Chapter 1 : Chapter 1.
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Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger entered the Gryffindor common room, and Harry slumped on to one of the sofas. They had just returned from the white marble tomb of Albus Dumbledore where Harry had returned the Elder Wand to its rightful place. They had walked back through the wreckage of Hogwarts grounds and the corridors.
“I’m exhausted.” Harry muttered.
Ron fell in a heap on another sofa, “Me too.” He yawned as Hermione collapsed next to him, saying.
“That’s all of us then. I feel as though I could sleep for a week.” Through half closed eyes, she pointed her wand at the fireplace, and in a fraction of a second, a cosy fire was burning in the grate. Harry put his head back and closed his eyes. He was asleep before a thought could form in his mind. He was dreaming now. Ginny was sitting beside him, smiling radiantly; his hand reached out and closed on… nothing. He awoke to see the seat beside him was empty. He looked at the clock on the wall, which told him that he had been asleep for nearly three hours.
Across the room, Ron and Hermione were stretched out on another sofa. Ron was laid on his back, with his arm around Hermione, who had her head on his chest. They were still asleep, and for once Ron was not snoring. On both faces were the marks of dried tears. Harry stood up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes, went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on his face. Looking in the mirror, he saw the dark shadows under his red eyes. At least he looked as tired as he felt. Not much solace there, his brain told him.
He returned to the common room to find that the others had not moved in his absence. He decided not to wake them but to go and find Ginny; he had to talk to her. Quietly he left the common room, and proceeded through the twists and turns he had come to know so well during his school years. He passed through corridors littered with broken statues, dismembered suits of armour, smashed picture frames and ornaments. A voice called his name and he turned to see a figure floating towards him.
“Sod off Peeves; I’m in no mood to deal with you.” He snapped. Thankfully, the unusually subdued Peeves got the message and disappeared. Around the next corner Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost of Gryffindor House was talking to The Bloody Baron, ghost of Slytherin House. Harry slowed to a stop. He could have walked right through them of course, but he knew the experience to be unpleasant and besides it would not have been very gracious.
“Harry my boy, how are you,” he peered closely at Harry, “do you feel as bad as you look?”
“Yeah, I do actually.” Nick laid a ghostly hand on Harry’s shoulder which, although he felt no pressure, instantly felt icy cold.
“It was a sad and bloody night Harry… a sad and bloody night, but it was necessary, he had to be stopped, and it was the only way. It probably won’t feel like it, but you should be proud.”
“You’re right Nick; it doesn’t feel like it, but thanks anyway. I’ll see you later.” He set off again. A burning anger began to grow in him, and by the time he reached the Great Hall, it was a blazing inferno. He stopped and took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down, if only for appearances sake. In the Great Hall, the long house tables had been removed, and smaller ones had been haphazardly placed around the large room. Sitting at one of them, looking sombre and tearful, were Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, with their family. Bill with his wife Fleur, Charlie, Percy and George with an empty chair next to him that should have been occupied by his twin brother Fred, except that Fred had been killed in the fighting of the previous night. Then finally there she was. Her eyes were red and her face troubled. As he reached them, Ginny stood up and walked into Harry’s embrace. As he held her, he could feel her fighting to prevent the sobs in her chest from escaping. He turned to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. “Would you mind if I had a private word with Ginny?”
“No Harry, not at all.” Molly Weasley looked at him with tears glistening in her eyes. Harry felt helpless; he had no idea what to say that could be of any comfort to the family.
“I’m so very sorry about Fred. I feel as though I’ve lost a brother too.” the softly spoken words seemed totally inadequate, but he did not know what else to say. Arthur Weasley looked up through eyes brimming with tears.
“Thank you Harry, that is good of you, thank you.”
The couple moved away to another table by the entrance to the Hall and sat down. Harry took her hands in his. He looked into her eyes, which, although red from weeping, were now alive with a bright spark of hope. “Are you OK…? Sorry, that was a stupid question.” He started again, “Do you remember what I said to you after Dumbledore’s funeral? About us not being together.” He asked.
“I remember every word, every tone and every inflection in your voice.” Her own voice was trembling and punctuated with small sobs.
“Well, the reason I had to say what I did no longer exists, and I was wondering if we could start again. What do you think?” New tears, but happier tears, formed in her eyes as Ginny looked at him. She answered, almost in a whisper.
“I don’t have to start again Harry. You see I never stopped.” There was a slight choke in Ginny’s' voice. Harry felt his anger rising again.
“Two wasted years…” he said, “all because of…..” He stood suddenly looking around the Great Hall “and… …come on.” he said taking her hand. They went out of the hall, through the foyer and out of the castle. They walked hand in hand briskly across the grounds. Harry stopped suddenly. Lying on the grass in front of him was the head of Voldemort’s snake Nagini. With a scream of rage, Harry swung his foot as hard as he could and the head rolled a few yards away from them. Ginny drew her wand and murmured “Reducto” and the head disintegrated to a fine powder which immediately began to dissipate in the breeze. He set off again almost dragging Ginny as they went out of the gates of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was desperately struggling to keep up.
“Harry, slow down, where are we going?”
“Don’t know,” snapped Harry, “but I need to get away from … from that place.” They were heading towards Hogsmeade. There was a light rain falling as they walked through the tree-lined lane. Ginny tried again and again to get Harry to slow down and talk. Each time all she got was either short, curt replies or complete silence as he continued walking. By the time they reached the bridge she was starting to lose her own temper. As they crossed the bridge Harry stopped. The village seemed deserted.
“Everybody must be up at the castle.” She said, but again Harry just grunted. “Harry, that’s enough, for goodness sake talk to me.” Harry remained silent. Ginny pulled her hand out of his, “Keep this up and you’ll be looking at the wrong end of a Bat Bogey Hex.” She muttered. Her temper was up now to match his, and she stormed away from him up the street. She did not know where she was heading and finding herself outside the Three Broomsticks she pushed at the door of the pub run by Madame Rosmerta. It was open, so Ginny went in and slammed the door behind her. The pub was deserted as well, so Ginny helped herself to a Butterbeer and slumped into a seat at a corner table. Tears coursed down her face. She had never felt more wretched and miserable in her life.
Harry stood alone in the middle of the street, his mind in turmoil, trying to comprehend the events of the last few hours. ‘It’s over, it is finally over’, he thought. “Voldemort is dead.” His heart soared at the thought and then crashed back to earth again as the names of those close to him who had also died smashed into his brain. Names like Dumbledore, Fred Weasley, Sirius, Remus and Nymphadora Lupin. He could hear her now, ‘Don’t call me Nymphadora!’ He mentally apologised to Tonks, There were many, many more. He sat down on the ground with his back to a wall, and finally the dam burst. Harry lowered his head between his knees and sobbed his heart out.
He did not know how long he sat there, eventually his tears stopped and his anger cooled. His mind was racing. Thoughts tumbled in from every direction, past, present and future. Remus and Tonks had left behind a baby son, Teddy, who would now grow up as Harry had, without his parents. As Teddy’s godfather, he would not let anyone place Teddy with Muggles if he could help it, not after his experiences with the Dursleys. Was he the baby’s godfather? Remus had asked him at Shell Cottage, but no kind of ceremony had taken place to formalise the event. There were witnesses to the request so that would have to do he decided. He would give Teddy’s one remaining grandparent, Tonk’s mother, all the help he possibly could. He forced his mind to slow down and raised his head. He looked around, only now remembering that Ginny had come to Hogsmeade with him, but where was she now? Harry realised that she must be heartbroken too, after all one of her brothers had died. He stood and looked up and down the street when the sound of breaking glass from The Three Broomsticks told him where she must be. Harry entered the pub, most of the lights were off, and the bar was quite gloomy.
“Ginny, are you in here?” A soft sobbing from a corner table answered his question. He slid onto the bench next to Ginny and put his arm around her shoulders.
“Did you drop something?” She shrugged off his arm and moved away from him as far as the seat would allow.
“No! It was a bottle of Butterbeer. I threw it.” Her voice was short and intense.
“Why?” Harry sat still, not wanting to crowd her while she was in this mood.
Why? You want to know why? Because I’m angry; my brother is… dead, some of my friends are dead and I’m all alone.”
“You’re not alone, Ginny. I’m here.” Even to Harry the words sounded hollow.
“No! You are not!” she was almost shouting now, “All the way down here I tried to talk to you Harry, I tried to connect with you. I know how you’re feeling, and I’m hurting as bad as you, if not worse. I need to talk about it, and when I needed you, you weren’t there. That’s why I’m alone! That’s why I’m angry!”
“No, Harry, don’t say anything. The way I’m feeling anything you say will only make things worse.” Harry went to the bar cleared up the broken glass and puddles of butterbeer, all the while aware of Ginny’s eyes following him, he got two more bottles and handed one to Ginny.
“Here.” he said as gently as he could; “try to hang on to this one.” Ginny took a swallow of Butterbeer from the bottle and said quietly.
“Harry, tell me it’s over, tell me it’s finished, please.”
“It’s finished Ginny, I promise it’s finished.” He put his arm around her shoulders again; she turned and looked at him.
“Harry…” a soft whisper, there was something in her voice that Harry had never heard before. Their lips brushed gently together, gradually the kiss became firmer and fiercer as they embraced. After several passionate minutes, Ginny pulled away and gazed at Harry, as if thinking hard about something, and then she lowered her eyes demurely.
“You know what Ron would say if he were here, don’t you?” She spoke softly.
“Ron? What would he say?”
“He’d tell us to get a room.” Her eyes lifted to look again into his.
“So what?” He had no idea where she was going with all this. Ginny stood up.
“So let’s get a room.” The monster in Harry’s chest stirred.
“Ginny, what are you talking about?” She looked mildly exasperated.
“Even for a boy you can’t be that dumb…come on.” She took his hand, leading him through the door behind the bar and up the stairs to the guest rooms. As they climbed, Harry thought he heard her mutter something. He did not see her slip her wand back into her pocket.
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”
“Er… I was just clearing my throat.” They entered guest room number eight Ginny turned to face Harry. “Now do you get the idea?” She asked him.
“I think I get the idea, but I sure as hell don’t understand it.”
“I don’t either, but I do know that I have never been as sure of anything as I am about this.”
“But…” started Harry.
“Harry… please… just shut up.” Ginny undid her belt and started to unzip her jeans. Harry reached out and pulled her to him.
“Ginny you’re upset… you’re not thinking right, you don’t have to do this.”
“Yes I do, Harry. Really I do.” The desire in her voice made Harry’s resistance collapse, and he bent his head and kissed Ginny who responded as never before. Harry took the hem of her jumper and pulled it gently over her head. She stepped out of her jeans and he lifted her in is arms. He walked slowly to the bed and laid her down. The monster in Harry’s chest went mental. The rest of the world. and the troubles it contained ceased to exist.
Afterwards, they lay quietly together for a long time, with her head nestled on Harry’s shoulder. Ginny rolled on to her side to face Harry, hardly able to believe what she had just done. She had been scared and nervous as hell, right up to the first touch of his lips on her body. After that, she had abandoned all thoughts of propriety, and had banished fear and nerves to the periphery of her existence. I have a lover she thought to herself, and it’s Harry. The smile nearly split her face in two. She looked at his face. His eyes were closed, and there was a slight bead of perspiration on his upper lip, his hair was even more messed up than normal. Heat rose to her cheeks when she thought about her fingers in his hair as he kissed his way down her body to…. She remembered the sensation that made her suck a sharp breath in through her teeth and arch her back, forcing her head back into the pillow. Of course, she nothing to make a comparison with, apart from some adolescent fumbling’s with Dean, but she thought that Harry had been quite accomplished. She did not know that two virginities had just been lost. As she watched a sort of half-smile played over his lips.
“What are you thinking?” she asked him.
“I’m wondering what just happened.” It did not come out the way Harry had meant it to sound.
“You mean you don’t know?” Ginny teased him, “Don’t worry I’ll explain it to you later.” A quick counter came to his mind.
“Actually, I was wondering what Ron and Hermione will say when they find out.”
“Oh and you’re going to tell them, are you?”
“Of course I am. I tell them everything.” Then he jumped as Ginny gave his nipple a vicious tweak. “Ouch.” he yelped, “I’ll get you for that.” Ginny smiled mischievously and with a slight tremor in her voice murmured huskily.
Harry’s eyes jerked open as a naked Ginny came out of the bathroom. He had been on the verge of dozing off. His breath seemed to catch in his throat, and his head spun at the sight of Ginny as he had never seen her before, except in his head. This was reality, and it was so, so much better. She was about 5’ 9”, her red hair reaching just below her shoulders. Her body was maturing quickly. It was a strong body. Years of throwing a quaffle around with her brothers, and then at Hogwarts, had firmed the muscles of her upper body, but the last vestiges of girlishness were vanishing quickly from her frame. The rest was all woman. He remembered the smell of her, the taste of her on his tongue. The feel of his fingers exploring moist, secret places, the soft sounds she made in his ear. The monster in Harry’s chest purred contentedly.
“We should get back to the castle.” She said as she started to pick up her clothes.
“Can I ask you something?” He had thought of something that was causing him concern.
“Of course, what is it?”
“Well, I… er… what about… er… that is… I didn’t think about….”
“Is there a question in there somewhere? No, don’t answer that, you’re embarrassed enough. I think I know what you’re concerned about. Well don’t be. I’ve taken care of that.”
“How?” He was not entirely sure that he wanted to know.
“Witches secret, Harry. Don’t ask, OK.”
“OK, but there is one more thing we have to do before we go.”
“And that is?” Ginny eyed him suspiciously. Harry paused before replying.
“Well, don’t you think we should get dressed first?” Ginny laughed. She sat on the bed and kissed him.
“Harry, you’ve got some Muggle blood haven’t you?”
“Well, my Mum was Muggle born, so yes I have.” he replied, wondering where this was leading.
“That must be it then.”
“That must be what?”
“Why you kept your socks on.” Harry laughed and Ginny started to smile when, without any warning, her face crumpled, and she started to cry as he had never imagined anyone could. He could have coped if she had just been sobbing, but the anguished sounds he was hearing came from the depths of her soul. Harry held her close in his arms and felt totally helpless, not knowing what to do or say to comfort her. Many minutes passed before the crying eased and finally ceased. She pulled away.
“I’m sorry, Harry, I don’t know what happened. I suddenly thought about Fred and everything, and here am I laughing and happy. I feel so confused.” Harry suddenly had an idea what this whole afternoon had been about. He was sure that the reason for Ginny’s behaviour was to do with being comforted and not just her either, he had needed comforting too. He explained it carefully to Ginny, finishing with.
“I was confused too, but I feel much better now.” Ginny was silent for a time before she responded.
“I feel better as well, Harry, and I need to tell you something that I’ve never told you or anybody before.”
“I love you.” Harry grinned as the monster in his chest turned somersaults.
“After the events of the last couple of hours, I should hope so.” and then “Ouch! Will you please stop doing that!” as Ginny repeated her response to his joke. He lifted himself on to one elbow and looked at her face on the pillow framed perfectly by her red hair. “Ginny, all my life I have hoped to hear those words and to hear them from you is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s just perfect, because I love you too.” He grinned happily as Ginny’s face lit up in the most beautiful smile that Harry had ever seen.
Later, and Harry had no idea how much later because he had totally lost track of time, they walked slowly back to Hogwarts. Or rather Ginny walked as Harry trod on air beside her, feeling that if she let go of his hand he would float away into the distance.