Chapter 11 : Chapter 11
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Ginny was up early. She had training all day, so she had forced herself to get up at the first sounds of Syrinx’s low hooting. She heaved herself up in the large four-poster bed, swerving her body to sit with her legs dangling over the side. She looked behind her to see Harry sprawled in sleep across the other side of the bed, his body turned away from her, one foot protruding out from under the covers to face the bitter cold of autumn in the old house.
She blinked a few times, trying to focus her bleary eyes on the strip of light that dipped the wooden floor in early-morning gold. She stretched her back, hearing a slight click, and put her feet down on the floor. She grimaced at the cold touch of the wood, and hurried to find her slippers, tugging a jumper on over her pyjamas.
The stairs groaned at taking her weight, cutting through the silence of the sleeping house. She reached the kitchen to find Kreacher leaning over the stove, frying some eggs. He turned around when she cam in, and said, “Mistress Weasley, Kreacher had prepared a large breakfast for you. He knew that you has a big day today, and he wanted you to be nice and full up!”
Ginny let Kreacher ply her with tea and toast, picking up the newspaper and absent-mindedly flicking through the pages. She was midway through her breakfast when she heard Harry’s trudging footsteps behind her. She turned around to see him rubbing his eyes under his glasses and trying to flatten his hair, which was always more wild in the mornings. “What are you doing up?” She asked him.
“I woke up when you left, and I have to go pick up Teddy early today anyway, so I thought, ‘why not get up?’” She smiled at him and returned to her newspaper. He sat opposite her and was given a plate of steaming scrambled eggs and bacon by Kreacher. They both carried on eating in silence, Ginny toying with her plate, already full, Harry wolfing his food down. Ginny looked up at him, eyes down in his food. She watched the way he held his fork, long fingers curling around it, thumb running down the shaft. There was a comforting familiarity to it, and she smiled to herself as she returned to her paper. The room was quiet for a few minutes more, filled only with the sounds of Harry attacking his pile of eggs.
They heard a pounding on the stairs above them, and soon Ron came into the kitchen, hopping on one leg, trying to get his sock on. He was swearing under his breath repeatedly, and yelled out when his graceless, off-balance hops sent his knee flying into the corner of the dinner table. “Bloody hell. Bloody hell! George’s gonna kill me! Damn damn damn!”
“Late for work?” Ginny asked cooly, not looking up from her paper. Ron brandished his middle finger at her, picked up a piece of toast from her plate, and ran out of the room, shouting behind him, “Tell Hermione I’ve gone - I’ll try not to be back too late!” They heard the front door smash, and were left with silence. Harry picked up another section of the newspaper and started to read it. In the silence of the room, Ginny noticed how loud his breathing was, and how many crinkling sounds he made when he turned the pages. “I need to go get dressed”, she said, getting up to go. Harry was absorbed in a story about exploding kettles and only grunted in reply. She rolled her eyes as she left.
She came back down a few minutes later, dressed in her training robes and carrying her broomstick. It was new: a loan from the team. It was state of the art, with the word ‘Sparkshot’ engraved on the handle. She popped into the kitchen to say goodbye to Harry. He got up and said, “Have a great day; I’ll have Teddy with me when you get home!” She smiled a little as he kissed her on the cheek, and turned to go. “You’ll be brilliant!” He called after her as she stepped out the door. She laughed and shut the door behind her, turning on the spot as she thought, ‘Hollyhead’.
Harry stayed in the kitchen a few moments after she was gone, and then went to get dressed. Clad in a jumper and jeans, he went into Regulus’ room to practice some of the spells that he had been taught recently. So far, he had excelled at defensory and attacking spells, but he was struggling a little with those which enabled him to disguise himself. He was trying to learn how to make his face fold into wrinkles, but so far, all he had managed to do was give himself a rather painful pimple on his cheek.
He eventually emerged after an hour or so, not quite succeeding in wrinkling his entire face, but with a few extra laugh lines around his eyes and mouth, although he wasn’t sure if that was the spell or just the extra concentration he had put into it. He jogged back down the stairs, finding his shoes in the hallway and sitting on the bottom step of the stairs to put them on. He heard soft footsteps behind him, and turned to see Hermione coming down the staircase wearing Ron’s old Chudley Cannons sweatshirt as a pyjama top and yawning widely. “Is Ron already gone?” She asked. Harry nodded, and she looked vaguely disappointed, but came to sit next to him on the step. “Are you going to pick Teddy up?” She asked.
“Yeah - Andromeda’s going to see a cousin or something, so I have to go early. Do you want to come?”
“No, I won’t - I’ll take a while to get ready, and I wanted to do some studying today, maybe ask Kreacher some questions that would help with S.P.E.W.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot you had started that up again; am I still secretary? Because if so, I’d like to gracefully resign my post.”
She elbowed him in the ribs, saying “You mean you don’t feel you’ve contributed to our manifesto? Funny, that…”
He chuckled. “Are you still trying to free the wilfully employed, or have you changed your policy slightly?”
She smiled at him, “Well even though I think the way most people treat them is barbaric, a lot of the elves do like working. So I’m now trying to get people more aware of the fact that they don’t have to treat them like slaves, that paying them something is more reasonable, and that giving them a day off once in a while won’t kill anybody!”
Harry got up to go, wrapping himself in his double-breasted coat, saying “People might actually listen to that one. Just don’t upset Kreacher, alright? He will bite you if you try to pay him again.”
She threw one of the shoes on the rack next to her at him. He caught it, grinning, and throwing the shoe back to her, stepped outside. He was assailed by a gust of chill air, and he hunched over, wrapping his arms around himself. He turned on the spot, and was greeted by the now familiar constriction of apparition. He landed on the front stoop of that same house that he had crash-landed next to last year with Hagrid. It seemed so long ago now; the grass had grown over the marks left by flying debris, but a rosebush was still rather stunted from where Hargrid had crashed into it.
He knocked on the door three times. It was soon answered by Andromeda, a tall, slender woman with light brown hair and high, prominent cheekbones. She was carrying Teddy in her arms, who was now chubby and excitable, and attempting to crawl at every possible moment. He squirmed in his grandmother’s arms when his saw Harry, and made a high-pitched gurgling sound in the back of his throat. His thick crop of hair turned a violent magenta, and he waved his arms in Harry’s direction, demanding to be picked up. Harry happily obliged, letting the baby wiggle his arms around his neck.
“Thanks you so much for coming early, dear” said Andromeda, handing Harry Teddy’s weekend bag.
“It’s alright - we love having him.” Harry replied, a little occupied with trying to stop Teddy from taking his glasses and chewing on them with his toothless gums.
“I have to go right about now; do you have everything you need?”
“I think so; thank you Andromeda!” He was now bouncing the baby up and down on his hip, to Teddy’s massive delight. Andromeda kissed Teddy on the forehead, gave Harry a quick hug, then closed her front door behind her as she disapparated. Teddy looked surprised at the faint popping sound, and stopped poking Harry in the eye for a second to turn around to see what had made it. He got bored after a second, and went back to playing with Harry’s face.
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