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SIYE Time:15:58 on 17th January 2022


Portrait
By GryffindorHealer

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Category: Post-Hogwarts
Characters:Harry/Ginny
Genres: Fluff, General
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 7
Summary: During the week between their wedding and their honeymoon, Ginny and Harry fail to notice some changes happening at Grimmauld Place.
Hitcount: Story Total: 489



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.



Author's Notes:
This story was written for Eleyezeeaye as part of the Harry-Ginny Discord 2021 Incognito Elf Gift Exchange. The idea for this story came to me as I finished up When Ginny and Harry Eloped- Sort Of. With other projects on my list, plus Daily Life, I moved it to a way-back burner. Then about a month ago on my drive into town, it moved itself off the back burner and came to a boil. Between boarding the bus and getting off at Hospital, I wrote the first draft. Hope you enjoy it.




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Monday morning after they exchanged vows, Ginny and Harry consummated their marriage (again) so thoroughly that they both came down to breakfast late. Ginny hardly noticed what Kreacher fixed them to eat before leaving for Holyhead. Neither of them noticed that the dark velvet curtains no longer covered the Portrait in the entry.

Tuesday morning, while not quite as late, they still rushed through the hallway for breakfast and didn’t see that the background of the Portrait now matched the renovated decorations in red and gold of the first floor sitting room.

Kreacher set the full plates of bangers and mash in front of the newlyweds. ‘One of my favorite breakfasts, Kreacher,’ said Ginny. ‘Thank you so much.’ The old elf chuckled quietly when Master Harry ( Kreacher must not say that out loud, he thought) obviously made a mental note to remember that.

Wednesday morning, Sir received a call from the Department of Law Enforcement and left before Ma’am. Ginny passed through the hallway still blinking sleep from her eyes. She sat in her usual place at the kitchen table, next to the head of table where Kreacher insisted Harry sit, and sighed after her first sip of hot clover-honeyed tea. ‘Thank you, Kreacher,’ she whispered.

‘Kreacher is honored to serve,’ he replied. Ginny’s eyebrows briefly creased at the light, pleasant tone in his voice. But the old elf turned back to his morning duties, stacking dried plates in the cupboard before apparating out of the kitchen to begin housecleaning.

He paused in the entryway to examine the blurred humanoid form appearing in the Portrait, his bullfrog chuckle resonating when he glimpsed the flaming red hair. So far, neither Master nor Mistress seemed to notice these changes.

Thursday morning, the newlyweds stumbled into the kitchen murmuring sweet nothings until Kreacher cleared his throat. ‘Tea is ready, Sir and Ma’am,’ his baritone tumbled into their awareness.

‘Thank you, Kreacher,’ Harry replied. After serving them their bacon, eggs, fried tomatoes, and toast, the elf excused himself and again headed upstairs for his other duties. He nodded appreciatively at the green and gold robes adorning the now clearly red-haired figure in the Portrait.

Friday morning Harry stumbled into the kitchen before Ginny. Both took advantage that their respective supervisors more or less declared this to be a “light” day at their jobs: Gwenog to allow the team some rest before the match tomorrow (Ginny still needed to go to Holyhead for a strategy meeting). Harry seriously wondered if Robards simply thought Harry would be useless with both his upcoming leave for their honeymoon after the Puddlemere-Holyhead game.

He just finished his first sip of tea when Ginny’s voice raged down the stairs to the kitchen.

‘HARRY!’

His wand came out before he cleared the table and to Kreacher’s surprise apparated out of the kitchen. The old elf took a slow breath to school the smile off his face before Harry’s voice echoed behind Ginny’s.

‘KREACHER!’

This is going to be fun , he thought, snapping his fingers.

‘Sir called?’ Kreacher rumbled when he arrived in the entry hall near the Portrait, struggling to keep his shoulders from shaking with the mirth bubbling through his old bones and muscles.

‘What is the meaning of this,’ Ginny hissed, her shaking finger pointing to the Portrait. Her normally kind yet impish eyes blazed brighter than a supernova, her lips nearly disappeared in a thin, straight line. Kreacher bowed slightly before turning to face Harry.

‘Sir, Kreacher must use the term which is so disliked.’

‘What is the -‘ started Ginny, louder, but she stopped when Harry’s hand rested lightly on her arm. Her eyes continued to blaze, though Kreacher saw her mouth relax some and his head bobbed in a minute nod. Master and Mistress did indeed complement each other’s needs.

‘He means our agreement that he can call me Master when he’s teaching me- us- about things related to the House,’ Harry said. Ginny nodded. Once. A short, hard movement. ‘Go ahead, Kreacher. Where is Walburga Black. Why is Ginny in Walburga’s Portrait?’

Kreacher took in a slow, deep breath.

‘Master Orion’s father, Master Arcturus, suffered a stroke shortly after his son’s  betrothal to Walburga Black, Mistress Melania, his wife, took over as Head of the Household because Master Orion remained a few years short of his majority.’

‘What does this have to do with my being-‘ Ginny stopped when Harry gently squeezed her arm.

‘Mistress Walburga came to live here at Grimmauld upon the betrothal, as was the custom those days. She and Master Orion kept separate rooms. As was also the custom, those rooms were enchanted so that the betrothed couple could not be in each other’s rooms at the same time.

‘The Portrait showed, still, Mistress Melania. I am…’ Kreacher paused, taking a deep breath. Harry opened his mouth but Ginny spoke first.

‘Go ahead, Kreacher. You honor the Potter-Black House Elves by teaching us,’ she said gently. Kreacher bowed.

‘Thank you, Mistress.’ Ginny’s eyes widened momentarily. ‘Kreacher is pained to say Mistress Walburga felt- most annoyed- that the Portrait did not show her. Being a Black, she of course knew the significance, that she could not yet claim to be Mistress of the House.’ The old elf blinked a few times, possibly a tear slid down the side of his face. ‘Master Orion and Mistress Walburga wed a year later after he reached his majority.’

Ginny glared at Kreacher, her foot tapping. ‘I still do not see why this painting now shows me.’

With a short bow to her, Kreacher continued. ‘With the marriage consummated, the Portrait began to change. Mistress Melania bade Kreacher farewell with the admonition to serve the House well, and retired as Dowager Mistress to one of the country estates. When Master Orion died, the Mistress had already disowned Master Sirius. Not long after, Master Regulus…’ His throat tightened, lips twitching.

‘Master Regulus died trying to overthrow Tom,’ Harry said softly. Kreacher nodded.

‘Old Mistress’s heart broke, since neither of her sons provided an heir. Even after she died, she remained in the Portrait as the Mistress of the House, because Master Harry had not yet married.’

The grandfather clock ticking in the first floor sitting room echoed through the halls. Slowly the blaze in Ginny’s eyes receded.

‘You mean...’ she started.

‘The Old Mistress is dead,’ croaked Kreacher, then shook himself straighter. Meeting Ginny’s smoldering brown eyes before him, he said proudly, ‘Long live the Mistress.’

‘No,’ Ginny whispered, facing the Portrait. Her image stood in the first floor sitting room, blazing brown-gold eyes, red hair and freckles and dressed in her Harpies robes. Left hand resting on the back of the davenport, her ruby and emerald engagement ring prominent, she held her yew and unicorn hair wand in her right at her side. Gryffindor colors draped across the windows behind her.

Harry nodded to Kreacher, waving his hand to the Portrait. ‘So this painting?’

‘Is a part of the House, Sir and Ma’am. It is titled, 'Portrait of the Mistress of the House.’

‘Oh, Merlin’s Beard,’ whispered Ginny.

Reviews 7
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