If asked to describe his idea of heaven, this would be it.
The feel of the lush carpet of green grass beneath him. The warm May breeze as it rustled through the trees and caressed his skin in passing. The scent of flowers blooming in the spring air. The sound of the wind as it played across the waters of the lake as the insects buzzed flirtatiously from bloom to bloom. The bird song that could be heard just above them, as he lay in that semi-state of slumber in her lap.
The caress of her fingers as they played with his hair or the feather soft touch on his face as she outlined its contours as if to memorize his features.
And her scent. Oh Merlin, that scent.
It was flowery, but no flower that he could name or describe. Perhaps it was the scent of a thousand flowers, all beautiful, all precious and coalesced into her unique and beauteous scent. She was everything that was good and beautiful and right in the world. Yes, she was worth fighting for, worth dying for.
Those may have been mere words tumbling out of the mouths of other men, but to him they were as sure and true as the sun setting in the East and rising in the West. He meant them with every fiber of his being.
How had she become so important to him in so short a time, how could he have been so blind? Oh, the time he had wasted! He thought back to every moment he could have shared with her in the past six years. His triumphs and joys, his heartbreaks and sorrows, his anger and rage. The burdens of his life lightened by her mere smile. He knew now that there was only one person on the face of this earth that he wanted to share all those things with, his past, his present, his future. There was a God in heaven and he had made her for him to love. The thought took his breath away.
He loved her, so very much and he had yet to tell her. He was afraid to tell her but did not know why. It was not as if he was insecure in the knowledge – he was – and yet, he was afraid to tell her so.
“What are you brooding about now, Potter?” Her voice was whisper soft, like a caress on his skin. He shivered.
“I wasn’t brooding,” he answered without opening his eyes.
Her fingers caressed his brow, smoothing out the frown he had not realized he was making. “What’s this then?”
“Squinting?” he tried, eyes still closed as he responded.
She chuckled. “What were you thinking about just now?”
He wanted to pass off her question with a silly retort, but then, without having asked his brain for permission, his mouth answered, “You.”
Silence. And then.
“Oh? And what were you thinking”
“How beautiful you are.” And how much I love you.
She took a moment to respond, but her soft reply surprised him. “I’m not really, but thank you for the compliment.”
He opened his eyes and watched her from his position on her lap. She was not looking at him but at some far off point on the lake and there was a slight dip to the corners of her mouth, not quite a frown, but something more worrisome.
“I’m not as pretty as Parvati or Cho, with their flawless skin and dark hair and exotic beauty,” she said, the dip in her mouth still in place, but then suddenly her mouth quirked into a mischievous smile. “Oi, when was the last time you had your vision checked, Potter?”
“Well, after six years you finally realize that the seventh Weasley is a girl and now you think she’s beautiful too. Either your eyesight’s getting worse or the prescription on your glasses is too strong.” She smiled down at him.
He laughed with her for a moment, but than he came to the startling realization that she really did not think she was beautiful in comparison to Parvati or Cho, and then he realized why. One girl he had taken to the Yule Ball as his date and the other girl he had been a complete fool over for two years. His gut clenched when he came to realize the insecurities his inattention had wrought.
His had lifted to caress her still smiling face. “Come here baby, lie down next to me.”
She sighed and snuggled into his arms. He could feel her smile as she rested her cheek against his chest. “I just love it when you call me that.”
“What?” he asked, puzzled. “Baby?”
“Yeah, don’t know why really. Maybe because I’ve never heard you use an endearment with anyone before. I hate to admit this – I don’t want it going to your already over-inflated head – but it makes me go all mushy inside,” she giggled.
“Too late for that. My head’s already too big,” he paused for effect. “Baby.”
She slapped his stomach and his abdominal muscles contracted lightly in response. Her hand then lay there in a light caress. He liked that. Quite a lot, actually.
“You are, you know,” he said.
“I am? Uh, what am I?”
“Beautiful. Now shut up and listen, Weasley. Okay?” He interrupted before she could protest.
“Okay,” she answered apprehensively.
“You have beautiful hair, I love your hair, it’s vibrant and alive, it’s fire and gold and copper, it’s exquisite and lush. I love to run my fingers through it, it’s the softest thing I’ve ever touched in my life and I…I love it.”
“Your eyes, I love the way that they lift up at the corners like a cat, and when you first wake up in the morning or when you’re tired it’s more pronounced. But I really love the way you look at me with those chocolate brown eyes of yours, and you know how much I love chocolate don’t you?”
“Yes, Harry, I know how much you love your chocolate.” She laughed, her hand that had been lying on his stomach slowly made its way up to his chest and her delicate fingers began plucking at the fabric.
“Merlin, woman, I even love your hands. They’re graceful and delicate. I love to hold your hand – it’s so small and soft in my own. My hand is so much larger than yours, it makes me feel strong, protective and… possessive. When I hold your hand, it lets other blokes know you’re mine and that they can all just bugger off!”
He looked down and focused on the freckles smattered across her nose. “I love the way your nose crinkles when you’re annoyed with me, and it also gives you away when you’re trying to lie your way out of some mischief you’ve cooked up and you don’t really care of you’re caught or not.” He paused to place a small kiss on the tip of her slightly upturned nose. She looked up at him and smiled, and then scrunched up her nose at him playfully. His eyes then fell upon her lips.
“Your lips, Merlin! I really, really love your lips. They’re lush and supple and when you pout I just want to nibble on your bottom lip and hold it between my teeth and give it a good nip and then lick it to make it better. I love the way they feel and taste on my own lips, and then there’s that thing you do with your tongue that just makes me go all…” He stopped when those very lips he was extolling covered his.
He lifted his head slowly, his eyes caressing her face lovingly. They lingered on her now swollen lips. “Oh, yes I do so love your lips. There should be sonnets written extolling the beauty of Ginny Weasley’s lips. Shrines should be erected throughout Britain so that yearly pilgrimages could be made to worship your lips…”
“Harry,” she warned.
She smiled. “Just a bit. But don’t stop there. What else do you love, Potter?”
He gave her a wicked leer and wiggled his eyebrows at her. “Your bum.”
“Harry!” She pretended to be scandalized.
“Well I do. I love the view from the front – it’s so luscious.” His eyes dropped down to her breasts admiringly and then up to her face again in time to notice the scarlet blush on her cheeks. He smiled at her cheekily; where he found the courage to be so bold he could not say. “But the view when you’re walking away, ummm, ummm, ummm. Your hips sway to and fro and…”
“Harry!” Now she was really scandalized.
“Okay, okay. Sorry, got carried away there… but it is quite a sight to behold,” he laughed, and then he suddenly frowned. “I caught Malfoy staring at your bum the other day and I almost hexed the revolting ferret into oblivion.”
She laughed at that.
“Don’t laugh, I got detention for breaking his nose. It was worth it though, I'd do it again.”
“Now, Harry,” she admonished half-heartedly.
“Well, I would!” he whined, then continued his litany of praise.
“You are beautiful Ginny, so beautiful. Yes, Parvati and Cho could be considered exotically pretty. But you have a natural vibrant beauty they don’t have and never will have. But it’s so much more than your face or figure. People flock to you.” He frowned. “Boys want to be near you. Tthey flirt with you outrageously, it drives me nutters. You don’t even notice and that itself is so attractive. You can be womanly and soft and yet you can play Quidditch with the big boys and get all muddy and sweaty and you’re still beautiful.”
“You’re a flame, Ginny and we’re all just insignificant moths basking in your light and warmth. Yes, you’re beautiful, but you’re intelligent and witty and funny and mischievous.” He chuckled. “It’s as if all the best Weasley qualities are embodied in this small little package. You’re as audacious and daring as Bill and Charlie. You can be as studious as Percy, not as pompous, thank Merlin. You have the mischievous nature of the twins and you’re as loyal and stubborn as Ron. Hot tempered too. It must be the red hair?” She snorted, he laughed.
“You can be quick to anger, but you also have the most forgiving and generous heart of anyone I’ve ever known. You’re strong Ginny, so strong, you’re a force to be reckoned with…You’re beautiful, Ginny, so beautiful. Do you believe me now?”
“Yes Harry, I believe you.” He felt a warm wet tear fall unto the fabric of his shirt and the caress of her smile.
He smiled too, and he brought the hand that had been resting on her shoulder to play with a lock of her hair. He could almost feel her purr with pleasure.
“Harry, what do you want to do after Hogwarts?”
He frowned. “I don’t know. I mean I’ve got a demented mad wizard after me. There may not be an ‘after Hogwarts’ to worry about.”
She did not argue with him or berate him as Hermione might have; she was not the type to placate him with platitudes. She, more than anyone, knew what Voldemort was capable of and that his future was uncertain. He tried not to dwell too much on the possibility that he might not have a future, but Ginny gave him the desire to fight for a future with her. She gave him a reason to want to live and that was all he could really ask for.
“Okay, let’s pretend Ol’ Tommy boy is out of the picture. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Play professional Quidditch, be an Unspeakable, an Auror… Minister of Magic…write your memoirs, what?”
He gathered his Gryffindor courage and mumbled, “I want to spend it with you.”
“What? I didn’t hear that Harry, say it again.”
With more force, he said again, “I want to spend it with you.”
“Huh?” she looked up at him, puzzled.
“My life, Ginny, I want to spend my life with you.”
He watched as her expression went from confusion to surprise, to joy and then that fierce look of determination he loved so much, the one that told him he was going to like what she said or did to him… and he was right.
She kissed him with a fierce passion that left him breathless.
“I want that too Harry, so much.” Then she sat up, bringing her knees up to her chest. She wrapped her arms around her legs and rested her chin on her upraised knees.
“I need to tell you something, Harry, and I don’t want you to feel as if you have to say it back and I don’t want to scare you into running for the hills. Okay?”
“Okay…” he was worried now; what could she possibly want to convey that had her this anxious?
She was silent for a long time. Harry was beginning to panic and then suddenly…
“I…I love you Harry, I probably always have and I probably always will.” She looked over her shoulder at him to see his stunned face. “Don’t be mad at me Harry, please.” Her doleful eyes pleaded with him.
The monster in his chest roared! She loved him, Ginny Weasley loved him. Him! Harry James Potter. He realized now why he was so afraid to tell her before. He as afraid she would not love him back. She may have fancied Michael and Dean – the gits – but she loved him.
He smiled and his monster purred. The smile became a smirk as his voice lowered in a wicked caress, “Come here, baby, lie down next to me.”
She melted into his arms, all soft and lush. he kissed her for the first time as a man in love. He kissed her with the assurance of a man who knows that the woman in his arms loved him and that he loved her with intensity far beyond the boundaries and realms of what can be measured, weighed and touched. This was boundless, immeasurable, this was love in its purest form. It was irrevocable and unchanging, as constant as the stars in their courses.
He looked into her eyes brimming with unshed tears of unrestrained joy, a look of hopeful anticipation in the depths of her almond shaped, chocolate brown eyes. There was a radiant smile on the lips whose virtues he had extolled only moments before. His eyes lovingly caressed her beloved face and he looked into the depths of her soulful eyes. With a conviction far beyond his years and a fierce passion shining in his eyes, he boldly confessed, “I love you, Ginevra Weasley, and I will love you until the day I die.”
His fate rested in her small delicate hands, and if love was the power he needed to defeat his enemies, then he was invincible indeed.
They spent the rest of that lazy spring afternoon in quiet whispers and sweet kisses and even sweeter caresses.
Oh yes, if anyone had asked Harry James Potter to describe his idea of heaven…this would be it.