The day was sunny. Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were at the Burrow. For the second time ever since the silver animal (Prequel- Fred back from the dead?), the house seemed cheerful again (the first time was on Harry’s birthday). By now, George was on speaking terms with Percy again, after having growled furiously at Percy for about a month, blaming him.
Neville and his grandmother had visited the Burrow for the first time. “I had underestimated my grandson. He has finally shown me he is his parents' son! He fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and is already an Auror!” Augusta was beaming with pride.
Ron and Harry were to become Aurors too. Mrs. Longbottom asked where Harry was. Ron replied, “Harry has gone to Grimmauld Place. He wanted to stay alone for two or three days and now it’s been a week. None of us are doing anything apart from sending him regular owls asking how he is, whether he had his meals, etc. In fact, Ginny, Hermione, and I are planning to go today evening and bring him back. We’ll stay there for the night.”
“Then let me also accompany you! I want to see Harry!” Neville said mirthfully.
While they were discussing the Horcrux hunt a while ago and Ms. Augusta Longbottom was saying that the Weasleys must have been proud of Ron, everyone nodded happily.
Hermione was seated next to Ron, apparently having just had a phone conversation where her parents had finally seemed no longer upset about their memories being obliviated.
“Ms. Granger, I want to see your parents. They must be so proud of you!” Augusta continued suddenly and Ron let out an arm and squeezed Hermione towards him happily.
“Yes, Mrs. Longbottom,” Hermione said, now going pink.
“Ms. Weasley! Why are you silent?” Augusta suddenly enquired. Ginny smiled and told, “Nothing, Neville, why don’t you come and see the house. Ron, Hermione, can you both come along?”
“Sure!” said Ron and Hermione, though Hermione sounded a bit worried. Neville wordlessly followed.
“Neville, the upper floors are that way.” Ginny loudly said as they walked out. Once they reached the upper floors, Ginny turned to Neville and told him “Have they all been caught, the Death Eaters?”
Ron’s expression was the same as Neville’s. “No!” together they said.
“I am dead worried! That’s why Harry is working in silence. Is it not? Even Ron stays up all night these days!” Ginny said, revealing her worries.
Hermione, however was scowling. “What? Who is it?” she questioned sternly. Ron joked “Mione, you’re off to Hogwarts this year, aren’t you? So, leave this to us.”
“The new term starts in September! And I want to do everything I can to help!” said Hermione frowning. Ginny expressed that she seconded her. Hermione and Ginny are preparing for their seventh year at Hogwarts.
“Don’t divert the topic.” Hermione said, her eyes suddenly tearing up. She was upset that she wasn’t already given this information long before. Ron said, “Hey, don’t cry!”
Neville spoke, “His name is Greens. Has been working for Voldemort abroad undercover and only came out earlier this year to openly support Voldemort. We Aurors have collected a few details about him after a lot of searching.”
“We need to capture him, but he isn’t in all of UK, or Europe, for that matter.” Ron said darkly.
“Where is he? We want to help!” The two girls had angry tears in their eyes now.
Ron and Neville looked at each other and said, “India.”
Kreacher was serving Harry tea when the doorbell rang. Kreacher went out, and in a second, was followed by his best friends, the love of his life, and his friend and colleague. Ginny went and embraced Harry first thing, followed by Ron, Hermione and Neville.
“Kreacher, can you make three more cups of tea?”
“Anything for Master!” croaked the house-elf Harry had inherited along with Number 12, Grimmauld Place from his godfather.
Hermione didn’t touch her cup of tea. Rather, she said “Let’s cut out the jargon and get this straight. Harry, Ron, Neville. As you know, Ginny and I are attending Hogwarts this year. However, this does not mean that we will keep away from the action.” She added sternly to Harry, “Who is that Death Eater? The one hiding in India.”
Harry looked at Ron and Neville and then continued, “His name is Greens and he was at Hogwarts with Voldemort. I’ve seen him in the pensive during my private lessons with Dumbledore while finding out Voldemort’s past. I sent an owl to Hagrid explaining that I need to capture Greens who used to be an ally of Voldemort.” This is the reply I got.
Harry bellowed “Accio!” and a letter came flying from upstairs. The other four read the letter. It was written in Hagrid’s writing.
“Harry, you spoke about Greens, who was an ally of Voldemort. He was working undercover for Voldemort until this year when he fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. I saw him seeing you kill Voldemort. He disapparated without a trace almost instantaneously. He was a Slytherin boy but was very secretive. It wasn’t until his 17th birthday that he became a Death Eater. He personally told me in May 1951 during his sixth year. He told me proudly about what he would do from July onwards, something about working undercover for Voldemort abroad but mostly he seemed glad that I was expelled and was telling me how my peers are graduating from Hogwarts while I’m stuck there. I don’t remember anyone insulting me so badly about my expulsion, which is why I remember this incident. Hope it helps you. This is all I know. Hagrid.”
“What are your next plans, Harry?” Ginny asked suddenly, making them all slightly jump.
“To go to India, of course! I have an official letter from the British Ministry of Magic addressed to the Indian Ministry of Magic! I’ve sent one copy to them and will be carrying the second copy with me.”
“We are coming!” Hermione said. “No!” Ron said, “Hermione, it’s too dangerous!”
“I don’t care! Didn’t I help you with the Philosophers Stone? Who found out how the Basilisk moves throughout Hogwarts and within the Chamber of Secrets? Whose idea was it to start “Dumbledore’s Army” and convince Harry to teach uspracticalDefence Against the Dark Arts? Did you forget I was with you that day when we fought in the Department of Mysteries, Battle of the Astronomy Tower, joined you and Harry in the Horcrux hunt and fought the Battle of Hogwarts?
“I’m coming along.” Ginny said “I’ll be 17 in two days. Atleast now allow me to be part of this. I still regret I wasn’t 17 when the Battle of Hogwarts took place. That’s why I was restricted. But no one is going to restrict me now!” She added, holding a hand as Ron had begun to say something.
Neville nodded in agreement with everything the girls had said. According to him, as he pointed out later, they would need more members of Dumbledore’s Army. Ginny wanted to join the Order of the Phoenix like the rest of her family and accompany them.
Ginny’s 17th birthday was celebrated at the Burrow and her gift, as she wanted, was being made an official member of the Order of The Phoenix and permission from her family to accompany Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville to India. Harry had the sudden urge to run to her and hug her as he saw her on the morning of her birthday. She was wearing a parrot green dress. Luna Lovegood came to their house at 5 with a nice little jumper for Ginny which she liked.
That evening, however, Luna overheard them talking about leaving to India in two days’ time. She insisted that she too join them.
“Come on now.” They heard Mrs Weasley’s gentle voice from below.
Luna continued that she was part of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Battle at the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts. She opened her mouth to say something about where they could search for Greens when-
“And what about Hogwarts?’ came Mrs Weasley’s voice, followed by her opening the door looking as though trying to explain something obvious. Harry was reminded of the same words Mrs Weasley had roared at Ginny when she had first informed the Weasleys about accompanying them to India. Luna said that she will return before 1st September but keep helping them. “Ginny also said that, and I’m sure Hermione would do the same.” Mrs Weasley frowned slightly and left. She obviously had come to call George, who was working on a joke wand for Weasleys Wizard Wheezes.
Ginny’s birthday dinner reminded Harry of his 17th birthday last year, especially while eating cake. Bill and Fleur had apparated around 6 and immediately returned after supper. Percy was eating with one hand and writing a cauldron report in the other, which amused everyone. George returned to his room to continue with his joke products.
After a nice chat till midnight with Ron and Hermione, Harry went downstairs to get some water before he slept. He liked a walk and also wanted to check on Ginny. He knew that Hermione wouldn’t come until after a while, for she and Ron would spend time together.
Ginny was entering her room as Harry came back after drinking water. Obviously, Ginny had gone to check on Ron and Hermione, for she came from the top floor and entered her room. Harry followed suit, hesitated and walked in after a soft knock. Ginny apparently had a bag ready for their journey.
“I knew you’d come! I couldn’t go with you to the Horcrux hunt, but I’m glad I’ll accompany you for this!” She was beaming. “Right.” said Harry, “So, what did Ron and Hermione say?”
Ginny suddenly blushed “Oh, I went upstairs to check on you guys and suddenly saw only two of them. I only saw that they were cuddling and immediately closed the door and came back.” She suddenly gasped as Harry too had hugged her.
The next thing Harry knew, sunlight was directly hitting his eyes, Ginny’s head was on his shoulder as he had wrapped his right hand around her. They were sitting on the floor leaning against the bed. Ginny was awake too. She looked up at him and they had a nice morning kiss.
Later, they decided to go down for breakfast. Ron and Hermione were sitting red faced on the table. Hermione whispered to Ginny as they came in “You know what? I was sleeping in Ron’s arms this morning!”
“And we kissed.” Ron said grinning. Harry said, “Ginny and I too.” They all grinned rather shamelessly in front of Percy who had just entered, with literally no clue why these four were grinning so. He had stayed up all night working on his report and was intending to sleep after breakfast. “What’s going on?” he asked.
“Whatever you and Penelope Clearwater did in my first year in Hogwarts.” Ginny said without troubling herself to stop grinning. Percy went rather red in his face and walked away muttering “I’ll eat later.”
Chapter 4- Off to India
“Who are we meeting first in India?” Ginny asked.
“Obvious, isn’t it? The Minister for Magic!” Hermione said in an it-is-so-obvious sort of voice.
The British Ministry of Magic had arranged a Floo Network directly to the Indian Ministry of Magic and the Golden and Silver Trio’s were ready. Arthur Weasley and Percy Weasley had bidden goodbye that morning before going to work. George Weasley had apparated to Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes the previous night. Mrs Weasley looked concerned.
Harry went first. “Indian Ministry of Magic, Delhi!” he bellowed.
Mr. Venkatadri Iyengar, the Minister of Magic, India was standing in front of him the next instant. He looked simple and wore a Tilak on his forehead, a decent ice blue shirt folded upto elbow length and brown trousers. He was known to have sharp senses and himself was an Auror. He had become Minister for Magic in 1996.
“Mr. Iyengar! Pleased to meet you!” Harry and the others said as they reached one by one. He sounded as jovial as he looked. Greeting each of them with both his palms held to each other, he said “Namaste” and led the way directly to his office. A man in a turban who sported a beard and had a cheerful smile softly said “Wingardium Leviosa” and their bags, one for each, drifted into the air. The cheerful man introduced himself as Inderveer Singh and went ahead with the flying bags.
As the alley was dark, Mr. Iyengar held his wand and bellowed “Prakashith Bhava!” Golden light emerged from the tip of his wand and the alley was clear. Harry was wrong in assuming that Mr. Iyengar was leading them to his office. In fact, he led them to a hall in which there were a couple of rooms.
Harry walked with care and was alert. However, the others didn’t seem to be as vigilant as him. Ginny, Luna and Hermione were excitedly talking about their upcoming term at Hogwarts. Harry heard them say, “Our Seventh year at Hogwarts will begin soon!”, “Got to study lots for N.E.W.T’s.” Out of the corner of his eye, as they turned, Harry saw Luna smile and Ginny and Hermione looked forward as their conversation ended.
Ron and Neville were interested in looking around and didn’t say anything. On and on they walked.
A lady in a parrot green saree was standing there clutching her wand. She too smiled jovially. Harry suddenly had a fleeting version of a younger sister of Cho Chang. The mirthful lady introduced herself as Abem Amom.
She said “Namaste” and shouted “Alohomora” six times and six of the doors opened. Ron spoke “What was that Mr. Iyengar said? Mr. Singh also used the term we used, just like Ms. Amom” “Oh, we use Hindi terms. I used the spell you people call Lumos.” Mr. Iyengar said jovially.
“Take rest.” Ms. Amom started but Harry didn’t want rest. He told the others “You take rest. I’m off to start discussing with Mr. Iyengar..” and the others said in chorus “We’re coming too!” and Mr. Singh came out of one of the closed doors with an alarmed look asking what was the cause of all this sudden commotion to which Ms. Amom politely told him not to worry.
Supper was rather heavy. There was the North Indian Roti and mixed vegetable curry, and the North Eastern Fish Tenga as the main course followed by the South Indian vermicelli for dessert.
Mr. Iyengar assured them that they could discuss the following morning, and they all retired to bed. When Harry entered his room, he saw that it was a well-lit room. There was a double bed, a nice little closet for luggage, a balcony and a bathroom. “Quite spacious!” Harry thought as he drifted off to sleep while still admiring a particularly beautiful handcrafted vase from Channapatna.
The following morning, as soon as Harry opened the door, he heard Ms Amom’s voice say Wingardium Leviosa!” and a tiny tray with milk, sugar and a spoon came flying into his room and landed on the table. Immediately, Ms. Amom asked “Coffee? Tea?” and Harry jumped. “T-Tea should be just fine.” Immediately, she made tea from the milk in his room and served it to him.
After freshening up, Harry once again came outside only to see the others having their morning tea sitting on the table. Ron looked up at him and said, “Hey, mate! Woke up late?” Harry said “No! I’m ready! I’ve had my tea already. Woke up an hour ago!” bewildered at how easy they seemed to be taking things. “We’ve got to catch Greens, remember?”
“After breakfast!” Ms. Amom said. They were all served two Idlies with green chutney, one large dosa each, some sambar and finally a huge Paratha with loads of ghee on it followed by curd. Before Harry knew it, Ms. Amom was instructing that the Idlies and Dosas be eaten dipped with Chutney/Sambar while the Parathas be eaten dipped in curd.
Mr Singh was particularly encouraging and motivating. “I know you all can catch him!” He said jovially. Mr Iyengar was proud that he had people willing to help Harry and his friends. Ms Amom, on the other hand, always insisted on having food before discussing anything.
After breakfast, everyone went to get ready while Harry sat there pondering deeply. India was a large country. How were they going to find him? Harry didn’t notice until halfway through his cup of filter coffee from South India that he was drinking it with the rest of them.
They started checking the ministry records looking for suspicious activity detected in the last few months. Suddenly, Hermione gasped “Harry! What if Greens has infiltrated the MoM here? What if somebody is under the Imperius Curse? How do we find out?”
Will they find suspicious activity? Where is Greens hiding? What’s going to happen next?
To be continued..