Author's note: This story was first uploaded yesterday, but because of server issues, had to be re-loaded. Sorry, all! :)
"So when should we tell?" Harry asked eagerly.
frowned, thinking. She wanted desperately to carol the news of their
upcoming wedding from the rooftops, but something was making her hold
back. "How about Saturday, when we all go to Mum and Dad's for dinner?"
"That's a whole week!" Harry protested.
know. But don't you think everyone should be told at the same time?
That way we don't forget anyone, and nobody gets upset because they weren't told first." She rolled her eyes expressively, and Harry chuckled in appreciation. "So, Saturday, then?" she pressed.
sighed and raised her hand to his lips, gently kissing her fingers.
"All right. But I just know I'm never going to be able to restrain
myself when we go out in public!" he said. "The temptation to tell will
just be far too great." He mimicked greeting someone in a shop. "'Well,
hello there, Seamus. Haven't seen you in months! By the way, did you
know Ginny and I are engaged?'"
Ginny grinned saucily. A
wonderful idea for mischief had just occurred to her. "Then maybe we
shouldn't go out together between now and then," she said.
Harry blinked. "I—what?" he asked, clearly caught off guard.
"In fact," she continued blithely, "maybe we should go back to sleeping in our own beds for awhile."
The gob-smacked expression on his face nearly made her chortle. I do so love taking the mickey out of him.
"But—" Harry said faintly, eyes wide, jaw open. "But—we—I mean—"
all, we don't want to risk the news getting out early, do we?" she
asked sweetly, doing her best to hide the mischievous twinkle in her
eyes behind wide-eyed (and well-feigned) innocence.
"Well—no—" he floundered, "but, Ginny—"
see you at work tomorrow, then, love," she said brightly, kissed him on
the cheek, and Apparated back to the flat she shared with Hermione.
There she collapsed onto the sofa in gales of laughter at the look on
Harry's face. Even the sure knowledge that he'd get her back the next
day didn't dampen her spirits—in fact, she was rather looking forward
Finally the laughter subsided and she sat up, fumbling
for her handkerchief to wipe the tears from her face and blow her nose.
Except for nights when one or the other of them was on assignment, she
hadn't slept alone in months; assuming they spent the whole week apart,
it would be a long, cold, lonely set of nights—but finally telling the
family that they were engaged would be more than worth it.
was in the midst of wiping her eyes when Hermione Apparated in, a
blissful smile on her face. Clearly, she and Ron had been out
somewhere. The smile faded into a startled expression when she saw her
flat-mate. "Ginny!" she said in surprise. "I didn't expect you home.
"He's back at his flat."
"Oh." Hermione gave Ginny a strange look. "So you're going back there tonight?"
I'm staying here tonight," Ginny said, stifling a yawn. She hadn't
realised how tired she was. It had been a busy weekend, not even
counting Harry's proposal last night, and she had to be at work in the
morning. I hate Mondays. Although… this Monday, I get to begin a
week's prank war with Harry, so there's at least something to look
forward to. She grinned.
"Well, then, when's Harry coming
over?" Hermione glanced at the corner they used for an Apparition
point, as though expecting him to appear.
"He's not, Hermione," Ginny said patiently. "We're taking a bit of a break from each other for a week or so."
"A break?" Hermione stared, open-mouthed. "What's happened? What's wrong?"
Oh, Merlin, now I've panicked her.
"Nothing," Ginny said, trying to be reassuring. "Just a bit of a break.
We've been down each others' throats for months, after all; we just
need a bit of space. Don't fret, Hermione; I'll see him tomorrow at
work." She stretched, yawning. "Speaking of which, the alarm sounds too
bloody early in the morning. I think I'd best get off to bed. Good
She rose and, with a quick smile for her flat-mate,
headed for her bedroom. Her head was full of all the mischief she could
pull on Harry this week. Perhaps I could go to work without knickers, she thought as she pulled her robes off over her head and tossed them toward the laundry basket. Or wear those heeled boots he likes so well. Maybe a shopping trip to the back rooms of Madam Malkin's?
She shrugged into a nightgown and slipped between the covers, chuckling quietly to herself. I wonder what Harry's planning in retaliation, she thought as she blew out the candle and settled onto her side, one arm beneath her head. She chuckled again. Whatever
it is, it'll be a laugh finding out. It's a good job we fell in love,
because he'd be wasted on any family but the Weasleys!
watched, dumbfounded, as Ginny made her way back to the bedroom. She
couldn't believe what she'd just seen—what she'd just heard! Quickly, she turned to the fireplace, knelt in front of it, and threw a pinch of Floo Powder in, hissing, "Ron Weasley!"
was the disorienting sensation of her head leaving her shoulders, then
she was looking at the kitchen of Ron and Harry's flat. Ron, shirtless
and barefoot, was bending down to see who it was. "Hello, love!" he
said, surprised. "You didn't change your mind about coming over, did
you? You sounded so emphat—"
"Ron," Hermione interrupted, "is Harry home?"
blinked. "Well, yeah," he said. "Just went off to bed, muttering. I was
a bit surprised that Ginny wasn't here, but I suppose she's been
"She hasn't," Hermione told him. "She's staying here tonight."
"She is?" He looked flabbergasted. "But—well, that's odd, isn't it?"
"It's more than odd." She shifted to try to ease the ache in her knees. "Ron, I think they've had a row."
waved his hand dismissively. "They're always rowing over something or
other. You know Ginny's temper. They'll be fine." He waggled his
eyebrows suggestively. "Now, if you'd like to re-think that cold,
lonely bed, Miss Granger—" he began.
"I don't think they will
be fine," Hermione pressed. "I think there's something really serious
going on! When I came home, Ginny looked like she'd been crying."
"Crying?" Ron repeated. "Oh, come on, Hermione. Ginny hardly ever cries."
"Well, she was crying tonight," Hermione insisted. "And she told me that she and Harry were taking a break from each other."
Finally, he looked as though he were taking her seriously. "A break from each other?"
what she said," Hermione confirmed. "And she'd definitely been crying.
Her cheeks were damp, her face was blotchy, her eyes were red, and she
Ron considered for a moment. "I think you'd better come on over, 'Mione. To talk,"
he clarified, as she glowered at him. "Harry was muttering something
about 'damned women' and 'payback' when he went to bed. I think we'd
better compare notes. Maybe we can help them fix things."
sighed, both with concern for her friends and relief that she'd be
getting off her knees—the brick hearth hurt. "I'm on my way."
Harry dressed the next morning, he considered the situation. He knew
full well that Ginny was teasing him, and knew, too, that she expected
him to try to take revenge. The only question was, how? In the normal
way of things, he might have been tempted to consult Fred and George,
but that was clearly impossible in this case; they'd ask why, and he'd
promised not to tell anyone about their engagement yet.
Potter," he muttered as he pulled his Auror's robes over his head and
settled them across his shoulders. He and Ginny had had prank wars
before, many times, in fact. The fact that Ginny usually won wasn't the
point; it was a way of working off some of the stress that their
jobs—even now, five years after Voldemort's defeat—caused. So he had to
do something. But what?
He walked back into the bathroom, hung up his damp towel, and reached for his toothbrush and toothpaste. Why is it, he thought as he squeezed toothpaste onto the bristles and ran the brush under the tap, that
I can defeat a Dark Wizard before I'm eighteen, go through three years
of Auror training, and spend two years in the field, but I can't work
out how to prank my fiancée, whom I've known for ten years? I can't
just do nothing.
He stopped, toothbrush halfway to his mouth, as a thought suddenly occurred to him. Why can't I? he thought, staring at his startled reflection. If she's expecting me to get back at her, wouldn't it do just that if I don't react?
you going to clean your teeth or just stare at your pretty face?" the
mirror said testily. He startled, then proceeded, still thinking.
Maybe I should just...act as though she were another employee, not particularly special at all. Friendly, but nothing more.
He grinned at the thought. While they were careful to remain
professional if they were on a mission, if they were in the office,
they'd often indulge in passing caresses or other displays of
affection—and always, always ate lunch together. More than once, Ron
had suggested the Ministry put alarms on cupboard doors, in case the
two of them decided to 'find some time alone,' as he'd put it. For
Harry to treat her as a common or garden acquaintance would make her
Satisfied, Harry spat, rinsed, and ran a comb through his thick hair. Today would certainly be interesting.
Ginny arrived at work, she was prepared for almost anything, or so she
thought. To her surprise, when she reached her desk, nothing jumped,
squeaked, exploded, snarled, yelled, or did anything else; everything
was precisely as she'd left it. Tania Greensward, who worked at the
next desk over, didn't mention any notes or visitors. She sighed and
sat down to begin work. It looked as though it would be a perfectly
The very ordinariness of it absorbed her
attention. Once she got involved in her work—there was a huge pile of
parchment in her in-box that required her focus—she was almost able to
forget about anything unusual going on with Harry. That was, she could
until she looked up, saw that it was nearly ten o'clock, and realised
she hadn't seen Harry all day.
Sudden worry seized her—had he
fallen ill? Had he been called suddenly on assignment? But surely he'd
have sent a memo or a note of some kind—?
Picking up her cup,
she left on the pretext of getting more tea, and headed down the
corridor and to the right, where Harry and Ron's desks were. She
relaxed slightly; he sat there, brow furrowed in concentration, reading
a report and taking notes on a piece of parchment. Both relieved and a
little irritated that he hadn't even said hello to her yet, she went up
He looked up, and a friendly—friendly?—smile spread across his face. "Hi, Ginny," he said pleasantly. "What can I do for you?"
noticed Ron, whose desk was directly behind Harry's, look up suddenly
and frown, but she ignored him. "I just realised I hadn't seen you all
day," she said, trying hard not to make the statement into a question.
He shrugged and sat back, tossing his quill casually to the desk and
stretching. "My in-box was piled nearly a foot high, and I've barely
been able to make a dent in it. I hate paper days; I'd much rather be
out in the field." He smiled again, but it wasn't the slow, warm,
sensual smile he usually gave her; it was bright and cheerful, the kind
of smile he might give an acquaintance he'd talked to three or four
times at most. If she hadn't seen the sparkle of mischief in his eye,
she might have been fooled.
So that's the plan, is it?
"Yes, mine's overflowing as well," she said off-handedly, but she knew
the glint of triumph she saw in his green eyes meant he'd noticed her
momentary confusion. "But must be done, right?" She turned to Ron as
though he'd been the real reason for her visit, and she'd only said
hello to Harry because it would have been impolite to completely ignore
him. "Hey, Ron," she said, "want to go to lunch with me?"
blinked, looking between the two of them before saying, "Ah, no,
thanks, Ginny—Hermione and me are going out. There's a restaurant she
wants to take me to." His ears flushed a bit.
"Okay," she said as if it didn't matter at all (which it didn't). "See you, Harry."
"See you," he said, already bent over his report again.
She walked away, feeling rather satisfied. So that's his game, she thought. Pretending I don't exist. Well, two can play that one; let's see how well he enjoys being just as ignored as he's doing to me.
left her desk a little early and ensconced herself in a corner of the
cafeteria, preparing to completely ignore him when he came in. The
problem was that he wasn't coming in. She'd been there fifteen minutes already, and he wasn't anywhere in sight.
sighed, playing with the crusts of her ham-and-cheese sandwich.
"Botheration," she muttered. She hated to admit it, but he was one up
on her; she was seriously considering being worried that perhaps she
really had irritated him somehow.
No, I couldn't've. He'd have said something. Wouldn't he?
Ginny!" a familiar voice said. She glanced up to see Hannah Abbott, who
worked as a secretary in the Magical Law Enforcement offices. "May I
"Certainly," Ginny said, forcing a smile. It wasn't
doing her the least bit of good to obsess over this. A bit of
companionship might help.
"So, where's Harry?" Hannah asked, seating herself across from Ginny and pulling a salad out of her lunch bag.
"No idea," Ginny said, shrugging with partly-feigned unconcern. "Perhaps he's eating at his desk."
Hannah frowned, spearing a chunk of tomato. "But I thought you two always ate together."
today." Ginny glanced up and felt a stab of—excitement? Nerves?—as she
spotted a head of messy black hair amongst the group of men in Auror
robes who'd just come in, talking and laughing. She watched as they sat
at a table on the far side of the room, Harry with his back to her.
Despite herself, a spasm of honest concern shot through her. Maybe she had
truly upset him last night. "He's over there, actually," she said with
artificial casualness, nodding toward the side of the room. "Just came
Hannah looked over, then back to Ginny, mouth agape. "What's the matter?" she asked, concerned. "Have you two quarrelled?"
"No," Ginny said, nettled because she was beginning to wonder if perhaps they had, and she just hadn't realised.
"Well, he's clear over there—"
"We're not joined at the hip, you know, Hannah," Ginny snapped.
Hannah blinked. "Well, of course not—I just thought—"
sighed and cradled her head in her hands. "I'm sorry. I have a
headache," she lied. "I shouldn't have taken it out on you."
"Oh, that's all right, Ginny," Hannah said sympathetically. "Finish your sandwich; maybe you'll feel better."
shook her head and stood, picking up the remnants of her lunch. "No, I
think I'll just go on back to my desk. I've got some headache potion
there." She smiled, a little forced, and said, "I'll see you later,
"Bye," Hannah said, her expression still concerned.
tossed her sandwich wrapper into the bin and left without a backward
glance. She could feel Hannah's eyes on her, but refused to turn and
acknowledge it. Maybe I should Floo Harry tonight and see if he's really upset, she thought as she headed back toward her desk. Just to be sure.
when she reached her desk, she found a memo fluttering agitatedly,
waiting for her. Her heart leapt when she saw Harry's handwriting, and
she ripped it open hastily.
So, Weasley. Ready to
concede? I've a bottle of wine at my flat, and I'm sure Ron wouldn't
mind being gone for a night. The bed's awfully empty and cold without
Ginny laughed as relief flooded through her. He
wasn't angry—he was just playing the game. In the empty space beneath
what he'd written, she scribbled her own note.
Not a chance, Potter. Though I might be willing if you begged; the ability to do that is a fine quality in a husband.
She sent it to his desk with a flick of her wand, and sat back down in a much better mood for the afternoon's paperwork.
watched Ginny go, concern marring her features. That wasn't like Harry
and Ginny, not at all. Something was definitely awry.
clattered to the table next to her, and she jumped, startled. "Oh,"
Neville said, blushing. "Sorry. Slipped out of my hand. Can I—?" He
gestured toward the chair Ginny had vacated, and Hannah nodded somewhat
absently. He sat. "Is something wrong?" he asked, picking up his knife
and fork and cutting into his steak-and-kidney pie.
nodded soberly, turning back to him. "I think there might be," she
said. She hesitated for a moment, then asked, "You and Susan saw each
other for a long time before you got married. You used to row, right?"
"Well, some," Neville admitted. He rubbed his ring self-consciously; he and Susan had only been married a few months.
"Did you ever stop speaking to each other?"
Neville winced. "A couple of times she stopped speaking to me," he said. "Never lasted very long, though. Susan's got a quick temper, but she cools off fast, too." He took a bite.
Hanna leaned back, chewing her lip. "But Ginny doesn't," she said quietly.
Weasley?" Neville laughed. "Her temper's worse than the rest of her
family put together, when she gets worked up." His eyes widened as he
seemed to put two and two together. "Merlin—you don't think she and
Harry have been quarrelling, do you?"
Hannah nodded again.
"She and Harry barely looked at each other at lunch, when they're
usually inseparable. And she certainly seemed upset about something."
"Maybe it'll blow over," Neville said hopefully. "After all, once Ginny gets over her mad, she doesn't hold a grudge."
"Yes, but what about Harry?"
can't imagine anything that would make Harry that mad at Ginny,"
Neville protested. "Unless—" He stopped, pressing his lips together.
what?" Hannah asked, curious. She'd never known Harry well, but Neville
had lived in the same dormitory for seven years; he had to have better
insight than she.
"Well," Neville said reluctantly, "Harry's lost a lot in his life, hasn't he? Been betrayed by a lot of people."
Hannah's jaw dropped. "You think Ginny betrayed him?" she whispered incredulously. "Cheated on him, you mean?"
didn't say that!" Neville said quickly. "Ginny would never do something
like that! I'm just saying that's the only thing Harry could find
unforgivable: betrayal, of whatever sort." He took another bite,
chewed, swallowed. "But Ginny would never, never do that," he said
Sighing, Hannah stabbed a bit of now-wilting lettuce. "I hope you're right," she said morosely.
Hermione said impatiently as Ron, who had Transfigured his robes into
Muggle jeans and a sweatshirt, slid into the booth across from her.
"What did you find out?"
"Well, he's not being very
forthcoming," Ron said. "Hardly mentioned Ginny at all." The waiter
appeared at his elbow and he looked up. "Oh! Erm, a pint of bitter for
"Ron, it's the middle of the work day!" she hissed, scandalised.
"One pint of bitter won't do any harm," he said, rolling his eyes. "Just order your drink."
please," she said primly. The waiter nodded confirmation, caught Ron's
eye and gave him a sympathetic wink, then left to get the drinks. Ron
grinned. Muggles could be good blokes, when it came down to it.
"What'll you have for lunch?" he asked, opening the menu. "Bangers and mash sounds good."
"Ron," she said through clenched teeth. "Tell me about Harry."
yeah." He hid another grin; despite his worry over Harry and Ginny, he
did so love to get Hermione riled up. "Well, like I said, he didn't say
much to me, but he never went to see her this morning. Never left his
desk except to go to the loo."
"Maybe he saw her on the way," she suggested.
The door's within sight of our desks. Ah!" The waiter had come with
their drinks. "Cheers, mate," he said, taking a sip and licking the
foam from his upper lip.
"Are you ready to order?" the waiter asked, taking out his notebook and pen.
"I'll have a salad," Hermione said, pushing the menu toward the edge of the table.
"And you, sir?" the waiter asked.
"Bangers and mash."
He pocketed his pad and took their menus. "Thank you." He disappeared
into the kitchen through a swinging door, leaving them alone again.
"So," Hermione said, resuming her questioning, "they didn't see each other at all?"
came by about mid-morning," he said, taking another drink. "Asked me if
I wanted to go to lunch. She and Harry said about a dozen words to each
other, and they sounded like casual acquaintances at best." He
remembered the shallow, light conversation with a pang; it had sounded
as though the two of them barely knew each other at all.
"That's not good," Hermione said worriedly.
"No, it's not. He was still at his desk when I left to meet you; I don't know whether he went to lunch at all."
sighed and rubbed her forehead. "We've got to do something, Ron. If
it's just a lover's squabble, maybe we could help them patch it up. We
can't let them go on like this; they'll be miserable without each
"I know," Ron sighed, leaning back. "But what can we do?"
don't know," Hermione replied, picking up her napkin and laying it
daintily on her lap as the food arrived. "But I intend to think of
arrived back at his flat after work tired, but pleased. Ginny's
response, while not what he might have wished for, had been precisely
in character for her. She wants me to beg, does she? he
thought, going into his bedroom to change from his uniform to a pair of
Muggle sweats and a tee-shirt. He gave a short laugh. Wonder how she's planning to arrange that.
His brain immediately presented him with an image of just how she might, and he groaned as his lower belly tightened. Damn, damn, damn. That woman's going to be the death of me, and she's not even here!
Sighing, he went into the kitchen to see what he could fix for dinner; it was his night to cook. A pop
sounded in the dining area, which they never used except as an
Apparition point, and Ron appeared. "How'd you get home so fast?" he
"I didn't stop to have a chat with half the blokes
in the office," Harry said mildly. He opened the refrigerator
door—charmed mirror notwithstanding, it was a purely Muggle flat, and
so was wired for electricity, much to his future father-in-law's
delight. "Let's see—we've got some ground beef and some potatoes; with
a few vegetables, I could make shepherd's pie."
said, and Harry immediately turned to look at his friend. That was
Ron's I-really-don't-want-to-mention-this-but-I-guess-I-have-to voice.
"What's going on with you and Ginny?"
"We're going out, Ron,"
Harry said patiently. "Have been for awhile. Having sex, too," he added
as an afterthought, purely to make his best mate shudder.
Ron shuddered. "That's not what I mean. I meant recently. Last night and today."
going on," Harry said as innocently as he could, pulling out the sack
of potatoes from the cupboard and setting them to be peeled and chopped
with a wave of his wand. "Why?"
Ron coloured, but said, "You slept alone last night."
"So did you," Harry pointed out.
"And you barely talked to Ginny today."
"We talked!" Harry protested. "We were just busy. That raid on Borgin and Burke's last Saturday produced more paperwork—"
"I know," Ron groaned, running his hands through his hair. "But you're both acting oddly, and I'm worried."
sighed. "Look, Ron," he said. "There's nothing wrong. I just... I
promised not to say anything until the dinner at the Burrow, okay?
Ginny and I are not having troubles. Well, not many," he amended,
thinking of the trouble she was likely to get him into this week. "It's
good news, don't worry; we just wanted to tell everyone all at once.
Ron stared at him. "Good news?" he repeated.
"Yes." Oh, hell, Harry thought, I can't just leave him in the dark like this.
"Without giving too much away," he added, "let's just say that there'll
be a new member of the Weasley family soon." He Banished the peeled,
chopped potatoes to a pan and added water from the tap, then put the
pan on the cooker to boil. "I fancy a bit of a walk," he said. "I'll go
get the vegetables. Just keep an eye on the potatoes. Make sure they
don't boil over or get overdone, all right? I'd like to be able to eat
tonight." He turned to look at Ron, frowning at the flabbergasted
expression on his best mate's face. "Hey," he said. "You all right?"
shook himself, as though to bring himself out of his stupor. "Yeah," he
said. "Yeah, I'm fine. Go on and do the shopping; I'll keep an eye on
Harry frowned, looking carefully at Ron, but he did seem to be all right now. Must not have realised things were serious enough for me to propose,
he thought, smugly pleased at the way he'd told Ron without betraying
his promise to Ginny. "All right," he said. He slipped his feet into
his trainers and grabbed a jacket off the coat tree in the entryway,
sliding the wallet that held his Muggle money into his pocket. "I'll be
right back," he said, and headed out the door toward the shops down the
hill. And maybe I can find something for Ginny.
As soon as the door had shut behind Harry, Ron went straight for the Floo and called Hermione. "Is Ginny home yet?" he asked.
"She's in the shower. Why?"
think it's not a break-up, Hermione." Ron swallowed. "I think Ginny's
pregnant." He told her what Harry had said about a new member of the
family. "It seems pretty clear, doesn't it?" he finished, half-hoping
she'd find some reason to disagree with him.
her face with a hand. "I hate to say it, Ron—I'd've thought they'd have
been more careful!—but I'm afraid you must be right. I can't imagine
what else he could have meant by that." She glanced over her shoulder,
then back to Ron. "The shower's just turned off; she'll be out shortly.
You said they're planning to tell everyone on Saturday?"
"That's right," Ron said. His heart felt as though it had sunk right down to his boots.
sighed. "Well, unless you want to break a confidence, we're going to
have to keep this quiet until then," she said resignedly. "You can't go
about telling people without letting Ginny know that Harry told."
Ron cocked his head; an idea had just struck him. "I can't," he said. "But what if you got Ginny to confide in you?"
Hermione blinked. "I couldn't tell anyone either," she protested.
could tell me, since I already know," he pointed out. "And then at
least we'd be prepared. We wouldn't be sitting round wondering and
"What about everyone else?" she asked, frowning. "Won't they be worried?"
would they be? None of them know anything's amiss. Come on, Hermione,
I'm going to be driven berserk if I don't know what's going on. And so
will you," he added shrewdly. "Just see if you can get her to talk to
you. You're her best friend; surely she'd confide in you if she
confides in anyone."
"Well… maybe," she said dubiously. There was a sound behind her, and she glanced around again. "She's out. I'd better go."
fire went dark, and Ron rose to his feet, wincing at the ache in his
knees. He'd better check on the potatoes; if Harry had to start all
over by the time he got home from the shops, he'd be hell to live with,
and Ron resolved to stay on Harry's good side. Maybe he could get some
more information that way.
Neville Apparated into
his home at precisely six-thirty, as usual. Also as usual, Susan had
already begun making dinner; her work day was finished half an hour
before his, and she liked to have dinner begun by the time he got home.
He reckoned Gran would have something to say about it if she knew
(probably something like 'Susan, dear, you don't have to be his
servant! He knows perfectly well how to fend for himself, after all'),
but as she didn't know, all was well with his world.
Well, mostly. Hannah's revelations about Ginny and Harry were still
bothering him. He couldn't imagine Ginny cheating on Harry—or Harry
cheating on Ginny, either. It just wasn't like either of them.
Something was very, very wrong.
"Hallo, love," Susan said
placidly as she used a fork to turn the chops in the pan. "Dinner will
be ready shortly; why don't you hang up your cloak and change out of
those robes?" She smiled up at him, but when she caught sight of his
face, her smile faded. "What's the matter, Neville? Is something wrong?"
not sure," he prevaricated. She frowned, as if unsure what he meant,
and he sighed. "Let me do as you suggested, and I'll tell you over
"All right," she said, but she still looked concerned. "It's nothing serious, is it, dear?"
"Nothing life-threatening," he reassured her. "I'll be right back, and then I promise to tell you all about it."
hung his cloak in the downstairs wardrobe and ran upstairs to shed his
work robes. He came downstairs in a rather shabby set of robes that he
loved; they were comfortable for sitting round the house or for working
in his garden or greenhouse, even if they were no longer suitable to be
worn outside. When he returned downstairs, he found that Susan had set
the table and was waiting for him, so he sat and began filling his
"So," she said as he handed her the bowl of peas, "tell me what's going on. It must be something to get you in such a dither."
sighed, lifting a chop with his fork and putting it on his plate, then
reaching for the bowl of mashed potato. "Something's… gone wrong with
Harry and Ginny," he said finally.
"Gone wrong?" Susan looked at him with concern. "What do you mean?"
sighed, scooping up a bit of potato on his fork, then putting it down
again, untasted. "I don't know exactly what's wrong, but they didn't
eat together today—didn't even look at each other, so far as I could
tell—and Hannah seems to think there's something more going on than
meets the eye. She was talking to Ginny at lunch before I got there."
Neville," Susan said affectionately. "They've been going out for some
time now; they don't have to be with each other all the time. I'm sure
that's all it was."
"Hannah didn't seem to think so," Neville said doubtfully.
"Well, think logically. What on earth could break Harry and Ginny apart when they've been so close for so long?"
have thought," Neville said quietly. "There's only one thing that
could, and neither of them would ever do it. They'd never cheat—neither
"Exactly," Susan said firmly. "And has there been
any evidence that they have done, against all probability? Any
sightings of either of them with someone else? Or someone hearing them
"Not to my knowledge," Neville said, his heart beginning to lighten.
So why worry? It may be some minor quarrel; it may be nothing at all."
Susan smiled, and Neville felt again how fortunate he was to have won
her heart. "Keep your eyes open if you wish, darling, but don't see
things that aren't there. Surely you have enough to worry you without
borrowing trouble for our friends as well!"
"You're right, of
course, my love," Neville said. He'd been foolish to jump to
conclusions. Susan was so good for him; she was always able to clear
his mind. He took a bite, feeling much better. Of course Harry and
Ginny were all right. But maybe he should keep an eye out, just in case.