SIYE Time:3:30 on 17th January 2022

All It Takes
By Summer Potter

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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 150
Summary: Sometimes things don't always work out the way you plan them. Ginny must come to terms with life after the war, even if her life isn't exactly what she thought it'd be. She'll soon realize that all it takes is one little moment to make everything fall into place
Hitcount: Story Total: 69331; Chapter Total: 4137

Author's Notes:
To my lovely readers, here is chapter fifteen! We’re almost at the end! Also, I’ll offer a fluff-warning for this chapter.

As well, Harry has a line in this chapter that is paraphrased from my favorite Potter-related fan creation and so I take no credit for it; it does not belong to me. I’ve been far-too amused and I really wanted to somehow thread it into my story and I've finally done so in this chapter. Fifty house points to whoever can recognize it! The answer and credit for this line is at the bottom of the chapter.


With the chicken in the oven, the salad ready and the table set, Harry turned his attention to pouring himself a large goblet of butterbeer before hurriedly tidying up his pre-cooking mess. It was almost startling to see Harry so at home in the kitchen since she would never think of Harry as someone who loved to cook and could do it well. She was thoroughly impressed to see him so adept at making dinner when he added spices to the chicken and then started preparing the sauce that he intended to pour over it once it was cooked.

“You’re good at this,” she told him wonderingly, also feeling a little embarrassed at her own cooking abilities, which severely lacked in comparison. She sincerely hoped that Harry wasn’t under the impression that she must have inherited a talent for cooking from her mother. Unfortunately, it was just her mum who had that gift and not her. “Honestly, Harry, I didn’t know you could cook!”

Harry shrugged good-naturedly, ever the modest gentleman whenever anyone ever complimented him. “I know the basics. I had to be able to cook anything on demand for the Dursleys.”

While Harry said this quite casually, she couldn’t help but think of the many chores he had forced upon him, as well as the emotional and psychological abuse he had gone through in that house. She felt an urge to hop off the counter and hug him, but she resisted and remained where she was. Harry had never really talked about his home life and while it wasn’t the worst childhood, it certainly hadn’t been a happy one, and re-living it wasn’t helping anything.

Fortunately, Harry changed the topic before she could work out what to say next. “Next time I’ll serve wine,” he told her as he wiped the heavy cream off his upper lip. “Somehow butterbeer isn’t a very romantic drink for date night, but I didn’t get around to thinking about wine. I just went shopping for the stuff to make the food and that was it.” He grinned at her and put the half-empty bottle of butterbeer back into the refrigerator.

He regretted not having wine at their romantic dinner? She was seriously beginning to feel spoiled and quite useless in this relationship. She needed to come up with a big, romantic gesture before the end of the summer. At Hogwarts, they hadn’t really had time for the mushy, romantic stuff, which apparently they were really missing out on moments like this. She had never exactly pegged Harry for the romantic type, but here he was, making her dinner and expressing his regret at not serving wine, and taking her off on surprises dates to romantic foreign cities.

“Butterbeer can be pretty romantic if you kiss the whipped topping off me.”

Harry raised his eyebrows and chuckled. “We’ll give that a try on one of your Hogsmeade trips.”

They sat in silence for a moment before Harry spoke up again, his expression changing to one of puzzlement. “It’s weird to think I’m not going back to Hogwarts. I’m a little jealous, actually. I miss it.”

“You do? I’d have thought since you didn’t go back last year that it would be natural.”

“Not going back last year made sense,” he replied thoughtfully. “I knew at Dumbledore’s funeral that I wasn’t going back. I guess the fact that Hermione and you are going, but Ron and I aren’t is what’s weird. Plus, you get to go have an actual school year. I haven’t had one of those since–”

“Never! Harry, when have we ever had a quiet year at Hogwarts?” She asked sympathetically. He chuckled in acknowledgement of their school careers never being just a boring year of educational pursuits.

“Going back will be weird,” she said after a long minute, realizing again that she was not yet rid of the dread she felt about returning to the castle. In fact, now that her return to Hogwarts was so close, it seemed even more daunting. Every time this feeling returned, she tried to remind herself that the castle was fixed, that the promise of classes, of Quidditch and of routine would keep her from remembering how many people died on the grounds last spring.

“Are you excited yet? I mean, this year will be more normal for you. You probably won’t have to start up an illegal defense against the dark arts club until at least after the holidays.”

Ginny laughed while she considered the question, trying to sort out her true feelings from her fears. She was excited, but there was still some psychological factor that was making her anxious about going back. She wasn’t sure if it was just her brain’s inability to accept the fact that You-Know-Who was gone and that they weren’t in any danger. She was eager for the normalcy that this year practically guaranteed since anything bad that happened would seem miniscule in comparison to last year.

“Yeah, I miss Hogwarts, and I’m excited to go back to being normal. No more murders or dark magic or people going into hiding. I want to be a student and be with my friends and worry about my NEWTS and Quidditch scouts.” She set her butterbeer on the counter distractedly. “I miss the normalcy of my life as a normal teenage girl.”

“It’s been a hard couple months,” Harry agreed with a sigh. “For you, especially.”

Those words hung in the air for what seemed like hours. Ginny felt their meaning and she was suddenly remembering Jackson taking the killing curse for her. When the memory ended with her collapsing into Ron’s arms, she looked up and found Harry watching her with a sympathetic and concerned expression.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure if I should ask, but I have to. Are you okay?” He hesitated before adding quietly, “all things considered?”

Taking a breath, she nodded. “I got to say goodbye to Annie. I just miss him and I’ll always miss him. Like Fred, like Tonks, like Lupin, like Mad-Eye and like all the others that I’ll miss. He’s just one on a list of many friends who gave their lives so that others could live in a better world.”

Harry sighed, his expression full of grim understanding as he looked at her. “Too many people have been lost.”

They stood in silence for a long moment and Ginny half-wished he hadn’t asked how she was. She didn’t want to spend much time evaluating how she was. She knew that Harry probably didn’t want to talk about Jackson. It was too complicated to consider how Harry felt about everything. Jackson had had a crush on Ginny and yet while she knew that it was their friendship that made him ultimately step in front of the killing curse to save her, she wondered if Harry and others had interpreted this as an act of love or something equally untrue and awkward. She knew Harry too well to know that if he did think that Jackson died for love, he would never bring it up or hold it against her.

“Someone from the muggle liaison’s office sent me an inter-departmental memo today,” Harry was suddenly telling her, although the tension in his voice suggested this was something he was unsure about saying. “Jackson’s funeral has been scheduled in a few days time. I thought you’d like to attend so I asked for the details.”

Startled that Harry not only had this information, but also that she hadn’t even considered that she would be able to go to the funeral at all. With Annie’s memory wiped, it had felt like Ginny had lost her too. “I can go?”

“Of course! They’re getting me the address and the time by tomorrow.”

The idea of sitting through Jackson’s funeral was a little daunting, but she really wanted to go. It meant she could say goodbye and at least pay her respects to Jackson’s other friends and his family. Harry still looked hesitant, as if there was more to what he had to say.

“I wanted to ask you something, but it’s totally fine if you say no. Would you mind if I went with you? I know I didn’t know him as a friend and I wasn’t close to him, like you were…”

Perplexed, it took her a moment to realize asking her this was what had him so anxious.“You want to come to his funeral? Why? Is it dangerous for me to go by myself? Do the Aurors think that the Death Eaters might try something?”

If the Aurors believed that her attending the funeral might attract more Death Eaters than she simply wouldn’t go. There was no way she was attracting any more danger and putting more innocent people in harm’s way, just so she could attend.

Harry shook his head quickly. “No, it’s not that. I just really want to pay my respects to Jackson. If you two had never become friends, I might have lost you a few days ago.”

Ginny swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. She’d been worrying over Harry’s jealousy and awkward feelings about Jackson having sacrificed himself to save her and all this time, he’d been worrying about asking her if he could go with her to the funeral for his own reasons? How pathetic was she being, and how wrong she was about Harry. Did she really think that Harry was so petty that Jackson’s death would be an awkward, terrible thing between them?

She really needed to work on her self-confidence and common sense. She was sure she’d never been this anxious about stupid things before the war had occurred. Apparently, it made her want to see the worst in people, just in case she got hurt in the end…

He held up his hands placatingly, as if anticipating anger on her part. “If you need to think about it, that’s fine. Like I said, I understand. You two were friends and I know that usually only friends and families go to these things.”

“Harry, if you want to come, you can,” she told him quickly. “I don’t mind.”

He looked pleased and slightly relieved. “Good. I just feel like this is something I really want to do. I wish I had the chance to tell him how grateful I am that you two became friends.”

“It’s really nice that you want to go.” She nodded as she said this, feeling the conviction in her own words. It was incredibly nice that Harry wanted to go and pay respects to someone he’d barely known, let alone liked. “And, it’ll be nice to have you there for support,” she added.

Harry smiled in thanks and then bent to check on the chicken while Ginny considered Harry and his desire to come to the funeral. He really wanted to pay respects to Jackson? She really needed to give Harry more credit for being a better person. She was too wrapped up in pathetic drama and insecure feelings to even consider that Harry was far more mature than most young men at his age.

Then again, perhaps her fears weren’t so far off from being a possibility. If the roles were reversed and she had found Harry clinging to the body of a female friend who had just died to save him, she wasn’t sure how she would be feeling right now. She supposed she would accept, as Harry did, that this female friend was only a friend and it was only friendship that motivated her to take the killing curse. However, she wondered if she would always secretly wonder about another possible motive, which likely would be supported by the sight of Harry clinging to this girl’s body after she’d died for him in what might appear to be a tragic end for love. Thinking back to that moment where she had been unable to let go of Jackson, she knew that her inability to part with him had not been a conscious action, but something desperate and driven by loss, fear and by her substantial injuries and loss of blood.

Watching Harry, she began to realize just how emotionally messed up she must be. Since when had she become such a cynical person to think like this? Since when had she begun to fear any little thing that could possibly disrupt the good things in her life? Had it been the experience of the war, losing Fred and too many others really damaged her? Or had this cynicism developed after the incident in the Chamber of Secrets? And more importantly, would she always be jaded?

“What’s wrong?”

She silently cursed, realizing that her thoughts must be plain as day on her face right now. She probably looked like she’d seen a ghost.

“Nothing, I was just thinking…”

Harry’s expression became sympathetic at once, making Ginny feel a little embarrassed.

Pull yourself together, Gin, she lectured herself.

“I know a lot of bad stuff has happened, but at least we have a more normal life ahead of us. From now on, it gets better.”

He sounded so sure of himself that Ginny felt herself wanting to agree with him, but something held her back. Suddenly she remembered Annie’s last words to her and she knew that ultimately, Harry was right. She would have a normal year at Hogwarts–she’d go to classes, see her friends, sleep in her dormitory and eat in the Great Hall. Voldemort and his Death Eaters were gone, and the few that weren’t in Azkaban were being pursued and would be caught and punished. No one would attack the castle, there would be no Dementors hovering over the castle grounds and no basilisks in the pipes. Harry, Ron and Hermione would not disappear again and she no longer had to live in fear of losing another family member.

“It really will be okay, won’t it?” She found herself asking him anxiously. She studied Harry’s expression as she asked the question, but there was no hint of doubt on his face.

Ginny marvelled at how much Harry had sacrificed and at all that he’d survived and overcome. The fact that Harry was standing here before her, seemingly happy, normal and so sure of himself that the idea of being normal began to seem realistic.

“Of course,” he replied easily, moving toward her. His arms slid around her and he lowered his face so he could press his forehead against hers. “We have each other, after all.”

He kissed her gently, but it was full of feeling and meaning that only helped to give her hope that Harry was right. Surrendering her fears, if only for right now, Ginny melted into the kiss feeling very glad to have made it this far. If anyone deserved a happy ending, it was Harry, and if she made him happy by being with him, then who was she to hold him back? Harry deserved to have a normal life, a career, stability, happiness and a family if he wanted it. Anything he wanted, she thought, she’d help him get it. The world was a hell of a lot better to her with Harry alive, well, and happy in it.

She pictured herself being a family with Harry–something that she hadn’t done in a very, very long time. She had abandoned her embarrassing daydreams of marrying Harry Potter shortly after Dumbledore’s funeral. She knew that she if allowed herself to think of such a future and Harry died, she would never move on. But now that Harry was here, kissing her in his kitchen and telling her that their future was wide-open, thinking of a future with him came easily back to her.

Harry would propose to her and she’d throw herself at him with an exuberant ‘YES!’ Her mother would cry from happiness at the news and her brothers would tease her endlessly since her childhood crush on Harry Potter had not been a secret. She’d play Quidditch professionally and come home to him after a series of away-games, having missed him desperately.

When the kiss ended, she found herself smiling at him, more from her wayward thoughts than from the kiss itself, but Harry didn’t need to know this. They moved to the table with the intention of chatting more, but Ginny found herself feeling lighter. A future and a normal life were in sight! Heck, even if it didn’t go the way she wanted, the fact that she had the option for a normal life and a future dimmed the pain of her past.

“Happier subjects now, I promise. Your birthday is in a couple days,” Harry was saying now as he took a seat across from her at the table. “What are your plans?”

Ginny had nearly forgotten about her upcoming seventeenth birthday. “A quiet dinner with my family,” she said without a second thought. “And you and Hermione, of course,” she added hastily. In her mind, they were family already and had been for a long time– even before she and Harry had started dating.

“I’ve already got your present,” he boasted cheerfully. “I hope you like it.”

She found herself blushing at his excitement. “You didn’t have to get me anything, Harry.”

He waved her modest response away and took out his wand to summon more butterbeer to the table. “I had it picked out for a long time.”

“You spoil me,” she murmured, while secretly enjoying the tickle of self-centered pleasure that came from knowing Harry had put real thought into getting her a birthday gift.

“I don’t! Anyway, you deserve something nice!”

“You do, but okay. I can’t wait to find out what it is!”

Harry looked pleased and then got up to go check on dinner once more. “I need to keep an eye on the food. I’ve charmed the oven to be a bit more efficient than a muggle one, but I haven’t done enough cooking with the oven to know if the charm is too powerful. There’s a slight chance I might burn down my house.”

“Does my father know that you charm muggle kitchen appliances to make them more efficient?”

Harry chuckled as he checked on the chicken. “He’s the one who taught me how to make them run without electricity. I also have my refrigerator and dishwasher running with magic. I’m saving a fortune on monthly utility bills.”

“Your home is a nice mix of muggle and magic,” she noted, realizing this for the first time. “I suppose it shows where people come from. My family doesn’t use these muggle appliances, but you and Hermione will.”

“I’m used to them, I suppose. I’m already used to cooking food this way and I’m too lazy to figure out how to cook the traditional wizarding way.”

“Fair enough,” Ginny remarked with a smile, thinking to herself that her mother would jump at the chance to teach Harry if he ever mentioned his lack of ‘normal’ cooking skills.

As the food was served, the conversation eventually turned to their friends from school, as Harry and Ron learned a great deal simply by being at the Ministry and running into various classmates. Most recently, Harry had run into Parvati Patel in the Atrium and they’d talked for several minutes. More specifically, Parvati had talked while Harry listened for several minutes. Nonetheless, Parvati was starting an internship with the Department of International Magical Cooperation. Apparently, she was excited that her work would allow her to travel and get some time away. She had also told Harry that she hoped to attain a position at Hogwarts to teach Divination in the near-future, but this did not seem to be a possibility. Trelawney was once again the sole instructor of Divination as Firenze had returned to his colony, and Trelawney was apparently in no hurry to retire. Parvati then told Harry about Padma, who wanted to work with young children and was enrolled in a childhood education program.

“And after all this,” Harry exclaimed, his voice full of exasperation at the memory of the chatty Parvati. “She ends the conversation by complimenting me and asking if I’d like to go get a drink with her some time.”

Ginny smirked, but managed to repress her urge to laugh. The thought of Parvati so boldly flirting with Harry was far more amusing than it was distressing. Knowing that Harry truly was embarrassed, she kept her amusement hidden and then patted his arm sympathetically, hoping her expression didn’t betray her true feelings.

“You can’t blame her. You are a catch, Harry…”

Harry rolled his eyes and pushed the remainder of his chicken around his plate. “I can’t believe I didn’t do enough damage at the Yule ball,” Harry responded in a mutter.

“You were fourteen–now you’re this strong Auror and ridiculously good-looking.”

Harry glowered at her briefly before shaking his head with a small, sheepish smile on his face.

For dessert, Harry uncovered a batch of chocolate cupcakes and set store-bought tubs of chocolate and vanilla frosting and bottles of sprinkles on the table.

Harry sat back down looking quite pleased with himself. “I asked Hermione what she thought would be a romantic dessert and she suggested it might be fun if we decorated cupcakes. Personally, I think a boyfriend should supply decorated cupcakes, but I hope you like it.”

Excited by the prospect, she waved his concern away. “I love this idea!” She picked up one of the spatulas that Harry had set on the table and opened the container of vanilla frosting.

As messy as the activity was, cupcake-making turned out to be a lot of fun. Ginny glanced at their growing collection of decorated cupcakes, chuckling as she noticed the amount of frosting and sprinkles she applied to her own cupcakes in comparison to the smaller and neater-looking cupcakes that Harry was making.

“Don’t be stingy on the frosting, Potter” Ginny lectured with a smirk, deliberating smearing a large amount of frosting all over one of her cupcakes. She took a large wallop of vanilla out of her own frosting container and plopped it on top of the small amount of chocolate he had already spread out onto the cupcake.

Harry laughed, his expression torn between amusement and trying to force an expression of mock-horror. “Hey, now! That’s too much! I want to taste the cupcake under the frosting!”

Ginny continued to smile as she dragged her spatula over the cupcake, attempting to smooth the ridiculous amount of frosting down. “More is always better!”

Harry dipped his own spatula back in the container and used it to smear chocolate frosting across Ginny’s cheek. Gasping as the cool frosting touched her skin; she leapt back and touched her cheek with a laugh.

“That was uncalled for, Potter!”

Harry chuckled. “More is always better,” he scoffed playfully.

Ginny grinned widely as she jerked forward, brandishing her own vanilla-laden spatula toward him. Harry was too quick for her and he leapt backwards with another laugh. Jumping up, Ginny chased him around the table, her spatula extended as if it were her wand.

“You’re going to get it!”

Harry laughed in response, flicking his spatula at her to spray her with a spritz of chocolate. It splattered on her chin and neck and when she attempted to retaliate, she missed her target. Realizing that she was definitely losing this fight, she turned and fled before he could decorate her face with any more frosting. She raced from the kitchen, squealing when Harry nearly caught her arm as he pursued her. Bolting into the dining room and through the living room, she paused to glance over her shoulder when she didn’t hear his footsteps behind her anymore. Confused, she wheeled around to find that he wasn’t anywhere to be found.

Taking a step backwards in confusion, she whirled back around, intent on finding a good hiding spot where she might be able to surprise Harry. However, she hadn’t taken two steps before Harry materialized out of thin air and she slammed into his chest with a shriek of surprise as well as an unpleasant dull pain in her abdomen, although she ignored the latter. His arms wrapped around her, enveloping her against his warm body.

“NO!” Ginny pleaded between peals of laughter. She tried to wriggle free but it was no good–she was helpless as Harry tightened his grip on her and ran the tip of his spatula across her clean cheek.

“It looks good on you,” he mused, his lips close to her ear. The tickle of his breath on her skin sent tingles down her spine as he spoke. “Like war paint.”

Reminding herself to get a grip, she attempted to break free of his arms, but he was too strong. “Not fair, Harry!” She laughed as she tried to wriggle free. “I thought we agreed on no Auror tricks!”

He grinned widely at her, unconcerned by their previous agreement. “What fun is that?”

Before she could formulate a response, Harry shifted his grip on her and kissed her fully on the mouth. Ginny resisted only for a moment before she gave into the kiss and tossed her arms around his neck in surrender. Harry chuckled against her mouth as he kissed her, pleased by his victory.

After a few minutes of the heated kiss, his lips moved to her cheek, her jaw and then to her other cheek, kissing away the chocolate. She felt slightly disappointed when his lips left hers, but the kisses he pressed to her chocolate-covered skin were equally delicious. Ginny stood still as he kissed away every inch of the chocolate in sweet little kisses that tickled her and made her toes curl in her socks.

“Chocolate wins,” Ginny whispered with a smile as he kissed the last of it away.

Noticing the bits of chocolate that had rubbed off onto his own face, she debated trying to run for more frosting to continue this little fight when she became aware of the way Harry slid his hands down her sides to her waist, tugging her even closer against him. She felt her face blush at the intimacy of the moment and her heart fluttered in her chest. She bit her lip, waiting for him to kiss her again. Harry was looking at her with an intense expression, his eyes a bright shade of green that bore into hers, making her suddenly incapable of speech or thought. Feeling inexplicably exposed under his gaze, her smile faltered and she shifted in his hold.

“What’s–” Her intended question to ask why he was looking at her so intensely was interrupted by his blurting of three words.

“I love you.”

The words came out a little too quickly and too nervously, and were followed by a bright red blush of Harry’s cheeks, but she barely registered his uncertain and slightly embarrassed reaction. The words hung in the air for one stunned moment before Ginny felt her lips pulling into a wide smile. Pleasure replaced surprise as she stared up into his face, about to ask him why he was looking so nervous when she realized that she hadn’t said anything yet and he was probably panicking in the silence.

He then smiled nervously back at her, his expression unveiling more embarrassment as he took a breath and explained, “I’m been in love with you for a long time now but I wasn’t sure when to say it or how to bring it up since I’ve never said those words to anyone before. I thought you should know how I felt before something else crazy or dangerous happens that try to come between us.”

He sounded so sure of himself and yet so vulnerable at the same time. Was this real? Was Harry really standing here, holding her and telling her that he loved her? Realizing again that she still hadn’t spoken, she forced herself to focus. “I love you too,” Ginny told him, feeling her face flush as she spoke.

It was weird to hear herself say these words aloud. She had been careful not to think about loving Harry and to avoid considering how deep her feelings ran all year. The possibility of losing Harry had been too great during the war and then afterwards when they were broken up, but now that those words were out in the open, she felt naked–she felt as if it wouldn’t take much to break her if this wasn’t real. It all got very serious and scary and yet indescribably wonderful in one little moment.

She couldn’t count how many times other people had mentioned how much she and Harry must love each other but Ginny had always mentally brushed it off. She’d become so practiced at not allowing herself to think about actually, truly, deeply being in love with Harry, that it had become natural to do so. Loving Harry was something she felt, but not something she was consciously allowed to think about. Loving Harry had become about not giving up hope, instead of thinking of a future, of marriage, of kids, or happily-ever-afters. But now, finally, it was different. Being in love with Harry meant the possibility of a future, of new, non-life-threatening challenges and obstacles.

“Good,” he breathed, grinning with more confidence. “Good, I’m glad.”

His relief made a small giggle escape her and she buried her face into his chest, sliding her arms around him tightly. “Harry, you’re making it sound as if you thought I might run away from you.”

He made a face and let out a soft sigh. “Please don’t make fun. I’ve never told a girl I loved her–for all I know, the usual reaction is for the girl to run away.”

She lifted her head and gave him a skeptical look before pressing her lips against his. “You’re ridiculous,” she whispered between soft kisses.

“You had to know before you went back to school,” he murmured seriously. “It would have been weird to tell you in a letter.”

She grinned, but she mentally agreed with him. “Maybe a little.”

Harry grinned back before he kissed her again, this time with a great amount of happiness behind the kiss. He lifted her slightly, his arms wrapping around her as he pulled her feet off the floor. When the kiss ended, Ginny buried her face into his neck, inhaling his scent of fresh soap, laundered clothes and a hint of aftershave. Harry had told her he loved her and she’d said it back. She felt lighter, as if she’d been held down by the prospect of not being able to be happy and in love with her boyfriend.

“Shall we go back to the cupcakes? We’ll call a truce on our little frosting fight.”

“Please,” she replied a little breathlessly. Her heart was hammering out an uneven rhythm and she was beginning to feel a little disorientated. Was this actually happening? Was it normal to feel this unbelievably happy? She hoped Harry couldn’t see her ridiculous reaction to those three little words. Beginning to panic over her body’s reactions, she suddenly became more aware of the very dull pain still resonating in her abdomen.

They made their way back into the kitchen, Harry’s arm still around her waist as if he wasn’t ready to let her go. She tried to focus on how happy she felt and less on the pain.

“Do you think Ron has told Hermione he loves her?” Harry asked suddenly, his expression curious.

Ginny smiled at the memory of Hermione telling her that Ron had said ‘I love you.’ “He has and I hear he also blurted it.”

Harry’s cheeks flushed red again at her teasing accusatory look. He shrugged and kept his eyes forward as he spoke. “It’s rather scary for a bloke to tell a girl he loves her. It makes you look like an idiot if you don’t say it back.”

“Must be why boys rarely tell girls that they like them.”

They proceeded to eating a few cupcakes, which was thankfully much less messy than making them. Managing to eat two before her stomach began to protest, she helped Harry clean up the mess, although his part was much faster owing to the fact that he could use magic. As she moved, she became more and more aware of the dull ache where her skin was still healing and by the time the last plate was stored away, she regretted running from Harry, instead of just accepting the chocolate-assault.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked, frowning when he noticed how quiet she’d become over the last several minutes.

Ginny dropped her head and nodded, smiling in spite of the burning sensation that radiated upwards from her hips to the bottom of her ribcage. She became aware that she her hand was pressing over the wound and she dropped her hand, embarrassed that the pain was interrupting the magic of the evening.

“I shouldn’t have let you run,” he said grimly. He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “Your mum might never let me see you again the next time you’re sick or hurt!”

She smiled to reassure him. “Honestly, I’m fine. It just stings a little.”

Unconvinced, he shook his head and led her into the living room. “Maybe I should take you home, just in case.”

He was seriously going to cut the night short after saying ‘I love you’ just because she was in a small amount of discomfort? Really? Unwilling for the night to end, she took his hand and squeezed it. “No, come on! Please, Harry, honestly, I’m fine. I just need to sit for a bit.”

Harry hesitated, his eyes flickering nervously to the fireplace as if he was debating forcing her to take the Floo network home. “Gin, you just got home from the hospital and your mum wanted you home early.”

The thought of going home and being forced into bed by both her mother and her boyfriend was a tad stressful and she could feel her emotions boiling up after days of a potion-induced sleep and the stress of the attack in the village. “Just a little longer? Please? Mum will send me straight to bed if she finds out I experienced a few seconds of pain. I’m really okay.”

He regarded her for a long moment, as if trying to decide whether or not she was telling the truth. It was cute that he was so worried about her, but she wasn’t about to let him end the night. Ginny waited patiently, ignoring the slight urge to let her temper flare up at him and tell him she was a big girl. He was just worried about her and she needed to get used to him worrying about her. Worrying meant he cared, after all.

“Alright,” Harry agreed at last. Whether his agreement was because of her pleading expression or his own wish for their evening to go on a little longer, she wasn’t sure.

Ginny settled onto the sofa with a happy smile and watched as Harry held out his hand to the fireplace with a look of concentration. The fire roared to life and he glanced at Ginny with a tiny look of pride in his newfound abilities.

“Wandless and wordless magic, huh?”

“I’m trying to impress you with more of my new Auror tricks,” was his clever reply as he sat and put his arm around her.

“I am impressed. Although, if you expect me to stay in this relationship solely on the expectation that you constantly must have a cool new Auror trick to show me, you’d better have bigger and better things planned in the months to come.”

He chuckled and kissed her forehead. “Good thing we’re working on compelled-apparition in the fall.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s really complicated and we’re only supposed to use it in emergency situations, but it allows an Auror to force you to apparate to a location of their choice.”

“Like side-along apparition?”

“Sort of, but only the one person goes. Like I said, it’s really complicated to force that on someone and obviously pretty dangerous. It’s easiest on unconscious victims since as they don’t have fully conscious minds preventing that kind of compulsion.”

“Interesting. So when you showed it off to me, where would you have me go?”

“I could use it to bring you to my house, or I could have Ron use it on you to send you to me.”

She rolled her eyes with a smile at the idea. “Yes, because I’m sure Ron would be willing to send me to your house alone.”

Harry leaned in and kissed her again, this time on the lips and with deliberate slowness. “He knows you’re here now and he’s not upset by it.”

She smiled slightly, only half-paying attention to their conversation as his lips glazed hers and his warm breath blew in her face before he kissed her again. In spite of the distraction, she was able to come up with a witty reply. “He’s with Hermione and not thinking about what his best friend is doing to his little sister.”

“Ron isn’t sixteen anymore,” Harry reminded her quietly, his lips trailing to her neck. “He knows I love you and that I have no intention of ever letting you go.”

She chuckled, knowing that it was true that Ron had grown up a lot since their days at Hogwarts. “I know, it’s just fun to make fun of him,” she joked, very aware of the way his hand slid down her side to her waist.

She smiled as his lips moved along her neck and she closed her eyes at the delicious tingles running down her spine. She slid her fingers into his hair and leaned back on the couch, enjoying the sensual assault. She loved it when he kissed her neck, trailing his lips to that tender spot behind her ear. Hell, she loved it when he kissed her. It was very different than other kisses she’d shared with anyone else.

With Harry, her heart sped up and her breath caught in her chest. With Harry, she forgot the world and everything was like fireworks. With Harry, she felt nervous and confident at the same time. She felt security, she felt happy and she felt hopeful. She had trouble thinking clearly around him when he kissed her and when he smiled, she was sure that his was the most beautiful smile in the world. She was in big trouble when it came to Harry and although she’d known this since she was little; she hadn’t known it would be anything more than a silly crush.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, his voice husky as his lips left her skin and he pulled back just enough to look her in the eyes.

“Very good,” she whispered back honestly, sliding her feet under her on the sofa to sit up on her knees. The pain had very nearly disappeared. “You?”

He chuckled and his fingers glided across her stomach lightly, avoiding the area where she was still injured. “Does it still hurt?”

“No, I pretty much forgot about it,” she told him, leaning in to kiss him again. “You shouldn’t have stopped in case it hurt again. I need to be distracted!”

His laughter was breathy as he kissed her back, sliding his arms around her and pulling her onto his lap. “Distract you, huh?”

She murmured her assent, though was she was too hazy to respond with words. All she was aware of was Harry and his lips and his hands on her. His hands drifted back to her waist, his fingers pressing into her shirt and to the slight bit of skin exposed where her shirt had risen. She shifted closer to him, deepening the kiss and pressing him into the back of the sofa. A soft moan escaped him as the kiss continued and Ginny ran her hands down the front of his shirt, feeling his hard chest beneath the soft fabric.

She felt a desperate need to feel alive as she kissed him, wishing to be more submerged into the feelings of bliss she felt while kissing him. Perhaps Harry felt it too because he no longer stopped the kisses and he seemed to lose himself in the moment as well, urging her closer and subconsciously pushing her shirt up a little higher to feel more skin.

His fingers on her skin seemed to light a fire wherever he touched and she suddenly wished he’d touch her more and all over. Harry, however, seemed to be careful to avoid her front, particularly the area where her skin was still scarred from the curse.

Suddenly, Harry pulled back and gently pushed her sideways, easing her to lie on the couch. Ginny found herself grinning like an idiot until his mouth founds hers again and he came down on top of her, pressing into her and winding his fingers in her hair. While he kissed her, she slid her hands around him and tugged his shirt up insistently. She got it nearly halfway up before he stopped and propped his elbow up on the cushion to keep most of his weight off her.

“Clothes on this time, okay?” He said, his voice still husky with unmasked pleasure.

She looked at him for a long moment, wondering why he didn’t want her shirt off as badly as she wanted to throw his across the room. His cheeks were pink, his hair was a wild mess and his breathing was ragged as he looked down at her, looking every bit the most gorgeous wizard she’d ever seen in her life.

“I promise it’s a bit more fun if the shirt is off,” she tried to sway him, her fingers toying with the hem of his shirt.

He smiled at her, perhaps a little sadly as his free hand caressed her face. “Not when you’re still healing and you need to go home soon.”

Deep down, she knew that Harry was being sweet and sensitive. What he was saying was that he didn’t want to rush anything and he certainly didn’t want to risk undoing any of the healing her body had done in the last twenty-four hours. Deep down, she knew that Harry was nothing if not a gentleman and put her before his own wants and needs. In spite of this, it didn’t stop the irrational sting of rejection in her chest. It was silly and stupid, but nonetheless it was still there.

“Alright,” she replied, her voice breaking slightly as Harry lifted himself off her and straightened his clothes.

Ginny sat up and smoothed her hair, trying to fight the irrational emotions threatening to turn her into a pathetic girl who cries when her loving boyfriend says ‘no’ for a very legitimate and sincere reason.

“Hey,” he murmured, his voice soft and a little teasing. “Please don’t look so sad.”

“Sorry,” she cried, exasperated with herself as she made a noise between a laugh and a sob. “I’m being stupid. I’m tired, that’s all.”

Harry leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips. “Gin, it’s not that I don’t want you, but this isn’t the right moment. You just got out of the hospital and you need to be home really soon. I’m not about to test your mother’s patience when she’s been worried sick about you.”

She nodded, silently telling herself that Harry was just being his caring, sweet, perfect self. She forced another smile and sighed wearily.

“I know, I’m just being stupid. Ignore me.” She felt even more embarrassed to having such a stupid reaction to Harry telling her this wasn’t the moment to get intimate on the couch. More than that, any messing around might be ruined by pain, or even upsetting, self-conscious feelings about the scars on her stomach. She also wouldn’t put it past her mother to Floo Harry, demanding to know where her daughter was and catching them in a compromising position.

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I really just don’t want to let things get too far before we’re ready and the moment is right.”

She kissed his cheek, wishing she could stop looking so dejected and embarrassed. “Thank you.”

He smiled at her hesitantly before he reached over and squeezed her hand. “I love you, you silly, beautiful girl.”

“I love you, too.”

They looked at each other for another long moment before Harry glanced at the clock on the wall. “I should really take you home, though.”

Ginny got readily to her feet, feeling more willing to go home if it meant dropping this embarrassing subject. “Yeah, I probably should. Thank you for dinner. This was really great and it definitely got my mind off of things,” she told him as sincerely as she could. There were no words to describe how grateful she felt that Harry was able to make her forget the horrible events of the last few days. It was nice to be able to smile and laugh and be normal again.

“You are very welcome.”

Ginny leaned in and kissed him briefly on the lips. Harry handed her the bucket of Floo powder on the mantle and Ginny took a pinch, tossing it into the flickering yellow flames. The fire turned bright green, the flames dancing merrily as she stepped into the grate.

“Night, Harry.”


“The Burrow!”

The flames grew bright and she closed her eyes, feeling herself flying past many grates and households until the flicking light behind her lids ceased and she stepped into her own house. There was no one downstairs, but the light was on in the kitchen and there were soft, murmuring voices upstairs. She was a little surprised that her mother wasn’t waiting for her by the grate, eager to reprimand her for staying out late tonight when she should be in bed, resting.

Ginny headed upstairs, feeling suddenly very tired and eager to get into bed. Now that she was back home, her scars were more persistently aching and she was trying to remember where she’d left her special salve when she entered her bedroom and found Ron and Hermione kissing quite passionately in the middle of her room.

The two stumbled apart at the sound of her entrance and Hermione turned a bright pink, her expression resembling a deer in headlights. Ron, however, didn’t look phased by the interruption. Instead, he was grinning as he waved a hand in greeting.

“How was your night, Ginny?” He asked conversationally, as if his sister hadn’t walked in on him passionately embraced with Hermione.

“Great Ron,” she answered amusedly, raising her eyebrows at him. “I’d like to go to bed now, so maybe you two could continue saying goodnight in another room?”

“Mum is up there,” Ron explained matter-of-factly, but Hermione had another answer all lined up.

“That’s alright,” Hermione spluttered, now also fighting a grin, although her face was still very pink. She gently nudged Ron toward the door. “Thank you for a lovely evening, Ronald,” she added firmly.

“Erm… you’re welcome.” He paused, as if trying to read Hermione’s expression to discover if the ‘thank-you’ was actually code for ‘meet me somewhere else.’ After a few seconds, his shoulders slumped ever so slightly and he bid both Hermione and Ginny goodnight, shutting the door behind him.

Hermione held her face in her hands, a nervous giggle escaping her. “Sorry! We didn’t mean for you to walk in on us. And for the record, we don’t make a habit of kissing in your room.”

Ginny laughed and waved it off. “It’s okay, Hermione. Just promise you’ll stay out of my bed and I’m fine with it.”

Hermione gaped in horror for a brief moment before she hurriedly changed the subject. “So did you and Harry have a nice evening? Your hair is quite messy so I trust his goodbye kiss was just as good as mine.” Her sly comment made Ginny giggle in surprise at Hermione’s boldness.

Ginny moved to her dresser and searched for some pajamas. “Quite good, although next time I’ll have Harry drop me off in Ron’s room when we say goodnight.”

“Alright, alright,” Hermione mumbled.

“Tonight was great,” Ginny replied, deciding she’d tortured Hermione enough. She turned around smiling before she said, “Harry told me he loves me.”

Hermione gaped and then squealed in delight in a very un-Hermione-ish way. “Really? That’s wonderful! I mean, it was obvious he loves you, but I’m so glad he finally told you. How did it happen?”

Delighting in the tingling, walking-on-a-cloud feelings surrounding this new memory, Ginny lowered herself to sit on her vanity table as she spoke. “We were making cupcakes, which turned into a bit of a frosting fight. Harry chased me and managed to catch me… and then he just said it.”

Hermione beamed. “Good for him! I hope you said it back?”

“Of course I said it back! I love him!”

Hermione smiled knowingly, folding her arms as she made a small noise of exasperation. “You’ve always loved him. It just took the two of you forever to figure out how perfect you were for each other.”

“Only five years of school!” Ginny argued half-heartedly, smiling widely. “By the way, that’s a shorter amount of time than how long it took you and Ron to figure it out.”

Hermione grinned back. “I blame the boys. Us girls had it figured it out ages before that”

Ginny chuckled. “Me too.”


A/N: “You never tell a girl you like her-- it makes you look like an idiot!”- A Very Potter Musical.
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