|SIYE Time:18:38 on 23rd May 2017|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 71048; Chapter Total: 1496
June had finished the day they’d returned, and July was shaping up to be hotter than ever before. The first week of their new living arrangement was spent in awkward silences inside their bedrooms; they spent nights at his grandmother’s house almost the entire time to avoid the extra humans at Ginny’s house, and the fact that he had a queen size bed rather than a twin like she did did not hurt.. During the day, they rode his grandmother’s horses or played Quidditch in the old apple orchard near her house or did homework in varying places in between chores or meals. By the second week of the month, neither of them had begun unpacking.
Ginny’s trunk sat in his room, still closed and full, and his sat in hers in the exact same state. The two of them found the whole situation too awkward to finally begin putting themselves more permanently in the other’s room.
But this was getting inconvenient.
It was the second Sunday of July, and the two of them had just lost collectively to Ron at chess. They stumped up to her room in defeat as Ron gleefully went to get a victory sandwich.
“I don’t think we’ll ever beat him,” Harry sighed.
“Never,” Ginny agreed. “I don’t really care though. He can be a chess prodigy for all I care. He can’t draw a stick figure to save his life, I can't win at chess, we’re even.”
“You two are, what have I got?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow at him as she dropped down at her desk. “Perhaps the brilliant flying skills that are encoded into your DNA?” she suggested. Harry pondered this, then shrugged and flopped down onto her bed, the only other clear surface in the room. Ginny looked around, at the laundry that they needed to do and Harry’s trunk in the middle of her room and the school work sprawled across the floor, and sighed.
“I know, I know,” Harry said, getting back up. He kicked the trunk closer to the wall. “Better?”
She shook her head. “It’s not big enough.”
“Yes. It’s too cramped with all this in here.”
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “What do you want to do then?”
Ginny shook her head. “I don’t know.” She studied the walls, painted lilac and the teddy bear border at the top of the walls from when this room had been a nursery, the posters and drawings she’d put up to cover the cracks in the paint and the random plugs her father had put up to decorate the room, the faded flowery quilt that her great grandmother had made before she’d been born and before she had arthritis, the scratched and scuffed up furniture, the marks in the desk that Bill had made when it had been his… everything in the room was old and fading, all if it coming from some other family member. Harry stepped towards her and pulled her up from the chair, into his chest and a warm embrace.
“We’re going to be living in this room for quite a while,” she said.
“Also my room.”
“Yes, that too, but it’s just as cramped.”
“Well, you keep leaving your stuff on the floor.”
“Hush. My point is that it’s too cramped.”
“And?” She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes, thinking over a proposition. “What?” he asked.
“You’re quite rich,” she said.
“That is a different subject.”
“I am not rich.”
“What does this have to do with your tiny bedroom?”
“New stuffs costs lots of gold.”
“Ginny, you realize that considering we destined to spend the rest of our lives together, my stuff is your stuff by now, right? Including money.”
“Yes…” she said. “But my point is that my family couldn’t afford to replace my crappy furniture and extend the room.”
“Can’t you just use magic to make it bigger?”
“Not really, you have to pay a specialist to come in because it’s very complicated magic and you do have to pay for the supplies to make the extension of the room.”
“Anyway, my room is tiny, and I won’t ask my parents to pay for making the room bigger.”
“You want us to pay for it?”
“And some new furniture so you can put all your stuff away,” she said.
Harry shrugged. “Sure. We’ll ask Gram if we can extend my room too.”
“Good. Dad should be home soon, and we’ll ask if we can do this.”
Ginny gave him a quick kiss. “Can we paint both rooms too?”
“What’s wrong with the paint in my room?”
“What’s wrong with beige?”
“It’s very boring.”
“Well, what color should it be?”
“Something not boring.”
Harry shook his head. “Fine. As you wish,” he mocked bowed. Ginny stuck her nose in the air and turned away. Harry, rolling his eyes, pulled her back and kissed her again. She smirked against his lips.
That night after dinner, they found her parents both in the kitchen discussing something. They stopped when the two of them entered the room, and her mother set down the dish she was washing.
“What is it, dears?” she asked pleasantly.
“We wanted to ask you something,” Ginny started.
She glanced at Harry. Go on.
Wait, what? Why me? They’re your parents!
You’re paying for it!
Harry gulped. “Um, we wanted to ask if we could extend Ginny’s room some.”
Her parents frowned, glancing at each other. Her father looked strained as he turned back to them. “Erm, we’d love to, but, well —”
“We’d pay for it,” Harry interrupted.
Her parents were taken aback. “Beg pardon?” her mother said.
“We would pay for it,” he said again. “For all of it. I mean, we’re going to do the same to my room over at my gram’s and we’d pay for that too, so we figured it would just make sense to do both rooms.”
Her parents looked at each other, the both of them seemed slightly flustered.
“Erm,” her mother began. “I don’t see why not?”
Her father shrugged his shoulders. “There’s no reason to stop them,” he said. “You have our permission,” he told them.
“Thanks, Dad,” Ginny said, darting over and giving him a quick hug. He patted her shoulder, then shooed them away, telling them that he and her mother needed to keep talking.
“Your room or mine?” Harry asked her.
“I have a twin bed,” she said. “Yours.”
They returned to his grandmother’s house a half hour or so later, as they always did. After asking and receiving permission to magically extend Harry’s room — his gram told them that they could just take down the wall between his room and the guest room next to it —, they collapsed onto the bed after changing and fell asleep almost immediately.
Over that week, plans were drawn and lists made, and a contractor was hired to extend the rooms. By that Saturday, Ginny’s room was almost doubled and the wall between Harry’s room and the guest room next to it had been removed. The next week, the rooms were repainted — Harry’s a soft hue of cobalt, and her own a pale apple green —, Ginny’s beat up furniture, including the twin bed, were replaced, and they were finally ready to unpack their trunks.
The still didn’t for another week.
Before they knew it, the end of July was approaching and they had been living together for almost a month. Harry’s birthday was coming, a party was in the midst of being planned, and the whole of the Weasley household was bright and cheery.
Both Harry and Ginny were again wondering why the world felt so light despite Voldemort’s return, it in fact almost worried them. The dream they’d had at the beginning of July had not returned, however snippets of it had wormed its way into other dreams. They began to blend together, the events blurry and confusing, however it felt like it was all repetition. The room they’d appeared in before witnessing the shouting match that had led to their fall into hell was a frequent visitor in their dreams, yet so was Harry’s vault in Gringotts. They would often find themselves at Hogwarts, going up to their separate dorms as they did the year before, but when they opened the curtains to their bed they would always end up back in that room. If they remembered what exactly happened in a dream when morning came, it was that nothing was new. They had not dreamt anything about Voldemort since his return.
But their surroundings were happy. Both of their families were cheerful and with the prospect of Harry’s birthday right around the corner, they did their best not to dwell on their dreams.
Harry was to be fifteen in just a week, and Ginny had yet to buy him a gift. Lately, it had been difficult to keep the door between their minds closed for long periods of time, so the only times she’d been able to think about what to get him were while one of them was in the shower and the door was held firmly shut by both of their minds. He’d gotten her Chasers gloves and a lovely ring for her birthday — she wore the ring very often — but there was little she could get him. He didn’t need anything and with all that he’d inherited there was not much he did not already have. There was not a lot that she could think of that would be particularly meaningful she could buy. She had given him plenty of meaningful things already, so at that point she had to begin branching out.
The Thursday before his birthday, which was a Sunday that year, Harry’s grandmother and her mother went out to London to buy gifts and party supplies. Ginny tagged along, which meant that Harry did too, but when they had finished with the supply run and entered Diagon Alley to buy his gifts they dropped him off at Florean Fortiscue’s, told him to stay put and do his homework. He bought himself an ice cream after the two adults walked away and continued reading Fellowship of the Ring. Ginny rolled her eyes at him but didn’t rat him out.
Mum had a list from the boys of the things they wanted to get Harry and his grandmother had a similar one. Ginny suspected that Dudley had been forced to say he was getting Harry a gift, even if he still didn’t have to pay for it. His aunt and cousin had become more kindly to Harry over the past four years they’d been living in Ottery St. Catchpole, and Ginny knew it was the influence of his grandmother that had done it. His aunt in particular, though still sharp, was fond of him in the way that aunts should be.
Gifts were bought, and Ginny finally managed to settle her mind on something to give her boyfriend. The party would be held on the afternoon of his birthday, after his grandmother and aunt returned from church. Ginny and Ron would have the job of keeping Harry out of the way while his house was decorated and the party prepared; knowing him, he would want to help. Ginny wasn’t sure why he couldn’t help, but his grandmother insisted that one had no work that had to be done on one’s own birthday, which made some sense.
The day arrived, and the party was spectacular. Gram had finally gotten Harry to make a list of more than Hermione and the Weasleys to invite, meaning that guests Harry’s room-mates, Neville, Seamus, and Dean, Luna Lovegood, and the Gryffindor Quidditch team, even Oliver Wood, who’d graduated already, all came. Hagrid, Remus, Sirius, her brothers, and of course her parents were there as well, Sirius had brought his Auror cousin Tonks, and even Dumbledore stopped by to wish Harry a happy birthday. For an afternoon, the two of them completely forgot about Voldemort.
He had quite an impressive haul that year; a brand new set of Quidditch pads from the Gryffindor team, posters of Britain’s top teams from Dean and Seamus, new robes from both his grandmother, aunt, and Ginny’s parents, a model Quidditch pitch complete with two sets of players from Remus and Sirius, boxes of Honeydukes’ sweets from both Hagrid and Luna, a book on defensive hexes from Neville, brand new and quite lovely quills from Percy, Filibuster fireworks from Fred and George, Seeker’s gloves from Ron, and lastly:
Harry ripped the paper off Ginny’s gift to reveal a plain cardboard box. He shook it, then pulled open the flaps. He looked down into it, and laughed.
“What did she give you?” Ron asked.
He withdrew five brand new tee shirts. He grinned at her and said: “Is this because you’ve stolen almost all of my old ones?” he asked.
“Yep,” she told him with a bright grin. He laughed further. I suppose you paid for them with my money too?
Our money, she correct him reprovingly. He kept laughing.
His fifteenth birthday was all in all a brilliant time. The majority of the guests returned home sometime after four; before Neville left, however, Ginny pressed on him his own gift — a set of books on magical herbs in Europe —, as his birthday had been the day before. Harry’s room-mate blushed, stammered a thank you, then gave her a quick hug before taking the Floo back to his home. They had an early dinner, then Remus, Sirius, and Tonks too returned home. After a bit more visiting, Ginny’s family returned to the Burrow and Ginny and Harry took his things back up to his room. They got ready for bed, Ginny wearing one of the shirt’s she had previously stolen from Harry, and retired for the night.
The next morning, they found Remus and Sirius already at the kitchen table with his grandmother, and even Tonks was there. His aunt had already left for work, and Dudley was at a friend’s house.
“Hi,” Harry said to them, looking around in slight confusion.
“Morning, Harry,” Remus said.
“What are you doing here?” Ginny asked them.
“To begin training you,” Sirius told them. “With You-Know-Who back, it’s time you started focusing on dueling skills.”
“But we’re not allowed to use magic outside school,” Harry said.
“Which is why we’ll be going back to Hogwarts for the afternoon.”
Harry shrugged, then dropped into a chair. Ginny took a seat as well and poured herself some coffee. “So, why is Tonks here too?”
“I’m quite good at dueling,” Tonks answered. “Dumbledore asked if I’d be willing to help out. We’re going to start training you like the do over at the Auror department.”
“Oh. Cool,” was all Harry said.
With that, they ate quickly, then ran back upstairs to get dressed. When they returned, the four adults were in the sitting room waiting for them.
“Ready?” Sirius asked them.
They nodded; a quick good-bye was said to Harry’s grandmother and then they were all taking the Floo.
Upon arrival, the very first thing that happened was reading. Remus sat them down in the library and made them read for an hour on the basics of dueling. There was more to dueling than just knowing spells needed to be an expert. Unfortunately, they had little more than spells.
After the hour was up, they left the library for the seventh floor. Tonks led them forward, and when she stopped outside a bare stretch of wall, the two of them were slightly confused. She paced up and down opposite a tapestry of trolls in tutus, and when she stopped, a door had appeared from nowhere. They both gasped; the pink-haired Auror opened the door and bowed to them.
“Welcome to the Room of Requirement,” she said.
“How did you do that?” Ginny asked.
“Pace three times, all the while thinking of what you need, and the Room becomes it.”
“Wow,” the two of them whispered as the stepped inside. The room before them was huge; there was a giant dueling circle in the middle of the room, with different tools and bookshelves around it, but one half of the room was in darkness. Tonks ushered them in and to the circle.
“First rule of dueling,” she began, “what I say, goes. When I tell you to do something, you do it. Got it?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Harry said. Ginny saluted.
“We’re not just having fun,” Tonks warned, “I’m training you to fight. We’ll be doing a lot of work here, but by the end of the summer you should be able to defeat me in a duel. I was top of my class for dueling in Auror training, so that won’t be easy. I’m not just teaching you magic, either.”
She snapped her fingers. The unlit portion of the room was suddenly illuminated, and their eyes got wide; the rest of the room filled with what Harry recognized as exercise equipment. Ginny groaned. She was by nature opposed to having to exercise.
“We’ll work on your physical fitness as well as magical,” she said. “That means you’ll be doing strength training, running, hand to hand combat, and yoga.”
“Yoga?” Harry asked with a frown. “Why yoga?”
“Flexibility is very useful,” Tonks said. “Balance too, and it will help develop muscles.” She clapped her hands together. “We’ll start with a quick duel so I can see what level you’re at. You two against me, try to disarm me.”
The two of them moved to one side of the circle, with Tonks on the other. They drew their wands and bowed to their teacher, performing the niceties.
“Go!” she said.
“Expelliarmus!” Harry cried immediately. His charm shot towards Tonks, who side-stepped it. Crap, Ginny thought.
The both of them advanced, but not one of their spells landed on Tonks, however the same was true in opposite. After ten minutes, they were already panting from having to duck and dodge her spells; they barely had time to get their own spells into the fight.
“Come on, try harder!” Tonks encouraged, as Harry jumped away from another jinx. She was twice as good as Remus or Sirius, perhaps even twice as both of them put together. The duel was not in their favor, and there was two of them. Ginny tried to get an Impediment jinx under the Auror’s guard, but she simply blocked it and cast another spell to her. Ginny, already fatigued, did not move quickly enough to get out of the way, and ropes sprang up around her; her wand fell from her hand.
“Ginny!” Harry scolded.
“Sorry! Look out!”
He looked up in time to duck a blue hex, then jumped out of the way of the next one, landing on the floor. He scrambled to get up, but his wand flew out of his hand as a third charm struck him.
“Match finished,” Tonks declared. She flicked her wand and the ropes around Ginny vanished. “Good try, guys.”
Ginny sighed as Harry picked himself up off the floor. They had a long way to go.
It seemed that Tonks agreed, because she headed for the exercise equipment in the back, to a large green rubber mat that spread across most of the room. “Time for warm ups, come on! You guys, too,” she added to Remus and Sirius.
The two of them met eyes, and they sighed. This was going to be tough.
Warm ups, they found, were called that because you spent ages straining to touch your toes, all the while getting hot in the face in embarrassment at your own inflexibility. Strangely, Sirius was the most flexible of them all, not including Tonks, who could nearly do a split and could sit on the floor, legs splayed, and fold completely in half. Ginny felt as if the warm ups alone were enough, but no, Tonks had them get up for more.
“Boys, jumping jacks,” Tonks directed Sirius, Remus, and Harry. “As many as you can.” They groaned and started on the jumping exercises.
Ginny frowned. “Why just them?”
Tonks raised an eyebrow at her. “You think I want to do jumping jacks with these babies?” she asked, pointing to her own chest. Ginny felt her cheeks get a little warmer, glancing down at herself. She hadn’t considered that.
“While they’re doing that, you and I will do some situps.”
Ginny pouted. She wouldn’t get a break any time soon.
Sirius quit at what he claimed was thirty, but Ginny suspected was closer to twenty. Harry flopped onto the ground almost immediately after Sirius, but Remus kept at it for another minute. Tonks showed her how to do sit-ups and held her feet while Remus finished his jumping jacks. She managed 11 and a flop.
“Come on, guys, these are just the warm ups!” Tonks called at Sirius and Harry lying spread eagle on the floor.
“I’m warm!” Harry choked out between deep breaths.
“I’m warmer!” Sirius panted. “Holy fu — udge…”
Remus scowled at Sirius as he dropped down beside him. Sirius looked bashful, but he added: “I corrected myself!”
“We’re fifteen, not five,” Ginny told them.
“Everyone up!” Tonks demanded. “We’re just starting!”
“I am fat and lazy,” Sirius told her, propping his body up on his elbows. “Excuse me.”
“You’re not fat,” Remus admonished him. Sirius rolled his eyes at him. Ginny glanced at Tonks and wondered if she knew about them; Tonks only clapped her hands at them.
“Up! Next up is the treadmills.”
“The what?” Sirius asked.
“Treadmills,” Tonks repeated. “They’re like conveyor belts but you run on them.”
“We’re running?” Ginny asked.
Tonks nodded. Then she paused. “Oh, I forgot, one second,” she said. She snapped her fingers and there was a sudden wall between them and the guys. She held out a small, white article of clothing. “This is a sports bra, it should help keep you in place while you’re running.”
Ginny took it. It looked much too small for her. “Why didn’t we put them on to do jumping jacks?”
“Because I don’t like jumping jacks,” Tonks said simply with a shrug.
“You cruel person!” Harry shouted, having heard her.
Tonks looked vaguely startled by his exclamation, then shook her head. “Shut up, Harry! Anyway, go on and change.” With that, she turned away and pulled off her shirt. Ginny quickly looked away to avoid Harry seeing, then shut the door between them and pulled her own shirt off. She considered the sports bra, wondering how to get it on. She glanced over at Tonks and saw from the back her pulling it on over her head. Ginny quickly removed the one she was already wearing and copied Tonks. It was quite stretchy, and despite her initial worry that it would break her lungs, it fit her ribs just fine and she could breathe normally. Her chest had been flattened by almost half, however. She put her shirt back on, turned to see Tonks once again fully clothed, and Tonks snapped her fingers. The wall vanished.
“Treadmills are right behind you,” Tonks said, pointing to five machines directly behind them. Tonks strode past them and climbed onto the one in the very middle. “Everyone come over here so I can show you how to turn it on.”
A minute later, Ginny was walking on the moving belt at a brisk pace. Tonks had showed them to program it so that the speed of the belt increased over time, so that in thirty minutes they would be running. The treadmill wouldn’t turn off for another forty five minutes.
By the time she was running, she was breathing heavy. The sports bra did indeed keep her from bouncing uncomfortably, and strangely it did not affect her breathing at all. She guessed that it was charmed, but also wished that she didn’t have to be running. Once, when Tonks wasn’t looking, she leaned on the rails of the treadmill and put her feet on the sides of it, breathing for a short moment as the belt sped on beneath her.
Forty five minutes felt more like forty five hours, but finally the treadmill beeped and began to slow down. She altered her own speed so that she came to an eventual stop.
“Good job, everyone!” Tonks called. “Water break.”
Ginny jumped off the treadmill and moved sluggishly but as fast as her exhausted legs would carry her to the table that had appeared out of nowhere, laden with water bottles. She dropped onto the floor, grabbing a bottle, and gulped the water down. The others were there too; Remus tossed aside an empty bottle and cracked open another. Harry sat down beside her, then lay his body across her lap, his mouth open. She rolled her eyes but poured water into it. She finished her bottle and got another; Harry put his bottle into his mouth and held it with his teeth, guzzling it down thirstily. Ginny hadn’t felt out of shape that morning when she got up, but definitely felt like it now. Harry raised a hand and patted her shoulder vaguely, in attempts to reassure her. When he emptied the bottle, she plucked it from his mouth and bent to kiss him.
“No PDA!” Sirius whined.
“Leave them alone, Padfoot,” Remus replied. “They’re young and in love.”
“Well, they can be young and in love after we’re done,” Tonks said, poking Harry’s leg with a foot. “We’ll do one more thing then have some lunch. Uppity!”
They groaned but stood. “What now?” Ginny asked.
“More sit-ups,” she said.
They did sit-ups, thirty each before she let them finish. The thirty alone took almost fifteen minutes. After that, Tonks led them out of the room and down to the kitchens, the many sets of stairs causing them all to get a little out of breath again. After lunch, they waited for almost an hour for the meal to settle, and then went back up the stairs, only Tonks made them go back down each set to jog up the stairs again. In the Room of Requirement, their teacher had them do more stretches, and directed them to weight lifting. She each gave them a different weight, showed them how to change the weight, how to operate the different machines, and told them to do ten sets at the four different machines and to drink more water in between each machine. It took less time that Ginny had anticipated for them to finish, and then they were back on the green mat, this time for push-ups, planks, and the yoga. The most difficult part of the yoga was the balancing, and unfortunately she was the worst at staying still. Tonks ended up asking the room to give her a bar to hold onto. Remus and Sirius were only slightly better than she, but Harry was able to stand in place even if he wobbled every so often.
It was almost five when Tonks finally let them stop. They all scrambled for more water and lay on their backs for about a million years to relax. Tonks let them, pointing out the showers that had appeared in the back and going off into one half of the closed off area. Hot showers, she told them, were necessary to soothe their rather sore muscles. After finishing two more water bottles, Ginny pushed herself up and followed Tonks. Harry got up at the same time she did, and they divided to enter their own sides of the showers. Ginny paused and looked back after Harry was gone to shake a scolding finger at Sirius and Remus, who had already started to lean in to kiss each other. They both turned red as she left again.
The shower did help a great deal, Ginny found. She leaned her head forward as the water hit her back and shoulders, the pressure already beginning to loosen her muscles. There was a shower gel in the stall that smelled like mint and sugar, which relaxed her further. She dawdled until Tonks called for her to hurry up, a minute afterwards shutting off the water and wrapping a towel around herself. The towel was pleasantly warm and fluffy, she thought.
They left the castle shortly after six, Flooing back to the Burrow. Mum had dinner ready when they arrived, and Ginny, feeling ravenous, ending up asking for thirds.
After dinner, Tonks took the Floo back to the flat she shared with Sirius and Remus, but Harry’s guardians stayed to chat a while longer. Ginny was feeling full and sleepy, but she remained downstairs until they left.
“We’ll be back tomorrow,” Remus promised.
“What time?” Harry asked.
“Seven sharp,” he answered. Both he and Ginny groaned.
“Cheer up,” Sirius told them, “all this is eventually going to result in some very nice muscles.” He winked at them, but they only groaned again, this time in exasperation.
And indeed, at seven sharp, they found the blankets yanked off of them by a grinning Sirius. “Up!” he called, acting much too cheerful for seven in the morning.
So that day was the same as the last. Reading in the morning, followed by a mock duel, and training for the rest of the day. They added another mock duel at the end by Wednesday, but their skill was not improving by any noticeable margin. On Saturday, they were given the day off, but Sunday they were back at it. The time they spent exercising shortened over the next two weeks to the point where they spent an hour and a half working out and the rest of their time practicing dueling; one of the things Tonks kept stressing was their footwork, moving rather than blocking and not remaining still for a spell to catch them off guard.
The next Saturday, however, they were back at Hogwarts, this time to meet with Professor Dumbledore. Ginny’s parents, Harry’s guardians and his grandmother led them up to Dumbledore’s office. They were there to discuss how they would resolve their sleeping arrangement when the new term began in three weeks.
Dumbledore had them take seats in squashy purple armchairs; Ginny and Harry shared one. “Good morning,” he began. “There are several things we must cover today, but first I must outline what our plan is.”
Harry nodded, his eyes focused on Dumbledore’s. The Headmaster leaned forward in his chair, hands folded together. “For the past two weeks you have been training with Auror Nymphadora Tonks; you shall continue to do so as the school year starts, however altering the schedule to afternoon work outs rather than mid-day ones. Your school schedule shall remain the same, however after school you will be doing extra-curricular work. I will begin teaching you advanced magic, including Occlumency, Legilimency, and some very difficult spell work two evenings a week. You will be taking extra Defense, Transfiguration, Charms, and Potions lessons on Saturdays, alternating each week.” Harry stifled a groan at the thought of spending time with Snape, yet Dumbledore ignored it. “Twice a month you will duel against a skilled dueler to demonstrate your skills. Your week will be quite full, however I recognize your need for rest and relaxation, so you will not have any work to do on Sundays. In March you will be given extra time off for studying for O.W.L.’s, and I won’t have you working past eleven o’clock. Your health is the first priority, and your skill the second.”
“Sounds fair,” Harry said. “And Ginny will be doing this with me?”
“Yes. I will also have your closer friends take some of the extra Defense lessons and any physical training they wish to participate in. In the case of an attack, they will need to be able to defend themselves as Death Eaters are likely to target them in order to hurt you.”
Dumbledore looked firmly over his half-moon spectacles at Harry. “None of this should be taken lightly. Your skill in magic is already quite advance, and you have a lot of raw power, however in the event of an attack, you would be outgunned.” Harry looked down at his feet, remembering his fight with Voldemort in the graveyard. Ginny squeezed his hand gently.
“I understand, sir,” Harry said.
“I’m glad. All of this extra work is so that you can protect yourselves, though I hope that you’ll not have to use it any time soon.”
Dumbledore lifted his gaze, looking to the adults in the room. “Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, do you find this proposed schedule satisfactory?”
“Yes,” Dad answered. “I’m glad you’re considering his friends as well as Ginny.”
Dumbledore nodded, then looked to Harry’s guardians. Gram gave a curt nod. He looked back to them, then his expression shifted. “Now to address your sleeping arrangements.”
They sat up a little straighter, waiting.
“I have done as much research as I can without coming outright with what I was looking for, and have found only one loophole to the rule concerning students of opposite genders sharing a room.”
“What is it?” Mum asked.
Dumbledore looked at her parents. “The only way to allow it would be if the students in question were married.”
Harry and Ginny glanced at each other. The adults all seemed as if they had been expecting this answer.
“Not even if they were given quarters away from the rest of the student body?” Remus asked.
Dumbledore shook his head. “To do so would be against rules as well, especially if other students began to request the same treatment. It would set a poor precedent, which would cause the Board to become involved and risk their choosing to expel Harry and Ginny and fire me.”
Remus looked rather sheepish. “I see.”
Dumbledore turned to them. “The only choice is a marriage license.”
Ginny glanced at her parents; her mother was looking at her lap, her hands pressed to her bosom and her father had his arm around her. She could guess what they were thinking.
“If it is necessary, his aunt and I will give out permission,” Harry’s grandmother said softly.
Sirius gave a nod. “As his godfather, I give mine as well.”
Dumbledore nodded gratefully, then looked to her parents. Ginny’s father looked up to her; she saw the resignation in his eyes.
“We grant our permission,” he whispered.
Ginny got up and moved to her parents, putting her arms around both of them. Her father hugged her tightly; there were tears in her mother’s eyes but she was smiling, albeit sadly.
“It’ll be all right, Mum,” she murmured.
“I know,” she said. “It’ll be perfect.”
Dumbledore cleared his throat. Ginny released them, then sank back into her armchair next to Harry. He put an arm around her. Neither of them wanted to think just then even though they knew they had to.
“If the two of you do not wish to marry at this time, you would not be able to remain at Hogwarts and remain healthy,” Dumbledore told them. “You could remain home and take school there, tailoring your education to focus on the fight before you.”
“But we’d miss Hogwarts,” Harry said.
“You would,” Dumbledore replied. “It is your choice; homeschooling or marriage.”
Ginny was staring at her hands; Harry was trying to catch her eye but for some reason she couldn’t look up.
We’re young, she thought.
We already know that we’ll be together for the rest of our lives. Whether we get… get married now or later doesn’t matter.
If we said no, we’d just get married later in life.
Harry pulled her closer to him, his forehead leaning on her temple. Do you want to marry me?
Don’t be an idiot, of course I do. I love you.
I love you too.
Do you want to marry me?
She finally met his eyes. He was smiling a tiny, but happy smile. Definitely.
Ginny laughed. The adults looked startled by her outburst. She squeezed his hand, her laughter fading to a small grin. “Why not indeed,” she muttered.
“If you would like more time to decide,” Dumbledore began.
“No, we decided,” Harry said. “We’ll get married.”
The Headmaster looked slightly relieved. “Very well, whenever you are ready we can go to the Ministry and perform the necessary paperwork.”
“Do you want a ceremony?” Mum asked.
“Erm…” Ginny said, looking at Harry, who looked slightly confused.
“But don’t we need a ceremony to get married?” Harry asked.
“Not really,” Remus replied, “all you need is the license, having a ceremony is just for show.”
“Oh,” Harry muttered.
Dumbledore smiled at them. “We would need to have the license granted at least a week before term starts so you can receive permission from the Board of Governors to have private quarters together.”
“Would doing this put the Weasleys in danger?” Harry asked.
“We are already on the Death Eater’s top ten,” Ginny’s father said before Dumbledore could reply. “We’re the biggest bunch of blood traitors in the Wizarding World.”
Dumbledore chuckled softly. “Yes, indeed. The only risk to the marriage is that Voldemort would be more likely to target Ginny in order to hurt you, however given the fact that you’ve been publicly dating for over two years, it is already clear that she means a great deal to you. You will probably have to endure a lot of speculation from the public, but that would be the worst of it. As long as you are diligent in your training, the both of you will be capable of protecting yourselves.”
Ceremony or no ceremony? Harry asked her.
I kind of want one now but I also want to be allowed to drink the champagne…
He let out a snort. Of course. But do you want one now?
A tiny one. And a gigantic one after graduation.
“A small ceremony would be good,” Ginny said. “But we should get the license as soon as possible.”
“Well, what if we had a small get-together around Christmas?” her mother suggested. “Then we’d have time to do it right.”
“That’s good,” Ginny said. “By then we’d be a little less awkward, probably.”
“No,” Harry said. “This is going to be awkward until we’re fifty.”
The adults in the room laughed. “Maybe so,” Ginny’s father replied.
Dumbledore rose from his chair. “The Marriage Offices will be open until seven this evening,” he said. “We could go now, if you wished.”
Ginny glanced at Harry, who shrugged. “All right. Will all of us go?”
“Yes,” Dumbledore replied. He strode to the fireplace on the other side of the office; they all rose from their chairs and followed the Headmaster. He offered Floo powder to Dad, who accepted it and was gone in a whoosh of green flame. They all proceeded forward, each going one at a time. Ginny followed Harry, and once she stepped out of the grate they were faced with a bustling Atrium. She slipped one arm through Harry’s and the other through her father’s. Her dad looked down at her with a soft smile; he bent and placed a kiss on her hair.
The Headmaster exited the Floo, and stepped into the crowd. The seven of them followed him; Harry kept his head down and his hands in his pockets. Ginny hoped no one would recognize him, though as the greatest wizard of their time was just in front of them, she doubted anyone would stop to consider his bent head.
They all took the same lift and Dumbledore pressed a button; as it lurched downward, Ginny settled her head on Harry’s shoulder.
Excited? Ginny thought.
Yeah, he replied. We’re getting married.
It is so weird.
Still, um, wait on the sex thing though.
That’s probably a good idea.
Maybe after we have an actual wedding…
Let’s just table it and say we won’t in the near future.
Ginny kissed his cheek. Good idea.
The lift dinged and a woman’s voice purred: “Third Floor; Citizens’ Rights Department, Marriage Offices, Adoption Offices, Office for Defense Attorneys, Office for the Regulation and Distribution of Magical Contracts.”
As they stepped out, Ginny addressed her father. “Are those all the offices on this floor?”
“No, there’s at least five more,” Dad said. “I don’t particularly recall which ones, however.”
Ginny fell silent as Dumbledore led them forward. Her heart was beating like a kickdrum.
Dumbledore turned into a doorway on the right; there was a waiting area and a long desk at which several persons were sitting, some speaking to other people, some doing paper work. The closest available person to them was a middle aged witch who was stamping papers.
“Welcome to the Office for Marriage Licenses, how may I help you?” she said in a flat, bored voice.
“I am Albus Dumbledore,” began the Headmaster. The woman’s gaze snapped upwards. “We are here to acquire a marriage license.”
“Er, for who?” the witch said.
“One Harry Potter and Ginerva Weasley.”
“Harry… Potter?” she repeated. Her eyes got sharp. “Harry Potter is underage,” she said.
“We have his guardians,” Dumbledore said.
“I am not authorized to sign a license for an underage marriage,” she told them.
“Naturally, so we would need to speak with the Head of the Office?”
“Erm, yes,” she said, rising from her chair. “Follow me.”
Dumbledore bowed slightly to her, then they followed her from the front desk through another door, then to a closed door in the very back. The witch knocked on it, and called: “Sir? Professor Albus Dumbledore is here.”
“What? Oh; come in, come in!”
The witch opened the door, then stepped back. Dumbledore thanked her and entered the room; the rest of them followed.
A portly man with a shiny bald patch was rising from his desk. “Professor!” he said. “It is a p-pleasure to have you here, how m-may I help you?”
“We need an underage marriage license,” Dumbledore told him. “I was told you are allowed to grant those, Mr. Wimbleton?” Ginny glanced at the plaque on the desk, displaying the man’s name.
“Er, ye-yes, I am! Do you have the p-parents or guardians of the m-minors?”
“We do,” Dumbledore said, turning to gesture to the adults behind him.
Wimbleton pulled a handkerchief from his robes and patted his bald spot. “Very g-good, good! N-now, an underage m-marriage will eh-emancipate the m-minors con-concerned, you are aware of this?”
“We are,” Dumbledore replied.
“How old are the b-both of them?”
“They are both fifteen.”
“And w-what is the name of groom?”
“Harry James Potter.”
Wimbleton turned pink. “P-p-p-Potter?” His eyes fell on Harry’s face, then his scar. “Oh — oh! Oh my…” Wimbleton stared for a few seconds, then shook himself and patted his bald spot once more. “Potter…”
He moved out from behind his desk and stepped towards the door. “If you would p-please wait here, I m-must go and fetch Mr. p-Potter’s file.” He hurried from the office.
Harry looked up Dumbledore. “I have a file?”
“You do,” Dumbledore replied. “The Marriage Office keeps an automatic record book of all wizards and witches who are eligible for marriage.”
“Why does he have to check it?” Harry asked.
“Procedure,” Dumbledore answered. “He must verify that you are eligible for marriage.”
“Why isn’t he checking Ginny’s file, though?”
“Witches are made automatically eligible for marriage at the age of fourteen regardless of family. For wizards, the age is determined by the head of the family.”
Ginny wrinkled her nose. “Marrying age is fourteen?” she asked.
“It is an old law,” Dumbledore replied. “There have been several proposals to standardize both ages to sixteen, yet they have not made much progress in the Wizengamot.”
“It’s barbaric,” Mum sniffed. “What parent would want to give away their daughters when they’re still babies?”
“Witches are at their most fertile between the ages of thirteen and thirty,” Dumbledore answered. “Parents wished for their sons to have heirs quickly. As I said, it is an old law.”
“Barbaric,” her mother murmured once more. Ginny was looking at her feet. She was only a year past fourteen. She sighed, laying her head on Harry’s shoulder. This was out of necessity, and she wouldn’t be giving Harry any heirs any time soon.
That’s fine with me, Harry thought. Ginny smiled.
The door to the office opened again and Wimbleton stuck his head in. “Erm, if you would p-p-please w-wait for just one more m-minute?” he said with a smile that was more worry than reassuring. “I’ll be right b-back.” He pulled away, closing the door sharply again. Ginny frowned, wondering what the matter was with him.
Dumbledore let out a soft hmm, but said nothing. They waited, each focusing on their own thoughts. A minute passed, and then two.
The door opened once more and Wimbleton stepped inside. “Erm, Professor?”
“I, erm, I b-b-bring bad n-news.”
Ginny’s stomach lurched. Was Harry not allowed to get married? Was he too young? She prayed that it wasn’t that he was part of an arranged marriage to some other girl. He was from a high class family; it was possible his parents or grandparents set up an arranged marriage long ago. She hoped it wasn’t that.
“What’s the matter?” Gram asked him.
“Well, erm, Mr. P-p-Potter can’t m-marry…”
“Why not?” Sirius said roughly. “He is the last of the Potters, whatever the current age is he can change it!”
“N-no, no, he’s old enough…”
“Spit it out!” Sirius snapped.
“Mr. Potter cannot get married because he is already married,” Wimbleton said very quickly in a meek voice.
Ginny’s jaw dropped. The entire room was silent, all of them staring, horrified, at the Head of the Marriage Office.
“Already…” Ginny’s mother breathed. “Already married… To who?”
Wimbleton seemed to have lost his voice as he struggled to form words. Her mother’s, however, was present and angry. “To who?!”
“T-to-to —” Wimbleton stammered. “To a m-m-m-miss —”
“Miss Who?” Gram demanded.
A/N: Ba-dum tss! Have a lovely day, my dears.
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