From Across the Great Divide
Disclaimer and author's notes: next to none of this is mine. The characters, settings, spells, etc. are J. K. Rowling's, the title is from "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan, the idea for Ginny's career was inspired by Yolanda, the idea for Fred and George's prank was Firebolt909's. The plot probably isn't even original… So what did I do? I typed it up in my own words, and even those came from the dictionary. A big thank you to Firebolt909 and Imogen for their encouragement. Long may the Queens of H/G reign!
Oh, and no Weasleys were harmed during the writing of this fic.
Rating: right now it's PG, but will likely be R before we get to the end…
Chapter One: Reunion
"You know, you haven't danced with me once yet all evening."
Ginny Weasley looked up into a pair of strikingly green eyes. Harry Potter held out a hand and Ginny hesitated slightly before taking it. He was just performing another duty she told herself; he had been doing so all day. As best man at Ron and Hermione's wedding, it had been his role to calm his best friend's nerves, produce the ring at the proper point in the ceremony, and propose a toast to the couple. He had carried out all of these duties admirably, and now it was his lot to dance with the bridesmaid. Ginny allowed him to lead her into the midst of the other couples who were already revolving to a slow song. As Harry put an arm around Ginny's waist and began to circle with her to the music, she mused back on the day.
It had been a long day and a hectic one, filled with all sorts of last minute emergencies and nervousness. Now that it was almost over, everyone could breathe a collective sigh of relief. Harry had summed it up well in his toast earlier at dinner.
"Almost twelve years ago," he had said, " when Ron and Hermione first met on the Hogwarts Express, no one could possibly imagined that this was in their future. If memory serves, Ron's immediate reaction to Hermione was, 'Whatever house she's in, I hope I'm not in it!'" Harry had paused as the wedding guests laughed, then he had continued, "in our sixth year, I had the misfortune of witnessing first-hand what would become their most famous argument. It was not famous for its subject, since I don't think anyone remembers just exactly what it was, but for its outcome, because in the middle of it all, Ron finally plucked up the courage to actually kiss Hermione, which effectively shut her up." At this, the tips of Ron's ears had turned red and Hermione had pretended to slap Harry with her bouquet, all the while suppressing a smile. Rubbing his arm in mock outrage, Harry had carried on, "strangely enough, from that point on they seemed to argue a lot less, which made life infinitely more pleasant for us all. We've all had a long hard road to travel from that day to this, so I'd like you all to raise your glasses and drink to the happy couple. May the future be filled with as much joy as today has been." And he had raised his glass and drained it.
Harry spoke, startling Ginny out of her reverie. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you'd been avoiding me."
"I haven't been avoiding you," Ginny lied. In truth, she had been, although if anyone had asked her why, she would not have been able to formulate a coherent response. In the five years since she had left Hogwarts, she had seen Harry on perhaps a handful of occasions, all of them Weasley family events. He kept a very busy schedule in his role as Seeker for the Montrose Magpies. The previous year he had even played for England at the Quidditch World Cup, where England had made it as far as the semi-final. In that match, Harry had come face to face with Viktor Krum, who had beaten him to the Snitch by the narrowest of margins, assuring the Bulgarian victory. In spite of that loss, Harry was lauded in the wizarding world for his Quidditch ability which gave the English team its best showing at the World Cup in recent memory. The fact that he played for a professional team which had a world-wide following only added to his fame, as did his role in defeating Lord Voldemort in Ginny's sixth year at Hogwarts.
Ginny could feel the quality of the fabric of Harry's dress robes, and it made her feel very unsophisticated. She thought of the articles that appeared regularly in Witch Weekly, articles which associated Harry with a variety of glamorous witches. She looked ruefully down at her bridesmaid's dress, as she remembered trying it on in a Muggle bridal shop. "I look like a peach and almond gateau," she had cried in dismay.
"Nonsense," Hermione had replied, " you look quite lovely in that. Once it's been fitted properly it will be perfect. Besides," she had added, a grin tugging at the corners of her mouth, "it's Muggle tradition for the bridesmaids to look like some sort of pastry shop confection. It fits right into the theme of the bride dressing as a meringue." Ginny had giggled then. Although the dress Hermione had chosen was quite understated and she looked absolutely stunning in it, there was no way around the fact that Muggle wedding gowns did indeed look like meringues.
Ginny knew she should be making interesting conversation, so she cast about for a topic. Looking up at Harry, she finally settled on, "so, what exciting plans do you have for your holidays, now that the Quidditch season is over?"
"For once, I have none whatsoever," came the answer. "I thought I'd spend my holiday doing nothing but relaxing. This will be the first summer in a few years I haven't over-committed myself to one thing or another." One thing or another had usually been exhibition matches and their attendant parties in one country or another, Ginny knew.
Ginny could see Ron and Hermione snogging obliviously on the dance floor, and she sighed wistfully. But she knew she needed to answer Harry. "Where are you going to spend your holiday doing nothing, then?"
"I haven't decided yet. When you're planning on doing nothing at all, it usually doesn't matter much where you're doing it, does it?"
"No, I suppose not. I wouldn't know what it's like to just do nothing. Or maybe I would. My job at the Ministry has to be about the most boring drudgery I've ever experienced outside Professor Binns' classes."
"You're with the Improper Use of Magic Office, aren't you?"
"Yes, and I hate it. There's really very little to do but wait around until someone misuses magic, and then send them a nasty owl. They keep me at the office until all hours of the night, too."
"I suppose there has to be someone in the office on a 24 hour basis. I got an owl from them once, and it was definitely outside normal office hours. So much for bureaucrats having it easy."
"My boss, Mafalda Hopkirk, has it easy. She gets to keep the hours she wants. It's peons like me who have to drudge." Ginny nodded towards a short witch with long brown hair who was dancing with Percy. "I can't believe she turned up as Percy's date. She's got to be at least 5 years older than he is."
Harry looked over to where Percy could be seen dancing very stiffly with Mafalda. "It doesn't look like he's having a very good time," he commented, "but she seems to be enjoying herself. I wonder who asked who to the wedding."
"I wouldn't be surprised at all if she asked him. I think she fancies him," Ginny noted with a laugh.
The song they were dancing to ended. "Look," Ginny said, "Ron and Hermione are getting ready to leave."
They joined the crowd of family and friends who were throwing wizarding confetti, which hung sparkling in the air, and wishing the couple well. Hermione, as a Muggle-born witch, had chosen to mix Muggle and wizarding traditions when she planned her wedding. She had invited a number of family members who had no idea the wizarding world existed, and as a result, a good many Unobtrusive Charms had had to be cast so that Hermione's unsuspecting family members would not notice anything out of the ordinary. If any of them did notice anything, they would likely attribute any strange occurrence to too much drink. Ron and Hermione went toward the entrance of the hall that had been rented for the occasion to say a last goodbye, before going outside to Disapparate unseen.
"You know, at Muggle weddings, the married couple leaves in an autobomile," said Arthur Weasley, knowingly.
"Yes, and it's a good thing Hermione decided not to go with Muggle tradition and use one, or who knows what Fred and George would have done to it," replied Molly.
"Oh, come on, Mum, we're not that bad," complained Fred.
"We couldn't be as bad as we'd like, Ron refused to tell us where they were spending their wedding night. I can't imagine why," put in George.
"Smart move, "Ginny thought.
As Ron was going through the door, Hermione suddenly turned and tossed her bouquet toward Ginny.
Surprised, Ginny held out her arms and caught the bouquet. Some sort of purplish viscous liquid shot out of the bouquet and onto her face and dress.
"Hermione," she spluttered, "just what in Merlin's name do you think you're doing?" But it was too late; Hermione had already followed Ron out the door. Ginny opened her eyes to see Fred and George falling over each other with laughter.
Ginny turned on them. "Honestly, will you two ever grow up?"
"Sorry, Gin," said Fred, once he'd got his laughter under control. "We didn't know she was going to chuck it at you."
"Yeah," agreed George, "that was meant for Hermione once she'd once she'd got wherever she was going. Little surprise for Ron, and all."
"I believe," put in Arthur, who was decidedly in his element, "it's a Muggle tradition for the bride to toss her bouquet before leaving the wedding reception. The girl who catches it is the next to marry."
Ginny blushed, although no one could tell with her face covered in purplish goo.
"Don't worry, Gin," said Fred. "It should come right off. We didn't want to bee too hard on Ron, it being his wedding night."
"Allow me," came a voice behind her. She turned and there was Harry, his eyes alight with suppressed laughter. In his hand was a handkerchief, which he used to gently wipe the mess from her face. But he didn't stop there. He continued onto her neck and the creamy skin above the neckline of her dress. Ginny could not help but wonder what would have happened if her dress had had a deeper décolleté. Would he have dared perform such a task in front of her family then?
"There, much better now. Sorry, there's not much to be done about your dress though."
Ginny looked down. "Oh, well, now I look like a peach and almond gateau with blueberry coulis."
"Actually, that was blueberry coulis…" George was still hovering nearby, holding back his laughter. "And it had an aphrodisiac in it…"
"A what?" Ginny exclaimed, shocked.
"An aphrodisiac," returned George. "Surely you know what that is. But don't worry, since neither of you actually consumed any, you should be all right. You see what was supposed to happen was…" George paused here and contemplated his sister, then he whispered something to Harry which made Harry get rather red in the face. "It was all in good fun, really," George concluded.
Ginny felt extremely grateful that none of the rest of the family was a party to this conversation, though doubtless Fred could figure out what George was saying. Her other brothers had gone to get drinks or find their dates. Her father had dragged her mother off to the dance floor to stop Molly from hexing the twins.
Harry turned to Ginny. "As long as there seems to be no danger of me dragging you off to the corner and ravishing you, I suggest we get something to drink." He led Ginny over to a table and fetched them each a glass of wine from the bar. They sat sipping their wine and making small talk about the eventful day. Then Harry asked her to dance again. She went back to the dance floor with him and slipped into his arms. In the future, Ginny would never remember just how long they swayed together to the music. Suddenly, it seemed, Harry spoke. "It looks as if the party's breaking up."
Ginny realised that at some point they had slipped entirely into each others' arms: her body was pressed to his, and she had laid her head on his shoulder. Ginny quickly disengaged herself, as a blush traitorously stained her cheeks. She thought she saw disappointment flash across Harry's expression, but it was too fleeting for her to be certain she hadn't imagined it.
"I should be off then, too. It's been a long day, she said to cover the awkward moment.
"Wait, let me say my good-byes, and I'll see you home."
"You really don't have to do that. I'll just Disapparate home. It's only Hogsmeade, not some seedy part of London."
"Please, I insist. I haven't been to Hogsmeade in ages." Harry smiled winningly. How could Ginny refuse that or the deep green eyes that flashed at her? She felt something flutter in her stomach that she was sure had nothing to do with the quantity of wine she'd consumed.
"All right, then."
They said their goodbyes and made ready to Disapparate. "Let's just Disapparate into the centre of the village. We can walk from there," said Ginny.
They appeared with a pop near the Three Broomsticks. The village of Hogsmeade was quiet, as most of its residents were in bed at this late hour; even the pub seemed have finished its nights' business. Ginny led Harry companionably along the road that ran past Dervish and Banges and out of the village. The summer night was warm and the scent of wildflowers wafted on the air. On the outskirts of the village, set away from the other houses, they came upon a small cottage. The moon, nearing its full, glinted off the whitewashed walls and diamond-paned windows, and gave off enough light to reveal carefully tended flower borders, riotous with summer colour.
Ginny stopped in front of the door and turned to face Harry. "Here we are, then." Her eyes met his, and she stood transfixed beneath his gaze. The air around them seemed to take on an electrical charge. Ginny felt it flow through her as Harry took both her hands in his. He leaned closer almost imperceptively, but then they both froze. The sound of breaking glass came from inside the cottage.
Drawing her wand, Ginny muttered the incantation which would break the Locking Charm on the front door. The door swung open, and they had just enough time to see another person in the half-light of the living room, before the intruder Disapparated. They entered the room, and Ginny's eyes widened in shock as she saw it was in shambles. The cushions had been torn from the sofa and armchairs, drawers had been upended onto the floor, and clothes were strewn on the floor in a trail leading to the bedroom. Ginny weakly sank down into the nearest armchair, even though its seat cushion was three feet away on the floor, at a loss for words.
Harry finally broke the silence. "Ginny, a woman living alone like you do ought to have Anti-Apparation wards on her house."
Ginny swallowed the lump in her throat before replying. "That's just the thing, Harry. There were Anti-Apparation wards on this house."