Chapter 1 : The Gift
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A/N this is in response to strengthfairy937’s Christmas Fluff challenge. I hope it’s what she was expecting.
Harry Potter is having trouble finding a special present for Ginny Weasley. But when Christmas Eve draws to a close and he still hasn't found a present, will he take a leap of faith (and a bit of courage, too) and give her the best gift of all? The gift of love.
Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, woke up one December morning a few days before Christmas to find frost on the windows and snow covering the grounds. He pulled himself out of bed and dressed hurriedly in Mrs. Weasley’s warm wool sweater. He saw Ron snoring in his bed. Grinning, he shook him roughly.
“Get up, mate. Hermione’s going to be wondering where you are.” Ron sat up straight and started dressing at record speed.
“So, where’s Hermione?” he demanded eagerly. Harry chuckled.
“She’s probably in the common room. Come on.” Together, they scrambled down the steps to find Hermione and Ginny waiting in the common room. Ron walked over to Hermione and immediately started chatting nonchalantly. Harry smirked; it was hilarious to watch Ron.
Ginny came up to him, smiling slightly.
“Do you want to take a walk?” she asked softly. He nodded.
“Okay, let me just get my coat.” she quickly ran upstairs to grab her coat and scarf. Harry grabbed his where he had left them last night on the common room floor. He shrugged his coat on and pulled his mittens onto his hands. Ginny came back down a few minutes later, bundled up in her coat, scarf, gloves, and hat. When he raised his eyebrows she shrugged defensively.
“What? It’s cold out.” He chuckled and opened the portrait hole. She ducked under his arm and they headed outside the castle towards the lake. Shivering, Ginny rubbed her hands together. Harry smiled and reached out to hold her hand in his.
She smiled up at him. They walked in silence for a few moments, the only sound being the crunch of their feet on the snow. Harry broke the silence after a few minutes.
“So, what do you want for Christmas?” he asked. She shrugged.
“I don’t really know yet.”
“Gin, Christmas is tomorrow.” he laughed. She nodded.
“I know. I also know what I want from everyone else. I don’t want anything fancy from you. You’ve already given me everything I want.” she said softly, glancing up through at him with a sweet smile on her face.
“Same here.” Harry agreed, in a slightly less eloquent way. Silence fell for another few minutes. Impulsively, Ginny reached up on her tiptoes and kissed Harry lightly on the cheek.
“What was that for?” he asked playfully, smiling down at her.
“For being such a great guy.” she answered, tucking a strand of fire-red hair behind her ear. They kept walking until they reached a bench. Harry pulled Ginny down to sit beside him. He noticed she was shivering slightly. He wrapped his arm around her, pulling her tight against him.
She leaned against him, snuggling close. Harry rested his head on top of hers, inhaling the fresh scent of strawberries in her hair. They stayed like that for a while, until the sun was up high in the sky, just staring out at the winter wonderland before them, reveling in each other’s warmth.
“Harry?” her voice was barely a whisper.
“What?” he asked, sitting up.
“I love you.” she murmured. He felt a startled expression flash across his face.
“Mmmhmm.” he muttered, hoping against hope she wouldn’t notice. Luck wasn’t on his side. Ginny sat up straight, her back rigid.
“What do you mean, ‘mmmhmm?’” she demanded angrily. He cowered slightly, once again exposed to the famous Weasley temper.
“Just that, well, er-” he stammered.
“Obviously that you don’t love me. See you around, Harry.” she replied, with cold fury in her voice. She stomped off, leaving Harry alone on the cold grounds. He sighed; furious that he had let his fear of hurting her get in the way. He only wanted to keep her safe from Voldemort.
Ginny stomped up to the castle, seething. True, he had probably been thinking about something noble and world-saving, but he could’ve said those three stupid words. How hard was it? ‘I love you.’ Boys. God, how could anyone understand them?
As Ginny stormed into the common room and up to the dorm she was sharing with Hermione over Christmas break, she walked in on Hermione writing a letter.
“Who are you writing to?” Hermione turned crimson and tried to hide the letter.
“Um, no one.” she stammered unconvincingly. Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Whatever, I’m not in the mood.” Ginny flopped down on her bed, resting her head on her hands.
“What’s the matter?” Hermione asked tentatively, sitting cross-legged beside Ginny on the bed.
“Nothing, my world is absolutely perfect.” Ginny said sarcastically into her pillow.
“Ginny,” Hermione began in a warning tone.
“Fine, Harry wouldn’t say it.” Ginny sighed, sounding depressed.
“Oh, Gin, I’m sorry.” Hermione answered sympathetically. She knew how long Ginny had waited for this day.
“Maybe he just, I don’t know, spaced out.” Hermione suggested hopefully. Ginny ignored her.
“Listen, Ginny, I’m going to talk to him, it’ll be alright.” Hermione comforted her. Rising, she strode angrily out of the seventh year girls’ dorm. Sighing, Ginny rolled over and took a short nap.
Meanwhile, Hermione strode out of the common room and toward the lake. Spotting Harry sitting alone on a bench, looking depressed, she walked over quietly, sliding into the spot next to him.
“What did you say to Ginny? She looks as depressed as you do.” Hermione said softly, half teasing.
“I was distracted, but I heard her question. All I want to do is protect her from Voldemort.” Harry muttered, sounding slightly resentful.
“Harry, as much as you want to, you can’t run Ginny’s life, or Ron’s, or mine. You have to let us make our own decisions, and if that means we stick with you, you can’t change our minds. Especially Ginny, she’s set her heart on you.” Hermione said earnestly. Harry turned slowly toward her.
“Are you sure?” he demanded cautiously. She nodded, crossing her fingers. “Than will you come with me to find the perfect present for Ginny?” he asked hopefully. Hermione nodded, unable to resist the pleading look on his face.
“Okay, come on.” Harry pulled her up from the bench. With a groan Hermione followed him to join the stragglers going to Hogsmeade for last-minute shopping.
Once they arrived in Hogsmeade Harry dragged Hermione straight to Madam Wilson’s Special Christmas Store, a shop set up just for Christmas shopping. It had everything from dresses to glass figurines to posters to animals. It was ideal to search for the perfect present for Ginny. Hermione immediately veered to the girls’ side of the store. Harry cautiously followed behind her.
“Oooooooh, look at this.” Hermione gasped, cradling a pretty, sparkly, silver and diamond necklace. Harry nodded his head and tried to look interested. After about half-an-hour of this Harry stopped Hermione in the middle of her sales pitch.
“Hermione, these are all great, but none of them are the perfect present. Thanks anyway, though.” Hermione sighed, replacing the snow globe she had been holding.
“Oh well, Harry, you know what would really make Ginny happy.” She said it as a sort of accusation. Not quite sure of what to make of Hermione’s words, Harry set off back for Hogwarts, Hermione trailing after him.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, Ginny had woken up and gone to sit in the warm, toasty common room. Sighing, she stared into the depths of the fire. If only her life wasn’t so complicated. Her brain was like spaghetti. She just wished for once she could talk to Harry and just tell him everything, just her whole life.
She heard the portrait hole open and shut with a bang, and turned to see who had entered. Hermione stormed in looking livid.
“Now what?” Ginny asked half-heartedly.
“Harry.” Hermione fumed. “That boy will drive me insane!” Suddenly, on an impulse, Ginny asked Hermione, in a very discreet way,
“I bring him to the perfect Christmas store, hint all the time at what to get you, practically shoved him to the rack, but no, of course not! He is so dense, I’ll kill him soon.” Ginny smirked, Harry’s slight denseness was so adorable to her; she sometimes forgot everyone else didn’t feel the same way.
“Where is he now?” she asked, momentarily forgetting her anger.
“Who knows? Probably thinking about what to get you.” Ginny let a soft smile grace her full lips. He had already forgotten her protests at a present. Harry was special, and she felt guilty for fighting with him. Shame she was too stubborn to apologize.
“Tell him I’m not angry anymore, please Hermione,” she asked, begging.
“Sure, I’ll find him,” Hermione agreed. Ginny thanked her and went back upstairs to the girls’ dorm. Lifting up the mattress, she pulled out her gift for Harry. She smiled to herself. Then, looking out the window, she realized with a shock that it was dark out already.
Grabbing her present, she sprinted downstairs she nearly ran over someone. She practically bounced off, reeling backwards.
“Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to.” she rambled, until she saw the face of the person she had bumped into.
“Oh, well, sorry.” she muttered, practically feeling her face turn scarlet. Harry grinned, looking sheepish as well.
“No problem. Listen, Gin, can we talk?” he asked, looking so pathetically hopeful that Ginny couldn’t help but give in.
“Sure, where do you wanna go?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“How about our dorm?” Harry suggested, knowing full well that he couldn’t possibly get up into Ginny’s dorm. She nodded, ducking her head.
“Okay, well, let’s go.” He muttered, not sure of what to say. Ginny let him lead her up to the boys’ dorm.
“So, what do you want to talk to me about?” Ginny asked casually, sitting down with a bounce on Harry’s bed. He sunk down behind her.
“What’s that?” Harry asked curiously, motioning to the package in her hand. Ginny blushed before offering it to Harry.
“It’s for you,” she murmured, before looking immediately down at the floor. She heard ripping paper, and a minute of silence before a finger reached underneath her chin, tilting her head to face Harry’s. He had a soft smile on his face.
“Thanks, Ginny. It means a lot.” She blushed again, muttering something about ‘no big deal’ or something like it. He tilted her chin up again, leaning in to give her a light kiss.
“Yes, it is. You’re the best, Ginny.” She smiled gently, glad her gift had pleased him so much. She remembered Moody giving Harry a scrapbook of some sort one summer at Grimmauld Place and took his idea. The book was filled with pictures of James, Lily, Sirius, Remus, Hagrid, Hermione, Ron, Charlie, Bill, Fleur, Percy, Fred, George, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and many more. On the very last page, there was a photograph Ginny had found only recently.
On the very last page of the scrapbook was a picture of Harry and Ginny one day on a Hogsmeade trip, with snow falling all around them. Snowflakes were sprinkled throughout Ginny’s hair, making it sparkle like never before. They were both laughing and smiling, with Harry leaning over to kiss Ginny every once in a while.
Harry leaned over to give Ginny a tight hug.
“Ginny, you’ll, you’ll never understand how much this means,” Harry said in a slightly choked voice. She buried her head in his robes, inhaling his scent, and just feeling that protected feeling that only Harry could make her feel. After a few minutes, Harry broke away.
“My turn,” he announced, looking happy. Ginny looked confused.
“But Hermione said-” she began, puzzled.
“Ginny, I have a special present for you. It’s not something you can touch. It’s different, and I hope you’ll like it.” Thoroughly intrigued, Ginny listened carefully.
“Ginny, my present for you is my love.” Harry said, looking a little bashful. “I swear to God I’ll never leave you or hurt you. Ever.” Ginny felt her eyes tear up.
“Harry, really?” she asked happily. He nodded.
“Sorry, it sounds cheesy, but I couldn’t find anything that was good enough. And this just seemed like it was the perfect present.” Ginny launched herself at him, hugging him tightly.
“It was,” she assured him, afraid to let go. “It’s the best Christmas present ever.” And with that, she kissed him, both giving all their passion and fears, with a strange presence, one you didn’t need a gift to represent, the presence of love.