You can find the previous chapter here.
Chapter Two: Life with Harry
Ginny took her time eating her breakfast. She was not really hungry anymore, but she was much too aware of the looks her mother kept casting her way and she was determined to act as though nothing had happened. After all, she had been prepared to see Harry today, it’s just that it took her by surprise to find out he was already here.
When she thought she had given the trio enough time to catch up, Ginny got up, put her half-empty plate in the sink and turned to her mother.
“Do you want me to get Harry his breakfast, Mum?”
“No, dear,” responded Mrs. Weasley. “You go ahead. I’ll take it myself. It’s still not ready.”
Ginny eyed the already full tray and wondered where her mother planned to put anything else. She would definitely need an Engorgement Charm for the tray. And another one for Harry’s stomach, she snickered.
“Oh! I’ll take ‘Arry ‘is breakfast,” said Fleur to Mrs. Weasley. She then turned to Ginny. “We wouldn’t want you to fall down the stairs carrying such a big tray.”
Ginny didn’t say anything in response. She only gave the beautiful blonde a glare that plainly wished her a painful death. A look that would have made any sane person run for cover, but Fleur had proven to be completely oblivious to anything that was not herself or Bill. How old she thought Ginny was? She could very well carry a breakfast tray up the stairs. But if there was one thing that Ginny had learned over the last month was that it was completely pointless to try to argue with Phlegm.
Her mother, however, hadn’t reached the same conclusion. When Ginny walked out of the kitchen, the two women had engaged in a heated discussion (Mrs. Weasley was arguing heatedly, Fleur was simply talking in her annoyingly airy voice) about who would take Harry his breakfast.
Ginny walked slowly up the stairs and stopped just outside the twins’ bedroom. She could hear voices from inside. She stood there for a moment, her heart was beating fast and she could feel her cheeks growing hot. She had to get a grip on herself. She couldn’t walk into the room in that state.
“He looks a bit like a walrus, and he used to be Head of Slytherin.”
Ginny smiled slightly when she heard Harry’s voice. He didn’t sound depressed like he sounded the last time she saw him. He was probably starting to cope with Sirius’ death. If someone could bounce back from something like that, it was definitely Harry. He was the strongest person Ginny knew and she admired him for that.
“He can’t be worst than Umbridge, can he?” Harry said and Ginny took it as her cue to enter the bedroom.
“I know someone who’s worse than Umbridge,” she said from the doorway. She then looked at the boy lying on the bed. His hair was, if possible, more untidy than ever. “Hi, Harry,” Ginny added, making a conscious effort to keep her voice even. He smiled at her, but didn’t get a chance to say anything.
“What’s up with you?” Ron asked her sister.
“It’s her,” Ginny said, plonking herself down on Harry’s bed. Hermione was also sitting on the bed, so it wouldn’t be a big deal if she did too. “She’s driving me mad.”
“What’s she done now?” asked Hermione sympathetically.
“It’s the way she talks to me… you would think I was about three!”
“I know,” said Hermione, dropping her voice. “She’s so full of herself.
“Can you lay off her for five seconds?”
“Oh, that’s right, defend her,” snapped Ginny. “We all know you can’t get enough of her.”
“Who are you…?” asked Harry and Ginny realized that he had absolutely no idea of whom they have been talking about. She was about to answer his half-formulated question when Phlegm herself entered the bedroom carrying the breakfast tray.
When the door swung open Harry had yanked the bedcovers up to his chin so hard that Ginny and Hermione slid off the bed onto the floor. Ginny picked herself up, half-annoyed, half-amused, and walked over to the window.
While Fleur monopolized the conversation going on about how much she was longing to see Harry again, Ginny surveyed him attentively. No one was really paying attention to her, anyway. She regarded Harry for a long while. He had blushed when Fleur kissed his cheeks, which was really cute of him. Ginny had always been amazed of how, being Harry Potter, all the attention made him feel uncomfortable. Anyone else would have gotten used to it by now. Many would actually enjoy it. But not him. There was so much sweetness in his awkwardness.
But Mrs. Weasley was right. He was thinner and there were dark circles under his eyes. He looked somewhat happier than the last time she saw him, though. It could be because he wouldn’t have to spend the rest of the summer with his Muggle relatives.
Ginny noticed that Hermione was looking at her; her smug face back in place. She turned around and gazed out the window at the same time Fleur was talking about the wedding. A few annoying remarks later, Phlegm was gone with a last “Enjoy your breakfast, ‘Arry!”
Ginny then joined the conversation and abused Fleur with the same enthusiasm she later defended Tonks. Why Bill couldn’t marry Tonks instead of Fleur? That would make sense. But no!
Bill had always been Ginny’s favorite. Even though there was such a big age different between them (he being the oldest and she the youngest) he had never treated her like a little girl, like her other brothers did. Especially Ron.
The door then opened again and Mrs. Weasley popped her head in.
“Ginny,” she whispered, “come downstairs and help me with the lunch.”
“I’m talking to this lot!” said Ginny outraged.
“Now!” said Mrs. Weasley, and withdrew.
“She only wants me there so she doesn’t have to be alone with Phlegm!” said Ginny crossly. She swung her long red hair around in a very good imitation of Fleur and pranced across the room with her arms loft like a ballerina.
“You lot had better come down quickly too,” she said as she left the room.
Ginny went down the stairs slowly and entered the kitchen. She sat at the table, doing her best to block the constant stream of chattering of her soon-to-be sister-in-law, and started helping her mother with lunch.
A while later Hermione entered the kitchen sporting a black eye. Ginny sprang to her feet.
“Hermione!” she exclaimed.
“Oh my!” exclaimed Mrs. Weasley. “What happened, dear?”
“Oh! It’s nothing,” said Hermione dismissively. “I was fiddling with one of the twins’ joke items. It punched me.”
“Honestly, those boys…” said Mrs. Weasley sternly, but Ginny couldn’t help laughing. She sat back at the table trying to avoid being seen laughing by her Mum. “Let’s fix that eye,” added Mrs. Weasley rummaging in a cabinet. She then walked over to the chair where Hermione had sat, holding a copy of The Healer’s Helpmate. “Let’s see… Here it is: ‘Bruises, Cuts, and Abrasions.’” She placed the book on the table. “We’ll fix you up in a jiffy.”
But no matter how many charms Mrs. Weasley used, the bruise remained stubbornly on Hermione’s face. She was still trying to get rid of it ten minutes later when Ron and a fully dressed Harry came into the kitchen.
“This has always worked before, I just can’t understand it,” muttered Mrs. Weasley.
“It’ll be Fred and George’s idea of a funny joke, making sure it can’t come off,” said Ginny, stifling a laugh. She, for one, did find the whole situation very funny.
Ginny was sure that Hermione would find it at least a bit funny if she wasn’t so tense about the OWLs results that, according to Harry would arrive today. They all sat around the table staring at the window, waiting for the test results. With every minute the atmosphere grew tenser. Ginny was glad when the three birds finally arrived. One more minute and she would have had to slap Hermione to make her come to her senses.
She watched the trio open the envelopes and read the parchment inside. They had swapped papers and looked at each other grades. Ron had gotten seven OWLs; Harry the same with an “Outstanding” in Defense Against the Dark Arts; Hermione had gotten ten “Outstanding” and one “Exceeds Expectation” in DADA. You could tell she was not happy about it.
The air felt lighter all of the sudden, although Ginny noticed that Harry looked a bit crestfallen. She knew why. She knew him better than he would ever imagine. He had gotten an “Exceeds Expectations” in Potions, and Snape would never let him into his NEWT class. That was the end of his ambition to become an Auror. Ginny looked at him reassuringly, but he had already put on a brave face. She knew he would never mention it, not even to Ron or Hermione.
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