a door.
He disappeared inside, leaving Harry to inspect his surroundings.
The hallway felt like it was somehow sideways, like the whole house was that way, too. Like there wasn't
a straight line to be found. And many doors were along the hallway, and he could see a staircase leading further up into the
The door had opened again and Mr. Weasley stepped out of the room. He had a pile of fresh clothes and shoes
in arms, exchanging with Harry.
After being shown to a . . . bathroom, Harry changed from pajamas to a pair of trousers and a plain black
He stepped out of the bathroom to face Mr. Weasley.
"Harry - I need you to wait in the reading room, all right?"
Harry nodded and was soon left alone in a small, sunny room.
He couldn't help but feel at ease here; there was definitely a homey feeling. A feeling of . . . familiarity.
He settled himself in a chair, staring at the small gathering of tables and . . . bookshelves - covered with
He settled himself into his cushions, thinking of his ordeal.
Well, at least he had some sort of memory. He could remember what things were and how they worked, but he
couldn't remember all the people he'd once known. No matter how hard he tried and racked his brains. It was baffling and frustrating
- and he -
"Now, Molly," came Mr. Weasley's voice through the door, "I don't want you to get your hopes up, all right?"
"All right, Arthur," came an impatient woman's voice.
The door opened with a creak and a redheaded woman entered, her grey-streaked red hair drawn into a bun.
She was a short and plump woman with a rather kind face.
Harry jumped to his feet.
For a moment she just stared at Harry while he stared back, leaving Mr. Weasley to close the door. Her expression
was wide eyed and her mouth gaping.
Then she screamed, launching herself into Harry's arms and sobbing into his chest, wrapping her own arms
around him in a bone-crushing hug.
"Oh Harry, I can't believe it's you!" she said in a shrill voice. "We thought you were dead and we never
found your body - oh you don't know what it's been like without you - Ginny -"
"Molly!" came Mr. Weasley's urgent voice. "Molly, stop!"
He pulled the woman off of the young man. Molly wiped her eyes on her sleeves.
"What is it, Arthur?" she asked, oblivious to Harry's confused stare as he rubbed his crushed ribs.
"Molly," began Mr. Wesley. "Harry - he . . . he doesn't . . ." he faltered.
"Doesn't what?" asked Molly, casting Harry an anxious glance.
"Molly," said Mr. Weasley hesitantly, "he doesn't remember."
A slight pause followed this announcement.
"Doesn't remember what?" sniffed Molly.
"Anything," said Mr. Weasley. "He doesn't remember you or I - doesn't remember the family - any of his friends.
. . And he . . . he doesn't remember Ginny."
Knock, knock, knock!
"Dad?" came a soft female voice.
A scream resounded outside the window, startling Harry. He turned about to peer down outside to see a woman
jump into the arms of a tall, young, redheaded man. One, no doubt, that was related to Mr. Weasley.
"Ginny - I - no - I need you to go downstairs -"
The door burst open and Harry spun around to see the very woman he'd wanted to meet since the beginning of
all this mess. The very woman he was sure could answer all of his questions. . . Knew who he was for sure. . .
"Ginny?" he asked in a low voice.
Ginevra Weasley set breakfast in front of her friends and family. As usual, her twin brothers Fred and George
were the loudest at the table, Ron and Hermione laughing at their antics. Beside Ron was his faithful girlfriend of four years,
Adrian Redgrave. Beside Hermione was Seamus Finnigan, her husband.
"Thank ya, Gin," Adrian said in a thick Irish accent as Ginny set a plate of four eggs, bacon and toast in
front of her.
"Yeah," Fred was saying to George. "I don't think we can take Adrian along to this dance. She's too white.
Cramp our style."
Oh yes, the personality of a thirteen-year-old rears its ugly head, thought Ginny with a grin.
"White?" countered Adrian. "I will have you know, Fred Weasley, I am whiter than white - I'm Irish."
"But, I do know how to dance," said Adrian. "I'll show ya."
Adrian's hair was nearly auburn in its colour. Her eyes sparkled in a rich hazel, especially when she joked
with the boys or something of the sort. Like she's doing now, mused Ginny, sitting next to her brother.
Adrian had met Ron in her sixth year, the same year as Ginny. She was the Ravenclaw Seeker after Cho Chang
left, and after one rather interesting Quidditch game, Harry respected her immensely.
Harry. . .
Her heart seemed to tear into a million pieces once more, tears springing into her eyes. She felt sudden
cold, and a need for escape.
God did she miss him so.
She remembered that last night she'd spent with him. What he'd said and what he had promised.
"It's going to be okay, Gin," he had whispered.
But it wasn't okay.
"I'll see you soon," he had whispered, kissing her forehead tenderly.
"D'you promise to come back to me?"
"Promise. I love you, Ginny."
She ached to touch him again. To feel the warmth of his skin or the taste of his breath. Know the beauty
of his smile, or peer into the near jade of his eyes. Breathe in that familiar scent.
She knew there were bags under her eyes. A year and a half, and she was still having trouble sleeping. She
still cried alone for what seemed like hours and hours.
There was no escape to the memory of him, or the feeling. The sound of his voice. . .
"You all right, Gin?" came a whisper in her ear.
Ginny blinked furiously for a moment, looking over to peer into her brother's concerned brown eyes.
"I'm all right," she said.
But she knew her brother wouldn't believe her. He reached over and squeezed her hand. . . And it was in this
moment that she realized why and how much she loved her brother.
There was an unspoken agreement in his comfort; he didn't have to hear a thing because he knew. He always
did and he always would no matter what. Ron had always been there for her, and she remembered the stories of how excited he
was to have a baby sister of his own. He was still that little boy that would tackle the older brother's for taking her stuffed
bear. That little boy that would always keep her company when she was sick with a cold - make her laugh.
"Love you forever, Ron," she murmured, laying her head on his shoulder.
"Molly!" called her father's voice. "Molly where are you?"
He came into the kitchen, fidgeting with something in his pocket. He wasn't at ease.
"What is it, Arthur?"
Mum came into the kitchen, impatiently brushing hair out of her eyes.
The War had taken a toll on her mother; even if her face was as kind as ever, her eyes seemed haunted and
. . . older.
Dad smiled at his children and friends.
"Why're you home so early, Dad?" asked Fred.
"Oh - well - just thought I'd spend the rest of the day home," Dad said casually. "We knew we weren't going
to get much work done, anyway."
Even if his tone was even and light, Ginny could sense something beneath it. She and her father were a lot
alike. So she knew him rather well. And she knew he wasn't all right - and he wouldn't be home from work unless there was
"Er - Molly, can I talk to you for a moment?" Dad asked again.
Ginny watched Dad lead Mum upstairs and out of sight.
"So what's the plan for today?" asked Adrian.
"Just the dance tonight, at the Muggle bar," sighed George, leaning back into his chair, his hands behind
But Ginny was only half listening. She could hear her parents' footsteps upstairs, and the groaning of a
It was muffled, and quickly silenced, and Ginny knew she was the only one that had heard it, but it was there.
It was the very name that resounded in her head for the past year and a half. The very person that had haunted her.
Without a word she rose from the table, hurrying up the stairs.
She could hear a murmur of voices, but she knew that was a charm. She knew that was her father and she knew
he was keeping something from her.
Her heartbeat at a furious pace as she hurried down the hallway, and she felt her breath begin to shorten.
She stopped outside of the reading room door, the very room she'd been sitting under, and knocked on the
No answer. She took out her wand and muttered the spell for the obvious silencing charm, knocking once more.
"Dad?" she repeated.
"Yes, Ginny?" came a forced casual voice through the door.
"Dad - what's going on?" she asked. "I want to come in."
"Ginny - I - no - I need you to go downstairs -"
Ginny's lips tightened into a thin line and she pointed her wand at the door, snapping, "Alohomora!"
A light click and the door was unlocked.
Ginny kicked at it with her foot, forcing her father to open it.
There was a stranger in the room, wearing nothing but jeans and a black T-shirt. . . Wait. . . That was -
are Harry's clothes. What was this man doing in them?
She was breathing furiously now. Yes, you may bring a man in need into the house but let him wear Harry's
clothes . . .
The man suddenly turned around.
All at once the breath seemed to disappear from her body. At the same time she felt the colour drain from
her face, and she began to shake like mad.
It couldn't be . . .
"Ginny?" he asked in a low voice.
"H-Har-ry - Harry?"
To Be Continued