Chapter 3 : Haste
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He was young, much younger than Ginny had expected. He arrived just after sundown. Ginny could see him from her bedroom, which was a small quaint room on the second storey, that that had a marvellous and fresh view of the country side, and overlooked the garden pathway.
Ginny met Luna and Ralf down stairs, in the dining room. She took one look at his crisp clean shirt, travelling cargo pants and slightly worn in shoes and instantly knew it wasn’t possible that he was the son of the great Newt Scamander, as he was much too young. And far too handsome.
“So, you’re related to Newt… yes?” asked Ginny, attempting to sound less hesitant then she felt.
Ralf grinned broadly in response, running a hand through the waves of his dirty blonde hair, “yeah, he’s my grandfather.”
“Ah, okay.” Ginny made a quick mental note to tell Harry of this. Luna had prepared a beautiful meal for the three of the, which Ginny couldn’t help but thank her over and over again. The conversation was pleasant and Ginny thoroughly enjoyed the company, it wasn’t often she had the time to see some friends. With a small pang, Ginny realised it would have been made perfect if Harry was there.
“So where are you off to next?” Ginny asked Ralf, as Luna disappeared to fetch the dessert.
“India,” replied Ralf shortly, “The International Task Force has asked us to join them. They are having particular trouble with the Abominable Snowmen. It is greatly unfortunate that they have crossed over into India. Not only does India not need the extra trouble, but it is a health risk to the Yeti’s themselves. They can only survive in Tibet.”
“Oh,” Ginny said softly, no really a hundred per cent sure she understood all of what he said, but that had been the case all night, “that is unfortunate indeed.”
“So we are catching a porkey there in three days,” said Luna brightly coming back into the room, “I don’t think I have ever been so excited since father and I went to S to find Crumple-Horn Snorkacks.” She placed a slice of cheesecake and a dash of ice cream in front of them.
“That is exciting,” agreed Ralf, seriously. Ginny hid her smirk with a napkin, again sort of wishing Harry was there.
“Oh Luna, this looks delicious.”
“It does indeed, Luna is a spectacular cook.” Ginny couldn’t help but nod in agreeance with Ralf, Luna seemed to rival even Ginny’s own mother.
“So is it just you two?” queried Ginny, bringing them back to their previous conversation.
Ralf shook his head, “no, there are a few of us. Not to mention we will be collaborating with a few of the British people who are already stationed in India.”
Ginny spluttered, spraying ice cream back all over her plate, “Draco? As in, Draco Malfoy?”
Luna looked dreamily thoughtful, “yes. I don’t think Draco is a very common name, is it?”
“No, not really,” replied Ralf. Ginny stared at them both until Ralf took the hint and elaborated, “He’s been in India for a year now, didn’t you know?”
“No,” said Ginny bluntly, “what on earth is he doing there?” She was genuinely confused.
“India is doing poorly,” stated Ralf, “they need all the help they can get. It hasn’t managed to recover from the war as much as the rest of the countries who were affected by it. Many muggleborns were killed, and even more so harmed. And not to mention the rapid and unstoppable growth of Bundimun.”
“Bundimun?” said Ginny, never feeling so lost and confused in her life. Abnominal Snowmen? Malfoy? India? Help? Bundimun?
“Fungus,” explained Luna. Ginny’s nose crinkled at the very thought.
“So Malfoy is in India? What does he do?”
“He’s assisting in the camps, and trying to stabilise health and education,” said Ralf, slightly bewildered, his tone suggesting he would follow with, duh, if he was any less mature.
Ginny let out a shaky breath of laughter, “wow.”
She thought about how little she knew, and how lucky she was that Britain was able to get quickly back onto its feet after the defeat of Lord Voldermort. Although in a bizarre way, she felt like she didn’t deserve it. Why was it, that she was so lucky yet millions of others weren’t even half as so? What decided that? What made it fair?
“What has to be done there? What’s going on?”
“Well, what Luna and I will be doing, well that’s far out in the country side. Most are pretty much based on the outskirts of the city, where the unemployed linger and a few of the remaining Death Eaters too. That’s why Draco’s there. Most feel that since it was Britain who dragged India into the War, it’s up to them to get them out of the country-wide crisis. Italy’s not coping much better either come to think of it.”
“Britain dragged India into the War?” said Ginny, feeling a sense of dread and hopelessness growing upon her, “why don’t I know this?”
“You do,” said Luna, matter-of-factly, “every one does. We just don’t take the time to think about it much.”
Ginny gulped, she felt guilt and nausea overwhelm her. She had felt so tired and confused back in Reading. When really, she was so well-off. It made her sick to her stomach to think of how little she knew, and how much she had overlooked. How thoroughly lucky she was that Britain was able to get swiftly back onto its feet after the defeat f Lord Voldermort. Why was she of all people, so lucky? What decided that for her?
“What can I do?”
Luna smiled a small smile, “I thought you would ask that.”
Ginny drew back slightly, looking affronted, “what do you mean?”
“You’re a Gryffindor, Ginny. You’re noble and your just, I just knew you would want to do some thing…” she grinned at Ralf, “didn’t I tell you, Ralf?”
Ralf chuckled, “you told me Luna. Listen, Ginny, there’s a lot you can do.”
Ginny cautiously entered the flat. It was relatively hot for April, and she felt sticky and uncomfortable. The flat was in fair condition, she had expected worse. But hten again, she suspected Harry had done a last minute – or second – tidy up, newspaper; pens’ mugs and even a half eaten sandwich were crammed into the kitchen drawer, overflowing so that a drop of mayo looked close to falling to the floor.
There was a distinct clatter from the bathroom and Harry surfaced, looking jubilant. “You’re back earlier then I thought!”
“Yeah,” smiled Ginny cautiously, her heat hammering in her chest. “I thought it was best I came back…”
Harry’s smile dropped slightly, he looked slightly concerned, “every thing okay Gin?”
Ginny reassured him quickly, bringing her hand out to touch his own. “But I have some thing to tell you. Ralf – who happens to be Newts grandson, by the way – and Luna are leaving for India.”
Harry definitely looked concerned, and quite confused, his eyes followed Ginny as she let go of her bag, fiddled around with her gold bracelets, seeming to put off what she was about to say.
“And – and – I’m going too.” There was a short pause in which Ginny was certain a thousand years had passed. Then the corners of Harry’s lips lifted into a slight, unsure smile that made Ginny’s heart break.
“You’re kidding?” His words were soft and uncertain with a touch of humour that made Ginny cringe. He looked so small all of sudden; in his tracksuit and joggers; his hands dug into his pockets and his emerald eyes gazing directly at her. He hadn’t really changed from the gangly sixteen year old she fell in love with.
Ginny shook her head slowly, the ends of her pony tail tickling the back of her neck. “No, I’m not.”
Harry’s stare dropped to the ground and he lowered himself painstakingly slowly to the couch.
“Harry – ” her voice sounded pleading and desperate to her own eyes. “Harry, I’m sorry.” In one quick movement she was kneeling in front of him, her hands clutching his own. “I’m doing this because I need to.” Harry’s eyes met hers and she knew he was listening. Really listening.
“I’m not doing it to escape or run away from any thing,” she insisted earnestly, “I’m doing this for me.”
Harry nodded after a moment and cleared his throat. “I get it.” They looked at each other for a long time, it reminded Ginny of the way they used to gaze into each others eyes over the Weasley dinner table, those many years ago. Longingly. Lovingly.
How had so much changed?
Harry wrapped his arms around her, pulling her slowly and inexorably closer so she was seated next him, she clung onto him, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks as the reality of her decision finally hit her. Who knew how long she’d be gone for? Who knew when she’d be back in Harry’s arms again?
“I love you,” Harry’s voice whispered into her ear, “and I always will.”
Ginny nodded, her throat constricted with emotion, too tight to be capable of uttering a word in response.
Finally, she licked her lips and opened her mouth, deciding to give her voice a shot, “I – ” the first word crackled with emotion, “don’t know how long it will be…”
“I know.” Ginny gave a small smile which he returned instantly. “I’ll still be here, Gin. Waiting.”
Ginny’s eyes teared up again before she could scold herself for it, her heart was throbbing painful. It seemed unimaginable and impossible to ever overcome this pain. Voluntary pain, too. Ginny shuddered. “I will be back,” she said with determination that made Harry smile again, flinging her arms around him once again, burying her face into his jumper and breathing in his distinctly Harry-ish scent.
Harry’s palms gently ran up and down her back, smoothing over her knitted cardigan.
“I’ll miss you like crazy,” she mumbled, wary of the short amount of time she had left. She felt Harry nod.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this to you. To us,” she cried.
“It’s okay,” soothed Harry. “I understand.”
“You are perfectly amazing,” Ginny said, tilting her head up to look at him. Harry smiled, and kissed her.
A/N: thanks for reading :) i would really LOVE to hear your thoughts and opinions! good and bad!