the astonishing jandjsalmon
(yes, I believe she’s a superhero in her own right)Rating:
Ginny follows Harry to Vicelli an Italian wizarding town, but will she find what she’s looking for?Warning/Spoilers:
I own nothing, I’m merely playing.Author’s Notes:
Any and all bad Italian is my fault. All translations were from http://www.freetranslation.com
. Thank you to my lovely beta for looking over this for me, and being so patient with my muse and me. You are the bestest. To the recipient, I don’t know if Italy actually falls in the scope you gave me, but I do hope you like this fic. It was written with the best of intentions of following the prompt as closely as I could. If you hate it, let me know so I can try to make amends. Happy holidays!
Harry sighed. Ginny, Ron, and Hermione exchanged glances.
Sighing, Ginny relented. "What’s on your mind, Harry?"
He turned to her. His mood was somber. the thrilling edge of victory had worn off and he was facing the very real post-war world. The world he should have had in the beginning, but that was robbed from. "Nothing. I just keep thinking how there is so much to see out there."
"'Out there'?" Ginny asked, cautiously saying each word slowly. His cryptic words worried her.
"The world, Ginny. I traveled all over England, trying to find those damn Horcruxes, but I never got to see the world. I never got to experience what everyone else can."
Ginny tilted her head and smiled weakly at him. "You’re right," she agreed, "But what are you going to do about it?" It was a challenge of sorts.
Harry looked at Ron and Hermione who were staring at him in silence. They had traveled wit him, hunted down the Horcruxes, protected him. "I want to see the world."
"Alright! Let’s go!!" Ginny didn’t have to force her enthusiasm.
"Alone," he added. Ginny smiled despite herself. She did understand his need for time to himself, he had spent years fighting for everyone else; she doubted that he even knew who he was past his title of "the Boy Who Lived.", though she was
"You deserve some time for yourself," Hermione told him with a genuine smile. "I’m going back to home to spend some time with my parents."
"I’m going to see Charlie in Romania," Ron chimed in.
Harry smiled; the uncertainty that had clouded his eyes had gone. Ginny realized that he must have been nervous about how his friends would react to wanting time to himself. Sometimes Ginny thought he still underestimated how much his friends actually understood him – not "the Boy Who Lived" but actual Harry. He looked at Ginny, "What are you going to do now that it’s over?’
She was surprised for a moment. She hadn’t given her future plans a thought. "I don’t know… I think I might tag along to Romania."
"I’m sure Charlie would love to see you," Ron said, his voice holding traces of annoyance. He obviously didn’t like the idea of his little sister tagging along but was willing to entertain the idea if he had to.
"Or maybe not," Ginny said with a disappointed sigh.
"I didn’t say you couldn’t go!" Ron said but he still looked unhappy about the possibility.
"You didn’t have to."
"I can’t wait to see my parents," Hermione interjected, trying to diffuse the fight before it started.
Ron smiled at Hermione. "I’m sure they can’t wait to see you either."
Hermione grinned. "They wrote me a letter and told me they’ll be home this weekend. All weekend."
"Great!" Harry said his enthusiasm genuine, but this demeanor changed quickly to radiate bitter resentment and hurt. "The Dursleys, I’m sure, will be disappointed I saved the word instead of dying at the hands of a madman, That’s been their dream for years, I’m sure.."
"You don’t need the protection the Dursleys gave you anymore, Harry. They don’t matter," Ginny told him with a small smile. She was trying to find the fact that she didn’t like the Dursleys and their relationship with Harry. She thought they fit the classic stereotype of the ‘Muggle-hating wizards’ but in reverse. Her heart hurt a little at the pain that Harry said the words though. She hated that he was ever in pain, and especially when she couldn’t help soothe his hurt.
"I know," Harry said. Forcing his mood to lighten, Harry said, "I need to make arrangements for my world tour. " His excitement lit up the room immediately at the thoughts of his impending trip.
Ginny smiled. She loved to see Harry like this: excited and happy. The moments that he was able to genuinely feel this way had been so few and far between, if not impossible during times, in the past two years of war in which he was the main target in. He had to live in constant fear, constant awareness, unable to let his guard down long enough to feel contentment and excitement. Ginny’s heart leapt with the realization that he was finally freed of the bonds of loneliness, sadness, fear, and horror that he had been forced to endure during the war.
He hadn’t allowed her to comfort him in the way she had longed to. Keeping her at arm’s distance was a way of protecting her, she knew, but it didn’t help the yearning she had to hold him, kiss him, be with him, and generally just comfort him. He had withdrawn inside himself, trying to be strong when he was in an almost impossible position. He had overcome it all though; he had been resilient. Ginny didn’t think she could be any more proud of anyone than she was of Harry.
The other three wandered in their own directions, planning their upcoming trips and visits and relishing in the peace that had settled over the world. It was a subtle peace, knowing that the evil the world was still there just in a different form, waiting to reemerge to destroy what they had gained. The voices whispered in the back of her mind urging her to do something special, to take a stand for what her heart was screaming to her head.
Ginny mulled over what her plans were. It was strange not having to look over her shoulder with each step for a Death Eater or dreading the post in the morning that might be carrying news of death. She had spent two years hiding, fighting, and being pushed away from the boy she had loved since she was ten-years-old. Now she didn’t know what to do with herself.
After deciding to join Bill and Fleur in London, Ginny spent two weeks playing with their baby and getting reconnected with her brother and getting to know her new sister-in-law on a different, less chaotic level that she had been forced to during the war. Most of the animosity that she had felt towards Fleur prior to their wedding had faded when she realized how genuinely in love both of them were.
"Ginny?" Fleur’s soft voice asked.
Ginny jumped, unaware that her sister-in-law her entered the room. "Yes?"
"What you thinking about?" Fleur smiled at her warmly. Sitting down on the adjacent chair, she looked expectantly at Ginny as she waited for an answer.
"Nothing really." Ginny shrugged.
"How’s Harry?" The woman seemed to have been reading her mind.
Ginny smiled softly then let it drop. "I don’t rightly know. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks - not since he left on his world trip."
"Do you miss him?"
Ginny nodded slowly. "Do you think I’m silly for waiting for him?"
"Oh no!" Fleur looked shocked by the question. "Everyone knows that he has every intention of getting back together with you. He just needs time. And maybe a gentle shove in the right direction. Have you told to him about your feelings since the war ended?"
Ginny scoffed. "Of course not."
Ginny bit her lip. She felt unsure of herself even though she was only talking to Fleur. "Because he might reject me," she admitted sullenly.
Fleur laughed gently. "No he won’t, Ginny. He only broke up with you and distanced himself from you out of love. He wanted to protect you."
"I know. I understand that. I respect him for it even!"
"Ginny, I can’t tell you what to do, and I won’t even try to, but follow your heart. If your heart is leading you to Harry, go to him. He won’t reject you if you give him your heart."
"Is this the advice of a woman happily married?"
"And in love," Fleur agreed. Fleur wanted over to the play pen and lifted her son out. "With the two best men in the word," she added her voice light and airy as she rocked her baby up and down soothingly.
Ginny smiled at the scene. Fleur was as gorgeous, as she had always been - like the beauty only exists in fairytales. Despite the attention she received from her looks, she was very much in love and completely committed to Ginny’s brother, Ginny could tell. She couldn’t think of anyone else that was good enough for her brother. That truly made her happy that Fleur was her sister.
"Let me see my nephew," Ginny requested as she reached out to take Fleur’s son from her.
Fleur gave him up willingly and headed for the kitchen. "I’m going to start dinner."
Ginny grinned. The image and thought of Fleur cooking and acting like a real wife was still foreign to Ginny, but it was a good foreign. Something she could get used to. Ginny sat at the counter, holding the baby, as she and Fleur chatted. The topic of Harry was dropped and they chatted about happier things.
Bill came home for dinner as he always did on time. "Honey, I’m home!" he called in a joking way. Ginny smiled at her brother in a greeting as Fleur went over to him and kissed him. Walking into the kitchen he smiled at Ginny. "Hey. Where’s my boy?"
Ginny held up the baby and asked, "This one?"
Bill’s face was automatically filled with admiration, love, and gentleness when he saw his son. He took the baby in his arms. "Hi, son. Daddy’s home. Were you a good boy for Mama and Aunty Ginny today?" This words were softly spoken that filled with love.
Ginny felt a brief moment of being uncomfortable flitter over her but Fleur was setting the table and offered Ginny the silverware to place and Ginny’s mind quickly focused on the task she was given. Fleur and Bill had, of course, welcomed her graciously into her home but two weeks later she felt like she was overstaying her welcome.
Over dinner, Ginny said, "I’m going home tomorrow." She took a bite of the potatoes.
Fleur and Bill exchanged a look. "You don’t have to," Bill told her cautiously.
Ginny grinned. "I know. I’ve enjoyed my visit and getting to know my nephew, but I really am homesick."
Fleur smiled at her. "If that’s how you feel then you should go home. But you’re always be welcome."
Ginny kept her grinned pasted on. "Thanks."
After finishing her meal, Ginny excused herself and went into the guestroom she had been staying in to pack her things. Her departure hadn’t been planned so Ginny had to gather all her things and packing her assembled items into her trunk. A heavy feeling of dread had washed over her. She couldn’t quite place why she was feeling so bad, especially since the world was at peace and she should have been looking forward to the bright future that was in front of her.
Suddenly, as if it was an epiphany, she realized that she missed Harry. It was a deep longing that was in the depths of her soul and core of her very being.
She missed Harry.
It was so simple, so obviously that everyone else could see it like Fleur had, but Ginny had been blinded to her own feelings. Her fear of being rejected was overshadowed by the love she still felt and the longing in her heart.
She knew what she had to do. She didn’t wake her brother or his wife when she left in the middle of the night, instead, she headed to the place Hermione had last wrote Harry was at.
," the man greeted Ginny as she dropped her trunk in the middle of the lobby at the little Northern Italian inn she had reservations at. She was glad they had had a vacancy or else she would have had no clue where she’d be staying during her time there.
"Hello," she said, "Do you speak English?" She had hoped to have as little trouble communicating in Italy as possible but feared the language barrier might be a problem.
"Yes, yes," the man said in a thick Italian accent with an enthusiastic nod. "How may I help you?"
She sighed with relief. "I’m Ginny Weasley. I owled about a room?"
"Oh yes! We have been expecting you." He looked at some paperwork in front of him and then smiled up at her. "Room 31."
Ginny smiled pleasantly at him. "Thank you, sir." She looked around her uncertainly, unsure where Room 31 was.
"It’s to your left," the man said kindly from behind the counter. "The second to last down the hall."
Ginny smiled gratefully at the man. "Thank you. Again." Grabbing her trunk, she glanced back at the man. In a hushed tone she asked, "Can we use… magic here?"
"Certainly. This is the only wizarding town in all of Italy! Welcome to Vicelli, signorina</i>
!" There was a hint of mystery in his welcome, as if he knew something she didn’t know or could begin to comprehend.
With a smile, Ginny levitated her trunk and made it follow her all the way to her room. Room 31 was at the end of the hall just as the man had said. The room was elegant and decorated with a subtle feminine grace with fresh flowers in a vase on the table. The colors were delicate shades of blues. Even the comforter on the bed was a pale powder blue. The warm sunlight filtered in through the window making it unnecessary for the light to be turned on.
Ginny dropped her trunk in the middle of the room with a sigh. She wasn’t here to enjoy her room, she was here on a mission and so help her, she was going to follow through.
Without looking over her shoulder, she left her room and headed to the center of town. She had no idea where to start her search; she didn’t even know for sure if he was still in Vicelli, but she knew she had to look. She had come too far to back down now.
She spent the next three hours searching in the snow what seemed like the most popular places in town in her new guide book to no avail. She was about ready to go to a local restaurant for lunch when she saw the back of a very untidy black hair covered head that looked familiar from the other side of a frosty window. At first she thought she had been imagining the similarity. But as she approached, her hope that she had finally found him grew.
Potter, would you like some more caffè
?" a pretty blonde waitress said to the man.
Ginny’s pace increased immediately into a near run. It was him! Ginny stopped just behind his chair, the waitress glancing up at the panting girl.
"No, la ringrazia
," the familiar voice denied politely.
With one last wary glace at Ginny the waitress left the table. "Since when do you drink caffè
?" Ginny teased by way of greeting from behind him.
Harry visually jumped. Slowly he turned around to look at her, his coffee cup suspended in midair. "Gin?" He voice was barely audible with shock clear in his voice.
A rush of doubt flooded through Ginny at his reaction. She began to feel doubt and embarrassment at her decision to go after him. She bit her lip gathering her resolve.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked not moving from his seat.
"Visiting Italy," she answered easily surprised at how easy the words feel from her mouth.
"Did you know I was here?" His question was searching.
For a moment Ginny was unsure what answer he wanted. "No. Pure coincidence," she lied. She gestured to the chair across from him, "May I join you?"
"What? Oh yes!" Harry jumped to his feet and pulled the chair out for her.
Ginny smiled at his reaction. Finally a reaction that was good and not confusing. She slid into the chair and waited as he called the waitress over. "Do you want something to drink?"
Ginny ordered a coffee and waited to address Harry until the waitress had left the table and they were alone. "So Harry…"
Harry smiled at her. The smile made her heart jump. "What are you doing in Vicelli, Ginny?"
Ginny tucked some hair behind her ear and sighed. "Truthfully?" He nodded. "I came to find you."
As if ignoring her comment, Harry said, "Tonight’s New Year’s Eve. They celebrate it even in Italy. I was looking forward to see the fireworks tonight. There’s supposed to be dancing and music in the streets too. Care to join me?"
Ginny felt nervous at the rapid change of subject. Reluctantly, she agreed, "Sure. I have no other plans."
Harry grinned as he stood up. "I’ll meet you out front of this restaurant at ten o’clock tonight."
Ginny nodded feeling disappointed. She watched in silence as Harry left her sitting at the table alone.
The waitress brought her coffee. "Signor
Potter paid," she explained curtly before leaving Ginny. Ginny glared at the waitress’s back. She didn’t know what she did to deserve such rudeness.
Looking around her, she noticed that there were street vendors lining the street. The Italian architecture was beautiful. The buildings were tall, radiating their ancient history. People were walking on the sidewalk despite the cold weather and snow blowing around there. Ginny didn’t even bother to try to pay attention to the conversations in Italian that floated around her.
It all created quite an exotic air.
"Lei vuole più?
?" The rude waitress was back, glaring down at her.
Ginny didn’t know what she meant, but with the coffeepot in her hand she assumed she was asking if Ginny wanted a refill. "No, thank you," she answered finding her own voice conveyed her annoyance. "I was just leaving. Arrivederci
Walking down the street back in the direction of her hotel Ginny tried to take in the magnificent sights along the way. The smells coming from the vendors wrapped around her and reminded her that she had been planning on stopping for lunch. She approached the nearest vender, an old man with a kind smile, and asked what he had in English.
The man answered back in a heavy Italian answer making her grateful he knew English at all. "I have ravioli fritti
"Which is?" she prompted nervously.
is fried ravioli…" the vendor answered holding up the food.
Feeling her stomach rumble in hunger, Ginny fished out a few knuts. "Do you except…?" she trailed off holding up the coins.
"Oh sì, sì
!" Shoving some coins into his hand, she took the food from him.
She walked a few steps away and was acutely aware of the man’s eyes watching her as she took her first bite. The spicy taste washed over her taste buds and warmed from the inside out. She looked back at the vender and waved. "This is buono
!" It was one of the only Italian words she knew.
The man waved to her and grinned. Once he had turned to serve another customer Ginny continued her walk and finished her food. People passed by her speaking in the romantic language, making her second guess the age-old saying that French was the language of love. Italian rolled off the tongue and warmed the listener’s ears. It was sensual.
She spent most of the afternoon walking the streets and seeing the sights in the wizarding town, trying not to dwell on her brief conversation with Harry. There were museums with moving portraits, a park with built-in zoo featuring hippogriffs and other creatures, shops that served gelato
and other Italian treats, but Ginny’s favorite spot was the center of Vicelli.
It was full of life and laughter. Children were accompanied by their parents and playing in the snow as the Italian couples held hands and shared romantic moments. Ginny sat on a park bench and observed the scenes, soaking in the dream-like image. The cold just allowed the couples to hold each other, and Ginny pulled her cloak around herself to keep herself warm.
The vendors served delicious smelling food with smiles and laughs. It was as if everyone was made to be there, that a crazy world didn’t exist outside that circle.
Ginny watched as people started to set up music stages and what seemed to be dancing platforms. Confused, Ginny wondered why they were doing such things and inquired from the old lady who had sat down on the bench next to her. "Why are they setting up stages?"
The woman looked at her oddly and she realized that even in midst of the Italian culture she had spoken English. After a moment of silence, the old woman answered, "La Festa di San Silvestro
"I’m sorry, but what?" Ginny asked, holding onto the hope that the woman could understand what she was asking.
"New Year." The smile on the old woman’s face was sparkling with excitement.
"Oh!" Ginny glanced at the clock tower above the woman’s head and smiled. "It’s nine o’clock."
The woman nodded, as if to appease her and turned away. Ginny stood up and turned briefly back to the nice woman, "Grazie
Ginny walked back to her room. A simple blue room never looked so inviting to her. She debated on taking a nap, but decided she didn’t want to risk being late for her meeting with Harry. She had followed him to another country; she wasn’t going to mess it up by sleeping through her confession. After showering, she changed into clean robes and readied herself for seeing him again. Looking in the mirror she decided she looked the best she could.
She took a deep breath, and started to walk back to the little restaurant that she had found Harry at. The clock in her room had read nine o’clock when she left, but she didn’t care if she was early. He was her reason for being there after all.
Walking up the little road, Ginny watched as a band stroke up a sung and people danced in the streets. Ginny caught the excitement that radiated from the crowds and her nervousness of the pending meeting with Harry ebb away.
"Hey, Ginny." The sound of his familiar voice made her jump. She turned around and saw Harry standing there. He looked like a dream come true or a figment of her imagination. His untidy black hair was wind swept and had snow it to create an endearing qualify. His glasses were perched on his nose and his scar was visible on his forehead. It was as if nothing had changed.
"Hi." Ginny disliked how shy and unsure she sounded and felt.
"Have you had dinner yet?" He sounded sure of himself, which was both appealing and unsettling. Despite his hero status he never had enough confidence.
She shook her head. "Not yet."
"I saw a small restaurant in the center of the city; do you want to join me?" Harry seemed so formal that Ginny wanted to laugh. She didn’t quite understand the rush of conflicting emotions she felt.
Ginny smiled. "I’d love to."
The pair started to walk in silence. Ginny felt consumed with contradicting emotions. She was nervous about what Harry was thinking. Did he think it was date? Did he mind that she came to Italy to find him? Did he feel he was obligated to spend time with her because she was there? But she also felt unsure about herself. Was she coming on too strong? Was her choice to come to Italy the right one?
The atmosphere and the festivities in the city were contagious, making her feel more at ease with every step she took beside Harry. Harry wasn’t talking and Ginny gave him a sideways look and noticed he was frowning. "What’s wrong?" The words fell out of her mouth before she knew what she was going to say them.
"Oh, nothing," Harry answered with a forced smile. "Here’s we are." He directed her to the door of a quaint restaurant.
Entering the restaurant, Ginny felt warmth wash over her. The restaurant was indeed small and cozy and decorated in hues of crimson. Most of the tables were small with two seats with the exception of a few booths that lined the far wall. Candles were on each table and it created a romantic air.
Ginny looked at Harry and saw that he looked completely comfortable even in the romantic restaurant with her. Feeling a surge of hope, Ginny followed the waiter and Harry to a small table near the far wall. The waiter left them with a basket of bread and the menus.
"Red wine is what’s customary to drink on New Year’s Eve here," Harry informed her conversationally.
"Well who am I go against what’s customary?" Ginny said with a playful smile.
He returned her smile, but fell silent again. "Baccalà alla Vicentina
looks good," he pondered aloud suddenly.
She nodded. "I think I’ll have the lasagna." As if on cue the waiter came over to take their order. After leaving them briefly, he brought them their wine before she could try to engage Harry in conversation again. "It’s so cozy in here," Ginny tried when the waiter was out of earshot. She made a show of looking around herself.
"It is," Harry agreed. His tone was soft, calling her attention back to him. Their eyes met for the first time since entering the restaurant and Ginny felt uncertainty again.
"Harry—" she started but he cut her off.
"Ginny, let me start please," he requested. She nodding, lifting her wine glass to take a drink. "Did you really come to Italy to find me?"
She nodded, knowing she had told him that already.
"What were you looking for?"
"No, I mean… What were you hoping would happen?" He was serious, making her feel more nervous under his gaze.
She cleared her throat. "I’m not sure really. All I knew what my heart was telling me to come here. To come to you."
They sat in silence until Ginny couldn’t bear it any longer. "Harry, I love you." Her confession spilled out of her mouth before she could stop herself and her hand flew to her mouth in shock after they were emitted.
Harry looked shock for only a moment before he recovered. His face was forced into an expressionless stare before he said, in a calm voice, "What you mean you love me?"
"Just that. I love you. I always have. Ever since Hogwarts when we—" She stopped for a moment to gather her thoughts. "I don’t know if you feel the same way about me, but I don’t care either. If you reject me, that’s fine. I just owed it to myself to tell you once. "
He surprised her by laughing. "Why do you think I’d ever reject you?"
"Because… because…" Her insecurity showed in her eyes and refused a coherent sentence to leave her mouth – she hadn’t register what he was implying.
Harry stood up and walked over to her side of the side. She refused to look at him, staring at the far wall. He moved her chin so she was looking at him and smiled down at her gently. "Rejecting you never crossed my mind." He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers in a feather-like caress.
She swallowed the lump that had formed in the back of her throat and smiled at him shyly. "Really?"
"Ginny, I always planned on coming back to you. You were part of my reason for fighting as I did for so long. I just didn’t think you felt the same way anymore." His sheepish admission made her grin.
"Sit down, please. People are staring." Harry grinned but took his seat.
"There are fireworks tonight on the circle," Harry told her, taking a sip of the wine.
Briefly describe what you'd like to receive:
Harry has decided he'd like to see the world. He and Ginny spend a New Year's Eve in an exotic locale.Preferred Rating:
PG-13-NC-17OBHWF Inclusion (Y/N):
NHoliday Choice (Christmas, New Year's, Both, or Unimportant):
New Year'sIf both, when would you like the fic to be posted?
n/aOther Holidays to incorporate (optional, maximum of three):
up to authorSpecifics you want (optional, maximum of three):
Wizarding town in other country (anywhere from Vladivostok to Vanuatu is fine), happy endingDeal Breakers (what don't you want?):
no cheating, no Trio deathThank you for participating in the Winter Exchange! Happy Holidays!