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Mr. Mickawber.
Well, HERE's a surprise!

So many, many years ago — just before the sixth Harry Potter book came out — I wrote a flangsty Harry/Ginny fic called
Vindaloo (ETA: link now works!) that correctly called Harry's chest monster... sort of. It was set during the summer just before Harry's sixth year and explored Harry's sudden and uncontrollable... yeah; at the end, Harry bets Ginny that -- even though he understands that she's with Dean -- that he (Harry) will still be able to say that he loves her the following year.

I remember thinking that I wanted to write that follow-up -- what happened the following year, but I only finished the main story two weeks before HBP was published, and so I didn't think I'd actually written any of it.

Well. I was just looking through my files for something totally different when I came across a version of the fic marked "Vindaloo-with-epilogue.doc" Perplexed, I opened it up, and what do you think I found?

Well, no: not the complete epilogue — about two-thirds of it, some 1200 words. (And there was to be another, shorter epilogue to finish up the tale.) And it wasn't at all bad.

I briefly considered finishing it, but it seems a bit silly to finish a chapter that's eight years old and two books AU. Still, I thought I'd share it here as one of my Tales from the Crypt:


Epilogue: Happy Birthdays


Harry knew where to find her, even if everyone else seemed bewildered. Once Dean finally left the Burrow in a huff—encouraged rather menacingly by a number of Ginny’s brothers—Harry waited for everyone to stop searching for her, and then snuck up to his room, got his invisibility cloak, and walked with as much silence as his tumultuous thoughts could afford him to the huge oak by the paddock.

When he climbed up into the tree house, Ginny didn’t even turn around. She was facing her little desk, slowly tearing Dean’s letters to shreds. “Sorry we ruined your party,” she said, voice low and strained.

“Actually,” replied Harry, “I know it’s not nice of me to admit this, but that was about the best birthday present Dean could have given me.”

Ginny whirled around, mouth open and eyes like slits.

Harry smiled, and they both began to laugh. Sadly, it might have been, but laughing nonetheless.

“Ginny,” Harry said, and paused, knowing that there were two possible directions that he could take the conversation in, uncertain which way was right and which way was merely easy. He took her hand, took a breath and made a decision. “Ginny, you shouldn’t tear that stuff up now. Wait. You may feel different—”

She squeezed his hand and withdrew her own. “No, Harry. It’s over.”

“Dean’s a good bloke—”

She snorted.

“—if a bit… hot-headed. And it’s not like he’s the only one like that around here. Don’t make a decision you might—
She smiled and shook her head. “No, Harry. This has been coming for months. This wasn’t the first fight. But it was the last—no one gets to talk to me like that.”

“No,” Harry said, rather more emphatically than he intended. “You know that none of us believes any of what he said.”

“Oh, but it’s true. Some of it.” She rolled her eyes. “Not the bit about me sneaking around and snogging other boys behind his back. I know you know…” Suddenly she stopped, her mouth still open, and looked quizzically at Harry. “But I did, didn’t I? I kissed you here. Last year.”

“Ginny, no. That didn’t…”

“Believe me, I remember it. I know it happened. That was one hell of a kiss.”

Some unnameable feeling flooded up from Harry’s gut, making his chest and throat feel warm and thick. “Uh, yeah.”

Ginny cocked her head to one side and peered at Harry. “So, is this where you tell me that your feelings for me haven’t change or something like that?” She flipped a loose strand of hair off of her forehead.

“Uh…” The thickness in Harry’s chest expanded. He had to tell her the truth—but how much of it?

“Yes?”

Her eyes seemed to bore into him, bright in the candlelight. “What?”

His mind worked madly, but none of the million words whizzing through his brain managed to make their way out from between his lips.

Bright brown eyes approached, filling his vision.

“Ginny.”

“Yes, Harry?” Her breath buffeted his chin.

Heart pounding, he peers into those eyes as deeply as he can— “They haven’t. At all.”

Those eyes — bright brown and so, so close — encompassed his world, looking at him, searching… for something.

Harry gulped. Took a deep breath. “But — ”

But?” Now those eyes — red-rimmed and puffy — narrowed to slits. “That’s not the kind of statement you can make, Harry, and then weasel out of it with a but.”

“I know,” he said. “And I’m not.”
Ginny crossed her arms. “But?

“But…” Harry took another deep breath. “Do you remember what you said to me last year?”

The arms remained crossed. The eyes remained narrowed. “Which bit. I said quite a lot.”

“Um….”

“I remember what you said. All of it.”

He looked down. “Merlin, I wish you didn’t.” Now Ginny’s eyes flew wide, as if he’d hurt — “Oh, Ginny, no, not that, I meant all of that, honest. It’s just… The bit in the kitchen. Where I asked you to….”

“Oh!” Now Ginny’s face, which had been blotchy with anger, turned a uniform crimson. “Oh. Yeah. Yeah.”

“I mean,” blurted Harry, “not that I didn’t mean that, just — ”

“Right, no, I understand, right.”

They sat there in Ginny’s tree house, her sanctuary, each staring at the other’s shoes, for what felt like an hour before Harry felt that he could speak coherently. “You talked about how… loyal I was.”

She smirked moistly. “I said I was making you sound like a dog.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t mind.” He smiled back at her. “But…”

“Here we are again with the but.”

“Ginny, I do still feel the same. I still, you know, love you.” Somehow, a year hadn’t made that any easier to say. “But as much as I’d like to do something about it, I can’t.”

Ginny didn’t look angry now — just miserable. “Why not?”

“There’s…. Well,” Harry sighed, “there’s four reasons. Four that I can think that as much as I want to, I can’t do anything about… what I feel. First of all there’s Luna.”

“Luna?” Ginny squinted at him as if he’d begun to speak Gobbledygook.

Harry just nodded. “Luna. I know she doesn’t think that we’re really going out or anything —  she keeps talking about when you and Dean break up, and anyway, she’s still snogging Neville off and on — but I can’t… do that. If I’m with someone, I’m with them. You know?”

Ginny shrugged.

“Second, there’s Dean.”

Now the ire rose back into her eyes. “DEAN?

“Yeah. Dean.” He found that he was talking to her as if she were a large and not terribly happy hippogriff: speaking slowly, respectfully, not quite looking her in the eye. He stifled the urge to bow. “I have to live with him. He’s... Well, he’s a friend. As much as it’s killed me this last year to see the two of you together, and as much as I wanted to stand in line to hex the idiot tonight — ”

Ginny grunted, a swallowed growl, and Harry couldn’t help that the sound made him smile. “But I don’t want to antagonize him — and I don’t want to make him think he was right accusing you the way he did. You don't deserve that.”

“Oh.” Now she was the one who couldn’t look at him. “I saw you.”

Harry blinked.

“I saw you,” she continued, voice low, “saw you, watching us.”

“You...?” He blinked again, and then flinched. “Oh.”

She nodded, “On the train up after Christmas, when Dean and I hadn’t seen each other and got kind of… Yeah.”

Harry could remember standing there, watching them snog. Wanting to die. Wanting to kill them both. No — not both. Just Dean.

Ginny peered up through her fringe. “And part of me felt really awful, because I know how the look you were giving me feels, Harry, and you’d said, and….” She looked away again. “And part of me felt, like, Ha! Take that! And I know you said it’s not Tom, but I felt really….”

Her face was so miserable that he couldn’t help but reach out and take her hand. That turned out to be both a really good and a really, really bad idea, because as soon as their fingers connected —

Well, as soon as their fingers connected, everything else did too. And even though it was precisely what Harry most desperately wanted not to happen, he found that he was kissing her. Or she was kissing him. They were kissing each other, and it was glorious, incendiary — the feeling of her in his arms, like flame with legs. With lips.

But no. No. No.

Harry found himself
[...]

~*~

And that is where poor Harry and Ginny will remain, though I think you can probably see where this was headed.

The other two reasons he couldn't just snog her and get it over with? 3) Voldemort: Harry didn't feel like he could commit to a relationship knowing what might be coming down (yeah, yeah, it sucked as a reason in canon too); and 4) Ginny: He didn't want to start a relationship with her on the rebound. When they got together, he wanted it to be about them, not about someone else. :shrug:

Oh — and of course the SECOND epilogue was to take place after final battle (which was to have taken place at the Borrow itself), and of course was going to allow these two finally to be together.

So, there you go!
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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
dragyn_42
May. 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
1 - Excellent.

2 - I really wanted to smack Harry when he started listing reasons. They're quite character appropriate, but fanfic allows us to remove the stupid.

3 - While I understand you not finishing and laud you for posting anyway, I really dislike the statement, "After the books, my fanfic is now AU." You might as well just say, "After the books, my fanfic is now fanfic."

4 - Finish It!

5 - Con this weekend (yay!) I'll let you know how your filk goes :P
mickawber_fics
Jul. 21st, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
Two months later...

:-p

1. Thanks!

2. Aw, but why remove the stupid when you can make fun of it? ;-)

3. Heh. Well, mostly, it's annoying getting people commenting on an old fic as if it were new. I had one person yell at me for having Ginny summon Harry's cloak in "Give and Take" (the one in Back to the Garden); I had to point out to her that, yes, JKR had made it clear that you couldn't summon the cloak... had made it clear in DH.

4. Nope. Hey, I'm still trying to finish Third Person, Singular!

5. Glad that went well!
sueatducksfoot
May. 23rd, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
You need to go digging through your files more often. :) I love the idea of Ginny having a tree house. I can see her having one at home, one that is heavily booby trapped to keep the boys out. I can also see her wanting to have a place like that at school too. She'd have done it after her first year, she'd need a place to just get away from everything. I can also see Harry knowing exactly where it was, even though no one else would know.

Harry always has his reasons for not getting together with Ginny, but he's fighting himself along with Ginny against them. (I'm not sure I said that right) I can easily see her turning him by just touching him. He wants it as much as she does, no matter how much he wants to be above it.

Thanks for a nice end to the evening last night.
mickawber_fics
Jul. 21st, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
Two months later, he emerges from his cave, blinking at the bright light of summer....

Thank you.

I always loved the idea of Ginny's tree house. I had used it in Four Weddings and a Funeral and was glad to be able to revisit it here.

Glad this pleased!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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Mr. Mickawber.
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