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knew that at that moment they understood each other perfectly, and that when he
told her what he was going to do now, she would not say, ‘Be careful,’ or ‘Don’t
do it,’ but accept his decision…” ~ pg. 646, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
“Er…really, it was nothing…she wasn’t in any
serious danger…really, she wasn’t…okay, now…must be going…”
panicked smile and no small degree of difficulty, Harry Potter extricated
himself from the loving arms of Tante Nanette and hurried across the Weasleys’
garden. His rescue of little Gabrielle from the Hogwarts lake seemed to have
become part of Delacour family lore, and even though the festivities were
winding down here at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, effusive French relations still
seemed to accost him at every turn. He would have been almost willing to brave
Tante Nanette and her kind if it meant he could stare at a certain bridesmaid,
but she was nowhere to be seen. So were Ron and Hermione, for that matter, but
Harry was not about to try and discover their whereabouts.
eyes on the far-off door of the Burrow, Harry sped past a Fleur-draped Bill, who
was picking out Egyptian love songs on a borrowed guitar; past Mrs. Weasley and
Madame Delacour, who were trading recipes amicably over a confetti-strewn table;
and past Mr. Weasley, who was displaying his molars to Hermione’s parents.
Ducking the airborne forks and punch glasses in the kitchen (their mum had
relegated the twins to dish duty upon overhearing plans to use a Knicker Knot
Curse on Great-Auntie Muriel), he paused at the entrance of the living room,
which was piled high with gifts. Perfect.
Harry tiptoed around a
garishly wrapped box that emitted a few worrisome bangs and squeaks, easing
himself into the room. Tomorrow, everything was going to change, and he only
wanted a moment to remember the Burrow as he’d always known it, not as some
madhouse of kissing, crying French people. He’d just climbed over an enormous
stack of monogrammed towels when the sight of someone curled up on a sofa, fast
asleep, caused his eyes to widen and his breath to catch in his throat.
The room was dim, but her pale gold robes gleamed
against the faded paisley of the cushions. She was barefoot, her toes (painted a
Gryffindor crimson) peeping out from under the hem. Her hair had been up in some
sort of fancy, twisty thing, but after several dances with her brothers, most of
it had fallen down. Despite his madly thumping heart, Harry drew a step closer.
Her freckles seemed darker than usual. They stood out sharply against the pink
that dusted her cheeks and nose – the results of an afternoon spent outside, no
doubt. Harry hesitated for a moment, and then sat down on the floor, draping his
arms over his knees.
Ginny had given him a hug when he’d arrived last
night, and they’d shared a grin during the ceremony when Fleur had made her
passionate declaration of undying love for Bill. They’d even danced twice under
the fairy lights in the garden, laughing together as though certain
conversations had never taken place, but this was the first time he'd been alone
with her since Hogwarts. With little success, he tried not to notice how her
dangly gold earrings fell across her neck.
up quickly at the sound of his name, colour rushing into his face. His mind had
just moved on to calculating whether the remaining space on the sofa would
accommodate him. But Ginny seemed pleased, and not upset, to see him there, and
so he scooted a little closer.
“Sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to
wake you. Long day?”
“Fleur woke me up at six to practice my posture,”
Ginny said as she snuggled further into the cushions, wrinkling her nose. “I
should have been nicer to her – I think she chose the most uncomfortable shoes
she could possibly find.” Harry followed her gaze over to the three-inch high
heels that were perched on top of a goblin-made plant stand.
nice,” he blurted out, and then immediately began to pick at a fraying spot on
the sofa. He expected Ginny to laugh, but she merely smiled at him sleepily.
“So, you’re off tomorrow, then?” she asked, after a pause.
“Make sure Mum doesn’t try to stall you by hiding your
wands – I wouldn’t put it past her.”
Remembering the vice-like,
oxygen-depriving embrace Mrs. Weasley had given all of them when they’d told her
of their plans, Harry could only agree. “We’re traveling with Charlie for the
first part, though,” he said. “I think that helped to win her over.”
“Yeah,” Harry nodded. Despite his utmost
efforts, he was finding it extremely difficult to take his eyes off her face.
“Do you know what Percy got them?” Ginny asked with a small giggle. She
waved a hand toward the gifts. “A thin-bottomed cauldron. He’s a little worried
about how the joke will go over.”
Harry’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“I think it’s brilliant,” he laughed, remembering her brother’s former quest.
“That’s what I told him. Hey, he’s trying.”
“I was surprised to
see him here.”
“We all were. I guess he just needed a few more
near-deaths in the family before he came around.”
Without being quite
certain of how it had happened, Harry realized then that Ginny was holding his
hand. Or he was holding hers. Either way, he was touching her, and a sudden rush
of memories came storming into his brain: a stolen moment on a hidden staircase,
the feel of his hands running through her hair, her breath brushing past his
“I’m sorry we won’t be there with you next year,” Harry said,
trying not to shiver as he felt her thumb move over his.
“You lot would
have been gone my seventh year, anyway,” she replied. An impish spark flared up
in her brown eyes. “Besides, Fred and George have charged me with upholding the
family name. I’ll have loads to do.”
Without releasing Harry’s hand,
Ginny propped herself up on her elbow. “I still can’t believe we’ve got another
girl in the family,” she went on. “Fleur.”
“Well, you won’t see
her that often while you’re at school,” Harry said, in an attempt to both be
helpful and to distract himself, “and it is pretty cool that she still
wants to be with Bill, after - after everything.”
Ginny regarded him
with amusement. “I guess some girls don’t mind scars, Harry,” she said softly.
And then, because she was pretty, and because the urge would no longer
be resisted, and because old habits die hard…Harry moved in and kissed her.
His first lucid thought was that he could still feel the warmth of the
summer sun on her lips. It caused him to linger even longer than he otherwise
would have dared, half-worrying she might scold him or at least demand an
explanation for his spectacular inconsistency. Still, he found he could live
with that, if it meant he got to do this again.
At the moment when he
began to fear that he was really pressing his luck, Harry pulled away and
stared at her, his nerves beginning to resemble the mountain of gift bows behind
him. He opened his mouth to mumble some sort of an apology, but Ginny silenced
him with two fingers, placed lightly on his lips.
“Shh, Harry…” she
murmured, before moving her hand to the side of his face, where she let it rest.
Unable to hide his relief, Harry closed his eyes and leaned into it.
“Ever wanted to learn the Bat-Bogey Hex?” Ginny asked later, after
they’d sat quietly for some time.
Harry broke into a grin, and then
slowly got to his feet. “Have you got a minute?”
“I do,” she replied,
taking his hand to stand up. Together, they climbed back over the monogrammed
towels. “And I’ll even promise not to aim it at Fleur.”
(A/N: Because Harry and Ginny haven’t really broken up,
you know. They’re just…on hold.
Many thanks to Alkari,
ivy, and The Morning Starr for their beta help!)