So, this is the beginning of a little series of one-shots that all more or less take place one after the other. They are going to be sexy and they aren't going to have much plot, so I'm putting them here, in Watching and Waiting. Harry and Ginny didn't get very far when they dated at Hogwarts, so this is a time of experimentation for them. They will get sexier from here. Enjoy!
It was three days after Voldemort had died and for now, everyone was back at the Burrow. Harry's giddy thrill of freedom had worn off quickly and now the weight of loss was almost unbearable. He tried to make himself simultaneously invisible and as helpful as possible because he just didn't know where to be or what to say. These people were the closest thing he'd ever had to a family and yet, he believed they deserved to mourn much more deeply than he did.
He had taken to flying very early in the morning, before anyone was awake and today when he came back to the kitchen, George was there. Harry stopped short. There were a million things he wanted to say and no words to say them, but George spoke first, short, and to the point.
"You didn't kill Fred. What you did, or didn't do, that had nothing to do with it." He was wringing something in his hands that Harry thought might have been a Skiving Snackbox.
"It was Voldemort," George continued. He was evil, his followers were evil, and our family has been blood traitors since before you were born".
Harry tried to find his voice. "But . . . " he began.
"No buts," said George firmly. "And no 'ifs' either. I cannot live the rest of my life thinking 'but this, or if that'" and if you do, I'll hex you. Understand?"
Harry nodded mutely, feeling supremely helpless.
"But there is one thing you can do for me."
Harry found his voice. "Anything."
A ghost of a smile. "You should know better than to promise us . . . me, anything, Potter." The smile disappeared. Harry waited.
Tomorrow is the ... the funeral," said George in a much quieter voice. "Fred's funeral," he added unnecessarily.
"It's going to be fucking horrible," he added, also unnecessarily.
Harry waited, still unsure where George was going.
"We all are going to need to lean on one another tomorrow, and for a long time afterwards," George was quiet, he was almost talking to himself. Harry didn't know what to say, if George meant for him to hear or if he just happened to be the one in the kitchen when George decided to talk.
"Mum, dad, my brothers, our friends, everyone who loves . . . who loved . . . Fred is going to need someone's hand to hold." He looked fiercely at Harry. "It's your job to hold Ginny's hand."
Harry looked at George. "What?"
"You heard me. You have to be there for Ginny. And I know she'll be there for you. Don't think we haven't all noticed how you two look at each other."
"Yes, but. . ." Harry began.
"Remember, I said no buts," repeated George. "I mean it. You promised me a favor."
"Of course," said Harry. Truth was, it felt more like George was doing a favor for him. He looked at him "do you have someone's hand to hold tomorrow?"
"George's mouth smiled although his eyes did not and he gave the tiniest nod. "I do," he said. "I have many people, of course, but one . . . in particular. I think Fred would approve." He smiled again, slightly bigger this time. "Now please, my sister?"
And so that is why, a haf-hour later, after he had showered and changed clothes, Harry found himself standing outside Ginny's closed bedroom door almost as nervous as the day he had to battle a dragon.
He took a deep breath, feeling a little stupid for his nerves. It's Ginny, he reminded himself for the third time. He was about to knock on her door when it opened and Ginny rushed out of her room, almost running right into Harry.
He grabbed her by the arms to stop them from crashing into each other and she looked at him in surprise.
"Harry, what are you . . . I thought I'd be the first one up. I wanted to get into the shower before anyone else. " She looked him up and down. "But you look like you may have beaten me to the hot water."
"It's a magical house," Harry pointed out. "I think there's always plenty of hot water."
"Yeah, but if you aren't first, you have to keep casting reheating spells in the middle. It's kind of . . . distracting." For some reason, Ginny blushed. "Umm, why are you waiting outside my door?"
"Oh, right. Yeah. I wanted to talk to you. In private. If that's okay."
Ginny looked at him uncertainly. "Okay," she said. She backed up into her room and Harry followed, shutting the door.
Ginny sat on her bed, up by her pillow and Harry perched at the other end. Then he looked at her and then at the space between them. "Umm, maybe I should . . ." he gestured awkwardly at the middle of the bed and scooted across at the same time until he was sitting about a foot from Ginny.
"Umm, hi," he said.
Ginny looked at him, bemused. "Hi," she said back.
"I umm, I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry about Fred. I don't remember if I told you that already, but I'm really, really sorry. Actually, more than sorry of course, that word doesn't really convey . . . devastated is more like it. I mean, I know it's not the same as for all of you, but I liked Fred. Like a brother. Loved him even, in a way, and I'm . . . " he trailed off, feeling like an idiot.
"I know, Harry," said Ginny gently. Her eyes were sad.
"George sent me to talk to you," he blurted out.
"You didn't want to on your own?" He heard the sadness in her voice now, mixing with confusion.
"I was going to," said Harry hurriedly. "I've been wanting to since, well, all year actually." He wasn't sure he was making sense; of course he couldn't have come to her room to talk to her before three days ago. "But I wasn't sure if it would be too soon to talk about it. Before the funeral, I mean. But then George told me it was okay. Ordered me up here, actually. To hold your hand."
"You came up here to hold my hand?" Ginny still sounded confused, but now there was an undercurrent of amusement in her tone as well.
"Well, technically, I think I'm supposed to hold your hand tomorrow. And you'll hold mine, right?" He couldn't keep the sudden feeling of vulnerability out of his voice, created, he suspected, by the fear that he was making a complete bollux of things.
"I don't think I could get through tomorrow without you."
Harry looked at Ginny then and saw a million things in her face. Sadness and pain, yes, but also determination and that blazing look he craved and that he had dreamed about nearly every night of the horrible past year.
"I don't think I can get through forever without you." The words slipped out before he really stopped to think what he was saying, but when he examined them, he knew they were true. As were the next ones. "I'm in love with you, Ginny."
Ginny's eyes were bright, with hope and unshed tears. "I know," she said simply. "Because I'm in love with you."
Harry's heart thumped at her answer and he couldn't keep the smile completely off his face. Ginny saw him struggling and gave him the first real grin he'd seen from her in over a year.
"It's okay to be happy, too, Harry," she said. "Of all people, I think Fred would get the biggest kick out knowing that we were using 'honoring his memory' as an excuse to have fun."
Harry scooted a little closer on the bed and took her hand. "Do you think we should wait until after tomorrow though?" He didn't want to do this wrong.
"Harry, I really don't think George would have sent you up here to hold my hand if he thought you really needed to wait until after tomorrow to, you know, hold my hand," Ginny's voice held more than a hint of suggestion in it and Harry felt a sudden jolt of heat between his legs.
"And I'm sure Fred would take the mickey out of me for thinking I needed to wait on his behalf," he said, swallowing hard. Harry's thigh was pressed right up against Ginny's, and now he twisted her sideways and pulled her legs across his lap.
"We wouldn't want that," said Ginny softly. Her face was very close to his.
Harry closed the space between them with a tentative kiss. He pulled back immediately to gauge Ginny's reaction. It was one thing to joke about what Fred might want from them and quite another to actually do it. Harry didn't want Ginny to regret anything tomorrow.
"It's really okay, Harry. I want this." A hint of a blush stained her cheeks. "I've wanted this for a long time."
Back in Harry's Sixth Year they hadn't had time for more than a few stolen kisses and cuddles underneath various trees at Hogwarts. While Harry's body had sometimes wanted other things, he had always kept those urges, and the physical reaction they caused, carefully hidden. At sixteen, with the weight of the world literally sitting on his shoulders, Harry had just been able to manage it. Now he suspected that it was going to be a lot more difficult to stick to just kissing, even though his head and his heart knew that was all either of them could handle right now. Damn that his body was not on the same emotional page.
He leaned forward again, this time cupping the back of Ginny's neck with his hand to pull her closer. She turned her head just enough so they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Then she opened her mouth against his lips and Harry couldn't hide his groan. He opened his mouth too and was transported back to those few lovely, sunlit days he had been sure for the past year had been lost forever.
When Harry finally pulled away again, to rest his forehead against Ginny's, they were both out of breath. Sometime during their kiss Ginny had moved further onto Harry's lap and now she sat sideways in the circle of his legs, her bum resting against the erection he absolutely could not hide.
"Sorry about my . . . sorry," he mumbled, gesturing weakly between them. "It um, kind of has a mind of its own."
"I have six . . . five . . . brothers, Harry," Ginny said. She shivered, and for a moment, Fred was back in the room. Ginny took a deep breath.
"I think it would make me a little worried if that didn't happen, when we kissed," she continued. "You just told me you love me. What would it mean if you didn't get . . . one of those while we were sitting on my bed, kissing?"
"That I'm a bigger mess than I thought," said Harry ruefully. "But don't worry. I suspect that I'm going to have the opposite problem, and I'm going to start getting . . . one of those at wholly inappropriate times from now on. Thank Merlin for robes."
"I'll do my best to drive you crazy then," said Ginny solemnly.
"You already do," replied Harry, pulling her in for another kiss.