Chapter 10: Legilimency and Ginny
AN: Here it is, several. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to write during the year, even though I carried my copy of Goblet of Fire around everywhere. I guess I'm too big of a procrastinator. Hopefully though, all is not lost and you will still get another chapter after this. After that … well let's hope I find some motivation real fast! Read and enjoy, folks.
Harry walked down the Charms corridor. It was rather empty at that time of the day, and the only person in it was Ginny who was heading up to Gryffindor Tower. She waved upon seeing him and jogged towards him. Harry grinned and pointed his wand at her.
"Legilimens!" he cried. Ginny dropped the books in her hands as Harry was pulled into her head.
...There was a swirling white light and the orchard outside the Burrow appeared. Little Ginny – she looked four or maybe five years old - was holding her father's hand. "When I grow up, I'm going to marry Harry Potter," she said brightly ...
... Again, there was a swirling bright light and the yard in front of the Burrow appeared. Ginny looked a little older. "Give that back!" she said indignantly. Fred laughed and held the doll above her head. There was a sound behind them and Mrs Weasley – she looked much younger than she was now – came out, wand in hand. "Fred Weasley!" she hollered ...
... The scene shifted. Ginny was at Hogwarts now, lounging with her friends near the Quidditch Pitch. "I hate Snape," she muttered ...
Before that scene could progress, Harry felt himself being forcibly removed from her mind. Both he and Ginny were on the floor, panting.
"You better have a good reason for this," she said quietly. He noticed she was gripping her wand, and suddenly, he wanted to be anywhere but there.
"I'm sorry," he muttered. "I thought it would be a good idea to attack you without you expecting it, to see how well you could defend yourself. I should've told you to expect something ..."
"You should have," she said. Her grip on her wand loosened slightly. "You're going a bit overboard with this Occlumency thing, Harry. Snape isn't going to attack me in the corridors like that."
He sighed. He should have expected something along those lines from her. He might have the motivation to learn, but she didn't. Without the threat of Voldemort looming over them – as far as she was concerned – there simply wasn't a reason for her to learn, other than humouring him.
"A week," he said.
"Give me a week. I'll randomly attack you like this – just to test your shields – and by the end of the week, I'll explain everything. You'll understand why, I promise."
She lowered her wand. "All right, Harry. One week."
She stuffed her wand in her pocket and moved past him, heading towards Gryffindor Tower.
"Oh, and Ginny?" he called after her.
"Yeah?" she asked, turning around.
Over the next few days, he often attacked Ginny unexpectedly. Her response was weak at first, but it was gradually growing stronger. He was pleased. By the end of the week, she would be strong enough to hold her own against Snape, or even Dumbledore in a full-blown attack.
Ron and Hermione offered to help him prepare for the Third Task but he refused, citing their upcoming exams as an excuse.
"You need to study," he told them. "I'm not having you fail on my account."
Harry didn't need really their help. The best they could do was help him practise Stunning Spells and the like, which he knew anyway. Between the regular duelling practices he had been putting in in the Room of Requirement and his Water Elemental training, he was sure he could take on Voldemort, let alone anything the maze could throw at him.
Ginny, however, refused to take no for an answer. She confided in him that her Occlumency exercises had strengthened her mind to the point where her memory and retention powers were far greater than they had been.
"You should have told Hermione about that," she giggled. "That would have convinced her to drop everything else and learn Occlumency."
Everything, Harry presumed, except for her hunt for Rita Skeeter's secret. Hermione was growing increasingly fanatical about it, and Harry was starting to think it would be best to just casually mention that Rita might be an animagus.
While Ginny could not help him practise any spells, she did undertake a visit to the Quidditch Pitch with him. They flew over the towering hedges – Hagrid had succeeded in getting them to reach the twenty-foot mark – and with a quill and parchment in hand, they drew a rough map of the maze. From this map, Harry managed to find four paths to the centre. He was unsure which path he had taken the last time around, so he committed all four of them to memory.
Three days before the Third Task, right after her Arithmancy exam, Harry found Hermione staring out the window in the Gryffindor common room with a dreamy expression on her face. He followed her line of sight and saw Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy was sitting and seemingly talking to his hand while Crabbe and Goyle appeared to be acting as lookouts.
"Harry, could you perform a Summoning Charm for me?" she asked, her eyes never leaving the three Slytherins.
"Sure," he said, heaving a sigh of relief. It looked like Hermione's crusade was over.
"Just a second," she said, pulling out a jar from her bag and casting an Unbreakable Charm on it. "See Malfoy over there? He has a beetle in his hand. Could you summon it for me?"
He nodded and his brow furrowed in concentration. "Accio Beetle!" he bellowed, startling a few Second Years who were attempting their homework behind them. He saw Malfoy give a surprised yelp as the beetle flew out of his hands and whizzed towards the Gryffindor common room. Hermione caught it neatly in her jar and slammed the lid shut.
"Don't even try it," she said to the beetle. "There's an Unbreakable Charm on this jar."
"Do I want to know?" asked Harry, even though he knew exactly what was going on.
"I'll tell you in a bit," said Hermione, smiling. With that, she fled up to her dorm, leaving Harry with an amused expression on his face.
By the Third Task, Ginny had pretty much perfected her Occlumency. Harry could still break into her mind, but it took him well over a half hour of concentrated effort. That was to be expected, he explained to a disgruntled Ginny, since an Occlumens could never be better than the Legilimens training him or her. However, Harry was fairly confident that his Legilimency was stronger than Voldemort's – let alone Snape's – and he resolved to come clean with Ginny after the Third Task. He didn't know why, but he was a lot more apprehensive about telling her the truth than he was about confronting Voldemort.
That plan, however, flew out the window the morning before the Third Task. The Ministry had been trying to keep Crouch's disappearance and subsequent appearance onto Hogwarts grounds quiet, but an article had finally been leaked to the Daily Prophet.
MINISTRY OF MAGIC EMPLOYEE ATTACKED!
Head of the Ministry of Magic Department of International Magical Co-operation, Bartemius Crouch was recently attacked on Hogwarts grounds and has been confined to St Mungo's as a result, writes Martin Firthquill. Officials from St Mungo's have revealed that Mr Crouch was hit by the Everlasting SleepSpell. The Everlasting Sleep Spell is classified as a Dark Arts Spell by the Ministry of Magic and punishable by up to five years in Azkaban.
Sources have revealed that Harry Potter, who is in his Fourth Year at Hogwarts, stumbled upon Mr Crouch's body last week while visiting the Gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Professor Hagrid. Whether it is safe for the Saviour of the Wizarding World to be out so late, and that too near the Forbidden Forest when fully trained Ministry Wizards are being attacked is a matter Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, should be looking into.
In the meanwhile, Healer Patrica Macmillan of St Mungo's says that Mr Crouch's condition is stable. "Everlasting Sleep is curable," she assured this reporter. "It just takes a long time to lift the spell, possibly six months. Mr Crouch will be back at the Ministry before this Christmas."
Mr Crouch, the Daily Prophet has learned, has not been coming to work for many months now, and has instead been owling instructions to his assistant, Percival Weasley. "Yes, Mr Crouch has been owling me instructions," snapped the irritable Mr Weasley when questioned about the authenticity of those instructions. "No, I haven't seen him but I think I can be trusted to know my own superior's handwriting."
Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge refused to comment on the situation. Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Madam Amelia Bones, has announced that a full scale enquiry will take place soon.
Professor Dumbledore had this to say: "The unfortunate attack on Mr Crouch was a one-off incident. The students at Hogwarts are completely safe. The public is reminded that Mr Crouch had just emerged from the Forbidden Forest when Mr Potter spotted him. If he was attacked, it was in the Forbidden Forest, and it is common knowledge that the Forest is off-limits for students."
Despite tall claims, Professor Dumbledore's tenure at Hogwarts has been anything but safe. Just two years ago, the Chamber of Secrets – a secret chamber created by Salazar Slytherin to rid Hogwarts of Muggleborns – was opened and multiple students were attacked. And only last year, the infamous Death Eater Sirius Black infiltrated Hogwarts and entered a Gryffindor boys' dormitory.
We, at the Daily Prophet, can only hope that the Hogwarts Board of Governors takes the proper steps to ensure the safety of our children.
For details of Mr Crouch's sickness, turn to Page 6. For information about the Everlasting Sleep Spell, turn to Page 7. For a profile of Mr Crouch and his career at the Ministry of Magic, turn to Page 9.
"Why didn't you tell us you found Crouch in the forest?" demanded Ron.
Harry looked uncomfortable. "Dumbledore told me to keep quiet about it," he lied. Ron and Hermione didn't look too convinced, but they turned over to read the rest of the stuff on Crouch in the Daily Prophet. Ginny didn't join them. She was looking at him suspiciously and had just opened her mouth to say something, when Professor McGonagall hurried over.
"Potter, follow me," she ordered. "The Champions' families have been invited to watch the Third Task and have just arrived."
Ron spilled his bacon and eggs down his front. "She doesn't expect the Dursleys to come, does she?" he demanded. Harry shrugged and got up to leave, but Ginny caught his arm in an unusually tight grip.
"Meet me in the Charms classroom where we practise Occlumency half an hour before lunch," she said in a hushed whisper.
Harry nodded – still uncertain as to why she was acting so strange – and hurried after McGonagall.
Throughout his meeting with Mrs Weasley and Bill, Ginny's words weighed on his mind and a sense of unease beset him.
"It will be all right, dear," said Mrs Weasley kindly, mistaking uneasiness for nervousness. "I'm sure you'll do just fine."
He gave them a tour of the castle, and about half an hour before lunch, he made his excuses.
"Going off to meet a girl, Harry?" teased Bill. Harry blushed and did not respond. He wondered what Bill would say if he found out that he was meeting his sister in an empty classroom. Mrs Weasley, who corresponded with Ginny and had also read the Witch Weekly article must have been having the same thoughts because she pursed her lips and said nothing.
Ginny was already in the classroom when he got there.
"Hey," he said nervously. Ginny looked at him with a sad expression on her face.
"Please tell me you didn't cast the Everlasting Sleep spell on Crouch," she pleaded.
"What?" he asked, startled.
"The Everlasting Sleep spell," she said. "Did you or did you not cast it?"
His silence was proof enough. "Harry, this is getting stupid. It's a Dark Arts spell, for Merlin's sake!" She pushed a copy of the Daily Prophet into his chest so hard that he staggered from the force.
"How did you find out?" he asked weakly.
"That night when you asked me whether it was okay to kill a man for the greater good. I can add two and two together, Harry. What would you have done if you hadn't thought of Everlasting Sleep? Killed him?"
"No, Ginny, please ..."
"I don't care. Harry," she said, tears forming in her eyes. "Five years in Azkaban! Where did you learn it, anyway? Forget it ... I'm going to Dumbledore. You've lost it Harry."
And with that, she left the room.
AN: Cliffhanger! The first I've come up with so far. XD What will happen? Will Ginny go to Dumbledore? If so, how will he respond? Will he believe Harry and let him go on with the task? Or will Harry be sharing a ward with Neville's parents? And if not, how will Harry convince Ginny not to go to our favourite barmy old codger?
PS. Thanks to SilverIceBlueEyes for pointing out a major spelling mistake. :)
Review and let me know what you think. :)