Title: Ginny's Plan
Summary: At Dumbledore's funeral, Harry plans to leave his girlfriend behind while he goes to war. Ginny presents another plan. This is a book7 replacement with Harry being motivated to be smarter and wiser.
Disclaimer: The HP universe is owned by someone commonly referred to as JKR, and possibly some corporations too. I'm not her or them, I'm not even the right gender to be JKR. No money is being made off of this, though if she'd like to lose some her Euros in my direction, I'd happily accept.
(A/N: While the H/G pairing is my favorite, I don't write much of it anymore because I feel I've sort of done all I can with it - generally speaking. I do have a few ideas which I might do if time permits, this is one of them. Note that I don't write weak/stalker Ginny, but if you just can't read anything with her in it, please do us both a favor and find another story.
The first draft for this story is finished and it weighs in at 13 chapters and about 87K-words (or about the size of book2 in JKR's series). I'll try to post weekly and probably towards the end of the week, but real life will occasionally slow me down.
While you should consider this story Canon/Book compliant through the point where the story starts, I'm fairly certain I have the date for Dumbledore's funeral at least a week too late in time, but this works for my story. As for being compliant with book7, why? I'm replacing it. :) Of course, I might borrow a few things from it. Enjoy - Kevin)
[Thu - Jul 3]
(This top section in bold is quoted from "HP:THBP".)
Harry looked at Ginny, Ron and Hermione: Ron's face was screwed up as though the sunlight was blinding him. Hermione's face was glazed with tears, but Ginny was no longer crying. She met Harry's gaze with the same hard, blazing look that he had seen when she had hugged him after winning the Quidditch Cup in his absence, and he knew that at that moment they understood each other perfectly, and that when he told her what he was going to do now, she would not say 'Be careful', or 'Don't do it', but accept his decision, because she would not have expected anything less of him. And so he steeled himself to say what he had known he must say ever since Dumbledore had died.
'Ginny, listen...' he said very quietly, as the buzz of conversation grew louder around them and people began to get to their feet. 'I can't be involved with you anymore. We've got to stop seeing each other. We can't be together.'
She said, with an oddly twisted smile, 'It's for some stupid, noble reason, isn't it?'
'It's been like... like something out of someone else's life, these last few weeks with you,' said Harry. 'But I can't... we can't... I've got things to do alone now.'
She did not cry, she simply looked at him.
'Voldemort uses people his enemies are close to. He's already used you as bait once, and that was just because you're my best friend's sister. Think how much danger you'll be in if we keep this up. He'll know, he'll find out. He'll try and get to me through you.'
'What if I don't care?' said Ginny fiercely.
'I care,' said Harry. 'How do you think I'd feel if this was your funeral... and it was my fault...'
She looked away from him, over the lake. […] 'I just wish I'd asked you sooner. We could've had ages... months... years maybe...'
"That's how you really feel?" Ginny asked as she let go of his hand and put both arms around his neck, pressed against him lightly. By the look on his face, that surprised him and stopped him from continuing, giving her some hope.
He nodded in answer, looking hurt from having to do that but keeping his resolve.
"You know," she started breezily, "that's one of the reasons I like you so much. You're noble, stupid about it sometimes like now, but noble. I really respect you for making a hard decision and sticking with it."
As he opened his mouth to reply, she moved one hand and placed a finger over his mouth. "You told me how you feel, let me explain my thoughts." He nodded and she removed her finger.
"Harry, I like you so much, it might even be the start of love; but if you walk away from me now, that's it - we're over forever; the war won't be a break and we get back together after. I'll go find someone else who's noble and smarter about it. But I can tell you how to fix this. It's obvious you aren't coming back to school next year. I don't want to go back next year so I can come with you and then I'm not at risk."
Her finger moved back to his mouth again. "I'm not finished, Potter. I'm not going back because it won't be safe for me. My family is known to be staunch supports of Dumbledore; that makes me a target even if you get on top of the castle and shout that you've dumped me. I'm always going to be a target so if I'm not with you to protect me, you'll probably be going to my funeral anyway." That was bit of stretch, but she thought not much and she could tell by his horrified expression that it'd hit home.
"Therefore, you might as well let me come with you and I can guard your back as you guard mine. I'll learn the sixth year and some seventh year material on my own, and I'll be there to help you when you have questions about the Wizarding World. There's no doubt Hermione is brilliant, but she can't answer those sorts of questions like I can since I was raised here."
"Ron will be coming," he blurted out.
She chuckled mirthlessly. "Ron can't tell you much because he never learned, while I did. Think about it, Harry, if it's not Quidditch, chess, or food, how much does Ron really know?"
"That's not very fair," Harry retorted.
"Eh, so I exaggerated a little, but not all that much. Have you ever heard Ron explain anything about why the Wizarding World works as it does?" she asked pointedly.
He stared at her for a long moment before he finally gave her a quiet, "I can't think of any times." At her raised eyebrow which basically said, 'I told you so,' he asked, "But what about magic? You won't be seventeen yet," he said a little smugly, regaining his confidence."
"You've forgotten," she returned just as smugly, "that I use my grandmother's wand, which doesn't have the Trace on it. I do magic all the time away from school and have never gotten into trouble." Ginny knew that it couldn't have been traced to her because of where she did it - like at home or in Diagon Alley - at least most of the time; but there were times she should have been found and fined and had never been.
"You can't Apparate," he argued.
"I have all summer for you to teach me," she replied.
"Look, Harry, I can make this work. I can help you with information, guard your back, be an extra wand, and help you plan. Ah," she smiled at his sudden surprised look, "you haven't really planned yet, have you? Do know where you plan to stay? How much food to bring, especially if Ron comes? What about money? And do you have a 'plan B' for all of those?"
He just blinked at her, which made her sigh. "Damnit, Harry, you're setting yourself up for failure here and you need me. Still, I'm not going to force myself on you. You have to decide: are you dumping me so we never date again or will I be helping you as a full member of the team? You have until tonight to decide; I'll be around and you have the Map to help find me."
Her speech given, she pulled him close and kissed him hard. "You'll never get that again too if you dump me." She turned and walked back toward the castle, doing her best not to cry at the thought he might dump her. If he did, she meant what she said; she'd still not return to school and she'd find someone else - she had her needs and her pride.
Harry watched her walk away and felt really confused as he realized he didn't understand her as perfectly as he'd thought since that conversation had gone nothing like he'd imagined it would. He also saw Scrimgeour walking his way; he felt safer guessing how this conversation would go.
— — —
Hermione walked over to Ginny, who was sitting in a chair in the corner and holding a Teen Witch Weekly and pretending to read it for lack of anything else to do. The sixth year took the seat next to her. "Well?"
"It went as expected," Ginny said grumpily. "He wanted to dump me to protect me, then of course get back together again later - or so I'll assume; he really didn't address later." She shook her head. "He needs someone of to help him with planning too - badly. He hasn't asked you, has he?"
"No," Hermione confirmed. "I've tried to bring it up, but he's so focused on the end goal he's not seeing the journey, or so I think. Of course, Dumbledore's death is distracting for all of us."
"He hasn't planned, or at least he hadn't when we talked earlier. I might have opened his eyes up to that at least. Dumbledore picked a bad time to go," Ginny groused.
"The timing is most unfortunate," Hermione said a little dejectedly.
"He's just walked in," Ginny said, purposefully not moving more than her eyes.
"I should go-"
"Stay until he comes over, if he does." Ginny watched him look around and saw his expression change to contemplative when he saw her. They stared at each other for a moment before Harry turned and walked another direction.
"I guess it's official, I'm dumped," Ginny said morosely and looked down at the floor.
Hermione reached out a hand and put it on her arm. "I'm sorry, I really am."
They sat there for a long moment until someone cleared his throat. "Excuse me, Hermione, I need to talk to Ginny - alone." Both girls were startled and their heads jerked upward as one.
"Sure, Harry," Hermione told him before looking at her other friend. "I'll be in my room if you need me."
As the brunette walked away, Harry took her seat and sat there stiffly looking across the room instead of at her; Ginny stared at her hands which were slowly destroying the magazine as she gripped and twisted it. "I didn't appreciate it when you essentially called me stupid, but thinking through the whole conversation I can see that you might have had a small point with a task or two."
Ginny looked at him. "I'm sorry, Harry, I didn't really mean it literally. I was trying to say you weren't thinking everything through as much as you should have. I don't know what you need to do, but I wonder if it'd be correct to say that you're so focused on your end goal you haven't thought about everything you need to do to get there." She hoped Hermione was correct.
Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly before he looked at her. "There's probably some truth to that, maybe a lot. This really isn't the time to tell you about what I have to do."
"There's time this summer if you want it." She emboldened herself and said, "What's going to happen between you and me?"
He looked down at his hands, still sitting ram-rod straight. "I desperately don't want to put you in peril, but I don't want to lose you either."
"Maybe just a little bit of peril?" she suggested with a hint of humor.
Harry snorted and grinned as he looked back at her. "I've always like your jokes and humor." His smile dropped, "We'll probably have to fight some Death Eaters, be chasing Voldemort, and to be successful we'll have to catch him. Still want to go?"
"We won't have to fight with Dumbledore's rules, will we?" she asked pointedly.
"I don't think I can cast the Killing Curse, but I won't be using Stunners," he told her.
She gave him a smirk. "I'd love to come watch your back … and your backside - Potter."
He looked away with embarrassment, but he also smiled. "Your backside is very pleasant to look at too, Weasley."
"Thank you, Harry." She dropped the magazine on the floor and got up and moved to sit in his lap. "I'm glad you saw it my way."
He chuckled and put his arms around her waist and pulled her close, so she leaned her shoulder on his and her head on his head.
"When do you want to plan?" she asked. "Because there are some things you very much need to do now rather than wait until it's all-out war."
"Thought I'd start when I went back to the Dursleys," he sounded a little depressed. "I could owl you some lists."
Ginny snorted. "Harry, no need to go there for the four weeks you have. They'll be looking for you there."
"Your house won't be any better," he replied, daring her to contradict him "At least at the Dursleys I'll have the blood wards until my birthday, or so Dumbledore said."
"My house would probably be only slightly better. Listen, I know you won't find it pleasant, but go to your godfather's house. Bill told me the Fidelius can be broken but it's hard to do. You control the wards so lock the place down except for the few of us you want there; the Blacks are famous for their wards. It's also got a respectable library that has books on things we might have to fight. Again, not a pleasant place, but it's something helpful you shouldn't lightly ignore."
"I had considered it after I left the Dursleys, but you have a point that it might be best to go straight there. And yeah, I probably should go withdraw some money in both currencies while it's easy." He sighed. "We go home tomorrow, why don't you come over the day after and we can start planning. I'll get Kreacher to help me change the wards and I'll put at least the four of us on the list."
Ginny kissed him for a couple of minutes. "Good plan," she finally told him before she took a deep breath and let it out.
"What?" he asked.
Ginny wasn't sure she wanted to ask this, but felt like she had to. "Harry, how do you see Hermione? Would you ever want to, you know, date her?" She felt a little better as he squeezed her to him for a moment.
"I hope you can understand that she'll always be my friend, but that's really all. She's a good friend but I can't see more happening. I know she has my best interests in mind, but sometimes she goes about it the wrong way and that pisses me off, at least a little. But she's my friend so I let it go."
She kissed him again, "Thank you for your honest answer. I'll see you down here in time for breakfast, all right?"
"Sure." He kissed her this time before letting her go. He watched her walk up the stairs and out of sight. He headed up to his dorm room to find the homework planner Hermione had given him for Christmas one year but that he'd never really used much. Ginny had a good point that he needed to plan and sooner was better than later.
— — —
"How did it go?" Hermione asked when Ginny walked into her room. As Ginny looked around, Hermione said, "They're not here."
Ginny flopped on her friend's bed and stared at the ceiling. "Surprisingly well. I'll be joining you on this adventure. He said we can start planning the day after we get home; I'll get him to tell me everything then."
"I'm very impressed you got him to listen," Hermione said with admiration.
"The Weasley charm," she said before she started to giggle and Hermione joined her. "I think some of the reason is that I kiss him while you don't." She looked at her friend and saw a raised eyebrow.
"Since I have never kissed him and don't plan to start, I suppose there is some support for that."
"He told me he doesn't plan to date you," Ginny watched more closely now and saw her friend only shrug.
"I'm sure we could get along if we tried, certainly better than Ron and myself, but I don't expect to ever date Harry," the brunette said matter-of-factly.
Ginny couldn't stop her snort at the thought of her brother dating her friend before she sat up. "Do you think I'll be able to talk him into not bringing Ron along?"
"I doubt it. With you along, I don't think Ron is really needed." Hermione added hastily, "He's my friend but if I'm honest about it, he hasn't helped us solve much over the years. His best use is male support for Harry."
"I suppose we'll find out," Ginny said as she stood. "Thanks for all the advice you've given me this year."
"Of course, what are friends for? I really do hope it works out well for you two, and for us on this mission," Hermione added the last part wistfully.
[Fri - Jul 4]
"Hello, Mrs Weasley," Harry told the woman as he walked over with Ginny's hand in his. He continue to casually scan the train platform for problems as the other students disembarked the train and did the same.
"Hello, Harry," the woman returned his greeting and gave him a hug before she gave her daughter one too. "I saw your relatives outside."
"Err, thanks," he said, looking at Ginny who smirked ever so slightly, knowing his plans.
After Ron was hugged by his mother, he looked at Harry. "So, I guess I can come over in a few days. I know Mum will want me home for at least that long."
Harry glanced at his mother and noticed she was paying attention and giving her son a scowl, obviously not liking what she was hearing. "Don't worry about it, Ron. Having you come over to keep me company isn't really needed now. I don't plan on staying with the Dursleys, so you don't need to be there."
"But Dumbledore said it was important for you to stay there for your safety," Molly protested.
"Plans have changed with his death," Harry said simply before lowering his voice. "I'll be staying at my Godfather's house and the first thing I'll do is change the wards to make sure Snape can't get in. I'll be safe enough. Then no one has to worry about how I'd leave my relatives on my birthday. Don't forget, Voldemort told me he knows where they live."
Molly looked shocked; apparently, Dumbledore hadn't told them that, Harry mused. "I'll get ahold of you soon, mate." Harry slapped Ron on the shoulder in a friendly manner before turning to Ginny and pulling her into a hug. He whispered, "I'd do more if your mum wasn't here." He kissed her on the cheek before standing straight.
Rolling her eyes, Ginny grabbed his head and kissed him on the lips, though it wasn't for very long.
"Ginny!" the woman hissed, but her daughter let go and smiled. "See you soon."
Harry chuckled and turned, giving the crowd another quick look over before walking towards the Apparation point. Just after a family left, he stepped into the area with his lightened trunk and left with a quiet crack.
"He knows he's not supposed to do that yet," Molly muttered, a little upset.
"But it's safer for him," Ginny said. "Let's go home."
"We're only waiting for your father," she told her daughter, "so he can take Ron home at the same time. He was supposed to have been here but was delayed at work."
Ginny sighed, but she looked around too in order to be vigilant, not that she expected trouble here now. September was another matter and one she didn't want to deal with.
— — —
Harry arrived on the back porch, a place that was mostly sheltered by shrubs. He didn't know why the adults normally went to the front door, but maybe because it wasn't their house so they had to use the formal front door. He touched his wand to the door and it unlocked.
Entering what he suspected was the servant's entrance, he found himself in the kitchen as expected. He set his trunk down and called out, "Kreacher!"
The elf popped in. "What does filthy Half-blood master want now?"
Harry gave the elf his best disappointed look. "What I want is for you to act like a proper house-elf. You will treat me with respect and with no more insults, understand?"
Kreacher looked like he wanted to throw another tantrum, but instead simply nodded with a surly expression.
"In return, I will treat you with respect," Harry told him. "First thing we do here is to secure ourselves. Have others been here since I was here last?"
"Old one with the funny eye set up something good for greasy one," Kreacher said with delight before he spat, "and I caught nasty thief here stealing Black treasures … maybe others while I haven't been here." He shot a dark look at Harry, since the elf considered it Harry's fault he hadn't been here.
Harry considered the statement and there was some truth to it since he'd sent the elf to Hogwarts for much of the year. "Let's change that. Take me to where I can change the wards to limit who comes into the house."
Kreacher looked at him for a moment before turning and taking Harry to a narrow panel in the wall, still in the kitchen. With a snap of his fingers, the panel opened and there was a doorway to another room.
"I never knew that was there," Harry said as he walked over and looked into the dark space, before lighting his wand and following Kreacher.
"Black family secret," was said painfully as he led Harry in. "The main ward stone," the elf said and pointed unnecessarily at the large rock that had runes carved all over it and glowed dimly.
"How do I change who can come in?" Harry looked at the elf and felt that if the elf ever rolled his eyes he would have now. Still, it in the end, Kreacher helped him remove access for everyone except himself, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, Remus, and Tonks. At the last moment, he decided to add Neville and Luna, though he wasn't sure how he was going to get the secret for the Fidelius to share with them. He felt that was enough for now.
Going back into the kitchen and Kreacher sealing the secret room again, Harry considered his need. "Kreacher, is there enough food in this house for us for the next week?"
"Well, I don't have a list, but go get enough of the basics. You know, eggs, bacon and other meats, fruits and vegetables, whatever to have about twenty meals. Is there a house fund for you to buy groceries with?"
"Very good. Go do that and come back and put it away. After that, I want you to go find … nasty thief. Tell Fletcher to give you back everything he took. If he resists, you're allowed to do whatever you need to short of killing him in order to defend yourself and to get the stuff back. If he sold it, find out who he sold it to and you can go steal it and bring it home since it is ours." He looked at the elf and saw it was starting to do something that almost looked like a grin, as horrible as it was. "Do you understand?"
"Yes, Master!" the elf said with enthusiasm before popping away.
Harry shook his head at the unusual elf before levitating his trunk and heading upstairs. He stopped at the bedroom he and Ron normally stayed in and looked in for a moment. Seeing the empty picture of the former headmaster on the wall, he turned and kept going.
Looking in the bedroom that Sirius had stayed in, he hesitated for a moment before walking in. It was the largest one he'd seen in the house and it had its own bathroom, while all the others had to share the bathroom in the hall. That made him grin for a moment.
Putting his trunk down, he looked around a bit more and started to clean. It didn't take long before he started to find things that reminded him of Sirius. He dropped into a chair and thought about his godfather for a moment, fighting the tears. He missed him terribly, yet he would have to go on.
He'd be mostly alone for the next month, but not completely. It could be worse, he supposed, like living with the Dursleys. He might not have listened to Ginny and then he'd not even be this far along.
[Sun - Jul 6]
Harry was making a late lunch for himself a couple of days later when the fireplace flared and Ginny stepped out.
She gave him a large grin as she brushed herself off and came over. "Hi!" she told him brightly and gave him a kiss, which he eagerly returned.
A moment later, the fireplace flared again and now Ron stepped out. "Hey, mate." He scowled slightly as he saw the couple with an arm around the other's waist, but he didn't mention it. "Glad to find you here. Mum's looking for you to make sure you're safe."
"She tried to come over and couldn't," Ginny giggled, "so we came over to see if we could find you."
"Yeah, why couldn't she come over?" Ron asked, not seeming to care about the answer.
"For my safety, I removed access for all but my friends and a few others," Harry said. "I know I can trust your parents not to hurt me, but I honestly didn't want her to come over here and try to mother me."
"She would," Ginny confirmed, "although I'm not sure we should tell her what you said."
"Yeah, probably a good idea," Harry agreed as he took his pasta off the stove and started putting it on his plate, "but I'm not sure how else to say it."
"You can cook?" Ron asked surprised.
"I can; can't you?" Harry returned as he sat down.
"Naw, no need."
Harry looked at Ginny, who just shook her head in disappointment at her brother's attitude.
"What do we tell her?" Ginny asked as she grabbed a glass a water and joined him. Ron remained standing.
"I guess sorry, but I've closed access to all but a few people for safety." Harry grinned at her. "I've put the twins on the list if they want to come see me, or if they need to for some reason. I've also added Remus and Tonks; they're the only adults."
"What about Hermione?" Ron asked quickly.
"Her too, obviously," Harry answered and looked at Ginny, who just rolled her eyes.
"Go tell her," Ginny told her brother. "I'll be only a minute behind you."
"No way I'm telling her that," he replied. "I'll wait for you."
"Suit yourself," she told her brother as she handed a napkin to her boyfriend, who took it as he understood the hint. A moment later, the couple was kissing.
"Gah! Will you two quit that?!" Ron shouted.
Ginny pulled back languidly. "If you don't want to watch us kiss, then go back." She moved forward again and Harry participated gladly.
A few seconds later, Ron was gone in a flash from the Floo powder.
"Thought he'd never leave," Harry said as they parted again.
Ginny giggled as she stood. "How's your planning going?"
"Slowly," he answered. "After lunch, I'm making a list of the major things we have to help us. I was going to walk around the house to look too, but I think I'll wait until someone else is available. Sirius always said to be careful and I'm not sure all the dangerous things have been removed."
"Good idea," she agreed. "I'll come over when I can, though I don't know how often that will be before we move in. Oh, I can't really move in until after Bill's wedding." She made a face.
"What?" he asked.
"It's just Fleur," she said a little sullenly. "I guess she's okay, but she's just so perfect looking and trying overly hard to be helpful that it's annoying."
"Be nice," Harry commanded easily. "She going to be family."
"I have enough family as it is," Ginny retorted. "Guess I better go. See ya later."
Harry watched her leave with a sigh. He could hardly wait until she was here all the time as she could help him explore the house. Or, he considered, he could write Hermione and see if she had a little extra time.
That evening, Hedwig flew off with a short note.
(A/N: That's the start for you. I have an interesting idea for this story that I've not seen elsewhere, which I hope others find interesting also. - Kevin)