As was her routine whenever she was in her classroom, Ginny immediately lit the fire in the grate and set the kettle on its hook to boil as soon as she and Harry arrived. She settled at her desk and began absently shuffling through the stack of quizzes Shelly had left there for her. Harry wandered about the room, examining the decor with interest. She loved the cosiness of her classroom, as it reminded her so much of her home, but watching him scrutinise every little detail left her feeling slightly embarrassed. What did it matter what he thought of the crocheted rainbow-hued afghan that was normally thrown over the back of a worn love seat in the corner of the room he was currently examining? Ginny wasn’t even sure why she still had the love seat in the classroom, as it was never used. When she had first decorated, she had thought she would use the love seat for meditation. However, with the bustle of classes and school events, she wound up doing most of her meditation in her bedroom and she had never given the love seat a second thought until now.
He moved on, noting the pile of colourful pillows stacked in a box along the wall with a raised eyebrow. Trying to see the room through his eyes, Ginny supposed it probably looked to him as if a rainbow had exploded, but the bright colours made her happy. Not to mention that she had found being happy, calm, and relaxed led to the most productive meditations.
Doing her best to ignore Harry as he progressed to the cabinet that contained the mismatched crockery she used for her Tasseomancy lessons, Ginny focussed on brewing the tea. She definitely needed something to calm her nerves, as after examining the crime scene and then the brief, but belittling encounter with Robards, she needed to unwind before Ron arrived with the files Harry had requested.
Opening the drawer that contained various teas, she chose an Oolong and pulled it and a small box of sugar cubes out to place on top her desk. Closing the drawer, she was about to retrieve her tea pot and cup when she realised that perhaps Harry would like some tea as well. She glanced his way to find him still absorbed in examining the assortment of tea pots and cups in her collection.
She flicked her wand towards the cabinet and it opened, allowing a plain cream ceramic teapot and two matching cups and saucers to sail over to her desk. Harry turned to look at her with a quizzical expression.
“Would you care for some tea?” Ginny called, indicating the kettle that was now steaming.
Harry’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “What for?”
“To drink, what else?” she countered.
“You’re not going to try to read my tea leaves now, are you?” he warily asked.
“The thought hadn’t crossed my mind,” Ginny honestly replied before grinning mischievously, “But I will if you want me to. Just for fun.” She resisted the urge to wink at him, but her eye twitched all the same. She hadn’t thought of reading his leaves, but now that he had mentioned it, it might be a non-threatening way of further breaking the ice.
“Tasseomancy isn’t about predicting the future or discovering the past. It’s solely up to the drinker and the reader to decide what they think the symbols in the leaves mean. Anyone can do that. As a matter of fact, I’ll even let you read my leaves.”
Harry snorted at this comment, but she could tell his interest had been piqued and she smiled. “Think about it. The tea will be ready in a few minutes.”
He nodded, his attention already distracted by the ceiling of the classroom. As she prepared the tea, she could see him walking in a circle as best he could around the tables to study the intricately drawn circle painted on the ceiling.
“My friend, Luna, painted that for me,” she called, placing a generous amount of the Oolong into the bottom of the teapot before adding the water.
“Is it merely decoration?” Harry inquired. “Or is it a tool?”
“A little of both,” Ginny answered, Summoning a small pitcher of cream from the kitchens along with a plate of sandwiches. Her stomach rumbled appreciatively, as it was getting close to supper and they hadn’t had lunch. “It lends power to meditation. That’s what I was doing with my seventh year class this morning before you arrived. We were attempting our first group meditation.”
“How did that go?” he asked
“Well,” she started, “we saw Romilda, as you already know.”
“Is that all you saw? I heard some of your students as they left talking about my Patronus appearing in the vision, and something else about me and a girl on a broom, as well?” He dropped his gaze from the ceiling to look directly at her.
“My students were hoping to witness the outcome of the final Quidditch match,” Ginny evasively answered, not sure if now was the appropriate time to confront him about Cho.
“What did you see?” Harry pressed. “Did you know the girl?”
“As a matter of fact, I did and do,” she confirmed, looking directly into his bright green eyes with her own brown ones. “It was Cho Chang. Do you know her?”
Harry’s eyes darkened and his lips formed a thin line. “I thought you couldn’t read me.”
“I can’t,” she affirmed, her own eyes darkening in sudden anger. “Why didn’t you mention you knew Cho when I told you about Cedric yesterday? You must have known she was the girlfriend I was talking about.”
“I didn’t see how my knowing or not knowing Cho was relevant to the story,” he retorted.
“Of course it was relevant!” Ginny sputtered.
“I met her several years after that event,” Harry stated, “and we only ever talked about Cedric once. You didn’t sense I knew Cho when you were talking to me yesterday?”
Ginny shook her head and a look of confusion crossed his face. “If you can’t read me, how did you see me and Cho? What were we doing?”
“Playing Quidditch,” she reluctantly answered. “Alone.” She tried to keep the jealousy out of her voice, but she wasn’t certain how successful she was.
“Oh,” he replied, and Ginny could tell he knew exactly what she had seen.
“How do you know her?” she asked.
“We met in Ireland not long after the end of the war,” he answered. “She had joined the Muggle Liaison Force, and was assigned to their satellite office in Dublin. I was on assignment for the Auror Office, apprehending Voldemort’s stragglers.”
In the early days, after the war, Ginny had read in the Prophet of some of Voldemort’s followers fleeing to other countries in the hope of escaping prosecution. Some of them had not been too bright, however, and had thought it would be fun to harass local Muggles.
“I read about some dim Snatchers making life miserable for Muggles,” she commented.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Anyway, my job, of course, was to apprehend them and Cho’s was to smooth things over with the Muggle authorities. She’s very good at her job.”
“I know,” Ginny said. “I went to school with her. She’s a good person, too.” It hurt to admit that, no matter how true it was. Cho had always been sincere, if a bit on the emotional side, while at Hogwarts. She’d been nice to Ginny when others had been tormenting her. Not that the Ravenclaw overtly went out of her way to befriend her, but she had offered an encouraging word or two and hadn’t joined in the ridicule Ginny had dealt with on a daily basis for over a year. “She was always nice to me.”
“And to me,” Harry agreed.
Ginny raised an eyebrow at this remark and his cheeks reddened. “I know what you saw, but that was a long time ago. Right after we first met. We had a nice time of it for a while, but,” he hesitated, casting his eyes to the side to look over at the crockery cabinet. “I was too moody, even for her.”
“You’re moody?” she sarcastically asked. “I hadn’t noticed that about you.”
Harry looked back at her, his expression unreadable for a split second before his lips curled into his patented half smile. "Heh. Consider Cho one of 'my many lovers'."
Ginny felt her cheeks flush, and she quickly began pouring tea into the two cups before her in order to not have to look at him. "I'm sorry. I'm being nosy."
"It's all right," his voice sounded closer, and she looked up to see him standing in front of her desk. "I'd like to get to know you better, too." He said the last in such a rush, she wasn't certain she had caught it all, but the slight colouring of his face and the worry in his eyes made her smile up at him.
She indicated the chair nearest her desk. "Have a seat, Harry."
Both sides of his mouth curled up in a small, but genuine smile and something deep within Ginny purred happily at the sight.
"I like the decor of your classroom," he remarked as he took the proffered seat. "It's inviting. It feels like a home, not a classroom."
"Really?" she asked, sliding his cup and saucer across her desk.
Harry nodded. "If I was a student here, I wouldn't mind taking Divination, I don't think."
"Thanks, Harry," Ginny said, mildly shocked by his comment. “I modelled my classroom after my mum’s kitchen. It helps when I am homesick and am too busy to pop home.” She looked over at him and smiled. He held her gaze a moment before looking down into the amber liquid in his cup.
"I'm sorry I suspected you of making me open up to you yesterday. I knew, even as I was accusing you that you aren’t like that,” he said. “You have to understand, my track record with seers has not been the best."
Ginny nodded. "I know."
"But, you aren't like any of them," Harry stated, looking back up to meet her eyes.
"No, I think not," she agreed.
Harry nodded and pulled the sugar bowl closer to him. Scooping two sugar cubes onto his spoon, he dropped them into the tea and began stirring it. "So, is there anything special I need to do before I drink this?"
"Well, for starters, you shouldn't have put sugar in it," Ginny flatly stated. She burst out laughing when he dropped his spoon onto his saucer and looked at her in dismay. "Just kidding."
The range of emotion that crossed his face in a matter of seconds went from shock, to anger, to annoyance. "I can't say I've ever had a woman tease me before," he grumbled.
She raised an eyebrow at this remark. "They were probably scared to. What with you being moody and all."
Harry's eyes darkened and his brows knitted together as he continued to glare at her, and she was suddenly fearful that she had overstepped a line with him. She bit her lip nervously and was about to apologize profusely for upsetting him when his face broke out into a broad grin that sent her heart fluttering.
"Two can play that game," he said congenially before his smile fell and he looked at Ginny seriously. "So, you had no idea I was kidding?"
She shook her head, and he furrowed his brow in thought. "Why? You can sense what that Muggle at the crime scene was feeling, but you can't even tell whether I'm angry or not when I am sitting right across from you."
"I don't know, Harry," Ginny said. "I can't understand it."
"My uncle always used to say I was a freak," Harry muttered, picking up his tea cup and swirling the contents within.
"You are not a freak," she insisted. "It's similar to what I experience with myself. I have never been able to foresee my own future, and believe me I have tried. Why don't we try again?" She pointed to the tea cup Harry was holding. "To answer your question of what you need to do; try to clear your mind and think about what you would like to have some insight on. Reflect upon that thought as you quietly sip the tea and enjoy a sandwich or two."
"Seriously?" he asked sceptically, raising his eyebrows in mild disbelief.
Ginny nodded. “Seriously.”
"That doesn't seem so hard," Harry said agreeably, selecting a sandwich from the plate.
"Just be sure not to drink all of the tea," she advised. "You need a bit to swirl the remaining tea leaves before tipping your cup over the saucer.”
He gazed thoughtfully into the shallow depths of the cup, taking an absent-minded bite from his sandwich. Ginny turned her own thoughts inward and took a sandwich for herself. She took a moment, like Harry, to simply chew her food and attempted to single out an individual thought to focus on. Her mind was a jumble with the anxiousness of discovering who the murderer could be and Harry’s sudden, somewhat relaxed openness with her. He wasn’t joking when he said he was moody. He was as changing as the wind and she was having difficulty keeping up with him. Not that she wasn’t up to the challenge. She couldn’t remember a time when she had felt more alive than when she was with him. Certainly not since Fred’s death.
As her thoughts turned more towards her burgeoning feelings for Harry, Ginny knew she was already being guided to what she needed to reflect upon as she sipped her tea. Picking up her cooling cup, she took a small sip as she focussed on learning if she had a potential future with him. It was an obtuse request, that could have a variety of symbols and interpretations, but he had been one of the only thing’s she could think about over the past four days. Surely that had to mean something. Not to mention that she was fairly certain that her subconscious had been leading the group meditation that morning. She was certain that the scene she had seen in her scrying crystal had linked her to Cho through Harry, and that was how she had been able to see them together. It was clearly a cherished memory of Cho’s. Ginny had to wonder why she had apparently given up so easily on him if her feelings for him were that strong.
Taking another sip, she glanced over at Harry who had finished his sandwich and was starting on his second while his left hand gripped his cup. In fact, his hand was clenched around the cup so tightly, his knuckles were white as he stared intensely into the crackling fire and he chewed furiously on his sandwich. He looked the exact opposite of relaxed.
Ginny reached over and lightly placed her hand upon his left arm. “Relax, Harry, remember? This isn’t life or death; we’re just drinking tea.”
He nodded, his grip loosening on his cup. She kept her hand resting on his arm a moment longer, taking another sip of her own tea as she did so. When she finally felt the last of the tension leave his arm, Ginny reluctantly withdrew her hand and picked up her sandwich. She took a bite, but found her hunger had waned as anticipation built within her. Setting the sandwich back on her plate, she took a few deep breaths before drinking more of her tea. With each sip she thought about how she wanted Harry to open up to her completely so she could understand him better and perhaps find the answer to why she could not read him. She felt the two were intertwined and she also felt a deep need to become permanently entangled in his life in some shape or form. She also hoped that he was thinking the exact same thing, only about herself.
Taking a final sip of her tea, she set her cup back in its saucer just as Harry did the same and she smiled over at him.
“Finished?” she asked, glancing into his cup to find tea leaves clumped along the sides and bottom, with just enough liquid to swirl them all together.
“I think so,” he nervously answered. “Now what?”
Ginny raised her own cup, the insides of which looked very similar to Harry’s and swirled the liquid within three times before gently and quickly dumping the remaining liquid in her saucer. She left the cup overturned. “Swirl your cup three times, and then dump it over the saucer. Leave it overturned in the saucer to allow the leaves to settle into their place.”
Harry did as she had done, and when he was finished, he blew out a long breath as he looked across the desk at her. “Who first?”
Ginny pushed her saucer and cup over to him. “Why don’t you look at mine first?”
Taking the saucer from her, he quickly picked up the cup and turned it over, looking inside. His brow furrowed and he squinted his eyes as he gazed at the contents. “Looks like a bunch of blobs to me,” he uttered.
“Do you know anything about reading leaves?” she asked with a small laugh.
“No,” he admitted. “Have a beginner’s guide I can use?”
Pulling the bottom drawer of her desk open, Ginny withdrew a copy of Walking with Spirits and handed it to him. “This is the book my third year students use. You’ll find a list of the basic symbols in the first chapter.”
Harry flipped through the first few pages until he found the table that listed images and their possible meanings. He scanned over the list while alternately peering into the cup.
“All right,” he said, pushing his glasses up his nose and glancing over at her before bowing his head back down to examine the cup. “I see something that looks like a sun a child would draw and an oval.”
“All right,” she said. “Those are positive images, Harry.” She would be pleased if those were the actual symbols within her cup, as they both meant new beginnings. “What else do you see?”
“Er, some sort of animal. A rabbit?” He sounded uncertain and referenced the book again before looking back into the cup. “Yeah, a rabbit with long ears.” He snorted as he read what it meant. “What were you thinking about? Says here a rabbit or hare represents important changes in your love life.”
Ginny’s cheeks coloured and she scowled at him. “It’s a general reference. Some prefer to think it means love, but a rabbit can mean any change in your life personal or otherwise.”
Harry studied her a moment, before smirking. “I think you’re lying. You know I was seeing Cho for a while, but you haven’t mentioned a bloke.”
“That’s because there isn’t one, not that it’s any of your business,” she retorted.
“I find that hard to believe,” he stated. “Besides, how can I do an accurate reading if you aren’t honest with me?”
“I am being honest!” she exclaimed, suddenly despising how her pale skin showed her blushes so easily. She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks and Harry smiled knowingly. “Stop being a prat and read the bloody cup!”
He raised his eyebrows and his grin broadened. “You’re right, this is fun. Much more so than when you read my palms the other day.” He tipped the cup towards him once more. “An oyster playing a harp? And a finger and a circle, I think.”
“What is the finger pointing to?” Ginny asked, resisting the urge to grab her cup from him and see for herself if what he was seeing was really in the leaves. She pressed her hand to her heart to keep it from jumping out of her chest. New love, romance, passion, desire, culminating in marriage was what Harry had just read in her cup.
“The circle, why?” he asked and looked up at her. “Are you all right?”
She nodded, reaching over to tug the Divination book away from him before he could read what those symbols meant. “I’ll just look over your leaves.”
“You can’t tell me you need the book to do that,” Harry protested, pulling on the book. “I haven’t looked up these symbols yet.”
“You told me enough,” Ginny said, keeping a firm hold on the book.
“But, what do they mean?” he pressed before suddenly releasing the book and studying her closely. “You look pale. You aren’t going to faint again, are you? I didn’t think reading leaves would be taxing on you.” He looked at her with worry clear in his eyes.
“I’m fine, honestly,” she assured him before quickly picking up his cup and turning it over. Her eyes widened in shock and the cup slipped from her fingers at the sight of the symbols she saw within. A long-eared hare, an oyster, harp, egg, and finally a finger pointing towards a ring. All the symbols were encompassed in a circle that looked like the blazing sun. It rolled across her desk and fell to the floor, breaking into three pieces.
“May I see my cup?” Ginny whispered.
“What? Why?” Harry asked. “What was in there?” He stood up and moved around to her side of the desk. She thought he was going to bend to retrieve the broken pieces of his cup, but instead he knelt in front of her. “Ginny, what did it tell you?”
His eyes were alight with fear as he gazed at her. She could only begin to wonder what he thought the cup had told her. She tentatively reached out her right hand and cupped his cheek. Harry was clearly startled by her gesture, but didn’t pull away from her touch.
“”It told me you’re on the path to a new beginning, too, Harry,” she softly said.
“Really?” he asked, the bright hope filling his eyes causing her heart to ache and making her want to know now more than ever what could have brought him to such an obvious low-point in his life.
“Yes,” she answered, lowering her hand from his face to reach for her cup that he was still tightly holding. She raised it between them and looked over the rim, her heart beating loudly in her ears. The interior of her cup looked nearly identical to Harry’s. “It looked exactly like mine.”
She looked back up to find him still staring at her, transfixed, and she suddenly became aware of how close they were to one another. Her hand still held his and she gripped it tighter as she pulled him closer or he moved of his own accord, she wasn’t certain. Harry’s eyes were deep, dark pools of green she was falling into, and she couldn’t tear her gaze away from them, even if she had wanted to. She licked her lips in anticipation of the kiss she was hoping would come and seal their fate. She was certain if they kissed everything would open up between them and become crystal clear. Their noses were nearly touching and she finally gave in and closed her eyes. Harry’s nervous breath whispered over her lips and she knew they were mere millimetres away from meeting when the trapdoor banged loudly against the floor, instantly breaking them apart.
Ginny’s eyes flew open in disappointment to find Harry already nearly in his seat again and Ron’s head appearing above the trapdoor.
“Oi!” he called over to them in annoyance. “A little help with these boxes, mate?”
They spent the remainder of the evening pouring over the files Ron had brought. As soon as he had arrived he had helped himself to the remaining sandwiches on the platter, and Ginny had spent the better part of the evening glaring at her brother until he caught her doing so.
“What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she muttered in disgust, chancing a glance over at Harry who had shut down completely upon Ron’s arrival and hadn’t looked at her since. Her brother hadn’t noticed because to him, Harry probably wasn’t acing much differently than he normally did. Ginny supposed that was where being moody came in handy.
She stared down at the file she was holding in her hand, Edward Banks. She wasn’t receiving much of anything from it, but she had to admit her senses were currently working overtime attempting to make heads or tails out of what had nearly happened between her and Harry. He’d been about to kiss her, and she lightly touched her lips, daydreaming of the blazing kiss he had given her in her dream a couple of days ago.
She glanced over at him again, but he was stubbornly keeping his head bowed over the file he was currently perusing. She’d like to think he was stuck staring at the same paragraph, as she was, but he kept scanning and turning the pages, and the pile of files next to him had diminished. Ginny glanced guiltily over at her towering pile, realizing she had not made much progress.
They had divided the files between the three of them alphabetically. Ginny had the first third, Ron the middle, and Harry the last.
“How’s it going?” Ron asked, dropping the file he was studying to lean back in his chair and stretch. Harry grunted noncommittally, not bothering to even look at him.
Shrugging, Ron glanced over at Ginny. “You haven’t made much progress,” he remarked. “What are you doing? Watching their life story?”
Leaning over he plucked Edward’s file from her hands. “I remember this bloke. He was a seventh year when I first started. He makes Percy look like a party-animal. Can’t see him cutting women up for fun.”
Placing the file back down in front of Ginny, Ron picked up the one he had recently abandoned. “Now, Justin Finch-Fletchley. He was a in my year and a pompous git. Him maybe.”
“It won’t be someone pompous,” Harry commented, finally raising his head to address Ron.
“Why not?” his partner challenged. “Who’s to say the wanker doesn’t like women who think they are better than him?”
“A pompous git, like Justin Finch-Fletchley would never notice if a woman thought she was better than him,” Harry stated firmly.
“How would you know?” Ron pressed. “You’ve never met Justin.”
“I don’t need to to know he isn’t our suspect,” Harry said. “Your description of him is enough to tell me we would be wasting our time with him.”
“It will be someone quiet and reserved,” Ginny suggested, hoping Harry would look at her.
“Exactly,” he agreed, bowing his head once again over his file instead of visually acknowledging her. “Look for someone like that.”
Ginny pursed her lips in displeasure and sent silent daggers his way. If he were the least bit psychic he’d be cringing with the amount of frustration she was currently feeling.
“I’m with you, Ginny,” Ron muttered, misinterpreting her look before returning to his work.
She brought her attention back to Edward Bank’s file, but she was receiving nothing from it except that he was leading a boring life as a cauldron inspector. Ginny couldn’t think of a drearier job. Percy had tormented them all to a lecture on the very subject when he first began working for the Ministry and had to write an article about the proper dimensions of a cauldron. Fortunately, he had moved on to more interesting work, at least for him, as a magical textbook editor.
Adding Edward’s file to the small stack beside her, she moved on to the next and then next until her brain grew numb from reading, literally and figuratively. She very much wanted to call it a night, as little progress had been made, but she did not want to end her time with Harry, even if her brother had ruined any chance of them exploring the newfound feelings blossoming between them. Ginny stole another glance towards him and was surprised to meet his very enticing green eyes looking over at her. They were dark and guarded, but even so, just the sight of them was enough to send her heart racing and to turn her insides to complete mush.
Her cheeks coloured at being caught glancing at him, but she was happy to see his own pink in return. She smiled and was rewarded with the small smile he had given her earlier in the evening before he ducked his head back into the file he was reviewing.
Sighing, she looked over at her brother, who was absently chewing on a hangnail on his thumb as he read a file. His eyes were glazed, and she knew he probably wasn’t even seeing anything that was written in front of him. She had seen that look on his face countless of times during their school years when he was supposed to be studying in the common room. He was done for the evening, as well. It wouldn’t be long before he came out of his stupor and announced it to the room.
Deciding she should probably use the little time she had left to be productive instead of daydreaming herself, Ginny pulled one last file towards her and felt her body stiffen immediately. He was here, in the file. The room blurred around her as she was pulled from her body into the mind of the killer.
His breath came in gasps as he ran over the school grounds. The Death Eaters were everywhere and he shouldn’t be there, but Colin was out there somewhere and he was his best friend. He should have stayed in the common room like they had been instructed to do. You-Know-Who was angry, sending his followers into the castle to search for something that was his. The evil wizard was out here somewhere too, with his closest generals, all heading towards the castle and the destruction of anyone who stood in their way.
They were supposed to be safe. Hadn’t Professor Dumbledore always said they would be safe at Hogwarts? Maybe if the headmaster had lived to see the end of the war, but he had died, leaving them all behind to fend for themselves.
“Colin!” he called over the deafening sounds of explosions and screaming.
He covered his head as cinders and rubble rained around him. Chancing a glance up at the castle, he could see the south tower spewing embers and thick smoke into the air from its shorn off top while fires raged behind what few windows remained. He watched, horror struck, as it toppled in on itself, and fervently hoped there hadn’t been anyone left within the tower. Bodies were already strewn across the lawn surrounding it, most unmoving.
He staggered towards the grisly scene, praying that Colin wasn’t amongst the dead and wounded on the ground. He couldn’t see the familiar shock of blond hair and breathed a small sigh of relief when a piercing scream, closer to the forest sounded, followed by the gleeful laughter of a woman.
He whirled around at the sounds and ran towards the dark and forbidding forest he had so far avoided the entire time he had been attending Hogwarts. His heart pounded in his chest as he drew closer and saw darker shadows dancing just past the tree line.
“Filthy, wittle Mudblood!” a woman shrieked, as he drew closer.
“Did you think you were any match for a pureblood?"
Creeping to the edge of the tree line, he was terrified to see Colin hanging in mid-air, while a pale, dark-haired witch paced in front of him. Her beautiful features were twisted in a ghastly leer as she slashed her wand maliciously at his friend's helpless form. His body writhed under the torment and his screams filled the air.
He covered his ears, frozen to the spot in terror as more Death Eaters approached from within the forest, calling to the woman and laughing at Colin’s predicament.
With an ugly sneer, the witch flicked her wand at him, sending his body plunging to the ground. He whimpered in pain and his observer cried out in alarm. Swivelling her head towards the sound, the woman’s black eyes roved the tree line, immediately spotting him crouching behind a tree.
“Well, another wittle wizard,” she cackled, stepping closer. “My you are a wee one, aren’t you?”
“Don’t come any closer!” his voice trembled as he held his shaking wand towards her.
“No,” Colin weakly pleaded, blood dripping from his split lips.
“”Oh,” light dawned in the witch’s eyes, looking between the two of them. “I see.” Savagely brandishing her wand at him, he felt his wand fly from his weak grasp. He cried in vain, lunging over the ground towards her as she laughed and danced away and petrified him.
“Another weak Mudblood, coming to play?” she taunted. “Watch and learn, little boy. Crucio!”
Colin’s already ravaged body feebly thrashed on the ground, blood from the numerous gashes on his torso bleeding more profusely. Tears rain down the frozen face of the helpless observer, while the demented witch pranced about them, insanely laughing. He was weak. He couldn’t help and Colin was dying. He watched as his best friend’s body slowly stopped moving altogether, the screaming dying on his cracked lips. The dark witch continued to send waves of her Torture Spell towards his now inert body until she realized he was still. With an evil sneer upon her face, she turned towards the observer and unleashed the fury of the spell upon him. Darkness overtook him, and the last thing he saw was her dark eyes and hair, swinging about him and Colin’s dead eyes watching from beyond.
Ginny woke up to find herself lying on the love seat, covered with the colourful afghan. Her head pounded unforgivably and her stomach churned with nausea, and she immediately leaned over the side to retch upon the floor. She stayed half-sitting up, clutching the side of the love seat, staring at the floor. Her body trembled uncontrollably from the vision she had just seen.
Ron knelt beside her and placed his hand upon her shoulder, rubbing it lightly. “Ginny,” he said quietly.
He was soon joined by Harry, who held a glass of water in his hand. He silently held it out towards her and she raised her eyes to meet his. They were wide with concern behind his silver frames and she nodded a silent affirmation that she was all right, before accepting the glass. She drank half of it before sitting fully upright and pulling the afghan close about her. She was chilled to the bone from having experienced such close and personal contact with the killer. She took another sip of water to steady herself, before setting the glass on the table beside the love seat.
“It’s Dennis Creevey,” she whispered.
“The mouse?” Ron incredulously asked.
Harry flicked his eyes away from Ginny to look at Ron. “That was his nickname? Why?”
“He was quiet as a mouse, and looked like one, too,” Ron explained. “He was tiny when he first started attending. A stiff wind could have knocked him over. The bloke fell in the lake on the boat ride over his first day.”
“Did he have friends?” Harry asked.
“He was three years below me, so I didn’t pay much attention to him,” Ron admitted. “I do know he spent most of his time with his brother, Colin. They were very close.”
“Were?” Harry inquired, catching on to Ron’s use of the past tense.
“Colin died during the final battle,” his partner explained, a light dawning as he spoke. “Gruesomely. It was difficult to identify his body. Dennis never came back to school to finish his studies.” He looked over at Ginny with deep concern.
“I can’t believe I didn’t know until now,” she said plaintively, looking between the two Aurors. “We were in the same House! How could I not have known?”
“That’s not how your gift works,” her brother reminded her.
“But, even in the visions I couldn’t recognize him,” she exclaimed.
“It’s been several years since we saw him last,” Ron said. “People change.”
“Are you sure it was him?” Harry asked.
Ginny nodded. “Yes, I saw him and Colin. Bellatrix was torturing Colin and Dennis was too afraid to help.”
“Bellatrix,” Harry spat.
“Yeah,” Ron agreed.
“She tortured Dennis, too,” Ginny explained. “He’s trying to make up for not helping Colin before.”
Harry’s lips formed a thin line at this statement, “That’s not an excuse for torturing and murdering innocent women.” His eyes flamed brightly.
“I know,” she agreed.
“We need to find him before he finds another victim,” Harry declared. “We should head back to the office immediately and try to track down his location.”
“We can start with his parents,” Ron offered. “They probably would know something.”
Harry nodded and glanced at Ginny. “Thank you. It might have taken us days to narrow the search down.”
She shook her head. “I’m glad my idea panned out.” She smiled weakly, but she was too exhausted to do much more. As much as she would have liked to offer to go with them, she knew she would not be any more help at this juncture. Not to mention that with the identity of the killer now in place, there wasn’t much need for her services anymore. She swallowed, picking up the glass of water and morosely sipping the contents as the two men swiftly cleared up the stacks of files. Harry tucked Dennis Creevey’s file in his robes and Ron levitated the boxes he had brought towards the trapdoor.
Harry moved to the door as Ron quickly walked back over to her to give her a brief hug. She returned it, her eyes looking over his shoulder at Harry who stood awkwardly by the door, shuffling his feet. She was reminded of their initial meeting just a few days ago and as she released her brother she had to wonder if she would ever see Harry again. He waved a distant farewell to her before levitating the boxes down the ladder and descending the ladder himself. Ron bid her a good-bye and quickly exited after his partner, leaving her alone in her suddenly very quiet and lonely classroom.