|SIYE Time:15:32 on 17th January 2022|
Category: Alternate Universe, Post-DH/AB
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, Romance, Tragedy
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mental Abuse, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Rape, Sexual Situations, Spouse/Adult/Child Abuse, Violence, Violence/Physical Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: The battle is over, there is life to be lived, peace to be enjoyed and trouble following close at their heels.
Ginny hasn't seen Harry since the dust settled from the battles with Voldemort, but when an unexpected piece of news draws them together will they be driven apart or become bound?
Follows Canon to the best of my knowledge.
The warnings are just to be safe. I don't know that they're all needed, but I'm putting them up just to cover my bases. If you have any questions or concerns, please message me.
Hitcount: Story Total: 118172; Chapter Total: 7090
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks JPx for all of your help!!!!
Also, one step forward and two steps back on figuring how just why this happened...
Next up in chapter 10 is the wedding!
Thanks everyone for the reviews, you've been great. This was a very difficult story for me to write, and your encouraging words have been so helpful.
Tuesday June 2nd
Ginny woke the next day groggy and disoriented. The instant she began to stir she felt a sandwich being pressed into her hand and she began to eat, noticing belatedly that she was starving. By the time she peeled her eye open, she found Hermione sitting next to her, looking exhausted. “You okay?” she mumbled with her mouth full of food.
“Yeah, it was just an early morning,” Hermione said. “Not a big. We met Percy’s girlfriend last night,” she said grinning. “Her name is Audrey. She’s a healer and she’s really nice, plus harmless- Harry questioned her to make sure she wasn’t out to hurt us. She made a different kind of strengthening potion for you which we gave you in the middle of the night.”
Ginny frowned, starting on her second sandwich. “I don’t remember that.”
“No matter,” Hermione said shrugging. “Martha has come and gone and you didn’t lose any more weight and Audrey says she’ll be back later to properly meet you.”
“Great,” Ginny said, swallowing wondering if she was going to like Percy’s girlfriend. It was difficult to imagine Percy having a girlfriend who could do anything but frown ostentatiously.
Hermione handed her another sandwich before picking up her clip board and a catalogue. “We need to decide on your furniture. I’ve arranged with a muggle furniture company to deliver the pieces we pick out to the house tomorrow, although they won’t know it’s the house of course. He’ll think he’s delivering it to a vacant lot but I’ll tip him sufficiently enough not to ask questions. We can’t trust a magical company, obviously. Your dad and Bill are going to put the Fidelius Charm on the house tonight after work and I’m going along to learn how. I’ve never seen it done before.” Hermione looked just a little too enthusiastic about it. “All of the rest of the enchantments are in place and your Mum is over there now with Kreacher cleaning everything. It’s still a mess, but I imagine they’ll have it up to scratch shortly so as long as we get the furniture, you can move in after the wedding.” She finally took a breath and beamed at Ginny. “I can’t believe we’re going to pull this off!”
“I can’t either,” Ginny said between bites, eyeing her friend suspiciously. “Why are you so chipper?”
Hermione’s eyes twinkled. “I really like furniture shopping. I didn’t know I would, but it’s kind of exciting.”
Ginny groaned. “You pick it all out, then.”
“No, it’s your house,” Hermione said firmly. “Besides, then it’s a chore and I’m enjoying doing
something fun and frivolous without having to run for my life every few minutes. I’ve been
working on changing the DA coins into portkeys. Harry wanted to see if they could be voice
activated and I’m nearly there, but it’s just taking a bit longer than I’d thought and it’s
frustrating… well never mind,” she smiled. “I think we should just focus on a few rooms now
and then you can do more when you’re up to it.”
“Which rooms?” Ginny asked, although truthfully she was trying to wrap her mind around how one could speak and activate a portkey.
“Your bedroom, obviously, and a guest room for whoever is at your house helping out,” Hermione read from her list. “We’ll need the kitchen table and I think the sitting room furniture as well. Your mum is going to outfit the kitchen either tomorrow or Thursday.”
“That sounds do-able,” Ginny said. “All right, show me what you have.” She sighed heavily at the size of the catalogue. “Why doesn’t Harry have to pick out furniture?”
Hermione laughed and they got to work. It wasn’t as bad as Ginny had supposed. She picked out a bed and the dressers that matched for their room, along with a different set for the guest room. She fell in love with a long oak table that could seat twelve without being magically expanded. It was harder to pick out sofas so she selected several with different end tables and instructed Hermione to get the one that was the squashiest. It was hard to believe that only a fraction of the house was being furnished and that she had so many rooms to fill.
“I’ll have to decorate a nursery at some point,” Ginny said, flipping through the catalogue.
“Mmm,” Hermione hummed, writing on her clip board. “That will be fun! You’ll have to let me help, but I suppose we should wait to see if the baby is a boy or girl so we know pink or blue. At least you’re not having twins.”
“Yeah,” Ginny agreed, trying to picture what she would do in a nursery.
Hermione finished writing and smiled at Ginny, who saw something in her friends’ eyes that she couldn’t quite identify. “I need to be off. I have an appointment with the owner of the furniture shop in about 15 minutes to show him what we’ve selected. He said he had everything in stock or at the warehouse so it could all be pulled by tomorrow for a rush fee.”
The timer went off and Hermione handed Ginny the potion before heading to the door, clip board and catalogue in hand. “Luna said she’d come up and read to you in a bit.”
“Okay,” Ginny said and watched her go, frowning. What was going on with her?
Luna came up to read and the afternoon faded into evening. By the time dinner came around again Ginny was able to stand without assistance for several minutes and even made it to the loo by herself.
Audrey came for dinner and to her surprise and delight she really liked the woman, especially when she told Ginny she was fit enough to eat at the table. She was bright and cheerful and she knew how to playfully tweak Percy’s nose when he got too priggish. What was more, Percy seemed to enjoy it and it helped him lighten up.
“Where’s Ron?” Ginny asked, when Harry floo’ed in to the kitchen. He gave a laugh of delight and kissed her, clearly happy to see her up and about.
“He’s got some more work to catch up on,” Harry told her. “He’s going to need to put in some more time to take off with Hermione to Australia.”
“Don’t worry, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said smiling, happy to have so many people to feed. “I sent him a plate so he won’t starve.”
Harry sat down next to her, twining his fingers with hers. “I’m so glad you’re up.”
“The extra strengthening solution has really made a difference,” Audrey told them as she helped set the table.
George joined them, followed last by Hermione and Arthur who had just finished up the Fidelius Charm with Arthur as the secret keeper. Bill had gone home for a quiet dinner with Fleur and to finish the security preparations for the beach wedding.
George had a good time ribbing Percy about Audrey. The tall brunette took it all in stride and seemed to enjoy the teasing. “So really,” George said seriously. “Why do you fancy Perce- he’s not exactly what one would call a catch.”
“George!” Molly reproached half-heartedly.
“He has a most excellent bum,” Audrey told George seriously and he gagged on his pumpkin juice. “Definitely squeezable.”
Ginny thought her sides were going to split from laughing and it looked like Percy wanted to sink through the floor as everyone else rolled with laughter, except her mum who was doing her best not to smile.
Much too soon Ginny was back up in her bed, but as Harry was in it with her she wasn’t going to complain. Harry leaned in to kiss her and it was like her body was coming back to life. She deepened the kiss, running her hand up into his hair. Much too soon he pulled back. “Gotta take a break,” Harry said, his breath labored.
Ginny looked up into his handsome face and grinned mischievously. “We won’t be taking a break in a few days.”
He groaned, flopping down next to her. “Right now that feels like about ten years away.” Harry opened an eye and looked at her. “You’re feeling better.”
“Much better,” Ginny assured him. “It’s going to be harder to remind myself to take it easy since I don’t feel awful anymore, but I will,” she promised, seeing the concern written clearly across his face. “I’m not going to do anything that hurts our baby.”
“I know,” Harry said softly and he kissed her again. He ended it abruptly. “We really have to stop.”
Ginny rested her head against his shoulder. “It’s very flattering, though.”
“Did you get the furniture picked out?” Harry asked, changing the subject and finding a piece of her hair to play with.
“Yeah,” Ginny grumbled. “You have to help next time.”
“Promise,” he said. Hesitating, he finally said, “What do you think of Hope as a name if the baby is a girl?”
“Hope?” Ginny stared at him, her mind a blank. It wasn’t a name she’d ever considered for a child.
He shrugged self-consciously. “I just… I always hoped for this. I always wanted a family. If you don’t like it-”
Ginny touched his lips with her fingers, silencing him. “It’s lovely. I think we’ve spent a lot of time hoping for a lot of things.”
Harry kissed her fingers and took her hand in his. “I have no idea what we’ll name the baby if he’s a boy.”
“James,” Ginny said without hesitation. She grinned. “Definitely James.”
Thursday June 4th
After three days of fruitlessly tailing Rita Skeeter to get her hair or nails done, or following her to the offices of various newspapers and magazines, Ron and Harry gave it up as a bad job and went to report to Robards that they hadn’t seen her do anything suspicious except for dining often at muggle cafes with a variety of young men. All of the men looked no older than twenty, all were good looking, and unless Harry was very much mistaken, all were muggles.
“What the hell is she playing at?” Ron whispered, trying not to move his lips as they both stared through the window as Rita touched the younger man’s arm flirtatiously while she sipped her morning tea. She even took notes with a muggle pen and pad.
“No idea,” Harry said quietly, as he was under the invisibility cloak. “Come on, let’s get back to Grimmauld Place, and then get to the ministry.”
“A bloody waste of time,” Ron groaned. “And I’m starving.”
“Your mum said she’d send Kreacher over with some breakfast,” Harry told him as they started the walk back to his place. When they were out of sight of Rita, they snuck in to an alley and Disapparated back to the house.
Harry ran up to change into his Auror robes while Ron scarfed down some breakfast quickly in the kitchen. He met him on the stairs on his way down to gather up their notes, although he wasn’t sure what they were going to do with them. By the time he got to the door Ron was waiting. His friend looked exhausted. “Are you sure you want to go in now?” Harry asked. “You look like hell, mate.”
Ron merely the grunted and opened the door.
They walked in to Auror headquarters and straight to Robards office to let him know how their mission had gone. Their boss sighed heavily at the news. “I was hoping we’d get something, but it isn’t really surprising. She’s got no morals, but that doesn’t make her evil.”
That duty dispensed they headed back towards the training room to get back to work.
Five hours later, when Ron was barely able to stand up, they broke for lunch and Ron went into one of the empty interrogation rooms to have a kip on one of the cots that was stored in a broom closet for just such an eventuality.
Long hours and no sleep were par for the course for Aurors.
Harry sat at his desk, flipping through the parchment that had built up while he’d been out. The trials for the surviving Death Eaters were set to begin the following week and he was going to be called to testify in several of them.
He came across a memo that had been buried in the middle of the pile.
Potter, Draco Malfoy is requesting an interview with you. You will not meet with him until after his trial. —Robards
Harry stared at the message, his mind racing. What did Draco want? It wasn’t too hard to guess, though. Lucius and Draco were in Azkaban, Narcissa was on house arrest, her wand confiscated, until their trials. She was one of the few that hadn’t been sent straight to Azkaban to await trial. Azkaban was now guarded by Aurors and Hit Wizards on a one month rotation and Harry was dreading it. It was two full days on, one day off at home for the entire calendar month. The Dementors were gone but it was still an awful place. He’d gone out with Kingsley shortly after the battle to see what it was like and the memory still made him shudder.
He probably should warn Ginny that his guard duty was coming. Harry stared down at his wand, rolling it between his fingers. Not yet, he decided. That bit of unpleasantness could wait. He wouldn’t be sent to Azkaban for at least six months, not until he had more experience under his belt.
His mind wandered back to the poisoner. What did he know about them? It was a woman, or at least Ginny was reasonably certain that it was a woman. From what Hermione had told him poisoning was more a crime that a woman would commit, so that made sense although it didn’t rule out a man being involved. Whoever it was could get past an Auror. That was one of the more problematic complications. Either the Auror who had been guarding them, Proudfoot, was in on trying to kill him or the woman was just that capable. The Healers on duty all passed their screenings under Veritaserum, so it hadn’t been one of them. The poisoner was familiar with complicated and obscure poisons. She also was skillful enough to make the poison; something that Audrey said would take nearly two weeks to make, with hundreds of ingredients and thousands of steps in the instructions and was only stable for twelve hours. If it wasn’t used in that time frame it became useless.
That means that the poisoner had to know that she’d have Harry and Ginny in her clutches by a certain date, which meant that the blood boiling hex was planned by her.
Except that the man who had cursed them had been killed right after he’d fired the spell and the blood boiling hex should have killed them, or at least killed one of them. His blood ran cold at the thought. The curse had been aimed at Ginny. He’d heard the man Apparate into the clearing and he’d spun, his wand already in his hand casting a shield that hadn’t stopped the curse as he rammed left into Ginny, who had been standing next to him. His left side had born a faint red mark where it had burned him for days after he left the hospital. Everything inside him had burst into flames and the world had gone black.
He learned later that Ron, Hermione, Bill, George, Arthur, Molly, Kingsley and four other Aurors there to guard them had all stunned the man at the same time, throwing the man twenty feet back and killing him instantly. The man had been a snatcher, no one of importance. Harry couldn’t even remember his name at the moment. It was something like Bugsley. Likely he’d been a disposable hired wand.
The last piece in the puzzle was that whoever had poisoned them was a trained enough Healer to impregnate Ginny. Audrey had told him that wasn’t typically covered for Healers unless someone expressed an interest in learning. As far as she knew there were only two Healers who performed it and both had been Healers for more than 50 years.
“Harry?” He looked up to see Susan Bones standing at his desk. He’d completely missed her walking up. Some Auror he was.
“Yeah?” Harry asked, trying to come back to the present.
“Can we go practice some more? Ron was going to but he’s still passed out.”
Harry smiled, “Sure.” He popped the rest of his sandwich in his mouth, grabbed his wand and followed her back to the training room.
Friday June 5th
“I have the linens and your mum is getting all the things for your kitchen today,” Hermione said, checking down her list. “I hadn’t really thought of all the things you would need until I did a walk through and realized that the little things like toilet paper were missing.”
“Thanks for doing this, Hermione,” Ginny said, finishing her dinner. Audrey, who Ginny had taken an instant liking to and was secretly rooting for Percy to marry her, had happily accepted her invitation to the wedding, and had agreed wholeheartedly with Martha that Ginny was to stay in bed all day in preparation for the wedding.
It was boring, but Ginny wasn’t arguing. She was getting her beach wedding, even if it was going to be as brief as possible, and she’d gained a pound from the day before.
“I’m happy to do it,” Hermione assured her brightly. “I have been having fun, actually. I even got Kreacher a bed. He was touched.”
“Good,” Ginny said, shifting around to get comfortable, kicking the quilt further down the bed off of her feet.
“Ginny?” Hermione hesitated.
“Hmm?” Ginny looked over to see a consternated look on her friend’s face. “What?”
Hermione tucked her hair behind her ear. “Why did you want Auntie Muriel at the wedding?”
Ginny couldn’t help but giggle. “Most people just bend right over when she’s around so she can shove it up their rear. She’s a horrible, mean old bat if you take her seriously. I don’t. I figured out years ago that if you just roll with what she says, she’s hysterically funny.”
“But…” Hermione floundered. “But, she’s so rotten! Not one nice word ever comes out of her mouth!”
Ginny shrugged. “I know. I just don’t take what she says to heart.”
“But…” Hermione sighed, fidgeting in her seat. “I really don’t want her at my wedding.”
“Maybe she’ll have died by then,” Ginny said dismissively. “Honestly, Hermione, you know you’re a good person who is smart, courageous and that my brother adores the ground you walk on. Why does it matter what she says or thinks?”
Her bushy haired friend stared at her, but not really seeing her, lost in thought. Finally she asked, “Yes, but why have her at the wedding?”
“Because she took us in,” Ginny said simply. “No matter how awful she is, she took us in and we drove her crazy while we were there. She’s earned her place and it will make her happy to see me marry Harry. To her, fame matters.”
“I just don’t understand,” Hermione said, shaking her head.
Ginny couldn’t help but laugh. “Listen, are you marrying Ron tomorrow? Nope, so why borrow trouble?”
Hermione’s face went scarlet. “I may not marry him at all.”
Ginny just raised an eyebrow, not bothering to comment.
“Well, I mean,” she stammered, flustered. “We only just started going out a few weeks ago!”
“You know, Hermione,” Ginny said softly. “You don’t need time to know. Have you talked about it at all?”
Hermione’s mouth softened and she nodded her head. “Yes, but… well alright, I don’t need time to know how I feel about him but I’m only…” she fell silent.
“I’m sixteen,” Ginny said. “I know and I probably know because my life has never once been about taking the easy way out. Age has nothing to do with this, not for us. Maybe if we’d been born in a different time it would, but we were all grown up years ago.” Ginny turned to look out the window, watching a bird fly past her window.
She looked back at Hermione’s anxious face. “Yeah?”
“How are you going to do this? I can’t imagine being a mother right now.” Then as if the words fully registered, she shut her mouth and shook her head. “Forget I asked; it was stupid! I don’t want you to get upset or-”
“No, it’s not stupid and I have no bloody idea,” Ginny admitted, even while she pushed down the fear. “I think that I can, though. I have a great mother, friends and family to support me, and Harry is the best man I’ve ever known. Together we’ll muddle through until we learn enough to get good at it. I already love the baby so that’s the first hurdle. I’m excited and terrified but of all the things we’ve faced over the last few years, I think having a baby is at least something that’s all about happiness and love.”
Hermione nodded, her voice was choked with emotion when she finally spoke. “I think you and Harry are going to be really good parents.”
“I hope so,” Ginny told her. “We’re going to try. At least I know Harry doesn’t run from a challenge.”
Hermione snorted. “Definitely not.”
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