Scene 22.0

The Contract - Chapter 31: Scene 22.0 by Just Desserts

    Chapter number: 
    31

    Scene 22.0

    July 30, 1992

     

    “Really, I mean no offence by this, but I have plenty of money, Mrs Weasley.  You know that.  Your family has plenty of everything that really matters, but in this case . . . well, Ginny is part of my family, too.  Everything that’s mine is hers.  We’ll take care of getting all of her supplies.  You just don’t need to.”

    Harry could tell that the “discussion” – since it was impolite to suggest it might be an argument – was going to continue unabated for still longer than it already had.  When Ginny spoke up, however, the conversation changed abruptly.  “I agree, Mum,” she said in the firmest voice Harry had ever heard from her.  “I’ll want you to help me pick things out, but Harry and I will pay for our own needs.”

    Mrs Weasley looked as surprised as Harry felt, though he hoped he was hiding his reaction much better than she. 

    “Now, if you’ll excuse us for a moment,” Ginny continued, “I want to make sure Harry can carry something for me.” She nodded to her mum, seized Harry’s hand in a vice-like grip, and dragged him upstairs.

    As soon as they were in her room, she closed the door and wheeled to face him.  Her face was flushed, and her eyes quickly found his shoes.  “Harry,” she began, all traces of strength gone, “I don’t really like what you’re asking me to do.  I can tell it’s important to you.  In fact I think the whole family could tell given how you and Mum were going at each other.   But I don’t like the idea of using your money.”

    Harry sighed.  Mrs Weasley had some weird sense of false pride or shame when it came to money, but he had been hoping that Ginny was not so afflicted.  “I guess I should have talked it over with you first,” he said.  “But Ginny, this really is just about the money, which I think is stupid.  If your parents had plenty, I wouldn’t care one way or another.  But your parents don’t, and I heard them talking about having you use a hand-me-down wand.  That’s not good enough for you, and it might even make things harder for you at school.  Why are you all so hung up on something as pointless as a few galleons? Especially when no one has said anything about the extra food I eat?”

    “It’s a habit, Harry,” she said, wringing her hands.  “We don’t want to seem like . . . charity cases or something.  I know it’s important to you, and I certainly hope you’re not looking at us that way, but . . . look at it my way.  As your wife, I thought it was important to support you about this.  I just want you to know that I’m not comfortable with it.  But if you can . . . can warn me or something in the future, I’ll try to help you talk to Mum and Dad about this in a way that won’t set them off so much.”

    “Fair enough,” Harry replied.  “And no, I don’t think you or your family need charity.  I just want to see you have your own, proper wand, and the right books and supplies.  If it was something that really didn’t matter in the end – like, I dunno, chocolate frog cards or something -  I wouldn’t care either way.  But this is important to me, so thank you for your support.  You really should think of it as our money, though, and use it.  After all, I didn’t do any more to earn it than you did, and it’s pointless if we don’t do anything with it.  Aoife and Darius told me that we can’t buy everything we see, but we’re well enough off that we can figure it all out later as long as we’re careful now.  All right?”

    Ginny finally looked up at him, and he was happy to see that her blush had faded to a large extent.  “All right.”  She reached out and took his hand gently, squeezing it before letting go.  Over the past few weeks that had become her trademarked way to seal an important discussion with him.  Occasionally, he had thought she might be about to do something else, but then she would take his hand and the now-familiar gesture would wash away any lingering disagreement.  After the first few times, he had started to squeeze back, letting her know he was trying to make things right also – and that he was willing to meet her at least half-way.

    “Shall we, then?” Harry asked.

    Ginny smiled more broadly.  “Yes, let’s.  I’m finally going to Hogwarts!”  With that, she disappeared down the stairs and left the still-swinging door behind.  Her voice echoed up the stairs briefly, “Hurry up, or I’ll tell the twins what you’ve been keeping in your trunk!”

    Realising that her threat was far from idle, Harry followed her downstairs.  Only Mrs Weasley remained in the kitchen when he arrived, the others apparently having already departed through the floo network.  She smiled at Harry briefly, pulled him into a firm hug, and whispered, “We’ll talk more later, Harry, but thank you for taking care of my little girl.”

    “I’m not taking care of her,” Harry whispered back.  “I’m only helping you to take care of her.”

    When Harry stumbled out of the fireplace into the Leaky Cauldron, he was met with smiles and back-slaps from Seamus, Neville, and Michael.  Cat, on the other hand, was all but hopping from foot to foot, trying to maneuver her way between Ginny and him.  Ginny, for her part, shot Harry a faint smile before they all headed out the back door. 

    “Where to first, kids?” Mr Weasley called over the heads of everyone.

    “Flourish and Blotts!” “Fortescue’s!” “Gambol and Japes!” and various other replies came back.

    Harry leaned over to Mr Weasley, who was next to him, and quietly replied, “How about splitting up a bit?  It took ages for Ollivander to find me a wand, so why don’t Ginny and I go with Mrs Weasley to get our supplies, and we can all meet up at the bookstore later?  And maybe finish with the joke shop and ice cream?”

    Mrs Weasley, whom Harry had failed to realise was standing right behind him, squeezed his shoulders tightly.  “Let’s do that, Arthur.  I don’t fancy keeping track of this lot as a whole in every store.  Let Augusta take Ron and his friends, you take the twins and Percy, and I’ll take these two.”

    “Did you hear the news?” Harry heard Hermione’s voice from somewhere in front of the group.  “Gilderoy Lockhart is supposed to be signing books today.”

    “Oh, my!” Mrs Weasley said a bit breathlessly.  “Come along, Ginny, Harry.  Let’s see about these lists you have.”

     

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