Chapter 7 : Chapter 7
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Hermione placed her make-up mirror on the living room table alongside a steaming cup of coffee, pulled up a chair and started work. She had about an hour before Robbie arrived. She had called him almost as soon as she returned from Diagon Alley. It was the last night of his leave, and he had been going out with friends, but he had changed his plans without a second thought.
In her dressing gown and with only her lipstick to do, Hermione swallowed the last of her drink. She had nearly finished with the lipstick when a loud crack made her twitch violently and drag a red line from the corner of her mouth to her chin. It was obvious to her that someone had just arrived by apparation. She took her wand and grabbed a tissue and went into the hall, only to meet Ginny, wand in hand, coming out of the kitchen.
“Ginny! What are you doing here, what do you want?”
“Expelliarmus.” said Ginny, and caught the wand as it flew from Hermione’s hand. “It should be obvious Hermione. You’ve just broken my brothers’ heart and I want to know why.” She pushed past Hermione into the living room. Seeing the makeup on the table she remarked “Going out?” She examined the lipstick and other make up products on the table.
“Yes as it happens. Is there a problem with that?” Hermione was trying to sound defiant.
“No, you’re young, free and single. What problem could there possibly be?” Ginny sat on the sofa. She looked around the well-apportioned room. “This is where you grew up is it?
“Yes, it is.” Ginny looked at a photo frame on the wall. It contained a collection of family pictures. She stood and went for a closer look and pointed to one of a pretty little girl of two or three sitting in a pushchair.
“Is that you?”
“You sound surprised. You know I’m an only child.”
“Cute.” Ginny was calm and in control, “Is it true what Ron said, that you are going to give up magic and live as a Muggle?”
“Yes.” She wished she felt as confident as her answer sounded.
“Who would have thought that this beautiful little girl would grow up to be an idiot. Just shows you never can tell.” Ginny returned to her seat.
“There’s no need to be insulting Ginny. It won’t do you any good.”
“I’m not here for my good, I’m here for yours.” Hermione stared as Ginny picked up her handbag and opened it.
“What do you think you’re doing, put that down.” Ginny gave a practice swish and flick with Hermione’s wand.
“You won’t be needing this, can I have it? I always thought it was better than mine.”
She rummaged in the bag. “Have you got any Galleons? They’ll be no use to you either so I might as well take them too.”
“Ginny, stop this now!” Ginny stood again and turned with a furious look on her face.
“No Hermione, you stop this now!” Hermione stepped backwards, astounded by the vehemence in Ginny’s voice. “You’re acting in a completely stupid way. You upset me and I had a go at you, and because of that you dump Ron and sod off to live with Muggles. I don’t get it. Please explain it to me.” Hermione paused and sighed,
“I wish it was easy to explain Ginny but it’s not. I shouldn’t have kept on making those remarks to
you. It was out of order and I’m sorry, and maybe I did over-react when you hit back.” She stopped for a minute. “Since I’ve been here I’ve had my first real look at Muggle life for nearly ten years, and Ginny, I like it.”
“I suppose a new boyfriend helps. Is he taking you out tonight, is that what all this make-up is about?”
“Yes. Robbie should be here in half an hour or so.” Ginny relaxed back on the sofa, making herself comfortable.
“Robbie, nice name, tell me about him, I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
“Meeting him? You’re not meeting him. I’d like you to leave.” Hermione realised that she was not in control of the situation, and she did not like that. Not one little bit.
“I’m not leaving, and you can’t make me. I’ve got your wand, remember? So come on tell me about Robbie. What job does he do?”
“He’s a marine.” Hermione’s sullen expression contrasted with Ginny’s smiling face.
“A marine? What’s a marine?”
“A kind of soldier, but it seems it’s an insult to call him a soldier. I’m not sure why.”
“Where is he taking you, or did you plan to stay here and… ‘take a break’ perhaps?” She looked Hermione in the eye.
“Ginny don’t you dare suggest that. You have no right…”
“Neither did you Hermione, neither did you.” Ginny interrupted angrily. She continued, “Don’t worry though Hermione I’ll behave myself. Although it was my mouth that got us into this situation in the first place, I’ll try and control it, I’m sure it will be fine.” There was the hint of a threat in her voice. She looked at Hermione and softened her tone, “Hermione, listen to me please. You have spent the last two years risking your life fighting Voldemort and the Death Eaters. So have I and hundreds of others and we won. We won, Hermione. How can you just turn your back on all that? Someone called you ‘the brightest witch of your age,’ who was that? I forget.” She hadn’t really forgotten.
“It was R…Remus.” The last of Hermione’s defiance drained away.
“Oh yes, that’s right. Well, he’s dead so he doesn’t count, Tonks too I suppose.” She tried to sound casual. Hermione looked aghast,
“Ginny, that’s a horrible thing to say, and so unfair.” She was fighting back her tears. Ginny’s voice was quieter now, but somehow more forceful in spite of that.
“Unfair! Unfair! They died Hermione. They gave their lives to make our world a better, safer place. They fought for the same cause as you did. Do you remember little Colin Creevey. He was on your side too. How old was he when the Death Eaters killed him? You didn’t see Oliver Wood carrying his little body back into the castle, but I did. He was well underage and he shouldn’t have been there. He was that dedicated and it cost him his life.”
“Ginny stop it please.” The tears were flowing now. Ginny stood up.
“Not until you see sense. How many more names do I have to remind you of Hermione? Because there are lots and you’re insulting every one of them. There was one among them that was very, very dear to me. His memory still is. I’m not going to say who because I would find it offensive to use his name in this particular conversation with you.”
“I… know who… you… mean…” said Hermione between sobs. Ginny hadn’t finished,
“Quite frankly Hermione at this moment I’m as ashamed to know you, as you should be ashamed of what you are doing. I’m beginning to feel glad that you dumped Ron. The Hermione I’m looking at isn’t he one he’s in love with and she certainly isn’t worthy of him.” Hermione buried her face in her hands and sobbed bitterly.
“Stop it Ginny, please.” Ginny wasn’t going to let go, she could feel she was winning.
“Careful Hermione, you’ll ruin your makeup and Robbie can’t be far away now.” Hermione looked up, her eyes were red and thin streaks of black mascara ran down both cheeks. “I don’t understand why you are crying, could it be that you know I’m right?”
“Ginny, what am I going to do? I can’t go back and face Ron.”
“Well definitely not looking like that you can’t. Clean yourself up and come back with me, tonight, right now.” A brief silence reigned. Trying to do it gracefully, Hermione capitulated.
“Alright, I’ll come with you,” Hermione sobbed, “but what about Robbie, I can’t just……”
“You leave Robbie to me. I can’t do memory modification but a little confundus won’t hurt him.” She pointed through the living room door into the hallway, “Now you get upstairs, wash your face, tidy your hair and don’t come down until I tell you. Go!” As Hermione reached the top of the stairs there was a knock at the door. Making sure that Hermione was out of sight, Ginny opened the door an inch and pointed her wand through the gap. “Confundus.” She muttered. She opened the door fully and smiled sweetly. “Yes, can I help you?” she asked politely of the young man with a bemused look on his face. She looked approvingly at Robbie Wow, he’s certainly a looker. Look at those eyes, she thought.
“I’m sorry, Jennifer doesn’t live here, you must have the wrong address.”
“What… oh yes… er… well I’m sorry to have disturbed you.” He turned and walked back down the path. Up in her bedroom, Hermione was watching from the window. Fresh tears came unbidden.
“Robbie,” she whispered at the retreating figure, “Robbie I’m so sorry… please forgive me.” She turned and went into the bathroom. In the living room Ginny repacked Hermione’s handbag, made sure the doors and windows were locked, turned off the lights and went upstairs. Hermione came out of the bathroom and into her bedroom. Ginny was looking around. Pink flowery wallpaper and lacy bed linen was not her style she decided. She handed Hermione her handbag.
“Nice room.” she commented wryly, “Lots of books I see. No surprise there.”
“Thanks, I was very happy in here as a child.” Ginny pointed at a large poster on the wall,
“Who’s that?” Hermione almost smiled, looking at the picture,
“That used to belong to my Mum. I forget his name and it's not on the poster. Weird eh. He was a musician. Best the world has ever seen, Mum says. I quite liked the music as well.”
“He’s got the same glasses as Harry. Right, if you’re ready, let’s go.”
“Ginny I’m only wearing my dressing gown. Just let me get dressed.” She turned towards her wardrobe but was far too slow.
“Nope. We are getting out now. I don’t want you changing your mind. I’ve got bras and knickers to spare. We’ll come back later to pick up your things and clear up. We are going now.” She grabbed Hermione’s hand, turned on the spot. They thumped to the ground outside the back door of the Burrow. The sound brought Harry and Molly outside.
“Ginny you did it, you brought her back.” He was cut off as Hermione threw her arms around his neck and buried her face in his neck.
“Harry I’m sorry, I’m sorry”
“Ahem!” said Ginny, trying to sound like Dolores Umbridge. “Excuse me but…” Hermione let go of Harry.
“Sorry Ginny, he’s all yours.” said Hermione, reaching for Molly and hugging her instead. Harry and Ginny embraced too. They moved inside and Molly prepared hot drinks for them.
“Where’s Ron?” said Ginny.
“I passed his room about ten minutes ago. He was snorting like a volcano.” said Molly.
“Leave him,” said Ginny emphatically, leaving no doubt that she was still in charge, “Hermione’s emotionally knackered, she needs to rest before she’s ready to see him. I’ll take her up and put her to bed. Then I’m going as well. Don’t say anything to Ron in the morning. I think Hermione will want a chance to make herself presentable before seeing him.” They finished their drinks. They were just leaving when Harry spoke,
“Ginny well done, I’m proud of you.”
“Me too Ginny,” said a smiling Molly, “me too.”
Harry and Ginny met at the breakfast table. As they ate she told him the brief version of what had happened the evening before. She gave him just the bare bones, leaving out details of the conversations. “What do you think she was doing?” he asked, “It seems to me that there has to be something more than just her row with you.” Harry’s comment made Ginny think.
“I don’t think so. I think initially it was just what I said to her, and that she would have come back in a week, but meeting Robbie interfered with her plans. She hadn’t reckoned on a romantic entanglement.”
“She wasn’t serious about him, was she? I mean she didn’t love him did she?”
“Maybe not Harry, but it was not far off. He’s a seriously attractive guy, and I think she came very, very close.”
“It’s probably a good job you went when you did then, another twenty four hours and who knows how it would have turned out.” Ginny thought she knew what would have happened, she did not, however, give it voice. Then she said,
“I think it would be a good idea if there was no one else here when they come down. It’s going to be hard enough for them, they don’t need onlookers. What do you think Mum?”
“Good idea boss.” said Molly jokingly. “I’ve got some laundry to do anyway.”
The kitchen was deserted when Ron came down. He wasn’t looking his best. He hadn’t shaved for three days and his hair looked like it hadn’t seen a comb for a year. Deep shadows under his eyes completed a not very attractive picture. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at the table with the cup cradled between his hands and his head bowed.
“Hello Ron.” said a familiar voice. His head shot up and his jaw dropped,
“Hermione.” he whispered, unable to believe his ears. His manner changed abruptly “What are you doing here?” he said gruffly, “Come for the rest of your stuff, have you. Don’t let me keep you.” She came and stood beside him.
“Ron, please will you hold me. I’ve been stupid and I’m sorry.” Her eyes began to well up, she was sick and tired of crying.
“How did you get here?” He said in an offhand manner.
“Ginny came to see me last night. She told me a few home truths, they hurt, but she was right. So I came back with her. Ron will you please just hold me or tell me to go away. If that’s what you want, I’ll do it. But I really want to stay, I love you. If you want to think about it I’ll wait upstairs.” she turned and went to go back to her room. Ron stood up.
“Hermione!” She turned as Ron’s arms encircled her “you’re not leaving me again.” She went to speak but was prevented by Ron’s mouth on hers.
“About bloody time too.” said Harry as he came in from the garden a couple of minutes later. The clinching couple finally came up for air. Ron looked at his friend.
“Thanks Harry, where is Ginny?”
“She’s in the garden, I’ll get her.” Harry turned for the door.
“No that’s OK, we’ll go out there.” Just then Ginny came in, and seeing the two of them with their arms around each other, said,
“All sorted then? Thank heavens for that.” Ron went to his sister and gave her a hug,
“Thanks sis. Great job.”
“Just make sure I haven’t wasted my time. OK.” The severe look in her eyes was softened by the smile on her lips.
“You got a deal.” said Ron, “Come on Hermione, let’s go for a walk.” As Hermione passed Ginny she looked into her smiling face,
“Don’t you dare!” she muttered quietly.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” murmured a grinning Ginny in reply.
That afternoon the two girls went back to Basingstoke to clear and clean the house. Harry and Ron, not fancying housework idled around the Burrow doing nothing. Molly soon put a stop to that. The girls returned just before dinner.
“We thought you would have been back long before this,” said Harry, “just how dirty was that place? You’ve been gone nearly five hours.”
“It wasn’t that dirty.” Hermione answered indignantly. “What do you think I am, a slob or something.”
“No of course not, I was just…” Ginny intervened.
“Only took an hour to sort everything out, then Hermione took me into Basingstoke to show me around. We went shopping and bought… well we bought some stuff.”
“Show us what you bought then.” said Ron reaching for the bag she was carrying. Ginny jerked the bag away.
“Mind your own business.” she said sharply. A smiling Molly quickly worked it out.
“Ron there are certain items of shopping that young ladies don’t show young men. So let’s just leave it at that.” Ron looked at Harry who just shrugged his shoulders.
“Sorry mate, can’t help you. I haven’t a clue either.”
Ginny unpacked the shopping in her room. Having been astounded at the choice of underwear in the Muggle shops, she could not resist borrowing some money from Hermione and buying some. She opened three of the packages and put the contents away. The fourth package she did not open, but stared at the picture on the front of a girl wearing the contents. She could feel the heat rising in her face as she imagined herself wearing the same thing. She knew exactly when she would wear it. This was what her husband would see when she took off her wedding dress. She placed it carefully at the back of a shelf in the top of her cupboard.
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