The Sugar Quill
Author: Firebolt909 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Scar  Chapter: Chapter Two: Plugs and Batteries
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Chapter Two: Plugs and Batteries

Ginny woke up the next morning with a cramp in her neck. Slowly stretching, trying to work out the cramp, she rose. All things considered, she had slept fairly well. She must have been more tired than she thought. That and it helped having Harry with her, just holding her hand, silly though it may seem. She went and checked on her mother, who was still sleeping deeply. It wouldn’t do to wake her up, not yet, Ginny thought. Closing the door softly, she went upstairs to change and freshen up a bit. A nice warm shower would be just the thing.

Heading back downstairs, her red hair still damp and clinging to her clothes, she heard low voices in the kitchen. Bill, Charlie, Percy, and Harry were all gathered around the table, drinking tea and eating a bit of toast.

"Hey, squirt," Bill said, standing up to give her a big hug. She gave him a sad smile and hugged her other two brothers.

"When did you all get in?" she asked, sitting down between Charlie and Percy.

"Early this morning," Percy replied, absently stirring his tea. "We were all working together, so we were pretty easy to find."

"How’s Mum?" Charlie asked.

"Not too good. I gave her a sleeping draught, and she’s sleeping fine, but when she wakes up…." Ginny’s voice trailed off knowing that her mum would most likely be in the same state before she went to sleep. Maybe it wasn’t wise to give her the draught. It would only delay the pain when she woke up. At least all her family would be here, however. They could get through this, together.

"Dumbledore and Sirius have gone to get Dad," Charlie said, a catch in his voice. "We were just talking about where to place him."

"What about the family plot?" Ginny asked, thinking of the small Weasley graveyard that was inside the small forest behind The Burrow.

"We thought about that, but then Percy mentioned how much Dad loved that small hill that looked out over the village," Bill said. "Think we should leave it up to Mum?"

Ginny nodded. "Yeah."

Just then, the rest of the family came downstairs. They all greeted each other with hugs, red eyes, and a few sniffles here and there. As everyone ate the meager breakfast of toast and tea—no one had much of an appetite—an owl flew in, dropping the morning edition of The Daily Prophet in the center of the table. Nine pairs of eyes stared at it, no one daring to touch it.

"Well," Ginny said, brushing crumbs from her fingers and reaching for the paper, "One of us has to look at it." She flipped open the paper and read aloud:

Ministry of Magic Official Dies in Assassination Attempt

By Rita Sweeter

Arthur Weasley, Head of the Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts died last night in a botched assassination attempt against the Muggle Prime Minister, reports Rita Skeeter, special correspondent and editor of The Daily Prophet. Apparently, Albus Dumbledore’s Order of the Phoenix had been given word that He Who Must Not Be Named had plans to assassinate the Muggle Prime Minister and sent Arthur Weasley out to thwart the attack. Arthur Weasley died during the attempt, accused by the Muggle policemen of being the assassin. Several Ministry Wizards had to work ‘round the clock to perform mass Muggle memory alternations, as well as stop the Muggle news from broadcasting the information on their radios and televisions. Dumbledore has declined comment with The Daily Prophet and no contact can be made with the Weasley family. Arthur Weasley left behind a wife and seven children. The three oldest are also members of the Order of the Phoenix. It is of the opinion of this reporter that perhaps the Dumbledore’s Order, isn’t all what it the general public makes it out to be, especially with mistakes like this last one being made.

"God, I hate her!" Ginny exclaimed angrily as she slammed the paper back down onto the table. "Botched attempt! Making it sound like those dunderheads at the Ministry had such a hard time erasing those Muggles’ memories!"

Percy wrapped his arm around her. "It’s what I expected. That old cow has just been itching to get something on Dumbledore. Its because she’s being paid the Ministry to dig up what dirt she can on him." Rita Skeeter was now editor of The Daily Prophet, having worked her way back up the ladder after Hermione exposed her for an unregistered animagus. The Ministry of Magic was in shambles, Cornelius Fudge was dead, and what was left of the Ministry were in the hands of the Death Eaters, still claiming that they weren’t supporters of Voldemort. The Order of the Phoenix was the widely recognized governing body during this time of chaos, and The Daily Prophet, in the hands of the Ministry, did its best to make Dumbledore look bad.

"What did she mean by ‘no contact can be made with the Weasley family’? No one’s even tried to contact us, have they?" George asked.

"Dumbledore placed a spell around the house before he left this morning. Only certain people can find us here," Harry explained.

The rest of that day passed very slowly. Dumbledore and Sirius returned, helping along with the arrangements for the funeral. Ginny spent most of her time taking care of her mother, who was not doing well at all. She refused to eat, she wouldn’t speak to anyone, and Ginny was at her wits end as to how to help her. In the end, it was Dumbledore who went in and spoke to her mother for quite sometime. When he came out, her mother was in much better spirits and insisted on cooking a delicious dinner for everyone.

For the next three days, Ginny felt as if she was in a strange dream. Every morning she would wake up, and for one brief second, she would think that everything was like it had always been; she could almost hear her father downstairs talking over the morning paper as her mother clanked around the kitchen cooking breakfast. Then reality would hit. Her father wouldn’t be sitting in his place at the head of the table, fussing about the latest article in The Daily Prophet; no more would he tweak her hair and call her pumpkin.

People from all over would stop by, with permission from Dumbledore, offering their condolences and asking if there was anything they could do. Ginny frowned at some of them, those were the wizarding families who believed that the Weasleys were lucky since they hadn’t lost anyone in their family before now. She completely ignored them, which wasn’t very nice of her, but she couldn’t hide how she felt about them. As for the rest of their friends, Ginny would paste a smile on her face and offer them tea and biscuits, smile, and nod respectfully when they would tell her what a good girl she was.

Arthur was buried on the fourth day following the announcement of his death. It was a beautiful day, the sun shone brightly, the soft breeze was just enough to take the heat out of the air. It was the worst day of Ginny’s life. Her mum had agreed with the rest of the family that Arthur would be happiest buried on the hill that faced out over the village, his favorite spot to sit and think. Standing between her mother and Bill, Ginny waited for her turn to scatter dirt over the dark cherry coffin, her tears falling down onto the wood. Once again, she was forced to wear her "good Ginny" face and smile at all the appropriate times when the well-wishers at the funeral patted her and said how good she was. When the day was finally over, she felt like screaming.

*******************************

The next three weeks following came and went in a rush. The Burrow, despite being filled to overflowing with friends and family, had never been so quiet before. Even the family ghoul had ceased his normal caterwauling and clanging about and had not made a peep, as if it too, was morning the loss of Arthur. Funerals normally provide some sense of closure for a family, help the family cope with the loss. This was not the case for the Weasleys. It only made it seem real that Arthur was in fact dead, and the entire family lapsed into a period of silence after the funeral was over. Arthur’s seat at the family table remained empty, despite the fact that they all had to crowd around the rest of the table. Sirius stayed the first two weeks, then had to leave to get back to his assignment. Dumbledore had to leave as well, school was not that far away and the duties as Headmaster and leader of the Order of the Phoenix would wait no longer. Percy, however, stayed behind, taking over the reins of the head of the family, trying his best to fill the shoes his father left behind. He was doing an admiral job of it; tying up loose ends, taking care of the bills, making sure his mother and siblings were all taken care of.

Ginny was not doing well at all. She had lapsed into a fit of depression, and rarely ate or spoke to anyone. She mostly stayed out in the garden sitting on the bench, watching the gnomes play as Crookshanks, Hermione’s bandy-legged cat, chased them about. No one could cheer her up, although they did try. Fred and George were constantly pulling gags on anyone and everyone around. Ginny would laugh, but she felt as if she had to force it, rather than hurt their feelings. Her brothers did try so hard and she loved them for it. But she would get through this. She had to.

Finally, it was time to leave The Burrow and go back to school and Ginny was glad to be starting back, hoping that the change of scenery would help her. Ginny woke up earlier than usual that morning of September 1, shaking. She had another nightmare. Ever since her father’s death, they were becoming more and more frequent. It was always the same: she was in darkness, her entire body unable to move and someone kept screaming her name. Bright green light flashed and Ginny felt a piercing pain in her chest.

Walking into the kitchen, she noticed that most of the house was up too. Her mother was cooking sausages, while Hermione was pouring milk. Percy, Bill, Charlie and the twins were quietly talking.

"Looks like you had a rough night there, Gin," Bill greeted her.

"Yeah," Ginny yawned. "I haven’t been sleeping well, not that any of us have."

Percy was meticulously reviewing the household accounts, his books spread out everywhere. At Ginny’s words he looked up and said, "Ginny, you have us all really worried. You barely say a word, you still aren’t eating well, and now you’re having nightmares. Are you sure you’re ok?" Percy had even started to sound like their father.

"I’m fine, Perce." Ginny gave him her best smile. "Need any help, Mum?"

"Sure dear. Get out the forks, knives and spoons, please." Ginny walked over to the drawer and started counting out the utensils. Among the mismatched silverware, there were several plugs and batteries. Ginny bit her lip, fighting back tears at the painful reminder of her father and his hobby and began to laugh hysterically.

"Ginny?" Charlie asked her, seeing her laugh and cry at the same time. "What’s wrong?"

Ginny walked over to the table and placed one of the plugs in front of Charlie. "There," she said, still half-giggling, half-crying. "I must have stepped on one of these blasted things about eight hundred times this morning alone, while packing my trunks. They are all over the house."

Her family stared at her, not know what to say or think. "And he never figured out what any of them did," Ginny finished, wiping her eyes with her napkin.

Ginny’s mum came over and sat down, giving her daughter a hug. "I thought he was crazy collecting those wretched things," she said tearfully. "But he had thousands of them. And God help me when he found out that different countries used different plugs. He wrote every wizard he knew in America asking them to send him the plugs the Muggles used over there." Soon the entire kitchen was filled with a mixture of laughter and tears.

"What’s everyone laughing about?" Ron demanded, rubbing his eyes. Harry was close behind him.

"Plugs and batteries," Bill replied, wiping his eyes.

"Ugh, I know," Ron said, taking the chair next to Hermione. "They’re all over the house."

***********************

The trip to Kings Cross Station was not bad at all. Percy had managed to pull a few strings and they all traveled in a huge car together. Harry and Hermione called it a Limousine, whatever that meant. However, it managed to hold nine people and their trunks, and two owls, and a cat most comfortably. Ginny had to blink back tears when she thought how excited her father would have been to see this. Apparently, no magic was needed to make the car so big, it was built that way.

Inside Platform 9 ¾, Percy pulled Ginny aside while everyone was saying goodbye and waving hello to friends.

"Ginny, are you sure you’re ok?" Percy asked her once more.

"I’m fine, Percy. Really." Ginny said. "I think going back to school will be a good change."

Percy gave her a shrew look through his glasses. "You just look so pale and sick. It reminds me of…" he hesitated, obviously looking for the right words, "Of when you were in your first year again."

Ginny bit her lip. "When you were in your first year again" was how her family referred to her writing in Tom Riddle’s diary, that ended up endangering her own life as well as Harry’s in the process. Ginny normally didn’t flinch anymore after thinking of that, she had long put it behind her, but hearing that phrase now….it just brought back a bunch of unwanted memories. Mentally shaking them off, Ginny tried to lighten the mood. "I promise you, Perce, I sworn off diaries since the last time," she grinned up at him.

Percy didn’t return her smile. "You aren’t eating. You’re having nightmares, Hermione told me. You barely spoke to anyone for three days. Just promise me you’ll take care of yourself, ok?"

"I will. Don’t worry about me, you’ve got to take care of Mum," Ginny said as they walked back to the rest of the group. Ginny was pulled into bone crushing hugs from each of her brothers—honestly, those prats don’t know their own strength!

She could hear Percy talking to Ron, "Watch after Ginny, she’s not well." Ron nodded, casting Ginny a concerned look. If she didn’t love them so much, she would be seriously irritated at them. But Ron took his duty as older brother seriously, much more than he had before. Ever since Voldemort’s return to power, Ron insisted that Ginny spend her time with him, Hermione and Harry. She didn’t mind, although she did feel a bit left out being a year younger than the rest. She was also a part of their "circle" which was very nice, since she was now privy to some of the secrets that only the three of them knew. And Harry at least though of her as a good friend, which was much nicer than being Ron’s pesky sister.

The whistle blew to warn everyone of the Hogwarts Express’ final boarding and there were last minute hugs and kisses. They all hopped on the train, waving goodbye out the window of their car.

"Let us know when you get there!" Her mum called tearfully.

"Behave yourselves," Percy warned.

"Send us a toilet seat!" cried Fred and George.

They had a car to themselves. Hermione had discovered a useful little spell that would keep out unwanted visitors, meaning that no Slytherins would be able to enter the car during the ride. Ginny chose a seat near the window with Harry next to her, and Ron and Hermione facing them. Hermione had been wearing a very pleased expression all morning long, and Ginny finally had to break down and ask her what was going on.

"Oh, well…it’s nothing really," Hermione blushed.

Ron looked at her. "Yes, it is. Tell us!"

Hermione’s face now matched Ginny’s bright red hair. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a letter. Ron took it and read:

Dear Miss Granger,

We are most pleased to inform you that you have been selected as the Head Girl for the new school year. Enclosed is your Head Girl badge. We are looking forward to seeing you this year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Sincerely,

The Faculty and Staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Everyone gaped at Hermione, who was now taking out her Head Girl badge and pinning it to her robes.

"Why didn’t you say anything sooner?" Ron asked incredulously.

"Well, I got it a few days after…" Hermione trailed off. "And then, there just wasn’t a good time to bring it up." She squealed as Ron started kissing her.

Harry and Ginny both busted out laughing. "Hide your eyes, fair Ginny!" Harry said as he placed his hands over her eyes. "They’re at it again!"

Ron tried to kick Harry, which was rather awkward since he was still kissing Hermione at the same time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A/N: I have no idea what a note to a Head Girl/Boy would sound like, so that is totally made up. I’m sure there was more to it than that, however.

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