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taking oedipus by the hand

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Antigone: Brother, how can anyone
not mourn, seeing you set out
to death so clearly before you?

--Sophocles, "Oedipus at Colonus"

--

Ginny took a liking to Moody when she was still in school, even.  

After the summer when Percy opened the door to the rest of the horrors that followed, Ginny still had a year left of school. The rest of them were already in the world - Harry had been snapped up by the Ministry immediately - while she was left, alone, at Hogwarts. She started putting every single moment she had into making sure her marks were good enough to follow in Moody's footsteps.

No one knew when he first realized her admiration, but on a rare trip the Weasleys made to Grimmauld Place that Christmas, Moody sat her down and asked straight out what she intended to do.

"I'm going to be an Auror too," she said to him, and met his eyes.

He gave her the Invisibility Cloak the next day.

--

"How is Fred taking things?" and Harry matched his stride to Ginny's slightly shorter one, while she lengthened hers to keep up with him. They fell into step easily.

Ginny shrugged; as one, they climbed the stairs out of the Ministry. In the last month, Dawlish decided that Aurors should be working in pairs. Because she still wasn't fully qualified, Ginny wasn't officially allowed to go on missions. Since she accompanied Harry, they got around it. "He's back in their place on Kensington Court." Fred and George's flat. It was above the shop. "The shop's open."

"Is Hermione still with him?" It should have hurt to ask, he should have been hurt that she couldn't come to him, but instead Harry just felt odd, saying it.

"She's running the cash."

"How's the--"

and Ginny cut him off. "They know what they're doing. The flat's been under the Fidelius Charm for years. Hermione has a portkey under the counter."

He held the Ministry side door open for her. So far, people had been safe going in and out of the Ministry. At least, there hadn't been any more attacks during the work day. Somehow, the rules of engagement had been set so that each side had ample room on the playing field. It was madness. "They're still not safe."

Ginny didn't argue.

--

Molly had absolutely forbid it. By that time, they were already living at Grimmauld Place, and Ginny had brought home nearly ten Outstanding N.E.W.T.s. Fred and George railed at her for sullying the family reputation; Bill - home for once - gave his congratulations in a way that reminded everyone that Percy would have been proud.

"He would have, wouldn't he?" Ginny asked, chin out. It was so rare for her and Molly to fight that everyone else present - not a Weasley - was startled, and staring. "Percy would have been proud. He would have been happy to see me join the Ministry."

Molly's mouth opened, and closed, and tears welled up. "Ginny, you can't--"

and Ginny said, "No, mum. Percy would have been proud of my grades just like Charlie would have been proud of us winning the Quidditch Cup this year, again, and Dad would have said yes."

Molly still forbid it, but there wasn't anything to do; Ginny was hired. Moody patted Molly on the back and said, "Don't worry, she'll be under me, just like the rest of them. I'll put her through her paces." He turned his eerie eye onto Ginny. "She's likely to drop out before the month is through."

--

Ginny didn't drop out.

--

They were crouched on a rooftop, waiting for full dark to move. It was likely that no one would see them, but the last thing an Auror did was take chances. Harry was getting a cramp in his leg, and his socks had a hole in them. "Are you sure Macnair's even in there?" Ginny asked.

Harry knew she was enjoying herself immensely. Ginny liked stealth. It was a surprise, after seeing her at eleven years old thundering up and down the stairs in the Burrow, but she was also pretty good at it. "He's in there."

He was.

They didn't catch him, but they did catch the wizard he was meeting; someone in the Ministry, in the law enforcement division. Not an Auror, but someone in the office, in the judicial branch. Someone who had enough information that he was incredibly dangerous.

Harry walked straight up to the wizard while Ginny covered him from the shadows. "You're under arrest," he said, unnecessarily. The wizard tried to run for it, but Ginny stunned him before he could pull his wand out, then bound him - roaring her curses from the dark - when he tried to Apparate away.

They would port him straight to the prison, to the section for people still being processed. It was complicated work, trying to decide what to do with these wizards while they slowly tried them for their crimes. "I don't think he even saw me," Ginny said, and poked the unconscious man with one bare toe. Spain was hot in the fall, and they were wearing sandals. Her voice was a little disgusted, as if he should have known better.

--

One day, before Charlie died, Harry was astounded to find a letter in the tray for Moody, who tended to get his mail at Grimmauld Place more often than not. Ginny had addressed it to "A. Moody, that place that no one knows, and not his actual whereabouts", and despite the vagueness, it had actually arrived. She'd probably used her personal owl, though - they always had a lot more luck getting through. Half the time Harry had to collect letters from the major post center in London and distribute them to the rest of the family, because mail just wasn't getting through like it used to.

They had thought, to begin with, that the Death Eaters were tampering with it, but it turned out that most of the post owls simply didn't know where Grimmauld Place was.

"You have a letter," Harry said, holding it out to Moody, who was in the kitchen tapping a spoon on the table nervously. His flask was sitting beside him.

Harry sat down, waiting for him to open it. Moody held it out, address face up. "You see that, boy? Useful trick, to send letters." He used the dirty spoon to flip open the envelope, and pushed it over to Harry. "You see the little ink drip in the corner there?" Harry nodded. "That's to tell me she wrote it herself."

It was an incredibly simple trick, but effective; Harry wasn't surprised that Moody used it. "How is Ginny?" he asked, a little awkwardly. Why Moody was getting owls when no one else was he didn't know.

"She's studying hard," he told Harry, and then eyed him. "You'd best do the same." Harry had Auror qualifications to meet, and his life to protect, and the Ministry was all but clambering over itself to try and get Harry out in the field. Moody put the letter carefully in his pocket, and then started in on drilling him about ambush tactics.

--

They had to line up to catch the ferry. Ginny pulled a pretty little change purse out of her jeans pocket, and paid both their fares. From Belgium to Canterbury, four hours on a smelly boat when they could have simply vanished and reappeared at home. Sometimes making sure you were inconspicuous was a pain.

"It's pretty out here," Ginny remarked softly, staring over the deck and onto the ocean. It was, if chilly. Ginny wrapped both her arms around Harry's waist. "It's not often we get a break."

Harry stiffened in her grasp, and suppressed the urge to tell her off. "Four hours and we dock again. Not much of a break. We'd best get straight to the Ministry."

"While you were sleeping last night," she chided, "I sent Pig off to them."

Harry turned around suddenly. The railing, incredibly cold against his thin sweatshirt, dug into the small of his back. He didn't even really have to look down to stare at her. "How do you do it, Ginny?"

Ron and George were fresh in the ground, and her three remaining family members were in mortal peril daily. She had an excruciatingly hard job to do, and yet she did it. Ginny still smiled.

She looked down, leaning against him. They weren't really anything, he and Ginny. But it was a nice cover for anyone watching. Just two young lovers looking out at the waves. "You'll notice that none of our family are ghosts. I just know that I'll be with them soon. So it's not so bad."

Ginny knew she was going to die. Harry looked around; there was a German couple taking a picture across the deck, and the sky was grey, cloudy. No one was looking at them. He put an arm around her shoulders.

--

Perhaps they all hoped that Percy's death was going to be the end. But it wasn't. And even though the Weasleys were the worst kind of blood traitors, and they all knew they were in peril, there was always so much to do, so much to take care of that they didn't have time to properly hide the Burrow. It was painful for all of them to leave it, but much more painful to stay, when Arthur was laying facedown in the driveway and people in black hoods were moving to break the front door in.

Molly arrived sobbing, and moaning over and over again, "thank god there was a fire in the grate. Thank god there was already a fire in the--" Harry couldn't stand it.

Ginny skipped her own father's funeral to take an exam, but she showed up at the grave later. Her mother was waiting for her, and tried to draw her into a hug. Ginny resisted, and stalked up to Moody, face pink from the cold. "Will you mentor me? I've passed."

--

Harry went back home for a few hours, mostly to see if he could catch Dumbledore in his office fire for some solid information. Molly was sitting up with Neville in the kitchen, like so many other nights. "Where's Ginny?" was the first thing she asked.

He hesitated. "In her office, I think."

When Moody ended up in St. Mungo's, Ginny walked into the Auror offices - no authorization, no right, and no one stopping her - and sat down in Moody's own cubicle. She put her feet on the desk, and pulled the first file towards herself.

A few people had looked at each other, and of course, there was an anonymous petition to keep her from the position because of her age and the fact that she hadn't actually qualified yet. But with Kingsley Shacklebolt vouching for her abilities and Harry silently bringing her lunch every day, Ginny moved from student to Auror as if she was slotted into a hole specifically made for her. In reality, she had made herself to fit that hole, had been shaping herself to fit for years.

"She's got mail," Neville said, holding out the envelopes. That was something, too - Neville quietly accepted that Harry had Ginny, whether they were dating or not. "Perhaps you could bring it to her."

"We got another one," Harry told them. He pocketed the letters. "Law Enforcement this time."

--

The Ministry was dark and quiet. Harry had his wand out. All manner of unfortunate things could happen after hours. Two wizards had been found stunned in their offices, files stolen. The list of suspects was relatively short, but the incursions could continue. Especially when some of the suspects were still employees.

Ginny was indeed in her office, a Muggle desk lamp burning. She was laying on a stack of Muggle newspapers, and would have ink on her cheek when she finally got up. Harry shook her shoulder. "Got your mail."

He sat down in a chair, and stared at her. She rubbed her face; sure enough, an impression of a drive-by shooting was etched on her cheek. "What time is it?"

"Nearly nine." He held still, listening as the curtains ruffled silently. "You shouldn't be here alone."

"I was leaving soon." Ginny opened her letters. One was from Moody, or at least she claimed it was. "See?" and she held out the envelope. "Just like when I was in school." There was an inkblot in the left hand corner.

"Be careful." But Harry didn't have to say that. Ginny sniffed the envelope, then used a handkerchief to pry the flap open, holding it away from herself. Two pieces of parchment fell out; one was a note from Moody's healer, and the other was an incoherent jumble of ink lines, drawn by a shaky hand.

Ginny read the note. "She thought I might like to have this, since he got hold of an envelope and wrote my name on it himself." She held the drawing up. "Well, it's unique, anyway," and she grinned.

Harry held her hand while they closed the office up, and while Ginny pinned the drawing up in her cubicle. Her face stayed calm. They let go heading into the hallway, because they'd need both hands to protect themselves.

--

Molly had thought that Moody was a bad influence on her, and with Arthur gone, it fell to Remus to convince her otherwise. "She's going to be in danger, no matter what," Remus said, quietly. "He can show her the best way to protect herself."

"But she's only seventeen, she's too young - she can't even join the Order for another two months--"

"He showed us how to protect ourselves, too," Remus had said.

"And that turned out so well." As soon as Molly said it, she clapped a hand over her mouth, face white. Remus had stood up, and stared her down angrily.

Ginny had been standing in the doorway. She looked at her mother and said, "How dare you say that to him," and borrowed Harry's broom to apply the very next morning.

--

"Where have you two been?" Neville asked, gaze swinging from Ginny to Harry.

"We went to see Hermione," Harry answered. "I'm starving. Are there any bananas left?"

Ginny stayed standing in the kitchen doorway. Neville started to pour her a cup of tea, but she shook her head. "I can't stay. Heading to St. Mungo's in a bit."

"We have to be gone by six," Harry answered, flipping through the latest notes, and looked apologetic. In the stack was a possible on Tonks. He handed Ginny the parchment, a message to meet a witch in Finland at seven. "It's a tight squeeze as it is."

"I'll make you some food for the way," Neville told them.

Ginny was already halfway out the door. "That's all right, we might as well just go now." Looked at Harry. "Coming?"

--

They risked Apparating as close as Denmark, and then mounted their brooms to race across the water. Ginny wrapped herself in Moody's cloak as she dismounted, and disappeared.

That was what people didn't seem to see about Ginny. Harry barely understood it himself. While Moody had taught him everything he knew about survival magic, somehow Ginny had learned how to be a different person. Moody didn't trust anyone; somehow, Ginny floated through life able to make people's gazes slide over her and pass her by. They walked down the street in Helsinki, and Ginny sidestepped everyone effortlessly.

A faceless voice murmured from Harry's right, "five to seven," and then Ginny emerged, pretending to tie her shoe, as Harry swept his cloak into his bag while no one was looking. Ginny's was already hidden away. They hadn't mentioned Moody at all; Harry knew she wasn't thinking about him, but rather how to make this go as smoothly as possible.

--

It turned out that Ron actually knew what he was doing, eventually, and while Ginny dropped a lit white rose onto Percy's coffin, Hermione took his hand.

It was a nice service. Ginny had stayed the longest.

Ron had been torn, fingers white from the cold. "Should we stay with her?" Hermione had her fingers laced in with his, her arm entwined with his tightly. Harry's cloak had blown about in the wind.

Tonks sidled up to them, and told them she'd stay, out of the way, to make sure Ginny was all right. It surprised everyone when Moody pulled his hip flask out, and settled on a gravestone beside her.

--

"Do you think they'll ever have children?" Ginny asked out of the blue. They were flying in formation, wing and leader, switching off the lead. After a night of sleeping in a fjord, cloaks over them and magic fire to keep warm, the bright sunshine over the North Sea was almost pleasant. The clouds were puffy and brilliant white below them. Harry's hands were chilled.

"What?" he yelled, over the rush of the wind.

"Hermione and Fred," she yelled back, and looped him on her broom. Harry dipped, startled, and a wisp of cloud clung to his ankle like the grasp of a Dementor. He shivered.

"It's freezing up here," Harry called after her, and sped up to trail her right hand side. That was how they had been taught, it was ingrained, it was instinct. In every direction they looked, no sight of land - just spun clouds and blue washed sky.

--

"Mum, it's all right, I'll take--" Ginny looked at Remus helplessly, "I'll take care of it. Okay? We'll deal with it."

Remus mouthed, "stay," and was already heading onto the landing to deal with the boggart. Her dead body sprawled, lifeless, down the stairs, Harry's vacant eyes beside her. Ginny patted her mother on the back, as her mother cried desperately into her apron. She checked her watch every so often; there was a meeting at four she couldn't miss. Someone had heard from Dung.

Neville found them there, and took over.

--

When Ron and Hermione had announced their intentions to move in together, Molly was torn between being ecstatic, and berating them for not doing it properly. That was back when Tonks was still around, while Moody was still unofficially heading the Aurors. "You'd best be on the lookout," he growled at them, "a new couple starting out is easy prey."

"We're not," Hermione answered stiffly, "easy prey."

Ginny slipped in beside Tonks while Molly was raving on about all the things they'd need for the new flat, and would they be able to get towels, and would they have an owl, Pig was somewhat unreliable, and would they have a Floo grate, and where would they--

"Your brother," Tonks said quietly, twinkle in her eye, "looks embarrassed."

"It's best to just let her go," Ginny replied.

Moody had thumped over to them, Harry in tow. "And where are you two planning on being?" he asked them sharply.

Ginny had a ready response, because there was no other option, really. "Whereever the Ministry needs. I have to check up on a few school friends," she added. "Next week."

"I'm still hunting down any sign of," and Harry's lips stretched. He paused. In those days, it was still bad news to say certain people's names aloud. Not Voldemort's, but if you mentioned Wormtail in range of anyone you were likely to lose an eye.

--

If it hadn't been Dawlish that assigned them to work together, Harry might have suspected matchmaking in pairing he and Ginny so often. But it really did make sense, it was logical, and Tonks needed the best to go after her. Before they were with the Ministry, it might have been a possibility. Now it was the job.

"North-west." Ginny pointed with a floating finger, and Harry dipped his broom over the Thames, made sure to keep his Cloak tucked over his feet. "Then we're home free."

Tonks disappeared. Tonks had disappeared, and Ginny had grabbed the case right from Shacklebolt's outstretched fingers. "I'll handle it," she had said, quietly, and strode to work. It was the closest that Harry had ever found himself in love with her, because right there was the whole of her family, looking out from one set of eyes.

St. Mungo's was crowded, the waiting room packed with wizards. They surveyed the room out of habit, and then slipped around to the fourth floor. A wizard calendar on the landing announced that tomorrow was All Saint's day.

Harry didn't usually even come this far. He could have gone down to the tea shop, probably, but someone should watch the door. Not that anyone was going to get at Moody while Ginny was inside. There was no way her guard would be down, protected or not. It was Moody's second gift to her - when he pushed Ginny off that bridge, choosing her over the job, something snapped into focus for both of them. Moody put himself in front of her, and so now she had to put herself in that vacated place in front of everyone else. Since he was gone, she followed in his wake.

"You can wait outside," Ginny said. Her voice left no room for argument. Harry pulled up a little stool and sat outside the door to wait.