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Chapter 2 : Midnight Musings
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After a day that was nauseatingly similar to the previous one, as the clock struck midnight and Ginny apparated home from the Clover, her feet aching and her head pounding. The warmth and chaotic mess of the her apartment was immediately such a blanket to her endless, busy day and its subtle power was overwhelming. Her legs felt weak by its impact, and her heart felt suddenly significantly heavy, Ginny collapsed onto the weathered couch, tears threatened to fall.
The prevailing feelings over the last few days, the exhausting emotion that she couldn’t go on like this any longer had reached its final peak. She was waiting. But she was tired of waiting, waiting for some thing that she didn’t even know what it was. She couldn’t explain why, but she knew that some thing was coming. Four years ago, she could patiently sit it out, spending those years working; whether it be pet stores, book shops, nurseries, supermarkets, children’s stores, pubs, hotels, cafes… an endless list. The thought of facing even just another day felt rapidly unbearable, a death sentence.
The light in the bedroom she shared with Harry switched on. Ginny straightened herself into a sitting position on the couch, and swiped wildly at the sign of tears. It was only a moment before he appeared next to her, his black hair dishevelled more than ever and his eyebrows crinkled in concern. Ginny felt his question. She saw it too, flickering in his eyes.
“It’s nothing,” she managed, her throat tight. The moment she saw the light turn on in the bedroom, she immediately felt the sudden need for Harry’s comfort, to have him sitting by her side, his arms around her… but now that he was here, she wished she could be alone for the first time all day.
“Would you like some tea?” Harry asked.
Ginny snorted meanly. Then scolded at herself, he was just being nice. She knew she must have looked a mess, and the tears were entirely out of character.
She sighed, and looked up at him, he was still sitting there, but he looked put off by her moodiness. Ginny shrugged apologetically. “I am just exhausted.”
Harry’s expression softened, “I know you are,” he said in a soothing voice, his hands gently running up and down her arms, “you’re always, always working.” Ginny didn’t miss the hint of bitterness in his voice. The annoyance was back instantly, and she moved away, shuffling into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
It was Thursday, and Ginny’s twenty-first birthday was only forty-eight hours away.
“Maybe you should take a break,” suggested Harry still from the living room, “you know, take a weekend away.”
Ginny summoned the sugar, falling silent while she thought. A weekend away wasn’t a bad idea, she would able to take a short break, and find the energy to get back on her feet when she returned. It was her birthday afterall. “Would you be able to get the weekend off too, Harry?” It would be ideal. They could go to Manchester where they could stay in Luna’s country house. The pounding in her heart began to dim.
She wandered back into the living room, stirring her tea and sliding back onto the couch next to Harry. He looked uncertain, running a hand through his messy locks, but said; “I’ll have a talk to Samuels tomorrow and see what I can do.” Ginny fought down the bubble of hope that had wounded its way into the pit of her stomach. Hope just lead to disappointment, she told herself firmly, leaning back into Harry as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
I tried Gin, I really did. Samuels says it’s a particularly busy weekend, as there has been some confidential tip-offs in the Head Department. I am sorry, love.
Don’t let this stop you, contact Luna and make arrangements as soon as possible. We will have to go out for dinner at that favourite restaurant of yours when you return.
As disappointment flooded Ginny, she hastily attempted to push it away. She hadn’t expected him to come. She knew it wasn’t Harry’s fault, she knew he was working under pressure and she had accepted early that being the girlfriend of an Auror meant little one-on-one time. They would be lucky to have that romantic dinner he suggested within the month.
Ginny was at Hopscotch, and no one had entered the doors for two and a half hours. Sighing, she pulled out a piece of parchment and sat down at Mr Narky’s (that wasn’t his real name, Ginny had just always referred to him as that) desk. A weekend alone wouldn’t be that bad, after all. Perhaps she’d actually get some sleep for once. Dipping her quill into Mr Narky’s expensive green ink, she began to pen a desire to spend the weekend in Luna’s country home and sent the letter off with Harry’s owl.
It was not until midnight that Ginny received a response, having apparated back to the flat, opening the door only to notice an even larger amount of owl droppings then usual. Patting the unfamiliar jet-black owl on the head, Ginny opened the letter addressed to her in Luna’s characteristically curly writing.
It was so lovely to hear from you! As a matter of fact, I am back in England for the week and staying in the Manchester house myself. If you like, a visit from you would be more then pleasant. I have much to tell on my adventures with Ralf Scamander in Cambodia.
Ginny lifted herself up onto the kitchen counter, her legs dangling. Her insides squirmed uncomfortably. A weekend, with Luna? She thought immediately at first a no. But now she was already thinking differently. She loved Luna and because of this, she would be able to cope with a whole weekend of listening about Crumple Hornsnacks or whatever the hell it was, as well as this mysterious Scamander person. The name sounded vaguely familiar.
Harry appeared in their bedroom door way dressed in boxes and a t-shirt, his eyes sleepy and abnormally bright without his usual pair of glasses. “You coming to bed, Gin?” he asked, wandering over to fetch himself a glass of milk.
Ginny nodded, absent-mindedly passing the note over to him as he closed to fridge door. Harry glanced at Ginny curiously before reading the letter a loud.
“Scamander?” Harry’s eyebrows rose in amusement, “isn’t that Newt’s son?”
Ginny scratched her head the itchiness was growing, but she dare not tell Harry she thought she might have nits; she would have to remember to ask her mother for the treatment potion that killed them instantly. “Who is Newt?” she asked bluntly, unashamed that she was often terribly clueless.
Harry smiled, leaning next to Ginny on the counter, “only all of the Care of Magical Creatures textbooks were written by him.”
Comprehension drawled across Ginny’s features, “ah okay. So that explains why she’s with him. She’s doing very well as a naturalist.”
“Does that surprise you?” asked Harry.
“No, not all,” said Ginny truthfully, she always knew Luna had big things ahead of her.
“I always thought Neville and Luna would make a good pair,” said Harry conversationally, running a hand through his mop of hair, “Plants and animals. And all that.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. Harry obviously didn’t realise how naïve he sounded to “all that”. “Neville’s practically engaged to Hannah Abbot.”
Harry drew a sharp breath, “really?”
Ginny frowned. On the rare occasion that they had time together, the wee hours of the morning, when they weren’t chasing after remaining Death Eaters or serving customers, they were chatting blandly about other people’s lives? Ginny jumped off the counter, straightening herself to stand next to Harry. “I’m going,” she declared with a new certainty in her voice, “I’ll leave tomorrow and be back by Monday.” She really needed this break.
Harry had a lopsided smile on his face as he stared down at her. He kissed her, “I’ll miss you,” he said.
Courtesy of Harry’s help and not-so-fabulous packing skills, Ginny was ready to go.
It was eight o’clock, and Ginny had sent notice to all her jobs. If they had a problem with her absence, Ginny quite frankly didn’t give a damn. They could fire her for all she cared.
Harry was just on his way out to the Ministry.
Ginny stared at him. They’d been in such frenzy all morning, what with Harry having been late for work and Ginny preparing to leave for the weekend, that it felt strange to take a pause to actually appreciate him. A bag in hand, ready to apparate, Ginny smiled at her boyfriend and Harry smiled back, wrapping his strong arms around her, squeezing her tightly.
“Have fun,” he winked, kissing her briefly on the lips, “and I’ll see you soon.”
“Yeah, soon,” replied Ginny with a grin, and within the next second, the two of them had apparated in very different directions.
Ginny’s feet touched the stone steps of a large, beautifully whimsical cottage house. She steaded herself, despising apparition and clutching onto her bag tightly. She only caught a glimpse of the cornflower blue sky, blur of colourful garden and the red front door before an exclamation filled the air and suddenly Luna was trotting towards her in a sort rushed skip and engulfing Ginny in an unyielding hug.
Luna’s long dirty blonde hair hung low, and swung slightly with her movement. Her face was flushed with excitement and her skin glowed with an unfamiliar tan. The wide, exuberant smile on her face was contagious.
Ginny grinned back at her, taking in the sight of a friend she hadn’t realised she missed so terribly the last years. “Luna, how have you been?”
“Fantastically wonderful,” state Luna matter-of-factly immediately; her wide, pale eyes shining brightly. She grabbed Ginny’s hand, pulling her up the stoned pathway, “we are going to have so much this weekend. I am so glad you came.”
“Me too,” said Ginny sincerely, trudging behind the blonde girl, amazed by her grace and lightness, and still clutching onto her bag. “I look forward to hearing about Cambodia.”
"Oh yes! And Ralf is coming over for dinner tonight. You will like him. He’s very nice.”
“I can’t wait,” replied Ginny, feeling genuinely earnest for the first time in a long time.
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