Harry stepped out into the sunlight. He had asked Ginny to meet him in the Leaky Cauldron at four o’clock, and he hurried off in that direction. It took him about ten minutes of walking before he arrived at the deserted-looking old pub. Harry noticed, as always, how the muggles passing him didn’t seem to be able to see it. He pushed open the door. He was at once bombarded by a huge roar. Every person in the dingy inn was holding up their cup, and cheering him as loudly as they could. Harry turned bright red, and allowed himself to be handed from person to person, shake hands, and sign scraps of parchment. After everyone in the pub had had their fill of The Boy Who Lived, Harry found his way to a table to wait for Ginny.
She burst in a few minutes later, from the door leading to the entrance to Diagon Alley. She spotted him at once, and beamed mischievously. She walked up to him, her hands behind her back. Harry couldn’t see what she was carrying, but it looked rather bulky. “So?” She asked. Harry frowned and looked down at the table.
“Well…” He said quietly. He looked sad for a moment, and then quickly grinned, saying, “I got in!” She squealed, and lightly slapped him. “Harry!” She said, rather too loudly, “That’s brilliant. Although you made me worried for a second. I almost thought I’d have bought you something for nothing.” Harry was still rather unaccustomed to presents, especially ones that didn’t come on his birthday or Christmas.
“What is it?” He smiled at her. She looked rather pleased with herself, and then brought out the object she was holding behind her back. It was a large, ornate bird cage. Inside sat a beautiful barred owl. Her plumage was pale caramel, dashed with flecks of ochre. She gave a soft, low hoot as Harry stared open mouthed. Ginny put the cage down on the table and sat across from him. “So?” She asked, smiling, “what do you think?”
“She’s amazing! But… Why did you get her? And how did you get the money?” She looked a little surprised at the questions. “Well,” she said, “If you can surprise me with a baby to look after, this seems rather minor.” Harry raised his eyebrows, but she chuckled, saying, “No, I’m joking. So I knew that you’d get in to the programme, how could you not? And I knew that you were missing Hedwig, and that you couldn’t buy yourself an owl, it’d feel too much like replacing her. So I thought, get him an owl! Well, I sort of wanted this one to be… our owl. You know, both of ours. And as for the money,” She looked incredibly pleased with herself, and Harry waited eagerly for her explanation.
“Well, I did have a reason for coming with you today. A few weeks ago, I arranged to meet up with Gwenog Jones, you know, the captain of the Hollyhead Harpies? Anyway, I talked to her today, and we played some quidditch up at the Hogwarts pitch, and she says that she’d like to take me on as a member of the under 20 squad! She gave me a starter payment of a hundred Galleons!” Harry gazed at her open-mouthed. The Hollyhead Harpies were a formidable all-female team, who had won the championship many times before.
“Ginny, that is absolutely incredible. But why didn’t you tell me that you were trying out? I would have loved to know!” Ginny looked a little affronted.
“So now I have to tell you everything that happens in my life? You don’t own me, Harry. I’m the only person who has any say in what happens in my life, why should I run everything by you first?” She was getting quite angry, Harry noticed, as it was so easy for her to do, and he tried desperately to calm her down.
“No! I didn’t mean that! Don’t shout, it’s just thatI would have liked to know!” She opened her eyes wide at this, and looked like she was going to start shouting again, but he cut across her, “but of course in the end it’s your decision!” She exhaled, and changed the subject.
“So, what happened at the Ministry?” She asked, trying to sound casual, but still with a trace of anger in her voice. Harry told her about all the challenges that they had been given, and how at the end, Redwood had announced that Harry and another man, William Forde, had been accepted into the program. When he had finished she had calmed down fully, and said, “So what do you want to call her?” Gesturing at the owl, who kept giving out low, melodic hoots.
Harry contemplated for a moment, saying, “Let’s not decide now. When we get home, we can curl up by the fire and look through the books for something that we both like. Just so long as you don’t call her something like Pigwidgeon. I doubt Ron’ll ever forgive you for that.” She smiled, and leant across the table to kiss him.
When they got home, they did just what Harry suggested. They asked Kreacher to light a fire for them, and while Hermione stroked the new owl, they slowly worked their way through all the books in Grimmauld Place.
“Too masculine. Medea?”
They worked their way through names in this manner for some time, in which Ron returned home, too tired to do much, and flopped into a large armchair, without a word about the strange owl.
In the end, they decided to name her Syrinx. It was the name of a nymph in Greek mythology, who was turned into a clump of reeds, and who the God Pan turned into a musical instrument, the first set of pan pipes. They thought it fitting, as the owl kept singing to them in low hoots.
When they told Ron and Hermione their respective pieces of news, Hermione leapt up to hug and congratulate them, and Ron mumbled something, before tipping his head onto his chest and drowning out Syrinx’s song with a series of loud snores.