Harry came downstairs, yawning and scratching his head sleepily. Ginny was already at the breakfast table. The smell of coffee was drifting through the room, and she was sipping on a cup as she read a thick bundle of papers.
"'Morning, love," Harry said, dropping a kiss on the top of her head on his way to the coffeepot.
"'Morning, sleepy." She smiled up at him, then pushed another bundle of papers, identical to hers, toward his usual seat. "The new script is here."
"Finally. Does that woman ever update?" He stirred milk into his coffee, then sat down at the table, opening the script.
"She's got an awful lot on her plate," Ginny said fairly. "Her day job alone is a lot of work."
"Yeah, well, so's ours," Harry muttered, sipping his coffee and opening the script. "Well, at least she got your ring right."
"Your, er, subtle hints didn't hurt." Ginny grinned.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." He settled in to read, then snorted. "Oh, please. We have to Floo back? You're seventeen in this, you can Apparate!"
"She didn't know that when she started writing, and she wrote you, Ron, and Hermione as not Apparating until you were out of Hogwarts. She's got to keep it consistent."
"She could go back and fix it."
"Do you really want to go back and re-shoot that early bit? With all that we've already got to do? Hell, they're saying Serendipity will be updating in the next few weeks, so we've got to wrap our brains around being in sixth year again!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Harry said again morosely. "The life of an actor."
"Oh, quit whining. It could have been another Portkey."
They read in silence for a few minutes, then Harry sighed again, rolling his eyes.
"What?" Ginny said, a bit of annoyance in her voice.
"More angst. Honestly, doesn't this woman have a sense of humour at all? Now she's got me wondering if I'm going to lose the Weasleys as my surrogate family. Come on! The only way I could lose the Weasleys is to pry them off with a crowbar."
"Harry, you've got to look at the story as a whole," Ginny said impatiently. "The you she's written spent years trying to defeat Voldemort, and now he ends up using an Unforgivable Curse himself. You have to admit that's—"
"Absolutely out of character," Harry interrupted.
"It is not," Ginny snapped. "Not the way she's written you. Honestly, Harry, I think you get confused amongst all the forty thousand stories we have to act. She spent ten chapters getting you angry enough to do it, and now has you upset and angry with yourself because of what you did. That sounds like you as far as I'm concerned." Suddenly she grinned. "And if you don't think she has a sense of humour, read the way she writes Fred and George. Or Ron and Hermione, for that matter. I swear she spends hours in their lounges, listening to them."
"Hm." Harry read a bit farther, then stifled a chuckle. "Okay, yeah, I see your point. That is rather like Ron and Hermione, isn't it?"
"Very." She turned the last page, then accidentally spat out a mouthful of coffee.
"Ginny!" Harry jumped back, then reached behind him for a towel. "What was that for?"
Red-faced, Ginny mopped off her script and the table. "The last scene. Look at the last scene."
Harry flipped forward. "Telling the family we're engaged. Well, at least she doesn't do anything stupid, like having Ron object or the twins pull some stupid pra—"
"The last line, Harry."
Harry's eyes skimmed downward, then he stopped. "Oh, bugger," he breathed.
"Yeah. Talk about angst."
"And about completely wrong," Harry added, staring at the page. "My God, if Molly had asked us that when I was eighteen, I would have joined a monastery. In Bulgaria somewhere."
Ginny snorted. "And I would have been in a convent in South America somewhere. Not by my own choice, mind; Mum would have taken me there herself."
Their eyes met over the clean pine kitchen table and they snorted with laughter. "Well, she is being called the reigning queen of angst," Harry offered, tapping the author's name on the script.
"Yeah, but does she have to do so much of it?" Ginny flipped the script closed and sighed. "How many chapters is this supposed to be?"
"I dunno. She won't commit to a number."
"Didn't she say 'probably about ten' when we first signed the contract?"
Harry smirked. "Yeah, but she also said 'don't hold me to that.' I think at this point she's just saying it'll take however many it takes to finish the story properly."
"Finish properly, eh?" Ginny flipped idly back through the script. "'The bad die unhappily, the good unluckily; that's what tragedy means.'"
"Tom Stoppard," Harry identified vaguely, reading again. "Well, I do have to admit, much as some of her details annoy me—she has me putting sugar in my coffee!—the woman does seem to have our characters down pretty well. And didn't she say something about not harming any Weasleys or Potters in the construction of this fic?"
"I don't remember that," Ginny said, frowning.
"Might not have been those words exactly. Maybe it was not killing."
"Well, she's already done that," Ginny pointed out. "A Weasley and a Potter. The baby, remember?"
"Oh, hell. Maybe I'm thinking of someone else, then." Harry finished reading the parts he'd skipped, then he too sat back and took a long swig of coffee, sighing. "Well, I guess we'd best get down to the set. If we don't get this shot soon, people are likely to hunt us down."
The telephone rang at that moment. Ginny, who was nearest, reached up behind her to lift the receiver off the wall. "Hello? Oh, Hermione. Yes, we have." She paused for a second. "I know, but it's being written for a Harry/Ginny site. … Well, okay, but its original posting site was, even if its current is Ron/Hermione, too. Yes, yes, I know, but you've—" She stopped, obviously waiting as Hermione spoke. "Yes, all right, I'll ask if you can have a bit more screen-time. I think she's planning another outtake with you two in it."
Harry got up, refilled his coffee and hers, then put some bread in the toaster. His wife flashed a grateful smile at him.
"Yes, all right. No, I don't think you'll have to spring Harry from Azkaban; Kokopelli's writing all the legal bits, so he'll find a way out. … Yes, I do too; 'The Big One' was great fun to shoot with our mums. Yes, all right, we'll meet you at the studio in an hour. Bye."
She hung up the phone as Harry chuckled. "Hermione complaining about the size of her part again?"
"Yes," Ginny groaned. "She keeps saying she dreads scripts with the PS logo because she knows it'll be a bit part at best. She insists Checkmated is more fun."
"Oh, I don't know," Harry said carelessly, sitting down again. "I think some of the ones from RS are a bit amusing."
Ginny raised an eyebrow. "Should I tell Severus and Draco you said that?"
"Ouch," he said, wincing, and she laughed. "All right, point made." The toaster popped, and he pulled the toast out, putting butter and marmalade on the table. "Eat, wench. We've got to get to costuming and makeup."
Ginny picked up a piece of toast and the spoon for the marmalade. "Think they'll have you in the dragonhide again?" she asked innocently.
"Unlikely." He shot her a grin. "But we could always see if we could 'borrow' the costume for awhile. Tonight, maybe?"