Chapter Thirty-One

And Life Goes On

Ginny groaned as she submerged herself in the hot, bubbling water, shutting her eyes to let the soothing feeling wash over her. She'd never even heard of a hot tub before this holiday, but she was determined to never be without one again. The Holyhead Harpies' changing room needed this sort of luxury. Harry had surprised her with a secluded chalet in the Swiss Alps for their honeymoon. They'd learned to ski amongst the Muggles by day, but had the chalet to themselves to practice magic as they pleased when needed.

Ginny had been cautious of strapping the bits of wood onto her feet at first, but as both she and Harry were sporty and loved flying, she'd quickly learned that skiing was the closest thing the Muggles had to it. They both thrilled at the speed of it, and were soon racing down the intermediate trails. Harry was determined to try a black diamond before they returned, and though slightly more cautious than him, she knew she'd end up following him – and beating him to the bottom if she could manage it.

They dined in posh restaurants each evening, and relaxed by the roaring fire in the chalet at night. The hot tub had been an unexpected bonus, but had soon turned into one of their most favorite things.

A splashing sound and the rippling of the water let her know Harry had joined her in the tub, and he groaned in much the same way she had once he settled on the bench inside the tub. She cracked her eyes open to see that he'd also shut his eyes and had his head resting back against the rim of the hot tub. He had some vivid bruising along his left shoulder – he'd crashed rather spectacularly into a tree the day before. Ginny knew her own body was bruised in several places from falls of her own. It hadn't occurred to her they'd need bruise balm on their honeymoon.

But they both found they loved skiing, despite the minor abrasions.

"How about we forget about returning to London in two days and just stay right here instead?" he asked without opening his eyes. He worked out the kinks in his neck while keeping them closed.

"We'd prune," she replied sadly, "and I don't want to spend my life all wrinkly before my time."

"Fair enough," he sighed. "I suppose London it is, then."

"I expect the weather in London is probably enough to make us prune, as well, though, so it might be better to just stay here," Ginny said thoughtfully, sliding along the bench to sit closer to him, resting her head in the crook of his outstretched arm. She was careful to avoid his bruising.

"Okay," Harry said, sounding as if he was falling asleep.

"In a way, I don't want to leave, but I also want to see everyone, and get some post addressed to Ginny Potter," she said. "Ooh, and my game kit with POTTER on the back should've arrived by now. I can't wait to see that."

"So, you are ready to go home, then?" Harry asked.

"Well, I still have some time off before training begins anew, so it's not like it'll be completely back to reality yet. And you have a few more days off, as well, mind," Ginny said.

"True," he replied. He'd taken a few more days' leave so they could have some time to look over their wedding gifts and get all their affairs in order now that they were a bonded pair. Osbert Fawley had been tried, and he'd given them a few other names, but Harry was certain Dark magic would rear its ugly head again. It always did, and he'd be there to fight it. For now, he was enjoying his time with his new wife. "We'll need to visit Gringotts, and I want to see if the Sirius Black Home for Little Wanderers received any donations."

He'd used some of the Black fortune to arrange a place for orphans and troubled youth to go and feel safe. Rather than more wedding gifts, they'd requested the attendees of the Ministry gala make a donation to the orphanage.

"I'm certain they did. There were a lot of people there, so the Home should've done well," Ginny said. "I wonder if Ron's still alive."

"What d'you mean?" Harry asked, this time actually opening his eyes to look at her, startled.

"Well, without either of us there, and George back with Angelina, who d'you suppose has been feeding him and Hermione this whole time?" she asked.

Harry let out a bark of laughter. "I'm sure they managed. Maybe they learned to make something for themselves."

"Honestly, we were stuck in quarantine for months, and neither of them bothered to learn. I doubt our being away for a week has changed anything too drastically," Ginny said, rolling her eyes.

"Your mum, then," Harry said, nodding decisively and shutting his eyes once again. "She'd never let them starve."

Ginny pondered this for a moment, knowing he was right, but irritated by it, nonetheless. "True. I hope she makes them visit a few times, at least."

"She had Charlie home to spoil for a while, too, don't forget," Harry said lazily, again sounding as if he was beginning to drift.

Ginny pursed her lips. "Yeah, but I expect he's gone back to Romania by now."

"He and Luna seemed to be getting on well at the gala. Maybe he extended his stay," he said absently.

Ginny shook her head. "Nah, both of them like their nomadic lifestyles too much. They did have sex at the gala, though."

Harry's eyes flew open, and he sat up so quickly, he slipped off the bench and went under the water. He reappeared a moment later, choking slightly and shaking the water from his hair like a shaggy dog. "What? How do you know?" he gasped.

"Luna told me they shagged in the cloak room," she said, giggling as she watched the water drip from his fringe and into his startled eyes.

"You're joking," he said warily.

She shook her head. "I am not. She even said that when someone came to get their cloak, she calmly handed it back to them and went about with her tryst."

Harry's jaw hung open. He blinked at her, uncertain if she was having him on or not. "Are you taking the micky?" he asked.

She grinned, delighted. "Nope. I don't expect they were the only ones to make use of that cloak room, mind. I saw Seamus and Siobhan emerge at one point looking distinctly rumpled, but I didn't want to ask."

Harry eyes widened even further. "Are they together?"

Ginny shrugged. "I'm not really certain. I'll have to Floo call her when we return. He's really not Siobhan's type, but they work together, and they did seem to be enjoying themselves."

"I'd say," Harry grumbled, his mouth forming a pout. "Why didn't we know to make use of that cloak room, then?"

Ginny couldn't hold back her laughter. "Oh, that's rich! As if you'd ever dare to be so blatant at the Ministry with reporters all about. You like your privacy too much," she said, chuckling.

"Is that a bad thing?" he asked, suddenly alert and looking wary.

She shook her head, patting his chest gently. "Not at all. I like your privacy, too. They're always speculating about us, just looking for a scandal. I like that we can keep that air of mystery. It makes me feel as if I have a bit of control over it all."

Harry relaxed back against the rim of the tub, pulling her tighter to his chest. "I'm all for letting you have control, then, and frustrating the reporters."

"Ooh, I like frustrating them. Want to stage a public row about something absolutely ridiculous and watch them make fools of themselves?" she asked, sitting up again.

Harry shook his head, pulling her back against him. "No, I don't want to antagonize them, either. It'll just make it worse."

"Fair point," she conceded. "All right, we'll just play up that mysterious elusiveness. It drives them spare. D'you think you've been replaced as Ron's best mate?"

Harry shook his head, trying to keep up with her rambling thoughts. "What d'you mean?"

"Well, he seemed fairly enamored with Charles Brown, you know, the Cannons owner. At one point, I thought he was going to snog him," she said, shrugging.

Harry let out another bark of laughter. "D'you think Hermione should be worried, then?"

Ginny nodded. "I would if I were her. Although, I could never understand what she sees in him anyway. He's a pain in the arse."

"They're good for each other. Hermione has a tendency to be too serious. Ron lightens her up and reminds her to laugh," he said.

"I suppose it is easy to laugh at him," Ginny said, shrugging.

"Ginny," he said warningly.

"Sorry," she said automatically, not feeling contrite in the slightest. It made Harry feel better to defend his mate, though. "So, if we've decided we are going to go home, what do you think about getting one of these hot tubs for Grimmauld Place? There are loads of empty rooms we're still not using."

"I think most people have them outside," Harry said, laughing. "Still… I don't think we could get a Muggle one to work properly. Remember all the trouble we had with the television set? Magic and Muggle electronics just don't mix. I bet we could work out a few spells to make it work, though. I don't think it would be that complicated."

"I would definitely reward you if you could do that," Ginny said, luxuriating in the feel of the tub.

"Promise? Consider it done, then. I can buy the tub itself from a Muggle shop, then set some Charms to make it work," Harry said slowly, already working out the details in his head.

"I love you," Ginny said suddenly, feeling an overwhelming swell of affection for her husband. "I'm so glad we planned that whole wedding quickly. So much less stressful, and I like being married now."

"If there's one thing I learned from you're getting sick during the whole contagion mess, it was to never take time for granted again. We need to always live life to its fullest. It's a lesson I should've learned a long time ago after everything with the war, but I let life get in the way. The contagion was a brutal reminder, and I'm determined to never forget again," Harry said, swallowing heavily. His cheeks were tinged pink, and his eyes burned like emerald fire with that intensity he sometimes displayed.

"I promise to live that life right along-side you and not let procrastination win. We're going to have a great life, Mr. Potter. Together," she said, beaming.

"Together until the very end," he agreed, smiling broadly.

The End

Author's Note: Well, there it is, finished! Woo hoo! I first started writing this back in March when we all went into lockdown – and it's finished before its over. Two weeks! Yeah, right. I lost my mom to Covid back in April, which is when it all become much more real, and it had to separate what was happening in my story to reality. By the time it was wrapping up, I was so tired of our own confinement, I needed a happy ending for this one.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it.

As always, huge thanks to my beta team – Sherylyn, Arnel and Sue for their tireless work and patience and even just listening as I worked out idea. I don't think I can ever express my appreciation to them enough.

Until next time – and Go, Tampa Bay Buccaneers!