Chapter 8 : Chapter 8
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A quick note before you begin: I know that some of the characters are acting very out of...character...at times. I know Ginny wasn't always a lazy bitch and Harry wasn't always a prick (even Ron had a drink to ease his suffering, which hasn't been commented on). I'm not saying this is exactly how they are in the books. To be honest - no one knows how they acted in the nineteen years between the end of the book and the epilogue. They all went through he war and experienced terrible things. I'm NOT saying that my portrayal of them is what they would act like, but we don't know how everything affected them.
So please, if you do read this, take it with a grain of salt. This story is meant to be entertaining (which I hope it is!), and this is just my rendition of the darker times for the couples. And don't worry, some things get worse, but some things get better!
A week and a day after Ginny left Grimmauld Place, Harry found himself slinging Teddy’s bag, filled with a few toys, diapers, and a change of clothes, over his shoulder before turning towards Ron and Hermione. “I guess I’m ready,” he said.
Ron’s eyes shifted around the room, as if he didn’t know what to say. Things had been a little bit awkward since Ginny had left, as if she were the glue that held everything together. Harry knew this wasn’t the case, and that he was more than capable of living with just Ron and Hermione. But he still felt like something was missing.
“It’ll be fine, Harry,” Hermione finally said, stepping forward. Ron nodded, and it made Harry feel a little better. They were getting ready to leave to the Burrow for a dinner to celebrate Fleur and Bill’s pregnancy. Harry hadn’t even spoken to Ginny since she left.
“Ready, Teddy?” Harry asked, sending the young boy into hysterics. Harry had gotten into the habit of saying the phrase every time they left to go somewhere, just because it made him so happy.
Teddy looked quite content to roll around on the floor and laugh all night long, so Harry was forced to go to him to lift him up. “Hold on tight,” he told the child, who still had a smile on his face. With one last raise of his eyebrows to Ron and Hermione, they all three turned in place and Disapparated.
After taking a second to find their bearings, the three friends, with baby in tow, made their way across the Weasleys’ sprawling, snowy grounds towards the lopsided house that was the Burrow. It was sort of strange visiting in the winter. Harry was used to spending long summer days with various Weasleys, playing Quidditch in the sun before eating supper outside in the balmy evenings. Now, the cold wind whipped his face as he hugged Teddy closer to himself. Between the snow and the gray skies, it looked as if there was little color left in the world, to him, at least.
They were greeted warmly by Mrs. Weasley, who treated Harry no differently than she usually did. Mr. Weasley gave him a stern look before he broke into a smile and offered his hand. By the time the frenzy of greetings had died down, and Harry had said hello to every male Weasley member, Teddy had been whisked out of his hands, along with his bag, and was already playing on the ground with Charlie. So many people loved Teddy and wanted to play with him that when Harry brought him to the Weasleys, he barely saw him.
Harry was standing in the living room with Ron and Hermione when Ginny came down the stairs. The rest of the family had made their way into the kitchen, and Harry was thankful for it because the air was tense. Ginny hugged Ron and Hermione hello, and the four of them stood awkwardly.
“Well,” Ron finally said, “I’m pretty hungry, actually.” Hermione nodded frantically, and the two slipped out of the room.
“Hello,” Ginny said. Harry was happy to see that she still looked like…Ginny. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but he had heard of stories where couples broke up and one person went crazy by sleeping with different people every night, and the other got all depressed and sad and stopped eating and sleeping. Ginny still looked as she always did, though.
“Hey, Ginny,” Harry said, meeting her gaze. At least they could still make eye contact without ripping each other apart. Ginny took a step forward and put her arms around Harry. It wasn’t in a desperate, take-me-back sort of way. It was purely friendly.
As she leaned in to him, he placed a purely innocent kiss on her cheek. As he pulled back, he felt her hair flutter against his face and noticed that she still smelled the same. After a few more seconds of eye contact, Harry had to clear his throat. “I guess we should go eat,” he said.
“Definitely,” Ginny replied. They heard an outcry from the kitchen, followed by a shriek of laughter from Teddy and a “No, no! On the plate, Teddy!” from Mrs. Weasley. The pair smiled to each other before heading in.
Ginny sat mostly in silence during dinner, observing the various conversations going on around her, which she didn’t mind. She could listen to one of George’s jokes and laugh, then turn to make a funny face at Teddy, then listen to Ron and Bill bickering about the best Quidditch players in the league.
She tried to avoid looking at Harry throughout the entire meal. She was mostly successful, but sometimes she could help but take a peek. She studied his face from a few seats down, acting as if she was listening to Fleur explain to Molly how easy it is to get along with goblins once you’ve gotten to know them. She knew Harry’s face so well. She could picture every detail of it with her eyes closed. She knew every freckle, every hair, even the slightest of wrinkles. Now, she wasn’t sure what she knew.
She wasn’t even sure whether she missed him or not. When she had first gotten back to the Burrow, she refused to speak to anyone about it. She just told them that she was back and that was that. Once she finally talked to Molly, though, the anger subsided and the sadness took its place. She knew that where their relationship had been was definitely not where she had pictured it going. She did miss living with him, and being able to see Ron and Hermione all the time, but she didn’t miss the fighting. On one hand, she was completely heart-broken. On the other hand, she was relieved.
Once dinner was over and the kitchen cleaned, the family made their way into the living room, lounging across various chairs and even the floor. They were just talking and laughing until a pungent smell flooded the room. “WOAH!” screamed George, putting his hand over his nose and mouth. “Teddy, how did you create that!?”
Everyone went back and forth between laughing and gagging. “This is nothing compared to some of the things you created,” said Mrs. Weasley.
George made a face as if he was offended, and the older Weasleys started to tell embarrassing stories about the younger ones. “Come on,” Ginny said quietly to Harry. “We can change him in my room.”
Upstairs in Ginny’s room, Harry laid Teddy down on a towel on the floor to change his diaper. Ginny loomed over Teddy’s face, sticking her tongue out and going cross eyed. He was always fussy when it was time for a diaper change.
When Harry was done, Ginny took the dirty diaper to the bathroom while Harry redressed Teddy. When she came back into the room, Harry was laying on the ground next to Teddy, who was on his stomach playing with a toy. She sat down next to Harry, who had his hands resting underneath his head.
“So, how are you?” he asked. He looked up at her and she could tell that he wasn’t just asking to be polite, he actually wanted to know how she was doing.
“I’m doing okay,” she replied. She laid down about a foot away from him, mimicking his position. “You?”
“I’m okay,” he replied. They laid in silence for a few moments before Harry blurted out, “It’s weird…sleeping alone now.”
Ginny smiled in agreement. “It is,” she said. Not another word was said between the two before they decided to take Teddy back downstairs, about fifteen minutes later. They just laid flat on the ground, looking up at the ceiling of Ginny’s room. Harry took and arm from behind his head and laid it down in between them, palm up. Ginny responded by gently putting her hand in his. She knew there was a reason that the two of them worked so well together, they just had to find it again.
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