Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.


Chapter Eight – How Strange the Change

“Reggie Baker is like a dream come true! How can you not see it, Ginny?” Elizabeth was mooning over yet another boy while Ginny was trying to study for her N.E.W.Ts, when Jordi burst into the Gryffindor common room with uncharacteristic exuberance.

“Ginny, you have – to – come – downstairs right now!” she panted. Ginny threw her Transfiguration notes into the air and made a noise of aggravation.

“What in the world? I’m trying to study! N.E.W.Ts are in three months!”

“No time to explain! Right now, let’s go!” Jordi turned around and ran back out the portrait hole. Elizabeth and Ginny exchanged glances and followed her.

They had reached the hallway that led to the stairs to Gryffindor Tower when they heard it. Someone was laughing hysterically, while someone else was shouting obscenities. The three friends looked at each other, and Jordi tried to stifle the laughter that was threatening. They turned down a corridor and there they were.

Ron Weasley, with his legs dancing all over the place, was the one screaming curse words – and the object of his ire was none other than Draco Malfoy, laughing so hard he could hardly breathe.

“Draco, what did you do to him?” Ginny shouted. But Draco could not answer, as in fact Ron had jinxed him into laughing. Draco’s face was turning bright red, and he clutched at the wall for support. It was then that Ginny, as well as Jordi and Elizabeth, realized that the boys were both under a spell. The three of them shouted Finite Incantatem, simultaneously. The force of it not only stopped the jinxes, but it knocked both Draco and Ron flat on their arses.

Draco roughly picked himself up, breathing heavily to get his air back, and turned to leave. Elizabeth stepped in front of him to keep him from going with a giddy grin on her face.

Ginny turned to Ron. “What just happened, Ronnie?”

“Don’t call me Ronnie, Ginny,” Ron hissed, as Jordi and Elizabeth burst into laughter and Draco scoffed.

“Why were you fighting just now?”

“Ginny, I have something to attend to,” Draco said, making to leave again, but Jordi joined Elizabeth in blocking his way.

“Why is he calling you ‘Ginny’? WHY ARE YOU CALLING HER ‘GINNY’?”

“Maybe because that would be her name. Would you rather I called her Weasel like you?”

“Bu-bu-but I – you – what?” Ron stammered. He looked back and forth between Ginny and Draco. Ginny bit down on her lower lip to keep from laughing. “Ginevra Molly Weasley, what have you been doing?”

“Nobody gets to call me by my full name except Mum, Ron, and what are you talking about? How did this all start?”

“He said you have a talented mouth!” Ron howled, lunging for Draco. Jordi and Elizabeth stepped in front of Draco while Ginny grabbed onto the collar of Ron’s jumper. He yanked back and nearly knocked Ginny over.

“Actually, Weasley, I said that she has talented vocal cords. I was complimenting you on your gene pool,” Draco said coolly with a hint of sarcasm.

“What’s he talking nonsense for Ginny? What is the Ferret talking about?”

Just then, though, Harry Potter walked up and surveyed the scene before him. He walked up behind Ron and removed Ginny’s fingers from his neck.

“What’s going on here?” he asked. His green eyes bored into Ginny’s.

“Harry, you’re here too?”

“Yep,” he answered, and then he picked Ginny up in a spinning hug. He put her down, and Ginny wobbled a little dizzily, so Harry put an arm around her waist to steady her. Draco schooled his features into a mask of disdain, although inside he was fighting to rip Potter’s lanky arm right out of its socket. And then, unfortunately, Charlie chose that moment to return from a Prefect meeting and paused in the hallway, staring pointedly at just exactly where Harry put his arm.

“What’s all this?” he asked, voice slightly on edge. All eyes turned to Ginny and she felt like she wanted to sink into the floor. She slipped out of Harry’s grip and faced all her friends. She felt like she was being pulled in a million different directions all at once.

“Okay. First things first, Ron, Draco didn’t mean anything by telling you that I had talented vocal cords. He just meant that I have been singing a lot lately, and he’s probably annoyed with it. Secondly, Ron and Harry, I want to know why you are both here. And thirdly, Charlie, nothing happened so don’t get your knickers in a twist.”

“Oi, Ginny, that was great,” Jordi said, applauding. Elizabeth elbowed her and pulled her off to the side of the hall. They started whispering to each other and Draco took that moment to sneak away down the corridor.

Ron’s face was almost purple with anger – Ginny could tell that he wanted to let loose with a stream of curse words again. Harry just shook his head slightly. “Ginny, Ron and I stopped by because Dumbledore Owled me, and also we wanted to visit before we left again.”

Ron let out a long breath that he had been holding for quite some time and added, “Keep away from the Ferret, Ginny.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Will do, Ronnikins.”

“And stop calling me Ronnie!”

“Will somebody please tell me what just happened?” Charlie asked, encircling Ginny with his arms from behind. Harry quirked an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. Ginny had to fight the urge to squirm away.

“Erm, well, Jordi ran in the common room saying we had to come and see, and we got here and Ron and Draco were fighting over something, so we unjinxed them, and then Harry walked up, and then you did. And that’s pretty much it.”

Harry laughed, and Jordi and Elizabeth walked up to the group. Elizabeth stood conspicuously close to Ron, who had to smile in spite of himself.

“You hexed Malfoy? Oi, I wish I’d seen that,” said Charlie. “Ever since my girl here started running around with him, I’ve wanted to let him know what’s what.”

Ginny raised her eyebrows and disentangled herself from Charlie’s grip, as Ron squeaked out some gibberish.

“Why are you so threatened by Malfoy, Charlie?” she asked, in an even tone.

“I’m not threatened, Ginny. It’s Malfoy for Merlin’s sake,” he said, sharing a laugh with Ron and Harry. Jordi and Elizabeth noticed that Ginny was getting upset.

“Hey, Gin, let’s go get back to studying, huh? Only three months, right?” Elizabeth said, taking Ginny by the elbow.

“No, I’m not quite finished here--”

“Ginny, let’s go,” Jordi interrupted.

“Wait, before you go back, Ginny, Harry and I are going to America.”

“What? WHAT IS GOING ON?” Ginny was floored by the amount of things that could happen in such a short amount of time. She wanted to run away, right then and there. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Draco had disappeared. She ran a hand through her hair. I really need to talk to him, she thought. Then she addressed Ron again. “Ron, that’s so far away! At least France and Germany are on the bleeding continent. What are you going to do in America?”

“Same thing we did in France and Germany, Gin,” Harry replied. “We’re trying to…forget.”

“I guess I can understand that,” she said. “But, America’s different. It’s far away and there’s far more trouble over there.” Impulsively, she reached up to give Harry a quick hug. “I bet we wouldn’t ever see you again.”

Harry wrapped her in his arms and almost answered, when Charlie interrupted them. “Hey, these arms are mine, Ginny,” Charlie said playfully, tugging her back to him. He shot a dark look at Harry, who raised an eyebrow again. Ginny bit down on her lip and then turned around to Charlie.

“Charlie, will you go back with Jordi and Elizabeth? I’ll meet you guys back there and we can study for Transfiguration,” she said in her sweetest voice. He smiled and gave her a quick kiss before linking arms with Jordi and Elizabeth to return to the common room.

Ginny walked between Harry and Ron to lead them back to the entrance hall. Ron was the first to break the comfortable silence.

“Ginny, please tell me that you haven’t been running around with Malfoy!” he exclaimed, stopping them from walking.

“Are we still talking about that? What if I have been? I’m 17 years old, Ron. You can’t dictate who I’m friends with.”

“You’re friends with him?”

“I didn’t say that, Ronnie.”

“Gin, it’s Ferret face Malfoy!”

“Ron, that ferret thing was four years ago. Maybe it’s time to move on,” she said sarcastically. She could hardly believe that she was even having this conversation. “A lot has happened and a lot of things have changed. I think you of all people would know that,” she added, seriously.

“Come on, Ron. Ginny has grown up – even I can see it,” Harry said, taking Ginny’s hand in his. “She can make her own choices, which is actually another reason why we’re here.”

Ginny looked down at Harry’s hand holding hers and then casually glanced over at Ron. Ron grinned awkwardly and forced himself to look Ginny in the eye.

“Right, er, Gin, we, erm, that is to say, Harry wants, and I agree--”

“We want you to come to America with us,” Harry interrupted. Ginny’s mouth dropped open, and she tugged her hand out of Harry’s grip to cover it.

“Yeah, Gin,” Ron said, seemingly recovering himself. “Hermione’s still being stubborn about it, but we figure if you agree, she’ll come around as well. So what do you say?”

“Wait, you just want me to come to get Hermione to go?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Not at all, Ginny,” Harry answered, slipping an arm around her shoulders as they began to walk again. “We want everyone to come, to start over in a new place, a new country. Leave the past behind.”

“I – but – this is a really big decision. I – I have N.E.W.Ts in three months and I want to finish school and -”

“You don’t have to make the decision right away. We’re not leaving for another three weeks – have to tie up loose ends and all that, but think about it.”

“THREE WEEKS! I can’t very well make a decision like this in three bloody weeks, Ron. I really do want to finish school.”

“What’s there to finish, Ginny? We’re going to start over in America. Ron and I have been living like Muggles; you can learn, just as he has, to live that way.”

“What?” she whispered. “What are you going on about?”

“Think about it, Ginny. A whole new world without all the bad memories,” Ron said. He and Harry exchanged glances. Harry stepped close to her and drew her into an embrace.

“Hermione’ll come and we’re going to ask Luna and Neville. We’ll all be together to start over.”

“Why are you so touchy all of a sudden, Harry?” she asked, ignoring the thoughts of America and concentrating on the fact that Harry kept holding her. She stepped out of his embrace.

“What’s wrong, Gin?”

“I don’t understand what’s going on here. I mean, you show up, hex Draco, and drop this bomb on me…and now you’re acting like, and you want me to give up everything I’ve worked seven ye – ugh, I need to go. I – I have to think.”

She abruptly turned around and headed back to the common room.


Draco had escaped into the Room of Requirement. He started playing his composition, but he was distracted. Does the whole world conspire to keep me away from her? She is like this untapped treasure that nobody sees the potential of. Leave it to Potty and Weasel to trample her underfoot. He played his song, imagining Ginny’s voice in his head.


Ginny flopped into a chair in the common room and started massaging her temples with her thumbs.

“Something wrong, baby?” Charlie asked. He walked up behind her and replaced her thumbs with his. “What happened? Did Harry do something?”

“Ronald was standing right there. I hardly think Harry would try anything with Ronald standing right there,” Ginny snapped. Then she sighed and continued, “I’m sorry. They just – they asked me to come to America with them.”

“That’s great, Ginny! I’ve always wanted to visit America,” said Elizabeth.

“They want to leave in three weeks.”

“What? Why?” Charlie spit out. He walked around to kneel in front of Ginny, taking her hands in his. “Did you say yes? Are you going to leave us, Ginny?”

“Do you really expect me to have made a decision? I just heard about not fifteen minutes ago. I’m not rash.”

“Sorry, but I don’t – we don’t want to lose you, Gin. There’s only three months of school left. Why can’t they wait?” Charlie said. Elizabeth and Jordi nodded their agreement.

“Look, I’m not in the mood for studying just now. I need to think.” She got up to go into the dormitory. Charlie started to follow her, but Jordi pulled him back down.

“I think she needs to be alone for a little bit.”


Note: Chapter title is from Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye. I was working under one assumption with Harry in this chapter. I realize that he seems a bit out of character, and for that I apologize. I’ve always had a bit of trouble characterizing him because he is so complex. So the second assumption is that the war really took a toll on Harry’s character. He is so eager to start anew that he’ll do anything to do it, explaining why he’s so touchy with Ginny (aside from the fact that she’s totally hot) and why he and Ron have been everywhere but England.

Reposted as of May 27, 2005 to fix canonical error.
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