Chapter 13 : Year 2: Being Harry Potter's girlfriend
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She had had to wait until everyone in her family had fallen asleep before she’d been able to sneak downstairs – and skip over the steps that squeaked – and out of the house. From there, she could apparate without waking anyone. A few seconds later she had found herself standing in the street outside Harry’s flat. She still made an effort to be quiet as she made her way up to the fourth floor, because she didn’t want to wake his neighbours. Although, she thought, Harry had probably cast some spells to prevent it – his flat was situated in a Muggle property, after all. “It seemed like the smartest thing,” he had said. “That way, I’m harder to find.”
Ginny took a step back and nearly fell down the stairs when the door suddenly opened and Harry stuck out his head. He was dressed in a white t-shirt and boxer shorts, and his hair was even more untidy than usual. Ginny blushed when she realised that he had probably fallen asleep already, and that she had woken him.
“Ginny?” he said hoarsely, squinting in the light of her wand. “What are you doing here? Is everything okay?”
Ginny didn’t answer him. Instead, she stepped into his hallway, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Harry did not hesitate to wrap his arms around her waist and give the door a push; it closed with a muffled thud. When they let go of each other to catch their breaths, Ginny smiled at him and said:
“I wanted to take advantage of this newfound privacy. Without my family constantly watching over us…”
Harry brushed a stray of her red hair out of her eyes and smiled back at her. “But will they not wonder where you are?” he asked. “I’d like to stay on good terms with them, you know.”
“They’re not going to notice,” Ginny assured him.
His stubble was rough against her fingertips when she stroked his cheek. She allowed her fingers to keep moving, down his neck, following the outline of his collarbone until her hand landed on his chest. With a faint smile on her face, she then started moving further into the flat, through the kitchen towards the bedroom. When she had been there a few weeks earlier, there had been no furniture. Now, a table and four chairs filled the empty space by the kitchen window, and a rug covered the dark wooden floor. A wide, king-size bed stood in the bedroom, just waiting for them. Ginny guessed that her parents had donated quite a few of the furniture and paintings, because she almost felt like she was at home, at the Burrow. She liked it.
Harry had stopped before entering the bedroom, and he was now leaning against the doorframe. “What do you think?” he asked.
“It’s perfect,” Ginny answered, reaching our her hands towards him. “Why are you standing over there? Come here…”
Harry hesitated. “When you said ‘take advantage of the privacy’, did you mean…?”
Ginny began unbuttoning her blouse. Whatever worry she had felt before was gone. She had dreaded the thought of taking her clothes off in front of Harry, but now that the moment was there, it felt right. Her eyes were focused on his face. His mouth was half open, as if he couldn’t believe what was happening, and his gaze flickered between her face and her now half-naked upper body.
“Ginny, are you sure about this?”
She took a few steps forwards, eliminating the space between them. “I’ve been waiting for this for years,” she whispered as she leaned in and kissed him, and in the next moment he had grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards the bed.
Ron was sitting by himself at the kitchen table in the Burrow, shovelling down his breakfast as quickly as he could. He had been reluctant to get out of bed that morning, and as a result, he only had a few minutes before he would have to head off to work.
It felt strange to have breakfast without Harry. Ginny hadn’t got out of bed yet, and Ron was alone in the kitchen with his mother, since Mr Weasley had left early to attend a meeting with his department at the Ministry.
Having emptied his glass of juice, Ron rose to his feet. Mrs Weasley took a pause from her work at the stove and turned around.
“Will you wake your sister when you’re up there?” she asked. “She’ll miss training if she sleeps any longer.”
Ron nodded and began making his way up the stairs, three steps at the time – which was only possible thanks to his long legs. He continued past his own room to the top floor, which consisted of only Ginny’s bedroom. The door was closed, and he knocked on it.
“Gin? Are you decent?”
When he didn’t get a response, he turned the knob and pushed the door open. He stepped inside and looked around. The bed was empty, and had it not been for the fact that it was perfectly made, he would have just assumed that she was in the bathroom. He furrowed his eyebrows, left the room again and called out to his mother:
“Ginny’s not here! Her bed is made!”
“She’s probably in Holyhead already, then!” answered Mrs Weasley. “She must have left early.”
Ron shrugged; she was probably right. He hurried down the stairs and into the bathroom. There, he quickly brushed his teeth – a little too hastily for him to feel entirely clean and fresh, but it was all he had time for – and decided to skip shaving. He was sure that Dawlish would rather see him get to work in time than to see his cheeks smooth. When he passed through the kitchen he stopped to let his mother kiss one of those rough cheeks before taking a pinch of Floo powder and throwing it into the fire.
It wasn’t until he found himself trotting through the arrival hall of the Ministry, heading to the Auror Office on the second floor, and spotted the back of Harry’s head in the crowd of arriving ministry officials, that the thought hit Ron. Could it really be a coincidence that Ginny was gone the same night that Harry had moved into his own flat? Ron tried to push the thought away, because he didn’t want to imagine it, but it was already etched onto his brain. He sped to the lifts. He was going to have to have a talk with a certain Harry Potter, because if he was under the impression that it was okay for him to spend the night with Ron Weasley’s baby sister, someone would have to set him straight. Ginny was only… 18. She was 18. The realisation made Ron stop for a moment, causing a middle-aged wizard, who had been reading an issue of the Daily Prophet while walking, to bump into him. “Oh, excuse me, sir,” he mumbled without lifting his eyes from the paper. Then he hurried on. After casting a glance on his watch, Ron followed his example while his mind went into high gear. He had always thought of Ginny as being the little one, but she was only a year younger than him. Five or six years ago, that one year had seemed like a lifetime, but the age difference had become smaller and smaller over time, without him even noticing. So maybe it was perfectly normal that Ginny had snuck out to be with Harry. Maybe it was normal that the two of them… Ron coughed. He had never been happier to see that a meeting was just about to start inside one of the head offices of the Auror Department – he definitely needed something new to think about. He walked in through the door, shivered as he passed through the security check, and sat down at the table between Harry and Andrew Saxby, another Gryffindor student who had begun his training that year together with Seamus Finnigan and Neville Longbottom, among others.
“We have received a tip,” Dawlish began as he waved his wand and made the door close itself, loudly enough for both Neville and Andrew Saxby to jump in their seats. “Apparently, a group of the remaining Death Eaters are mobilizing in Northern Russia, and they’re planning to begin recruiting again, to build up their forces and continue Voldemort’s dream of cleansing the world of Muggles and Muggle-borns.”
Ron was surprised. He had started to feel relaxed again, like before the war. He had grown used to the idea of a bright future, a future free of Death Eaters, battles and blood purity. Maybe he was just being naïve, but since the capture of the Lestranges, he had really thought that it was over. Once the surprise had worn off, he could feel a familiar, icy fear spread inside his chest and stomach. Cleansing the world of Muggles and Muggle-borns. For Ron, it only meant one thing. They wanted to hurt Hermione, and he could never allow them to. He had thought that he’d lost her once, and he never wanted to feel like that again.
“So, the idea is that a few of us head up there to investigate,” Dawlish continued. “You all know that we’re still understaffed, so for those of you who aren’t done with your training, you can sit this one out if you want to. I would like to bring Hestia, Justin and Andrew with me.”
Harry flung out his arms, as if he couldn’t understand what had just happened. “Dawlish, both Ron and I are more experienced than Justin and Andrew! If those people turn out to be actual Death Eaters, it’s very risky-“
“… even more so for you,” Dawlish filled in. “I’m sorry if you don’t like it, Harry, but when Gawain is not here, I’m in charge, and this is my call.”
After a few more minutes of discussions and going over strategies, the group headed off. The rest of the Aurors and trainees started moving towards their offices or classrooms, but Harry and Ron lingered behind.
“If they’re so worried about my safety, maybe they shouldn’t have let me become an Auror to start with,” Harry muttered. “What did they expect? That I’d spend the rest of my life doing paper work? They have no problem putting Justin or Andrew’s life on the line, but they’re so worried about mine!” He shook his head vigorously.
“Just wait until you run this place,” said Ron with a grin. “Then you can boss us around all you want for revenge.”
Harry smiled volatilely, and then he became serious. “Are you going to tell Hermione?” he asked.
“I have to,” Ron said. “She deserves to know. Man, I wish we could have gone with them to Russia… I mean, if these people… if they are going to… she will be-“
“I know,” Harry interrupted. “It was my first thought, too.”
A few days later, Ginny was lying in Harry’s bed, her head resting on his naked chest, and his arms were wrapped around her in a tight embrace. The sun was peeking in throug his bedroom window, and Harry sighed happily. He would have no problem at all with lying like that forever.
“We could turn this into a habit,” he suggested. “You could sneak out every night and come over.”
“Well,” Ginny said, “as tempting as that sounds, I thought we agreed that we weren’t ready to live together. And staying here every night sounds a lot like living together.”
“Maybe,” Harry said and shrugged. “You know, I didn’t have any issues with sleeping alone before. But now that I know what this is like… falling asleep with you in my arms… waking up and only having to turn around to see your face…”
“You’ll have plenty of time to do that,” Ginny said. “When we spend the rest of our lives together.”
Harry could feel a rush of happiness run through his body when she said it. If it had been a couple of years earlier, he probably would have laughed and said that no one could know at nineteen if they’d always want to be together. But he knew better now. He belonged with Ginny; it was obvious in every possible way. What she made him feel was not some fickle teenage crush, like the one he had shared with Cho Chang for a short period of time, a few years back. This was something deeper, stronger, something that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. All he knew was that he would always want to be wherever Ginny was, and that he would try his best to make her happy for as long as she would have him.
“By the way, you’ll be on your own for a couple of nights anyway,” Ginny said. “I don’t think I’ve told you this, but you know that we’re playing against Tutshill Tornados in three days. And since Gwenog is really unhappy with our performances lately, we’re going to Tutshill already in the morning to stay there until thursday. It will be sort of like a boot camp, I guess.”
“What?” Harry pulled her closer and kissed her neck. “You’re going to be gone for a whole three days? And nights?”
Ginny giggled and jokingly tried to push him away. “Stop being so clingy,” she bantered. “You’re a big boy now, I think you can handle it.”
“Maybe so,” Harry mumbled, his lips still touching the soft skin of her neck. “But I’ll be cold, and bored, and lonely…”
Ginny arrived in Holyhead the next morning, with her bag packed, just in time. Gwenog Jones and Darren Weinhold had just gathered the team around an old, rotten, wooden plank that was lying on the ground. Hearing her come, the entire team turned their heads towards her, and her closest friends on the team, Heather Perrington and Gaylene Turkowski, both stepped to the side to let her into the circle.
“Couldn’t tear yourself away from the boyfriend now, could you?” Heather asked and raised her left eyebrow.
Ginny laughed and shook her head. Then they turned their attention back to Weinhold, who was staring at the golden pocket watch that he always wore around his neck.
“The Portkey leaves in ten seconds,” he said, “so make room for everyone, and reach out your hands…”
Tutshill was a small Wizarding community, only about half the size of Holyhead. The Portkey took Ginny and the rest of the Quidditch team to a winding gravel road about a mile outside of the village, and there was not a single house in sight. The only thing Ginny saw as she got up on her feet after her rather ungainly landing was endless rows of tall trees that seemed to have been planted in a straight pattern. They created a wall around the road, and despite the fact that their leaves had begun to fall off, their crowns were still too compact for the sun to be able to shine through. Ginny, who had thought that it was still warm enough outside to wear a cardigan instead of a jacket, regretted her decision as she shivered in the early autumn winds.
“So, there is an inn down this road, in the neighbouring village,” Weinhold said as he picked up his bag. “A pair of Muggles own it, though, so we have to be discrete. Miss Turkowski, I would recommend putting that thing away.”
Gaylene, who had just pulled out a Headless Hat from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes from her purse, made a displeased face, but did what she was told. Ginny and Heather laughed at her grumpy countenance and hurried to catch up with the others, who had already started walking.
Once everyone had settled into their rooms at the small inn and listened to Gaylene’s complaining over the fact that she had to share a room with Gwenog, the team headed off to the Quidditch pitch in Tutshill. “This early in the morning?” Gaylene continued her complaints, but Weinhold simply sighed and explained that the Tornados had their training in the afternoons, and Gwenog added that they hadn’t come there for vacation anyway.
“I watched the match between the Tornados and Puddlemere Untied last night.” the team’s captain said while holding up the door that led into the arena. “I looked around for a bit - the dressing room is through the second door on your right!”
Ginny, who had taken the lead, opened the second door on her right and stepped into the small dressing room. A shriek was heard and she stopped in the doorway when she realised what was going on in there. A man, completely naked save for the towel that was wrapped around his hips span around when he heard the door open. Much to Ginny’s surprise, she realized that it was none other than Oliver Wood, who had used to be the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He held up his hands to cover himself while furrowing his eyebrows.
Ginny blushed. She couldn’t help but notice that he was extremely fit – his muscles were wiry and his shoulders broad – and she quickly turned her eyes to his face instead.
“Hello, Oliver,” she said in a high voice. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you play for Puddlemere, don’t you? Not Tutshill.”
“That's true,” Oliver mumbled while grabbing a shirt and pulling it over his head to the sound of disappointed sighs from a few of Ginny’s teammates. “I hit my head pretty badly during the match yesterday,” he explained, “so I had to stay the night.”
Ginny struggled not to burst into laughter – there was something highly amusing about the sight of him, dressed in nothing but a shirt and a towel, small talking as if it was completely normal. In the next moment, Gwenog caught up with her team, and she stepped in front of Oliver and placed her hands on her hips.
“Wood,” she said. “You do know that we’ve booked the field this morning, right?”
Oliver held up his hands. “I know, I know,” he said. “I’m on my way!”
On his way past Ginny, he reached out on arm and gave her a quick hug. “Say hi to Harry from me, okay? And to your brothers. I hear that George and Angelina got together, is that true?”
“It is,” Ginny confirmed. “Take care, Oliver.”
As soon as the door closed behind him, Ginny’s teammates pounced on her.
“How do you know the most attractive man in the British-Irish Quidditch league?” asked Adriana Katzenberger, Holyhead’s seeker.
“I know! Is it not enough that you’re dating the Harry Potter?” said Heather enviously.
“Oliver was Gryffindor’s keeper when my brothers played at Hogwarts,” Ginny answered, shrugged and put her bag down next to her feet. “He was captain of the team when Harry started.”
“Just imagine being Harry Potter’s girlfriend,” said Adriana dreamingly. “I would do anything to…” She interrupted herself and smiled at Ginny, who looked a bit depreciative. “Not that I would literally do anything, of course,” she added quickly, “I know that he’s with you!”
“It must be hard,” Gwenog said as she pulled off her t-shirt. “Being Harry Potter’s girlfriend. I mean, considering the fact that every witch in the country would take the first chance they'd get to steal him away from you.”
For a second, Ginny was worried. She hadn’t really thought about it, but what they were saying was true. Every time a new issue of Witch Weekly arrived to her mother, it was Harry who smiled at her from the front page. Just the other week, there had been an article about her too, with the headline: Will Miss Weasley be able to keep our hero interested? She tried to gather her thoughts; she knew that she didn’t have anything to worry about. He loved her. So what if she wasn’t the only girl in the world who wanted to be with him? So what if those other girl were more beautiful, more successful, nicer or friendlier? None of it mattered, because Harry would never…
A/N: As always, I just want to thank all of you so much for reading, for leaving such wonderful reviews and for favouriting this story! You have no idea how happy you make me :)
Please let me know what you thought about this! Any thoughts on Harry and Ginny's relationship? On Ron's reaction? For those of you who want to see more Ron/Hermione, don't worry, it will come!
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