The ball was never going to end, Harry was certain of that. Witches and wizards floated around on the dance floor while Harry did his best to remain out of the way. Horace Slughorn had seen Ginny and had snatched her up to talk to Gwenog Jones. At first Ginny had looked pained, but from what he could see now, she was actually starting to look excited.
Harry sidled over to where Fleur was sitting alone and sat down. “Hey, are you feeling any better?” he questioned.
Fleur sighed heavily. “Non, I ate something zat deed not agree weeth me. Bill is checking with the house elves who prepared the food. Veela are not supposed to have a certeen type of fruit, and I am afraid zat I ate some in the tart. If eet had been my grandmother, she could have died, but as I am only part Veela, it will just make me feel sick.”
“Oh,” Harry said, thinking back to Ginny’s earlier comment about Fleur being pregnant. Guess she’s not, he thought, thankful that he hadn’t said anything about a baby. He didn’t know much about women, but he could guess that they did not like being mistaken for being pregnant when they weren’t.
Bill came striding back to the table, a grim expression on his scarred face. He held out a hand for her. “Bad news, Fleur. The tarts did have agave in them. We’re going to take a trip to St. Mungo’s.”
“No, Bill. I will be fine,” Fleur protested.
Bill shook his head. “I’m not taking any chances with you,” he said solemnly.
Fleur smiled faintly and nodded. She stood, and Harry could see that she wobbled on unsteady legs. Harry instinctively stood but Bill had her. He thought Bill was right to insist, and it seemed now so did Fleur. She leaned into him and they walked away.
Hermione hurried over to him. “What’s wrong with Fleur?”
“Uh, agave I think Bill said.”
Hermione’s face instantly contorted with deep concern. “Oh no! Are they going to St. Mungo’s?”
He nodded. “She didn’t want to, but she doesn’t look well.”
“No, agave is very dangerous for Veela’s, although I suppose because she’s only part Veela that she’ll have a better chance of recovering quickly.” Hermione said quickly as she looked around and smiled. “This is a good party, otherwise. I saw Ginny over with Slughorn and Gwenog Jones. Do you know what that’s about?”
“No, I was dancing with Mrs. Weasley when he dragged her off.”
“I wonder,” Hermione mused.
Ginny was not happy to have been snagged by Slughorn. She’d never liked the man or his pretentiousness. The second he’d walked over he’d told her that he’d heard that she and Harry were married. How on earth had he know?!
“Which means, of course,” Slughorn said jovially,“that you won’t be returning to Hogwarts. It’s a shame, Miss Weasley- well I should say, Mrs. Potter. You are a fine student, but an even better Quidditch player, and the school will miss you. That’s really what I wanted to talk to you about and also reintroduce you to Gwenog. Tryouts for the new Harpies reserve team will be held in a week’s time, and I thought you might be interested in speaking to her about getting a tryout slot. She’s not seen you play, but she trusts my judgment and was excited to- Ah Gwenog!”
All of that was said while he dragged Ginny by the elbow over to where Gwenog had been standing.
Gwenog smiled haughtily, but politely enough. “Horace has been telling me about your playing. He says you’re good.”
Ginny tried to force more than a tight lipped smile, but it wasn’t happening. “I am good. I’m a decent Seeker, but an good Chaser, for a Hogwarts’ team anyway.”
“You’re being too modest, Ginny!” Slughorn admonished. “She’s excellent,” he assured Gwenog.
“We have tryouts next Thursday,” Gwenog said. “If you would like a chance, be at our practice field in Holyhead at 7am sharp. If you’re late, you don’t get a chance.”
Although Ginny disliked Slughorn’s maneuvering, especially because she was sure it was for his own gain, and he’d call on her for favors someday, she still felt a flutter of excitement creep into her belly. Her favorite Quidditch team, and she was being given a chance to tryout… “I’ll be there.”
“Good,” Gwenog said, although she didn’t actually seemed pleased, merely bored. “I once saw Potter play. If he were a woman, I’d have put him on the team in a heartbeat.”
“He is very good,” Ginny agreed.
“Still, I believe we’ll have a decent team this year. It’s a rebuilding year as we lost two players. One was killed, and the other had a baby.” Gwenog said ‘baby’ with the same tenor that most people would use to say ‘death eater’. Ginny had to stop herself from laughing. “How long have-”
Whatever Gwenog had been about to say was interrupted by a cry from the far side of the room. Ginny spun and saw a Patronus streaking straight for Harry. She didn’t stop to think, just ran straight for him along with several Order members and most of her family.
“Under attack!” the owl said in what Ginny realized was Andromeda Tonks’ voice. Ginny felt her heart freeze.
Harry seemed to take in everything instantly. “We have to go to Andromeda. She’s under attack.”
“Let’s go” and “move” were shouted around her.
She made to follow, but Harry stopped her. “Go home.”
“No! I want to-”
Harry shook his head once, his intense green eyes staring hard into hers. “I need you at home. Hopefully.” With a fast, hard kiss to his mouth he was running towards the hall which would allow them to Apparate out of the Ministry.
Ginny was stuck between livid and defiant. She couldn’t believe he’d ordered her home, and couldn’t believe even more that she was half considering following his orders! It was galling, but… but Andromeda was under attack.
Teddy was in danger. It stopped her cold. That little baby should not be put in harm’s way, not anymore. She would go home and wait as he asked.
Almost in a fog, Ginny made her way quickly to the hall and from there Apparated to Grimmald Place. She opened the door and went straight for the kitchen. Kreature wasn’t there, so she set about putting tea on for herself and anyone else who may floo in.
The fireplace sprung to life, and she moved swiftly over to see someone spinning out of the floo. Harry stumbled out carrying a bag and a crying Teddy. He dropped the bag and handed her the baby. “Andromeda is hurt.”
He was gone a second later, back into the floo.
Ginny looked down at the squalling baby and choked back a sob. She hoped fervently that Andromeda would be all right.
She heard Kreature’s voice ask her if she needed any help and she asked him to get some cloths so she could clean Teddy up.
“Is there anything Teddy could sleep in?” She asked and heard him say there might be a cot up in the attic.
She cuddled the baby to her shoulder, shushing to calm him. She snagged the bag that Harry had dropped off the floor with the hand that wasn’t holding the baby to her shoulder. She plopped it on the scarred kitchen table to search through it. To her immense relief she saw the containers that meant Harry had grabbed the breast milk for the baby. She’d need to increase the quantity but for now it could go safely into storage. After thanking Kreature for the cloths to clean Teddy off, she asked Kreacher to take care of the milk and then see about the cot.
Ginny felt sick all the way to her toes. If Andromeda was really hurt… and what if they hadn’t gotten Teddy away in time? She swallowed past the lump in her throat and kissed is downy blue head. She hoped Harry was all right.
The floo flared to life again and she turned in her seat, only slightly disappointed to see her mother. She half rose, but her mother motioned her back into her seat. “Thank you, Kreature,” she said, taking the cup of tea from the elf.
“You’re welcome, Missus. I goes to see about the cot now.”
Ginny thanked him again before turning towards her mother. “Mrs. Tonks?”
“I got a message from your father. She’s at St. Mungo’s, and they’re patching her up. She may be there for a few days but she’ll be all right.”
Ginny let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. “Harry?”
“I don’t know, dear. The Aurors are all looking for whoever attacked the house. Your father said it was a horrible mess, but expected it could be put to rights well enough.” She reached a hand over and patted Ginny’s cheek. “Would you like me to keep Teddy?”
“No,” Ginny answered firmly. “I need to do this, although I certainly would welcome the help.”
They worked together to put Teddy to bed and Ginny asked a lot of questions. As predicted, Mrs. Weasley fawned over the cloth nappies saying how they would be lovely on her grandchildren, whenever it was that she had them. Ginny put Teddy’s cot in their room, and her mother taught her a monitoring charm so that she could hear Teddy if he cried.
They quietly made their way back to the kitchen. It was nearly 2 am, and she knew her mother was staying because they hadn’t heard from Harry yet. “You can go, Mum.”
“I don’t mind staying.”
Ginny hugged her, reveling in the familiar feel and smell. “I know and thank you. I’ll floo in the morning and let you know how it’s going, all right?”
“All right, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said. With another quick hug and a kiss to the cheek, she was gone.
Ginny sat down at the table, in the silent kitchen to wait.
A/N: Thank you for your patience. I had my third 2nd trimester miscarriage in the past few months and it's been difficult to get much done. I'm going to try to push through and get this story finished soon.
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