A/N Written for deenas, maplemahogany, magnolialane on Live Journal (They challenged me to write for Ginny…who I don't really like!) and for Dansgirl34, who I promised a long time ago to write a more Harry-centred fic for. Unfortunately...being me, this Harry/Ginny fic is all about Ron! Thank you to PutMoneyInThyPurse for the beta.
It was ten to five in the morning. Ginny's feet were throbbing and she couldn't walk anymore. She'd found a place that stayed open 'til three and had been wandering around ever since it closed. She thudded down on a bench near Embankment tube station and looked out at the Thames. Despite the chill in the air, she wrenched her boots off and laid her raw feet on the pavement to cool.
She sighed and rolled her head back to look to the skies. She thought how fascinating the stars must be tonight, not that she could see any as she sat in the centre of one of the world's most brightly lit cities, and watched a couple of huge moths as they repeatedly head-butted the street lamp overhead. She closed her eyes for a second.
A few minutes passed before she opened her eyes again and looked up at the sound of a drunk shouting at a green-bearded homeless man on Hungerford Bridge. She shuffled in her seat and looked back out at the river, considering moving along somewhere else; this wasn't one of the nicest places to be at this time of the morning. She leaned forward and tried to put some weight on her now-numb feet. No, still sore.
She yawned and pulled her wand out of her pocket. She scanned to her left and right quickly and considered numbing her mangled soles magically until she could get some healing ointment on them before remembering the story her father had told her about Muggle cameras that filmed moving images all over London. The Ministry had had all sorts of problems recently with magic being caught on camera. She huffed and put the wand away again.
She listened to the Thames lapping against the walls of the bank loudly. Then she frowned - the tide was well and truly out, the bank now just a sea of glorious London mud. She listened again: it wasn't splashing, it was squelching.
Then she heard an exasperated exclamation.
"I don't believe this!"
Ginny stood up, wincing as she hobbled over to the river's edge, muttering obscenities with every step.
"Ow, fuck, shit, ahh, crap..."
She tipped herself forward onto the railing to spare her poor soles and peered over.
"Shit!" said the dark haired figure as he pulled off his shoe and hurled it down into the mud.
"What the f..." Ginny began to whisper to herself, before she recognised who the person wading in the mud was. "Oi!"
Harry Potter looked up and held his mud-caked arms in the air.
"Don't worry, I'm not trying to drown myself or anything, I've lost my shoe."
"You just threw it in the mud. I saw you."
"No, that was the other one."
Ginny realised that Harry hadn't recognised her yet.
"Why are you down there?"
"I lost my keys too!" he shouted up as he slapped his hands onto his hips with a revolting squelch.
Ginny laughed. She really laughed, one of her cackles. The shoeless, keyless, mud-caked Harry looked at her properly for the first time.
"Ginny? Is that...? Blimey it's you!"
Ginny clung to the railings as she tried to control her giggling fit.
"What?" Harry stammered, "Why are you here?"
"I dunno, it's where I ended up," she managed to respond as she got a grip on herself, "How did your keys get down there?"
"No, the shoe went first," Harry explained as if it was perfectly logical, "I was walking up there and...I was kicking this tin can, and as I kicked it, my shoe went flying over the edge," he shook his head, as though unable to believe his own life.
"So you threw your keys in on a rescue mission?" Ginny asked, still in the throes of amusement.
"No, they fell in the mud while I was hunting for the shoe," Harry said before bursting into laughter.
They looked at each other for a few moments, laughing, before Harry put his hands on his hips.
"Fancy seeing you here," he said casually.
Ginny howled at this flippant delivery of a nightclub pick-up line from the sludge of the river Thames.
"This really is so weird, isn't it?" she sighed.
He looked around him and then down at himself before answering her.
A little while later Ginny was sitting beside Harry, helping him to scrape the riverbed off his clothes. He wrung out one of his sleeves onto the pavement.
"Ugh, disgusting, there's probably bits of plague in that," he grimaced.
"Bits of plague?" Ginny's eyes widened. "Oh bloody hell, you sound like Ron!"
Harry chuckled and sat back on the bench to summarise their current situation.
"So you can't Apparate because your feet are tenderised and I can't walk 'cause I have no shoes. But you can get into your house because you have your key."
"No, no, no, I can get into my home because I have a key but I can't get to my home due to my shredded feet and lack of Muggle money," Ginny corrected.
Harry's face fell and he quickly felt his back pocket.
"Oh thank you," he sighed as he looked to the heavens, "I still have my wallet."
"How much have ya got?" Ginny asked hopefully.
"A fiver and about two quid's worth of silver."
"Ok," Ginny said with a confident nod, "so we get a cab to Trafalgar Square, where we can get a night bus to my house. Inside my house is a Muggle washing machine, a bath and a bed."
"Sounds good," Harry nodded, "but how come you know about Muggle night buses and cabs and stuff?"
"Harry I've been living in London for a year now, I think I know my way around in both Muggle and Magical ways by now."
Harry looked impressed.
"So," he said awkwardly, "you um, you live on your own?"
"No," Ginny smiled wickedly and chuckled as she saw Harry's face fall slightly, "I share the place with Ron, Bill and Bill's little boy Luke."
"Bill has a son?" Harry gasped before frowning, "Wait, Bill isn't with Fleur anymore? Ron lives in London too? Where's Hermione?"
"Let's get that cab first, shall we?"
This'll be a chapter a day for about a week to keep you all occupied whileI write more Within These Walls.