July belongs to them.
When she is fourteen, after much careful pleading and reasoning, her parents drive her to Ottery St. Catchpole. So there she is, neatly packed trunk full of books, blue jeans dusty and wrinkled from curling her legs up on the back of her daddy’s seat in the car, hair heavy in the summer’s heat. And there he is, bright red beneath his freckles, long and lanky and Ron. And she smiles, and gives Mrs. Weasley a hug and thanks her for coming to the village to fetch her, and kisses Mum and Daddy goodbye, and as Mrs. Weasley Levitates her trunk for the walk up to the Burrow – they explain that her parents wouldn’t be able to find it as there are Muggle repellant charms grown into the hedges – she grins at Ron and he grins back and his shy, clumsy gait is marching towards a promise.
The next morning she finds him in the garden after being treated to a healthy meal of eggs and cheese on toast. His face is very pink as he seizes a garden gnome by its ankles, hurling it over the hedge, the little brown eyes bugging out of the potato head and toes brushing through the hedge bristles. She plants her hands on the hips and reprimands him for being so harsh on the little creatures, and soon he’s flushing with irritation. Her heart has gone out to the dizzy gnome and he both loves and resents her for her kindness. They stomp off in opposite directions and don’t speak until that evening when the twins put a hair-removal potion in his beef stew and she stays up in the early hours helping him brew an antidote while he hides his eggshell head under a hand-knit jumper like a turtle with a maroon shell.
That summer, he teaches her how to sit, wobbly and nervous, on a broom, his hands fumbling as he adjusts her grip, smearing sweat across her fingers. They both get sunburns on the backs of their necks and she hardly rises above the layer of the trees but he lies and says she’s done alright anyway. He fidgets when he lies. They race on foot from the garden, laughing, and he wins and boasts about it, and her hair sticks in a messy ball at the back of her neck and her nose fills with the smell of freshly cut grass and as it wrinkles, breathes deeply, he thinks to himself that he has never seen somebody more beautiful.
He blushes when the twins tease him and even Percy sticks his head out of his Ministry documents to give him meaningful looks. Fred says he never thought he was the type to be so consumed with a girl and George offers a homemade love potion to get the show on the road, wincing when Ginny hits him with a rolled-up parchment of Hermione’s Charms notes from last year.
When Harry comes for the World Cup he steps back from her, letting her spend more time with Ginny, pretending that they haven’t been inseparable all July. He rolls his eyes when explaining the rules of Quidditch and smirks with Harry behind her back when she mentions the O.W.Ls which are a blooming year away. But when she tumbles to the ground after the Portkey he’s the first to run to help her up, wiping the dirt from his own trousers in the process, and he silently wishes they could be sharing the same room in the tent that smells like old cat fur.
And when the dark falls and the Mark rises, when the bodies of people who could have been her float up above the crowd, helpless and without dignity, he is filled with an unnatural anger like he has never known, and he knows he would do anything, risk it all to keep her from ever being victimized in that way. He would eat slugs, attack a troll for her; he would face spiders to rescue her; he would throw himself in front of a werewolf for her, and perhaps he has always known these things. He is the knight who would sacrifice himself to win the game of chess for her, and perhaps he has known this for a long time, waiting to discover the knowledge within himself.
The rest of the summer is a flurry of preparations, gossip, secret conversations about the shaggy black dog who is on the run somewhere in Britain. He listens to Harry’s snores and watches the orange Quidditch players plastered on the walls of his room as they hop and flutter in their paper prisons and he wishes he could knock on the door below and ask her what she dreams about.
The next year, he is even taller than before and she has found a way to tame her hair so it sits a bit more sleekly, and to outline her eyes in a way that makes them more mysterious, or so she tells the nervous girl in the cracked, enchanted mirror in the dark old house. Her parents were happy enough to drop her off in London, unaware of the danger surrounding them, and she is welcomed with warm embraces all around and a grim explanation of all that has been published in The Prophet since she left the magical world in June.
Left alone at last, he shows her around the house, shouting back with an unknown gusto when the shrieking portrait insults her, knowing her for a Mudblood despite her mysterious eyes and remarkable exam results, which she tries hard not to boast too much about. She wishes for prefect badges for both of them, even though she’d never admit that it’s just an excuse to spend more time in his company, even if it seems unlikely. They bicker sometimes over the fact that she went to the ball with somebody else last year, and though she knows it is childish to waste such time over past grievances she can’t help but be a little thrilled that he seems jealous – any kisses with others were for the secret purpose of practice for when he finally plucks up the nerve to kiss her.
They laugh and talk about Harry over Doxy nests and vicious, biting necklaces and pixie-infested chests of drawers and when she catches a glimpse of herself in a cursed lady’s hand mirror she can’t help but grin at how mysterious her eyes look – even if looking too long into the enchanted thing gives her a bit of a headache and she always looked down on those vain, pretty girls far too much to act like them.
When Harry arrives it’s all anger and guilt that while he’s been crouching in flowerboxes and defending himself against Dementors she’s been hiding away in curtain-shrouded rooms and looking at the way Ron’s freckles move up and down his cheeks when he’s thinking, and the way he blushes when she reprimands him for speaking with his mouth full. She throws herself into reading about underage magical hearings with a forced gusto. This is the summer when she and Ron learn how to understand one another’s thoughts, in moments of agonized frustration when their other best friend is being moody. The moments spent in the dark, dusty rooms, the concerned words hinted at by the house’s other guests travel between their eyes, and it becomes so that she knows his thoughts by the twitch of an eyebrow, or nibble of the lip.
Everybody assumes that she and Harry are together – who would choose blundering, gawky Ron Weasley, after all? – but she can’t quite put into words how he’s the one who causes her mouth to go dry with excitement, his name that feels like porcelain against her tongue, and when she thinks of him being in danger her heart leaps against her chest, leaving an empty place inside.
In the summer before her sixth year they truly start to talk, long conversations which take place lying in the cut grass and imagining the invisible enchantments which protect them from harm, green strands tickling at their bare arms and filling her nose with that smell she loves so much here in the open English countryside. She notices their hands finding ways to touch without permission: when he hands her a plate of steaming potatoes to distribute, and he makes sure she has a firm grip on the warmth. Or his arm is resting on the counter as he leans his tall frame against it, and her fingers trickle over his as she moves to wash her hands. She wonders if his family sees it: the amused looks exchanged when his mother exclaims over the frivolous spending of the twins – her heart swelling with obvious pride – or the meaningful looks she sends Ron when he makes a rude comment about his little sister having a boy send her owls.
He sits up with her at night under the guise of helping read for the coming year and she pores over lists of classes he should be taking, her hair falling onto the parchment and narrowly missing the candles they lit. He frets about getting his Apparating license and not passing Potions and rolls his eyes, leaning back in his chair, when she echoes his concerns. She forgets that he already knows she is perfect and toys with her brown curls, flickering in the light from the candle, and blushes when his leg grazes hers under the kitchen table. He nods when she whispers that she barely feels like she belongs to the world of her parents anymore. They talk about the war, about his brothers and her parents, dancing around the thought that they might never live to be of age if it comes to a fight. He watches her lips move, lets her practical words sink into his skin and wishes he could be brave enough to deserve her.
July is a month of dark and light that year, the light of the candles in the dark kitchen, the dark of the dreadful news clouding the country. When Harry appears in the pantry one night they are both relieved to see he is safe and disappointed, just a bit, because they silently know his return signals the end of July belonging solely to the two of them. And they remind one another that they are far more than the best friends of the Chosen One.
The July of the wedding is filled with grim news and sad tidings, with ghouls in pajamas and fervent plans, of adulthood being imposed and embraced. The night before they are to appear at Privet drive she finds him sitting in the garden in his pajamas, wearing his father’s ragged slippers, ankles poking out and pale in the moonlight. She sits beside him, filling her nose with the smell of ripe grass and puts her hand over his. A look, a touch – it is all they need, after all they have seen, from Dumbledore’s body in a white marble coffin to the smell of her tears coating the fabric of his robes as the song of the merfolk rang over the grounds of the school they can never belong to in the way they once did.
She makes a shaky joke about being a little nervous to turn into Harry tomorrow in case she gets stuck that way and is fed love potions by lovesick teenage girls for the rest of her life, and the joke is so poor, so lovely, that he can’t help but laugh, a laughter which resounds in his ribs, and they are sitting so closely that she feels it in her chest as well. And beneath the summer moonlight, on the eve of danger she knows that if they both survive this, their rolling, unpredictable yet comfortable love will be waiting for her at the other side, and as his hand tentatively touches her wrist, her shoulder, turning her in a slow, thickening moment towards him, as their lips brush together for the first time they both know that though they are young, there will never be anybody else.
After the war, July is filled with funerals and fanfares, with the clangs and troubles of a nation being rebuilt, of the songs of the fallen and the echoes of the living as they fight to find a place in this world again. So when he carries his brother’s casket on his shoulders she is there, a pale, curly-haired face in the audience, and he pretends that he is only walking towards her, and her tears give him the strength to lay his brother to rest so that he can bury his face in those curls and let her shoulder the weight of his grief for a moment, her hands stroking his cheeks, his shoulders, his neck.
And he helps her find her parents, and squeezes her hand when she explains who she is, cradles her in his arms when they turn away, puzzled, unable to quite piece the fragments of this strong young woman together.
So July is no longer a month simply for them, but of their presence among everyone, of holding hands in the streets and as their shoes click down the floors of the Ministry, of the kind, grateful smiles when people thank them for their service to Britain, united in pushing Harry and Ginny to spend some time alone – even if she has to squeeze Ron’s hand very tightly in the process. Their love is whole in that she conjures the most splendid orange flowers for his brother’s grave, in how beautiful she looks in a Weasley jumper and little else, leaning against the doorway as she delays sneaking back to Ginny’s room in the early hours of the morning, her perfect teeth hitting his in a passionate kiss and the feel of her against him as they dissolve into laughter, the way that when he is feeling sad she knows, and will look up across a crowded room at him, and he knows that he will never be unwanted, never be alone. She leans against him, staring up at the starry night, and though he’s spent his childhood looking up at them she’s the one who knows each star in all the constellations by heart, and her finger traces figures in the sky as she leans back against his chest, slapping the mosquitoes from his freckled hands as they curl around her waist.
Slowly, free from the threat of death they learn one another’s bodies, their fears, their desires. There are days when seeing her curled up with a book in the window is the only thing to make him smile, and everybody around them is grateful for it. They quarrel over things like lamps and chess moves and kiss away the irritation.
Summers grow into years, and through the grief and the joy, the solitude and the sensations, the moments where they can hardly look at one another and the reunions when they remember, laughing, that life is meant to be lived in one another’s arms, they bring little red-haired children to meet the garden gnomes, to plant orange flowers on graves and feel and smell the grass. Because life belongs to them, and has been captured, and surrounded by love and friendship and peace they find that all is well.
Author's Note: The title and summary lyrics are taken from the Beatles' song of the same name. Thanks for reading this little story of mine!
Track This Story: Feed
Write a Review
JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION
Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.Register Today!