O that 'twere possible,
After long grief and pain,
To find the arms of my true- love
Round me once again!…
A shadow flits before me-
Not thou, but like to thee.
Ah God! that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they might tell us
What and where they be.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Chapter I: The Thirtieth Flower
Harry Potter was sitting on his bed, in the smallest bedroom of number four, Privet Drive. It was early in the morning of the 31st July, Harry's birthday. As Harry watched, an assortment of owls flew in through his open window and he jumped up to allow them to land on his bed. He recognised Pig, the smallest owl, who was his best friend's owl. Then he saw Errol, the Weasley family's owl, his own Hedwig, a barn owl that he did not recognise, and another snowy owl, which he also did not recognise. The barn owl, Harry discovered, was carrying his Hogwarts letters, and so he removed them and placed them on his bedside cabinet to be opened later. The snowy owl, which he did not recognise, was carrying a single letter. He pulled it off the snowy's leg and read the front.
Mr Harry Potter
(Open Ginny's present first)
(Open Ginny's present first)
Harry stared at the envelope for a moment. Ginny never sent him a birthday present. He put the mysterious letter to one side and found Errol, who had carried Ginny's gift. He untied the parcel from the elderly owl's legs and carried the owl across to have a drink from Hedwig's water tray. He picked up the parcel. It was quite flat and very light. Intrigued, Harry quickly removed the wrapping to reveal what looked like an old record. There was a note stuck to the front of it
I know that you must be wondering why I have sent you a present, and I have to admit that I wasn't going to until I found this in my mum's old record box. I won't tell you what is significant about it until you arrive here. (I will be coming to get you later today. Ron has explained why in his letter.) However, I will tell you a bit about it. It is an old wizarding record, which can be played on a gramophone. This particular record was produced in 1979 and I found it sitting in a box in our attic getting covered in dust. So I asked Mum if it would be all right to give it to you, as I know that you will find it very special. Oh and by the way, Happy Birthday Harry. From Ginny PS Don't open the record case now. Wait until you've heard what it plays. G.
I know that you must be wondering why I have sent you a present, and I have to admit that I wasn't going to until I found this in my mum's old record box. I won't tell you what is significant about it until you arrive here. (I will be coming to get you later today. Ron has explained why in his letter.) However, I will tell you a bit about it. It is an old wizarding record, which can be played on a gramophone. This particular record was produced in 1979 and I found it sitting in a box in our attic getting covered in dust. So I asked Mum if it would be all right to give it to you, as I know that you will find it very special. Oh and by the way, Happy Birthday Harry.
PS Don't open the record case now. Wait until you've heard what it plays. G.
Harry pulled the note off the record cover and looked at it. He found the picture quite strange. In the background were 29 white flowers, and much larger in the foreground was a single red flower, all of the same breed. And below the larger flower were the words The Thirtieth Flower, written in very beautiful calligraphy. Harry was puzzled as to why Ginny would have sent him this old record, but he was sure it would be easier if he could name the flower. He sighed. He would just have to wait until later to find out.
Harry placed the record on the floor by his bed and picked up the letter from before. He tore it open and found a letter inside.
When Ginny showed me the record that she had found I knew immediately what it was, and I know that you will like it very much. That is why I have bought for you a gramophone, which you can take to Hogwarts with you, so that you will be able to play as much as you wish. I have paid for it with money from both my own Gringotts vault and Sirius'. I know that Sirius would have wanted you to have a gramophone as much as I do, so consider this the last present from your Godfather. I look forward to seeing you later today. Happy Birthday, Harry. The Last True Marauder, Moony
When Ginny showed me the record that she had found I knew immediately what it was, and I know that you will like it very much. That is why I have bought for you a gramophone, which you can take to Hogwarts with you, so that you will be able to play as much as you wish. I have paid for it with money from both my own Gringotts vault and Sirius'. I know that Sirius would have wanted you to have a gramophone as much as I do, so consider this the last present from your Godfather. I look forward to seeing you later today. Happy Birthday, Harry.
The Last True Marauder, Moony
Harry smiled slightly at Remus' letter.
"What's the deal with this record?" he muttered to himself as he untied the parcel from Pig's leg, who twittered madly all the time.
Harry tore off the wrapping paper quickly to reveal a strange looking hat. Harry picked up the letter that had come with Ron's gift.
I hope you're alright, being stuck with them muggles and all. Well, you won't be there much longer anyway. Ginny's coming to get you at about three this afternoon. You see, Mum's making me go for Hermione, God knows why. And Fred and George are busy at their shop, Charlie's in Romania, obviously, Percy still isn't talking to us, Bill and Dad are both working and Mum is cooking, so she's sending Ginny out. I hope you like her present, she and Mum both cried when they listened to it, although I haven't got a clue what it's all about, they think I'm just a big blabber mouth. I suppose you're wondering what the hat is all about. Well, never ever put it on. It's something from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and I don't know what it does. They made me send it, so be warned. Anyway, Happy Birthday, and I'll see you soon. Ron
I hope you're alright, being stuck with them muggles and all. Well, you won't be there much longer anyway. Ginny's coming to get you at about three this afternoon. You see, Mum's making me go for Hermione, God knows why. And Fred and George are busy at their shop, Charlie's in Romania, obviously, Percy still isn't talking to us, Bill and Dad are both working and Mum is cooking, so she's sending Ginny out. I hope you like her present, she and Mum both cried when they listened to it, although I haven't got a clue what it's all about, they think I'm just a big blabber mouth.
I suppose you're wondering what the hat is all about. Well, never ever put it on. It's something from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and I don't know what it does. They made me send it, so be warned. Anyway, Happy Birthday, and I'll see you soon.
Harry stared at the hat worriedly, and put it gently on the floor, beside the record, as though it was likely to blow up. The last present that Harry opened had been brought by Hedwig and was from his friend Hermione Granger. He pulled off the wrapping paper to reveal a heavy book entitled The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and it had come with a letter.
Happy Birthday! I know you probably don't want to read the book, but please do. You may find it useful to know what Voldemort has done in the past so that we can find a way to defeat him in the future. Ginny wrote to me last week and told me what she was sending you. It sounds so wonderful, I can't wait to hear it. I'll see you later today at the Burrow. Love From Hermione
I know you probably don't want to read the book, but please do. You may find it useful to know what Voldemort has done in the past so that we can find a way to defeat him in the future.
Ginny wrote to me last week and told me what she was sending you. It sounds so wonderful, I can't wait to hear it. I'll see you later today at the Burrow.
Love From Hermione
Harry put the book on the floor with his other presents and began to pile all his things into his trunk ready for when Ginny arrived.
"BOY! Get down here now!" shouted Uncle Vernon from the living room just after three o'clock.
Harry grabbed his trunk and ran down the stairs, dragging it behind him.
"This girl says she's come for you," snarled Uncle Vernon pointing at Ginny.
"Hi Harry," Ginny said smiling.
"Hi Ginny," said Harry grinning back.
"Mum's sent me with a portkey that will activate in about two minutes," Ginny explained, glancing at her watch.
"Great," said Harry.
Ginny pulled a small photograph frame out of her pocket.
"You ready, Harry?" she asked, holding it out to him.
Harry grabbed hold of the corner.
"Yup," he replied.
"3… 2… 1…" whispered Ginny, and Harry felt the familiar jerk from behind his navel.
"Harry!" said Mrs Weasley, running over to greet him.
He scrambled up off the kitchen floor of the Burrow and was quickly engulfed by Mrs Weasley's arms.
"How are you, Harry, dear?" she said finally letting go.
"I'm fine," he said.
"I hope you've not been worrying too much," Mrs Weasley continued.
"Are Ron and Hermione back yet?" interrupted Ginny.
Harry smiled at her gratefully for changing the subject. He wasn't ready to talk about Sirius. Not yet.
"No, they shouldn't be long though," said Mrs Weasley. "Ginny, why don't you help Harry get his trunk upstairs?"
"Ok, Mum," she said, and rolled her eyes. "Come on, Harry."
She grabbed his trunk and pulled it towards the stairs. Harry quickly followed her.
"What's the deal with that record?" Harry asked her when they reached Ron's room.
"I'll play it for you when Ron, Hermione and Professor Lupin get here. You haven't looked in it, have you?"
"No, I did what you told me. What's the flower on the front?"
"I can't tell you, because that will give it away. Just wait and see."
"Ok. I'm just a little suspicious of you, Ginny Weasley."
She spun round to face him suddenly. The sunlight reflected off her long hair as it swung around. She's beautiful, thought Harry. When did Ginny get beautiful?
"And why is that, Harry Potter?"
"Because, out of all your brothers, you most take after Fred and George."
"Oh… I see what you mean. Well don't worry, Harry. Nothing will jump out of that record and bite you."
"That's good to know. So how's your summer been?"
"Not bad. I've been thinking about Sirius a lot. I got on really well with him last summer, you know."
"He did mention it to me. He liked you. He said you made him laugh."
"I've been thinking about you, too, Harry."
"Because of the way you were at the end of last year. I was just hoping that you wouldn't go into a shell, like you seemed to be doing."
"I miss him a lot. It's my fault that he died."
"No it isn't, Harry. Please don't believe that."
"But it's that truth."
"No it isn't. It's Kreacher's fault, Bellatrix's fault, Voldemort's fault, but not yours Harry. You did what you thought was right."
"But he's still dead."
"You can't change the past, Harry. But you have to move on. Accept the fact that it wasn't your fault."
"You have to try, Harry."
"I was just getting to know him properly."
Harry slumped down on his bed. Ginny sat next to him and put her arms around him. This feels nice, thought Harry. He shook himself mentally. This was Ginny, his best friend's little sister.
"Sirius wouldn't blame you, so don't blame yourself."
Harry didn't say anything. He just put his arms around Ginny and hugged her tight. That was what Harry needed. Someone to hold him in their arms. Someone who could make him feel wanted.
Half an hour later, Harry was sitting on the settee in the Weasley's living room. Hermione was sitting beside him with Ron on her other side. Molly Weasley and Remus Lupin were standing in the doorway to the kitchen and Ginny was putting the record on the gramophone and finding the right place. A beautiful, angelic voice filled the room. It was the voice of a young woman, singing a song about love.
"I know this voice," Harry whispered. "I just can't place it."
Lupin glanced at Mrs Weasley.
When the song ended the woman on the record spoke.
"Thank you, very much," she said, over deafening applause.
This was obviously recorded live.
"My next song, was written by myself and the person who will be singing it with me."
There was a huge burst in the volume of cheering as another person walked onto the stage. The music struck up and two voices began to sing. The woman's again and a deeper male voice. Lupin stared at the ground, avoiding Harry's wandering eyes.
The song ended and the applause was once again deafening.
"Thank you!" shouted the woman. "Let's give a huge cheer for James Potter!"
The crowd shouted much louder, and Harry dropped the mug he was holding.
"Thank you very much," James' shouted.
Harry sat very still as he listened to hear his father's voice.
"Now, if you would all quieten down, there is something that I would like to do, before I leave the stage," James Potter continued.
Lupin looked at Harry.
"I love you, Lily Evans, will you marry me?" James asked.
"Yes, James, I will," replied Lily, who was, judging by the sound of her voice, crying.
The sounds of bangs, wolf whistles and cheering filled the room. Ginny lifted the pin of the record and slipped the disc back into its case.
"I was there," said Lupin quietly. "James made sure of it. He knew that she would say yes. Those bangs that you heard, they were fireworks. Sirius and I set them off."
Ginny carried the record over to Harry and handed to him. She perched on the sofa beside him.
"The flower is a Lily, Harry," she said quietly.
Ginny flipped open the case to reveal wizarding pictures of the concert. Lily was dancing, performing. Then there were pictures of James and Lily performing, then James proposing and the fireworks behind.
"Ginny, I don't know what to say," he choked, trying desperately to hold back tears. "How will I ever thank you for this?"
He looked her in the eyes and gazed into their deep chocolate pools. He leant forward and kissed her. Just briefly, on her soft lips. But the kiss sent a tingle down his spine, something he had never felt before. Lupin and Mrs Weasley exchanged a meaningful glance, whilst Ron and Hermione just sat and watched in a stunned silence.
Ginny and Harry blushed as they noticed everyone staring.
"Thank you," Harry whispered and ran out into the garden clutching the precious record in his hand.
Ginny followed him outside, but Ron and Hermione headed upstairs and Lupin and Molly alone.
"It is happening, Molly," said Lupin. "Sirius was right."
"How can you be sure?" Mrs Weasley said.
"Because I've seen it before. Lily and James were exactly the same. Well, not exactly the same, because they fought every day up until the day they got together," said Lily.
"Dumbledore always said it would happen, too," said Mrs Weasley.
"Yes. It was one of the few things that he and Sirius agreed on," said Lupin.
Harry was sitting underneath a large tree in the garden. He was crying.
"Don't cry, Harry," whispered Ginny.
She put her arm around his shoulders as she sat down beside him.
"I never knew them, Ginny."
"But I knew Sirius. And now I've lost him too. He was the closest thing I've ever had to a father, but now I'm alone."
"No, Harry. You're wrong. You're not alone. You have Ron, Hermione, me, my parents, my brothers, Dumbledore and Professor Lupin."
"I need him, Ginny. I can't get through all of this, without him."
"All of what, Harry?"
"Voldemort, the war, exams. I need someone who I can talk to, who understands me."
"You will get through it, Harry. I know you will. You're the bravest and strongest person I know. Almost everything bad that could happen to a person has happened to you, but you've just got on with life and fought back. And not only fought back, but fought even harder than before."
"How come you always know the right thing to say?"
"I don't. If I always knew the right thing to say, then I would have said no to Tom Riddle."
Harry walked across an enormous meadow. He was alone, with no one else in sight. It was hot, really hot. The sun was beating down on his skin and Harry was sweating buckets.
Harry spotted another figure on the horizon. The figure was a man, with long black hair.
"Sirius!" Harry shouted. "Sirius!"
Sirius walked over to Harry and embraced him.
"Why are you here, Sirius?" Harry asked. "Am I…"
"No, you're not dead, Harry. I've come to talk to you," said Sirius.
"I overheard your conversation with Ginny Weasley today, Harry."
"You're very wrong you know."
"Yes. You don't need me at all."
"Yes I do."
"You managed fine in life, before you even knew who I was."
"But I need you now. I need someone there who understands me."
"I'm not the only one in the world who understands you, Harry. There is someone else. Someone who understands you, even better than I do."
"Ginny does, Harry."
"Yes. Didn't you notice that she was the one who gave you the best birthday present that you have ever had? Didn't you notice that she always knows exactly what to say to you to make you feel better? Didn't you notice that she makes you feel wanted and loved?"
"Well, yeah, but I…"
"But you never gave it much thought. Think about it now, Harry. Do you remember what it felt like when you kissed her earlier on today?"
"What did it feel like?"
"It felt good. Her lips were so soft, and I got a strange tingle all the way down my spine."
"Has anyone ever told you that everything happens for a reason, and some things are meant to be?"
"Well, we always knew that James and Lily were meant to be, and what you've just told me about kissing Ginny is exactly what James said about his first kiss with your mother."
"Word for word, Harry. Haven't your feelings for her started to change recently?"
"No! Well, I did notice today that she is very beautiful, and it felt so nice when she hugged me."
"It has begun then, Harry."
"But she doesn't feel the same way about me, Sirius."
"What makes you think that?"
"Last year Hermione said that Ginny had given up on me."
"And who told you that 'given up' was the same as 'gotten over'?"
"Nobody. I just assumed that she didn't like me that way anymore."
"Just get to know her a bit this year, and you'll see how she really feels."
"Maybe you're right."
"I have to go now, Harry."
"No, Sirius, wait"
Sirius stood up and began to walk away.
Harry's eyes fluttered open. He was sweating, and is bed covers were all messy. It looked as though he had been thrashing in his sleep. Someone was holding his hand.
"Ginny?" said Harry, trying to focus his eyes on the beautiful redhead who was kneeling beside his bed.
"You were shouting, Harry. Nothing coherent, except for a few names," she said soothingly.
"Mine, and Sirius."
She brushed his hair off his forehead and smiled at him.
"Sirius came to see me," Harry said.
"What did he tell you?"
"Oh," Harry looked thoughtful for a moment.
He didn't want to tell her what Sirius had said.
"He just wanted to know if I was ok."
Ginny let go of his hand and stood up.
"Good night, Harry," she said and walked towards the door.
Harry sat up quickly.
"Ginny," he said.
She turned to look at him.
"Will you stay, just for tonight? Ron will never know, he sleeps like a rock."
Ginny bit her lip, looking nervous.
"Ok. I'll stay, Harry."
He grinned at her, and she slid under his covers. He put his arms around her and drifted off to sleep, safe in the knowledge that he would be having no nightmares that night.
A/N I know that this was a terrible chapter, but the story will get better. I've had two little plot bunnies running around in my head for a while now so I thought I'd link them together and make this fic nice and long. The best part will be near the end though, so there might be a very boring middle section. There will be some R/Hr later on as well as the H/G. Please review and tell me what you think.