DISCLAIMER: All Harry Potter characters you recognize, which would be everyone in this story except for like two people, are JK's! The quote underneath the title of Ginny's shop belongs to T.S. Eliot, except I changed a word!
A/N: So listen to this...I was reading a story and suddenly I thought of the movie 'Notting Hill'. This story is inspired by that film, I'm feeling pretty excited by it, so I hope you all like it. This will be no more than 2-3 chapters in length, it's a pretty short one.
Thanks, BrownPryde, for pointing out my "little" mistake of making Harry Keeper instead of Seeker, which has been corrected, plus a few other things that I caught!
Ginny strolled along the streets of Diagon Alley, humming an unrecognizable tune to herself. She carried two cups of liquid in her hands, taking great care to not spill any as she fought the crowds that seemed to make it their sole purpose to hold her back from where she needed to go.
She looked up when she heard her name and saw Neville waving at her from a patio table at Madam Fortescue's. She smiled and raised her arm in acknowledgement, "Hi, Nev, just going for a bevy run! I'd sit a spell with you but have to get back to the shop! Say hi to Laura for me!" He nodded his head and went back to conversing with his companion, a thinner, blond-haired gentleman.
"-Potter is in town for the Quidditch World Cup! I can't believe he's actually here!"
Ginny's heart thumped inside her chest and she turned toward the sound of the excited exchange between two pretty witches close behind her. "Yeah, well he hasn't made any public appearances...apparently he's trying to stay incognito. Of course, I don't blame the poor man, he gets mobbed everywhere he goes!" one of the witches said with a sigh. "He's so dreamy, though!"
Harry Potter was in town? How come I didn't know about this! Her stomach flip-flopped as the two oblivious women continued on. "Tell me about it, Brig, but he's taken! Been dating that American for over a year, lucky bitch. Eh well, he's still nice to look at..." the other woman burst into giggles and their voices slowly receded as they walked into a shop.
Ginny's brow furrowed and she felt pangs of annoyance that her brother didn't tell her Harry had come home for the game. She visibly gulped as all the old feelings and memories came crashing back to her. She had been out of Hogwarts for four years, and in that time she had worked her butt off waitressing at The Three Broomsticks, saving every penny so she could open up her own shop. One of Ginny's passions had always been traveling and so her shop consisted of nothing but books on every imaginable place in the world. She prided herself on her accomplishments and had even hired an assistant when her business began to pick up. The shop wasn't all that spectacular in size but she had made sure to make do with the space she had and had decorated it to her taste – it was pretty much her home away from home.
Ginny had become so immersed with work that she had been able to squash her feelings for the only man she had ever loved, sometimes going days without thinking about him. This did not mean that she hadn't stopped keeping tabs on him when he wasn't home. She had watched as his career as a professional Quidditch Seeker soared, making him even more famous than he was before. She made sure to read any articles she came across pertaining to him and had even attended a few of his games when she had free time. Even though the two were in very separate places in their lives, she never forgot about the boy she fell in love with so long ago.
"Uh, excus-" a male voice brought her out of her daydream just a little too late. She had not been paying attention to where she was walking and had literally run into the man that had been unfortunate enough to reach the corner from the other direction at the same time she did. One of her cups unceremoniously tipped and the contents spilled all over the front of his shirt. They both stood frozen to the spot for a good few seconds before Ginny's face turned red and she fumbled over her words, "Oh, Merlin, I'm incredibly sorry! Ahh, I wasn't looking where I was going, forgive me..." without looking up at his face, she began to wipe at his shirt, only making it worse.
"No stop, it's okay," he said sharply, brushing her hand away. "I didn't quite expect to be dumped on today."
Ginny stilled and began to feel warm all over. She knew that voice from anywhere. Oh, why did it have to be him of all people?
She looked up to see a man at least five inches taller than her, sporting jet-black hair and a pair of dark sunglasses to match. Long bangs hid the telltale sign of his identity on his forehead and he reached up to make sure that they were still hiding it. "Harry?" she whispered.
"The one and only," he ground out and looked down at his once white, now orange shirtfront, thinking that the day couldn't possibly get any worse. He had planned on keeping himself on the down low while he was in town, but it proved to be quite the opposite. Already today, he had dodged a gaggle of reporters inquiring about his love life and a legion of fans that seemed to want more than his autograph. And now he had just gotten a cupful of God knows what spilled all over him by none other than Ginny Weasley. He looked back up into her embarrassed face and his features softened. "Sorry, I'm just having a bad day...it's good to see you, Gin," he said with a little smile.
"Yeah, you too...I guess I didn't help in your plan to be inconspicuous while you were here, huh?" she said sheepishly, looking around to see if anyone was lurking. It didn't seem as though they had caught anyone's attention much to her, and his no doubt, relief. She withdrew her wand from the pocket of her jeans and muttered, "Scourgify. There, that should do it."
Harry looked down and saw that all traces of the mystery beverage had completely vanished. "Thanks," he said with more of a genuine smile. "So, uh...what're you doing wandering the streets this time of day?"
She looked around her in befuddlement at the rushing crowds. "Well," she started slowly, "this is the usual time I leave the shop to grab an energy booster." She held up the remaining cup, "Good thing I didn't get you with this, Megan would have a conniption and I doubt it would have felt very good when it spilled on you, seeing as how it's coffee." Ginny wasn't much of a coffee drinker so she had chosen a orange-mango smoothie.
"My assistant and flat mate...she just started a few months ago so you haven't met her yet. Now that I think of it, it might not be the best thing, she's indicated on more than one occasion that she's your number one fan," she finished with a twinkle in her eye.
"I shouldn't disappoint her then, should I? Let me replace your...whatever it is you had, and I can accompany you back to your shop, I haven't seen it since you opened it. Ron and Herm have told me you've done very well with it, so I believe congrats are in order."
"Really, you don't have to replace my drink, I wasn't looking where I was going. You're more than welcome to come see my shop, but don't say I didn't warn you about Megan," she said teasingly. She reached up and removed his sunglasses to reveal the stunning emerald eyes she had memorized by heart. "You're making me nervous having those on, I feel like I'm being interrogated by the men in black." She looked skyward in a moment of insanity, almost expecting to see a spaceship with an alien life form poking its head out the window.
His nose crinkled and he looked at her incredulously, "Did I just hear that come out of your mouth?" His squinted at her since his eyes hadn't quite adjusted to the sunlight and due to the fact that she was now somewhat blurry. "You know Muggle movies?" He grabbed his glasses from her hand and put them back on. "I'm not putting my regular glasses on out here, are you crazy? And besides, I need to wear these, I can't see without them."
"Of course I know Muggle movies, I lived with Hermione for two years! She made me watch Muggle movies every single Friday night, it was a tradition that I had no control over. Come on, let's get to the shop so I can talk to you properly then." She gestured for him to follow her and they began to make their way down the alley, once again fighting the crowds of shoppers. She looked back and saw that he was now wearing a plain navy blue cap, attempting to hide his raven hair. Poor guy, she thought. What kind of life is that to have to constantly make yourself unnoticeable in order to have your privacy? And he's had to deal with it his whole life! Eh, I guess he knew what he was in for when he got drafted to the pros. Damn, he looks good. She shook her head with the last thought and forced herself to keep her mind on the task at hand. He has a girlfriend, Gin...one you don't like mind you, but that's not the point! Keep your hands and thoughts off him!
As they passed shop after shop, getting closer to their destination, Harry's conspicuous inconspicuousness seemed to be drawing the attention of a few patrons, and it didn't go unnoticed by Harry. He fell in step beside Ginny and leaned down to mutter, "People are following us...don't they have anything better to do?"
Ginny casually looked over her shoulder to see that, indeed, a few witches, including the gossiping ones she had overheard, were now doing a poor job of acting disinterested while casting furtive glances at them. She sighed and replied, "Well, maybe if you weren't dressed up like you were in the middle of robbing Gringott's, they wouldn't be following us! You know how everyone is in this town, no one's business is ever a private affair."
"So in other words, I might as well just yell at the top of my lungs that I'm Harry Potter and get it over with," he said as a statement, rather than a question.
"If that's what you want but warn me first, I'd like to not have my death be caused by a stampede of screaming, swooning females."
"Thanks ever so much, your sympathy is overwhelming," Harry said sarcastically.
"Anytime, that's what I'm here for."
"This is ridiculous!" he said abruptly and gestured so violently, he accidentally swatted Ginny in the arm. "Oh, sorry..."
She brought her hand up and rubbed the stinging spot, "That's the payment I get for being sympathetic? Gee, thanks," she shot him. She was smiling inwardly, rather enjoying this dialogue between them – she realized just how much she missed him when she didn't see him for extended periods of time.
"I wouldn't exactly call that being sympathetic...in fact, something tells me that your concern for my well-being is the last thing on your mind." He glanced back and, to his dismay, saw an older witch he hadn't noticed before now just openly staring at him.
"Aww, poor Harry," she said as if she were talking to a child, not catching his worried look. "He doesn't know what to do about a little bunch of gawking people and, of course, it doesn't have anything to do with his get-up, so he's waiting for me to save him from the potential catastrophe. There, how's that for sympathy?" She said and patted his arm comfortingly.
"Okay, you can shut up, already!" He said with an upward twitch of his mouth. He looked down at her and he realized just how much he missed the redheaded woman that was, at the moment, mocking him. His smile grew even wider at that thought. "I can't tell you how much I've missed having-"
He was cut off at the sound of a gasp a little too close behind him and knew a second later that that's never a good sound. "It is Harry Potter!"
He froze and lowered his head to groan, "Oh no." He didn't bother turning around in fear of what he would see.
Instead, Ginny turned and her eyes went wide at the commotion those four little words caused. The group had grown considerably and they were now bouncing up and down on the balls of their feet, trying in vain to get a better glimpse of the back of Harry. "Well, this is interesting," she said for Harry's ears only. "Next time, you might want to consider using your Invisibility Cloak when you go out in public."
"Sometimes I do, but Ron had to borrow it for an assignment a couple weeks ago and I haven't been able to make it by their place to get to get it back," he said in a low voice, referring to Ron and Hermione's house outside of town.
Ginny saw that the two witches she overheard from earlier were brave enough to begin walking toward him, the excitement at actually having Harry Potter in front of them apparent on their faces. "Okay, so what do you usually do in these types of situations?" She cringed slightly at actually having sympathetic feelings toward him.
Harry didn't say anything but he took a deep breath and turned around to face the music, his smile slightly faltering at the large group. "Grin and bear it," he whispered out of the corner of his mouth. He took a step forward to greet the crowd, "Hello, yes it's me," he said pleasantly.
The witch Ginny knew to be 'Brig' squealed, "Oh Merlin, I love you sooo much! I knew you were in town, but...oh, my, it's actually you! I can't believe it, this is like a dream come true!" Her friend beside her seemed to be incapable of speech and just stood frozen with her mouth gaping open in awe, as seemed to be the case with most of the group. Ginny just rolled her eyes at the spectacle.
Harry merely nodded while glancing over at Ginny with a 'help me' look on his face. "Erm...yeah, in town for the game," he stated lamely. He never was good with dealing with his fans, particularly his female fans. This had been one trait of Harry's personality that he had never seemed to grow out of and sometimes...like now...he despised it. He never was good at talking smooth with the ladies and it was apparent that flaw wasn't going to be resolved today. The ogling eyes of the pretty witch in front of him made him just want to hide behind Ginny and hope they would go away.
The young woman took that as an invitation and leaned in closely, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Well, if you have nothing else to do while you're here, I'm free any evenings. I would love to get to know you better," she whispered, squeezing his arm.
Harry stood back and gaped at her, "Uh...well, I think I have plenty to-"
Ginny heard the exchange and took it upon herself to grab Harry's hand and force him back to where she was standing, making 'Brig' let go of him. "I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but he's with me," she said coldly, giving her a warning look.
"Oh! I didn't realize, I apologize," the other woman replied, looking not in the least remorseful. She looked Ginny up and down and scoffed, receiving a glare from Ginny.
Ginny felt even more protective of the man beside her and so she moved in front of him with her hand still gripping his, "Good, so now that we're on the same page, we're going to go unless you need anything else." She didn't know why she was feeling so jealous toward the tramp in front of her and she didn't contemplate it – the overwhelming need to make this woman disappear as soon as possible overrode anything else.
"Perhaps an autograph then...for me and my friend here?" stated Brig casually, although conveying her dislike for Ginny with her stare.
Harry let go of Ginny's hand and said in a strained voice, "Uh...yeah...sure, where?"
"How about these pins?" Harry looked down and noticed for the first time that her and her friend were sporting enormous pins, which were fastened to their cloaks near their chests, in support of England in the Quidditch Cup. Ginny's eyes narrowed in distaste at what body parts their buttons were situated on, and she turned to the side so she wouldn't have to look at Harry's hands having to touch it. That hussy! I know full well those buttons weren't there a moment ago! She seethed inwardly, wanting to curse that flirting, conniving bit-
"Er...there you go," Harry said, relieved at having made it through that ordeal. A flush tinged his neck and face at having realized exactly where those pins were on their body, and he glanced over at Ginny to see that she had a murderous gleam in her eye while she glared at the two witches. "Uh...well, we have to go, but thank you for...er...everything." He nodded and then waved at the speechless crowd before turning his back and walking briskly away. He looked back and saw that Ginny hadn't moved, but was still standing in the same spot having a stare down with the woman that flirted with him. He shook his head and went back to grab her arm before waving once more and dragging her away with him this time.
"That little bit-"
"Shh! Ginny, I'm used to it, a lot of my female fans throw themselves at me all the time." He flinched at that statement, not in the least happy about it.
"Why don't you go back and make her happy then, I'm sure she'll show you a right good time!" she threw at him and then began to walk quickly so she was paces ahead of him.
Harry frowned at her behavior, utterly confused at why she was acting like she was. "There's no need to act like that, Gin, it wasn't up to you to deal with her, anyway."
"Right, because you were acting soo smooth when she flirted with you. I'm sorry for wanting to help, how stupid of me! I won't do it again," she finished before swinging a door of a small shop open, leaving a clueless Harry outside.
Harry was too surprised to follow Ginny inside, so he stood out on the sidewalk and stared at the décor of the window displays. The one window was the Seven Wonders of the World with books set up in an intricate fashion and mini-models of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Statue of Liberty among other small items of representation, along with little fact sheets describing each one. In the other window, a completely different set-up depicted books of interest on places in the Wizarding world, including witchcraft and wizardry schools, castles, even Wizarding towns other than Hogsmeade that have been discovered just recently. Looking up, he saw the name of her shop 'Little Sister Travel Books', and underneath that in bright cursive writing 'It's the journey, not the destination, that matters". The shop had a comfortable, at-home look about it and his lips curved upward, feeling proud toward Ginny at having done this all by herself.
The door to her shop opened and Ginny's head poked out, "Well, are you coming in?" The anger she felt from earlier had decreased to mild annoyance and she realized how immaturely she reacted. What happened with him and his fan base was in no way her business and she shouldn't have gone off the deep end over one of his admirers flirting with him. A very pretty admirer at that. She sighed and softened her features, "Listen, I'm sorry for saying that, it's really none of my business...now, come in before you get recognized again!"
He raised an eyebrow but stepped forward and shut the door behind him. The atmosphere inside the shop was comfortable and homey, and Harry smiled despite himself, wanting to explore every nook and cranny. "This is a really nice shop, Gin, you did a brilliant job with it."
Ginny blushed at his compliment and looked around at all of the high shelves with piles of books on them. "Thanks, I'm very fond of it. It certainly took me awhile to establish clientele but it was well worth the wait. Except there's this one guy that comes in here and always asks me if I have books on subjects that aren't related to traveling whatsoever," she said with a laugh. "I tell him that it's all travel books but he doesn't seem to believe me...he sporadically makes an appearance and the process starts all over again."
Harry smiled at her but didn't say anything as he continued to inspect the contents of the shelves. "I've actually been thinking about traveling myself," he said softly. He had never been anywhere to just be there, it always had something to do with work. He had been thinking about it more and more lately as his desire for privacy increased.
"Really? I think it would be good for you...have you thought about where?"
"Well, not really, but last year during Quidditch season, we played a game in Greece...I think I'd like to go back there and just see the sights," he said. He realized he was still wearing his sunglasses and took them off, putting his regular ones on from his back pocket, which also held his wand. He began looking at the shelves more closely, seeing the vast array of titles and places, wondering if it was anywhere that he might like to visit someday.
Ginny quietly watched Harry and saw him become more animated, almost inspired, by her books. She folded her arms and smiled as he picked up a book here and there and flipped through the pages. "If you really want to do it, then go for it, Quidditch season doesn't start for another couple of months."
Harry looked over at her as if he was seeing her for the first time. "Yeah...maybe," he said with a shy smile.
"Gin, you're back! That guy stopped in again...you know, the one that can't take no for an ans...oh! Hello!" Megan said as she caught sight of a customer.
Ginny smiled at Megan as she walked out of the backroom carrying a small pile of books in her arms. Apparently she hadn't recognized Harry yet or she would have dropped the books on the floor with flourish, she thought. "Hey, Meg, sorry it took me so long to get back, I...uh, got hung up with something. I brought you this back at least...I kind of had an incident with mine." Ginny gestured to the cup of coffee that she hadn't managed to destroy.
"Not a problem, it's rather slow this morning, surprisingly. I can share mine with you if you'd like..."
"Nah, it's okay," Ginny said with a smile, looking over Megan's head at Harry.
Megan turned to the man behind her, who was smiling back at Ginny. Hmm...he looks familiar, but how could I not remember someone that good-looking? Megan thought with her eyes scrunched in concentration. "Do you two know each other?"
"As a matter of fact, yes...we go way back, don't we, Gin?" said Harry with a smirk.
"Indeed...way back," replied Ginny, arms still folded.
Megan looked between them and then made her way over to Harry with her arm outstretched after coming to the conclusion that Ginny wasn't going to bother introducing them. "I'm Megan Hightower," she said and noticed how firm of a grip Harry had on her hand. Who is this guy and why hasn't Ginny mentioned him before? She gave him a flirty smile nonetheless.
Megan froze and looked up into his smiling face, then over at the totally serious expression Ginny had on hers. Okay, she's not laughing, so either she's a really good actress or he really is Harry Potter. Her heart doubled its pace and she looked up into Harry's green eyes and then up at his forehead, but to no avail – his hair was laid flat by the cap and it covered his scar. "Er...ahh...uh..." she said stupidly, at a total loss for words. "Uhh...n...nice to mee...eet you." She nodded, pretty sure that her face could probably be compared to a nice ripe cherry tomato, which made her flinch.
"You as well...Gin told me about you."
She glanced over at Ginny and said, "Funny, she failed to mention anything about you." Obviously, she was going to have words with her later when they got back to their flat. Ginny just shrugged in reply to her intense glare.
Normally, Megan wasn't the type to have issues with finding things to talk about, but this wasn't a normal moment she was in. Her idol, which she had loved and admired since forever, was standing in front of her, and he and Ginny 'go way back' and her friend had never mentioned anything of it. That about sums it up...say something, you idiot! "Er...I gotta...go...do...something..." she furrowed her brows and realized she still had a grip on Harry's hand. She quickly let go and made a beeline out of the shop, bell jingling at her exit.
"That went well," he said, trying to stifle a laugh.
"I warned you, didn't I?"
"How come you've never mentioned me to her before?" The question lurked in the back of his mind and he decided he wanted to know.
"I dunno, just never seemed to find the right time, I guess..." Ginny lowered her eyes, not wanting him to know that she wanted to keep him all to herself. Having listened to Megan go on and on about how much she 'loved' Harry Potter made her feel sick to her stomach. She knew that Harry had plenty of females that would do anything to get a hold of him, but she was okay with it as long as she didn't have to witness it first hand. She found herself wanting to go over and break Megan away from him when they shook hands, about as much as she wanted to slap that little bit-
"Right...well, would you want to get together later? Have a drink or dinner or something?"
"Yeah, okay," she replied, wondering why she was agreeing to this. "Shop closes at six...I live right above here, so if you want to come over about seven, I should be ready by then. Just go around the back of the shop and there's another door...dad installed a Muggle doorbell for your convenience," she said with a smile.
Harry let out a half-snort, half-laugh, "Seven sounds good...I'll see you then." He looked down and saw that he was carrying two books on the Caribbean and Greece. "Er...I guess I'd like to buy these."
Ginny smiled and, after he got done paying for the books, sent him on his way after confirming the seven o'clock meeting time. After he left she leaned on the counter and looked at her reflection in the glass, going over the events in her mind of all that just happened. Harry Potter came into her life once again and caused a whirlwind. She sighed when she thought that maybe she didn't want it to stop.
I probably won't be updating this until I get chapter 12 of 'Play' out there, just so's you know! There's only one other chapter to this story...at least I think, but don't hold me to it. :P Hope you all like this as much as I!