Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Power of Knowledge - Chapter 6

The Power of Knowledge

Chapter 6

It was late afternoon and Harry Potter, who held the title of youngest Seeker of the century, was seriously considering quitting the Gryffindor team. While he had no trouble working with the team (and after the first year he was used to Oliver’s exuberance), it was his broomstick that annoyed him. Or, he supposed as he towelled his fresh-from-an-invigorating -shower hair, it’s my lack of one that’s bothering me. When is Christmas again? Harry didn’t want to sound like an ungrateful child eagerly waiting for the holidays to come around, but he really needed that Firebolt else he’d go mad.

“I’ve seen bloody butterflies fly faster,” he grumbled, thinking about the last practice and how his teammates literally ran laps around him. Shooting Stars, he had to admit, were not the best brooms for competitive Quidditch. They might be good for a quick pick-up game during the summer, but not against matches with the Slytherins.

 “Did you say something, Harry?” asked Neville, who was writing a letter to someone (presumably his grandmother).

“Nothing,” Harry replied as he ruffled through his trunk for a clean shirt. “Just talking to myself – hey, have you by any chance seen that blue shirt I wore last week?”

Neville shrugged even though he knew Harry would not be able to see. “Did you check the laundry bin?”

“We have a laundry bin?” Harry retorted, grabbing his wand on his pillow to Summon the aforementioned bin. He shoved aside some of Dudley’s horrid hand-me-downs just to make sure before checking the laundry bin for his favourite blue shirt. It was the only shirt he owned that fit him comfortably enough without either strangling him by the neck or drowning him in a sea of excess material.

“Found it?” asked Neville a minute later.

“Nah,” Harry laughed good-naturedly, “I realised halfway through searching the pile that I just finished taking a shower, and so I should be looking for a fresh shirt, not a spoiled one I wore a week before. Sorry to bother your letter writing, Neville.”

“It’s no problem, Harry,” Neville said before returning to his desk.

Harry donned the first shirt he could see in his trunk and, after shouting a “see you later” to Neville as he left the dorm room, he trudged down the stairs with half his mind wondering where the hell his blue shirt had gotten to. The other half was drifting back to the most recent Quidditch practice. He heaved a heavy sigh.
“Just so you know,” Harry began as he approached his friends in the Common Room, “as of this afternoon,” he jumped over the back of the sofa and landed quite comfortably, kicking off his shoes and crossing his legs at the ankles, his hands tucked behind his head, “I bloody well hate Shooting Stars.”

Ron snorted in reply and Hermione absentmindedly admonished him for his language. Ginny on the other hand, while not sitting next to Harry and his friends per se, was sitting within earshot and so she replied with a snarky remark before realising it was Harry – the Harry – that she was talking to. A bright blush suffused her freckled cheeks.

“What do you mean make a wish?” Harry asked her, confused. It did not occur to him that not once had he spoken to Ginny the entire year, and while he did not mean to be rude about it (because really, Ginny knew that it was lack of opportunity more than anything), this conversation would be their very first in a long time.

As it was, Ginny Weasley was suitably at a loss on what to say. She had no idea what spurred her to answer Harry’s open-ended remark about shooting stars. What she said wasn’t even that funny and she doubt Harry saw the humour in it. “Um,” she said, hoping that the sound along would kick start her brain to begin working.

And it did.

“You know about shooting stars… how when people see them they make a wish? I said what I said because you mentioned shooting stars and I thought hey, you should make a wish!

Well, close enough. At least there were no butter dishes nearby to sink her elbow into. Ginny roused from her thoughts as she heard Harry laughter. Blushing even deeper, she glared at the boy in question and asked what was so funny.

“N-nothing.” Harry clutched at his stomach. “Just – ah…” he looked sideways at Ron for support, but the redhead was slowly backing away from the incoming storm he knew was coming. Ginny was a spitfire, and when someone foolish enough to stoke the fire just like Harry, the best course of action was to find the nearest shelter and hide. In this case, the other side of the Common Room was a safe enough spot.

“Well?” Ginny asked testily. There was no doubt that she was angry and there was no mistaking that she was mad at Harry Potter, but the question stands: was she mad because he laughed at her, or was she mad because Harry didn’t seem perturbed by her I’m-going-to-make-your-life-hell look. If it was the former, then she had no idea what was so funny – her joke couldn’t be that funny – and Harry was honestly being rude by laughing at her. If the latter, then… Did Harry not see that she was glaring at him? Her brothers knew what the look stood for; was Harry simply oblivious or reckless?

“Sorry, Ginny,” Harry said, raising his hand up as a sign of surrender. “I, uh – what you said… You do know I was talking about the broomstick, not the actual shooting star. That’s why I laughed. Sorry if I offended you or anything.”

Harry studied Ginny’s expression closely, watching as she froze at the realisation of her mistake. The bones in her neck became prominent and her jaw tensed. She refused to make eye contact, which quite frankly Harry found a little worrying. Was she furious at him? As he apologised again, Ginny muttered something about doing some work up in her dorm and swiftly fled the scene.

Suffice to say, Harry was confused. He looked at Hermione, who was unsuccessfully hiding an amused smile. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked.

Hermione closed her book and used her finger as a bookmark. “Well,” she said, “you did embarrass the poor girl.”

“Me?” Harry sputtered. “Embarrass her? How?”

Hermione pursed her lips. “Do you want the quick version or the long version?”

“What? Does it really matter?”

“The long version then,” Hermione chose for him. “First of all, you put Ginny on the spotlight. In case it has skipped your notice, Harry, but the two of you are not exactly close friends.” At Harry’s surprised look, Hermione rushed to say: “Be that as it may, you surprised her. Second of all, when you laughed she undoubtedly felt that you were making fun of her.”

“I was not!”

“I know you weren’t, but did she?” Hermione pleaded with her eyes for Harry to understand, knowing that he was most prone to defending himself than putting himself in Ginny’s shoes when it came to these matters. He really didn’t feel like he was in the wrong – not that he was, to be fair. Ginny was just as wrong as Harry was, running away like she did without any proper explanation.

Harry sighed and massaged the back of his neck, as he usually did when he was deep in thought. “I suppose I should go and apologise,” he said finally.

“Maybe not right now,” Hermione smiled. “Boys aren’t allowed in the girls’ dorms, remember?” At Harry’s despondent expression, Hermione rolled her eyes – since when was Harry this worried about making amends with someone? “How about waiting for her to come back down? She forgot her bag and I’m sure she’ll be doing it if she wants to get any real work done.”

Harry looked at her through narrowed eyes. “Er, you do know that was probably lying when she said that, right?” He uncrossed and crossed his ankles, resigned as he was to some time waiting. “She wanted to get away from me. You explained that to me perfectly well.”

“Oh,” Hermione said. “Nevertheless, she’ll realise that she forgot her bag sooner or later. Just apologise when she gets back down, all right?”

Grunting his assent, Harry settled into a more comfortable position. He waited in silence for the next hour and a half, though when lunchtime rolled around he debated whether to leave his post or not. Ron was waiting impatiently by the portrait hole while Hermione, stuffing Numerology and Gramatica into her bag, distractedly reminded him that the Great Hall was serving hot cocoa to counteract the encroaching winter weather.

And Harry liked Hogwarts’ hot cocoa.

“Actually,” Harry sighed, “I think I’ll pass this time. I’d rather wait for Ginny, if you guys don’t mind.”
From the portrait, Ron shrugged and commented, “It’s not your fault Ginny can’t stay in the same room as you without acting weird, but suit yourself. More cocoa for me then!”

As the Fat Lady’s portrait swung behind his two best friends, Harry stood up and stretched his stiff muscles before sitting back down lengthwise across the sofa. If he was going to wait for Ginny to come back down, he might as well be comfortable doing it – well, more comfortable than he was before he moved.

Ten minutes pass and Harry’s stomach softly grumbled. With a reaction that was a mix of a grimace and chuckle, he reached for his wand and casually Summoned a Chocolate Frog from his dormitory. It took several tries for the damned confectionary to zoom into Harry’s hands, seeing as it had to push its way out through a small wedge between the lid of the trunk and the base. Harry paid the battered Chocolate Frog no mind as his fingers made quick work on unwrapping the package. Absently, he thought of how dependent he’s been on the Summoning Charm despite it being slightly advanced a spell for his age.

I seem to be Summoning things a lot, he thought. From the laundry bin – still can’t believe we have one of those – to the Chocolate Frog. Sweet frog. I want another one… There was another flick of his wand and another Chocolate Frog descended the stairs. Harry continued with his line of thought: Next thing I know, I’d be Summoning my school books from class to class instead of – Harry chocked on the frog’s leg.


Harry sat upright. “I could Summon books,” he said to the empty Common Room. Well, relatively empty apart from the napping Fifth Year by the fireplace (it was his OWL year) and Neville’s toad Trevor glaring at him by the window. (Harry suspects the toad did not like him eating the Chocolate Frogs.)

“Nothing’s stopping me from charming my missing book to come to me,” said Harry lowly as his right hand increasing its grip on his wand. His heart was thudding loudly within the confines of his chest – how come he didn’t think of Summoning Philosopher’s Stone before? Harry pressed his lips together and breathed in deep through his nose. “Accio Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!” he whispered fervently.

At first there was no reaction and Harry visibly wilted, his energy gone. Then, there came a scuffling sound like a Snitch clawing its way out a jar of marbles. Or I could be losing my marbles, Harry thought as he strained his ears. The sound was coming from the Common Room, that much Harry was sure, but from where? Harry cast his eyes across the room and landed immediately at the vibrating school bag a few feet away.

“Ginny’s bag,” he breathed. Ginny Weasley has Philosopher’s Stone in her bag, but how was the possible? Did she steal it from his trunk before they left The Leaky Cauldron…? But that can’t be. Harry distinctly remembered locking the seven books in his trunk. Ginny can’t have broken in, and even if she did what would have been her excuse other than simply rummaging in his trunk for the fun of it.

No, Harry shook his head sharply. Ginny’s not like that. He might not know the girl very well, but he refused to believe she would look through his trunk uninvited. Pressing both his thumbs to his temples, Harry took a second (or three) before walking towards Ginny’s bag and clicking the bag open. He felt like a hypocrite, however the importance of retrieving the book that told of his First Year was heavier than respecting Ginny’s privacy.

He strongly hoped that the girl in question would understand.

Reaching blindly into the bag (Harry didn’t want to peek and trespass further into Ginny’s privacy), he searched for the familiar texture and shape of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. His hand had just grabbed hold of the thin volume when, just his luck, Ginny Weasley traipsed down the girl’s staircase.
“Harry,” she asked, shell-shocked, “what are you doing?”

Harry jerked around, the book secured in his grip. He had on his face the look of a thief caught red-handed – which he was, in a way. He was only stealing back what was rightfully his in the first place. “Ginny,” he gulped, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to –“ he gestured to the opened bag “– y’know, but I’ve been looking for this book for months and I was dead worried that a Slytherin or Snape or Dumbledore might have gotten hold of it or…” Harry trailed off as complete and utter horror sunk into his features. “You didn’t tell Dumbledore about this book, did you?” came his strangled question.

Ginny, who was stunned into impersonating a goldfish when Harry began rambling (so it wasn’t just her who was afflicted with that illness, thank Merlin), simply blinked at Harry in response. Not once did it occur to tell Dumbledore about that book. She was not the type to come running towards the Headmaster when strange things happen, and she was definitely not the petty type to blab to someone against Harry. She held to grudge for him. Well, she thought, I didn’t until now.

A flash of anger coursed through Ginny’s veins. “You were searching through my bag!” she accused. “That’s an invasion of privacy!”

Harry at the very least had the decency to blush. “Well, you were reading a story about my First Year,” he retorted. “This is an exact recording of my thoughts and experiences, some of which were only privy to me until you read it!” Because really, there was no doubt that Ginny had ready the book.

Ginny snapped her mouth closed, stumped. Harry was right, of course. She had no right to read the book without his expressed permission. However, she could not change the past just as much as she can predict the future, which left her dealing with the present. Crossing her arms, she asked Harry how he knew that the book was in her bag.

“There’s a spell I know,” Harry said, inattentively massaging his neck as he spoke. “It’s called the Summoning Charm and it allows you to,” he paused, searching for the right word, “…call things towards you if they’re too far away to reach. Well, that’s what I’ve been using the spell for anyway.”

Ginny couldn’t help but snort her amusement. “Wow, I did not peg you down as a lazy arse,” she said, forgetting that she was talking to Harry and not one of her brothers (or one of her tetchy classmates, for that matter). Harry simply raised an eyebrow in response, which prompted a soft apology and blood to flood her freckled cheeks.

“No need to apologise,” Harry said, clearly amused. “I spend the majority of my time with your brother, remember?”

“Which one?” Ginny countered. There was twinkle in her eye that told Harry he was forgiven for invading her privacy the way he did; it was necessary, after all. Well, not really. He could have waited until Ginny had arrived and ask if he can look through her bag (which, admittedly, Ginny was sure to deny permission), but Ginny was willing to let that go. It was about time she returned that book, anyway.

Harry and Ginny exchanged more teasing remarks and quips for the next minute or so. Some would say they were flirting, just like Ron and Hermione only with less hostility, though of course only some people would say that. Neither Harry nor Ginny would be included in that group, for each think that they were only establishing their tentative friendship, each reply for a snarky comment a test for how much the other would go and could take.

When Harry’s stomach gave a resounding growl, he suggested they head down to the Great Hall to eat. They talked for the entire trip, but never ventured towards the events that surrounded Harry’s First Year. Finally upon entering the Great Hall, the two new friends separated to join their own circles. It was just another normal day for Harry and Ginny, respectively, and none knew the wiser.

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