Looking Through the Eyes of a Killer

Chapter 8

After Harry and Ron had left, Ginny slowly made her way back to her room. Having experienced three intense visions on top of the increased attraction she was feeling for Harry she was exhausted. Her warm bed with the soft patchwork quilt and feather mattress and pillows was calling to her, but feeling grimy from the long day, she headed to her small bath instead.

Sitting on the edge of the deep, claw-footed tub, she drew the water, turning a tap that would add a lavender scented bubble bath to the already steaming water. Almost immediately the air filled with the relaxing smell of lavender, and Ginny felt the tension leaving her with each breath she took.

She undid the clasps to her robe and allowed it to drop to her feet. She wore a simple sheath dress beneath, which she quickly divested herself of along with her scrying crystal and the black ballet flats she was wearing before stepping into the tub. Sinking down into the water, she allowed her body to be enveloped in its liquid heat up to her neck and leaned her head against the back of the tub with a sigh.

The flickering candles in two brass lamps that adorned the wall by the wash basin opposite the tub shined brightly in her eyes, making her already aching head throb more. Ginny closed her eyes against their brightness and welcomed the darkness found behind her eyelids.

Only it wasn’t long before she recalled Harry’s bright green eyes burning with a fierce intensity when she had caught him looking at her that evening and her heart clenched uncomfortably in her chest. She wanted to explore that look and discover its depths and what it meant exactly in relation to what she was currently feeling, which quite honestly she wasn’t sure she could define. All she knew was that the more time she spent with him, the more she wanted to spend with him. Ginny thought if the bright, hopeful gleam that had briefly touched his eyes while they had been talking - before Ron had interrupted them - was any indication then Harry felt the same. It would be nice if the next time they met they did not have the weight of an unsolved murder on their hands.

Ginny’s heart sank as that thought crossed her mind and, in kind, she morosely sank beneath the water, her red hair rippling out around her. The whole reason she had been able to spend any amount of time with Harry in the first place was because he kept coming to her for aid on his case. Now with the murderer well in hand, more or less, there would be no cause for him to seek her out.

She still could not believe timid, mild-mannered Dennis was the murderer. He had never appeared to be the type to harm a Flobberworm, but Harry had agreed with her when she had suggested the killer would be someone exactly like Dennis. Even though she had never been close friends with him, Ginny couldn’t help but feel she had somehow let him down. They had been housemates, after all, and yet she had never received an inkling of insight that he was headed down a path of destruction. Of course, at the time they had been surrounded by death and destruction and she had been desperately trying to attune her abilities. Perhaps if she had seen something, it had merely been lost in the jumbled visions she had been accosted with at that time.

In the meantime, she had successfully learned to mute her gift in order to function normally, and rarely received unwanted visions until a few days ago. Even then she still had not been able to detect that Dennis was behind the murders and Ginny was beginning to wonder if that was the reason she had first seen Daphne killed in cold blood. She almost had to think it had less to do with solving a murder mystery and more to do with crossing paths with Harry.

She recalled the way he had spat Bellatrix’s name when she had informed him that the evil witch had tortured and killed Colin before torturing Dennis, as well. Belatedly, Ginny realized Harry probably had encountered Bellatrix himself. She had been, after all, Voldemort’s staunchest supporter. No doubt she had been there, at the Dark Lord’s side when he struck Harry down. Ginny had never noticed since she had never bothered to look at anything but the boy falling and dying. She had never lingered and studied the vision as she had with Dennis’ murder victims and she suddenly realized that perhaps she should.

However, despite the fact that the bath had effectively relaxed her aching body, her head still throbbed painfully and she knew her magical reserves were weak from the exertion of the mental work she had performed that day. Reviewing Harry’s supposed death would have to wait for another day.

Wearily climbing out of the tub, Ginny quickly dried herself before taking her dressing gown from the hook on the back of the door, pulling it on as she padded back into her bedroom. Her white night dress was draped at the foot of the bed and replacing it with her dressing gown, she quickly slipped it over her head before crawling into bed. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as her head nestled on the pillow and despite the whirling thoughts in her head, she was soon fast asleep.

Ginny awoke the next morning to the sun streaming through the window and realized she had forgotten to draw the curtain the night before. She had had a blissfully dreamless sleep and felt much more invigorated than she had when she had gone to bed. Slowly sitting up she stretched her arms over her head, yawning deeply and enjoying the pull of the muscles in her shoulders and back. Dropping her arms into her lap, she leaned against the plain wooden headboard of her bed and gazed out the window.

It promised to be a beautiful day, with the sky a crisp, cerulean blue and not a cloud in sight. She took it as a good omen that she would hear from Ron and Harry that they had apprehended Dennis and no other woman would be in danger.

As she was running late, she took a light breakfast of tea and toast in her room before donning a set of hunter green professorial robes and running a brush a hundred times through her long mane of hair. As she did so, she tried to clear her mind of worry over the capture of Dennis and whether or not Harry felt the same way about her that she did for him.

When she was finished she placed a golden hair band in her hair to keep the wavy tresses out of her face and eyes and took a moment to check her appearance in the oval floor mirror by her wardrobe.

“My, my, don’t you look fetching,” the enchanted mirror, a gift from George, said.

While Ginny was pleased with the look and cut of her robes, the mirror’s comment made her pause, wondering if they were appropriate for school. She bit her lip in thought, scrutinizing the scooping neckline that revealed a fair amount of her creamy freckled décolletage and the darted waist that accentuated her petite figure, before the skirt flared out at her hips to billow to the floor.

“Um, do you think it’s a bit much for the classroom?” she asked the mirror.

“Not at all, dearie,” the mirror replied. “I do wonder if you are hoping to catch someone’s eye, because I must say, if that hair and those robes don’t do it, then the poor man should have his eyes checked.”

Ginny flushed scarlet and the mirror tinkled with laughter. “Oh, dearie, I wish you the best of luck. Be off now before you’re late for class!”

Realizing the mirror was correct, she took her scrying crystal - a thoughtful house-elf had picked it up from the pile of clothes she had left in the washroom the night before - from a hook by the mirror and placed it around her neck. Tucking it inside her robes, she hurried to the North Tower and her first class of the day, fourth years.

They would be studying astrology today and she wanted to arrange the tables in a circle around the astrological mural painted on the ceiling of her classroom. She was just finishing up when the first of her students arrived. Ginny retreated to her desk and set the kettle to boil as her students took their seats. As it was Friday, they were boisterous, and most were discussing the Hogsmeade visit slated for the following day and firming up their plans. She allowed them a few more moments to chat before clapping her hands and calling for their attention.

Instantly quieting, they all turned towards her as she approached to stand in the centre of the circle.

“Today we will begin our unit on astrology,” she began. Waving her wand, the curtains closed over the windows, shutting out the bright sun and darkening the classroom, save the flickering of the fire in the grate. Pointing her wand at the circle above their heads, Ginny murmured an incantation that caused the night sky to appear within the circle.

“Astrology is derived from the Greek which means ‘account of the stars’,” she explained. “The centaurs spend their lives studying the stars and gleaning information about the possible future from them. For today, I would like you to make note of what you see in the sky above you and make simple predictions to what you think the stars are telling you in relation to your astrological sign.”

“You want us to write our horoscopes?” a boy asked, smirking at his table partner.

Ginny smiled back as him, “Exactly. Have fun.”

Returning to her desk, she forewent her usual cup of tea and instead leaned back in her chair to study the night sky she had created. The spell she had used was similar to the enchantment upon the ceiling in the Great Hall and revealed what the sky would look like that evening after the sun had set. It promised to be a clear, beautiful night, perfect for star-gazing. Aquila and Cygnus were prominent; the eagle and swan respectively. Studying them, Ginny could almost imagine the two birds chasing each other through the sky in graceful flight. The eagle strong and alert, always searching and the swan, graceful and serene, seemingly content. Both were regal in their own rights, the king and queen of avian creatures.

She turned her attention to Harry’s and her own sign, Leo, outside of the hemisphere that was visual to the naked eye. Regardless, she knew Jupiter and Mars were sparking a fiery display within their sign. Leo was a fire sign and a fixed sign, two very strong aspects to have within one sign. It was no wonder she and Harry had butted heads when they had first met, but it seemed in the few short days they had known each other, they had already settled into a comfortable familiarity. Ginny very much wanted to become even more familiar with him and closing her eyes reflected upon the fleeting moment she had shared with him yesterday right here at her desk. She recalled how his warm breath had graced her lips, and if the giddy feeling that pooled in her belly at the thought of him kissing her was any proof, she imagined his kiss would give her a whole new definition to the word ‘magic’.

She spent the remainder of the class daydreaming and checking the time every once in a while hoping she would hear something. However, the sound of an owl tapping at the window never came and a face never appeared in the grate, leaving her with a gnawing anxious feeling in the pit of her stomach, so that by lunchtime she was a bundle of nerves. She dismissed her class and headed to the Great Hall for lunch, even though she was certain she would not be able to eat a bite.

Sitting in her place next to Neville at the head table, she spooned a small amount of roasted chicken and potatoes on her plate while apprising him of her discovery yesterday of who the murderer was.

“Dennis Creevey?” Neville whispered, leaning closer towards her. “Blimey, I never would have thought him the type.”

“He’s not well, Neville,” she said.

“I suppose not,” he agreed, his face showing his shock and dismay. “Have you heard from Ron or Harry?”

Ginny shook her head and morosely pushed a boiled new potato aimlessly about the food she had placed on her plate, following the trail it made in the gravy and fretting. Harry - handsome, dishevelled, depressed Harry - who had smiled a genuine smile at her just yesterday. It had been crooked and boyish and she wanted him to smile at her that way again.

“I think that potato is thoroughly coated, Ginny,” Neville commented.

“I’m a mess, Neville,” she admitted. “I can’t stop thinking about Harry.”

“Really?” Neville asked in surprise, and studied her.

Ginny nodded.

"I'm sure he'll let you know," he assured. "You should eat, Ginny. You look pale. It looks like you either overexerted yourself yesterday or you’re love sick.”

"I think it’s a little of both," she admitted, “but I'm fine.”

Neville pursed his lips in consternation before pushing her goblet of pumpkin juice towards her. "You need energy. At least drink your juice."

"Thank you, mother hen," she lightly teased, picking up the goblet and taking a sip.

"Somebody has to look out for you," he replied.

"You and my brothers always did a fine job of that," Ginny commented, giving him a small smile. "Remember when you stood up to Malfoy when he was teasing me in my third year?"

Neville grimaced and his cheeks turned pink at the memory. "Don't remind me. I spent the day in the hospital wing with boils from their hexes. I wasn't a very good defender then. It was you who saved me from a worse fate with that Bat-Bogey hex of yours."

"But you managed to jinx them, too, Neville, don't forget that," she admonished him.

"Just Jelly-Legs," he said.

“It gave me the opening I needed,” Ginny stated, shoving her uneaten plate of food away and placing her elbows on the table in order to rest her head in her hands. “I can’t eat. My stomach is in knots.”

“You fancy Harry that much?” Neville asked in disbelief. “You just met him.”

“I know, but there’s something there,” she muttered into her hands. “If only I knew for certain he felt it too. I’m afraid now that the case is solved I won’t see him again.”

“I don’t think you need to worry about that, Ginny,” her friend said from beside her. “Harry’s actually here.”

Ginny raised her head to see Neville pointing towards the entrance of the Great Hall. Looking down the rows of tables, she saw Harry standing in the doorway, scanning the room. His eyes sought hers out and she instantly stood up, brushing errant strands of hair away from her face as she did so.

“I’ll see you later, Neville,” she said, moving down the long table to the few steps that would take her down to the floor where the students still sat at their tables eating lunch. Several of them turned to watch her as she hurriedly walked towards Harry, and whispers followed wondering why Auror Harry Potter was there and what he wanted with their Divination teacher.

When Ginny reached his side, she took his hand without preamble and led him back out of the Great Hall into the relatively deserted Entrance Hall. She was secretly thrilled when his fingers curled tightly around hers, and she instantly shoved the dreaded images of his death to a dark corner of her mind, enjoying instead the warmth of his hand in hers. Outwardly, she expressed the concern she was also feeling that he had come to inform her he had captured Dennis.

“Did you find him?” she asked, looking up at Harry and his grim expression was answer enough to her question.

“No,” he stated. “His parents haven’t seen him in over a week. They have no idea where he may be. They did give us an interesting bit of information.”

“What’s that?” she asked, pulling on his hand and heading towards her classroom. They climbed the staircase, skirting past students running late for lunch who gave them curious looks as they passed.

“Dennis’ father was a milkman,” Harry explained, and Ginny remembered Colin mentioning that fact a time or two. He had always said his parents had been shocked to discover both their sons were wizards.

“Yes, I recall that,” she said.

“”Well, Mr Creevey retired about a year ago and Dennis took over his route,” Harry explained. “And Mr Creevey’s milk lorry. A white lorry, open-sided for easy load in and out of the milk crates. The name of the dairy company is Bluebell Milk.”

“The ‘B’ and ‘k’ I saw,” Ginny exclaimed.

He nodded. “Yes. Ron and I visited the processing plant where the drivers pick up their daily shipment and saw the lorries. They match your description perfectly, down to the refrigerated box on the back.”

“What about Dennis’ employer?” she asked.

Harry shook his head. “Dennis hasn’t been to work in over two weeks. He took a holiday, but didn’t say where he would be going.”

“So, you have no idea where he is?” Ginny asked, finding it inconceivable that they were so close to apprehending Dennis and yet still so far, it seemed.

“None,” he confessed. “We have an alert out for him on both the Muggle and wizard wire. Hopefully something will turn up soon.”

“But, he could be anywhere, watching another victim, as we speak,” she said, terrified of the notion that Dennis may be stalking his next victim at that very moment. A woman somewhere could be in danger.

“I know that,” Harry ground out, allowing his anger and frustration to show clearly on his face. “Robards thinks we need to have a front page spread in the Evening Prophet. That would probably bring us something.”

“You don’t agree, I take it,” Ginny surmised.

“It would just scare him off,” he said as they approached the ladder that led to her classroom. “We need some way to strike before he knows we have discovered his identity.”

Stopping at the foot of the ladder, Ginny reached up and touched her scrying crystal that rested against her breastbone underneath her robes. Now that she knew the identity of the killer she could possibly use it to discover Dennis’ location. She pulled the leather lanyard her crystal hung on from beneath her robes and held it in her hand.

“I may be able to locate him using this,” she said and allowed the crystal to dangle from its lanyard she held between her fingers.

“Is that a scrying crystal?” Harry asked in surprise. “Is there anything you can’t do?”

Ginny smiled. “I did study all the different ways of Divination. I’m not a master of them all yet, but if I am going to teach I should have the tools of my trade, don’t you think?”

“Does it work?” he queried, bending down to study the golden yellow orb that was currently refracting the sunlight shining from the window and sending prisms of light to dance on the floor and walls around them.

“Yes,” she said, and bit her lip. “I just used it yesterday, as a matter of fact.”

“To try to find the killer?” Harry asked, rising back to his full height, which Ginny realized now that he was not slouching as much as he had when she first met him, was a foot taller than her own.

“No, to find you,” she admitted and waited for him to rage at her for using her gift to spy on him.

“Why?” he asked instead, looking more curious than angry.

“Because, after you told me about Professor Quirrell, I couldn’t stop thinking about you,” she confessed. “I was worried.”

“About me?”

Ginny was uncertain what the shocked look on his face could mean but she ploughed on. “Yes. I wanted to make certain you were all right. I saw Robards reprimanding you and Ron and then I saw Cho comforting you.”

“Oh,” he uttered, “You, er, saw a lot.”

“I know, and I am sorry,” she apologized. “It was incredibly wrong of me.”

“Do you do that often?” Harry asked, his face disconcertingly neutral.

“No!” Ginny exclaimed. “Never. Only once or twice in my life, it’s an invasion of privacy, I know. I felt incredibly guilty yesterday.”

“But it works?” he asked again.

“Yes,” she affirmed.

“Then it’s worth a shot,” he responded, beginning to climb the ladder.

“You’re not angry with me?” Ginny called in confusion up the ladder.

“No,” Harry said over his shoulder. “If I had a scrying crystal and knew how to use it, I probably would have done the same thing this morning.”

"To find Dennis?" she asked as she began to follow him up the ladder.

"No," he replied, shoving the trapdoor open, "To see you.”

Ginny’s cheeks flamed with pleasure at his admission, and she couldn’t help the small smile that graced her lips when Harry reached his hand down to help her through the trapdoor. She didn’t need the help and more than likely if any other bloke had offered she would have given him an earful. Somehow she didn’t mind so much with him. Especially since his gestures were fleeting, and as soon as she was standing in her classroom he dropped her hand to move further into the room. Ginny silently sighed at his vacillations which invariably left her feeling frustrated. Just when she thought he was opening up to her, either he or extenuating circumstances got in the way of further exploring the connection she could sense growing between them.

“So, how do you use your crystal?” he asked, turning to face her and leaning against a small round table.

“It’s best if I stand under the astrological sign of the person I am looking for,” Ginny said, shoving her vexation aside and sweeping past him to step into the circle. “Do you know when Dennis was born?”

“March 15, 1983,” Harry immediately answered and Ginny turned to look at him. “I’ve been studying his file all night,” he added in answer to her unspoken question.

“So, he’s a Pisces,” she murmured, moving around the circle until she stood beneath the sign of the fish that resembled a capital H. She held her scrying crystal in her right hand and allowed it to sway above her left palm. She breathed in, focusing her mind on locating Dennis, and the crystal immediately began swirling in a tight, fast circle. It spun for several moments and long, deep breaths before finally slowing and beginning to glow faintly. It wasn’t nearly as bright as it had been when Ginny had scryed for Harry the other day. Lowering the crystal to rest upon her palm, she held it up in order to peer into its depths.

She could see a desolate street, with a few buildings, surrounded by rolling hills. In the distance trees lined the horizon. It reminded her of the areas Dennis had chosen for his other victims. He appeared around the corner of a building, hazy and indistinct, but Ginny knew it was him.

“I see him,” she said. “It’s faint, Harry, but can you see?” She held her crystal out for him and he squinted into its depths.

“Not really. All I see are some blurred images. Can you tell where he is?” he asked.

She shook her head. “There don’t seem to be any distinguishing landmarks to accurately deduce where he may be.” She observed the hazy scene a moment longer and audibly gasped when the filmy silhouette of a woman appeared in the crystal.

“What is it?” Harry questioned.

“He’s already following another woman,” Ginny informed him, looking up to meet his angry green eyes.

“Dammit!” he exclaimed. “There must be a way to pinpoint where he is!”

She bit her lip and watched the crystal a moment longer. It appeared that Dennis was merely taking note of the woman’s routine. Perhaps they had time to track him down.

“There’s something else we could try,” she began. “It’s a long-shot, and I can’t guarantee it would even work.”

“What is it?” Harry asked.

“We could try a meditation circle,” Ginny began. “We focus on the subject, which in this case would be Dennis and if we are lucky we could astral travel to where he is located.”

“What? Is it some sort of out-of-body experience?” he asked, looking sceptical.

“Yes,” she affirmed. “If it works, more than likely I would be the only one who would actually travel to Dennis’ location, since I am the strongest medium.”

“No,” Harry stated firmly. “Absolutely not. It sounds dangerous.”

“I wouldn’t really be there,” she insisted. “He couldn’t hurt me.”

“Could he see you?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Ginny admitted. “Possibly.”

“You’ve never done it before?” Harry asked.

“No,” she said, “But Firenze explained it to me once. I am certain I wouldn’t have much difficulty.”

“The last two times you have visited the crime scenes has been taxing on you,” he reminded her.

“I can handle it,” Ginny declared.

“You’ve fainted… twice!” Harry pressed.

“I am not a fragile doll, Harry,” she insisted, her eyes blazing with conviction. “This may be the only way of stopping Dennis before he strikes again.”

“I can’t allow you to take the risk,” he stated with finality.

“It’s not for you to decide!” Ginny exclaimed in exasperation.

“What if it fails and he sees you and tracks you down and hurts you?” Harry asked.

“That’s not going to happen,” she assured, even though she was uncertain what would happen if she found Dennis on the astral plane.

“You don’t know that,” he said, giving Ginny the distinct impression that he had read her thoughts.

“Come with me, then,” she suggested. “Join the meditation circle. It will be made up of my best students. You can see for yourself.”

Harry looked taken aback by her offer and shook his head, his fringe falling in his eyes as he did so. “I - no. I won’t allow you to do it.”

“Whether you join or not, I will try it,” Ginny declared. “And you can’t stop me.”

He scowled at her, his green eyes glinting with annoyance at her defiance.

“You are an infuriatingly stubborn woman,” he muttered and she grinned in triumph.

“So, does this mean you will help?” she asked.

“It’s not like I have a choice,” Harry complained.

“You always have a choice, Harry,” Ginny said, moving to her desk to write quick summonses to her six favoured students. As she passed by him, she couldn’t help but notice the dark shadow that passed over his eyes at her statement. Biting her lip she vowed that as soon as Dennis was in custody she would uncover Harry’s secrets once and for all.

Harry had not been too receptive to the notion of allowing his mind to roam free and the tension he was currently holding in his shoulders was not going to be conducive to an effective meditative state.

“Harry,” Ginny sighed. “Roll your shoulders back and down and feel the tension dropping out of them as you do so.”

“I’m trying,” he said through gritted teeth, doing as she said, but bringing his shoulders full circle until they were practically touching his ears again.

She moved behind where he was sitting and held her hands just above his hunched shoulders. “May I help you?”

He nodded stiffly.

“All right,” Ginny whispered. “Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Don’t think about what is worrying you, that you think this is dangerous, that it might not work…”

“That isn’t helping,” Harry said.

“Sorry,” she said, changing tack. “All right, think about a warm summer’s day. There’s nothing to do but sit by a pond and enjoy the feel of the sun on your skin.” As Harry closed his eyes to envision the scene she was describing, she placed her hands lightly on his shoulders, pressing down.

“The water is lapping at the shore, and you dip your feet in, appreciating the coolness of the water against your hot skin.” She slid her hands down his chest feeling its breadth and firmness, assets hidden by his Auror robes. Harry leaned back against her, relaxing somewhat under her touch, and it was all Ginny could do not to completely melt against him. She was dimly aware that her students were beginning to enter the classroom and doing her best to ignore her heart that was currently beating a wild tattoo against her breastbone where Harry’s head rested, she slid her hands back to his shoulders.

She rolled his shoulders back and down pressing firmly with her hands. “This is where your shoulders need to be. Keep thinking about that warm summer’s day.” She stood there a moment longer, her hands upon his shoulders, resisting the urge to run her fingers through his hair to see if it was as thick and soft as it looked. Reluctantly she stepped away, and turned towards the five students who were clustered by the classroom entrance gaping over at her and Harry

“Where’s Brian?” Ginny asked sternly, immediately dismissing their looks with her tone and the blazing look in her eyes that dared them to say anything.

“He’s come down with the flu, Professor Weasley,” Shelly timidly answered, flicking her eyes past Ginny to where Harry was beginning to rise from his seat.

Victoria, Louise, and Jeanine were whispering excitedly to each other and the stars evident in their eyes as they looked over at Harry made Ginny cringe, hoping that was not how she appeared when she gazed at him. Jacob stood apart from the girls and was clearly just as starstruck.

“Auror Potter,” he croaked. “I’ve looked up to you since I was a kid. I can’t believe I’m finally getting to meet you in person.”

“I didn’t think I was that old,” Harry said gruffly, looking extremely put out by Jacob’s statement.

“You’re not, sir,” the boy stammered. “I mean…”

“The ‘sir’ is not helping,” Harry groused. “I’m here on official Auror office business and Professor Weasley thought you five could help.”

“Oh, we can!” Jacob enthused, eager to please.

“What do you need us to do?” Shelly asked.

“We’re going to attempt a group mediation again,” Ginny explained. “With Brian being absent, Auror Potter will definitely be joining us in the circle now. As seven is a powerful number and we need all the power we can pull from it if what we are going to attempt is to succeed.”

“What do you intend to do, Professor?” Shelly asked, looking between Harry and Ginny.

“There’s a murderer on the loose, and my office is having difficulty locating him,” Harry reluctantly admitted.

“I have offered my services to Auror Potter in locating the criminal,” Ginny expounded. “We are going to enter a group meditation and hopefully track him down and bring him to justice.”

“Do you think we can do that?” Louise asked uncertainly.

“Yes,” Ginny assured them. “You are my five best students and with your aid, I know I will be able to travel to where the murderer is.”

Gathering her students in the circle, Ginny and Harry quickly brought them up to speed on what was happening and what they intended to try. While the idea of astral travel had disturbed Harry, the students were naturally eager to give it a try. While Harry was still reluctant to allow Ginny to attempt to contact Dennis, she was glad he was there to complete the circle and bring their number to seven; her lucky and fortuitous number. She only hoped he would be able to relax enough to actually enter the meditative state and add his magical energy to the others, as she was certain she would need to draw from them all in order to travel and pinpoint Dennis' exact location.

Settling down between Shelly and Harry, Ginny crossed her legs and instructed everyone else to do likewise.

"Rest your hands upon your knees and close your eyes," she instructed in the soft melodic alto tone of voice she used to guide her budding students. "For the moment, simply think of a place where you have felt the most relaxed and at peace. As you do so, slowly roll your shoulders back and down, feeling any weight you may be carrying falling away, never to return. You are free and unfettered, without a care in the world."

Ginny thought of the quiet solitude she had found as a girl beneath the draping branches of a willow tree by the pond at the Burrow. She had spent many a summer's day hiding behind the curtain of its feathery leaves, enjoying the peace and quiet she experienced inside and out. The air about her was as still as her mind and she allowed it to go blissfully blank as she drifted in a half-sleep. She drew upon that memory to guide her to the emptiness, leaving her worry and anxiety behind her.

"When you are ready, take the hand of the person sitting next to you," she murmured, reaching for Harry's hand to her left as Shelly firmly clasped Ginny's right hand. Harry's hand was tightly gripping his knee, and she could only rest hers upon his. The memory of his death washed over her and she quickly pushed it to the darkest corner of her mind, retaining control of the peaceful state.

"Remember to relax, Harry," she whispered softly for only him to hear, aware of the deep breathing of her students signalling that they were already entering a shallow meditative state. "Turn your thoughts inward and release the burdens. Find the place within you that brings you inner peace.” His fingers slowly unclenched his knee and he turned his hand to link his fingers through hers. Ginny sighed with satisfaction and felt herself sink deeper into the meditative state.

“Breathe in, breathe out,” she said in a louder tone for everyone in the circle to hear before she immersed herself completely. “Listen to those around you as you delve deeper within yourselves, and breathe together as one unit. In… out… in… out…”

She stopped speaking and instead did as she had instructed, sensing the comfortable weight of Shelly’s and Harry’s hands in hers, synchronizing with their breathing and the group around her. She was pleased to feel and hear Harry relaxing somewhat and breathing in unison with her and therefore the entire group. Focusing her thoughts deeper inward and thinking about contacting Dennis Creevey, she began travelling down the path that would hopefully lead her directly to him.

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