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After the Horcrux by Manwe Valarian
Chapter 19 : The Taming of Zabini
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10

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Ginny’s being accepted on the school’s Quidditch team meant evening and all day Saturday practices. Head Girl responsibilities also increased. They were spending less and less time with each other. Harry’s homework load for Auror classes had increased leaving him with virtually no free time. What time they spent together was spent studying for the classes they had together or sitting with Carmen in the library working on Auror assignments. About the only time, that Harry and Ginny had time alone was when they walked to the main gate. During the fifteen minutes that they spent together, they held hands as they walked and tried to make up for time lost snogging at the gate. 

The Auror classes had intensified their spell work this first week of October. At the end of the month, teams were going to battle one another to determine the best team. Ginny was scheduled to spend Saturday’s at the Quidditch pitch, so Harry wanted to spend the afternoons dueling with Carmen. Ginny, of course, raised a fuss about the situation, until Harry checked with Hagrid about finding a spot in the Forbidden Forest for them to duel. 

Harry had noticed that Carmen’s enthusiasm had waned towards the Auror training, as September moved into October. She had recently become unmotivated towards the homework assignments. This was probably the biggest surprise, because she was as obsessive about her studies as Hermione. 

He thought Carmen was having trouble buying the items needed for the training. Trainees who worked with aurors were paid. They were not paid since they weren’t working on actual cases. The Ministry’s financial situation was shaky because the Death Eaters who were in charge took what funds they wanted. There were even rumors that the ministry had not met payroll at times. Harry wondered how the Weasley’s were doing. Hopefully without seven children to buy for, his income would stretch further. 

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“Experlliarmus! Incarcerous!” shouted Carmen. 

Harry dodged those spells and returned a nonverbal spell that had her doubling over with laughter. He stood up and cautiously walked towards her, but was ready when she tried to Stun him. He cast a Shield that reflected the curse back at her. 

“How did we do, Hagrid,” asked Harry while staring down at Carmen’s unconscious form. 

“Purtty good there ‘arry,” offered the half-giant. “Carmen almost had ya there.” 

Harry waved his wand and her eyes opened again. She sat upright and crossed her legs under her. “I’m never going to be good at dueling,” she moaned. “Face it, Harry, I am a failure as an Auror.” 

“No you’re not,” countered Harry. “You need to think less and react quicker. At times, I can see you thinking about what spells to cast. Fire something at your opponent, the second you wait is the time they need to recover and attack you.” 

“Cheer up Carmen,” assured Hagrid. “Consider who you are dueling, ‘arry ‘ere is the greatest dueler of all time.” Hagrid’s last proclamation was shouted into the forest, causing the creature to stir and birds to fly away. 

“No I am not,” countered Harry. His face became warm at his friends proclamation. “Albus Dumbledore was the greatest, and Tom Riddle could have easily beaten me, if he hadn’t become so arrogant about the different types of magic.” He looked up at the waning sun as it shone through the trees. “I think we should call it a day.”
“I think you is right, there ‘arry,” said Hagrid as he looked up at the increasing shadows. He stretched his hand out to Carmen who was still sitting on the ground looking miserable. “Cheer up Carmen, you’ll be a wonderful Auror.” 

She took his hand, stood up, and brushed leaves and dirt off her old black robes. “No! I am not going to be an Auror,” she responded miserably. The three of them started walking towards the grounds of Hogwarts. They were about a five-minute walk into the forest. “This hasn’t turned out like I thought it would. I might as well quit and go home.”
“No, don’t do that,” Harry said forcefully. Carmen and Hagrid stopped walking and looked at him. “I don’t want to have to deal with any other of those wooden headed trainee’s. I am getting good grades because of you, and I need your help in Potions.” 

“No you don’t,” she replied. “Harry, you are more than capable of working with anyone and getting good reviews, as for Potions, you are one of the top students.” 

Harry looked at her as though she had grown two heads. “I have always been lousy at Potions, besides Hermione and that Walden are the two top students.” 

“Yes they are when you consider their book knowledge, but you have a natural instinct at Potions.” 

“That book on the different reagents that you gave me has helped,” said Harry. They walked on reaching the edge of the forest as Hagrid’s hut came into view. Harry was thinking about her quitting, and wondered of it was about the money. He cleared his throat nervously. “Carmen, we need to do our assignment for tracking and surveillance this month.” 

Harry noticed that she looked away from him. “I don’t think that I will be able to do that. I should have stayed in France,” she moaned. 

“If it is a problem with money, I can help you out,” he offered. “I noticed that you seem to be having problems buying things.” Harry felt extremely nervous about saying this to her, and as soon as he had said it, he felt sorry. 

“No, Harry, I can’t let you do that,” she bitterly replied. “Why would you do that?” she forcefully asked him. “What would you want in return?” 

Hagrid who had been silent during this exchange stared at him, and made a strange grunting sound. Harry looked at his large friend and Carmen in shock. He was insulted that she thought he was trying to buy her. “I would be doing it out of friendship,” he responded harshly. “I am not doing this to elicit favors from you. I like doing things for my friends, all right!” 

Carmen hesitated for a second before responding. “I am sorry that I accused you. Harry, that is very sweet of you, but I am not sure if I should take you up on your offer. When would we ever be able to find the time to do that?” 

“We are supposed to try to blend in with several different places in London. We can add shopping to the list of things we are doing. I mean Muggles shop all the time; why not include that in our activities.” 

Carmen looked down at the ground and back up at him. “That makes sense, but I don’t know.” 

“It is settled then,” stated Harry. “I shall tell Gawain at Tuesday’s class that we are going into London next weekend after class.” 

“Harry, shouldn’t you check with Ginny?” she asked. 

“She has practice every Saturday. All day.”
Carmen closed the distance between them and hugged him. The move caught him by surprise and he stood there stiff as a board. “You really are a wonderful person. Thank you,” she whispered in his ear, before she released him and turned to walk towards the castle. 

Harry watched her walk towards the castle. He was still in shock that she would hug him. He didn’t snap out of his trance, until Hagrid spoke. 

“’arry, ‘ave you forgotten about Ginny,” he growled. “I won’t have you ‘urting ‘er, again.”
He turned and looked at the gamekeeper with the last statement. “What do you mean hurt her again?” 

“You know what I mean,” he growled at him. “The way you broke ‘er ‘eart after Perfessor Dumbledore’s funeral.” 

“I did that to keep her safe, Hagrid,” shouted Harry. He was tired of people thinking him a git for trying his best to protect the one he loved. 

“Yeah well it didn’t work, now did it?” 

“What are you talking about? What happened to her? I am sick of everyone judging me, yet no one will tell me what has happened to her,” shouted Harry. 

“She almost got ‘erself killed over you. That’s what. If it wasn’t for Neville, Luna and me she probably would ‘ave,” Hagrid said menacingly. His face suddenly became softer. “Of course, Snape was on our side. So she probably wouldn’t ‘ave been killed. Unless the Carrow’s ‘ad caught ‘er, then who knows what would ‘ave ‘appened.” 

“What the hell are you talking about?” yelled Harry. 

“She tried to steal Gryffindor’s sword from Perfessor Dumbledore’s office, she did. Then the night they were all in the forest with me, she wanted to go back and try it again. She sat out there and cried most of the night about you. Told us everything. About you breaking up with ‘er, and how it broke ‘er ‘eart. It did. She told us that Perfessor Dumbledore ‘ad left you the sword, but Scrimgeour refused to let you ‘ave it. She figured it was important for you to defeat V-V-old.. You-Know-Who. She was almost shaking with fear that if you didn’t get the sword then you would die, and never come back to ‘er.” 

Harry stood there feeling miserable about what Hagrid had told him. She had tried to help him even though he had broken her heart. Now, he knew why Hagrid has been so protective of her. “Hagrid, I only did those things to protect her,” he said meekly. “I didn’t want her to risk getting killed or tortured over me. Why is it that everyone seems to think I am a foul git for doing that?” 

“Cause you broke ‘er ‘eart. That girl has been pining for you all ‘er life and you just dump ‘er at a time like that. Don’t you think she ‘ad enough to deal with; ‘er brother being mauled by Greyback and Perfessor Dumbledore dying? Then you go and break up with ‘er. Fine thing to do, ‘arry. I thought you’d be a better man than that.” 

Harry stood there in besides Hagrid’s cabin and thought about what he had just heard. No one had ever phrased it that way before. He knew breaking up with Ginny was necessary, but he never thought about the timing of it. It was a time when she needed someone to be there for her, but, instead he literally kicked her when she was down. After she helped him cope with Dumbledore’s death, he completely forgot about her feelings at that time, or any time after that. He truly was a right foul git to do that, even though it might have saved her life. If the Carrows had an inkling of knowledge that she was his girlfriend then her life would have been worse, if not over. 

“Well, ‘arry, are you going to tell Ginny?” asked Hagrid. 

“Yes, I am,” snapped Harry. “Hagrid, what I did last year was necessary. I am sorry if I hurt her, but if the Death Eaters would have had any idea, how I felt about her. Do you really think she would be alive today? Do you?” Harry didn’t wait for his friend to answer. He just wished him “Good day” and stalked off to the castle.
Harry walked with his head down towards the great hall. It was dinnertime and Ginny should be done with Quidditch practices. His temper hadn’t cooled during that short walk from Hagrid’s . It wasn’t what Hagrid had told him. It was the fact that everyone seemed to be reprimanding him for the same thing over and over again. 

“Where have you been?” asked Ginny, as soon as Harry stepped through the front doors. You’re usually back by this time. You have any problems?” Ginny was firing these questions at Harry to quickly for him to answer. 

“Practicing. Am I. No.” Ginny glared at his flippant response to her questions. “What’s wrong Ginny? You know Carmen and I go out to the Forbidden Forest every Saturday afternoon to practice dueling. You’re busy with Quidditch practices then so what are you irritated about.”
“You seem to be enjoying spending so much time with her.” 

“We are friends. That is it! Please stop being jealous you should know that I love you and only you.” Ginny blushed at Harry’s statement. “Besides, Hagrid is always with us.” Her mood improved, and they spent the rest of the mealtime talking about the practices and how hard and demanding they are. She also told him that she had to patrol the halls tonight from eight to midnight. She was anxious to see him since they will only have a couple of hours to spend together today. 

They left after dinner to walk towards the main gate. They had stopped down by the Black Lake. The night was cold and raw, even though it wasn’t raining, and the waxing moon was only a pale glow in the cloudy skies. Ginny was sitting on Harry’s lap and they were trying to devour each other’s faces. This had gone on for almost two hours, until Ginny had to leave to walk rounds with Walden. 

As they were breaking apart, Harry plucked up the courage to tell her about his plans. “Ginny, next Saturday, after my Auror classes, Carmen and I are going into Muggle London,” he quickly said. “It is part of our testing procedures. We are supposed to mingle with Muggles in many different situations. I am also going to purchase some clothes and things for Carmen, so she can complete the training.” 

Harry looked at Ginny sitting on his lap with a facial expression similar to Professor McGonagall’s. Her lips were pulled into a tight line, her eyes narrowed, and her eyebrows almost touched except for a crease in between them. He sat there not saying anything waiting for her to explode at him. 

“I need to walk rounds, Good night, Harry.” Was all she said as she stood up brushed off her robes and walked briskly to the castle. 

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Potions classes were not helping with Ginny’s moods. Every class Madam Zabini had inquired as to why Harry hadn’t been to visit her. She finally told him that she wants to see him in her office Tuesday evening at seven, if he wanted to remain in her class. Ginny didn’t speak to Harry, Ron, or Hermione as they left the Potions classroom. She barely spoke to Harry the rest of Monday. 

“You have Quidditch practice now until dark then you are walking the halls, aren’t you?” asked Harry as they left the Transfiguration classroom. Ginny nodded an affirmation. “I think I will just go home and study there. I’ll see you in the morning. Love you.” Harry bent down to kiss Ginny good-bye. 

She avoided his lips. “Do you still love me, even with me being a horrible bitch?” 

“Yes, Ginny I do.” 

“You don’t have to go!” 

“You are walking rounds, and …” 

“I mean to Madam Zabini’s quarters. Tell the Headmistress. She will sort this out, and hopefully chuck that slag out on her bloomin’ arse.” 

“Ginny, I have a plan. I will get this all sorted out.” He kissed her gently on the lips. “You need not worry about me eating or drinking anything. As Mad-Eye would say, Constant Vigilence!” shouted Harry. Ginny grinned at his comment and kissed him once more. 

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Tuesday morning had Harry in Auror training class. It was another rather boring day. More work on reading and filling out Auror report forms. Then there was a short lesson about various potions that would be necessary to know. Harry already knew about Poly-juice and Veritaserum, but there were about another ten or twelve that he had never heard of. 

In the afternoon, he and Ginny studied together. Any time he tried to get intimate with her, she would push him away or tell him that she needed to study. Finally, at four o’clock she had practice. Harry took his books out with him and studied while Ginny was practicing with the team. The entire day neither one mentioned the seven o’clock meeting with Madam Zabini. The thought of it was always there, but it was never mentioned, until six-forty-five that night at dinner. 

“You don’t have to go, Harry.” Ginny’s voice was barely above a whisper. 

Harry was surprised by the statement and didn’t respond straight away. “Yes, I need to.” He reached for her hand but she pulled it away and placed it on her lap. Harry’s irritation with her actions grew with that act. “Ginny, look at me,” he said. She didn’t turn her head or acknowledge him. 

Without warning, he grabbed her arm and lifted her up off the bench. He ignored her shocked expression and the gasps that were happening all around them. He literally dragged her out of the great hall and into the entrance hall. She went along with him, which surprised him. At the side of the grand staircase, he pulled her to the side. With a half turn and a swish of his arm, he covered them with the invisibility cloak. 

Turning Harry stared into Ginny’s eyes. He saw fear in those beautiful brown eyes. Without saying anything, he grabbed her and slammed his lips into hers. She immediately responded. Her hands grabbed his hair and pulled his face down as she lifted her legs up and wrapped them around his waist. He backed her against the wall under the stairs to help gain balance while his lips moved to her jaw and neck. 

She started to moan, and Harry quickly clamped his hand over her mouth. Instead of angering her, it seemed to excite her even more. Trying to maintain his focus, he pulled his wand out of the holder in his sleeve and cast a silencing charm on the cloak. He pulled his hand off her mouth. “I love you Ginny. I know I’ve hurt you in the past, but it was only to protect you. Trust me tonight. I have things sorted out with Madam Zabini.” 

“Don’t go Harry. Stay here with me.” 

“Let me go and I’ll come back and we can pick up where we left off.” 

“Please Harry! Don’t go,” pleaded Ginny. “Make love to me. Here or we’ll find a classroom. Please!” 

Harry stopped and stared at her in shock. His reaction made Ginny relax the grip of her legs from around his waist. He stood there unsure what to say. When she asked him this in Australia, it scared him. It didn’t now. It had the exact opposite reaction. He wanted her. He was sure now. He wanted to make love to her. 

“Ginny, I – I thought we were going to wait?” 

She looked at him and he could see tears forming in her eyes. “I told you that I couldn’t stand the thoughts of you with someone else. Please stay with me.” 

She slid her hand into his robes so that her fingers ran over his bare chest. Harry had to close his eyes to try to ignore the feeling that was growing in him. He grabbed her hand and pulled out of his robes. “You do not need to worry about me, love. I am all yours.” 

Harry was about to pull the cloak off them when he saw Professor McGonagall walk past at a brisk pace. He looked back at Ginny. She was standing there with a pleading look in her eyes that melted his heart. Her one leg seemed to be twitching, and her arms were crossed loosely in front of her. Harry sensed that she meant what she said about making love to him, and he almost cursed himself for not taking her up on the offer. It would be wrong wouldn’t it? He leaned in and gently kissed her; trying to pour all his love for her in this gentle kiss. Looking around and seeing no one was looking, he pulled the cloak off him. 

He walked towards the dungeons and Madam Zabini’s private quarters. He looked back over his shoulder and saw Ginny still standing in the same spot looking so defeated watching him walk away from her. 

Harry stood outside of Madam Zabini’s office door at exactly seven o’clock. He looked nervously to his right for a second before he knocked on the door. 

“Who is it?” The voice of Madam Zabini commanded from behind the door. 

“It’s Harry Potter, Madam Zabini. I am here for our seven o’clock appointment.” 

Harry could hear shuffling from the office and then the door opened. The sight of Madam Zabini surprised him. She wore a bright red silk dressing gown. It hung loosely on her shoulders and was tied around her waist. Under it was a black camisole with red trim, which exposed most of her breasts. She was holding a long stem wine glass in her hand. The room was dimly lit and smelled of an oversweet perfume.
“Harry.” She almost purred his name. “I am so glad you finally took my offer and showed up. Would you like a glass of wine?” 

“No, Professor.” 

“You can call me Cyd. Why don’t you come in and make yourself comfortable.” 

“Well Cyd we shall take you up on your offer, and come in and discuss Mr. Potter’s Potions grades.” Professor McGonagall stepped from the right of Harry into the doorway. Madam Zabini immediately grabbed her dressing gown and closed the top of it. 

“I would be very interested in hearing about Harry’s Potions class. You see Cyd. Three years ago, I made a promise to Harry that I would do whatever possible to ensure he gets enough NEWTs to be accepted into Auror training. I always keep my promises. So let us all step inside and get to the bottom of this.” Madam Zabini stepped aside and let the Headmistress inside followed by Harry, whom she scowled at as she closed the door. 

An hour later Harry and Professor McGonagall were walking away from the Madam Zabini’s quarters, they both had smirks on their faces. 

“Thank you for doing that Professor. I don’t think she will be bothering me anymore this year.” 

“Be sure to get high marks on your NEWTs Harry, I think you can guarantee bad grades from her now. I would be amazed if you received anything but a Troll mark in Potions. It was worth it, though, to see the look on her face. It is a shame she is the only applicant that I could get for the position. Other people were qualified for teaching Potions, but she is the only one to accept Head of Slytherin House responsibilities,” she said with a sigh. “I must get back to my paperwork. Take care of yourself Potter.” The headmistress turned and walked towards her office. 

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Ginny stood and watched Harry walk away from her. She felt so small right now. He rejected her offer of making love to her. He said it was because of the promise, but even if that is true, it still didn’t help when he said no. 

Students were leaving the great hall and going back to their common rooms. She didn’t even notice who was walking past her. She was still replaying Harry walking away from her in her mind. 

“All right there Ginny?” 

She turned and noticed Walden staring at her. “Yeah, brilliant,” was her sardonic response. 

Walden looked in the direction she was and smiled at her. “Harry take Madam Zabini up on her private lessons, did he?” he said with a roguish smile. 

“Oh piss off, Walden,” spat Ginny as she turned and ran up the stairs to the Gryffindor tower. She walked through the common room and up the stairs to her four-poster. Flopping down it, she rolled over and stared up at the canopy. 

She couldn’t get what had happened in the entrance hall out of her mind. Harry grabbing her and snogging her like that was unexpected. She didn’t even want to, at first, but when he attacked her like that. It made her so damn randy. Even thinking about it was making her breathing heavier. 

She truly meant it when she told him to make love to her. At first, she thought he was going to say yes, but he remembered his promise to her; damn, his noble arse. He walked away from her leaving her unsatisfied. She was so worked up that she couldn’t even keep her leg from twitching. Oh, how she wanted to rip his clothes off and shag him. 

Ginny rolled over and stared at the other beds in her dorm. They are all empty. She looked a Sylvia’s bed and remembered when she came in one night in their fifth year bragging about shagging some Ravenclaw. He was two years older than she was, and they did it in a broom cupboard. Ginny thought that was so wrong. There is nothing wrong with a snog here or there, but to shag some one in a place like that. 

That was until tonight. Tonight she would have shagged Harry in a broom cupboard.
She lay there thinking about everything, after a while she started to calm down as the memory of Harry’s lips became fainter. She was actually glad now that he said no. Her first time should be special, not some stolen moment in a cubby. 

Now if he can only keep from falling prey to Madam Slagbini. 

Ginny sat up in her bed and grabbed her DADA book. She figured that she should make sure her homework was done on time. These Quidditch practices and Head Girl duties are robbing her of all her spare time. As she was walking down the stairs to the common room, the portrait opened up admitting Harry. She almost missed a step as he walked through and looked up at her. She tried to keep her composure, not run to him, and jump in his arms. He was smiling at her, and his eyes were glistening with joy. He pranked Madam Zabini. 

When she reached the bottom of the stairs, he was waiting for her. He had a hand on each railing so that she couldn’t pass. “Good evening love,” he greeted her. “Would you like to sit and talk about my adventures tonight?” 

“Well you must think I will be happy or you want to be cursed to bits,” she replied. 

Harry led her to a settee by the fireplace. It was rather warm in the common room, so most people were sitting away from them in the outer corners. They settled into each other’s arms and fifteen minutes later she was giggling like a first year.

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