Chapter 21- The Beginning of the End

Ginny watched Lily walk away before looking down at the envelope in her hand. A letter from Dumbledore… She glanced at the table of her Slytherin friends somewhat guiltily, then back down at the envelope. Well, Lily had said to read it privately. Ginny nodded in decision and headed out into the open air. Once the swinging doors of the 3 Broomsticks were behind her, she pulled a crisply folded letter and two photographs from the envelope; her breath caught.

One picture was of Haleigh Adams and Lily Evans laughing with Sirius and James, brilliant red hair and freckles prominent. The other was of Isendre Delacour sitting cool and calm at the Slytherin table, listening to Narcissa with a sultry smile alighting on her lips. The handwritten message that accompanied the pictures chilled her.

Who do you want to be, Ginny? Do you want to be a Haleigh Adams or an Isendre Delacour? You can’t have both; you must choose one life or the other. Your time of returning quickly approaches, and you must have made a decision by the time it comes.

Albus Dumbledore

Ginny stared down at the parchment, tears filling her eyes.


Bellatrix stood watching Ginny with concern.

“Are you alright, honey?”

With a strangled cry, Ginny turned and stumbled down the road leading back to Hogwarts. Tears blinded her as she ran through the shops and trees, sprinting wildly to avoid the shouts of concern following her.

At long last, Ginny found herself bent double in exhaustion in a seventh floor corridor. Spotting a familiar portrait hanging on the wall, she wrenched one side off and stumbled into the secret corridor behind it. Gasping for breath, tears still running down her cheeks, Ginny lay wearily on the ground. For 15 agonizing minutes she lay sprawled on the stones before hearing the door open.

Sitting up warily, Ginny saw a familiar face enter the small hidden room, worry etched into his features. Sirius knelt beside her, pushing black hair back from his friend’s sweaty forehead.

“What’s up, Isendre?”

Ginny silently lifted her wand and waved it around her head, going by the shocked look on Sirius’s face that her spell had worked.

“Whoa… one second you were that bitchy Slytherin, and now you’re our Haleigh again.”

Ginny wordlessly thrust the headmaster’s letter at her friend and waited in silence as he read it. She knew that he wouldn’t understand all of it, but she just really needed some support right now.

“Wow,” Sirius said quietly a minute later, setting the letter on the floor beside Ginny. “I’m not sure what ‘the time of your returning means,’ but wow.”

“Yeah. Wow.” Her voice came out like a croak. “Sirius, what do I do? I can’t have both lives, I know that, but I don’t know how I’ll give up one of them. I love Erik, I really do, but I need my family.”

Sirius was silent for a few minutes. “Well,” he said slowly. “The way I see it, you shouldn’t have to give one up. So don’t. Dumbledore will never know.”

Ginny lifted red, bleary eyes from her knees. “He won’t?”

“Of course not,” Sirius said cheerily, offering Ginny a hand up. “He still doesn’t know that it was me that dissolved an entire box of ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans’ in his hot spiced cider my first year here.”

Ginny bounced impatiently as the winding staircase rose slowly to the Headmaster’s office. The moment it jerked to a stop, Ginny bounded off and burst through the door without knocking; Dumbledore didn’t even look up.

“Sit down, please, Miss Weasley. I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Dumbfounded, Ginny turned to the selection of sofas the office held and was surprised to find Draco already there; she altered her course to end up next to him. “Hey.”

“Hi. Why are you here?”

Ginny glanced at Dumbledore before answering. “He wrote me a letter about ‘our returning’ or something, and I was curious about it. You?”



Dumbledore finished whatever he was doing at his desk and rose, coming to sit in a chair across from his students. “I assume you two want to know about the letters I sent you?”

Two nods were his answer. “When is the ‘time of our returning’? You said in mine that it quickly approaches.”

“I can’t pinpoint the exact time,” Dumbledore said somewhat sadly, obviously slightly disappointed in himself for his failure on that point. “It will be soon, though. You’ve accomplished what you were sent here to do.”

Two blank stares. “When? How?”

“You’ll recall, Miss Weasley, I said something about fear being an emotion you would have to experience before returning?” Ginny nodded, and Dumbledore continued. “You’ve both experienced that fear in immense amounts- Ginny when she was attacked by that werewolf and Draco when he heard of her condition.”

Ginny looked at Draco in disbelief upon hearing this, but his eyes remained stubbornly on the Headmaster.

“More importantly, I think, you’ve bridged the gap.”

“… What gap?”

“The gap between your families, that huge chasm that’s been there for centuries; you’ve mended the tear that’s separated the Malfoys and Weasleys for a very long time. On a larger scale, though, you’ve bridged a much larger gap: that between the ‘noble’ purebloods and the ‘blood-traitors’. That is why your time of returning approaches.”

“So... when will we go back?”

Dumbledore shook his head. “I’ve told you, I can’t be sure. My guess would be sometime before the day is out.”

“Can you delay it at all?” Ginny looked slightly panicked, and Dumbledore faintly surprised.

“Why would you want me to, Miss Weasley?”

“I want to have time to say goodbye. I’ve spent the last few months of my life with these people, and I owe them an explanation.”

Dumbledore looked very considering for a few moments. At long last, he said, “Very well; I will do what I can. I can’t guarantee you more than a day by any means, and you must be careful not to reveal too much of the future.”

“Of course!” Ginny was nothing short of ecstatic, and she rose, already on her way to find a certain friend. “Thank you, sir!”

“Sirius, where are you taking me?”

“You’ll see in a second. Close those eyes!”

Ginny sighed and shut her eyes, blindly following Sirius through the Hogwarts corridors. A few turns later, he muttered something under his breath and came to a stop.

“Alright, open your eyes.”

Ginny obeyed and felt her mouth fall open in surprise. She stood in the middle of the Room of Requirement, surrounded by shocked Marauders.

“Hey, guys,” Ginny said nervously, running her fingers through her hair, which she shockingly found was a vibrant red once more. “You told them?”

“I asked Dumbledore how long it would be until you left; he said it would be wise to say our goodbyes.”

Ginny nodded, suddenly finding herself besieged by overwhelming emotions. “I never meant to deceive you.” She stopped, biting her lip. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, any of you.”

“Why did you, Haleigh?” This question came from James, who was looking quite serious for once.

Ginny gulped quite audibly. “I’m not sure if I can tell you. I don’t think I should.”

“Wait a minute…” This time it was Remus who spoke, golden eyes shining in agony. “So you’re the one that I… oh Merlin…”

“Remus, it wasn’t your fault.” Ginny waited until he lifted his head to find her face just inches from his own. “I understand, and I don’t blame you. Believe me. Trust me, please.”

“I’m so sorry, Haleigh.” Remus’s eyes shone with tears, and Sirius and James’s looked suspiciously wet as well as they realized what their two friends were talking about. “If I could go back and change it, I would.”

Ginny smiled slightly, tracing that scar down Remus’s cheek again. “I’m just thankful that nothing worse happened.”

“Why are you telling us, Haleigh? I mean, why did you decide to tell us the truth now?”

Ginny was still caught up in the moment with Remus and spoke without thinking. “I’m leaving soon.”

“Leaving?” Sirius took an unconscious step forward. “Why?”

Ginny bit her lip, realizing what she’d just said and not sure what to tell her friends and what not to. “I- I can’t tell you. I’m sorry.”

“Not anything?”

“Let’s just say that,” Ginny paused to swallow. “I’ll be seeing you later on.”

James, Sirius, and Peter continued to look confused, but comprehension dawned on Remus and Lily’s faces.
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