Christmas at The Burrow
It wasn’t until the week of Christmas before Harry was able to return to the journal. He’d had been busy with Shacklebolt and the remaining Aurors fighting Voldemort’s advances and they were getting very worn out.
He came home a few days before Christmas to Ron posting a letter on Hedwig.
“Oh hiya mate,” Ron said, “Hope you don’t mind me using Hedwig to send a message to Mum.”
Harry shook his head, “Not at all. What’s going on?”
“Oh Mum’s invited all of us to have Christmas at their house. She said everyone will be there and I just wrote back and said that we’d be there too.”
“Okay,” Harry said.
“Oh are you coming to pick up Ginny with us?” Ron asked.
Harry just nodded and went into the kitchen. He leaned up against the wall and his stomach knotted up.
Ginny. He thought and banged his head repeatedly against the wall.
Ginny was relaxing in the common room after dinner reading a letter from her mother. It said that Ginny’s entire family would be home for Christmas. She had begged her mother to let her stay at Grimwauld Place with Ron and the others, but her mother had flatly refused. So she would be surrounded by all her family this Christmas, minus Percy.
That wouldn’t be too bad as she could still have her room, but she’d have to deal with a pregnant Fleur. Ginny closed her eyes and groaned softly. Fleur was now more emotional than usual since she and Bill decided to have a baby. From what her brother Ron had related to her, their mother was now going crazy trying to help Bill deal with a pregnant half-veela.
The portrait opened and she looked and smiled as Hermione walked in. Her friend came over and sat down next to her.
“Guess what?” Hermione said, “I’ll be spending Christmas with you guys this year. My parents decided to go visit relatives so that leaves me here.”
Ginny smiled, “That’ll be great! Now I’ll have someone else to talk to aside from Fleur.”
Hermione’s face dropped, “Is she still emotional?”
Ginny nodded and held up her letter, “Yep.”
“Then it’ll be good that I’ll be there,” Hermione’s eyes brighten, “Oh and Harry will be joining us too.”
Ginny’s stomach flipped. Hermione saw her reaction and gave her a sad smile, “Don’t get worked up Ginny. He probably be off in some dark corner by himself anyway.”
Ginny nodded, “At least he’ll be around us and not The Dursley’s.”
Hermione nodded, “What about Colin? Have you seen him yet before he leaves tonight?”
Ginny shook her head, “Not yet.”
Hermione regarded her friend silently for a few moments. Ginny shifted uncomfortably in her seat under the scrutiny of her friend.
“What?” Ginny asked finally, “Do I have something growing out from my ears?”
Hermione just shook her head, “Sorry, I was just thinking.”
“Nothing,” Hermione shrugged, “Well I should get going and you still have to pack. I’ll be traveling with you back to King’s Cross tomorrow on the train.”
“That’ll be fun,” Ginny said enthusiastically, “Just like old times.”
“Minus Harry, Ron, Neville and a few others,” Hermione said and turned to go, “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Ginny said and watched as Hermione left and Colin entered. He smiled in greeting Hermione as they past and he saw Ginny sitting on the sofa.
“Hi,” he said as he approached, “I was hoping to run into you before I left for the holidays.”
He sat down next to her and fiddled with his robes, “I was thinking about something,” he stopped and looked at her then looked away as if embarrassed, “Well, these past few weeks with you, you know going out with you and stuff, have been great and I was wondering something. I wanted to ask you this before, but…” he trailed off again.
Ginny smiled at him. She had an inkling as to what he wanted to ask her, “But…?” she asked trying to encourage him.
He cleared his throat, “Ahem, well… ummm…would you… would you please be my girlfriend?”
Ginny in spite of herself laughed. Her reaction formed a dark expression from Colin, “You don’t have to laugh at me,” he grumbled.
She put her hand over her mouth in embarrassment, “Oh I’m sorry! I wasn’t laughing at you. I was just…,” she stopped, “Sure.”
He looked at her for a moment the smiled, “Really?” he said excitedly, “Cool!”
They sat in silence for a few minutes fidgeting before Colin broke the silence, “Well I should get going. My parents will be here soon,” he said and without warning leaned over and gave Ginny a kiss on the lips.
She lurched back in shock at the suddenness. He looked at her in confusion then in shock, “Sorry,” he muttered and went to stand up.
“No wait,” she said and stood, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting it that’s all,” she looked at him and smiled, “Care to try again?”
He smiled, nodded and leaned down and kissed her softly. He pulled away and let out his breath in a rush.
She giggled at him and he looked back at her, “I… I should get going,” he said as he was walking backwards. He walked into a side table and grabbed the lamp before it fell over, “I’ll see you after the holidays.”
Walking backwards and still looking at her, he waved at her one more time before walking into the wall near the steps and hit his head. She laughed at him and he let out a quick chuckle and rubbed his head, “Well bye!” he said before tripping on the edge of the stone steps leading up to the dorms.
Now she laughing at him, “Great, my boyfriend gets klutzy when he gets kissed,” she smiled and shook her head.
She stood and stretched before heading upstairs to pack.
It was a cold and snowy day the next morning when Ginny woke up. She quickly changed and dragging her trunk down with her, exited the common room on her way to the hall. She left hers next to the pile of trunks headed towards the train and rushed into the hall to eat.
She entered the hall and looked to see the ceiling echoing the weather outside. She looked into the room and saw Hermione sitting with Luna at the Ravenclaw table and went over to join them.
“Good morning!” she greeted brightly and sat down across from them.
Hermione and Luna looked up at her and smiled. Hermione gave her a look, “So?”
Ginny put some eggs on her plate and looked at Hermione curiously, “So?”
“So what?” Ginny asked trying to sound like she was unaware of what her friend was asking.
“How’d you say goodbye to Colin?” Hermione asked.
“We just said goodbye,” Ginny replied trying to keep the smile of her face.
“Uh uh,” Hermione said not believing her for a moment. She gave Luna a knowing look.
“Who’s going to meet us at the station?” Ginny asked trying to change the subject.
“Your mom, dad, Charlie, Ron and I think Harry will be there,” Hermione said.
Ginny nodded and swallowed her food. She took a sip of her pumpkin juice.
“So is he a good kisser or not?” Luna asked.
Ginny choked and spit her juice out onto her two friends.
Hermione took out her wand, “Scourgify,” she said and cleaned up herself and Luna.
“Should we take that as a yes?” Luna asked her.
“I’m so sorry,” Ginny said, “I wasn’t expecting…”
The two girls laughed at her expression. Ginny finally getting over the surprise started laughing too.
“Well?” Luna asked.
“Yes,” Ginny said, her face turning red.
“Yes?” Hermione asked, “That’s it, just yes?”
“Yes he’s a great kisser,” Ginny said then chuckled, “but he gets klutzy afterwards. He was tripping and walking into things on his way upstairs.”
The girls laughed at that.
“Well, I’m glad you were able to ‘say goodbye’ then,” Hermione joked.
“Me too,” Ginny said with a smile.
The girls finished their breakfast and went to the carriages that would take them to the train. The trip was uneventful and they arrived at the station with the rest of the school. They got out and saw Hagrid helping some first years get their stuff onto the train.
“Happy Christmas Hagrid!” Hermione said as they approached him.
Hagrid looked over, smiled brightly, “’Appy Christmas to you three! Off to see yer families I’d presume?”
Luna nodded, “Daddy and I are going to see my aunt in Ireland.”
“We’ll be with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley this year,” Hermione said indicating Ginny and herself.
“Ahhh! Yer mum’s a great cook,” Hagrid said to Ginny, “Never ‘ad a bad meal when she cooked.”
Ginny smiled and nodded, “Where are you going?”
“Ah well Olympe, that’s Madame Maxime ta you three, ‘as invited me over ter her place for Christmas.”
Hermione gave Ginny a wink, “That’s great Hagrid.”
They were interrupted by the train’s whistle sounding.
“Well you three better get goin’ or you won’ get a compartmen’ to yerselves,” Hagrid said helping them onto the train, “Goodbye and ‘Appy Christmas!”
They waved at him as the train pulled away. They walked back and started looking for an empty compartment. They found one near the back.
“You know,” Hermione said after a few minutes into their journey, “It’s very quiet without Harry, Ron, Neville or the others.”
Ginny smiled as she remembered she had said that when she was traveling to Hogwarts at the beginning of the school year. They spent the train ride talking about boys, their families, what they planned on doing during the holiday break. Finally, the train slowed to a stop as pulled into King’s Cross Station. Hermione opened the window and looked out and waved at a small group standing on the platform waiting for them.
“Oh good they’re already here,” she said and stepped back.
Ginny looked and saw her parents, Charlie, Ron and Harry waiting for them. She waved at them and followed the other two out of the compartment and out of the train.
“Oh Ginny dear, it’s good to see you!” her mother said crushing her in one of her hugs.
She received a hug (not as bone-crushing) from her father and Charlie. Ron of course hugged Hermione and she gave him a kiss, which turned his face red with embarrassment. The others said their hellos’ and greetings in turn, save one.
Harry just stood there slightly back from the group, surrounded by his black cloak, looking like a statue. He did not look well. He looked like he hadn’t slept in many days. Luna broke is statue-like stance by giving him a hug. He smiled and talked for several moments with her about her plans for the holidays and how school was going.
Ginny approached him and he stopped talking and looked at her. He gave her a brief hug, shorter than the others, and a quick smile of greeting before turning back to talk again with Luna. Ginny felt as if she’d been given a brush-off.
After they had their things and Luna’s father had arrived for Luna. The Weasley’s, Harry and Hermione left the platform and walked through the barrier. They were nearly run-over by the mass of holiday commuters trying to get to and from their trains. On more than one occasion the group had been split up, but they finally all made it out of the station in one piece.
Arthur Weasley led the group towards a pair of cars. He quickly explained The Ministry allowing him to borrow them for this excursion. After everyone was in and everything stored they were headed towards The Leaky Cauldron. After several minutes of driving they arrived and headed inside. Tom the innkeeper immediately greeted them when they entered.
“Ah Arthur!” he said, “I see you have your youngest.”
“Yes,” Mr. Weasley said, “Is everything ready?”
“Of course,” Tom said and led the group towards the back office.
They entered and went over to the empty fireplace.
“Alright everyone else go first and Ginny will follow by Floo powder after Charlie gives us the ok,” Mr. Weasley said.
Ginny watched as everyone around her apparated away. After a few moments, Charlie returned and said everything’s ok. Her father tapped her shoulder and led her to the fireplace and handed her a small bag of Floo Powder.
She grabbed the handful, “The Burrow!”
With a flash of green flame she was gone.
“You sent for me My Lord?”
Voldemort turned and smiled at the man, “Ah yes Severus. Please come in. I have a special task for you.”
Snape entered a little farther into Voldemort’s chambers and waited for the man to speak.
“Severus, you have been one of my brightest and most loyal followers,” he said and looked into Snape’s eyes, “You have vanquished Dumbledore and thrown his precious Order into chaos.”
Snape bowed slightly at the praise, but remained impassive awaiting his task.
“Therefore, I have need of you for a very delicate and vital assignment,” the older wizard continued turning and began pacing slowly around the room while he talked, “I need you to go to Hogwarts.”
Snape looked at Voldemort with mild surprise, “My Lord, if I may. The Headmistress will certainly have new passwords and new security in place. I will not be able to get in with any sort of ease.”
The old wizard smiled at him, “Yes I know, but during the Christmas holiday there will be no one around to stop you,” he paused in his pacing, “But you are correct and stealth is a must, I have knowledge of a secret passage from Honeydukes in Hogsmeade that runs right into the castle. You must use that passage to get in and out.”
Snape’s eye darted away in remembrance, “I believe I know where it will lead me into the castle.”
“So you know of this passageway?”
“Not until this moment, Master,” Snape replied looking back at Voldemort, “I caught Potter next to a statue on the third floor for no reason what so ever. If there was a passageway located behind that statue, then it would explain his presence there.”
“Excellent,” Voldemort said.
“What is my task?”
“I need you to find Slughorn and bring him to me.”
Snape looked at Voldemort strangely, “Slughorn?”
“Is there a problem Severus?” the old wizard asked dangerously.
“No, Master” Snape quickly answered, “Of course not. I will depart immediately.”
Snape turned to leave after give Voldemort a small bow. He was stopped at the doorway by his master’s voice.
“And Severus. Should McGonagall or anyone see you,” Voldemort’s voiced lowered to nearly a hiss, “kill them.”
Snape nodded once and left the room.
“I will be lovely to have everyone home,” Mr. Weasley said Christmas Eve morning to his family as he was starting a fire.
“Yez,” Fleur said before breaking down and rushing off into the next room.
Bill rolled his eyes at his father before following her. Mr. Weasley and Charlie looked at each other with slightly pained expressions.
“Oh I see she’s at it again,” Molly said hearing the soft cries from the kitchen as she came down from upstairs, “She’s working herself into a right tizzy that one,” she turned and went into the kitchen as well.
At that moment Harry, Ron and Hermione arrived from Grimwauld Place with their arms full of presents. After receiving greetings from Mr. Weasley and Charlie the trio put the presents under the tree and sat down.
“Where’s Bill?” Ron said looking around the house.
“In the kitchen with your mother and ummm,” Mr. Weasley paused and glanced at the kitchen door, “Fleur.”
“Oh,” Ron said and rolled his eyes. He immediately received punch in the arm and a dirty look from Hermione.
“Good morning,” Ginny said as she came down the steps. She stopped up short when she saw that Ron, Hermione and Harry (standing in the back) had already arrived, “You’re here already? What time is it?”
“A little after nine o’clock,” Hermione answered immediately.
“Slept in did ya?” Ron said and muttered, “Must be nice.”
Ginny stuck out her tongue at her brother and looked around, “Where’s mum?” she asked.
Ron jerked his thumb towards the kitchen, “Kitchen,” he said.
Ginny, with Hermione in tow, entered the kitchen to find Bill and Fleur helping Mrs. Weasley prepare breakfast.
“Oh good there you two are!” Mrs. Weasley said, “I need your help.”
The rest of the day was spent preparing dinner and having fun as a family. The boys after getting the house ready went outside and played quidditch. Fred and George arrived a just after lunch and hopped onto their brooms and joined the match. They were having a great time until Mrs. Weasley came out of the house and announced that dinner was ready.
“BOYS! DINNER IS READY RIGHT NOW!”
The guys quickly flew down, dismounted their brooms and went inside. When they walked in they were amazed at the sight of the place. The dinning area had been magically extended to accommodate the large table, which was filled to overflowing with food. Mrs. Weasley had certainly out done herself for this feast.
They sat down and quickly began digging into the food. Harry was sitting at the far corner of the table next to Ron. He ate a lot of food as he hadn’t really eaten in a while and Mrs. Weasley kept ‘offering’ him seconds and thirds.
Once dinner was over and the place was cleaned up the family sat in the living area listening to Fred and George regale them with tales from their shop. After about an hour of this Harry stood up and quietly left. He walked outside and wrapped his cloak around himself. He stood silently staring out onto the frozen yard lost in thought.
He turned and saw Ginny come out to join him.
“Is everything ok?”
“Yes. Fine. Why?”
She looked away and back again, “Well, you seem a little distant. You usually enjoy being with us on Christmas.”
“I’m having a great time,” he said.
“You certainly don’t look it.”
“Sorry,” he answered flatly.
“Look Harry,” she said after a silent moment had passed, “I wanted to tell you this and I would be better coming from me than anyone else.”
She looked up at him and saw him still looking out onto the lawn.
“It’s well… Colin and I are…”
“Dating. Yes, I know.”
She stared backed at him, “How?”
“’Mione told me,” he replied.
“Oh,” she said, “Well, I just wanted you to know that’s all.”
“Thanks,” he whispered and lapsed back into silence.
She looked hard at him, “Harry, what wrong?”
“Nothing,” he lied.
“Harry, I’ve known you for years. You’re not fine. You’re as far from fine as possible,” at his silence she became angry. She turned on him with her hands on her hips, “What the Hell’s wrong with you? You’re walking around doing an impersonation of a statue. You’re anti-social and you’re hardly any fun to be around.”
“I’m not being anti-social,” he said, “I’m here aren’t I?”
“Yes you are here but not voluntarily!” she said, “You’ve had to be dragged unwillingly to every function in the past two years by either Ron or Hermione.”
“I came to your quidditch match,” he said.
“Only after Ron dragged you there,” she snapped back at him, “Then you watched from the shadows. That’s hardly supportive or being social.”
“Why do you care?” he snapped at her angrily.
“Because I’m your friend and you’re a part of this family!” she shouted back at him.
He opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. He shook his head and muttered, “You don’t understand.”
“What don’t I understand Harry?” she snapped, “What?”
Harry’s face went emotionless and he didn’t answer.
She sighed heavily, “Look, I’m trying to help you, but…”
“I don’t need your help,” he whispered as he walked around her and down the front steps, “Just go back inside. Then back to Hogwarts. Move on with your life. You’ll be better off. Happy Christmas.”
With that he walked down the drive and apparated a few moments later. Ginny stood outside for a few minutes looking at the spot where he disappeared.
“Happy Christmas,” she whispered into the emptiness.