New Year, New Hope
Several nights later, Ginny sat at
a table piled high with books in the Room of Requirement. She was surrounded by her own private library
containing nothing but books about potion-making. She had found entire sections on ingredients;
the creation of new potions; potions history; master potion makers; love
potions, poisons, truth serums, mind-altering draughts, shape-shifting
mixtures, and healing potions among the various categories. Basically, anything
and everything she needed to know in order to carry out her planned project to
help herself and Harry.
She sighed tiredly and ran a hand
through her hair as she glanced at the book of dosage charts she had found in
the medicinal section. It was currently propped on The Encyclopaedia of Common Rocks and Minerals Used in Potion Making,
open to the page describing how much Draught of Peace to administer to people
of various weights. Her notes covered
several feet of parchment and as she leaned forward to add more facts, her stomach
let out a particularly loud rumble. I’m beginning to rival Ron, she thought,
wishing for something to eat for she had skipped dinner in order to have more
time to research as well as complete the mountain of homework her teachers had
set. A plate of sandwiches suddenly
appeared on a nearby chair and just as quickly, as did a glass and a small pitcher of pumpkin juice. Glancing about the room she murmured,
“Thanks” and reached for a sandwich as she turned back to her research.
The facts she’d gathered
fascinated her. Not only had she found
exactly the information she needed to successfully (and safely) swallow a
cupful of her creation, she had found out that by adding shredded Valerian
leaves to the Draught at a certain point, it became a powerful sleeping
solution called “Sleeper’s Promise”. By changing the number of drops of this
potion one put into a cup of tea, the supplier could determine how long and how
soundly the drinker slept; add too much and the drinker would fall into a coma,
add too little and one might as well not bother administering the potion. In other words, as Snape had so succinctly
put it once, observing the correct dosage range was of utmost importance.
Other changes in the basic potion
produced a wide variety of draughts and tinctures which could be slipped into a
goblet of water or juice or administered by the cupful. By substituting powdered Peridot for the
Moonstone, the potion-maker created a potion that protected the drinker from
bouts of excessive nervousness. Change
the gem powder to garnet and the drinker was protected from bad dreams and
depression. I’ll try that one after we see how successful the Draught of Peace is,
Ginny thought. I just hope the garnet powder isn’t too expensive...
She had also made notes about
which plants would turn her potion to poison if they were carelessly added:
cherry laurel leaves, hemlock root, henbane seeds. These were the variations
about which Madam Pince had warned her.
Ginny frowned as she read about the effects of adding one drop too many
of essence of digitalis: just like too much hellebore, an excessive amount of
this plant would cause the potion to become toxic and throw a death-like stupor
upon its victim. I still don’t understand how adding a poison to a potion doesn’t make
the entire batch lethal. Did we study
that and somehow I missed it? Ginny
remembered some sort of discussion but had no idea where in her year’s worth of
Potions notes she would find her answer.
Shaking her head tiredly, she packed up her quill and ink, rolled up her
parchment and began re-shelving the books.
She would leave the few she currently wanted to continue reading on the
table; they would be where she left them the next time she returned.
As Ginny slipped out the door, her
mind wandered back into the Room of Requirement. Earlier, when she was perusing the various
library sections, she had looked up the Longevity Concoction her Potions class
was currently studying and had found several paragraphs of detailed information
which she could add to Professor Snape’s latest potions notes. She would use them in the essay she knew he
would assign the next day. She smiled as she thought of the look on Professor
Snape’s face when she handed in twice the amount assigned homework and
cheerfully brought up several points that she knew he had deliberately left out
of his method. It would serve him right
if none of the fifth year Gryffindors failed to earn a satisfactory mark on
their Concoctions. She just hoped that
he wouldn’t take away any house points for her cockiness.
Hermione was sitting at her usual
table scribbling furiously on an essay when Ginny clambered through the
portrait hole a few minutes later.
“Where have you been, Ginny?” she asked without looking up from her
parchment. “I looked for you at dinner
and again later in the library—Ron and Harry thought you’d gone there—but no
one had seen you all evening...” There
was a distinct authority in her voice which Ginny recognized as Hermione’s
‘Prefect’s Voice.’ When she used that tone, the guilty party knew they could
expect, at least, a lecture on proper conduct or, at worst, the rubies in the
Gryffindor hourglass in the Entrance Hall to be fewer in the morning once she
had spoken to Professor McGonagall.
The younger witch let her book bag
drop with a resounding thud next to an empty chair which protested slightly
when Ginny slumped into it. “I’ve been
doing research in the Room of Requirement,” she told Hermione quietly, even
though the common room was deserted.
This attracted Hermione’s
attention. “Whatever for?” she asked
putting down her quill. “Shouldn’t the
library have all the information you need for your homework?”
“Not for this potion project,”
Ginny said warily. She didn’t really
want to share her idea just yet with anyone.
“Project? I don’t recall Professor Snape assigning
individual projects last year. That’s
supposed to be a seventh year Potions component.”
Ginny sighed. “This is something I’m doing on my own. Madam Pince warned me that without thorough
knowledge of the potion I’m going to make, I could very well poison myself or
“Well, the library didn’t have
what I was looking for, so I went up to the Room of Requirement tonight and
found everything I needed.”
“I find it hard to believe that
the library didn’t have what you wanted.
What exactly were you looking for and how did you get your idea in the
Hermione’s questioning was
beginning to grate on Ginny’s nerves. Unfortunately, she knew that if she
wanted to get back to her dorm anytime soon, she’d have to give the older girl
some sort of information to slake her curiosity. She sighed and pulled Uncommon Uses for Everyday Potions out of her bag and held it
up. As Hermione reached for the book,
she said, “This is the book I’m using for my project. Madam Pince checked it out to me on the
condition that only I read it while it’s in my possession.”
Hermione’s eyes widened. “I’ve heard of that book. It’s the one that customizes itself to the
reader’s needs. Madam Pince told me once
that that book only appears to people with truly unselfish aims.” Her eyes seemed to pierce into Ginny as she
said, “Whatever you are doing or plan on doing, the recipient of your labours
will be truly lucky. Your idea is
completely...altruistic. He or she must
be very special to you...”
A lump formed in Ginny’s
throat. “He is,” she whispered.
“Amongst other things.”
Hermione sighed. “Harry’s special to me, too. I’ve been so worried about him at times this
year, but had no idea how to help him...so I did nothing. You, on the other hand...wow!”
“I didn’t know if he’d accept my
“But he did—and that’s what
counts...even if it was after Professor McGonagall made him see that he was
hurting himself academically.”
“He’s not out from under her thumb
about that yet, you know.”
“No, but he seems a lot happier
since our weekend at The Burrow.”
It was Ginny’s turn to sigh; she
did so with a smile playing about the corners of her mouth. “He is, but he still has an immense burden on
his mind. No, I can’t tell you...he made me promise not to tell you and
Ron...don’t look at me like that, Hermione.”
“I can’t help it, Ginny. He hurts Ron and me when he doesn’t tell us what
is bothering him.”
“He wants to tell you on his own
terms...when he’s ready to face your reactions.”
“Oh, Ginny, doesn't he know
whatever he tells us won't change our opinion of him one iota?"
“He knows exactly what your
reactions will be...he’s not ready to cope with you wanting to run to the
library or Ron’s disbelief.”
Hermione looked sheepish. “He knows us rather well, doesn’t he? I suppose you know what he’s facing...and you
took on his burden to help lighten the load.”
“No, not really. All I did was listen. He was so upset the night he told me...he
thought I’d hate him. He thinks you and
Ron will forsake him once you know.
Either that or ... I don’t know. Part
of his motivation is to shield the two of you. "
“And by pushing us away like he
did in September, he thinks he’s protecting us, too.”
Ginny nodded silently. Finally, she said, “I have to do this,
Hermione. I have to find a way to give
him some peace.”
Hermione smiled. “So you’re going to brew him up some sort of
potion to bring him some peace of mind.”
“I’m going to try.”
“He’s lucky to have you, Ginny.”
“And I, him.” The two girls were silent; Ginny thinking how
much seeing Harry nightmare-free would mean to her, Hermione absently toying
with her quill.
At length, Hermione broke the
silence. “Would you like some help?”
Ginny hesitated, still unwilling
to share her idea. Unfortunately, she’d
given away too much information to clam up now.
“I’d like that. Maybe you’d find
something I’ve overlooked in my research.”
“And the brewing of the potion?”
“I haven’t gotten that far yet.”
“But when you do, I can help...I’d
like to help because Harry’s...”
“...your friend, too.” Ginny
finished for her, smiling. When Hermione nodded back, she said, “I’m going back
to the Room of Requirement tomorrow night.
I did my homework in there before I looked at the books I took off the
shelves. I hope they’re still piled on
the table where I left them tomorrow.”
“They should be. What if I meet you in front of the
tapestry at half-past seven tomorrow night?
That should give us enough time before curfew. Erm, what potion are you researching anyway?”
“The Draught of Peace.”
Hermione was thoughtful. “That’s not too hard to brew. But why all the research?”
Ginny held up the book she still
had in her hand. “I’m just following
Madam Pince’s admonitions,” she said smiling.
“After all, I don’t want to poison Harry...or myself for that matter.”
“You’re going to swallow some,
“Harry and I seem to have a mutual
attachment to the common room fire around two in the morning.” She looked at her watch. “I’d better get to bed. I’ve got double Potions tomorrow.” She gathered her book bag. “See you tomorrow.”
“Until then, Ginny. Good night.”
Hermione was breathing hard when
she joined Ginny in front of the tapestry the following evening.
“Honestly, Ginny...that brother of
yours...” She left the sentence
unfinished, but Ginny knew the exact exasperated feeling her friend was talking
“What did he do now?”
“He lost his Transfiguration notes
from the other day that he needs for our latest essay; Professor McGonagall had
us write down some additional information not found in our textbooks, so he
wanted mine. Like a fool, I gave them to
him at dinner and he promptly spilled pumpkin juice all over them because he
was talking Quidditch with his hands again with Harry.” She held up several soggy pieces of smeared
“And his essay?”
“I told Ron to go to the library
and look up the information himself.”
“He’ll be there all night!”
Hermione grinned. “I thought so, too. Serves him right.”
Ginny opened the door to the Room
of Requirement and led the way in. She
was pleased to find everything where she had left it the night before.
“Oh, my!” she heard Hermione gasp
as she put her own book bag down and went to inspect the books which were still
neatly piled on the table.
“My sentiments exactly,” Ginny
agreed pulling out the notes she had taken the night before.
“What have you been researching?” Hermione pulled up a chair beside Ginny’s.
“For the basic potion? Mostly dosage charts.” She pointed to one of the books. “The rest of this is information on
ingredient changes and how they affect both the potion and the drinker. I’ve discovered that by changing or adding
one or more ingredients I can make potions which will do all sorts of things.”
“Smart, Ginny. I don’t think I’d have thought about dosage
until it was almost too late.” Hermione was thoughtful as she dropped her bag
next to Ginny’s. “What sort of changes
are you researching?”
Ginny held up the rocks and
minerals book. “This one talks about
exchanging the moonstone for either garnet or peridot,”
she said setting the book down and picking up a tome on magical plants. “If you add Valerian at a certain point the
Draught of Peace becomes Sleepers’ Promise.
I also took notes on substituting henbane, hemlock, and cherry laurel
for the hellebore. Those plants produce
different affects, but need to be added carefully so that they don’t turn the
mixture into a poison. I shudder to
think what adding too much digitalis will do to you.”
“That’s impressive, Ginny. I hate to say this, but you taught me
something tonight! I had a vague
suspicion that there was a whole group of related potions based on the Draught
of Peace, but hadn’t come across the information confirming my hunch when I was
revising last year.”
Ginny smiled at her friend. “You can’t expect to learn everything before
seventh year, Hermione. There needs to
be something left for the teachers to pass on just before your NEWTs. I know
one thing for certain; you will
never stop reading, questioning, or learning…especially after you leave
Hogwarts. What good would it do you if
there wasn’t anything left to explore?
Can you really believe that even Professor McGonagall knows everything
“Hey, don’t pick on her. She’s our head of house!” Hermione exclaimed pretending to be
shocked. “She might deduct house points
if she heard you questioning her knowledge!”
Ginny tried to keep a straight
face, but her mouth twitched upwards and Hermione gave up trying to maintain
her outraged expression. Both girls burst into gales of giggles.
“I suppose I deserved that,”
Hermione said once they could breathe again. “Your brother accuses me of being a
know-it-all at least four times a week, so hearing it from his little sister shouldn’t be too much of a
Ginny made a face and opened both
the plant book and the dosage book.
“There’s something I need to check on that’s been bothering me all day,”
she said. She picked up a book called Chinese Potions Ingredients for the
Dim-witted and handed it to Hermione.
“The library book said something about substituting powdered tiger bone
or rhino horn or some other wild animal part to change the potion in a
different way. I don’t think I want to
try something like that, but would you look up what this book says about those
Hermione reached for the book and
the room grew quiet as they bent to their tasks.
Sometime later, Hermione closed
the Chinese potions book and shoved it away from her parchment and took a
soft-cover Muggle book out of her own bag.
“Ginny...” She began tentatively. “How much do you know about sleep and
Ginny looked up, curious. “Not much.
“Bear with me, Ginny. What I want to tell you is relevant, but
needs a little background story-telling,” she began.
“Tell me,” Ginny requested.
“When Harry began having odd
dreams before fourth year,” her friend began, “it bothered me a little, so I
searched my parents’ book shelves for something to help me understand what he
was going through. (Ginny smiled at how predictable her friend was.) I found
this.” Hermione held up the book she had placed in her lap seconds before. Ginny noted that it was entitled, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. “I never thought I’d keep it this long, but
since Harry’s still having bad nights sometimes I keep going back to various
chapters. I’ve learned a lot about the
stages of sleep and the differences between a real nightmare and the ‘visions’
Voldemort sent Harry last year. I don’t
know if anything in here is relevant, but you can borrow it if you’d like.”
Ginny was intrigued. “You mean Muggles study sleeping people?”
Hermione smiled. “Yes.
It’s a scientific field of study all on its own.”
“Like something behind that locked
door Harry couldn’t open at the Department of Mysteries.”
“You could say that. Many Muggles spend their lives watching
people sleep and trying to discover what goes on in the brain while our eyes
are closed. Some, like the author of
this book, study the things which disturb sleep and try to find ways to help
people who aren’t sleeping well.”
“So why did your parents need a
book like that one?”
Hermione smiled as she put the
book on the table between them. “My mum
read it because she and Dad needed to stop me from sleep-walking when I was
little. They got tired of finding me
sitting in front of the bookshelves at two in the morning. They tried some of the author’s suggestions and
they worked. I haven’t been found
combing the shelves for books that aren’t there for many years.”
“That makes sense,” Ginny said
thoughtfully, pulling the book toward her.
“I’ll read anything that might help me help Harry.”
“You never know. It might just help you, too.” Hermione gave her a significant glance and
changed the subject again. “Ginny, have
you given any thought as to where you’ll be making the potion?”
“I thought I’d just make it in
here one evening. It only takes an hour
and a half to brew, so it wouldn’t be as if I’d need to hide an entire caldron
of Polyjuice Potion or something like that.”
She smiled at Hermione’s obvious discomfiture.
“Well, what would you say to
actually using Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom?
It might even be safer than this room since nobody ever ventures into
that loo. Even after all this time,
Myrtle’s still causing floods anytime someone insults her. I’d be glad to introduce you.”
Not certain what the polite
refusal should be, Ginny asked, “Shall we go, then?” When Hermione stood to repack her bag, Ginny
did the same, even taking the time to shelve some of the books she had used the
“I’m going to leave my bag
here. I just remembered about something I
wanted to look up and I don’t want to keep you.
Why don’t we stop by the common room and leave your bag with Harry,” she
suggested from behind one of the stacks.
“I’m just taking a look at the bathroom, so why carry our heavy bags
when we won’t need them?”
“Good idea. Actually, I’ll leave
mine next to my favourite chair so I can find it easily later. No one will bother it. I refreshed the repelling charm on it this
Ginny extinguished the reading
lamps on the table and the two girls left the room.
The second floor corridor leading
to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom was gloomier at night than it usually was during
the day. As Hermione led the way, Ginny
clutched an angel pendant her mother had given her for Christmas. The figure was charmed with a spell to
enhance her own courage and right now, four years after her Chamber of Secrets
ordeal, Ginny was feeling rather anxious about going back.
“Here we are,” Hermione said
unnecessarily, pushing the door open.
She seemed unaware of the significance of this room and the memories
walking in here brought back to Ginny.
The bathroom looked much the same as it had the last time they each had
been in there, although this time, the floor was dry. Hermione led the way over to one of the
cubicles and opened the door.
“This is the stall Ron, Harry and
I used to brew the Polyjuice Potion.
Myrtle’s toilet is over there,” she said pointing.
A youthful ghost rose slowly from
behind the partition. “Oh, it’s you,”
she said eyeing Hermione. “Come to stink
up my bathroom again?”
“No, Myrtle. I’m showing Ginny what a wonderful place this
“I remember you,” Myrtle said
pointing at Ginny. “You’re the one who
opened the Chamber and let that monster with the big yellow eyes out. Have you decided to terrorize the school
Ginny scowled at the ghost. “What an awful thing to ask! You’re not very friendly are you, Myrtle?” She paused before continuing. “As a matter of fact, I’m looking for a place
to have some privacy.”
Moaning Myrtle thought a moment,
then said, “Ooh. You’re planning on doing something illegal…like brewing a love
“Yes,” Ginny answered honestly.
“Well, I’m telling. You weren’t
very nice to me the last time you were here.
You threw a book at me, so I think I should tell.”
“Please don’t. I’m doing this for Harry.”
“Harry Potter? I haven’t seen him in ages. Quite a modest little twit in the bath he is,
I’d say. Won’t let a girl have her
thrills, you know.”
Both witches glared at the
ghost. “Just when did you spy on Harry
like that?” Hermione demanded.
“During the Triwizard
Tournament. He and Cedric Diggery each
spent hours in the Prefects’ bathroom with some sort of screechy egg. Made me close my eyes when he got out of the tub,
“Good!” Ginny and Hermione
Moaning Myrtle looked
affronted. “I wasn’t looking, if that’s what you mean. Besides, there were too many bubbles in the
tub to see anything!”
“Thank goodness!” Ginny said. She turned to Hermione. “I like this place. It’s really out of the way and I suppose I
should make peace with Myrtle to make up for throwing the book at her.”
“I’d like some company
sometime. Would you come back soon?”
they heard Myrtle murmur behind them.
For the moment, they ignored her.
“When do you want to make the
potion?” Hermione inquired.
“I don’t know. I still have to get certain ingredients that
aren’t part of my potions’ kit. It might
take a while.”
“All right. Just let me know when you’re ready.”
“I will,” Ginny said looking around. She turned to leave, but remembered that she
didn’t know how to make a waterproof fire correctly. She’d need one if she was going to brew her
Draught in one of the toilets.
“Hermione, you’ll have to be the one to cast the Bluebell Flame
charm. I’ve never been able to do that
“I don’t see why you’ve been
unsuccessful with that charm, but I’ll be glad to help with whatever you need,”
Hermione said as they walked toward the door.
They bid Moaning Myrtle good-bye, promising to come back very soon, and
left the bathroom.
“Ginny, I’ve been thinking,”
Hermione said as they walked back upstairs toward Gryffindor tower. “Do you have any idea how you’re going to
know when Harry needs something like the Draught of Peace? I mean, you can’t start sleeping in the
common room every night. People will
“I thought I’d just take my
chances,” Ginny said somewhat evasively.
“I mean, I’ve had a pretty good track record so far.”
Hermione looked at Ginny with one
“All right, so it’s not a good
idea to go sneaking around the tower after lights-out. Honestly, Hermione, my first thought was to
just be ready when we did run into each other in the common room. We certainly seem to do that often enough
without an alarm bell of some sort.”
“But wouldn’t you have more of a
chance at success if there was some sort of alerting spell or mechanism? And if you had one, what would it be?”
Ginny didn’t answer
immediately. “I’m still thinking about
both of those. If I did link us somehow
the object would have to be unobtrusive, something Harry would not object to.”
“Like the D.A. galleons,” Hermione
“Yes, like that, only how many
gold coins can you successfully carry around at our age and not arouse
suspicion if Snape demands that we turn out our pockets?”
“I don’t have an answer to that,
Ginny. I hope you do.”
Ginny did have an idea and an
object to turn into an “alarm bell” but she didn’t want Hermione to try to
disparage her idea. Ginny conceded that
she didn’t mind sharing the potion idea with the older witch because talking
about her ideas aloud had given her a fresh perspective and focus on what she
wanted to do for Harry and herself. This
particular idea, however, was just too personal to shelve. Besides, she was half-way through the
multiple spell process and had spent too much time researching this second
project in the last few days to have to start over.
“It’s almost curfew,” Ginny said,
glancing at her watch when they arrived on the seventh floor. “You go back and see how Ron fared with his
essay. I’m going to look something up
just to double-check it.”
“Prefect duties call. See you later, then,” Hermione said getting
Ginny’s hint. “Don’t be too long. I don’t want to have to send Ron after you.”
“I won’t. See you in a bit.”
As Hermione disappeared down the
corridor Ginny walked swiftly to the Room of Requirement and, once the door was
firmly closed and locked, drew a shining silver bird charm on a chain from her
pocket and held it up to one of the nearby reading lamps. She took out her wand and cast a spell that
left her feeling tired, yet satisfied as she gazed at the almost-completed
phoenix pendant. It glowed softly in the
lamplight and seemed to disappear into her palm. At
least this part of the process is a success, she thought remembering the
side effects listed in the old spell book; a footnote at the bottom of the page
stated that the spell would leave the castor feeling magically drained. The
book did warn about this, Ginevra. It
also stated that the other two spells can’t be done at another time. You’ll just have to dig deep down and find
the magic within to complete the process.
Remember, this is for
Harry. You know he won’t object to
wearing your gift once he understands its power. She placed the phoenix gently on a nearby
For herself, Ginny had chosen the
angel pendant she was wearing tonight.
She fished it from beneath her robes and slipped it over her head before
murmuring a second spell. The angel and
its chain glowed briefly as the phoenix had done and Ginny hoped that this and
the next spell would not interfere with the angel’s original enchantment. The
books she had read had indicated there wouldn’t be any problems; the three
spells did completely different things.
The final step in the process was
a binding spell. Ginny picked up the
phoenix again and dangled it and the angel together in the air. She cast the charm on the two necklaces feeling
the spell’s power surge up her arm and out through her wand. The ancient enchantment caused the metal in
her hand to glow a bright gold colour and grow hot to the touch; she nearly
dropped the jewellery. Instead, she held
on tightly until the angel was cool enough to hang around her neck again. Smiling tiredly to herself and thinking just
how nice it would be to be in her four-poster at that moment, Ginny pocketed
her wand, transferred the phoenix pendant to her other hand and slipped it into
a cloth pouch she had withdrawn from her bag.
Now all she needed was the opportunity to give it to Harry.
End of Part Two
A/N: As always, many thanks go to Yolanda for the
helpful suggestions and hints makes as my beta.
She has an eagle eye for sentences that sound too American and is trying
very hard to make me think like a Briton.
Credit also needs to be given to the author of the
Muggle book Hermione lends Ginny. Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems was
written by Richard Ferber, M.D. and the book has been a valuable resource to me
in real life as well as in my writing.