You're Still You
CHAPTER ONE: SEEKING HARRY
An early October wind
rattled the common room windows and Ginny Weasley pulled her robes about her shoulders
more securely. It never ceased to amaze her that it was this time of year that
she felt coldest in the castle. She supposed that she was still fighting the
realization that summer was gone and winter would soon be upon the school. Not
that she really minded; this was ideal Quidditch weather and with Ron in his
second year as Keeper and the reinstatement of Harry as Seeker this season,
Gryffindor had a better chance of winning the Quidditch Cup than last year.
She had been rather pleased earlier that day when she had watched the team's
final practice. Then, as now, she had just wished it was warmer.
Looking up, she gazed
around the familiar room for the one she'd been waiting for since the end of
dinner. He was nowhere in sight and she had not seen him come through the
portrait hole or enter the boy's staircase. Something about the way Harry had
been acting after practice made her just a little concerned about him. She
couldn't put her finger on it; she just knew something wasn't right with him.
To tell the truth, nothing had seemed right since the end of the Third Task sixteen
months ago. And even
if she didn't know all the details, after participating in last year's fight at
the Ministry of Magic, something about Harry's demeanor then and now haunted
Glancing back at her
Charms homework, Ginny realized that what she wanted most was to find Harry and
assure herself that he wasn't alone. She knew that Ron and Hermione had made a
pledge to always be within hollering distance if Harry needed them. She also
knew that they had not included her in their pact. Silently, she fumed about
being the baby of the Weasley family and the need her brothers and their
friends felt to shield her from 'evil.' Well, if that's the way they feel,
I'll just take it upon myself to add my presence to Harry's circle of
guardians, she thought. I'm not as fragile as they think I am. He
needs me just as much as they think he needs them.
With that, she gathered
up her books and stuffed them into her bag. It took only a moment to dash
upstairs, deposit the bag next to her bed and grab her cloak from her trunk.
Thus unencumbered, she made her way back down the stairs, through the common
room and out the portrait hole.
Once in the corridor she
paused to consider her options. Where to begin looking? That was the
question. Where would Harry find a private place where he didn't feel he had
to hide his true feelings or put on a brave face? She searched her mental map
of the castle and came up with nothing. Then it hit her. Ron had said once
that when Harry needed to forget he flew. She was sure of it; Harry had not left
the Quidditch pitch that afternoon. Come to think of it, Ginny didn't think
he'd been at dinner.
Making up her mind, she
dashed down several staircases and found herself at a side door to the castle.
It would be only a few hundred yards to the field house, but she paused anyway
to cast a quick warming charm on her cloak because of the wind. Once at the
field house she went straight to the broom shed and took off on her old Comet
260, a hand-me-down passed to her from all of her brothers. There was just
enough light left to fly safely for about twenty minutes. She would know if
her hunch had paid off by the time she needed to land.
She flew over the
stadium scanning the tiers of bleachers. No Harry. She then searched each
viewing tower looking for his familiar face. Still, no Harry and no sign of
either Ron or Hermione. Then, as she looked toward the last fading rays of the
sunset, she spotted his Firebolt bobbing on the wind just above one of the goal
hoops. Harry's back was to her, his head bowed and shoulders hunched, not
seeming to mind the buffeting. It was not a happy sight and her heart went out
to him. All Ginny wanted to do was take him in her arms and smooth away his
cares. She flew to the closest tower and found a seat where she was slightly
sheltered from the wind but still had an unobstructed view of Harry.
The sky gradually faded
into blackness; Ginny didn't know how long she sat there gazing around the
pitch. For her, it was a peaceful experience listening to the wind and watching
Harry. She hoped she was sending some of the peace she felt to him for she
wanted him to know she was there if he needed her. As it was, he continued to
hover until it was completely dark and Ginny knew they needed to get back to Gryffindor Tower before it was noticed
they were missing. She sighed, mounted her broom and flew back to the shed
hoping Harry would follow her soon.
So it was that Ginny
spent the next two weeks watching over Harry every evening. She had no idea
whether her presence was even noticed. He gave no indication that he knew she
flew to the same tower after dinner and spent at least a half hour near him: he
was either oblivious to anything but his own inner turmoil or chose to ignore
Ginny's presence in the stadium. Either way, Ginny didn't care. She was
dedicated to being available to Harry if he wanted someone to help him; she
thought she understood a little of what he was going through more than any of
his other friends.
Besides, the peace and
quiet of the stadium helped Ginny, too; she was taking time to calm herself
after a hectic day, something she could not do in the crazy atmosphere of the
Gryffindor common room. Her study time was even benefiting from calmly
organizing her priorities. And she no longer dragged herself up to bed
dreading falling asleep just to wake up to tangled covers from the disturbing
nightmares that sometimes still haunted her nearly four years after her rescue
from the Chamber of Secrets.
It was at the beginning
of the third week that Hermione approached her after dinner as she made her way
upstairs to get her cloak.
Ginny turned around.
"What's up?" she inquired as Hermione fell into step beside her.
"Great news. I've
just had an owl from your mother."
"That's right. I
owled her sometime last week," Hermione began. "My parents want me
to come home next weekend for a family party and they said I could invite a
friend. Naturally, I thought of you."
"Why didn’t you ask me first?”
"Ginny, don't get
mad at me, but I knew you'd refuse to come."
"Why? It sounds
"Well, the party is
going to be a rather fancy Muggle affair and I know you're self-conscious about
your wardrobe. And I also know you don't like to miss lessons either. So I
owled your parents and your mother wrote back to say that they were delighted
with the idea and included a note of permission for you to miss school next
Friday and the following Monday. They will even be making arrangements with
George to meet us at the Leaky Cauldron next Thursday evening."
thunderstruck. "George? How come?"
"Well, we need to go to
Gringotts to exchange gold for Muggle money. I have nothing to wear to the party
and I want to take you to my favorite Muggle dress shops on Friday. Make it a
girl's day out sort of. George is going to be there to be sure the goblins
give us a fair exchange rate."
"Good old George. It sounds
like you have everything planned. And you're right, I would have refused just
as you said. You know me too well, Hermione. I'm glad you asked Mum and Dad
first, though I shudder to think of what a raid on the family vault will do
their savings. There never seems to be enough to warrant an extravagant day
like the one you've got planned in Muggle London," Ginny said
thoughtfully. "Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'd love to go to
A smile lit up Hermione's face as
she embraced her friend. "We're going to have such a splendid time,"
she said. "Let's go send an owl to Mum and Dad telling them that
everything's arranged and to meet us at the Leaky Cauldron next Thursday. Oh,
I can't wait to go shopping with you. It'll be such fun!"
With that, the girls headed for the
owlery cheerfully discussing their plans. All thoughts of Harry slipped
Ginny's mind as she contemplated her good fortune.
The week passed quickly and before
she knew it, it was Wednesday evening and Ginny sat on her bed making a list of
things to throw into a small bag to take to Hermione's. Suddenly, she looked
at her watch and gasped. How could she have forgotten? She quickly folded the
parchment, capped her ink bottle and put them and her quill in her cloak
pocket; she could finish at the stadium, she decided. Seconds later she was
crossing the common room toward the portrait hole when she felt someone
watching her. She turned and waved to Hermione as she exited.
Ginny paused to look up at the goal
hoops before mounting her broom. Harry was in his usual spot bobbing in the
breeze facing the sunset. There wasn't much light left, so Ginny flew quickly
to her own usual perch and pulled out her list. It was done in no time and she
used the remaining time to silently apologize to Harry for being too busy the
last few days to not keep him company. I'm going to Hermione's for the
weekend and wanted to get my assignments completed before I left, she
thought. If you need me Tuesday evening after practice, I'll be here.
The light faded completely and Ginny mounted her broom and took off for the
George met Ginny and Hermione at the
Leaky Cauldron punctually at five o'clock
the next afternoon. He was excited to see Ginny, engulfing her in a big
brotherly hug as she exited the fireplace, and escorted
the girls to Gringotts Wizarding Bank and back again in time to meet Mr. and
Mrs. Granger for dinner. Ginny was glad it was George who had met her because
she knew she'd never have been able to stop her father from pestering Mr.
Granger about all his fascinating 'eklectic' gadgets and his mode of transport.
"We're so glad your parents
gave Ginny permission to join Hermione this weekend," Mrs. Granger told
him as the girls loaded their bags into the boot.
"It's an opportunity we
wouldn't want her to miss," George said with a smile.
He gave Ginny a quick hug saying
softly to her, "Have fun and take notes on everything Muggle for Dad. I'm
sure he'll bombard you with questions next time you're home."
Ginny giggled and waved as the car
The Grangers lived in a quiet
neighborhood on the outskirts of London. Their home was an elegant Tudor style set back from the street behind
a shoulder-height hedge. To Ginny, the twelve-room house looked like a mansion
compared with The Burrow's rambling hodge-podge of tottering rooms.
Hermione led the way
upstairs to her bedroom and casually flipped on the overhead light. Ginny
stood in the doorway of the large room marveling at how quickly her friend
switched between worlds. She watched as Hermione headed straight to what looked
like a glass-front cupboard filled with black boxes and pushed a few buttons.
Suddenly, the room was filled with orchestral music and a rich male voice
singing a beautiful song.
"As much as I love Hogwarts, I
can't help missing my sound system," Hermione said flopping onto her large
bed. "I tried bringing my personal CD player first year, but the thing
didn't work with all the magic in the castle. It took me a while to get used
to studying without something to listen to."
Ginny put her things in
a pile on the floor and joined Hermione on the bed. "My Dad would kill to
examine all those boxes you've got plugged into the wall. But enough about
him. Your room is simply elegant!" It was done up in pastel blue, purple
and green with matching upholstery and curtains. A thick blue carpet covered
the floor while the walls shimmered a soothing green hue.
"Thanks, Mum and I redecorated
it last summer. Unfortunately, we won't be spending much time here this
weekend," Hermione said. "Tomorrow we're going to have to shop for two
outfits. Mom told me downstairs that we have to go to a Christening on Sunday
afternoon as well as Saturday's party. I know your birthday is coming up soon
and my gift to you is your outfit for Sunday. Don't look at me like that;
we're going to have such fun tomorrow shopping and I don't want to feel guilty
because I want to be nice to you!"
"I don't know what to say
except, thanks," Ginny said hugging her friend. "May I see the rest
of the house?"
The girls made a quick tour, then
got ready for bed. Mrs. Granger stuck her head in the door to wish them a good
night, then left her daughter and Ginny to gab the night away.
The next day was a whirlwind of
shopping. Hermione and her mother took Ginny straight to their favorite
boutique on Oxford Street and within an hour, both girls had
suitable dresses for Saturday's party and Ginny had picked out an olive green
business suit for Sunday's Christening. After saying good-bye to Mrs.
Granger, the girls went off to explore Hermione's other favorite shops for
accessories and Christmas gifts. They visited a jewelry store, a shoe shop, a
Muggle bookstore, several gift and casual clothing establishments, and a large
department store (so that Ginny could see what one looked like). Ginny found
that she had enough Muggle money for some very nice presents for all of her
family as well as Hermione, Harry and even a small gift for her potions partner,
Colin Creevy, who was constantly supplying her with copies of his pictures.
The girls met Mrs. Granger at the end of the day loaded down with bags of every
size and shape, happy and tired from all their walking.
Later that evening Ginny
sat on the floor of Hermione's bedroom surrounded by her purchases. Hermione
had taken over the bed and was hanging up the new clothes she'd bought. They
had been discussing boys and teachers and school for quite a while when Ginny
changed the subject.
"I need to ask you
something," she said turning serious. "It concerns Harry."
Hermione looked up
curiously. "What about him?"
"Has he seemed
overly tired to you lately?"
The older girl thought
for a moment. "Yes. You noticed it,
too? He must not be sleeping well
again. Ron would know. Why do you ask?"
"I know it's none
of my business, but I'm a little concerned about him," Ginny said.
"He just doesn't seem to be himself this year, that's all." She
deliberately kept her voice casual. Ginny realized her feelings for Harry ran
much deeper now and she needed to make sure she sounded only like a concerned
friend instead of a silly little girl. It wouldn't do to have Hermione think
her crush from first year was back in full force.
"You have a point," Hermione
said thoughtfully. "It's as though he lost all interest in living after
Sirius died last Spring..." She paused as if remembering, then said, "I was trying to interest your brother and Harry in
studying for our Potions quiz a couple of nights ago and Harry just seemed to
be miles away. He's usually quicker than Ron with the answers, but that night
he didn't get one question right. I wondered if something was bothering him
and put it up to too much History of Magic homework."
Ginny nodded knowingly.
She had one last observation. "I've only noticed Harry coming down to the
Great Hall for breakfast and maybe lunch. Does he ever join you and Ron for
dinner? I haven't seen him lately."
"No, not in the
past three or four weeks. He begs off because of Quidditch practice. But that
doesn't make sense. Ron always is the first of the team to find the
dinner table after practice, so I usually know when practice ends,"
Hermione mused with a slight smile. "He's even faster than Fred and
George were at filling and emptying his plate." At this, Ginny giggled
softly knowing Hermione was right. They'd both seen how the ravenous Ron could
tuck into a plate of food and make several helpings disappear in the time it
took the rest of them to consume just one.
thinking. "Ginny, you may be right about Harry not eating. Your mum
charged me with seeing that both he and Ron ate regularly. It's not hard to do
with your brother around. But Harry, now he's a challenge. I'll have to be
more observant. I'll let you know."
"Thanks. If you
want me to help you remind Harry to come to meals let me know. I'd like to
help,” Ginny volunteered. "I sometimes see him just before dinner and
could encourage him to join you."
"Good idea, Ginny. Maybe between the two of us we can get Harry down to
the Great Hall for the evening meal more often."
Ginny nodded and changed
the subject again. "Which necklace do you like better with this dress for
tomorrow? I can't make up my mind." She held two crystal necklaces
against the material of the floral print linen dress in cream, yellow and
orange she'd purchased for the party.
"The green one. It
makes me think of Harry," Hermione said with a sly smile. "You'll
knock the socks off some of my uncles tomorrow."
The party turned out to
be a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration for Hermione's great aunt and
uncle. Ginny was fascinated to discover that Muggles celebrated in much the
same way as the Wizarding population did with a large gathering of family and
friends in a large hall. There were tables piled high with food, lots of gifts,
and stories galore about the celebrated couple. Ginny and Hermione both became
rather teary as the elderly couple renewed their wedding vows; there was
something beautiful and romantic about pledging once again to stand side by
side until death did them part. I hope I'll be doing this with my husband
someday, Ginny thought and knew Hermione was probably thinking the same
"What are you
smiling about?" Hermione inquired after the ceremony.
"Oh, I was just
thinking that fifty-odd years from now my brother and a certain brown-eyed girl
might be doing this same thing," Ginny replied with a wicked grin. "I'm just hoping
that he isn't so thick as to wait ten years to start the process."
Hermione's eyes grew
wide as she stifled a small gasp of comprehension. "Ginny! Shame on
you!" was all she managed to say before her parents ushered them in the
direction of the receiving line.
dinner, a small orchestra began playing music for dancing. It soon became
apparent that Hermione and Ginny were the only teenaged girls present and both
were besieged with dance partners almost as soon as Hermione's aunt and uncle
finished their dance together. Ginny had great fun whirling about the floor
with one partner after another until the party ended around midnight. Mr. and Mrs. Granger
collected the two girls and ushered them back to the car and eventually to bed.
It seemed no time before
Mrs. Granger was knocking on Hermione's bedroom door with a cheery, "Good
morning, girls. It's time to get up."
Hermione groaned and pulled
a pillow over her head. Ginny giggled and climbed reluctantly out of her camp
bed. After a quick shower and breakfast, the four piled into Mr. Granger's BMW
for the ride to the quaint, old cathedral where the Grangers attended
services. The Christening was to be held in a small chapel following the
service. Hermione pointed out the baby and several of the couples who had
attended last evening's party and Ginny began making mental notes about the
service for her father.
After the ceremony
Hermione introduced Ginny to the baby and his parents. To Ginny's delight, the
young mother let her hold the sleeping infant and was pleasantly surprised when
he opened his eyes to discover that they were almost the same shade of green as
Harry's. She held him close and began humming a lullaby Mrs. Weasley had sung
to her and Ron when they were little. As the baby gurgled contentedly his
mother commented, "You must have the magic touch. Roger never lets anyone
other than his father and me hold him for more than a minute." Ginny
smiled and handed Roger back to his mum.
When they got back to
the Grangers' house Hermione insisted that she needed to get some studying done
and the two girls soon had their books spread before the massive fireplace in
Mr. Granger's study. The room was slightly chilly, so Hermione turned on the
gas log in the grate.
Hermione shook her head
as she settled onto the hearthrug next to Ginny. "I can't believe Dad
hasn't reconverted this fire place yet," she said with a sigh. "He's
such a hold-out from the sixties it's ridiculous. His parents were the first
on their street to convert to a gas fire when they first came out and now he
insists on keeping this one like that. I don't know what he was thinking when
he insisted that the smaller living room fireplace be the one to be converted
back to a conventional hearth. He's seen how little room there is the times
I've Flooed to the Burrow. Heaven knows he was in for a shock the first time
your Dad and Ron slid out of it the summer after second year. It would be so
much more convenient if this fireplace became conventional, too."
mind," Ginny insisted. "It's rather nice not having the embers fly
at me like they occasionally do in the common room. Besides, if you show me
how it works, I can tell my Dad!" Hermione giggled.
A few minutes later,
Ginny looked up from the book she was reading and asked, “What are our plans
for tomorrow? Your mum said we didn't have to be back at school until
Hermione answered with a grin. "Then I suppose we should pack our things
and get ready to go back to school. If there’s time I could help you study for
your O.W.L.s if you’d like. Why?"
"Well, I was hoping
to do a little shopping in Diagon Alley,” Ginny said. "I haven't seen
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes since August and from what Fred writes, business is
even better than it was last June. They seem to be making money hand over
"I'd like to see
the shop, too. Come to think of it, I need some more quills and parchment.
That last essay Snape had us do on herbs for medicinal potions had to be six
feet long. I ran out of parchment half way through and had to use the back.
Snape wasn't too thrilled about that," Hermione commented. "I'll
see if Mum will take us to the Leaky Cauldron around one. That will give us
plenty of time to shop and enjoy the sights." She closed her book and
stood up to leave the room.
settled," she said a few minutes later. "We'll leave here promptly
at one and leave our bags at the Leaky Cauldron. Tom has always been really
nice about letting me store my purchases in his office the few times I've
"I appreciate it,
Hermione,” Ginny said with a smile. "I've had such a good time this week
end. Thanks for inviting me."
The girls bade Mr. and
Mrs. Granger good-bye outside the Leaky Cauldron the next afternoon. As he
turned to leave, Mr. Granger pulled a small package out of his pocket and
handed it to Ginny with a smile.
"Give this to your
Dad next time you see him,” he said. "I had to replace an outlet in the
kitchen a few months ago and saved the broken one for him."
Ginny accepted the
package with a laugh, saying, "Dad will be delighted. He's always pleased
when he can add to his collection."
With that, the two girls
walked through the pub and into Diagon Alley. After making stops at Gringotts
(to exchange their Muggle money for Wizard currency), Flourish and Blots,
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and the Magical Menagerie (for special treats for
Crookshanks and Pigwidgeon), Ginny stepped into a wood carver's shop.
"I'll just be a few
minutes," she told Hermione who gave her a quizzical look. "I have
one more gift to get and this is the only place I can have it made."
"No problem, Ginny.
I'll meet you outside the Quidditch shop in fifteen minutes. I thought I'd
get an extra gift for Ron there,” Hermione said with a smile and closed the
Ginny pulled a piece of
parchment out of her bag and approached the counter. The proprietor greeted
her cordially and the two conferred for several minutes before Ginny paid for
her gift. The man asked if she would be coming to pick it up and Ginny told
him to send it directly to her at Hogwarts by owl post as soon as it was
ready. The man made a note on the order form and bade her a pleasant
Their shopping done,
Hermione and Ginny walked back to the Leaky Cauldron where they enjoyed a quiet
dinner before going back to Hogwarts.
A/N: A big thank you to my beta, Yolanda for her help with
this chapter. Also, the title for this story comes from a song of the same
name sung by Josh Groban. Full credit to the composer will be forthcoming in