Ginny rather shyly took Harry's hand. She looked over her shoulder
once to see her parents disappear up the grand staircase. She was
obviously rather nervous but also rather excited to be going with
Harry. Harry remembered that at this age Ginny had a very big crush
on him. He hoped that she would be able to get over her shyness
quickly. He wanted to be friends with her. He knew that she would
never be his Ginny, not exactly. His Ginny had had to fight in a war,
and had died in a war. He certainly did not want to her to have to go
through that just so that she could become more like the Ginny he
Harry decided to start the tour in the dungeons,and go from the bottom up. He figured that that would be the most efficient way to show her the castle. He could have started from the top and gone towards the bottom, but they were closer to the bottom than the top. Not to mention that he wanted to say hello to Snape and knew that he would be heading to breakfast soon. He also wanted to check on the man. Even with all the previous night's excitement, he had not failed to notice that both Snape and Quirrel had left sometime in the middle of the battle. He knew that Snape had, just as he had originally, gone to stop Quirrel from getting into the third floor corridor. He also remembered that if the encounter went similarly as it had last time, then Snape would have been injured by Fluffy, and Harry wanted to make sure the man was alright.
Harry tried not to show his anxiety to Ginny. He was really happy to see her alive, but he didn't want to spook her too much. If he wanted any chance of being her friend and of knocking out of her fan girl tenancies then he knew that he would have to be gentle with her to get her to relax.
This was an excellent chance to get to know her earlier than he had previously. He had wanted to write to her for sometime, but could never figure out a good explanation as to how he knew who she was and why he wanted to get to know her. After all, he hadn't seen her at the train station this time. Nor was he Ron's friend at the moment so he couldn't use him mentioning her as an excuse. Oh well, Harry mentally shook himself. She's here now, and he continued leading her down to the dungeons.
“Ah Harry?” Ginny asked rather quietly and hesitantly.
“Yes Ginny. You have a question? If you do feel free to ask. I don't bite.” Harry said as he smiled at her.
She gave him a hesitant smile and asked, “Why are we heading underground? This looks like it leads to the dungeons. I thought that was a snake pit. That is what Ron and the twins always call it. It is where the Slytherins are. Won't they get angry for us being there? Aren't most of them family to death eaters? They won't want us down there will they? I mean you are the boy-who-lived, and I am a Weasley. They consider my family blood traitors. Why would we head there?” She finished softly.
“First off let me assure you that not every Slytherin is evil.” at her skeptical look he continued, “It is true. Slytherins have to be cunning and ambitious. Being cunning and ambitious does not make someone evil. It just makes someone more able to get what they want. Sure, what some want is power, and sure some of them do turn out to be evil. Not all Slytherins are evil though just as not everyone from the other houses are good either. The man that betrayed my parents to Voldemort was a Gryffindor, for example. Sure some Slytherins belong to families that were death eaters, but not all are.
Also, I will let you in on a little secret.” Here Ginny leaned in closer.
“The hat considered putting me in Slytherin.”
“Really?” Ginny asked.
“Yeah. I certainly hope you don't think I am evil.”said Harry with a bit of a smile.
“No. How could I think you are evil. I don't know you that well.” said Ginny.
“My other point is that exactly. Because Slytherins are ostracized by the rest of the school, noone outside the house really gets to know them so how can people know exactly what they are like.”
Harry did not know quite why he was defending the Slytherins. Maybe it had to do with the fact that in his previous life he had gotten to know them better. He still didn't particularly like the Slytherins or get along with all of them, but he knew what he said was true. Not all the Slytherins were death eaters. The Greengrasses were not death eaters for instance.
Also, he hated bullies, and the fact was that many people from other house picked on Slytherins just because they were Slytherins. How could they control what house they were sorted into? Harry just didn't understand it. Then there was also the fact that he got along with some of the Slytherins. Draco was coming along quite nicely. He hadn't picked fights with him or his friends since that day on the train. He was even coming to hope that maybe he could get a new friendship out of the deal. Who would have figured right? Harry also knew that the only reason that some of these children of death eaters joined the death eaters was because of either their parents influence ( including threats), being isolated from the other houses due to bullying and so feeling that they had to join to keep the friends they had or both. It was kind of sad really.
“Really?” asked Ginny.
“Yes. Most people don't seem to get that the sorting hat chooses your house. You get some choice in the matter, but not much. For instance if you wanted to be in Ravenclaw but you didn't really like books then no matter how much you tried, the hat would never place you there. However, if you were both brave and smart then you could probably convince the hat to place you in Ravenclaw even if you were a tad bit more brave than book smart.”
There was a few minutes silence as Ginny seemed to think this over then she quietly asked, “If you don't mind me asking why did the hat want to put you in Slytherin?”
“Well, first off, you should know that I could have gone into any of the houses.”
Ginny looked at him a little weird, but Harry didn't mind. He was just glad that she was coming out of her shell a bit.
“Yes the sorting hat said that I was courageous and brave like a Gryffindor, I could also use logic and be as cunning as well as any Slytherin, and am as knowledgeable and liked to read books as much as any Ravenclaw. However, I apparently don't go running headfirst into battle like Gryffindors do and knowledge and cunning are not my predominant traits. I am more loyal than anything else though I am sure that if I wanted to get into any of the other houses badly enough then the sorting hat would have let me.”
“Wow.” said Ginny softly then she asked. “What's the sorting hat?”
“The sorting hat was created by Godric Gryffindor. It was his hat. However, when the founders realized that they wouldn't be around to sort the student themselves forever, they came up with the sorting hat. They put brains in the hat's head though not literally. At least I hope not literally. So, now at the beginning of each school year, every first year gets the chance to put it on. It looks through your memories and decides what house you belong in.”
Ginny looked a little pale after he mentioned that it looked through memories no doubt worrying about what it would see next year. So he added. “Don't worry it doesn't hurt. Also, it is bound to secrecy. It can't reveal anything that it sees,not even to the headmaster.”
She looked a little less worried at this then said, “I should have know better than to have listened to Fred and George. They were going on about having to fight a troll. Thank you for telling me.” “No problem.” replied Harry. “If you like, and if you have any other questions, you can always owl me.”
“Really!” squeaked Ginny. “Yeah. I have a beautiful snowy owl named Hedwig. She doesn't get nearly enough exercise seeing as how my only correspondent is Hagrid. She and I would both appreciate it if I had someone else to send letters to.”
“Well... OK....If you are sure.” she said. “ I am. Now come. If you want to see the castle today, we had better hurry. It is rather large.” With that they hurried through the dungeons. ~~~~~~~~~~~~NTTMP~~~~~~~~~~~~
The dungeon part of the tour went rather fast. This was mostly because Harry had never spent much time down there. He had never really had a reason too. So he knew where the potions classroom was and where Snape's office was. He also knew where the Slytherin and Hufflepuff common rooms were and the kitchen was.
He could not show her the inside of the common rooms. She seemed to understand. The reason why he couldn't show her the inside of the Slytherin common room was obvious, he wasn't a Slytherin. She also seemed to understand that he couldn't show her the inside of the Hufflepuff common room because she might not end up in Hufflepuff like he was
He did show her the kitchens though. As usual, the house elves were very excited to have visitors. They practically tripped over each other to help them especially when they heard that Ginny hadn't had time for breakfast that morning. Harry also had a little snack. He found it hard to refuse the little guys when they wanted to get him something which was every time that he went in there.
After they were full, they left the kitchens and almost ran right into the man that Harry had wanted to see. He hadn't been in his office when he had pointed it out to Ginny. Professor Snape looked at Harry with only a trace of a sneer and said, “Watch where you are walking,Potter.”
“Yes sir. Sorry sir.” said Harry. “I was just showing Ginny Weasley the castle sir. Her parents are here to see her brother in the hospital wing, and I offered to show her around.”
“Another Weasley.” sneered Snape. “You would do best to try to learn from your brothers' mistakes. Thorns in my sides the lot of them.”
“Yes sir.” said Ginny quietly and once again intimidated.
“Hey Ginny. Would you wait for me at the end of the hallway? I have to ask the professor a question.
“Sure Harry.” said a very relieved Ginny. She walked to the other end of the hallway and waited for him there.
Harry looked at Snape and sure enough, the man had a limp. “Are you alright Professor?” Harry asked.
“Why wouldn't I be?” asked Snape.
“Well, you see Professor, I noticed when you walked up to me that you were limping and I know being a potions master and all that you are able to take care of yourself, but I still worry.”said Harry.
Professor Snape's expression softened a little as he said, “I am fine, I assure. It is nothing that I can't take care of. Now you had best be on your way. It looks like Miss Weasley,”here he paused and sneered in Ginny's direction, “Is unable to stand still.”
Sure enough when Harry looked, Ginny was rocking back and forth on her feet. “Oh course sir. Have a good day and get better, sir.” said Harry.
“ Oh course I will Potter now run along.” said Snape. And with that they parted ways, Snape to go back to his office to do whatever and Harry to continue Ginny's tour of the castle.
~~~~~~~~~~~NTTMP~~~~~~~~~~ The rest of tour of the castle went as quick as it could. Harry showed Ginny the great hall first after that. He enjoyed seeing her face as she saw the ceiling for the first time. It really was quite pretty. He told her the history of it that he had learned from reading Hogwarts: A History. She was amazed.
He then took her to all of the classrooms. He made sure that she remembered where they were going so that she wouldn't get lost next year when she came or at least not as much as she would have otherwise. He also pointed out where all the teacher's offices were, and Filch's office. He also told her as much history as he knew which was a considerable amount. He also showed her a few of the secret passageways though not all of them. He also decided against showing her the room of requirement at least for the time being. All and all it was an enjoyable morning. He got to spend time with her, and she got to see the castle and hopefully learned enough not to get lost when she returned as a first year the next year.
The only unenjoyable part of the experience was that people kept giving them weird looks. Whether that was because of the previous night or the fact that Ginny was walking beside him, he wasn't sure that it was probably some of both. It was alright. He was expecting it, not that he enjoyed it.
Soon they were in the hospital wing. Harry walked Ginny in.
“Hi Ginny dear.” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Did you have a nice time?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“I did. This castle is so big and beautiful. I can't wait to come here next year. Why can't I come now!?” Ginny said excitedly with a bit of a whine at the end.
Her parents just laughed a bit. Then Mrs. Weasley said,“You have got to wait till you are eleven, Ginny dear. Not to mention that it is the middle of term. Time will go by fast don't you worry.”
They then proceeded to say goodbye to Ron and thanked Harry for taking Ginny on a tour. He replied that it was no problem and that he actually enjoyed it. They then left. Harry was about to leave before Madam Pomfrey came out and accosted him when he heard a quiet, “Harry.”
He turned around to see that it was Ron. He said,“Yes?”
What came next was quite unexpected. He thanked Harry for saving his life and apologized for being a git. Harry accepted his apologies, and left the hospital wing. Maybe there was hope for a friendship with Ron yet. They probably wouldn't be as close as they had been before but that was alright. He wasn't really expecting them to be.