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Aftermath… By deemarie Chapter 8. Spilled Ink Ginny, You can’t mean it. I can’t forget about what happened. How can you? Why would you want us to ignore what happened? Please, Ginny, please you must write to me. Harry Why didn’t she open his letters? Ginny was weeping. Harry and she had just had the most terrible row. She had retreated to their room after Harry had stormed out of the house. Her books had been spread across the kitchen table that morning. She was trying to complete an essay for Professor McGonnagal. It was a particularly difficult subject and her concentration was intense. Harry had come up behind her and startled her when he gave her a gentle kiss. Her hand had jerked and knocked the bottle of ink over, spilling across the parchment that she had been struggling over. “Harry, look at what you made me do!” “Sorry, Gin. I didn’t mean to startle you.” “This is difficult enough, you can’t just come in here and bother me.” “Bother you?” Harry said, hurt in his voice. “I didn’t think I was a bother.” Sighing Ginny replied, “You’re not a bother and you know it. It’s just that I need to finish this paper and get it back to school by the day after tomorrow.” There was a strange look in Harry’s eyes. “That seems to be your excuse for everything these days, isn’t it?” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “Just what I said,” Harry crossed his arms. “I know finishing school is important to you, Ginny. Lately that seems to be all that matters to you.” Ginny’s mouth hung open. “What about me? What about us?” “I haven’t been neglecting you,” Ginny said. It wasn’t true and she knew it. Guilt started to enter her heart. “Yes you have, Ginny.” The guilt started to change to anger. “Then where have you been every night, Harry?” He couldn’t believe she had just said that. “You think this is about sex?” “Isn’t it? Isn’t that what you came in here for?” Harry couldn’t answer her; he was too stunned. “Come on, Harry. I have six older brothers. I think I know a randy bugger when I see one.” She couldn’t help it. That wicked Weasley temper was exerting itself. “I can’t believe you think that’s what this is about.” Ginny’s eyes narrowed. “Go on, finish what you were doing. I won’t bother you again.” He left the room. Ginny heard him rummaging through the bookcases in the sitting room. Ginny shook her head and grabbed a fresh sheet of parchment. She began copying what she had written. For fifteen minutes she tried to recapture her thoughts about the assignment. It was no use; the thoughts had been replaced by anger tinged with guilt. Harry didn’t help matters. She heard him muttering in the sitting room. She couldn’t make out the words but she knew he was fuming over the disagreement. Ginny slammed her quill down. They needed to get this out in the open. Harry had been in an odd mood for days now. Ginny had noticed but dismissed it because of the schoolwork she needed to get done. She had promised herself to make things up to Harry over the weekend. Friday was only two days away. Surely he could wait until then. Ginny went to the sitting room. Harry was sitting on the sofa reading. He couldn’t concentrate. He’d read the same sentence three times now, and it still made no sense. Sighing, he tried again. Thoughts of Ginny filtered through his concentration. He wasn’t angry with her before they had argued. He knew studying for NEWTs was hard enough. He didn’t expect her to be at his beck and call. Yet over the last few days it was as if he didn’t exist once the sun came up. Ginny’s morning sickness had stopped and she’d taken over the kitchen. She would make breakfast and call to Harry. By the time he arrived in the kitchen her nose would be buried in a book or she would be deeply concentrating on a paper. Harry had tried to engage her in light conversation, she answered politely, but he could tell her heart wasn’t in it. It hadn’t bothered him at first, but today he had wanted to talk. He wanted to help, if he could. She had completely ignored him at breakfast. He pursed his lips and cleared away his half-eaten food and left the house. The walk hadn’t improved his mood. Yet he still wanted to talk. He came back into the kitchen and kissed her. It was an accident, that’s all. Harry hadn’t meant to startle her, but when she had lashed out, it made his anger bubble over. “Harry, we should talk,” Ginny said quietly as she sat next to him. “Taking a break? How long can you give me, Ginny,” sarcasm lacing his voice. “Shall I time this?” “That’s not fair, Harry.” Ginny said quietly. She was determined to control her temper. “Not fair? I don’t recall setting any ground rules.” “If you’re not going to try – “ “Ginny, I’ve been patient with you. I’ve given you peace and quiet. All I wanted was to talk a bit. Not long. I’m sorry I caused you to spill the ink, but it was an accident.” Ginny couldn’t answer that, she wanted to. Her temper was simmering. She knew if she did, there would be hell to pay. She couldn’t do that. Not to Harry. Harry sighed, “Look, Gin, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there. There’s a reason they’re called Exhausting. All I want to do is help. What can I do to help?” Ginny turned to Harry. “It’s sweet of you to volunteer. I do appreciate it, but I really want to do this on my own. I have to make sure I can handle this.” “Why, Gin? Why is this that important?” “If I’m to do what I want to do, I need to be able to handle the work load on my own, Harry.” They hadn’t talked about this. Harry wanted to know what her plans were. “So, tell me, Ginny. What’s going on in that head of yours?” Ginny wasn’t sure if Harry would understand. They never got the chance to talk about their plans for the future. She knew that Harry had planed on becoming and Auror once. His plans had changed since the war ended. The deadline for him to apply for Auror training had passed. Well, he might as well get used to the idea of her plans. “I want to work for the Ministry, Harry.” There was a small smile curling Harry’s lip at that. “Following in your father’s footsteps?” “Yes…and no,” she said. “You know I have an ear for languages.” “Yeah, that’s come in handy on a couple of occasions,” he said. “I want to work for the Department for Magical Cooperation.” “That’s great, Ginny. You could do well there. Whenever there’s a need for a translator at an official function, your presence would be a boon.” “You don’t understand, Harry. I want to work in the trade division. I want to travel.” “Travel?” Harry’s lips pursed. “Yes, I think I could be really useful. I could handle trade negotiations when an ambassador needs help.” “But it wouldn’t be frequent. You wouldn’t be gone for a long time?” “I might, you never know.” “But what about the baby? What about us?” “We’ll work things out, I’m sure.” She looked expectantly at Harry. She wanted his approval. “When would you want to start on this career, Ginny?” A small smile played about her lips. It seemed to her a good sign. Harry was considering this. “As soon as possible after the baby comes. I want to stay home for about a year and then start work.” “A year?” Harry said. “Only a year? But the baby won’t be walking or talking. A baby needs his mother. Especially then.” “And he’ll have me, Harry. He’ll have both of us. You’ll be here.” Harry was frowning. Now what was the problem? “You will be here, won’t you, Harry?” “Yes, I will. I’ve found I like being a gentleman farmer. But Ginny, I want us here, together. Like your mum and dad.” “But Dad works – “ “I know that, Ginny,” Harry said quickly. “I was hoping you would want to stay home and take care of us. I was hoping for more children. I want a big family like yours. You are so like your mother.” “Is that who you think I am? My mother?” Harry couldn’t think that, he just couldn’t. “Don’t you want to stay here? Ginny, you don’t have to work. I’ve plenty of gold. You could have a good life here with me, with our children. You would never have to struggle like your mum. It would be the life you’ve always wanted. A life your mum would be proud of.” “I’m not Molly Weasley, Harry. Mum loves the life she chose. Sure they struggled, but they wouldn’t change what they have.” Ginny took Harry’s hands. “It’s not that I wouldn’t be happy, Harry. But I don’t want the same things from life than mum wants. I want to be useful; I want to make changes happen, Harry. Our world needs to change. I want to be part of that. A part of what you started.” Harry pulled his hands from Ginny’s. He just couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Life here, with him, with their children wouldn’t be enough? He walked over to the window and stared out at the field. She would never love him. Not like he loved her. He would never be enough for Ginny. How long before she left him? “This place,” Harry said, “is what my parents wanted, you know. Remus found it. The house is like the one in Godrick’s Hollow. I was born in a place like this, a place my parents would have settled into. A place where they would have raised a family. I could have had brothers, sisters, like you.” Ginny came and stood behind him. “We can do that, Harry. We can bring children into the world. This is a lovely home to raise a family in.” Harry turned on her, there was anger flashing in his eyes. “A place with an absentee mother?” Ginny’s hand came up to her mouth. “You’ll never be entirely happy here, will you Ginny? I’ll never be able to give that to you. How long will it be before you find you can’t stay? How long before you leave me, leave us for good?” Ginny was shaking her head, trying desperately to come up with the right words. “I could never leave you, Harry. How could you think that? I would never leave you or our child.” “Do you love me, Ginny?” Ginny could no longer breathe. There was only one way to answer him. “I do care for you, Harry. You’re more than just a friend. But I cannot say ‘I love you’ and mean it. Can you?” Harry couldn’t bear to look at her any longer. He didn’t want her to see the hurt, the anger in his eyes. “Harry, please…” He wouldn’t stand here and cry in front of her. Without another word he strode past her. She heard the kitchen door slam behind him. Ginny hadn’t moved. Tears started leaking from her eyes. She ran up to their room. She cried for quite a while. Somehow she had grabbed Harry’s pillow and was hugging it to her. Oh, God, she thought, I’ve done it again. I’ve hurt him. How can we think about the future when all I do is hurt him? I can’t give up my dreams. I just can’t. Oh Harry, how can I make you understand? She looked toward her vanity. Her letterbox was there. Is there an answer in what you wrote to me? Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, she went to the vanity and grabbed the next letter. He had pleaded with her, begged her to write to him. If she had only responded. She wanted to. But how could she? He wanted more from her than she was ready to give. How long she had loved him in her own childish way. That had been only a crush. A child’s feelings and he’d broken her heart. She had moved on. The little girl longings had been replaced. He had become as much a brother to her as Ron was. She had been happy with that. She was a friend for him to confide in. It had been difficult at first, for him to share. Still he had begun to open up to her. By the time Riddle had begun the final assault, they had shared memories and experiences. Harry was comfortable around her. It was what they both wanted. Ginny folded the letter and returned it to its place. Seven letters remained unopened. Ginny fingered the next one. Should she read it? Would it only be more pleading? More of Harry’s heartache? Could she stand it? She pulled the letter from its place. She was staring at her name. It was carefully written. Not his normal hasty hand. This one was important. Oh Merlin, why am I hesitating? Why can’t I face this? She bowed her head. Tears wouldn’t come anymore. She stilled herself, trying to work up the courage to see what Harry had written. What was that? A strange sensation fluttered in her abdomen. It was brief and almost impossible to feel. Had she imagined it? She stilled herself even further, breathing shallowly. Ginny waited. There it went again. Longer this time, stronger. It was as if there was a butterfly inside her beating its wings, seeking escape. The letter fell from her hand. She brought both hands to her abdomen. Again, I have to feel this again, she pleaded. Move again, baby. The third time was very strong. It was the baby. The reality struck her. Astonishment flooded her. Our child, she thought. Harry’s and mine. A life we created. Ginny’s head came up. The letter would wait. She retrieved it and put it back in her secretary. She ran out of the house. She had to find Harry!

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