Ginny heard the front door close, quickly followed by the sound of her name being called; she pulled a light sheet over Moiraine as the toddler slept. Moiraine's little arms tightening around a stuffed lion and her breath caught for a moment before releasing it in a contented sigh. Ginny quietly stepped out of the nursery, glancing over her should to make sure her daughter was still sleeping, and tiptoed hurriedly through the master bedroom. Two large, fluffy balls of fur, one black, one white, lay curled at the foot of the bed as their mistress walked past. Clark peeked through squinted green eyes, his tail giving the slightly flicker at the very tip before squeezing his eyes shut again. Lex stood, gave a tremendous stretch, and then padded into the nursery while Ginny partially closed the bedroom door.
"Harry, I'm back here," Ginny called out in a loud whisper, walking down the hall towards the great room.
"Hello, love," said Harry, wrapping an arm around Ginny's waist as he bent his head down to peck his wife.
"Hello to you," said Ginny, turning her head to place a warm kiss on the scratchy surface of Harry's cheek. Harry pulled his head back to smile down at her, stroking the small of her back.
"Where are the children?" he asked, looking around curiously.
"Angelina picked the boys up earlier for a visit and Morie is napping. We'll just pick them up before dinner," said Ginny, reaching up and trailing her fingertip down Harry's jaw line.
"Oh?" Harry asked, pulling her closer against him. His eyes glinted in a way Ginny was all too familiar with.
"Mm-hmm," Ginny answered. Harry began to walk backwards, pulling her with him towards the closest sofa.
"How long has she been napping?" murmured Harry, leaning down to nip just below Ginny's ear. He stopped when the back of his knees hit the arm of the couch. His hands skimmed down her hips and back up her back.
"She just fell asleep," Ginny whispered. Her eyes partially closed as a thrill coursed up her spine. "Won't be up for a couple of hours."
"Mmm, a couple of hours is a very long time," Harry muttered against her jaw, continuing the path of kisses he had created.
"Very long," Ginny breathed out. She twined her fingers into Harry's hair and pulled his head down to capture his lips.
Harry slipped his hands beneath her shirt, lightly running his fingers along her sides, leaving a trail of goose-pimpled flesh in his wake.
Harry lowered himself, taking Ginny with him and slid along the arm of the couch onto the cushioned seat and laid back at an odd angle. Ginny grinned as Harry suckled on her bottom lip, squirming so that she was half atop him with her foot on the floor in front of the couch.
"A bit awkward, don't you think?" Ginny asked, kissing down the front of Harry's neck.
Harry tilted his head back to give her further access. "Working just fine for me," he murmured.
"Good day at the office?" Ginny asked, unbuttoning the top of his shirt with one hand and kissing beneath his chin.
"No talk of work," Harry grumbled, sliding his hands over her shoulders.
Ginny's hand hesitated for a fraction of a second on his buttons; this wasn't the first time over the last few months she felt a disconcerting twinge in the back of her mind over such a simple statement.
Pushing the shirt open, Ginny moved down and kissed the center of his chest, inhaling deeply as she did so. She had always loved his scent, it brought her a feeling of being safe. She placed another kiss on his chest, her fingers running lightly over his flesh. Harry curled his fingers into her hair before running them down her sides, lying still beneath her. Ginny moved up again, her palms flat against Harry's chest, feeling his heartbeat beneath her fingertips as she reached his lips and fully took what was hers in a deep and lasting kiss. Harry let out a moan, tightening his arms around her waist to hold her closer. Ginny's heart skipped a beat as Harry's hand slid down to cup her rear, she grinned against his mouth. She felt her senses sinking as she became lost in Harry's kiss.
Suddenly, Ginny became very aware of her surroundings as she realized the wonderful sinking feeling wasn't entirely from the kiss, but more so from the pair of them slipping off of the couch.
"Har--!" Ginny yelped, but was too late. The couple tumbled off of the couch and onto the rug below.
"Ooff!" Harry grunted, landing partially on his wife.
"Oww!" said Ginny, her hand having smacked the coffee table.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked, taking her hand to exam it. Ginny chuckled when Harry kissed her fingers.
"A bit of a mood killer isn't it?" she asked. Harry turned her hand over and gently kissed her pinky. "They're fine, though I fear I'll never play the violin again."
"Dreadful shame, especially since you never started," said Harry, closing his hand around hers and bending down to kiss her cheek.
"Dreadful," said Ginny, closing her eyes and tilting her chin up.
"I love you," Harry whispered, brushing her fringe back and placing a kiss on her forehead.
"Mmm – I love you," said Ginny.
Harry shifted, bringing himself to rest between Ginny's jean-clad thighs. He still held her hand, bringing it above her head. He rested his upper body weight on his elbow, enabling his free hand to slip up her top.
"Here?" Ginny asked, glancing around before reaching up to kiss him.
"Here is fine with me." Harry smirked, kissing the tip of her nose and rotating his hips. Ginny sucked in a quick breath, feeling his hardness press against her.
"Here is good," she whispered.
Spent, the couple lay on the floor between the sofa and coffee table, a blanket from the back of the couch covering them. Harry lay on his side facing Ginny with his head propped up on his hand.
"The boys having dinner with Fred and George?" Harry asked, trailing a finger beneath the curve of Ginny's breast from beneath the blanket.
"I honestly question the intelligence of allowing the boys too much free time with my brothers," said Ginny, though she would have it no other way.
Hedwig's disapproving screech sounded from the kitchen alerting the couple. Harry and Ginny glanced at each other before getting up and quickly dressing. Harry stuffed his wand in his back pocket and walked through the kitchen with his shirt left open. He made his way to the small room, just off to the side of the kitchen, where Hedwig stayed. Ginny followed, going to the sink for a glass of water.
Glass in hand; she was just in time to see a sleek brown owl take flight from the magical window's sill and circle before heading south. Harry stood with his back against the writing desk, absently feeding Hedwig owl treats as he glanced over the sealed envelope. Ginny recognized the wax seal as that of the Ministry of Magic, her brows furrowed and she put the glass to her lips. Harry took his wand from his back pocket and tapped against the red wax to break the seal and pulled out a folded piece of parchment. For several quiet seconds, Harry's eyes flew over the page, his expression becoming darker with each passing moment; by the end of the letter he was frowning openly. He turned the parchment over and glanced at the back to see if there was anything else. He had no more than turned the parchment back when it disintegrated into a fine powder. Ginny blinked, watching the powder float to the floor and disappear.
"Harry?" said Ginny. Harry seemed not to hear her as he stared out the window. "Harry, is everything alright?"
Harry sighed heavily, leaning against the writhing desk and shook his head. He glanced at her for a moment before looking out the window again.
"What?" Ginny asked, stepping towards Harry.
"The Bearer of Darkness," said Harry, reaching up he rubbed his forehead; in his other hand he gripped his wand in a tight fist.
A blanket of cold dread settled over Ginny, she shivered involuntarily.
"I don't understand, Harry," said Ginny. She set her glass on the desk, hoping that at any moment he'd look up with a cheeky grin and say 'Gotcha!'
"We've been receiving reports of a cult following that has been slowly forming over the years. There hasn't been any noted up rise, yet. The group's roots go deep back to ancient times; we've got men researching to find out its exact origins and what they are now up to."
"Why are you telling me all this Harry? I mean, you're not saying that anything serious has happened," said Ginny, feeling increasingly concerned.
Harry reached over and grabbed her hand, gently stroking her thumb.
"The Ministry wants me to be involved in the investigation."
"Okay, so they want you to be involved. You've been on other cases before," said Ginny, not grasping what Harry was driving at.
"I'll have to be gone Ginny -- for a few months . . . maybe more," said Harry, looking a mixture of angry and apologetic.
"Oh . . ." was all Ginny could muster though her shock. She was having an impossible time being able to accept Harry not being there for, possibly, months on end. "If you suspected something like this might happen, why didn't you tell me sooner?" Ginny's voice was more accusing than she meant it to be.
"Aww, Ginny, I'm sorry," said Harry, pushing off of the desk and pulling her into a tight hug. "I don't want to go; I tried my best to prevent this from happening. I didn't want to tell you because I was hoping that somehow they wouldn't ask me."
Ginny pressed her face into Harry's chest and began to cry tears she didn't realize she was on the verge of until Harry's arms were around her. He stroked her hair, holding her tightly against him. Harry kissed the top of her head, breathing in deep.
"I love you and I love the children. There's nothing more important to me than the four of you," Harry said into her hair. "You're my world."
Ginny clung to Harry tighter, burrowing her face further into his chest. Old fears locked deep within Ginny began to, once again, to resurface.
"Mummy?" a sleep-filled, tiny voice called from the kitchen archway.
"We're in here sweetheart," Ginny called over her shoulder. She stepped away from Harry and hastily brushed her finger tips under her eyes to wipe away the evidence of tears.
The couple stepped out of the small office, Moiraine stood just inside the kitchen rubbing her forehead with a tiny fist; her dark red-hair sleep tussled. She clutched a stuffed golden lion to her chest.
"Hi Morie," said Harry, giving Ginny's side a gentle squeeze.
Moiraine huffed and ran grumpily to Ginny where she held her arms up expectantly.
"So chipper after a nap, she is," said Ginny, scooping Moiraine up into her arms. Moiraine snuggled into Ginny's neck. She peeked out of the corner of her eye to her father and pulled her stuffed lion closer.
Harry stepped forward, wrapping his arms around Ginny and Moiraine, squeezing them both. "I love you," he whispered against Ginny's temple.
Ginny closed her eyes, working to keep more tears from falling.
Moiraine squirmed and reached for her father. Harry let go of Ginny, fully taking Moiraine. As soon as she was in her father's arms, Moiraine snuggled against him in a fake huff, half grinning against her father's shoulder.
"We'll talk later," said Harry, kissing Ginny's cheek once more before turning and walking into the living room with Moiraine.
"Tell me again why I let them go visit?" asked Ginny after a loud thump was heard from upstairs, well past the children's bedtime.
"I'll get them," said Harry with a proud grin. He hastened his step after catching Ginny's frown.
The evening had been full of lively chatter about the events of the day that the twins shared with their favorite uncles, Fred and George. Much to Perrin and Matrim's displeasure, several contraband items were confiscated from pants pockets and jacket seams. When pleading didn't work to win them back their prized possessions, the boys resigned themselves to the fact that they would have to do without their uncles' latest and greatest inventions to try out on each other the next day.
Harry returned several minutes later and sat down on the sofa next to Ginny. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to him.
"Will I be able to contact you?" she asked, twisting her wedding band on her ring finger.
Harry sighed, instinctively tightened his grip on her.
"Contact will be limited. You'll have to send any correspondence through the Ministry of Magic. I'm positive any letters will be thoroughly inspected to insure that it gives nothing away, incase it is intercepted." Harry nuzzled against Ginny's temple before kissing her.
Ginny nodded sadly. Her eyes were drawn to the single phoenix feather in its glass case, perched on top of the mantel. Scenes from her past flashed before her eyes, every second of sorrow and joy that lead up to this very moment in time.
She turned to face Harry. Ginny could see a broad spectrum of emotions behind his eyes, those beautiful emerald eyes that she could get lost in for hours on end. Worry was clear to see, etched across his face. She knew that his worry wasn't for the mission that lay ahead but for his family which would be left behind.
"We'll get through this," said Ginny bracingly. She could sense that one small piece, which weighed heavily on his shoulders, was lifted.
"We will," said Harry with a nod. "You know where everything is, stored in the vault."
"Harry, I don't want --" Ginny began.
"Ginny," Harry cut her off, "I have to remind you of this . . . every time, no matter what."
Ginny clenched her jaw. It was rare that Harry was forced to go on missions, but they both knew his job came with great risks.
Harry had a special vault, apart from their family vault at Gringotts, set aside, for his children, if anything were to happen to him. Harry had always felt a deep sense of loss in not being able to find out as much as he could about his own parents or Sirius for that matter. He wanted to make sure his children never experienced that.
Every month, Harry would make a special trip to Gringotts, to vault 713, that very same vault which once belonged to his late god-father, Sirius. There, Harry would deposit something more precious than unicorn's blood or goblin wrought gold. He would deposit memories. Harry had found a way to copy his memories, to be saved in small vials, but still enable him to retain them, unlike that of the standard pensive. Over the years, the unassuming vault of 713 became a treasure trove of magically protected vials, filled with silvery vapor, neither liquid nor gas, that shown like moonlight. Along with these priceless vials of memories were diaries containing his personal thoughts, written in his own hand. There were volumes of photo albums, all filled with pictures of family and friends. In the center of this room stood a carved stone basin atop a pedestal, this pensive would be used at any time the children, and their children, wished to.
Each time Harry was sent on a mission, he reminded Ginny of this vault, and how important it was that, if anything should happen to him, she vow to take the children there, and allow them the chance to have what he hadn't as a boy, knowledge and understanding of their parents, and their past.
Ginny nodded, bowing her head. Harry sighed, and leaned forward, gently kissing her cheek before nuzzling it. "When will you have to leave?"
"Probably in a few days, I'll know more tomorrow." Harry answered.
Ginny closed her eyes, tipping her chin towards the ceiling. "When are we going to tell the family?"
"Sunday dinner, everyone will be there." Harry reached up, cupping Ginny's cheek, lightly stroking with his thumb. "We'll get through this," he repeated in a soft whisper.
Ginny's eyelashes glittered with unshed tears. Harry leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers in a tender but firm kiss. Ginny felt warmth spread though her, a deep sense of love radiated from that one simple gesture, causing her heart to swell painfully.
He would be fine, this she knew.