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Chapter 12 : T.K.O
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Harry cupped his face with his hands and looked down at the note cards in front of him. He was tired and he had a splitting headache. He took his glasses off and ran his hands over his face, there was a knock on his office door before it opened.
“Minister,” Gail stuck her head in the office, “they’re ready for you.”
“Thank you,” she left him alone. He opened his top drawer and pulled out the bottle of aspirin. He took two pills and then pulled out a bottle of blue liquid. He uncorked it held his nose and downed its contents.
“Yuck,” he took his suit jacket from the back of his chair and pulled it on. He picked up his note cards and started for the door.
Harry had to step out of the way as the door to his office opened and almost hit him. “Sorry,” said Ginny, “I got held up at work,” she said tossing her bag and jacket on the couch and straightening her clothes. She looked up at him, “what’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing, just a bit nervous,” he lied.
“Oh… let’s go.”
The atrium was filled with the press. The speech was being broadcast live across the wireless network. Ginny took a seat behind the podium with the Ministry officials as Harry stood behind the podium…
Ginny looked pleasant as if she was listening intently although she wasn’t, she heard Harry mumbling the speech to himself for the last couple of weeks. Even though they aren’t speaking, when he left his note cards in the bathroom she couldn’t help but glance through them and perhaps write a few comments before she tucked them into his jacket pocket. Given the direction of the speech he took them.
When he finished she stood and applauded with everyone else. Harry motioned for her to join him and she crossed the stage and stood next to him. She allowed his arm around her and smiled as they were photographed.
They held hands as they exited the Atrium through the lifts. When the doors closed they dropped hands. They rode quietly to level one. They walked in complete silence to his office, when they were inside Harry closed his door behind them.
“Are you coming home or do you have something to do,” Ginny asked him quietly, as she gathered her belongings.
“I have some things I have to take care of but I shouldn’t be too long an hour or so,” he said positioning himself behind his desk.
“Have a good night,” she left him alone.
Harry knocked on the door to the bedroom he’s been banished from before entering. “I just need something from the bathroom,” he said to Ginny crossing the room. He went into the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. He sorted through the potions and the muggle medicines for more of the blue head potion. His head was becoming a problem and he would have to get more supplies.
They were taking this not speaking thing very seriously. Harry was determined not to be the one to break the pattern first. He would apologize and then he would say something to her and she would stop speaking to him again and they would be back where they started. So he was going to keep his mouth shut and wait for her to come around. They were getting ready to go the Defense League Scholarship Dinner and pretend all is well for the world.
“Are you almost ready,” Ginny shouted through the door.
“Just about,” he said uncorking a vile and downing the contents. He rinsed his mouth out and opened the door. “I need about ten minutes.”
“Okay,” Ginny said putting on the earrings Mark gave her for Christmas. They were glitzy and not her normal taste but he always said she needed to spice things up. She didn’t know why she was going through all the trouble to look nice. She didn’t care what people thought of her and it’s not as if her husband would notice.
“This is amazing, it’s a really great cause and being parents ourselves we support it immensely,” Harry told the reporter from the Magical Times.
“We encourage our children to talk to us and if they ever feel that they can’t, it gives me peace of mind that there is somewhere they can go,” Ginny added
She and Harry were putting on their marital bliss act at a fundraiser for a teen clinic. The key was to smile and stand close to together as if they were chummy.
“Thank you,” said the reporter before he walked away from him.
“Is there anyone else you need to talk to,” Ginny whispered to Harry, “because if not we should go I have an early day tomorrow.”
“We can go”
Ginny led the way from the ballroom. She wanted to get out of there. She hated pretending to be nice to Harry, she was so mad at him he didn’t deserve this. Is it really so much to ask for her husband to spend a little time with her, he put all this effort into being a leader but she was the one who was there for him. She listens to him, cares for him, loves him, sleeps with him, and had his children. It may be wrong of her but she thought that meant she deserved something.
When they were outside Ginny allowed Harry to put his arm around her and she smiled as they were photographed. When they got into the car there was a significant amount of space between them. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Harry take of his glasses and massage the bridge of his nose. She wondered what was wrong with him.
Ginny was preparing to the leave the house for work, she had got Lily off to school about twenty minutes ago and she assumed Harry left long before to be at the office by seven. She opened the front door and she heard a crash and Harry’s voice. He was swearing, she went into the sitting room and Harry was getting up off the floor. He was fully dressed as if he was wearing the same clothes as yesterday.
“What are you doing?”
“I over slept. I fell asleep on the couch no alarm,” he said running his hands through his hair.
“Are you feeling okay,” she said looking at his face, he was paler than usual and had large bags beneath his eyes.
“Fine other than now I’m late for work,” he shrugged, “you have a good day,” he walked passed her out of the room.
Ginny was flipping through a three-month old issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. These damn muggles, ten ways to keep your man happy and sex position of the day. Today’s required her to turn the magazine upside down.
She was waiting for Lily; she was getting her hair done at this muggle place she liked. It was her birthday so Ginny treated her to it and was going to take her to dinner afterwards.
She stopped flipping when she got to an article called ten ways to keep your man’s attention. It involved a severe change to your personal appearance and surprise sex. She wondered if this was really all it took. If it was true then she had been doing this whole marriage thing wrong for twenty three years.
She told Dee she was thinking about leaving him and that wasn’t the complete truth. She thought about thinking about leaving him, that was the truth but a night without a fight with Harry didn’t seem like a night worth having. Or perhaps it was but she wouldn’t know because she spends her nights fighting with Harry.
“What do you think?”
Ginny looked up at Lily, “wow, I thought you were just getting a trim,” the raven hair that had extended down her back was now just below her shoulders and she had bangs, “you look beautiful so grown up… go have them put it back this instant.”
Lily laughed as she ran a hand through her hair, “I thought it was time for a change and believe it or not I am growing up, because I’m sixteen today.”
“Don’t remind me,” Ginny closed her magazine and got up to pay for her daughter’s haircut.
“Can I have some wine,” Lily asked over her menu.
Ginny looked up at her and smiled, “it’s a special occasion so why not.”
“You are certainly in a giving mood today,” Lily said closing her menu. “I didn’t expect you to acknowledge my birthday at all.” They were sitting at a center table at a French Restaurant of Lily’s choice.
“You’ve been alright lately”
“Does this mean you’re going to end my surveillance?” She asked hopefully
Ginny chuckled, “don’t count on it.”
“Are you ladies ready to ordered,” the waiter came over. His hands clasped behind his back ready to remember whatever they say. They gave him their orders, “very good,” he collected their menus and walked away.
“So what’s the deal with you and Dad?”
“Then why is he sleeping in the guest room?”
Ginny sighed, “Lily there is nothing for you to worry about. What is and isn’t happening between your father and me, is none your business. It’s between us.”
“I was just wondering… we’re sitting in a cozy restaurant we’ve got wine on the way we could discuss men.”
“What do you know about men?”
“I think I know more about men then you do,” she laughed
Ginny hated to admit it but it was probably true and that scared her. “Your sixteen you shouldn’t know a thing about men.”
“I’m an old soul. I also like to have fun which is more than I can say for you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean,” Ginny said defensively
“You married your first love, the first one you were crazy about,” she explained, “and so young too. You didn’t live out your prime, shop around.”
Ginny smirked, “I found the right person there was no need but your father was not my first love.”
“Then who was?”
“I’m not sharing that with you”
“It was Uncle Dean,” Lily smiled knowingly. “I heard how upset he was when you and Dad got together a week after you guys broke up.”
“I will admit that was completely insensitive of me but yes Dean was my first love.”
“Were you mad when he got with Aunt Dee?”
“No,” she stopped talking as the waiter returned. “Thank you,” she said as he presented the bottle of wine and poured each of them a glass, then set the bottle on the table. “Our relationship progressed to a point where seeing the other happy was all that was necessary. Plus I absolutely adore Dee.”
“She is fabulous,” agreed Lily, “you should really take notes from her.”
“Hey, I’m your mother”
“I know which is why I feel it my place to let you know that you need a makeover… badly.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, “anyway… miss love guru when’s the last time you’ve been in love?”
“I never said I was a love guru more like man guru. Since Dad’s not here either he’s really mad at you or it’s me,” she looked down at the table.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just that his absence on my birthday is either because you two can’t be around each other right now or I’m just too much of a bad seed that it’s not worth it.”
Ginny sighed, “Your father’s just busy he got tied up at work, him not being here has nothing to do with us. It has nothing to do with him punishing you either he’s just busy.”
“Oh,” Lily took a sip of her wine.
“Lily how do you feel about your father being Minister”
“It’s great, it’s an honor and I’m proud of him,” he said nonchalantly.
Lily rolled his eyes, “I don’t like being followed, and I’m not talking about Ben. I mean before that when security followed us without telling. Like the way they watch Al and James, you can feel their presence but it’s so intrusive. My last name is Potter so people are going to intrude no matter what but they’re obvious about it with the flashing cameras and asking personal questions. It’s better than Dad allowing people to tail us.”
“I’m sorry about that but he’s a higher profile figure than he was before so it’s necessary. But we should have told you about it instead of allowing them to do it.”
“Daddy is so private and it’s just hard to wrap my head around the fact that he lets our lives be invaded.”
Harry found it hard to pull himself up the stairs, he was exhausted. He noticed the door to the room he was exiled from open. He stopped in the doorway and looked inside. The room was empty, he wondered where Ginny was. He went across the hall to look in on Lily. He found Ginny as well, they were asleep. He watched as Ginny put her leg over Lily to keep her from rolling out of bed.
He wondered what happened. He was going to leave and that’s when he noticed the half eaten slice of cake on the nightstand. He couldn’t believe he forgot, it was Lily’s birthday or at least it was yesterday because it was after midnight.
He continued down the hall to the guest room. He wondered what they talked about and how they celebrated. It bothered him that he didn’t know, she was his daughter. Lily may be a pain but she was his pain and he loved her.
He disrobed and put on his pajama’s, he opened the top drawer in the night stand pulled out the bottle of aspirin he took two pills and then left the room for the bathroom.
It was after midnight when Harry dragged himself into the house. He dropped his stuff at the door and went down into the kitchen to make tea. He had a mild headache and he knew it was only a matter of time before it would escalate. So he was going to have chamomile, aspirin and then dump himself into bed. When he got down into the kitchen Ginny was down there. She was sitting at the table doing some work.
She looked up at him, “hi.”
“What are you still doing up,” he asked preparing his tea.
“Just doing some work,” she answered paying attention to what she was doing.
Ginny listened to Harry behind her moving about the kitchen. She wondered if he even knew what yesterday was, if he was even sorry for missing it. She put down her pen and turned around in her seat, “yesterday was Lily’s birthday.”
“She thought you weren’t around because you were mad at me. When I told her that wasn’t the case she immediately assumed it was because of her.”
Harry looked over to Ginny, “that’s ridiculous. You told her that wasn’t why I wasn’t with her.”
“Yes I did but it would probably be better coming from you. Just don’t tell her you forgot.”
“I didn’t forget,” Ginny eyed him knowingly, “okay so perhaps I did.” The whistle on the kettle went and he lifted it off the stove. “I didn’t mean to, I just got tied up but I got her something weeks ago.”
“That’s not the point, Harry you can’t forget about our kids.”
“I know… have a good night,” he took his tea and went up stairs. His head ache was fully developed now and he was frustrated, if he stayed down there any longer he would end up in a fight and he didn’t feel like it.
He climbed up the stairs to the guest room. He opened the top drawer of the night stand and pulled out a container of aspirin. He took two and then took a sip of his tea. He went over to the cabinet, he reached up to the top shelf and pushed a box out of the way to reveal a box wrapped in pink paper. He pulled it out and went down the hall to Lily’s room. He knocked then opened the door without waiting for a response.
Lily was sitting up in bed her face hidden behind a magazine. “Happy Belated Birthday”
Lily lowered the magazine, “thank you,” she said as a look of surprise appeared on Harry’s face. Lily grinned, “You don’t like it,” she asked tucking her hair behind her ear.
“No it’s nice, it looks good on you.” He crossed the room and sat on the edge of her bed, “I want to apologize for not being able to come home on your birthday. I had some things I had to take care of at work. I never want you to think that if I don’t show up for you it’s because of something you did. You drive me crazy but I love you just the way you are. Okay,” she nodded, “this is for you.” He handed her the box.
Lily tore the paper from the package and opened the box. There was a blue box inside that said Swarovski. She opened the box. There was a purple crystal lily on a silver chain. “It’s pretty,” she said taking it out of the box.
“You like it?”
“Yes, thank you,” she hugged him.
“Good,” he kissed her, “have a good night,” he got up and left her alone in her room.
Ginny and Mark had just attended the Wizarding Stage Actors Guild Awards. It was one of the biggest events in the wizarding entertainment world which meant a whole lot of after parties. Which Ginny had no intention of attending, she had been at work all day. Then had to do a quick change in her office to make it to the red carpet by seven and then spent the next two hours listening to overly peppy people give themselves a pat on the back for jobs they were paid to do.
She was invited to several parties but she gave her invitations to Mark. Wahid the hit wizard he meant when they were in Nairobi was visiting and she insisted that he take him and show him a nice time. She even threw in a chauffeured car for the night. All she wanted to do was curl up in her bed and go to sleep.
She could hear the wireless on in the sitting room. Lily and Raleigh were in there giggling about something. She went into the room…
“Hi Mrs. Potter,” smiled Raleigh, she and Lily were each sitting on an end of the couch facing each other with their feet up.
“Hi Raleigh, how are you?” Ginny asked relieving her feet of her shoes.
“I’m fine thanks, how was the stage actors guild awards,” she asked politely
“It was interesting, why weren’t you there?”
“I’m not important enough to get invited, they’re willing to take my dues but I can’t attend one of the most important events in the industry,” she said getting a bit red in the face.
“I’m sure you’ll make it there one day,” encouraged Ginny, “besides you didn’t miss much.”
“Only Lola Connors win best Actress and announce on stage that she wasn’t wearing any knickers,” laughed Lily, “we were listening on the wireless.”
“I suppose that was a reason to be there. You two have a good night,” she turned to leave the room.
“Mum,” Lily called after her, she turned back to her, “Dad’s upstairs.”
“He is,” Lily nodded. She had this look on her face. It concerned her greatly it seemed as she was worried.
“Yeah he came in like three hours ago and went up to bed, he said he was tired,” Lily turned her attention back to Raleigh
Ginny left the room and went up stairs. She went pass her bedroom and headed to the guest room. She had a suspicion that his early return home had something to do with the way he’s been looking lately.
She opened the door, the light from the hall illuminating his body. He was fully dressed, shoes and all, lying on his side with his back to the door. “Harry,” she said softly. He didn’t move a muscle Ginny crossed the room to the bed, “Harry,” she shook him and he just groaned. “Harry what’s wrong?”
“I’m just so tired,” his voice was low and weak.
Ginny immediately became concerned, she placed a hand on his forehead he was warm. She then placed the back of her hand on his cheek.
“I think he’s sick,” Ginny looked over to the portrait of Phineas, “he just came in and collapsed.”
“Thanks Phineas how about you head back to Hogwarts before I put you in the closet,” she sneered.
“Moth balls and dust particles to eat away at your canvas.” He stuck his nose in the air and disappeared from the frame. Ginny turned back to Harry, she moved to the end of the bed and began to untie his shoe laces and pulled them off. He had been working extremely hard, seven days a week from seven in the morning until midnight sometimes later. It was about time it caught up with him. She peeled his jacket off.
He rolled over, “why are you helping me?”
“Because I love you, you git,” she undid his tie, “plus I think you’re sick.”
“No, I’m fine I just need a good night’s sleep.”
“And a visit to the healer,” she said getting him striped down to his under shirt and boxers, “get under the covers.”
“No healer,” he whined
“Go back to sleep,” she said pulling the covers up around him. He looked terrible, so weak and she wanted to do something for him. It pissed her off greatly because she was busy being mad at him. Now all she wanted was for him to feel better.
She wandered back to her room to get herself ready for bed. The strange thing about being in hers and Harry’s bed alone was that it wasn’t strange. She was usually asleep when he came home and up and out before her, so she was use to it. When you’re married that’s a terrible thing to get use to.
She changed into her pajamas and went back to the guest room. She carefully climbed into bed with Harry as not to disturb him. She lay on her side facing him, watched his forehead crinkle, his brows furrow, and his eyes twitch. The first thought should have been pain but she knew he was probably thinking. He was insane to take on such a challenge. She reached out and gently stroked his hair and ran her finger along his scar.
Harry slowly opened his eyes his head was throbbing. As he focused his eyes he noticed the person next to him. Ginny’s big brown eyes were open and staring at him.
“Good morning,” she said, “how are you feeling?”
“My head is killing me,” he sighed, “I’ve been taking aspirin like its candy and drinking blue head potion like pumpkin juice and I have yet to be relieved.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“A few weeks”
“Weeks and you didn’t say something.”
“I just have so much to do which is why I have to be getting up,” he closed his eyes and rolled onto his back.
“You’re not going anywhere Mr. Hammond will be here in half an hour,” Ginny said sitting up. “I’ll tell Gail not to expect you today.”
He tried to sit up but he couldn’t do it, his head felt huge. “You can’t do that I have a bunch of meetings this morning and afternoon, and I’m delivering a speech for something this evening, I’m not really sure what.”
“I can do the speech and I’ll go over your meetings with Gail. I can probably take some of them.”
“Ginny you don’t have to do that.”
“I know,” she sighed, “but I’d rather you rest, I’m going to go get dressed,” she climbed out of bed.
“Ginny,” he called her before she left the room, “have you been in here all night?” She simply nodded and continued out of the room.
The door bell rang at Grimmuald Place and Ginny went downstairs to meet the healer. “Hello Mr. Hammond,” Ginny said greeting the man who was collecting his things from the inspection tray.
“Hello Mrs. Potter, it’s lovely to see you again,” he shook Ginny’s hand. “So where’s our patient.”
“He’s upstairs whining like a big baby,” she said leading the way down the hall and upstairs. She opened the door to the guest room.
“Hello Harry, what seems to be the problem,” he asked opening his bag on the night table.
“I’ll just leave you guys to it,” Ginny said preparing to leave the room.
“No,” Whined Harry trying to sit up. “I want you to stay,” he never liked seeing healers or doctors anything medical. He didn’t want someone to tell him he was dying.
“Lie back down,” she insisted as she took a seat in the chair near the door.
“So what’s been going on Harry,” Mr. Hammond persisted
“Absolutely nothing, I’m just a bit tired.”
“He has killer headaches, his body aches, and he works seventeen hour days without a break,” Ginny informed the healer
“Is this true Harry,” Mr. Hammond eyed him.
“No… yes,” he sighed as the healer began to poke and prod him, “I have so much to do if you could just give me something I have several meetings this afternoon.”
“Harry I’ve been your healer for years and you seem to retain stress like no one I’ve ever meant. Given your current condition a meeting is the last thing that should be on your mind. If you don’t take it easy you won’t be going anywhere ever.”
“I want a second opinion”
“No one can function working seventeen hour days! Have you been taking anything?”
“Aspirin and that blue headache stuff.”
“I’ve told you before not to mix muggle and magical medicine.”
“I’m sorry I’m Minister for Magic and I don’t have time to be sick!”
Ginny came into the house from giving Harry’s speech, she spent the late morning and afternoon in the meetings of Harry’s that he didn’t have to do himself. She agreed to put herself through this so he could rest. When she entered her home the quiet she hoped to find was not there. The young man whose name she didn’t know who had crashed her date with Harry last month was standing in her entry hall talking to Lily.
“Hello Mrs. Potter,” he smiled at her as he walked passed her into the sitting room.
“Hi,” she said hanging up her jacket. She stuck her head in the sitting room there were a few other people in there working but Harry was nowhere to be seen.
“Lily where’s your father and why are you flirting with a Ministry officials,” asked Ginny.
She laughed, “He’s upstairs and I was not flirting, that’s Roger he’s an assistant not an official. He’s only nineteen he was in my house we were just catching up,” she ran upstairs.
She looked into the dining room. There were a bunch of people in there as well. She rolled her eyes and went upstairs. She supposed this was Harry’s way of listening to his healer and staying in bed. But she did not take his meetings to make room for him to take more, “Excuse me,” she said to get pass the two people who were talking in the hall. She went over to the guest room and the door was open.
Harry was sitting up in bed, there was a guy sitting next to the bed talking to him and Gail was sitting at the writing table.
“Ahem,” Ginny cleared her throat
“Hi darling,” smiled Harry, “how did the speech go?”
“Fine, Harry what are you doing”
“I had some work that needed to be done and I’ve been sentenced to my bed so everyone had to come to me,” he explained, “Gail can you have Mel bring me the financial report please.”
“Yes,” answered Gail getting up and leaving the room.
Ginny crossed her arms, “You’re supposed to be resting.”
“I am,” he said sorting through the papers in his lap, “life would be so much better if my desk chair was as comfortable as this bed. I would get so much more work done.”
“Alright, please just don’t have these people here too late,” she turned and left the room. She couldn’t believe this. She was worried about Harry and wanted him to feel better and all these people were not going to help with that. She was mostly wanted these people out of her house, she knew they would be there all night.
Ginny turned to look at Lily before she went into her room. She was leaning out of her bedroom, “Yes darling.”
“Can you imperturb my door please. I don’t understand how politicians can make so much noise. I would do it myself but I’m not allowed to use magic. I would prefer not to have a repeat of earlier when Dad had Gail come tell me to turn down my wireless,” Lily explained.
“I’m sorry about all this. But no, I don’t want you hatching plans to sneak out. You can sleep in my room.”
“Fine,” she went back into her room and came back out with her favorite pillow under her arm. She went into her mother’s room; Ginny followed her in and closed the door behind them.
Ginny couldn’t get to sleep. She decided to go check on Harry to see if he was asleep after his in house office session. She slowly climbed out of bed as not to disturb Lily, she grabbed her robe from the back of the armchair and pulled it on. She cautiously opened the door and went out into the hall; she heard voices and knew they were still in her house. She closed her robe and tied it as she went to the guest room where the door was still open. There were four people around the bed. Each had notepads out and talking about something…
“Ahem,” Ginny cleared her throat, “it’s time for you gentlemen to go.”
“We’re not done yet,” said Harry
“I know dear but if they’re here how am I supposed to climb into bed with you?” She said seductively making everyone in the room feel uncomfortable.
“Good night minister”
“Feel better,” the men began to gather their things and hasten from the room.
“Thanks a lot Ginny,” huffed Harry, “we were making real progress.”
“Did you take your medicine?”
“Take it and go to sleep. I’m going to make sure you’re colleagues are out of our house,” she turned to leave.
Harry slowly opened his eyes. He was feeling better but not one hundred percent. He let his head fall to the side and his eyes landed on Ginny. He didn’t realize she came back, he wondered when she snuck in. She was fast asleep lying on her side facing him. She was still in her robe lying on top of the covers. He sighed, he missed her. He sat up
“Where are you going?”
He looked down at Ginny, “I’m just going to run to the loo” he swung his legs off the side of the bed.
“If I were to ask you to do something for me would you do it?”
Harry lowered his head, “what would you like me to do?”
“I want you to stay home from work and do not bring the work to you. I just want you to relax.”
Harry sighed, “I can’t do that, I really have to go in today.”
“You’re job has taken a physical toll on you and it’s only going to worsen but I really need you to be healthy. I need you not to be in pain because it bothers me.”
Harry turned around towards her, “I want to stay for you, I don’t want to hurt you but I’ve got some really big things going on this week. My office has been crazy.”
“Fine, forget I asked” Ginny sat up and climbed out of the bed, “you have a good day at work, don’t forget James’ art show is tomorrow night,” she left the room.
Ginny stormed through the halls of the ministry. She wasn’t going to let this happen, she didn’t care who he was meeting with or what he was doing. There was no way Harry was getting out of this.
“Hello Mrs. Potter, he’s in conference with…” Ginny didn’t let Gail finish and barged into Harry’s office. His chair was in front of the fireplace and he was talking to someone. He looked over to her when the door opened. He held up a finger to silence her before she said anything.
She walked up alongside him and looked at whom he was talking to, “Ah Mrs. Potter,” the head in the fireplace smiled noticing her presence.
“It’s nice to see you again President Hardenberg,” she smiled back. “I need to barrow Harry for a moment.”
“Excuse me,” Harry got up from his chair and walked to the other side of the room with Ginny. “What’s going on?” He asked quietly.
“James’s art show is what’s going on.”
Harry sighed, “I told you I couldn’t make it I’m going to go see it during the week.”
“This is probably the most important night of his career, you can’t miss it,” she hissed.
“I know this is important but I have to handle this,” he explained, “I’m sure James will understand.”
“Yeah he’ll understand but you told him you would be there. I never want our children to think you don’t care,” she said seriously, “you can cancel on me and stand me up all you want but you will not do it to them!”
“Lower you voice,” he whispered, “I cannot leave right now.”
Ginny glared at him, “you can either willingly get your jacket and walk out of here with me or the President of magic for the United States is going to witness me physically drag you out of this office!”
“Ginny you don’t understand if I leave this meeting I’ll lose some of my authority.”
“Is that a no,” she crossed her arms.
“OW!” The door to the Minister’s office opened and Ginny came out pulling Harry by the ear. Gail and Harry’s security watched in confusion as Bobby and Knox traded small smiles in pride. “Gin let go!”
“I gave you a choice and you choose to do this the hard way,” she proceeded down the hall towards the lift. This was ridiculous it was like dealing with one of her children. The doors opened and they got on.
“You can let go now,” he said through clinched teeth
“Not until we’re in the car and speeding away. I’m not giving you the chance to make a run for it.”
“I’m not going to run for it,” he said trying to loosen her grip but had no luck. The lift doors opened on the garage and they got off. Knox opened the car door for them and Ginny let go. She eyed Harry sternly daring him to try and get away. He climbed into the car and she got in behind him. “I can’t believe you did that? You barely talk to me and when you decide to it’s to drag me through the Ministry!”
“You could have just come willingly but you decided not to”
“Ginny, I can’t just leave like this! I don’t know what I’m supposed to say or do to make an excuse because I have to do this,” frustration consuming him, “I love you and I love our children but I don’t know what I am going to do. I do care, I care so much, I did not want to cancel tonight but what choice did I have. As much as I want to be there for my family our world is also my family now as well! As talented as I think James is whatever he’s created is not as important as diplomatic ties!”
“Perhaps you should have thought about that before you decided to run for Minister,” she crossed her arms and looked out the window. This was a hard situation because Harry was right and although she was proud of her country. Her first concern was her family. She never wanted her children to feel like she does.
The car pulled up in front of their house, a few moments later the door opened and Lily and Al climbed into the back with their parents.
“Al you came home to support James,” Harry said surprised to see him.
“Not really, break starts tomorrow.” He said as if it was obvious, “it was either take the smelly train or the comfortable Mercedes.”
“Oh, that’s right it is that time of the year isn’t it.”
“This is quite a turn out,” Ginny said as they entered the gallery full of people. She looked around for James but she couldn’t find him anywhere.
“It’s about time you guys got here,” said Dean as he and Dee approached. “If you wanted to buy something you’re probably going to be out of luck most of the pieces sold. I just spent the last thirty minutes in a bidding war with this Japanese guy.”
“Why I’m sure James could just whip you up something free of charge,” offered Lily.
“He may have to because I didn’t win,” he was terribly disappointed, Dee patted him on the shoulder comfortingly.
“It would have been great in that space at the top of the stairs,” said Dee.
“Who are all these people,” asked Al, “why are they here for James? No offense to him but this is his first show.”
“Where is he anyway,” Ginny looked around again.
“We haven’t seen him in awhile but your parents are in the back, your father is confusing the hell out of the curator with inquiries about frame suspensions,” explained Dean.
Harry massaged his ear and sighed, “I’m going to find James.” Harry made his way through the crowd, this really was something especially since no one here knew James’s name. He passed the cheese and champagne buffet although he was tempted to grab a glass he resisted.
There was a small hall off the gallery. There were a couple of offices and a bathroom. The door at the end of the hall was cracked a bit and peeked inside there were a set of dark stairs. He looked around before going in and closing the door behind him. He went down the stairs and as he got lower and lower the room filled with a dim light.
He stopped at the bottom of the stairs. James was sitting on a stool in the middle of the room his back to him. The room was filled with crates, paintings, and sculptures. “James what are you doing?”
James turned around, “well at the moment I’m wondering what you’re doing here. I didn’t think you’d actually show up.”
“Change of plans,” he said approaching him, “but I couldn’t help noticing that you’re hiding in a basement, when there’s a huge party upstairs to celebrate you.”
James sighed, “It’s too much… I don’t know who any of those people up there are. I thought this was a small gallery but apparently their mailing list is quite extensive and they got all these people here for an unknown… Or it could be that they didn’t cheap on the champagne as an extra incentive.”
“I’m sure that helped but you’re really talented I bet when they showed up they were pleasantly surprised.”
“It’s a lot to contemplate. I mean yesterday I was nothing and today… I’m almost sold out,” he smirked
Harry nodded in understanding, “I’ve heard Dean is very upset that someone beat him to his desired piece.”
James smiled slightly. “It’s amazing isn’t it? People spend years training and honing their craft. I left school declared I was a painter and two years later here I am standing in the basement of a gallery who may just want to represent me.”
“I suppose you lucked out.”
“I did but the thing about art is it can be over in an instant.”
“That can be said about so many things but you can’t dwell on that now. You just have to push forward and take it one step at a time.”
“You’re full it”
Harry laughed as he patted James on the back comfortingly, “Of course I am but come take me through the exhibit I have to go back to work”
When Harry and James returned upstairs, James was immediately swept away by admirers and Harry left to view the artwork alone. He spotted Ginny across the room talking to her mother, she didn’t look too pleased. She was probably bothering her about something. He made his way towards her but stopped where he notice Lily talking to Teddy and Victoire.
Harry took the glass of champagne out of her hand, “you know you’re not supposed to be drinking.” He turned to Victoire and Teddy, “it’s so nice of you two come and suppose James.”
“Not really he sort of said he’d kill us if we weren’t here,” laughed Teddy.
“He can be a bit overdramatic can’t he,” agreed Harry.
“Yes he can, we’re hosting the after party at our place if you’re interested,” said Victoire
“I’m so there,” said Lily
“As much fun as that sounds I actually have to go back to work and Lily you need to check with your mother on that. If you’ll excuse me,” Harry continued on to his destination.
“Ah Harry,” Mrs. Weasley immediately embraced him.
“Hello mum, how are you,” he hugged her back.
“Don’t worry about me, I heard you were ill. Are you alright,” she pulled back and took hold of his face to examine him.
“I’m fine really, I just took a day of rest is all,” he explained wishing she would let go of his face.
“If anyone deserves a good rest it’s you,” she said letting go of him.
“I don’t know about all of that, I think Ginny here could use one.”
“Nonsense,” Mrs. Weasley waved a dismissing hand, “she doesn’t run around as much as you. Not as if she has to worry over the children anymore them not being at home. Except for Lily but given the length of the dress she’s wearing her well being is not the first thing on Ginny’s mind.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, “mother let me worry about my children.”
“She looks like prostitute”
“She does not,” Ginny defended
“Where’s Arthur,” Harry changed the subject not wanting this to turn into a fight.
“I believe he’s still talking to the curator,” answered Mrs. Weasley.
“Why don’t you go stop him from pestering the poor man mother?”
“Ginny can I speak with you over here for a moment,” Harry said stepping away from Mrs. Weasley, Ginny followed him.
“That woman can be so infuriating,” Ginny sneered when they were alone.
“I know but there’s no need to get into it now. Anyway I should be going,” he handed her the glass of champagne, “I confiscated that from Lily.”
“You spoke to James.”
“Yes I did”
“I am sorry about this,” he tried to kiss her but she turned her head.
“Whatever, I’ll see when I see you,” she walked away from Harry back into the crowd of people. She downed the champagne that he had given her and went over to the refreshment table.
“The champagne is much better here than at that Kofio Omo exhibit,” Dee said joining Ginny at the table.
Ginny took a sip, “yes it is,” she agreed. “I know he’s my son but I don’t think the art is bad so why the good champagne.”
“According to Dean this is a respected gallery, he thought it was a misprint when we got the invitation.”
“I can’t believe all this is happening,” she turned away from the refreshment table and took in the scene of trendy Londoners. She noticed Al talking to a couple of people rather animatedly, she couldn’t make out what he was saying but he could discuss muggle art with the best of them. He was well versed in everything.
“It’s wonderful… have you thought more about what you told me.”
Ginny looked around before she answered to make sure her children or parents weren’t in earshot. “No it was just one beer too many.”
Dee glanced at her out of the corner of her eye, “good… let me know if you need me.”
She looked at her watch, turned back and placed her glass on the table, “I should go find Dean. We have to go relieve the sitter. Tell James everything is beautiful.”
“I will, thanks for coming,” said Ginny as they traded kisses.
“Have a goodnight”
“Mum,” Ginny turned to Lily, “Can I go to Teddy’s after this? He’s throwing James an after party.”
“If Al goes”
“Oh come on mum,” she whined, “you know he’s not going, he’s just going to go home and read.”
“Well then I suppose you’re not going.”
“Ugh,” Lily huffed off to the other side of the room.
Ginny watched as she pulled Al away from his conversation and begin to badgering him. Someone wrapped their arms around her shoulders from behind, “thank you mummy.”
Ginny smiled, “for what.”
“Coming,” James said letting go her and moving around to face her, “Getting Dad to come.”
“I didn’t do anything, he wanted to be here.”
“Yeah right,” said James in an unbelieving tone, “anyway, I want you to come meet the gallery owner. Only say good things about me I want an offer.”
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