Chapter 8 : Interlude
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Her small cough drew his attention to the playful smirk on her face. He smiled back warmly, winking in acknowledgment that he had been caught appreciating her again. She nodded slightly toward the door, fixing her eyes forward once more. Harry did likewise, offering her his elbow. He took a deep breath. If he could only apparate them away at this precise moment to some lonely hilltop…but alas, it was wishful thinking. Soon – too soon – this would pass, and they would be thrust once again into an unwanted limelight.
Thanks to the wonders of the Sonorus Charm, he could already hear Kingsley begin the annual speech, leading with the same paragraph he had for the last two years. He was a good man, but being a particularly inventive speaker clearly was not among his array of formidable talents. Harry turned his head to look behind him. Ron winked, continuing to mouth the speech word for word. Unfortunately for his red-haired friend, Hermione also took notice, giving Ron’s arm a smack and shooting him a disapproving glare. Harry shook his head, emitting a low chuckle.
Ginny shot Harry a knowing glance, her eyes full of mirth. “Is he in trouble already? We’ve not even gotten inside…” she muttered.
“Looks that way. Caught mocking Kingsley’s memorable intro, I think.”
Ginny mocked a gasp, covering her mouth with her free left hand. “Merlin! Is nothing sacred?”
Harry shrugged his eyebrows. “You know Hermione. She’s always taken the Victory Ball a bit seriously…”
Suddenly he felt a something jab him in the back sharply. “It’s a serious event!” Hermione hissed.
“It’s an oppor–”
Harry felt Ginny’s elbow in his ribs. “Let’s not this time, love,” she said, smiling sweetly.
“Right. Sorry Hermione,” Harry said begrudgingly.
The only response he heard from his brown-haired friend was a snoot of forgiveness as the speech ended and the tall, ornately-carved double doors leading to the already packed ballroom swung open.
And so their march finally began. Beginning with the inaugural event in 1999, the evening officially commenced when the Minister welcomed a parade of battle veterans and others who had actively resisted both Voldemort’s ideals and puppet regime. Harry considered it primarily a publicity stunt, especially given the apology he always received from Kingsley later, but he endured it gamely.
Yet there was part of him that didn’t entirely bristle at the pageantry. The war’s end was not so long ago. Light had come quickly enough, but it was far from immediate. Countless lives had been changed forever by death, destruction, or simply by the constantly looming prospect of either. Perhaps this all brought some measure of comfort to those in attendance. He considered the image. Our heroes live. They look normal, stable, unscathed. I’m finally safe again. Dutifully, Harry remembered to smile and wave.
The circuitous path to the honorees took to their tables ensured that all in attendance could catch a glimpse. Harry always took this opportunity to see who the Ministry had seen fit to deem ‘special guests’. Often prominent figures from abroad or powerful people in foreign ministries, they were seated on the far right of the ballroom, their tables featuring glitzy placards and pairs of small flags representing their countries of origin that were charmed to wave intermittently on their tiny poles as if flying in the breeze. This year the political guests were fairly mundane. There was Maximilian Schutz, the German Oberste Kanzler, serving his third tour of duty at the event. His contingent shared a table with Colin Byrne, the Irish Minister, and his closest advisers. France and Italy had sent seemingly more obligatory delegations, given that Harry recognized none of the names or faces.
However, this year’s list was not without intrigue. As they passed last table in the VIP seating area, Ginny was unable to completely muffle her gasp as upon sighting a quartet of historic Seekers past-and-present from around the globe. Their table’s centerpiece was quite unlike the others, featuring a broomstick crossed with a beater’s bat and a miniaturized Quaffle dancing around a comparably shrunken faux Golden Snitch. Among them, Harry noted with some surprise was their old acquaintance, Viktor Krum. The Bulgarian gave Harry a nod and a sympathetic half-smile before the procession turned into the last leg of its journey.
One four-course dinner and countless inane conversations and hurried handshakes later, Harry and Ginny returned to their modest flat. Lazily flicking her wand to turn on the light in the nearby kitchen, Ginny waited as Harry restored the enchantments around the entrance.
“Lovely night wasn’t it?” she quipped.
“Brilliant,” Harry muttered, rolling his eyes. “Especially when you add having to weather Ron and Hermione’s little spat over her ten minute conversation with Krum and the rest of the international Quidditch elite.”
Ginny chuckled lightly. “Well it was all so clandestine, Harry. And Krum did give her a present…”
“From the look of the box it looked like it might be a fancy letter-opener,” Harry snorted. “And clandestine? We saw it. I’m sure half the lot there did.”
Extracting her small feet from the elegant pair of heels she had worn all night, Ginny grabbed both sides of Harry’s jacket, tugging him out of the doorway. “Come on you. Quit being so grumpy with me.”
“We only got one dance tonight too. I think I’m entitled to a bit of grumpiness.”
“Poor thing,” Ginny mocked, striding quickly toward the bedroom with her shoes held carefully in one hand.
Upon reaching the threshold, the fiery red-head paused and extended an arm, leaning against the frame seductively. She closed her eyes, twisting her neck slowly before shaking her head gently and stopping to look at Harry. Her bright brown eyes met his emerald ones as a smile crossed her lips.
Harry had watched every moment carefully, her gold dress, delicate skin, and striking red hair standing out sharply in the dim light. As she had rotated her head, he had been able to follow a pleasing single line of her body, from the bottom of her bare legs past her hips and along the contrasting curves of her trim waist and breast. His gaze lingered there for a moment, enjoying the shape of her tight body beneath the well-fitting dress, while Ginny’s eyes remained closed. He made a mental note to express his sincerest gratitude to the Harpies’ fitness coach at the next game he attended. Luckily, he still noticed her head come back around and immediately refocused on her face, his eyes waiting when she opened hers. Shedding his formal robes and jacket in the living room, he strode toward her. With a smirk and a soft giggle, Ginny made for the bed as Harry quickly undid his bowtie, tossing it onto their empty couch.
When he passed through the door, Ginny was waiting, sitting on top of their bed carefully propped up with the mountain of real and decorative pillows behind her. He swiftly unbuttoned his shirt, letting it fall to the floor as he unfastened his belt buckle. Still, she remained motionless, watching him intently as the smirk on her face widened. Moments later, Harry stood at the foot of the bed wearing only his briefs, a trail of his other clothing in his wake.
Ginny locked eyes with her husband again, tucking some stray hair behind her ear and trailing her hand down her neck and body until it reached the top of her dress. She relished teasing Harry when he was like this, overworked and agitated by the day’s events. These were the times he couldn’t conceal his need. Seeing the way he had responded to her simple pose and how quickly he had strode in, she reveled in the knowledge that it was that much closer. Now, it was written all over his face, no place more clearly than the lustful yearning she could make it in his eyes. It really was bad of her to tease him, but she could never resist. The Harry that came next was too enjoyable. The one who would storm to the top of the bed in a moment, full of frustration and desires that their hectic schedules too often forced them to delay releasing. The one who would grab her tightly and kiss her roughly, melting her thoughts of teasing into mindless passion. Ginny let out a muffled mew of satisfaction. Once again, he was right on schedule.
Harry kissed his wife hard, pressing his body into hers as his hand wrapped around to unzip her dress. As they broke apart for her to slide it down he watched her freckled cheeks flush and her breaths grow more rapid. She always teased him worst when he needed her most, but in the end there was no hiding the fact that she was as desperate for this as he was. The moment the dress had been discarded he claimed her lips again, her mouth yielding to his tongue’s demand for entrance. Ginny moaned again as his hands roamed over her body. Their eyes met for a moment as they briefly separated, Harry’s wordless instruction abundantly clear. He watched appreciatively as Ginny slowly removed the lingerie she had so carefully selected earlier in the evening. Casting them aside, her hands moved to slide over her body in a sensual display that made Harry burn. He was captivated by her devilish smile as she moved, cat-like, toward him, capturing his lips again and again in a short series of gentle kisses. Harry knew of course that the kisses were all a distraction from her true target, and he playfully nipped her bottom lip as she swiftly tugged down his briefs. Kicking them off, he grabbed Ginny’s wrists and pushed down, pinning her firmly to the bed.
Ginny inhaled deeply, her heart beating fast as her anticipation built. Strong and demanding what exactly what she wanted tonight. After weeks without, playing the part of the fiery, fearless professional athlete perfectly, she yearned to be tamed as only Harry could tame her.
Harry smirked as he re-positioned himself slightly. He looked down as Ginny pouted at the increased distance, squirming to bring their bodies closer again.
“Harry…” she begged.
He pulled back further, watching her carefully.
“Harry!” Ginny groaned in frustration.
He waited for the proper moment, when the desire in her eyes matched his. At the first flash of it, he lowered himself quickly. Her earlier teasing had hurt his discipline. Harry banished the thought, surrendering to the urges raging within him, as both husband and wife lost themselves in their passion for one another.
Later, when both had finally regained themselves fully, Ginny smiled as she laid her head on Harry’s chest, snuggling tightly to him. One arm rested on his firm abdomen while her other reached up to her own shoulder, allowing her fingers to entwine with his. She could feel the warm metal of her rings pressing into her flesh. Even after three years of marriage, these blissful moments could not help but be mixed with a sense of disbelief. To think that they had really found each other, that their lives had changed so much for the better in so short a time was still slightly overwhelming. Then briefly, she considered all they’d been through. Warmth and satisfaction surged through her. They deserved this.
Seeing his wife lost in pleasant thoughts made Harry’s smile widen. With his free hand he gently stroked her hair, leaning his head down to place a tender kiss on her forehead. As she sighed contentedly, Harry leaned just a bit further to whisper in her ear. He squeezed her hand. “I love you.”
After a short time laying in one another’s arms, the couple fell asleep soundly, clothes, covers, and clandestine meetings long forgotten.
A/N: This chapter was definitely a change of pace and deliberately so. First, I felt the investigation piece needed to slow down a bit. However, there are also important pieces throughout the entirety of this chapter that will be tied up or tied in later. I am interested in people’s objective feedback on the second half of the chapter, as I’ve not written such a scene before. Was it written effectively? Believable for Harry and Ginny? I’d love to hear from you.
For those interested, Oberste Kanzler is German for Supreme Chancellor. It's supposed to be the equivalent of the Minister for Magic.
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