Another of the Christmas fics, this one written for Sheffers81 .
To everything – turn, turn, turn There is a season – turn, turn, turn And a time for every purpose under heaven
–Adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes by Pete Seeger
Harry snuggled up behind his wife and snaked his hand across her stomach. Her breathing remained slow and steady as he found the hem of her pyjama top and eased his hand under the cotton fabric and across her soft skin. Up or down? he thought as he waited for her to react to the intrusion. She showed no sign of having noticed the incursion and so he widened the area of exploration so that his fingers explored the area just below her breasts and skimmed carefully under the elasticised waist of her pyjama bottoms. Being caught with his hands on her chest would get him in less trouble if she wasn’t in the mood, but the thought of waking her up with the intimate caress of his fingers had begun to arouse him. Taking a deep breath, he let his fingers move slowly towards their intended target. Suddenly, a slender but powerful hand grabbed hold of his wrist and a not-so-sleepy voice rebuked him.
“It’s polite to ask, Harry. Just because I’m your wife doesn’t mean that you can have your wicked way with me when you want to.”
Harry left his hand where it was, waiting to see if she was serious or not. Married life had taught him that her bark was worse than her bite. And that her bite could be more than a little exciting if she was in the right mood.
“I mean it, Harry, move your hand.” She tightened her grip on it and waited for him to move.
“Ginny,” he implored, “it’s been ages.”
“It’s been no more than five hours, Harry, and if we’re going to make sure that the dinner is ready by the time everyone comes over, we need to get a move on.”
Ginny let go of his wrist but Harry stubbornly kept his hand where it was.
“But, Ginny, the beauty of cooking using charms is that the oven lights when you’ve spelled it to and the veg peels itself. All we’ve got to do is be downstairs in time to make sure that the sprouts and stuff aren’t over-cooked whilst the turkey and everything else in the oven gets nicely brown.” He edged his hand slightly lower and smiled when she didn’t pull his hand away.
“I forgot,” she said yawning and stretching allowing him to make contact with his intended target. “So,” she said smiling at him, “we get a few more hours in bed then?”
“Indeed we do.” He smiled wolfishly as his fingers began to explore.
“Well then, wake me up at eleven.” She rolled over, leaving a frustrated Harry with his hand hanging in mid-air rather than anywhere intimate. He flopped onto his back, remembering all the old jokes about marriage and lack of sex and thinking that three months was more than a little early for that sort of thing to happen. As he lay there cursing his luck, he felt his wife’s nimble fingers paying him the sort of attention he’d wanted to pay her.
“Really, Harry,” she teased, kissing his neck, “you give up far too easily. Married life too much for you?”
He pulled the covers over his head and the room was soon full of Ginny’s shrieks as he made a grab for her. The shrieks soon subsided and the two lost themselves in each other as they enjoyed the extra time they had.
Harry followed his wife down the stairs towards the kitchen, watching her hips and wondering how quickly after dinner they could get rid of their guests so that they could retreat to the bedroom. As they reached the kitchen, they both looked round in horror. The sprouts, the carrots, parsnips and potatoes all lay in their respective positions in the vegetable rack. Ginny rushed over to the range and opened the oven door. Rather than the expected blast of heat, she was greeted by cool air and a decidedly-uncooked turkey.
Turning to her husband, she sent him an accusing look.
“Harry, what’s gone wrong? Why didn’t your charm work?”
“My charm? You mean your charm. All I can do is a fry up and add hot water to a Pot Noodle. You’re the cook.”
“Harry,” she said in a tone that made him think he was in the middle of a Transfiguration lesson, “I distinctly remember asking you to do the charms.”
“You didn’t, Gin,” he rejoindered.
“I did, and don’t you ‘Gin’ me.”
“Why would you ask me? I know sod all about cooking.”
“Well, sor-ree. I just thought Mr I’m The Most Powerful Wizard Alive, might know a thing or two about charms. Turns out that I was wrong, wasn’t I?”
“Ginny, before you accuse me of botching this up –”
Their argument was interrupted by a voice in the other room calling from their fireplace. They stared at each other, horrified looks on their faces, wondering if someone had arrived early. Then Ginny realised who it was and yelled a reply.
“What do we do?” asked Harry in a panicked voice.
“I don’t know. You’re the one who knew enough to defeat Voldemort, think of something.”
“I didn’t do the thinking; that was Hermione. I just did the action stuff. Why don’t you think of something? You’ve got more NEWTS than me!”
“Harry? Ginny? Are you there?”
“Yes, Molly,” Harry called, “we’re just coming.”
The two of them rushed into the living room just as Molly Weasley stepped out of the fireplace and was about to come looking for them.
“Well, you two look like you’ve been rushing around a bit,” she said, looking at their flustered state. “Or have I interrupted something I shouldn’t have?” She offered them a soft smile of apology. When they didn’t answer, she assumed that she was correct and carried on accordingly. “I am sorry,” she said, her face turning red with embarrassment, “silly of me to intrude. I just wanted to check that twelve thirty was still ok. I’ll see you both later.” She scuttled back towards the fireplace, anxious to extricate herself from the embarrassing situation she had got herself into.
“That’s fine, Molly …”
“Yeah, Mum, we weren’t actually …”
“Don’t apologise. I was young once, too, you know. Sorry for intruding,” and with a knowing smile on her face, she stepped back into the flames, leaving her daughter and her son-in-law speechless.
“I can’t believe that she actually thinks that she interrupted the two of us shagging.”
“Well, she wasn’t far wrong, was she? And anyway, it’s better than her thinking that we’ve invited her and the others to Christmas dinner and haven’t even got so much as a cooked chipolata, let alone turkey and all the trimmings.”
Ginny looked at him and gave him a worried look. “Harry, what are we going to do?”
“I don’t know,” he said despondently. “Run away?”
“Come on, think, Harry.”
Despite his wife’s urging, Harry looked clueless. “We could call Hermione?”
Ginny’s eyes lit up briefly at the thought of an easy solution, but then her expression changed and her shoulders dropped. “We can’t, she’s one of the guests.”
Then, with a clap of the hands that made her start, Harry began to bounce up and down. “I’ve got it; start preparing everything, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
“Harry, where are you going?”
He grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her, beaming at his own brilliance.
“No time to explain; just get the veg prepared and the turkey ready,” and without another word, he Disapparated.
Ginny stood rooted to the spot for a moment, staring at the space where her husband had been. And then, as if someone had released her from a Stunning curse, she ran into the kitchen and set to work, casting charm upon charm on the uncooked Christmas dinner. The vegetables jumped onto chopping boards and into pans and the turkey trotted across the work surface and there it sat obediently in a baking tray, ready for the spuds and the stuffing. Everything sat ready and waiting as Harry reappeared with a loud crack!
“Here it is,” he said beaming at his own cleverness and thrusting a battered-looking hour-glass in her face, “the answer to all our problems.”
“A Time Turner? Does the Ministry know you’ve got this?” She tried to grab it off him but he moved it out of her reach. She fixed him with her best Molly Weasley stare and waited for an answer.
He shuffled uneasily on his feet and refused to meet her gaze. “Erm, not exactly.”
“So they know then?” she asked, knowing full well what the truth was.
“If you’re being strictly accurate,” he replied evasively, “then–”
“No? Is that the word you’re looking for?” By now she had folded her arms and Harry thought she looked too much like her mother for comfort.
“Yes,” he finally answered. Why did he feel that he’d been caught out after hours by Professor McGonagall? Was she going to ask him to turn out his pockets next?
“Yes, they don’t know, or yes, they do know?”
“Yes, they won’t know.”
“Harry, stealing from work is not going to solve our problem! And besides, Time Turners are highly regulated objects. You’ll end up in front of the Wizengamot for this.”
“Do you have any better suggestions?” Ginny was silent. “Well, let’s get on with it then. Let’s think – three turns should do it.”
“What you mean should?”
“Well, three is what Hermione and I used to rescue Buckbeak and Sirius. That would give us three hours.”
“Okay,” she said, wondering why she was agreeing to do something illegal just to cook a dinner. “Let’s go for it.”
“You know,” he said, whilst putting the gold chain around their necks, “whilst everything is cooking, we could put the time to good use.” He grinned at her, his intentions very clear.
His wife was unimpressed. “Harry, if you don’t calm down a bit, I’m not going to be able to walk. My insides aren’t made of rubber, you know.”
Harry activated the Timer Turner and they vanished from their kitchen to reappear in the same place three hours earlier.
“Okay, Harry, no faffing around, let’s get on with it.”
“Great! Where is all the stuff you prepared?”
“In the future, where we left it.”
“Well, it’s no use there.”
“Harry! Let’s just get on with things. We have all we need here.”
“We need the stuff we’ve prepared, otherwise we’re in trouble.”
“Why would we be in trouble? Is there something you’re not telling me? Wait!” But Harry had gone and reappeared a few moments later with the uncooked Christmas dinner floating in front of him.
“There, that’s better.”
“So what do we do with this lot?”
“We banish it.”
“And then what do we cook?”
“But this stuff is that stuff only a few hours older.”
He realised then that she was right and that he’d made a mistake. But with the same pigheadedness that leads men to ignore the instructions that come with almost anything, he pressed on regardless.
“Ginny,” he said in his most patronising tone, “time travel is a very complex thing. It’s something that requires years of study. If you were to interfere with the time lines by too much it could lead to catastrophic results.”
“In other words, you haven’t a clue what you’re doing and we have two Christmas dinners to cook. Remind me to never let you become an Unspeakable.”
Suitably abashed, Harry stared at the floor, wondering what else was going to go wrong. Based on events so far, a disaster of biblical proportions was on the cards.
Above him he heard the creak of floorboards and the soft murmur of sleepy voices.
“What’s that noise?” asked Harry, finally daring to look her in the eye.
“It’s us waking up. Come, Potter, we’ve got work to do.”
“But, Ginny, with the charms it’ll be easy.”
“I’m not trusting to your wand work or your brains any more; it hasn’t helped us so far.”
The two of them got to work on the dinner, and soon the turkey was happily cooking in the oven and everything else was prepared. They sat down at the kitchen table, enjoying a well-earned cup of tea. Above them they could hear the unmistakable sound of their love making.
“Am I really that loud, Harry?”
“’Fraid so, dear,” he laughed.
She sat and cringed as her voice rose and fell and the air was filled with shrieks and moans.
“Harry, that’s so embarrassing. Why didn’t you tell me I was that bad?”
“You mean apart from the fact that I’m usually occupied at the time and I actually like a wife that is so –”
“No, I was thinking more ‘vocally appreciative’.”
She cringed again as her excited voice let out a stream of profanity as she encouraged Harry not to stop what he was doing.
“Merlin, Harry, how can you fancy someone who has a mouth like that?”
“If you actually think where your mouth was thirty seconds previously...” He let his words hang there, conjuring, as his mind wandered back to the moment in question. He shifted in his chair in an attempt to make himself feel more comfortable. Ginny had also gone similarly silent. He looked at his wife and saw a familiar look in her eyes.
Slowly a wicked smile formed on reddening lips.
“Harry, is the bed in the spare room made up?”
“Of course it is.”
“Seems a shame to wait around here drinking tea whilst they’re having fun up there, doesn’t it?”
“I like the sound of that.”
“Hopefully I can keep the noise down so we don’t disturb ourselves.”
“I think they might be too engrossed to notice.”
“I hope so, otherwise you might have to gag me.”
“Really, Ginny, I never thought of you as being that sort of girl.”
“Well, play your cards right, Mr Potter, and you might find out exactly what kind of girl I really am.”
Later on that morning, they listened as the other couple made their way downstairs and got to work on finishing off the dinner. They waited until the right moment before going downstairs to take their place in the normal run of things.
Harry was happy; not only had he managed to spend nearly six extra hours in bed with his wife but they’d also managed to cook the perfect Christmas dinner for their four guests.
They flittered around the kitchen pleased with their morning’s handiwork, happy to see that everything would be ready on time. As twelve thirty approached, Harry cast a charm over the cutlery, plates and table cloth and soon their dinning room table was laid out for six people. The place settings were joined by bowls piled high with steaming vegetables followed by the turkey.
“There, we did it. I told you not to worry.” Harry turned to his wife and gave her a broad grin. “Perhaps I’ll make an Unspeakable after all.”
“Well, next time you’re in the Department of Mysteries, can you get them to explain that?”
Ginny was pointing at the turkey, which was shimmering and flashing. As they watched, it disappeared, followed in quick succession by the rest of the food. They stared forlornly at the table where – instead of a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings – sat a collection of empty bowls and dishes. There wasn’t so much as a smear of fat to suggest that even a chipolata had ever been near the table.
Ginny burst into tears and began to rage at him.
“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you in this. Why did I listen to you? All we needed to do was tell everyone we’d be late.”
Thus began the first major argument of their marriage. In the ten minutes of shouting which followed, they both found out about the little foibles that annoyed the other immensely. In the end, Ginny stormed off upstairs and slammed their bedroom door behind her.
Harry looked at the unopened presents under the Christmas tree and then back at the empty table. He would, he decided, never celebrate Christmas again. His fight with Ginny had shaken him to the core. They had never argued like that before and he had to remind himself that ten minutes of shouting didn’t mean that his wife had stopped loving him. He had to break the news to Molly, Arthur, Ron and Hermione that Christmas lunch was cancelled but they would see what they could do for Boxing Day.
He Flooed to The Burrow and found Molly fussing around an expanded kitchen table that was bursting with a cornucopia of food. Pride of place went to a massive turkey that looked able to feed a hundred at least.
“Ah, there you are, Harry. Sorry it’s a bit late, but it’s nearly ready. Is Ginny following or do you want to Floo back and get her?”
Harry gave her a puzzled look, confused by the sight of another Christmas dinner.
As he stood in the kitchen, the fireplace flared and Ron and Hermione stepped out. Whilst they were greeting him, the other five Weasley boys arrived with their respective wives and girlfriends.
“I think you’d better go back and fetch Ginny, dear,” urged Molly. “Everyone else has arrived and knowing my sons, they are all anxious to get stuck in.”
“But I thought you were coming over to ours?”
“No, Harry. That’s Boxing Day. Now do be a dear and fetch my daughter; I think Ron’s going to explode in we don’t start soon.”
Harry Flooed back to his house wondering how he was going to persuade an angry and tearful Ginny to join him at her parents’. I’ll be lucky if I’m alive to see Boxing Day, let alone New Year.
As he climbed out of the fireplace he heard the clink of cutlery and the slamming of drawers. As he entered the kitchen, he half expected to see a few plates flying towards him, but instead Ginny had finished packing away the tableware and had made a rapid start on a bottle of red wine.
As she caught sight of him, she ran to him and flung her arms around him, sending her wine splattering all over the wall.
“Harry, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said the things I said and –”
He silenced her with his lips and as she responded, their kiss deepened.
Molly entered Harry and Ginny’s flat in search of her missing dinner guests. When calling their names didn’t elicit a response, she stepped out of the fire and went to look for them. As she entered the hall, she saw the trail of discarded clothing leading up the stairs and sighed.
“Newlyweds,” she said, shaking her head. She sent the abandoned clothing up to landing and it piled itself neatly outside their bedroom door. As she walked back towards the fireplace, she conjured a note and left it on the kitchen table.
Dear Harry and Ginny,
Sorry you couldn’t make Christmas dinner, but hopefully we’ll see you for tea.