|SIYE Time:3:23 on 17th January 2022|
Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
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: 69330; Chapter Total: 4400
Hello everyone! I apologize for the length of time it took to update this chapter, but life got in the way. I want to thank everyone who has left me wonderful reviews, thoughts, and critiques, and I hope you enjoy this chapter! Cheers to a new year of amazing fanfics!
Ginny still couldn’t believe that Harry had taken her to Rome. Of all the insane, crazy, wonderful, romantic things that she had ever heard, a surprise date in Rome was hard to beat. They’d been walking down the street for five minutes and Ginny was still unable to wipe the gigantic smile off her face. She only felt a little silly that she was practically skipping down the sidewalk, holding Harry’s hand and pointing out every little thing that caught her eye.
“This is crazy,” she repeated blissfully for the tenth time, squeezing Harry’s hand in her own.
He grinned, clearly proud of himself as he replied, “I’m glad you’re happy.”
“Why Rome, though? Why not into London for a nice dinner? Probably would have saved you some money, and I’d have loved it either way.”
“I was here last week for an assignment,” he told her, keeping his tone casual as he was unable to delve into anything specific with so many muggles walking around. “I was only here a few hours, but it was mostly business-stuff. The little bit of time I got to tour Rome was great, but I kept wishing you were there with me. Planning the trip was pretty easy since I’ve got a friend who works with port keys.”
“This is the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me. Thank you for bringing me here!”
“You’re welcome.” He pointed out a large stone building a couple of blocks away. “That’s where we’re having dinner.” He waited until a group of muggles walk past before he added in a quieter voice, “And then I thought you’d like to see some of the wizarding shops. There’s one in particular that you’re going to go crazy for–it’s supposedly one of the best Quidditch supply stores in the world!”
If possible, her mood perked up even further. “Wow. The wizarding part of Rome must be gorgeous with all the old architecture here.”
“It is. It’s very different from Diagon Alley,” Harry agreed solemnly.
When they reached the restaurant, Harry held the door for her and Ginny walked in, feeling giddy. She had never, ever been taken out by a man for an expensive meal. She was used to dates in Hogsmeade and finding private moments in the Hogwarts castle–she felt positively spoiled here in Italy with Harry.
The inside of the restaurant was painted in a dark, royal blue colour with beautiful wood trim around the walls and around the doors. The restaurant was dimly lit, fairly crowded and very chic. Ginny felt Harry’s hand slide around her waist to rest on the small of her back in a very normal gesture of affection. The Maitre D’ took Harry’s name and then beckoned them to follow. They were seated at a small table near the back of the restaurant, given menus, and then the Maitre D’ bowed himself out murmuring words in Italian that Ginny supposed were an encouragement to enjoy themselves.
A massive crystal chandelier hung in the middle of the room, casting a soft glow around the room. White and gold candles sat on each of the tables, which were covered in a clean white tablecloth. A string quartet played soft, classical music at the opposite end of the room, creating a very romantic and elegant atmosphere.
“Harry, this is beautiful!” She whispered, sitting down across from him and feeling a little out of place. She’d always felt a little awkward about being in such upper class places when she came from such a poor family. “Also maybe a little too expensive,” she added, her sub-conscious stirring with discomfort.
Harry handed her a menu and raised an eyebrow at her. “Just for tonight, can you not worry over the price of things? I wanted to do something special for you. After our date in Rome, you can lecture me on anything you want, and I promise I’ll only buy you cheap meals for as long as you want.”
She took the menu with a reluctant sigh, fighting a smile at his teasing tone. He was spoiling her and she did not want him to think that he could just do this type of thing whenever he wanted. Having no money her entire life had taught her to understand that one needed to be sensible with the money they did have, and Harry should not be spending large portions of it on her for one meal. All the same, she knew that Harry would be more offended if she kept worrying about it all night. Deciding it would be both rude and embarrassing for her to lecture him on this subject in the middle of a fancy restaurant, she succumbed to her ultimate wish to enjoy every single second of tonight.
Aside from fumbling in the Italian language to order their food, dinner was amazing. After a three-course meal, dessert, and a few glasses of a delicious red wine, Ginny could not remember feeling so incredibly satisfied with her life. The dinner was made even better by the fact that no one knew them, which meant that no one pointed, or stared, whispered. No one came to ask for autographs or to take a picture that would likely appear in the morning edition of the paper with some scandalous piece of gossip attached to it.
She and Harry talked about everything from school, to Quidditch, to her family, to work, to speculating about what the funny-smelling white stuff was on top of her chicken. When Harry told her a funny story involving Ron and an examination for the Aurors, she found herself drifting from the conversation and thinking about Harry himself, and how proud she was of him. It was strange to think that while he’d grown up, he’d never had a loving family to support him, and the family he did have spent most of their energy trying to repress who he was. He’d never had the chance to grow up in a loving home, or have a normal childhood. He’d never grew up like a normal teenager and had normal relationships. He was so tormented by darkness and evil, and couldn’t afford to trust in other people, girls especially for fear that they liked him for his fame, or worse, that they would prove a danger to him by being untrustworthy.
It made her feel incredibly special that he’d chosen her to be with, and that he trusted her as he did. She was also one of the few people that he’d let in over the years. Her, Neville and Luna were the only ones aside from Ron and Hermione to push past the defensive walls he set up. And now, he was eighteen, still young, but more mature than most men his age. He’d taken her to Italy on a date to impress upon her how much he cared, and how serious he was about their relationship.
Ginny hadn’t thought of him as ‘Harry Potter’ since she was about thirteen, but as she sat in an incredibly expensive restaurant in Italy, on a date with Harry, it was hard to keep her inner child’s childhood crush contained. Harry might not have let many people in over the years, and therefore didn’t have much experience in the serious relationship-department, but there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that she would never live one day where she wouldn’t want him like she wanted him at this very moment.
After dinner, Harry paid in muggle money and led her back outside. It had gotten a lot cooler outside and she hoped that there would be a tea shop or something in the wizarding part of Rome where they could stop for something warm to drink where they could get warmed up.
“So where do we go from here?” Ginny asked, buttoning up her jacket.
Harry checked his watch and grimaced. “I wanted to take you to wizarding Rome, but I guess it’s probably too late. Most of the shops will be closed.”
Ginny felt her disappointment begin to bubble up in her chest–she’d really wanted to see wizarding Italy. “What time is it?”
“Nearly eleven. Rome is an hour ahead of London.”
Trying to keep her face neutral, she shrugged. “That’s too bad. I guess we better call it a night, huh?” The idea of returning to her normal life after tonight made her feel quite sad.
Her tone seemed to amuse him. “Yeah, I guess.” He took her hand as they crossed the street and started back down the way they came. “This way…”
It occurred to her that even if they couldn’t tour any of the shops, he could at least take her into the wizarding part of Rome so she could see what it looked like. Perhaps they still had time? “What time does our port key leave?”
The same amused smile returned as he answered her, “At two.”
“In the morning? Why so late?”
Harry chuckled. “No, Gin, two p.m., tomorrow afternoon.”
Ginny stopped walking and stared at him in surprise. This was an overnight date? “We’re staying overnight? In Rome?”
He nodded, still smiling. “Yeah. That’s okay, right?”
She stared at him, expecting him to be joking, but apparently he was serious. “It’s okay with me,” she replied slowly. “But maybe not with my parents…”
He chuckled again. “I cleared it with your Dad, don’t worry. He knows and he’ll tell your Mum.”
“How did you get my Dad to agree with your little plan?” Ginny was torn between nerves, shock, and excitement. A whole night alone with Harry was quite intriguing.
His smile faded slightly, as if he wanted to be careful with what he told her. “It wasn’t a short conversation, but he agreed. He did say that you were probably safer with someone who defeated the most evil wizard of all time than any other bloke. I guess defeating Voldemort means I qualify for protecting you in another city.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Harry, I don’t think it’s me my Mum might worry about, but more my innocence.”
“And that’s why I talked to your Dad, not your Mum. I didn’t want to have ‘the talk’ with your Mum.” He took her hand again. “Come on, it’s cold out and I want to get to the hotel before midnight.”
Hotel? Harry Potter had brought her to Rome for an amazing dinner and he’d rented them a hotel room for the night? How he had convinced her Dad to agree to the plan, she didn’t know, but as they walked, she began to forget about the disapproval her Mum was probably feeling, and started to think about the benefits to the situation. A whole night to be with Harry, just the two of them was something that they’d never, ever had before.
There was never a chance for any sort of privacy before, and the prospect of a closed door without listening ears or judging looks was a very tempting one.
“So you’re not going to tell me how you got my Dad to agree to this, huh?” She asked.
He shook his head, still amused. “Maybe someday. It’s not important.”
It certainly felt like it was important. What did he say? What had he promised to make her parents agree that she could spend the night in another country, alone, with her boyfriend? “That’s unfair,” she complained, curiosity gnawing at her. “What did you say to my Dad? Did you have to make some unbreakable vow that this was purely an innocent date and that you’d keep your hands off me at all times?”
He raised his eyebrows at her and then laughed. “Do you think your Dad doesn’t like the fact that I’m dating you? Or that I’d hurt you? And since when is your father someone who demands a person to make an unbreakable vow? Plus, I have definitely not kept my hands off you as we’ve held hands, hugged you and kissed several times tonight.”
She folded her arms across her chest, a little embarrassed to actually bring up the subject of sex between them. “I only said that because I didn’t want to suggest what I thought you’d actually…” she trailed off, her cheeks blushing.
Harry smirked. “What did you think I actually promised?”
Ginny rolled her eyes at his feigned ignorance. “What did you think?” He asked again, his eyes teasing as he nudged her.
Ginny met his gaze, suddenly determined not to back down to his challenge. “Did you promise my dad you’d bring me back a virgin?”
He burst out laughing, his cheeks turning scarlet as he laughed. “I talked to your father, not Ron. Ron might make those blunt demands, but not your Dad. Again, do you think your father is someone to make me swear on my own life about your virginity?” He chuckled again. “Would your dad even use that word? We talked. I asked, he eventually agreed, end of story.”
She didn’t doubt that she’d get the answer out of him some day. “Okay, fine, I give up,” she conceded, feeling she owed him this bit of privacy after all he’d done for her tonight. Really, the only thing that mattered was that she could go home tomorrow without her parents threatening to lock her up and throw away the key.
They walked in silence for several minutes, passing through what Ginny assumed was a tourist hotspot judging by the ruins of old stone monuments and buildings that muggles were pointing and staring at. Ginny looked at all the wreckage and she began to wonder about Hogwarts again. She didn’t know why she was so anxious to know about how much the castle would have been repaired after the battle--- well, other than a fear of being reminded of the horrible war.
Harry interrupted her thoughts. “Did you know that the wizarding community here in Rome is one of the oldest in Europe?”
Momentarily grateful that he couldn’t see her face clearly in the dark as Harry was uncannily good at seeing the emotion on her face. “I think I knew that. Weren’t some of Rome’s muggle emperors wizards?”
“Yes, and unfortunately wizard Emperors like Nero called a little too much attention to themselves. The wizarding magistrates pushed hard for something called ‘damnatio memoriae’ so that any physical reminder of that emperor would be destroyed. They didn’t want anyone to know too much about these emperors. It’s the reason why muggle classical scholars only have a limited amount of information on certain emperors. Muggles are fascinated by those emperors who stood out by their poor leadership style, and especially those who were portrayed to be mad. Some of the stories got through, but luckily, muggles are blissfully ignorant.”
“What do you mean?”
Harry chuckled. “Well, Emperor Caligula transfigured a Senator into a horse when he disagreed with him. Muggles tell the story as Caligula wanted to insult the Roman senate by simply bringing in a horse and making him a Senator.”
“The more interesting the story, the more attention was called to these wizards who were doing awful things. Still, the muggles haven’t completely forgotten…”
They walked a little farther down the street, passing various other couples and late-night tourists.
“Do you think people will eventually forget and leave me alone?” Harry asked suddenly, startling her with the sudden change in subject.
“No one will forget,” she replied gently. “But your life isn’t wrapped up in the Dark Arts anymore. You’ll find peace, Harry. People won’t forget completely, but you’ll be able to live your life freely now.”
“I don’t want to be hounded for the rest of my life,” he told her wistfully. “I don’t want to have to spend my life watching my back, or worrying about your safety, or your reputation. I don’t want to worry that one day my wife or my kids will be attacked by paparazzi, or that rogue Death Eaters who want to remind people of the old days might try to hurt them.”
She nodded, squeezing his hand. “I know. Some things you can’t control, though. The world is moving on, Harry.” She was sure that while no one would quite forget Harry, the world would move on to other tragedies or moments of excitement that would allow him to live relatively in peace. She hoped that she could say the same for herself. Would she feel these feelings of dread forever?
Harry seemed pleased with her answer. “You’ve got to admit that it’s nice to be in public and not be followed by photographers or be watched by a crowd of people.”
“It is. I suppose we can just run away to beautiful places like this whenever you feel trapped.”
After they shared a grin at their new plan, Ginny added: “Part of me doesn’t mind the gossip,” she told him with a dark chuckle. “I saw a cover of Witch Weekly with a picture of us captioned: Potter’s Perfect Proposal. It had some bogus story about you proposing to me and that we were planning on honeymooning in Brazil. It’s nice to have some entertainment every once and a while.”
“Glad you can put up with it. Yeah, I saw that one,” he admitted moodily. “Does your Mum still read that rag? I shouldn’t worry about Howlers if she reads anything particularly racy?”
“No… but my brothers do for a laugh sometimes. George wanted to frame that proposal story, but he says he’s waiting for the gossip about illegitimate children.”
“Well, you are England’s most eligible bachelor!” Ginny teased, poking him playfully so that his grin returned. “Did you expect the press to lay off? I expect there are a lot of women are following those tabloids with an unhealthy obsession over our dating life.” She wrinkled her nose. “Probably waiting for me to make a colossal mistake so that you’ll be back on the market.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “I feel like a piece of meat whenever I hear that phrase. Some random witch wrote me a little while ago, wishing I was ‘on the market!””
Ginny dropped his hand and instead wound her arms around him, pecking him on the cheek. “You haven’t noticed that you no longer look like a starved teenage boy? That Auror training has made you quite a catch, Mr. Potter. You’ve got plenty of female admirers… more than Romilda Vane and all the other gooey-eyed girls at Hogwarts.”
A slight blush crept up his neck. “Thank Merlin you’re the secure type, then. Not jealous or paranoid.”
She laughed and kept one arm around him as they walked. “No, I think my Bat Bogey Hex is good enough to keep away those daring to snatch you away from me.” She wrinkled her nose. “And I don’t think nagging you and keeping tabs on you all the time is the way to keep a boyfriend. I’ve seen that kind of behaviour drive them away.”
“True,” he agreed. Then he grinned at her again. “Although, perhaps this is one thing you’re lacking in?”
Ginny gaped. “What?”
“Well, you don’t constantly moon over me as The-Boy-Who-Lived, or the one who finished Voldemort. I’m a conquering hero, Gin. Perhaps you should try a little harder to hold my attentions.”
Scoffing at him, she dropped her hold on him. She knew he was kidding, and although she was amused, she was a little surprised he wanted to joke about that. Wasn’t that a touchy subject with him? His joking about it might mean he was becoming more okay with who he was!
“Really? I believe we had a totally different conversation at that party. But if that’s what you like, Harry… I could start etching your name in my books again and sign everything Mrs. Ginny Potter!”
He did a double-take. “You used to do that?”
She tried to restrain the blush that had started to colour her cheeks. Good one, Ginny. “No,” she lied, feeling her face heat up. She started walking again, this time ahead of Harry, but he caught up to her, snickering.
“You’re a terrible liar, Ginny.”
Ginny moaned as he laughed a little harder at her. “It’s not my fault. You were very handsome and I had a terrible little girl crush on you.”
He stopped her again, this time under a street light so she could see his face. He was fighting a smile as he pulled her in close by her waist.
“Past tense? The girl who used to sign her name with my last name doesn’t think I’m handsome anymore? I think Romilda Vane might disagree. Whose last name do you etch in your books now?”
Ginny smiled as he leaned in to kiss her, his lips an inch from hers. “Shut up, Harry,” she breathed back. “And if you tell any of my brothers that, I swear I’ll-”
He ended her threat with a passionate kiss that sent a shiver of pleasure down her spine. She could feel her heart beating loudly in her chest as he pulled her against him, urging her closer. As she pressed into his chest and wound her fingers into his soft hair it suddenly occurred to Ginny that they had an entire night of unsupervised time ahead of them. And while that was exciting and very lucky, it also made her a little nervous.
Still, this was Harry. He wouldn’t force her to do anything that she didn’t want to do, and since the only other girl he’d dated had been Cho Chang, she was fairly sure she was a bit more experienced in the intimacy department. But things were certainly changing now-- they were no longer just two students at school. Ginny was in her final year of school, Harry was settling into a career and so things were a lot more serious.
“Are you okay?” He murmured as he pulled back, apparently noticing her distraction so she quickly pecked him on the lips and nodded.
“Just getting a bit chilly,” she murmured. “Let’s keep going.”
The more she thought about having a serious relationship and having a possible future together, the more it made her think about all the things she still needed to share with him. Harry still didn’t know very much about how she was still hurting after the war–he didn’t know about the nightmares that she still had, or the overwhelming, dark thoughts that dragged her down to a low place whenever she was alone.
I need to tell him about everything that’s eating me up inside, she thought miserably. This wasn’t just an impressive date–this was proof that things were serious, that he expected their relationship to last longer than a few months. Harry was not the type to whisk away any girl to a foreign country, and he certainly wasn’t the type to open up to just anyone. If Harry, who had suffered through years of misery, torture, and evil had begun to open up, why couldn’t she?
“I haven’t ever been to a hotel before,” Harry commented as the bellhop greeted them and opened the door for them. “Well once, but it was a dingy little place my Uncle took us to escape all the Hogwarts letters that were trying to find me.”
“Never?” Ginny asked, a little surprised that he’d lived in the muggle world, but never stayed in a hotel.
“Yeah, but the Dursleys would never treat me to anything like a hotel. They’d leave me with Mrs. Figg.”
“Buon Notte.” Greeted the woman at the check-in counter in a very thick accent. “Do you have reservations?”
“Yes, under Harry Potter,” Harry replied. “You speak English here?”
The woman smiled. “I heard you speaking English when you came in. To work at the desk one must be at least bilingual. We get a lot of tourists!” She began typing into her computer to find Harry’s reservation. “Where are you joining us from today?”
“England,” Harry replied.
“Very nice! And yes, I see you have Room 437. The elevator is just down that hall and to the right. Here are your keys! Have a good night, sir!” She offered a wide smile and two sets of room keys.
Ginny accepted the keys and she and Harry walked in the direction of the elevator. The hotel smelled vaguely of chlorine and fresh paint- a nice combination overall. As they neared the hall, Ginny spotted an indoor pool through a glass wall which was closed for the night.
“Next time you whisk me away for a romantic date in another country, let me know I at least need an overnight bag,” Ginny said, wishing she’d brought her bathing suit and a few other key essentials like a tooth brush or bed things.
Harry grinned sheepishly. “Sorry. I should have mentioned…” he reached into his pocket and pulled out a palm-sized backpack and handed it to her. “I had Hermione pack this. I charmed it.”
Ginny took the tiny bag into her hand with amusement, marvelling at how prepared Harry was for tonight. She was glad for a change of clothes and at the thought of being able to brush her teeth. She certainly didn’t want to have to worry about having bad breath for her first sleep over with Harry. Not that that was her biggest concern for her first sleepover with Harry… There were much bigger things here: like an unlimited amount of time to just lay in his arms, to kiss him, and to be locked away in their little corner of the world.
The elevator went up to their floor fairly quickly and it was only a short walk to their room. Ginny could just hear her mother pitching a fit about this part of their date. Her heard began to beat quickly and she found even her palms were getting a little sweaty. She began to wonder again how Harry had gotten away with this part with her father. Had he made the unbreakable vow to make him completely at ease about her staying overnight in Italy with Harry? Had he perhaps told her father that they were in separate rooms?
“This is us!” Harry said quietly, unlocking and opening the door for her.
He flicked on the lights and allowed her to pass ahead of him. The room smelled of fresh soap and clean laundry, and was fairly large to accommodate for the two double beds that took up most of the space. Two small night tables with large white lamps sat on either side of the headboard, and an alarm clock sat on the far-left table. There was a television in the entertainment unit, half-hidden by cupboard doors, and a door to a very white bathroom to her immediate right.
“This is nice!” Ginny commented, looking around with interest. She found herself feeling a lot calmer at there being two beds-- two beds gave her a choice. She walked over toward the window and pulled back the heavy drapes to reveal a beautiful view of Rome. She sighed happily, taking in the sights of the city under the moonlight. “Thank you for bringing me here.” She turned back around to face Harry who had followed her to the window.
“You’re very welcome,” he told her cheerfully.
“So is this how you’re planning on treating me now that you’re twice as famous as you were when I first started seeing you? Whisking me off to foreign, romantic places to impress me and make every other girl jealous? Because if it is, you may want to be careful. I might come to expect this kind of thing from you.”
Harry chuckled. “I like spoiling you. And I wanted to do something big to show you my gratitude.”
She moved closer, pausing in front of him. Harry looked up at her with a look that made her knees feel weak, and made her heart flutter in her chest. She felt like she was the most desirable thing to him–like the most beautiful, wonderful thing on the planet. “Why?” She asked, her voice catching.
“Because you have no idea how grateful I am that you’re you… you’re so cool and sweet and nice. You’re normal, and down to earth, and beautiful. And you’re the only girl, aside from Hermione, of course, that still looks at me the same after the battle at Hogwarts… hell, you’re one of the few people who treats me like a normal person. It’s just easy with you. I like that I can be myself and be honest about who I am.”
She smiled, but his words caused a pang of guilt that she hadn’t yet told him about her struggles to get over the war and her own emotions. She hadn’t told him that she had recurring nightmares about screaming, about blood and Hagrid carrying her boyfriend’s lifeless body back. She hated dreaming about her own scream when she believed for a few heart-stopping minutes that Harry was dead, and that all hope was lost. The dreams were less frequent now, but the memories still haunted her. Sometimes she felt anxious and nervous for no reason at all. It all seemed ridiculous when she was with him; when she could touch him and talk to him, and remind herself that the awful things she saw at night were only dreams and they couldn’t hurt her.
Ginny slowly lowered herself to the bed to sit next to him, stunned. “Harry, there was never any question in my mind what I wanted- it was always you.” She swallowed hard. “You don’t have to do big things like this to make me understand that you’re grateful for our relationship, because I’d be there for you regardless.”
He put his hand on her knee, his palm warm on her skin, but he didn’t speak. Ginny steeled herself to tell him, to let him in as much as he’d let her in. There was something about this moment that told her it was okay to open up, and to share with him.
“I don’t know if I’m okay,” she continued, her voice shaking slightly. Get a hold of yourself, Ginny, she warned herself.
Harry’s thumb stilled where it was gently stroking her knee and he looked up at her, his expression calm, but his body tense. Ginny placed her hand on his face, guilty that she perhaps had just insinuated that she wasn’t okay with him.
“I mean me, personally,” she clarified. “I had a hard time of it since you left… but it’s been really bad since the final battle. I have nightmares… uncontrollable anxiety… sometimes I can’t sleep… it’s like there’s this shadow hanging over me.” She shuddered at the thought of her nightmares.
He looked at her a long time before he moved the hand that was on her knee moved to her hand. He looked peaceful and calm, as if this news didn’t trouble him in the slightest–as if he didn’t doubt her ability to heal. “You won’t feel like this forever. Sometimes it just takes longer to heal.”
She wondered how well he had taken his own advice. “Are you better?”
She watched his face carefully, but his expression was guarded. “I’m better than I was, but no… I suspect it’ll take me a lot longer. Can I tell you something?”
“You can tell me anything.”
Harry squeezed her hand and met her gaze. “Please don’t take this the wrong way, or think I’m an insensitive git… but I’m really grateful that you’re such a strong person. I love that about you. I love that you’ve never pushed me to open up, or forced me to try and talk about everything that’s going on. I can’t tell you how good that felt to just have someone who was just a source of strength, comfort and hope in my life.” He paused for a second, before adding, “And I know that maybe you don’t feel as strong as you once were, but you are that strong person and you will be her again.”
Ginny smiled slightly at the sweetness of his words. It felt good to hear him voice that he loved being with her for more than just a distraction or a good time. “Can I tell you something?”
He met her smile, echoing her own tone. “You can tell me anything,” he replied.
“Dean and Michael used to think that I was too strong, too independent. They preferred to be the macho, protective man and have someone to comfort and caudle and be cute with. I used to get so mad at Dean for trying to do things like help me through the portrait hole. I don’t like feeling weak, or that I can’t do things for myself.”
He shook his head. “I know. You’re just not that type of girl. You’re strong, confident, and you know what you want, and are willing to work hard to get it. I needed someone like you–someone strong. Someone who gets what I’ve been through. I like not having to hide my past from you. You already know everything about me. And I think we can both agree that neither of us are clingy or needy people,”
Ginny slid her arms around his neck and kissed him, pleased that she had shared a little, and that she had even a little more confidence in their relationship. “Definitely not too clingy or needy. So…” she grinned and then gave him a long, languishing kiss. “What do we do now?”
“We could snog for a bit?” He suggested innocently.
“Deal,” she breathed, repressing a giggle.
She slid her fingers through his hair, excitement rippling through her veins as he kissed her enthusiastically. He slid his hands down to her waist and had lifted the hem of her shirt to gently caress the skin there. Her hands slid to his shoulders and then to his chest, feeling the hard, hot muscles beneath the thin sweater he wore. How long had it been since she’d lasted tugged off his shirt and ran her fingers along his bare chest?
Her fingers wandered to the hem and she pulled upwards with the intent of removing his shirt. Harry chuckled, pulling back to allow her to tug it over his head. It got stuck, however, causing them both to laugh and Harry to yank it over his head so it wouldn’t suffocate him.
“Better?” He asked with a grin, tossing it on the floor. Ginny grinned, running her hands down his chest and around to his back.
“I’ve missed you,” he sighed softly.
“Harry, you need to stop talking before my brother finds us and barges in here to stop us,” she replied between kisses as she gently eased him down onto the soft mattress.
“Ron won’t find us,” Harry disagreed. “And if he does, I’ll hex him for interrupting us,”
They shared a small laugh before the kissing continued. Ginny kicked off her shoes and found herself rolled under Harry after several wonderful minutes. When the moment became fairly heated, and Ginny became increasingly aware of the need to make a choice of stopping or going much farther than she’d intended tonight, she slowed the kisses and they both came up for air.
“Yeah, we probably should take a break,” Harry murmured, sitting up on the bed.
Ginny nodded, biting her lip to keep from grinning like an idiot as she sat up as well and adjusted her clothes, pushing her hair from her face. She slid to the edge of the bed and then got to her feet. “Can I have my pajamas and my toothbrush? How about we get changed and then watch some muggle television for a bit?”
He pulled the shrunken bag from his pocket and enlarged it for her. Ginny pulled out an old pair of black shorts, a green Harpies T-shirt, and her toothbrush before hurrying off to the bathroom. Locking the door, she turned to look at herself in the mirror, taking in her flushed cheeks and her tousled hair with mild amusement. As she re-dressed in her pajamas, she made a mental note to look into buying sexier bed clothes–something more grown up than the old clothes she usually wore to bed.
She brushed her teeth and washed her face with soap and water, before finger-combing her hair. Satisfied, she took another look at herself in the mirror, wondering at the woman in the reflection. Being in Italy, she felt giddy, grown up, and extremely happy. Admitting to Harry that she wasn’t as emotionally and psychologically well as he might think had felt good, and while she knew the conversation wasn’t over, it had felt good to at least hear that he didn’t underestimate her ability to be okay one day.
When she returned into the main room, she found Harry already changed into striped pajama bottoms, though he was still shirtless. Ginny grinned, but didn’t say anything about his decision to remain shirtless. Harry might have agreed with her decision to take a breather, but he wasn’t playing fair with his chest and muscled arms exposed.
She climbed into the bed and cuddled up next to him. “I found this movie on,” he told her, turning up the volume. “It’s a family-film that I watched as a little kid. It’s the only decent thing on right now.”
“That’s cool, I’m not picky. It’s more about lying here with you in this bed, and enjoying the fact that it’s just us two here. And that Ron still hasn’t found us.”
He smiled and pressed a kiss to her head. “I told him I was thinking about taking you to Spain.”
“What?” Ginny laughed. “You lied to Ron? I thought you said he wouldn’t burst in here!”
“I said he wouldn’t burst in here because if Ron got the urge to look for us, he’d be looking in the country,” Harry answered, smirking slightly.
Stifling a laugh, she shook her head. “Some best friend you are,” she muttered teasingly.
“It’ll teach him not to try to interrupt us in the future,” Harry disagreed lightly. “I don’t get much time alone with you.”
Ginny tugged the sheets up around them and rested her head on his chest, feeling so at peace with the world that she felt as if nothing could ruin this moment for them. Luckily, Harry had thoughtfully prevented the chance of a certain someone finding them and throwing open the door to ruin a perfect night.
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