Disclaimer: You all know the drill by now. This stuff isn't mine and I'm not pretending it is.
Chapter 6 – Letters Unsent
Ginny awoke the next morning to the feeling that something was off. She couldn't tell what it was exactly but the feeling was still there, at the edge of her mind as she descended to breakfast. She came to the doors leading to the Great Hall and was surprised by how quiet it was. The normally present sounds of a hundred or so staff and students eating breakfast were absent.
'I hope I haven't missed breakfast.' She thought to herself as she glanced at her watch. No, it should still be going on. With a shrug she pushed open the door to the Great Hall and entered a scene of complete silence. Ginny walked over to the Gryffindor table and sat down beside her brother.
"Why's it so quiet in here." Amidst the silence she felt like she was shouting instead of only whispering in her brother's ear.
Ron was sitting there in shock with an untouched plate of food in front of him. He didn't seem to hear Ginny, or if he did he didn't acknowledge it.
"Will you snap out of it and tell me what the big deal is?" Ginny was starting to get frustrated as she glanced around at all the other students who seemed to be in shock as well.
Ron shakily brought his hand up and pointed towards the staff table. There, sitting in his normal spot was Professor Snape eating his breakfast. Ginny now understood why everyone was so shocked.
The figure of Professor Snape was almost unrecognizable. Instead of his normal black robes they were now a dark navy blue. In the place of his usual greasy blacks hair was shinny, freshly washed hair tied back in a ponytail. But the part that was most shocking of all was that Snape's customary sneer was missing and had been replaced by… a smile.
Ginny decided that now was a good time to join the rest of the school in their shock.
Snape had, of course, noticed at this point that everyone was staring at him. 'Just because I look a little different gives them the right to stare at me? I don't think so.' He rose to his feet and as he did his familiar scowl returned to his face.
"Anyone still staring at me by the time I count to three will be joining me in detention for the next week as well as losing their house 50 points." The students paled and quickly tore their gazes away from the intimidating Potions Master and back to their breakfast plates. Ginny was the only one to keep watching him out of the corner of her eye and so was the only one to notice the slight twist of his lips as he tried to stop himself from smiling.
'Well, I wonder what's happened to Snape?' Ginny thought to herself with a slight smirk on her face.
"He actually looks good now that he's cleaned himself up a bit." This surprising comment came from Ginny's right where Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown were studying Snape and giggling to each other.
"I know what you mean Lav. Now that he doesn't look like he crawled out of some hole in the dungeons he looks kind of sexy." Parvati giggled back.
Ron turned to them with an appalled look on his face. "You can't be serious. That's Snape you're talking about." Parvati and Lavender just giggled to themselves again.
Ginny snuck a glance over at Hermione. She was smirking mischievously and gave Ginny a little wink.
"I agree, he just looks so smooth and mysterious." Hermione was looking at the Head table with, obviously faked, longing. Ginny noticed that Ron didn't seem to catch on to that fact that it was faked though. His face had gone bright red and he was now sputtering incoherently. Ginny decided that now she would put the icing on the cake.
"Oh yeah, I wouldn't mind being kept after class by him." She had adopted a sultry voice and quite enjoyed the look of horror coming over her brother's face.
"B-b-but G-g-ginny?" Ron seemed to be close to suffering from a nervous collapse.
'Now to get out of here and leave Hermione to pick up the pieces.' Ginny thought to herself.
"Well, I best be going now. I have Potions next and I certainly don't want to be keeping him waiting." She put special emphasize on the word 'him' and giggled as she grabbed her bags and quickly left the Great Hall. She could hear her brother yelling for her to "GET BACK IN HERE!" while Hermione finally gave up and started to laugh her head off.
'Oh Ron.' Ginny chuckled to herself. 'You're just too easy.'
Despite her bit of fun with Ron at breakfast Ginny wasn't in a particularly good mood. She had been hoping to catch Professor Orion at breakfast so that she could ask after a response from Harry. Apparently he wasn't around though because his place at the Head Table had been empty at breakfast as well as at dinner the night before. She sighed. She was starting to give up hope of receiving any word from Harry at all.
She managed a slight smile as her friend, and fellow Gryffindor, Colin Creevy, greeted her. Colin had been the only sixth year, besides Luna, whom she had formed a close friendship with. Her first year at school and the whole 'Chamber of Secrets' incident and left a number of people wary of her. She didn't mind though. She'd rather have just a few close friends anyway.
"Hey Ginny, how you doing?" Colin called to her with a smile on his face.
"Not to bad. I was having a bit of fun with Ron at breakfast. Aside from that I'm just looking forward to seeing what a Potions class with the new Snape will be like." She gave him a faint smile.
"You okay?" Colin could sense that she wasn't as happy as she was pretending to be.
This time Ginny managed a real smile at his concern. "Thanks Colin, I'm just a little tired I think."
Colin looked a little skeptical. "If you're sure then." He hesitated, he knew she wasn't happy but didn't want to push it. "Well, if you ever need to talk though you can come to me."
"I will." Ginny smiled and gave her friend a hug right before they entered the Potions class.
Snape entered shortly afterwards with a scowl on his face but once more Ginny caught a slight smile on his face as he watched his students quickly take their seat and silently prepare their workspaces.
"Today," He began with a sneer. "We will be reviewing a potion that you all should have perfect last year. Madame Pomfrey has informed me that the Hospital Wing is running low on Pepper-Up potions. You will be spending the rest of today's class brewing them." He looked at the class for a moment. "Well, why haven't you started yet?" he shouted at them and gave a small chuckle as they hurried to begin brewing their potions.
Ginny kept of her attention on her potion and half on studying Snape. Something was definitely different, besides the obvious physical changes of course. She just couldn't figure out what. She watched him as he was marking test papers and caught him almost starting to smile a number of times. When one of the other Gryffindor's knocked an empty vial on the ground Snape simply told him to clean it up. Everyone was shocked that he didn't take any points off.
And finally she figured it out.
It was only for a couple of seconds but she watched as he stopped his test marking and stared, as if in awe and wonderment, at his left arm. It all began to click. His new appearance, his attitude, looking at his arm, it must have finally happened. She remembered the words she had heard Professor Orion say that first morning: "Ahh, but you forget who you're speaking too. I've been mulling over an idea for the last couple of weeks. Give me a bit longer and I think I may be able to think of a way for it to be removed." It looked like he had finally found a way to do it. But then she realized what else he had said: "I never said I would be the one to remove it. I think I know how it could be done though." If Orion hadn't done it then it must have been…
Ginny was so shocked as she realized what had happened that she couldn't hold back her exclamation.
"He did it!" she was staring intently at Snape and the whole class turned to her as she spoke. Snape looked up in annoyance at first but as he noticed her staring at him and glancing at his arm he realized she somehow knew what had happened.
"Miss Weasley, remain silent and work on your potion." He wasn't really expecting that to stop her but he had to try.
"It was him wasn't it?" Ginny wasn't even aware anymore of the class, looking at her in confusion, around her. "It was Ha-"She was cut off by Snape
"Weasley! My office now!" And Snape stormed into his office before she had a chance to respond.
Ginny practically bolted into the office and the rest of the class just tried to figure out what was going on.
She entered the office and Snape quickly closed and sealed the door before casting a silencing charm and whirling on her in a fury.
"What do you think you were doing in there?"
Ginny ignored his anger. "It was Harry, wasn't it? He removed your Dark Mark didn't he?" She could barely contain herself as she smiled at him.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Bloody Gryffindor's." he sighed before continuing. "I don't know how you know what's happened, nor do I care. It is not the sort of thing that should be discussed in the middle of class. I would have thought even a Gryffindor would realize that." He looked at her disapprovingly. "Apparently I was wrong."
His words of reprimand had no real effect on her however. "So it was Harry?"
"Yes. Mr. Potter was able to perform a service for me." Snape muttered, clearly not pleased with owing a favor to a Potter.
"Well?" Ginny could barely contain her excitement.
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Well what?"
Now it was Ginny's turn to roll her eyes. "Where is he? Is he still here?"
Snape hesitated for a moment before speaking slowly. "He is…unavailable."
Fear gripped her heart. "Is he okay? Has he been hurt?"
Again Snape hesitated before answering. "Mr. Potter pushed himself past his limits in removing the Mark. As of last night he was suffering from magical exhaustion and was receiving treatment in the Hospital Wing. You must understand that it is very important no one knows that he is here. He will not be receiving any visitors."
However he might as well have been speaking to himself as the moment she heard where her Harry was in the school Ginny had burst out of his office, and was on her way to the Hospital Wing at top speed with a smile on her face. Snape was left standing in his office by himself staring at his open door in surprise.
"I could have sworn I sealed that door." He muttered to himself.
After five minutes of straight sprinting Ginny arrived, out of breath, at the entrance to the Hospital Wing. She paused to catch her breath before entering. Her mind however was still racing. 'He's in there. Finally I'll get to see him again.' Suddenly she felt a flash of fear. 'What if he doesn't want to see me?' Her stomach wrenched at the thought. 'He hasn't replied to my letter at all. Maybe he doesn't even consider me a friend anymore. It's not like we were close for very long.' Her doubt continued to grow inside her and she felt tears springing into her eyes. She was just about to turn and run away when the door to the Hospital Wing swung open revealing a very tired looking Professor Orion. She was only surprised for a moment.
"Professor?" Now his absence at breakfast made a little more sense. He had trained Harry and they must have gotten close to each other. It wasn't surprising then that he wanted to be with Harry while he was recovering.
Orion jumped in surprise as he realized he wasn't alone. He gave her a warm smile when he recognized who had spoken. "Miss Weasley. Why am I not surprised to see you here?" she could hear the amusement in his voice and she blushed causing him to chuckle. "Being concerned for your friend is nothing to be ashamed of." He grinned wryly at her causing her to blush even more.
"Is he awake?" She tried to hide the mixture of fear and longing in her voice.
Orion looked a little uncomfortable. "Yes…" he steeled himself before continuing. "He woke up earlier this morning and left almost immediately." He could see her disappointment. "I'm sorry Ginny but he couldn't stay."
She was fighting to keep the tears from her eyes. Despite her fear of rejection she still had longed to see him and knowing that she had missed her chance hurt.
"Did he at least leave me a letter?" she whispered.
A slight hesitation. "No he didn't."
Ginny ducked her head and concentrated on the ground, hiding the tears that had begun to stream down her face.
"But…" she looked up and saw the sparkle of mischievous in Orion's eyes. "he did ask me to pass this along to you. He seemed to think you would recognize it."
She noticed that he had a book in his hand which he now offered to her. As she looked it over she gave a gasp of recognition when she realized where she had seen it before.FLASHBACK
Ginny and Hermione had been shopping at Diagon Alley all day as they each searched for a birthday present for Harry. Ginny groaned as they entered Flourish and Blotts.
"Come on Hermione. Can't we find something better than books to get Harry?" Ginny whined.
Hermione sniffed disapprovingly. "Books are a great present and there's plenty of spell books here that would be useful. Harry needs to work hard and apply himself to his studies more."
Ginny just rolled her eyes at her best friend. She knew that Harry didn't another book on Curses or Defense to remind him of Voldemort and those who might die. Since Sirius's death at the end the school term Harry had become withdrawn and angry. Ginny had been one of the only people that he kept in contact with and they had managed to build a close friendship. She knew though that he still kept secrets to himself and she wanted him to be able to confide them in someone. She felt she was making progress but that it would take more time. It was then that a sign deeper in the Bookstore caught her eye.
SALE ON MAGICAL JOURNALS!
RECORD YOUR DREAMS AND HIDE YOUR SECRETS FROM OTHERS.
She shuddered as she remembered the diary she had used in her first year that had been possessed by the teenage spirit of Voldemort. She continued to study the journals as she thought of Harry. It would be perfect for him. He could write whatever he wanted in it without fear. It would stop him from keeping everything bottled up.
Thrilled with herself for having found the perfect birthday present she grabbed one of them whose cover was simple black leather. As she paid for it she was informed that she could get the initials of the owner engrave on the cover. She though that would look nice and a couple minutes later she had bought the journal which now had the letters HJP engraved in gold on the cover.
As Ginny remembered buying the journal she traced the initials engraved on the book in front of her: HJP. It was the same journal she had given to him before he ran away. Now he had returned it to her.
"He said you would be the only person able to read it." Ginny jumped as she was startled out of her memories by the man who she had forgotten was still there. He was obviously amused. "You're the only one who can open it and only when you're alone. According to him if anyone else tries then "interesting things will happen." It would probably be a good idea to keep this a secret from your friends. Whatever Harry wrote in that book was meant for you and you alone." Orion smiled at her again. "I hope that makes up for the lack of a letter."
Ginny was in awe over the gift Harry had given her. She couldn't believe it. "Thank you." She whispered.
Orion knew that her thanks were more directed at the young man who was willing to share himself with her than with him. He smiled, gave her a small nod before leaving her alone to enjoy the gift she had been given.
Ginny rushed into her room, thankful that all the rest of her year mates were still in class like she should be. She sat down on her bed and, with shaking fingers, opened the journal in front of her. A small piece of paper was wedged in before the first page.
Thank you for the letter. I've missed you too and I wish could be different and that I could be there with you guys now. I hope that my journal will help answer the questions you no doubt have for me. Orion should have explained that you're the only one who can read what's written. Anyone else tries and I ask that you take pictures of the results. If you have any questions you can trust Orion but don't share any of this with anyone else.
I hope that I'll be able to come back soon but until then take care Gin.
P.S. What are you doing? Ron and Hermione are still not together? I'm a little disappointed. I would have thought you could have handled them by now. Perhaps they're just too thick for anyone to help.
Ginny laughed and wiped a tear out of her eye as she put the note down to the side before starting on the first entry.
July 31st, 1995
At first when I opened my gift from you (this journal) I must admit I was very surprised. I certainly wasn't expecting you of all people to send me a diary. It made a bit more sense as I read the accompanying note though in which you informed me that "if you're going to be all broody then you may as well write it down instead of keeping it bottled up and biting our heads off." A little harsh don't you think? Okay, fine. I can just see you looking at me with a raised eyebrow. Maybe I was a little moody this past year but I'm getting a lot better.
I'd like to thank you for the gift. I do need something to write my thoughts in and this will be perfect for it. I feel a little uncomfortable keeping a diary though. I can just imagine the teasing I would get from Ron and the twins about it. Finally coming to the decision that I was much too manly to keep a diary (stop laughing. I'm very manly) I decided I would use this journal to keep track of all the letters I would be writing to you but can't.
What do I mean? First I'm going to have to make you promise not to hurt me. Done? Good. I'm running away from Privet Drive. Well, not just Privet but from Dumbledore, the Order, Hogwarts, everything. I know some things that I haven't been able to share with you yet and I feel that in order to survive I need to take things into my own hands. Because of this I probably won't be seeing you for a long time. I want you to know how much I hate doing this but it really is for the best. I would explain more but my window of opportunity has just opened and I need to get out of here while I can. I'll write more soon.
Take care, Gin.
Ginny smiled. Her heart leapt at the thought that he had decided she was the one to write too. Not Hermione or Ron. Her. She turned the page and started on the next entry.
August 2nd, 1995
Some words of advice for you: If you ever decide to run away from home make sure to take a route with hotels. Last night was one of the most uncomfortable night's sleeps I've had in my life. Coming from a person who slept in a cupboard that's saying something.
After hopping on my broom and leaving Privet drive I'd been flying, with only a couple of breaks, for 24 hours straight. You would think this would make it easy for me to get to sleep. If only life were that simple. By the time I couldn't stay on my broom any longer I found myself in the middle of nowhere with only a barn to take shelter in. It had been raining all night and I was just looking forward to getting somewhere warm and dry. What do I find in the barn? Sheep! Dozens and Dozens of bloody sheep. What kind of bloody farmer keeps his sheep all in a barn? It's madness I tell you. With no other real options I found myself a little corner and tried to get some sleep. It wasn't easy though. First of all I'd like to say that dozens of wet sheep do not generate the most pleasing of odors. They stank. Now I'm not an expert on sheep and I don't know if all sheep stink when they're wet but these guys smelled worse then…then…then a whole barrel full of dung bombs. They almost made me throw up.
Ginny couldn't help herself and she laughed at the image of Harry squeezing in amongst a bunch of sheep.
Now I bet you're laughing at me right now but it really wasn't fun. They kept moving around too. It was like the bloody things never slept. Every now and then one of them would bump in to me and twice I was woken up by one that seemed to think my hair looked a lot like grass. They're not even the same color!
Ginny was now howling with laughter.
Suffice is to say after the second time I realized that I was a wizard and I started hexing. The next time that blasted sheep came over my hair bit back. It's actually a very weird experience having your hair bite something. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it. After that I was able to get a bit of sleep and now that I've woken up I'll be heading out momentarily.
I imagine that with my disappearance everything is probably a little crazy at your house and I just hope I haven't upset you too much. I miss you all already and there were many times yesterday when I almost stopped and turned around to fly back to you guys. It's just something I have to do though.
Take care, Gin.
She just loved how he ended each of the letters. She wasn't sure just what she meant to him but reading these gave her hope. She looked at her clock and saw that she had time to read maybe one more entry before she'd have to deal with people again. She took a deep breath and turned to the next entry.
August 3rd, 1995
I figure I probably shouldn't put this off any longer. If you've somehow come into possession of these letters (meaning I probably gave them to you) you would no doubt like an explanation for my actions recently. As I'm not locked in my room at the Dursley's nor am I dodging sheep in a barn this seems like a good time to provide some answers to you.
After Sirius died Professor Dumbledore sent me to his office with a portkey. He then gave me some information that he should have given me a long time ago. His actions have made me doubt his ability to make decisions. He seems to have forgotten that we are people and not just pawns to be used against Voldemort.
You know that when we were at the Ministry the Death Eaters were trying to get their hands on a prophecy. This prophecy was told about me and Voldemort. Well, even though it was broken during the fight it was not lost. Dumbledore was the person it was originally told to and he decided it would be a good time to tell me about it after my godfather had just died. He's got great timing doesn't he? Basically what it says is that I'm the one who's going to have to kill Voldemort. Not Dumbledore or anyone else in the Order, me. It sucks doesn't it?
I started to ask myself why I hadn't been told. If I was the only one who could beat him then why wasn't I being trained? Instead I was shipped back to Dursley hell and just left out of the loop again. I realized that Dumbledore wasn't going to train me and if I wanted to win I would have to seek training elsewhere. I received a package from Sirius that was to be forwarded to me in case of his death. He wrote me a letter and enclosed a spell that would mask my wand signature from the Ministry. For the past month I had been practicing and perfecting all my old spells while I tried to figure out what to do next. Finally I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to leave and seek training elsewhere.
I feel this decision was the right one to make because I knew I couldn't stay with the Dursley's any longer. Dumbledore said I would be protected there as long as I could call it my home. He really must be as crazy as everyone thinks if he thought I ever could call that place my home. I don't think I have a home anymore. It makes me sad sometimes to think about it. I don't remember ever living with my parents and besides they house where we lived was destroyed. The Dursley's house has never been home and as much as I've loved visiting the Burrow I've always felt like a guest there. Hogwarts used to feel like my home but now there are just too many bad memories there. The Chamber, the Tournament, Cedric dying, that damn Umbridge woman, Dumbledore… It's just too much.
A part of me ran away from the Dursley's not only to train but in the hopes that I could find a new place to call home. Somewhere I could be safe and feel comfortable. To finally find a place where I belong. I really hope I can find it some day.
Take care, Gin.
A/N: Isn't this exciting? Another chapter finished quickly. It also looks like we're all going to get to find out what Harry was up too. Are you as excited as I am? I bet you are. During the next few chapters Ginny you'll get to see some of Harry's entries where you'll get some peaks into what Harry was thinking and doing in his year away.
Korrd: Yes this will be Harry/Ginny
Athenakitty: You're reviews frustrate me. You can't even call them reviews. All you do is list a bunch of questions you have without giving any feedback on the story itself. Reviews are meant to express your opinion on the fic you're reading not just place to ask questions. I have no problem answering people's questions as long as they give an actual review of the chapter with them.
Lioma Darksong: Wow, thanks for the praise. I'm glad that you're enjoying it so much and I hope I can keep you hooked.
Marquerida: I'm not cruel I'm just building suspense. You're the one who's cruel. How can you keep your opinion of Harry and Orion secret? I get so much fun out of reading people's theories. It's not nice for you to keep secrets from me. I'm allowed to cause I'm the writer. I know it's a double standard and not exactly fair but I don't make the rules.
Harry Foureyes: You kill me with your review once again. I just love it. You seemed a little upset about Draco being in the Advanced Magic class. This class is not just for "light" wizards and witches. It's a class being offered to all qualified students at Hogwarts. Draco is magically strong enough to perform the things in the class. It wouldn't be fair for Orion to reject him on the basis of his possible alignment. Draco is not going to become good and there's always the chance he'll do something stupid to get himself kicked out of the class ;)
Dr Gero: As you can see we will be seeing some of Harry's missing time including his training with Orion.
RealityIntrovert: Sorry, no good guy Draco in this fic.
Lady of the Dragons2: Choosing my fic over sleep is always a good idea.
Fire Phoenix1: I chose a forest to reflect Snape's soul after he was freed because I felt it was the opposite of the wasteland that he had before. A forest has so much life in it, with plants and animals, that it mirrors's the new life that is coming into Snape's soul now that he is free.
That's all the responses for now. Tune in next chapter to see Ginny tear into Dumbledore, and read more entries. To top it all off Harry gets a work partner.