The Sugar Quill
Author: Phoenix's Melody  Story: I Know You By Heart  Chapter: Chapter 1: Reunion
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Chapter One: Reunion

Author’s Note(s): Due to feedback from readers (thank you for reviewing), I’ve decided to split up the story into five chapters and explain a few things.  This story is a minor branch-off of a major story about Avalon — one that hopefully will be up soon…well, at least, the first few chapters…after all, it does span at least thirty years.  Anyway, the time frame of this story is from December 2003 to the summer of 2004.  And yes, I did go back and fix a major mistake that gave several of my readers heart attacks…I am very sorry that I missed that…*banging head against the wall*

By the way, any and all advice on how to write fluff is extremely appreciated.  I’m not good with romance… thanks!

Disclaimer:  I do not own the Harry Potter series in any way or form.  Therefore, I respect Ms. Rowling (and her lawyers) with all due respect (which is a lot).  So please don’t sue me.  This story, like most of my minor stories, is based on a song.  In this case, the song in question is “I Know You By Heart” by Katrina Carlson in duet with Benny Mardones.  This lovely piece is Ms. Carlson’s property and has been borrowed for this tale with no intention of breaking copyright.  Thank you to Beth, my Sugar Quill editor, and my friends in their own special ways.  Enjoy!

I Know You By Heart

Ginny smiled somewhat tiredly at her overly-talkative coworker and wished she could escape from the stuffy atmosphere of the room as she slipped from the amber colored liquid in her glass.  She was glad that the bartender hadn’t even raised an eyebrow when she had requested a non-alcoholic drink.  The apple cider he had given her was alcohol-free and yet resembled the champagne that was being served at the Ministry ball.  Her coworker was talking a mile a minute as her American friends would say and Ginny simply could not find a breath of time to politely excuse herself from his presence.

Fortunately for her, an owl swooped into the room and settled on her shoulder.  Pig hooted happily; his hyperactive personality had mellowed during the years as he matured — but his overly cheerful outlook on life remained.  Ginny accepted the scribed note from Pig’s talon.  She had to struggle a bit to read her brother’s messier-than-usual handwriting.  Went to hospital, please meet there’ Ginny frowned worriedly, ‘I do hope Ron’s just over reacting about Hermione.  I’d better leave for St. Mungo’s right now.

Her coworker asked, “Anything wrong, honey?  I can take care of it.  I can make all your troubles go away.”

He leaned in closer to her.  Ginny gently pushed him away; he was single and it had been rumored that he was interested in her.  It was becoming clear that the rumor was true and that he had too much to drink.  Ginny quickly made her exit before he did something that would embarrass them both.

“I have to go,” said Ginny and left.  She slipped the note into her purse and fastened the clasp of her cloak as she headed for the fireplace.

“Sorry Miss Weasley,” said one of the guards apologetically as he stood next to the blocked off fireplace.  “The Floo Network is being serviced right now.  May I hail the Knight Bus for you instead?”  Ginny smiled at the guard.  Quincy was a nice man.  It wasn’t his fault that the fireplace network of travel wasn’t working and besides, she hadn’t been too thrilled at the prospect of traveling through fireplaces in a silk dress in the first place.  However, the idea of traveling by Knight Bus wasn’t exactly thrilling either since its driver’s driving skills had not improved with time.

“It’s all right Quincy,” said Ginny as she stepped towards the door instead.  “I can do it myself.  Thank you for the offer though.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Good night Miss Weasley.”

“Good night Quincy,” said Ginny, stepping out into the cool night air.  She drew her cloak tight around her and looked up at the headlights of a Muggle car that was coming up the street.  Automatically, she stepped backwards into the shadows of the night.  The car pulled to the curb and its driver turned off the engine and stepped out of the vehicle.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise.’ Ginny thought as Harry Potter stepped onto the curb.  She moved out of the shadows.

“Harry,” called Ginny.  He turned and smiled at her.  On impulse, she ran over to him and wrapped him in a hug.

“Hi, Ginny,” replied Harry, wrapping his arms around her.  “How are you?”

“Fine,” replied Ginny, breaking away from him.  “It’s been so long since we’ve talked.”

“Yes, well, we can talk on the way to the hospital.  Ron asked me to pick you up.  That’s a nice dress you’re wearing by the way.”

“Thank you.”  Ginny blushed.

“Well, we’d better get going.  Ladies first,” Harry opened the car door for her, sweeping an elaborate bow.  Ginny smiled and replied, “Thanks.  How’s Hermione?”

Harry raised an eyebrow in mock surprise.  “Surely your mother has given you ample information on that subject?”

Ginny laughed.  “Well, Mum has certainly been preoccupied with grandchildren lately.  No, actually; she’s more worried about Charlie and Nora’s wedding.”  Harry nodded, shut the door, and went around the car.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Merlin, she looks beautiful tonight…’ Harry let the thought trail off right there.  He feared if he let it go on, he would do something foolish.  He loved Ginny; he just hadn’t realized that he loved her in the romantic sense.  This was not the right time.  Ron was already a basket case of father-to-be nerves and Harry was not going to awaken Ron’s protective older brother instincts with Ginny.  Harry was not going to approach him at that moment, asking for permission to see Ron’s only sister.  Tonight was Ron and Hermione’s night, and their new child and Harry was determined not to ruin it.  Merlin’s Beard, I don’t even know if she feels the same way about me…’ he thought as he opened the driver’s side door.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thank Merlin he looks better now.’ Ginny thought, waiting for him to climb into the driver’s seat.  When they had last seen each other, he had looked worn and exhausted: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Defeating Voldemort during his last year at Hogwarts had cost him and the Wizarding world dearly.  Since those dark days five years ago, the two had not found the time to meet.  Harry had been busy in Auror training and Ginny, after graduation, dealt with a torrent of traumatized victims that Voldemort and his Death Eaters had left behind.  They corresponded often, but it was not a true replacement for face-to-face conversation.  He’s grown even more handsome.  I wonder if he has a girlfriend yet?  Ginny thought and then had to promptly repress the serge of jealousy that rose within her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Oooh yeah…
I am spinnin' around inside
Through the window you say "climb in for a ride"
All I want is what you are
But if I drive you to your door it'll go too far

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Where’s Hermione?”

“She’s at St. Christopher’s Hospital,” replied Harry, turning on the engine.

“Never heard of it,” replied Ginny, puzzled.

“It’s an Avalonian hospital,” explained Harry, switching on the turn-signal.

“I see.  Who runs it?”

“Oh, Sirius’ niece, Alice, manages it with her husband, Henry Blackwood.  They got married last month.”

“That’s good, they’re happy, I hope?” asked Ginny politely.  Harry nodded.

“How’s work been going?” she asked.  Ron had been busy and the last time she had seen him was about two weeks ago.  With the busy schedules of the whole family, the Weasleys only managed to get together once every three months now.  Even then, Ron had been absent or forced to leave early because of training or work.

“Well, we’re getting there,” replied Harry vaguely as he merged into Muggle traffic.  Ginny knew that he couldn’t talk much about his job.  There were still Death Eaters left to be arrested, but the Ministry was slowly working toward the goal of catching the fugitives.  Their primary goal was to apprehend Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy who had managed to slip past Ministry Aurors soon after Voldemort’s death.  There were a host of other minor characters that needed to be dealt with; but Lucius, being one of Voldemort’s closest supporters, was the biggest threat to the newfound peace of the Wizarding world.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I know you by heart, like the road back home
I know if we touched, I'd have to have you alone
I know you by heart you're my very best friend
I know if I let you back, it would all start again

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Ginny, I don’t want to touch on a sore spot, but I was wondering what happened to Reilly?  You talked so much about him in your letters and then he just disappeared.”  Harry braked the car at the traffic light and looked at her to see her reaction.

Ginny stiffened.  She really did not want to think or talk about her ex-boyfriend, near fiancé.  He had gone away on a ‘business trip’ and then wrote to her that he didn’t think that their relationship ‘could progress’ any further.  A few months later, through a coworker, Ginny learned that Reilly was dating seriously again.  She had half a mind to write to his new ‘love of his life’ to inform her of her existence, but decided against it in the end.

Harry wasn’t an expert at reading body language.  He had learned the skills on the job questioning Death Eaters and other people with something to hide, but he knew enough to know that Ginny was uncomfortable.

“Sorry,” said Harry quickly.  The light had turned green and he steered the car left.  “It’s none of my business.”

“No,” replied Ginny, forcing herself to sound calm.  It was time to follow what she preached to her patients.  “I should talk about it.  And besides, you’re my friend.  You have a right to know.”  She sighed.

“Reilly broke off our engagement rather suddenly.”

“What?!” Harry took his attention off of the road for a brief second to give her a shocked look.  “He dumped you just like that?”

“Yes, he said our relationship couldn’t progress, whatever that means.  I think he might have been put off by the family.”

“How could anyone not like your family?”

“They’re big, and I guess they can be intimidating sometimes, especially the way my brothers act.”

“What?  Fred and George sent him some fireworks?” asked Harry, amused.

“No, more like ‘If you hurt my sister in any way, I’ll have your head,’ sort of intimidation.”

“Oh, well they are your brothers.”

“Don’t you start too!  I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”

“I know, I know, but you are the youngest in the family and it’s hard to break years of behavior.”

“Yes, I know,” said Ginny.  “It’s just that it’s so — so suffocating sometimes.  It’s better now since almost everyone is married and expecting.”  She paused.  “Do you think you can make it to Charlie and Nora’s wedding?”

Harry chuckled, “Well, I think I’ve talked Kingsley into giving Ron and me at least a half-day off.”

“Is it going to be enough?”

“Well, he says that he’ll put us on-call, so if anything occurs we’ll have to leave early, or get someone to cover for us, but that’s unlikely.”

Without thinking, she blurted out, “And what about you?”

“Hmm?”  Harry did not follow her reasoning.

“Is there anyone special?” she asked, wondering why his answer seemed so important to her.

“No,” Harry said slowly.  “Not at the moment.  I’ve been so busy…and you know Aurors aren’t exactly allowed to socialize in that manner.”

Not,” he said a bit hastily, “that anyone has shown interest in me beyond being a coworker, or,” he added somewhat bitterly, “The Boy Who Lived.”

Ginny placed a sympathetic hand on his arm.  She knew how much he hated that title.  Thank Merlin that Hermione had the information on Rita Skeeter to keep that horrid woman quiet; but she wasn’t the only reporter in the Wizarding world.  So when Harry had elected to go into the Aurors, a big media fuss had been made, so large that Harry practically had to disguise himself just to go outside of his home.

In the end, it had been his extremely irritated godmother, Samantha, who told the reporters to leave before she slapped them silly with a lawsuit or two.  Of course, it probably helped that she was known to be one of the main defenders of Hogwarts when Voldemort attacked, that her father was the former American ambassador to Britain (and currently worked right under Dumbledore in the International Confederation of Wizards), that she was friends with Dumbledore, that her sister headed a prestigious law firm, and that she was the wife of Sirius Black, who had been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“So what have Ron and Hermione come up with for names if the baby’s a girl?” Ginny asked, turning the conversation into less heavy topics.

“They were still ‘discussing’ it when I left to pick you up,” Harry said, fighting to keep a smile off of his face.  “They’ll fight it out and everything will be fine in the end.  Last I heard: if the baby’s a girl, her name will be Minerva.  That was of course Hermione’s idea.  Ron’s dead set against it lest his daughter turn into our Transfiguration Professor.”

Ginny giggled.  “And what was Ron’s suggestion?”

“He wanted Fleur, but considering that Hermione wasn’t too thrilled about that…”

“The baby will probably end up being Hope or Peace or something like that.”

“Hermione wouldn’t stand for it, neither would Ron,” said Harry, pulling into the parking lot of the private hospital.  “Well, the baby could be a boy and then this whole discussion would have been for nothing.”

“I suppose so,” said Ginny, smiling.

 

//
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