Chapter Sixteen: Part two
~ Ron woke in the middle of the night, which was weird. He was normally a deep sleeper… okay, probably even annoyingly so, at least if what Harry, Seamus, and Dean said about his and Neville's snoring was true. He rolled over, annoyed at whatever the little insistence niggling the base of his consciousness was on about. When he raised his head up to fluff his pillow, he finally cued in on the soft whimper coming from his friend's bed. Shite, Harry and the dementors. That's why he had woken. Hermione had been adamant that he stay alert, expecting Harry to have nightmares. Ron had tried to argue that she was being stupid. Not that Harry might have bad dreams, this would hardly be the first time, but how exactly was he supposed to stay alert… when he was asleep? Ron sighed as he drug himself out of bed.
"Looks like miss know-it-all's right again, can be asleep and alert. Stupid bloody confusing…" Ron paused in his whispered muttering to open Harry's bed curtains. Harry was twitching pretty bad, his face scrunched up as if in pain or worry. Ron gently shook Harry's shoulder. "Wake up, mate. It's just a bad dream… Harry, come on bud."
Harry's eyes popped open upon hearing his name. He sucked in a quick breath, and simultaneously whipped his arm up to snag Ron's wrist, while also jerking back further into the bed. Considering how rapidly Harry pulled back, Ron's awkward crouched position, and Ron's wrist trapped in Harry's grip, Ron was yanked off balance, he faceplanted into the side of the bed, and promptly slid the rest of the way to the floor due to the impact pulling his wrist out of Harry's hand.
Harry's abashed expression appeared, looking down. "S-sorry Ron. I didn't, umm…"
"S'okay. You were having a bad dream."
Ron clambered up onto the bed, Harry scooting back from his vantage point to make room.
"So uh, wanna talk about it?"
Harry frowned, hugging a pillow to himself,
They sat there in awkward silence for a few moments, before Harry flopped onto his back and softly asked, "did the dementor, umm… did you like, hear voices and… uh.. memories?"
Ron decided to lay back too, staring at the four poster canopy and thinking. After a few moments he asked, "Umm, maybe voices? It wasn't really clear... I don't know, what kinda memories?"
Ron felt it when Harry shook his head, before he admitted, "I don't know… it… I don't think l remember most of what it showed me, but yeah… there was some Dursley stuff, and uh, Riddle."
Ron bumped his shoulder into Harry's.
"We really gotta figure out how to get you away from them for good."
"Yeah, like maybe on a trip to Egypt?"
Ron tensed at the not so subtle rebuke. After a pregnant pause and with flaming ears, Ron tried to explain, "Look mate, I uh, I tried to get mum to… well, to invite you too, to Egypt I mean… and well… I mean, you know, even with all those galleons dad won, it was just-"
Harry finally broke into his lanky friend's rambling apology, "Yeah, I… I know, Ron. Sorry, look it's fine. I mean, I would have been more than happy to pay my way. Honestly, I'd have been happy to pay everyone's way if it got me out of that house faster, but… I-I'm not your family's responsibility. Besides, you know what Dumbledore said… I have to go back anyway… stupid blood wards."
Harry rolled over so his back was facing Ron. After a minute or so, Ron felt it when Harry relaxed, and then, "I was pretty jealous, but I was also happy for you guys. Your family definitely deserved a vacation."
Ron was grateful it was too dark for Harry to see his blush.
~As the sunlight filtered in through the nearby window, Ron's slow climb to consciousness was marked by a pleasant warmth, and a mild weight draped across his torso. He shifted slightly to stretch his leg, he was surprised as the weight shifted too. Groggily, he raised his head to blearily stare at a fuzzy black mop of long hair… Ron stared at the unknown head of messy black hair laying atop his chest for a solid five seconds before it finally clicked.
"Harry… Why are you on me?"
The only response was a pitiful little whine, and for Harry to snuggle in tighter. Ron laid his head back down, smiling slightly at his friend's cute absurdity…
About the same time that Ron realised that Harry was doing something he was thinking of as "cute", he registered Harry's leg tightening slightly, from where it was draped… across his growing… member…
~ "Harry, time to get up or you're going to miss breakfast," Neville called out, sounding like he was somewhere over by his trunk. Smart of him, as Harry had developed a tendency toward grouchiness in the rare mornings when he slept late, and they were not above throwing things.
"Nuhhnmm… s'kay, 'm up. I'm up," Harry grumbled before stretching and rolling off the bed and onto the floor, which thankfully had thick rugs under all of the beds. Otherwise he'd have landed on the cold stone floor.
As Harry gingerly padded into the bathroom, he remembered the slippers, still tucked away in his trunk.
"Why is the floor always cold here!" He half growled to himself.
Only he wasn't by himself.
Ron called out from the shower, "cause it's made of stone, with deep dungeons underground?"
"Mmhh, too early for intelligence," grumbled Harry.
After his normal morning routine, Harry splashed some cold water on his face, and was finally awake enough to notice the lack of steam.
Harry puzzled over that while asking, "Sooo, should I wait for you to head down to breakfast?"
"Uh, nah. You go on down. I'll, uh, catch up."
Down at the Gryffindor table, Hermione and the chaser trio gave Harry a warm, if annoyingly sympathetic, greeting as he sat between Katie and Hermione.
As Hermione opened her mouth to speak, Harry interrupted, "Yes, I feel fine, just tired and hungry. No, I didn't sleep very well. No, I don't wanna talk about it. And yeah, I'm a little grouchy, so let's please not make it a big deal, please?"
Hermione closed her mouth, smiled softly, and pushed a platter of scrambled eggs towards Harry. He finally smiled as the other girls laughed.
Waiting for Harry to actually take a bite, Hermione asked, "I haven't seen Ron yet, he wasn't still in bed was he?"
"Mmm, he was taking a cold shower this morning, but he said he'd meet us down here when I asked."
"Don't forget to tell him about your large friend, Hermione," Alicia reminded.
Hermione's face let up in excitement, "oh my goodness yes! Harry, you'll never believe it. Guess who the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher is!?"
Harry looked from a beaming Hermione, to a smirking Alicia, and finally up to the teacher's table, before shaking his head.
"Well that certainly explains how we ended up with a book that bites back!"
"Too true," chipped in an obviously exacerbated Hermione.
They were all giggling as Fred and George joined them, handing out papers.
"New course schedules, ladies," said twin A, while twin B added, "and Harries."
"Thanks guys, but why exactly are you two handing them out instead of the perfects?" Asked Angelina.
"And what have you done to them?" asked Alicia.
Twin B, "Alicia, my love,"
A, "You wound us with your,"
B, "Completely unfounded,"
A, "Yet totally justifiable,"
A and B, "accusations!"
Harry smiled, while the other girls all groaned.
"You two make my head hurt at the best of times," Hermione complained.
~Ron finally joined them with just enough time left to wolf down some bacon and toast before they had to head to their first class, Divination, at the top of North Tower. Ron seemed a little quieter than usual to Harry, course then again, it could just be this stupid climb! They'd finally reached the top of their seventh staircase, Hermione and Ron were both panting. Problem was, they still needed to go up another floor, but Harry didn't see any more stairs.
As 'mione and Ron argued about which way to go, Harry figured he could just ask for directions. After a brief, very odd interaction with the portrait of a knight, Sir Cadogen, they found the rest of their class gathered around the base of a trapdoor.
Class, did not go well. The room was too hot, and the sickly sweet incense made Harry sleepy. Ron sat at one of the small tables with Hermione, which was a little unusual, so Harry sat with Neville, though they didn't get a chance to chat much before the teacher arrived. The professor's entrance seemed impressive at first, but the more she spoke the more Harry started to get a bad feeling about the whole thing. After being instructed on how to read tea leaves, and after Neville broke his first cup, Harry and Nev tried their best to finish off the scalding hot tea as quickly as possible. They swirled the dregs widershins three times before turning the cups over to drain, and swapping cups.
"You first, or me?" Harry asked.
At Neville's nervous insistence, Harry started them off. As he peered into Neville's cup, slowly spinning it to allow the impressions to solidify, he struggled to keep a straight face. Hermione was whisper yelling at Ron, who was obviously goofing off again, judging by his snickers anyway.
Giving his head a small shake to try and wake up, he started, "Otay, Neville, looks like you have, umm, that could be a bird? Let's see, that means… a departure from the status quo. Huh, I guess that could be good, maybe?"
Neville simply shrugged while Harry gazed back into the cup. "Oh hey, a flower. Looks like a Peony, or wait, maybe a rose."
"You know what a peony is, Harry?" Neville asked, voice full of surprise.
"Yeah, of course. I take care of the garden at my relatives during the summer," explained the younger preteen absentmindedly, while still checking the book.
"Oh… That must be why you're so good in herbology."
Harry looked up, but shrugged and denied it, "Hermione does at least as well as I do, but everyone knows you're the best Gryffindor when it comes to herbology, Nev."
Neville sputtered a denial, but Harry just continued with the tea reading.
"Okay, so the last two thingies I'm seeing… kinda looks like one is a sword, but with a crack running down the blade, and a… I don't know, maybe a fish with hair? No, wait a mermaid!"
Neither could find mermaids in their list of symbols, but Neville blanched as they read the interpretation for a sword.
Harry read, "The presence of a sword denotes a deadly enemy to be overcome, however a broken sword implies your defeat at the hands of said enemy."
"Uhh, Harry… does a cracked sword count as broken?"
"Err, no… no I don't think it does. In fact," Harry gave the cup a little shake, "see, my mistake, no sword."
They both gave a shaky little laugh before Neville started on Harry's cup.
"Alrighty, erm… okay, yeah. That kinda looks like a crescent moon."
Harry looked over the pages before reading out, "The moon represents both discovery, and concealment. A full moon can illuminate falsehoods, or light the way for discovery, or adventure. A partial moon can indicate confusion and indecision, but a crescent moon represents secrecy and hidden truths. They can either be hidden from yourself, or by you."
"Blimey, that's… uh, moving on. Right," Neville turned the cup a quarter turn, "Oh, a butterfly! What's that one mean?"
Harry quickly found the entry, "The butterfly is the quintessential representation of change, the transition from one stage of life to the next. It is a rare sign. Discovering the butterfly indicates that changes are on the horizon, and that you will soon transition from the life you currently live to something new, be it for good or ill…"
"Right… uh, congratulations… I think… Uh, looks like one more shape. Some kinda animal I guess, that's four legs, maybe like a cow?"
"Great, that probably means I'm udderly doomed to lie about changes to my hidden moon stuff."
They both laughed at the stupid pun, and though Harry was hiding it, he was more than a little unnerved by the reading so far. Unfortunately they had laughed just a little too loudly, and caught the attention of Professor Trelawney.
# "Let me see that, my dear," she said reprovingly to Neville, sweeping over and snatching Harry's cup from him. Everyone went quiet to watch. Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it counterclockwise.
"The falcon . . . my dear, you have a deadly enemy."
"But everyone knows that," said Hermione in a loud whisper.
Professor Trelawney stared at her.
"Well, they do," said Hermione. "Everybody knows about Harry and You-Know-Who."
Harry, Neville, and Ron stared at her with a mixture of amazement and admiration. They had never heard Hermione speak to a teacher like that before. Professor Trelawney chose not to reply. She lowered her huge eyes to Harry's cup again and continued to turn it.
"The club . . . an attack. Dear, dear, this is not a happy cup. . . ."
Harry and Neville traded glances as she continued, "The skull . . . danger in your path, my dear. . . ."
Everyone was staring, transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn, gasped, and then screamed.
There was another tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his second cup. Professor Trelawney sank into a vacant armchair, her glittering hand at her heart and her eyes closed.
"My dear boy . . . my poor, dear boy . . . no . . . it is kinder not to say . . . no . . . don't ask me. . . ."
"What is it, Professor?" said Dean Thomas at once.
Everyone had got to their feet, and slowly they crowded around Harry and Neville's table, pressing close to Professor Trelawney's chair to get a good look at Harry's cup.
"My dear," Professor Trelawney's huge eyes opened dramatically, "you have the Grim."
"The what?" said Harry.
He could tell that he wasn't the only one who didn't understand; Dean Thomas shrugged at him and Lavender Brown looked puzzled, but nearly everybody else clapped their hands to their mouths in horror.
"The Grim, my dear, the Grim!" cried Professor Trelawney, who looked shocked that Harry hadn't understood. "The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen — the worst omen — of death!" #
Harry was glad that the professor had decided to let them out a few minutes early after that dread pronouncement. He couldn't help but recall the great black dog he'd seen on the cover of Death Omens, back at Flourish and Blotts, and how it had seemed somehow familiar to him.
~Next they all made their way to Professor McGonagall's class, who first verified that they had just come from Divinations, before starting lessons. When the class agreed, she very nonchalantly asked who it was that would be perishing this year. Professor McGonagall was obviously quite familiar with Professor Trelawney, and just as clearly lacked any patience with the woman. Harry felt considerably cheered by her professor's reassurances, and cheered loudly later during class when their professor transformed herself into a cat, and back again.
Once transfiguration was over, Ron led the way down to lunch, starving as usual. Harry thought Ron was still acting a little weird. He wouldn't really make eye contact, and kept sitting with Hermione between them, but when they tried to ask what was up, Ron's ears turned pink and he denied that anything was wrong. When Hermione wouldn't drop it, Ron admitted that he was worried about the grim, which led to a big fight about the validity of the subject. Harry tuned the two out as he ate, and looked forward to seeing Hagrid, and the upcoming Care of Magical Creature class. Of course a thought slowly wormed its way in, considering it was Hagrid teaching a class of Magical Creatures, and considering Hagrid's tastes, so to speak, in monsters… should they maybe be a teensy bit worried…
I'm back! Well, mostly. The wedding went really well, though not perfect. We lost the bouquet, the playlist for songs was backwards, and during the honeymoon to Galveston, Texas, I used plenty of sunscreen, which means I didn't burn but I did get that really bad sunburn itch for a couple days. That part sucked! We've been back home for about two weeks, but haven't quite gotten everything put back together yet :)
My goal is to post every two weeks, and hopefully I'm not being too optimistic. I don't have anything prewritten, just little ideas and directions I'm planning to go. I'd love to give spoilers, but I'll restrain myself.
Oh umm, a couple times now authors have responded to my comments on their fics, but I haven't figured out how to do that here. Anyone know if it's possible on mobile?
As always, # Means I've taken this section almost word for word from the book. Oh, and yes, Ron is a little freaked out that he kinda got turned on by Harry's leg rubbing his… member… I don't THINK he's gay, I'm pretty sure most preteen boys would have reacted that way, but we shall see.