AN: This story is 7 chapters long, all of which are finished, and will be uploaded once a week.

Chapter 2: Reboot

But Harry didn't call when he said he would. Ginny tried not to make anything of it the first week. After the third week ended with no word from him, she could no longer make excuses for his silence.

Well, he never promised me anything, and those words were never used. I wish he'd given me a reason, a warning, something. Anything, she thought as she laid in bed one night, the air coming through the open bedroom window oppressively muggy. That added to her misery, and she cried herself to sleep. It was the only time she allowed herself the luxury of crying over Harry. Whenever one of his songs came on the radio, she switched stations because listening to his voice hurt too much.

At the beginning of the year she had mentioned that she was seeing a young man (calling him by his real, not stage, name) to her Mum but had declined to invite Harry home with her no matter how often she was told she could. Though she tried very hard now to keep her sadness over the break-up from her family, her mother could tell. She didn't ask any questions, just kept an eagle eye on her 'youngest chick,' encouraged her to come home more often despite the distance, and baked extra biscuits for Ginny to take back to Manchester with her.

In August, Ginny had a week's vacation scheduled to spend at the beach with her parents, youngest brother, and his new wife. Ginny's birthday was the eleventh of the month, and all of her brothers showed up to help her celebrate. Her mother made her favorite foods – roast beef with carrots, smashed potatoes, asparagus, and a salad – and her favorite cake, yellow with chocolate swirled through it, with chocolate frosting and white roses and lettering. In front of the sixteen candles her Mum had fashioned a white horse in full gallop.

After dinner Fred and George, her twin brothers, cajoled her into playing football so they would have even teams. There was a lot of laughing, teasing, shouting, and claims of cheating leveled, and it was the happiest Ginny felt since the end of June, the last time she saw Harry.

The afternoon of the first Monday in September, a large preliminary order for renewal parts was received via a phone call. Ginny spent almost an hour jotting down the specifics and stayed late to get the majority of the prices worked up, since the customer had asked for a return call by ten the next morning. On her way home, she stopped and picked up some curry take away for dinner, salivating at the enticing smells escaping the bag on the remaining minutes between her and total fulfillment. Finally, she saw her building and snagged a spot to parallel-park her car. She locked it after exiting it, the bag holding her dinner swaying from her fingers. Looking up, she realized that someone – a man – was sitting on her stoop. Her heart stuttered momentarily until she got a grip. The man's hair was too light and too smooth for him to be Harry. Still, she was gobsmacked when she recognized him.


"Hello, Miss Weasley. Erm, may I call you Ginny?"

"Yes, of course. I told you that before. I didn't expect –" she paused as a sudden thought hit her. "Is everything okay with Harry?" Before Neville could answer she recalled her manners and walked up the two steps to her door, unlocking it. "Come in, please." She pushed open the wood door and entered, hearing his footsteps behind her.

Nev brushed his shoes off on her mat and walked in, shutting the door behind him. Ginny led him upstairs to her lounge. "Would you like tea?"

"That would be lovely," her unexpected guest replied. "Cream and one sugar."

She dropped the bag with her dinner in it on the table as she went past it. "Is everything okay with Harry?" she asked again as she bustled around her small kitchen preparing a cup of tea.

"Harry's healthy enough," Nev answered cryptically.

Carrying the tea to him, she stayed on her feet. "Do you mind if I start on my dinner? I'm famished." At his nod she sat at the table, extricated her dinner, and emptied it from the cardboard container onto a plate. Figuring she had stalled long enough, she asked, "What did you mean?" and lifted a forkful of the curry to her mouth.

"He misses you."

She swallowed hurriedly. "Has he suddenly gone mute? Otherwise, I think he should be the one to tell me this."

"He thinks he's blown his chance with you." Neville lifted the cup and took a sip before standing and joining her at the table.

"Again, I think he should be telling me this if that's how he feels."

His tea cup clinked against the saucer and he sighed. "Harry is … listen, I never said this, but Harry is a bit … shy around girls."

"Really? I would never have guessed." Ginny was serious and finding this whole conversation rather bizarre.

A smile flitted across the face of Harry's manager. "I think his stage persona carried over into his relationship with you your first several dates. That's why Hannah – Hannah's my wife – and I came up with the gimmick of him calling up a woman from the audience to sing with him, thinking he might connect with someone. We were beginning to despair until you were chosen and he seemed to hit it off with you so well. May I ask what went wrong?"

"You may, but you'll have to ask him. He just … stopped calling me at the end of June."

Neville's eyes shut momentarily and he shook his head. "That's Harry for you," he said softly. On a louder tone he went on, "Look, Harry has a concert in Liverpool at the Omni Saturday evening, and we – Hannah and I – were hoping I could entice you to attend with a complimentary ticket. We'll call you up on stage to sing with him again –"

Ginny immediately shook her head. "No. That would be ambushing him, and I'm not going to do that." She took another small forkful of the curry and put it in her mouth, chewing deliberately, trying to keep herself calm.

The manager sighed again. "Okay. How about this – it's a front row ticket," he pulled a printed piece of heavy cardstock from the inside pocket of his jacket. "Harry will be able to see you there. Then we'll let nature take its course."

She looked at the proffered ticket for several heartbeats before looking at Neville again. "What makes you think he misses me? That he thinks he's blown his chance with me?"

Instead of answering Neville asked a question of his own. "Have you heard his new releases?"

She slowly shook her head, not caring to explain why.

Neville asked the obvious question anyway. "Can I take that to mean the break up was difficult for you, too?"

Her eyes dropped and she nodded her head twice, slowly, as if she didn't want to admit it. Actually, she didn't want to admit it, not to herself, and not to someone she didn't know very well, especially someone close to Harry. "Well, I don't know if 'break up' is the right term. We just … stopped seeing each other."

"He wrote a song, the lyrics, for you, when he went into the studio in June. A ballad, of course, he titled The Power of Your Touch. Then early July, I believe, he took another to Mike so they could set it to music. They started including it in their practices sometime that month. It's called, I Miss You So. They both were written for you."

"And he told you that?" Ginny asked, afraid to hope.

Nev shrugged. "Not in so many words. He didn't have to."

She visibly deflated. "It's been over two months. I think that speaks for itself."

"Harry has been morose and bad-tempered in the last couple months, and it's not like him. He's a better person when you're in his life, and I think he'd tell you that himself."

"But he hasn't, and isn't likely to."

He shook his head. "I think you're just as stubborn as he is," he remarked with a sad smile. "I've never seen two people more made for each other and you're both just … ugh!" He set his now-empty tea cup on the table, the ticket next to it.

A sad smile flitted across her face at his frustrated syllable before she admitted, "I have been accused of being stubborn before."

Harry's best friend clapped his hands on his thighs and stood up. Bending slightly, he pushed the ticket toward her.

Ginny started to protest, but he just said, "Think about it this week. If you decide you don't want to come, just toss the ticket. I hope to see you there, though. I meant what I said about Harry being a better person with you in his life. And he really cares for you – he's just. He doesn't really think he's worth it sometimes."

Ginny stood with him. She didn't want the ticket, didn't want the temptation. After he left, which it was apparent he was preparing to do, she'd chuck it in the trash. Neville headed for the stairs and she followed him down to the door. Though the air was cool, she held it open after he stepped down onto the little porch. "I appreciate your coming tonight."

Neville looked at her. "Then prove it and come to the concert. I can just about guarantee you won't regret it."

"That's the thing, though, isn't it? You can't fully guarantee it." Her voice was wistful.

He opened his mouth as if he was going to say something but then shut it. After meeting her gaze for a long moment, he merely repeated, "I hope I see you there."

A soft exhalation escaped her lips. "I can't promise anything."

He went down the stairs quickly and strode down the sidewalk. Ginny softly shut the door, locked it, and went back upstairs. To my lonely life, she reflected. Oh, Neville, why couldn't you have just left well enough alone? I was just starting to feel better about myself, and now you've got me in turmoil again.

Late that Saturday, Ginny found herself driving past the Omni, despite her best intentions; she had picked up the ticket several times during the week but had not been able to drop it in the bin. Noting the venue's location, she began looking for a place to have a late lunch. A couple miles down the same road she found a grill and parked the car. The wind was brisk and cool, the sky promising rain, and she was very glad she wore jeans, boots, and a hip-length, black wool jacket. Still, she shivered as she entered the small eatery.

"Sit anywhere," a gum-smacking waitress called to her.

She nodded acknowledgement and found an empty booth, easy to do since the place had few diners. The same waitress dropped a menu in front of her, saying that she would return in a minute, and Ginny wondered if the dearth of customers was because of the time or a comment on the quality of the food.

Ginny perused the menu, and the longer she looked the less sure she was that she wanted something to eat. It was nerves, not the menu offerings, that made selecting something difficult.

"Hello, dear," the older, grey-haired waitress said as she stood next to Ginny's table. "What would you like to drink?"

Ginny looked up in confusion. "I'll have a cup of tea, no lemon. I just want something light to eat. Could you recommend something?"

"How about a cup of hot soup and half a sandwich? The chicken noodle soup is delicious, and the chicken salad sandwich goes well with it."

Ginny winced, not sure she could handle even that much.

"No? There's always the old stand-by, tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich."

Ginny nodded. "That sounds better. A cup of soup and the half sandwich."

The waitress made note of her order. "It won't be long, dear," she commented before walking away.

Ten minutes later the piping hot soup and half sandwich were placed in front of her, set next to the cup of tea Ginny was nursing. Having taken note of the waitress' nametag, she said, "Thank you, Mabel."

Mabel smiled. "Let me know if you need anything else."

Eating her lunch didn't take long, unfortunately, and Ginny was left with time on her hands. Glancing around after she left the restaurant, she noticed the sign for a dress shop a couple stores down from where she stood and headed for it.

In Diana's Dresses she found a pretty, rose-colored cardigan jumper she thought would look very nice on her Mum and a floral scarf her brother Ron's wife, Hermione, would probably like. Mum loved to knit, and all of her children and grandchildren received jumpers for Christmas, but she never had time to make any for herself. With Christmas on the horizon Ginny decided to get both.

At the next store she purchased a plush elephant with embroidered eyes for Andrea, her newest niece who was just three months old. She had hoped to find something for her niece Victoria, Andrea's older sister, who was three years old and all girl, but nothing really inspired her.

Upon leaving the baby boutique she discovered that the overcast skies had lived up to its threat, and it was now raining. Though the raindrops weren't big, the buffeting wind was assaulting her with them in chilly pricks across her skin. She quickened her pace and decided to forgo any further shopping in favor of getting into her dry and warm car.

Ginny tossed her purchases in the boot and quickly got into the driver's seat. A glance at her watch told her that though it was still early, it wasn't too early to head back to the Omni. She could sit in the car for half or three-quarters of an hour.

Other concert-goers were arriving and entering the venue before forty-five minutes were up, so she laid the novel that hadn't done a very good job of keeping her distracted onto the passenger seat and joined the stream of people heading for the entrance. The wind was kind and dropped off as she was locking her car, so whilst the rain was still falling, the short trek was bearable. She turned over her ticket, accepted the stub, and went to the ladies' room where she combed her dampened hair and freshened her lipstick before going to take her seat.

As previously, she was at the end of the row, but on the middle aisle. At the other end of the front row three women around Ginny's age had taken their seats even before Ginny arrived, and they were talking animatedly. She could hear snatches of their conversation; they were atwitter over the possibility that one of their group could be called up to sing with Harry James.

Ginny's heart sank. She had thought, since Neville had mentioned the possibility of her singing with Harry again, that he was no longer singing duets with a fan. Still, she thought her presence in the front row would be enough to let her know whether he had missed her.

The hall slowly filled up. Harry's band took the stage to enthusiastic clapping, and the lead guitarist approached the front of the stage with a portable mike. "Tonight's fan who will be singing with Harry is Emily Winston." The unknown woman shrieked from somewhere behind and to Ginny's right. "Whilst Harry is singing 'The Power of Your Touch,' please approach the left side of the stage and wait until he finishes the song when you will be allowed to join him. Thank you." The band member retreated to his spot with the band as they tuned up.

Well, at least he won't be singing the song that he is supposed to have written for me with another woman. She tried to take comfort in that, though it was scant, at best. What if the magic of the duet works for her like it did for me? Her stomach roiled at the thought. I shouldn't have come!

Behind purple curtains Harry listened to Mike call Emily's name. This is the last one, he vowed. We've done this for a year now. The novelty is gone and I just don't want to do this anymore. I hope Neville took me seriously when I told him not to arrange any more. He checked to make sure his mike was on and secure.

The lights went down to dim and The Marauders began to play a prelude. The purple curtains parted and Harry walked his loose-limbed stride to the front of the boards. Ginny's heart thudded painfully against her ribs. He's so sexy! she thought, realizing that almost every other woman in attendance thought the same thing. She doubted, though, that any other woman found it painful to breathe. About a metre from the edge of the stage he stopped and said, "Good evening!"

Thousands of voices yelled back, "Good evening, Harry!"

Ginny's heart calmed to its usual rhythm.

He smiled. "Let's get this going, shall we?" Heavy applause greeted his words; he turned to Mike and nodded. His first number tonight was 'Stay,' and it never failed to bring Ginny to mind. He didn't have the leisure of thinking about her, though, which was good, so he opened his mouth and began to sing.

Down and just to the right of him Ginny shivered. That song had become her favorite because of the memories it evoked. She knew that he would pick someone out of his audience to sing to for several seconds at a time before moving on to another, and he looked to his left, finding a young woman. She waited. Before long, his gaze swept to his right and went beyond her.

"… Don't go, now that you've claimed my heart, now that I need you so…." Harry looked out into the audience at his left. On the front row a young teenager with a spotty face was gazing at him adoringly, and he focused on her, seeing her sigh. About fifteen seconds later his eyes moved to an older woman several rows back and toward the center aisle. Then he swept his eyes further to the right. Something – a head of red hair – caught his gaze before he could focus behind the mass of red and he jerked his eyes forward. Ginny. It was Ginny; he'd thought he'd seen her at the other concert he had since touring again, but this really was Ginny, and she was looking up at him. He was too much the consummate entertainer to falter, but he could not pull his stare past hers.

Ginny smiled at him, and he smiled back. Was it her imagination, or did he gaze unblinkingly at her longer than he had the other women?

Harry wasn't sure how long his eyes held Ginny's, but he suddenly realized he needed to pay attention his other listeners. He moved on but found himself giving her fleeting glances as if to reassure himself that he hadn't been mistaken. Every time he looked in her direction her whisky eyes were on him. She smiled at him and clapped at the end of each number.

Being unfamiliar with the latest song, it took Ginny several moments to realize that Harry was now singing the one Neville said he wrote for her, 'The Power of Your Touch.' She only knew it because she heard the phrase, and then she concentrated more fully on it. Harry locked eyes with her several times during the song as if to tell her it was hers. His eyes told her that no other woman had ever filled his mind as she did; no other woman ever touched his heart as she did; no other woman aroused him like her touch, her kiss did. She wanted to fan herself; only the same action by the woman next to her kept her from doing so. She was afraid she was going to melt into a puddle before it was over. If he had truly written the song for her, and by his continually looking at her she didn't think Neville had lied, why in the world did you pull away from me? She was so confused!

Time seemed to pass in slow motion during the song, and it felt like it was an hour later that a woman who appeared to be slightly older than Harry climbed up onto the stage. Watching the simpering woman approach him was like a bucket of cold water drenching her. Emily – somehow, though she'd rather forget it, Ginny remembered her name – had a nice, but not spectacular, voice that Harry's easily overpowered. After observing the two look at each other for several seconds she dropped her eyes. She was too jealous of this overly-lucky woman to be able to watch any further. A day later the number ended. Everyone around her was clapping, and she half-heartedly joined in. As soon as Emily – I've always hated that name! – exited the stage, Harry started singing again. If she wondered whilst ignoring Harry and Emily whether she'd imagined the looks Harry had given her, she wondered no longer as his emerald gaze returned repeatedly to her.

In a daze she sat through the rest of Harry's concert, her heart pounding almost painfully whenever his eyes met hers. She recognized the rest of his songs and softly sang along until the last one. It was the other song Nev said Harry wrote for her, I Miss You So. As she concentrated on the words she wanted to cry. Why did you do this to us? she wanted to ask him. Finally, the song came to an end. Harry thanked his fans for attending, asked for a hand for The Marauders, and backed away from the edge of the platform, his eyes once again on hers. His mouth formed the word, stay. She blinked. He turned and disappeared behind the grape-colored curtains.

She couldn't have moved right away if her life depended on it. Around her, fans were exuberantly chattering, gathering their things and departing. A woman behind her said, "Did you see Harry James staring at me? I swear he kept looking at me, all through the concert! How can I get in touch with him? Maybe I should wait for him?"

Her companion was more levelheaded. "Listen, Lynette, if he wants to get in touch with you he'll send someone out. Since no one seems to be coming our way, I think it's best we leave."

Ginny could hear Lynette protest for several minutes before giving in to her friend's advice. "You have a perfectly wonderful husband at home, for God's sake! Let's get out of here!"

Was Harry looking at Lynette and not me? she wondered distractedly. Am I deluding myself? After several minutes she shook herself and stood up, donning her jacket and then picking up her purse. She took five steps down the aisle when a voice behind her called, "Miss Weasley!" A large hand cupped her elbow momentarily.

She pivoted. "Stan?"

The beefy man smiled at her. "You got it. I was afraid I wouldn't catch you." His voice dropped, not wanting anyone else to overhear. "He wasn't sure you got what he said – he'd like you to wait for him."

An eyebrow went up. "Harry?"

"Yes, ma'am. Would you, please? He said to be sure to say, 'please'." Stan took her elbow again as if afraid she was going to leave anyway.

Docilely she let him lead her backstage. "Stay here, Nev will be here in a couple minutes."

People she hadn't met smiled and greeted her by name as they bustled by her. A blond woman brought her a cushioned folding chair to sit on; she smiled and thanked her.

The slender woman, about the same age as Ginny, thanked her in return. "I'm Hannah, Neville's wife. Both of us are so glad you came. He didn't think you would."

"I didn't, either," Ginny confessed. "I'm still not sure I'm not dreaming."

"Shall I pinch you to find out?" Hannah offered with a grin.

Ginny laughed. "No, thank you. If I'm dreaming, I'd like to enjoy it a bit longer."

Hannah chuckled. "Nev will be back for you in a few minutes. Would you like a glass of ice water? I can bring one to you."

"No, but thank you."

"All right." Hannah lowered her voice. "The ladies' WC is that way, can't miss the big sign on the door in case you need it." She pointed to Ginny's left.

"Thanks." Ginny watched Hannah walk in the same direction Stan had gone.

She sat lost in thought, not noticing when traffic past her petered off. She was remembering the dates she and Harry had, how very much she enjoyed his company and his attention. She thought about the songs he wrote for her. The longer she reminisced, though, anger at his abrupt desertion began to rise in her. Her purse was perched on her lap, and suddenly she slung the long strap over her shoulder and prepared to stand. Long legs clad in navy slacks with a crisp crease down the front of each leg ending in trainer-shod feet stopped in front of her. She raised her head and looked into emerald eyes, eyes she had once felt she could almost drown in. Fury rose up in her, stronger than the anger she felt before looking into his eyes. Almost of its own volition, her foot tapped as if to suggest a way to let Harry know how she felt about his desertion. Somehow, she wasn't sure how, she found the means to leash her temper and refrained from stomping on his toes.