Chapter 4 : Tweedle Dum
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“Ugh, I don’t want to talk about those damned things. Let’s talk about Quidditch.”
Harry grinned, reminded of one of the many reasons he was in love with Ginny. Here was a girl who had her priorities straight. He felt a bit sorry for Ron, who was probably listening to an exact recital of every spell Hermione had performed in the past two weeks.
They sat under the shade of an ancient tree, gazing out at the lake as Ginny recounted Gryffindor’s final match against Slytherin.
“…and we won, but only by a hundred points. We could’ve won by about three hundred, except Fenton is too concerned with making sure all the girls in the stands see how great his hair looks, instead of actually looking for the Snitch. He missed it about three times before he finally caught on. Luckily, Slytherin’s Seeker has a brain the size of one doxy dropping, and he’s got to use up all his brainpower just making sure he doesn’t fall off his broom.”
“Well, at least you won the Cup, right?”
“Yes, but we could have won by two hundred points more.”
Yes, this was certainly true love.
They spent another twenty minutes talking about Quidditch and then fell into a comfortable silence.
After several moments, Ginny asked, “So, what exactly is Ron’s problem today?”
“He’s not happy with his new hairdo, if you hadn’t noticed.”
“And he’s that agitated about it? Seriously, what’s wrong with him? He seemed absolutely terrified when we wouldn’t stay at the Three Broomsticks with them.”
Harry laughed before he could stop himself. The near-panicked look on Ron’s face had been priceless.
“Um,” he said, composing himself, “I don’t really know – just a bad day, I guess.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“Well, I can’t tell you.”
“The hell you can’t. You’re supposed to tell me everything!”
“It’s supposed to be a surprise…”
Ginny looked thoroughly confused, and a little bit pouty. Harry sighed.
“Alright, but just…don’t say anything to anyone, okay? Ron wants to…well…Ron’s trying to see to it that you get another sister-in-law.”
Ginny seemed to be frozen in shock for about two seconds, and then her face lit up, and she jumped to her feet in excitement.
“He what?! Oh, it’s wonderful! It’s – wait, is he asking her now?? In the Three Broomsticks? What is he doing? He’s an idiot! Oh, I hope she says yes!”
“Don’t get too excited. I’d be shocked if he actually pulled himself together enough to do it.”
Harry watched Ginny in amusement as she skipped around, jabbering excitedly about Hermione becoming an official member of the family. It made him curious.
“Ginny…” he began, trying a little too hard to sound casual, “do you ever think about…um…that stuff?”
“You know…getting married?”
“Getting – to who?”
“To Draco Malfoy,” Harry said sarcastically. “Who do you think I’m talking about?”
“I’m not getting any younger, you know,” he said dryly.
“Well, Harry…” She blushed. “I guess I’d thought about it, but I didn’t think for awhile, you know…it’s different with Ron and Hermione, neither of them is going anywhere, are they?”
“Well, you know I’ve been talking to the Holyhead Harpies about playing Chaser for them, and that’s going to involve a lot of traveling.”
“But it’s not certain, right? I thought you were just…kind of thinking about it.”
“Harry, I’ve been telling you for months now that I’ve been talking to them seriously, and I think there’s a really good chance they’ll sign me!”
“Oh. Well, then, that’s great, Ginny.”
“Don’t sound so happy about it. It’s only one of the best opportunities I’ll ever get.”
“I am happy,” he insisted. He chewed the inside of his cheek dubiously, however.
Ginny sighed. “Just spit it out, whatever it is.”
Harry took a deep breath, stood up, and watched Ginny carefully as he said, “Well, look – I’m just a bit concerned about you being so…so exposed, you know? Out in the public image, and traveling a lot… It’s not exactly a secret that you’re connected to me, and if someone wanted to hurt you…”
He watched as Ginny’s soft eyes hardened slightly. Stage One of Ginny’s temper. Harry stood his ground.
“I could have sworn you got rid of Voldemort last year,” she said in mock confusion.
“Yes,” he said slowly, “but there are still a load of followers alive, and they haven’t all been rounded up yet. All it takes is one mental Death Eater…”
“Because I’ve never faced a Death Eater before!” she snapped, cutting him off. Her face was tinged with pink, her eyes were narrowed, and she was scowling. Stage Two. Harry backed up slightly.
“Look, I don’t think you need to get so upset. I just want you to be safe!”
“So the solution is what? Lock me up at the Burrow? I’m of age now, so you can’t even use that stupid excuse anymore!”
“Hey,” said Harry, eyeing Ginny’s hand as it inched towards her wand, “let’s keep this a fair fight, ok?”
Stage Three. Time to take shelter.
“You don’t tell me what’s fair, Harry Potter! I can’t believe your nerve! How long are you going to keep treating me like a child?”
“I’m not! I just don’t think you should go making yourself an easier target. I don’t think you realize – ”
“Realize what, Harry? What don’t I realize? After everything I did to help you fight, even when you didn’t want me to, after all that, exactly what am I naïve about? Which part do you think seemed like a walk through the daisies for me?”
“And I obviously don’t want you going through that again!”
“You know, I’ve never done this to you!” she exclaimed, looking as if tears were imminent. “I’ve never said, ‘No, Harry, don’t go and do that, it’s too dangerous.’ And I’m not even talking about going and fighting Death Eaters! All I’m talking about is playing Quidditch! You’re an Auror, and I can’t even go and play Quidditch?! What, do you think I’m incompetent?”
“Obviously not,” he said, now getting annoyed. “And speaking of which, would you please put your wand away?”
She ignored him.
“I have gone far too long with everybody around me telling me what I can’t do because I’m too young or too weak or whatever other ridiculous reasons. Nobody’s going to stop me doing something I’m good at – not you, not Ron, not Mum and Dad, nobody! And no, Harry, if this is what it’s going to be like, then the answer to your question will most definitely be no!”
With a menacing look of finality, Ginny turned and stalked away towards the castle, leaving Harry with his head swimming and his words still caught in his throat.
He couldn’t be certain, but Harry thought he saw someone who strongly resembled Hermione striding towards the castle towards the end of his argument with Ginny. As Ginny stormed off, Harry glanced in the direction of Hogsmeade and saw a familiar blond figure hovering about fifty meters away. It appeared that Ron had witnessed the end of their argument.
Harry sighed as Ron took off running after Ginny. The nice thing about dating his best friend’s sister was that Ron really had no objection to Ginny’s choice of a boyfriend – but it also meant that Harry would have to explain himself to an irritable friend every time he and Ginny had a row. And since Ron was his best friend, and Ginny was Ron’s sister, Harry couldn’t even tell Ron what he really thought half the time – that Ginny was being ridiculous and stubborn, much like Ron on occasion.
* * * * *
“Ginny! Oi, Ginny!”
Ron finally caught up with his sister, huffing and puffing slightly. “What’s going on?” he demanded.
“Nothing,” Ginny said tersely. “Go away, Ron.” She kept on walking without looking at him.
“Rubbish,” he responded, trying to step in front of her. “What’s up between you and Harry?”
Ron’s protective instincts might have been endearing, except that he was so aggressive about it. His bad attitude and tendency to overreact did not make him a prime candidate to pour your heart out to.
“Get out of it,” Ginny snapped. “Keep your nose out of business that isn’t yours.”
“Look, if Harry’s doing something to upset you, I’ll sort him out…”
Ginny snorted – exactly how was Ron going to sort out anybody, much less Harry Potter? – but she stopped walking and turned to face him. She really did not want to talk to him about this, but she didn’t need her sodding brother thinking she was a damsel in distress, too. It was bad enough getting it from Harry.
“Damn it, Ron,” she said irritably. “Harry and I’ve had a row because he’s still treating me like a child who needs constant watching.”
She glared at Ron for a moment as his expression transitioned from anxious to thoroughly confused. Idiot, she thought.
She sighed and adopted a tone of voice that one uses when explaining something quite simple to a small child for the fifteenth time.
“He’s on about me going off and playing for the Harpies – something stupid about me being in danger, traveling and making myself too public.” She snorted again and dropped the placating tone of voice. “Like he could accuse anyone of being too much a public figure!”
Comprehension dawned on Ron’s face.
“Oh…so, that’s it?”
“What do you mean, ‘that’s it’? That’s everything, Ron – he’s being a prat!”
Ron frowned. “You really shouldn’t be so hard on him.”
“You know, this is exactly why I don’t talk to you!” Ginny scowled.
“What? He just cares about you, that’s all…”
“He’s treating me like a child! It’s always been like that – but I’m seventeen now, I’ve done loads of stuff just like you and him and Hermione – ”
“He just doesn’t want you in a vulnerable position – ”
“I can take care of myself, Ronald! I’m sure it makes you feel superior, thinking of me as vulnerable! Just because I’m the only sister, you automatically think I’m weaker than you and all our brothers, but I’m tougher than any of you for having had to deal with you for seventeen years!”
At some point during this tirade she had drawn her wand and was brandishing it threateningly.
“There are evil people out there who will do worse to you than Fred and George’s pranks!” Ron was beginning to raise his voice now.
“Gee, thanks, Ron, I had no idea,” she quipped sarcastically. “Let’s see, I was only possessed by Voldemort a few years back, and I seem to remember fighting some Death Eaters a couple years ago, and come to think of it, last year, too! Thanks so much for explaining to me what the real world is like!”
“So tell me,” continued Ginny in a vicious voice, seizing upon the silence, “did she say no, or did you cock it up before you had a chance to ask?”
All of the color which had previously flooded Ron’s face now drained out completely. His own wand came out, but Ginny seemed to have been expecting it. Spotting a small tree branch nearby on the ground, she flicked her wand at it. Before Ron could react, the branch rose into the air and began whacking him over the head. He promptly dropped his wand in surprise.
“Ouch! Ginny! Damn it! Ouch! Knock it off!”
She turned on her heel and marched away. Ron grabbed his wand and ran off to find his friend, all the while being whacked over the head by the long arm of Ginny’s wrath.
After finally removing the charm from the offending branch, Ron found Harry near the lake where he had seen Harry and Ginny arguing minutes earlier. They stared at each other for a moment.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Harry tersely.
“Neither do I,” replied Ron. “They’re both mental. Totally out of their minds.”
A few more moments passed in perturbed silence. Then, out of nowhere, Harry gave a small laugh.
“Your hair really does look stupid,” he said, grinning.
“Yeah, I know. This color sucks. I think now I know why Malfoy was so upset all the time.”
Harry laughed again. “So…should we just cut the visit short and go home?”
“You kidding? I don’t want to deal with Mum. Let’s stay at George’s anyway.”
“Maybe you can experiment with your hair some more, once the blond wears off. I think you’d make a dashing brunette.”
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