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SIYE Time:4:14 on 23rd November 2017


For In Dreams
By Senator of Sorcery

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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
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 290
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: 92088; Chapter Total: 428







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Chapter Fifty-Three

It’s the Newlywed Glow

Ginny

 

 

 Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep…

 

 Ginny vaguely remembered Harry setting an alarm after they’d gone to bed the night before, but as it continued to beep annoyingly across the bed, she wished he hadn’t. She clamped a pillow over her ears and tried to ignore it. Harry grumbled something half audible, then the sound cut out. Ginny let out a sigh of relief and settled back, relaxing.

 

Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep…

 

  “Harry, turn it off,” Ginny mumbled.

 

 Harry groaned, then shifted in the bed. “Gin, it’s nearly five. We need to get up.”

 

   “No,” Ginny murmured. “We don’t have to leave until five thirty.”

 

   “Come on, get up,” Harry said, patting her arm.

 

 Ginny waved him away. She felt him lean over then kiss her cheek before he shifted again and got out of bed. Ginny turned to look over her shoulder as Harry walked towards the bathroom, his bare back and arse barely visible in the low light. She turned back over and hugged the blankets to her chest, wanting to fall asleep again.

 

 She heard the toilet flush, then the tap turned on and off again, and Harry’s footsteps left the bathroom. He touched her shoulder.

 

   “Do you want to shower first?” he asked.

 

   “I’ll shower later,” she mumbled.

 

   “We have a 20-hour flight, Gin.”

 

   “Ugh,” Ginny groaned.

 

   “I’ll shower first.”

 

 Ginny nodded and turned away again. She tried to think of what she had been dreaming, recalling something about a train station. As her thoughts turned, she could hear Harry in her mind getting ready to shower. He turned on the bathroom light and Ginny squeezed her eyes shut, wanting it to go away. She pulled her pillow back over her head.

 

 She drifted off again, her brain returning to the train station. She was walking down platform ten with her mother, though her brothers were nowhere to be seen. They turned a corner, and her mother vanished. Ginny looked around, but she had been wrong, they weren’t in a train station. She was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. She squeezed her eyes shut once more, then rolled over.

 

 Harry was in the shower by then. Half asleep, she listened as he began to murmur a tune while he washed his hair. The water felt very nice on his back, he thought. It was warm and eased tension in his shoulders that he hadn’t realized he had. Ginny wondered why she’d been dreaming of a train station as Harry rinsed the shampoo from his hair.

 

 Where’s my soap? Harry thought.

 

 Ginny’s eyes snapped open. She could hear Harry. The door wasn’t shut.

 

 What? Harry thought.

 

 Ginny reached out in her mind and groped for the door to his thoughts to pull it closed. Harry was confused, then abruptly embarrassed.

 

  I thought I closed it! he insisted.

 

 It’ s okay, Ginny answered him, then her heart skipped a beat. She couldn’t find the door.

 

 Say again?

 

 I can’t find the door.

 

 Well, look harder!

 

 Gi nny threw an arm over her eyes, trying to concentrate. The door was always in the back of her mind, always ready to be shut and block thoughts from his mind to hers. But it wasn’t there anymore.

 

 It’s gone.

 

 She lifted her arm and sat up, rubbing at her eyes. Harry slumped against the shower wall, staring with a frown at the curtain. Ginny opened her own eyes and stopped seeing through his, but she could feel him groan and shut his own.

 

 Ah!

 

 Ginny jumped; What? What’s wrong?

 

 I — You — Erm, your —

 

 What ?

 

 Boobs.

 

 Ginny flushed bright red and jerked her gaze upward. Harry had opened his eyes already, she could tell he was no longer seeing through hers. Her heart was beating rapidly in her ears, as was Harry’s.

 

 So, the door is gone and when I close my eyes I see what you’re seeing, she thought.

 

 Harry was quiet. Ginny glanced towards the physical bathroom door, which was shut, her eyebrows raising. Harry?

 

 S he closed her eyes, but saw nothing but darkness. Had it gone?

 

 Then an image appeared as Harry opened his eyes. Ginny blushed again.

 

 Erm, sorry.

 

 Ginny took pause to think, not sure how to respond. It’s fine, she thought. It was, it was just…

 

 Unnervi ng.

 

 Yeah.

 

 Ginny hesitated, thinking. But she was cold, so she lifted the blanket and pulled it over herself. She tried to ignore the sensation that Harry was disappointed and shut her eyes, seeing him rubbing at his under his glasses, heard him sigh and watched his hands drop. She could see all of him.

 

 Harry started and hastily jerked his gaze up. Ginny felt her ears get hot, as did something else. Harry’s own temperature was high.

 

 But then his gaze dropped again and Ginny bit her lip. He glanced up, at the shower curtain and the bathroom door.

 

 You, erm, do you want to — erm…

 

 Join you?

 

 Harry shrugged. She saw through his eyes as he hugged himself, his gaze dropping again.

 

 Ginny pushed the blankets off herself and slipped out of the bed. Her heart skipped a beat as she pushed open the bathroom door and stepped towards the shower. Harry’s glasses had slipped down his nose.

 

 Ginny stepped in and the heat of the water combined with her thudding heart made her knees feel shaky. Harry’s eyes flicked up and down her body, then fixed on her own. She kissed him, the water making their skin slick and the steam making her brain foggy.

 

 She didn’t end up washing her hair. They had to get out of the shower before that could happen. Instead, she just hoped no one on the plane would notice if it got a little greasy.

 

 Remus and Sirius arrived exactly at five-thirty, as Harry and Ginny were coming down the stairs with their bags.

 

   “You look particularly chipper for this ungodly hour,” Sirius said, grinning at them. Remus, who was sipping a cup of coffee that Ginny presumed he had brought with him, gave Sirius a dirty look.

 

   “It’s the newlywed glow, I expect,” Ginny answered shortly. “Remus, you look particularly not chipper.”

 

   “I blame him,” Remus grumbled into his coffee. “Bloody wanker doesn’t know when to stop…” His voice trailed off into his cup.

 

 Sirius merely grinned. “Late night,” he explained, patting Remus on the small of his back — Remus winced, for some reason. “Are you all packed and ready?”

 

   “Yep,” Harry said. “Though, I don’t quite know why you both have to come. Remus looks like he’d rather be fast asleep right now.”

 

   “Someone thought it’d be a good idea to take a trip to Paris while you’re in Sydney,” Remus said in a snippy voice. “And that it was an excellent plan to take a plane leaving at the same time yours does.”

 

   “Well, half an hour after, but who cares?” Sirius said. “We’re going to take advantage of the break between now and the next semester.”

 

   “That sounds like a wonderful plan,” Ginny said. “Cheer up, Remus, think of all the expensive French wine Sirius’ll buy you.”

 

 Remus quirked an eyebrow. “I do enjoy wine,” he said softly. Sirius laughed and threw an arm about his shoulders.

 

   “That’s the spirit!” he said, now heading for the door and the gate to the road where they could Apparate. Outside, Sirius shrunk hers and Harry’s bags so they could stick them in their pockets, then offered an arm to them. In a kind of group hug, Sirius twisted on the spot, and the four of them were sucked into space; a second later and with a loud CRACK, they dropped into a darkened alleyway.

 

   “We’ll take a cab from here to the airport,” Sirius said. “It’s only a minute away.”

 

   “What about breakfast?” Harry asked as his stomach grumbled.

 

   “We’ll eat there,” Remus said, vanishing his coffee with a wave of his wand. “Come on, then.”

 

 Sirius hailed a taxi within a minute or two; he and Remus claimed the backseat, and Harry and Ginny played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who got the front. Ginny won, leaving Harry stuck between Sirius and Remus.

 

   “Shouldn’t Sirius be in the middle?” Harry complained. “He’s the shortest!”

   “Oh, shut up, you beanpole,” Sirius protested. “I’m tall for an Asian person!”

 

   “Because you’re half French,” Remus said, his head slightly bowed to avoid touching the ceiling. “But Harry’s right, swap.”

 

 Sirius grumbled about it, but swapped with Harry, who smirked towards Ginny.

 

 You’re still not tall, Harry.

 

 I’m 5”10!

 

 Still.

 

 You’ve no room to talk, you’re 5”6.

 

 5”6 and a half, thank you very much.

 

 Harr y rolled his eyes at her; she knew this because she’d shut her eyes halfway through the exchange and she could see his vision spin.

 

   “Heathrow Airport,” Sirius said to the driver.

 

   “Right you are,” the driver answered him.

 

 Not ten minutes later, the taxi driver was pulling up under a portico at London-Heathrow. Sirius paid him with a few Muggle bills, then quickly ushered Remus, Harry, and Ginny inside. There were light flecks of snow falling from the sky, the air was bone-chilling, and none of them were wearing winter coats. Inside, the airport was already packed and bustling with people leaving or returning home, even though it was barely a minute before six a.m. Sirius led them through ticket inspection and baggage check, though all their bags were shrunk and weightless in their pockets — the woman inspecting their tickets gave them confused looks at their lack of parcels but for carry-on bags —, then quickly through security and towards the gates. They stopped at a café near Harry and Ginny’s gate for breakfast, taking a moment to linger over their coffee. Before she knew it, it was past seven and their plane would be boarding soon.

 

 Remus and Sirius led them to gate 14B, staying with them until a flight attendant announced that boarding had begun. They hugged both of them, then waved goodbye as Harry and Ginny made their way onto the plane.

 

 Their seats were in first class, which Harry swore to Ginny was significant, but Ginny only shrugged and dropped into her seat. Harry took the aisle seat, already inspecting the pocket in the chair in front of him for bags of free nuts. Ginny noticed an eye mask and quickly snatched it, despite Harry’s complaints, snapping it over her forehead and leaning her chair back.

 

   “Wake me up when we take off,” Ginny said, tugging the mask over her eyes.

 

 But instead of letting her brain shut off, she was immediately seeing through Harry’s eyes as he scowled at her.

 

   “Damn,” she muttered, yanking it off again. “Will I ever be able to sleep while you’re awake?”

 

 Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. But we’re leaving for our honeymoon, Gin. Please do try to pay attention to me.”

 

 Ginny laughed and leaned in to peck his cheek. “You’re such a needy husband,” she quipped.

 

 Harry snaked an arm about her waist and drew her closer to press his lips against hers. “Comes with the title,” he said, dropping a kiss onto her neck. Ginny shivered.

 

  “Welcome to Flight 1277,” came a sudden, booming voice; Ginny jumped a bit, looking around, but Harry patted her shoulder. It’s just the captain, he thought. “This is your captain speaking.” Told you. “Please direct your attention to the stewardess at the head of your cabin…”

 

 These Muggles are so strange, Ginny thought as the captain began narrating the flight stewardess’s actions in an In Case of Emergency spiel.

 

 Well, they don’t have wands to conjure a perfectly good rowboat in case the plane goes down.

 

 Ginny jerked her gaze to Harry with wide eyes, but he hastily elaborated his thought; That’s not likely to happen though, don’t worry.

 

 Ginny nodded, but her worry did not leave her face. The flight stewardess, standing a few rows ahead of them, caught her eye and smiled more widely. Ginny felt a little more nervous at the obvious falsity of her smile than anything else. The spiel was quickly over and the captain requested they don their seatbelts for takeoff. Ginny barely recognized the contraption that Harry was locking about his lap from diagrams in her father’s study, but managed to get it on without too much trouble. Then she heard the engines jump to a roar and stiffened in her seat as she got the sudden sensation that they were moving. Harry patted her hand, pointing to the window. Ginny looked, and stifled a squeak at the sight of the airport outside slowly drifting away as the plane began its taxi down the runway.

 

 Do you want me to Stun you? Harry asked her.

 

 Ginny shook her head. You can’t get away with that in here, everyone would notice. Besides, I’d rather not be unconscious for any part of our honeymoon.

 

 A n hour later, she was fast asleep with her head rested on Harry’s shoulder. He was too, but that was beside the point. Her brain returned to the dream she’d been having that morning, of walking down a train station with her hand firmly clasped in her mother’s.

 

 Ginny woke slowly, feeling her side somewhat stiff and her legs achy. She sat up, stretching and yawning softly. She looked back at Harry, but he was still asleep with his mouth slightly open. She let out a quiet chuckle. If she had known five years ago that her imaginary friend travelling to her village would result in this…

 

 Harry shifted and stretched, then opened his eyes and smacked his lips, looking around blearily. “Are we there yet?” he mumbled, now rubbing his eyes with his fists like a child.

 

   “Harry, it’s a 22-hour flight,” Ginny reminded him, then checked her watch. “We have about 17 hours left.”

 

   “Damn,” Harry yawned, then reached down into his school bag to take out Two Towers. “Do you want to see if we can finish this before we land?”

 

 Ginny snorted. “There’s barely half the book left, Harry. We’ll probably finish Return of the King before we land.”

 

 Harry shrugged and cracked the book. Ginny rested her head on his shoulder to listen.

 

 Two Towers was finished by about half past two, and by then the two of them were both quite hungry. A stewardess was bringing carts of food by, and another was asking passengers if they wanted to order anything from the kitchen. One of them stopped by their row and asked Harry with a very wide but polite smile if they wanted anything to eat. They ended up ordering sandwiches and cans of soda, eating their lunch in relative silence. Harry dug out Return of the King and they began the third book in the trilogy.

 

 They did manage to finish the book before the flight had ended. In fact, they had only a few hours left before they were due to touch down in Sydney, so they took the rest of the time to sleep, waking just in time as they began their final descent into Sydney Airport, by the captain speaking over the loudspeaker. Ginny felt less anxious as she had been during take-off, now leaning on the window to look down as the plane touched down. She started a bit when the passengers began to clap as the engines died, but joined in quickly.

 

 They exited the plane with everyone else, walking hand-in-hand through the airport. They made a stop at the bathrooms before walking out towards the exits, where they found a man in a pressed suit and tie holding up a sign with Harry’s name on it.

 

   “Erm, hi,” Harry said to the man.

 

   “Mr. H. Potter?” the man asked, lifting his sunglasses.

 

   “Yes, that’s me,” Harry said. “Are you our driver?”

 

   “I am, sir,” the man answered, now taking off his sunglasses and pocketing them. “One Mr. Black arranged for my services while you are staying here in Sydney. I shall take you to your beach house.”

 

   “Ooh, a beach house,” Ginny said. “Lovely.”

 

 The man tucked the sign under his arm and stuck out his left hand. “My name is Akers, sir.”

 

    “Good to meet you, Mr. Akers,” Harry said, shaking his hand. “Erm, lead on, I s’pose.”

 

 Akers inclined his head, then offered to take their bags. Ginny gave him hers, rather impressed. Their driver led them outside and to a sleek, black car.

 

   “Wow,” Ginny said in a soft murmur as Akers opened their door. “Sirius pulled out all the stops, now didn’t he?”

 

   “Thank you,” Harry said to Akers, though he too was trying to contain his glee. Akers shut the door for them once they had settled themselves into the car, and Ginny took a moment to examine the car; it was much larger inside than she had thought it would be, and tucked in a corner was something that looked suspiciously like a bar.

 

 Akers got into the driver’s seat, interrupting her examinations. As he turned the key in the ignition, he looked at them in his rear mirror; he’d put his sunglasses back on, even though it was dark out still. Or rather, already; Ginny glanced at an onboard clock and saw that her watch was very far behind.

 

   “I do hope you and your wife enjoy your stay here in Syndey,” Akers said to them. “The Australian Ministry is honored to have you visit our country.”

 

 Harry’s ears flushed and Ginny became abruptly aware of the fact that the car was much larger than it should have been. Akers drew out a long, dark wand and tapped the steering wheel, and the car began to maneuver itself into traffic.

 

   “I shall be your guard as well as your driver,” he explained. “I understand that your standing with the Wizarding World is rather under scrutiny at the moment, Mr. Potter.”

 

   “Are you an Auror?” Harry asked Akers.

 

   “I believe that is what they call it in England,” Akers said. “Here, we are simply called police.”

 

   “I thought Sydney was a very Muggle city?” Ginny asked him, sitting up straighter in her seat.

 

   “It is, for the most part,” Akers said. “However, there is a thriving magical community outside the city’s limits, and our Ministry of Magic is located within the city.”

 

   “Trust Sirius to land us with a babysitter on our honeymoon,” Harry said with a chuckle to Ginny, who rolled her eyes.

 

   “At least they didn’t come along,” Ginny reminded him.

 

   “You’re right,” Harry said, leaning back in his seat and smiling at her. “I expect they’re in Paris by now.”

 

   “Probably enjoying the fact that they haven’t got you trailing along behind them,” Ginny quipped, elbowing him lightly. He laughed and gently shoved her away, but she shifted closer and rested her head on his shoulder.

 

   “So, are you going to drive us everywhere?” Harry returned his attention to their escort.

 

   “Within reason,” Akers admitted. “I’m not keen on taking you all the way to the desert to go on a safari.”

 

   “’Course not,” Harry said. “In the city, I mean.”

   “That’s what I’m being paid for,” Akers said, his eyebrows raising above the level of his sunglasses. “I’ll have to stick with you whenever you leave your beach house, as well, for your own protection.”

 

 Harr y deflated a little, until Akers added: “In the background, naturally.”

 

   “Alright,” Harry accepted. “Thanks.”

 

 Akers just nodded, his head turning away from the mirror to watch for the traffic again, even though the car was driving itself.

 

 It took them about half an hour to reach the beach, at which point Harry and Ginny were sitting up and staring out the windows to catch sight of the ocean. They passed through a little neighborhood community of beach houses, but then the houses began to thin out, until there were long gaps between each one. The car finally turned off the paved road onto a sand and gravel driveway, leading off to a distant building. They gathered at the driver’s side window to watch as they neared their destination, until the car finally came to a stop underneath a small portico.

 

 Akers got out to open their door for them, but Harry beat him to it, offering Ginny a hand out of the car. The Australian Auror got their bags out of the boot, then pulled a set of keys from his pocket.

 

   “Here you are,” he said, handing them to Harry. “The house has been warded to keep away unwanted visitors, and there is an anti-Disapparition ward set over the house. I shall be staying up the lane, and there are instructions on how to contact me inside.”

 

   “Thank you, Mr. Akers,” Harry said.

 

 Their driver bowed, then got back into the car and drove off; they watched until the car disappeared past a line of trees, then turned to face their (granted, temporary) vacation home. A set of steps to their left led up to a balcony and the second floor. Beneath the portico was a garage door and a storm door before a white painted door. Harry glanced up the balcony, then headed for the storm door, Ginny behind him. They unlocked the door with the key and stepped into a small kitchen decorated all in soft shades of blue and gray.

 

   “It’s lovely,” Ginny said with a soft smile. They moved into what looked like a dining room to match the kitchen, then found a set of stairs leading up. The second floor had a sitting room with all wicker furniture and white cushions, the walls the same soft blue as the kitchen below, the wallpaper border at the top bearing a seashell and starfish design. Off the sitting room was a large bedroom, and beyond it was a master bathroom, complete with a huge bathtub that looked like a small swimming pool, complete with a varying array of bath salts, oils, bubbles, and more.

 

   “I want to use that,” Ginny declared.

 

 Harry glanced at her and suddenly grinned. “Can we use it at the same time?” he asked. Ginny blushed, thinking of that morning, though really it had been the day before, she reminded herself.

 

   “Let’s unpack and see about some food,” she said instead, taking her shrunken suitcase from her pocket and setting it on the bed. Harry did the same and they enlarged the two suitcases together, then made quick use of the wardrobe and chest of drawers. After unpacking, Ginny wandered back down to the first floor, feeling rather hungry and not at all tired, even though it was nearing eight in the evening, according to the clock over the stove. She hoped that the refrigerator would be just as stocked as the bathroom upstairs, and was greatly pleased when she opened it to see it full.

 

   “Sirius did a good job,” she said as she heard Harry coming down the stairs. “Look at this.”

 

 Harry dropped his head onto her shoulder as he leaned in to examine the fridge. “Ooh, chocolate,” he said, grabbing a Chocolate Frog. Ginny snorted, but took one as well.

 

   “Hey, there’s a note,” Harry said.

 

 She shut the fridge and walked over to where Harry was standing at the sink; the window over the sink looked out over the ocean, she saw, giving them a beautiful view of the beach and the tide slowly creeping over the sand.

 

   “Dear Harry and Ginny,” Harry read. “Welcome to Sydney! I do hope that you’re finding your rental house up to par, but if there’s anything you need, just tell Akers and either he’ll get it for you or he’ll drive you to where you’ll be able to get it. Use the fireplace, the address is 224 Seashell Drive, Guest Cottage. There’s plenty of Floo powder upstairs, and the fireplace is approved for international calls; not trips, though, but I don’t imagine you’ll want to pop back over to the Burrow any time soon.”

 

   “Neither do I,” Ginny said, making Harry chuckle.

 

   “Akers, by the way, is not just your driver for the next two weeks; unfortunately, he’ll have to follow you everywhere you go. Sydney may be filled to the brim with Muggles, but you can never be too careful. He’s the top of his field at the Australian Magical Police, be grateful you’re so famous and can get a police escort wherever you are, Harry, otherwise Remus and I might have had to come along with you.”

 

   “We figured that out on our own, Sirius,” Harry said, snorting, to the letter.

 

   “There’s a whole bunch of brochures and the like in the sitting room upstairs, so you can go and have a look around the city and not spend the entire time cooped up there. It’s summer down under, so feel free to make use of the beach by the house; it’s attached to the lease, so no one should bother you. Have fun, and don’t get pregnant! Lots of love, Sirius, and Remus! Fine I’ll add your name to the note, and Remus. Thank you, Sirius. Yeah, fine, but you owe me. Sirius, it’s still going. Is it? Oi, stop! No, stop dictating! Quill, stop dictating! Quick Quotes, stop! Cease, desist! End!”

 

 Harry gave a laugh and dropped the note back onto the counter. “Typical,” he murmured. “Quick Quotes Quill, I ask you.”

 

 Ginny just shook her head and made her way back to the fridge, opening it and leaning in. “What are you in the mood for?” she asked him, peering between the shelves. “Looks like all the basics are in here, cheese, meats, ketchup and mustard.” At Harry’s silence, she glanced back at him; he blushed and quickly lifted his gaze from her butt. Rolling her eyes and smiling, she straightened up again. “I meant for dinner,” she said, raising an eyebrow.

 

   “Sorry,” he said. “Right. Dinner. Erm.”

 

 Ginny shook her head and turned back to the fridge. “We had sandwiches for lunch. How about breakfast foods, instead? It’s technically morning our time.”

 

   “Sure,” Harry said. “Pancakes?”

 

 Ginny wrinkled her nose. “Again? We had pancakes the past four days!”

 

   “What’s wrong with pancakes?” Harry demanded.

 

 Ginny sighed and shrugged. “Nothing, I suppose. What about scrambled eggs and bacon?”

 

   “With pancakes?”

 

   “Ugh, fine, with pancakes.”

 

   “Yes,” Harry said, pumping his fist. Ginny rolled her eyes at him, turning back to the refrigerator.

 

   “I hope you know how to make pancakes then,” she said, “because I haven’t got a clue.”

 

 Harry snorted. “Do I know how to make pancakes,” he muttered. “Alright, watch closely; this is Delia Smith’s personal recipe.”

 

 Ginny raised an eyebrow as Harry started pulling things out of the cupboard. “Who the hell is Delia Smith?”

 

 He shrugged. “Some cooking lady, I s’pose. Get milk, eggs, and butter from the fridge, will you?”

 

 She echoed his shrug and went along with it. Harry had produced a bowl from the cupboards as well as a bag of flour and a small jar of salt.

 

   “I don’t see a sieve anywhere in here,” Harry murmured, his head buried in the cupboard.

 

   “A what?” Ginny said.

 

   “A sieve,” he answered, looking back at her. “Did you never pay attention when your mother was trying to teach you to cook?”

 

   “Apparently not?” Ginny said, shrugging. Harry rolled his eyes and started opening drawers. “What are you looking for now?” she asked him, setting down the eggs, milk, and butter on the counter.

 

   “Measuring things,” he answered. “Ah, here.” He produced a strange plastic contraption and set it on the counter, then started pressing buttons on it.

 

   “What are you doing now?”

 

   “Measuring out the flour,” he said. “It’s a scale.”

 

   “Then, why does it not look like a scale?”

 

 He looked at her with an incredulous expression. “It’s electric,” he said as if that was obvious.

 

 Ginny shook her head at him as he started pouring flour into the cup on the scale. As if “electric” meant anything to her.

 

   “I heard that,” Harry said, now pouring flour into his bowl.

 

   “I know,” she quipped, then pecked his cheek.

 

   “Add a pinch of salt for me,” Harry told her, now digging around in the drawers again. Ginny opened the little jar of salt by the stove and carefully added some to the flour, flicking her fingers to get it out from under her nails. “Ah, here’s one.”

 

   “One what?” said Ginny as Harry straightened back up; he shoved a metal tool into her hands. “What is this?”

 

   “Good grief, Ginny, did you actively avoid the kitchen? It’s a whisk!”

 

 She shot him a scowl. “What do I do with it?” she shot back.

 

 He gestured towards the bowl of flour and salt. “Whisk that together while I measure out the milk.”

 

    “Whisk it?” she repeated, looking uselessly at the wire contraption. Harry let out a groan.

 

   “Never mind,” he said, plucking it from her fingers and plunging it into the flour. Ginny decided she would much rather hang back and observe than help, and dropped another kiss onto Harry’s cheek.

 

   “Go on, teach me how to make pancakes,” she said.

 

 Harry leaned back and quickly kissed her lips. “No offence, but you’re hopeless.”

 

   “So!”

 

 He laughed and started measuring out milk. “Fine, start adding eggs.”

 

 Ginny rolled her eyes at him.

 

 Fifteen minutes later, Harry was ladelling batter into a flat-bottomed pan and Ginny was watching with fascination. He moved automatically, gently shaking the pan every so often, then he lifted it up off the stove and gave his wrist a flick and the pancake was in the air; Ginny tried not to gasp as it flipped, then landed soundly into the pan again. Harry gave Ginny a grin that clearly stated that he was pleased with himself.

 

  “How in the name of Merlin did you not drop that on the floor?” she demanded as he set the pan back down.

 

 Harry merely shrugged. “Practice.”

 

 He let her try flipping the next one. It hit the ceiling, needless to say, but after her fourth try — granted, with him helping — she successfully flipped a pancake.

 

   “I did it!” she cried. “I did it, Harry!”

 

   “Congratulations, love,” Harry told her, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek from behind.

 

 Ginny grinned. She understood his grin from minutes before; she was quite pleased with herself, as well. Never mind the three pancakes that Harry had had to unstick from the ceiling.

 

   “I think we should be fancy and eat in the bathtub,” Ginny said to Harry as she sprinkled sugar and lemon juice over her pancakes. Harry looked over at her, his brow furrowed. “What?” she said.

 

   “I think we should eat at the table,” he answered. “Because — because if we ate in the bath, I don’t think I’d be able to concentrate on eating.”

 

 Ginny blushed. “Fair point,” she mumbled, then grabbed a fork. But now she was thinking about being in the bath with him, and she wasn’t quite as hungry as she’d been earlier. “Well, we could still take a bath.”

 

   “Sure,” Harry said, much too quickly. Ginny glanced at him and giggled. He blushed.

 

 They dropped into seats next to each other at the dining room table. Ginny tried to savor her food, but she was still thinking about that bath; Harry was too, which made her feel better, although he wasn’t bothering to eat slowly. He finished his long before she did, and ended up sitting on his hands, rather impatient. Ginny thought it was quite amusing. The minute she swallowed her last bite, Harry was grabbing her hand and pulling her up out of her seat.

 

   “Careful!” she warned him as he nearly knocked over their chairs.

 

 Harry flushed, dropping her hand to right the chairs. Ginny glanced at the dishes, then at Harry and decided to leave them for the moment. Her heart was beating rapidly in her chest now. She grabbed his hand again, then pressed her lips to his. Harry quickly set his hands at her waist, dropping hers to do so, his lips pressing back eagerly. Her hands ended up in his hair, her weight resting on her toes as she reached up to press against her husband.

 

 Stil l want that bath? Harry thought.

 

 I don’t care, she answered. Her back struck something hard, the wall she guessed. Harry slanted his lips on hers, his tongue pushing into her mouth as he pressed himself against her. She reveled in the feeling, at his heavy breathing, his heart beating fast in time with hers. She wanted to be closer, to feel him against her skin; her hands moved from his hair to his shoulders, sliding down to his chest and tracing lines of his muscles.

 

 There was skin beneath her fingers but she didn’t remember him taking his shirt off. Harry pulled back, startled, to look down at his suddenly bare chest. Ginny’s eyebrows shot up.

 

   “Did you just vanish my shirt?” he asked.

 

   “Not intentionally,” she laughed. Harry met her eyes and she blushed again. He screwed up his eyebrows, his lips pursing in concentration.

 

 What are you — she began to think, but stopped at the abrupt chill against her skin. She looked down at herself with a gasp.

 

   “You vanished my shirt!” Ginny accused.

 

   “Intentionally,” Harry answered, and his mouth was at her neck and she was too busy loving the feeling of his lips on her skin and his hands fumbling with the clasp of her bra to care.

 

 Are we doing this here? Ginny found herself thinking; Harry’s crotch was stiff and pressing into her and with each movement of his mouth on her neck she felt herself reacting more.

 

 Who cares, was all Harry would answer, and to be honest, the acknowledgement that that was what they were doing was enough for her. Then Harry managed to get her bra unhooked and his mouth was abruptly lifting. Ginny glanced down at him, then quickly shut her eyes again with a soft gasp as his lips touched her chest. His hands were pressing firmly against her hips, half crouching and half leaning down to suck bruises into her skin. Harry dragged his mouth back up her sternum to her collar bone and finally back to her mouth, his hands flying up to replace his mouth. Ginny’s fingers were digging into his back and her lips tore at his feverishly. Her knee lifted and hooked itself around his legs, a need for friction somewhere deep in her bones. Harry quickly dropped his hands to cup her butt, lifting her up and she wrapped her other leg around him as he pinned her between the wall and himself. His bare skin pressing against hers was hot and felt right.

 

 Then Harry shifted his hips in a gentle, rolling movement and she gasped into his mouth. Her thighs clenched on their own and he released a quiet moan, the vibrations deep in his throat and making her breath catch in her throat. Ginny’s hands fell from his chest to his waist then to the waistband of his trousers, half wondering if her accidental vanishing of his shirt would work on his trousers.

 

 Harry let out a yelp and quickly pulled back, letting her drop onto her own feet, his lips puffy and his face very red. “Ginny!”

 

   “What?” she said, half confused and half blissfully unconcerned. Though, if she was honest, she was primarily miffed that he’d stopped kissing her.

 

 Harry spluttered for a second longer. “You vanished my boxers!” he finally hissed.

 

 Ginny snorted, then quickly laughed. “Sorry, darling, it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m taking off of you at the moment.”

 

 Harry flushed even brighter, but leaned back in to kiss her. So, we should move?

 

 Probably.

 

 You want to take that bath you were talking about?

 

 There’s a perfectly good table right behind us.

 

 Harry paused at that. “Really? The table?”

 

 Ginny’s fingers closed on the front of his jeans. “Are you going to be fussy about it or are you going to fuck me?” she asked, not bothering to be polite.

 

 Harry, being Harry, blushed and spluttered, but Ginny grabbed him in another kiss, intentionally backing him up until he hit the table, the chairs conveniently pushed off to the side. She pressed herself to him, her arms snaking around his waist and her lips dropping to his jaw.

 

   “You didn’t answer,” she murmured, now moving her lips to his ear. Harry quickly returned his hands to her back, automatically pulling her closer; she started to suck on his earlobe and he murmured something unintelligible. “Well?” she whispered and smiled as he shuddered.

 

   “Fine,” he muttered.

 

   “Say it,” she said, suddenly wanting to hear it come from his lips.

 

   “I’m going to fuck you,” Harry mumbled, and Ginny grinned as a shiver went down her spine. Harry flipped them around, his mouth attacking hers. Her fingers returned to his hair, her fists closing in the mess of it and tugging gently. Harry’s teeth closed on her lip, a grin forming on his lips. “You kinky woman,” he murmured against her mouth. “What, you like dirty talk?”

 

   “Who knows,” Ginny said, leaning in to press her lips to his again. “Just fuck me.”

 

   “You do,” Harry laughed as he dodged her kiss. “You like it.”

 

   “You like it when I pull your hair,” she countered, tugging gently to prove her point; she felt him twitch against her hip and grinned. “You’re the kinky one.”

 

   “We’ll both be kinky,” Harry muttered, his lips pressing against her neck; she arched it, her eyes fluttering shut. His mouth came to her ear and he whispered, making her shiver: “As long as I fuck you, right?”

 

   “Please,” she murmured. Harry chuckled, his breath falling on her ear.

 

   “I’m going to fuck you, Ginny,” he said and she shuddered again.

 

   “Stop yakking and do it, then,” she muttered.

 

 Harry sniggered again, pressing his lips to her neck once more. “What if I want to take my time about it?”

 

 Ginny nearly whimpered as he ground his hips into hers again, making Harry grin into her neck. “Stop teasing me,” she mumbled, her fingers clenching in his hair. Harry swept his tongue over a sensitive spot on her neck, making her gasp.

 

   “What if I like teasing you,” he murmured. “We’re all entitled to our kinks.”

 

 Ginny felt like hitting him and snogging him at the same time; she wasn’t sure what to do. She settled for vanishing his jeans.

 

   “Hey!” he exclaimed. “That’s not fair!”

 

 She vanished her own jeans, catching his lips with hers. I don’t care. Harry’s fingers pressed to her hips and lifted her onto the table, vanishing the last of her clothing in return. Ginny let out a gasp and a moan, her fingers digging into his scalp; her legs closed around his hips, his hands tight on her waist. A lot of things flew through her brain, Harry’s name dripping from her lips, the sound of her own in her ear punctured by Harry’s quiet moans and his soft utterances of the word that made her insides clench making it hard to think of anything but his movements and his voice and just Harry…

 

 T here was a mess on the floor and Ginny had to hold onto the table, her legs were still shaking. Harry was leaning against the wall, his chest falling and rising rapidly with his still heavy breathing. He grinned at her.

 

   “I love you,” he said. “I’m so in love with you.”

 

 Ginny blushed; she was leaning on the dining room table, stark naked and coming down from an incredible orgasm, and she was blushing because he’d said he was in love with her. Harry grinned wider.

 

   “We should get dressed,” she said, slipping off the table. Harry caught her hand and pulled her to him quickly, his lips pressing to hers.

 

   “I can’t express how much I’m in love with you,” he murmured. Ginny pressed a still shaking hand to his cheek and kissed him back, gently this time.

 

 Me, neither, Harry.

 

   “We should get dressed, though,” Harry said, glancing around. “Erm. Where did our clothes go?”

 

 Ginny shrugged. “Into nonbeing?”

 

 Harry looked at her with a frown. “Nonbeing?”

 

   “Yeah, that’s where vanished objects go. Nonbeing. It’s a common question to get into Ravenclaw tower.”

 

   “But how do we get them back?” he asked, picking the one bit of clothing that had been removed rather than vanished from the floor. “Because I really like that tee shirt.”

 

 Ginny snatched her bra from him and put it on quickly; Harry watched in fascination. “I’m not sure how to summon vanished objects,” she said. “Sorry.”

 

 Harry snatched his wand from the table and screwed up his face in concentration. Nothing happened. “Accio my favorite shirt!” he tried. There was a soft pop and he was suddenly no longer shirtless. Ginny tried not to pout as he summoned the rest of his clothes, rather, she grabbed her own wand and summoned her own clothes.

 

 Harry yawned, and Ginny agreed with him before he even opened his mouth. “Sleep,” she said, grabbing his hand. He nodded, then started towards the kitchen. He paused, then looked back at the table. “We can get the dishes later,” she said hastily, not wanting to wash up.

 

   “No, erm, the, erm,” Harry turned pink. “Never mind, Evanesco!” Ginny turned back as Harry vanished the mess of spunk on the floor. She blushed too. “I mean, I figured we ought to send that into nonbeing as well.”

 

 Ginny suddenly giggled. “‘Into nonbeing, that is to say, everything,’” she quoted. Harry flushed scarlet.

 

   “Well, great,” he muttered. “Thanks for that little fact, Gin.”

 

 She kept giggling all the way back upstairs, only quieting when Harry caught her in another kiss. The two of them flopped onto the large bed in the master bedroom, their eyes shutting in tandem as they both fell asleep.

 

 She was a little girl again, holding her mother’s hand as they walked through King’s Cross. She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet as she walked, excitedly anticipating stepping through the barrier and greeting her older brothers after four whole months of not seeing them. This Christmas was going to be the best, yet, she was sure of it.

 

   “Hold on tight, now, dear,” her mother reminded her; they were nearing Platform Nine now.

 

   “Yes, mum,” she answered. Abruptly, a man in dark robes bumped into her. “Ow!” she exclaimed, though she was not really hurt.

 

   “Sorry,” the man told her in a gruff voice and hurried off. Her mother clicked her tongue disapprovingly.

 

   “…always rushing about,” she muttered. “Ginny?”

 

   “Yes?” she answered.

 

   “Hey, Gin, what do you want to do about breakfast?”

 

 Ginny woke with a start, Harry was sitting in bed next to her, reading through a brochure. “What?” she mumbled as she blinked sleep from her eyes and sat up.

 

   “Breakfast,” Harry repeated. “What do you want to do about breakfast?”

 

 Ginny paused to yawn, covering her mouth with a hand. “I dunno,” she mumbled, her eyes shutting again. She was instantly given a vision of her own self, sitting back against a pile of pillows with her eyes shut. She quickly opened them, disconcerted by the sudden, third-person view. “What’re the options?”

 

   “We could stay in and make it,” he answered, “or go out.”

 

 Ginny glanced around for a clock. It was half-past 8 in the morning, apparently, though she felt sure it was much earlier. “I don’t feel like cooking,” she answered him, shifting her position to look at him.

 

   “Me neither,” Harry replied. “Sirius left a bunch these brochures in the sitting room; there’s a lot of restaurants in the area, plus lots of things to do. I figured we could go out for breakfast, then do some sight-seeing. What do you think?”

 

 Ginny turned her eye on the brochures, picking through them while she though. “Sounds good,” she said. “Oh, but let’s visit this carnival after breakfast instead of going sight-seeing,” she added. “It looks much more interesting.”

 

 Har ry gave a shrug. “Alright, but where do you want to go to breakfast?”

 

   “You pick,” Ginny said, yawning again. “I’m going to get a shower.”

 

 Harry might have blushed as she got out of bed, but Ginny chose to ignore it. She really did need to wash her hair, after all. She made an effort to shower as quickly as possible, however. After ten minutes, she got out and dried herself with a wave of her wand before wrapping herself in a dressing gown and exiting the bathroom.

 

   “I’m going to get a shower, too,” Harry said. She nodded vaguely as he passed her to enter the bathroom, going to the wardrobe to find clothes for the day.

 

 So, where are we going to breakfast?

 

 Local diner. Apparently, it has the best crab-cake Eggs Benedict anywhere.

 

 What’s Eggs Benedict?

 

 You’ll find out.

 

 Ginny shrugged, now getting dressed. Harry exited the shower a few minutes later, while she was sitting on the bed and looking through the rest of the brochures. “What about going to the Sydney Opera house?” Ginny asked him.

 

 Harry briefly glanced up from the chest of drawers. “Sure,” he said. “Erm, I’ve never been a great fan of opera. I didn’t realize you were.”

   “No, but it’s supposed to be a must-see for Sydney,” she said, looking up. Harry paused on his way back into the bathroom to get dressed.

 

   “Sure,” he repeated. “But we take a tour of the city first.”

 

   “Fine,” she said. Harry paused, looking between the bathroom and her and his clothes. “Just change,” she said, exasperated at his indecision. Harry’s cheeks flushed. “We’ll be seeing each other naked plenty of times from now on,” she reminded him.

 

 Harry hesitated more, then crossed over to the bed and dropped his clothes onto it. Ginny fixed her eyes on the brochure in her hand while he dressed. Or, at least she tried; she glanced at him a few times, but he didn’t ever meet her gaze.

 

   “Right,” Harry muttered, tossing his towel into the bathroom. “Erm. Breakfast?”

 

   “Yes,” Ginny said, jumping up from the bed. “Breakfast. Let’s call Akers so he can drive us.”

 

 Harry caught her wrist as she started for the door and she stopped to face him. “What?” she said. Harry shrugged, then quickly kissed her.

 

   “Love you,” he said, dropping his hand to clutch hers.

 

   “I love you, too,” she answered in a murmur.

 

 After they called Akers, it took him only a few minutes to pull up to the portico with the same sleek, black car that had delivered them the night before. The diner Harry had picked wasn’t far either, but they lingered over their breakfast, leaving sometime after ten in the morning, Australia time. Harry reset his watch to match the time zone, but Ginny left hers on English time, so they would be able to tell what time it was back home. After their breakfast, they met Akers in the car, telling him about the carnival they wanted to see. He merely nodded in silence and tapped the steering wheel with his wand. Akers was proving to be a very quiet individual.

 

 The carnival was extremely fun; there were acrobats and contortionists who Ginny could hardly believe were not using magic, tigers and lions — “Oh my,” Harry had said in a deep voice, then giggled to himself — paraded around the circus ring like show dogs, clowns and knife throwers and more. They spent almost the whole day at the carnival, leaving barely in time to get food before returning to their beach house. They waved Akers off, then climbed the stairs to the balcony and the second floor.

 

   “I’m exhausted,” Ginny said with a yawn. She dropped onto the couch and let her eyes fall shut; Harry dropped down beside her and wrapped an arm around her.

 

   “Today was great,” he murmured in her ear. “We should honeymoon more often.”

 

 Ginny giggled, hugging his chest and curling up on the sofa. “Sure, Harry,” she mumbled.

 

 He pressed a kiss to her hair, his eyes closing as well.

 

   “What about that bath?” Ginny murmured, cracking open one eye. Harry looked down at her and smiled.

 

   “Sure,” he said. “I’d love to.”

 

 Ginny grinned and got up from the sofa, grabbing his hand. “Come on, then,” she said, tugging him up. Harry chuckled at her, letting her pull him from the sitting room towards the master bedroom.

 

   “Eager, are you?” he mocked. She threw him a scornful look over her shoulder, but it wasn’t very effective as she smiled halfway through.

 

   “My feet ache from walking around all day,” she told him.

 

 He raised an eyebrow. “You sure that’s not the only thing that’s aching?”

 

 Ginny flushed, but couldn’t stop herself from grinning. “We’re honeymooning, Harry,” she reminded him. She set a hand on his chest and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “We’re supposed to do it lots and lots of times.”

 

 Harry flushed; he leaned in to kiss her and she darted away. “Hey!” he protested; she laughed at him and ducked into the bathroom, coming to a slippery halt on the polished white tile. Harry ran in and crashed into her, his arms flying out and grabbing her around the middle. She shrieked as he lifted her up and hugged her to his chest.

 

   “Gotcha!” he laughed, pressing a kiss to her ear. She giggled, his scratchy chin tickling her neck. “I heard that,” he said.

 

  “It is scratchy!” Ginny laughed as he set her down. “You haven’t shaved since we left England.”

 

 Harry scowled. “Should I shave now?” he asked, crossing his arms.

 

   “Well, not right now,” Ginny said. “Later, maybe.”

 

 He rolled his eyes at her. “You’re ridiculous,” he decided. Ginny giggled again and kissed him.

 

   “You married me,” she pointed out, then turned away. Harry grabbed her in another hug, his arms locking around her waist and his face nuzzling her neck.

 

   “That doesn’t stop you from being the most ridiculous person in the world,” he said softly in her ear. She shivered. He pressed his lips to her neck again, exhaling and causing her skin to prick. “Do you want to draw the bath?” he asked her.

 

   “Right,” she muttered. “Are you going to let go of me?”

 

 Harry shrugged. “Do I have to?”

 

   “I think so, yes.”

 

 Harry let out a deep sigh, his breath falling on the back of her neck. “If you insist,” he murmured and released her. Ginny turned around and kissed him again, then turned back to the large bathtub. Even with her husband standing right behind her and the thought of the both of them in the same bath, she was excited to try out the salts and oils lining the shelves behind the tub. She pulled off her socks, then climbed into the tub and twisted the taps. Cold water spurted out, then turned quickly hot. She moved over to the shelves of luxuries.

 

   “What do you think?” she asked, looking back at Harry. “There’s plenty of choices.”

 

 Harry sat down on the marble edge of the tub and made a show of peering across to look. “I don’t care,” he said, dropping the pretense.

 

 Ginny rolled her eyes. “How about lavender and honey?”

 

   “No, I don’t like honey.”

 

 She narrowed her eyes at him. “You don’t like honey?”

 

 He shrugged. “It’s too intense.”

 

 Ginny raised an eyebrow. “Coming from the boy who will down entire treacle tarts at a time?”

 

 He raised a finger in defense; “Hey, those are varied in flavor.”

 

 Ginny rolled her eyes, again. Harry chuckled. “Fine,” she murmured. “Lavender and vanilla, then.”

 

   “Are you trying to put us to sleep?” Harry asked.

 

   “No!”

 

Harry pulled off his own socks and rolled up his pants legs; Ginny was standing ankle deep in water by now. He walked over to her and pulled down a jar of pink salts. “Here, hibiscus and rose.”

 

 Ginny looked at it. “What’s hibiscus?”

 

   “Just use it,” Harry said. “And these bubbles.”

 

 Ginny shrugged as Harry took down a bottle of red bubble bath and opened the jar of salts. She sprinkled it over the water while Harry poured the bubble bath into the water, foam quickly forming. As he was pouring, Ginny stepped over to the side and sat on the edge before carefully removing her clothes. Harry hadn’t turned around yet, so Ginny carefully lowered herself down into the water, the bubbles covering her lap rapidly; she pulled more to her to cover her chest as well as the water level rose steadily. Harry put the cap on the bottle, having used up nearly half of it, she thought, and set it down, then turned back to her.

 

   “There,” he said, and tugged his shirt off. Ginny raised her eyebrows and smirked. “What?” he said. She just shrugged. He abruptly grinned at her, his hands dropping to the waistband of his jeans. Ginny sat up a little bit straighter as Harry stepped closer to her, then intentionally let her gaze drop. Harry carefully pulled his jeans off, not letting them touch the water, and set them aside. He was standing right beside her now, looking down at her.

 

   “Well?” she said. Harry’s cheeks reddened, but he bent and removed his boxers.

 

 Ginny took his hand and pulled him down to sit next to her. Harry draped an arm around her shoulders, drawing her in closer to him, then pressed his lips to her cheek. The water level had reached her waist, the bubbles fully coating the surface of the bath. Ginny angled herself in to face him, setting a hand on his chest.

 

   “This is nice,” she murmured quietly.

 

   “Yeah,” Harry answered in a whisper.

 

   “Harry?”

 

   “Hmm?”

 

 Ginny looked up at him, an innocent expression of contentedness on her face, marred only by her slight smirk. “You wanna fuck?”

 

 Harry blinked at her. “You are so vulgar sometimes,” he said, then kissed her. Ginny pushed her hands up to lock behind his neck, twisting her body to swing a leg over Harry’s lap. Immediately, she felt him reacting beneath her, her own body flooding with blood and heat at the sensation. She slanted her lips on his, his tongue swept across her lip and she opened her mouth, half biting his lip. His hands came to her chest, his fingers pinching and making her gasp softly. She could feel him getting harder beneath her and she pushed her fingers into his hair, pulling gently; he twitched and she couldn’t help but moan. Harry pulled his lips from hers, kissing down her neck to her sternum and breasts.

 

   “Fuck, you’re beautiful,” Harry muttered, and she shuddered as he sucked a mark into her skin. “You’re insanely beautiful, love, you drive me mad.”

 

   “Your mouth drives me mad,” Ginny hissed, bring her lips to his ear and closing her teeth on the cartilage. Harry let out a growl and sucked harder on her skin. The pressure was building in her and Harry was fully hard, ready and waiting. She lifted her lips, looking down at him and she raised herself up.

                                                                      

 She threw her arms around his neck, leaning in as her eyes fluttered shut and she let out a little gasp. Harry’s hands closed on her waist, his lips at her neck again. The feeling of being filled filled her, her mind overcoming with sensations of intensity and sweet pleasure; a kind of heat that milled between them universally and equally.

 

 The bath water and perfumed steam made her feel rather sleepy, the satisfaction making her muscles loose and tender. Harry closed his arms around her as she sunk back into the water, the sweet scent of roses filling her nose, and with her husband’s arms around her, she fell asleep.

 

   “Hold tight to my hand, lovely,” her mother reminded her.

 

   “Yes, mum,” she answered in a half-bored voice; she knew well enough not to let go of her mother’s hand in the middle of a crowded train station. Her mother tugged her closer and pulled her along, passing by platform seven and heading for platforms nine and ten.

 

   “It gets worse and worse every year,” her mother sighed, clucking her tongue. “People everywhere — oi, watch yourself!”

 

 A large man in long coat had knocked into Ginny’s shoulder, causing her to stumble into her mother; Mum grabbed her arm and held her up, sending a glare after the man. “Rude, insufferable wankers,” her mother mumbled, dropping her hand to grab Ginny’s again. “Probably never listened to his mother when she tried to teach ‘im his manners. You’d better be listening to me when I’m teaching you your manners, young lady.”

 

   “Yes, mum,” Ginny mumbled in answer, as her mother huffed and tugged her forward.

 

   “It’s past 8, the train ought to be here already,” said her mother in a soft voice, half to herself as she checked her watch. “Your dad’s not gonna be happy.”

 

   “He won’t mind that we’re late,” Ginny said in an assuring tone to her mother. “He’s probably still reading his paper.”

 

   “Still,” her mother sighed, glancing over her shoulder. “Hold on tight, love,” she said again, though her voice was suddenly much harsher than it had been a moment before. Ginny glanced around, wondering what had made her mother abruptly worried. The station was packed, full to the brim with people bustling about as they headed home or away for the holidays. Her eyes scanned the crowds, and she spotted a group of older men and women all dressed in similar coats standing near the barrier between platforms nine and ten. There were perhaps ten or fifteen of them, all wearing dark coats and strange looking suits, and she let out a little gasp as she recognized the man who had knocked into her mere moments before. They looked like they were waiting for something, their faces tense. A clock nearby chimed 8:30, and the group of dark coated people all pulled thin rods from their coat pockets or sleeves, raising them into the air and turning to face the crowds.

 

   “AVADA KEDAVRA!”

 

 Th e bright green light struck her directly in the chest, and Ginny felt herself floating in the air, wrapped in lukewarm water that smelled sweet. She twisted onto her chest to peer into the water beneath her, seeing a school of fish swim by. The current was gentle around her, carrying her from open water towards a rocky beach, and as she looked, the shoreline grew larger, drawing closer. There was a cliff facing the water, the mouth of cave with jagged teeth of rock open at its base. The current pushed her lazily along, until she entered the cave and landed onto a pebble-strewn shore.

 

 She rose to her feet, feeling the water lap at her toes, and stepped forward. The was a doorway in front of her, leading deeper into the cave. In the low light, she saw more water, a vast lake with a small island in its center. A white orb of light hung above it, illuminating the little island and the pedestal upon it. There was a boat at the edge of the lake, so she stepped into it, and the boat pushed off on its own, drifting towards the island and the light.

 

 She leaned over the edge of the boat, her hair swinging forward over her shoulders. Her reflection in the water was off, the water staining her red hair darker, her eyes a shade of green instead of brown, her mouth set in a firm frown. She leaned back, but the reflection stayed put, and abruptly, the reflection opened its mouth; her reflection shouted at her, her eyes wide with panic, but no sound escaped the water. Ginny leaned in again, and her reflection reached out to her, her hands grabbing at her arms, her hair, her shoulders. She plunged into the water, her reflection holding onto her with icy fingers.

 

   “Ginny! Harry, Ginny, get over here, now!”

   “What?” Ginny said, not understanding what she meant.

 

 Her reflection shouted again, her voice distinctly masculine and carrying the faintest trace of a Welsh accent: “Harry, Ginny, come here!”

 

 Ginny sat up in the bathtub with a gasp; Remus was shouting from somewhere, his voice panicky.

 

   “We’re coming!” Ginny called, leaping up from the bath. Harry started, looking around dazedly. “Harry, get up!”

 

    “Wha’s going on?” Harry said groggily, rubbing at his eyes.

 

   “Get in here!” Remus shouted again; he sounded almost angry, almost afraid.

 

   “I don’t know, something’s wrong,” Ginny said, and she knew it even without Harry’s godfather screaming for them. Her heart was tight in her chest, beating hard and fast, her lungs clenched with anxiety. Harry pushed himself up from the bath as Ginny grabbed them both dressing gowns from the bedroom, throwing hers on as she crossed back to give Harry his and grab their wands. Still dripping from the bath, the two of them darted from their bedroom into the sitting room.

 

 There was a fire in the hearth, the flames flickering green, and Remus’s head was sat amongst the coals. “Oh, thank God,” Remus gasped as they came into sight. “Akers is coming to get you, get dressed, he’s going to take you to the Ministry so you can take an International Floo back to Hogwarts.”

 

   “What’s wrong?” Harry asked, completely confused.

 

   “There’s been an attack,” Remus said, “Death Eaters; King’s Cross — We don’t know how many are dead yet, but the Dark Mark is over the train station.”

 

 Ginny’s heart turned colder the longer Remus spoke. She knew something had been terribly wrong.

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