|SIYE Time:20:30 on 21st April 2021|
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Category: Pre-OotP, Cursed Child and beyond
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, General
Story is Complete
Summary: HP&CC inspired story - Harry challenges Ginny to a game of Exploding Snap in the aftermath of the events of the Chamber of Secrets.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3107
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
This story has been inspired by a line from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (see story for quote). I actually had the idea when I was watching the play just over a month ago, but I waited until the script was released before writing it. If you are avoiding spoilers, this story does not give them away, except for the quote at the beginning and in all honesty, it gives nothing away as it is. I hope you enjoy it!
After I came out of hospital — everyone ignored me, shut me out — other than, that is, the boy who had everything — who came across the Gryffindor common room and challenged me to a game of Exploding Snap. People think they know all there is to know about you, but the best bits of you are — have always been — heroic in really quiet ways. My point is — after this is over, just remember if you could — that sometimes people — but particularly children — just want someone to play Exploding Snap with.
-Ginny Potter, Special Rehearsal Edition Script, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, 2016.
June 1993 — Gryffindor Common Room
The portrait hole opened to allow many students to enter the common room after having finished dinner. In amongst the crowd, mainly unnoticed and ignored, was the youngest Weasley. She had kept her head down, not wanting to draw attention to herself, nor wishing to catch anyone’s eyes. Only as she entered the common room had she raised her head enough to take a look around and find a quiet spot in which to sit down.
She could see Fred and George laughing about something with Lee Jordan. She could see Percy telling off one of the younger students. She could see Ron enjoying himself with his two best friends, Hermione and Harry.
With a deep sigh, she spotted a single seat in the corner of the common room and made her way over there to sit down. Knowing she would be left alone, she pulled her Charms book from her bag and began reviewing the spells that the first years had been taught that year, taking the time to make sure she fully understood the theory behind the spells.
However, she found it increasingly hard to concentrate with the rowdiness of the other students. Their laughter only served to remind her how alone, isolated and lonely she was. But she knew these feelings were of her own doing. She had isolated herself by constantly writing in that stupid diary, which had then possessed her and almost killed her. And it didn’t help that the whole school, despite the teachers’ best efforts, now knew it was her who set the basilisk loose, allowing students, ghosts and cats to be petrified. It had made people wary of her, fearful of her and in some cases, she saw the pity in their eyes.
She angrily swiped away the tears from her eyes that had managed to escape. She hated feeling like this and it was only made worse by the fact her own brothers had gone back to ignoring her after her release from the hospital wing. They had been so supportive and worried about her after she was rescued and while still in hospital. It shocked her just how easily they had gone back to the way they had been before she was taken down into the Chamber.
Resting her head against the back of the chair she was sat in, she closed her eyes and desperately willed away the tears that were fighting to fall down her face. She felt incredibly tired as she was barely sleeping due to her constant nightmares. She had been told by Madam Pomfrey that the Dreamless Sleep Potion could only help for a short while and that it would be better for her to talk about her experience. The problem was that she was not quite ready to talk about what had happened to her. Instead, she just wanted to feel loved and accepted. She wanted to be included, not ignored. She wanted to feel like that there was someone there for her without the pressure of needing to talk. But no one seemed to want to do that or be there for her.
The most unexpected voice broke into her thoughts causing her to open her eyes and look up to see the one person she had least
expected to approach her.
“Do you want to play a game of Exploding Snap with me?”
The boy with the lightning shaped scar sat quietly as he listened to his best mate inform their best friend yet again what had happened after she was petrified. He was not quite sure why she felt the need to go over every little detail again, but then again Ron seem to be enjoying the attention he was receiving from her during his enthusiastic retelling of the tale.
His attention was pulled from the conversation as the portrait hole opened and a number of students filed in from dinner, including the person he had rescued just over a week ago. He discreetly watched as she looked round the common room as though she was looking for something, before she moved over to a quiet corner and took a seat. It concerned him that she was willing to accept the isolation from her fellow Gryffindors and her brothers. He could see she was struggling in the aftermath of her traumatic experience, but no one seem to notice that this was the case.
He knew he could not pretend to understand half of what she went through, but he knew enough with his own experiences with Voldemort to know she was having nightmares, which in turn meant she was getting very little sleep. But he also knew that right now she would not want to talk about it, despite the fact she needed to in order to begin moving past what had happened. Quite honestly, he wanted to avoid all talk of what had happened in the Chamber as well, but his best friends did not seem to understand that right now.
He took a look round the common room to see what the Weasley boys were all doing. It shocked him that none of them appeared to have noticed their sister come in and sit down by herself. He could imagine that it was making her feel so alone and unloved at that moment. How her brothers could go back to behaving the way they were towards her before she had been taken down into the Chamber when it had only pushed to write in that diary to begin with, he could not understand. He had promised her that her family would still love her no matter what and yet he felt his promise was being broken as he watched her brothers do everything but interact with the youngest member of their family.
He looked up to see Hermione staring at him.
“Can you tell me again what happened in the Chamber?” she asked once he made eye contact with her. “Perhaps in a little more detail
He shook his head in disgust, not believing she needed even more detail than he had already given her. He didn’t want to talk about this now. Spotting the pack of Exploding Snap cards on the table, he made a decision that he hoped would not only help the youngest Weasley but her brothers as well.
“Not right now, Hermione,” he replied as he grabbed the playing pack. “There is something else I need to do right now.”
He walked over to where she was sat all by herself. He could see her fighting the tears and knew that she needed the comfort more than anything else right now.
He watched as she looked up at him in shock. He knew she had not expected him to approach her.
“Do you want to play a game of Exploding Snap with me?”
He watched as her eyes widened at the request, completely uncertain about how to respond.
“I need someone who can challenge me,” he cheekily said, hoping it would gently push her to play with him. “I am getting bored of beating Ron!”
She broke out in a smile as she laughed at his words.
“I think I could give it go,” she quietly replied.
Laughte r soon filled the air as Harry and Ginny played several games of Exploding Snap. They were evenly matched in terms of skill with them even on the number of games won, though they had both managed to avoid singeing their eyebrows so far. Neither spoke of the events of just over a week ago, both choosing instead to enjoy playing cards together instead. Eventually their laughter caught the attention of Ginny’s brothers and Hermione.
Hermione smiled to herself as she watched the way her best friend was reaching out to Ginny. While she could tell he was not encouraging her to talk, just playing the game with her seem to be helping to her to relax. She knew then that she needed to reach out to Ginny as well and make sure she knew that she was not to blame for what had happened to those who were petrified.
Ron felt angry to begin with that his best friend was ignoring him for his baby sister, but as he watched his sister relax as a result of one simple game, he realised that he had been ignoring her again as he had done all year. He could see Harry smiling as well, much more than he had all year. He couldn’t help but wonder if his best mate realised that the simple game was having the same effect on him as it was on Ginny.
Fred and George were delighted to hear their sister laugh so loudly, though they could see the smile she had on her face did not reach her eyes. A quick silent conversation between them helped them reach an understanding to go against their mother’s wishes to leave her be and instead do their best to make her laugh just like she was doing right at that moment.
Percy, on the other hand, was torn. He was annoyed that she may have potentially messed up his chance to be Head Boy, but then again, he knew he was partially to blame, having ignored her most of the year and only checking on her when she appeared to look ill. He now knew that it was the effect of the diary had been having on her and he had misread the signs. He had not been the best big brother to her and he knew he needed to try harder. He also knew that perhaps if he hadn’t interrupted her when she was about to talk to Harry and Ron then she may not have been taken down into the Chamber. But because he was convinced it was about the fact she had seen him kissing Penelope Clearwater in an unused classroom, he had acted before thinking. If he didn’t become Head Boy, it would be his own fault, not his sister’s.
All of Ginny’s brothers all had the same thought when it came to Harry though. Just why were they letting him rescue their sister instead of themselves? First he had rescued her from the Chamber, nearly dying in the process himself and now, he was rescuing her from the isolation and loneliness that had been imposed on her. Had they all really been that blind to what she needed both times? Whatever the answer was, they all knew they needed to step up to the job of being her brothers better than they had this year and protect her the very best they could.
None of them could have realised on thinking that, that their sister had also realised she needed to be tougher and stronger than she had been this past year and would not want to coddled by her family in the years to come.
Ginny yawned just as they finished their current game. They had been playing for hours and one by one, each of her brothers had drifted off to bed having made the effort to say goodnight to both her and Harry in the process. In that time she had felt more relaxed than she had this past week since she had been released from the hospital wing. While her and Harry had not spoken of what had happened in the Chamber, something for which she was grateful for, he had made her feel loved and accepted. He was a very different boy to the fantasy she had of the boy who lived. He was sweet, funny and had the biggest heart of anyone else she knew. He had saved her once again, though this time it was from her own imposed isolation and loneliness and she knew she would forever be grateful to him for what he had done for her.
“You’re yawning,” Harry quietly said as he began putting the cards away.
Ginny gave him a wan smile. “I think I should head up to bed now. Thank you for the game, Harry.”
“You’re welcome,” Harry replied shyly. “If you… erm… ever want someone to talk to about… well you know… erm… I would be happy to listen.”
Ginny didn’t think she was quite past her crush on him to be able to do that or that she was even ready to be able to talk to anyone, but she appreciated the sentiment.
“Thank you for the offer, Harry, but I’m…”
“…not quite ready to do that yet,” Harry finished for her. “I understand, but just know my offer will always stand. Either that or if you ever just want to play another game of Exploding Snap, I know I would prefer a different playing partner to Ron sometimes.”
Ginny smiled at the offers as she stood from her chair, picking up her bag as she did so. “Goodnight Harry.”
“Goodnight, Gin,” Harry replied, feeling happy he had helped her, even if it was only making her smile just a little. He watched as she drifted up the stairs to the girls’ dorms, not realising he had made more of an impact on her than he realised.
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