Title: "Seeking Ginny"

Author: Casca

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Through Goblet

Classification: Post-Hogwarts H/G

Summary: Ginny Weasley has tried for years to bring to an end to her feelings for Harry Potter… she's even uprooted her life… but what happens when it's time to come face to face with him again? A post-Hogwarts tale revolving around Ginny's discovery of herself…while coming to terms with her feelings for Harry.…

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

 

A/N: There is no way I will come close to finishing Seeking Ginny before Order of the Phoenix.  While I cannot say for sure what will happen to this fic if the fifth book changes anything I've written, I can let you know that Seeking Ginny will either A) become an AU or, B) suffer a few changes, corrections to previously posted chapters if I wish to accommodate whatever new canon we get. Because, as of right now, we will be seeing Ginny again in exactly… ten days.  (Stifling the urge to type out a very long, excited shrieking sound.)  Thank you VERY much for all the feedback! 

 

 

 

 

A/N: This chapter has been revised as of October 2005.

 

Chapter Three

 

The letter from Hermione that Ginny had forgotten to read remained unopened on her desk for weeks. After Ginny finally got around to reading it, several hexes came to mind, all of which she promised to cast on herself the minute she was alone.

I don't know many of the details, wrote Hermione, since he's been on assignment, but the Daily Prophet reported that Harry is supposed to attend a series of meetings at France's Ministry over the course of the next few weeks. If you happen to run into him, would you ask him if he can receive owls?  You know how he is with keeping in contact and I want to be sure that he can receive letters because sometimes when he's on assignments….

Ginny had stared at the words, mentally accusing herself of being a complete arse for allowing the knowledge of Harry's visit to Paris remain concealed in an unopened letter for bloody weeks when all of a sudden, a decrepit-looking Errol came flying through the window, slamming right into the back of her head.  The letter from her mum carried yet another warning of Harry's Paris whereabouts, this one delayed not by Ginny's laziness, but by the elderly owl. After cursing herself and her bird, Ginny apologized to Errol, then allowed herself a long, ironic laugh that the information she would have been quite happy to know came too late.

In her letter, Molly explained that Harry would probably be dreadfully busy in Paris and have no time even to look Ginny up, so she may want to owl him. Perhaps you two can get together to catch up, she'd written.

Catch up.

Ginny'd had a good chuckle at that—her mother had used the same words Ginny had when actually inviting Harry. But that had been a few days ago and she had no intentions of sending him an owl to repeat her offer. It was obvious that he was very busy in Paris and quite frankly, so was she. 

As promised, Brian had been able to secure a ticket to the event that would put Ginny and Madame Millicent in the same room together and Ginny had spent all week putting together her interview in case she was able to charm Madame into sitting for it at the convention. However, when Friday arrived, it seemed as though everything was preventing her from actually getting home to get ready for the formal event.  Her Gobbledygook professor asked her to stay after the lesson so that he could talk to her about her essay and Ginny spent almost thirty minutes listening to him praise her for a job well done. She was, of course, pleased with that, but the minutes were ticking by and she still had to go to Aurelie's house to borrow some formal robes.

And as though she hadn't wasted enough time at l'Academie, nearly two hours later, Ginny found herself inside her friend's colorful bedroom surrounded by more dresses and robes than Ginny had ever seen in her life. There were so many she didn’t know how to choose.

"I think I like these…" she said, studying her reflection in a full-length mirror. They were long panels of dark blue that pulled at the shoulder and tucked at the waist, then flowed to the tops of her feet and halfway down her arms.  Formal, business-like and not showy at all. "But I can't borrow them, they're way too expensive."

Aurelie promptly rolled her eyes.  "Three Sickles and four Knuts at Celine's Second Hand Robes."

Ginny's mouth fell open. "Three Sickles?"

"I know how to find a bargain."

"Clearly." 

Thanking her friend profusely, Ginny carefully wrapped up the robes so that they wouldn’t become wrinkled and swiftly raced home. Once she was showered and dressed and feeling taller than ever from Aurelie's shoes, Ginny grabbed the little invitation card from her bedside table and hurried from her bedroom.  She stopped in her tracks as Brian let out a low whistle. 

"It's times like these when I wonder why you and I never did get together, love," he said, grinning.

Normally, Ginny flirted back when he made comments like these, but this time she found herself biting her lip nervously. "Do I look like a tart?"

"Among other things," he said appreciatively and Ginny huffed out a breath.

"I don't want to look like a tart tonight, Brian," she said between her teeth.

"I know, I was only joking. You look very sophisticated."

"Thank you," she said graciously.  "You don’t look so bad either."

"I know," he said, so dismissively that Ginny shook her head on another laugh.  "Let's hope Silvia thinks so."

"Silvia? Do I know her?" she asked, clasping a bracelet on her arm.

"Silvia Gordon. That American witch, she was in Elvish with you last term."

Ginny nodded. "Right, well, I've heard she's a tart, so you won’t have any trouble there."

He grinned. "So, d'you think you might be home early?"

Ginny started to say she didn’t know, and then she narrowed her eyes at him.  "Why? Oh, don’t say it," she said, turning red. "Look, just… make sure you've cast the proper … Silencing Charm, all right?"

He jerked his head towards his bedroom. "Already done."

She let out a laughing breath and drew her wand.  "Have fun."

"Always. Good luck, Gin."

"Thanks."

 

****

 

The Ministry had set up an Apparition spot located in the middle of its grounds, just outside the function. It was a different building than the one Ginny had been to earlier that week and was adorned with a huge banner that read in bold letters, the name of the event: International Auror's Convention.

She walked up a long, winding pathway and the second she stepped inside the building, a guard stopped her to ask for her invitation. Holding her breath, Ginny looked on as the guard inspected the invitation carefully, then breathed a sigh of relief when he nodded his head and ushered her into the ballroom. Ginny bit her lip to hold back a grin. She was in.

There was a hum of chatter as hundreds of people, dressed mostly in black (Ginny cast a tentative glance down at her blue robes), milled around in small groups, sipping from delicate goblets and speaking to one another in dull voices. Ginny wondered briefly if she would ever have to attend something like this if she took a Ministry job. But then, her profession would not be nearly as prominent as Aurorship, so perhaps not.

It occurred to her as she scanned the ballroom that she didn’t really know what Millicent looked like; she'd seen her photograph in a few history books, but she had looked young in those—nowhere near what her age was currently rumored to be.  Ginny's eyes roamed the sea of faces, trying to decipher which one might be older than everyone else and after about ten seconds of finding many possible candidates, Ginny decided to ask.

"Excuse me," she said quietly to the first person she saw—a witch who also looked a few hundred years old.  "Do you know where I might find Madame Mardeax?"

"Why, that's her right there, dear," she said pointing discreetly to possibly the tallest woman Ginny had ever seen.

She was standing with a small group of people, all of whom seemed to be staring up at her in awe and hanging onto every word she was saying.  Ginny bit her lip and idly took a few steps towards them, wondering how to go about this. She decided that it would be best to approach her when she wasn't in the middle of a conversation; however, that was going to be quite a challenge, since it was clear that Madame might be something of a popular lady here.  She remembered Brian had said that she was a speaker tonight.

She would normally walk up to the group and introduce herself, but as she stood in the middle of the lavish ballroom next to a table of sweets that would make Ron keel over in ecstasy, a little nagging feeling was telling her that it would be poor taste to use the group as a shield between herself and Millicent.  Ginny wondered what to do for a moment, staring down at the largest bowl of rice pudding that she had ever seen, and finally decided that she would go with her instincts and wait for Millicent's conversation to finish. Inching closer and pretending to be interested in the array of desserts, her eyes wandered to the group every few seconds, prepared to make a beeline when they finished.

"Pardon," said a familiar voice as an arm reached out to take a napkin from the table.

Ginny's brows snapped together. Harry.

Their eyes locked over the rhubarb tart. In her mind's eye, Ginny could picture the look on her own face mirroring his—a completely unflattering mask of shock.

There was a momentary pause before,

"Ginny?" he asked in disbelief.  

She was speechless. Then something clicked in her mind. International Auror's Convention.

Auror

"Harry," she said, surprise evident in her voice.  "I…" She was about to say that she hadn't expected to see him here, but that was a bit of an odd thing to say, considering his profession.  He was the Auror.  "I suppose it's a bit obvious why you're here," she said finally, allowing a smile as her eyes darted towards Millicent to make sure she hadn't left.  "I can’t believe I didn't think that I'd see you here."

"What—what are you doing here?" Harry asked her with a smile and though Ginny could tell he was trying not to look or sound too puzzled, she could also sense a bit of relief on his face. She understood why, being the only person his age for miles.

"I need to speak with Madame Mardeax," she said, gesturing to her. "It's an assignment for one of my courses."

Harry's brows were drawn in bewilderment as he looked at Millicent for a moment, and then back to Ginny.  "Oh… well, if I'd have known you were coming, I would have looked for you sooner. It's dead dull here."

Ginny smiled.  "I actually didn’t know I was coming until last minute.  I missed her the other day at the Ministry and a friend of mine was able to get an invitation for me. I'm taking the chance that I might be able to discuss my assignment with her, but it seems as though every time I look at her, she's talking to a huge group."

Harry nodded, his eyes traveling around the room with an unfocused kind of boredom that told Ginny he was very used to this sort of thing. "You're probably going to have to join the group if you want to talk to her.  Don’t ask me why, but she's sort of popular at these things," he said in a bored voice and Ginny bit her lip nervously, looking back at the rather formidable looking group that Millicent stood with.

"I was going to pop into your café," Harry said after a while, seemingly being woken out of his reverie of staring blankly around the room. "But I've been a bit busy and…."

"Oh, it's no problem. I wasn't working that much this week anyway, I probably wouldn’t have been there if you had." 

This seemed to suffice. Harry nodded.

After what seemed like forever, standing with Harry looking around the room as though something might change about it, Ginny started to feel the tedium of the place and its people creep up on her. She was doing the same thing he was—only she was watching Millicent and her group, something that was even more hopeless to change. However, just when her mind began to travel elsewhere, it appeared as though a few people in the group were leaving! Ginny straightened and shook her head slightly to clear the fog of dullness that had settled over her mind, watching as two people drifted off.  At last, Millicent nodded politely to the remaining people and turned to walk away. Ginny's heart gave a leap.

"Will you excuse me, Harry?"

Harry looked at her in surprise as though he'd forgotten that she was standing there and nodded.

For a lady who was rumored to be almost two hundred years old, she moved rather quickly, Ginny thought, as she hurried after her through the reception area and into the foyer.  Just when she thought there was nowhere else for her to go, as it appeared she was walking right into a wall, Madame pulled open a door and disappeared behind it.  When Ginny came closer, she stopped and saw a little plaque on the door that read Witches.

Well, this was an unexpected surprise, she thought happily, arranging her robes a bit and tucking a strand of loose hair behind her ear. This would give Ginny ample opportunity to catch her the minute she stepped out. She couldn’t help a little grin of excitement. She was making this happen. Straightening her shoulders and fixing her robes once more, Ginny clasped her hands together in front of her, stepped to the side of the door, and waited.

And waited.

Almost twenty minutes later, she looked at her wrist, forgetting that she hadn’t worn a watch and furrowed her brow.  How long had she been in there? 

"Did it go alright?" said a voice at her side, making her jump.

"Oh. Harry." He was standing there with his hands shoved into the pockets of his formal business robes, looking mildly curious. "No, I haven’t had the chance to speak to her yet." 

He lifted a brow. "Well, what have you been…." His eyes traveled to the sign on the door. "Ah… waiting?"

Ginny puffed out a breath.  "She's been in there for—" she went to look at her missing watch again, "I dunno how long, but it has to have been at least twenty minutes or so."

Harry frowned and they peered at each other as though thinking the same thing.

"You don’t think…" Ginny began in a low voice, her gaze traveling back to the door. Perhaps Madame had fallen ill… or… or worse.  The thought that sprang into her head was very terrible and Ginny tucked her tongue in her cheek, trying not to smile.  It was a horrid thing to think, honestly, but then again, she would be off the hook on the interview if… the woman was no longer able to be interviewed.

Harry was looking at her, his eyes amused as though he knew exactly where her mind was going.

"She's fine," Ginny said firmly, refusing to laugh and looking back at the door just as it flung open. Madame Millicent herself, very much alive and towering over both Ginny and Harry, stepped out of the bathroom and walked swiftly away.

Ginny looked at Harry, startled.

"Go," he urged her and the word seemed to act on Ginny as an acceleration.

Nodding, she dashed off, back into the ballroom, weaving her way in and out of the crowd, keeping a steady pace as she tried to catch up with her.  But the witch was moving so quickly and the only way for Ginny to quicken her pace would be to push people down.  Just as she was nearing her, she found herself standing still, watching in horror as another person seized the chance before she could.  

"Millicent, darling, where have you been?" exclaimed possibly the shortest witch Ginny had ever seen. "My husband has been dying to meet you!" 

"Now, now, Adélaïde, I wouldn’t go that far!" joked the husband, possibly the shortest wizard Ginny had ever seen.  He came up to about Millicent's knee. 

Completely exasperated, Ginny wandered back to the desserts table and pretended to look interested in its contents again. People were going to think that she was the most undecided person in the world if she kept staring at all the food and not doing anything about it.

"Still no luck?"  Harry asked, appearing out of nowhere as usual, and looking bored.

Ginny sighed a bit. "I didn’t catch her in time."

"D'you want me to introduce you?" he offered.

Ginny hesitated.  It would make things easier, it was true, but… she just couldn’t bring herself to accept.  Looking apologetic, she declined, "Actually, I think perhaps it will make a better impression if I approached her myself.  I did miss the appointment with her secretary and everything…." 

Harry nodded, accepting this without a word, and resumed his slow observation of the room again, leaving Ginny to observe the only thing that interested her right now: a certain raven-haired witch who seemed more and more unapproachable every minute. 

"There you are, Potter. I thought you couldn’t find a date! Who is this lovely young witch?"

They were suddenly in the presence of a man who looked to be in his forties with brown whiskers, whose heavily-browed eyes were looking back and forth between Harry and Ginny. When Ginny realized that he had been referring to herself, she managed a fixed smile.

"I couldn’t," Harry said shortly, covering the pause quickly. "I've just run into a friend of mine. Ginny Weasley, this is Sam Wells."

"Nice to meet you," Ginny said, smiling obligingly at the man who looked ten times Harry's age and shook his proffered hand.

Listening with half an ear to the incredibly boring conversation between Harry and Sam Wells (Harry didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the subject matter either), Ginny watched as three more people joined Millicent's group, leaving a grand total of… ten.  No, eleven. 

"So you're… almost finished with university, then?" Harry asked her after Sam Wells had left.  Since she knew that the group of eleven wasn't going to disperse anytime soon, she turned towards Harry.  He was holding a drink in his hand and his demeanor seemed… mild. Mild and detached.  She had to smile to herself.

"Yes," Ginny nodded. "I'll be completely finished at the end of July."

"End of July?" he asked curiously.  "Isn't that a bit late?"

"Well, we have three terms to each year. Last term of the year begins in May and will go until the last week in July," she explained.  "It's the shortest of the year."

Ginny chanced a glance over his shoulder to see if Millicent had made any progress in getting away.  No such luck—it seemed as if even more people had joined in.  

Harry followed her gaze, then turned back with an apologetic look on his face.  "She's not making this easy for you, is she?" 

Ginny smiled.  "Well, I thought it wouldn’t take very long tonight, but I suppose I'm just stuck here for a while.  I'll catch up with her sooner or later."  

He lifted a brow. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Um… no, that's all right."

"Are you sure?  I was about to refill mine."

Ginny gestured to his goblet. "What's that you're drinking?"

He lifted the goblet and peered into it. "I don’t even know… somebody suggested it.  It's a little strong, though."

"Well, all right then. Something non-alcoholic."

"Okay, I'll be right back."

After he left, Ginny turned her focus onto Millicent and her group, wondering how much longer it would take and if she would be sympathetic to Ginny's situation.  All of these people seemed rather important and Millicent would be obliged to converse with them, but Ginny was just a student. This thought had her pondering whether or not she should accept Harry's offer to introduce them. No doubt an introduction from Harry Potter would be enough for Madame to be impressed with Ginny.

"Here you go."

Ginny looked up to see Harry holding out a goblet to her.  "Oh, thanks."  She accepted and took a sip. It was some sort of thick fruity blend that had an unusually good taste—although Christian made better.

"Is that all right? I told the barman something non-alcoholic." 

"This is great," she smiled. "Thanks."

Harry nodded and they lapsed into silence. Glancing at him, she thought that it would be so easy to ask him for an introduction. He'd already offered and… no.  No, she just couldn’t.  This was her problem, not Harry's and she would be able to handle it on her own.

As they stood in silence, sipping their drinks, Ginny thought that if she hadn't been so focused on Millicent, she would have felt bad for not engaging Harry in conversation, but as it was, he didn’t seem too interested in talking. Some of his colleagues spoke to him and he answered them accordingly, but their conversations didn't last long—he didn’t seem in the habit of keeping up with conversing after saying what needed to be said. Ginny wished that the Auror she was interested in at the moment was as anti-social as Harry—it would make this go much quicker.

Just then, she saw something that made her straighten; someone from Millicent's group excused herself, and the rest of them seemed to be dispersing.  Ginny set down her glass. "I suppose that's my cue."

Harry nodded, stepping aside. "Good luck.”

And so began the real chase. It was absolutely absurd. Ginny strolled around the room, while Madame Hag, as she'd begun calling her, went from group to group, talking about everything from complicated Ministry statistics to her latest holiday in China. Ginny kept glancing at her wrist, before she finally realized there was a grandfather clock in the corner of the reception hall. 

It was nearly two hours after she'd broken away from Harry, when Millicent stepped from her party and began to head towards the foyer again. Ginny walked swiftly after her, vowing to go inside the loo and approach her in there—after all, it was time for drastic measures. However, when she yanked open the door and stepped inside, every single cubicle was wide open. The room was empty. 

"Oh, no," she said feebly, rushing out of the room and looking all around the entrance.  Her eyes fell on the cloak counter, which was located next to the reception entrance.  Sighing wearily, she approached an elf who was barely visible behind the low wall and inquired if he had seen Millicent.

"Yes, Madame just picked up her cloak and left for the evening."

Ginny's eyes slid closed. 

"Will you be needing your cloak, then, Madame?"

"I don't have one. Thank you," she smiled at the formally dressed elf and turned numbly, letting out a long, slow breath.  She was positively fuming and every ounce of the anger that bubbled inside of her was directed at herself.  What on earth was wrong with her?  She had blown it, completely blown the entire thing and why?  Because she hadn’t been fast enough?  Because she hadn’t set aside her pride and asked Harry to introduce her?

Disgusted, she glanced back into the reception room; her eyes fell on him. He was standing apart from most of the people, leaning against a tall pillar, the very same drink still in his hand.  The polite thing to do was say goodbye to him, but embarrassment welled inside of her for the situation she was now in. And she couldn’t help a bit of resentment. He hadn't been able to find a date to this function…not even his "old friend" who just happened to be living close by. She shook her head, suddenly wanting to get home so she could have a proper temper tantrum in which she could wallow in self-pity.

But she lingered at the door for too long.  From across the room, Harry looked up and caught her eye. Ginny forced a smile, giving him a wave to indicate that she was leaving and she had to work to keep the annoyance off her face when he pushed away from the pillar and walked towards her.

"Did you talk to her, then?"

"No, I never got the chance. She left."

His face fell and Ginny looked away. "What are you going to do?"

"Repeat the bloody course next term," she said dryly, shaking her head.

Harry's eyes bugged out slightly, making Ginny feel like bigger idiot than she already was.  "Seriously?"

She gave a laughed.  "Well this interview is practically worth half of my final mark… I dunno… I'm still waiting to hear from her secretary so… perhaps there's a chance it could work out. It's out of my control, though."

"Well, what did you need to speak to her about? I mean is there something I can do?"

She smiled. "I wish you could, but I had to interview her about her Troll research and I'm sure she's all booked up by now."

Harry sighed, looking thoughtful. Then he pulled a face.  "Why does Millicent get to leave? I'm stuck here until the end."

Ginny couldn’t help laughing. "Well, I suppose she needed to get her beauty sleep," she said, wearily attempting a joke.

At once, Harry grinned.  "There's not enough sleep in the world."

They laughed. "Oh, well. I should probably go home and get mine," she went to glance at her watch again, but it wasn't there. She felt somewhat guilty for leaving now that she actually did have the time to talk to Harry, but her mind was an abundance of questions and worries and she was anxious to go home and have that temper tantrum. Hopefully, Brian was home early and she could take it out on him.

When she arrived home, however, Brian was nowhere to be seen, however, the door to his bedroom was closed firmly and Ginny most definitely saw light underneath the door. Stifling the urge to throw a pillow from the sofa at the back of his door, or maybe kick it, Ginny marched into her bedroom, making a production of kicking aside the mess she'd made getting ready earlier, and flinging her dress aside before remembering that it was Aurelie's and hastily picking it up to hang it neatly on a hanger.  She pulled on some comfortable nightclothes, then stalked around her bedroom, cleaning the clutter rather violently.  And noisily, she thought, smiling wickedly at the wall she shared with Brian's room.

Every time she went over it in her head, all of her reasoning lead to the only solution available—that she would have to repeat the lesson next term. And while she had been experiencing a great deal of panic lately over leaving Paris at the end of term, every time her thoughts landed on not being able to go home, it felt like an arrow was piercing her heart.

She wanted more than anything to be home. Just be there. And for good, not a brief visit.  It was a feeling she got every once in a while when she was lying in bed—a sort of shock that she was living here, so far away from her family and her home.  That was when she became homesick, when she counted how many years, months, and weeks it was until she could leave. 

Sometimes Ginny couldn't believe she'd lasted for the complete five years, that finishing, actually finishing, was within reach. It was an accomplishment that left her with a great deal of pride…but it was time to go home and revel in it a bit. She'd return to England having completed university in another country, having lived another life. People would be proud of her and probably a little surprised. It was time for that now. She was ready

Ginny fell asleep that night, thinking about the day she would finally step into her kitchen.  It would be a party at her house with all her brothers and her friends and everyone… and it would be at the end of this term.

 

~*~

 

She awoke on Saturday morning with every intention of owling in sick to work and going to the Ministry of Magic. It had been a week since Ginny had contacted the secretary with no response. If Madame Mardeax needed to be chased, Ginny would chase her. 

Brian wasn't even awake as she stepped into the living room bright and early, casting an uneasy glance at his closed bedroom door and wondering briefly what had gone on her flat that she hadn't heard last night.

Not wanting to delve further into thought about that, she grabbed her wand, ready to Apparate, when a flutter at the window had her turning. It was an owl that she didn’t recognize and when she went to the window and saw the little piece of parchment folded into a neat square, her stomach gave a low drop. A circular crest in deep navy blue was sealed on the fold.  The Ministry Crest.

Her fingers trembling, she opened it.

Miss Weasley,

I do apologize, but Madame Mardeax has departed this morning for a six-month holiday in Greece.  You will have to rebook when she returns.

Jeannette Floréat

The Office of Millicent Mardeax

 

~*~

Needless to say, it was a long day.  Ginny spent most of it at work, waiting to go home, but then, she had no idea why she wanted to go back to the flat anyway—things wouldn't change once she got there. If anything, she would focus on her problems more when she didn’t have anything to do. 

And she would still be in the same predicament there… the same trouble.

She was working until the café closed that night which, on a Saturday, meant very late. Christian and a new waitress with whom Ginny wasn't well acquainted were working with her this shift and Ginny was rather glad that Aurelie wasn't there. She just didn’t feel like having a good time—and Aurelie could never understand that; no matter what hardships people faced, she always expected to have fun and laugh. 

But Ginny felt like crying. Or fuming. In fact, what held her together all day was the prospect of nighttime when she would go home and crawl into bed and have a good cry or maybe another temper tantrum.

And she wouldn’t tell Brian McGuire anything, she thought stubbornly. There he'd been, locked up in his bedroom all morning with some witch while Ginny had been in the living room dealing with the letter of death. Brian would get to go back to England at the end of term.  Brian would get to go home.  Then she sighed somewhat wistfully. She had so been looking forward to introducing him to her brothers and meeting his mother. 

She caught Christian's eye and forced a smile. She was making him worry, she knew.  From the look on her face upon walking into the café earlier this afternoon, he'd inquired if it was that bad.  She'd nodded miserably and, for fear that she would get choked up, refrained from talking about it anymore that night. She was glad that he didn’t press her to tell him.

After they closed up for the night, Christian forced her to walk with him to his flat because it was a legal Apparition distance to hers and she did so without arguing.  All she needed was to get mugged or cursed on the way home.

Completely depressed when she finally made it back to the flat, and becoming more so by the second when she noticed that Brian wasn't around again when she needed him, Ginny went to the windowsill to sit with the only person who loved her. Her owl.

She would see Andel in Troll tomorrow… what was she going to say?  I couldn’t catch her; she was just too quick for me. Ginny groaned.  It sounded so stupid when she thought about it now.  She should have just interrupted the bloody conversations. She should have been more forward, she should have been herself and not worry about stuffy old people and their opinions of her.  Harry must have thought she was so stupid, watching Millicent and not doing anything about it.

The panic was just starting to set in when her eyes fell on a piece of parchment with her name scrawled across, lying on the sideboard. 

"Why didn’t you tell me I had an owl?" she asked Maurice who appeared to shrug. 

Not leaving her position on the windowsill, Ginny leaned over, stretched her arm towards the sideboard and grabbed the letter, glancing at it as she straightened. 

Seeing her first name had never before been the cause of such a violent reaction to her nerves. 

It was Harry's handwriting. A flash of memories washed over her. For a minute she was sixteen and standing in the kitchen of the Burrow and a thrill was coursing through her from receiving a letter from him. And as if she was back there, back in time, her heart began pounding at she opened the folded parchment.

Ginny,

I was wondering how things are going with your assignment. Have you heard from Millicent's secretary yet?  If she is booked up, I'd be willing to help you out. I don’t know if this would work, but I've had a couple of years experience working with Trolls.  Do you think that you would be able to interview me instead? I don’t work most nights, so I have the time. Let me know. 

Harry

She hadn't realized it, but she'd been holding her breath while she read the letter.  She let it out in a rush and read it again. 

Her first thought was, yeah, right.  She could never, ever interview Harry.  That would be just too much of an imposition, she could deal with this on her own, she would just have to—

What?  She would just have to do what? There was nothing. There was no solution she had planned as a last resort. Everything relied on Andel fixing the problem and Ginny knew that he wasn't going to be happy with her dilemma—it all stemmed from her being late to make an appointment.

She read it again.  And she couldn't help the smile.  Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter, who refused to give interviews to anybody. Harry Potter who hadn't spoken to a journalist since leaving Hogwarts.  If there was any way to impress Andel with a solution to her problem, this was it.

On the other hand, she hated taking advantage of Harry's sense of responsibility.  His offer was his classic Weasley obligation, she could see that coming a dragons' tail length away.

But still. He had offered.  And this would not only put her name down in l'Academie d'Aubervive history, but it would get her back home at the end of the semester, just in time for her birthday.

Ginny bit her lip and glanced down the letter again.  After a few minutes more of contemplation, and casting a great deal of pride aside, she picked up a quill and started to write back.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

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