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Aftermath By DeeMarie Chapter 6. The Wedding Ginny and Harry were to live in his cottage. Remus had moved his belongings to the gardener’s quarters on the grounds of the small farm. The day before their wedding, Ginny brought most of her belongings to her new home. Harry hesitated in the hallway. “What is it, Harry?” He took a deep breath. This was a delicate matter and in her present state he didn’t want to upset her. “Please don’t get upset, Ginny. But I have to ask you something.” “What is this about, Harry?” Harry’s heart had begun pounding in his chest. He hoped he had the right words. “It’s about your things. Where do you want to stay?” Ginny was puzzled. “If you want your own room, I’ll understand. If you need time to adjust…” “Harry,” she laid a hand gently on his arm. “Take my things to your room.” Harry cast a hopeful look at her. “We’re going to be married. You said we need to raise our child together. We can’t do that if we’re apart in our own home.” “I don’t want to pressure you, Ginny. This is all so new to us. I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.” “I want this, Harry. If we are going to make this work, we have to do this. I trust you.” He gazed into the chocolate brown depths. Harry hadn’t kissed her since she accepted his proposal, he wanted to now more than anything. Would she let him? He leaned in closer. Her lips were slightly parted her breathing had sharpened. She knew what he wanted. They had to take a first step. His lips brushed hers. It was a tender, tentative kiss. Ginny’s heart skipped. They broke apart. A soft smile played about her mouth. “Let’s get my things to our room.” The gazebo was festooned with ivy and morning glories. Harry wore dress robes in a deep green. He had somehow managed to get his hair to almost behave. At least it didn’t stick up. Ron stood by his side as Second. His navy blue robe fluttered when a breeze blew. The wedding mage, dressed in her traditional red robes, stood behind a table strewn with rose petals. The Candle of Love waited to be lit, the Circlet of Joining upon a small black serge pillow next to it. Around the gazebo stood the Weasleys and Remus. Hermione was in her place as Witness. Molly and Arthur led Ginny to the mage, Arthur in deep purple, Molly in lavender. Harry thought the years had fallen from them. Ginny’s white robe set her hair aflame. A circlet of wild flowers adorned her unbound hair. It fell to her waist in rivers of red. They were before the mage now. Molly took Ginny’s hand; Arthur took Harry’s. The elder Weasleys joined Ginny and Harry hand-in-hand. “We are here to bind two souls together,” the mage began. “The joining of man and woman, wizard and witch is sacred.” Harry and Ginny’s eyes met. “To give up a solitary existence and live for another is never easy. The journey does not follow the well-beaten path. Do you pledge to walk the path together, to catch each other when you stumble, to love each other in tempest tossed time and when seas are calm?” “We do,” they said together. The mage took up the golden Circlet. It was seamless. She bound their joined hands. “As this endless circle binds your hands, may your love bind your lives.” The mage removed he Circlet. She moved their hands over the candle. “Light this Candle so it’s flames may illumine your path.” The flame kindled as Ginny and Harry concentrated upon it. A steady blue flame appeared, its light cast a glow about Ginny and Harry. “Do you bear a token of the bond you wish to make this day, Ginny?” Hermione handed Ginny Harry’s ring, a white gold band with a single ruby set upon it. “Place it upon his finger.” She did. “Do you accept this token freely?” “Yes, I do,” Harry whispered. “Have you a token in return, Harry?” Ron handed Ginny’s ring to Harry. The band matched his, but with an emerald. “Place it upon her finger.” Harry slid the ring onto Ginny’s finger. “Do you accept this token freely?” “I do.” “May your promises made here this day last a lifetime. You are now joined.” The mage smiled sweetly at them. “I suggest you kiss Mrs. Potter now.” Smiling, Harry nodded at the witch. Harry and Ginny kissed gently. The family gathered round them. Hugs, handshakes and good wishes were shared. Fred walked over to Harry. Harry raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry for the way I acted, Harry. Take good care of her.” He held out his hand to Harry. Harry gave Fred a broad grin and took Fred’s hand, shaking it vigorously. Harry and Ginny stood outside the cottage door. “This is an old muggle custom, Ginny.” An impish grin upon his face, Harry opened the door. He picked her up and carried her inside shutting the door behind with his foot. She rested her head upon his shoulder. He carried her to the bedroom door. Setting her down he opened the door. Ginny stepped inside. Candles were glowing all about the room. Morning glories were draped over the curtains surrounding the four-poster bed. Harry had copied the walls of Ginny’s room at the Burrow, the same soft green bordered by blue and white morning glories. The curtains and bed linens were a pale green. Ginny looked around amazed. “Do you like it? Ron, Hermione and I worked to conjure this last night and this morning.” “It’s lovely, Harry. Thank you.” “I wanted you to feel at home.” She stroked his cheek. “It’s thoughtful of you, Harry. I love it.” They stared into one another’s eyes. Ginny broke eye contact. She walked over to the bed. There was a white box on it. “That’s from Hermione. She left it here this morning.” Ginny smiled. She picked up the box and walked to the door. “I’ll just go and change, Harry. I won’t be long.” Harry gulped. Ginny left the room. Harry’s heart began to pound a little harder. He wasn’t sure what to do. He went to his dresser and pulled out his pajama bottoms and retrieved his robe from the closet. He changed quickly, putting his dress robe neatly away. He padded quietly to the kitchen. Remus said he would leave them a bottle of wine chilling. Harry grabbed the bucket, two glasses and the corkscrew. He had uncorked the white wine and had finished pouring when he heard Ginny come into the room. He turned to her. He had died and gone to heaven. He had to have. There before him was an angel. Candlelight made her hair glow. Her eyes sparkled. Her shoulders were creamy white, her bare arms sinewy. The gown was white. The bodice was lace that gave a tantalizing view of her breasts. She came toward him. The firelight cast behind her and he saw the silhouette of her legs through the fabric. “Wine?” she asked. Harry handed her the glass. “You’re allowed one. I’ve been reading that book.” She took it and sipped lightly. Harry’s eyes were drawn to her throat as she swallowed. Her neck was long. He wanted nothing more than to place his hand along side and feel the pulse beating there. Was it hammering as hard as his? He looked into her eyes again. He took the glass from her hand and set it down. He reached out and pushed her hair back over her shoulder. She was breathing rapidly, the fabric caressed her skin. Harry placed his hand on the side of her neck. Her heart was beating in time to his own. Harry undid his robe and took it off. Ginny’s eyes widened. His shoulders were broad. His arms well muscled. There was a light dusting of hair on his chest. Her eyes followed the line of hair downward across his flat stomach. When she realized where her gaze was traveling she snapped them upward. Ginny raised her hand and touched the spot over his heart. His skin was warm. He breathed in deeply relishing her touch. He claimed her lips. She stepped into his embrace, her hands flat against his pectorals. He stroked her back gently making her tremble. His hands caressed her shoulders. He pushed the straps of her gown off her shoulders. His lips moved from her mouth to her neck, she was making soft sounds of pleasure. His lips moved to her shoulder. She smelled like cinnamon. He nipped the place where her neck met her shoulder. “Oh, Harry,” she breathed. She pulled her arms out from the straps of her gown and stepped back. The gown polled at her feet. His breath caught in his throat, his mouth went dry. He had never seen anything more lovely. “You’re beautiful. More than beautiful, Ginny. There aren’t words…” Her eyes half closed. His words were sending her to another place, a place of joy. He picked her up and carried her to the bed, laying her gently upon it. “Are you ready for this, Ginny? Do you really want this?” “More than anything, Harry. Be with me now.” He undressed and lay down beside her. “Let me touch you, Ginny. I want to make your body sing for me.” She nodded. He began. Play her, he did. The melody of her heart sounded in his ears. She tentatively touched him. He smiled. Her softness matched his hardness. The song was simple at first, each learning the other’s tune. Soon the tunes began to merge. Melody and harmony, each kiss a grace note. A soft song sweetly sung. The tune became more complex, the sound building, becoming louder, more strident. Now, now was the time for the music to join. Their songs merged into one. “Ginny, Ginny…” he cried out. They reached the crescendo together. Music and light became one. Pulling her close to him, Harry kissed her tenderly. Neither had said the word love. Ginny lay awake next to Harry. Her eyes traveled his frame. It had been nearly three months since that night and Harry still bore the marks. She remembered tending each of his wounds. She had dismissed using magic to tend him. She hadn’t the skills nor did she want to take the chance that magic might aggravate whatever had happened to him. At the time she had been concerned about his injuries and in pain from her own. Now as she finally looked back, she realized there were other things going on in her mind. Things she had pushed away because of the situation. As she had lain there waiting for Harry to fall asleep, she had held him close. He needed warmth. She had started to rub him, his arms, his chest; she had wrapped her legs in his. There were feelings emerging she wanted to ignore, thought she had. She felt the need to give him her warmth, her caring. If she didn’t he wouldn’t survive. It felt good to hold him as he fell asleep. It felt somehow right. As he drifted off she felt a strange stirring within her, as if Harry were sharing something. At first she wanted to block it. She didn’t want to be hurt. There was something that compelled her to accept what he offered without knowing. She had thought she heard him breathe her name, she couldn’t be sure. It was then that sleep had claimed her exhausted body. Ginny remembered dreaming of Harry, whole and healed and loving her. That was why she hadn’t resisted him. She wanted that love, hoping for it even if it was just for the night. She had denied her feelings for so long. That night with Harry in her arms, she couldn’t deny it. It was daylight that brought clarity. What they had done was wrong. Wrong for him, wrong for her. She was his past, not his future. Yes they shared a bond in Riddle. This bond would only bring painful memories. Harry needed more than memories, he needed a future. He wouldn’t get that now. Ginny sighed. She would have to do everything in her power to give him that future. She decided never to mention the past to him. Harry would never regret this decision. He may not love her now, but that would change. It didn’t matter about her feelings. She liked Harry. Enough of love would follow, she was sure of it. I’ll make you happy, Harry. Whatever it takes. I may not ever hear ‘I love you’ from you, but I will make sure you never regret this. She closed her eyes and sleep came quickly. Ginny turned in her sleep brushing his legs. It had brought him awake. He turned so she would be comfortable against him. This was how he had woken that night, too. The feel of her backside against him has set shivers all along him. Despite his injuries, Ginny had given him something. Something miraculous. He remembered being tired, wanting not to go on. It had to be over. All he wanted was to join with those he had left behind, those who would never know what he had done, what he had become. Yes Ginny had given him hope. He didn’t understand how. He had lain in her arms, felling her try to warm him; not knowing his soul had grown cold. Little by little the warmth entered him. The more he felt it, the more he wanted. The more he wanted, the more he took. It was pulling him back from the abyss. Drawing him back to life. His strength was returning. Ginny had moved against him. It was the only way he could respond, warmth for warmth. Since that night he had thought about it. He cared for Ginny. He knew she didn’t love him. The crush was over. Yet there was affection there. They had talked, shared things about how she had coped with what Voldemort had done to her. It was harder for Harry to share with Ginny, but he had tried. After what happened, though, he had to know what she felt. He wanted to tell her how she had saved him, how he wanted to see if there was more to their relationship. There had to be more. There just had to be. She left and Harry was lost again. There was no way he could talk to anyone about it. There was Ginny to consider. She had to be the first; he needed to know how she felt. Even after they agreed to this marriage, they hadn’t really spoken about it. They talked about the baby, and how she was feeling physically. He had gone with her to the healer for her initial visit. It was too clinical. They needed to talk. Harry was burning to talk. She had to know he wanted this to work. He wanted to fall in love with her. He was already half way there. His eyes opened. A sea of red was before him. Her hair was draped over her shoulder. He gently moved it aside, and brushed his fingers along her skin. She moved. Harry held his breath. She turned to him, a smile on her lips; he could see her clearly in the first light of dawn. “You’re awake,” she said to him. “Couldn’t you sleep?” “I did and very well, thank you.” Ginny blushed, it set her freckles dancing. She looked into his eyes. “What do you want now, Harry?” She was bold. Harry’s mouth curled up. “You, Ginny Potter. Right at this moment, just you.”

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