“Thank you for the dance, Ginny.” Neville said nervously as he shifted from one foot to the other.
Ginny sighed and looked down at her aching foot. In over three years Neville had still not learned to dance but if it weren’t for him, she would have sat down through the entire Victory Ball, besides the second dance and that had been with her father. “Thank you Neville. It was lovely of you to ask me.” She looked over at his nervous face. “I know you want to go and dance with Susan, so please go!” She winked conspiratorially at him and gave him a small shove towards the pretty redhead that was seated at a table near them. Without much protest he went to dance with the woman whom he had had a crush on for over a year.
Ginny sat down gingerly at her empty table and gazed around the room at all the happy couples. The night was almost over but everyone was still dancing. Her heart leapt into her throat as she caught sight of Harry with his new girlfriend.
Ginny watch him dance with Celia… beautiful, thin, blonde, smart and charming Celia. Her heart constricted and her whole body was awash with jealously and a longing for what would never be. Self-pity and a loathing of her own weak heart filled her as she turned her face away from the merrily dancing couples. Everyone was thrilled that Voldemort had been defeated a month earlier… even if the Death Eaters were still actively killing. She should have been happy too despite the fact that no one wanted to dance with her. She was a hero and had the Order of Merlin. She should have been glad that Harry had found someone… she should have been in high spirits but instead she felt her heart slowly break in to a million pieces.
“Are you all right Ginny?” Her mother came up to her and she plastered a smile on her face for the older woman’s benefit.
“I’m fine Mum. Just tired.” She replied evenly. It was easier to lie than to explain to the matriarch why she was upset.
Mrs. Weasley gave a short laugh. “We are all tired I expect, after so much dancing.”
“Mm.” Ginny did not bother to contradict her. She felt like such a fool for not having more than two dance partners the whole evening that admitting it to anyone would finalize her humiliation. She knew that she was not the most attractive girl in the room with her second hand robes but she had not thought it would matter so much. She wished now that she had let Harry buy her new ones but her pride had stopped her. She sighed and shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She had thought that at least some of her friends from Hogwarts would want to dance with her but everyone had seemed to pair up at the end of the war. She was one of the only singles in the room.
“I saw you dancing with your father earlier, while I danced with Charlie. You two looked really nice together. I am going to enjoy watching you dance with him at your wedding.”
Ginny started visibly at her Mum’s statement and gaped at her in astonishment. “Who am I marrying, then?”
Mrs. Weasley tucked a stray hair back up into the bun before she answered. “Well, we had always hoped that you and Harry would hit it off, of course, but he seems to be really attached to Celia. I can’t blame him; she’s a wonderful girl.” She reached out to pat Ginny’s hand. “Some day, I rather fancy you will fall in love and get married. You used to pretend that you were a bride when you were younger.”
Ginny’s face flushed at the stupidity of her childhood games. “I’ve grown up Mum and I stopped playing those games when I was six.”
“I know you did, dearest. I also know that you did so because Bill was teasing you about it.” Her face took on a saddened expression. “I was so angry with him for that. It was the only time that he made fun of your game and you never played that one again.” She studied her daughter for several moments. “There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a bride.”
Ginny bristled and sat up straight. “I have better things to do with my time now. I’m going to be an Auror and I expect that I won’t ever marry.” She looked around the room and spoke again before her mother could continue with her lecture. “Where’s Dad?”
“Gone for a drink.” She pointed to the refreshment table. “Here he comes.”
Ginny’s eyes snapped open and she let out a breath that she had been holding in her dream. She rolled over quietly and grabbed the parchment that she had set on her nightstand before turning. Quickly she jotted down the major points of the dream before putting the quill and parchment back. She lay down and then looked over at Harry.
His face was pinched and she could instantly tell that he was dreaming. He jumped in his sleep before shaking his head and mouthing wordlessly. She put a hand on his shoulder and he opened his eyes to look at her. The fear that his green eyes held was palpable. “What was it?” She asked him softly before getting the quill ready to take notes for him.
He squinted and reached for his glasses. “I was reliving my break up with Celia.”
“Really?” Ginny started to write it down. “Tell me more.”
He laughed softly. “It was quite dramatic. She was angry about a letter that you sent to me.” He looked over at her and frowned slightly. “Haven’t I told you about this before?”
“No.” She looked up from her notes. “I didn’t want to interfere.”
He sighed and crossed his arms under his head. “I was reading a letter that you had sent right before Christmas. She asked me what was in it and when I wouldn’t share, she started to cry. She accused me of cheating on her and all sorts of other things. I tried to explain that we were discussing private things but she started going on about how you can’t have a marriage without trust.”
“What?” Ginny’s head shot up when she heard the word ‘marriage’.
He grimaced slightly. “So I made the grievous error of telling her that I was never going to marry her.”
“Oh Harry!” She didn’t know whether to be horrified or amused. “Don’t tell me you are really that thick! She was your girlfriend; of course she expected your relationship to be heading towards marriage.”
“Well, I didn’t.” He answered honestly. “You are the only woman that I ever wanted to marry.”
Ginny felt her mouth drop open and her brain shut down. “But…” She could not think of any way to respond.
He reached up and cupped her cheek. “You had to know that.”
She shook her head and felt tears pool in her eyes. “Please… please don’t be...” She could not express exactly what she was feeling but he seemed to know anyway.
“Never.” He leaned up and kissed her softly. “I would never joke about this. I love you.”
She sniffed and held back her tears. “I love you too.”
He pulled her down so that she was half laying on him before gently taking the notes and reading through them. Slowly she felt his entire body stiffened. “This was your dream?” He finally asked.
“Yes. I have this one often. It was a horrible night.” She tried to burrow even deeper into his arms, burying her flushed face. She wished, belatedly, that she could forget that horrendous night.
He was quiet for several moments; the only sound was of his hand running gently through her hair. “I spent the entire evening wanting to dance with you but Celia had already expressed her… jealousy about us and so I didn’t ask you.” He kissed her temple lightly. “I didn’t know that you only danced twice. I tried not to look at you too often because she caught me staring at you once and nearly cried.”
“I still don’t understand why she would feel threatened by me.” Ginny mumbled in to his chest.
“Maybe she knew that I really loved you and not her.”
She shook her head, wanting to know more about his dream. “Finish telling me about your breakup.” She took the paper back and sat up again, prepared to write more.
“After I told her that I was not going to marry her, she slapped me and then told me that I was an insensitive berk before she broke up with me.” He sighed and covered his heart with his hand. “I was terribly crushed.”
Ginny laughed hysterically. When she had recovered from her mirth pushed her hair away from her face. “Poor Celia.”
“Oy! I’m the one who got slapped.” He retorted indignantly.
She poked his side and smiled when he squirmed slightly. “You deserved it. You were with her when you had no intention of making a permanent commitment. She was really a lovely girl.”
Harry gazed down at her in amusement. “I thought you didn’t like her.”
“She was too perfect.” She reminded him before sighing heavily. “I didn’t like the fact that she was gorgeous and very nice. She didn’t have any faults and that was irksome.”
“She doesn’t hold anything on you.” He replied huskily. “You are the most beautiful woman in the world to me.”
“Aw.” She started to giggle. “I bet you say that to all the girls you sleep with.”
He joined in with her laughter. “As a matter of fact, yes. I have told that to all of the women that I have slept with.” He face was contorted in concentration. “That would make a total of… you.” He kissed her again and she felt him smile against her lips. “We should go back to sleep.”
“Yes, we have to be at work in a few hours.”
“I was on duty last night.” Ron yawned as he sat on the edge of Ginny’s desk the next morning. “It was horrible. Nothing happened and it was effing cold!”
“Poor Ron. He has to stay out in the frigid cold without using a warming charm on himself.” She tried to keep a straight face but failed. A wide grin split her face before she dissolved into laughter.
He huffed in annoyance. “For your information, we were told to remain inconspicuous and to only use magic if the situation was life threatening.”
“So what else happened?” Harry asked him as he shuffled through the stack of parchment that had piled up on his desk over the weekend.
Ron shot a glare at her before turning back to Harry. “Honestly, not much. We watched the house and saw movement in one of the windows but…”
“RON! HARRY! GINNY!” The three heads snapped up to look at Ron’s partner, Fraiser, came running towards her desk. “Attack at the place! We need to go!”
“We’re coming!” Ginny grabbed her cloak and quickly followed the others at a sprint. They reached Kingsley who looked concerned.
“We are all going. Dawlish and Tonks sent word that they were under attack by several Death Eaters. Be prepared for anything.” Their boss gave them the location of the house where Malfoy was rumored to be and in seconds they had Apparated in to a large battle.
For a moment it felt to Ginny as if she were back at Hogwarts fighting with the last of Voldemort’s minions before they had been captured. But quickly the feeling left her and soon she was dueling with a robed figure whose tall, lanky frame was eerily familiar. “Pertundo!” She shouted the obscure but extremely powerful curse at the man and watched as a small hole ripped through his body. Harry had once told her it was like being shot with a muggle bullet. The other man stumbled and tried to heal himself but could not maintain his balance. “Stupefy!” She watched the steam from her breath rise into the freezing air as the red light hit him before she bound him and sent him via portkey to the Auror’s special holding cell.
Ginny quickly turned back to the battle and began to aid Tonks in her duel against a shorter man. The Death Eater was remarkable in his skills but as soon as she had joined the other woman they were able to subdue him quickly. “Thanks Ginny.” Tonks panted as she bound the man as Ginny had done moments before.
“Any time.” She assured her. She turned to join the next fight but was surprised to see that all of the other Death Eaters had either fled or were in the process of being tied up. “It’s over?” She called to Harry as he walked up to her.
“Yes.” He pulled her roughly into his arms and kissed the top of her head. She felt warmth spread through her in contrast to the icy air that surrounded her.
Tonks coughed and raised one eyebrow as she looked at them. “Is there something you forgot to tell me?”
“No.” Ginny winked at her and the other woman nodded. Tonks understood their need for privacy. “Do you know why they attacked you?”
“Uh…” She blushed and turned to look over at the other Aurors before meeting Ginny’s stare. “I sort of took on your appearance to see what would happen. Dawlish did not think it was really you two that the Death Eaters were after.” She smirked as she looked at her partner who was scowling as Kingsley talked to him. “I guess I won.”
“Won?” Harry probed.
She winked at him. “He has to clean out my flat for me next weekend. Without magic.” She placed a heavy emphasis on her last two words. “I’m rubbish at cleaning spells so the mess has been accumulating for months now.”
“Harry, Ginny!” They turned towards the commanding voice of the head Auror. “I want you two to get back to the Ministry and start on the paperwork. This was obviously another trap.”
“Yes sir.” They said together and with two soft pops they were back in their office. To their surprise Hermione was waiting at Ginny’s desk.
“Thank goodness you two are back!” She stood up and hugged them both. “Where were you? Wait!” She held up her hand. “I probably don’t want to know as long as Ron is all right.”
“He should be back soon.” Ginny informed her. “What can we do for you this fine morning?”
Hermione leaned in to speak in a hushed tone. “I made an appointment with the Mind Healer for you both. You will meet with her tomorrow at 4:00pm at St. Mungo’s.”
“Thanks.” Ginny tried to work up her enthusiasm but she really did not want to meet with the Mind Healer again. It had not helped the first time and she doubted that this time would be any different.
Her face softened as she studied the other woman. “I know you don’t want to go but I really think that this will help. Besides, Harry will be there with you.”
“Right.” Harry nodded before putting an arm around her waist. “If she says that you are a nutter then at least you know I’ll be there to support you.”
“You are too kind.” She said sarcastically as she rested her head against him.
A/N: Thank you to Blumnkymn for the use of the spell "Pertundo"
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