Disclaimer: All the characters, places, objects in this fanfic belong to JK Rowling. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Authors Note: This story idea came after reading Ladybug's A Whole Minute, which contained a disciplinary card for Seamus Finnegan. After emailing Ladybug, she kindly agreed to let me use the idea for a card for Ginny. However, I strongly encourage you to read her wonderful story.
May was a long hard month that had tested them all in every single way possible, and torn away every protection they had previously had. Days had been hard and raw as they not only tried to repair the damage caused on the 2nd May but the previous ten months of Voldemort's rule before the final confrontation. Just a mere 32 days later the after effects of the battle were still prominent, making sure that June along with many months into the future promised to be just as hard.
When there had been no ceremonies held or meetings with other countries who had cut any ties to Britain over the last year and repair the damage Voldemort had caused, Harry had filled his days with looking for missing Death Eaters that were currently on the run. Some claimed, just as the Malfoys had done sixteen years ago, that they had never really supported Voldemort. It was a hard job to tell which of the people that had been questioned had really been forced to act the way that they had and which had been fully aware of the consequences of their actions and performed them without regret. That didn't stop Harry, along with Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna and many of the others from the DA that were 'of age' and had survived the battle trying to round up the missing Death Eaters and place them into the Azkaban cells.
With Ginny still two months short of her seventeenth birthday, Mrs Weasley had flat out refused to let her daughter take part in the hunt for Death Eaters. Instead a compromise had been made and as Harry had gone looking for Dark Wizards, Ginny had taken a large role in the repairing of Hogwarts. It was a task that she had fully thrown herself into, leaving at the crack of dawn and returning home only very late at night. In fact, Bill had been sent to bring her home three times in the last month when she had failed to appear before ten o'clock at night.
Today had been a different day though. Today, Harry had chosen to spend his day at Hogwarts helping repair the school so he could spend time with Ginny.
It had not been a decision that he had taken lightly. Although he knew the importance of repairing the wizarding school, his priority had been escaped Death Eaters. The school could be repaired over a long time but if they didn't catch the escaped Death Eaters soon they could flee to other countries. However, things had changed last night in a conversation that he had had with Arthur Weasley.
When he had arrived at The Burrow last night from the Ministry for the meal that Molly Weasley had insisted that he had come to, he had found that Ginny was still not home from Hogwarts. That was when Arthur had led him out to the small shed on the pretence that he wanted Harry to look at Sirius' old motorbike and the repairs that had been made to it. Once the shed door closed the conversation had turned to Ginny.
Arthur's voice had sounded so desperate as he spoke about his worries over his daughter, mainly concerning the fact that the girl who could talk about anything was so quiet. That she was barely eating or sleeping, almost letting herself waste away. Then the fact that there was a good possibility that she could be making herself ill as she worked such long hours, her body weak and exhausted when she finally arrived home. Arthur's voice had almost pleaded as he explained he had already lost one child, he could not bear to lose another. Firmly stating that as much as he loved his little girl, her heart now belonged to Harry and he was just hoping that Harry could help her in a way none of the others seemed able to do.
So here Harry was, his back resting against the open door of Alecto Carrow's office sorting through disciplinary cards while Ron and Neville were interviewing McNair at the Ministry. He had deliberately picked a task that was time consuming but would not take much thought, so he could carefully watch his ex-girlfriend before he found the right time to talk to her.
He had spent the morning mesmerised by her movements, watching as she undertook the hard and messy job of repairing the wall and getting rid of the rubble that littered the corridors. Yet despite the close attention that he had devoted her he had not yet managed to hold a proper conversation with her.
Arthur Weasley clearly had too much faith in him, especially since he knew that he had hardly managed a conversation with Ginny that had lasted over ten minutes since the morning of the 3rd May. It wasn't that he didn't want another conversation with her but that morning had been so hard, and they had exhausted the major things they wanted to say. He wasn't sure where to go next; he had no idea what to say. There were so many things that he wanted to ask her, so many things that he wanted to tell her. He had no idea what kind of things to talk to her about either; the pressing issues had been covered. Where did they go next? How did they return to what they had? How did they learn to laugh together again? What did he even say to her first?
Words seemed so useless after everything that had happened.
Harry ticked the name Julia Walker off the long list in front of him as he stopped staring at Ginny and returned to the job he had been asked to do. They just had to wait and they had time now. There was no need to force things. He placed the card in the bag he was taking back to the Ministry later. The Ministry wanted a copy of all the disciplinary records at Hogwarts for evidence in the trials of the Carrows and had given him a long list to make sure he collected all the information.
He ticked off the names of Jessica Walker and Steven Ward without much thought but then he stopped and stared at the next card in the pile, every part of his body frozen.
GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY
DATE OF BIRTH: 11th August 1981 (16 years old)
BLOOD STATUS: Pure-blood, but with unacceptable pro-Muggle leanings.
Father, Arthur Weasley, 47, pure-blood, Ministry employee; Mother, Molly Weasley, 46, pure-blood, Housewife; Brothers, William Weasley, 27, Charles Weasley, 25, Percy Weasley, 21, Fredrick Weasley, 19, George Weasley, 19, Ronald Weasley, 18; Sister-in-law, Fleur Weasley, 21, pure-blood with Veela heritage.
RESIDENCE: The Burrow, Ottery St Catchpole, England
ASSOCIATIONS: Member (suspected leader) of rebel student gang known as DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY, Former Captain of the GRYFFINDOR QUIDDITCH TEAM.
SECURITY STATUS: MONITORED – Grade 'A' status moderation.
Considered to be extremely high risk. Has unacceptable pro-Muggle leaning including a number of Muggle-born friends. Former girlfriend of Undesirable Number One, strong likelihood will make contact. Has fought, illegally, alongside members of the Order of the Phoenix against both current Ministry officials and Hogwarts professors, in June 1995 and June 1996.
AS OF THE 30th MARCH 1998, WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN, SUSPECTED IN HIDING WITH PARENTS, DETAIN ON SIGHT
Harry ran his shaking hand over the card. He knew that he was bound to come across Ginny's card but that did not change things. He hardly dared believe what he was holding. This very card could be one of the keys to getting Ginny to open up. It would hold several of the mysteries about Ginny's year while he had been away.
They had hardly talked about Ginny's year at Hogwarts. There had been so many more pressing things to deal with since those days of the final battle and the end of the war; when they had spoken they had focused on his year. Ginny had not wanted to talk about the last year. Talking about the last year would drag up her feelings and emotions, and that was very scary when things were still so raw at the moment.
The whole Weasley family was struggling with the direct aftermath of the battle and what it had cost them. To dwell on the past was not something any of them wanted to do. They did not want to talk about the stories of the heroics as they would directly link to the pain and what those actions had cost. Instead they had focused on everyday life, on the little things that did not take too much thought, the things that they had to do.
The Weasley family was still very much in mourning.
Harry glanced over at Ginny who was using her wand to replace the stonework that had fallen out of the wall.
She looked so much older, drained of life as she worked.
There were dark circles surrounding her eyes. He knew from conversations with other members of her family that she wasn't sleeping very well and her mother had slipped a potion for a dreamless sleep into her drinks a couple of times. He was sure Ginny knew that her mother was taking these actions but she hadn't raised any objections. She was thin, far too thin and there was no light in her face, no smile, just a determined look in her eyes as she continued to work.
Ginny stopped her work as she picked up a bottle of water throwing the cool liquid down her throat. She paused for a moment longer using her left hand to push hair out of her face. The sun that broke in through the holes in the wall lit up the word tattooed into her hand: PUREBLOOD.
When he had asked her about the word engraved with her own blood into her hand, Ginny had just shrugged it off explaining that it was just a detention. She was unwilling to talk for whatever reason about her treatment while at Hogwarts.
Harry looked back down at the card. It felt like it was burning a hole in the palm of his hand. He was not sure whether he should just put this card back with the others for Hogwarts students without looking at it. This wasn't his card. This was not information about him, he really had no right to read it. If Ginny wanted to tell him what her sixth year was like then surely it would come up in conversations between the two of them and he shouldn't force it.
However, just like three years ago, when he had been staring at a prophecy with his name on in the Department of Mysteries, all the reasoned arguments disappeared as he let his rash, impulsive side make the decision.
OWL Results (examinations taken between June 1997 and October 1997)
Astronomy – E, Care of Magical Creatures – A, Charms – O, Defence Against the Dark Arts – O,
History of Magic – A, Herbology – E, Muggle Studies – E, Potions – E, Transfiguration – O
NEWT Subjects and predicted grades (to be taken June 1999)::
Charms – E, Dark Arts – D, Herbology – E, Muggle Studies – T, Potions – E, Transfiguration – E
Gryffindor Quidditch Team (Chaser and Captain), currently stripped of these privileges
3/9/97: Speaking aloud the name of the Dark Lord – Detention
5/9/97: Refusal to attend Muggle Studies class – subjected to curse practice
14/9/97: Possession of the Quibbler – Detention
18/9/97: Found in Hogsmeade without permission – Removal of Hogsmeade privileges
30/9/97: Disruption at Gryffindor/Slytherin Quidditch match–Removal of privileges to take part in all clubs and societies
16/10/97: Possession of Weasley Wizard Wheezes products – Detention
21/10/97: Graffiti on school property – Detention
1/11/97: Breaking and entering Headmaster's office and attempting to steal school property – Detention in Forbidden Forest
10/12/97: Disruption during Muggle Studies class – Detention
17/12/97: Breaking curfew – Detention
21/12/97: Disruption on Hogwarts Express – 24 hour isolation in the dungeons
13/1/98: Breaking and entering, attempting to access student records– subjected to curse practice
28/1/98: Vandalising the Dark Arts classroom – 24 hour isolation in the dungeons
14/2/98: Conducting illegal recruitment of students to prohibited gatherings –Detention
21/2/98: Failure to hand over mail for inspection – Detention
2/3/98: Releasing Nifflers in Headmasters office – 24 hour isolation in the dungeons
11/3/98: Attending a 'Support Harry Potter' assembly – subjected to curse practice
Harry looked at Ginny again and then back down at the card dumbfounded. Both Neville and Luna, along with many others had told him all about life at Hogwarts over the last year, explaining how they had been treated. But some small irrational part of him had not wanted to believe that Ginny had been involved in all that, had not been subjected to the same treatment that had led to the cuts on Neville's face, the complete disfigurement of Seamus' face and the locking up of Luna.
He had wanted to believe that Ginny was safe or at the very least only subjected to a few detentions.
But here were the cold hard facts.
Removal of Hogsmeade and Quidditch privileges.
Subjected to Curse Practice.
Isolation in the dungeons.
Ginny had been very much a part of the Hogwarts resistance to Voldemort and his Death Eaters and although a large part of him was glowing with pride that she had fought against the injustices at Hogwarts another part, just as large a part felt disgusted and angry at the treatment she had been subjected to. The whole point of the break up was to keep her safe but that hadn't worked.
He turned over the card again and focused in on a single sentence. Former girlfriend of Undesirable Number One, strong likelihood will make contact.
They had known.
They were not supposed to know.
And if the Death Eaters had known then what else was she not telling him? Had they tried to hurt her, expecting him to make contact and come running to save her? He thought back to Neville's words of a few days ago as Neville had briefly told him as much. He had spoken of how Ginny's every movement had been watched but Harry had not wanted to believe it until this.
"Ginny," he said softly, "I've found this."
She pocketed her wand as she made her way over, taking the card out of Harry's hand. Silently she started to read the card, very slowly as if she was digesting each word individually. Harry tried to read the emotions on her face as she read, trying to working out what she was thinking and feeling but it proved just as successful as he been throughout the whole of May. Her face was plain, impassive, not giving over a hint of an emotion. She was continuing the excellent act that he had seen since the 4th May.
Slowly a ghost of a smile graced her lips, "I've been wanting to read this for a long time, well, since January at least."
"When you broke into the office to try and get these?" Harry asked tentatively, not sure how Ginny would response to being questioned about her year.
"We had to see what they had written about us," Ginny's smile grew slightly, her voice was so quiet it could have been lost into the air. "Luckily it looks like they didn't know the half of what we were up to, which is what we suspected. Otherwise they would have come after us sooner."
"The half of it!" Harry spluttered. "This record here puts Fred…" He stopped instantly realising whose name he had just used.
"It's okay," she spoke softly, her voice itself was very forced as if she was making herself say each word, "Fred would never want us to stop saying his name, he likes to get attention." Her voice sounded a little more natural and less forced as she continued. "What about Fred's record?"
Harry smiled at her. She was right. They had to start using Fred's name again. "Well, this, your disciplinary record for last year, it puts Fred's and George's to shame."
Ginny shrugged, "I was just playing my part, I was hardly just going to sit in a lesson while others were suffering."
"But, look what they did to you." Harry protested.
"I know what they did but really it's not that big a deal. My family are the biggest blood traitors there are; they were going to try and hurt me anyway," she spoke in such a matter of fact tone, it worried him how accepting she had become of the Death Eaters' treatment. "It was just a matter of knowing that and being clever."
"Well, they are going to pay," he spoke through gritted teeth, anger bubbling inside. "They are all going to Azkaban."
"You are already locking them up Harry." She took his hand. "I was one of many, none of these treatments matter now. We survived, others didn't."
"But what about this part?" He withdrew his hand as he took the card back and read it aloud. "Former girlfriend of Undesirable Number One, strong likelihood will make contact." He looked straight into her brown eyes. "They knew about us, you were watched because of that."
"You expected children of Death Eaters to stay quiet about seeing us together?" He offered her a shrug, realising how much danger that she must have been in, regardless of whether they had been broken up or not during the Horcrux hunt. Ginny retook his hand and she held his gaze as she looked him straight in the eyes. "Even now, I would not change a second of the time we spent together. So don't you dare feel guilty."
Harry studied her face. "I will only stop feeling guilty if you do as well." He stopped her from taking her hand away and held it firmly as Ginny looked downwards. "You feel guilty that you lived." He tipped her head back up. "That's why you're driving yourself to near exhaustion here."
"That sentence doesn't strike you as the pot calling the kettle black?"
"Maybe." He paused thinking of the right words to chose. "But then you've just got to ask why did we fight this and why are we still fighting to clear things up?"
Ginny offered a small shrug. "We're just doing what's right."
"And what's the point in that if we don't spend time enjoying this world?" He squeezed her hand. "And falling in love?"
She tilted her head and straightened her face so she gave away none of the emotions that she was feeling but he could clearly see a familiar hint of mischief sparkling in the amber of her brown eyes. He had missed this look. It had been the very look he had seen when he had closed his eyes and dared to dream of a life after Voldemort, Death Eaters and Horcruxes. She was playing with him, having fun with his words.
"So you think I love you, Potter?" Her tone was plain. "What makes so sure?"
He smiled. If Ginny was going to have some fun with him then he was going to have some fun with her just as they used to playfully banter between the two of them last year.
"Well, Weasley." He was grinning. "I'd have to go with that look in your eyes that shows that you want to jump me."
Ginny's warm laugh filled the room. It was so warm, infectious and filled every inch of his body. Before he knew what he was doing, he joined in.
"I do love you, Harry."
"I love you too; you were in my thoughts all year especially at the end. It was you who I saw."
"Wow…, well…, hmm…" She smiled softly. "Well that kind of puts the pressure on us to make this work. Think we're up to the job?"
"Positive. Just as long as there are no more secrets from each other, no more hiding the past and trying to cope alone."
Her grin had grown into a smile, the smile that he loved and the one that lit her whole face and was the complete opposite to the cold, hard, forced smile she had worn over the last month. "That works two ways."
"Agreed," he smiled.
"Well." Her smile had grown again, lighting up the twinkles of amber in her brown eyes. "This should be very interesting."
She leant in closer and kissed him, their lips meeting slowly and tentatively. This kiss was nowhere near as passionate nor as adrenaline filled as the last one they had shared back on his birthday but it was just as purposeful. It was a kiss that was full of belonging and love. They had made it out of this mess, achieved something that they had only dared to dream of and now had a lifetime to work on everything else.
"Potter! Weasley!" Professor McGonagall's voice broke the pair of them apart. "Don't the pair of you have work to do?" But despite the words and her tone of voice there was a clear smile on the face of the Head of Gryffindor. "And really, Miss Weasley, I don't think your mother would approve too much if she knew you were hiding in corners of the school kissing boys."
"Yes, Professor." Ginny winked at Harry as she pulled her wand back out her pocket went to work on the wall.
Harry watched her as he placed Ginny's card into the bag with the others and absentmindedly picked up another. He sat enthralled by her movements. He watched her bright red hair which looked vibrant again, not dull and lifeless. It danced behind her as she worked. Looking at the brightness of those brown eyes he felt buoyed every time she sent a smile in his direction.
Despite everything they had gone through separately, they now had a future together.