Chapter 2 : Chapter 2
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Ginny found that, although she missed Fred with all of her heart, Harry seemed to be easing her pain. He was the glue that gently pieced her heart back together and for the first time in a long time, she felt almost whole. What was more, she knew that she was doing the same thing for him, for when she had lost a brother, he had lost a friend. Somehow, the knowledge that they were going through the same thing made the countless funerals they had attended in the last few days a little more bearable.
“Do you remember when I saved you from Riddle’s diary?” Harry asked quietly.
They were laying in the grass under the shade of a nearby Evergreen, backs facing the Burrow just visible in the distance, looking up at the sky. They had been on one of their increasingly frequent walks when they had found themselves to be much further than they had originally intended and decided to take a break before heading back.
“Of course I do,” Ginny said, rolling over on her side and resting her head on her hand so she could look at Harry, trying to decipher his reason for bringing it up.
“I was just thinking… if only we… you know, had known back then,” he said, just loudly enough for her to decipher. His eyebrows furrowed as he continued to look up at the sky, clearly fighting some internal battle.
“I knew,” she said seriously.
“Yeah,” he sighed, the shadow of a half-smile flashing across his perfect face. But as he rolled onto his side to mirror Ginny’s position, he kept his eyes downcast, refusing to meet her’s, and she could tell he was once again struggling with himself. “Well, if only I had… I dunno….”
She knew where he was going with this, and found she did not need him to continue. He had always been lousy with this stuff, but she loved that about him. Deciding to let him off the hook so he didn’t have to finish his sentence, she interrupted, “It wasn’t the first, nor was it the last time you saved me, Harry Potter, and I’m not just talking about my life.”
As she knew he would, he blushed and fell onto his back, smiling as he gazed at the sky once more. “I will never understand.”
“Nor will I,” she said simply and truthfully. More than anything, Ginny knew that she would never understand what she had done to deserve him. But by whatever miracle, she was here with him of all people in the world.
He stood up slowly and after straightening his glasses, looked down at her figure on the ground before offering a hand to pull her up.
Grinning slyly, she took it and gladly allowed herself to be pulled up to him. But all too soon, he was walking away. Pouting slightly, she followed after him.
“And where have you two been?” Mrs. Weasley inquired shrilly, giving her daughter a knowing look as Ginny blushed and looked away. Hermione, who was charming the dishes to wash themselves, smirked as she saw the pair enter the room. A much stonier looking Ron was leaning against the counter next to her, staring them down as they walked in the house. Harry looked slightly abashed but Ginny was completely unphased. Recognizing defeat, Mrs. Weasley continued, “Well never mind then, lunch is ready!”
As Mrs. Weasley proceeded up the stairs to gather the rest of her family, Ginny and the others took their seats at the table and immediately began digging into the delicious looking food. It wasn’t long before everyone had been shepherded to the table and the usual ruckus began, an inevitability for the Weasleys’ enormous family.
“Father, I have been inquiring with Shacklebolt, or should I say, the Minister, as to the progress of the Hogwarts case” said Percy, who had taken an extremely short amount of time to snap back to his usual pompous self. As he spoke, he gave his father a significant look, as if to indicate he was speaking through code about top-secret business.
“Ah, yes,” replied Mr. Weasley, turning back to his sandwich and failing to notice the sudden hush that had fallen around the room, its occupants anxiously listening hard to catch his next words. After what seemed like forever, he continued, “I was under the impression that those issues have been almost completely resolved. If I am not much mistaken, the school will reopen in September with Minerva McGonagall as Headmistress. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes has been working full-tilt to repair the damages done to the castle.”
Of course, Professor McGonagall had been the rightful successor to the Head Office; that much had been decided almost immediately. However, it hadn’t been clear as to whether the school would reopen in the fall, as scheduled. Now that she knew her return to Hogwarts was an option, Ginny’s head spun with the pressure of the decision she would have to make.
There seemed to be little doubt in her mother’s mind, for she turned to Ginny, smiling as she said, “Well that is just perfect, Ginevra. Now you can finish your education at Hogwarts.”
Ginny nodded. Of course she would be going back to Hogwarts. If she were honest with herself, there shouldn’t have ever been a question. What else was she going to do?
But as her eyes met Harry’s, she saw the sacrifice in his eyes as he spoke words that didn’t sound like his at all. “Of course Ginny should finish her education. Whatever is best for her future.”
Aside from Hermione, who was now gazing intently at the pair of them, the room’s occupants seemed oblivious to the tension now flooding the space between the pair.
Before long, Percy was blazing on. “Of course, there is still much to discuss between the Minister and myself, as his chief secretary.” He puffed his chest out importantly. “In fact, I was just telling Kingsley that today would be a very good day to discuss not only the Hogwarts business, but many of the other important issues the Ministry is currently dealing with. For as I always say, the sooner the better! Especially when it comes to these important matters. The Minister will be meeting me here before we depart for London; Kingsley seemed very keen to see you all.”
Ginny had stopped listening a long time ago. As she stared at the sandwich on her plate, she realized her appetite was long gone.
Ginny felt Harry stand up beside her, excusing himself before making his way upstairs. Of course she knew how he was feeling. After all this time, the last thing she wanted to do was be separated from him, but she didn’t feel as though she had much of an option. She wasn’t like Harry, famous and being given job offers left and right. She knew she needed to finish her schooling to have any chance with the rest of her life.
Giving up on her food, she excused herself, determined not to be anywhere in the vicinity when Percy met the Minister for their ‘highly classified and important meeting’.
“Apparently we had the same idea.”
Ginny spun in the air and was met with the sight of Harry, who was clutching his Firebolt and clearly in search of some peace of mind.
“Don’t worry, I’ll leave. You had the pitch first and anyways, you’ll need to practice if you want to make captain back at Hogwarts.”
There it was again, the sacrifice in his voice. Sometimes Ginny wondered if Harry would ever learn to stop being everyone’s hero.
“No, stay. I need somebody to guard the posts; it’s pretty pointless trying to practice by myself.”
“You want me to Keep?” Harry asked incredulously and Ginny was relieved to hear a hint of amusement in his voice. “Are you sure you don’t want me to go get Ron, instead?”
“No, stay,” She repeated, smiling slightly as she sped off again. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
They practiced for hours. Most of the time, Harry insisted on letting her practice scoring but occasionally he would give in and have a turn attacking. Though the Quidditch was amazing and they kept up a flow of conversation that was friendly enough, Ginny could tell that Harry was holding back. She didn’t know if he was distancing himself as a form of self defense or as an attempt to make leaving easier for her. Either way, it was incredibly annoying.
She knew that if she asked him to come with her, he’d probably say yes in a heartbeat. She also knew that he wouldn’t be going because he wanted to, but because he felt a responsibility to always protect her and be there for her when she needed him.
Although she yearned for him to be next to her always, she knew she would only be holding him back. So she wouldn’t ask. She wouldn’t give him the chance to give up his life for her because hero that he was, she knew he would take it.
Ginny shook her head in a helpless attempt to clear it as she turned, zooming around the tree that marked the opposite end of the pitch and, eyes narrowed in fervent concentration, sped towards the goal posts. As the familiar feelings of power and control coursed through her body, Ginny felt the strange urge to laugh at the thought of Harry trying to block her attack. She knew he was a superb flyer, but so was she, and Harry’s forte had always been Seeking.
Ginny flew straight for the middle post, revealing none of her strategy - faked or otherwise - because she knew that Harry would not believe any attack from her that was easily foreseeable. At the last minute, she darted for the right post.
Harry bought it. Mirroring her actions, he hurdled to block her attack.
Laughing, Ginny pulled her broom upwards, looping in midair until she was flying in the exact opposite direction.
Although Harry had a Firebolt and was therefore much faster, he hadn’t been prepared for Ginny’s change in direction and, by the time he realized what had happened, it was too late.
Ginny had scored.
“I told you we should have gotten Ron,” said Harry dejectedly, shaking his head but still with a smile on his face. “That was brilliant, Ginny. Well done.”
Ginny smiled amusedly as she realized that Harry was still used to being her captain, an occupation in which compliments were mandatory.
They continued discussing the play as they searched for the Quaffle, which seemed to have buried itself in the thicket of bushes growing along the pitch. Harry was just saying that, from now on, he was going to fly opposite of whichever way Ginny was headed when they heard their names being called from the house.
They both looked up to see that Kingsley had arrived for his meeting with Percy, but he was also accompanied by a muscular looking witch in green robes who’s face triggered something in Ginny’s mind that she couldn’t quite place.
Eager to greet Kingsley, they both set off towards the house.
As they approached the small congregation, Ginny noticed that the witch was eyeing her curiously. Ginny wished she would stop; it was making her increasingly uncomfortable and she couldn’t understand why the stranger was taking so much interest in her at all. Keen to avoid contact with the stranger, Ginny reached out her hand to shake Kingsley’s. Much to her frustration, she watched as her hand was intercepted by Harry, who hadn’t seemed to notice Ginny’s discomfort and was now greeting Kingsley like an old friend. Grimacing slightly, Ginny stood to the side as the witch continued to look at her in contemplation. Ginny puffed out her chest, deciding she didn’t really care what anyone thought of her, especially this strange woman she had never even met.
Ginny took Kingsley’s outstretched hand and shook it politely, smiling at the familiar face.
“It’s always a joy to see you, Miss Weasley,” he said, returning her smile. “I hope you are well?”
“I am. Thank you, Kings - Minister,” she stuttered, blushing at her mistake.
“I am always Kingsley to you,” he said, squeezing her hand and offering her a warm smile before turning back to Percy and suggesting that they all make their way inside. He wanted to greet the rest of the family before heading off to London.
They were just about to make their way up the garden path when the witch seemed to make up her mind about something. Taking a step nearer, she offered her hand to Ginny and said warily, “Hello, I’m Gwenog Jones. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
A/N: I am so excited to finally be sharing this chapter with you guys, I really hope you enjoyed it :D I would also like to apologize for the delays in updating. Things came up and the editing process took longer than I had anticipated :/ but thanks for sticking with me! Chapter 3 is already in the works :) If you have the time, all reviews are greatly appreciated!
Disclaimer: The characters featured in this story as well as the world they live in are property of JK Rowling.
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