|SIYE Time:18:37 on 23rd May 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: 71045; Chapter Total: 707
I'm so sorry about the mix-up guys, I could have sworn that I was posting the correct chapter. Sorry.
Chapter Thirty Nine
Harry didn’t remember when he fell asleep, but he remembered waking up with his body colder than it had been the night before. He sat up groggily in bed, rubbing at his eyes and looked around the room. The clock on his night-table read half past six, and he could hear the shower running. He also needed to pee.
He slipped off the bed, throwing the blankets away from his legs, and started towards the bathroom. He knocked, and called out to Ginny, asking how much longer she would be.
“I just got in!” she answered. “Be patient!”
“But I have to pee!” he whined.
“But I’ve got to go badly!”
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“Can I just, slip in and use the toilet?” he asked. “You’re in the shower anyway.”
“Ummm… I guess?”
Harry was only barely awake enough to hear the awkwardness lacing her voice, but not enough to be patient about the situation. He really needed to use the toilet.
He opened the door and slipped inside, the mirror was already fogged up, which meant that she’d been in there a bit longer than she’d said. He made his way to the toilet and quickly undid his pants to pee, wanting to get out as quickly as possible. Then his eyes widened.
This had not happened before. At least, not before he and Ginny had begun sleeping together, but it had only been a matter of time. He swallowed nervously, then glanced over at the shower. Today was probably the absolute worst time to wake up with morning wood. He would have to ignore it, there was no other option. Had Ginny not been in the shower at the time, maybe something different would have happened, but with his wife just behind him, and in the shower, he couldn’t do anything.
“How much did you drink overnight, Harry? You’re taking forever,” Ginny called.
“Sorry, just a second,” he said, keeping his brain fixed firmly on waterfalls, the sound of rain, a garden hose, anything to hurry up and get out of the bathroom where Ginny was in the shower behind him and —
Harry shook his head quickly. Waterfalls. Garden hose on full. He managed to pee in record time, and quickly flushed and washed his hands. He darted out of the bathroom, shutting the door, and heaved a sigh.
“I need a cup of tea,” he mumbled.
While waiting for the kettle to boil, he deduced that he would be forced to take a cold shower. He would just need to wait for Ginny to finish up, then shower as fast as possible and hope that it died down. Harry groaned and let his head fall back onto the cabinets, cursing whatever or whoever had designed biology for humans and created the whole ordeal of morning wood.
He went back into the bedroom with his tea, in time to see Ginny leaving the bathroom with her hair wrapped up in her towel.
“You can have it now,” she said, a half of a smile on her face and her eyes on the ground. Harry checked the mental door. It had the worst timing.
“Shut up,” he muttered, abandoning his tea on a chest of drawers and ignoring her snorts of laughter behind him. He took as cold of a shower as he could stand.
“Is this going to be a thing now?” Ginny asked as he left the bathroom, now without the problem of earlier. “Like, am I going to have to let you shower first so you can do whatever it is you’ve got to do to get rid of the problem in your pants?”
“Don’t put it like that!” Harry hissed, his face flushing bright red. “It’s just a cold shower!”
Ginny laughed again. “Of course it is,” she said, still grinning, “but do I have to revoke my rights to first shower?”
“First shower goes to whoever wakes up first,” he reminded her, shoving his pajamas into the laundry hamper.
“And I almost always get up before you on school days,” Ginny pointed out.
“This is not the issue,” he said.
“Oh, so now it’s an issue?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
“Wait, no, that’s not what I meant,” he said, then sighed. Harry dropped down on the bed beside her, glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, opened his mouth, shut it again, then flopped back on the bed with a groan. Ginny sniggered again.
“This doesn’t happen often,” Harry mumbled.
“I know,” she said, now leaning back to face him. “I’m just teasing you.”
“Then I’m going to start teasing you whenever you wake up with panties that look like they’ve just fought in World War II,” he said.
“Hey, that’s a monthly thing,” she said with a laugh. “I can almost always predict it, and prevent that situation. And when I don’t predict it, you do.”
“Details,” he sighed. Ginny patted his arm, then leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“Come on,” she said, “if we don’t get down to the Great Hall before Ron, there’ll be no food left.”
Harry nodded, and let her pull him to his feet. They gathered their school bags, and left their room for the stairs and the exit out of Gryffindor Tower.
They found Ron already at the table, but rather than shoveling his mouth with food, he was sitting with Dean, Seamus and Neville and laughing about something; or rather, he and Seamus were laughing, Dean had his head on the table, and Neville looked vaguely sympathetic.
“… come on, you can tell us!” Ron said, nudging Dean. “What’s her name?”
“There’s no girl,” Dean said flatly, “I’ve told you, it’s a normal thing for everyone to dream about!”
“Yeah, but who did you dream about?” Seamus asked, a grin splitting his face.
“I don’t know, I don’t remember every person I dream about!” Dean insisted.
“Who did Dean dream about?” Harry asked, dropping down next to Ron.
“I didn’t dream about anyone!” Dean exclaimed, throwing his arms up in the air
“The stains on your sheets say different, and since we know for a fact you were alone last night, it had to ‘ave happened in a dream,” Seamus said.
“Ew, now I wish I didn’t sit here,” Ginny said. Harry glanced over at her and knit together his eyebrows.
Would you rather we moved? he thought.
It’s fine, besides, they’ll get bored in a minute, Ginny poured herself a cup of tea as she thought. Harry shrugged and started to serve himself eggs.
“Maybe it was that girl in Hufflepuff,” Seamus said, looking up at the other guys, “y’know, she was giving him eyes all day yesterday.”
“It wasn’t her, I don’t even know her name!” Dean said.
“Maybe it’s someone he wasn’t expecting,” Ron suggested.
“Oh, don’t’ tell us you’ve been ‘aving dirty dreams about Professor McGonagall, Dean!” Seamus laughed.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Dean said.
“So who was it?” Neville asked.
“I told you, I don’t remember.”
“Am I really missing out on that much,” Harry asked, “having moved into a different dorm?”
“Nah, besides, you’ve got the lovely wife to keep you company,” Seamus said with a wink.
“Oh, don’t say that in front of me!” Ron groaned. “Harry, please, never tell me anything about… about that stuff.”
“Why would I ever tell you?” Harry asked. “Besides, we haven’t done anything yet.”
“Wait, seriously?” Seamus started, but then Dean cupped a hand over his mouth.
“Mate, I would much rather you continue pestering me over who I was dreaming about last night, than you piss off Harry and Ginny this early in the morning by questioning them about their lack of a sex life.”
“Guys, come on!” Ron groaned again.
“So, Ginny, have you started on that essay for Herbology yet?” Neville said, as loudly as he could while remaining polite.
“No, I haven’t,” Ginny sighed. “Carnivorous plants kind of freak me out.”
“I did, I could lend you the books I picked out for reference, if you’d like.”
“That would be lovely, Neville, thank you,” Ginny said with a grateful expression. Harry could tell that her gratitude was mostly due to the way he’d changed the subject so successfully.
“Though seriously, do we know the girl?” Seamus asked Dean. Harry rolled his eyes.
Nothing really happened the rest of the day, nor the day after, or at all until the week had ended. Friday night Harry, Ginny, and Ron gathered in Remus and Sirius’s quarters to listen to a Quidditch match, the Hollyhead Harpies versus the Wimbourne Wasps. The Harpies ended up winning, which delighted Ginny and by extension Harry. Sirius was a bit put out, as he was a great fan of the Wasps. They left a little before ten, said goodnight to Ron around quarter of, and the two of them were asleep by eleven.
The next morning, Harry was roused from his sleep by the irritating beep of his alarm clock. He slapped at it without looking up, managing to snooze it, and tried to fall back asleep, however it started blaring again a few minutes later.
“I’m up, I’m up,” Harry mumbled, sitting up, he grabbed his glasses, shoving them onto his face and looking at the clock. It was half past eight. Harry frowned, trying to recall why he had set his alarm for half past eight on a Saturday.
“We’ve got extra Charms this morning,” Ginny said sleepily. “Who gets the shower first?”
Harry rubbed at his eyes under his glasses, then yawned and looked around. He looked down at himself, then said “I get it first.”
Ginny glanced at him, her eyebrows knit together, then she heard his thoughts and snorted. “Make sure it’s a cold one, then.”
“Shut up,” Harry mumbled. “Bloody hell,” he mumbled irritatedly under his breath as he slipped out of bed and walked towards the bathroom.
They left their rooms around nine fifteen, and found Hermione, Ron, and Neville already in the common room; Ron looking half asleep and grumpy, Neville bleary eyed, and Hermione impatient.
“Our lesson is at ten thirty!” she said to them the moment they stepped off the stairs. “What took you so long?”
“Harry just had to take his time in the shower,” Ginny commented; Harry turned slightly pink, though the other three Gryffindors didn’t catch Ginny’s meaning. Hermione just huffed and waved them on.
“We have to get breakfast before we meet Professor Flitwick.”
“Breakfast?” Ron said, appearing more awake than he had a moment before.
“Yes, Ronald, breakfast,” Hermione sighed. “Honestly…”
Ginny linked her arm through Hermione’s and whispered something to her, though Harry wasn’t paying enough attention to hear. Hermione rolled her eyes in response, and they started out of the tower. They met Luna in the Great Hall, strangely already sitting at the Gryffindor table.
“Hi Luna,” Harry said, dropping down across from her.
“Good morning,” she said, her voice heavy from sleep. Neville sat beside her, and she promptly dropped her head onto his shoulder. Ginny sat on Harry’s right, as she always did, and Ron on his left. Hermione sat next to Ginny, and the six of them started their breakfast in half-asleep silence.
“What do you think we’ll be doing today?” Neville asked, some ten minutes later.
“Probably healing magic,” Hermione said.
“Dumbledore did mention that,” Ginny said around her mug of coffee.
“Or maybe counter-jinxes and hexes and the like,” Ron suggested.
“No, I think that doesn’t count as Charms,” Hermione said, “that’s more DADA stuff.”
“Maybe we’ll be learning how to control our chi,” Luna murmured.
“Maybe,” Ginny said before Hermione could reply with what was likely to be skepticism. “You never know, it might be useful.”
Harry caught Hermione giving Ginny a look, paired with raised eyebrows and pursed lips. Ginny gave a little shrug and sipped her coffee.
They finished eating just after ten, and together left the Great Hall for the second floor Charms classroom. They found the classroom empty, so they took seats at the desks and started conversing about what Flitwick would be teaching them. After a moment, the door opened again and Flitwick entered. They fell silent immediately.
“Good morning!” Professor Flitwick said cheerily. “I hope you’re excited for today’s lesson.”
They all answered with echoes of his good morning as the tiny professor made his way to the desks.
“We will be starting with healing magic today, a basic charm to heal cuts, burns and the like, and the Reviving Spell,” Flitwick said, already drawing his wand and giving it a flick, conjuring six large mannequins. “We’ll just jump right in. The most basic of healing spells is the Medicor Charm, which will heal almost instantly small to moderate breaks in the skin, and stop bleeding in larger wounds.” Professor Flitwick turned, waved his wand over one of the mannequins, and its arm displayed a thin gash, a few inches long, and oozing false blood that was a bright yellow color. “Watch closely,” Flitwick said, turning his body so they could clearly see his wand movements, he swirled his wand tip through the air in a downward spiral towards the mannequin’s wound, and said clearly “Medico!”
The incision on the mannequin’s arm sealed, formed a faint white scar, then it too vanished. Flitwick turned back to them with a nod. “I would like you to practice the wand movement now, without the incantation, please. I shall demonstrate again.” And he did, spinning his wrist in a downward motion, making three complete clockwise rotations of his wrist.
Harry lifted his wand and copied the professor’s motion, though more slowly. His friends did as well, all of them silently copying the motion. Once or twice Flitwick stopped them and gave them a further instruction or correction, and after a few minutes, he said they had it down.
“The incantation is ‘Medico’, be sure you pronounce it with a hard ‘c’ and not a soft one, as in the original Latin such a sound did not exist,” the professor told them. He waved his wand over the mannequin’s, and each of them gained small cuts over their forearms. “Please take a mannequin, and try and heal the wound.”
It took a few minutes to heal his mannequin, Harry had to repeat the incantation several times for it to do anything, and only after five more repetitions did the mannequin’s arm heal completely. Once it did, Flitwick gave it another cut, this time on its face, and had him try again. After ten minutes, he could heal small cuts with one try, and the Charms professor began giving his mannequin larger incisions.
They worked on the Medicor Charm for maybe half an hour, before Flitwick stopped them, vanishing the mannequins. “Excellent work, boys and girls,” he said, beaming at them. “You’re doing very well. We will move on to the Reviving Spell now, so if you would branch off into pairs, please.”
Harry looked over at Ginny, who shrugged and stepped closer to him. Ron and Hermione did the same, leaving Neville and Luna together. Flitwick gave a nod, then raised his wand. “The Reviving Spell is most commonly used for fainting victims and those who have fallen under the Stunning Spell. There is no wand movement, simply touch your wand to the person you wish to revive, and speak the incantation, ‘Rennervate.’ Say it with me now: Rennervate.” They echoed him, twice before he nodded again. “I trust you all know the Stunning Spell?” When they all answered yes, he told them to take turns Stunning and then attempting to revive each other. Flitwick gave a wave of his wand and three large cushions appeared on the floor. “Use these to fall on.”
Harry turned to Ginny and raised an eyebrow, asking her mentally who should go first. She shrugged, and said she didn’t mind being the ‘victim’ first. Mentally, of course, as Harry hadn’t spoken aloud to ask the question. Ginny grabbed a cushion and dragged it away from the other four, then turned her back to it and faced Harry. She quirked an eyebrow and smiled. Harry rolled his eyes, then quickly said: “Stupify!” Ginny’s eyes fell shut, and she collapsed backward onto the cushion. Harry felt a pang in his chest, then hurriedly stepped up to her and touched his wand to her sternum; “Rennervate!” he said.
Her eyes immediately opened, and she looked up at him. “How many tries did it take?” she asked.
“Just one,” Harry said, straightening up and holding out his hand to her. She took it, and he pulled her to her feet. “Your go?”
“One moment, Mr. Potter,” Flitwick said, hurrying over to them. Harry paused, looking down at the professor. The tiny Charms professor was looking quite excited, as he flicked his wand over Ginny. “You did manage it on your first try!” he said, beaming at him. “Good job, Mr. Potter!”
“Thanks,” Harry said, giving Flitwick a smile.
“Miss Weasley — pardon, Mrs. Potter, please, try it on Mr. Potter.”
Ginny gave a nod, then after Harry moved to stand in front of the cushion, stunned him. Harry fell back, his mind blanking, and then a moment later he opened his eyes to see Flitwick clapping his hands, saying “Bravo, bravo!” and Ginny kneeling beside him.
“On your first tries!” Flitwick said. “Dumbledore will be pleased!”
Ginny pulled Harry up, and they glanced at each other, then at the excited professor. Was it just me or did that feel… wrong somehow? Ginny thought.
I felt it too, Harry answered, like I shouldn’t be Stunning you. I don’t know what it was exactly.
I don’t know what it was either, Ginny replied.
“Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, would you mind switching partners? I would like to see if the Potters can perform the spell on others so easily,” Flitwick called.
Ron and Hermione, who hadn’t started apparently, walked over to them. Harry thought that that would probably solve the problem, and Ginny agreed as she and Hermione switched. Harry turned to face his friend, and Stunned her, waiting for her to fall on the cushion. Then he bent down and touched his wand to her, repeating the Reviving incantation.
Harry glanced over at Ginny, who was kneeling next to Ron, poking him with her wand. She looked up and shrugged.
“Try again, Mr. Potter,” Flitwick encouraged. Harry nodded, then turned back to Hermione.
“Rennervate,” Harry said, tapping Hermione again. Again, nothing. She didn’t even stir. “Rennervate,” he repeated. Hermione remained unconscious. “Rennervate!”
On the fourth try, Hermione seemed to move. She half stirred, but her eyes remained shut. Harry tried again, and this time she opened her eyes and sat up.
“Oh,” she muttered, rubbing at her forehead. “You have a strong Stunner, Harry.”
“Curious,” Professor Flitwick said. “Mrs. Potter, have you succeeded on your brother?”
“Erm, hang on,” Ginny answered, “Rennervate! Rennervate!” Harry glanced back at her, and saw her jabbing Ron in the arm with her wand. “Rennervate!” she repeated, giving Ron another sharp jab. At that, Ron jerked upright, and cried out: “Bloody hell, Ginny!”
“Got him!” Ginny said.
“Very curious,” Professor Flitwick said. “Well, continue with the pairs you are in now. Mr. Longbottom, how are you fairing?”
Harry turned back to Hermione as Flitwick walked away to help Neville, and shrugged. “I guess it just works better when it’s Ginny,” he said.
“Oh, it’s highly likely,” Hermione said, sitting up. “Given… you know, what you two have.”
“Yeah, probably,” Harry said. “So, do you want to try it on me?”
“Sure,” she answered, standing up. “Here, you get in front of the cushion.”
They took turns Stunning and Reviving for another twenty minutes, until Flitwick called for their stop. He vanished the cushions and addressed them at large.
“You did very well, all of you,” Flitwick said. “I’m wondering where this sort of hard work is while you’re in class during the week,” he added with a genial smile. They laughed obligingly, and the Charms professor clapped his hands together, looking around the room. “That’s it for today. Our next extra lesson is next month, but I’ll see you on Monday of course. Go on and have a good rest of your weekend.”
The group said goodbye to the Charms professor and made their way from the classroom, then to the marble staircase. Luna left them for Ravenclaw tower, and Hermione for the library, but Ron, Harry, Neville and Ginny took the stairs back up to Gryffindor tower. Ron asked Harry to a game of chess, so Ginny went back up to their room on her own, leaving Harry with a reminder to come get her for lunch. She took the time to do some sketching, until Ron and Harry entered the sitting room to get her for lunch.
It was the first time Ron had been up to their quarters, and as he entered the room he looked around with wide eyes and a soft murmur of “wow”.
“You have this whole place to yourself, then?” he said. “It’s way better than the rooms downstairs.”
“We still have to share a bathroom,” Harry said. “And Ginny takes forever in the bathroom.”
“Not as much as you do with your cold showers,” Ginny said, closing her sketch book.
“Oh, shut it, you,” Harry said, grabbing a couch pillow and gently hitting her in the shoulder with it.
“You guys have a kitchen!” Ron gasped. “That is so not fair!”
“It’s only stocked with things for tea,” Ginny said. “There aren’t even any biscuits.”
“Still,” Ron said, shaking his head. “It’s not fair.”
“Hey, you don’t have to live with a girl,” Harry pointed out. “She leaves her stuff everywhere.”
“I’m not the one constantly waking up with problematic blood flow,” Ginny quipped, picking up her pencil box and sketch book and going into the bedroom. Harry flushed as Ron laughed.
“It’s not my fault,” Harry mumbled to himself, Ron just shook his head and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Yeah, sure, just don’t tell me,” Ron said. Harry sighed again.
They dragged Hermione from the library, where she had been reading a three inch volume on healing spells, and to the Great Hall. They found Neville and Luna sitting at the Gryffindor table again, in the same place they’d been that morning, so they joined them again.
“When’s the first Hogsmeade weekend?” Neville asked as they sat down.
“The last weekend of October,” Hermione said, “the 28th and the 29th.”
“That’s a whole month away!” Neville sighed. “Why couldn’t there be one sooner?”
Hermione shrugged. “We need to focus on our schoolwork. This is OWL year, remember.”
Neville scowled, while Ron groaned. “Oh, not this again. Hermione, it’s bloody September, for Merlin’s sake. OWL’s are ages off.”
“And every second counts, Ron,” Hermione defended herself. “If you don’t pay attention now, in the beginning of the year, you’ll not know the things you need to know in order to pass them.”
“’Mione, all the teachers are doing reviews still,” Ginny said. “Only the first years are learning new content.”
“And they’ll finish reviewing this week, I promise you,” Hermione said. “Besides, we’re getting new content in Defense.”
“That’s just because Sirius gets bored easily,” Harry said with a sigh. “Look, can we just enjoy our dinner in peace? Forget OWL’s and schoolwork and reviews, it’s Saturday evening, we don’t have to worry about all that until tomorrow night.”
Hermione looked slightly peeved, however, Ron said emphatically “Well said, mate,” and served himself a large portion of steak and kidney pudding. Hermione at that point rolled her eyes and began her own dinner.
After dinner, the group left for Gryffindor tower and Harry and Ginny’s private sitting room to listen to the radio and continue their conversations. Ginny was standing to Harry’s right and they were walking in almost a single file line.
“… I think the Weird Sisters lost their sound when they took that record deal with Charmed Musics,” Luna was saying.
“The Weird Sisters are a classic and always will be,” Neville told her with a shake of his head. “Just because they started making more mainstream music doesn’t mean they’ve lost their sound. They’re still the same band.”
“But they replaced the drummer,” Luna said, “and they stopped making those soft songs, like Wizard’s Lullaby and Death of the Dragon.”
“No, they didn’t, didn’t you hear A Message To My Ex-Lover?” Ginny asked her. “It was beautiful, and a ballad.”
“What do you know about messages to ex-lovers?” Harry asked her sarcastically.
Ginny rolled her eyes, but before she could reply, Malfoy’s vile voice broke in. “Probably a great deal, considering how many she’s probably paid off to pretend as if they never chipped in to help knock her up.”
Harry whipped around, in no mood to deal with Malfoy’s cocky attitude right then. “I’m giving you until the count of three to run away with your tail between your legs,” Harry said, his voice soft but carrying. The Great Hall had quieted at that point, a crowd forming to listen into the newest hostile encounter between Malfoy and Potter.
Malfoy pursed his lips, tapping his chin as if to appear like he was pondering what Harry had said, then he snapped his fingers and smiled. “Or I could continue telling you about your little slut of a wife. How are things between you, by the way? I’ve heard she’s good; it’s probably the only thing she is good at.”
Harry drew his wand. “Back off, now, Malfoy, I’m warning you.”
“Oh, I’m so frightened, someone call my mother, tell her I knew she loved me best,” Malfoy said carelessly, examining his nails. He buffed them on his robes and smirked at Harry. “What would you do to me? A couple of wayward jinxes? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Impedimenta Curses and a few Stunners aren’t exactly scary. Especially when you constantly fail to hit your target,” he added, a malicious glint in his cold eyes. Harry clenched his jaw; Malfoy’s words were too accurate, too close to a truth, the truth of his duel with Voldemort…
Harry, just let it go, Ginny’s thought broke into his. His father was there, you know that. Let it go.
Harry didn’t listen to her. “Maybe I ought to make your acne flare up,” Harry snapped, “considering how much you care about your appearance, that would be frightening enough, wouldn’t it?”
Malfoy’s smirk slipped into a scowl. “Nice try, Potter,” he said coldly, “it’ll take more than that to send me running.”
“How about I turn you into a creature as foul as you are?” snapped Harry. “A pig? Or maybe a dung beetle?”
“Your whore doesn’t think I’m so foul, does she?” Malfoy spat. “Considering she begged me for a galleon just to let her suck me off.”
Harry lunged for him, except Ginny grabbed his arm and held him back. “Let go of me, Ginny!” he said, trying to break out of her tight grip.
“He’s doing this on purpose, he’s trying to get you in trouble!” Ginny hissed. “Let it go!”
“Of course, I wouldn’t pay a knut for her nasty mouth,” Malfoy scoffed. “I wouldn’t soil myself with a bloodtraiter such as her for free.”
Harry turned, his wand up and ready to spit out the vilest curse he knew, when a flash of blue light filled the space between them and Malfoy; there was a high-pitched scream of shock and then another flash of light, followed by a third, and Harry could hear Malfoy shouting out expletives in what sounded like pain. The Great Hall was filled with flashing lights, and he couldn’t see anything.
Professor McGonagall was striding into the fading light flash; her face was set in a glare so powerful, it made Harry falter. As the lights faded, McGonagall appeared again, dragging Malfoy to his feet and holding by the arm —
“Luna?” Harry, Ginny, and Neville all gasped.
“I do not know what on earth the lot of you thought you were doing,” McGonagall said, “but this is no way for students to behave. Miss Lovegood, I thought you were above such debauchery.”
“I am not above putting little dickheads in their places,” Luna said coldly.
Professor McGonagall’s nostrils flared. “You and I will be going to Professor Flitwick tonight, Miss Lovegood. And as for you, Mr. Malfoy, how dare you make such accusations of another student? I am appalled that you would even consider suggesting that Miss Weas— Mrs. Potter, I mean, would behave in such a way.”
Malfoy seemed too stunned by what had happened in the flashes of light to reply, he only hung limply from McGonagall’s arm. The irate Transfiguration professor looked around the Great Hall one more time, and said sharply “What are you all waiting for? An encore? Return to your dormitories, at once!”
The crowd hastily started towards the stairs, the Slytherins to the dungeons, the Hufflpuffs to the basement, and the rest of the school to the upper floors. Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Neville, and Ron remained still, however.
McGonagall eyed them with a piercing gaze. “Well? What are you waiting for?”
“Professor, Luna was just defending Ginny,” Hermione said quickly. “Malfoy was being deliberately hostile.”
“I am aware of this, Miss Granger,” Professor McGonagall said. “I saw.”
“Please tell me you’re going to punish Malfoy severely,” Harry said, still very angry and just barely restraining himself from attacking Malfoy, even as he stood dead on his feet.
“Mr. Malfoy’s punishment is not any of your business,” McGonagall told him.
“He was being slanderous about my wife!” Harry snapped. “He called her a slut more than once! Forgive me for being angry!”
Professor McGonagall, rather than swelling with further irritation as he had expected, deflated slightly. She looked at him with something akin to shame in her eyes. “I give my word, he will face the consequences for his behavior,” she promised. She drew a shaky breath. “Now, off to Gryffindor tower with you.”
Ginny tugged at his arm. Harry finally relented, and let her pull him to the marble staircase. They separated to climb the staircases to their room, leaving Ron, Neville and Hermione behind, and met again at the door to their sitting room. Ginny said nothing as she opened the door, and Harry was equally silent as he shut it behind them. Ginny dropped onto the sofa and leaned her body onto the armrest, her eyes shut and her thoughts just as quiet.
Harry stood by the door, watching her. He didn’t know what to do.
“Ginny?” he said softly.
“I told you to let it go,” she murmured.
“I couldn’t,” Harry said. “I couldn’t just walk away, not when he was talking about you that way.”
Ginny shook her head. “Yes, you could have. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Malfoy saying to our faces or the rest of the school saying behind our backs, it’s widely believed that you or someone else got me pregnant and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. We’ll just have to ignore it until it’s obvious that I’m not pregnant.”
“That was more than just saying I knocked you up, that was downright verbal abuse!” Harry said. “I couldn’t not defend you!”
“But I asked you to,” she said. She wasn’t looking at him. “I asked you to let it go. Malfoy is Malfoy, you know that. There’s nothing we can do. Shouting about hexing him is not going to solve anything.”
“It would make me feel better,” Harry said.
Ginny let out a sigh. “Harry, the whole school thinks what he was saying. You can’t hex the whole school.”
Harry’s shoulders slumped. “But you’re not pregnant. By anyone. We keep saying that, why won’t anyone believe us?”
Ginny shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, love.”
Harry fell silent. He reached into her mind, and felt instantly horrible about the whole situation. He had been so mad about what Malfoy was saying, that he hadn’t noticed the hurt Ginny was feeling. The fact that most of Hogwarts, most of the Wizarding world in fact, thought that she was pregnant hurt her. He stepped up to the sofa and kneeled down, taking her hands in his. She felt that the world thought her to have wrongly tied him down, that she had deceived or tricked him into marriage because of a baby that while it didn’t exist, the world thought to be not even close to his.
“Hey,” he whispered, “look at me.”
She didn’t, so he let go of one of her hands to cup her cheek in his palm, and tilted her face towards his. “Ginny,” he said quietly, “I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”
She nodded her head, her eyes falling to the ground. “I know. It’s not like I said anything. It’s not your fault.”
“No, I should have paid better attention,” he murmured. “I’m inside your thoughts, I should have realized. I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, love, it’s okay,” Ginny said. “I honestly tried not to think about this, so…”
She didn’t finish her sentence. Harry knew what she meant anyway. He kissed her, slowly, gently, his hand slipping into her hair. The whole situation was a giant mess, and they both knew that it would be when they went into it. He kissed her, their thoughts mingling as he tried to reassure her, We’re together, and it doesn’t matter why people think we are, it only matters that we’re together.
Her fingers squeezed his.
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