|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
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: 43777; Chapter Total: 4049
NEW A/N: This has now been slightly tweaked (again, less than 100 words difference) to comply with new canon. Enjoy!
In return for what will be the best summer of my life.
The Unavoidable Regression Into Ginny
You’d never think it if you knew him now, but there was only one person more opposed to the idea of a seventh Weasley child than me, and that was Bill. Given the more significant age gap between myself and Percy, Bill and I had always been friends apart from the rest of the family. We had our share of typical childhood squabbles, but it was only because our places in the big picture were so close together. We were both annoyed by Percy, mildly amused by the twins, rather indifferent to Ron, and resentful towards Mum and Dad for making us baby-sit the lot all the time. We exacted our revenge in the same way: by being so lazy and irresponsible with the boys that Mum would more often than not prefer to just look after them herself.
Upon hearing the news that Mum was pregnant with a seventh child, Bill and I stared at Dad blankly, before looking at each other and saying in unison,
“Why would she do that?”
Talking about our feelings and trying to work out our hostilities was of course repulsive and out of the question, so I’ve never had the chance to ask Bill what drove him to co-found AAWS (Activists Against Weasley Sprawl), but I know that to me it was a simple matter of not understanding why on earth we were going through all this trouble to bring another girl into the world. Few showed any interest in our little organization: we were the only two members; but at one point I dared Bill to approach Professor Snape and ask him to make a contribution, and surprisingly enough (or not), he gave him six Galleons and kicked him out the door.
That following summer was rough, due to the events of the previous March, and neither of us had the heart to complain when it seemed that everything around us was already whining and crying. As we sat silently outside the room where Mum was giving birth, watching the sun sink blood red behind the darkening trees outside the window at the end of the hall, I remember wondering why Bill looked so grave and assuming that he was dreading the new baby as much as I was…
But when Mum asked him through tears of joy if he’d like to hold her, instead of sulking with me, he nodded as she placed Ginny in his arms. And his eyes watered as he swallowed, beholding her little pink face for the first time.
“She’s so small,” he said, looking up at Dad like a deer caught in the headlights. And from that moment until we got on the train to Hogwarts, Bill was the most devoted brother Mum could have dreamed of, and a bloody traitor. He carried Ginny around with him whenever Mum could bear to part with her, talking to her, telling her what was going on and why certain things were the way they were. He told her stories and read her books and rocked her to sleep, and because he was Bill, he managed to make it all look cool. I remember waking up thirsty in the middle of a stormy night, and I went downstairs to get a drink. From the humid kitchen I saw him standing on the porch holding her as she rested her head on his chest. I stayed deathly still as they watched the thunder and lightening while he swayed her back and forth, as if slow dancing, and over the steady roar of the rainfall I could have sworn I heard him singing.
And so, being somewhat abandonded by my former best mate, I took Ron as my new partner, and together we staunchly refused to be reduced to gushing in adoration over that ridiculously tiny little girl. He never exactly expressed any explicit disdain over the new baby, given that he wasn’t quite eighteen months yet, but I assumed that he was resentful that he had been replaced as the youngest, and he never contradicted me. Ron soon replaced Bill as co-president of AAWS, and during those first few years of Ginny’s life we had some good times together as we waited for the rest of the family to realize how ridiculous they were being.
As Ginny grew out of babyhood and the hype around her began to subside, so did the tenacity of our boycott. By the time she and Ron were children my philosophy had evolved into one of simply refusing to favor her just because she was our darling baby girl, and in my hidden agenda was the confession that I was predisposed to doggedly deny that she held any special charm for me. This became increasingly difficult to do with each passing year as her giggles and chirpy voice practiced on my surly barriers, and I never would have guessed that the day she did considerable damage to my Comet Two-Fifty would be the day I’d finally surrender–but it was. I’d been trying to convince myself for years that while I was obligated to love her, I found her obnoxious and tiresome, but the moment I perceived in her big brown eyes that she believed it to be true, but would face me with a stiff upper lip all the same I lost my will perpetuate the front any longer. I sank to my knees and gave her a hug that would have put bears to shame, and from there on out, no matter how I seemed to judge or disapprove I was secretly wrapped around her little finger–right next to Bill.
I’ll deny that I find her irresistibly charming, just like he will deny that he ever expected otherwise.
Now only once in my life have I ever had the misfortune of asking Ginny who she fancied, and having my ears go numb from the endless stream of disconnected, redundant fantasies about how wonderful Harry Potter was, and how much she really liked him. It was years ago, in her third year, when I’d come to Hogwarts with the dragons for the Triwizard Tournament. I made up some story for her about having business here concerning some illegal horntail eggs, and we had dinner together at Hagrid’s.
Halfway through the meal we heard a roar coming from the enclosure and Hagrid begged off to see what was happening. After we had caught up with one another and exhausted the usual topics I made the mistake of mentioning Harry and before I knew it she was giving me his detailed biography in accordance with her opinions. I had never been so utterly disappointed in her- her IQ seemed to have dropped twenty points while raving about him, as she praised every possible aspect of his person, and yet had to admit off-handedly that she’d never actually spoken to him more than five or six times.
I delighted in the silence that followed, after she ran out of steam and simply stared off into the distance with a wistful look in her eyes. After a rather long time of this, she spoke again, in a much calmer tone, like she’d just come back to earth.
“I’m really stupid, aren’t I?” she said, her eyes filming over with tears. If she was fishing for reassurance she was asking the wrong brother.
“Yup,” I said, not bothering to be gentle.
She began to cry.
“I’m sorry- I can’t help it-“ she sobbed.
“Listen to yourself!” I said, finally raising my voice above her whining, “You barely know the kid! You don’t talk to him, you don’t make an effort to get to know him, you just sit around and cry about him because you fancy the idea of being in love. You’re not in love with him, and if you are, you’re stupid–because he doesn’t care about you in that way at all. And the poor bloke’s done nothing to deserve your tears, so just stop it!”
She did, thank the Merlin. She looked hurt beyond tears, but it didn’t make me sorry because I knew I was right.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said lightly, “You’re just thirteen, it happens to the smartest of girls.”
I haven’t thought about that day for a long time now. But the knowing glances passed between a few of the more intuitive parties as we sit at the dinner table and my natural train of thought as I contemplated Ginny and Harry inevitably led me to think of that unfortunate conversation years ago. But things have changed quite a bit since then, and I feel obligated to consider the possibility that Ginny really does have deep, significant feelings for him.
And now it’s become more difficult to ignore certain things about the way they’ve grown in relation to one another: Ginny’s unaccountable talent for stopping him dead in his tracks, Harry’s natural means of bringing out a palpable authenticity in her smiles just by being in the room, and the seamless way they unwittingly take it in turns to look at each other when they think no one will notice. They’re quickly transcending their former relationship, growing from a few people’s wishful suspicions to the assumption of a single entity in everyone’s minds. Mum has begun seating them next to each other at meals more often, and she and Remus and Dad like to smile fondly at one another every time Harry and Ginny make each other laugh. Ron and Hermione especially seem to know something about the two of them that we don’t. And while everyone seems pleasantly surprised at this new development I’m fairly smug to declare that I saw it coming.
I first became suspicious years ago, when we all went to the Quidditch World Cup and Harry refrained from looking at Ginny too much because every time he did she was liable to fall down or break something. But I knew even then that if avoiding her and being kindly indifferent was his strategy the boy was doomed, because one way or another she’d get under his skin–I was sure of it. After the regrettable conversation in Hagrid’s hut a few months later I resolved not to touch the subject with the end of a Quidditch hoop lest Ginny start hyperventilating.
But when I saw them both again nearly three years later I couldn’t help but to marvel over the way the way things had changed between them. They had grown up. Ginny was nearly sixteen, and prettier than any of us had ever expected her to be (which, granted, isn’t saying a lot), and Harry looked drastically less like a baby turtle and more like your typical, run-of-the-mill hero.
But it wasn’t just that Harry’s shoulders had broadened, or that Ginny had filled out in the right places, but neither of them seemed like children anymore. Indeed, they didn’t even seem like teenagers so much as… dare I say it? Adults.
Harry seemed to be handling the death of his mentor and weight of the world in a very mature fashion, and his face had the noble, nearly aloof countenance of someone who was certainly struggling, but refusing to suffer. Ginny had grown more selfless and independent than one might have expected the youngest and most overtly adored of seven children to be, talking less and doing more–sharing all of her reasons for laughing and none of her troubles.
The biggest change between them seemed to be that she was no longer infatuated with him. She talked in front of him, and I knew he hadn’t failed to notice how graceful she was once she started concentrating on what was going on instead of him. And while everyone else was busy accepting the fact that Ginny no longer fancied Harry, I was silently praying for the boy: without her crippling crush on him, there was no telling what she might be capable of eventually reducing him to.
By Christmastime not a lot had changed to the unobservant, but upon closer inspection I couldn’t help but notice that Harry avoided talking to her whenever his mood was resolutely foul, because he seemed to have noticed on some level that if he let her in even an inch he ran the risk of forgetting what was so terrible. It made me wonder what he did when he didn’t even want to feel wretched anymore.
My suspicions were further solidified the next time I saw Harry and Ginny. We were sitting in a waiting room in the maternity ward at St. Mungo’s in the middle of a late April night, waiting for Bill’s baby to be born. He and Mum were in the room with Fleur, and every time she screamed it was joined by a yelp from Bill, and I swear I could almost hear the bones breaking in his hand. As the hours dwindled away, so did the number of conscious people in the waiting room, until Harry and Ginny, who had gotten the raw end of the seating arrangements and were sitting on a smallish, hard wooden bench were the only people still uncomfortable enough to have stayed awake–besides me, the self-proclaimed insomniac. I watched them out of the corner of my eye, as they said nothing, and simply sat there in silence, each looking painfully aware of the other’s presence.
I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, wondering what would happen if they perceived themselves to be alone. There was still silence, and after several minutes, I snuck a peak at them. Harry looked tired, and had dark circles under his eyes, but Ginny was in a state of exhausted limbo. Her eyes kept shutting, as she drifted off, but then her body would relax and she’d begin to slump over, causing her to jerk suddenly awake, only to start to fall in the other direction a few moments later. Harry was watching her with a furrowed brow,
“You can lie down if you want,” he said quietly, as though it should have been assumed. Ginny might have protested, had she been just an ounce less tired than she was, but the poor thing all but collapsed onto his shoulder and fell asleep at last. He glanced down at the top of her head, and then inevitably to the other places their bodies were touching, and his face turned a subtle shade pinker, but also present was a look that I was not expecting. All this time I had assumed that he was trying not to fall in love with her, but as he stared longingly down on her when he thought no one else could see him it was plainly obvious that he had already fallen in love with her–long ago, no doubt, and was now trying to extricate himself before the world found out about it. I closed my eyes again with a grain of satisfaction in me, and when I peeked again a minute later, Harry had fallen asleep as well.
My hunch quickly proved to be accurate–over the next few days he continued to avoid laying eyes on her, but now I knew it was because every time he did it took a little longer than it should have to take them away again. Everyone could sense him pulling away from something, but few recognized what or who he was trying not to let in. Remus and I mused over this one evening in April. He seemed to think there was reason to worry for Harry and his tendency to push emotionally loaded things away from himself, but I couldn’t bring myself to be concerned,
“If you think it’s Ginny that’s he’s trying not to care about, I wouldn’t worry too much,” I said as we cleared away the plates from dinner, having told Mum we’d wash them tonight, “He can try, but it won’t last–he’ll see reason eventually–she’ll wear him down.”
Remus didn’t look entirely convinced yet,
“Well, I hope so–Harry is terribly determined himself.”
That night as I climbed into bed my mind was still pondering the matter of Harry and Ginny. I remembered how I'd once been so determined to be completely unimpressed with her, and how she'd hung around and eventually lodged herself firmly into my affections. Harry could push her away because he was afraid of his feelings, or afraid for her safety, but as I sat watching the minutes creep by on my bedside clock I knew that no matter how stubborn he may be, he was a goner. Once she'd gotten a hold of him there was nothing to save him from sliding down that slippery slope into her mud-pie eyes. He could brood, he could sulk, he could push, he could snap, he could yell, but some things are meant to be, and no matter what he did he couldn't stop the unavoidable regression into loving Ginny.
A/N: You have no idea how much a good, thoughtful review inspires me and allows me to write quickly. They really mean a lot!
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