Scene 20.2

The Contract - Chapter 28: Scene 20.2 by Just Desserts

    Chapter number: 
    28

    Scene 20.2

    1 Jul 1992

    The cool evening breeze wrapped around the Weasley parents, Ginny, and Harry as they watched the sun set over the hills on the horizon.  “Tomorrow,” Mr Weasley said, “Darius and I will bring the original cattle count and half the new count back here.  Those are the standard Fosterage fee terms, at any rate.  I’d like you to help remind Molly and me about all the daily chores that go with having them, if you would.  Then we’ll get everyone up to speed and split the work properly.”

    Harry, sitting in a half-reclined garden chair while propping his feet on a bit of a stump, looked back at Ginny’s parents.  “Okay, Mr Weasley.”

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, Harry,” Mrs Weasly said after the silence came back.  “Arthur and I know you won’t be comfortable here right away, but if you’d rather call us by our names – Arthur and Molly – or something else, go ahead when you’re ready to.”

    Harry gave her a half-smile.  “Not to be repetitive, but okay, Mrs Weasley.”

    “You’ll be fine,” she said with a genuine smile back at him. 

    Harry picked a bit at the remains of the supper he and Ginny had eaten with her parents outside, “away from the boys” as Mrs Weasley put it.  Ginny was swinging gently on a board hung beneath a large oak tree nearby, apparently content to percolate on what they were saying rather than speak herself.  After showing him around the gardens, the paddock, the pond, and the meadow that doubled as a Quidditch pitch, they had settled into a small seating arrangement near the back porch, beneath the shade of the old tree.

    “Aoife and I modified the wards while you two were talking,” Mr Weasley announced in a quiet voice.  “I told her that they’re all welcome to come here at any time, for any reason – or no reason at all.  No invitation needed.  Likewise, Harry, you’re welcome to visit them as you like.”

    “Thank you,” Harry replied, pleased that they were making such an effort to be inclusive of the life he had led before such a fateful day. 

    “We hope you’ll come to see the Weasley family as another place to have fun, Harry,” Mr Weasley continued in his gentle way.  “We knew you were friends with some of our children already, so we hope that this transition won’t be any more difficult than it has to be.  We very much want you to be happy here, as you were with Aofie and Darius.”

    “Err,” Harry said after a moment.  “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, what you’re going through.  Really.  Or, well, I suppose I’ll learn to appreciate the magnitude as we carry on, if you follow me.  I don’t mean to be rude, or anything, but I’m about talked out at the moment, you know?  It’s not quite real, and, well, I’d like to just let everything lay for a while, if that’s all right with you?”

    “That’s perfectly understandable,” Mrs Weasley said.  “I think it’s time we go inside and make sure the boys haven’t maimed each other somehow.  When you’re ready, the two of you will be in Ginny’s room.  Arthur’s put another bed inside, though it took a few expansion charms to make it all fit.  We thought that since . . . well, since you’re married, we might as well put you two in the same room.   It’s called bundling, and people have been doing it for centuries.”  She paused for a moment, then took a breath and continued.  “It’s hard to find time in the house to talk privately, so this way you’ll have some time together.  Whether you two talk or not, if you’re uncomfortable with the arrangement, let us know, all right?  We’ll work something else out.”

    “Okay, Mum,” Ginny said from the swing in the growing darkness.  “I think Harry and I can manage.”

    As Mr and Mrs Weasley rose, levitating all of the dishes except their cups, Harry spoke up.  “I’d like to say thanks . . . err, well . . .” Harry flushed as all three Weasleys stared at him with obvious shock.  “I’m probably not going to say this right, but you did what you did to make my life better.  I know my relatives, see, and for taking me out of that house . . . thank you.  I really, truly mean that.  I’m a bit overwhelmed about the rest of it, and honestly not really happy with things right now, but no matter what else comes, well . . . just, thanks.”

    Mr and Mrs Weasley traded long looks before she smiled back at Harry.  “You’re welcome, Harry.  I hope that in the future, you’ll feel the same way about the rest of it, too.”

    Harry nodded, understanding her intent, but he was unwilling to agree to much more at the moment.    Once they were back inside, Ginny resumed swinging, a lazy sort of effort that was enough to keep her in motion without requiring serious work.

    “Are your Aunt and Uncle that bad?” Ginny asked after a while.

    “Dunno,” Harry said, taking the time to be honest and fair.  “Depends on what your idea of bad is, I suppose.  I think I’d have pulled a runner if I’d been left there.”

    “Harry?” Ginny began after the fireflies came out, tiny streaking stars in the twilight.  “Should we make our, err, relationship public?”

    Harry leaned forward and put his head in his hands.  “I don’t know.  Everyone agreed that it would be up to us, as long as Hogwarts doesn’t know we’re, uh . . . you’re, err . . . well, you know.  Given how everyone treated me last year, I’m not sure you’d want to volunteer for that sort of thing on your own.  It was a bit intense at times.”

    “So we can decide that later, then?”

    “Yeah, I think so.”

    “All right.”

    Harry sat back in the chair, letting the evening darken, watching the fireflies and listening to the swing’s ropes rustle the oak’s leaves when the wind was still.

    4
    Average: 4 (1 vote)

    Comments

    Another good one.

    4

    Like all the others, this chapter is well done. The only issue I have is the same issue I have with most fan fiction, and some published fiction. The children don't always talk like children. It's hard to write like children unless you either are one (in which case, the rest of the writing will likely not be very good), or you are constantly around them. Though it isn't nearly as pronounced as it usually is in other stories. However, this is such a minor issue that it's barely worth mentioning.

    While I have not been disappointed with any chapter of this story, one thing has bugged me from the beginning. I am finally asking, just how exactly do you pronounce Aoife. I know that the letters in our alphabet tend to have vastly different sounds in some of the native British dialects, so I couldn't even begin to guess at how to say her name. I am very curious, as I tend to read 'aloud in my head' if that makes any sense to you. It's rather difficult if you don't know what a word or name sounds like.

    I await the next chapter of this story almost as eagerly as I await the next chapters from each of your other stories. So keep up the good work.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you strike me down now, I shall become more annoying than you could possibly imagine.

    Aoife

    It's pronounced Ee-fah and is a variation on the name Eve or Eva.

    I know this, because I got so frustrated reading the first chapter of The Contract that she appeared in, that I looked it up.

    It's funny that since then I encountered the name again when UKTV fairly recently played How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria. One of the contestants was named Aoife, and when Mum wondered aloud how to pronounce it when it first appeared on screen I had the answer.

    -SC

    Getting into the story

    Certainly, I've found this "interesting" all along...but some of that has simply been trying to grok what was going on. The past couple of chapters have definitely had a magnetic draw for me...pulling into the story itself...finding myself becoming emotionally engaged.

    Thank you.