Chapter 17 : I Swear Officer - There Really Was An Acceptable Clothes Eating Monster In My Closet!
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A/N: I am the world's biggest broken record! I have been a horrible excuse for an author, and it is inexcusable that it has taken me almost nine months to update this story. *cowers in the corner* I am so sorry guys, I feel horrid about it. Also, I am so very sorry that I haven‘t replied to all the reviews yet, but I hope to get caught up soon. Just know that I love and appreciate all of your comments. I just want to warn you all before you start reading this chapter, that it might feel a bit different - and that is only because it is hard to come back to something after this long and capture the same type of feeling.
I'd like to know if you'd be open to giving me a second chance
“What should I wear tonight?” Ginny asked Hermione nervously as she peeked her head out of the closet.
“Clothes, mother,” Eloise shouted from the next room over in a bored tone. “And if you plan on wearing a skirt - remember your knickers.”
“Helpful advice,” Hermione commented from her place on the bed, doing her best to not laugh. “At least you can be one hundred percent positive that child belongs to you Ginny. Only you and Harry could produce the world’s biggest smartass.”
“URHG!” came Ginny’s groan from inside the closet, before she once again looked back out at Hermione, an apprehensive look on her face. “I feel thirteen again Hermione, getting all nervous about what to wear, and worrying that I’ll get chocolate on my nose.”
“Probably because you are acting thirteen,” came Hermione’s reply as she absently flipped through a magazine on Ginny’s bedside table. “Although I kind of agree Ginny, you should stay away from the chocolate. It’s like you have some sort of damn chocolate nose magnet.”
Ginny decided to ignore Hermione rather than comment on her remark about how she was acting thirteen; mostly because she knew it was halfway, okay, all the way, true. Instead she glanced back into the closet, disgusted by what she found housed there.
Black leather pants - too skanky.
Blue skirt - too bright
Red jumper - too matronly.
Green dress - not enough cleavage.
This was ridiculous, it shouldn’t matter what she was wearing, it was only a small date with Harry. She had lived through hundreds of them while they had been dating at Hogwarts, so why now, after all these years was she acting like a love sick fool?
Perhaps you had lose the love of your life, enduring years of loneliness and solitude before you could really appreciate them.
“Move aside mother, you’re hopeless,” Eloise announced as she entered the room and shoved Ginny further into the closet, effectively breaking any and all thoughts of the past. “Good gravy, do you own any stitch of clothing that doesn’t reek of hideousness?”
“I will not even dignify that comment with a response,” Ginny grumbled as she tried to untangle herself from some sort of feathered contraption, the damn thing was persistent though and for a brief moment Ginny worried that it would swallow her alive.
“Which of course means no,” quipped Hermione. “I suggest we dose the whole lot with gasoline and throw a match in there. Although it’s a toss up between who will win in the end, the fire or the band of gruesome getups.”
“At least I don’t have a full body leather catsuit and whip hidden in the back of my closet,” Ginny snorted.
“You swore on Eloise’s life that you would never mention that night again Ginevra Weasley,” Hermione sputtered as Eloise abandoned the closet and stared at them in disgust.
“One word,” she commented grimacing. “Eww.”
It might have just been avoidance of meeting their eyes, or just sheer curiosity that made Eloise turn her attention back to the closest one last time; but as she did, something caught her eye. Pushing her way past the neon pink spandex leotard she would mock her mother about later, Eloise clasped her hand around a hanger and pulled the garment towards her. She could still hear her mother and Aunt Hermione yammering about something in the background, but her entire focus was on what she was holding in front of her.
“Why do you have this?” she asked softly, turning towards Ginny, thrusting the dress at her. The room falling silent as Ginny reached out and grabbed the hanger.
“Oh Ginny,” Hermione murmured sadly. “You didn’t.”
“I just thought I might need it someday,” Ginny finally admitted. “Alright, fine, I hoped I would need it someday.”
“How long has it hung in there unworn and untouched Ginny?” Hermione asked, her expression sympathetic and understanding.
“More years than I care to admit,” she finally replied with a bittersweet smile as she ran her hand over the white lace. “I knew the instant I saw it that it was meant to be mine, it was absolutely perfect. I had only had that reaction once before in my life - I knew before I even tried it on, this wedding dress was made for me.”
“What was the other time?” Eloise questioned, although she had a feeling she already knew the answer.
“The day I met your father.”
“Do you want another one?” Ron yelled from the kitchen.
“Are you sure liquoring me up before I go and pick up your sister for a date is the best idea?” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow as Ron walked back into the living room.
“What’s the worst you could do? Ravage her? Knock her up?” Ron asked with a laugh. Sitting down in his recliner his laughter abruptly stopped. “Don’t knock her up again Potter, you weren’t around the first time, you have no idea what hormones do to that one. I was terrified that Satan was inhabiting her body for five of those nine months.”
“You say that as if Satan isn’t inhabiting her body most days,” Harry joked, before looking around warily. He wouldn’t put it past Hermione and Ginny to bug the place and eavesdrop. Ron must have read the expression on his face because he just snorted and shook his head.
“They haven’t gotten away with that for years,” he reassured Harry. “They stopped after my brothers came over for a boy’s poker night, and revealed a highly graphic story about Hermione and a Cat Woman costume she wore a few years ago.”
“Please, by no means feel like you need to repeat said story,” Harry commented dryly. “I don’t particularly think the ‘scratched out eyeball’ look is going to impress your sister.”
“Probably not,” Ron agreed. “Speaking of scratching out eyeballs, tell me what happened again, and don’t leave out a single word.”
“Holy shit!” Harry exclaimed, looking around the room wildly, his face panicked.
“What?” Ron asked, looking behind him as if expecting to find a man holding an axe.
“I didn’t realize my best friend was a twelve year old girl who wears her hair in pigtails and likes gossip.” Harry choked through his snickering.
“Sod off,” came his grumbling reply as he gave Harry the middle finger salute.
“Alright, I’ll tell you again,” he finally relented. “It’s the least I can do since you are letting me stay here, right?”
“Yeah, how much longer is that going to be by the way?” Ron asked. “Not that I don’t enjoy having you around after sixteen years of MIA-ness; but I would like some quality time with my wife without having to worry about you in the next room.”
“Hopefully not much longer, but back to your story. Let me see, it was what, three weeks ago now? Ginny and I were heading back here from your mother’s house to pick up Eloise, we assumed Hermione and you were good guardians; we were clearly wrong…..” Harry started before Ron cut him off.
“It’s not our fault your daughter could be a secret government ninja!” he exploded. “I swear that girl has all of our mischievous, trouble making skills, quadrupled.”
“She is quite amazing isn’t she?” Harry asked, his entire body aching with fatherly pride. It really was hard to believe that six weeks ago he had never even known her, and now, he would feel lost without her in his life. “I don’t think Cho even knew what hit her.”
A smirk crossed his face as his thoughts wandered back to that afternoon.
The day he walked away from his entire life and gained a better one.
“I could kill Hermione right now!” Ginny swore angrily as she tore down the sidewalk like an angry hippogriff. “What moron lets a sixteen year old just go for a walk by themselves?”
“Just take a deep breathe Ginny,” Harry instructed as he tried to keep up with her. She was quite fast when she was angry. “They don’t have children yet, they don’t understand.”
“Well they should!” she growled back, glaring at him for having the audacity to side with anybody but her. “There is no telling what Chozilla did to my daughter by now. Probably locked her in the dungeon and is beating her with a hose.”
“We don’t have a dungeon, and I highly doubt Cho knows what a hose is, yet alone how to beat somebody with one,” Harry commented dryly. One look at the murderous glare on Ginny’s face though, and he quickly changed his tune. “Right, or she is feeding her to the sharks we keep in the moat. How could I have forgotten about them?”
“Laugh it up Potter,” she hissed angrily. “You have no idea what your precious Chang is capable of doing.”
“What in the hell do you mean by that?” he asked pulling her to a grinding stop as he grabbed her by the wrist. “Does this have something to do with that letter you mentioned writing me?”
“It was a long time ago Harry, it doesn’t matter anymore.”
“It matters to me!” Harry exclaimed, letting go of her wrist and running his hand through his hair. “I have spent the last sixteen years being the ‘bad guy’ to everybody I have ever loved; and I didn’t even know it. One day everybody just stopped writing, they just faded away. I never got a chance to choose Ginny; and you know in your heart that I never would have lived my life this way if I had been given a choice.”
“I didn’t want to believe that you wouldn’t come if you knew,” Ginny whispered, the whole world fading away, as she cupped his cheek with her hand. “Even up until the minute before she was born I kept expecting you to come bursting through that door. After she was born, I waited for you to come, to explain, but even then, a small part of me knew that you had no idea. It was the only explanation I was willing to live with. As the years passed though, I knew it would be harder to explain, and you seemed so happy with her. I can’t prove anything Harry, all I have is a gut wrenching feeling that she was involved. Once that letter left my house, I have no idea what happened. We might never know.”
“My time with her was always paled by the fact that I wasn’t with you,” he murmured as he pulled her into his arms. “You are the only woman who has ever made me happy Ginny. She was just a replacement. Being with Cho was like using somebody else’s wand, it still works; but it in no way compares to using the wand that chose you. You are my wand Ginny, you always have been, and you always will be.”
“If we weren’t in the middle of the street on the way to save our daughter from your psychotic ex-fiancé, I would jump your bones right now Harry James Potter,” Ginny exclaimed, before giving him a kiss and racing down the sidewalk to the Potter Manor.
“Can I get that in writing for later?” he shouted at her as he raced to keep up with her.
A few minutes later they sprinted up the steps to the front door, a look of grim determination crossing Ginny’s face as Harry clasped her hand in his. There was no saying what kind of scene could be waiting for them on the other side of this door. Slowly Harry turned the handle and opened the door, glancing around for Cho or Eloise. He didn’t see either of them so he quickly pulled Ginny in behind him and closed the door quietly behind them.
“Cho?” he called out nervously, not quite sure what he going to find when he actually located the pair. He hoped like hell if there had been some sort of bloodbath that they at least had the decency to keep it off the carpet.
Blood was a bitch to get out of the carpet.
“We are in here Harry,” Eloise’s voice came wafting from the kitchen.
“Thank god the monster hasn’t eaten her yet,” Ginny murmured under her breath as she raced past Harry to the kitchen.
Harry was prepared for the worst as he turned the corner and entered the kitchen, but what he saw made him choke back a laugh. Ginny was in one corner mothering Eloise, whilst shooting daggers across the room with her eyes at the other corner where Cho stood clutching a towel to her eye. It was apparent that Cho had overindulged last night, but whatever had happened had clearly sobered her up.
“I am going to kill you!” he heard Ginny shout from her corner as she stormed from her corner of the room to Cho’s corner.
Sensing a smack down of epic proportions, Harry raced forward and placed himself in-between them.
“What on earth is going on here?” he managed to ask despite Ginny’s squirming to get out of his grasp and at Cho. “Eloise?”
“I punched your fiancé,” Eloise said, pride in her voice.
“You did what?” Ginny and Harry asked together. Harry shot his daughter a slightly disappointed look, while Ginny gave her a thumbs up sign.
“Ginevra, don’t promote violence in our daughter,” he told her firmly.
“Don’t sleep with whores and I won’t have too,” she responded crankily.
“I am not a whore!” Cho said indignantly from her corner.
“That’s what she said,” Eloise added from her side of the kitchen.
“Enough!” Harry broke in, his head pounding. “Nobody talks unless spoken too. Now, Eloise, why did you punch Cho?”
“Uncle Ron told me to never let people walk all over me, so when she slapped me across the face and insulted my family, I punched her. I know it wasn’t very lady-like, and probably not the best way to handle the situation, but she’s kind of a bitch.”
“She did WHAT?” Ginny screeched as she attempted to launch herself over Harry and at Cho.
“GINEVRA!” Harry shouted as the pair of them hit the floor. “You are clearly not going to cooperate right now, so please get up, and take Eloise home. Make sure you have Hermione take a good look at her hand, I’m sure it’s hurting right now.”
“So that’s how it’s going to be?” Ginny asked as she scrambled to her feet, a peeved look crossing her face.
“I have to take care of this myself, I’ll see you later on,” he whispered in her ear before pushing her towards Eloise. “Our fairytale hasn’t even properly started.”
She didn’t particularly want to leave him there, that much was evident on her face, and he couldn’t blame her. He knew she was worried that Cho would say some sort of magical speech and he would return to her; but what Ginny didn’t know was how close Harry had been to walking out on Cho for the last five years. It had been a battle to stay there; and know that he knew that his family and friends did in fact love and want him back - there was no chance of him giving that up.
Once Eloise and Ginny had headed home, Harry took a seat at the kitchen table, Cho taking a seat across from him. It seemed foreign to be sitting in this place, that up until a few days ago, he had never entered. Before Eloise had come to visit, he had never even seen inside the kitchen, and he found it was these small things that troubled him most. He had spent the last sixteen years living in a fog, and now the fog was slowly starting to lift, revealing everything he had missed out on.
“You’re leaving me for them, aren’t you?” Cho finally broke the silence, her voice full of venom. “You would rather be with them, despite everything I have given you.”
“You have given me nothing,” he replied coldly. “You stole away everything that made me happy, until I would stay with you. Why you would want a man who doesn’t truly love you is beyond comprehension.”
“I am the woman you should be with though,” she countered, and as Harry listened to her vain attempts to make him stay, he realized how pathetic she truly was. “I made your career Harry Potter, without me, you would be nothing.”
“You were never the woman I should be with, you’re only the woman I settled for Cho,” Harry responded. “Without you I would have been a happier man, content with a family and the woman of my dreams. Fuck you and my career - none of it was worth what I lost.”
“Don’t you dare walk out that door Potter,” she threatened, lowering the towel from her face, revealing her blackened eye. “Walk out and you will lose everything - this house, your quidditch career, and me.”
“Keep the house, Ginny would hate it anyways,” he said as he stood up, a smile crossing his face as he looked at her. It was as if the rose-colored glasses had finally come off to reveal the truth. As he looked at her face, marred by Eloise’s handiwork, he realized that Cho never had been beautiful, not when you saw who she really was inside. “Do you promise Cho? Because losing everything sounds like the most amazing proposition I have heard in years.”
“But, wait, Harry!” he heard her squawk from behind him as he headed towards the front door.
“I’ll be sure to let my daughter know she has a fine right-hook. I only regret that I wasn’t here when she slammed her fist into your face, and if I wasn’t such a gentleman I would call Ginny back here this instant and let her have a go at your other eye. Goodbye Cho.”
With that he walked out of the front door, and never looked back.
“And so that’s how I ended up staying with you and Hermione,” Harry finished lamely.
“I still can’t believe Eloise punched her, I swear, your daughter is such a bad-ass,” Ron laughed.
“Speaking of my bad-ass daughter, I should probably get ready and head over there, it hardly feels appropriate to make Ginny wait after all that has happened. Is there any chance you can channel that twelve year old girl inside you again and help me pick out something to wear to dinner?” Harry asked, a smirk on his face.
“It’s nice to see some things haven’t changed - you are still a wanker,” Ron responded with a disgruntled expression, before standing up. “But you should probably wear black, it would really make your eyes pop.”
“It’s almost terrifying how easily that comes to you.”
“I am well aware, it scares the hell out of Hermione when I offer to pick her out a nice outfit to dinner,” Ron laughed as they headed towards Harry’s bedroom. “The woman adores me though, and who wouldn’t, I fucking radiate awesomeness.”
“Glad to see you are as humble as ever.”
“Are you sure this looks alright?” Ginny asked Hermione and Eloise nervously.
Once they had managed to get the wedding dress back into the closet, where it would stay, just in case it was ever needed, Eloise had flitted to her room and found some suitable choices for the evening.
“You look breathtaking,” Hermione assured her. “I don’t think I have ever seen you look so gorgeous. Your skin is practically glowing and if you smile any harder I fear your face might break.”
“I have no qualms saying that if I am half as beautiful as you when I grow up mom, I will be a very lucky woman,” Eloise added with a grin.
“Good lord, can these get any lower?” Ginny asked as she tried to pull up the pair of jean’s Eloise had given her. “I just feel like if I sneeze, the surprise is out.”
“Well, it’s not really a surprise anymore, now is it? He’s seen it all before hasn’t he?” Eloise said dryly. “Besides, you told me you wanted to wear jeans because the last time Harry saw you in jeans and a shirt he was bowled over by your magnificence.”
“Stop complaining Ginny, he’s going to drool when he sees you, mark my words,” Hermione added, hoping to stop a mother/daughter feud before it started.
Ginny looked like she was about to protest some more, but the sound of the doorbell effectively cut her off.
“Maybe I should stay home with you tonight Eloise,” Ginny stated, a look of pure terror on her face. “Maybe you shouldn’t be alone right now?”
“I think I can live with the fact that my mother is a moron just fine without you holding my hand,” Eloise reassured her, as she pushed her towards the front door.
Grumbling under her breath Ginny opened the front door while Hermione and Eloise watched from the background anxiously.
“Why didn’t you remember the popcorn Aunt Mione?” Eloise whispered as she watched Harry walk inside, looking as dashing as always.
“Eloise, I’m trying to listen, don’t make me duct tape your mouth shut,” Hermione hissed out of the corner of her mouth.
“I’d like to see you try,” she shot back.
“So nice of the peanut gallery to join us tonight,” Harry commented, his eyes twinkling as he waved at Hermione and Eloise peering out from the hallway.
“Let’s get going before they decide to take pictures or something equally lame,” Ginny told him with a disgruntled expression. “Feel like it’s the god-damn winter ball all over again.”
“Don’t wait up for us,” Harry shouted at them as Ginny pushed him out the door and slammed it behind her.
“Now that was just uncalled for,” Eloise finally managed to utter. “Nobody needs the image of their parents together, especially like that.”
“What on earth are you going to do when if they move in together?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Adopt me. Now. Please?” Eloise pleaded. “Although, perhaps I should hear more about this leather catsuit situation first. I never would have guessed you’d be into that type of thing Aunt Mione. Good for you!”
A/N: The lyrics above come from the song 'Scratch' by Kendall Payne. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and, as always, all comments are appreciated. I hope you enjoyed it and the bits of humor I attempted to add to this chapter. Thanks agains so very much, and once again I am so sorry about the wait. I cannot thank you loyal readers enough. It continues to amaze me as new people find this story and review. I thank you all for making my story such a success. I hope to continue to add more to this story, I'm not quite ready to end it yet. Have a spectacular day!
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