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SIYE Time:6:57 on 25th April 2024
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Falling For Her
By Kezzabear

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Category: Pre-OotP, Twin Travel Challenge (2008-3)
Characters:None
Genres: Drama, Fluff, General
Warnings: None
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 144
Summary: When his children turn up from the future Harry doesn't know what to think but a pretty redhead or two soon helps him figure it out.

****CHAPTER THREE IS HERE!****
Hitcount: Story Total: 37066; Chapter Total: 11577





Author's Notes:
I know it's been a long time coming, but this fic takes more time than the other things I have written - I don't really know why - just does!

I even plan to write more. I don't think we can expect more than two more chapters out of this plot bunny - but there might be two more in it. :)

I don't know how long they will be, so enjoy this instalment for now :)




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It had been several days since they had returned to Grimmauld Place. Harry felt out of sorts. Mrs Weasley had set him, Hermione and her own children back to scrubbing rooms and cleaning out closets. There had been a dingy cupboard sized room on the top floor that he and Ron and been ordered to clean just that morning and Harry was sick of the grime, sick of the dust and sick of the way everything seemed charmed to bite or maim. Bill had poked a pile of ancient cutlery in the attic at one point and it had suddenly started flying at him. He ducked just in time and six butter knives embedded themselves in the wall behind his head, quivering violently.

Things had been so happy and carefree at The Burrow but here, Harry felt trapped. No matter how much time they spent scrubbing and polishing things during the day the nights were long and arduous and Harry was having nightmares with alarming regularity. The house was so vast, the dirt and dust so endless; and yet it was so small that he could never find space to talk to Ginny. Harry was also starting to wonder if Ginny was avoiding him. She didn’t seem to particularly seek him out even though Harry was desperate to be in the same room as her, to sit next to her. If he was brutally honest with himself, he just wanted to hold her hand.

Ron and Hermione, meanwhile, were using him as a sort of shield. Ron spent most of his time attached to Harry to avoid Hermione. Harry always ended up seated between them at the table so they didn’t have to sit next to each other. Harry found himself mostly only able to smile at Ginny across the table with the occasional fleeting encounter in the hallways. Ginny and Hermione had been entrusted with cleaning out the library and the two of them spent most of every day closeted in there.

There must have been a meeting on the fourth day because Mrs Weasley brought plates of sandwiches and a jug of pumpkin juice upstairs and told them not to come to the kitchen. The four of them sat on the fourth floor landing. Ginny was sitting on the edge of the landing, her legs dangling between the banister railings, looking down the stairwell.

“I think the twins are plotting something,” Ginny said as she munched on a corned beef sandwich and peered down at the second floor landing.

“Why does she always make corned beef when she knows I hate it?” Ron grumbled, thumping his foot idly on the top stair.

“The twins are always plotting something,” Hermione said haughtily, her nose in a large book. She was sitting in a corner of the landing as far away from Ron as she could.

“No, I think they are plotting something … big,” Ginny said, cramming the last of the sandwich into her mouth and swinging her legs back up onto the landing. “ ‘m verr suspishush aboo dem.”

“Ginny, don’t talk with your mouth full,” Hermione admonished her.

“No, really,” Ron said, turning around to face them. “They are definitely up to something … more than they used to be.”

“As long as they aren’t going to use it to mock me again,” Ginny said darkly.

“Oh, come on,” Ron said with a chuckle, “That was priceless.”

Harry only felt a little guilty that he had enjoyed the twins’ prank on Ginny. They had all been sitting in Ron and Harry’s room on the night they got back, feeling rather melancholy. The rest of the family had shooed them out of the kitchen after tea and Imperturbed the door. Obviously feeling the mood was too sombre the twins had fed Ginny something — Harry wasn’t sure what — that had turned her, briefly, into a cat. The ginger cat that was suddenly sitting on Harry’s bed had yowled in surprised and nearly fallen off. Harry had been sitting next to her and instinctively put a hand out to catch her. He’d caught the little cat across the stomach and she’d scrabbled frantically in the air before the tiny claws snagged his shirtsleeve and she’d clawed her way onto his lap seconds before she suddenly changed back into herself.

Harry was still reeling from the fact that his hands were splayed across Ginny Weasley’s stomach and she was sprawled on top of him when she sprang off his lap, heading straight for the twins. Fred had laughed maniacally as he’d sprinted after George. Something Ginny had said to them when she’d finally cornered them must have been powerful because they’d been acting awfully conciliatory towards their sister ever since.

Harry was torn between being angry at the twins on Ginny’s behalf and remembering the feel of her smooth, soft skin under his hands and how wonderful she felt pressed against him for those brief moments. Ron and Hermione had been too busy making sure Ginny didn’t permanently maim Fred and George to notice that Harry was simply sitting, smiling a half-dazed smile.

“I’m so glad you found it amusing,” Ginny hissed at Ron. “Because I know I find nothing so amusing as being accidentally pawed by my boyfriend in public! It’s not embarrassing at all!”

Harry shrank back into the shadow of the landing, his face heating spectacularly. He’d pawed her? She also thought he’d accidentally lingered on the smooth, flat planes of her stomach? Although the two feelings were polar opposites, mortification was seeping into his very being when Harry suddenly realised Ginny had called him her boyfriend. Did she really think so? They hadn’t talked about it. In actual fact she’d been avoiding him for days! Harry found himself feeling less embarrassed and more annoyed.

“You make such a cute little cat,” Ron smirked.

Wasn’t he angry that Harry had pawed his sister?

“I’ll turn you into a cute little cat!” Ginny shrieked and the two of them were off down the stairs, Ron’s laughter and Ginny’s shouts of rage bouncing around the staircase. Harry could hear muffled door banging and the twins’ laughter as Ron and Ginny reached the ground floor where they had been cleaning a gruesome china cabinet. Then a door thumped open and Bill’s deep voice floated up the stairs followed by a particularly loud shriek and what sounded suspiciously like spellfire. Mrs Black’s horrible caterwauling was soon added to the cacophony.

“I didn’t know you’d asked her out,” Hermione said quietly, startling Harry. He jumped and shifted to look at her.

“I haven’t,” he said quietly.



“Oh.” Hermione’s voice was soft and the silence fell between them like a heavy blanket as the muffled banging, thumping and shrieks from downstairs continued to waft towards the attic.

Harry just stared down at his hands and slowly lifted his sandwich to his mouth, taking a bite out of it. As he chewed, he tried to figure out if he was annoyed because Ginny hadn’t talked to him or because he didn’t want to be her boyfriend. He sighed heavily, knowing that he wanted her, knowing that he’d wanted to since he saw the way she’d looked at him when she wasn’t pretending she didn’t have feelings for him. He just wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do next, especially since she’d been avoiding him — probably because the twins had embarrassed her.

“What are you thinking?” Hermione asked. Harry looked up at her, she’d put her book down and was watching him closely.

“I would have — asked her out, I mean,” Harry said. He heard his voice turn undeniably bitter. “You know, if she’d bothered to speak to me, or look at me, or interact with me in any way whatsoever.”

A loud bang echoed from downstairs and Bill’s shout of rage tore through the house moments before two loud cracks of Apparition filled the landing. The twins grinned at Harry and Hermione before they darted into one of the doorways. The sound of pounding footsteps came closer as Bill bellowed, doors slamming as he checked each room for his errant siblings. They could still hear Ginny and Ron arguing loudly. They sounded like they were on the stairs now.

“He hasn’t said anything to me!” Ron shouted.

“You expect me to believe that?” Harry could hear the sound of Ginny’s footsteps as she ran up the stairs. He and Hermione shared a glance as they heard a thump and a yelp that sounded like she’d shoved Ron into a row of house-elf heads.

“Yes!” Ron yelled.

“You’re a git!” Ginny bellowed.

Bill thumped up the last few stairs onto the landing. Hermione pointed silently at the door Fred and George had vanished into and Bill grinned and stalked to the door, throwing it open.

The tiny room behind it was empty.

“Damn,” Bill swore. “I’m going to kill them.”

“Oi!” Fred called from the landing below. “I want to go down in a blaze of glory, not because my git of a brother can’t take a joke!”

“Stop it, Fred.” George’s voice was strained.

“Why ignore it?” Fred was shouting now and Bill tensed.

“Because we are all, apparently, ignoring everything,” Harry muttered under his breath as he scrambled to his feet. He could hear Ron, Ginny and the twins on the stairs between the third and fourth floor landings. As they elbowed their way onto the landing, Harry turned his back on them and darted up the stairs to leading to the attic.

“Harry!”

Ron’s voice was cut off when Harry pushed the door shut. The attic was crammed with boxes and junk. The cobwebs and dust reminded Harry a little of the cupboard under the stairs. There was a tiny, filthy window in the wall opposite the door and what little light was left of the afternoon strained to get through the dirt that was caked on the window pane. Harry picked his way through the junk to the little window and tried to peer out but he was unable to see through the grey film of filth. Looking at the filthy floor Harry shrugged and sat down under the window his knees pulled up to his chest. The door creaked open and Harry turned to see, to his surprise, Bill framed in the weak light that streamed in from the fourth floor landing.

“Are you all right, Harry?” Bill asked.

“I’m fine,” said Harry dully, not moving from the window. He was surprised when Bill shuffled into the attic and shut the door.

“This place is filled with crap, isn’t it?” Bill poked what looked like a bundle of rags with his wand. Harry was surprised they didn’t start moving or something equally sinister. He remained unmoving as Bill folded his rather bulky frame into the small space between the pile of boxes and the wall where Harry had wedged himself under the window. The two of them sat side by side in silence for a moment before Bill spoke again.

“I’ve been seeing a bit of Fleur,” he said conversationally. “The twins think it’s a bit of a joke, been teasing me all summer. They’ve been worse the last couple of days. They keep trying to slip me love potions right before I go and visit so that I’ll act stupid when I see her.”

“Did you … are you … going out?” asked Harry. “Is she your girlfriend?”

“Yeah,” Bill admitted quietly. “I — I asked her a couple of days ago.”

Harry just nodded and stared into the gloom of the attic. He didn’t know why Bill had come after him. He wished Ginny had. He wanted to talk to Ginny. He needed to talk to Bill. He wanted to be left alone. He needed to talk about the things no one would talk about. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. Suddenly Harry growled in frustration.

“I’m so confused,” he groaned.

“You know, Harry, this doesn’t have to change anything,” Bill said gently. “You don’t have to change because of this … because of the children.”

“But what if I want it to?” Harry asked, turning to Bill. “What if … what if I want Ginny to like me now?”

“The children won’t change that about her, Harry,” Bill said with a smile.

“I think they changed me,” Harry whispered. “Were you going to ask Fleur to be your girlfriend … before?”

“I wanted to,” Bill said. “I might have … I might have asked her later, maybe. I don’t know. Who knows when I would have asked her without — without the children?”

“What if … what if I mess it up?”

“Everybody takes that risk,” Bill said. It wasn’t a very comforting thought.

“Ginny said I was her b-boyfriend.”

“I didn’t realise you two had made it official,” Bill said neutrally.

“We didn’t!”

“Ah.”

“I think she’s avoiding me,” Harry said. “I haven’t seen her for more than two minutes since we got back and I don’t … why would she say that?”

“Because she thinks it’s true — or she wants it to be?” Bill said.

“I didn’t ask her,” Harry said. “I should have.”

“So why are you hiding up here?”

“Because that’s what we’re doing,” Harry shot back. “Fred keeps making jokes about dying and George keeps going white and I haven’t even said anything to Sirius!”

“And Ron and Hermione are avoiding each other and using you to duck and cover,” Bill said wryly.

“You noticed that too?”

Bill chuckled. Harry sighed heavily. He knew he needed to go and talk to Ginny and to Sirius. He didn’t know what to do about Fred or Ron and Hermione. But Harry felt a sudden urge to fix things with Ginny, so they both knew where they stood. So next time she called him her boyfriend he didn’t turn the colour of an overripe tomato and drop something.

**********************

Harry rummaged in the pantry of the dingy kitchen, his pyjama top clinging to his back with sweat and his hair standing on end. Unearthing a dusty bottle of Butterbeer he snagged that and a handful of biscuits and went to sit down at the long, scrubbed table. Grimly he munched the biscuits and washed them down with the lukewarm drink. He’d woken up with his scar burning and a terrible ache at the back of his head. Harry rubbed his forehead absently. The kitchen was deserted at two o’clock in the morning and Harry, unwilling to go back to sleep, knew he’d not be interrupted.

Idly he spun the bottle top on the table. He still hadn’t spoken to Ginny. Mrs Weasley had come out of the Order meeting and seen the damage her children had done on the first floor and on the staircase and given them all a decent dressing down before setting them to work cleaning up the mess and fixing the damage. Harry and Hermione had been sent to the top floor to clean a particularly disgusting bathroom. Harry had been so tired that he’d fallen asleep before Ron and Ginny had finished the dishwashing that was their penance for scorching the ground floor hallway.

“What are you doing up?” The question startled Harry and he swore violently and the bottle top went skittering onto the floor.

“You know, I should wash your mouth out for that language,” Sirius said casually as he sat at the table opposite Harry and snagged one of the biscuits.

“Are you going to?” Harry asked, cringing and thinking of the time Dudley had blamed his foul mouth on Harry and Aunt Petunia had held him over the sink and washed his mouth out with the lemon scented dishwashing liquid and the ratty, old dishcloth that always smelt like dirty socks and mouldy cheese.

Sirius looked at him steadily for a moment before he shook his head slightly. They sat in silence for a moment before Sirius spoke again.

“You’ve been real quiet since you came back,” he observed. Harry just shrugged and took another sip of his Butterbeer. Sirius stood up and, going to the pantry, rummaged around for a moment before coming out with another dusty bottle of Butterbeer. He sat at the table and looked at Harry. “So, what are you doing up?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” Harry mumbled.

“What happened at The Burrow, Harry?” Sirius leaned forward. “I know something’s happened. No one will look me in the eye and Fred and George are acting stranger than normal.”

Harry looked up and met Sirius’s eyes for the first time in almost a week. He sat there for a moment wondering what to tell him, how to tell him anything about what had happened. Should he tell Sirius what was suspected? Looking at Sirius for a long moment he knew he would be unable to keep the truth from him.

“We think you’re dead,” he blurted before he could stop himself. Sirius’s eyes widened and he chuckled.

“Well, as you can see, I am right here,” he said with a smile. “I hardly think I am dead.”

“No, I don’t mean now,” Harry said, rubbing at his forehead and wincing as pain lanced through his scar.

“Harry?”

“S’nothing,” Harry muttered. He took another swig of his drink, avoiding Sirius’s eyes.

“Sometimes I think I won’t survive all this,” Sirius said idly, a moment later. “Either that or I’ll go mad, shut up in this house.”

“But if you stay here,” Harry said desperately, looking up at his godfather, “you’ll survive, you’ll be safe. If you just stay here-”

“What if I have to leave?” Sirius answered.

“Don’t leave,” Harry said. “If you don’t leave, you’ll stay safe.”

“What if I have to?” Sirius asked.

“Don’t you see?” Harry said. “You have to stay here, because if something happened to you …” He stopped and swallowed hard. “You’re the only family I have left.”

“What about the Weasleys?”

“It’s not … it’s not the same,” Harry said. “I mean … you knew my parents.”

“So did Remus.”

“He’s not my godfather.”

“That’s why I would leave if I had to,” Sirius said quietly. “If something happened to you, Harry … I couldn’t bear it. If you were in danger, I would go.”

“So would I,” Harry answered.

They sat in silence for a long time after that.

“Why do you think I … die?” Sirius asked eventually. “What happened, Harry and what happened to Fred?”

“There was … its kind of hard to explain-”

“Merlin, how do you possibly sleep?” Ginny’s question shot through the quiet kitchen like an arrow. “I can hear bloody Ron snoring from my room!” She sat down heavily in the chair next to Harry and swiped his Butterbeer, taking a long swig.

Harry watched her avidly. This was the closest he’d been to Ginny in days and he revelled in it. Her hair was pulled back into a loose pony tail, revealing the curve of her neck; her hair sticking out at all angles below the elastic band. She tipped her head back to drink the Butterbeer and Harry watched her creamy throat as she swallowed. She was wearing a pair of old, maroon pyjama bottoms that Harry knew had been Ron’s in first year. That tank top definitely had never been Ron’s though. And if it had been it certainly wouldn’t have dipped so tantalisingly on his chest.

Ginny leaned forward and down a little so she could meet his eyes, smirking slightly.

“Hi!” she said brightly. Harry flushed as he met her eyes. Hers just sparkled back at him and Harry wondered if he could just lean over and kiss those soft pink lips —

“Hi yourself, Shorty,” Sirius said. Harry jumped, banging his knees on the underside of the table with a loud thump. Ginny giggled and Harry felt himself turn several shades of red all at once. Although he wasn’t looking at Sirius, Harry could practically feel his godfather smirking at him.

“So,” Ginny said, plunking the Butterbeer bottle back in front of Harry as if daring him to drink from it straight after her, “what’s going on at … nearly three o’clock in the morning?”

Harry eyed her carefully as he picked up the bottle and put it to his lips. He took a swig, never breaking eye contact with her.

It was odd. Harry didn’t think witches usually wore strawberry flavoured lip gloss to bed.

“I’m trying to get Harry to tell me about your trip to The Burrow,” Sirius said.

“Oh,” Ginny said, pulling the elastic out of her hair and running her fingers through it. “We had a great time, yeah.”

Harry watched her hair shimmer in the light of the lone candle he’d lit and stuck to the table with a drop of wax.

“Something’s different,” Sirius said bluntly. Ginny stared at him, eyes wide as if she hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. Harry hurriedly took another swig of his Butterbeer so he wouldn’t be expected to talk.

“We had a very … good time,” Ginny said eventually, pressing her leg against Harry’s under the table. Harry nearly choked on his Butterbeer.

“Good is … nice …” Sirius leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Did you have a good weekend, Sirius?” Ginny asked politely.

“It was magical,” Sirius said dryly. “What’s going on with you two?” His tone was blunt and Harry avoided his gaze. Ginny on the other hand stared at Sirius boldly. She grabbed the Butterbeer bottle again and took a sip, smacking her lips exaggeratedly. Harry’s fingers tingled where Ginny’s had brushed his.

“Going on?” Ginny asked innocently. Her eyes were wide, unblinking. Harry’s gaze never left her face as she pushed the bottle back into his hand. His fingers convulsed where she brushed them. Ginny inclined her head towards the bottle. Harry knew she was daring him to drink again. Harry’s eyes dropped to the bottle and he wondered why he hadn’t gotten up to get her a glass.

Because he wanted to share the bottle with her. Because that was somehow intimate. Because the way things were going it was the closest he’d get to touching his lips to hers ever again.

Harry picked the bottle up and tipped the rest of the Butterbeer down his throat. Sirius arched an eyebrow and then turned to Ginny.

“He likes you,” Sirius said, pointing at Harry.

Harry sprayed the Butterbeer all over the table.

“I know,” was all Ginny said. She stood up gracefully, starting to leave. “Like I said … we had a very good weekend.” She half turned then and Harry saw her hand trembling. Without thinking he reached up and closed his hand around hers, squeezing her fingers. His other hand clenched the Butterbeer bottle as if he could draw strength from holding onto it.

“Goodnight, Ginny,” Harry said softly.

“Goodnight,” Ginny whispered, squeezing his hand back. Then she was gone, slipping out of the kitchen and up the stairs back to her room.

“You like her.” Sirius’s face wore a feral grin. Harry just rolled his eyes.

They sat there in silence for a moment. Harry wondered if Sirius was waiting for him to say something and, briefly, if Ginny was actually waiting for him in one of the hallways somewhere. Suddenly Sirius’s voice broke into his thoughts.

“You look like your dad,” he said. Harry grimaced.

“Yeah, but I have my mother’s eyes, yeah, I know.” That was all anyone ever told Harry about his parents, and although he clung to that information, he didn’t know why people kept telling him that and never told him anything else. He didn’t dare ask for anything else. Asking questions never led to anything good.

“No,” Sirius said, shaking his head. “I mean you look at her like your dad.”

“My father never met her,” Harry said, confused. “He never looked at her like anything.” Harry stared at Sirius, irritated, wondering if his godfather had finally lost his mind.

“Like your dad looked at your mum,” Sirius said quietly. “You look like your dad because that’s how he always looked at Lily.”

Harry recognised the look on Sirius’s face. It was the same as the one Remus perpetually wore in Harry’s third year. He shifted uncomfortably.

“I really miss them,” Sirius whispered, he stared into the distance. “They were my family.” He paused before refocusing on Harry. “Look after each other. You do have family, Harry. You have her — you have each other.”

“But …” Harry searched Sirius’s face carefully. He seemed both at peace and tortured.

“If I don’t make it, Harry-”

“Don’t say that!”

“If I don’t make it,” Sirius leaned forward urgently. “Hold onto her. You need her, don’t let her go.”

“Sirius-”

“I mean it, Harry,” Sirius said. “Promise me!”

“You’re going to make it,” Harry said desperately. “We’ll make sure of it. We’ll fix it ….somehow.”

“You can’t be sure of that,” Sirius said. “You don’t know that. None of us know the future but I do know that you’ve got her. If you’ve got her … it won’t matter if I don’t make it.”

“Don’t,” Harry nearly shouted. He remembered the rest of the house was sleeping just in time. “You … I can’t … I need you.”

“You need her more,” Sirius said. “No matter what happens — keep her safe. Don’t you see Harry — if you have her I know you’re okay. You have to be okay. All this is for nothing if you’re not okay. Promise me you won’t let her go.”

Harry nodded shakily. The last thing he wanted to do was let Ginny go. He felt a sense of sinking desperation at the realisation that Hermione was right and they probably wouldn’t be able to save Sirius, or Fred. His heart sank when he realised they’d eventually have to live without them. But he had Ginny. He still had her. And he had to make sure he never let anything happen to her.

Because he knew that if anything happened to her, he couldn’t live without her.
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