Chapter 7 : Chapter 7: Portrait Of Ourselves
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He sighed and sat back before looking around the crowded common room. “I walked in on Ron and Hermione kissing in the Room of Requirement.”
“I see.” She had to work hard at concealing her smile. She had been waiting for this to happen. “Why are you upset?”
“I’m NOT UPSET!” He bellowed before snapping his mouth shut and glaring mulishly at her.
“No, of course you’re not. You just enjoy yelling at me for no good reason.” She crossed her arms and stared hard at the sixteen year old.
He eventually cracked a smile. “You aren’t really what I expected you to be.”
She felt one of her eyebrows raise. “Am I being insulted?”
He chuckled softly. “I dunno. How can I answer that with out it being an insult? Either way it will come out wrong.” He studied her for several long moments. “You never talked around me before and now you do. We have been talking a lot over the last few months.”
“I wanted to be your friend.” She replied simply.
His eyes darkened slightly. “So we’re friends then?”
She laughed. “Of course we are! Do you think I’d put up with you being an ass to me if we weren’t at least friends?”
He blushed and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry about that Gin. I was just so shocked at them… and they didn’t even tell me that they were dating!”
Her eyes narrowed. “They should have told you.”
“I really didn’t want to see them kissing.”
“No, I can imagine that would be traumatic.” She said with a straight face.
He let out a derisive snort. “You’re having me on.”
Ginny giggled and put an arm around his shoulder, not an easy thing to do since he was quite a bit taller than she was. “Harry, what would you expect Fred and George to do in this situation?” She asked him with a genuine smile on her face. She lived for these times when she could forget the outside world and just enjoy life.
“The twins? I could see them pranking Ron and Hermione for this.” Amusement filled his eyes.
She squeezed his shoulder and kissed his cheek before standing and holding out her hand. “Come on. I bet if we get there quickly, we can get a photo for use in the future as blackmail.” She pulled him to his feet while ignoring his slightly dazed look. She spotted Colin Creevey and ran over to him, dragging Harry with her. “Colin, I need your camera.”
He took it out of his bag and handed it to her. He seemed intrigued. “Why?”
“There are two Prefects snogging in the Room of Requirement and the occasion requires documentation.” She winked at him before racing out of the portrait hole with Harry close on her heels.
“Ginny?” She felt a hand brush her face softly. “It’s time to wake up.”
She let out a sigh and opened her chocolate eyes to see bespectacled green ones looked down at her. “I was dreaming a good dream. It was a time when we were happy.”
His face remained neutral. “When was that?”
“When we took Colin’s camera and got pictures of Ron and Hermione kissing.”
His face split into a wide smile. “That was a lot of fun. You were always making me laugh back then.”
The euphoria from her dream started to fade as reality set back in. “I’m sorry I don’t make you laugh anymore.”
“No, Gin!” His eyes were full of pain. “You do make me laugh still!” He brushed a hand gently through her hair. “We both have problems and I don’t know why yours are getting worse but we’ll fix it. We have to.”
She shook her head. “I hope we get better. I want to feel happy again.” She tried to sit up but a groan escaped her lips when her muscles began protesting. “Damn.”
“I guess you aren’t going to work today.” He said lightly.
She eyed him moodily. It would be more than dull if she sat around the flat all day and she rather thought that getting up and about would help her aching muscles. “I am going to work.”
She tried to sit up again but only managed it because he helped her. “Are you sure about this? You don’t have to go in if you feel so badly. You could go see a Healer or something.”
“There isn’t much a Healer can do for bruises.” She stood with his aid and he helped her to walk back to her room.
“Can you dress?” He got out fresh jeans and a t-shirt for her.
“I could try.” She moved carefully to sit on her bed. “I need a bra.”
His face went red as he looked through a drawer to locate one. He pulled out a yellow bra and held it up. “Is this all right?’
She nodded dismissively. She was in too much pain to care what he picked. “Socks too.” She reminded him.
He got her things and moved over to her. He took a deep breath before taking the hem of her nightshirt and slowly working it up her body. She sucked in her breath when she moved her arms up but did not complain. “Are you sure that you want to go to the Ministry like this?” He asked her again.
“Oh Potter, I do so enjoy you dressing me for work.” She looked down at herself and cringed. She looked even worse this morning. The bruise encompassed her entire torso. “I can’t lie around here all day. I never was one for sitting still.”
“Right.” He mumbled while holding up her bra and turning it around several times before figuring out which way it went on. He slid the straps up her arms and pulled it up before going behind her to do up the clasp. “This is not something I ever thought I would be doing.”
“No, I suppose not. Especially not with me.” She agreed morosely.
He moved around and met her eyes before he winked. “Well, if I had to see a woman naked, I am glad it was you.”
She had to laugh but not too hard. Her ribs were still smarting. “You are flirting with me again.”
He shrugged and helped her to slowly slip her t-shirt on. “That’s what Witch Weekly says. I’m just a flirt out to break hearts.” He helped her stand and gently removed her sweat pants. “I can’t believe you are being so docile about this. I imagine it isn’t very pleasant having me dressing you.”
“That should tell you how much pain I’m in.” She retorted but her face softened when she saw his remorseful eyes. “I can’t imagine that this is all that pleasant either, having to dress me.”
“Oh, it’s all right.” He told her in a falsely calm voice. “Now that I’ve seen you starkers I’ll be able to die a happy man.”
She giggled. “This is very cliché. Something right out of a romance novel.”
“You don’t read romance novels.” He reminded her, holding out her jeans for her to step in to.
Ginny put a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. “I did when I was younger. I was in love with the idea of romance.”
He pulled the jeans up slowly and zipped them. “I can’t picture you reading one.” She felt the misery that had been closing in on her all morning finally overwhelm her. Tears filled her eyes as Harry took her in his arms, rubbing her bare back gently. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.” He whispered against the top of her head.
“Must be the stress of everything.” She sniffed. “I’ll be all right.”
“You don’t have to lie to me.” He informed her.
She sighed and looked up in to his beautiful eyes. “I’m not lying to you, Harry. I’m lying to myself.”
“Are you all right?” Ron asked Ginny as she walked slowly to her desk. Her movements were stiff and labored as she sank in to her chair.
She looked up at him with a wan smile. “Just a bit sore from yesterday. How is Hermione?”
He beamed and the love shone brightly through his eyes. “She’s got morning sickness now… only it’s all day.”
“That’s great.” Harry smiled at him as he walked in.
Ginny started to laugh. “Oh yeah, it’s so good to be throwing up.”
Ron’s grin never faltered. “We’ll get to see the baby next week. She’s got an appointment to see a muggle Healer and they’ll take a picture of the baby using ultranoise.”
“Ultrasound.” She corrected her brother automatically.
“Are you sure? I could have sworn she called it ultranoise.” Ron asked pensively.
“What exactly is an ultrasound?” Harry asked her.
“Well, Ron had it half right. It is a picture but it won’t look exactly like a baby. Just an outline of it, really.” She explained as she tried to shift in her seat. Harry moved quickly to her side and helped her to adjust.
Ron gazed at her in amazement. “How do you know that?”
“I got an O on my Muggle Studies NEWT.” She informed him calmly.
“Blimey, how many O’s did you get?”
“One less than Hermione.” She blushed as she admitted this. Ginny had avoided mentioning her test results to any of her brothers thus far. It was embarrassing to have to own up to it now.
Both of their mouths dropped open. Harry recovered first. “Did you do anything but study your seventh year?”
She was saved from answering by the arrival of Tonks. “Kingsley’s called a meeting to debrief on yesterday.” Her normally jovial face was pinched and tense. Her hair, which today was slate black, only accented her mood. “It’s right now in the conference room.”
Harry helped Ginny to her feet and the three followed Tonks towards the meeting. They sat themselves around a large oval table and waited for their boss to join them. When he did arrive the Minister of Magic, Oswald Whitely, was with him. He sat at the head of the table before speaking. “Yesterday was tragic and diplomatically explosive.” He looked around to make sure that each of them was listening. Ginny always enjoyed watching the man speak. The older man was so full of himself that everything around him had to be dramatic. “The French Ministry is understandably upset and they are blaming us for the catastrophic events that took place yesterday.”
“Good.” Harry mumbled.
Whitley’s head snapped around to face him. “Did you have something to add Mr. Potter?” He questioned pompously.
Harry straightened in his chair and looked directly at the other man. “I said ‘good’. Yesterday was a setup to get us in to the house. It was an assassination attempt on our Auror team. I’m not sure if there was a specific target but likely it was Ms. Weasley or myself since we are in charge of tracking down Lucius Malfoy. He was reported to be in the house so it would follow logically that they were after us.” He glanced sideways at Ginny before continuing. “In my estimation that makes it our fault. We should have investigated the sighting more thoroughly before allowing anyone to enter that house.”
The Minister studied him before speaking. “I shall not, of course, be reporting that to the French Ministry.”
Harry sat back and crossed his arms. “You’re the boss.”
Whitely cleared his throat. “As I was saying,” he shot Harry a look of warning before going on. “We have been in constant communication with the foreign Ministries since the attack yesterday and while they do not believe that you are directly responsible, it is felt that a formal hearing should commence starting next week to prove your innocence.”
Everyone at the table groaned. “But sir, we really could not have known that there was going to be an attack!” Fraiser exclaimed.
“Will we have to travel back to France for the hearing?” Dawlish asked Kingsley.
“I am afraid so.” Kingsley replied somberly. “But not all at once. You will go with your partner only. We do not need another attempt on all of your lives.”
Harry leaned over to Ginny and whispered in her ear. “Could this day get much worse?”
“Whenever someone says that, it always does.” She replied evenly. “We know we have tonight to look forward to.”
His gaze softened considerably. “I don’t mind the dreams Gin. I just wish that you didn’t have them.”
“Is there something you two would like to share with the rest of us?” Whitley’s voice interrupted their conversation.
“No.” Ginny said forcefully. “We were talking about the logistics for our trip back to France.” Lying was second nature to her now and she did it very well. Harry grinned at her as soon as the Minister had looked away.
“When are you going to settle down?” Her mother asked her, not for the first time in the three years since she’d left Hogwarts.
Ginny’s resolve to not yell at her mother while they baked Harry’s birthday cake was being well tested. “I don’t think I will Mum.” She finally told her honestly.
“Nonsense! Your father has taken on a new assistant in his office; he’s just a few years older than yourself. I think that you two would hit it off splendidly.” She waved her wand expertly over the batter and the wooden spoon protruding from the bowl began to mix it.
Ginny shook her head in exasperation. “I think you are going to have to be satisfied with not all of your children being married.”
Molly Weasley looked at her daughter as she whipped up a frosting. “Why are you acting this way? You are quite pretty, Ginny. There have to be men out there that are willing to overlook your job.”
The bowl that she was holding slowly slipped from her fingers to smash on the floor. Tears pooled in her eyes but she held them back. “I like my job and if a man cannot handle the fact that I am an Auror then he is not worth my time.”
“Reparo!” Her mother waved her wand and the bowl fixed itself. “There is no need to be offended! I am not saying that to upset you.” She pulled Ginny in to a bone-crushing hug. “I just want you to be happy.”
She thought desperately for a change of subject. “Have any of my brothers started having children?”
“No!” She exclaimed. “I have asked them several times but none of them are keen on having a baby. Honestly.”
Ginny opened her eyes and slowly looked over at Harry’s sleeping face. A tear left a damp path down her face.
A/N: I am posting this now because I feel okay right now but I'm having surgery in less than a week so I'm in pain quite a bit. Thanks to all who have reviewed, you've made me smile and hopefully I'll be able to keep up posting but if not then I'll pick it up again once I'm on the mend. Again, thank you!!
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