Chapter 19 : There Is No Way I Am Hexing My Daughter's Boyfriend Unless My Wand Is Good And Clean
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A/N: Merry Christmas! Don’t worry dear readers, I have not given up on this story, and I do not intend to leave it unfinished. The end may be nearing - but I fully intend on giving you a proper ending. Enjoy!
“What do you mean you met a boy today?” Ginny asked her daughter innocently. Despite the uneasy feeling coursing through her body, she couldn‘t resist teasing Eloise. “I wasn’t aware that you had never met someone of the opposite gender.”
“I cannot even believe you are making jokes right now,” Eloise finally managed to say. “I may have just met the boy I will marry, and you are testing the waters of your new career as a comedian.”
“First of all, you aren’t getting married until all your teeth fall out and your bosoms sag to the floor,” Ginny snarked back. “And secondly, how come you get to deliver sarcastic one-liners as I prepare for a date with Harry; and yet I can’t even make a small, albeit lame, joke when you meet your first crush?”
“I should have known you wouldn’t understand.”
Ginny felt her mouth fall open as she looked at her strong-willed and currently pissed off daughter. How Eloise could even for a moment believe that Ginny, of all people, wouldn’t understand what she was feeling?
She knew what it felt like at this age, when meeting a boy made you feel nervous and euphoric in the same breath, when every smile and word was catalogued to be studied and dissected later - it was the same exact way she felt every time she saw Harry. Ginny didn’t know how it felt for other people, and she had never felt comfortable asking her own mother, but she imagined it’s what true love felt like - you just never stopped feeling like a breathless, lovesick sixteen year old.
“I’m sorry,” Ginny whispered as she took a tentative step towards Eloise. Slowly pulling her daughter into a protective hug, amazed at how much she still needed this. “I do understand, and I want to hear everything, but I think we should go visit Aunt Hermione first. You can tell us together.”
“Really?” Eloise asked hopefully as she pulled away from her mother, her eyes shifting suspiciously. “What if Harry and Uncle Ron are there?”
“You don’t want to tell them too?” Ginny questioned innocently, trying her best to keep from laughing at the expression on Eloise’s face.
“About as much as I want for you to give me the “birds and the bees” talk again; watching you stumble through that speech was painful,” she responded dryly, before turning to head towards the stock room. “I better go and let Uncle Fred and Uncle George know that I’m leaving.”
Ginny watched her walk away, a sigh of trepidation leaving her body, completely aware that this boy, whoever he was, was just the beginning. She had been so blissfully ignoring the fact that someday Eloise would grow up to be a woman of her own; one who no longer needed her mother to hold her hand every step of the way.
It was in that moment Ginny realized exactly how her mother had felt the day she met Harry.
Before her very eyes she could see her young teenage daughter all grown up, spinning around in a wedding dress, standing at the alter gazing into the eyes of the man who had become her whole world, and she fought back the tears.
This couldn’t be happening yet, it was too soon, they hadn’t even had a chance to be a family yet. How could the years have passed so fast? Why couldn’t her daughter still think that the only men who would ever matter were her uncles?
Lost in her own thoughts and fears, Ginny was completely oblivious to the fact that Eloise had returned and was studying the weepy look on her mother’s face with concern. It wasn’t until Eloise reached out and touched her arm softly that Ginny felt herself being pulled back to the present.
“Mom?” she asked tentatively. “Is something wrong?”
“No,” Ginny replied, as she opened the door and stepped outside. Her heart was aching painfully, and she felt like her world was crumbling; but just hearing Eloise call her ‘mom’ somehow soothed her breaking heart. “Everything is going to be okay.”
“I always knew someday it would,” Eloise added as she started down the sidewalk.
Ginny felt herself falter as she watched Eloise stride down the street, amazed that her daughter could still stun her into silence after everything she had uttered today. Sometimes she found herself wondering who was teaching whom. It was on days like this though she knew one thing would never change.
Eloise was the very best part of her life.
Harry was sitting at Ginny’s kitchen table enjoying a rather large bowl of ‘Cauldrons & Potions' cereal when Eloise dashed into the room, her expression anxious and hopeful. She barely even acknowledged him as she approached Ginny, a look of desperation crossing her face as she asked the same question she had been asking everyday for the past week.
“Have we had any owl deliveries yet today?”
“It’s eight in the morning sweetie, even if the owls were out delivering right now, I highly doubt your prince charming is up and writing love letters,” Ginny replied as she ruffled Eloise’s hair and gave her a sympathetic smile. “Right Harry?”
“I imagine he’s too busy seducing innocent young girls, and kicking puppies,” Harry growled into his cereal. While shoving another spoonful into his mouth he managed to look up and find the pair of them staring at him in disbelief. “What?”
“You don’t even know him Harry,” came Eloise’s bitter reply, complete with a roll of the eyes. “Adrian Wood would never even think about kicking a puppy.”
“I cannot believe you just did that,” Ginny added in disgust. “You don’t need to eat the whole bowl of cereal in one spoonful.”
“Mother! I thought you were on my side.”
“I am on you side, I am you mother. That means I always have to be on your side, even when you are acting completely ridiculous. That being said, you barely even know this boy; and I hardly think one five minute conversation makes you an expert on him and his puppy kicking habits or otherwise lack thereof,” Ginny answered as she crossed the kitchen and plucked the bowl of cereal out of Harry’s hand. “As for you, leave Eloise alone. Do you think my father went around ranting and raving about your morals when I developed my girlish infatuation on ’The Boy Who Lived’?”
“Well I can’t imagine he really had any reason to dislike me,” Harry commented with a smirk. “You can’t really complain when your daughter falls in love with a hero now can you?”
“I don’t know, knocking up his only daughter might have made you a little less loveable,” Eloise added before Ginny could speak, causing Harry to sputter as he took a sip of juice.
“Lock her up,” Harry whispered in a strangled voice, a crazed look in his eyes. “Lock her in her room and throw away the key.”
“I agree, the comment was uncalled for, but I don’t believe we need to lock her away for saying it. As crude as it may have been, it’s also somewhat true,” Ginny answered in a slightly amused voice.
“Not the comment,” he responded, his eyes still watching Eloise warily. “She will never date, no boy is going to make my daughter a mother. Ever.”
“Take a deep breath Potter,” Ginny snorted. “The boy hasn’t even asked her for a date yet - besides, I’m sure he’s an upstanding young gentlemen. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“I’m not you Harry,” Eloise added coldly as she left the room. “Regardless, unlike the pair of you - I know my charms.”
“I suppose I walked right into that one didn’t I?” Harry asked, giving Ginny a forced smile.
“I would love to lie to you, and tell you it was all her fault, but I’m not going to,” she answered as she took a seat on his lap. “Besides, it’s your complete impulsiveness, recklessness, and rubbishness at charms that make you love you all that much more.”
“At least someone around her appreciates me for something more than my fame and charmingly good looks,” he muttered grumpily.
“She does love you Harry, and as much as she finds your protectiveness overbearing, she has waited her whole life for you to come back. Just give her some time.”
The kiss she placed on his forehead before heading to the kitchen to clean up the dishes was neither sexy or passionate, but embodied everything he had been missing about her since the moment she walked out of his life.
“I’m just afraid I don’t have much time,” his whispered reply came, soft enough for only him to hear. The feelings he had been holding inside since the moment Eloise appeared on his doorstep, finally spoken. “I don’t have a lifetime, or even years, at this rate, I only have a handful of moments to be the most important man in her life. She’s all grown-up, and I missed it all.”
“This is ridiculous,” Adrian muttered to himself as he crumpled up a piece of parchment and launched it across the room. “It’s just a letter, this shouldn’t be all that difficult.”
Ever since he had arrived home from his excursion to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, he had been unable to do anything but think of Eloise Weasley-Potter. He found it hard to believe that he had never run into her at Hogwarts, and surely he would have remembered her; there was something about Eloise that made her seem so unlike all the rest. Which is exactly why he was having such a difficult time writing her a letter. Unlike all of his prior conquests, Eloise posed a challenge, he had little information to go on, and her name alone, would have made any boy pause. Adrian might not have followed the latest Wizarding news; but he certainly knew that with the last name Weasley-Potter, Eloise was quite possibly the offspring of a very powerful wizard.
“Why couldn’t she be Eloise Jones, or Eloise Smith?” he grumbled as he crumpled yet another ridiculous attempt at a letter. He had been sitting here for hours, thinking of the exact way to word what he wanted to say; and yet it kept coming out wrong. Essentially he knew nothing about Eloise, and yet he had felt something that day in the store. It wasn’t love at first sight, or any of that ridiculous nonsense, as Adrian didn’t believe such a thing was possible. Perhaps it was a natural chemistry between two people of the opposite sex, or maybe it was nothing, just the product of his overeager teenage hormones getting the best of him. Of one thing he was certain though, he was going to do everything in his power to figure out exactly what it was.
For a moment he considered walking down the hallway and asking his father if he remembered any of the Weasleys, considering he had gone to Hogwarts at the same time as most of the family; but then decided that would be a very bad idea. Any mention of the word Hogwarts and his father was bound to launch into a very long and ridiculously boring story about his days as the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
With a final sigh Adrian twiddled the quill in his fingers before placing the tip against a fresh sheet of parchment. With little thought he began scribbling out a note, deciding it would be best to be himself, and honest, rather than anything else.
I am sincerely hoping that you remember bumping into me the other day, otherwise this note will be rather awkward. I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what intrigues me about you, could it be the graceful way you fell at my feet, or the somewhat ornery disposition in which you talk to complete strangers? Perhaps it is none of those things. Regardless, if you are free this evening and would like to join me for dinner and a stroll; I would be honored by your company.
**If you plan on verbally assaulting me again though, a bit of fair warning would be appreciated and I’ll just take you to Gringotts to meet your real family instead.
After scanning the letter twice, Adrian decided that he was finally pleased with what he had written. Slowly, he folded the letter, and scribbled her name on the front before handing it over to the owl waiting patiently on the windowsill. As he watched the owl fly into the distance, only looking away once the owl had completely vanished from site, he could only hope that Eloise would take him up on his offer.
It’s not like you met the love of your life in a joke shop when you’re only seventeen - but what if you did?
What if Eloise was the beginning to the rest of his life?
“Eloise, we have to leave right this instant!” Ginny shouted down the hallway as she slung on a pair of boots, and threw Harry an exasperated look. “You would think after all these years of family dinners she would understand that if we are late, my mother wouldn’t even consider blaming her precious granddaughter; but she will have no qualms about scolding me.”
“You are a grown adult sweetheart, who cares if your mother scolds you,” Harry soothed as he pulled her against his side and kissed her forehead. “Besides, I’ll be there to protect you.”
“She’ll just wait until you leave my side,” Ginny grumbled crankily. She was just about to launch into another tirade, when she heard the unmistakable sound of an owl tapping against the kitchen window. “Oh great, she knew we were running late and sent us a howler to scold us before we even arrive.”
With a sigh of trepidation Ginny walked over to the window, and without evening bothering to take a closer look at the parchment, grabbed the letter. It was as she was heading back towards Harry that she finally let herself study what she was holding, and what she saw made her stop in her tracks. Her stomach plummeted as she took in the scribbled writing, one that could only belong to a teenage boy.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked as he noticed the stricken look on Ginny’s face. “Did she really send you a howler? Unbelievable. We still have twenty minutes.”
“It’s not a Howler,” she finally managed to sputter. “It’s not even for us, it’s for Eloise.”
As she said the words her eyes connected with his, and the look that passed between them was one of understanding; it was clear that even without saying the words, Harry knew who had sent the letter. It was at that moment, with her impeccable timing, Eloise swooped into the room. Her hair was an unruly mess, her eyes were shining brightly; and Ginny couldn’t help thinking that she had never looked quite as beautiful as she did in that moment.
“Did you say you had something for me?” Eloise asked, breaking the silence as she took a seat on the couch and slipped on her shoes. Part of Ginny wanted to lie and burn the letter she was holding in her hand; but then she remembered that her life would have been very different had Harry received the letter she had sent, and nodded. She couldn’t trust herself to speak as she reached out her trembling hand and placed the letter in Eloise’s hand.
Eloise didn’t make a noise as she slowly unrolled the parchment, her eyes flying across the words, a smile slowly spreading across her face, a small laugh escaped as she read the last sentence. As she looked up and met Ginny’s eyes, it was clear that she was ecstatic, in fact, she looked all light up inside.
“What did it say?” Harry questioned as he finally managed to find his voice. “Does he want to steal your virtue?”
“Harry!” Ginny scolded. “Enough. Why don’t you head over and tell everyone we will be their shortly.”
“She’s my daughter too Ginny!” Harry squawked in protest. She refused to waver though, her expression firm; and with a sigh of resignation Harry stomped out of the house.
“Tell me as little, or as much as you want,” Ginny said softly as she took a seat beside Eloise.
“I don’t know that there is much to tell at this point,” Eloise replied, as she looked down at the letter. “But I do know there is something I need to ask. Would you mind terribly if I missed out on the family dinner this time? I could write him back and tell him to pick me up at the Burrow. Just a quick dinner and a very innocent walk.”
“I don’t have a single reason to say no Eloise, even though I want desperately to never let you grow up and have romantic relationships. So yes, you may, thank you for asking,” Ginny answered with a bittersweet smile. “Do you want me to wait while you change?”
“I wasn’t planning on changing,” Eloise commented as she stood up and spoke with the wisdom of a woman twice her age. “This is who I am, and if he doesn’t like it, it will never work anyways.”
Grabbing a piece of parchment from the counter she quickly fired out a reply, with Floo instructions on how to reach the Burrow, and then sent it off with their owl. As she headed for the door, a concerned look crossed over her face. “Mom, I don’t suppose you could convince everybody to behave tonight, could you?”
“Are you kidding?” Ginny laughed. “I couldn’t even get them to behave when it was me, and I’m their sister.”
As they entered the Burrow Ginny headed for the dining room where she assumed the rest of adults were, while Eloise joined her cousins in the living room. Ginny could barely get into the room, it looked as if they were having a full house tonight. Once she managed to push past Fred and Charlie she almost ran into Molly, who was setting the table.
“Oh, great, Mom, Eloise isn’t actually staying for dinner, so you don’t have to set a place for her.”
“She isn’t staying?” Molly asked crestfallen. “Where is she going?”
“Yeah Gin, where is she going?” Harry asked over the din of conversation in the room, his eyes narrowing. It was very apparent that he was still irritated that she had ordered him out of the house, and the decision making process.
“We can discuss this later Harry.”
“Or you could discuss it now,” Fred smirked.
“It’s not like we care where Eloise is going,” Bill added.
“Fine,” Ginny hissed through ground teeth. “She will not be at dinner, because she is going on a date Mother.”
Apparently everyone did care where Eloise was headed, because all hell broke loose. Half the room started yelling at Harry, while the rest quickly turned on Ginny like a pack of starving wolves. She was pretty sure she heard somebody yell, “I hope he’s a eunuch”, but before she could comment Arthur had entered the room and promptly told everyone to calm down.
“Enough!” Arthur bellowed stunning the crowd who had never heard him raise his voice. “Molly, take the ladies into the kitchen, and I will handle the rest of them. Absolutely ridiculous, the lot of you.”
The crowd complied, but with a fair amount of grumbling. As she entered the kitchen, Ginny found herself grateful to be away from the testosterone portion of her family though, when it came to anything concerning the female members of this family and men - they were completely ridiculous. The room fell into an uneasy silence as Ginny stared blanky at her mother, and her brother’s wives. It was apparent that none of them had been in an uproar when she had announced the news.
“I’m happy for her Gin,” Hermione broke the silence as she squeezed Ginny’s shoulder. “She was so excited when she met him. How are you holding up?”
“It has been difficult, I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to see her so excited about it,” she answered truthfully.
“Well, at least you had her undivided attention for six years longer than I had with mine,” Molly commented from the corner where she was stirring a pot. “You never looked at any of us quite the same way after you laid eyes on Harry. This is a good thing Gin, trust me. All you want for your children is their happiness, and if this makes her happy, it’s worth it.”
Ginny was about to tell Molly she appreciated the reassurance when Eloise burst into the kitchen, her eyes flashing dangerously.
“Can you please control your husbands!” she yelled angrily.
“What on earth are you ranting about Eloise?” Hermione asked. “They are just out their calmly discussing matters.”
“Really Aunt Hermione? Because last time I checked, they were acting like complete idiots. Don‘t believe me? Go check for yourselves.”
With a perplexed look on their faces, Ginny and Hermione peeked out of the kitchen and into the dining room. At first glance it did look like they were calmly sitting at the table discussing things; but on closer inspection you could tell something was wrong. Nobody was talking for one, and the table was scattered with various wand cleaning sets. Narrowing her eyes on Harry, Ginny could see that he was methodically cleaning his wand, while sneaking glances at the clock in front of him. He held it in his hand menacingly, the expression on his face fierce as if he was defending his family; and like a bolt of lightening it dawned on her.
“Absolutely not!” she screeched as she slapped the head closest to her. “You put this away right now. You will not embarrass my daughter this way.”
“We’re just cleaning our wands Ginny,” George commented as he rubbed his head where she had slapped him. “They were quite dirty.”
“Oh please,” Hermione groaned, catching on. “You just want to scare the bejeezus out of that poor boy.”
“Thought I might give him a little history lesson,” Harry added gruffly. “Show him what it looks like to stare down the wand that killed Voldemort.”
“That’s enough,” Molly stepped in, sending a disapproving look towards her husband. “Somebody is going to get hurt.”
As soon as she had spoken a fireball went roaring across the table, leaving everyone speechless. All eyes darted to the origin of the fire, where a stunned looking Ron peered back through a face full of blackened soot. In their state of shock it took a few moments before they realized he had set a portion of the tablecloth on fire. It was quickly put out by a fast thinking Charlie who threw a glass of water on it, but the damage was done.
“It was an accident,” Ron squeaked, as Molly turned her fury to the table of men. Ginny, Hermione, and the rest of the women quickly escaped to the kitchen where they collapsed in a fit of giggles.
“Can you imagine them, sitting their cleaning their wands when he walked in? He would have been frightened out of his mind,” Hermione between laughs.
“I think you underestimate him,” Ginny responded with a thoughtful expression. “If Eloise is anything like me, she would have found somebody who would have taken it all in stride. I trust her judgment, she’s my daughter, she would never have fallen for somebody unworthy.”
They stood their in silence for a long time, pondering her words, and listening to Molly scold their husbands. Once Molly had returned, and everybody had returned to normal, or as normal as possible, Ginny went out to the dining room and sat next to Harry.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, as she laid her head against his shoulder. “I shouldn’t have made you leave.”
“It’s fine,” he replied in a tone that made it apparent that it was anything but okay.
“Please don’t do that,” she pleaded.
“Do what?” he asked in mock ignorance.
With a heavy sigh she sat up and grabbed his hand. Without a word between them she pulled him outside. This wasn’t the best time for this moment, Eloise would be leaving for her date soon, and this wasn’t exactly how Ginny had been planning on giving this speech. Her life had rarely gone as planned though.
They stood underneath the canvas of blackened sky in silence. She studied the sprinkle of stars, trying to find the words she had been planning to say; finding them harder to spit out than she had expected. Turning to face him, she studied his face, catching his gaze, and feeling for the first time in a long time, that she was in control of her future.
“This isn’t working Harry, I said I would try, and I think I have held up my end of the bargain. I have been patient, and understanding, and I am trying as hard as I can,” she whispered, taking a step closer. “I can’t do this anymore though.”
“I don’t understand,” he asked, struggling to make sense of what she was saying. “I thought you were happy.”
“I thought so too. I thought I would be happy finally, you, Eloise, one big happy family; but we aren’t one big happy family. I thought we would finally get to start being a family, but Eloise isn’t a child anymore, she’s got one foot out the door. Where does that leave us?” Ginny asked. A million emotions were coursing through her body as she stared at him, still uncertain if she was making the right choice. “The thing is, I’m not getting any younger Harry. I’ve raised a daughter, I’ve built a career, and I’ve had an epic romance - but I want more.”
“I can give you more,” Harry pleaded, concern written all over his face.
I know,” she replied, shocking him into silence. “I want another baby Harry, and I want a husband. This isn’t working, I want, I need, more. I need you, completely.”
“I don’t know what you’re trying to say Gin.”
“Marry me Harry, make all my dreams come true.”
A/N: Thank you so much, as always to all the readers. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, your thoughts and comments are always appreciated - they make this whole process worthwhile. I read each and every one of them. I have a general idea for the next chapter, and how I want to end this story, I am thinking I have about two chapters left. Thank you again for everyone who has come along for the journey. Happy Holidays!