|SIYE Time:21:21 on 23rd October 2018|
In The House of the Quick and the Hungry
By Laura Laurent
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Category: Post-HBP, Buried Gems
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: Angst, Comedy, Drama, Fluff, General, Humor
Story is Complete
Summary: The finer aspects of Ginny Weasley's life, all entwined, in their own way, within the story of how she wound up with Harry Potter.
THIS STORY IS NOW COMPLETE!
Hitcount: Story Total: 45069; Chapter Total: 4190
A/N: Major fluff alert. And fluff isn't my strong suit. I would have let Harry tell this part of the story himself–in first person, but he's an unusually bad storyteller, and now I know why Jo wrote it the way she did. And forgive me my somewhat flippant treatment of the Voldemort issue--I just didn't want to make you all suffer mediocre plot-specifics.
And the intentionally cheesy love song was written, sadly enough, by me–for the sole purpose of being thorough in my telling of the story. The actual tune of it is perhaps best described as a cross between Bob Dylan's “Just Like a Woman,” and the Righteous Bros “Unchained Melody,” and feel free to ignore it, because Harry and Ginny certainly are. Without further ado, I hope you all enjoy this enormous box of angstychip fluff-cookies!
For all the readers
Who reviewed on my last birthday
In hopes that they're still here this year.
Let These Be Your Desires
Harry Potter rolled over for the millionth time that night to squint at the time on the clock by his bedside. It was three o'clock in the morning.
“Why am I still awake?” he groaned, banging his head lightly on the night table. Was it because Ron was snoring so bloody loudly? Probably not, because he'd shared a room with Ron most nights of his life for the past seven years. Was it... the pillow, which felt like cloth-covered clay? Maybe. He punched it. It hurt. Resigning himself to a sleepless night, he sat up on the edge of his bed and tried to find something to do with himself.
He tried to think constructive thoughts–about Voldemort and the how he could no longer avoid confronting him, now that all of the Horcruxes had been destroyed, but it was like waking up in the middle of the night to do homework. Maybe Hermione could do it but he certainly couldn't. So instead his thoughts strayed to all the places he'd rather be, and he didn't get any further than Ginny Weasley.
It had been almost a year now since they'd said goodbye. In which time he had dutifully hunted down all the pieces of Voldemort's soul, except of course the last one–which simply wouldn't sit still what with all its plans for world domination. He had no idea what exactly Ginny had been up to–he hoped she was staying safe, but honestly doubted it. He knew of course that she had lost a brother–indirectly because of her connection with Harry, but Ron had already sat him down and told him none of the Weasleys blamed his feelings for Ginny for the death of Percy. He accepted this–they didn't have time to argue about it anyway.
Ginny had also become an aunt: Fleur had given birth to a baby boy named Max in March, who was, as the midwitch dryly declared, “one of the biggest, healthiest babies ever delivered at seven months.”
He had gotten to see Ginny in the hospital–even gotten to touch her as she had fallen asleep on his shoulder in the waiting room. The next few days, however, had been painful, as he watched her cooing and holding a baby while being overly friendly, it seemed, to everyone but him.
Not that he normally allowed himself to think of these things. Every heavenly day he had spent being anything more than a friend to Ginny was held apart from anything else he had ever experienced, with the possible exception of flying, locked away in a special vault in his mind and taken out only in those twilight hours between sleeping and waking. He had less than a month of memories with her to last him an indefinite amount of time–and yet within those four weeks the possibilities were infinite: twenty-five little days to build his dreams on–like twenty-five little letters to write every story ever told. (...X really isn't that necessary if you think about it.)
He got up from the side of his bed and allowed himself to walk over to the writing desk where his precious Pensieve sat hidden beneath his Invisibility Cloak. Sometimes, perhaps only once or twice actually, when he couldn't get to sleep, he'd bring out the Pensieve and empty out a long thread of some of the best memories of her, and then sink into the stone basin and watch what was in his opinion the most brilliant movie ever, soft porn or not, and sometimes, Harry had found to his delight, if he concentrated hard enough on the memory while viewing it, he could put himself back in the body in which he had lived out the instance in the first place. In any case, tonight was to be one of those nights.
Harry pressed the tip of his wand to his head and concentrated hard on a supernova of things that exploded in his mind when he thought of Ginny, and pulled his wand away from his temple, pulling out a long, thick plait of memories that was thicker than usual.
Most of them were just particularly brilliant snogging sessions, really, but a couple of them had some particular emotional significance. There was of course their first kiss after the Quidditch Final, and the long walk that followed, but his favorite took place one sunny day with a picnic basket by the lake.
It started out like anything good does, with Harry's tongue in Ginny's mouth as they leaned back on the blanket. But about five minutes in, a voice startled them.
“Hello Harry, is that Ginny under you?”
They leapt apart at once to find that it was Luna, much to Harry's mingled annoyance and relief–they’d kind of been in the middle of something, but at least it wasn’t Ron or a Professor.
“Hi Luna,” said Ginny, looking rather flushed and sounding overly cheery as she hastily straightened and tugged her shirt down, “Nice day, isn’t it?”
Luna looked dreamily around her. “Yes. It is,” she turned back to Ginny, “I came to see if you wanted to review switching spells–“
Ginny swore and clutched her hands to her head, “Oh Luna–I’m so sorry! I completely forgot!”
Luna smiled. “That’s alright, we can do it another day–I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t been kidnapped by one of the Minister’s secret agents.”
Harry squinted up at her, tilting his head just slightly so that she blocked out the sun. “Why would the minister want to kidnap Ginny?”
“He doesn’t want you dating anyone I suspect,” said Luna calmly, “Of course he knows they need you on their side to help them go after the goblins more aggressively once you’ve defeated You-Know-Who, and Ginny here might convince you to retire and settle down with her for a more peaceful life with children and Furbies and such.”
She suggested all this in the same tone she used to discuss things like Stubby Boardman and the Rotfang Conspiracy, but with a sideways glance at Ginny Harry realized that her theory almost had a point.
Ginny laughed weakly, “How ridiculous.”
Luna frowned a bit. “That’s unlike you Ginny–you’re usually more supportive of my ideas. Bread stick?”
Harry only just noticed the food in her hand as she held the napkin out in offering.
“Oh–we’re good,” said Ginny, indicating vaguely at the picnic basket.
Luna just smiled more brightly. “Well that’s good. Would you like a bread stick?”
Ginny coughed and Harry said, “No, thank you–we’re all set for lunch.”
“Oh. Alright then. I’ll see you later then, Ginny. Goodbye Harry.”
They watched her glide away from them, and winced mutually when she tripped and almost fell off the path.
“She’s alright,” Harry said at last, doing his best to be noncommittal, wondering if Ginny would mention the awkward conversation.
He looked at her, deciding that it had most certainly affected her, but that she didn’t feel able to bring it up herself, and cleared his throat,
“I think I’ve heard crazier things from her before, though.”
She glanced at him.
“What? Oh–don't get her started on the Furbies, she's convinced that they've invaded the Muggle world and are disguising themselves as normal children's' toys with batteries or something–”
He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer to him and giving his lips access to her neck now that they were alone again.
“I think she's got a point. I think I might like shacking up somewhere with you–“
She tilted her head up questioningly.
“And the Furbies?”
“Furbies aren't real...”
Ginny grinned, and he kissed her.
A few blissful minutes later, she managed to convince him that they had to eat something, if only because she was so proud of her foresight in remembering to get a picnic basket from the kitchens, so he rather reluctantly let go of her and they began rummaging under the napkin.
“Are you just eating that bread with honey?” he asked after a few moments as she managed to fit the cap back onto the bottle of honey with her one free hand.
“Yeah,” she chirped, “Why? Have you never had that?”
“No–I can't say I have.”
“Try it–it's really good.”
He waved it off. “S'okay... I'm not a big fan of honey.”
She looked incredulous. “You don't like honey?”
“Yeah,” he said scratching his head, “I dunno–just tastes a bit too...”
“A bit too...?” Ginny was now practically snogging her slice of bread and Harry got a bit distracted by the way she was licking her fingers.
He gulped. “Buggy.”
There was a split-second pause before she broke into peels of laughter. He smiled a little nervously, not quite understanding what was so funny.
“Oh Harry–” she said after a few moments, still giggling, getting to her knees and crawling towards him on the blanket, “You are the only poor bloke I've ever met who could eat something like honey and taste the bees!”
He couldn't see what was so wonderful about that–what could warrant the adoring way she was looking at him, but he wasn't about to complain.
“Ah well, you know me–” he said with false modesty, “I like to have the worst possible experience with everything wherever I can manage it...”
He trailed off, as Ginny had now straddled his lap, staring into his eyes in a way that made him the happiest kind of nervous and caused a considerable migration of blood cells further south. Her hands were on the sides of his face–her fingers carefully smoothed away the hair from his forehead, as she pressed two reverent lips to his scar. One day Harry would be filled with regret when he thought of that moment, and he would wish that he had told her then that she made him want very badly to survive–that she made him happier than he could ever remember being in his life.
But he didn't say anything–maybe he would have, but at that moment he felt something cool and sticky on the side of his head.
“Oh no!” Ginny drew back sharply, barely smothering a laugh as she realized that she was still holding a honeyed crust of bread in the hand she had plastered to the side of his head. “I'm so sorry, Harry–you have honey on your ear... and in your hair!”
She chucked the bread, looking dismayed with herself as she gave him a small, sorry little smile. Harry assumed that she would Scourgify his hair for him, but as a wicked Fred-and-George-like grin spread on her face she seemed to have been struck with a better idea. She moved in boldly and, after only a second of hesitation, drew his earlobe between her lips and gently sucked the honey from it. Harry's trousers now felt uncomfortably restricting as Ginny began cleaning off the rest of the honey with her tongue, and the wispy sensation of her breath in his ear caused a powerful jolt throughout his body.
...And from about there on out it was really just a particularly brilliant snogging session...
Several more memories later, Harry was beginning to forget why he had left her behind at all, which made him almost want to turn back and go to bed when he reached the memory at the very bottom of the basin–it was the one he had left safely ensconced in the Pensieve the last time he had recalled it, because it was simply too much–too sweet–too painful, to keep in his head. And though he knew that watching this could not be easy, he couldn't stop himself from sinking into that scorching day in August.
It was Bill and Fleur's wedding, though neither them nor any of the Weasleys could be seen. In fact, the kitchen in the Burrow appeared completely empty, but Harry was only too aware that he and Ginny were both present, hidden by the Invisibility Cloak in a moment stolen from his 'last golden day with Ron and Hermione'. Without even trying to, Harry was sucked into the original perspective, and he felt Ginny in his arms once again.
They stood alone in the dying rays, visible only to one another as they swayed beneath the Invisibility Cloak to the music that floated into the kitchen through the open windows.
Burn me... with your touch
Mark me... with your love
The old black wizard singing on the dais in the garden had a rough, velvety voice that expressed a sorrow that was not present in the words themselves. His hair, as could be seen even from the kitchen, was streaked liberally with white and gray, and he sang like he'd had a life rather like Harry's: littered with loss and uncertainty.
And claim me... claim me with your kiss
Harry looked around him as the peaceful world of the Burrow seemed to be going down in flames. This last golden day was fading, and he knew that he'd be underground when the sun rose again, as the fighting and violence would resume.
The stars, are peeking out above
And you're all I've been dreaming of...
He held her tighter, his arm chaffing on the rough gold fabric of her dress, but they were already standing as close as could be and it wasn't enough.
For I love you much too much
She whimpered in discomfort.
“I hate this dress!” she fumed under her breath.
Oh I hunger for your touch...
"Take it off."
For a moment Harry was certain that he would heartily deserve the smack on the head he was about to receive, but his eyes widened as he recognized the expression on her face as the one she wore whenever she was contemplating something scandalous. His blood began to race as she reached behind her and slowly unzipped the back of her dress, her eyes never leaving his, though there was something almost frightened in her expression as she whispered, “No one can see me anyway, right?”
So won't you burn me–mark me with your love.
He swallowed what felt like a walnut and nodded mutely and almost choked on his own tongue a moment later as a lacy black bra and panties were revealed. He hadn't been expecting that–not that he had any idea what he had expected, but he nodded, red-faced and said in a strangled voice,
“Very nice. Classy.”
This was true: aroused as he was, Ginny was actually slightly more covered than she would be in an average bikini. She giggled, which alleviated some of the tension.
“I'm glad you approve.”
Burn me with your touch...
Mark me with your love...
Unable to restrain himself any longer pulled her to him and kissed her, and any reservations about how far this ought to go were pushed from his mind as she leaned up into him, her fingers unbuttoning his shirt as her hands sought the skin on his chest.
And claim me... claim me with yo-our kiss!
He felt as well as heard the mellow, humid pangs of the guitar as the tortured refrain came sobbing from the band on the breast of the evening air. The heat was incredible. Even the bare white walls, when lit by the yellow-orange sunlight, seemed to gleam with perspiration. The sun melting lower through the western windows set every sunset-varnished surface in the sweltering kitchen aglow, like the smoldering remains as a fire died–and the brightest of these embers Harry now clutched in his hands and threaded through his fingers, as if it made him the richest man alive.
Charms, my love, can't enchant me like this,
He pulled her closer still, kissed her harder still, as she stood on her toes and he wished desperately that she could simply crawl inside him–protected by his own skin and he could have her everywhere he went.
Potions... can't se-duce-me-like-thi-is!
She seemed to want this too, because a moment later she had hooked her legs around his hips and he became the only thing she was touching–he wasn't even sharing her with the creaky wooden floor. He knew how absurd this must look–how very dead he would be if any of her brothers found him here in the kitchen, shirt undone with their nearly naked baby sister wrapped indecently around his hips as he held her bum in his hands. But it just wasn't worth it to put her down. He buried his face in the crook of her neck as his lips sought their favorite place: just behind her ear where her hair was like down–softer and finer than the gleaming curtain that was visible to the everyone else. She was all sweaty now, though–both of them were, and Harry really didn't care, because this was the closest he had ever been to another human being.
Oh my love I'll remember,
Through the darkest December
...A liquid bead caught his attention as it slipped down his spine, and he wondered whether it was a trickle of sweat from his hair or a tear from her eye. He shivered in the blistering heat, and suddenly knew that he would feel very cold when they were wrenched from their hiding place and this last magic moment was ended.
You claimed me–you claimed me with a ki-iss!
The old man and the harmonica wailed from out the window, and as the last few bars of the song rang out, Harry felt like crying with him. He readjusted his hold on her as a desperate, lovestruck little boy in him begged for the song to play just a little bit longer.
"One more second..." he pleaded silently, "One more second, one more second, one more second..."
But it ended at last and Harry felt himself being hurled brutally out of the Penseive and back to the room at the Leaky Cauldron where he soon collapsed, trembling and gasping for breath, into the chair at the desk. He felt like he was sobbing, and though his hands shook uncontrollably while blood beat so hard in his veins he could almost taste it, and though each breath scratched painfully at his moistureless throat, his eyes remained clear and unperturbed and he did not cry.
After several moments in which he had calmed down, Harry heard a rather loud clatter and voices echoing up from downstairs. These days ever-wary, he grabbed his wand and cautiously opened the door into the hallway, looking up and down it before heading towards the source of the commotion. He met Ron, who was coming up from the bar, at the top of the stairs.
“Is someone here?” he asked.
“I was just coming up to tell you–Lupin or someone must have reckoned we'd be here tonight, some of the Order's here and–”
Harry held up a hand to silence Ron as a familiar laugh could be heard from the dining room below.
“Why's Tonks pretending to be Ginny?” He muttered, pushing past Ron and shuffling down the stairs, trying not to know full well who would be waiting for him at the bottom.
Several smiling faces greeted him, and Harry made sure to notice who they all were and begin to greet them before turning his eyes to the witch standing in front of him.
“Ginny–what are you doing here?”
She laughed, “Well it's good to see you too, Harry.”
She came up and hugged him then–like he was another brother of hers, and it made him rather uncomfortable that she was so comfortable about it. Harry glared around for someone to blame, and not finding anyone, grabbed Ginny's arm and dragged her off into the hall as soon as propriety would allow.
“What are you doing here?” he hissed.
“I'm a member of the Order.” She said, as if it wouldn't surprise him.
He stopped. Of course he'd known, on some level, that she wasn't just sitting at home, but that didn't mean he couldn't be a little scared by that, did it?
"Well good," he said, not meaning to sound so snide, "I'm really glad I broke up with you for your protection then."
"What, are you going to yell and me and tell me to go home, or better yet, why not just give me some rations and chuck me into your vault at Gringotts?" She was glaring at him in a way that caused him pain.
"Ginny I didn't mean it like that..."
"Well then what did you mean?"
Harry buried his face in his hands. What did he mean? But Ginny was too impatient to wait for him to find out.
"Okay Harry, let's make something clear here–contrary to popular belief, this isn't just about you.”
Harry had the distinct impression that Ginny had been practicing this conversation in her head with an imaginary Harry by herself for quite some time, and he found himself wanting to know what had been on her mind for the past year.
“This is about defeating Voldemort, and while you just happen to be heavily involved it doesn't mean you're the only one involved–I'm here because I'm my own person with my own ideas and you can't tell me what to do.” She took a quick break for more air, “And since we've parted ways you've forfeited your privileges to make even small suggestions so just stop it!”
There was a rather heavy silence as Harry felt his need to prove that he respected her as a person overwhelmed by something terrifying in what she'd just said.
“We've parted ways?” he asked blankly, unable to resist an awful, wounded expression.
“Yes, Harry, we've parted ways,” she raked two frustrated hands through her hair, “Hence all the crying–remember?”
“What do you mean 'we've parted ways' ?” he sputtered, “What are we, Fudge and Dumbledore?”
“That's what happens when you go away,” said Ginny loudly, emotion breaking in her voice for the first time, “We part!”
“Well I was coming back!” he shouted. She had to know how he felt–Ginny had always known how he felt. She had to be able to see that he didn't think for a minute that she wasn't as capable as he and Ron and Hermione, "And I wouldn't have done if I didn't think you'd be alright without me!"
“Well that's too bad because you can't go back, Harry,” she said, sounding as though she was still trying to talk to a hypothetical Harry when the conversation had changed gears too quickly, “You left and we went our separate ways and I don't care what but you can't change what's happened!”
She was casting about her now, looking for more things to say as she avoided his burning stare. If he thought for a moment that she meant what she said he would have had to let it be for the sake of his pride. But it was simple, and plain to see that Ginny had just spent too long trying to figure what she'd do with herself if it turned out that she meant nothing to him.
“You can't go back,” she repeated meaninglessly.
“Yeah? Watch me.” He closed the gap between them and kissed her–at first it was hard and blazing, with a lot of pent up passion and frustration, and then softer, with reverence, and longing. And he read her emotions as though there were flashing cue cards across her chest: at first she was simply shocked, then for a moment she was happy, and then for a split-second she was confused, before she broke it off and pushed him away.
“No–Harry.” She was breathing heavily, “You can't–we can't. It's been too long–you're here, and I'm–”
“Also here?” suggested Harry, bewildered and at a loss as to why she was still resisting, “Name one specific reason why you don't want this, Ginny.”
Ginny stuttered for a few moments before crying, “Well it's not about us and the specifics–no, Harry, I have to be my own person, I have to know that I can live without you, or I can't live with myself. I know it seems right, but I can't just be yours to have or not have whenever you feel like it.”
“Do you think for a minute that I actually felt like leaving you?”
“I know about the incredible circumstances, but those don't matter either! It's not that the feelings are just gone, but I have to look at the big picture, and be my own person... and so do you, for that matter.”
“Well look bigger then!” said Harry, “Because in the biggest picture my own person loves your own person and that's all there is to it.”
And with that he leaned in and kissed her again. And again she pulled away a moment later, and for one wild second he thought she might slap him, but instead she smiled and started to cry as she said, “And my own person loves your own person back!”
“It's late.” Said Ginny, many heated minutes later, as they watched the sky slowly turn lighter through the windows in the Leaky Cauldron. Whether fortunately or not, they had been unable to leave the dining room for someplace with a bed, because Harry was sharing his room with Ron, and Ginny was sharing one with Hestia Jones.
“Yeah; it's a good thing we got this sorted out now,” said Harry, “In case Voldemort pops in here bright and early tomorrow to quiz me on the status of my relationship with you.”
Ginny giggled, “Your intentions, more like.”
“Nah, you've got six older brothers, you really don't need an evil overlord.”
In one giant and not-so-incredible twist of fate, by the following night Harry had been subjected to a meeting with Voldemort, and had lived, once more, to tell the tale of it, this time forever. Voldemort was dead and it took a throng of reporters all of about three hours to come banging on Harry's door, where he had been in the midst of celebrating and recovering in peace with the remaining members of his adoptive family, to ask him, above all things, what it was like facing Voldemort, for as soon as he had died the spell over his name had been broken, and no one was afraid to say it anymore.
“Oh well, it was about like you might expect really,” said Harry from the doorstep, as the crowd fell silent to hear him, “There was the usual: name calling, blood, arguing, torture... a pop-quiz on my relationship with Ginny Weasley.”
A few reporters smiled uncertainly as they hastily scribbled down things like 'hero unhinged--Cruciatus?' and before they began to fire more questions at him, a laugh rang out from inside.
“And what did you tell him?” asked Ginny, appearing in the doorway at Harry's side.
“I told him to hurry up and snuff it already so I could go make out with my girlfriend,” he said, turning to her, before addressing the reporters once more, “And I'm about to say something similar to this lot.”
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A/N: The title is inspired by a poem by my fellow Capricorn Khalil Gibran,fromThe Prophet (the book, not the fictional newspaper) On Love
Not that I haven't already hinted enough, but it's my birthday, so a REALLY REALLY great present for me would be if I got a bunch of honest reviews...I'll know if you're lying! ;-P
And believe it or not, it's still not over!
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