After watching two mediocre movies on the telly Harry and Ginny found themselves in the kitchen, reheating some of the leftovers from the last few days. The storm had descended much more rapidly than the forecasters predicted, and to make matters worse, the storm was more powerful than anticipated too. Palm trees bowed to the wind, unrestrained patio furniture swept across the beach, tumbling along until it hung up on a tree, fence or other large object. Lightning flashing atop the sound created distorted shadows across the walls, floor and furniture. Thunder rumbled ominously at times and at other times presented itself as a deep throated roar of ferocity.
Ginny finished the last of her leftover blackened mahi and washed it down with a big swig of wine. “Ohhh, I’m gonna have to do fifty sets of bleacher runs after this week to get back in shape.”
Harry cast an appreciative glance at his wife’s slim figure. “I doubt it, you have the highest metabolism of anyone I’ve ever met. Do you even weigh five pounds more than you did when we started this vacation?”
“As of this morning I weighed 2 pounds more.”
“Exactly, quit worrying about it. We’ve been swimming, diving and running the whole week, so it isn’t as though we haven’t done anything to stay in shape,” he countered. He finished the last of his left over pasta and banished all the dirty dishes to the sink. Ginny set a washing charm and soon the dishes tinkled in the sink, happily washing themselves.
“Well, now that we’ve had our fill of dinner we can do more of these.” Ginny pulled the carved wooden box to her and gently depressed the latch, letting the lid lift to reveal its precious contents nestled safely within the pads covered in red velvet.
“Not many left to go, are there?” Harry peered over Ginny’s shoulder. Most of the glass bottles rested towards the side of the box they used for those memories they’d already viewed.
“No, I think that’s why I’m more eager now.” She jumped, startled by a lightning strike so close it shook the foundation of the beach house. “Maybe if we do some of these we won’t hear the storm as much?”
“Sure we…” Another flash of lighting made its way to earth and the pounding of thunder drowned out his response. He began again after the interruption. “Sure we can do some more.” They each pulled a bottle from the wooden box.
“Twenty-three,” Ginny read her chosen bottle.
“I got Twenty-five,” Harry added.
“Why don’t you go first…age before beauty,” Ginny teased, eyes twinkling.
Harry grinned back. “You know, I can’t argue with that at all.” As he spoke he poured the contents of bottle twenty-five into the pensieve. “Shall we?” he held a hand out to his wife and together the couple leaned into the memory and feeling once again the familiar sensation of falling into a new world.
The couple landed easily, still holding hands. The whitish fog settled out to reveal a large stone walled room with large windows at one end and a high arched ceiling. Smaller windows along each side wall would have given a beautiful view of the grounds, but the shades had been pulled for the night.
“Hospital wing,’ Harry said assuredly.
“Yeah, I would,” Harry replied absently rubbing the back of his head.
Neatly made beds lined the two long walls, a thick woolen blanket draped over the footboard of each bed. Several of the beds lay concealed behind linen screens, assuring the patients of their privacy. Past those occupied beds, towards the far end, by the windows, one more bed was occupied.
Madam Pomfrey bustled into the room from her office carrying a small silver tray. Real Harry and Ginny walked along behind her. Sitting up in the bed, blankets tucked neatly around her small form, was a much younger Ginny Weasley. Young Ginny squirmed back further against the headboard, wary of the matron.
Madam Pomfrey noticed the girl’s body language and whispered softly. “Ohhh child, don’t fret. I don’t have another potion for you. I know how awful that strengthening potion tastes.”
Ginny watched her warily. “You don’t?”
“No Ginevra I don’t. This time I have something that will actually make you feel better.” She gave the young witch a reassuring smile and passed the smaller Ginny a steaming cup of cocoa.
“More hot chocolate!” Ginny said with a small smile.
‘Yes Ginevra; and you can have as much as you want. I have self-filling and warming charms on the kettle.”
“Madam Pomfrey, can you call me Ginny? The only time I hear Ginevra is when Mum’s yelling at me.” She took a long slow sip of the warm cocoa.
“Of course Ginny. Now enjoy your snack and then try to get some sleep.” She set the silver tray containing the small kettle and a spare mug on the bedside table.
The slight click of the door latch at the far end of the room echoed loudly causing both the persons in the memory, and those watching, to turn towards the direction of the door.
A nervous twelve year old Harry stepped quietly through the door. He glanced around the room, eyes finally settling on Ginny for a moment before his bright green eyes focused on the matron. “Ma’am, I know visiting time is over, but I was talking to Professor Dumbledore until just a bit ago, and I ran right up here as fast as I could, and I hoped you’d still let me talk to Ginny even though it’s past time for visitors.”
Ginny blushed furiously behind the large ceramic cup. Neither Harry nor Madam Pomfrey noticed her. “Hello Mr. Potter, so you aren’t injured? You look quite the mess.”
Harry continued forward. “No ma’am, I’m ok, just all dirty.”
“You are that child, you are that.” the elder witch shook her head. “I have heard from the headmaster that we have you to thank for Miss Weasley’s condition?”
“NO! I didn’t hurt her, I swear it!” Harry exclaimed. In the background Ginny’s blush increased until her cheeks glowed bright pink.
“Harry, I did not mean to imply that you had hurt Ginny, but that we have you to thank for her lack of injuries,” Madam Pomfrey corrected the misunderstanding.
“Oh…so can I see her for a bit?”
“Of course, if it’s okay with Miss Weasley.” Both turned to the younger Ginny for confirmation. Just as her blush had been about to subside it once again flamed across her face. She nodded quickly. “Well, then I’ll leave you to it. But no more than fifteen minutes, understood?” and with those words the matron bustled over to a nearby cabinet and began to organize its contents.
“I just came up to see if you’re okay Ginny,” Harry all but whispered in a shy tone.
Eleven year old Ginny nodded, saying, “I…I’m okay, just tired.” her voice squeaked a little in nervousness.
Harry moved closer. “I’m glad. Have any of the potions tasted good?” She shook her head.
“Yeah, I think they make them nasty on purpose.” He smiled, and Ginny’s subsiding blush returned full force.
“Want some hot cocoa?” she glanced at Madam Pomfrey. “It refills, so there’s lots,” she whispered so she wouldn’t be overheard.
Harry smiled back and poured himself a half mug, taking a sip right away.
“I’m glad you’ll be okay now Ginny.”
“Me too.” Her pink stained face smiled back at him, and she too took a sip from her mug, although it appeared she did it more to hide her blush than to drink the cocoa.
“Harry…you won’t tell will you?”
“That it was me. That I hurt all those people” she said guardedly.
“But Ginny, you didn’t hurt those people. Voldemort did, not you.”
“But still, it will be our secret?” she asked so softly he could barely hear her. The pink on her face deepened to a light red
“Our secret, I promise.”
“Pinky swear?” she challenged. The two children hooked right handed pinkies and shook on it.
“Ahem…Mr. Potter. I believe we need to let this young lady get some rest.” Madam Pomfrey strode back to Ginny’s bedside.
“Yes ma’am.” He placed his mug on the small tray and then turned to face Ginny. “Bye Ginny, see you tomorrow?”
Ginny nodded. “Bye…Oh, and Harry?”
“No problem Ginny.” And this time, it was Harry’s turn to blush.
The older Harry and Ginny watching the memory relaxed letting the now forming white fog wash around them, knowing the memory was about to deposit them in another scene soon.
The new scene began to appear through the mist, and it was again the Hogwarts hospital ward. As it had been in the first bit of memory, Harry occupied the bed this time. He was older than the first memory but he was still very boyish, not exhibiting any of the characteristics that adult Harry possessed except for his crooked smile, inviting green eyes and of course the lightning shaped scar on his forehead. Of the three most prominent markers, only his scar presented itself now as he slept. Madam Pomfrey checked his wrist, neck and forehead cautiously. Around the bed Harry’s best friends kept watch. Fred, George, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Katie and Alicia stood nervously by whispering to each other, Hermione and Ginny wrung their hands in worry.
“When was this…” Harry began to ask.
“”My second, your third year, after the dementor’s attacked you during the quidditch game.” Ginny answered watching their younger selves in the memory.
“I didn’t recognize it.”
“Hard to do that when you’re unconscious,” Ginny pointed out the obvious.
“I suppose you’re right about that.” He turned a little to watch the group assembled by his bedside.
Madam Pomfrey turned from the bed with a satisfied smile. She faced the group of teens. “Well, he’s sleeping peacefully, there’s no need for you all to stay here any longer.”
Hermione spoke for the group. “But what if he wakes and he’s all alone?”
“Well, at this point, I dare say that Mr. Potter is almost at home here in the hospital wing as he is the Gryffindor dormitory.” The group at large nodded or murmured a ‘yes’ of agreement as the matron continued speaking. “But, be that as it may, he won’t be waking tonight. He’s had a full dose of sleeping draught, he won’t wake till morning. So, please make your way back to your common room.
“I do spend an inordinate amount of time in hospital wards, don’t I?” Harry remarked ruefully.
“Yeah, you do. You had to go five times last year. We need to work on getting that number down,” Ginny said making sure he understood she was not pleased with the number of times she visited the hospital or Meredith.
“But only two required an overnight stay, so that’s an improvement, right?” He smiled, trying to make it sound better than it was.
Ginny cast him a warning look. “Harry…” she said in a tone to match.
“Okay, but for the record you went to the healers after six of your games.”
“But mine were for scrapes and bruises,” Ginny defended her medical treatments.
“You had your elbow shattered.” Harry was now the one admonishing his spouse for her recklessness on the pitch.
“Just the once…” Ginny smiled sheepishly. “Shhh, watch the memory.”
“Okay,” Katie Bell replied. The group of Gryffindors followed Katie towards the doors. As the group filed out Ginny stopped.
“I’ll catch up. I left my scarf.”
The other six students left and the youngest Weasley returned to Harry’s bedside. Madam Pomfrey glanced up from checking another student in bed recovering from an accident in the potions lab.
Ginny stopped by Harry’s bed and addressed the matron. “I forgot my scarf, it’s here somewhere.” The matron nodded her understanding.
Ginny faced Harry’s bed, standing close to it. “Hey Harry, I know you can’t hear me, but I’m gonna say this anyway.” She looked about nervously and spoke slowly. “You really scared me today…I’m glad you’re going to be alright…” she swallowed to regain her voice. “When I saw you falling…” She shuddered, contemplating that thought.
Harry shifted under the blankets. Madam Pomfrey heard him, taking a moment to cast an appraising look at her most famous, and most frequent patient. Ginny brushed his hand with hers to comfort him. He stilled almost immediately.
“I better go; otherwise the twins will be on me. Please try to keep from scaring me all the time. I…I don’t know if I could stand it if you got hurt too badly.”
“Is he staying calm dear?” Madam Pomfrey was now standing by the foot of the bed.
The words startled Ginny causing her to react by sucking in a quick breath, but she bobbed her head yes.
The matron placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Ginny, he’ll be fine. Now, get going before those troublemaking twin brothers of yours come back here for you.”
Ginny nodded, walking towards the door, taking one last quick look at Harry. The door at the far end of the room opened, Fred peeked in first, George peeked in a second later, his head appearing over Fred’s in the foot-wide door opening.
“Scarf!” Madam Pomfrey coughed softly enough that only Ginny would hear.
Ginny hastily pulled her scarf from her coat pocket. “It’s okay guys. I found it under the bed next to Harry’s.” She waved the scarlet and gold striped scarf to her brothers, and all three left the hospital wing.
“You forgot your scarf?” Harry said, teasing Ginny for the feeble excuse.
“It worked!” she defended herself.
The memory was soon gone, once again replaced by swirling wisps of whitish fog. Only a few seconds later another scene swam into existence. Neither of them were surprised when the scene once again settled in the Hogwarts hospital wing.
The lamps along the walls lit the large sanitary space evenly but not brightly as it was evening. Moonlight streaming through the windows left large bright squares along the floors and walls. Only two of the beds currently held patients.
Live Harry clasped his wife’s hand in his and made his way halfway down the ward, facing the third bed on the right. A teenaged Ginny sat with her back against the headboard and her ankle resting on a stack of pillows, keeping it elevated. The bandages wrapped tightly about her foot and lower leg kept her from moving her ankle and must have itched because Ginny in the memory was frantically prying her wand under the bandages in an all out effort to scratch her ankle.
Madam Pomfrey stood two beds away checking over the other patient in her care, Ginny’s brother Ron. After checking his bandaged arm and casting a diagnostic charm she smoothed the sleeping young man’s blanket, letting a small smile of satisfaction grace her lips. And then she saw Ginny.
“Ginny!” the matron scolded. “I have warned you multiple times to leave it be!” She angrily faced her female, redheaded patient before Ginny extracted her wand in a huff.
“It itches so bloody much! And it’s been itching for two days! It’s driving me barmy,” Ginny protested.
Harry watching the memory nodded, knowing the time frame for the newest bit of Madam Pomfrey’s recollections. “This was after we all went to the Ministry to…”
Ginny squeezed his hand to comfort him. Even now, years later, the mission to rescue Sirius was still one of the parts of Harry’s past that gave him pause. She understood his guilt, and as much as she and their friends reminded Harry that it was not his fault, she also knew he would blame himself until the day he died. Sure the self inflicted shame wasn’t hers to bear, but she knew Harry better than anyone on earth, loved him more fiercely than anyone else, and it was that love that supported him even if she felt he was being too hard on himself.
She slipped her hand from his and wrapped it around his waist. He looked down at her searchingly, and she responded to the unspoken question. “I know…and you know how he’d feel about it too…give yourself a break. Okay Love?”
Harry gave a quick nod and refocused on the memory.
“Miss Weasley! Stop it now!” the healer warned as Ginny once again tried to surreptitiously slip the tip of her wand under the wrappings to scratch her freshly healed ankle. In response Ginny jerked her hand back, glaring at the matron, grumbling inaudibly as she did so.
“You are one of the most impatient person’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of treating. You’re even worse than Mr. Potter.” Madam Pomfrey complained.
“Hey, that isn’t fair. I’m not even a patient right now, you can’t possibly be mad at me.” Unbeknown to those in the memory, or watching the memory, a younger Harry had entered the room, standing between Ginny’s bed and Ron’s and just behind the older Harry and Ginny watching the memory.
“True, somehow you managed to not get seriously injured,” the matron said apologetically, before adding “This time,” in a voice that was more firm.
Harry looked towards his best mate’s bed, realized he was sound asleep and turned to face Ginny, who was once again trying to scratch her ankle, by forcing her wand under the bandages.
Just as he began to speak madam Pomfrey reached out and pulled Ginny’s wand from her hand, slapping it forcefully on top of the bedside table so hard the small oil lamp rattled, nearly falling over. “No scratching!” she growled at her patient.
“Please? I promise not to scratch if you take the wrappings off…even for just a little while?” Ginny pleaded sweetly in what live Harry recognized was her ‘innocent Ginny’ voice.
The soft request gave the healer pause and she relented, to a point. “Ginny, I’ll remove the bandage early, it should stay on until tomorrow morning, but…” she sighed. “I’ll remove it tonight…”
Thank You!” Ginny said enthusiastically.
“Hush, do not wake your brother…I’ll remove it early, but you cannot scratch it. If I catch you scratching at the new skin I’ll wrap it tighter than ever and I’ll bind your hands as well. Understood?”
Ginny, a bright smile plastered on her face bobbed her head ‘yes’. The matron waved her wand over Ginny’s ankle muttering a spell and carefully unwrapped the bandages. Another quick flick of her wand vanished the used wrappings. The freshly exposed skin shone a bright pink in the moonlight; visible scars snaked around her ankle where the bones had poked through when she’d shattered her ankle escaping the Death Eaters. Ginny wiggled her toes a little and sighed happily.
“Mr. Potter I still have a few things to attend to before turning in for the night, you may stay until I am finished.” The matron bustled to the bed across the aisle, the first in a row of five that still needed linens and fresh blankets.
Harry spoke as she turned away. “Has he been asleep for long?” He motioned towards Ron.
“Ummm, about two hours. She gave him a sleeping draught so I don’t think he’ll wake up before morning.” Ginny slowly reached down to drag her fingernails across the fresh scar tissue. She managed to make two long gentle scratches across the pink flesh when to her horror the bed squeaked from her weight shift.
The matron turned quicker than a hippogriff chasing a rat and focused a steady glare at her patient. “I told you! NO SCRATCHING!” she whispered forcefully, careful not to wake her other patient.
Ginny flung her head back into the pillow. “Fine I won’t.” she gasped.
“One more time, and the bandages go back on, understood,” the matron commanded.
Harry flashed a sympathetic smile at Ginny, who he could swear was doing her best to hold back a stray tear or two.
He sat at the foot of Ginny’s bed, and looked over her slightly swollen ankle. “Look, I know how bad these kinds of things itch.” He gave her a hint of a smile. “Tell me if this is better.” He slowly slipped his left hand under her ankle to support it. The fingers from his right hand began to rub small circles across the pink tinged skin.
Ginny reacted immediately and completely. She closed her eyes and let out a slow breath, letting her body relax as his touch quelled the inane itching that had plagued her for the last two days.
“This hurt badly didn’t it?” Harry questioned softly, still pressing the pads of his fingertips gently into the raised scarring on her ankle.
“Yeah, it did…Oh Merlin Harry, right there again,” she mumbled, lifting one eye lid slightly so she could see Harry. Harry swirled his fingers across the back of her ankle again, rubbing firmly. Ginny’s hand clutched the sheets as the feelings of relief washed over her.
Harry changed position so he was facing Ron’s bed more than Ginny’s, but he kept moving his fingers back and forth along the inflamed scars, massaging and soothing her itchy, freshly healed skin. He didn’t notice Ginny watching him from heavily lidded eyes. “Think he’ll be happy that he’s going to have scars? Now he’ll be more like me, isn’t that what he wants…to be famous?” Harry wondered aloud, stopping the motions of his fingers.
Ginny opened her eyes, momentarily as the movement of his fingers slowly stopped. “If he says that then he’s an idiot. How you put up with his thick behavior all the time I’ll never know.”
Harry turned back towards Ginny, “I dunno, maybe I put up with that because he puts up with all the crap that comes from being my friend. I mean it isn’t all fun and games you know.”
“I know Harry,” Ginny said lowly. “Uhhh, not to be demanding…but you stopped.” She pointed to her ankle, giving him a hopeful smile in the process.
“So sorry for the lapse of service ma’am,” Harry replied as if he was a servant being scolded. He smiled back at her, and without thinking twice he pressed a thumb into the scar tissue on the side of her ankle, picking up the ankle rub where he’d left off. Ginny shuddered as his warming touch once again eased the itch and soreness. Harry smiled to himself as Ginny let her eyes slip closed, enjoying his comforting massage.
“I’m so sorry you got hurt too Ginny. I didn’t…”
“Hey, no apologies. You needed help and there was no way I wasn’t going with you.” She lifted her eyes so she could see the dark haired boy before her.
“But your ankle.” he shifted his gaze to her ankle. He adjusted his hands, massaging the top of her foot with one hand and the bottom of her foot with the other, continuing his quest to alleviate the itching associated with growing new skin.
“My ankle will be fine, even if it does feel like it’s been bathed in a cauldron of itching powder.” She noticed he wasn’t looking at her, but blankly staring at the wall. “Harry?” He faced her. “Harry, I’m sorry too…about Sirius…”
“It was my fault…I ended up as bait, just like Hermione said.”
“Do you remember what you said when you came to see me after the chamber? You told me that it wasn’t my fault, that it was Voldemort, not me.”
“Well, it was true.” He moved his hands once more. Now his left hand began to massage a new section of scar tissue. Ginny gave another small sigh of satisfaction.
“Same thing Harry. Not your fault.”
“Why is it you’re the one who always ends up pointing out the obvious to me?” he asked.
“I dunno, but I’ll trade you all the obvious answers you want for all the ankle rubs I want.” She blushed a touch before issuing a whispered moan when his quidditch roughened fingers caught just the right place to relieve a particularly inflamed patch of skin. “Uuhhh…mmm…mmm.”
Harry continued to knead her swollen ankle in silence for several minutes, slowing only when he realized she was asleep.
“Thank you Harry.” The matron’s calm voice washed over him as she approached the bed.
“Huh?” he questioned, unsure of why she’d thanked him.
“That girl can’t sit still for one single minute. She’s a worse patient than you are, and I haven’t been able to get her to sleep much, even with a sleeping draught. This is the first time in two days she’s sleeping peacefully.”
“Oh…Well glad I could help.” Madam Pomfrey looked between Harry and Ginny unsure of the relationship. Harry, not noticing, figured she was expecting him to go and said as much to her. “I’ll just be going then.” Harry let Ginny’s ankle rest upon the stack of pillows once more and got up from her bed. He looked at Ron one last time, then Ginny. “G’night Ginny.” He left the ward quietly.
Harry and Ginny stood still, letting the whitish clouds envelope them as the previous memory washed from view. Ginny commented, “You do give terrific ankle rubs.”
“Thanks, I try. I’m surprised it still gives you trouble.” Harry replied.
“Well, it got broken then, and I sprained it one time jumping off my broom after doing some night flying. And the same ankle got broken three times by the Carrows, or Parkinson’s little brood of followers. And you twisted it when you chased me into the Burrow that day. And the last person to hurt it was that dark wizard in the forest.” Ginny recounted the various injuries to her much abused ankle.
“Wow, that would explain it then wouldn’t it?” Harry remarked ruefully.
“Yeah, it does.”
The new memory, now clearly formed, surrounded the conversing couple. The setting remained the same, the Hogwarts hospital wing. Harry lay in bed, head bandaged tightly, asleep and unmoving. His glasses lay on the bedside table, near three bottles of light blue potion. In the bed to the left, Ron sat bedridden; but he was awake and busily turning a copy of The Quibbler this way and that, trying without success to decipher one of the puzzles contained within. The lamps glowed brightly, making up for the loss of light from the windows as it was just past dusk.
Madam Pomfrey, surveying and organizing the nearby medicine cabinet, glanced at her patients before returning to the task at hand.
The door to the ward burst open loudly, Ginny ploughing through angrily.
“Shhhhh, or I will run you out of my ward so fast even your quidditch brooms won’t be able to keep up. Understood?” the matron scolded Ginny.
Ginny nodded but she stalked across the flagstone floor to a spot midway between Ron’s bed and Harry’s.
“What’s got you all in a bother?” Ron asked, staring at his sister over the top of his upside down Quibbler.
“He’s a git and a prat. I swear sometimes that boy doesn’t have half a brain!” she fumed.
“Damn Ginny, take it easy. He’s right here, and sure he’s out cold, but you know…show some humanity.” Ron defended his unconscious friend.
“What? No, not Harry…”
“Who then McLaggen?”
“No, because he’s a first rate arse and an effing idiot to boot!” Ginny scowled, pacing angrily back and forth across the five feet between the two occupied beds.
“Well then wh…”
“Dean Okay! Dean, my piggish, self centered, uncaring git of a boyfriend!”
“Ahem,” the matron cleared her throat to get the redheaded witch’s attention. “Language please. This is a hospital, not a back alley pub.”
“Sorry Madam Pomfrey.” Ginny said quietly. “I’ll mind my tongue.”
Ron watched his sister pacing, letting her work through whatever had her so bothered. “Ginny? I know we don’t talk like we used to… But, you can talk to me you know. I can listen … not as good as Mum or, or Hermione…but I can…if you need someone to talk to.”
Ginny spun on her heel in response to Ron’s words. She eyed him carefully, raising an eyebrow in question. “Why?” she asked cautiously. “It’s not as though we’ve been buddies this year.” She began to think about Ron’s reactions to her and Dean over the course of the school year. Her voice lowered and she said in an accusing tone. “In fact you’ve been rather adamant that I not touch any boys this year. Looking for another chance to get off a shot at me? Poke fun that I’m…”
“No, Ginny, honestly that isn’t what I was thinking.” Ron plead, dropping the Quibbler onto the bed beside him. “I…I know I might have been a little overbearing this year, but I meant it just now. Sure, you’ve been mad at me, and I can handle that. But this…You aren’t mad right now, you’re upset. And that’s different, and you’re my sister and I…well you know, right? And I want to help.”
Ginny visibly relaxed, trusting her brother. “He’s such a git. He was doing these stupid impersonations of Harry getting hit, and then miming the way he fell off his broom. And…and he was laughing!” Ginny picked up her nervous habit of pacing between the beds once again. “And I yelled at him to stop, but he didn’t. I asked him point blank if he’d think it was funny if Harry made fun of him while he was in the hospital.”
“He laughed even louder and said ‘I’m not stupid enough to face down a bludger at point blank range!’ Like it was Harry’s fault that arsehole McLaggen grabbed the beaters bat.” Ginny stomped her foot in anger as she remembered the happenings in the common room just minutes ago. She picked up the tempo of her pacing. “I kind of lost control of my magic. I let loose with enough swearing to make a sailor blush and I felt my magic spike. The logs in the fire kind of exploded.”
“Whoa, wicked!” Ron smiled.
Ginny continued her emotionally charged rant. “So, I fired off a bat-bogey hex. I missed him, but only because he slipped in some spilled butterbeer and fell out of its path. I got the bastard with the second and third one’s though. Then McLaggen laughed, called me a bint.”
“I’ll kill him dead, that…” Ron interrupted.
“Language please!” the matron again admonished the students. Looking over the three students she checked her watch. “There are only fifteen more minutes of visiting time. Mr. Weasley, please take your strengthening, and dreamless sleep potions. Miss Weasley, can you help me for a second?”
Ginny stepped over to the adjacent bed where the Madam Pomfrey was tending to Harry. “Yes?”
“I’m going to check his bandages, and it may unsettle him a little, can you hold his hand and comfort him while I do so?” She stepped around to the head of the bed and began to inspect the wrappings, turning Harry’s head to one side.
Ginny took Harry’s hand, rubbing it gently and continued talking to her brother. “Anyway, I sent McLaggen scurrying like a rat with a few well placed hexes. And…I just was so mad, and I came up here to make sure that he’s going to be alright.”
“He’ll be just fine dear,” Madam Pomfrey turned Harry’s head to the other side to continue her inspection.
Ginny scooted herself up to sit on Harry’s bed where she now held Harry’s hand sandwiched softly between her own hands, and continued to comfort him. “I…sometimes I get so fed up with Dean. Most the time he’s a great guy. He’s thoughtful, and sweet...But then he goes off and does something like this and I wonder what I see in him.”
“Well, I know it won’t be easy, but if you aren’t happy then you should ditch him,” Ron offered.
“No, I think maybe I’m overreacting just because it’s Harry,” Ginny responded. Neither teen noticed the matron rolling her eyes in disbelief.
“Why would you overreact because of Harry? You got over that silly crush ages ago.” Ron questioned.
“I dunno, I just…I think because he gets hurt so often that I’m scared that maybe this time he won’t pull through. And I mean, sure, Mum looks out for him, and you and Hermione do too, but it just feels like he still needs people to…”
“To what?” Ron watched his little sister intently, but yawned as the sleeping potion began to take effect.
“To…I dunno…put him first I guess. I want to make sure that somebody puts Harry’s wellbeing above their own.” She continued to stroke Harry’s hand even after Madam Pomfrey left to begin closing up the ward for the night.
“Well if you took on McLaggen and Dean in one go then I’d say you did fine taking up for him,” Ron said.
“Yeah, this time. But what if next time I’m not around?” She shifted so she was watching Harry sleep. Her hands continued to massage his hand, soothing not only Harry, but herself as well. She didn’t notice her once turbulent emotions steadily calming as she continued with the task beset to her by the healer.
“Ginny dear, you’ll have to leave. These boys need their rest.” Madam Pomfrey motioned Ginny to get up from where she sat by Harry. “Thank you for helping, I’m sure Harry will sleep better now.”
“G’night Ron.” Ginny gave a small wave to her brother and then looked back over at her brother’s best friend saying, “G’night to you too Harry.” She gave a second small wave and walked slowly from the hospital wing, letting the door click closed behind her.
“G-ny,” Harry mumbled all but incoherently.
Ron yawned again. “Sorry mate, she just left.” he answered as Harry fell back into the dreamless sleep afforded by the potion. The room fell from focus, white mist absorbing the details before washing away the last bits of the scene.
The current versions of Harry and Ginny stood still while the fog boiled around them, swirling and bubbling across their feet and calves. Soon the fog blanked out the remaining bits of the scene just viewed. They waited patiently for the few moments it would take for the memory to resettle itself, expecting to be deposited back in the hospital ward.
The scene was most certainly not the hospital ward; it was however, the Great Hall at dinner time. The perspective of the memory was different than either Harry or Ginny was familiar with, looking out over the chattering students from the faculty table at the head of the hall. The long tables, not yet overflowing with food, gleamed. Students entered the hall talking and joking with one another. About half of the student body sat while the remainder of the students continued to file in.
The noise created from all the non-related conversations happening concurrently among the students fell to a whisper as Harry and Ginny entered the hall holding hands. Once the students at large noticed the pairing the noise level increased as the Hogwarts rumor mill cranked up to full speed.
“Professor Sinestra, is that the Weasley girl…with Potter?” Professor Sprout asked.
“Yes it is…Which is surprising. I was under the impression that her brothers rather...discourage...many of the young men wishing to court her.”
“WHAT! Those prats, I knew Fred and George…” Ginny spluttered angrily. “Ohhh, I know I can’t get to Fred, but I’ll get George. Whoever he dates next, I’m gonna tell her he has a rash.”
Harry sniggered, envisioning in his mind Ginny wreaking havoc on one of George’s relationships. “Gin, calm down, this is all in the past. Besides, they didn’t discourage me, and isn’t that all that really counts?” Harry tried to soothe her fiery temper
“I guess so” she said calmly before her temper flared back up. “Still they had no right…”
Harry got her to quiet down the only way he knew was one hundred percent effective. He kissed her. And as soon as the kiss ended he kissed her again, and again, and again. After the fourth kiss she settled down.
“Well, she is rather fetching. And if we’re being candid, quite a few of the young ladies in the school think Mr. Potter is quite the dish.” Professor Sprout leaned over so their conversation wouldn’t carry.
Her comment was heard by Professor Flitwick who exclaimed. “Oh, excellent, she and Harry make and wonderful couple. Funny, I always saw them as more of a brother and sister, myself.”
“Yes, they were friends, but they’re dating now,” Professor Sinestra volunteered. “I heard the Granger girl and Ginny’s brother Ronald talking about it when he came by to get her after class the other day.”
While the conversation progressed the focus of the memory remained on Harry and Ginny winding their way through the Great Hall, smiling at each other. Ginny slipped her hand from Harry’s and tilted her head up to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. Harry took her face gently in his hands and kissed her back. She happily settled into a seat across from Hermione and Neville. Harry slid onto the bench next to her and slid his hand onto her knee, just below the edge of her skirt. She smiled and gave him another brief kiss on the cheek.
“I thought she was dating that chap that was such the football fan, what’s his name Thomas.”
“Ahhh, but they had a falling out a while back.” A new voice entered the conversation, Madam Pomfrey. “I think she’s traded up. He is a nice boy.” The professors sat up straighter as the food magically appeared on the table.
“This is rather sudden isn’t it? I mean I’ve never even seen Potter with a girl before,” questioned Professor Sprout.
“Look at them…”
“And who, pray tell, is the subject of so much abject curiosity?” Severus Snape’s silky smooth voice drawled, interrupting Professor Sinestra.
“Harry Potter is dating Ginevra Weasley.” Professor Sinestra explained.
“Potter…and Weasley…curious…” Professor Snape studied the raven haired boy and his fiery, redheaded girlfriend. “It does seem that history repeats itself. Sadly, it appears Mr. Potter is exactly like his father.”
“And what does that mean Severus? Do you have something against two students discovering love?”
“I do not have the luxury of believing in love.” He sneered at the witches before stalking down to the far end of the table.
“Well, they appear to be very happy, even if it has come about quite suddenly.” Professor Sprout nodded her approval of the couple.
“Sudden? Please…even Trelawney could have seen this coming,” muttered madam Pomfrey.
“You knew? How could you have foreseen this?” Professor Sprout questioned.
The school healer screwed her face into a dreamy unconnected stare, saying “The inner eye sees all… nothing is a surprise to those who have…the gift…” her voice floated dreamily along lilting, rising and falling as if she was a cross between drunk and hallucinating.
Professor Sprout spit a full mouthful of pumpkin juice back into her goblet, laughing out loud at the dead on impersonation of the batty divination professor.
“Poppy, what do you know that the rest of us don’t?” Sinestra focused a steely glare at the matron.
“These are two of my most frequent visitors to the hospital wing. I have seen them grow from shy children, to close friends, and thankfully now to a couple… If they continue to nurture the love I’ve seen during their brief stays under my care, then I will expect them to have a happy life together.”
The memory began to fade into nothingness, replaced once again by the all too familiar white fog.
“That was a nice memory, wasn’t it?” Ginny questioned as the memory wafted away.
“Yeah, they were nice. Kind of a Harry and Ginny through the ages…as seen in the Hogwarts Hospital wing,” he answered as the last vestiges of the memory faded, leaving the young couple right where they’d started, standing in the kitchen of Kingsley’s beach house.
“CRACK! BOOM!” Lightning rent the air around them as the electrical charge hit earth just off to the side of the back garden. The smell of ozone permeated the air from the electrically charged blast, the immediate clap of thunder shook the house to its very foundation.
“Wheeew, that was a close one.” Ginny shuddered.
Streaks of lightning flashed across the sound, casting flickering reflections across the floors, and ceilings. The rumble of thunder was now almost constant as the full brunt of the storm attacked the island with fury.
“Let’s get to the next one, yeah? I don’t want to just wait this storm out.” Harry finished the sentence just as another bolt of lightning struck nearby.
“I agree, the next one is…twenty-three.” she read off the label. She deftly poured the next liquid strand of silver into the pensieve. Harry stirred the surface of the wispy, luminescent contents of the bowl until the memory was ready for viewing. When it was ready the pair held hands and fell into the next journey.
Loud music blared from the wizarding wireless drowning out any intelligible conversation, the remnants of the combined conversations resulted in such a din that the only way to hear the person speaking to you was to lean in closely. The darkened nightclub, teeming with drunks, fans and Harpies players nearly shook from the pounding music, rhythmic footfalls of those dancing, and the sheer volume of people in house.
Four of the Harpies, Melinda and Caitlin included, danced provocatively, each more molesting their partner than guiding them. Near the west side of the club a large, round table, littered with paying cards and several mostly empty bottles of fire whiskey, another group of witches sat halfway through a drinking game of some type.
A long oak bar, stained from centuries of use lined one wall. Behind the bar a myriad of bottles and glasses, positioned neatly along the shelves, sparkled in front of the giant German plate glass mirrors covering the wall. An older barman and a young, excruciatingly pretty witch worked in tandem. Older patrons and regular customers talking more to the man, younger men and those intent on partying harder gravitated towards the busty blonde bartender. At the far end of the worn bar sat Gwenog Jones, alone.
She perused the club, making mental notes on who was dancing, drinking casually or drinking too much.
The music from the wireless faded and the announcer began to give the Saturday night quidditch scores. “Puddlemere defeated Tutshill two-fifty to one hundred-sixty, Cannons over the Hornets by a score of three-ten to one-ninety, Potter has now caught the snitch in forty-five of forty-seven games dating back to last season. The Holyhead Harpies crushed the Athens Warriors by a score of two hundred-eighty to eighty, the best start they’ve had in nineteen years, while in…”
The broadcast was drowned out by a huge cheer from the occupants of the bar. All the Harpies players strewn about the club raised a glass in celebration. At a back corner table, Ginny half heartedly raised her glass as well. Gwenog, noticing her youngest player sitting alone, left her established spot at the bar and made her way through the crowd and took a seat at the table.
“Hello Ginny,” she greeted her chaser.
“Hi,” Ginny responded without emotion.
“You okay kid? We’re celebrating the best start in nearly two decades and you’re over here sulking.” Gwenog studied Ginny’s face, still bruised from a bludger hit late in the game.
“I’m fine,” Ginny answered.
“Really? Last week you partied all night with the girls. It looked like you were finally bonding with them and now you’re over here…” Gwenog’s voice trailed off as both parties understood her meaning. Ginny shrugged, which Gwenog took as a sign that she should continue. “You never found a room mate either did you?”
“No, I guess they all thought I was too young and…”
“You don’t think your behavior is causing the rift between you and the other women?” Gwenog asked in a straight forward way.
Ginny seemed to deflate a little at her captain’s charge. “I just don’t fit in. I try to get along with them, but they’re all at least four years older than I am, and…”
Gwenog leaned forward in her chair. “I’m going to ask you this, and you won’t like it, but I need to do it.” She sighed. “Do you want to play quidditch for the Harpies?”
“YES!” Ginny almost yelled. “Yes, of course I do! I didn’t give everything up to not play! Are…are you canceling my contract?”
“No, no Ginny I’m not.” the older witch laid a reassuring hand on Ginny’s arm. “I can’t. You, the team and the league all signed it. You get paid whether we play you or not, it’s the standard development contract, you’ll get your money.”
“I don’t care about the money! I want to play, it’s all I care about at this point.”
“Okay, good. I’m glad to hear that this team is your first priority, it should be. But that brings us to the next issue.” Gwenog paused, mulling over how to start on the next part of her advice. “There is more to quidditch, excelling at quidditch, than just playing the game. In order for our team to become a true force in the league we have to work as a cohesive unit. For that to happen, for us to gel as a team, we need to bond with each other.”
Ginny nodded her approval, “Yeah. I know it was only a school team, but that was the biggest part of being a captain at Hogwarts, building the team’s chemistry.”
“Exactly…the other women have to trust you implicitly, and right now they can’t do that. Sometimes you’re moody or stand-offish, other times you’ll go out and drink or stay out with them and have fun. Other times you just seem so…so sad. The girls and I are never quite sure which Ginny is going to respond when we approach you about something.” Gwenog let her words sink in and continued after a short pause.
“That lack of trust shows up on the pitch as a moment of hesitation before passing, or a seed of doubt as to whether or not you can make the play. Things like that, and it affects us as a team.”
“But I can’t make them trust me! I try to fit in, but I don’t want to bed every guy that comes along like Caitlin does, or drink myself stupid. And I don’t have five or six years of quidditch stories to tell like Sandra and Melinda…I just feel so alone…All I want is to play…” Ginny hung her head in despair.
“Ginny, I don’t expect you to change your moral values and neither will your team mates. wait…why do you feel so alone? You come from a large family and you have a boyfriend, right?” the team captain questioned.
“I do have a large family but we’re all so busy, and we travel so much…as for the boyfriend…I don’t know if I have one or not, I guess the answer is no.”
“Is that why you’ve been behaving so oddly?”
“Can I ask what happened?”
“He proposed…and I didn’t accept.”
“You didn’t love him?” Gwenog said in surprise.
“No, I love him with all my heart,” Ginny admitted.
“Well now I don’t understand at all.”
“I have some personal issues that I need to sort out, and I decided that it would be better for me to work them out on my own.”
“So, you turned down the man you’re in love with, who happens to be the most famous wizard in the land, so you can fix whatever it is you think is wrong with you? You pushed him away, so you could be alone and now you are alone and don’t like it?” Gwenog paraphrased. “And on top of that you began a new career, leaving home behind for the most part, and are trying to prove yourself on the pitch as well?” Ginny nodded.
Gwenog stared directly at her young chaser. “Well Ginny, its time to grow up. You’ve made these decisions and now you’ll have to live with them, but as the team captain here’s my take on it. If you want to run home do it, but if you want to play for the Harpies and be the player I know you can be then you need to get your shite together. Find some common ground with the girls, I don’t care if it’s drinking, men, dancing, shopping. Find a way to bond with the team.” Gwenog took a swig of her mead.
“As for your personal issues…fix them! Your behavior is affecting the entire offensive scheme and I won’t let a green rookie mess up my team. Fix yourself and fix it with the boyfriend or else you won’t be starting.”
Live Harry shifted uncomfortably watching the scene play out. “So you…
“Harry, don’t let this…’ but the memory played on forcing the two watching the memory to focus on it, abandoning their conversation.
Ginny gulped, looking terrified. “O…Okay
“I mean it Ginny. Either cut him loose or get him back. And if it doesn’t improve soon, I’ll cut you all together.”
Ginny’s expression flashed from concern to anger in a heartbeat. “I said I’d do it! Okay! I…”
Harry watching the scene fumed. “I can’t believe it! After all this time…the only reason you came back to me was to help your career!” He backed up several steps from Ginny in the memory and she could see the turmoil within him raging in his emerald colored eyes.
“Harry, wait a second. I…”
“NO! I just saw it! You only came back to save your career!” He nearly shouted. “I…I can’t believe it.” His voice fell off in cadence and volume.
“No, Harry I…”
“I’m done with this.” And with no further discussion he lifted his head and arms and pulled himself from the memory, leaving Ginny behind. Once he landed back in the kitchen he paced frantically, not able to control his surging emotions.
Ginny appeared moments later, flushed in anger. “Harry, please look at me.”
“I can’t stand to!” he barked. “You manipulated me completely, just like Dumbledore used to.” He strode across the kitchen to the French doors leading out to the garden, where the storm continued to beat down, thrashing the island in tropical fury.
“No I didn’t!” she exclaimed.
“I can’t believe it!” He pulled open the doors and walked out on her, into the raging thunderstorm. BOOM! A clap of thunder shook the house. Moments later lightning streaked across the sky making ground on a utility pole nearby, creating a shower of sparks as the transformer blew itself apart.
Harry strode back and forth in the garden, his magic barely contained. How many times could a man be betrayed he wondered. His mind clouded, and images from his past muddled his thinking. ‘Of all people, why Ginny?’ he asked himself. He kept pounding around in the garden, his trainers and clothing now soaked from the heavy rain. His vision became nearly non-existent as the water fouled his glasses.
The other, more logical and less emotional side of his brain forced him to interrupt his thoughts. ‘No, Ginny wouldn’t do that. She loves you, you know that.’ For a brief moment he concentrated on that thread of thought, and less on his feelings of betrayal. But his emotions raged back into control. More lightning flashed overhead. The raindrops, propelled sideways by the sixty mile an hour winds stung on his bare skin.
‘You saw it, in the memory. She only came back to you so she could play for the Harpies…You knew she’d choose quidditch over you…”
His wallowing in self pity stopped when sharp pains assaulted his left arm. He turned, expecting to see a dislodged tree branch banging his arm, but what he saw was an absolutely furious Ginny punching his arm as hard as she could accentuating each word as she spoke.
“You ARSE!” Punch. “You self centered git!” Punch. “Damnit you need to grow UP!” Punch.
He raised his hands to defend himself. The downpour matted her red hair into a darkened mass lying limply on her shoulders. The thin windbreaker she’d donned did nothing to protect her and she too was soaked to the bone, her sopping clothes hanging heavily on her shoulders and hips.
“She opened her hands and grabbed his arms as he struggled to release himself from her grasp. “Now that I have your attention!” she growled. “Don’t you dare, ever, I said EVER! Walk out on me like you just did. I will not stand for it and I don’t give a damn what kind of excuse you want to make for it! N-E-V-E-R, never walk away from me like you just did. Understood!”
Harry, after stopping his struggle, simply glared right back at her without saying a word. The rain continued to fall. CRACK BOOM! The white flash temporarily blinding them made each see stars, and the roar of thunder drowned out her tirade.
The despondent look in Harry’s eyes gave Ginny pause and she calmed down enough to catch her breath and released his forearms. “Harry, you need to come back in and finish watching this memory, please?”
Harry shook his head. “No, I…”
“Harry, you know how I feel about you, please come inside.” she held out her hand as an invitation.
Harry’s eyes met hers and he carefully clasped her hand, letting her guide him back into the house. Once inside she gently tugged him towards the kitchen saying ‘Accio bath towels’. Moments later a bundle of thick fluffy towels landed on the countertop and each took one to begin drying off.
“Harry, I’m so mad at you right now, but…”
“You! Well what about what I…” he interrupted her.
She placed a small damp hand on his arm. “Please listen. I’m furious, but I’m staying calm because I think you need to hear this. I love you. You know I do. In your heart you’re certain of it. What I don’t understand is why this has set you off.” She finished drying herself off and cast a drying charm on her clothing.
“Because you only came back to me to save your quidditch career.” Ginny cast the same spell on Harry, drying his clothes instantly.
“No, that isn’t true,” Ginny replied. “Let’s go back in and finish the memory.” Harry shook his head no. “Look, we’ve seen you being Harry hunted, got past the whole Dean thing, and we saw me after getting beat to a pulp. We can get through this one too. Like you told me several times through all this, just wait and see where it goes. Okay?”
This time Harry nodded. “Okay Gin, I trust you.” She slid her hand down to take his and led him back into Gwenog’s memory.
The memory picked back up from where they’d left it with Gwenog admonishing her youngest player. “I mean it Ginny. Either cut him loose or get him back. And if it doesn’t improve soon, I’ll cut you all together.”
Ginny’s expression flashed from concern to anger in a heartbeat. “I said I’d do it! Okay! I…understand what’s at stake.”
“Ginny, I don’t mean to be so harsh, but I have to look out for the team’s interests. If you need to talk, I’ll always have an open door for you. Just try to get this worked out, you have all the markings of a brilliant quidditch player, you just need to mature.”
“I really am trying. I’ve sorted some of myself out, but I’m not ready to go see him. I…I can’t yet.” Ginny said through a sigh.
“I drafted you, in spite of your small size, because I have never seen such raw flying talent. And when I saw your eye for strategy I knew you were the girl that could get us to the top of the league. I’ll give you some time on this, but the hourglass is running, understood?”
“Gwenog? Have you ever been in love?”
“What happened?” Ginny asked.
“I was a third year beater for Puddlemere and I was in love with a terrific man. He was strong, handsome, gentle…” Gwenog’s eyes misted, but only slightly, as she talked. “He proposed to me on the same day I got traded to the Harpies. His job was going to take him to Singapore, and we’d visited and I liked it, but I didn’t want to give up quidditch. I didn’t, I said no and we went our separate ways.”
“Do you ever think about him?”
“Not any more I don’t. I saw him; he came to a match when we played there one time. He had a wife and two little kids. The kids were getting into all kinds of stuff, grabbing papers and they were all sticky from eating sugar quills at the game, and the baby wouldn’t stop crying.”
Ginny’s expression softened as she thought about her, Harry, and little kids. Conversely, Gwenog’s expression hardened and she continued to speak. “Who needs it, I couldn’t wait to get away. I’m glad it worked out for him, but I belong here. Just like you do.”
Ginny swallowed thickly. “Isn’t Sandra married? She makes it work.”
“She does, but most of the girls find staying single lets them concentrate on the important things.” Gwenog explained. “Well, I have to keep making the rounds. Get your act together.”
“I will.” Ginny replied.
The memory faded into whiteness and the wisps of vapor swirled about.
Harry looked at Ginny sheepishly, “So after this, and her views on marriage and parenting, you came to find me anyway?”
Ginny, still somewhat perturbed from his earlier behavior, answered cautiously. “Not right away, this was about a month before I wrote asking to meet me. The next morning I sat at breakfast with Sandy and we talked about a lot of things. Not just marriage, but about kids, and the league, and the war…”
Harry nodded and stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. “I way over-reacted didn’t I?”
The rolling white vapor calmed, letting the next scene solidify around them. The Harpies team walked slowly towards the locker room, down the darkened tunnel that led off the pitch. The women, sweaty, dirty and tired from a rigorous workout, trudged ahead of Gwenog. As the first few players slipped into the Harpies locker room Gwenog called out, “Weasley, I need to see you in my office.”
Ginny turned. “Now or after I clean up?”
“Now, it won’t take long,” came the answer.
“Later Ginny,” Melinda said.
We’ll hold up a bit for you before we head to Marty’s for dinner,” Sandy added.
Ginny nodded and followed Gwenog into her office.
The office was large, but not huge and while it was comfortable it was well beyond cluttered. At one end a scale quidditch pitch stood by, with several sets of small players that were charmed to take instruction so formations could be flown and dissected. The credenza was stacked several feet tall with game notes and old copies of Quidditch Weekly, and from the way the stacks leaned Ginny figured it was only magic that kept the towering piles upright.
“Grab a seat.” She motioned to an armchair that was covered in papers.
Ginny slipped her wand from its wrist holder and levitated the pile to the floor by the credenza, before taking a seat.
“I wanted you to know that I’ve noticed a marked improvement in your practices lately, and other than the horrible game you had against the Cannons, have been flying extremely well during the games. You are up across the board on your stats.”
“Thanks, I’ve been training harder than ever the last month.”
“Yes, but you seem happier too. So I take it you fixed things up with the boyfriend? Good career move.” Gwenog gave an approving nod.
“We’re working things out and we’re mostly back together now. But I didn’t do it to help my career. I did it to repair my relationship with Harry. Just so you know.”
“Oh? I thought the team was your highest priority?”
“Yes and no. Harry…he promised that he’d support me playing. I don’t see why I can’t be happy with Harry and still be the chaser you and the Harpies need. And as you’ve already noted, I’m playing better now than earlier when I was trying to do it all on my own.”
“Ginny, I’m glad, thrilled actually about your relationship getting back on track. And your on-field work ethic has been exemplary,” Gwenog praised her youngest player.
“Thanks.” Ginny smiled.
“I saw you leave the quidditch roundup party with Harry, so you made up with him that night?” She peered guardedly across her desk to the young chaser.
“Not that night, we started to make up after our game against the Cannons. It took a couple weeks, and we still have issues, but we’re working on them together now.”
“Good, now pay attention here. If you continue to improve the way you have been. I may try you at the number three spot towards the end of the season.”
“Number three! That means I’ll call the plays!” Ginny said excitedly.
“That’s right. When you play you’re very unselfish. Even if you think you can score, you’ll pass to a team mate that has a better percentage shot. Not all chasers think like that. Caitlin and Sandra don’t for sure. I think moving you will make the offense more unpredictable and we’ll get a higher goal percentage.”
“If we use a modified Lykins formation on our left breakout we can draw the opposing keeper to the off ring!” Ginny blurted out.
“No that won’t…” Gwenog halted her objection mid-stream, mouth hung open. She snapped her mouth closed and wrinkled her brow in concentration. “Hmmm…you may be right about that. Good thinking.”
Ginny beamed at the compliment. “Thanks.”
“Whatever you and Harry have worked out, keep doing it. It’s got you playing better than you have all year.
“Caitlin says it’s the ‘special horizontal training’ that is helping me.” Ginny laughed.
“Well, she’d know.” Gwenog laughed too. “Seriously though, if that is what’s got you sorted out, then tell Potter to shag you rotten.”
“He pretty much wants to anyway.” Ginny blushed, not believing what she’d just said. “Never mind.”
“Go clean up, and if the Lykin’s formation maps out you can call it next week when you start at number three spot.”
Gwenog nodded and waved Ginny towards the door. Ginny left the office and the memory faded away.
“So is it our special horizontal training that makes you such a good player?” Harry teased.
“Maybe.” Ginny smiled but only for an instant. “We need to talk about earlier.”
“Yeah, I suspect we do. And I suspect I’ll be the one apologizing.” Harry looked over Ginny’s shoulder to the windows. Large raindrops continued to fall, and lightning could be seen across the sound as the storm continued to rage outside.
“I don’t want an apology per se. But I want you to tell me why after being together for two years, and married for another, you could so easily question my love for you. Harry, you questioning my love or motives to come back to you cut me to the bone. I’ll need to have a pretty good explanation to forgive what you accused me of.” Ginny watched Harry as she confronted him.
Harry sighed guiltily. “I…I don’t have an answer.”
“And that is not acceptable. We’re going to hash this out right now.” She took his hand and led him to the couch. She waved towards the mantle and muttered a charm. A fresh fire crackled to life in the fireplace, and its warmth spread quickly through the room. Ginny grabbed the afghan off the back of the couch and sat with it around her shoulders. She patted a spot between her legs indicating where she wanted Harry to sit.
Harry slid between her legs and leaned back into her warm chest. She wrapped her arms and the afghan around them, hugging him. She gave him a soft squeeze, whispering, “talk to me Love.”
“I’m sorry.” Harry’s voice was barely audible over the wind and thunder outside.
“I know you are, but what triggered the reaction?”
Harry settled back into Ginny’s comforting embrace, and she kissed the side of his neck. “It was just the shock of it I think. And I’m not sure why it affected me…but the way she ordered you to fix it with me…It never occurred to me that you’d patched things up with me just to keep your career.”
“But I didn’t Harry. When we got back together I said if it was a choice between you and the Harpies, you’d win.”
“And I believed it, and I guess I still do.”
“You guess?” Ginny challenged.
Harry sighed heavily. “I never doubted it until tonight.”
“And now you do?” Ginny replied, hurt ringing in her voice. “After all we said and did to get back together, you think it was so I’d play better?”
“Well wasn’t that why you said ‘no’ to me? So you could go play for the Harpies?”
“Harry, we have discussed this ad nausea. I needed the time to find myself, to figure out what Ginny needed, not what everyone else thought Ginny needed.”
“And in my heart I know it was for you, I do. But the voice that is hidden deep inside me and tells me to be careful, that warns me against letting me get my hopes up, that little piece latched onto my fear and pulled it right up to the surface.” Harry leaned forward away from Ginny and rested his face in his hands.
Ginny shifted forward too, wrapping her arms around Harry’s torso, resting her chin on his shoulder. “I didn’t know you still had feelings of doubt.”
“That’s just it, I didn’t know either. Gin, I have been so happy the last few years. I’ve never dared to dream I could be as happy as I am with you. And being married to you, seeing you as much as I can…I’ve never felt so much love.” Harry said in complete honesty. “So when that doubt exploded in my mind, I wasn’t expecting it and I reacted to it defensively.”
“I see…I understand, I think. You’ve always been at least a little defensive, and knowing how you were raised that isn’t a surprise by any means. But I’m surprised that the more common sense part of you didn’t stop it.”
Harry lifted his face and replied. “It tried to, but the doubt just smashed it back down.”
“So, maybe next time when the common sense part tries to slow down your reactions you’ll pay more attention, and listen to the doubt less?” Ginny asked gently rubbing her cheek to his.
“You think it’ll happen again?” Harry wondered aloud.
“Love, I think as happy as we’ve been, it will take a long time and a lot of love to overcome the insecurities those wretched Dursleys forced into you. But on the bright side, I think we have more than enough love to do the job right.” She squeezed him strongly.
“Gin…I love you…always.”
“Always…” she whispered huskily, pulling him back into her embrace, and layering soft kisses on his face and lips.
Write a Review Thirty-One Bottles: Bottles Twenty-Five and Twenty-Three