Chapter 11: A Journey Home
|Chapter 10||Chapter Index||Chapter 12|
After an early breakfast the next morning, a well rested Harry and Ginny sat at the kitchen table of the Burrow.
"You decide," said Ginny. "We'll do what you want today."
Harry thought for a moment. "I'd like to go to Godric's Hollow."
"You think it's safe to go there?"
"I reckon after Hermione and I showed up there last Christmas, no one would expect me to come back again. But just to be sure, we'll use my invisibility cloak and apparate away from the village."
"Okay. I've never been to Godric's Hollow."
In a sparsely wooded area, by the side of a narrow dirt road, a brief whoosh and pop sounded in the empty air. Rain lightly fell but the clouds were breaking apart revealing large patches of blue sky. Under the invisibility cloak, Harry took out his wand and they slowly turned checking the area. Finding no one near, he pulled off the cloak and packed it away while Ginny opened an umbrella. They playfully exhaled a few puffs of vaporous cloud at each other with their warm breaths. Then huddled together under the umbrella, they picked their way through the low brush toward the road and began following it up a shallow grade toward the top of a low rise.
It was very quiet and their footsteps made a crunching sound in the gravel as they walked in silence. The sun was low on their right. The water droplets on the shrubs and tall grasses beside the road sparkled in the early morning light. The fresh smelling air felt cool on their faces. Robins and thrush twittered from the widely spaced trees. After walking a short distance, the road crested the rise and they stopped to take in the view.
A valley dotted with trees and surrounded by low hills spread before them. The road wound its way down toward a village in the distance. The steeple of a church rose above a close-knit group of smaller buildings and curls of smoke spiraled upward from the chimneys. To the north and west, billowy clouds in the distant sky towered high above the valley. The early morning sunlight reflected off distant falling rain looking like misty yellow veils stretching from cloud to ground. And over a distant hill on the left, a bright rainbow arced up and over the village.
"What a perfectly lovely place to live," said Ginny with a satisfied smile.
He smiled back at her and nodded. Taking hold of the wand inside his coat, he said, "Protego Duo!" Then arm in arm, they continued walking under the umbrella toward the village.
As they follow the gently winding road, Harry periodically reached inside his coat, took hold of his wand, and did a security sweep. Drawing nearer to the village, they began to pass widely spaced dwellings. Some had automobiles parked beside them and some still had illuminated porch lights. As they reached the edge of the village, the rain stopped and Ginny closed the umbrella. There were cottages and small shops lining each side of the lane. In the distance, they saw a few villagers cross the lane between the shops and walk toward the village square.
They slowly walked up the lane passing shops that were not yet open for business. As they reached the square, the small church became visible on their right. Just then, the doors of the church opened and a head with grey hair peered out. Smiling, the minister emerged and walked down the front steps. He wore green vestments and as he turned back toward the door, a small group of villagers emerged from the church. Harry and Ginny stopped and partially concealed themselves by some bushes a short distance away. They watched as the minister greeted the people leaving the church.
"Top of the morning to you Liam," said the minister in an Irish accent. "How's that leg today?"
"Getting better but I won't be running any foot races for a while yet."
The minister smiled. "That's good to hear." Shaking his hand he said, "You have a good day."
"Good morning Jane. How's that new grandson Mark?"
"Simply precious, thank you again for the lovely Baptism."
"You're welcome. Where's Joe today?"
"He's at the shop this morning with two gentlemen from Bristol, something about an order for construction materials. I'm going there now to help him."
"Give him my best. You both have a nice day."
No one else came out of the church and the minister looked around. Catching sight of Harry and Ginny he said, "Hello. Are you visitors?"
Harry and Ginny glanced at each other and then walk toward him. "Yes we are," said Ginny.
The minister paused for a moment looking intently at Harry. Then he extended his hand to each of them. "Welcome. I'm Father John O'Reilly. I've been pastor here at Saint Michael's church for thirty-five years. What brings you to Godric's Hollow?"
Harry shook the minister's hand. "We've come to see the war memorial."
"Yes, many come here to see it." He gestured toward the center of the square. "It's just over there. I hope you enjoy it."
"Thanks. We wanted to make a stop in the cemetery first."
"By all means, just around the corner of the church and through the gates." With a courteous nod he said, "A good day to each of you." Then the minister turned, walked back up the steps, and disappeared into the church.
They walked around the front of the church and the gates of the cemetery came into view. Beyond were the many headstones and grave markers that Harry remembered from his last visit here on Christmas Eve. He slowly led Ginny to his parents' graves. They both dropped down onto one knee on each side of the headstone and began tidying the graves while covertly glancing around. She gave him a small nod. He reached inside his coat and took hold of his wand. An instant later, a large bouquet of wildflowers of every color appeared at the base of the headstone. Then she moved beside Harry and put her arm around him. They stood in silence looking down at the graves for a short while.
At the sound of footsteps, they looked up and saw Father O'Reilly, now dressed in black with a white collar, approach them from the other side of the graves. He held what looked like a scroll of silvery parchment in his hand.
"Please forgive my intrusion on your privacy but I couldn't help notice from the sacristy window where you are standing. I knew James and Lily Potter. On one occasion, I helped Albus Dumbledore hide them and their small son Harry in the church."
"You knew Albus Dumbledore?" said Harry.
"Yes, we spoke on a number of occasions. He is the headmaster of a school. He once told me that he and his family used to live here in Godric's Hollow. I trust he is well."
"No, I'm sorry to tell you that Albus Dumbledore is no longer alive."
"I'm very sorry to hear that. He seemed like a good and noble man."
"Yes he was," said Harry.
Father O'Reilly said, "My memory is not what it used to be, but, you have certain resemblances to James and Lily. If I may be so bold to ask, are you their son Harry?"
"Yes, I am," he said quietly. "I'd appreciate you not telling anyone."
"Not a word, Mister Potter, not a word," said Father O'Reilly in a quiet voice. Then with a smile he said, "In my vocation, I am required to keep many secrets."
Harry and Ginny smiled. Then Ginny said, "I'm Ginny Weasley."
"I am pleased to meet you." He looked at Harry. "The reason for my question, I have some possessions of James and Lily Potter that were entrusted to my care. I would like to relinquish them to you."
A delighted expression dawned on Ginny's face.
"Yes," said Harry brightly. "I'd like that very much."
Father O'Reilly said, "Before we go, may I join you in a prayer?"
Their expressions once again became somber as Harry and Ginny slowly nodded and then looked down at the graves. Father O'Reilly extended his hand and gently shook the silvery aspergillum a few times. Drops of holy water fell from it onto the graves. Then he said, "Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let the light of your love shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all our faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."
"Amen," said Harry and Ginny quietly without thinking. They each experienced feelings of loss, finality, and completeness at these words.
After a brief moment, Father O'Reilly said, "If you would please accompany me to my office."
After exiting the graveyard, they walked along a brick walkway that led behind the church to a small dwelling. The room they entered had a simple desk in the center and an old worn chair behind it. A darkened hallway at the back of the room led off to other parts of the dwelling. There were many bookshelves lining the walls and religious items were present on the walls and among the books. A bare light bulb on the ceiling illuminated as Father O'Reilly touched a switch on the wall. He gestured to the chairs in front of the desk. "Please, remove your coats and make yourselves comfortable."
Father O'Reilly went to a large safe in the corner of the room and unlocked it. After shifting some of the items within the safe, he withdrew a small cardboard storage box and then relocked the safe. With a solemn expression, he handed the box to Harry. Writing on the top of the box read, Godric's Hollow Coroner, Personal items of James and Lily Potter.
Father O'Reilly said, "If you will excuse me for a few minutes, I must go over to the church." Father O'Reilly then walked to the door and went out.
Harry unsealed the box and lifted off the lid. He took out two pieces of official looking paper, each containing the words Certificate of Death, and placed them on the desk. Then he withdrew an envelope from the box labeled James Potter. He opened it and after looking inside, withdrew a pair of glasses with round lenses and thin golden frames. Ginny moved close and put her arm around him as he silently looked at them for a moment. Then placing the glasses in his lap, he again reached into the envelope and withdrew a gold colored wristwatch. Under the glass crystal of the watch, the face was a dark green stone with flecks of red. The hands of the watch showed eleven forty-one.
"That must be the watch your father received when he turned of age," said Ginny softly. "It looks very handsome."
Harry slipped the watch onto his wrist. As they admired the watch, the face briefly glowed and then the hands moved to nine seventeen. The second hand then began to move with a ticking motion.
"Still has some magic in it too." Taking the envelope, he tipped it into his open hand and a golden wedding band dropped out.
Ginny took a quick breath. A brief moment later she said, "May I see it?" He looked at her and moved his hand toward her. She picked up the ring and examined it. "There's an inscription." She slowly turned the ring. "Joined in love that will not part."
They looked thoughtfully at each other for a moment. Then he reached into the box and withdrew a second envelope labeled Lily Potter. After opening it and looking inside, he tipped the envelope's contents into the cupped palm of his hand. A necklace and two gold colored rings fell out. One of the rings contained a small diamond. The other was a wedding band. He moved his hand toward her and she picked up the wedding band.
"Hand in hand and heart to heart." Smiling, she looked at Harry. "That's so romantic."
He nodded with a sorrowful expression. "Mum and Dad didn't get much time to enjoy those inscriptions."
His gaze fell on the necklace in his hand. The pendant was a golden griffin and its eye was set with a garnet. He looked up at Ginny and their eyes connected. He said softly, "Would you wear the necklace for me?"
Her eyes softened and glistened in the light. "Oh Harry. Yes, it's beautiful. I've never seen anything like it. Please, put it on me."
She turned away and lifted her hair up off her neck. He placed the necklace around her and carefully hooked the clasp of the chain. After adjusting the position of the pendant, she turned back to him and smiled. The pendant rested just below her neck and seemed to have a soft glow of its own. His gaze fixed on it for a moment and then he looked up into her eyes.
"It looks more beautiful than ever." He leaned forward and gave her a small kiss.
There were other papers in the box but he decided to look at them later. He put the loose items back into the box. As he was closing the lid, the door opened and Father O'Reilly stepped inside. He moved to the chair behind his desk and sat down.
Glancing at each of them he said, "I apologize for the delay. I hope I haven't inconvenienced you."
"Not at all," said Harry. "May I ask you a few questions?"
"Certainly," said Father O'Reilly.
"Can you tell me what happened the night my parents were killed?"
With a solemn expression he said, "Patrons at the pub that night said they felt the ground shake. Hearing no noise, they thought nothing of it. Just before closing, one of the volunteer firefighters ran in and said the Potter cottage at the end of the lane had been partially destroyed. Bob the barkeep called the constable while the few men who were still in the pub ran to help. I was called a short time later when the bodies of your parents were found. While on my way to the cottage, I came upon Albus who took me aside. He told me you were safe and being taken to your next of kin. Then he insisted, most emphatically, that I tell no one about you.
Shortly before dawn, I was awakened by Albus. A group of officials from your Ministry accompanied him. He took me aside and said it was essential that those who helped recover the bodies of your parents did not remember what had really happened. I reminded him about the good people of this village, how they are like family and look out for each other. He said he understood but it was a matter of law. Sensing my concern, he said that my memory of the events would remain intact. I have never spoken to anyone of these events until now. I think Albus would have wanted you to know.
The secrecy necessitated a very simple and brief funeral for your parents. Very few attended and they quickly moved away at the conclusion. Not long after, a petition was submitted to the Godric's Hollow council. It sought the construction of a war memorial in the village square. With little disagreement or discussion, the petition was approved and the monument quickly completed. The simple design commemorates those who have given their lives in war. When I look at it, I am sorrowed by the thought of the crazy mixed up world you inherit. Please forgive us, your forbearers, and learn from our mistakes. I pray always for young people like you, that you will have strength and courage to make the world a better place."
"Thank you Father," said Ginny.
"Father O'Reilly, can you tell me about my parent's cottage?"
"Your Ministry hid the cottage that same morning. No one has ever wanted to build in that cold and empty looking place. You are of course, the legal owner of the property, by the laws of Godric's Hollow. Being a member of the governing council, I know it is close to an area being considered for village expansion. Perhaps we could work out some sort of a land swap. The hills surrounding this valley are really quite beautiful."
"They certainly are," said Ginny.
"That would be acceptable with me," said Harry. "Has anyone gone inside the cottage?"
"I don't know. I see only an empty lot where it once stood. I've seen many people stop and stare across the lot so I am certain it is still there."
"Okay. I'll check into it and send you an ow ... umm..." He glanced across the desk and then saw it. "... I'll call you on the telephone."
Ginny giggled, "My father calls them pheletones."
Father O'Reilly laughed. Taking pen and paper, he wrote down the phone number and handed it to Harry.
"Thank you so very much Father O'Reilly," said Harry. "I really appreciate everything you've done. If there's anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask."
"Thank you," said Father O'Reilly as they all stood.
After donning their coats, Harry picked up the box, and they both said goodbye.
"A pleasant good day to each of you," said Father O'Reilly as Harry and Ginny stepped back outside.
They walked back along the path toward the cemetery. Glancing quickly around, he stopped by the back wall of the church and quickly slid the box into his mokeskin pouch. Then taking her hand, they continued walking slowly past the cemetery gates toward the obelisk in the center of the village square. As they approached, he felt the squeeze of her hand as the monument transformed before their eyes. She smiled as they looked at the stone figures of James, Lily, and baby Harry for a moment.
"You look so cute," said Ginny with a soft giggle.
He shook his head. "This really wasn't necessary."
"Maybe not to you, but I like it. It helps wizard society remember the dreadful things that happened."
"You take heed of her words," said an old man seated on a bench a short distance away.
They turned and Ginny put her hand over her mouth, realizing they had been overheard.
The man was dressed in blue jeans and wore a ragged dark green cloak. On his head was a short pointed grey hat with a turned down brim. He was looking straight ahead at the monument through dark glasses and his hand held a white cane with a red tip.
"It's okay," whispered Harry reassuringly to Ginny. They stepped closer to the seated man. Harry said, "But war isn't like this. It's cruel and ugly. Families can be completely torn apart. I ... I know."
"Aye, indeed you do. Nasty affair war is, shows us the darkest side of our humanity. Those who experience it firsthand are forever changed. They see things differently, scares some of 'em. Their ordered life, even of fighting the war, is changed. They have to choose how to move on and find their place in an uncertain and insecure new order."
"Did you fight in a war?" asked Ginny.
"Aye, I'm Chas Gish. I lost my eyesight some eighteen years ago and everything changed. But I learned to listen more carefully and in some ways, I see better now. You know, I can tell by the tone of a voice what's inside someone's heart. I hear some folks fretting over the silliest things and choosing to be unhappy and miserable. They just need to say some kind words once in a while, that's all it takes. Do they still teach the golden rule in school?"
"They do," said Harry. "But for some, it's a hard lesson to learn."
"No truer words spoken. But think if everyone did learn it, maybe we wouldn't need any more war memorials."
Harry smiled and took hold of Chas's hand. With a firm handshake he said, "You are a wise man Chas. It's been a pleasure meeting and talking with you."
Chas smiled. "Hufflepuff, class of nineteen and forty. You've made my day. Hope we can talk again sometime."
With warm smiles, Harry and Ginny turned and walked further up the lane. The shops and cottages became more widely spaced as they walked and there were some open lots on each side of the lane. Then they saw it, a cottage by an open field with part of the top floor missing. In the daylight and not covered with snow, the cottage looked much worse for wear. The walls were grey and weathered with chipped and peeling paint. The fence along the front was broken in many places. The yard was overgrown with ragged looking shrubs and brambles. One of the first floor windows appeared badly damaged and boarded up. He reached into his coat and checked the area around them.
"Is that where it happened?" said Ginny pointing. "Up there?" She gazed awestruck at the remains of the room.
"Yeah, I think when his curse rebounded, it blew out the room."
"That's incredible Harry. Enough magical power to destroy part of your home and yet here you stand beside me."
"Because of my Mum. Her love was more powerful than his magic. She gave it to me when she wouldn't step aside and he killed her. And my Dad's love too, when he tried to protect us from him."
"Then all those years, all the times he tried to kill you ... I think you were stronger than him."
"It didn't seem like it at the time and I had a lot of help from Ron and Hermione. But ... yeah, I think you're right. A mum's love for her child is the strongest power there is. Remember what your mum did when Bellatrix attacked you?"
"Yes, it was a bit frightening to see that expression on Mum's face and the look in her eyes. I'd never seen her like that before. There were times when we were growing up that Mum was cross with us, particularly with Fred and George. But even while she was scolding, you could always see the love in her eyes. She's the best mum in the world."
He led her up to the scraggly overgrown hedge surrounding the yard. "Put your hand on the gate."
As she touched the gate, the sign Harry had seen before rose up. A smiled came to her face as she read the graffiti and well wishes. She looked at the front of the cottage and a thoughtful expression came to her face. "There must be a locking charm on the cottage."
"How do you know that?"
"There's a walkway leading up to the cottage but no door."
He stared blankly at the front of the cottage. "I didn't realize that ... really thick Potter."
"When the Weasley family went on holiday to Egypt, Dad used a locking charm for the Burrow. It's very secure."
"I'm guessing that Alohomora won't unlock that kind of charm."
"No, you have to use a key. One or more objects are enchanted when the charm is cast."
"What kind of objects?"
"They can be almost anything. Usually it's something that you can easily carry with you. On our Egypt holiday, Dad used his pocket watch and Mum used the hair brush she always keeps in her handbag."
"Okay, reckon I'll have to ask someone at the Ministry about it. But while we're here, let's have a look 'round the back."
Holding his wand inside his coat pocket, they made their way along the outside of the hedge. It made a sharp angle and then continued toward some large trees with branches growing close to the ground. As they passed within the trees, he circled his wand around them and cast a disillusionment charm. A short distance further, there was a stone corner and a low wooden fence that continued along a narrow walkway behind the cottage. On the far side of the walkway, an open space of tall grass stretched toward the nearby woods. Within the fenced backyard, all manner of weeds and wild brambles grew.
They stopped at a gate in the fence and gazed at the back of the cottage. They saw windows but no door. After a moment, he looked at Ginny. "Let's have a closer look, maybe we can see in through the windows."
"Okay, but look sharp where you step. There's probably all manner of creatures living in those brambles."
Long weeds, growing thick on each side, choked the fence and gate. He lifted the gate latch and with some difficulty, pushed the gate open far enough for them to squeeze through. They followed a path of mostly hidden step-stones leading toward the back of the cottage. He was almost close enough to touch the cottage when he abruptly stopped and looked at his wrist.
"My dad's watch, it's buzzing."
She stepped up beside him to look. Then her hand moved to the pendant of Lily's necklace. "The pendant of the necklace is vibrating too. Harry, do you think it might be a warning?"
"Dunno. Take a step back."
They both stepped back. "The necklace is quiet again."
"So's the watch." He looked along the side of the cottage thinking. Then he looked at Ginny. "I have a hunch. Maybe it's not a warning. Maybe it just means we're close to the door. I'm going to check over there."
He carefully took a few steps off the path and then he stepped forward again. After his second step, he placed his hand on the cottage.
"The watch isn't buzzing." He quickly rejoined her.
"Ginny, how do you use the key to remove the locking charm?"
"You touch it to the door. Do you think you have a key?"
"I think we both do, Dad's watch and Mum's necklace."
"That's brilliant Harry. Do you think it was your mum and dad who cast the charm?"
"Yeah, these are their possessions and they were wearing them that night. Maybe they set up the charm for extra protection."
She frowned. "The charm would have broke when they both died."
His eyebrows narrowed in thought, "A very good point."
Then, realization dawned on each of their faces at almost the same instant and she said, "Unless you were included when the charm was cast."
"If the key works, we can go inside," he said excitedly.
She smiled at the enthusiastic expression on his face. "Okay, let's test your theory."
As they stepped forward, the watch and necklace started vibrating again. He touched the watch to the wall of the cottage. There was a momentary blurring of the wall and then a door appeared. He briefly glanced at her and they each took their wands in hand. Then taking hold of the doorknob, he gave it a twist. The doorknob reluctantly turned and he pushed on the door. It made a snapping sound from the many years of closure and the hinges squeaked as the door swung open. They cautiously stepped inside and then closed the door.
They stood in a small kitchen and looked around as their eyes adjusted to the weak daylight coming in through the hazy window above the sink. A thin airy curtain flanked the window. The room was completely silent and cold. Taking in every detail as he scanned the room, his eyes searched for something familiar from a time that he did not remember. The counters, cupboards, and floor were covered in a thick layer of dust. A few plates and silverware, also covered in dust, were in the kitchen sink. Containers of many different sizes and a few cookbooks lined the counters along the walls. A calendar hanging on a cupboard showed the picture of a smiling toothless pumpkin and below, the month October 1981. He removed the disillusionment charm and slowly moved forward with Ginny very close behind.
They approached a small table set in the far corner of the room by another window. Thin shafts of daylight streamed in through the closed and tattered curtains. Two large chairs were on each side of the dust-covered table and a toddler's high chair was set between them. A dusty crystal container with two matching candleholders was in the center of the table. The candles were partially burnt and one was lying on its side on the table. There were pieces of broken ceramics on the table and floor. A shelf above the window held one remaining plate that had rolled precariously close to the edge. It showed an upside-down picture of a sunlit meadow surrounded by trees. Taking hold of his hand, she squeezed it gently and sighed heavily. He looked at her with a thankful expression and gave her hand a squeeze back. Then he reached up, took hold of the plate, and carefully placed it on the table.
With his wand pointing the way ahead, they turned and moved toward the living room. On one side, they past a large front door that bore the marks of a forced entry. On the other side, a staircase led up. As they continued into the lower room, it grew quite dim and they each lit their wands. As they approached the boarded up window, they heard the crackling of glass fragments under their footsteps. A small table lay broken in pieces on the floor and a chair in the corner was covered with glass shards and wall plaster. A fireplace and mantle were centered along the end wall. Many broken pieces of pottery and figurines littered the floor in front of the fireplace.
A large picture frame lay on the floor. He reached down and picked it up. An image of James and Lily on their wedding day was behind the cracked glass. Lily wore a white wedding gown and in her hands was a large bouquet of flowers. James wore a twilight grey tuxedo with a red rose boutonniere. Their eyes were bright, confident, and filled with happiness. He touched the cracked glass with his wand and quietly said, "Reparo!" The glass mended and the picture began to move. Every few moments, James and Lily would look at each other and kiss.
Smiling warmly, she picked up a smaller picture frame. It contained an image of Harry getting a bath. He was grinning happily and clapping his hands in a stream of water that was filling the kitchen sink where he sat.
He carefully placed the wedding picture into his mokeskin pouch and she added the picture of Harry. Then they continued looking around the room. The large sofa set in front of the fireplace was covered in fallen plaster debris from the ceiling. Near the window, against the back wall of the room, was a bookcase. Many of the dust-covered books, and those that lay splayed on the floor, had titles they recognized from their Hogwarts classes. There were also Quidditch magazines and loose pages of the Daily Prophet scattered about.
They circled back to the staircase. Harry took her hand and they began ascending the creaking stairs. Daylight illuminated the hall at the top of the stairs causing them to squint their eyes for a moment. The light was entering through a badly damaged door hanging by one hinge. They cautiously stepped into the room and saw all manner of broken furniture and parts of the walls and ceiling covering the floor.
"My word!" said Ginny in utter astonishment. "This is unbelievable."
He nodded grimly and slowly turned on the spot. The destruction in the room was extensive and the only large pieces of furniture were a baby crib and a large toy box beside it. The dust-covered crib was broken down the middle with the mattress and bedding lying on the floor beneath it. As he gazed at the crib, she put her arm around his waist.
He quietly said, "I love you Mum." A brief moment later, there was a puff of air from a large hole in the wall and the scent of rose wafted into the room. They looked at each other and smiled softly.
"Any favorites in the toy box?" said Ginny pointing to the brightly colored box by the crib. Fallen boards partially covered the toy box. Though still in one piece, they could see burn marks on it.
"I don't remember a toy box. Let's have a look."
He moved the loose boards aside and then squat down in front of the box with Ginny looking over his shoulder. Upon opening the box, they saw it contained many brightly colored baby toys. There were colored blocks and many small stuffed animals with smiling faces. A separate tray toward the back of the box held a small broom.
Smiling, he took hold of the broom and lifted it out. "This is a birthday present from Sirius."
"Oh, that's so sweet. Do you remember flying on it?"
"No, but I found a picture in Grimmauld Place that my mum sent to Sirius. I was riding the broom and I think my dad was chasing close behind making sure I didn't get hurt."
He closed the toy box lid and stood. He carefully added the toy broom to the contents of his mokeskin pouch. After one last look around the room, they made their way past the stairs toward the bedroom at the other end of the upstairs hall.
The contents of the bedroom were mostly intact though many small fragments of wall plaster were scattered on the furniture and floor. The turned down bed, and nightstands on each side, were covered with dust. An open book lay on the nightstand on the left side. The heading on the top of the dusty page read, Mulch is your Friend. He closed the book. The title read, The Magic of Mums and Marigolds, by Duweet Ena Yardley.
There were many other books and magazines stacked in the lower opening of the nightstand. He gently waved his hand from back to front and the nightstand drawer smoothly slid open. He saw an eyeglass case resting upon a hand mirror that looked similar to the one Sirius had given him. There was a camera, a small brown paper folder stuffed with photos, and a booklet entitled, Picture Perfect, by Shirley A. Shutterbug.
"May I see the photos?"
He nodded. She reached into the drawer and picked up the folder.
With their heads side by side, she leafed through the haphazardly stacked photos as smiles and giggles came to each of them. They were mostly of Harry as an infant. In one photo, Sirius held Harry bundled in white with Lily and Father O'Reilly smiling broadly. In another, Harry was in his highchair being fed by Lily. An old woman, with teacup in hand, watched with an amused smile on her face.
"That's Bathilda Bagshot," said Harry.
"These are all wonderful. May I take the photos and put them in an album for you?"
"Yes, that would be very nice. Thank you."
She tucked the photos into her coat pocket. He closed the drawer and they moved to the nightstand on the other side of the bed. A closed dusty book on the nightstand was titled, Herbs for Health, by Botany Ann Flowers. He waved his hand and the drawer slid open. They saw quills and letter parchment, ring and necklace boxes, and a small book with a latch holding it closed. The words Diary of Lily Evans were inlay on the spine.
"Definitely something to read later." He picked up the diary and added it to his mokeskin pouch.
Ginny lifted out a pastel blue book that had been under the diary. The title in large flowery letters proclaimed, Babies First Year. Below the title, Harry, July 31st 1980 had been carefully written. She looked at him with a hopeful expression and he nodded. Smiling delightedly, she opened the book. Attached to the inside front cover, a sealed transparent pocket held a large lock of black hair.
"Oh Harry, it's your first year hair." She beamed at him. "This is wonderful!"
With a questioning expression he said, "Looks like my normal hair to me."
"It is," she said kindly. "But it comes from a time when you were young and growing. Combined with an infusion of amborella, it can make a potion that is magically regenerative if you're ever seriously ill."
"I didn't know that. Did your mum and dad save some of your hair?"
"Yes and each of my brothers too. It's all kept safe in the cellar of the Burrow."
"May I keep mine there too?"
He put the book into his mokeskin pouch. Then he closed the drawer and they moved to an antique looking chest of drawers placed against the wall by the closet door. Attached to the top of the chest, a large mirror reflected a dim dusty image back to them. There were a few photos pressed between the mirror and its wooden frame. On the top of the chest, in front of the mirror, there were small dust-covered curios and toppled over perfume bottles.
He looked at the people in the photos for a moment. In one photo, Aunt Petunia was holding an infant with Uncle Vernon looking on with a smile. Other photos showed faded images of people he did not recognize.
He looked at her reflection in the mirror. "Do you think the mirror is magically enchanted?"
"Dunno. Ask it something about your appearance."
"Umm ... you think this one's ... nice? The other day, the mirror at the Burrow told me to try axle grease on my hair."
"It looks like a nice mirror, but you never know." She snickered. "One time, Fred and George enchanted the mirror in their room to reflect random parts of your face upside down if it was too early in the morning."
With an apprehensive expression and some uncertainty in his voice, he looked at his reflection the mirror. "H ... How do I look?"
"Duh ...stee ...ah-CHOO!" A cloud of dust burst forth from the mirror and filled the air in front of them.
"Bless you," said Ginny with a grin fanning the air with her hand.
Coughing, and sounding stuffed up, the mirror said, "And don't expect any ding reliable on perfume eeder. Everyding smells like dust."
They both laughed. He pointed his wand at the mirror. "Tergeo!" The dust and haze on the glass surface vanished.
There was a loud sniff and another cough. "Thanks."
They looked through the chest of drawers and found only neatly folded clothing. Dusty dresses, cloaks, and a few moth eaten coats hung in the closet. Then they carefully made their way back down the stairs.
After a long and melancholy look around the room, he turned to her. "Thanks for coming with me today. You've helped me find some lost memories."
She put her arms around him. "You're very welcome. Thanks for sharing them with me. I hope we find more in the future." They lightly kissed.
A short while later they made their way back to the lane. Standing in front of the cottage he said, "Would you like to go back into the village and get some lunch?"
"Yes, that sounds good. Let's try that pub in the village square." She smiled teasingly at him. "The one by your monument of glory."
"Cute Weasley, really cute," he said dryly. He tried to poke her gently in the side but she saw it coming and took hold of his hand. After a brief playful tussle, they both grinned at each other. Then hand in hand, they began walking toward the village square.
They sat in a secluded corner of the small pub and ate a quiet lunch. Most of the time was spent watching and listening to the people come and go. The barkeep greeted many who came in by their first name. The laughter and lighthearted conversations, all going on at the same time, gave the room a feeling of friendliness.
Later, they leisurely walked along the lane and sometimes stepped into a shop for a closer look. As far as they could tell, it seemed like a quiet muggle tourist village.
In the late afternoon, as they were slowly making their way out of the village, they came upon a small shop. The sign above the door read, Godric's Hollow Real Estate. A number of photos behind the front window advertised homes for sale. Through the window, they could see many other photos posted on the walls. A couple was seated in front of a desk with their heads bent over a long piece of paper. A middle-aged woman sat behind the desk talking to them as she pointed to different places on the paper. A small bell on the door sounded as Harry and Ginny entered the office.
"Good afternoon. I'm Jill," said the woman behind the desk. "It will be some time before I can speak with you."
"That's okay," said Harry. "We just wanted to look at the photos."
Jill smiled and gestured toward the wall of photos. Then she continued talking to the couple at her desk.
Harry and Ginny looked at the photos and pointed to a few of them as they quietly talked. After a short while, they made their way back to the door.
"Hope to see you again soon," said Jill. Harry and Ginny waved and stepped out of the office.
They continued walking up the lane talking about the photos in the office. The cottages became more widely spaced and there were open fields with tall grasses rippling in the breeze. They came to the entrance of a small park. A bench under a tree faced an open field and hills beyond. Sitting down to rest, he put his arm around her shoulder.
After a short while, he reached inside his coat and took hold of his wand. There were no other humans in the area but he became concerned when he detected something magical behind the tall bushes. Tapping his finger over his lips, they quietly stood, and cautiously walked toward an opening in the far side of the bushes. A small badly weathered gazebo with cracked and faded white paint came into view.
"That must be an apparition point," said Ginny very quietly.
They both relaxed and after a moment, walked a short distance past the gazebo. The trees parted and revealed a deserted ball field with goals at each end.
He turned to her. "Ready to go back to the Burrow?"
She put her hands behind his neck. "Almost." He put his hands on her waist and drew her close.
Some time later, he took her hand and they stepped into the gazebo. They disapperated an instant later with a gentle whoosh and pop.
|Chapter 10||Chapter Index||Chapter 12|
This is an original fan fiction story based on the seven book series 'Harry Potter' written by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter, the characters, names and related characters are trademarks of Warner Bros., Inc. Harry Potter publishing rights © J.K.R. This is an unofficial, not for profit site and is in no way connected with J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros., Inc. This site is not endorsed by any of these aforementioned parties. Rights to characters and their images is neither claimed nor implied. This fan fiction story is owned by the author and subject to copyright law under transformative use.
Copyright © 2015-2017 Don Buczynski
San Diego, California
Last Updated: 10/07/17