|SIYE Time:12:13 on 18th May 2021|
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Fluff, Romance
Summary: Harry’s mundane life takes a pleasant turn when a pretty redhead visits his apothecary one day. Will he finally find excitement despite the authoritarian Fudge administration?
Hitcount: Story Total: 4030
Awards: View Trophy Room
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.
After years of lurking on SIYE, I decided to write my first story ever. I welcome all feedback, especially on my writing.
Just a heads up: if you do not like Harry/Ginny starting off with other pairings, you will probably not like this story.
Harry blinked a few times as the room slowly came into view. From the pillow he was resting on, he could see that the walls looked very much different from his own. They were pink, as opposed to his white washed walls that had started to crack in places.
He instinctively reached for his glasses on the bedside table and put them on. He could now clearly see the pale pink floral wallpaper that matched the frilly sheets he was laying on. Sighing, he realized this could only mean one thing - he had slept at Gwendoline’s last night. With a mental groan he pulled himself up from bed and walked toward the corner of the room where he’d discarded his clothes last night. He dressed slowly, trying to put off going downstairs as long as he could.
He always tried not to stay the night at Gwen’s place. One would think the way he avoided her, he didn’t care for her, but that was not it. He did like Gwen, but that didn’t mean he liked seeing her every morning, did it? All that lovey-dovey clingy stuff was for romance novels anyway. That just wasn’t him and Gwen.
Harry trudged downstairs, humming the show-tune for ‘Buster, the Giggling Ghoul’, Teddy’s favorite wireless program. Harry spent every full moon on the couch in his flat, munching Every Flavored Beans with his godson, as they both listened to Buster causing havoc in children’s homes, his distinct giggle crackling through the speakers. He smiled fondly as he remembered Teddy’s excitement for the new episode the previous day. He’d been so hyper that Harry had to keep him a couple of extra hours to calm him down before taking him to Andy’s, where Teddy stayed the night of every full moon. As a result, he had been late for his and Gwen’s dinner date, and had to endure her scolding while they ate at Cadogan’s Cuisine, a wizarding restaurant in Dartford, which was far too fancy for his taste.
Entering the spotless Aunt-Petunia-esque kitchen, he noted with relief that Gwen was nowhere to be seen. He opened the refrigerator looking for the milk carton, while he pondered whether he could Floo away without having to greet her. She was always cranky in the morning.
Think of the devil.
Harry whipped around, his head bumping across the roof of the fridge as he did so.
“G- Gwen! Didn’t see you there,” Harry said nervously.
Gwen was standing in the doorway that connected the kitchen to the living room. Her hands were placed on her hips, and a scowl masked her small face. Her short, blond hair were curled as usual, always held in perfect place no matter what time of the day it was. She wore pale yellow summer robes with white sandals.
“Harry, I’ve been waiting for you to wake up for half an hour now,” Gwen said impatiently. She tapped her watch, an unconscious habit of hers whenever she was agitated. Harry noticed she was holding her red buckled bag — her shopping purse.
“Oh? You didn’t have to wait if you had to go somewhere.” He was hoping Gwen would skip the lecture and just leave. Remembering that the fridge door was still open he turned to face it again.
“Don’t start eating breakfast now! Olivia is waiting for me so we can go shopping for the nursery. She wants to set it up before Robert gets back.” She crossed the kitchen to where Harry was standing, and shut the fridge for him.
Olivia was Gwen’s older sister. She was currently in her first trimester of pregnancy, but had probably already bought every single baby-related item she could find in all of London. Olivia’s husband was away for business (he collected and sold different types of Flobberworms), meaning that she was spending a lot of time with Gwen and Harry. In Harry’s opinion, Robert had made up the “sudden sighting of a rare green Flobberworm in Gibraltar” to get away from Olivia’s unpredictable mood swings, but he didn’t dare say that in front of either of the sisters.
“Er- right. I guess I’ll be on my way then.” His stomach gave a low rumble, but he ignored it. “Don’t be alarmed if they find my starved dead body inside the store today.”
He was not even graced with a reply. Instead, Gwen pursed her lips, and Harry sighed in defeat. Leaning toward her, he kissed her gently.
“Relax, Gwen. I’m sorry I overslept.”
Her scowl disappeared, and she gave him half a smile. The effect was instantaneous — her features softened, making her look once again like the attractive girl that her father had introduced him to. If only Gwen could see how pretty she looked when she smiled... It was becoming quite a rare feat these days.
“I know. It’s just - you know I don’t like it when things aren’t on schedule.”
“I know,” said Harry.
He leaned to kiss her again, but she pulled back this time, her frown returning as she shook her head, pointing toward her lips. “My lipstick.”
He sighed again and exited through the kitchen door to the backyard. With a pop he was gone.
“Here, this is what I was talking about.”
“Are you sure, Luna? It says it’s a cauldron cleaner.”
“Yes, Ginny — rub it in clockwise patterns at midnight and your pimple will be gone within a day.”
At this statement, Harry’s ears perked up. It wasn’t everyday someone came to his store for acne solutions.
“I guess it can’t get worse than this.”
“Oh, it can.” This girl had a strange manner of speaking with seriousness while maintaining a sing-song voice. “If you rub it in counterclockwise, the pimple will spurt green pus every hour or so.”
The other girl — Ginny — sighed. “I’m going to kill Fred and George. It’s the last time I let either of those gits know I have a date. Next time it will probably be warts — or a bushy moustache — or — or a funny smell from my hair.”
“I wish I had six brothers like you, Ginny. I’d never feel lonely.”
Ginny made a clicking sound impatiently. “Trust me, they’d make sure you’re lonely for the rest of your life by scaring all your dates away.”
“I doubt Michael will notice your pimple, Ginny,” said the first girl earnestly. “I’ve only seen him looking at your arse.”
“Err — thanks, Luna.”
Harry was thoroughly amused at this point. It was too bad the witches were behind the store’s tall shelves. He really wanted to put faces to the voices.
“I’ll just pay for this quickly and then we can go get our groceries,” said the girl with the pimple.
Harry quickly picked up his sales ledger and pretended to examine it closely as the witch walked up to the counter. He did not want to appear to have been eavesdropping.
“Hi there! Just this Scour Power, please.”
Harry looked up from the ledger to take in this girl—with—the—pimple. His immediate thought was that she was not the acne—ridden witch he had been imagining. Far from it actually. Her hair, a mix of red and copper, had a windswept look to it, and she had light freckles splattered all over her creamy cheekbones. He stood there staring at her for a while, before he realized that she was looking expectantly at him with the jar of the blue potion outstretched toward him.
“Oh, err — right,” he said blinking stupidly. “That will be eight sickles.”
She looked at him with a slight smirk on her lips before reaching down for her purse to tug it open. She must have tugged too firmly because the seam of her purse split open suddenly, and the contents immediately started spilling toward the ground.
“Oh no, shite! I’m so sorry, give me a second,” she said bending down hurriedly to collect the items scattered on the floor.
Harry — always the hero, as his godfather used to say — crossed over to the other side of the counter within a second, reaching down to help pick up the items on the ground. He handed her a yellow pocket hairbrush, a few quills, and a leather notebook that had loose pages protruding from the sides. He also took the liberty of waving his wand at her purse to have its seam stitch up together neatly.
“Thank you, sir,” she said, a bit flustered, as she examined his handiwork, “I’m pants at mending spells so you’ve done me a huge favor.”
“Please call me Harry,” he said, trying not to look too proud of himself. “And it’s no problem at all. Maybe you can repay me the next time you come in with the bushy moustache.”
He did not know what made him say that, and for a moment, he thought he might have been too forward, but she tipped her head backward and laughed — a bubbly, lovely laugh that filled him with warmth from the inside.
“It’s a deal. I’m Ginny, by the way,” she said with twinkling eyes stretching her hand out to him.
Harry shook her hand, noticing minor calluses on her hand, and at the same time, trying to ignore the fluttering feeling in his stomach.
“Pleasure doing business with you, Ginny.”
She gave him a slightly amused smile and reached for her purse again to pay him, this time without any accidents.
Harry barely caught glimpse of the other girl — Luna — as he watched the two of them walk out of his apothecary. He was too busy thinking how Ginny’s hand almost felt like she regularly played Quidditch...
But no — that would be ridiculous. He shook his head, as if to clear the thought from his head. That could not be it.
Owning a flying broomstick these days could get you a 500 galleon fine. His own Firebolt, a gift from his late godfather, was hidden away in his linen cupboard, piled underneath some blankets along with a few layers of concealment charms, just in case the Magical Law Enforcement ever decided to raid his house.
Telling himself she probably got the calluses from doing something quite ordinary, he busied himself by recording the new sale in his ledger.
Not many customers visited after Ginny and Luna left. During these idle hours, he often wondered whether he should change the location of his store to somewhere busier, like Diagon Alley, but he had too much sentimental value attached to his grandfather’s apothecary, located in a Muggle town called Godric’s Hollow. Besides, Ministry goons were always roaming up and down Diagon Alley, eager to arrest anyone that did not comply with Fudge’s repressive decrees. Most recently, Harry had read about a toy vendor who was sentenced to jail for two months for selling a teapot that sprouted bubbles.
The clock from the nearby church struck five bells, interrupting Harry’s thoughts. He lazily got up from his chair and stretched. Time to begin his usual close—of—business routine.
He waved his wand to set some cleaning spells in motion; the shelves of jars started rearranging themselves, the potions nearing their expiry dates flew to the back of the store, and his cleaning broom began sweeping the floor. He watched the broom for a while, wistfully thinking of flying, when suddenly something sparkly the broom had swept up caught his eye.
“Accio,” he muttered pointing to it.
The sparkly thing flew straight toward him, and he caught it neatly, brushing off the dust from it. It was a piece of thick, glossy stock paper, and it was the size of a business card. It was purple on both sides and so sparkly that it hurt Harry’s eye. He regarded it suspiciously. Something so bright simply did not exist in the wizarding world anymore, for fear of violation of the Ministry’s Decree No. 337, which banned the possession of frivolous items.
Harry tapped the card a few times with his wand, running through his usual list of Dark Magic detection spells. The spells produced nothing. He could detect some kind of magic though, but could not place what type of spell it was. He felt a surge of rebelliousness as he decided to pocket it and return to it later. To hell with the Ministry and its ridiculous laws.
As he locked up his store, he wondered if he could somehow get out of seeing Gwen tonight.
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