Title: Mage Harry
Rating: PG-13, A/U, Humor, Adventure
Main Pairing: Harry/Ginny
Summary: Summer before 6th year, an accident unlocks Harry's secret power: He's a Mage with the power of Merlin. Watch Harry deal with it and take control of his life. Independent Harry. (H/G)
A/N: After reading Bobmin's "Exposure", I felt like writing a super!Harry story, not having ever written one of those before. Doing so confirmed a theory I've had, which is explained at the end of the story. I borrowed the Mage aura from Bobmin's story, any other similarities are unintentional. This will be 3 longish chapters, or about 45K-words total. Also note that I decided to try a story written in 1st person; hopefully, it works.

I need to give a big thanks to my beta editor Wolfs_Scream. He always makes me look like a better writer than I am. I really appreciate his help.)

Version: 1.1 (cleaned up verbs & typos)

Mage Harry

Chapter 1 - The Power

I idly pushed the hand spade into the ground to remove a weed. I suppose I should have been working faster, as Uncle Vernon was checking on me from time to time, but I had all summer to do chores so I just didn't care too much, given what I had recently endured. This work was manual labor pure and simple, not like an adventure or anything.

An adventure would describe my life a few weeks ago. Five of my best friends and I had snuck off to the Department of Mysteries to try to save my godfather, only to find it had been a trap: he wasn't even there until he came to rescue me, and he had ended up getting killed in the fighting. I still felt the grief and guilt over that. Oh, I know that it wasn't solely my fault -- Snape, Dumbledore, and Bella each had a large part to play in that drama -- but I still felt guilty. It really made me wish I had a lot more power, sort of like what Dumbledore suggested I should have: A power He knows not.

Right, the bloody prophecy says I have a power Volde-monkey doesn't know. Better still, Dumbledore says it's love. Ha, I snort in his general direction. Infatuation I might know about, but I think love is beyond me at the moment. I truly hope Dumbledore is wrong on what the power is.

But I follow Dumbledore for the moment, such as by staying here with my relatives. I didn't want to be here, but Dumbledore insisted and it was hard to deny Dumbledore's reason of staying safe after I had just played a major game of "Hex Harry" with Volde-snake and his Death Munchers, which had gotten all of my friends hurt. Fortunately, none of them had died; no, only my godfather had died. Also fortunate for me, none of them blamed me for getting injured.

A drop of water hit me on the head and I looked up. It seemed the dark clouds decided to give us an unexpected rain in mid-July. The sound of thunder made up my mind for me. I had considered just working in the rain to stay away from them, but thunder and lightning convinced me to put the tools up and go in, no matter how much I didn't like my relatives.

I put the tools away in the metal shed in a corner of the back garden. As I was closing it up, it happened. A freak storm let go of a freak bolt of lightning to hit a freak boy -- me. Try as I might, I could not make my hands let go of the metal shed door until the strike finished. When it did, I dropped to my knees and then pitched forward onto the grass. I thought I blacked out for a moment, or maybe "whited out," as everything had gone blazing white for a long moment. I couldn't begin to describe what being hit by lightning felt like. Really, I couldn't, because I couldn't feel much of anything as I started to regain my senses.

I wasn't sure how long I laid face down, able to see only green stuff and smell the earth, but I was sure it was some time. My whole body started tingling and I'd swear I felt my blood flowing, or maybe that was something else, I wasn't sure. One thing I was sure was that I hurt like hell as feeling came back into my body and my limbs did not want to respond to me, other than twitching on their own.

My hearing did work though, which was surprising as you always get thunder with lightning. I knew my ears worked because I heard my dear Uncle Vernon shout at me. "Boy! Quit lying around and get back to work! It's not even hot any more!"

Moody and company's little talk with Vernon about behaving better had helped for all of one week before he was back to normal. I mean, I get hit with lightning and he could't care at all? Bloody bastard!

Trying my hardest to move my arms so I could get up, I'm sure you could imagine my surprise when I started levitating up a few inches. I let out an "ahh" and promptly fell back down. Good thing I was on grass. I did manage to move my head a little and noted that Vernon was no longer at the back door. Thank goodness for small favors. I could easily imagine his reaction if he'd seen what I just did, and it wouldn't have been pleasant.

As feeling continued to return to my limbs, with supreme effort, I moved my arms up and managed to roll over onto my back. A light rain was coming down from the dark skies, but what really grabbed my attention was my hands and arms. There was a dim blue aura over my skin, and there were little blue flames coming out of the aura. Lifting my head a little, I pulled up my T-shirt and saw the same thing on my chest and stomach. I dropped my head back down and contemplated the latest quirk in my life.

With everything else that's happened to me, what's an aura, and with blue flames to boot? I looked at my hands again and wondered if I could make the aura go away, although the idea of letting Vernon see me like this is tempting. I also wondered if he'd pop that blood vessel in his head…?

Thinking about the aura for a few moments, I watched it gradually dim and then disappear, as did the little blue dancing flames. As happy as I am for that small favor, I noticed that I felt something moving within me as I did that. It was strangely exhilarating.

Getting up, I couldn't help but notice what a mess I am. I snickered as I thought about my Aunt Petunia's reaction to me walking into her house at the moment all covered in dirt and grass. "Why not?" I said out loud and proceeded to go inside. I wanted to get into some cleaner and drier clothes.

I barely make it into the back door when I encounter Vernon. A Vernon with a big sandwich in his hand. An another example of why he's twice the man he should be.

"Boy, what are you doing in here? Get back out and finish the job, or else!" he says threateningly.

"No, I don't think so," I told him, fed up with their treatment of me.

"I can throw you back out there and you'll stay until the job is done," he tells me as he starts walking towards me.

Tired of this behavior from him, I held up my hand towards him and imagined pushing. I don't know why I did that, but it seemed like the right thing to do. Well, color me surprised -- it actually did something. It was only after Vernon and his sandwich went flying backwards into the wall behind him, knocking pictures down on both sides of the wall, and putting some very serious cracks in the plaster, that I noticed the bluish aura and flames were back on my hand. I shook my hand like I was trying to fling mud off of it and the aura and flames went away. Freaky.

Vernon was staring at me in fright for a second, but his fear slowly turned into a look of glee. "You used magic. They're going to toss you out of your freak school now. Then it will be up to me to decide what to do with you." He looked so happy that his lost sandwich was forgotten.

I looked at him for a moment and contemplated that. Then reality hit me and I started to laugh, which made him look at me strangely. "No, I don't think so," I finally said when I got my breath back. "You see, I found out recently that they need me. They need me to do something no one else can do. I view it as a free pass, but we can see which one of us is right. I'm going to go take a shower and get cleaned up. If you're right, there will be an owl waiting on me when I'm done. If I'm right, there won't be any notification at all." I smirked at him as if I had already won and walked out of the room.

Thirty minutes later, I had had a hot shower and was now dressed in dry clothes. I hated these clothes as they didn't fit me at all, but at least they were clean and dry. If there really was no warning letter from the Ministry, I think I'll do something about them.

Tromping downstairs, I found Vernon looking out the window.

"Well, there were no owls upstairs other than Hedwig, and I don't see any down here," I tell him smugly, enjoying every second. "I believe that means I'm right. So that means I can get away with magic all I want now." The look of fear in his eyes was a joy to behold. "Therefore, I think it's time for Dudley to do some chores around here, because I'm not doing anything else."

He got angry. "Now you listen here, you ungrateful whelp…"

"No, you listen. For fifteen years you've been treating me like a slave. No more," I tell him forcefully as I wave my hand in a cutting motion. "Because of the way things are, I can't walk out of here right now, but if I could, I promise you I would. So I'll be here the rest of this summer and you and your family will leave me alone. In return, I'll leave all three of you alone. Then when I leave at the end of the summer, that's it. We can call it quits and never see each other again." I suspected Dumbledore wouldn't like that and would want me to return next summer until my seventeenth birthday, but I had just decided that wasn't going to happen.

"Well…" I could see he was a little less angry now and thinking about it.

"I don't think you understand, Vernon. There's nothing for you to decide. That's the way it's going to be. For once, I will have an easy summer and then I'm gone. You can't throw me out because I'll wish you away." I gave a little wave of my hand, causing it to flash blue again, and he was shoved a foot backwards. His earlier look of horror was back. "The same holds true for your stuck-up wife, who I'm starting to believe really isn't my mother's sister, and for your precious Dudley-poo. You tell them to leave me alone or they can go flying across the room too."

Vernon stared at me, obviously not believing the situation he was in now, but it was also obvious that he couldn't figure a way out of my unilateral decision.

Ignoring him, now that I've told him how it will be, as I've got the magic blue hand to enforce my will, I turned around and rummaged in the fridge. I pulled out a huge snack, twice what I normally ate, but was still less than half of what Dudley ate. Before I headed to my room, I noticed that Vernon was still puzzling through my ultimatum. With a smirk, I headed off; I have things to think about and do.

While I ate, I thought about what had happened to me today. I got hit by lightning and now it looked like I could do wandless magic and I didn't get in trouble for it. Go, me! I wondered what else I could do.

After polishing off my meal, I decided that it was time to redecorate, or to at least try. Thinking very carefully, I waved my hand over my bed and thought about it becoming bigger and it enlarged. "Yes!" I hiss. Did that came out in English or Parseltongue? No matter…

Of course, just because my bed was now the size of the one I have at Hogwarts did not make it as comfortable. I thought really hard about how to fix that, hoping some spell I'd learned will come to mind. After nearly fifteen seconds, the idea for a spell came to me. Somewhat frighteningly, it was one I didn't remember learning in school. But, in for a Knut, in for a Galleon: I tried it anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to see the mattress plump up, and upon testing it out, found that it was now very comfortable.

I was very happy about that, but it did leave me wondering how I knew what to do. It also showed me another problem to solve. A big bed was great, unless you have the smallest bedroom in the house. Knowing it was possible, even though I know I didn't have clue how, I thought very hard about space expansion, hoping for another miracle.

Another quarter minute later, the thought of a special rune and a charm came to mind. With careful thought, I made magic come out of the end of my index finger. I drew the rune on the wall and then cast the charm. When I finished the charm, I saw that my room was now four times its previous size and was quite reasonable for me. However, I really needed to investigate what I did. Sticking my head out the window, I saw the outside wall was still straight. Perfect. Checking the hall, I saw the hall was still normal looking, so I deemed that a success. Of course, there was a fly in the potion. My closet was a separate room, so it was still tiny. The same rune and charm fixed that.

I spent the next ten minutes fixing up my room. When I was done, it looked pretty nice with decent furniture and none of Dudley's junk. That made me wonder where Vanished items go. I'll have to ask Hermione, or else give it some deep thought later, since it seemed that I could pull answers out of thin air. Oh, Hermione will like that -- not!

The next thing that caught my eye was my clothes. Well, shouldn't transfiguration be able to fix that? It seemed like it, but I didn't recall learning that in class. You know, that would be really useful, as in "needing it to live" useful, thing to know. Why didn't they teach us that in class? Oh well. I thought hard about it and figured it out and a few minutes later, all of my clothes were now my size and looked brand new. Plus, they were in colors I liked.

Having improved my life immensely over the last couple of hours, I decided to lie down and rest. I felt pretty tired. Perhaps I'd overdone it with all of this wandless magic. It was early evening, so I could go to bed.

I stripped down to my boxers and crawled in, enjoying my new bed. I also thought about where I am -- in life I mean.

Sirius was gone and that was still sad. I was getting slightly better, but it's slow. I didn't get to spend as much time with him as I would have liked, either, and now I never will. I'd try to substitute Remus into that spot, but in truth, I really didn't know him that well. Ignoring class time in my third year, I'd seen less of Remus than Sirius. It was like he thought he should care, but didn't, or maybe he was afraid to be around me. I laughed sarcastically to myself. Perhaps that made Remus the smartest of them all: I am trouble. Well, it was a good thing I was almost an adult.

Dumbledore had changed and he was trying to be nice to me again. I wasn't sure what I thought about him. I trusted him in some ways and not so much in others right now. He'd made some really big mistakes with me. I knew no one was perfect, but I mean really… He never should have put me here with the Dursleys and he should have told me about my destiny a lot sooner so I could have started training or learning more. Oh, and let's not forget about what he'd allowed Snape to do to me or his not telling me about my connection to Volde-mold, which allowed Sirius to get killed. And let's also not forget about all the wonderful Defense Against the Dark Arts instructors he'd hired to train me and everyone else, I thought sarcastically.

Hedwig flew in at that moment and she had a couple of letters. "Hey, girl," I told her lovingly as I petted her. She really was my best friend. She rubbed her head against my hand before sticking her leg out. I removed the letters and let her sit with me while I read.

The first was from Ron. All he wrote about was complaining about how bad it was at "HQ" and how he didn't get to go flying there. The second letter was from Hermione. She went on and on telling me to not feel bad about Sirius and that I needed to face my feelings, as well as how she couldn't wait to see her OWL results. I couldn't stop the sigh. Neither of them really said anything of importance. It was like the communication blackout of last summer. Some friends they were, but they were about all I had, so I supposed I couldn't be too picky.

Not really knowing what else to do, and still being tired, I snuggled down in my bed while Hedwig flew to the window sill and made herself comfortable. It was the best night's sleep I'd ever had in this house.

The next morning I was awakened by a shriek. I flew out of bed and went into a crouch, flaming blue hands in front of me. Another shriek followed. It took me a moment, but I decided it was probably the hands that freaked my aunt out and not the fact that I was only in my boxers. Still, I would have preferred a polite knock to wake me up. Trying to maintain some sort of dignity, I summoned my pants that were hanging on the chair to my desk and quickly put them on. My aunt looked like she was about to shriek again, but managed to contain it this time.

"What?" I asked, hoping this wouldn't be an embarrassing conversation. My boxers were a plain gold color with no pictures, so I didn't think they were going to be the topic of conversation. Now, if I'd had red hearts all over them, well, then I could see where that might have caused problems.

"What have you done to our house?" she asked fearfully, eyes darting around my room as if searching for a hidden dragon that might pop out at any moment.

Oh, right, I'd done "eeeeevil magic". "Nothing much, I just expanded the room so I could have a decent place to live for the summer. Did Vernon tell you the deal?" I would have expected him to, but you couldn't always predict what Vernon would do.

She nodded.

"OK, then. I'll probably spend most of my time in here or the back garden, so you won't have to worry about the neighbors. I'll join you at dinner, but otherwise, I'll leave everyone alone as long as you leave me alone."

"But, but the room…" she sounded horrified.

I shrugged. "Don't worry, I'll put it back when I leave."

She looked like she wanted to say a lot more, but she only shuddered and backed out, closing the door behind her. A successful interaction, or so it seemed to me.

Looking at my clock, which a quick Reparo had fixed, I noted it was after nine, so I got dressed to start my day. "What to do?" I asked myself.

Breakfast sounded good, so I went downstairs and made myself some toast and grabbed some fruit. We were getting a little low on food, but I didn't complain. Aunt Petunia would probably go shopping today.

Next I decided to get my summer homework done early for once. Having a decent desk and all the answers floating around should make it a breeze. For once, summer homework was actually enjoyable.

That made me realize that it probably wouldn't hurt to learn a few advanced things. I mean, being able to pull arcane knowledge out of the air was great, but it wasn't fast either. It would help to truly learn some useful things. Also, it didn't take me long to realize that while I could "know" (or ask "Magic") how to expand a room, I couldn't do the same thing to know how to dance or the appropriate robes to wear when I attended a birthday party. It seemed that Magic could only tell me about magical things. Who knew?

Grabbing my Gringotts key, I decided to take my life into my own hands and walked out the front door. Noticing an odor, I stopped and sniffed. Yuck! Stale cigar and other odors I never wanted to know about are in the air. Fletcher was nearby. Thinking about it for a moment, I figured out how to see magic and voilá! I saw an "invisible" lump not far way. A quick sleep charm ensured that I wouldn't be missed. He was probably asleep anyway.

I walked to the park to catch the Knight Bus to Diagon Alley. Just before I stuck my wand out, it occurred to me that I needed to be in disguise. Waving my hand over myself, I became blond and my face looked rounder. Also, my scar disappeared.

I called the bus and got on. As I hung on for dear life during the crazy ride, I wondered why Sirius didn't use glamours to get out more often. I guess I'll never know.

No one recognized or stopped me anywhere. I got money at the bank, both Galleons and Pounds. Surprise, surprise, I found that I now own number twelve Grimmauld and my vault was a lot fuller, thanks to Sirius's will being executed. It was hard to hold the tears in when the goblins told me, but I managed by the slimmest of margins. The loss of Sirius was still pretty raw and hurt.

Since I have some extra money, courtesy of my late godfather, I stopped in at the Quidditch supply store and picked up some broom parts and books on how brooms work. I've always been interested in how they work and have wondered if I could make one or not. I don't expect to make the next Firebolt, but it will give me something to do as a hobby.

After stopping at the bookstore, a good-sized stack of books on various topics also came home with me. I got a little something on a lot of topics. Hermione would be impressed. Just for fun, I also bought a Wizarding Wireless Radio.

On the way back, I noticed there was a Muggle bookstore next to the Leaky Cauldron, so I went in there. Several "How Things Work" and various topics "Explained" books came home with me, as well as some spiral notebooks and pens. Perhaps some Muggle ideas could be used in the Magical world. The book explaining Physics looked very interesting. It might even help me when I made my broom.

Fletcher was still asleep when I get back to my relative's house. I shook my head as I went in. He was so worthless at this job; I hoped he did other useful things for the Order, because he was horrible at being a minder.

I spent the rest of the day studying and it was actually fun. Of course, having some music and a comfortable recliner (transfigured from an old pillow) helped a lot.

Dinner was uncomfortable. I mean, all three of them stared at me the whole time I ate. I didn't eat nearly as much as Dudley, but I ate my fill for once. Vernon didn't seem to like that, but he kept quiet. When I finished, I started back to my room.

"Harry?" My aunt called, but then she stopped, as if afraid to say anything more.

"Oh, right, sorry," I told her in a tone that almost sounded like I really was sorry. With a wave of my hand, my dishes floated up and went to the kitchen on their own, as well as started washing themselves. Petunia whimpered while the other two continued their forced silence, although they did look a little fearful. I just shrugged and went on up to my room. I grinned to myself as I thought that perhaps that wasn't what she was going ask about.

I had been learning some interesting things all afternoon and wanted to continue. In a bizarre way, I could almost understand Hermione better now. It was a truly scary thought that I did my best to forget as quickly as possible.

The next morning started out well until I got to the kitchen. There, I found no eggs or bacon. All of Dudley's cereals were gone too. I grabbed some toast and fruit again. I did pay enough attention in class to know not to conjure food; small amounts of water, are OK, but not food. It doesn't last and could actually hurt you when it disappears. Now, if I could only make food that would sit on the store shelves for several weeks, but would disappear five minutes after you ate it, and before your body absorbed it, I'd have the ultimate "feel good diet food" and would be rich. I'll have to give that some thought one day. Maybe if I put the disappearing part on a timer after the package was opened … hmm.

Breakfast was a bust though. Walking around the house, I found Aunt Petunia and Dudley coming in from the garage. "There's no eggs or bacon," I told her, hoping to hear that she was going shopping soon.

"I know," she replied, as if I should have known too. She looked at Dudley and motioned for him to go up to his room and for once, my pig-shaped cousin obeyed without a word, scampering up the stares as fast as his legs would take him. She then seemed to steel herself with determination as if she was about to face Volde-snot himself. "We've decided that since you want to be left alone, you're on your own for everything. We'll be eating out for the rest of the summer. We also have plans to be gone for a summer holiday to visit Marge for a week or so starting next week. We expect the house to be kept up and normal when we return. Will you agree to that?"

Damn! She's actually being reasonable, or at least reasonable for her. "Sure," I told her, not even really thinking about it or what it might really mean to me.

She nodded once in acknowledgement and walked up to her bedroom.

While I sort of wondered what she did during the day, I had a bigger problem on my hands: food. Well, there was a grocery store about three quarters of a mile away. Mrs Figg always walked there, so I knew I could too. Not having anything else to do this morning, I went up to my room, got my Muggle money, and went out of the house.

I stood on the front porch and stretched. Going now would be good, as it would be hot later. Ready, I started off on my walk, at least until I hit the end of the driveway.

"Where are you going?" came a feminine voice from the bushes.

That stopped me in my tracks. I had at least two options, but I decided the voice was the younger one. "I'm going to the store, Tonks. Is that a problem?" I asked as innocently as I could.

"Actually, it is, Harry. That's much too far away. Your little park is at the very limits of your protective wards as it is."

"Well, that's going to be a problem," I told her a little sarcastically. Sarcasm was really starting to grow on me as the summer went by for some reason I couldn't explain. Of course, Sarcasm had been a close friend of mine last year thanks to Umbridge, now that I thought about it.


"Well, my relatives decided to leave me alone and also decided that meant I was on my own for everything, which includes food."

"What?" She sounded really put out. "They're not feeding you?"

"That sums it up pretty well. At least this time I get the use of the kitchen and get to eat whatever I cook. In the past I'd just get sent to my room with nothing." With the way she was spluttering, I guess my past was still mostly unknown.

Eventually, she settled down. "Can you wait an hour or two? I get off soon and will go get you some things."

"I suppose," I told her with disappointment. In fact, I sounded a little whiney when I considered it. "Sorry, I didn't mean that like it sounded. I would be grateful, but I was also thinking about enjoying the walk and getting out. You know?"

"Actually I do," she said with a sigh. "I'd let you go if I could. Do me a favor and stay here though. I get off in about an hour and I'll get enough food for a couple of days and be back before lunch. By the time you run out of that, we should have determined what to do for the rest of the summer."

"I guess I won't starve before then. OK, come knock on the door when you get back." A humorous thought occurred and I almost let it happen, but there was no need to rock the boat that much. "You probably shouldn't have pink hair though."

She chuckled. "Right, I could do that. Go get a tan in the back garden or something. I'll find you with food as soon as I can."

"OK, but I think I'll wait in the house." I left her chuckling as I went in. Working on a tan might not be a bad idea for the afternoon. Of course, it would be a lot better with a girl to rub lotion on my back. I almost blushed at the good feelings that thought produced.

In my room, I considered that question. Having a girlfriend could be nice. Who could I see? Perhaps more importantly, who would want to see me? Other than Hermione, who I wouldn't ask out because I knew Ron had a thing for her and, truth be known, I saw her more like a favorite cousin, I couldn't think of anyone I really wanted to date. Parvati and Lavender were easy on the eyes, but too flighty. Padma might work, but she seemed too reserved. The Slytherins were probably out, but a couple of the Hufflepuff girls might work. The problem being that I didn't know Susan or Hannah all that well. A problem for another time I finally decided. My advanced Transfiguration book would have to keep me occupied for the rest of the morning.

Some time later, I heard a knock from downstairs. Closing my book, I hurried down and got there just as my aunt opened the front door.

"Can I help you?" she asked the young brunette in a surprisingly normal looking outfit. What gave her away to me was the huge picnic basket in her hand.

"Hi, I have a delivery for Harry."

Petunia turned and looked at me. "She's not staying long." Despite the demand, my aunt left for the kitchen.

I waved Tonks in. "Good job on the disguise. You look normal, and nice." I wondered if she was available as I drawled out that last word. Seven years was a stretch at the moment, but it wouldn't be so bad in five years.

Tonks closed the door behind her. "Down, boy," she told me with a grin. "I'm running with a wolf for the moment, but thanks for the compliment. I'll let you know if that changes."

I couldn't stop the blush, but I did have the intelligence to let the subject drop. "So, is that basket for me?" I held my hand out for it.

"Yes, but I'll take it upstairs to your room." She kept the basket and started to move towards the stairs.

"You don't have to," I told her, reaching out for the basket again.

A knowing grin told me I had been caught. "Mad-Eye is outside and insists I take it up to your room. He said I should find something interesting there." She resumed her march and I had no good option but to follow. On the other hand, I did notice that when Tonks was in blue jeans, she did nave a nice figure. I just had to wonder if that was natural or not. Of course, given that Tonks is a Metamorphmagus, just what does "natural" mean? Did she even know what her "birth form" was any more?

"Harry, what are these for?" She was pointing at the three locks on my door. I guess she hadn't noticed when she was here last summer, or else she had forgotten about them.

"Those were from my second year and how they made sure my freakishness did not contaminate them." My sarcasm was back.

She gave me a penetrating look that promised discomfort to someone, but said nothing. I wondered what the future held for my relatives now. When she opened the door, she made no move to enter my room. After a very long pause, she finally whispered, "How in the bloody hell did this happen?"

Knowing nothing good could come of this conversation if my aunt walked by, I put my hands on her shoulders and gently pushed Tonks inside, closing the door after myself. "Accidental magic?" I suggested.

Tonks gave me a "snuckle", sort of a snort and chuckle combined. I didn't think it was a raspberry, the context wasn't right and I saw no tongue.

"Really," I insisted. "I was tired of the closet-sized room I had and wished for a bigger room and -- voilá!"

She gave me a "get real" look before she inspected the room. "Harry, this looks just like a Gryffindor dorm room." She lightly ran her hand over the Quidditch poster on the wall, causing several of the players on it to preen and try to get under her hand. "It's so obviously larger than the space allows, anyone could tell magic was involved."

I shrugged. "Doesn't matter. There's a standing rule that only family comes up to the second floor, so my cousin's friends don't see anything. I think you're the first exception since I started Hogwarts."

"Harry, you're avoiding the question. How did this happen?" She fixed me with a stare as if trying to make me answer. Her intimidation factor was nothing compared to Hermione's.

"I told you, I wished for it. Besides, if I had used my wand, don't you think I would have received a warning letter?" She nodded at my reasoning. "And, I haven't been taught how to do this in school. Maybe Hermione knows how, but she hasn't told me either." I was going to deny it all.

She set the basket down on my desk. "You have a point, as they don't teach this until seventh year, and I would have heard about any Underage Magic violations." She continued to give me a pointed look, but I ignored it and went to the basket.

"There should be enough in there for several days, but I'll check on you in two," Tonks said, dropping the mystery for the moment. "Molly was both appalled and delighted at your predicament," she said with a grin.

"I could imagine." I couldn't help but grin too. Opening it up, I found a note on top and moved it to the side and looked in. Laughing, I said, "There must be enough food in here for two of me for a week." The inside of the basket was way bigger than the outside.

"I'm sure," Tonks agreed good-naturedly. "Molly said that she could do this for the rest of the summer, so I'll bring you a new one every few days. She also said that if you leave the extras in the basket, there is a charm to keep it from spoiling."

I pulled out a container of Shepherd's pie and found it still warm. "Want some?"

"Thanks, but I don't want to take yours as I have some at home." She fiddled with my curtain for a moment before giving me a serious look. "Harry, please level with me. How did all of this happen?"

"Truthfully, I couldn't explain it." I couldn't, it would have ruined everything. Also, I have no idea where my power came from either. So it was doubly true. "However, I do plan to enjoy it."

She nodded, accepting my non-answer, and seemed to be thinking of something else.

"What?" I ask her.

Tonks plopped down on the edge of my bed and looked even more serious as I ate my lunch at the desk. "I'm probably not supposed to tell you this, but I'd be pissed off were I in your position and found out I hadn't been told as soon as possible."

That did not sound good. "What?" I asked quietly, forcing myself to not think of all the bad things that might have happened.

"Unless things change, you're going to have to stay here for the rest of the summer. The Weasleys are at Sirius's and Dumbledore doesn't want you to go there." She looked very pensive, probably expecting an explosion.

I set my food down and searched the basket. It wasn't hard to find pumpkin juice and a cup. I poured myself a drink while I thought about what she had told me. Truthfully, it wasn't all that bad given my new living arrangement, except I was getting cabin fever here. Also, I wasn't sure how much I really wanted to go to Grimmauld Place. I was starting to deal with Sirius being gone, but there was a part of me that was afraid of what I'd feel if I went back over there.

Shrugging and examining my drink very closely, I said, "I'm mostly OK with that, but it would be nice to see my friends." That was barely out of my mouth when I remembered Hermione's last note, saying she was about to leave for the next three weeks with her parents on their summer family holiday trip.

Tonks sighed. "I'm sorry, Harry, but it's not possible for them to come over here. Dumbledore anticipated that; he's afraid that would draw too much attention to you."

That made me angry. "Is he an idiot or what?" I ground out. "My relatives' address must be on various Ministry records, as Madam Hopkirk could tell you. Or, as long as you know their names, which is also a matter of public record, all anyone has to do is look my uncle up in a phone book and there's his address." I thought back to the graveyard at the end of my fourth year. "And besides, I believe Voldemort already knows where I live as he said it was well-protected. So I doubt a few friends coming over would be a security risk."

She looked shocked. "Then why are you here?"

"Dumbledore said it was because he put up blood wards from my mother." I wondered about that and thought about looking for them, but I'd have to wait until Moody was gone.

"I'll ask for you," was all she said for a moment. Shuddering, she stood. "Take care, Harry. I'll be in contact in a couple of days and I'll try to bring you more information if I can."

I nodded. "Thanks, Tonks." She still looked down. "Hey, I understand," I told her, trying to cheer her up. "It's not your fault. Life just sucks sometimes."

She gave me a true snort this time. "That's the truth." She patted me on the shoulder and walked out of my room. I followed and let her out of the house.

Back up in my room, I finished my lunch. After cleaning the container with a wandless spell, I saw the note again. Opening it up showed me very legible and flowing script.


I guess we shouldn't be surprised at anything those relatives of yours do, but this really takes the cake. (There's a small one of those in the bottom if you search for it.)

Mum is trying to decide if she's going to come over and hex them into next year or if she's going to bust her buttons at the thought of getting to fix you enough food to keep you happy. I'd swear she's part house-elf at times.

So, while she's busy doing food, I'm supposed to be writing you an "everything's OK, keep your chin up" letter. Yeah, right. I know you well enough not to even try that.

Instead, I'll tell you that we're at Snuffles' house again. We're the only ones living here at the moment, with "others" floating in and out. They won't tell us much, but I think things are pretty quiet out there, if you know what I mean.

If you didn't know, Hermione just left for the next three weeks. Ron is also being a real prat. I'm about ready to Bat-bogey him. The point is, you're not missing much. In fact, I'd happily trade places with you for some peace and quiet, but we've already asked about coming over and were told "No" so loudly Ron's head spun, or at least it did in my imagination.

Mum is almost done so I better wrap this up. Take care. I'll try to write more next time.


I slowly folded that up and set it down. Then I picked it back up and read it again. Putting it back down again, I walked over and plopped into my transfigured recliner. Why hadn't I ever thought about Ginny? Of course, when thinking of girls a year younger, there was also Luna. Luna was fun in her own way and I was glad she was my friend, but dating her wouldn't be right, at least for my brain. My sense of humor would love it, though.

Why not Ginny? She was cute and turning pretty as she got older. Having spent time with her last year, I knew she was funny, a real wicked sense of humor. Ginny was also pretty smart and a great Quidditch player. In fact, I thought she was better than Ron, but it probably wouldn't be a good idea to tell him that.

Then a memory came to me. On the train home several weeks ago, she talked about choosing Dean. She had been vague-sounding, as if she was only trying out the idea, but what if she was serious? I couldn't move in on another guy; it just wouldn't be right. But what if she was just tweaking Ron and so she was free? I contemplated Ron's little sister who wasn't so "little" any more, one who used to have a crush on me, but seemed pretty normal around me last year. We'd even had several really nice conversations and she had helped me get around Umbridge to talk to Sirius.

It took me nearly an hour of going back and forth in my mind, but I finally realized there were only two ways out of this and I was tired of being a coward about girls -- plus I was a Gryffindor. I had all the magical power I needed, so there was no reason to be afraid of the girl. Getting up, I went over to my desk and started writing a letter.

Dear Ginny,

Please tell your mother thanks and give her a hug for me. I really appreciate the food and she is one of the best cooks I know. As soon as I finish this letter, I plan to search for that cake.

I also thank you for the news. It sounds like you don't know much more than I do, but I thank you anyway. At least you tried, which is a lot more than I can say for some prats.

I also have a question for you. This may make it my turn to be a prat, but I hope you'll forgive me for being so forward. Perhaps if I was there and could do this in person, it would come out a lot better.

I know you used to like me, but I also know that you seemed to have moved on. Hermione told me you gave up on me. You also mentioned choosing Dean on the train ride home, so maybe you're not free anyway, but I was wondering if you had any interest in dating me, assuming you are free.

Please write back and let me know. If you're interested, I'm interested too.


Perhaps that could have been better, but magic couldn't do everything. I looked around and saw Hedwig sitting on the window sill watching me. When we made eye contact, she flew over. I've got a smart owl.

"Take this to Ginny Weasley. She's at Sirius's old house where we stayed last summer." Hedwig hooted. "Be safe and you can wait there for a reply. I won't have any other letters in the meantime." Hedwig rubbed her head against my hand and then launched into flight.

With the rest of the afternoon free, I decided to take Tonks's suggestion -- literally. Transfiguring some old boxers into real swim trunks, I headed out to the back garden with a towel. A cold drink, a large piece of chocolate cake, and a Charms book also went along to keep me company. After stretching out on the towel, I realized this really was a nice day.

At the end of a surprisingly nice day, despite the fact that my aunt told me that morning they didn't plan to feed me any more for the summer, I laid down to go to sleep. I had only been in bed for a few minutes when Hedwig came winging her way in. She was so silent I never would have known she had came back if she hadn't landed on my chest. Since she didn't normally do that, I wondered what Ginny had told my owl.

"That was fast," I told her while I petted her.

She gave a short barking hoot, which might have meant, "Of course," but then again, I don't speak owl. She stuck her leg out and I relieved her of her letter. Conjuring a floating light, I summoned an owl treat from across the room and gave it to her for the good job. I opened the letter to read it. I will admit to being very curious and even hopeful.

Dear Harry,

I was very surprised to get your letter. Not only was it fast in returning, but you've never written me before. Don't get me wrong, it was a pleasant surprise.

You should also know that you have amazing timing, just like on the Quidditch pitch. Ask me about this letter sometime when it's just the two of us alone.

I should probably tell you up front that I'm really sorry I ever told Hermione that I gave up on you and I'm starting to think that you took that far differently than I really meant it. I now suspect that you thought I meant that I was completely over you and you were just another boy. Am I right? However, nothing could be further from the truth. What I really meant was that I gave up on my crush. Being around you allowed me to get to know the real Harry and I found I genuinely liked him. So you could say that I'm interested in you too.

You'll be pleased to know that I am free at the moment, no boyfriends, despite what my prat of a brother may think. However, I am very open to having a boyfriend, especially one who is willing to be with the real me.

In some ways, it would be a lot easier to do this in person, and yet, this is easier in other ways. Here, I can write what I really think and not let my blush get in the way and make me all shy and tongue-tied.

I'm afraid we're restricted to letters for the rest of the summer. I wished that wasn't true, but I guess we'll have to wait until the train to hold hands or do the other boy/girl things. I hope you don't mind that I'm really looking forward to that.

Please write soon,
Your Ginny

p.s. Even though Mum will still be the one cooking, I'm now in charge of putting your basket together, so I'll put my letters in there for you. You can send yours back in the empty basket.

p.p.s. I've also been told to tell you that Mum is happy for your thank you note, but that you must not send Hedwig over here any more. They think she's too conspicuous and well-known. Personally, I'd rather have you over here, but that's not possible either, I'm told.

I was figuratively bouncing off the walls at that point. I wanted to shout, "I've got a girlfriend," over and over like some little kid. I guess that would show I wasn't totally grown up yet. The goofy grin all over my face would not help my case for being grown up, either.

Extinguishing the light, I laid back down and tried to go to sleep. That was far harder now than it was a few minutes ago. Visions of a cute little redhead and what I'd like to do with her are running through my head. I'll never tell anyone I fell asleep hugging my pillow while thinking of my brand new girlfriend … uh-uh, no way.

I was still over the moon about Ginny the next morning. The fact that my normal two friends were ignoring me and not being true friends by writing meaningful letters was no longer important. I was sure that when I explained it to them, they'd be sorry, apologize, and then we could go back to being friends -- at least, I hoped so.

As I ate breakfast, I saw a slim book on my desk that looked useful -- one of many I had purchased the other day. Pulling it out of the stack and flipping through it, I started to mentally digest what was in it. It took me awhile to figure out the theory, but before lunchtime, the three D's of Apparation made sense, as does the idea of what I had to do to Apparate. Engaging my "magic vision", I looked out the window and saw a glowing prone lump out behind the bushes at the end of the driveway. It was Fletcher again, so I could do anything without worry.

With my own special brand of determination, I headed out to the back garden, book in hand. After one last review, I put the book down and thought about a spot on the other side of the garden. With everything in mind, plus a vision of my self opening up a tunnel through space to travel through and then safely land over there, I pushed my magic as if I was doing a spell.

Of course, I couldn't be normal with this either. I've seen adults Apparate and I don't recall them being sucked upwards as if going into a funnel. I felt like I was moving very fast and my body was very fluid, almost like going through a pipe. The sensation was very brief as I was just as suddenly dropped back down onto my feet, as if stepping off of a short step a few inches high. I was amazed I didn't fall over like with a Portkey and it didn't hurt. There was also no "yanking" or "pulling" feelings. Hoping and praying that it had worked correctly, I patted myself down and looked across the yard. I saw no parts over there and it felt like I was all still here and correctly put together. I had successfully Apparated, or whatever I did. I wondered how loud I was, but I could think of no way to figure that out.

Just for fun, I did it back to the other side of the yard, and it worked again. Thinking about the park a few blocks away, I went there, successfully. Feeling confident, I popped to the Apparation point in Diagon Alley, then to the Shrieking Shack, and finally back home and straight into my bedroom. Best as I could tell, I wasn't even missing a hair. This was brilliant! I shouted and danced in the privacy of my room. It was a good thing no one else was home.

With joy and cockiness that I felt was well deserved, I wrote Ginny a letter. At the bottom, I told her to go visit Buckbeak at nine that evening, well it would be tomorrow evening, and to make sure she was alone. I'd send it to her via the empty basket tomorrow.

Damn! It's good to be me and have a lot of power!

Tonks took the empty basket and my letter this morning. I had then spent all day trying to keep busy by reading and doing little things. It was tough. My best way to keep from looking at the clock every two minutes had been to start working on understanding brooms and trying to put my hobby one together. While I was doing that, I only looked at the clock about every half hour. Man, I'm so pitiful.

When nine o'clock rolled around that evening, I had my best pair of jeans on along with a nice green shirt that matched my eyes. I tried to fix my hair, but apparently it had a magic of its own and wouldn't stay down no matter what I did to it. I suppose I could do nothing with it because it was like fighting myself.

Now that I was about to leave, I became very nervous. What if she really doesn't like me and she was just being nice? That was silly, I decided. Ginny isn't the type to mess people around. If she wasn't alone right now, that would be a real problem, but there wasn't much I could do about that. Then I grinned … actually, there was something I could do. I grabbed my Invisibility Cloak and put it on.

Ready for the second time, and it was only two minutes after nine, I thought very carefully about the attic at number twelve Grimmauld Place and willed myself there. Again, I was sucked up and felt like I was "flowing". A couple of seconds later, I was deposited at my destination, right beside the door. I must have made a noise because Buckbeak, who was at the other end of the long room, became uneasy and started look around.

Looking around for myself, I saw that Ginny was leaning against the wall not far away and it was just her and the hippogriff in the room. With a grin, I pulled my cloak down so I was the famous floating head. "Ginny…"

Her head whipped around and she stumbled for a second. "Harry?" Then her eyes lit up. "Harry!" She ran to me and threw her arms around me. Before I realized what was happening, her face was on mine and we were kissing.

I've only every really kissed one girl, Cho Chang, and it was only one time, and it wasn't all that great. However, I have to say, Ginny was incredible. Before I knew it, I had been pushed a half step backward and was pressed against the wall and she was pressed against me, lips and body. There was absolutely nothing to complain about. I did my best to match her and enjoy it all.

Eventually, I had to come up for air and so I pushed her back just slightly. I had that goofy grin back while I looked at her. She had a similar look on her face.

"How did you get here?" she asked.

I casually waved my hand behind her back in the direction of the door. I wanted to make sure that anything we said did not get overheard. A second quick wave put up a charm to tell me if anyone came within ten feet of the door.

"Would you believe magic?" One of her hands lightly popped me on the side of the head. "I guess not." I was still grinning, along with enjoying feeling her body pressed against mine. "I Apparated or something like it."

She lost her grin. "But you shouldn't have had those classes yet and the wards of the house should prevent that." My body wanted to protest when she backed away and pulled her wand on me. With a calculating look, she asked, "Prove you're really Harry."

I couldn't help but chuckle. "Shouldn't you have asked me that before you tried to snog my tonsils out?"

She blushed. "Yeah, but at least I'm recovering from my mistake." She wiggled her wand at me. "Again, prove you're Harry."

"Uh, last year, you helped me break into the Umbridge's office to Floo call Sirius. You also went to the Department of Mysteries where you got a broken ankle. I could also tell you about your first year and how Fawkes carried us out of the hole in a bathroom, but I suspect neither of us really wants to talk about that year."

Her arm had started dropping after my first statement. She dropped her wand by the time I finished.

I pulled the cloak completely off and dropped it on the floor. "I'm sorry I brought that up." I opened my arms wide and she came over. We hugged for several minutes and just held each other. "I'm sorry," I told her again.

She shook her head, her forehead moving on my chin. "No, it wasn't your fault and that was probably the best proof you could have given me."

I rubbed her back and she seemed to enjoy that and snuggled into me a little more. If she had been a cat I would have bet she would be purring right now. I enjoyed holding her and slowing breathing in the scent of her shampoo. It reminded me of watermelon.

"So, you learned to Apparate?"

"Yeah. In fact, I can do a lot of things now that I couldn't before this summer. I have a lot to tell you."

She looked up at me and slowly smiled. "I'd like to hear it all, but I can't really stay up here too long."

"I can come over every night," I suggested.

"And I'd like that." She pushed up a little and kissed me gently.

"Yeah, I'd like that too," I said breathlessly. She chuckled. "Do you have your bedroom alone for the moment?"

"Since Hermione is gone, yeah. Why?"

"I can put my cloak on and go down with you. Tell whoever you're going to bed early and we can quietly talk for a few hours. Unless you have something to do early in the morning, I can stay as late as you want. I have nothing special to do tomorrow."

Ginny quickly kissed me again. "Sounds like a great plan. Put your cloak on." She bent down and picked her wand and my cloak up. I couldn't help but watch that motion, enjoying it thoroughly before taking my cloak back.

I became invisible again and took my charms down. A minute later, I was in her bedroom and she told me she'd be back very soon. It took her nearly five minutes, but she returned and closed her door.

"Sorry, I can't lock it, so you should probably keep your cloak on," she suggested.

"Let me put a charm on the door so I know if anyone comes near." I waved my hand in that direction and she gasped.

"You're hand turned blue for a second."

I grinned at her. "That's what I want to tell you about. Let me silence the room so no one can hear us." I did another spell before taking up a seat beside her on her bed, both of us leaning against the wall.

"How are you doing that, and aren't you afraid you'll get into trouble?" she asked curiously.

"Nope," I told her confidently, "especially not here. This house is Unplottable so even you could do all the magic you wanted and not get into trouble. I just recently learned that."

She slowly looked up and I could see her getting angry. "I'm going to hurt my mother…"

"Hey, either she didn't know or she did it just to keep you busy."

"You're not helping, Harry," she growled, a sound that I kind of liked now that she was my girlfriend.

"Oh, right. Sorry. Well, I guess I should explain about me." I launched into the story of my summer. I told her about the lightning hitting me and the power boost. I also told her about all the magical stuff I'd been doing around the house with nary an owl from the Ministry. I also talked about all the stuff I'd been learning and doing. It took me well over an hour and many questions from her, but we had a good time.

She also told me about her summer, and she was right in her letter, it was not much to speak of. Unlike Ron, she had already finished her summer homework.

"Oh, I was supposed to ask you about the timing of my letter."

Ginny laughed lightly. "Be glad you wrote when you did, Harry. I was waiting on Errol to come back from another trip so he could take a letter to Dean. I had been messing with Ron's mind when I told him about Dean on the train, but then I decided that he was a pretty decent bloke, so I had written him to see if he was still interested in me. He had indicated he was at the end of last year. However, after I read your letter, I tore up my letter to Dean. There was no need to see about his interest in me when I had the man of my dreams asking me to be his girlfriend," she finished with a smile.

I kissed her. "Good decision."

She chuckled. "Harry, just so you don't get too angry at Ron, or at Hermione either, they were both told not to write you about anything of importance or about the Order. Of course, I wasn't told that and I thought it silly as well."

I kissed her again. "Another good decision."

Coyly licking her lips, she said, "Maybe you need to give me some more incentives to keep telling you things."

I eagerly agreed. After a little kissing, we arranged a meeting time before I left. She was watching me when I went home. I'll have to remember to ask her what it looks like when I see her tomorrow night.

This summer is turning out more brilliant all the time.

The next few weeks were smashing. I'd read, work on my custom broom, or simply have fun with magic in the daytime. Then in the evening, I'd go visit Ginny, usually in her room or in the attic of number twelve Grimmauld. A few times, I'd even wear my Cloak into the main part of the house and visit the library there to pull out a few special tomes.

Ginny informed me that her mother had pulled some of the "Darker" works out in an attempt to protect her and her brothers. That incensed me a little because those books were rightfully mine. So carefully reaching out with my magic, I sought out all the books in the house that were part of the Black Estate, establishing a magical connection to follow. That exercise led me to what Ginny told me was her mother and father's room. Since her parents were down in the kitchen, I went in and found the books in their closet. Pulling them out, I took them back to the library where they belonged and then I searched Magic and found the spell I needed and cast it on the room.

"What did you do?" she asked me.

"I put a ward on the room and the books in it. Try to take a book out of the room," I innocently suggested, working hard to keep a grin off my face.

She looked at me questioningly for a moment, obviously trying to divine what I had done, but she eventually gave up and pulled a book off the shelf and tried to walk out … try being the operative word. As she reached the doorway, most of her kept going, but the book would not go past the threshold. She walked one step back and then tried again with the same result. With a grin on her face, she put the book back on the shelf.

"I'm the only one who can take books out now," I said with a grin.

"That is going to drive Hermione crazy when she comes over," she chuckled.

"What about your Mum when she finds those evil books have come back?" I teased.

Ginny snuckled. "That will be fun too."

"Be sure to tell her that the books and everything else in the house are mine and nothing may be disposed of without my permission."

"OK." Ginny looked thoughtful for a moment. "Can you cast the same spell on the house as a whole?"

I considered that. "Maybe. It's harder on large areas or where the items aren't well defined. For example, should it affect a sandwich that your Mum makes and gives to your Dad to take to work for lunch?"

She nodded. "I see your point, but I've heard that Fletcher was trying to take some of the silver," she said a little hesitantly. "Moody caught him and made him put it back."

That was upsetting. I might have to go track the little bugger down. But for the immediate problem, there was an easier way to keep things inside. Again querying Magic, a few seconds later I had the answer. Walking over to a wall, I put my hand on it and cast a spell. With a huge grin, I turned back to Ginny.

"What did you do?"

Through my grin I said, "Made it so Fletcher can't come back into the house."

Ginny's eyes went wide before her hand flew to mouth. She bent over and stumbled a little before she fell into a chair. Muffled laughter came out as did tears of levity. "Oh, Merlin, you don't know how much trouble that's going to cause."

"I can guess." Then a truly wicked thought came to me. I turned back to the wall and cast the charm again.

"And that one?" she asked, looking ready to laugh again based on her easy grin.

"I think Snape will have a hard time returning as well."

Ginny lost it again and burst out laughing. Unfortunately, there was a problem this time. Her laughter brought unwanted attention. I heard the footsteps just in time to pull my Invisibility Cloak up.

Ron walked into the room and stared at his sister. "What are you laughing about?" he asked a little sourly. Ginny had told me that he had been in a funk and was not happy to be cooped up in the house, a feeling I understood all too well. It seemed the "adults in charge" did not understand, as this problem kept coming up: Sirius, me, and now the Weasley children.

When she noticed him, she quickly looked around. She looked relieved to not see me, but I was curious as to what she'd say.

"I was trying to work out a prank for the twins and I guess the thought of it was just too much," she blithely put forth.

"What were you thinking?" Ron asked, clearly intrigued.

"The thought of sticking them together, preferably lips to lips."

I wondered how long she had been thinking of that. It wasn't too bad of an idea.

Ron snorted. "Right; I don't think you can pull it off."

"Probably not," Ginny sighed, "but it did strike me as really funny, especially the visual."

Then my lovely girlfriend did one of the either sweetest or meanest things I've ever seen. It was really difficult to decide which.

"Ron, are you going to apologize to Harry when you see him next?"

Her brother froze with a "hand caught in the biscuit jar" look. "For … what?" he asked slowly.

I got the impression that he knew, but didn't want to admit it. There were times I wondered why I considered him my best mate.

"For not being a friend to him this summer. For not really writing to him. For not really fighting to get him here with us."

I had to hand it to Ginny; she didn't pull any punches. But that was one of the reasons I liked her. She rarely beat around the bush and almost always told you exactly what she thought. I didn't like people who played games with me; I'd had too much of that in my short life.

Ron took a few deep breaths and stared at the ceiling for a moment. "Do you think he'll understand if I tell him that it's because Hermione promised Dumbledore and made me do so too?"

A wry grin came over Ginny. "Oh, I think he'll understand that part; Harry believes in keeping promises. What I don't think he'll understand is why you made the promise to do everything Dumbledore asked. You knew Harry wouldn't like it, and yet you promised anyway. Harry wouldn't have promised to do that for you. He would have told Dumbledore to forget about it or some vague answer, and then he would have written you and told you what you wanted to know anyway."

Damn! She knew me so well. I liked her more and more each day.

Ron decided the floor was interesting now and stared at it for a long moment. "I suppose you're right," he finally said.

"Go think about that Ron. A sincere apology will help you a lot. You should also plan on having this same talk with Hermione. You know how she obsesses over following rules, and yet this is one she should have broken," Ginny stated pointedly.

"You're probably right about that, too," he said dejectedly before he turned around and left.

In some ways I felt sorry for him, but it was his bad decision. Hearing his side didn't make me feel any better, either.

When Ron was gone, I dropped the hood of my Invisibility Cloak. "You're the best girlfriend ever," I whispered in her ear.

Ginny sighed contentedly and leaned back into my arms, her back against my front.

As much as I didn't want to say it, I said, "I probably should go now."

She turned around. "Probably." Her agreement didn't stop her from grabbing my face with both hands and snogging me silly.

With a goofy grin, I told her, "I'll see you tomorrow night," before I left.

Back in my bedroom, I flopped down on my bed and let my own sigh out. "Merlin I love that girl." It hit me what I'd actually said, which jerked my thoughts out of la-la land. Did I really love her? Did I even know what love was? I decided that I wasn't sure what love was, at least not at the moment, but if I did love anyone, Ginny would probably be the first.

One interesting side-effect of my many short visits to Grimmauld Place was that it helped me to get over losing Sirius sooner. The thought of him still left me with a bit of sadness, but by taking it in small doses and with Ginny present to help keep my moods from getting too bad, I thought I recovered faster than I would have otherwise.

I saw Ron a couple of more times for a few minutes each and he seemed pretty moody. I thought his tangle with those brain things in the Department of Mysteries must have done something to him. It wasn't too bad, but it was enough to be noticed. I decided I wouldn't be quite as hard on him, but I did still expect an apology about the letters.

The second week in August changed things for us dramatically. First, I was able to put a very nice present wrapped in colorful wrapping paper in one of my return baskets. I had to do that because I was supposedly unable to see Ginny, so how else was I to get her birthday present to her. Secondly, Hermione returned from her holiday with her family and came to stay at Grimmauld Place.

I went to Grimmauld Place late on the eleventh and met Ginny in the attic. She was very happy to see me and thanked me profusely with her lips for her present. I was just as happy to receive her thanks. I admired her choker with a ruby lion on it. It looked beautiful on her, or maybe I should say I thought it enhanced her beauty.

"That looks better on you than it did in the store," I told her as we parted from our kiss.

She sort of growled and moaned before giving me another kiss. "I think it's spectacular, despite what my mother thinks."

"Oh?" I couldn't imagine why her mother wouldn't like it. The pendant on it looked very tasteful and like it probably was expensive, which it was. I'd gone out one morning a few days ago and bought it in a Muggle jewelry store.

Ginny chuckled. "Yeah, she recognizes that it wasn't cheap, which makes her wonder why you spent so much on me when she thinks that all we are are casual friends. Also, she's never liked chokers as she thinks only loose women wear them." She gave me a quick kiss. "But don't you worry, I like it."

I kissed her throat around the choker. She responded by clinging even tighter to me as she threw her head back to give me access. "You are so amazing."

The throaty growl was back. "You're wonderful too, but I can't stay too long."

"Why not?" I murmurred as I moved up, planting a kiss near her ear.

"Because Hermione is going to be suspicious if I'm gone too long. As much as I hate to say it, your visits are going to have to be short and random." Apparently unable to take what I was doing to her any more, she reached up grabbed my head and snogged the life out of me for a long moment.

When I could talk again, I said, "I could just appear on the doorstep and say I was here for the rest of the summer."

She snuckled. "Do you know how many questions and problems that would raise? I'm sure they'd find out about your magic then and you said you didn't want that. Of course, I like watching your blue aura and the blue fire run over your skin. I think it's…" She blushed prettily. "Well, let's just say that I really like it."

I wasn't quite sure what she had intended to say or how to take that, but I decided it was a positive comment and went on. "I said I wanted to delay their knowing, but they will find out one day. I mean, I am going to have to take care of Volde-wart sometime soon. Since nothing is happening, I'm not too worried, but when he starts things, I'm going to have to finish him off once and for all." I had told her about the prophecy just after my birthday. I was actually impressed at how calmly she had accepted it, but that was probably due to my recent power increase so she wasn't as worried.

"Still, I think you should wait until you get back to school. That will cause fewer problems, or at least you'll have to deal with fewer people who want to control you."

We had talked about what might happen when my new power was known. The only question we had was who would pitch the biggest fit: Dumbledore, Fudge, or her mother.

"You have a point," I agreed. "And it is only for the next three weeks. Once we get past that, we can easily have the next ten months together."

She pressed me against the wall and slid up a few inches to kiss me again. "I'd like to have a lot longer than ten months, Harry," she breathlessly told me.

Between her body, her smoldering look, and the way she talked to me, I knew I was a goner. Ten months was now irrelevant. I wanted her forever. Of course, I might have been thinking with my hormones at the moment, but my hormones were really happy and wanted to be that happy again as often as possible.

"You can have as long as you want," I told her as I crushed her back to me and snogged her.

Considering how occupied we were with each other at that moment, I was very surprised I even noticed my proximity alarm going off. Knowing I had no hope of hiding before whoever it was at the door opened said door, I continued to hold on tightly to Ginny and transported us back to my room. I felt squeezed a little tighter with both of us going at once, but otherwise, it was a normal transportation -- to me. Ginny had a different opinion.

When we fell the last couple of inches to the floor, she looked up at me in terror. "What just happened and where are we?"

"Shush," I tried to calm her. "Someone was about to walk in and I brought us back to my place." She nodded in understanding and started to calm down, but I could tell she wasn't comfortable with it. "Did it hurt you in any way?"

That seemed to stop more of her worry as she took stock of how she felt. "No. I'm fine, it's just that … I guess I wasn't expecting that. It didn't hurt at all, I suppose I was just really surprised."

"You're fine then," I gently reassured her. "We'll stay here for a few minutes and then I'll get my cloak and we can go back." I had stopped using my cloak when I came over after the first week, unless I had planned to go out of the attic. I was stupid for not doing so now that Hermione was in the house. She tended to investigate everything.

"Do you really think we can sneak back? I mean, your method of travel is really unusual."

I smiled and raised my hand to brush a few errant hairs out of her face. She leaned into my hand and then hugged me. I comforted her and let her calm the rest of the way, knowing her question was really rhetorical given how powerful I was now.

When I had returned the day after my first visit to Grimmauld Place, Ginny had watched my arrival. She had explained that instead of just appearing, like her parents did when they Apparated, I appeared feet first, like I was falling out of the air. She said it was like there was a line just over where my head should be and my whole body quickly moved down with my feet appearing first and going down, until my head appeared last. I suppose it would be like coming down on a lift, except that it happened in the blink of an eye. She also said that when I left, it was the opposite, like there was an artificial ceiling just above my head and I went up into it extremely quickly. I was also totally silent. Better yet, she knew there were Anti-Apparation wards on Grimmauld Place and I went right through them. So my method of travel was not really Apparation, but something better.

Ginny took a few minutes to look around my room. "It's like our dorm room. You did a good job, Harry."

"Thanks. The real room is about a quarter of this size."

She looked surprised. "You did Room Expansion wandlessly?" She looked really impressed.

I nodded. "I think it's time to return. We can go to Sirius's room. I remember where it is and I don't expect anyone to be there." I retrieved my Invisibility Cloak and wrapped it around both of us before I took us to Sirius's room. It was indeed empty of people. I was also hit with the biggest wave of loss yet since I had left school for the summer.

Ginny must have recognized it or expected it, because she gave me a hug to end all hugs. "It's all right, Harry." She gave me a short soft kiss and that helped to ground me. I saw a lot of caring in her brown eyes and I was again glad that I had chosen her as a girlfriend. The idea of a future with her was sounding better and better.

I gently kissed her back. "Thanks." I noticed a small mirror on the desk there and recognized it immediately, since I had once had its mate. That memory didn't help my feelings, but the mirror also gave me an idea. I quickly grabbed it and put it in my pocket for later.

I led her over to the door and listened carefully. Neither of us heard anyone out in the hallway. I opened the door and let her slip out. Before she could close the door, we both heard one of the voices we really didn't want to hear.

"Ginny? What were you doing in there?"

"Oh hi, Hermione. Nothing much, I just wanted to see what it was like. It's one of the few rooms I haven't explored yet. I didn't think Harry would mind."

Again I was impressed with her ability to make up stuff that made sense. She was definitely the sister of Fred and George.

"Why does it matter what Harry thinks? I mean," she hastily added, "I know Sirius was his godfather, but you make it sound like you need his permission."

"In a way, we all need his permission to be here. You do realize this is his house now, don't you?"

Looking through the crack of the door, I could see them both. Hermione was giving the question some real thought, apparently never realizing that I might be Sirius's heir.

"You think Harry inherited this?"

Ginny grinned. "Actually, I know he did because he told me so in a letter." A small stretch as I told her in person, but I had told her.

Hermione considered that. A quizzical look came over her. "Do you think that's why I can't take library books out of the library any more? When I tried this morning, the book wouldn't leave the room. I could take books out when Sirius was still alive." Hermione looked put out and I immediately wished I could have been there this morning when she tried to remove a book. Her struggle and reaction must have been hilarious to watch.

Ginny shrugged. "One could guess that is the normal way the house works and that Sirius overrode it, so when he died, the normal behavior returned."

Hermione worried her lower lip. "That would be pretty sophisticated magic, but I suppose that could happen."

Ginny had impressed me again.

"Do you know what Harry got on his OWLs? Did he tell you in one of his letters?"

"No, actually he hasn't told me. I'll have to ask."

I really hadn't told her because it didn't seem important when I got them a week ago. I had sent my sixth year choices to McGonagall with Hedwig and then tossed the results in my trunk, forgetting about them. I had done a little better than I had expected, but they weren't brilliant by any means. Too bad I didn't have my power boost before I took my OWLs.

"Do you think I could put a letter in with yours?" Hermione asked, and she sounded very sincere.

"Sure. I just sent a basket over this morning, so it will be day after tomorrow before I send the next."

"Thanks." Hermione suddenly looked very unsure of herself, a look I didn't see on her very often. "Will you come help me write it? I got to thinking during my trip that I haven't treated Harry very well this summer, and well, you seem a lot closer to him right now than any of the rest of us. You're acting like you're his best friend and know what he's thinking now."

That admission surprised me, but then again, Hermione had supported me during our fourth year and Ron hadn't. So I really shouldn't have been surprised that Hermione had picked up on the problem with the letters before Ron.

"Sure." Ginny sounded happy to help.

"Ginny? I know I've only been here for a day, but you seem really happy compared to everyone else. Have you and Harry, you know…" Hermione was waving her hands, trying to imply whatever she hadn't wanted to say.

I found it amusing.

"Have we what?" Ginny asked innocently.

My girlfriend was enjoying this far too much; and well, I was too, in a way.

After a moment, Hermione shook her head. "Never mind, it's not important. Will you come help me with my letter?"

"Yeah, let me close this door first." Ginny came back to the door and stood right next to it for a second.

"Here, tomorrow night," I whispered very softly.

She nodded ever so slightly as she closed the door.

I planned to have a surprise for her, so I left and went straight to the alley behind the grocery store not far from my house. Taking off my cloak, I went inside. Fortunately for me, they carried more than just food and so it didn't take me long to find two small mirrors on the hair care aisle. A little more than five quid later, they were mine and I went back to the alley to travel home.

In the morning, I would study Sirius's mirror to learn the charm or charms needed to link two mirrors for communication and then I would make another pair. Once I gave one of them to Ginny tomorrow night, it would be easy to coordinate where and when to meet without popping into a room where someone else already was.

The rest of the summer looked very promising, romance-wise.

A/N: That's pretty much the summer. Next we have Harry's return to school, and what a return it is.