|SIYE Time:20:35 on 20th August 2017|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 83296; Chapter Total: 1971
Chapter Twenty-Three: The Goblet of Fire Part Ten
Happy Birthday, Say Goodbye To Childhood
Ginny was at first worried that this would seriously interrupt their sleeping schedules. Dumbledore was right; they both needed around 10 hours of sleep each night and she did enjoy sleep, however he underestimated how much time they spent on homework. As it was, both of them usually went to bed after eleven and Ginny woke Harry up before seven. So they didn’t need the specially charmed watches that Dumbledore gave them except on the weekends, but even then they went to bed after eleven and Harry woke Ginny up before eight. The watches themselves were good as Harry’s had broken when he went into the lake and Ginny didn’t have one. They were charmed to detect the presence of the other watch, and when they parted, the watches began a countdown of seven and a half hours, so that when it reached the end, they began vibrating and beeping loudly until they were reunited. One night, Harry left his watch in his room all day and Ginny’s went off in the middle of dinner. Ginny threatened to use a Permanent Sticking Charm on Harry’s watch in the future, but he promised not to leave it off again. Fortunately, their internal clocks did a good job of getting them up before the watches went off.
And so proceeded March. They got enough sleep to get by, and every Saturday afternoon they escaped Hermione’s homework plans to nap for a few hours. It helped that Harry didn’t have Quidditch practice and Oliver getting him up at four a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
April was no different. The weather got better, brighter and warmer, and the homework level got drearier, heavier, and harder. Ginny began looking forward more and more to her naps on Saturday with Harry, sheltered under a willow tree near the lake. Snape got more and more irritable, and began giving out weekly detentions again. Ginny thought he was picking on her and Harry more than the other Gryffindors, but the man had no regular schedule as to who got detention each lesson so she couldn’t prove it.
In Defense, Remus and Sirius had fallen into a smooth, synchronous pattern, demonstrating the new counter-hexes and jinxes and mock dueling each other with ease. Remus kept the classes on focus and Sirius kept it interesting. Ginny had learned more than twenty new defensive spells that semester alone, and each of them she was sure would be useful. Remus even taught his female students gentle but effective spells to use against over-insistent males. Ginny was sure she saw more than two girls look relieved at the end of that lesson.
While Potions was getting worse and Defense was getting awesome, Ginny’s other classes were getting tougher. In Transfiguration, McGonagall was giving them not only spells but the theory behind them. While she found magical theory fascinating, Ginny didn’t particularly enjoy sitting through an hour of why the Color Changing charm worked differently on animals than humans. Hermione, of course, found it enrapturing. They were getting the same deal in Charms, though the theory in this case was a little more interesting. It was a good thing Hermione was taking extensive notes because even Ginny found it hard to write down every point the professor made, and Ron used lecture hours as naptime.
In Care of Magical Creatures, Hagrid took ‘care’ to a new level by giving them all a new pet to keep for a week long assignment. Ginny’s wasn’t too bad, Hagrid gave her a Crup — a Terrier like creature with a forked tail — but others had worse pets. Draco Malfoy got a Jarvey, which Harry, Ron, and Ginny all found absolutely hilarious. The ferret looking creature even begun a huge list of foul names to describe the blonde Slytherin the instant Hagrid had turned away. Malfoy was disgusted, to say the least. Ron only stopped laughing when Hagrid gave him a caged Clabbert.
Arithmency got into more difficult equations. Divination made less and less sense as Trelawney became less and less focused. Astronomy lessons seemed to get longer as Professor Sinestra began teaching them the legends behind each constellation. Only the random showers accredited to April made her lessons halt.
April ended finally and Ginny suddenly realized that she was nearly fifteen the way one does when childhood is nearly spent. It was both sobering and almost depressing as it meant that she was nearly grown up, nearly an adult. When she looked in the mirror on the morning of May first, she wondered when it was that she had gotten tall? When had she gotten hips? When was it that she had begun filling her shirts more? It wasn’t that she hadn’t really noticed these things before, but they had never really registered. Really, what was the matter was that only a few months ago she had been slim, not curvy. She had had rounder cheeks, lighter eyes; even her hands now looked somehow older. Not only was she getting older, but she was growing up. She wasn’t a kid anymore.
And it wasn’t just her. As she walked down to the common room, she slowed to watch Harry and Ron talking with Neville. When had Ron gotten taller than Harry? When had Harry gotten taller than Neville? When had Neville gotten taller than her? How did she not notice Ron’s broader shoulders, Harry’s squarer jaw? She should have seen that even Neville was thinning out. Ginny walked over to them and Ron and Neville waved before continued their talk. Harry took her hand and kissed her knuckles briefly before going back to the conversation. Ginny studied Harry’s hand in hers, how the bones were more present against his skin and how his forearm was lined with soft, pale hairs. Her gaze drifted up his arm, to his shoulders and how his chest seemed more proportionate to them even though they’d gotten wider. How had she not noticed that they were growing up?
This strange, sad but somehow warm feeling remained with her during the week, and she found herself studying Harry’s frame more and more often. He’d caught her a couple times and blushed, but never asked why until the night before her birthday. They were seated on a couch in the common room watching Ron spectacularly beat Hermione at chess, or rather Harry was. Ginny was staring into deep space, watching his fingers lazily caress the back of her hand.
What’s up? he asked.
Ginny shrugged. I don’t know. I’m just…
A few hours away from turning fifteen?
Ginny nodded. That’s it. I feel like I’m growing up.
Harry chuckled softly. Well, you are!
Shut up, that’s not what I meant.
You’re missing the good old days when you could make mud pies in the backyard and your mum would only scold you because you tracked muck all over the kitchen and when you could act like nothing in the world was going wrong because you thought that was true.
Ginny nodded. We’re growing up.
But we’re not grown up yet, Harry thought. We’ve got a few years before your mum starts casually mentioning every Sunday dinner that she likes the idea of grandchildren.
Ginny groaned. Oh, lord above, let that never happen. Let Bill hurry up and get married and have children quickly so she never pesters me!
Harry laughed softly again.
“Harry, you’re laughing aloud again,” Ron murmured as he took Hermione’s last rook.
Harry waved dismissively in Ron’s direction. “Leave us alone and checkmate Hermione already.”
Ron looked like he was going to reply, but Hermione moved her bishop and he had to stop so he could explain for the third time that she couldn’t because it would put her king in check from his queen.
I think you’ll be okay, Harry thought. You’re only turning fifteen, after all.
Ginny bit her lip but nodded. Can I just stop? Can we just go back to being kids again so we can randomly fall asleep together all the time and not have anyone freak out cause I might magically sprout a freshly grown human?
Harry had to bite his finger to keep from laughing. Err, I’m not sure how we would go about doing that…
I mean, Mum sent me a letter last week regaling how often her birth control potions failed on her and that she really wants me to be careful but she worded everything like an eight year old was going to read it. It was ridiculous and horrible at the same time.
I’m going to think of something different now.
She literally told me that she doubted infertility potions worked with Weasley genes! Ginny thought. Though I find that reasonable, couldn’t she wait until I was a little older? Like twenty-five? I might be better about hearing that stuff then!
Harry surreptitiously crossed his legs. Ginny knit her eyebrows a second then snorted. Harry smacked her arm. Shut up, he thought. This is not funny.
It so is. Guys’ biology is ridiculous.
Well, you shed your uterus every month!
More like the lining of it, but that’s so not as silly as random —
“What?” Hermione shouted. “I thought I took your knight!”
“No, that was my white bishop,” Ron said. “Another game?”
Ginny shook her head as Hermione pouted over the checkmate. Honestly, Ron could have beaten her over half an hour ago. He was going soft in his old age.
Your brother is barely five minutes older than you.
Ginny smacked Harry’s chest, then lay her head on it and closed her eyes.
Her birthday was a Wednesday, and unfortunately full of her least favorite classes. The morning started with a double period of Potions, after lunch she had to part ways with her boyfriend and twin for Arithmency, then the day ended with a daytime session of Astronomy, where Professor Sinestra quizzed them about the moons of Saturn.
At the end of the day, she and Ron dropped into chairs near the fire and faced Harry and Hermione, who were bearing gifts; in Hermione’s case like it was a box of Blast-Ended Skrewts.
“We would like to wish you a formal happy birthday,” Harry said. Ginny rolled her eyes; Harry had been saying — no, shouting happy birthday in her mind all day. Hermione nodded, but she wouldn’t look at Ron. Ginny glanced at her brother, who was staring at his lap.
Git, she thought.
Hush! Harry scolded. He cleared his throat and held up the two boxes in his hands. “So, I’ll go first. Here.” He handed one box to Ron and one to Ginny.
Ginny elbowed Ron. He looked up, then narrowed his eyes. She narrowed hers. Ron held the box to his ear and gave it a light shake. Ginny ran her fingers over the wrapping.
Then they ripped through the paper.
“Oh, mate!” Ron said, almost in a moan, as he lifted out the pristine, soft leather Keepers gloves. “How’d you know?”
“You tacked that page from Quidditch Monthly to your bed,” Harry said, quirking an eyebrow. “I figured that was for a reason.”
Ginny shook her head as she opened her box. Then she gasped. “Why, you little —”
Harry cut her off with a laugh. “You like ‘em?”
Ginny narrowed her gaze at him. “I did my best to keep that from your sticky little fingers,” she said. “How’d you figure it out?”
Harry shrugged. “I guess I’m just good at reading your mind.”
Ron rolled his eyes, then peered into her box. “Did you get us the same thing?” he said.
Ginny shook her head. “You have Keepers gloves. I have Chasers gloves.” She picked up one and pressed it to her face, inhaling the sweet smell of the leather. “You really are good at reading my mind,” she said to Harry. Even Hermione rolled her eyes. Harry grinned and shrugged.
Hermione cleared her throat. Ginny set down the glove and looked at her. She held up the two boxes in her hand, but she was still looking downward. One box was aimed towards Ginny, and the other wasn’t.
“You didn’t have to get me anything,” Ron said quietly.
“Take it,” she said. “Before I change my mind.”
Ginny took hers, because it was Ron’s pride between him and Hermione just then. She looked at Ron expectantly. Ron worried the edge of his lip as he thought. Hermione glanced up, her face turned pink, and she looked down at her lap again. Ron took the box.
Ginny smirked. Ron elbowed her this time, but she only smirked more. They ripped away the paper and opened the inner boxes.
“Oh, Hermione!” Ginny said. “This is lovely!” She lifted the thick book from its box; its brown surface was embroidered, and small pieces colored glass and seashells were pressed into it. There was a tree, with leaves made of blue and green and yellow glass, but its trunk was made of thread words; sweet, precious, kind, important, warm, and other beautiful adjectives. The shells formed the soil the roots were planted in, and pink, red and orange glass made up a sun-streaked sky behind the tree.
“That’s really pretty,” Harry agreed. “Where’d you get it?”
“A friend of my mum’s makes them,” Hermione said. “Special journals, dream diaries, yearly planners, things like that.”
Ginny reached across the couch to hug her friend. “Thank you,” she said.
“You’re welcome,” Hermione murmured. Ginny looked to Ron, who still hadn’t unwrapped his present.
“Go on,” she said.
Ron tore at a corner. He glanced at Hermione, then slit open the end of the paper. He unwrapped the box and opened it. He lifted up and shook out a red and gold scarf with ends folded over to make pockets, tasseled, and his name stitched into one pocket.
“Uh, wow,” he said.
“I meant to give it to you at Christmas, but…” Hermione trailed off. Then she stood up and hurried away up the stairs to the girls’ dorm. Ron half rose from his seat, then sunk back down. He looked down at the scarf in his lap with an expression that wasn’t quite as happy as it had been a moment before.
“I’m an idiot,” he muttered.
“Tell us something we don’t know,” Ginny replied.
Ron shot her a dirty look. “Oh, shut up.” He stuffed the scarf into the box, grabbed his new Quidditch gloves, then strode upstairs to his dorm.
“I’ll talk to him,” Harry said. “You talk to Hermione?”
Ginny nodded. “I’ll come back down to say goodnight,” she said.
“Good. I’ve got one more thing for you.”
Ginny smiled as she picked up her things, then pecked his cheek and started up the stairs. She found Hermione sitting on her bed, knitting what looked like a hat but it was very lumpy so she wasn’t sure. She sat down on her own bed, setting the book and the gloves beside her, and watched her friend knit.
“I’m best with scarves,” Hermione mumbled after a minute.
“Did you make the one you gave to Ron?”
She nodded. “Took me three months.”
Ginny pulled her legs up onto the bed beneath her. “It was very lovely.”
Hermione nodded again. “I wanted to give it to him at Christmas, but then the thing at the Ball happened and I never did. I enchanted the name into the pocket, so I couldn’t take it out and give it to someone else. I figured it would just be best to give it to him.”
“Ron feels horrible, you know.”
“Well, so did I,” Hermione grumbled.
“He’s thick, ‘Mione,” Ginny said. “He doesn’t know anything about girls, and he does like you, which makes it worse.”
“Well, screw him, then,” Hermione sighed. “He’s been so clueless for months.”
“He’s been clueless for years,” Ginny corrected. “You knew that; you know it. Never stopped you from falling for him.”
Hermione looked down at the lumpy hat in her lap. “God,” she mumbled. “This is horrible.”
Ginny slipped off of her bed and sat beside her friend. She wrapped her arms around and rested her head on her shoulder. “I know, luv.”
“Your boyfriend can read your mind,” Hermione hissed.
“My brother can’t.”
Hermione fell silent.
You two all right?
Hush, Harry, we hate men right now.
I’ll call back later.
Hermione dabbed at her eyes with the hat. “He really is very immature,” she said, softly, but there was a hint of a smile in her voice suddenly.
“He’s a fifteen year old boy.”
“I refer you to his age.”
“And he doesn’t take homework seriously.”
“I refer you to his age, once again.”
“But he is sweet.”
“I refer you to his upbringing.”
“And he’s funny.”
“I refer you to his family in general.”
Hermione nodded slowly. “I’ll take your referrals.”
Ginny smiled at her. “There you go. Better?”
“He likes the scarf,” Ginny assured her. “And I bet he feels even worse because he could have used it back in January after the Skrewts ate his Gryffindor scarf.”
Hermione smirked a little. “Probably.”
Yeah, Ginny thought. Ron still beating himself up?
Let him keep going for now. He’s got thinking to do.
She felt Harry sigh and his mind drift away from the situation between their best friends. So, can I give you that other thing now?
“Harry’s got one other thing he wants to give me,” Ginny said. “You okay if I go chat with him for a minute?”
Hermione nodded. “I’m fine, Ginny, really.”
Ginny wasn’t sure Hermione was telling the truth or not, but she patted her shoulder and got up. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
Hermione readjusted the yarn in her lap and began clicking the needles again. Ginny left the room and walked downstairs. Harry was sitting in one of the widest armchairs, holding a small box tied shut with a bit of ribbon. Ginny dropped down beside him and laid her head on his shoulder.
“Ronald,” she muttered.
“I know,” he sighed. “He’s upstairs grumbling about everything. ‘Specially Krum.”
“He can’t blame Krum,” Ginny snorted. “It’s his own damn fault.”
Harry shrugged. He held out the box. Ginny took it and pulled the bow out of place, then opened it.
“Aww,” she said, lifting out the thin silver band. It had small emeralds set in the face of it, and music notes engraved in between each stone. “Are you proposing, Harry?”
“It’s just your birthstone,” he said, shaking his head. “I figured I was running out of nice, special things to give you by excluding rings.”
“You were excluding rings?” she asked, raising one eyebrow.
“Well, I didn’t want anyone to assume things, did I?” Harry said. “We’re teenagers.”
Ginny pecked his cheek. “Thank you, Harry. I’m going to have to start giving you nicer things.”
“Or I could just stop giving you nice stuff,” he joked. “I’m not made of gold, of course.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, recalling the image of the thousands of galleons piled in his family vault. “Of course not.”
Harry kissed her quickly. “I just liked that ring,” he said.
“I like it too,” she said. “So much that I will wear it every day we don’t have Potions or Care of Magical Creatures.”
“That’s a wise plan,” he said.
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