Seven years earlier, Harry Potter had sat his father and godfather down and told them, very seriously, that he was in love with Becky Morris and he would like to know how to get rid of the love.
Equally seriously, his father had assured him that they would take care of it, and his godfather had cast the spell that would get rid of the love, and ensure that Becky Morris was once again nothing more than a girl with very pull-able pigtails. It had worked: Harry had been in love no longer, and was safe in the knowledge that if he ever got the love again, there was a charm to fix it.
But Harry was now sixteen years old: mature, and far wiser, he harboured no such illusions. Gone was the blissful naivety of childhood that a spell could vanish those feelings that kept him up all night, tossing and turning, twisted his stomach into knots and made his palms sweat; gone, too, was the foolish belief that he had been in love with Becky Morris, because he had felt none of those things that plagued him now. He was not even sure that this was love: all he knew was that it was a thousand times worse.
But in spite of all this, he still had faith in his father and godfather. They had provided him with solid advice over the years, from guiding him in his quest to ask Parvati Patil out, to helping him work out how to dump her nicely two months later. (He had been too late: she had dumped him first, which had been quite a relief.) From the stories they had told him of their Hogwarts days, they had that ineffable, elusive way with witches that Harry wished – now, more than ever - he had inherited. Admittedly, this particular problem was greater than any other, but if anyone could help, they could.
“Of course we can help,” said James confidently. He paused, then said, slightly less certainly: “… what’s the problem?”