|SIYE Time:15:13 on 17th December 2018|
Category: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/PM
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fluff, General, Humor, Romance
Story is Complete
Summary: It is July 2020, and Ginny and Lily are discussing birthdays and boyfriends.
Hitcount: Story Total: 6230
Awards: View Trophy Room
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
This one is currently with Amelie, so this is the unbetaed version. However, it's been a while since I submitted a story, so here's a little something. Perhaps I should have waited until Valentine's Day.
The warm summer sun streamed through the small square panes of the double sash window. The light created a criss-cross of shadows on the wall, and also on Ginny Potter. Lily stood in the still and sultry air on the landing, and watched her mother unfasten the window. Ginny slid the upper sash downwards and the lower sash upwards, creating two openings.
The cooling breeze immediately made its presence felt. The draught which entered the old stone farmhouse brought with it the scents of Drakeshaugh Wood, the sounds of birdsong, and the faint tinkling of Drakestone Burn as it meandered through the wood on its way to meet the River Coquet.
‘That’s better,’ said Ginny as she inhaled fresh summer air.
Lily stepped alongside her mother and stared out across the rather unkempt garden, a wistful expression on her face.
‘We don’t come here often enough, do we Lily?’ asked Ginny, placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulder and giving it a gentle, consoling squeeze. They left the bright beams of sunlight behind them and moved into the shadowy corner furthest from the window, to the door to the attic.
‘No, Mum,’ Lily agreed. ‘But, when we do, why can’t we see Annie? I miss her.’
‘I miss Annie’s mum, too,’ said Ginny as she unlocked the door. ‘It can’t be helped, I’m sorry, Lily. We really can’t see them again, not after everything that happened. It was never going to be easy having Muggle friends. We can’t keep Obliviating our friends. It’s wrong, isn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ Lily whispered.
‘You and your brothers are at Hogwarts, Henry and Annie are both at their Muggle school. We would only ever see them for a few weeks during the summer holidays, and the last time we saw them it was rather awkward, wasn’t it? James and Henry were strangers to each other. All of a sudden they had nothing in common. And Annie asked you all those questions about your school. You couldn’t answer any of them, could you?’
‘No,’ said Lily sadly.
‘You’ve made some new friends at Hogwarts, haven’t you?’ Ginny asked consolingly.
‘Yes, lots,’ Lily confirmed.
‘And you can talk openly to them,’ Ginny reminded her daughter. ‘I didn’t have any Muggle friends when I was growing up, so I don’t know what it’s like, but it must make things a lot easier, being able to share things with your new friends.’
‘It does, most of the time.’
‘Most of the time?’ asked Ginny.
Lily wrinkled her nose in annoyance. ‘Lizzy, Fiona and Amberleigh all think that I’m extremely lucky to have a really cool brother like James!’ She hesitated, looked into her mother’s face, and decided to continue. ‘But Annie knows he’s a complete prat.’
Ginny laughed, hugged her daughter, and kissed the top of her head. ‘I may not know much about having a Muggle friend, but I know exactly what it’s like to have annoying big brothers,’ she said. ‘I’m not surprised that you miss Annie. Now, come along, we have work to do.’
Pulling her bright red hair backwards, Ginny twisted it up into a bun and then wrapped it in a scarf. She then tied and covered her daughter’s almost-identically coloured hair.
‘Why?’ Lily began.
‘It will be dusty up there, Lily,’ Ginny explained as she pulled open the door, revealing a flight of steep wooden steps. ‘When we moved here from Grimmauld Place, Dad and I brought a few boxes of keepsakes with us. They haven’t been moved in more than ten years. Ten years...’ Ginny momentarily lost herself in memories. ‘And no one has been in the attic since Dad put the Christmas decorations away,’ she added inconsequentially.
‘What, exactly, are we looking for, Mum?’ Lily Potter asked.
‘Old photographs of Dad,’ replied Ginny, motioning for Lily to make the ascent first.
‘Why do we need to find more photographs?’ Lily asked as she grabbed the banister and climbed the steep stairs. Her mother was only two stairs behind her.
‘Can’t you guess?’ Ginny enquired. Lily could hear the smile in her mother’s voice. She knew why they were looking, and why they had waited until Al, James, and Dad had gone to the Cannons testimonial game with Uncle Ron before visiting their old home.
As she reached the top of the stairs, Lily stopped, unwilling to progress any further into the darkness. The echoing space ahead of her was dark, dusty and distinctly uninviting. Ginny stepped up behind Lily and waved her wand, the lamps in the cavernous attic room flickered into life.
‘It’s Dad’s birthday tomorrow,’ said Lily as she looked around at the chests and boxes stacked under the eaves. ‘Hey! There’s Dragon the Dragon,’ she said, distracted by the battered old stuffed toy which had once been Al’s favourite.
‘There are a lot of old toys up here. Do you want me to get your dollies out? I won’t tell the boys,’ Ginny said conspiratorially.
‘No.’ Lily shook her head firmly.
‘I didn’t think you would,’ said Ginny, shaking her head in regret. ‘After all, my little baby girl has already had one whole year at Hogwarts, hasn’t she? Where have the years gone?’
‘I wish I was older,’ said Lily.
‘Don’t wish your life away, Lily,’ Ginny advised. As she spoke, she led her daughter past the “useful” boxes stacked near the top of the stairs, and into the gloomy recesses beyond. ‘There’s plenty of time to be older, and being twelve isn’t all bad, if I remember correctly.’
‘I suppose,’ said Lily uncertainly.
‘Here it is!’ announced Ginny. She levitated a battered old trunk out into the much brighter centre of the room. It trailed motes of dust behind it, and raised a nose-itching haze of particles when it landed. Lily’s nostrils twitched in protest.
‘I don’t want you to grow up quickly,’ Ginny continued. ‘I know that you’re no longer my little Lilyloo but I’m not ready for you to be all grown up, because the older you get, the older I get, and I’m not ready to be an old lady.’
‘You’re not old,’ said Lily. ‘Neither is Dad, not really.’
‘Not really,’ said Ginny chuckling. ‘Poor old Dad; damned by faint praise from his own daughter. He has got a few grey hairs, hasn’t he? But I think they look nice, distinguished. He isn’t old.’ Ginny paused in thought, and looked down into her daughter’s bespectacled face. Lily’s brown eyes stared thoughtfully back from behind her glasses.
‘Until now, your dad has never been bothered about getting older. He always said that growing old was a lot better than the only alternative.’ Ginny paused and, despite the claustrophobic warmth of the attic, she shivered. ‘And he’s faced that alternative a few times over the years,’ she added thoughtfully.
‘He’s what?’ asked Lily worriedly.
‘Don’t listen to me, Lily. I always get lost in memories when I come up here.’ Ginny waved away her gloomy thoughts and smiled mischievously. ‘When you get to be as old as we are, Lily, you’ll realise that it’s only birthdays with a zero at the end which really mean something. And this year, Dad is having a zero birthday.’
‘Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron are forty already,’ said Lily, nodding. ‘And they had big parties. But Dad told us that he didn’t want a big party.’
‘Dad doesn’t always get what he wants,’ said Ginny. She winked at her daughter. ‘Especially when he’s being a miserable old so-and-so, and trying to avoid facing the fact that he’s about to hit forty. He is going to have a party, I began organising it the day after Uncle Ron’s.’
‘Dad is not miserable,’ said Lily staunchly.
‘Not often,’ Ginny admitted. ‘At least, these days he isn’t often miserable. I’ll tell you a secret, Lily. When we were at school, he could be a grumpy so-and-so.’
Lily didn’t reply. When Ginny pulled up the lid of the trunk and peered inside, Lily stepped forwards and followed her mother’s gaze. The trunk was about half full, but most of the contents appeared to be books.
‘I don’t think this will take long,’ said Ginny sadly as she knelt down in front of the chest and began to lift out its contents.
‘What sort of photographs are we looking for?’ Lily asked. She peering curiously at the battered books, bags and cardboard boxes her mother was piling on the attic floor.
‘Photographs of Dad when he was little,’ said Ginny. ‘We’ve got lots from when he was older, from nineteen-ninety-eight onwards, but before that…’ she shrugged helplessly. ‘I’ve looked everywhere, but I haven’t found very many. I asked the archivists at The Prophet to look through their back-catalogue of photographs, and they found a few for me. Fuschia Boot’s mum kindly offered to check through the Hogwarts Camera Club files for me, and she’s found some, too. And Dennis Creevey is visiting his parents today; he’s going to see what he can find in his brother’s collection. I’d like a lot more photographs of your dad as a schoolboy to put on the wall, along with all of the photos of him in his late teens and afterwards.’
‘What about when he was really little?’ Lily asked. ‘I’ve never seen a picture of Dad as a really little boy. There’s a few pictures of him with his mum and dad when he was a little baby, but that’s all.’
‘There aren’t any,’ her mother said. Ginny’s voice had a grumbling harshness about it. It was a tone which Lily and her brothers recognised as an indicator that their mother was annoyed, and should not be messed with. ‘I don’t suppose that your Great-aunt Petunia and Great-uncle Vernon will turn up for the party tomorrow; they certainly haven’t replied to the invitation I sent. But, if they do, you can ask them why they never took any photographs of your father. None at all!’
‘I’ll see what I can find, Mum,’ said Lily, attempting to keep her mother calm. ‘P’raps there’s something stuck in one of the books.’ She began to sort through the first pile of books. As she did so, the scarf wrapped around her hair came loose. Ginny tutted, reached forwards, and refastened it.
‘We’ll fasten the scarf with this,’ Ginny said, pulling a shining red and gold badge from the trunk. ‘It’s Dad’s Quidditch Captain badge. I wonder where mine is?’
‘Quidditch Captain,’ said Lily thoughtfully. ‘You married your Quidditch Captain, Mum.’
‘I did,’ Ginny agreed, wondering where the conversation was going.
Lily lapsed into silence, gazed thoughtfully at the badge, and then leaned forwards and allowed Ginny to use it to pin up the scarf.
‘Dad’s put his name in this book, look!’ she said, holding up a copy of “A History of Magic” and shaking it hopefully. Nothing came out but dust, and Lily sneezed.
‘Bless you,’ said Ginny automatically.
‘You wrote my name in all of my school books,’ Lily added thoughtfully.
‘Of course I did, because that’s what Grandma Weasley did for me,’ her mother told her.
‘But Dad had to write his own name,’ said Lily meditatively. She placed the book on the floor, and picked up another one. ‘Flying with the Cannons, by Julius Dehoffe,’ Lily gave a disbelieving squawk. ‘Why has dad got a book about the Cannons? He’s a Harpies fan!’
‘Actually, I don’t think he really supported any team, other than Gryffindor, until I was signed by the Harpies,’ said her mother, smiling. ‘Why do you think he has a copy of that book?’
‘Uncle Ron bought it for him, like he bought all those Cannons books and stuff for James, when James was little.’ said Lily promptly.
‘That’s right,’ said Ginny. ‘Uncle Ron started on James early, because he’d failed with Dad.’ As her mother spoke, Lily picked up the book and shook it. Her shaking dislodged a card from the book.
‘I think, if I hadn’t been signed by the Harpies, Dad might be a Cannons fan, like James and Uncle Ro…’ Ginny’s reminiscences were halted when the card hit the floor, and fell open.
Ginny stopped mid sentence, interrupted by a piercing voice which was singing, very badly; ‘Get well, Harry, get well soon.’
Curious, Lily ignored the screeching voice, picked up the hand made card and read it.
You’re the best Seeker in the school, Harry
Get well soon
Ginny lifted the card from her daughter’s hand and tried to close it. She managed to muffle, but not completely silence, the sound. She placed the card on the floor, picked up the copy of “A History of Magic” and placed it on top. The shrill singing ceased and the sudden silence which followed seemed to fill the room with a sense of anticipation.
‘That was you singing,’ Lily said. ‘You made that card for Dad. You sounded little.’
‘That’s because I made it when I was twelve,’ said Ginny nodding. Lily realised that her mother was blushing.
‘You told me that you were very young when you and Dad got together,’ said Lily, choosing her words carefully. ‘But you said Dad was sixteen and you were fifteen, not twelve. You said that you fell in love with Dad, who was your Quidditch Captain when you were fifteen, and he fell in love with you. You weren’t fifteen when you made that card.’
‘But I wasn’t in love with your Dad when I made that card,’ Ginny admitted. She stared down into her daughter’s face, pondered Lily’s words, and thought back over their rambling conversation. ‘The Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, Sterling, she was a seventh year, wasn’t she?’ Ginny asked. ‘Do you know who is likely to get the position next year?’
‘Craig Patterson,’ said Lily very promptly, and a little breathlessly.
‘James’s friend, Craig?’ asked Ginny, remembering the tall, good-looking blond boy who they had met at King’s Cross. He would be spending a few days with them later in the summer holidays.
Lily nodded, and registered her mother’s amusement. ‘You sent Dad a Get Well card when you were twelve,’ she protested hotly. ‘You must’ve fancied him, so…’
‘In a way, I did fancy your dad when I was twelve,’ she said. Ginny sat cross-legged on the floor, facing her daughter, and looked straight into her eyes. ‘In fact I thought I was madly in love with him, Lily, but I was wrong.’
Lily’s expression was one of frank disbelief.
‘Do you want to know how your dad and I fell in love?’ Ginny asked.
‘Apart from your dad, I’ve never told anyone else this, Lily,’ said Ginny. ‘But, when I was ten, I knew that I was in love.’
‘With Dad?’ Lily asked in a whisper.
‘If you’d asked me when I was ten, I’d have said yes,’ Ginny said. ‘But…’ She shrugged, pondered, and then firmly shook her head.
‘No! When I was ten I thought I was in love with Harry Potter, but I wasn’t. I was in love with the idea of Harry Potter, I wasn’t really in love, either. I was besotted by “The Boy Who Lived” and, if I’m honest, I didn’t even know your Dad. He didn’t know me, either. He made me nervous, and he mostly ignored me. Does Craig ignore you?’
‘The age difference is greater, of course,’ said Ginny. She paused, and chose her words carefully. ‘I wasn’t really in love with Dad when I was ten, or eleven or twelve. I was in love with “The Boy Who Lived. Unfortunately, actually, no, fortunately, There was no such person as “The Boy Who Lived”, or “The Chosen One”. Or even “Lord Voldemort”, now that I think about it. They’re all just labels. You can’t fall in love with “The Boy Who Lived”, or “The Quidditch Captain”, Lily, because that’s what they are, Lily, they are just labels, and we all have lots of labels. I’m sure that there are times when you don’t like being called “James Potter’s kid sister”. That’s not who you really are, is it?’
‘No,’ said Lily as she carefully considered her mother’s words. ‘I mean, I am James’ sister, but really, I’m me.’
‘Exactly, I’m sure that, if you asked your father who he was, he’d say, “I’m your dad”. But at work he’s, “The Head Auror”, and he’s also my husband. He’s a lot of people, Lily, and I know and love them all. I didn’t fall in love with my Quidditch Captain when I was fifteen, Lily; that was when I fell in love with your dad. And when I did, finally, fall for him, I knew a lot more about who, and what, Harry Potter really was. He is more than all of his labels, Lily. But he’s less than all those labels, too.’
Lily looked puzzled, and Ginny smiled.
‘Your dad never wanted to be “The Boy Who Lived”, he hated it. Because most people, including ten-year-old me, thought that made him some kind of superman, a famous hero.’
‘He is a famous hero,’ said Lily.
‘But he wasn’t,’ Ginny told her. ‘And he still doesn’t believe that he’s a hero. He certainly doesn’t like being a hero. He wasn’t “The Boy Who Lived” when I first met him; he has never been “The Boy Who Lived”. He was simply a boy. But I was too stupid to see that. I think that he always heard that name as meaning “The Boy Whose Parents Were Murdered by Voldemort”, so it’s no wonder he didn’t like it. Fortunately, unlike me, your Uncle Ron was sensible.’
Lily snorted in disbelief, Ginny ignored her.
‘Uncle Ron didn’t see “The Boy Who Lived”. He saw a lonely little boy who was looking for a friend. And Ron was exactly the same.’
Ginny pointed to the card, which was still poking out from under “A History of Magic”. ‘I wrote that card to “The Boy Who Lived”, not to your father. It took me a very long time to realise that I was in love with an idea, a romantic ideal,’ Ginny admitted. ‘I didn’t realise after my first year, because that was when your father rescued me from the Chamber of Secrets. I was his damsel in distress. That should have been romantic, but he ignored me. Then I realised that damsels in distress were stupid and useless, and I didn’t want to be one. Besides, it’s just another label isn’t it? So, I tried to ignore your dad. I couldn’t, of course, because I was embarrassed whenever I saw him. It’s difficult to ignore your brother’s best friend, Lily, but I managed, eventually. As I got older, instead of moping over one boy, I let other boys chase me. Your dad helped a lot around that time, because he was moping over a different girl.’
‘Really?’ Lily asked, astonished by the revelation. ‘Another girl? Who was she?’
‘You’ll have to ask him, Lily. Anyway, after a while I let one of the boys catch me. He was called Michael. He was nice, but it didn’t take me long to realise that he wasn’t the one. So I picked a different boy.’ Ginny smiled at the look of shock on her daughter’s face. ‘While all that was happening, when I was thirteen, and fourteen, and fifteen, I got to know who your dad really was. That’s when I realised that he was just another boy, but a really nice one.’
‘Then what happened?’ Lily asked.
‘We became friends,’ said Ginny. ‘And I for a while was happy that we were just friends.’
‘How did you make him notice you?’
‘I didn’t make him notice me, Lily,’ Ginny told her. ‘I don’t think that you can make a boy notice you. In fact, when I was about your age, your granny told me; “Never throw yourself at a boy, because they probably won’t catch you, and then you’ll fall and hurt yourself.” So I never did. A few boys threw themselves at me, and if I didn’t like them, I dropped them.’
‘That’s cruel,’ said Lily.
‘Not as cruel as staying with someone who you don’t really love,’ said Ginny. ‘But, to answer your question, I once asked your father when he noticed me. He said that I sort of grew on him, but if I wanted a date, it was Christmas 1995.’
‘What happened?’ asked Lily breathlessly.
‘We were in Grimmauld Place, and your granddad had just been hospitalised, he’d been bitten by a snake. It was a horrible time and, as usual, your father was moping and miserable and blaming himself. So I told him that he was being an idiot. He claims that was when he first saw me as me, and not as “Ron’s kid sister”. You see, he had been looking at me like I was a label, too.’
‘You told Dad off?’ asked Lily.
‘I told him what I thought,’ said Ginny. She laughed. ‘I still do, in case you haven’t noticed. Anyway, your dad and I became friends, and then I started to fall in love with him properly. And he fell in love with me! But he didn’t say anything, because I was going out with someone else, and he was convinced that he was going to be killed by Tom Riddle, and he was frightened about what Uncle Ron would think.’
‘I don’t believe that!’ said Lily.
‘The bit about Uncle Ron! Why would anyone ever be frightened of Uncle Ron?’
‘Ron didn’t like any of my other boyfriends, and your dad knew it,’ said Ginny. ‘Dad didn’t want to upset Ron. I think you might have the same problem with James, you know. Brothers can be a real pain in the bum. Most of the time they don’t want anything to do with you and then, when you have a boyfriend and things are getting interesting, they suddenly decide that it’s time for them to interfere.’
‘Huh,’ snorted Lily dismissively.
‘At least your Uncle Ron didn’t explode when I first kissed your father,’ said Ginny. ‘He went crazy when he caught me kissing one of my other boyfriends.’
‘One of?’ Lily hesitated, and then ploughed on. ‘How many boys did you kiss? Who was the first?’
‘I didn’t kiss many, not really,’ said Ginny, smiling. ‘As for who was first… When you go back to school, ask Professor Longbottom about the Yule Ball.’
Ginny looked into her daughter’s horrified face, and burst out laughing.
‘Don’t grow up too soon, Lily,’ she said. ‘Your father was forced to grow up quickly, and so was I, but you don’t have to. Just enjoy growing up, enjoy your life, and enjoy your loves. And remember, we’re always here for you. And so are your brothers, though you might not always think so. Now, let’s see if we can find some photographs.’
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