A/N: another prompt! Pretend it's still February and I'm organized enough to write a Valentine's Day prompt in time for the actual holiday. Although the prompt had nothing to do with Valentine's and I just got it like a week ago. Maybe it's just super early for next year :)
A/N 2: fixed the wonky present/past tense thing that was bugging me plus a couple typos - content still the same :)
It starts the first Valentine's Day after the war and it's an accident. Or so she claims.
Harry had been bogged down with work at the Ministry as he too often was – especially on Tuesdays – when she'd walked (snuck) up behind him and whispered sweetly (creepily) in his ear. He'd let out a short doggish yelp but managed to recover fairly quickly, especially compared to the minutes spent waiting for her laughter to stop.
After sulking a sufficient amount of time, Harry had allowed Ginny to tug him from the musty office, kidnapping him for an afternoon where she more than made it up to him and his wounded ego.
The next time seemed less like an accident, but he allowed her to call it a coincidence when he'd arrived home at his flat to find her lying in wait with balloons and a feast of their favorite foods. The effort she'd put in combined with the wafting scent of freshly baked treacle tart and her adorably earnest expression meant Harry quickly forgot to be suspicious or even remotely peeved.
Three times seems strange, but he lets it pass as she whisks him off to some undisclosed tropical and deliciously warm location for a two day trip spent basking in the glorious sunlight. He comes home with a lobster-like sunburn and a failing memory, too spectacularly relaxed to care whether his girlfriend is slowly driving him to insanity.
By the time it reached four times it was no longer a coincidence – it was a pattern. And Harry couldn't let it go any longer – he had some pride left despite Ginny's victorious smirk as he pressed his body against the wall, heart pounding in his chest as he took in the smoking fireworks clasped in his girlfriend's hands. "Happy Valentine's Day Harry."
Harry narrowed his eyes, fighting to keep from letting them slide along her sculpted form – currently outfitted in a slim cut deep blue dress that skimmed along her curves – and scowled. "This is not an accident Ginny."
She tossed her no longer sparking Wheeze's fireworks off into a bucket she'd apparently placed ahead of time and her hands rose to her hips, a challenging smirk dancing across her lips, "Well obviously. I've been planning this night for some time now. Even got rid of Ron and Hermione for the evening."
He blinked, train of thought nearly derailed at the idea of the night alone with Ginny – his almost fiancé (give him time, it's a big deal). But he gritted his teeth and folded his arms, largely to keep from pulling her close and forgetting everything including the veritable feast he smells wafting from the dining room. "Every year."
Smirking, Ginny flipped her hair back over one shoulder, "Yes. Holidays have a funny way of occurring annually."
"You know what I mean," Harry grunted, taking in the expanse of skin her absolutely intentionally revealed if the wink that accompanied the hair flip was any indication.
Ginny released a long suffering huff and folded her arms across her chest, digging in her metaphorical heels as she squared off for the impending banter filled exchange. "Are we really going to waste the night arguing over whether your paranoia is legitimate? Or are we going to eat a lovely dinner with dessert and then dessert?"
Eyeing her once more, Harry relented, figuring he'd already been had this year – next year was another story – and he might as well not ruin the evening being a prat. "I'll give. But I'm watching you Weasley."
Distance between them closed, Ginny ran her hands up his chest, nuzzling his pulse point. "Just the way I like it, Potter."
And while he certainly did let thoughts of pranks and scares and pride pass for the evening – he has priorities – once the combined haze that arises from borderline gluttony and an evening of uninterrupted quality time with his remarkable girlfriend, Harry refocused on the issue at hand.
Knowing full well she's a more then formidable opponent, Harry was fairly certain he'd need at least six months to have even a chance at matching Ginny at her own game, let alone beating her.
However, other things took precedence in the interim between Februarys – namely a proposal and all the trappings that come with the resulting engagement – and Harry finds himself scrambling for a plan in the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
After a few hours locked away with only the Weasley's family ghoul for company his two accomplishments are completely obliterating his supply of parchment and resignation to the idea that beating Ginny on such short notice may be impossible. Especially since he's fairly certain she's expecting retaliation and has already predicted the plan he hasn't even formed yet, changing hers accordingly. Her deviousness – which normally sets his chest monster roaring – had now become his greatest opponent. Serpent-like tyrants included.
By the first of January, Harry's plan is vague and mainly centers around ensuring whatever his prank is, it will occur before hers. Which means he'll be out of the house before dawn on Valentine's Day and likely lying in wait at the stadium where she's set to arrive for early warm ups before official practice starts. When he asks Robards for the day off, his supervisor agrees with a knowing grin, "Big plans for the fiancé then?"
Harry's expression darkens as he growls, "Certainly do. The Harpy's got a storm coming."
Robards shakes his head and mumbles about the young crowd before shutting himself in his office, resolved to stay away from romantic dramas within the department.
It's the last week of January before a full-scale idea takes form and Harry sits at his desk – shift long since over – sketching diagrams he'll later turn into moving pictures as he fleshes out the bare bones concepts.
The private office floo flares and Harry's head shoots up, prepared to send the interloper off to someone on duty, only to find the object of his scheming striding toward him. In a panicked flurry, he shuffles the papers into his desk and locks the drawer with a personalized spell and stands, the wheels of his chair squeaking loudly in the nearly silent room.
"Burning the midnight oil, eh? Such a diligent worker my fiancé is," Ginny says with a smile, propping herself on the edge of his desk.
Despite his competitive, and possibly obsessive, prank planning, Harry's more than a little head over heels for Ginny and soon finds himself standing between her legs, chests pressed close together. "Just some paperwork. Nothing that can't wait if there's a better offer on the table."
Ginny squeezes his biceps, arching a brow as his hands settle on her hips possessively. "The promise of my company enticing enough?"
Green eyes sparking mischievously, Harry strokes his chin as if considering the proposal – which earns him a well-placed slug to the previously gently massaged muscles of his right arm and a scowl. He pouts, rubbing his injured limb but soon enough Ginny's grinning mouth slants over his and all feigned injury is forgotten.
They end up sharing a late supper with Molly and Arthur, both basking in the glory that is a home cooked dinner courtesy of a certain Weasley matriarch, and Harry forgets his plotting until the next time he opens his desk drawer a few days later.
He continues working on it, eeking out the kinks and contacting the necessary individuals, and finds himself feeling fairly prepared the night of the 13th. As he bids Ginny goodnight, faces flushed and hair mussed, he internally muses that in less than twenty-four hours his face will be flushed once again – only with victory rather than…well.
Before he can walk to his own room, Ginny calls his name softly, "See you after work tomorrow?" and she seems so genuine he nearly feels sorry for lying about having a shift the next day. Until he remembers four years of shameful and successful pranks and his resolve strengthens. He nods in agreement, presses a chaste kiss to her lips, and lopes off to his bed, an anticipatory spring in his step as he goes.
Harry wakes the next morning – if you can call it that – while the moon still gives everything a bluish glow and silently pads about the town house readying for his day of victory. He'd mostly lain awake the night before, too lit up with excitement too sleep, but he'd gotten a few solid hours of sleep. Nevertheless he prepares and guzzles his tea almost silently downstairs before apparating without a sound, his auror training finally showing some practical use.
The sun is just straining at the horizon when he appears in front of Harpies' stadium in Wales and Harry strides past security with a short nod to Gladys in security who lets through the checkpoint with a smile (accomplice #1) and Fitzwilliam in personnel (accomplice #2) who hands him a visitor pass made out for 'Ingolf Erkison,' a visiting emissary from the Nordic Quidditch Federation who Ginny would have no reason to believe was her scheming fiancé.
That last bit had been his biggest concern – being found out at the last minute because the youngest Weasley could be so heinously adept at sussing out his plans just when he was on the brink of success and could practically taste the victory on his tongue.
Once he enters the still empty and dark locker room, Harry flicks his wand to illuminate the room and pulls his shrunken satchel from his pocket, resizing it and each article it contains as he tugs them from its depths.
Just as he's pulling out the last item – a magically enhanced rubber chicken – the lights flicker before completely shutting, the dull yellow light of the emergency lanterns barely cutting through the inky blackness.
It's still to early for Ginny – let alone anyone else from the team – to arrive at the stadium and his mood has shifted from eager and mischievous schoolboy to jaded auror too old for his age. He tamps down on his autopilot reaction (pessimism) and reaches for his wand, murmuring the same spell he'd used earlier, only to find it no longer effective. If anything it's gotten darker.
Sighing internally, he wordlessly lights his wand with a simple lumos and slowly scans his surroundings. He notes the glow from his wand tip is less effective than usual, reaching a much smaller distance which makes his inspection that much more difficult.
After a few moments' consideration, he resolves to place a protective charm on the locker room and check in with Gladys and whoever heads maintenance to see what the issue might be. He's still not too concerned since he'd built a twenty five to thirty minute grace period into his plan, expecting the possibility of unforeseen circumstances that would delay.
He exits the dressing area and enters the main hall he'd used before and is distressed to note the unnatural darkness wasn't contained to the locker room. Instead of the stadium growing lighter with the rising sun, it seems as if the sun – or any light at all – has been sucked from the premises.
Never one to fear the dark, Harry plows forward, mentally recalling the path to the security booth as his heart beat thumps in his chest – body ready for a fight whether he's consciously told it to do so or not.
So focused is he on the possibility of rising dark magic activity in Wales that he doesn't see his grinning girlfriend rounding the corner, nor the sudden lightening of his surroundings. That is until she shouts an echoing "Happy Valentine's Day," and he stumbles backwards into the wall, feet sliding on the newly mopped floors, and falls in an undignified heap, his head receiving a few smacks along the way courtesy of said wall and floor.
Blinking back to consciousness – when did he become unconscious – Harry finds his head cradled in Ginny's lap, a worried frown wrinkling her face as she strokes his hair. "Harry?"
Harry groans but doesn't try to move, soreness and the rather glorious location (even considering the whole splayed across the public hallway situation) hardly acting as an impetus. She's speaking again, and he realizes he faded out for a moment, probably still technically awake, but his mind wandered to the idea of a less public hallway, a more lucid self, and infinitely fewer clothes. But Ginny's concern draws him back to reality and he attempts a comforting grin. "I'm quite alright."
Ginny sighs, "Tell that to the goose egg forming on your forehead."
Reaching to test the truthfulness of her statement, Harry winces as he presses against the rather sizable bump. "Just need some ice."
She rolls her eyes affectionately; speaking quickly and efficiently to someone he knows works as a healer for the team from previous encounters where Ginny had been the one injured, before turning back to him. "What had you so edgy? You screamed."
Furrowing his brow – and immediately regretting it as an ache radiates through his head – Harry nearly whines, "I did not scream. It was a yelp at most."
It's only when he's tucked into one of the sparse cots, ice pack pressed to his forehead that Harry remembers how he'd ended up here, again. Except worse because normally he'd suffer a small humiliation and be rewarded with delicious foods and even more delicious affections.
Now he'd managed to fail in his scheming, embarrass himself, and end up with a list of symptoms to watch for in the coming twenty-four hours.
He'd sent a reluctant Ginny off to her team meeting, not eager to endanger her reputation with the team for a small head injury, and promised to wait for her return. And even with nearly an hour of contemplation, Harry still hadn't managed to figure how she'd managed to discover and thwart his plans.
Just as he's about to start again, from the beginning, said red head blows into the medical wing and drops into the chair at his bedside, genuine concern evident in her body language, and some remorse if he's not mistaken. "Feeling better?"
Harry hums, placing their joined hands on his chest as it rises and falls slowly. Ginny takes in his form meticulously before her dark eyes land on his face once again. "What is it? I can practically hear you thinking."
"How did you know?" he blurts before he can stop himself, and ends up with Ginny looking at him with utter confusion painted across her features.
"Maybe I should get someone else in here to check you again?"
She moves to get up but he tugs her back into her seat. "I mean how did you bloody figure out my scheme? It was a good one! And it's practically my job to craft schemes to trick criminals."
Ginny lets out a relieved sort of breath, almost laughing now as she sees he's at least lucid enough to remember his job. "So I'm a criminal now? Should I hire a barrister?"
Huffing, Harry squeezes her hand to draw her attention back to him. "It's Valentine's Day."
"Which is prank day," Harry explains slowly.
"Of course," Ginny replies unconvincingly, gaze darting to the door.
"And I was going to get you. Finally."
Scooting closer, Ginny brushes his hair back from his forehead gently. "I've no idea what you're talking about, love. Just rest and tell me later."
He's cut off by a less than chaste kiss she presses to his lips, pulling away all too soon – leaving him dizzy for a much better reason than previously. Before he can protest she leans forward and whispers into his ear, "If I did know what you were talking about, I'd tell you a smart man knows when to accept defeat."