Chapter 10 : Picnic by the Lake
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Harry was so pleased with himself, and realizing that he had even more time to waste than he had after his first class, that he got an idea while on his way to the transfiguration classroom. Instead of going straight there, he took a detour to a place where most Hogwarts students never even thought of going.
Harry stepped through the entrance and saw a flurry of activity that he was hesitant to interrupt. He was on the verge of changing his mind and turning back when a shrill cry of joy stopped him.
“Harry Potter, sir!” Dobby said as he spotted Harry and immediately stopped what he was doing to walk over and greet Harry.
“Hello, Dobby,” Harry said. “I hope you’re well.”
“Dobby is so lucky to have someone like the noble Harry Potter to care how he is doing,” Dobby said. “Dobby is doing quite well here at Hogwarts thanks to his friend Harry Potter.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” Harry said.
“Is there something that Harry Potter needs that Dobby can do for him?” Dobby asked hopefully.
“Actually,” Harry said with a smile, “there is something I would like if it’s possible.”
Ginny walked out of the Transfiguration classroom and was stopped in her tracks as she noticed Harry leaning against the wall just like he had been when she got out of Potions.
“Oh no, Harry,” Ginny said concerned. “You didn’t get yourself kicked out of Potions did you?”
“No,” Harry said walking over to her. “Actually, Snape let class out early.”
“Early?” Ginny asked not believing that she had heard him right.
“Yep,” Harry said as he leaned over and gave her a kiss.
“But Snape never…” Ginny protested after Harry had broken the kiss.
“Let’s not talk about Snape anymore,” Harry said. “It’s such a beautiful day, I thought you might like to take a walk down by the lake.”
Ginny stood back and looked at Harry trying to determine if he was being serious or not before she said, “You would rather take a walk by the lake instead of eating lunch.”
“There’s plenty of time,” Harry said.
Ginny hesitated, but realized she couldn’t say no to him if she tried, and said, “Alright, but it’ll be your head if I don’t get to eat lunch.”
Harry smiled as he stuck out his arm for Ginny. She put her arm in his and they walked leisurely down the hallway toward the nearest exit to the grounds. They walked down to the lake and watched the ripples on the water roll in to the shore.
Harry turned toward Ginny and gave her a long tender kiss, and as he broke away he said softly, “I can’t tell you how much I wish this moment wouldn’t end. I have everything I need right here.”
“I agree with you in part, Harry,” Ginny said, making Harry look questioningly at her. “I have everything I need, except lunch. I’m starving.”
“Patience, love,” Harry said. “I have everything under control.”
Just then Ginny looked beside them as a blanket appeared with a full spread of picnic food arrayed on top of it.
“Lunch is served, My Lady,” Harry said with a slight bow.
“How did you do this?” Ginny asked amazed.
“Well,” Harry said, “I happen to have some very influential friends in the kitchens around here.”
“A good thing for you,” Ginny said. “Any longer and you would have been standing here on your own while I went to get some lunch.”
“Then by all means,” Harry said, “let’s eat.”
Harry and Ginny sat down and ate happily together. When they had both eaten their fill, Harry laid his head in Ginny’s lap and let her attempt to smooth down his unruly hair.
“It’s really going to be strange around here next year,” Ginny said half to herself.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“Well,” Ginny began, “you will have graduated, but I’ll be stuck here for another year without you.”
“I guess I never thought about that,” Harry said as he sat up wondering why that never occurred to him.
“You’ll go off to continue your training as an auror,” Ginny said, “and I’ll be sitting here by the lake longing to relive this moment.”
“Well maybe I could get a job in Hogsmead,” Harry said thinking out loud. “That way we would at least see each other on Hogsmead weekends.”
“But you’ve wanted to be an auror for years now,” Ginny said. “I don’t want you to give that up just because we’ll have to spend time apart. It would hurt me more to know that I was the thing that caused that dream to die.”
“Sometimes dreams change,” Harry said. “Nobody ever said I had to start my auror training right after I graduate. It wouldn’t hurt anything to wait a year or two.”
“No, Harry,” Ginny said. “I can’t let you do that. You need to get as much training as you can for when..."
“When I fight Voldemort,” Harry said finishing her thought.
Ginny felt a deep guilt for bringing up the subject on what Harry had meant to be such a nice picnic. Of all of the things she could have said, she had brought up the one subject she knew to avoid most of all.
“I am so sorry, Harry,” Ginny said. “I didn’t mean to ruin this day for you.”
“You haven’t,” Harry said taking hold of her hand. “Listen, I want to make it clear here and now that I know my fight with Voldemort is coming near. No one knows that more that I do. I expect it to happen before I graduate this year. I know that shocks you, but it’s something I’ve been working very hard to prepare for. When it comes, I’ll do the very best I can to end it once and for all. Until then, I am not about to let Voldemort influence my life like you might think. I’m perfectly all right with discussing Voldemort, and our impending battle, with people. Most of all you. I feel closer to you right now then I have ever been to anyone. The only reason I never bring it up myself is because I know it makes other people uncomfortable to talk about it.”
“I don’t want to lose you, Harry,” Ginny said as she pressed her tear stained face to Harry's chest.
“I don’t want to lose you either,” Harry said. “I just want to make the most of whatever time we have left together, whether it’s five minutes or a hundred years. I’m going to love you with every part of my soul for as long as I can.”
Harry tilted Ginny’s head back and kissed her until both of them felt the joy coursing through them as it always did.
“Hmmm.” Dobby said, causing Harry and Ginny to look and see who had sneaked up on them so quietly.
“Dobby is sorry to interrupt Harry Potter, sir,” Dobby said, “but he wanted to make sure you knew that you will be late for your classes if you do not leave now.”
Harry looked down at his watch and realized that he was right. They wouldn’t have to run, but they weren’t far from having to.
“Thanks for everything, Dobby,” Harry said as he and Ginny got up to leave. “You’re a real friend.”
Dobby couldn’t have been more proud as he snapped his fingers and vanished the picnic blanket away. Harry Potter was the greatest wizard that ever lived, he was sure. And to the end of his days he would make sure that all of the other house elves knew it.
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