Bringing Down Addie

Chapter Eight

Siblings and Secrets

- - - - - -

I absolutely floated out of bed the next day. I lie to you not. F – L – O – A – T – E – D.

Well, that is until I hit gravity, otherwise known as Hermione.

"You are in so much trouble." Was Hermione growling?

"Why ever would that be?" I tried to look really innocent.

"Because of this!" Hermione screeched. I was about to say something profound and wise to throw Hermione off track, but it didn't work as I had hoped. You see, Hermione was holding up a copy of the morning addition Daily Prophet.

Now, I don't like that stupid excuse for a publication more than anyone else in my family, but that was not the cause for my mouth dropping open. No, that could only be attributed to the very large, very colored picture of Harry and I. Last night. In mid-snog.

"Well – I, you see – " I blubbered.

"Don't even start." Hermione silenced me.

"Does Harry know?"

"I'd assume so seeing as how Ron flooed earlier this morning to tell me not to worry you. He would take care of it." Her voice was dangerously low.

"You know, killing is illegal." I reminded Hermione just in case that really nasty glint in her eyes turned into a full-blown attack.

She just screeched at me again.

"This is not the time to be juvenile!" She shouted.

"I know!" I shouted back.

"Stop yelling." She screamed.

"Only if you stop!" I screamed back.

"Fine." She shut her eyes and breathed deeply. After a few minutes she opened them again. "This is not good."

"Oh, you think?"

I knew I was being mean and evil and all types of other choice words, but what was I supposed to do? It's not every day you wake up on cloud nine only to be thrown back down by something like this. Just another testament to my luck.

So, maybe I was using sarcasm as a defense mechanism. Plenty of people do it. Like me.

"Ginny, just stop." Hermione sounded really, really tired. I suddenly felt bad.

"Okay." I mumbled.

"When did this happen?" Hermione sighed as she lifted up the paper again.

"Last night." I responded somberly.

"When you went for your walk." It wasn't a question. It was a knowing statement. A Hermione thing.

"It seemed like such a good thing until now." I grumbled.

"It is." Hermione's expression seemed to soften. "Just not good timing."

"Humph." I was very articulate this morning.

"Yes, well, that does sum it up nicely, doesn't it?" Hermione set down the paper on a side table. "Now, go get dressed and we can face the mob."

"What mob?" I snapped in apprehension.

"Well, this is obviously big. It's Harry, who is dating Addie in the public's eye. Addie, who is the daughter of Harry's boss, who happens to own the largest Quidditch enterprise in the league. And you," She looked at me pointedly, "are supposedly the tart that Harry's been having a steamy affair with."

"I wish." I moaned. "It was only a little peck on the lips!"

"I don't really need to know what you did." Hermione interrupted. "We just have to figure out how to get to the Ministry where Harry's planning a press conference."

"Why can't we just floo there?"

"Because I had to close the floo this morning when a reporter tried to sneak through."

"Apparate?"

"Wards are up."

"Fly?"

"Nope."

"So, I guess I'll go get dressed then?

"Yes."

And so I did. When I re-emerged from my room I found Hermione waiting for me in the hall. She had her game face on. A mad Hermione was something I sure wouldn't have wanted to face if I had been a reporter.

"Just walk right through and ignore them." She advised me seeing as she had a bit more experience with this type of thing than she did. I nodded, and Hermione pushed our front door open.

I was instantly blinded by lights.

"What is your relationship with Harry?"

Flash

"How long have you two been together?"

Flash

"Do you feel good now that you have been exposed for the shameless vixen you truly are?"

I bristled at that one. I was about to hit whoever had said that but Hermione just prodded me forward.

The questions and flashes kept coming.

"Ethel, what do you – "

"MY NAME IS NOT ETHEL!" I yelled behind my shoulder. Now I was mad.

"Just move." Hermione whispered into my ear.

I'm smart enough to know that Hermione normally has more common sense and intelligence than I do. So, I moved. I moved until we had cleared the reporters and reached an alley behind a smelly old Laundromat.

"I don't like this." I hissed as Hermione led me forward.

"Fine then." She snapped and wheeled around to face me. "We'll just apparate to the front of the Ministry where we can face another group of reporters. And, knowing how things generally go when you get out of hand, they'll be more there than there were at home."

"You don't have to be so mean about it."

"You know what Ginny, yes I do." Hermione said wearily. "Consider this your wake up call, because I can't keep coming to the rescue. You've been out of school for years now and you still act like a child."

"I do not!" I protested.

"Yes, you do." Hermione persisted.

"Fine, you win! I'm childish and immature and – FINE!"

"Okay then." Hermione calmed herself, "Now let's keep going."

I glared at Hermione's back heatedly as we kept on walking. At one point Hermione made me pull the hood of my robes up, and when we finally reached a back entrance to the Ministry, let in by Harry no less, was I only allowed to lower it.

"I got her here." Hermione said stiffly.

"Good." Harry looked distinctly relieved. But, before I could say anything back, I was met by a face full of red hair.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Ron asked loudly.

"Ron – " Harry warned. Ron glared at him. Harry stopped talking immediately. So much for support.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Ron repeated. He looked a bit hurt. So, I decided to take it easy on my poor older brother.

"Because it was none of your business. That's why." I glared at Ron defiantly.

"Of course it's my business." Ron said heatedly. "You're my little sister, and he's my best mate. There's no way it could be more personal!"

"Tosh." I sniffed.

"I was going to tell you." Harry told Ron timidly. Ron looked disbelieving. "Eventually."

"Same here." I chimed in.

"Really?" Hermione asked. She was glancing in turn between Harry and me with skepticism.

"It just happened really fast." Harry said in an almost whisper. "We barely had time to consider what we were doing ourselves.

"Does that mean you regret what we did?" I looked at Harry sharply. No way was boy wonder getting out of this one.

"No!" Harry said quickly. Almost too quickly.

"Sure." I glared.

"I think it would be best if we just all stopped talking to each other for a little while." Hermione said knowledgably before Harry and I could get into a larger argument. "It causes too much added stress."

We all mumbled our assent and, instead of talking, took to staring at things moodily in the room we had been supplied to wait in before Harry's press conference. I decided to stare moodily at the lamp.

But, for some odd reason that has yet to be explained to me, I do not handle intense bouts of silence very well.

"I'm going to get some water from the hall." I announced.

"Just be careful." Harry said, staring at the floor. If I could have seen his face I'm guessing it would have appeared rather dejected. "A couple reporters got in there about an hour ago." I nodded at him and just walked away quickly.

When I got in the hall I didn't get water like I had intended. I paced. I had a lot to pace about.

I paced for a very long time until a familiar voice interrupted me.

"Aidan." I greeted him coolly, albeit a bit warily.

"I saw the picture in the paper." He said rather tonelessly.

"Oh." I said in the same voice. "How did you get back here?" I looked at him in mild interest.

"Minister's son." He answered simply. I nodded in acceptance.

"I'm sorry about the paper." I said after awhile.

"Only the paper?" He asked. "Nothing else?"

"Not really." I looked at him sadly.

"Right." He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet.

"Right." I said just to fill the silence.

"Hey, Ginny." He sighed rather loudly. "I'll understand if you don't want to see me anymore. I accept it. You gave me a chance."

"Thanks." I looked to him in acknowledgement. "I appreciate that."

"And, well, I think there's something else you should know about." He looked extremely apprehensive. Like he was carrying some big dirty secret. He probably was.

"AIDAN MONTGOMERY LEWIS KINSELLA – DON'T YOU DARE!" A roar came from the entrance that Aidan had entered through not too long ago.

"She has a right to know." Aidan said calmly, not turning around to meet the owner of the voice.

There really was no reason. It was pretty obvious who it belonged to.

I looked up haltingly when I heard Harry, Ron and Hermione clamber out of the waiting room and into the hall. They had most likely been drawn in from the noise.

"I thought you said you didn't know her." I said to Aidan. I knew my voice sounded cold and devoid of much feeling, but I didn't care.

"I lied." Aidan responded.

"Why?" I asked for further clarification.

"Because she told me to." He finally looked behind his shoulder to acknowledge Addie. If looks could kill the one Addie was sending Aidan would have been enough to make him drop dead on the spot.

"Really Addie." I looked at her disdainfully.

"I can't believe you." Addie huffed, marching straight up to stand next to Aidan in her most threatening of threatening stances.

"And, I can't believe you." Aidan looked down at Addie incredulously.

"We should have never kept in contact with you." Addie snarled.

"Wait – what?" I asked. My voice was beginning to get some feeling back and so were my other senses.

"Ginny," Aidan turned to look at me with something akin to regret in his eyes, "Addie is my sister."

"Half-sister." Addie corrected impatiently.

"Yeah, that." Aidan said casually.

"WHAT?" Ron shrieked. It was the first time a member from the golden trio had said anything.

"Be quiet Ron." I shot him a menacing look and he quieted. "What?" I repeated Ron's earlier sentiment to Aidan.

"It's difficult to explain." Aidan said. He was fidgeting with the edge of his robes.

"Try." I ordered. I didn't really give a flying fig that Aidan looked like he might pass out from stress.

"Well, Addie came to me a few months ago and said that if I helped her with a project that she would endorse my new book." He paused to look up at me sheepishly. "So, I agreed. Because, you know, she was dating Harry in the public eye and that could do wonders for my numbers."

Harry growled in disgust on the sidelines.

"She told me that you were trying to sabotage their relationship because you were jealous, and that I was to keep you busy." Aidan continued, his eyes suddenly pleading. "You have to understand that what happened between us that first night – I never meant to hurt you. And so you have to see that I had to come up with a way for you to stay with me because then God knows what she would have done," He looked over to Addie with disdain. "But at the same time when you had all that champagne you told me what was really going on. So, I didn't try to sabotage you nearly as hard as I was supposed to."

Addie was spitting bullets.

"Why don't you just give up?" I looked at her in frustration.

"No one else knows the truth." She said stiffly.

"Addie." It was time I got out the gloves – metaphorically, of course. "I suspect you only have eight to nine months, if you're lucky, until everyone figures out you've been a, ah, busy girl." She looked absolutely mortified. "And then probably not long after that until the public realizes that it's not Harry's baby."

"How do you know?" She asked me softly, wrapping an arm around her stomach. I suddenly felt bad for her.

"It's not important how I know. It just matters that I know." I said more gently than Addie deserved. "But if we tell the press now that it's over between you and Harry, and that it's been over for a while, you can avoid that. You can find the real father and avoid negative exposure."

I could feel everyone holding their breath as Addie lowered her head. She actually seemed to be considering it.

"No." She whispered fiercely after awhile. Drat. Her eyes were dancing with determination – and tears. "No." She repeated.

"Addie." I addressed her sternly, "How is this going to turn out positively?" It was a rhetorical question. "It won't. This relationship you have with Harry is never going to give you the type of exposure you want it to. Blackmailing him isn't going to work." And then I swallowed all my pride. "Addie, you are a very pretty girl." She looked at me like I had just gone insane. I actually probably had. "I'm sure that you can become famous all on your own."

None of us said anything.

But, no sooner had Addie tried to stomp out of the room a large group of reporters poured into the room. I swore under my breath and watched as the reporters descended on our group like a plague of locusts.

I felt my attention being pulled in a thousand different directions as reporters screamed in my ear if what they had just heard had been the truth. If Addie had really blackmailed Harry. If she was really pregnant.

I struggled to break free.

Harry stood next to Addie, surrounded by photographers as I fought my way through the crowd to get over where they were standing. He looked at me for a moment when I reached him. His face clouded and then his mouth dropped open as if he had just realized something extremely important. He immediately began to search the crowd over with his eyes. Addie was tugging on his arm hysterically and screaming that it wasn't true.

I became stuck between two large men as I watched Ron break into the middle of the group and apparate Harry away. I stood still for a few moments before I made my way back out of the crowd and stumbled into the room that we had been waiting in earlier. It was blissfully empty.

I sunk down onto one of the couches and lowered my head into my hands.

I jumped when I heard the door open, but calmed when I realized it was only Aidan.

"I'm afraid that's my fault." He looked at me seriously.

"How?"

"I left the lock on the door to this area open when I came in." He explained sheepishly.

"Oh." I deadpanned.

"But, on the bright side I think you may have finally brought down Addie." He said with a small smile.

"It's weird." I mused out loud. "I thought I would have felt better about the whole thing. I guess I just always figured it would end – better." I finished with a shrug. I startled a bit as I hear rain start to pound on the roof.

"I suppose." He took a seat next to me.

"Can you explain something to me?" I asked him once he was seated.

"Sure."

"How are you Addie's brother?" I said with a small laugh. It still all seemed oddly surreal.

"Well, around the same time Addie was born, her dad, had an affair with my mum." He explained slowly. "The minister isn't my biological father. I figured that out about five years ago." He cringed a bit. "We were always friends with Addie's family. Like, really close." He turned his head to face me straight on. "We would do everything together. Spend holidays at exclusive Villas and what not. After a while Addie's mom got a bit suspicious. And around a year ago she confronted Coach about it, and, well, she left him when he admitted to what he had done."

"Wow." I let out a slow breath. "So, does the Minister know?"

"Nope." Aidan said, shaking his head. "I've thought about saying something to him. But, I'm the only kid and I just don't want him to know. He really loves my mum and me. He's been more of a dad to me than Coach ever was, so, I just consider him my real dad. Coach is more like a friend than anything else."

"What's going to happen now though? Now that you and Addie already admitted your, um, connection around reporters." I asked.

"I don't know." Aidan replied honestly. "I hope it doesn't change things too much."

"So, then, all of this," I started awkwardly, "Us. You were never infatuated with me or anything."

"No." He answered, laughing and shaking his head. "I wasn't infatuated. I did think you were a wonderful girl though."

"Only wonderful?" I pushed his arm playfully.

"No." He looked at me solemnly. "I grew to really like you. But, I knew we could never really have anything once all of the dirt came out from under the rug.

"Really?" I asked in surprise. I really hadn't expected that response.

"I've resigned myself to the fact that we'll never have anything romantic between us. I think I'm okay with it." He smiled at me. "But, I will say, Harry is a lucky guy."

- - -- - - - - -

The rain was pouring down when I arrived home late at night to an empty apartment and a note from Hermione telling me that she'd be home the next day.

I could really care less where Hermione spent the night. I was still trying to register the large amount of shock that had been delivered to my system.

I cried myself to sleep that night.

And, just as I had truly fallen into a deep slumber I was jolted awake. By an incessant rapping at the door.

I thought it was a burglar.

So, I did what any sane person would do. I grabbed a large vase off of the end table and tried to make my voice sound extremely loud and intimidating as I reached the door.

"I have a very large weapon and I am not afraid to use it." I growled menacingly, crouching so I could attack my burglar.

"Gin? Is that you?" I frowned as I moved to unlock the heavy lock on the door that Ron had insisted Hermione and I install. I recognized that voice. With a sigh, I wrenched the door open.

In the threshold stood a head to toe soaked Harry Potter.

"Harry, what…" I started, but I was cut off when he pushed his way into the hall. "Do you have a suicide wish? It's thundering and raining. You're almost guaranteed to develop pneumonia!" I shrieked at him.

"No." He said, shivering.

"May I remind you that as a registered adult water you can repel water." I informed him with a small yawn. I watched with a twisted sort of satisfaction as his face went slightly slack. "You see, you use this thing called a wand. It's really quite easy." I demonstrated by waving my arm in the air.

"I – I'm, really, really cold." He chattered. Hmm, his lips did actually look slightly blue if examined closely enough. Not that I was examining his lips closely. Really. I wasn't.

He murmured a few other things but I didn't pay that much attention to what else he was saying as I pushed him towards the bathroom. Once inside, I started the shower and helped him out of his wet cloak as he continued sputtering nonsense words. I started to make my way to leave the bathroom to give him some privacy when I felt his hand wrap around my upper arm.

"Stay." He whispered.

"Harry – I." I muttered, "You need to get changed. You'll get sick otherwise." I tried to keep my throat and eyes clear. The night was crushing back onto me at full force and I couldn't help but recall what had gone on that had reduced me to tears before bedtime.

"No, you need to hear this." Harry stopped me again. "I'm sorry I wasn't more considerate of you this morning. I don't regret what happened last night."

"It's okay." I said quietly.

"No, I was a prat, and I apologize." He said sincerely, even though he was clacking away like an ice cube. "It probably wasn't the right time for me to ask to kiss you, but I'm really not sorry I did it." He locked his eyes with mine. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

"Really?" I squeaked.

"Really." He confirmed.

His eyes were shining brightly as he looked at me intently. I couldn't help but notice the water droplets that were hanging onto his thick eyelashes and the way his skin was raw from the cold. The rain ran down his skin in tiny rivulets making his glasses blur slightly. He was absolutely beautiful.

And then he started to move closer, and I knew what was going to happen.

His kiss was soft and caring. He held the back of my head in his hands as if he was afraid I might break, and I clutched onto his shoulders, afraid that I would wake up from a dream. But just like yesterday it wasn't a dream.

We broke apart and he pulled me closer to him in a warm hug. Well, warm internally. Externally I was starting to feel a bit chilly from his wet robes.

"How romantic." I whispered in his ear. I felt him give a shudder.

"Yeah." He whispered back, still shivering.

"You still cold?" I asked. I already knew the answer, but, well, whatever.

"Very." He said. "Care to warm me up a bit?"

"Men." I sighed, but I didn't put up much protest.

I fell into his kiss, his scent, his embrace. It was perfect.

It was the type of thing that is so wonderful that not anything in the world could make it better. We may have been in my filthy bathroom. My shampoo and clothes scattered everywhere, because, and I admit it, am not a generally tidy person. But it was still perfect.

We broke apart again and Harry started fumbling around in the pocket of his robes. I just sat back and looked at him oddly. He let out a triumphant noise after a while and pulled out whatever he had been searching for. I couldn't make out what it was as his fist obstructed it from my view.

"I found something that belonged to you tonight." Harry said, unfolding his clenched hand.

I couldn't believe what he had. In Harry's palm lay my locket. The locket that Addie had stolen from me. With shaky hands I reached out and took it from Harry, cracking it open to read the inscription. To one of my best friends. Happy Birthday. I turned my attention onto the tiny picture on the other side of the engraving, a miniature Harry and I waving up at me from the frame, little Harry's arm wrapped around my photograph self's shoulder.

"Here." Harry took the necklace from my hand and helped slip it around my neck. "It looks much better on you."

"How?" I gaped at him.

"Well, I was with Addie a few days ago when a lady we had been talking to commented on it. Addie gushed on and on about how it had been imported from Indonesia and how it was priceless and all this other stuff I didn't listen to. Of course I recognized it right away I took enough time picking it out. So when we got away I demanded she give it back." He explained softly. He picked the small gold heart up and twirled it around lightly before letting it fall back onto my skin with a small whoosh.

"Thank you." I whispered almost inaudibly.

"No problem." He shrugged.

"So, what does this all mean?" I asked Harry shyly.

"It means that I'd like to try having a relationship with you, if that's all right." He said shyly, his eyes searching mine for an answer.

"Yes!" I laughed.

What else was there to do?

- - - -

The End

But…

Every story needs an – EPILOGUE

- - - - - -

It's been over six months since Harry and I brought down Addie. And, things have settled down nicely.

True to my proclamation Harry did catch a nasty bought of pneumonia due to his prolonged exposure to the rain. But, it wasn't all to waste. I spent a wonderful few weeks nursing him back to health.

Harry left the Falcons shortly after the incident with Addie came to a close. It wasn't that he was fired. In reality Coach Lewis had apologized profusely for his daughter and offered Harry a pay raise. Harry didn't go for it. He had explained that it would simply be too awkward to resume his position after everything that had happened.

It didn't take long for him to be immediately signed onto the Chudley Cannons, who now, with Harry's help, are experiencing their first winning season for years. There's even talk of a Quidditch Cup in the future. As you can imagine, much to Ron's obvious delight.

Harry isn't enjoying it too much though. He's started receiving a large amount of press for his involvement in bringing a previously failing team to the height of league standards again. And we just got over all of the press surrounding Addie.

Harry finally ended the interest in that story by granting an exclusive interview to Maggie. He told her the whole story from his point of view. The interview had sold millions of copies, and had boosted Maggie to the most read journalist in wizarding Britain.

And, speaking of selling millions, Aidan isn't doing too shabbily in that department either. His newest book is actually based off of the whole Addie situation as well, only, his focus is on unrequited love. He titled the book, 'Bringing Down Patty.' It's been number one on the best sellers list ever since it was released.

I ran into him not too long ago when I was shopping for curtains. I didn't stop to say hi, but I smiled when I saw him walk past with a cute blonde draped around his shoulder.

It might have been nice to have a small chat but I was carrying around reams of curtain material for the new apartment Harry and I were renting. It really was a heavy parcel. But, I blame Ron and Hermione.

I wouldn't have had to buy new curtains if Ron hadn't proposed, leaving Harry and myself without roommates. I suppose I shouldn't complain, because after all, I get to live with Harry. Who would complain about that?

We still don't talk about Addie too much.

Last I heard she had moved to Paris, France after a paternity test had revealed that the father of her child was in fact an international super model. She moved in with him, and later discovered she would be having a little girl.

She wrote me a letter not too long ago asking me if I had ever changed my eye shadow color and to inform me that she still hated me, and if we should ever meet on a dark corner I should 'watch my freckled behind.' Enclosed in the letter, was also the cover of a magazine from Paris, Addie gracing the cover. I guess she had gotten her wish.

So, in the end I guess it all turned out all right. No one ended up dead, I got Harry, Addie went away, and I have a wedding to look forward to.

In light of all of this I retract my earlier statement and declare: The Cinderella stories really do come true!

- - - - - - -- -- -

Author's Final Note:

That is it! It is over! I wasn't planning on this to be the last chapter, but I really didn't want to have this story to deal with after HBP came out when I knew I'd be teeming with different plot ideas once that book hits stores and falls into my hands.

I hope you all have enjoyed this story, whether you've reviewed or not. To all of those who have reviewed I want you all to know that without your kind words this short little foray wouldn't have gotten very far. So, for your unyielding support, I can't thank you enough.

Now, as to future projects. There will be no sequel to this story. I think I've gotten what I can from the plotline. I do, however, have a story that I've been developing for a long time that, if interested, will come out shortly after HBP. (It will be formatted to fit HBP canon.) It will focus a bit less on comedy and more on drama, though. However, Ginny and Harry will be the central characters. So, please, check back!

Well, I guess this is it. I take my final bow. Thanks again!