The lives and relationship of Harry and Ginny Potter change when they open their home to a friend in need. Post-HOG, DH compliant, Pre-Epilogue/AU. HP/GW/LB
Harry Potter's boots sloshed and squeaked as he stomped through the Auror Office, the sounds echoing loudly throughout the area. Arriving at his own cubicle, Harry flung his wet cloak down onto the file cabinets next to his desk and slumped into his chair, the days' events weighing heavily on him. The rain outside only adding to the rather bleak day Harry had experienced.
Despite being only twenty-three years old and in his third year as a full fledged Auror, it didn't stop Harry's superiors in the Ministry of Magic from requesting he speak to Auror recruits and trainees every now and then. Everyone in the magical community wanted to hear from the defeater of Voldemort and the Ministry didn't think it would hurt to have Harry as a positive influence for their Auror department.
Five hours of visiting the homes of prospective Aurors and their families followed by another five hours delivering pep talks and examining training performances of trainees was not the way Harry preferred to spend a day at work but Minister Shacklebolt convinced Harry to go along with the request by kindly rewarding him with a week's paid vacation effective immediately after completion of the day of goodwill for the Ministry.
It was late into the evening and as a result the Auror Office was mostly empty, with only the night skeleton crew working at their desks and those finished with their shifts and packing up still around. Harry normally went home after his shift but with the knowledge that tonight his wife, Ginny, would not be waiting at home and instead at an evening Quidditch practice, he decided to get ahead on some paperwork to lessen the load his partner, Ron Weasley, would have to deal with next week without him.
However, Harry had only finished with a handful of forms before a soft knocking on his cubicle wall made him turn and find Minerva McGonagall – his former Head of House and current Hogwarts Headmistress – standing at the entryway.
“Professor!” said Harry, pleasantly surprised. That warm feeling rapidly vanished once he noticed the distressed look on the normally stoic witch and he quickly stood up to greet her. “Come in, come in. Please sit down.” He motioned to the high-back chair in front of his desk.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter,” replied McGonagall, taking a seat. “I'm glad I was able to catch you at work.”
“Someone's bad luck is another's good fortune,” commented Harry. “I try to avoid staying late if I can, as much for my sanity as for Ginny's.”
“Well, I won't keep you long, Potter.” McGonagall opened her bag, producing a flyer printed on a vibrant piece of green parchment which she laid on his desk. “And perhaps you can make another person's night better as well.”
Intrigued, Harry moved his attention to the flyer and read it over.
THE CREATURE CLUB
LUST IN LONDON
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
LAST TOUR STOP IN LONDON BEFORE IT GETS BANNED IN BRITAIN!
GET YOUR FREAK ON WITH OUR FREAKSHOWS
TONIGHT IN KNOCKTURN ALLEY
THIS PASS ADMITS 1 BEING
Harry glanced at McGonagall before reading the flyer again to make sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. Feeling a slight blush rise on his cheeks, he cleared his throat awkwardly. “Is there a reason my former professor is showing me a pass for an underground magical brothel?”
“It was brought to my attention today that a former Hogwarts student is wallowing away, working for that establishment since her departure from Hogwarts,” answered McGonagall. “I am sure you know as well as I do, the low standards and cruel working conditions for the unfortunate that are used there.”
“It's a sad part of life, professor,” said Harry. “But they are working there of their own free will and I just don't see what this has to do with me. If you want me to put a raid on the place I can, but I'd prefer not to just for the fact that for most that work there it's their only way to make a living unfortunately.”
“I can't say much more as to not betray my informant's trust, Mr. Potter,” replied McGonagall, standing up from her chair. “However, this poor soul was a Gryffindor once, and I think you'd agree with me, Harry, that Gryffindors look out for one another. With the new laws Kingsley and the Wizengamot have been passing restricting risqué events like this; tonight may be the last opportunity to help her. Please give it some thought.”
Harry watched McGonagall straighten up and give a firm nod in his direction before turning and exiting his cubicle, leaving Harry alone with his thoughts. Looking back down towards the green flyer on his desk, Harry let out a sigh, inwardly cursing his noble valor for what he was about to do.
Opening a desk drawer, Harry looked for some parchment to write a note on. Taking this request to look into the situation at the Creature Club would make him even later than usual to return home and as bad as his day had been Harry would rather not throw an angry Ginny on top of it.
Green flames sprouted to life from the fireplace at 12 Grimmauld Place and out stepped an exhausted Ginny Potter, thoroughly soaked from an evening practice in the rain with her Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies. A look of surprise appeared on her face as she took in the dimly lit basement kitchen and noticed the empty couch facing the fireplace, signs that her husband, Harry, was not home like she expected.
“Kreacher!” Ginny called, dropping her duffle bag onto the countertop and leaning her broomstick – a classic Moontrimmer Harry had given her on their last anniversary – against the wall.
A short, aged house-elf wearing a gold-colored pillowcase apparated onto the stone floor next to Ginny. “You called, Mistress?”
Ginny smiled and handed the house-elf her wet clothes as she stripped them off. “Is Harry upstairs?” she asked.
Kreacher shook his head. “Master has not been home since morning. But a Ministry owl did deliver a message before you arrived with the Potter seal on it.” The house-elf snapped his fingers, his magic igniting the candles in the basement, filling the room with light and making a small envelope appear on the counter in front of Ginny.
“Thank you, Kreacher,” said Ginny, now wearing only her workout bra and shorts. “If you could get these cleaned and ready for tomorrow, and bring a sweater down for me, I'd appreciate it.”
“Yes, Mistress.” Kreacher nodded and disappeared with Ginny's drenched Quidditch uniform.
Opening the envelope Kreacher had brought, Ginny moved towards the couch to soak in the warmth emanating from the fireplace as she read her husband's handwriting.
You should be home from practice when you get this, and I'm sorry I'm not there waiting for you to give one of my patented massages, but unfortunately I will be coming home even later than you tonight. Something came up at the end of my shift that needs my attention. McGonagall stopped by and asked me to help out a former Gryffindor.
It seems they are in some tough times and she knew I wouldn't refuse to help if I could. If the signs I'm getting from this situation are right, we might have a mistreated guest when I get home. If you could get some first aid supplies together and have Kreacher ready to contact your mum for help in case its more than we can handle.
I have to venture into a seedy area to find this former Gryffindor but I shouldn't have any trouble navigating the place safely. From the little information McGonagall did share, discretion seems to be of the utmost importance but I knew you'd like to know what was taking me so long. I'd rather be sitting with you right now instead of trudging out to this place, but I know if you were in the position to need help like this I would hope there would be someone willing to check up on you. I just worry that this is a Gryffindor we knew from school and if that's true, it saddens me that no one from our house was able to help before now.
Thinking of you.
Folding up the note and tossing it onto the cushion next to her, Ginny sighed. She found it tough sometimes loving someone so selfless, but she wouldn't change her decisions to be with Harry Potter for anything in the world. The fact that she was indeed a little sore from practice and had been hoping to feel Harry's hands on her did leave her slightly rankled.
Harry's work as an Auror often took him to less than desirable places but since she knew the job usually detailed working in pairs or teams it was not much to worry about. However, this request he was doing for McGonagall was clearly off the record and Ginny doubted Harry would have anyone watching his back. After all, Harry's note made no mention of her brother, Ron, who was usually Harry's Auror partner and someone he would usually trust with something like this.
Shaking her head, Ginny pushed away most of her worried thoughts. Harry was more mature now and nothing like his rebellious impulsive self from his Hogwarts years, especially with his skills and instincts having since been refined from years of Auror training and battle experience. She knew he would ask for help if he needed it. And if he didn't need it, he would stay safe. Those facts wouldn't stop her from worrying though.
Lost in her thoughts, Ginny did not notice Kreacher's return to the basement.
“Does Mistress want Kreacher to start dinner without Master?” piped up the house-elf, back from his laundry duties with Harry's royal blue sweater in his hands.
Ginny grabbed the sweater Kreacher held and slipped it on quickly, the hem falling down to her thighs and covering her shorts. “That won't be necessary, Kreacher. I think I'll head over to the Burrow and see my parents for a bit.”
The house-elf's ears twitched slightly but Ginny's actions were nothing new for nights when Harry was going to be late coming home. A trip to the Burrow for a piece of her mother's rhubarb crumble and some gossip would help pass the time while she waited for Harry to return.
Kreacher disappeared for a moment before reappearing with Ginny's fuzzy green slippers. He handed them to her and disappeared again.
Ginny murmured quiet thanks at the little house-elf's thoughtfulness and exchanged putting back on her wet boots for the soft slippers. Moving over to the fireplace mantle and the small jar sitting among the picture frames on it, Ginny grabbed some Floo powder. It took only moments for the Floo powder to turn the flames in the fireplace green and send Ginny on her way back to her childhood home.