Harry pulled Ginny’s hair back to give him access to her neck.
"Harry James Potter! What are you doing?" the girl protested, rather feebly. "We have to study! N.E.W.T.S are in less than a month now…"
Her voice trailed off because his lips and tongue had found a soft spot. He knew exactly how to distract her from her notes and books. Ginny closed the one she was reading and let it fall carelessly to the floor of the Room of Requirement. Then she turned to her boyfriend, placed her hand on the back of his head and pressed her lips to his.
Harry slid his tongue over her full lips and deepened the kiss when they readily parted. But he took his time to enjoy the softness and the taste of her, making her moan. She wanted more. Well, she would have to ‘ask’ for it. He felt her untuck his shirt and she leaned back to take it off.
Ginny pulled Harry towards her, and they laid down. Her hands and fingers danced on his bare stomach and chest. As she was leaning in for another hungry kiss, she told herself that he was well-muscled, but not overly so, which was just fine. His right hand wandered up her thigh, but when instead of easing up her skirt it kept going right above it, all of a sudden, she felt very angry.
Ginny pulled away. "Don’t you want me, Harry?" she asked him in a dangerous tone.
Harry was utterly taken aback. "I… uh…"
His glasses were slightly askew and he was gaping – if she had not been so frustrated, she would have found this extremely funny. Ginny sat up, turning her back to her boyfriend.
"I love you Harry. Two years ago, when you broke up with me because you were afraid Voldemort could use me to get to you, I understood. I wasn’t happy with your decision, but I knew why you… we had to do it."
"What’s wrong, Ginny? We’re together – we’ve been together again since I came to in this hospital room…"
She turned her head and glared at him. "That’s the point, Harry James Potter. You and I have gone through so much already. I sometimes feel like we already lived a whole lifespan, because so many things happened. But they were mostly bad. Now I want all the good things, and I want them now!"
Harry sat beside her, nodding his head. "You will have them, Ginny, and more. I swear."
"Good, because I can’t do this anymore." When he looked at her questioningly, she rolled her eyes and added: "The last times we had a snog, they left me barely remembering my own name!"
Harry smiled. She was beautiful, especially when she was angry. There was a fire in her chocolate eyes he found irresistible. He nodded his head decidedly and said: "I’ve always wanted it to be perfect, and it will be."
And he kissed her before she could protest. When she pulled back, the Room of Requirement had changed around them. They weren’t on a couch anymore, but they were sitting on the edge of a bed. And all around…
"You told me once you wanted a house in a tree when you were a little girl," Harry smiled smugly, seeing the look on her face.
The ceiling was now the canopy of a large tree, as if the floor was perched on its strongest limbs. Boughs like those of a weeping willow were cascading all around and rustling slightly. Flowers and tiny magical light orbs were tangled into them.
"I love you," Ginny whispered, straddling him and kissing him passionately, her hands rubbing down his back, her fingernails digging a little into his skin. Then she leaned back, unbuttoned her blouse and took it off. When she looked into Harry’s eyes, there was something there she’d never seen before: a yearning he’d never dared show her.
He traced the outline of her face with the back of his fingers and let his right hand slid the length of her throat to her collarbone while the other gently cupped one breast. Ginny moaned and claimed his lips once more, pushing him back onto the bed. They finished taking off their clothes and let their hands explore each other, memorizing the spots where their caresses elicited a stronger reaction.
"Now," Ginny gasped.
Harry nodded and proceeded gently, if a bit awkwardly. Then desire and instinct took over for them both.
As they were cuddling up to one another, afterwards, Harry said: "I changed my mind, Ginny."
"About what you’re going to do after Hogwarts?" she asked him.
Harry wasn’t surprised. They understood each other so well, sometimes without having to say a word. "Yes, I… I want to study to become an Auror."
Her head on his chest, Ginny nodded. "I know."
But Harry continued. "I know I said I didn’t want anything to do with dark wizards anymore, but if I didn’t fight them and one of them rose slowly and secretly like Voldemort did and suddenly came to power when our children would be of age, I wouldn’t be able to live with that. All because I know how to fight the dark arts."
Ginny looked up and her brown eyes caught his green ones. "You don’t have to."
"I know I don’t have to. But it’s the choice I’m making. It’s my duty, and I want to do it. I want to make the world a safer place to live in."
Ginny sighed and opened her mouth to talk, but he wasn’t finished.
"I’m sorry, sweetheart, I know I said I wanted to lead a calm life, but…"
"I’ve always known you would choose that path, Harry," Ginny interrupted him. "Always. And I respect you for that. I’ll probably be worried each time you’ll be doing your job, but I’ll always be proud of you for making that choice. No one would have blamed you if you had decided to enjoy life and stay away from harm. But I’ve always known you wouldn’t."
Harry kissed her brow. "I love you, Ginevra Molly Weasley."
Not so far from Hogwarts, in an apartment above one of the shops in Hogsmeade, Hermione heard her daughter start to wail and closed her eyes. She needed to study. She was behind in so many classes – she had been behind since the beginning of the school year, because of her pregnancy and now because she was a mother. She loved her daughter, she truly did, but it was harder than she had thought to be both a mother and a student.
The young woman waited for her daughter to fall asleep again. Damia couldn’t be hungry, not yet. But the baby kept on wailing. Sighing, Hermione was about to stand up when she felt a strong hand on her shoulder.
"Stay here, I’ll take care of it," Charlie said.
She had not heard him approach from behind. "No, Charlie, wait!" Hermione called after him. "You don’t have to…"
"I know I don’t have to," he answered from the corridor between the bedrooms.
And she could actually hear the warm smile on his handsome face. A minute later, Damia had stopped crying. Sighing with relief, Hermione went back to her notes and books.
Half an hour later, Charlie still had not come back to the sitting room. Hermione looked up from her Ancient Runes book and her eyes wandered towards the door leading to the sleeping part of the apartment. No sound was coming from there. Intrigued, the young woman stood up and headed towards the bedroom she shared with her daughter. The door was half-opened. She took a peek inside and saw Charlie in the rocking chair Molly had given to her, saying it had always been the only way to put Ron to sleep. He had Damia cradle in one arm, and his free hand was caressing one of the baby girl’s softly.
Hermione told herself it was amazing how his strong and scarred hands could be gentle when they held Damia. For the moment, not-yet-two-months old Damia was looking at Charlie, who was weaving for her a tale of witches, wizards and dragons. His voice was soft, trying to lull the baby back to sleep. But she was resisting it with all her might, as though she wanted to hear more. And he didn’t seem to mind at all.
The young woman smiled at the heartwarming sight. She was a good mother, but she often lacked the necessary patience rocking a baby to sleep required. And here was that man who needed adventure as much as the air he breathed and he looked so relaxed and patient, as if there were no other place in the world he would have prefered to be.
There was no place in the world Charlie would have prefered to be than in this room, with this child in his arms, knowing her beautiful mother was so close… The young man started and blinked. Where did that thought come from? He had not idea.
During the first two days, things had been a bit strained between Charlie and Hermione. Charlie could tell Hermione was glad she would keep on studying at Hogwarts, but she also was embarrassed at the idea of the ‘sacrifice’ he was making.
They had had an interesting conversation, the second night…
"Yeah?" he answered. Then seeing her wringling her hands, he added: "Is there anything wrong? If you need anything…"
" No!" She grimaced, probably realizing she’d said that a bit too forcefully. "It’s just that… I haven’t even thought about asking you before…"
Charlie had been raised in a house full of boys and his mother had always been one to speak her mind, so he was at a loss when a girl seemed to wait for him to understand what she didn’t say. But thankfully, Hermione continued: "Won’t your girlfriend be upset when she hear about you living with me and my baby?"
"My… what?" he stammered. He didn’t know why, but the unexpected question made him blush.
Charlie shook his head, chuckling to cover his embarassment. "I see you didn’t talk to my mother… I don’t have a girlfriend, Hermione. So don’t worry, ok?"
The way she was looking at him… it almost made him squirm.
"Why don’t you?"
"Why don’t I… what?" But he already knew what she meant.
"Why don’t you have a girlffriend? You’re handsome and nice. Any girl would like to have a boyfriend like you." Then he saw her made a face. "I’m sorry, it’s none of my business."
She was about to turn to leave when he answered, shrugging: "I guess I haven’t found the right girl for me."
"Well, maybe you should try looking for her, don’t you think? When I see you with Damia, I can’t help but think you would make a good father." Hermione’s expression grew thoughtful. "Maybe I could…"
"Don’t even think about it!" Charlie warned her. He knew that look. "I already have a mother, thank you. If there’s a girl for me, I will find her."
Unconvinced, Hermione opened her mouth to retort, but obviously thought better of it. Charlie was reminded of how Ron used to call her when he was mad at her: the insufferable know-it-all.
Charlie smiled. Hermione would probably always be a know-it-all, but insufferable? No, he wouldn’t say that. He would say she was challenging – she knew so much about so many things. To catch the interest of such a woman, a man had to use his brain, and even more so to keep her interested. He’d never had such stimulating conversations – and arguments – as he had now with Hermione. She kept him in his toes, and he liked that.
He stood up carefully and put a now sleeping Damia back in her craddle. Then he walked to the sitting room. However, Hermione wasn’t there. He heard her in the kitchen and headed there to help her make dinner.
"Is she finally asleep?" Hermione asked him.
Charlie nodded his head. "Yep."
"Not for long, I guess," she sighed. "In an hour, she’ll be hungry"
They busied themselves in a companionable silence, their hips and their arms brushing sometimes. Charlie couldn’t help to give more than a sidelong glance to the young woman and realized Hermione was beautiful to his eyes. He didn’t like her because she had been Ron’s fiancée and a member of their family for so long. He didn’t like her because she was Damia’s mother. He didn’t like her because he had made a promise to his late brother.
Charlie did like Hermione. For no other reason than her being… Hermione.
"Are you all right, Charlie?" Hermione’s soft voice broke into his daydreaming.
He looked up and nodded his head. "Yeah," he answered after clearing his voice.
Damn, he couldn’t afford to fall for her, could he?
Later that night, as he was tossing around in his bed, sleep eluding him, Charlie tried to analyze his feelings. And he had to admit to himself he was slowly falling for the young woman who shared his apartment.
Hermione, Ginny, Harry and Charlie were walking down the main street in Hogsmeade, doing some shopping.
Hermione looked at Ginny, then at Harry. There was something between those two, something that wasn’t there before.
"Merlin’s beard, you did it!" she whispered loudly to the redhead.
Ginny’s cheek turned crimson, but she nodded and smiled. "How did you guess?"
"I don’t know… It’s something in the way you two move around one another."
Hermione shrugged. "It’s just obvious."
Ginny feigned to be afraid. "Obvious enough for Charlie to notice?"
The brunette giggled. "You know as well as I do that nothing is ever obvious enough for a man to notice!"
They burst out laughing.
"What’s so funny?" Harry asked them, frowning slightly.
But neither of the girls answered him, because at that very moment, they saw a witch with ebony hair walking straight to Charlie with a smile on her face.
"Charlie Weasley!" she called brightly.
She was tall and willowy, with a slightly sallow skin that enhanced her very blue eyes. She was beautiful, and she knew it. When she saw the way the witch was looking at Charlie, Ginny instantly felt the urge to wring the girl’s neck – or to hex her to oblivion.
"Uh… Serena Addams," Charlie answered, when she hugged him.
"How are you?" she asked, then she finally noticed he wasn’t alone. "I bet the redhead is the little sister you told me about! Another redhead, you see…" She let out a slightly throaty laugh, as if she had just said something very funny.
Ginny narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth. Nah, no hex… maybe she would hit her, muggle-style.
"Yes," Charlie responded, having recovered from his surprise. "Serena, this is my little sister Ginny, her boyfriend, Harry Potter and…"
"You have a kid?" Serena exclaimed, eyes wide with shock when she saw Hermione and her baby.
"No," Hermione answered quickly. "Charlie and I aren’t…"
Maybe she would hit Hermione too, Ginny thought. Couldn’t she have just kept quiet, for once? Now Serena was smiling seductively at Charlie again…
"Good. I’m sure you remember what I saw in my crystal ball, that day." She let out a throaty laugh again before turning to the others. "I saw me and Charlie getting married, " she said, lowering her voice.
"And once I thought I saw myself living ina real palace," Ginny said sweetly. "I guess it was just wishful daydreaming."
When they were walking away from Serena Addams, a couple of minutes later, Hermione told Ginny: "You don't like her."
Since it wasn't a question, Ginny looked at her pointedly for all answer.
"I thought you liked Charlie, Hermione. If you did, you'd know she's not the right girl for him."
A/N: I'm sorry I didn't update in a while. RL got a bit crazy. But I do hope you enjoyed reading chapter 7... and I promise I'll post chapter 8 very soon. Please, leave a review. :)
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