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SIYE Time:2:58 on 17th August 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
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 531
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: 43778; Chapter Total: 4017







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For Nick,
Who is always funny
And always wonderful,
Even when he’s not.


~*~
Fred Had No Regrets




A really keen observer might have noticed that after the Charlie’s notorious tongue-lashing in the hotel in Egypt, the amount of teasing I endured from the twins lightened ever so slightly, and for some strange reason, they never saw reason to take the mickey out of me when certain older brothers were within earshot. But one couldn’t expect to deny them entirely of their favorite hobby, and so things were relatively normal again by the time we had returned to school for my second year.

To be honest, I don’t really mind the teasing so much. I’ve come to understand that in their own odd, ironic way, they’re just letting me know that they love me. People who don’t know us well are often appalled by the things they say to me, which has its own benefits in that they invariably come away with an image of me as this amazing, resilient, duck-thing who allows even the meanest of taunts to simply roll off her back.

That’s not entirely the truth. For the most part, I get a good laugh and don’t think anything of it, but every now and then, even the most impervious of ducks get hurt. I think the last time they made me cry was nearly a year ago.

It was sometime in the fall of my fourth year, and I was standing around outside the Great Hall waiting for lunch with the twins and their usual posse, which always included, but was not limited to, Lee, Angelina, Alicia, and Katie. I had just noticed that Lee’s prefect badge looked quite a bit fancier than the one Percy had worn two years ago, and I commented vaguely on this as I reached out to feel the new engravings on it. I noticed after a moment that the rest of the groups’ conversations had fallen silent and Lee was looking at me with a strange expression on his face.

Then someone came up behind me and I felt them drag my arm away, and I knew that I was powerless to stop whatever joke was coming,

“No Ginny,” said Fred gently, as he took my shoulders and pulled me back, “Lee doesn’t have your boobs. But don’t you worry, kid, we’ll keep an eye out for them.”

The effect was instantaneous: Fred, George, Lee, and Alicia burst into laughter, the latter quickly recovering herself and trying to look disapproving. Angelina and Katie looked like they were about to break their ribs from suppressing it, but they too seemed to understand the humiliation of being teased about one's lack of physical development. I merely stood there with a numb look on my face, my mouth agape as I tried to think of something–anything to say.

“Fred,” struggled Angelina reproachfully, looking as though she had the hiccups, “that wasn't funny–at all.”

Alicia grabbed me and gave me a hug. “I’m sorry Ginny. Don’t listen to him, he’s a git.”

The girls gathered around me and told me various words of assurance, but I could tell that they weren’t really angry with Fred–merely sorry that the joke had come at my expense. And indeed I was right, because when I excused myself to use the loo, by the time I had crossed the entrance hall, they were all laughing again.

By the time I had reached the toilet, my emotions caught up with me and for the first time in a long time I collapsed in a stall and cried, just for a minute. When I was finished I stood up and fixed my skirt, feeling much better. I straightened out the bunches and wrinkles in my blouse, and when my hands passed over my breasts, they stopped for a moment. I looked down at them, and said without thinking,

“It’s all right, girls. I don’t care if you’re small, I love you anyways.”

I took a deep breath and opened the stall door to find Pansy Parkinson arching an eyebrow at me in a sickeningly delighted way. I felt my face burn, and a small, strangled moan escaped me, and I promptly made a run for it.

After that humiliating relapse into squeaky-little-girl mode, the rest of the day passed as smoothly as it could, considering. I was determinedly avoiding and ignoring Fred, under the ridiculous impression that I might get him to apologize for the mortification he had inflicted on me. Much to my chagrin, he failed to even notice my frostiness until that evening, as I sat in the common room reading the chapter Umbridge had assigned us.

“Hey Ginny,” he said, flopping down in the armchair next to mine. “How’s life treating you?”

I didn’t answer him. He gave a bothered sigh.

“If this is about this afternoon... Come on Ginny, you know I was just kidding.”

“That was really mean!” I burst. I knew I wasn’t actually going to cry just then, but if I hitched my voice up just a little and put on the expression like I was going to, it got my point across much better.

“Ginny, it was a joke!” he said exasperatedly, missing the point entirely. “It was a dumb joke, it was no big deal.”

“You humiliated me!” I said, my voice incredulous and higher still. “In front of all your friends! It’s one thing to do it in front of my friends, but in front of yours is even worse.”

“Whoa whoa whoa,” he said, holding up his hands. “Back up here. Since when do you have friends?”

It’s hard to stop yourself from laughing, and it’s hard to stop yourself from crying, but it’s downright painful to try to stop them both at once. There wasn’t a facet of my mind that found this even remotely funny. I was in pain–I wanted to cry. ...And yet the muscles in my abdomen began to spasm in spite of myself! It was cruel, the way he made you laugh when all you wanted was for him to understand the pain he could inflict for the sake of good fun. But the cheeky prat just smiled back.

“See! That’s just what I do–I make jokes. I’m not serious, you should know this by now.”

“It still hurts,” I said quietly. “I won’t be able to look Lee Jordan in the face for weeks.”

He rolled his eyes, and said bluntly, “Like that makes a difference, you know he fancies you.”

I whipped my head back at him so fast I felt a stabbing pain in my neck. He was now lying back comfortably across the overstuffed armchair, facing away from me, languidly tossing a key ring into the air and catching it again,

“What?”

“Lee fancies you,” said Fred, as though it wouldn’t come as a shock to me. “Couldn’t you tell?”

“No!” I sputtered.

“Oh.” He quickly craned his head back over the arm of the chair to give me an upside down glance, and then resumed his tossing and catching. “Well everyone else could.”

My head was spinning.

“What?” I said faintly, “Wh–how?”

“Well for one thing, he’s always staring at you,” he said, “and he’s written ‘Ginny is sexy’ in Magic Marker in most of the boys toilets…”

“That’s a lie,” I shot, and I knew he was grinning, even if I couldn’t see his face entirely.

“Okay fine, that one is.” He craned back over the arm again and gave me a smile that said he was quite pleased with himself, and then settled back down. “But he honestly did steal a picture of you from George’s trunk and now he sleeps with it under his pillow.”

I had been massaging my eyes with the heels of my hands, and I got distracted for a moment, amazed at the thought that George had a picture of me in the first place... but then I remembered what was going on and I pulled my hands away from my eyes and glared at the top of Fred’s head,

“And you and George just–let this happen? No big-brother-vigilante issues, not even a ‘hey, how 'bout you stop ogling my sister’?”

He craned his head back once again, and then went back to occupying himself.

“Don’t get your pants in a twist,” he said lightly, “it’ll blow over in a couple of weeks. Lee’s always crazy about somebody, you’re just the latest.”

I ignored the tactlessness of this last comment, determined to get to the bottom of the situation. Because, you know, there's always more incentive to get to the bottom of the situation when the situation in question involves someone fancying you.

“I still don’t understand–why me? Doesn’t he fancy someone his own age? Or someone who’s, you know, good-looking?”

“Oh I dunno,” said Fred, still maddeningly nonchalant, tossing the keys up and down, without a care in the world, “you hang around us quite a bit, and it’s not like you’re hideous or anything.” He paused, and then said as an afterthought, as he stretched back yet again to look at me, “You know Gin, you really ought to have more self-esteem.”

I rolled my eyes in frustration, and nearly leapt off the couch to strangle him, but he chose that moment to stand up and excuse himself.

“I’m hungry. Think I’ll go nick something from the kitchens…”

I watched him stroll jovially across the common room and out the portrait hole, and only after he’d gone did I realize that I never did manage to get him to apologize. I let out an aggravated growl at his almost unwitting cleverness and stomped upstairs to my dorm.

You see, the biggest difference between Fred and George is that Fred is George, only more. He’s more offhanded, more spontaneous, more reckless, and far more unabashed. He’s funnier, drier, and blunter, and if George lives for the day, Fred lives for the moment.

It’s not nearly as charming as it sounds. For example: I’m sure George’s skull is an inch thick, so by the Fred-is-more logic, you can bet that his is at least two inches. George did his very best to ignore any guilt and remorse he might have felt after my first year, but Fred succeeded.

Talking to him seriously is like trying to hold water in your hands. You could have all the justification in the world to be angry with him, but the moment you allow yourself to confront him, he makes a few remarks that you weren’t expecting, and suddenly your point seems silly if it’s not vanished completely.

And in the event that you manage to make him admit that he was wrong, or to get him to apologize–which you simply cannot do unless he allows it–as soon as you’ve obtained that apology it doesn’t seem to ease your mind and you’re left with the frustrating feeling that you forgot to tell him something. All while you wonder how he managed to turn that conversation around without you noticing in the first place.

I hate feeling guilty, and I’ve said before that it’s an emotion I’d scarcely wish on anyone, but I wish with all my heart that just once, Fred would feel that pressing weight in his lungs. I wish that just once, he would have that desire to reel the words back in, or turn back time. It’s funny how the very people I want to sick the emotional dogs on are the same people I would die for.

You know–I'm not a very severe person, so it’s hard for me to truly wish harm on someone. And when they're being such a bleeding prat it’s hard for me to truly love someone, but it’s downright painful to try them both at once.


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