Chapter Twenty-Nine: Reality

The twilight minutes passed silently and five young boys slept in the Gryffendor boys' dormitory. Harry's body gave an involuntary jolt as beads of sweat collected on his forehead. The images were not clear but the lightning shaped scar on his forehead prickled. He had become accustom to the sensation over the years but had never learned to control them. Flashes of visions danced on his eyelids.

He could hear the cold hiss of a snake tickling his eardrums as he tried to ignore what he was sensing. Harry moaned loudly but remained asleep as some of the images became clearer. The room was illuminated with a peculiar green glow. He could not tell where the source of the light came from but he welcomed it.

In the center of the room was Voldemort's snake, Nagini. She was coiled up but her eyes did not focus on Harry. Harry willed himself reach for his wand but his arms did not move. The snake was focused on a house in the distance. Harry looked out the window to see the house standing past a distant hill. The green glow began to fade and the room disappeared.

Harry jumped awake in his bed and gasped for breath. His mind was spinning from what he had just seen in his dream and he tried to process it. He looked over and saw Ron was still asleep. Hufflepuff's cup was nestled under his pillow for safekeeping. Harry retrieved it and placed it on his bedside table. He closed his eye and tried to think about the house he had just seen in his vision. In his dream the house had been so familiar but he had only glimpsed it for a second. The house had been tall and brittle looking…

The cup hit the floor with a clatter and Harry was sure he had stopped breathing. Ron's eyes popped open and he groggily looked over.

"Everything all right?"

Harry took in a deep breath. "Yeah… I just can't sleep ."

Ron gave a loud yawn and turned back on his side. "Don't tell Hermione. She's paranoid about you not sleeping."

Harry sat quietly until he finally heard the recognizable patter of Ron's snore. He reached over the edge of his bed and lifted the cup off the floor and tucked it under his pillow. Something inside him told him he didn't need to worry Ron until he knew for sure that the Burrow was endanger. He slowly slipped his robe over his pajamas and tiptoed over the door.

Voldemort had tricked him in the past. He would not be fooled again. The last time he had acted irrationally about one of his vision Sirius had died as a result. It seemed as if all Voldemort was doing was watching. He wasn't attacked and he hadn't felt a burst of rage or anticipation.

Harry mumbled lumos and lit the tip of his wand as he meandered down the boys' dormitory stairs. As he entered the common room he felt the hairs on the tip of his neck stand on end.

He quickly scanned the empty main room but the only sign of life was a nearly dead fire burning in the hearth. Harry's eyes lingered on the fire for a moment before he made his way over to the Portrait opening.

Just as he was about to leave he heard a soft shuffle behind him near the far sofa.

"Who's there?" Harry called out.

It was no surprise when nobody answered his inquire. He felt his heart race and a nervous lump caught in his throat. His found himself momentarily distracted from his prior goal and he walked cautiously back into the common room and towards the source of the sound that had distracted him.

The fire cracked loudly and for a second Harry wondered if he had simply imagined the sound. As he reached the sofa he held his wand firmly in front of him and stepped around the edge.

Crouched over tightly in a ball on the floor was Ginny. She gave him a furious look and stood up defiantly.

"Why didn't you answer me? I nearly hexed you!" Harry said feeling a sense of relief and anger wash over him.

Ginny scowled. "You weren't supposed to come over here. How am I suppose to follow you now?"

"Follow me?" Harry said dumbfounded.

"We knew you'd try to run," Ginny snarled. "If you weren't so damn stubborn perhaps I'd finally get a decent night's sleep."

"I didn't ask you to keep watch on me?" Harry retorted.

Ginny sighed loudly. "No, you didn't. Hermione was afraid you'd try to leave and go after You Know Who by yourself. Looks like she was right."

"I'm not running off," Harry said defensively. "I just need to talk to somebody in the Order."

Ginny's eyes softened slightly. "Something's wrong isn't it?"

Harry bit his bottom lip determined not to worry her if he didn't have to. "No, I just remembered something Dumbledore told me to ask McGonagall and I don't want to forget it."

"And this couldn't want till the morning?" Ginny pushed.

"I told you, I didn't want to forget what it was," Harry said shortly.

Ginny eyed him suspiciously. "You're lying to me aren't you?"

"You don't believe me?" Harry accused.

"Should I?" Ginny said instantly.

Harry felt a growing bubble of impatience in his stomach. Every minute that passed was a wasted minute. He didn't know how long Nagini would sit and watch before she attacked.

"Go to bed, Ginny. I promise I'll be back after I talk to McGonagall," Harry pleaded.

Ginny looked like she as going to laugh. "I'm afraid that is easier said than done. If you're really going to see McGonagall then there shouldn't be a problem with me coming with you."

"You can't," Harry said instantly.

Ginny's frown grew. "Because it's for my own safety? I'm sorry, Harry, you have two choices. One, you take me with you and talk to McGonagall without any incidents or two, I put you into a full body bind wake up Hermione and she'll go with you to talk to McGonagall. Either way, you aren't leaving this common room alone."

"It's not for your own safety," Harry grumbled. "I just don't want to worry you is all."

"Why would I be worried?" Ginny asked.

Harry felt a lump forming in his throat and he eyed the portrait eagerly. He knew Ginny was not kidding and that it would take her a fraction of a second to place him in a body bind because he wouldn't raise a wand against her. He didn't have that much time to waste and Ginny was far too stubborn to reason with.

"Fine, you can come along," Harry sighed.

Ginny shrugged. "Wise choice. Hermione would have been irate that you tried to sneak out alone."

"She'd be more irate if she knew Ron let me slip by," Harry said heavily.

The corridors of Hogwarts were silent as the tranquility of the midnight moon seeped through the castle windows. Harry glanced over at Ginny and watched the way the moonlight reflected off her hair. She didn't look over at him even once and Harry felt his body tense as he thought of her new relationship with Terry Boot.

He felt a swell of an unknown emotion rise up through him and he was overcome with the urge to say something that was sure to provoke Ginny. Harry was just about to speak when he heard a stern voice call out.

"What are you two doing out at this hour?"

"Professor Slughorn," Ginny greeted. "Harry needed to speak with the Headmistress."

"At this hour?" Slughorn asked as he glanced at his watch.

"Yes," Harry affirmed. "It couldn't wait till morning."

"What could possibly be so important that it couldn't wait till morning," Slughorn said with a grin.

His large stomach jiggled slightly indicating he might have also given a slight chuckle. He had always been extremely pleased with Harry and Ginny's relationship. Both of them had been his favorite students and prized members of his Slug Club.

Harry sighed and stole a glance at Ginny. "Voldemort…"

"He who must not be named," Slughorn warned as he lifted his hands in an alarmed manner.

"Is planning on attacking members of the Order soon," Harry finished ignoring Slughorn's warning.

"What?" Ginny asked. "Who is going to be attacked?"

"Please professor," Harry pleaded. "It's a matter of urgency that we act quickly."

Slughorn's girn fell but he nodded his hand. "Follow me."

Ginny grabbed Harry's arm and glared with a need in her face. "Who's in danger? Is it my parents?"

Harry's mouth went dry. Ginny's began breathing quickly and Harry knew he didn't have to say anything.

"You could have told me," Ginny said. "You could have told me my parents were in danger."

"I don't know for sure they are," Harry replied. "That was why I wanted you to go to bed. I didn't want to worry you yet."

"They're my parents!" Ginny exclaimed as they scampered to catch up with Slughorn.

Harry felt a bubble of anxiety erupt inside him at Ginny's words. "You think I'm not worried about your parents?"

"We wasted so much time rowing in the common room," Ginny said crestfallen. "You should have just pushed by me and gone to McGonagall. Why did you waste so much time."

"If I had pushed past you what would you have done?" Harry argued.

Ginny sniffled lightly but didn't cry. "I would have hexed you."

The three of them continued on without saying another word. When they reached the gargoyle that protected the Headmistress's office Slughorn cleared his voice and stood a little straighter.

"Please wake the Headmistress. It is a matter of great importance," he announced.

The gargoyle replied back. "Professor, please provide the password for entrance."

Slughorn fumbled around in his robes for a moment then pulled out his wand. "Catnip."

Harry thought he might laugh when he heard the password but the situation was too serious for humor. The gargoyle slid aside and exposed the spiral stairwell that Harry had long associated with Albus Dumbledore.

"Come along," Slughorn ushered as the three made their way into McGonagall's office.

"She'll be along any moment," Slughorn assured as he headed back down the stairs.

Harry looked around at the sleeping portraits and his eyes fell on the picture of Dumbledore hanging above McGonagall's desk. Ginny was looking at the same spot but she didn't say anything.

"Mr. Potter, what might own the honor of this late night visit?"

Harry's head whirled around and caught sight of Professor McGonagall. She was clinging tightly to a night robe and her graying hair was tied loosely behind her back.

"Professor, I had a dream," Harry began.

McGonagall's eyes grew larger and she nodded. "I see. Dreams like the ones you were having a couple of years ago?"

"Yes," Harry replied hesitantly. "I think Voldemort is planning an attack on the Burrow. I have a vision of his snake watching the house from a distance."

McGongall seemed to consider things for a moment before rising and tapping on a nearby portrait. An old witch with bright maroon robes awoke and woke with a startle.

"What is Minevera?"

"McGonagall whispered something to the portrait who immediately collected herself and disappeared out of the corner of the portraits frame.

"I've sent a message to the Wesley's to go to Bill Weasley's home until we can make more permanent arrangements. I've also alerted the Ministry that something may be afoot near the Burrows so they can send Aurors to investigate the situation," McGonagall explained.

"Is that smart? Won't Fleur and Bill…" Harry started to protest.

"They are under the Order's protection," McGonagall said instantly. "Potter, I'm concerned about these dreams. I was told you had learned to control these visions. Remember that if you allow your mind to remain open then you place yourself at terrible risk."

Harry nodded although he didn't entirely agree with McGonagall's assessment of the situation. Yes, he realized that this connection was dangerous but it had been useful in the past. If he hadn't been connected to Voldemort's mind then Mr. Wesley would be dead. For some reason it took sitting in the Head Mistress office to remind him of this past.

"It was an accident. I don't allow it to happen very often," Harry lied. The truth was he simply hadn't had the opportunity but he hadn't been trying to prevent these visions by any means.

"Very well. Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley, it is getting rather late. We've done all we can do for the time being. I think it would be best if you return to your dormitory. I'll will contact first thing tomorrow if I have any updates throughout the night," McGonagall assured.

Ginny sighed. "Could we not leave school and return…"

"Miss Weasley, we have just a couple days left until you'll officially be allowed to leave. You are much safer at Hogwarts for the time being," McGonagall said with certain finality in her voice. Harry knew regardless how much Ginny might argue this was not an option up for discussion.
Professor McGonagall tightened her robes around herself and walked towards the door. Harry realized that she was indicated it was time to leave and let the Order do its work. Harry stood up first and touched Ginny's shoulder lightly.

"Potter," McGonagall whispered. "You cannot share Order affairs. I'll summon for you later."

Harry glanced at Ginny to see if she had overheard but if she hadn't she gave no indication. Harry followed close behind her the entire way back to the Gryffendor common room. Neither of them said a word because there was nothing to say. Harry knew that Ginny would not sleep tonight and he couldn't blame her.

"You should try to get some rest," Harry said softly.

Ginny took a deep breath and whispered, "Rest."

"I'm not going anywhere," Harry assured.

Ginny smiled lightly. "I know."

Without giving a final look Ginny dashed up the stairs that lead to the girls' dormitory. Even if Harry had wanted to follow her to make certain she was going to be alright he couldn't.

AN: GREETINGS!!!! Hey, remember me. I'm not going to lie, Deathly Hallows RUINED my future plans with this story. I've spent the past three months completely reworking parts of my story that I can no longer use. For example, I was planning on hiding the final Horcrux, Ravenclaws wand, in Gringotts. I was also planning the final battle to take place at Hogwarts. If I continue with those plans then it would too closely mirror DH. I will be around more now. Things have been hectic and I'm working on another James/Lily story at the moment too. I'll have that one posted within the week. I have not abandoned this story I just had to revamp some things.