A Fan Fiction by Zsenya
A/N: This was inspired by one line in "The Casting Stone" by Thing1. I wrote this back in January, but wanted to wait until Thing1's series was complete before posting it. I've attempted to write somewhat in the manner of Thing1, although I don't know that anyone can capture her wonderful writing style. This is just a piece of Harry/Ginny fluff. Maybe in Thing1's world, Harry would have bothered to ask Ginny what she was up to during the last visit, but it would involve writing a flashback and I just didn't feel like it - I wanted to be fluffy! Enjoy!
Harry Potter paced up and down in front of the fireplace in Remus Lupins' study with a very strange expression on his face. He appeared to be talking to himself and his black hair stood even more on end than usual.
"Katie's right, you know she is, so why don't you just go do it? Idiot! Emotional development of an eleven year-old child…" Lucky for Harry, no one was around to observe this monologue.
After several more minutes of rambling, Harry took a deep breath, straightened, reached into a flower pot on the mantle, threw a handful of Floo Powder on the fire, stepped in, and said "The Burrow!" quite determinedly.
The kitchen at the Burrow was deserted. Well, what had he expected? It was the middle of the day and Mrs. Weasley didn't spend every waking hour in there. "Hello?!" he shouted, heading towards the door of the room. He jumped back in surprise a moment later when it opened from the other side and Ginny Weasley stepped into the room, wearing an old work robe, her hands covered with splashes of ink. She jumped as well when she saw Harry standing there.
"Harry! We - we didn't expect, I mean, Mum didn't mention that you were coming by this week…"
"I'm sorry - " began Harry, feeling instantly embarrassed. Damn! I knew I should have owled to let them know I was back.
"No!" replied Ginny quickly, "that is, I didn't mean - you're always welcome here Harry, it's just that, well, I'm the only one here. Mum and Dad are in Egypt with Bill right now to see the baby. They probably aren't coming home until next week."
Harry nodded slowly and said, "Oh!" and resumed staring at Ginny, trying desperately to think of something interesting to say. She's got ink all over her hands. Why does that make me want to touch them? Should I go?
Luckily, Ginny seemed to regain her composure very quickly. "Shall I make some tea for us then? I was just working and I need a break. I - I read a bit about your latest adventures in The Daily Prophet the other day. I'd love to hear more about it, if you want to talk about it?" That last phrase came out as a question, and Harry accepted the invitation, grateful for something to keep his mind focused on something besides the way Ginny's nose was still covered in the remnants of a few tiny freckles from her youth.
"Well, you know that we captured Pettigrew - " Harry talked with ease as he outlined the whole month's events for her. Why am I always so calm around her? I feel like I was meant to be here, just sitting with her.
Ginny placed the teacups down on the table and sat next to him, still listening attentively. He caught a whiff of honeysuckle coming from her and faltered a bit as he did so. Ginny handed him his tea, and once again, his attention was drawn towards her hands.
"What are you working on anyway?" he asked with interest. He had not yet asked her why she had chosen to remain at the Burrow and was angry with himself that he never bothered to find out how she occupied her time. During his last visit, Ginny had said very little and he had asked nothing. Instead, they had filled their time reminiscing about Hogwarts. When she did speak, it was to ask him questions about his Auror training and he had answered willingly.
Ginny smiled brightly and began talking more than she ever had before in front of him. "I've got a job working for Magical Court, you know, they publish a great many magical books. They're actually a small firm and they hired me in several capacities. My specialty is Charms books. I'm sort of editor/illustrator/charmer. We're working on an annual review of new charms and spells and I was just putting together some of the drawings."
"Really?" asked Harry, astonished. "I never knew that you were artistic like that!" I never bothered to find out, did I? I just knew she worked for some publisher. She must have been working on that the last time I was here. I didn't even ask why she disappeared into her room for hours on end.
"Well, I'd always made drawings and things like that, but I never studied it. I didn't really have a clear idea what I wanted to do when I left Hogwarts. I felt so…alone somehow. I saw an ad for Magical Court in The Daily Prophet a few weeks before I graduated. I did really well on my N.E.W.Ts in Charms and they hired me as an apprentice. The pay wasn't good at first, so I decided to stay at the Burrow and Apparate every day. When I finished the apprenticeship, they let me work from home. I go to the office a few days a week and go to meetings and show my progress, you know, things like that."
But Harry didn't know. He didn't know anything about leading a normal life, did he? What did he know about meetings and offices and business and waking up and having a regular, boring day. Until now, he'd never had a chance.
There was a long silence, until Ginny broke it by asking, "Are you going to take a break now that Pettigrew is gone?"
Harry looked up sharply and despite himself, felt his face get hot and his eyes dampen. He quickly recovered himself and shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno. I guess I can take a bit of a holiday, but I'm not really sure what to do with myself. I haven't exactly led a normal life up until now, have I? I came here because this is the most "normal" place I know, if you can believe that." Harry tried to sound lighthearted as he looked around the Weasley kitchen. Much to his surprise, Ginny didn't run screaming from the room at his outburst, but instead, slowly placed a hand on his forearm.
"Harry - the last few years have been painful for everyone in the community. Everyone I know is trying hard to try to live a 'normal' life. No one deserves that more than you do. For people our age, almost all that we know is a form of mass terror. The most important thing is to sit back and enjoy what you see around you. Spend good times with your friends. Let people love you. Go to a Cannon's game, or, better yet, spend an evening in the Granger-Weasley household watching an endless cycle of pointless spats and ridiculous reconciliations."
Harry grinned a bit at this. He asked thoughtfully, "do you think your life is normal then?" It's very easy to talk to her. It always has been, I suppose.
Ginny shook her head. "No," she answered quietly. "Well, maybe that's not true. It's a bit boring in many respects actually, if that's what's considered 'normal'. It's a bit lonely. A lot of my friends from school are getting married, or living on their own, and here I am, working on my little drawings and books not really going anywhere. Did you know that Colin Creevey is getting married next month? Colin Creevey! I dunno, it all makes me feel a bit, well, young. Or old. Or stupid. I don't know."
Harry nodded in agreement, "that's a bit how I felt when Ron and Hermione first got engaged. I mean, I told Ron to propose. I encouraged it. But then, when it all became a reality, I was very happy for them, I mean, I am very happy for them, but I also felt a bit upset that everyone was growing up and living lives, and here I was, the Famous Harry Potter, never even kissed a …"
Harry stopped abruptly. He hadn't meant to reveal that much about himself. I could KICK myself. Why is she looking at me like that - is that shock? Well fine Ms. Weasley, you try ridding the world of the most evil wizard of the century and see if you have any time for the finer things in life.
Ginny was staring at Harry with what looked like a mixture of amusement and something he couldn't quite place. Then, she stood up and reached out her hand to him. "It's a lovely day and I haven't been outside yet. Do you feel like going for a walk?"
Harry took her hand and let her pull him up off the bench. He didn't let go and she didn't seem to mind as they left the back door out into the garden.
They walked out of the main garden and up the hill towards the high trees on the Glen. Ginny chattered on about games and broomstick races and other childhood activities of the Weasley clan as they strolled along. Harry was painfully conscious of her hand in his, and happy as he was, felt as though something inside of him was about to explode.
"Do you still have your Firebolt, Harry?"
"Of course I do! It's one of my most prized possessions. There're fancier brooms out now, I've ridden a few - Ron's got a Pereginus Supremo, you know - but that one has served me well."
Ginny nodded slightly in agreement, then said, "I tend to remain loyal to things so much that there are boxes and boxes in the attic to prove it. I have every copy of the comic books Dad bought for me when I was little. Even after I outgrew them, I held onto them because they made me feel safe and happy, and reminded me of a time in my life. Some people might call me a pack-rat…others might just call me foolish…" Ginny was looking at him curiously now, and Harry had this feeling that she wasn't just talking about some dusty boxes in the attic. Realization dawned on him slowly and he stopped walking and whispered in a hoarse voice that he almost didn't recognize, "Ginny, I - I would never presume, I mean, I hope but …"
Ginny nodded and interrupted him, a slight quiver in her voice. "Presume all you want to Harry Potter. I've kept you as long as I've kept those comic books. I can't help the way I feel and I can't change the way that I am."
Ginny was visibly shaking now, but her hand still held his firmly.
"Why?" asked Harry, very quietly, feeling happy and anxious and embarrassed all at once. "Why me?" Is this really happening? Can it really be this easy and this difficult all at once?
"How can you explain something like that? Some people meet in adulthood and can claim common ground, or a shared interest. I've felt this way since I was ten years old. I wasn't able to stifle it and believe me, I tried. It's just something that happened. I've always cared - I've always wanted - " a tear rolled down her cheek, but her brown eyes were fixed quite firmly upon him.
Harry reached up and wiped the tear off of her cheek with his free hand, which was trembling slightly, and looked searchingly into Ginny's face. When their eyes connected, he heard her intake her breath very sharply. He spoke, "Ginny, I haven't exactly been attentive, or well, what you deserve. Do you realize that I had no idea what you were even doing with your life until this afternoon? Someone as preoccupied and self-absorbed as I am doesn't really deserve -"
But it seemed that neither one of them would be able to finish a sentence that day. Ginny cut him off with what sounded like a bit of anger in her voice, "Don't say that! Don't you ever say that. If ridding the world of Voldemort, and scum like Pettigrew is "self - absorbed" then I guess you're guilty of it, but I would call it brave, and noble, and responsible. Harry - I knew from the beginning that you would have bigger things to do in your life than deal with romance. But I always hoped that someday you would be free, and now you are, and I really can't help the way I feel - it started the day I saw you on platform nine and three quarters before your first year - and it's continued ever since."
Ginny stopped and took a deep breath. Her eyes were flashing now. Harry's heart was thumping wildly in his chest. He knew what he wanted to do, but - would he be able to actually do it? Courage Harry, courage. You're a Gryffindor. You've stood up to awful, terrible people. You can do this. What would Sirius do in this situation? Hmph. He'd probably have skipped all the talking…
Harry lifted the hand that he was holding, and brought it up to his lips. Then he wrapped the arm that was attached to it around his shoulder and with his other arm, pulled Ginny close to him at the waist. She lifted her head and he bent his slightly, and moments later their lips met in a brief kiss. Startled, Harry pulled away from her for a second, and Ginny laughed at him, "you may be an Auror but you need a lot more training in that department, Harry Potter!"
"What was wrong with that?" he asked, bending his head so that their foreheads were touching.
"It was entirely too short. I think we need to do a lot of practicing." Ginny kissed him again, and this time, he didn't want to break away. This is normal. This is what it means. I am going to be normal for the rest of my life. I'm finally coming home…