The morning that Harry was set to move to London dawned rainy and windy, but it didn’t stop him from working out. He had already managed to run two miles in the cold, stinging rain by nine o’clock. He could hardly sleep anyhow, and running was an efficient way of releasing his pent-up frustrations. Besides, he had been working hard lately to keep himself in shape for the academy — if they ever did want him back.
For some reason, sleep had begun evading him since he had let the flat in London. He wasn’t sure why, since he had been sleeping well at the Grangers' for a time. It could be a sense of anticipation moving to his first place outside of Hogwarts or Grimmauld Place, but who knew? All he knew was that he was catching the two o’clock train out of Sheffield directly into King’s Cross Station. From there it was a small way to Apparate to his new flat in Westminster.
After he did his cool-down stretches, Harry checked the time and then hurried up to his room to quickly shower and dress. Before long, he was trotting downstairs, fastening his watch as he went. He turned the corner and was met by the Grangers, who were waiting for him in the entry way.
Harry liked Hermione’s parents and appreciated the respite that they had offered him this past five weeks. He wasn’t sure he could have made it back to England any other way. Harry had already given the Grangers a gift at dinner last night for their hospitality. They had received from him a new set of potholders — to replace the one he had accidentally burned on the cooker the first week he had been there — and season tickets to the opera season in Sheffield. Hermione had suggested a night out at the opera as a thank you, but instead he had bought them the season passes. It wasn’t much, but after a whole mess of we can’t accept these, his response of it was nothing, really, I swear, seemed to suffice and they accepted his gift. It really was nothing, for all they had done for him. With Hermione needing to erase their memories and send them off to Australia so that she could fight in a war — his war — he thought they must really hate him, but instead it was quite the opposite. They took him in as if he were their own.
They spent the drive to breakfast and the whole meal discussing his new flat and his move to the city. The Grangers listed all of the sites they liked to visit in London, and all the places Hermione loved to visit when she was a young girl. They went to a restaurant unlike any other he had been before. They served thin, flat Dutch pancakes that covered the whole plate, topped with bacon, sausages, or fruits and hot, aromatic coffee. Harry ate ravenously. When he ordered his third pancake, he wasn’t sure that the Grangers were so happy to have invited him to breakfast, but they didn’t seem to mind. When he offered to pay, it was another round of tosh and nonsense, Harry, eat, you’re a growing boy.
When they returned to the Grangers’ it was nearly time for him to begin gathering his belongings and to make his way to the train station, but just as he was about to climb the stairs to his room, Mrs. Granger asked him to wait a moment. She disappeared into one of the rooms on the ground floor and returned with a large gift wrapped in coloured paper, and another brightly coloured bag, with more colourful paper inside.
“For you, Harry.” Mrs. Granger smiled as she set the gifts on the dining room table. Her short, straight blonde hair reached her chin and her teeth were perfectly white. Harry ran his tongue over his teeth. They had offered to give him a dental cleaning which he decided to take them up on a week or so ago. It was an experience in and of itself since he hadn’t had his teeth cleaned by a dentist since the summer before fifth year when Petunia had insisted on taking Dudley, and he had been forced to come along. His mouth had felt cleaner than ever when Mr. and Mrs. Granger were through with him. He had been surprised when Hermione’s mum informed him that he had no cavities, despite the fact that he liked pudding at nearly every meal. “Open it,” she urged.
“Dr. Branstone, Monica and I thought you might enjoy this for your flat,” Mr. Granger explained as he cleared his throat. His eyes were a clear blue behind his square, frameless glasses. Harry had concluded, once he met the Grangers, that Hermione mostly resembled her father, but that she had her mother’s eyes. He had pondered for days how odd and a bit coincidental that was, and wondered why Hermione had never mentioned that to him.
Harry grinned, feeling embarrassed. “You didn’t need to get me anything.”
“We’ve so enjoyed having you here, and we’ll miss you, Harry.” Mrs. Granger patted him on the cheek. “We never said it, but we’re so grateful to you and Ronald for keeping Hermione safe last year. Our little girl is all we have, and we’re so proud of her for her efforts to end the wizards’ war. When she asked us to open our home to you, it was the least we could do. You’ll let us know how you are periodically, won’t you?”
“Yes, Mrs. Granger,” Harry replied warmly.
“Well, go on, open it,” Mr. Granger urged.
Harry unwrapped the gift and discovered that it was a big box with a picture of a stereo. He knew what it was. Dudley had a stereo in his room. Harry didn’t want to tell them that he already had a Wizarding wireless, but he thanked them profusely all the same.
“It plays CDs,” Mr. Granger explained. “Now, I know you have that wonky wireless contraption that Hermione has, but you’ve never heard music like this, I can assure you. Here.” He shoved the colourful bag at him.
Harry opened the bag, removed the coloured paper and sorted through the items. There were at least twelve squares of plastic that cased the discs. Most of them said, ‘Pink Floyd’ something or other, which he had never heard of. One with an all-white cover said, ‘Beatles,’ which he had heard of, and he spotted another with a similar label. Some said ‘Led Zeppelin.’ One said ‘Rush.’
“Take some time and listen to these. You’ll like them. Music from my and Dr. Branstone’s generation, but we promise you’ll like it.”
Harry nodded. “Thanks.” Then he hesitated before he hugged Mrs. Granger something fierce.
The air in Hogsmeade was clear and crisp as Ginny emerged from the fireplace at the Three Broomsticks and began her trek back to school for the third time that week. She couldn’t wait to tell Hermione, Demelza and Meredith how the Harpies trials had been, but as she entered the castle and checked the time, she realized she had arrived back during classes. She had been so excited from all she had experienced in the last twenty-four hours that she had forgotten it was Friday and still a weekday.
When she arrived at her dorm, she grabbed her school bag and made her way to the Astronomy Tower. If Hermione wasn’t available for an hour, she had to tell someone, so she decided to write to Fleur. Fleur had written to her just last week and she hadn’t had a moment to respond, and besides, she knew that Fleur would like to hear about her tryouts. Ginny made herself comfortable on the steps of the tower, pulled out a parchment and began to write.
26 March 1999
I’ve been quite excited to write to you and tell you all about the team tryouts. On the whole, I played decently. What I hadn’t realized was that the teams were also looking for compatibility on a personal level as well as on the field.
The Harpies had me stay a full day, and I was surprised at how hospitable they were. Holy Island isn’t very much to look at. Everywhere you look is either water or huge rock cliffs overlooking the water. Dad took me there when I was eight years old, but I hadn’t remembered just how it looked. I’m not sure what I was expecting, to be honest.
I wasn’t the only Hogwarts student who had been invited to the Harpies’ team trials. A seventh-year Hufflepuff girl named Aubrey had also been invited to come along. We found ourselves in a beautiful lounge, perhaps four times the size of our common room here in Gryffindor Tower. The lounge had luxurious couches and three fireplaces. Everything was decorated in gold and green, down to the tablecloths, rugs, couches and wallpaper. There was a huge wall hanging that listed accomplishments and famous players. I couldn’t help but hope that one day I would see my name up there!
The dining area was simple, with huge windows looking out onto their pitch. And the training and exercise room also had a swimming pool. And the pitch! Once we were all outside and able to show off our game, they turned on the sound system and played rock music on the loudspeakers! It was fun and it wasn’t difficult to imagine playing and practicing there. After dinner we went swimming and then we all sat around the lounge and had to say something about ourselves. I didn’t choose to say anything about the war, but I spoke about how it was to grow up with seven brothers and how my love of Quidditch began. I also did mention that I’m to be an auntie soon, of which I am rather pleased. Boy or girl, your baby is going to be a Quidditch fan and hopefully a player like his or her auntie!
I know I will speak less of Montrose and Kenmare in this letter and that is for a reason. Montrose is a quaint city, with lush foliage and beautiful trees. Everything Holyhead isn’t and probably a nice place to live. However, I didn’t get the same feeling in Montrose or Kenmare. I played well, but I wasn’t certain how comfortable I felt, especially since I was the youngest player trying out and the only female. I just feel like the Harpies went out of their way to make us comfortable. Oh, I hope they ask me to play for them, Fleur! Although, either way, I hope I end up on a team at all. If I don’t, I’ll be forced to think of something else to do with my life, I suppose… but I don’t really want to!
I’m sorry you can’t make it to the Ravenclaw match on Saturday. I understand that you can’t travel at this point in your pregnancy. Thanks for sending Bill instead; I’m happy he’ll sit with Ron and Harry. To be honest, it’s making me nervous that Harry will be there. I haven’t seen him since he showed up at the library and it’s been over a month and a half since then. Yesterday morning, he had Kreacher leave a bouquet of forget-me-nots on my bedside table with a good luck note. Since he sent me the Potions knife, he did say he was going to be doing nice things for me and he has, but it’s hard to imagine that it’s him. I’m not sure what to make of this new and improved version of Harry. He’s also still sending me letters a few times weekly and… they’re all pages long and completely packed to the brim with his deepest thoughts on anything and his hopes, wishes, and desires. I would write to tell him that his efforts are working, and working well, but I’m torn. I’ve been working so hard to make myself happy, independent of my relationship with Harry Potter. I feel so much better now than I did a few months ago and I’m afraid that if I get back together with him too quickly, we could go right back to the way things were in autumn term. I wish there was an easy answer to all of this.
See you at Easter hols, –Ginny
Harry walked along the busy London street, blending in with the morning foot traffic as people made their way to their jobs or schools. As he walked, he took a glance in the nearest shop window to check that his hair wasn’t sticking up in a hundred different angles and straightened the lapel of his sports jacket. He had dressed for the occasion of asking for his job back in dark grey dress slacks and a light blue button-up shirt, which was tucked in, and a navy blue sports jacket, all of which he had purchased for today’s meeting with Kingsley.
He turned down a less busy alleyway and adjusted his glasses as he entered the nearest telephone-box. He said his name and stated his business, and then took the badge that came through. It read, Harry Potter, asking for job back. In his hand, he had a letter from Dr. B., who had willingly written to Kingsley, the new Minister for Magic, about his evaluation of Harry’s mental state. Instead of sending it, Harry wanted to deliver the letter personally.
It felt weird to be back at the Ministry after so long. He wasn’t used to it. After entering the Atrium, he followed the dark marble floors, staring at his shoes. There was construction going on in the Atrium. A new statue was being built to replace the ‘Magic is Might’ statue that Voldemort had erected. Harry wasn’t sure what they were going to build, but he hoped it would be better than the Fountain of Magical Brethren, which he would rather vomit than see every day on his way into work.
As he walked through the open Atrium, he remembered escaping that fateful morning with Ron and Hermione and he thought how incredible it was that they had come away with their lives. He headed towards the golden lifts. As he made his way across the Ministry Atrium, he realized that he didn’t feel angry or frustrated with himself. It used to be an effort to simply cross this floor from one end to the next, and now he felt like he could think about the events of the war without wanting to scream.
He pressed the button for the lift and waited. When a lift finally came he entered, pressed his desired location, and the lift zoomed off in that direction. Too soon it jolted forward and came to a halt. Harry knew this unexpected stop wasn’t his stop. The lift door opened, and he had a bit of a shock, because there right in front of him was Arthur Weasley.
For a moment Harry didn’t say anything. He had seen the Weasleys a few weeks back for Sunday dinner, but right now he just didn’t know what to say.
“M–Mr. Weasley,” he stuttered. “H–hello.”
Thankfully, Mr. Weasley smiled warmly.
“Harry. Son.” Harry extended his hand, but Mr. Weasley gave him a fatherly hug as he entered the lift. “What brings you to the Ministry?
Son. No matter what, the Weasleys would always call him ‘son.’ That much he knew from Mr. Weasley’s letter that he received in Spain. Right now, as always, it made him feel both awkward and very loved at the same time.
“Erm… I’m visiting Kingsley the… err… new Minister for Magic.”
“Is that right? Any reason in particular?” Mr. Weasley asked with a knowing glint in his eye.
Harry swallowed. “I’m going to ask for my job back, sir. Wish me luck.”
“You wish to go back to work? So soon?” He seemed surprised. The last time he had spoken to Mr. Weasley about it, Harry had told him it probably would be a while until he went back to training. Harry just hadn’t been so sure, until recently, how easy it would be to ask Dr. B. to write him a letter.
“Very much,” Harry answered.
Mr. Weasley looked for a button on the lift. “Are you going back to the office?” Harry asked as the older wizard reached up and grabbed the handrail as the elevator jerked sideways.
“Oh, actually, the Apparition office,” he said quickly. “I’m going to set up an exam for Ginny for over the Easter hols.”
Harry racked his brain for a mention of this in Ginny’s last few letters, but he couldn’t remember. “I thought she said that if she failed, you told her she was going to wait until summer to take the exam.”
The edges of Mr. Weasley’s mouth curled into a grin. “No. She says she needs to take the exam and pass as quickly as possible. Can’t argue with her, can I? Not when she asks for something from me. I can never say no to my little girl.” He shook his head.
Harry knew from experience that it was impossible to say no to Ginny.
“We went through it with Charlie after he failed his exam — all the arguing we did with the boys, you wouldn’t believe,” Mr. Weasley tsk-tsked. “I made all the boys who failed the school exam — which was all of them except Percy, who passed, and Ron, who ran off with you and Hermione — wait for summer to take it again. Although, it was much easier to say no to Charlie and the other boys than it is to say no to our dear, sweet Ginny or else I’ve just grown soft in my old age.”
Dear, sweet Ginny indeed. Harry knew how hard it was to say no to her when she did that eyelash batting thing with the pouting lips that made you nearly melt inside, “Err… well, hope she’s been practicing.”
“I think she’ll be alright. She knows well enough how to Apparate and claims that Mr. Twycross just didn’t like her and made her nervous. Ah well, here we are. Minister’s office. You get out here, Harry.” Arthur Weasley held the lift open for him.
“Oh, yeah, right.” He exited the lift, feeling as nervous as a baby bird being pushed out of a nest.
“Harry, have a good meeting. Lots of luck. We’ll see you soon?”
“Yes, Mr. Weasley.”
They said their goodbyes and Harry turned to make his way down the long hall. The truth was, even speaking to her father made him miss her. Godric, was he in bad shape every time he thought of Ginny! Even though he had been writing to her whenever he thought of her, it had been weeks upon weeks since he had seen her. He had been looking forward to seeing her play Quidditch last weekend, but the match had been cancelled at the last minute because Madame Hooch had been called away from Hogwarts unexpectedly. The match had been rescheduled for late April, but that felt like ages from now. The best he could hope for was to be invited to Sunday dinner at The Burrow while she was home for the Easter hols. Maybe if they were in the same place together, she would give him the time of day. Or maybe he could… hold it, perhaps he could! Harry had a thought that he tucked away in the back of his mind for now.
He quickly walked into the waiting area of the Minister’s office.
There was a receptionist behind the desk with short, curly black hair who looked up, and whose eyes nearly bulged out of her head when she realized who he was. That was a reaction he was more than used to by now, but still didn’t really feel comfortable with.
“Mr. Potter is here to see you.” She held her wand to her throat without asking his name. “Minister Shacklebolt will see you in a moment, have a seat.”
Harry sat on a large bench and studied his fingernails. In the past few weeks, he was trying to keep his mind off Ginny and focus on himself and his life. Harry thought back to last weekend at the shop. He was spending more time with Ron and George since he’d moved back to London. He loved the shop, and never felt uncomfortable about putting in hours there, helping them stock shelves, tidy up, or test out new products — which was his favourite part of being there. After all, he was an investor in the business. Even meeting customers wasn’t so bad… despite them wanting autographs which, instead of the request making him angry like it used to, now he took in stride and tried to be as amiable as possible. Besides, George was pleased at how good he was for business. In return, the hours he spent at the shop testing fireworks and new Wheezes put him in a good mood. It was always good for a laugh and a great way to pass the weekends. It was only lately that Harry realized that he hadn’t needed to be alone all this time.
Still, dealing with the emotional wall that Ginny had apparently decided to set up against him wasn’t easy. Harry shifted on the bench and checked his watch. To assuage his nerves, he began to think more. London helped him to cope and spring had come to Hyde Park, making the hours he spent thinking outside, or with the windows wide open, much more comfortable. On days he didn’t make the trek to Chesterfield to see Dr. B., he was spending his time taking runs around the parks, or in his flat listening to his stereo with the windows open. Some days he would take the tube, switch lines as he desired, and find himself lost in the city. On those types of days, he liked finding an outdoor café and writing in his journal. Sometimes he would doodle. Sometimes he would write one word to describe what he was feeling. And sometimes his hand hurt from writing so much. He had also visited Teddy a few times, and spent time in Andromeda’s house, playing with him, or walking him outside in his pushchair until he began wailing, at which point Harry would make his exit.
The weeks had started to pass relatively quickly through the month of March, which would be ending in a few short days. April was arriving quickly. Harry thought it was amazing how time was moving forward lately, compared to how slow-paced February had been. His three weekly sessions with Dr. B. were so productive that, after just seven weeks under the doctor’s care and supervision, he felt so much more like himself, like the way he had been before the war. He was not entirely better — whatever that even meant — but he did feel more normal, at least a new sort of normal for him.
The only thing missing right now was having his former girlfriend sit in his lap and rest her head against his chest so he could tell her the things going on in his head. He did tell her everything he wanted to on parchment anyhow, although that was leading him nowhere. Ginny’s behaviour was oddly challenging and making him more determined than ever to get through to her with his letters! Still, it was sometimes very difficult to deal with. If he didn’t have his coping mechanisms in place, his affirmations, his journal, and the predicable routine of Dr. B.’s sessions, which he looked forward to, he was sure he would have already reverted back to his usual depressed self or even left for Spain again. Instead, he was trying to think positively about it all, especially since he knew how he felt, and he trusted that he could turn things around eventually if he proved himself — and his love… Now if only he could speed up time.
Harry’s leg jumped uncontrollably from how nervous he felt. It was time for him to begin working again though, and he knew that the distraction would help him immensely. That would help the weeks go by more quickly. He honestly missed the academy and needed something positive and goal-oriented to work towards. That was what he told Dr. B., who thought it would be healthy for him to return and have normality and goals in his life, and agreed to write him that letter he had been hoping for.
“Let him through, please,” came a familiar booming voice.
Harry stood quickly and walked into the grand office. He had a glance at himself in the reflection of a glass-covered portrait just before entering to make sure that he still looked appropriate. The wizard in the portrait asked him to stop staring, but he wasn’t staring at the portrait, he was staring at himself, a self he barely recognized lately. He was tall, slim, but ten times fitter than he had been last year. His hair was neat, not unkempt as it had been before he had left for Spain. He had it cut again last week because it kept falling into his eyes, and it was now combed back neatly for the occasion. He noted that he actually felt great about himself, which was unusual. The letter, which had been burning a hole in his pocket since yesterday, was tucked neatly inside his jacket and he hoped this appointment wouldn’t be as difficult as he thought it might be…
“It’s nice to see you, Mr. Potter.”
Harry reached out his hand to Kingsley and greeted him with a firm handshake. The older wizard motioned towards a chair, and Harry sat facing Kingsley’s desk.
“What brings you to my office today?” Kingsley asked in a low voice.
Harry sat on the edge of the chair; his leg didn’t stop moving. “I came to request that I be allowed to return to my position at the Auror Academy.”
Kingsley sat at his desk. “Did you obtain that letter we spoke about?”
“Yes. Here it is.” Harry pulled it out of his jacket pocket and handed it over across the desk.
Kingsley put on his spectacles, opened the envelope and reviewed the letter for a few moments. “Despite what your Healer states, Harry, I still have my doubts after what you did. I understood what you were going through, but still have my concerns regarding your behaviour. Do you think you are mentally fit to come back to this academy, knowing the stresses and all it entails?” Kingsley asked in a way that would have been intimidating had he not known the wizard before him since fifth year.
“I do. I mean, I know that I’m feeling better enough now.” Then Harry stopped for a moment, and spoke from his heart, “I need this, Kingsley. For me. Dr. B. has offered to answer any questions you may have… I need to return to normal. I care a great deal about this. I don’t want to give up on my career or on the Academy and I’m not going to stop seeing Dr. B. anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t handle the pressures of training. I want my job back. Please.”
“I know you want back in, Harry, but I warn you: the other trainees are apt to share some of my concerns. Don’t forget, they’ve come further in training since you’ve last been here, and they may outshine you. You will need to work extra hard to maintain the status quo.”
He had been expecting that. Harry swallowed. “I know, and I hope I’ll be able to prove myself to… you, myself, and them, when the time comes. I hope that they’ll be able to trust me in training, but I won’t let them down again.”
Harry waited nervously for some kind of response from Kingsley. All of a sudden, the Minister smiled widely.
“Welcome back, Harry.” Kingsley shook his hand. “You begin after the Easter holidays. April twelfth, at seven in the morning, sharp.”
Harry exited the Minister’s office smiling proudly. By the time he emerged from the street entrance into Muggle London, the smile had grown into an ear-to-ear grin. To celebrate, he thought that lunch was in order for him, Ron, and George. And then perhaps he would write to Ginny and tell her all about how he was feeling right now.
The Burrow was quiet in the early mornings. Compared to how she had grown up with all the boys roughhousing at all hours of the day and night, she wasn’t used to this house being so calm. She had the sitting room to herself and had already been writing essays to catch up on her schoolwork and listening to soft music on the wireless for an hour, anything to keep her mind off this afternoon.
Harry had invited them for tea today, the first day of hols. Ginny had arrived home last night and had been met with the news. Although her first instinct was to beg to stay home, her mum had a point. She didn’t want to hurt Harry or seem unkind by declining his invitation. She would have to go, there was no way around it. Ron and Hermione were already in Sheffield since this morning, visiting the Grangers and, although having them there at Harry’s flat would have helped her level of discomfort, she had decided last night that she could face Harry on her own. She wasn’t really on her own, was she? Her parents would be there as well as and Andromeda and Teddy. Sod all. It didn’t help to think of who was going to be there or not. The point was, she was going to face Harry today, and she was fretful beyond belief.
She dug in her rucksack for the letter from Fleur that she had received yesterday, on the last morning of classes before the hols. She opened it and re-read it twice.
2 April 1999
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond! I’m sure you are about to leave school for Easter hols so I’ll keep this short as I’m sure you are very busy. I was sorry to hear that the Quidditch match was cancelled last weekend. Bill was so looking forward to seeing you play, but he says he will be at your match in April.
Your brother is a fine husband to me, Ginny! Forgive me for telling you how in love with him I am at the moment, but we are so very happy. We’ve finished preparing the nursery for doux bebe Weasley; another four or so weeks until we meet him or her. You should see the job that Bill did on the ceiling of the baby’s room! He enchanted it similar to the Great Hall at Hogwarts. There are fluffy clouds floating by when you look up. Depending on if the baby is a girl or a boy, he will finish it. He wants to add dragons for a boy and unicorns if it is a girl.
I am so glad your Quidditch trials went so well. It was so interesting to read all about them, and about the Harpies headquarters. Holyhead does not sound so bad, although I did look on a map and realized that where it is is very remote and also very cold. I imagine in winter it will be freezing, but this you are used to, are you not? Although you do not like it by your musings, at least you already have the clothes necessary for this type of weather!
Thank you for sharing all about Harry’s behaviour as of late. It sounds like your Harry is desperate for some attentions from you. That is, in my opinion, a natural and positive reaction, considering how you are behaving towards him. I would not feel so badly about denying him, ma petite cherie. After all, look at what he put you through all those months! He deserves to stew in his own juices.
However, it seems to me as if you are not realizing something very important. Just stand back for a moment and look at how much being away from you has changed him! Months ago, he would never have been so attentive to you, and it took losing you to realize what he truly needs. Now, the most interaction it seems you are comfortable with is exactly as much as you are already giving. It is up to you whether or not that is enough, or when it is the right time to give him another chance. I wonder what it will take for Harry to break down the walls of your heart, so to speak. He seems to want to! It is a good sign, it is not? He could still be lost in the outside world somewhere, but instead he came home to you and is determined to win you back. That is a sign of love, no doubt which he seems to be feeling. To forgive him and move on would take a great deal of love and understanding from you and I completely see your hesitations, Ginny, any woman would! Let me know if you need to talk about it again. I will be thinking of you, dear sister!
Dominique will be visiting me over her Easter hols and I would love to have you over for tea on Tuesday. I will be seeing you at The Burrow for Sunday dinner, I am sure. I look forward to it, and hope we will have time to talk.
Ginny knelt by the fireplace and sat staring at the letter. She disagreed with Fleur. She was definitely not thwarting Harry’s letter-writing, flower-giving advances in order to make him stew in his own juices, as Fleur had said. She wasn’t doing anything at all to hurt him intentionally or to make it seem like pay-back! Instead, Ginny felt that her recent emotional detachment towards Harry was a completely warranted reaction for all that had occurred between them nearly four months ago. Was it not?
She folded Fleur’s letter and tossed it in the fire and resolved to try to stop being so nervous to face him as well. At least her sister-in-law mostly understood where she was coming from and also accepted that there was no reason that she should give Harry the attentions he wanted, if she just wasn’t comfortable yet. Ginny stared at the flames in the grate and wondered, along with her sister-in-law, what it would take for Harry to break down the walls of her heart, which she was currently holding up with a great deal of strength.
The day had dragged itself on and before she knew it, Ginny stood behind her mum and dad, who were standing on the top concrete step outside of Harry’s London flat. She waited on the bottom step, tapping her toe, and becoming increasingly annoyed at her father, who kept talking about how fascinated he was by the Muggle doorbell. A buzzer sounded, which Ginny assumed was signalling that it was all right for them to go up.
She walked up the six steps behind her parents into the clean and sparse foyer. They climbed up two flights of wide, carpeted stairs to the top floor and emerged into a well-lit corridor, with rich red carpeting and dark wood doors with gleaming gold numbers. Following the numbers, they soon found that number eight was the corner flat on the left. Ginny stood behind her dad, using him as a shield — she had promised herself this morning to cease being nervous about seeing Harry, but right now, that was easier said than done.
Her mum gave her a small smile, and Ginny’s eyes fell instead to the housewarming gift in Mum’s hands, an afghan in Gryffindor colours that she had knitted for Harry. She knew how much he was going to like it. Godric, she simply couldn’t help that her heart beat wildly, waiting for him to answer the door.
The door opened and Harry grinned at her parents, greeting them. Ginny thought instantly of how well he looked. His hair was sticking up in the same funny places it always did even though it was shorter than it had been the last time she had seen him, and it looked like he had attempted to tame it. He held the door open for her parents, and she walked in past him. They said their polite hellos, but they could barely look each other in the eye. Or at least she barely could bring herself to. Ginny knew instantly that this afternoon was going to be harder than she thought.
She tried to calm herself as she stepped a bit further into Harry’s flat. Ginny immediately noticed the three tall, floor-to-ceiling windows which brought light into the room. She was instantly glad that Harry had found a place where the sun shone. She always thought that he needed more light in his life, rather than those dark, gloomy rooms in Grimmauld Place. She liked the flat immensely and, despite the awkwardness between them, she felt quite comfortable here. The sun shone through the windows, making the wood floors gleam. She felt an immediate sense of comfort and contentment even just standing in the foyer.
Her feet though, told a different story. They were rooted to the ground, steps from where she had entered. She didn’t really feel like moving forward now that she was here.
She realized that Mum was making a fuss. Mum had made him open the gift, and had him lay it over the back of the couch, forcing him to admire it. Ginny hung back, loving how polite he was to Mum and how grateful he was for the gift. He even shared a hug with her mum, which was hysterical to watch. Mum always went all flustered when Harry hugged her — he had an awkward way of holding the other person close and putting as much gratefulness as he felt into the hug. Harry was handsome, of course, but that wasn’t why he ruffled Mum’s feathers. It was because he always had a way of making anyone he was close to… feel special. He held Mum, he gazed into her eyes, and he was sincere and kind as anything.
Then, he glanced over at her, skulking in the hallway. She pretended not to notice him and turned to admire a picture on the wall, which she assumed was there when he moved in, because the trees in the painted scenic park weren’t swaying in the wind. She remained there, leaning against the wall in the entrance way, until Harry went into what must have been the kitchen. Only then did she take her chance and enter the sitting room.
Ginny looked around the small flat, trying to take it all in, but when her eyes roamed towards the open kitchen she stopped and stared for a moment at Harry’s back as he busied himself pulling out the tea cups from a cupboard. His shirt was pressed in front but had a deep wrinkle in the back. He was trying hard to be presentable, it seemed. Ginny let out a small sigh and sat on the edge of the sofa facing the fireplace, worried about how pathetically in love with him she still knew she was and always would be.
Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to come today. She suddenly felt torn in every direction — as if she both wanted to launch herself at Harry and also run away as far from him as she could. The truth was that, with his letters and kind gestures in the past month, a large part of her did so want to give him another chance. Except, every time she felt that way, the doubt was overwhelming. She still had so many unresolved fears over trusting Harry and moving forward with their relationship.
Mum was sitting next to her while Dad was outside inspecting the balcony. Her mum chattered about something or other, but Ginny could barely focus on keeping up a conversation. Ginny crossed her legs at the ankles and primly folded her hands over her skirt, hoping that if Harry talked to her when he came back in the sitting room, she would be able to form coherent sentences. Everything will be fine. You’ll be able to keep your cool around Harry, you used to do it so well, she kept telling herself over and over.
Ginny glanced out the windows, focusing on the treetops which were boasting the loveliest white flowers. What a perfect view, she thought. Harry needed nature and trees around him, because it was soothing and would remind him of home. Her home. She imagined he could begin a small potted garden back there, maybe roses or herbs. Ginny sighed.
The flat was perfect, and she had only seen the main room. She looked around, taking in the sitting area. The fireplace was in the middle of the far wall in the sitting room, and the sofa sat directly parallel to it. An overstuffed armchair sat at a right angle to the sofa, creating a nice conversation area. It was set up similar to the common room at Hogwarts, which is probably why Harry liked it. Ginny thought this particular sofa she was sitting on would be brilliant for lying on and snogging, a closeness she missed more than she could say. Regardless of how empty she felt inside last year, the only time she had received Harry’s full attention was when they were pressed up against one another in broom cupboards, and of course, she missed — being kissed and held by him. Who wouldn’t miss being kissed and held by an ex-boyfriend whom you were still desperately in love with despite what a prat he had been? She looked down at her hands. There was a rug under her feet that was cream and white with red accents, again, something she was sure had come with the flat. It looked nice and comfortable. Ginny agreed with what Harry had said in his letters. The flat was perfect for him and you could feel just by being here he was making it his. It felt like Harry in here, which Ginny loved and still wanted to distance herself from all the same.
Harry entered the sitting room and, as soon as he did, Ginny popped up from the couch. She had failed miserably. She wouldn’t be able to face him. She couldn’t.
“Mum, do you want me to prepare the platter of sandwiches we brought?” she asked, looking directly at her mother and not in Harry’s direction at all.
Mum glanced in Harry’s direction and then back at Ginny. “That would be fine, Ginny,” she said, her tone clearly disapproving of how Ginny was using her as a go-between.
Ginny smiled tightly and strode towards Harry’s kitchen. As she did, Harry sat with her parents, and she listened from the kitchen as they discussed the area (apparently this was in the vicinity of St. James park), and the Ministry (Harry had been accepted back to the Academy, which she knew from his exuberant letter he had sent her last week). Ginny took her time locating a knife, which she finally found, and then searched the cabinets for plates to no avail.
She strode back to the living room, feeling anxious that she had to interact with Harry at all. Without bothering to make small talk, she gathered up the courage to just ask.
“Harry, where can I find small plates?” she said softly.
“Oh… err… let me bring them down.” He followed her back to the kitchen, reached up and brought them down for her without a word. She could hardly breathe when he had reached over her head to open the top cupboard. When he had retrieved the plates, he set them on the countertop and then turned to her. “I could have prepared tea in a few minutes,” he said, “You didn’t need to help me.”
“I wanted to. Go back to the sitting room,” Ginny ordered. She couldn’t bear to have him so near to her at this moment, not when she was feeling so anxious and unable to relax around him. It didn’t seem to matter to him, though. He took a few steps backwards, grinning at her the whole time. Ginny couldn’t believe how happy he looked, regardless of how she was behaving towards him. She turned away as she felt her cheeks suddenly heat up and knew without looking how pink they were. She wasn’t embarrassed, it was a natural reaction she couldn’t control, but it was obvious how pleased he was that she had accepted his invitation. She knew he wanted her there, and… Cor! Harry was acting so differently lately! Ginny leaned against the counter, realizing there was nothing more to arrange for the tea, but not feeling ready to go back to the sofa. She tucked her hair behind her ears, checked that her hair clip was still in place, and then glanced over at Harry again. Perhaps she should be more open-minded towards Harry’s advances. For the first time since he had returned from Spain, Ginny thought it might be time. Except, it was rather soon, wasn’t it, considering all that had occurred between them?
Soon there was a welcome distraction when the Floo flashed bright green and Andromeda stepped out of the fireplace with Harry’s godson. Teddy wasn’t in the best of moods, it seemed, and the flat filled with his cries, but soon he was gumming Harry’s collar with great amusement. From his letters, Ginny knew that Harry had visited with Teddy several times since he had moved back to London. He had even thanked her for giving him a piece of her mind on the issue in the letter she sent him in Spain.
Harry handed the baby over to her at one point and she awkwardly tried to entertain him by turning a couch pillow into a stuffed bunny. Mostly, Teddy didn’t like to be held, but preferred crawling busily around the flat being followed by a very concerned godfather.
Not once did she and Harry share more than two words, or look each other in the face until Teddy crawled down the hallway and right into the first room on the left. Feeling badly about not returning the grin he had given her back in the kitchen, Ginny bravely followed Harry, hoping to break the ice.
“Hey there,” she said softly from the door, looking around what she quickly realized was the Potter study. A 1994 World Cup pennant and ‘Potter’ Hogwarts Quidditch robes were hanging on the wall. There was a writing desk, a small wardrobe, and a small table on which sat an oddly shiny wireless-looking thing with one of those plugs that went right into the wall for Muggle electricity. A mess of a few silver circles lay around that, and bits of parchment, empty cups, and sweet wrappers littered the desk. Harry looked around and tried to Banish some of what was on the desk into a bin.
“Put your wand away,” she told him. “Please don’t tidy up on my account.” It was obvious that Harry hadn’t planned on anyone coming into this room today. He pocketed his wand, and discontinued trying to make the place look presentable for her.
“You’re right. The flat is perfect for you. Thanks for inviting us today.”
“I’m glad you came, I wasn’t sure you would,” he said, speaking to his trainers instead of to her.
“Thanks, Harry. I… It was nice of you to invite us, that’s all…”
“No problem at all,” he said as he swooped down and picked up Teddy, who had just pulled himself to stand on the side table that held the wireless. The baby squealed as he was lifted, as if to say that he was less than thrilled to be picked up. “Err… you can come in.”
Ginny entered the room a few feet. Feeling uncomfortable she watched as Teddy fussed until Harry put him back down on the floor where he obviously wanted to be. Teddy rounded the desk, lightening quick, and Harry then kneeled behind the desk in order to keep an eye on him. To see Harry properly, Ginny had to move forwards a few more steps to stand next to the writing desk.
Harry continued, looking at the baby instead of her. “Mostly, I was nervous that you wouldn’t come here today. Especially since Ron and Hermione couldn’t make it. I’m… very happy to see you, Ginny.”
Ginny didn’t respond, although her heart raced. What did he want her to say? The truth was that she was happy to see him too, but she wouldn’t reveal that. Not now. She pursed her lips, not wanting to tell him how well he knew her, and how she really did consider not coming along. It took another few moments to think of what to say and the uncomfortable silence was unsettling to her. Should she leave? No, she had to face him at some point. Now was as good a time as any. Ginny put on a pleasant face, and tossed her hair over her shoulder.
“Well, actually, when I heard you invited us, I was going to come regardless, but Mum actually promised to disown me if I didn’t come! Can you believe that? You know that I think it’s her goal in life to find ways to pair us together.”
Harry chuckled, seemed to think for a moment, and grinned at the baby. Teddy, who was now under the writing desk, had found a piece of parchment and was waving his arms wildly, creating a rustling noise which he found amusing.
“I hope that’s not something important.” She pointed to the parchment.
“Don’t worry, it’s not.” Harry adjusted his glasses. “That’s true, about your mum, isn’t it? Remember how she used to make us do chores together? Before Bill and Fleur’s wedding?”
“Oh yes, that was extremely comfortable for the both of us that summer.” Ginny studied her fingernails. “We hardly wanted to look at one another and yet we were paired up all afternoon.” Except, not only had Mum done it that summer, but she had been working on pairing up the two of them the summer before, too. Ginny leaned against his writing desk. “Remember how we were always paired up for chores? That one day in summer before my fifth year, how we had to clear the Doxy infestation in the attic. I still can’t believe you were that frightened of the ghoul! Do you know how many times I could have played a prank on you? But I never did.”
“Thanks for sparing me.”
“You’re one of the lucky ones,” she said quickly, wanting to tell him it was because she liked him so much, but zippering her lips shut before she could.
“Well, paired up or not, I always liked spending time with you doing just about anything, even if it was chores,” he said in that honest way he had about him.
She offered a weak smile, and looked down. “Thanks Harry.”
He nodded and didn’t say anything.
As a distraction from the hundreds of butterflies flying in crazy circles in her stomach, Ginny looked around some more. She noticed how, in all the mess on his desk, there was a stack of parchment which was neatly arranged. There were also some Quidditch magazines strewn about as well as a leather-bound book which she thought looked like a journal. She wondered if he was keeping one. A long time ago, she had learned to let go of her fear of journals, but still didn’t like them very much. She noticed that his quill and ink set looked well-used. So this is where he sits and writes me letters, she mused. She imagined him leaning back in his chair on a rainy day and watching the sky from his window as he chewed on his quill, thinking of her. Her heart raced. The study and being surrounded by his personal things was absolutely turning her into a wreck, in addition to the fact that he sat in front of her looking quite well and happier than she had seen him look in quite some time. He wanted her there, too, and she could honestly say the same about wanting to be near him. Ginny told herself to relax. It was all she could do. She took a deep breath and counted backwards from ten in her head.
“What’s this?” she asked, pointing to the shiny wireless to try to make conversation in order to ease the silence between them.
“My stereo. It plays music, like a wireless, only it plugs into the wall.”
“How does it play the music?” she asked.
“Oh, right. Good question. Instead of a spell to play the music, it plays these discs. Mr. Granger and Dr. Branstone bought the stereo and discs for me as a housewarming gift. They wanted me to listen to rock music from their generation. Most of it is noise to me, but I especially like this one.” He stood, fetched one from the small table where the stereo thing stood and handed her the disc.
She turned it in her hands. “Pink Floyd? That’s a funny name for a rock band.”
“They’re actually really good, Ginny. If the baby wasn’t in here, I would play them for you. Someday, I will,” then he paused, and scratched the back of his head, “Is it weird to say that… when I’m listening, sometimes I feel like the words are speaking to me?”
She shook her head. “That’s not weird. It just means that the music is meaningful to you. There’re loads of songs that I feel that way about, Harry.”
She turned one of the covers over; it showed an oddly shaped rainbow about to go through a triangle, and she set it down. Harry had never been one to sit and listen to music, at least not the Harry she knew.
“So, I ran into your dad at the Ministry… when I asked for my job back. I know I wrote to you to tell you all about it.” Ginny instantly felt badly about her lack of letters lately. “I know you’re ready to take your next Apparition exam so I have something for you. For good luck. Here… can you keep an eye on him for a moment?” Ginny nodded and sat down on the floor with the baby. Teddy surveyed her briefly and then went back to inspecting the parchment, which he was now practically eating, too. Harry came towards her and handed her a badly wrapped package as he joined her on the floor.
“It’s for you. From your brother’s shop, but from me.” She ripped open the paper and held up a bottle of some sort of fizzy drink. “It’s one of his latest products, Disappearing Drink. See, if you’re too nervous on the morning of the test to Apparate, you can sneak some of this in a flask, instantly disappear, and then run over to where you’re supposed to Apparate to. If you can mimic the sound off a loud pop with your wand at the same time, you’ll be able to make it work. The trick is, the less you drink, the quicker it wears off.”
Ginny turned it over, laughing a bit at his creative thought process. “That would be cheating! And I’m not sure I can run from one end of the Ministry to the other in time.”
“I know,” he joined her on the floor, “but if you could, this would be damn useful. Anyhow, I was sure that you wouldn’t mind having this at school.”
“It’s banned, all of the products from his shop are. But this is brilliant! Thank you.” Her heart warmed at his kind gesture. Then Ginny asked, “Have you ever drunk it?”
“Err… Once. Last week.”
“And did you sprout tentacles?”
“No.” He grinned, making her insides melt. “Not that I noticed. It actually has a nice flavour, unlike some of George’s creations. I think there are three or four choices. This one’s fizzy lemon. You can pour it for a guest as a regular fizzy drink and once they drink it, you sit back and watch them disappear right before their eyes. It’s a slight annoyance to the drinker, but extremely funny to watch an unsuspecting person simply watch themselves vanish. George and I poured some for Ron without him knowing what it was, and he had a right fit when he realized what was happening…”
“Nice! I will use this, just not to cheat on my exam. I can’t imagine what sort of mischief I’ll get into with this stuff.” An idea suddenly popped into her mind. “Sooo, do you… want to prank my dad and pour some in his tea?” Ginny knew there was a certain mischievous glint in her eye, but she could help it when faced with a Wheeze. Harry should have known.
“Erm…” He shot her a gorgeous smile, which made her heart skip. “Sounds good. Or how about we feed some to Teddy? We won’t be able to see him for an hour, but don’t worry, we’ll eventually smell him.”
Ginny fell into a fit of giggles, which made Teddy look at them both. He seemed nervous until Harry told him it was okay, and he had a laugh about it, too.
“Don’t worry, baby Teddy.” She talked directly to him. “We won’t prank you. Not today.”
Harry smiled her way again and just as he did, Teddy crawled right into her lap and sat there.
“I liked the idea of this Wheeze,” he continued. “If I had this stuff as a kid, it would have scared the hell out of Dudley. He loved fizzy drinks, and he would have drunk the whole bottle and then wet himself when he turned clear for five hours.”
“Is that how long a whole bottle lasts? Interesting. Well, I know that Teddy will find more than enough uses for it someday, won’t you, Teddy, pranking little Miss or Mr. Weasley to be.” The baby babbled to her as if in agreement, then reached out and pulled her hair, threading his fingers in it. It had happened in an instant, before she realized what he was doing.
“Ow!” Ginny howled, between laughs, “Godric, he’s pulled hard!”
“Hold it. Hold on.” Harry came closer. It took a minute or so of him gently working to detach his godson’s pudgy hand from how tangled it was in her hair. She tried to keep her cool with Harry so close to her, but that was slightly difficult, and she could tell he was nervous, too. Both of their breathing was a bit funny and neither could look at the other for very long. She was glad for both of them that Teddy’s whinging and dribbling drool everywhere was such a distraction. Once she was untangled, Harry took Teddy, and she took the opportunity to relax herself to semi-normal. Except he smelled incredible, and having Harry so close made a party go on in her chest.
Ginny brushed out the tangled part of her hair with her fingers.
“So…I’m glad you aced your tryouts…”
He seemed to want to keep her talking, and Ginny was glad that the uncomfortable silences were fading, the more minutes they spent together. “Oh, err… yeah, I… I think I did, although I’m not so sure.” She reached for the bottle of Disappearing Drink and turned it, focusing on the tiny bubbles. “I think I played the worst with the Harpies because I was so nervous and all, but the tryouts with the Magpies were productive, too. To be honest, I barely played in Kenmare. There were a few top Chasers there from two years ago, and it seemed like they were really looking for men, but had to try out some women because they couldn’t seem as if they were excluding.”
“You want to play for the Harpies more than anything anyhow. You keep saying that in your letters.”
“Yeah. I know. I hear back after the hols, most likely. Hopefully! I’m still doubting myself, which is odd because I’m usually so confident.”
“You shouldn’t be so worried, Ginny…You want a place on the team more than any of those girls, and knowing you, I’m sure you made sure they knew it.”
“Yeah, I did,” she agreed, and felt better too, better than she had about it in awhile.
Teddy was now sitting on Harry’s lap in the chair behind the writing desk. Just by moving his feet lazily, Harry was turning the chair, which swivelled in circles on its base. Teddy was lying on his chest. His hair, now as jet black as Harry’s, was also sticking up in odd places. He was incessantly babbling to his godfather, who was making funny faces at him. Ginny suddenly felt weird about being the only one on the floor, so she stood and leaned against the writing desk.
“Is he always that talkative? He’s so adorable. Tonks wouldn’t have been able to get enough of him, really. I can’t believe he’s turned one already. I can’t believe it’s almost a year since… “
Harry agreed, but didn’t speak. He just smoothed Teddy’s hair. The baby then reached for his glasses, which Harry made sure he didn’t take hold of. “Can I tell you something?” Harry asked after a few moments.
Ginny nodded slightly, wondering what he was about to say.
“Now I realize how Sirius felt… about me. I absolutely love this little boy. I… I would do anything for him.”
Ginny knew what he meant. Sirius had given his life in the act of protecting Harry, and now Harry was saying with certainty that he would do the same for Teddy. “He’s lucky to have you,” she smiled.
“It’s not that. I’m lucky to have him, or at least something to be responsible for. Above all, Remus and Tonks trusted me to be his godfather. Me, not anyone else.” Harry lifted Teddy up under his tiny armpits and extended his arms, raising the baby above his head. Teddy shrieked with laughter and his hair changed from Harry’s shade of black to a light shade of turquoise. “I’ll never put myself before him, not ever again. Coming face to face with Remus and Tonks at this point, with how I’ve behaved and ignored him up until now, I would have a lot of explaining to do.”
“They would understand.”
Harry stood Teddy up in his lap, and held onto both his hands so he could stand. “I hope they would.”
Ginny continued, “Of course they would. I mean, Tonks would have been a bit angry about it at first, but most likely, by this point, she would be happy that you were all right.. And Professor Lupin always seemed very understanding, especially when it came to you. You could tell how much he cared about you, Harry. Besides, Teddy has his grandmother. He’s always in good hands…”
“Harry, Ginny, are you ready to sit down for tea?” Her mum’s voice rang through the flat, interrupting their conversation. Harry glanced at Ginny and they shared a look, as if they were sharing a joke that only they understood.
“Coming, Mum!” she called.
“We better go. Hungry?” Ginny asked. “Come and have tea, Harry. There’s pudding…” Without a word, Harry followed her out of the study, holding Teddy in his arms. Out in the dining area, Andromeda put the little boy in his pushchair and everyone sat down for tea. Ginny wasn’t really surprised when Harry chose to sit between her and Andromeda. The uncomfortable feeling between them had ebbed and, although not much had been discussed between them, Ginny felt better about being near Harry than she had in weeks.
“Harry, please come over for Sunday dinner tomorrow,” her mum asked. “Ginny’s home from school and George, Bill, and Fleur will come. We’ll have the whole family together,” Mum implored.
“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry accepted. “Sure, I’ll come over. What time?”
“Five o’clock tomorrow afternoon. We’re making it a bit later now that the sun stays out longer.”
“Sure. Great.” He tucked into his third slice of cake.
Ginny took a small bite of cake and wondered how ready she was to have Harry over for Sunday dinner.
In the evening when dusk began to settle, they said their goodbyes to Harry, walked downstairs, and out to the pavement. Dad took her arm, and she laid her head against his shoulder as they walked.
Ginny breathed in the cool spring air and looked sideways at her father. “Do you like Harry’s flat?”
“It’s… quiet and a good change of scenery for him. With the park right outside his door ,perhaps he’ll benefit from more nature, a good bit of fresh air. If only he had a Quidditch pitch to take out his frustrations. Maybe you should organize a two-a-side match on Sunday, Ginny. Now that spring is here, it would benefit both him and Ron to come fly by us on occasion.”
Ginny knew that was true and thought for a moment. If she didn’t fly for a day, she was lost. She realized that it must have been months and months since Harry had been on a broom. He was missing that in his life and he needed it.
“I thought the flat suited him,” Ginny mentioned casually. “He seemed well.”
“I just looked back, Ducky, and he’s standing on the balcony watching us walk away. More likely watching you walk away,” Dad chuckled.
“Git,” she grumbled, alarmed by the news that he was watching her, but fighting the urge to turn and gaze right back at him. She wouldn’t know what to do if there was any more than a hint of longing in his gaze, the same hint of longing she admittedly had seen in his face every time he looked at her today.
“’Git’, perhaps,” Dad chuckled again. “Harry has some more growing up to do, Ginny, and also some healing to do. Mum and I suspect that he’ll get there in time. In the meantime, you would do well to become one of the best rookie Quidditch players the league has seen in decades. We’ll see how quickly he’s down on one knee.”
“Stop it, Dad,” Ginny squealed. “Don’t hold your breath. I highly doubt that getting Harry on one knee will be quick or painless.”
“Rather, you prefer it be long and painful?” her father asked, his eyes curious behind his glasses.
“No,” Ginny harrumphed with a smile. “I want it to be steady… and pleasant.”
“That sounds like a good way.” He wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “Ginny, to me, you are the most wonderful girl in the entire world. Harry aside, I think so, and besides, aren’t I the only one whose opinion should matter to you?”
Ginny smiled warmly, “Of course, Daddy.” She laid her head on his arm just as he Disapparated.
Through the rest of the evening at home, Ginny couldn’t help but think about how Harry was watching her from his balcony. The truth was, he seemed wonderful today, and today’s visit had gone so well. Except, how was it possible that so much could have changed in him in four short months? Something inside her was still telling her to keep her distance right now. Ginny was certain that her doubts and the fears she was having really would make it difficult to move forwards with Harry anytime soon.
A/N: Thanks to my readers for your patience in waiting for this chapter to post. Speaking of moving forward… moving forward with the story hasn’t been easy since real life is currently limiting the time I can dedicate to working on this. I could never have finished this chapter without two very incredible people I am so lucky to know. Thanks to Arnel for her skilled beta work, honesty, and motivation and to J.T. for his collaboration and guidance. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I hope to have the next one up soon. Thanks for reading, and please let me know how you think I’ve done. Your comments mean so much to me! Thanks, Rebecca