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Author's Note: Obviously story is mine, characters are not. J.K has custody.

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Chapter six- I'd Start With the Truth



After finishing up in the locker room, Ginny finally appeared outside where a crowd was waiting for pictures, signed autographs, and even just a glimpse of the Harpies star chaser. Ginny had once again pulled through and scored the majority of the goals this game. She was quickly becoming one of the most successful chasers the Harpies had ever seen.

The moment she exited the locker room she was hounded by flashing cameras and screams of small children begging for her to sign something, anything. Ginny smiled at the cameras and grabbed the first autographic quill that she saw and began signing away.

“Ms. Weasley, how do you think the game went today?” cried a reporter.

“Really well. Both teams played with passion. I think we ended up pulling through in the end. It was definitely tough competition, but I think this may have been one of our best matches to date.”

The reporters continued to follow Ginny, as she moved down the line of kids waiting for an autograph, firing questions at her like gun fire.

“Ms. Weasley! Ms. Weasley! What do you think of the plans for an American league?”

“The more Quidditch, the better. As long as the Americans can stay up to snuff with the rest of us,” replied Ginny. The crowd hollered in agreement.

“Ms. Weasley! When are we going to hear wedding chimes for you and Mr. Potter?”

“No comment,” smiled Ginny. The crowd groaned. Ginny said this same statement every time the reporters tried to inquire about her and Harry’s relationship.

Just as Gin was starting to grow tired of their endless questions, Susan emerged from the locker room. She had caught the snitch in such a brilliant manner that the entire media flew to her as their next target. Ginny signed a few more autographs as the majority of the crowd moved to surround Susan.

As she was finishing up her last signature, a voice called her name from behind.

“Excuse me, Ms. Weasley.” Ginny turned around to find a lean, brown haired man that she had never seen before. “Excuse me, Ms. Weasley. My name is Todd Summers,” said the man as he handed her a business card.

“I’m a recruiter for the Los Angeles area Quidditch region. Would you mind sparing a few minutes of your time?”

Ginny looked down at the business card to see a rather attractive picture of Todd on the front with a snitch zooming around the border. His credentials and contact information were all listed right on the front.

“Umm sure,” replied Ginny with a shrug.

“Well, as I’m sure you know, the U.S. is in the middle of introducing a new American Quidditch league. You can probably guess that America doesn’t exactly have a lot of experienced players like yourself.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily call myself experienced. I’m only 21 for Merlin’s sake!” Todd smiled at her humor.

“Miss Weasley-”

“Please call me Ginny.”

“Ok Ginny… I’ve watched you play out there today. You are quite a talent; talent that the American teams need in order to get going. We could really use you. You’ve obviously got a ton of followers who would… I’m guessing… track your progress on whatever team you played for.”

“Errmmm… This is all very flattering and all, but-”

“We would pay you substantially and it would be a hell of an opportunity to travel all around the globe. The American League is not just the U.S. regions, but also Canada, Central America, and even some South American countries are joining in.”

Todd could tell that Ginny still seemed unsure of everything.

“Listen, I am meeting tomorrow with some prospective players for lunch…. You probably know some of them. Come to the lunch, I’ll answer any questions you have, and we’ll just talk. I’ll give you all the information that you need and then you can make a decision. Ginny, in the end you can either tell me to go to hell or you can say that you want to play. Either way, I’m happy.”

Ginny still seemed skeptical of the offer. Offers from other teams were coming her way all the time, and yet she rarely looked into them though. She found that she loved playing with the Harpies and no other offer was as good as her contract with her current team.

“There’s no harm in getting all the info, ya know?” said Todd in a last ditch effort to convince Ginny to come.

“Ok,” nodded Ginny figuring there’s nothing wrong with at least looking into other offers… especially if they quote unquote pay substantially.

“Great. The information’s on the back of the card.” Todd shook Ginny’s hand and told her he’d see her tomorrow. Just as Todd left, Harry, Ron, and some blonde girl Ginny had never met approached her.

Harry looked a bit worn judging from his facial expression. He came right up and kissed her on the cheek though.

“Who was that, Gin?” asked Ron.

“Oh, no one…. Just a fan,” replied Ginny as she stuffed the business card into her coat pocket. Right now did not seem like the right time to discuss possible offers especially with the way Harry was looking.

“Who’s this?” asked Ginny changing the subject.

“Oh this is my friend, Catherine. Catherine this is Ginny, my sister.”

“It’s so great to meet you!” said Catherine enthusiastically. “I absolutely love watching you play. You’ve made me a Harpies fan now.”

“Thank you.” Ginny nodded.

“Well I say it’s about time we hit the pub my dear ladies!” And with that Ron ushered Catherine towards the apparating station so that they could go to their favorite bar in Diagon Alley. Ron and Catherine led the way as Harry and Ginny hung back.

“So what’s up with you today?” asked Ginny as she snaked an arm around his waist while they walked. Harry wrapped his arm around her shoulders to hug her to him.

“Weellll…. Hermione came back in town.”

“Oh really? Did she come to the game? Or is she gonna meet as at the bar?” asked Ginny excited that her best friend was home.

“Yeah she came to the game and… errr… I highly doubt she’ll be joining us at the bar,” replied Harry awkwardly.

“What? Why not?” Ginny seemed perplexed by the whole thing until Harry gestured to the couple in front of them. “Ohh…. Damnit Ron!”

“Someone say my name?” asked Ron turning back for second.

“Nope, you’re good mate,” replied Harry hoping to avoid Ginny humiliating him in front of his date.

“Alrighty then,” said Ron as he turned back to Catherine and their conversation.

Ginny looked back up at Harry and rolled her eyes. “Honestly, what am I going to do with him, Harry?”

Harry shook his head and planted a small kiss into her hair. “I wouldn’t recommend beating a grown man… it doesn’t look good on a resume,” smiled Harry. And with that, the two couples apparated to Diagon Alley.


**********


The Hermit’s Fortune located about three shops down from Fred and George’s joke shop was a recent development to the Diagon Alley scene. Seamus Finnigan had bucked up and finally bought the place with Dean Thomas. Through the help of Harry, Hermione, and Ron the place became a huge success and as of late, was a common pub to celebrate with other enthusiasts after a Quidditch match-especially the Harpies.

Harry, Ron, Catherine, and Ginny all entered the establishment. The moment Ginny entered many loud whoops were heard from across the pub since most of the patrons had come from the game and seen her perform magnificently. Ginny blushed slightly and gave a loud whoop back.

“Oi there! Harry! Ron!” cried a happy Seamus from behind the bar.

Harry and Ron made their way over to their old schoolmate as he worked furiously to appease the many guests.

“Haven’t seen ya in a while! Just came from the game I ‘spect?”

“Yeah. It was a great match,” replied Harry.

“I heard! The pub’s been packed since it ended. What can I get for ya? It’s on me boys! I owe ya.” Harry and Ron ordered four of their usual, the Hermit’s brew, a draught unique to the pub and a recent invention of George’s that he “allowed” the boys to sell as long as he received a share.

“Make sure t’ see Neville and Luna. They came here askin’ for ya,” called Seamus as the boys took their draughts to their usual booth. On the way back Harry saw that Luna and Neville had already sat down and were catching up with Ginny and meeting Catherine.

“Hey Harry. Ron!” said Neville nodding at the two.

“Actually Ron do you mind if I use the loo?” asked Catherine just as Ron was about to take his seat next to her.

“Ya know what, I’ll join you,” said Ginny shoving Harry out even though he had just slid into the booth. Ginny got out and followed Catherine towards the rear of the pub, but not before giving Harry a pointed look and then nodding towards Ron.

Harry took this to mean: You KNOW I’m expecting you to talk to him about Catherine right?

Luckily Ron saw the nod from Ginny before Harry even had to utter a word.

“I wouldn’t have brought her had I known that Hermione’s back in town,” said Ron admittedly to Harry.

“Hermione’s back in town?” asked Neville perplexed. “Yup,” the two answered simultaneously. “Oh that’s ironic.”

“Irony is only for those who are unprepared. I’ve known this whole time that Hermione would come back into town,” said Luna in a very certain manner.

“I mean I think everyone figured she’d be back sooner or later…” said a puzzled Ron. Shaking himself out of Luna’s logic, “Anyway. Catherine’s always been perfectly nice and I had two tickets to the game, so I figured why not ask her?”

“So Hermione saw you with Catherine at the game?” asked Neville. Ron answered only by shaking his head. “Well who brought Hermione to the game?”

“That would be me,” said Harry raising his hand. Harry took a long swig from his glass.

“So what did she say after she ran out?” asked Ron anxiously.

“Well to save you the trouble. I don’t think she’s mad at you. For once, you didn’t really do anything wrong, but I sure did.” Ron just looked at him waiting for more explanation. “We sort of got into it… and errrr…. I said some things that I shouldn’t have. All in all, it’s been a fine day.”

“What did you say?” asked Luna, now intrigued by the conversation.

“Well enough to earn me this.” Harry motioned towards his still reddened cheek from where Hermione had sharply slapped him clean and clear across the face.

“Wow! She must’ve really walloped you, Harry!” cried Ron as he caught the sight. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice it when you came into the stands!”

“I can’t imagine making Hermione that angry,” said Neville fearfully.

“Yup,” said Harry nodding at his own great achievement that was not so great: pissing Hermione off to the point of physical brutality.

“The only other bloke that she’s ever come to blows with was-” began Ron.

“Draco Malfoy,” the group said in unison. At the thought of this Ron burst into laughter quickly joined by Neville and Luna. Harry just simply eyed them evilly.

“Well if I were you, I would go apologize some time soon. She’s not a witch you want to leave stewing,” advised Ron.

“I plan too. What about you though? Are you going to talk to her in the next two days?” asked Harry pointedly.

Ron knew exactly what Harry was trying to tell him. The two of them had a decision to make and before doing so they would have to clear up all disagreements with those that mattered. Ironically, they both had to clear things up with the same witch.

“I plan on talking to her too, Harry… I-I just don’t know what I’m gonna say,” said Ron hopelessly.

“I’d start with the truth.” Despite her craziness and sometimes insane logic, there was always the rare occasion when Luna had the most simplistic, and yet greatest, advice.

“I just don’t really know where to start. I don’t know if we can patch this up, I don’t even know if I want to. I just… I just figure I should at least apologize.”

The others nodded as Ron’s shoulders shrugged. No one knew what advice they could give Ron. It was impossible to tell him what to feel or what to do. Both Hermione and Ron had so many regrets about their relationship. They had tried and Ron wondered if the shot they gave was their best. Maybe they were just better off as friends. He couldn’t really decide. He knew he loved her very much, but he also knew that, when together, they could be toxic to each other. He remembered the banquet hall and how… how cruelly he had screamed at her. Then, there were things that he had not even meant to be cruel by doing and inadvertently, he turned out to be anyway as Ginny pointed out. It was all a mess, but he figured, at the very least, he owed her an apology. He’d start there and then maybe they could salvage something after all this blew over.

Ginny and Catherine returned from the loo pulling Ron from his thoughts. The mood lightened immediately as the friends got back into their old routine.

Soon it was old friends catching up again and learning about the others’ prospects and lives. Luna was still doing well. She had just gotten back from one of her many travels. Having decided to be a wizarding naturalist, she frequently went off to search for odd unknown creatures. The subsequent finding of a heliopath led her to a fortune that none in the group would ever truly know the depth of her wealth. Neville on the other hand was interning at Hogwarts, aiding in the Herbology department. He soon expected to receive the full position though since Professor Sprout was on her way to retirement.

As the night passed and the crowd began to thin, Harry decided it was time to go. He needed to get back and probably talk to Hermione if he could catch her before she went to bed. Bidding the others goodnight for the evening, Harry gave Ginny a brief kiss before exiting the bar and heading back to his flat.


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Harry opened the door to his flat. He was hoping to see Hermione’s light on at the end of the hallway but instead he just saw darkness underneath the creak of her door. He walked up to the door and listened for any noise on the other side. Sighing he realized that she had probably gone to bed. He would just have to wait until tomorrow morning to apologize for his behavior.

He moved into the kitchen to get a glass of water before hitting the sack. He glanced out the back door and saw the light to the terrace was on. He peaked out through the window and saw a shapely figure in a silk robe, smoking and looking out at the night sky.

Hermione jumped when he slid open the patio door.

“Oh it’s just you! You startled me!”

“I can see that.” Harry walked over to the lean against the railing with her. “So…”

“So?” Hermione smiled, knowing he was trying to hint towards her cigarette.

“So. When did… uh this… habit start?” asked Harry trying not to come off judgmental.

“Well first off, these aren’t what you think. They’re Russell’s Sprouts.” Harry cocked an eyebrow at her. “Russell’s Sprouts?” Hermione laughed at his expression. “Yes… I’m not lying.”

“Kinda like Brussels sprouts?”

“Yeah I thought that was funny too when I first heard it. I was around a bunch of pure bloods though and they had no idea why I kept going off about some muggle vegetable. I guess the wizarding community doesn’t have Brussels sprouts.”

“Well I consider them lucky…. I hate Brussels sprouts.”

“Me too… This though,” said Hermione holding up her cigarette, “is a cigarette of Russell’s Sprouts. It’s a bunch of herbs discovered by some guy named Russell. It has a great calming effect. And it’s not nearly as harmful to your lungs as a real tobacco cigarette.”

Harry nodded in understanding as Hermione took a long drag. “So when did you start smoking Russell’s Sprouts again?”

“Oh I forgot to answer your question! I started… let’s see… I guess when Ron and I started fighting all the time-”

“So when was that? First year then?”

“Ha-ha very funny,” scoffed Hermione sarcastically. “No, it was about a year and half ago when I came back from my first trip with Jean.”

“Was Jean the one to introduce these guys to you?” Harry leaned over and grabbed the cigarette from her. He examined it briefly and then took a drag. He coughed a bit, to Hermione’s amusement, and then handed it back to her.

“As a matter a fact he was… The French love these things.” Hermione turned back towards the view in front of her.

As silence dawned on them, Harry found himself not really knowing what to say or how to steer the conversation towards their fight today. He opened his mouth to issue an apology when Hermione beat him to it.

“I’m sorry about today, Harry. You were-”

“Hermione, I’m the one who should apologize. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. I had no right to say those things.”

“You were right though Harry… partially,” she added catching his eye. “You were right when you said that I act like he’s always gonna be there. I know I do that. It was… just hard to hear, I suppose.”

“You were right though too Hermione. He never visited or wrote. He treated you like you had to come to him… and so did I. I’ve been a bad friend.”

“Well… you’re not a terrible friend. You never lie to me. And things always work themselves out in the end. Plus, I’m used to knocking sense back into you by now…”

“Literally,” noted Harry ironically.

“How does it look by the way?!” Wordlessly Harry turned his face towards Hermione to give her a better vantage point. “Oh my!... Oh Harry I’m so sorry. Wow… Here let me have a look at you in the light.” Hermione put her cigarette in her mouth and pulled him towards the light above the door.

Harry smirked at the sight before him: Hermione in a pink, silk robe with a cigarette in her mouth inspecting his cheek. She looked like a 60’s mom.

“What?” asked Hermione confused.

“Nothing… you just look like the anti-Hermione right now.” Harry chuckled as she checked herself up and down. Hermione shrugged it off and went back examining her hand mark on the side of his face.

“Well… how’s it looking, doc?” Hermione made a ‘hmph’ sort of noise as she pretended to examine further. As she ran her hand softly down the side of his cheek, reflexively, Harry shivered.

“I’m sorry. Does that bother you?” asked Hermione concerned. “No, it actually feels kind of nice-” “Cause, I can always put it out-” They both looked at each other funnily.

“I meant the cigarette… second hand smoke and all.”

“Yeah I thought you meant… yeah… sorry.” Hermione glanced at him oddly, but then shrugged it off. She put the cigarette out anyway and then suddenly it was gone just like that.

“Lately I’ve been transfiguring them into dust particles….”

“Clever.” Hermione went back to her spot leaning against the railing and watching the night life of London.

“So I’m going to ask the question that I’ve been waiting to ask and I need you to answer me honestly… Despite our most recent rift, I do value your opinion.” Harry just nodded, ready for her question. “Who is she?... Catherine, I mean.”

“Well she is a receptionist in the Auror department. Ron had two tickets to the game so he asked her just on whim… She said yes. That’s all.”

“That’s all?” Hermione appeared to still be unsure of what to think of the whole situation.

“Yup. That’s all…. if it helps at all, Ron said he never would’ve asked her had he known you were back. I don’t think he meant to hurt you by it.” Hermione exhaled with this new information. Everything with Ron felt complicated and shaky.

“Can I ask you a question… since we’re in the question mood.” Hermione nodded for him to continue. “What do you want when it comes to Ron?”

Hermione raised her eyebrows at him. “Thanks for asking the most loaded question you could possibly ask me right now.” Harry just smirked in return.

“Well truthfully… I don’t even know. Some times I think that we are supposed to be together. Other times, like when we’re arguing… or really disagreeing on anything… it just all seems too hard to be it. But then again, I can’t imagine life without him there, so either way I’ll have to put up with him. Friend or more than a friend… he’ll be there.”

“Hmmm…”

“What?” asked Hermione curiously. “Well, a few years ago I don’t think you were even sure he’d be there for sure regardless…… now look at where you guys are.”

“What do you recommend I do then?”

“Well… fix it.” Hermione rolled her eyes at him. “Yes because all problems can be reduced to ‘hey just fix it’.”

“They can… if you let them. Not everything has to be planned or elaborate, Ms. Granger. Some times it’s about deciding that it’s worth it and then doing whatever it takes to make it work.”

“How do you decide if it’s worth it?”

“Well… if I were Hermione Granger, I would probably make a pros and cons list…. And well, if I were Ron, I’d probably decide someone was worth it by whether or not they could cook. Lucky for you, you can so you’re worth it.”

“I’m going to silence the feminist in me by not commenting on that last statement.”

“It’s true… he eats, you plan. I don’t even want to imagine all the things you plan…. At the same time, I don’t really wanna imagine all the things he eats either.” Hermione chuckled softly.

“Ya know, I don’t always plan everything.” To say Harry’s look was disbelieving was being kind. “What?!... Oh, come on… I don’t plan EVERYthing... do I?”

“Hermione I could see you planning the shit out of anything.”

“I assure you I CAN be spontaneous.” Sarcastically, Harry replied, “I bet…”

“If Ron were here he could vouch for me.” At that statement Harry raised a mischievous eyebrow to her. “I’ll let the wheels turn on that one tonight.” Hermione leaned over and kissed his cheek goodnight before making her way to the door.

“Hermione,” she turned, “remember: it’s simple. Decide and then fix it.”

“I will, Harry.” And with that, she went inside.



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So how was it? Interesting? Not? Tell me what you think! I'm in the process of writing the next two chapters. They are more of a part 1 and a part 2 kind of deal. It's about to get exciting and I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts. Please R and R! Thanks!

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