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Protection by PrincessPotter
Chapter 7 : Going Home
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 98


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“Gin,” Su called down the hall at St. Mungo’s. “Patient in number four!”

The elderly nurse was leaning precariously over her desk, waving a chart in the air as she tried to catch Ginny’s attention.

For the third time, Ginny was attempting to leave. When she heard Su’s voice, she dropped her head back with a groan and then looked over at Harry, who was walking beside her.

He knew exactly how she felt and he hadn’t even been the one doing the work. It seemed like they’d been at the hospital forever today, going from room to room and patient to patient without a break.

If I see one more child with boils on their face, I’ll probably be able to heal them myself, he thought, having watched her do it at least fifteen times today.

“We were so close,” he murmured, gazing longingly at the door as they came to a stop. He looked over, meeting her weary gaze with his own. His hand slipped into her hair and began massaging her neck. Tingles shot down her spine as she dropped her head forward with an appreciative moan to give him better access.

“How horrible would it be if I just left?”

“I didn’t hear anything, did you?” he replied with a smirk and she chuckled, only to have Su call her name again.

Ginny sighed and spun around as Harry dropped his hand. Reluctantly, she headed back to the medi-witch station with Harry on her heels, his hands shoved in his pockets.

“I’m sorry, dear. I know you were trying to leave,” Su apologized as she handed Ginny the chart. “It’s not serious though; just another older brother prank gone wrong or something.” She gave Ginny a pitying expression before turning and hurrying off in the other direction.

Ginny glanced at the chart, skimming over the notes before tucking it under her arm and walking back down the hall. Her steps were brisk but lacked their usual bounce as she rolled her head from side to side.

“This shouldn’t take long,” she said.

Harry could tell she was trying to sound cheerful but it came out mostly as drained.

When they reached the curtain Ginny straightened, seemed to collect herself, and then went in and began talking to the mother and child. Harry’s mouth curled into a smile as she transformed from the worn-out person she’d been in the hall to the cheery and alert woman in the exam room. Adjusting his baseball cap, he lounged against the wall, watching her through the gap.

His gaze remained focused on her while she spoke to the mother, miming directions with her hands. After a few more seconds, the mother nodded and left, passing him without a glance as she walked down the hall.

Harry’s skin tingled as the woman passed him. Turning his head, he watched her closely until she disappeared around the corner. When she was gone, he looked back to Ginny. He narrowed his eyes as he stared at the boy on the bed.

Something was off.

Shutting his eyes he reached out with his senses. When he found what it was, he shoved off the wall and drew his wand.

He came through the curtain just as the boy was reaching for Ginny’s hair. Without giving it a second thought, Harry shot a spell him. It hit the boy squarely in the chest, sending him flying off the bed as Ginny looked up in surprise. She cried out in alarm as the boy hit the wall with a loud smack and crumpled to the ground.

“Harry! What…”

Ginny began to move around the bed to check on him, but Harry grabbed her arm and jerked her back.

Expelliarmus!

The unexpected spell sent Harry’s wand flying out of his hand. He and Ginny spun to find the mother pointing her wand at his chest.

“No!” Ginny cried as the witch sent a series of hexes straight at Harry. As she reached for her wand, Harry grabbed her arm and thrust her behind him. At the same time, a wandless defensive shield erupted in front of him, shimmering as it deflected the magic into the wall.

Harry threw his arm out, his eyes blazing. A bolt of power shot out from his hand and the witch was thrown back through the curtain. She hit the wall with a crunch and crumpled to the ground unconscious.

“Don’t move,” Harry said, squeezing Ginny’s shaking hand. His shield dropped as he crossed to the witch. Crouching beside her, he quickly bound her and pressed a small round coin into her hand.

Ginny watched his wand fly from the floor to his hand as he rose up. His back was to her as he gazed down at the unconscious witch. She saw his back stiffen suddenly before he spun back around.

With a flick of his free hand, he sent Ginny flying to the floor while he used his wand to shoot a stunning spell where she’d just been standing.

Ginny rolled onto her back in time to see a wizard standing behind her with his wand out. As if in slow motion, he fell backwards and landed on the floor with a thump. Rising up on her elbows, she stared at the fallen wizard for a second.

Where did he come from?

Her eyes widened as she realized he’d been the little boy.

Ginny sat up as Harry passed her.

Incarcerous,” he muttered and magical rope appeared, winding around the wizard’s hands and feet to bind him like the witch. Harry leaned down, pulling a coin from his pocket. He slipped it into the wizard’s hand, curling the man’s fingers around it. Harry pointed his wand at it for a second before the wizard disappeared.

“Where did you send them?” Ginny asked, following him with his eyes as he stood up and turned toward her.

“A cell at headquarters; Ron will question them,” he explained as he came toward her. “But I’m sure Malfoy obliviated anything useful from their memories. You ok?”

She nodded, taking the hand he offered. He pulled her to her feet, catching her lips in a kiss. She could feel the adrenaline still pumping through him as he kissed her, the energy flowing from his skin as his hand slid into her hair.

“I’m surprisingly fine,” she murmured against his lips after a second and he pulled back.

“Sorry I had to…”

“It’s ok,” she assured him, running her eyes over his face as he looked at her. “Nice wandless magic,” she grinned and he smirked.

“Like that?”

“Mhmm,” she replied, closing the distance between them and grazing his lips with hers. “Very impressive protective skills today,” she murmured against his mouth.

“I have my moments,” he replied before catching her lower lip in his.

She kissed him back, rising on her toes as she wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled their bodies together.

“I just have to point out,” she said a few moments later, “that you didn’t seem at all distracted.”

Harry grinned and kissed her quickly.

“Are you trying to imply that you were right?” he asked as he took her hand and led her through the curtain and into the hall.

“Maybe.”

~..~..~..~..~..~

Malfoy was livid.

“Why am I always surrounded by incompetent idiots?!” he raged, heaving his snifter of red currant brandy at the wall. The glass shattered and he watched the burgundy liquid run down the wall as he seethed. Not only had Davis and Baddock failed, they’d gotten themselves bloody captured in the process.

“Must I do everything, myself?!”

“It depends,” a smooth voice purred from the doorway.

Spinning around, Malfoy’s flashing eyes landed on Pansy as she leaned against the doorway.

“I’m sure there’s something I could do for you.”

He didn’t bother saying hello; he just crossed to her, yanked her inside and shut the door. She moved almost lazily to the bed, unzipping her dress as he locked the door and followed her. She turned just in time for his hand to find her neck, crushing her willing mouth to his.

~..~..~..~..~..~

“Are you sure they were going for her hair?”

“Positive.”

Ginny sat on the sofa, watching Harry’s back as he crouched in front of the fire talking to Ron.

At least the view isn’t bad, she mused, her lip quirking as her eyes moved over his shoulders, admiring the way his muscles rolled slightly as he shifted on his knees. He’d been in front of the fire for the last ten minutes.

Stretching out on the sofa, she propped her head on her arm as she listened to him talk to Ron about the disguised witch and wizard from the hospital.

Five minutes later, she was on her back with her arms stretched over her head, staring at the ceiling as the conversation droned on. With a huff, she flipped onto her stomach, her eyes going back to Harry.

She wanted to shake him. They didn’t know anything. Both he and Ron had made that clear about a hundred times now, but they still insisted on talking about it.

Is this what all of their meetings are like? Maybe he was doing me a favor by leaving me out, she thought with a sigh as she rolled her eyes.

Another five minutes went by and the conversation still didn’t show any signs of stopping.

I guess I’ll just have to stop it myself, she grinned, sliding silently off the sofa.

She crawled over to Harry and for a second, she simply sat back on her knees behind him. With a mischievous grin, she gently pulled his shirt from the back of his trousers.

The effect was immediate. Harry’s body tensed, his voice faltered.

“Hold on, Ron.”

Pulling his head out of the fire, Harry twisted around as Ginny traced the outline of his tattoo softly with her fingertips.

“What are you doing?” he asked suspiciously.

“Oh, hi, Harry,” she said sweetly. She gave him a conspiratorial smile and curled her finger, beckoning him closer.

“I don’t think they know anything,” she whispered when he leaned in.

His brow furrowed in confusion for a second before he gave her an annoyed look. Pushing her hands away he then turned back around and stuck his head back into the flames.

Undeterred, Ginny tucked her hair behind her ears and lifted his shirt again. His tattoo was sleeping as she ran her fingers over it lightly once more. She grinned impishly as she ran her hands under his shirt, caressing his back and shoulders.

Trying to not be completely horrid, she waited until Ron was speaking to rake her nails down his skin. She was rewarded with a shiver and she grinned as she pictured his expression. She bit her lip to stifle a giggle when she heard Ron ask if something was wrong.

By the time she slipped her hands around to his stomach, Harry had all but dropped out of the conversation. When she began tracing the edge of his trousers with her fingers, he made a rather flimsy excuse, ended the conversation and jerked out of the flames.

Ginny snatched her hands away and sat back. She was the picture of innocence as he spun around on his knees.

“What are you? Five-years-old, Gin?” he demanded crossly.

She didn’t buy it for a second.

His eyes were hungry and dark…and glued on her mouth as he spoke. He didn’t even bother to wait until he was finished speaking to reach for her.

She giggled as he pulled her against him, but her laughter faded into moan as his lips covered hers in a hungry kiss. His arms wrapped around her, drawing her closer as their tongues tangled together. After a few moments he pulled away, smiling as she moaned again, this time in protest.

She’s not the only one who can tease, he thought as he stood, leaving her on the floor.

“I was trying to talk to him,” he said, letting his irritation resurface as he plopped onto the sofa. “You couldn’t amuse yourself for five minutes?”

“It was twenty minutes, Harry,” she replied lightly, watching him glance at the clock in surprise. “But your conversation should have been over in five.”

“It was important, Ginny,” Harry tried to argue.

She rolled her eyes and he crossed his arms as he continued to grumble. “It is important. I don’t see why you would…would think…”

His ability to speak abandoned his body as she began to slink toward him on all fours. She kept her eyes on him, her gaze hungry as her lip curled into a smirk. He forced his throat to swallow as she moved closer.

“Oh, I know it’s important,” she purred. “But he told you everything…”

For half a second, Harry tried to remember what he’d been saying but he couldn’t think. All he could do was sit there, frozen as he watched her crawl toward him like a cat stalking a mouse. When she reached him, she rose onto her knees and ran her hands up his thighs, curling her nails into his skin.

Harry let a groan slip and her brow arched at the sound. There was no time for her to react further as he grabbed her arms, hauling her up onto his lap.

Harry’s hand slipped into her hair, pulling her against him as he kissed her deeply. When she dragged her mouth away a few seconds later, he was the one now moaning in tortured protest.

“Impatient, aren’t we,” she teased in a raspy voice.

“Yes,” he admitted, ducking his head to kiss her neck, “we are.”

In response, she twisted away.

“Ginevra,” Harry warned. “I know you didn’t just interrupt an important conversation to talk…”

She laughed, kissing him lightly. She brushed a wayward strand of hair off his face with her fingers. “Who’s Padfoot?”

Harry blinked at her as he sobered. “What?”

Ginny slipped her hand behind him, fingering his lower back. “Your tattoo. Who’s Padfoot?”

“Oh.” He looked away from her, his eyes going to the fire as his hand massaged her neck absently. “My Godfather.”

Ginny’s eyes narrowed for a second as she tried to make sense of his answer. “Your godfather…was a dog,” she said slowly as her lip twitched.

He chuckled softly and his eyes flicked back to hers. “An Animagus,” he clarified.

“Ah,” she replied. “So…did he…”

“He was killed by a Death Eater,” he said softly and she nodded. She felt the emotion rippling off of him and leaned in, resting her cheek against his shoulder as she ran her hand down his cheek.

“That must have been horrible,” she said softly, kissing his neck. She traced her finger along his collar before moving her hand to his chest. She hadn’t realized asking would affect him like this. She rubbed his chest gently until she felt him relax a bit. “Tell me about him?”

Harry was amazed at how easily the words came when he began to talk to her. He barely even paused, beginning to tell her about him almost as soon as she asked.

He never talked about Sirius; everyone around him knew that. And yet with her it was easy. She was just…so easy to talk to that he couldn’t seem to stop himself.

Ginny listened silently as he spoke; about when he’d met Sirius during his third year. He went on to fill in the details from that point until he lost him in the Department of Mysteries in his fifth.

It was strange though. As he talked, she shut her eyes, resting her cheek on his shoulder. Images evolved in her mind of the moments he was describing and she was a bit surprised by how clearly she saw them. She winced when her head began to pound.

“You ok?” he asked, noticing when she brought her fingers up to massage her temple

“Yeah, just a…” She shook her head. She didn’t want to turn the focus to her. “I’m fine. I’m sorry you lost him,” she murmured into his neck.

She couldn’t imagine losing one of her family like that. She couldn’t imagine life without them and she ached at the thought that Harry had no family. His family had been taken from him and she wanted to be able to fix it. She wanted to be his family.

She squeezed her eyes shut as her chest tightened painfully. The pounding in her head increased briefly and then faded.

“It was a long time ago,” he replied.

She nodded as her eyes filled with tears. She pulled him closer, kissing his neck. He shifted her, pulling her up so he could kiss her. Her hands found his hair as she opened for him, kissing him with all of the emotion inside of her. She poured every ounce of love and passion into the kiss, wanting to show him, wanting him to feel what she did.

Harry pulled back when he tasted her tears.

“Why are you crying?” he asked with a small smile as she sniffed.

“I… I don’t know,” she replied, choking out a laugh as he wiped her tears away with the pad of his thumb. “It’s just so unfair. You’ve just…you’ve lost so much. Your family…”

Harry shook his head and kissed her softly. She pulled him closer and he shifted, pushing her back onto the sofa as he moved over her. She sniffled, pressing her lips against his, cupping his cheek as she moved her lips over his.

Harry kissed her deeply as his body woke up, trembling under her touch. Her reaction to his words overwhelmed him. She was crying. She was crying for him. His heart swelled and then clenched as he felt her beneath him.

“I have family,” he whispered against her lips and she stilled, resting her forehead against his. “Family doesn’t have to be blood, Gin. Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.”

He kissed her again, longer this time. The kiss was deep and searching; almost lazy as they relished the feel and taste of each other.

Ginny moaned into his mouth as he settled against her, his hips cradled between her thighs. He felt amazing. She didn’t think she ever wanted to move from this position, his heat flowing into her and his weight pressing her down. He made her feel safe and secure and yet out of control at the same time. She slipped her hands under his shirt, caressing the warm skin of his back. Harry groaned and pushed instinctively against her.

Her skin was warm and silky under his fingers as he cupped her face in his hands. His fingers caressed her cheeks as he trailed kisses down to her throat.

“You are so beautiful,” he breathed against her skin.

Harry was completely overwhelmed as she arched beneath him. She was perfect. She was more than anything he had ever wanted and he knew as they kissed that he wouldn’t be able to let her go when this was all over.

“God, I love you,” he mumbled as he kissed her neck and they both froze.

“W – what?”

He rested his lips against her neck, squeezing his eyes shut for a second. He certainly hadn’t planned to tell her that yet. Knowing there wasn’t much he could do about it now he raised his head to look at her and swallowed. His palms were suddenly clammy and he sucked in a breath.

“I think…I think I’m falling in love with you,” he admitted softly as he watched her eyes.

Something burst to life inside of Ginny at his words and she bit her lip before bringing his head down to her and kissing him.

Harry kissed her back but part of him felt oddly empty that she hadn’t returned his words, hadn’t said anything.

After a few seconds, Ginny broke the kiss with a gasp and looked up at him, running her fingers over his cheek.

“I think we’ve already fallen,” she said softly, waiting for him.

Emotion roared through him and he came back to her swiftly.

“You think so?” he asked with a smile as he kissed her. She moaned her agreement as he urged her mouth open. He slipped his tongue into her mouth and his hands into her shirt.

His fingers burned a path across her skin where he touched her. He moved his head down her neck, kissing and nipping as he moved his hands over her.

“I love you, too,” she breathed before she found his lips again.

The kiss was intense and Ginny groaned into his mouth as she felt the effects shooting all through her body.

They continued kissing for several minutes, their mouths fused in hungry abandon as their tongues danced together, knowing instinctually just what they wanted and needed. Harry’s body was aching for her, begging for more as they kissed harder, more urgently… as they tried to get closer…

“Merlin, Ginny,” he panted a few minutes later, her hands in his hair as he devoured her and she whimpered in response. She tasted like something…something he couldn’t place but he knew he recognized it so he kissed her harder, trying to figure it out and causing her to arch up against him. Harry cried out automatically into her mouth as pure pleasure shot through him.

Oh shite, he groaned silently as Ginny whimpered her agreement.

He moved quickly, slipping his hands to her thighs and pulling her legs up as he rocked his body into hers, desperate to feel it again.

The emotions and heat built between them, intensifying with every touch, every kiss until it surged into something else. It was suddenly too hot, the emotions too strong and the feelings too intense.

Ginny’s head began to throb as images she couldn’t understand flashed through her mind.

A castle…flying…fighting…kissing…Harry…heat…

Her hands clamped onto Harry’s shoulders, fingers digging into his skin as she squeezed her eyes shut. Even so, she couldn’t stop kissing him, her body a strange combination of pain and desire, each one battling for dominance.

Harry wasn’t faring much better above her, except it wasn’t just pain and strange images that rose in him, it was his power. He ripped his mouth away from her and buried his head against her neck as his hands clamped down on her hips to hold her still. He cried out, the sound muffled in her skin as his body began to shake for several seconds before he got himself under control.

Taking an unsteady breath, he pulled up and looked down at her. He was expecting to find her eyes full of fear or confusion; ready to ask him what was wrong but he was surprised to find that her eyes were shut tight.

She had her lip in her teeth, her forehead furrowed in pain as her head rolled to the side.

Taking her chin in his hand, he turned her face back to his.

“Gin? Look at me, Ginny,” he ordered gently. “What’s wrong?” he asked when her eyes fluttered open, reflecting the pain they were both feeling.

“Nothing,” she said, blinking quickly. “Just a…”

“…headache,” he finished for her. He smoothed her hair off of her forehead and kissed her skin. “How often do you have them, really?” he asked softly.

Ginny turned her head away with a shrug.

Ginny,” he persisted as he took her chin lightly in his hand and turned her face back to him.

As she met his gaze, she was not sure why, but she felt annoyed by the question.

“How many times did your head hurt as we talked, just now?” he asked.

Unwilling to scare her unnecessarily, Harry attempted to keep his expression calm and mask the worried tone of his voice. He wanted her to know he was serious, but he didn’t want to frighten her by making it seem like a bigger deal than it probably was.

“A couple,” she mumbled uneasily.

She could see the worry he was trying to hide. The fact that he’d noticed how often her head hurt scared her. It made it real - instead of something she was just overreacting about it.

“Do you think…do you think something’s wrong with me?” she breathed. Her throat tightened at the thought and her eyes began to burn. “Do you think it’s Malfoy?”

“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully as he shifted off of her, pulling her onto her side so they were lying together on the sofa. “But you keep having them. I think we should probably talk to Dumbledore, just in case.”

Ginny nodded, settling against him with her hand on his chest and her leg draped over his. The comfort provided by Harry’s arms around her allowed Ginny to slip off to sleep with surprising speed. Harry, however, stayed awake long after she had dropped off.

He knew she wasn’t the only ones having headaches. Although he wouldn’t really describe his as a headache; more of a shooting, pounding pain once his power was in order. He stared at the ceiling as he continued to bring his insides under control before he finally nodded off.

~..~..~..~..~..~

Harry was flying. The wind whipped his hair as he zoomed around the Quidditch pitch, his eyes searching the air intently. It was still early, the colors dull around him. A haze covered the ground below him, causing him to squint as he searched. Suddenly he dove, sure his prey was hiding in the fog.

He flew across the pitch, his eyes darting back and forth. He was low enough to the ground now that he could practically drag his feet on the grass if he wanted.

For a second he thought he saw something and with a shift of his hand, he shot to the right. A second later, he heard her laughter coming from above him. He looked up and grinned when he saw the blur of red streak past. Pulling up he headed after her, leaning over to increase his speed. He knew his broom was faster but after a few seconds he lost her again as she faded into the haze.

He slowed, knowing she wasn’t going to let him catch her. She had eyes like a cat and was always able to lose him in the fog. He still hadn’t been able to figure out how she always seemed to know where he was. He shut his eyes, stretching out his senses. He heard her laugh to his left and turned his broom, gliding in the direction of her voice.

“Come on, Harry…”

He felt the air whoosh by him as she looped around him. Pressing down on his handle he shot forward, picking up speed. He knew she would follow. He flew faster and faster, counting to ten before he swung around and came to a stop.

He let his body become still, blocking out everything else as he shut his eyes and listened for her. After a few moments, he launched himself off his broom as she passed on his right. She let out a cry of surprise as he hit her, knocking her off her own broom. He twisted with her, absorbing most of the impact with his body as they hit the ground with a thud.

“Cheater,” she gasped in mock outrage but he just laughed, flipped her over and caught her lips with his. He let out a groan of contentment when she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him more fully against her. He couldn’t think of anything else but her as he pressed her into the ground.

After a few long moments, he sighed into her neck, running his hand down her cheek and kissing her quickly before he stood. He pulled her up with him and wrapped an arm around her waist.

“We were supposed to be practicing you know,” he said, although he wasn’t upset that they hadn’t.

With a laugh, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “We did a lot of practicing,” she teased, nipping his lower lip with her teeth.

He smirked at her, even as his eyes darkened.

“Practicing Quidditch, Gin,” he clarified.

She giggled before forcing her expression into one of innocent surprise. Her eyes grew wide and her lips formed a silent “oh.”

“Is that what we were supposed to be doing?” she asked sweetly before kissing him. “You should have clarified, love,” she murmured against his lips.

“My mistake,” he managed before he deepened the kiss. He ran his hand up and down her back, pressing her against him as his other hand tangled into her hair.

Their lips moved together, their tongues stroking and exploring with an ease and familiarity that made Harry’s body flare and his grip on her tighten. Just when he was about to drag her back down to the ground she pulled away.

He protested, trying to pull her back to him but she just laughed, taking his hand and leading him quickly through the fog.

They were running. He called her name when her hand slipped out of his. “Ginny…” Her laughter guided him, echoing around him as she called for him.

“Come on, Harry…”

The temperature dropped as he ran and the scene around him began to fade to grey. He stumbled, doubling over and falling to his knees as his power erupted inside of him and the scene around him disintegrated.

Suddenly he was in darkness but he heard her laughter shift to screams. The pleasure that shot through him at the sound was immediate and intense. He opened his eyes and stood as the room came into focus.

Raising his wand, he hit her with the Cruciatus again. A thrill shot through him as he watched her convulse on the floor in front of him. She was bloodied, her hair tangled and her jeans ripped. She curled into a ball, trying to stop her body from twitching. He narrowed his eyes, focusing harder on the curse and relishing every moment of pain as her screams increased…


Power rippled through the flat as Harry’s eyes flew open, his body convulsing. His hands went to his head. He ripped off his glasses, pressing his palms against his eyes. He gritted his teeth, trying to keep from crying out. Ginny shifted as he shook beneath her.

He could feel her beginning to wake up and he moved his hand to her head, running his fingers through her hair and holding her in place. His hand was shaking but he clamped down on his body, forcing it to become still.

Oh God, please…please don’t wake up, he thought.

He needed time. He squeezed his eyes shut and took in a deep breath, forcing his power back.

“Shh,” he soothed, stroking her hair.

Ginny shifted against him and then nestled into him before becoming still again.

Harry didn’t dare move for several more seconds. Finally, he opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling as his pupils returned to normal.

He felt shaky, both physically and mentally.

What’s going on?

Dreams of them together weren’t new. The effect on his power wasn’t new either, but it had never been anything like this. He’d never wanted to hurt her.

His chest ached and he shut his eyes briefly as the sound of her screams echoed in his mind. A faint urge to throw up churned in his stomach for a few seconds before he was able to suppress it. He could still feel his power bubbling just below the surface. He squeezed his eyes tightly, forcing the power surge within him to be squelched.

He pulled Ginny higher on his chest and buried his face in her hair as he took several deep breaths. Her flowery scent surrounded him. Her warmth and touch slowly soothed him, erasing the destructive urge that inevitably came with a power surge. He felt connected to her and that closeness seemed to give him peace. In her arms, he felt safe and his body calmed until he felt drained but almost normal again.

He stroked her hair absently, staring at the ceiling until he drifted back to sleep.

~..~..~..~..~..~

Ginny woke slowly. She felt content and safe and she snuggled instinctively into the warmth beneath her as her eyes flicked open. She frowned when she found herself staring at the fireplace. She tensed at the realization that she wasn’t in her bed, but rather lying on the sofa. More specifically, on top of Harry. Her cheeks flushed slightly at the thought.

She shifted carefully, lifting her head from where she had burrowed into his neck. She bit her lip when she found him already awake beneath her. Their eyes met in a warm gaze and her body relaxed as his mouth slid into a lopsided grin.

“Morning,” he said in a sleepy voice.

“How long have you been awake?” she asked.

“Not long…”

“You should have…” her hand went to her mouth as she yawned. “…woken me,” she finished as she settled back against him. She stretched her body out over him as he chuckled softly.

“You seemed peaceful,” he replied as his hand slid into her hair pulling her up so he could kiss her forehead. She smiled at the feel of his lips on her skin. He was firm and warm beneath her and she let out a sigh of contentment as she shifted more fully against him.

“Not to mention,” he added, “the left side of my body seems to have gone completely numb and refuses to function…”

There was a slight pause before she giggled and pushed herself up onto her arms. She kissed him quickly on the lips before crawling off of him.

The loss of her weight on Harry’s body caused an onslaught of sensations as he tried to move. The numb areas began to tingle painfully as the blood came rushing back. He groaned as he sat up, shaking out his left arm and stretching his side. He glanced up to find her leaving the room. He had wanted to talk to her when she woke up, to ask her how she was feeling. He shot up awkwardly from the sofa before he lost the chance.

“Hey,” he called, moving to catch her as she headed down the hall.

Ginny turned back at his voice. She bit her lip to suppress her laughter. He was limping as he moved toward her, shaking his leg and trying to make the feeling return. She brought her gaze back to his face when he came to a stop.

“Something to say, Ginny?” he smirked.

“Nope,” she replied as her lips twitched and her eyes twinkled.

“I thought not,” he teased with a smile. He brought his palm to her face and then ran his hand down her cheek to her neck. His thumb glided lightly back and forth on her skin. As he gazed at her, his smiled slipped and his expression turned serious.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, remembering the pain in her eyes last night. “Did you sleep ok? Do you have a headache or anything?”

Ginny pulled his hand from her neck, lacing her fingers through his and kissing his knuckles softly.

“I feel fine,” she replied, her lip curling into a smile. “But thanks for asking.”

~..~..~..~..~..~

Several mornings later, Harry sat crouched in front of the fireplace.

“Thanks, Hermione,” he smiled, taking the copy of the Daily Prophet from her.

She passed him one by floo each morning. She had done this for weeks because Harry didn’t trust the post. The risk of interception by Malfoy was just too great.

Aurors inspected Ginny’s letters and packages on a daily basis. Everything was thoroughly checked for curses, charms and jinxes. They eventually got them to her, but getting the paper had proven to be more of a hassle.

First the paper was sent to headquarters. It received the same treatment her regular mail did before finally being sent on to Harry’s flat. By the time the Aurors finished, it invariably arrived after they’d left for the hospital, if not the next day. If it were just for Harry, he could easily have lived without it, but Ginny had refused. This had been the compromise.

“You might want to skip this one today, Harry,” Hermione said, making a face.

Harry paused, glanced at the paper and asked, “About me again, I suppose?”

Hermione nodded. “Let’s just say Rita would be very proud.”

Harry rolled his eyes and tucked the paper under his arm. “Got it. Thanks for the warning.”

“Anytime,” she smiled at him. “So, we’ll see you later?” she asked and his smile slipped a bit as he nodded.

“Yeah, we’ll be there.”

“Don’t look so glum, Harry! You know Molly complains constantly that she doesn’t see you enough,” she said with a knowing smile before she became serious. “You are going to be there right?” she implored. “I really want you to come.”

“Relax, Hermione,” Harry replied with a smile. “You know we’ll be there. No one says no to Mrs. Weasley, right?”

Hermione laughed as she shook her head. They said their goodbyes quickly and Harry pulled out of the fire.

Harry ran a hand through his hair as he stood and made his way back to the kitchen. He removed the whistling kettle from the stove and then glanced down the hall.

No movement yet, he thought.

Ginny liked to sleep late on Saturdays. While he didn’t blame her, he hadn’t been having much luck sleeping more than a couple of hours a night.

Bloody dreams, he frowned, trying once again not to think about the one that had woken him this morning. Despite his efforts all morning, he’d been unable to keep the image of Ginny broken and sobbing at his feet out of his mind completely.

His dreams continued to get stranger and continued to wreak havoc on his power. The added stress of worrying about Ginny’s headaches hadn’t helped matters.

He’d woken up early as usual, although it was more than just dreams that woke him today. It was Saturday and they’d been invited, or ordered rather, to attend the monthly Weasley get-together. Although he hated to admit it, he was nervous. He hadn’t gone to very many Weasley events in several years and though he loved them like his family, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do when he saw them today.

What am I going to say? he wondered for the hundredth time since waking up.

He pursed his lips as he poured himself some coffee. The asinine response that had been running through his mind all morning repeated once again.

Mr. Weasley, as you know, I’m protecting your daughter. It’s going pretty well so far…and oh yeah, I accidentally fell in love with her, I can’t seem to keep my hands off of her and we’re living together.

Somehow, he just wasn’t sure that would go over very well with her father or her brothers. Ginny told him he was just being dumb about it. She assured him that everyone would be thrilled, but he just couldn’t get rid of the churning in his stomach. He shook his head as his mind wandered back to yesterday.

Harry was lounging on the sofa, much like he had a thousand times before. But this time, Ginny was draped across his lap reading a book.

“Um, Gin?” he asked cautiously.

“Hmm?” she responded as she continued to read.

“Can we talk about something?”

“Sure,” she replied, closing her book and breaking into a grin. She shifted her body and sat up in his lap. Before he could say anything, she began kissing his neck.

Harry shut his eyes with an appreciative moan. Her touch sent the wonderful sensations he’d grown so accustomed to over the last week shooting through his body. He turned his head, urging her to move up to his mouth. He could have sat forever kissing her, but after a few seconds, he reluctantly pushed her away and shifted her back to her original position.

“I mean actually talk,” he clarified, although he couldn’t keep the disappointment from his voice at having to stop her.

She sighed dramatically and lounged back, getting comfortable again. “Ok.”

“What are we…” he trailed off, unsure what he wanted to ask. “How are we going to handle…well… us…at your parents’ tomorrow?”

“How do you want to handle it?”

Harry looked down with a frown as he shrugged. “I’m not sure. I mean, I don’t want to lie to them obviously…but I’m not sure if we should tell people.”

Ginny was silent for a second and she arched her brow when he glanced over at her.

“Right now,” he added hastily. “With Malfoy I mean…it’s just that…if you were a target just for being Ron’s sister…” He shook his head as fear gripped his stomach tightly for a few seconds. “If he knew we were together…” he trailed off, taking a deep breath. “Malfoy would stop at nothing to hurt me,” he said, meeting her eyes.

Ginny slid her fingers to the hand that was on her stomach, caressing his wrist for a second. She stopped when he suddenly leaned over and kissed her. It was filled with urgency as his hand found her face, pulling her closer for a second before he pulled back a bit. He caressed her cheek as he stared at her. “I can’t let him hurt you. I don’t want you in more danger because of this.”

Ginny turned her head, kissing the inside of his palm lightly. “I won’t be,” she assured him.

“I don’t know, Ginny,” he responded uncertainly. “Besides, what will your family think of this? It doesn’t really scream professionalism on my part,” he added with a small smile. “What if they decide I’ve lost my perspective and want me removed from your case?”

“That’s not going to happen, Harry. They trust you. I trust you.”

Her lips curled into a grin. “Honestly, Harry, I know you’re worried, but don’t be. They’re going to be thrilled. You know they will be. And you also know you won’t let anything happen to me.”

He remained silent, still unconvinced.

“Ok, how about this?” she asked as she sat up again. She brought a hand to his cheek and kissed him softly before pulling back and meeting his gaze. “If it worries you, maybe we could just wait to see how it goes. You know, sort of…tell them if it feels right,” she suggested. “We don’t have to announce it in the Daily Prophet, but they’re my family, Harry.”

He stared at her for a second as he considered it before nodding.

“Ok…maybe…But I still think it’s safer to wait until this is all over…”


Harry knew she was right in a way. They were her family. They were practically his family. He thought they would be happy for them, but at the same time he was still nervous. There were some parts of their situation that wouldn’t go over so well. First of all, there was no way it was ok that they were living under the same roof.

When it was strictly business between us it wasn’t an issue, but now, well… he seriously doubted they’d approve.

Truthfully, Harry knew they were old enough that her parents didn’t really have a say in the matter. The issue wasn’t so much if they would grant them permission, but whether they would they accept it. The last thing he wanted was for whatever was developing between them to lead to a giant Weasley row.

Shaking his head and picking up his coffee, Harry walked to the table and sank into the chair. He pushed his apprehensions about the visit to the Burrow away as he unfolded the paper. He took a drink of coffee as he glanced over the front page.

During slow news weeks the Daily Prophet was infamous for pulling out stories about the “Boy Who Lived” when they had nothing else to say. Much to his annoyance, the popularity of stories about him had refused to decrease with time.

The Real Thing? Or Harry Potter’s Latest Fling?

He snorted at the headline but frowned slightly as he looked at the picture. Apparently someone had snapped a picture of Ginny and him on one of their trips to Diagon Alley. They hadn’t gone since the banquet so the paper must have held onto it until they could come up with a story to go along with it.

He took another drink from his mug as he began to skim the story. He didn’t really like reading about himself. Sometimes he glanced at the articles, just for a laugh at what ridiculous information they’d chosen to make up about him. Since Ginny was surely involved with the story today, he wanted to know how.

He shook his head as he read the beginning of the article, not sure why the number of people he’d dated was relevant or important to anyone. He took another drink and continued on, a frown forming and deepening the farther he got.

Merlin, this makes me sound completely…

“Something interesting today?”

Harry’s head shot up. Ginny was leaning on the doorframe in her robe, one hand on her hip as she regarded him.

“Uh…no,” he replied lamely, folding the paper quickly to hide the article.

Ginny’s eyebrow arched.

Harry’s mind began to race to come up with a way to get rid of the paper before she could read it. He started to stand but she crossed the kitchen with surprising speed. He didn’t make it out of the chair before she arrived at his side. She plucked the paper out of his hand and plopped gracefully into his lap.

He reached around her, trying to grab the paper back but she leaned away as she held it out of his reach.

“Ah, ah, ah,” she scolded with a smile.

She smiled in triumph when he stopped fighting, allowing her to shift around and spread the paper out on the table in front of her. Harry groaned softly and rested his forehead in between her shoulder blades.

“Just remember they exaggerate,” he mumbled into her back. He could feel his face getting hot and he blanched when she began to read the article aloud.

“Merlin, Gin, if you have to read it, at least do it silently,” he pleaded as he pulled his head up and rested his chin on her shoulder instead. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her flush against him as she laughed but she didn’t stop reading.

“…Potter has been spotted several times over the last month in the company of Miss Ginevra Weasley,” she read, giving dramatic emphasis to her name, “…daughter of Ministry official Arthur Weasley. It’s no secret that the Chosen One has yet to be able to make a relationship last…”

Harry had untied the knot of Ginny’s robe by this point and he slipped a hand under the fabric.

If I can’t get her to stop, maybe I can at least distract her, he thought, turning his head and kissing her neck lightly as he ran his hand over her stomach and side.

Ginny tilted her head to give him better access but her voice didn’t falter as she continued to read aloud, her tone laced with amusement.

“Potter has had a string of girlfriends since defeating You Know Who. None have appeared serious and none have lasted more than a month or two…”

Harry shook his head into her neck, put off that the paper would keep a running tab on who he dated and that even after the dark wizard was gone, they still refused to just say Voldemort’s name…even in writing.

Ginny broke off for a second and twisted around to see him. “I didn’t realize you were such a ladies’ man, Potter,” she teased, kissing him lightly on the lips.

He grimaced slightly. “Yeah, neither did I,” he said as she turned back around and continued reading.

He continued moving his hand over her. He used the other to tug her robe down, trapping her arms and baring her shoulders to him.

“…Never having had a real family,” she read as he began kissing her skin, “one has to wonder if Potter’s trend of jumping from relationship to relationship is a sign of his youth, or a deeper problem with commitment and intimacy. Perhaps Potter doesn’t know how to make a relationship work, having never witnessed one…”

Harry’s mouth stilled on her shoulder as Ginny continued to read. Her tone had become laced with sarcasm and exaggerated rapture, as though she was reading about her favorite celebrity. Harry didn’t really think it was that funny.

“Are we finished yet?” he groaned. “I think we get the point…”

She shook her head. “No way,” she said as she laughed. She shifted quickly on his lap until she was facing him, one leg draped on either side of the chair. She folded the paper and continued reading as Harry groaned and slouched back in the chair. “Apparently they have quotes,” she announced with a grin as her eyes flashed at him. Harry straightened.

“Quotes? Who did they quote?” he asked, leaning forward and trying to bend the paper back so he could see.

“Several sources close to Potter were willing to share their thoughts,” she began reading again. “The prevailing opinion supported the idea that Potter is afraid of commitment. ‘Harry was wonderful at first’, Laurie Pingleton said, ‘but he backed off as soon as things began to get too physical’,” she read, quirking a brow at him.

“What!?” Harry exclaimed as Ginny continued to read, placing her fingers over his mouth to silence him.

“’He always was a bit strange’, Rachael Florington commented when asked about why her relationship with Potter had ended. ‘He backed off just when things were moving to the next level, if you know what I mean.’”

Ginny collapsed into a fit of giggles as Harry blubbered in front of her in outrage.

“It isn’t funny, Ginny! The whole world is going to read that!”

She forced her face into a serious expression.

“You’re right, Harry. This is…well, this isn’t going to do much for your social life is it,” she commiserated, patting his arm before collapsing into laughter again.

Harry made a grab for the paper but she shot away from him, holding it out of his reach.

“I’m not finished!” she gasped as he shot up from the chair after her.

“Oh yeah, you’re definitely finished,” he replied as she tried to dart away.

He caught her around the waist. She held the paper above her head, bending backwards to keep it away from him. She squealed when he picked her up, tumbled her onto the table and pinned her down. He reached across her as she passed the article from one hand to the other. He grabbed a corner of the paper as he held her in place, trying to pull it away from her.

Ginny twisted her head back with a gasp when the paper ripped soundly down the middle.

“You killed it!” she cried, her eyes dancing as she looked back up at him.

“Oops,” he murmured with a grin as his eyes dropped to her lips. He brought his mouth to hers, teasing her lips with his lightly. “Maybe I’ll let you read the next story about me,” he said before dropping his head to her neck and kissing her skin.

She sighed, arching underneath him as she titled her head back.

“Preferably one that doesn’t paint me as someone who goes through women like…”

Ginny placed her fingers to his lips, cutting off the rest of his thought. They stared at each other for a few seconds before she slid her hands up and tangled them into his hair. She watched his eyes shut as she brought his face down to hers and grazed his lips with hers. She felt him inhale deeply, his chest pressing down on hers as it expanded.

“I love you,” she murmured against his mouth. She felt his lips curl into a smile against hers and she smiled too before he deepened the kiss again.

All too soon, he pulled away.

“It’s really too bad we have to leave soon,” he sighed huskily, glancing up at the clock.

Ginny casually shifted beneath him, arching her neck to check the time behind her. With a yelp, she pushed him off and jumped off the table.

“Why didn’t you tell me?! Bollocks, we’re going to be late…”

Harry watched her rush from the kitchen to take a shower. He picked up the pieces of the paper, crumpled it up and dropped it into the dustbin as he headed back to his room.

~..~..~..~..~..~

Harry and Ginny arrived in the gardens behind the Burrow with a small pop.

“I hate side apparition,” Ginny mumbled, pulling out of his arms.

Harry rolled his eyes. “We’ve been over this, Gin…if I were to go first…”

“Yes I know,” she said, waving her hand dismissively at him. “I’d be left alone…and I can’t go first because I would arrive alone,” she finished sarcastically for him. “Can’t go first, can’t go last…can’t be left alone like the child I am,” she grumbled as she straightened her sundress and ran a hand through her hair.

Harry caught her hand and pulled her closer to him. “Don’t…You know it’s just for safety. A lot could happen in those few seconds. It’s not…”

Ginny sighed, bringing her hands up to rest upon his chest.

“I know,” she said, meeting his gaze as she smoothed his buttons. “I’m sorry,” she apologized as she shook her head. “It just occurred to me while I was getting ready that you didn’t come with me as Harry. You’re here as my bodyguard,” she added with a shrug. “Everyone knows why you’re with me…”

Harry sighed, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. He trailed his fingers down her neck and nodded. “Next time I’ll come as just Harry.” He bent down quickly, giving her a soft kiss. “I promise.”

Ginny rose on her toes, following him as he moved away. She caught his lips in another kiss before pulling back. “Ready?” she asked, turning toward her house.

Harry paused, suddenly remembering why they were here. He swallowed, shifting on his feet as his hands began to feel clammy. He didn’t remember feeling nervous about going to the Burrow since he was about eleven.

“Yeah, ready as I’ll ever be,” he said finally. He shoved his hands into his pockets and let her lead the way to the familiar house.

They headed toward the side of the house where they could hear laughter and loud voices.

“Ginny! Harry!” Ron called when they rounded the corner.

Bill and Hermione were sitting at a long table that was set up in the yard while Ron and the twins were playing a game on their broomsticks.

There was also a little girl with long blond hair and freckles sitting in the grass as she watched them. Her arms were clasped around her knees as her head moved back and forth following the brooms above her.

Ron was too busy waving at them to pay attention to his brothers and Harry grimaced when a well aimed Quaffle knocked him handily off of his broom.

Hermione let out an irritated shout about being more careful as she went to check on him. Ginny just laughed and waved back, yelling an appreciative comment to Fred for his hit. She received a salute in response before he flew back into the mix.

Bill rose from the table as they walked up. His gaze focused on her closely, as though confirming that she was ok before he seemed to relax and break into a smile.

Smiling back, Ginny ran the last couple of steps to meet him.

“Bill!” she squealed as she launched herself at him.

He caught her with a laugh, holding her up as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“How’s my girl?” he greeted her fondly, pulling her close before setting her back down.

Glancing over her shoulder, his eyes met Harry’s. Straightening, Bill pulled Ginny behind him as he stepped forward.

“Harry,” he nodded as they shook hands.

The stiffness of Bill’s greeting was not lost on Harry. He hadn’t seen Bill for several years but the eldest Weasley was usually warm and welcoming like the rest of his family. Today his eyes were guarded as they assessed him closely.

Does he know we’re together already? he thought nervously as Bill asked him how things were going.

Ginny headed to the house to find her mother. As she approached the back door, it opened to reveal a tall blonde woman levitating a trey of drinks in front of her. She was uncommonly beautiful, her hair long and silky as it flowed behind her. Her face lit up when she saw Ginny in front of her.

“Ginny!” she exclaimed. With a flick of her wand the drinks sailed to the table, landing lightly in the center. Fleur enveloped Ginny in a warm hug. “Ça faisait longtemps, comment vas-tu?”

“Je vais bien,” Ginny replied, slipping easily into French. “Et toi?”

“Oh, enceinte jusqu'aux yeux,” Fleur laughed, gesturing to her bulging stomach as she pulled back. Her expression brightened further when she noticed Harry walking up behind Ginny.

“‘Arry!” she gushed as she wrapped him into a hug. “You remember my sister, Gabrielle, oui?” she added, stepping to the side to reveal a younger version of herself coming out of the house.

Gabrielle came forward, giving Ginny a quick hug as they exchanged greetings. They’d gone to school together, but Gabrielle was five years younger so they hadn’t known each other well.

Stepping back, Ginny watched Gabrielle turn and give Harry a hug as well. Her eyes were bright with poorly disguised interest as she smiled up at him. Ginny’s brow furrowed when Gabrielle made a comment about saving, to which Harry shook his head with a chuckle as his cheeks flushed.

What does that mean? Ginny thought as she watched. When did Harry save her?

Her gaze flicked down to where Gabrielle’s hands lingered a bit too long on his sides. A strange and unexpected twinge of annoyance sparked to life inside of her at Gabrielle’s obvious interest.

Her mood lightened a second later as she watched Harry casually move himself out of Gabrielle’s grasp and over to Ginny’s side.

“Want to find your parents, Gin?” he asked, looking down at her.

She nodded and led the way to the back door.

They found Ginny’s parents in the kitchen as Molly bustled around putting finishing touches on the meal.

Looking up, she faltered when she saw them, spilling a bowl of gravy as they walked through the back door.

Harry flicked his wand automatically, redirecting the liquid back into the bowl before it hit the ground.

Fussing over her clumsiness, she came forward and pulled Ginny into a tight hug, asking her how she was doing. Arthur shook Harry’s hand before Molly pulled him away and enveloped him in a hug of his own. Ginny smiled at him over her mother’s shoulder and after a few minutes Molly shooed them back outside to the table.

Ginny headed to the table while Harry walked over to Ron and the twins.

When Harry got back to the table, he found Ginny and Hermione sitting across from each other as they talked. Sitting down next to Ginny on the bench, he glanced over, watching her fold her napkin in her lap as she laughed.

She continued to chuckle as she turned toward him, her eyes dancing as she met his gaze. He started to ask what they’d been talking about but his attention was pulled away when someone placed their hand on his shoulder.

He turned his head to find Gabrielle using him as a balance as she stepped over the bench. Her hand trailed lightly down his arm, her nails grazing his skin as she sank down next to him.

“Hi, Harry,” she smiled at him. “I hope you don’t mind if I sit next to you.”

“It’s fine,” he shrugged before turning back to Ginny.

He saw the coolness overtake the warmth in her face as she eyed Gabrielle. When she met his gaze, her eyebrow rose.

Harry could tell she was trying to figure out whether to be amused or annoyed by Gabrielle’s attention. He didn’t want her to decide upon annoyance, so he leaned in to whisper in her ear. Knowing the table wasn’t completely full yet he slipped his hand to her thigh, squeezing gently as he said, “Did I tell you how amazing you look today?”

When he straightened he found Hermione smirking smugly at him from across the table. He gave her an innocent smile but she just raised her eyebrow and he dropped his gaze promptly to the table, his cheeks burning.

Why does she always seem to know what’s going on?

Thankfully, Ron dropped down next to Hermione a moment later, distracting them all with a recount of the Quidditch game. The rest of the table was soon filled with Weasleys and conversation as the meal began.

Harry reached across the table, piling more potatoes onto his plate. When he sat back down he shifted slightly to his left away from Gabrielle. His thigh brushed Ginny’s as he began to eat. Slipping his foot out of his sandal, he felt Ginny jump a bit in surprise as he wrapped his ankle around hers. He felt her glance and turned his head meeting her gaze. He gave her a smile before going back to his food.

Danielle, Fleur and Bill’s daughter, insisted on sitting across from Aunt Ginny and “Harry Potter,” during lunch. Whenever she said “Harry Potter”, she did so in a hushed whisper before breaking into giggles. Harry could see the Veela side of her coming out as she smiled and easily charmed the entire table.

Unfortunately, not all of the Veelas at the table were as charming. Despite his lack of interest, Gabrielle kept shifting closer and closer as she spoke to him, almost exclusively.

Gabrielle’s subtle flirtations became more and more obvious when Harry responded only with polite indifference and made no attempt to flirt back. Apparently she wasn’t used to blokes not falling all over themselves around her and doubled her efforts to attract his attention.

Although most of the table remained oblivious to what was happening on Harry’s right, he could feel the tension mounting on his left. Ginny had obviously noticed.

The way Gabrielle batted her lashes at him and spoke in a coy, soft voice made Ginny want to vomit. An image of her ripping Gabrielle away from Harry and hexing her soundly flew into her mind and Ginny blinked in surprise before giving herself a shake. Jealousy was certainly not something she was used to. Then again, she wasn’t used to a half-Veela fawning all over her boyfriend either. Gabrielle was young and beautiful and more than willing. The fact that she had no idea he was taken certainly didn’t seem relevant at the moment.

Things came to a head as dessert was passed around.

“Perhaps later, Harry,” Gabrielle murmured in a seductive tone as she leaned in, “you could give me a ride on your…broomstick.”

Harry froze in shock as her hand slipped to his thigh. Swinging his head around, he gaped at her as she batted her eyelashes innocently at him.

Is she crazy? he thought wildly as his eyes shot around the table. We’re at a picnic at the Burrow.

Everyone seemed to be engaged in their own conversations and unaware of Gabrielle’s actions, everyone except Ginny, whose fork hit her plate with a clang when she heard the other girl’s suggestion.

She choked on the bite of food she was eating and Harry spun around to find her eyes livid and her face red as she coughed. He patted her on the back but she smacked his hands away as she shot him a furious look.

“Are you alright, dear?” Molly asked with concern from across the table.

Ginny nodded, her eyes watering slightly. She coughed again before pulling herself up from the bench.

“I’m going to go inside for a second,” she announced as she climbed over the bench, pointedly not looking at Harry as he watched her leave.

He stood up as she disappeared through the back door.

“Where are you going?” Gabrielle asked, laying her hand on his arm.

Harry didn’t answer; he just pulled away and headed inside after Ginny. No one else questioned it when he left. They knew why he was here with her and knew he wouldn’t let her wander anywhere alone.

He found her standing in the kitchen at the sink. She had her arms folded as she leaned back against the counter, waiting for him.

“Well, if you were looking for you next fling, I think you’ve found it,” she said sarcastically as he approached. “Presumptuous cow,” she added under her breath.

“Having a good time today?” he asked, ignoring her question as he came to a stop in front of her.

“Fantastic,” she said with a sickly sweet smile. “You?”

Harry smiled at her and took a step closer. “Brilliant.”

“Yes, I’m sure giving Gabrielle a ride on your broomstick is very brilliant,” she drawled irritably.

Harry laughed and reached out, running a hand through her hair.

“Why, Ginevra, are you jealous?” he joked softly. He ran his thumb over her bottom lip as his eyes sparkled at her. “Because you shouldn’t be,” he murmured. His eyes darkened and dropped to her lips.

“Of course I’m not,” she lied with a flick of her hair. She tried to come off as indifferent but she knew he didn’t buy it. “How would you like it if someone was fawning all over me all day?”

“Ginny,” he said softly as he leaned his body into her, bringing his mouth to her ear. “Exactly what part of ‘I love you’ do you not understand,” he murmured, his breath tickling her skin and his words sending a spark of heat through her. Her eyes fluttered shut as she breathed him in. An intense and familiar feeling of warmth shot through her as he pressed her into the kitchen counter.

“Hmm?” he breathed when she didn’t respond. Her cheeks flushed with want as she mumbled an incoherent response. His hands slid up and down her waist as he pressed their bodies together.

She responded almost dazedly when he began to kiss her. Her mind kept repeating his words, I love you as her mouth opened for him instinctively. She couldn’t shake the familiar feeling that was growing stronger with each kiss. She felt like she’d done this before. They kissed gently for a few moments before Harry began to pull back.

“We should go back outside,” he whispered huskily.

Ginny’s body protested immediately as he began to pull away. Grabbing his arms she spun him quickly so that he was against the counter. She glanced out the window behind him and then took a step closer, invading his space.

“Ginny, what…”

She placed her finger on his lips, silencing him as she ran her hand up his chest. She licked her lips quickly as she ran her eyes over him.

“I’m not ready to go out yet,” she murmured. She wanted to figure out the feelings inside of her; she wanted to know what made it so familiar.

Harry’s eyes flew to the kitchen doorway.

“Your family,” he began, but she pressed her finger to his lips to silence him as her other hand moved back to his stomach. She moved her mouth to his ear and wrapped her fingers around his belt, pulling him against her.

“Want you,” she murmured against his skin and he bit back a groan.

“This is not a…a good idea…your family is right out…brothers…”

He trailed off with a shiver as she bit his skin gently and then laid a line of kisses across his jaw. When she reached his mouth, he responded immediately, giving over to the moment and the delicious sensations of her touch. He took control of the kiss and turned them, pressing her body into the counter with his own.

What are we doing? Harry thought vaguely before all coherent thought flew from his brain.

This was crazy, but Harry couldn’t help himself. She felt too amazing, she tasted too good. Their location faded away and it just became them again as they lost themselves in each other.

Ginny moaned softly into his mouth before she kissed down his neck. Her fingers made quick work of the top few buttons of his shirt and Harry bit back a groan as her lips moved over the newly exposed skin.

Harry’s hand tangled into her hair, tugging gently.

She raised her head and he caught her lips in another searing kiss as he molded their bodies together. He pressed a knee between her legs, unable to get enough of her as she linked her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. His free hand grabbed the back of her leg, pulling it up so he could settle more fully against her.

“Gin…” he panted as his hand found its way under her skirt to her thigh. “This is…”

“Don’t stop,” she gasped. “Please…”

With a groan Harry moved to her neck, kissing and nipping until he found her pulse-point. Her heart was pounding as he cupped her neck, titling her head farther back as he feasted on her.

Neither one registered the sound of the screen door opening across the room. They were too caught up in each other to notice the twins stop in the doorway, their mouths falling open before shifting into identical smirks.

“Shall we, George?”

“By all means, Fred.”

Ginny was on fire. She loved him so much…wanted him so much she could barely stand it. She pulled his head back up quickly, capturing his mouth with hers as she pressed against him.

You’re my home. You know that, right? This is home…

Ginny gasped as she heard his voice in her head. Squeezing her eyes shut in pain, an image of them kissing in the kitchen of the Burrow erupted into her mind. Ginny’s head was suddenly pounding and she whimpered into Harry’s mouth. She was about to pull back, to tell him to stop but she didn’t get a chance.

A catcall and an accompanying whistle sounded from the doorway, bringing them to a screeching halt.

Harry and Ginny froze for a second before Harry ripped his mouth away from her and his head swung toward the door. In the split second before he moved he said a silent prayer that it would at least not be the entire family in the doorway. That prayer went unanswered.

Fred and George were smirking at him from a few steps inside the door. Ron and Fleur looked stunned. Gabrielle looked a bit like her favorite toy had just been stolen while Hermione was beaming at them.

Harry felt his face flush as his eyes moved to Bill, Molly and Arthur. Their faces were filled with identical looks of shock. He watched as they all seemed to pale at the same time. His heart dropped as he took an automatic step back. He looked down at Ginny. Her eyes were shut tightly, her hand on her temple.

“I guess we’re telling them,” he breathed.

She forced a weak smile and her eyes fluttered open.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, frowning at the pain in her eyes. He laid a soothing hand gently to her head.

“What is going on here?” Arthur asked tightly, pushing past his family as they moved into the room.

Fred and George reached Harry’s side first and pulled him away from Ginny. He let himself be moved, but kept his questioning eyes locked with hers until she broke his gaze. Her eyes flicked to her father as he approached her.

As the twins clapped him on the shoulders and goaded him, Harry shot a glance at Molly and Arthur. Their expressions were guarded, but their displeasure was obvious.

Hermione followed his gaze. She gasped at their disapproving reaction and then came forward in support, beaming at them. She threw her arms around Harry.

“I knew you would work it out,” she whispered in his ear before kissing him on the cheek.

He gave her a small grin before his eyes went to Bill’s face and he sobered.

“Um, right. Well, so…I guess it’s a bit obvious now but…Ginny and I…” his voice faded, confused as Molly’s face paled further.

“I know you’re all very happy for us, right?” Ginny picked up for him in a tone that dared anyone to disagree. She crossed to him and slipped her hand into his, squeezing it gently.

The twins, Ron, Hermione and Fleur couldn’t have been happier for them, but her parents and Bill’s reactions confused her. Her mother seemed to be struggling to speak as she stared at them before she shot a glance at her father. His face seemed void of any emotion at all as he stared at the couple’s clasped hands.

The cacophony of sound that filled the kitchen as everyone else began asking questions and congratulating them was interrupted by Charlie’s voice calling from the den.

“MUM? DAD? ANYBODY THERE?”

Everyone trooped into the other room to say hello to him through the floo. As usual he’d been unable to come to the picnic. Several years before, he’d married a witch who traveled with him, sharing his thirst for adventure and exotic places. This had made the situation a bit more bearable for Molly, although she still often complained they didn’t see him as often as they should.

He had promised to floo at some point throughout the day and Harry couldn’t help feeling relieved that he’d chosen this moment to do so.

Ginny began to follow her family but Harry held her back. His thumb rolled over her knuckles and his free hand found her waist when she turned back to him. He glanced over her head as she rested her forehead against his chest, waiting until everyone was in the other room before he spoke.

“That went…”

“…not as well as we would have hoped?” she finished into his shirt.

He chuckled with a nod before tilting her chin up with his finger so that she was looking at him. His chest tightened in frustration as he saw the effects of another headache still swimming in her eyes. “What happened? What caused the headache this time?”

“Ginny, Harry, are you coming in to say hello?” Hermione asked as she walked back into the room. Ginny turned to look at her while Harry gritted his teeth at the interruption. He sighed, realizing that he would have to wait until they got home to be able to sit down and talk to her about it.

“Yeah, we’re coming,” he said, leading Ginny out of the kitchen.

Ginny continued to feel unsteady, her headache refusing to dissipate completely as she spoke to her brother and eventually headed to the sofa. She was rubbing her temple and ran into Fred on the way across the room.

He caught her as she stumbled back, mumbling an apology.

“Hey, you ok?” he asked. He cocked his head to the side and studied her face.

“Headache,” she grimaced, meeting his gaze as she sank down onto the sofa.

Fred leaned over her with a smirk. “Harry getting to you already then?” he asked and she laughed. He ruffled her hair as he rose up, causing her to slap his hand away. He winked at her before his eyes went behind her and he grinned widely and turned away.

“Hey,” Harry said softly, leaning over the back of the sofa. Ginny tilted her head back against the cushions so she could see him. He watched Fred leave as he combed his fingers through her hair. “Do you want to stay in here, or go outside?”

Ginny shut her eyes with a sigh. “Here…but you go,” she murmured. “I’ll be fine in here…”

Harry nodded after a second. “Stay with your mum…don’t wander off, ok?”

She nodded and he leaned down. He hesitated for a second, feeling several pairs of eyes trained on them from across the room. Ginny’s brow arched when he paused. He shook his head with a smirk and closed the distance between them, kissing her softly before standing up.

Ginny watched him leave with Ron before stretching out on the sofa and tucking her arm under her head.

Several minutes later Molly draped a blanket over her daughter’s now sleeping form. She watched the gentle rise and fall of her chest for a few seconds before glancing across the room to where Bill and Arthur were still arguing quietly. She sighed, trying to convince herself not to worry as she headed back into the kitchen to finish tidying up.

Fred headed toward the kitchen to find some left-overs a few minutes later. He paused on his way past the sofa where Ginny slept. He glanced around at his family, watching George playing a loud game of exploding snap with Danielle while Hermione and Fleur laughed on the other side of the room. Bill and his father were huddled in a corner, talking heatedly. He looked down as Ginny shifted, her brow furrowed and her lips turned down in a slight frown.

He leaned down and scooped her into his arms. Settling her against him he carried her up to her room so they wouldn’t wake her. He knew that the Burrow was secure and that she would be fine as long as she was in the house. With one last glance at her, he turned out the lights and shut the door quietly behind him, leaving her asleep on her bed.

Ginny slept quietly for about fifteen minutes as the room continued to dim. Thunder clouds began to roll closer, making the horizon darken faster than normal as the sun sank.

Breaking the silence, Malfoy appeared in the bedroom with a small pop. His eyes roved her bodily hungrily before he sank down on the bed. Combing his fingers gently through her hair, a sneer curled his lips.

"I'm going to enjoy this, Ginny," he whispered, sealing the room with a flick of his wand.

~..~..~..~..~..~



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