Ginny's In India Now – NC-17/MA for Sexual Content & Adult Situations
DISCLAIMER THE FIRST: It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the grace of coffee that thoughts acquire speed, the back acquires strains, the strains become a warning. The warning is that I make no money from this. It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion.
DISCLAIMER THE SECOND: This is a AU take on JKR's writings It is not canonical but is more in line with my other published work. It is also a song-fic based on Dido's song Mary's In India.
CHAPTER ONE - GINNY'S IN INDIA NOW
Harry is lonely cuz Ginny's in India now,
She said she'd owl but that was three weeks ago,
She left all her things well, her books and her letters from him,
As the sun rises on Ginny, it sets on him,
12 GRIMMAULD PLACE, LONDON – JUNE 14th 2010 – LATE MORNING
Harry couldn't believe what he was seeing. There probably was a part of him which wasn't surprised at what he was seeing but the majority felt numb at what was in front of him. Or more to the point what wasn't in front of him.
With Dobby and Winky away working to clean the Potter House outside of York of almost two decades of neglect and Kreacher having given into old age, Harry was on his own in cleaning Grimmauld Place. He didn't mind since while he wasn't thrilled to be in Black House, it was his and so cleaning it was at least fulfilling unlike chores had been back at Privet Drive.
During tidying up his study Harry had found some of Ginny's papers so he had taken them up to her room. Even though they slept together in the master suite, Ginny had her own room where she kept all her clothes and things. Harry hadn't been in there since Ginny had left for India and that had been three weeks ago.
Standing in the door, with some of her papers in his hand, Harry could only gape at the mostly empty room. Gone were the pictures, the knickknacks and curios Ginny loved so much. Gone were the Quidditch posters and the two rugs Bill had gotten her from Egypt. The closet door was ajar enough to show an empty closet.
What really stopped Harry's heart was seeing what was left. After slowly walking around the room, he found Ginny had left all of his old letters to her as well as many of the books he had given her over the years. In a drawer he found many pictures of them. In all of them Ginny looked distracted and his own magical image looked glum.
Ginny was in India as part of an outreach program to help the Indians work on their new all-witch league. As one of the Holyhead Harpies star players, Ginny had been honored and excited to be chosen to go since it would seriously enhance her profile as an International Quidditch player. When the pair had parted at the International Portkey Portal at Heathrow, Ginny had kissed him and promised to owl.
That was three weeks ago. Now it seemed obvious she might never return. The work in India wasn't supposed to last more than a season or two and while Ginny had gushed over the chance to buy all new clothes and things there was no reason for her to take all her things unless she didn't expect to ever come back.
The parchments slipped out of Harry's hand as he began to aimlessly wander through the empty house lost in thought. What had gone wrong? They hadn't had any sort of blow-out row like Ron and Hermione had which was so titanic it had made the papers. No, on the surface everything had been fine but Harry had be honest and admit things had not been going well for Ginny and him for awhile. For a long time Ginny had been growing increasingly frustrated with Harry.
She couldn't understand why he resisted capitalizing on his defeat of Voldemort, his refusal to accept any of the offers from professional Quidditch teams or take a place among the aurors. Ginny often asked why he was overseeing the Potter and Black fortunes and managing the foundations and charities himself. Is that what goblins were for she'd ask?
Harry found himself looking out a window at the park across the street where some children were playing innocently. Ginny had become increasingly angry as Harry avoided many of the grand parties she was invited to while accepting invitations to 'dull, boring balls' at different ministries. Harry had tried to explain how much business got done during these times but Ginny hadn't listened. When Ginny put on heels and dressed to the nines, she wanted to party not hobnob with the movers and shakers of the world. However the places Ginny like to go seemed based mostly on which had the most paparazzi waiting to take their pictures.
Watching a mother pushing a pram made Harry remember another bone of contention between them. Harry wanted a family and Ginny always bristled at the suggestion. Harry had assured her over and over how he didn't expect her to give up her career and become like her mother but it didn't seem to help. Ginny felt she had plenty of time for kids and marriage. She also didn't like Harry's reason for not moving into Potter Manor after finishing his studies. While Harry liked his ancestral home, it was a bit like Hogwarts to him; an institution and not a home. Harry wanted to make it a home again while Ginny wanted to hold grand balls there like Susan often threw. Ginny had complained he wanted to turn it into a boring place suitable only for children.
Harry stared out the window for a long time and it wasn't till the street lamps came on did Harry realize how long he had been staring out the window. He grimaced as he realized how one of his feet was so asleep he'd almost have to spell it awake.
Harry limped his way slowly to the kitchen for some food. Ginny was in India now. He just had to accept it. Unbidden a slight, sad smile came to his lips when he realized how he could commiserate a lot easier with Hermione now. It had been a bit awkward for quite awhile after she and Ron had broken up. So much so that they both seemed to be avoiding each other. Maybe that would change now. He missed his bushy-hair friend and now they had something in common.
It seemed gingers just weren't in either of their dating cards.
Just dance, just drink and just see the things,
I'll probably never get a chance to see
DEVONSHIRE MEWS, CAMBRIDGE, AUGUST 8th 2010 – MORNING
Hermione reached over to a bowl by the window for two knuts and an owl treat to give to the delivery owl as she did every morning. As she often did, the brown-haired witch wondered why the Daily Prophet didn't have some sort of auto-pay set up or at least an old fashioned monthly bill. It irked her how lazy the Wizarding World seemed and yet you had to get up bright and early to pay for your paper which made having a lie in a bit difficult.
This morning she also noticed how eager the owl was to get its treat. This didn't surprise her as they were a special blend Neville made up for his friends and family. She suspected the owls had some sort of pecking order to be the one to deliver her paper; the birds always seemed to be the biggest and cleverest. Many seemed almost in Hedwig's league.
Thinking of the snowy owl, Hermione's thought turned to her oldest friend. A friend she hadn't seen but in passing a few times in the last two years. Harry had been busy with managing the Potter and Black estates as well as the charitable foundations he either sponsored or created. Harry spent his galleons on everything from the creation of the first magical orphanage in Britain to buying new school brooms for Hogwarts and the Saint schools so all players had the same brooms. He had set up scholarship funds and was deep into laying the ground-work to change how school was taught in Magical England which would emphasize more Muggle learning and would allow for students to be able to go to University after getting either their OWLs or NEWTs.
For Hermione, this was a very big deal and she written a lot on the subject since she herself had gone through the long process of having to catch-up on things after graduating Hogwarts before she could finally enter Cambridge. Ron had felt she was mental for going to school for seven years only to turn around and do another ten. If things went as planned, wizards and witches wouldn't have to go through all the intensive studies she had endure. It had tested even her love of books and learning. Harry was hoping no one would ever have to go through it again.
Her face had unconsciously broken into a satisfied smile over these thoughts. Hermione was proud Harry hadn't let his childhood or the consequences of the second Voldemort War ruin him and his life. She was happy he had a beautiful girlfriend and was rich and influential. It pleased her to no end that he had with the wherewithal to make the changes to help change the toxic climate in Magical Britain that allowed someone like Voldemort to rise to power so quickly.
Hermione smoothed out the paper and was treated to the beaming face of one of her oldest friends. Ginny Weasley looked smashing in her designer dinner dress as she waved to her fans. From the caption it said the picture had been taken at a gala charity event to help raise money for the Indian All-Witch League. Hermione quickly read the article. She hadn't heard from Ginny since her last owl about two months ago when she gushed about the opportunity to go to India and help them set up their league. Hermione was sure her Holyhead Harpy fans would miss her but it was a great opportunity.
Hermione's contented smiled turned to a frown when she turned the page to continue the story and found another picture of Ginny laughing and drinking with a handsome man she vaguely recognized as a Quidditch player. She thought she had met the man at some party the last time Viktor was in England. The article implied Ginny had been seen out and about with the wizard a lot. It also said she'd been out with a lot of young (and unattached) men since she'd been in India.
Hermione shook her head in annoyance. The writer wasn't Rita Skeeter but the nasty implications were there all the same. While Hermione didn't think Ginny would ever cheat on Harry, she did know they had had some problems of late. Nothing like her epic fight three years ago which ended her relationship with Ron going back to their 7th year at Hogwarts. That and their most recent blow-out when Ron had showed up thinking she'd take him back after Lavender had cheated on him with Seamus and thus ended their marriage. Beyond the sheer gall of it, it had infuriated her how Ron didn't see the irony of it all considering he ended up with Lavender after Hermione had broken off their relationship because Ron had cheated on her with the buxom witch.
Marietta Edgecombe probably recognized the boils which sprouted on Ron's face the next day during the Canon's pre-game interviews which read cheating cuckolded git. Hermione chuckled to herself; she didn't think anyone would beat that fight for awhile! She wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't already featured in a Teen Witch Weekly article titled Don't Let Wizards Do This To You! Of course they might feature what she did in retaliation as a possible remedy for a relationship gone sour!
The opening notes from the Danse Macabre came from her cell phone on the counter. Hermione picked it up and flipped it open, "Hi Susan."
"Hey Hermione! Sorry to call so earlier but I know how you're out running around and doing your chores at the crack of dawn so you can enjoy the weekend." Hermione smiled at how like herself, Susan Bones could sound like she'd been up for hours when she (like herself) had probably had been in bed about ten minutes ago.
"No worries, Susan. I just opened up today's Prophet. What can I do for you?" Hermione asked.
"I just wanted to call and remind you about my party tonight. Last time we talked you didn't think you were going to be able to make it. Everyone will be here and you really should come if you can." Susan replied.
Hermione shook her head regardless of the fact Susan couldn't see it. "Oh no, the conference I was going to go to got canceled. A good thing too since Su Li warned me it was shaping up to be about as exciting as listening to old Binns talk about the Goblin Wars."
Susan laughed, "When did Binns talk about anything else other than the Goblin Wars? I still think Harry should be more famous for using the Stone to bid Binns on to 'the next great adventure' than for defeating Voldemort."
Hermione let out an amused snort, "I'm sure most Hogwarts grads would agree with you. Anyway, no I'm free tonight. Actually I'm glad you reminded me since I had forgotten that was on for tonight. I'm sort of itching to have some drinks and hit the dance floor. I haven't been out dancing with Sally and Lilith for over a month."
Hermione could almost see the knowing look on Susan's face over the phone, "Finally ready to jump back into the saddle?" the redhead asked.
"Susan, I only ever got onto one horse and we all know what a nag that ride turned into. Yeah, I am finally ready to expand my horizons. I've had my personal exploration time and now I'm up for some manly companionship."
"Well I've got the cream of the manly crop coming tonight. You can have anyone of them except for Anthony although I'm sure he'd say you could have him as well as long as you pay a reasonable rental fee!"
Hermione laughed, "How do you put up with that man of yours?"
"Oh he makes it worth my while, let me tell you! We just need to get you one like him. I tell you all those people who think being single is the best obviously haven't found the right person to be with." Susan said happily.
"Here's hoping I find at least a 'rental' tonight. I'm getting a bit sick of being alone with just me and Athena."
"How is she? Adjusting to the new home? You house is a lot different than Figg's old place." Susan asked.
"Yes she is. I always thought Crookshanks was smart but having a full kneazle is interesting. I miss old Crookshanks dreadfully but Athena is such a dear. However warm and cuddly she is, I do miss having a man to snuggle up against. Although to her credit, Athena doesn't snore unlike a certain troll who will remain nameless!"
"Well we'll also have the cream of the womanly crop here as well. As Luna would say, if you want your legs to be parted, keep your mind and your options open as well!" Susan said mischievously.
"Oh that would put the cat among the pigeons at the Prophet! As if my break-up with Ron wasn't tabloid fodder for weeks on end" Hermione laughed. "Actually I think Luna has a boyfriend now. I just got a letter from her the other day and…"
"Whoops! Hey Hermione I've another call coming in. So you'll be here tonight?" Susan interrupted.
"With bells on! See you tonight, Susan! Give Anthony my love. Bye!" Hermione clicked her phone off and smiled. Today was looking up.
Harry's not eating; he's drinking and sleeping in
I saw him last night at a party, he's definitely thin
He says he's happy, he looked pretty good but I think
That as the sun rises on Ginny, it sets on him
THE CRYPT, GREENWICH, AUGUST 8th 2010 – EVENING
"What's so funny?" Susan asked as Hermione came out of the floo with a flash with a funny look on her face...
Hermione brushed some ash offer her blouse, "I just feel odd saying 'The Crypt' when coming here. It's like I'm going to a Goth club or something."
Susan laughed, "Where else do you find bones but in a crypt?"
Hermione joined her friend in laughter, "I know but it just doesn't seem like you."
Susan waggled her finger at her friend as they made their way towards the music, "That's not true; you don't think it is like my aunt. Well I'm Lady Bones now so if I want a quirky name for the new House of Bones well it is my choice." Susan caught Hermione's eye and giggled, "Plus it irritates Anthony's mum to no end."
Hermione snorted, "Well then I'm all for it. I believe that woman is going to become the next Augusta Longbottom!"
"Gah! I hope not! One is bad enough! I should know...come to think of it I do know!" A voice from behind the women said. Hermione turned to see Neville smiling at them.
"Hi Neville! Got a kiss for an old school chum?" Hermione as she presented her cheek to him.
"For you Hermione? Always!" Neville said as he gave her a good smooch. "Hmm, I like the perfume. Is it essence of Olsynium douglasii?"
Hermione's mouth dropped open in surprise. "Merlin! How did you know that? Honestly Neville, do you do anything else but root around and sniff plants?"
Neville laughed, "I'd like to say no but I recognize the smell because Luna sent me some cuttings of that flower last year. I'm betting she sent you that perfume?"
"How is old Looney Lovegood these days?" Susan asked, "Other than seeing some of the reports she's written for the Wizengamot about the Cryptid Project, I hadn't heard much out of her lately. You said over the phone she may have a boyfriend?"
Hermione gestured to where the music was coming from, "Let's grab a seat and get some drinks and I'll tell you about it. I have her letter here in my purse. She seems to be doing well and seems over the break-up with her old girlfriend. She's really into her work on the Project. I think she may end up staying in the Pacific Northwest; she really seems to like it there. Her new potential boyfriend is one of the technomancers working for Intel."
The trio walked into what could only be described as a ballroom which was filled with wizards and witches talking, mingling and some danced to the music a DJ in the corner was playing.
Hermione squinted, "Is that Dennis Creevey?"
Susan nodded, "Yup. Where Colin is into photography, Dennis seems to be carving quite the niche in music."
"Plus he hasn't gotten famous enough to let it get to his head so he's affordable for parties!" Anthony said as he came up behind Susan and gave her a hug. Susan reached back and ran her hand through his hair.
"Always pinching knuts, aren't we dear husband?" Susan said lightly.
"I'm Jewish dear; I have stereotypes to live up to!" Anthony said with a grin. "Hey Neville, if you don't mind abandoning these two lovelies, I have some people I really think you need to talk too. Justin feels he's found some potential backers for your next plant safari as Harry would say."
Neville's eyes lit up, "Really? Lead the way then!"
Hermione snagged a glass of wine from one of the Bones elves which held a plate of them deftly as she made her way happily through the throng of people. She noticed from their livery how there were a lot of elves from different Houses doing this or that around the room. While Hermione had never given up on working to stop House Elf abuse, she had long ago conceded how happy working made the elves. A big party like this would be like heaven to an elf so Hermione wasn't surprised elves from other Houses had showed up to help.
Hermione enjoyed the excellent vintage as she watched Susan speak briefly with Megan who had a question about whether some of the food had nuts in them. Apparently her Muggle boyfriend had a rather nasty allergy to them which hadn't responded to magical remedies yet. Hermione smiled to herself and wonder what the poor man must think of the spectacle around him.
While she waited, Hermione was content to sip her wine and watch the crowd. This was her first big party since her recent episode with Ron. Seeing him again sort of soured her on going out again. After her initial break-up, Hermione had concentrated on her studies. She'd been out on smaller outings with some of her University friends as well as a girl's night out dancing with her witch friends. Usually this meant Sally Black and Lilith Moon since they were both still single. This, however, was the first time she really felt like she was open up to the possibility of letting a new man enter her life.
After the final explosive blow-out with Ron, Hermione had felt she had needed some time to just be by herself for awhile. She had needed to take the time to find out who Hermione Granger was. Ever since she was eleven she'd either been part of the 'Golden Trio' or had been with Ron. So she'd done a bit of soul-searching so she could more at ease with herself before trying to be in a relationship again. She felt good about herself so now it was time to tread onto new ground. So Hermione looked through the crowd to see if any wizard (or maybe even a witch?) caught her eye.
As she let her eyes wander the room, she noticed a thin man dressed all in black and silver with short black hair cut in an almost military style. He was facing away from her in front of the large bay windows which gave one a grand view of the torch lit grounds. What caught her attention was how in a room filled with activity there was a stillness surrounding the wizard. It was like he was a statue which everyone walked around but barely saw. There was something familiar about him but she couldn't quite place who he was. Whoever the man was, he had a smashingly tight arse!
"See anyone you like?" Susan asked with a smile in her voice as she came up behind her.
"Who is the tall, drink-of-water by the window? He looks familiar but I can't place him."
Susan's smirked but Hermione could see a troubled glint in her eyes, "I'm surprised at you, Hermione! I would have thought you'd know that arse anywhere. It sat next to you in class enough back in Hogwarts. I would have thought you might even have gotten sneak peak of that bum bare during all those months in that tent."
Hermione gasped as she turned back to stare. "That's Harry? What happened to his hair?"
Susan shrugged. "I don't know. I was shocked as you when he showed up looking like that. Frankly I am surprised he's here. Of course he was invited but…"
Hermione's eyes narrowed. "Why? What's wrong?" Hermione looked back at her friend. "He does look awfully thin. Has he been sick?"
Susan motioned to a set of cushy chairs away from the throng. After they pair had sat, Susan leaned in so she didn't have to shout over the music. "No, I'm sure he's physically fine. It's just….well I think Ginny broke up with Harry. He won't say what happened but I've noticed he doesn't talk about her except in general terms."
"No!" Hermione gasped. Her mind instantly went back to the article she had read just that morning.
Susan nodded her head sadly, "I know but it does fit the facts of what I've been seeing for awhile. Harry barely eats at any of the functions I've seen him at over the last two months. Worse, I've heard how he's been out drinking late into the night. It is rare for him to show up for a meeting or function which isn't scheduled till after lunch. While he doesn't show up hung-over or anything, Harry just seems like he doesn't care much anymore. Sort of feels like he's just going through the motions. I've subtly tried to find out what is going on but..."
"...but you ran into a wall. That is Harry for you. He's been my friend since First Year but there are days I feel I don't know him at all." Hermione cut in. "Not that it is any of my business but why didn't you send me an owl? I'm really not that busy right now and I think I could have helped."
Susan shrugged. "Well I did think about it. I just felt with both of you having Weasley problems that it might cause more problems then you might be able to cure. Plus no matter how I felt it was necessary, I thought if you showed up, Harry would feel you were there to nag him to shape up. You know how he always immediately thinks a helping hand is a condemnation on his behavior."
Hermione nodded sadly. The affect of the abuse Harry had suffered growing up wasn't something even the defeat of Voldemort was going to shake any time soon. She shook her head as if to clear it and finished her wine. "Well regardless of what is or isn't wrong, I haven't seen him since I graduated. We always seem to be missing each other of late. He's still up on his businesses and charities though, right?"
Susan nodded, "Oh he's still on top of things. I'm just worried this drinking and sleeping in is going to cause problems pretty quickly. So far people haven't said much because he is Harry Potter after all. I'm just worried if he keeps this up the likes of Rita Skeeter are going to get involved and that will make things worse. It is bad enough what's been in the papers already about Ginny."
Hermione nodded, "Yes I caught that when I read the Prophet this morning." Hermione bit her lip, "So how sure are you that Ginny dumped Harry? I know they've been having some differences but I can't see her just ditching Harry. She spent her whole life waiting and working to be with him. I know they've had some differences but still…"
Susan scowled, "You of all people should know how the two youngest Weasleys are rarely content with what they have and seem to go out of their way to muck things up. Hell, maybe it's a Weasley trait. Did you hear Bill Weasley divorced Fleur?"
Hermione nodded, "Yes and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read about it. I mean I was never much into girl-sex but I wouldn't have kicked Fleur out of bed for eating crackers so to speak. Still wouldn't for that matter."
Susan giggled, "I know what you mean. Well I talked to her father when I was over in Paris on business for the Ministry and apparently Bill seemed to expect Fleur to give up her broom racing career and start cranking out more ginger-haired kids like his mother. Fleur wasn't about to give up her life by putting on an apron and baking biscuits while having baby after baby."
Hermione snorted, "Like that was ever going to happen! I may have gotten off on the wrong foot with her but I came to really respect Fleur. Her turning into another Molly Weasley would have been an incredible waste of talent. Funny, with Bill being a curse-breaker and being as well traveled as he is, I would have expected him to be a lot more liberal than his parents."
Susan nodded. "You won't get any arguments out of me! Well I think we had the opposite thing going on with Harry and Ginny. I've noticed for quite some time how Ginny seemed to resent Harry not playing the dashing, rich playboy she wanted him to be. I think she finally realized her fame was making it possible to get her playboy fix elsewhere."
Hermione shook her head. "I hope you're wrong. Ginny and I go way back. I hate to think she'd do this to Harry of all people."
Susan shrugged, "Funny how fast the Boy-Who-Conquered became yesterday's news. He's not headline material much these days. Ginny likes her face in the Prophet."
Hermione bit her lip. Ginny did enjoy the limelight. Come to think of it, she enjoyed it inversely to the amount Harry hated it. The only time Hermione had seen Harry happy to be in front of cameras and reporters was when he was doing something for his foundations or charities. If it wasn't for those outings, one could almost be excused from thinking Harry had left the UK.
Hermione looked back at Harry before asking, "Beyond the drinking and sleeping in, is there anything else you've noticed?"
Susan frown, "Whatever happened between them has really hurt Harry. It's like he's died inside. The more Ginny is in the papers the more it seems Harry withdraws into himself. It is like as her sun rises, his is setting…"
Hermione faced hardened in determination, "…leaving Harry to fall into darkness. Well I'm not going to let that happen. I didn't let him fall into despair over Voldemort and I'm not going to give up on him now. I think I'll go say hi. At the very least maybe I can wheedle some info out of him if I can't get him to actually open up and talk." Hermione said. She knew how much having a family meant to Harry. It didn't take the 'brightest witch of our year' to see how losing the potential to create such a family was going really hurt him inside.
"Good luck. If there is anyone other than Luna who can do it, it's you!" Susan said earnestly. "One thing, though, before you go. Don't be shocked how he looks. He's still quite the dish but he's got this...haunted look to him. That and he really has lost a lot of weight. I've noticed he really doesn't like people asking about it." Susan said earnestly.
"Gotcha. Mums the word. I think some of that comes from all the times Molly Weasley would fuss over him. She'd rise off her death-bed to cook a 14 course meal for Harry back when we were at Hogwarts. She never thought he ate enough so she was always trying to feed him. While he'd never admit it, I know Harry wasn't comfortable with her brand of intense mothering. I won't make that mistake." Hermione said confidently.
Susan reached out and patted Hermione's hand, "Good luck. If there is one person who deserves some happiness, it's Harry."
Hermione stood, "I agree and I'm not going to let the another Weasleys train wreck spoil our lives. Harry deserves better."
"Wishing Grimmauld Place had room for grounds like these?" Hermione asked.
Harry gave a bit of a start at the sound of her voice but turned with a smile. Forewarned by Susan, Hermione didn't let the gasp which welled up out of her escape. She really hadn't seen much of her friend over the last two years and the sepia photos in the Prophet really didn't do a person justice. The first thing Hermione noticed was how gaunt he looked. Harry had always been on the wiry side but now he seemed to have returned to the emaciated state he had when he forced to spend the summer being starved at the Dursleys.
The second thing she noticed was Harry, for all the thinness and dark circles under his eyes, was indeed 'the dish' Susan had said him to be. His new hair-cut helped accentuate his sharp, chiseled features and he wasn't wearing glasses which really allowed the full power of his brilliant green eyes to be felt. Hermione felt her stomach clench as she gazed into those verdant depths.
"Hello Hermione," Harry said softly. "It's been awhile hasn't it?"
Hermione hugged him briefly. "Too long I think!" she breathed into his ear. She was happy Harry didn't stiffen up like she had expected him too. While he didn't put much into his return hug, it was more than she expected.
She reached up and ran a finger down his cheek. "I like the look. Contacts?"
Harry shook his head, "Lasik surgery. One of the MP's I am on a committee with has a daughter who is an optical surgery tech. She did a brilliant job don't you think?"
Hermione's eyebrows shot up as she nodded, "MP? Harry, I didn't know you had any dealings with Parliament."
Harry shrugged, "I am the Earl of Yorkshire and so I have a vote in the House of Lords. There has been a lot more legislation which affects both worlds. With so many cameras, satellites and what not out there; the Statute of Secrecy is being reevaluated. Things have really gotten hard to hide with the increase in security world-wide after 9-11. We have had to honestly ask ourselves how long we can continue to hide."
Hermione nodded, "I know. Even when I was at Cambridge, I had been asked to write some papers on that subject ...which I'm sure you already aware of."
Harry smiled thinly, "You'll be happy to know they were all well received even from those who'd still probably call you a mudblood to your face."
Hermione shrugged as if to show how much she cared for the opinions of such people. Harry seemed to be distracted by the crowd behind her as Dennis was exhorting the crowd to hit the dance floor to enjoy his krazy phat beats. Hermione smiled inwardly; she could almost hear the spelling in his voice. Who would have guessed little Dennis Creevey would end up a DJ?
Harry gestured towards the gyrating crowd, "Care to dance?"
Hermione was surprised by this. Harry had never been much of a party animal. She was worried he was trying to not get to comfortable and end up talking about subjects he didn't want to discuss. She wasn't going to have any of that.
"I'd love to Harry but first I just want to ask you something right up front. Is Susan right about Ginny break up with you? I'm not trying to pry but before I get down to some dancing and drinks I'd rather not say the wrong thing and brass off my best friend and ruin what could be a wonderful night."
Harry frowned and looked away.
Hermione put her hand on his shoulder, "Come on Harry, this is me you're talking to. If anything you know I've had my own Weasley issues. Just give me a simple yes or no and then we can get a drink and do some dancing and nothing more needs to be said."
Harry turned back to her with a ghost of his lop-sided grin, "When have you ever be satisfied with just a simple yes or no answer?"
Hermione gave his cheek a tap in a mock slap, "You are a prat, Harry Potter!" However while her mouth smiled, her eyes were serious as she held Harry's gaze.
Harry held the look before sighing, "Okay, Hermione, for you I'll give in. Merlin, the Imperious Curse is easier to cast off! To answer your question, yes I think Ginny dumped me."
Hermione cocked her head to one side not realizing she was imitating their friend Luna when the lithe blonde was confused about something. "You think?"
Harry shrugged, "About three weeks after Ginny left for India I found some of her papers and brought them to her room. I hadn't been in there since she left and I found all her things gone. All she left were all of our letters and a lot of the books and things I had given her over the years. She didn't leave a note but what else am I suppose to believe? I think it is pretty obvious she's not coming back."
Hermione's eye's narrowed, "She didn't even have the courage to leave a note? That little..." She raised her hand as if to say 'hold it!' and stopped herself before could go into full rant mode. "Never mind, Harry. Thank you; that was more than the yes or no I asked for so how about we forget our ginger related issues for a bit?"
Harry seemed shocked she'd restrained herself but soon his face broke into a wide, happy smile. He reached down and gracefully took Hermione's hand, "My Lady, nothing would please me more! Would you honor me with a dance?"
Hermione smiled back as the look on Harry's face made her heart do a flip-flop, "My Lord, it would be my pleasure!"
A/N: Blame Dido's song coming on twice on my iPod due to changing mixes while I was out running a lot of errands. Also, as I hope you can tell, I did alter the lyrics a bit to fit the fic. This is going to be a quick-fic. Next chapter will finish it. Then I PROMISE I will finish chapter 18 of HP and the Rejected Path. Really!
Fleur's broom racing career: From JBern's seminal fic The Lies I've Lived. Too good not to steal! If you haven't read it, rush out now in a reading frenzy!
Saint Schools: Lots of different fics have the regional 'saint' schools where one can get their OWLs but not NEWTs. See my author's notes for Chapter 11 of HP and Rejected Path for a break down of their names and where they are if you are interested.
Earl of Yorkshire: Just like in HP and the Rejected Path, Harry inherited this earldom from the Potter line. It is the magical equivalent of the Earl of Northumbria.
Danse Macabre: If you have to be told why Hermione uses this tune for an identifying ring tone for Susan…well you need to take a music appreciation class!
Sally Who? As in most of my fics, Sally-Anne great-grandfather was actually Marius Black, tossed out for being a Squib. Sally just decided to go with just Sally after moving away. Unlike in HP and the Rejected Path, her parents are decent types. It's just her mother instead on the name and Sally went with what she wanted to be called after moving out. She changed her name to Black since she could become Lady Black if she so chose and her bastard son Jacob by Zacharias Smith is (at the time of this fic) Harry's official heir to House Black. (More about that in the next chapter)
Bad American Pun: Never thought about the semi-pun of having Susan marry Anthony, especially since her last name is Bones. (Susan B. /Anthony)