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SIYE Time:13:01 on 13th August 2022


Moody's Blues
By gryffins_door

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Category: Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 31
Summary: The adults in Harry's life start acting more like adults; in the meantime, Harry discovers something special in Ginny. Starts late in OotP; mostly canon to that point. Total AU after Book 6. H/G, mentor Moody.
Hitcount: Story Total: 8616; Chapter Total: 1086
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Ch 3 in which Harry finally has a birthday party…




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- 3 -
Dear Diary

Dear Diary, what a day it's been
Dear Diary, it's been just like a dream
Woke up too late, wasn't where I should have been
For goodness sake
What's happening to me?

- The Moody Blues

o o
o

Ginny flopped back again to her right side and stared at the limply hanging moonlit curtains. The third week of summer and she was already feeling restless. Sleep was fleeting this night, so she decided a visit to the kitchen was necessary. Desperate measures and all that, she thought wryly.

Donning her old dressing gown - really needing a larger one now - she negotiated the steps down, avoiding those notorious for their squeaks and groans. Oddly, the kitchen was already lit, but it was no surprise seeing the dark-mopped head sitting there sipping on a tea mug.

"So you've found another of my special brooding spots, Mr. Potter. If I didn't know better, I'd say you must have some talent in divination."

Harry looked up, startled at her voice. Then he snorted. "Divination? I did well as long as I predicted some personal disaster every week."

Ginny sat, looking thoughtful. "I do believe you have a point."

"What, that I'm good at divination?"

"Hah - as if!" Ginny said. "No, I meant that you seem to have some of the worst luck of anyone I know. What was it you said - trouble follows you around?"

Harry nodded. "It seems that way sometimes."

"Ever since I've known you, you've had more bad things happen to you than should be allowed. And I only heard stories about what went on before that, and what your life was like before Hogwarts."

"Yeah," Harry said, wincing, "but I'd rather not get into all that."

"And then," she continued in earnest, "you just recently found out that this nonsense started even before you were born! What I want to know is, who died and made you Fate's personal chew toy?"

Harry stared at her incredulously, then began to laugh.

"Fate's chew toy?"

"Harry, what exactly did Dumbledore tell you about the prophecy?"

With a sigh, Harry told her the story he'd heard the night after their trip to the Ministry of Magic, how the headmaster was interviewing Trelawny for the divination post and was ready to dismiss her when she went into a trance and uttered the words that changed his life.

"And he's sure that you were the one that met the criteria?"

"He said at first there was one other, but when Tom 'marked' me, that sealed it. And the Unspeakables must've agreed, because they put my name on the bloody orb."

"And this power you're supposed to have?"

Harry looked down at his mug. "It was kinda strange - he talked about a locked room in the Department of Mysteries where they study this wonderful yet dangerous thing, something that Tom never had or understood but I am supposed to have a lot of . . ."

Ginny held her breath.

"Heart."

"What?"

"Dumbledore thinks that I care for others so much and that's what is going to help me defeat Tom. But . . . I have no idea how that's supposed to work."

Ginny laid her hand on his. "He's not wrong, you know."

Harry stared at her hand, how small it seemed, yet full of warmth.

"What else did he tell you?" Ginny said, finally breaking the silence.

"Oh, some death eater was hiding outside the room and overheard the first part before being caught and tossed out of there."

Ginny sucked in a breath. "And of course he reported it to Tom straight away, setting up what happened that Halloween."

Harry could only nod again.

"So Tom didn't know that by 'marking you' - I assume with that scar - he would basically set the prophecy in motion?"

"Yeah, that was Dumbledore's thought, too."

"And this was months before you were born."

"Uh-huh."

"See what I mean? Fate's chew toy!"

Harry's face darkened. "Ginny, Dumbledore said I could talk to you guys about this, but you can't tell anyone that you know anything about it. I haven't even shared the details with Ron or Hermione yet."

"Really?" Ginny said, surprised that Hermione's thirst for knowledge hadn't bubbled over into an interrogation session. "Any bets on how long she'll last?"

"I'm deadly serious about this," Harry returned. "In fact, don't even let them know I've told you about it. That way no one can get that information out of their heads."

"You're keeping secrets from them?"

"Look, everyone knows that Ron, Hermione and me hang out together and share everything. They don't know about you - you can pretend that you're not close to us and they won't come after you - "

"And that's worked so well in the past? What about Malfoy and Tom's diary?"

Harry sighed. "Ginny, I am so sorry that happened to you, but Malfoy was targeting your dad through you. You were just a means to an end, you know?"

"But Tom ended up using me for his own ends!"

"Yes, he did, but that was just young Tom trying to find a way out of the diary. He wasn't after you specifically."

"But what if he finds out it was me that was possessed by that thing, and he wants to follow up with something else - some kind of evil ritual for something we can't even think of - "

Harry saw the panic forming in her shining eyes and quickly moved around the table to embrace her in his protective arms.

"I don't think he would, Ginny, but I promise to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen."

Head tucked into his shoulder, Ginny hid her gasp as a sniffle, feeling the pulse of magic from Harry's vow envelope her. He was probably unaware of what he had just done, and Ginny could only marvel at this amazing boy as they clung to each other, alone in the quiet of the kitchen.

If Harry's secret power was indeed his incredible heart, Voldemort was as good as gone already.

o o o

A summer routine began to form. During the day they all made an effort not to be discouraged by the abundance of dark news printed in the Daily Prophet and tidings from Mr. Weasley and their oldest brother Bill, who heard about things that didn't make it into the newspaper. The four Hogwarts students also made a game of avoiding "Phlegm" - Ginny's pet name for the former Beauxbatons Triwizard Champion Fleur Delacour, recent fiancée to Bill and current house guest - but mostly played two-a-side quidditch. Harry and Hermione usually paired against the two Weasleys since they were most evenly matched that way. Ron especially had been surprised at how good his sister was, unaware she had been borrowing her brothers' brooms at night for years, something Harry found very amusing.

Harry and Ginny continued to find themselves in the kitchen late at night when unable to sleep, which seemed to be most of the time. Harry found Ginny open, honest, and very easy to talk to. Not only was she a good listener, but her insights helped Harry think through some of the things that had been troubling him.

Harry gradually worked through the details of his history at Hogwarts - the trials, triumphs, and tragedies. When it came to the previous year's occlumency lessons from Snape - a disaster even by Dumbledore's reckoning - he paused at the memory he had seen in the pensieve, a victim of temptation and his own reckless feeling of having to know.

He had seen his father humiliating Snape as if it was an everyday occurrence - a normal act of bullying another for entertainment.

Snape had been livid about it and made him swear to tell no one else, but he had no love and even less respect for the dour potions professor, justifying a private discussion with Ginny. They had already agreed that all topics would stay between themselves.

"Everyone says my parents were both really great people," Harry said, "but I wonder if their memories are colored by their deaths during the war. From what I saw in Snape's memory, I'm pretty sure I would not be friends with the Marauders if we were in school together. Everything Snape said about my father being arrogant was right there - even my mum told him off."

"But you said Snape pulled it out of his head so you would not see it," said Ginny. "How does that make sense?"

"That's what bothers me - I feel like there's something missing that I don't understand. Maybe it was because he tried to fight back and they kept harassing him. Maybe it was something that happened later that I didn't get to see."

Through all the discussion, Harry took the opportunity to study his new favorite subject - Ginny herself. She had blossomed from the cute little fangirl he met at King's Cross into a vibrant young woman with an athletic yet enticingly curvy frame, a wicked sense of humor and most important, she now seemed to see just Harry, without all the Boy Who Lived nonsense.

There seemed to be genuine affection between them - casual touches from her that were anything but casual in his mind, smiles and even hugs when they finally said good night. He thought about ways that he might express how much he fancied her, but he was afraid she no longer held her childhood crush on him. He didn't want to lose her - it wasn't like he had friendships to spare.

"Didn't you say that Remus Lupin was there that day?" Ginny asked, bringing his attention back to the topic at hand, referring to one of his father's surviving friends.

"Yeah…"

"Mum said he might be coming tomorrow - you can talk to him then!"

"What's tomorrow?"

Ginny stared at him as if his nostrils had sprouted some sort of magical herb. "It's your birthday, silly! Did you honestly forget?"

"Not like I celebrate much…" he mumbled.

"Well, you get to celebrate with us this year," Ginny said warmly, "and mum is baking all your favorites."

The next day, Molly had indeed outdone herself with a small feast for Harry's sixteenth birthday party, the first time he had celebrated with someone who actually cared, but the festivities were dampened considerably when Remus Lupin brought grisly news of dementor attacks and the discovery of Igor Karkaroff's body. Despite Mrs. Weasley's efforts to change the subject, the discussion then turned to disappearances in Diagon Alley, particularly Florean Fortescue, who ran the ice cream parlor where Harry had spent many pleasant hours before third year, and Ollivander the wand maker.

The news was getting more and more depressing since Lord Voldemort had made his rebirth known. At least Harry wasn't the laughingstock he had been the previous year.

Harry felt a little awkward being the only one opening gifts, still having difficulty accepting that it was perfectly normal to celebrate that way. Most of them were either practical (books or things to wear) or edible - he was definitely not throwing away the Honeyduke's chocolate from Ron this year.

One small envelope held a simple note, along with a tiny photograph that slipped into his lap. Harry unfolded the note to reveal a few words in his aunt's neat script:

I found this when cleaning and thought you might want it.
- P

His relatives had never acknowledged his birthday except to remind him how much of a burden he was or some such, so Harry was floored they sent him anything. Then he picked up the photo.

His own eyes stared back at him from a beaming young girl's face framed by long auburn tresses.

"Mum…" he breathed.

"Oh, Harry!" Hermione gasped over his shoulder. "She's so cute!"

Harry could no longer make out her image. He handed the picture to Hermione so that his tears would not ruin it, the first time he had seen his mum so young.

"Remus," he said after swallowing, "how old do you think she is there?"

Remus looked closer as Hermione held it up. "Oh, my, this was well before Hogwarts. I would guess around eight or nine, probably made as a school portrait. Your aunt might be able to tell you."

Harry shook his head. "Doesn't matter, not really. I just can't believe she sent it. I thought she'd binned all these years ago."

"Harry, surely she wouldn't have -"

"Remus," Harry interrupted, determined to get some answers to questions that had been plaguing his recent thoughts. "You're the only one here who was close to my parents in school. Please be honest with me - what were they really like at my age?"

"At sixteen?" Remus reflected. "They were both brilliant and passionate in their own way, but you have seen from being around your own peers that teenagers can be immature as well. What exactly did you want to know?"

Harry took a deep breath. "Was my dad a bully?"

Mrs. Weasley huffed indignantly. "That's hardly a question for your party, dear."

Harry focused resolutely on Remus. "I need to know."

"It's alright, Molly," Remus said, noting that everyone was paying close attention, Lily's photograph held forgotten in the hands of Fleur Delacour.

He cleared his throat. "James always loved his pranks - he and Sirius were the drivers in forming the Marauders in the first place - and most of the time they were just for laughs."

"But that depends on who's laughing," Harry said. "So he did cross the line sometimes?"

"Yes, he did, but rarely without reason. His primary targets were the Slytherins who were leaning towards the pureblood movement - future Death Eaters - and they had no qualms about cursing us if they thought they could get away with it."

"So he never harassed anyone just because they happened by at the wrong time?"

"Not that I can recall…"

Harry was going to have to press a bit. "What about right after OWLs? I heard he targeted someone just because they existed, I believe is how he put it. And I also heard you were there."

"Ah," said Remus in resignation. "Did Severus tell you about that?"

"Snape has told me nothing," Harry insisted, thinking how that was technically true, "except reminding me how awful my dad was. And now I'm wondering if he's been right all along."

Remus pinched the bridge of his nose. "Severus was a special case."

"How so?"

"Aside from being one of those Slytherins I mentioned, there were two other reasons. One of them was me."

Harry was not expecting this, but suddenly it made sense, how Snape had been curious about Remus' monthly "illness" and following Sirius into the tunnel at the Whomping Willow would have meant the werewolf Remus became during the full moon would have killed him if not for his father's intervention. Of course, all of them would have been expelled and possibly sentenced to Azkaban, so it could have just been self preservation.

"Dad was protecting you."

"Yes."

"What was the other reason?"

"Lily," Remus said. "Severus was best friends with her since before Hogwarts."

"What?" Harry said, totally blindsided. He glanced wide-eyed at Ginny, who had a similar expression of sudden realization - with a quick nod she agreed, this was the missing piece to the puzzle they had been working on.

"It's obvious, innit?" said Ron. "The gits both had a jealous crush on her," indicating the photo that was now in Bill's hands.

"Merveilleux, Ronald!" said Fleur. "C'est brillante!"

Ron blushed while his siblings all chuckled at his expense. Hermione turned a slightly different shade of red, glaring at both Ron and Fleur.

"But Snape insulted her," Harry said, still confused.

"I wondered about that as well," said Remus. "They were never as close afterwards. I believe Lily was getting frustrated with things that she didn't approve of, but I don't know enough to say. Unfortunately, we can't ask her, and I don't think Severus will be forthcoming on the topic. None of us are proud of our indiscretions when we were young and impetuous."

Harry nodded, knowing that with certainty. Snape didn't like to reveal unpleasant moments in his past any more than Harry himself did.

"She didn't think very highly of James either," Remus continued, "until seventh year when they were head girl and head boy. James had finally matured enough to where she stopped calling him names and finally agreed to go out with him. James had insisted all along they were destined to be together, but it still surprised him when he realized he had actually been right."

Harry grinned at that. "What sort of names did she call him?"

"'Arrogant toerag' was probably her favorite," Remus said, returning the smile, "but she had plenty of others."

And for the next little while, they laughed while discussing the meaning and merits of the insults Lily Evans directed towards her future husband.

Harry enjoyed every minute of it, soaking up the familial camaraderie like a dry sponge.

o o o

"So your mum and Snape? I bet that's a real club to your cauldron."

Ginny sat beside Harry at the kitchen table in what had become their nightly ritual. Harry was still staring off in wonder.

"It's just so unbelievable, but if it's true, it makes so much sense. I need to contact Aunt Petunia and see if she remembers him. I'm guessing they lived in the same village or something for them to have met."

"You going to send a letter with Hedwig?"

"I don't know, she would much prefer regular post or even a telephone call. Hey, how did Ron call me that time?"

"I think they went to a call box in the village. You need to ask him."

"Thanks, Gin, that's a great idea. I'll do that tomorrow."

"I hope you enjoyed your birthday party today. I'm sorry we didn't do anything fancy -"

Harry sat back and smiled at her. "No worries there. It was the best - really the only party I've ever had. You guys were brilliant."

Ginny glanced at the clock and looked at him slyly. "Look, it's not quite midnight yet - still time to celebrate a bit."

Harry raised an eyebrow. "What did you have in mind?"

She scooted closer. "I think you deserve one more present."

Suddenly the kitchen seemed to disappear around him, there was only Ginny and a strange feeling that she was too close, but also much too far away at the same time, and his mind was turning to porridge.

"But I got some great presents already…"

She gave him a blazing look that was both terrifying and arousing, and something rose inside his chest - a monster he never knew existed was growling, as if hungry for a sustenance that had been missing his entire life.

"Surely there's something you want, Harry, just ask the question…"

He gaped at her - this amazing beautiful girl, offering him… what? What did he want?

She licked her lips.

His mind solidified enough for one conscious thought.

"A… kiss?"

Even as she leaned into him, she said, "I thought you'd never ask."

And their noses bumped before he remembered to turn his head, and their lips finally touched.

She was soft and warm and the monster inside him roared in triumphant joy.

"What's so funny?" she said.

"I'm not laughing," he said, "I'm just so happy right now, I can't stand it."

"Good," she said, grinning. "Then you won't mind if I give you your present now."

Before he could protest, she sat on his lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a full-blown snog.

He felt as if he was sunning on a beach, waves crashing over him, fully immersed in the love pouring from her. He was drowning in her, and held onto her once again, but this time she wasn't just a buoy in the storm, she was the storm - she was life and with her everything else became like grains of sand.

Eventually they had to stop for air. Ginny studied him with a brilliant light behind her bright brown eyes.

"Happy Birthday, Harry."

And it was.

o

A/N:  So if you were waiting for the tension between them to wind up tight enough to fling Grawp across the Black Lake, sorry to disappoint, this is not that story. :-)

Again, thanks for the faves, follows and reviews, you folks are wonderful. Sorry about the slow updates, you may want to bring snacks.

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