|SIYE Time:6:54 on 21st October 2018|
A Christmas Eve to Remember
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Summary: It's Christmas Eve and you're not here.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1147
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Christmas fluff, written for littlerose13's prompt on Tumblr, the 12 days of Shipmas
The look on Ginny Weasley's face turned from a frown into one of concern as the clock chimed eleven. It seemed louder than usual, but she supposed it was because the house was practically silent.
'Oh Harry, where are you? It's Christmas Eve and you're not here', she thought. She chanced a look at the Floo, but no green flames were imminent. Getting up, she checked — once again — but there was definitely nothing wrong with the fireplace. Wrapping her arms around her waist, she wandered slowly over to the window, peering out. Snow was gently falling, creating a picturesque scene outside her window, but the only thing Ginny wanted to see definitely wasn't there.
Her Christmas Eve plans were slowly crumbling, like the cupcakes she had made earlier that day. She'd had her doubts about them even as she iced them, but the proof was definitely in the tasting. Despite their crumbling, and in her worry about Harry, she had eaten six of the eight that had survived. Teddy had mashed up one; some had even made it to his mouth. One lone cupcake survived, waiting for Santa, but as the hands on the clock ticked over, she couldn't gurarantee it would make it till midnight.
This was supposed to be their first real Christmas together. The one after the battle had been hard, with Fred's absence felt so strongly still, it almost felt wrong to celebrate. The next had been better; Teddy was nearly two, and Victoire nearly eight months old. Children certainly made a difference, as the focus was on them. Both couples, Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione, had ample alone time, which was just what they needed.
For Harry and Ron were finishing up their Auror training, Hermione was already making her presence felt at the Department and Regulation for Control of Magical Creatures, and Ginny was in her rookie season for the Holyhead Harpies. Harry and Ginny particularly cherished this time together, as Ginny was based in Wales for the Quidditch season, and the two really had to fight for time alone.
But this year was supposed to be different. They'd had more time together, and grown closer than ever. Harry had discovered his grandparents estate, Stinchcombe Castle, and had fallen in love with it, leaving Grimmauld Place in trust for Teddy's future, with Kreacher maintaining both residences. Harry hadn't had much time to redecorate the whole place, mostly concentrating on the rooms he immediately needed. His bedroom, a guest bedroom — supposedly for Ginny, if you asked Molly, but usually used by Ron and Hermione when they stayed over — Teddy's bedroom, the kitchen, dining and lounge.
Just three weeks ago, she, Harry and all their friends, including Teddy, had come to Stinchcombe Castle to help them put up the tree that Hagrid had delivered. There had been a light snowfall, and with carols on the wireless, eggnog to drink and the smell of Christmas biscuits in the air, Ginny delighted in the happy look on Harry's face as he welcomed his friends to his new home. Once the tree was done — and it looked perfect — they'd had a huge snowball fight then helped Teddy build a snowman. There was a lot of laughter as they trooped back inside, where Kreacher had hot chocolate with marshmallows and the first batch of biscuits out of the oven waiting for them.
There had been a lot of catch ups with friends over the last couple of weeks. Oliver and Katie had come to dinner with George and Angelina. Neville and Hannah had invited them to their new house at Hogsmeade, along with Ron and Hermione and Luna and her partner, Rolf. There had been get togethers with the Harpies, and a Christmas party for the DMLE, and a quick catch up with Dennis Creevy when they shopped in Muggle London.
But today was supposed to be just for them, until Harry had been called away early this morning. He had kissed her apologetically, promising to return home as soon as he could. Ginny had grunted and rolled over, going back to sleep until she roused mid morning. She had been playing the waiting game ever since.
She walked over to the tree, still despondent. It was ten feet tall, maybe more. Hagrid and Harry had chosen well. Lights twinkled, baubles shone, presents were laid out all around the base in readiness. She remembered Harry's joy in hanging their stockings over the fireplace; standing back and hugging her tight. She had already put a few little knick knacks in his and Teddy's, and a couple in Kreacher's. Hers hung limply, exactly how she felt.
“Miss Ginny should go to bed. Master will be home soon.” Ginny jumped at Kreacher's words, seemingly coming out of nowhere in the darkness.
“Have you heard something, did an owl come?” she asked, hope flaring.
Kreacher stepped into the light. “No...but I know master would not intentionally leave Miss Ginny alone if he could help it.”
Ginny smiled sadly. “I know, it's why I'm so worried. Things were finally...” She broke off and turned away from Kreacher's knowing look. “I'll stay up a bit longer...but you should go to bed. Goodnight, Kreacher.”
Kreacher stared at her for several moments, then, “goodnight, Miss Ginny,” he said, before leaving.
'Please, come home soon, Harry', she implored silently.
She sat at the table and ate the carrot sticks Teddy had left out for the reindeer, all the while eying the cupcake he'd left for Santa. She took a deep breath and was about to reach for it, when the fireplace began to splutter green flames.
A weary Harry stepped out, brushing soot from his hair. He first looked at the tree, all alight, then around the room, his gaze settling on her.
“Ginny,” he breathed, almost in relief. He flung his satchel on the ground, shrugged off his cloak and hurried over to her.
She was up and out of the chair so fast, and they met in the middle of the lounge. Arms reached for each other, eyes searched the other's and then their mouths collided. All the while, Ginny was running her hands over his body, waiting to feel a wince or hear a moan. But the only moan she heard wasn't one of pain.
Finally they broke apart. “Welcome home, Master Harry.” Kreacher slunk past, relieved himself, as he took Harry's Auror cloak and satchel, to be cleaned and stored away.
“I thought you would be asleep by now,” said Harry, hugging her again. He still thrilled to the thought of coming home to her.
“You're okay? You took so long, and the bloody department wouldn't tell me anything when I fire called earlier,” complained Ginny.
“I'm fine. Sorry it took so long, the bloody Auror that was escorting the prisoner was hopeless, he — what are you doing?” he asked her, amused.
She was unbuttoning his shirt, looking for bruises or worse. “Nothing, go on. Wait, you went to Azkaban? Here.” She pushed the chocolate covered cupcake into his hand.
“Gin, love I'm fine,” he half protested, although secretly he liked her fussing over him, even loved it, truth be told. Not all the time, mind, but tonight, yeah. “So, how was your day?” He took a bite of the cupcake, only to have it crumble apart. He shoved what he could into his mouth.
Ginny quickly placed the plate under the crumbs, picking up several with her finger tips and eating them. “Well, I didn't really do much, I was waiting for you to return. I wrapped a few more presents, fire-called your boss, then Hermione, to complain about your boss. She totally agreed with your boss, that he couldn't tell me details about the case you were on, so then I firecalled Ron to complain about Hermione, but I couldn't get hold of him. So I complained about Ron to George,” she said, matter of factly.
“Oh-kay,” drawled Harry, trying to keep track of it all. He drank the glass of milk Teddy had left out, then reached for her hand. “Is that all?”
Ginny shook her head. “Luna came over to check our mistletoe for Nargles, said she forgot to do it the day we put up the tree.” She grinned at the memory of Luna getting tipsy on the spiked egg nog that day, and having a conversation with the Muggle reindeer they had purchased and placed alongside the tree.
“So are we Nargle free?” asked a grinning Harry.
“Yes, we are,” giggled Ginny.
“Anything else?” asked Harry casually.
“Mum firecalled to ask what time we'd be there tomorrow morning. When she heard you were still out, she sent over dinner for the two of us. I ate all of it,” she admitted unapologetically.
“That's it?” asked Harry.
She sighed. “ I went to Godric's Hollow. I wanted to wait for you — and we can go again tomorrow if you want — but I know you like to lay a wreath on Christmas Eve, so I owled Hagrid, and we went together,” she said softly.
Harry stood and came over to her, pulling her into his arms. “Thank you,” he whispered, his mouth close to her ear. “I did stop by quickly before coming home, and I saw the beautiful wreaths you left on mum and dad's, Sirius, Remus and Tonks' graves.” He was truly touched that she had taken the time to do that for him.
Ginny hugged him back. “I didn't want them to think we forgot them. Never that.”
Harry pulled away, taking her hands in his. “I'm sorry we didn't get to have the day together like we planned.”
Ginny laughed it off; forgetting the worry and concern was easy now Harry was here, safe and sound in front of her. “It's fine, part of being an Auror's girlfriend,” she said.
From the shadows, Harry heard Kreacher fake cough. He flushed, knowing this was Kreacher's way of prompting him. Ginny looked around for Kreacher, but he grabbed her hand to distract her; it was her left hand. It was a good start.
He nodded slowly. “ I'm sorry too, that Robards wouldn't tell you any details. He told me you called, asked me to explain. You see, there are things we can only discuss with our partners if...er, you know, we were married. You know, if you were my wife?” Dear heaven, he was messing this up. This was NOT how he planned to propose tonight.
Ginny nodded. “I know, but it's not like he doesn't know we're together, that we've been in a committed relationship for two years now. Merlin, we're in the paper nearly every other day,” she grimaced.
Harry nodded, hating the press invasion into their life as much as she did. “Two and a half, nearly,” he amended.
“Exactly!” Ginny returned to her seat and continued eating the cumbs of cupcake with her fingertip. “I mean, there's rules and there's rules. As if I would ever reveal any of your secrets, work or otherwise. So, anyway, George was saying — ”
“No, the rules are good,” blurted out Harry.
Ginny quirked an eyebrow. “Says the number one rule breaker,” she smirked.
“I want to be able to tell you everything, Ginny, the good and the bad. You always make me feel better, and you have a good way of looking at things that I don't seem to see, sometimes.”
Ginny looked confused. “ So I'm like your therapist?”
“In a way,” he laughed. “Just like I'm your personal masseuse after one of Gwenog's brutal training sessions.”
Ginny smiled. “Ah, I get it.”
The smile on Harry's face died. “But there are still things I'm not allowed to tell you, not as my girlfriend.”
“It's okay, Harry, I understand some of what you do is really top secret,” said Ginny.
“But I want to, hell, sometimes I need to,” he confessed. He linked their fingers. “It makes me feel closer to you, letting you in like that. I want you to know what's going on and I don't want you to have another day like today, waiting...wondering.”
He looked so worried that Ginny hugged him again. “I would wait for you forever,” she whispered gently.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands and kissed her passionately. He pulled back, his eyes searching hers. Then he pulled away completely, going to the fireplace. He reached into her stocking and pulled out a small box.
He turned, his eyes huge and dark. “I wanted us to spend this Christmas Eve together, just the two of us, and instead it's nearly over. I had something special planned.”
A glance at the clock showed there was only five minutes left of Christmas Eve. “Harry, you're here now, that's what matters,” she assured him.
Harry dropped to his knee, and Ginny's jaw dropped open. “Ginny, I love you so much. You make me so happy, so loved. Please, will you marry me?” He opened the box to reveal a beautiful ring.
She meant to say yes immediately, but her mouth simply opened and shut, gaping horribly as she stared down at him. He looked up at her, with eyes so full of hope.
“This is when you say yes,” whispered Kreacher loudly, from the shadows.
“Yes,” she mumbled stupidly, then corrected herself. “I mean yes, yes of course. Oh, Harry, of course, yes. I love you too, you silly man.”
Kreacher sighed in relief, coming from the shadows with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. “Congratulations, master, mistress.”
Ginny and Harry laughed at each other's silliness while Kreacher poured the champagne and they toasted each other.
“Santa — is that you?”
They all turned to see a sleepy Teddy Lupin standing on the stairs, rubbing his eyes. Harry looked quickly at Ginny, who explained that she had called in to see Teddy and Andromeda after Godric's Hollow, and that his grandmother wasn't feeling the best. Ginny had given Andromeda some pepper-up potion and seen her to bed, promising to bring Teddy back early next morning to open presents.
“Harry, you're back? Were you really helping Santa?” asked Teddy, as Harry scooped him up for a hug.
Harry arched a questioning eyebrow at Ginny. “Why else would you not be here with us for Christmas Eve?” she teased out the side of her mouth, so Teddy didn't hear. She looked at the small boy, now three, nearly four.
“Of course he was, Teddy, just like I told you. Santa deserves the very best Auror to keep him safe while he is in England, and who is the best Auror?” she asked teasingly.
“Harry is!” declared Teddy. He peeked at the tree. “Are you sure Santa knows I'm here and not at Gran's?” he asked worriedly. “There's no presents for me, and Harry's home so maybe Santa has already gone and forgot me.”
“Santa can't deliver presents to boys and girls who are still awake,” reminded Harry.
But if Santa hasn't been, who ate his cake?” asked Teddy, just noticing the empty plate and glass.
“Harry's right, we should all go to bed. Harry, why don't you take Teddy up and tuck him into bed, and I'll finish up down here,” suggested Ginny quickly. She decided she would lay out Teddy's gifts while he was upstairs with Harry.
Harry nodded and carried Teddy back to his room. Teddy burrowed his head against Harry's shoulder, asking questions about the reindeer and Santa, amidst the yawning. The little boy was asleep in no time, and Harry looked down at him, love and adoration in his gaze. He stood and turned to leave, only to see Ginny watching him from the doorway.
“Merry Christmas, Harry,” she whispered, when he came closer. For it was after midnight, and Christmas Eve had passed.
He kissed her softly. “Merry Christmas, Ginny.” Holding hands, they went to their bedroom, and made love, celebrating this new facet of their life together.
Naturally, Teddy woke them early, and Harry and Ginny were every bit excited to celebrate the day as he was. He loved his toy Hogwarts Express and he and Harry had so much fun setting it up to ride around the Christmas tree, while Kreacher — looking festive in a Santa hat — prepared breakfast. Ginny sat watching the two boys, both orphans who had stolen her heart, and envisoned a day in the future that she and Harry would be celebrating this day with a child of their own, with big brother Teddy helping.
Andromeda firecalled, and was immediately invited for to join them for breakfast, where she assured Teddy that Santa had also left presents for him at hers. They returned home when they had all finished, giving Harry and Ginny some alone time.
It was nearly lunchtime by the time they had made it to the Burrow. Molly had been threatening to come to Stinchcombe to drag them there, but all was forgiven when Ginny and Harry announced their engagement.
Many years later, unknowingly following in his godfather's steps, Teddy would propose to Victoire on Christmas Eve. She would say yes, as much in love with Teddy, as her aunt Ginny was with Harry.
Christmas Eve would always remain a special night for Harry and Ginny. In later years, after James, Albus and Lily were asleep upstairs— sometimes Teddy too — they'd be laying out gifts and filling stockings. But each Christmas Eve always ended with a cuddle and a snog — and sometimes more — under the tree.
Christmas was a time for all the family, but Christmas Eve belonged to Harry and Ginny.
~ end ~
Merry Christmas from Pottermum in Australia. Wishing you love and laughter today, tomorrow and every day xx
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