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The second day began with a six am arrival of Harry and Ron on a secluded hillside. They stood for a moment in the absolute quiet of that place. Pine trees were loosely scattered around them. The hill became steeper and rose up a few hundred feet more to a rocky peak that continued as a high ridgeline. A valley to the west stretched out below them.

Ron took out his wand and placed the tip lightly on Harry's forehead. "diem de menti!" Then Ron went about setting up security wards and disillusionment charms. Meanwhile, Harry set up a small wizard camping tent.

"All set then mate?"

"Yeah. Thanks."

"Here's the book you need to use today. I'll be checking up on you every so often. See you later."

Ron walked outside of the security wards and disapparated. Harry read the ritual booklet for the second day activities while he ate a simple breakfast.

          Solitude, reflection and focusing of the mind.

          Goal: To make peace with yourself and accept the person you are, as your beloved does.

          Reflect on a selected question honestly and truthfully in writing. Then, meditate on your
          response. Take time. Select or use your own questions for reflection.

               1. Who am I?
               2. How do I appreciate the beauty within me?
               3. What makes me smile?
               4. What will I do for my beloved today?
               5. If God whispered something in my ear, what would I like Him to say?
          Meditation is being ...

Hermione and Ginny similarly arrived at six am on the edge of a forested plateau. Only the birds broke the utter silence of that place. From where they stood, the ground sloped gently downward toward the west. Trees of ash, birch and elm grew in the woodsy surroundings extending to the horizon.

Ginny placed her wand on Hermione's forehead. "diem de menti!" After setting up security wards, she helped Hermione get settled.

"I'll be coming to check up on you every three hours or so. You've got the DA coin if you need my urgent help."

"Thanks Ginny."

"This is the booklet you need to use today. I'll see you later." Ginny walked off and disapparated.

Hermione ate breakfast while reading the ritual booklet. The activities were questions for personal reflection and hourly meditation exercises. The booklet contained extendable blank pages and a magical pencil for writing.

          Meditation is being present to what is, without judgment or expectation. To

          notice thoughts and become aware of their impact on one's life.  Awareness
          empowers self-introspection. Begin by choosing a focal point.

               1. A word or phrase
               2. Your breath or heartbeat
               3. A flower, plant or tree
               4. An imaginary place


It was mid-morning when Ron apparated a short distance away and made his way to Harry in the tent. Ron saw Harry writing as he quietly peeked into the tent. Harry looked up and smiled.

"Okay Harry? Need anything?"

"Everything is fine Ron. Thanks."

Ron took a minute to check the wards and then disapparated.

Harry read another question, "What will I do for my beloved today?"

Harry sat back and thought. He wouldn't see or be with Hermione today, at least not physically. He wasn't allowed to use direct magic or something like a muggle phone. Maybe somehow, he could use the meditation to project his thoughts or feelings to her. It was after all, one of the goals they were trying to achieve. He got up and went for a walk to think about it.

When Ginny made the mid-morning checkup on Hermione, she was sitting by a tree reading.

"Hi Hermione. Everything okay?"

"Hi Ginny. Yes, everything's fine. It's such a nice morning."

"Do you need anything?"

"Yes Ginny, I do. I'd like you to bring me a flying broom."

"A broom?"

"Yes. The one I want is under Harry's bed at our flat. Can you bring it to me?"

"Sure but, I thought you weren't all that keen about them."

"It's something that will help me today."

"Okay. I'll be back in a few minutes."

A short while later, Ginny returned with the broom.

Hermione looked up from her writing. "Thanks Ginny."

"Need anything else?"

"No, nothing else."

"Okay. See you later then." Ginny walked to just outside the wards and then disapparated.  

Hermione completed writing in the ritual booklet. Then taking the broom, she laid it in front of her. She crossed her legs, sat up straight and closed her eyes. She sat motionless for a long while breathing deeply and regularly. Then very relaxed, she opened her eyes, held out her hand over the broom and said, "Up!" The broom floated up to her hand and she wrapped her fingers around the handle.

There were butterflies in her stomach as she stood and mounted the broom. Remembering how Harry had done it the day he proposed to her, she gently kicked off into a low hover. She cautiously began to practice turning, pivoting and easing the broom forward and backward. The movements were jerky and being unsure, she remained only a few feet off the ground. She tried to remain aware of her breathing, working to keep herself relaxed. But it was hard to concentrate on flying a broom and staying relaxed at the same time.

Ron arrived mid-day. "Here's some lunch for you."

"Thanks Ron. There are a couple of things I need. You can them get from my room at the flat."

"What are they?"

"In the top drawer of my nightstand is a music box. Under my bed is a broom. They will really help me today with the assignments."

"Okay. I'll be back in a bit."

In a flash of green light from the fireplace, Ron arrived at the Burrow with a flustered expression on his face.

"What's the matter Ron?" said Ginny with a concerned look. "Is everything okay with Harry?"

"Yeah. Harry's fine," said Ron somewhat exasperated. "But he asked me to bring him a broom from under his bed and it wasn't there. I looked around their flat but I couldn't find it."

"Hermione has it. She asked me to bring it to her earlier this morning."

Ron let out a sigh and said, "What should we do? I can't tell Harry she has the broom. And if I bring him one of ours, he'll know something's up."

Ginny thought for a moment. "Maybe not. Take my Nimbus broom to him."

"When Harry questions me, what should I say?"

"Tell him it's special to Ginny that he uses my broom. Don't say anything else or answer any other questions about it."

"Okay, thanks Ginny."

"I've got to take lunch to Hermione now. Good luck."

Harry had been trying to complete what he felt would be a proper meditation since mid-morning. He tried deep breathing, focusing on a single thought and trying to feel oneness with the surroundings. But it was difficult for him to let go of himself and put aside distractions. The booklet said that this was normal and to just take breaks and keep trying.

Harry thought, "What would Hermione do ... besides go to the library?" He answered his question with, "She would think logically about it." But that seemed the opposite of meditation to him.

He was finishing his lunch in the tent when Ron returned. Ron handed him the music box and leaned the broom against the side of the tent.

"Ron, that's Ginny's broom."

"I know mate. It's special to Ginny that you use her broom."

"Oh ... okay." Harry saw resolve on Ron's face.

"If that's all you need, I'll be going. See you later."

"Thanks Ron." Ron quickly exited the tent. A moment later, Harry heard a whoosh in the distance as Ron disapparated.

Harry picked up the ritual booklet to do another meditation exercise but he stopped as his mind came back to an unsettled question. Why had Ron brought him Ginny's broom and left abruptly? Harry had put the new broom under his bed. He looked at the music box and knew that Ron had definitely gone into his room. That means Ron couldn't find the broom. The only other person who knows about the broom is ...

"Hermione!" he said aloud.

He thought back to the question he was working on, 'What will I do for my beloved today?' She knew he loved flying on a broom. But it always made her nervous to do it. Harry's eyes got misty at the remainder of that thought.

Ginny arrived with lunch for Hermione. "How are you doing with flying the broom?"

"Better but I'm still not confident and my flying is not very smooth."

"Try not to think about the mechanics of control. Just think and feel where you want to go, sort of like riding a bicycle. You don't think about falling when you ride a bicycle. It's the same with a broom."

"Okay. I'll give that a try. Thanks Ginny."

"Need anything else?"

"No, I have what I need."

"See you later this afternoon." Hermione began eating her lunch as Ginny departed.

In the tent, Harry put the music box on the small table in front of him. He wrapped his hands around it and began thinking of the song he wanted. He only remembered a few of the words that he'd seen, written by Hermione, in her wedding planner. He cleared his mind and concentrated on the words, repeating them a few times. Then, Harry opened the music box. His mother's voice began to sing the song. Harry smiled. This meditation he knew he could accomplish.

Hermione sat on the broom hovering a few feet off the ground. Her left hand held the broom handle. Her right hand held her wand resting in her lap in case an 'aresto momentum' spell was needed. She closed her eyes and began deep rhythmic breathing concentrating on the release of tension each time she exhaled. As she became relaxed, she partially opened her eyes and squinted at the distant horizon. Then, with each exhale of her breath, she whispered, "Superior!"

Almost imperceptibly, she began to move vertically upwards. She watched only the horizon in front of her. Her thoughts shifted to the day when she flew with Harry to the family tree. They had gently turned left ... and then right ... smoothly moved higher ... and then lower. Her hand on the broom became an extension of her thoughts. Where she pointed the handle, the broom followed. If her hand put forward pressure on the handle, the broom moved forward.

She opened her eyes fully and realized that she was now flying large figure eight's a hundred feet in the air. A few butterflies tickled in her stomach but she remained focused in her determination to master the broom. Moving her hand cautiously downward, she began to descend toward the ground. And putting backward pressure on the handle caused the broom to slow and stop as her feet touched the ground.

She punched the air and yelled, "YES!!!" Taking the booklet, she began to write. Then, mounting the broom and kicking off, she practiced again and again.

Ron returned mid afternoon. Harry was sitting in the shade of a tree. He seemed relaxed and looked peaceful.

"Last call, need anything mate?"

"No, I've got everything I need. When you come at sunset, bring your broom with you. Join me if I'm flying when you get here."

"Okay. See you then."

Harry turned to the last meditation in the booklet and read.

          As an immortal being currently dwelling within a mortal body, know that, 

          "You are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars ..." [4]

"Last visit before sunset."

"I don't need anything. Ginny, when you come at sunset, bring your broom with you."

Ginny smiled. "It's good to hear you say that. I will."

Hermione smiled and Ginny departed.

Hermione looked up after reading the last meditation in the booklet and closed her eyes.

Harry spent most of the remaining afternoon slowly soaring across the ridge of the hill and skimming the treetops. A feeling of peace and complete freedom filled him. He thought about the words in the booklet. He thought about his friends and how they had helped him shape his life, particularly Ron. He thought about Hermione and how much she meant to him. Somehow, it seemed, he knew her beyond friendship and beyond romantic love. How was it possible?

Toward the end of the afternoon, Hermione was confident in her skills to control the broom. She floated above and sometimes between the treetops. She felt at ease moving faster and looking around as she flew. She could hover and close her eyes knowing that the broom would only move where she wanted it to go. She thought about her parents, her friends and especially Ginny. She thought about Harry, their friendship and love for each other, and about how they might become closer.

Ron returned with his broom and a light dinner for the two of them. He caught sight of Harry floating peacefully on the evening breeze rising off the mountain slope. Harry looked like an eagle soaring as he slowly circled on the broom just above the ridgeline. The sun was very low on the horizon and about to set. Ron stowed dinner in the tent and then silently flew up toward Harry. Ron took up a position behind and a few yards off on Harry's right side. Smoothly locked into that position, Ron watched Harry in silence. Harry's eyes were closed and he slowly circled as if scanning the horizon for something. Presently, he came to a stop and opened his eyes.

"She's in that direction," he said looking toward the horizon.

Ron smiled to himself and remained silent. He knew where Hermione and Ginny were. Harry had indeed indicated the correct direction. Ron was surprised though, when Harry began to sing.

     You fill up my senses
     Like a night in a forest ...

Hermione was at peace flying on the broom. Ginny was on a broom flying a short distance away from her. They both hovered nearly motionless, like kites on a string, high above the trees. She faced the setting sun with her eyes closed, the last warming rays reflecting off a contented expression on her face.

The faint suggestion of a song drifted into her mind. The words were familiar and she unconsciously pivoted on the broom. Though she heard only a light wind in her ears, the words seemed to come from the direction she now faced.

Ginny watched in silence as Hermione began to quietly sing while looking toward the distant horizon. Soon, there were happy tears in her eyes.

     Come let me love you
     Come love me again

Harry gazed at the horizon for a minute longer. Then he turned on his broom to watch the remainder of the sun disappear below the horizon.

After a moment Ron said, "That was beautiful mate. Do you think she knows?"

"Yeah ... it felt like she was there."

After a short pause, Harry said, "Do you think you'll do this ritual with Katie one day?"

"I think so mate." Ron smiled, "We both meet the requirements so far."

"Ron, have you ever thought about how unbelievably lucky it was that Hermione, you and me met up in our first year?"

"Yeah, quite a few times. I can't imagine how it would have been if we'd never met." Ron pointed up. "Someone up there was really looking out for us."

"Do you mind if we stay a while longer and watch the stars come out?"

"No mate, not at all."

Hermione wiped her eyes. Ginny moved close beside her and said, "Are you okay?"

"Yes." She took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "I'm very happy right now. I think Harry just sang that song to me."

"Did you hear him?" asked Ginny with a concerned look on her face.

"No ... the words just came into my head so I sang along. It's a popular song for weddings. I was considering it a few weeks ago for the reception. He must have seen it in my wedding planner."

"It was beautiful. And appropriate considering what you and Harry are trying to achieve."

After a moment, Ginny said, "You seem to have mastered flying on a broom."

"Thanks to you," she said with a smile. "I'm looking forward to having Harry with me in the future. Sunsets are so wonderful to watch from up here." She gazed at the fading twilight.

"Ginny ... Is it okay with you if we stay and watch the stars for a while? I want to spend some time talking with my best girlfriend."

"That would be wonderful," said Ginny with a warm smile.

[4] - Desiderata; Max Ehrmann, 1952
[5] - Annie's Song; John Denver, 1974


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