Are they planning on keeping us here till we grow roots or start rotting? Helen's furious voice rang through my head that was already hurting bad enough without her fussing and fuming inside it.
I was hungry, thirsty, cold, annoyed and worried. Combine that with Helen's helpless rage and impatience and you got a pretty unhealthy mixture. Staring up at the whitewashed ceiling of the Ministry holding cell we were currently in, I had to admit that I did not see a way out of this particular dilemma, though.
The cell was about two meters high, measuring some ten or twelve square meters. Apart from a low bed with a pillow, but no blanket, it contained a toilet, as well as a lamp. It was a stark, uncomfortable room, and it had one major flaw – there was no door. Okay, no, actually there was another one – you could not use any magic while being held inside it. None whatsoever. Helen and I knew for sure, because we had tried just about every spell we could come up with over the course of the last several hours.
I began to really hate Arielle Dumont. She had handed us over to Magical Law Enforcement without even bothering to give us a chance to explain what had happened. All she had seen was an underage wizard illegally using magic on an unsuspecting Muggle. Great. It was not as if I needed any more clashes with the Ministry…
And from in here, there was no way of contacting Dumbledore, Sirius or Ron and Hermione and asking for help.
I wish Hedwig were here, Helen said.
"What for? To keep us company? There's no way out, not even for an owl," I replied acidly.
Damn! And all because of some idiotic Muggle…!
"Careful. You're starting to sound a little Slytherin there."
So…? I'm not very impressed with the Muggles I've met so far. Maybe I'd make a fine Slytherin. Wonder what house I'd be in…?
"Gryffindor. Since you're inside my head, you don't get to chose."
No, I mean hypothetically.
"Definitely Ravenclaw. You're such a know-it-all, Helen."
Pah! You're just jealous, because I'm smarter than you are. Besides, Hermione is in Gryffindor, too.
"Yeah well, there are exceptions to every rule."
Well, as long as it isn't Hufflepuff…
And then we both stopped talking, because there were suddenly sounds coming from somewhere outside the confines of our prison. Steps. Voices. There had to be at least three people out there, and even though I could not understand what they were saying, I was pretty sure that we'd soon find out.
Feeling apprehensive – a sentiment shared by Helen – I retreated to the far side of the room.
"Wish I still had my wand," I murmured.
Wouldn't help you much against a bunch of Ministry guys, would it?
Okay, she had a point there. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I watched a wooden door miraculously appear in the wall we were facing. It swung open, to admit two dark-robed wizards. I gaped at them, unable to believe what I saw.
"Mr. Weasley…? And… Remus?" Sure enough, there was the unmistakable red hair of the Weasley clan. They stepped into the room, grinning broadly at me, Ron, Hermione and a very familiar-looking black dog following them.
"Harry! Are you alright?" Hermione rushed over to meet us – well, me.
Gee, I'm starting to really like your friends, Harry, Helen commented. They are a bunch of pretty useful people, aren't they?
I quickly hugged Hermione and received Ron's slap on the shoulder, then turned to face Arthur Weasley and my werewolf godfather. "How did you find us?"
"Pure luck," Mr. Weasley replied, "I heard at work that you had been taken into custody. I guess I wasn't actually supposed to overhear that particular conversation, but…" he shrugged, "… sometimes it pays off to keep your ears open and listen to Ministry gossip."
"Absolutely," I agreed.
Remus stepped closer, eyeing me warily. "So… is it true that Helen is with you, Harry…?"
I'll let you answer that, I told Helen, stepping aside.
"I'm here," she replied, using my voice. "How did you know?"
"Ron and Hermione told us what happened," he replied. Somehow, he didn't seem to happy.
He's worried about something, Helen whispered, once again handing control of my body over to me.
"So, what now?" I asked them. "Is the Ministry prepared to let me go?"
"They don't have much of a choice, seeing that three people testified in your favor, saying that you were only defending yourself against a Muggle bully," Mr. Weasley said with a self-satisfied expression.
"Who testified?" I asked, looking at them suspiciously.
Ron grinned at me. "Me and Hermione, and Bill. We told the Ministry prosecutor that Hermione had taken us to see a Muggle movie and that you were going to take the bus back to the Dursleys'. We were too far away to intervene, but we watched that Muggle guy attack you. It's a credible enough story."
Clever, Helen said admiringly. I really do like them!
Sitting in the kitchen at the Burrow, a large mug of steaming tea in front of me and surrounded by people I trusted and liked, I was ready to forgive the world for treating me as harshly as it had lately. Helen seemed a bit more skeptical, but I could tell that she liked the Weasleys well enough.
"So, what now?" She asked Remus when he reentered the room, accompanied by Sirius in his usual human form.
Remus' face was serious, when he answered. "I think, we need to talk, Harry, Helen. There is something you should know."
"We're all ears," Helen replied.
Remus shot a questioning look at the five Weasleys (Ginny and Mrs. Weasley had joined us) and Hermione, but Sirius by his side shrugged. "They might as well listen, Moony. Arthur and Molly know half of the truth, anyway, and the others might be interested, too. They are Harry's friends, after all."
"Alright, then," Remus replied, turning to face us. "Harry, first of all, I need to apologize to you. We have treated you very unfairly; we should have been completely honest with you right from the start. We were trying to protect you, but that's no excuse for lying to you."
"But… you never lied to me," I protested weakly, taken aback by his words.
"Yes he did," Sirius replied, "and so did I. We kept the truth from you, hoping to spare you some pain and grief, hoping that you could grow up having a normal childhood, but I'm afraid, we only made it worse. And we owe Helen an apology, too."
"What for? I hardly know you guys!" Helen was just as perplexed.
"For hoping you'd be dead, rather than trapped inside Harry's body and mind," Sirius told her bluntly.
"Wait a minute…", Arthur Weasley interrupted, "she's alive? Helen is alive?"
"As alive as you can be without your own body," Remus replied. "But yes, she's still there. And she has been for all those years. Only that she wasn't conscious."
"How come you all seem to know Helen?" I asked.
"Harry, dear," Mrs. Weasley cut in, looking very upset, "we know her, because she's your twin… your sister."
"Twin sister," Sirius echoed. "She was supposed to have died the day Voldemort invaded your home."
I was too stunned to reply anything, but Helen usurped my voice, asking rather sharply: "Supposed to…? What do you mean by 'supposed to'?"
"Well, technically, Voldemort aimed a killing curse at each of you, and Helen's body was found next to Lily's and James'. But Lily… she had done something, worked magic in a desperate attempt to safe her children. No one knows exactly what she did. Lily's magic has always been different." Remus frowned. "I don't think, anyone ever understood what she did, not even Dumbledore. But whatever it was, it apparently saved both of you. Sort of."
So… I have a sister…? I asked incredulously.
Apparently, Helen replied. Crazy, huh?
That's an understatement.
It's okay, though. I do kind of like you, she joked.
I should be glad, huh?
I could feel her laughter. It was strange, but somehow it felt right that Helen was my twin. Maybe I had even known it, somewhere deep down, on an unconscious level. She had seemed very familiar right from the start.
"So, what do we do know?" Helen asked. "Is there a way to get me out of Harry's body? No offense, Harry, I'm glad you're hosting me for the time being, but I'd like to have my own."
I understand, I assured her.
"Truthfully, I have no idea," Sirius replied.
"But maybe someone else does," Hermione interjected. "Maybe even Dumbledore. I mean, he didn't exactly know Helen was there, did he? Maybe he'll have a solution now that we know for sure. And if there's a way to get Helen her body, we'll find it." She smiled at both of us, trying to reassure us.
She really is a good friend, Helen said in my mind.