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Chapter 3 : Chapter 3
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“That was some serious flying you were doing out there, Miss Weasley.”
The compliment meant a lot coming from her, but Ginny was cautious all the same. She just couldn’t see where all of this could be going.
She took the stairs two at a time, thinking desperately of her destination.
“You do know who I am, don’t you?”
Of course she knew. How could she not? She would have recognized her in an instant if it weren’t for the…
Noticing the focus of Ginny’s wandering gaze, Gwenog smiled. “Oh these,” she said with a chuckle, pointing at the scars on her face. “You should see the other guy.”
She had finally reaching the correct landing.
“What are you doing here?” It had come out ruder than Ginny had intended, but she stood by her words and refused to let the color flood her cheeks.
“I was headed to the same meeting as Kingsley,” she replied with a shrug, “and when he said he was coming to gather your brother here… well, let’s just say, I had my motivations for seeing another of the Weasleys.”
Ginny took one last steadying breath as she approached the door.
Was she saying… could she possibly be saying…
“How would you like to try out for the Holyhead Harpies?”
The familiar sound of squeaky old hinges met Ginny’s ears as Ron’s bedroom door swung open. As expected, there were three welcome – though highly anxious – faces waiting for her.
It was clear that they had been deep in conversation before she had startled them by bursting into the room. Hermione was sitting straight-backed on the very edge of the bottom bunk, with Ron inclined protectively against the wall beside it. Harry was sitting on the armchair across from them, leaning attentively into their hushed conversation. But now their eyes were all on her and Ginny knew that, like it or not, she had their full attention.
“What did she want?” asked Hermione, concern visibly etched on her face. “We were so worried when she said she wanted to talk to you alone. That was Gwenog Jones, right? We met her at Slughorn’s Christmas party.” Ron shifted uncomfortably at the mention of the party that marked the height of his and Hermione’s estrangement during their sixth year, but Hermione ignored him. “No wonder I didn’t recognize her… the war certainly took its toll. I know we only saw her for a minute after she came inside, but through all those scars, she was barely recognizable. I’ve read all about her, of course. She’s supposed to be brilliant but extremely tough. Personally, I thought she was a bit full of herself when I met her.”
“Yes, that must have been Gwenog Jones. Slughorn told me all about her,” Harry attested as his eyes searched Ginny’s face for clues. Finally she nodded, validating their suspicions. Harry’s eyes intensified in response, digging even further into her own as he repeated Hermione’s question with heightened urgency. “So, what did she want?”
“She… she wanted me to try out for the Holyhead Harpies. She saw me playing with Harry and… I just don’t know,” replied Ginny, collapsing onto the bed next to Hermione. Harry stood up quickly, but Ginny was too absorbed in her own thoughts to pay any attention.
Was this her best option? She always thought she would finish her education at Hogwarts. The idea of doing anything else seemed to have broken a dam of possibilities in Ginny’s mind that was impossible to sift through. And even if she did decide to tryout, the thought of her mother’s reaction sent chills down her spine. But then again, had she really ever wanted to do anything other than play Quidditch?
What am I thinking? Logic seemed to have found her at last. The fact that Ginny had even hesitated to say yes was a valid reason to question her own sanity. She had followed the Harpies ever since she was a little girl. Being asked to try out by Gwenog Jones herself was quite literally a dream come true.
At this thought, Ginny stood up and promptly strode out the door. She had one foot down the stairs before she remembered something and turned around, coming to a stop in the doorframe. She looked around the room she’d just exited and saw that the looks of concern on her friends’ faces had intensified, doubtlessly from her abrupt exit. Disregarding this, Ginny asked hastily, “Ron, can I borrow Pigwidgeon?”
Ron’s eyes narrowed, but after a moment he seemed to realize that he couldn’t reasonably refuse her request, and he nodded. Ginny grabbed the small bird then turned to leave again, taking the stairs three at a time.
It wasn’t long before she heard hurried footsteps behind her but she took no notice. She was resigned to letting them catch up to her in their own time, but was determined not to slow down for them.
“You know, you’re making the right decision.”
It was Hermione. She hadn’t asked Ginny what her decision was or to whom she was owling. Of course she hadn’t. This was Hermione, her best friend and the brightest person Ginny had ever known.
“I should tell you that I am going to miss you terribly, and your mum… well, that’s going to be a whole other issue… but this is the opportunity of a lifetime and I know you’ll do brilliantly.”
Ginny stopped suddenly and turned to hug her friend. She didn’t know why, but having Hermione’s blessing had lifted some of the pressure that had been weighing down on her heart. Ginny had always done what she thought was right - be damned what anyone else thought - but having someone stand beside her affirmed that she was making the right decision.
With that welcome thought, she continued on her way into the deserted kitchen. Not wanting to give herself enough time to change her mind, she stopped to scribble a hasty response before sending Pigwidgeon off at the window. Just as she began to struggle against the panicked feelings now fighting to take control of her mind, she felt Hermione come up beside her and gently squeeze her shoulders. Together they watched the already distant Pigwidgeon fly away.
Rain was falling heavily outside two days later. Ginny sat slouched on a stool in the kitchen, glaring out at the torrential downpour. This wasn’t the time to be sitting inside; this was the time to be outside training.
Ginny stood up with a sigh. It was probably wise to go upstairs before she was confronted with her ever-persistent mother. The fight following Ginny’s announcement hadn’t been as bad as she had expected… it had been worse. Nearly the whole house had fled the premises within five minutes and it wasn’t until her father braved the task of diffusing the situation that Mrs. Weasley finally calmed down. Since then – and largely, Ginny suspected, thanks to Mr. Weasley’s influence – her mother seemed to have accepted that Ginny needed to live her own life. It was natural for her mother to want her to finish school, but they had had a recent reminder of how unpredictable life can be and how important it is to seize every moment of it.
Well, I’m not doing very much seizing now, am I? Ginny sniped internally as she continued to glare at the rain, now from a window in the secluded safety of her own room.
It wasn’t until she heard the approaching of muffled familiar voices that she reluctantly came back to reality and turned her head to the door, awaiting the interruption.
“Ron! We can’t just go barging in!” Hermione scolded as the footsteps stopped. “Here.”
There was a gentle knocking on the door. Ginny groaned but offered a reluctant “come in”, at which point Ron actually did barge inside, followed by a disapproving but unwillingly humoured looking Hermione. The lack of their usual companion didn’t go unnoticed by Ginny.
“Hey, Ginny! We thought it was about time you stopped brooding in here.”
“Ron!” Hermione said reprovingly before turning to Ginny. “What he means is that we’re worried about you!”
“Yeah, sure. Anyways, the rain will stop. I don’t know why you have to make such a big deal out of it,” Ron admonished. Ginny sighed, rolling her eyes and turning back to the window.
“Bloody hell. You know, you’re just like Harry sometimes.”
That caught Ginny’s attention. “Oh, am I?” she drawled. “Where is Harry, anyway?”
“He left,” offered Hermione, clearly relieved at the opportunity for normal conversation, “he didn’t tell us where he went….”
“Never does, does he?” Ron scoffed almost reminiscently to Hermione, who fought back a smile.
Concerned at this news but determined not to show it, Ginny sighed and said, “Well, let’s hear it. What was your big plan for cheering me up?”
“Well... do you fancy a game of Wizard’s Chess?” Hermione asked feebly. Ginny shot back her best ‘are you serious?’ look, at which Hermione said defensively, “What? I’ll let you play against me! That way you’re bound to win.”
Knowing that she didn’t really have a choice, Ginny stood up and resignedly followed the pair upstairs where yes, if she played against Hermione, she was bound to win.
They had gotten through two rounds of chess and one round of Gobstones before they were interrupted.
Harry was soaking wet; he had clearly been out in the rain. Ginny did her best to stop her eyes from lingering on the spots where his wet clothes stuck to his body, but without much success. He looked startled to see her and hastily tried to hide something behind his back, but he was just about as successful as she had been with her wandering gaze.
He was holding a brand new (though rather wet) Firebolt. Ginny’s jaw dropped. She saw Hermione spring to her feet, hurry over and pull out her wand to dry Harry’s clothes.
“Thanks, Hermione,” he mumbled.
“But you’ve already got a Firebolt. Who’s that for?” Ron asked in disbelief.
Hermione shot him a look of incredulity but Ginny thought it was a good question.
Harry didn’t respond but looked straight at Ginny and asked quietly, “Do you mind if I have a word?”
Shaking her head minutely in response and still wondering what this could be about, Ginny got up and followed him out of the room. They were silent as they walked down the stairs and upon reaching the door to her bedroom, Ginny walked in without question and sat down on her bed.
Harry paused at the door, surely remembering the last time they had been in here together, but after a moment he joined her. He sat with his eyes determinedly fixed at his hands, the Firebolt resting beside him.
“Listen Ginny, I want you to have this,” he said, turning to meet her eyes at last. He was holding the broomstick out to her and, comprehension finally arriving, she looked down at it in alarm. Just as she opened her mouth to protest, he continued, “I know what you’re going to say. But please, just take it. I don’t know what I would have done without mine sometimes and you deserve to play Quidditch on the best broom available. Think of it as a going away present. I was going to wait to give it to you, but you’ll be needing to practice and, let’s be honest, do you really think Ron was going to let you take his Cleansweep all the way to Holyhead?”
Ginny chuckled but still looked apprehensive.
“Ginny, please. I want to you to have it.”
“This must have cost you a fortune, there’s no way I could accept it.”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“No,” he cut across her, holding the broom out to her even further, “just take it.”
Finally, and with much trepidation, she took it. He beamed at her and she couldn’t help but smile a little back. She had to admit, even just the feel of it in her hands was incredible.
“Now just promise me that, since you are leaving me, you’ll at least be the best Harpy there’s ever been.”
“Harry, I have to get in first,” she chuckled, nudging him on the shoulder and feeling a resultant tingling shoot down her arm.
“Yeah, I’m not too worried about that.” He smiled.
She gave him a reproachful look but was soon laughing back with him. After a few moments they fell silent and Ginny decided to bring up what she knew she must, little though either of them wanted her to.
“Harry, what are we gonna do?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what are we gonna do… about, you know, us… when I leave?”
He frowned in response but seemed to have an answer ready. “Well, nothing really needs to change. It isn’t that far. We can visit, and owl. I’m not saying it will be easy, and I really hate that there’s any bloody necessity for it, but… well, I mean, if you want… I know for me, at least, there’s no alternative.”
“Okay,” she replied simply as she gently took his hand and relished the way that color flooded his cheeks. She hated the thought of how limited their communication would be just as much as he did. But looking at him now, she knew that limited would just have to suffice, because he was right, there was no alternative.
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