|SIYE Time:4:30 on 21st June 2018|
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: 109804; Chapter Total: 2572
Awards: View Trophy Room
So a thing happened last chapter… So far I've had almost entirely positive/surprised responses to it. Anyhoosal, if you head over to the For In Dreams Support Group (link --> www.fanfiction.net/forums/For-In-Dreams-Support-Group/181842 ), you can use the discussions thread to talk about it, or go into the Tidbits thread and find the topic about Wolfstar, in which there is a tidbit about Wolfstar and further discuss there, or blow up reviews if you want. I suppose. The forum would be a better place. I'll say it again even though its February, Happy New Year! It's been apparently eventful, but I haven't left my house for the most part but for groceries. I did have a friend over last weekend, but you guys don't care about that. One prediction of mine for 2016 that may or may not come true is Wolfstar fluff. Actually, I am going to do one-shot spin-off's for this story, purely because I need to exercise my fluff typewriter. Here we go, Chapter 28! It is SUPER long cause I forgot about dividing it up into chapters and didn't write a clean ending for the chapter until like 9k words in. So have fun. Leave a review. Like comment favorite and subscribe if you think it's cool. (was me imitating a lame YouTuber)
The Fifth Hour
After dinner, Sirius and Remus escorted them back to the Hospital Wing. Sirius hugged them both and Remus ruffled Harry's hair before they left them with Madam Pomfrey and Ginny's mother. Mum gave them their pajamas; they changed in the sectioned part of their little area, and settled into the doubled bed. Ginny lay in the middle of her side and Harry in the middle of his, both staring at the ceiling.
Why is this awkward? Harry asked her.
We've slept together before, she replied.
We sleep together every Saturday, he thought.
But that's under a tree by the lake…
We've never shared an actual bed…
This is not going to get less awkward anytime soon, is it? Harry asked.
Ginny rolled onto her side and stared at him. He turned his head to meet her gaze. Not soon, she agreed. But maybe…
Maybe if we kept sharing…
Yeah. Maybe then it would get less awkward.
Harry snorted. When would we ever get to share a bed ever again?
She shrugged. Mum shook her head with a chuckle; she sat in a conjured recliner at the foot of their bed.
Ginny turned to face her mother. "You don't even know what we're saying."
"You're thinking that it's very awkward to be lying next to each other," Mum said evenly as she counted stitches in the tea cozy she was knitting.
Ginny was taken aback. "Wait, what?"
Mum looked up at them. "You're young. It'll come easier with time."
They looked at each other with wide eyes. "Time?" Harry said in a squeaky voice. "What d'you mean?"
Mum smiled knowingly and shook her head. "Teenagers," she murmured as she went back to her knitting.
"Mu-um," Ginny whined. "What are you talking about?"
"I said nothing," Mum chuckled. "I am simply an aged woman knitting."
"You're not aged," Harry insisted. Ginny whacked his arm.
"Don't argue with her, it'll only make it worse."
Harry huffed and turned his back to them. Mum chuckled again. Ginny blew a raspberry at him, then turned her back. Mum shook her head once more.
It's difficult to be huffy when your mind is connected to the person you're huffing at.
Ginny rolled her eyes and punched her pillow into a more comfortable shape. She'd deal with him later. At that moment, she was wishing Madam Pomfrey had brought them sleep potions.
Harry fell asleep long before she did. Mum put away her knitting and leaned back with her feet up not long after Harry's breathing deepened and his thoughts drifted into his subconscious. It wasn't often that she was able to listen in on his dreams while awake, but at that moment his dreams seemed rather uninteresting. She shifted onto her back, staring upwards, and tried counting the stones in the ceiling above her.
When she reached two hundred and twenty three, her mind began to lag. By the time she tried to find two hundred and twenty four, she had fallen asleep. Her dreams were plain and held no revelation that she could remember by morning, and by that time she had shifted to the middle of the doubled bed, and Harry had pulled her to his chest. Ginny awoke briefly sometime after daybreak when Madam Pomfrey came in and checked them, then fell back into sleep's sweet clutches.
The next day, she and Harry spent in the common room with Ron and Hermione until Hermione suggested the four of them retire to the library to begin their summer work, which led to Ron as he typically did, refusing and calling her mental. Hermione huffed and left.
Ginny turned to look at Harry. "I do believe we've just been ditched."
Harry shrugged. "She's not here to force us to do homework, that's all I care about."
Ron gave both of them an annoyed look, and dropped his head onto his arm. Perhaps he felt irritated by their lack of irritation. Five minutes later got up, saying he had to go pack.
Ginny let out a sigh and leaned on Harry's shoulder. Their chairs had already been positioned so they were sitting with their knees touching, but now her body was parallel to his. It was warm where they were, and the sunlight drifting through the windows behind them gave them both auras of gold. Harry kissed the top of her hair and then rested his head on hers.
I wonder what they’re really up to though, Ginny thought.
Ron and Hermione. Well, mostly Ron; he’s been a bit shifty lately, don’t you think?
Maybe they’re off in a broom closet snogging, Harry thought with a touch of sarcasm.
Ginny laughed, then gripped Harry’s tie and pulled him in for a kiss. Harry smiled against her lips, then shifted in his chair to wrap his arms around her waist. Ginny put her arms around his neck, laying her head on his shoulder, and inhaled his scent. Her mind settled on the feeling of waking up in his arms, and she felt suddenly giddy. She would get to wake up next to him again the next morning, and then the next, until after the castle was emptied and it was time for Dumbledore's experiment. Ginny could not pin exactly why, but she abruptly did not want to wait for the next morning when she could wake up lying in his arms.
I can't wait either, love.
They left sometime later and travelled downstairs for lunch. They found Ron and Hermione waiting for them, listening to Fred and George discussing their lack of enthusiasm for their next exam. After lunch they still had nothing to do so they wandered onto the grounds and lounged by the lake. They found their usual tree and sat beneath it, watching a group of seventh years playing in the shallows of the lake with the giant squid.
Why does nothing feel different?
Ginny glanced up at Harry. He was staring at the seventh years with a furrowed brow. I guess they're just trying to hold on to their last few days before they're thrown into adulthood.
Well, they don't know Voldemort is back. But why does nothing feel different with us?
Ginny tried to fathom her next thought into English. Maybe it's… I don't know.
Voldemort is alive; he has a body and he has supporters. Why don't I feel…
Ginny twisted around and pressed a kiss to his lips. Maybe it's because my parents want us to sleep together.
Harry laughed. "I don't think that's it," he murmured, but he kissed her again anyway.
They pulled back to see some of the seventh year girls regarding them like puppies. Ginny rolled her eyes, but Harry blushed and tried to look inconspicuous by scooting downwards. They giggled and one held out her hands to form a heart, then scattered as a couple of boys started spraying them with water.
Why does everyone think we're cute? Harry grumbled.
Because we're younger than them and we're in a relationship. That's apparently cute.
Harry sighed, but he still kissed her cheek. She grinned and pressed closer to him.
The next few days blurred together. They slept in their doubled bed in the Hospital Wing; laying down on separate sides of the bed and always waking up tangled together in the middle. Their minds seemed to be giving them a break from their strange dreams, and they slept calmly. They would get up for breakfast, do nothing until lunch, then continue doing nothing until dinner, after which they would listen to Quidditch or music or other radio programs on Sirius and Remus's wireless, then go back to bed and it would start back over. By the time the students were dismissed on Friday, the monotony of nothing had become slightly lackluster, however the anticipation of Dumbledore's experiment that afternoon was enough to keep them on their toes.
The two of them remained in the Hospital Wing while the student body travelled to the train station in Hogsmeade. Ginny watched them from the window as they got into carriages and left, some for the last time. It seemed to her that she was in a period in her life where the mortality of things was fascinating and horrifying to her. The fact that in only three years, she two would be leaving this castle to never return as a student was humbling.
By noon, everyone had left. Many of the teachers walked from the castle to Hogsmeade to Apparate home, including Snape. Ginny had thought for quite some time that he was Voldemort's helper, but with the arrival of Abraham Vance that thought had been quelled. Snape had remained subdued and worn since returning after New Year's, but that she attributed to the death of his mother. She watched him walk, his shoulders slumped and head bowed, until he was too small to watch anymore.
"Come and have some lunch, Ginny."
Ginny turned at the sound of her mother's voice. She nodded and crossed the hall to the small table that had been set up. There were sandwiches and jugs of juice on it, and Harry was already eating. She took one and sat down, though she did not particularly feel like eating. After they ate, they would be led to opposite ends of the castle.
Twenty minutes later, at 1 o'clock, Dumbledore arrived with Remus, Sirius, and her father. Remus and Dad were both holding a thin book, probably the Portkeys. Mum rose to her feet and smiled apprehensively at them.
"It's time," Dumbledore said.
Ginny set down her glass and stood. They followed Dumbledore out until they reached the stairs, then he and Madam Pomfrey travelled down to the Great Hall. Ginny hugged Harry, then followed her parents to the East Wing, while Harry left with his guardians to the West.
I'll see you in seven and a half hours, Harry thought.
Ginny gave a stiff nod.
Mum had brought her books from home as well as a wireless. She let Ginny tune it to the station that broadcasted Quidditch matches in the evenings, though at that time of day they were playing music. They were playing a Weird Sisters song when the static faded, which did some good to calm her nerves. Ginny began to work on her summer work to keep herself occupied during the wait.
She finished a reading assignment for McGonagall. It had only been 45 minutes. She wrote a summary on it. Another 45. She began a section in her history book for Binns. An half an hour went by. Ginny kept checking her watch, but it did not lessen her feelings of angst. At three thirty seven, she turned up the volume on the wireless in hopes it might settle her nerves. Mum kept asking her how she felt, but she kept saying that she was just antsy. Mum would only nod and go back to knitting, while her father would keep reading his manual on the postal system. At four, Ginny put aside her history work and started reading her Potions book, however she kept having to re-read lines, which led to her mind bringing up visions of Snape scowling and sneering at her distracted state. As that didn't help, she switched to Defense. For some reason, she had one of Harry's defense books, so she read that as it was more interesting than her normal textbook. Every now and then, one of the spells would pop up in her memory, or rather Tom's memory, and she would recall his mastery of it. She checked her watch again; it was ten past five. She kept reading, trying to focus on the words. She found a jinx that caused the ground beneath the victim to turn to quicksand and solidify once they'd fallen in to their waist. A memory surfaced; Tom had discovered a way to sink his victim all the way into the sand, then solidify the ground above their head. She shoved it away and moved on. At five thirty five, the radio announcer reminded his listeners of match at six between the Hollyhead Harpies and the Wimbourne Wasps. Ginny rubbed at her temples, trying to focus. The words swam on the page; she listened to the next song, ignoring the text, in hopes to persuade her mind into calming. She tried to read again, but ended up wandering back to the music. The book slipped from her lap.
"You all right, dear?" Mum asked.
Ginny felt suddenly dizzy. The muscles in her legs began to ache and feel jerky; she tried to stand but fell back. Mum looked up from her knitting and caught her hand. "Ginny?" she said cautiously.
Ginny clung to the arms of the chair. The room seemed to revolve around her. As if from a long hallway, she heard the announcer say: "It's 5:47, and you're listening to the UK's Quidditch Center! This next one's for Ginny Weasley, Tom says hello!"
Ginny stared in shock at the radio. She shook her head. She couldn't have heard that. Mum was still holding her hand, and she was probably saying something, though her mind didn't seem to want to listen. There was sudden static on the radio; Ginny jumped as it whined loudly. Ginny's mum shook her arm, which felt much worse than it should have. Ginny pulled her arm out of her mother's grip and rubbed at her eyes, trying to return the room to normal. Something icy pressed against her neck and she jumped away. There was nothing behind her.
Mum grabbed her shoulders and pulled her into her arms. Ginny huddled against her mother's chest, staring around the room. The static sounded like drums; like her heartbeat. Like laughter that was devoid of mirth.
There was a tug at her middle, and Ginny sagged in her mother's grip. They were suddenly standing in the Great Hall; the radio was gone but the static still filled her ears. Then there was a flash of blue and Sirius and Remus appeared, holding Harry between them. Ginny pulled away from her mother and wrapped her arms around Harry's middle; he held her tightly against his chest.
I can't breathe, he thought.
"Sorry," she said, pulling back. He shook his head, then pulled her closer again and buried his nose in her hair. She somehow understood and remained still. The static was fading now, as was the echoing laughter.
Someone gripped her shoulder. Ginny started; she hadn't realized that they had sunk to the floor, but she was now looking up at Dumbledore.
"Five hours," he said softly. She did not reply. He looked to her parents; Ginny followed his gaze and saw her mother's frightened face.
Voldemort is alive, Harry thought to her.
He can't hurt you here.
He's not here.
But he's alive.
Ginny kissed his forehead. We're safe here. Hogwarts will always be safe.
Remus held out a hand. Ginny took it, and he pulled her up. He then helped Harry up, and Madam Pomfrey hurried over and pushed them onto a bench that hadn't been there a moment ago. She ran her wand over both of them, then conjured a blanket and draped it over them.
"Eighty eight degrees," she said. Mum crossed quickly to the bench and touched her forehead, then Harry's. Her face was so white.
"This isn't good," Sirius said.
"You think?" Mum snapped. She flicked her wand and warm air poured from it; she began to waft them.
"Barely five hours of separation and they break down," Dad said softly.
"Ginny was feeling nervous only an hour in," Mum said.
"So was Harry," Sirius replied.
"I was afraid of this," Dumbledore murmured.
"We'll just have to let them continue sharing," said her mother, her voice a bit higher than normal.
"But what about when the new term begins?" Remus posed. "They won't be allowed to share a room while at school, and we can't just let them move into the infirmary."
Dumbledore began to massage his temples. "You're right, Remus. This is difficult."
Madam Pomfrey turned back to Dumbledore. "Whatever the solution is, it does not have to be determined this minute. Mrs. Weasley, if you would help me transport them to the Hospital Wing, I will give them a Pepper-Up Potion and then you may take them home."
Mum nodded and cancelled her charm. She held out her arm; Ginny gripped it and stood. Harry's arm was coiled around her waist, and she wrapped hers around him. Madam Pomfrey steadied Harry, then she led them forward. The other adults followed them, conversing quietly. Ginny glanced at her mother, wondering what she was thinking.
Are your brothers going to kill me?
Ginny squeezed her grip. Not if Mum and Dad explain it properly first.
Harry's fingers tightened on her waist. Does this mean that one of us is going to move into the other's room?
My room's too small, she told him.
Mine might be bigger, but it's not big enough for two people.
Maybe we can split time between the two?
This is weird.
Madam Pomfrey opened the doors with her wand, then helped them onto the first bed. Ginny glanced around and saw that there were curtains around the bed that Vance had occupied the past few days. She wondered why he would still be there.
The matron disappeared into her office, then returned a moment later holding two goblets. Ginny glanced over at her father; he was discussing something with Remus and Sirius. Madam Pomfrey pushed the goblets into their hands, and raised her eyebrows. Ginny steeled herself and took a gulp. The potion nearly burned her throat on its way down, but she soon found her body relaxing with the warmth. She drank more, and slowly she felt her muscles relax with the heat.
When they finished, the matron took their cups and left. Dumbledore stepped forward and addressed them.
"Please give me your watches so I may modify the charms on them," he said. Ginny nodded and undid the strap of hers; Harry waited for her to hand hers over and return her hand to his arm to remove his. Dumbledore tucked them into his robes and fixed his gaze on theirs. "The question of where you will sleep next term is not one you need worry about now. For the moment, I advise you remain together as much as possible." He turned to her mother. "You may go home now."
Mum nodded stiffly. They stood up, and Mum led them off to the matron's office. Dumbledore said one last thing to her father, Sirius and Remus, then they began to follow them. Madam Pomfrey was waiting for them, and there was a fire in her grate. She handed Mum a pot of Floo powder, and they each took a pinch. Ginny moved robotically; tossing the powder into the grate and announcing her address. She stumbled out of the fire into her sitting room, then turned back in time to catch Harry. They both collapsed onto a couch and waited.
Her mother appeared in a flash of green flame, then she was by their side again and fussing over them. Next arrived Remus, then her father, and finally Sirius. Mum draped a blanket around them then muttered something about tea and left. Her father awkwardly patted her shoulder, then followed her mother out of the room.
Sirius let out a heavy sigh. "Looks like life's about to change, huh, kiddo?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah."
Ginny was trying not to think about the prospect of having to move out of her parent's home. She tried to focus on the moment, where she was beginning to feel warmer beneath the blanket. Mum returned with two cups of tea and handed them to Harry and Ginny.
"Thanks, Mum," she murmured. Harry echoed her softly. Her mother sank into a chair and covered her eyes with a hand. Ginny felt strangely guilty, even though she knew that it wasn't her fault. Harry squeezed her hand gently.
"Well, I suppose we should go fetch Harry's aunt and grandmother," Dad said.
"Oh, yes, of course!" Mum jumped up from her chair and glanced towards the door. "Oh, Harry, remind me, are they connected to the Floo Network?"
"Err…" Harry said.
"They are, Molly," Remus said. "I connected them last semester so they could reach Harry in an emergency. I'll call, them, Molly, you sit down," he added as she began towards the fire. Remus crossed back to the fireplace and reached for the little flower pot containing the Floo Powder. He dropped a pinch into the embers in the grate, then cried "Evans Farm!" and stepped into it. Ginny tried very hard not to think about what was going to have to happen when they returned.
Ginny had drained her tea before the fire blazed again and Remus emerged. A moment later, so did Harry's grandmother.
"Petunia isn't home," his grandmother said first, addressing Harry. "She's spending the day with Dudley for his birthday."
Harry nodded stiffly. Mrs. Evans sat on the couch beside him and touched his forehead. Ginny could practically see her worry increase. She turned to face the adults. "So? What did the professor's experiment result in?"
There was no immediate answer. Finally, her father spoke. "As far as we can tell, the two of them become very anxious within two hours of separation and fall ill before five."
Harry's grandmother's face became pale. "Only five hours?" she breathed.
Mrs. Evans turned back to Harry and smiled weakly. "Well, we'll just have to expand your room some. I assume the solution for now is to have them split time between our two houses?" She posed this last question to Ginny's parents.
Mum nodded. "I'm glad you're so accepting," she said.
"Of course." Mrs. Evans looked at Harry with a soft, worried warmth in her eyes.
"Where would you like to stay tonight?" Mum asked the two of them.
Your brothers might sneak in in the middle of the night and murderize my face.
Ginny tried not to laugh. Harry was quite tired. It might be less awkward at your gram's house.
But how do we phrase it?
Honesty is the best policy.
"I'm a bit scared of her brothers," Harry said.
The adults all laughed. It was the kind of laugh one gave out after a very tense situation, to something that normally would not be so funny.
"That is understandable," her dad said with a smile.
"My house it is, then?" his gram said.
"Yes," Mum answered. "But do stay for dinner tonight, Thea."
Harry's grandmother smiled warmly. "I'd love to. Perhaps we should return to my house briefly first, however, so Ginny can bring some of her things over and then Harry can bring some of his here?"
"That is a novel idea," Dad said. "Perhaps I might —”
"Arthur, if you ask to examine how her washing machine or toaster or whatever works, I will withhold dessert from you," Mum sighed.
Dad looked slightly crestfallen. "Never mind." Ginny smiled.
Mrs. Evans looked to the two of them. "Well, you should go get what you would need for the night."
"Err, right," Ginny said.
Do I come with you?
They stood and exited the sitting room. Ginny felt sure that the back of her neck was red, and knew that Harry's was as he walked in front of her.
When they entered her room, Ginny found her things from Hogwarts piled neatly in a corner. She had forgotten about them; Dumbledore must have sent them. She bent and opened her trunk to begin retrieving clothes. Harry stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. She glanced back at him. "You can sit down, you know."
He glanced at the room's only chair, her desk chair, which at that moment was laden with book. "Uhh, should I move those or…"
Ginny straightened up, holding a bundle of clothes to her chest. "Just sit on the bed." She then dumped the clothes on the foot of her bed, then began looking for a bag.
Ginny looked back at him. You're going to be sleeping there soon, you might as well.
Harry sat down, but only on the very edge. She shook her head and kept looking. She pulled a rucksack out of her closet and began stuffing the clothes in them.
“Am I going to have to give you a drawer?” Harry asked.
Ginny looked up. “Possibly.” She turned back to the bag then sighed. She hadn’t thought about the long term.
“You can just bring some for now,” he said softly. Ginny nodded vaguely. Most of her clothes were in her trunk, however the pajamas she wore at Hogwarts weren’t clean at that moment. Ginny opened a drawer and looked through it. She normally wore a tee shirt and pants, but all that was in her drawer was tank tops and shorts, as well as one nightdress that she never wore. She rubbed at her neck, then grabbed a set. She’d steal one of Harry’s shirts to wear over the tank top later.
Harry held open the bag for her. She whispered a thanks and shoved the clothes in. Ginny looked back at him and bit her lip.
Er, we might end up with one or both of our parents lecturing us…
Harry nodded, though by his thoughts she could tell that he was just as anxious.
“Maybe we should just set a guideline,” she began, sitting down beside him.
“Like what?” Harry’s voice was higher pitched than normal.
“No, none of… no —”
“Got it,” he said, having realized what she was trying to say. She nodded awkwardly, looking away. “Er…” he mumbled.
“Not that we couldn’t ever, just —”
“We’re just not ready for anything like that.”
“Right.” Harry flopped backward on her bed. “This is so weird,” he breathed.
“Yeah,” she mumbled.
The door opened and Ron stuck his head in. “What are you two doing in here by yourself?” he asked suspiciously.
Ginny groaned and hung her head in her hands. She had been hoping none of her brothers would notice that they were there before her parents had a chance to talk with them. Harry looked at her, then at Ron, then grabbed a blanket that was lying at the end of her bed and pulled it over his head. Ginny scowled at him. “Gee, thanks for the help.”
Ron stepped in the room. “What’s going on?” He noticed the rucksack. “Are you going somewhere?”
Ginny bit her lip again, then stood up and stuck her head outside. She couldn’t hear what the adults were saying downstairs, but she doubted that they would be ready to explain to her brothers just yet. She sighed and retreated. Ron was likely to understand. He saw what happened to Harry back in February.
“We’ve got five hours,” she said abruptly.
“Until what?” Ron asked, blinking confusedly at her.
“No, Harry and I. We only get five hours apart.”
Ron raised his eyebrows. “I thought you had eight?”
Ginny shrugged. “Not anymore. What happened at the Third Task must have screwed it up.”
Ron gave a soft whistle. Then he looked at Harry, still hiding under her blanket. “I’m not going to murder you,” he said with a sigh.
Harry slowly pulled the blanket away from his face. “Really?” he replied in surprise. Ron rolled his eyes at him, then turned back to her.
“So what happens now?”
Ginny combed through her hair with her fingers. “For now, we’re going to split time between here and his gram’s house.”
“You’re living with him, now?”
Ginny nodded. “We have to. We can’t live off of five hours of sleep.”
Ron leaned against a wall. “Wow. That’s… wow.”
Ginny looked down at her feet; there was awkward silence around them.
“So, you’re sure you aren’t going to kill me?”
Ginny smiled at her best friend while Ron rolled his eyes. “If I killed you, Ginny would kill me. Also, if you can’t stand being alone for five hours, I’m pretty sure it would be very bad if one of you died.”
That sobered Harry. He sat up and nodded slowly. “Yeah. It would be.”
Ron glanced between them, then shook his head and moved towards the door. He paused, and then he hugged Ginny. She patted his back with increasing awkwardness, then he left the room, closing the door behind him.
“Well then,” she mused.
Harry nodded absently.
I have to live you now.
You make it sound like a disease, she thought with a snort.
No, it's just… I’m going to have to put the seat down in my bathroom all the time now
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Yes, you are.”
“Well, will you put the seat up when you’re done?”
“No, because you sit down sometimes too.”
Harry shuddered. “Never mind.”
“You have your own bathroom?”
He nodded. “Yeah, all four of us get our own bathroom. Dudley’s isn’t connected to his because he’s on the third floor, but no one else is up there with him so he doesn’t have to share.”
Ginny paused to consider this. She had never had her own bathroom before…
Harry shook his head at her. “You’ll still have to share with me, you know.”
“Oh, hush,” she scolded. “I’m daydreaming.”
Harry laughed, and she continued to pack. She gathered her toiletries from her trunk and put them in a separate kit bag. She shoved a throw blanket into the bag, then added a little bag of important things. She closed the bag, then put it on her shoulder.
“Shall we go back downstairs?”
Harry nodded and stood. “Um, my room’s probably not neat at the moment.”
“I don’t care.”
They found his grandmother in the sitting room with her father and Sirius and Remus. Dad was asking her how her farming was going.
“… I’ve gotten a good amount of crop out,” she was saying. “I had enough to hire a farmhand while the boys were gone, and Dudley, since he comes home in the afternoons, has been a great help too.”
“Do you use a tracker to plow your fields?”
“You mean a tractor?”
“Oh, yes, that.”
“No, I have an old fashioned plow. My husband and I always preferred the old way of doing things.”
Dad opened his mouth to ask another question when he noticed them at the bottom of the stairs. “Oh, you’re done already?”
Ginny nodded. “Um, I only got a few things since it’s so late. I figured we could do the whole splitting up thing tomorrow.”
“That’s alright, dear,” Mrs. Evans said.
“Your mother is in the kitchen working on dinner,” Dad said. Ginny nodded, then dropped her bags on the floor by the couch. She moved into the kitchen and found her mother standing by the stove, stirring a pot of stew.
“Mum?” she said.
Her mother started, then touched the hem of her apron to her face. “Oh, Ginny, dear; I didn’t notice you.”
Ginny took a small step forward, then darted ahead and hugged her mother. She’d gotten taller since September, since the last time she had stood face to face with her mother, to the point that she was now the same height as her.
“It’s not going to be forever,” she mumbled. “We’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Oh, I know, sweetie,” Mum sniffled. “I had known the two of you would eventually end up together… I had just hoped I might get to keep you to myself a while longer.”
Ginny pulled back. Her mum’s eyes were tired, and for the first time Ginny saw all the lines in her face. She kissed her mother’s cheek and let go. “It’ll be alright, Mum.”
Her mother nodded. “Well, you go on and take your things over. Supper should be ready before seven thirty.”
“We’ll be back by then.”
She left the kitchen and found Harry and Mrs. Evans standing by the fireplace. Harry had her rucksack and kit bag. Ginny quickly hugged her father, then took her bags from Harry.
“We’ll be right back,” Mrs. Evans said.
Harry tossed Floo powder into the grate. “Evans Farm!” In a flash, he was gone. Ginny let his grandmother go next, then waved to her dad again, and stepped into the flame.
Years of practice held her arms tightly to her side and her bags in a vice grip. She stumbled out, managing to catch herself before falling, then straightened. Mrs. Evans’s sitting room was paler than her mother’s; the sofa and loveseat were both patterned with soft paisley fabric, the carpet was a creamy yellow, there were afghans on the backs of the couches, the coffee table and bookcases and end tables all matched, and everything was neat. She felt slightly awkward in such an ordered place.
Mrs. Evans looked back at her. “Well, Harry can show you upstairs. Petunia and Dudley will probably be back late, dear,” she added to Harry.
“Uh, right. Come on, Ginny.”
He led her from the sitting room to a foyer, then up the stairs. There were more going up when Harry stepped off at the second floor, which Ginny recognized as the stairs to the third floor. He glanced back at her, then went down the hallway.
“Aunt Petunia’s down there,” he gestured to a room just past the stairs, “but Gram’s room is downstairs. She doesn’t like going up and down stairs.”
“That would make sense,” Ginny echoed. She examined the pastel flowers in the wallpaper, thinking that this house was very grand. She and Harry had remained outside mostly when they were at his grandmother’s house, or on the first floor. She didn’t remember ever coming upstairs.
“Uh, I think my great-great-grandfather or so many great's built the house,” Harry said, pausing outside a door. “Ages ago, when people had live-in servants and stuff. He had family money that he used to build this and get the farm going, and then it got passed down.”
“It’s very nice,” Ginny repeated. Harry nodded, then opened the door. He stepped inside, and Ginny followed him.
His room was much less neat than the rest of the house, as he had warned her, however it was better than she expected; most of the mess was concentrated around the desk and on the bed. He glanced around at first, then began to pick up the things on the floor. Ginny shook her head at the area, but at least there was no smell of dirty laundry like in Ron’s room. She set her rucksack down by a dresser and looked around.
“That’s the bathroom,” Harry answered her silent question.
“Thanks.” She crossed over it, stepping over a book on Quidditch plays to get to it. She shut the door behind her and leaned back against the wall. She took a deep breath, then looked around. The bathroom was fairly large; a wide granite counter was just in front of her, the toilet was just past it, and then there was a shower and bath combination. She opened her kit bag and put her toothpaste on the counter, her toothbrush into the cup with Harry’s. There was a fresh smelling hand towel on a bar by the mirror, and a bathmat was draped over the side of the tub. She supposed that the bath towels were in his closet.
She finished putting away her things, then noted that she would need to bring over things for her period within the next few days, as she was due soon.
Ew, Harry thought.
She opened the door and stuck her tongue out at him. He stuck his thumbs in his ears, giving himself antlers, and blew a raspberry at her. She laughed, then exited.
“You clean up quick,” she said, looking around. As most of the clutter had been papers and books, it was now all stacked on a desk. She noted the perch by his desk and looked around. “Where’s Hedwig?”
Harry pointed to the open window. “I told her we would be going home last night, and it seemed like she would rather fly home than travel. She should be here soon.”
Ginny nodded, then bit her lip. “So… Do I unpack or…?”
Harry looked up at her. His ears were tinted pink. “Um, probably should do that tomorrow. Y’know, when you bring over the… the rest of your stuff.”
She sat down on the bed and fingered the duvet. It was simple cotton, without design, but it was soft, and it had a vague scent of Harry about it. She smiled slightly.
“What?” Harry said; his back was to her and he was pulling things from his trunk.
“Nothing,” she replied, leaning back on the bed. Harry turned to face her.
“I am in your head,” he reminded her.
“It’s just…” she tried to think of words. “Eventually my room will smell like you too.”
Harry blushed. “Err, right.”
Ginny shook her head and looked up at the ceiling. There were little stars tacked to it. She cocked her head back to look at them. “What were those for?”
Harry looked up too. “They were there when I moved in. Gram never said anything about them.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes. “They match the constellations.”
Harry stepped towards the bed to look up at them. “Uh, yeah. They do.” He turned back to the trunk and tugged a pair of pajama pants from it. She rose up on her elbows to watch him. She wasn’t sure if it was the knowledge that she would soon be living here, or the closed door, or the smell, but she felt suddenly nervous. There was something else too, something akin to excitement, but she tried to keep that boxed away. From his thoughts, Harry was in a similar state.
He glanced over at her, then looked down. He took the pile of clothes he’d dumped on the floor and shoved them into a hamper in the corner of the room. Ginny figured that those hadn’t been washed before leaving Hogwarts. Harry looked back at her, biting his lip.
“Should we go back downstairs?”
She checked his alarm clock. “It’s only quarter to seven. We don’t have to go back until five til seven thirty.”
“Oh, right.” He looked at his feet again. “Um.”
“Do you wanna address the elephant in the room?” she asked.
“No,” he mumbled. She stood up and crossed her arms over her chest, raising an eyebrow. Harry looked suddenly quite nervous. “Fine.” He glanced at the door, then at the windows, then took two strides forward and pulled her into a kiss. Ginny started; his hands were tight on her waist, his mouth was open and his tongue was slipping past her lips. She felt weak at the knees and stumbled back. Harry caught her and held her more tightly, his hands moving to her back. Her arms wrapped around his neck, she was holding on for dear life.
Then he was pulling back, letting go and stepping away. Her breath came in gasps, and his did too.
“What — what — why —”
“Elephant in the room,” he whispered. “You’re really hot.”
Ginny dropped onto the bed. “Kay.”
Harry smiled faintly. He sat next to her and grasped her hand. She, still lightheaded, scooted closer to him. He buried his nose in her hair and inhaled.
Eventually, my room will smell like you too.
Ginny grinned; then she put her arm around him and kissed him again. Harry snaked his arms around her waist, slanting his lips on hers. She pressed closer, opening her lips and shifting her position. Harry’s mouth was pressing roughly against hers; she started when she felt a hand at her hip, pulling back slightly.
“Sorry,” he breathed, jerking his hand away. Ginny didn’t reply; she wasn’t sure if she wanted him to be sorry.
“Um…” she glanced at the clock — it was not yet seven — then back at him. “It’s fine.” Harry shifted backwards, looking down at his hands. Ginny brushed a strand of her hair aside, feeling just as awkward as he.
So… elephant in the room addressed?
Ginny looked back at him. He was staring at her, his face flushed and hair messier than normal. She smiled softly, then leaned forward and gently kissed him. She leaned her forehead on his and whispered: “I’m pretty sure there will be an elephant in the room for a very long time.”
Harry smiled, then he pecked her on the lips again. “If you say so.”
Ginny smiled and shook her head. "Maybe we should go downstairs, or at least out of the room."
Harry nodded in resigned agreement. She knew he felt like continuing to kiss her, but he too saw the wisdom in leaving the room with the closed door. He stood and offered her a hand; Ginny took it and let him lead her away.
How about a tour? He offered. You've never seen the rest of the house.
She nodded. "Sure."
"Well, Aunt Petunia is over there, there's a study and two guest rooms on this floor," as he spoke he indicated the doors. They began walking towards the stairs. "The third level has a nursery, Dudley's room, and other rooms that Gram said were my granddad and his siblings rooms as well as a couple of servant's rooms." He began going upstairs, and she followed him. The third floor was carpeted unlike the second, the hall was wider and the doors were too. As he had said this floor had children's bedrooms, she supposed it made sense. He pointed to the second door on the left. "That's Dudley's room, but we won't go in there."
"Yeah, and Dudley and I still don't get on. He's less of a git now, but still."
He opened a door to their right. "This is the nursery."
Ginny let out a soft "Wow." The room was filled with little toys, two rocking chairs that looked handcarved, an elegant crib, and the walls were painted with teddy bears and other stuffed animals playing, some in a park, some with balloons, some with toys.
"This is lovely," she said.
"Yeah, I guess," Harry replied with a shrug. "Kid toys aren't really my thing, but I suppose you like it 'cause you're a girl." He added the last part, she knew, with sarcasm. She rolled her eyes at him and stepped back.
"Anyway, that's pretty much it," Harry said. He looked back at her, then back at the room. "Er, let's go talk to Gram."
They left the third floor, passed the second, and found his grandmother in the kitchen. The kitchen was more to her tastes; it had a seaside theme to it, with blue walls and a seashell border and knick-knacks to match. His grandmother was sitting at the kitchen table with a book in her hands and jeweled reading glasses perched on her nose.
When they entered the kitchen, Mrs. Evans looked up and set down her book, removing her glasses as she did. "All settled in?" she asked.
"For the most part," Ginny said. Mrs. Evans smiled.
"I was going to tell you, Ginny, you may as well start calling me Gram," she said. "Seeing as we'll be under the same roof for so long."
"Oh, okay, uh, Gram," Ginny replied. "Sure."
Mrs. Evans, Gram, nodded with a wider smile. Then her expression changed, becoming a bit uncomfortable. "Before I forget, I assume your parents have or will speak to you, but I just wanted to let you know that I will not condone, ah, certain behavior. I'm not trying to restrict you or anything —”
"We understand, Gram, we already decided we're not ready," Harry interrupted quickly.
She softened. "Oh, very good. Very mature of you." Mrs. Evans glanced down at her watch, then stood. "Well, if you're done we may as well go back over."
Ginny checked hers. It was only ten past, though Mrs. Evans had a point. Gram, she corrected herself.
They left the kitchen and returned to the sitting room. Missus — Gram took a jar from the mantle and looked back at Harry. There was the tiniest of fires in the grate, however it was enough as Harry threw a pinch into the flame and cried "The Burrow!"
Ginny followed, then so did his grandmother. They found her living room full, and Ginny immediately wished they had waited another ten minutes.
Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and even Charlie were sitting there with her father and Sirius. Remus wasn't in the room, but she guessed that he was in the kitchen. Dad had stopped talking, it seemed, when Harry had arrived, and her five brothers were staring at him. Ginny stepped forward and took his hand. Charlie's expression was unreadable, Ron already knew, Fred and George looked torn between jealousy, distress, and mild anger. Percy looked quite horrified.
"Living together?" Percy finally spoke. He must have been startled, as he used an incomplete sentence.
"Yes," Dad told him. "It is necessary."
Ginny glared at him, daring him to spew out his view on just why this was absolutely unnecessary and in fact immoral, however, for once, her brother said nothing.
Then George spoke. "Lucky," he grumbled.
Dad gave him a stern look. "We are only allowing this for the sake of their health," he said sharply. "Do not take that tone."
George was moderately humbled, but he still mumbled something under his breath to Fred, who in turn slapped a palm over his eyes.
Ron gave them a curt nod, and then he left the living room for the kitchen. Dad watched him go and sighed. He turned back to the rest of her brothers, raising an eyebrow. Percy glanced at them, then stood and went upstairs. Charlie crossed his arms over his chest, his face still neutral. Fred and George shook their heads and walked away. Ginny let out her breath. They did not want to murder Harry.
Oh, gee, that's reassuring.
She did not reply. Harry rolled his eyes, then he started in the direction Fred and George had left in. Ginny furrowed her brow; Where are you going?
I want to give them something.
Ginny shook her head and went into the kitchen. Harry's grandmother followed her. She heard Harry begin speaking to the twins She found Remus and her mother chatting, Remus cutting up vegetables for salad and her mother taking rolls from the oven. Ginny waited until her mum's back was turned, then snatched one.
"No!" her mother said, not even turning around. Ginny scowled, but dropped the albeit hot roll back onto the pan. She stuck her tongue out at Remus, who had laughed.
Dinner that night was quiet. Her brothers kept their eyes downward except when asking for seconds. Only Ron, who seemed to have accepted the situation, said more than simple requests for more stew. Harry and Ginny, too, were silent. Ginny ate only half of the serving her mother gave her, as her stomach was twisting with anxiety. Both of them dreaded the conversation they knew would occur once her brothers had left.
And came it did. As her brothers filed upstairs, the adults sank into armchairs and started whispering. They remained sitting at the bottom of the stairs, as Harry figured they would be leaving soon, it would do no good to go upstairs. Ginny was worried that it would not help their situation if they did.
Finally, the adults turned to them. Ginny gulped.
"Dears, why don't you come sit over here for a moment?" Mum said. They hesitantly rose and crossed the room. They sat gingerly on the edge of the couch, looking anywhere but at her parents.
"We thought that, given this arrangement of… sleeping in the same room…" Ginny's father began, "it would be best that we speak to you about…"
"Sex," Sirius finished. Dad looked slightly pained at his lack of subtly.
"Er, yes, sex."
Here we go…
"At your age, you might often find yourselves desiring…"
"Sex," Sirius provided. Dad looked momentarily frustrated. He sighed, then went on.
"Our point is —”
"No sex," Ginny blurted.
Dad was briefly taken aback. "Uh, pardon?"
Ginny felt her cheeks go red. "Er, we already decided we weren't ready."
Harry was staring at his feet. Ginny half wished she hadn't spoken.
Dad glanced at Mum, who was looking at her hands clasped in her lap, then back at her. "Well, er, considering your circumstance, you might find yourself in a situation where you forget that you aren't ready."
"Got it," Ginny replied. She hoped they would finish soon.
"Now, we aren't saying this to be mean, you really aren't ready for any repercussions," her father told them. "If you were to get pregnant —”
"Yes, sir," Harry spoke. Dad sighed, looking resigned.
"We understand you do not wish to discuss this," said her father, "we only wish for you to understand our side. Being young and in love is a wonderful feeling —” both of them blushed at the mention of the 'l' word, being of course teenagers even if it was true —"but one moment of carelessness can lead to a lifetime of repercussions."
"We understand," they chorused. The adults looked at them with something akin to pity.
Dad turned to Harry's grandmother, rising as he did and removing the Floo powder from the mantle. "Well, I suppose that's it."
She nodded and stood up. "We'll see you in the morning, then. Goodnight, all." Dad lit the grate and helped Mrs. Evans through. Ginny went to hug her mother, and found her mother's embrace tighter.
"Goodnight, Mum," she whispered.
"Goodnight, my pet," her mother returned. She backed out of the embrace and hugged her father. Her dad patted her hair, then released her with a small smile. She waved to Remus and Sirius; Harry had hugged them already, and took a pinch of Floo powder. She inhaled, and tossed it into the flame.
A moment later, she stood in Mrs. Evans, Gram's, sitting room with Harry and Gram.
"Off to bed with you, then," she said, giving Harry a quick hug. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Do I have chores early tomorrow?" Harry asked.
"Not very early, you can sleep until nine if you like."
Ginny smiled, then added "I can help in the morning."
Gram patted her shoulder. "That's very sweet of you, dear, thank you. I'll let you know tomorrow. Sleep tight."
She took a door off to the right and shut it behind her. Harry turned to her with a nervous expression.
"Well…" he said.
Ginny sighed. "Let's just go."
They climbed the stairs and took a left towards his room.
They turned; Harry's cousin stood at the third floor landing. He squinted at Ginny.
"What's she doing here?" Dudley questioned.
"Er…" was all Harry said.
Dudley stepped down, a malicious glint in his eye. "You're not having her over, are you?" he asked, a smirk growing on his face.
"Sort of…" Harry said, his voice rising an octave.
Dudley's smirk increased. "I should tell Mum, I should," he said.
Ginny pressed her hand over her eyes in exasperation. Harry was slightly confused. "Okay…" he said.
Dudley took the rest of the steps down two at a time. He got right up in Harry's face, wearing a smug grin.
"What'll you do to keep me from blabbing?" Dudley asked.
Harry had a small "oh" moment. "Aunt Petunia knows," he said.
Dudley's grin vanished instantly. "She does? Then how're you getting away with it."
Ginny threw up her hands and turned away. "Nope!"
Harry made a tiny gasp at her betrayal. "You can't nope out of this! You're better at English!"
"Nope! I'm going to bed. Have fun!"
Dudley was the most confused. "What's going on?"
Ginny opened Harry's door and shut it behind her. As she did, she heard another door open and saw Aunt Petunia exit her bedroom through Harry's eyes. She ignored the discussion between him, his aunt and cousin and entered the bathroom. She told him she was taking a shower and closed the door between their minds as well as the bathroom door. She turned on the tap, shed her clothes, and began her shower. She tried not to think about Harry opening the bedroom door and taking out his pajamas or waiting for her to leave the shower or even him in general. Ginny showered as quickly as possible, then turned off the water and stepped onto the bathmat. She looked around, then swore.
Y'know, your parents just gave us a lecture on that subject.
Shut up, Harry.
She opened the cabinet door under the sink, but saw none. She really should have thought this through.
"What's the matter?" Harry called.
"I, uh, I didn't get a towel."
Harry didn't immediately reply. Ginny tried not to listen to his thoughts across the door. "Uh, I'll get you one."
Ginny leaned against the wall, wondering why karma hated them. The door cracked, and he stuck a towel in. Rebelliously, Ginny's mind noted how attractive his wrists were. She took the towel quickly and he jerked his hand back out, closing the door. She dried herself as quickly as possible, then wrapped herself in the towel and gingerly opened the door. Harry jumped up from the bed, glanced at her, then turned around quickly.
"Uh, you can go in now," she said.
Harry glanced back at her. "Oh, right." He grabbed his pajamas and another towel off the bed and stepped past her. She tried not to meet his eyes, and he tried not to look down. As the door shut, Ginny blushed.
She dressed in rapid motion. She still had just the shorts and a tank top and a loose bra she could sleep in, but she'd find one of his shirts quickly enough. Ginny opened his trunk and pulled out a random tee shirt and pulled it over her head. She smoothed it out and hoped that would be enough layering.
Slowly, Ginny turned back and faced the bed. There might as well have been rose petals scattered over it and candles floating above it, it wrecked her nerves so badly. Instead, she dropped into a desk chair and opened a book.
A few minutes later, the bathroom door opened, and she still had not read more than a few lines. Ginny glanced back; Harry's shirt clung to his frame and his hair wet hung in his eyes. She looked away again.
"Er, it's almost ten," he said.
"What are you reading?"
Ginny tried not to make it obvious as she checked the cover. "Elements of Transfiguration," she answered.
She heard his footsteps, then felt his hand at her shoulder, then tried not to look as he leaned forward and pulled a thick novel from the shelf above his desk. She failed and found herself watching him from the corner of her eye move to the bed and sit down. Ginny jerked her gaze back to the page she was on.
Elements of Transfiguration was not very interesting. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and saw him turn a page. She wondered what he was reading and looked through his eyes.
His eyes, when she first looked, were resting on a sentence beginning with "Each year the Bagginses…" but before the end of the sentence, Harry's gaze flicked upward to land on her curtain of damp hair. Ginny started and looked up, through her own, and met his gaze. He blushed.
Are you sure?
Harry swallowed his next words. He simply shrugged, but did not look away. Ginny's eyes flicked back to her book, then to his.
"Yours looks more interesting," she murmured.
Ginny smiled softly. "Your book."
Harry turned pink. "Oh. It's Lord of the Rings."
Ginny closed hers. She stood up and crossed to the other side of the bed. She sat down and leaned her head on his shoulder, looking down at the book. Harry gulped again, but he kept reading.
Soon they fell into pace and were reading each word simultaneously. Eventually, Ginny lay back against the pillows, closing her eyes and looking through his. More than once, he would glance at her, curled up with her head on the pillow, and kept doing so until she fell asleep.
Harry pulled the blankets from beneath her, then draped them over her sleeping form. He switched off the lights and settled down beside her. He stared up at the faintly glowing plastic stars above him until he joined his girlfriend in sleep.
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