A Proper Misunderstanding, by fireworkfiasco
Rating: PG.13 [language]
Word Count: 1500
Summary: The tension in the pub feels like it’s doubled since Harry skulked up to the table, and Ginny glances up at him with narrowed eyes before pushing away from the table with an annoyed sigh. “Dean, I’m going to get another pint. Be a dear and save my seat, will you?”
Darling, I'm so sorry this is so ridiculously late. I don't even have a good excuse--I'm just that epic lame. You asked for a post-war fic with angst and snark and humor--I loved your prompt, and I hope this story comes close.
Ginny leans across the table and slides a finger down the damp side of Dean’s glass, much tipsier than she had been 20-odd minutes ago. “Come on; you spent the better part of a year prancing about my knickers when I'd already invited you in. If I hadn’t known then, I figured out when I caught you ogling Seamus every morning over breakfast.”
“You couldn’t know I was—”
“You were more turned on watching him eat his sausages than you ever were by me. Admit it.” She laughs and leans forward again, rolling a Knut between her fingers. “Admit it!”
Dean pouts magnificently into his pint. “You’re a very attractive woman, Ginny, but—”
It’s as Dean begins to trail off that two things happen almost simultaneously. Almost at once, Ginny sits back with a snort, mumbling, “But I don’t have a prick?” into her pint glass, as two, the dark and somewhat overbearing silhouette of Harry Potter sweeps into view behind her.
There’s a moment of rather painful choking as Dean straightens in his chair, cheeks stained all sorts of red as he blinks up at The-Boy-Who-Lived-to-Scare-People. “Harry. Harry!”
“Thomas; it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Harry’s voice is cool, and he drops a hand to Ginny’s shoulder. She seems to start awake at the contact, blinking at it for a moment before turning her attention back to Dean.
“Harry’s here,” she says dryly, and then shrugs Harry’s hand off as if it was burning her.
Dean offers a watery smile. “Um, yes. Rather long time. How have—er, how’ve you been?”
The tension in the pub feels like it’s doubled since Harry skulked up to the table, and Ginny glances up at him with narrowed eyes before pushing away from the table with an annoyed sigh. “Dean, I’m going to get another pint. Be a dear and save my seat, will you?”
Her ponytail slips out of sight and Harry's frown seems only to grow. "So, Thomas. What brings you to the Leaky Cauldron?"
Dean is busy attempting to hurry finishing his pint without making it look like he's hurrying to finish his pint, but he sputters as Harry leans forward, crowding the edge of the table. "Oh, um. I just--Ginny and I were catching up. About the--the old days. Just a--a rather nice chat we were, er, having. Really."
Harry continues to look on, the crease in his forehead growing. Just as he opens his mouth to respond, Ginny pushes back through the crowds and past Harry, reclaiming her seat across from Dean. "Here," she purrs, setting another glass in front the trembling man across the table, who is trying not to make eye contact with her, or Harry, or anyone who might even remotely know them.
"Thank you," he says stiffly, fingers automatically folding around the fresh pint and drawing it towards him.
Ginny rolls her eyes and half-turns towards Harry. "What're you doing here, besides being a bother to Dean and I? Weren't you planning to be out moping with Ron?"
"I didn't realize that you and Dean were having a private conversation--" Harry starts in an angry rush, but Ginny rolls her eyes and looks back to Dean, deflating Harry's tirade mid-windup.
"Ignore him. He's just sore because I don't want to marry him."
The silence that falls is absolute. Harry is positively purple with outrage and embarrassment; Dean is contemplating risking a drunk splinching and Apparating himself anywhere but here, and Ginny is grinning grimly, like the cat who just swallowed the canary.
"Maybe I should go--" Dean starts, already attempting to slide off his chair. When he catches sight of Ginny's smile, however, he freezes--it's a thin, brittle thing that makes him think of Bat-Bogey Hexes and plenty of pain.
"No, please," she says, reaching across the table to drop her fingers over his wrist like a manacle. "Stay. Finish your pint."
Harry is still stammering for words behind her, jaw working like there's peanut butter on the roof of his mouth. "I--I--you--Ginny--how--I--"
She does not look up, eyes locked on her own glass. The liquid churns as she takes a swallow, and then another and everything in their corner of the pub feels pressurized and half-mad. Dean tries to fold himself into the smallest possible arrangement of limbs as Harry shifts awkwardly behind Ginny.
"Ginny, I think we ought to--"
She spins on him with furrowed eyebrows, her glass clattering on the table as she sets it down. "No. I don't think we ought to anything. Not after you told me I was going to marry you, and you told me that my answer wasn't what you wanted to hear. Now let me tell you something, Harry: I'm not going to marry you. I'm not going to marry you until you get your head out of your arse."
Harry seems to shrink as Ginny speaks, her words hard as nails. Dean is quivering and he's not even the one being shouted at. Pub patrons at some of the closer tables are starting to look up from their conversations, interest plain on their faces as they watch Harry Potter get torn a new one by the Seeker for the Holyhead Harpies. It's all very entertaining.
"And furthermore, Harry, I do want to keep my last name, whether you like it or not."
At this, Harry unfolds, quickly. The fury in his eyes is magnificent as Ginny continues to try and glare him down. The pub continues to stare on. And then he is moving--Ginny begins to reach for her wand just as Harry closes his fingers around her wrist and wishes Dean a good evening.
But there's a reason Harry Potter currently holds eight of the Ministry of Magic's records for various things, including speed--which is how he is able to wrangle Ginny Weasley into a Side-Along Apparation and back to their place, where they can have a proper fight without the entire wizarding world finding out about their disagreements.
He's already casting a shielding spell the moment they land, as Ginny--looking a bit ill from the confluence of the sudden trip and all those pints--scrambles for her wand, shooting off a furious spell in his direction. It reflects off the shield and ricochets into the wall in a shower of sparks, leaving the wallpaper smoldering.
"How dare you--" she starts, wand trembling. Ginny steps forward, the shield struggling to keep her at a safe distance. "I was having a nice chat with Dean and you had to come in and bugger things all to hell. You're a self-involved prat who ought to keep his nose to himself!"
Harry, it's obvious, is struggling to keep quiet, fists planted on his hips as he lets her rant. "Ginny," he says finally, when there's a slight lull in her temper. "Ginny, I didn't even have time to explain myself, before; you stormed out before I could get a word in edge-wise."
"Edge-wise?" Ginny repeats, voice thin. "Edge-wise? So all that about how my 'No' wasn't acceptable was what? Were you not talking then?"
He frowns, a crease behind his glasses. "I hadn't seriously proposed, Ginny; I didn't think you were going to take it like this."
"You were down on one knee!" Her wand lifts.
"I was wearing an apron!"
"So? What's an apron have to do with anything?"
"I'd just finished dinner! I thought it'd be a laugh to tell you to make an honest woman out of me."
"That is not what you said to me."
Harry sighs, pushing a hand through his hair. "I know! And I'm sorry if you thought I was being a prat--I was just trying to tease you a bit, but I messed that up royally, and I--I really am sorry, Gin. Terribly sorry; madly sorry."
"So you're telling me that you were just making a joke and that's why we're fighting like cats and all right now? Because you can't speak without sounding like a bloody fool?" Ginny crosses her arms, the anger falling from her shoulders.
He nods. "Yes? I mean, that sounds about right. And I am sorry."
Ginny springs forward, thumping Harry on the arm. "Merlin, you are a prat. I can't believe you'd pull such a thing; I've half a mind to hex your balls off and spend the night with Dean."
Harry looks confused. "Isn't he shagging Seamus?"
"Wait--" Ginny spins on him, mouth twisted. "You knew and still you were acting like a jealous wank?"
He shrugs, managing to catch Ginny's elbow and maneuver her into his arms, where she settles hesitantly. "I--I didn't like that you went to him with our problems, is all."
Ginny snorts, chin against Harry's chest. "Didn't tell him a thing; we chatted about general things, like what annoys us about men."
"Oh, well. Good."