Author's Notes:Written for shocolate for the takinitinturns fic exchange at LiveJournal.I read her requests and was immediately bitten by what I thought was the perfect plot bunny for her story.
And then Ron came along, read what I had written, informed me it was utter rubbish, and told me how it all really happened.He was very forceful
I'm not as thick as people might think. I mean, I know Hermione told me I had the emotional range of teaspoon, and she was probably right, at least when she first said it. No, she was right. I did have the emotional range of a teaspoon back then. But war does things to a man, and I notice things now.Things like how sexy she looks with her hair down and blowing in the wind, or how sad Mum looks when she sees a photo of the twins.
Or how my best mate can't seem to keep his eyes off my baby sister.
He doesn't know it, but he's arse over teakettle for her. Or maybe he does know it but just won't admit it for some daft reason. Who knows how the famous Harry Potter's brain works?
But he does. Fancy her, I mean. Actually, he probably loves her. At least I think he does. He'd better love her. Because if he doesn't, I'm going to have to pound him, after watching him ogle her arse when she's out weeding the garden and hearing him at night when he...
Ergh. Need to Scourgify my brain now, thanks to that image. Where's the Mrs Scower's Magical Mess Remover when you need it? Blimey. I've got to stop doing that to myself.
Anyway, that's not even getting into how Ginny feels about him. Which is at least as sickening. Probably more. Baby sister and all that, you know?
By the way, she's also not doing anything about their relationship (which, if you couldn't tell, is practically nonexistent at the moment). Merlin only knows why, 'cuz if there are two people who are more obviously made for each other than Harry and Ginny are, I've no idea who they might be. I think I'd be afraid to find out, actually, because I can barely stand to be around these two, the way they're acting.
What I don't understand is...
See, it's like this. We fought this war, right? And we won, and, except for Fred, we all came out all right. Or at least mostly all right. Harry's in the middle of his second year of Auror training, Hermione and Ginny have finished Hogwarts and are on their way to brilliant careers—Hermione in magical law, of course, and Ginny in Quidditch, playing for the Holyhead Harpies. Me? I'm working with George in the shop.And Hermione and I are an official couple now, which is brilliant beyond belief.
But where's the happy ending for Harry? How come he didn't get the girl? Because he didn't. He's working obscene hours and then spending what little time off he has pining after my little sister. And why didn't she get the boy of her dreams? Because that's what Harry is, even if she'd never admit it in a million years.
Really, I don't think I can stand it anymore. Obviously something has to be done, or the two of them will drag the rest of us down into their morass of self-pity, and, personally, I'm happy and don't want to go there. I like it where I am, thanks. (Hermione taught me the word morass, by the way. She's wearing off on me after all these years.)
Speaking of Hermione...she won't do anything about Harry and Ginny and their situation. She keeps telling me to keep my nose out of it and let them figure it out on their own. But we're going to be a hundred and six if we wait around and let them do that, the way those two are going.George won't help, either; he's wrapped up in the shop and inventing new Wheezes—our newest adds a few twists to the Canary Creams. Mum and Dad say they want them to be happy, but, while they've both said they want Harry as an official member of the family, they've also told me they're willing to wait and see if it'll happen.Charlie and Bill aren't around enough to really see what's going on, and Percy's still working on finding himself after being let down by the Ministry, so they're no help, either.
So I guess that means it comes down to me, doesn't it?
"Wonder what would happen if we locked them in a broom cupboard for a few hours."
Hermione looks over at me and raises her eyebrow in that way she has—you know, the one that asks, 'What the hell are you talking about?' Without the hell, of course, because Hermione doesn't swear.We've been sitting on the sofa for thirty minutes or so, 'reading' Which means Hermione has been reading and I've been sitting here watching Harry and Ginny take it in turns to watch each other. It would've been almost funny, if it weren't so pathetic.
So I kind of tip my head towards the two of them, trying to be subtle, you know. Which would've worked fine, except Hermione apparently doesn't get my hint and says, "OH!" so loudly that it startles both Harry and Ginny from their staring at each other when they think no one is looking and makes them both look at us. I just grin and shrug my shoulders like I have no idea what's going on. Ginny doesn't buy it, if the way she looks at me is any indication, but Harry turns back to stare out the window again. Except I think maybe he's watching Ginny's reflection and not whatever it is he's pretending to watch outside, because he keeps turning his head just so, like he's trying to get the angle right so he can see something.
Eventually, because I wasn't really reading it anyway, I just snap my book shut and toss it on the seat beside me. Which, of course, earns me a glare from Hermione, but I just ignore her. I was frustrated with her anyway—she's the one who drew Harry and Ginny's attention to us, making it hard for me to observe them.Besides, I'd just been hit with a burst of inspiration, something that helps me decide, after watching them both waffling about like some of Luna's Nargles without mistletoe, that I need to talk to Harry, and I need to do it now.Assuming I'm able to tear him away from staring at my sist—erm, out the window, that is.
It's finally the offer of flying that convinces him to temporarily quit his pining and get off his sorry arse (my offers of a game of chess didn't work for some reason), and we make our way out to the pitch behind The Burrow, carrying our brooms and the old trunk of Quidditch balls. My plan is to let him fly a bit, toss the Quaffle around... You know, get him good and relaxed and then surprise him with my questions and hope he'll answer.Either that, or I'll hit him in the head with a Bludger to make him see sense.
He takes to the sky as soon as we get out there, pushing his broom to its limit, diving straight towards the ground before pulling up and levelling off. We toss the Quaffle around for a while, flying and burning off energy and just being mates, and I almost forget the whole reason I brought him out here, until Mum calls us for dinner and we start walking back to the house. He's got a small grin on his face for once and looks more relaxed than I've seen him in months. I'm actually really glad to see that grin, since it means maybe I'll be able to talk to him without getting hexed.
"So. What's with you and my sister?" I cringe a little at the question—it came out a little more abruptly than I'd intended—and damned if his face doesn't just completely close off as soon as the words leave my mouth.
"Nothing, Ron," he says and tries to push past me. But I'm determined to get to the bottom of this and won't let him go.
"Bollocks," I tell him. "The two of you have been dancing around each other for the past two months. More so than normal, I mean."
He deflates visibly—his shoulders sag—and he sighs. "I don't know," he admits. "She hates me and doesn't want to be in the room with me, and I lo- just want to talk to her, but she won't have anything to do with me. So I decided to quit pushing and just...let her be."
I just look at him. I mean, what else could I do?Other than tell him, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." Which I do. Because it is.
"It's not," he says quietly. He looks defeated, actually, which shocks me. I'd thought he was just being stubborn, but looking at him like this, I'm not so certain about that anymore.
"Look, Harry," I say, "that's not—"
"Just let it alone, Ron," he says. "I don't think you can fix this." He grasps his broom tighter in his hand and says, "Tell your mum I can't make it to dinner, will you? I've got to work." And then he strides to the edge of the property and Apparates away, before I even get a chance to say anything.
That went well.
So I didn't make very much progress with Harry. Obviously.Stubborn idiot, ignoring what's right in front of him. Still, I'm not a Weasley for nothing. I don't know if you know this or not, but we're a stubborn lot ourselves, and I think I got a double dose from Mum and Dad. I'm even more stubborn than Ginny, which is saying something...and is also something I'm going to use to my advantage.
I corner her out in the garden, where she's been weeding and pruning and degnoming. I think she's just trying to keep busy; you know, to keep her mind off Harry (a thought which makes me shudder internally just a little bit) before she has to go to practice.
Over the years, I've learnt that the best way to get Ginny to talk to you is to just kind of...be there, in the corner of her vision, so she knows you're there. Sometimes, when she wants to talk, just that'll make her crack, but when she doesn't want to talk, the thing that works the best is to be there and watch her but not say anything. She can't stand the silence.
It takes a while, but I finally get to her. "What do you want, Ron?" she asks. She sounds resigned, like she knows what I'm going to say. She probably does, too—she's smart, my sister.Usually. She seems to be unusually thick when it comes to Harry, though.
"Why won't you talk to him?" I ask her, knowing she'll know exactly who I'm talking about, even if I don't mention his name.
"Why won't I talk to who?" she asks in her best 'I have no idea what you're talking about' voice.
I snort, not buying it for a second. "You know who, Ginny."
She leans back to sit on her feet and wipes a hand across her forehead, leaving a smear of dirt behind."I don't know if you remember this or not, Ron, but he broke it off with me, not the other way around."
I sigh. "Of course I remember. Thought it was a bloody stupid thing to do, but, well... That's Harry for you."
She smiles then, a wistful, sad sort of smile. "Yeah. That's Harry."
"Ginny," I say, stepping closer to her. "He watches you all the time—"
"Look, I know what you're trying to do, and I love you for it. But he's got to come to me this time. I have to know that whatever we have, it's something he wants." She stands up and, brushing the dirt off her jeans, walks back into The Burrow, leaving me standing there alone, just like Harry did.
Obviously, I'm going about this all wrong. I mean, the whole direct route is not going to work, apparently, because the two of them won't open their eyes and see what's staring them in the face. Stubborn gits, the both of them.
So I do something almost Slytherin-like. Which is pretty amazing, coming from me, but there you are. It's nothing like something Malfoy might do or anything, but there is a small, teeny tiny bit of subterfuge involved.
Basically, I use Harry's guilt complex. He's so easy to manipulate sometimes, and after all these years as friends, I know just what buttons to push. All I have to do is tell him I got us tickets to go to a Cannons' game together for my birthday, just the two of us—I managed to convince the rest of the family not to come. I also mention how I never get to see him anymore. And...erm...neglect to mention that the Cannons are playing the Harpies that day. Still, that's enough to do the trick, and he agrees to come with me.
Did I tell you I also...forgot...to tell Ginny we were coming to see her play? No? Well, really, she doesn't need to know, does she? I mean, she's going to be busy and shouldn't be looking at the crowd to try and watch Harry, anyway (which is what she'd do if she'd known he was going to be there) so there's no reason to tell her.
So the big day finally arrives, and I dress in my best Cannons' shirt, the one where the colours haven't faded. Harry, the spoilsport, is wearing a plain black jumper—the one Mum made him for Christmas last year. Mum makes a huge fuss over the two of us going to the match together and feeds us a huge lunch with all my favourites before she and Hermione see us off, waving as we walk out to the Apparition point and pop out of existence.
You know, honestly, I should've suspected something right there. I must've had my mind elsewhere. Otherwise, I'd have noticed Harry didn't ask where we were going before he Apparated. As it is, I arrive to see him staring at Holyhead's pitch, something of an inscrutable look on his face. He raises his eyebrow at me and gives me one of his 'I'm an Auror; what the bloody hell do you think you're doing' looks when I get there, but I just shrug and lead him in.
Only...he knows where the seats are, and he's never even seen the tickets. They're the family seats, the ones Ginny got when she signed with the Harpies, so I'm not sure how he knows where we're sitting. I mean, Mum and Dad have come to see Ginny play, and George and Charlie, and I watched the Harpies play at Tutshill, but this is my first time to come to Holyhead. So if I haven't been here, then there's no way Harry's been here before either, right? So I'm completely confused when he starts chatting with the people around us, like he knows them. I mean, everyone knows him—he's Harry Bleeding Potter. But he knows them. That's what's got me confused.
We talk and joke with the rest of the fans seated by us—they're all family of the Harpies. I even get to meet Gwenog Jones' little sister. And he introduces me as Ginny's older brother.
Bloody hell. She'd be over the moon if she heard that after spending her whole life being called someone's little sister.
Anyway, I'm starting to get a little suspicious here. I mean, there's obviously something going on, right? And then, right before the teams come onto the pitch, Harry does something that completely surprises me, even more than him knowing everyone in our section.
He takes off his jumper.
I know, I know. I lived with the plonker for years, right?'s not like I haven't seen him without a shirt before.
But...he's still wearing a shirt. A green shirt. More specifically, a green and gold Holyhead Harpies shirt.
He knew we were coming to see Ginny play and he never said a word, the wanker.
Well, I can't let that slide, can I? So I give him a look, the one I use on the little miscreants who come into the shop with sticky fingers, if you know what I mean. And he just stares back at me, a defiant look on his face, daring me to say something.
So I do.
"Nice shirt," I say, sort-of casually. But I'm watching him closely now, and I can see the slight flush on his cheeks.
That's all he says. "Thanks." But his body language says more than that, because he fidgets and runs his hand through his hair before scratching the back of his neck.
I just stare at him until he breaks. He's a lot like Ginny that way, really.
"Just get on with it, Ron," he tells me with a sigh, and I grin.
"So. How many of Ginny's matches have you been to?"
He flushes again. "Almostallofthem."
I cock my head. "What was that? I thought you said almost all of them, but that can't be true, can it?"
He sighs again. "Yes, all right? I've been to almost all of Ginny's matches this season. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"And you didn't tell me? Did you think I wouldn't want to come?" I'm a little hurt, really. I thought we were best mates, and here he is sneaking off so he can ogle my little sis— Oh. Right. Still, I want to hear his explanation.
"I just..." he says, blowing out a breath. "I wanted to be able to watch her without you watching me watch her."
I blink, thoroughly confused by that sentence. "What?"
"I knew you would take the mickey, and I didn't want to deal with it. Your parents don't ever say anything, and I can ignore George. But you..." He trails off, looking sheepish. "I didn't want you to see how pathetic I'm being."
"Too late for that, mate," I tell him bluntly. "I've been watching you and Ginny dance around each other for months. You can't keep your eyes off her—you're like a lovesick House-elf and if you think nobody notices, you're mental. What I don't understand is why you haven't said anything to her."
"Honestly?" he asks, and I nod, rolling my eyes as I do, and my inner voice—the sarcastic one that gets me into trouble with Hermione sometimes—says, No, Harry, I want you to lie to me.
He shrugs. "I was afraid, I guess."
"Merlin's balls, Harry. You fought Voldemort and won, but you're afraid of my little sister? What's to be afraid of?" Well, okay, sometimes I'm afraid of her, but that's beside the point.
"I'd rather not know if she's going to reject me. If I don't say anything, I can still have hope, you know?" He turns and looks at me, his face very serious. "I don't want to lose her."
"And yet, that's exactly what you've done by not talking to her, you berk," I tell him. "She thinks you don't want her."
"How can she think that?" he asks, his voice incredulous. "She was the last thing I saw before, well, you know..."
"Did you tell her that?"
"How is she supposed to know that if you don't tell her?"
He slumps back in his seat, and I know I've scored a direct hit. "I was going to," he says. "I just wanted to give her time. To, you know, get used to things."
"Eighteen months, Harry. Even I know that's taking it a bit long. You need to talk to her."
He nods. "I will."
"Soon, then. She won't wait forever."
Well, after that conversation, I have this sinking feeling that things are going to get tense between us. And they almost do, but Harry goes to get some ale and crisps before the match starts. He gets back right as the commentators start their pre-game discussion.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to this, the two hundred and twenty-third meeting of the Chudley Cannons and the Holyhead Harpies. I'm Susan Stewart, and I'm here with Ryan Fraser, who will be joining me this afternoon." The commentator's amplified voice rings out over the crowd, and I sit up straighter, taking a swig of my ale as my eyes scan the pitch. "The Cannons and the Harpies have a long history together, with the Harpies leading the wins two hundred thirteen to ten. The last time the Cannons won this matchup was in 1892, when they last won the league."
"That's right, Susan," the bloke says. "This should be an easy win for the Harpies. Gwenog has added some fantastic strategies this year, helped along by newcomer Ginny Weasley at Chaser."
Well. Harry had been all relaxed, you know? Leaning back in his seat, drinking his ale, eating his crisps. And then this Fraser bloke mentions Ginny's name and, like magic, he's sitting straight up, eyes fixed on the pitch, the ale and crisps forgotten. It's so fascinating to watch that I almost forget the slight on the Cannons. Almost. I try to say something to Harry—you know, make some smart-arse comment to make him laugh—and he shushes me like an old lady would. Or my mum.
"Shhhh!" he says. "I want to hear what they have to say about her."
I shake my head and roll my eyes. I already know what they're going to say. They're going to tell us she's brilliant, that she's got an instinctive, natural way of flying that makes it look easy...that she's a dead cert for a place on the English team next year. It's what everyone says about her.
And just like I thought, that's what happens. What's interesting is Harry's reaction. He nods his head, a small grin on his face that grows into a full-blown smile by the time they're done. He nods in satisfaction. "They're right, you know," he says, turning to look at me. "She's just brilliant on the pitch. Best flyer I think I've seen."
"Better than you?" I ask, curious as to what he'll say—Harry's one of the best I've seen, and nobody could ever argue that he wasn't a natural on a broom. I bet he could've gone professional if his saving people thing (as Hermione calls it) hadn't kicked in and led him to be an Auror.
"Hell, yes, she's better than me," he says. "She can fly circles around me."
"Not like that's hard," I say, smirking. "You've lost your touch, Potter. Haven't done any proper flying in ages."
He grins, and I should've known I'd left myself open. "Especially since the last few times I've flown, it's been with you. No competition there, you know. Lets me be lazy since I know I don't need to try as hard."
"Prat," I say, shoving him.
"Git," he says, shoving back and laughing.
They announce the teams then, and as soon as Ginny comes on the pitch, it's all about her for Harry. He doesn't have eyes for anyone or anything else. It's not like he's being perverted or anything; he's just watching her every move, like he can't get enough of her.
Well, maybe he's being a little perverted.
The Cannons are doing...about as well as could be expected, so I keep one eye on the match, and one eye on Harry.He moves with her as she flies, leaning forwards as she zooms towards the hoops, leaning to the side as she spirals into a dive, leaning back as she gains altitude. He cheers every goal she makes, pumping his fist, just like she does. It's like the two of them are synchronised or something.
I wish I could say the Cannons won (yes, even though they were playing against my sister...it's the Cannons), but unfortunately for us Chudley fans, when Ginny made her thirteenth goal right before Helena Sanders, the Harpies' Seeker, caught the Snitch, the score was two hundred and sixty to thirty in favour of the Harpies.
So, obviously, I'm a little upset. I'm surprised to see that Harry looks almost disappointed the match is over, too. It's been over two hours, though. Didn't he get enough of watching her— Oh. Probably not.
We gather up our things and say our good-byes to the rest of the fans and start to make out way out, down the steps to ground level, and Harry starts heading for the exit. I, on the other hand, head the opposite direction, towards the changing rooms.
This won't do—he's going to stuff up my plan if he leaves, so I stop short and call to get his attention.
"Wait! Where're you going?" I ask him.
"Back to the Burrow." He looks confused. "Where else would we go?"
I tilt my head in the other direction, towards the changing room. "To see Ginny," I explain, not completely patiently. "So you can talk to her." Where else would we go? he asks. And they say I'm thick.
"No, that's all right," he protests. "We can just go back home and wait for her there."
"And then she'd never know you were here watching her," I tell him.
"I knew you'd understand," he says, a relieved smile on his face. "I'm just not ready yet to—"
He breaks off when I grab his arm and start dragging him towards the changing rooms.
"Ron," he says through gritted teeth, trying to pull his arm out of my grasp. But one thing working at the shop with George has showed me is how to pull a reluctant person somewhere they don't want to go. Usually, I use it to drag shoplifters out of the shop, but it works just as well when you're trying to drag a reluctant Auror somewhere he doesn't want to go.
Well, almost as well. Because he definitely doesn't want to go, if his expression is any indication. Neither is the way he's dragging his heels.
Still, I'm bigger than him, even if he's in better shape than me, and I win this battle. Although I'm starting to think maybe his fighting was just for show, since it's a bit too easy to get him into the tunnel leading to the changing rooms.
We see Ginny off in the distance, just a few fans left asking for her autograph. Of course, I can't let an opportunity like this go by without saying or doing something—George'd never let me live it down. So I pull out the self-inking quill I always carry with me (George's doings again—wouldn't want to miss a sale because I wasn't prepared) and the creased ticket stub I'd shoved into my pocket and make my way over to her, disguising my voice and making it deliberately sound timid. "Erm, excuse me, Miss Weasley, can I have your autograph?"
"Certainly," she says easily, turning to face me. She grins broadly when she sees who it is, and reaches out to hug me. "Ron! I'm so glad you came!What did you think—"
Her arms drop from around me and she takes a step back. I know exactly what's happened, of course, since Harry was right behind me when we got here. I get ready to keep them both from doing a runner, but suddenly she's walking towards Harry, and he's walking towards her, and they both have this...look on their faces and it's like sixth year all over again.
I let them snog for a few minutes before I clear my throat. It's very generous of me, don't you think, giving them a bit of time to become reacquainted before I interrupt them? Then I clear my throat again, because the first time didn't get a response. This time, I do get a response, but it's a rude gesture from Harry and not them stopping the kissing like I'd intended.
Finally, I decide I've been ignored long enough. "Oi!" I say loudly, and they break apart reluctantly, even though they keep holding hands.
I raise my eyebrows at them and give them both a pointed look. Harry has the grace to flush and look embarrassed, but Ginny just glares, daring me to say something.
So of course I do—can't let a challenge like that pass me by, now can I?
"Does this mean you two are talking to each other again?" I ask them.
"Sod off, Ron," Harry says, and Ginny gives me a look. I see him squeeze her hand, like he's trying to calm her down, and I grin smugly.
Someone calls Ginny's name from the changing room, and she grimaces. "Look, I've got to go," she says. "Team meeting and all that. It shouldn't take too long since we won, maybe fifteen minutes. Will you—"
"We'll be right here," I tell her. "Won't we, Harry?"
His answer is immediate. "Of course." He squeezes her hand again, and she smiles brilliantly.
"He's not going anywhere," I reassure her. She leans up and gives Harry another quick kiss before turning and heading back to the changing room.
When she's gone, we lean up against the walls, him on one side, me on the other. He's avoiding my gaze again, but he's got a small half-smile on his face.
"So," I say. "You and my sister."
He grins, and it's a smug and satisfied kind of grin. "Me and your sister," he confirms. He cocks his head and narrows his eyes. "You okay with that, Weasley?"
Am I okay with that? I've just spent the past two months trying to get the two of them together, and he's asking if I'm okay with that?
"Yeah, I'm okay with that," I tell him. "But, Harry... You know you've got to do more than just kiss her and expect everything to just...poof—" I make little explosion gestures with my hands—" be okay, right? You two haven't really talked in forever. And if you hurt her—"
"I'm finished with that," he reassures me. "I was a prat, but I'll make it up to her." He stands then, because she's coming out of the changing room, her hair still wet. Her expression is closed and worried until she sees him, but she smiles brightly and comes to take his hand.
"You waited," she tells him softly, and I look off towards the wall, trying to pretend I'm not listening, even as I inch closer so as to not miss anything.
She places a finger over his lips. "Later." She gives him a significant glance, one that tells me that while she might have forgiven, she hasn't forgotten. "Are you ready?" she asks, turning to include me in the conversation.
"Yeah," I say. "Let's get to the party Mum and Hermione are going to surprise me with when I walk in the door." Ginny and Harry look at each other and laugh, lacing their fingers together as we walk to the Apparition point.
"They're good together, aren't they?" George asks, using his Butterbeer bottle to indicate Harry and Ginny who are over in the corner under the big beech tree, holding hands and talking with serious expressions on their faces. He brushes a tear from her face and I turn away from the intimate scene.
"Took 'em long enough to realise it, though."
I shrug noncommittally, watching the rest of my friends and family mingle and talk.
"You did good, Ronnikins," he says, bumping me with his shoulder.
"Don't call me Ronnikins, you prat," I answer, bumping him even harder with my shoulder.
George nudges me again. "No, really, Ronni-...Ron. You did good."
I look at him, confused. "What—" I start to ask.
"Getting the two of them together. I know it was you."
I grin at that. "Well, I might've had a little something to do with it. But..."
"Don't sell yourself short, mate. You're a right matchmaker, you are."
That brings me up short. A matchmaker, huh? I think like the sound of that. I turn to tell him so, and he makes a bit of a choking sound beside me. I look up to find him staring at...Angelina Johnson? Who, if I'm not mistaken, was looking at George not two minutes ago.
Well. That's interesting, isn't it? The two of them...well, they've got issues, too. Not as many as Harry and Ginny do, though, which is good. And there's clearly something there...
I narrow my eyes and study them for a few minutes, nodding my head at what I see, my mind already whirling with plans to get the two of them together. Because I think I'm going to be taking on a new project in the near future, and I need to be prepared.
A/N, part 2: Many thanks to sherylyn, ohginnyfan, and alliekiwi for beta-reading (and, in alliekiwi's case, also making sure Ron doesn't sound like he's from Texas).