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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!

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