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SIYE Time:14:12 on 12th July 2024
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A Snowy Evening.
By kingbobrules

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Category: "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Challenge (2008-1)
Characters:None
Genres: Drama, Fluff, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 11
Summary: Christmas is just around the corner, but with the war raging all around them, it seems that the festive spirit will be passing Harry and Ginny's love life by this year. But can a classic Weasley plan, an awkward dinner party, a frank conversation and some good old fashioned snow convince Harry to stop pushing Ginny away? And if he changes his mind… will he be able to let her go again?
Hitcount: Story Total: 4487



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.



Author's Notes:
I know that this is not the most original interpretation of the song ever and that with a pinch of imagination the plot could have been a lot cleverer, but I just felt that sometimes there’s no harm in doing the obvious well(ish – I hope), especially as this set up lends itself so well to a lovely bit of fluff. I also know that since the challenge was posted, it has been edited to read that the story can be set in any winter after HBP, but when I first read it, it seemed to imply that it had to be the winter after HBP. I had already come up with an A/U seventh year scenario for my story by then, however, and I’d fallen in love with it – so that is why DH is discarded. Then I got a little bit carried away, and the end result is what you find below! A big thank you to Ginny Guerra for beta reading this, my first ever challenge fic.




ChapterPrinter


It was the night before Christmas Eve and festive cheer was everywhere. It was in the Granger’s Georgian house in the Cotswolds, where they were enjoying a rare visit from their daughter and her boyfriend; it was in the kitchen of the Burrow as Mr and Mrs Weasley sat in front of the range sipping mulled wine whilst Great Aunt Muriel dosed in the next room; and the festive spirit was even in the bar of the Leaky Cauldron, where Fred and George were toasting the season with old friends. It was very definitely not, however, in the dinning room of number twelve, Grimmauld Place.

The mahogany table was set for four, but only two places were occupied. At the head of the table, dressed in an open necked shirt and a pair of navy chinos, sat Harry Potter, wizard extraordinaire; legs crossed and hands behind his head as he tipped his chair back. To his left sat Ginny Weasley in a loose, woollen cardigan, white blouse and chord skirt, staring dejectedly at the remains of her supper. Between them stood a half-empty bottle of red wine and a lone candle burned in the centre of the table. Someone had decorated the room with sprigs of holly and ivy, but it had done nothing to brighten the mood.

The pair sat in silence for several minutes before Harry let out a heavy sigh. “I wonder what happened to the twins?” he asked the room at large, shifting his position slightly.

“I don’t know,” replied Ginny quietly, not looking up from her plate. “They should have been here hours ago.” Harry said nothing as he watched her pour herself another glass of whine. Silence hung in the air once more.

“Nice flavour,” commented Ginny half-heartedly as she set her glass back on the table after taking a mouthful. Harry murmured noncommittally.

Finally, Harry pushed himself away from the table and went to lean against the dresser. Ginny glanced up briefly, offering him a slight smile, before she turned her attention to a stray strand of spaghetti, which she began to wind around her fingers. It had been the sort of wan smile that people might exchange for old time’s sake, the kind that didn’t quite reach the eyes. It had been that sort of evening.

After several more minutes of heavy stillness, the quiet was broken by the grandfather clock chiming ten o’clock. “Merlin — I swear I’m going to murder those twins when I get my hands on them!” exploded Harry suddenly as the last gong rang out. Ginny said nothing, but watched him out of the corner of her eye.

“I mean,” continued Harry irritably, beginning to pace up and down, “what on earth do they think they’re playing at? Convincing me to have some bizarre dinner party and then not even turning up, leaving me and you alone to, to, to — Ugh!” He picked up the ornate silver gravy jug and slammed it down on the table in frustration. Ginny jumped slightly, but kept her eyes firmly on the table. She would not embarrass herself any further by letting him see her cry.

With an agitated sigh, Harry ran his hands through his hair and pulled out the nearest chair to him, making a little more noise than was strictly necessary. There was another awkward silence.

Ginny cast her eyes around the room after a while, looking for something to say. It was not a particularly interesting room and it certainly didn’t have any features striking enough to lend themselves to more than a moment or two of small talk.

The highly polished rectangular table took centre stage, taking up most of the space. It was covered with an elegant white table cloth, trimmed with gold, and had been laid with remnants of the Black family silverware, giving it a grand feel. At one end of the room, opposite the door, there was an artificial window, hung with heavy red curtains, which framed a never changing image of a starry night. To the right of the window was the nineteen thirties dresser, laden with crockery and alcohol. In the centre of the opposite wall, there was a grand fireplace with a large, old fashioned mirror hanging above it. The walls were a boring off white and the parquet floor was mostly covered by an impressive red velvet rug.

The overall effect, Ginny had to admit, was quite charming in a cosy, out of date sort of way, but tonight it did nothing to lift her spirits. There had been nothing charming or romantic about this evening.

Ginny had just been about to make a feeble remark about the goblin-made candelabra suspended above the table, when Harry spoke again.

“It’s just so typical of the twins, isn’t it?” he said, clearly still nettled, rocking back on the hind legs of the chair as he spoke. “Only they would think that it was a good idea to try and interfere like this!” Ginny averted her gaze from Harry, hoping the guilt wasn’t showing on her face.

“What on earth’s wrong with them?” Harry demanded of the room in general, getting up to pace angrily once more. “Ever since we came back here after finding the last —” Harry caught himself and carried on quickly before Ginny could take the opportunity to seize on his slip of the tongue. “Ever since we came back here for the holidays, I mean, they’ve been nagging me non-stop about having a dinner party here when Ron and Hermione went to see her parents. And now it turns out it was just some perverse plan of theirs to try and force you and me back together again!” Harry took a deep, exasperated breath. “I can’t believe how immature those two can be sometimes.”

Ginny picked up her fork and began to examine it intently, aware that she was turning the famous Weasley red. She hadn’t felt so foolish since she was twelve.

“I’m sorry,” added Harry suddenly, as something of an afterthought to his rant. Ginny looked up, confused.

“What for?” she asked him quietly, praying her voice didn’t sound as wobbly as it felt. She let her hair fall so that it covered her face as she turned her gaze back to the table.

Harry sighed, sitting back down at the table once more. “Well, this evening’s hardly been a bundle of laughs for you either, has it?” he said, in a rather passive sort of way. Ginny just shrugged her shoulders, acutely aware that she was close to tears. How could she have been so stupid?

Neither of them spoke for several moments. “I really am sorry about everything,” said Harry quietly, staring resolutely at a spot over Ginny’s shoulder. He had spoken so softly, that Ginny almost hadn’t heard him. She almost didn’t believe she had heard him; she was so surprised by his words.

“What?” whispered Ginny, looking up by the tiniest fraction, her vision becoming blurry.

“I’m sorry this has all turned out so badly — you deserve better,” Harry muttered, still looking away. “But there’s no other way. You understand that, don’t you?” Ginny didn’t know what to say. She did understand Harry’s reasoning in a way, but she didn’t agree with it. She didn’t like it. Wasn’t that illustrated by how she’d behaved tonight?

“Yes,” she said, trying to sound surer than she felt. Harry met her eye properly for the first time that evening. “No,” sobbed Ginny helplessly as the dam broke and the tears began to pour down her face.

Completely mortified, Ginny covered her face with her hands, wishing the floor would swallow her whole. She had never felt so stupid in her life — she had misjudged the evening and Harry’s feelings so badly and now she was making a complete fool out of herself.

Harry was completely stunned by Ginny’s tears. He hadn’t expected her to react like that at all, and it had completely disarmed him. The calm, reasoned speech he had had in the back of his mind seemed rather futile in the face of such raw emotion. Before he could stop to think about what he was doing, he had made his way around the table and put his arm around her. Wordlessly, he nudged her out of the chair and took her seat, pulling Ginny onto his lap. Still not thinking about what he was doing, Harry put a hand to her cheek and fished a strand of her fiery hair back behind her ear.

“Harry, what — what are you doing?” asked Ginny, turning around in his grasp, utterly bewildered.

Harry looked into Ginny’s gorgeous brown eyes once more, sending shivers down both of their spines. Ignoring every ounce of rational thought in his body, Harry leant in and whispered, “I don’t know.” And he kissed her.

It was a soft, tender kiss like none Ginny had ever experienced. As long as it lasted, she felt like she was walking on air, but when Harry pulled away she was left feeling completely perplexed. What did it mean? Had Harry changed his mind or did it mean nothing at all?

For several moments, neither of them said anything as they stared at each other, both as shocked as the other. Ginny was dying to say something, to do something. She wanted to ask Harry what on earth he thought he was playing at; she wanted to thank him; she wanted to slap him; she wanted him to kiss her again. But she knew that it was Harry who had to make the first move. As much as it pained Ginny to admit it, he held all of the cards.

Slowly, Harry’s expression changed from shock to something harder — maybe regret mixed with a little frustration. “I shouldn’t have done that,” he said eventually, and without another word, he slid Ginny off his lap and stood up, his back to the youngest Weasley.

Confusion overwhelmed Ginny. Part of her wanted to damn the Ministry and their laws on underage magic and hex Harry into oblivion and storm off home, cutting her losses. Perhaps Ron had been right after all; maybe Harry was just messing her around. She still remembered how furious she had been when her brother had intruded on their brief reunion in the garden shed at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. She had heatedly defended Harry against Ron’s tirade of indignation, until Harry had awkwardly told her it was ‘alright’ and that Ron was probably right. She also remembered well, how Harry had kissed her on the cheek and whispered ‘for the best’ before walking out of the door with Ron, leaving her standing there, alone, feeling thoroughly betrayed.

But even though this was now the second time Harry’s resolve had faltered and then re-formed, Ginny could not find it in herself to fly off the handle at him. She knew that the war was taking its toll on his emotions and that the situation was a difficult one for both of them. She also knew, however, that that wasn’t reason enough to let Harry treat her like a doormat. But she loved him. And even as he stood there with his back to her, trying to push her away yet again, she still loved him. Though she almost wished she didn’t.

Harry had never known such inner conflict. It was a battle even to keep himself standing there, looking away from the fiery maiden who was causing him all of this turmoil, when all he wanted to do was to turn around and kiss her again. And again and again and again. He wanted to feel her warmth and sweetness beneath his hands again; he wanted to smell her beautiful, distinctive scent and he just wanted to be able to hold her in his arms and tell that he loved her and that that was all that mattered in the world. But it wasn’t. And he couldn’t.

Harry had come to understand a long time ago that what a person wanted and what was best for them were often two very different things. Dumbledore had said as much, had he not, all those years ago just after Harry had saved the Philosopher’s Stone? That ‘humans have a knack for choosing precisely those things which are worst for them.’?

What was best for Ginny, as far as Harry was concerned, was for her to be kept safe and out of harm’s way at all costs. In his mind, this had become inexplicably linked with her not being with him. He told himself, over and over again that that was what he wanted at the end of the day — the best for Ginny — more than for her to be with him. Surely he loved her enough to put her first?

“Why?” The word cut through the silence like a dagger. “Why shouldn’t you have kissed me?” Ginny asked of Harry’s back, her voice deadly calm. She wasn’t crying any more. She was beyond it.

Harry took a steadying breath and ran his hands through his hair before he turned round. He surveyed Ginny’s tearstained face and her glinting eyes, and he knew the time had come to be blunt.

“Because I love you,” he told her simply, meeting her gaze, his eyes blazing. “And however much I want to be with you, Ginny, I can’t, because I want you to have the chance to grow up and be happy, even more. I want you to live.”

Ginny didn’t know what she had expected him to say, but it wasn’t that. She felt as if all of the wind had been taken out of her sails. What could she say to that?

She burst out laughing.

Harry stared at her, confused. He was not entirely sure if Ginny was laughing at him, or if he had missed something or what.

Ginny was laughing so hard that she had started to cry again. It felt as if someone had uncorked a bottle of all of the emotions that she had been storing up since June. She didn’t know how or why, but here she was, standing in Harry’s dinning room, having her heart broken, and laughing like there was no tomorrow.

“Ginny?” asked Harry uncertainly, beginning to feel rather alarmed. “Are you alright?”

Ginny took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure. It did not take long for her to stop giggling, but the tears continued to roll down her face. “I don’t know,” she answered finally. “I’m not sure I know anything any more.” She took a step forward and caressed Harry’s cheek with her thumb with all the tenderness in the world. In a split second, the mood in the room had changed completely. All of the tension had evaporated, leaving only two people desperately in love.

Harry stood stock still as Ginny stroked his face. He was powerless in her hands. He found that he was completely helpless in the face of her tears. It was Ginny’s turn to speak.

“Harry,” she half-sobbed. “Oh, Harry.” She cupped his face in her hands and stared into his eyes, longing for him to understand. “Why can’t you see?” She spoke so softly that her words might have been blown away by the slightest breath. Just like them. “It makes no difference whether or not we’re together — not really. You’ll still leave again in a few days time and I’ll still go back to school. What ever happens tonight, over the next few days… Voldemort will never know, Harry. All that matters is that I love you and you love me, and for all the good intentions in the world, I’m pretty sure he already knows that. And you trying to hurt yourself — hurting me, Harry — won’t change the fact that we’re at war and either one of us might not be here much longer.”

Ginny looked deep into Harry’s wonderful emerald eyes and saw that there were tears in them. “And we can’t change that,” she whispered in between her own tears. “We can’t, Harry, but what we can change is whether or not we live life — however long it may be — to the absolute full.”

“But I want you to be safe,” sobbed Harry as he began to cry, taking Ginny into his arms. “I want to protect you from all of this.”

“I know,” whispered Ginny tearfully, “I know. But I’m not asking to come with you, Harry. I just want you and me to make the most out of what little time we might find along the way.”

Ginny felt Harry’s arms tighten around her, and she knew that whatever might come, it would all be alright now that she and Harry had each other once more. “I love you,” he whispered throatily into her hair. “I love you so much.”

Ginny allowed her hands to find Harry’s waist. Those three little words had put her on cloud nine. “I know,” she told him cheekily, unable to keep a goofy grin off her face as she added coyly; “That’s why I got the twins to set up this evening.”

Harry raised his eyebrows. “The twins blowing off this meal was your idea?” he asked her incredulously, pulling away a little so that he could see her face properly. Sucking her lower lip, Ginny nodded timidly. Harry chuckled. “That’s my girl,” he said warmly, pulling her to him once more as he captured her lips in a searing kiss, which Ginny gladly returned.

They must have stood there arm in arm, holding each other and exchanging kiss after glorious kiss, for at least five minutes. With every touch, every meeting of their lips, every dance of their tongues, came an overwhelming sense of reassurance, love and blissful peace. Neither Harry nor Ginny could remember feeling so elated in a very long time.

When they eventually broke apart, Harry smiled down at Ginny deliriously and gave her a look that made her want to melt. “Do you want to go into the drawing room?” he asked her huskily, stoking her silken hair as he spoke.

Ginny smiled back at him, equally as enthralled. “I think that might be a good idea,” she replied softly, almost shivering under his gaze.

***

Harry was lying half-asleep on the sofa with Ginny pressed close to him sometime later, when he noticed that it was snowing. He had been staring at the roaring fire and carelessly stroking a dozing Ginny’s waist, when he had looked up and spied the flecks of white through a crack in the heavy curtains. Though he had often seen heavy snows at Hogwarts before, Harry felt oddly excited by the sight, like he was a small boy again seeing snow for the first time.

“Ginny,” he whispered eagerly, gently nudging her awake, “Ginny, it’s snowing!” Groggily, Ginny twisted round in Harry’s grasp to give him a doubtful look.

“Don’t be silly, Harry,” she said blearily, pulling herself up into a sitting position, resting one hand on Harry’s chest. “It never snows this far —” She broke off as she too caught sight of the fast falling flakes outside. “Wow!” she exclaimed, scrambling off of the sofa and rushing over to the window. Harry got up too and joined her, slipping his hands around her waist and resting his head on her shoulder as Ginny pulled the curtains apart and squealed delightedly, “Look — it’s settling!”

Squinting slightly in the dim light, Harry could just make out the faint shape of the iron railings in front of the house, which were already covered in a light dusting of snow. The windowpanes were covered in frost and the snow was swirling faster and faster even as they stood there, enthralled by the sight.

“Isn’t it magical?” sighed Ginny after a moment or two. Harry mumbled his agreement into her hair, causing Ginny to blush. “It hardly ever snows in London — not like this — and even when it does; it’s normally in the spring.”

“Who knows?” said Harry, grinning broadly as he pecked Ginny on the cheek. “Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas.” Ginny smiled warmly back at him, turning around so that Harry could kiss her properly.

It was one of many kisses they’d shared in the drawing room that evening. Some had been gentle and slow, others had been more adventurous, but all had been loving. The pair had sat, cuddled together on the old, worn velvet sofa, sharing a bottle of Butter-beer whilst the wireless played old, crooning songs in the background for at least half-an-hour, swapping caresses and attentions all the while. It had been an extremely pleasant way to pass the end of an evening, and both had been perfectly content to stay there and drift off to sleep in each other’s arms as tiredness over took them, but the snow had sharply brought Ginny back to her senses.

As Harry’s tongue continued to explore her mouth, she knew that the time was fast approaching when she would have to drag herself away from his warmth. She had no idea what time it was, but she knew it was late and that it could not be much longer until her mother started to worry about her, even though she thought Ginny was with Fred and George. But even with the thought of her mother waiting at home, it would be hard to bring herself to leave.

Ginny felt an electric sensation shoot through her navel as one of Harry’s hands strayed under her blouse and onto the bare flesh of her lower back. Her own hands were also roaming, one already firmly ensconced in Harry’s hair and the other making light work of his top button. “Harry,” she moaned softly, as he began to nibble her ear, “Harry…”

“Hmmm,” he replied lazily, savouring the feeling of Ginny’s soft skin beneath his hands.

“Harry,” repeated Ginny, just as their lips met again. “Harry, I have —” She broke off to continue the kiss. “Harry,” she said again, more insistently this time as their lips broke apart once more. “Harry, I have to go home.”

Harry’s smile faded slightly and he slowed his ministrations. “Are you sure?” he asked her, his voice etched with disappointment. Ginny gave him a sad smile as she pulled away.

“Yes,” she replied quietly, “I’m sure.” Harry looked at her with pleading eyes. Ginny gave a small giggle. “I’m sorry,” she told him, placing a quick kiss on his nose.

Reluctantly, Harry let her go and took a step back. He ran his eyes over Ginny’s flushed face and her swollen lips and wondered how he could have ever pushed this beautiful witch away. Only an hour ago, he had been insisting that he could not possibly be with her, yet here he was, wishing she would stay. He had forgotten in all the stress and misery of the past few months just how happy she made him.

Ginny felt Harry’s gaze on her and found herself turning even redder. After a moment or two of standing there in companionable silence, Ginny found her tongue again. “Where do you keep your Floo Powder?” she asked him shyly, an undeniable croak in her voice. How she wished she could stay.

“Floo Powder?” Harry repeated stupidly, staring at Ginny warily. Her eyes narrowed instantly.

“You do have some Floo Powder, don’t you?” she asked him incredulously, raising her eyebrows dangerously. Harry grinned at her nervously and shrugged his shoulders, wincing slightly and burying his hands deep inside his pockets like a nervous school boy afraid of being told off. He had only been staying in Grimmauld Place for a few days before going to spend Christmas at the Burrow and though it was his house, he had never actually lived there before. He had no idea if anyone had even bought any Floo Powder in the last ten years, let alone where it would be kept.

Huffing loudly in mock annoyance, Ginny flounced past Harry and out of the drawing room, partly because she knew that if she stayed in the room with him any longer, her will power would melt away and she’d find herself back in his arms once again.

“I’m sorry,” said Harry, hurrying after her into the hallway and down the short flight of steps into the kitchen. “I thought one of the twins would Apparate you home.” Ginny gave him a cheeky grin, as she began to inspect the collection of jars on the kitchen windowsill.

“Well, that’s partly my fault,” she admitted with a bashful smile. Harry crept up behind her and planted an affectionate kiss on her cheek, placing a gentle hand on her wrists and lowering them away from their search. “But I’ve still got to get home,” she groaned, wishing she could just give in to the demands of Harry’s lips. “Do you think you’re sober enough to help me Apparate?”

Harry sighed and let Ginny go. “Probably,” he replied, “but I promised Hermione I wouldn’t leave Grimmauld Place until tomorrow afternoon.” Ginny gave him a sceptical look. “She’s gone to a lot of trouble to try and make this visit as safe and possible for me and your family. I can’t jeopardise that,” he told her seriously. Ginny sighed heavily. She was still only sixteen and forbidden to do magic outside of Hogwarts, meaning she couldn’t have Apparated home by herself, even if she had known how to.

“I’ll call the Knight Bus, then,” she reasoned firmly, pulling away from Harry once more and fumbling for her wand.

“You could just stay,” Harry suggested, looking up at her with big doleful eyes. Ginny sighed again.

“I can’t, Harry,” she replied heavily. “You know it as well as I do.” Harry pulled a face and Ginny couldn’t help but laugh. “Haven’t you changed your tune?” she teased him.

“Well, I can’t help that I’ve been seduced by a beautiful woman, now can I?” Harry retorted, taking Ginny’s hands once again, watching as she turned a lovely shade of red.

“Don’t,” she pleaded with him, backing up the steps out of the kitchen slowly, dragging Harry after her. “This evening has been very nice, but I really can’t stay any longer.”

“But it’s freezing outside,” protested Harry, still keeping a tight hold of Ginny’s hands as she pulled him into the hall. He knew she was right, of course, but that didn’t mean he wanted her to stay any less. Who knew when they’d next get a chance to be alone together, if they ever got one? He turned her hands over in his and began to rub them softly. “Your hands are already like ice.”

“Mum will start worrying soon,” Ginny told him sadly, squeezing his hands now. She looked into his wistful eyes and thought about how easy it would be just to give in and make him happy, if only for a few hours.

Harry rolled his eyes, but he was smiling now. “Your mum wouldn’t worry!” he chuckled. “She raised the twins, you know. She’d work out what had happened to you in an instant.” Unable to resist any longer, he leaned in for a chaste kiss.

“Oh, Harry,” whispered Ginny as he pulled away. She held his face in her hands and stroked his cheeks gently. “What on earth are we going to do with you?” Harry grinned again, but more softly this time.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than a boy with charm,” he whispered back in a sultry voice, vaguely wondering where all of this daring was coming from. But it did not trouble him for long, as he began to tug at the neckline of Ginny’s shirt and pepper kisses on her newly exposed collar bone, sending shivers down both of their spines. But still Ginny tried to resist.

“My Dad —” she began, before being distracted by Harry’s attentions. “He’ll be —” She stopped again as Harry began to attack her neck, rendering all speech impossible as butterflies did cartwheels in her stomach. “He won’t go to bed until I’m home.”

“Send them an owl then,” suggested Harry throatily, as he felt Ginny snake her arms around his waist. “Tell them you’re spending the night with the twins and come and sit by the fire with me.”

Ginny was sorely tempted by the idea. It would be the perfect solution really, but it would mean lying to her parents — and facing the twins teasing. “I really shouldn’t,” she said firmly, telling herself she’d pull away after one kiss. Well, maybe two, she thought as her lips met Harry’s.

“There’s no hurry,” Harry assured her as he began to explore the skin of her back. Ginny found that her own hands had strayed under Harry’s shirt as well.

“Maybe, maybe half a drink more,” she conceded, knowing that she really shouldn’t stay much longer. However much she wanted to. She felt Harry’s grin widen underneath her lips.

“Go and put a record on and I’ll fetch a bottle,” he told her, releasing his hold of her, feeling elated.

Ten minutes (and a whole drink later), Harry and Ginny were back on the sofa, their cheeks distinctly rosy in the firelight. Lying there with Harry was making it very hard for Ginny to find the will to leave, but she knew she needed to. The clock on the mantle piece read half-past eleven as it was and Ginny had a nasty feeling that her parents would be far from pleased with her if she was to arrive home even at that precise moment.

“Harry,” she said timidly, shifting her weight around slightly. “I really should get going now.” Harry sighed and his face fell, but he only squeezed Ginny tighter so that she had to wriggle to sit up. Reaching for her glass to drain the last dregs, Ginny wrinkled her nose slightly, noticing the drink’s bouquet properly for the first time. “What’s in this?” she asked Harry suspiciously, looking at him with pretend consternation.

“Only a drop of Firewhiskey,” Harry told her with a cheeky grin, as he stood up and put his arms around her again. She rolled her eyes and tried not to simply melt into him.

“Stop it, you,” she scolded him, giving his wandering hand a playful smack. “If you’ll let me go, I need to go and summon the Knight Bus.” Reluctantly, Harry let her go and went to peer out of the window.

“It’ll be hours before it gets to you in this weather,” he said, rubbing away some of the steam on the window to try and see out of it. “There must be half a foot of snow out there! I doubt the bus is even running.” Ginny gave him a look.

His reluctance for her to leave and his efforts to get her to stay had been quite endearing at first, but this was getting ridiculous. As much as she would have rather spent the night with Harry, she had to go home and that was the end of it. “If it’s not running, I’ll get a tube to Diagon Alley and Floo from there,” she announced firmly.

“You’ll do no such thing,” Harry replied, equally as firmly, suddenly serious. “It’s not even remotely safe, and you know it!”

“How do you suggest I get home, then?” Ginny asked him, hands on hips, not keen to admit that Harry was, of course, correct. She watched as he lowered his eyes to the floor, causing a lump to rise in her throat.

“Don’t.”

Ginny looked up at Harry and took in the seriousness in his face. She felt the love and care in the softly spoken, breathy word, and just like that, the reality of the war and Harry’s mission intruded upon the evening. This might be their last chance to be alone together before Harry left again after Christmas. It might be their last chance to be alone together, full stop. But her parents were still at home, waiting for her to return… Ginny wished she knew how to break the spell that Harry had over her, but she wished she didn’t have to all the same.

“I ought to say no, Harry,” she said quietly, an almost warning tone in her voice. Harry took a step closer. “I really can’t stay.”

“It’s cold outside,” Harry whispered throatily, taking another step towards her.

“I simply must go,” Ginny protested feebly as he moved even closer, suddenly feeling inexplicably afraid. “The answer’s… the answer’s no,” she continued, not believing the words herself.

“But it’s so terribly cold,” Harry moaned, finally engulfing her in his strong arms and gently kissing the top of her head.

“Harry, this evening’s been —” He stole her lips for perhaps the hundredth time that night, and Ginny felt a wonderful feeling of warmth smother her senses as her words became lost. She felt the last shards of her will fading fast and she knew she would have to break away soon, or else she never would.

“My brothers,” she started, placing a finger on Harry’s lips to keep him at bay, at least for a moment or two. “They’ll never let us live this down. And Hermione will be…” Speech failed her as she felt Harry nuzzle his head against her shoulder. “She’ll be suspicious. Aunt Muriel will be vicious.” Ginny knew she was fighting a loosing battle, which was just as well given how little she wanted to win it.

“Just look out of the window,” said Harry, smiling down at her and stroking her hair. “Have you ever seen such a blizzard? How can I let you go out in that with a clear conscience?” Ginny couldn’t help but smile back.

“I’ve got to get home,” she whined uselessly, aware that Harry was slipping her cardigan off of her shoulders and that she wasn’t stopping him. Harry chuckled softly at her, making her feel even warmer and even happier. He too could see how this evening was going to end.

“You’d freeze out there,” he pointed out, humouring her.

“You could lend me a coat,” Ginny teased, slipping her hands under the front of his shirt and feeling his chest.

“Think of my sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died,” Harry joked, running his hands up her sides under her blouse. Ginny gave him another smile.

“There’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” she said, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. “Somebody was spreading rumours in the family already.” Harry kissed her again and, deciding it was high time that she took the initiative herself, Ginny began to kiss his neck and Adam’s-apple, leaving glorious red marks behind wherever her lips went.

“Well, we’d better give them something to talk about, then, hadn’t we?” said Harry huskily, shocking Ginny as he began to unbutton her blouse.

“Harry!” she exclaimed, unable to hold back a very girly giggle. “At least let me send Mum an owl first.”

“Aw,” moaned Harry, feigning disappointment. Ginny took his hands in hers and placed them firmly by his sides.

“I won’t be long,” she promised, giving Harry such a powerful look that he felt like he was melting. “Go and light the fire in the master-bedroom and I’ll go and send Hedwig off.” With one last suggestive pout, Ginny turned to leave the room. She was surprised to find Harry placing a restraining hand on her arm as she reached the door.

“I forgot to mention one little thing,” he whispered. Ginny gave him a questioning look. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Ginny felt like she was in heaven. So did Harry. For one night, and one night only, there was only the two of them and no cares in the world.

***

Ginny still felt like she was walking on air the next morning, as she let herself in to the Burrow through the backdoor. She had spent an amazing night with Harry, he would be arriving to spend Christmas with her family later that afternoon, and she couldn’t be happier. Of course, there was still the ever present war looming over all their heads, but for the first time in a long time, it seemed to come second after the magic of simply being with Harry — in every possible sense.

Ginny was still feeling buoyed as she entered the kitchen, but one look at the expression on her mother’s face caused her stomach to plummet and a sense of foreboding to wash over her. Both her parents were sitting at the kitchen table looking extremely stern, and the twins, looking very sheepish indeed, were standing in the doorway looking as if they were trying to make themselves invisible. Ginny looked apprehensively from her mother to her father and back again before shooting a questioning glance at the twins.

“And just where have you been all night, young lady?” demanded her mother, standing up and doing a very good impression of an angry dragon. “And don’t try and tell me you were with the twins — I saw through that one in a second.”

Before Ginny could even begin to answer, Great Aunt Muriel entered the room. “It’s obvious where she’s been, isn’t it?” she said with a vicious smile on her face, clearly relishing the prospect of putting her savage tongue to work on her niece. “She’s been with her young man. And there’s no need to ask what they were up to!” Ginny felt herself turn bright red as every head in the room turned sharply towards her, and she found herself wishing that the floor would open up and swallow her whole.

A/N: Thanks for reading - please leave a review and let me know what you think! If anyone struggles to see how this works as a songfic, I suggest you re-read the last half of it with a copy of the lyrics of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' close at hand. As well as a selection of the lyrics, you should also be able to find a smattering of bonus phrases tucked in here and there, as well.
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