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Echoes from the Chamber by hubris

Format: Novel
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 115,424
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Romance, AU
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Lupin, Tonks, Molly, Fred, George, Ginny
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Arthur/Molly

First Published: 08/09/2008
Last Chapter: 02/01/2009
Last Updated: 02/01/2009

Summary:
Harry has just returned to Privet Drive following the disaster in the Department of Mysteries. He is prepared to hide and grieve  away the entire summer but things don't go as planned... Not even close. He meets his parents, forms a Bond, and gets the girl. That's when life gets really odd.


Chapter 1: Having a Bad Day
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A/N : Cliche? Yes. Oft used story line? Right again. I was looking for a distraction while sitting in hospital and Dr.'s waiting rooms. Harry and Ginny offered me this story to cheer me up. Writing it is therapy.    

Harry sat on the side of his small, lumpy bed. His head hung between his shoulders...his elbows on his knees. He stared down at nothing; just waiting. 

Professor Lupin and Tonks were supposed to be here soon to pick him up. They were taking him to the Burrow where he, along with Ron , Hermione, and maybe Ginny would Floo to Hogsmeade. The others were to see Madam Pomfrey to check on their injuries (All of them his fault), while Harry was supposed to see Professor Dumbledore.

'Great. Just the person I want to see now. I just trashed his office and I can hardly believe anything he tells me anymore.I'm not sure we can stay in the same room together. Why couldn't everybody just leave me alone?'

Harry unconsciously ran his fingers through his hair.It was still damp from the shower he had taken a few minutes ago. His first since coming to Privet Drive eight days ago. He felt his stomach rumble.'When had he eaten?' He couldn't remember and didn't really care. His mind seemed to work only in slow motion, his visions all in gray.

"Boy! Get down here!"

Harry started at his uncle's shout. He slowly rose and made his way down the stairs. When he reached the bottom he saw his Uncle Vernon, his face red on the way to purple, standing in the door. Beyond him, Harry could see what must be Professor Lupin's head and what was undoubtedly Tonk's head....in was covered in bubblegum pink hair.

"Get out of here boy and take this unnaturalness with you. I won't have the neighbors seeing this...this...." Vernon was at a loss for words.

In another circumstance, Harry would probably have smiled. Instead, he nodded his head and squeezed past his uncle and through the doorway.

"Wotcher, Harry!"

Harry looked at the young Auror and forced a smile,"Hey, Tonks."

Professor Lupin shook Harry's hand,"Hello Harry." Not waiting for a response, Lupin headed for the auto sitting at the kerb.

Had Harry not been so self absorbed, he might have noticed the looks of concern that passed between the couple as they walked. To anyone who knew him, it was obvious that an already slender Harry had lost quite a bit of weight. His cheeks were sunken amd his skin was grayish. Above his cheeks were dull, green eyes rimmed by what almost appeared to be deep, purple bruises. The result of far too little sleep. 

Harry did notice that the auto was an Audi. The interlocking rings matched those on his Uncle Vernon's new car. This car was several years older though, smaller, and showed evidence of hard use. 

Harry climbed into the back seat as  Professor Lupin got into the driver's seat and started the engine. Just as he seemed ready to pull away, Tonks slid into the front passenger seat and buckled herself in."All clear."

Professor Lupin nodded,"That's the first one anyway."

Both of the adults tried to get Harry to talk, but he answered only in monosyllables. After a while they all sat quietly as the charmed Audi moved easily through and around traffic. Out in the countryside the scenery flashed by as they sped faster and faster.

In the near distance a crooked house rose from the landscape. For once, Harry felt no sense of anticipation as he neared the Burrow. Actually, it was something more like dread. More people trying to get him to talk...to open up. He clinched his jaws tighter.

A short distance from the house, Professor Lupin pulled over and stopped the car before turning to Harry.

He held out a small package,"Harry, I found this in Sirius' room."

Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he accepted the offering. He looked at the attached card:'To Harry, Another school year is behind you. Welcome home. Please wear this stag charm at all times. James and Lily left these for you, and they placed several special charms and spells on them. You will figure out what to do with the other one when the time comes. Sirius'Harry pulled the paper off of the package and found a small, rectangular box. Inside he found a gold chain with a gold and silver stag charm. Under this was a finer, silver necklace with a doe charm attached. He held the two necklaces up to see them more clearly. Without warning tears streamed down his cheeks as the significance of the charms hit him.

Professor Lupin broke the silence,"Harry, Sirius left those on his desk. There was a note from Lily directing him to give these to you when Sirius thought you were ready. I'm not sure what that meant, but Sirius apparently did."

Harry gently, almost reverently slipped the chain over his head. The stag fell below his collar so that it was invisible to anyone else. He placed the doe necklace back in the box and slipped the box into his pocket.

Harry wiped his cheeks with his sleeve and nodded to his parents' last surviving friend (Wormtail had obviously abdicated that honor long ago.).

No one spoke again while they rode the short distance to the Burrow.

As they got out of the car in front of the house, another car pulled up behind them and stopped. Kingsley Shacklebolt and Hestia Jones climbed out and spoke to Harry and the others. 

He greeted  the two of them and turned to the house. As he did, the door opened and Hermione rushed out followed by Ron, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley.

"Harry, we've been so worried about you," Hermione almost shouted as she threw her arms around him."You haven't answered a single one of our Owls."

Harry pulled out of the embrace and stared down at his trainers,"I've been sort of busy. I..I just haven't got to it." In fact he had not opened any of the Owls. There were several sitting on his desk at Privet Drive.

As the others stepped up to greet him, he missed the nonverbal signals passed between Remus and Mrs. Weasley. So, instead of a lecture on not eating and not sleeping, all he got was a hug, bone crushing, and a 'Welcome' kiss on the cheek.

They all went into the sitting room to begin Flooing to Hogsmeade. Remus and Tonks went  first, followed by Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Harry, then Hestia and Kingsley. They stepped out, or in Harry's case stumbled out, into the back room of the Three Broomsticks. From there they walked together to Hogwarts. The four adults were spread out around the students....keeping watch.

Inside the Entrance Hall they split up. Ron, Hermione and Ginny started toward the Hospital wing to have their injuries from the Department of Mysteries checked by Madam Pomfrey. Harry was going to the Headmaster's office and the adults were going to wait near the doors in the Entrance Hall.

*   *   *

Harry sat staring at the front of Dumbledore's desk. It seemed most of the damage he had inflicted on the office had been repaired.The same could not be said for his relationship with the Headmaster. Anger and betrayal still coursed hotly through his veins. He had answered all of the questions with as few words as possible. Now they were both sitting quietly.

Dumbledore let out an audible sigh,"Harry, hopefully by the end of the break you will allow me to help you with what lies ahead."

Harry nodded noncommittally.

"I think you should be able to leave your aunt and uncle's house on your birthday. Molly has invited you to stay at the Burrow for the remainder of the holiday if you would like."

A brief flutter of happiness flashed through Harry's head. Any time away from the hell of Privet Drive was nearly cause for celebration.

"I think your friends should be ready to leave. Why don't you go find them at the Hospital wing? I believe Professor Lupin is planning for you all to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks before you return home."

As he made his way to the other side of the castle, Harry became aware of how quiet it was. Even on his ramblings at odd hours during school, there was always the background noise of people and activity. Now there was only the sound of his own footsteps.

Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were waiting for him. The four went back to the Entrance Hall where their escorts were standing, talking among themselves.

The walk to the Three Broomsticks passed quickly. They found two tables near the back and settled in. Despite the best efforts of Tonks, Hermione and even Ginny, Harry refused to join in the conversation. He was vaguely aware  of something about Fudge and a little friendly argument about Quidditch.

Finally, the meal was over and it was time to Floo back to the Burrow. They queued up and began. Hestia went first this time, followed by Hermione, then Ron. Tonks, Professor Lupin and Kingsley had formed a protective line behind them....watching the room. 

Just as Ginny was about the toss some powder into the fireplace, Kingsley shouted, "There!"

At almost the same instant a curse or spell hit the fireplace and shattered it. Harry felt something slam into his head then he was on his knees.

"Harry, you and Ginny get out of here. Try to get back to Hogwarts." The former professor had taken up a position almost on top of Harry.

Harry felt someone grab his arm and begin pulling him from the floor. When he looked up he found Ginny's face inches from his. She led him through a door just to the right of the fireplace. It seemed to be some type of pantry. On the other side of the room was another door with an iron bar across it supported by two iron brackets.

Harry pulled the bar away and reached for the latch. As he did, the wood above the latch exploded. His hand and arm were pierced by several splinters. Behind him he could hear Ginny casting spells as fast as she could.

Harry turned the latch and pushed Ginny through the opening. Following right behind her, he found they were in a narrow alley. To the right of the door were several rubbish bins. To the left was a short passageway along the side of the next door market. Before either of them could move, several beams of light flashed past them. 

Ginny tripped over something as she tried to dodge the spells flying around them. She reached for Harry to catch her balance. As he clasped her hand he thought, 'We need to get some place safe.' 

In an instant they disappeared.

*   *   *

When everything stopped spinning, Harry looked around. Ginny was beside him seemingly as confused as he was. They were standing in a lane lined by modest cottages, most needing some repair. In the distance, two hundred metres or so, looked to be a village or small town.

"Harry,where are we, and how did we get here?"

"Ginny I don't know.....either question."

"What do you think we should do?"

Harry had been wondering the same thing himself. "Let's head toward the village and see if we can figure out where we are."

He saw her nod, so he began walking. To their left was a wreck of a house. It looked neglected and even damaged by an explosion of some sort. Harry turned away and continued walking.

"Harry."

He stopped and looked behind him. Ginny hadn't moved. "What's wrong Ginny?"

"I think you need to see this."

Harry walked back and  tried to see what had caught her attention. At the base of the crumbling stone wall was a short plank of wood. At one time it had been painted white. Now it was a dirty gray. As he looked more closely, Harry could make out lettering. In simple, block letters was spelled out P-O-T-T-E-R. He looked from the small board to the ruined cottage then back again.'It couldn't be...really it couldn't....'

Without even thinking he squeezed through the broken gate and walked toward the stoop. The latch in the door gave easily and the door pushed open on silent hinges.

Harry stepped into a neat, well cared for entrance hall. Its every appearance gave lie to what he had seen from the lane. He stood there for for a few moments more, taking it all in.  Finally, he released the breath he had been holding since he first saw the sign.

He was home.

Ginny stepped up next to him."Is this really...?"

Harry nodded as he tried to figure out the emotions surging through his brain.

"Should I wait outside? I understand if you want to be alone."

He considered the offer then shook his head,"No, please stay. I...I don't think...maybe it would be better if you stayed with me."

Ginny gave him a small smile and pushed the door closed behind them. When she turned back, she gently took his hand in hers."Anytime you want me to leave, just say so. It won't hurt my feelings, alright?"

Harry nodded and turned to enter what looked to be the sitting room. Before he had taken three steps there was the sound of raised voices outside.

Ginny released his hand and peeked through the sidelight. When she looked back her face was drawn,"Death Eaters."

Harry quickly looked around for a place to hide. Thousands of years of survival instincts kicked in.....land mammals generally took to the high ground. He grabbed Ginny's hand and began running up the stairs. At the top they crossed the landing into the first room and closed the door behind them.

Harry pressed his ear against the wood... listening. In a few minutes there was the sound of groaning hinges and wood scraping against wood.

"I tell you, I don't think they're in here."

"And I say, if we don't look the Dark Lord will feed us to Nagini."

"Well alright. Look at all of the dust. If anyone had been here their tracks would be plain as day."

Harry could hear the sound of footsteps moving around.

"I guess you're right. No one has been here probably since...."

"Don't say that. Don't ever say that. He will roast us both if we even think about that."

"Let's go look in some of the other houses.' The voices faded as the protesting hinges sounded once again.

Harry looked down at Ginny. He was sure his eyes were as big and his face as pale as hers.

He cracked the door open and looked around. Everything seemed the same as when they had entered. He saw no sign of dust anywhere. He crept towards the stairs and looked down at the entrance hall. The door was closed and the floor dust and track free.

"It looks like they're gone." He spoke just loud enough for Ginny to hear him as she had stayed in the room.

"What were they talking about all of the dust and why did the door creak like that?"

They both knew it was magic, of course. But who's spells? Why?

Harry came back into the room and closed the door."Let's wait here for a while. Maybe until it's dark or something."

Ginny nodded and slid down the wall, settling in to wait. Harry joined her. Without thinking about it, they joined hands and leaned their shoulders against one another.

After a few minutes, Ginny reached for Harry's injured hand and began, as gently as possble, removing the splinters that had pierced his hand and arm at the Three Broomsticks.

To his credit Harry flinched very little throughout the process and sucked his breath through his teeth a few times as the only signs that he was in pain. After she had finished the splinters, Ginny crossed over to the loo and brought back a damp cloth to clean a large cut over Harry's right ear.

When Ginny had finished, Harry returned the favor by cleaning several small cuts on Ginny's face and head.

After this short flurry of activity, the two of them settled down again to wait and listen..


*   *   *

Molly Weasley was working in the kitchen when she heard the Floo activate. Within the next few moments, she heard two more arrivals. She continued working until she realized no one else had come through. She hurried out to the sitting room where she found Hestia Jones, Ron, and Hermione staring into the fireplace.

"Where are the others?"

Hermione looked over,"They were right behind us. Ginny and Harry were coming next while Professor Lupin, Tonks and Kingsley watched their backs."

After waiting a few minutes more, Hestia tossed some Floo powder into the fire and called 'Three Broomsticks.' They all waited, but the connection was never made. Outside there was an Apparation pop just before someone entered through the back door. All four in the sitting room drew their wands and pointed them at the kitchen door.

Dora Tonks came bursting into the sitting room,"Have you seen Harry and Ginny!?"

"What happened? Why didn't they come through the Floo?" Molly's volume was creeping steadily higher.

Dora took a calming breath,"We were attacked just as Ginny was getting ready to leave. The fireplace blew up so that way was out. Remus covered Harry and Ginny so they could escape. He told them to get back to Hogwarts, but they haven't turned up. We've been searching Hogsmeade and so far no luck, so I thought I would check here."

Her voice rising with each word, Molly turned on the young Auror,"Well why aren't you doing something? They obviously aren't here and you lot seemed to have lost them."

Tonks' hair color began changing every few seconds. In other circumstances it might have been funny. Here it was plainly an indication of how upset the young witch truly was. "I'm to stay with Hestia and wait in case they show up back here. Remus, Kingsley, and Dumbledore are leading the search around Hogsmeade and Hogwarts as well as sending people out to look and listen in some of the more dodgy places they might have gone. They're planning to use the Burrow as the central communication point for the search." 

Ron and Hermione tried to go back and join the search, but Mrs. Weasley was having none of that. They were home and safe and that was that.

Within an hour the twins, Arthur and Bill had come home and quickly joined the search.

As afternoon wore into evening, many reports were given, but none even hinted that a clue had been found. The two teenagers had, for the moment, disappeared. The only bit of good news was that there was no indication that the Death Eaters had found them either.

By ten, all of the Weasleys were back at the Burrow. Within the hour Kingsley and Dumbledore had arrived as well. In the Burrow no news was definitely not good news. By midnight, everyone was in bed, if not asleep.

Only Remus Lupin was still out looking....he was driven....it was his fault....he had failed James and Lily. And Molly....Merlin's beard. How would he ever be able to face her again?

*   *   *

As evening came to Godrick's Hollow so did hunger for Harry and Ginny. For Harry this was a new sensation. He hadn't been hungry, really, for days...weeks even.

Harry stood up and opened the door just a crack. He looked carefully around, but there was no sign that anyone had entered the cottage since they had last checked.He stepped out onto the landing and listened for a moment....nothing. 

He stuck his head back into the bedroom to tell Ginny he was going down to look for food.She offered to go with him, but Harry suggested she stay there and be able to surprise someone if Harry was attacked. Grudgingly, Ginny agreed.

 Closing the door behind him, he started for the stairs when something drew his attention. 

He glanced over at the other room....his room; somehow he was certain. He had not yet been able to look in there. Now something was drawing him. He pulled his foot back from the stair tread and turned. Then he hesitated. Did he really want to? The pull became more powerful....so much so that he drew his wand and held it in dueling position.

In the dim light Harry could see a soft glow coming from the room. What...who could be making that happen?

Harry crossed the hall as quietly as possible. He gripped the latch and eased the door open. Through the opening he could see a small dresser and a rocking chair. The light blue wall had dragons and fairies flying about. He pushed the door further and could now see teams of baby wizards and witches playing Quiditch on the end wall. They flew with abandon all across the whole width of the room.

Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a baby's bed. Just as that registered his breath was stolen by shock.

"Hello, Harry."

Harry jumped into the room and pointed his wand at the bed....then his arm dropped as his eyes widened. This couldn't be real.

"Mum?" Before him was not the ghostly image he had seen in the graveyard a year ago, but what appeared to be a living, breathing person.

"Yes, love. I'm so glad to see you again."

He was dumbstruck. How could this be.....?

"Your father and I have been waiting for you."

"You've been...?" Harry rushed forward with his arms opened wide. Now he could finally be held......
 
"Harry, stop."

He pulled up, his arms still spread.

"You can't touch me now. If you do, I will have to disappear."

"But why?"

"It's complicated, but that is how it has to be."

Harry dropped his arms and began drinking in the vision before him. Now he could truly see for himself the auburn hair flowing to her shoulders, the green eyes he had seen in the mirror all of his life, and most importantly, the love written all over his mother's face.

Without warning Harry felt tears begin streaming down his cheeks. It was overpowering joy at the sight of her and crushing disappointment that he couldn't, just for a moment, feel her arms around him.

After a couple of minutes a thought flashed through his mind,"You said Dad..?"

His Mum smiled sadly,"He is here, too."

Harry looked around the room,"But, where..?"

"He will see you in the entry hall. You see, we have to stay in the place...."

"The place where you died." Harry felt the tears begin to fall again.

"Love, it was a choice we made. We've watched you grow into the young man you are now and we couldn't be more proud of you." She waited for Harry to nod that he had heard before she continued," We have been waiting for you to come here so that we can help."

Harry's brain slowly began to function again," Waiting? But, I didn't know...how was I supposed...?"

"Sit for a moment and I will try to explain."

Harry sat in the floor as his Mum moved across the room and sat in the rocking chair.

"We had..." Suddenly she paused and smiled before looking over at the door.

A moment later Ginny stepped into the room,"Harry?"

Ginny was looking at him; trying to figure out what was going on. She began to take in just what the room really was. As her eyes traveled around the walls, they suddenly flew wide and her jaw dropped. "What...?"

"Err, Ginny this is my Mum."

"You..your mum?"

"Hello, Ginny. I'm Lily. Why don't you join us?"

Ginny's knees seemed to give way as she sat in the floor near Harry.

"Harry, are you going to introduce her?"

"Err, yeah. Mum this is my friend Ginny...Ginny Weasley."

"I'm very pleased to meet you Ginny."

"Thank you, Mrs. Potter." Ginny's eyes were still the size of saucers.

Harry looked back at his Mum. She seemed ready to laugh at the both of them.

"Mum, you were going to explain."

"Yes, I was. I take it you're wearing the stag?" 

Harry had forgotten the necklace. He raised his hand and placed it over the charm hidden under his shirt.

"Your father and I made those to bring you to us when you were ready. Sirius should have given them to you long ago, but he says he forgot after he escaped."

Harry started and saw Ginny straighten up as well,"You've talked to Sirius?"

Lily smiled,"Of course we have. I gave him quite an ear full about getting himself killed when he was supposed to be taking care of you."

Harry's heart twisted up into a tiny knot,"It was my..."

"Harry James Potter! Don't even start to say that. Sirius was acting like the fight was some great game and let his cousin kill him. He is a much better dueler than that. Normally, Bella wouldn't have stood a chance. So, you just get that foolishness out of your head."

Harry stared at the floor for a few minutes as he battled with his guilt. When he looked back up, his Mum was still watching him; waiting for a response. After another few moments he nodded.

"Good. Now as I was saying, the necklace was to bring you to us when you were ready. James and I knew we might die so we made some arrangements to help you with what you are going to have to do."

Harry could see Ginny shifting uncomfortably next to him. Obviously, she was lost in this conversation as she, nor anyone else, save Dumbledore, knew what the prophecy said.

His Mum continued as if she didn't notice the discomfort and confusion she had aroused in the two teens,"It will take probably all day tomorrow for us to do what we think we must. I'm glad you have a friend with you. It will make things better I think."

Harry tried to interrupt but his Mum kept talking,"Now, Harry. I'm sure you both must be hungry. There is plenty of food in the kitchen pantry. Why don't you go fix a tray for you and Ginny while she and I talk for a few minutes."

"But...."

"Don't worry about the Death Eaters. There are powerful spells in and around the cottage to keep them from noticing anything. You can light your wand or some candles if you like. Now go on....we'll just talk for a few minutes."

Harry stood up and looked down at Ginny. She met his gaze and nodded.

"Go on Harry, we'll be fine. Anyway, I'm a Weasley...I need to eat."

Harry gave her what he hoped was a smile and left the room.

At the bottom of the stairs he turned toward the hallway he thought led the kitchen. He brain was almost overloaded. A few minutes in the kitchen would probably be good.

*   *   *

Ginny looked over at the woman in the rocking chair. Sweet mercy...those eyes...Harry's eyes. It was almost too much.

"So, Ginny. Tell me about yourself."

Ginny was hesitant. What should she say? "Well I'm the youngest of seven and the only girl. My Dad works for the Ministry, my oldest brother, Bill, is a curse breaker for Gringotts. Charlie, my next brother is a dragon handler in Romania. Percy, the git, works for the Ministry, but doesn't get along with the rest of us. George and Fred are twins and are starting up a joke shop. My youngest brother, Ron, is Harry's best friend. I'm a year behind them in school."

Ginny thought that summed things up quite nicely. 

Mrs. Potter seemed to be thinking about something,"So, you're one of Harry's best friends, too, I guess?"

"Me? No...really I'm just sort of a friend....well it's just been lately...you know."

Now Harry's mum was smiling," You aren't telling me the whole truth are you?"

Ginny felt herself begin to blush.'What could Mrs. Potter know?' She thought for a moment,"Well, I used to have a crush on Harry, but I'm over that now."

The woman's smile widened,"Now, that was very convincing. It would probably work if you were talking to a male, but I'm not a male and I know a bit about those Potter men." Her expression grew more serious.

"Ginny, James and I saw what happened in the Chamber of Secrets. We saw how determined you were to go with Harry to the Department of Mysteries. I have noticed the way you look at Harry when you think he's not looking...."

Ginny interrupted. She knew her face must be glowing in the dim light."No, really, I've been dating another boy..."

"And how did that work out?" 

Merlin, how could she know? "We broke up."

"Ginny, Harry will be back in a few minutes, so I need to hurry. I know you haven't gotten over Harry. What you don't know is he has begun to notice you as something other than his friend or his best mate's sister. If Sirius hadn't died, you would probably be able to tell this yourself. Unfortunately, Harry is so caught up in guilt and some other things he doesn't know what he is feeling about you."

Ginny leaned forward unaware that her mouth had dropped open slightly.

"Harry is carrying a huge burden. Dumbledore just dropped it on Harry without preparing him at all. Albus will hear about that, I can promise you."
 
Ginny saw a very familiar flash of anger in those green eyes.

"The prophecy you all thought was lost that night has been known by Dumbledore since before Harry was born. He should have.....that's a subject for another time. Only Albus, and now Harry, know what it says. You need to hear it because you will play an important part in what happens."

For some unknown reason Ginny shivered. The kind expression on Mrs. Potter's face had been changing. It now was both very serious and sad at the same time.

"The prophecy says:
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches....Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not....and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies....."   
("Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", by J.K.R. page #841)

As Ginny listened she felt herself starting to deny what she was hearing. It couldn't mean....Harry....it was all up to Harry.'Why was it always him? Couldn't just once the responsibility be someone else's?' She started to say something, but her voice had quit her. She cleared her throat,"It....it has to be Harry?"

Mrs. Potter's face had become even more sad. Tears glistened at the corners of her eyes. "It's all up to him...at least almost all."

"Almost?"

"Did you catch the part about "the power the Dark Lord knows not?"
 
Ginny nodded,"But what could that be?"

Mrs. Potter stared hard at her now,"Love. Harry's power is love. My sister and her worthless husband denied that to him for ten years. James and I, of course, Sirius and Remus have loved him from the start, but we haven't been there to show him. Your family and his friends at school give him much of the love he deserves and needs. Still, to have the 'power' required to defeat Voldemort he needs something more."

Without thinking, Ginny had moved across the floor until she was sitting nearly at Mrs. Potter's feet. There was no doubt in her heart she would do what she could to help Harry. She waited for Mrs. Potter to continue.

"What Harry needs most of all is to be 'in love' and for someone to be 'in love' with him."

Ginny waited. There was probably more. A few moments later her brain caught up with Mrs. Potter. "No. Wait. Harry has never even.....we aren't.....he doesn't..."

She was silenced by the gentle smile on Harry's mum's face."I promise he will, if you help him."

"If I help him? What am I supposed to do? Just throw myself at him? Grab him when he comes back and snog him senseless?" Ginny covered her mouth with her hand; horrified by her outburst. She could not have just said that to Harry's mother.

Mrs. Potter was laughing softly,"Maybe not that bold at first. Harry would probably run out of here right into those Death Eaters' arms. No. No, I really don't mean anything like that. First, I want you to think tonight if you are willing to learn to love Harry and all that will come with him. Believe me, being with him will be hard. James knows your families...the Weasleys and the Prewetts. He has told me what fine people they have been for generations. As the youngest and only girl you have to be special. ....I'll not say anything to Harry unless he asks. The choice will be your's. Tell me tomorrow as we work together,what you think." Then she looked toward the door. "Harry did you find plenty to eat?"

Harry entered the room carrying a tray loaded with sandwiches, crisps, and chocolate crackers. When he placed the tray on the floor, Ginny saw large goblets of pumpkin juice as well.

"You two enjoy your meal. I'm going to speak to James about letting everyone know that the two of you are safe and sound for now." As she finished speaking, Mrs. Potter just disappeared from the room.

Ginny picked up a sandwich and began eating. She tasted nothing. Her mind was twirling with the prophecy, Harry, Mrs. Potter, Harry, being attacked after lunch.'Merlin's beard....Harry?...after all this time?'

The two of them ate their dinner quietly, each lost in their own thoughts and confusion. 

By the time they had finished, Mrs. Potter had not yet reappeared. As Harry took the tray back to the kitchen, Ginny went to the loo to wash her face and rinse her mouth. By the time she had finished and gone back into the bedroom, Harry had returned. He pulled a quilt from the cupboard and started from the room.

"Where are you going?"

"Err, I am just going to sleep on the sofa in the sitting room."

"Why?"

"Well, you know, both of us on the bed...you...your mum and dad would..."

"Harry, we will both be fully dressed and on top of the covers. Find me a quilt and hush this nonsense."

Harry blushed a little, but pulled another quilt from the cupboard and handed it to her. Ginny went around the end of the bed and sat on the edge before pulling off her shoes. "Really, Harry, I won't tell if you don't."

Ginny looked over her shoulder and saw a brief smile cross Harry's face. He kicked off his trainers and climbed onto the bed.

"Ginny, I'm sorry about all of this."

"All of this what, Harry?"

"Well, bringing you here, putting you in more danger, your folks not knowing where you...."

"Harry, you probably saved my life bringing me here with you. Besides, I got to meet your mum, and that was worth the whole thing right there."

"Really? For you, too?"

Ginny rolled onto her side so that she was facing Harry," Yes, for me, too. I can see so much of you in her. It's like I'm able to see you better now....that doesn't make sense. I can see how you are you better after meeting your mum. I bet I'll see even more when I meet your dad."

Harry rolled over to face her,"I....I feel sort of the same way....Like some questions have been answered..." He was quiet for a minute, his eyes losing their focus. "Ginny, I'm glad you are here."

Ginny watched Harry's face turn bright red. She carefully kept her expression as neutral as possible,"Thank you Harry."

As the candle flickered softly, the two teens drifted off to sleep. Both would have been surprised at how similar their thoughts were as they began to dream.

*   *   *

Remus finally gave into fatigue and returned to Number 12 Grimauld Place about three hours past midnight. He doubted he could sleep, but thought a few hours rest might help. And, frankly, he didn't know what was left for him to do.

He kicked off his boots and stretched out on the soft mattress. He was unaware that within seconds he was sound asleep.

His dreams turned immediately to Harry and Ginny.... He could see them in the distance, but could never quite catch up to them. 

As he continued to run he heard a voice,"Remus."

He turned. The voice was painfully familiar.

"Remus wait. I need to speak with you."

He stopped and turned back,"James?"

"Hello my friend."

"Oh, Merlin James. I've failed you and Lily. You will never be able to forgive me..."

James laughed softly,"You haven't failed anyone...."

"Yes I have. Harry..."

James reached and laid his hand on Remus' shoulder," Harry and Ginny are safe and sound."

"No, James, this afternoon..."

"You were all attacked and right in the middle of it Harry and Ginny disappeared."

"Yes, and we can't..."

"Moony just listen for a minute. Harry and Ginny are with Lily and I."

"Oh, no! How did they...?"

James laughed,"Not with us that way. They are both very much alive and by now should be well fed and sound asleep. Lily and I are watching after them."

Remus felt his heart begin to slow down,"But how?"

"Lily and I had made some provisions to be able to help Harry when the time came. Harry came to us today and brought Ginny along with him. We had left two charmed necklaces with Sirius..."

"I gave them to Harry on the way to the Burrow. I found them in Sirius' room."

"Sirius should have given them to Harry long ago, but that's not important now. Anyway, Lily has explained to Sirius the error of his ways." James had a large grin on his face.

Remus smiled, too. For all of his posturing, Sirius was truly afraid of Lily Potter.

James brought Remus out of his distraction,"Lily and I will take good care of both kids. We have some things we need to teach Harry and, since she is there, Ginny. It will probably take us all of today. We will get them back to you early tomorrow. Please tell Ginny's family that she is perfectly safe and in no danger. And, it might be better if it seemed they were back already. Less Death Eater interest, you know."

Remus nodded,"You're right."

"I need to get back. You take care Remus. We're counting on you looking after Harry."

Remus grabbed his friend's hand,"James you know I would give my life..."

"I know. Try to avoid that for a while. Alright?"

Remus smiled,"Yeah, I will."

"Good-bye Remus." James faded from sight.
  

Remus opened his eyes. There was a soft morning light coming through the window.
His dream suddenly came back in full detail. He quickly rolled over and slipped on his boots. Without bothering to fasten his cloak, he hurried down the stairs, out across the street and Disapparated.

*   *   *

Molly Weasley was putting together a quick breakfast for Arthur, Bill and the twins. They were all sipping tea and discussing where to start searching. The routine of the kitchen was all that was keeping Molly from breaking down. She had hardly stayed in bed an hour. Her worried mind had kept her up pacing and idly cleaning here and there.

Through the window she saw Remus Lupin suddenly appear and rush toward the door. She turned toward the kitchen door and waited. For some reason she didn't feel that this was going to be bad news.

As Remus burst in, the four Weasley men rose from the table.

"They're alright!" were the first words from Remus' mouth.

Everyone else tried to ask questions over top of each other,"How do you..? Where are...? Have you talked...? Are they on their....?"

Remus held up his hands trying to stop the questions."Just let me tell you what I know."

Everyone quieted down. As Remus started, Molly set a cup of tea on the table in front of him. He smiled his thanks, then sat in the vacant chair. The others returned to their seats as well.
 
Taking a deep breath, he began," James came to me in my dreams this morning. He told me that Ginny and Harry are safe and that he and Lily are looking after them."

Before he could continue, Molly broke in,"James and Lily Potter you mean? Well, why are the children with them, and where are they?"

Remus looked at the formidable mother sitting beside him," The 'why' is because James and Lily made a provision to be able to help Harry in some way. When the trouble started yesterday, Harry and Ginny were transported to a place James and Lily had set up. The 'where' I don't know." Molly tried to interrupt but he kept on," He said they would get Harry and Ginny back to us tomorrow, early. That they would need all of today to teach them what ever it is they had planned."

Everyone began talking at once. After a minute or two, as often happened, Arthur Weasley became the voice of reason.

"Let's all calm down for a moment. Remus has obviously told us all he knows, so let's quit browbeating him." Arthur looked around the table and finally everyone nodded their agreement.

"Next, if James and Lily made this kind of preparation fifteen years ago, then I think we can all assume it has to do with You know Who." They all nodded again.

"Finally, I think we can also assume that if they planned this out so well so long ago, then we can be assured that if James says the children will be returned safely tomorrow, they will be." 

No one disagreed, but Molly was obviously holding something in.

"Alright then..."

Before Arthur could continue, Remus broke in,"James also said it would be better if we gave the impression that Harry and Ginny were already back home...Maybe stop the Death Eaters from poking around."

Arthur nodded,"I like that. Let's agree on a story and then Floo or Owl everyone that needs to know. Word that they are back will surely leak out pretty quickly."

George leaned forward,"We could say they tried to elope, but were caught just in the nick of time." His devilish smile was matched by his twin's.

Molly exploded,"We will say no such thing! How dare you....?"

Everyone else laughed then got down to work concocting a story.

*   *   *

Harry woke up confused. He wasn't sure where he was and everything within sight was red. There was also a very pleasant scent of wild flowers.

As he became more aware, he began to realize where he was and what, well sort of, he was doing. He was in his Mum and Dad's bed, laying on his stomach....his face seemed to be buried in Ginny Weasley's long, silky, wonderfully scented red hair. 'Why had he never noticed? Because he was rubbish with girls. Actually, now that he thought about it he had noticed...yesterday in the Three Broomsticks when she helped him up....and yesterday afternoon while they sat together and waited...and when she had leaned across him to pull out the splinters...and when she cleaned the cut on his...what was going on?'

 He got his mind off of Ginny's hair and tried to figure out how they were laying together. His arm had somehow ended up across Ginny's waist. He wondered if he could move it back without waking her. If she woke up and found him like this she was liable to hex him, or worse.

 As he began to slowly raise his hand, he discovered that it was wrapped in Ginny's much smaller one. Now he was pretty sure he couldn't undo this mess without waking her. He settled back to wait for her to wake up. All he could do was apologize. Although, he wasn't feeling too sorry about it if he was being honest with himself.

He took another deep breath. Merlin, she smelled good.

*   *   *

Ginny was awakened during the night by Harry moaning and thrashing about. She watched and listened for a few moments, then decided he needed her help. She moved over beside him and rolled up onto her side. She slid her arms around him and held him until the dream, more likely a nightmare, finally ended. As he settled down, she rolled onto her back, but didn't move away. She knew then that the answer to Mrs. Potter's question had been settled.

She had dozed off finally. She woke up a while ago to find Harry's arm across her waist and his face buried against her shoulder. Without realizing it, it appeared she had managed to wrap his hand in hers. She lay there for a while, considering what she should do. After careful consideration, she decided: nothing. This whole situation was quite pleasant, truth be told.

Some time later Ginny felt Harry begin to stir. She could feel him discovering their proximity and trying to do something about. She smiled to herself when he seemed to decide to stay just like he was. Maybe that was a good sign.

She stayed still for a few more minutes as she worked out how to handle this. Harry was very shy and, based on what she has seen and heard, from Hermione mostly, he was pretty uncomforable with touching. Ginny hoped she could play this just right. If not, Mrs. Potter was going to be disappointed. Forget Mrs. Potter, Ginny was going to be really disappointed.

She slid down just a bit until her face was even with Harry's. She turned partially onto her side and tried to lock her eyes with his. She kept a gentle, but firm, grip on his hand. He needed to know that she was alright with his arm being across her.

"Good morning Harry." She smiled at him....not too big, just a little one to let him know she wasn't upset. "Did you get much rest?"

She watched as he worked out what to say. His eyes were so easy to read sometimes.

"Yeah. I guess. Err, Ginny I hope you don't think I was...."

"Shh, Harry. I don't mind."

"You...you don't? I thought maybe...."

"Actually, it was quite nice to feel secure sleeping in a strange place. I hope you don't mind I came over and slept on your half of the bed...I seemed to have hogged the covers, too."

Now she saw him smile and she relaxed a bit.

"No, it's alright...I kind of liked it." His face was slowly turning a brilliant red.

'YES!' Five years of frustration and disappointment disappeared. Now she had to be very, very careful. She was not going to mess this up.

"So did I."

His face took on such an expression of near disbelief that Ginny almost threw her arms around him to reassure him. Instead, she squeezed his hand and sat up. "I'll fix breakfast since you made dinner."

Harry sat up beside her and nodded,"That seems fair." He smirked just a little.

Ginny leaned over and gave him a short kiss on the cheek before quickly scooting down the bed and climbing over the foot. As she turned to slip her shoes back on, she noticed Harry touching the spot she had kissed. He had a very confused look on his face, but a bit of smile, too. This day was off to a perfect start.

*   *   *

Harry pulled on his trainers and headed for the loo. He relieved himself, then washed his hands and face. Using his palm as a cup he rinsed his mouth as well. When he finished he looked in he mirror and tried to do something about his hair....the first time for that in days and days.

He tried to figure out what had just happened, but didn't have a clue except he sure didn't object. Even though it was on the cheek, that kiss was way better than Cho under the mistletoe. He could still feel her lips.....'Don't think about it. you're probably reading far too much into it.'

Giving his hair up as a lost cause, he trotted down the stairs and joined Ginny in the kitchen.

Toast was already on the platter as she finished up the scrambled eggs. Harry poured the water into the tea pot before they carried everything into the small dining room. Ginny had already set the table, so they tucked in as soon as they sat down.

As he ate, Harry found himself facinated watching Ginny spread marmalade on her toast. He knew he must have seen her do this a hundred times, but now it seemed sooo interesting. As he watched he noticed the morning sun hit her hair with its pure, bright light. A soft, red halo formed around her head....he stopped eating.

"Harry, is something wrong?"

He started and immediately dropped his eyes. He could feel his face flushing,"Err, no. Just thinking."

Staring down at his plate he couldn't see the 'cat in the cream' smile on Ginny's face.

When they had finished, they both cleaned the kitchen before going back up to the nursery. Ginny ducked into the loo on the way so Harry was alone for a few minutes.

He looked around at the room....memorizing all of the details. Faintly, it seemed like there were memories trying to break through but just couldn't quite make it.

"You really loved this room, Harry."

He spun around and found his Mum once again sitting in the rocker.

"We wanted it to be special, since we had to move here when you were ten months old. "

"Why did you...we move?"

"We found out Voldemort was looking for us, and James wanted us away from his parents."

"His parents? My...my grandparents?"

"Yes, Harry." Her face fell just a little,"It didn't help. They were murdered about six weeks before Voldemort came here."

Harry filed away another reason to hate Voldemort."What about your mum and dad?"

"They both died of cancer....Mum in my fourth year at Hogwarts and Dad in my sixth.I think Dad died so quickly just to be with Mum."

"Where did you stay after he died?"

"That summer I stayed a month each at two of my roommates. Petunia was out of school by then and working. She and I had been on the outs since Mum died, so I didn't even consider living with her. I doubt if I would have been welcome if I had asked."

"But then I ended up with her."

"One other thing Albus will answer for."

"I'll have to go back when I leave here."

"Harry, we'll get to that before you leave tomorrow. For now I'll just say that you won't be there for long, or if so, not alone."

"What...?"

"Just leave it for now. I promise, unlike Albus, your dad and I will explain everything we know while you are here."

His Mum looked to his right and smiled,"Good morning, Ginny. Did you sleep well?"

Harry turned and saw Ginny standing just inside the doorway. As she greeted his Mum she suddenly blushed in the most perfect Weasley way. He wondered what had embarrassed her.

"Harry." He turned back to his Mum. "Why don't you go down to the entrance hall and see your Dad. He is going to work with you this morning. Ginny will stay with me."

Harry nodded and turned to go. Ginny smiled at him as he passed, and surprised him by reaching out and giving his hand a quick squeeze. He was pretty sure he was giving a good imitation of a Weasley as he started down the stairs.

*   *   *

Ginny stepped nearer Harry's mum...waiting to see what she should do.

The older woman looked at her for several moments...her face unreadable," Have you decided?"

Ginny looked Mrs. Potter straight in the eye," Yes."

"' Yes' you've decided, or 'yes' you want to...?"

"'Yes' I want to love Harry." She could feel her face burning again," I want him to love me. I want to do what ever I can so Harry will win."

Mrs. Potter held her gaze for what seemed like several minutes,"I can't tell you how pleased James and I are you feel that way. Now, since we are all but family, you must call me Lily."

'All but family....Lily?' Ginny nodded dumbly and swallowed what felt like an enormous lump in her throat. "Thank....thank you Mrs.... Lily."

"You're quite welcome Ginny. Now, go into my bedroom and look in the top left drawer of the dresser. There is a journal there. When you find it, bring it back in here." 

Ginny nodded and hurried from the room.

The journal was exactly where it was supposed to be.Ginny pulled it out and stole a peek at the inside page. She was amazed at what she saw:
Lily Evans
1977 - 78
    

'What will Harry say when he knows I've seen this before him?' Ginny thought to herself as she returned to the nursery.

Lily smiled as she saw the journal,"You and Harry may want to read it when you get the time."

'May?! Try to stop Harry. Merlin, just let him try to stop me.'

"Now Ginny, open the journal to the first entry."

Ginny turned the page. At the top was - September 1, 1977

"Take out your wand, tap the page two times and say,' James Potter is an arrogant prat.'"

Ginny choked and looked up as she coughed. Lily was laughing.

"Go on Ginny. At the time no truer words had ever been spoken."

Ginny looked down and did as instructed. The journal entry began moving around the page. After a few seconds, the words changed into a list of spells with incantations and wand movements described in detail. She looked back up at Harry's mum.

"These are spells for different things. Many of them are shield spells, some are defensive and some are very much offensive. I want you and Harry to master all of them."

Ginny flipped the pages. There were dozens."Lily, there are so many..."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that you had to do that today. You should work on them over the next two weeks or so."

"But I'm only fourteen. I'm underage."

Lily seemed to smirk just a little," Turn to the last page."

Ginny did as instructed. On the last page was a single spell.

"James will have Harry do the same spell this morning. After it is done, the Ministry will be unable to detect your use of magic...underage or not."

Ginny looked at the page. She had never heard of this spell - Amicio Veneficus Deprehensio.   

"The original spell used Magus instead of Veneficus.One of James' ancestors changed it and made it much more effective."

Ginny's confusion must have shown. "Originally, the spell concealed magic. That was noticable. Now it conceals the magic of the witch or wizard who casts the spell. That is much less likely to be noticed." 

Ginny started thinking about how she could use this. The twins would be in for it now.

Lily must have read her mind,"Only use your magic where you will not be seen or found out for now. We will talk about whether or not to cancel the spell before you return to Hogwarts. For the moment, James thinks not. Now, extend you wand hand straight up above your head, but point your wand down.....Very good. While circling your head anti clockwise, give the incantation."

As she finished the incantation, Ginny felt warmth wash down her body. The glow lasted several seconds before fading. She looked back up at Lily who, she saw, was smiling broadly.

"Perfect. Now we can talk about some of the other spells in the journal."

Ginny flipped back to the front of the book and waited to begin.

*   *   *

Harry hurried down the stairs. When he reached the entrance hall he looked around. Sitting calmly on on a bench against the sitting room wall, was....himself. Harry felt his chin drop. He did look just like his Dad.

"Hello, son."

Those two words nearly undid him on the spot. Harry blinked back the tears that were trying to escape and smiled at his father. "Hello, Dad."

"I spoke to Remus last night, this morning actually. He has, by now, assured Ginny's family that you are both safe."

"Thanks, Dad. I felt bad bringing Ginny along like that. Her family has been so good to me...I didn't want them to worry."

James studied him for a minute, looked at the stairs, then back at Harry. "Truthfully, you're not sorry at all you brought Ginny along are you?"

Harry felt his face burn." We're just friends....She's my best mate's sis..."

His Dad was laughing at him, "Harry, when I saw that red hair in the Chamber of Secrets I knew it was just a matter of time. We Potters can't resist them."

Harry didn't know what to say. How much could they see? Harry cringed. Could his Mum see his dreams?

His Dad decided to let it go. "Harry your Mum and I are going to try to help you with what you have to do....we knew about the prophecy. Albus told us right after you were born."

Harry felt as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders. Someone knew and wanted to help. Merlin, that felt good.

"Son, go into the study and look in the center drawer of the desk. You should find a journal there."

Harry went the direction indicated by his Dad and found the study. The journal was in the back of the drawer. When he returned to the entrance hall, his father motioned for him to sit in the floor in front of the bench.

"Open the book to the first entry."

Harry did as his father told him and opened the journal to 'September 1, 1977.'   

He stared at the page, wondering if he would get to read the whole journal.

"Now tap the page twice and say -' Lily Evans is beautiful.'

Harry looked at his Dad and saw he was the one blushing now.

The words began swimming around the page as soon as he said the password. Within seconds, the diary entry became spells...none of them familiar.

"Your Mum and I collected various spells we thought would be most helpful but unlikely to be taught at school. You need to learn and practice all of them."

"Today?"

James laughed, "No not today, but over the next two weeks or so." 

Harry opened his mouth to remind his Dad about the prohibition of underage magic, but James beat him to it.

"Turn to the last page and you won't have to worry about the Ministry."

*   *   *

A few hours later Ginny came down the steps,"Harry your mum said we should take a break for lunch."

Harry stood up and had started to head for the kitchen when he heard his Dad clear his throat, rather loudly. Then he remembered.

"Dad this is my friend Ginny Weasley. Ginny this is my Dad."

"I'm very pleased to finally meet you Ginny."

"Thank you Mr. Potter. I'm glad to meet you, too."

"Ginny, if you are going to call Harry's Mum by her first name, you should show me the honor as well. I'm James."

"Thank you, si...James."

"You're more than welcome Ginny. Harry, I believe it's your turn to cook."

"Yes sir, it is."

"Good. Why don't you call Ginny when lunch is ready? In the mean time, she and I can talk for a while."

Harry walked into the kitchen. He wasn't an idiot. He knew that both of his parents had separated him from Ginny so they could talk alone with her. He just wished he had some way to listen in to what was being said.

Ginny came to the dining room when he called her and they had a very pleasant meal. They discussed the magical concealment spell they had both cast and the fun they could have with it. They also talked about Harry's Mum and Dad. Harry was pleased to find out that Ginny was almost in love with them as much as he was.

When they finished the sandwiches and fresh fruit Harry had prepared, they both cleaned up the kitchen before going back to work. When they got back to the entrance hall, James sent both of them up to Lily. "She's just better at most of these and I'm  not ashamed to admit it. I'll see both of you after dinner tonight."

When they entered the nursery, Lily was sitting in the floor waiting for them.

"We're going to talk for a while this afternoon rather than learn spells.First, I want both of you to plan to return one week from today at eight in the morning. We will work on spells all day and you will go back home the next morning. Plan on doing the exact same thing the following Wednesday as well." She waited for both of them to agree.

Harry thought about the Dursleys being angry over losing two days of near slave labor.

Ginny thought about the reaction of her Mum to her going off two more times overnight with Harry. Well, some parts of it her Mum just didn't need to know....for her own good of course.

Lily spent some time going over what had already been covered and made suggestions on the order they should learn the rest of the spells.

After a couple of hours of descriptions and explainations, Lily turned very serious. "What we are going to discuss and work on now is the most important of the spells you will learn.  It will take three weeks to complete the spell as it will exhaust you, both of you, when you cast it. Fortunately, you will only have to do the three incantations once."

"Why are they so tiring, Mum?"

"I'll try to explain. Ginny took on a 'Life Debt' when you saved her in the Chamber of Secrets. We are going to bind the two of you using the strength of that 'debt' and an ancient spell to create some powerful protection for both of you. To do so you will, for a few hours, seriously deplete your magical and physical reserves. When you are finished, both of you will be much more powerful individually, but just plain scary powerful when you act together."

Harry was still confused, but didn't ask another question. He stole a glance at Ginny. She seemed unconcerned about what they were supposedly going to do.

"Both of you turn to Christmas Day and give the password. The first part of the spell will be revealed."

Harry looked at the page as it changed from journal to magic. The entire page covered just one spell.

Clasp right hands as if shaking. Wands must be held between the hands pointing at one's life pledge.   

Harry jerked his head up,"Life pledge!?"

"Yes, Harry. The two of you will offer a series of pledges which will be for life. Before you get too upset, read through the rest of this first incantation."

Harry took a breath before nodding and returning to the journal.

Place left hands over the heart of the partner.
 The incantation -

Sponsum - I pledge
Pectus - My Soul
Animus - My Heart
Vita - My life
Magus - My magic
Clueo - Myself

Absolutus - Completely

This should be said in unison -

Sponsum Pectus... Animus... Vita... Magus... Clueo... Absolutus 

This completes the first strand of the bond.

The two pledging should expect to be mentally and physically fatigued for several hours following the incantation.
  

Harry looked up. First at his Mum then at Ginny. Both were watching him...waiting for his response.

"You can't mean for us....It's..." Harry was at a loss for words." Ginny, do you really want to do this....with me? What about Dean? Didn't you say on the train..?"

Harry was amazed at how composed and calm Ginny seemed to be. When she answered, her voice sounded very sure of her words.

"Harry, the 'Life Debt' is there no matter what we do or don't do. For me this is a strengthening of that obligation. At the same time, we both gain power and protection from Tom. As for the rest....I don't care for Dean that way. I was just winding up Ron a bit. I know I want to do this. I knew for sure while I tried to comfort you last night during your nightmare. Lily and your Dad have argued and explained all of the good and bad things this will mean. I want to do this. My biggest concern is if you want to...with me."

Harry closed his mouth. It had fallen open as Ginny spoke. Once again, he looked at his Mum. She was still watching him, but now she showed just a hint of a smile. Harry figured his Mum and Ginny had already been talking about him.

"What about your family?....Oh Merlin, your mum. She will kill me then bring me back to let your brothers have a go."

"I'm not worried about them or her. By the time we tell them it will be too late to do anything about it." Her eyes got a sly look in them. "Besides, if they try to do anything to you...we'll be bonded. They would have to kill me, too."

"Ginny, this isn't funny." He turned to his Mum again," How much danger does this put her in? Wouldn't she be safer...?"

Lily shook her head," Harry, she's a Weasley. They are not safe because they are honorable...always have been. If anything, Ginny will be better protected with the bond. She needs to know...be sure that you want to be bonded with her."

Harry thought for a few moments before turning back to Ginny,"I need to think this through for a liitle while." He saw Ginny's face start to crumble. He hurried on," For your sake, I want to be sure. You're too....special for me to bollocks this up. Can I go talk to Dad for a few minutes?"

Ginny stared hard at him for a moment then nodded.

He looked at his Mum. "Go on Harry. James is...well you know here he is."

Harry hurried down to the entrance hall. His Dad was waiting.

"You look confused, Son."

"Confused? Dad do you know what this will mean? I...Ginny isn't even fifteen yet. Her family has treated like one of their own. They'll all hate me for this. Merlin, Ron will kill me, really kill me."

"Son, slow down a minute. You need to focus on the only important question - Do you want this bond with Ginny? All the rest will work itself out."

Harry stood there, his mind in turmoil. 'Yes, he liked Ginny...probably more than he had realized.' 'Would he treat her right?' 'Stupid question.'' For the rest of their lives?' 'Given his destiny that may only be a few weeks.' 'For the rest of their lives?'

"Dad, what about the prophecy? Ginny has to know what that could mean....would she die if ....Voldemort..?"

"Harry, she knows all about the prophecy. She and Lily have talked about it a couple of times. To answer your question....probably. But..."

Harry was shaking with anger,"Then the answer is no."

James continued in a calm voice,"But, if you lose, die, it is most likely that all of the Weasleys, Longbottoms, Bones, Abbotts, all of the honorable magical families will be killed.Ginny not being bonded with you would probably only extend her life for days or weeks. With the bond, you and everyone else, stand a much better chance of defeating Voldemort and living a long, happy life."

James paused for a few moments,"Son, the important question, the only question is
'do you want to create the bond?' Do you want the rest of your life tied to Ginny?" 

His imagination kicked in. He saw Ginny in the kitchen working at the sink. She looked up and smiled as he came in, a raven haired little boy in his arms...... He was standing on the platform at the train station, his arm around Ginny's waist. They were waving back at two young, familiar faces as the train pulled away......Other images, some of the distant future, others much nearer, flashed through his brain. All of them included Ginny.....all of them seemed to be 'right.'

"How did you know, Dad? When?"

"Harry, it seems like I knew from the first time I saw your mother on the Hogwarts Express. Truly? There was just a time when I realized that my daydreams always starred Lily Evans no matter how far into the future I dreamed....You're both very young Harry. But the two of you have faced things no adult should ever have to. You share some of those things and they have made you both stronger, and older, than you should have to be."

"Lily and I both think quite a lot of Ginny. We have watched her, with you, for four years now. She is a remarkable young woman. Still, only you can decide."

Harry turned from his father and started back upstairs. He had made up his mind before his Dad had finished speaking.

When he entered the nursery he saw that Ginny had curled up like a cat on the floor. His Mum was still sitting as he had last seen her.

Ginny sat up immediately and searched his face for an answer.

Harry knelt  in front of Ginny,"I can't understand why someone like you would want to do this with me. If you're really sure, I'd be honored to be bonded with you."

Ginny threw her arms around his neck and pulled him tightly to her. "I'm sure Harry. I'm sure."

Harry slipped his arms around her and held close for a few minutes.  When they separated, Harry saw the sparkle of tears in the corners of Ginny's eyes. 

He turned and looked at his mother. She had a sad smile on her face.

"Alright you two we need to get started. First, Harry put the 'doe' necklace on Ginny."

Harry dug the box from his pocket and took out the necklace. Ginny gasped when she saw it. Harry slipped the chain over Ginny's head and pulled her hair free of it.

Ginny had raised the doe up in front of hers eyes. She seemed enraptured by the small charm.

"Now go down and fix a light dinner. When you have finished, come back up here. Ginny you will find some night clothes in the bottom, left hand drawer of the dresser. Harry, your Dad's pyjamas are in the bottom right. Dressing gowns are in the cupboard. Before we start the spell, both of you get a bath and put on the night clothes. I can promise you will be going straight to bed when you finish."

They went down the stairs hand in hand. Harry sliced some fruit while Ginny scrambled some eggs. They ate quickly and then cleaned the kitchen. Neither, spoke very much as they hurried to get back up stairs.

James was waiting in the entrance hall,"I'm very proud of both of you. Just follow Lily's instructions and everything will turn out fine."

Harry looked down at Ginny then back at his father,"Dad..this spell. What if I hadn't brought Ginny with me? I mean, was that part of the plan all along?"

James smiled slyly," Let's just say that events made things much simpler that they might have been. There was a plan involving Remus, but I'm glad we didn't have to put him on the spot. He always was the conscience of the Marauders."

The teens wished Harry's Dad a good night then hurried up the stairs.

They agreed Ginny would bathe first. As she left the bedroom, Harry had a thought.
"Leave your clothes in the hallway by the door. I'll call Dobby when I come out and he can clean our clothes for us while we sleep."

A little while later, Ginny came back (Smelling wonderfully, Harry noticed) wearing light green pyjamas under a dark green dressing gown. Looking down, Harry saw that the pyjama legs had been rolled up several folds.

When he finished his shower, Harry dropped his dirty clothes on top of Ginny's and called Dobby. The house elf was delighted at the chance to serve "The Great Harry Potter."

After Dobby Disapparated, Harry looked up to see Ginny standing in the doorway. She looked quite amused at the little elf.

"'The Great Harry Potter,' huh?"

Harry blushed,"He gets carried away sometimes."

Ginny was laughing as she came out into the hallway. She took Harry's hand and led him back into the nursery.

A short time later, the two were kneeling, facing each other. Their right hands were clasped together, wands pointing at their partner. Their left hands were flat against the other's chest, covering the charms.

Lily was standing over them,"Now begin the incantation just as you practiced. Say it slowly and pronounce eack word clearly. Ready..begin."

Harry watched Ginny's mouth begin to say the first word...he matched her as precisely as he could....

"Sponsum...Pectus...Animus...Vito...Magus...Clueo...Absolutus."   

Harry felt the wands begin to heat up and vibrate as they said the incantation. As they finished, a wave of ....power...energy...something flowed between them. As it did, Harry could feel his muscles ache with fatigue....his heart was racing.... his brain was filling with fog.

He snapped back alert when he saw Ginny's eyes roll back as she fell over. Harry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tighly to him;cradling her as gently as he could.

"Put her to bed Harry...you, too." 

Harry stood, Ginny laying in his arms. As he left the room, his Mum stopped him.

"Behave properly, Harry. Don't you dare take advantage of her condition."

He was horrified.' He would never....'

"Go on, Harry. I've waited a long time to say something like that to you."

He smiled at his Mum,"Thanks. You know I would never..."

"I know it, and so does Ginny. Get some rest, Harry. You've had a hard day."

Harry carried Ginny into the bedroom and set her as gently as possible on 'her' side of the bed. After he worked the dressing gown off of her, he pulled the covers over her and stood there, looking down. Even as the fog thickened, he still marveled at the incredible young woman before him.

Before he could collapse, he stumbled around the end of the bed and climbed under the covers. His last real thought was,' Have we done the right thing?'

As blackness stole over him, a small hand found his and intertwined their fingers.

Peace.

Chapter 2: You're What?!
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry was sitting in the Common Room on a sofa in front of the fire. Ginny was sitting beside him, holding his hand. He heard a noise and looked over his shoulder.

"Sirius!"

His godfather smiled as Harry stood and hugged him. When Harry finally pulled away, Ginny stepped in and gave Sirius a light kiss on the cheek.

"Sit you two. We don't have long and I need to tell you a few things."

Harry reluctantly sat back down. After a moment Ginny did, too.

"Sirius, I'm sooo sorry. If I had...."

"Harry please be quiet for a minute." Sirius held Harry's eyes until he was sure his godson was going to do as asked. " Don't apologize.."

"But.."

"Harry! " Sirius waited. Finally, Harry nodded.

"That was not your fault. Part of it is mine for being so impatient. Part of it goes to Dumbledore for all but putting me in prison again. Mostly, it all falls on Voldemort. He tricked us all into a trap. I'll only say one more thing about that.....It was not your fault. Do not feel guilty. Merlin, if you only knew how your mother has chewed on me for letting Bella hit me with that.....Nevermind. DO NOT TRY TO TAKE THE BLAME."

Harry looked down and absorbed the words. After a few minutes he looked back at Sirius and nodded.

"Good. Now Ginny, glad to see the fool boy finally noticed by the way, I'm depending on you to see that Harry keeps his word on that."

Harry saw Ginny turn to him with a very determined look in her eyes. "I will..you can count on it."

"Alright. Lily and James are showing you some really good magic you would never learn at Hogwarts. You'll need to practice as much as you can. There's a room under the kitchen in my old house. Get Remus to show it to you. It will make a good place to learn without being watched. Have Remus take you there a couple of times a week after you finish the bonding spell. Until then just work where you can."

Ginny leaned forward," My Mum and Dad won't let me..."

Sirius smiled,"One of us will talk to Molly if we need to. I think she will come around. You two will make a very dangerous team for old snake eyes and his friends if you work at your magic."

Sirius looked away as if someone was speaking to him. "Alright, I'm almost out of time. Ginny, could I have a quick word with Harry?"

Ginny looked between the two men and nodded. "I'll just go back to bed."

As she stood, Sirius rose and pulled her into a gentle hug,"See it all worked out." He gave Ginny a soft kiss on the top of her head and watched as she disappeared up the stairs.

Harry waited for Sirius to speak or do something. After a moment Sirius sat on the sofa near Harry.

"She's waited a long time for you Harry."

Harry felt himself blushing.

"You've probably figured out that Lily thinks very highly of Ginny?"

Harry nodded.

"Then don't hurt her 'cause it will make all of us quite angry with you."

"I...I wouldn't..."

"I know you wouldn't, but Lily told me to say that."

Harry grinned,"She scares you doesn't she?"

Sirius laughed,"Damn riight....your dad, too."

Now Harry laughed.

"The two of you look after each other. When you finish your bond, a lot of people are going to be quite excited....not in a good way either. You and Ginny are going to have to support each other against even her family for a while. We're depending on you  to take good care of her."

Harry swallowed a small lump in his throat,"I will. I promise."

Sirius smiled somewhat sadly, I know you will, Harry. You could never do anything else. I've got to go kid."

"But, why? Stay for a while longer..."

"I can't Harry." He pulled his godson into a tight hug."Remember....not your fault....take care of Ginny.."

As he said this last, Sirius faded away.

Harry watched the place where Sirius had been sitting for a few moments then stood up and headed off to bed.
    

*   *   *

As Ginny began to wake up, she took stock of her surroundings.

Oops. She was on the 'wrong' side of the bed again. Her left hand was wrapped in Harry's right. Their arms were tucked between their bodies. Ginny's head was quite comfortably pillowed on Harry's upper arm, while her right arm was thrown across Harry's chest. He was turned partly toward her.

'Sorry Mum. I don't feel the least bit bad about this. If you walked in right now, I wouldn't even move an inch.'

Ginny enjoyed the intimacy for a while longer. Finally, she leaned back just enough to see Harry's face. He had a small, she thought sweet, smile showing. As she watched, it faded to a frown briefly before he opened his eyes. When they saw her they flew wide open.

"Looks like I hogged the bed again."

Harry's smile returned,"Yeah, it does. What am I going to do with you?"

Ginny bit back the smart reply that almost escaped," Let me get away with it?"

He rolled over a little more. His left hand caught her right and held onto it,"If you insist."

Ginny blinked a couple of times, surprised,"Wait. Who are you, and what have you done with Harry?"

His smile widened," Sorry, it's just me, but Sirius told me to take care of you."

"Sirius? When did he tell...?"

"In my dream just now....You were there, too, for part of it."

Ginny sat up,"What do you mean? In the Common Room? Were you..?"

Now Harry sat up, but he held on to her hands,"Yeah, he talked to the two of us then you went up to bed..."

"Because Sirius wanted a word with you in private.."

Now Harry looked completely nonplussed,"You had the same dream?"

"Apparently."

"But, how? I mean we're magical, but how...?"

Ginny shook her head,"I don't know....Let's ask your mum or dad. Maybe they'll know."

"Right...yeah, we can do that." He still looked mystified.

Ginny watched him for a minute, her mind spinning. Then she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek again. Except, this time, she held it just a moment longer.

She crawled around Harry and jumped off of the bed," I get the loo first. Then I'll start breakfast while you get dressed."

When she looked back, Harry had his hand against his cheek...looking confused. Ginny smiled to herself and left the room.

*   *   *

Harry's Dad wasn't in the entrance hall before or after breakfast. They both stopped back by the loo when they came back upstairs. As Harry came out he could see Ginny making the bed. He went in to help her finish. As he turned to leave, he saw Ginny fold her pyjamas and lay them on 'her' pillow.

When she noticed him watching she smiled,"I'm guessing we'll need them next week." As she finished she began a full blown Weasley blush. She wouldn't meet his eyes.

Harry felt himself flush a bit at the thought,"Yeah, you're probably right." He hurried across to the loo and retrieved his night clothes. After folding them and laying them on 'his' pillow, he followed Ginny to the nursery.

His Mum was waiting in the rocking chair."How are you two feeling? Did you rest alright?"

Harry saw Ginny nod, and blush, as he answered,"Yeah. We slept fine. I feel alright.." He turned to Ginny.

"I'm alright, too. Not even a little sore."

"Good. Now before you leave, do you have any questions?"

Was she kidding? "Err, Ginny and I seem to have had the same dream last night."

Lily smiled."Sirius thought that would be fun. You two may do that from time to time after the bonding takes place, but this was just Sirius being anything but."

Ginny broke in,"You mean we will share our dreams after we bond?" Her face went from deathly white to bright red.

Harry was amused for a moment, then he remembered some of his dreams....'Oh,no.'

His Mum was laughing at both of them,"Don't worry, James and I never saw any of those dreams together."

Harry took a deep breath,'Thank Merlin....wait...she and Dad?' "Were you two bonded?"

Lily's face clouded,"Yes, right after we finished Hogwarts."

"But if it's supposed to make you....us so powerful, how did Voldemort kill...?"

His Mum looked back and forth between them," There are some things we were going to tell you as we went along, but now is as good as any. First, yes, James and I bonded. What we failed to realize was that we needed to be together for the real power to protect us. When Voldemort came, James stayed downstairs to fight while I came up for you."

She smiled for a moment before continuing," The bond did protect you. I shared the power with you when Voldemort came for you. Second, you and Ginny share a powerful piece of magic already....the Life Debt. We're going to add that power in the final incantation. We have discussed this with Godric and Rowena and they added the final bit to it."

Ginny was sputtering," G..G..Godric and Rowena? You don't mean...?"

"Of course I do. They are quite anxious to see Voldemort gone."

Harry was just a beat behind," They....Godric Gryffindor?"

His Mum laughed at him,"Yes, Harry, and Rowena Ravenclaw."

Harry looked at Ginny. She seemed to be speechless, too. They both turned to his Mum.

Lily's laughter faded as her face grew solemn,"Voldemort is obsessed with immortality. He would never consider dying for someone else. The power of that very positive magical obligation will be his undoing."

They were all quiet for a few minutes.

Finally, his Mum began speaking softly,"Ginny, tell your mother that Harry has begun talking to you about Sirius. Tell her that it  seems to be helping Harry and that you need to see him again in a couple of days. After all, it's true."

Ginny nodded,"That might work."

"Harry tell Remus that Ginny is the only one you've been able to talk to and that you would like to see her, too."

Harry thought about it for a minute,"But, how will we be able to practice? They'll just take me to the Burrow for the day probably."

Lily had a sly smile on her face,"Ginny, do you have any favorite hiding places around the Burrow?"

Harry looked over and saw Ginny beaming,"Yeah, there's one in the willow trees near the stream and another one in the small wood toward the village. No one has ever found me in either place."

Now Harry was smiling,"Guess you have to have a place with all those brothers."

Ginny reached down and laid her hand on his,"Yeah, but I'll share them with you."

As Harry continued to look at Ginny, he became totally lost in her eyes. Their warmth and depth seemed to surround him. If he had been capable of noticing, he would have seen a very pleased flush creep up Ginny's neck and face. He might also have seen a very tender, joyful glow in his Mum's eyes.

After some period of time, Lily cleared her throat, twice. Harry turned back to her;
 unaware that he had been briefly lost.

"To get back home, wrap your arms around each other and put a hand on the charms. Think of the exact place you want to appear and it will happen. Return here the same way next week.You can use the sitting room as your destination. For now, tell everyone the charms are temporary Port Keys. That's close enough to the truth to be believed."

She showed them a very unusual locking charm for the journals and had them check that they both had performed the charm correctly. Then she stood and smiled at the couple,"See you on Wednesday."  She faded from sight.

Harry and Ginny went down to the entrance hall to say good-bye to James. He told them to be careful and checked that they had the journals before he also faded away.

Harry shyly wrapped one arm around Ginny and placed his hand over her charm. She did the same for him. "How about by the swing in the orchard?"

Ginny nodded and they disappeared.

*   *   *

James looked at Lily, a smirk on his face,"I thought those charms worked so long as they were just touching."

Lily was not in the least embarrassed,"They don't need to know that now do they?"

James laughed,"I never stood a chance."

Lily looked down her nose at her husband,"Not once I decided, no, you didn't, and Harry doesn't either. Ginny and I have both decided about him."

*   *   *

Molly had cooked breakfast, paced, cleaned the dishes, and paced some more. Now she was impatiently waiting in the sitting room with Arthur, Remus,Tonks, Ron and Hermione. Bill and the twins had been forced to go on to work by Arthur. She could see the family clock from where she was sitting. Suddenly, Ginny's hand moved from 'Unknown' to "Traveling.' An instant later it changed to 'Home."

She jumped to her feet,"They're here!"

She couldn't decide to whether to go to the front door or the kitchen door. A few moments indecision solved the problem as they all heard someone entering the kitchen.

As the two teens came through the doorway, Molly, moving remarkably fast, grabbed Ginny in a smothering hug,"Oh, my baby. Are you alright? Have you had anything to eat? Did you sleep? Are you hurt?"

The questions came so quickly Ginny didn't try to answer. Instead, she gasped for air as her Mum's hug threatened to suffocate her."Mum, please, I can't breath.."

Finally, Molly released her daughter and turned to Harry. As she moved to hug him, she was struck by the difference in the boy in just two days. His eyes were amused rather than haunted....his shoulders more square rather than slumped in defeat. She wondered what, or who, had caused such a change.

When she released Harry she saw that the others had greeted Ginny and were waiting for their turn at Harry.

After everyone had greeted the pair, Molly herded them all into the kitchen. She was sure everyone needed something to eat. As she bustled around, baking muffins and scones, Remus and Tonks started to question Harry and Ginny about all that had happened.

Slowly, mostly from Ginny, the story emerged. Their escape from the Three Broomsticks, the surprise appearance in Godric's Hollow, and taking refuge in the Potter's house....finally meeting James and Lily. 

As Molly listened, she thought she knew the 'how' of Harry's change. The poor boy had always been so desperate to know his parents. And, now he did, if only for a couple of days.

Molly sat at the table with the others as she served the warm muffins and scones. All was quiet for a few minutes as everyone helped themselves to some food. As the others resumed their questioning, she was content to just listen and watch. 

*   *   *

Ginny was nervous. She and Harry had expected to be questioned thoroughly, but it was still uncomfortable. She answered all of the questions truthfully....almost. No mention was made of the bond, nor of the sleeping arrangements. 

Without really discussing it, she and Harry also kept their 'relationship' private as well.
Harry, bless him, did make a point of telling everyone how helpful Ginny had been talking about Sirius.

Ginny noticed the looks shared by the adults and even Hermione and Ron. 

In the end, the questions were not too bad. No one knew or suspected enough to ask anything really uncomfortable.

Hermione asked how there happened to be two journals/spell books already prepared. Harry had been ready for that one. He explained that his Mum's journal had been prepared for Harry's wife assuming Voldemort wasn't a problem before Harry was married. Ginny being there had just worked out.

As the questioning died, Ginny looked at Harry and raised an eyebrow. He looked confused for a moment then nodded.

He looked at the adults and cleared his throat,"Err, we, I mean Ginny and I, need to go back again next Wednesday....and then one more time after that to finish with Mum and Dad."

There was silence for a moment then everyone talked at once.."You will not".."Why would they expect...?".."It's too dangerous..".."We'll have to talk to Albus..".."Can we go..?"

Finally, her Dad got everyone to quieten down."Why exactly do you need to go back?"

Ginny looked him in the eye,"We have only been through part of the magic they want to teach us. Some of the spells and shields require two people to work. Dad, with all that is going on, we need to learn things like this."

Her Mum broke in,"You're too young for this. Hogwarts will teach you what you need. Besides, this war is for the Ministry and the Order to fight, not children."

Ginny could feel the anger radiating from Harry; not at her Mum, but the magical world in general. Through clenched teeth he responded to her Mum,"That hasn't been working so well has it? While I've been at Hogwarts I've been attacked by Voldemort, Dementors, and Death Eaters. And, I've been kidnapped from the grounds. We don't need to discuss how safe Ginny has been at school.Oh, yeah, I forgot about the Ministry sending Umbridge."

As he ranted, Ginny felt Harry's hand slide into her lap and grip her hand. The empty dispair that had begun to overtake her at the mention of her first year fled before that simple act of comfort.

Harry turned to her Dad," Mum and Dad knew things might turn out like this. Not what happened to Ginny, but Voldemort coming back. I don't know how. Besides, who more than Ginny and me have been targeted by Voldemort? Who has suffered more personally than us?"

Her Dad was silent for a few moments. The next one to speak was a surprise.

"Arthur, Molly, I know you...we don't want these kids involved, but it's not really our choice. Voldemort and the Death Eaters have already shown they have no qualms about going after children. Sadly, the four sitting here are probably the most at risk in our world. Lily and James were my dearest friends. If they planned this, I know they believed that this is best. I think Harry and Ginny should go back."

"Remus Lupin, you aren't a parent. You don't know..."

"Molly." Her Mum stopped. "Why don't we talk about it later when we aren't all so emotional. The children just came back and told their story. It would be better if we discussed this later." 

Her Dad looked as stern as she had ever seen him, at least with their Mum. He had been rather upset with the twins a few times. After a minute or so her Mum nodded in agreement. Ginny looked across at Ron. He seemed just as surprised as she was.

After that, Remus stood and suggested he get Harry back to Privet Drive. Everyone walked out front to the car. Before they could leave, Ginny pulled Harry a few steps away from the others. Speaking softly so only Harry could hear,"Make sure Remus brings you back. I'll expect to see Hedwig before I go to bed tonight." Then she reached up and gave Harry another kiss on the cheek.

Neither she nor Harry noticed the mix of shocked and/or smiling faces behind them.

Harry blushed quite brightly then nodded,"I'll write as soon as I get settled back in prison." 

Ginny frowned as she nodded,"You had better not forget."

Harry smiled and went over to the Audi. She watched him tell everyone 'Good-bye' and climb into the car. It was almost physically painful to watch him drive away.

Her thoughts were interrupted by someone grabbing her arm.

"I think you and I need to go up to your room and talk."

Ginny looked at Hermione's bright eyes and smiling face. 'Oh,no.'

*   *   *


Harry forced himself not to turn and look back as the car pulled away from the Burrow. It was hard.

The ride was fairly quiet. Tonks asked Harry about some of the spells he and Ginny were learning. Remus mostly just drove and looked in the mirror every little while.

When they pulled up at the Dursley's, Remus turned before opening the door,"Harry you really do seem much better than you were two days ago."

Harry started to just nod, but then remembered,"It's mostly thanks to Ginny. She's really helped. I don't know how exactly, but she listens well and says the right things. I'm going to miss not talking to her."

He saw Remus glance at Tonks. She nodded in answer to some unspoken question.
"Harry, I'll try to work something out. Maybe you can Floo from Arabella's and spend a day at the Burrow this weekend."

Harry forced himself not to grin,"That would be good if you can arrange it."

Remus smiled then opened the door. Harry did the same. He followed Tonks up the walk as Remus lagged behind, watching the street.

At the door Harry turned to say 'Good-bye,' but Remus stepped by him and rang the bell."I need to explain to your aunt where you have been."

Harry shook his head,"I promise, they don't care. The only thing is I might have gotten behind on some chores or something."

Just then the door opened. Harry's Aunt Petunia immediately frowned when she saw who was on the stoop."Well, we thought we might be rid of you."

Remus' face grew hard,"An attempt was made to either kidnap or kill Harry two days ago. He's been in hiding until this morning." Close enough to true for this conversation.

Petunia sneered,"Too bad they didn't get him."

Harry saw the wolf features start to show plainly on Remus' face," You cruel...." Remus took a deep breath,"Harry has had a bad time of it. You will not treat him like some stranger imposing on your hospitality, or you will deeply regret it. I'll be back to check on him later. I better like what I find."

Petunia sniffed,"Why should my family care what you like or don't like. We took him in when we didn't have to. He's lucky not to be on the street." With that, she turned and walked back toward the kitchen.

Remus turned to Harry,"I'll get you out of here as soon as I can. Hang in there Harry."

Harry saw the concern in the man's eyes. He smiled just a little,"Don't worry about it too much. I'm used to it." He stepped around Remus and went into the house.

He climbed up to his room and watched the car pull away. He saw Tonks arms waving around as the car faded into the distance. He smiled to himself...Remus was probably getting an ear full.

After a few minutes, Harry sat at his small desk and pulled out some parchment. He started a short note to Ginny to let her know he was alright. As he began writing, though, more thoughts began to flow out on to the page. Before he knew it he had written almost a whole roll.

'Well, she can't complain about that.'

Harry gave Hedwig an owl treat as he tied the letter to her leg."Take this to Ginny, girl. Wait and see if she has a reply."

He was sure Hedwig nodded before she spread her wings and flew out the window.

Harry watched until she disappeared, then threw himself on the lumpy bed. Before long, he was sound asleep.

*   *   *

Ginny postponed her inquisition from Hermione by going into the kitchen with her Mum.

Ron was sent out, with many objections, to weed the flower garden before lunch. That left Ginny, Hermione and her Mum alone to talk.

Ginny answered more questions about the past two days as her Mum fixed a light lunch and started on dinner.She found herself talking at length about James and Lily.

The more she talked the more she discovered how much of Harry she understood by meeting his parents. At first Hermione was content to just listen. After a while though, it just wasn't enough. Ginny saw Hermione looking at the journal laying on the table.

Finally, Hermione couldn't contain her curiosity any longer and reached for the book. Ginny tried to stop her, but wasn't quite quick enough.

"Why is this locked?"

Ginny rolled her eyes,"So no one will read it if they aren't meant to."

"Can't you open it?"

"Yes."

Hermione held the journal out across the table..waiting.

Ginny shook her head,"No."

"Why not? You've seen it."

Ginny took a breath. Hermione was just being Hermione."Because it belonged to Harry's mum."

"I know that. Why won't you open it?"

Ginny reached for the book,"Because Harry hasn't read it yet."

Hermione was getting frustrated,"You have though. If you can, why can't I?"

Ginny looked to her Mum for support. Instead she saw her mother seemed as curious as Hermione."Actually, I haven't. There are spells in there, but I haven't read any of the journal entries. I think Harry should read it first. Then, if he wants me to, I'll read it."

Hermione stared hard at Ginny,"Why do you think he would want you to read it and not me?"

Ginny felt herself getting angry,"I don't know that he would, but.."

They heard someone calling from the Floo.

When they got to the sitting room they found Remus Lupin's head in the fireplace.

"Good, you're all there. You can plan for Harry to be there Saturday."

Ginny tried  to hide her smile.

Her Mum leaned down to the Floo,"Have you talked to Albus already?"

Remus shook his head,"No, and I don't really care what he thinks. I'm getting Harry away from that place every chance I get."

Ginny was worried,"What happened?"

Remus described the conversation with Harry's aunt.

Ginny thought she might explode....Her Mum beat her to it.

"She said that!? In front of Harry!? I may just go and hex the lot of them right now."

Remus smiled, but it had a touch of evil in it,"There may not be anything left to hex if Dora gets there before you. I nearly had to drag her away. She was ranting and raving all the way back to Grimmauld Place."

Ginny looked at her Mum. She had a very angry expression on her face,"Tell Dora if she wants any help to let me know."

Remus nodded,"Anyway, I'll get Harry early Saturday. Plan on him being there for breakfast through dinner."

Molly straightened up,"We'll be looking forward to it. If he needs us, bring him any time. Albus can just deal with it."

Ginny and Hermione looked at each other. This didn't sound like the woman they both knew.

"Thanks Molly. I'm going to be stopping in a few times to check on things. If I think it's necessary, I'll bring Harry there or take him to headquarters." The Floo lost its green color and settled back to a peaceful glow.

The three women looked at one another. Molly was the first to speak,"Hermione did you know things were like that?"

Hermione shook her head,"Harry won't talk about it much. I mean, Ron and I both know they don't care much for Harry, but Harry never tells anyone any details. The most I've ever heard was from Ron and the twins when they rescued Harry in the flying car."

"I always thought they were all just making most of that up to justify what they did. Now I'm not so sure." Her Mum looked at her,"Ginny?"

Ginny shook her head, too,"He doesn't talk about it. Lily made a few comments while we were talking, but no actual details."

Molly gave her a stern look,"You've called Harry's mother 'Lily' several times. You should be more respectful."

Ginny didn't flinch,"Harry's mum and dad both asked that I call them by their given names. Lily was quite insistent."

This earned Ginny an odd look from her Mum and Hermione.

Finally, her Mum broke eye contact,"I've almost finished lunch. Hermione, why don't you go find Ron?"

Hermione continued on out the door as Ginny and Molly returned to the kitchen.

"Ginny is there something I should know about you and Harry?"

Ginny swallowed a rush of panic. She knew her Mum couldn't know about the bond,"No Mum. It was just very.....comfortable being with Harry and his mum and dad . Harry seemed to really be at ease for once.You know how reserved he always is." Her Mum nodded." His mum and dad, as they are now, are just a few years older than us. First names felt normal."

"What about sleeping arrangements?"

Ginny felt her heart begin to race,"We found some of the Potter's bed clothes and wore them."

"Where did you sleep?"

"In a bed."

Her Mum looked at her very strangely.

Ginny hurriedly continued,"You should have heard Lily warn Harry about trying anything improper while we were there. I promise, it would make you proud. Besides, can you imagine Harry doing something?"

Her Mum didn't seem totally convinced, but she didn't push it.

They had almost finished eating when a beautiful white owl flew through the window. It landed in front of Ginny and held out its leg.

As Ginny reached to untie the Owl, Ron blurted,"Why did Harry send you an Owl? Hermione and I are his friends."

Two emotions hit Ginny at once. First was anger at Ron for being so rude. Second was a sinking doubt."Just what was she to Harry?' In an instant the doubt was gone. She knew exactly what she was to Harry. The rest of them would never have what she and Harry would soon share...were already beginning to share.

She looked at her brother,"I asked Harry to let me know he made it..." She started to say 'home', but that was a cruel joke,"back to his aunt and uncle's alright. I guess he did."

Ginny removed the parchment from Hedwig. She was surprised at how much there was of it. She waited for Hedwig to fly back out of the window, but the owl fluttered up and settled on the back of her chair. 

She looked over her shoulder,"Are you to wait for an answer?" She was sure Hedwig nodded her head. Ginny stood and held out her arm,"Come up to my room. I'll read this and write my reply while you rest for a while."

Hedwig hopped onto Ginny's arm and she started from the kitchen.

"Aren't you going to let us read Harry's letter?"

Ginny looked at her brother,"No. It seems it is addressed to me. I'll let you know what it says." 

Hermione seemed about to burst, but for once she didn't say anything. Ginny smiled to herself and went up to her room. 

For the next two days, Hedwig made at least two round trips a day between the Burrow and Privet Drive. All of the Owls were addressed to Ginny and Ginny only.

Ron was ready to explode at any minute. Hermione seemed to be giving serious thought to the matter. Every time she got Ginny alone she began quizzing her about Harry.

*   *   *

Harry was pulling weeds the first time Remus came by. They talked for a while and then Harry went back to work. The next time Harry was cutting the grass.

Remus only stayed a few minutes each time, but it seemed Aunt Petunia was getting the message. At least he wasn't locked in his room, and he was given food at meal times. And, best of all, he was left alone the rest of the time.

Remus kept it up each day. Harry, for once, didn't feel deserted while at his relatives.

Saturday morning Harry got up just after daybreak. The Dursleys would generally sleep in on the weekends, so Harry had a long, hot shower and was able to wait in peace for Remus to come by. 

Just after seven Harry heard a soft knock at the door. When he answered, he found Remus and Tonks (pink hair,lime green top and red trainers) waiting on the stoop.

"Ready Harry?"

Harry smiled, almost laughed,"Yeah, I am."

They walked down to Ms. Figg's house to use the Floo.

Before throwing in the powder, Remus put his hand on Harry's arm,"Dumbledore is not happy about this Harry. This morning's outing or your time with James and Lily."

Harry's smile vanished.

"Arthur and Molly backed me up when I told Albus that, for once, he didn't get the final word. Don't be surprised if he shows up today and questions you about everything. You can tell him as much or as little as you want. We'll all back you."

Harry felt his eyes start to burn. He turned away from Remus to find Tonks nodding in agreement. "You've got lots of friends Harry. We'll all stand with you anytime."

Harry swallowed a lump in his throat,"Thanks..you..I really appreciate everything."

Remus clapped him on the shoulder,"Let's go have some of Molly's good cooking."

When he stumbled out of the fireplace at the Burrow, Harry found nearly a whole room full of Weasley's plus Hermione.

In addition to Ron and Ginny and their parents, the twins and Bill were waiting, too. Harry almost teared up again.

Breakfast was wonderful. Afterwards, everybody got a broom, except for Mrs. Weasley, and joined in a game of Quidditch. When they were called in for lunch, everyone was starved and acted like it.

Harry, Ron and Hermione spent some time in the afternoon just talking while Ginny was kept occupied by her mother. He was able to put off most of the talk about his parents. He wasn't able to avoid questions about the Owls just for Ginny. He explained that she was helping him deal with Sirius' death and that they traded information about his parents and their training. Ron didn't like it, and Hermione didn't buy it, but Harry stuck with his story....it was mostly true.

Things didn't improve when Ginny came to ask Harry to go for a walk. Ron was a total arse about wanting to tag along, but Ginny stared him down.

Finally, they were alone.

"Has it been like this all week?"

Ginny nodded,"Actually, Hermione is worse. Ron gets mad then storms off. Hermione just never lets it go...meals, chores, bedtime...she just keeps pushing."

"I'm sorry Ginny. You shouldn't have to put up with that."

"Harry, I don't mind." She stopped walking and turned to face him,"I want you to write to me. I hope it helps you some, but mostly I like to read your letters."

"Maybe if I cut down on them a bit." He stopped. There was hurt in Ginny's eyes."No...Ginny, I like it. I just don't want to make it hard on you."

"Harry, if it gets to be too much, I'll tell you."

He smiled,"That's settled then. So, are you taking me to one of your hiding places?"

Now she smiled and started walking again,"Yeah, see those willows? That's where we're heading."

Ginny led him to a secluded spot well into the trees. In the distance was the gentle sound of flowing water. The place Ginny chose was enclosed by the trunks of two large trees that appeared to have fallen some years before. 

They settled in, sitting on some large, round rocks. Harry pulled out his Dad's journal and said the two passwords to open the book and make the spells appear. Ginny did the same with Lily's and they began to work.

Time must have flown because before they knew it the sun was nearing the horizon. They reset the charms on the journals and set off for the Burrow.

When they entered the kitchen, Remus' prediction proved accurate. Professor Dumbledore was sitting at the table. He greeted both of them, but made no effort to get either of them alone before dinner.

After dinner though, he touched Harry on the arm,"Harry could we have a word?"

Harry nodded, but they hadn't left the kitchen before Remus stopped them,"Harry we need to go. I promised your aunt we would be back just a few minutes from now." 

Remus looked at the Headmaster,"Sorry Albus. Maybe you can talk to Harry another time." 

By the time Remus finished talking, Tonks was leading Harry toward the sitting room.
She whispered,"You've got about a minute to say 'goodnight' to Ginny."

Harry started to protest, then decided not to waste the time he was being allowed. He found Ginny waiting by the fireplace,"I'll try to come back before Wednesday."

Ginny nodded, then leaned in closer,"Dumbledore is going to try to keep us from going. I hope Mum and Dad will back us."

Harry nodded, "If they don't, I'll use the charm to come for you and we'll go anyway."

Ginny's smile was positively wicked,"I'll be ready."

Harry felt Tonks pull on his arm,"Time to go Harry."

Harry turned back and thanked everyone for the day. He hugged Mrs. Weasley and thanked her especially for the good food. 

As he stepped into the fireplace, he caught a glimpse of Professor Dumbledore. He did not look happy.

Walking back to his aunt's with Remus and Tonks, Harry tried to thank them for all they had done for him.

Remus stopped and looked him in the eye,"We're all trusting you Harry. Don't you and Ginny let us down."

Harry nodded. He wondered if forming the bond with Ginny was letting them down or not.

*   *   *

The next three days passed slowly for Ginny. Harry didn't get to come back. He Owled that Remus was on some sort of mission for the Order and couldn't escort him. Tonks was working at her real job and couldn't help either.

Tuesday at breakfast, her Mum and Dad took her into the sitting room to talk.

Her Dad looked very serious,"Ginny, we've decided to let you go with Harry tomorrow."

Ginny thought her heart would burst, but she tried not to show them how excited she was.

"I've got to say that Albus is not happy with us right now. But, now that we know a little more about Harry's relatives, we're not too happy with Albus either. That aside, your mother and I are placing a lot of trust in you and Harry. Don't let us down."

Ginny sobered quickly. "We won't."

Her Dad gave her a hug and left for work.

Ginny waited impatiently for Hedwig's first trip. When she arrived, Ginny quickly sent Harry the good news.

The rest of Tuesday crawled more slowly than a snail. It didn't help that Ron seemed to be furious and since he couldn't yell at their parents, he took it out on her and Hermione.

For the first time since she and Harry had come home, she and Hermione were allies. Shakey, but allies none the less.

*   *   *

Ginny was sitting at the kitchen table Wednesday morning when Harry stumbled out of the Floo. She resisted the urge to rush over and hug him. Instead she just smiled and said,"Good morning."

He smiled back and greeted Hermione and her Mum and Dad.

Her Mum pushed Harry down in a chair and began piling food on his plate."Merlin knows how you two will eat cooking for yourselves. The least I can do is send you off with a good meal."

She smiled at Harry as he began working his way through a small mountain of food.

"Where's Ron?"

Hermione sniffed,"He couldn't be bothered getting up early. Although I am surprised he slept through the smell of food."

That caused everyone to at least smile.

When Harry finished, they all walked out to the garden. Ginny hugged her Mum and Dad then stepped close to Harry. 

With his face glowing bright red, he put his arm around her and placed his hand on the charm. Ginny did the same to him. A moment later they were standing in the Potter's sitting room.

Ginny was surprised when Harry didn't let go right away. Surprised...not upset. He was definitely changing. She needed to be careful not to discourage him nor to scare him by returning too much affection too soon. She thought it would be safe if she just leaned into him a little bit and lay her head on his chest. 

He surprised her again by pulling her to him. This was going very well. Lily was going to be sooo pleased. That would make two of them.

After a few moments they pulled apart and went into the entrance hall. James wasn't there, so they went on up to the nursery.

Lily was back in the rocker. She greeted them both warmly then asked them to sit near her. 

They spent the first hour or so recounting their return to their families....the questions asked and answers given....all of those Owls (Lily giggled....actually giggled)....Dumbledore's displeasure (Lily said she and James were going to talk about that very soon)....Ginny, over Harry's objection, retold what Remus had reported about Harry's return to Privet Drive. There was no subtle or gentle response this time. Lily was furious.

"There are ways....I'll...don't worry Harry. There are ways. One more week or so, then we'll have you out of there."

After Lily cooled down a bit, she sent Ginny down to work with James while she worked with Harry.

They followed the same routine as last week...a break for lunch...both working with Lily in the afternoon.....a break to have dinner...then bathe and change into bed clothes.

When they returned to the nursery, they again took their positions facing each other. The incantation was the same - Sponsum...... But,this time as they got to Absolutus there was a difference. 

Ginny felt a glow within her. As it grew in intensity she could feel, then see it's silver light surround her body...thousands of tiny threads glowed and weaved around her. At the same time Harry began to glow as well. His was golden. After a few seconds, or minutes, or maybe in an instant, the two colors began to intertwine. Soon they had formed a gold and silver web around the two of them. Ginny had never felt such peace, security and comfort. Nothing in the world could harm her at this moment, nor anger her. In her mind it became completely clear that all of this wonderful feeling was flowing from Harry to her. She hoped it would never stop.

But, it did. Thankfully there was not a feeling of loss. Rather it was as though all of that peace and security had been absorbed by her magic and her heart and was now available to be drawn upon when needed. She was so overcome with it all that she felt her consciousness slowly slipping away. As it did Harry's arms wrapped around her and held her. 

She was just aware that Harry slipped off her dressing gown before pulling the covers up to her chin. She fought sleep just long enough for Harry to climb into bed. Discarding any pretense, Ginny moved across the bed and curled up against Harry. 

Sleep claimed them both.

*   *   *

Harry awakened to find Ginny still curled up against him. His sleeping self obviously didn't mind as both of his arms were wrapped around the young witch.

Since he couldn't move without waking Ginny, he thought about the spell they had cast last night. The whole experience was almost overwhelming. The flow of energy, the glow, but most importantly, the peace and security he had accepted from Ginny was beyond anything he had ever imagined.

It seemed impossible that there was another incantation to be done. What could there possibly be left to experience in the bond? As he thought, he searched his magical core ( How did he do that? Why was he finding it now?) for the feelings the spell had given him. It took almost no effort to find them. They were not as overpowering in the morning's light, but just as fulfilling.

He could tell that Ginny was starting to wake up. As she began to stir, she ran her hand up Harry's chest. It slowly, softly moved in small circles. He luxuriated in the feel of Ginny's gentle, loving (What!? Where did that thought come from?) touch. Never in his memory had a touch given him so much happiness.

He knew that she was awake, but she didn't stop...He was glad. Finally, she raised up and looked at him.

"Good morning, Harry."

"Good morning." He thought he might be grinning like a fool.

"Last night...."

"Amazing."

"Yeah....you don't regret....."

"No! No, I don't....Not for a minute."

Ginny smiled very slyly,"Good thing, too. Your mum and I would have to decide which one got to curse you first."

"Well that won't be a problem now, will it?"

Ginny's smile changed. He wasn't sure what it was now, but he liked it.

"No Harry, no problem at all."

They stayed there for a few more moments before Ginny pushed herself up,"Your turn to make breakfast, Potter."

Harry sat up and rolled out of bed,"Give me about five minutes." He headed out of the room.

*   *   *

They went straight to the nursery when they came back upstairs. Harry's Mum was waiting...sitting in the floor this time.

She smiled at the two teens,"Did you have a good night?"

Harry nodded. He noticed Ginny was blushing again.

Lily laughed,"Ginny, you shouldn't be embarrassed. It's the most natural thing in the world to want to be close to Harry after what happened. James was prepared to cool Harry down if the need arose."

Harry was shocked,"What do you mean?"

"Shh, Harry, I'm just teasing. Ginny and I boh know we can trust you."

Harry turned to Ginny. She had that different smile on her face again. She nodded though.

They turned back to Lily. Her laughter was gone. Now she was serious,"You both should know, Professor Dumbledore was here last night."

Harry's heart dropped. When he looked at Ginny, she was deathly pale...her eyes wide.

"Don't worry. All he saw was the same things the two Death Eaters saw last week. He probably could sense the magic around him, but he couldn't get past it."

Harry's curiosity got the better of him,"What do you mean?"

"When James and I decided to do this...take this precaution, we asked two of his uncles to help us. They were fairly old, they were your Grandmother Potter's older brothers Harry, and had traveled quite extensively when they were younger. During their travels, they managed to learn quite a bit of ancient magic...a lot of it from China, the Americas, and Egypt. They're the ones that cast all of the wards and spells to protect the house.

She wrinkled her nose as she smiled," They took hair and a few drops of blood from you, your Dad and I. They mixed that into some horrible smelling potion then chanted incantations for hours. The result is that only you, Harry, and someone willingly accompanying you, can see the cottage as you do. Although now, after what I witnessed last night, Ginny may be able to come on her own." At this she smiled at both of them." Anyone else only sees a damaged and deserted old cottage."

Ginny leaned forward,"What do you mean I could come on my own?"

Lily looked at Ginny with a tender expression,"I saw incredible magic last night. I never expected to see the web so bright and woven so tightly. James and I didn't come close to what you two did last night. I think you now hold a large piece of Harry's heart within you." Tears began streaming down Lily's cheeks."I so wish I could hold the two of you for even just a moment..... I'll be back in a few minutes." Suddenly she was gone.

Harry turned to look at Ginny. Her cheeks were tear stained, also. Without thinking, Harry reached out his arms. In an instant Ginny had her arms around his neck. As he held her, she sobbed softly against his shoulder.

Even though Ginny stopped crying, Harry held her to him. The feeling was not far removed from what he had felt last night. Some time passed with neither lessening the hold they had on the other.

"Harry?"

He turned. His Mum was now in the rocker. Ginny raised her head, then turned to face Lily.

"I can finish now, I think. Ginny, I believe, and so does James, the house now sees you as part of Harry. I'm fairly certain you can come and go now with or without Harry."

Harry actually heard Ginny swallow what he was sure was a lump in her throat before she nodded that she understood.

His Mum looked back and forth between them,"Now, back to Albus. Although he may have sensed the magic here, he could not tell whether or not the two of you were here. I'm reasonably certain that he will tell Ginny's family that he did not find you here...trying to sow mistrust and doubt. Be prepared for that when you go back."

Ginny shifted so that she was more comfortable, but still leaning solidly against Harry.
"How should we handle it?"

Harry nodded. He wondered, too.

His Mum looked at him with a smile," Describe the walls to Remus. He'll remember. Next, show them one or two of the shield charms."

Harry was confused,"Won't that give away that our magic is undetectable?"

Lily shook her head,"Unless the laws have changed, shield charms aren't a violation of underage magic. Since they are purely defensive, there would be no nasty Owls from the Ministry."

She waited to see if there were more questions.

Ginny spoke up,"The web...the glow... what was that?"

Lily smiled broadly,"That was the strands of your bond coming together. Up until then, there were only a few....some formed in the Chamber of Secrets."

Harry felt his eyes bug out,"What do you mean 'in the Chamber of Secrets?' Ginny and I were... we hardly..." Harry's mind was just not quite getting this.

His Mum was shaking her head again,"Ginny. When you went out with other boys did their kisses ever feel right...make you feel special?"

Ginny was beyond bright red,"N...no, but I only ever kissed three...two of them just once each." She wouldn't look at Harry.

"Harry. How much did you enjoy kissing Miss Chang? Was it as good as you expected?"

Harry wanted to just disappear. He stared at the floor as he answered,"No."

The room was silent for quite some time.

Harry finally looked back up at his Mum. She was smiling, but it was nice....she understood.

"You both began your bond during that time, three years ago. When Ginny tried to protect you from Tom Riddle, she sent out strands of her heart to you. When you went to save her, part of your heart reached out to her. The bond you have chosen to complete has been there all this time."

Harry felt a small hand slip into his.

Lily stood up,"You should get back now. There are going to be a lot of questions again. Do not let Albus get his way. Regardless of what he thinks, Harry needs to begin preparing now. You both do."

After they had said 'Good-bye' to his parents, they paused for a few minutes in the sitting room.

"Ginny I wish you didn't have to go against your parents like this."

She looked up and smiled,"We don't know they're against us now do we?"

He smiled back,"No, we don't. By the swing again?"

She shook her head,"Under the big oak tree in the paddock. It will give us more time to walk to the house."

A moment later they were gone.

*   *   *

When they reappeared, again they stayed together. Ginny felt as safe as she ever had in her life. Then her heart clinched. There wasn't another witch or wizard in all of Britain in more danger than her and Harry at this moment. As that thought passed, she felt herself grow determined that these days would not be the last for her and Harry. Whatever it took, Harry was going to win.

She reached up and gave him a soft, quick peck on the cheek,"A knut for your thoughts."

Harry smiled down at her,"I was just trying to understand how so much could happen so quickly."
 
Ginny wasn't sure she wanted to hear this...it must have shown.

"No, Ginny, I didn't mean.....Think about it, two weeks ago I was holed up on Privet Drive just feeling guilty and sad. Now look." He swept his eyes down and around them as he waved his arms,"I've talked to Mum and Dad, Sirius came to tell me things were alright, and there's you. I never thought any of this could ever happen."

"Well it has, and I'm quite pleased with the lot of it."

She watched as Harry struggled, then finally gave in and laughed."Oh you are, are you?"

"Yes I am. Aren't you?"

Harry slid both arms around her back and pulled her tightly against him,"I think it's brilliant."

In the distance they heard their names being called.

Ginny stepped away from Harry and took his hand,"Time to face the family."

He nodded and they set off for the Burrow.

Her Mum was waiting for them in the garden,"What's taking so long? The clock showed you home some minutes ago."

"Sorry Mum, Harry was talking about how much better he feels about things than he did two weeks ago. I wanted to give him a minute to enjoy the thought."

Ginny saw that she had played that perfectly. Her Mum looked as though she was ready to crush Harry with one of her fearsome hugs. To forestall that happening, Ginny kept Harry moving toward the door.

Her Mum led them into the sitting room. It was fairly crowded, especially for mid morning on a Thursday. Besides her Mum and Dad, Bill, the twins, and Ron were all scattered around. Across the room, Remus was sitting in a chair next to Professor Dumbledore. Tonks and Hermione were sitting in the floor near the fireplace.

As she surveyed the room, Harry leaned in close,"Keep your hand on the charm. We may have to leave in a hurry." She turned to see if he was serious...his smile was kind of weak.

She whispered back,"We could use our shield charm demonstration to give us time."

"Hope they're strong enough."

Her Dad came over to greet them, then turned to the room,"We're glad to see Ginny and Harry back safe and sound. Albus has raised a concern and we hope they can clear it up for us."

He looked back at the couple, "Albus went by the Potter house yesterday. He said it was in serious disrepair and appeared to have no one there for years except for a few tracks near the front door. Could one of you explain how that could be?"

Harry squeezed her hand and stepped forward,"Actually it's pretty simple. Professor Dumbledore came into the house last night....." 

Ginny noticed several people looking to the Professor for confirmation. He nodded.

"The tracks he saw were from the two Death Eaters who were looking for us last week. He didn't see our tracks because we make none." Harry paused as a bit of muttering was heard around the room. "Mum and Dad were helped by two of Dad's uncles. They used a bunch of ancient magic Mum didn't explain to us, to make me, and anyone I willingly brought with me, the only ones who could see and use the house as it was before Voldemort came fifteen years ago."

Ginny nodded,"To us the house is clean and in perfect repair. The pantry is stocked and the plumbing works."

Dumbledore interrupted politely,"I did feel the presence of a great deal of magic, but I found no sign of people actually being there at the time."

Harry stepped closer to his former mentor,"You couldn't sense us because we are shielded. You made no attempt to go up the stairs did you?"

"No, I sensed nothing up there except some old spells and wards."

Harry was smiling,"Dad said that was some of the best spell work his uncles performed. Even if you intend to climb the stairs, you change your mind. If you persist, Dad says the curses get progressively nastier as you go up. He seemed quite proud."

Dumbledore nodded then smiled for just a second,"Those would have been your grandmother's older brothers." Harry and Ginny nodded."They had a reputation for being very knowledgeable and quite adept with ancient curses. I could see how they might have been able to do at least part of what you have described."

Harry turned to Remus,"Mum said to remind you about the walls in the nursery....the babies playing Quidditch..the dragons."

Remus smiled at the memory,"What uniforms were the babies wearing Ginny?"

Ginny smirked,"Harry's team was wearing red and gold Gryffindor robes. You, James and Sirius were wearing exactly the reverse."

"You recognized us?"

Ginny rolled her eyes,"Please, you were playing in your 'other' forms....Moony."

Remus laughed,"We were, weren't we. I had almost forgotten." He turned to Dumbledore,"Sorry Albus. Sounds like they were just where they said they would be."

The Headmaster looked first at Remus then at each of the others around the room. He managed to avoid both Harry and Ginny with his sweep,"Be that as it may, I am still opposed to Harry being away from his relatives' house any more than absolutely needed. These excursions, in my opinion, do not qualify."

No one spoke for a few moments. Ginny looked to her parents....they both seemed to be deep in thought....Bill was looking at her and Harry as though he was making up his mind about things.....Remus was looking at Tonks, who was frowning back and nodding her head.

He was the one to break the silence,"I still believe that James and Lily were right in thinking about Harry's training. Between Lockhart and Umbridge, all of the kids missed two valuable years. I think Harry and Ginny should continue."

Bill spoke up,"I don't necessarily disagree with Remus, but what have you two learned? You really haven't told us much. At least, Mum and Dad haven't said you have."

Ginny could have kissed Bill. Without knowing it, he had said just the right thing."Why don't Harry and I show you a couple of things?"

Her Dad frowned,"You're both underage. We would have an Owl here before we could turn around."

Ginny carefully didn't smile. She noticed Harry fighting one,too."Err Dad, we could show you a couple of shield charms we've learned. I think I heard they aren't considered improper use of magic."

Dumbledore was nodding his head,"Miss Weasley is correct. I, for one, would be interested to see what they have learned."

Harry turned to Ginny,"We could go out in the garden so that we have more room. How about we defend against the twins, Remus and Tonks?"

Everyone seemed to agree. In a couple of minutes, they were all standing in the side garden. Fred and George both had an evil look in their eyes. Tonks looked as though she was going to really enjoy this. Remus seemed nervous.

Ginny pulled Harry away for a quick word," How about we use the deflecting charm individually, then the absorbing shield together?"

Harry grinned,"Good choice. Should we warn them about the deflecting one?"

Ginny grinned back,"No. Let it be a surprise."

Harry nodded.

Ginny turned back to the others,"Harry and I will use an individual shield first, then a combined one." She moved about three metres from Harry."Alright, we're ready." As she said that she pointed her wand straight up and made one tiny circular motion followed by a flick.

She wasn't a moment too soon. When she looked down, spells were already flying toward her. She remained still and let the beams of light hit the shield. Just as they were supposed to, the spells deflected straight bact to the person who cast them.

Ginny couldn't help laughing as Fred was suddenly wrapped in ropes, and George grabbed his arm and began yelling with pain. To the twins right, Remus fell over unconscious, and Tonks stiffened before falling like a tree.

Ginny saw Harry cancel his charm so she did the same. By the time they had done so, their four attackers had been revived, unbound, or released from pain.

All four were smiling when they looked back at the pair.

"Good one, little sis," Fred bowed slightly.

"Seems you forgot to mention one little detail," George added.

"We're very proud," Fred continued as George nodded.

Remus and Tonks smiles were different. Their's showed a little hint of needing to get even.

All of those watching, excluding Dumbledore, were smiling. Dumbledore was staring intently at Harry; a very contemplative look in his eyes.

Harry moved over and took her left hand in his left. That meant they were each facing a somewhat different direction. He looked back at the others,"We'll cast a joint shield this time. You can move around and cast spells from all sides if you like." He grinned,"We promise. No surprises this time."

Ginny raised her wand and cast the spell along with Harry. As it was last time, spells and hexes were already flying. This shield was entirely different. As the magic struck the barrier, it was absorbed and incorporated into the power of the shield. The more spells and hexes that were thrown, the stronger the shield.

After a couple of minutes, when no one had penetrated the shield, Bill moved well off to one side and joined in. A few moments later her Dad  circled around to the other side and started casting spells. Despite it all, the shield held.

After five minutes or so, the attack ended. Ginny looked at her family. They were all obviously impressed. Remus and Tonks were both grinning from ear to ear.

Dumbledore walked closer,"The shield absorbs the energy?"

Harry and Ginny both nodded.

"That's how you could maintain the shield for so long without draining yourselves?"
 
They nodded again.

Dumbledore gave them a humorless smile,"Well done. Could one of you cast spells with the shield up?"

Harry spoke up,"Yeah. With the shield absorbing magic, once we cast it, only one of us has to maintain it. The other can go on the attack."

Ginny noticed that everyone else had moved closer to listen.

Dumbledore turned to her parents,"I will admit they have learned some very helpful magic. This last shield is not one with which I am familiar. Never the less, I still believe it best for Harry to remain with his relatives, for the time being, without these unprotected excursions." 

Remus immediately objected. He was soon joined by Bill and her Dad. Her Mum, strangly, only listened.

Harry tugged on Ginny's arm and led her a few steps away from the argument."I meant what I said Saturday. If need be, I'll go without permission."

Ginny nodded,"You better not go without me. There isn't a shield charm known that could save you."

He smiled down at her,"I wouldn't think of it."

The argument only lasted a few minutes. Soon after, Dumbledore, Bill and the twins Disapparated.

Her Dad came over to them,"You heard what Professor Dumbledore said. I'm afraid he's going to take the matter to the Order to make his objection official. Molly and I are inclined to let you finish what you have started. This little demonstration was most impressive. You are obviously learning some valuable magic......If the offense is anywhere as good as the defense...well I'll let you know what happens Ginny. You can Owl Harry, although I think Remus will keep him informed,also."

Ginny knew that this must be really hard for her Mum and Dad. They were both loyal to Professor Dumbledore. She stretched up and gave her Dad a quick kiss on the cheek," Thank you Dad."

He opened his arms and pulled her into a brief hug,"You're quite welcome. I'm proud of what you did here today....not just the magic."

Ginny felt her eyes start to burn. She nodded; not trusting her voice.

Remus walked up,"Harry, we need to get you back."

After a quick round of 'good-byes', they were gone.

*   *   *

The next several days passed slowly. Remus was constantly on business for the Order. Tonks was trying to work full time as an Auror and do missions for the Order. As a result, neither was able to take Harry to the Burrow. 

Tonks literally popped in for a moment on Sunday. She was pretty sure Dumbledore was purposely keeping her and Remus occupied so that Harry would stay at Privet Drive. That only added anger to Harry's loneliness and frustration.

He was laying in bed late Monday night, waiting for Hedwig to get back from the Burrow. He sensed, rather than saw, his door begin to open. He grabbed for his wand and rolled off the other side of the bed. When he peeked over the top, Remus was standing there, an embarrassed smile on his face.

"Sorry about that Harry. I didn't know if you would be awake."

Harry stood and crossed to shake hands with his friend,"Well, you know,'Constant vigilance!'"

Remus nodded,"He may be a little....odd....,but he is right about that."

Harry smiled,'Odd indeed.'

Lupin's smile faded,"Dumbledore went to the Order tonight. Despite the Weasleys, Tonks and me, the Order backed Albus. You are to be stopped if you try to go to Arabella's to use the Floo."

Harry clinched his jaw.

Before he could say anything, Remus continued," As I said, you are to be stopped if you try to go to Arabella's. Arthur and Molly promised to stop you and Ginny if you arrive via the Floo." Remus stared hard into Harry's eyes as he emphasized those two points. " Do you understand?"

Harry nodded without thinking. Then his brain caught up with Remus. "Yeah, Ginny and I will be stopped if I try to use the Floo."

Remus smiled and nodded,"Just so we are clear. I was ordered to tell you that you cannot use the Floo. I think Arthur was going to make the same thing clear to Ginny." He was still smiling.

Harry smiled back."I promise. I will not use the Floo."

Remus put his hand on Harry's shoulder,"I'm glad you understand. Now, since I have delivered the message as instructed, I need to go. Maybe I'll see you Thursday?"

Harry nodded,"I'm pretty sure you will."

As soon as Remus was gone, Harry pulled out a piece of parchment and started writing. They had to plan this just right.

*   *   *

Wednesday morning Harry's alarm went off at six. He gathered his clothes and went to the bath. When he finished, he packed some extra clothes in a rucksack. 

He leaned down to Hedwig,"Go to the Burrow for a few days. I may not be back for a while."

The owl gently nipped his finger before flying away.

Harry crept quietly down the stairs and went through to the back door. Before opening it, he pulled his Invisibility Cloak over himself. He opened the door just wide enough to slip through. He crossed the back garden and found the small opening through the hedges he had used for years to escape Dudley. He had no idea what wards might be in place around the Dursley's. The last thing he needed was to splinch himself or set off some type of alarm.

Safely in the neighbor's yard, he pulled the charm out and gripped it tightly in his hand. A moment later he disappeared.

When he reappeared, he was in the sitting room at the Burrow. Expecting to be alone, his heart began racing when he saw Mr. Weasley sitting in his favorite chair. He pulled the Cloak off and looked at Ginny's dad.

Not appearing at all surprised, he smiled,"Good morning Harry. I'm watching the Floo to make sure you haven't sneaked into Arabella's."

Harry just nodded...not sure what to do.

"Ginny is in the kitchen with Molly. Why don't you go on in? I'll keep an eye on the Floo for a few minutes more to make sure you don't use it."

"Err, thank you sir....I'll just go on then."

When he entered the kitchen Ginny gave him a huge smile,"Good morning Harry."

Before he could respond, Mrs. Weasley spun around,"Harry Potter! I hope you didn't use the Floo?"

Harry snapped his head around,"N..no. I didn't."

"Well, alright then. Sit and have some breakfast."

He sat and looked over at Ginny. When he raised his eyebrows, she giggled,"Mum and Dad promised the Order, and they're sticking by their word."

They made small talk while they ate. When their plates were empty, they rose to leave.

Mrs. Weasley leaned through the door,"Arthur."

A moment later Mr. Weasley walked in. He hugged Ginny, then shook Harry's hand."You should leave from the sitting room. I wouldn't be surprised if Albus had someone outside. What are the bags for?" Pointing to the rucksacks both were holding.

Harry looked at Ginny, then back at her dad,"Just in case we have to leave suddenly tomorrow when we get back...you know if Professor Dumbledore..."

Mr. Weasley nodded,"I doubt it will come to that. Not even Albus can run you out of here."

Harry smiled and nodded his thanks.

Harry waited for Ginny to hug her mum. He didn't escape without a hug,too. After Mrs. Weasley released him, he took Ginny's hand and pulled her into the sitting room. A few moments later they were in Godric's Hollow.

This time they both spent the whole day in the nursery with his Mum. After they told her about Dumbledore, she took a breath to calm herself.

"We don't have time for worrying about that.It's too late for him to act anyway. Let's get started."

The day flew by. There was only a short break for lunch and dinner. Unlike before, they continued learning spells and curses well past dinner. Finally, his Mum called a halt.

 "That's enough. You two are really something. You have done wonderfully."

Harry blushed, but he felt on top of the world. Praise from his Mum.....'Merlin!'

"Now it's time to get ready.Ginny, why don't you go first?"

Ginny stood and left the room. A few minutes later they could hear the bath running.

Harry was watching his Mum. She seemed to be lost in thought.

She looked back at him,"Harry, get those two pieces of parchment from the dresser."

Harry did as instructed and looked at the parchment. The words were almost unreadable.

"That is the final part of the incantation. I'll help you with the pronunciations while Ginny gets ready."

By the time Ginny came back in, Harry was doing pretty well. He figured Ginny would learn while he was gone.

After his bath, he went back to the nursery. He was surprised to see that his Mum and Ginny appeared to be crying."What's wrong? Did something happen?"

His Mum looked up and gave him a watery smile,"No, Harry. We're just excited about what is about to happen."

"But why...?"

"You'll learn. It's just something women do sometimes."

Harry nodded. He didn't understand, but he figured it was because he wasn't a girl. He doubted he would ever figure it out.

His Mum smiled again,"Open the journals to the incantation. You will repeat it all of the way through except for Absolutus. Instead of saying that, add the new part. After you both do that, Ginny will say another new part...by herself."

Harry nodded and saw Ginny do the same then lean forward,"The new part...what does it say?"

Lily had the most loving expression on her face. "I should have told you already. Together you will say, in Gaelic,"I pledge all my soul only to you forever," then Ginny will say, also in Gaelic,"You and I will go through eternity together. You are my existence." 

Harry looked at Ginny,"You...do you want to....?"

Ginny once again had tears running down her cheeks,"Yes."

Harry was stunned. He thought he had known what they were doing. This was so..so much more. He reached for Ginny's hand,"Thank you." That seemed so inadequate, but nothing else would come out. He felt the first tear begin slowly tracking down his cheek. He didn't bother to wipe it away.....

They knelt facing each other; their wands pointed at the other's heart. Harry was holding his part of the incantation with the thumb of his left hand as it covered Ginny's charm. She was doing the same. They began:
Sponsum..Pectus..Animus..Vita..Magus..Clueo..Mi airleis uile mo awan a-mhain do sibhse a chaoidh.    

As they said the incantation together the gold and silver web surrounded them again. When they continued with the new part, green and brown threads began weaving themselves through the web.

Ginny continued alone : Rachaidh mise agus tusa tri sioraiocht le cheille.Ta ead mo bheith ann.  

As she finished, shining red threads began to intertwine, but, they wrapped around only the gold threads. Soon they resembled something fit for a Gryffindor.

Suddenly, the web collapsed in on itself...pulling the two teens tightly together. They were held there for several moments. Harry felt like his heart was leaving his chest...flowing through into Ginny. Rather than odd or frightening, it felt as though something unfinished was being completed. He sensed her heart flowing into him. An enormous sense of power rushed through him.

Then... it was gone. Fatigue washed over him in an instant. He pulled back and saw Ginny's eyes fluttering to stay open. He wrapped his arms around her and picked her up. Moments later they were in bed. This time on the same side...arms wrapped around the other.

Neither would remember getting there, nor would either of them ever remember dreaming that night.

*   *   *

The first thing Ginny noticed when she opened her eyes was that they were looking very closely at Harry's chest. That was a good thing. The second thing she noticed was that the sun light was still somewhat dim. That was good, too. She raised her head and looked around, it was probably not yet seven. 

She turned and looked at Harry. He was so peaceful she hated to wake him, but they needed to get going. They both expected a major explosion when they returned to the Burrow if Dumbledore knew they had been gone.

She reached up and kissed the bottom of his jaw, then sat up. Her movement stirred Harry. He opened his eyes and looked up at her.

"Time to get up?"

"Yeah. Sorry."

Harry's cheeks turned pink,"For a lot of reasons." They deepened into red.

Ginny almost laid back down. Instead she climbed over Harry and hopped off of the bed.

"You didn't have to climb over me."

She gave him a saucy smile,"But you wouldn't have enjoyed it as much."

He smiled back as his blush deepened.

"I'll hurry. We need to get back." She crossed to the loo.

When she came out, Harry was dressed and the bed was made. 

He left the room and was back in a few minutes. "Let's go see Mum."

Lily was waiting; sitting in the rocker."Good morning."

They both said, "Good morning." in reply at the same time.

"Sit for a few minutes."

Ginny sat in the floor. Harry sat beside her...right beside her.'That's new, but who's complaining?'

Lily looked at them for a few moments without saying anything. She smiled and took a deep breath,"That was amazing last night. Godric and Rowena were even surprised."

Ginny looked at Harry. He was frowning a little,"Why? What was wrong?"

Lily laughed,"Nothing was 'wrong' Harry. It was just more than we expected. I'll bet the Department of Mysteries would love to do a magical scan on you two. I can almost promise they haven't seen anything like you two before."

Ginny felt herself blushing, but she wasn't sure why.

"Your bonding was much stronger and more complex than anyone expected. I am sure you both share some incredibly powerful magic."

Lily's smile faded a bit."This won't stay a secret for long, so be prepared. Ginny your parents are going to be very unhappy with James and I. We're sorry you and Harry will have to deal with it. If things get too bad, come back here. Or you can go to James' parents' house."

Ginny felt Harry start,"What house?"

Lily looked confused,"The Potter house in Cornwall. You do know about the house don't you Harry?"

Harry was shaking his head 'no.'

Now Lily's face was red,"I don't know who to be angrier with....Sirius or Albus." She seemed to be distracted for a moment."I'll be right back." She was gone.

Ginny was still watching Harry. He seemed very confused.

Then Lily was back,"Sirius and I are going to talk later."

Ginny thought Lily meant she was going to yell and Sirius was going to listen.

"Harry, your Dad will tell you where to find a few things before you leave. His family worked with a goblin at Gringotts. James will tell you how to get in touch with him."

"Who does the house belong to now?"

"Why you, of course."
 
Harry nodded again."Err, is there anything else I need to know."

"The goblin will explain about the property and your vault. I need to tell you a couple of more things about the bond. It will automatically record itself at the Ministry when it completes itself."

Harry beat Ginny to the obvious question,"You mean it's not complete?"

"Not quite. You will know when it happens." She smiled again,"I promise you will know."

She looked back at Harry,"Two other things you should know...the bond breaks the blood protection at Privet Drive. When it's complete you don't have to go back there."

Ginny heard Harry mutter,"Yes!' under his breath.

"Secondly, you will both be legally adults under magical law. Harry, that means Dumbledore can't make you do anything."

Ginny was still processing 'you will both be adults' when the last part was said. Harry sat up straight...a big smile on his face.

Lily wasn't smiling...she was very serious,"That doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to other adults. Remus and Ginny's parents will always be there to help. Listen to them."

Harry didn't answer for a few moments. Then he looked back as his mum, his face as serious as hers,"Yes, Mum."

"Alright. You two should be off."

It was obvious that neither Harry nor his mother wanted this to end. Finally, she smiled sadly,"Bye, Harry. I love you."

"Bye, Mum.I love you,too."

Lily disappeared before things could get harder.

Ginny held Harry's hand as they went downstairs. James sent Harry to the study for a small box and some papers."That will tell you the basics. Gringotts will fill in the rest."

The parting here was no easier.

Ginny waited....giving Harry some time to sort through things in his head...and heart.

Finally, he looked up and smiled,"Ready to face it?"

Ginny nodded and smiled back,"The paddock again, I think. The walk may be the last peace we have for a while."

They stepped together and disappeared.

*   *   *

"How long do you think?" James looked at Lily.

"Probably within the hour. Definitely before the day is out."

"Shouldn't you have told them the rest?"

"I didn't want to scare them.It doesn't apply for a couple of years,anyway. When Ginny's mum finds out, she may kill herself just to come after me. I know I would think about it if things were reversed."

James laughed,"That's just the kind of thinking that's always terrified me and Sirius."

"Good thing, too."

*   *   *

When they appeared in the paddock, Ginny started to pull away. Instead Harry tightened his arm and held her even closer.

When she turned her head up to see what he was thinking, she got the shock of her life....in more ways than one.

As she was turning her head up, Harry was lowering his. The result was their first kiss. Several things happened at once....Ginny's face flushed bright red.....her knees began to tremble.....her heart started racing. 

On a larger scale a golden glow, tinged with red, radiated around them. This caused several other things to happen....a quill made a notation in a registry at the Ministry of Magic...at the same time three Owls were automatically written and dispatched from the Ministry.....shortly thereafter, two more Owls were sent from Gringotts.....a loud bang was heard on Privet Drive, but none of the muggles knew what caused it....Kingsley Shaklebolt, who was standing watch at Privet Drive, knew exactly what the bang meant....he rushed toward Number 4 as fast as he could move.

*   *   *
Far removed from all of this activity, Lily Potter smirked at her husband,"Less than an hour."

James grinned,"Thought he was never going to get his nerve up."

*   *   *

When Harry finally broke the kiss, Ginny was breathless. She knew then what Lily had meant.

Thankfully, Harry was not yet finished. They finally separated when they heard her Mum calling them like she had the week before.

Harry was grinning like a fool. Ginny thought she might be as well.

"Think that might have done it, don't you?"

Ginny knew exactly what Harry meant,"If not, we can try again later." They were definitely trying that again later. Even if the Bond was now set in stone.

"Yeah, we probably should." Harry's eyes were glowing. She had to tear herself away from them.

They walked hand in hand back to the Burrow. Her Mum was standing by the garden gate. "Don't try to tell me you were talking this time. It is quite plain what you two have been up to."

Ginny dropped Harry's hand and ran up to her mother. She hugged her and whispered,"Was your first kiss with Dad like fireworks going off?"

Her mother squeezed her and whispered back,"It was. They still are."

Ginny laughed, then ran back to Harry. He was bright red.

"Come on Harry, we haven't had breakfast."

They were sitting at the table, finishing eating when four owls flew in. Two landed in front of each of them. Ginny looked at the envelopes. One was from Gringotts, the other from the Ministry. She looked at the name on one then the other. Her heart stopped.

"What are those about Ginny?" Her mother had turned from the sink.

Ginny hurriedly untied the letters and let the owls leave,"I'm not sure Mum." She could hear the quiver in her own voice. 

Harry had taken his letters and was looking at her with a frown,"Are you alright?" His voice was low and concerned.

Ginny held the envelopes so that he could read the names of the addressee. He turned pale in an instant. Ginny stood up,"Mum, Harry and I need to talk for a minute in private. We'll be right back."

Ginny started for the sitting room...Harry on her heels.

"Ginny what's wrong?"

"Please Mum. Harry and I need a minute."

Ginny kept walking until they were as far from the kitchen as possible. When she turned, Harry was looking down at the envelopes in her hand. Both were adressed to:
Genevra Weasley Potter. 

"What....?"

Ginny had no idea either. She tore open the one from the Ministry. It read:

Dear Mrs. Potter,
On this date was recorded the completion of an Eternity Bond with Harry James Potter. As I am sure you know, this bond constitutes a legal marriage under wizarding law. Further, you are now considered an adult witch and now have all of the rights and priviledges that that rightfully come to an adult in our world.

You may be interested to know that your and Mr. Potter's bond is the first of its kind in four hundred thirty-one years.

Congratulations,

Cornell Watley
Registrar
   

Ginny looked up at Harry. He had been reading along."Well, Harry, you always have to be different." Humor seemed the only sane way to respond. Anything else...

"Ginny, I didn't....oh Merlin...You .....What are we going to do?"

She had no idea, so she opened the letter from Gringotts. It was another shock:

Dear Mrs. Potter,

At your earliest convenience please come to Gringotts so that you may be added to those authorized to access the Potter Family vault. It is currently controlled by your new husband Harry James Potter. Your prompt attention to this matter will be appreciated.

Gornhall
Account records
  

Ginny heard Harry opening his envelopes.

"Mine from the Ministry is just like yours." He was quiet for a minute..."Gringotts wants me to come in and take legal control of the family vault. You're to come, too. Family vault?"

He was quiet again..."I guess I better read the things Dad gave me this morning."

Ginny could only nod. Her brain was mush right now.

"Ginny, your mum...she's waiting. Do we tell her?"

She took a deep breath and looked up at....her husband. Her childhood dream, but so unexpected.They were supposed to be older...

He put his arms around her shoulders and pulled her to him,"Nothing we can change now. Let's get it over with before anybody else comes in."

Ginny nodded , then reached up and kissed Harry softly,"Alright, let's go." She loved that he at least tried to smile.

They walked slowly back to the kitchen.

A few moments later, pigeons were scared into the air at Buckingham Palace, the water rippled against the breeze on Loch Ness, channel buoys rang in calm water on the Irish Sea.

The two words..."You're What!?" ....seemed to echo for hours.

*   *   *

"LILY!"

"I'm going to find Godric and Rowena. Ginny's mother will probably want them after she gets through with me.Although,there may not be anything left when I get through with the two of them."

Chapter 3: Mr. and Mrs.
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



"YOU'RE WHAT?!!!"


*   *   *

Arthur Weasley looked up from the parchment he was reading. He thought he heard..., but it couldn't have been. Still..... 

He frowned as he watched the door. Nothing or no one moved. After a few moments he resumed his reading. Every few minutes he would look up again. He was almost sure....

*   *   *

Fred froze for a moment. The display he was building forgotten. He noticed that the hair on the back of his neck was standing straight up.

He stood and started across the shop towards the office. Before he had taken two steps, George burst through the curtained doorway,"Was that...?"

Fred shook his head in confusion,"I...it sure sounded..."

Ron was heard thundering down the stairs,"What's Mum doing..." He didn't finish when he saw his brothers standing in the shop looking as befuddled as he was.

The three looked at one another. They had been working since early morning, so it shouldn't be guilt.

The twins locked eyes.

"Why would Mum..."

"...be yelling at us..."

"...when we weren't even..."

"...up to something. Wonder who..."

...it could be?" 

"Bill..."

"...or Ginny?"

*   *   *

Ginny's ears were ringing...Probably all of Ottery St. Catchpole's ears were ringing.

(HOW THE TWO OF YOU...)

Harry was gripping her hand so tightly that her fingers were going numb.

("...SHOULD NEVER HAVE TRUSTED...")

She became aware that she could feel emotions flowing from Harry. As she noticed, his state of mind became clear to her.

("...'TIL YOUR FATHER HEARS...")

Harry was shamed. He was shamed to be standing here before the only real mother he had ever kown and listening to her rant about betraying trust.

( ...NEVER BE ABLE TO TURN OUR...")

Ginny freed her hand from Harry's and turned to face him.

(" ...YOU DARE TURN YOUR BACK...")

Ginny put her hands on Harry's shoulders and rose up on tiptoe. She spoke softly so only he could hear. At least she hoped he could still hear. "Harry, do not feel ashamed. I don't, and you shouldn't either. We did the right thing for us... the right thing to make sure you win. No matter what she says, I'm with you, Bond or not. No regrets, Harry...never."

(" ....AROUND AND LOOK AT....")

She started to pull away then had another thought,"Besides, as of today I'm the only witch you have to listen to." 

(....YOU HEAR ME...")

As Ginny pulled away, she saw a tiny smile form on Harry's lips. To her surprise he put his hands on her back and held her close as his smile widened just a little.

"The only one, huh?"

Ginny smiled back and nodded,"And you had better never forget that."

She could feel her eyes go wide as he leaned down and softly kissed her,"I'm kind of slow you know." She could feel his spirits lightening through his hands on her back. In the back of her mind, she noted that this was not normal.

She frowned up at him, "Then it may take me years and years to be sure you don't forget." She quickly kissed him back before turning in his arms and facing her Mum again.

In just that short time, things had changed. Her Mum wasn't shouting....her face wasn't red...she had a hint of a smile showing and her eyes were beginning to glisten at the corners, but they glowed with warmth.

Ginny felt Harry's hands slide down her arms and twine his fingers with his. Without a thought, she pulled their arms across her and leaned back into Harry's chest.

Her Mum seemed a little flustered, but maybe amused, too. That was a huge improvement over raging. 

"I guess we need to Floo your father and get him back here." Her Mum sounded calm and reasonable for the first time since they had returned to the kitchen.

Ginny nodded. Afraid to say anything given the change of atmosphere.

"Molly! Molly Weasley!"

The three of them hurried into the sitting room. Remus Lupin's head could be seen in the flames in the fireplace.

"Remus?"

"Have you seen Ha.... Harry! Thank Merlin you're there."

Ginny let go of Harry's hand as he dropped to his knees in front of the fire."Why? What's happened? Is something wrong?"

Remus took an obvious deep breath."Kingsley was watching your aunt's house this morning when the wards all crashed. He went to look for you and when you weren't there.....I was hoping you were still at the Burrow."

Her Mum knelt down next to Harry,"Remus we need to talk."

"I need to let the Order know Harry is alright. Hestia is trying to find Albus. He's still in France....anyway, I'm sure there will be an Order meeting as soon as Albus gets back. Perhaps we could talk after."

"Remus, I mean we need to talk now. I'm Flooing Arthur as soon as we are finished. Let people know Harry's safe and come here."

Remus looked even more alarmed than he had before,"Is something wrong? What's happened?"

"I'll not discuss it through the Floo. Come on along as quickly as you can. If Dora is free, bring her along,too."

Remus nodded and disappeared.

Harry stood as her Mum grabbed some Floo powder. When he turned he looked quite serious.

Ginny held out her hand and led him back to the kitchen,"Harry, what is it?"

Harry looked down at the floor for a moment before speaking."I know things have just happened....and we never talked about it....but since we're already legally married, I wondered..."

Ginny's insides were twisting all around. They had never talked about...doing that. Merlin! They had just kissed for the first time a little over an hour ago. Still, they were officially married and Harry wanted to ....consummate things. They were married.....but she was still only fourteen years old. She hadn't expected to be faced with this until....well, later. She tensed as he continued...

"...if you wanted to have a real wedding...you know instead of just the Ministry sending us a letter..."

Ginny's heart soared. She laughed as she threw her arms around his neck,"You sweet, sweet bo...man. I don't know....can I think about it for a while? I mean I'm sure I do, but maybe we can talk later...after everybody is through shouting and stuff."

Tension seemed to drain out of Harry,"Sure, whenever you want. I just didn't...If you want a wedding, you deserve to have one...we'll talk...whenever you say..."

Ginny couldn't restrain herself any longer,she tried to kiss Harry senseless.

"Excuse me....EXCUSE ME! If you two can tear yourselves apart?"

Ginny pulled away from Harry's lips, but not him. She looked over his shoulder at her Mum.

"Your father is on his way. Why don't you sit at the table while I make some more tea."

*   *   *

The three of them were quietly, but companionably, sitting at the table when Remus came through the Floo. He came into the kitchen searching everyone's face for clues.

Mrs. Weasley poured him a cup of tea as he sat across from the two teens. His face was full of uncertainty.

Harry met his eyes but said nothing. Before Remus could start asking questions, Mr. Weasley rushed in.

"Mollly, what's happened?"
 
Mrs. Weasley calmly poured him a cup of tea as well."Before I , better yet these two, try to explain, you both should read these." She passed each of the wizards copies of the letters.

Harry watched with a feeling of dread. As he looked back and forth, both men turned red, then paled. It seemed they each read both letters several times.

Finally, Mr. Weasley looked up at the couple,"I assume there hasn't been some kind of error?"

As Harry shook his head, he felt Ginny slide her hand into his under the table."No sir. It isn't a mistake."

'Would you, or can you tell us how this came about?"

Harry swallowed a huge lump in his throat,"We... well Mum and Dad thought that it would be better if Ginny and I were bonded...uhh, when I faced Voldemort I would be more powerful you see."

Remus broke in,"So you knew about this the whole time?"

"Well, yeah. I mean no...We knew that we were bonding.... we thought it was a Life Bond. So did Mum and Dad...we didn't know we would be...you know...we didn't know we would be married." He let out a big breath. This was worse than he had thought it would be.

Mr.Weasley held up his hand,"Why don't you tell us the whole story this time?"

Harry was amazed how calm both wizards had been so far...Especially Mr. Weasley. He took a breath to begin, but Ginny beat him to it. She described her talks with Lily and James about forming a bond and all that a bond, particularly with Harry, would entail. In some detail she described her thoughts and doubts before deciding to go forward. 

Occasionally,Harry added a detail or his thoughts, but, for the most part, he listened along with the three 'adults.'

"So you both, Harry's parents too, thought you were creating a Life Bond strengthened by Ginny's Life Debt to Harry?"

The two teens nodded.

Mr. Weasley looked at his wife,"Molly, I'm not at all happy about this, but it seems, for the most part, Ginny and Harry have acted in good faith based on what they believed to be true and the best choice."

Mrs. Weasley was nodding as her husband finished,"I know Arthur... but they're so young." She looked over at the teens,"I know I shouted a lot before, but never think I don't love you both." She turned back to Remus and Mr. Weasley,"What can we do? i know very little about this sort of magic."

Remus looked at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley,"Other than the marriage, do either of you know the difference beyween a Life and Eternity Bond?"

 As Mrs. Weasley shook her head, Mr. Weasley stood."I'll be right back."

No one said anything while he was gone. Harry stared at the table; afraid to look at his parents' friend.

Mr. Weasley came back carrying a large, black, leather bound book. From the cracks and creases on the cover, it appeared to be quite old. He opened it near the front and consulted what was probably a 'Table of Contents.' After a moment he began flipping through the pages.

"Alright, 'Bonds.' 'Life Bonds' do increase the magical power of both partners both individually and together....when the Bond is complete, if the partners are not 'of age' they become legal adults.....when both partners, if not already 'of age,' become 'of age' they are legally married at that time....Pretty much what Lily told you two."

They nodded.

He flipped another couple of pages,"'Eternity Bond'....a huge increase in magical power for both...legally adults, but it says the magic involved in creating the Bond could not possibly be performed by underage wizards and witches, so that is moot (Shows how much this wizard knew)....couple is married as soon as the Bond is fully completed....other powers may be shared unique to the couple bonded....bond cannot be broken even if both partners desire it, nor by death....one partner generally survives only a few hours after the other dies..."

The room grew deathly still.

Harry felt his heart sinking to his feet. He turned to Ginny and found her to be...calm and serene. She sensed him looking and smiled up at him,"No regrets, Harry. I meant it."

"Ginny?" Harry looked at Mrs. Weasley. Her eyebrows had nearly disappeared into her hairline.

Ginny faced her mum without a bit of hesitation,"While you were going on this morning, I could sense what Harry was feeling. He was ashamed because he thought he had let the lot of you down. I told him I had no regrets. I still don't." She grinned, cut her eyes at Harry, then continued,"I also told him I was the only witch he had to listen to now."

Despite everything else, Remus and Mr. Weasley both laughed. Mrs. Weasley even smiled.

"Harry, that sounded just like your mother talking to James. If I were you, I'd take what Ginny said as a warning, not just advice." Remus laughed again.

After a few moments, Mrs. Weasley asked the obvious question,"So, what do we do now?"

When no one spoke, Remus offered,"I guess these two need to go to Gringotts."

"Who's going to Gringotts?" Tonks came through the door from the side garden.

She looked around as she got further into the room,"What's going on? Something bad has happened, hasn't it?" She dropped into a chair next to Ginny.

No one spoke for a moment.

Finally, Remus looked across the table,"Have you ever heard what happens when a couple completes an Eternity Bond?"

Tonks shook her head,"No, I haven't. Why would that have come...." She spun around and stared at Harry and Ginny,"You didn't...did you? Merlin's beard, you two...how..." Her hair had gone from pink, to blue, to blazing red.

Mr. Weasley stepped in,"Ginny, why don't you tell Dora your story while we have another cup of tea." He slid two of the letters in front of Tonks."You might read these as Ginny gets started."

Ten minutes later the young Auror was slumped down in her chair,"You know, Harry... you never do anything by half, do you?"

Harry didn't know what to say so he just sort of nodded.

Remus was frowning in thought,"Do you,either of you, still have a copy of the incantations?"

Harry was shaking his head as Ginny said,"Sure," and went over to her rucksack. He smiled to himself as she quietly, so no one could overhear, removed the charms.

A moment later she laid the journal, opened to the correct page, in front of their former professor. Remus turned the large book to the page on Life Bonds and compared the book and journal."The Life Bond incantation is word for word."

He then opened the piece of parchment folded between the pages and read it's incantation. Again, he referenced the book. "Once this changes from Latin to Gaelic it is entirely different, but the phrasing is very powerful. I'm quite certain Gryffindor and Ravenclaw knew exactly what they were doing. These two must have generated an incredible amount of magical energy to have done this."

There was really nothing to say or do....it had been done and that was that.

Mr. Weasley stood,"I'm going back to the Ministry and see if anything has gotten around yet." He paused and looked at Harry and Ginny,"Molly, in answer to your question, all we can do is help these two in any way we can."

Harry was startled when Ginny flew out of her chair and into her father's arms,"Thank you, Dad."

"For what, Princess?"

"For what you just said, for not being disappointed in us."

Mr. Weasley kissed Ginny on top of her head,"Never. I promise we'll stand behind you and Harry no matter what."

When Ginny pulled away, he started back to the sitting room.

"Oh, Arthur."

Mr. Weasley stopped and looked back at Tonks,"Before I came, Hestia talked to Albus. The Order is going to meet at three this afternoon." Suddenly, she started laughing,"This is one meeting I won't miss. You two," She turned back to the teens," are going to stir things up right and proper."

Remus smiled sadly,"If this wan't so serious, it really would be funny. Albus is going to have kittens when he can't send Harry back to that prison on Privet Drive."

Ginny's mum put her hand on Remus' arm, almost smiling,"Thank you Remus for reminding me why this may not be quite so bad after all." She looked across the table,"I believe you two have been summoned to Gringotts. Dora and Remus, would you mind going along to help keep an eye on these two?"

Tonks shook her head,"My pleasure." Her eyes had been twinkling since  she had thought about Dumbledore.

Remus appeared pensive,"Maybe we should stop by Madam Malkin's, too."

"Why's that, Remus?" Mr. Weasley had stepped back into the room.

"Word of this is going to get out...most likely sooner rather than later. Right here is about to be the most famous couple in magical Britain. People in the Alley will remember seeing them. It might be best if they looked well turned out....Kind of dampens the age issue, if you see what I mean."

Mr. Weasley was nodding,"I see your point. Molly do you have enough for Ginny some new robes, or will you need to get some...."

"NO!" That came out a little more forcefully than he had intended."Err, that won't be necessary. Ginny and I will have our own gold after we go to Gringotts. We'll buy our own robes."

Mrs. Weasley started to say something, but Mr. Weasley beat her to it,"Harry, Ginny, I apologize. You're right. It will probably take me a while to get used to ....everything."

Harry smiled his relief,"I didn't mean it to come out that way. I'm sorry. It's just... well....everything is ours now. I thought we should start out acting..."

Mrs. Weasley leaned across the table and put her hand on his,"You're a good man Harry. Like Arthur said, we will all need a little time to get used to things." 

Harry thought he saw tears shining in her eyes as she leaned forward.

"This time I really am off." Mr. Weasley disappeared into the sitting room.

Remus looked at his watch,"We have plenty of time for Gringotts, Madam Malkin's and even lunch before the Order meeting."

Mrs. Weasley jumped up,"I can help things along if I can find Bill at work." She headed for the sitting room, too.

That left the two couples alone at the table.

"Harry."

He looked over at Remus,"You didn't let us down or disappoint us,alright?"

Harry smiled a little,"Thanks."

"You have managed to scare the absolute hell out of us, though. Don't think we missed the part about you needing more power when you face Voldemort. There's something important you've left out." He was watching Harry and Ginny expectantly.

Harry leaned over to Ginny so he could whisper without even Remus' very acute hearing allowing him to listen.

"I'm not ready to talk about that yet with anyone but you."

Her mouth was a grim, straight line. She lightly ran her hand up and down his arm,"Then don't until you're ready. It doen't change anything for now."

Harry raised his eyes back to Remus,"Not yet. I will, but not yet."

"Harry, if it's that important, someone needs to know."

Harry frowned,"Dumbledore knows...he told me a couple of weeks ago. I'm not to tell anyone for now."

Now Remus was frowning,"But Ginny knows?"

Harry nodded,"Mum knew and told her to help her decide what to do."

Remus looked at Tonks. She shook her head slightly, so he sat back in his chair,"I've trusted you so far and you've been mostly honest with me. I'll keep trusting you...both of you."

"Bill's opened a Floo connection inside the bank for us. We need to get started." As she was talking, Mrs. Weasley was collecting cups and placing them in the sink.


*   *   *

The five of them lined up in the sitting room. Tonks went first, followed by Ginny, then her mum. Harry waited to let Mrs. Weasley get clear before he stepped in. He stepped in , but stumbled out. Bill let go of Ginny to reach out and catch Harry before he actually hit the stone floor.

When they were all sorted out Bill asked what was going on.

His mum answered somewhat evasively,"Harry and Ginny have some business here. We just came along to keep them company."

Bill turned to Harry, "Do you know who you need to see?"

"A goblin named Gornhall." 

"Right. Follow me." He led them out into the main hall."See the goblin at the desk next to the counter. He will be able to help you."

Harry took Ginny's hand as they crossed the hall. Sure enough, the goblin soon had them outside a door behind the counters.

The goblin knocked, then opened the door,"Mr. and Mrs. Potter are here." He motioned the couple to enter the room as he stepped back and closed the door.

"Mr. and Mrs. Potter, thank you for being so prompt. I'm Gornhall. Would you take a seat please?"

Harry and Ginny sat on the small sofa indicated.

The goblin returned to his desk and came back carrying several pieces of parchment and a large, ornate, wooden box. He placed the box on a table in front of the sofa, but held on to the parchment as he sat in a chair facing Harry.

"Again, thank you for being so prompt. The first thing we need to do is establish your and Mrs. Potter's access to the Potter vault." The goblin placed a very old piece of parchment on the table in front of Harry. Next he removed a small silver knife from his morning coat.

"Mr. Potter if I could have your left thumb." 

Harry held his thumb out for Gornhall to prick with the point of the knife.

"Now if you would blot your finger over your name please."

Harry looked at the parchment. Near the bottom he found:

Harry James Potter
Patriarch of the House of Potter
     
     
He blotted his finger over his name.

Gornhall rose and walked around the table to Ginny,"Mrs. Potter your thumb please."

Ginny did as asked.

Harry pushed the parchment over in front of her. He watched as she touched her thumb to the space: 

Ginevra Weasley Potter
Matriarch of the House of Potter 
        

He smiled at the bemused expression on her face when she sat back.

Looking back down at the parchment, Harry saw the names of generations of Potters going back hundreds of years. Under each of those names was: Deceased   

The goblin rolled the parchment and put it into a polished brass tube he had taken from his coat pocket."You both now have access to your family vault.  Just place your hand over the crest to open the door. At some point in time you may wish to add heirs. That can be done in much the same manner, although you can place limits on their access or withdrawals. Mr. Potter, the gold in your trust vault has been transferred to the family vault. At your converience, you may return the key or maintain that vault for other matters."

Harry's head was spinning,"Err, I'll keep the other vault for now."

Gornhall pulled two packets of parchment from the stack he was holding,"These are your copies of the deeds to your two houses...one in Cornwall, the other a townhouse here in London." He passed Harry a small piece of parchment."These are the addresses for the two homes. Entry is the same as for your vault." 

"Mr. Gornhall, what about the house in Godric's Hollow?"

Gornhall flipped through several documents,"Ah, yes. You do, in fact, own that cottage, but our building people fear it has so much spell damage and so many residual curses that it would be impractical to try to restore it.."

Harry smiled at Ginny. What people didn't know...

Gornhall placed a long piece of parchment on the table so that both Harry and Ginny could read it,"This is the current balance in your vault, plus a listing of your family's investments and the income from each."

Harry thought his eyes would pop out of his head. He had no idea what rich actually was in the wizarding world, but he was pretty sure it was less than what he saw on the parchment. After a hard swallow he looked over at Ginny. She was pale and her mouth was hanging slightly open.

After taking another minute or two to compose himself, Harry looked up at the goblin and nodded.

Gornhall tilted his head in response before opening the wooden box. He paused as he did so,"Mr. Potter, another goblin, Morfar, has served the Potters here at the bank for many years. As he has  retired, he asked that I take the Potter account...with your permission, of course."

Not knowing how to respond, Harry nodded,"That will be alright with me."

Gornhall bowed his head slightly, then continued,"I mentioned this now because these next items are of a more personal...family nature. Morfar has explained their significance but he undoubtably knows more of their story than I. If you need to know more, we can arrange an appointment with him.

"Thank you."

The goblin opened the box fully. Its top prevented either Harry or Ginny seeing inside.

"First, Mr. Potter, I understand that these were your parents' wands." He passed the two slender, highly polished pieces of wood to Harry.

Harry held them up in the light to better see their details. The longer, thicker one of the two was also the one showing the most hard use. There was a long scratch down one side and a crack in the thicker end. The shorter one had to be his Mum's....it seemed to almost speak in her voice. He closed his eyes and visualized how they would look in his parents' hands. Thanks to the past two weeks, he felt sure he was imagining it very well.

"Certainly, you may take them with you, or I can have them returned to your vault."

Harry opened his eyes and looked back at the wands again,"Maybe they should stay in the vault for now."

"As you wish." Gornhall accepted the wands back from Harry and returned them to the box.

The next items to come from the box were what appeared to be a stack of letters. "Your parents wrote these letters to you in care of the bank. The first arrived April 6, 1981 and the last was received October 30 of the same year."

Harry reached for the letters. They were tied together by a piece of black ribbon.'Well that's appropriate.' He looked at them, noticing that his hands were shaking a little. A small hand touched his back and began gently rubbing between his shoulders.

"Why don't you wait to read them Harry? It should be somewhere quiet after we get through the day."

Harry nodded his agreement and laid the bundle on the table in front of him.

When he looked up, he noticed the goblin had been politely looking away while Harry dealt with his emotions. He turned to Ginny who smiled and patted his shoulder before looking back at the box.

"These next items are family heirlooms. My understanding is that the oldest pieces were commissioned about three hundred years ago." Gornhall held up a long, slim wooden box about two inches high. As he opened the top, Ginny gasped.

Inside the case were several pieces of jewelry. Harry saw a pearl necklace with matching earrings, a pendant with a deep red stone (a ruby?) surrounded by what appeared to be diamonds, two matching, plain gold bands; obviously one for a man the other for a woman. The most striking pieces were all part of a matched set. There was a diamond ring with emeralds on either side of the diamond. Displayed beside the ring was a set of emerald teardrop, dangle earrings, and draped around it all was a necklace made with alternating diamonds and emeralds coming together against a large emerald, set in lusterous gold, in the center.

Ginny reached for the case but pulled her hand back at the last instant. Harry smiled at Gornhall, who smiled back, and took the case from the goblin's hand.

Turning the case towards Ginny, Harry encouraged her,"You can touch them you know....they belong to you now as much as me."

"Oh,Harry they're so beautiful." She finally raised her hand back to the case and gently touched each piece.

Harry was vaguely aware that Gornhall had left the room.

As he watched her wide eyed study of the jewelry, a thought began to grow. Very uncertainly, he reached out and took her hand,"Ginny?" After a moment she looked up."You know...well since we're married....would you....do you think...do you think we should wear the rings?"

Her eyes were glistening,"Are you sure Harry? It's all so new...do you want me to...?"

As Harry nodded he took the diamond ring and the smaller gold band from the case. When Ginny held out her hand, it was shaking so badly Harry had to concentrate to slip the rings on. They instantly sized themselves to her small finger.

When she finally tore her eyes away from her hand, she smiled and reached for the other band. Harry found that his hand was shaking now.

They softly clasped left hands and studied how they looked together. Harry leaned in a kissed Ginny's cheek,"I guess that makes it official."

Ginny giggled, then smirked just a little,"Don't think this gets you out of a proper wedding."

Harry laughed,"I never thought it would."

"Ahem."

Harry turned around to find Gornhall standing by the open door,"Would you like to visit your vault?"

"Yeah, thanks." Harry pulled Ginny up and followed the goblin out into the corridor.

A fairly long and somewhat harrowing cart ride later found them outside the vault. First Harry, then Ginny placed their hands on the crest in the center of the door. The massive barrier suddenly disappeared.

"In the future, either one of you may open the vault alone." Gornhall gestured for the couple to enter first.

The first thing Harry noticed was the size. It was several times larger than the other vault he had used. On the floor, to the left of the doorway, were three chests. Harry decided to see what they contained. The first was filled with gold and silver serving pieces. The second had multiple compartments. Each was organized with books on different types of charms, spells and curses. He had probably found the source for the entries in the journals. The last contained a hodgepodge of things...photo albums, school books, dried flowers, and rolls of parchment and muggle paper. All of this would need more time than they had today.

Around the outside walls of the vault were pieces of furniture, old trunks, and paintings. The middle of the space was taken up by stacks and stacks of gold and silver. 

After staring for a while, he finally remembered that they weren't alone. He turned to Gornhall who had stayed inconspicuously near the entrance. "We were planning to shop some today. Could you guess about what we might need?"

Ginny took over,"We're getting new robes and a few other things at Madam Malkin's. Later we are going to muggle London to get my husband some decent clothes."

Harry wasn't sure, but he thought the goblin might have laughed...just a little,maybe.

Gornhall pulled a pouch from his coat and handed it to Ginny ( Harry was sure the goblin was smiling now). He advised her on how much to take in gold as he collected more to convert to muggle money.

Before reentering the office, Gornhall sent another goblin to get the pound notes.

"Would you care for some tea while we wait?"

Harry looked at Ginny then nodded,"Thank you,yes."

As they sipped their tea, Gornhall gave them a history of Gringotts. Ginny might have known all of this, but Harry was facinated. This was nothing like Binns.

A few minutes later another goblin came in with two small wallets and handed them to Gornhall. He checked their contents and passed them to Harry and Ginny.

As they looked inside, Gornhall went back to his desk. He returned carrying a slim dragonhide case."This will be more convenient for you to carry everything."

Harry thanked him and began putting things into the various compartments...the parchment, deeds, the letters, and the jewelry case all fit quite nicely.

Harry stood and put out his hand,"Thank you for everything."

Gornhall shook his hand,"My pleasure Mr. Potter and Mrs. Potter as well."

Ginny smiled and stuck out her hand,"Thank you."

Gornhall opened the door,"Godrall will take you back to your companions."

As Harry followed Godrall he began to get nervous....Bill.

*   *   *

Bill returned to the side room and collected the others. After they were all settled in his office, sipping tea, he turned to his Mum. "Alright, what's going on?"

It was not comforting to watch his mother shift nervously in her chair. Before she could start Remus began instead,"What do you know about magical bonds?"

Bill started to answer,'not much,' when everything became clear,"Ginny and Harry?"

Remus nodded.

"When? How?"

Remus paused,"We probably have some time...Let me start from the beginning. You know Harry and Ginny went back to Godric's Hollow yesterday?"

Bill nodded,"It was supposed to be the last time."

"Well it was....but there was more to it than even the kids knew....Lily and James...."

Fifteen minutes later Bill was sitting, stunned, as the others watched."Merlin's beard, they're just kids."

Surprisingly, it was his Mum who spoke up,"I'm fairly sure Harry hasn't been a 'kid' for quite a long time. Sadly, I think we missed that Ginny hasn't either. They've both been through so much already." A tear slipped down her cheek,"None of us wanted anything like this, but here we are." Her face tightened,"Merlin help anyone who tries to mess with the two of them."

Tonks and Bill were nodding, but Remus smiled,"From what we've read about the Bond, and knowing those two, there may not be anything left of anyone that crosses them."

Tonks and Bill both smiled at that, but his Mum just pressed her lips into a tighter line.

They sat quietly, talking about other things until the young couple found them.

*   *   *

Ginny was nervous. Her brother loved her very much...had protected her from any and all when she was little. She hoped he didn't try to do something to Harry. Harry could take care of himself; she just didn't want the upset right now.

She needn't have worried. As they entered the office, Bill was around his desk and had her in a huge hug. As she pressed her head against his chest, she wrapped her arms around him.

"Merciful heaven, Ginny. What a rock!"

Bill let go and pulled back to see what Tonks was going on about. Ginny held her left hand up for everyone to see. A moment later her Mum and Tonks were all over her about the where and when.

When she finally got a moment, she looked for Harry. Bill was leaning close to him saying something. It must of have been alright because she saw Harry say,'Thank you' as Bill stepped back.

Given the break, Ginny stepped over to Harry and took his arm,"Now aren't you supposed to be taking me to Madam Malkin's?"

Bill hooted,"There you go Harry, she gets the key and is ready to start spending your gold."

Ginny tilted her head up so she could regally look down her nose as she answered,"My husband and I are going to buy new robes. Maybe someday you'll have a wife to take shopping." She paused before inserting the dagger,"Oui, mon frere?"

Bill's face went bright red as soon as the words were out of her mouth. He turned pale as his Mum gave him a hard stare.

"What does Ginny know that I should, Bill?"

"N.. nothing Mum. She's just winding me up a bit, that's all."

Ginny knew her Mum didn't believe that for a moment, but she didn't press matters.

Taking Harry's arm again, Ginny led him from the room.

*  *   *

The short walk to Madam Malkin's was uneventful.

The shop's owner herself greeted them as they walked in,"Mr. Potter isn't it? And Miss Weasley, what can I do for you?"

Behind them, Harry heard the others come into the shop.'Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.' "Actually, it's Mrs. Potter, not Miss Weasley."

The prim shopkeeper's mouth fell open. Harry watched her eyes search for some sort of proof one way or the other. He could see her eyes suddenly focus near Ginny's waist. When he looked down he saw Ginny quite openly waggling her left ring finger.

"Well, yes...Mr. and Mrs. Potter, what may I do for you?"

Harry watched in awe as Ginny stepped forward; a bright smile on her face,"Harry and I need new, everyday robes. For Harry I think maybe a dark gray with black trim would look good." By now Ginny and Madam Malkin were walking together toward the fitting area. "I would like to try a midnight blue and maybe charcoal gray..."

Harry turned around as he heard laughter behind him.

"She seems to be taking to this quite well, don't you think Harry?" Tonks could barely get the words out.

He could feel the blood rush to his face as all three adults broke out into laughter again.

Before the hem on his robes could be pinned, Ginny had him by the arm, crossing the shop. A few minutes later, he was back on the platform wearing a new pair of shiny, black, dress boots.

Thinking he was finished, he stepped off to the side. Ginny looked over her shoulder as one of the helpers was measuring her arm,"Mum, would you and Tonks take Harry over and find a couple of pairs of dressy trousers and maybe three or four dress shirts."

Once again, hoping himself finished, Harry was standing at the counter, wearing a new pair of black trousers and a white oxford cloth shirt. Three more shirts, another white one,a blue chambray, and the other a light gray, plus a pair of navy, summer weight, wool trousers were on the counter in front of him. 

Ginny bumped him as she piled two packs of boxers, two packs of t-shirts and six pairs of socks on top of his other new clothes.

"Your 'Dudley cast off days' are over, Harry."

By the time he had paid, their robes were ready. Harry was wearing the gray and had a set of standard black in one of the three bags he had carried from the shop. Ginny had decided on a medium blue with a midnight blue trim. She had added a new pair of low, black heels, also.

Remus, who had disappeared from the shop while they were being fitted, met them about halfway back to the Leaky Cauldron,"Tom has put us in a private room. Arthur and Bill are joining us. By the way, you two make a very handsome couple."

*   *   *

While they had been strolling and window shopping casually up the Alley, neither had been aware of the attention they were drawing.Their minds were still racing, trying to sort out what was happening. Molly and Tonks, walking behind them , hadn't missed a thing. An attractive young couple, obviously happy together, drew notice. When those that noticed recognized Harry, they stared...and told their companions...Which caused more people to notice...

Molly leaned closer to Tonks,"Dora, I'm sure glad they bought those robes. Most of England will claim to have been here by this time next week."

Tonks nodded,"Molly, I'm sorry things are as they are, but they do seem to just belong together, don't they?"

Molly smiled,"Ginny has believed that for years."

Tonks laughed,"So have a lot of girls, I bet. Now Ginny has him and he's happy about it."

*  *   *

Lunch was very relaxed. While they ate, the women talked about things they had admired at Madam Malkin's while the men smiled indulgently.

Over coffee, Mr. Weasley told them that rumors were starting to circulate at the Ministry."No one has it right yet, but they're getting closer. So far I haven't been asked directly, but I'm getting a lot of looks. If you know what I mean?"He sipped his coffee,"Actually, I'm surprised that the Registrar's office hasn't spilled the whole thing."

Bill leaned forward,"Did you two really have tea with Gornhall?"

Harry and Ginny both nodded.

Bill smiled as he shook his head,"You don't have any idea do you? Well you wouldn't."

Mrs. Weasley looked as puzzled as Harry felt,"What are you talking about, Bill?"

Bill's smile changed to a hard grin,"You see, the old, wealthy families see the goblins as no more than servants. They would never think of having tea with one. It would be beneath them."

"Well, that's just ridiculous."

"To you maybe Mum, but that's the way it is. Gornhall was so surprised, he's telling the other goblins all about it. He told my boss that he was most impressed by both of you." He was looking at Harry and Ginny.

Harry frowned, "It just seemed the polite thing to do. He had been very helpful and all."

Ginny nodded,"He was nothing like I've heard people talking at school. I thought we got along quite well."

Bill sat back in his chair,"You two have done something really good for our relations with goblins. Besides, Harry, being Harry, makes it even a bigger deal. I might also add that it doesn't hurt me any either." He stood,"I need to get back and enjoy some of the good will you two left behind." After hugging his Mum and Ginny he was gone.

Mr. Weasley checked his watch,"I need to be going as well. I'll see all of you at headquarters in an hour or so."

The five remaining had more coffee and killed time before leaving for the Order meeting.

*   *   *

Harry and Ginny had convinced the others that their charms would let them get to Grimmauld Place on their own. 

Harry heard the 'adults' coming up the steps behind him and Ginny just as they opened the door. He froze. His brain could not make his leg lift itself over the threshold. Memories, one particularly horrifying, were flashing before his eyes. He could feel perspiration running from his forehead down his temples.

"Harry? Harry, look at me."

He blinked a few times, then looked down.'How had Ginny gotten in front of him?'

"Harry, remember Sirius talked to us. He told you not to feel guilty,didn't he? It's alright to miss him...we all do. But you can't carry that guilt. If you can't turn loose of all of it, let me carry some."

As he was absorbing what she had said, she raised her hand and gently stroked his cheek. He leaned into the contact and closed his eyes. After a few moments, he looked at her again and nodded,"Thanks."

"No problem." She tugged on his arm,"Let's go in."

Molly leaned over to Tonks,"They act like they've been together for years." 

They all moved quietly down the hallway trying to not awaken Mrs. Black's portrait. There was no one in the parlour, so they went down to the kitchen.

Harry recognized Hestia Jones, Dedalus Diggle, and Kingsley Shacklebolt. They had taken seats at the end of the table furthest from the door. He and Ginny greeted them and went around to the other side of the table. 

Harry pulled out a chair near the center for Ginny, then sat on her right. Remus and Tonks came past them and took the next two places on his right. Mrs. Weasley sat on Ginny's other side.

Harry didn't fail to notice that his 'family' was surrounding him and Ginny.

Over the next several minutes, others Harry knew came in...Emmeline Vance, Elphias Doge, and Sturgis Podmore filtered in. Professor McGonagall swept in. After greeting everyone, she gave the teens an appraising once over.

Mr. Weasley came in with Bill. After pausing for a moment as they took in the seating, they sat in two empty seats directly in front of Harry and Ginny. 

Next through the door was Snape. His response was very predictable,"Potter," he sneered," still trying to be more than you are. This meeting is for adults, not children."

Before anyone could respond, Professor Dumbledore entered with Mad-Eye Moody.
 
Moody was his usual blunt self,"Potter, what the bloody hell are you doing here?"

"My sentiments, if not my exact words, Moody. I assume the Headmaster will..." Snape was cut off.

"Enough Severus. I see no harm in Harry and Miss Weasley being here while we discuss this morning's events," Professor Dumbledore's words sounded polite, but the tone left no room for argument..

"By your presence, Harry, I assume you know what has happened at Privet Drive?"

"Yes, I do...Remus told us this morning."

Dumbledore looked past Harry to Remus and nodded.

"Now, can anyone tell us what may have caused the wards to fail?"

The room was still as some shook their heads and others simply sat quietly.

Harry waited, drawing in a breath,"Err, I can."

Several people blurted out,"What?...How?....I don't really think..."

Snape sighed loudly,"Headmaster, just the sort of theatrics one should expect..."

Mr. Weasley raised his voice,"Let Harry speak. He does know."

Harry smiled his thanks at Ginny's dad and turned back to Professor Dumbledore. The Headmaster nodded for Harry to continue.

"I know why the wards failed...They failed when Ginny and I completed our Bond."

The room exploded with sound. People were shouting to be heard over the others. It escalated for a couple of minutes. Then....

"SILENCE!" Dumbledore was standing now. "Silence...please." As the room settled down, the professor looked hard at Harry.

Harry held the stare. As he did, he became aware that something or someone was poking around the edges of his brain. He knew...knew certainly, that nothing would be discovered.

"Harry, continue, if you please."

Ginny's hand squeezed his under the table. That seemed to unstick his tongue again. "Ginny and I have been learning magic from my parents.... I think Professor Dumbledore may have told some of you about that....."

An hour, or instant, but most probably ten minutes, later he had told the story. Across the table, Bill and Mr. Weasley were sitting up straight...obvious in their support of the couple.But others had their heads down or were frowning at him,and Ginny, in anger.

"Headmaster, this is exactly the irresponsible behavior I have warned you about. Potter has always believed he was..."

"Be quiet, Snape!" Harry's neck nearly snapped turning to Ginny. Her face was bright red and her eyes were glowing."You've hated Harry from the moment he was born."

"Ginny."

Ginny barely took time to glance at her Mum,"Everyone in the school knows how you single him out...intentionally break his sample vials so he can't get a grade...belittle him and insult his parents in front of the whole class...Well this isn't Hogwarts and we aren't in school, so just shut your foul mouth."

Snape's face had become venomous,"Miss Weeezlee. I'll thank you to..."

"It's Potter you dolt. Harry and I are married." As she said this, Ginny quite dramaticly raised her left hand and showed off her rings.

This caused another uproar. Apparently, hardly anyone knew the effects the Bond caused, and Harry had 'missed' that point when telling the story.

Professor Dumbledore's shoulders were slumped. He looked at Mr. Weasley,"Are you quite sure Arthur...?"

Mr. Weasley nodded, then looked at Harry,"Why don't you show Albus the letters."

As Harry began fumbling for them in his robes, Ginny calmly pulled her copies out and passed them down the table. By the time the Headmaster had finished reading, and had passed the letters on the Professor McGonagall, Harry had found his. He handed them to Tonks to pass along.

Mr. Weasley spoke into the quiet,"We checked this morning, the Bond is unbreakable." He looked across the table."Although, even if it was breakable I doubt we could get both partners to agree." He smiled very kindly at the young couple.

Dumbledore sat up straighter, life returning to his eyes,"What's done is done. The question now is what to do going forward?"

Mad-Eye Moody spoke up,"Potter either has to stay here or at Hogwarts. There's no place else."

"That's Potters, professor." Ginny was smiling this time.

Moody almost smiled, but caught himself just in time.

"Albus, this raises another problem." As Professor McGonagall spoke, the Headmaster nodded his head.

"Indeed it does." He looked down the table,"The school's rules prohibit married students living in the castle. For obvious reasons Harry and Ginny cannot live in Hogsmeade."He smiled for the first time in several minutes,"I think, given the events of the past year, the governors may be willing to make an exception....especially in regards to Harry."

Past Ginny, Harry saw Mrs. Weasley relax a little.

Dumbledore continued,"Harry, why don't you and your lovely bride plan on staying here for the time being."

Ginny turned and nodded,"Yes, sir. We will."

"As we need to move on to other matters, could the two of you excuse yourselves for a while? Perhaps you might select your rooms while we finish up."

Harry stood and pulled Ginny's chair back for her.

"Ginny, you and I can go back to the Burrow and pack some things....I assume you are staying with Harry?" Mrs. Weasley seemed to be taking things pretty well.

"Molly, I must insist that Ginny not go with you, and she must stay here with Harry." Professor McGonagall looked alarmed.

"She's right." Moody had stepped closer to the table.

They all looked back and forth between the two.

The Professor, naturally, explained,"Harry and Ginny should stay near to one another for the next several weeks. For now in the same room or very near by. In a week or two being in the same house may suffice." She looked at the couple,"Separation could be at least dangerously painful, perhaps fatal, due to the newness of your Bond."

Ginny looked up at Harry,"Drat. I'm stuck with you." Her smile lit up the room.

Harry took her hand and started out,"Sorry." He was grinning like a madman.

"Ginny, think of what you need.We can talk after the meeting and I'll bring it for you."

"Thanks, Mum."

They stopped by the door to gather their shopping bags and the case from Gringotts. As Harry picked up the case, Bill spoke up.

"Albus, you should know that this is a very well liked couple by the goblins."

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows,"Why is that?"

Bill repeated what he had said at lunch. 

By the time he had finished, the Headmaster was smiling broadly,"Well done both of you. We have had no luck at all gaining more than neutrality from the goblins. This may prove to be most helpful."

Harry smiled and nodded before pushing open the door for Ginny. As they stepped through, Remus followed.

"The master bedroom is on the second floor. It will be the most comfortable for the two of you.....That is if you are staying in the same room." He smiled at their reaction."It will probably be a bit dusty, but that can be easily taken care of."

If he had had a free hand, Harry would have offered it to Remus,"Thank you. You've all been...brilliant. Thank you."

"We've all told you before, Harry.... we'll stand with you anytime." He turned and went back into the kitchen.

Remus was right on both counts, the room would be perfect and it was very dusty.

Ginny set her bags near the door and began looking around. Nearest the door was a sitting area. Two small sofas and two chairs were grouped near the fireplace on the left. Under the front window was a small desk with a swivel chair. Bookcases lined the wall just to the right of the door.

Two low tables flanked the archway leading to the bedroom proper. A large canopy bed was against the far wall, tables to either side. There were two doors in the left wall. Between them was a large chest of drawers. The near door opened into a cupboard; the other to an en suite with a large tub and two sinks.

Between the front windows was a dressing table with a mirror and bench. There was a chair in the near corner to the right. Everything was covered with a thick coat of dust.

Ginny walked back toward the entrance, brushing dust from her robes,"It will be great, but it's going to take a while to clean up."

Harry started to agree, then had a thought,"Dobby."

A moment later the little elf popped into view,"How may Dobby serve the great Harry Potter?"

Harry heard the snicker over Dobby's voice.

"Dobby, Ginny and I are moving into these rooms. Could you help us clean them?"

"Dobby will be honored to help the great Harry Potter and his Mistress Potter."

"Thank you Dobby. Tell us where we should start."

"No! Harry Potter will not help. It will be making a big mess and much dust. Harry Potter and Mistress Potter must leave. Dobby will come when Harry Potter's room is ready."

Harry wanted to argue, but knew from past experience it was futile. He started to follow Ginny from the room,"Err, Dobby?"

The elf's floppy ears perked up.

"Most of my things are at my relatives.' Could you possibly get them for me?"

"Of course, Dobby would be honored. Dobby may have to punish himself when he returns from the bad people's."

"Dobby, I forbid you to punish yourself."

The little elf drew himself up to his full height,"Dobby is a free elf. He can punish himself if he wants." 

Harry bit his cheek to keep from laughing. He could feel Ginny shaking behind him."Alright, thank you Dobby...Oh, I hid some things under a loose floorboard under the bed. Clean that out if you can."

"Dobby will get all Harry Potter's things. Harry Potter and Mistress Potter must leave now so Dobby can clean."

Ginny was still laughing when they got to the parlour. Thankfully she didn't disturb Mrs. Black. "You have very loyal friends Harry."

Harry blushed,'Dobby is...different."

They settled on one of the sofas. Harry leaning into the corner of the arm and back. Ginny put her feet up and leaned back against Harry. In minutes they were both sound asleep.

*   *   *

"Harry Potter, sir?"

Harry cracked one eye open. Above him were two tennis ball size eyes staring back.

"Dobby?"

"Harry Potter, sir's rooms is ready. Dobby has all finished."

Harry gently shook the lovely witch he was holding in his arms,"Ginny, our rooms are ready."

Ginny stretched in a way that made Harry think about many things, but not house elves or cleaning projects. She sat up and looked at Dobby,"You must have worked very hard, Dobby. Let's go see the rooms."

They followed the bouncing elf up the stairs to their rooms. The change was nearly miraculous. Glowing wood floors framed the spotless carpets. The sofas and chairs looked almost as if they had been reupholstered. The bed covers and linens were crisp and fresh smelling. Ginny opened the cupboard and found their clothes had been neatly hung up after being pressed. Harry didn't look but was sure his boxers and socks were neatly organized in one of the dresser drawers.

"Dobby, you've done really great work here. How can we thank you?"

"It is an honor for Dobby to serve the House of Potter."

"Wait. How did you know about that?"

"House elveses have their own way to know things. The great Harry Potter is now the head of the House of Potter. Ginny Potter is its Mistress. Elveses knows."'

Since he seemed to be on a roll, Harry tried out another idea,"Dobby, Mistress Ginny and I will be living here until we return to Hogwarts. Others will be, too. Could you come here until term starts?"

The little elf actually teared up,"Master Harry Potter, Dobby would be honored to serve your house."

Harry looked at Ginny. She was smiling brightly,"Alright then, move in when you can. We'll set up a household account for you to use if we're supposed to."

Dobby was literally bouncing on his toes,"Dobby will serve Master Harry and his Mistress dinner tonight. Dobby will go to Hogwarts now and will return in less than one hour." He disappeared.

"Well that was easy."

Ginny smacked his arm,"Easy until Hermione finds out."

Harry grinned back at her,"Not her house."

Ginny laughed,"I'm going to change back to comfortable clothes. Do you mind?"

"No. Go first and I'll be right behind you."

Ginny narrowed her eyes and smiled cheekily,"So that's the view you want, huh?"

Harry knew he was blushing, but he refused to give in,"Yeah, that one, and the front one, and combinations of the two..."

Now Ginny was blushing,"Really, do you...have you thought of me...like that?" She kept her eyes down; afraid to let Harry see into them right now.

Now he was staring at the floor,"Are you kidding? For the past six months...maybe longer....almost every night.." His voice got much softer,"Days sometimes, too."

Ginny took a long, deep breath. This conversation was stirring up things Michael Corner never aroused the whole time they were going out,"Harry, tonight after we're really alone, can we talk about this...I mean serious, not flirting so we know where each of us are?"

Harry still didn't look up,"Yeah...that would be good. I...I want you to be able to trust me...I know...we're...or I'm not very, you know...I think we should talk,too."

Ginny grabbed her clothes and disappeared into the loo. Harry was waiting in their sitting room when she came out. He smiled and chastely kissed her cheek before going to change his clothes.

They both settled on one of the sofas. This time Harry was against the arm with his legs stretched along the sofa. Ginny was laying mostly on her side between his legs;  her head resting against his chest. Both thought it was quite comfortable.

They had been there for several minutes when they were invaded. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Remus and Tonks, and Bill all came in.....without knocking.

"Why this is quite nice..." Mrs. Weasley started.

"Mum. You could have embarrassed all of us by not knocking, you know."

"Well, I..."

Tonks grinned,"I wouldn't be embarrassed, just curious."

The other 'adults' laughed uneasily; not comfortable with the images that brought to mind.

Harry would have gotten up, but Ginny was still between his legs...sitting up to face their visitors, but showing no signs of moving.

"Ginny dear, if you could give me a list of what you need..."

Now, Ginny stood.

On a hunch, Harry went over to the desk. Sure enough, Dobby had unpacked his quills, ink, and parchment and stowed them neatly in the desk. He pulled out a small roll of parchment, a quill and a bottle of ink and placed them on the desk top.

Ginny grinned at him,"You have the best friends, Harry."

He grinned back and nodded. Then he moved out of the way as Mrs. Weasley and Tonks decended on Ginny.

Harry moved over near the door where Mr. Weasley, Bill and Remus were standing.

"Harry, Molly, Remus and I are going back to the Burrow. Bill is going by the shop to tell the boys to come here after work. Then he and Remus are going to check the wards at the Burrow and maybe add some remote alarms. Dora is going to Hermione's to see if she can join us this evening."

Harry knew he had grimaced a bit.

Mr. Weasley reached up and put his hand on Harry's shoulder,"I have no doubt that Ron is going to embarrass the whole family tonight. Just remember that he is your best friend and he''ll come around...It just might take a day or two."

Harry nodded. He was really dreading this.

"I thought we might meet as a famly in the parlour before dinner, if that's alright?"

"Yes, sir. Even Ron might notice the rings if we wait."

Bill gave Harry a quick pat on the back,"I meant what I said, Harry." He turned to his dad and Remus,"I'll see you at the Burrow."

A random thought took root,"Remus, isn't there a room Ginny and I can use to practice?"

"James remembered. Yeah, go into the pantry and look to the left. There is a small set of floor to ceiling shelves. Pull on the left side and the shelves will swing away from the wall. The stairs are right behind it."

Mr. Weasley looked concerned,"Is it safe to cast spells and hexes down there?"

Remus nodded,"The Blacks had the room built for that purpose. Needless to say, they used some pretty nasty spells and curses. Remus and I practiced a few times while he was staying here and it was fine. Arthur, I don't see any problems."

Mr. Weasley seemed mollified.

"Arthur, we're ready." Mrs. Weasley and Tonks had walked up behind Harry.

Mr. Weasley nodded,"Harry, Ginny, we'll be back within the hour." He looked at his watch,"No later than six. If anything happens, some of the Order is still here."

Ginny slipped her hand into Harry's,"We'll be fine Dad. We're going to stay here just as we're supposed to."

Mrs. Weasley stepped through the doorway,"Please do. We've had enough excitement for one day."

As she started down the stairs, the others followed.

"She ought to tell Ron that," Harry muttered.

"Just let him rant and rave. Don't argue and don't raise your voice. He''ll storm out of the room, sulk for a day or two, then be alright."

Harry looked at his...wife(!) and nodded.

"Now, did I hear you ask about the room under the kitchen?"

"Yeah. want to go see it?"

"Beats sitting around watching you worry." 

She laughed as she finished, so Harry just took her hand and started down the stairs.

*   *   *

They were casually dueling, one cast a spell as the other cast a shield, when her Dad came in. He looked a little nervous.

"Harry did you know there is an elf cooking dinner in the kitchen?"

Ginny flinched. They hadn't told her Mum."Dad, I meant to tell Mum. I forgot."

Harry walked down from the other end of the room,"That's Dobby. He and I are friends, except he does a lot more for me than I do for him."

Ginny smacked Harry's arm,"That is simply not true. You saved him from the Malfoy's, and don't you give him presents at Christmas?"

"Well, yeah, but it seems like he does more..."

"That's really not important right now. Could you two go up and explain things to Molly? She hurried down to start dinner, an found... Dobby. You know we've never had an elf, and it's a bit awkward."

Ginny saw Harry nod. She smiled at her Dad and led Harry up the stairs.

They found her Mum sitting at the table, staring at Dobby as he flew around the kitchen."Mum? Dobby is going to help here until we go back to school."

"How did he get here in the first place?"

Harry stepped closer,"Err, Dobby and I are friends....."

Ginny saw the little elf pause and puff out his chest at Harry's words.

"....and after he cleaned up our rooms, I asked if he could stay and help out for a while. You know, since there may be a lot of us here and all. You shouldn't have to do everything just because of Ginny and I."

Ginny searched for that one winning point she could play. This was a game that was second nature to her,"Mum, Dobby being here frees you up for the family meeting in a few minutes. And, if you and Dad want or need to go back to the Burrow, you'll know Harry and I will be taken care of."

Her Mum looked over at the little elf once more,"Well, I guess it can't hurt for tonight. I'm willing to see how it goes for a day or so. Just don't think..."

Ginny looked at the door which had just opened,"Charlie!" Ginny hurried over to greet her brother. A tiny sliver of worry was making itself known.

"Hey, Little One. Give your favorite brother a hug."

Ginny laughed as she threw her arms around Charlie's neck,"And, why would you be my favorite?"

"I was wondering the same thing." Bill followed his younger sibling through the door.

Charlie held up a bag,""Because I bring her the best gifts."

Ginny grabbed the bag and looked inside...then squealed,"They're beautiful!" She pulled out a pair of knee high dragonhide boots. They had an almost glowing black finish and four inch heels. She immediately sat in the nearest chair and toed off her trainers. Almost revently she slipped her feet first into one then the other.  When she stood, she wobbled a bit on the unfamiliar heels.

Ginny smiled at Charlie, then looked back at Harry. The look in his eyes made their talk later a real necessity. Ginny filed away that look. Getting that response would be a good thing....most of the time.

She turned and hugged her brother again,"Thank you Charlie."

"You're very welcome. I didn't think I should come for something like this empty handed. Isn't that right Mum?" He stepped over and hugged his mother.

"Charlie we're alway happy to see you with or without gifts. Now tell us why you're here."

Ginny saw Charlie stare hard at Harry before looking back at her,"Bill Flooed me this afternoon. Figured I should be here for this family meeting....Hello, Harry. I didn't even know you were dating my sister."

 Harry must have been expecting the change of pace,"Hey Charlie...err, things have kinda happened fast....faster than we expected."

"So, you'd rather things slow down a bit...cool down with Ginny. Having second thoughts?"

Ginny saw where this was going. She needed to step in...

"No, I'm not....having second thoughts.....and what I really want is for Ginny and I to have some time to just talk, alone. Since all this happened, we've been rushing here and waiting to go there....I just want to talk to her."

"No second thoughts, then...not even a few little ones?"

Ginny decided to stay out of it after all, she wanted to hear this ,too.

Harry straightened up his back and looked Charlie straight in the eyes,"You want to know if I have any second thoughts? Yeah, yeah I do..."

Ginny felt wounded. After she had said...he had, too,'No regrets.'

"I wonder why I didn't try to do something last Christmas or Easter break. I knew then and I did nothing. Those are my second thoughts."

Ginny nearly strutted over to Harry. She slipped her arm through his and leaned her head on his shoulder,"Satisfied Charlie? I heard everything I wanted  to hear." She kept her stare boring right into her brother's eyes. Behind Charlie, she saw Bill smirking at his brother behind his back. 

Her Dad had stayed near the pantry after he came up. She wondered if he was curious or ready to intervene. No matter now, he smiled and left the room.

Charlie grinned,"Yeah, that was the kind of thing I was hoping for ,too." He stepped forward and stuck out his right hand,"Glad it's finally official Harry. Still, a few more years before the marriage would have been better."

Harry gripped Charlie's hand and smiled,"Kinda caught us off guard, too. But as Ginny says,'No regrets.'"

Ginny relaxed. Now that the big brother ritual had played out, Charlie and Bill would support them against the other brothers or anyone else.

They all sat around the table and discussed the day's events pleasantly and waited for the others...the twins and Ron, to arrive. Dobby continued to flit around. The smells were very inviting.

The next person to appear in the kitchen was Tonks,"Hermione is in the parlour. She may suspect something's up, but isn't expecting the Potters, I'm pretty sure. I left her with Arthur and Remus."

Ginny stood up, swaying (She would have to practice walking on these heels. Harry seemed to like the look) and pulled Harry up, too. She whispered a moment with Dobby before following Bill and Charlie up to the parlour. She listened a little to her Mum's pep talk to Harry as they came up the stairs behind her.

Entering the room, Ginny saw her Dad in a chair pulled near the sofa Hermione was occupying. Tonks was sitting with Remus near the front windows. Great view..out of the line of fire. For the occasion Dora had gone with black hair and green eyes. Hmmm, who could she be backing?

Hermione greeted both her and Harry with a hug and a smile; asking about the last training time with the Potters. Harry did most of the talking about spells and shields and how he was going to use them in the DA this year.

Her Mum had moved another chair next to her Dad. Bill and Charlie chose to stand in front of the fireplace...their shoulders propped against the mantle.Harry tugged her left hand, thus hiding her rings for the moment, and led her to the sofa opposite Hermione.

"Oh, Ginny, nice boots."

"Thanks Hermione, my brothers, Charlie this time, sometimes remember I'm not ten anymore."

Given the coming topic, Tonks, Charlie and Bill all laughed at that. Her Mum and Dad smiled and Hermione knew she wasn't getting the joke, whatever it was.

A moment later, the three missing brothers came noisily into the room. It stayed loud for a couple of minutes as Charlie received the appropriate male bonding greeting from his brothers. The entire time, Harry was squeezing the blood completely out of her fingers.

Ron and Fred joined Hermione on her sofa. George sat next to Harry.

George smiled,"How's it going Harry?"

Ginny heard Harry mutter something, but couldn't understand what it was.

Ginny saw Ron watching them. He seemed to be wary rather than hostile. He looked down at their clasped hands and frowned.

"I'm happy we could all get together," Her Dad looked around the assembled family,"Some things have happened today that we need to discuss."

When no one commented, he continued,"This morning, Harry and Ginny completed a magical bond."

"What the bloody hell does that mean?" Ron was turning bright red. His eyes flicked back and forth between their Dad and Harry.

"Ron!" Her Mum and Hermione scolded.

The twins both had bulging eyes, but said nothing for the moment.

Ginny decided to take her Dad off the hook,"It means several things. But for now the two most important are that Harry and I are legally adults..."

""How..."

"And we are married."

The twins both looked stunned now. At least what she could see of George past Harry. Ron was on his feet; hands clinched into fists.

"Well, what are you doing about it?" He was glaring at their parents.

"There is nothing to be done," Ron looked like he was about to explode," except help Harry and Ginny any way we can." Her Mum was being very calm, all things considered.

Ron turned to Harry,"I thought you were my friend. We all trusted you...Then you go sneaking behind our backs....you bloody git...('Ron!") , I may just beat the living hell out of you right now." He took a step toward Harry.

Harry stood, so Ginny did, too. Before anything could happen, Bill and Charlie were between them.

"Sit down Ron." Bill was right in his face.

"Why are you taking his side? Don't you see what he's doing to Ginny?"

"Ron sit down. You need to hear the whole story. And, for your information, we're taking their side... Harry and Ginny. Now sit."

Ron grumbled under his breath, but took his seat again. Bill and Charlie moved away, but not all of the way to the fireplace this time.

Ginny pulled Harry back down and finally got a good look at Hermione. She seemed surprised , but not shocked. As their eyes met, Hermione even gave her a tiny smile and nod. Ginny smiled back.

"Ron, if you can't control yourself you will have to leave the room."Their Dad was obviously very serious."No one is entirely happy with this turn of events, not even Ginny and Harry."

After another glare at Harry, Ron nodded.

George leaned forward to see both her and Harry,"I assume there's more to this...."

"... than what you've said so far." Fred finished.

Ginny checked with her parents who both nodded. She looked back at George, then Fred, and nodded,"You know about the Potters teaching us magic, but Harry and I had also agreed to form a magical bond....."

When she had finished, George sat back on the sofa,"Blimey."

"My thoughts exactly," Fred was staring at her with an expression of what appeared to be wonder.

When Ginny turned her eyes back to Ron, his jaws were clinched and his face a deeper red than before."This is all your fault Potter. The rest of this lot may be alright with it, but I'm not....not by half." He stood up, Bill and Charlie moved forward, but Ron stormed out of the room and up the stairs.

Through their hands, Ginny could feel the hurt in Harry when Rom stormed out of the room. But, he did relax a bit back against the sofa cushions.

After a few moments of silence, Hermione was Hermione,"Do you still have the incantations?"

"In our rooms. Professor Lupin checked them...the Life Bond was exactly as it should have been. The Eternity Bond was apparently constructed just for Harry and me by, we think, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw."

Hermione was quiet for a minute or two,"Have you tried to see if your powers have increased?"

"No, really, we've not had any time. It's been a pretty full day. We cast a few spells a while ago, but that was more to pass time than anything."

Behind her, as she talked about not having any time,Ginny heard Tonks laugh and after a moment Professor Lupin chuckled, too.

Ginny turned to the twins. They were staring at each other in the way that meant they were 'talking.'

Finally, Fred broke contact with George. "Gin, I would be lying if I said this wasn't a shock, but..."

"...you and Harry are family. We'll help if we can." George finished. As he did, he reached over and patted Harry's shoulder."You might keep an eye out for our little brother, though."

Fred was on his feet now,"He seems to be not taking things too well." This understatement broke the remainder of the tension in the room.

Ginny jumped up and hugged her two brothers,"Thank you both for not blowing up or anything. Please understand, it's really been a shock to Harry and I. too." She turned to see if Harry would agree, and found him hugging Hermione. A moment later, Hermione was hugging her.

"I just knew you two were up to more than you were letting on. Now you're getting a real taste of what life around Harry is like."

"Hey!" Harry had moved to Hermione's other side to shake Fred's hand."This was a bit of a surprise for me, too."

Hermione laughed,"But, Harry, most of the things that happen to you are a surprise of some kind. I just meant that Ginny is finding out how it feels. First, Umbridge, then the Department of Mysteries, now this...nothing is ever quite normal around you."

George leaned in,"Don't think that our little sister doesn't cause some excitement on her own."

"Yeah, remember when we were nine and hid her stuffed unicorn. when she figured out it was us..." 

Fred's story was cut off by her Mum,"Let's go down to dinner."

To everyone's amazement, Ron never appeared for the meal.

Chapter 4: From This Day Forward
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Dinner, overall, was quite pleasant. The twins and Hermione asked questions about all that had happened over the day. 

Bill was particularly interested in the details of their meeting with Gornhall.

But, as the stories were retold and details added, Ginny watched her parents. Merlin knows, after her Mum had stopped shouting, they had been wonderful. She wasn’t complaining, but she was sure there was more going on than they had let on during the day. 

She also watched her Mum’s reaction to Dobby’s meal. It had been simple, given the warning he had been allowed who could complain, but delicious…. a generous roast of beef with carrots and potatoes, preceded by fresh greens with sliced apples, and finished with an apple crisp. Her Mum had seemed to find things acceptable, and that was good enough for this day. 

As everyone was finishing, Dobby caught her eye and nodded. “Would all of you come back to the parlour?” Harry looked confused, so she leaned over to whisper,” We should thank them all, don’t you think?”

He smiled,” Thanks hardly seem enough.”

Ginny stood and held out her hand. Harry took it and followed her up the stairs. The parlour looked just as she had asked. There was a fire, and by the right wall was a table with a silver tray on top. The tray held crystal champagne flutes. Beside the table were two stands holding ice buckets; each with a wine bottle inside.

Everyone turned to her and Harry when they saw what was waiting,” I thought Harry and I should say ‘thank you’ in a more special way.”

Harry was looking flummoxed by the wine bottles. Bill stepped over to help.

“Watch Harry. Remove the wire cage from around the cork.”

After a bit of fumbling, Harry removed the wire.

“Now grip the cork with the cloth…..good. Now turn the bottle instead of the cork…slowly.”

With a soft, rather than a sharp, pop the cork was out. A moment later, Bill’s bottle popped as well.

Bill handed Harry a flute,” Pour down the side just until the bubbles reach the rim.”

A few moments later, everyone was holding a glass. Ginny looked at each of them, composing her thoughts,” Today has been overwhelming. As we’ve told you, we were shocked by it all just like you. But, it could well have been a disaster for Harry and me if not for all of you.”

There was murmuring from some of the family, and, Weasley or not, everybody in the room was family.

“Mum and Dad, thank you for loving us and supporting us today. It would have been impossible without you. Remus, the same applies to you, as well. I know Harry feels that way, too. Tonks and Bill, you supported us and made us laugh. Charlie, George, Fred and Hermione you proved that when everything seems to be totally out of control, family stands with you.”

Ginny felt a tear start down her cheek and her throat was all of the sudden clogged. She looked to Harry to rescue her.

“Err, I couldn’t say things better than Ginny has. When we had read the letters this morning, I was pretty sure you lot would disown me on the spot. Thank you…all of you.”

After a few moments, Bill raised his glass,” To family.”

“To family.” Everyone toasted each other.

Her Dad waited for everyone to take a sip then stepped closer to her and Harry,” I thought it would be a few years yet before I needed to toast your marriage…”

Ginny felt Harry tense beside her.

“..but I had hoped when I did that it might be Harry standing beside you. Neither of you should ever doubt the love all of us have for the two of you. Congratulations, Harry and Ginny. May your years together be long and full of love.”

“To Harry and Ginny.”

Ginny didn’t see or hear if anyone joined the toast. She handed her glass to Harry and ran to her Dad.”Thank you so much. Do you have any idea how much I love you?”

Her Dad hugged her tightly and kissed her on top of her head, “ And I you, Princess.”

*  *  *

Harry sat on the sofa watching the fire while Ginny changed into her night gown. Everything, the Bond, the trip to Gringotts and Madam Malkin’s, the Order meeting, it had all been almost unreal until the time in the parlour. Seeing all of those people standing there, supporting them had brought it all home.

Now he and his wife were going to spend the night together…every night together. As he thought about that, his nerves came back ten fold what they had been just a few hours earlier.

He heard the door to the loo open. A moment later Ginny walked around the opening from the bedroom. “ Your turn, Harry.” Her face was pink and she was looking slightly away. With one hand she was clutching her dressing gown just below her neck, the other hand was lightly touching the wall.

Harry picked up his clothes on the end of the bed and went in to change. When he came out he was looking at the archway into the sitting room. He almost missed Ginny sitting on the bed. She had left her dressing gown at the foot of the bed, and was sitting near the head board with her legs crossed, a pillow in her lap. He noted that she wasn’t wearing a gown, but flannel sleep pants and a tank top. To him she looked very pretty.

Ginny looked up, “I thought we might talk in here….Less formal, I guess.”

Harry nodded and dropped his dressing gown on the bed, too. He felt self conscious about the way he was dressed. As usual he was wearing Dudley’s cast off pyjama bottoms. They were loose in the waist and a little long. He had put on one of his new t-shirts, so at least it fit. He propped his pillow against the head board and leaned back against it; his knees pulled up to his chest.

“Harry? What you said this afternoon about thinking about me ‘that way.’ Was that really true?”

He felt his face flush,” Yeah, for a while now.”

“But you never said anything, or gave me any clue…”

“Well, you were with Corner, and I don’t think you noticed me looking, maybe.” He watched her study her pillow. She was smoothing out the case, then twisting it, then smoothing it out again.

“I was with Michael part of the time, but why not after?”

Harry laughed sadly,” By the time I heard, things were getting a little crazy. I…I was pretty mixed up, and angry, you know?” He saw her nod. “It was probably better. After, you know, after Sirius I would have probably done something really stupid and ruined it forever.”

She finally looked at him, and smiled, “ Well, forever’s gone the other way now hasn’t it?” Her smile changed to the one from Godric’s Hollow. He felt himself getting warm all over.

He looked at her for a while before nearly fifteen years of brutal conditioning  grabbed his heart in its icy grip, “ Ginny, can you forgive me for this? I know you weren’t expecting,” He waved his arms at them and the bed,” to be here. You’re just fourteen and I’ve ruined your whole life. You probably had plans…” He stopped talking as he watched her face change. ‘That’ smile had disappeared and she looked furious.

“Harry Potter, don’t you dare treat me like some weak minded victim in this. I’ve been that before and it will never happen again. I knew we would end up here.” She waved her arms just as he had. “ True,I thought it would be a couple of years, but I knew. I told you I was with you, Bond or no Bond, no regrets. I meant exactly what I said.”

Harry felt his eyes start to burn. He was not going to do that tonight. Not now. He blinked a couple of times and took a deep breath “ I’m sorry.” He saw her start to turn red again. “ No, I… I didn’t mean to say that you were weak or anything. It’s only….I’m glad we’re together. I didn’t want you to feel like you were tricked or anything.” 

Her expression softened, “You never quite believe that people love you, do you?”

He knew his eyes got big…Love?

She smiled knowingly, “That’s exactly what I mean. You can’t understand because of those ‘people’ who raised you. Now listen carefully. I’ve loved you for years. I had a crush on you, but that was different. My whole family loves you, too, even Ron.” She made a face. “ Lily asked if I could or wanted to be ‘in love’ with you. If I hadn’t said yes, we wouldn’t be here.” She waved her arms again, but not quite so widely.

Harry reached over a touched her hand, “I don’t know much about this sort of thing. I’ll try not to make  complete rubbish of it.”

Ginny put her other hand on top of his, “You’ve done quite well all day, I think.”

“Really?”

She smiled crookedly,” That kiss in the kitchen in front of Mum was spot on Mr. Potter. Excellent timing, too. You shut Mum right up.”

Harry laughed,” Do you think that was what did it?”

‘That’ smile was back,” Oh, yeah. It was. Mum knew then that shouting wasn’t going to change things.”

Harry began to feel like he did after the second incantation. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the sensations.

“Harry?”

He turned back to Ginny.

“While we’re sort of on the subject.” She was blushing and back to studying the pillow,” I know we’re married and you might expect things…..Dammit!” She looked up at him very uncertainly,” I know you may be expecting us to have sex but I would like to wait if that’s alright ‘cause I’m still only fourteen and I’m not ready yet.” The words had poured out in a torrent.

It took Harry a minute to sort through what she had said. When he did, his whole body flushed,” Ginny, I…I’m not expecting…I wouldn’t try to force you…” Now he was looking anywhere but at Ginny. “ I wasn’t expecting us to..have…sex.” He laughed, “ I’m still trying to get used to kissing you.” 

Her hand was against his cheek. It was so soft…he leaned into it and closed his eyes.

“Harry, I’ll give you plenty of opportunities to get used to kissing me. We can do the other things, too. Let’s just take it slow, alright?”

He looked up and saw that she was leaning close to him, a very soft smile on her lips. They looked so good, he decided they needed kissing.

They didn’t talk for a while.

*   *   *

One floor below them, Arthur was sitting on the side of the bed, “ Molly, are we handling this the right way?”

Molly rolled over and put her hand on his back, “ Merlin knows, dear. How can you tell until after?”

“You’ve been very supportive all day. I’m sure Harry and Ginny meant everything they said tonight.”

Molly laughed,” You weren’t there for the shouting. “

Arthur started and looked back at her. “When they first told you, you were shouting at them?”

“You better believe it. I was trying to flay the hide right off of the both of them. I would have too, if it hadn’t been for…”

“What? If it hadn’t been for what?”

Molly looked a little wistful, “ I was going at them in full voice, when Ginny turned her back and said something to Harry. He looked surprised then had the loveliest smile on his face. At that moment he forgot I was even in the room. He leaned down and kissed her…a very sweet kiss, not passionate, and I could see that all of the shouting in the world wasn’t going to change what was between them.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Arthur,there was a feeling then, but it was several things that happened over the course of the day. I know they told the absolute truth about being surprised. But that kiss, Ginny telling Harry she was the only witch he had to listen to, the way Ginny took over at Madam Malkin’s and Harry smiled and let her go, watching them walk up Diagon Alley together…  Dora even said they looked like they belonged together. Arthur, I’m so angry and frightened I don’t know how to act, but I look at those two together and I just don’t know.”

“Angry at the kids?”

“No, not the kids. Harry’s mother, for one. How dare she put my fourteen year old daughter in a situation like this? Ten minutes later, I think if I were in her shoes I might do exactly the same things. Arthur, we heard what Harry said about being more powerful when he faced Voldemort. ‘When’,  Arthur, not ‘if’ he faced him again. Harry knows something, Ginny too, about how this is all supposed to end. In my heart I know Harry and Ginny are going to be there. I’m scared.”

Arthur stood and began to pace the room. “You’ve got me worrying now. I was just worried about my young daughter up there in bed with a teenage boy. I want to run up there and burst in and put her to bed where she belongs. Which is with her husband, and around I go again..”

“Arthur, I asked Ginny about a potion and she said they wouldn’t need one for a while. Does that make you feel better?”

“I guess it does.”

“Then come to bed.”

“Yes,dear.” They both lay there for a while, neither close to sleep.”Molly?”

She turned back to her husband, waiting.

“I’m angry and frightened about the kids, too…Harry and Ginny.....”

“I know, dear. Me, too.”

“They shouldn’t know any of that. As far as they will know , I am surprised, but I love them and support them unconditionally.”

Molly raised up and looked down at Arthur,” I don’t believe we can do anything else. That will just make it that much harder for Ron.”

Arthur frowned,” It’s his sister and best friend. He’ll be alright in a day or two.”

Molly rolled back over to her side of the bed, “ I hope so. Good night dear.”

“Good night Molly.”

*   *   *

The parlour was still well occupied. Bill, Charlie, the twins, Remus and Tonks were scattered around the fire talking. Remus had liberated a bottle of Fire Whisky from his room, so conversation was flowing along with the spirits.

“Are you sure that’s what he said?” Bill was stretched out on the carpet near the fire.

Remus nodded,” I’m sure. That makes me almost sure the rumors about Harry being the ‘Chosen One’ are close to the truth.”

“That would justify….”

“…what his parents did. I would probably do the same…”

“…if I were in their place.”

The twins had been talking like this all evening, so even Remus and Tonks no longer paid it any mind.

Charlie was sitting with his forearms on his knees,” Well yeah, except they included our baby sister in all of it.”

Bill sat up,” I’m pretty sure that Bond or no Bond, Gin would be right in the thick of it anyway. After that stuff in the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny changed. I just never noticed how until today. The time I spent with her and Harry, she’s very determined…I’m pretty sure she knows exactly what’s coming and has to be there. The question for us is what are we going to do…support our child bride sister and her husband or complain about how wrong things are?”

Tonks sat forward,” Can an outsider get in on this?”

The brothers all nodded or said something encouraging.

“Well, I’ve been with the two of them all day. They are both scared to death. I’m guessing that it is partly what’s coming, partly how you lot are going to accept them after tonight, and mostly awe at what they’ve gotten themselves into.” She looked at each brother in turn,” Harry has, I think, made peace with himself some time ago that he would face Voldemort. I get the feeling that Bill is right, Ginny would be there with Harry no matter what.” All of the Weasley’s were nodding. 

“Now, what a bunch of older brothers don’t want to hear is they are a couple.”

Charlie snorted,” They’re married,’ He grimaced,” of course they’re a couple.”

“Charlie, working with dragons hasn’t improved your perception very much.”

While his brothers laughed, he sat up and stared at the young Auror,”My perception is quite sharp, thank you very much.”

“Your perception missed that Arlene Keener was chasing you hot and heavy for six months our seventh year. Any idiot that had figured it out would have jumped at the chance to go out with her. I’ll bet this is the first time you had any idea.” She looked smug as she watched her former classmate squirm under his brothers’ taunts.

With Charlie glowing Weasley red, she continued,” My point was, Harry and Ginny have connected on some very deep level. Molly and I both noticed how they acted as though they had been together forever instead of one day, or two weeks, depending on how you figure things. I, for one, intend to treat them as if their being together is the most natural thing in the world. You might think about doing the same.”

The room was quiet for a few minutes.

“Dora is right.” Remus stood and walked over to the fire. Bill moved over to give him more room. “ This Bond took a huge amount of magical energy to form. The text says the ability is far beyond the capability of underage wizards and witches, but here we are. There’s something going on here…fate or..I don’t know….something. We need to commit to protecting those two until it’s time for them to act.”

Bill was nodding, a sad smile on his face,” You’re right. Mum said as much at the bank today just with her facial expressions…But they’re just kids.” He stood and set his glass on the mantle. “I’m going to bed. When I get up tomorrow, those two will have my blessing and I’ll hex anyone who says a word wrong about them.”

Charlie set his glass on the table next to the sofa, “ I’m with you. We back them no matter what.” He looked at his older brother,” Am I stating with you, or is three a crowd?”

Bill blushed, but held Charlie’s look,” If you don’t mind, why don’t you stay here with the family?”

Charlie nodded,” That’s fine with me. You know Mum will find out?”

“Yeah, I know. Our sweet little sister has already planted the seed.” He laughed,” And she did it so well, too.” He looked over at Tonks and Remus. They both agreed.”Good night, all.” 

The twins were eagerly looking back and forth between the others.

“So Bill has a room mate…”

“…and Mum doesn’t know.”

“I think a little detective work…”

“…or a talk with our sister…”

‘…is in order.”

They were both grinning happily as they climbed the stairs.

“So, do you want to stay here tonight?”

Tonks leered at the older wizard,” Why Remus, is that a proposition?”

Remus blushed and looked down,” I just thought it might be better if you stayed.”

Tonks let him off of the hook, “ Hermione is looking for a new room mate since Ginny has other plans now. I’ll go see if she is still awake.”

He waited for her to climb the stairs before he gathered the dirty glasses (evidence) and the empty bottle. After putting out the lamps, he went by the kitchen to drop off the glasses and then went up to his room.

*   *   *

The couple everyone had been discussing had kissed very enjoyably for a while. Harry broke away and fell over on his back,” Merlin Ginny. I could die right now a go out happy.”

Ginny giggled as she snuggled up against him,” Please don’t. I have lots of plans for you.”

His expression softened, “ I’m still getting used to that idea.”

Ginny couldn’t see his face, so she frowned, worried,” Maybe it won’t feel so strange…”

“No, Ginny, that’s not the way I meant it. It’s like this great dream, but I get to keep telling myself it’s real.”

Ginny smiled into his chest,” That I understand. Me, too.”

Harry was quiet for a minute,” It’s going to be strange facing your family at breakfast and them knowing we’ve slept together.”

Ginny raised up and smiled at him,” You don’t have to. I told Mum we would be down late because we had a lot to talk about. Dobby is bringing breakfast in the sitting room.”

Harry smiled and pulled her down to continue what they had interrupted, “ You’re brilliant.”

Against his lips she murmured, “Never forget that.”

*   *   *

Ginny awoke to the soft light of morning. She lay there still feeling the glow from before. She and Harry had kissed off and on for much of the night. Despite the intensity of emotions, it had never gotten much beyond kissing. After all they had much to learn about each other there before things went further.

She had run her hands over his back and chest under his t-shirt. After a little encouragement, Harry had slipped his hands under her top and gently touched and rubbed her back. She could still feel his touch. With their first night behind them, she was comfortable that Harry would wait without complaint for things to move along. 
That was a huge relief, because she knew deep down she wasn’t ready for ‘that.’

Still, being ready didn’t seem to be in the far too distant future as it had. She smiled to herself,’ That’s Harry Potter next to me and he’ll be there forever. Some times dreams do come true Ginevra.’ She turned and spooned him against her front. A few minutes later she had drifted back off to sleep.

The wonderful smell of food pulled her awake again. She could just make out the sound of someone moving about. Very carefully, so as not to wake up Harry, Ginny slid from the bed and slipped on her dressing gown. In the sitting room she found Dobby just finishing setting out their breakfast.

“Mistress Ginny, Dobby didn’t mean to wakes you.”

Ginny smiled at his stricken expression.”You didn’t. I have been drifting in and out for a while. This smells wonderful.” She saw the little elf smile with pride. She kneeled down next to him and hugged him gently,” You’re a good friend to Harry, Dobby. Me, too.”

When she looked at his face, there were tears running down his cheeks,” Dobby worries for Harry Potter ,Mistress Ginny. Evil wizards wants to hurt Master Harry.”

Ginny was surprised at the emotion in Dobby’s voice,” We’ll have to watch out for him, won’t we.”

Dobby smiled at her choice of pronouns,” Yes, Mistress, we will.” He cleared his throat of emotion, ” Dobby has put warming charms on all the foods. Mistress can let Master Harry sleep if she wishes.”

Ginny kissed the elf on the head,” Thank you Dobby. How are the others this morning?”

“Mosts have gone to work. Mistress’ mother and brother Charlie is in the kitchen. Harry Potter’s friend Hermie is not coming down yet.”

Ginny reached over for a piece of toast,” Maybe you should go down and see if they need anything. We’ll be fine here. You’ve taken care of that.”

Dobby bowed just a little and was gone.

Ginny curled up on one of the sofas and had a small plate of eggs and sausage. It disappeared so fast, she had another. As she was chewing her last bite of toast, Harry plopped down beside her. She grinned at his, worse than usual, messy hair and sleep swollen eyes, “Good morning, sleepyhead. Feeling better?”

To her utter shock, he laid a hand on her thigh and smiled, “Yeah, but it has nothing to do with sleep.”

“Harry, you’re really not rubbish at this, you know.” She covered his hand with hers.

“It’s pretty easy with you, somehow.”

“Very good answer Harry.” She kissed him on the cheek, “I’m going to the bath while you eat. Back in a few.”

She found her bra and knickers where Dobby had stowed them sometime last evening, and went in to take a shower. When she came out, Harry was not in sight. She hesitated for a moment, then dropped her dressing gown on the bed, and sat at the dressing table wearing only her underthings. She unwrapped the towel from her hair, draped it across her shoulders.  and began working the tangles out.

It was only a few minutes later that she caught Harry’s reflection in the mirror. He was staring at her, a half smile showing. Suddenly, she was very unsure of how she looked, or more importantly, how Harry saw her. Her first instinct was to cover herself, but she stopped her hands before they could try. Instead, she dropped her hands to her lap and watched Harry in the mirror.

Harry’s eyes flew open more widely when he realized he had been caught, and he jerked back. His face began to glow as he dropped his eyes to the floor,” Err, sorry. I didn’t mean to..I’ll just get my clothes.”

Ginny was hurt. He obviously didn’t like what he…No, that wasn’t it at all. She stood and turned to face him,” Harry?”

He peeked briefly then lowered his eyes again.

“Harry, you can look if you want to.” She smiled,” We are married, remember?”

He finally raised his head. As his eyes roamed over her, once again she was afraid that he would find her less than he expected or wanted. That fear was gone in an instant.

“Merlin, Ginny. You’re beautiful.” He was blushing magnificently by now.

A thousand butterflies took flight in her stomach. The sincerity in his voice was intoxicating. He really thought she was pretty…no, he said’ beautiful.’ She smiled, shyly at first, then widely,” I’m telling you Harry, you’re not rubbish. Twice in thirty minutes.” She smirked, all self consciousness gone,” I may start expecting you to be like this all of the time.”

The words were barely out of her mouth before she froze. He was walking across the room, directly for her. 

He stopped a short step away and looked at her eyes, not her exposed skin. 

Hesitantly, he raised his hand and softly stroked her cheek. Instinctively, she closed her eyes and pressed her cheek more firmly against his touch. She could sense him moving closer, then his arms slipped around her and pulled her tightly against him.

When Ginny finally looked up, Harry was smiling down at her,” I know this isn’t going any further, but can I just hold you like this for a minute?”

She smiled and nodded before running her hands up under his t-shirt and stroking his back,” Take your time, Harry.”

She was brushing her hair away from her face to put barrettes in when he came out of the shower wearing only his boxers. She turned and looked him over, grinning, as he blushed. “Turn about, Harry.”

He nodded and smiled back, "Guess you’re right.” He finished dressing without fumbling about.

When they entered the kitchen, Charlie was leaning against the counter with a cup of something in his hand. Her Mum was sitting at the table with the Daily Prophet opened in front of her. Hermione was peering over her shoulder. They both looked up at the couple; neither smiled.

“Did you sleep well?”

Ginny almost made a smart come back , but bit it back,” Yes we did, Mum. I think we were both exhausted.”  

She noticed dark circles around her Mum’s eyes, “ What about you?”

Her Mum smiled and shook her head,” Too much to think about, I guess. But, it’s all sorted now, I’m pretty sure.”

Ginny sat in the chair Harry had pulled out for her not noticing the smiles on the other side of the room. As Harry took his seat, Hermione pushed the paper across the table.

“Hope you’ve had your breakfast.” She looked embarrassed.

Harry pulled the paper closer and began searching. He found it first because Ginny heard him growl before she saw the article.

                                                CHOSEN ONE TAKEN?

                                                          Arlan Oban

Rumors are flying all about magical London that Harry Potter, “The Chosen One,” may be married. An unnamed Ministry source told this reporter Potter’s marriage to Ginevra Weasley was officially registered yesterday. Miss Weasley, or is it Mrs. Potter now, is the fourteen year old daughter of Arthur and Molly Weasley. One can only speculate why two so young would suddenly get married. Could a baby Potter be arriving soon? Another source hinted at other circumstances, but they remain vague. A quick check with classmates of the couple found no one aware of any sort of relationship between the two. Several students said that Ms. Weasley (Potter?) was, in fact, romantically  involved with another student. Is there an even bigger scandal possible? We will update this
story as more facts become available. 

Ginny was furious,” Those despicable, lying gits. How dare they all but say I’m pregnant.”

Harry’s chair went flying back as he jumped up,” I’m going over there. They can’t get away with saying this.” His voice had risen with every syllable.

Ginny heard her Mum get up as someone behind her spoke softly,” Harry?”

Remus was standing in the doorway. “Sit back down.” He certainly sounded calm.

Harry didn’t,” No! Do you want to go with me, or can I just go alone?”

Ginny stood beside Harry,” You’ll not go alone. I’m going, too.”

Remus held up his hands,” Calm down, both of you. Arthur has spoken with the paper. They are running a corrected story in the evening edition and tomorrow’s morning edition as well.”

Ginny put her hand on Harry’s arm, “Do you know what it’s going to say?”

Remus smiled, “ Yes. Will you sit while I get a cup of tea?”

Ginny sat back down as Harry retrieved his chair. When he was settled beside her again, she reached for his hand. He squeezed her hand gently and began running his thumb over her knuckles.

As Remus sat across the table with his cup, her Mum came around and sat on her other side.

“Arthur went straight to the editor this morning. Needless to say, your father was angry. After a brief bit of shouting, the editor brought in a different reporter and had her take down the actual facts. They’ve promised to include an apology, but we’ll see.” He chuckled, “ While your dad was there two Howlers came in…one from Professor McGonagall and the other from Albus. “ Remus looked at her Mum, “Arthur said it was like being back at Hogwarts, and just as scary, when Minerva’s voice began shouting.”

Ginny cut her eyes at her Mum. She was smiling,” Serves them right.” She laughed,     ” Arthur was terrified of Minerva when we were in school. I would have loved to have seen his face when the Howler started.”

After they had all enjoyed the thought of her Dad’s reaction, Ginny saw Hermione impatiently watching her and Harry.

“Could we talk somewhere?”  she finally asked.

Harry nodded, “How about our rooms?”

Hermione jumped up,” I need to get some things. I’ll be right there.”

As their friend hurried out, Ginny looked at her Mum,” Could Harry and I go shopping in muggle London this afternoon? I want him out of his cousin’s cast offs.”

Her Mum looked over at Remus who nodded, “ I don’t see why not. Dora said she would be here all afternoon. If you two will go with me it should be alright.” She was still looking at Remus.

Remus looked at his watch, “ Dora should be here in an hour or so. How about we go around two. I’m looking forward to watching Ginny order Harry about again.”

Charlie was smiling, “Can I go watch, too?”

Harry spoke up,” Isn’t anybody going to be on my side?”

Ginny stood and held out her hand,” Sorry, no.”

 *   *   *

Harry almost rolled his eyes when Hermione came into their rooms carrying three very large books. He didn’t because he remembered how she had reacted last night. Instead, he smiled,” Found something, have you?”

Hermione placed the books on the end table and sat in the chair opposite them.

“Actually, I have. After dinner I went to the library on the first floor. If one ignores the books on Dark Magic, there are quite a lot of interesting books in there. I found these three on magical bonds.” She hesitated for a moment, “How much do you know about some of the…consequences?”

Ginny leaned more firmly against him,” We know that one will barely survive the other’s death.”

Hermione seemed to stare at them for a long time,” I notice you didn’t bring that up last night.”

Harry grimaced, “ Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Remus and Tonks know. I don’t know if Bill told Charlie or not.”

Beside him Ginny shook her head,” Me either.”

“You both seem so calm.”

Harry shrugged his shoulders as Ginny answered,” Every once in a while it sneaks up on me and I’m scared for a minute. Then, I remember that if something happens to Harry, I’ll probably be right there anyway, so it may not matter.”

Harry wanted to argue with her logic, but now wasn’t the time. Instead, he turned the tables a little bit, ” You sure took the news well. I was expecting a sound scolding for doing something rash or the like.”

Hermione smiled at that, ‘ I thought about it. But, it struck me how good the two of you will be for each other. I could have done without the marriage part for now, but I think the Bond is just what you both needed.”

Harry sat up,” What do you mean?”

Now Hermione was almost laughing, “ You can’t get mad.”

Harry nodded and so did Ginny.

“First, you Harry. You're so moody and caught up in all of the bad things going on. You want to take the blame for everything. Ginny will have none of that and will let you know right now. Also, she makes you smile; has done for months. Both of you were too dense to see it. You, Ginny, are still caught in the Chamber of Secrets. It shows in your eyes sometimes. Harry is the only person alive who can begin to understand. Also, he is just as stubborn as you. He’ll not let you mope about when those memories come back. You have wanted him for a long time; even after you knew he wasn’t the superhero from your children’s books. No one else would have ever measured up to Harry for you, so I’m happy for the both of you.” She became much more serious," I'm also pretty sure things are going to get much worse for all of us. You'll need each other."

Harry didn’t know what to say. He just smiled at Hermione as Ginny went over and hugged her.

When Ginny was back on the sofa, Hermione picked up the first book and opened it to a page she had marked.”Let me tell you what I’ve found so far…”

*   *   *   

They took two taxis to a store Hermione recommended. She had smiled brightly as she gave the taxis the address. Neither Harry or Ginny had ever been in anything like this before. When they got out of the taxis on Oxford, they were faced with an enormous building. The name of the store was- Sefridges & Co.

Hermione led them inside and over to the escalators. They rode up to the first floor then asked an employee for ‘Men’s Casual.’  Following directions back to the left, they soon found an overwhelming selection of men’s clothing.

 Taking Harry’s arm, Ginny led the charge into that section of the store. A few minutes later, Harry was ordered into a changing room and began what he later described as ‘a mind numbing afternoon of trying on, showing off, changing, and doing it all over again’ as Ginny supervised. An eternity later ( according to Harry), a beaming sales clerk began totaling up ‘Harry’s’ selections. Fortunately, underwear and pyjamas had been close by, so they were easily added to the pile. 

Again following directions, the group went back past the escalator they had come up on, to the shoe department. Ginny gave Harry instructions on what he was to buy. 

When he had his shoes, Hermione announced it was ‘girl time.’ Charlie and Remus retired to the food shop near the center of the floor taking most of Harry’s bags with them.

Ginny followed Hermione up one floor, Harry reluctantly in tow. Now Ginny was nearly overwhelmed. She browsed for a few minutes , then allowed herself to be camped in the changing rooms as Hermione , Tonks and occasionally her Mum brought her things to see and try on. Three pairs of denims, a pair of dressy pants, three skirts, two dresses, five blouses, and four jumpers later, they were finished..on this floor. 

The look on Harry’s face when she had modeled one of the dresses had made her stomach flutter, and her decision easy. 

 Next was the shoe department. Here she bought new trainers, two low heels, a pair of sandals, and another pair of high heels…she liked that look in Harry’s eyes.

 With a real gleam in her eyes, Hermione led them up one more floor. Ginny spent most of the next half hour beet red, but not as red as Harry. Ginny left with the most incredible lingerie she had ever seen or touched. Harry, to his credit, had stayed close, as they were supposed to, and had not passed out from embarrassment. She thought he kept his eyes averted much of the time.

When they walked out to the kerb, everyone was carrying bags or hangers. 

Ginny kept an eye on Harry on the way back to Grimmauld Place. Despite his complaints, he looked pleased.

The whole entourage helped get the bags up to the rooms before going on to their own rooms or down to the parlour. A moment later, Dobby, uncalled, appeared and began putting things away. 

Ginny flopped onto one of the sofas and toed her shoes off.”Was that just too awful?”

Harry had collapsed beside her. He grinned,” Not as bad as I pretended.” He turned and looked at her in an odd but pleasing way,” I was a little disappointed you didn’t model anything in that last department.”

Her breath caught as her face flushed. His eyes were much darker than usual,” Ma…maybe I should save some of that for a while.”

He really looked disappointed,” I’ll promise only to look.”

She leaned up and kissed him,” Then you may get a surprise now and then.”

Now was not the time to mention the book Tonks had slipped her that afternoon. She wanted to see what  “The Loving Touch” had to say first.

Harry was a good sport at dinner as Charlie and Tonks, primarily, went on about his afternoon of shopping. Thankfully, Tonks was astute enough not to go into much detail about the lingerie in front of her Dad and brothers. She didn’t want the teasing because she knew it would end up being very uncomfortable for her Dad and Harry.

Ron came down to eat, but never, to Ginny’s knowledge, looked at either of them, nor participated in the conversation. He sat at the end of the table, ate and left the room.

 Hermione got up to follow him, but her Mum stopped her,” Let him be for now. He needs to grow up like the rest of you.”

Tonks took Hermione back home after dinner. She gave them both a hug and promised to come back in a few days.

Things were getting more at ease. It was a much more casual ‘good night’ to her family when she and Harry retired to their rooms. Best of all, it felt very near natural to crawl into bed with Harry and snuggle together for the night. After a little kissing practice of course.

*   *   *

Everyone was at the table when they came down the next morning. Of course, Ron left as soon as they walked in. Harry had been hurt by Ron’s attitude, but now he was mostly annoyed. 

The twins left soon after to go work on the shop. They wanted to open by August first when the Hogwarts letters went out. Being open as students collected their supplies made good business sense.

“We’ll take Ron with us…”

“…we can always test something on him…”

“…if he gets on our nerves.”

Harry saw Mrs. Weasley start to object, but she only shook her head.”Nothing dangerous.”

Fred grinned evily,” That leaves…”

“…a lot of choices.” George, if anything, looked even more devilish.

Harry tried not to laugh, but when Ginny giggled, he gave up.

The twins both patted him on the shoulder on their way out.

Harry noticed Mr. Weasley hid behind the paper through the whole conversation.

“They did get the story in this morning.” He folded the paper and passed it to Ginny.
She laid it so Harry could read at the same time.


                                          POTTER MARRIAGE CONFIRMED

                                                        Rhonda Dalmore

The marriage of Harry Potter and Ginevra Weasley was confirmed by Mrs. Potter’s father, Arthur Weasley. “Harry and Ginny completed a Bond on Thursday morning. Under wizarding law they were married as soon as the Bond was completed. While Molly, my wife, and I were both quite surprised, we have long considered Harry a member of the family and are pleased to have it become official. We, the whole family, are going to support Harry and Ginny in any way we can or they need. As they are both now adults, as well, Harry and Ginny have access to the Potter family assets and they are able to live independently as they choose. I hope this will put to rest completely the rumors and untruths published and circulated yesterday. Both are quite happy and are settling in together very well.” 

Mr. Weasley declined to disclose where the couple is currently living or what their plans for the coming school year might be. We hope to be able to interview the couple soon.


A PUBLIC APOLOGY TO: Harry and Ginevra Potter
The Daily Prophet apologizes to Harry and Ginevra Potter, their families, and friends, for the article in Friday’s edition hinting at a forced marriage and that Mrs. Potter might be ‘with child.’ We now know this information to be false in its entirety. This newspaper strives to report accurately at all times and hopes this apology in some small way mitigates any pain caused by the previous article.

Harry looked up when he had finished. Ginny still had a look of pain in her eyes. His anger returned in full force,” When did they start worrying about the truth?” He snapped his mouth closed as soon as the words came out. As he spoke Ginny had turned to him, tears leaking from her eyes. He wrapped his arms around her and gently rocked back and forth.”I’ll shut my big mouth, alright?”

He felt a half hearted laugh against his chest,” I’m sorry Harry. It’s just…the apology didn’t have to repeat the lies. Probably, half the people who read it won’t get the part about it being wrong.”

Harry looked over his wife’s shoulder at her father,” Thank you for doing that.”

“I meant every word Harry. You both need to believe that.”

Ginny raised her head and turned to her father,” We do. We really do. It’s everybody else. They can’t leave Harry alone, or they make up lies.” She sniffed one time,” I’ll get used to it. Everyone that matters knows the truth or will believe the truth when the see it.”

The kitchen was quiet for a while.

“May I see the article?” Mrs. Weasley held out her hand.

Harry picked up the paper and passed it over to her, “ Sorry.”

“It’s fine, Harry.” She began reading.

”Would you two like to get in some practice?” Remus was picking up his dishes to take to the sink, where Dobby was standing on a stool frowning.

“I would, how about you Harry?” Ginny was already out of her chair.

“Looks like we’re practicing.” Harry stood up, too.

“Go on down. I need to get something before you begin.” Remus left the kitchen towards the upper floors.

They went down to the practice room. A moment later, Charlie and Mr. Weasley came into the room,”We thought we would watch if you don’t mind?”

Harry and Ginny both nodded, “Sure. It may not be very exciting though.” Harry was thinking about the spells he needed to work on.

“I may change your mind about that.” Remus came in carrying a flat, metal box. He put it on the floor and released three locks. When he open the top, five lumps of what appeared to be rock or stone were visible. 

Charlie stepped closer,” Are those..?”

Remus grinned up at him, “ Yeah, Golem.”

“Blimey.”

Now Mr. Weasley was kneeling down to get a better look,” I’ve never actually seen one.”

Harry looked at Ginny. He was relieved to see she didn’t appear to know what was going on either. “Dad, what are you going on about? What are Golem?”

Remus stood and walked closer to the couple,” Golem are an ancient magical being. They have been created in several cultures. In some they become fearsome creatures with no control. Others have ways of controlling them but that varies. Most are made from soil or mud. These,” He pointed at the box,” are very old. Sirius’ family supposedly bought them in Egypt long ago. For whatever reason, creating them from this type of rock allows special qualities.” 

He opened a piece of parchment. It looked to be quite old, too.”These incantations let you create as many as you need and imbues them with the skills you desire. I thought I would activate two of them and let each of you duel alone for a while. If you like, we can change things later so you work as a team against both of them at once.”

Harry was fascinated. Looking around, so was everyone else,” Yeah, that sounds great.”

Remus held up the parchment so he could more easily read it. A moment later he had his wand pointing at the box as he recited the incantation. Just seconds later, two huge, sort of human looking, creatures were standing by the wall.

“Why don’t each of you work at different ends of the room for now?”

Harry nodded and began walking to the other end of the room.

“The Golem can cast spells and will react as a wizard would if hit by a spell. I can increase their skill level as needed.” 

He sofly spoke again and the two Golem each drew a wand and immediately began to attack.

Harry was caught off guard and had to dive away from the first spell. It looked like a stinger. As he rolled to his feet he began counter attacking. In less than a minute he had disabled the Golem. 

He glanced over at Ginny. She was watching him, tapping her wand against her arm,” About time Harry. I’m getting bored.”

He grinned back at her,” So, it’s a contest, is it?”

She laughed,” Not so far.”

Remus had a big grin on his face,” You two have been learning a few things, I see.” He looked at the parchment again,” We’ll up their skill a bit more.” He pointed his wand at each of the Golem again.

This time, Harry was ready. He was countering as the first curse flew. The only problem was, this Golem was much faster than the first. Harry battled for several minutes, taking a few, light hits in order to respond more quickly. Finally, he disabled the creature. Gasping a bit for breath, he spun to check on Ginny. She was again leaning against the wall looking bored.”

“Three out of five Harry?” She was smirking  at him.

Remus looked almost maniacal as he reset the creatures. Charlie and Mr. Weasley were both wide eyed looking back a forth between the two teens.

Harry took his position for the third time. Unexpectedly, a cutting curse was flying at his legs. He jumped and fired off a stunner with a full body bind behind and to the left. The Golem blocked the stunner, but stepped into the body bind. Match over. A quick check of Ginny showed her still fighting. Harry leaned against the wall, patting his foot. 

“Lucky shot Harry. My match after this one.”

Harry just smiled and raised his wand. Spells flew from the Golem’s wand and his free hand. Harry was on the defensive from the start. After a couple of minutes he scored some solid, but not disabling hits. He pressed the attack and finally was able to fire a pattern of stunners at different heights and in slightly different directions. The Golem moved straight into one of them.

Ginny spun around a second later. “Ahhh,tied. Winner gets a back rub.”

“Great idea. I need one.” The first spell almost cut his head off. He rolled, firing shields and spells. Within a minute he was back on his feet. A minute later, he was fully on the offensive. Suddenly a hex flew by from behind his left shoulder. Sneaking a  quick peek, he saw another Golem on attack. Now he was purely on the defensive until he could work himself around and get both attackers in sight at the same time. 

Finally he was fighting at the ten and three o’clock positions. Two minutes later, three o’clock was out. Thirty seconds later ten was out ,too. He put his hands on his knees and gasped for breath. When he looked up, Ginny was doing the same thing.

“Who….won..?” She gasped at Remus.

He smiled, “ The good guys. It was a tie.”

Harry started walking back toward the door. He was really tired.

When he walked up, he saw a couple of small cuts on Ginny’s face and arms. Looking down, he was in no better condition.

Charlie blurted,” That was bloody incredible. Both of you. Where did you learn to do 
that?”

Ginny grinned,” Ask Dumbledore…wasted Wednesdays in Godric’s Hollow.”

Mr. Weasley was smiling,” Only a few in the Order would take on either of you one on one. If you two get better, Merlin help us all.”

Harry grinned at Ginny as he spoke to her dad,” I was only able to use maybe half of what we’ve learned. The rest I’m still too slow or don’t have enough confidence in yet.”

Ginny was nodding along,” Maybe a few more than half for me, but I don’t cast with the power I want to, yet.”

Remus looked at the two, “ One more round. Three against two?”

Harry took Ginny’s hand and began walking away from the others,” Start when you are ready.”

Remus spent a little more time on the incantation. Suddenly,  the three Golem spread out and began a powerful attack.

The pair held hands in the beginning , mostly, defending. As they became more at ease fighting together, they found they only needed to be touching the other lightly. 

Even then, the Golem pressed them hard. The battle raged up and down the room for more than an hour. The three observers watched from the protection of two powerful shielding spells. Otherwise, they would have been in serious jeopardy  of being injured.

Slowly, it became clear that Harry and Ginny were working more and more in unthinking concert. The battle moved from a brutal stalemate to a blistering attack. The attack lasted only four or five minutes after it started and the three Golem were all incapacitated. The observers applauded the couple as they bent over at the waist, gasping for breath.

Remus had changed the four Golem back into rocks and placed them in the box.” I can work with you every morning if you like.”

Harry checked Ginny. She was nodding.”We’ll do it.” He turned to Charlie,” Why didn’t you give it a go?”

He was shaking his head,” By the third round, I was out matched. I gotta tell you Ginny, you now officially scare the pants off of me.” Harry saw her beaming. “And you Potter, if you’re slow, I’ve got to be here when you speed up…. Behind a protective barrier again.”

Harry looked at his watch as they climbed the stairs. He was amazed to see they had been down there just under two hours.”Let’s go get a shower.”

Ginny leaned close and sniffed,” You definitely; I’ll take one just to feel fresher.”

Harry swatted her lightly on the arm,” My loving wife…”

Ginny stopped dead,” Is that going to be alright?”

Harry looked down, embarrassed,” Oh, yeah. More than, I think.” He looked back up.

Ginny grinned,” Good thing, too.” She grabbed his hand and took off for their rooms.

“ How did it go?” Mrs. Weasley was watching Dobby finish preparing lunch.

Mr. Weasley walked over to his wife and placed a hand on her shoulder,” If Harry or Ginny draw their wand against you…I’ll really miss you.”

She looked up to see what the joke was. When she saw he wasn’t smiling, she turned to Charlie,” What’s he going on about, Charlie?”

“Plain and simple Mum, no joke, Harry and Ginny can take any of us by themselves; probably, two of us at a time if they had to.”

Remus sat down across from her,” James and Lily have been teaching these two some very powerful magic, and they are very good students. I can attest to that from my own experience as their professor. Seeing what we did just now…the Bond, everything else is probably worth it.” He looked up at Arthur,” I can’t wait to see them work together after they really learn to share their magic.”

Mr. Weasley was quiet for a moment.” I see what you mean, but the thought of why they would need to…”

No one had an answer for that. 

After lunch, Ginny insisted they work on their summer assignments. The rest of the day passed pleasantly, if quietly, in their rooms. From time to time, Harry would look up at Ginny. He was awed and amazed at how different he felt now rather than three weeks ago. The grief and anger that had consumed him was now loosely bundled and put aside to be dealt with a little at a time. What mostly filled him now was a combination of happiness and, best of all, hope. The reason for both was sitting on the other sofa, chewing a piece of hair as she read her Transfiguration assignment. He had hope because Ginny wouldn’t have it any other way.

After a while she caught him watching,” What?”

Harry shook his head, embarrassed,” Err, I was just watching..you know.”

She closed her book; holding her place with a finger,” No, I don’t. Why were you watching?”

As his face became more and more red, Harry tried to say what he was feeling,” It’s just…since we… you…you make me feel things.”’ There that should do it.’ He was quite proud of himself.

Without breaking eye contact, Ginny sat up and leaned forward, “What sort of things?” Her voice was very soft.

‘Damn.’ “Well, you know since we…well I’ve…I’m more happy, and I…I, most of the time, I have hope, you now…like maybe I’ll win and we can…” His face was throbbing it was so red. He couldn’t continue.

Ginny’s eyes seemed to be shining as she watched him,” Are you saying that I make you happy, and I give you hope about our future?”

He nodded in relief that she understood.

Still watching him, Ginny stood and walked over to Harry. Without saying a word, she leaned down and kissed him slowly and softly on the lips.”I’ll give you that and anything else you need, Harry.” She turned and sat on his lap; slipping both arms around his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist.” Do you mind if we sit like this for a while?”

Harry grinned into her hair,” Only ‘til dinner time. My wife insists I eat with her.”

Ginny tucked her head under Harry’s jaw,” That will work out perfectly.”

*   *   *

Sunday was a relaxed day. The whole family was there to see Charlie before he went back to Romania. Breakfast was much like days at the Burrow; pranks by the twins ( Ron’s marmalade kept falling from his toast every time he tried to take a bite, and Bill’s tea dribbled down his front whenever he tried for a sip.), and lots of mostly true stories told on each other.

Ginny watched and laughed unlike any time for the past couple of years. She had realized, teetering on the edge of sleep last night, that she had been less than herself for some time. She was pretty sure the downhill slide began in the Great Hall her third year. A small, tight ball of worry had formed when Dumbledore called Harry’s name for the Triwizard Tournament. Despite her ‘relationship’ with Michael, it had stayed and grown right up until she met Lily Potter. 

The ball had been generously fed worrying mostly about Harry; the tournament, his kidnapping and escape, mistreatment by Umbridge, and the attacks and fights at the Ministry resulting in Siruis’ death had each added to its growth. Her Dad’s attack had certainly contributed much, as had Percy’s rejection of the family. Still, laying there beside Harry, Ginny identified what had left her feeling so withdrawn, at least by her standards. It had mostly been her fear for Harry; his physical safety and mental health. 

She had also seen, clearly, her true feelings for Michael. Their whole time together had been like having a conversation with someone while trying to overhear and watch someone else. It had been unfair for the both of them.

Harry’s stumbling attempt, she smiled inside every time she thought of it, to describe what she brought to him had, in its simplicity, mirrored her own climb from the depths of her own unacknowledged fears. Life was truly strange. 

Ron was still surly, and barely smiled at the pranks and tales. Ginny found he was less and less a distraction as each hour passed. The rest of her family treated her and Harry as well as she could have possibly hoped, and Harry seemed less concerned, as well.

Ginny went to help her Mum and Bill begin collecting the dirty dishes. “ When are you going to start including your room mate in these get togethers?” She spoke softly so as not to be overheard.

Bill’s head snapped around. His expression was one of growing panic,” Please Ginny. Mum will be like a hound on the scent if she hears a word.”

As Ginny smiled at her oldest brother, she heard Charlie ask Harry to see his stag charm, “I’m not going to tell her, but you know she just seems to suddenly know things. If that happens, it will be worse for you and really bad for Fleur.”

Bill had just opened his mouth to answer, when a scream filled the room,                       ”Aaaagggghhhh.” It was followed by the sound of a body hitting the floor.

Ginny spun to see what happened as the room descended into pandemonium. When she looked, everyone was on their feet rushing toward…..Harry!

She ran around the table, trying to get to her husband, but there were too many in the way.

“Don’t touch him!” Tonks grabbed Fred’s hand. “There’s no telling what could happen.”

Ginny finally squeezed near enough to see Harry. He was writhing on the floor; his hands pressed against his scar. Seeping through his fingers was a steady flow of dark, sticky blood.

“Let me by!!” She was pushing against Tonks. In turn the Auror was tightly gripping her right arm as her Mum held her left and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Get off of me, and let me by!” Ginny was getting both frantic and furious.

Harry continued to moan and scream. His legs were moving spasmodically as though he was having a seizure. Now Ginny could clearly see his face. His eyes were open but were rolled back so only the whites showed. His hands were pressing against his scar as if to hold back the pain that was obviously torturing him. Her heart began to break as she was prevented giving him the comfort she instinctively knew was present in their Bond.

Without a conscious plan, she began summoning her magical energy and focused it into her arms. When the power seemed to peak, she thrust her Mum and Tonks away. She didn’t take notice of their flight of several feet each; she only knew she was free and dropped to Harry, grasping his head in her hands. As she leaned down , she  began speaking urgently into his ear, “ Harry! Harry, Fight him Harry…”

*   *   *

Harry was as relaxed as he had been in months. He laughed at the pranks and tried to take in all of the details of the stories being told. Having spent so many years in a cold, hostile household, it was still fascinating to watch and experience the warmth of a loving family gathered together.

Watching Ron pointedly staying out of things, except for the marmalade prank, Harry realized he now felt sorry for Ron rather than being hurt or angry. It was sad that anyone would let petty anger distance themselves from their family…then again, there was Percy, too.

He offered to help as Ginny went to gather the dirty dishes, but she pushed him back into his chair,” Bill and I can do just fine. Finish that cup of tea.”

He watched her move around the table, a warm glow in the pit of his stomach. That small witch became a bigger part of his being every minute they were together. He was marveling at the change she had made in him and almost missed Charlie’s request.

Harry pulled the stag up over his collar before taking off the necklace. He passed it over to Charlie and turned back to catch the start of a story Fred was telling about Percy.

Without warning his head seemed to split open. As he raised his hands to press against the blinding pain, he was unaware of his scream and tumble to the floor.

“Ahh, Harry. Did you think you could hide from me? How foolish of you. My followers tell me you have been quite busy playing with magic far beyond your meager abilities. You surely don’t believe a bond will help you?” He heard a disgusting, hissing sound that probably passed for laughing to Voldemort. “ I believe I know the tart you’ve bonded with. She was a pitiful, weak little girl, but if you’re content with my leavings, so be it. Maybe I taught her some things you will find pleasurable before I kill you both.” The sound came again.” Enough of that, let me show you what you’ve been missing…” Visions of torture, murder and destruction began to play before his eyes. Each scene seemed to raise the pain to a higher level. In that small, rational recess of his mind not consumed with agony, he knew the pain would soon drive him mad or kill him. Behind the horror and pain that laugh played on and on.

Then, it began to ease. In the distance he could hear a voice calling to him. It was too faint to make out exactly, but he knew it was calling to him. In the sound he could hear love and concern and the pain faded even more.

Suddenly, Voldemort’s presence exploded back into his visions,” Who dares to interfere? I will crush you like I am doing with this pathetic pretender.” Harry felt even more malevolent energy flow into him
. But, it seemed to strike a barrier and stop. 

Almost instantly in began to flow back out. At some point, time had no meaning, the black river of hate became mixed with a faint red and gold glow. The glow became brighter. As it did the pain faded. Harry could hear Voldemort’s howls of fury as he was forced from Harry’s mind. After a time, the pain was gone and the glow was all that was left behind. It was warm and safe and full of love…Then all was black.  


*   *   *

Ginny spoke urgently into Harry's ear, trying to be heard over the screams from Harry’s own mouth, “ Fight him Harry. I’m here and we won’t let him win. Reach out Harry. Remember the Bonding ceremony? Remember how I shared my heart with you? Take it again and let me help you fight him. Please Harry, reach out to me and let me help you.”

Ginny pulled Harry’s head tight against her chest and continued her pleas,” Let me take some of the pain Harry. We can fight this together. Reach out to me…my love. I’ll give myself for you, just let me help you.”

Despite her concentration on Harry, Ginny could feel energy…magic..love, something flowing from her into him. As the flow strengthened, she sensed Harry regaining a part of himself. Frighteningly, she also felt a cold, evil mist flowing back towards her. Redoubling her efforts, she focused on pouring everything she had into Harry and into repelling the mist. She wasn’t even aware of her choice of words.

Ginny could tell that he was calming. The thrashing and screaming had faded to low moans and twitches. She sat up slightly and tried to pry Harry’s hands from his forehead. After a moment, they fell away. She clinched her jaws as she heard several gasps around her. Harry’s scar had split along its entire length. The blood which had flowed down over his eye and cheek, was still seeping from the wound. 

As his hands fell away, Harry seemed to relax fully. Or, maybe he finally passed out. Either way, his body became limp. 

“Someone get me some cool water and a flannel.” She didn’t take her eyes from Harry’s face. A moment later, her Mum joined her on the floor.

“Let me take him dear, you need…”

“NO! I’m not leaving him.”

More gently, her Mum asked,” Do you want me to try to clean his face?”

Ginny shook her head, “ Voldemort’s still there. I’ve pushed him out for now, but I don’t think you should touch Harry, yet.”

Her Mum squeezed the excess water from the flannel and passed it to Ginny. She began to gently clean Harry’s face. They worked together for several minutes…Ginny cleaning, her Mum rinsing the flannel and replenishing the water. The room was abuzz with soft conversations, but nothing registered with Ginny. She stayed focused on her task.

When she had cleaned him as best she could, she looked up for the first time,             ”Charlie, I need the charm back.” Her brother came around the table and handed it to her with an obvious question on his face.

“The Potter’s had placed spells on the charms to block invasions of the mind..Imperius curses, Legilimency and the like. Harry thought it might be protecting him from Voldemort. I guess he was right.” Using only her right hand, she managed to slip the necklace back around Harry’s neck.

Ginny turned to her mum,” Can you help me get Harry back to our rooms?” Her Mum nodded and drew her wand as she stood.

“I’ve Flooed Albus. Maybe we should wait until he…” Tonk’s words faltered as she saw the look on Ginny’s face.

Molly levitated Harry and began directing him up the stairs. Ginny kept a firm hold on his head and shoulders; afraid to break contact in case the necklace didn’t help after all.

As they entered their rooms, Ginny directed her Mum to place Harry on the bed. “Pull the doors closed as you leave, please.” The polite request had also conveyed a couple of orders – Leave the room and leave us alone. “ Mum?” Molly looked back from the arch, a pocket door latch in each hand. “ I’ll be out when Harry is better. We don’t need any visitors for a while.”

Her Mum didn’t move for a few moments. She smiled just a bit, and pulled the doors closed.

Ginny managed to draw her wand without releasing Harry. Quickly, she cast a locking charm, a sealing spell, and a silencing charm. ‘Maybe they will get the hint.’ Having done all she could for the moment, Ginny made herself more comfortable and settled in to wait for Harry to come back.

*   *   *

When Molly turned from the door, she found the sitting room rapidly filling with family. She raised her finger to her lips to signal quiet, then turned and cast a silencing spell on the pocket doors (No sound at all was going to disturb the couple now).

“How is he?” Remus was white and obviously shaken.

“Still out.” Molly smiled wryly,” That’s all we’re going to know until Ginny tells us different.”

Arthur had stepped in beside Remus,” What do you mean?”

“I mean that Harry’s wife, the little witch you all warned me about yesterday, ran me from the room and made it clear they were not to be disturbed.”

Arthur thought,’ Getting some of your own medicine,’ but wisely kept that thought to himself. Behind him , he heard a soft giggle he was pretty sure belonged to Tonks.

Molly turned to the twins,” Nothing will happen for a while. You two go down and stop anyone else from coming up here. One of you ask Dobby to keep tea and coffee on the stove. We’ll probably need it before the day is out.” Fred nor George offered any objection before leaving the room.

“Dora, would you mind going for Hermione? She’ll not forgive us if we don’t.”

“Glad to, Molly. Should I tell her what happened?”

“Might as well,” Molly looked at Arthur, he nodded,” she’s seen this before.” She walked over to one of the chairs and sat down,” Nothing to do now but wait.”

Arthur took the other chair. Remus sat on one sofa, Bill and Charlie on the other. Ron had disappeared.

A few minutes later, Professor Dumbledore swept through the door,” How’s Harry? Where is he?”

Molly didn’t bother getting up,” He’s still unconscious and he’s in there.” She pointed toward the bedroom.

“I need to see him.” Dumbledore reached for the doors.

“You really shouldn’t, Albus.”

The Headmaster paused, confused.”And why is that?”

Molly smiled grimly, ”Harry is being carefully guarded by Ginny at the moment. She said not to disturb them, and we’re abiding her wishes.”

“I really must insist..”

“Albus,” Remus was standing now,” If you open those doors, be ready to defend yourself. We watched Ginny and Harry duel yesterday and none of us would want to take her on if we could avoid it.” 

He looked around to see Arthur and Charlie both nodding their agreement. “I don’t think Harry could be in better hands right now.”

After a moment of hesitation, Dumbledore nodded and came over to the sofa, “Tell me about the duel..” He sat in rapt wonder as Remus, Charlie and Arthur described what they had witnessed.

Dumbledore also wanted all of the details of what had transpired in the kitchen. Everybody had some piece of the story to clarify or elaborate upon. 

Tonks came in with Hermione at about noon looking for news. but there was none to be had. Shortly thereafter, Dumbledore returned to Hogwarts promising to check back later in the evening.

Afternoon faded toward evening, but the doors remained closed. 

Finally, Charlie stood to tell everyone ‘good bye.” “Tell Ginny and Harry I waited as long as I could.” He kissed his Mum and left the room. 

A short time later Hermione was alone in the room, allowing the others to go down for something to eat and to stretch their legs. She was surprised by the sound of the bedroom doors sliding open.

Ginny peered through the opening and smiled,” Good, you’re here.”

“How’s Harry?”

“Awake, but pretty tired. Why don’t you come in and we’ll tell you what happened.”

And that’s why the others found the sitting room empty, but the doors still closed when they returned.

*   *  *
A/N: A bit of explaination. On 2007.07.10 I went to see OotP (I had seen the first four movies; read none of the books). Coming out, I decided I needed to know more of the story. That night and next day I read OotP, then dropped back and read GoF the next two days. Thoroughly hooked, I reread OotP then read HBP. By now it was July 20. I blew through DH in a day, put it down for two, then read it again. Now obsessive, I started with PS and went 1-7 nonstop. Laughing at my obsession, someone asked if I knew about the fanfiction sites ( about mid-August). Lord help me. Now I was no longer constrained by just seven books. I have, since then, read hundreds of on-line stories on a multitude of sites. Long preamble to the point…if something sounds familiar, it may have stuck from one of the other stories. I promise it is not intentional. I make special effort not to use some of the wonderful phrasing and descriptions I have found in other’s stories. I encourage you, if you have not already, to search out some of these writers on various sites: CTS, Melindaleo, IMOGEN, St. Margarets, crys, Kjpzak, and the fabulous Sugarquills23 ( On HPFF. Her “Dream’ stories are among the best HG you will find.). I’ll mention others from time to time.
hubris



 

Chapter 5: For Better or Worse
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny found herself dozing off and on as the afternoon waned. She knew when Harry finally came back there would be some real discomfort from her left arm. Having been pinned under Harry for the past several hours, it was soundly asleep. 

Finally he began to stir. A first it was only a slight shift of his hips and legs. A short while later, he rolled into her and wrapped his right arm across her stomach. As gently as possible, she slid her left arm up onto the pillow and gritted her teeth. Sure enough, the pins and needles attacked with a fury. Ginny closed her eyes to fight the discomfort. When she reopened them, Harry was looking at her; his face a mask of confusion. 

“Welcome back, Harry.” 

He frowned,” Are we in our rooms?” 

“Yeah, our rooms…I like the sound of that.” 

Harry smiled just a little,” Yeah,….How did I get here?” 

Ginny turned to face him more fully, and began running her fingers through his hair. That seemed to calm him a little. “ Do you remember Voldemort’s attack?” 

Harry nodded slightly,” Yeah, too well.” 

“ When he attacked you, you covered your scar with your hands and fell to the floor….” She related all that had happened in the kitchen and how they had gotten back to their bedroom. 

Harry’s eyes glowed a bit,” You drove him out?” 

Ginny felt herself flush,” I guess so…When I realized what had happened, I just knew I could help…I don’t mean that like Mum or Hermione would have helped you. I knew I could actually do something through the Bond.” 

Harry nodded,” The book said we would have powers unique to our Bond. Maybe this is one. Thank you for helping me.” He looked away, seemingly embarrassed. 

Ginny placed her hand on his cheek and waited for him to look at her again,” Harry, you came for me in the Chamber. I couldn’t do any less for you.” 

Harry slid his arm up Ginny’s back and pulled her to him. The kiss was not passionate but filled with affection – neither was ready to call it love, yet. But, anyone watching the moment would have disagreed. 

As she pulled away, Ginny’s thoughts were that her childhood fantasies had become real. She and Harry were fighting evil together, and she had been there to save him when he needed her. She lost herself there for just a few moments, then returned to the real present. 

“Do you want to tell me about it?” 

She saw him begin to close down as he had almost always done before. Ginny opened her mouth to fuss, but his expression changed and stopped her. 

“ He said he had been waiting for me and he knew about the Bond. He said it wouldn’t help,” Something troubled him for a few moments and he hesitated. He closed his eyes for a minute, then he smiled,” But you chased his sorry arse right out of my head, didn’t you?” 

Ginny smiled back,” My pleasure, sir.” 

Harry looked away again, thinking on something, she thought. When he looked at her again, he seemed determined. 

“ There were a lot of images…he showed me things the Death Eaters and he had done…” He told her some of it. “ It was amazing when you started to help me..” He closed his eyes, but he was smiling this time,” I was seeing all those horrible things and the pain was terrible. I was sure it would kill me or drive me mad. Then, in the distance, I heard someone calling to me. At first I couldn’t tell what it was, but I knew it was good. As it became stronger, the pain began to go away. Voldemort was furious. He attacked even harder, but it didn’t matter. You were driving him out. I could feel the evil flowing out and peace and security pushing it away. I guess it was the Bond I saw glowing inside of me…it felt like when we finished the incantation. Then things went black.” 

Ginny hadn’t been aware she was crying until Harry reached to wipe her cheeks. 

He smiled again, “ Thank you…you saved me.” 

Ginny was afraid she was about to lose it so she cheeked,” We hadn’t had the wedding yet, had we? I wasn’t going to let that get by.” 

Harry rolled her onto her back and grinned down at her,” So that’s the reason was it? Maybe we should put it off for a while so you will keep saving me.” 

Ginny smiled for just a moment then turned serious,” Looking out for one another is part of the deal, Harry. I’ll always be there, wedding or no.” 

He paused for a few moments,” Me, too.” He gave her a quick kiss before smiling again,” And we get to do this, too.” This time the kiss was neither quick nor light hearted. It led to another, then another….

* * *

In the kitchen, the table was surrounded by Weasleys and Order members. 

Dumbledore had returned bringing Professor McGonagall with him. Snape had arrived only a few minutes before. Dobby was flitting about refilling cups and goblets or adding platters and bowls to the table as those assembled ate and talked with equal effort. 

The story of Harry’s attack had been retold for the Order members. Ginny’s ability to drive Voldemort out of Harry’s mind had stunned many of them. They all saw a small, young witch not nearly ‘of age.’ It was hard for most to reconcile that image with the one described by the Weasleys, Remus and Tonks. 

“She knocked you across the table, you say?” Moody was staring at Tonks. 

Dora nodded, “ One minute I’m holding her back, the next I’m scattering plates and cups all over the kitchen.” 

Moody looked at Molly. 

She nodded,” I had Ginny’s arm, then I knocked George into the wall. I’m pretty sure Ginny barely moved, and I know she didn’t have her wand in her hand.” 

He turned to look at the head of the table,” Albus?” 

Dumbledore stroked his beard as he thoughtfully answered,” I suppose, by now, I shouldn’t be surprised at anything to do with Harry. Miss….Mrs. Potter appears to have been able to concentrate her magical energy by the pure will to do so.” He looked at Remus,” During the duels, did you sense anything like that?” 

Remus sat quietly for a minute or two,” No, not in the way she did in here. But, her spell casting seemed to become instinctual as time passed, Harry’s, too. Both of them fought almost without thought. Ginny complained she wasn’t as powerful as she wanted to be, but…then this.” 

Dumbledore turned to Snape,” Voldemort?” 

Snape seemed to be a little disconcerted,” He put on quite a show for us at first. After only a few minutes, he lost his arrogance and got quite furious. Almost immediately, it seemed he came under attack. He appeared weakened before dismissing us and retiring to his chambers.” 

Dumbledore turned back to the Weasleys, “ I really need to speak with Harry and Ginny.” 

Remus answered for them, “ I don’t think any of us wants to make Ginny angry right now. She might well bring the whole house down on the lot of us if we bother Harry.” Remus was smiling, but there was a hidden message in his humor. 

Tonks laughed, but she was the only one. 

Dumbledore turned to Molly,” Perhaps you could check on them? Maybe you would not incur quite as much anger from Mrs. Potter. 

“Albus, I was going up to check on them anyway. If the doors are still closed, I’ll leave them alone. From what Severus has said, ‘He’ shouldn’t attack Harry again tonight.” 

“That may well be true Molly, but I would feel much better about things if I could have a word with the two of them.” 

Molly stood to leave the room. Bill and Tonks rose to follow her. A moment later, so did Arthur. 

“Albus, those charms Lily and James left for Potter were what protected him these past few weeks. If young Miss…Mrs. Potter can fight off Voldemort when he’s in Potter’s head, we’ve got less to worry about.” 

“Alastor, I doubt we should rely on Voldemort’s inability to deal with this setback.” Dumbledore looked at his Potions professor,” Did Harry make any progress with his lessons?” 

“Headmaster, as I have said repeatedly, Potter is an average wizard at best. Add laziness to mediocrity and there was little chance of success.” 

“More likely the problem lay with the teacher, not the student.” Remus was staring at Snape with undisguised distaste.” 

“Now see here Lupin. You may try to pass the blame…” 

“Enough!” The Headmaster glared at the two wizards. “ We will have to find other avenues to ensure Harry is not attacked like that again.” He watched to be sure nothing more would be said. Satisfied he looked down the table,” Is there anything new to report?” 

Kingsley Shacklebolt leaned forward,” The Minister was seen meeting with…”

* * * 

Harry smiled at Hermione as she came into the room. He had propped Ginny’s pillow behind him so that he was in a partial sitting position. He head still ached a bit, but nothing too distracting. 

“Harry, how are you feeling?” Hermione sat on the dressing table bench Ginny had moved beside the bed. 

“I’m…,” Harry raised his arm so that Ginny could slip under it and lay beside him,”.. feeling better; just a bit of a headache.” 

Hermione looked hesitant, unusual for her,” Do you want to talk about what happened?” 

Harry nodded,” I’ll tell you about the vision and Voldemort. Ginny will have to tell the rest.” 

When they had finished, Hermione sat quietly for a few moments,” Do you know any of the charms your parents used on the necklaces?” 

Harry shook his head,” No, but I may know where to find them.” 

Ginny sat up, a frown on her face,” Where?” 

“Do you remember those three chests just inside the vault?” 

Ginny looked lost for a moment, before smiling,” I was pretty distracted there for a while, but I think so. You went through them first thing.” 

“Yeah. One of them was full of books on spells and curses. I thought at the time that they might have been where Mum and Dad found everything for the journals.” He looked over at Hermione,” We can get the chest and bring it here for you to go through.” 

Hermione was nodding distractedly,” I can start there. That might answer the spell questions. The Bond… I may have to go to Hogwarts, or get access to the Ministry’s library, to work on that.” 

Harry smirked,” Hate to do that to you.” 

“No, that’s alright..” She saw Harry and Ginny both smiling.” Well, I don’t mind a little research.” 

Harry and Ginny both laughed. He thought that felt good after everything. “I think I need to get something to eat. Have either one of you had anything?” 

Both witches shook their heads. 

Harry sat up slowly and waited to see what happened. When his head didn’t split open, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood. The room began to spin. 

An instant later, Ginny was wrapped around his waist trying to steady him. 

“Maybe you should sit back down Harry.” 

He pulled Ginny away from him just a bit and put his hand on her shoulder. “How about I just take my time? It’s better already.” 

Hermione came around the bed and took Harry’s other side. After a few steps, Harry let go of the girls and walked on his own. 

Ginny hurried ahead and pulled open the doors. Waiting in the sitting room were the twins, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, and Tonks. 

Mrs. Weasley was up and to him in an instant,” How are you dear? What can I do for you?” She looked intently at his forehead. It must have passed inspection as she said nothing about it. 

“Mum! Let him be for a minute.” Bill had come to Harry’s aid. He laid a hand on his Mum’s shoulder and eased her back a step. 

“We were going for something to eat. Is the Order still meeting?” Hermione had moved closer to Harry; as though to shield him.
 
Bill turned for the door,” I’ll see what is going on. Wait until I’m back.” 

Harry looked around the room,” Sorry to have ruined your day.” He was flushed. 

He felt a sudden pain in his arm where Ginny had smacked him,” Don’t you dare start that Harry Potter.” 

When he looked into her blazing eyes, he had to laugh,” Yes, ma’am.” 

Ginny’s face immediately went deep red, “ Well, I’m not going to put up with that foolishness, and you know you have to listen to me now.” 

Harry slipped his hand into hers and nodded. 

The rest of the room broke up. 

“You said..” 

“…he did,..” 

“..but, it is a…” 

“..sight to see.” The twins were both shaking their heads in wonderment. 

Harry was puzzled,” What?” 

Ginny squeezed his hand,” Never you mind, Harry. They’re just running on.” 

Bill came in,” It’s just Dumbledore and McGonagall in the kitchen. Dobby will have everything ready by the time we get down there.” 

The group filed into the kitchen and dispersed around the table. Harry very carefully allowed a couple of spaces between himself and the Headmaster. 

“Harry, it’s good to see you up and around. Are you feeling up to a few questions?” 

The Headmaster’s question was not actually meant as such, and Harry knew it. He nodded, “ I’ll tell you what I can. The rest will have to come from Ginny and her family.” 

At that point, Remus and Moody entered the room from the pantry, “ Harry! We’ve been worried. Glad to see you up.” 

Moddy barely nodded at Harry. He was watching Dumbledore,” The Golem are just as Remus described. They can be set to be right nasty fighters. I’d say the young Potters here must have put on a fine show up against three of them.” 

Dumbledore nodded distractedly before returning his attention to Harry and Ginny. 

Harry recounted the attack and the visions; leaving out some of Voldemort’s taunts. As he began to describe Ginny’s counterattack, Ginny began interjecting what she was thinking, feeling and doing. By the time they were finished, Dumbledore, Moody, Remus and Professor McGonagall were a rapt audience. 

Dumbledore stroked hid beard for a few minutes,” Harry, once again, describe what Mrs. Potter’s attack did to Voldemort and how it made you feel.” 

By the time he finished, Dobby had laid a spread on the table. There were cold meats, fresh bread, cheese and several condiments. Baskets of crisps were scattered about as were three different types of crackers. 

Ginny immediately began building sandwiches for the two of them. While she was working, Dobby set a large bowl of vegetable soup at each place. 

“Albus, how would ‘he’ have known about Ginny, from before, I mean?” Mr. Weasley was obviously worried. 

The Headmaster appeared frustrated,” I’m sure from Lucius Malfoy. He has a steady stream of visitors daily.” 

Harry started,” Is he not in prison?” 

Dumbledore shook his head,” His influence has thus far delayed his trial. He is still in custody at the Ministry.” 

Harry clinched his jaws and said nothing further. 

Those who hadn’t eaten fell out of the conversation and became somewhat interested observers focusing more on sustenance than on words. 

Professor McGonagall waited patiently for Harry and Ginny to pause if not finish eating,” Could the two of you describe, in detail, the effects of the final incantation and the sealing of the Bond?” 

Ginny carefully described the feelings and visions that she and Harry had shared.”I could feel my heart flow into Harry,” (“Mine into hers, too.”), and it was not at all odd or uncomfortable, but the completion of something that had been lacking and waiting (“Exactly.”). Sealing the Bond” She blushed,” was quite wonderful.” She added nothing further. 

The stern professor appeared to be lost in thought. Before she could respond, Moody beat her to it,” You two have gotten into some very old, powerful magic. I’m not sure there is anyone still around who could be of any real help.” 

As Moody spoke, McGonagall began nodding her head,” Alastor may well be right. I know of no one who has any knowledge of a Bond like this.” 

Ginny placed her uneaten sandwich back on the plate and leaned forward,” But what is so different. It all seemed to fit together perfectly.” 

McGonagall showed a rare smile,” But of course it did. That’s the beauty of the magic. It flows so well together, but it appears to be new.” She paused for a moment,” I have spent some time in the library these past few days. The red thread binding only to the gold is unique. It’s in none of the texts I have been through. They describe only an interwoven web. The description of your hearts flowing together should come from a much deeper ceremony conducted for already bonded couples who have been together for many years.” She looked at Professor Dumbledore,” The Underhills?” 

Dumbledore nodded,” I had almost forgotten. As I recall they tried several times before they were successful.” 

Professor McGonagall shook her head,” I had completely forgotten. There was a footnote in one of the articles I read.” 

“I’ve had a word or two with an Unspeakable friend of mine,” Moody pulled out a chair and joined the rest around the table. “ She says the standard Eternity Bond incantation has been tried a few times in the past century, but none of the couples have been able to complete it. They pulled out the old reference texts when the registry was made.” Moody looked at Harry and Ginny,” There are a lot of notes about the other magical abilities that come with the Bond. You two should look out for anything unusual.” 

After just a moment Harry smiled, then he laughed out loud,” Unusual? My whole life is unusual.” 

This caused several smiles around the table. 

“I believe what Alastor means is something outside the normal boundaries of magic.” The Headmaster looked at the old Auror for confirmation. “ You will both certainly be more powerful as you are finding out already. The unusual may be Mrs. Potter reading your emotions through touch. Possibly, her ability to help you fight off Tom is another. It is these types of things of which you should take notice.” 

Harry had noticed the expression on Hermione’s face as Professor McGonagall and Moody talked about the research. “We’ve asked Hermione to help us research some of this. We thought it was important for us to understand as much as we can.” He turned to Professor Dumbledore,” Can Hermione get access to the Ministry library and the books Professor McGonagall was looking at?” 

The Headmaster looked to his right,” Minerva?” 

Professor McGonagall nodded,” I’ll ask Irma to contact her counterpart at the Ministry.” She turned to Hermione,” I know I needn’t say this, but you must be most careful with these ancient texts.” Hermione nodded.” I’ll arrange access for the Closed Collection at Hogwarts. Madam Pince will, I’m fairly certain, see that you get the same at the Ministry.” 

Hermione was actually bouncing in her chair,” Thank you. Madam Pince knows she can trust me, but I’ll be very careful.” 

The Headmaster smiled as he watched,” Miss Granger, when do you think you might want to start?” 

Hermione thought for a moment,” I can take the train in to go to the Ministry, so as soon as possible there. I don’t know how I would get to Hogwarts until fall term.” 

Dumbledore tented his hands in front of his face for a moment,” Why don’t you begin at the Ministry? Perhaps I can arrange a Portkey to get you to and from Hogwarts after you’ve finished at the Ministry.” 

It was quite obvious Christmas had come early for Hermione.”Thank you, sir.” She turned to Professor McGonagall,” I’ll probably need at least a week at the Ministry, do you think?” 

The usually stern professor smiled again,” That will probably suffice. The Closed Collection may take somewhat longer. There are more texts there than at the Ministry. Our founders each contributed many books and papers to the school. Over the centuries, much has been added. You will find the Collection fairly well catalogued, but some creative searching may yield something new.” She rose from the table,” I’ll see Irma tonight. Miss Granger, you should be able to begin Tuesday.” Nodding to everyone, she took her leave. 

Harry could feel his eyes getting heavy. As his head nodded forward, Ginny laid her hand on his arm. 

“Let’s get you upstairs, Harry. It’s been a hard day.” 

The next thing he knew, he was sitting on the side of the bed. Ginny began pulling his shirt up,” You need to let me help you.” 

Harry relaxed his arms as the t-shirt went over his head and off. He looked up and saw Ginny frowning. 

“Sit there for a minute. I need a flannel to get the rest of the blood off of your shoulder.”
A moment later she was back; gently washing away the dried blood that had seeped under his shirt.” I should have gotten this earlier.” As she finished, she leaned down and kissed his shoulder,” Don’t you dare be embarrassed, Harry Potter.” 

It wasn’t until she spoke that he realized that he felt flushed,” Sorry.” 

Ginny tilted his head up with her fingertips,” Don’t you be sorry either.” She turned to the dresser and pulled out a clean shirt.” What ever it takes, Harry. I’m here. Understand?” 

He smiled up at her,” Yes, ma’am.” 

He heard her giggle as she slipped the shirt over his head. “That’s better.” 

When he pulled the hem of the shirt down, Ginny pushed him in the chest,” What are you doing?” 

“ I need to get those jeans off. Now, do you want to sleep in your boxers, or pyjamas?” 

Harry may have been dead tired, but he had enough of his wits to understand the difference,” Err, boxers.” 

“Modest are we?” 

Harry was pretty sure he was glowing bright red. 

As his jeans came off, Ginny raised up and leaned over him. Her hands were on either side of his chest,” I would have been blushing as brightly as you, but I’d do it if needed.” 

Harry noticed her smile was ‘that’ smile. The warmth that he felt now had nothing to do with blushing. He cupped her cheek with his hand,” Will you stay ‘til I get to sleep?” 

She caught his hand with hers and held it as she kissed his palm,” Of course. Get under the covers.” 

Almost as soon as he stretched out between the sheets, he began to sink into unconsciousness. Before he was completely gone though, Ginny cuddled up against him. Nothing could bother him now. 


* * *

Ginny waited until Harry’s breathing became deep and regular. Very carefully, so as not to disturb him, she eased her arms from around him and slipped from the bed. She went around and collected the blood stained clothes and soiled flannel to take to Dobby. 

As she stepped through the doors into the sitting room, she found Hermione, Remus, Tonks, and Bill waiting. 

“Is he alright?” Remus appeared nervous. 

Ginny nodded,” He was just worn out. He went straight to sleep.” She noticed the crease between Remus’ eyes. “ Don’t you worry, everything’s fine for now. We joked a bit before he gave it up.” 

Remus nodded and sat back on the sofa,” I feel so helpless.” 

Ginny dropped the dirty clothes by the chair and sat down with her legs curled under her,” I know how you feel.” She looked at Hermione,” We’ve been there before.” 

Hermione smiled,” Yeah, but it looks as though you may have found something that works.” 

Tonks stood,” Hermione, we should get you back. Your folks are probably getting worried.” 

Before she would leave, Hermione tiptoed in and checked on Harry. On her way out she hugged Ginny, “ I’ll come by Tuesday after I’ve been to the Ministry. If you need me, I’ll be here any time.” 

Ginny smiled and squeezed her hand,” I know you will. See you Tuesday.” 

Remus went with the two witches; leaving Ginny alone with Bill. 

“Tough start, Little One.” 

Ginny closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the chair,” Lily and I talked about days like this. She was just counting on me to comfort him. I’m sure she’s happy I could actually help.” 

Bill moved to the chair next to her,” You’re a strong woman, Ginny. Harry couldn’t do better.” 

“Thanks, big brother.” She remembered Thursday at the bank,” Bill, what did you say to Harry in your office Thursday?” She was watching her brother closely. 

Bill smiled,” I told him regardless of the circumstances, he was officially a Weasley now and we were a family…all of us. And, if there was anything I could do for either of you, to just ask.” 

Ginny slid from her chair and sat in her brother’s lap,” Thank you. We’re going to need lots of help, I’m sure.” She kissed Bill on the cheek. As she did, she had a thought,” There is something.” 

“Name it.” 

“Just inside the door of our vault,” She paused. That was still hard to get her mind around,” there are three trunks. One of them is full of books on spells and curses. Could you get it back here for us?” 

Bill almost laughed,” If this house wasn’t unplottable, the goblins would deliver it themselves. Yeah, I’ll bring it by sometime tomorrow.” 

Ginny grinned,” Treating you well now, are they?” 

He nodded,” It truly is a remarkable change. They’re not warm and cordial by any means, but it’s no longer almost hostile.” 

Ginny returned to her chair,” Before we were interrupted, we were talking about Fleur.” 

Bill sat up and pulled his wand. The hallway door closed with a firm click.” Ginny, Mum will…” 

“Will have your hide and roast Fleur if she finds out about things on her own rather than from you.” 

Bill ducked his head,” I know. I’m just not sure how to break things to Mum.” 

Ginny watched her oldest brother for a few minutes, a slightly wicked smile on her lips. Then she turned serious,” How about the two of you come to dinner here one night? It won’t be Mum’s house or her meal. That way it’s more neutral than the Burrow.” 

Bill was nodding,” Yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad. No need to say we’re roommates. We could leave it as our going out.” 

Ginny was shaking her head,” How long have you known Mum? You really don’t believe you could get away with that?” 

Bill’s shoulders sagged,” Probably not.” 

They tossed ideas back and forth for a few minutes more before Bill stood to go back to his flat…and Fleur. 

Ginny checked on Harry one more time, then, took the soiled clothes down to the laundry room behind the pantry. She dropped them in the hamper and before going back up, stopped in the kitchen to pour a goblet of pumpkin juice to take to the room. 

She sat before the fire for a few minutes, sipping the juice. Now, alone in their rooms, she could face what had happened. Her hands shook as she held the goblet. ‘ I’m strong enough to do this. We beat him today and we’ll do it again and again if we have to.’ She set the goblet on the table and wrapped her arms around her knees,’ You’ve seen it now, Ginny. Until Harry kills the beast, we’re going to have these days. Be careful what you wish for….I don’t regret a thing. So there!’ 

With a flick of her wand the candles were extinguished. She changed into a nightgown and crawled into bed. She had hardly begun to find her spot when Harry turned and wrapped her tightly in his arms. As he did, he let out a long, contented sigh. Ginny smiled to herself, ’Harry seems to be happy with how things turned out, too.’ 

She shifted a bit to get more comfortable and soon drifted off…. 

It was still early when she woke up. The morning light was pale coming through the window. Ginny took stock of where she and Harry were joined and how. During the night, Harry had rolled onto his back with his left arm still under her shoulders. In turn, she had rolled onto her side and was tight up against him with her left arm across his chest. 

Next, she inhaled Harry’s scent. In the, what, eight nights they had slept together Harry’s scent had become a base element of her senses. It was clean but smoky, and bit of a spice with a hint of citrus. At school she would have added the warm smells of wood and wood polish from his broom. 

Ginny gathered herself to slip out of bed, but hesitated. Instead, she concentrated on Harry and what he might be feeling. Just under her consciousness she found conflicting emotions flowing from Harry. There was a warm peacefulness that she could only identify as love. As she sorted this out, her eyes started to burn. A moment later, though, something else pushed its way in. Harry was worried; maybe even fearful. Ginny focused on this and tried to find the source. After a few moments she knew. It was her. No, not just her, but all of them. Harry was afraid he would fail. Something else was there, but she couldn’t quite identify it. 

She wondered how she could ever make him see how much faith everyone had in his strength and abilities. Almost instantly, she had it. As she slipped her hand up under his shirt, she began to pour her confidence and love (‘There, she said it.’) into him. Rising slightly, Ginny slid her other hand under Harry’s shoulder and rested it on the back of his neck above his collar. After only a short time, Harry sighed contentedly and rolled over against her. His right arm snaked around her back and pulled her tightly against him. 

Ginny gave up any thought of leaving their bed. She smiled against his chest and dropped into a light, but very enjoyable slumber. 

Her next bit of awareness was of a hand softly running up and down her back. She was embarrassed at the purring sound that slipped out of her throat. 

“Like that do we?” 

She nodded against his chest. 

Next she felt a gentle kiss on top of her head. 

She began to snuggle up a little more when she realized that her nightgown had ridden up during the night. It was now bunched around her hips. What made this so apparent was the sensation of her and Harry’s bare legs tangled together. As she moved her leg up his, she elicited a groan from his chest and another response somewhat lower. 

He tried to pull away, but she held on tight. After a moment, Harry stopped trying to move further from her. 

“As long as I’m the one causing that, Harry, you’ve nothing to be embarrassed about. If it’s another girl though, embarrassment will be the least of your worries.” She felt , rather than heard the chuckle that followed. 

“Fair enough Mrs. Potter, but it’s mostly been only you for a while now.” 

Ginny raised up to look at his face, all the joking was gone,” Really, Harry?” 

His crooked smile faded,” Err, yeah. Or at least when I’ve had those kind of thoughts. Haven’t had too many lately.” 

Ginny pulled herself up so that their faces were both on the pillow,” It’s going to be scary, Harry. I knew that, but I didn’t, you know?” 

Harry nodded. 

“We’ll get through it though, you and I. I’ll not have it any other way.” 

He looked away for a moment. Ginny could feel something was wrong,” What is it Harry?” 

He shook his head, but wouldn’t meet her eyes. 

“Harry?” 

His face was fearful when he finally met her gaze,” Ginny, you said….we agreed….when you said you didn’t want to….you know…” 

Ginny’s heart had begun to pound,” When I asked you if we could not have sex for a while yet?” 

Harry nodded,” Was it…is it just because we’re so young or did Riddle do things, you know, in the Chamber?” He was now pointedly looking anywhere but at her. 

Rather than pounding, her heart almost stopped,” Why would you ask that?” 

Harry turned back to her. His eyes were full of pain,” When Voldemort first attacked, he said maybe he had taught you some things I might like.” 

Ginny felt cold all over. She took a couple of deep breaths,” Tom never did anything; he couldn’t right until the end. He told me what he would do if I weren’t so weak and pathetic.” She gently cupped Harry’s cheek with her hand,” Why didn’t you say anything?” 

He shook his head,” I’m…was afraid I’d hurt you.” 

“ Thank you, Harry. It does hurt, but not the way you think.” She smiled a little,” I still have those nightmares, but not so often now. You protect me.” 

Harry showed a ghost of a smile,” You can’t imagine how much better things are for me since we..” 

Ginny leaned in and gave him a short, sweet kiss,” For me, too. I’ve figured out how much I’ve missed.” 

Harry frowned in thought,” How would Voldemort know? The diary was just a memory.” 

Ginny ground her teeth before answering,” Because he did those things to girls when he was at school. I saw some of his memories. He was pure evil even then.” 

They were both quiet for a while. Finally, Harry pulled her tight against him,” I’m sorry for bringing this up. 

She smiled a little wickedly,” You could make up for some of that if you want to.” 

Breakfast almost became brunch.

* * * 

Harry followed Ginny into the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley, Ron and Remus were the only ones still there. 

“Both of you sit while I fix you something to eat.” Mrs. Weasley started breaking eggs and toasting bread. 

Harry kept an eye on Ron. This was the first time he stayed in the room when they came in. He appeared to be finishing his breakfast. 

“Harry, I know you had a rough day yesterday, but are you up to some dueling?” Remus had folded the paper and put it aside. 

Harry looked at Ginny,” Sure, I would like to. How about you, Gin?” 

He noticed an odd look from Ginny when she turned,” I’d like to. But, we stop if you start getting worn down. You did have a rough day.” 

That warm feeling started again. Harry leaned down and kissed her nose,” Whatever you say, dear.” 

Ginny grinned,” You’re learning.” She looked over at Remus,” When do you want to start?” 

“How about in an hour? That gives me some time to work on some things with the Golem.” 

Harry had a mouthful of eggs by then, so he just nodded. 

After they finished eating, they stayed and talked to Mrs. Weasley while they pitched in to help clean up. The whole time, Ron sat at the other end of the table flipping through a magazine. 

Remembering the last time, they went back up and changed into some older clothes. No sense ruining their new ones. 

Remus had four of the Golem out when they walked into the training room,” We’ll start you with a skilled Golem, one on one. Then we’ll go two on one, and finally four on two.” He was grinning as he finished. 

Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand before she confronted Remus,” If it looks like Harry is wearing out, stop it right then.” Her tone sounded very much like her mother. 

Knowing more what to expect, the one on one and one on two went pretty well. Harry was winded, but not too badly. As he gripped Ginny’s hand before facing the four, he noticed Ron standing just outside the door watching. He decided not to say anything in case this was the beginning of things getting better. 

As had happened before, when the fight began he and Ginny were able to use less and less contact to work together. A few times Harry was sure he knew what Ginny would do next even without touching her. 

They finished up with Harry having a small cut below his left eye, and Ginny a scrape on her left arm. Not bad all considered. When Remus went to put the Golem back into the case, Harry looked for Ron. He had disappeared sometime during the fight. 

Lunch was nearly finished when Bill came in carrying a small case. He enlarged it as soon as he set it on the table. Harry recognized it as one of the three from the vault,” Why did you.?” 

Bill grinned,” Your wife gave me very explicit orders last night. She trained me long ago to follow them.” 

Ginny put her hand on Harry’s arm,” That’s the trunk with the books.” 

“Oh, great. We can go through some of them this afternoon.” 

That was exactly what they did. The afternoon was passed organizing the books into the book case in their sitting room. This was a much slower task than it could have been since they both spent a good deal of time reading bits and pieces of the books before placing them on the proper shelf. 

When they had finished, five books were stacked on the table between the sofas. Each had contained one or more spells they had recognized. The remainder of their time before dinner was used to mark places for further reading. Some of the print had caused Harry to be virtually nose to page in order for him to be able to read. 

“Harry, that can’t be right. There’s an Optiwizard in Diagon Alley. We’re going there tomorrow and have your glasses checked.” 

Almost by habit, Harry smiled,” Yes, ma’am.” 

At dinner plans were made for the trip to Diagon Alley. Mrs. Weasley, Remus, and Tonks were going as escorts. 

As they settled in bed later, Ginny propped her head up on her hand and gave Harry a hard look,” Why did you call me Gin?” 

Harry frowned, confused,” I don’t know, it seemed right at the time. Do you not want me to call you that?” 

He watched her face as she thought about it. There seemed to be a conflict of opinions,” When it’s just you and me. I’d rather you didn’t call me that in front of others.” 

“Alright, I’ll keep it between us.” 

Ginny rolled over onto her back,” Some of the other girls at school called me that, not in a nice way, during second year. It’s still a little bothersome.” 

Harry wasn’t sure what to say to that. Maybe one day he could ask what had happened. For the time being, he slid his arm under her shoulders and pulled her close,” Good night Ginny.” 

“’Night, Harry.” 

After their practice the next morning, Harry and Ginny showered and dressed for the outing. When they came down to the entrance hall, the adults were waiting. 

Getting a good look at the pair, Mrs. Weasley frowned,” You’ll not be going into magical London dressed as muggles. The both of you go back up and put on those new robes you bought.” 

“But..” 

Harry placed his hand on Ginny’s back,” She’s right. Especially after the publicity, we should go in robes.” 

Ginny hesitated, then, nodded. 

A couple of minutes later everyone was Apparating outside the Leaky Cauldron. As they entered the Alley, Mrs. Weasley walked beside Ginny, Remus beside Harry. Tonks lagged behind, watching their backs. 

They reached the Optiwizard’s shop without incident. Harry hardly had time to begin looking around before a short, portly wizard appeared through a set of curtains behind the counter.” How may I help you?” 

As Harry opened his mouth to answer, Ginny stepped forward,” My husband hasn’t had his glasses checked in years and he can hardly see anymore. Could you check them please?” 

If the wizard was surprised at the age of the husband and wife, he didn’t let on,” I’ll certainly try.” He extended his hand,” I’m Dominic Dewer. You are…?” 

Harry shook the man’s hand, “ Err, Potter, Harry Potter.” 

The only sign the Optiwizard gave was a slight widening of his eyes,” Pleasure to meet you Mr. Potter, and you Mrs. Potter as well.” He stepped back and gestured for Harry to step closer to the counter. 

For some reason Harry was a little nervous, but he moved to the spot indicated. 

“Now Mr.Potter, let’s see how well you can see.” With a swish of his wand, the Optiwizard created an eye chart in front of Harry. “ First, begin reading the third line. Read on until I ask you to stop.” 

Harry began reciting the letters on the chart. As he reached the third line to read, the letters became fuzzy. The next line was unreadable. 

“Good, Mr. Potter. Now remove you glasses and start with the first line.” 

Without his glasses Harry was guessing from the start. In just a few moments he quit trying. 

Mr. Dewer stepped in front of Harry. “ Mr. Potter, I’m going to cast a few lens charms. As each one appears, read the smallest line you can see clearly. ” 

This process lasted several minutes. Finally, the chart was removed. “ Mr. Potter, when did you last have your glasses checked?” 

Harry thought for a few moments,” When I was nine, I think.” 

“Hmmm. I’m not surprised. You lens strength is far too weak for both eyes. Do you want a different shape or color for your frames?” 

Harry shook his head then, turned to Ginny,“ Do I?” 

Tonks burst out laughing. 

Ginny smiled,” No Harry, I think those suit you quite well.” 

The Optiwizard took Harry’s glasses. Harry thought he might be smirking a bit, too. 

Mr. Dewer placed the glasses on a large flat stone and began softly muttering spells. Even through the blur, Harry could see a blue glow appear around the frames. 

A few minutes later the Optiwizard handed Harry back his glasses,” Try these, if you will.” 

Harry slipped the glasses back on and looked around the shop,” Wow! I can really see.” He searched for smaller things to concentrate on; trying to get a feel for the improvement. He turned and saw his companions all smiling at him. 

“Better I take it?” Ginny had moved around in front of him. 

“Oh, yeah. It’s amazing.” He turned back to Mr. Dewer,” Thank you, these are perfect.” 

The older man smiled,” Not perfect, but I’m sure they are much better. Now, I’ve added a non scratch and unbreakable charm to the lenses.” He hesitated for a moment,” Mr. Potter, if I may be presumptuous, I could show you charms to prevent others from being able to remove or summon your glasses. From what I’ve read about your life, those may come in handy at some point.” 

Harry had started to get upset, but realized the man was sincerely trying to be helpful,” Err, thanks. That would be great.” 

Five minutes later, they were back out in Diagon Alley. Harry turned his head back and forth as he realized how poorly he had been seeing. Even the overcast of the day seemed to brighten. 

As he had the last time, Harry was oblivious to the attention he and Ginny were getting from the other shoppers. Ginny was not,” I’m glad Mum had us wear our robes what with all the stares we’re getting.” 

Harry started,” What?” 

“Merlin, Harry. Haven’t you noticed everyone staring at us?” 

He looked around. Sure enough, there must have been forty or fifty wizards and witches stopped outside the shops; all looking at them. 

“Do you want to go?” Harry didn’t like the attention, but he was somewhat used to it. 

Ginny slipped her arm through his,” Not right now. Let’s enjoy being out of the house.” 

They walked the length of Diagon Alley and back to the Leaky Cauldron. When they were out onto the street, Tonks stepped close,” You two get back to Grimmauld Place. We’ve been lucky not to run into any Death Eaters.” 

As soon as they were home, they rushed up to their rooms. Harry grabbed one of the spell books and flipped it open,” Ginny, I can read this. No problem.” 

Ginny stepped in front of him. She had a big smile on her face,” See, I told you to listen to me.” 

Harry dropped the book back onto the table and wrapped his arms around her,” Yes, you did. I asked about changing frames, didn’t I?” 

Ginny laughed, “ Yes, wise move.” She kissed him softly on the point of his chin,” Just keep doing that and you will get along much better.” 

At dinner no one mentioned Harry getting Ginny’s approval on his glasses….until everyone was there. Then, it was merciless. 


* * *

Hermione was having breakfast with her parents when they heard a tapping sound from the kitchen. She looked through the door and saw a common barn owl sitting on the window sill. 

Hermione opened the window and let the owl into the room. As soon as it lighted on the back of a chair, she unfastened the envelope attached to its leg. Free of its burden, the owl flew out the window and disappeared. 

She was tearing open the envelope as she sat back down at the breakfast table. 

“What is it dear?” Her mother had set her cup back in its saucer and was watching her expectantly. 

Hermione quickly scanned the first page of parchment,” It’s from Madam Pince, the librarian at Hogwarts. She’s arranged permission for me to conduct some research at the Ministry of Magic.” She began scanning the second page,” I’m to check with the Ministry librarian, Miss Chivas, when I get there.” Her face lit up,” I’m to be given full access to the Hogwarts library, even the Closed Collection.” 

“Hermione?” She looked up at her mother.” Is this for a school project, or something else?” 

She paused before answering. Her parents knew only the sketchiest of details of what was going on in the magical world. They knew nothing about what had transpired in the Ministry of Magic several weeks before. She had tried to explain Harry and Ginny’s Bond, but had failed miserably. Her parents were convinced that a simple annulment would solve the matter. 

“ It’s mostly to do with Harry and Ginny.” Her mother frowned and looked over at her father. 

“Hermione, you’re not to get involved with one of those bonds.” He just didn’t get it. 

A long sigh escaped before she could catch it. 

“Young lady, you will do as we say.” Her father looked on the border of getting angry. 

“I’m not going to be creating a bond with anyone. Harry and Ginny asked me to do some research about theirs. No one else has been able to perform the incantation successfully for hundreds of years. They need to know all they possibly can about it, so I volunteered to help.” 

“Help how?” Her mother seemed willing to be reasonable. 

“My Head of House, Professor McGonagall, has arranged for me to have access to very restricted parts of the Ministry’s and Hogwarts’ libraries. This is a great privilege. Students are never allowed this kind of access.” 

Both of her parents smiled a bit at that. The ‘brightest of her age’ card was one they appreciated.
 
“I’ll go in as you go to the office and be home by dinner.” Now they both seemed to relax. The home by dinner part was what they really wanted to hear. Her unexpected stay at the Burrow before had caused some friction. She hadn’t pushed about joining her friends for the end of the holiday yet. 

Her father glanced at her mother, who nodded, then, smiled at Hermione,” Do you have money for the train and underground?” 

“Yes, I have plenty. We think the research at the Ministry should only take a week or so. Professor Dumbledore is arranging transportation to Hogwarts for me when I start working there.” 

Breakfast was finished without any further tension. 

Hermione made her way to the Ministry quite easily. She was directed to the library where Miss Chivas was expecting her. “Miss Granger, I’m told you are most trustworthy. Please be careful with the materials you handle. Most are simply irreplaceable.” 

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll be very careful.” Hermione followed the witch down a long corridor. 

“Place your thumb on the center of the latch handle.” 

They had stopped at an unmarked set of double doors. Hermione did as instructed. 

“The door will remember you each time you need to enter, and I will not have to escort you again.” 

“Thank you, ma’am.” 

The librarian nodded, “ I wish you luck with your project. A less than exhaustive search by some from the Department of Mysteries was not terribly fruitful.” 

Hermione swallowed a small lump in her throat. That was not encouraging,” Thank you for your help Miss Chivas.” 

“You are quite welcome.” She walked Hermione over to the catalogue and demonstrated how it could be used. When the librarian was sure she was comfortable with the charm, she turned to leave,” Please let me know when you are finished here.” 

Hermione nodded and watched the witch return the way they had come. After a few moments, she turned to the catalogue and began her search. 

Her days became routine. Arrive at the library at eight; search until four; stop by Grimmauld Place to report her lack of progress; home for dinner by seven. By midafternoon Friday, she was fairly certain the Ministry held no answers to her questions. Or, none that she or Professor McGonagall had not already found in other sources. 

Rather than return home early, she stopped by Number 12. Harry and Ginny were reading the spell books from Harry’s vault. 

“We’ve indentified most of the spells on the charms.” Ginny looked very pleased with herself. 

“How? Are they common spells?” 

Harry started laying books in front of her. Each had at least one, some several, marks between the pages,” No, Mum and Dad were more clever than that. We had both scanned through most of the texts before we figured it out.” He was smirking at her. 

“Alright Harry, spit it out.” 

Harry grinned at Ginny before he began,” The clever thing they did was to combine spells and charms from several magical cultures. The “spell” that blocks attacks on the mind is actually a combination of spells from China and Egypt.” Harry paused and watched her for a reaction. 

The light came on,” Your dad’s uncles. They learned things from them about combining the spells.” 

Harry was nodding, “ And, because they use the different cultures, it is much harder to defeat them unless you know the origin. There are notes in some of the margins on how the incantation was altered slightly to more precisely create the desired effect.” 

“So?” 

Ginny took over,” So, the protective charm is almost unbeatable. Voldemort would have to work almost full time to identify part of the spell. Then, he has to repeat the process again and again. There are a combination of three spells and one charm for that protection alone. They used an ancient Central American spell to modify our PORTUS spell to make the permanent Port Key. We’re pretty sure it is untraceable the way it was done.” 

Hermione was excited about the possibilities. The books were here for her to study when she found the time. This was turning out to be a wonderful holiday.”Do you know what other spells are there?” 

Ginny leaned forward and held the charm up for Hermione to see,” We’re almost certain our two charms act as beacons for each other.” 

“Beacons? How?” 

Harry was playing with Ginny’s charm as he spoke,” If we are separated, one can go to the other by concentrating on the other’s charm.” 

Hermione was skeptical,” Have you tried it?” 

Harry was smirking again,” Yeah, want to see?” 

She nodded. 

Harry sat back on the sofa,” You take Ginny somewhere in the house. I’ll wait five minutes then appear beside you.” 

Ginny was up and had Hermione’s hand,” You pick the spot.” 

Hermione worked through what she knew of the house. After a moment she started down the stairs. A minute later they were standing in the cool pantry behind the kitchen.” Does it really work?” 

Ginny grinned wickedly, “ You might want to stand away from me a bit. Harry will be coming to me.” 

Hermione moved over into the corner and turned to watch. About two minutes later Harry appeared with his arms around Ginny’s waist. 

“ How do you do that?” 

Harry gave Ginny a quick kiss before answering,” You concentrate on the other person while you hold your own charm. In an instant you’re there.” 

Hermione walked over to the couple,” But, how did you figure out you could do that?” 

Ginny smiled,” I was reading about one of the incantations we thought Harry’s parents had used. I turned a page and there were notes in the margins of the next two pages. It described what you just saw, so we tried it.” 

“What about you not being separated,” 

Ginny frowned a little,” There is some discomfort. It’s like a constant tug on your magic.” 

“What do you mean a pull on your magic?” 

Harry put his arm around Ginny’s shoulders and started from the room,” That’s hard to explain. It’s just there.” Ginny was nodding. 

The three walked into the kitchen. 

“Master Harry, sir, dinner is ready.” The little elf was standing at the end of the table. 

“Thanks, Dobby. Could you let everyone else know?” The elf nodded then, disappeared. 

Hermione checked her watch. It was still early enough for her to get home on time. She started down the table to find her place, but stopped when Ginny touched her arm. 

“We’re having Harry’s birthday dinner tomorrow. Try to be here.” Ginny was whispering while Harry was pouring pumpkin juice into their goblets. 

Hermione smiled,” Can someone come for me?” 

“No problem. Be ready around six.” 

Harry set their juice in front of them and sat down,” What’s going on?” 

Hermione shook her head,” Just girl talk Harry. You don’t want to know.” 

Dinner was relaxed.Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Remus, and Mad Eye Moody joined the three friends at the table. Ron was in Diagon Alley with the twins. They were planning to work late. 

After everyone had finished, Remus offered to Apparate Hermione home. Before she went through the door, Ginny reached out and hugged her. Somewhat surprised, Hermione hugged her back. 

“Wear a dress, not robes, alright?” Ginny was whispering again. 

“Alright.” 

A few moments later, Remus took her arm and they disappeared.

* * * 

Harry woke to an empty bed. He stretched then, reached for his glasses. He had no more than slipped them on when a small, red ball jumped on top of him. 

“Happy birthday, Harry!” 

He wrapped his arms around Ginny and pulled her down for a kiss, “ Thanks. This is the best start to a birthday I’ve ever had.” 

Ginny kissed him back,” Excellent response, Mr. Potter.” She climbed on top of him and stretched out full length; her forearms on his chest.” What would you like to do today?” 

He smiled happily as he stroked her back,” This isn’t too bad.” 

“I agree, but I think the family might interrupt eventually.” 

Harry closed his eyes for a minute and an idea surfaced,” Maybe Remus could take us to see our houses.” 

Ginny smiled,” That sounds wonderful.” 

“ So, you want to see them, too? Why haven’t you said anything?” 

Ginny’s smile widened,” Well, yeah, I want to see them, but I meant the ‘our houses’ part.” 

Harry pulled her down and kissed the top of her head,” This all seems like some incredible dream I never wake from.” 

The next thing he knew, Ginny was kissing him senseless, and he didn’t mind at all. 

When they entered the kitchen a while later, a chorus of “Happy Birthday” sounded from around the table. The only Weasley missing was Bill. In addition, Remus, Tonks, Moody, and Kingsley Shacklebolt were having breakfast with them. 

Harry thanked everyone and took his seat beside Ginny. He was content to listen to the various conversations floating around. This wasn’t the Burrow, but now it actually felt like home. 

The twins and Ron soon headed for the shop. 

When most everyone had finished eating, Harry raised the idea of visiting the other houses. A short discussion among the Order members ended in agreement that the trip would be safe enough. Remus, Tonks and Moody were going along. Remus was particularly important as he was the only one who had ever Apparated at either location. 

A short time later, everyone gathered on the stoop. 

“I’ll go first and check things out. Dora, would you come with me?” 

Tonks grinned,” Is this just so you can get me alone?” 

Remus blushed brilliantly. 

“Sure, I’ll go. If needed, I can stay while you come back for the others.” She had a very wicked glint in her eyes. 

The two of them Disapparated. A few minutes later both reappeared. 

“I’ll take the dinosaur back.” She grabbed Moody’s arm and disappeared. 

Remus grinned crookedly,” Everything seemed to be fine. Each of you take an arm.” 

An instant later they were gone. 

They Apparated in front of a very handsome house. It appeared to have two floors topped with a slate roof. Tonks and Moody were waiting near the front door. 

As they walked over to join them, Harry looked around. The house was just below the crest of a gently sloping hill. There were no other houses nearby, but in the distance was a small village sitting low in the valley. 

“Harry, from what I remember, this house has been your family’s for about three hundred years.” Remus was walking on his right side while Ginny was holding his left hand. 

When they reached the door, Harry saw the family crest chest high in the center. He placed his hand on it and the door latch gave way. 

Ginny held back to let him enter first. The entry hall was large, but not huge. Through a doorway to the right appeared to be a sitting room. On the left was obviously a dining room. It was a few minutes after he and Ginny had began to explore that Harry realized that the others had stayed in the entry hall. He appreciated their gesture. 

The ground floor had a study behind the sitting room. Across the back of the house was a large kitchen. Set in the corner, with windows on two sides, was a table with chairs enough for eight. 

Harry led Ginny back out to the entry hall to the stairs. On the first floor were three modest bedrooms, a nice sized loo, and a spacious master suite with its own bath. 

He knew his eyes were big, but when Ginny turned, her eyes were huge,” Oh, Harry, can we live here some day?” 

He nodded,” Yeah, when we’re out of school and…” A cold knot formed in his stomach. 

Ginny’s smile died,” Harry, we’ll win, together. After that, we’ll live here.” 

Harry held her for a few minutes. Neither spoke. Finally, he had to lighten things,” Think there’re enough bedrooms for the children? I only counted three.” 

Ginny reached up and kissed his chin,” We can put more than one to a room, you know.” 

Harry smiled,” Yes, ma’am.” 

They walked back through one more time before returning to the entry hall. Only Tonks and Moody were there. 

“ Remus went to check out the town home.” 

It was nearly ten minutes before Remus returned,” We’ll have to wait for another time to see the town home. I counted five Death Eaters scattered about watching it.” 

Harry felt his shoulders slump. 

“ Listen you two, they are sure to be watching any place they think you might be. They may not be here because James and Lily never lived here after they were married. They did live in the town home for almost two years.” 

Tonks looked uneasy,” Harry, Death Eaters appeared in Diagon Alley a few minutes after we left there.” She saw his striken expression,” No one was hurt. They Disapparated when they realized you weren’t there any longer.” 

Harry nodded,” Can we walk around here for a while?” 

Remus looked to Moody and Tonks for approval. Both agreed. 

Harry and Ginny walked around the garden then out into an adjoining field. Everything was bright. The grass was thick and deep green. As they walked a question came to him. “Remus, how is everything still so well cared for?” 

Remus walked closer,” The family had two house elves at one time. I assume one or both still take care of things.” 

Ginny frowned,” Then, why didn’t we see them?” 

Tonks had walked over,” They are probably at Hogwarts most of the time. That’s where the elves go when their household has no witches or wizards.” 

Harry nodded. Suddenly his anger boiled up,” Is that where Kreacher has gone?” 

The three adults all looked down or away. 

“Err, no Harry,” Remus looked very uncomfortable,” when Kreacher knew he had caused his rightful master’s death, he killed himself.” 

“What!” Ginny was wide eyed. 

Moody took over,” Kreacher betrayed his master. That is an unforgivable act by a house elf. He took a poison potion and killed himself.” 

Harry was trying to understand,” If it was unforgivable, then, how was he able to do it?”
Moody looked at the others before answering,” We suspect he was told Black would be alright. You were the target and, at the time, Kreacher had no obligation to you.” 

Harry dropped Ginny’s hand and walked away from the others. He tried to see the logic Kreacher had used that resulted in Sirius’ death. 

After a couple of minutes, Ginny came over and put her hand on his back,” Alright, Harry?” 

After a minute he nodded,” I guess that sort of explains things. I’m not sorry I’ll never see him again, though.” 

Ginny patted him,” Me either. Are you ready to go back? We have a birthday dinner to get ready for.” 

“Yeah, let’s go.” 

Back at Grimmauld Place, Harry and Ginny spent the remainder of the afternoon in their rooms. 

Around five Ginny, led Harry into the bedroom, “ I’ll pick out something for you to wear.” She went into the cupboard and came back out with a pair of navy dress trousers and burgundy and blue herringbone shirt.” These should do nicely.” 

Harry smiled and began changing. As he did, Ginny disappeared into the bath.” When you’re dressed, wait in the sitting room. Oh, and pull the doors closed.” 

Harry checked the clock on the desk. It showed almost six. Just then the pocket doors opened. 

“Harry can you help me with this zipper?” 

He turned to help, but froze on the spot. Ginny was wearing one of the dresses she had bought at Selfridges. It was a deep, almost black, green silk. The sleeveless top was scooped just slightly more than truly modest, and the hem ended a few inches above her knees. The look was set off by a pair of black high heels, which, despite her diminutive size, made her legs appear long and very shapely. 

Harry was so dumbstruck it took a minute for him to notice Ginny was wearing the ‘Potter’ pearl necklace and earrings. 

Ginny was wearing a very satisfied smile as well. She turned her back,” Can you do me up?” 

Harry noticed three things – His hands were shaking, the skin on Ginny’s back looked like porcelain, and she was wearing some of the lingerie he had hoped to see her model one day. 

“Merlin, Ginny, you’re beautiful.” Feeling daring, he leaned down and kissed her bare skin between her shoulder blades before pulling the zipper to the top. He hoped it was a good sign that Ginny shivered a bit when he kissed her. 

As she turned around, he thought he knew how a mouse must feel when confronted by a cat. Ginny had a purely predatory look in her eyes. 

“Thank you, Harry for the help and the compliment.” 

Harry could feel his cheeks burning. As he continued to stare at Ginny, her cheeks flushed, too. 

“Oh, well, I guess we should get you downstairs.” 

Harry nodded, his eyes still taking in the vision before him. 

The spell was sort of broken when Ginny stepped closer. Now her eyes were wide and boring into his,” Maybe we have time for a kiss. Do you think so?” 

Afraid to speak, he nodded and lowered his lips to meet hers. It was like an explosion when their lips finally met. Harry heard himself moan as he wrapped his arms around Ginny’s back. He heard a low chuckle from Ginny. 

She put her hands on his chest and pushed back,” We better go down to the parlour. About one more minute and our agreement is going right out the window.” 

Harry dropped his hands to her hips,” I think you’re right.” He licked his lips; trying for one more taste of the kiss. 

Ginny stepped back quickly,” Don’t do that Harry. I’m barely holding on here.” 

Now Harry felt like the cat. It was pretty good. 

Ginny looked down and grabbed his hand,” Let’s go.” 


* * *

Ginny led Harry down the stairs. Her heart was still racing.’ Where had that come from?’ She tried to figure why that kiss had caused such a reaction. Merlin knows they had shared a number of most excellent kisses the past week. She was thankful for the distraction of the party. When her rational brain finally began to work again, she would be positive waiting was the right thing. At this moment though, she was anything but rational. 

Her whole family, excluding Percy and Charlie of course, was waiting in the parlour. 

As she looked around she noticed an unexpected addition – Fleur was standing with Bill. ‘Good for him.’ Hermione was talking to Ron. Remus and Tonks were with Professor McGonagall and Mad Eye Moody. 

Her Mum was shifting her eyes over at Fleur every few seconds. Her Dad must have known Fleur was coming. Bill wouldn’t have brought her to ‘headquarters’ without checking first. 

Harry moved into the mix. He had soon been greeted by everyone except Ron. Ginny fought to dampen her temper. Her brother could be a right git sometimes, but this had gone on just about long enough. 

She noticed Hermione standing alone for the moment, and eased over beside her. “I like your dress.” 

Hermione smiled, “Thanks. You look stunning,” 

Ginny grinned at her friend,” That’s exactly how Harry looked when he saw it.” 

Hermione laughed,” Harry noticed? Then, you must know how good you look.” 

Ginny shook her head,” You don’t give him enough credit. He says some very sweet things.” 

“ Are you sure it’s really Harry?” 

“ Quite sure, the occasional boneheaded remark still escapes.” Ginny looked around. The two of them were alone for the moment,” What’s with Ron? I thought he would be over himself by now.” 

This time Hermione looked around,” He’s got it in his head that Harry tricked you somehow. So, Harry betrayed their friendship.” 

“Honestly, I’ve known him all my life, but he still amazes me with how dense his brain is.”
 
Hermione laid her hand on Ginny’s arm,” I’ve talked to him, and your dad has tried several times according to Ron. I thought when he was left out of everything for a while he would come to his senses. The only change I see is he at least has stayed in the same room with you and Harry tonight,” 

Ginny shook her head,” I’ve enough to worry about with just Harry. I’ll leave Ron to you.” 

When Dobby called them to dinner, Ginny slipped her arm around Harry’s and led him to the dining room. To her memory, they had never taken a meal here since she had been staying at Number 12. 

The table sparkled with beautiful china and crystal. The candles in the center of the table made everything seem even more elegant. 

The whole meal consisted of Harry’s favorites based upon his stays at the Burrow and Ginny’s observations at Hogwarts. 

As the cake was brought out, her Mum summoned the gifts. After blowing out the candles, Harry began opening them. With the exception of the twins and Hermione, everyone had pooled together to buy Harry new dress robes and heavier trousers and jumpers for winter wear. 

The twins, no surprise, had an assortment of fun and/or slightly dangerous products from the shop. Hermione gave Harry a book on ancient spells and curses. The book itself appeared to be quite old. 

After he had opened everyone else’s gifts, Ginny passed hers to him. Harry looked at her for a moment before leaning over to whisper,” Seeing you in that dress was more than enough.” 

Ginny smiled happily and whispered back,” You’re not rubbish, Potter. I keep telling you.” 

He grinned as he unwrapped the slender box. His eyes grew wide when he saw her gift. She had asked Bill to order it for her. It was a bracelet of finely woven threads of dragon hide joined every inch or so by a silver link. Each link was magically engraved with a different object. There was a Snitch whose wings fluttered, a wizard on a broom who flew back and forth, a dragon bellowing flames, and a beautiful stag proudly tossing his antlers. 

Ginny watched him turn the bracelet round and round; mesmerized by the various links. Finally he held out his arm,” Can you put it on for me?” His eyes were shining. 

She wrapped the bracelet around his wrist, then, pulled out her wand. The charm Bill had shown her closed the bracelet without a visible joint. She was quite proud of keeping the gift a secret, given how close together she and Harry had been for the past week. 

After everyone had eaten their fill of cake, the twins set off a miniature fireworks show.
 Her Mum almost went into a rage before she realized nothing was being damaged or set afire. 

They all returned to the parlour and enjoyed talking to one another. Well, probably everyone but Fleur and Bill. Her Mum had them cornered and seemed to be conducting a major interrogation. 

Ginny intertwined her fingers with Harry’s,” Have you had a good time?’ 

He squeezed her hand,” It’s been perfect.” 

“Think we should try and rescue Bill and Fleur?” 

Harry appeared to think on it for a minute,” Yeah, we should, I guess.” 

Ginny led him across the room and got right into the line of fire. 


* * *
 
Harry finished brushing his teeth, rinsed his mouth, and returned to the bedroom. He stopped and stared at Ginny. She was sitting on the end of the bed brushing out her hair. He loved her hair and could gladly sit and watch her brush it, but that was not what froze him in place. No, what made him stare was her choice of bedclothes for the night. 

She turned and looked over her shoulder,” What’s wrong?” 

Harry frowned,” Where did you get that?” 

Ginny seemed confused,” What?” 

“That jersey.” 

“ Oh, I nicked it from your trunk a couple of years ago.” She appeared to be very pleased with herself. 

Harry didn’t know what to say. There sat Ginny, his wife, wearing a Gryffindor Quidditch jersey with the name ‘Potter’ stitched across the shoulders. The team had all bought the jerseys after winning the cup his first year. His mind went back and forth; after all, she was a Potter now, but she hadn’t even been going out with him when she took the jersey. 

He finally got himself moving again. He crawled across the bed and stretched out on his side next to Ginny; his head propped on his hand.”Why?” 

Ginny dropped her hands to her lap,” The easy answer is I liked it and wanted it for a night gown.” 

“What’s the hard answer?” 

Ginny raised her hand and brushed his hair away from his scar. No one else was allowed to do that, nor touch the scar itself.” Because I could wear Potter on my back and dream that was really my name.” By the end her gaze had dropped to the floor. 

Harry rolled onto his back. His eyes were prickling,” And, the whole time I just ignored you.” 

“No you didn’t. Not really. You never embarrassed me or made fun of me, and you could have.” 

He had no idea what to say. 

Now her hand was on his chest, softly tracing circles,” You have to notice me now.” 

Even Harry could hear the insecurity in her voice,” Merlin, Ginny, I told you I’ve noticed you for a while, and not as Ron’s little sister.” He raised his head to see her better,” If I hadn’t before, I sure would’ve tonight.” 

“Thanks, Love, sometimes I start thinking this is all a dream, too.” 

Harry’s brain had stopped listening at ‘Love.’ “ Why did you say that?” 

“Because it doesn’t seem real…” 

“Not that, the other thing.” 

Ginny stopped and replayed what she had said. Her face began to glow as the uncertainty came back into her eyes,” Because it felt right.” 

“Do you?” 

She looked away and resumed brushing her hair,” I’ve told you I do; we all do.” 

Harry got a kind of empty feeling in his stomach,” Oh, yeah, you did.” He sat up and moved across the bed, sliding beneath the covers,” “Night, Ginny.” He rolled on his side facing away from her. As he placed his glasses on the bedside table, he felt the bed shift. A moment later, Ginny was kneeling beside the bed right in front of him. 

“Is it too soon for you? If I meant it the other way, is it too soon?” 

The empty spot was suddenly filled with butterflies. He knew he wanted to choose his words carefully,” No, if you really mean it,” He paused for a moment,” that would be brilliant.” He wished he hadn’t taken off his glasses. Even as close as she was, he couldn’t really make out her expression. 

Then it didn’t matter. Ginny leaned in and kissed him,” I do, Harry.” She paused for an eternity,” I love you.” 

What a birthday!

Chapter 6: Spilled Milk; Spill the Beans
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hermione was sitting at her desk revising some Transfiguration notes from the previous year. It was just she and her mother in the house. Her Dad had gone into his office to catch up on paperwork. 

“Hermione?” 

She looked up and found her mother standing in the doorway. “Yes, Mum?” 

“Professor Dumbledore is here to see you.” Her mother was smiling a bit uncertainly. 

Hermione jumped from her chair. Why would the Headmaster be here? She checked her clothes and hair before following her mother down the stairs. She found Professor Dumbledore waiting in the sitting room; a cup of tea in his left hand. 

“Ahh, Miss Granger, it’s good to see you. Please excuse my visiting unexpectedly.” 

“Hello, Professor. You’re welcome anytime.” 

“Thank you. I wanted to ask how the research at the Ministry has gone.” 

As Hermione sat in the chair facing the sofa, she noticed her mother was still in the room.” Would you like to stay?” 

“Thank you dear, I would.” Her Mum took a chair at the other end of the sofa. 

Hermione turned back to Dumbledore,” I have finished at the Ministry. There was nothing much new to find.” 

The professor nodded,” I was afraid that might be the case. The Ministry has not made much effort to broaden its collection….Never has.” He turned to her mother,” Politicians seldom understand the value of knowledge unless it serves an immediate need.” 

Her mother smiled,” Muggle or magic, both are alike, I assume. University is probably the best source.” 

Dumbledore nodded,” Yes, I’m sure you are correct, except, for wizards, Hogwarts fills the role of muggle universities.” 

Hermione leaned forward,” I’m ready to start at Hogwarts.” 

Dumbledore set his cup on the end table and began searching his pockets. After a few moments, he smiled and pulled a dark red biro out and held it up. “This should allow you to start tomorrow if you wish.” 

“I thought you always used quills.” Her Mum was frowning. 

Hermione giggled as she turned to her mother,” It isn’t for writing. It’s a Portkey.” 

“A what?” 

The Headmaster stood and gave the biro to Hermione,” Mrs. Granger, we do write with quills. This implement has been charmed to allow Miss Granger to travel to Hogwarts.” 

Her mother was looking back and forth between the plastic pen and the Professor,” I don’t understand.” 

Dumbledore moved down the sofa nearer her Mum,” There is a spell we can use which transforms everyday objects into magical travel devices. At a prearranged time the biro will transport Miss Granger to a predetermined location. It’s quite handy actually.” 

Hermione saw the disbelief on her Mum’s face.” It’s true Mum. I’ve travelled that way before. It’s much more pleasant than the Floo, and not nearly as messy.” 

Her Mum still seemed to be uncertain.” Remember me telling you about travelling to the Quidditch match summer before last?” 

Her mother nodded,” Now that you say that, yes I do. This is what you used?” 

Hermione smiled,” Actually it was something quite different, but the magic was the same.” 

Dumbledore turned back to her,” The Portkey will activate at eight each morning. To return, tap the Portkey with your wand and say ‘home.’” 

Hermione felt the excitement building inside her,” Thank you. I’ll start in the morning.” 

Dumbledore smiled,” I thought you might. I’ve arranged for the elves to serve you lunch in the Collection room. For both our sakes, don’t give Madam Pince a reason to fear for the safety of the materials.” 

Hermione shook her head,” I’ll be very careful.” 

The Professor stood, “I’ve imposed on your hospitality long enough. Good hunting to you Miss Granger, I look forward to hearing your findings.”He turned to her Mum,” Good day to you Mrs. Granger. I’m certain you and Mr. Granger are most proud of your daughter. We are certainly pleased to have her at Hogwarts.” 

“Thank you Professor, we are quite proud of her, even though we know so little of what she is doing.” 

Hermione went from basking in the glow of Dumbledore’s praise to fear that he would say something about all that was going on. 

The Headmaster turned and gave Hermione an appraising look before commenting,
” We are in the midst of trying times in our world which may well spill over into yours. Take heart that Hermione is in the safest place possible when she is attending Hogwarts.” He smiled and gave a small bow, “ I must be off. Good day.” He pulled an old, brass key from his pocket. He tapped it once with his wand and disappeared. 

“Hermione, what did the Professor mean by trying times?” 

Hermione took a deep breath. “Sit down, Mum. This is going to take a while to explain.” The next two hours alternately flew and crept by as she tried to tell a very heavily edited version of the coming Second Wizard War and the role her friends might play in it. 

After dinner, she was relieved to see Hedwig perched on her window sill. She asked to owl to stay so that she could respond back to Harry. 

His Owl had been a ‘Thank You’ note for the book. 

Hermione wrote a lengthy Owl recounting the conversation with her Mum and then, with her Dad. She finished by telling Harry that she would, in fact, be allowed to return to Hogwarts, but that it had been a near thing. 

When Hedwig was on his way, she organized her things for the next morning.
Hopefully, the parchment, ink, and quills would be put to good use. 


* * * 

Harry and Ginny spent a quiet Sunday. After breakfast, Harry wrote ‘Thank You’ notes to everyone for his birthday gifts. He had not used Hedwig since the twins had brought her from the Burrow, and she seemed pleased to have something to do. He finished about lunch time. With the whole family there, everyone migrated to the parlour for the afternoon. 

Despite their experiments with the Beacon spell, Harry stayed close to Ginny all of the time. The next room was alright, but further than that was uncomfortable. In the house was bearable for a short while, but neither wanted to think what a real separation would be like. 

Harry sat and listened to Mr. Weasley, Bill and Remus talk about the Ministry and the Order. Ginny was huddled with her Mum, Fleur and Tonks planning a wedding. If possible, Ginny wanted to have the ceremony at the Burrow before they returned to school. 

Dinner was a bit uncomfortable as the women went on about the wedding plans. As they continued to plot, the men gave Harry a hard time; mostly for his obvious lack of input. 

Hedwig returned from Hermione’s as they were heading up to bed. Harry passed the Owl to Ginny after he had finished reading.” I guess it’s for the best.” 

Ginny nodded,” In the long run, probably so. Now she can tell them a bit more about what is really going on.” 

As one who had rarely shared with anyone, Harry had his doubts about how good that was. The thought had no more than crossed his mind when Ginny’s small hand gripped his. He looked down at her and smiled. Then again, maybe things were different now. 

They were all at breakfast the next morning when Professor McGonagall came through the door,” Good morning all.” 

After everyone at the table returned the greeting, the professor pulled three envelopes from her robes,” I have your letters for you. Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley, your O.W.L. results are there as well.” 

Mrs. Weasley seemed much more excited than either of the teens. 

Harry leaned over to read Ginny’s grades. She had nothing but O’s and E’s on everything. She looked up at him and raised her eyebrows. He took the hint and opened his letter. It was tempting to try and hide the results, but he knew better. 

“Nine Harry, that’s wonderful!” 

He had to admit he was shocked. It would have been no surprise if he had gotten mostly T’s. He smiled down at her,” Thank you, dear.” Ginny smiled crookedly and looked away. 

Mrs. Weasley was beaming at him,” Well done Harry.” 

“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley.” 

She turned to the other end of the table,” What about you Ron?” 

Ron was looking, not at the parchment, but at his hand,” What? Oh, I got eight.” He continued to look down. 

George leaned over and peeked, “ Blimey Ron! Is that the captain’s pin?” 

Ron nodded and held it up. 

Harry smiled, but it was hard. He thought… 

Professor McGonagall had moved over behind him,” You were the first choice, Mr. Potter, but with all that is going on, I thought you might lack the time to give it your best.” She spoke softly so only Harry and Ginny heard. She continued,” The same was the case for you, Mrs. Potter, when we selected Prefects. You were the obvious choice.” 

Harry closed his eyes. One more thing he had taken from Ginny. 

“Don’t you dare Harry Potter.” Ginny’s voice was low, but very forceful,” I’d trade it all for where we are right now.” 

He opened his eyes and saw hers flashing. 

“No regrets Harry. Remember?” 

He held her fierce gaze for a few moments, then, nodded,” Yes, ma’am.” 

Ginny smiled and nodded,” Good.” 

He thought he heard a light snicker behind him, but was sure he was wrong. There was no one there but Professor McGonagall. 

When he rejoined the conversation around the table, the adults were discussing the possibility of a trip to Diagon Alley for school supplies. It was agreed that proper measures could be arranged for Wednesday. 

Professor McGonagall offered to tell Hermione as she was at Hogwarts researching. 

The rest of the day looked to be routine. Harry and Ginny dueled the Golem for almost two hours. Even though it was very tiring, the sessions were becoming less so each day. Harry noticed Ron observing again, but said nothing. 

As they were catching their breath, Remus left his usual task of reducing the Golem and turned to the couple,” If you don’t have plans this afternoon, I would like to try something new.” 

Tonks, who had been leaning against the wall, moved closer. 

Harry shrugged his shoulders and nodded,” Sure, what do you have in mind?” 

With his eyes flicking back and forth between Harry and Ginny, Remus smiled just a little,” Wandless magic.” 

“What?” Harry thought he must have heard wrong. 

Remus smiled fully,” Wandless magic. With the power you two are developing, and after what Ginny did to get to you last week, it seems like a good idea.” 

Before Harry or Ginny could say anything, Tonks broke in,” Remus is right. Both of you are certainly capable..” 

Harry was shaking his head,” I haven’t done any accidental or wandless magic in years.” 

“Not true Harry.” Remus stepped closer,” How did you get your wand back last summer when you and Dudley were attacked?”
 
Harry had started to answer, but shut his mouth without a word. 

“Why do you want us to?” Ginny was seemingly giving the matter serious thought. 

Tonks smiled,” Think about it. How much safer would you be if you could defend yourself without a wand?” 

Ginny opened her mouth, then, hesitated,” Much, I guess.” 

“Exactly.” Tonks looked back at Remus. 

“How about after lunch we meet in the library and try a few things?” Remus seemed excited by the prospect. 

Harry saw Ginny start to nod,” Alright, Ginny and I will give it a try.” 

Tonks had to go to work after lunch, so, it was just the three of them. 

“At different times over the past weeks, both of you have talked about feeling your magic or concentrating your magic. That’s what I want you to concentrate on this afternoon.” He laid two quills on the table in front of the teens. “ Think about finding your magic and use it to levitate the quills. Don’t try for power, just lift the quills from the table.” 

Harry had no trouble finding his magic. That was easy after the past three weeks. The problem was what to do after he did. Some three or four fruitless minutes later, he had an idea. He concentrated on his magic, then, focused on moving it from his center to his arm. A few seconds later, a feeling of energy flowed into his arm. As a smile began to spread, he imagined the energy flowing down into his hand. Within seconds, the quill trembled then rose from the table. 

Ginny snapped her head around,” How did you do that?” 

Trying not to lose his concentration, Harry described what he was doing. 

Ginny nodded and turned back to the table. Seconds later, her quill shot up about six inches and began gently bobbing up and down. 

“Incredible!” Remus was on his feet watching the quills float.” Now try to control their movement. Make them move where you want them.” 

Harry extended his index finger and used it as he would his wand. The first time he pointed it away from the quill, the feather fluttered back to the table. Starting again, he was more deliberate in his movements. He found that using his whole hand seemed better than pointing just one finger. Within a minute, the quill was flying around the room above their heads. He was enjoying himself so much he didn’t notice his quill was under attack. Before he knew it, Ginny’s quill had rammed into his and was forcing it down. 

“Oh no you don’t.” Harry laughed and began moving his quill as if it were a Seeker flying through a room filled with Bludgers. 

The two battled each other for quite some time. Both were laughing their heads off. 

“I think that’s enough.” Remus interrupted the battle.” Let’s try something else.” He laid two books on the table,” No fighting this time. Hermione would not approve.” 

The heavier book was more of a challenge, but only for a few moments. Soon both were hovering well up near the ceiling. 

“Alright, you seem to have figured that out. Place the books on the mantle.” 

After a couple of minor mishaps, the books were lying on the mantle. 

Remus grinned at the couple,” Summon your book. Do not levitate it and guide it back. Summon it.” 

The change wasn’t as easy as it might have seemed. Harry tried for a couple of minutes before the book flew across the room into his hand. He turned to gloat, but found Ginny was casually flipping pages in her book. 

For the next hour or so, they levitated and placed progressively heavier books, then, summoned them back. 

“Alright, that’s enough for today.” Remus looked quite pleased. 

Harry sat back and noticed for the first time that he was wet with perspiration. As that realization sank in, he realized he was fairly tired as well. He looked at Ginny and saw her fanning herself with her hand. 

“How about a shower before dinner?” 

Ginny nodded,” Do I go first, or are we going together?” Her face was pure innocence. 

Harry felt his face flush as his mouth fell open. Then, his whole body began to heat up as fantastic images flowed through his head. 

That came to an abrupt halt when Remus laughed,” Harry, you don’t look too well.” 

He snapped his head around to see his friend shaking his head as he laughed. By the time he turned back to Ginny, she was slipping out of the room laughing merrily. 

Remus laid his hand on Harry’s shoulder,” In the three years I’ve know you, Harry, I’ve never seen you happier.” 

Harry nodded,” I keep telling Ginny it’s like a dream that never ends.” Harry stared at the door for a few moments, thinking. “ Remus, could we talk for a while?” 

“Sure Harry.” Remus took one of the chairs. 

Harry sat opposite him on the sofa. He was perched on the very front edge of the cushion; his elbows on his knees, looking down at his shoes. After calming himself for a minute, he took out his wand and closed the door; casting a privacy charm on the room soon after. 

“What is it Harry? Is something wrong?” Remus was watching him intently. 

Harry took a deep breath,” Can we talk about..err …umm… sex?” 

He would have laughed at the look on Remus’ face if he hadn’t been so uncomfortable himself. 

His father’s roommate and friend seemed to gather himself before speaking,” Where do you want to start?”

* * * 

Ginny wasn’t really surprised to find their rooms empty when she came from her bath. She could feel the tug on her magic. Still, she wondered where he was. She felt sort of bad for what she had done to Harry, but it had been worth it to see his face; Remus' too, for that matter. 

Ginny had brushed and dried her hair and Harry still wasn’t back. After getting dressed, she went to the sitting room to wait with one of the spell books to keep her company. 

By the clock on the desk, it was more than an hour before Harry came through the door. He was flushed and seemed embarrassed about something. 

“Is everything alright?” 

He wouldn’t meet her eyes,” Sure, err… Remus and I were just talking, that’s all.” 

Ginny watched him go into the bedroom. Something was up. 

She was sitting on the side of the bed, facing the loo, when Harry came out. He immediately dropped his head and began blushing. 

“Harry?” 

He was pulling on his jeans, but didn’t answer. 

“Harry, what’s wrong?” 

He pulled a t-shirt from the dresser and tugged it down over his head,” Nothing, really.” 

When Harry sat on the edge of the bed to pull on his socks, Ginny scooted closer and put her hand on his back. He jumped almost off of the bed. 

“Harry Potter! What’s wrong with you?” Ginny heard her voice rising and immediately tamped it down. 

After a few moments, not raising his head, Harry mumbled something. 

“What did you say?” Ginny was careful not to sound anything but gentle. 

Finally, he raised his head,” Remus and I talked.” 

She nodded,” Alright, will you tell me what about?” 

She watched his face grow brighter by the second. 

So softly she could barely hear him, he finally spoke,” I asked him to give me ’the talk.’” 

Now Ginny was sure her face matched his,” And did he?” 

Harry nodded. 

Once again, Ginny laid her hand on his back. This time he didn’t flinch. “Was it because of what I said about the shower?” 

He didn’t answer for a couple of minutes. She was about to apologize when he turned and actually faced her for the first time,” Sort of, but not really.” He took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds.” All I know, mostly, is what I’ve heard around the dorm and such. I thought if I’m going to be a real husband, I need to know how to be one.” He dropped his head again. 

Ginny was so furious, she thought she might have a magical accident. Those low life relatives of his had failed him yet again. And, once again Harry proved he would overcome it in spite of them. 

Hoping Harry couldn’t sense her real emotions, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her,” Harry in every important way you prove yourself every day.” Now she felt tears leaking from her eyes,” As for the other, we’ll learn together, alright?” 

When he raised his head and saw her crying, he looked stricken,” Ginny, I’m sorry..” 

Ginny put her fingers over his mouth,” Shh, Harry, I’m not crying because of anything you’ve done…” She paused for a moment,” That’s not true. I’m crying because you work so hard to be the wonderful man you are in spite of how you were brought up.” 

She moved her hand and kissed him softly,” I really do love you Harry. Never doubt that for an instant.” 

Finally, he wrapped his arms around her. She could feel him smiling against her shoulder,” I can’t. You won’t let me.” 

The moment was cut short by a soft knock on their door. “Hey you two, dinner’s ready.”
 

Ginny kissed Harry on the neck and raised her head,” We’ll be right there Dad.” 


All through dinner, despite the conversations going on around them, Ginny needed to touch Harry and him, her. They pressed their legs together, laid a hand on the other’s arm or shoulder, or just held hands and stopped eating. 

Ginny thought they were being subtle, but she noticed her Mum and Dad both giving her looks. Her Mum appeared worried, her Dad slightly embarrassed. 

Her Mum held her back as they all started for the parlour,” Ginny is there anything we need to talk about?” 

“ No, Mum, why?” 

“ I saw the way you two were at dinner..” 

“ Mum, we are Bonded after all.” 

“Ginny is it time for the potion?” 

She knew she was blushing,” Not that I need to tell you, but no, not yet.” 

“But…” 

Ginny took her Mum’s arm and led her back to the dining room ( Dobby had started serving dinner there every night). She waited for the little elf to pick up a load of dirty dishes,” Dobby, could Mum and I have a few moments please?” 

Dobby almost bowed and lost the dishes. He made an excellent save,” Of course Mistress Ginny, Dobby will wait in the kitchen.” 

Ginny waited a few moments,” Mum, Harry did something for us today that was very hard for him. Then, I made him tell me what he had done. I think what you saw was us trying to hold on to a special moment just a while longer.” 

“Can I ask..?” 

“No, Mum, not now. Maybe someday it will be a story we will tell, but not now.” 

Her Mum stood and looked at her for several minutes before nodding,” Despite your ages, I’m very proud of the both of you and the way you’ve come together. I can only hope Bill and Fleur will follow your example.” She frowned,” Too late for that in some ways.” 

Ginny tried to not, but her giggle escaped,” Mum, they are a little older you know. It’s not quite the same.” 

“Proper is proper young lady. You may be younger, but you and Harry have done things properly.” 

Ginny knew she couldn’t argue the point, so she let it go.” Let’s go on to the parlour.” She rubbed just below her sternum,” I need to be closer to Harry.” 

Her Mum smirked,” Need to be, or want to be?” 

Ginny smiled, “Both.” 

The evening was spent, partially, with Harry and Ginny showing off their wandless levitation and summoning skills. 

Back in their rooms, Ginny carefully considered what she would wear to bed. After the past few days she knew both of them were struggling to maintain their resolve. Those few minutes this afternoon had been very intimate. Frowning at herself, she pulled out a set of full pyjamas and went into the loo. It would be easier for both of them. 

Harry was already changed and in the bed when she came out,” It’s all yours, love.” 

He sat up and smiled,” Right choice tonight, Gin. After my imagination ran wild about the shower, those pyjamas are a good idea.” 

“ Harry, I wasn’t trying to be cruel. I just wanted to wind you up a bit. I’m sorry.” 

He stopped on his way to the loo and gave her a hug,” Guess we both know what kind of dreams I’ll be having tonight.” 

“Will I be in them?” 

“Sweet Merlin, yes, the starring role, believe me.” 

Ginny laughed and hugged him back,” Just as long as it is me.” 

Harry pulled back and looked at her,” Maybe a nice cold shower is in order while I’m in there.” 

Ginny wasn’t sure this was funny anymore,” Should I sleep on the sofa?” 

Harry shook his head,” Not necessary, I’ll be good, I promise.” He went in to get ready for bed. 

As the door closed, Ginny sat on the bed and rolled over to her side,” It’s not you I’m worried about, Harry.” 

She was on her side, facing away from him when he came out. He extinguished the candles and slid into the bed; spooning himself tightly against her. 

Holding her breath, she gently took his hand and slipped it up under her top and held it against her stomach. He tensed for a few moments, then, relaxed. 

Ginny relaxed, too. His touch was very, very comforting and only a little arousing; this time. In a minute or two she was fast asleep.

* * * 

Harry awoke much earlier than normal. Dawn was just breaking. He found himself with his head on the back of Ginny’s shoulder and his right arm around her waist and trapped beneath her. The fresh, floral scent that was all hers enveloped him. He smiled at the normalcy that a few weeks ago would have seemed impossible or given his mental state, unthinkable. 

He breathed deeply as he settled more comfortably. Thinking about how perfect it felt to hold her like this, he noticed his hand was completely covered by Ginny’s soft skin. Without any intent, Harry gently stroked Ginny’s stomach with the ball of his thumb. A few moments later, Ginny gave a very pleased sigh as she rolled slightly back against him. This freed his hand to join his thumb. 

After a few more contented sighs, Ginny covered Harry’s hand with her own and held it against her as she turned over to face him. His hand was now against the small of her back. 

“That’s a very nice way to wake up Harry.” 

He smiled,” Your skin is amazing.” 

“Thank you kind sir.” She snuggled up more closely,” Feel free to test more if you like.” 

For the next several minutes he did just that. His fingers again explored the soft ridges covering her shoulder blades, and slowly counted up and down the shallow valley along her spine. The soft fullness around her hips belied the slim, young girl of his memories. 

Somewhere during this, Ginny’s hand slipped under his t-shirt and began tracing random patterns across his stomach, chest and ribs. Harry closed his eyes and tried to enjoy fully both sensations of touching and being touched. Both were still completely alien to his experience, but he hoped never again. 

“Harry.” Her voice was barely more than a whisper. 

“Ummhmm.” 

“Is it hard for you to wait?” 

He started to answer, then, hesitated. Was it? The talk with Remus has been terribly embarrassing at times, but exciting, too. The deepest part of his brain was all for getting on with things, but..No one had ever loved him or given themselves so completely. 

Harry moved so that he could see her eyes, his whole body was glowing bright red,” The thought of us together is almost overpowering. Seeing you, touching you will be so incredible, but I love you, and it will only be truly right when we both are ready. I don’t think I am just yet. How about you?” 

Now she paused for a few minutes.” When our passion is high, I’m ready and then some. But, when we are like this I want to wait for a while longer. Can you do that for me?” 

“For you, anything.” 

“Thank you, love.” She gently cupped his cheek and made him hold her gaze,” Now tell me you love me again, so I can be sure that wasn’t just a slip of the tongue.” 

Harry smiled,” I do love you Ginny Potter and I will always.” 

The kissing and touching that followed had everything to do with intimacy and hardly anything to do with sex. In the end, neither was left gasping for breath. Rather both were breathing in the scents and smells that identified their partner as uniquely theirs. 

Tuesday was a normal day. Harry and Ginny dueled in the morning and practiced wandless magic in the afternoon. They had tried, with a bit of success, some simple defensive spells. 

Remus was fascinated by some of the hexes and curses Lily and James had left in the journals. As they were finishing up in the afternoon he turned to Ginny,” You know the magic from the journal is mostly above NEWT level don’t you? “ He seemed thoughtful for a moment,” Ginny, would you mind if I asked Albus or Minerva to test your Charms and Defense abilities? You may be able to move up to Harry’s class.” 

Harry grinned at Ginny’s reaction. 

Her eyes were dancing as she bounced on her toes,” Do you really think so? I’d love to move up. What would I do about my OWLS?” This all came out in one quick rush. 

Remus smiled at her enthusiasm,” You would still take your OWLS, I would imagine. Those are good questions for Minerva to answer.” 

Ginny was beside herself for the rest of the evening. Remus had gone to Hogwarts to talk to Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall. 

They were just heading up to bed when Remus came back,” Albus suggested you buy both your fifth and sixth year books for Charms, Defense, and Transfiguration. Either he or Minerva will come by Friday afternoon to test you on some of the basic OWL level spells and charms.” 

Ginny threw her arms around Remus ,” Thank you, thank you.” 

Harry peeled her off of their friend and let her mum and dad congratulate her. 

When they finally went to their rooms, Ginny closed the door and wrapped herself around Harry. He was a little surprised, but not at all bothered by her actions,” Excited are we?” 

“ Harry, we won’t have to be apart all of the time.” She had wrapped her arms so tightly around his neck that he was having trouble breathing.” Maybe I can catch up all around and finish with you.” 

He reached behind his neck and loosened her grip,” Love, if you don’t let me breathe you’ll be finishing without me.” 

He could see her blush as she pulled back,” Haven’t you been worried about us being apart in the castle?” She was still smiling, but he saw the concern in her eyes. 

Harry pulled her back against his chest,” I thought McGonagall would try to work our schedules so we were as close as possible. Failing that, I was going to just follow you around and skip classes if I had to.” 

She laughed against his chest,” That would have gone over well.” She pulled away,” Why don’t you change first? I’m still too excited for bed.” 

He kissed her forehead and went to find his bed clothes. 

Ginny wasn’t overstating her mood. She talked and giggled for quite a while after they were in bed. Harry smiled to himself and enjoyed her happiness. 


* * * 

Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk deep in thought. Remus’ visit had brought back to the fore the problem the Headmaster had thus far been unable to solve. How was he to reconcile with Harry Potter? 

Their heated exchange after coming back from the Department of Mysteries had really only been the first open manifestation of a festering relationship. Albus was convinced his decision to place Harry with his relatives had been the correct one. Not telling Harry about the prophecy was less clear cut. Then, there were the errors that had nearly cost Harry his life in his first and fourth years. 

Now, Harry was even more distant due to his desire, and the Headmaster’s opposition, to train with James and Lily. The now obvious increase in both power and ability made Albus’ position appear even more wrongheaded. 

Perhaps Friday he could begin the reconciliation by the way he dealt with Miss…Mrs. Potter’s possible moving ahead in some classes. Certainly, any help there would be appreciated. There was one other thing that might help. How best to move forward? 


* * * 

They met up with Hermione and, surprisingly, her mother in the Leaky Cauldron at ten the next morning. As they started down the Alley toward Gringotts, Hermione leaned over and whispered,” Mum wants to experience more of our world so she understands things better.” 

Ginny nodded,” Let’s hope this is only a shopping trip, then.” 

Hermione paled a bit,” Let’s hope.” 

Ginny and Harry were treated like honored guests at the bank. One of the goblins offered to make the withdrawal for them if they wished. 

Ginny laid her hand on Harry’s arm before he could answer,” Hermione, would you and Mrs. Granger like to go down into the vaults?” 

Hermione thought for a moment, then, nodded,” Yes, I think we would.” 

Ginny explained to Harry as they went to get into the cart. She heard a few gasps and stifled screams on the ride down through the tunnels. When they arrived at their vault, Ginny went to open the door as Harry helped Mrs. Granger out of the cart. 

When Ginny looked back, she saw Hermione and her mother were wide eyed from the trip and the tunnels. 

The door had barely opened when another cart arrived. She recognized Gornhall as he joined them. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Potter we could have saved you the trip.” 

Harry shook the goblin’s hand,” Thank you, the goblins offered, but our friends have never been down here before. They were interested to see what it is like.” 

When Gornhall turned to Hermione and her mum, Harry introduced them. Mrs. Granger appeared to be in a bit of a daze. 

Ginny went into the vault first; followed by Hermione and her mother. Ginny waited by the entrance for Harry. It was a minute or so before he and Gornhall finally came in. They appeared to be in a serious conversation, and Harry was not happy about something. 

Ginny put that out of her mind for the moment and went to show Hermione and Mrs. Granger around the vault. No one commented on the stacks of gold and silver. Rather, Ginny focused on the art and furniture scattered about. Not surprisingly, Hermione spent several minutes examining two large book shelves loaded with what seemed to be some very old magical books. 

The three women were watching a painting of a medieval picnic when Harry joined them.” Bloody arses at the Ministry.” He muttered quietly enough so that only Ginny could hear. 

She looked up at him. He shook his head,” When we get back to our rooms.” 

A few minutes later they had both filled their purses and were ready to leave. The ride back up did not seem nearly as exciting. 

Her Mum, Ron, Remus, Mad-Eye, and Tonks were waiting in the main hall when they returned. Molly stepped forward,” ‘Madam Malkin’s’?” 

Everyone agreed. 

Once again they were greeted by the owner herself,” Welcome, Mr. And Mrs. Potter. What may I do for you today?” 

In no time all four teenagers were being measured and fitted for new school robes as all had grown over the past year. Ron was getting the benefit of Ginny’s not needing gold from her family this year. 

From ‘Madam Malkin’s’ they next went to ‘Flourish and Blotts’ for their books. That took longer than usual since Hermione and her mother wanted to look at every book in the shop, or so it seemed. 

Next was the Stationers for quills, ink, and parchment. “Quality Quidditch Supplies’ was the next stop. Ginny bought a new pair of boots and gloves, but Harry needed nothing. He did spot Ginny’s birthday present while they were there. A quick stop in ‘Eeylops’ allowed for the replenishment of owl treats, and the final supply stop was the ‘Apothecary’ for their potion supplies. 

It was lunch time by the time they returned to the Leaky Cauldron. As they walked in Tom was calling to Harry,” Mr.Moody asked me to set up a room for you on the first floor. Show everyone up and lunch will be served in a few minutes.” 

Harry waved his thanks and led the way up the stairs. Ginny held back with Mrs. Granger and Hermione. 

“So much has changed since we came with you that first time.” 

Hermione nodded at her mum,” It has changed some, but mostly, I think you know enough to be more aware of what is happening.” 

Harry was seated at the head of the table, Ginny to his right across from Hermione and Mrs. Granger. Ginny’s Mum was on her right with the others scattered about down both sides. 

After soup and warm bread was served, Mrs. Granger leaned forward just a little so that she could see Ginny and Harry. “ I am assuming the mister and missus is from the Bond.” 

Ginny noticed Harry had jut taken a bite so she answered,” Yes, ma’am, it is.” 

“But you are so young. Couldn’t you break it some way?” 

Ginny took a deep breath as she noticed Hermione flinch,” First of all, it is unbreakable. Next, even if that were not the case, both partners would have to agree to break the Bond. Harry nor I either one would ever agree to that. Finally, our Bond, besides the wonderful connection it gives us, also greatly enhances Harry’s magical power and he will need that power some day.” 

Mrs. Granger then took a different tack,” I noticed the shopkeepers and even the goblins in the bank, take no notice of your ages. How can that be?” 

Her Mum took over,” Wizarding folk often marry young. Harry’s parents were barely two years out of Hogwarts when he was born. Our Bill was born just over a year after Arthur and I left school. Now my Bill is still unmarried so not everyone is alike. Also, Ginny and Harry’s Bond has been well publicized by the wizarding press. Most magical folk are very much aware they are bonded, so it isn’t a surprise.” 

Tonks leaned forward, smiling,” Witch Weekly had a long article on Harry no longer being the most eligible wizard in Britain. There were plenty of quotes from witches saddened by that news.” She waggled her eyebrows at Ginny,” After what I read in Teen Witch I’d be careful what I ate or drank when I got back to Hogwarts if I were you.” 

Ginny laughed along with everybody else…except Ron of course. 

There were no more questions for a while as the main course was served. Ginny had a little fun summoning things without her wand. What mostly made it fun was that none of the adults could do it anywhere nearly as well as she and Harry. 

As the pudding and coffee were being finished, Mrs. Granger began to ask questions again. Some were general- what does one do with a completed course from Hogwarts? Are there ways to continue one’s education? 

Ginny was getting comfortable with the whole matter when Mrs. Granger once again turned to Harry,” Why is it you that must be more powerful? Isn’t that what Ginny said, that you needed to be more powerful?”” 

Ginny immediately reached under the table and found Harry’s hand. There was tension flowing through it like water through a hosepipe. 

Harry looked at Hermione,” How much does she know?” 

Hermione flushed,” Just the bare minimum.” 

Ginny stood and moved behind Harry; placing both hands on his shoulders. Mrs. Granger’s eyes began to widen. She must have known she was into sensitive matters. 

Harry leaned forward with his hands folded on the table before him. “Years ago when I was born there was an evil wizard causing death and destruction all over England. He heard part of a prophecy about a young boy who might beat him, so he went to kill that boy. He killed the parents as they tried to protect their son, but when he cast the killing curse on the boy, it rebounded and struck the Dark Lord. It didn’t kill him, but it was a near thing.” 

“Now he’s back at full strength again. He still doesn’t know  the rest of the prophecy, but he has also tried very hard to kill that boy more than once.” 

Ginny watched Mrs. Granger’s face. She knew what was coming, but she didn’t want to accept it. 

Harry continued,” I’m the boy Voldemort marked fifteen years ago when he killed my parents.” Harry raised a hand to his scar,” I’m the one that will have to stop him. That’s why I need more magical power. That’s why I need my friends and family to help me get ready for that moment I have to face him for the last time.” 

Ginny glanced up at the table. Looks were being exchanged at Harry’s last words. 

Mrs. Granger sat in stunned silence. She looked at Hermione as if to confirm or refute what Harry had said. What she saw was a steady stream of tears running down her daughter’s cheeks. After a few moments, she turned back to Harry,” You’re so young. How do you bear it?” 

Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck,” Sometimes he doesn’t very well. At the start of the holiday he wasn’t bearing it well at all. Then he and I were taken by his parents to train and begin to seal our Bond.” She kissed the top of his head,” I won’t put up with the notion of anything other than Harry kicking Voldemort’s sorry…” 

“Ginny!” 

“Sorry Mum. I intend for Harry and I to have a long life together and I won’t let him not be ready.” 

Mrs. Granger was frowning,” But I thought you said your parents…” 

Harry nodded,” As I said Voldemort killed them fifteen years ago. They had planned on something like that possibly happening and had cast some very powerful and obscure spells.” He went on with a brief description of the plans of James and Lily. 

When Harry finished, Remus pulled out the chair across from Hermione and her mother and sat leaning across the table,” Mrs. Granger, almost everything you have heard this afternoon is a closely held secret. I know you are used to keeping Hermione’s magical ability secret, but what we have told you is even more important. If you have a favorite friend or relative with whom you confide, for all our sakes keep this from them. Your safety as well as all of ours is at stake.” 

Mrs. Granger looked stricken. Hermione laid her hand on her mum’s arm,” Mum, Voldemort and his followers target witches and wizards from non magical families. They think it’s sport to torture and kill muggles. Even though this war seems to be only about wizards, it’s not. We’re the ones who can end it, though.” 

The poor woman was on the verge of tears,” What about Hermione? Is she really safe at Hogwarts?” 

Remus smiled,” More so there than anywhere else. It is heavily protected and even Voldemort tries to avoid taking on Albus Dumbledore.” 

Ginny wasn’t sure who she was more sorry for – Mrs. Granger or Hermione. Time would tell. 

After a bit of small talk to break the tension, they all walked over to the twin’s shop. 

Outside was as near as they were able to get as the shop was filled to overflowing with excited, young shoppers. 

Ginny watched her Mum’s face when she saw the throngs of people trying to buy the twins goods. There was a glow of pure amazement in her eyes. 

Ginny poked Harry and pointed it out to him. He smiled for the first time in hours. 

Back in their rooms after stowing their purchases, actually after Dobby stowed their things, Ginny pulled Harry to one of the sofas,” What was going on with you and Gornhall?” 

He grimaced,” Gornhall said that he had been trying to set up a meeting to settle Sirius’ estate, but that the Ministry was causing trouble.” 

“Why did you need to know?” 

“It appears that Remus, Tonks, and I are the main beneficiaries. The Ministry wants to block settling everything because Remus is a werewolf and I’m some kind of nutter.” 

Ginny began grinding her teeth,” What?” 

“ Some in the Ministry want the gold and they’re using the stories from last year to show I’m not competent.” 

Ginny took a breath. Now was not the time to lose her temper,” What do we need to do about it?” 

Harry turned and smiled at her like he knew she was about to lose it,” He suggested I get a solicitor to represent me.” He leaned away and fished in his pocket for a minute. Finally, he pulled out a scrap of parchment,” Gornhall gave me a couple of names to try. I thought we could ask your dad and Remus if they knew them.” 

“Good idea. Now forget about that for a while and let me get your mind on something else.” 

Harry pulled his wand before quickly closing and sealing the door.

* * * 

Dinner at the Granger’s had been much quieter than usual. Her Mum had taken her Dad aside as soon as he came in. Hermione was certain she knew the gist of the conversation. 

After the dishes were cleared and loaded in the dishwasher, the three of them sat together in the sitting room. No one spoke for a few minutes. 

Finally, her Dad broke the ice,” Your mother shared some of what you talked about today.” 

Hermione nodded. 

“There’s quite a lot more to the story than you have led us to believe.” 

Hermione had been working on her answer to this or a similar challenge she had been sure would come,” Yes sir, there is.” She took a breath,” As I told you, the magical world is on the brink of all out war. Sadly, our government has had its head deep in the sand for too long. It isn’t prepared for the fight that is coming. Professor Dumbledore has been preparing. Mum met some of those who will be leading the fight for our side.”Hermione saw her Mum’s eyes widen,” All of our escorts today are part of it.” 

“Why did we have them there?” 

Hermione straightened her back,” To protect us in case Harry was attacked.” 

Her Dad was red in the face,” There was a chance you could have been attacked because of your friend?” His voice rose with every word. 

She looked to her mother,” You didn’t tell him about Harry?” 

Her Dad didn’t wait for an answer,” What about Harry?” 

Hermione found that she didn’t flinch as she might have not long ago,” The war that is coming will only end when the other side’s leader is dead. Harry may be the only one who can kill him.” 

“Hermione, don’t be ridiculous. That boy is the same age as you. I hardly think he is the only one who can win this war you think is coming.” 

Hermione was furious with her mother. Apparently, she had not told her Dad much of the day’s discussion. She wondered just what it was they had talked about.” Let me back up and tell you most of what I know. The Dark Wizards call themselves Death Eaters. They follow an evil monster that has taken the name Lord Voldemort. On Halloween night in nineteen eighty-one, Voldemort murdered Harry’s parents….” She told them about the rebounding curse, Harry’s fame and his life with the muggles (At least what she knew of that life. Actually, she had very little knowledge of the reality). She related her being saved from a troll and Harry’s various brushes with death at the hands of Voldemort and his followers. As she finished she could almost see steam coming from her Dad’s ears. 

“Young lady, you will stay away from Harry Potter and all those around him.” 

“No.” 

“What did you say?” 

Hermione found herself to be surprisingly calm,” I said,’No.’ I will not stay away from Harry. I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure he survives this whole bloody mess.” 

“Language, Hermione.” 

She was amazed that her Mum’s only comment was about her choice of words. 

On the other hand, her Dad stayed right on point,” If you want to continue attending Hogwarts, you will stay away from that whole lot.” 

Hermione stood and started from the room,” Good night.” 

Her Dad was on his feet,” Hermione, I’m serious.” 

“I know you are Dad. Good night.” 

She waited for her parents to get soundly asleep before she began packing her trunk. By the time the sun was up, she was completely packed and had even taken a short nap. 

Breakfast was quiet. The night’s argument wasn’t mentioned. 

Promptly at eight, Hermione tightly gripped her trunk in one hand; the handle to Crookshank’s carrier and the biro were gripped in the other. In a moment, they disappeared.

* * * 


Harry and Ginny talked to Mr. Weasley and Remus after dinner. They both knew one of the solicitors and thought highly of him. Mr. Weasley offered to make contact and get the solicitor started on their behalf. 

“Remus, did you know about the will?” 

Remus nodded,” I did, but I hadn’t heard about any problems. In wizarding law, if there is no body, the Ministry can delay the settlement for sixty days from the date the death is declared. Fudge sat on the paperwork for a while, so the death wasn’t official until July sixth.” 

Harry braced himself,” Remus, about what I said at lunch.” His friend stole a quick look at Mr. Weasley before he nodded.

” I’m ready to tell you about everything. Tomorrow after dinner I’d like to tell the whole family; that includes Tonks and Hermione, of course. Also, I’d like Professor McGonagall, Professor Moody, and Professor Dumbledore to be here.” 

Mr. Weasley smiled sadly,” We’ll let everyone know.” 

The whole discussion about Sirius’ death and the prophecy was making Harry begin to fall back into the pity he had lived in at the start of the summer. He was very pleased to feel a small hand start rubbing his back as a soft kiss was planted on his cheek. “Thanks, love.” 

He got a crooked smile for an answer. 

As he slipped his arms around Ginny, he was vaguely aware of the other men leaving the dining room. 

Later, in bed, Ginny was propped up on one elbow, her hand running through his hair,” You can’t go back there Harry. I won’t let you.” 

He reached up and pulled her down,” How are you going to stop me?” 

Ginny had a very good plan. 

The next day was very routine until dinner time. That’s when Hermione came into the dining room followed by Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall. 

“Arthur, Molly, could I impose on you to speak with Minerva and me for a moment?” 

Both Weasleys stood,” Of course Albus.” Mr. Weasley smiled at Hermione,” You are joining us for dinner aren’t you, Hermione?” 

Hermione looked flustered but nodded,” Thank you Mr. Weasley, I’d planned to.” 

As Hermione took a place at the table next to George, the four adults left the room. 

“Is everything alright?” Ginny was frowning. 

“I’ve left home.” 

“What?!” This came from virtually everyone at the table. 

“I’ve left home. My parents were going to take me out of Hogwarts, so I left home.” 

The silence in the room was deafening for a few seconds. 

Harry waited for her to elaborate. When she said nothing further, he waited for her to look up,” What happened?” 

She appeared almost frightened to answer,” After dinner last night, Dad asked more about what was going on. It was obvious Mum had not told him much about lunch yesterday. I decided to tell them the whole story about Harry and Voldemort. Dad didn’t take it well. He insisted I stay away from the lot of you if I wanted to return to Hogwarts. I refused. He insisted, so I packed my things and took them with me when I used the Portkey this morning.” 

Harry joined the silent voices around the table. 

Hermione sat up in her chair,” I’ll be seventeen in a few weeks anyway. I can make my own decisions.” 

“Of course you can,” George patted her back. 

“But if you’re going to live with the Weasleys…” noted Fred. 

“..you have to eat like a Weasley.” This from George. He proceeded to heap food onto Hermione’s plate. 

Harry felt an elbow dig into his ribs,” Don’t even think about taking the blame for this Harry.” 

The fire in Ginny’s eyes made it plain he was not to argue. 

Conversation returned to the huge success the twins had had their first four days of business. “We should have a catalogue ready by the start of fall term. Any chance someone might place the odd one here and there around the castle?” George was making puppy dog eyes at Ginny. 

She laughed and nodded. 

Dobby was serving pudding when the two professors and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley came back into the room. Both of the Weasleys looked troubled.

”Ron, when you’ve finished, please take Hermione’s trunk up to her room.” Mrs. Weasley had walked over behind Hermione’s chair. She patted the young witch’s shoulder as she spoke.” She’ll be staying with us for a while.” 

Hermione turned quickly,” Really, I can?” 

“Yes, dear. Albus and Minerva are going to see your parents later tonight. They’ll assure them that you are safe and unharmed. I’m sure that is the most important thing to your parents at the moment.” 

The conversation stayed on trivial matters until everyone had finished. They moved as a group into the parlour.
 
Harry took one of the chairs. Ginny sat on the right arm rest with her hand resting on his shoulder. As everyone was getting settled, He caught Dumbledore’s eye. The older wizard nodded and smiled. Harry nodded back.
 
“Err, I guess..” He paused as Charlie Weasley rushed into the room. 

“Sorry. Bill said I should be here, and this was the best I could do.” 

Harry noted no one got up to greet Charlie. 

Ginny rubbed his shoulder as Harry took a breath,” I guess you all know what this is about.” There were a few nods around the room. “ Well, you all know about the prophecy in the Department of Mysteries and that it was broken while we were there. The thing is that wasn’t the only copy. Later that night, Professor Dumbledore showed me another one…” 

“Harry, if I may?” Dumbledore was standing near a sideboard. Harry noticed that the Pensieve was on the table. He nodded at the professor. 

“There is another copy as I was the witness to the prophecy. It may be easier for Harry if I show you the memory.” The Headmaster raised his wand to his temple and pulled the gossamer thread out and dropped it into the basin. With a wave of his wand a figure rose out of the Pensieve and began to speak in a harsh voice: 

“ THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES…” (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” by J.K. Rowling, page 841, American edition) 

When the memory ended, the room was absolutely silent. Then, there was a sob, then another, a sniff, and softly muttered curses. 

Harry looked around the room to see the responses. 

- McGonagall was staring straight ahead, her mouth in a grim line. 

- Moody was nodding his head, seemingly talking to himself. 

- Mrs. Weasley and Hermione were softly crying. Mr. Weasley had put his arm around his wife’s shoulders. 

- Tonks and Remus were talking quietly to one another as Remus passed Tonks a handkerchief. There were tears on both of their cheeks. 

- The Weasley brothers each had a stunned look about them. Ron was staring at the floor. 

Harry was about to speak when Ginny leaned down and kissed his temple,” They’ll be alright, love. We all knew; we just never wanted to face it.” 

“So now you know why Mum and Dad wanted me to know so much more magic…Why they hoped Ginny and I would agree to bond.” He pulled Ginny down onto his lap.” I would understand if you wanted me to stay away from you. You can see how dangerous I am to be around.” 

“ That didn’t stop you from bonding with my sister, did it?” Ron was almost radiating anger. 

Harry shook his head,” No..” 

“ You obnoxious git!” Ginny had jumped from Harry’s lap.” You act like I had no say about it. That it was all Harry’s doing.” She was stalking across the room. Harry noticed the alarm on Bill and Charlie’s faces. 

“Well let me tell you something former brother of mine. I made this choice. Me. No one tricked me, or misled me. I knew..know exactly what it means to be bonded with Harry. When the time comes, I plan to be right beside him when he kills that cowardly monster.” She was now in Ron’s face,” Tell me, where do you plan to be?” 

“I..” Ron was leaning away from Ginny’s fury. 

“Get out of the room, Ron. This is just for friends and family.” 

“Ginny.” Mrs. Weasley appeared as stunned as Ron. 

Ginny didn’t even pretend to acknowledge her mum. She leaned closer to her brother,” Did you hear me? This is for family. You don’t belong.” 

Ron’s eyes were darting around the room; looking anywhere but at his sister. When Ginny straightened back up, Ron started to get up. Then he closed his eyes and sank back into the chair. He took a deep breath,” If you’ll let me, I’ll be there, too.” He looked over at Harry,” Sorry, mate, I’ve been a total arse.” 

Harry wasn’t quite ready to let him off of the hook,” You’re apologizing to the wrong Potter.” 

Ron paled a little, then, nodded,” I’m sorry Ginny. I know you can make your own decisions. I’ve not been thinking straight, I guess.” 

“Humpff.” Was the only response he got from her. Ginny turned her back on Ron and started back toward Harry. When he looked up at her, she winked. It was all Harry could do not to laugh out loud. 

When Ginny sat back in his lap, Harry leaned so that his lips were against her ear. This was so that no one could hear him, nor see his face,” Merlin help me. What have I gotten myself into?” 

Ginny turned her head to answer,” The best deal of your life Potter.” 

He took advantage of their position and kissed her on the cheek,” I know.” 

“So, Dumbledore, what do we do now?” Moody’s voice drowned out everything else. 

Harry and Ginny turned to hear the answer. 

“ I believe events have proven me to be wrong about the plans James and Lily made. I would hope Harry and Ginny continue their training for the remainder of the holiday. If they agree, I will help them continue after the term begins.” 

Harry smiled,” Thank you Professor, we would like that.” Ginny was nodding her agreement as he spoke. 

All of the tension seemed to drain from the room. Within a few minutes conversations had resumed and people were moving about making ready to leave. 

Before leaving the parlour everyone came over to offer their support. That included several hugs, clasped hands and a few more tears. After several minutes, there was only Harry, Ginny, and Hermione in the room. 

Most of the adults had retired to the kitchen for a cup of tea…and the chance to talk away from Harry probably. 

Ron had been led from the room by his brothers. Harry cringed a bit when he saw what was happening. 

“Why don’t you come up to our rooms for a while?” Ginny had linked her arm with Hermione’s. 

“I’ll be there in a few.” She started for the stairs. 

Hermione went and retrieved Crookshanks before joining Harry and Ginny in their sitting room. 

Ginny left Harry’s chair and sat with Hermione on one of the sofas,” Are you doing alright about your parents?” She reached to pet Crookshanks as she spoke. 

Hermione nodded,” I’ve had the whole day to think about it.” She laughed,” You should have seen Professor McGonagall’s face when I went by her office this afternoon. When she saw my trunk and Crookshanks, I thought her eyebrows were never going to reappear.” Hermione smiled,” She couldn’t have been any nicer, though. After I explained what had happened, she fixed me tea and just talked with me. Not about my Mum and Dad, but about school and what I wanted to do after. It was very pleasant.” 

Harry knew he needed to say something,” You’re welcome here anytime, for as long as you like.” 

“Thank you, Harry.” 

Ginny came back over and sat next to Harry,” How is the research going?” 

Hermione’s eyes brightened,” I’m not sure, but I may be on to something.” She sat forward on the sofa,” I’ve found a couple of mentions of spells connected to bonds. This is all quite old magic. I have an idea where to look for them. In a few days I may really have something.” 

Harry smiled broadly. No one loved an intellectual challenge more than Hermione. 

They were all surprised by a soft pop. Dobby appeared with a tray balanced on his hand,” Master Harry, Mistress Ginny, Dobby thought you might need some hot chocolate.” He sat the tray on the end table. 

Ginny was closest. She put her hand on the elf’s shoulder,” Thank you Dobby. You take such good care of us.” 

The little creature smiled then, disappeared. 

The three friends sat and talked as they enjoyed the sweet treat. Hermione avoided the prophecy all together. 

Some minutes later Professor Dumbledore entered the room,” Mrs. Potter, Ginny, I will stop by after lunch tomorrow to discus your classes if that is agreeable?” 

“Thank you Professor, that will be fine.” Ginny was beaming. 

After the Headmaster said good night, Hermione wanted all of the details.

* * *

Despite her best efforts to calm him, Ginny knew Harry didn’t sleep well. When they went into the bedroom to change, she could tell his relaxed demeanor with Hermione had been a mask. 

She had spent much of the night with her hand covering his heart under his shirt. At times she felt it race as she sensed his distress that he would fail all those who had pledged their love and support that night. In turn, Ginny pushed back to him her confidence and love. The beat would slow for a while, then, some new fear would emerge. 

Just as dawn began to show itself through the windows, Ginny stopped trying to calm Harry. As that was only working for a while, she decided to use another technique. Watching his eyes widen as she lowered her lips to his, she succeeded in her mission. The prophecy was gone from Harry’s mind. 

This time when they broke apart, they were both breathing heavily. Harry rolled onto his back, but Ginny stayed curled up tightly against him; running her hand lazily across his bare chest and stomach. His t-shirt was in the floor beside the bed having come off some time ago. 

Ginny’s hair was a total mess from Harry’s hands near constant attention. The straps of her tank top were hanging off her shoulders so that Harry could place countless exquisite kisses across her shoulders and collarbones. The hem was bunched up below her breasts; the result of Harry’s gentle stroking, and briefly, incredibly, kissing her stomach and back. 

They had hardly done anything, physically at least, that they had not done before. Harry had known he could have gone as far as he liked this morning, but he had carefully not given her even a hint that he was thinking about breaking their agreement to wait. Still, Ginny knew a barrier had been willingly crossed. The next time, or soon, her top would join his in the floor. Her stomach fluttered at the thought. 

Fighting her imagination, she raised up to look at his face,” Ready for breakfast, love?”
The frown and worry lines were all gone,” Yeah, after a cold shower though.” 

Ginny was about to apologize ‘til she saw him grinning,” I know exactly what you mean.” She kissed him on the chin and sat up,” I’ll take my cold one first.” She climbed over Harry, who was still ‘excited’ she noticed, and pulled some underwear out of the drawer. 

She enjoyed a hot, rather than cold, shower. Although she was still a little shaky from their incredible time together, Ginny focused on what was next. They had to talk, that was for sure. Then, it came to her, and she laughed as she rinsed her hair…Tonks’ book. Time for her and Harry to study together. 

They had been more at ease with each other for the past few days. Ginny walked out into the bedroom wearing only her knickers and bra; a towel wrapped around her wet hair. Harry had put on his glasses and was facing the door when she opened it. The look in his eyes almost stopped her cold. She was wearing some of her more conservative underwear. The thought crossed her mind that Harry might have fainted if she had been wearing one of the skimpy, new lace sets. 

“Sweet Merlin, Ginny you are truly beautiful.” He grinned as he watched her blush from her toes to her ears. 

“Thank you, love. I’ll never get tired of hearing you say things like that.” Ginny could feel his eyes watching her as she walked around the bed toward the dressing table. 

Finally, not able to stand it, she peeked back at Harry. She caught him licking his lips like a hungry cat. “ Am I going to need my wand, Harry?” 

Harry seemed to come to himself. He shook his head and stood up to go to the shower. The door had closed before she realized he had kept his back to her the whole time. She sat on the stool and freed her hair. ‘I bet I can guess why.’ 

They were early enough to find the whole family, excluding Ron and the twins, still gathered around the breakfast table. Tonks, Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt were there as well; though only having tea. Ginny assumed her three brothers were in Diagon Alley getting ready to rake in more gold. 

All conversation stopped when they came through the door. Kingsley looked around the table not knowing what was going on. 

Ginny felt the tug on her arm when Harry stopped walking. She turned and stepped up against him so only he could hear,” Every person in this room loves you Harry. Nothing they heard last night has changed that.” 

After a moment he nodded,” Thanks, Ginny.” He tilted his head down and touched his forehead to hers.”I don’t know what to say.” 

She gave him a quick peck on the lips,” Try ‘Good morning.’” With that she turned and led him to two empty chairs. “Good morning everyone.” 

That broke the ice and conversations picked back up where they had stopped. 

Ginny watched Harry slowly relax and join in as he ate. After a few minutes, her Dad, Bill and Hermione excused themselves and headed out to work and Hogwarts respectively. Shorty after, Kingsley and Tonks both announced they were off to get some sleep as both had been working most of the night. 

That left her Mum, Remus, Moody, and Charlie. They all moved nearer the young couple. 

“ Potter, err, Potters, Dumbledore asked me to work with the two of you on some more advanced offensive spells. I know he’s coming by later, so Remus said we could start tomorrow if that suits you.” The gruff ex-Auror was talking as politely as Ginny had ever heard him. 

Harry nodded,” Thanks, we can use all the help we can get.” 

“Well then, I’m off. I’ll be here after breakfast. Plan on a hard workout.” 

Ginny was lost in thought, chewing a last bite of scone when Charlie pushed his cup aside and leaned forward,” Harry, we’ve not spent much time together,” He seemed embarrassed,” but I said I would back the two of you, and I meant it. After hearing that last night, I think I finally appreciate why Ginny, Ron, and the twins have always thought so highly of you…. This isn’t about you and Ginny anymore… well…just let me know what I can do to help.” 

Ginny was pretty sure that was the longest single utterance to a non family member Charlie had ever made. 

“Err, thanks Charlie, that means a lot.” Harry was as embarrassed as her brother. 

Ginny leaned across and put her hand over Charlie’s,” Thank you Charlie.” 

He appeared to relax a bit. 

“How long can you stay?” He had been in England the past few weeks more than the past two years. 

He reversed their hands and patted hers,” I’m going back Sunday to take care of a few things. Then, I’ll be back here until it’s over.” 

“Really?” 

“Really, little one, it’s past time to take sides.” 

Ginny’s happiness at Charlie’s move was tempered by the reason why. 

Ginny ran up to their rooms to get a couple of the spell books as Harry, Remus and Charlie stopped off in the parlour. 

The morning and early afternoon passed as they read and listened to Remus and Charlie talk about places they had seen and things they had done. 

“Mrs. Potter?” 

Ginny looked up to find Professor Dumbledore standing in the doorway. 

“Perhaps it would be best if we went to the library. And, if you would, please bring the fifth year texts for Charms, Defense and Transfiguration.” 

Ginny nodded and rose to follow the Headmaster. Harry stopped her with a hand on her shoulder,” You’ll be brilliant. I’ll wait here for you to finish.” He smiled and gave a not too short, and very sweet kiss. 

The professor was sitting in one of the club chairs in front of the fireplace,” If you would sit here,” He indicated his chair’s twin,” We will go over what you know and then, what you should know.” He pulled several pieces of parchment from his robes as Ginny nervously sat beside him. Unconsciously, she rubbed her hand across her chest just below her sternum. 

“Please open the Charms text to chapter two.” 

Ginny found the correct page and waited.

* * *

Harry tried to read, but couldn’t concentrate. He listened to Remus , Charlie, and Mrs. Weasley talk, but didn’t really. The annoying tug on his magic constantly reminded him why he was not with Ginny. He did notice the kind smirks sent his way as he paced and fiddled. 

Afternoon was fading into evening when Mrs. Weasley went to check on dinner. 

Charlie followed her from the room, leaving Harry with Remus. 

“ She’s a very bright, powerful witch Harry. That won’t change no matter what Albus decides.” 

Harry dropped onto the sofa next to Remus. Just like his mate, he was rubbing a spot below his ribs,” I know that. It’s just… Being apart is uncomfortable here in the house. The castle will be unbearable.” 

His friend said nothing for a while. When he finally spoke, there was a smile in his tone,” There may be more than the Bond causing that, Harry.” 

Harry looked up and nodded,” I know.” He dropped his eyes to the carpet,” Sometimes I think we might go off together and forget about all this. It would be the two of us, no Voldemort, no Death Eaters, or Fudge , or Daily Prophet. Then I remember why that can never happen.” He knew he sounded bitter at the end. 

“It can Harry. It will. I’m sure of it.” 

Before he could answer, Harry felt the tug fade away. He turned in time to see Ginny bouncing down the stairs. Her eyes were sparkling when she came through the doorway. 

Harry jumped up to meet her,” How did it go?” The way she looked certainly had his hopes up. 

“I can advance in Charms and Defense outright. Professor Dumbledore is Floo Calling Professor McGonagall to see if she can tutor me on theory three afternoons a week until we go back. If she says yes, I can advance in Transfiguration, too.” 

Harry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tightly against him,” You’re brilliant.” 

She kissed his cheek and laughed,” You’re just figuring that out?” 

Remus came over to congratulate her,” Well done Ginny.” 

“Thank you Professor.” 

All three turned as Professor Dumbledore entered the room,” Professor McGonagall has agreed. You will begin Monday at one.” 

Ginny freed herself and went to shake the Headmaster’s hand,” Thank you for doing this.” 

Dumbledore smiled down at her,” I quite enjoyed playing the teacher again. Thank you. Now there is the matter of your other classes. May I sit for a moment?” 

The four each took a place on the facing sofas. 

“ Harry, in order to make this work, you will need to take only the essential classes in addition to the three you will share with your bride. Those are Herbology and Potions. Mrs. Potter will have free periods when you are scheduled for Potions as will you when she has Potions. She will be in Runes when you are in the Greenhouses. Hopefully, that will allow you to be near enough not to be too uncomfortable. You in turn will be free when she is in Arithmancy and Herbology. Both of you will have to forego Astronomy, History, Care of Magical Creatures and Divination.” 

Harry’s only regret was not spending time with Hagrid. Otherwise he was happy to reduce the number of subjects. He then realized Ginny might not be as pleased. Thankfully, she was smiling as she nodded. 

“As both of you appear to agree, I’ll be off.” The Headmaster wished them each well before leaving the room. 

Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand,” Let’s go tell Mum.” 

Ginny’s family all were pleased as was Hermione. Ron was less than thrilled to find his younger sister would be in the same classes as he come fall term. 

After dinner, Harry watched Ron play his dad several games of Wizard Chess. Ginny was across the room with Hermione, her mum and Tonks. They were continuing their plans for the wedding. It was Harry’s understanding that the wedding would be on the twenty ninth at the Burrow. That summed up most of what he knew to this point. 

It became apparent when they went up to bed, that both of them had spent a good deal of energy worrying for most of the day. After they had changed and climbed under the covers, they kissed only for a moment before spooning together and falling fast asleep. 

At breakfast, Mrs. Weasley told them that she, Ron, and Mr. Weasley were returning to the Burrow. They planned to celebrate Ginny’s birthday there. 

After breakfast Mad-Eye led them down to the practice room. He watched them duel one against two with the Golem for a while before calling a halt,” It’s obvious Dumbledore hasn’t seen the two of you in action. We’re going to work on some more advanced spells than he planned.” 

The next three hours fell into a routine – several minutes learning a spell followed by ten or fifteen minutes using the spell against the Golem. For the last half hour before lunch, Harry and Ginny dueled all five Golem at once only using the new spells and basic shields. 

Harry’s arms and legs were tired after the three plus hour session. 

“I’ll see you both at eight Monday morning.” The ex-Auror clumped up the stairs without offering a single comment about what had been done well or poorly. 

Remus came back down with them after lunch and tried to help them learn to do more advanced spells and charms wandless. 

They slept late the next morning and spent a quiet day mostly alone. Remus and Charlie were out much of the time and Hermione had gone back to Hogwarts to continue her research. 

The next two days set the routine for the rest of the holiday. Monday morning was spent with Moody learning spells and hexes. After lunch, Ginny worked on Transfiguration theory with Professor McGonagall while Harry and Remus practiced wandless spell casting. Tuesday they both repeated Harry’s Monday. 

Ginny’s birthday was no different except they both hurried through a shower before Disapparating for the Burrow.

* * *

Ginny paused as they arrived at the Burrow. It seemed as though it had been ages rather than days since she had been here. Her life was so different that the house even appeared changed. 

Naturally, her Mum had prepared a huge amount of food. All of her brothers, excluding Percy, were there; Bill had brought Fleur. Remus, Tonks, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid had come as well. Before they sat at the table, Professor Dumbledore arrived with Luna and Corrine and Willa, two of Ginny’s dorm mates. 

Ginny could tell how anxious Corrine was to get the details of all that had happened. Her hazel eyes flicked back and forth from Ginny to Harry, to Ginny’s rings and over and over. Willa was at least subtle enough not to get caught. 

After dinner Ginny opened her gifts. Her Mum and Dad gave her a beautiful new watch.
 
Her brothers gave her a delicate set of hair combs. They were made of silver with a gold unicorn on the bar. 

Hermione was grinning wickedly as she handed Ginny her gift. Ginny tore the wrapping away from a, no surprise, book. It was titled ‘ A Witch’s Practical Guide to Marriage.’ She couldn’t understand Hermione’s grin until she flipped through the pages. She blushed and quickly put the book under the pile of gifts. The guide had nothing to do with household spells or recipes. There were lots of pictures though. 

Her friends gave her stationary and beautiful new quills along with a set of different colored bottles of ink. The stationary was embossed with Ginevra W. Potter at the top. 

Hagrid’s gift was a small lion carved out of some exotic wood. The detail was amazing. 

Fleur’s gift also made her blush. It was a beautiful, dark green, satin nightgown. Held up by almost thread like spaghetti straps the bodice was cut quite low and was all lace. The hem was slit up probably to the hip and there was no back to speak of. 

Ginny heard Harry gasp when he saw it. She was pretty sure what he was imagining at the moment. 

Under his breath he whispered,” Was that for you, or me?” 

As she laughed he passed her a long, slim package. Trying not to get her hopes up, she removed the paper wrapping. Inside was a dragon hide case with ‘FIREBOLT CHASER PROFESSIONAL MODEL 1’ stamped into the top. Ginny's hands were shaking as she released the catches. Inside was the most beautiful broom she had ever seen. It was finished in a deep mahogany color with the name of the make and model overlaid in gold script. 

“Do you like it?” 

“Merlin, yes you ninny, it’s beautiful.” 

She took it from its case and held it up. From around the table came..”Bloody hell”…”Is that really..?” …“Harry, will you marry me?” 

She passed it around the table for everyone to admire while she kissed Harry appropriately for the occasion. 

After everyone had some cake, Ginny took Corrine, Willa and Luna into the back garden and answered questions about bonds, marriage and Harry. Luna was more focused than she usually appeared and seemed genuinely happy for both her and Harry. Corrine and Willa asked all the right questions and reacted just as Ginny hoped they would… like true friends. 

Before returning to Grimmauld Place, Ginny found her Mum alone for the moment,”Err, Mum, I don’t need it quite yet, but taking the potion would probably be a good idea.” 

She was immediately pulled into a smothering hug,” When this first happened, I was sure you were too young for any of it. Watching you since has shown me how wrong I was.” She pulled back and grinned,” You’ve waited longer than I would have.” 

“Mum!” 

“I’ll Floo Poppy tomorrow and bring it to you.” 

Ginny returned the hug now, “Thank you Mum.” 

As they cuddled in bed later, Ginny was not wearing her new nightgown, Harry ran his fingers through her hair,” We’ve a really great family, don’t we?” 

Ginny pulled him closer, “ Yes, we do.” 

Their days were long as they learned and practiced new and more powerful magic. 

Ginny’s evenings became part of the process as well. Professor McGonagall, at the end of every other session or so, assigned eighteen to twenty-four inches of parchment on various Transfiguration theory details. Although they weren’t due until October first, Ginny was able to find quite a bit of good information in the library at Grimmauld Place. 

Almost before either of them realized it was time, they were Flooing to the Burrow for the wedding. The night before, her Mum served an enormous dinner for the family. 

Later, alone in her bed, Harry was in the twin’s old room because of some silly muggle superstition, Ginny was unable to sleep. Part of it may have been being alone, but much was due to her doubts. Despite all that she knew for certain from the Bond, she wondered that Harry was going to actually, publically marry her in the morning. 

The regular, untroubled breathing she heard from Hermione only made her feel less sure. 

Finally, she could fight it no longer. She slipped out of bed and made her way to the twin’s room. Moments after slipping into Harry’s arms, she was peacefully asleep. 

Chapter 7: A New Start
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Harry hadn’t slept a wink. Mrs. Weasley’s dinner had been grand and everyone had been in a wonderful mood, but….it had to be nerves; nerves and not having Ginny to calm him with a touch or word if he was being completely honest. Hermione would get hers. He would see to that. ‘ Stupid muggle custom.’ He rolled back to the other side of the bed and pounded his pillow again. The past two weeks had been nearly too much…

* * *
The daily workout with Moody had become more arduous by the day. Harry knew he was learning magic far beyond his years, but he couldn’t be happier. That was partly due to Ginny. She was, no surprise, a real warrior. When they fought the Golem, she was merciless and amazingly fast in her attacks. Beyond that, he had finally started to believe he was gaining the power and knowledge that might let him actually survive against Voldemort. 

After the first week, Moody used the Golem only to let Harry and Ginny practice new spells. Any actual dueling was done against him, Remus, and Tonks when she was available. For some reason that was most of the time. Occasionally Bill or Kingsley participated, too. 

A few days into the training, chairs, pillows and different size pots and pans appeared in the room. These became diversions, or transfigured weapons for the Order members. Soon, Harry and Ginny learned to use transfiguration to fight as well; on a much simpler level than their trainers, but often effective. 

There were a lot of scrapes, bruises and minor spell damage early on, but as they became more comfortable, Harry and Ginny began to cause damage to their teachers, too. Finally, the couple was no longer mostly casting shields with the occasional hex or curse. They learned to move, alone and as a couple, to avoid attacks and set up their own offense. By the week of the wedding, Harry and Ginny were giving as good as they got from the older wizards. 

Once or twice Harry thought Moody was going to complement them, but it never actually happened. 

Their work with Remus on wandless magic was going well, also. Here, Harry was advancing faster than Ginny. Of course, he had the time she was with Professor McGonagall to move ahead. He showed her what he had done the days she missed. They could each now cast several spells and hexes both wandlessly and silently. 

Evenings were busy, too. Ginny and her mum, Hermione and sometimes Tonks and Fleur worked on wedding plans; this in addition to Ginny’s Transfiguration revision. 

While Ginny revised, Harry worked on plans for DA lessons or practiced his wandless skills. As a result, both were usually sound asleep moments after climbing into bed each night. 

By the Sunday before the wedding, plans appeared to all be in place. It was to be at the Burrow of course. A marquee would be erected in the side garden for the ceremony and the luncheon to follow. The guest list had been agreed upon and the Order was arranging secure arrival and departure for the guests. Secure for the Burrow and the Potters; if it came to it, the guests would be mostly on their own. 

Several days earlier, Harry had overheard Mrs. Weasley worrying about having enough time to get everything done before the eleven o’clock ceremony. That same night he asked Ginny about her mum’s concerns. 

“ Harry, it’s just Mum. She wants everything to be perfect for us. I am worried that she won’t have time to enjoy things though.” 

“ Does she have to do everything?” 

Ginny smiled sadly,” Probably not, but she doesn’t see it that way.” 

Harry thought for a moment,” What is she doing that could be done by someone else?” 

“ Well, the food and the flowers, but both would be frightfully expensive to hire done.” 

Harry paused. He knew he was asking for an argument,” You have plenty of gold, Ginny. Why don’t we..you have the food and flowers done?” 

Ginny flushed immediately,” It’s the bride’s responsibility to pay.” 

Harry held his ground,” That’s what I said. You have plenty of gold..” 

She started to argue, but paused in mid thought,” Are you sure?” 

Harry slowly let out the breath he had been holding for the explosion,” You are the ‘Matriarch of the House of Potter’ I believe.” 

Ginny blushed,” Did you feel like you should be old when you signed that?” 

He laughed,” I still think sixteen is too young to be ‘Patriarch’ of anything.” 

Ginny leaned over and kissed him on the cheek,” Grab your dressing gown and let’s see if Mum and Dad are still awake.” 

The discussion that followed lasted far longer than a simple ‘ We think that’s a wonderful idea’ would have needed. First, because the Weasleys were certain something disastrous had happened when the couple stumbled out of the fireplace at the Burrow. Second, and probably most importantly, it was not the nature of the Weasleys to pay to have something done they could do less expensively themselves, and certainly not someone else pay. But, after a thorough discussion of the choices, several reminders it really was Ginny’s gold too, and with the help of Ginny’s dad, Mrs. Weasley agreed. 

Harry hadn’t realized that the offer would cause him to spend several long hours in Diagon Alley choosing flowers and deciding on a menu. This was in addition to the three trips to ‘Magical Moments’ for Ginny to find and be fitted for wedding robes. 

In fairness, one of those outings did involve Harry being fitted for his dress robes. Ginny carefully selected the robes and the shirt and tie to be worn under them. Harry’s role was to stand still and be measured. 

Other than that, he was consigned to a small sitting area in the front of the bridal shop and was never consulted about nor allowed to see what Ginny was doing. On each of those occasions Ginny was accompanied by an entourage… her mum, Hermione, Luna, and her two roommates all met them at the Leaky Cauldron (Harry and Ginny under the Cloak) along with Remus and Moody. 

That had provided an opportunity for Harry to talk privately with Remus about a couple of things. His parent’s friend proved once again to be a good friend to Harry, too. 

* * * 

Harry rolled to the other side of the bed; resigned to the fact that he would not sleep that night. The pillow seemed to be filled with rocks. 

He started at the sound of a soft click from the door. He knew before the door opened who was there. Harry threw back the covers and made room for Ginny as the door began to swing open. She moved without hesitation to the bed, gave him a quick kiss, and immediately spooned against him. It was only a few moments ‘til both were peacefully asleep. 

* * * 

Molly smiled to herself when she heard the soft pad of feet moving from one room to the other. ‘Hermione will have a fit.’ She chuckled at the thought. 

“ What are you laughing about dear?” 

Molly rolled over and laid her hand on Arthur’s chest,” Hermione will not be pleased to find the bride with the groom in the morning.” 

Arthur laughed softly,” Amazingly, I find myself more comfortable with the whole situation every day.” 

Molly felt a warm glow engulf her whole body,” Arthur, watching them together…it just seems wrong when they’re not in the same room. They are truly two pieces of a whole.” 

The couple was quiet for several minutes. 

“ Has Harry said where they are going?” 

Her husband rolled over to face her,” No Molly, but Remus knows. He assured me everything was arranged properly. 

“ She asked me to get the potion for her.” 

There was no response to that for a while,” I’m not sure if I’m relieved or worried.” 

“ What do you mean?” Molly was trying not to let Arthur see the smirk that was about to escape. 

“ Relieved we won’t be grandparents for a while yet, or worried that my fifteen year old daughter needs to take the potion.” 

“ I told her I was surprised she had waited so long.” 

“ Molly!” 

“ That was pretty much Ginny’s reaction, too.”

* * * 

Ginny woke up gradually. Early on she figured out where she was and snuggled back against Harry as tightly as she could. She couldn’t see the window without disturbing Harry, but she was sure it was very early yet. The light in the room was still quite dim. 

As she became more aware, she began to think about the day ahead. Her heart began to race. Despite the Bond, today was the event she had dreamed of for practically her entire life. Thanks to Harry and her Mum and Dad it was going to be virtually everything she had hoped it would be. 

Friends and family, her dress, the flowers…all of it was perfect. What was to follow Harry had refused to tell. From his grins she was sure it would be perfect, too. 

Ginny smiled to herself. She was going to do her part, as well. Before they left this afternoon, maybe she would tell Harry she was taking the potion. If he didn’t take the hint, then, she had planned for that, too. 

She closed her eyes and began softly stroking Harry’s arm which was wrapped around her waist. Thinking about that, she missed the footfalls coming down the hall. 

“ Ginny! What do you think you’re doing?” 

Ginny jumped, then cheekily smiled at her friend,” Sleeping with Harry.” 

“ I told you that was bad luck.” Hermione was all of the way into the room by now. 

Harry surprised both girls by sitting up,” Sod your muggle superstition. We both needed a night’s sleep.” He leaned down and kissed Ginny’s cheek,” Good morning Ginny.” 

Ginny turned onto her back and pulled Harry down for a proper kiss,” I probably need to get going.” She knew she was a little breathless sounding after the kiss. 

“ Yes you do.” Hermione was in full ‘take charge’ temper.” You need to eat a bite, have a bath, and we need to work on your hair and make up. The others will be here at eight. Honestly, couldn’t the two of you sleep apart for just one night?” 

Ginny leaned up and stole one more quick kiss,” We do need to get going. See you at the wedding, Love.” 

Harry smiled,” I’m counting on it.” 

Ginny climbed out of bed and headed for the door,” Are you just going to stand there Hermione? We have things to do.” 

Ginny giggled at the huff from her friend as she walked past. 

Hermione followed her down the stairs to the kitchen. Her Mum had already started breakfast. Ginny took the plates from the cupboard and began setting the table. 

Hermione pulled out the silverware and placed it at each plate. 

When Ginny turned to find the cups, her Mum gathered her in a huge hug,” Are you excited dear?” 

Ginny laughed,” You could say that. I’m not sure my feet touch the floor right now.” 

Her Mum kissed her forehead,” They probably don’t. Now float over and set out the cups. 

By the time they finished the food was finding its way to the table. Despite her excitement, Ginny found she was quite hungry. 

She was just finishing her second scone when her Dad and Charlie came down the stairs. Both looked at her with sad smiles on their faces,” Good morning, princess.” 

“ Good morning Dad.” Ginny hopped up and wrapped her arms around him. 

After receiving a kiss on the top of her head, Ginny stepped over to hug her brother. 

“ Ready for all this, little one?” 

“ Charlie, you know very well I’ve been ready for this for at least ten years.” 

He kissed her cheek and chuckled,” This is what Bill and I get for telling you all of those ‘Boy Who Lived’ stories.” 

Ginny acted offended,” Exactly. You get another brother, and I’ve almost got him trained like the rest of you.” 

Everybody laughed at that; even Hermione. She excused herself to head up to start getting ready. 

Ginny had another cup of tea before heading up for her bath. She met Harry in the hallway as he started down for breakfast,” Still going through with it Harry?” 

He both surprised and thrilled her when he turned very serious and pulled her against him,” Nothing could keep me away.” He was nearly squeezing the breath out of her. 

Ginny nodded against his chest,” Glad to hear that.” It was either cheek or cry and she didn’t want her eyes to be puffy. 

He kissed her on the forehead before heading down the stairs,” The dream just gets better and better.” 

She was sure she wasn’t supposed to hear that, it was said so softly. ‘ Puffy eyes it is, I guess.’ 

Hermione asked if it was nerves but Ginny shook her head,” Harry.” She was still sniffing when she turned on the water in the shower.

* * * 

Harry flopped back onto the bed as Hermione pulled the door closed. He figured it would be less upsetting for Hermione if he let Ginny finish her breakfast before he went down. It was almost certain the only reason Hermione didn’t scold him now was so that she could fuss at Ginny instead. 

For the hundredth time he went over the list of things to be done before the wedding – Shower, eat, be sure he had the rings, check his robes and trousers for wrinkles, avoid the twins if possible, and give his rucksack to Remus to take care of. 

Harry decided he could at least get a start while he gave Ginny time to eat. His bag was under the window. He pulled out clean boxers and socks for today then placed the bag near the door. He checked his robes, trousers, and shirt. All were freshly pressed. His dress boots had an excellent shine on them thanks to Dobby. 

He slipped his ring off and set it on the dresser next to Ginny’s. She had been very reluctant to take hers off last night despite knowing she would get it back this morning. Having second thoughts, Harry slipped the rings into the pocket of his dressing gown. One could never be too careful with the twins around. 

Out the window he saw people moving around the garden and orchard. He recognized Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle standing near the garden wall. ‘They must be here early for security.’ Harry had hardly listened to the Oder members discussing that around Grimmauld Place. 

Deciding he had allowed enough time, Harry headed for the kitchen. He was very pleasantly delayed when he found Ginny in the hallway. When he left her his heart was hammering in his chest. He still couldn’t believe someone like Ginny would ever want to marry him…be Bonded to him. 

Mr. Weasley and Charlie were the only ones at the table when he reached the kitchen. Both greeted him pleasantly and made small talk as he sat to eat. 

Mrs. Weasley came in from outside and immediately rushed over and gave him an enormous hug,” Are you nervous, dear?” 

Harry smiled a little weakly,” Scared to death.” 

Mrs. Weasley tutted at him as Charlie and Mr. Weasley laughed. 

The twins, then Ron, wandered in and began eating. All three gave Harry a pitying look. 

“ If it weren’t for the Bond…” 

“..you could make a break for it…” 

“.., but Ginny would hunt you down…” 

“…and gut you like a fish.” 

“ Thanks guys. I needed to hear that.” Harry wondered if they practiced or if it all came out that way just because they were twins. 

“ No problem, Harry..” 

“.. you need to fear her like we do.” 

Harry noticed Charlie and Ron were both nodding along with the twins’ observations. 

The kitchen door opened and Bill came in leading Willa and Corrine into the house. Both girls were carrying dresses and small bags. 

“ Have you two eaten?” Mrs. Weasley hugged both girls at the same time. 

“ Yes, ma’am.” Willa was flushed. 

“ We’ll just go on up.” Corrine lead the way as Ginny’s friends disappeared up the stairs. 

A moment later, Luna floated through with a vacant smile and wide eyes. Tonks followed her in, but stayed in the kitchen,” I’ll go up to see the bride in a while. Wotcher, Harry, think you’ll live through it?” 

Harry swallowed a lump before answering,” I hope so.” 

He joined in with the others as they laughed at, or with, him. He wasn’t sure which. A few minutes later, he was sent up to shower and begin getting ready. Harry couldn’t figure out what was going to take him nearly three hours to do, but he went up the stairs.

* * * 

Ginny was in her dressing gown sitting in front of the mirror brushing the tangles from her wet hair when her two room mates came in. The tension dropped considerably. Hermione had been repeatedly going over the ‘to do’ list she had prepared days ago. 

Time seemed to fly as they worked on her hair, nails and makeup. At ten she started to dress. Today was the perfect occasion one of her new bras and knickers. She blushed constantly from the comments of her friends about Harry and how long she would get to wear them after he caught a peek. 

Tonks and Fleur had come up by this time. Both of them were full of advice about the evening to come. As Ginny blushed brighter, the advice became more explicit. Ginny noticed her friends seemed to be listening as to a professor’s lecture rather than joking advice. They would hear about that later. 

Luna went and brought her Mum back as Ginny put on her dress. It was white, French silk organza. The bodice was sleeveless and modestly scooped in front and back. It had a full skirt with a short train. Thanks to the clever placement of an eye in the skirt and a button at the waist, the train could be gathered just off the floor if one chose to do so. Ginny had decided she wanted no bead work or lace to detract from the beautiful simplicity of the dress. 

To carry the simplicity on, Ginny was wearing her pearl earrings rather than the emeralds. She had, despite a couple of earnest tries by Fleur and Hermione, kept her doe charm necklace on as well. 

When her hair had been rearranged to everyone’s satisfaction, her Mum slipped out of the room. She returned a moment later with Ginny’s Dad. 

“ You look absolutely stunning, princess.” His eyes looked watery. 

Ginny stepped into his outstretched arms,” Thank you, Dad.” 

She didn’t notice her friends quietly leave the room. 

A couple of minutes later, Charlie and Bill came in. Both of them were a little shaky, too. 

They hugged and talked for a few minutes before Hermione stuck her head in,” It’s time.” 

Willa came back in a picked up the train,” It wouldn’t do for you to take a tumble now, would it?” 

When they reached the kitchen everyone else had already gone on to the garden. On the table was a long flat box with the flowers in it. 

Ginny had asked her friends, rather than buying special robes for the occasion, to wear pastel colors of either yellow or blue. They would each carry a mixed bouquet of white and yellow roses. The bridal bouquet was simple, white rose nosegay. 

“ Ginny?” 

“ Elsedora!” Ginny turned and saw the witch entering from the garden. She hugged her tightly, ” Thank you for doing this.” 

“ Child it is an honor. Now are you ready?” 

Ginny nodded. 

“Give me a few moments and come out. I promised Harry you would.” 

Ginny frowned, “ What do you mean?” 

Her aunt smiled,” Like most men with any sense, Harry has realized he has gotten much the better of this bargain.” 

Ginny began smiling as she heard,” Too right,” from behind her. 

Her friends all hugged her before following her aunt out the door. Ginny took an excited, deep breath and joined them. 

Outside the weather was perfect. The sky was blue, and the air was fresh and comfortably cool. Ginny took in the wonderful scent of the summer air and linked her hand through her Dad’s offered arm. 

As she walked toward the marquee, she realized the discomfort she had felt was not just butterflies. Harry was getting nearer; she could feel it. 


* * * 

Harry took as much time as he could, but it was still only a few minutes past nine and he was out of reasons to stay in his room. He picked up his bag and went down to the garden. 

The marquee was up and rows of chairs flanked a single aisle. Near the front was a raised area with blue curtains separating it from the end of the large tent like structure. Several fragrant, flowering plants were on either side of the raised area. Harry had no idea what they were called, but their pink and lavender blooms smelled wonderful. He looked up and spied sparkling fairies flitting about the peak of the marquee. 

“ Oi, Harry.” 

He turned to find the twins standing at the far end of the aisle. Harry looked more closely. Both wore plain black dress robes. What was going on? 

“ By your dress…” 

“…it appears you’re…” 

“…going to do it.” 

Harry cautiously walked back toward them,” Err, yeah. I just hope Ginny shows.” 

He was surprised by the change of expression on both Fred and George’s faces,” Needn’t worry..” 

“ She’s been planning this…” 

“…for ages. We’ve never…” 

“…seen her happier.” 

“ Thanks Harry.” 

Now Harry was really worried. He carefully checked his robes and boots. Everything looked alright. He decided to go in the house and find a mirror at the first opportunity. 

“ Relax, Harry…” 

“.. you’re perfectly safe from us..” 

“ No one in the family would ever forgive us…” 

“… if we pulled something today.” 

He did relax a bit, but still planned to find that mirror just the same. 

They walked together across the garden. Ron and Neville were talking near the side gate. 

“ Hello, Neville.” 

“ Harry! Thanks for asking me. I’m still a little shocked about things.” 

Harry and the three Weasleys laughed. “I promise you Neville, you have no idea what shocked really is.” 

Harry put out his hand to shake with his room mate; the only one invited. Harry was still a bit put out with Seamus from last year. He felt less strongly about Dean, but he was Seamus’ best friend and it just was easier not to invite him. 

“ So you didn’t know..?” 

Harry shook his head,” No we didn’t. We’ve some time, I’ll tell you the whole story.” 

As they talked people began arriving. Close family had been given special Portkeys. Other invitees Apparated to a designated place and were checked by Order members to see if they had actually been invited and if they were really who they claimed to be. A second check was being made at the garden gate by Kingsley and Moody. Remus came by and Harry told him where to find his bag. Ginny was to leave hers inside the door in her room. 

Fred and George left to go perform their duty seating the guests. 

Harry, Ron and Neville walked around and talked about mostly nothing important. Ron was occasionally called over to greet some of the many redheaded guests as they arrived. 

Finally, Bill came over and touched Harry on the arm,” It’s time.” 

Harry’s nerves suddenly flared. It must have shown because Bill smiled,” Don’t worry. She’s coming and she looks beautiful.” 

Harry nodded and began making his way back to the marquee. Just outside they were stopped by a tall witch with graying red hair. 

“ Harry?” 

“ Yes, ma’am?” 

“ I’m Elsedora Ardem, Arthur’s cousin. I’ll be performing the ceremony.” 

Harry took the offered hand as the witch greeted Ron and the twins who had just walked up. 

“ Arthur and Molly have given me all of the details. I must tell you I’m honored to do this for you two, and proud you have chosen to even though wizarding law doesn’t require it.” 

“ Ginny deserved a proper wedding. I’m still worried she might change her mind.” 

The witch laughed,” I’m going in to see her now. I promise she’ll not get away.” 

Harry smiled,” Thanks.” He handed her the rings. 

Elsedora patted him on the arm and walked toward the house. Harry led Neville and the three Weasleys to the front of the marquee where there was a narrow entrance into the tent itself. 

As they waited, there was a disturbance somewhere back near the gate, but they couldn’t see what was going on. 

After what seemed forever, Elsedora returned and led the five of them into the marquee. Harry took his place as directed and turned to watch for Ginny. 

Mrs. Weasley was sitting on the front row. Across the aisle were Remus and Tonks. 

He was the closest thing to family Harry had that wasn’t named Weasley. Asking the Dursleys had never crossed his mind. 

Further back he spied several familiar faces. Members of the Order were scattered about as were several professors from Hogwarts. All the way in the back was the imposing bulk of Hagrid. He smiled and nodded at Harry. Professor McGonagall also smiled, really smiled. Harry wasn’t sure how to react. 

From somewhere music began playing. Harry saw Willa step into the back of the marquee and begin down the aisle. Moments later Corrine, then Luna, followed. Hermione was next. That was when Harry realized that all of the girls were wearing muggle dresses rather than robes. Ginny. No doubt where that idea had come from. 

Movement in the back caught his eye. There she was. Harry thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. Surely, nothing more beautiful had ever graced the earth. 

“ Breathe Harry.” Ron had poked him in the back. 


Harry took a breath, but didn’t take his eyes from Ginny. About half way down she had locked her eyes on his. The most radiant smile beamed throughout the marquee. He was so anxious he almost went up the aisle to meet her. Finally, finally she was beside him. Her Dad gave her a kiss on the cheek and went to sit with Mrs. Weasley. 

Harry just stood there looking at Ginny. Her eyes were glowing. If she had never told him she loved him, those eyes would have left no doubt. 

“ Harry, Ginny if you would please.” 

A moment later they tore their eyes from each other, stepped up onto the raised area and faced Elsedora.

* * * 

Ginny knees were shaking as she walked with her Dad to the back of the marquee. Like after Harry’s first kiss, this was not fear or nerves, but pure joy. The moment that had lived as a fantasy for years was finally here. 

Waiting for her friends to go down the aisle became torture. Then, she was there; walking toward Harry. When she finally caught his eyes, she thought she might burst. 

Nothing to be done about what must be a ridiculous smile on her face, and she didn’t really care. Her Dad kissed her, but she only saw Harry, her Harry. 

They finally turned to Aunt Elsedore and the ceremony began. 

“ Friends, family and guests we are here today to publicly pronounce the betrothal of Harry James Potter to Ginevra Molly Weasley. As you know, Harry and Ginny have already joined through a most powerful magical bond. I am told that extensive research has shown that a couple so young has never completed this bond. This tells us of the love that is shared by these two.” 

Elsedore looked to the couple,” Please clasp your left hands together and place your right over the heart of your Bond mate.” 

Harry and Ginny did as directed. 

“ Harry, repeat after me.’ I pledge my heart, my soul, and all of my love to you.’” 

He repeated the vow. 

“ Ginny repeat after me. ‘I pledge my heart, my soul, and all of my love to you.’” 

Ginny repeated the vow. As she did she saw a solitary tear escape from the corner of Harry’s right eye. That freed several to fall from hers. 

“ Harry repeat after me. ‘All I have is yours as am I.’” Harry repeated the words.” ‘ Nothing shall ever part us neither sickness nor change in fortune.” Harry repeated the vow as did Ginny. 

Elsedore held out her hand,” Harry place the ring on Ginny’s finger and repeat after me.’ With this ring I pledge myself to you for all eternity. As this ring has no end, never shall my love.’” 

Harry seemed to choke up a bit on the last part. 

Ginny smiled and softly stroked Harry’s hand as she repeated her vow. 

“ Kneel and face one another. Clasp your hands one atop the other.” When they had done as she asked, Elsedore began the final incantation as she wrapped their hands together with gold and silver silk ribbons.” Committed in wedlock, bound by magic let this joyful union last the ages.” She was waving her wand in small circles above their hands.” Let the world see this bond of the heart and soul so that no worldly being should ever try to break it.” The ribbons were glowing brighter and seemed to expand. ” Let nothing ever come between two so magically bound.” 

She nodded at the attendants and family. All, including Remus and Tonks, gathered around the couple,” Draw your wands and point them at their joined hands, then, repeat after me,' We seal this Bond for all eternity. No man or wizard shall ever break it.'” 

Ginny could feel a huge flow of magic running through the ribbons and into their bodies. It brought with it a powerful feeling of love and unbreakable solidarity. It lasted several moments.

* * * 

This felt much like the final incantation at Godric’s Hollow without the overwhelming fatigue. 

As Harry helped Ginny to stand, Elsedora raised her wand and looked out to the guests,” Please welcome Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter.” 

There was applause, cheers, and after a while a few catcalls as Harry finally did what he had been wanting to do for hours..he kissed his wife. He continued to do so until Elsedora cleared her throat for the third time. 

When Harry finally looked up, some of the chairs had been transfigured into small tables with the remainder of the chairs now surrounding them at the edge of what appeared to be a dance floor. His blood ran icy cold. No one had mentioned anything about dancing. 

Ginny smiled sweetly as she led him out to the center,” Don’t worry, love. It will be fine.” 

Music started from the front of the marquee. Harry looked back and saw the blue satin curtain was gone. Behind it had apparently been the ‘band.’ There was drummer, two guitarists, a piper and a fiddler or was that a violinist, Harry could never remember which was which. 

(A/N: When appearing with the Boston Pops, Natalie MacMaster, one of today’s great Celtic /Cape Breton fiddle players, was asked by a member of the audience the difference between a fiddle and a violin. Her answer was “ About half a million dollars.”) 

A young couple, probably brother and sister by their looks, began to sing a lovely ballad accompanied primarily by the pipes and fiddle. Terrified, Harry placed his right hand on Ginny’s waist and took her right in his left. Awkwardly they began to move together. After a few moments, Harry’s arm slipped further around Ginny’s back; her right hand released his left and began to caress Harry’s neck. He dropped his left to her waist and began to softly run his hand up and down her back. 

In an instant Ginny’s head was against his chest and he was filled with the scent that was Ginny. The marquee, the guests, family, everything disappeared. The whole universe became just the two of them. 

Neither realized when the song ended. Nor did they know until told later, that the female vocalist had continued a cappella as, with misty eyes, she watched them dance; soon her band mates joined in to support her vocals. They played softly until the newlyweds finally stopped dancing. 

Harry blinked several times as he raised his head and looked around. The dance floor was devoid of other dancers. In fact, it was surrounded by family and guests. All appeared to have one of two things in common; either a very odd smile on their face, or tears running down their cheeks. Upon closer study, a few like Mrs. Weasley had both. 

His attention was drawn back to the gir..woman in his arms. Her eyes still glowed and he couldn’t look away. Vaguely, he heard the music start again and sensed other couples come onto the floor and begin dancing. 

“ Harry, would you let me have a dance with my daughter?” 

Very reluctantly Harry released Ginny and smiled at his father-in-law,” I want her back.” 

“ I doubt I can keep her away for long.” 

“ Doubt doesn’t enter into it, Dad.” Ginny smiled at Harry and turned to her father. 

Harry spotted Ron and Neville sitting near the back and headed that way. It was slow going as he had to stop to accept congratulations from several people and be introduced to not a few redheads. 

“ Hey, guys.” Harry pulled out a chair and sat down. 

“ Damn Harry you never do anything normal.” Ron was sitting back in his chair slowly shaking his head. 

Harry glanced at Neville. He was nodding in agreement. 

“ What? What did I do now?” 

“ You don’t know?” Ron was now leaning forward, his forearms propping him up. 

Harry cut his eyes back and forth between his two friends,” Was it something bad? Do I owe someone an apology?” 

Ron laughed,” I guess you do. The whole lot of us have been sitting here for the past fifteen minutes waiting for you two to come up for air. I’d wager every bloke here will get an ear full tonight about how romantic you are and how we don’t measure up.” 

Harry was about to ask what in Merlin’s name Ron meant when he felt a hand on his shoulder, then, a soft kiss on his cheek,” Congratulations Harry.” 

Harry smiled at Hermione as she sat beside him,” Thanks. You look really nice.” 

Hermione flushed a little,” I’m surprised you noticed. You’ve been a bit distracted for the past little while.” Harry noticed she cut her eyes at Ron when she said that. 

Harry turned back to the dance floor. Ginny was with Bill now. Her smile cast a glow all around her. Or, it seemed so to Harry. 

“ They’re serving the food. Want to come Harry?” Ron was on his feet. 

Harry checked on Ginny. She was with Charlie now. “ Sure, I’ll get a plate for Ginny, too.” 

Luna joined them in the line and soon they were all back at the table. Willa and Corrine were at the next table with the twins. Both girls were blushing brightly and laughing their heads off. 

“ I hope some of that is for me.” 

A soft hand covered his. Harry stood and turned to Ginny. “ Err, yeah it is.” ‘Why was he suddenly having such a hard time speaking?’ 

He pulled out a chair for her and waited for her to sit. Harry watched Ginny as they ate. She looked as though she had done this a hundred times before. He, on the other hand, was sure he was doing something wrong nearly every minute. 

“ Come, love. We need to cut the cake.” Ginny had pushed away from the table. 

Harry figured he knew what to do here. He stood and helped Ginny up. 

Hermione immediately knelt behind Ginny and fastened up the train on her dress,” 
That will make things a little easier.” 

“ Thanks Hermione. I was afraid to trust one of my brothers to do that.” 

After cutting the five tiered cake and posing for pictures as a couple and with the family and attendants, Ginny led Harry over to the tables near the back of the marquee to begin greeting their guests. 

The next two hours were spent thanking people for coming and accepting their good wishes. Not just a few of the men made similar comments to Ron’s. Harry lost track of the Weasley and Prewitt relations he met. 

They had nearly worked their way back to the table with their friends when the sound of metal on crystal quieted everything. 

Mr. Weasley was in the center of the dance floor with Mrs. Weasley,” Harry and Ginny would you join us please?” 

Harry grabbed Ginny’s hand as they walked over to her parents. 

“ I can’t imagine how any father of the bride could be happier with the choice their daughter has made.” Mr. Weasley now turned to face the couple,” We wish the both of you the happiness and the years together you deserve….” 

“ And to give us grandchildren a little later.” Mrs. Weasley added. 

Everyone laughed as they toasted the bride and groom. 

Remus appeared in front of them,” I believe I can say without a doubt that James and Lily are thrilled by this wonderful event.” 

Harry squeezed Ginny’s hand. This they both knew to be absolutely true.

* * * 

Lily was dabbing her eyes,” Did you see how he looked at her?” 

James patted her shoulder,” Just like I look at you.” 

Lily smiled crookedly,” Well, you do sometimes. Should we apologize to Godric and Rowena?” 

James laughed,” I guess we can. It’s Molly Weasley they really need to fear.” 

Lily watched the wedding reception for a while,” I doubt even Molly is too upset right now. She’s been watching them, too. You have to believe waiting two years for this,” She pointed to the happy couple, ” would have been torturous for the kids.” 

James smiled at his wife,” Even accidents work out for the best sometimes.” 

“ That was no accident, but I can’t be angry anymore. I’m going to find Rowena.”

* * * 

“ So, Harry and Ginny I offer, on behalf of James and Lily, our sincere joy for this wonderful event.” 

Harry shook Remus’ hand and Ginny got a kiss on the cheek. 

She pulled Harry over to finish greeting everyone. The last table was the last on purpose. 

“ Hello Aunt Muriel, this is Harry.” 

“ Of course it is, Ginevra. I’ve been here the whole time.” The witch turned her hard stare on Harry, ” Now that you’ve married this child, how do plan to support the two of you?” She frowned even more deeply if that were possible,” Obviously, you won’t be returning to school.” 

Ginny spoke up before Harry could even try to answer,” We are returning to Hogwarts, and we are quite able to support ourselves.” 

“ Humpff, can’t the boy speak for himself?” 

Ginny could feel Harry’s fear through his hand. Dark Wizards, mountain trolls, dragons…Harry could face them all, but a cranky old aunt scared him. 

“ Err, Professor Dumbledore is going to let us stay in the castle while we go to school. And, uhh, Ginny and I have enough gold to live on from my inheritance.” 

Ginny smiled at Harry, then, turned back to her aunt. 

Smiling just a little, Muriel nodded her head,” You can speak after all.” She reached for Ginny’s hand, ” Your both welcome to come visit when you have the time.” She once again stared at Harry,” You’ve taken our family’s most prized possession; take good care of her.” 

Ginny felt Harry relax a little,” I will, I promise.” 

She led Harry back onto the floor. They were going to dance together for a while no matter what Harry thought. 

An hour or so later Ginny led Harry over to a side table. It was time for the muggle custom Hermione had told her about. She picked up her bouquet and went back to the center of the now clear dance floor. 

As the bridesmaids and several other unmarried witches gathered behind her, Ginny looked over her shoulder with a wicked grin on her face. Turning away, she tossed her bouquet back over her head. There was a bit of a scramble, but in the end the flowers ended up in the hands of a surprised and embarrassed Dora Tonks. 

Ginny quickly found Remus in the crowd watching. His face was a little red, too. She and Harry had a little work to do apparently. 

A few minutes later she felt Harry wrap his hand around hers,” we're to leave thirty minutes from now.” He was whispering deliciously into her ear. It was their day after all. She turned and slid her arms around Harry’s neck and pulled his lips down to hers. It took more catcalls and laughter to break them apart. 

Ginny hugged her attendants then found each of her brothers to say good-bye. Her parents were last. ” Thank you Mum and Dad, this has been perfect.” 

“Oh Ginny, you and Harry are so good together. We’ve loved every minute.” Her Mum pulled both of them into a hug. 

“ We’ll see you at Kingscross Sunday morning.” Her Dad kissed her on the forehead.” You look absolutely beautiful princess. Bless you both.” 

Ginny refused to let a single tear fall. She followed Harry out into the garden,” Where are we going?” 

He grinned,” You’ll see in about a minute.” 

“ What about our bags?” 

“ Remus already took them.” He wrapped an arm around her waist and leaned close to grasp both charms in his free hand. 

A moment later, Ginny found herself in the late afternoon sunlight on an emerald green hillside. In an instant she knew exactly where they were. “ Oh, Harry…” 

“ You said you wanted to stay here, and the Order has agreed to watch things for us..” 

Ginny put a hand on either of his cheeks and kissed him playfully,” It’s perfect. We can walk outside and be alone..it’s perfect.” 

When they stepped into the entrance hall, they were met by an excited house elf,” Master Harry, I is Corry.” The little elf turned her eyes to Ginny,” And you is my new mistress. Master Harry is finding himself a beautiful lady.” 

Ginny blushed as Harry stepped forward,” Corry this is Ginny. You don’t have to call us master and mistress. Harry and Ginny will do just fine.” 

“ Corry is calling you Master Harry because you is master of the house. It is disrespectful to say otherwise.” 

Ginny laid her hand on Harry’s arm,” Corry you may use whatever makes you comfortable. Thank you for welcoming us.” 

Corry bowed slightly,” Tea is waiting in the sitting room. Corry is serving dinner when her master and mistress want. Corry will not bother her people until called.” 

Ginny felt a glow in her middle from what the elf’s words implied for them. 

Tea was ready in the sitting room. They sat and nibbled while they talked about their day. Ginny was sure Harry’s hands were trembling a little when he raised his cup. She was proud the she hid her nervousness a little better. Or, at least her hands weren’t shaking enough to notice. 

Only soft evening light shone through the windows when Ginny finally got up her courage. She rose from the sofa and held out her, now shaking, hand,” Let’s go upstairs, Harry.” 

She watched his eyes widen before he took her hand and followed her out of the room. The master bedroom was softly lit by the glow of two candles. All of the drapes had been drawn over the windows. Ginny noticed Corry had turned down the bed as well. 

After Harry closed the door, Ginny gathered her nerve before turning her back to her husband,” Would you unbutton me?” 

He hesitated for a few moments, but when his fingers touched her bare skin, Ginny almost jumped. Every bit of contact sent a tingle through her whole body. 

When Harry unfastened the last button, Ginny turned to face him. Watching his face and eyes, she let the dress slip off her shoulders. As it pooled around her feet, Ginny saw Harry’s eyes darken as they roamed up and down her body. Although he had often seen her in only a bra and knickers, she knew this was different. This set was made of the sheerest of lace. And, truth be told, the knickers were made of less material than would make a decent shirt pocket. 

Both enjoying and slightly nervous of Harry’s reaction, Ginny stepped out of her heels and over the puddle of silk around her ankles. She reached up and began unfastening Harry’s robes. His eyes never left hers as the robes fell away and she started on his shirt buttons. A few minutes later Harry was left with only his boxers. 

Ginny ran her hands over Harry’s chest as they worked their way up into his hair. The first kiss was like an explosion. The second was even better as their hands wandered over bare skin. Finally, she pulled back and led Harry to the side of the bed. 

“ Ginny, we don’t have to if…” 

Ginny smiled up at him,” I know we don’t have to, but we can.” She ran her hand along his cheek,” And I really want to.” 

In the bed the touching and exploring was through what little clothes they still wore. 

Soon though, that wasn’t enough for either of them. First, her bra, followed a few minutes later by her knickers and his boxers, were tossed onto the floor. 

From dorm gossip and tales told, Ginny expected Harry to be in a hurry to make love. Instead, he seemed to enjoy each new discovery made by his lips or hands. When she saw his eyes, she saw a look of deepest love. She pulled him to her and a few moments later their Bond was completed in every way. 

After they made love again they showered together ( Merlin, even Tonks’ book hadn’t described how much fun that could really be). They dried each other and put on their dressing gowns before calling Corry. 

Later the dressing gowns were left in the floor next to the table when they found pudding wasn’t what either of them was craving at the moment. 

They did actually go down to breakfast late the next morning. Corry fussed over them and managed not to embarrass them at all. 

Remus had left a note saying they were free to walk to the village it they wanted to. 

After another visit to the shower and the bed, they set out to do just that.

* * * 

Despite not having slept much the night before, and who was complaining, Harry was walking on air. The narrow lane down to the village was lined by lush open fields. As it was mostly downhill, the walk was easy. The red head walking beside him was the cause of his light step though, not the gentle decline of the lane. 

Harry found that he was smiling quite a lot. But, when he looked at Ginny she was smiling quite a bit also. Other than brief periods during breakfast, they had hardly had a moment when they weren’t touching each other in some way. 

That thought caused Harry to grow warm all over. Touching… 

He looked down the lane and saw they were almost to the first building. As they drew nearer, the village appeared to be smaller than he had first thought. There were a few shops, half a dozen cottages, and an old church. 

They went into each of the shops. The shopkeepers all seemed to feed upon the joy of the young couple. Everyone was friendly and a few curious, but none were pushy about it. The only thing they purchased was a cone of ice cream each to enjoy on the walk back. 

Rather than stick to the track, Harry led Ginny out into the fields. That made the return much more circuitous and far more scenic than the walk down. 

As they entered the back garden, Dora appeared in front of them. Harry had already drawn his wand before he realized who was there. 

“ Wotcher, you two.” 

“ When’s the wedding Dora?” Ginny teased. 

“ There’s no wedding for me missy. That’s just a silly muggle superstition.” 

Ginny pressed on,” I saw the look on your face. If you need a little help with things, we’ll be glad to pitch in.” 

Dora looked horrified for a moment,” The two of you stay out of things. I don’t need any help.” She finally noticed the hopeful grins on both Harry and Ginny’s faces.” Well a good word here and there might not hurt.” 

They all found a chair on the terrace. As they sat, Dora grinned wickedly at Harry,” So Harry, how did you like Ginny’s new knickers?”

* * * 

Ginny stretched every muscle as she slowly woke up. The soft sheets felt wonderful against her bare skin. For that matter so did the bare skin of the man next to her. He began to lay soft kisses on her shoulders as she turned to him. What a way to wake someone up. 

The walk into the village had been a pleasant break. Not from their bed, but from the almost total confinement of Grimmauld Place. Sort of as a celebration for being able to get out, Ginny had worn one of her new skirts and jumpers along with the sandals she had bought at the same time. Underneath was another set of underthings she had saved for this. They had caused them to be a little later starting out than they had planned. Harry really liked them. 

She thought a couple of the shopkeepers figured out they were newlyweds. The friendly smiles had also hinted at something else; fond memories, maybe. 

When they left the lane to walk into the fields, Ginny pulled off her sandals and enjoyed the feel of bare feet in soft, summer grass. 

She was happy to see Dora. Harry thought a lot of her and wasn’t uncomfortable around her as he was with some adults. 

Ginny watched Harry’s face when Dora asked about the knickers. She thought a little more joking might be good for Harry so she jumped in,” He liked them just fine. Especially when they were in the floor where he’d thrown them…on top of the bra he liked just as much.” 

Harry was turning beet red as Dora howled at his embarrassment. 

As she calmed a bit she asked if they knew about Fudge. 

“ What about him?” Ginny thought it must be some new Ministry foul up. 

“ Well, he and Percy showed up just as the ceremony was starting. Insisted he be allowed in because he’s the bloody Minister don’t you know.” 

Ginny felt her blood start to boil,” Percy was there?” 

Tonks realized what she had said,” Sorry, Ginny. Yeah, he came with Fudge and was making quite a scene. Hestia and Dedalus were squared off with the Aurors who came along when Dumbledore came out to see what was going on. He had a few quiet, but Hestia said heated, words with our exalted Minister. What ever Dumbledore said worked though. The whole sorry lot took off with their tails between their legs.” 

“ Did Mum and Dad know?” 

“ Not ‘til after. No one was going to spoil things for them or you.” 

Ginny noticed Harry was starting to grin,” What’s funny about that Harry?” 

He waggled his eyebrows at her,” Any way the Prophet could hear that the Minister was run off from our wedding?” 

Ginny smiled back,” Probably not, but The Quibbler might if we asked.” 

Tonks chuckled,” I like the way you two think.” 

Ginny’s mind was spinning,” You know where Luna lives, Dora. A word in her father’s ear might just work.” 

Tonks was shaking her head,” I couldn’t, but some of the others don’t work at the Ministry. I’ll see what they say.” 

She talked for a few minutes more then got up to leave,” I’m here ‘til eight. Hestia is relieving me, so I can ask her about Luna’s dad.” 

“ Are you the only one here?” Ginny was surprised. 

“ Merlin, no. There are never less than four of us. Kingsley and I are the two who stay close if you two ever leave the bedroom. The others are spread around watching.” 

That sounded better. 

“ Besides, Remus and Bill have set some very nasty surprises around for any unwelcome guests. The village is our only real weak point, but you need to have some normal time like everybody else.” She threw her Invisibility Cloak back around herself,” Have fun you two.” 

A while later a smiling Ginny was twirling her new knickers around her fingers as she climbed the stairs beside an also smiling Harry. She had had a really naughty thought about the entrance hall while napping earlier. Dora' gift book was the inspiration. Although they hadn't yet been able to read it together, Harry had played his role perfectly. She hadn’t bothered refastening her bra either. It would have been a waste of time after they hurried up to their room. 

Corry prepared an excellent dinner. This meal they took in the dining room. The table was set with beautiful china and heavy silver. Afterwards, Ginny decided to leave Fleur’s gift in the bag. Getting Harry’s attention wasn’t a problem. 

Saturday was another nice day. There were clouds, but it was warm and pleasant to be outside. They had lunch on the terrace before walking down to the village again. 

Harry was as relaxed out in public as Ginny had ever seen him. 

After tea, they spent the rest of the evening and night in their rooms. One could always sleep on the train if they needed a nap.

* * * 

At seven thirty the next morning Corry’s soft knock caused Harry to untangle himself from Ginny. He threw on his dressing gown and let the little elf in with a tray of buns and hot tea. 

Harry thanked her as he closed the door behind her. Grabbing a bun and taking a quick bite, he made Ginny a cup of tea and carried it over to the bed,” Time to get up, love.” 

From under the covers he heard a small groan before Ginny sat up. As she was starkers, and the covers had fallen to her waist, Harry paused…no, he stared; a silly grin on his face. This was a sight he could never tire of. 

“ Do we shower alone or together?” Ginny’s eyes were full of promises. 

“ Together, definitely together.” 

The mutual distractions resulted in their having to hurry to be ready at nine, but they made it. 

Precisely on the hour, there was a knock on the front door. Corry suddenly appeared before Harry could get to the door. She opened it and greeted Remus and Bill as they stepped into the house. 

“ Ready to go you two?” Remus smiled as he came in. 

“ Not really, but I guess we have to.” Harry saw Ginny nod her agreement. He was a little uncomfortable that one of Ginny’s brothers was here after they had just… Bill greeted them just like normal, so maybe it was alright after all. 

Harry picked up the two bags. Ginny had her wedding dress folded across her arms. 

As they started for the door, Harry caught himself before making a huge mistake. He stopped and kneeled down next to Corry,” Thank you so much for taking such good care of us, Corry. We’ll see you as soon as we can come back.” 

The house elf was smiling,” Thank you Master Harry. Corry is going back to Hogwarts today. She is being there to help my master and mistress.” 

“ But..” Harry looked up at Remus. 

“ That’s where she has been for these past years. She is planning to take care of you two at school.” 

“ Why would we need an elf at school?” Ginny had crouched down and hugged Corry. 

Remus smiled,” It will be up to you after you see where you are staying. Now, we need to go.” 

After telling Corry they would see her later, Harry and Ginny joined Remus and Bill in the front garden. A moment later all four appeared outside Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Looking around, Harry saw Moody, Tonks, and Sturgis Podmore standing watch. 

“ Move it you two. Get in off the street.” Moody was his usual, cheerful self. 

In the entrance hall they found their trunks ready to go. Dobby took Ginny’s dress and disappeared up the stairs to put it away. 

A minute later, Hermione came down the stairs with a pet carrier in one hand while dragging her trunk behind her with the other,” Hello you two. Was it fun?” 

Harry blushed, Ginny giggled and Bill looked uncomfortable. 

“ Yeah, well, dumb question, huh?” She hugged both of them. 

Harry looked around,” Where’s Hedwig?” 

Remus handed him a small metal ball,” Here’s her cage. She is flying up.” 

Harry nodded and dropped the shrunken cage into his rucksack. 

Moody came in from the parlour,” Cars are here. Let’s get a move on.” 

The three teens followed Moody out and down the front steps. They were quickly loaded into one of the cars and were off. Bill rode in the front seat of their car. The other Order members were in the other. 

Kingscross wasn’t as busy as it would have been on a weekday. Harry snagged a couple of trolleys for their trunks and they went into the station. A few minutes later they found themselves on the platform. As it was just a few minutes past ten, there was no sign of the Weasleys. 

Remus levitated the tree trunks and loaded them into a compartment near the back of the train. 

The Potters and Hermione talked about the wedding and Hermione’s research as they waited on the Weasleys. As the minutes passed, more students and their families began to fill the platform. 

Harry noticed he and Ginny were getting a lot of attention from the students and their parents. For once he was happy to have the Order members loosely surrounding them. 

Finally, with five minutes to spare Ron and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley came through the barrier onto the platform. First Ginny, then Harry was smothered by the overwrought witch. Mr. Weasley hugged Ginny and shook Harry’s hand. Ron seemed a bit awkward about the whole situation. 

The final whistle blew and everyone boarded the train. Ginny tugged Harry’s hand and hurried him to their compartment so she could wave to her parents. From the smiles he saw it seemed to have been a good idea. 

The train had barely moved when Neville and Luna came in to join them. Harry settled back in the seat near the window; Ginny snuggled close on his right. Neville and Luna sat across from them while Hermione and Ron excused themselves to go up to the Prefects’ meeting. 

Neville and Luna both read as the gentle, rhythmic motion of the carriage lulled the Potters to sleep. They roused themselves for a few minutes when Ron and Hermione returned, but were soon oblivious to the world again. 

“Oi, you two!” 

Harry cracked an eye open and looked at Ron. 

“ The food trolley is here.” 

Harry, as gently as possible, disengaged himself from Ginny. Pulling out his gold pouch, he went out to the corridor. He returned with both hands full of treats. By this time Ginny had roused and was smoothing her hair with her fingers as she yawned prettily. 

“ Hello sleepyhead.” Harry dropped an assortment of goodies in her lap. 

“ You left me.” Ginny pouted as she peeled the wrapper off of a Pumpkin Pasty. 

“ Have to keep you fed to keep your energy up.” Harry’s voice dropped suggestively. 

Ginny leaned up and whispered, her breath on his ear causing Harry to shiver,” Oh, I’ll have plenty of energy Mr. Potter. Just you wait ‘til we get to our room.” 

Now, instead of shivering, Harry was warm all over. It had nothing to do with the temperature in the train. He looked down at Ginny’s face as she pulled away. That look had become familiar these past two days. Harry took a quick look out the window, ‘ Was the train running more slowly than usual?’ 

His thoughts began to wander back to earlier that morning. He closed his eyes so he could remember… 

“ So tell us about Fudge and Percy.” 

‘Damn! Ginny really killed the mood there.’ Harry opened his eyes and turned to Ron and Hermione. 

“ Well, of course Mum cried about Percy…” 

“ Stupid git.” She spoke quietly, but everyone heard Ginny none the less. 

“ Dad just turned red and tried to comfort Mum. About ten seconds later, Mum was in top form going on about Fudge and how he was trying to save his job by crashing the wedding. Dad didn’t try to do anything about Mum’s ranting. A couple of times he nodded along with her.” 

Harry thought about what Tonks had said on Friday,” None of the Aurors got in trouble did they?” 

“ Nah, they stayed out of the way and let the Order members handle it. I’d loved to have heard what Dumbledore said, though.” Ron began unwrapping another Chocolate Frog. 

Hermione pulled her legs up under her and leaned forward a bit,” I caught bits and pieces of a few things at… where I was staying..” 

The corridor door slammed open. They all knew who was there without looking; it was an annual event. 

“ Well Potty, stuck with the Weaselette now aren’t you.” Malfoy’s drawling voice was much like fingernails on a chalkboard,” You know there are potions that would have solved the problem. Is it yours, or are you just playing the noble Gryffindor?” 

Harry drew his legs under him to stand; reaching for his wand at the same time. The pressure of Ginny’s hand on his arm stopped him. He sat back, but was ready to move in an instant. 

“ When’s visiting day, Malfoy? Think Professor Dumbledore will let you go during term?” Ginny sat up but still leaned against Harry. 

Malfoy’s face flushed,” How about it Weasel, do you even know who the father is?” 

Ron was on his feet; his face glowing hotly,” Shut it Malfoy or you’ll be eating out of your ear.” 

Malfoy sneered,” Little late to be defending the little slut’s hon…” 

Harry caught two bits of motion. Ginny’s right hand moved quickly. First, pointing at the compartment floor, then, snapping back to point at Malfoy. 

As that registered in his mind, Harry noticed the Chocolate Frog Ron had dropped fly from the floor towards Malfoy. In flight the chocolate grew in size to about the size if a dinner plate. Ginny’s target never had a chance to move. The frog, or whatever Ginny had transfigured it into, hit Malfoy dead on the tip of his nose. 

Harry smirked as the mud dripped down Malfoy’s face onto his robes. The Slytherin was screaming like a baby when a pungent aroma filled the whole compartment. 

Rather than mud, it seemed Ginny had decided on cow manure as her weapon of choice. 

Everyone began laughing as Malfoy stumbled back into Crabbe and Goyle. 

“ Malfoy, your stench is ruining our snack. Go clean yourself.” Harry almost couldn’t get the words out. 

Crabbe and Goyle were doing their best to get away from their house mate before they were splattered by the malodorous goo. By now, Malfoy had clamped his mouth shut as he realized just what really was running down his face. He cleared his eyes and wiped his hands on his robes before stumbling away down the corridor; his two goons following at a safe distance. Both looked back with a very frightened expression on their faces. 

Hermione pointed her wand at the floor and cleaned up the droppings from Malfoy’s face and robes. 

Ron was looking around the compartment; the only two wands visible were his and Hermione’s,” Who did that?” 

Harry shook his head as did Luna and Neville. Ginny simply settled back more comfortably against Harry,” Now Hermione, you were saying something about what you had heard?” 

The compartment was very quiet as the four on the other bench stared. Luna had a bit of an odd smile, but, then, that wasn’t unusual. 

“ Ginny has learned a few new things these past weeks as have I.” Harry leaned down and kissed the top of his wife’s head.” You should have watched a bit more Ron.” 

“ Blimey.” Neville’s eyes were wide as saucers.” Wandless and nonverbal?” 

Harry flicked his hand. The door closed and the shade came down. 

Hermione’s expression was calculating,” I hadn’t realized …That’s much more complicated than levitating and summoning. Will you teach us?” 

Harry nodded,” But this stays between us, agreed?” 

Their four friends nodded. 

“ So, Hermione, you were saying?” Harry settled back and wrapped both arms around Ginny. 

Hermione nodded to herself then pulled her legs back up under her,” I think some of the non Ministry Order members may talk to Luna’s dad about Fudge and what happened.” 

They discussed what an article might say. Before long, the possibilities were pretty well exhausted. As it grew quiet again, there was a tapping noise from the door. 

Ginny stood and padded over in her sock feet. Peeking around the edge of the shade, she giggled and pulled the door open. Willa and Corrine rushed in and began talking and hugging at the same time. 

The three friends plopped down on the seat and relived the wedding, the reception, and a little of the past two days. 

Sure that nothing terribly embarrassing was going to be revealed, Harry began to tune the conversation out. He did catch something about Willa and Fred, but decided Ginny could tell him later. He must have dozed off. The next thing he knew, everyone was up pulling out their robes. 

When the train pulled to a stop in Hogsmeade, Harry found that he was strangely nervous. The stares from his fellow students would be different this year. How many thought the way Malfoy did? He ground his teeth. He could take it, but he wasn’t going to put up with anyone making remarks to Ginny. 

He felt himself tense. Ginny must have, too,” Harry, remember the ones that matter will believe the truth. All the others aren’t worth worrying over.” 

After a few moments he nodded. The tension seemed as though it was being drawn from him through the hand he had wrapped around one of Ginny’s. 

They followed their friends from the car. On the platform they could hear Hagrid calling the first years. 

“ ‘ello there Potters. Are ye both arright?” Hagrid was smiling at them over the heads of the mass of students heading for the carriages. 

“ Hello, Hagrid. We’re fine.” 

Ginny elbowed Harry in the ribs,” Your friends all know ‘fine’ means just the opposite.” 

She waved her hand over her head so Hagrid could know where she was,” We’re both doing brilliantly, Hagrid. We’ll be by to see you in a few days.” 

“ Than’ yer, Ginny. I wa’ worried there for a minit.” 

“ I told you.” 

Harry squeezed her hand,” One of the benefits of having you around. You can speak for me.” A moment later he was rubbing his arm where Ginny had slapped him. 

“ Don’t get cheeky with me Mr. Potter.” 

Harry heard several giggles from people around them. He ducked his head and followed Ginny off of the platform.

* * *


After Harry helped her down from the carriage, Ginny looked around. The last time she had been here had proved to be the most important day of her life. Smiling to herself, she wrapped her arm through Harry’s and walked with him into the castle. 

“ What’s so funny?” 

Ginny pulled him to a stop and turned to face him, “ I was just thinking what happened the day we were here last.” 

She watched him start to smile,” Brilliant night, too.” He leaned down to whisper,” First time we slept together.” 

Ginny felt herself flush a little before she answered,” I like how things have changed there, too.” 

“ Oi, are you two coming?” 

Ginny slipped her hand back around Harry’s arm,” You won’t get to eat any sooner Ron. Don’t get your knickers in a wad.” As Ron huffed, Ginny caught the humorous expression in Hermione’s eyes. There was a little sadness in them , too. Ginny would have to find out what was going on. 

They were among the last to enter the Great Hall. Ginny could feel hundreds of eyes staring as the room grew quiet, then, began to buzz with low conversations. From the Slytherin table several of the comments were meant to be heard. Ginny ignored them as best she could. 

She kept her head up and a small smile on her lips as they walked to the Gryffindor table. Ginny glanced up and down the table. There was a mixture of smiles, questioning looks, and a few outright frowns. Well, that was to be expected. 

The only empty space large enough for the five of them was near the front which meant walking the length of the table. Harry kept walking by the spot and around the end. Apparently he wanted to face the rest of Hall not the wall. 

“ If they want to whisper and point, they’ll have to do it to our faces.” 

Ginny agreed with the sentiment. She took her seat and surveyed the room. There were a lot of students doing just that. As she looked around, she noticed one very hard, unfriendly stare coming from the Ravenclaw table. Ginny locked eyes with Cho Chang and smiled sweetly. ‘If looks could kill…’ 

The room suddenly began to quiet. 

“ Welcome all to another year of study in the companionship of your friends and schoolmates. Our world is in a troubling time. It is important for us to stand together now more than ever. I would hope you use your time here to forge new friendships and learn to ignore the old prejudices against those from other houses. I hope you will set an example for those who join us for the first time tonight. Together we can hold back the darkness. Divided we are all in peril.” The Headmaster appeared to find every student’s eye as he swept the room with his gaze. 

Ginny noticed several Slytherin smirking and shaking their heads in derision. 

“ Let the Sorting begin!” 

The side door opened and Professor McGonagall led in two lines of impossibly small witches and wizards. 

Ginny tuned out the Sorting Hat’s song. Instead she carefully studied her house mates and those from the other houses she could see from her vantage point.. The students who she thought would stand and fight were a mixed group. They were evident in three of the four houses. In some of their eyes was fear, but determination. Shoulders were square not slumped. This group would join or rejoin the DA this year. What all the rest would actually do would have to be seen as events unfolded. 

“ Waller, Sean” 

“ Hufflepuff!” 

As the final first year was sorted, Dumbledore rose from his high backed chair,” I know you all are hungry, LET THE FEAST BEGIN!” 

The mood in the room changed instantly as the food appeared on the tables. Virtually all conversation now centered on having the correct bowl or platter passed to the one asking for it. 

Ginny was serving her and Harry roasted potatoes when Professor McGonagall spoke quietly behind them,” Mr. and Mrs. Potter, after the feast meet me at the portrait outside the Common Room and I will show you your new rooms.” 

Harry smiled up at her,” Thank you Professor.” 

“ I’m pretty sure she said rooms Harry, not just a room.” 

“ You are correct as usual my lady. I should never doubt you.” 

Ginny smiled down at her plate,’ He feels good enough to joke around. Not a bad night so far.’ 

The food disappeared as Dumbledore stood before them again,” I have but a few announcements to make before you retire to your cozy beds. Hagrid notes that the Forbidden Forrest is meant to be exactly that.” The Headmaster stared at the front of the Gryffindor table for several seconds.” The list of forbidden items is posted in its customary location. All students are encouraged to read this list carefully.” 

“ Finally, I have two new members of our teaching staff to introduce. Defense Against the Dark Arts will be taught this year by a team of two. Professor Remus Lupin returns to teach Theory and Practical for first through fifth years. Professor Nymphadora Tonks will teach Practical for years six and seven. This will involve a great deal of actual dueling which all of you may find to be life saving for you or your family.” 

How had she missed seeing them at the Head Table? Ginny could see Snape’s distaste with the announcement. 

“ As those of you who are back again know, class schedules will be distributed by your head of house at breakfast. Quidditch sign up sheets will be posted in the Common Rooms tomorrow. If you have any questions about tryouts, ask you head of house or team captain.” Dumbledore paused to once again look over the room,” Hopefully you are full and probably you are tired. First years please follow your Prefects back to your respective houses. Good night all.” 

Through their linked hands Ginny had sensed Harry’s surprise at the two DADA appointments,” You didn’t know either?” 

Harry shook his head,” Remus and Dora have some explaining to do.” 

Ginny smiled as she accepted Harry’s offer to pull her up from her seat,” I wonder when they accepted? And, how is Dora teaching and working as an Auror?” 

Ginny shook her head,” Guess we’ll have to ask.” 

At the double doors, the flow slowed to a trickle as the students crowded their way through. 

“ You’ll pay for that Potter.” 

Ginny turned at the sound and saw Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson over to the right trying to look menacing. 

“ Merlin, Malfoy you still smell of manure. Couldn’t you at least clean up a bit?” Harry’s voice carried to quite a number of the other students. The trickle slowed to a stop. 

“ You’re a dead man Potter. You better watch your back.” 

“ If you’re the one going to do something it will be Harry’s back. You’re too much a coward to try him face to face.”Ginny was pleased to see Malfoy turn bright red as the people nearby began laughing. 

“You’d know all about face to face with Potter wouldn’t you Weasle; although I can’t imagine doing that with something as pathetic as you.” Pansy appeared to think Draco was very witty. 

“Among the many things about which you are wrong, her name is Potter, Malfoy. As for my choice in partners and your taste; your smelly robes suggest you prefer farm animals. I’ll stick to beautiful redheads.” 

Ginny smirked at the Slytherins as she yielded to Harry’s tug on her arm and exited the Great Hall. Laughter and a few catcalls aimed at Malfoy followed them out into the Entrance Hall. 

As they hit the fifth stair on the marble staircase, there were gasps and a single shout behind them. Both pulled their wands as they quickly turned. Without thinking about it, Ginny had wandlessly cast a shield charm at the same time. In the middle of the Hall they saw Malfoy with his wand pointed at them. Then it registered, he was frozen in place. 

Dora was furiously pacing across an opening in the crowd of students,” You pathetic little coward. You are a perfect example of why I’m ashamed to be related to the Black family. Twenty points from Slytherin and a week’s detention. See me a six tomorrow.” She flicked her wand and Malfoy was again able to move. 

“ You can’t…” Malfoy was furious. 

“ Ten more points from Slytherin, Mister Malfoy. One more comment and you’ll have a month of detention and maybe give up that Prefect’s badge.” 

He looked ready to explode. Instead he stalked over to the stairway leading down to the dungeons followed by his little fan club. 

“ Alright you lot. Get to your houses.” Tonks turned and waved to Harry and Ginny; a tiny smile showing as the flow of students resumed. 

Ginny grinned back and waved before restarting the climb to the seventh floor. 

Professor McGonagall was waiting when they arrived at the Fat Lady’s portrait.” Mr. and Mrs. Potter, come this way, please.” The professor had turned to go left down the corridor away from the Common Room entrance. 

Fifteen metres or so down the corridor was a small alcove behind a statue of a dragon reared back on its hind legs. Stepping into the alcove the professor tapped the back wall and softly murmured, ” Marauders.” A door appeared in the wall.” I hope you heard the password?” 

Ginny and Harry, who was grinning, both nodded. 

“Tap the wall three times while saying the password. The door will disappear when you close it.” 

They entered their new rooms. A sitting room was just inside the door. Against the left wall were two desks divided by a small bookcase. Straight ahead was a table for four placed in front of a large window. To the right was a small sofa flanked by two wingbacked chairs all set before a small fireplace. 

Another door was just past the near chair. It opened into a short hallway leading to the bedroom. In there was a large four poster, similar to but larger than the ones found in the dorms. A double dresser was against the right wall and the near wall had a door leading to the en suite. A small cupboard completed the suite. 

Ginny looked around,” I wonder where our trunks have gotten to?” 

Professor McGonagall smiled,” I believe a house elf has already unpacked for you.” 

Harry looked back in the cupboard,” Our robes and cloaks are there all right.” He smiled at Ginny,” Corry said she would be here.” 

Professor McGonagall turned to leave,” I would suggest you keep your password between the two of you. That is the only way you will ever have any privacy.” 

Ginny blushed at the look in the professor’s eyes.” Thank you Professor.” 

She walked back to the door as McGonagall let herself out. Turning she saw Harry leaning in the doorway. She walked toward him slowly,” Have any energy left, love?”

Chapter 8: Revenge Is A Dish..
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Ginny sat on the small sofa with her legs tucked under her. The last few sips of the hot chocolate in her cup were losing their warmth. She was staring, unseeing, into the treat. Her thoughts were focused on the morning to come. 

Since their bonding, she and Harry had been surrounded mostly by family and close friends. The trips to Diagon Alley hardly counted. Each time they had been well chaperoned. The train trip and Feast had hinted at what might be coming. 

Ginny had pretended to be unaffected by the stares and snide comments, but she wasn’t; far from it. The ugly mutterings from the Slytherin table had seeped onto her mind to fester. The looks, even from some in their own house, had bruised as well. 

Now, in the quiet hours of the earliest morning, it all had demanded attention. 

Thankfully, Harry was asleep in the next room. Ginny kept telling herself that she had been forewarned by Lily and her own observations of life with Harry. Still, what if, deep down, Harry regretted the Bond. There were plenty of prettier girls he could easily have had just by the asking. None of them would have been poor or red headed 

And, the comments, snide and cruel, were sure to fly at her tomorrow in the Great Hall and the corridors. 

Ginny took another sip. Unconsciously, she reached out to Harry. Since their wedding night she had found she could sense him and his emotions. Almost immediately she felt a warm glow. She knew he was dreaming about her. She pushed aside her worries for the moment and placed her cup on the tray Dobby had brought earlier. This lightened her mood even more. 

She and Harry had been drawn from their bed by the sound of an argument. Slipping on their dressing gowns, they went out to the sitting room to find Dobby and Corry arguing in front of the fireplace. It seemed both were claiming the right to take care of ‘their Potters.’ Harry had been at a loss at what to do. Ginny had stepped in with the decision that Dobby would serve their needs from the kitchen and Corry their housekeeping. Neither elf was totally happy, but they could only agree. 

Smiling, Ginny turned to the short hallway to their bedroom. As she passed through she heard a moan followed by the sound of thrashing. She didn’t need to reach out to know what was going on. Harry was having a nightmare. 

Ginny dropped her gown on the foot of the bed and quickly crawled in beside him. 

After dodging a flying elbow, she managed to get her arms around him and hug him tightly to her. Just as she had on their first night together two months ago she held and comforted him until he calmed. When she was finally sure he was going to sleep peacefully, she settled more comfortably against him. The earlier worries were no longer a distraction. She and Harry shared something neither could have ever known with any other. Smiling at that assurance, she drifted off to sleep.

* * *

As Harry began to wake up, he could feel the steady pounding from a headache. 

Recognizing it for what it meant, he had flashes of the nightmare that had caused it. 

He and Ginny were walking up the lane to their house. Suddenly they were surrounded by Death Eaters. He grabbed for his wand but blackness overtook him before he could attempt a defense. 

Ginny was across the room from him, chained to the wall. Her eyes were set with determination as he caught her stare. Harry tried to stand to go to her. But he was bound to a column by some magical means. 

“ Welcome, Harry. You’re just in time for the entertainment.” 

This hissing sound of Voldermort’s voice came from Harry’s left. He turned to see his tormentor.” Let her go. It’s me you want.” 

A disgusting, creepy sound meant to be laughter was the only answer. 

“ You’re right Harry. It is you I want. But, that shouldn’t mean we cannot have a little entertainment. Crucio!” 

Ginny’s screams filled the room. It went on and on and on.. 
   

Harry’s eyes snapped open. After a few panicked moments, he became aware that he was wrapped in Ginny’s arms. A sense of security allowed him to quickly drift off into much more pleasant dreams. 

When next he opened his eyes, it was light outside. He started to turn over and realized Ginny still had him securely bound. Taking a deep breath, he moved so that they were more fully together. As he did, he became aware that they were both still starkers. Hang the nightmare, this was a dream come true. 

A soft chuckle and a kiss on the shoulder told him that Ginny was awake, too.” Finally awake Sleepyhead?” 

“ Yeah. I had a nightmare..” 

“ We got through it, Love. We’re both safe in our bed.” 

Harry thought he might take advantage of their current position and lack of clothes. Before he could, there was a soft knock on the bedroom door.” Damn.” Dobby had clearly followed their directions from the night before. 

Ginny was already climbing out of bed,” Fix me a cuppa while I run through the shower.” 

Harry groaned as he hunted his dressing gown,” Bloody elf, had to come on the stroke of seven just like I told him...” By now he was walking into the sitting room. On the table under the window was a tray with two pots, two cups, milk, sugar, and a plate of buns….just like they had asked for after breaking up the elf war last night. 

Harry fixed himself a cup of coffee and munched on a bun. After about five minutes, he began making Ginny a cup of tea and pouring a refill for himself. He heard the shower cut off as he was setting the two cups on the dresser. 

He goggled at Ginny as she came out of the loo wearing only a skimpy bra and knickers. 

She walked over and kissed his arm as she picked up her cup,” I know just how you feel, Harry. How about we plan on a little time before dinner?” 

He leaned down and kissed her cheek,” Maybe more than a little?” 

“ Get your shower. We have to make our appearance at breakfast.” 

The Great Hall wasn’t crowded. Ginny led him to a seat near the middle of the house table facing the room again. There were plenty of empty spaces on either side and across. 

Harry began filling his plate and Ginny’s,” I can fix my own plate you know.” 

He smiled over at her,” I’m trying to keep you in a good mood so I can have my way with you later.” 

Ginny smiled saucily,” Think I’m that easy, do you?” 

“ I’m hoping..” 

“ Good morning you two.” Hermione smiled as she took the seat directly opposite Ginny.” I take it your rooms aren’t in the tower.” 

“Good morning. Actually they are. We just don’t enter from the Common Room.” Harry passed the plate of eggs to Hermione. 

“ Thanks. Are they nice?” 

Ginny answered as Harry swallowed a bit of bacon,” They are. We’ve a sitting room, a bedroom, and a quite spacious loo.” 

Harry looked up and saw Ron and Neville coming in. He checked out the rest of the Hall as Ginny and Hermione talked about their room. Remus was at the Head Table, but Dora was not. They’re eyes met. Remus smiled and nodded. Harry definitely was going to talk about being left in the dark. 

He nodded to several of the DA members as they looked up. Most smiled; a couple cut their eyes at Ginny and frowned. 

By this time Ron and Neville were taking their seats. Harry answered more questions about their rooms as his two friends filled their plates. He was momentarily distracted by Ginny’s former roommates’ arrival and rapid fire questions and observations of the previous evening. 

“ Mr. and Mrs. Potter, I have your class schedules.” Harry turned to find Professor McGonagall standing behind him. 

“ Err, thanks.” Harry took the parchments and handed Ginny her copy.”Double Charms first. That’s not so bad.” 

Ginny growled, “ But, I have Potions after.” 

As Harry looked down he smiled,” No Snape ‘til Tuesday for me. Defense isn’t ‘til Tuesday either.” 

They all hurried back to the seventh floor to get their books. Harry and Ginny waited for the others and walked with them down to Charms. 

As they took their places, Harry could hear a few surprised comments about Ginny being in the class. Lavender and Parvati had not pried too much on the way down, but Harry was sure Ron and Hermione were in for a grilling later. 

“ What’s she doing here?” Malfoy’s voice carried throughout the classroom. 

“ Mrs. Potter has advanced to sixth year in Charms.” Professor Flitwick had entered undetected by the students. 

“ I suppose Potter’s special treatment extends to his playmate now?” Malfoy sounded disgusted. Harry didn’t bother to look back at him. 

“ Ten points from Slytherin. Take your seat Mr. Malfoy.” 

Now Harry did look. Malfoy’s face was bright red. 

The class passed quickly as they mostly reviewed a few charms from last year. Ginny had no problem with any of them. 

Harry walked Ginny down to Potions. He sat in the corridor floor and made a few notes for a Charms essay while Ginny was in class. 

He heard the door open and a few moments later Ginny stalked out obviously furious. 

“ What happened?” 

“ Shut it Harry. Let me walk some of this off before I hex you or something.” 

Harry might be thick, but he had figured out when not to open his mouth. He reached for Ginny’s bag and gave her time to cool down. 

They were climbing the last set of stairs before the Entrance Hall when she finally spoke,” How have you done it Harry?” 

Caution was imperative,” Done what, love?” 

The look from Ginny told him not to try that again. 

“ Put up with the git without hexing him.” 

Harry felt caution was still in order,” I’m not sure what you mean.” 

Ginny grabbed his arm and led him across the Entrance Hall so that they were well away from the general flow of students going in to lunch. When they were sufficiently isolated, she rounded on him, ” You know very well what I mean. How have you put up with being treated like that?” 

He dropped their bags to the floor and reached for Ginny’s hand,” What did he do?” 

Ginny took a deep breath before answering,” It was the whole class. First he announced that I was there with the fifth years because he wasn’t impressed with how I had spent my summer. Then he sneered and said he hoped our Bond hadn’t caused me to sink to your talent level. From then on, it was snide comments and sneers every time he walked by. We were working on a simple fever potion and everything I did was wrong; even when it wasn’t.” Her face was bright red. 

“ At the end when we turned in our sample vials I had hardly turned away when I heard the sound of glass breaking. When I turned back, Snape had a smile on his face,’ No grade for this class Mizz. Potter. Pity.’” 

Harry was about one second from going back down to the Potions classroom and doing what he had wanted to do for years. 

“ You should have seen his face when I pulled out another vial and put it in the rack myself.” 

Harry was shocked speechless. Then, he started to laugh,” Did you really?” 

Ginny looked smug instead of angry,” I’d heard Hermione talk about Snape intentionally dropping your samples, so I planned ahead.” 

“ If I hug you now will you hex me?” 

She smiled for the first time,” I’m past the random hex stage now. A hug would be good.” 

Harry wrapped his arms around his wife and held her for a few moments,” Let’s get a bite of lunch. We’ve a full afternoon.” 

Ginny gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before stepping back. 

Harry picked up their book bags and followed her into the Great Hall. They found space at the near end of the table and immediately began filling their plates. 

Soon enough it was time for class. Harry again shouldered the two bags as Ginny joined Hermione and Parvati leaving the Hall. 

There were a few whispers about Ginny in Transfiguration, but the Hufflepuffs weren’t ugly, just curious. Neither Harry nor Ginny had any problem with the transfiguration of apples to Quaffles and back, both had done it many times at the Burrow; underage magic be hanged. Hermione took a minute or two and was unhappy not to be first. Apples to pine cones to turtles was harder for some reason. 

Harry handed Ginny her bag as he went out toward the Greenhouses,” Meet you back here?” 

Ginny nodded,” I hope this works.” 

He smiled back at her,” If not, I’ll come back to you.” 

“ Don’t you dare. Professor McGonagall would have your head and mine, too.” 

Harry waved and went down the stairs. He didn’t feel as confident as he sounded. Having a double period for their first separation was not the best trial. 

All through Herbology he would unconsciously rub just below his sternum. It didn’t hurt, but it was definitely uncomfortable. 

“ Alright Harry?” Hermione was looking at his hand. 

“ I’m fine.” 

“ What?” 

“ I mean I can put up with it. It’s just odd.” 

He was the first one out of the Greenhouse. The discomfort lessened with each stride as he hurried up the stairs. 

“ Harry!” 

He looked up to see Ginny coming down to meet him. He stopped and waited for her to get to him. ” How did you feel?” 

She raised her hand to her stomach,” It was bearable.” 

“ I know.” He took her hand,” It’s an hour ‘til dinner.” 

“ Then we’d best hurry.” She was smiling.

* * * 

Both were feeling very relaxed as they made their way down to dinner. Ginny was also feeling just a bit wicked. Not only had they made love in the castle during the day, but no one could actually say anything against it. For just an instant she thought how different her life could be. Other than wishing Tom and his friends to be dead, she wouldn’t change a thing. She let go of Harry’s hand and slipped her arm through his; pulling herself closer to him. 

Ron and Hermione were already at the table when they walked into the Great Hall. 

Ginny sat across from Hermione and Harry ended up across from Seamus who pointedly ignored him. 

Ginny saw Hermione cutting her eyes back and forth from her to Harry. After a minute a smirk appeared on her face. 

Hermione leaned forward,” Let me guess what you’ve been up to.” She raised her eyebrows. 

Ginny nodded and leaned closer,” Every chance we get.” She waggled her eyebrows at her friend. 

Hermione blushed brightly and giggled. 

“ What?” Ron was looking at the two girls. 

“ Trust me Ron, you do not want to know.” Hermione had turned and delivered her warning with a serious expression on her face. 

“ Why wouldn’t..” His ears and face began to glow as he caught Hermione’s meaning. 
“ Err, right, let’s eat.” 

Ginny watched her brother concentrate on his plate. Grinning evilly she leaned over the table and spoke softly,” I’ve hardly slept in days. Harry has so much..energy.” 

Almost instantly Ron was out of his seat and headed for the doors. 

Hermione tried to act angry, but her eyes gave her away. After a minute she was laughing along with Ginny. 

“ What are you two going on about?” Harry was spooning mashed potatoes onto Ginny’s plate. 

Almost in his ear Ginny whispered,” Ron just figured out what we’ve mostly been doing for the past four days.” 

Harry shivered a bit as her breath washed over his ear. At the same time he blushed a little too,” You mean he’s just figuring that out?” 

Ginny shrugged her shoulders,” I guess he’s been in denial or something.” 

Harry picked up the basket of rolls and placed one on each of their plates,” Too bad for him.” 

“When can we see your rooms?” Hermione appeared a bit too interested, but what could they do? 

“ How about after dinner. Give us the password and we’ll come get you.” 

“You could give me yours and not have to come for me.” 

Ginny leaned in, her face deadly serious,” Forget it. Even McGonagall told us not to give it out if we ever wanted any privacy.” 

Hermione frowned but nodded,” Lionheart.” 

“ Good, I’ll send Harry along when we’re ready.” 

“ You’ll send me along?” Harry was a little incredulous. 

“ But of course, Love. I shouldn’t be out alone in those dark corridors a night. It’s much better for my brave husband to go instead.” 

Harry “ humpffed” but nothing changed..other than Hermione laughing at him. 

They had just started on pudding when a second year Hufflepuff interrupted,” Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter, I have a message for you.” The girl looked nearly scared to death as she passed a piece of parchment to Harry. 

Harry turned to face the small girl,” Thank you for bringing this over. Please, in the future call me Harry and her, Ginny.” 

The girl nodded but fled back to her own house table. 

Harry unfolded the parchment and read the message,” Dumbledore wants us to come to his office after dinner.” 

He noticed Ginny looking at the Head Table,” He’s not there, should we go on?” 

Harry nodded before he rose and held out his hand to Ginny,” Might as well.” He looked over at Hermione,” Hopefully this won’t take too long.” 

“ I’ve plenty to keep me busy. Come get me when you can.” 

Harry followed Ginny from the Hall. They were almost out the door when a few comments from the Slytherin table washed over them..” Fell for the ‘I’m pregnant’ line Potter. What a fool..Finally found some money, eh Weasley. Earning it on your back I guess..Who’s really the father Weasel.. Bet the baby looks like Corner..” All were followed by snickers and laughter. 

Harry reached for his wand. 

Ginny gripped his robes and pulled him through the doorway,” Don’t Harry. If we ignore them, they’ll soon stop.” 

Harry was grinding his teeth together,” You don’t have to listen to that…” 

Ginny stopped and turned to face him,” Do you love me?” 

Harry fumbled for a moment, but finally answered,” Of course I do, but..” 

“ Do you think I’ve tricked you in any way?” 

“ No! Err, no I don’t. You’d never..” 

“ Then ignore them. We know the truth and our friends do, too. This is no more than those scum do everyday. It just happens to all be aimed at us right now. If we don’t react it will cease to be fun and they’ll stop.” 

Harry took a deep breath and nodded,” Alright, but maybe if I hexed a couple of them, I’d feel better.” 

Ginny grinned,” May be, but you’d get detention and I’d have to go, too, since we can’t be apart. If that happened, I would be very unhappy with you. You don’t want that do you?” 

Harry smiled at his wife’s stern expression,” No, ma’am.” 

“ Good. Now let’s see what Professor Dumbledore wants.” 

The Gargoyle moved aside after Harry said,” Jelly Belly,” and they stepped onto the moving stairway. 

“Jelly Belly?” Ginny looked confused. 

“ I have no idea.” 

They heard,” Come in Mr. and Mrs. Potter,” as they reached the door. 

As they entered, they found the Headmaster seated behind his desk. He was smiling as he watched them over the top of his half moon glasses,” Please sit and get comfortable. We’re waiting on the others.” 

The words had hardly escaped his mouth before Remus and Tonks came through the door. 

“Sorry if we’re late. Dora needed to be sure Mr. Malfoy was properly started before we left. Hello Harry, Ginny.” 

“ Wotcher, you two. How’s married life?” 

Harry looked at his two friends,” We’re kind of feeling left out. You both forgot to mention that you were teaching this year.” 

Before Remus or Dora could respond Professor Dumbledore spoke up,” That was my doing actually. I asked that they not tell anyone prior to start of term.” 

Harry must have had a questioning look on his face,” Once the term starts, it’s much harder for anyone to interfere.” He smiled,” Minister Fudge and his advisors might have tried to prevent Professor Lupin and Professor Tonks from teaching; although for entirely different reasons.” 

Harry mulled that over for a few moments before nodding. 

The Headmaster nodded and continued,” I wanted both of them here to help you Harry, and Ginny.” He picked up two pieces of parchment,” Here are schedules for both of you to receive extra training. By dividing the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes between two professors, they each will have time to work with you.” 

Harry took the parchments and passed one to Ginny. With a sinking feeling, Harry realized his once relatively light schedule was actually going to be packed. At least nothing was set for the weekends. He looked at Ginny. She was frowning at her page as well. 

“ What about our staying near each other?” Ginny had finally looked up. 

“ We have identified rooms nearby for your training. Our two professors have been casting wards and charms so that no one should be aware of what is actually going on.” He turned to Dora,” Professor Tonks will meet you in the Entrance Hall before your Potions class to show you to the room. Ginny will work alone until you can join her. Harry, Professor Lupin will meet you at the Greenhouses tomorrow afternoon.” He smiled again, ” One or the other will instruct you where to go on Wednesday.” 

When Professor Dumbledore said nothing further, Harry took that as a sign the meeting was over. He held out his hand to help Ginny stand. Tonks and Remus stood and followed them from the office. 

They stopped in the corridor at the foot of the stairs. 

Dora had a mischievous smile on her face,” Surprised to see you out of bed.” 

“ Dora!” Remus seemed more embarrassed than outraged. 

Harry was embarrassed. His face felt as though it were glowing it was so hot. He checked Ginny. She had a little pink in her cheeks. 

“ You’re just jealous it’s not you..yet.” Ginny was grinning as she looked first at Dora, then at Remus. Both quickly developed a bright glow and carefully avoided looking at each other. 

“ Yes, well, I’m sure you both have work to do. Perhaps you should head back to your rooms.” Remus was trying to sound professorial rather than embarrassed. 

Harry bade both good night and took Ginny’s hand. When they were out of earshot he chuckled,” You do realize we have to go to class with them don’t you?” 

Ginny nodded,” Yes, but that gives us plenty of opportunities to work on them; not counting our extra work.” 

Harry stopped and waited for Ginny to turn to him. Since she was a step higher on the stairway, they were almost nose to nose,” Ginny, you’ve so much work already for your O.W.L.S. do you think you can do all of this other?” 

She leaned forward and lightly kissed him,” If we don’t win, then, the O.W.L.S. won’t matter much will they? We’re together in this, remember?” 

He slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer,” If it weren’t for you, I’d probably have given up by now.” 

Ginny leaned back and stared hard into his eyes,” No, you would not have given up Harry. You don’t have it in you. But I intend to make sure you win. We’ve lots of things to do together.” 

Harry swallowed a lump in his throat and nodded. After a moment he smiled,” All those red headed, green eyed boys and girls?” 

Her eyes widened for a moment before she smiled back,” Maybe one or two with black hair; hopefully none of the girls get your messy mop though.” 

Harry kissed her on the cheek,” We can only hope, I guess.” 

A few minutes later they found Hermione studying at a table in the Gryffindor Common Room.

* * * 

Ginny showed Hermione around while Harry called Dobby to bring some pumpkin juice and something sweet. They both regretted leaving dinner before finishing 
pudding. 

“ Ginny, don’t be offended, but how is everything so neat? I’ve lived with you and seen Harry’s room here and at the Burrow.” 

Ginny hesitated. 

The girl wasn’t the ‘brightest of her age’ for nothing,” Dobby?” 

“ No, Corry.” 

“ But, I thought I heard Harry calling Dobby.” 

“ You did, but Dobby only brings things from the kitchens.” 

“ You have two?” 

Ginny smiled,” We really don’t have a choice.” She explained the house elf argument from the night before. 

“ Don’t let that get around. Everybody will want one.” 

Ginny nodded then led their friend back out to the sitting room. 

Dobby had already delivered a tray of pumpkin juice and Treacle Tart. The three friends served themselves and took seats in front of the fireplace. 

“ What happened to Ron?” Harry had virtually inhaled his sweet. 

“ He claimed he needed to work on Quidditch plans up in the dormitory.” 

Ginny suppressed a giggle,” Was I really that bad?” 

Hermione smiled,” Not really, no. He has been avoiding thinking about you actually acting like you’re married. He kept telling himself it was a matter of you being together, but sort of platonic rather than romantic.” 

Harry snorted as Ginny laughed out loud,” I’ll explain to Ron that there is nothing platonic about my feelings for Harry.” She looked at her husband and smiled,” And Harry definitely feels the same about me.” 

Hermione was blushing,” This is coming very close to too much information.” 

“ Sorry, we’ll stop.” Ginny took another bite of the Tart and didn’t look at Harry. 

“ What was going on in the Entrance Hall today at lunch?” 

“ Snape decided to give Ginny the ‘Potter’ treatment in Potions. I was trying not to get hexed in his place.” 

Hermione was nodding her head,” Two or three people thought you two were having a row, but then you certainly didn’t act that way in Transfiguration.” 

Ginny set her plate on the small end table by her chair,” Has he treated Harry that way for five years?” 

Hermione cut her eyes toward Harry before answering,” What way exactly?” 

“ Always sneering and nothing you do is right; making comments about him to the rest of the class; intentionally breaking his samples?” 

“ Yes.” Hermione looked reluctant to answer. 

“ Ginny, I’m sort of used to it. I’m just sorry you have to put up with it now.” 

“ I haven’t decided if I’m going to ‘put up with it’, or not.” Ginny felt the anger building again,” Let’s see how it goes for you tomorrow. If he’s at least civil, I’ll learn to get along.” 

Hermione stood up,” I need to get back and do some work before I go to bed. Thanks for letting me visit.” 

Ginny gave her a hug,” I won’t lie and say you’re welcome anytime, but you are most of the time.” 

Harry was blushing as he stepped up to hug their friend,” Thanks for coming. We’ll probably spend some time in the Common Room if you’ll let us.” 

Hermione let herself out a moment later. 

“ I got a start on Charms, did you?” 

Ginny shook her head,” No, and I need to work on Runes also.” 

They each sat at their desks and began working. Harry finished first. 

Ginny noticed him pull a sheaf of parchment from his desk drawer and begin making notes,” Can I ask what that is?” 

Harry nodded as he looked up,” DA lessons. The more things we learn, the more I want to add.” He sat there looking at her for a minute,” How about we turn our desks back to back? That way we don’t have to turn our heads so much.” 

Ginny thought that was a capital idea. 

They pulled the desks out and moved the bookcase to one side. The desks matched up perfectly when they moved them back. Now if they looked up, they were facing one another. 

It was fairly late when they finally made it to bed. Both were asleep in moments. 

Ginny heard the soft knock on the bedroom door. Harry didn’t budge. Smiling she leaned over and blew softly in his exposed right ear. He shifted a bit and raised his hand to swat away the imaginary pest. When he settled again, She lowered her lips to his ear ,” Time to get up, Sleepyhead.” 

With a groan he rolled over on his back,” Can’t I just skive off Potions this morning?” 

“ Not going to happen, Potter. I went yesterday. You suffer today.” 

He cracked open an eye,” Can we at least shower together first?” 

Ginny smirked,” Nice try, Love. Go fix my tea while I get started.” 

Another groan followed her from the bed. 

After a quick shower, she dried and brushed out her hair while Harry took his bath. 

The Great Hall was fairly full when they finally made their way down. Finding a couple of empty seats near Willa and Corrine, Ginny talked as Harry fixed their plates. 

She took the opportunity to comment on her two friends’ reaction to her wedding night advice from Fleur and Tonks. 

Much like she thought they would be, neither was the least bit embarrassed. In fact, Corrine asked a couple of whispered questions about the actual events. Ginny was saved from either blushing bright red or hexing her friend by Harry reaching across to pour her juice. She picked up her fork and started eating. 

“ We probably should get going.” Harry was already pushing back from the table. 

Ginny checked her watch and reached for her book bag. 

As planned, Tonks was waiting in the Entrance Hall. She led them down to the Dungeons and past Snape’s classroom. Around the next corner she pulled out her wand and tapped the wall, saying,” Play time.” A door appeared and she pushed it open. 

“ Come back after Potions Harry. You’ll have to do the same to get in.” 

Ginny took a look around as Tonks was talking. It probably wasn’t a good sign that the floor was heavily padded. 

She turned back and caught Harry’s hand before he could turn away,” Don’t let him win Harry. He will if you let him make you react and give any kind of excuse for detention.” 

Harry nodded and leaned down to kiss her. 

“Besides, nothing he did would be as bad as me after sitting in the Dungeon corridor while you served it.” 

He smiled,” I believe you.” 

Ginny watched him walk out. A moment later, the door disappeared. When she turned back to Tonks, the Auror, was smiling in an evil way,” Now Mrs. Potter, we’re going to teach you a handy form of defense known as ‘street fighting.’” 

The first half hour was mostly instruction and slow motion demonstration. The next twenty minutes were very nearly hell. Ginny spent much more time on the floor or in the air than she did standing; thank Merlin for the padding. 

They were taking a short break when Ginny suddenly felt a rush of emotions from Harry. The dominant one was rage. She turned to the door as she felt him come nearer. A moment later he was through the door. 

“ Wotcher Ha…” Tonks stopped most likely because of the raw magical energy that glowed around Harry as he strode into the room. 

Ginny crossed to him and put her hands on his chest. He stopped but didn’t look up for several seconds. In that time, she could feel the hairs on her arms stand straight up from the energy coming off of Harry. She couldn’t see, but the hair that had come loose from her ponytail was also standing away from her head. 

“ I didn’t get detention.” He spoke so softly she almost didn’t hear. 

She raised her right hand and softly stroked his cheek,” Do you want to tell me what happened?” 

At the moment Dora might as well have been invisible. 

Harry dropped his book bag to the floor,” He started by all but saying I was only in N.E.W.T. Potions because he had been forced to let me in. Then he was his old self…asking me questions he knew I wouldn’t know the answer to, then sneering because I didn’t. About every other time he took points.” 

He ran his hand through his hair,” At the end it was about you. He warned the Slytherin not to fall for the traps of gold diggers and said the boys should all learn the contraceptive charms to be safe. He did it in a way that I couldn’t actually say that he was talking about you and me, but everyone knew.” 

He looked at her. His eyes were fierce and a bit frightening,” He’ll pay. I’ll make him pay.” 

Ginny wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her,” It’s just like the Great Hall. Ignore it and do your best. He’ll let up if he sees you won’t take the bait.” 

His anger was flowing into her in a torrent. She concentrated on her love for him and tried to give that back through their contact. Slowly, she could feel him calming. She was caught by surprise when he leaned down and softly kissed her neck. 

“ You’re so good to me.” He was whispering into her hair. 

She tightened her arms and kissed his cheek,” It’s love, Harry. We’re good for each other.” 

He kissed her lightly again, then raised his head to lean his forehead against hers,” I’d be so lost..” 

Ginny saw tears glistening behind his glasses,” Shh, it’s never going to happen. I’m here forever.” 

A few moments later, he seemed to notice they weren’t alone. She saw the flush rise up his face. He pulled away just a little, but didn’t release his hold on her,” Err, sorry Dora.” 

Ginny turned in his arms and looked at the older witch. She noticed her eyes looked watery. 

“ That’s all for today, meet me here tomorrow after lunch, Harry. I’ll show you what Ginny and I were doing.” Dora smiled weakly and left the room. 

“ Ready for lunch?” 

Ginny turned back to Harry,” I used to be a Weasley. I can eat most anytime.” 

That got a smile. They collected their bags and headed up to the Great Hall. 

There was no need to upset Harry further, but this wasn’t over. Ginny seethed inside as she thought of how to make that git pay.

* * * 

Harry was amazed at how Ginny could raise his spirits so quickly. He actually was hungry by the time they sat down at the table. 

As he began to serve Ginny, Neville sat down beside him,” How’s it going Harry?” 

Harry had a flash of anger, but it faded quickly,” Better than it should Neville.” He cut his eyes toward Ginny,” Best thing ever happened to me.” 

Neville smiled,” It shows, too.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“ Words’s out about Snape this morning. Before you would have lost a couple hundred points and had a week or two’s detention.” 

Harry smiled a little,” You’re probably right.” He lowered his voice,” She threatened me if I got detention.” 

Neville laughed,” That would do it.” 

Harry was nodding when he felt a sharp poke in the ribs,” Is this all I get to eat?” 

He turned back and saw Ginny frowning down at her almost empty plate. 

“ Err, no I was just saying hello to Neville.” He reached for the chops and forked one onto Ginny’s plate. A basket of rolls appeared in front of him. He took it and placed one on each of their plates. 

Looking back up he saw a grin on Ginny’s face,” Still some training to do, I guess.” 

Harry leaned over and kissed her cheek,” I told you I’m a slow learner.” 

“ I’ve got time.” She went back to eating and talking to Parvati and Lavender. 

Harry noticed both were smiling oddly at him. He poured Ginny some pumpkin juice, then, began cutting into his chop. 

Ginny was all but tapping her foot as he finished the last two bites of his apple crisp. 
He followed her from the Great Hall up to the DADA classroom. 

* * * 

Dora was an excellent teacher. The class was all Gryffindors and Ravenclaws and every one of them was giving her their rapt attention. Tonks energy and obvious knowledge compelled you. 

Before the end of class Dora had everyone move the desks to the side of the room,” Mrs. Potter, come forward please.” 

Ginny went down the two steps and stopped a couple of metres from the professor. 

“ Some of you wonder why Mrs. Potter is in a sixth year class. A few may believe it’s because of Mr. Potter for some reason.” Tonks moved to one side of the classroom,” Mrs. Potter, disarming, shield, and non injuring hexes only.” 

Ginny smiled. She fully faced the professor and raised her wand. 

“ Expelliarmus.”     

Ginny put up her shield then dodged to the side before casting a tripping jinx. 

Tonks easily blocked it and cast a spell Ginny didn’t know. 

Again blocking it with a shield, Ginny relaxed and began dueling in earnest. After only a minute or so, Dora was mostly dodging and maintaining her shield as Ginny cast spells faster and faster. 

Tonks started trying more advanced spells when she could, but had little success other than making Ginny drop and roll a couple of times. 

“ Stop!” Tonks lowered her wand. 

Ginny did the same. 

“ Any of you who think Mrs. Potter shouldn’t be in this class may come down and duel her next. Form a line if needed.” 

No one moved. 

“ Good. Practice the charm. Everyone will demonstrate their mastery next class. You may go.” 

Harry spent the entire walk down to the Greenhouses bragging on her duel. 

Ginny waited for Harry to walk away with Remus. Rather than entering the Greenhouses, she moved behind a nearby shrub,” Dobby.” 

“ Yes Mistress Ginny?” 

“ I need you to return to Grimmauld Place. In our rooms there is a bookshelf filled with spell books. The chest they were packed in should be there somewhere. Please pack up the books and bring them here.” 

Dobby bowed slightly,” Should Dobby unpack the books?” 

Ginny thought for a moment,” No, just leave them by the desks.” 

The little elf disappeared. 

Ginny hurried into the Greenhouse. Luckily she was still on time.

* * *

Harry followed Remus into an empty room near the Greenhouses. There was no furniture or anything else in there. 

Remus turned and held out his hand,” Give me your wand Harry.” 

“ Why, what are we going to do?” 

“ We’re going to duel; you without a wand.” 

Harry pulled back his hand and tightened his grip on his wand,” I’m not fast enough or powerful enough for that.” 

Remus smiled,” That’s the point. You’re going to be.” 

Grudgingly, Harry passed his wand to his friend. 

Remus dropped it into a pocket and backed away. 

Harry stepped back further to give himself more reaction time. 

Remus pointed his wand at Harry,” Relax and think about directing your magic. We’ll start slow and easy.” 

Harry took a breath and nodded. It wasn’t bad at first. Remus only used basic hexes and spells and Harry was able to block them with the simpler of the shields he had learned over the summer. Soon, though, the speed and power of the attack increased. He began to dodge as much as he defended with magic. A barrage of stinging hexes caused him to lose concentration and drop his shield. It was as though a swarm of bees had attacked. 

Remus canceled the spell and walked over,” That was very good for a start. Why don’t you think about two or three shields and maybe five or six hexes and spells to attack with and just use those for the time being.” 

Harry nodded as he rubbed the his cheek where the hex had hurt the most. 

After a couple of minutes they started again. By limiting his choices, Harry became faster. This time when Remus upped the attack, Harry was able to defend himself much better than before. 

Remus finally checked his watch,” It’s about time for you to meet Ginny. Meet Dora back where she was this morning while Ginny is in Potions. Both of you come back here after classes.” 

Harry nodded,” Is this what we’ll be doing?” 

“ Part of the time. Alastor will work with you on advanced offensive spells and a few other things. Bill is planning to teach some, too.” He must have seen Harry’s confusion.” Bill will be teaching you more advanced spell and curse detection and protection.” 

“ Why?” 

“ Harry it may be up to you in the end, but we want to make sure you get that far…and beyond, too.” 

“ Thanks, I know this must be hard for all of you to plan out and change your 
schedules.” 

Remus put an arm across Harry’s shoulders,” Every one of us is a volunteer, Harry.” 

There was nothing to say to that. 

He was outside the Greenhouses when Ginny came out with her friends. 

“ Waiting for someone there Harry?” Willa had an odd smile on her face. 

“ Yeah, in a hurry to get to those rooms I bet.” Corrine looked very similar. 

“ Err, yeah.” 

Ginny grabbed his hand,” Let’s go, Harry. We can give them some more things to daydream about.” 

“ What!?” 

Corrine and Willa were both laughing. 

“ Those two have no life, so they try to put themselves in ours.” Ginny smirked at her friends,” I promise your fantasies don’t bother me; I get to make mine real.” She began pulling Harry away. 

“ Ginny did you have to do that in front of people?” 

She looked up at him as they quickly entered the castle,” From the comments and snickers I’ve been hearing all day, that’s what everyone thinks, so let’s not disappoint them.” They started up the stairway,” But, you’re going to have to shower first. What were you doing?” 

Harry described his session with Moony as they climbed the stairs. 

“ He said we were both going to?” 

“ Yeah. You’ll catch on pretty quick.” 

Harry dropped his bag by his desk. He noticed a chest sitting nearby.” What’s this, do you know?” 

” I asked Dobby to bring our books from Grimmauld Place.” 

“ Any particular reason?” 

Ginny stared hard at her husband,” Yes. This is going to be a very difficult year for our Potions professor.” 

Harry thought about that for a few seconds. Then, he smiled, nodded, and went into the bedroom to undress for his shower. 

He was standing under the spray, letting it soak his hair, when Ginny pulled back the curtain and joined him. 

“ I’ll wash your back if you’ll wash mine.” Her smile made him glow. 

They both worked late trying to stay caught up. Harry finished before Ginny and opened the chest. Pulling out a couple of books he began searching. 

Wednesday was another full day. Ginny was once again derided by Snape and Harry was beaten up by Dora. They both had a hard workout with Remus dueling without their wands. 

After dinner they went to the Gryffindor Common Rom to study for a while. It was pleasant to be around their friends; Ginny sat at a table with her year mates while Harry sat with Hermione and Ron. 

Afterwards, they both spent some time going through the old spell books. Each marked several pages for further study. 

Ginny couldn’t seem to settle down to go to sleep. She was constantly shifting position. 

After a while Harry relit a candle and sat up,” Can I help?” 

Ginny rolled over to face him,” I’m dreading double Potions in the morning. I’m not scared or anything like that. I just know how I’ll be when I get out.” 

Harry moved closer and slipped his arms around her,” I’ve found a couple of spells that might be fun.” 

Ginny nodded,” Me, too.” 

“ Grit your teeth and get through it. I have him after lunch and a double Friday morning.” His kissed the top of her head,” Maybe you should take your own advice about not letting him know he gets to you.” 

She sat up and pulled away,” Don’t do that Potter.” 

Harry sat up and frowned,” What? Did I say something wrong?” He wished he had put on his glasses. 

“ You most certainly did. Don’t you dare try to use my own advice on me; it doesn’t apply.” 

Harry felt a small hand run up his arm and he was fairly sure Ginny was smiling,” 
Alright, I guess. You give the advice and I take it?” 

“ Very good.” She leaned up and kissed his cheek.” Now, you spoon me and let’s get some sleep.” 

Harry was thrashed by Tonks for another two hours the next morning. At least he was starting to see how some of the moves worked and occasionally blocked an elbow or knee. 

He was waiting outside the classroom when Ginny came out. He was relieved to see that this time she was talking to her friends rather than storming out into the corridor.
All three greeted him when he walked over,” How was it?” 

Ginny frowned,” Not as bad as yesterday, but that was mostly because a Hufflepuff spilled his cauldron all over Snape and another Hufflepuff. They got the worst of it for the rest of the time” 

They separated from the two fifth years at the top of the stairs. Willa and Corrine were going to History while Harry and Ginny went to Transfiguration. 

Harry survived Potions while Ginny was abused by Tonks. Afterwards, Harry worked off his anger dueling wandless with Remus; then dueling all out for almost two hours with Moody. 

After dinner, Ginny went over to the Common Room to study with her classmates. 

Harry tried staying in their rooms and found it wasn’t too uncomfortable. 

As they were eating breakfast the next morning, a tawny owl landed in front of Harry. He removed the Owl as Ginny offered some bacon and juice to the owl. 

“ Who’s it from?” 

Harry had quickly read the parchment,” Gornhall. We’re to meet in Gringotts at ten tomorrow morning for Sirius’ will.” 

“ Do you think we’ll be allowed to go?” 

“ Why not? Remus and Dora have to be there, too. They can be our escorts.” 

Harry stroked the owl’s back,” I’ll go check to be sure. Feed this one and I’ll send our reply back.” 

He walked up to the Head Table and stopped in front of Professor Dumbledore. 

“ Good morning Harry.” 

” Good morning Professor. Professor, Ginny and I are supposed to go to Gringotts tomorrow for Sirius’ will.” 

“ I was made aware of that before I came down this morning Harry. Professors Tonks and Lupin will be going as well.” 

Harry nodded. 

“ If you and Mrs. Potter would come to my office at nine thirty in the morning, you may Floo from there.” 

“ Thank you. Professor, would it be alright if we have lunch before we return?” 

“ What did you have in mind Harry?’ 

“ I thought we might ask Gornhall to have lunch after we finished.” 

“ That is a splendid idea. Could Professors Tonks and Lupin join you?” 

“ Well of course. I mean, I had just assumed they would.” 

“ Very well, I’ll see you in the morning before you leave.” 

Harry hurried back to Ginny and pulled out a piece of parchment,” Professor Dumbledore said we could eat lunch before we come back. I thought we might ask Gornhall to have lunch with us.” 

Ginny smiled,” You can be dangerous when you start thinking, Love.” 

“ What?” 

“ That is a very strategic idea. Snape would be very surprised.” 

“ What would surprise Professor Snape?” Hermione dropped into the seat next to Harry. 

Ginny explained what was going on as Harry finished the reply and tied it to the owl’s leg.” Could you take this to Gornhall please?” 

The owl hooted softly before flying up and out of the Hall. 

A few minutes later, the three of them headed for the Dungeons. Harry endured two hours of belittlement and ridicule while Ginny was being roughed up by Dora. 

The rest of the day passed fairly quickly. They had Transfiguration and Charms together. Then, Harry worked with Remus and Tonks while Ginny went to Herbology and Arithmancy. 

Rather than showering, they ran a bath and spent a very pleasant time there before asking Dobby to bring dinner to the rooms. 

The first week was nearly over.

* * * 

Ginny waited a few minutes before opening her eyes after she woke up. She listened to Harry breathe in his sleep and caught the faint aroma of coffee from the sitting room. That meant it was at least seven. 

Next she began taking note of exactly where she was at the moment. That wasn’t very hard. She was laying on her stomach with her cheek both on Harry’s pillow and his shoulder. Smiling to herself, she thought they could probably get by with a much narrower bed. Rarely did either awake not in firm contact with the other. 

Despite Slytherin House and Snape, life was very good at the moment. 

Moving as gently as possible, she untangled herself from Harry and slipped from the bed. She quietly moved to the dresser and pulled out knickers and a bra before heading for a quick shower. 

She let out a surprised squeak when two arms slipped around her waist as she rinsed her face. 

“ Need your back washed?” 

She turned in his arms and put her arms around his neck,” We haven’t enough time at the moment, but maybe later?” 

His kiss still made her knees weak,” Promise?’ 

She nodded and reached for the shampoo,” How about washing my hair?” 

Harry smiled as he took the bottle from her. She turned her back and readied herself to enjoy the attention and the touch that came with it. 

They both wore a set of their new everyday robes they had bought their first day together. Ginny was pretty sure this was an occasion that called for more than school robes. 

There was the normal, modest crowd in the Great Hall for this time on a Saturday. 

Hermione was alone, reading the morning paper, so they sat opposite her. 

“ Good morning you two.” 

Ginny answered as Harry set about filling their plates. 

“ Ron still not up?” 

Hermione rolled her eyes,” Amazingly even the prospect of food won’t get him up on the weekend.” 

Ginny smiled and checked her plate. There was a small bowl of porridge, two slices of melon and two slices of toast, butter and marmalade already applied. 

She cut a piece of melon and looked back at Hermione. She was smiling. 

“ Do you have any idea how odd it is to see Harry doing something like that?” 

Ginny nodded,” Yes, but isn’t it a wonderful change?” She checked Harry. He had picked up the paper and was reading as he munched on a piece of bacon. 

Hermione lost her smile,” I almost can’t believe it.” 

“ Can’t believe what?” Harry chose that moment to join the conversation. 

Ginny wasn’t sure how to answer, but Hermione plowed on,” How happy you are now. How you’ve changed since the start of summer holiday.” 

Ginny watched to see if he would crawl back in his shell a bit, or not. 

Instead he chewed for a moment then nodded,” It started with Ginny and Mum. Now it’s still Ginny, but all of you in our family, too. You’ve all been so good to us.” He looked down for a piece of toast and went back to the paper. 

Ginny watched Harry for a moment before turning back to Hermione. She found their friend with a half smile on her face. 

“ I told you he does things like this.” 

Hermione nodded and looked down at her almost empty plate. 

Ginny picked up her spoon and started on the porridge. 

“ What Potter, dressing up for the weekends now?” 

Ginny clenched her jaw and looked at Harry. He was still chewing toast and reading the paper. 

“ Going deaf too, Potter?” 

Harry laid the paper beside his plate and turned. 

Malfoy was standing behind them with Goyle and Pansy. Crabbe wasn’t there. 

“ You know Malfoy, your only approaching me from behind really says something about you. Like father like son, I guess. Why don’t you run along now before you get tiresome?” 

Ginny laughed as Malfoy’s face grew red. 

“ Your time is coming Potter.” He looked at Ginny,” Yours too Weasle.” 

Out of the corner of her eye Ginny saw Harry turn back to his breakfast. She smiled at the Slytherin, “ I never did hear Malfoy, when’s visiting day?” 

Draco looked as though he was going to burst a blood vessel,” Maybe the Dark Lord will let me play with you a while before he kills you Weasle. I know lots of fun things we could do.” 

Ginny kept smiling,” You do know the whole school laughs at you don’t you. Everybody knows you’re a loud mouthed coward, Draco. Why don’t you try to scare some first years? They might not know about you yet.” 

Not waiting for a response she turned back and took a bite of toast,” Perfect Harry, thank you.” 

Malfoy had leaned down near her ear“ You’ll suffer you little…” 

Ginny’s wand was under Malfoy’s nose,” I really hope you finish that sentence. That will make this so much more fun.” 

The Slytherin’s red face lost the all of its color. After a moment he backed up and walked away. Pansy gave Ginny a look that was probably supposed to be frightening before she turned to follow Malfoy. 

“ Thanks, Harry.” 

He looked over and smiled,” For what?” 

“ For letting me handle that without going all protective.” 

“ Merlin, Ginny why would I think you needed help with Malfoy? He wouldn’t last a minute in one of our training sessions.” He broadened his smile,” Actually, Tonks would probably take points for you taking advantage of such an inferior opponent.” 

Ginny felt a warm rush spread throughout her body. She looked down at her plate for a minute then looked up at Hermione,” I told you.” 

Her friend nodded and smiled,” I know, but it’s hard to get used to.” 

“ Harry, Ginny it’s time to go.” 

Harry turned and found Remus standing in the aisle. 

They followed the other couple up to the Headmaster’s office. 

Dumbldore met them at the door,” Harry, I’ve taken the liberty of reserving a room at 
the Unicorn Horn for your luncheon.” 

“ Thank you sir.” 

“ My pleasure Harry. Mrs. Potter, your brother has arranged a secure Floo connection for the four of you. He says it is the room you used before.” 

“ Yes, sir, thank you.” 

A few minutes later, the four of them had joined Bill in Gringotts. After greeting each other, Harry told Bill about his plans for after the meeting. 

“There will be others in the room with Gornhall. I don’t know who.” 

“If there are other goblins should I invite them to lunch, too?” 

Bill thought for a moment,” Harry, the best course would be to tell Gornhall that he is welcome to invite any others he wants to be there; that he may choose.” 

Bill led them across the main hall and down a narrow corridor. About twenty metres down, he opened an ornate copper door. 

She turned and looked around the room. It contained a rectangular table with seating for ten. Against the right wall was a buffet table with a silver tea service and what appeared to be fine china cups and saucers. Along the wall to the left were several high backed chairs. 

“ Mr. and Mrs. Potter, welcome.” 

Ginny smiled as Gornhall crossed the room to greet them. She shook his hand and listened as Harry introduced Remus and Dora. 

“ Everyone please be seated. We are waiting on others to arrive.” 

Harry pulled out the chair nearest Gornhall’s left hand for her to sit. He took the chair beside her. Remus and Tonks sat in the same seats on the opposite side of the table. 

Harry leaned slightly across her,” Gornhall, if there are others you would like to have join us for lunch, we would be honored.” 

Ginny watched the goblin’s eyes widen for a fraction of a second before he made his face impassive again,” If it is agreeable, Mr. Weasley and another of my associates will join us. And, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, so that you understand, I am here today as your representative, not Gringotts.’ Your solicitor has been briefed about the findings and has agreed they benefit you. If you wish to have him present, I will be happy to call him.” 

Ginny smiled, “ Thank you.” 

Harry said the same thing almost on top of her words, then added,” We’ll trust your judgement.” 

There was a soft knock at the door before it opened and another goblin entered followed by two wizards.A second goblin entered last and closed the door. Ginny had never seen one of the wizards before, the other she knew far too well. It was her brother Percy. 

“ May I introduce my associate Cormat, Mr. Edvers representing Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, and Percy Weasley representing Minister Fudge.” 

Ginny tried to convey to her brother just how much she loathed him as she stared down the table. Percy seemed oblivious. 

Cormat took the place at the other end of the table; Percy and Edvers sat opposite Bill. 

Cormat placed a sheaf of parchment on the table,” We are here today to settle the estate of Sirius Black. This has been delayed by matters outside our control.” 

He paused and looked around the table,” I see the primary beneficiaries are present. We shall begin. The Minister of Magic, represented by Mr. Percy Weasley has objected to these proceedings by asserting that two of the named parties are not eligible to receive any benefits under Wizarding Law. Narcissa Black Malfoy and Bellatrix Black Lestrange, through their representative Mr. Edvers, assert that as direct relatives of the deceased they are by law entitled to a portion of the estate.” 

Cormat picked up several sheets of parchment from the table,” Our solicitors have determined the following: 

First, the contested parties should not be disqualified. Mr. Lupin’s condition does not allow him to be either the sole or primary beneficiary and for this estate he is neither. 

Mr. Potter has been alleged to be mentally incompetent. To date the Ministry has provided no evidence for the allegation, nor have they asked the full Wizengamot for a formal hearing. 

Second, the assertions of Mr. Black’s cousins that they are by birthright entitled to a portion of the estate has proven to be correct. We have amended the final distribution to reflect this.” 

Ginny felt Harry begin to get angry. She was distracted by a piece of parchment thrust in front of her. There was a short message: 

Mr. and Mrs. Potter,
Do not object at this point. All will become clear.
Gornhall 
  

Ginny turned back to the goblin as she tapped Harry’s arm. Gornhall was nodding his assurance. 

Harry read the note, looked at the goblin and nodded. 

“ Cormat, the Minister strongly objects to your finding in this matter. Your rush to settle the estate has left the Ministry insufficient time to act. We demand…” Percy was at his officious best when the goblin interrupted. 

“ Mr. Weasley, the Ministry had delayed this proceeding for more than a month. If it had any basis for its objections it would have put them forward. We will proceed.” 

Cormat picked up another piece of parchment,” There is a great deal of standard legal language here and each of you will be provided a copy. The actual terms of the will are quite simple. They are as follows: 

* To Nymphadora Tonks go thirty percent of the cash assets 

* To Remus Lupin go thirty percent of the cash assets plus the use of his current dwelling for life if he chooses 

* To Harry Potter, the remainder of the cash assets, plus the investments currently a part of the estate and all property, both residential and business, currently owned by the estate and all personal and family items contained in the Black Family Vault and residences.” 

Ginny felt her jaw drop. She peeked at Harry; he was stunned. 

“ As noted earlier, Mr. Black’s cousins have been determined to be legally entitled to a portion of the estate. To accommodate that requirement the distribution to Mr. Potter is to be reduced sufficient to allow the claims of Mrs. Malfoy , Mrs. Letrange and Mrs. Tonks. 

As a result, Mr. Potter will pay from his portion of the estate to each of the additional claimants the sum of one galleon each; said sum to be paid within thirty days of this date.” 

Edvers was on his feet,” You can’t get away with that…” 

Cormat stared coldly at the wizard,” This amendment meets the letter of estate law.” 

He passed the angry wizard several sheets of parchment,” I think you will find the research to be irrefutable.” 

Edvers grabbed the parchment and stormed from the room; Percy followed. 

When the door had closed behind them Cormat appeared to smile,” The gold is being moved as we speak. Should the Ministry try to act, all they can do is demand we seal the Black vault. Within fifteen minutes it will be empty. 

Gornhall cleared his throat,” Mr. and Mrs. Potter, I have several documents for you to sign.” With that he began passing parchment to them. Some were a single sheets, others were quite lengthy. 

Across the table, Ginny saw Remus and Tonks each signing somewhat smaller stacks of parchment handed to them by Cormat. 

The final item passed from Gornhall was a dragon hide folder containing several long sheets of parchment,” This is a summary of your assets as of this morning. The first page is the Potter family estate, the second the portion of the Black family estate just conveyed and the third page summarizes all of the figures into a single total. Behind that it a list of all of the combined investments and the amounts and/or the percentage owned. There is an additional list of all of the properties.” He paused for a moment,” We didn’t include the three galleons for Mr.Black’s cousins.” 

Ginny read with Harry the numbers on the three pages. She swallowed a bit loudly and looked at Harry. His eyes appeared the size of dinner plates. 

He finally looked up and smiled,” Owl your aunt and tell her we are going to be alright financially.” 

Ginny was shocked, then the absurdity of the statement hit her and she began to giggle. A few seconds later the giggle turned into a full laugh. After a moment, Harry joined her. 

When all of the parchment had been signed they went to lunch. Ginny had never been in this restaurant before. It was very elegant with fine linen tablecloths and shining crystal and silver on every table. 

They were shown to a private room. After the first course was served Gornhall asked what had been so funny. 

Ginny explained about her Aunt Muriel. The goblins appeared to see the humor in things; Bill was beside himself. 

Over the main course Harry asked about the claims against the estate and how they were dealt with. Cormat enjoyed, perhaps a bit too much, explaining how the research had been accomplished and the Ministry thwarted. 

By the time pudding was finished it was mid afternoon. The two goblins and Bill said their ‘good byes’ outside the restaurant and returned to the bank. The two couples walked together back to the Leaky Cauldron. They were going to Apparate back to Hogwarts. 

As they walked they talked about the events of the morning. 

“ Why didn’t your mum get something Dora? She isn’t like her sisters.” 

“ Cormat explained that if she got more than a token share, then her sisters would have been entitled to the same amount. Don’t worry, with what Sirius left me, Mum and Dad will do quite well.” 

“ You two continue to amaze me.” Ginny looked over at Remus. 

“ Why’s that?” 

“ The lunch was an excellent idea, but more importantly, the way you both stayed calm throughout it all was very impressive.” 

Ginny smiled at the professor,” One of us almost made a scene.” 

Harry blushed as Remus and Tonks laughed,” But, you didn’t. That’s important.” 

Ginny noticed Tonks was looking around; keeping an eye on things. 

“ Do we need to hurry?” Ginny didn’t want to be the cause of people being hurt if Death Eaters came after them here. 

“Wouldn’t hurt, I guess.” Tonks smiled at her, but her eyes never stopped moving. 

They moved quickly through the Leaky Cauldron and out to Disapparate. 

“ Remus, let me go first while you watch their backs. Let’s meet behind the Three Broomsticks.” An instant later she was gone. 

“ Hurry you two, I’m right behind you.” 

Ginny wrapped her arm around Harry and grasped her charm. A moment later they were in Hogsmeade. 

Dora was waiting, wand drawn. A few seconds later Remus appeared,” Normally, I’d suggest a butterbeer here, but this time I think we need to get back to the castle.” 

The walk back proved to be uneventful. No one was disappointed. 

The two professors left them in the Entrance Hall to go report to Professor 
Dumbledore. 

They changed clothes when they got to their rooms and resumed their research. By dinner they had identified several possible choices. Before distracting each other after dinner in their rooms, they had the basics of a plan. 

Sunday was spent mostly on school work, although the ‘plan’ was discussed. Not enough time could be devoted to it in order to be ready for Monday. Finally, they agreed that Thursday would be perfect. 

At dinner they were with Hermione and Ron long enough to recount all that had happened the day before. Ginny purposefully avoided talking about what was included in their estate now. Hermione was polite enough not to ask. It apparently didn’t occur to her brother. 

Ginny finished her work early enough to get to bed at a reasonable hour. She left Harry still struggling with a Herbology essay on the properties of Yellow Leafed Fairy Ivy.

* * *

Harry read over his essay one more time. He was pretty satisfied with it. Despite what Ginny probably thought, the essay wasn’t what was keeping him up. Rather it was gold.
The amounts on the parchment were staggering. They were also troublesome after the events at the bank yesterday. He was still afraid he was not going to come out of this war on the other end. And, should that happened the Bond would insure that Ginny didn’t either. If that was the case, he had to make proper provisions for what happened after. Pulling another piece of parchment from the desk, he began making notes. 

Well past midnight he finally put down his quill. Several balls of parchment littered the desk top. He read through the letter one more time and nodded. If Ginny agreed, this is how things would go. 

He checked his book bag before going into the bedroom. Confident he could just grab and go in the morning, he began undressing as he walked through the hallway. 

Totally spoiled by Corry’s attention, he dropped things as they came off. He pulled his pyjamas from the dresser and slipped them on before climbing in to snuggle up to his wife. The touch, the scent, the warmth…he was asleep in seconds.

* * * 

Harry was able, not all of the time, to block Dora’s punches and kicks and deliver a few of his own. This was a huge improvement. Three times in the hour he had her on the floor vulnerable to further attack. To this day that had not happened before. Life was getting even better. 

Ginny’s face was grim when she came out of the classroom. Willa and Corrine were on either side of her, both looking concerned. 

“ What happened?” Harry moved to cut them off. 

“ Not here.” Ginny kept moving towards the stairs 

Harry trailed behind the three girls up to the Entrance Hall. 

Ginny’s friends both said something to Ginny before turning for the Great Hall. Ginny walked to the place they had talked the week before. 

Harry followed and took her bag from her shoulder as she turned to him.” Now, what happened?” 

Ginny’s eyes didn’t seem to focus for a few seconds. Finally, she acted aware that Harry was there in front of her,” It wasn’t just Snape this time. He started in on me and my potion and how I had added the ingredients wrong. He said I might do better if I spent more time in the library than in bed with you.” 

Harry was so angry he saw spots before his eyes,” He said that out loud…in class?” 

Harry was unaware and Ginny took no notice of the halo of energy radiating around Harry. That was not the case for several others. 

Ginny shook her head,” No, he was behind me; leaning over my shoulder. Willa didn’t even catch it all. After he said it he waited for me to do something; he wanted me to react, so I just kept stirring.” Ginny was growing red in the face.” He pulled away and criticized how I was stirring. Anton Woolard, he’s a Slytherin, laughed and said I was better with another type of wand. Snape looked at me and smirked and didn’t say a word about Woolard. That must have made them think I was fair game. The rest of class, there were comments coming from the Slytherins.” 

“ What kind?” 

Ginny flared up,” What do you think!? The same as I’ve been hearing ever since we got here. The same I hear everywhere I go.” Her eyes were blazing. 

Harry opened his mouth to answer. Then, he remembered Ginny’s comment about not giving back her own advice. So, instead, he wrapped his arms around her and began rubbing her back.” Tell me anything I can do to help. I’ll hex some of them, or we could use our new muggle fighting skills and rough them up a bit.” 

He was surprised a few moments later when Ginny pulled away. She was smiling,” What a wonderful idea.” She turned and headed for the Great Hall. 

Harry followed with their book bags. Instead of heading for the Gryffindor table, Ginny walked straight to the Slytherins. Harry thought this wasn’t going to turn out well for someone. 

“ Woolard!” Ginny had stopped less than half way down the table. 

Harry saw a black haired boy of medium size and build look up. He had an arrogant sneer on his face when he saw it was Ginny. 

“ What is it Weasle, tired of Potter already? Want to see what it would be like with a real man?” 

Ginny ignored the taunts,” I’ve listened to your filth as long as I’m going to Woolard. Come outside and let’s settle this.” 

“ What, a duel? You’re mad.” The Slytherin turned to his friends, laughing. 

Ginny kept staring at him as she drew her wand. 

Harry saw several people flinch, and a few reach for their own wands. 

Ginny calmly passed her wand to Harry,” Not a duel. I just want to hear it to my face.” 
With that she turned and started walking to the doors. 

Never taking his eyes from the wands at the table, Harry followed. 

At the doors Ginny stopped and looked back,” Coming you little coward?” 

Harry saw Woolard and nearly a dozen other Slytherin get up to follow. A couple of minutes later they were all out on the front walk. 

Harry stayed behind Ginny and watched for anyone trying to pull something. He noticed a crowd of students from the other houses had followed as well. 

Ginny stood in front of Woolard. He was quite a bit larger than her and not at all intimidated. Harry thought that might be a big mistake, but he wasn’t about to point that out. 

“ Now you slimy little coward, here’s what we’re going to do..You’re going to say to my face what you were muttering in class. Every time I hear a lie, I’m going to hurt you.” 

Woolard laughed as did his friends,” You? Maybe you mean your boyfriend over there will try something, but I doubt you can do anything.” 

Ginny never looked away,” Harry, stay out of this.” 

He was a bit nervous, but he knew not to disagree,” Any thing you want, dear.” 

That brought snickers from all around the throng of students. 

Ginny squared her shoulders, “I’m waiting.” 

Woolward’s eyes grew hard,” Alright, the poor little blood traitor found a way to move up by laying on her back.” He started to smirk at his friends when all the air in his lungs suddenly burst out. 

As soon as the words were out of the Slytherin’s mouth, Ginny had pivoted on her left leg and aimed a closed fist punch straight into his solar plexus. 

Woolard gasped for air as he stared at the small witch in front of him. His eyes turned murderous as he heard the laughter from the non Slytherins gathered around watching. He quickly drew his wand and pointed it at Ginny. 

Harry watched in admiration and amazement as his wife stepped to the side and grasped Woolard’s wrist in both hands. She again pivoted, twisting the wrist cruelly. 

With a cry of pain, Woolard struggled to free his arm. Continuing her motion, Ginny whipped her right foot around and caught the inside of Woolards left knee with her shoe. He gasped as he dropped his wand and fell to the stone pavers. 

Ginny calmly picked up the wand and tossed it off to the side,” Now I believe you had a few other things to say earlier. Shall we get on with it?” 

“ What is going on here?” 

Harry saw Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape coming down the front steps. It was Snape who had spoken. 

“ Mrs. Potter what have you done to Mr. Woolard?” 

Ginny looked up innocently,” Why, I disarmed him after he drew his wand.” 

That caused an immediate response from the Slytherin. They were all saying Ginny attacked their housemate. 

Snape looked at the Headmaster,” Professor, we all saw Mrs. Potter incite Mr. Woolard to come out here. I demand that she be punished appropriately.” 

Dumbledore appeared disturbed,” Mrs. Potter, would you like to explain?” 

The smile on Ginny’s face made Harry’s blood run cold,” Perhaps Professor it would be better if I gave you my memories in the Penseive. This all started in Professor Snape’s class.” 

Harry bit his cheek to keep from laughing. 

“ I hardly think that is necessary.” Snape quickly answered. 

“ I believe Mrs. Potter’s suggestion sounds like the best course of action. I think we should view the memories Headmaster.” Professor McGonagall obviously smelled something good in the air. 

“ Perhaps this was all a misunderstanding.” Snape stared at Woodard,” Wouldn’t you agree Mr. Woolard?” 

The boy looked confused at the turn of events. 

Harry watched Professor Dumbledore consider the options. He was surprised when those bright blue eyes bore into his own for a few moments,” I must agree with Professor McGonagall. Professors, Mrs. Potter, and Mr. Woolard follow me if you will.” 

Ginny’s face was radiant when she turned to Harry. He stepped over and gave her a quick kiss,” You planned for this didn’t you?” 

She plucked her wand from his hand,” I have no idea what you mean.” 

Harry watched her bouncy step as she followed the professors back in to the castle. 

He was waiting outside the Headmaster’s office when she finally returned; still bouncing. 

“ What happened?” 

Ginny reached up and kissed him,” After Professor McGonagall finished shouting at Snape, Professor Dumbledore gave Woolard and two others a week’s detention with Professor McGonagall. Snape has to apologize to me in front of the entire class. I get to judge if it is adequate.” 

“ You do know how scary you can be don’t you?” 

She smiled sweetly,” You have no reason to worry if you behave.” 

“ Yes, ma’am.” 

“ Would the two of you care to join us for class?” Professor McGonagall swept by. 

Harry thought she may have been smiling. 

As they found their seats Harry leaned close,” You didn’t get any punishment?” 

Ginny looked very sad,” I have to serve detention with Professor Lupin this afternoon.” 

Harry snorted, then, caught himself before he ended up with a detention,” You mean our training session?” 

“ No one else has to know that, do they?” Ginny was pulling out her parchment. 

Harry turned his attention to Professor McGonagall. He couldn’t help but think, as he had many times the past two months, that he was in way over his head with little witch sitting beside him. 

Chapter 9: Best Served Cold
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry and Ginny went to serve her ‘detention.’ Instead of Remus they found Bill in the room. 

“ I understand I am to supervise a detention.” Bill was grinning at the couple. 

“ It was Ginny. I didn’t attack anyone.” 

Ginny turned to glare at Harry,” It may be a while before you attack me again too Potter.” 

He flushed and smiled,” I was just kidding.” He looked at Bill,” She was amazing. Kicked the git’s sorry arse and had me holding her wand.” 

Ginny cooled down a little. She hadn’t realized she would be as defensive about the event,” Thanks, Harry.” She turned to her brother,” Why are you here?” 

Bill came over and gave her a hug,” Can’t I come and see my sister?” 

Ginny relaxed and smiled,” Sorry, I’m a little tense for no good reason. Hello, Bill.” She reached up and gave him a peck on the cheek. 

Bill stepped back and held out his hand to Harry.” Quite a handful isn’t she” 

Ginny frowned at her husband. 

“ I think she’s brilliant. Scary, but brilliant.” 

Ginny smiled,” That may get you off the hook, Harry.” 

Bill grimaced,” That is as much of that line of conversation as I want to hear.” He gestured toward a couple of chests,” To answer your question, I’m going to begin teaching you to recognize curses and spells before they cause you some damage. I’ve brought along some training items from the bank.” 

Ginny smiled as she walk toward the chests,” What are you waiting on? Let’s get started.” 

The next hour was very interesting and a little frightening. It was interesting to learn the detection spells, but frightening to know what the curses were capable of. Even more worrisome was the thought that these were the basic learning type of curses not the kind Bill tried to break for his job. 

“ Will any of these tell us if there is a detection charm or some kind of alarm on a doorway or the like?” 

Ginny looked at Harry wondering what he could…she smiled,” Good thought, Love.” 

Bill looked suspicious,” Are you two up to something” 

Ginny made no attempt to look innocent,” It might be better if you didn’t know the answer to that.” 

Harry snorted and looked away. 

Bill looked at the two of them before sighing,” Yeah, the two obvious ones will detect most of them. Watch.” He waved his wand as he softly cast a spell.” This one will give off a green glow if the other two have missed something. You aren’t ready for the more subtle disarming and reversal charms yet. That will take a few more lessons.” His shoulders slumped a little,” Promise not to go in if you see green. At least until I’ve taught you what to do.” 

Ginny walked over and wrapped her arm around her brother’s waist,” We’ve plenty to do before we start taking any real chances.” 

Harry had moved closer,” We really appreciate you bringing Mum and Dad’s books to us. Just be thankful the twins never got their hands on them.” 

Bill nodded,” I don’t need to know any more than that.” He went to pack up the chests,” Not that you would be planning anything, but if someone was, when would you think something might happen?” 

Ginny smiled at his back,” If you’re here Thursday or Friday there might be tales being told.” 

“ Good to know.” Bill shrank the chests and slipped them into his pockets.” I may be around Thursday.” He kissed her goodbye and shook Harry’s hand,” Don’t get caught.” 

They waited for Bill to leave. 

“ Go to find Hedwig with me?” 

Harry grinned,” The twins?” 

Ginny nodded,” I saw something in the catalogue that might be good for a laugh.” 

Harry reached for her hand and they were off. 

* * * 

Harry sat at his desk, thinking. Ginny had gone on to bed an hour or so ago after they had agreed on the start of ‘the plan’ on Thursday. Harry had finished reading a chapter for Herbology and decided he wasn’t ready for bed yet. 

He pulled out the letter to the solicitor, Ames, and reread it for the hundredth time. It was the right thing to do, but also seemed to be resigning to fate. It was time to talk to Ginny; past time actually. He left the letter on the blotter and put out the lights before walking toward the bedroom. 

He slipped into bed as quietly as possible trying not to awaken Ginny. 

Despite his good intentions, she roused and rolled over against him,” Finally, I was about to give up.” 

“ Sorry Love, I…” He realized that all he was holding was bare skin. He quickly figured what ’give up’ meant. That wasn’t going to happen.” I’ll try to make it up to you.” 

Against his shoulder he heard,” I’m counting on it.” 


* * * 

Ginny walked into the sitting room to get another cuppa while Harry finished dressing. She fixed the tea as she liked it and walked back across the room. She noticed Harry had left some parchment on his desk. Afraid it was an assignment he might forget, she picked it up. 

The form proved immediately that this was not school work. Almost against her will, she began to read. Her blood chilled and tears began to slip down her cheeks. She replaced the letter and walked over to the window; not to look out, for she saw nothing. Rather, to try to compose herself before Harry came in and found her. 

“ Ready, Love?” 

Had he not made a sound coming into the room? 

“ Ginny?” 

She wasn’t ready to face him yet,” You told me I gave you hope. What changed?” 

“ Ginny what’s wrong?” 

She turned to look at him. He was still by the desks,” Have I done something Harry? Are you giving up?” She dropped her eyes to the letter lying beside him. 

His eyes darted from her to the desk and back. Then they widened,” Oh, Ginny!” He almost ran across the room,” No, I haven’t given up and you’ve done nothing but make my life better than it’s ever been.” His arms pulled her tight against him,” No, it was after Saturday at the bank. I started thinking that if something happened I didn’t want our things being fought over by the Malfoys and Lestranges. I wanted everything to go to people we love and want to share with.” 

Ginny turned to lay her head on his chest,” So you’re not going back to that bad place again?” 

Harry ran his fingers through her hair,” You’ve told me time and again you won’t let me.” 

Ginny nodded,” I’m sorry. I’m acting like Cho.” 

She felt Harry stiffen,” There is nothing you do that’s like her. Don’t ever compare yourself to her; she was a mistake that fortunately passed by without any harm.” 

Ginny relaxed a little,” I better go wash my face. People will make up all kinds of stories if I show up in the Great Hall looking like this.” 

She felt a kiss on the side of her head,” I should have talked to you first.” 

Ginny smiled,” True, but you are getting better.” She raised her head and kissed Harry’s chin,” I’ll hurry.” She pulled away and went to do what she said. Looking in the mirror, she also realized she needed to brush her hair. Harry’s fingers, no matter how pleasing they felt, made a mess. 

Harry was standing by the desk again with the letter in his hand,” We need to talk about things. What about Percy? And,do we assume Hermione and Ron will finally figure things out?” 

Ginny smiled as she picked up her bag,” I need to think about Percy and we both need to think about Ron and Hermione. What about Remus and Tonks? Do we assume..?” 

Harry put the letter back into the drawer,” Alright, I really did need to talk to you first. Don’t make it so obvious.” 

Ginny slipped her arm through his and started for the door,” I’m sorry about the hosepipe act.” She stopped and frowned up at her husband,” Has anyone ever explained to you about menstrual cycles?” 

“ What?” 

Ginny pulled him along,” I was afraid of that.” 

* * * 

Potions was no worse than usual. Harry hated every minute, but Snape never could bait him into saying or doing anything to excuse giving a detention. 

He went to join Ginny and Tonks for a while and was pleased to be able to more than just protect himself now. At the end of the session, Dora cast a cleansing charm on them before they went to Transfiguration. 

“ Do you think we could get away with skiving off again this week?” 

He saw Ginny shaking her head,” I’m pretty sure Dora said something to McGonagall or we both would have gotten a talking to at best.” 

This class they were learning to transfigure one species to another. The object was to change a hedgehog to a beaver. By the end of the period Hermione had had some success with the tail but she was the only one. 

Lunch was a nice break from the day so far. 

Dora had them dueling for most of the double period. She didn’t let Harry and Ginny pair up. He was not pleased to see Corner end up as Ginny’s opponent. He used mostly shields with the Ravenclaw girl he was paired with. When she realized he wasn’t going to hurt her, she became less tense and more aggressive. 

As soon as Dora called a halt, Harry grabbed his bag and headed for Ginny. She and Corner appeared to be having an intense discussion. As he came closer Corner turned and stared. 

“ Butt out Potter. This is private.” 

Harry ground his teeth together, but waited for a sign from Ginny before saying anything. 

Corner scowled when Harry didn’t move and grabbed at Ginny’s arm to pull her toward the corner of the room. 

Ginny yanked her arm free and planted her feet,” Get over it Michael. We were finished months ago. Frankly, looking back, we never really got started.” 

Corner’s face deepened in color,” Are the stories true then?” 

Harry stepped between them,” Corner, if you don’t want to get hurt you need to leave right now.” 

“ I’m not afraid of you Potter.” 

Harry shook his head,” I’m not the one you should be worried about…yet. I’m guessing Ginny is about one more stupid comment from doing you serious, permanent harm.” 

Corner huffed, but picked up his bag and stormed out. 

Harry turned around,” Alright,Love?” 

Ginny’s face was a mixture of anger and hurt,” Yeah, I’ll be fine.” 

Harry raised his eyebrows and smiled. 

Ginny relaxed a bit,” Poor choice of words. He just surprised me, that’s all. I thought we were on better terms.” 

Harry found Ginny’s bag and picked it up,” You need to get to the Herbology.” 

She nodded and started for the door. 

Ron and Hermione were waiting outside in the corridor. 

“ Wha..?” Ron’s question was cut off by Hermione’s elbow in his ribs. 

Ginny leaned around Harry,” Michael decided to join the rest of the arses in the school with their stupid assumptions.” 

Harry saw Hermione nod, but none of them commented further. 

“ Quidditch tryouts are Saturday at nine.” Ron, bless him, changed the subject all by himself. He and Hermione left them at the next stairway. 

The remainder of their walk was filled with Quidditch talk which suited Harry. 

Ginny was in a much better mood when she joined Harry in the training room. She had a very satisfied smile on her face. 

Harry walked over to his wife,” Feeling better?” 

“ No, I’m not going to for a few days, but I am in a better mood. Professor Sprout complimented my work.” 

Harry frowned. That made no sense at all. 

“ Draw your wands Potters. We’re going to work on your fighting as a pair.” 

Harry turned back to Moody and saw that he had added two Golem to the exercise. 

“ I’m going to show you a couple of nasty curses this afternoon. After, you will fight me and the Golem using only those two and your shields.” 

* * * 

Ginny looked up from her Runes essay. Harry was poring over a couple of Herbology books from the Library. 

“ Harry, you had no idea what I meant this afternoon, did you?” 

He looked up and frowned,” Meant, when? Oh, your comment about Corner?” 

“ No, not that. I’ll deal with Michael’s small little mind. I meant when I said I wouldn’t feel better for a few days.” 

“ Err, no. What did you mean?” 

Ginny set her quill aside a thought for a moment,” When girls reach a certain age their bodies start to change…” 

It would have been funny to watch Harry’s facial expressions if it weren’t so sad that he never had anyone to explain the most basic things to him. Ginny bored ahead. This would be a regular, she hoped so, at least for a couple of years, problem Harry needed to be aware of. Before their wedding, she hadn’t thought about him not knowing, and it wasn’t an issue as far as their ‘physical’ relationship went. Now, it definitely was, though. 

Later that night, it proved to have been not a moment too early to have explained things to Harry. When Ginny came back to bed, Harry cuddled up close and put his warm hand on her tummy. 

“ You were listening.” 

Harry’s hand moved gently in a small circle,” I didn’t want to, but I did. Are there other things like this I need to know?” 

Ginny giggled softly, the potion was doing its job, and Harry’s hand helped, too,” 

Some, but I’ll tell you a little at a time from now on.” As Ginny settled she found that Harry was helping more than just providing a warm hand. She could feel his concern and love through their contact. All things considered, that might be better than the potion. 

The next morning passed fairly quickly. Harry had received a small package in the morning mail. He smiled at her as he slipped it into his pocket. After breakfast, the potion was working and she didn’t have any interaction with Michael in DADA, so that wasn’t too bad . Tonks had spent the double period teaching them some basic combat transfiguration. Ginny and Harry had learned this weeks ago, but it was fun to do anyway. 

After they finished lunch, Ginny’s nerves began to kick in. As she walked with Harry down to the Dungeons, she wondered how Snape was going to handle things. 

“ I’ll be just down the corridor.” 

She started. They were already outside the Potions classroom. 

“ Thanks, Harry. I’ll be fi..perfectly all right.” 

Harry kissed her on the cheek and continued on. Willa and Corrine were waiting near the door. Neither said anything, but both stayed close as they went to find their places. 

“ Quiet!” Snape made his usual dramatic entrance into the classroom. 

Ginny watched to see if she could tell what was coming. Snape’s face, for the moment, gave away nothing. 

“ Before you start, I have been ordered to say something.” Snape turned an angry glare on Ginny,” The Headmaster has instructed me to apologize to Mizz Potter for events during your last class.” 

Ginny was seething. After all, she was to decide if the apology was acceptable, and this certainly wasn’t a good start. 

“ Mizzz Potter, I offer my apology to you if I said anything or allowed others to say anything which may have offended you.” Immediately he snapped his wand toward the chalk board,” The Calming Potion on the board is your assignment for the day. Get started.” 

“ That obnoxious git!” 

Ginny looked at Willa. Her friend’s face was glowing it was so red. 

“ Not now.” Ginny had decided not to say anything for the moment. 

Harry was waiting in the corridor after class,” How was it?” 

Ginny paused,” Forced and insincere..about what I expected.” 

“ Are you going to accept it?” 

Ginny nodded,” As far as he knows, yes.” 

She saw Harry smile,” So, we up his discomfort then?” 

“ That’s what I was thinking.” 

She was curled up against Harry on the sofa when she heard Dobby,” Master Harry, it’s time.” 

Ginny checked her watch. It was two a.m. 

“ You know what to do with this?” Harry was passing Dobby a small package. 

The little elf looked very serious,” Dobby knows. The mean professor must not mistreat Dobby’s people.” He disappeared with a ‘pop.’ 

Harry was slipping on his shoes,” You don’t have to go for this one.” 

Ginny stood and stretched,” I know, but I’ll feel better if I do.” 

Several minutes later they were outside the Potions classroom hidden under the Invisibility Cloak. Harry tried the detection charms Bill had taught them. Nothing appeared to be there. 

Ginny pulled the door open and they crept down the stairs to the front of the room. 

Harry cast the first spell, then moved across the room and cast another. 

“ Let’s go.” He was smiling; quite proud of himself. 

Ginny had wanted to cast at least one of the spells, but couldn’t get either to work wandlessly. That was important in case their wands were checked after the fact. 

They hurried back to their rooms, both in high spirits. 

It was a struggle to eat breakfast. Ginny wanted to rush down to the Dungeons, but forced herself to wait. 

Harry kissed her as they reached the classroom,” Have fun.” 

“ If you did them right, I plan to.” 

He looked offended,” I am about to become legend. Do not doubt me.” 

Ginny swatted his arm and joined her friends. 

“ What’s made you so cheerful?” Corrine was frowning. 

“ I’m hoping this will be a better day.” Ginny smiled and started pulling out her supplies. 

“ Silence!” As the professor swept into the room he began talking,” This Healing Potion is one that will certainly be on your O.W.L. exam. The directions are on the board.” As usual, he flicked his wand toward what had been up to now a blank surface. 

An instant later, the board and its stand turned into dust. The room was silent for a moment as the students stared at the empty space. 

Snape had turned to his desk and was unaware what had happened. Finally noticing no one was moving, he snapped,” Get started!” 

“Err, professor?” Colin Creevey was pointing to the space. 

Snape looked where the board should be and his face glowed red with rage,” Who’s responsible for this!?” 

No one spoke or moved. 

“Reparo.” The board reappeared. Once again the professor flicked his wand,” Now get started.” The chalk board had turned to dust again. 

Professor Snape tried three more times to make the potion instructions appear. Each met with the same result.” Turn to page two hundred three. You will make this Healing Potion instead.” 

As the students made their way to the supply cupboard, Snape crossed the room to Ginny,” I know you are behind this Mizz Potter. It will be easy enough to prove.” 

Ginny put on her most innocent face,” Professor, I don’t know what you mean. I haven’t taken my wand from my robes since I left our rooms this morning.” 

She gathered her ingredients and began brewing the potion. From time to time Snape would pass by glaring at her. 

Ginny was stirring the potion as it cooled. Snape walked behind his desk and pulled out the chair. As he sat, the chair let out a horrible scream and collapsed. 

For all intents and purposes the class ended there. The professor had scrambled to his feet, trying to regain some dignity, but it was no use. Snickers and gasps were heard all around the room. 

Ginny made up her sample and carefully put it in the rack herself. She could feel Snape’s eyes boring into her, but knew she would totally lose it if she looked up. 

As she entered the corridor Harry took her hand,” Why aren’t you training?” 

Harry grinned,” I asked for a break to come meet you.” 

“ Keep walking in case someone is listening.” 

“ Interesting class?” 

“ It was, but the strangest things happened.” 

Harry played along,” Oh, what sort of things?” 

“ The chalk board kept dissolving and the Professor’s chair broke.” 

By now they were at the training room. They quickly closed the door behind them and burst out laughing. 

“ What’s so funny?” 

Both had forgotten that Tonks was in the room..Professor Tonks. 

“ Err, Ginny was telling me Snape had a bad time in class today.” 

Dora raised her eyebrows,” And did Ginny have anything to do with that?” 

Ginny made her face as serious as possible,” That would depend upon how you defined ‘anything.’” 

Dora cracked a tiny smile,” Perhaps I should leave that for now. Let’s get started.” 

Word had spread quickly, as usual. Transfiguration was almost a waste as students discussed Snape’s misfortune under their breaths. As a result, there were no beavers in the room at the end of class. It wasn’t until later that Ginny realized the Professor McGonagall had not once scolded them for their lack of attention. 

Needless to say, there was only one topic at lunch as well. By now the pranks were common knowledge; it was the perpetrators that generated all of the speculation and discussion. 

Ginny checked the Head Table several times. Once or twice she caught Snape staring at her. She also noticed some small grins on several other professors’ faces. A number of speculative glances aimed at her and Harry were obvious from all around the Hall throughout the meal. 

For their part, she and Harry joined in the speculation and carefully gave nothing away.

* * *

Harry refused to take any credit for Snape’s misfortune. Hermione appeared certain , Ron nearly so, but no one else could more than guess. 

He kissed Ginny and turned toward the classroom. Inside he noticed he was getting a great deal of attention. The only thing he could do was ignore it and get ready for class. 

“ Silence!” The professor made his usual vampire like entrance.” Your instructions are on the board.” 

Harry hadn’t noticed a second chalk board had been brought in. He stifled the smile that wanted to escape and went for his potion supplies. 

The room was silent except for the sounds of cutting and stirring. Snape roamed the aisles, criticizing and belittling all of the Gryffindors. 

The class was nearly over. Harry carefully poured two vials for his sample and sealed the tops. He had just put one sample into the tray when there was a collective gasp around the room. It took only a moment to see what had happened. In the aisle, near the back row was now standing a very large, very yellow canary. It seemed to be trembling with a chill or rage. Harry thought the latter was most probable. 

As quickly as possible, he cleaned up his work area and left the room. Ginny was in the corridor. When she spotted him she raised an eyebrow. He nodded once and took her hand. Neither said a word all the way up to the Greenhouses. 

At the doorway to the outside Ginny turned and grinned,” So, did it work?” 

Harry laughed,” It was perfect. He was in the back of the class, and there was no way I could have possibly had anything to do with it.” 

Ginny pecked him quickly on the lips,” We have to do something nice for Dobby.” 

Harry nodded to her back. Ginny had turned to rush to Herbology. 

Moony didn’t ask about any of the day’s events. Harry was fairly certain that it was so the professor could maintain deniability with a clear conscience. Bill, on the other hand, came into the room looking for answers. Harry described what he knew of the pranks as though he knew no more than anyone else. 

Ginny’s brother wasn’t fooled, but didn’t press the issue either. Rather, he began pushing quite hard to teach Harry some very effective spells to use if the detection spell glowed green. Remus watched and once started to ask why Harry needed to know, but seemed to figure it out all on his own and went back to watching. 

Snape was back to his old self by dinner. Harry noticed Dumbledore giving him some attention, but ignored it as best he could. 

Friday passed uneventfully. Double Potions was hell, but nothing untoward happened to the professor. Speculation was still running wild, but Ron told him that most everybody thought Harry and Ginny were guilty. Harry wasn’t sure if he should appear proud or offended. 

Saturday morning was cool and wet. A hint of fall was upon them for the day. 

Ron was a nervous wreck at breakfast. Harry was nearly as bad just for being near him. Finally, at eight thirty the two couples started for the Quidditch pitch. There was quite a crowd already there despite the cold rain. At Ron’s urging Harry helped sort through the mob and get it a bit organized. 

A simple flying test eliminated about half. Potential Chasers were first to try out. Katie Bell and Ginny were so superior to the rest that there was hardly a grumble when Ron announced the rest would be trying for the one remaining spot. Ron worked in goal as the aspirants flew in trios trying to score. Katie and Ginny kept the process organized. 

Harry, in the mean time, had taken the potential Beaters to the other end of the pitch. 

Coot and Peakes looked to be the best of the lot, but it wasn’t Harry’s decision to make. He felt comfortable winnowing the group down to three pairs, but no further. He called them all down and asked them to wait while he checked with Ron. 

At the other end Ron was huddled with Ginny and Katie. Harry walked over and listened in. 

“ Ansper or Crown?” Ron was looking at the two Chasers. 

Katie immediately answered,” Crown.” 

Ginny wasn’t as certain,” Crown suits me, but I like the way Amelie flies, too.” 

Ron nodded and looked at Harry. 

“ Don’t ask me. I’ve been at the other end of the pitch.” 

Ron thought for a minute more,” Let’s go with Crown, but ask Ansper to stay as a reserve.” He cut his eyes at Harry,” Chances are Harry will do something stupid and Ginny will have to fill in at Seeker.” 

The two girls laughed. Harry pretended to. 

Ron called the potential Chasers over and gave them his decision. Although he recognized the faces, Harry didn’t know either of the two girls chosen. They both looked like third or fourth years. 

It only took about fifteen or twenty minutes to decide that Peakes and Coot were the Beaters. This position wouldn’t be the strength of the team, but they were pretty good. Ron asked another fifth year, Ashton Thoms to fly as a reserve Beater. 

After the rest of the house had left the pitch, Ron got the team up in the air and ran a few drills. Every third repetition or so, the reserves would get to fly. 

Harry and Ginny went back to their rooms for a hot shower and a change of dry clothes. The shower almost made them miss lunch. 

Since it was raining, Ginny suggested they study for a while. Harry was caught up by dinner, but Ginny still had Runes and Arithmancy to finish. 

Harry sat by the fire and read the spell books from the vault. Every page or two another idea would occur

* * * 

Ginny sent Harry on to bed. She promised to finish all her work so they could relax together tomorrow. She called Dobby around eleven thirty and asked for a pot of hot chocolate. The sweet drink was exactly what was required to plow through the last of the translation she had been assigned. 

There was still about a half a cup in the pot when she closed the book and carefully stowed the parchment with the translation. After refilling her cup she moved over to the sofa in front of the fire. 

Thinking back over the past week, she marveled that so much had happened. In the end, most was good, too. Snape’s abuse would be avenged as long as it persisted. Ginny had an Owl from the twins about the Thursday’s pranks. They were very proud their family tradition was being continued. 

She reached out for Harry. He seemed a bit troubled, but not to be having a nightmare. A promise to check every few minutes let her mind wander on. 

Michael. What to do? A confrontation would only result in him striking back. And, being a Ravenclaw, he would do it in the most efficient way. He would join the rumor mill. She was at a loss at how to explain things without seeming to attack his delicate, male ego. How do you explain to your first real boyfriend that he was just a fill in for the man she had loved for years. Well, you didn’t. But, the whole bonding explanation made no sense without understanding the truth of that. 

At least the snide comments had decreased as the days passed. The idiots from Slytherin were still making some, but not as many. Was it possible they were a little intimidated by what had happened, not only to one of their housemates, but to their head of house as well? They may as well get used to it. 

Tipping the cup for the last sip, Ginny cleared her mind and turned to the most important issue in her life. Without a doubt Harry was becoming more powerful. The spells and curses he was absorbing so quickly would certainly help protect him from Voldemort’s killers. The question was whether or not they would allow him to win against Voldemort himself? Dumbledore had contributed nothing to the training other than allowing it to happen. Wasn’t he going to help in a more direct way? 

Ginny shivered. She didn’t want to die yet. She had meant every word when she told Harry she had plans for many years together. Still, if Harry died her life would end. Not only because of the Bond, but because Harry now owned her heart. That first night in Godric’s Hollow she would have said the same thing. Looking back she knew how naïve that thought was then. Now it was the absolute truth. Whatever it took, she meant to share a long life with Harry. What ever it took to make it happen. 

Rising from the sofa, she returned to the desk and pulled out a sheet of her stationary. After a few moments’ thought, she began to write. When she finished, she folded the sheet and slipped it into its matching envelope before slipping it into her book bag. 

A flick of her wand extinguished the candles as she entered the hallway to their bedroom. With a definite goal in mind, she dropped her clothes to the floor and crawled into bed starkers. Sometime between now and breakfast Harry would notice.

* * * 

Harry smiled as he finished dressing. Ginny had given him a wonderful surprise this morning. A most excellent way to start a leisurely day together he thought. 

He poured another cup of coffee and sat in one of the armchairs near the fire. 

Before he finished, Ginny came out of the bedroom. When she caught his eye, she smirked,” Off to a good start are we?” 

“ Care to start every day that way?” 

She laughed,” No, you need these little surprises to cheer you up from time to time.” 

Harry returned his cup to the tray on the table and kissed his wife,” I do love you, you know?” 

Returning the kiss she nodded slightly,” That’s why you get the surprises.” 

He laughed and reached for her hand,” We can just make the end of breakfast.” 

Ginny reached down and pulled an envelope from her bag, then began pulling him toward the door,” Hurry then, I’m starved.” 

He followed her out into the corridor,” What’s that?” 

Ginny kept pulling him forward,” Just a note. I’ll pass it along later if I can.” 

Harry started to ask who the note was for, but swallowed the question. Ginny would tell him if he needed to know. He felt the pressure sometimes of having always to be close together. Like last night, he might have gone for a quick fly while Ginny finished studying, but it wasn’t possible; at least, not yet. 

Hermione was reading the newspaper while Ron continued to shovel food into his mouth. Harry raised an eyebrow at Hermione as he pulled out a seat for Ginny. 

“ Actually, he just came down a little while ago, so it’s not as disgusting as you might think.” Hermione was smiling as she looked over at Ron. He grimaced and kept eating. 

Harry began filling his and Ginny’s plates as she poured them both pumpkin juice and tea. 

“ Oh!” Hermione lowered the paper.” There was an attack on several muggles near Little Whinging last night.” She watched Harry for his response. 

Harry felt Ginny’s hand on his as he tried to decide how he should react…worried, indifferent; actually he didn’t feel much of anything.” Does it give any more details?” 

Hermione shook her head,” It does say it was in Surrey near Little Whinging, not in the town itself.” 

Harry nodded; his stomach was beginning to tie up in knots. It wasn’t the Dursleys but other, innocent muggles. Was it coincidence or were Voldemort’s people getting closer on purpose? He looked up at the Head Table. Dumbledore was talking to Professor McGonagall as though nothing was going on. Surely if the attack was aimed at the Dursleys, Dumbledore would at least tell…Well, why think that? It’s not as though the Headmaster had ever been terribly free with information. 

Taking a deep breath, he squeezed Ginny’s hand and turned back to Hermione,"Nothing to be done about it now is there?” He tried a small smile at Ginny,” Besides, we’ve the whole day not to worry about anything.” 

As Harry returned to his breakfast, he missed the exchange of non verbal communication between his wife and best friend. One was conveying ‘I told you so,’ the other ‘I find this hard to believe.’ 

After breakfast, Harry waited while Ginny spoke to Willa for a few moments, then, he and Ginny walked down by the lake. It was still quite muddy in places from the previous day’s rain, but it was warmer and the sun was peeking through the clouds more frequently by the moment. 

They went back in for lunch. Afterwards they retrieved their brooms and spent most of the afternoon flying around the grounds with an occasional stop, here and there, for a little kissing practice.

* * * 

Professor Dumbledore sat at his desk with his hands steepled in front of his face. An empty Ministry of Magic envelope lay in front of him on the desk, its contents beside it. He was troubled by the message. It seemed the Ministry, Fudge actually, was demanding a formal hearing on Sirius Black’s will. Harry would get his notice later today or tomorrow morning. The Headmaster had prior notice because of his seat in the Wizengamot. 

What to do, if anything? Harry wouldn’t be concerned by the gold, but by what appeared another betrayal or attack by the magical world. He was the young man who was destined to save them all, but the leaders of that world couldn’t leave him alone. 

Dumbledore suspected, but unfortunately couldn’t prove, that the Malfoys and/or Lestranges had promised a ‘reward’ if Sirius’ will could be voided. That aside, there were those who couldn’t conscience a werewolf benefitting in any way regardless of the intent of the deceased. 

Deciding that the matter needed more thought and time, he reached for the unopened envelope next to the Ministry letter. This had been passed to him by a student after breakfast. Years in this office caused him to suspect that he was about to read a complaint about one of his professors or another student. 

He noted that the quality of the parchment was considerably higher than that generally used by students for school work. The name imprinted at the top of the page leaped out at him. His preconceived notions fled immediately. 

Professor Dumbledore,
I write to express my concern at your lack of involvement in Harry’s preparation to face Voldemort. As I am sure the Professors and others leading our training have told you, Harry is progressing at an amazing pace. I have every confidence that he could face any of Voldemort’s Death Eaters as the superior fighter. But, I must question if that equates to him being ready to fulfill The Prophecy.
Harry has, of course, shared with me much that has occurred between the two of you over the years. Despite your current differences, I believe Harry is open to your help and guidance.
I will not tell him I have written to you, and you need not acknowledge it either. I do hope that you will see the urgency in taking a personal part in assuring his winning that final confrontation. 

Ginevra W. Potter 
   


The Headmaster slumped in his chair. He had planned that providing the opportunities to train so extensively would have drawn Harry closer. In all honesty, the old wizard had no reason to have expected that to actually be the case. Harry had been deserted or used at almost every turn of his life. Subtlety would never work with him. Harry’s emotional defenses had been well fortified by his experiences. It was both embarrassing and pleasing to be called to task in such a way. Embarrassing in that it was done by a fifteen year old young woman. Pleasing because Ginny’s was one it was for certain had only Harry’s best interests at heart. 

Rising from his chair, Dumbledore walked over to a cabinet near his desk. He passed his hand over the lock and heard the click of magical tumblers moving. Pulling back the doors, he began pulling objects from the shelves. It was past time to treat Harry as the man he had become. 

As he worked he thought to himself that when one was older one was to have learned from their mistakes, not repeat them again and again. 

* * * 

Harry and Ginny made a point to be on time for dinner. They had just started on pudding, chocolate cake for Ginny, apple tart for Harry, when an excited stir spread around the Hall. 

Ginny looked at the Head Table and burst out laughing. Professor Snape’s long greasy hair had suddenly tightened into tiny curls giving the appearance of a fuzzy turban. At the same time, the color had changed to bright green. 

As the laughter spread, the Potions professor rose and stormed from the Hall. However, not before giving a certain couple a murderous stare. 

Ginny turned to her husband, softly, but not so softly she couldn’t be overheard, she asked,” I wonder who was able to pull that off?” 

Harry’s face was one of pure innocence,” I can’t imagine, but good show who ever it was.” 

Ginny turned her attention back to her cake. As she savored the taste, she listened to the speculation around her. Despite their act, it seemed she and Harry were being credited with the deed. 

Back in their rooms Harry sprawled on the sofa while she went in the put on her night gown. She was tying the sash on her dressing gown when she returned to the sitting room. 

Looking up she noticed a familiar look on Harry’s face,” And what do you have on your mind Mr. Potter?” 

“ How about a good snog here on the hearth rug?” 

Ginny pretended to be thinking it over as she slowly untied the sash,” We haven’t in here yet have we?” 

Harry was reaching for her before the words were out of her mouth. 

After she dressed the next morning, Ginny returned to the sitting room to find Harry reading over a short piece of parchment,” Something important?” 

He looked up, frowning,” I’m not sure. We’re to meet with Professor Dumbledore this afternoon rather than training. It doesn’t say what about.” 

Ginny hid the smile that wanted to escape and reached for the note,” I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” 

Her good spirits over Dumbledore’s note disappeared quickly. Three owls landed in front of them at breakfast. All addressed the same subject. She and Harry were to appear before the Wizengamot ten days hence for a formal hearing on the settlement of Sirius’ will. The first Owl had been from the Ministry; the others from Ames, the solicitor, and Gornhall. Both pledged their support and offered to assist in any way. 

Additionally, they asked if they could come to Hogwarts to meet about the matter. 

“ Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter I see you have been notified of the hearing.” 

Ginny hadn’t realized the Headmaster had been behind them. 

Harry stood and faced Dumbledore. Ginny remained seated, but turned. 

“ Err, yes we have. What does it mean?” Harry was looking back and forth from the notice to the professor. 

“ May I suggest we discuss this later without such an audience?” Dumbledore’s expression was kind, but maybe a little troubled. 

Ginny rose and stepped closer to Harry,” Our solicitor and the goblin who handles our accounts have asked for a meeting here at school. Would that be possible?” 

The Headmaster nodded,” I believe you both have free time tomorrow morning. Might I suggest that as a time to meet? Your rooms should serve adequately for such a meeting.” 

Ginny saw Harry nodding as she did,” Thank you Professor.” 

“ My pleasure Mrs. Potter. I’ll plan to see you this afternoon.” After nodding to them both, Dumbledore walked toward the doors and exited the Hall. 

“ Let’s find Hedwig.” Harry had already picked up his bag. 

Ginny grabbed another piece of toast before following her husband through the doors.
Ginny wrote the Owls to Ames and Gornhall. Without a doubt, her writing was more legible than Harry’s. 

Ron and Hermione were waiting in the corridor outside the Charms classroom. Both looked concerned. 

“ What happened?” Hermione wanted to get to the point before class started. 

Ginny pulled the hearing notice from her robes and passed it to Hermione. 

“ Bloody hell!” Ron had read over Hermione’s shoulder. 

Hermione passed the parchment back,” So you’re meeting with your solicitor?” 

Ginny raised an eyebrow. 

“ Well, one could easily overhear your conversation with the Headmaster.” Hermione’s cheeks reddened a bit. 

“ Let’s go to class. We’ll talk at lunch,” Harry reached for Ginny’s hand and turned into the short corridor to the room. 

Despite the evil looks and snide comments, Ginny managed Potions without any upset. Harry was waiting when she came out,” Remus and Dora were notified this morning, too.” 

“ Well, it stands to reason.” 

Harry nodded. 

They didn’t talk again until they reached the Entrance Hall. Without either saying anything, they went to their ‘private’ place away from the flow of students. 

“ Harry, before we go any farther, you do know that this is only important in principle to me don’t you? The gold doesn’t matter.” 

He smiled sadly,“ Me too, except for Remus; he could really use it.” 

“ Did Dora say what they’re going to do?” 

Harry shook his head,” They barely had time to read the Owls.” 

“ Could Ames help them, too?” 

“ If he comes up tomorrow we can ask. I really have no idea.” 

“ Let’s go in and eat.” 

Harry grinned,” Always a Weasley aren’t you?” 

Ginny acted offended,” I don’t know what you mean. My name is Potter, sir.” 

That earned her a quick kiss,” Damn good thing, too.” 

She kissed him back,” Too right.” 

Hermione and Ron had taken seats near the back of the Hall. There were no Gryffindors near them at the time. 

“ So what’s this all about?” Hermione needed to know. It was part of what made her Hermione. 

Harry explained the notice and reminded her about what had happened at Gringotts. “ We’ll, hopefully, meet with our solicitor and Gornhall tomorrow.” 

He noticed Ginny had not begun to fill her plate. Smirking at her, he reached for the sprouts and served them both. 

“ It’s not the gold. It’s the principle of not letting the Ministry or the Malfoys win.” 

Harry nodded his agreement with Ginny. 

There was little to be said about the matter after that. They switched to a general criticism of the Ministry and finished lunch. 

Transfiguration passed quickly; Runes did not. Ginny met Harry in the corridor and climbed up to the Headmaster’s office lost in her thoughts as was Harry. 

“ Please come in.” Dumbledore greeted them before they had reached the door. 

When they were seated, Dumbledore pointed to his Pensieve and a small wooden box,” I had planned for us to begin discussing how best to insure a final end for Tom. If you wish, we can postpone that discussion and deal with the Ministry’s most recent action regarding the two of you.” 

Ginny waited. She had given the Professor the nudge. Now it was up to Harry. 

“ I think we should wait to see if we are meeting with our Solicitor and Gornhall before we discuss things further. Unless, you think there are things we should know in advance.” 

The Headmaster was silent for so long, Ginny thought he might not be going to comment,” Your two advisors will certainly be able to tell you all you need to know. A few items that may help, Professor McGonagall and I will both be willing to speak to the magic involved in your Bond as well as your soundness of mind. Alastor offered to ask his friend in the Department of Mysteries to appear as well.” 

He sat forward,” Gringotts will defend their position on the distribution to the family. Long history has proven that they are seldom shown to be in error. I would suggest you consider going on the offensive rather than just defending yourselves.” 

Ginny didn’t understand. Apparently, Harry didn’t either,” How do we go on the offensive?” 

Dumbledore smiled,” You might do well to point out the errors in judgment made by those who challenge you. Cornelius has not always been correct when speaking about your truthfulness.” 

Ginny saw where this was headed,” Such as Sirius and Pettigrew in Harry’s third year, and his statements after the Triwizard Tournament?” 

Dumbledore nodded,” Exactly. Harry you are welcome to use my Pensieve to make your point if you choose to do so.” 

Harry was smiling now,” Will the Wizengamot really pay any mind?” 

The Professor smiled,” Many will and there most likely will be a number of reporters there as well.” 

Ginny covered her mouth to hold back the giggle that wanted to escape. Harry laughed,” Will you help us plan this?” 

“ I will after you speak to your advisors. Both are excellent sources of counsel.” 

Ginny reached over and gripped Harry’s hand. He smiled at her and sat back in his chair,” Good. Thank you.” 

Dumbledore stood and walked to the Pensieve,” We have some time before you need to leave for dinner. If I may, I would like to show you a couple of memories and tell you a bit about Tom.” 

Nearly an hour later, Ginny was standing in the corridor outside the Headmaster’s office. Harry was holding her tightly as she trembled and shook. She had been able to maintain her composure until they had exited the Headmaster’s office.Three years had not been long enough to dampen the effect of seeing a teenage Tom Riddle in all his evil glory. Perhaps the memories of him appearing normal had frightened her more. At this point she wasn’t sure. 

“ Let’s have dinner in the rooms. No need to go down to the Great Hall in our state.” Harry was rubbing her back as he whispered into her hair. 

Ginny nodded, but didn’t move,” Harry I feel like such a coward. You finished him then. That Tom can never come back, but he still scares me.” 

“ Shh, he scares me too. We’ll stay right here until you are ready to move.” 

Ginny took a deep breath and straightened her back,” Let’s go to our rooms.” 

She was unsteady all the way back. Her Harry was incredible. He helped her walk and said sweet things the entire trip. By some miracle they met only a few other students. Harry passed her behavior off as a bit of a bug and people seemed to accept the explanation. 

Once in their rooms, Harry sat her on the bed while he started a hot bath. She could hear the water as he came out and began undressing her. In only moments Ginny was chest deep and rising in a hot tub of water scented with something very relaxing. Harry folded a towel to put behind her head and dimmed the light in the loo. 

“ You soak for a while. I’ll have a pot of tea brought up. Don’t move until I’m back.” 

The bone deep chill was starting to warm when Harry returned. He sat a book on the floor beside the tub and transfigured it into a small, low table. He then set a cup of tea and a bit of Honeydukes chocolate on the top. 

Ginny reached for the cup and took a sip.” Harry…honey?” 

He smiled,” Yeah, it’s supposed to make you feel better.” He put down the lid to the wc and sat facing her,” Dobby asked what you would like for dinner.” 

Ginny gave that some thought,” Lentil soup with bits of ham would be good; maybe a loaf of bread to go with it, and then ice cream for dessert.” 

“ What flavor?” 

“ A chocolate sundae with whipped cream?” 

Harry stood, leaned over and kissed her,” I’ll go tell Dobby.” Before leaving the room, he cast a warming charm on the water to keep it steaming. 

When he returned he was carrying a tray loaded with dishes,” Dobby said the sundae is charmed to stay cold, so not to worry about it melting.” He smiled,” Gornhall and Ames will meet with us in the morning. Dobby had a message from Dumbledore.” 

Ginny nodded as she picked up the tea and chocolate so Harry could put the tray on the table, “ Good. That’s one less thing to worry about.” She was shocked and thrilled to her core when Harry knelt on the floor and began feeding her as though she was a child.” I can feed myself, Harry.” 

He shook his head,” Stay under the water. I’ll try not to spill things.” 

As she swallowed the soup and chewed the bread, she found that she was warm all over. It had nothing to do with the water. 

Finally, Ginny licked the last of the chocolate syrup from her lip and raised her right hand out of the water,” Look how pruney I am.” 

“Don’t move.” Harry picked up the tray and transfigured the table back to a book,” I’ll be right back.” Good as his word, he was back in only a minute or so. 

He reached out his hand,” Let me help you.” 

Ginny grasped his hand and stood, then stepped from the tub. Out of no where Harry suddenly had a large, warm, fluffy towel and began drying her. She was glad the warm water had flushed her skin. That way Harry couldn’t tell she was blushing furiously. 

Harry had seen her naked for the first time barely two weeks ago. Now he was touching her bare skin with love and attention that had nothing to do with sex. 

After he finished drying her, Harry held up a night gown and worked it down over her head. When her hands appeared at the cuffs, he took her right hand and led her into the bedroom. The covers were turned down already. 

“Let me tuck you in and I’ll go close up for the night.” 

Ginny snuggled down and had a brief thought that Harry had done something much like this after each of their bonding incantations. As she began to fade it occurred to her that there may have been more than honey added to the tea. 

She opened her eyes. The stone floor almost burned it was so cold. She raised her head and saw Harry with his wand drawn facing Tom. Behind Tom was the still twitching body of an enormous snake. 

“ You can’t have her Riddle.” 

Tom laughed,” Do you think you can stop me Potter? You’re nothing but a frightened schoolboy.” 

Harry suddenly shouted,” Expelliarmus!” 

Tom flicked his wand to deflect the spell.” Good bye Potter.” A green light hit Harry in the chest. 

Harry had hardly crumpled to the floor before Tom turned to Ginny. Casting off his robes he began to unbutton his shirt,” Now Ginny I will show you what I do to little girls.” 

Ginny screamed and screamed as Tom’s mad eyes laughed at her. 
  

She tried to get away but was being tightly held by two strong arms. She screamed again.. 

“ Ginny..Love, it’s alright. I’m here. Nothing is going to hurt you.” 

It was Harry’s voice, but he was..Ginny’s eyes snapped open. Above her wasn’t the roof of the Chamber of Secrets, but the ceiling of their bedroom. Turning slightly she saw the most welcome sight possible, Harry’s vivid green eyes; full of love and concern. 

“ Harry, I..” 

“ I know. I did, too. I woke up when you began screaming.” 

“ You..?” 

He nodded,” We must have been sharing it.” 

Ginny buried her face into Harry’s chest. A sob, followed by another, then another escaped. In moments she was crying as though her world had ended. Through it all, Harry’s arms never slackened nor did the words of comfort ever stop. 

She finally regained control and pulled back to look at Harry,” In your dream, did you die?” 

He nodded and reached up to wipe the remaining tears from her cheeks,” Yeah, but we know it didn’t happen that way. It can never happen. That Tom is gone forever.” 

“ Yeah, that’s when you first offered me your heart.” She reached up and smoothed his hair away from the scar. Gently she traced along the lightning bolt shape. 

“ I only wish I had known..but maybe not.” 

Ginny stopped her ministrations and frowned. 

“ So much about me was so messed up back then I would have surely ruined everything.” 

Ginny smiled and returned to her task. 

“ Thank Merlin you waited.” 

Ginny pulled up and kissed him,” It was worth it.” 

They wrapped themselves together as tightly as possible before drifting off to a much less troubled sleep. 

Dobby’s soft knock woke Ginny. When she tried to move, she found that Harry was still tangled with her from their shoulders to their feet. Finally freeing one arm, Ginny softly stroked Harry’s cheek. After a few moments his eyes fluttered, then opened. 

“ Alright, Love?” 

Ginny smiled at the question; how foreign it would have sounded coming from Harry only a few months ago. Now it was as natural as breathing,” Better. We need to get up and moving.” 

He nodded a little and began to turn onto his back. 

“ Harry?” 

He rolled up on his elbow,” Yeah” 

“Wash my back?” 

* * * 

Ginny was waiting in the corridor when he came out of Potions. They climbed the stairs to Transfiguration and found their usual seats next to Ron and Hermione. 

Despite the distractions tumbling about his brain, Harry managed a partial transfiguration to a beaver. The head was wrong, but the body and tail were definitely right. Ginny was very unhappy as she had not managed even to manage the tail. 

It was perhaps a small consolation for her that Ron was doing no better. Hermione on the other hand had managed a perfect transfiguration and back. 

Harry waited in the Entrance Hall with Ginny. Ames and Gornhall were due at any time. Finally, the great doors opened and their two counselors entered the castle. At least they assumed the wizard was Ames. Actually, this was the first meeting for the three of them. 

Harry took Ginny’s hand and walked over to meet their guests. Gornhall introduced Mr. Ames to Harry and Ginny after exchanging an unusually pleasant greeting with the young couple. 

Ginny led the way up to their rooms as the other three made small talk. When they were settled in front of the fire, Dobby popped in and served tea. 

“ Mr. and Mrs. Potter, Gringotts is most sorry for this unnecessary bit of grandstanding by Minister Fudge and his supporters.” Gornhall had, as he spoke, pulled a sheaf of parchment from his coat pocket,” Our solicitors have prepared this summary of arguments and supporting magical law for you to use as you see fit.” He tilted his head to Mr. Ames,” When we heard that the hearing might be called, we contacted Mr. Ames and gave him everything we thought might help your case.” 

Mr. Ames was nodding along as the goblin spoke,” Fudge has no real basis for his claim. Our main concern is that he is able to buy or barter enough votes to carry the day. I realize this has all been very unexpected for the both of you, but have you any thoughts on perhaps discrediting Fudge’s position?” 

Harry finally smiled as he leaned forward,” My first encounter with the Minister was in my third year…” Harry told the solicitor about the kowtowing of Fudge to Malfoy in regards to the Hippogriff Buckbeak as well as bringing a Death Eater to perform the execution. The story continued with Fudge dismissing Harry, Ron and Hermione’s claim that Pettigrew was alive and Sirius innocent. Next he described the night of Voldemort’s return and Fudge again dismissing Harry’s story and the identification of several Death Eaters. “ And, you both are probably aware of how Fudge tried to make me out a nutter all of last year. Right up ‘til the night he saw Voldemort with his own eyes.” 

Ames was smiling,” We can get you to tell all of this at the hearing.” 

“ We can do better than that. Professor Dumbledore will let us use his Pensieve.” 

Ames actually chuckled,” Next Wednesday may be the worst day of Fudge’s career. The best part of it will be that he set it all up himself.” The solicitor quickly sobered,” Still, we must take nothing for granted. Gringotts will have several of the top managers from the bank there to defend their position. Gornhall and I will defend the two of you.” 

Ginny spoke up,” What about Remus Lupin and Dora Tonks? Can you represent them as well?” 

Gornhall spoke up,” Ms. Tonks case is essentially the same as Gringotts’. The bank’s position is that her portion of the estate is not in question. As for Mr. Lupin, the bank’s legal finding is unassailable, but that doen’t mean base prejudice couldn’t play a part.” The goblin looked at Ames. 

“ Gornhall is exactly right. Mr. Lupin’s condition may be a problem with several members of the Wizengamot. I see no problem representing him as well. The fact of the matter is that if one of you prevails, both should.” 

Harry nodded as did Ginny. 

“ Now let’s go over what we think the Ministry’s arguments will be and discuss how we will respond.” Ames had taken out a roll of parchment from his robes. As he found the Everinking Quill in another pocket, he began to make notes. 

After walking the two counselors to the Front Doors, Harry and Ginny ducked into the Great Hall to catch the end of lunch. 

They managed a quick word with Dora after DADA, then, walked together toward the Greenhouses for Ginny’s Herbology double period. 

As he and Remus worked on Harry’s wandless skills, Harry related the gist of the meeting with Gornhall and Ames. 

“ Harry, you didn’t need to ask your solicitor to defend me. Probably, if you win, so do I.” 

Harry dropped his arm and quit casting spells,” That may be true, but we talked about the possibility that the Ministry might choose to discredit each of us separately. If you were first, it might be too late.” 

Remus nodded and summoned a goblet of water. He offered it to Harry and stuck his hands in his robe pockets,” They may, and it probably would be.” He frowned,” Maybe if I forfeited my share..” 

“ No!” Harry ‘disappeared’ the goblet and reached for his friend’s arm,” Remus, Sirius would be furious if you did something like that.” 

Remus looked into Harry’s eyes,” You may look like James, but sometimes you sound exactly like Lily.” He smiled,” I’ll Owl Ames tonight and ask him to represent me, too.” 

Harry smiled,” Good…Did I really sound like Mum?” 

The last Marauder threw his arm across Harry’s shoulders,” More often than you could possibly know. Especially since Ginny has gotten hold of you.” 

“ What?” 

Remus chuckled,” Your wife has given you some of the basic joy of life Lily always had. It shows in your face and eyes when you’re passionate about something.” He stepped away and looked down for a few moments,” Before, you often came across only as angry, and I can understand why. But, now, you’re not angry, at least most of the time, you’re just…alive, really alive.” 

Harry didn’t know how to respond. He knew Ginny saw changes in him; she told him regularly. Did others, too? Was the difference that noticeable? 

Remus appeared to read his mind, or at least guess what he was thinking,” Molly saw it in her kitchen the morning you bonded; she’s mentioned it several times. I noticed it first, I guess, when you and Ginny were walking up Diagon Alley after going to Madam Malkin’s. 

He paused for a moment, then showed a small smile,“ No, I take that back. It was when you whispered to Ginny in the kitchen after I asked what you meant about facing Voldemort. You weren’t angry or bitter. You were talking to someone you trusted with your life, and you were glad she was there to share things.” 

Harry was suddenly aware that the tug on his magic was almost gone. He turned in time to see Ginny come through the door,” Is everything alright, Harry?” 

He met her as she walked toward him and slipped his arms around her waist,” Remus was just telling me what a bad influence you’ve been on me.” 

“ Oh, I have, have I?” 

Harry laughed and pulled her against his chest,” Yeah, you’ve heard all the bad things I’ve been accused of the past week.” 

Ginny leaned back and looked up at him,” Most of the comments I’ve heard have been very positive about the result.” 

Harry smirked,” Relying on public opinion are we?” 

Remus broke in,” As a professor here, it would be best if I heard no more of this conversation.” He bade both a good evening and exited the room. 

“ Now, what was really going on?” Ginny laid her ear against his chest. 

Harry began stroking her hair as he told Ginny what the discussion had actually been. 

Ginny was quiet for several minutes after Harry stopped talking. He finally leaned back to see her face. He was horrified to see tears tracking down her cheeks,” Ginny..?” 

“ Shh, Harry. Nothing’s wrong. I’m just thinking about how much better I am, too.” 

“ What?” 

“ This isn’t one sided, Potter. I had some issues, too. Mostly they aren’t that big a deal now, so we both win. Alright?” 

Harry had no idea what she could mean, but nodded anyway. He didn’t want to appear as clueless as he felt at the moment. 

Ginny used the front of his robes to wipe her cheeks before smiling up at him,” 
Hungry?” 

He nodded and reached for her hand. 

The next few days were as routine as their lives were ever going to be. There was a steady exchange of Owls with Ames and Gornhall. Both seemed confident that the outcome would go in their favor. 

Ron held their first full practice on Wednesday. From what Harry could see Crown and Asper both flew pretty well. 

Then there was Professor Snape; on Tuesday his hair frizzed again, but this time it turned blue. Friday, his classroom was invaded by tiny, noisy birds who defied every banishment and silencing spell the professor cast. 

Harry reminded himself that the twins would be interested in how the time delay on their Coiffure Powders was working. 

Also, Dobby needed new socks. Merlin knows he had earned them. 

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