Disclaimer:
The characters and situations of Harry Potter depicted in this story are the legal property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

No profit is being made off this story. It is for entertainment purposes only.

Harry Potter and the Secrets of the Mind

Chapter 5

Relationships Change

"Ron, do you want to go practice Quidditch?" Asked Ginny a couple of days after the horrible day when the Weasleys discovered Harry after his assault by his 'family'. Although things were not exactly forgiven between them after their fight, she needed a distraction. She knew he would be up here sulking since it was a Sunday and Hermione's parents wanted her to spend the weekends with them. Granted Ron and she were both still upset about Harry; however, they happily heard last night that Harry was starting to come around and seemed to be more alert. Still their friend was away from them hurting, so doing something to keep their minds off hom until they could actually help him seemed worthwhile.

Ron glanced at his sister when he heard her question. She still looked depressed and he was still mad at her. Still, it would be nice to get out of the Burrow for awhile. He and Ginny used to be really close as the youngest of the Weasleys, and since there were not many young witches and wizards in their area they tended to play with each other more often than not as children. All of that changed when Ron left for Hogwarts; on the train he ran into Harry, and through the course of the year they befriended Hermione. Thinking about his friends only enhanced his dour mood; perhaps Quidditch would be good. "Sure Ginny, let's go."

As they both trooped out to the broom shed, Ron covertly studied his sister out of the corner of his eye. Anyone could see that Harry's injuries were upsetting her. He was not sure what was going on with his sister and his best friend. He knew that she had started to write him letters this summer. But didn't she say something about dating Dean on the train coming home? "So how's Dean?"

Ginny was well aware of Ron looking at her. She was not sure what he was thinking, but knowing Ron she would certainly hear his thoughts soon. She gave herself an inner smile when he asked about Dean. Ron always thought he was so subtle, but in truth he was quite obvious, asking about Dean when he really wanted to ask about Harry. How could Hermione never notice his attraction for her? Oh well, she decided to at least have some fun with him. "He's doing well. Did you want to know how good of a kisser he is, or did you just want to inquire about his health?"

She watched amused as he turned pink then red. "Ginny!" He shouted. "I don't want to hear that!" He then took off and ran the rest of the way to the shed. Ginny threw her head back and laughed deeply. At least Ron was always good for a laugh. She retrieved her broom and they began to move on towards their impromptu pitch.

You know, what was good for the goose… "So Ron…how's Hermione?" She had another laugh when Ron dropped his head and lengthened his stride leaving her trailing far behind. She needed some fun to get her mind off of Harry. At the orchard, she had caught up with Ron. With a brilliant smile, she leaned over and gave him a hug. She truly loved him at least for today she could forget she was mad at him. "Come on Ron, let's fly."

XXXXX

Molly busily straightened Harry's sheets for the fourth time that hour. Harry awakened off and on yesterday and by the evening he had been more lucid. She knew Remus and Dumbledore were waiting to hear from her if Harry would be able to talk about what had happened. She closed her eyes and bowed her head. Molly was still extremely unhappy about the situation. Molly knew in her head that she had to trust Dumbledore, but why was her heart screaming at her to take Harry away from all this?

"Mrs. Weasley?"

She looked down at Harry. He seemed confused about why she was there but at least his eyes were clear of fever. "Yes Harry, I'm here. Do you remember what happened a few days ago?"

A dark shadow descended over Harry's face as he remembered the beating his Uncle and cousin dealt him. Harry took a deep shuddering breath as Molly sat down on the edge of the bed. He could still feel the tightness of his still healing ribs on his right side. Yeah, he remembered that night. "Why am I still here and where are the Dursley's?"

"Well Harry, I need to contact Professor Dumbledore. I know he and Remus wanted to speak with you about that night and the near future."

Harry sagged back into his small and lumpy bed and looked away from Mrs. Weasley. He already knew what Dumbledore was going to say. Stay at Privet Drive and be a good little boy. "It's okay Mrs. Weasley. I think I can already guess what Dumbledore has to tell me."

Molly's heart clenched painfully when she heard the defeat in Harry's voice. "Professor Dumbledore Harry. And yes I suspect you do already know. I…" She looked at the sad young man in front of her and struggled to hold back the tears which were threatening to burst forth. "Oh Harry, I'm so sorry. Please understand if I had any say in this, I would have already moved you to the Burrow." She could no longer hold her tears and started to sob quietly, her heart broken to see Harry in this condition.

Molly cried for several minutes before she felt a hesitant hand on her shoulder. She turned back to look at Harry. "I'm sorry Mrs. Weasley. Please don't worry about me. I'll be okay. I'm sorry I made you cry. You and your family have been nothing but wonderful to me."

Molly cried harder for a moment as she grabbed Harry into a hug. He was truly a special young man. She struggled to get her tears under control. "Really Harry. Thank you. I was crying because of the frustration caused by you being stuck here. Please, I'll step out for a moment to summon Professor Dumbledore and pull myself back together. Is there anything I can get you while I'm up?"

Harry shook his head no and watched Mrs. Weasley leave the room. He felt awful that such a loving and happy woman was crying on his behalf. The Weasleys had been nothing but great to him and he seemed to always be causing them more trials. Now he had Mrs. Weasley here taking care of him when she should be home taking care of her own family. He did not deserve that type of care and devotion.

Around a quarter of an hour later, Mrs. Weasley returned. "Hello Harry, Dumbledore is going to stop by in about an hour with Remus. Shall I bring out the broth I made for you?"

"Thanks again Mrs. Weasley. I'm so sorry to be such a chore. It always seems like I'm being an inconvenience for you and your family."

Mrs. Weasley had a good laugh at this one, "Nonsense Harry, come on sit up and let me take a look at your wounds, then we can have some broth."

Mrs. Weasley in short order checked Harry's wounds and announced that his recovery was on track. She then sat and talked with Harry about the rest of the Weasley clan while Harry had his broth. After having talked about Mr. Weasley, and the fact that Percy was still avoiding the family, talk turned to Charlie. He seemed to be thriving on the dragon preserve, although it was very apparent that Mrs. Weasley wished he lived closer to home. At this point that Harry braved a question that had always been in the back of his mind to ask, but he'd never before gotten around to it. "Mrs. Weasley, why is that Charlie cannot Apparate home whenever he wants? We haven't really talked about Apparation at Hogwarts yet, but I guess there is a distance problem?"

Mrs. Weasley looked confused for a moment. She and all of her children grew up in a wizarding home, so some of the simple facts of wizard life were known from a young age. Harry had obviously not been exposed to his heritage so he would not know. Deep down, Mrs. Weasley felt another momentary pang of sadness for Harry. He really had been deprived as a child. "Well Harry, you're correct. Distance does affect Apparation. Most wizards and witches in the United Kingdom can move around the Isles with effort. For some even traveling a few miles is too hard. Some powerful wizards and witches can reach into the continent, mainly France and Belgium, but that is about as far as most can go without a high risk of splinching or a bad case of magical exhaustion."

"So how do wizards and witches travel to other countries then?"

"Well Harry, to be honest, I think most witches and wizards don't travel outside of their home countries. Nearly all muggle countries have a magical ministry counterpart, but travel for us is simply not as easy as it is for Muggles. For starters, to travel long distances your choices are either via port-key or broom--well any flying contraption--like a car would work I guess. Broom travel is tedious since you can only travel at night, so it makes it hard to carry luggage, and it can get rather cold. So really the only viable option is to port-key. You may not be aware of this, but port-keys are tightly regulated by the Ministry. It's an extremely complex spell, and technically it's illegal for anyone outside of those permitted by the Ministry to enchant. Furthermore, to make a port-key travel very long distances again requires an extremely powerful witch or wizard. The way we traveled to Egypt was via a port-key setup by the Ministry, although there are travel groups who can enchant port-keys for a fee. Since you asked about Charlie, he typically travels on one of these agency port-keys. It is not a very cheap way to travel; I can assure you. Again it also takes time because he has to hop a couple of times around the continent before he makes it to London."

Harry allowed this to sink in as he chewed a piece of bread. Strangely enough it seems like Muggles actually had a more efficient way of travel than the wizarding world. "Thank you Mrs. Weasley. The broth was excellent and I really appreciated the lesson."

"Not a problem dear, so how've you been so far this summer?" Molly asked.

Harry answered her softy, "Fine."

Molly sighed to herself. She was afraid that after this latest horror that Harry would withdraw even further. "Really Harry, how have you been?"

Harry knew she was trying to help and he appreciated her for it. That did not make it easy to talk with her, but he knew she expected some answer. "I'm surviving Mrs. Weasley. It's been a huge help to talk with Remus every morning. I've also really enjoyed getting letters from Hermione, Ron, and Ginny. It makes me feel more in touch." After this comment Harry remembered his last thoughts on the night he was attacked. Ginny had written him a mock scathing letter mentioning how she would either tease him silly or turn the twins on him if he failed to write her back promptly. Harry had missed a mail call before and Ginny mercilessly teased him about it in her next post. He did not think it was that big of a deal, but Ginny did, so from that point Harry had felt compelled to promise to write her back promptly. Oh no! That was the letter I was supposed to write that night. Suddenly he was struck with a bout of nerves again about the letter he was supposed to have written…which was now late. Harry was honest enough with himself to acknowledge, that for some unknown reason, he was slightly intimidated by Ginny Weasley.

"Umm, Mrs. Weasley, Ginny's not too upset with me is she? I promised her I'd write her back right away and I meant to, but the…uh…whole thing with my Uncle happened…" Harry was trying not to look too nervous to Ginny's mum.

Molly gave Harry an appraising look. "I'll tell you what Harry, why don't you write her a quick letter. Then I'll run it home while you're talking with Professor Dumbledore and Remus."

Harry flashed her a quick smile. "I think that would probably help, because I'm a few days late. I don't want her to get cross with me. I mean I want to make sure she knows I'm okay. Uh, I mean Ron and Ginny. You know. That they know I'm okay. Both of them, you know? Um, uh, I think my parchment and quill is on the desk over there, erm…" Desperately Harry tried to hide his flaming face. He was not being too obvious was he?

"Splendid Harry, now if I'm not mistaken you have about a quarter of an hour before Remus and Professor Dumbledore arrive." She passed him the parchment, quill and ink before retiring from the room to give him some privacy. Once outside she could not contain her chuckle as she headed downstairs.

Dear Ginny,

I know I promised you a letter by now, but I'm sure you know that I've a really good excuse. I'd cheerfully describe to you my last few days, but I can't seem to recall them. By the way, did I mention I had a really good excuse for not writing? Your Mum has been great. I keep saying thank you, but will you please say thank you again for me tonight? Your family sharing your mum with me right now has meant a lot to me. I think I better wrap this up because I'm not sure when Professor Dumbledore is arriving with Remus and I want to make sure this is completed so your mum can take this back to the Burrow for you. See, I may have missed a few days, but I did write at my first chance. Besides, I've already mentioned to you that I had a really good excuse, right? I just want to make sure because I'm not looking forward to a visit by the twins. Even more to the point is that I don't want to be on your bad side.

Harry

It seemed like only a few minutes later Mrs. Weasley had returned to claim the letter and show in Professor Dumbledore and Remus. "Rest easy Harry and try not to get too upset. I'll be back in a few of hours with more substantial food for you." Molly turned to the two older wizards and repeated her warning from outside again for Harry's benefit. "Remember gentlemen, Harry doesn't need to get upset and destroy some of the good healing he's done these last couple of days."

As Molly stepped out of the room, Remus replied, after a meaningful look at Dumbledore, "Don't worry Molly I'll make sure that Harry does not suffer." Molly nodded and left for the Burrow. She had decided that two people close to her could use something of a surprise, and she wanted to arrange it.

Harry fixed his gaze solidly on Dumbledore from the moment he had walked in. He thought of confronting the headmaster regarding the decision to keep him at Privet Drive, but instead he decided to force Dumbledore to bring it up. So Harry waited.

Remus was in no hurry to bring up the reason for their visit either. He could tell that Dumbledore was not comfortable with the talk he had to have with Harry. If Dumbledore had had his way, the Headmaster would not even be here right now, instead it would be Remus. But on this case Remus had been adamant. He was not prepared to defend Dumbledore's decision to Harry since he himself did not understand the reasoning. Remus might have been prepared to accept the reason and trust Dumbledore, but he certainly did not understand it.

Dumbledore glanced around the room before his gaze fell on his desk and the open Occlumency book and journal where Harry recorded his spell knowledge and thoughts on spells. He turned to Harry and gestured towards the journal. "May I look through your journal Harry?"

Dumbledore acknowledged Harry's nod of approval, and moved over to the journal and started to flip through it. He noticed where Harry had made notes on all the spells he could remember through his first five years of magical instruction. He noticed the next section where Harry had gone through all his old spell books to research possible spells that would be useful in the future. By the time Dumbledore reached the third section, he was impressed with the amount of effort Harry had put into his work over the summer. He was definitely impressed with Harry's extended notes regarding possible spells to research, his efforts with Occlumency and where to go from there, and also his thoughts on possible spell creation ideas. After looking at the fruits of Harry's labors so far, he was impressed at how Harry seemed to be accepting of his future fate with Voldemort. Dumbledore was sure that the remaining month of Harry's stay with his relatives would be put to good use, if the first part of his summer holiday was any indication. With these thoughts, Dumbledore passed the journal to Remus so he could also check up on Harry's work.

Dumbledore turned back to Harry and began his talk. "Harry, first off let me please say that I'm sorry this has occurred to you. I know that this home is not a happy place, but I'm sure that if you recall from our talk at the end of term, you understand that this place needs to be your home until at least your Birthday. You do remember our talk?"

Harry nodded in reply, but did not speak.

"Yes, well then Harry, I'm afraid that although you were injured at the hands of your uncle and cousin, this does not alter the blood magic which is bound to your aunt. Since I was able to persuade your aunt and uncle to accept you at their home until your birthday, I don't wish to invalidate the blood protection just yet. With all this in mind, I need to remind you of the need for you to continue living here until at least your birthday. Do you understand?"

Again, Harry only nodded in reply.

Dumbledore was slightly unnerved by Harry quiet acceptance. "Good then Harry, it seems like we're in agreement and you'll stay here."

"I didn't agree to it Professor." Harry interrupted Dumbledore, momentarily knocking the professor off his train of thought.

"Harry, I'm not sure if you understand me completely. As egregious as this situation is, I must insist that you remain in this home."

Harry sighed and looked away from Dumbledore. "Professor I had already guessed what you had in mind. I absolutely do not agree with you, but I also know that there is nothing I can do to change it. Because this is my lot in life, I have no choice but to live through it."

Dumbledore reflected on Harry's words for a moment. In some respects it reflected a more mature Harry than was in Dumbledore's office just those few weeks ago. In other respects Harry had just so artfully, what was that Muggle expression…ah yes, 'cut to the chase' as it were and quite adroitly put him in his place. As if he needed any more reminding from Harry that yes, this old man continued to insist that he reside in an abusive home for some random blood protection never fully explained. Yes, it would seem that our relationship as deteriorated even further. Dumbledore knew he would need to fix their relationship as soon as possible. It truly pained him to see Harry hurt and defeated.

"Harry, I also wanted to assure you that you will never feel the touch of your Uncle or cousins hand in anger again. I explained to them quite clearly that I have placed a new Curse around you that they will regret greatly if they hit you again." Dumbledore waited in silence for a moment for Harry to look over at him before shooting him a crooked smile. "Yes, there is no curse as you are aware, so it might be wise to avoid confrontations with your Uncle and cousin anyway."

"Now Harry, I have not come solely being the bearer of bad news. I've arranged for your relatives to be gone until next Sunday. They've agreed to extend their vacation through the next weekend. You have that time to recover fully and when you are feeling well enough Molly has agreed to bring your friends over for some time to visit in person. Furthermore, I think it would be best if you avoid your relatives for the remainder of the summer. To this end, I have arranged with them that there would be no more chores and you only have to have breakfast and dinner with them. Lunch can be found at Mrs. Figg's instead. So your days are free and I suggest you continue the excellent work you have already started in your journal. With that in mind, would you like to arrange some Occlumency lessons with me after this week to further your study?"

Harry slowly turned his gaze away from Remus and his bowed head back to Dumbledore. Blue eyes met green eyes, slowly and distinctly Harry replied to Dumbledore's question. "No thank you Professor. I'll continue to study on my own. If you can find a qualified teacher who is not Professor Snape or yourself, then please put them in contact with Remus. He and I can then take the opportunity to arrange a schedule, sir."

Remus moved his eyes away from Harry's journal. He already knew most of what the journal contained. He had worked with Harry on it at some parts. It had also given Remus some ideas for books that Harry could read while he was stuck in bed. Again Harry had expressed his concern and lack of trust in Dumbledore. Remus could understand, especially in light of recent actions, why this divide might be growing for Harry. Although Remus understood the divide … it was not a good thing. He would address it with Harry tomorrow when his turn to watch over him came up.

Dumbledore looked hurt that Harry had refused his training request. Dumbledore was still convinced that Occlumency was something Harry desperately needed to learn. One more look at Harry and Dumbledore acknowledged that this was not a fight he would win this day. So like a master chessman, Dumbledore knew to back off and not press this matter and possibly sacrifice pieces needlessly.

With a curt nod, Dumbledore said his good byes to Harry and informed Remus he would be heading back to Hogwarts. Silence reigned for a moment in the smallest bedroom in

#4 Privet Drive. It was some time before either spoke.

"Harry, I just want you to know I'm not happy with this situation either. However, I have no choice but to accept and trust Dumbledore on this matter."

Harry gave his former professor a sad smile. "I know Moony. I don't really have a choice either."

Remus responded to Harry's smile with one of his own. He then replied, "You know Harry, I did acquire a few more books for you to read and it just so happens that I have them here." With that comment, Remus enlarged the books. "Let's talk about these for awhile, shall we?"

With that comment, Remus and Harry talked for some time before Harry fell into a nap almost mid sentence. Remus sat and smiled at Harry until he heard a soft step outside Harry's door. Remus still had quite a few errands to complete that day, so he bade both hello and good bye to Harry's next watcher.

As Harry gradually awoke from his nap, he smiled at the after images of his wonderful dream. Good dreams were rare for Harry, especially lately, so he wanted to prolong this one. He was flying with Ginny in the area around the Burrow. Her hair billowed out behind her in a shimmering wave of red. Her taunt creamy legs were wrapped securely around the broom, while her ample chest heaved as she laughed. Huh? Harry sat up so quickly in shock about the path his dream had taken. His glasses, which had been perched precariously on the tip of his nose, fell off. He could still hear Ginny's sparkling laughter echoing in his ears.

A noise to his left swung Harry's head around. He continued to fumble for his glasses while he looked that figure sitting dimly lit in the corner. He caught a glint or red, so he assumed Mrs. Weasley was back. While he felt his fingers close on his glasses, he said, "I'm sorry Mrs. Weasley. I must've fallen asleep on Remus."

As Harry was placing his glasses on his nose, a familiar teasing voice reached his ears. "Well Harry, I'm not a Mrs. yet. Although I would like to get married some day; I think I'm still a bit young for all that."

A tingle of thrill shot through Harry's veins as he heard Ginny's voice. Of course shortly a massive blush shortly followed it, in light of the dream Harry had just been having.

While Ginny had been sitting in silence staring at Harry while he napped, she had noticed that a rather large smile had crossed his face. After hearing from Ron and Hermione about all of Harry's nightmares last year, she was startled to see a smile on his face. She was suddenly curious about Harry's dream since he seemed to enjoy it. Her curiosity deepened as Harry's grin got larger and larger. Now seeing Harry blush such a fetching color of red made Ginny very curious as to what Harry was dreaming about. Could it have been about her? Still seeing a blush on Harry at all demanded some sort of comment. "You know Harry you're lucky the twins aren't around. They would be demanding to know how you could turn so red. They would want to know the secret so they could develop a new product."

Hearing Ginny tease him and then mention her brothers only deepened Harry's discomfort. Yeah, he was sure the twins would be thrilled to hear his secret was dreaming about their younger sister in a provocative way. What in the name of potions was going on with him he wondered? "So, um, hi Ginny. Where's your mum?"

Ginny was losing her fight to stop the giggles, and seeing Harry turn even deeper red at her comment, made her lose it completely. She cut lose with gales of helpless giggles, so much so, she missed Harry's awkward question.

Harry was chagrined at Ginny's giggles at first but he finally joined in as well. They both giggled and laughed for several minutes before Harry stopped abruptly grasping his side and wheezing. "Sorry Gin, my ribs are still somewhat sore. By the way, hello again. I hope you've accepted my good reasons for not writing back promptly."

Ginny accepted Harry shortening her name without any outward acknowledgement, but internally she was thinking, Gin? She was not sure what that was all about, but she would ask Hermione later if he did it again. "I'm well, Harry. You should be warned that I've given your pathetic plea for lenience a great deal of thought while I watched you snore. At this time I might be persuaded to let you off the hook, if you're a good boy and do something to entertain me. Do you know your bedroom is rather boring?"

Harry was so shocked to see her in his room here, in Privet Drive, that he was not sure at the moment what to say. He even felt a familiar swooping feeling in his stomach that he first felt on seeing Cho Chang. There was no way he could feel that way about Ginny. He must be having a funny reaction from the potions he had been taking. To try and cover the sudden uncomfortable silence he grasped at a topic that had brought endless amusement to the both of them in their letters. "So how's Ron doing with Hermione?"

Ginny skipped over Harry's moment of awkward silence to launch into several funny tales of their antics in the past week. They both had several good laughs and teasing comments about those two. Finally Harry asked, "So where's Ron anyway?"

Ginny, who had moved her chair closer to Harry during their conversation, teasingly asked, "So what, I'm not good enough for you?"

"Now Gin, come on, you know I wouldn't trade you in for Eloise Midgen, but still I'm curious as to why your brother isn't around."

He did it again! Ginny's mind screamed at herself. She would definitely need to talk to Hermione about him calling her Gin. And what is that crack about not trading her in for Eloise Midgen? "Mum had him helping her out moving some stuff around in the cellar before dinner. I think he's going to bring dinner over for all three of us later before Bill comes to take over, and we head home." Come to think about it Ginny thought, why did Mum need Ron to handle that stuff. Did she arrange it so Ginny could be alone with Harry? After giving that thought a moment of analysis, she could see no way her Mum would send her alone to a boy's house unsupervised, even if that boy was Harry Potter…would she?

Shaking off those thoughts, Ginny and Harry continued to laugh and talk about school and Quidditch until Ron showed up later with dinner. The laughter and Quidditch talk only increased when Ron arrived, and the little party proved a good healing tool for all involved. It helped Ron and Ginny to see Harry in one piece. It definitely helped Harry to see and laugh with his friends. Still, Harry tired quickly and fell asleep before Ron and Ginny had even left #4 Privet Drive with Bill.

Author's Notes:

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for reviewing. A huge thank you goes out to KelleyPen my happy go lucky beta. It is no longer the twins rule, because now KelleyPen rules.

I had to put in some Harry/Ginny mini fluff in this chapter because, well I like a little H/G fluff in the morning. So, Chapter 6…will feature your first taste of the long awaited, Operation: Dursley's Will Pay and a visitor from the past…