Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns all the characters and the
world they live in. I’m just having
fun. No money is coming to me from this. “Box of Rain” is owned by the Grateful Dead,
and was written by Robert Hunter and Phil Lesh.
Nope, no money from there, either.
Author’s note: This is what happens when one listens to the
“American Beauty” album while in a silly mood.
First question: “What on earth is
a box of rain, anyway?” Wicked special first-time author thanks go to
my awesome beta Elanor Gamgee! YOU ROX!
Box of Rain
Look out of any window
Any morning, any day…
Maybe the sun is shining
Birds are winging, no rain
is falling from a heavy sky…
looked out the window of Gryffindor tower.
Harry had been out of the hospital wing barely twenty-four hours, but
he, Ron and Hermione were walking together outside. It was a beautiful afternoon, but there was
something awful about it—a certain darkness over everything.
didn’t have to be told He was back. She
knew it. As usual, Ron wasn’t telling
her anything, and her mother certainly hadn’t said anything…but it didn’t
matter. She couldn’t quite explain it,
but she knew.
and Hermione were talking, but Harry was just listening, occasionally nodding
his head vaguely. Ginny wished she could
help in some way, but she would never dream of intruding on them. Her presence would merely put pressure on
Harry to act differently than he might otherwise feel. They weren’t close in that way, however she
might wish that circumstances were different.
sighed. And soon, he would be going home
to…what? His aunt, uncle, and cousin,
who, by all accounts, wouldn’t care if he had
been killed by Voldemort. And he would
be alone, all summer, until he would, hopefully, come to see them at the
Burrow. Who would he turn to until
then? Who would help him? Why must he be so…alone?
paused, his arms tight around himself, and Ginny could see his face. No one should ever have to have that much
pain inside, she thought, and she hurt for him.
There must be something she could do…anything…
What do you want me to do
To do for you to see you
For this is all a dream we
dreamed one afternoon long ago…
had to be something she could do…Hermione would think of something…With that in
mind, Ginny tore herself away from the window and went to her dormitory. Grabbing a quill and some parchment, she set
off for the library.
Ginny went to check out the books, Madam Pince frowned suspiciously. “Only a few days left until you all go home,
Miss Weasley. Why the sudden burst of
a personal project, Madam Pince. I
promise all the books will be back in time.”
Pince eyed her warily. “They’d better
be, and there better not be a mark on them, young missy.”
let the reprimand pass, and hurried back to the Gryffindor common room.
Walk out of any doorway
Feel your way like the day
Maybe you’ll find direction
Around some corner where
it’s been waiting to meet you…
had been working late into the night, and she was quite exhausted. But she was getting close to her solution,
and only hoped she could do what she wanted before school was over. She headed down to breakfast wearily, and
almost crashed into Harry in the process, as he was coming out of the Great
Hall. She smiled, embarrassed, and
said, “I’m sorry.”
barely saw her as he muttered, “It’s all right…”
gave her a look that made up for Harry’s lack of recognition, and Ginny smiled
at him, and continued into the Great Hall.
whispers she heard as she ate her breakfast nearly made her retch. How could anyone
think those things? And the whispers
weren’t just coming from Slytherin. They
were coming from Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw…even some of Harry’s fellow Gryffindors.
left her breakfast half-eaten and went to back to the common room.
found that she couldn’t stand to be in the Great Hall for meals, with all the
whispering about Harry; it hurt too much.
She would duck in just long enough for something she could carry, and then
hurry back to the common room to work.
She was getting closer to her solution, but there was only one item she
needed that she couldn’t figure out how to get.
And she didn’t have much more time.
Outside of Hogwarts, she couldn’t do magic yet.
was falling, and Harry, Ron and Hermione came back to the common room. Ginny
had been too engrossed in her work before, but now she noticed how quiet it got
when they walked in the room. Ginny
wanted to scream at the other students, but she bit her lip and tried to cool
her temper. Ron and Hermione sat down to
play chess, while Harry watched, with that blank expression on his face that he
always seemed to have these days, that half-smile that wasn’t quite all
there. He still hurts, Ginny thought, it’s
just not agonizing at the moment.
felt her eyes prickling with tears, and angrily she squeezed them back, her
mouth bent in a frown of concentration.
What do you want me to do
To watch for you while you
Then please don’t be
surprised when you find me dreaming too…
Ron and Harry announced that they were tired, and went up to bed. Hermione came over to Ginny’s table. “Ginny, are you all right?”
nodded. “I’m just trying to figure
something out…” To Ginny’s dismay, her
voice was wavering, and tears were threatening to fall from her eyes.
dropped her voice. “Ginny, no one else
is here but me. And I won’t tell Ron or
Harry. I promise.”
tears overflowed from Ginny’s eyes as she told Hermione what she was trying to
do. “I just need that one thing, but I
just don’t see how I will ever get it all done before I leave Hogwarts, and I’m
so dreadfully tired, but I won’t give up…” Her voice trailed off. She sighed shakily.
should let us help you…I’m sure Ron would…”
Ginny said flatly.
why? I mean, it’s for Harry, and we all
like me,” she whispered, her mouth twisting to keep from crying. “Never
like me. Please, Hermione…I have to do this. Would you
ask for help with something like this for Ron?”
sucked in her breath suddenly, her face scarlet. “But this is…that isn’t…it could be dangerous…”
could tell she was getting to her, getting past the ‘rule-keeping’ Hermione,
and reaching the one who would do anything for her friends. “More dangerous than what you three have done
the past four years? Oh, don’t worry,
Ron doesn’t tell me anything, but I hear the rumors, and I see the
aftermath. I love Harry, and very likely
he’ll never understand, but I have to
do this. You and Ron have him, Hermione, and I don’t. This is all I can do.”
Hermione was silent a long moment, arguing
with herself and appraising Ginny, who held herself still and allowed the
scrutiny. Decisively, she said, “Right.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll go to Dumbledore and ask for permission for you
to practice magic just long enough for you to finish this. It’s for Harry, I think he’ll understand.”
you sure? I mean, he won’t even let
Harry come to us…”
more protected at the Dursleys’, he’ll be safer there…this won’t change that. I’ll meet you before breakfast?”
right, I will. Thanks, Hermione.”
Look into any eyes
You find by you; you can see
clear to another day
Maybe been seen before
Through other eyes
on other days while going home…
Granger, Miss Weasley…to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”
blushed hotly, momentarily unable to speak, but Dumbledore merely smiled, and
his eyes twinkled kindly.
can only assume it has to do with Mr. Potter.
Am I right?”
took a deep breath, and looked at Hermione, who nodded. Ginny told Dumbledore everything she’d been
thinking of, and explained what she needed, nearly trembling in anxiety. Hermione added, “I thought if you could give
her permission to use magic over the summer just long enough to do what she
needs, she could accomplish what she wants to do without worrying her family or
exhausting herself too much in the process, sir.”
seemed to consider this for a moment, then said, “Miss Granger, I would like to
talk to Miss Weasley alone for a moment, please.”
squeezed Ginny’s hand reassuringly and left the room.
Weasley, this is a very complicated charm you are working on. Not many try it. It is considered too complicated to bother
with these days. Why are you doing it?”
thought everyone knew how I felt about Harry…”
you truly know that, Miss
Weasley. Others can only guess.”
collected her thoughts. “Well…he is in
so much pain…I know He’s back—You Know Who--and the fear I feel can be nothing
like his fear--I just can’t stand the thought of him being so totally alone
with the Dursleys. Even for a few
weeks. I just wanted him to have
something more than words from distant friends on a parchment for him to
confide in. I would love to be his
confidant, but…I’m not, and I just want to do something for him. It
doesn’t make a difference how hard it is.
I want to do this.”
smiled. “Since this charm requires the
use of a day where there is a good thunderstorm, I will write you permission to
use magic for this one spell. And, I
understand, you need an enchanted object.
I assume you will want to enchant it for yourself…”
sir…that’s another reason I’m having such a hard time. I want to key the charm to Harry’s mother…but
she is no longer living, and I have nothing of hers to use…”
looked at her, seeming to reconsider her.
“You surprise me again, Miss Weasley.
Well, this is another time I can help you. Come over here. Have you ever heard of a Pensieve?”
read about them…but I’ve never seen one…”
He led her to the silvery bowl that was his
Pensieve. “I have many memories of Harry’s mother. She was an excellent student, and especially
good at Charms, as I believe you are, as well.
Am I right, Miss Weasley?”
throat was dry as she said, “Yes, sir.”
began to pull wispy threads of memory from his mind, swirling them in the
Pensieve: Lily as a first year, putting
on the Sorting Hat…Lily receiving an award for excellence in Charms…Lily
dancing with James, who looked remarkably like Harry himself…Lily and James
married…Lily bringing a newborn Harry for Dumbledore to see…
She looks so happy, Ginny thought
wistfully. I wish I could have met her.
was a very special and courageous woman, much like you, Miss Weasley. She was very brave, until the very end. She and James were made for one another.” Dumbledore shook his head, shaking himself
out of his reverie. “Now, Miss Weasley,
do you have an object to charm?”
nodded, and reached into the pocket of her robe. She brought out a small oval pendant, set
with a green stone. It was not immensely
valuable, but it had always been one of Ginny’s favorite things. She felt that an object she had loved would
hold the charm better than some ordinary thing.
Dumbledore took the small thing, looked at her face again, and placed
the object within the Pensieve. Ginny
couldn’t quite hear the incantation Dumbledore muttered, then he turned to her
and instructed her to take out her wand and gave her a part of the
incantation. In a clear voice, Ginny
said, “Harry James Potter audentientiam facere Lily Evans Potter.”
lifted the object out of the Pensieve, and presented it to Ginny with the
letter of permission. “You should go
now, and reassure Miss Granger, who is, no doubt, a bit worried at the moment.”
sir…thank you so much.” Quickly, before
her tears started, she left the room and embraced Hermione. “Thank you, Hermione. Thank you.”
hugged her back. “I want you to write me
over the summer and let me know how everything went. And write to me anyway. I’d like to get to know you better, Ginny.”
will, Hermione. I suppose we should get
What do you want
me to do
To do for you to see you
It’s all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago…
the rest of the term, Ginny kept to herself.
She didn’t avoid anyone, but she didn’t seek out anyone either. To her relief, most were too preoccupied to
notice. She noticed with relief that
after the Leaving Feast, Harry seemed to unwind from the knot he’d tied around
himself, and began talking to Ron and Hermione again. At least he could talk about it to them.
the Hogwarts Express, Ginny found a quiet corner to herself and concentrated on
the charm she had to do, making a mental checklist of all she needed. Dumbledore had been right, it was a
complicated charm that also involved some elements of both Potions and Transfiguration,
but…the price was no inconvenience to pay.
Some of the girls in her year often accused Ginny of being “lost in a
fantasy” and that she should wake to reality sooner rather than later. What they didn’t understand, what nobody
knew, is that she already had…
had been the night of the Yule Ball.
She’d lain awake long after her dorm mates had gone to sleep, and then
crept down to sit by the fire in the common room. She’d had a miserable night, though Neville
was nothing but kind and considerate to her…why could she not feel…at least
appreciative? Because he’s not Harry. And that
isn’t his fault, not at all. Ginny
sighed, then steeled herself for some hard thoughts. He might never, ever notice
you, Ginny. You may go through all your
years at Hogwarts together, and never get more than a passing thought. You are his best friend’s sister. And he may never see you as more than that. Ginny felt tears in her eyes and throat, but
she swallowed them with determination. What will you do, Ginny, when that happens?
argued with herself the rest of the night, but at the end, she was at
peace. She couldn’t be other than she
was. “To thine own self be true,” her
father had often quoted to her, and she believed in that. She couldn’t stop loving Harry; however, she
also couldn’t let that be her entire reason for being. She would look for ways to show her love
without creating discomfort for either of them…but get on with her life…alone,
resolve had made her life easier, in some ways, harder in others. It was hard to pass by Harry, Ron and
Hermione when they were at the table, and not try to sit by them. It was hard not to spend time trying to make
Harry notice her. It was nice, however,
to get to know some of the girls in her year better, and it was nice to spend
hours studying Charms and Transfiguration, two of her best and favorite subjects.
things, however, didn’t change. She
couldn’t stop dreaming of him, and she couldn’t stop caring for him. Ginny smiled to herself, and closed her eyes
contentedly. One way or another, it
would turn out for the best…she clung to that hope, even in the midst of all
the events of the past month. She could
not bear to face the alternative.
the platform, Ginny watched as Harry said good bye to her brothers and Hermione. It was good to see, his brief smile, but she
could see as well his worry, still eating away at him, though he hid it
well. She watched him leave with his
uncle, then turned and followed her brothers.
Inch your way through dead
dreams to another land
Maybe you’re tired and
Your tongue is twisted with
words half spoken and thoughts unclear
What do you want me to do
To do for you, to see you
A box of rain will ease the
pain and love will see you through
paced her room, her stomach in knots.
The sky was clouding up nicely, and all was in readiness. Now if her parents and brothers would just go
five days, since her return from Hogwarts, she’d prepared everything and hoped
for rain. Now the question was how to do
it without being disturbed and discovered.
She needed two hours, any portion of which in pouring rain. The sky was wonderfully dark, and she couldn’t
have asked for a better day to do this…but all her brothers were here, not to
mention her parents. It was important to
her that this to remain a secret, especially from Ron, who would surely flip if
he knew what she was doing, and then tease her horribly later.
then…a miracle happened.
Come down here, please!”
came downstairs to her mother’s frantic voice.
“What is it, Mum?”
Weasley was in a right state. Her hands
shook as she got her bag together. “The
twins have finally blown up their room and your brother Ron with it. Right now, they’re stuck together like flies
to flypaper…we’re going to St. Mungo’s emergency room…”
they be all right, Mum?” Ginny asked worriedly.
but Fred and George are going to hear about it for the rest of the summer, I
can tell you that…” Molly sighed. “Will you be all right on your own for a few
hours? I don’t know how long this will
Mum, I’ll be fine. I hope they will be
smiled at her daughter. “I’m sure they
will be, dear. Now don’t you
worry.” She kissed Ginny and left.
watched them go from the window of her room.
This was definitely not what
she’d wanted to happen, but…she would be a fool to pass up this
opportunity. She gathered up her
supplies and headed out to the hills.
wind began to pick up as she walked to the clearing, which was hidden from the
house by trees. She took a deep breath
as she set the box, her own treasure box that she’d had since she could
remember, down on the tree stump. There
had been a momentary pang as she emptied it to use, but after that, she hadn’t
minded giving it away. The jewel, she
had affixed to the bottom of the inside of the box. She hadn’t noticed before, but the jewel was
the same color as Harry’s eyes. She
smiled and opened the box.
took out the ingredients she had collected: asphodel, chamomile, and lavender;
and scrubbed them inside the box. She
had to do it very hard, so that the herbs were imbedded into the wood. She skinned her fingertips a little, but she
began to patter on her hair, and her body relaxed…it was really going to rain.
Now, she must concentrate on Harry, only on Harry, and what she had to
do. She opened the box again and left it
on the stump, open to the rain. She took
out her wand and murmured, “Aquaelicium”, and tapped the box, which began to
glow purple as the rain came down harder, darker purple the harder it
rained. Ginny was trembling as she
raised her arms, closed her eyes and began the charm. It was a chant, and she must sing it as long
as she could, as the wind whipped her sodden robes around her legs and her hair
in her face. She didn’t think about how
cold she was, or how soaked her robes were…she must think of the charm,
concentrate on singing that charm, think of Harry.
eyes snapped open as the thunder clapped, loud, in her ears, but she didn’t
falter in her singing. The box was full
to overflowing with rain, and she could feel heat from the burning purple
box. She had been cold just a moment
ago, but now she felt flushed with warmth.
The thunder clapped loudly three times.
Then, slowly, the box lid swung shut.
Ginny finished her chant, and the chill came back to her and she began
to tremble violently. She sank to her
knees in the muddy ground and fainted.
Lily bent over her. “You’ll be all right. You are a good friend to Harry…and I want you
to give this to him yourself. I want him
to know what a good friend you are.” Her
hand smoothed back Ginny’s wet hair. Her
hand was soft and cool.
Ginny gazed dazedly up at
her. “I will. I promise.”
“Get up now, little
one. Get back to your home and get dry
Just a box of rain, wind and water
Believe it if you need it,
if you don’t just pass it on
Sun and shower, wind and
In and out the window like a
moth before a flame…
opened her eyes and blinked in the shining sunlight. A rainbow was crossing the sky. She got up and went over to the stump, which
had been burned black by the force of the spell. The box was now a deep eggplant-purple color,
gleaming dully in the sunlight. It was
heavier than it had been, and she hurried home as fast as she could.
clock in the kitchen had Fred and George’s hands still at “In deep trouble”,
Ron’s at “In a mess”, and her mother’s hand at “Madder than a Wet Hen”. Her father’s still said “Work”. She sighed with relief and went upstairs to
take a nice warm bath.
came out of the bath with her heart considerably lighter than it had been in
many weeks. She looked at the box and
touched the top of it with her bruised fingers.
It was cool and smooth. She
opened it. Inside was a silvery shimmer,
like water mirrored with overcast sky, dark and sparkling. She could still see the green jewel in the
very bottom, sparkling with the movement of the shimmering waves. And then, it was as if someone touched her
cheek, very gently, a smooth, cool hand…
shut the box. Taking out her wand, she
murmured the incantation that would make the box only Harry’s: “Oblatio Harry
James Potter.” She hid it in her dresser
drawer and took a nap.
next morning, while Ron was still asleep and the twins were banished to their
room, Ginny came in to speak to her mother, holding something wrapped in a
cloth. “Mum, can I talk to you?”
course, dear. Let’s sit and talk. You’ve seemed quite preoccupied since you
came home from Hogwarts.”
smiled softly. “I have something I’d
like to show you…but it’s a secret.”
frowned. “Then let’s go into the bedroom,
dear. Your brothers may be down any
moment.” Molly had always understood
that a girl sometimes had a need for secrecy.
followed her mother upstairs to her parents’ room. “Now, what is it, dear?”
took the box from its cloth wrappings and showed it to her mother.
goodness, Ginny…is that what I think it is?”
haven’t seen one of these in years.
Wherever did you get it?”
made it, Mum…yesterday.”
Ginny, you’re not allowed to do magic outside of school…”
gave me permission to do just enough so that I could finish this.” Ginny explained to her mother why and who the
box was for, and what had happened. “And
now…I promised…I promised I’d give it to him myself. So I have to go to Little Whinging, Surrey.”
saw Lily Potter?”
nodded quietly. Her mother sighed and
looked at her. “I don’t want you to go
alone. You haven’t spent a lot of time
in the Muggle world, and it can be quite dangerous…”
thought of that…I could ask Hermione.
She knows, and won’t tell Ron if I ask her not to.”
will write her parents,” Molly said.
“You are very kind to do this, Ginny…I just don’t want you to get your
know, Mum. I haven’t. I know Harry might not ever…but that doesn’t
change the fact that the box might help.
It doesn’t matter what he thinks of me, I just hope he uses it. He must be so lonely.”
mother’s eyes had suddenly become very soft, and she looked like she had when
Percy had got his Prefect badge. Oh please, please, don’t let her start crying…
however, composed herself, and settled for stroking her daughter’s hair. “I’m very sure he is. I will write Hermione’s parents straightaway
and talk to your father about setting up the Floo to reach the Grangers’ house
for a couple days. Meantime, you should
wrap that up and hide it. You don’t want
your brothers to find it.”
smiled broadly. Molly looked at her closely, then said, in a more normal tone, “And
get some rest. You’ve got dark circles
under your eyes.”
parents wrote back in the affirmative.
Ginny would travel by Floo powder (which her father so graciously
arranged) to Hermione’s after the boys had gone to bed, and would stay
overnight. She packed a bag and waited
that night, twisting a corner of her robe nervously.
soft knock at the door: “Ginny…come
along now…” Ginny opened the door and
quietly followed her mother down the stairs.
Molly kissed her daughter on the cheek.
“You be careful among the Muggles.
And don’t get hurt at anything those wretched Dursleys say to you. They’re just ignorant and hate what they do
nodded. “I’ll be all right, Mum. Thank you.”
She tossed the powder into the fireplace and said, “The Grangers’
fell out of the fireplace onto the hearthrug.
“Hi, Ginny!” Hermione bent to
help Ginny up.
Hermione…thanks for helping me again.”
She stood up, and turned shyly to Hermione’s parents, who were smiling
bemusedly at Ginny.
these are my parents. Mum and Dad, this
is Ginny Weasley, Ron’s sister.”
a pleasure to meet you again, Ginny,” Mrs. Granger said pleasantly. “Your mother and father were so kind to us
when we were in Diagon Alley that time, and we are so happy to help out in any
way we can. Why don’t you show Ginny to the guest room and then come down for
some hot chocolate?”
helped Ginny with her bag as they went upstairs. “How did it go?” she asked anxiously.
said Ginny, with a trace of humor. “And
I mean that literally. I’ll tell you all
about that later.”
on, in Hermione’s room, Ginny told her everything, and the older girl looked at
Ginny in frank admiration. “Wow, Ginny,
that charm was really difficult. And
your mother wasn’t angry or anything?”
seemed to understand. And of course, she
absolutely dotes on Harry--she’s practically adopted him. If I did it for him, I think she’d excuse
just about anything.” Ginny smiled
smiled back. “Are you nervous?”
about meeting the Dursleys. Oddly
enough, I’m not nervous at all about seeing Harry. I just hope the box brings him some comfort.”
sure it will…because you put a lot of love into it. Whether he knows it or not.” Hermione smiled. “Oh, I nearly forgot…did you
bring Muggle clothes?”
blanched and rolled her eyes. “It’s the one thing I forgot in all the
all right. We’re about the same size,
I’ll lend you some things of mine.
There’s a top I have that would look lovely on you.”
you think you can keep this a secret from Ron?” Ginny asked.
snorted. “Of course I can. He doesn’t
know all my secrets…and he never
will. Have no worries about that.”
grinned and yawned. “We’d better get
some sleep. That spell really took a lot
out of me…” She was asleep before her
head hit the pillow.
Lily Potter smiled at
her. “You have made a great sacrifice
for him, Virginia…don’t be afraid of the Dursleys. They cannot harm you in any way. Be brave just a little longer, Ginny…”
The next morning, Ginny awoke, disoriented, in a large bed
in a big room, in a house she didn’t know.
It took a few moments to remember where she was: the Granger’s guest
room. She got up and the house was
quiet. Looking at herself in the mirror
was like looking at a stranger. Ginny
touched her face as she looked at herself.
Her face was so serious, her eyes grave.
Had the magic done that? Was this
the price she had to pay? Or was she
only nervous and tired? She went to
Hermione’s room, as she was waking up.
“Good morning,” she said softly.
“Good morning, Ginny.
Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, thanks…When do we leave for the train?”
“In three hours.
I’ve got an outfit I think would look nice on you…it’s never suited me,
wrong coloring and all, but it should suit you.” Hermione took out a pastel green sleeveless
shirt and a cream colored skirt printed with green flowers.
“It’s lovely, Hermione.
Thank you.” Ginny showered and
dressed, and sat combing through her wet hair while Hermione was in the
bathroom. Muggle clothes always felt
strange to her, always binding in all the wrong places and being rather
more…bare than she should be. But these
weren’t bad at all, and at least the skirt covered her knees.
Hermione finished getting dressed, then said, “We’d better
hurry if we’re going to make our train.”
Ginny picked up her bag and checked nervously that the box
was still there. “All right. I’m ready.”
Mrs. Granger dropped the two girls off at the train
station, and Ginny and Hermione got on the train and found a compartment to
“Thank you so much for helping me, Hermione.”
“Well…you know I’m cheering for you, Ginny. I’d never tell Harry that, of course.”
Ginny smiled. “I
appreciate that. And I’m cheering for
you, too…though you’ll probably see results faster than I will.”
The older girl smiled. “How did
“Oh, please. You
two are peas in a pod, as Mum would say.
The way you two fight…then of course, he sticks up for you violently
even when you aren’t speaking to each other.
It’s obvious. He’s a good sort,
as you know…even if he can be a bit of a git.”
“Yes,” Hermione said quietly. “I know.”
Ginny sighed heavily.
“I kind of hope the Dursleys aren’t home. I didn’t like the looks of them. They look mean. Not even ‘people’ mean. Animal
“I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Ginny.” The two girls looked at each other seriously.
They got off at the Little Whinging station, and Ginny
looked around. She wondered,
irrelevantly, if Harry had ever even seen the train station, if he’d ever been
to the ice cream parlor across the street…
“We have to take a bus, Ginny. We should be there in about fifteen
minutes.” Hermione got them on the bus
and paid the fare to Privet Drive.
Privet Drive was even more intimidating than Ginny had
ever imagined. Two rows of immaculately
neat, manicured lawns, identical tidy houses…so much different from her house, and
they were lined up like a fortress against anything…abnormal. For the first time, Ginny’s bravery faltered,
and she felt shabby and poor for the first time in her life. Hermione grabbed her hand. “You’re better than that, Ginny. You took firsts in almost every class this
year,” she whispered.
Ginny smiled and felt better. Together, the two girls walked to Number Four. “You ready?” Hermione asked.
Ginny closed her eyes, and swallowed. Unbidden, Fred’s indignant voice echoed in
her head, “They were starving him, Mum…”
Ginny’s chin came up and she squared her shoulders. These people were nothing but bullies, just
like Malfoy, and she would never let them see her afraid of them. “Yes,” Ginny said firmly. “Let’s go.”
She led the way to the front door and rang the bell.
A severely tailored woman with blonde hair answered the
door. “Yes?” she said, looking at the
two girls with puzzlement, as if they were vaguely familiar.
Ginny put on her sweetest smile and said, “Mrs. Dursley?”
“Yes, I am Mrs. Dursley.
And you are…?”
“I’m Ginny Weasley, ma’am, and this is my friend, Hermione
Granger…we would like to see Harry Potter…”
Mrs. Dursley shrieked and tried to shut the door, but
Ginny was faster, and stuck her foot between the door and the frame.
“I’m so sorry to
disturb you, ma’am,” Ginny continued sweetly, “and if Harry could just come
down for a moment, we will be out of your way in no time…”
Now Mr. Dursley had come to see what his wife was
shrieking over, and saw Ginny. “Here,
you…go on home! We don’t want any funny
stuff around here…”
“Why, sir…do you think anything strange is going on…just
two girls, standing on your doorstep on a perfectly lovely Saturday
morning…although I could make it
sound very interesting indeed,” Ginny continued, still very sweetly, though now
with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
“Yes, I could…unless I could please see Mr. Harry Potter. We would like to talk to him for just a moment…”
“Ginny?” Harry had
come downstairs and was peering over Mrs. Dursley’s shoulder, looking puzzled,
and stunned at the conversation he’d just heard. Hermione likewise looked shocked and amused. Mrs. Dursley looked panic-stricken, and
screamed, “All right, but you don’t dare bring them in here! Go out to the back garden!” Frantically, she pushed Harry out on the
front stoop and slammed the door.
Harry smiled, rolled his eyes, and turned to Hermione and
Ginny. “Well, you heard her. Back garden, anyone?”
As they followed Harry to the back garden, Ginny said, “I
do hope we haven’t gotten you in any trouble, Harry.”
He grinned. “No
more than usual.” He looked at Hermione.
“You should have told me you were coming…we could have met somewhere,
and you wouldn’t have had to brave Privet Drive.”
“It was really Ginny’s idea,” Hermione said quietly. She was obviously stunned at the way Ginny
had handled Mr. and Mrs. Dursley. She
looked over at Ginny, whose chin was still up and determined.
“I have something for you, Harry…I wanted to help you out
this summer…” Suddenly, she blushed and dropped her chin. She really should have sent this anonymously…but she’d promised…
Once they reached the back garden, Hermione said, “I think
Ginny needs to talk to you, Harry…I’m just going to look at the flowers over
here.” She walked about ten feet away
and studied the begonias.
Ginny sat down on the stone bench and took out her bag,
and Harry sat down next to her. “Hi,
Ginny…it must be important for you to come all this way.”
Ginny said nothing, just reached in and took out the box,
wrapped in silver paper and tied with an emerald green ribbon. She gave it into his hands. “I…I made this for you, Harry.”
“It’s…not going to sing,
is it?” He looked over at her, grinning.
She looked sharply at him, then laughed. “No, Harry…I promise, it won’t sing at you.”
He smiled back at her and began to open the package,
untying the ribbon and laying it across his leg. Ginny noticed his flannel shirt was at least five
sizes too big, and worn at the cuffs and elbows. His jeans were huge, and he had an immense
belt to hold them up. Ginny was angry
suddenly. Did those horrible Dursleys
have any human feelings at all? Oh, if
she had permission to use magic now…
Harry had unwrapped the box, and his hands caressed the
smooth purple lid. “What is it?”
“Open it,” Ginny said.
Harry opened the box, and immediately heard the soft
patter of rain, and saw the shimmering substance, the jewel at the bottom. And then he gasped aloud as he heard the
voice of his mother: “What is troubling you, darling?”
He looked at Ginny.
“How did you do this?” he whispered hoarsely.
“It’s called a Box of Rain,” Ginny explained softly. “It will listen to your troubles and help
ease your pain a little. It usually is
keyed to the person who creates the box, so it will be as if that person is
listening to you…but I asked Dumbledore to help me…so that my box for you would
be keyed to your mother.” She bowed her
head. “I knew you would be lonely until
you came to visit Ron this summer, and I couldn’t bear the thought of you
having no one to talk to after…all that’s happened this year. Words on a parchment sometimes aren’t
“It’s beautiful, Ginny.
But why? It’s not like I…”
“I wanted to do this for you, Harry. There is no obligation on your part. What else could I do for the one who saved my
life?” She smiled. “I made it that day we had all that
rain. It…wasn’t really all that hard…”
“That’s not true.
This is advanced magic. I won’t
forget this, Ginny.” He gave her hand a
little squeeze, then frowned when he saw her wince. He turned her hands palm up and saw her
bruised and scraped fingertips. “What
happened to your hands, Ginny?”
She blushed again, from her neck to her hairline. “It’s nothing, Harry.” She bit her lip hard.
Harry clearly wasn’t fooled, but he let it go. He looked at Ginny quite intently, and she
could feel herself blushing. He took the
green ribbon that had tied the package together and passed it around her neck,
under her hair, and Ginny concentrated hard
on not moving at all, on keeping her breathing even… He tied her hair back in a big loopy bow, and
grinned at her. “Thanks, Ginny. And I won’t tell Ron about this…he’d probably
flip out. If he asks, I’ll just say it
was sent to me over the summer…Is Hermione sworn to secrecy?”
Ginny grinned back.
“Yes. She helped me a lot.”
“I’ll bet. Hey,
Hermione, have you seen this?”
They spent a little time together, and then Harry
suggested they should go before it got much later. Ginny gave him the bag she used so he could
carry the box in the house without it being seen.
As Ginny followed Hermione out of the garden, she turned
back to Harry, who raised a hand in farewell.
Ginny returned the gesture, smiling ruefully at the state of her hand,
but kept it there a few moments, saying goodbye. She wished she could stay longer. Then she
turned and walked out of the garden, and did not look back again.
And it’s just a box
of rain, I don’t know who put it there
Believe it if you
need it or leave it if you dare
And it’s just a box
of rain, or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long, long
time to be gone and a short time to be there