I have officially lost faith in recovering the data in my pendrive. I am reviewing the version of this FF that I posted in Chamber of Secrets forums in 2005. I still can’t get over the fact that I lost all the updates I’ve done through the years. But the show must go on.
You can find the previous chapter here.
Chapter Five: Is Everything Really About Harry?
The next day Ginny woke up early and was the first one to be ready. She patiently waited sitting at the kitchen table for everyone else to get their trunks downstairs and finish their breakfast.
Surprisingly, everyone was ready to leave on time. In fact, when the Ministry cars that were coming to take them to King’s Cross Station arrived, they were all waiting with their trunks at the front of the Burrow. Crookshanks was safely enclosed in his traveling basket, and Hedwig, Pig-widgeon and Arnold were in their cages.
Fleur said goodbye to Harry with her usual exuberance.
“Au revoir, ‘Arry,” she said throatily, kissing him in both cheeks.
Ron hurried forward, looking hopeful, but in a sudden rush of diabolical inspiration, Ginny stuck out her foot and Ron fell, sprawling in the dust at Fleur’s feet. Furious, red-faced, and dirt-spattered, he hurried into the car without saying good-bye, while Ginny snickered. The only reason why she would miss her future sister-in-law was because of the many opportunities to get back at Ron that she represented.
When they arrived at the station, they were greeted by two grim-faced, bearded Aurors in dark Muggle suits who accompanied them to Platform 9 ¾. Harry didn’t seem particularly pleased by this, but he didn’t complain until one of the Aurors grabbed his arm with the obvious intention of leading him through the barrier.
“I can walk, thanks,” said Harry irritably, jerking his arm out of the Auror’s grip.
Ginny looked away so no one would see the little smile of pride on her lips. Harry was not the little eleven-year-old that used to look around at this new world in awe. He was strong and independent and was determined not to let anyone push him around.
When her mother gave her a soft push in the direction of the barrier, Ginny realized that her thoughts had once more strayed toward Harry. She shook the thoughts out of her head and walked straight to the wall that separated the Muggle side of King’s Cross Station from Platform 9 ¾.
Ginny said goodbye to her parents and got on the train. She hadn’t taken more than two steps when she saw Colin Creevey walking toward her with his usual excitement. Ginny couldn’t help but smile. Colin was the closest thing she had to a best friend. They had been inseparable in their first years at Hogwarts due to the fact that they shared the same obsession: Harry Potter.
“Hey, Ginny!” he called out, waving his hand enthusiastically.
“Hi Colin!” she said when he was in front of her. “Or should I say Mr. Prefect?” she exclaimed when she saw the Prefect badge he was wearing on his robes.
“Are you a Prefect too?”
“Of course not!” she let out a shout of laughter. “Even Dumbledore is not mad enough to give me a Prefect badge. He knows that I belong to the cool side of the Weasley family, along with Fred and George.”
“How about the holidays?” Colin said with anticipation and Ginny thought that this was the real reason why he had ambushed her in the middle of the train corridor. “I heard Harry spent the summer at your house. You have to tell me all about it.”
Where in the world did he hear about that? Ginny took a big breath and let it out slowly before she talked again.
“Colin, why don’t we try something different this year and don’t talk about Harry?”
He stared at her, dumbfounded. “Why?” He clearly was thinking that Ginny was insane.
“Because he would never notice either of us,” she said with a hint of frustration in her voice. “You will never be his best friend. I will never be his girlfriend. He’s just out of our league and it’s time we start accepting that.”
Colin said nothing right away, but looked a little discomfited, when he finally talked, however, his voice had regained its usual perkiness.
“Let’s go find a compartment.”
“I can’t,” said Ginny apologetically. “I have to find Dean.”
“Are you really going to date him?” Colin asked accusatory.
“As a matter of fact, I am dating him,” said Ginny defiantly.
“First Michael Corner, now Dean Thomas… I swear, Ginny, I don’t know what’s gotten into you,” he said before he left, muttering something that Ginny didn’t quite catch.
She was about to keep moving down the train when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around to find Harry.
“Fancy trying to find a compartment?” he asked.
“I can’t, Harry, I said I’d meet Dean,” said Ginny in what she hoped was a bright tone. “See you later.”
“Right,” said Harry.
Ginny thought he had sounded a bit annoyed, but she couldn’t understand why. With the exception of last year, she never rode with them to Hogwarts. It was always Harry, Ron and Hermione, and even if she tried to stay with them, they would make sure she understood her presence was not welcomed. But of course, he didn’t want to be by himself while Ron and Hermione were at the Prefect’s meeting.
Ginny was so immersed in her thoughts that she didn’t see Dean standing in front of her until she walked right into him.
“Hey Ginny!” he said cheerfully.
“Oh! Hi Dean!” she said awkwardly.
After a moment of hesitation, he leaned in and gave her a small kiss on the lips. It was tentative and brief, and when they broke apart, he looked into her eyes, inquiringly. She smiled approvingly and he smiled back.
“Let’s get your stuff in the compartment,” he said, grabbing her trunk. “The guys are in here.”
The guys? Thought Ginny as she followed Dean into a compartment. Inside were Seamus Finnigan, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil.
Oh! Thought Ginny. He meant the other Gryffindor six-years.
“You all know Ginny, right?” Dean asked as he put her trunk on the luggage rack.
“Of course,” said Lavender hurriedly. “Ron’s little sister.”
Ginny decided to ignore the comment and sat next to Dean. She was sick and tired of being known merely as Ron’s little sister, and this year she would put an end to that.
They started talking and soon enough Ginny decided that she didn’t particularly liked Lavender and Parvati. They were shallow and vain, and their conversation was dull. Ginny now understood why Hermione preferred to hang out with Ron and Harry. The two girls were immersed in a conversation about the new tendencies on dress robes when Ginny turned to Dean.
“Are you going to try out for the Quidditch team this year?” she asked, ignoring Lavender and Parvati’s offended looks. They were obviously not used to being interrupted.
“Oh yes!” exclaimed Dean, who seemed glad with the change of subject.
“Me too,” said Seamus. “I wonder who the Captain would be this year.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” asked Dean. There was something about his tone that Ginny didn’t like, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. “Of course it would be Harry.”
“It is,” she said. “He got his badge with his Hogwarts letter.”
“No surprise there,” said Dean, noncommittal.
“You played last year,” Seamus told Ginny.
“I was only covering for Harry. This year I want to try out for chaser.”
“Me too,” chorused the two boys.
“There are only two open spots,” said Ginny. “Harry would never leave Katie out of the team.”
“Well, he will surely give you one of the spots,” said Seamus pointing at Ginny
“And why is that?” asked Ginny taken aback.
“Come on!” Seamus said maliciously. “Of course he would give the spot to his best mate’s sister.”
Ginny felt a familiar boiling sensation in the pit of her stomach. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself before answering.
“First of all,” she started in a tensed, paused voice, “if I make the team, it would be because I’m good. And second, Harry is not like that.” Seamus opened his mouth to say something, but Ginny forestalled him, “I can’t believe you have been his classmate for five years and you don’t really know him at all.”
Ginny and Seamus were now sitting with their arms folded, glaring in opposite directions. Dean looked very uncomfortable, probably trying to decide which side he should take: his girlfriend’s or his best friend’s.
He was saved to make that decision when Lavender and Parvati stood up, apparently having had enough of Quidditch.
“We’ll see you guys later,” said Parvati as they swung the compartment door open and exited.
Once the Gryffindor girls were gone, the compartment door swung open again and Zacharias Smith walked in. His eyes were fixed on Ginny.
“Weasley,” he said and Ginny looked up.
“Smith,” she said acidly. She had never liked him and she had no idea why he would seek her out.
Ignoring Seamus and Dean, Zacharias sat in front of Ginny on the spot Lavender had left empty.
“You should know,” he said cryptically and Ginny looked at him questioningly. “What’s the truth behind this ‘Chosen One’ nonsense?”
Ginny looked at Zacharias through narrowed eyes at the same time she could feel her temper rising again.
Of course! She thought. Everybody wanted to know if Harry was indeed “the Chosen One.” And she was a Weasley, which made her a Harry Potter authority. She cursed inwardly. Why everything had to be about Harry?
“Leave me alone, Smith,” she said tensely.
“Oh! Come on Weasley!” insisted Zacharias. “You went with him to the Ministry of Magic. If there was a prophecy you surely heard it.”
“I have nothing to tell you,” replied Ginny, getting dangerously close to her limit.
“You heard her,” said Dean. “Just leave her alone.”
“We’re all fellow DA members here,” said Zacharias, waving his hand around. “We have the right to know if our fearless leader is the ‘Chosen One.’” There had definitely been a mocking tone when he said fearless leader.
Ginny looked out the window, trying to control herself, but her chest was raising and falling rapidly.
“Oh! I understand,” said Zacharias after a while. “You don’t want to say anything because you don’t want people to find out Potter is nothing more than a fraud.”
Ginny didn’t realize she had drawn her wand until she heard herself voicing the incantation. A second later, Zacharias Smith was trying to cover his face with his hands, but everyone could see the big flapping things that were coming out of his nose.
Before any of them had time to react, the compartment door had swung open once more, this time to show an enormously fat, bald, old man with prominent eyes, and a huge, silver, walrus-like mustache.
“A Bat-Bogey Hex!” he exclaimed peering down at Ginny. She couldn’t believe she would get in trouble before the school term had started. “And the best one I’ve seen in many years, I most say” he chuckled.
Ginny and Dean shared a bemused look while the newcomer pointed his wand at Zacharias, saying the countercurse. Once his face was back to normal, Smith dashed out of the compartment without even thanking the man.
“I’m Professor Horace Slughorn,” he said importantly, extending his chubby hand to Ginny. “And you are, my dear?”
“Ginny Weasley,” she replied, shaking the hand he was offering her. She had no idea what was going on. Was she in trouble or not?
“I’ve invited a couple of your classmates for lunch in compartment C. I would be delighted if you joined us.” He looked at her expectantly.
“Sure,” she muttered, her confusion growing by the second.
“Then I’ll see you later,” he said pleasantly and left.
Once Slughorn was gone, Dean turned to Ginny. “Who’s that?”
“Professor Slughorn,” Ginny said, but obviously that was not what Dean wanted to know. “He’s the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.” Ginny reflected for a moment. “Harry was right: he is weird,” she added as if talking to herself and both Dean and Seamus looked at her inquiringly. “He met him over the summer,” she explained, but she decided it was best not to mention that Harry had accompanied Dumbledore on a late-night excursion.
“Another nutcase for the looks of it,” said Seamus thoughtfully. He then gazed at Ginny. “So, is Harry ‘the Chosen One’ or not?” he asked bluntly.
“Do you want me to give you the same answer I gave Zacharias Smith?” asked Ginny raising her wand.
Seamus raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips, but remained silent, looking out the window. Ginny didn’t say much either. She was thinking about Slughorn and his odd invitation.
At lunch time Ginny said goodbye to Dean and Seamus and directed her steps to the very end of the train, to compartment C. When she got there, she saw that a few boys were already sitting with Slughorn.
“Ginny, my dear,” said Slughorn when he saw her. “So glad you could join us. Come in, come in.”
Ginny walked into the compartment and sat on the least conspicuous spot, on a corner next to where Slughorn was sitting.
“You know everyone?” Slughorn asked Ginny. “Blaise Zabini, Cormac McLaggen, and Marcus Belby.” With the exception of Zabini, the boys nodded courteously at Ginny as they were being introduced. “Now the only ones missing are Neville Longbotton and Harry Potter,” he added excitedly.
“Harry is coming?” Ginny blurted out before she could restrain herself.
“Do you know Harry?” Slughorn asked, fixing his eyes on her hungrily.
“Of course I know Harry,” she said promptly. “My brother is his best friend. He just spent the summer at my house.”
“Splendid,” he said as if Ginny had said she was about to give him a hundred Galleons.
Ginny realized she had said too much. Slughorn obviously also wanted to know if Harry was “the Chosen one.” Gratefully, he didn’t get to ask her anything else because at that time arrived, no other than Harry himself, followed closely by Neville.
“Harry, m’boy!” said Slughorn, jumping up at the sight of him. “Good to see you, good to see you! And you must be Mr. Longbottom!”
Harry glanced around and his eyes stopped on Ginny. He surely looked surprised to see her there. To be honest, she was not quite sure why she was there either. Slughorn started making the proper introductions.
“… and this charming young lady tells me she knows you!” Slughorn finished.
Ginny grimaced at Harry and Neville from behind Slughorn’s back and they smiled at her. They both looked as relieved as Ginny felt to see a familiar face.
Soon Ginny found out that everyone in the room, with the exception of herself –who seem to have been invited merely for her Bat-Bogey Hex-, were connected to somebody well-known or influential.
When Slughorn focused on Harry, Ginny could see he was not enjoying it at all. Slughorn started talking about how he was being called “the Chosen One,” but Harry remained stubbornly silent. Slughorn then mentioned Harry’s parents and their deaths. How could he bring that up? Ginny sighed. When would people understand that he didn’t want the spotlight? All he ever wanted to be was Harry, just Harry.
“… and you survived…” was saying Slughorn, “…and the word was that you must have powers beyond the ordinary …”
Zabini gave a tiny little cough that was clearly supposed to indicate amused skepticism. Ginny felt her temper flaring.
“Yeah, Zabini,” she snapped. “Because you’re so talented… at posing…”
“Oh dear!” chuckled Slughorn comfortably, looking around at Ginny, who was glaring at Zabini around Slughorn’s great belly. “You want to be careful, Blaise! I saw this young lady perform the most marvelous Bat-Bogey Hex as I was passing her carriage! I wouldn’t cross her!”
Zabini glared at Ginny, who held his gaze defiantly, while Slughorn went back to Harry and to the subject that – Ginny was sure – most interested him. Slughorn interrogated Harry about the incident in the Ministry of Magic, but Harry was not very forthcoming.
“We never heard a prophecy,” said Neville, turning geranium pink as he said it.
“That’s right,” said Ginny staunchly, rapidly understanding where the conversation was going. “Neville and I were both there too, and all this ‘Chosen One’ rubbish is just the Prophet making things up as usual.”
“You were both there too, were you?” said Slughorn with great interest, looking from Ginny to Neville with an encouraging smile. Ginny realized that once again she had said too much.
Slughorn seemed to notice that his efforts to get any information out of Harry, Ginny and Neville would be unsuccessful, because he graciously changed the subject. He spent the afternoon recounting anecdotes about illustrious wizards he had taught, all of whom had been delighted to join what he called the “Slug Club” at Hogwarts. Finally the train emerged from a long misty stretch into a red sunset, and Slughorn realized how late it was and instructed them to go back to their compartments to change into their robes.
Ginny, Harry, and Neville followed Zabini back along the train.
“I’m glad that’s over,” muttered Neville. “Strange man, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, he is a bit,” said Harry. “How come you ended up in there, Ginny?”
“He saw me hex Zacharias Smith,” she said, and proceeded to narrate the whole Bat-Bogey Hex incident.
“Better reason for inviting someone than because their mother’s famous,” said Harry, scowling at the back of Zabini’s head, “or because their uncle…” he broke off. Ginny looked at him questioningly, but before she could say something he added, “I’ll see you two later,” and got under his invisibility cloak.
“But what’re you…?” asked Neville.
“Later!” whispered Harry.
Ginny and Neville looked at each other bemusedly.
“What do you reckon he’s up to?” Neville asked her.
Ginny merely shrugged and continued walking. When she got to her compartment, she said goodbye to Neville, who continued his way toward the front of the train. Ginny walked into the compartment to see that Seamus and Dean had been rejoined by Lavender and Parvati.
“What did he want?” asked Dean as soon as she had taken a seat next to him.
“To have lunch,” said Ginny evasively. She really didn’t want to talk about the Slug Club right now.
“That took long enough,” said Seamus, looking at his watch, but Ginny ignored him.
“Who else was there?” insisted Dean.
“Blaise Zabini,” said Ginny, counting with her fingers. “That arrogant prat,” she added as an afterthought. “Cormac McLaggen, you must know him, he’s a Gryffindor seventh-year; Marcus Belby, I really don’t know him,” Ginny shrugged, “and Harry and Neville.”
They were all interested in knowing the details of such an odd gathering of Hogwarts students, but Ginny didn’t oblige. She put on her robes and remained silent for what was left of the journey.
You can read the next chapter here.