Just You and Me
A/N: Just You and Me starts off at the beginning of Chamber of Secrets, and explores what could have happened if Harry had paid attention to Ginny earlier then in canon.
Time for the warnings — if you feel that you don't need them, than skip down to the start of the story, because they are spoilers. For those who do want warnings, this story contains (in no particular order):
Sexual content (consensual and nonconsensual, nothing graphic), character death, swearing, pedophilia, and perhaps a few other things that I can't think of at the moment.
If at any time you have questions, feel free to shoot me a PM (or leave a review, my PM option periodically disables itself).
Disclaimer: I do not own anything relating to the Harry Potter series except my set of books and DVDs.
Chapter One: A Floo Mishap
Memories and thoughts were flashing through twelve-year old Harry Potter's sleeping mind. Making a soft noise, he rolled over onto his side.
A pale, snake-like man was making his way through a house, raising his wand at Harry's parents. There was a flash of green light, Lord Voldemort stepped over Lilly Potter's dead body and raised his wand to Harry's forehead...Years went by, Harry grew up with a family that didn't want him, and was completely neglected. Then everything changed on his eleventh birthday, in the form of the huge Hagrid, uttering four words in his gruff voice that Harry would remember forever:
"Harry — yer a wizard
Then he was getting gold from Gringotts, and shopping for books, robes, and receiving his beautiful snow-white owl, Hedwig...getting his wand, which for some reason shared it's core with Voldemort's wand...boarding Hogwarts Express, meeting Ron Weasley, who would become his friend...watching out the window as a girl with red hair ran along with the train for a few seconds...confronting Draco Malfoy...and someone, he couldn't remember who, welcoming him to Hogwarts, the great castle and school that was more a home to him then number four, Privet Drive had been and would ever be...begging the sorting hat to put him into Gryffindor, instead of Slytherin which it had originally suggested and getting his wish...befriending Muggle-born Hermione Granger...the teachers, stern but kind Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor...stuttering, almost silly, Professor Quirrell who turned out to have Voldemort on the back of his head...the sadistic Professor Snape who seemed to have a immense dislike for Harry...and of course, Professor Dumbledore, kind and great Headmaster of Hogwarts. There was Quidditch, in which he preformed spectacularly on his Nimbus Two Thousand, Fluffy, and the trap door...and the Mirror of Erised, which showed him his heart's greatest desire, his parents. Dumbledore had assured him it was being moved away. Then there was the plot to steal the Philosopher's Stone, and the revelation that Voldemort was most definitely not dead. And then the year was winding down, and back to Hogwarts Express so he could leave the school.
And then suddenly the dream ventured into a different realm. He was running down a long corridor, holding someone in his arms. He was at Hogwarts, but had never been in this corridor before. This wasn't a memory anymore. One thought kept flashing through his head as a woman cackled madly in the background.
I need...I need...I need...I need —
"BOY! I NEED YOU TO GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"
Harry's eyes snapped open. He was back at number four, Privet Drive, and Vernon Dursley, his uncle, was hollering at him. With a sigh, he fumbled for his glasses on the side of the bed, groping around until he grasped their frame and gently put them on. Pulling on his clothes, he quickly ran downstairs.
Breakfast at the Dursleys started out bad and, as usual, got worse. Hedwig was causing enough commotion that Uncle Vernon was liable to throw her out of the house, and Harry accidentally said 'Magic", the forbidden word (never mind that he was just asking Dudley to say please).
And he had actually allowed himself to get his hopes up for a instant that the Dursleys remembered that this day was his twelfth birthday. Of course, Uncle Vernon's announcing that it was a special day today had nothing to do with Harry's birthday and everything to do with a dinner party that night with someone he hoped to do business with, and that man's wife. And Harry was be in his bedroom, making no noise and pretending he wasn't there. So he resigned himself to spending a birthday in his room, with nothing from his friends. Nothing at all. He turned to flop down on his bed —
Only to find someone else sitting on it.
Harry barely managed to control a scream that had threatened to slip past his lips at the sight of the creature in front of him.
It was small, wore a pillowcase, and had tennis ball-sized green eyes. Now that he thought of it, he had seen something watching him out of a garden hedge earlier that morning. It must have been this...thing.
Harry could hear Dudley welcoming Mr. and Mrs. Mason, the guests, into the house. Harry must not make any noise. He fixed his eyes on the thing residing on his bed.
"Er — hello," he said nervously.
The creature slid of the bed and began talking in a alarmingly loud voice.
"Harry Potter!" said the creature ecstatically. "So long has Dobby wanted to meet you, sir...such a honor it is."
Harry was momentarily at a loss for words. "Th — thank you," he said, while moving from the bed to the chair. "Wha —"
He stopped himself before he asked what the creature was; it might sound too rude. "Who are you?" he asked instead.
"Dobby, sir. Just Dobby. Dobby the house-elf," the creature said.
This conversation had started out odd, and was only getting even more surreal. A house-elf, in a Muggle's home?
"Oh — really?" said Harry feebly. "Er — I don't want to be rude or anything, but — this isn't a great time for me to have a house-elf in my bedroom."
As his aunt laughed downstairs, Dobby hung his head, looking pitiful.
"Not that I'm not pleased to meet you," said Harry quickly, and the elf perked up, "but, er, is there any particular reason you're here?"
"Oh, yes, sir," said Dobby earnestly. "Dobby has come to tell you sir…it is difficult, sir…Dobby wonders where to begin…."
"Sit down," said Harry politely, indicating the bed.
To his great horror, Dobby burst into some of the loudest tears that Harry had ever heard.
"S-sit down! Never…never ever…" Dobby wailed.
Harry was sure he heard the voices downstairs falter a bit. Thinking he had offended the elf, he backed up a bit.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, "I didn't mean to offend you or anything —"
"Offend Dobby! Dobby has never been asked to sit down by a wizard — like a equal —"
"Shh!" Harry whispered frantically, leading a hiccupping Dobby back to the bed.
The rest of the his talk with Dobby the house-elf did not end up well. While Harry gained insights into Dobby's life, such as the fact that he had to punish himself regularly, Dobby told him that he must not go back to Hogwarts. He would be in grave danger if he did.
"Hang on — this hasn't got anything to do with Vol — sorry — with You-Know-Who, has it?" Harry asked at one point.
"Not — not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, sir," Dobby replied, in a tone that he was giving Harry a hint.
But that was about the most useful thing he got out of Dobby. He found out that the elf had been intercepting and stealing all the letters he had been getting, from Ron, Hermione, even Hagrid. In the struggle that ensued to get the letters back, Dobby used a Hover Charm to drop Aunt Petunia's pudding from the ceiling. The Masons were frighted out of the Dursley's house by a owl that had come from the Ministry of Magic. It ha come to inform him that he could be expelled if he used magic again. Not that he had used magic, but there was no one he could tell about the strange house-elf. And, as if things couldn't possibly get worse, his fabrication that he could use magic out of school came crashing down around his ears. Uncle Vernon locked him in his room and put bars on the window, and informed him that he wouldn't be going back to Hogwarts. Ever. And if he used magic to escape, then he'd be expelled. Uncle Venron thought he had Harry trapped good, and Harry had to grudgingly agree. He couldn't think how he was possibly going to go back to Hogwarts.
Fortunately, help came soon, and in a most unusual and unexpected fashion.
Harry was in the middle of a dream where he was locked in a cage, in a zoo. Dobby was standing outside and shouting, "Harry Potter is safe there, sir!" And someone was rattling the bars of the cage.
"Stop it," he muttered, now half awake. "Leave me alone...cut it out...I'm trying to sleep..."
When it persisted, he opened one eye a sliver, then both wide-open in shock. Seeming hovering outside of the window was a familiar face: Ron Weasley, with his red hair and freckles.
"Ron!" Harry exclaimed. "Ron, how did you — what the —?"
But then he saw. Impossibly, parked in midair was a Ford Anglia, with the mischievous twins Fred and George at the wheel.
"All right, Harry?" asked George (At least Harry thought it was George; it was next to impossible to tell the two apart).
"What's been going on?" interjected Ron. "Why haven't you been answering my letters? I've asked you to stay about twelve times, and then Dad came home and said you'd got an official warning for using magic in front of Muggles —"
"It wasn't me — and how did he know?" asked Harry.
"He works for the Ministry," answered Ron. "You know we're not supposed to do spells outside of school —"
Harry looked at Ron, and then at the obviously magical car he was sitting in.
"You should talk," he said.
"Oh, this doesn't count," said Ron. "It's Dad's, we didn't enchant it. But doing magic in front of those Muggles —"
The next few minutes were filled with Harry protesting that he did not do any magic, Fred and George tying a rope around the bars and using the car to rip them off, and the twins sneaking into the house and stealing Harry's school supplies, broom and wand back from the Dursleys. Harry was just climbing onto the windowsill and to the car when there was a loud screech and a deafening bellow in Uncle Vernon's voice:
"THAT RUDDY OWL!"
Harry had forgotten Hedwig in his excitement to be free, and she had protested, alerting Uncle Vernon.
"I've forgotten Hedwig!" Harry exclaimed.
A mad scramble ensued in which he managed, but just barely, to grab Hedwig's cage and get into the car. As it soared into the air, he was free. While Fred guided the car, they discussed the Dobby incident.
"I reckon old Dobby was sent to stop you from coming back to Hogwarts," said Fred. "Someone's idea of a joke. Can you think of anyone with a grudge against you?"
"Yes," said both Harry and Ron.
By the time they touched down, they had concluded that Draco Malfoy had sent Dobby to stop Harry from going back to Hogwarts. His father, Lucius Malfoy, had been one of Voldemort's Death Eaters, and had gotten off using large amounts of Galleons. As Harry got out of the car he stopped, amazed. They were at the Weasley's house, the Burrow; a tall and rickety building that had to be held together by magic, and was the most fantastic house Harry had ever seen.
"It's not much," said Ron apologetically, misinterpreting the look on Harry's face.
"It's wonderful," Harry said with a grin.
Fred and George motioned towards a door, and they all walked over to it very stealthily; Fred went over the plan that they had worked out.
"Now, we'll go upstairs really quietly," whispered Fred, "and wait for Mum to call us for breakfast. Then, Ron, you come bounding downstairs going, 'Mum, look who turned up in the night!', and she'll be all pleased to see Harry and no one need ever know we flew the car."
Harry could see several gaping holes in that plan, but decided to keep them to himself for the moment. Ron wheeled around to him, all excited.
"Right," he said. "Come on Harry, I sleep at the top —"
He stopped speaking suddenly, his eyes fixed on a point behind Harry, Slowly Harry and twins turned around. It was Mrs. Weasley, looking for all the world like some kind of short, plump predator.
"Ah," said Fred.
"Oh, dear," echoed George.
Mrs. Weasley stopped in front of them, her wand sticking ominously out of her flowered apron.
"So," she said.
"Morning, Mum," said George in his most winning voice.
"Have you any idea how worried I've been?" Mrs. Weasley whispered. Harry took a step back, anticipating what would happen next.
"Sorry Mum," Fred said, "but we had to —"
All three Weasley children cowered as their mother started screaming at them. Harry thought it would go on for hours, and started feeling a little guilty; they were getting in trouble for rescuing him. after all. Then Mrs. Weasley turned on Harry, who hastily backed away.
"I'm very pleased to see you, Harry, dear," she said in a much sweeter tone then he had been expecting. "Come in and have some breakfast."
Ron lead Harry into their cramped kitchen, which had a wooden table in the middle. A magical clock was on the wall across from him, with events instead of times. As Mrs. Weasley was adding copious amounts of food to Harry's plate, she was also lecturing the twins, who were protesting.
"It was cloudy, Mum!" said Fred.
"You keep your mouth closed while you're eating!" snapped Mrs. Weasley.
"They were starving him, Mum!" said George.
"And you!" said Mrs. Weasley, but George has said the magic words, and Mrs. Weasley started cutting and buttering bread for Harry.
Suddenly a small, long red-haired girl dashed down the stairs, clothed in a very light pink nightdress with a flower pattern. As she came to a stop at the table, Harry remembered with a small jolt that she was the girl at the train in his dream.
"Mummy," she said, "have you seen my —"
Suddenly she noticed that Harry was sitting at the table, and her eyes became as wide as saucers.
"Hello," Harry said.
A startled, almost frightened expression was on her face she backed away and ran up the stairs, her flaming red hair trailing behind her, Harry's eyes tracking her all the way up. After she disappeared from sight, he looked back at Ron, confused.
"What did I do?" Harry asked.
"Ginny," Ron explained, "My sister. She's been talking about you all summer."
"Yeah, she'll be wanting your autograph, Harry," Fred said, grinning.
In Harry's opinion the three Weasley children had gotten off light on the subject on punishment: de-gnoming the garden, which turned out to be quite odd, was not a serious punishment compared to some of what he could get at the Dursleys. He had actually volunteered to help with the de-gnoming, and had not gotten into any trouble at all. The same could not be said for Mr. Arthur Weasley. While he was delighted to see Harry and eager to know how well the car flew, he lacked his wife's anger about the joyride, something Molly Weasley was not happy about.
"Come on, I'll show you my bedroom," Ron murmured to Harry.
Leaving the two adults to fight it out, Harry and Ron climbed up a uneven staircase that led bedrooms. When Harry neared the third floor he noticed that a door was open. Someone with bright brown eyes was looking out at them. As Harry got closer, the person to who the pair of eyes belonged to whirled around and dashed back in the room, bumping the top of her head on the door frame and emitting a small squeak of pain in the process.
"Ginny," said Ron, as if Harry couldn't figure out who it was. "You don't know how weird it is for her to be this shy. She never shuts up normally —"
"— Ron," interjected Harry, "I'll follow you up in a minute."
Ron shrugged and walked up the stairs to his room. Harry made sure to note where it was.
Harry walked over to the slightly open door and knocked on it. When there was no reply he pushed it a bit more open and slipped in. It was a nice room, with magical wallpaper, a nice view out the window, and a bed with a certain long-haired redhead sitting on it. Ginny's eyes went wide once again.
"Hi," Harry said. "You're Ginny?"
Ginny nodded her head.
"It's nice to meet you."
Again she nodded her head a bit, apparently at a loss for words.
"I'm Harry," he stated needlessly; of course Ginny knew who he was. He looked into her brown eyes. "Your head okay? That was a nasty bump."
Ginny nodded again, and opened her mouth as though she was about to speak, but forgot how to perform that simple task. Finally, she seemed to regain her voice.
"Um — yes, it's, ah, fine," Ginny babbled, her eyes still wide and large.
"So, you're going to Hogwarts this year?" Harry asked.
Ginny gave one of her now commonplace tiny nods of the head.
Harry stood there for a moment, standing just inside the doorway, with Ginny sitting on her bed, looking uncomfortable.
"Well, maybe I should go," said Harry. "Ron — you know —"
Ginny just sat there, not looking him in the eyes, and Harry smiled at her before walking out of the room and gently closing the door. he had no idea of the bitter disappointment that Ginny was feeling as he walked up the twisting staircase to Ron's room. Ginny had carefully and painstakingly planned out the moment she would mean the great Harry Potter, and it had all gone horribly, horribly wrong.
As soon as Harry had left her room, Ginny threw her pillow across the bedroom as hard as she could. It hit the opposite wall, made a angry screech in protest, and flopped around on the floor for a few minutes before being still at last: Ginny paid it no heed. She had been waiting, listening and figuring out, using every scrap of information she could get, all to find out when she would meet Harry Potter. She had everything planned out for that day, her best clothes, maybe even a bit of makeup (if she could knick some from her mum). Instead, her dear brothers had decided to go and grab Harry Potter and bring him home to the Burrow without even telling her. Because of them, her first meeting with him was in her stupid nightdress. Returning the pillow to the bed, she gave a loud sigh which was echoed by the pillow. She then flopped down on her bed and stared up at the ceiling, taking a very long time to fall asleep.
The next few days were the best that Harry had ever experienced, outside of Hogwarts, anyway. Mr. Weasley peppered Harry with dozens of amusing questions about Muggles, and Mrs. Weasley made fantastic meals, particularly breakfast. It was interesting, whenever Harry sat down for a meal, Ginny panicked, the most notable occasion being when she knocked her porridge bowl over onto the floor with a loud clatter; she retrieved the bowl with her face immersed in yet another spectacular blush.
A moment later Mrs. Weasley walked into the cramped kitchen, school letters in hand. They consisted of the usual assortment: Where to meet the Hogwarts Express (King's Cross Station, platform nine and three-quarters), what robes would be needed for the year, and so on. Then came the list of required new books.
SECOND-YEAR STUDENTS WILL REQUIRE:
The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2 by Miranda Goshawk
Break with a Banshee by Gilderoy Lockhart
Gadding with Ghouls by Gilderoy Lockhart
Holidays with Hags by Gilderoy Lockhart
Travels with Trolls by Gilderoy Lockhart
Voyages with Vampires by Gilderoy Lockhart
Wanderings with Werewolves by Gilderoy Lockhart
Year with the Yeti by Gilderoy Lockhart
Fred peered over at Harry's list, having finished looking over his own.
"You've been told to get all of Lockhart's books, too!" he exclaimed. "The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher must be a fan — bet it's a witch."
"That lot won't come cheap," said George, "Lockhart's books are really expensive..."
"Well, we'll manage," Mrs. Weasley said, looking worried. "I expect we'll be able to pick up a lot of Ginny's things secondhand."
Harry saw what looked like disappointment flicker across Ginny's face for a second, before vanishing. Of course, Harry realized, she would be ecstatic about going to Hogwarts, but that would be slightly dimmed by the prospect of arriving with older and more tattered supplies. Harry smiled reassuringly at her; Ginny responded by sticking her elbow in the butter dish and blushing furiously.
After the meal was over, Harry approached Mrs. Weasley.
"Yes, dear?" she said absentmindedly, cleaning up the remnants of breakfast.
"Um," Harry said, feeling awkward. "You see, I heard — the books — and, er, I mean, I don't need all the Galleons I have at Gringotts…."
He trailed off, hoping that Mrs. Weasley was catching his drift. He knew the Weasleys were terribly short on money, considering the size of their family, and he had more gold then he knew what to do with and wanted. So maybe they could split his account with their account —
"Oh, no dear," Mrs. Weasley said. "You'll need that gold soon enough, and we're doing just fine."
And from that point Mrs. Weasley became suspiciously hard of hearing if Harry tired to bring the subject up again.
It was on the following Wednesday that they all prepared to go to Diagon Alley. Mrs. Weasley grabbed a flower pot and walked over to the assembled group.
"We're running low, Arthur," she sighed. "We'll have to buy some more today...Ah well, guests first! After you, Harry dear."
And she offered him the flowerpot.
Harry started at the patterned pot. What was this?
"W — what am I supposed to do?" he stammered.
"He's never traveled by Floo powder," Rod said suddenly. "Sorry, Harry, I forgot."
"Never?" said Mr. Weasley. "But how did you get to Diagon Alley to buy your school things last year?"
"I went on the Underground —"
"Really?" said Mr. Weasley excitedly. "Were there escapators? How exactly —"
"Not now, Arthur," said Mrs. Weasley. "Floo powder's a lot quicker, dear, but goodness me, if you've never used it before —"
"He'll be alright, Mum," said Fred. "Harry, watch us first."
Fred grabbed a pinch of the powder the resided in the flower pot, and stepped up to the fireplace. He threw it into the flames, and they roared up; bright green and tall. Fred stepped right into the fire without getting burnt at all, and yelled, "Diagon Alley!", to which he promptly vanished.
George followed his twin into the fire, and suddenly the Weasleys were pelting Harry with instructions which, while well meant and intended to get him to safely end up at the right grate, was really quite confusing.
Finally, it was time: He walked over to the edge of the fire and threw his pinch of powder into the flames, which leapt up with a roar. Taking a deep, calming breath, he walked into the flames. Instead of feeling like he was on fire he had the sensation that a warm breeze was passing over him. Feeling more confident, he opened his mouth to speak — and inhaled a lot of hot ash.
"D-Dia-gon Alley," he coughed. He then felt as though he was being sucked down a giant drain, and the Burrow was swept away from him. He was spinning around, knocking his arms against something — and then he fell face-down on a cold stone floor. As he pushed his slightly crushed glasses back up on his nose and glanced around. Evil-looking masks and human bones adorned the walls around him, and from what he could see through the shop's window he was definitely not in Diagon Alley.
A/N: Hope you liked the first chapter. I will try to keep updating as quickly as I can, but with the end of summer coming I have no idea how often that will be. I'm not one of the people who ask for a certain number of reviews before updating, but I will say it is motivating and helpful to get reviews. So, if you would take a few seconds to give a review, much appreciated. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but please, no flames. Anonymous reviews are allowed.