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A/N – The Potterverse and all its attendant things belongs to JKR, Warner Bros, Bloomsbury Press et al. The idea however is mine alone. I am responsible for this. You can blame me or praise me, as you like. Afterwards… By DeeMarie Chapter 1 The End of the War If it hadn’t been for the fires lit by spells missing their marks, she would never have seen him staggering out of the Forbidden Forest that late May night. Ginny Weasley had just finished casting a spell to tie up the fallen Death Eater before her when the firelight had reflected off something on the edge of the forest. She pushed her tangled red tresses back from her face. Sweat had dripped from her brow and stung her delicate brown eyes. The forest was dark; the trees had always kept light from penetrating even this close to the edge of the wood. She narrowed her eyes hoping for a better view, raising her wand to be ready for anything. The fighting had been going on for hours. It had begun in Hogsmeade, the only totally wizarding village in England. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was too well protected for a full-scale assault. Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord, the most evil wizard for hundreds of years had decided to attack the village. It was his only hope of enticing Harry Potter out. Through deception he had gained the knowledge of the prophecy that tied his fate to the 17-year-old wizard. Neither could live while the other survived. He wanted to live – forever. It was the only way to draw the boy out. Harry was too well protected. Voldemort had tried other means, coercion through dreams, outright possession, but the boy had always managed to escape. Voldemort was tired of waiting, tired of subterfuge, so the assault had begun. It had the desired effect. He sensed the boy’s rage and frustration. The Dark Lord summoned Harry deep into the Forbidden Forest for the final confrontation. The light flashed again and Ginny was ready. She crouched low; the firelight behind her would make her too easy a target. The voice was low. She heard it clearly despite the noises about her. “Ginny!” He had seen her. It was Harry. He lurched to a pine tree at the forest’s edge and wrapped one arm about it. Harry slowly slid down the trunk, the firelight flashed in the lenses of his glasses again. “My God, Harry!” She wanted to jump up and run to him. He was hurt. Caution stopped her. She didn’t know who was about. Death Eaters had been spotted on the grounds. The defenses had been breached. She had to get to him. The bushes she was hiding behind offered precious little cover as it was. Ginny was lucky to have seen the Death Eater first now bound before her. Her reaction had been just luck, she knew that. The Death Eater had been more surprised at seeing a student there than she had been to see him. The full body-binding spell she used would keep him immobilized for hours, but who knew how long the fighting would last? Ginny had tied him up. Now she needed to cross the small exposed patch of ground to get to Harry. How? She scanned the area. No one was near. She didn’t want to get up and run, exposed to who knows what. She would have to crawl over. Low to the ground, she wouldn’t be seen. She slid to her belly then in as loud a voice as she dared, she tried to tell Harry she was on her way. “Stay low, Harry. I’m coming.” He had heard her. Harry nodded from where he half-lay, half-sat beside the bole of the pine. It seemed to take forever for her to crawl to the edge of the forest. Her heart was beating so fast she feared it would burst in her chest. Stray bits of grass worked their way into her mouth, she spat them out. A searing pain shot up her leg and she nearly cried out. A jagged protrusion from a root she hadn’t seen had torn into her thigh. She grit her teeth and crawled on. Finally Ginny had reached the safety of the forest shadows. She rose into a crouch and covered the short distance to Harry quickly. “Harry! Harry!” she whispered. He can’t be dead, her mind wailed. His eyes were closed, his head lolling back. Sweat had plastered his usually unruly black hair to his head. His robes were covered with blood. “Come on, Harry, look at me.” He opened his vivid green eyes and slowly righted himself. Ginny sighed in relief. “Got to get to the castle,” he breathed. “We can’t. There’s too many of them about. The Death Eaters are on the grounds.” “Where…” he whispered. Ginny looked about her. Then she spotted it. “Hagrid’s. It’s not far. If we stay to the edge of the forest, we can get there. Can you stand?” With a grunt of pain, Harry hoisted himself to his feet, staggering into her as she rose beside him. She grabbed onto him, her arms encircling his waist. Harry sucked in air as her arm had grazed one of his wounds. No time to apologize now, she thought, we have to get moving. There were voices coming toward them. She didn’t know if they were friend or foe. She wasn’t going to take the chance to find out. “Ready?” she asked. Harry nodded. They retreated further into the shadows and cautiously made their way toward Hagrid’s hut. Five minutes of painful walking had brought them to the cabin. They skirted around to the back door. “Alohomora!” Ginny whispered pointing her want to the door. She pushed the door open and they staggered inside. They had both spent many hours here and didn’t need any light to find Hagrid’s bed. Harry collapsed onto his side. Ginny quickly went back to the door. She shut it and placed a complicated locking charm on it. It would take more than a simple alohomora to open that door now. They needed light. She had to tend to Harry. Ginny knew what to do. She went to each window and pulled the shutters closed. The charm she used at each of them would block out any light coming from inside and prevent anyone from looking in seeing them. She secured the front door as the back. She lit the fireplace with bluebell flames. They were smokeless; it would still look as if the hut were as empty as it had been since Hagrid had disappeared. Ginny knew the spell to use to keep the sounds they would make silent to prying ears, yet would allow just enough noise to filter in from outside to let her know when the fighting ended. She had done it none too soon. Harry had begun to cough. He tried to stifle the sound. He was aware enough to realize they were still in danger. She was so close to a window that she could hear someone approaching the cabin. She tensed. Harry was watching her. Ginny put her fingers to her lips. He nodded understanding. She opened the shutter slightly, and then pressed her ear to the gap. “Gregory!” the man’s voice called. “Gregory where are you?” “Here, Da!” She knew that voice. Goyle and his father were outside. “Get over here boy!” “What do we do now, Da?” “We get out of here. Can’t Apparate here. Got to get off the grounds.” “Where will we go, Da?” “Denmark. I have friends there. They’ll hide us. We’ll lose ourselves there. With the Dark Lord gone, our protection here is over.” “You’re sure he’s gone?” “Look at the mark, boy. It’s gone. Nothing left of it. He’s dead. The Potter boy won. Now stop asking questions and let’s go!” They moved off. Ginny stored the knowledge of their location and closed the shutters. She turned back to Harry. “I’ll get some water heating. We need to clean those wounds. Try to get your things off, Harry.” She watched him as he struggled painfully out of his robe and then she went to the fire. She conjured water in the cauldron sitting there. Ginny hefted it onto the hook and pushed it over the flames. The bluebell fire would heat it quickly. Ginny found one of Hagrid’s pillow cases and tore it into strips for bandages. Grabbing towels, Ginny brought them to the bed. Harry had managed to get his shirt off but had collapsed onto his back. He could do no more. She removed his trainers, and then unbuckled the waistband of his jeans. “Come on, Harry, try to help me. Raise your hips, I’ve got to get these off you.” He raised himself up a little and tugging as gently as she could, she pulled them off him. Ginny hoisted his legs onto the bed. “The water should be warm enough now. I’ll be right back.” He didn’t make a sound as she tended him. Ginny knew he must be in pain. She cleaned him up as best she could and using the healing salve Hagrid had kept for his Care of Magical Creatures class, wrapped Harry in her makeshift bandages. He had begun to shiver. Shock must be setting in. Ginny covered Harry with Hagrid’s quilt and went to tend her own wounds. She had scraped her stomach raw as she crawled to Harry as well as opened her thigh. She took off her Henley shirt and stepped out of her jeans. There weren’t enough bandages so she rubbed some salve onto her stomach after she had washed up. There were splinters in the gash on her leg. She picked them out, stifling the moans of pain by putting the heel of her free hand in her mouth. She washed the cut off and applied a liberal amount of salve. The last of the bandages wrapped her leg. She stood by a window. There were still sounds of fighting. It still wasn’t safe. How long would this go on? They must all know by now that Volde – no Riddle, after all that’s who he truly was, was gone. They must be desperate. A low moan sounded from Hagrid’s bed. She turned to him. He looked to be asleep. She walked over to check him. He was still trembling. She tried to tuck the quilt about him tighter. He opened his eyes. “I’m c-c-cold,” he whispered. “It’s the shock, Harry. You’ll warm up soon.” “N-n-no, I w-w-won’t.” He started to shake violently then. She could hear his teeth chattering. She had to get him warm. This wasn’t good. “Move over, Harry. I’ll try to get you warm.” She crawled in next to him and pulled the covers about them. She chaffed his arms. “Is that better?” He nodded. “Get some sleep. I’ll keep an ear out. As soon as it dies down out there, I’ll go get help.” Harry shut his eyes. Ginny held him close. Slowly his trembling eased. His breathing became even and deep, he was asleep. The adrenaline that had kept her going had ceased to flow. Exhaustion overwhelmed her. Before she knew it, she too slept. It was the feather-soft kisses that began to rouse her. They began at the nape of her neck and drifted down to her shoulder. His tongue licked her skin and she shivered, desire sparked. His hands caressed her. She felt his hard-muscled chest against her back. His hand reached around to touch her now sensitive skin. She wasn’t quite awake. She wanted to hold on to this dream. Heat began pooling somewhere below her stomach. She moved against him and a low moan sounded in her ear. It sent a frisson of desire down her spine. His hand moved lower. He was doing things to her that made her lose rational thought. She was awake now, her body moving in ways that drove him on. There was no stopping this now. Neither of them could. Neither of them wanted to. Who knew heat would be so pleasure filled? She wanted more. She was glorying in it. She urged him on. Their kisses filled with passion. She was rising higher, her body matching the movement of his hand. Then suddenly she was over the edge, calling out his name, begging for something more. He couldn’t refuse her. He was on top of her, pressing her down. There was a sharp pain, but only for a moment and then he began to do things to her she never dreamed of. She had thought that she couldn’t have felt more pleasure but she did. It was building again, to a fevered pitch. He cried out and that sent her spiraling out of control. The universe exploded around her and she claimed his lips. It was a while before he could move off her. His breathing was ragged in her ears. A sweet lethargy settled over them. He slid off her and gathered her against his chest. Soon they were both asleep. One moment Ginny was asleep, and the next she was awake. Awake and aware. Oh, God, no! We can’t have. We didn’t. Harry’s hand caressed her breast. We did. Dear Lord! I did! A tear slid down her cheek. Carefully she left the bed so she wouldn’t wake him. She looked down. She needed to confirm with her eyes what her brain had already accepted. The evidence was there to see. Little crimson drops on the sheet, some staining her thigh. Numb, she went over to the cauldron and used the still warm water to clean up. She found her undergarments on the floor by the bed and quickly got dressed. She used her wand to clean Harry up and got his boxers back on him. Please let him think this was just a dream. She checked for noises outside. The grounds were quiet now. The first rays of dawn were dusting the landscape. She could see the doors to the castle from here. They opened. The headmaster and Madam Pomfrey began to descend the steps. Ginny knew they were coming. She undid the locking charms and lifted the silencing spell. They were there a few minutes later. Madam Pomfrey placed Harry on her magically conjured stretcher and took him back to the castle followed closely by Dumbledore and herself. Madam Pomfrey had treated both hers and Harry’s wounds. She pronounced Ginny fit to leave. Ginny didn’t talk to Harry Potter again until well into August.

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