The Sugar Quill
Author: Jelsemium  Story: A Harry Situation  Chapter: Chapter 3 - Dust Bunny Evening
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A Harry Situation

A Harry Situation

Chapter Three: Dust Bunny Evening

By Jill Weber/ Jelsemium

Characters copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and used without permission or intent to make a profit.

 

 

Ginny and Molly in the Attic:

The advantage of living in a wizarding household was that the Ministry had a hard time spotting underage magic in wizarding households. At least, they did with the current monitoring setup. This is why the twins were able to get away with their constant experimenting, why they could get away with practicing their Quidditch, and why Ginny could help her mother clean the attic without wearing her fingers to the bone. Children in Muggle households, like Harry and Hermione were more likely to get caught using underage magic. Harry was especially under close watch (otherwise, such a small incident as a levitating pudding would never have been noticed).

 

Ginny sighed. Why did all roads lead to Harry? He wasn’t interested in her that way. "He probably never will be," she thought glumly. The thought made her attack the cleaning chore with unusual ferocity.

 

"Easy, Ginny!" Molly said, waving her wand to condense the cloud of dust into a manageable shape and size.

 

"Sorry, Mum," Ginny sighed.

 

"If you want to talk about it, I’m always willing to listen," Molly said gently.

 

"What makes you think there’s something bothering me?" Ginny sulked at her mother’s easy reading of her.

 

Molly cleared her throat. "You’re scaring the dust bunnies."

 

Ginny looked around as the dust bunnies scuttled for shelter, Pixie hard on their heels, and sighed. "Well, there’s this boy," she said, turning away so she didn’t have to see her mum’s knowing smile. Like her mum didn’t know who ‘this boy’ was. Like the entire Weasley family didn’t know who ‘this boy’ was. Like thanks to that bloody, stupid singing Valentine three years ago, and her following ‘this boy’ around school like a bloody, brainless pull toy, all of bloody Hogwarts didn’t bloody know who ‘this BLOODY boy ’ was. Ginny sighed again.

 

"Boys do have that effect on girls," Molly said wisely. "The only consoling thought for that is that girls also have that effect on boys."

 

Unfortunately, the girl that had that effect on The-Boy-Who-Lived was NOT Virginia Margaret Weasley. "That’s easy for you to say," Ginny huffed. "You’re married!"

 

"I wasn’t born married, and, old as I may seem to you, I didn’t have an arranged marriage. Although, the older I get, the more I could make a case for them," she added darkly.

 

Ginny could tell her mum was thinking about her still unmarried oldest brothers, so she decided to get her mum’s mind off that. "What? You’d sell me off to the highest bidder?" she said in an awkward attempt to lighten both their moods.

 

"I suspect you wouldn’t mind, if that bidder was Harry Potter, now would you?" Molly teased.

 

Ginny gaped. "In my dreams," she finally said. "All Harry sees me as is Ron’s cute, ickle sister." She felt like screaming, or cursing. She settled for yet another sigh as she began coaxing dust bunnies out from under the furniture.

 

It wasn’t that easy with Pixie chasing them, so Ginny put Pixie on top of an old trunk so she could see out one of the tiny windows. "Look, there’s ickle Ronnie-kins degnoming the garden, Pixie. Isn’t that amazing? He’s actually working!"

 

Pixie sneezed and settled down to watch Ron. Ginny went back to herding dust bunnies.

 

Molly sneezed as she hexed cobwebs from the ceiling. Probably just as well Ron hadn’t come up yet. He still had problems with spiders. Molly was inured to them. After years of having them dropped down her collar by her older brothers, she’d built up an immunity to them. Pity her brothers had never built up a similar indifference to cockroach clusters… pity for them, that is. Back to her daughter, now. "You know, I had boy problems just like yours… well, they weren’t exactly like yours, but they were similar and they seemed insurmountable at the time."

 

Ginny sneezed as she urged the dust bunnies into a bag so she could release them outside. "You did?"

 

Molly sighed. "Yes, there was, as you say, ‘this boy’ that I was very fond of. Unfortunately, to him, I was merely ‘the little girl who lived down the lane’."

 

Ginny was forced to grin. "Did ‘this boy’ of yours have red hair, by any chance?" she asked.

 

"Why, how ever did you guess?" Molly asked, wide-eyed in mock astonishment.

 

"You have a thing for redheads… and blonds," Ginny said with a teasing smile. Now it was Molly’s turn to sigh. She knew it would be YEARS before she lived down the whole Gilderoy Lockhart… thing. At least all of his textbooks and advice books had fetched a good price at the second hand book store. "So, did you have competition?" Ginny asked.

 

Molly sighed. "Oh, yes, serious competition. I thought I was doomed."

 

"Let me guess, she was the Ravenclaw Seeker," Ginny tried, and failed, not to be sour. Cho Chang couldn’t help it if she was intelligent, talented AND beautiful. Not that Ginny expected Cho Chang to go out of her way to avoid being all those things.

 

"Worse," Molly said darkly. "She was a…" Molly paused dramatically. "Muggle-born."

 

"Oh, no!" Ginny squealed, knowing how her father felt about All Things Muggle.

 

"Worse, her parents were… imagineers," Molly went on. "She knew all sorts of things about eccentricity and machinations and gidgets!" Molly used the Muggle terms like they were swear words.

 

"That sort of stuff doesn’t work at Hogwarts, though," Ginny said, stifling a snicker, or maybe it was a sneeze. It was hard to tell.

 

"Oh, the advanced extra-tonics don’t work at Hogwarts, but things like watches, cameras, fountain pens, and wind up toys work fine. Melissa was forever giving Arthur some trinket or other that would have him goggle-eyed for weeks." Now it was Molly’s turn to sigh. "All I could do was knit."

 

"Mufflers versus machines," Ginny said, her brown eyes held equal portions of sympathy and amusement. "Poor Mum."

 

"Thank you for your kind sympathy," Molly said dryly. "My cup runneth under."

 

"Well, you obviously won," Ginny pointed out.

 

Molly grinned. "I had an unexpected ally come fifth year. Who would have ever guessed that Jack Frost did piece work for Cupid?"

 

Ginny raised a coppery eyebrow and waited for an explanation.

 

"It was the coldest winter Hogwarts had seen in four centuries," Molly said solemnly. "The common rooms and the great hall had beautiful roaring fires, but you could see your breath everywhere else in the castle. Even the dormitory rooms were freezing. I can’t remember how many people set their bed curtains on fire trying to keep warm. Even Melissa managed that one." Her eyes half closed with dreamy bliss as she replayed that particular fiasco in her mind’s eye. "I had to put it out for her."

 

Ginny giggled, her mum had the same expression on her face that Ron got every time he mentioned ‘Draco, the amazing bouncing ferret’. Obviously, Ron’s vindictive streak came from the distaff side of the family. "And there you were, with your knitted jumpers, knitted mufflers, knitted mittens…" she prompted.

 

"Oh, yes, I was rather popular that winter," Molly said with exaggerated modesty. Both Weasley witches started snickering.

 

"I can believe that!" Ginny managed at last. "I hate being cold!"

 

"You get that from your father. He became my biggest customer that year. He even massaged my hands when they got too cold and stiff to knit."

 

Ginny thought the idea of her father massaging her mother’s hands was sweet. "How did you manage that?" she asked.

 

"Welllll…" Molly hesitated, just a trifle. "Your father’s stuff had this tendency to go astray. So he really needed my hands to be in top condition to keep him kitted out properly."

 

This time, both of Ginny’s eyebrows went up. "Realllly?" she drawled, drawing the word out as she eyed her mother speculatively.

 

"Really…" Ginny’s eyes narrowed. "Well, they had a little help," Molly admitted. She held up her thumb and forefinger to indicate how little help the clothing had in getting lost.

 

Ginny waited.

 

The distance between thumb and forefinger grew, until Molly admitted. "Well! It wasn’t my fault that my cat, Hermes, was a little sneak thief!"

 

"Wasn’t Hermes the patron god of thieves as well as messengers?" Ginny asked slyly. She tilted her head and gave her mother a sidelong look from beneath her almost colorless eyelashes.

 

"Well, it wasn’t entirely my fault…" Molly realized that Ginny wasn’t buying this, either, so she laughed and confessed. "All right, I spent all of fourth year teaching that cat to target his socks and mittens!"

 

Ginny threw her arms around her. "MUM!" she said, trying to sound scandalized, but she was laughing too hard to pull it off. She leaned against her mother for a few minutes until she could bring herself under control. Then the sighing began again. "I don’t think that it’ll be that easy to capture Harry’s attention," she said.

 

"Easy? You call that easy?" Molly said in mock outrage. Then she shook her head. "It might not be as hard as you think," she said encouragingly, stroking her daughter’s hair.

 

Ginny was puzzled.

 

"Harry did send you that cat," Molly pointed out. "He does like you."

 

"I know, but he… well, he doesn’t like me that way, you know?"

 

"You need to get him to see you as a person besides Ron’s ickle sister, then," Molly said.

 

"How?" Ginny asked mournfully, pulling away. "I can’t even carry on a coherent conversation with him. I always wind up making a total fool of myself."

 

"That is a problem," Molly said thoughtfully, squeezing Ginny’s shoulder. "But, where there’s a will, there’s a way." She turned away and started on the cobwebs again. They cleaned in silence for a while, until they’d both had enough.

 

"Ginny, maybe you should try writing to him," Molly suggested as they packed up. "The poor boy is lonely and letters don’t blush and stammer." She paused before adding. "Besides, you do owe him a thank you note for Pixie."

 

Ginny looked at her mother and blinked. Suddenly her eyes were full of something… dust, tears or maybe astonishment. "Good idea," she said, a little huskily. "I’ll start right away."

 

 

And How is Hermione’s Summer Progressing?:

"Boys are born prats, discuss."

 

"Interesting premise for an essay," Rupert Granger’s voice was amused as he burst into his daughter’s room.

 

"Dad!" squealed Hermione, sitting up so fast she almost fell off the bed. "Don’t sneak up on me like that!"

 

Rupert sat down on the edge of his daughter’s bed and stroked her fluffy chestnut hair. "Ooo, or what happens? I get turned into a frog?" He was vastly curious about his daughter’s life as a witch. He particularly wanted to see that frog trick done, too. So Hermione had promised that, as soon as she could legally perform magic outside of Hogwarts, she would show him that ‘hoary old trick’.

 

"Sorry, Dad, I can't do that for another two years," Hermione said regretfully.

 

"Ah, then we’ll have to find another way to amuse ourselves," Mr. Granger said. "How about a good gossip session?" He ran his hand over his close-cropped, chestnut hair. Given a chance, it would have been every bit as wild as his daughter’s. Which is exactly why it was given no chance at all. Rupert Granger was one of the few men who ever wistfully thought of male pattern baldness.

 

"Dad!" Hermione crossed her arms and glared.

 

"I’m dying to know which boy has caught your fancy enough that he’s driving you to write fiery romantic essays about him."

 

"DAD!"

 

"We’ve already established my paternity, Hermione," Mr. Granger said. He bounced on the bed a few times. "Now, on to the juicy stuff!"

 

"Dad, you’re teasing me!"

 

"I've noticed."

 

"You’re only giving me more proof for my hypothesis."

 

"Sorry." Rupert Granger managed to keep a straight face for several minutes before speaking again. "So, which boy is it? Viktor, Ron or Harry?"

 

Hermione sighed. "Ron is being a complete prat about our trip to Bulgaria. You’d think that Viktor wanted to… to…"

 

"Take advantage of you?" Mr. Granger asked slyly. "Are you sure he doesn’t?"

 

"Dad! Stop that!" Hermione said. Uncharacteristically, she grabbed up her pillow and whacked him with it. "You’re as bad as Ron! Viktor and I are only friends!"

 

"Ah, but that doesn’t mean that Viktor wants to be only friends," Mr. Granger pointed out. "You were the thing he’d miss the most, if you recall."

 

Hermione blushed and fiddled with her pillow. "I do like him, but not like that," she said. "Am I leading him on?" She looked worriedly at her father.

 

Mr. Granger gave that one some serious thought. "I think that as long as you’re honest with him about how you feel, no." His brown eyes studied his daughter gravely. "So, Ron doesn’t want you to go to Bulgaria. What does Harry have to say?"

 

"Not a lot," Hermione sighed. "He’s not been very, erm, communicative lately."

 

"Maybe he’s jealous, too?"

 

"Oh, Merlin, no," Hermione made a face. "In fact, it’s the other way around."

 

Mr. Granger raised an eyebrow. "You’re jealous of Harry?"

 

"NO!" Hermione elaborated. "Poor Harry. He can’t do anything without attracting loads of attention. Anyway, all during the Tournament last year there were all these stupid gossip columns about Harry and some of them linked us romantically and I think Viktor is jealous of Harry, even though I keep telling him that Harry and I are just friends… what’s so funny?" she demanded.

 

"Sorry," Mr. Granger managed. "It’s just that I never expected my bookworm daughter to suddenly turn into a femme fatale!"

 

"Da-ad!" yelped Hermione, and she hit him with the pillow again for good measure. "You are im-pos-sible!"

 

"Your mum’s been telling me that for years," Mr. Granger said. "But look at it from my point of view. It’s a soap opera… do wizards have soap operas? Anyway, Ron is jealous of Viktor, who is jealous of Harry, who is jealous of… whom? Ron? Or is there another prat of a boy that I should know about?"

 

"Harry’s not interested in me that way," Hermione insisted. "He’s interested in the Ravenclaw seeker, Cho Chang. Or he was. I’m not sure if he still is. He feels guilty about Cedric’s death."

 

Mr. Granger looked lost.

 

"Cedric was Cho’s boyfriend."

 

"Poor Harry," Mr. Granger said soberly. "Seems like he gets extra helpings of every problem known to adolescents, doesn’t he?"

 

Hermione dropped the pillow. "And gets it in the public eye," she sighed.

 

"So, what are you going to do about the situation?" Mr. Granger said.

 

"I don’t know. Maybe I’ll write a fiery essay about how all boys are prats."

 

Mr. Granger snorted, grabbed up the discarded pillow and whacked his daughter with it.

 

Hermione automatically reached for her wand, when there was a tap at her window. "Oh, good, Harry’s written back already," she said. She opened the window and Blodwen flew in and perched on a chair.

 

"I’ll go fix the far traveler a bite to eat, then," Mr. Granger said. He remembered his own adolescence quite well and knew when to make a strategic withdrawal.

 

Hermione untied the letter quickly, allowing Blodwen to follow Mr. Granger down the stairs. Emma Granger, seeing the owl follow her husband like a puppy, vowed to buy herself a video camera as soon as possible.

 

Hermione frowned as she read Harry’s letter. She needed to talk to him, but how to get past the draconian Dursleys?

 

 

***

 

Author’s Notes:

 

Lisa: Thanks for the review! ** There are things less appetizing than an owl’s recycled dinner, but it was pretty unappetizing. ** Bradford Pear Trees? Hm, sounds interesting. We used to have a peach tree that stank to high heaven, too.

 

Karie: Thanks for reviewing chapter one and chapter two! ** Thanks for the compliment on my formatting! ** I’ve always found attics to be interesting. I’ve never lived in a how that had a proper attic, just a crawl hole. ** I think Petunia might be a nicer person if she wasn’t around Vernon so much. I really think she married beneath herself.

 

Min: Thanks for the review and thanks for the compliment on how I handle the characters!

 

Persephone_Kore: Thank you for reviewing! ** I do like Harry’s sarcasm. Anybody who can tell one of his oppressors that he looks like a ‘pig in a wig’ is jake in my book. ** Thanks for saying which parts you found funny!

 

Chris: Thanks for the review! Ozma’s stories are great, aren’t they? ** Thanks, it’s always nice to hear that my take on the characters ‘feels right.’ I try to write in the style of Rowling, as I think she’s brilliant. I’m just trying to make Ginny a normal girl with some extraordinary talents. I remember the first crush business well. ** I usually prefer to write action stories myself. There will be some action later in this story (the thrilling climax, in fact.) ** I’ll try to update fast. Much of the story is already written (and posted at fanfiction.net, if you want to read up to chapter sixteen.) And I’ve already started outlining the sequel. Got to have everything done by June 19th! People will be getting into line on the 20th!

 

Arlene: Thanks for the review! I’ll update as fast as I can!

//
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