Chapter 9 : Dinner and the Scar
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“That’s a Gnome, I take it?” Harry asked Ginny. They were still a few steps from the front door.
“Where? Oh, yes that’s a gnome – haven’t you seen one before?” she asked him back, much to Ron’s dismay. He’d been hoping that Ginny would ignore Harry completely after the way he’d seen him groping her a few minutes back.
“Not really, no. I mean we discussed them back at Hogwarts and everything, but I never got to actually see one!” he said, sounding genuinely excited. He looked down at Ginny’s amused smile. “Sorry for acting like such a muggle,” he started but she put a finger to his mouth, making him swallow involuntarily.
“I think it’s kind of cute,” she admitted.
Cute? She thinks the way he’s gawking at a gnome is cute? Ron thought disgustedly.
It’s all probably an act he’s putting on to impress her, he decided.
Hermione knocked on the door while shaking her head – her boyfriend seemed too interested in his sister’s new friend to remember how to... I don't know... function? At all?
The door opened to reveal a thin man, going bald, but the little hair he had was as red as both Ginny and Ron’s. “Hermione, Ron!” he exclaimed. “Molly, dear, the children are here!” he shouted over his shoulder.
“Hi Mr Weasley,” Hermione said as she walked past him, dragging Ron by the arm.
Ginny nudged Harry in the ribs and he unfroze slightly. What do I say?! His thoughts were shouting at him. ‘Hi sir, I’m the guy who almost blew up your daughter’s ex-boyfriend?’
He swallowed and walked up to the door where Mr Weasley was looking back into the house with a smile playing on his lips. Hermione seemed to be chastening Ron for something and it appeared that Mr Weasley was enjoying it immensely.
Ginny cleared her throat gently and the man turned around. “Hi dad,” she said as she pulled him in for a hug.
“Ginny! Did you just get here too?” he asked excitedly. Mr Weasley had missed his youngest child extremely since she’d left the safety of his home to go and live in Holyhead, so he was overjoyed to see her. “How are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m fine dad, thanks, but there’s someone here who’d like to meet you...” she trailed off, looking at Harry.
“Hello, sir. I’m Harry Potter, a friend of Ginny’s...” Harry sputtered out.
“Very pleased to meet you, Harry! Ginny’s told us so much about you.”
“Thank you, sir.” Harry managed to get out as he shook Mr Weasley’s hand.
“Call me Arthur, please Harry.” Mr Weasley... Err Arthur... said chirpily.
As they entered the house, Harry’s senses were bombarded. The delicious smells wafting out of the kitchen were the most pronounced, closely followed by the noise made by a very big group of people and lastly the assortment of red haired Weasleys sitting in the living room of the most interesting house Harry’d ever laid eyes on.
The room suddenly fell silent and all eyes were on the newest couple to join the room.
Molly Weasley’s head peeked out of the kitchen as soon as the talking and laughter had stopped. “Harry!” she exclaimed as she hurried over to Harry to give him a bone crushing hug. “So nice to finally meet you, dear!”
After Harry had been released and was once again able to breathe properly, he answered politely with a, “Likewise, Mrs Weasley,” and looked unsurely at the big group of people on the other side of the living room. “Now there’ll be none of that ‘Mrs Weasley’ nonsense, call me Molly.”
Harry nodded and smiled involuntarily at the woman’s friendliness, doubting he'd every be able to call her directly by the first name.
After Ginny had finished hugging her mother and moved to stand by Harry, whose hands were opening and closing with uncertainty, she surveyed the room. She caught the eyes of Bill, her oldest (and probably her favourite) brother – besides Ron. She gave him a meaningful look and nodded towards Harry as if to say, ‘Well don’t just stand there, talk to him!’
Thankfully, Bill seemed to understand and his eyes met Harry’s. “Hi, Harry. I’m Bill,” he said with a polite smile as he stepped forward to shake Harry’s hand. After that the ice had been broken, the rest of the Weasleys went over to greet Harry as well.
Mrs Weasley had trotted back to the kitchen promptly and was standing over the stove, waving her wand over the pots with a content smile on her face.
Harry met the four remaining Weasleys; the twins – Fred and George, Charlie – second eldest next to Bill and finally Percy. He had found it very easy to fall into conversation with the brothers, and was sitting down with all of them in the living room; all except Ron – who Ginny had heard muttering ‘traitors’ in the direction of their brothers and father, who were now talking animatedly about gnomes.
She walked to stand by Hermione, who was sitting on a kitchen chair, laughing at Ron’s expression. When Ginny sat down beside her, she leaned closer and said softly, “You’d think that he’d at least try to look friendly.” She giggled as his face contorted into an expression of a person who had just gotten a vomit-flavoured Berty Bott’s bean.
Ginny sighed. “He doesn’t even know Harry,” she said, shaking her head. Hermione looked at Ginny who was smiling faintly while her eyes rested on the only black-haired man in the other room.
“And you do?” she asked softly.
Ginny’s eyes flicked away from Harry to Hermione and a frown appeared on her forehead. “I thought we were over this, Hermione.” she said while rubbing her forehead with her hand in exasperation. “It’s bad enough that Ron’s being an idiot about Harry, I don’t need it from you too!”
“I didn’t mean it like that, Ginny,” Hermione defended. “I just don’t want you getting with another ‘Dean’ and let me have to live with the fact that I did nothing.”
“I can understand where you’re coming from, but Harry is the exact opposite of Dean,” Ginny said dreamily, her eyes drifting towards the living room once again. “He actually listens to what I have to say, he’s never said one bad thing about my family and he actually takes my feelings into account,” she said. “He called me ginger,” Hermione smirked – Ginny hated being called a ginger. “But when I told him that I don’t like to be called that, he acted as if he’d killed a unicorn in front of me,” she giggled.
Hermione raised her eyebrows. “That doesn’t mean you know him, Ginny.”
Ginny looked her straight in the eye. “Did you know Ron when you started to fancy him?” she said violently. “Or Viktor Krum, for that matter?”
“That was completely different, Ginny,” Hermione stuttered.
Ginny chuckled darkly. “Oh yeah? How exactly?”
“Dinner’s ready, dears!” Molly called from the kitchen, interrupting Hermione.
As the boys approached, Harry eyed Ginny curiously. She composed herself quickly and nodded for him to sit next to her. After everyone had taken their seats, Harry leaned towards Ginny and whispered in her ear. “What was that all about?” he asked.
Ginny shivered as his breath caressed her ear, but she held her composure fairly well. “Oh, nothing much - I’ll tell you later,” she promised and watched as Arthur stood up at the head of the table with a glass in his hand.
He beamed at everyone at the table. “I know this seems silly, but I want to propose a toast,” Ginny kicked George – who was sitting across from her and Harry on the leg when he opened his mouth to say something. A pained expression flashed over his face and Harry watched as she hid her smile behind her glass of pumpkin juice.
“Since you’ve all moved out of the Burrow, your mother and I have realised just how quiet it can get around here...”
“Please don’t tell us that you’re having another baby,” a very concerned Bill blurted suddenly, interrupting his father.
The table burst into laughter. “Heavens, no! We're a long way past that, I'm afraid,” Arthur said with a smile. “I was just going to say how happy it makes both me and your mother to have all of our children around the same table again,” he paused and nodded at Harry, “and of course to our new guest, Harry. You’re welcome any time, son.” he said cheerfully.
Harry felt his ears get hot as all of the Weasleys looked at him. “Thank you, Mr Weasley.” he answered shyly.
Mr Weasley raised his glass. “To family and friends; may we always be in each other’s company, and if we do indeed part, may we always be happy in the knowledge that we hold each other close to our hearts and that we’ll see each other very soon.”
A loud ‘CHEERS!’ resounded around the dining table and as soon as they had set down their glasses, Mrs Weasley waved her wand and the table groaned under the load of the feast that appeared in front of them.
After dessert, and many refusals for more food from Mrs Weasley or else he might burst, Harry found himself beside Hermione as Ginny had excused herself to go to the bathroom. Ron was sitting back in his chair with his hands on his stuffed stomach, and didn’t seem remotely alert of his surroundings, so Harry thought it would be safe to risk talking to her.
“So, Hermione,” he started unsurely. After she swallowed the last piece of treacle tart she was busy with, she smiled at Harry.
“Yes, Harry?” she answered brightly.
Relieved that she hadn’t given him the stink eye that Ron seemed to have rewarded him after every single movement, especially when he was talking to Ginny, Harry continued. “My dad told me that you’re working on a big case over in Regulation? Something to do with house elves?” he probed gently, giving her the choice to back out of the conversation if she wanted to.
Her eyes, however, told him that she wouldn’t as they brightened up with excitement and she turned her body to face him completely. “I am, actually,” she said excitedly. Her expression dimmed to suspicion not too long after. “Why do you ask?” she said in a low voice.
“Dangerous waters, mate,” one of the twins said over the table at Harry.
“She almost had a heart attack when she found out about all of the house elves at Hogwarts, so I’d be careful if I were you,” the other one chuckled.
Harry shook his head. “I’m just interested, is all,” he explained. “What’s it all about?” he asked Hermione, who seemed to visibly shift out of ready-to-attack mode.
“Well, see Harry, house elves are seriously underprivileged in the wizarding world. Did you know that not it is seen as uncustomary to pay a house elf wages? Or to give them leave from work?”
Harry frowned. “But isn’t that the way they like things?” asked carefully. “I mean, Draco’s parents have Dobby, and I’ve never once seen him complain.”
Hermione shook her head. “Draco? As in Malfoy?” she asked.
“Do you know any other Malfoys?” he asked sarcastically.
“Tell me something, Harry,” she began furiously, swatting her loose strands of hair out of her face.
“Now he’s done it,” Charlie chuckled at Bill.
“How would you like to work your whole life for some rich family without the slightest choice in the matter?” she snapped at him.
“I’m not saying that it’s fair, Hermione. I’m saying that house elves don’t want payment or sick leave. It’s engraved in their set of beliefs just as much as the opposite is engraved into ours.”
She let out a heavy breath and eyed him sadly. “Don’t you think they should at least have a choice in the matter?” she asked softly.
He was taken aback. Could one person really care that much for a house elf? Sirius had Kreacher back in Grimmauld Place, but their relationship was anything but ideal. “I guess when you put it that way...” he said in defeat.
Just then, Ginny arrived back at the table. “What’re you guys talking about?” she asked.
The twins smirked. “I think Hermione here has just inducted a new member into S.P.E.W.” one of them giggled.
“Spew?!” Harry asked with a concerned expression.
Ginny giggled. “Hermione started this ridiculous club back in her fourth year at Hogwarts.”
“It’s not ridiculous,” Hermione huffed. “The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare was necessary, and definately NOT ridiculous!”
One of the twins chuckled. “I think you neglected to mention that all of the elves hated you because of it, Hermione.”
“Oh, shut up, George,” Hermione snapped and everybody around the table burst out laughing.
After greeting all of the Weasleys and promising to see them at the wedding that Saturday, Harry and Ginny stepped out into the cold night air and strolled to the apparation point.
Ginny looked up at Harry. “So?” she asked nervously.
Harry smiled. “It was really fun, Gin,” he answered and put his arm around her shoulders. “Although... Was that hostility I was sensing from Ron, or did he just eat some bad food?” he chuckled.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “I’m so sorry about him, he ruined the entire evening.”
“I don’t think so,” he said softly and stopped. He twisted her so that she was facing him and there was virtually no space between them. “You were there, so everything was perfect.”
Ginny, breathless at their close proximity, smiled and looked down at her shoes. “I wish you would stop doing that,” she said quietly.
Harry frowned. His arms, that were around her waist, loosened and he almost stepped back before she grabbed them and placed them back where they were. “Not that,” she said with a nervous giggle. “That I like,” she said.
Harry tightened his hold on her again and smiled. “Then what should I stop doing?” he asked, genuinely curious.
“Stop trying to make me fall for you,” she whispered while still looking in the direction of her feet.
Harry felt shaken. She doesn’t want you, a menacing voice growled in Harry’s mind. Then why did she like my hands around her waist? he mentally retorted. That seemed to shut up his thoughts.
“Why?” he asked nervously. He really hoped his thoughts weren’t right about her feelings.
She was still looking down. “Because I already have...” she whispered.
Wasting absolutely no time, Harry put his hand under her chin and lifted her face so that he could see her beautiful eyes. “Well then I guess we’re on the same page,” he said breathlessly and he leaned in towards her.
Why bother with butterflies? Hippogriffs were stampeding in her stomach as Harry started closing the gap between their faces. She couldn’t help herself. It was as if he was a magnet and she was an inferior piece of metal being pulled to him by his subconscious magnificence... If that made any sense...
She shoved her thoughts aside, closed her eyes and pressed her lips softly against his. The kiss was very cautious and conservative, and Harry felt himself become light as a feather. Every doubt about being with her, every nervous feeling towards the wedding was erased from his mind. He pulled back reluctantly, a wide smile plastered on his face.
She stood with her lips still puckered and her eyes closed, swaying slightly. Her eyes opened slowly. She touched her lips and looked at him with a frown.
Worried, Harry’s face fell. “I’m sorry, was it bad?” he asked immediately.
She shook her head. “On the contrary,” she giggled. “Why’d you stop, though?” she said as she put a hand around his neck and crushed her lips against his. She felt his surprise, but it only lasted a few short moments and he soon opened his mouth to allow her tongue access.
Wet, warm, soft, exciting; the kiss were all of these and more. Harry felt adrenaline rush through his body and he pulled Ginny even tighter against his body. A slight moan escaped her as he did this, and she ran her hand through his soft hair.
It felt like it went on for eons, and at the same time, it felt as if it only lasted a few seconds. When they finally broke apart to catch their breaths, Harry saw that Ginny’s lips were swollen from the kiss and her hair was a little wild.
Ginny was glad that Harry still hadn’t let her go – she wouldn’t have been able to keep her balance otherwise. She cleared her throat and mirrored Harry’s goofy smile. “So, do want to... err... get out of here?” she asked breathlessly.
As if he were answering her question, he pulled out his wand and put his arm around her, apparating them straight into his living room.
His body reacted before his mind could, as all of his anxiety and fear of what could have gone wrong that night was devoured by the desire that had taken flame in him. He pressed his lips against Ginny, and walked backwards until his legs hit his couch and they fell onto it. She was positioned on his lap and her hair fell around both their faces, making him smile at her attractive scent.
She put her hands under his shirt and pulled it over his head in one fluid movement to reveal his toned chest. She made to kiss him again, but her attention was immediately drawn to a scar that stretched from his shoulder down to his right pectoral – she froze. “What’s that?” she asked softly, putting her hand gingerly against the scar.
Still waiting for her lips to touch his, Harry opened his eyes and frowned. Damned scar! He cursed silently. “A werewolf attacked me back when I was in fifth year,” he said with a shrug.
Her hands flew to her mouth. “A werewolf?!” her eyes contorted and pity flashed across her face.
“It wasn’t a bite, though. Moon... err... the wolf... didn’t bite me,” he covered hastily, his face colouring. “If it wasn’t for my father and Sirius, though...” he shuddered.
“Sirius?” she asked, interrupting him.
“My godfather. He and my father got to me fast enough and my mother stitched me up,” he said. He was feeling around self-consciously for his shirt, wanting to cover up his scar.
“How come you’ve never told me about his before?” she asked with a quiet voice, shaking her head as he tried to pull his shirt back on.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal, Gin,” he shrugged and trew the shirt onto the floor. “I was stupid and it wasn’t the wolf’s fault.” She detected that he’d had the lines practised in his head, as if he had had this conversation with someone before.
“Not a big deal?! Harry, you do realise what werewolves can do to people?” she said urgently. She saw his face contort at the painful memory and she calmed down immediately. “What happened?” she asked gently, tracing the scar to his shoulder and back slowly, making him shudder.
I ignored my parents’ strict rules and Moony almost killed me, his thoughts chimed. I can’t exactly tell her that, he reasoned. Well, at least not all of it.
“I can’t tell you everything, Gin,” he said in a strangled voice. “I’m sorry, but...” it seemed as though the frown was now etched permanently into his forehead.
She smiled and brushed her lips over his. “Then tell me what you can, it’s all I ask.” she said gently, seeing his tensed shoulders relax.
“So no more kissing, then?” he said with a chuckle as a shiver shook his body.
She tutted and pecked his lips quickly. “We can kiss any time you want,” she said with a sly smile. She noticed for the first time that they were sitting in darkness and that they’d left the door open and took out her wand to wave it at the door, which closed instantly.
A fire began to crackle behind her thanks to Harry’s nonverbal spell.
She climbed off his lap and stood up from the couch. He frowned at her sudden absence, but she returned clutching a blanket from his room. “It’s a bit cold,” she chuckled as she sat down against his side and covered them with the cozy blanket, snuggling up tightly against his bare upper body.
A moment’s silence followed in which he revelled at her warmth against his bare chest and the way that it felt right with them sitting like that. He cleared his throat.
“Are you sure you want to hear the story?” he asked tentatively. It wasn’t particularly how he’d seen the evening going. Hell – if they hadn’t stopped when they did, he wouldn’t have been able to stop.
“Positive,” she said and she kissed his bare shoulder. “Tell me everything,” she saw him frown again. “Well everything that you’re allowed to tell me!” she chuckled and he kissed her with a smile on his face.
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