|SIYE Time:17:27 on 23rd 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: 109965; Chapter Total: 1612
Awards: View Trophy Room
Toadstools and Toads
The rest of Saturday itself was spent doing nothing particularly of interest, however Sunday was not. During breakfast that morning, Angelina Johnson approached Harry with a determined expression.
“We’re having an emergency Quidditch practice today, Potter,” she said. “As soon as you’re capable, report to the pitch for training.”
“Already?” Harry asked. “It’s only the second week!”
“The last practice we had was two years ago!” Angelina reminded him. “We’re out of shape.”
“That’s not our fault, the whole Triwizard Tournament messed up the schedule.”
“Regardless, we haven’t played together in ages; our skills as a team have rusted. Besides, we’ve got to discuss tryouts for the new Keeper.”
Harry let out a sigh. “Fine. What time?”
“You’re eating now, so wait an hour before coming.” With that, Angelina walked off, and Harry turned to Ginny with a huff.
“You love Quidditch,” she said before he could speak.
“Well, yeah, but —”
“You haven’t played in over a year.”
“How do you expect to win if you don’t practice?” Ginny asked, turning to face him. Harry glowered.
You’re as bad as Wood was.
Ginny leaned over and pecked his lips. “Just finish eating, the sooner you do the sooner you’ll be ready to fly.”
He rolled his eyes but obediently turned back to his plate of food. What will you do while I’m in practice?
Probably start on homework, if Hermione gets to me in time. Or maybe I’ll go and draw or paint up in our room.
Harry stopped, turning back to face her. “What will happen if Angelina keeps us for longer than a few hours?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think she’d keep you for five whole hours?”
“Wood sometimes made us practice for longer than three hours.”
“That’s not five, love.”
“But what if she does?”
“I’ll keep an eye on the clock and if you’re not done after three hours, I’ll come and see how you’re doing. I’m sure Angelina won’t mind if you pause for a moment to give your wife a kiss.”
Harry snorted. “She’d probably yell at me if I’m not quick enough.”
Ginny caught his eye with a small smirk. “So be quick,” she whispered. Harry’s amused smile shifted and he leaned over to kiss her cheek. She shot him a warm smile of her own and resumed her breakfast.
“We should ask Dumbledore about our watches soon,” Harry commented. “It’s been a while.”
“He’s probably been caught up in all the mess with getting us private rooms,” she replied. “We can ask him next time we see him.”
That’ll be Tuesday, right?
Ginny nodded. At eight thirty, I think.
Harry yawned widely. “At least I’ve got an hour before I have to report to wake up.”
Ginny pointed to the coffee pot to his left. “There’s the caffeine, have fun.”
Harry rolled his eyes but poured himself a coffee. “You’re real helpful, you know.”
“That’s my job, love.”
He shook his head at her as he added cream and sugar.
They finished eating not long later, and returned to Gryffindor tower where they found Hermione pulling Ron along towards the portrait hole.
“Going off to find a secluded corner?” Harry asked them.
Hermione blushed. “As a matter of fact, we’re going to the library to study. You should come too, both of you.”
Harry shook his head. “Can’t, Angelina’s called us in for Quidditch practice.”
Ron’s gloomy expression shifted. “Quidditch? Hey, aren’t they looking for a Keeper right now?”
“Yeah, tryouts are next week, I think, but Angelina wants us to prepare.”
Ron opened his mouth again, however Hermione cut him off. “Well, Ginny, you ought to come anyway. We could help you watch the time since Dumbledore hasn’t given you back your watches yet.”
“Sure,” Ginny said. “That’s probably a good idea. I’ve got to get my things, I’ll meet you in the library.”
“See you there,” Hermione called, stepping past them and through the portrait hole. Ron looked at Ginny with a disgruntled expression.
“Now I actually have to study,” he told her.
“Well, of course you do, that’s why you’re going.”
Ron rolled his eyes. “Of course it isn’t; but since you’ll be there, she’ll actually focus on homework —”
“And not make out with you?” Ginny snorted. “Ron, just go. Hermione’s waiting.”
Ron huffed once more and moved through the portrait hole. Harry took Ginny’s hand and they took the several flights of steps up to their rooms.
“Do you want to wait off your meal up here or in the library?” Ginny asked him as she got her book bag.
“If I wait in the library, I’ll have to study,” Harry said.
“If you wait here, you’ll be on your own,” Ginny replied.
“Yeah, but we could just sit here for an hour.”
“And do what?” she asked him.
Ginny rolled her eyes as she opened her bag to check its contents. “I’m going to go meet Hermione in the library; we’ve got an essay to write for Muggle Studies about Canada.”
“Why Canada?” Harry asked. “All they’ve done is invent maple syrup.”
Ginny shot him a scornful look. He appeared remorseful, and she went back to her bag. She cast aside her Defense and Potions books, then her Charms textbook and added a thick roll of parchment. “It’s due Wednesday, but considering our lives, I won’t have time to finish it unless I start now.”
“So start in twenty minutes, after you’ve spent some quality time with your husband!” Harry insisted.
“I’ve spent all day with you so far!” Ginny laughed. “And last night, and yesterday, and the day before.”
Harry flopped onto the bed and pouted up at her. “Pwease?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow at him. “Really, Harry?”
She shook her head in both exasperation and amusement, but leaned down and pressed her lips to his briefly. “There.”
“That was barely a second!” he protested.
Ginny closed her bag and hefted it onto her shoulder. “Are you coming with me to the library or not?”
Harry sighed, but sat up and stood. “Fine. Let me grab some books.”
“You can read through my eyes if you’d rather,” she offered.
Harry considered this. “That would mean I wouldn’t have to deal with books. Yeah, sure.” They started towards the exit, and Harry took her bag from her and draped it over his own shoulder. Ginny rolled her eyes but let him be chivalrous for the moment. They left Gryffindor tower for the library, waving to Neville as they passed him on the stairs. They found Hermione already buried in a book bearing the Canadian flag and Ron staring blankly at the ceiling.
“Hi,” Ginny said softly.
“Oh, here, I got two copies of this book,” Hermione said, holding out one of the said books to Ginny. “Professor Burbage recommended it.”
“Thanks,” Ginny said, drawing up a chair to the table.
“I thought you were going to Quidditch practice, Harry,” Ron said.
“Angelina told me to wait for breakfast to settle first,” Harry replied in a whisper. Madam Pince had just passed by their table, holding her feather duster like a rifle and glaring at them and their hushed conversation. Hermione pressed a finger to her lips and returned to her book.
Ginny took out parchment, quill and ink and propped the book open on the stack of other books Hermione had set on the table and prepared a note sheet. Harry dragged his chair to hers and leaned his head on her arm to appear as if he was reading over her shoulder, while in actuality he was zoning out. The book was fortunately somewhat interesting, so Ginny’s sense of time blurred a little, to the point that it felt like only a few minutes when Harry finally stood up and stretched.
“I’d better get going,” he said to them in a whisper. “Angelina will have my head if I’m late.”
“Oh, alright then,” Ginny said distractedly. Harry leaned down; resting a hand on the back of her chair and slipping a finger under her chin, he tilted her face upwards to meet his.
“I love you,” he murmured. Ginny gave him a warm smile.
“Love you too, Harry.”
“See you later,” Ron said to Harry as he stepped away from the table, sounding only a little bit envious. Her husband gave them a little two-fingered salute as he turned and vanished into the stacks.
Ginny dropped her gaze back to the book in front of her and focused her eyes. The absence of Harry’s head on her shoulder felt cold, a tiny, nagging feeling to remind her of the concern they had shared earlier. What would happen if they lost track of time?
She shook her head in an effort to force it blank; she had studying. Ginny re-centered her gaze on the page and found her place once more.
It didn’t take long for her to gather enough information to complete the assignment, so she put aside the book and note sheet in order to work on homework for the next day’s Potions class, the first of that semester. Snape had given a reading assignment prior to the start of classes, on the classification of different potions.
Harry, perhaps you ought to half listen while I read so you can just skim through it tonight.
Probably a good idea.
She gave a little nod as she cracked open the book and found the correct page and slipped into reading again.
It was nearly noon when Ginny began hearing Ron’s stomach growling. She raised her eyes from her book, looking at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Did you say something?” she asked him.
Ron flushed. “Shut up,” he mumbled. Then his stomach rumbled again.
Ginny rolled her eyes; “If you want to go for lunch, you can.”
Ron looked up at Hermione, who was paying them no attention and was engrossed in her book. Ginny wondered briefly how on Earth Canada could be so interesting.
“’Mione?” Ron asked in a whisper. He reached over and tapped the top of her book. Hermione jumped a little in her seat, then looked up at him.
“What?” she whispered.
“Ginny suggested we go get lunch,” Ron said.
“I didn’t suggest we get lunch, I suggested you get it seeing as your stomach is imitating an Erumpent.”
Hermione glanced at her wristwatch, then ripped a small strip of paper from her note sheet and tucked it into her book before shutting it. “We should probably all go. Ginny, do you want to share this copy or check out your own?”
“I looked through it enough already,” Ginny said. “But I think I’ll wait for Harry to finish practice to have lunch, you two go ahead.”
“You sure?” Ron asked, already rising from his seat.
“Mhmm, I need to finish this assignment.”
“Alright,” Hermione said softly; she began to gather up her books and papers, while Ron stood by her chair bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. “We’ll see you later then, Gin,” Hermione added as she pushed the last of her things into her bag and pushed back her chair.
“Bye,” Ginny whispered as they left. After they’d vanished into the book stacks, Ginny dropped her gaze back to the book and tried to focus on the words. She found the specifics of how potions were dubbed class A restricted versus class A dangerous quite dull.
Maybe you could try reading it in a funny voice; Harry’s thought drifted into her mind, and she caught a glimpse of his view, looking down on the playing field while he floated lazily above the chasers doing passes.
Haha, Ginny replied with dry amusement.
Just trying to ease the tension, Harry mused; she felt a little swoop in her stomach as he suddenly went into a dive at the sight of gold near the grass.
Ginny rolled her eyes and put aside the conversation to focus again. The tiny respite had refreshed her concentration a little, making the sight of the droning text a little less repulsive. However, it wasn’t long before her focus began to slip again, indeed her eyelids began to droop; the text before her pinged at a frequency in her brain that reverberated at a slow and sleepy tone. Ginny yawned, then leaned her head onto her arm to stare at the page, though it was becoming increasingly dim.
Ginny attempted to focus her gaze on the page, however she’d lost her place so she pulled the book closer and flicked back a page. She ran her finger down it, looking for something she recognized, but the words felt foreign. Ginny fixed her gaze on the second to last paragraph, and was startled to see that it had nothing to do with the classification of potions at all.
“Little concrete evidence is known about his wife, only that she was some years younger than him and from another land, most likely Western Europe. The details surrounding her existence are shrouded in mystery, almost as though her husband wished her hidden from the eye of the public. The majority of legends agree that she was of small stature and fair of face, though details such as eye color or hair color or even her pitch of voice vary. Another fact we know for certain is that she was of a quiet disposition, preferring to remain silent while her husband dealt with the public affairs heaped upon him thanks to his position in government. One legend in particular, however, disagrees with this; stating that not only was she as vocal as he in government, but that she was his source of information due to her rather peculiar gift of prophecy. This legend claims that both she and her husband were seen as equal in wisdom, and that their king frequently requested her advice on situations where a clear outcome was not seen.
“Unfortunately, one other concrete fact is that of the nature of her death. Most speculate it to be mere days before her husband, others a matter of weeks, but the nature is defined as incredibly violent, even for the times. Records state that soldiers tortured her extensively before finally burning her at the stake for the crime of being a witch; why they felt the need to torture her is unclear, though it is speculated that it was an attempt at weakening her husband, who was at that time involved in a feud between two major clans. Regardless of the intentions, her death and the violence of it unhinged her husband, leading him to, in rage, bring absolute destruction upon the camp of soldiers that had tortured and killed his wife.”
Ginny lifted her head, having finished the page, her mouth slightly agape and her eyes wide. This was not her Potions book, yet mere moments before it had been. Something had gone very wrong.
A loud screech caused her to jerk her gaze upward; then again, a second screech of equal volume came from the mouth of the falcon perched on the top of the chair opposite her, a falcon that was twice the size it should have been. Ginny’s jaw dropped the rest of the way open, her brow furrowing in utter confusion.
“Be wary,” the falcon croaked. Ginny let out a tiny gasp. “Be wary.”
“What in the name of Merlin?” Ginny murmured.
“Be wary,” said the falcon.
“What are you?” Ginny demanded. She grabbed her wand from the table and leveled it with the falcon’s beady yellow eyes. “Who are you?”
“Be wary,” repeated the bird, eyeing her with an intensity she felt in her bones.
“Be wary of what?” she asked. “Of strange birds with the ability to talk?”
“Be wary,” was all it said.
“You keep saying that!” Ginny spluttered. “But what are you? What do you mean?”
“Be wary,” it said, then it spread its great wings and took off, the chair it had rested on crumbling to pieces at the force with which the bird pushed down on it.
“What does that mean?” she shouted after it, but it gave no reply as it flew away over the rows of bookshelves. As Ginny followed it with her gaze, she realized that the library was no longer indoors, but rather the ceiling had vanished, exposing a starry expanse of sky. She stared up at it, her mouth fallen open, feeling increasingly dwarfed by the vastness of this infinity. Ginny shook her head, attempting to clear her thoughts, and rubbed at her eyes. She must have fallen asleep. She was dreaming. That was all.
Slowly, she lowered her hands. She was dreaming. Her dreams were never simple.
A low, rumbling behind her caused her to turn, her eyes scanning the bookshelves. They were all blanketed in shadow, a velvet blackness that prevented her from seeing past their edges. The rumbling sounded again, this time louder and closer to a growl. It sounded almost canine, but something about it was off.
“Who’s there?” she called, wondering if some other creature was about to jump out and warn her to be wary. The rumbling was definitely a growl now, something deeper than a dog’s but louder than a cat’s.
“Hello?” Ginny called again, stepping forward hesitantly. A form had begun to take shape within the shadow of a bookshelf, a massive figure, and for a moment she panicked, thinking she was about to be attacked by a bear, however she remembered that she was only dreaming. She was only dreaming. She thought.
The light began to reflect off of something within the shadows, a glistening she recognized as eyes. The sound was getting closer, louder; the figure began to take a more definite shape, light reaching it from the sky above.
A huge beast stepped from the shadows, a hulking dog the size of a van, with ragged, jet black fur and glinting red eyes. Saliva dripped from its bared teeth, its hackles raised and fur on end. The giant dog let out a menacing bark; Ginny stumbled back and into the table.
“You should have listened to the bird,” the dog growled, its masculine voice filled with cold amusement. “It probably would have saved your life.”
As the dog sprang forward, Ginny turned and ran; the dog collided with the table, then scrambled about and chased her. Ginny sprinted down the aisles of shelves, she grabbed one and pulled on it as she passed, causing it to wobble and pitch forward, however the dog merely jumped over it, its huge paws making a thundering sound with every strike against the floor. Ginny ran past Madam Pince sitting at her desk, and the librarian only pressed a scolding finger to her lips as she barreled out of the library and didn’t even scream as the dog flew past her as well.
Ginny looked over her shoulder, the dog was gaining ground. She ducked into a narrower corridor, hoping that perhaps it would be too small for the large dog, but the walls and ceiling expanded to allow the beast to fit. She swore, very loudly, and tried to run faster.
“You’ll taste sweet!” the dog laughed, its thudding paws getting closer with every second. “I promise to eat your mind first so you won’t feel the pain!”
“What the actual hell!?” Ginny cried. “Why?” The dog only laughed again; she could feel its hot breath falling on her back.
A door appeared on her left; Ginny skidded to a stop and wrenched it open, then slammed it behind her and threw the bolt.
“No!” the dog screamed. “No!” A loud scratching came from outside the cupboard, but the door held fast. “I’ll get you! One day you won’t be able to run!”
“Screw you!” Ginny yelled back.
“I will defeat you! I will kill you!”
“Get in line!” Ginny snapped. She took a step back; the door was remaining firmly shut despite the dog’s angered scratching at it. She turned, and stopped stock still. What was before her was stranger than the talking falcon and dog.
“… being chased in a dream is usually a sign of anxiety,” said Professor Trelawney, reading aloud from a very large book that was placed in her lap. She was sitting on the cap of an even larger mushroom with bright red skin and pure white spots, and sitting around the mushroom were several foxes with vibrant orange fur and a single baby. The baby was asleep, lying on its back at the paws of one of the foxes. The fox was looking down at it with wide eyes and a grimace, almost like fear but closer to bewilderment, as though it was dumbfounded by the sight of the human child at its feet. This was not, however, the strangest part of the scene, not in the slightest; the cupboard Ginny had taken refuge in was not in fact a cupboard, but a ballroom, a ballroom filled with men and women in fancy Victorian dress, all dancing to a mournful waltz played by a string quartet off to her left. On top of that, every single figure in the room but for Professor Trelawney and the baby was, in fact, not even alive, but a skeleton. A skeleton in a long silk dress swished past Ginny, a tall powder white wig sitting on top of the skull precariously; two skeletons in tailcoats strode past her carrying silver platters laden with crystal flute filled with a bright purple and steaming liquid; the musicians off to her left held their bows and instruments with bone fingers and one of them was keeping the rhythm by striking his own ribs with a spare bone, adding a sharp ringing to the mellow tune.
“What the hell?” Ginny whispered again.
“Of course, the final key to interpreting the dream is to identify your pursuer,” Professor Trelawney said, “being chased by a bird can indicate being ahead of a rival, being chased by a bear can signify an overload of stress in life. One thing to note, is that if the pursuer is a giant black dog with red eyes that wants to eat you, it usually is a sign of some very bad juju ahead.”
Professor Trelawney frowned, then looked down at the book. “That’s not right,” she said. “Who on earth would use the word ‘juju’ in a textbook?”
Ginny turned to open the door; she’d take the hungry dog over this strangeness, however the door had gone. She sighed, then turned back and approached the group of foxes and the mushroom.
“Ah, Ginny, come sit down,” Professor Trelawney called. “This poor baby boy here has been missing his mother.”
Ginny frowned. “Where is his mother?” she asked, kneeling down by the infant.
“I have absolutely no clue, one of these dancers dropped him off and told me to make sure he didn’t wander away,” Trelawney sighed. “In all honesty, the babe’s presence makes me a little uncomfortable, I was never any good with children.”
Ginny raised an eyebrow, but didn’t reply vocally. She looked down to the baby, tilting her head. The baby had dark hair, black almost, pale skin and thin lips. She’d never had much exposure to small children, though on occasion when visiting one of her mother’s friends she’d been granted permission to hold the friend’s baby, but only while sitting down and not for very long. As she was looking down, the baby opened his eyes and blinked, then yawned and stared up at her. Then his face screwed up in misery and he began to cry, raising its arms towards her.
“What do I do?” she asked, looking up at the Divination teacher.
“How am I to know?” Trelawney asked. “It’s your baby.”
“No he’s not,” Ginny said. “I’m not pregnant.”
“Clearly you’re not pregnant, the baby is outside of you, isn’t he?”
“I’m not his mother,” Ginny insisted.
“Look at him, he’s the spitting image of your husband.”
Ginny looked down, glancing over the child; he did look a lot like Harry, he had the same messy black hair, almond shaped green eyes that were screwed up in his wailing, his nose was the same and his mouth was similar. In fact, he even had the same lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
“Harry?” she gasped.
The baby cried louder, pushing his arms towards her in further insistence.
“He wants you to hold him,” Trelawney said.
Ginny, not knowing what else to do, lifted the baby from the ground and cradled him as best she could. The baby, the baby that looked exactly like Harry because he was somehow Harry, ceased his crying and snuggled against her bosom.
“Where’s his mother?” Ginny asked, looking up at Trelawney.
Trelawney shrugged, adjusting her seat atop the mushroom. “If he’s not yours, I don’t know. The woman came by, set the baby down, and left immediately, saying nothing but ‘don’t let him get away.’”
Ginny looked down again, very confused by now, at the lightning scar on the baby’s forehead. Why was the infant version of her husband appearing in her dream?
“Infants are a very significant sign in dreams, you know,” Trelawney said suddenly. “But in this case I would say it’s because your husband feels vulnerable and weak, as though he is once again a helpless babe.”
“Harry’s not weak,” Ginny protested, “nor does he feel vulnerable.”
Trelawney shrugged her shoulders, her many strings of beads clinking together. “Perhaps not now, but you do dream of the future more often than the present, don’t you? Perhaps he feels that way in the future.”
“Wait, how do you know I dream about the future?” Ginny asked.
“You just told me,” the professor said.
Ginny scowled. “You’re of no use,” she muttered.
“Oh, whatever you do do, dear, don’t drink anything anyone might offer you,” Trelawney said. “The waiters are all serving poison.”
“Wait, what? Why would the waiters be serving poison?”
“Well, they’re all dead anyway, aren’t they?” Trelawney mused. “They might as well live life to the fullest.”
“But they don’t have life,” Ginny said.
Ginny stared up at her, her brows knit together in indication of her complete confusion. “You make absolutely no sense.”
“Hmm. Perhaps. Then again, you’ve never taken one of my classes so all you know of me is what you hear from your husband, and your brother I suppose, as he takes the class as well.”
“You don’t make sense there, either, you’re totally barking.”
“No, that would be the dog that chased you in here,” Trelawney corrected. “Oh, it looks like he might be breaking the door down soon. I’d warn the dancers, but of course they take months to decide anything, and in all likelihood they’d simply deny the dog’s existence. It’s much easier to pretend the thing you’re afraid of isn’t real than to run from it, after all.”
“What?” Ginny said.
“Oh, look, here it comes now.”
Ginny turned around, to see that the door that she’d bolted shut and seen vanish was once again open and the massive beast of a dog that had been chasing her was at that moment trying to squeeze its wide shoulders through the narrow closet door.
“Oh, sh — ”
“Don’t swear in front of a baby,” Trelawney scolded. “It might remember and become an absolute delinquent later in life.”
Ginny didn’t bother stopping to gape at Trelawney, she scrambled up and scanned the room for an exit; the dog was still struggling to fit through the door, but it would get through it at any moment.
“That’s the only door,” Trelawney said helpfully, pointing to the one the dog was currently stuck in.
“What?” Ginny groaned. “Why would someone put just one door in a room this big?”
“Oh, because it’s a room of politicians,” Trelawney explained. “Look around. Can’t you tell by their pompous pretentious display of finery and wealth over top of their bare bones? Or the fact they’re all skeletons within one large closet?”
“How do I get out?” Ginny demanded.
“You don’t,” she answered. “This room is designed to let people in, not out.”
“Are you kidding me?” Ginny gasped.
“No, I assure you I’m not. I think.” Trelawney frowned, tapping her chin thoughtfully.
“That dog wants to eat me!” Ginny said.
“Well, come sit up here, you’ll be perfectly safe atop this toadstool.”
“How?” Ginny asked. “How on earth does that even make sense?”
“Well, for one it’s a giant toadstool,” Trelawney said matter of factly. “For another it’s the source of the poison these dancing skeletons are enjoying. I assume the dog will want to avoid it. Touching it usually is lethal.”
“Then why would I want to sit on it?” Ginny said through gritted teeth.
“That is a fair question,” said Trelawney, covering a yawn with her hand.
A loud, resounding crack echoed through the room; Ginny turned to see the dog had broken free of the doorway and was bounding towards her, its bright red eyes filled with hunger. It knocked over several of the dancing skeletons, however none of them so much as gasped at its presence. The baby however in her arms began to cry again, and Ginny had nowhere left to run. She looked down at the baby, then turned her back and tried to shield him from the dog, in the hopes that it would eat her and become full and the baby would be able to live.
A sharp jab into her shoulder jostled her; Ginny looked up to find that she was cradling her potions textbook and four girls were standing around her.
“Have a nice nap, Weasley?” said the closest of the four girls.
“It’s Potter, actually,” Ginny said, leaning back and stretching, trying not to shake in her chair. The dream was over; there was no dog, no baby, no Trelawney seated on top of a poisonous mushroom while skeletal politicians in finery danced a waltz around her. Probably.
The four girls were all scowling down at her; Ginny looked around and realized that all of them were wearing Slytherin uniforms. She surreptitiously found her wand on the table and gripped it in her palm.
“Oh, then it’s true?” said the first girl. “You really did con Harry Potter into marrying you.”
Ginny’s jaw clenched. “I didn’t con anyone.”
The girl slammed her hands down on the table. “Of course you conned him, there’s no other reason he would have ever married you; whose baby are you carrying? Are you even pregnant at all?”
“I’m not pregnant!” Ginny snapped. “I’ve never been pregnant, we didn’t get married because of a pregnancy.”
The girl narrowed her eyes. “I don’t believe you, Weasley.”
“Potter,” Ginny spat. “My name is Potter.”
“You don’t deserve that name,” the girl hissed. “Harry Potter was meant to marry a pureblood witch of equal status, not some whore from a blood-traitor family living on a farm.”
“Get out of my face,” Ginny said calmly. “I’ve got studying to do.”
“Did you hear me?” The girl snapped. “You don’t deserve the name Potter!”
“Well, I suppose it’s a shame that our marriage is binding then,” Ginny said sarcastically. “You know, the kind that can’t be broken. It’s one of those magical contracts that can’t be made null.”
The girl bared her teeth in a sneer. “Watch your back, Weasley.”
With that, the four girls stormed away, their long hair swinging behind their backs over their overly tight uniform skirts. Ginny gritted her teeth again, her hand clenching on her wand.
What was that?
Ginny heard Harry’s voice, and her tense shoulders drooped a little. He hadn’t been listening.
Apparently I’ve conned you into marrying me.
As I recall, I asked you.
As I recall, we were already married.
Ginny raised her hands and pushed them through her hair, dislodging her ponytail. She pulled out the band that held it in place and let it fall over her shoulders.
I think these girls are mad that you’re no longer a bachelor, she thought.
I don’t think that I was a bachelor, to begin with, seeing as you and I share souls.
Ginny nodded absently, gazing but not seeing the book in front of her. Is practice nearly over?
She heard across her mind Harry speak aloud, calling to Angelina what time practice would be done. Angelina was too far from him for her voice to carry across his mind to hers, but Harry repeated her answer.
In a few minutes. You want to meet for lunch?
Sure. I’ll finish up in here then; you’ve got to get a shower, right?
I don’t think I’m that sweaty.
Shower. For the sake of everyone.
Fine, god, you’re so nagging.
Ginny rolled her eyes, then drew the book closer and looked to find her place. She paused, then flipped back and looked at the last two paragraphs. There was no mention of a woman being tortured or burned at the stake or even her husband killing her killers.
Deciding to let the dream go, she flicked back to where she’d left off, and settled back into the boredom of classifications.
Practice ran for another twenty minutes, and Harry ended up spending a further fifteen in the changing rooms waiting for Fred and George to stop making the shower heads spew bubbles rather than water. When he did finally get his shower and leave the changing rooms, Ginny marked her place in her textbook and packed away her things, leaving the library books on the table and exiting in a calm fashion, rather than the sprint she’d used while dreaming. She waved to Madam Pince as she passed her desk, who only scowled and continued erasing graffiti.
Harry entered the Entrance Hall just as Ginny stepped off the marble staircase. They met in the middle of the hall, then continued walking towards the Great Hall. Ron and Hermione had long since finished lunch, despite not returning to the library, so they found two empty seats and ate together in apparent silence, as they didn’t need to speak in order to converse. Once they’d finished eating, the two of them returned to Gryffindor tower, to find Ron and Hermione sitting at a table near the windows, Hermione half writing an essay and half scolding Ron for something.
“... I mean, if you're going to leave all of your work until the night before all the time, what are you going to do when OWL’s come around? That's so much studying, too much for one night!”
“I won't always leave everything for the night before,” Ron said in a tired voice, “that history essay isn't even due until Tuesday!”
“And if you do it tomorrow, it'll be the night before,” Hermione pointed out.
Ron looked up at the two of them approaching and gave them an expression of “SAVE ME!”
“Let him be, Hermione,” Harry said as they sat down. “Ron has always been a procrastinator.”
Hermione gave a sniff of disapproval and turned back to her essay. Ginny rolled her eyes and took her Potions book from her bag.
“Ron, have you done the reading for Snape yet?” she asked.
“What reading?” replied Ron.
Ginny rolled her eyes once again.
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