Miss Butter Elbows by sapphire200182

Summary: Ginny has a hard time dealing with it, when the gossip columns pounce on one particularly personal childhood story. Cute little story in honour of our girl's birthday!
Rating: PG starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Post-Hogwarts
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2021.08.12
Updated: 2021.08.12

Miss Butter Elbows by sapphire200182
Chapter 1: Miss Butter Elbows
Author's Notes:

Miss Butter Elbows

It had started, naturally enough, with Ron’s mouth.

But they only heard about it when this headline appeared on the masthead of the Daily Prophet:

The Love That Began With An Elbow In The Butter Dish

“Because of course, when he’s not stuffing his mouth with either food or Hermione, this is the kind of rot that comes out of it,” grumbled Ginny.

Harry let out a guffaw, then shut his own mouth as Ginny turned her dangerously flashing eyes on him.

“Ron didn’t intend to let himself be overheard,” objected Hermione, stung by Ginny’s remark. “He was reminiscing with George about amusing stories of you as a child, Ginny, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Ginny flared up, of course. “Oh yes, that makes it all better, my life is only unintentionally being ruined because my gobshite brother decided to yammer about one stupid butter dish incident at the bloody bar of the Leaky Cauldron where everyone and their mothers can hear, and now it’s national fucking news because nobody has anything better to do it seems than to pore over every detail of my childhood, just because I’m Harry Potter’s girlfriend!

“Just ignore them,” said Hermione calmly, spreading marmalade on her toast. “They’re always writing equally-ludicrous nonsense about Ron’s Auror missions, and my elf rights work, and there are dozens of books and hundreds of newspaper articles about every detail of Harry’s life. This is a drop in the ocean compared to all that, you shouldn’t let it bother you. It’s only words anyway. Now, I really need to go, I need to look up something in the Ministry library,” she said, stuffing her sandwich in her mouth. “Fee ‘oo a’er.”

Harry shook his head as Hermione and her bulging briefcase vanished into the Floo before Ginny could do more than hiss in outrage. Some things stayed the same, even as they changed. At least Ron was away on a field operation for a couple of days, so the squabbling wasn’t quite as violent as it could have been... He reached over and gently tugged the Daily Prophet’s Entertainment section out of Ginny’s hands.

“Don’t read that stuff, please,” he said. “Hermione’s right. About the ignoring bit, maybe not about Ron,” he amended hastily, as Ginny’s head whipped round.

“I can’t just close my eyes and pretend it all doesn’t exist like Hermione and you do,” snapped Ginny. “This is my private life “ our private life “ that they’re prying into, and it’s not fair, or even accurate. People will read what they’ve written and get an idea of us that just isn’t true. And Hermione’s wrong; it’s not ‘only words’. Words are important. Words have power.”

Yes, and nobody would know that better than Ginny Weasley, reflected Harry. “I know, Ginny.” He pushed his chair back and patted his lap. She came over and sat down, sideways, and pushed a hand through his hair fondly.

“I did not love you just because you were the ‘Boy-Who-Lived’,” said Ginny. “You are nothing like what they write about you, and that is what I love about you.”

“And I love you because you are brave and clever and funny and understanding,” Harry said. He thought for a moment. “And also because you wrote amazing poetry, yeah that was when I knew...”

“Harry!” Ginny slapped his chest, giggling.

Harry caught the assaulting hand and kissed it. “I’m sorry you’re having to go through all this. And I’ll have a word with Ron about careless talk in public.”

“Never mind, maybe I did overreact,” said Ginny. “Tomorrow they’ll print something else about someone else and the idiots will forget all about this in no time.”

* * *

Unfortunately, this story had more repercussions than the usual gossip-rag rubbish ordinarily did.

That weekend, the Holyhead Harpies played the Appleby Arrows.

In the visiting players’ tunnel of the Arrows’ stadium in Cumbria, Ginny sat astride her Firebolt Premier, waiting calmly for the fly-off to be announced. She knew she was in decent form, not too hot, not too cold, just balanced on the plateau of steady performance that professional sport players strove for. She was still the youngest Chaser on the First Seven, both a novice and a rising star, and enjoying both the challenge and the attention from other players.

“...aaaand WEASLEY!” shouted the announcer, and she streaked onto the pitch, half her brain ice-cold and concentrating on wheeling into formation while keeping mark on the Arrows’ Chasers, half her brain wriggling with the sheer bloody joy of playing league Quidditch. Crowd of about two thousand, decent for a mid-season match. She spared a glance and a big smile for the Top Box where she knew Harry would be watching for her with his Omnioculars. Then it was down to business.

The first ten minutes went well. Ginny dodged several Bludgers, did her primary job of feeding the Quaffle forward, and scored two goals herself. She dropped the Quaffle twice and missed one goal, and Gwenog snapped at her to get her play back on the level, and she was still fine. All part of the game.

Then she found herself with the Quaffle and heading for the goals with only one Appleby Chaser, Julia Hartley, a couple of feet behind her twigs. She got in range, raised the Quaffle to throw… and then had it stripped off her by Hartley, suddenly darting in.

“So long, Miss Butter Elbows,” called Hartley over her shoulder as she wheeled round, deliberately slowing down just enough so Ginny could hear her taunt.

For a brief instant Ginny was eleven again, not twenty-two, and her broom wobbled as she stared at Hartley’s rapidly-departing back in shock. Then the utter fury kicked in and she yelled “BITCH!” as she gave chase, but by then Hartley was too far away to hear of course.

Fuming, she kept an eagle-eye on Hartley, even as she continued playing, and just ten minutes later found her opportunity; she had the Quaffle again and Hartley flew in to intercept.

“Choke on a Flobberworm, Hartley, you piss-haired minger!” Ginny snarled at the blonde Arrow as she came in and scrabbled for the ball in Ginny’s grip.

“Give me the Quaffle again, Butter Elbows,” Hartley shot back, but this time Hartley’s perfect little button nose was in striking range of the aforementioned body part.

Even she could hear the crack of breaking cartilage over the roars of the crowd and the whistling slipstream, and Ginny got her one moment of savage satisfaction.

But the referee blew his whistle, and awarded the Arrows the penalty, which put them up 80-50, and Hartley was back in the game in no time with her nose healed. The Arrows sensed blood in the water, and homed in. They knew what worked on her now; calls of “Miss Butter Elbows!” and “Butterfingers!” was the theme of the match and it all went downhill from there, the Harpies eventually crashing out at 570-200.

Gwenog and the other Chasers made it clear in no uncertain terms whose fault they thought it was.

The post-game one-match ban for aggravated cobbing didn’t help.

The Weasleys, as always, rallied round. Mum visited and entreated Ginny to be more sportsmanlike, but the lecture was accompanied by a Hagrid-sized honey cake. Bill and Charlie wrote outright congratulatory notes, Percy sent a box of chocolate-dipped eclairs that spoke for itself, and George sent nothing, but the Appleby Arrows spent three days scrubbing magically-resistant graffiti of decomposing apple cores from the walls of their stadium.

The ban and extra practice Gwenog laid down as internal punishment rankled, but Ginny didn’t let it show. “If you heard the sound her nose made you’d have thought it was worth it too,” she crowed over burgers and Butterbeers at Grimmauld Place.

Ron, usually the other most voluble Quidditch commentator in the house, wisely kept his mouth zipped on the whole affair. Hermione too said nothing, by long-established policy steering clear of anything approaching controversy in the realm of Quidditch.

So it was left to Harry, who said softly, “Are the things they’re saying getting to you?”

The tips of Ginny’s ears reddened slightly. “I’m fine, it was just the shock that’s all. The next game, I’ll be more prepared.”

“You know I’m worried for you, right?” said Harry. “It’s silly, but… well, consider it fair play since I’m the one always gone looking for Dark wizards. My turn to be having kittens over you,” he said, trying to turn it into a joke.

“You’re right, Harry, it is silly,” said Ginny. “Everyone tries to throw everyone off-kilter, it’s part of the game, and my whole career they’ve always been winding me up over our relationship. This is just another twist in the tale. I can handle it, alright?” she said sharply. “They won’t get the better of me again. It’s just words.”

And then she changed the subject to the pictures Charlie had sent of his favourite new dragon.

* * *

Although she didn’t fool him one bit, Ginny worked hard at keeping up a brave front and pretending everything was going fine. But Harry knew matters had come to a head when he came home one evening a week later to find her hunched over a cup of tea in the kitchen, knees drawn up to her chin and staring into space. “Ginny?”

She started out of her reverie. “Oh, hi, Harry,” she said in an uncommonly high voice bursting with false cheer. “I didn’t know you’d be back so early. Um... what’s for dinner tonight?” She turned her back to him and pretended to fuss with the plates and cutlery on the sideboard. “Oh, I think Hermione’s made curry. Well that’s a new one for her recipe book, haha...”

Harry knew that high-pitched tone. It was the one Ginny got when she was fighting back tears. Ginny Weasley did not cry, not over nothing at any rate. If that hadn’t already been a part of her psyche before, it certainly was after facing Tom Riddle at eleven, Dementors at twelve, Death Eaters in the Ministry, Death Eater teachers in school, and Death Eaters on a battlefield. Crying was for serious matters like being possessed by a Dark wizard or losing a brother. Not for mere words.

He went over and put his arms around her, his cheek on her head, held on tight and closed his eyes. “You can tell me,” he said quietly.

“It’s nothing, just some stupid nonsense some cow said at practice,” said Ginny fiercely. “It’s one thing hearing trash talk from the opposing team, I shouldn’t bloody well have to get it from my own team-mates. And that bitch Gwenog just said it’s all ‘part of the game’. I’ll show her ‘part of the game’, I’ve a good mind to resign just before the Catapults match, see how she likes that. One Chaser down and nobody on the Second Seven up to scratch. Professional Quidditch is a joke anyway. I don’t have to put up with this crap. I can do anything I like. I can be a gossip columnist. Then I can write all about how Tabitha’s big fat arse matches her big fat lip when she misses the Snitch and gets all pouty...”

Harry held her and let her rant on in this vein until she’d got it all out of her system. If he felt hot angry tears drop on his forearms, he said nothing about it. Everyone knew Ginny Weasley did not cry.

* * *

Some four days after, it was a typical lazy Sunday morning in Grimmauld Place.

Harry and Ginny were alone as this week Ron and Hermione were having breakfast with the Drs Granger. As usual, Ginny Flooed over from the Burrow “ her official and increasingly rarely-used residence “ first thing in the morning, and together they assembled a breakfast of toast, sausage, and eggs. It was Harry who got the morning post and papers from the study where the delivery owl had left them. He laid the package down on the kitchen table “ it was bulked up by the weekly magazine subscriptions “ and started eating.

Ginny picked up the first paper, which happened to be the Sunday Prophet. “What on earth is this?!”

HARRY POTTER: “Actually, The First Time I Met Her
I Ran Into A Brick Wall”

“Funny, I don’t seem to recall that,” said Ginny thoughtfully.

“It’s technically true,” said Harry through a mouthful of eggs. “It was the 9 and 3/4 platform divider. It does give the appearance of being a brick wall, you know.”

“I doubt you even knew my name back then,” said Ginny. She flicked to page three of the entertainment pullout. “This article’s rubbish, they make out as if you were completely besotted, you were eleven years old for heaven’s sake. We’d barely even said hello!”

“Hmm...” said Harry non-commitally.

“Wait, when did you even say this?”

“I might have been having a drink at the Ministry canteen a couple of days ago and been too indiscreet,” said Harry. “Silly me.”

He didn’t fool Ginny for even a second. Her eyes narrowed, and she tossed the Prophet aside and picked up the next paper. It was Witch Weekly.

“It Was Really My Elbow In The Butter”

“What’s that even supposed to mean?” Ginny’s eyes raced down the page. “ ‘Overheard in London, Harry Potter claims he was the one who put his elbow in the butter when they first met, not Ginny Weasley. This is yet another example of witches taking the pratfall for something a wizard did...’. But that’s not true,” she said, looking up. “It was me.”

Harry shrugged. “You know what they say, you can’t trust everything you read in the paper.”

“How did they even get this particular idea in their silly heads anyway?”

“Well... It could just be that somebody overheard something while someone was having a pint in the Three Broomsticks...”

Ginny snatched up the next paper, this week’s Snitch!, the leading Quidditch magazine in Wizarding Britain, and the one that harrassed Harry and Ginny the most, even after the Prophet.

Boy-Who-Lived: Fell In Love When Harpies Chaser
Pelted Him With Strawberry Jam!

She had to bite her knuckle for a few moments to keep a straight face at the ridiculous headline. “Now that one’s just completely made up!”

“And they’re going to find out soon enough, and then no one will put the least bit of credence in the original article,” said Harry, coming round and sweeping her up in his arms. “Goodbye, butter dish.”

Ginny giggled. “Oh, Harry. Did you do all this?”

“Did I misuse my Auror training to track down our favourite gossip merchants, drop by their watering holes and accidentally let slip a few not-quite-truths in their hearing? Yes, I did,” he admitted. “Was it all my plan? No, you’ll have to thank Ron and Hermione for coming up with it, and being my drinking mates so I could babble to them about my girlfriend in my cups.”

At the mention of her brother Ginny scowled. “He’s still a gobby idiot.”

“Perhaps. But he’s at least partly made up for it, wouldn’t you say? And the important thing is that nobody’s going to care about the state of your elbows after this, especially after you score another twelve goals an hour in the next match.”

Twelve goals an hour was her current single-match scoring record with the Harpies, won over a furious slugfest with the Ballycastle Bats, and Ginny didn’t think she’d repeat the feat anytime soon, not unless she got a serious leg up in her Quidditch ability. It was adorable though how enthusiastic and confident Harry was. For that, and all he had done, he deserved a smooch; so Ginny pulled him into range. “C’mere you,” she murmured.

The kiss turned hot and heavy, as Ginny hooked one leg around Harry’s waist and his hands ran over her body. Inevitably, they overbalanced and Ginny sprawled on her back across the table as Harry fell on top of her, both of them giggling madly.

Ginny propped herself up on one elbow and fondly stroked the tousled black head gazing up at her from around her midriff. It was then that she felt something cold and slimy and familiar around the region of her left elbow. She raised her arm and inspected it; sure enough, a big blob of yellow grease was smeared across the skin of her elbow.

Harry followed the direction of her gaze, and then those serious green eyes travelled back up to stare into her own. Slowly, deliberately, he bent down, and licked the butter off her elbow in one long sensuous lap, never taking his eyes off hers. His tongue was soft and warm and moist and reminded Ginny of other times and other parts of her he had used it on. “Mmm,” he purred, deep and throaty, “hello there, my Little Miss Butter Elbows.”

Ginny didn’t quite break her personal record for the Getting Out Of Her T-Shirt dash, but then there were extenuating circumstances, as she was also reaching for the jam at the same time.

What happened next was one story that would never hit the headlines, mainly because only two people ever knew about it, and neither of them was Ron Weasley.

Before the Butter Dish allegation finally faded from public memory, the Tutshill Tornadoes’ lead Chaser referenced the incident one last time at the next match. Hearing it, Ginny smiled ferally, and proceeded to score fifteen goals in the next hour.

That story was never brought up again.


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