The Sugar Quill
Author: The White Lily (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Promise Ring  Chapter: Chapter 3: Revelations
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Disclaimer: All characters belong to JK Rowling, not I. I hope I won’t embarrass her too much by what I do with them. : )

The Promise Ring - by The White Lily

Chapter 3: Revelations

Still stunned by the events in the kitchen, Harry led the way into the living room. He was finding it hard to believe how seriously Professor Dumbledore had taken the blows from his uncle. All through his childhood he had been hit, despised, starved, and forced to labour while Dudley was fed, cuddled, loved and given everything Harry had ever wanted. He had never really imagined that it could be any other way and had just assumed that Professor Dumbledore knew exactly what happened at Privet Drive.

Now that he thought about it, it seemed somewhat silly to have expected him to simply know. The knowledge that he didn’t have to put up with it any longer suddenly broke over him and he collapsed to the floor in helpless laughter. Just as suddenly, the laughter dissolved and turned to tears. It seemed so petty. Voldemort was back, Cedric was dead, and he was laughing because he no longer had to put up with the treatment he deserved from his relatives.

“Harry.” Dumbledore broke through his reverie. All of a sudden Harry became aware of the two adult wizards and Ginny Weasley watching him in tears on the floor. He pulled off his glasses and tried to dash the tears away from his eyes surreptitiously, but gave it up as a hopeless effort. Putting his glasses back on, Harry looked back up into Albus Dumbledore’s eyes. The brief flash of concern he saw there was gone almost before he saw it. “Sherbet lemon, Harry?” the headmaster asked, holding out a plastic packet of the sweets to him.

“Um, no thank you, sir.” Harry watched in confusion Professor Dumbledore handed out the sweets to Mr. Weasley and Ginny, and then selected one for himself.

“Professor?” Harry prompted the headmaster tentatively.

“Wonderful. Simply lovely. Are you sure you won’t have one, Harry? No? Well, I guess you want to know why we are here.” At Harry’s emphatic nod, Dumbledore finally got to the point. “First we need to hear about your dream.”

Harry related all he could remember of his dream, although most of the details had faded from his memory. Then he asked the question that was really bothering him. “Why is Ginny going to stay here? Can’t we go somewhere else?”

Professor Dumbledore sighed. “Well, I guess to answer that you need to know the reason that you must stay here. This house is even safer for you than Hogwarts. There is a charm that one can evoke over an orphan staying with his only surviving relatives. Similar to the Fidelius Charm, which was used to hide your parents’ house from Voldemort, but not requiring a Secret Keeper. This charm, however, not only keeps your location a secret, but also does not allow across the threshold any person with evil intent towards you, or any person sent by such a person.

“This means that neither Voldemort nor anyone sent by him may enter this house. As for Miss Weasley, as the attempt to get her is indirectly an attempt to get at you, she will be as safe as you in this house.”

Harry was silent for a moment as he attempted to digest this. Voldemort could not touch him. It certainly made life at Privet Drive seem a little better. “What about sleeping arrangements? I mean, Ginny can have my bed, but my cupboard is stuffed full with my Hogwarts gear and Aunt Petunia’s Garden Club magazines, and the Dursleys would never let me sleep in the lounge room, or anything.”

Dumbledore’s face darkened for a moment. “Your cupboard? I did wonder when I saw the address on your Hogwarts’ letter, but I hoped that it wasn’t true. No matter, we have already discussed this, and despite Miss Weasley’s most stringent objections we have decided that it is probably best if you both sleep in the same room. This is for a number of reasons I won’t go into at the moment, but it is even more important now we know just what sort of Muggles these are.”

Harry risked a look at Ginny to find that her face was flaming red, and she was quietly staring at her toes. Great, he thought, she’s still blushing and stammering at me. All I need is to have her sleeping in my bedroom and she’ll transfigure into a beetroot. “OK,” was all he said though, looking back into Professor Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes.

“Albus?” Mr. Weasley interrupted hesitantly, “I’m not so sure about leaving Ginny here now that I’ve seen what kind of people they really are. They are defenceless against the Muggles here because they are not allowed to use magic on the holidays. Is there really no other place we can send them?” His face was filled with worry for the wellbeing of his only daughter. Harry felt a momentary pang of jealousy, but quickly squashed it.

“I was just coming to that,” said the headmaster. “There is a charm which hides magical activity for the next hour from any form of monitoring. It is little known and never taught to underage wizards because they can then avoid recognition by the Improper Use of Magic Office. I feel that it is an appropriate juncture for you to learn this, both to protect yourselves from the Dursleys and to practice anything you feel you need to during the holidays. I expect you both to be sensible with the freedom this gives you and not to reveal it to anyone except Mr. Ronald Weasley and Miss Granger, and then only if it becomes necessary. Under NO circumstances reveal this to Messrs Fred and George Weasley, as I’m not entirely sure that the world as we know it would survive.”

Professor Dumbledore’s eyes were back to twinkling at full force now. “The charm is simply ‘Introverto’. It lasts for an hour over the immediate vicinity, so it is probably safer to cast the charm again if you move into a different room. Now, is there anything else?”

Harry felt a rush of questions bubbling to the surface. Where was Sirius? What exactly was Professor Snape doing? Was Mrs. Figg across the road the same Arabella Figg that Sirius was to find? Why did Voldemort want him in the first place? Then he looked at Ginny. She was standing there, still looking at her toes, and the expression on her face was terrified. He couldn’t ask any of those questions right now or it would scare her more. One question was left. “Sir, can I tell Ginny about some of the things that have happened over the past few years? I think it might help her if she understood a bit better.”

“Of course, Harry, you may reveal anything that you wish to Miss Weasley. If that is all, we shall go then.” With this, and a twinkle and a smile at both of them, he and Mr. Weasley tapped their wands to their chests and Disapparated. And left Harry looking at Ginny, dumbfounded.

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