Chapter 6: First Date
September 17, 1997
Midnight Break-in at the Ministry
The Ministry of Magic was in the late hours of yesterday visited by an unknown masked wizard. The reason for his breach of the Ministry is still unknown, though being looked into by the Auror Office and the Magical Law Enforcement Office. More mysterious however is the fact, that this masked wizard evaded capture by more than twenty Ministry officials, including seven Aurors with whom he apparently had a duel with. Our finest as it were, were instantly overpowered by the intruder – which certainly bodes question to their ability. Among of the overpowered was also the Head of Auror Office - James Potter,37, pure-blood, who refused to disclose any information regarding the breach. The masked wizard was reported to duel THREE Aurors at once, yet still overpowering them easily. If this is the supposed level of our Aurors, many people should rightly question their ability to protect the Wizarding Community. The Minister for Magic himself was also reported to engage the masked wizard and was overpowered even easier. Though shaken, the Minister had insisted on being surprised on a Ministry corridor as he was attacked. This bodes a question, whether the Minister himself was targeted and why. It should be noted, that the wizard displayed outstanding magical skills, which raise question to his identity. The Ministry officials declared, that they have only seen such skills in only two Wizards of our time – Albus Dumbledore and He Who Must Not Be Named. However both of these candidates seem extremly unlikely, since Albus Dumbledore was known to be at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the time of the breach and You-Know-Who was killed during the Battle of Hogwarts a few months before. Though there are thories, that He Who Must Not Be Named could´ve survived his battle with the Chosen One somehow. More theories arose in a matter of hours, one of which defines this masked wizard the New Dark Lord, who is taking up the empty space left by You-Know-Who. Another theory defines this wizard as a hero, who has taken upon himself to relieve us of our "sinister Minister" and the Repopulation Act he enacted. Whichever theory is true remains to be seen, but it is plain to see, that in spite of You-Know-Who´s reign of terror ending we are still in for an unsure time.
The article caused such hubbub, that almost everyone who came into the Great Hall focused more on it than their breakfast. Indeed some have not even touched theirs as they were too preoccupied in discussing the breach and going trough theories of their own. Several of those displeased with the Repopulation Act were lamenting the fact, that the masked wizard haven´t killed Fudge. Others shook at the prospect of Lord Voldemort being somehow alive, or another Dark Wizard taking up his place. However no ammount of gossip or theories could put a stop to Ron Weasley´s renewed appetite, as most of the Gryffindor table have noticed. Hermione, who had been sitting next to him didn´t even bother to tell him off thistime – in fact, she was very gratefull of it. Plus with all the focus on this news no one took the slightest bit of attention to yesterday´s news about him and Snape. The Professor himself was also present at the staff table, but as Hermione noticed he was in deep discussion with Dumbledore and the rest of them – it looked like the staff took the news just as seriously as the students. Dumbledore, McGonnagal, Snape, Lupin, Sprout, Flitwick, Hagrid, Sinistra, even Trelawney – neighter of them ate a bite and discussed the matter as fervently as any of the students. A slight distraction for the Gryffindor table was provided by the arrival of Neville, who came in accompanied by his fianceé, who sat there along with him – something no Gryffindor minded in the slightest.
"You´re here late."commented Hermione just as they sat down.
Neville beamed at her, still holding Hannah close to him.
"Overslept."he said blushingly.
"Right in the library. I found him there, asleep behind one of the tables – an open book in his hands. Madam Pince sure wasn´t happy, that someone stayed there for the night."
His mouth full of breakfast, Ron turned to look at Neville.
"Blimey... what... were you doing at the library all this time...?"he asked with curiosity – Neville had never been the bookish-one and even Hermione, who practicaly lived there never once stayed in for the night.
"Can´t remember. I was going there to do some reading for a plant species we´re growing in the Greenhouses with Professor Sprout and suddenly... poof... I fell asleep."
Hannah giggled at him.
"Professor Sprout told us NOT to overwork ourselfs with the side-project, Neville. Even we badgers don´t overwork ourselfs like that."she said humorously, referring to her house.
Neville gave her a sheepish, blushing grin which made her giggle again and kiss him on the cheek. Ron beamed at the scene as most Gryffindors did, but Hermione noticed one particural Gryffindor not paying any attention to it. Ginny had been very quiet and looking at the Slytherin table, hopefull to catch glimpse of a certain someone. However, there was no such luck – Harry hadn´t come to breakfast at all. She had expected to see him when Blaise Zabini walked in accompanying Luna, even taking her to the Ravenclaw table before excusing himself with a bow and leaving for his table, but not without a gratefull kiss on the cheek from Luna – something which left both Ravenclaws and Slytherins completly stunned. A while after that, Angus Lennox walked in at sat at the Slytherin table besides Blaise, but kept stealing blushing stares at the Hufflepuff table. Ginny had expected Harry coming in with Malfoy, but no such luck – neighter of them shown for breakfast. She couldn´t explain to herself the pang of irrational hurt she felt. Was it something to do with her?
Hermione´s voice brought her out of her little world as she felt her arm go around her shoulders and a knowing look on her face – she must´ve seen where she was looking.
"He may have simply overlsept or something."said Hermione gently, guessing what Ginny must´ve thought.
Ginny nodded – it seemed a nice probability. Afterall... what did any of them KNOW about him at all? Or bothered to find out – she tought with a guilty bite to her lips.
"You´ve told me yourself, that your first meeting yesterday went well..."
Ginny smiled a bit at that. Ron and Hermione were waiting for her by the fireplace of the Gryffindor Common Room the previous night, eager for information. Suddenly (remembering yesterday´s talk) she felt eased for some reason.
"Yeah. He probably overslept. Or went to tell his parents the news. Or Fidus for that matter."
Hermione looked bewildered at the last sentance.
"Fidus – his personal house-elf."explained Ginny, still thinking of yesterday.
"His WHAT?!"breathed Hermione, at once dissaprooving.
Ginny instantly realized her mistake. Hermione was very touchy about house-elfs and their rights.
"Its not what you think, Mione..."she started, but Hermione already pressed her lips in a most McGonnagal-like fashion.
"Look... you didn´t see those two yesterday. Harry introduced him to me proudly and Fidus seemed to be incredibly fond of him. Hell... he even teased him a slight bit and Harry didn´t take any offence to it at all."
Ginny smiled at bit, remembering Harry´s adorable blush when Fidus teased him. But suddenly, she remembered another thing. Fidus called her mistress – something which house-elfs only do to members of their families. Was it possible that Fidus already saw something, which she herself had no idea of yet? Was it... was it possible, that Harry...? Her face went scarlet at the thought.
"He teased him?"breathed Hermione puzzled.
Ginny quickly recovered herself and nodded.
"Oh, you should´ve seen those two. Fidus gave him a letter Harry apparently expected and when he told him, that he was clearly intruding on his talk with me, Harry shook his head so fervently, as if not to offend him. Then Fidus smilingly asked him if he were to tell his Mum of our engagement. When Harry told him "no", he smiled at us and dissaparated. Later on Harry told me, that Fidus had been with the Potters for ninety years and that it was family tradition for him to take care of the youngest Potter son. From what he told me and from what I´ve seen in Harry´s reactions, he really loves him. They´ve been together since he was a tiny boy."explained Ginny and she couldn´t once more shake the image she saw on the picture in Snape´s office – the tiny curious, cute little boy – she couldn´t stop thinking about it and whenever she did, she felt her heart do a slight contented purr. She was kinda gratefull for Hermione´s rare, bewildered stare which meant that she completly missed the scaret blush on her cheeks.
"I have never heared or read about such a connection between wizards and their house-elfs."breathed Hermione.
"Well... Dad told me, that when the tradition began, house-elfs and their masters had a loving relationship. In fact, he told me that many light-side pure families still hold on to that tradition."said Ginny, remembering when she asked about the subject as a little girl.
Hermione seemed to take this into consideration.
"He can´t be bad at all then... But why then are Neville and Alice so hatefull of him?"said Hermione thoughtfully in a quiet voice, so that Neville wouldn´t hear.
Ginny bit her lip.
"I asked him about it. But he didn´t want to talk about it. I think its a painfull subject for him... He just told me, that they are... too different. But he didn´t want to say more, so I let it go."
Hermione looked seriously at her, still not taking arm off.
"You like him?"she asked in a mixture of curiosity and concern.
Ginny smiled at her.
"I think so. He´s very mysterious, but..."she paused, lowering her voice – this was something she would only admit to her best female friend and never wanting to say infront any of her brothers.
"... it just makes him more attractive."
Both girls shared a giggle, Hermione knowing her all too well by now.
The Great Hall was buzzing with people. It was the leave for Hogsmeade time and people were leaving in packs. However many seemed to be waiting for their partners – no doubt wanting to have their first dates or simply speak to the people engaged to them by the Repopulation Act. Susan Bones was standing there, dressed in her simple but pretty muggle clothing. She already said goodbye to Hannah, who jumped into Neville´s arms before going off, Ernie and Justin who were met by the Patil twins, and a few other people she knew. Before she knew if, she was standing there only with one person – Ginny Weasley. The two of course knew eachother – being members of Dumbledore´s Army so they taked for a while, surprised by the match-ups and discussed their feelings about their fianceés. Suddenly they saw two figures come their way and both gasped. Harry and Angus were dressed in muggle clothing, which suited them greatly. Harry was dressed in black short-pants, a light-green shirt on him and a black sleeveless leather-vest – Ginny found the sight highly appealing. Angus´ dark-green shirt was sleeveless as well and Susan couldn´t help but be very appretiative of the sight of his muscular arms – he looked like a real muggle strong-man (as she discribed to her Aunt in her letter). He also had black short-pants and around his neck was a necklace of sorts, which had a stone pendant on the middle flanked by two shiny fangs. Both boys wore identical wristbands, which were black, but had a green Slytherin-serpent sown into them – they certainly were proud of their House. Harry noticed their stares at the wristbands as they came closer.
"A gift from my Grandmother."he explained, showing one of them on his hand to the girls.
"She likes to make things for us and well... we provided her with our House´s symbol... right, Angus?"said Harry elbowing the taller boy.
Angus looked very uncomfortable, as though he would rather be anywhere than here. He gave a shy nod to Susan, but stuck close to Harry as though the girl would harm him. Ginny and Susan traded looks, unsure what to make of this. Harry gave a loud cough.
"Right... let´s get down to Hogsmeade shall we?"he said pointedly.
As they began to walk, Ginny took a place to Harry´s left. Angus was keeping himself closer to Harry as Susan walked next to him. Harry fought down a sigh of exaspiration. He TOLD Angus his bit, when he questioned him about the first date. Angus even went as far as to enlist the help of their most greatest advisor – something Harry suspected must´ve been a nice talk, since he chaught the pair in their awkward discussion a mere hour before. Angus must´ve really been desperate to go for such advise to HIM, Harry thought to himself with a shake of his head. Soon enough they exited the school and walked down the familiar road to Hogsmeade.
"So..."said Ginny, attempting to break the silence.
"...spokened to your parents, Harry?"
Harry gave a nod, smiling slightly.
"Yes. Visited home trough the Floo network. Didn´t have enough time to speak to them as much as I wanted to though. They told me, they´d meet us in Three Broomsticks ´round noon instead."
All three of them looked at him – both Ginny and Angus guessed, what the reason for Harry´s shortened visit must´ve been.
Harry gave a sad nod.
"She wasn´t happy about our engagement, Ginny. She told me that she will, to use her words – hang me by the balls from the Astronomy Tower, should I hurt you in any possible way."
Susan gave a slight gasp. She knew Alice Potter and she couldn´t imagine her to be so fierce to anyone, lest it was a Death Eater or... a Slytherin...
Ginny fixed him with a shocked stare whereas Angus gave out an exaspirated sigh.
"Haven´t changed much, has she?"he said, shaking his head.
Harry gave a sad sigh.
"I´m afraid she didn´t... anyway... there was little point for me hanging around. Shame too... I wanted to talk with Sirius about his engagement and also I wanted to see Naja. Afterall... its been too weeks since we last saw eachother. And you know, Angus how she is when I´m away for too long."
Angus gave a sad nod, but the two girls were puzzled.
"Naja?"asked Susan confusedly.
The boys nodded.
"Harry´s pet. She´s very attached to him and well... she misses him, when he´s at school."
True... oftentimes during the last years at Hogwarts, Harry had to convince Severus to allow him to smuggle her into the castle – the two couldn´t be away from eachother for too long.
The girls once more looked at eachother in bewilderment. Harry apparantly didn´t notice it as he gave Angus a slight pat on his large arm.
"At least Pura handles better, right?"
Angus´ face instantly sported an affectionate smile, one that neighter of the girls hae ever seen.
"Oh, well... he´s a tough one. Always waits for me..."he said with an unmistakable loving tone in his voice.
"You´ve had him longer than I have Naja."
Angus looked at him and there was passion in his eyes.
"Each creature is uniuqe, Harry. Maybe Naja can´t bear to stay away from you for so long, but she is one extraordinary creature. And let´s not forget the fact, that she loves you to bits."
Harry returned him a wide smile.
"Don´t I know it, Angus. But anyway... let´s leave our precious pets aside for now."he said as they reached the outskirts of Hogsmeade.
Harry turned pointedly to one side as they stopped.
"Well... we´re off to the Hog´s Head. I have a slight message to deliver."he said pleasantly.
Angus looked once more scared.
"I... we´ll... see you someplace? That is... if you don´t mind, Bones...?he asked nervously, snapping his head fearfully to Susan, who looked taken aback.
"Um...n...no... I don´t mind."she said quietly.
Harry smiled at the pair of them.
"Good. Angus... remember what Professor told you."he said sagely, stressing on the word.
Angus rolled his eyes, but knew what Harry was getting at.
"He told me many things over the years, Harry... only a few of which I have taken to heart."he said dismissively.
Now it was Harry´s turn to roll his eyes.
"Well, be sure to take this one to heart. Goodbye for now."he said pleasantly, shrugging his shoulders, giving Susan a small wave and turning in the opposite direction with Ginny hot on his heels, leaving Angus and Susan behind.
"What was THAT about?!"Ginny asked the moment when they were alone.
Harry couldn´t help but snigger.
"Angus was very concerned about this date business you see... so concerned in fact, that he went to ask a certain old Professor for his views on the situation."
Amusement was rich in his voice – Harry couldn´t help but regret, that he wasn´t there to see ol´Professor´s face when Angus asked him that question – he was clearly uncomfortable even when Harry arrived. Ginny fixed him with a puzzled look.
"Dumbledore?"even in her mind, it didn´t fit.
Harry gave a boyish grin.
Harry´s grin grew even larger – there was an unmistakable air of knowing something she didn´t.
"Damn it, Potter!"she flared up, but Harry held up his forefinger.
"Now, Ginny..."he said in a playfull voice.
"I expect, that sooner or later I shall reveal the secret to you, but you will have to be patient for it... I assure you however, that it is most certainly worth the wait."
Now Ginny was completly lost. She fixed him with an exaspirated stare. Harry however gave her a look of pure mischief – something she was sure, he rarely gave to anyone.
"Even Professor Dumbledore doesn´t know about this. That´s why I ask you to keep it a secret."
Ginny rolled her eyes.
"Not much of a trouble, since I have no idea what you´re talking about."she replied grumpily.
Harry couldn´t help it, he burst into childish giggles – Ginny couldn´t help but see the tiny boy in him once more.
"Oh, you snakes!"she exclaimed in exaspiration as he giggled on.
"And you wonder why some of us are so angry with you. Always hiding stuff!"
Still chortling, Harry gave a kind of shrug, that said plainly "That´s just the way we are".
"Oh, fine!"she said with a pout, still exaspirated.
"I hope you won´t be as secretive about the reason for us going to the Hog´s Head."
Harry shook his head and held up a hand.
"I merely have to give a message there. Though I´ve also wanted to visit ol´ Aberforth. We can also have something there. As I understand it, the Hog´s Head is empty at a time like this."
Ginny couldn´t help herself. Seeing him so... alive... it seemed to pull at her heart´s strings in just the right ways – she couldn´t deny the attraction.
"Whatever, Potter."she said in a mock-stern way as she took his hand and allowed him to lead the way.
Angus Lennox it seemed, was even worse than the rumors said, thought Susan as they sat down on a high clearing overlooking the Shrieking Shack. Sure she sent a letter to Aunt Amelia, she vowed to do everything in her power to make this arrangement work, but it was all for nothing if the other side didn´t cooperate. For all his muscles and his incredibly well-built, attractive body (which she noticed of course), he seemed to be as jittery as a tiny, peaky first-year. He twitched at the slightest contact whenever she made to try and hold his hand, he answered only in the slightest of sentances, being unimaginably shy and he kept his distance as though he thought she was going to do him bodily harm. Though he was polite to her, asking her about what she wished to do, he seemed to be hopelessly lost and unsure what to do. Susan had no idea how to even feel about this.
"Look... Lennox..."she started, finally dead-tired of the stupid silence that endured for the past five minutes.
"Angus..."he said, not looking at her but still blushing deep-red.
Susan took into consideration the slightest bit of progress.
"Susan... anyway, Angus... look... if you don´t find me... attractive or your type..."she started feeling a pang of hurt – she found him more than attractive enough, with his broad muscular body.
"NO!... Look... Susan... I... I´m just... I´m just not good at this. I never once dated anyone. I have no idea what to do or say and I don´t want to offend you."he started uncertainly.
"Answering me with simple "yes" or "no" won´t solve that."she said crossly.
To her surprise, Angus tensed immensly – as though he expected her to beat him for it.
"I want to get to know you, Angus. I realize, that we may not love eachother right now, but I am willing to work for it in order for us to do so. If we discover that we don´t like eachother, its fine – I don´t want to pressure you into doing something you don´t want. But I want to take the chance of seeing whether or not I can get to love you. So please (he fixed her with a surprised look) Angus... allow me to get to know you..."
Still looking somewhat frightfull, he seemed to mull it over. He thought back to what Professor had (admittedly in exaspiration) told him, and what Harry (whose opinion he had always taken with high regards) said. Almost like a frightened child, he nodded.
Susan smiled at him kindly.
"There we go."she said soothingly, taking the chance to sit a bit closer alongside him, but not as close for him to start jittering again.
"I can see, that you are afraid of contact... have you been mistreated... or abused when you were little?"she asked calmly, desperate to understand him.
"Not really... its just... I... I grew up in an all-male family. I´m the youngest of three brothers and my Mum... she was older when they had me... she...(he looked away) didn´t survive the birth..."
Susan gasped. She didn´t expect anything like this.
"Anyway... my family – muggles they are... well all of them work in a science field. My Dad and brother, they´re zoologists – they study animals (he said in responce to her puzzled look) and my middle brother he´s an archeologist – he studies history. I´ve had a pretty okay childhood I think, but... well... I grew up without the gentle touch of a woman. My Dad and brothers are always researching and while they didn´t mistreat me or anything... well... I never exactly had any real contact with girls like this. Perhaps that´s why I´m so... well... jumpy."
Susan looked at him sadly, understanding his jumpiness a bit now.
"Still..."she said, coming closer once more.
"This is Hogwarts. Surely you´ve had one or two girls chase after you in all these years."
"One or two, yes. Though my first crush – I was a fourth-year and she was a seventh – played with my feelings in order to get the bloke she liked."
Susan´s eyes narrowed, feeling a surge of anger at the girl.
"Anyway... with all the girls around here... I... I can never tell what you are thinking... or doing for that matter. The only girl I am friends with is Astoria Greengrass and she... she is nothing like the others... she´s really like one of us, you know."
Susan frowned again, though thistime differently. She could see, what Angus was getting at.
"I understand (she smiled at him honestly). I haven´t exactly been brought up the same way you were, but I can see a similarity in a way... I was raised by my Auntie Amelia. My parents you see... along with my Uncle and his family were all killed by the Death Eaters when I was very little. My parents as far as I know, were killed shortly after my birth. Auntie strived to take care of me and sacrificed much of what she could´ve had for my sake."said Susan smiling sadly.
"I really can´t thank her enough. Though as it seems, she has gotten her chance for happiness due to the Act. She is engaged to Sirius Black (Angus gasped, knowing the man slightly) and seemes to be happy about it."
Angus looked at the groud of the clearing.
"I´m sorry."he muttered.
"Its okay, Angus. But you see... our backgrounds are no reason for us to shun away contact. We HAVE to try if we are to find happiness."
Angus bit his lip.
"I... I don´t want to be hurt."he whispered.
"I don´t want to eighter, Angus. So let us make an agreement. We will talk to eachother, in hopes of understanding one another and never do anything that could harm one another."
Angus looked at her in absolute surprise.
Never once did ANY girl try to do so much for his benefit. It was a gift he recodnized and understood, that it was not one to be taken lightly.
Reaching out for her hand, she offered him one. As he took it, he couldn´t help but marvel at the tiny hand which was now held in his giant one. Susan recodnized, that she will definitely have her work cut out for her in order to make this arrangement work, but she realized (as she smilingly looked into his eyes – Angus returning the slight smile), that she wouldn´t have it any other way.
At noon, Harry and Ginny walked into the Three Broomsticks hand-in-hand and rather giggly. They have stayed in the Hog´s Head longer than expected. Though Harry only wanted to stay for a bit, they met someone neighter of them expected when they arrived – Albus Dumbledore, who was taking the time to visit his younger brother Aberforth. Ginny had been surprised by Harry´s relationship with them – for starters, they were (dispite the large age-difference) on first name terms. Secondly, both of them knew Harry quite well and they spent almost an entire hour all together, laughing, joking, even poking fun at eachother. All in all, it had been a most pleasant experience and Ginny never felt so close to her Headmaster as now – even with him being a frequent guest at the Burrow. The encounter only seemed to draw her and Harry closer and now, Ginny felt like she knew him much longer than two days. Harry too was now unussually relaxed around her, though it was clear that he still kept his secrets with an iron-grip. Nevertheless he surprised her (and himself judging by the incredible blush) mere twenty minutes ago, when she told a side-splitting joke (to which Harry and the two Dumbledores were howling with laughter) by giving her an appretiative and affectionate kiss on the cheek. Ginny, who had a few boyfriends before couldn´t remember a time when a simple peck on the cheek made her so happy. Her inner-self was instantly jumping and screaming in a fit of all-consuming joy and she fought very hard the urge to jump him and snog him half-to-death right infront of the two old men. She couldn´t exactly grasp on what was happening to her, but to be honest she didn´t care – the feeling being so wonderfull and... well... magical, she was sure she only ever dreamt of it when she was a little girl. And Harry... he was proving to be everything she EVER expected from a boy... Smart, calm, tempermental... cheeky, sneaky, cunning, mysterious, surprising her here and there only to giggle at it like a naughty school-boy – she was positive she had never SEEN something soooo adorable and endearing. It had the power to bring out the worst in her in the best possible ways and she couldn´t help but feel incredibly smug as all the heads of the students in the Three Broomsticks turned to look at them – looks of outrage, disbelief and all-out shock on their faces – she couldn´t help but relish the feeling of sudden power she felt. A day ago she would´ve been fearfull to disclose the identity of her new fianceé, but right now she felt than any of the girls who were eyeing Harry with fright and apprehention do NOT deserve him. With that thought in mind, she took the oppoturnity to take her hand from his and grab onto his arm with both of hers in the same manner she saw yesterday with Luna and Blaise. Harry shot her a slightly surprised glance, but his face immediately erupted into a sunny smile (one she returned with all her heart) as they made their way to the bar-table.
Harry´s eyes twinkled as he saw his parents there, talking and laughing with Rosmelta – reminiscing their Hogwarts days.
"Harry!"shrieked Lily happily as soon as she saw them approach.
Harry beamed at his Mum, separating himself from his fianceé and at once giving her a most loving hug, Ginny watching the exchange happily. He gave a brief hug to his father and reached out for Ginny to join them. Placing an arm around her shoulders he steered her gently towards them.
"Mum, Dad... this is my fianceé, Ginny Weasley."he said, an overly happy smile on his lips – one that was mirrored by his parents.
Lily smiled at her warmly.
"A great, great pleasure Miss Weasley."said James taking her hand and kissing the back of it gallantly, making her giggle.
"You have my neverending thanks for bringing this little snakey out of the singles-league."he added in a would-be secretive voice, pointing his thumb over his shoulder at his son.
"DAAAAAD!"exclaimed Harry, going red in the face.
Ginny was instantly overcome by a fit of giggles. Lily beamed at the exchange, though she couldn´t help but roll her eyes at her husband´s playfullness.
"Rosmelta, the quiet-room if we may."she asked and Rosmelta pointed them.
At once they were seated in a quiet-room of the bar, where the three Potters and the only girl-Weasley sat down and ordered their drinks.
"So, Ginny... we have been dying to meet you for a looooong time since Harry informed us of your engagement."started James on a mock-serious note.
"Which was barely three hours ago."said Harry bluntly.
Ginny giggled again.
James fixed Harry with a mock-stern look.
"Maybe so, young man but do you have ANY idea how long that is for a parent?!"
"Nope."answered Harry, playing along with his father – though neighter of them were able to mask the smiles.
"Boys. Are they always like this, Mrs Potter?"asked Ginny, also playing along.
Lily´s emerald green eyes (which Ginny noted, were the same color as her son´s) twinkled.
"Lily, Ginny. And yes... ALWAYS (she fixed her two precious boys a mock-stern look), I´m afraid that we girls can do nothing else but simply put up with it."she said with a wink at Ginny.
"HEY!"exclaimed the boys and the girls couldn´t help but giggle.
Lily already knew Ginny´s father (as did James), being a member of the Order of the Phoenix and all, but even if she didn´t she suspected that she would´ve taken instant liking to the girl in any case. From what she heared from Alice and Neville, this girl was very much like her – an extraordinarily gifted witch, a firery temper, funny, popular and by what she suspected a concequence of having six older brothers – talent in putting boys in their place, yet still loving enough. When compared to Daphne Greengrass, Lily couldn´t help but feel deep relief that her precious little boy (she still saw him that no matter how old he´d get) being engaged to a charming girl like that. Her grin grew larger and heart soared as she saw Harry give her a one-armed hug, pressing her to himself affectionately, Ginny returning the gesture with equal affection.
"Very funny, Miss Weasley."he murmured in a mock-angry voice.
Ginny blew him a raspberry, which made James roar with laughter.
"Son, you were right when you discribed her... positively, absolutely chaaaaarming."he grinned, giving Ginny a thumbs-up.
The four of them laughed happily as Rosmelta came along with the menu-lists. The three Potters took them and instantly started to select their food.
"Oh no... I couldn´t..."started Ginny.
"Come on, Ginny... its noon and we haven´t eaten anything yet."implored Harry.
Ginny shook her head.
"Not hungry."she said, though her grumbling stomach suggested otherwise.
"I insist."said Harry firmly.
"No Harry... WE insist."said James just as firmly, Lily nodding smilingly.
Smilingly accepting the polite invitation, Ginny chose her favourite food and in moments later, the four were eating away.
"So Ginny..."started James between the bites, chatching the young one´s attentions.
"As per Potter family tradition, everytime a major event in the family comes to place, we host a special party at the family Cottage. And seeing as only a rare few occasions surpass such a happy one as this, we are oblidged to follow the tradition."
Lily smiled happily, knowing this was coming. James though – as the Head of the Potter house, bent the rules a bit by including occasions of Sirius, Remus and Severus into this, though they weren´t blood-members of the Potter clan. In fact the last party was held when Remus´ wife – Nymphadora found out she was pregnant.
"I have already spoken to your parents and invited them to come. I´m sure you know by now Ginny, that your brother Fred has been engaged to our Alice – though we wish they wouldn´t be so enthusiastic..."
Harry couldn´t help but snicker, while Lily busied herself with her lunch. At Ginny´s puzzled look, Harry shot her a "I´ll tell you later" one as James continued.
"... but in any case this is a very grand occasion for both the Potter and Weasley families in my eyes. As our families were pure-blood for a long time and the pure-blood families were always inter-related, we obviously are related in one form or another. However you two, both me and Arthur rejoice for the fact of our reunion, as there haven´t been a Potter-Weasley marriage in more than two hundred years. Dispite the fact our two families were always on the best of terms, sharing the same princibles and ideals... heh... in fact... your grandfather Septimus, Ginny and your grandfather Charlus, Harry were best friends. I am sure they would´ve been extremly delighted to see their respective grandchilden come together like this."
Harry and Ginny looked at eachother with delighted surprise. Never once had they known of this particural piece of family history. James grinned, judging by the overjoyed smiles of the two – they knew the significance of this information.
"I´m happy to hear such news, Mr Potter."said Ginny in a quiet but happy voice.
James beamed at her.
"James, Ginny."said James in the exact simple way as Harry yesterday, when he told her to call him by his first name – even the twinkle in the eyes were the same.
With that issue behind them, the four spent time just talking to eachother with Ginny feeling more accepted by the Potters with each passing minute. The talks went around the most common things, like lessons in Hogwarts to which James always provided a funny story from his school times. Somehow, each of them elded up with Lily putting him in his place. They touched scarcely on the Potter family´s background, the Godparents, but when Ginny asked about Harry´s childhood – particurally the photo in Snape´s office, Lily wasted no time in retelling Ginny a few of little Harry´s best moments.
"MUUUUUUM!"goaned Harry, red-faced as she and Ginny giggled like mad.
"He didn´t..."chortled Ginny, shooting a smug glance at her fianceé as his mum retold a particurally embaressing time when he insisted on examining the tiny pond at the Godric Hollow´s side – dispite many frantic warnings NOT to.
"He DID. Poor Fidus, came in too late and he jumped naked into the pond. Jumped out, bless him, leeches all over and Fidus did all he could to rid him off them. Oh he had them everywhere..."
Harry, completly white-faced, fixed his father with a desperate look.
"Dad, please... STOP THEM!"he pleaded with every fiber of his being.
James screwed his face, seeing a pattern and knowing there was no hope at all – his own Mum, Dorea had done the very same when he first brought Lily home. Placing his head on the table miserably, he moaned.
"Be strong, my son... endure it!"
Oh, but who was he kidding?! No possible ammount of Gryffindor bravery was enough to withstand THIS!
His son gave a pityfull moan and mimicked that of his father, the two redheads conversing and giggling happily as the two raven-haired men had their heads on the table, knowing that the Cruciatus Curse would DEFINITELY be a better option.