Chapter Twenty: Where in the World Is Harry Potter
Next Monday morning Ginny was on her way to the Great Hall for breakfast when she bumped into Luna, who was on her way out.
“Oh! Hi Ginny,” Luna said.
“Hello Luna,” Ginny replied.
“Have you seen Harry?” Luna asked, fixing her protuberant eyes on Ginny’s face.
“No, I haven’t,” Ginny said. “He was supposed to get out of the Hospital Wing today. But it’s early, he’s probably still there.”
“Oh! Thank you, Ginny. I’m supposed to give him this,” she said, showing Ginny a roll of parchment that Ginny recognized immediately. It was from the Headmaster.
“Then you should hurry. He will be glad to receive it.” Ginny was not sure what Harry and Dumbledore talked about during their recurrent meetings, but she knew Harry was always looking forward to them.
“Would you like to go with me?”
“Sorry, Luna, but I can’t,” Ginny shook her head. “I’ll see you later in Herbology.”
Ginny had only seen Harry again during a brief visit the whole team made him. They spend a few minutes abusing McLaggen and planning a revenge that everyone knew they wouldn’t carry out. Ginny thought she should live up to the twins’ reputation and actually do something terrible to McLaggen, but in the end it would be a waste of time. Harry was okay, after all, and Gryffindor still had a chance to win the cup.
Hermione had asked her to go with her to the Hospital Wing that morning, since Madam Pomfrey was discharging both Harry and Ron, but Ginny refused as well. She kept reminding herself that she was not part of their little clique. Ron, Harry and Hermione were again close. They needed time by themselves. She didn’t want to intrude.
Ginny watched Luna stride away and then wheeled around to go into the Great Hall.
“Good morning,” she said vaguely as she sat down beside Colin and pulled a plate of toast towards her.
“Hey!” Colin said. “Still depressed about the match?”
“Not really,” Ginny said truthfully. “It’s all in the past now. We need to start getting ready for Ravenclaw.”
“It wouldn’t hurt if Hufflepuff lost their next match,” said Colin meditatively.
“Let’s cross our fingers,” said Ginny, starting to eat her breakfast.
A while later, Harry and Hermione arrived at the Great Hall for breakfast. Ginny was happy to see that Harry looked completely fine; he was even laughing with Hermione.
Ron, on the other hand, didn’t seem happy at all when he arrived about half an hour later. He looked both sulky and annoyed as he ate his breakfast with Lavender. And Ginny noticed they didn’t exchange a word all the time they were together.
During the next week Ginny was completely overwhelmed by homework. With every day that passed the classes became more and more complicated. One morning she was eating her porridge as she tried to hastily finish a Defense Against the Dark Arts essay for her first class of the day.
“Look at this,” said Colin from behind the Daily Prophet. “A bloke has been arrested for impersonating an Inferius and was sent to Azkaban! He was caught during an attempted burglary. Can you believe that?”
“Not only I can believe it, I can actually think of someone who could have done it,” Ginny said, taking the newspaper from Colin’s hand. “I knew it… Mundungus.”
“Do you know this person?” Colin gapped.
“I can’t say I’m glad about it,” Ginny said, scanning the rest of the page. Every time she looked at the Daily Prophet, she was always dreading to find a known name. In this case, though, she was glad Mundungus had been sent to Azkaban. Taking advantage of people in the days the Wizarding World was living it was simply disgusting. “Now this is horrible,” she gasped at a story. “A nine-year-old boy has been arrested for trying to kill his grandparents. It appears he was under the Imperius Curse.”
“Wow! That is terrible,” agreed Colin. “Poor kid.”
“Anyone we know?” asked Demelza, who had just arrived and sat next to Colin.
“No one from Hogwarts,” said Ginny. “Want to take a look?” she added, offering Demelza the paper.
“No thanks,” Demelza said, pouring juice on a glass. “If it doesn’t involve someone close, I prefer not to know. It’s depressing enough to know these things are happening without having all the details.”
“I know how you feel,” Ginny said, before going back to her essay. She did understand how Demelza felt, and if she wasn’t so scared of finding the name of her parents or brothers in the paper, she probably wouldn’t read it either.
The next weekend the six-years who would turn seventeen in time to take the Apparition test in a fortnight were going to Hogsmeade for an extra practice. The morning of the practice Ginny had breakfast with Dean in the Great Hall. He was nervous because he still hadn’t been able to Apparate, and was not confident about his chances of passing the test.
“This is what the extra practice sessions are for, right?” Ginny told him. “To build your confidence and get you ready to take the test.”
“Ideally,” said Dean. “But I don’t have any confidence to build. I simply haven’t Apparated at all.”
“Just don’t think about it. I’m sure you’ll be fine,” Ginny said encouragingly. “In any case, this won’t be your only opportunity to take the test.”
Dean looked at her with a raised eyebrow and Ginny had to agree that this was probably not the best time to mention the possibility of him failing the test, but she didn’t get a chance to take her words back.
“I should probably go,” said Dean, pushing away his empty breakfast plate. “I’ll see you when I come back.”
“Good luck,” said Ginny, hoping to sound cheerful, but Dean was already on his way and didn’t turned around, he merely lifted his hand in a half-hearted wave as a sign of acknowledgement and left to join the rest of the six years that would be going to the village.
Ginny looked up at the enchanted ceiling. It was a particularly fine spring day, one of the first clear skies they had seen in a long time. The day was perfect to be outside. Ginny looked up and down the Gryffindor table, suddenly having a wonderful idea. Harry was nowhere to be seen. He must be in the Gryffindor common room.
She got to her feet and walked out of the Great Hall. She had planned to spend the day in the library, but such a glorious day shouldn’t go to waste. Harry was on his own today, as both Ron and Hermione were also going to Hogsmeade, so she would find him and invite him to go with her down to the Quidditch pitch. It had been ages since they last had Seeker training and it would also give her the opportunity to spend some time with only Harry. They hadn’t spent any time alone since they came back to Hogwarts, and this was an innocent enough reason to have Harry all for herself at least for a couple of hours.
Ginny got to the common room, humming happily, but Harry was not there either. As it was Sunday morning, nearly all the Gryffindors were inside. There were a few six-years there also, including Lavender and Parvati, who were huddled up in a corner, talking with her heads together, and Neville, who was sitting by himself apparently doing homework. Ginny scanned the room again, thinking that maybe she had missed Harry in the crowd, but honestly, what were the chances of her missing Harry? She rolled her eyes and walked over to the spot where Colin and Demelza were sitting.
“Hey!” Ginny said when she was in front of them. “Have you seen Harry?”
“Isn’t he at Hogsmeade?” Demelza asked.
“No,” Ginny replied. “He won’t be seventeen until July.”
“I haven’t seen him all day,” Colin shrugged. “He could be still in the Great Hall, because he hasn’t come in.”
“No, he’s not there,” Ginny said feeling a bit frustrated. She was sure she would find him here.
“I could go to his room to see if he’s there,” Colin offered.
“Would you?” Ginny smiled. “Thank you, Colin.”
“No problem,” he said, jumping to his feet and heading toward the stairs as Ginny took his empty seat.
“Are you okay?” Demelza asked when Colin was gone.
“Spectacular,” Ginny replied.
“He’s not upstairs,” Colin said when he came back.
Ginny let out a sigh. “Thanks anyway.” She got to her feet. “He’s probably in the library,” she added, not very convinced.
“Do you want me to help you find him?” Colin asked.
“Don’t worry,” Ginny said. “I just want to know if he would like go to the Quidditch pitch for a little Seeker training. It’s nothing important, really.” Colin gave her a shrewd look. They hadn’t talked about Harry in ages, but Ginny knew it was an ever-present subject in both their minds. “I’ll just see if I find him in the library.”
“If you don’t, come hang out with us,” he told her as she walked away.
“Sure,” Ginny said before leaving.
She crawled out through the portrait hole and directed her steps toward the fourth floor. When she got to the library and popped her head in, it was very easy to see Harry was not there either. There were only five students in the library and none of them was the one person she wanted to see. She wheeled around and almost collided with Luna, who was walking so distractively that she didn’t seem to know where she was going.
“Oh! Hi Ginny!” Luna said dreamily.
“Hi Luna!” Ginny replied.
“Are you going to the library too?”
“No, I was just looking for someone,” she said, and then added, “have you seen Harry?”
“No,” Luna said. “Have you looked in the Hospital Wing?”
“Why should he be there?” Ginny asked, alarmed.
“Dunno,” the Ravenclaw shrugged. “But he seems to spend an awful lot of time there.”
Ginny couldn’t help smiling. Luna was right; over the years Harry had been to the Hospital Wing in far more occasions than any other student she knew.
“You’re right, Luna. I’ll check if he’s there.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” Luna offered.
“Thank you, but it’s not necessary. You were on your way to the library anyway,” Ginny said. “I’ll just see if I can find him. See you later.”
Ginny headed to the Hospital Wing now, feeling more frustrated. What she needed right about now was the famous Marauder’s Map. Her brothers should have thought about passing down the map to her, who was after all their own flesh and blood. It was true that Harry probably needed it more than her, but she only wanted it for a few seconds today so she could find Harry. She got to the Hospital Wing, which was empty but for a first year Slytherin who apparently had a Potions accident that left him with his face covered in nasty and seemingly painful boils. Madam Pomfrey dismissed her immediately, saying that she hadn’t seen Harry since she discharged him after his Quidditch injury and she certainly hoped not to see him again under medical circumstances, at least for the remainder of the school year.
Ginny stood in the hallway outside the Hospital Wing for a while wondering where to look for Harry next. Of course! Hagrid! He was probably visiting Hagrid and Buckbeak. How come she didn’t think of that earlier? Ginny asked, slapping herself on the forehead. She hurried to the entrance hall and through the tall doors, and stepped on to the courtyard. She arrived to Hagrid’s hut, but the friendly half-giant was not in sight. There was smoke coming out of the chimney, but the door was closed and she didn’t hear any sound from the inside. She was about to leave when Hagrid appeared, coming from behind the house. He was carrying a crossbow and his eyes were red and swollen.
“Hagrid!” Ginny exclaimed, walking toward him. “Are you okay?”
“Oh! Hi Ginny, what are yeh doin’ ‘ere?” he asked, trying to sound casual, but he sounded as if he had a bad head cold.
“Oh! Never you mind that. What happened?” she insisted.
“It’s Aragog,” he sobbed. “Yeh don’ know him, but he’s my oldest friend and he’s dyin’.”
Ginny didn’t personally know Aragog, but she had hear about the horrible Acromantula that Hagrid had as a pet and that was mistaken by Slytherin’s monster when Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets and framed Hagrid for Moaning Mirtle’s death. She also knew Aragog had grown up to be a horrifying, blood-thirsty beast, who would allow it’s offspring to eat Harry and Ron when they had gone to see him to find a way to save Hagrid. If he was indeed dying it wouldn’t be such a great loss.
However, there was such grief in Hagrid’s face that Ginny didn’t dare voice out her true feelings about Aragog. “You have to be strong, Hagrid,” she said instead. “You can’t let Aragog see you like that.”
“I know, but there’s nothin’ I can do and I am goin’ ter miss him so much,” he blew his nose in a flowery handkerchief that looked almost like a bed sheet. Ginny raised her hand and padded him on the elbow, which was the highest part of his body she could reach.
“Come Hagrid. I’ll make you some tea,” she said, motioning toward the house. Hagrid opened the door, walked in and collapsed on the nearest chair at the same time Ginny poured water in a kettle and tapped it with her wand to heat it. She got two mugs, each the size of a bucket and came back to the table to finish preparing the tea. She served it in the mugs and handed one to Hagrid.
“Here you go, Hagrid,” she said. “This will make you feel better.”
“Thank yeh Ginny,” he said, sipping his tea slowly. The hot drink seemed to help him regain most of his composure. “Now,” he said, after a while, “why are yeh ‘ere? Do yeh need somethin’?”
“Not really,” said Ginny, taking a sip from her tea as well. “I’m just looking for Harry and thought he might be here.”
“I haven’ seen him since he was in the hospital,” said Hagrid. “I reckon he’s too busy and he doesn’ have much time ter come and visit me anymore.” There was a hint of sadness in this last remark.
“He is busy, Hagrid,” Ginny assured him. “With classes and Quidditch and…” Ginny broke off, thinking that Harry did seem distracted and preoccupied lately. It appeared he had a lot in his mind.
“I know, and I’m not complainin’,” Hagrid said. “I just miss havin’ him and Ron and Hermione around.”
“I know what you mean,” Ginny said standing up. “Well, I’ll see you later, Hagrid. I hope you feel better.”
“Thank yeh Ginny,” he said standing up as well and walking her to the door. “Do yeh need help findin’ Harry?”
“No, I’ll just go back to the common room,” Ginny said.
“Come back whenever yeh want,” he said as she walked away.
“I will,” Ginny waved and headed back to the castle.
She looked around and sighed. It really was a glorious day, and she had already spent a great deal of the morning trying to find Harry. Where could he be? She looked at the Quidditch stadium and a light went on inside her brain.
“Of course!” she said excitedly. “He could very well have had the same idea I had.” She started walking hurriedly toward the stadium. “I’m going to try this last place and that’s it.”
But when she entered the Quidditch pitch, she found it completely empty. She went to check the changing rooms, having absolutely no hope of finding Harry there either. And this time she was right; the changing rooms were as empty as the pitch, and as Ginny’s heart was starting to feel right about now. She walked out of the changing rooms, dragging her feet and sat on the bleachers for a moment feeling utterly disappointed.
“What are doing here all by yourself, Weasley?”
She turned around and saw Zacharias Smith walking into the pitch with his broom on his right shoulder. Ginny scowled and got to her feet.
“That’s certainly none of your business, Smith,” she said, starting to walk toward the exit. He grabbed her by the arm when she passed next to him.
“I hope you’re not leaving on my account,” he said mockingly.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” Ginny said yanking her arm from Smith’s grip. “I’m leaving precisely because I can’t stand you.”
Ginny didn’t wait for his answer; she walked out of the stadium, without looking back. It had already taken all her self control to keep herself from hexing Smith for having the audacity of touching her. This morning hadn’t turned out the way she had planned.
When she got to the common room, she found it less crowded than before. Most people must have realized it would be a better idea to be outside. Colin and Demelza were not in sight, so Ginny went to sit with Neville, who was still doing his homework.
“Too much homework?” Ginny asked as she sat down.
“Loads,” he said, looking up from the essay he was writing. “How about you? Shouldn’t you be studying for the OWLs?”
“I probably should, but instead I just wasted the whole morning on a crazy scavenger hunt,” she grumbled.
“Did you find something?” Neville asked amused.
“Not a blasted thing,” she said. “At least not what I was looking for.” She had spent some time with Hagrid, which was always nice. She couldn’t honestly say the morning was a complete loss.
“What were you looking for?”
“That’s not important anymore,” she shrugged. “Have you seen Harry?” she added, doing her best to sound casual and uninterested.
“Not since I left our room this morning,” Neville said.
Ginny sighed, leaned back on the couch and stretched her legs while Neville redirected his attention to his homework. A while later he raised his head and looked at her again.
“Are you hungry?” he asked her.
Ginny realized she was. It was lunch time already and she hadn’t noticed.
“I’m starving,” she said.
“Let’s go to lunch,” said Neville shoving all his stuff into his book bag and setting it aside.
When they entered the Great Hall, Ginny saw Harry, sitting with Ron and Hermione. They were eating and talking animatedly. The thought of walking right up to Harry and asking him where the hell had he been all morning crossed her mind, but she refrained from doing so. He had no idea she was looking for him and she couldn’t blame him for not being available. With a painful pang in her heart, she thought that there was even a chance that he had been with a girl. Her head snapped in the direction of the Ravenclaw table where Cho Chang was talking with her horrid friend, Marietta. Ginny immediately tried to talk some sense into herself. Harry and Cho was over. But soon there would be another girl.
“I’ll see you later, Neville,” she said, feeling her hunger disappear, and went to sit with Dean. “Hey!” she said as she sat down.
“Hey!” he replied. He was already halfway through his lunch.
“How was it?” Ginny asked, putting some food on her plate unenthusiastically.
“Not bad,” he said cheerfully. “Not bad at all.”
“Did you Apparate then?”
“I did! I didn’t Apparate in the exact place where I was supposed to, but at least I moved.”
“See? I told you it would be okay,” she said.
“Now I think I will be ready for the test,” he said.
“Of course you will be,” Ginny said, playing with the food on her plate.
Dean was in such a good mood that he insisted in spending the afternoon outside. They sat by the lake like they hadn’t done in months. Dean brought his sketch book and insisted in drawing Ginny. They talked and laughed as though nothing had changed between them. But things had changed during the last couple of months, and although Ginny was grateful that Dean didn’t try to kiss her once, it made her realize things were definitely over between them.