Harry stepped out of the shower and finished getting ready for the day. It was Saturday so he had picked out jeans and his newest Weasley jumper. Walking back into the dorm room he jumped when he heard a voice.
"Hey Harry is Dean around?" Ginny asked.
"Uh… no I think he went down to breakfast a few minutes ago." he responded, "Are you ok?"
"I guess. I broke up with him over the weekend and he says he wants to get back together." she shrugged.
"Is that what you want?" he asked.
"I… don't know." she sighed with frustration, "I think I do but when I go to give him an answer it sticks in my throat and won't come out."
"Sounds to me like you don't really want to." Harry commented.
"He just isn't who I really want to be with." She shook he head, "But I'm not sure I'll ever get with who I want. I don't think he really sees me."
"More people see you than you think." Harry said mysteriously, "But if you want to be with someone sometimes you have to go through something hard first. Like me I..."
"You what?" Ginny asked when it was clear Harry wasn't going to finish his thought.
"I don't feel like…" Harry started and paused not sure if he wanted to tell her or not. He'd not even told Ron and Hermione the way he felt. But Ginny's open curious gaze combined with the way he felt nudged him over the edge, "I don't feel like I can have another girlfriend until Voldemort has been dealt with. I'm afraid he would hurt her. I care to much to let that happen."
"Does she know you feel this way?" Ginny asked reluctantly.
"No." Harry grinned lightly, "She would be angry with me if she knew. She doesn't like to be protected. Her family already does enough protecting to choke a horse. Time for breakfast lets go."
Harry changed the subject quickly. He didn't want her to think to closely about what he had said. It would definitely give him away if she did. Harry grabbed his heavy winter cloak deciding a trip to visit Hagrid after breakfast and far away from Ginny would be a good idea. Glancing at the clock Ginny noted that it was just after eight and breakfast wouldn't be going on much longer. In the common room they ran across the twins.
"Ginny you need to hide this for us." they said pushing a wand into her pocket.
"It's a fake wand." Fred said.
"It looks like Harry's." George added with a grin.
"We're planning a prank on Umbridge." Fred said.
"But if Hermione catches us with one more prank." George shook his head.
"We're done for." Fred finished drawing a finger across his throat in a mock slash and hanging his tongue out of his mouth.
"Fine whatever lets go." Ginny stated moving on, "I don't want to miss breakfast."
As they walked down the stairs to the Great Hall they saw Umbridge standing in the entrance with Fudge and two Auror's. Harry and Ginny froze thinking they may want to skip breakfast rather than walk anywhere near the two of them. Just as the twins reached the floor Ron came from around the corner and glared up at Harry on the stairs next to Ginny.
"Harry how could you do that to me?" he shouted. Harry was very confused, he hadn't done anything. But before he could protest Ron continued, "You just blew him up and left me to clean up the mess. I'm not cleaning up anymore of you messes. You're going to have to suffer the consequences."
"Mr. Weasley, what are you yelling about." Umbridge asked a look of excitement flitting across her frog like features.
"Not ten minutes ago he blew Malfoy to pieces right in front of me." Ron continued to glare, "He's dead now. That is what you wanted isn't it Harry? We all know how much you hated him but to resort to murder, that's just dark."
Ginny had taken a step back when Ron started yelling. So she was partially hidden behind Harry. Knowing what would happen next she slipped the fake wand out of her pocket and switched it with the real one in Harry's back pocket. She didn't know what Ron was trying to pull but she knew Harry wasn't guilty of anything. She had been in the dorm room talking with him more than fifteen minutes ago and he had not been out of her sight since then.
"Your wand Mr. Potter." Fudge said menacingly.
Harry took a couple steps down and handed Fudge his wand. He was getting ready to protest when he heard a snap and looked down to find Fudge with his wand snapped in two. Shock fell across his features as the two Auror's grabbed his arms and started dragging him to the front doors. In a matter of an hour Harry found himself thrown into a cell in Azkaban. He could see only one other person in the room with him. The man in the next cell had a metal mask covering his face. Within moments the guards cleared out and dementors swarmed around the area. He wouldn't regain conscious thought for two weeks.
***two weeks later ***
Sirius was still fuming. First was the letter from the Ginny and the twins detailing what had happened. Next was the horrific display on the front page of the Prophet proclaiming Harry a deranged menace. Finally there was Dumbledore, he had not so much as made a flicker of an appearance even though he had been sent more than ten letters. How could the man disregard them at a time like this? Sirius was pacing furiously from one side of the room to the other. Dust rose from the floor with each stomping step he made.
"Calm down Padfoot." Remus tried, "We'll figure this out. We can't just go break him out."
"I can't calm down." Sirius growled, "It just like my case. Harry has been framed by one of his best friends. He is another innocent in Azkaban. He has not been given a trial. Dumbledore better have a really good reason for ignoring this situation. What if that louse of a human gets Harry's cloak or the map? I can just see Voldemort using them with a huge grin on his snaky face."
"Ginny and the twins have guaranteed that they won't get their hands on Harry's things." Remus said, "Besides we don't know that Ron is on their side."
"We do know it." Sirius spat out, "He timed it perfectly to get Harry in the most trouble. He knew they were just looking for an excuse. He has always been jealous of Harry. It's only been two weeks and he is already mounting a law suit to get all Harry's inheritance."
"He'll be fighting the Malfoy's to get it." Remus said.
"No he won't." Kingsley stated as he entered the room, "They say that they are in morning for their son and they won't make any decisions for a few weeks. Ron will have it all by then."
"This just sounds so unlike Ron." Remus shook his head, "He never struck me as the greedy kind. Jealous of the attention yes, but money? I just don't know."
"I agree with you Remus." Arthur said from the doorway, "I think he must be imperused."
"Sorry Arthur." Sirius mumbled, "I didn't hear you arrive."
"Don't worry about it." Arthur grimaced, "We are all on edge."
"Wait!" Sirius yelled then began rummaging around his pockets like mad and finally pulling out a mirror.
***five minutes previous in Azkaban***
Harry finally felt like his mind was returning. He hadn't been out of the range of dementors in what felt like years. He stretched on his bed not finding the energy to do more. He was stiff from being on the bed for so long and from the unnatural cold emitted by the dreaded creatures. Even though he was wearing his heavy cloak he was still cold. Harry sat up on the bed and shoved his hands into his pockets in an effort to warm them up. His hand brushed against a package and he grabbed it pulling it out to see what it was. As he did a groan from the next cell gained his attention. A man was lying on the bed but he seemed to have a heavy metal mask around his face. Harry dimly remembered seeing him when he was first thrown into the cell. The man was trying to sit up but obviously the mask was too heavy for him. Harry noted that the mask completely encompassed the man's head. Turning away feeling helpless himself Harry looked back at the package in his hand. Sirius had given it to him just as he had left Grimmauld Place back at Christmas and he had vowed not to use it for fear of getting Sirius caught. He opened the package finally wanting to see what it was. The mirror that flipped out of the wrappings was a bit of a letdown. Looking in the mirror he sighed, "Sirius what is this?"
In that instant the mirror changed. Instead of seeing his own face he saw what looked like a brown cloth. He notice movement and then his Godfathers face appeared in the mirror, "Harry! How are you? Are you alone? Don't let anyone see you using this."
"Sirius." Harry yelled and then immediately froze looking around. The only person within hearing distance was the man in the next cell.
The man had froze for a minute then tried to move to a better position, "Harry?"
"Ron, is that you?"
"Yea. What's going on?" he asked.
"Uhhh… we're in Azkaban." Harry stated.
"Why do I have this metal thing on my head?" he asked.
"I don't know." Harry said, "But let me talk to Sirius and we'll see what he says."
"What?" Ron asked perplexed, he thought Sirius was free of Azkaban. Had he been caught again?
"Sirius what's happening. The last I remember is being accused of killing Draco." Harry said.
"You say that like it's a bad thing." Ron muttered.
"You say Ron is with you?" Sirius asked, "But he can't be, he's still at Hogwarts."
Harry heard much muttering on Sirius' end of the mirror before he replied, "Whoever it is, it's not Ron at Hogwarts. Don't know how they're doing it. I wish I had the map."
"Where is it?" Sirius asked.
"In my trunk." Harry grimaced, "Probably buried somewhere deep in the ministry by now."
"No Ginny and the twins took your trunk and hid it." Sirius said, "They knew you were innocent. Hermione figured it out after being in Ron's presence for about two seconds. We've been suspecting imperius but if he's there with you it has to be something else. I'll have them check the map and get back to us. We can't floo call so I'll have to send a letter. It's going to be at least a few more days."
"How long has it been?" Harry asked, "I've been with the dementors since I arrived and I have no idea how long it's been."
"Two weeks." Sirius looked guilty.
"Really that's all?" Harry said thoughtfully, "It's felt like years. They're coming back, I'll call you when I have more time."
Harry quickly put the mirror in his pocket and Ron said, "You'll have to explain what just happened later."
"Ok." Harry said, but that was all he could get out as the dementors returned in force.
The next morning Ginny received a letter from her father. It contained the normal family stuff but at the end was a post script that said, "The page with the dog print is from your favorite dog Snuffles. It's full of interesting stuff if you just know how to interpret it. "
"Ms. Weasley what do you have there?" Umbridge asked as she walked by.
"Just a letter from my Dad and dog." Ginny smiled showing her the dog print on the second page, "Just his way of saying hi."
Umbridge snatched up the letter from her father but left the dog print in her hand. After reading it she threw the letter back at the girl and stomped away. This had happened everytime one of Harry's friends had received a letter. Everyone knew not to send anything without a code. Ginny gathered up her things and headed out towards her first class. As she walked past the twins she stopped.
"Mum, Dad and Snuffles send their love. I'll let you read the letters later."
"Sure thing Gin." the twins said in unison. Ron was no where around so she didn't have to speak to him.
The only time in the last two weeks any of the three of them had to do anything with Ron it had contained either a prank or a bat boogey hex. Hermione had tried at first to figure out what had happened between Ron and Harry but had been put off when Ron had told her off. Everyone in Gryffindor tower was mad at Ron for one reason or another. He had been claiming he was hurt when Harry attacked Malfoy and now he had to take the potion to help him get over it. Hermione had thought it might be the medicine he was taking that was making him act weird. But Ginny pointed out he had told her off before he had the medicine. From that moment on she didn't scold the twins or Ginny when they pranked him.
At lunch the twins, Hermione and Ginny met in the common room. Neville had been put in charge of making sure Ron stayed away while they talked.
Fred tapped the paw print from Snuffles and said, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
Writing appeared around the paw print. After reading the letter from Sirius the four of them raced up to the twins dorm. George locked and warded the door while Fred pulled out Harry's trunk from its hiding spot and enlarged it. Hermione and Ginny searched until they found the map. Pulling it out the searched for Neville's dot. Finding him they noticed he was sitting next to Draco Malfoy.
"Oh my." Hermione said in a gasp.
"No wonder he's been acting like a royal pain." Fred stated.
"I'm so glad we've been pranking him." George added.
"I am going to hex him so hard his kids will show the marks from it." Ginny growled.
"We've got to find Ron." Hermione said as tears rolled down her face.
"I suspect they already know it's not Ron." Fred said, "We need to reply to them quickly."
"I've got an idea but we'll need Madam Pomfrey's help." Ginny said. She explained her idea and Hermione left to warn the healer.
"Are you sure?" Fred asked pulling his wand.
"Positive." Ginny said, "They'll have no choice but to call Mum and Dad in."
Fred flicked his wand and a spot on the floor glowed and pulled away. He summoned a bottle and conjured a cup then poured some in. A few minutes later George was carrying an apparently ill Ginny towards the hospital. On the way they passed a few teachers and Fred stopped to explain while George continued on to the hospital.
"Someone cursed her somehow." he said sounding very distressed, "She was picking up her homework and next thing we know she's on the floor unconscious."
Minerva and Umbridge followed the twins to the Hospital. They ran across Hermione on the way.
"Why weren't you at lunch?" Umbridge demanded as she turned to go with the group.
"I was in the library." she replied, "I was just leaving to go eat."
The horrid woman couldn't argue the fact because it was well known that Hermione would rather go to the library than eat. She didn't say anymore until they reached the hospital.
"Well what's wrong with her?" Umbridge demanded.
"You must give me a few moments to find out." Poppy declared waving her wand around. After several minutes she stated "This is bad. The girl has been poisoned. I have a antidote but it needs two drops of blood. One from each of her parents."
Minerva blinked once. She was unaware of any potion that called for that particular ingredient. But she covered her confusion quickly and turned to the floo, "I'll just call the Burrow."
"You can't." Umbridge started to argue.
"Would you rather the child die?" Poppy asked, "I don't think that will be good to have a student die during your first year as Headmistress."
"Fine, but they give the blood and then they leave." she grumbled, "They cannot stay and hover. They would be in the way."
Minerva made the call grumbling under her breath about stupid toads. Fred and George heard her but fought to keep straight yet distressed faces. Within ten minutes Molly and Arthur Weasley were in the Hospital donating a drop of blood each to a potion that Poppy was making. George hugged his Dad and whispered the information in his ear as Umbridge was closely monitoring Poppy several feet away.
As soon as Poppy finished her potion Umbridge turned towards the Weasley's, "You'll have to leave now. I won't have you cluttering up the school. Besides you're needed at work Arthur not lollygagging around here."
Molly made to argue but Arthur stopped her and pulled her to give Ginny and the boys hugs before they left. Poppy was already moving to give Ginny the potion before they were gone. Arthur did note that Poppy vanished the potion instead of putting it in the girl's mouth. Umbridge was not paying any attention because she was trying to force them to move faster.
Back at the Burrow Arthur arrived right after Molly he pulled her into a hug and whispered, "We need to get to headquarters." frowning Molly followed him from the room and out the door to the garden.