You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Exposed by ifonlymylove

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 9,186
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Luna, George, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 03/16/2010
Last Chapter: 05/28/2012
Last Updated: 05/28/2012

Summary:

Wonderful Banner by xfaydchik6 @ TDA

This is what I do. I write articles about famous people in the Wizarding World. I just never imagined falling in love with one of them.


Chapter 1: A Name
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter One

"A Name"







My page was blank.  After six years in the field of journalism, I knew this was not a good sign.

My page was never blank.

Never.

Usually, while I was researching someone, I at least had random pictures or phrases written.  My research included anything from interviews with my subject and his or her family and friends to thousands of trips to the Ministry to sit and read through record upon record.  You could rip my notepad from my hand at any of these times and there would be something there.  Sometimes it was in Latin or French or sometimes it was a picture of the person if they had grown up with an abnormally large head and small features, but I digress, there was still something there.

But, at that moment, there was not a mark on my paper and it frustrated me to no end.

“I was born in a muggle hospital about three hours from the family farm,” the minister droned, but my quill remained still. “I was about three weeks early and it's really a funny story...”

There I was, Jane Vantage, 23 years of age, a reporter/columnist at the Daily Prophet for five years, single, and too many other describing words to write, and I was at a loss at what to put on my page.  I cannot stress how infuriated, vexed, miffed, disheartened and irked I was.  Sorry, sometimes, even a reporter gets caught up in the magic that is a thesaurus. 

“She then proceeded to drink my blood and we all turned into harpies.”

I was so absorbed in my own problems that I wasn’t listening to my character.  This is writing suicide for even the most seasoned of veterans. Luckily for me, one of the talents that have kept me going is my ability to keep a conversation going.  Usually.  

“Are you even listening?”

“No.”

Wait!  Wait.  You stupid word!  Get back into my mouth where you belong, or better yet, onto my notepad.

Unfortunately for me, my thoughts didn’t help the situation I had put myself in.  The situation being that I had just insulted my new story’s main character.  As I had said before, this wouldn’t be so bad, but when you’re interviewing the Minister of Magic...  Let’s just say, you do not want to insult him.

“I’m terribly sorry for wasting your time, Miss Vantage, I didn't realize I was boring you. Are you this way with all of the important people you interview? Or am I simply that special?” The condescending tone the Minister spoke with made me cringe, but I couldn't shut my mouth quickly enough.

“Do you have much time to waste, Minister?”

“If I didn’t, would I still be here talking with you?”

Touche.

I looked down in my notebook and found new ideas forming.  Ideas about a minister who talked back to his staff, who was able to form witty thoughts and who was able to keep up with my fast-talking interview style. Even though that particular style seemed nonexistent today.  Sighing, I realized I had to get out of room before I started writing a love letter to the 50 year old Minister of Magic.

The minister looked at me pointedly and I could tell he didn't think this interview had not gone well.  Of course, due to my blank paper, I already knew that.  I took one last look at the empty space in my notepad before I snapped it shut, deciding that I couldn’t bear to be here anymore. When the minister got up from his chair to shake my hand, I felt the doom descend.  My readers were not going to be happy when my usual column was filled with something else, something bland. I gave the minister a once over before I flipped open my notepad one last time and handed it to him.  “Give me a name.”

“What kind of name would you like, Miss. Vantage?” He asked patronizingly, but I stood my ground.  I needed a story.  I needed a different angle since the minister was too stubborn. I would have to deal with him later.

“A name that I can use.  I need a story minister and even though the Prophet is expecting a story about you, it is obvious that that is not going to happen anytime soon.  Don’t worry, I’ll tell them that you were too busy dealing with ‘Ministry Business’.  They won’t mind...” I tilted my head innocently to the side. “As long as you give me a simple, little name,” I finished smoothly before I sat down in his chair, crossed my legs and relaxed with a very triumphant smirk.

The minister eyed my posture disgustedly before snatching a quill and writing something on the notepad.  He ripped the paper out, threw all three onto the desk before pointing a finger to the door.  “There.  A name.  Now, GET OUT!”

I smiled pleasantly as I grabbed my notebook, the crumpled piece of paper, his quill and waltzed out.  I even had the gall to curtsey and say, “Pleasure doing business with you,” before I shut the door.

“Damn reporters,” I heard him curse before I strutted confidently to the Hall of Records.
OK, so I hadn’t gotten my original story, but I was certain that the name the minister had given would work just as well.

And it might have, if at that exact moment I wouldn’t have turned around and crashed into a moving body. My bag flew out of my hand and the contents were spilt everywhere. The paper also flew out of my hand, but I was too disoriented to notice .

“Are you alright?” A light, airy voice penetrated the haze of my mind and the only response I was able to give was an unintelligible groan.  “Oh!  Of all the people I would run into in the Ministry, I should have known it would be you Jane.”

Holding my head in my hand I slowly pushed myself into a kneeling position before looking into the eyes of the brick wall I had run into.  A brick wall with an oddly enchanting voice.  The moment my eyes met her blue ones everything clicked.  “Luna Lovegood,” I started. “Yes, I do rather like to frequent the Ministry.  The good stories are always the political scandals.”

Smiling indulgently, Luna bent down and began to gather her papers.  “You don’t write about those sorts of things, Jane.  The whole Wizarding world knows what you write about.”

“Well, the ones who read the prophet, anyway,” I murmured, suddenly very humbled by her praise.  

“No, no,” she assured me.  “Once, your writings were mentioned in the Quibbler and you should have seen the fan mail that poured in.  You are quite popular and reliable, despite your choice of paper.”  I was about to interject, but I wasn’t quick enough.  “I’m sorry to say, but it is so hard to believe anything that is printed in the Prophet.  Except, of course, your wonderful articles, Jane,” Luna tacked on with a cheery smile .  

I shot her a quick smile showing my appreciation for her words.  As we both gathered our belongings, she handed me a few sheets of scrap paper that the tumbled from my bag and I noticed an assortment of rings on her fingers. There were so many different kinds that I started to feel dizzy trying to find that one that I liked the best.

I began to wonder why I was acting so odd around her.  I supposed deep down, I knew that it was because I wasn’t used to be recognized in public and the praised so prolifically.  I didn’t like having the attention centered on me.  My job was to give someone else the limelight and I was damn good at it.  So, I knew the reason why I despised recognition for my work, but I didn’t like admitting the fact.  I liked being the person who breathed life into other people’s stories.  

We both stood up together and I couldn't help but be swept up into her rather bubbly nature, even just the way she stood still and silent made me feel unreasonable happy and calm.  “So, Miss Lovegood, any chance of an interview with me?  This must be the twentieth time I’ve asked and if I’m as good as you believe, then you won’t be able to say no this time.”

“Twenty first, actually, Jane, and the answer is still a no.  You know how I feel on the subject.  I enjoy your articles, but my voice is the Quibbler.”  She smiled one last dreamy smile before she sauntered past me.  I had to hand it to her, she knew how to handle people and the way she stood up for the Quibbler was a fierce stand of loyalty that showed her depth.  I distinctly remembered reading somewhere that people used to call her “Loony” Lovegood and despite her dreamy outward appearance, this supposed “loon” had a shrewd mind, that even I couldn’t unlock.  

This, of course, just drove me to unlock it more.  

Shrugging my bag into a more comfortable position on my shoulder, I began to make my way to the Hall of Records, when Luna called out.  “Do you need someone who may want to talk?”

What a ridiculous questioned I tsked at her in my head.  Whirling around, I could feel a crooked smile begin to creep onto my face.  “I am a journalist am I not?  What’s the name?”

“You interviewed some of his family members, actually, but in my opinion, his story is the saddest one of all.”  Luna took a few, quick steps back in my direction before whispering, “It's George Weasley.”

My eyes lit up.  I had avoided talking to George Weasley, feeling that an interview would be too much of an invasion of his privacy.  I may be a journalist, but I had my morals.  With this information though, the fact that one of his close acquaintances was clearly giving me permission to speak with him, my morals were quelled for a while.

“Why George, Luna?” I asked, not really expecting an answer.

“Because he deserves a happy ending the most.”

I observed Luna carefully as she picked her way down the hallway, only stepping on the black tiles and wondered that if this strange woman could produce lines like that, why I wasn’t reading the Quibbler more.  


The rest of my day passed with no more empty notebooks and no more strange meetings with people who made me question my motives.  I arrived in my flat, my feelings strangely uplifted and it annoyed me that someone else had been able to do that.

Throwing my bag onto a chair, I headed into the living room and made a beeline for the telephone.  The number that I dialed come effortlessly from my memory.  “Please be home, please be home,” I chanted out loud.

“Hello?”  Her voice soothed over my body and I could feel the tension in my body begin to dissipate.  

“Hi, Mum.”

“Did you have a bad day, Jane?”  Her voice wasn’t condescending or sarcastic, my mum knew that I only called her after I had had a bad day.  She was my very own journal.  It’s only logical that day after day after day of writing everyone else's stories, I wouldn’t want to write down my own.  Mine was just so insignificant.

“It wasn’t that bad, I’m just torn.  I was supposed to interview the Minister of Magic today, but while I was sitting in the office and he was talking aimlessly, there was nothing going on in my head.  And by in my head, I mean on my notebook.”

“That’s unusual,” my mum pointed out and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.  I snuggled down onto the chesterfield, trying to find some peace within myself.

“I know that, Mum.  That’s why I called you, but it doesn’t matter anyway because I’ve found a different story.”

“Really, love?  Pity, I was almost excited to hear about the Minister’s amazing life.”  This time, I was glad to hear some sarcasm.  My mum was never afraid to let me know how she felt about my subjects, the people I was writing about.  

“Hilarious, Mum.  But I do think you’ll like this next person.  I sort of overlooked him because of what he went through during the war-” my mum cut me off smartly.

“We all went through a lot, Jane.”

“I know, but for some reason, it just didn’t feel right invading his privacy.”  The silence on the other end of the line made me know that my mother approved of my reason.  I continued my story, “I ran into Luna Lovegood at the Ministry and after turning down an interview she suggested that George Weasley would be a good candidate.  What do you think?  Would it make an interesting story?”

The line was still silent and I nearly crumbled at the thought of not having a story to run next week.  If my mum disapproved, I would have nothing to turn in.  I held my breath, praying that her slow response would be positive.

“Do you remember the first time you saw him after the war?” My mum asked, but before I could answer she began to laugh.  “I’m sorry, love, but I have to go.  Your father’s finger is caught in that magical pencil sharpener you bought him for Christmas.  I’ll talk to you soon.”  She hung up abruptly, cutting off my father’s curse.  I smiled fondly before hanging up the phone as well.

While I lounged on the chesterfield, I began to think about her question and before I knew it, I was back, nearly six years ago, standing in front of a long line of people waiting to enter and grieve.  I had only been working for a year or so, but people had already begun to talk and whisper about my writing.  This was, in fact, the first time I realized just how big I was becoming.

--flashback--






I’ve been told that Fred Weasley was a funny soul, but as I look around at the faces of his loved ones, I am left wondering if they will ever laugh again.

These were the first words I wrote when I attended the funeral of Fred Weasley.  

“Are you a member of the family, miss?  Or just a friend?” The usher queried in hushed tones.  The question stopped me in my tracks.  What was I really?  I had never spoken to any member of the Weasley family as anything other than a reporter for the Daily Prophet, but there was still a bitter sense of loyalty that tied me to everyone that was gathered there.  I was about to answer friend when I spotted the roped off area where reporters and the like were situated.  I knew then that that was where I belonged, no matter what connection I felt.  

“I’m actually a reporter for the Daily Prophet,” I admitted softly, trying to shake the dejected feeling that had descended down on me.

The usher tried hard not to look disgusted, but he failed miserably.  “I am sorry.  We already have one reporter here from the Daily Prophet and the Weasley family requested that only one person from each media source attend.”  The man looked me hard in the eyes.  “And that includes the Daily Prophet.”

Feeling defiant now, I straightened my back and held out my hand.  “My name is Jane Vantage, sir.”

Those words were all that was needed.  The man’s eyes softened and his hand gripped mine tightly.  “I’m so sorry, Miss Vantage.  I didn’t recognize you, please follow me.”  As he led me towards my competition, my mind was making mental notes of all the important people who were here.  The Minister of Magic, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, and I could even see the wriggling blue blanket of Teddy Lupin held in the arms of Andromeda Black.  The people’s faces began to blur together and before I tore my eyes away, their grief and despair overwhelmed me.

“Here you are, Miss. Vantage...” The man paused for a moment and rolled back onto his heels.  I touched the sleeve of his crisp suit in a moment of support and he managed to gulp down whatever embarrassment he seemed to be battling.  “Can I ask you a favor?  Could you be nice?  I know the Weasley's personally and I’ve read your column before.  I was just hoping that you could... Tell it like you always do.”

I stared at this man for a moment before it hit me.  How could I have not recognized him?  “I’m not sure I know what you mean, Neville.”

He looked lost for a moment, his shoulders slumping and his hand running through his hair.  “I’m not sure either, I guess I’m just glad that there is someone in here and out there who gets it.”  He moved to pass me, but before he did, I felt his pleading voice in my ear.  “Look at these people.  They don’t care about Fred... They one want this story, this chance of a lifetime.  You’re different.  You show us, teach us something else when we read your column.  Please.”  He touched my shoulder softly and walked back to the open doors of the building.  

I took the empty seat that Neville had shown me and dug my notepad out of my bag.  As I flipped it opened I gasped as a tear that had slid down my cheek splashed onto the notepad’s fresh lines.  This was the first tear I had ever shed while on the job.  Suddenly, the enormity of what I was witnessing hit me and in all my years of knowing exactly what I could do and how well I could do it, I began to doubt whether or not I could write this piece.

I wiped the rest of tears from my eyes before anyone could see them and as I tried to calm myself, I saw George Weasley walking up to the podium.  My quill fluttered into my hand and I steadied myself to write.


If a funeral could be considered beautiful, I suppose that is what I would have called it.  As the last organ song faded, people began to exit.  I stared down at my notepad and the words I had written.  I had managed to copy the elegy down exactly and had the names of everyone who spoke and what they had spoken about.  Pages and pages were littered with my messy scrawl, but on the first page, where the tear drop had hit, there were no words.  I hadn’t even noticed myself writing around it, I had been so absorbed with the funeral.  

I began to stand up, dreading the part that was next.  The talk with the immediate family.  This meant that I would have to confront all of the Weasley’s and ask them impersonal questions that meant nothing.  I could sense the restlessness of the reporters around me.  They were worried.  They were all worried about whether or the Weasley’s would be cooperative, about whether or not they could hold in the buckets of tears they were not allowed to cry during the funeral, but they were mostly worried about how to get a better story than me, than each other.

I knew all of this because they were all my fears as well, including the last one.  Following up articles when you had a fan base was exhausting.  I had only written a few stories since I started at the Prophet, but when you write about people such as Pansy Parkinson, Ginny Weasley, etc, you tend to draw attention.

“I’m sorry to have kept you all waiting,” a voiced startled me out of my griping and I quickly flipped over a page in my notebook, ready for a barrage of information.  Looking up, I saw that it was a different usher, not Neville.  It was actually someone much more famous than Neville.  Harry Potter.

“Will the Weasley’s see us, Mr. Potter?” Jim Carble asked from behind me.  His eager tone made me flinch.  Jim was a fellow reporter at the Daily Prophet and he annoyed me to no end.  No manners, etiquette, or any general social graces in this man.  

I flashed Jim a warning glance, but he shrugged his shoulders and turned his attention back to Harry Potter.  Feeling as though I had done my duty to keep the Prophet’s reputation safe, I turned back as well, but the grim look on Harry’s face made me lose my pride rather quickly.

“I’m sorry to inform you all, but the Weasley’s have requested to not have any questions.  I assume you all understand why, so if you could please leave the building and have nice day.”  The words were said so stiffly, that it was hard to believe them, but still I had to.  We had been promised one-on-one time earlier and now, nothing.  My colleagues began to grumble, but they reluctantly left their seats and shuffled out the door.  I remained, feeling as though I had to get something more.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Potter, I never knew Fred.”  I regretted the words the instant they left my mouth, knowing how insulting I had sounded.  I bit my lip and steeled myself for a stinging remark.

It didn’t come.  Instead, Harry Potter just looked at me and I mean really truly looked at me.  I became incredibly nervous, wondering if he only saw a nosy reporter trying to poke her nose into private business, even though, that was my job.

“I wish you would have known him, Miss. Vantage.  He would have liked reading what you write about us.  I hope your newest article is the best one of them all,” he murmured and before I could stop him, he was gone.  

The journalist in me began to scream and kick.  “Follow him,” the business side of me urged, but my heart told me not to.  The softness of my heart won out and I suddenly found myself unable to breathe.  I had to get out of the building before I cracked open and spilled out everything I had ever thought.  

I broke into a run, ignoring the stinging of tears in my eyes.  I dashed past the numerous chairs towards the bright light of the open doors, but just as I was passing through them, a shadow caught my eye. 

Skidding to a halt and trying to not trip over my own feet, I backtracked through the doors and came face to face with George Weasley.  His eyes were red from what I could only assume as tears and as we stared at each other, the pulsing need to break down and cry began to grow stronger.

“I am so sorry, Mr. Weasley.  I-I was just leaving.  I didn’t mean to-” George cut me off, his hand covering my mouth so fast that I didn’t even have time to scream.

“Shh,” he hissed, pulling me away from the open doors and into a darkened hallway.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me to ask why there was a darkened hallway and why George Weasley had pulled me into it.  “Why didn’t you leave with the others?”  His hand came off of my mouth and I sucked in a much needed breath.

I was about to reply with a smart remark, something along the lines of wanting to get photos of the grieving family, when I looked into his eyes.  I was instantly reminded that I was talking to George Weasley; the man whose brother’s funeral I had just attended.  Feeling suddenly ashamed I bowed my head and whispered out, “I was leaving.”

“Wait,” George said as I began to pull away from him.  “I know who you are.  You’re that reporter my family wanted to be here,” he spit out disgustedly and it was obvious that he didn’t want me here.

“I’m not just a reporter!” I cried, exasperated that that was the only way people saw me.    “My name is Jane Vantage and in all honestly I didn’t want to come here today.  I didn’t want to write about this depressing funeral.  People are expecting me to write something amazing.  My prose about Fred Weasley’s brilliant war efforts is supposed to be the most heartfelt thing people have ever read, but I can’t do it.  I can’t write apathetically when I’m so emotionally involved.”  I couldn’t believe I was spilling by heart out about how I couldn’t stand being here to the family of the deceased.  It was not, on my part, professional.

“You didn’t even know Fred,” George whispered.  “How could you be emotionally involved?”

I began to feel flustered. In truth, I didn't even know what I meant by that. “I-I don’t know, but I am.  I’m sorry for all of this-”

“You have nothing to be sorry for,” George cut me off and I tilted my head to the side, waiting for an explanation.  His blue eyes pierced through mine and if circumstances would have been different, I would have felt the need to kiss him.  

Hiking up my bag, I stepped away from him and the moment was broken.  “I have a story to write,” I sighed.

“Of course you do,” George replied inexpressively.  He turned around and began walking away.

“I’m different than the rest of them,” I called out after him.  “Your brother’s funeral will be the most read newspaper article in the entire Wizarding world!”  George didn’t turn around.   “I promise!” I yelled in one last desperate attempt to get some kind of acceptance from him, but I realized that my promises of material things wasn't what he needed.  Having Fred back was what he needed.

--Back in present--






The telephone woke me up.  The loud ringing startled me out of dreamland and it couldn’t have been at a better time.  What a depressing dream, of course, the depressing part was that it wasn’t a dream.  

Fishing the phone from the between the pillows of the chesterfield, I pressed the talk button.  “Hello,” I answered groggily.

“Oh honey!” I recognized my Mum’s soft tones and instantly perked up.  I looked at the digital clock my father had bought for me when I moved out and perked back down.  Why was my mother calling me at two in the morning? Bloody hell.  “Did I wake you?  I’m so sorry.  I know it’s early there, but I had to tell you something.”

“It’s all right Mum,” I assured her, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.  “What’s the matter?”  I could practically feel my mother’s excitement on the other end of the line.

“I think you should write the article,” she squeaked uncharacteristically.  

“Which one?” I queried, sitting up a little too quickly.  

“The one about George Weasley.  I think it would be good for him... Good for you.”  

“Oh, Mum.  I don’t know-” She cut me with a tsking sound.

“Just think about it,” she insisted.  “I really think it’s a good idea.  Trust me.”  

Laying back down on the chesterfield I settled the phone between my ear and my shoulder and sleepily agreed, “All right.”  

“Good night, love,” my Mum wished excitedly, but my cheek pressed a button and our line of communication was shut off.  Not bothering to remove the phone, I snuggled closer to it and fell back to sleep.

George Weasley, here I come.  




AN::I wasn't planning on posting this tonight, but something happened that made me realize that time is short and life is precious. Since I love this fic so much, I knew I had to share it. xD I hope you all enjoy it. The title is thanks to LadyLexieLou. I have a wonderful beta, AnnaKay, and hopefully, with the both of us, this fic will see completion! And any mistakes that are found are mine alone!

Disclaimer: All familiar characters belong to J.K. Rowling, but the plot and Jane are mine.


Chapter 2: Changing Tides
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

                                                              Chapter Two


                                                           "Changing Tides"

 


My coworkers started to stare at me.

“You don't have your story yet?  Have you not had a whole month?” My boss asked incredulously.

“Not exactly,” I replied slowly, watching in awe as the vein on his forehead began to throb. “But, before you explode, I do have a new angle.”

“And what would that be?” he asked skeptically setting down a clipboard he had picked up from one of my co-worker's desks.

My employer's name is Patrick. He is a 6'1'' giant, at least compared to me. I'm not sure what got him interested in writing, but I do know that he worked his way up the business ladder until one day, he got that final promotion: editor and chief of the Daily Prophet. Even just saying those words make me shudder. I could never do what Patrick does. I could never handle the snotty reporters, the hate mail, and the sheer, unbridled horror that just generally comes with the job. But Patrick does it and still manages to be a decent person.

Except when I tell him that I'm totally changing my story and in all truth may not have a column for this week's paper. Then, everything just goes to hell.

The Daily Prophet does, obviously, reaches people daily, but my articles are only in it once a month. It takes a lot of planning to be able to write what I write.  Most columnists at the Daily Prophet submit a column every week, but I had been here six years, so that gave me precedence to put something in whenever I felt like. Six years including my first year where I didn't write much.  Being able to brew a great cup of muggle coffee may have jumpstarted my career.  That aside, my story was expected that week.

Could you tell that I had been procrastinating?  The Minister had just shot me down, and it had been my first conversation with him.  Luck wasn’t on my side for that, but that was not the reason I was scared.  Luck comes, and luck goes.

What I was scared of, was the look in Patrick's eyes when I told him that I was going to do my story on George Weasley.

“Let me try and understand,” Patrick sighed as he led me into his office. “You're going to throw away your original idea of the Minister of Magic, which, by the way, was great, and now, head off in the completely different direction of George Weasley? Haven't you interviewed enough of them? Weasleys, I mean.” By the time his rant was over, Patrick had made it into his computer chair and had managed to pull out my personal portfolio. Dread began to creep up my spine.

“Patrick, you're not actually going to-” Patrick cut me off with a dangerous glare, so I simply slumped down into a chair that many a Daily Prophet reporter had sat in. Sitting in Patrick's office was the most painful experiences. If you were in the office, you had obviously done something wrong, and when you did something wrong, there were only two options. You either get fired, or have your entire personal file read out to you. Every detail about yourself, about your previous stories, about everything you are guilty of, reiterated to you by the one person who holds your career in his hands. 

“I don't want to have to do this, Jane,” Patrick breathed, his left hand splayed over the beige folder that held my whole world.

I scooted my chair closer to his desk, trying to make a different atmosphere between the two of us. Mainly because the office weirded me out, but also because I needed stop Patrick from opening my folder. “I haven't done anything wrong, Patrick,” I reminded him while covering his hand with my own.

Yet.

“I know that, but I'm just going to remind myself that no matter what you choose to write about, it always turns out great,” Patrick revealed, and I pulled my hand away quickly, blushing at my blatant attempt of seduction when it had not been needed in the slightest. “You're good at that,” he pointed out nonchalantly and it caught me off guard.

“Good at what?” I asked, feeling weary at what he was about to say. I wasn't used to receiving compliments, especially when they came from my boss. The best any of my coworkers got, as a good job signal was either a noncommittal grunt or a weak smile. I usually received a pat on the head because I think that he liked to remind me of my small stature.

“Controlling people,” Patrick muttered as he opened my file. My mouth dropped open, and I couldn't help but feel offended. He looked up and smirked at my shocked face. “Take it as a compliment, Jane. It's what makes you a good reporter. You know how to get the story, no matter what.”

“When you put it like that,” I muttered feeling less than pleased with myself. I wasn't sure what had taken over me, but my morals had begun to pound away at my brain. I normally would have been fine with Patrick's comment because it was true, but it made me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel like some filthy, devious reporter.

Oh. Damn.

Patrick ignored me, not in the mood for a whiny employee. He flipped through my file, looking for the latest entries. I knew what he would find. My latest articles were on three fairly normal people: Fleur Weasley, Astoria Malfoy, and Rolanda Hooch. I know the last one is a little off, but everyone has a story and it's my job to write those stories down.

“You're one of the best that I have right now, Jane. Looking at these last few articles, it's easy to see why. You showed everyone that Fleur Weasley isn't only a Veela; she's a loving mother and could hand your ass to you at dueling. You also proved that Astoria isn't some bimbo looking for money, but rather a head strong woman battling her way to the top of an empire.” Patrick closed my file and shoved it back into a drawer with the rest of those evil things.

I began to tap my fingers, feeling confident because of my accomplishments. “I'm lost as to why you brought me in here, Patrick. You know your offices makes me...” I trailed off not sure how to finish and not wanting to get Patrick any madder than he already was.

“Can you write his story in two months, Jane? If I recall correctly, the last time you left the Weasley home, it wasn't on good terms.  Last time, you almost missed the deadline.” I sighed, knowing that Patrick was right. The last Weasley I had written about, Ginny, hadn't approved of my coming into their lives, but her mother practically begged her. The disaster was topped off when I was literally thrown from the house by an expelliarmos. Sure, the Weasley's loved my writing, but that didn't mean they had to love me, especially when I asked questions about Fred.

But that's what I do. I ask the questions no one wants to ask, or hear.

“I could use an extra month, sure,” I admitted casually, carefully omitting the fact that George Weasley would probably never talk to me anyway.

“You're in luck then. You'll never guess whose birthday it is this Friday.” The look in his eyes told me that I clearly should be able to guess.

I tilted my head to the right, feeling only a little lost. “It's the minister's birthday, I think. I can't really remember much from that particular interview.” I couldn't help but smirk at Patrick's obvious anger for my disregard of the minister. It wasn't my fault the man was boring. “But what does that have anything to do with the Prophet?”

“The Minister has decided to put on a huge celebration for the whole wizarding world. He claims it's for the few years of peace, but I'm pretty sure it's just for his ego. Due to this, the Prophet won't be printing a Friday paper and this means that you won't have to have anything turned in until Thursday of next week.” It was easy to see that Patrick was frustrated by not being able to print on a regular schedule, so I couldn't help the wide grin that leapt onto my face, but it quickly disappeared as a plan began to develop in my head.

Perhaps I should have been nicer to the Minister. 

“You've got to be kidding me. You're honestly going to stop the press because of the Minister's... Birthday?” I stood up quickly and slammed my hands onto Patrick's desk before he could say anything. “You've sunk pretty low, Mr. Editor-in-Chief, maybe next time I'll slip you some bills under the table when I need an extension.” 

The astounded looked on Patrick's face made my stomach flutter with incredibly wicked butterflies, but I held my smile back and managed to stare him down until he averted his eyes. “See you in a few Thursdays,” I replied pulling out my most disgusted tone. I walked out of his office, and Patrick never saw the crooked smile on my face.

I should have been an actress.

I left the Prophet feeling quite confident, given my situation. I knew it was going to be tough trying to get George Weasley to open up, but after all these years of easy interviews, a challenge may just be what I was in the mood for.


 

I started where I always started, the Hall of Records at the ministry. Of course, I also had it in my mind that catching up with Luna again might not be that unlucky. As a journalist, I was exceptionally adept at inductive reasoning. If I had seen Luna once at the ministry, then I would see her there again. Simple logic, really.

By the time I had flushed myself into the ministry, I could already tell that I would not get a single word written there.  The ministry was in a panic.  I sighed, knowing that I still had to try.  I strode through the main entrance door and found an empty elevator.  I grabbed one of the loops hanging from the ceiling and held on for dear life as I set my mind on the Hall of Records.

It may seem strange as to why I was even trying to write at that particular moment, when the ministry was in panic mode, but there are two easy answers.  One, I had to start writing, I may have struck gold on getting an extra month until my deadline, but, as I stated before, I wasn’t on best of terms with the Weasley’s.  Two, the ministry was always in panic mode.  It seems magical people work best when there are papers flying everywhere, screaming howler’s being opened in every second room and to top it off, the annoying music they keep playing in the back ground.  Supposedly, it creates a better atmosphere.  I beg to differ.

Earplugs are to be my next investment.

The Hall of Records was probably my favorite place to be in the whole wizarding world and believe me; I know how ridiculous that sounds.  There are rarely people in the large room, though, and because of this it makes it easier for me to write.  I can talk to myself as I flip through the pages of the numerous books, sometimes I even cry.

It took me a while to find George’s file even though I had been through the W’s countless times.  I think I was stalling, afraid I would find something else, something that I had never read before like: George Weasley turns into a vampire bat every second Wednesday of the month, or George Weasley sleeps with countless woman to assuage the feelings of missing his other half.

They could be true for all I knew.

Putting pen to paper had always been easy to me, but looking at his file, just sitting there, his brother’s name with a parenthesized deceased beside it, make me think twice.  I couldn’t understand why this was affecting me in such a way, that it was putting my career in jeopardy.  Why was George Weasley so unique?

I had to block my emotions out.  Not all of my emotions, obviously, only the cursed ones that were stopping me from writing.  It needed to be written.  It was practically begging me.  Who was I to deny a story?  After all, I was merely the writer of the story, and it was my job to flesh it out, despite the carrier’s unwillingness.  Even if the carrier was George Weasley.

I made up my mind and covered Fred’s name with another book. That’s when I heard it.  My hand hesitated.  Was someone else in the room with me?

With my luck, I figured it would be the Minister begging for another shot at his interview because, he knew that he messed up, and hurt my feelings, and he’s actually incredibly sorry.

It seemed though that my luck had all run out because when I whirled around on the comfy chair I had summoned, there stood an intensely red, very pissed off George Weasley.

 






 

A/N:  It has been a long time since I've posted anything on HPFF. I'm so sorry!  I have had this done for quite a while, but have never managed to get it up.  The plot is still working itself out and I'm trying to keep up.  I hope you guys like it! 


Chapter 3: The First Encounter
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

                                                                     Exposed

                                                          "The First Encounter"



                                     “Stop making resolutions and just start something."

 

Oh, Rowena.

I feel the need to reassure you that I do not frighten easily.  In fact, I’m usually the one invoking the fear.  But when I realized that it was George Weasley standing in front of me, I’m completely sure that my heart stopped.

He took a step forward, and I quickly tried to stuff all of his information back into the folders that they had come from, but it was too difficult to control what was going on behind me, when I couldn’t stop what was standing in front of me.

“Are you researching for a story, Jane?”  George asked, and while I was flattered that he still remembered my name and that it went with my face, I couldn’t decipher anything from his tone.  It seemed to be as blank as his face.

The snort that slipped out of my mouth was unexpected to the both of us.  From the look on his face, it was easy to tell that he thought I was making fun of him, when I just couldn’t believe that I had described someone’s tone of voice as blank. There was always some kind of inflection when someone spoke.  Always. What kind of writer was I?

The kind that is up a creek without a paddle.

“Sorry,” I muttered before shaking my head and turning around to clean up my work mess.  I hadn’t managed to write a single word, but with my subject standing behind me, I knew I wouldn’t get any work done.

“I guess having the real thing is better than those stupid files, eh?” George’s voice was closer now, but I couldn’t lose my nerve.  Godric’s Hollow, I didn’t even know why I was thinking like that.  It was utterly ridiculous.  I laid my shaking hands flat against the table.  I had to get a hold of myself.  There had to be a good reason for my completely out of character behavior.

I don’t shake when I start a new story, I write.  I don’t hide from my subject, I seek them out.  I don’t get emotionally involved, I distance myself.
 
I should have known that I would react like that.  I remembered my resignation about doing this story after I recalled what happened at Fred’s funeral.

“I’m sorry!” I blurted out, squeezing my eyes shut, unable to gain my emotional and physical stability back.

“You’ve said that to me already,” he reminded me as if I was a six year old child.  I bloody well knew I was repeating myself!
 
“You scared me.  I get so caught up in my writing, sometimes.  I didn’t realize that anyone else was in here with me.”  I turned around again to face him, feeling calmer.

“Luna told me what she told you,” he revealed shortly, and I let a sardonic smile slide onto my lips.

“No fooling around with you?  Just cut right to the point?”  I hadn’t meant to sound so rude.  All right, I’m lying, I had, but the way his face flinched when I said fooling, made me regret my choice of words.

“I can still fool around with the best of them,” he boasted proudly, but it easy to see that he was trying to rid himself of vulnerability.  I had spent too many years of people watching to not be able to read him.

“Well, I have no doubt of that.  Your business is booming if the last time I tried to walk by your store is any indication.”  I emphasized tried because I honestly hadn’t been able to shove my way through the crowd of excited teens and adults.  Yes, adults.  George’s store caters to all.

There was no sign of pride on his face, and I knew this encounter was going bad.  I decided to skip all the pleasantries. Merlin, when was the last time I did that?  When was the last time I spoke my mind to a story?

Focus, Jane, focus!

Right.  "I'm not actually writing a story about you, George," I smiled, and suddenly I realized that I had the perfect cover story.

"But Luna said-" I cut him off with a wave of my hand.

"I considered you, it's hard not to.  You are George Weasley after all." I didn't lie, and that made me feel better about the situation.  Every reporter would love to get their hands on him, the elusive Weasley.  "But I decided against it.  Bad reputation with the Weasleys and all.  I'm actually doing a piece on the Minister; it's set to run a week after his birthday."

George looked away, thinking about something, before he whipped his head back and his glare pinned me.  "You're lying! Luna said she ran into after you stormed out of the minister's office, angry and definitely with no story."

Poor thing, he actually thought he had me.

"Like I would honestly throw away a piece about the minister," I scoffed.  "Patrick, my boss, figured that it would be a nice surprise if we pretend we're not doing it for him, but reveal it at his party."

"Didn't know you went for such easy pieces," he meekly fought and I had to attack.  It was my nature. If I found a weakness I leapt on it.  George was putty in my hands, and he didn’t even know it.

"Oh, I usually don't, but I've been feeling, I guess you could say empty, lately, and I don't really know how else to give back."

Let’s ease the condescension back a few notches.

"What are you doing in the 'W' section? Last time I checked the ministers last name started with a K," he suddenly whipped at me, but I could tell he was feeling uncomfortable with what I had just revealed, and that was a very good thing.  I really should have been an actress.

Only because it’s an actress’s job to lie.  What’s your job Jane?

I couldn't help the brilliant smile that flashed across my face. If George had known me better he would have known that my plan was falling into place perfectly and he was about to become the easiest project I had ever faced.

"The ministers mothers maiden name was Webster," I crowed feeling far too pleased with myself.

"So, you're not writing a story about me," he prodded one last time, and I shook my head.

"Trust me, George, I'm not."

Not yet, anyway.

"Why should I trust you?  You're a reporter for the daily prophet. As if you even know what trust actually means." I hated that he made such a good argument, I mean, it wasn’t really that good, but I was in a good mood, so I gave extra points for being adorable when he was mad.

"Lots of reporters live happy lives with their families.  That requires trust.  To me, the truth is just more important than trust."

"So you don't want a family because truth isn't quite as important as trust in that respect?" George ran his fingers through his hair, clearly frustrated with our conversation.

I don't know what came over me in the next moment.  I had my story standing right in front of me, looking like he was about to burst and the next words out of my mouth were: "Are we done with this conversation?  I've got lots of research to do still."

The shocked look on George's face made me regret my hard tone, but I kept my face straight.  "So you really don’t want to talk to me?" He sounded almost defeated.

Bile rose in my throat as my plan took a sick, almost brilliant turn. I shoved it back down; now was not the time to be reminded of my heart.  Instead of sending him away hating me, maybe I could send him away curious.

"I would love to talk with you George, just not like this. Not when I'm in my reporter mode; I get kind of crazy when I'm writing."

George's mouth twitched, and it almost seemed like he was going to smile, but he didn't.  "I know what that's like.  So, you just want to, what?  Have a butterbeer or something?  Reminisce?"

I smiled another brilliant smile and nodded.  "Exactly, I haven't chatted with anyone about Hogwarts in a while." I didn't mention that it was only because people don't really trust me anymore, but I didn't need to remind George of that while I was reeling him in.

"This is awkward," he deadpanned, and I couldn't help but laugh.  He looked shocked at my laughter too, as if he thought I was such a soulless person that I didn't know how to laugh.

"Am I not worthy enough to grab a butterbeer with the elusive George Weasley?"  If I didn't know any better, I would say that I'm actually having fun bantering with George.

This time George did smile, and despite the whole never become attracted to your stories rule I had so faithfully followed for years, I couldn't help the way my heart speeded up a tiny bit when he flashed it my way.  I had no idea why I was reacting so strangely to George; I had never really had a problem with finding one of my stories attractive. They were all usually taken, imprisoned, too old for me, too young for me, or women.  George was different, and that was going to pose a problem.

"So, I just came in here, right pissed at you, and now I'm leaving with date?  I haven't this ironic of an experience since school." I couldn't help but laugh at the goofy happy expression on his face.

"Really?  I seem to be in one all the time." We both laughed at that even though we both knew that it wasn't really funny.  I was pretty sure we both just needed to laugh.

There was an awkward pause as both of us stood there, waiting for the other to make the first move to leave.  I couldn't leave though, as I still needed to research basically everything.

"I still have to research the Websters," I reminded him, motioning to the messy folders behind me.
 
"Yeah, I have to get back to the shop, anyway.  Angelina is probably waiting for me." I nodded, remembering her from Hogwarts.  I mentally scribbled her name down, thinking that it wouldn't hurt to look her up either.  Hadn't her and George dated? Or was it Fred?

No, it definitely wasn’t George, but there could be something between them now.  Sharing grief and all that.  I mentally cringed.  It sounded like I was working the bloody gossip column.

If they were together, though, that would definitely throw a wrench in my scheme.  Hadn’t George said he was leaving with a date though?  That was a good sign.  A very good sign actually.

“When should we meet up?” I asked as casually as I could with all of my thoughts whirling around in my head.  I began to feel a little testy.  My stories usually didn’t sneak up on me.  That was my job.  George had surprised me by showing up at the Ministry, and, in all honesty, I was just making this up as I went along.

And it just may be my best plan ever and my craziest.

Looking back, I realize how crazy I appeared.  Still, George wanted to see me again, and I wanted to see him too, but no matter how much I wanted it to be just a reunion with an old school acquaintance, I knew that I had to do my job.  I think this was the first time I had ever not wanted to do my job.  This should have been a sign.  I should have turned away from him, right there in the Hall of Records and ran for the hills.  I should have, but I didn’t.  Of course I didn’t.

“Come by the store sometime.  Tuesdays are usually pretty slow, so I should be able to, uh, hang out then.”

Grinning probably a little too wide, I nodded my head.  “Sounds perfect.”

George left, and I fell into my conjured chair with a heavy groan.  What had I just done?  I mean, I knew what I had done, but had I really done it?  Had I really just set up a date with George Weasley just so I could do a story on him?  There’s a line in journalism when dealing with people and their stories; it’s pretty big.

I had just crossed it.  Rowena forgive me.

There was no turning back now.

 

 







A/N:  Finally!  I'm terribly sorry for the long wait.  I know that this chapter isn't quite as long as I would have liked, but I'm having some major difficulties sorting out what's happening between Jane and George.  This chapter is a little rushed, but I needed to get it out.  For my sanity!  Please leave review with any comments!  I love knowing what you think!!

xoxo.


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com