Ron looked up from his scrub brush and scowled at James.
“You know,” he said for what must have been the fortieth time that night, “if
you hadn’t told him you were James, he would have just been puzzled for the
rest of the class and we wouldn’t have gotten detention.” Hermione sighed.
“Ron, this must have been the fortieth time tonight that you’ve said that,
and it’s not changing anything. Besides, if you hadn’t done anything in the
first place, we wouldn’t have gotten in trouble at all. And either way, Snape
would have figured out some way to give us detention.”
“Yeah,” James added, “he was hell-bent on it.”
“Don’t swear,” Hermione said automatically. James scowled at her.
“You sound like Lily.”
“Well,” Hermione answered peevishly, “you’re going to have to get used to that.
You’ll be dealing with it for quite a long time.” Ron snickered. James spun
“Why?” he demanded, addressing Ron.
“We don’t know how to get you home yet,” Hermione cut in smoothly, glaring
daggers at her friend. James muttered something unintelligible under his breath
and five minutes later, with a final scrub, Hermione announced, “We’re done!”
Ron sighed, relieved, and James sat back on his heels, surveying the room.
“Nice job,” he finally pronounced and Hermione nodded decisively, standing
up and stretching.
“Absolutely!” she agreed, bending over to touch her toes. “My back,” she announced,
“is so sore-”
“Hermione?” Hermione looked at Ron from between her legs.
“What?” Ron was staring at her oddly.
“What?” she repeated. Ron pointed at her back. Hermione panicked.
“Ron, get it off!” she shrieked. “What’s on my back? Get it off!” Ron suppressed
“Nothing’s on it, per se,” he said slowly. Hermione calmed.
“Then what are you pointing at?” she demanded.
“You have a-I mean, there’s a-“
“You mean,” Hermione supplied, “that I have a dove and a raven tattooed on
my lower back.” Ron nodded mutely. (A/N The students, because I said they can,
can wear Muggle clothes to detentions and any time when it isn’t class hours.
Hermione’s t-shirt appears to have ridden up when she bent over.)
“So what’s so bad about that?”
“Well,” Ron explained slowly, as though he were speaking to a very small child,
“So aren’t you Miss Propriety?” Hermione shrugged.
“I suppose, but it’s there for a reason.”
“And that reason would be…” Hermione shook her head.
“You’ll find out.” And she would say nothing more on the subject.
Later that evening, when the three had returned to the common room, Ginny was
waiting up for them.
“Hi! Where’ve you guys been?”
“Detention,” Hermione groaned.
“Well, J-Harry and Ron decided they were going to play a lovely trick on Professor
“Is that why he’s been in the hospital wing!” Ginny marvelled. “All
because of you three?” The three exchanged glances.
“Yes…”James said. “Why, what’s he been doing?” Ginny shrugged.
“Ranting and raving about how James Potter’s come back to life. What did you
do to him?” Ron made a funny sound in his throat, and James quickly answered,
“We just played a trick on him that I-I mean, my dad and his friends played
on him when they were in school.” Ginny looked at him a bit strangely.
“How did you know it if your dad died when you were a baby?” James looked confused
at that statement, so Hermione cut in.
“Harry found his dad’s diary this summer,” she said swiftly. Ginny seemed to
accept that, and nodded.
“All right, well, hopefully Snape won’t be in class for a while.” She shot
them a quick grin. “And we all have you to thank.” Pushing herself off the couch,
she wandered upstairs, waving goodnight.
“Sleep well, you guys. I’m going to bed.” Hermione yawned and, once Ginny was
out of sight, remarked, “That was a close one. Anyway, we probably ought to
get to bed, too. We’ve got classes tomorrow morning.” Ron and James murmured
their assent, and the three headed up to bed.
Once Hermione was out of earshot, James said to Ron in a low voice, “Poor Harry,
his dad dying when he was a baby. Glad that didn’t happen to me.” Ron shook
his head dismissively, hoping he looked-and sounded-more convincing than he
felt, and said, “His dad didn’t die. Sometimes Ginny just says odd things. See,
there’s a boy in her year called Harrison who’s dad died, and she’s got them
mixed up again.” James nodded slowly.
“Okay.” But he wasn’t entirely convinced; Ginny had looked pretty darn sure
of herself, and Hermione had answered just a bit too quickly. What was going
on, and what were they trying to keep from him?
James sat straight up in bed, sweating. He’d had a horrible dream that his
wife (whoever she’d been, he couldn’t tell) and he were being killed by Voldemort.
He looked over at the charmed clock by his bed. Two fifteen. Quietly, he got
out of bed and padded out the door and down the stairs into the common room.
When he reached it, there was only one other person down there, which really
made sense, considering it was two fifteen in the morning. As he stepped out
onto the stone floor, the lone person looked up quickly, startled, relaxing
when she saw who it was.
“Hello, Harry,” Ginny said. James inclined his head genially.
“Hi, Ginny.” She patted the seat beside her.
“Want to sit down?” James nodded and walked over, flopping back onto the couch.
After a few moments of silence, James looked over at his companion.
“Why are you up this early?” A mirthless grin graced Ginny visage.
“Bad dreams. You?”
“Same.” Ginny looked concerned.
“Again? What about? Did your scar hurt?” James shook his head.
“No, it didn’t,” he answered, wondering what she was on about. “But it was
about Voldemort killing-”
“Your parents,” Ginny finished. James looked confused.
“No, me. And my wife.” Ginny’s eyebrows shot into her hairline.
“You? And your wife?” James nodded.
“Well, that’s different…I wonder what brought that up,” she mused. “Maybe you
should go see Dumbledore.” James shrugged.
“Don’t think so. It was just a dream. I’ll be alright.” Ginny smiled again,
this time a bit bitterly.
“I’m sure you will. You always are.” She stood up, nodding at James.
“See you in the morning, then.” James watched her go, wondering what she was
“Ginny! Wait!” She turned around, surprised.
“Harry, why do you want to talk to me suddenly?” she asked quietly.
“Suddenly? What do you mean?” Ginny threw her hands in the air and strode back
over to him.
“Harry, you never acknowledge me, and now you’re acting as though we’ve been
best friends forever. What’s going on with you?” Whoever this Harry was,
James thought, he was rather stupid for not acknowledging this girl.
“I’m sorry,” he sighed, playing along. “I’ve just been going through a hard
time and I need a friend.” Ginny’s face did not soften.
“You have Ron and Hermione.”
“I know,” he said, “but they’re not helping. You know what they’re like.” Ginny
laughed, despite herself.
“Yes, I do.” She sat down beside him. “I’m sorry. It’s just that…well, you
know. And you always ignore me and…” her voice trailed off and she turned a
bit red. Looking down at the floor, she was silent. James watched her for a
moment before putting his hand beneath her chin and lifting her face to look
“I’m sorry, too,” he said softly, and then kissed her. Ginny’s eyebrows went
straight up again, but her eyes closed and she slipped her arms around his waist
as he held her shoulders. From the top of the stairs, Ron was watching. He could
not tell who the boy was, but he was furious that someone was forward enough
to kiss his little sister. He would have to watch her more closely. Turning
on his heel, he walked back to his dorm.
Ginny had been rather enjoying herself when James pulled back and blushed.
“I’m sorry,” he stammered. “That was rather forward of me; I shouldn’t have
done that.” And before Ginny could protest, he’d disappeared up the stairs.
Well. She’d have something to tell Hermione in the morning.