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Ten: Happy Christmas


The weeks of November and December whizzed by in a blur of work, homework, and snow. Before Harry knew it, he, Ron and Hermione were off to the Burrow for Christmas and New Years.

Ginny was already staying there for Christmas Holidays, and being so busy, Harry had yet to visit her. He was especially busy avoiding Morgana after what he’d read in her diary, and was hoping to ask Ginny what to do when he met up with her.

Early on the morning of the 22nd, Harry, Ron and Hermione flooed in the Weasley’s kitchen to a squeal from Mrs. Weasley. She enveloped the trio in a tight hug and then set them down on their feet.

“It’s been so long!” Mrs. Weasley, said, tearing up.

“Mum…” Ron complained, brushing ashes out of his hair. Harry fixed his glasses and looked around at the red-haired filled kitchen.

Percy, George and Mr. Weasley sat around the breakfast table, eating mountains of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking. Harry grinned and waved hello, remembering nostalgically all the time he’d spent here. But someone was missing.

“Ginny’s asleep, Harry dear. You can wake her if you want.” Mrs. Weasley said. Harry felt 10 pairs of male, protective eyes bare into his back as he left the kitchen and headed up the stairs to find his girlfriend.

Harry knocked on her door softly and he heard something hit the floor. A moan sounded and someone came to open the door.

“Urghhhhrabaa…” Harry heard Ginny croak, and he couldn’t help but grin. Ginny was wearing short shorts and a white t-shirt, and had a thick blanket wrapped around her. Her long red-hair stood up all over the place, and she had splotchy skin and bags under her eyes.

“Oh Merlin…” Ginny said, tramping back on to her bed and falling on to it. Harry grinned again and wandered into the dark room.

The room was absurdly messy and dark; and as Harry stepped over piles of who-knows-what, he noticed various articles of clothing that made him blush.

Ginny was tangled up in her sheets on her bed and had her eyes closed. Harry headed over to the window and spread apart the curtains. Light streamed into the room and Ginny groaned, hiding under her pillow.

“Rise and shine, beautiful.” Harry said. He had never had pet names for Ginny before, but beautiful sounded good on his tongue. It fit.

Ginny groaned again. “Don’t feel so beautiful right now.” She said to her pillow. Harry stepped over a pile of schoolbooks and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“You know what would wake you up?” Harry said, grabbing her pillow and throwing it to the floor. Ginny covered her eyes and moaned again.

“Coffee?” Ginny asked, curling up. Harry grabbed the bed sheets and tossed them too. Ginny curled even further when her bare legs were exposed to the air.

“No…” Harry said, putting himself on top of her, “Tickling!” Harry grinned maniacally and tickled Ginny under her arms and neck. She shrieked with laughter and writhed around.

“Stop! Stop! STOP!” She shouted, laughing and pushing him away.

“No, no, I think you need a bit more.” Harry said again, tickling her even harder.

Suddenly the door slammed open and both Harry and Ginny stopped to look at who was there. Ron, George, Mrs. Weasley and Hermione were standing in the doorway. Hermione and George both had a tight hold on Ron’s arms, but he wrenched away, storming into the room, his face in a snarl.

“Get off my sister, you bastard!” Ron yelled, pushing Harry hard. He fell off the bed and was too surprised to even retaliate. Ginny stood up to face him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You’re the bloody bastard, Ron!” Ginny yelled, standing up. Her eyes sparkled with fury.

“You were yelling for him to stop!”

“HE WAS BLOODY TICKLING ME, YOU IDIOT!” Ginny screamed, “Just get out of here! I don’t even want to see your stupid face!”

“That’s enough!” Mrs. Weasley brought a welcome intervention, “I won’t have anymore of this language or fighting in my house. I want you to get dressed, Ginny, and all the rest of you, back to the kitchen. Now.”

Ginny ran over to the other side of her bed to help Harry to his feet. She was glowering, but it was nothing compared to the feelings erupting inside Harry. How could Ron mistrust him so much?

Ron had a strange expression on his face. It was almost as though he was so ready to blow up, that when it didn’t happen, he wasn’t quite sure what to think. Harry couldn’t even look him in the eye. Ron was frozen to the spot, his jaw dropped. Hermione slid into the room, took his arm and whisked him away. George and Mrs. Weasley left too, until only Harry and Ginny were left.

“I’m going to get dressed now, OK?” Ginny said weakly. Harry nodded, and wandered back to the kitchen.

***

Harry couldn’t look at Ron the whole meal. He and Ginny exchanged sad glances as the rest of Weasleys tried to fill the silence.
After Harry had scraped some of the food around his plate for a bit, Ginny took his hand and stood up.

“Just in case you’re all wondering.” Ginny said, looking right over at Ron, “Harry and I are going to snog now. Buh-bye.” The entire family and Hermione looked downright aghast at this. Harry and Ginny left the kitchen to dropped jaws.

As soon as they were upstairs, Ginny collapsed into giggles.

“Oh…Harry…I’m sorry…I know you’re mad at Ron but that was…so hilarious!” Ginny finally caught her breath and shoved Harry into her bedroom, slamming the door. She collapsed on top of him, forcing him on to the bed.

“I missed you so much. How come you didn’t write?” Ginny asked, flipping over so their noses were touching. She was running her finger up and down his lightning scar.

“I was so busy with work and studying and everything. I’m really
sorry.” Harry said. He let his hands rest on her back.

“It’s OK. I just missed you. A lot.”

“I missed you too.” Harry said, stroking her hair. He loved her hair. It was so shiny, smooth and red. The colours reminded him of the colours of Fawkes’s plummage when he had still been at Hogwarts.

“Anything interesting happen to you?” Ginny asked, nestling her head down near his ear. His Adams apple bobbed as he swallowed.

“Actually. Yeah.” Harry started. Ginny’s eyes urged him on.

“And?”

“Well…you know Morgana Taylor?”

“Yes. Your bosses’ niece.”

“Well…I accidentally…sort of…got a look at…” Harry trailed off.

“At what?”

“Her diary.” Harry swallowed, and Ginny sat up, so that she was straddling his stomach.

“You did what? Harry how could you!”

“I didn’t mean to…I just…she was acting weird and I wanted to know why!”

“And did you find out?”

“Yes,” Harry said, swallowing again, “I think she sort of…sort of fancies me…” Ginny froze.

“Fancies you?”

“Yeah…” Harry couldn’t think of anything to say. Ginny crawled off him and went to sit beside him instead. She hugged her legs and looked down at the floor.

“I love you?”

“That’s a good answer, Harry.” Ginny giggled. But, she frowned.

“She’s only thirteen. I think you ought to let her down gently.”

“Well, thanks for that…” Harry said sarcastically.

“That’s not what I meant….I was just thinking aloud. I think I’d better do it for you.”

“What?”

“I better tell her. It’ll be easier, girl-to-girl. And you can’t get off admitting you read her diary or anything.”

“What, so you’re just going to waltz in and tell her I’m too old for her?”

“No, I’ll drop in one day to visit you, then I’ll say I’ve noticed some of the way she’s been acting around you and then let her down nicely. Simple.”

“Okay…thanks, Gin.” Harry said, wrapping his arms around her and sliding her back on to his lap, something else on his mind.

“Do I get a present?” Ginny asked, leaning back. Harry grinned and kissed her full on the mouth, dipping her down in his arms. Giving a throaty moan, Ginny slipped her arms around his neck and brought him down with her, deepening the kiss. He slid her tongue between her lips and felt her bring her own around the corner of his mouth. She sucked longingly on his top lip and pushed him down underneath her, so she was lying on top of him again. She kept kissing him as she un-buttoned his shirt and ran her hands all over his chest.

“Did I tell you I missed you?” Ginny whispered, as the kiss ended.

“I think you might’ve mentioned it.” Harry grinned and kissed her again.

***

On the afternoon of the 24th, guest upon guest arrived for Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas dinner. There was Hagrid, and Andromeda and Teddy, and Charlie and his new Romanian girlfriend, who Harry was pretty sure was named Camelia. Bill arrived with Fleur, who announced upon entry that she was expecting. Harry watched, amused, as Mrs. Weasley dove on a very blushing Bill, showering him in kisses.
Luna and her father and Neville and Augusta Longbottom arrived soon after everyone else. Harry was surprised to see the Lovegoods; especially since his last meeting with Xenophilius had involved him trying to give Harry to the Death Eaters.

Mr. Lovegood had shuffled in beside his daughter, holding a pot of something that smelled an awful lot like dungbombs.

“We brought some freshwater plimpie soup!” Luna said, as Mr. Lovegood held it out to Mrs. Weasley. “Good thing too,” Luna added, looking around, “Some of these decorations may anger the Gernumblies. The Plimpies and the Gernumblies are long-time allies.”

Mrs. Weasley had a forced looking smile on as she took the pot. As she thanked them, she sounded awful lot like she wasn’t breathing through her nose.

Mr. Weasley did a quick head count as the Longbottoms and Lovegoods filed into the sitting room with the rest of the guests. “Right,” she said, “Kinglsey and Minerva are visiting after supper. So that’s everyone. Better finish with supper, Molly.” Mrs. Weasley nodded and bustled out of room, but suddenly turned back.

“Harry, Ron,” she said, “Could you help me peel potatoes? And Ginny and Hermione, would you get some rosemary from the back shed for me?” Harry positively grimaced with thoughts of being alone in the kitchen with Ron.

Mrs. Weasley left to serve the appetizers as soon as Harry and Ron had graced the kitchen. Not meeting Ron’s eye, Harry snatched up a potato peeler and began fervently peeling the potato, all the while glaring at it.

Ron cleared his throat. Harry kept peeling. “You could just use magic, you know.” Ron said, picking up his potato peeler and tapping it with his wand. Harry grunted. He hadn’t thought of this, but it would look pretty stupid to start doing it magically now.

“Look,” Ron said, and Harry waited a moment, “I’m…sorry. I’m a git, okay? It’s just…” Ron looked around, almost as though he was hoping the right words might be written on the wall for him.

“I just…I just don’t want her to get hurt. You don’t know how it is, I just…I need to protect her.”

“From me? The bloke that loves her almost as much as you do?” Harry asked bitterly, stabbing his potato with the peeler.

“I deserved that,” Ron said, looking at his feet, “I’m sorry, Harry. I know you love her. And I know she doesn’t need me to protect her.” Harry nodded.

“I’ll forgive you,” Harry said, “Eventually.”

“Are we good?” Ron asked, holding out his hand. Tentatively, Harry took it.

***

Christmas dinner had to be one of Mrs. Weasley’s best. It was a classic meal of Turkey with Yorkshire pudding and potatoes. Harry finished the meal with a much drowsier head and much tighter pants.
After supper, Harry and Ginny were sitting on the sofa in the sitting room. Luna and Neville sat nearby, talking, and Hagrid and Charlie seemed to be arguing over something to do with dragons. Suddenly, a now nine-month-old Teddy Lupin toddled through the door over to his godfather.

“Ha-rry! Ha-rry!” Teddy called, and promptly toppled over. Grinning widely, Harry stood up and grabbed Teddy, swinging him around.

“Hey, Ted! How’s it going, mate?” Harry asked, as was their regular routine. Besides seeing Teddy at the funeral, the Tonks had also visited Harry’s flat a number of times. Harry was quite proud to say he had already learned an awful lot about babies.

“Good!” Teddy squeaked, and gave Harry a high-five. Harry laughed and blew on his neck, causing the baby to erupt into giggles. Still holding his godson, Harry sat back down next to Ginny. Wide-eyed,

Teddy squirmed away from Harry and grabbed a handful of Ginny’s hair.

“Ow!” Ginny laughed, “Watch it, Ted!” Ginny un-curled Teddy’s fingers from their death-grip on her hair.

“Ginny has very pretty hair, doesn’t she, Ted?” Harry asked, grinning at Ginny, “You remember her, don’t you? Uncle Harry’s girlfriend?”
Teddy laughed and made kissy lips. Ginny turned slightly pink.

Suddenly, Andromeda hurried into the room, looking flustered. When she saw Harry, she looked relieved.

“Oh, Harry, he’s with you. I swear, this boy’s going to drive me nuts when he gets older. It’s time for his supper.” Andromeda held out her arms and Teddy squirmed into them. Harry couldn’t stop smiling.

“Seeya!” Teddy yelled as he and his grandmother left the room. Harry smiled again and wrapped his arm around Ginny.
Ginny leaned her head on his shoulder. “I think you’ll make a great father, Harry.”

“And I’m sure you’ll be a great mum.” Harry said, squeezing her hand. He was about to kiss her when he heard someone come up behind him.

“Harry! Good ter see yeh!” Hagrid said, shaking the furniture as he clapped Harry on the back.

“Harry, I’m going to talk to Hermione, OK? I’ll be back later.” Ginny slid out of the room as Hagrid sat down next to Harry.

“So how is it goin’ with Ginny and yerself?” Hagrid chuckled as he looked at the door she had just left from. Harry found himself blushing slightly.

“Good. Really good.” Harry flushed as he looked down at his lap. Hagrid chuckled again.

“Just be responsible, tha’s all I got ter say ter yeh. Yer working in Hogsmeade, righ’?”

“Yeah, it’s great. I’m sorry I haven’t been up to the school to talk you. But I’ve been so busy with my NEWTs and everything.”

“S’okay. I’m proud of yeh, Harry. But yeh really should come see Grawpy sometime. Hermione and Ron too. He’s actin’ loads better.”
Suddenly, Hagrid stopped and sniffed the air.

“Ooh, that’ll be Molly’s apple pie. See you, Harry.” With that, Hagrid rumbled out of the room.

***

Harry and Ron were just about to head off to bed when Harry heard the sounds of people arriving at the front door. Curious, and no longer the least bit tired, Harry grabbed Ron’s arm and led him down the stairs. They arrived downstairs to the sight of Mr. Weasley greeting Professor McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“Thank you, Arthur, and I’m sorry we couldn’t be here earlier,” Kinglsey said, shaking Mr. Weasley’s hand, “I got held up at the Ministry and was unable to meet up with Minerva until a little while after that.”

“It’s perfectly alright,” Mr. Weasley said, “I’m sure there’s still a little food left it you’re feeling up to it.”

“No, no, we’ve both already eaten,” Minerva said, heading into the sitting room. Kinglsey stopped though, and his face brightened when he saw Harry.

“Why, hello, Harry, I’ve been looking to talk to you. Would you like to take short walk with me outside?” Finding this extremely similar to the behaviour of the former Minister, Scrimgeour, Harry waved to Ron, who headed off to find Hermione and Ginny, and followed Kinglsey outside.

Harry slipped his jacket on as he and Kingsley headed down the slippery front steps into the snowy yard. Harry jammed his hands into his pockets, wondering what Kinglsey wanted to talk to him about.

“Harry, I don’t think I’ve yet fully congratulated you for your victory last summer. It really was extraordinary.”

“Thanks.” Harry said, wanting him to get to the point.

“Minerva has mentioned to me that you have an ambition to become an Auror?” Harry nodded slowly, and Kinglsey smiled.

“I’d be honoured to offer you a spot among our trainees after you complete your NEWTs. You’ll be a year older than most of them, but I’m sure with your past experience, you’ll soon speed ahead.”

“How does the training work?”

“Well, first you go for an interview with the Head of Auror department. If he likes you, you’ll be able to start training. We usually accept about ten trainees per year,” Kinglsey paused, and kept going, “Then, you will have to either lodge at the Auror Headquarters, in Wales, or live nearby and come in everyday for your training. The training lasts four years, and afterwards, there is a ceremony to initiate you as a fully-fledged Auror. You will become part of a five person squadron, and together the five of you will complete your missions together, and have your offices at the Ministry. After that, if you do well, you can be promoted to Captain of an Auror Squadron, Head of Auror Office, or even Minister for Magic. It all depends.”

Harry’s breath left him temporarily. Would he be able to leave everyone he loved for a full four years in order to get his dream? Leave Ginny?

“Thank you, Kinglsey. I’ll think about things.”

With that, Harry turned around and headed back into the house.

***

Harry awoke to the feeling a pillow hitting his face where he was asleep on his camp bed.

“Oi! Wake up! It’s Christmas!” Ron was already out of bed, un-wrapping a Weasley jumper.

Harry almost stepped on a large pile of parcels as he hopped out of the camp bed. Grabbing the largest, lumpy one, Harry tore off the paper, revealing his new Weasley jumper. It was grey. Harry slid it on over his pyjamas.

“Thanks, Harry!” Ron said, having un-wrapped Harry’s gift. It was a case of firewhisky.

“No problem. Just don’t drink it all at once.” Harry grinned, and searched his pile for Ginny’s present. It was a large box of heart-shaped chocolates, with a note attached.

Happy Christmas, Harry!
These are custom-made day-dream chocolates. I had George pre-make them so all the day-dreams involve yours truly. It goes without saying that he wasn’t too happy about that.
Enjoy,
Love Ginny


“Harry...” Ron gasped. He was holding some kind of book in his hands, “Come look at this.” Harry joined Ron on his bed.

It was a leather-bound photo album, seemingly prepared by Hermione. The cover was a moving photo of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, taken in their sixth year, on the Weasley’s front lawn. They looked happy. This was before the battle. Before they knew about the horcruxes, and the hallows.

The first pages were filled with baby and childhood pictures of Ron that occasionally included a young Ginny or other Weasley brother. Ron laughed as he watched himself toddle around.

The next page was plastered with little Hermiones, un-moving because they were taken with a muggle camera. Harry couldn’t help but smile when he saw a five-year-old Hermione holding the first non-picture book she’d ever read.

The page with young Harry had a lot less pictures. There was the part one discovered from Grimmauld Place, and some copies of the ones from Harry’s own photo album that Hagrid had given him.

The next pages were plastered with photos from Harry, Ron and Hermione’s years at Hogwarts. Harry laughed at himself as a little first year. There were pictures of Harry on the Quidditch Pitch, and of the trio lazing around the grounds. There were picture of Harry in the Triwizard Tournament, and of Harry and Ginny during the short time they dated at Hogwarts. There was the picture of the Weasley family in Egypt, and of the trio, the twins and Ginny in Diagon Alley during Harry’s third year.

Once they’d looked through the entire album, Harry found himself with a lump in his throat. This was beautiful. A book of all that they’d gone through, of everything they’d done.

“Let’s go downstairs. I need to thank her.” Ron said, closing the album.

***

Later on, Harry and Ginny were sitting along on the front porch, watching the snow flutter down on to the front yard. Harry was holding Ginny’s warm gloved hand, and enjoying the scenery.

“Thanks for my present, Harry.” Ginny said, “Hopefully it’ll help us win the tournament this year. The team is pretty promising.” Harry had given her a broomstick servicing kit not unlike his own.

“No, problem. Thanks for mine too.” Harry added.

There was a bit more quiet. Ginny reached her glove out and caught a snowflake. She stood up and walked out into the yard, lifting her face and tongue to the sky.

She giggled as a snowflake melted on her tongue. She caught another and giggled again.

“You have snowflakes in your eyelashes.” Harry said, having come to join her in the yard.

“Care to brush them off for me?” she asked, eyes twinkling. Harry did so.

“You have some on your lips too.”

“Would you like to nab those ones as well?” As quick and as tender as anything, Harry leaned forward kissed her lips, melting the snowflakes. He stepped towards her, sliding his arms around her waist.

“Happy Christmas, Gin.”

“Happy Christmas.”

{A/N} Awww, cutest end to a chapter ever. So we're at 10 now, folks. That's a milestone, that is. Only 4 whole chapters left to go! Actually it might be 5, now that I think about it, but I'm too lazy to check.
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