Chapter 14: A Chance Discovery
The next week flew by for Harry and Ginny. Their mornings spent in working on the chalet and their afternoons spent on learning magic, both endeavours proving to be very successful.
Harry had finished the other side of the roof and Ginny had finished painting the trim making the chalet look much better.
Both were surprised at how much progress they had made on learning the spells from the Notebook. They had mastered defensive spells, made great headway on offensive spells, as well as disillusion and concealment spells as well.
So engrossed had they become that they lost track of time and forgot that Alina would be showing up with more supplies.
Harry and Ginny were relaxing after a hard afternoon working on their magic when as they were returning to the chalet the wards sounded that someone was approaching.
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Alina paused to readjust her pack that was filled with the supplies for the chalet. She was near enough to see it up the slope and she smiled, knowing that her trek was nearing its end.
Shading her eyes against the sun, she looked at her destination. Her attention was drawn to movement off to the side as two people exited the forest. Smiling at first, then she began to frown slightly, something seemed wrong. The two she saw didn't look like the couple she expected to see.
First off, they looked much younger, and though she was still a fair distance, she could tell that they didn't look like who she expected to see. The most prominent thing was the woman, her striking red hair virtually glowing as the sun shined upon it.
As she watched, the young couple entered the chalet, not pausing to knock or make any indication that they didn't belong there.
She shook her head, wondering if they were a couple of hikers who had stumbled on the chalet, though she knew that would have been very unusual with the chalet being so far off the beaten track.
"Well, I'm won't get any answers standing here," she said softly. Settling her pack once more, she began walking again. The sooner she got there, the sooner she'd have her answer.
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Harry and Ginny had just started to make lunch when the wards sounded, letting them know someone was approaching. They looked at each other in surprise, then Ginny said, "Is it time for Alina to show up with more supplies?"
It took a moment as Harry silently counted off the days they had been there. "Yeah, I guess it is," he said hesitantly.
"We need to change back into John and Mary," Ginny said quickly.
Wasting no time, they reapplied their transformations and appeared to be the middle-aged couple that had rented the chalet.
It didn't take long before they heard, "Hello, anyone home?"
Ginny went over and opened the door, "Hello Alina, how was your trip?" she asked with a smile.
Right away Harry could tell something was amiss. Though smiling, Alina looked slightly puzzled as she glanced around the chalet.
"Is something wrong?" he asked.
Alina hesitated for a moment, looking as if she was unsure of what to say.
Ginny shot a glance at Harry, a questioning look on her face.
Alina unshouldered her pack, setting it on the table. Harry could see her struggling with what was on her mind.
"Well, I ah," she stammered.
"Alina, what's the matter?" Ginny asked, her concern evident.
Alina looked at Ginny, and sighing said, "Well, it's just that. . . . You're going to think I'm crazy."
"We'd never think that," Ginny said reassuringly. "Just say what you want to say. You're among friends."
Alina looked at Ginny questioningly, but instead of saying what she had seen she asked, "First, tell me, do you have any visitors?"
Ginny looked startled, "No, we haven't seen a soul since you and Erik left," she replied, wondering what Alina was driving at.
Alina sighed, "Well. . . the thing is. . . Well, as I was hiking up here. . . the thing is, I saw something, someone, well . . ." The whole time she was speaking, Alina's eyes kept flitting to Ginny's and then back to the floor.
Harry and Ginny were at a loss about what the young woman was driving at and exchanged puzzled looks.
"Alina, just calm down and say what you want to say. What did you see?" Ginny asked calmly.
Alina met Ginny's eyes and after a moment said, "Well as I approached I saw a young couple come out of the forest and enter the chalet. I could see that no one left as I approached and yet you two are the only ones here."
Harry and Ginny exchanged wide eyed looks.
"What did they look like?" Harry asked.
Alina looked at him, "Well, I was a fair distance, but I could tell they were quite young, teens I'd say. The most striking thing was the young girl, her hair was quite striking, a beautiful flaming red," she said, holding Harry's gaze.
"Anything else?" Harry asked softly.
"Well, the boy looked like he had dark, I'd say black hair and . . . ."
"What?" asked Ginny.
"They were dressed just like you two," Alina said, her eyes going back and forth from Harry and Ginny.
"Were they?" Ginny asked, concern colouring her voice.
Nodding, Alina said, "Yes they were." She then looked at them pointedly. "Would either of you care to explain that?" she asked accusingly.
Harry looked at Alina and Ginny could see him thinking hard. "You couldn't have been mistaken, could you?" he asked lowly.
Alina met his gaze, her look somewhat hardened, "No, I'm not mistaken," she replied pointedly.
Harry stared back at her for several moments and then sighing he said, "Please have a seat Alina, we need to have a private talk for a moment," inclining his head at Ginny.
Alina held his gaze and finally nodded, "Okay," she replied succinctly.
Harry and Ginny walked up to the bedroom and Harry cast a privacy charm. "Well what are we going to do?" Ginny asked.
Harry sat heavily on the edge of the bed, sighing he said, "I don't know."
Ginny came over and sat next to him, taking his hand in hers. "She obviously saw us," she said with a low chuckle.
Harry couldn't help himself and chuckled too. "Yeah, it's obvious she did."
Ginny took a deep breath and let it out slowly, "You're probably going to think I'm daft, but I think we should tell her the truth," Ginny said softly.
Harry looked intently at Ginny, "Are you sure we should?" he said questioningly.
Ginny sighed, "100%, no, but my gut feeling is that we should," Ginny replied.
Harry pondered Ginny's statement for a few moments, mulling her suggestion over in his mind.
"Explain to me why you think so," he said, looking into her eyes.
Ginny was about to protest, but something about the way Harry was looking at her told her he wanted to hear her reasoning to see if it matched his own.
"I like her," Ginny stated. "She's been nothing but kind to us and I hate to lie to her."
Harry nodded, "Anything else?"
"I don't know," she replied hesitantly. "I guess I feel like we did with the Peters."
Harry nodded again, this time a smile creeping onto his face. "Yeah, that's what I was thinking too," he said softly.
Ginny returned his smile, feeling much better than she had a few shot minutes ago. Standing, she pulled Harry to his feet and with a devilish grin that would have made the Twins proud, she said, "Shall we make a grand entrance?"
Harry couldn't help but grin back at Ginny, "Why not?" he replied.
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Down stairs, Alina fidgeted for a few moments as she sat waiting. Deciding to do something to occupy herself while John and Mary were upstairs, she rose and began to unpack the food.
As she was putting it away, she noticed that the work in the kitchen was now complete, the new trim was installed and she smiled at the quality of the workmanship. Even her cousin Erik wouldn't have done as good of a job.
She was just finishing putting the last of the tinned food in the cupboard when she heard footsteps on the stairs. Turning, expecting to see John and Mary, she was stunned to see the young couple she had seen on her approach to the chalet.
"Are. . . are John and Mary still upstairs? She asked hesitantly.
"Ah, no," Ginny replied, trying hard to keep a straight face.
Alina blinked several times, a stunned look on her face as she looked back and forth between the young couple before her. No comprehending what was going on, she said "Where did they go?"
"Why don't you sit down," Ginny said kindly.
Alina sat down at the table, still looking at Harry and Ginny with a puzzled look on her face. "Will someone please tell me what's going on," she said, her voice rising.
"I'm getting to that," Ginny said calmly, hoping that it would carry over to the young Swiss woman.
"Why don't I make some tea," Harry said.
Alina was about to protest but silenced immediately when Ginny said, "That would be lovely, Harry."
"Who's Harry? Alina asked, more confused than ever.
While Harry turned back to the stove, Ginny sat down opposite of Alina. "Harry's my husband and I'm Ginny, or as you knew us, John and Mary."
Alina frowned in disbelief, "No one is that good at make up and disguises," she said emphatically. "You're what, fifteen?"
"Almost," Ginny said truthfully.
"And he's what, a year or two older?"
"Harry's a year older than I am," Ginny replied, once again telling Alina the truth.
"And you expect me to believe that not only are you married but that you can disguise yourself as a middle-aged couple," Alina said disparagingly.
"For starters," Ginny said with a smile.
Alina looked at her in disbelief, shaking her head, "What else could you possibly tell me, that you're wanted international criminals?"
Ginny frowned slightly, "While not exactly criminals, there are those who would like to find us."
Alina had enough and stood, "I've heard all that I care too. I'm going back to tell Erik to come and kick you out of here."
Harry was listening and knew he didn't want Alina to leave without at least hearing the whole story, so when her back was turned as she headed for the door, he took his wand and reapplied the transformation.
"Please hear us out," he said softly.
Alina spun around and stared at "John" who was standing where Harry had been. Her eyes widened in shock and she shook her head, not believing what she was seeing. "How. . . ." she whispered.
Alina turned very pale, and Ginny thinking she was going to pass out, rushed to her side, gently leading her back to the kitchen table, where she help the young woman sit down. The whole time, Alina's eyes never left Harry, seemingly mesmerized.
"Is that tea about ready?" Ginny asked.
"Coming right up," Harry replied.
When Ginny spoke, Alina's attention turned back to her and Harry chose that moment to cancel his transfiguration, so that when Alina looked back at him, he was once more Harry.
"How does he do that?" she whispered to Ginny.
"As hard as it might be to believe, it's magic," Ginny replied.
Alina gave her a look that said, "Yeah right," but when Ginny just kept looking at her steadily, she knew that Ginny was telling her the truth.
Harry came over to the table with the tea and sat down. "I know that what we're saying is a little hard to believe, but it's the truth," he said as he poured the tea.
Alina seemed to be struck speechless and sat sipping her tea while looking back and forth between Harry and Ginny.
They could see Alina's mind working with a multitude of questions running through her mind, as of yet, unspoken.
Alina tried hard to get a grasp on all that she had learned, though truthfully it was very little. She had a million questions floating through her brain, but couldn't figure out where to begin.
Harry and Ginny saw Alina calming down as she sipped her tea, so they remained silent, giving her time to think things through.
Finally Alina set her tea down, "May I ask you something?" she asked softly.
"Anything," Ginny replied with a smile.
"Do all magical people marry so young?" she asked.
Ginny laughed, "Well that certainly wasn't the first thing I expected you to ask."
Alina looked at her sheepishly, "I was just wondering."
"The answer is no. What happened between Harry and me is quite unusual," Ginny replied.
"I don't know where to begin," Alina said, her mind a buzz with questions. "It's not some kind of hypnosis, is it?"
Harry smiled, took out his wand and levitated the tray over to the sink.
Alina's eyes widened as she watched the tray move through the air. "I guess not," she muttered.
"Aren't you two rather young to be off on your own?" Alina asked.
"Well, that's a bit complicated," Ginny replied with a sigh.
"I've got plenty of time," Alina said.
For the next couple of hours Harry and Ginny gave Alina a detailed but somewhat edited version of their story. Explaining as much as they could without going into too much detail about Riddle.
Alina listened raptly, asking questions now and then but on the whole just trying to take in all she was told.
When Harry and Ginny finished she looked at them and said, "There's a lot your leaving out, isn't there?"
Ginny smiled wanly, "Some of the details, but I really think it's best."
Alina nodded, "I can understand, and I think you two are really remarkable to be doing what you are." She then got thoughtful, "Thanks for telling me the truth, it means a lot to me."
"Well, we like you Alina and didn't want to lie to you, you've been nothing but kind to us so we figured you deserved to be told the truth," Ginny replied.
As they rose, Alina noticed how far the sun had travelled, "Damn," she said softly.
"What's the matter?" asked Ginny, looking quite concerned.
"It's late, I can't make it back without walking the last part in the dark and I didn't bring a light with me," Alina said shaking her head.
Harry looked at Ginny with a funny grin on his face, and Ginny could tell he was up to something.
"Well as I see it you have two options," he began. "One, stay here tonight in the small bedroom or . . ."
"Erik is supposed to meet me at the trail head, he'll be very worried if I don't show," Alina said with a frown. What's the other option? She asked.
"I could give you a lift," Harry said with a grin.
"I don't understand," Alina replied.
"Can you do that?" Ginny asked, looking at Harry questioningly.
"Yeah, I'm sure, I just need a landmark that won't be too close to the end of the trail," Harry replied.
Though sceptical, Alina said, "Do you remember the big set of rocks after the first climb?"
Harry smiled, "You mean the ones that look like a dragon laying down?" he asked.
"Yeah, that's them," Alina replied, though still unsure of what Harry meant by giving her a lift. "I really don't want to put you out or anything."
"No trouble," replied Harry. "I do want to warn you that the sensation is a bit much though. Especially the first time."
Ginny giggled, "Do you have a strong stomach?" she asked.
Not one to be daunted, Alina said, "Better than most."
Harry looked at Ginny, "Want to come along?" he asked.
"No, I'll stay here and start dinner," replied Ginny.
Alina grabbed her empty pack and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" Harry asked with a grin.
"I thought. . ." she began before halting. "I guess I don't know what I thought. I supposed you were going to fly me there or something."
"No quite," Harry said walking up to the young Swiss woman. "Just hold tightly to my arm and I guess it might help if you picture the rock formation firmly in your mind. I'm not sure if it will help with you being a Muggle, but it can't hurt," he said.
Looking a little unsure, she glanced at Ginny who gave her a reassuring smile and said, "I hope you have a fun ride."
Alina was about to say something but Harry Apparated before she could say anything.
Alina felt like she was being pressed on in every direction and she thought she might vomit, but as fast as the sensation hit her it was gone. She had shut her eyes and felt a little dizzy but then in a moment the feeling passed.
She slowly opened her eyes and looked at Harry, "Wow, you weren't kidding about the sensation."
Harry was looking at her carefully, "Are you okay?" he asked, his voice full of concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine, though for a moment I thought I was going to lose my lunch," Alina said, managing a grin.
Alina then looked around and recognized where they were, like she hadn't believed that they'd get there so fast. "Wow, you weren't kidding," she said lowly.
"You sure you're okay? Harry asked, glancing at Alina's hand still firmly gripping his arm.
Alina followed his gaze and suddenly realizing she still had a hold of him rather tightly, let go quickly. "Sorry," she said, blushing slightly.
"That's okay," Harry replied, shaking his arm out. He looked around, taking stock of where they were. "Will you make it back in time from here?" he asked.
Alina nodded, "Yeah, it's maybe a twenty minute walk from here, fifteen if I push it."
"Okay, just be careful," he replied.
"I will," Alina said. Then she looked hesitantly at Harry. "I guess I'll see you in a week. . ." she said slowly.
"What is it Alina?" Harry asked with a small grin.
"I was just wondering if, like, maybe I could come back a little sooner," she said softly, acting embarrassed.
Harry nodded in understanding, "Ginny and I will welcome you any time," he replied.
"Thanks John," she said, then realizing it she added, "Um, Harry."
"Please just be careful about our names with others," Harry said with a smile.
"I understand," Alina said blushing again. She took a glance at the path and then with one last look at Harry said, "Well I'd better get going, Erik is probably already waiting."
"See you," Harry said.
Alina smiled at him and then turned to go. She had taken a couple of steps when she heard a slight pop behind her. She glanced back to where Harry had been standing and even though she was expecting it, was slightly surprised that he was gone.
Shaking her head she said to herself, "No one would believe me if I told them." She turned and started down towards where her cousin would be waiting, humming happily to herself. She had always believed in the stories her Grandmother had told her as a child and now she had proof that they were real.
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Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk reading the Daily Prophet shaking his head. The news was quite depressing, As he had predicted the Dementors had sided with Voldemort and they had helped free his supporters who had been being held there when they left.
"Why is Fudge such a stupid idiot," he said lowly. "Well, I guess his days are numbered now."
Fawkes gave a low sad trill, letting Albus know that he agreed with his master.
"I know, I know," Albus said. Setting the paper down he leaned back into his chair and stared off into space.
Foremost on his mind was the continued absence of Harry Potter. "Where can he be," he muttered.
"What has Potter done this time?" he heard from his right.
"What?" Albus asked in surprise.
"I said, what has Potter done this time?" Phineas Black said.
"Who said the Harry has done anything," Albus said, a bit perturbed, glaring at the portrait.
"It's always him when you have that look on your face," Phineas replied with a sneer.
Albus sighed, "He's gone missing," he admitted.
"Ha! Missing you say. How did that no count young trouble maker go missing?" the past headmaster said disparagingly.
"It seems he had help from your great-great-grandson," Albus replied rather testily.
"Impossible, he's dead, in case you didn't remember," Phineas said scoffingly.
"I'm well aware of Sirius' current state," Albus replied with more venom than he intended. Sighing he then added, "It seems that Sirius gave him a particular Notebook before his unfortunate demise."
Phineas Black grew quiet for a moment, "Did he?" he asked softly.
"Yes, it appears he did," replied Albus downheartedly.
Again there was a pause, "So there is some hope after all," Phineas said, then with a sneer he added, "If he's smart enough to learn anything on his own."
"He's not on his own," Albus retorted.
"Who'd be stupid enough to go with him? Phineas asked irritably.
"Ginevra Weasley," Albus replied.
"What, that idiotic Gryffindor that opened the Chamber?" Phineas said in surprise.
"I wish you'd stop with your constant harping on the students, especially those that are in other houses," Albus said testily.
Albus waited for a response from the former headmaster and when he didn't receive one he turned and looked at Phineas Black's portrait. The former headmaster had either fallen asleep or was feigning so.
"Pompous blowhard," Albus muttered, turning back to his desk.
"I head that," he heard softly from behind.
Ignoring the portrait, Albus picked up his quill and began to work on the stack of parchments on his desk. No closer to solving the mystery of where Harry Potter and his now wife were hiding.
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Sitting in his car in the parking area at the trail head, Erik was starting to worry. He had been scanning the ridge-line so that he could judge how soon that Alina would be back and as of yet he hadn't seen her cross the valley towards the last decent.
Shaking his head, he looked down at his watch and frowned. It wasn't like Alina to be so late.
He was just about to leave to go and get his father and uncle so that they could bring lights and begin to search for his wayward cousin when she cleared the stand of trees that began just past the parking lot. He blinked his eyes several times, just to make sure he wasn't seeing things.
Alina waved and gave him a smile, "Hello Erik, I hope you haven't been waiting too long," she said as she approached his car.
Erik stared at her in bewilderment, "How . . . how did you get here?" he asked.
Alina felt her stomach lurch slightly, and hoped it didn't show, "I walked of course," she said as she unshouldered her pack, tossing it in the back seat.
"I mean how did you get down here. I didn't see you cross the valley slope and I've been here more than an hour," Erik said frowning.
Alina just shrugged, "I guess you didn't see me. Need glasses?" she chided him.
"No, I don't need glasses," Erik replied testily.
"Well then I can't explain how you didn't see me. What do you think I did, fly?" she said with a smirk.
"Ha, ha, miss smarty pants," he said grumpily. "What took you so long?"
"Well, I ah, well I got held up talking to John and Mary," Alina said sheepishly.
"I didn't know you were so into the academics," Erik said teasingly.
Not to be put off, Alina replied, "Well not normally but they are just so nice and we got talking and before I knew it, time had flown. I'm sorry I'm late," she told her cousin sincerely.
Erik took a big breath and let it out. "Sorry I snapped, but I was getting worried."
Alina playfully punched him in the arm. "That's sweet," she said with a grin.
"Ow!"Erik said, rubbing his arm, though in reality it hadn't hurt, well that much.
"Oh, poor widdle Erik," Alina teased.
Shaking his head, Erik started the car and began to drive back towards the city. "Next time you can drive yourself," he muttered.
Smiling broadly, Alina said, "I think I will."
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Voldemort was more than pleased with the results of Bellatrix's mission to free his minions from Azkaban. Not only were his most senior supporters now back, the Dementors had come over to his side.
Though they were now few in number, Voldemort knew that once freed to begin attacking Wizard and Muggle alike, they would breed quickly. Now he needed to gather more Dark creatures to his fold.
"Macnair," he said softly, staring down the table where the large gruff man sat.
"Yes, My Lord?" Macnair replied.
"I want you to go and recruit the Giants to my cause," Voldemort said.
"Yes, My Lord," Macnair said, hoping that his reluctance didn't show. While he was use to dealing with all sorts of Magical creatures, the giants were notable for dealing harshly with any humans that they came into contact with, wizard or not.
"Do I detect some hesitancy?" Voldemort sneered.
Swallowing the bile he felt rising Macnair quickly answered, "No, My Lord."
Voldemort shook his head, "You should know better than lie to me."
Macnair paled at Voldemort's words but before he could respond, he was hit with the Cruciatus that Voldemort fired at him.
Those sitting on either side flinched away from the screaming, thrashing man, just glad that they weren't the target of Voldemort's wrath.
As quickly as it began, it was over, leaving a pale and shaken Macnair struggling back into his chair.
"Do not fail me," Voldemort said lowly, his voice dripping with menace.
" I wouldn't dream of it, My Lord," Macnair replied shakily.
"Good," Voldemort said. "I want you to take Crabbe and Goyle along with a half dozen of the new recruits and leave tomorrow. I expect positive results quickly."
"Yes, My Lord," Macnair said, glancing at the two hulking figures sitting across form him.
Voldemort's attention then centred on Bellatrix, "I want you to get word to Snape that I wish to see him. It's time to find out what the Order is trying to find."
"Yes, My Lord," Bellatrix replied with a smile. For once the Dark Lord's attention would be focused on the one she was most unsure of.
"Leave me," Voldemort said in dismissal.
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When Harry returned a few moments later Ginny was in the kitchen preparing their dinner.
"How did it go?" she asked as she placed a dish in the oven.
"Fine," replied Harry. "She asked if she could visit more often that just bringing us the supplies."
"Oh, she did? What did you tell her?" Ginny asked, turning to Harry while wiping her hands.
"I told her that she was welcome here any time," Harry replied, getting himself something to drink.
Ginny smiled at him, "That's nice. I like her. She's just like what I'd want in a big sister."
"Yeah, I like her too," Harry said.
Ginny stepped close to Harry and wrapped her arms around him. "We have about an hour before dinner is ready," she murmured.
Harry smiled and enveloped Ginny in a hug, finding her lips, he kissed her passionately. Ginny moaned as she felt Harry's kiss inflame her desires.
Harry felt Ginny's response and not wasting a moment he Apparated them to the bedroom on the second floor where they tumbled on the bed.
Hedwig, who had been asleep on the headboard, fluttered her wings, hooting her displeasure at being awoken and launched herself out through the open door to the balcony.
She circled once, and seeing how low the sun had dropped, headed off to hunt for her own dinner.
It was a bit later when Harry and Ginny lay jumbled together on the bed, clothes strewn where they had flung them in their hurry to disrobe.
Ginny sighed contentedly as she lay against Harry's chest and shoulder. "Mmmmm, I don't think I'll ever tire of that," she said languorously.
Harry chuckled softly, "Me either," he murmured into her hair, his arm tightening around her ever so slightly.
Ginny lifted her head slightly and sniffed the air. "It smells like dinner is ready," she said with a touch of regret.
"We can come back here after we eat," Harry said humorously.
Ginny sat up and stretched very catlike and Harry swore he heard her make a purring sound.
Harry watched her rise and grab her dressing gown, noticing how much more mature her lithe body seemed. There seemed to be more of a flare to her hips and she also looked more curvy than he remembered.
Ginny paused in putting on her gown, seemingly aware of his scrutiny. Looking back at him she smiled and said "What?"
Harry returned her smile, "Can't I admire your beauty without having any other reason?" he asked in reply.
Ginny just shook her head, "Come on, I'm hungry, lets eat," she said as she headed for the door.
Harry contemplated laying there for a few moments until his stomach gave a rumble. Laughing lowly, he got up, found a tee and his boxers and followed Ginny down to eat.
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A/N: So Alina has discovered the true identity of our duo, where do you think that will lead?
Voldemort's plans continue unabated but he is still worried about the Order and what they are searching for.
As always, your comments and reviews are welcome.