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Harry stood in the shower, letting the water run over him. Beth is coming today he kept telling himself. Everything will be easier when she gets here - better. He got out and dried off. He brushed his teeth and dried his hair with his wand before pulling on his clothes. He didn’t bother trying to bring his hair under control anymore, but it was a little longer than it had been last year and he liked it. He tried not to think about what he was going to say to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley when he saw them later. And if I’m lucky, he thought, I will be able to avoid Ginny completely.

He opened the bathroom door slowly and looked out, thankful that no one was in the hall. He started walking back to Ron’s room when Ginny’s open door caught his eye. He paused and glanced inside. She’s up early he thought as his eyes made their way around her walls, noting the eclectic mixture of Quiddich posters and muggle movie stars. You could see where she had pasted things on her wall to cover the bright pink paint she had loved when she was young, before she realized it clashed with her hair. Harry started to move on when his eyes caught her bed. It was covered with what looked like letters.

He knew it was none of his business, and he certainly knew that the last place he needed to be after last night was her bedroom, but even so he couldn’t help walking over to her bed. He picked up a letter and skimmed it. He froze as he read it and his eyes opened in shock. He picked up the next one, and the next, his mind racing as the words jumped out at him.

“…I’m sorry but I just can’t do this…”

“…I don’t love you…”

“…I wish you would stop writing, I don’t know what else to say…”

“…You need to grow up…”

“…Move on…”

They were all from him. Well no, there’s one from Ron here too he thought… continuing to read them…

Downstairs Ginny was finishing her toast. She had gotten up extra early to shower and get dressed, trying to avoid her parents - she wasn’t ready to face them yet. She took a last drink of juice and headed back upstairs, eager to get her shoes and head out of the house for the day. She climbed the stairs slowly, listening for movement. Not hearing anything she ran quickly to her room but stopped short when she saw him. What is he doing in here? she thought, her eyes narrowing. He was standing next to her bed, holding her letters – his letters. He seemed to be reading them, shuffling through them as though looking for something. “What are you doing?” she asked, her voice dripping with ice, “If you want those back you can have them.”

Harry turned at her voice, staring at her. She looked angrier than he had ever seen her. She dropped her eyes to the letters in his hands as he walked towards her. “What are these?” Harry demanded, thrusting the letters towards her. She didn’t take them, but raised her eyes back to his, the anger in them shifting slightly to confusion…

“What are these Ginny? Where did you get them?” he asked again, his voice shaking with anger.

“You sent them to me,” she replied with a hard voice. What is he playing at?… Harry’s stomach dropped clear out of his body. What?

“I don’t know what you mean Harry, you know where I -” But Harry interrupted her.

“I didn’t write these,” he said in a soft fury.

“What?” she replied, startled…

“I didn’t send you these letters Ginny,” his voice rising – “Where did you get them!?!?” he demanded.

For a second Ginny couldn’t make sound as her body tensed… a feeling of foreboding flooding through her, unable to believe him. “I don’t understand Harry… you sent them… Hedwig brought them…” her chin was beginning to tremble as he stared at her, as though trying to read her thoughts. He thrust the letters into her hands and stormed out of the room. Ginny stood there in shock, looking at the letters in her hands. Ginny felt the room begin to spin a little.

Harry felt something rising in him, but he couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Is she lying? Why would she lie? She didn’t show them to me… but maybe she left them out knowing I would look… but that doesn’t make any sense at all his mind raced as he threw open his trunk and began to dig inside. Something is wrong… something is really wrong. He found what he wanted and ran back down the hall to her room. Ginny was standing where he had left her, looking at the letters. She was white as a sheet as she looked up at him when he got close.

“What’s going on?” she asked as he took the letters from her hands and thrust a different bundle of paper into them. His own hands were shaking and his heart was pounding as he watched her begin to read what she was holding. He saw her eyes widen as she read them.

“Did you write these?” His voice was so soft she could barely hear him. She looked back at him, beginning to shake…

“What are these?” she asked.

“Did you write them?” He barked.

“No!” she shot back, dread beginning to fill her.

She kept reading. “No, I wrote this one,” she said, recognizing one of the first letters she had sent him… “but, not really… I wrote parts of it – someone changed it…” She looked up at him, beginning to feel sick…

“I didn’t send you these letters Ginny,” Harry said, heart pounding.

“Well I didn’t send you these” she replied weekly… “So... so you didn’t…” she trailed off and they looked at each other as what it meant fell into place. Without warning Ginny let out a sob and tears began streaming down her cheeks. “Oh my God,” she kept repeating as her hands went to her mouth. Harry hesitated for a second, watching her before he reached out and pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her. “I don’t understand,” she said against his chest, “I wrote Ron… He told me it was true...” Harry was silent as he stroked her hair, trying to soothe her even though he wasn’t anywhere near calm.

“I think,” he began slowly, “that someone must have spent a lot of time making sure that we read whatever we needed to until we believed it.”

What Ginny had said last night suddenly made sense to him. Oh God, last night, Harry thought; his face paling as he realized what it must have seemed like to her… she thought I left her, and then I… “Oh Ginny, I’m so sorry about last night… I… I was angry… I thought…” he trailed off.

“You thought I didn’t…” she trailed off. She couldn’t say it. “How could we let this happen,” she whispered and they fell silent, holding each other. It was as if their anger melted away as they stood there, leaving a confused sadness in its place. The silence was broken as Mrs. Weasley’s voice rang through the house… “HARRY! RON!” He stiffened automatically at the sound. Ginny looked up as a horrible expression of comprehension filled his face and he cursed under his breath.

“What is it?” she asked as he dropped his arms and stepped back. He looked at her and then looked at the door.

“I… I have to go,” he said simply, but the look in his eyes told Ginny that it meant something else, something deeper; she just didn’t know what.

~..~..~..~..~

This can’t be happening Harry thought as he walked down the stairs… I need time… I have to think. Does this change anything? His mind was racing as he got closer to the bottom. He stopped and took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. I can’t think about this now. He rubbed the pendant around his neck, forcing his mind away from Ginny and went to find Mrs. Weasley.

Beth was standing next to the table with her when he entered the kitchen. He broke into a grin when he saw her, his confusion fading for a second. “Harry!” she exclaimed and ran toward him. He scooped her up and spun her around once before setting her down in front of him…

“Hi,” he said leaning down to kiss her. He almost sighed out loud, amazed as always at how her presence could calm him; could make him feel safe. He slid his arm around her waist as he looked back up at Mrs. Weasley who was smiling tightly at him.

Her eyes flicked behind him and her forced smile faded completely. He glanced over his shoulder to find Ginny standing in the doorway. His smile faltered for a second as he looked at her, before he turned back around, tightening his grip on Beth’s waist. It’s too late he thought, I’m with Beth now, nothing has changed… right? Stop thinking about it. Focus!

Ginny couldn’t move. She stared at their backs for a second before Ron pushed her into the room from behind so that he could get past. “Beth!” he said as he approached the couple. They turned around and the blonde broke away from Harry to give him a hug. “Ron, hi! Is Hermione here?”

“No,” He said, stepping back, “she’s at her parents, but she should be here later.” Harry kept his eyes on Beth, sinking into the comforting feeling she always gave him. He watched her face harden for a fraction of a second as her gaze moved to Ginny before a grin spread across her face. It so quick he doubted anyone had seen it besides him.

“Hi,” she said, moving forward, “we’ve never met, my name is Beth.”

Ginny smiled back and extended her hand, “I’m Ginny, Ron’s sister.”

As the girls continued talking Mrs. Weasley let out the breath she had been holding since seeing her daughter in the doorway. She hadn’t thought to tell her that this Beth girl was coming. She hadn’t realized it would matter until she saw Harry kiss her. Why didn’t Ron warn me that this was more than a friend? As she watched the girls talk, all politeness and smiles, she said a quick prayer of thanks that Ginny hadn’t reacted badly.

Ginny talked as if in a daze, making small talk and smiling until her mother interrupted them. Ron of course had done nothing to help and Harry had stood back, as though afraid to enter the conversation. “Harry, why don’t you show Beth where her room is, I’m sure she will want to get settled in,” Mrs. Weasley said. Harry’s head jerked as though he hadn’t been paying attention.

“Ok,” he said as he took her hand and led her from the room.

“Nice to meet you Ginny, Mrs. Weasley” Beth said as she walked out. Ginny stared at the door for a minute before turning to look at her mother and brother. Her eyes filled with tears but she blinked them back and walked past them and out the back door. As the door shut Mrs. Weasley turned towards her son, murder in her eyes. She threw a silencing charm over the kitchen and what happened next was much worse than any howler…

“RONALD WEASLEY WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT SHE WAS… WAS… WELL HIS… DON’T YOU THINK GINNY NEEDED TO KNOW THIS?”

Ron, who was completely startled by the outburst took an automatic step back and furrowed his brow. “Why would she care?”

“WHY WOULD SHE… HAVE YOU TAKEN LEAVE OF YOUR SENSES RONALD?!? AFTER WHAT HAPPENED OF COURSE SHE… WHY I HAVE HALF A MIND TO - ”

Ron cut her off, knowing it was probably better for her not to finish that sentence and said, “Mum, Ginny doesn’t care, Beth is good for Harry.” What was wrong with her? he thought as he watched her red face become purple… this was not a good sign and he took another step back. Ginny broke it off, she knows this…

“GOOD FOR… IS SHE – IS SHE THE REASON HE GOT OVER GINNY?” she raged as she came toward him. Ron, who didn’t understand why he was suddenly in trouble here, threw his arms out in frustration.

“YES! AND YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY MUM, I DON’T GET IT, DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO JUST BE MISERABLE FOREVER?” His mother bristled at this and pulled herself up to her full height, a full foot shorter than her son but intimidating none the less.

“AND GINNY MADE HIM MISERABLE?” Ron had had enough, his mother had gone mental.

“OF COURSE SHE DID! DID YOU EVEN READ THE LETTERS MUM?”

Mrs. Weasley paused at this. When she spoke again her voice was deadly calm and Ron was suddenly terrified of her. She usually reserved this tone for Fred and George and even they cowered when she moved past hysterics to this.

She came toward him, poking him in the chest with her finger as she spoke “Oh I read the letters, and you better thank merlin everyday that I have handled this whole thing as well as I have. She didn’t want him in the house, but I allowed him to stay… I am shocked and disgusted that you would have such little regard for your sister’s feelings.” Ron tried to interrupt her, to tell her that wasn’t true but she didn’t give him a chance. “I am disappointed in you Ronald, and if I hear another word from you about this subject you and Harry will be out of this house before you can say quiddich, do you here me?”

“Yes mum,” Ron mumbled, turning quickly and walking out of the room, a little confused at what had just happened.

~..~..~..~..~


Ginny climbed into the tree house and sat down, looking out toward the lake as her mind reeled from what had just happened. The letters were fake… the girl… who was the girl? How had he even met anyone?... Ginny felt her eyes begin to tear up and shook herself, blinking them back. She couldn’t believe the letters were fake, how could we be so stupid? This meant that Harry had loved her, and had felt the same pain and hurt that she had… her emotions were all over the place as she sat there, not sure whether to be happy or upset or indifferent…

~..~..~..~..~

Upstairs Harry led Beth into Percy’s old room and shut the door. As soon as it closed Beth pulled him against her, finding his lips. His arms snaked around her and pulled her close as he kissed her back. His hand rubbed her back as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, feeling the familiar feeling of warmth and security spread through him at her touch. It was nothing like his kiss with Ginny the night before, which had been filled with fire and desperation. “Hi,” she said after a minute and he smiled into her lips. “Hi.”

“So… that was Ginny,” she said pulling back. The smile slipped from his face and he dropped his arms, moving to sit on the bed.

“Yeah,” he said, running a hand through his hair distractedly. “That was Ginny.” Beth came and sat beside him and pulled his hand into her lap.

“Are you ok?” she asked. He looked at her and leaned in, kissing her softly.

“Yeah, I’m fine… better now that you’re here.”

“Has it been horrible?”

“Parts of it,” he said, his mind filling with a montage of images from the den to the robe store to just a minute ago in Ginny’s room. “I think we have reached a truce though,” he said after a minute. She leaned her head onto his shoulder and they sat in silence. Beth ran her hand up to his neck, smiling as she fingered the pendant she had given him not long after they had met. She turned her head, kissing his neck.

“I missed you,” she said against his skin.

He stoked her hair, closing his eyes as she kissed him, “I missed you too baby.”

He was content for a few minutes, but soon what had happened in Ginny’s room began to fill his mind. He tried to push his thoughts back but they wouldn’t go away. He needed to be by himself… he had to think. “Are you tired? You can lie down before dinner if you want… Hermione won’t be here until later and I promised Ron I would help him outside…”

Beth pouted playfully at his words, “now? I just got here…” He smiled at her expression and kissed her softly.

“I’ll make up for it later,” he said before leaving the room.

This is like a nightmare he thought as he made his way outside. I love Beth, but what about Ginny?

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