Emerald Of My Eyes by sapphire200182



Summary: *March DSTA Romance nominee*It is said in the Wizarding World that witches who wish at midnight on Valentine's Day will have their wishes granted. But is love a little bit too late for a certain female Weasley, burdened by the physical and emotional scars that remain from her experiences during the war?
Rating: PG-13 starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Post-HBP, Post-Hogwarts
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2007.02.05
Updated: 2007.03.09


Emerald Of My Eyes by sapphire200182
Chapter 1: Act 1: Like Any Other Day
Author's Notes:

Emerald of My Eyes


Summary: On midnight of Valentine’s Day, it is said in the Wizarding World that something very special will happen. But is love a little bit too late for a certain Weaselette, burdened by the physical and emotional scars that remain from her experiences during the war? Read and review please!

Disclaimer: I do not intend copyright infringement. I do not intend to profit from JKR’s brilliant work. I do intend to claim this plot and the ‘witches’ limerick’ as rightfully mine.

Author’s Note: Many thanks to my esteemed reviewer GINNY__POTTER258, especially for critical advice concerning girl-talk, several specific incidents and the general plotline…thanks dear!

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ACT 1: Like Any Other Day


At midnight sharp on Valentine’s Day,
When darkest night turns bright and gay,
You may be sure,
Your love is pure,
On the second month and fourteenth day.


—Anon, Old Witches’ Limerick—

Diagon Alley,
14 February 2000


Diagon Alley in the morning is a sight to behold. The shops and stores are a-bustle with gossiping housewitches doing the morning’s marketing, foremen coming in for supplies and tools, Ministry employees having a quick bite to eat before hurrying off, and — most colourful of all — Gringotts staff as they hold meetings over power breakfasts on the street corners.

“…so, Rexmaine…(chomp, chomp)…profits the last quarter in your division have…”

“…analysis of diamond (chomp) production is quite conclusive, Fearingor; Atlantis is not producing as much as it should and I (gulp), Ragmar, intend to find out why…”

“…funny, the reports of (swallow) undersea earthquakes in that area should have clued you in already, Ragmar…”

Diagon Alley’s culinary delights are varied and range from the typical full English breakfast (eggs sunny-side-up, bacon, fried slice, beans, bubble and squeak, fried mushrooms and tomatoes) to certain types of food that requires a more…discerning palate. After all, a by-product of the melting pot of Wizardkind is a stew made up of all sorts of dishes to satisfy all sorts of tastes, and sometimes they clash horribly with all the others.

Fried squirrel on a stick is a favourite with the goblins (who like it with Tabasco), while it is well known Curse Breakers generally prefer filleted dragon and chips. You get the odd vampire sneaking into the Twin Chimaera Pub for a Bloody Mary (no relation of the well-watered down Muggle drink) with sun-proof cloaks draped over head and shoulders…four or five teenage breakers from the Salem Institute asking anxiously after the latest mocktail (“The Warbeck White Lady is an international drink, much as Celestina Warbeck is an international singer…you should really learn to mix it up…”)…

There’s usually an elf or two trying out an illicit Butterbeer at Tom’s Leaky Cauldron establishment (“So early?” asks Tom, but the elves merely grin and nod vigorously), and a tourist hag in snazzy sunshades who comes up to you and asks for directions to the nearest “restaurant that sells kangaroo brains in batter, dear, we’re not picky.”

All along the street, Apparating salesmen hawk their wares (“pin that lovely ‘air up with this Shield-Charmed butterfly brooch, little lady, protect yer pretty ‘ead?”) and on Christmas you could generally find any present in the world for anybody in the world, be it a spellbook or 1890s Chudley Cannons memorabilia (which was the last year anyone manufactured Chudley Cannons memorabilia, seeing as it was the last year they won the league)…

But Ginny Weasley wasn’t looking for any of that today. She strolled along, arm linked with her brother Bill’s, munching on one of Tom’s new Butterzels (they taste just like a cross between Butterbeer and a pretzel) and feeling the bright, hot sun on her face. She leaned on her walking stick, a reminder of the scars she still bore from the war.

The sunshades she wore were also reminders. Reminders that Ginny was here, Ginny was alive…and so many of her friends weren’t. Their names were etched in her memory forever, and she vowed that as long as she was alive, neither the wizarding world nor she would ever forget their selfless sacrifices.

“You’re quite sure you don’t want anything heavier than a Butterzel?” asked Bill concernedly. “You should be taking care of yourself, now…”

“I’m fine, Bill,” said Ginny. “I might have had a touch of the flu, but I feel fine now. It’s a lovely day,” she declared.

Ginny could pick out all sorts of sounds and smells, and they thrilled her. Diagon Alley was a mixture of sounds and smells. Her sharp hearing picked them up — the rustle of vegetables in the corner, the clink of cutlery, the cracks of Apparating salesmen, the hollow pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle, as someone inspected a potion-seller’s merchandise (she could smell it was Amortentia)…

“It sure is, Snug,” nodded Bill.

There was a contingent of American tourists nearby…they appeared to be crowding around a food stall. “Any dragonburgers available here, bud?” she could hear one of them saying.

“Sorry, we don’t serve…umm…dragon whatsits here…” said the flustered stall operator.

“What’s bubble and squeak, Mum?”

“Can we try the Yorkshire pudding? Can we?”

“Gimme a fried rat on a stick, bro. Squirrel, whatever. Yeah, I’ll take that with mayo ‘n ketchup. Thanks bro. You’re a pal.”

Off to Ginny’s left, three kids shuffled in the snow. They were peering at the latest addition to the ‘Quality Quidditch Supplies’ window.

“Look, it’s the new Nimbus Two Thousand Two…”

“Cool…but ‘Which Broomstick’ says the Firebolt’s better ‘cos…”

“That’s way out of our league, mate. Those Firebolts are Premier League stuff, eh, Jock?”

“Aye, I doubt some poor down-and-out ‘uns like them Chudley Cannons or them Wimbourne Wasps could buy ‘em, laddie.”

Ginny giggled; her brother Ron wouldn’t be very happy about that last comment.

“Here, Snug, let me help you up the steps,” said Bill’s voice suddenly.

They were now at the white marble steps outside Gringotts. During operating hours, crowds of goblins and humans streamed in and out of its doors, hurrying around eagerly about their business.

“Don’t be silly,” said Ginny tartly, and took her arm off Bill’s to emphasise her words. “I can walk just fine.”

And so she did, striding proudly up Gringotts’ steps, leaning her walking stick against the wall so she could fish out her wand from her robes, opening the door with a tap of her wand (at seven thirty, it was still closed to the public). She smiled at the watchgoblin who stood by the door and respectfully doffed his cap.

“Morning Searinox!” she called out jovially. “It’s a great day to be out and about.”

“Lovely morning it is, Miss Weasley,” agreed Searinox, Gringotts’ most senior watchgoblin. He had greeted every single Gringotts employee in much the same way for at least forty-five years. “It is a wonderful day of love. In fact,” he chuckled, “it is THE day of love.”

Ginny winced. She’d forgotten it was the fourteenth. Valentine’s Day…ooh, she simply must meet Hermione after this and catch up on the gossip of the witches’ world. Idly, she wondered how Hermione was faring at the Wizarding Orphanage she ran in Hogsmeade…

“See you then, Bill,” she said.

“You’re perfectly fine?” he asked. “If you are, I’ll shove off now.”

Brother and sister embraced, and she stood on tip-toe to give Bill a peck on his cheek. But she missed and kissed his nose instead.

“Bye,” she said, waggling her fingers.

Ginny stepped into one of the offices off Gringotts’ main hall. This was where the Curse Breakers and treasure-hunters would go to value and record their findings. She worked as a valuer here.

The office area looked like any other office in the world. The floor space was divided into several rooms, six in all, sharing a common corridor where the Curse Breakers waited for an office to free up. Coffee, Firewhiskey and Butterbeer was available in the mini-pantry off to one side.

Ginny sank into her easy chair and stowed her bag under her desk. Her wand went on top of the desk, while her purse slid into a drawer. Pulling open a drawer, she felt around and removed a pile of ledgers and accounts-books, a set of golden scales, the albatross-feather quill Hermione had given her, and an inkpot.

“Morning, Miss Weasley,” said Griphook’s distinctive rumble as he passed by outside her open office door and poked a head in.

“Good morning, Griphook. How’re Arachnea and the children?” she replied. Opening another drawer, she pulled out the morning correspondence — hand delivered at six thirty that morning by the mail-goblins — and briskly tapped the sealed letters with her wand.

“They are fine, Miss Weasley. Indeed, little Lupus is beginning to display magical tendencies,” said Griphook. His voice bespoke the pride of every father when his son takes the first few steps of life.

“Great,” mumbled Ginny distractedly. Her fingers danced over the letters. “Dear me, Griphook…Atlantis’s production has dropped another notch.”

“Yes, the earthquakes around that area has greatly affected output this month. That reminds me…a shipment of rubies are coming in from Ophir,” said the goblin. “I shall have to excuse myself. Good day, Miss Weasley.”

“Good day, Griphook,” she muttered.

Ginny’s first job, back in 1998, had originally been as a jeweler’s assistant, at old Hector Rodimus’s Gold and Pawn Shop. News had spread through the goldsmith’s circles of the magic she wrought with her dexterous fingers, pushing and prodding the gold and gems, able to calculate values and prices of diamonds and gemstones more accurately than anyone else. Naturally, when she applied for a job at Gringotts she was accepted.

The day’s first shipment of gold had arrived, and with it separate teams of Curse Breakers bringing home the bacon. Ginny heard the someone knock on her door, and looked up at her first customer.

“Curse Breaker Ernest Macmillan, C-5 rating, here with a load of African diamonds… How do you do, Ginny?” came a slightly pompous voice. A skin bag clunked down onto her desk.

“Ernie! How was your trip to Africa?” said Ginny, as she pulled the bag’s drawstring and, reaching in, picked up the first diamond. It was absolutely huge. “Mmm,” she muttered distractedly, already engrossed with the diamond. It was so big, it had to weight at least forty carats.

“Oh, just great. We opened up a tomb, found a chestful of diamonds in there. This lot’s the last of it, the rest came by express-courier yesterday, Head Office couldn’t wait…”

Her expert fingers danced over the gemstone. Ginny ran a finger over the crown and the pavilion of the diamond, counting the facets — fifty-seven was the current ‘ideal number’ — and tapped the diamond gently with her wand.

The vibrational feedback from the wand clued her in to the diamond’s clarity, quality, and brilliance. The spell calculated the angles of each and every facet, and various other tests, each of which produced a different vibration in the wand and Ginny translated the meanings of this sign and that sign in her mind. Her job was almost like that of a Healer, really. Detect the symptoms and diagnose the patient.

The diamond went into her scales, and by listening to the click…click…click…click…of the gears as the diamond rested on it, Ginny could tell precisely how heavy it was. This particular gem was a whopping 52.7 carats! It was probably the king of Ernie Macmillan’s bag. The diamond went into another machine, which spat out a piece of parchment that told her exactly how brilliant and what colour the diamond was, according to the Gringotts’ Diamond Sparkle Valuation Scale.

It scored a 9.7, which was — for all intents and purposes — perfect.

“Well!” said Ginny, slightly breathless. “Well! I would value it at around two hundred thousand Galleons. It is most certainly an excellent find, Ernie.”

“Two hun…Merlin’s beard, that’s…that’s…” Ernie was shocked. “Well, thank you, Ginny,” he said, trying to recover his pomposity. “Well, what about the other diamonds?”

None of the other diamonds were as big as the 52-carat monster. They ranged from 1-carat pebbles to 24-carat rocks, and were most certainly precious, but none seemed to compare with the showpiece gem.

“Well,” said Ginny, pulling out a ledger from the stack next to her, “I guess that’s it. Sign here. Quite a find you got there, Ernie.”

“Yeah. Credited to Team Twenty-Six, please. Thank you,” said Ernie. “I’ll be off then. See you around.”

Ginny waved back, already engrossed in entering the specifications of the diamonds into the various ledgers, accounts books and triplicate forms that required her attention. It would be almost thirty minutes before she was free to handle any more shipments, since the 52k diamond alone required at least seven special forms, letters, and certifications — all of which was part and parcel of a particularly big find.

More Curse Breaker teams and several goblins from Atlantis streamed in, and Ginny found herself hard at work calculating values, certifying and registering diamonds, rubies, sapphires, gold and silver nuggets, etc. etc. etc.

All too soon it was lunch time, and as Ginny was finishing off Justin Finch-Fletchley’s pile of gold nuggets, chatting animatedly to the Hufflepuff, she ran a finger over her watch.

“Ten past twelve,” she muttered to herself. She would probably go over to Hermione’s for lunch. Sometimes she stayed to tell the orphans a story or two — they always enjoyed Miss Ginny’s visits, especially that rascally tyke Edwin Bones — and Hermione would cluck and say, “When are you going to settle down and have a few kids of your own, since you love them so much…”

Lost in the memories, Ginny didn’t notice the owl perched on her desk. Usually, her sharp ears caught the swish and flutter of wings before the owl reached fifteen feet of her desk. This time, the owl hooted softly, and nipped her finger.

“Hey,” said Ginny, closing her ledgers so the owl wouldn’t answer Mother Nature’s periodic telephone calls all over them, “what have you got for me?”

A leg was thrust into her hand, and Ginny’s nimble fingers undid the strap tying the letter to the owl’s foot. Tapping the parchment with her wand, she muttered a charm and began to read.

Dear Ginny,

Hannah Abbot and Luna Lovegood here. Join us for lunch? We’ll be at the Leaky Cauldron’s at about twelve. Owl us ASAP.

Love,
Hannah


She grinned. Grabbing a quill, she scrawled on the reverse side of the parchment, “I’ll be there. Order a Merlin salad and coffee for me, please. Ginny.”

Quickly, she finished weighing and recording the thick fingers of gold, and punched out for lunch. From beneath her desk, she pulled out the walking stick and made sure her purse and wand was stowed safely in her cloak. Bill stopped by her cubicle, as he always did during lunch.

“Going anywhere for lunch?” he said.

“I want to meet a couple of old schoolmates at the Leaky Cauldron’s. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” she said. “It’s just the Leaky Cauldron.”

“You’re quite, quite sure?” asked Bill.

“Yes, quite quite sure. Don’t mollycoddle me. You go on home and see to Fleur. I know you’ll like that,” said Ginny.

Bill leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. “Be well, then, Snug.”

“I will,” nodded Ginny. And, leaning heavily on the walking stick, she made her way out of the door and down the steps.

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“Ginny!”

Luna Lovegood’s greeting squawk cut through the babble and bustle of Tom’s establishment during lunch hour. Ginny made her way over to the table, pausing just a fraction of a second as a hovering cherub squeaked, “Today’s Lunch Rush Special is cow’s brains in rose petals with coffee and cherry pie; five Sickles only!”

Ginny took a seat at the table, leaning her walking stick against the table.

“Hey, Hannah, Luna,” she said jovially. “Did you wait long?”

“Oh, no, not really. Look, we ordered your Merlin Salad and the coffee should just be coming,” said Luna. “Don’t put dressing in the coffee, though, you could break out in warts.”

Ginny giggled, and Hannah sighed. “Did you know Colin Creevey’s moving to France?” she asked. “Got himself an apprenticeship.”

“No, really?” said Ginny. She poised a fork over her plate.

“Oh yes. He’s going to apprentice himself to a career journalist. Susan Bones said that the journalist’s such a big name there, the Daily Prophet would pay through the nose to get Colin when he comes back.”

“I always thought he was a bright one. France, huh?” she said through a mouthful of lettuce.

The rest of Ginny’s lunch was spent enjoying the crisp romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes and aromatic onions that made up the Merlin salad, laced with pleasant conversation. The minutes flew by, and soon, Ginny noticed it was already ten to one. She had to be back at Gringotts by half past one.

Hannah, she discovered, was working at Madam Malkin’s, helping to service customers and in the meantime learning the tricks of the trade. Luna was a trainee Healer at St. Mungo’s, and thus far had managed to mix up a Blood Restorative potion and a Dreamless Sleep potion twice in a row, although it was a lucky thing indeed as it prevented a Niffler-bitten patient from bleeding to death in his pleasant, dream-free afternoon nap.

“What about you, Ginny?” asked Luna suddenly. “What have you been up to?”

“Oh, I’m working Gems Department at Gringotts as a valuer,” she said. “Not a very high-class job like yours, Luna, but it’s good.”

“My job’s not high-class…though I admit you do meet a few cute boys there,” said Luna dreamily. “There was this twenty-year old…Kenneth, I think…he had these lovely amber eyes…I really wanted a date with him…”

“So, have you asked him out yet?” said Ginny with a grin, nudging her.

“Yeah. We went on a date along Periwinkle Alley. Ate at Figaro’s. It was quite nice, really, he held my hand…” said Luna, stirring her Gillywater idly.

“What next?” chirped Hannah. “Do tell.”

“Oh, there’s nothing else. He passed on a week ago. Scrofungulus. There wasn’t much I could do, I’m just a trainee Healer,” said Luna.

Silence reigned around the table. Unbidden memories surfaced in Ginny’s mind, but she shoved them under roughly, and with a shake of her head.

“I’m…sorry,” said Hannah. She sounded strained, thought Ginny.

“It’s alright. I’ll be seeing him again…sometime,” said Luna. “You girls want dessert?”

Hannah seized on this sudden change of topic, and took the opportunity to order chocolate fudge brownies, diets notwithstanding. The brownies duly arrived, topped with ice cream, cherries and whipped cream, and they were consumed quickly.

Ginny checked her watch, and realized it was fifteen past one. She would have to hurry to be back at Gringotts in time. “I have to go soon, sorry. What are you two doing after this?” she asked.

“Oh, we’re going to go visit Neville’s…” began Luna brightly.

“Shhh!” said Hannah fiercely. Luna blinked embarrassedly and hurriedly disappeared behind an edition of the Quibbler.

Ginny clenched her fist around her fork. She felt the colour draining from her face.

“Oh, I nearly forgot…Dennis is hosting a sort of surprise farewell party for Colin,” said Hannah, attempting to salvage the situation. “He’s booked up the Three Broomsticks’s largest dining room. His aunt used to be Barbary Heathcote’s next door neighbour, and Dennis managed to get him to come, would you believe?”

“Yeah,” said Ginny, plastering on an unconvincing smile, which had gone a sudden white. Retrieving her cane and calling for her bill, she stood up hastily.

“It’s been a lovely lunch, really,” she said. “Thanks a lot for everything. It’s been really great seeing you girls again.”

“Bye,” said Hannah forlornly. “And girl…take some Dreamless Sleep tonight if you need it.”

Ginny gave a wry smile, and put down a Galleon on the silver tray the waitress handed her. She hurried out the door.

The smile vanished as soon as she crossed the threshold.

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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