Return to Grimmauld Place
Chapter Three: An Unforgivable Week
A/N: Don't you hate it when authors whine and make excuses about why they haven't updated? Good, me too, so I shan't. This chapter, however, is for morgan000 and missy mee, since they asked so nicely for it.
For anyone who is less obsessed than I, and/or who did not spend six or seven hours at Barnes and Noble yesterday and read HBP before going to sleep at nine this morning: THERE ARE NO SPOILERS FOR BOOK 6 IN THIS CHAPTER. Nor do I foresee any in this story at all, as I've kind of committed to people and circumstances being the way they are. Should this change, of course, I'll put up a nice big warning.
Speaking of which, if you believe I own Harry Potter, I'll let you in on a secret: I also have a Quidditch team I'd like to sell you…
Mondays, Ginny decided as she dashed towards the Great Hall, were like a day-long Cruciatus Curse.
She hadn't slept well at all the previous night. It never ceased to amaze her how easily and quickly she got out of the habit of sleeping by herself, especially as sleeping with Harry wasn't the most comfortable proposition. He was too hot all the time, and he mumbled constantly and tossed and turned in his sleep, and he always ended up stealing at least half of her pillow, all of which habits were incredibly annoying. But it was also kind of soothing and comforting to have him there, and afterwards her four-poster at school seemed unbearably empty and cold and quiet. She wasn't sure what time she'd finally drifted off, but it had been quite late.
So of course she'd overslept, only to discover during her rush to get dressed that she had not escaped being pranked by her brothers. Which meant it was even later once she'd dug through her trunk to find something reasonably clean and unwrinkled that hadn't been affected.
Now she was rushing through the corridors, knowing she had barely enough time for a quick breakfast.
"There you are," said Colin as she plopped down breathlessly next to him. "I saved you some toast."
"How did you know I'd want toast?" she asked, viciously ripping off the crusts.
"You've had toast every single morning for the past few weeks," he said, giving her a strange look. Then he lowered his voice and asked sympathetically, "You look upset. It didn't go well?" Ginny looked at him in confusion, and he elaborated, "This weekend, it didn't go well with Harry?"
She sighed. "No, it was really good; I'm just having a horrible morning."
"So what did he say?"
"When you told him."
"Told him what?" she asked suspiciously. As answer, he rolled his eyes and poked her belly. "How did you know?"
Colin laughed. "Ginny, I spend twelve or fifteen hours a day with you, ten months out of the year. I do notice things occasionally."
"What do you mean?"
"Like you've been nervous about something all month, and you started looking like Hedwig was bringing you a summons to Azkaban rather than a letter from Harry. And you agonized over writing back. But you never said anything about having problems."
"I don't tell you everything," she reminded him sulkily.
"No, no, of course not," he said with laughter in his voice. "You only wrote me letters all summer about Harry and Quidditch, and Harry bringing you presents, and Harry and your parents, and Harry at the Ministry, and visiting Diagon Alley with Harry, and Harry's birthday present, and Harry acting suspicious and secretive—" When she began looking mutinous, he hastily added, "It was other stuff that really tipped me off, you know. I thought at first you were just having a really rough time with your… your monthlies, but it didn't go away. And then you got so picky about food all of a sudden – I'd never seen you eat toast without marmalade or at least slathered with butter, and I've had to give up milk and cheese because it makes you green! Do you know how difficult that is for a milkman's son?"
She gave him a rueful smile. "That's how I announced it to my family, you know. Mum gave me milk and I lost my temper."
"You're kidding." When she shook her head, he grinned at her. "That's my Ginny, always making a scene."
They spent a few minutes discussing Ginny's weekend, and once they'd finished it was nearly time to head for Transfiguration. As Ginny stood and began gathering her things, Colin grabbed her left hand and waved his wand over it, casting a charm she didn't recognize. "What on Earth was that?"
He shrugged. "I didn't think you'd want to be answering everyone's questions when they suddenly realize you're wearing your ring. This way when they notice, they'll think it's nothing out of the ordinary. Should give you a little more time, anyway."
An idea dawned slowly. "Colin, you're brilliant with Charms…"
With a quizzical look, he prodded her towards the door. "Thanks. What are you thinking?"
Lowering her voice, Ginny replied, "Fred and George pranked my clothes this weekend, and I can't get rid of it. D'you think you could help me?"
It wasn't until that afternoon that they were able to find time. Ginny bundled up everything, dragged her bag down the girls' staircase and up to the seventh-year boys' dorms, and locked and sealed the door. Colin simply watched in amusement, and when she was finished, asked curiously, "What could possibly be so bad that it requires all this?"
Glaring, Ginny opened her bag, pulled out one of her school robes, and shook it out. "This," she said venomously, and turned it around to display the eight-inch-high letters, flashing bright green: I SHAGGED HARRY POTTER.
Colin stared speechlessly at the message until an orange lightning bolt blinked into the background. This was too much for him, and he doubled over laughing, barely managing to gasp out, "That… on ALL your robes?"
"Oh no," she fumed, "not just my robes – EVERYTHING I had at home this weekend. Robes, trousers, blouses, my Christmas jumper… even my knickers."
After what felt like ages, but was probably only a minute or three, Colin finally collected himself enough to sit back up properly. Wiping his eyes, he fumbled around on his bedside table until his hand met his precious camera. "I'll fix them for you," he said weakly, "on one condition…"
Wednesday, Ginny had Potions in the morning and a free afternoon, and the day was equally excruciating. Professor Snape was displeased with her absence the previous class, even though it had been requested by Professor Dumbledore. He spent the entire class breathing down her neck, and she was forcibly reminded of the stories Harry told of his days in Potions. She began to half expect Draco Malfoy to appear and say something scathing.
Although she was determined not to be intimidated, that didn't prevent Professor Snape from finding some minute imperfection and casting Evanesco on her cauldron. Ginny was quite annoyed about her zero and the essay assigned as extra homework, and thus she was not in the best of moods when, after lunch, she headed up to the infirmary. However, she felt there was no sense putting off the inevitable.
Madam Pomfrey, like the rest of the staff, was aware of Ginny's marriage, and like Snape she seemed to have assigned Ginny space in her mind as an extension of Harry Potter. Thus, her first question was not "What's wrong, dear?" nor "How can I help you?" but instead "What dangerous thing have you been up to now?"
Biting her tongue on the urge to answer with something about marital relations, she instead kept a remarkably good hold on her temper and merely gave the school nurse a whispered explanation.
"Well, Miss Weasley," Madam Pomfrey said in a strangled voice, "you've managed to find the one thing for which I never had to treat Mr. Potter." And without further hesitation, she bustled towards the bed farthest from the door, herding Ginny ahead of her, and surrounded it with curtains and silencing spells.
The examination was long, and made longer by mutterings of "Never would have thought…" and "Really, not my specialty…" and "Children these days…" among other comments. While Ginny was appropriately grateful to be a witch (Hermione had described vividly the visit her mother had insisted she make to a Muggle women's doctor, and it sounded quite horrifying) she wondered if perhaps there might be an advantage to getting this sort of exam from someone who didn't know you in the least. Or at least someone who hadn't patched up all parties involved after every nasty incident of the latter half of their lives.
There were a number of spells to be got through, and then a long list of questions (with even more side comments) and a potion and more spells, and finally she was allowed to sit up. Before escaping back to her dormitory, however, Madam Pomfrey mentioned (to Ginny's horror) that she would have Professor Snape brew up a daily potion to "maintain your robust good health while gestating."
Perhaps her Dad had the right of it, and Muggles really weren't quite so nutters as they appeared.
It was Thursday that had Ginny thinking longingly of Avada Kedavra.
Thursday gave every indication, when she woke up, of being a good day. She hadn't overslept, it was nearly the weekend, and she was feeling particularly well. It was simply not her week, however, and her good mood was not destined to last.
The sound of owls brought everyone's attention to the ceiling midway through breakfast, but it wasn't long before hundreds of pairs of eyes were fixed on one owl in particular. It was large and sleek and very dark, and was carrying an enormous package. As it winged its way along the Gryffindor table, Ginny felt a creeping sense of foreboding. Sure enough, the package landed with a dull thud right on top of her plate, knocking her goblet of pumpkin juice dominolike into the milk she had generously allowed Colin to pour himself that morning.
Students were staring curiously She sighed, untied the parchment from the package, and began to read.
"Merlin's beard, what IS that?" Colin asked incredulously. "It's got to be half the size of my trunk!"
That was a slight exaggeration, but not much; the package was easily two feet square and half as high or more. Heavy as well, she discovered while attempting to shift it off her plate – it must have had a lightening charm on it. "Hermione…" Ginny groaned, handing him the letter.
He scanned the parchment and laughed. "You've got to be kidding me," he began, then read aloud, "'I thought you'd appreciate a little bit of light reading…'!"