By Tom Kristal
Standard Disclaimer: All creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s) and are in no way connected with J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros. The author of the following FanFiction does not in any way profit from the story and it is written solely for entertainment purposes only. Associated names, characters, places, items, and descriptions used in the following FanFiction are the copyrights and/or trademarks of the rightful owners. Rights to characters and their settings is neither claimed nor implied.
Plot Summary: (Post DH). Ginny decides to visit Harry at work and finds out about Harry's new nickname. H/G
Author Notes: Surprisingly, this was a really hard story to write. I got this story idea ages ago and fell into something best described as writers-block. It all started whilst listening to some Eric Clapton (You'll figure it out why later). A crazy idea turned into a paragraph, and the next thing you know, I've got this story for all you lovely people. Hopefully with this out of the way, I'll be able to work on a few new storylines I've got on the backburner.
Special consideration and thanks to 'XTimeGirlX' who has taken the time to Beta this story for me – to make up for my deplorable grammar skills. Trust me, they are bad.
Enough said, please enjoy.
Lay-Down-Harry: Chapter I
'Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business'.
In an old secluded alley, within a part of the 'forgotten' district of downtown London, stood an abandoned red phone box. Its worn down look was highlighted by the numerous gouge marks to its sides, and the heavily graffiti spoiled surface only showed a hint of its once pristine red appearance between the multitude of scribbles. Several panes of glass were missing from its doors, many of them still remaining on the floor in smashed fragments, scattered amongst the foul stench of garbage and cat excrement. On the front was an 'Out of Order' sign printed across the telephone apparatus which was crooked to the point of nearly falling off.
Despite this dingy appearance, by most people whom roamed amongst the pubs and offices of that neighbourhood, it was quite a common occurrence to see strangely dressed individuals wearing robes converse at this particular location. And once again on this afternoon, it was another unusual sight to see a woman sitting inside the telephone box, leaning up against the telephone apparatus as she held the telephone receiver upside down.
The woman had a petite figure with vivid red hair that spread down her back in long waves. She had bright brown eyes that seemed to only contrast the besmirched appearance in and around the telephone box. Although she appeared to often have a mischievous smirk, her eyes shone with a fierceness that hinted that she was a woman not to be messed with on a bad day. That only extenuated her high cheekbones and luscious lips that glimmered aristocracy in time lost eons ago. She wore a long brown overcoat that cascaded down to her ankles and covered her tight fitting jeans and jumper. She had a bright emerald scarf wrapped around her neck that attempted to take the bite out of the bitter weather; which coincidently only brought more attention to her beautiful face.
Dropping the receiver back into place, the woman spoke loudly to the cool voice, her face pivoting around the booth so as to determine where to speak to.
'Ginny Weasley. Planning to visit the Auror's department to find my 'boyfriend' Harry Potter, take him to closest broom closet I can find and snog him senseless. That's before...'
'Thank you,' overrided the cool female voice.
'Visitor, please take the badge and attach it to the front of your robes.'
There was a click and a rattle, and out of the metal coin chute, a badge automatically appeared. She picked it up and smirked at the silver badge with the inscription 'Ginny Weasley: Sexual Deviant' written on it. She quickly pinned it underneath her overcoat before the voice spoke again.
'Visitor to the Ministry, you are required to submit to a search and present your wand for registration at the security desk, which is located at the far end of the Atrium.'
The floor of the telephone box shuddered and slowly the telephone box descended unnoticed into the golden atrium of the 'Ministry of Magic'. Once stopped, the cool monotone voice echoed from within the old, shabby-looking telephone box, now particularly looking out of place amongst the fine furnishings of the atrium.
'The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant day.'
The door of the telephone box sprang open and Ginny stepped out, observing her surroundings. Although she had been here numerous times before, it was still an impressive sight to see. She was standing at the end of a very long hall, laced with polished dark wood that covered the floor and walls. Along the walls littered black marble fireplaces that were constantly being used by lines of patrons and employees in flames of green light. An impressive blue ceiling stood menacingly above her with mystical golden symbols warping and changing across its surface.
Despite the obvious similarities to the Ministry of her childhood, there was now one thing that had changed. Halfway down the hall, there was no longer a golden fountain filled with life-sized statues of wizards and magical creatures in their silly positions. Nor was there the rumoured giant black statue that positioned a throne witch and wizard looking benevolently at their minions. The infamous statue that stood during Voldemort's rein had since been removed and destroyed when the ministry was reclaimed two days after the final battle.
What stood there now was an impressive-looking monolith that towered over the heads of the passersby. Its pure white marble makeup seemed to glimmer spectacularly in the dark atrium. Rising to over twenty feet, its five-sided design towered over all. On each side of the monolith, names were listed for all those who died in the war; from all species and both wars, even from both sides. From what was known about this monolith, the stone structure itself had been specifically charmed to automatically translate the engraved text for all visiting creatures and nationalities, without prejudice to humans, goblins, centaur or any other language known to the Wizarding world. With careful consideration, no one was left out. Even Fred and her uncles Fabian and Gideon were included in its design.
Surrounding the monolith, a shallow pond was imbedded around its base; its shimmering reflections seeming to sparkle against the ominous darkness of the atrium. Looking closely, hundreds of galleons, and sickles were scattered everywhere along the bottom of the pond in respect for the St. Mungo's Hospital. The fountain occasionally spurted strings of water in numerous directions around the interior of the pond. In a complex array of directions it splashed in and out of the water, yet strangely never made a violent splash nor wet any unsuspecting passersby. Finally, at the front of the stone monolith, a neat inscription was boldly written out, quoting:
We meet here, to honour the heroism, tenacity, and resilience of that group of magical beings who fought in a campaign to end this world of hate and bigotry. They fought at Hogwarts, on battlefields, on the streets and in our very homes.
They fought not for their ideals, or hatred of those perceived beneath them, but for what true love can offer. Their love transcended blood, transcended the norms of tradition – and in the end, conquered all that stood in its path.
In the end; their spirit not only ensured the survival of our magical world, but of its very soul.
We must not ever forget, what that spirit demanded; or the lives that were given in the name of our society.
We must resolve anew that we will make this Great Britain, into a country worthy of their sacrifice.
My generation and those before me knew what it was like; what demands were made.
And we know in our bones how easily it could happen again, and how quickly the situation could arise - and how suddenly our society could be at the mercy of another aggressor; proclaiming the same hate. And then, if we treasure our freedom, our civil liberties, and our free speech - our very lives, in fact - then we will all need that spirit. We must never let it die.
Lest we forget.
Harry James Potter
Order of Merlin, 1st Class
Hogwarts commemorative speech,
May 2nd, 1999
Unlike the other two designs before it, this was truly a structure to be proud of. It was a continued remembrance of what was lost and what was gained. A monument to represent the remembrance of the past and a determined hope for the future; to never forget what can be lost in following the 'easy' path. The other two couldn't dream to compare against this. The original construct by her memory was condescending to the extreme; and the second one showed the true insanity of a man, who in reality never knew what true power was. She was proud of this structure. Even more so, it was Harry, her Harry who had a personal say in the final design of the monolith; after much debate over its existence.
Ignoring the continual flow of ministry workers with their glum faces, Ginny strode onwards towards a set of golden gates at the far end of the hall to meet the man at the visitor security booth; along the far left of the corridor stood a menacing looking timber desk, with bars protruding from its front. As well as the front, the bars continued to completely encase the shabby-looking attendant safely inside a cage-like structure. The small man with the peacock blue robes looked thoroughly bored with himself. The Daily Prophet was sitting ruffled and disregarded to the left of him. He tiredly held his face with his hands, his elbows supporting his slouched form on the table. He was so bored in fact, that he was ignoring everyone else entirely.
'Excuse me' Ginny said.
The 'cage-man' was apparently unfazed by her interruption and continued to look lazily up at nothing in particular.
'Excuse me...' Ginny tried again to no avail.
Unknown to this man, it was not the brightest of ideas to infuriate a Weasley. Having nothing of it therefore, she took matters into her own hands. With a swish of her wrist, her wand was pointed directly at her throat where she commanded in a high pitch tone.
At that moment, the man finally took notice; a little more than notice actually. Jumping immediately out of his daze, in shock he sat up from his chair to knock himself up on the top of the magically reinforced cage. With another loud crash, the man stumbled down headfirst onto his desk and then violently crashed back onto the floor in a crumpled heap.
Feeling a little dazed herself, she tried her best to look a little sheepish as she gazed around to see if anyone had noticed. To her chagrin, almost everyone within her near facility had suddenly stopped and was gazing menacingly at the mean little redhead abusing the ministry worker. Muttering amongst the crowd, some muttering cat calls; some mentioning the disrespect of youth nowadays; and one small woman in bright lime-green robes proclaimed loudly that obviously the fame had gotten to her head.
'Well what!?' grunted the shabby-looking man.
Turning back around and ignoring the annoying glares, she eyed him looking at her with sheer irritation and dislike. It wasn't my fault he wasn't paying attention, she thought.
'Well... this is security right?' she tried to say in the nicest tone possible.
'Obviously, by the sign!' he spat out sarcastically, pointing down at the edge of the table to a sign that said 'Security' on the front. Feeling her old Weasley anger erupting within her again, she tried her best to will her next words into something friendly and sincere. She had to come back to the ministry after all.
'Well… I'm a visitor'.
'And...' he said again in that continued sarcastic tone that seemed to drum directly into her skull. If it hadn't been for the bald head and monkey-like features, she could have sworn that this was somehow Snape's spawn coming back for revenge.
'Well isn't there something you should be doing?!' she spat back at him. The man immediately jumped away in fright. She grinned internally. Probably not such a big man behind those bars she thought smugly to herself. Scared of a little girl with a 'Sonorous' charm after all.
'Fine then...' he replied shakily. He slowly slumped back into his desk somewhat more sadistic as he looked at her wand, 'step over here and present your wand'.
Knowing it wasn't procedure to give the wand first she chose to ignore it out of truce and placed the wand in a small lidded glass box at front of the Table.
Once sealed, the glass box flashed a bright yellow colour, hiding her wand from view. Curiously looking at the flashing box, she failed to realize at the last minute that the creepy 'cage-man' had escaped from his enclosure and was approaching her rather giddily with a long golden rod. If she wasn't impressed with the man before, she certainly wasn't now. Barley above Ginny's height, his severely crushed blue robes only highlighted an unimpressive looking man with a bald head and yellow teeth.
Hoping for all this to be over soon, she hesitantly allowed him to slowly wave the golden rod up and around her body, a few apologies being made for poking her 'accidentally' a few times. She smelled the air a little and her nose frowned in a scuff at the foul smell emanating from him. Looking smug with himself, the man finally finished and quickly strode back to his desk and behind the bars once more with the bar in his hand.
The man pulled out her wand from the box and dropped it on to a small brass scale to watch it vibrate and produce a narrow strip of parchment out of a slit in the base. The man tore this off and read the writing on it.
'Ten inches, Griffin-feather core, has been in use for four years. That correct?'
'Yes,' said Ginny.
'I keep this,' said the man, impaling the slip of parchment on a small brass spike. 'You get this back,' he added, thrusting the wand at Ginny.
Relieved to have finally left that all behind her, she proceeded to walk away.
'Hang on...' said the 'cage-man' slowly. Oh crap, what have I done now? She thought. Turning around, she watched his eyes dart along her body and onto her chest. She almost would blush if she hadn't wanted to suddenly strangle the life out of this man. 'Where is your badge?' he questioned suspiciously.
'Ahh... it's under my clothes...' she replied, not wanting to get into the full explanation. God, why did I have to deal with this prat today of all days?
'All visitors must have their badge on display at all times while within the walls of the ministry' he explained in that slow drawl of his.
'Oh yes of course... but come on...' looking at his name badge for the first time '…Eric. No-one really follows that procedure' she explained. 'I have the badge on me; if someone wants to see it, then they can just ask'.
'ALL members of the general public MUST have their badges on display at all times' he said again, sitting back on his chair with a look of glee in his face.
Feeling embarrassed and furious at the man before her, who suddenly reminded her of a prat-Percy, she hesitantly clipped the badge off her inside robe and moved it somewhere as inconspicuous at possible.
'In full view madam' Eric added.
Feeling more blood rise to her eyes; if looks could kill he would be spawned out on the ground convulsing. Most reluctantly, she placed her badge on the front of her coat in full view. Eyeing her in deep satisfaction, he moved his gaze downwards and towards her now visible badge. His eyes opened wide in shock at the nametag that showed him exactly what she had been hiding.
For a moment, all else seemed to fade at the incredulous look he was giving her, not to mention the peeking onlookers of the crowd not so silently murmuring about what was written on the badge. When Eric finally got his composure back, he eyed her again in deep satisfaction of a job well done. This was probably the most exciting thing to happen to him all day.
'Move along, Miss Weasley. I don't have all day'.
Wanting noting more than to be arrested for the crime she wanted to commit to the prat, she turned on her heel and without a backward glance, strode her way past the crowd and towards the elevators.
'Harry better be in today' she muttered.
Passing through the stream of now moving wizards, she continued to avoid eye contact as they jostled her from side to side. Some were trying their best to stare at her badge; some were just checking her out.
'Level Two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the
Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters and Wizengamot
Ginny had finally made it down the six levels to her destination, which by any accounts were probably the longest six floors of her life. Beyond the staring of onlookers who were most likely simply mesmerized by the actions she had performed just recently on an unsuspecting worker, others were conspicuously staring at her revealing blouse and then to her badge that had made many males on her elevator lick their lips with lust.
Fortunately, before anyone had the inclination to try and jump her, she gave them all a nasty stare which made them all step back in fright and leave her alone for the rest of the journey. One almost had the nerve to approach her, but once she put on the Weasley charm, AKA Weasley-death-stare, the rest quickly fell into line.
For the rest of the trip she was left alone and she looked blankly ahead of her at the back, trying to avoid the continued casual stares. Beyond that, what she saw was quite interesting. She was always amused at the interactions that happened in the ministry elevators. From when she was a little girl she was always fascinated by the strange men that came through each department. With her father, she would always casually attempt to listen into what was being said. That part of her had fortunately never left her as an adult. Some would say it was sneaky and rude to eavesdrop on people in such a way, but to her it was quite fascinating.
One pair of gossiping workers for example in bright blue overalls were avidly discussing the behaviours of their children, who had been caught three times in a row attempting to break into their Firewhisky cabinet. One man from the Creature-Liaison office was carrying in a wooden cage what could only be described as an invisible cat that was constantly popping in and out of sight; the only thing that could be seen regardless were its bright violet eyes and its unnaturally white teeth that appeared to be capped. There was another man with a large broken nose that was complaining to another skinny individual about how someone from the 7th floor had recently pranked the ministry by charming some of the message planes to unceremoniously take kamikaze dives at unsuspecting workers instead of delivering mail.
So consumed in the conversation around her, she almost missed the floor she was trying to get to. Startled out of her trance, she immediately stepped forward and quickly pushed herself through the crowd and of the elevator; ignoring the annoyed glances given to her.
She stepped out onto the foyer of the Auror division and quickly scoped her surroundings. Passing down into a corridor lined with doors, she looked across the enchanted windows to see the beautiful scenery of outside London basked with sunlight. Although she knew personally that on this cool autumn's day it was in fact a freezing mid afternoon, she couldn't help ignore the streams of artificial sunlight that glistened on her as she made her way down.
Turning the final corner, she walked through a pair of heavy oak doors and emerged in a cluttered open area divided into cubicles. Finally she had arrived: 'The Auror Headquarters'. As usual, the constant sounds of chatter and scratched parchment filled the air. Paper airplanes zoomed across the room between cubicles in a fashion worthy of air traffic control. Posters of wanted signs, Quidditch posters, articles from the Daily Prophet and other miscellaneous items were scattered across the walls and inside each cubicle to show the characteristics and home life of each Auror.
The constant buzzing and shenanigans of the room had her almost completely distracted until a loud booming voice echoed from behind her.
'Can I help you there little miss?'
Looking behind her, there was a man with broad shoulders and thick muscular arms that reminded her of tree branches. Although he appeared to be only a few years older than her, he ironically had an innocent looking baby face that made him look like an overgrown eight year old in Auror robes. He had short dirty blonde hair and greenish-blue eyes that almost looked like a light aqua. And yet, despite his childlike appearance, there was still a hint of danger to him that made her not want to approach this guy in a dark alley somewhere.
At the Moment though, any insight into this mystery was pushed aside by the audacity of this man; who with a lustful smirk on his face was looking down at her visitor's badge. The moment she recognised this, she immediately glared a death stare at the man that could end a blizzard. Completely undeterred by Ginny's ministrations, he continued to stare at her badge before slowly lifting his eyes across her chest area and on to her face.
Silently fuming, her internal monologue was simultaneously willing the slow and painful death of another familiar raven haired man who had put her in this predicament. Ever since Ginny started making time to visit Harry on a regular basis, they had made it a challenge for themselves to see how outrageous the visitor's badges could get. Though this time, she had the sneaking suspicion that Harry had a part to play in the latest situation. He is so going to pay for this later, she thought.
But before she got the chance to reprimand this man, he immediately cut her off.
'Wait a second will you?' he paused and looked to the side of her. 'They'll be time for introductions later… and hopefully' he winked 'some sex...'
'What?!' she croaked, taken aback. But he quickly walled to the man a few feet from her before she had the chance to give him a scolding worthy of her mother.
'Hey Wilson!' he called out to a thin straggly man walking on the other side of the hall, carrying a large stack of paperwork and wearing a permanent looking scowl on his face.
'Anything the matter, Mr. Aidan?'
'Don't you play all innocent with me' he reprimanded playfully, 'what did I tell you about putting that report on my desk?'
'That it was superficies and a complete waste of your time'.
'Close, but I think I specifically said don't'.
The thin straggly man took a deep sigh and carefully placed his mounting paperwork on a desk to the side of him. Looking a little more exasperated, he continued. 'I had no choice Mr. Aidan, some people from higher management are starting to feel that your unique style of report writing doesn't quite meet ministry standards'.
Dramatically, he raised his right hand to his chest. 'Impossible, my reports are immaculate works of perfection'.
'Oh really?' the other man furrowed his brow in mock amusement.
'Let's have a look then', at this then he began lifting through a few of his files to get the specific document.
'Ah-hem' he croaked,
'…went to Diagon Alley (STOP)
Found strange-looking guy with funny glasses stealing POTION'S… (STOP)
Fell to ground with Stupefy curse... (STOP)
Funny looking bad guy went down…'
After reading this out loud, he raised his eyebrow in amusement. 'Yes, I can see. Words of Shakespeare these are'.
'So? What's wrong with that?! Haven't you ever heard the expression - LESS is more?'
Even Ginny couldn't help but snort.
'What's wrong with it, Mr. Aidan?! The grammar is appalling, that's what's wrong with it' he croaked indignantly. 'My six-year-old daughter could write better than this'.
'That's nothing compared to the reprimand you'll get if you don't correct this in the manner you should have done in the first place. I suggest you get started on them, sooner rather than later...'
After several wild nods and hand gestures and high pitched voices, she restrained herself from staring incredulously at the men arguing and proceeded to look around.
As usual, things were in organized chaos. From the many times she had been here before, she fleetingly saw some people she recognised, but many others that she didn't.
She remembered all the times when she was here as a little girl and used to visit her dad sometimes, with her mum or one of her older brothers. She even remembered the one time where she had spent an entire day here, playing hide and go seek with some of the elder Auror's. They used to always dote on her and give her all the candy she liked. She remembered that there was a cubicle to the far left that had a hidden door that opened into a small liqueur cabinet big enough to fit into. She remembered that dad got into so much trouble that day when they couldn't find her and they had half the Auror office looking for her. In hindsight, for professional Auror's they weren't so good at finding little girls, especially in their own department. When they found her, she remembered her dad lavished her with ice-cream if she promised never to tell mum what happened. She didn't go back there that much after that.
Still though, they were all good memories. Some of the older Auror's would let her sit on their desks and watch them do paper work, allowing her to put a red stamp on the papers when asked. There was this one Auror with grey balding hair that would always tell her stories of times when he was younger and used to chase after the bad guys in the Muggle police force.
She perhaps knew this place better than most people, even if there were changes; many changes. For one, dad was gone. Being promoted to another division, he was now on one of the upper floors. Many of the old crowd had either died or were eventually pensioned off to live their lives with their toes playing in the sand along a beach somewhere. And then there was Harry… Her sweet, lovable Harry who spent most time chasing after the bad guys like the hero she always knew he was.
In hindsight, she wasn't entirely sure why she didn't simply ignore the man's earlier request and simply go to Harry's office unattended as planned. After all, she had done it several times before. She assumed it was rather the shock of it that stopped her, or the boiling pit in her stomach that relished the thought of brutally showing this irritating man a piece of her Bat-bogey hex.
'Hey! I'm back again my darling', he smirked, walking back and ignoring the sheer lustful look of malice on her face.
When she noticed the man once again, he had plastered another overly dramatic gaze into her chest region and the growl in the pit of her stomach was reeling with curses and the act of hiding a corpse. Oblivious to her hostile stares, he continued ignorantly.
'Sorry about that. Important Auror business and everything you see'. She just nodded her head slowly; worried that if she said anything now, she could permanently damage this man.
'I take it you're here to see someone. Not that I mind your presence of course, but if you're here just to wander around, then I'm afraid that this ain't the sort of place for one as delicate as yourself to be in amongst all us scary Auror's'.
She didn't smile back. To an outside observer, you couldn't help notice her hand twitch in preparation and the evil glint in her eye that anyone with common sense would recognize as a woman's version of the grim.
'I'm here… to see Harry… Harry Potter' she replied, fuming.
'Potter eh...? Well… you must be a 'real' bad girl to make it down to Lay-Down-Harry with that badge, miss... Well, right this way then' he replied, turning around and walking the short way to Harry's office.
To be continued…
Author Notes (2): Just remember, FanFiction authors are paid in reviews, not in cash. Although cash would be handy (for writing more stories that is…)