I'm back after a long long absence. My muse abandoned me for quite some time when life got a bit complicated. But I now have a great job, live in a beautiful location (Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, US) and recently moved into a new home which we spent the last two months remodeling (and still have a few projects left to do). I'm hoping that I my muse will once again be coaxed into providing me (and you) with continuation with this story and 'Price of Being Noble'. I do expect updates to be infrequent at best right now.
This is a very short chapter. I had hoped that I might add more to it before posting it, but I really want people to know this story is not dead.
Do anonymous reviewers who think they know everything but are completely wrong irritate other people like they do me. I mean some of them write books for reviews complaining about this or that while I read through the review with gritted teeth wishing I could reply to explain their errors (but most likely they would ignore my explanation as they continue to rant and rave in their small worlds).
On another note. In my Price of Being Noble story, I wrote this several years ago about Voldemort
'He knew the secret of seduction. Make the person believe you care about them, give him something he wants and also give him someone to hate.'
Does anyone see any similarities in our current world?
Now on with the story
"Blast it," Moody said as he followed the two teens down the hall. "My eye's stuck again and a hospital is one of the few places you never want to have a stuck magical eye."
"Expecting an attack in a hospital?" Hermione asked.
"You should ALWAYS be expecting an attack lassie," Moody said as he stopped and moved into a small alcove, "but that's not the reason for the concern though." After looking to make sure his back was to the wall and no one was approaching he pulled the eye out with audible 'pop'. The grizzled ex-auror pulled a small rag from a pocket of his coat and wiped down the eye while constantly muttering curses about the 'idiot Crouch who didn't know how to service a magical eye'. Finally after reinserting the eye with a sound that made both Harry and Hermione stomach's queasy he continued. "Do you want your eyes stuck looking into hospital rooms where people are being poked and prodded in all kinds of manners? Not to mention the maternity ward. Now that's scary stuff."
Harry and Hermione were positive the ex-auror was joking with them but the look on his gnarled face gave nothing away. They decided to remain quiet and discuss what was about to happen.
"What do we do if Molly won't listen?" Hermione asked as they neared Mrs. Weasley's room.
"What we have to do," Harry replied with a mental sigh. "We are not going to be worrying about Ginny's next attack the rest of our lives. Besides, there is no way she and Arthur can still believe she is only suffering from unfulfilled infatuation now. She tried to kill you."
"Do you think Dumbledore will let it come to a trial if we go to Madam Bones?" Hermione persisted.
"If he doesn't, we'll turn the story over to Rita," Harry said after a moments pause. "I don't want to hurt Arthur or the Weasley family, but if they insist on following Dumbledore, or let Dumbledore guide Ginny's punishment, then they'll have to suffer the consequences."
There was only a murmur of low voices when they came to Molly Weasley's room. Voices that became very quiet when Harry and Hermione pushed the door open.
Molly was lying on the bed with Arthur holding her hand while Bill was standing on the other side. Tears were evident in both of the older Weasley's eyes.
No one said anything for several seconds, but finally Molly blurted. "Please tell me it isn't true? Not my Ginny. She'd never do such a thing."
"Bill has seen the evidence and you can ask Ron and Fleur," Hermione replied trying to keep an edge on her voice. "She even admitted it."
"What are you going to do?" Arthur asked, cutting off his wife as he stood to face the Potters.
"We don't WANT to do anything," Harry replied. "We want YOU to realize your daughter needs help and is not just an infatuated lovesick teen as Dumbledore would have you believe."
"But…" Mrs. Weasley tried again.
"Let's be clear," Hermione said. "Neither of us want to see Ginny arrested, but we just spoke with Madam Bones and that is EXACTLY what is going to happen if you don't get Ginny the help she needs."
"You can't mean that," Molly blurted out. "She's your friend."
"A friend who needs help and hasn't got it because you, her parents, are listening to someone who definitely does not have yours or her best interest at heart," Hermione replied. She lifted her wand and quickly sent the Muffliato charm around the room. "Just making sure no one is listening outside of this room," She quickly explained.
"Now that's a lass with her head on straight," Moody said in an overly loud whisper to Harry.
"Dumbledore is hiding something from you; something directed related to what happened in the Chamber of Secrets," Hermione had continued, "He's afraid that if Ginny starts speaking about her experience, that secret will get out. THAT is why your daughter is the way she is now. THAT is why he's convinced you that Ginny doesn't need professional help. "
"We have discovered a lot of Dumbledore's secrets recently," Harry explained. "And though he has a good reason to keep most of the secrets, we believe he's deliberately misled you in Ginny's case."
"Albus would never do such a thing," Molly said emphatically. "He….he…"
"We aren't going to argue with you," Hermione stated. "Believe what you want but either Ginny gets help or she will be arrested."
"But Dumbledore said…"
"Mrs. Weasley," Harry said cutting off the Weasley Matriarch as he tried to not get angry at the injured woman who had been through a lot in the last day, "We'll not listen to any argument that starts with 'BUT Dumbledore said'. We would prefer for you and Mr. Weasley to think for yourselves, but since you are not willing to, we'll see Tonks on the way out about arresting Ginny." He glanced at Bill who was still standing speechless. "I'm really sorry Bill, but I am not willing to risk Hermione's life." Harry glanced at the Weasleys once more before he motioned to Hermione and they both started out of the room.
'Harry…" Arthur called. "Harry…wait; we'll get Ginny help. We…I will make sure of it."
Harry turned back to Arthur and nodded. "I'm glad to hear that because I don't want to see Ginny arrested any more than you do. If I can make a suggestion; find some place away from here. Somewhere that Dumbledore cannot influence."
"Why? I'm sure they have people here who can help." Bill asked as he motioned in a way that indicated St. Mungo's in general.
"I'm sure they do," Harry agreed. "But some of Dumbledore's concerns are valid and Ginny saying something to the wrong person could hurt the fight against Voldemort." Harry sighed when all three Weasleys flinched but then continued. "Even if it didn't, I wouldn't want the possibility of Dumbledore, concerned about that information, interfering with Ginny's treatment. Let's get her far away."
"I'll be glad to research magical mental health treatments all over the world," Hermione offered. "Find one that would be best for Ginny."
"But we can't…." Arthur started.
"Sir, we'll take care of the expense," Harry said knowing what Arthur was going to say. "I know you'll say you don't take charity but don't think of it as charity. Consider it a gift so you can help your daughter get the help she needs."
"But Ginny can't go somewhere alone," Molly protested. "She would need someone there."
A mental sigh of relief passed between the Potters with Mrs. Weasley saying that. They knew they had won the argument. Even with Arthur having said he would make sure Ginny got treatment, they both knew the influence Molly had over her husband.
"Let's find the right treatment for her and then we can ask the healers what they recommend," Hermione said. "If they think someone should be there, then maybe you can go with her. "
"But…but…" Molly started.
"Let's take that first step," Hermione continued before Molly could argue. "Let's find a couple of places away from here that would be good for Ginny and then we can figure out what's best. For now, Mrs. Weasley you just need to heal. Your family needs you to get better."
"I'll take Ginny back to the Burrow," Arthur said. "Without her wand, I doubt she will pose a threat."
"That's fine sir," Harry replied. "But make sure she stays there because if she threatens Hermione again…" Everyone in the room knew from the hardness that had materialized in Harry's eyes what the ending to that sentence was. "Now we need to go to see Professor Dumbledore about a few things."
"That's a fine thing you're doing," Alastor said as he escorted Harry and Hermione out of the room. "Helping the lass after she tried to kill you, but what makes you think Albus is trying to keep her from getting help?"
Hermione, who had dropped the Muffliato spell as they left the room, shook her head. "Not something to be discussed in the open, but you can always ask Professor Dumbledore and see if he'll give you an honest answer."
"Albus give a straight answer?" Moody asked with what may have been amusement in his voice, "Better chance of seeing a Goblin give away free gold."
*** E E ***
Dumbledore had been in a state of unrest all morning after dismissing Severus Snape. He had even taken up pacing as he thought about Harry Potter and to a lesser extent, Hermione Potter as he waited for the two of them to arrive.
"Bee in your bonnet Headmaster?" A voice spoke from a shelf. Dumbledore stopped and turned to see the Sorting Hat was leaning toward him. "Something troubling you?"
"Nothing that would concern you," Dumbledore replied and then to change the subject he asked "How is your new song coming?"
"I once again find myself wondering if what I do is right," the Sorting Hat replied. "By emphasizing the differences in the students am I the cause of the strife that has emerged? Especially since it forces a student into a stereotype that makes it difficult for growth in other, possibly more defining, characteristics later in life. "
"I have, on occasion, thought that we, at least, sort to soon," Dumbledore agreed. "I know several people who have proven themselves more worthy of other houses well after their initial sorting."
"True enough. Yourself for example," The Sorting Hat said.
"Me?" Dumbledore asked with a bit of surprise.
"I remember the day I was placed on your head," The Hat continued, "I thought here was a Gryffindor through and through, but look at you now; with your machinations and such, Salazar would have been proud to have you in his house."
Dumbledore could only stare at the Sorting Hat for a few seconds. "How can you think that? I have spent my life fighting against the evils of this land; fighting for the Greater Good."
"A purpose as defined by a single man, no matter how noble he believes it to be, can never be the Greater Good," The Hat replied. "Godric said something similar to that when Slytherin left the castle when Salazar argued that he was fighting for the wizarding world in his blood purity pursuit."
Dumbledore sat down in his chair behind his desk as he continued to stare at the hat.
"Then there is Harry Potter," The Sorting Hat continued.
"What about him?" Dumbledore couldn't help but ask as he wondered what the Hat thought of the dark path Harry and his wife were descending.
"With the desire to prove himself that I saw when I sat on his head during the sorting I was sure he should go to Slytherin," The Hat explained, "and I said the same thing to him the following year when he was here in your office."
"I am aware," Dumbledore replied evenly. "Harry asked you not to put him there."
"Yes and that stopped what could have been my single worst sorting," The Sorting Hat explained. "For when we were in Salazar's Chamber with the Basilisk, I was able to see the real Harry Potter. A young man who is more like Godric Gryffindor than any student I have seen in my thousand years. Especially now."
"You can't mean that," Dumbledore argued. "Harry is headed down a very dark path. One I am trying to figure out a way to make sure he doesn't continue on."
"Just because a man doesn't follow your path Headmaster, doesn't mean that path is dark," The Sorting Hat retorted. "Godric himself would have snorted at your words. He would have asked you a simple question and from your answer allow you to determine if Mr. Potter is in fact traveling a darker path."
"What is more important, the life of an innocent person or the life of a murderer?"
"All life is important," Dumbledore exclaimed.
"Hmmm…." The Sorting Hat hummed. "Godric would not have agreed. He once said it takes a special kind of man to wield power and yes kill if necessary to defend the innocent and yet maintain their humility and humanity. Clearly you are not a special kind of man Headmaster, but I believe young Mr. Potter is."
Albus Dumbledore could only stare at the Sorting Hat as its words sunk in. As he tried to formulate an argument his thoughts were interrupted when the door to his office opened and Alastor Moody led the Potters into the room.
A/N As I said, much shorter than my usual chapters.
Next chapter - More discussions with Dumbledore. That conversation is giving me and my muse fits. I believe it's time for Dumbledore, after having his life saved and been told by a hat he isn't special, to get his beard out of arse. But trying to write a contrite Dumbledore is proving to be tricky.