Title: Follies and Foibles
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: Eventual Draco/Harry, currently Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione
Summary: Ginny POV. Being married to a man who always does the right thing is not as easy as it sounds, when that right thing is always for other people. Anatomy of a cheater. Future Draco/Harry
The Muggles have someone they call Nelson. Leastways they did have at least. I'm not so sure whether the man is dead or alive, my father may be a fan of muggle appliances, but muggle history eludes him. I remember Hermione telling me about him once, when I asked what she was reading. Most of what she said raced straight through my head, not even pausing to wipe footprints of understanding on the doormat of my mind, what interest did I have in ships and Muggle-wars? But I remember her telling me that Nelson was well known to be carrying on a torrid affair with the wife of a friend of his. I'm afraid all names escape me in this tale, except that of his wife. Fanny.
It struck me as awful, I remember feeling rather upset about it even as Hermione threw it out in passing, her eyes alight with interest in this Muggle hero. I remember thinking that it was wrong that men should be allowed to do such awful things and have them excused simply because they won a few battles.
So when the time came, the last person I expected to cheat, was well, me. Look don't go. I'll say I'm sorry if it'll make you feel better reading this. In fact I am sorry, but it's a bit like the thief who's not sorry for stealing, but is very sorry for getting caught. The whole world's heard the story I know- the wife of the Man who Lived caught with her knickers down, but let me tell you how I saw it. How I could do such a thing to the man who saved us all.
Well for starters that was the trouble. Where do you go after saving the world? It's not into a warm, contented life with your wife and a fulfilling career is it? I had rather hoped that it would be. I didn't get a chance to save the world or anything close, if we're all honest, and I had rather that chapter of life was turned over, so we could get started on something new and different- something I had a chance to shine in, so I wasn't just the bit of tail the Wizarding Hero had picked up on his travels. So I wasn't just Harry's wife, Ron's sister, and Hermione's closest female friend.
But when your husband is up to the eyes in magic, and yet more adventures, and his two best friends are hurtling pell-mell into trouble beside him (Hermione may claim to work in Magical Law but it is an open secret that her black velvet choker is an Auror warning device, and that when it buzzes, she is out of the conference room faster than you can say 'Death-eater.') and you're expected to sit rather tamely at home, it's not exactly the way to make a name for yourself.
So I took up my place with the Holyhead Harpies within three months of marriage, and that caused its own set of troubles. Travel for starters, arguments over the fact he missed so many of my matches, that he didn't remember small things that were important. I got tired of the small clock (very like my families one) that I carried with me on my travels, that constantly had Harry's hand pointing to mortal peril. After a time you just yawn and carry on with your game of Exploding Snap.
I'd also like to take the opportunity to set straight a bit of gossip thanks very much. Harry was my first. Not my first kiss, but certainly my first everything else. I certainly wasn't the school-bike, whatever you may have heard about my activities after marriage. So at the time I had nothing to compare him against. Love-making wasn't exactly the best experience in the world, especially at first. I was eighteen and he was nineteen when we tied the knot, and a teenage boy sweating and fumbling away was simply not enough to make me feel that it was an enjoyable past-time. We were each other's first, and I was from a good Wizarding family (whatever Malfoy liked to insinuate) and girls certainly didn't... well touch themselves. You know what I mean.
I nearly choked on my pumpkin juice a couple of years later, when Hermione mentioned casually that she enjoyed sex especially since she knew what she liked to do to herself. I simply wasn't in that place at the time of my marriage. Call me old-fashioned, a late developer, bourgeois, what you will. Not to mention Harry simply wasn't really very interested in sex. Maybe it was the hero-complex, maybe the fact that nothing is ever going to give you a bigger adrenaline rush than killing the Dark Lord, but for some reason he wasn't bothered by the whole thing.
Well we were happy I guess. You know- at the times we saw each other. In the same room I mean, rather than in the newspapers. During the times he wasn't chatting to his friends about what they'd done the day before. I used to enjoy Harry's small touches- to my hand, my arm, absently to my face. It was like he was reassuring himself that I was still there, that I still existed, that he could touch me and not fear reprisal. I loved feeling that special to him. Then I became irritated. It was no longer comforting and slightly charming. It made me feel like a well-groomed dog that he was petting.
I was never been worried about Harry cheating. He's not enthusiastic about sex as I said, and I didn't think first of all that he could muster the sexual interest in someone else that would be necessary for an affair. Besides he is sickeningly noble. To do such a thing would be abhorrent to him. I love him for it, and I hate him for it. Because being married to a man who always does the right thing is not as easy as it sounds, when that right thing is always for other people. Of the four years we spent together, he missed my birthday twice, came in bleeding on one of them, and never remembered my anniversary without Hermione's subtle prodding. She is a wonderful woman in many ways, though I've never been as close to her as I would like. So much of her time and attention is taken up by her boys and their tribulations. She is more than friend to them sometimes. She is guardian as well.
All right. I'm jealous a little bit of Hermione. She and Ron get the parts of Harry that I never see, the part that isn't a hero that is vulnerable. I admit I hero-worshipped him a bit when I was younger, but that's past and I wished he could look at me and see someone he could trust with that part of himself. But the hero's facade only came down with them. I might lie curled up with him at nights, but he didn't share his mind with me, and that hurt. I don't even know what happened at the final battle with him and Voldemort, how he won. He never even told his own wife.
So we grew apart naturally, inevitably. He raised the stakes when someone came into our lives who I had hoped never to see again. It hurt, that Harry let Malfoy into the house, when he knew that the sight of silver-blond hair disturbed me, and made me uneasy. A lovely legacy that his father left me. I was polite- he had a right to bring people home, but something about the encounter troubled me. Malfoy had changed. During the past couple of years he had travelled the world, collecting legends and banishing monsters, becoming something of a Lockhart. Snidely I thought he probably did exactly the same thing as Lockhart and merely stole other people's credit. The scars on his hands and round his neck spoke a different story. He was a fascinating guest even I will admit. His stories were sometimes outlandish, but always interesting and usually funny. There were awkward moments of course, when he joked about it being impossible for a Malfoy to tan, that he simply burned if exposed to the hot sun. I asked if he had Veela descent on his mother's side. It was a perfectly reasonable thing to ask- Narcissa Malfoy was the epitome of the typical half Veela. He laughed. "Impossible," he replied. "My mother is pure Black, and they are," he swiftly corrected himself "were the most xenophobic family in England. I believe my father's mother was French so there could be a touch from that side of course. I never met her of course."
Harry, still uneasy at the customs of the Wizarding world asked why, wizards did live many years after all. I shifted, unwilling to throw it out. It was not a thing that any of my generation were proud of. Since Malfoy was disinclined to reply, I did it for him. "It used to be quite a common thing, that the only way the estate of a family would accept a new master of the blood, was if he seized it by force."
Harry blinked. "You had to kill your parents to take control of the estate?" I nodded and he turned and looked accusingly at Malfoy, who put his hands up defensively.
"It's not done these days," he said calmly. "It just means that abdication of the estate has to occur slightly before one's death. Besides all wizarding families did it until a couple of generations ago." He looked at me pointedly. "Didn't your grandfather dispose of his father?" I felt myself flushing. After all it was the truth though it was mostly never spoken about. That was where the poverty of our family had come from in recent times. It was a three-generational curse actually of poverty. Since the old man had been so weak in the end, it had actually only badly affected my grandfather, and quite affected my father. My siblings and I were unaffected mostly, though on occasion when things didn't go right, we'd pass it off on Great-Grandfather's curse.
When I finally cornered Harry in the kitchen (we cook our own food, Hermione would never let us have house-elves,) and asked what the hell he thought he was doing bringing Malfoy home, his eyes widened, puzzled. "We met in the Ministry," he told me, "we got to talking, and I thought that bygones could be bygones. He was an arse and a half in school but he was never evil and he has changed Ginny, you have to admit that."
Changed a bit too much if you ask me. He infiltrated our lives gradually, calmly, until Malfoy became Draco, and he was round far too much. He told us that he always spent a few months back in England between trips, recuperating, healing, building his potions store up. He was still the same snarky, annoying git that he'd always been, but Harry refused to see that, refused to see that such unlikely friendliness must have an ulterior motive behind it. Rehabilitation in the Wizarding world maybe. The Malfoys might be the richest family in England, but no decent restaurant would serve them now, unless they were under a glamour.
It wasn't fair and it wasn't right, that not only did Ron and Hermione steal him away so much, so many of his thoughts and dreams, but now Malfoy had added himself to the mix, filling Harry with wanderlust at his tales of far away adventures, exciting people, old wizards in caves. He admitted straight faced that he'd been a prat in school, and when Harry cautiously asked him what caused him to change, his face went blank and smooth for a moment as though dreaming. Then he smiled and claimed that was a story for another time. He must have told Harry, because the question was never asked again. Is it any wonder that I got itchy hands. Harry barely came home anymore. If he wasn't helping Hermione relax a bit, or training with Ron, he was with Malfoy brewing potions and helping him pack for his next big adventure.
The final straw came (and the first time I cheated) on our fifth anniversary. Harry had sworn to me that he would be there. I believe his exact words were 'a herd of griffins couldn't keep me away.' I turned up at the expensive restaurant that had been booked, looking though I say it myself, quite beautiful. Deep blue made my skin seem even whiter, my red hair more vivid, and the flattering robes gave me the curves that I unfortunately lacked. That was one thing I'd change about myself if I could. Even Hermione has proper breasts that even if she is wearing a jumper, immediately show she's female. I on the other hand am unfortunately graced with the Chasers physique which is great for being strong and slender, and giving you a hard toned body, but which unfortunately does nothing for your breasts. Enough about my breasts though.
Anyhow the bastard stood me up. I was sitting in this expensive restaurant drinking ferociously expensive wine, sipping it, and willing him to turn up. My hands were sweaty, and I prayed I didn't look as desperate as I felt. I knew there were snappers waiting to photograph me, alone and unwanted. I drew the waitress near and told her that my husband was injured. She knew who I was of course. Everyone knew who I was. Thanks for that Harry. I asked her quietly if there was a back entrance I could leave by, and would she be a sweetheart and not tell anyone about this? She nodded swiftly, and whispered the location to me, adding that it had no Anti-Apparition wards. I left a hugely generous tip on the table, and fled the scene.
I hoped so badly that something had gone wrong. The murderer had broken free, Harry had an injury, Ron had an injury. Anything other than the fact that he had merely forgotten. But I knew the truth of course. It simply wasn't a day ringed in the red in his mental calendar. Half drunk already with misery and potent elf-wine, I stumbled into a club having absently transfigured my robes to the equivalent muggle outfit, a clingy blue dress. The bouncer just waved me through. Although it was relatively early in the evening I suppose, the club was quite packed.
I made a convincing imitation of muggle money in the toilets, and bought myself two whiskeys and threw them straight back. A man stepped up to me, and smiled charmingly. "Let me buy the third," he requested, and dizzy with sadness and alcohol I accepted. I just needed something to dull the ache, the ache of always being second place. I don't remember much about him. He was good looking in a metrosexual sort of way, very different from Harry's roughly styled hair, and hard edges. He danced well, moving with ease to the music, which isn't something many men can do. And he was warm against me, and he told me I was the most beautiful woman in the club. He took me home with him early, it couldn't be past eleven, and we made love.
I suppose if you want to put it in truthful terms we fucked, or had sex, or whatever. But I don't remember it like that, I remember something sweet and fun and exhausting. After two rounds we were both exhausted, and I knew it was time to go. It still wasn't past one. As I went to leave, he caught my wrist. "Will I see you again?" he asked quietly. I sighed, knowing the truth.
"No," I said quietly. "But thank you."
I Apparated back home, and hated myself in the shower, not merely for cheating, but for not feeling sorry about it. A stranger had given me the best sexual encounter I'd ever had, and I was in such an ebullient mood that I forgave Harry for standing me up, after only four days of cold silence. When he wanted to make love (he did sometimes initiate as though he felt guilty for being so absent,) I let him, and my thoughts drifted to the mystery man the other night. I looked at Harry afterwards, and thought the strangest thought. Who had he been thinking of?
It was clear to me at least that the marriage was over. It was clear to Hermione as well. She used to drop by sometimes when she knew I was at home, and have a cup of tea, keep me up to the date on what was going on. The irony was not lost on me that my sister-in-law was keeping me updated on my husband. I wondered briefly if Hermione was the one that Harry was falling in love with. It was always possible. I knew he was falling in love with someone. I knew because he was acting as he had with me when he courted me. Bright-eyed, dreamy, occasional moments of intense happiness. I knew him so well. I was losing my husband having him snatched from under my nose. I shared my suspicions with Hermione, and she gazed at me with clear amber-brown eyes.
She was by no means beautiful. Although she curved in the right places, she was by no means ideal. The hair would never be tamed, reduced to soft silky curls. It could never be anything than the desperate frizz on her head, and though her skin was perfect, there was no denying that her nose had been broken (a remnant from an Auror raid gone wrong.) But her eyes were stunning, I could admit that. In them was the full force of her intelligence- and her essential compassion. And compassion was needed, as I talked through my belief that Harry was falling out of love with me. She listened, then sat back and sipped her tea.
"Why don't you let it happen?" she asked. "Are you truly happy the way things are? Or do you tolerate it because you used to love him, because you don't want change? If you were happy Ginny you wouldn't have cheated on him."
My head shot up, "how did you know?" I asked, filled with paralysing fear.
"I didn't. It was an educated guess, and you confirmed it." I cursed myself silently for being so bloody expressive.
That night I went and drank myself into a stupor and woke up with another man again. That's when I knew this had to stop, before the damage could get any worse, before Harry found out and hated me, or even worse- if Harry found out and simply didn't care.
My new challenge during the New Year is to write stories I wouldn't usually write- from the viewpoints of characters I dislike- like Ginny, or explaining of things I don't think are necessarily good- like cheating. I hope you enjoyed this and will stick around for more.
Reviews would be lovely and would certainly motivate