Disclaimer: Jo owns everything you see!!Chapter 1
THE START OF SOMETHING NEW.
“It's over.” Harry thought. “It's finally over.” He closed the door to Dumbledore's office behind him. He started down the stairs, then paused to look back at the door. “No, it's McGonagall's office now,” he thought, “but I doubt that I'll ever be able to call it that.”
Sunlight was streaming into the castle through every window and every hole in the wall. Harry felt the warmth where the light struck his body, and realized how sleepy it was making him. He yawned as he started down the steps behind Ron and Hermione, trying to remember the last time that he had slept. His stomach chose that moment to grumble loudly, as if demanding equal time. He grinned ruefully. He couldn't remember the last time that he'd eaten, either.
But it didn't matter how tired he was, or how hungry he was, those things could wait. The need that was filling his head, the only thing that he had to do, was find Ginny.
He watched Ron and Hermione in front of him, walking hand in hand. He was glad that they had finally found each other. It was going to take some time for him to get used to seeing his two best friends acting like this, but he believed that he could manage it. At least it was something good to have come out of this war, something to balance the losses of Fred, Remus, Tonks, and Colin, and of the other fifty that had died fighting with him and for him.
Watching Ron and Hermione, however, just made the need in him grow stronger. He had spoken earlier of only wanting to find a bed and a sandwich, and that anything else could wait. He found now that he thought those things unimportant. Now, the only thing that mattered was finding Ginny.
Thoughts of 'My Ginny' were flooding his brain, along with an ache for her touch, the smell of her hair, and the sound of her voice. He tried hard to ignore the tiny, persistent voice in his head that said, “If she is still your Ginny. You broke up with her. You left her, and told her to move on. What makes you think she still wants you?” She had to still be his. He didn't believe that he could live without her.
As Harry followed Ron and Hermione towards the Great Hall, he realized a little bit more with every step just exactly how badly his body hurt. He willed the feeling of pain away, subverting it to his desire to find his little red head. The trio did pause at the entrance to the Great Hall, noting that the bodies of the fallen had been removed. After exchanging a nod, they turned and stepped into the Hall. They found the survivors in full celebration mode. Harry noted, though, that a look into any one individual's eyes quickly revealed the pain and loss that was bubbling just below the surface.
Harry could see George Weasley and Lee Jordan above the crowd. They were dancing on top of teacher's table, while singing along with Peeves. Both George and Lee were clutching half empty bottles of fire whiskey. Harry assumed that this was a good sign. While it was taking the fire whiskey to dull his own pain, George was doing what he did best; entertaining people, making them laugh and forget about their own problems. Harry knew that George was torn up over his own loss, but that he had never been one to put himself first when other people needed help.
Ron and Hermione headed over towards Neville, who was sitting with Dean and Seamus. Harry had turned to follow them, when Lee's voice boomed above the noise of the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen...” Lee called.
“...or anyone and anything in between...,” George continued.
“...please join us...,” Lee went on.
“...in joyous celebration...,” George said.
“...and welcome the man of the hour...,” said Lee.
“...Harry Potter, the one and only Chosen One.”, George finished.
Harry stopped in shock as the cheers rang out through the Great Hall. This was not want he had expected, and it certainly wasn't what he wanted. His eyes met George's, and he could see that the smile on George's lips did not reach his eyes, which were puffy, bloodshot and full of his pain.
George extended his bottle of fire whiskey towards Harry. “Come, O mighty Chosen One, and join us in a drink.” He raised his arms, and then mock bowed towards Harry. Lee joined in, and soon they were leading the chants of “Harry! Harry!”
Peeves zoomed above the crowd, cackling and singing his victory song:
“We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one.
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun.
Look, wee Potter's come back to join the fun.”
Harry was ready to run, but then he heard a voice that he knew so well, the one voice that he had been longing to hear, coming clear and distinct through the cheers. “Harry!” he heard her call, and he turned to face the owner of that beautiful voice.
Ginny was running towards him as fast as she could. Harry noticed that she was hobbling, favoring her right leg slightly. He noted that she was dirty, and that her clothes were torn in some places, and scorched in others. She appeared to have a few cuts and scratches on her face, and the hint of a bruise starting to form under her left eye, but otherwise appeared to be unhurt.
He focused on her radiant smile, and he knew that he returned it as she flung herself into his arms. He winced slightly, as his own aches complained about the impact from the healthy, little red head's body, but he thought it was a small price to pay. His Ginny was here, alive and relatively unhurt.
“I've missed you so much!” she cried into his chest.
Before he could answer, her lips were pressed firmly against his. Harry remembered his birthday as he realized how much he had missed this. How much he had missed HER. He could hear people whistling and cat calling. Some of them were even cheering, but Harry found that, at the moment, he didn't care how big an audience they had, or even if they had an audience at all. His Ginny was back in his arms, and all was right with the world.
“Hey! Potter!” he heard George call. “I don't care if you are the bloody Chosen One, get off my sister!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like the Golden Couple are back on!” Lee called, as he resumed leading the cheers.
The couple broke apart. Harry smiled down at her, remembering how much he had longed for this moment. How much he had longed for her lips, and how they were just as soft as he remembered.
The sound echoed in the Great Hall, instantly silencing the cheers from the crowd. Harry stood there in shock, his brain frozen, unable to comprehend what had just happened. His hand slowly made its way up to rub his stinging cheek.
“Or...maybe I spoke too soon.” Lee said, sounding about as shocked as Harry felt.
The sound of George's laughter echoing in the silence penetrated into Harry’s brain. He looked down at the beautiful red head in front of him, and saw her turn to fix a withering stare on George, whose laughter died in his throat. Ginny turned her attention back to him, and he could see that she was shaking with anger. She was trying to keep it in, but then the dam burst.
“I thought you were DEAD!” Ginny's voice cut through the silence. “You let ME think you were DEAD!”
“I'm sorry, Gin. I'm so sorry. So sorry.” Harry whispered, mumbling over and over the only words he could think to say.
“SORRY !?! You think SORRY will cover it?” Ginny was so angry that she had started to cry. She started to pound him in the chest, her little fists accenting every word she cried out to him.
“YOU...LEFT...ME! You've been gone a year! A whole bloody year, Harry! Every day I had to wonder if the man I love was alive or dead! A whole friggin' year! How do you think that felt, Harry?!”
Harry was at a loss. He knew that he didn't dare pull away from Ginny's anger. Somehow, he knew that if he did, he might risk losing her forever. On the other hand, he hadn't expected her punches to hurt so much. His chest was really starting to object to the punishment it was receiving. “I know, Gin. I know. I'm sorry. I know that I can never make this year up to you. I'm so sorry. All I can do is promise that I will never leave you again.”
His words caused her to stop hitting him. She was looking at his chest, and her words came out, somewhere between a whisper and a cry, but echoing through the Hall, regardless.
“Do you know the worst part? You came back to me tonight, Harry. You came back and told me to keep myself safe. You told me to keep MYSELF safe, and then YOU went and offered yourself to him.” She lifted her face to Harry's, and stared into his eyes.
Staring into her eyes, he saw what he had missed before in the pure joy of finding her alive. He saw the hurt in her beautiful brown eyes, and the tear stains down her cheeks. He saw the utter exhaustion in her face, and the fact that her rage was the only thing keeping her going.
“I felt you go by me last night, Harry. I felt you go by, and I knew you were under that cloak, and YOU...DIDN”T...EVEN...SAY...GOODBYE!” She finished, screaming at him by the end. It seemed as if that used up the last of her rage. She looked like a puppet that someone had cut the strings to, as her petite body collapsed, falling against him.
Except for the soft sounds of Ginny crying, the entire Hall was silent. Everyone was watching to see what their “mighty Chosen One” would do next. Harry scooped Ginny up into his arms in one quick motion, then turned and left the Hall. Harry was glad that the familiar corridors were empty as he headed towards Gryffindor Tower, Ginny cradled in his arms and sobbing softly into his chest.
Harry looked down tenderly at the girl he loved. He shook his head slightly at the thought, and smiled gently at her. He did love her, but she wasn't a girl, not anymore. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and he loved her with every fiber of his being. He didn't think anything had ever scared him as much as the sight of Ginny dueling Bellatrix, and only narrowly being missed by the killing curse. Now, he decided that he would do anything and everything to keep his little red head safe and happy.
It was a great achievement that he made it to the Tower. The path had been nearly blocked in places by rubble from the battle, and he was becoming more and more aware of the pain in his own body. His chest, in particular, was aching. He knew he was hurt, but had been afraid to see how badly. Apparently, little of it was visible, or Hermione would never have let him out of her sight. He knew that his chest had been hurting, and that was before Ginny had started pounding on him. Carrying her hadn't helped, either. Ginny wasn't all that heavy and carrying her wouldn't have been any problem for him under normal circumstances, but now even her small body was becoming a burden.
“Doesn't matter,” Harry thought, “I'll happily carry her forever.” He looked down at her, realizing that she had stopped crying, and had instead gone to sleep in the safety of his arms. “She must have used every last ounce of energy she had left trying to beat me to death. I can just see the headline in the Daily Prophet: “CHOSEN ONE DEFEATS VOLDEMORT, THEN KILLED BY DERANGED EX-GIRLFRIEND”. He laughed at the thought. Then he laughed even harder when he realized that he had reached the portrait of the Fat Lady, and didn't have a bloody clue what the pass word was.
“I, er, don't know what the pass word is. Can you let me in, please?” he questioned the portrait.
“I am sorry, child, but without the password I'm afraid...” It suddenly registered on the Fat Lady just exactly who was in front of her seeking to be admitted. “Oh my! Harry Potter! You saved us all, child. Of course you can come in.” The portrait door swung open. Harry entered the common room. It hadn't changed much, although there was a poster of him on one wall. It had read “UNDESIRABLE NUMBER ONE” , but that had been crossed out and the words “LONG LIVE POTTER!” were scrawled across it. He walked over to what had been his and Ginny's favorite arm chair, and eased himself back into it.
Harry managed to sit down without waking his sleeping beauty, and then he moved slightly to get into a position where his chest felt more comfortable. He sat, gazing down at the sleeping form in his arms, and allowing the warmth from the dying fire to wash over him. He thought that he could sleep here, with her in his arms, forever. His stomach chose that moment to remind him that sleeping on a full stomach would be an even better idea.
“Kreacher.”, Harry croaked.
“Master Harry called Kreacher. Kreacher is so proud to serve such a brave and noble Master. How may Kreacher serve his Master and Mistress?” the elf asked.
Harry perked an eyebrow. Was it is imagination, or had Kreacher just addressed Ginny as his Mistress? Well, that was weird. He shook his head. It must be because of how tired he was. “Kreacher, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you please get me some food? I'm starving. Then, would you please tell the Weasley’s that Ginny is with me? Tell them that we're fine, and that she's asleep.” Harry started to ask why Kreacher had called Ginny his Mistress, but decided against it.
“Yes, Master Harry. Food, and then tell the Weasley’s that Mistress Ginevra is sleeping.”
With a crack, the old elf was gone. Harry stared at the spot he had vanished from. There was simply no denying that, not only had Kreacher called her Mistress, but that he had used her proper name. He tried to remember if anyone had ever called Ginny “Ginevra” while in Kreacher's presence, but soon gave it up as being too much effort.
Harry squirmed again, trying to improve the comfort of his position, AND reach his wand. Finally succeeding in reaching it, he pulled it out and called “Accio Ginny's blanket.” Soon, a blanket came flying from the girls' dorm. Harry caught it, and used it to cover himself and Ginny.
There was another crack, and Kreacher reappeared, carrying a tray laden with a mountain of food.
“Kreacher made Master Harry's favorite, French Onion Soup. It has been too long since Kreacher got to cook for his Master. The Weasleys are on their way. They wanted Kreacher to assure them that Mistress Ginevra had not killed Master Harry. Kreacher did not like the way that they implied that Kreacher's Mistress could kill you, Master. Master has conquered the Dark Lord. Kreacher's Master can do anything. Every house elf in Hogwarts knows how great Kreacher's Master is.”, the elf finished triumphantly.
That reminded Harry that he hadn't thanked the house elves for their assistance in the battle yet. “Hermione will kill me.” he thought, then grinned. “Well, maybe not, but only because Kreacher wouldn't let her.”
“Kreacher, just so you know, this is the best meal that I've ever had. Thank you. I also want to thank you and the other house elves for coming to our aid in the battle. It really helped tip the outcome in our favor. Thank you, and please thank all the other house elves from me for their bravery today.”, Harry told the elf.
“Kreacher will, Master. We house elves were proud to fight for our noble Masters within Hogwarts. Is there anything else Master is needing?” Kreacher asked eagerly.
“No thanks, Kreacher. You may go.” As Kreacher disappeared with another crack, Harry thought “I really need to get him to stop calling me Master.”
The portrait hole swung open, and Ron and Hermione clambered in, followed closely by George and Lee. Hermione looked at Harry and Ginny, before smiling at him, then continuing on to collapse onto one of the sofas. Ron stopped and stared at Harry and Ginny, before giving Harry a lopsided grin, and turning his attention to the plate of food.
“Hey, mate,” he said, as he swiped a sandwich. “Um ood Kekre?” Harry laughed and nodded, thinking about how easy it had become to understand Ron while he was eating. Then again, as much as Ron ate, it had probably been a necessity if he ever wanted to understand his friend. Ron shrugged, and wandered off towards Hermione.
“Hey, Potter! I thought I told you to get off of my sister.”, George said, as he tried to fix Harry with a glare. He couldn't maintain it, though, and sat down across from Harry, a big grin on his face.
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” Harry said, grinning at the grimace that crossed George's face at being addressed as 'sir'. “And to be technical, SHE”S on ME. And George,” Harry said, turning serious, “I am so sorry about Fred. You know how much he meant to me. How much your whole family means to me.”
George perked an eyebrow. “Really ? The whole family? Or just the littlest one?” Harry opened his mouth to reply, but George raised a hand to stop him. “Seriously, Mate, it's not your fault. Ol' Voldy killed Fred, not you. We knew going into it that both of us might not come out alive. That's okay, though, because we were fighting for our brother. We would have done anything for you. I still would.” George shook himself, “Anyway, what do think about the name Voldy. Don't let Peeves fool you, because I came up with that, not him. Just in case a question of copyright comes up.”
Harry looked like he didn't know whether he wanted to laugh or cry. His brain was frozen around the thought that George thought of him as a brother, despite the fact that he had lost part of himself during the fighting. Finally, Harry was able to choke out “Thanks, Mate. And the names great!”
“Now, then. On to important things. What, exactly, is going on with our ickle Ginnikins?”, George said, studying the sleeping form of his sister on top of Harry.
“Honestly, George? I wish I knew. First she kisses me, then she tries to beat me to death. Mind you, I may have deserved that for abandoning her this past year. In my defense, I was trying to save her.” He looked down at Ginny and smiled. George coughed, and Harry jerked his head back up. “Sorry. Anyway, the next thing I know, she's collapsed on me. So, here we are.”
“You know she loves you, right?” George asked quietly.
“Does she?”, Harry looked back down at Ginny. “I know she used to, before I left her. I never stopped loving her, though. I hoped that she might still love me. I dreamed that she did.” Harry looked back up at George. The strange look on George's face told him that he had spoken this last, instead of just thinking it, as he had intended. “Damn, I'm tired.” Harry thought.
Lee spared him some embarrassment by entering into the conversation. “She does, Harry. Look at what she did to us.” Lee held up his arms, as did George, to show that they were covered in scratches.
“Why'd she do that?”, Harry asked in alarm.
“Well, when ol' Voldy brought you back up to the castle, and said you were dead, she went a little bit mental...”, George said.
“A LITTLE?”, Lee interrupted.
“We reckon that she wanted to kill him with her bare hands. Lee and I couldn't hold her back on our own. Charlie had to let go of Neville to help us.” George continued.
“Yeah, it was either Neville or Ginny, and we picked Ginny.” Lee added.
“We're just glad it worked out and Neville didn't get killed because of us. We know what went down between you and Ginny. Katie sent us an owl after that quidditch match and told us how you had gotten together. We were delighted. No better man for our ickle Ginnikins.” George smiled.
“You know that Dumbledore gave us a mission. I'll gather the family around soon and tell everybody what happened. Yes, Lee, that includes you.” Harry added, when he noticed that Lee wore an expression similar to a puppy that had just been kicked. After all, Harry thought, Lee had risked his life, both in the battle, and during the past year by doing “Potterwatch”.
“Why did you leave her?” Lee asked.
Harry sighed.”It was the hardest thing that I've ever had to do, but
you know that Voldemort had tried to use people close to me for years to try to get to me. I wasn't about to let him knew about Ginny and me. He'd already used her once, and that was just because she was Ron's baby sister. I had way too many bad dreams about what would happen to her if Riddle ever found out about us as a couple. I could never forgive myself if anything happened to her. I just love her too much to let anything happen to her.”
Harry was startled when George suddenly leaped to his feet. Then George stunned him completely by leaning over Ginny's sleeping form and giving him a hug. “Thank you.” George whispered, “I can never repay you for that. You know that I'd never have been able to survive if I had lost both of them?” It was more of a statement than a question, and Harry nodded back at George.
“Now, the main question of the night is, what happened there?”, Lee said, as he pointed to the sofa where Ron and Hermione were sleeping soundly in each other's arms. “George and I owe both Fred and Ginnikins a sack of galleons. They were sure that those two would get together before the end of the war.”
“You won't believe me.”, Harry laughed.
“Of course we'll believe you!” George said. “You wound us. How could you think that we wouldn't believe you?”
“Ok, OK. Right in the middle of the battle, Ron said something sensitive about the house elves being in danger, and Hermione jumped into his arms and planted one on him. She literally threw herself at him.” Harry grinned. He'd never forget the image of Hermione tossing basilisk fangs into the air and leaping into Ron's arms. If ever there was a memory to store in a pensive to review over and over, this was it.
George looked shocked “Ron said something sensitive?”
“About house elves?” Lee echoed.
They looked at each other for a second, then turned back to Harry. “We don't believe you.”, they said together.
“Told you.”, said Harry.
“C'mon. Tell us the real story, Harry.” Lee said. “You can't be serious. Can you? You mean...Bloody Hell.”
“I never thought Hermione had it in her. This must be killing Fred, not being around to take the piss out of them,” George laughed.
“Well, we'll just have to make an extra effort in his memory, won't we?” Lee added.
“Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but why are you going to take the mickey out of Ron and not me?” Harry asked. “After all, I am trying to get back together with your little sister.”
“Three reasons mate.” Lee said, waving the bottle of fire whiskey that he was still clutching.
“One, you're the bloody Chosen One.” George said. “Duh.”
“Two, Ginny would kill us.”, Lee added. “Double duh.”
“Three, we're afraid of Ginny.”, George continued.
“You're a very brave man to take on that red haired fire breather.” Lee said, gesturing at the sleeping Ginny.
“Charlie always did say that if he had a choice between dealing with a Horntail or dealing with Ginny in a snit, he'd take the Horntail. At least you had a chance to reason with it.” George said. Harry started to laugh, but then realized that, for once, George wasn't joking.
As Harry shook his head in wonder, the portrait hole swung open. Mrs. Weasley bustled in, herding the rest of her family in front of her like a mother hen. She spotted Lee and George with their bottles, and Harry, with her baby sleeping in his lap.
“Lee Jordan! George Weasley! May I ask what you think you are doing? And keeping poor Harry up. I expected better from you!” She said shrilly, before rounding on Harry. “And you. What were you thinking? I don't care if you are the savior of the world, you need to get your rest. When was the last time you slept? Never mind. Get up to that dormitory right now!” she finished.
“But Mrs. Weasley, I don't want to disturb Ginny.”, he said, gesturing at the sleeping girl in his lap. “And I can't leave her.” Harry ended. He didn't add that he didn't think he had enough energy left to climb those steps now, even if Ginny did move.
“Nonsense.”, Mrs. Weasley said, taking charge of the room. “Bill, Charlie, lift your sister up off of Harry and put her on a couch.”
Once Harry was able to get up, he went over to his surrogate mother. He had gained so much more respect for her, after seeing the way she had fought for her family last night. Just like his own mother, she had put herself in the line of danger to save her family. She was the only mother that Harry had ever known, and he didn't know what would become of himself, or the rest of the Weasleys, if anything happened to her.
“Mrs. Weasley, I'm so sorry about Fred. About everything.” Harry looked into her eyes, afraid of what he might find there.
“Harry, don't you dare. DON'T...YOU...DARE!”, she said, putting her hands on his shoulders. “Don't you dare blame yourself for Fred. Don't you dare blame yourself for any of this. You were so brave, and I was so proud of you. I am so proud of you. But don't you even think of scaring me again. I thought I had lost two of my sons. I will not be happy if you ever scare me like that again.”
“I'm sorry,” he whispered, and felt tears running down his cheeks.
“Shh. It's alright now. Don't worry about Ginny. She's safe now, dear. So off to bed with you.” With that Molly pulled him into one of her bone crushing hugs. Harry grunted as all of the air left his body. His chest throbbed, and he could swear that he felt something pop. She released him, and turned her attention the rest of her family. Harry stood there, gasping for air through the fire in his chest, and wondering if he should just pass out there.
“Alright there, mate?” George asked, as he slid an arm around Harry to support him. “Mum means well.”
“I know.”, Harry gasped, as he was finally getting some air back into his lungs. “Thanks. I think I'm OK now.”
“Night, Harry.” George said, as he let go, and turned to join Lee in watching the sleeping Ron and Hermione.
Harry turned, and started up the stone steps that led to the seventh year dorms. He eased his aching body into the bed that he guessed was supposed to be his. He couldn't remember ever feeling so tired. He squirmed for a few minutes, trying to find a position that was comfortable, then drifted off to sleep.
Sometime later, he woke to the sound of the dormitory door opening. He didn't know how long he'd been asleep. He fumbled groggily for his wand, wondering if he'd be able to defend himself. “Who's there?” he called.
“It's me.”, came the sweet voice of his red haired beauty.
“Ginny.” he breathed, as he watched her climb into bed beside him.
“You promised that you'd never leave me.”, she whispered.
“I know I did, but your Mum didn't give me much choice. I didn't want to duel her, and besides, she had Bill and Charlie to back her up.” He said, smiling at her. “I didn't want to, I promise.”
“I know. Time to sleep, love.” Ginny whispered, as she wrapped her arm around him.
Harry moved towards her, finding a comfortable spot, and wrapping his arms around her. He was soon asleep, happy for the first time in months, with the woman he loved in his arms. Nothing could upset him now, not even the memories of those they had lost. Tomorrow was another day. They could mourn the lost and love the living then. For now, he was going to dream of the very happy future that he saw himself and his sleeping beauty sharing.
This chapter has been edited by the wonderful DougA!!
Please review I love getting your thoughts on the story, they help me write faster and give me new ideas! So please review even if its just a favorite quote!!