DISCLAIMER: Those that you recognize are not mine. Those that you don't are. :u)

A/N: Finally back with the next installment, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for being so patient (or being impatient, but not emailing me begging for an update). Oy...what to say...it's 2:30 in the morning and the chapter is ready to go live after a couple weeks of immense frustration and beta-ing.

One note I have is that I will be EXTREMELY busy in the next two weeks with class and moving, so I'll probably not get another update out for at least that amount of time. Thank you so much for hanging in there, each and every one of my readers are so important to me and I love you all.

Thank you to dafalcon and LaurelinElentari for being my patient betas :o)

"Ginny? You awake?" whispered Harry.

"No, I'm sleeping, but I'm talking with my eyes open...bet no one else can do that."

"Can I...can we...can I talk to you?"

Ginny had her back to him and she was staring out of the window at the waning moon, her eyes were practically stuck open from not blinking for the past half hour. Her body felt on edge and the pillow she clutched in front of her took the brunt of her frustration. "Yeah," she muttered.

"Do you want to come out here?" Harry's head was poking into her door and the sliver of light from the hallway fell across Ginny's bed, illuminating the soft curves of her body. His hand tightened on the doorframe and all he could do was stare in awe at how beautiful she looked.

"No, not especially." She finally blinked and her eyes screamed in protest but she ignored it and reluctantly moved from her comfortable position until she was sitting up and leaning against the headboard. She patted the space next to her, "You can come in here, there's plenty of room." What are you doing, Ginny? She cast aside the warning inside her head and instead gazed unseeingly at the opposite wall, not really caring about a whole lot at the moment.

Not many words were exchanged between them after Ginny came back out to the living room with clothes for Harry. When she had to enlarge a pair of green boxers and lengthen a gray t-shirt, she realized just how much Harry had grown in the past four years and much to Ginny's dismay, it only intensified her desire for him. She had gone straight back to her room after her job was done and hastily changed into her own shorts and shirt before laying on the bed, having not moved an inch until now.

"Are you sure, I don't want to make this uncomfortable or anything..."

Ginny heard the hesitancy in his voice and she rolled her eyes. "Potter, when I say come in here, I mean come in here, I wouldn't have said it if I was uncomfortable." More like feeling the urge to throw caution to the wind and do a great deal more than snog. She cringed and thought that maybe being in such close proximity to him right now wouldn't be a good idea. It doesn't matter I'm going to make certain nothing happens, she thought with a subtle nod of her head. She heard him hesitate a few moments longer and she held her breath, wishing at the same time that he would decide to go away and that he would come sit next to her.

"Okay...do you want me to, uh...keep the door open?"

"Unless you want Megan to hear our conversation, then I would say no, the walls aren't exactly sound proof and there's more space between our rooms. I'll turn these lights on, it should be alright." She picked up her wand from her night table and pointed it toward her ceiling, murmuring, "Lumos." The long strand of white Christmas lights that she had hung up a while back filled the room with a soft glow and she smiled. Even when she was in the worst of moods, the lights always managed to soothe her.

Harry walked into her room with tentative steps and slowly closed the door behind him. He paused, not sure whether he should sit on her bed or not, so he instead examined his surroundings with interest. He could tell that Ginny liked simplified living, as there was no clutter in her room that he could see. The wallpaper was a mixture of small white and light pink stripes with what looked like faeries bordering the ceiling. He wasn't sure by the dimness of the room but he could've sworn that they moved ever so slightly every once in awhile. One door to her closet was open and he noticed a small pile of discarded clothing lying on the floor next to it, which appeared to be the only unorganized feature. A small television and a stereo sat on an entertainment center situated along the opposite wall as her bed and he smiled at that. "Hermione got you hooked on the Muggle technology, didn't she?"

Ginny let out a soft giggle, "How did you ever guess? It's kind of like Quidditch, really – once I've been introduced to it, I can't live without it. There are worse things to be addicted to, I suppose." Like you. Except you're the best thing that I've ever been addicted to. Coloring ever so slightly even though Harry couldn't hear her thought, Ginny patted the space next to her, "I promise that this is more comfortable than you look, so get over here." She turned her face toward the window and looked at the moon, anticipating the moment when she would feel the impress of him when he sat on her bed.

Harry looked at Ginny through narrowed eyes and he bit his lip. The kiss that they shared earlier did nothing to appease the ache inside of him. If anything, it left him wanting more and he wasn't so sure that he would be able to be in the same bed with her without keeping himself neutral. He just shrugged and hoped for the best before making his way to the edge of her bed. "You have a nice, ah...bed."

Ginny shrugged, "It's alright, I got it secondhand and I've had it ever since I got out of school. I've been meaning to go shopping for a new one but haven't really taken the time, been kind of busy."

Harry nodded absentmindedly and then gazed down at his side of the bed, then back at her before lowering himself onto the mattress. He crossed his ankles and folded his hands across his lap, attempting to acquire a sense of comfort. He looked around her room silently for a few moments and his eyes fell on the white orbs of light. After awhile, he understood how they could put one in a trance if one stared at them long enough. "Those are nice," he said softly.

"Yeah, they always make me feel better if I'm in a bad mood or anxious...if it's a really bad day, I tend to play music, too. I guess today could be constituted as one of those days."

Harry remained silent and stared at one bulb on the other wall, attempting to put his myriad of thoughts into something resembling order. Through everything that happened tonight, Anna and the pregnancy remained a constant in the back of his mind and he had not wanted to think about what would happen if the newspapers ended up being true. What Ginny had said had been exactly what he had felt – he needed to find out or he wouldn't be able to live with himself. What was going to happen tomorrow? How was Anna going to act and how was he going to handle it? What was he going to do if this baby was his? Would he move to New York? What's going to happen with us? Harry turned his head and looked fixedly at Ginny, wondering what was going through her head. His hand twitched with the urge to reach up and feel her flaming red locks once more but he held himself at bay.

"It was my fifth year," Ginny said almost dreamily, "and I was sitting at one of the tables in the common room trying to finish a Transfiguration essay. I was concentrating pretty hard on it because I had only six inches done and I needed twelve in order to turn it in. I remember that there were quite a few people in there...you, Ron, Hermione and Neville were on the other side of the room, so far away that I couldn't hear any of you. I looked up and you were looking back at me, then you smiled before turning back to whatever it was you were doing. This was right before you and I started to become close and, since it was my O.W.L.'s year, I spent a lot of time alone. That was the first time I realized that I could literally feel it when you looked at me. It happened before that point, of course, but I never really took the time to understand it." She fingered the edge of the pillow behind her and her eyes turned upward toward her lights, finding comfort in the nervousness she was feeling. "That's how I know you're looking at me right now."

"What does it feel like?" he asked quietly. Every word that came out of her mouth was like water to his parched soul and he couldn't take his eyes off her even though she had caught him in the act. How can I be feeling and thinking these things, I thought they were long gone. He didn't bother delving into that and waited patiently for her answer.

Ginny's skin tingled at his voice, or maybe it was the fact that he was looking at her, and she wanted so badly to get closer and lose herself in him but she kept herself stubbornly in place. "Before I acknowledged it, it was just a vague feeling that someone was watching me and sometimes I would look up and smile at you and other times I just ignored it. After that night it just got stronger, it was harder to shake the feeling and so I always paid attention to it and it turned out that you were always the one that was looking. I was never annoyed by it...if anything, I was comforted that you were watching after me." She smiled and decided to answer his question from before, "Just as I had watched over you."

Ginny leaned her head back onto the headboard and looked up at the ceiling in reverie. "I have that feeling now," she murmured. "My heart kind of speeds up and it's like a pixie is loose inside my stomach...it's a rather pleasant feeling actually, it's one that I'm not unfamiliar with," she said, recalling the euphoria she always felt after she got the smallest glance of Harry when she was younger.

Harry's gaze moved over the smooth skin of her face and then down to where her shirt came to a 'V' at her neck. "You're beautiful, you know that?" he said with almost a hint of worship in his voice.

Ginny closed her eyes and let his praise sink into her, her mouth moving up into a smile of its own accord. "So are you," she whispered back. A ghost of the little girl inside of her showed through and a blush rose to her cheeks at having been so bold with him tonight. That didn't mean she wasn't brave enough to act on her feelings, however. Before she could stop herself, she shifted slightly and brought her hand up and ran a finger along his cheek until she touched the corner of his mouth.

Harry turned to see that her face was mere inches away from his own and he sucked in a deep breath at the desire swirling around in her brown orbs. "Gi-"

Ginny leaned forward the rest of the way and cut off her name with her lips. She pulled back slightly and gazed at him, "Shut up for just a second." She turned even more and then settled her mouth against his once again. This is even better than the first time. She thought no more as both of their mouths opened at the same time and they fused together even more. She felt Harry's hand slide up her stomach and over to her waist before slowly running it up her back. Little shivers overtook her and it left her wanting to feel more of his touch. Her neck was beginning to ache from the odd angle and so she slowly got up onto her knees and, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, hooked a leg over his until she was comfortably on top of him.

Harry let out a low sound at the feel of Ginny's warm body pressed against him as they kissed, and his hands wrapped around her waist and pulled her in until not much room was left between them. The heat coming off one or both of them, he wasn't sure, wrapped them in a cocoon and reality had long since left the vicinity of her bedroom. He broke himself away and was determined to taste more of her this time. He vaguely felt Ginny's hands run through his hair to pull him back but he held back, running his mouth along her jaw until it reached her earlobe. He darted his tongue out before gently taking it into his mouth and giving it a nibble before letting it go.

Ginny was in heaven, she was sure of it. Being in Harry's arms and feeling his hands and mouth were the most exquisite sensations she had ever known. She bunched his hair in her hands as he made a trail of kisses down her neck and then over to where she was most sensitive. His hands reached under the hem of her shirt and made small caresses on her back while he nipped and suckled and breathed on her neck, which produced a loud moan from her. Oh, Merlin, does she smell good...this is wrong, we have to stop. This can't happen here, not now...

He very reluctantly disengaged his mouth from her body and looked up into her flushed face. "Gin," he whispered. "We should stop..."

Ginny opened her eyes and lowered her head to focus on his face. "Stop..." She knew he was right but that's the last thing she wanted to do. She almost felt like yelling out in frustration as she slid off of him and back to her own side of the bed, trying to get her breathing back to normal. So much for staying away, Gin. After a few minutes of silence she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. "I feel like I'm about to burst...there's a lot inside of me that I wish I could just let out. There's a lot I wish that I could tell you, but I just can't. I feel like I'm never going to see you again after tomorrow."

"You'll always see me, Gin, you think you're going to kick me out of the family that easily?"

"No, but what if you end up having to move to New York? I'm trying to be realistic here and I know that is what you are going to do if..." despair spiraled within her and she turned her head toward the window so he couldn't see it. "If you end up having to move to another continent and another life, we both know that...there will never be a good time," she admitted softly.

"I know that I can't possibly be the father of her baby, I...it's just not possible," he said with certainty. "It's all speculation on the part of the reporters and that's what makes me angry, is that they do this without thinking of the effects that it will have on the people involved."

"You said so yourself that there was a chance and I can't help thinking the worst, Harry. I suppose it wouldn't be the worst, though, becoming a father...it's one of life's greatest gifts. It's just...I can't imagine..." she wasn't sure how to put it and so she closed her mouth. If she were to be honest with herself, she would detect an emotion of jealousy toward the woman that Ginny had never met, but had been a part of Harry's life in a way that she never had been. She didn't want Harry to move so far away from her that she never got to see him and, above all, she didn't want it to be because he had become the father of another woman's baby. A fresh wave of nausea swept over her and she slid down until she was laying down facing Harry. She brought her knees up as far as they'd go before they touched Harry's leg and held her stomach. "I can't stand this," she moaned softly.

Harry brought a hand to her hair and gently swept it away from her face. "I'm so sorry about this, it isn't fair to you...it's not fair period but I can't just ignore this...I just can't."

"I know," she whispered. "I'm sorry, too. It's funny how when you're young that you have this idea in your head about how your life is going to be. I'm happy with what I've accomplished but it's not what I expected...it's kind of disappointing to my inner child." She looked up into Harry's eyes and smiled at the way he was looking at her. "What?"

"What did you want to do?"

"No, I couldn't possibly say, it's much too embarrassing..." Ginny began to feel flustered and she turned her head slightly until she had her face partially hidden in the pillow.

"Come on," he begged with a little push at her shoulder. "With the way you've behaved today, there is no way that shy little girl is still inside you. Open up and spill, I think we passed the keeping secrets phase a long time ago."

"Okay, fine, but close your eyes first."

"Are you serious? Why would I do tha-"

"Just do it and ask no questions...this is really for my own sanity."

Harry peered at her questioningly but after receiving a glowering look from Ginny, he closed his eyes, feeling rather foolish for having to do this when they were both mature adults. "Okay, they're closed...happy?"

"Not really." She took this chance to study him privately, running her eyes over his masculine features and the black hair that fell over his brow. "Your hair just gets messier with every day that passes." She unwittingly reached up until her fingers touched the smooth definition of his jaw and traced a path down the side of his neck.

Surprised at Ginny's touch, he opened his eyes and reached for her hand, bringing it down until it rested on the bed in between them. "You shouldn't do that," he said quietly. "What happened to the nervous Ginny that was just here a second ago?"

"You misunderstand, Harry. This...this is the life I wanted when I was younger."


"You would be naïve to think that my 'fascination' with you started in my first year."

"I'm confused...you didn't even know me. What do I have to do with what life you wanted when you grew up?"

Okay, maybe he is a wee bit clueless... Ginny shook her head and turned over carefully so that she was on her back. She was beginning to feel restless over this conversation and with the circumstances being how they were, telling him that she had wanted her life to begin and end with him would do no good for either of them. It would do good for you, but not in the way that you want, a voice inside her said softly. "Harry...we've already been through more than I was prepared to handle tonight, I'm just not sure I can give any more of myself away without it coming back to bite me tomorrow. It may do some good to get things out in the open, but once it's out there I can't take it back, you know?"

"I understand that, but why is it such a big issue when both of us know that at one time we had feelings for each other? Things may be changing but I'm still going to be me and there's nothing that I wouldn't do to try to keep some sense of normalcy between us. You're too important to me, Ginny, I don't want you to feel like you have to keep anything from me, ever."

"Regardless of what happens, you will always have your family here," she whispered. "I will always be here for you and I don't want you to have any doubts about that. It's just that I've pretty much set myself apart from the rest of my family when it comes to the kind that I have with you."

Harry was becoming increasingly frustrated by her vague words and wanted her to just tell him what was going on inside of her instead of him having to fit the puzzle pieces she was giving him. "Gin, I don't know what it is that you're keeping from me but whatever it is, just tell me instead of giving me these ambiguous lines. Why did you even bring the subject up if you didn't want to talk about it?"

Ginny slightly recoiled at his tone, "You're the one that brought up the past when you started talking about regrets and telling me that you felt more for me than just friendship back in school. How am I supposed to react to that, by just ignoring it? I can't do that, Harry, and it's hard enough as it is to mentally accept that after all of these years of one-sided..." she gestured the air with her hand, "infatuation!" Even though she had the feeling back in school that he returned her sentiments, she still found herself dumbfounded when he more or less said the words himself.

"Again, why is it such a big deal to you that I told you that, you just said that what you felt was infatuation...it shouldn't be this hard for you to talk about it."

Ginny turned her head when she felt a tear prickle at the corner of her eye. Harry's words were hurting her and she knew that he didn't even realize it – she believed that he still had the notion that what she had felt was just a crush. "It is a big deal to me." Ginny couldn't sit still any longer and so she sat up and got up from the bed. "Do you really believe that what I felt for you was that insignificant? You want to know what my dream life was when I was young? Fine, I'll tell you," she said bitterly. "I wanted you."

Harry waited for her to finish the sentence but frowned when nothing followed those words. "You wanted me to what?"

"I wanted you, period."

Silence fell on the room like a suffocating blanket to Ginny and she went to the window and opened it to breathe in the chilly night air. Just breathe, stay calm, maybe we'll both wake up tomorrow and have forgotten it all. And I'm the Minister of Magic. She felt slightly better at her ability to invoke humor out of it all and turned back to Harry, who had sat up and was looking at her.

"What do you mean by all of these years?" Harry asked.

"All of these years, what?" said Ginny, perplexed.

"All of these years of infatuation...don't you mean all of those years?"

Realization struck Ginny at how she had worded herself and she opened her mouth to reply but remained silent. She began to fidget with the hem of her shirt and looked at the door beyond Harry's shoulder, feeling the urge to run. She didn't want to answer that question in fear of opening the wound further and she cursed herself for having invited Harry into her room.

"Ginny? Please answer me, you meant all of those years, right?" Harry studied Ginny and noticed that as the minutes passed she became progressively agitated, and was utterly confounded by it. She had to have stopped fancying me before now, this has to be a mistake...she couldn't possibly have kept her hopes alive over me. Get over yourself, Potter, you're not worth any of that, of course she has moved on!

"No, you git, I didn't mean all of those years! It's always been you and I can't stand it because I've tried...oh, believe me, I've TRIED to get over you and you know what happens? When you come back to visit, I feel this big surge of pure happiness and adrenaline because I know that I'll see you again, it doesn't matter if you've been gone for five days or five months! And then when you leave, there's this emptiness inside of me and I know it so well because it's been there since the first time I saw you. When we kissed, I can't describe to you how much I wanted that to happen, how many years I've dreamed about doing that with you, but it was nothing compared to the real thing...not even close."

Harry sat in a state of shock as she let loose all of the thoughts and emotions that had been plaguing her, his ears heard the words but his brain seemed to freeze from the onslaught. He opened his mouth to say something...anything...but Ginny interrupted him.

"No, don't say anything, I don't want to hear it. Is this what you wanted, Harry? I'm confessing myself to you and it's killing me!"

"Wait, I didn't expect you to-"

"You're leaving tomorrow, probably for good, and what am I supposed to do now? I'm going to continue living my life as a bookstore owner and you're going to continue holding my heart in your hands, that's the way it's always been."

"Why are you doing this, Ginny, I'm not worth it." He felt angry toward her for having wasted her time on him, but at the same time he wanted to grab her and hold on tightly. He had gotten up from the bed a minute before and had his arms folded while he listened to her.

Ginny didn't think her heart could take much more of this and so she crossed over to the door and went into the living room. "I can't believe you even said that," she said loud enough so Harry could hear her. "What do you mean why am I doing this, do you think I like doing this to myself? I hate to break it to you, Harry, but my world doesn't revolve around you, I can live without you, I wouldn't be standing here if I couldn't."

"I didn't think it did but why did you wait until now to tell me how you felt?"

"Since you seem to want to drag everything out into the open today, that's the big secret that's been festering inside of me. Oddly enough, I don't feel any better."

"Why are you making it like it's my fault, I haven't pressured you into saying or doing anything you didn't want to do. This is crazy behavior, why can't we talk about this rationally?"

"If you want to talk rationally, then tell me with one hundred percent certainty that you aren't the father to a baby that's going to be born all the way in the United States, then Obliviate my memory with everything that has happened since dinner. Unless you can do that, then being calm about this is out of the question."

"You know I can't do that and why haven't you asked me how I feel about all of this, does it not matter? I can't believe this," he said exasperatedly, feeling the need to start pacing again.

"I think you should just leave," she said quietly.

"Huh? No, I'm not leaving you like this, not with this hanging in the air between us."

"You can't think about me right now. I'm sorry that I even said anything."

"No...you're not sorry, I know when you're lying. I...I wish I could tell you what you want to hear." The sadness in Ginny's eyes practically tore him apart and he wanted to comfort her, but he wasn't sure how. Ginny's confession created even more of a tornado inside of him and he didn't want to say anything before he sorted it all out.

A tear escaped and slid down her cheek and she wiped it away and sniffed before shaking her head. "Please, Harry...please go, I can't do this anymore. I've probably just ruined anything that was normal between us and I don't think I can go back even if I tried. You have to get your life in order and I'm not going to be the one that stands in your way. I want nothing more for your life than for you to be happy, promise me that you'll find it," she pleaded. "I never asked you to say anything to me and I don't want you to...you're right, I'm not sorry that I told you. I'm not thirteen years old anymore, I'm not confused and I'm determined to not have regrets if I can help it."

Ginny walked over to him and slid her arms around his waist tightly, resting her head against his shoulder. "I know that tonight has been one big mess, and it probably wasn't the best time for it to happen...it never really seems to be the right time with us," she said almost comically, although neither of them smiled. She looked up into his face and he stared back intently, but she never backed down. "Go, Potter, but promise me that you'll start to figure out what you want out of life, you owe it to yourself and no one else."

Harry lowered his head into her hair and took a deep breath before replying, "Yeah...I promise." He felt a tenderness and sorrow inside of him and he thought that this was not how he wanted this night to end with her. It was almost as if their story were coming to an end and it had no epilogue, and it made him encircle her in his arms and hesitate to leave. "Gin...are you sure you want me to go?" He felt her nod and it did nothing to lessen the pain he was feeling.

"I think it would be better if you did, both of us have a lot of things to think about," she muffled against his chest. She slowly pulled back and smiled sadly up into his face, "Take care of yourself, okay?"

Harry nodded dismally and leaned over to grab his pile of clothes, then gave her a last lingering look before disappearing before her eyes with a small crack.

Ginny stood frozen to the spot with her hands folded in front of her, waiting for Harry's essence to fade in the aftermath of his Disapparation. "Bye, Harry." She numbly walked over to the couch and plopped down on top of the pillow and blanket that Harry was supposed to have used. She sniffed and unknowingly dropped from the couch to the floor where she sat staring at her hands. Harry was gone...probably gone forever. "Those damn papers..." she whispered. "It will never be the right time." One tear, then two escaped and fell down her cheek and she sniffed again, physically willing herself not to break down.

"Ginny, are you okay? What's the matter?"

She heard Megan's soft voice but she didn't look up, nor did she feel it when she came to sit down next to her.

"Oh, sweetie..." Megan reached up a hand and wiped her tears away, which only seemed to produce more.

"I j...just can't...do this anymore." Ginny felt the dam break and she leaned forward and rested her head on Megan's shoulder, letting out the whirlwind of emotions that had built up inside of her for ten years.

Harry reappeared outside of a comfortable ranch style home with blue shutters feeling rather empty. A crease showed above his nose that usually had no business being there and he wondered how he was supposed keep his promise to Ginny when he felt like he'd never be happy again.

As he stood there, he didn't feel the drops of rain that began to fall from the dark night sky. A sound of distant thunder fell on his ears but he didn't hear it, he merely turned his head up to the sky and took a deep breath of the air that held a hint of the impending storm. "You really pulled one on me this time," he said, not knowing who was listening. "Sirius, mum, dad...if you're hearing me, I'm about as lost as a person can be and I..." another rumble of thunder sounded, followed by a quick flash of lightning that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. "Need help."

He straightened his head and his eyes fell on the doorknob, contemplating whether or not he should even be here. Thinking back on his life with Ron and Hermione, they had always been the one constant support system that he had needed, even when he had been a git and stubbornly refused any kind of help. He now knew that had they not stuck by him through the years, he would either be dead or insane at St. Mungo's. Where he stood now was in front of their house and he felt a sliver better just standing there in their front yard. His hand of its own accord reached out and grasped the knocker, giving it three swift strikes before lowering it back down to its resting spot. He still held his pile of clothing and he then realized that he wasn't wearing any shoes. Looking down, he saw that he was in Ginny's pajamas and he blinked, realizing that he didn't care.

He heard a shuffle of feet on the other side of the door and he waited as one of them physically unlocked it, then he was certain that he heard Ron's voice mutter an incantation to magically unlock it before cracking the door open. He met Ron's eyes and tried to muster up a smile but failed, keeping silent since he wasn't sure what to say.

The moment Ron saw the look on Harry's face he became alarmed, as it was one he had seen many times in the past. "Harry..." the rest of what he wanted to say choked in his throat as his eyes roamed over the apparel he was wearing. "What's going on?"

At that moment, the sky opened up and the rain came down in torrents, instantly making Harry's hair mat to his head and his clothes cling to him. "I need help."

Ron was nearly blown backwards at Harry's plea, but only showed his surprise with a slight raise of his brow. Harry's never asked for help a day in his life... "Come in, mate, I'll get Hermione," he said automatically. He opened the door wider to let Harry pass and then closed and relocked the door before following him down the hallway into the kitchen area. While Harry took a seat at the table after dropping his stuff on the counter, Ron went to the bedroom where Hermione was lying in bed reading.

"Harry's here," he said quietly. "He...he asked for help."

Hermione's eyes widened in shock and the book she was reading fell from her hands unnoticed. "Help?"

"Yeah, can you believe it? Something must be really wrong for him to be here this late asking us for help."

Hermione jumped out of bed and practically ran out of the room and to the kitchen where Harry sat staring despondently at the rain smattering across the window. "Harry, what's wrong? You're sopping wet!" she said frantically.

"Isn't this amazing? Not a half hour ago, I could see the moon perfectly," Harry said quietly. He turned back to his two friends and sighed, "I don't know what to do, anymore. That's the plain and simple truth of it and yet, it's worse than facing Voldemort...go figure."

"I'll make some tea-"

"No, no tea...please." Harry's insides tightened painfully and images of Ginny's stricken face when she made him tea earlier floated through his mind. Oh, Ginny, I'm so sorry about everything.

Hermione took her wand out and performed a drying spell on Harry's clothes before scooting closer and taking hold of his hand. "Tell us what's wrong, we'll get through this."

"Are you sure because right now, I'm not sure about anything anymore. Um...have either of you read anything tonight or heard anything on the wireless?"

Ron and Hermione glanced at each other wearily, knowing what kind of vicious rumors could be spread about Harry, having read a number of ridiculous ones themselves. "No, what sort of rubbish have they said about you now, you cheating at Quidditch?" said Ron, taking the vacant seat across from Harry.


At the hesitancy in his voice, Hermione's worry increased ten-fold and she reached up to brush Harry's hair away from his face. "Harry, you can tell us anything, you know that?"

Harry merely nodded and released Hermione's hand before leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "Listen, I...I need to go to New York tomorrow, I don't know if I'll be back in time for the game."

Ron's mouth hung open in surprise, "What are you going there for, the game is in two days! You can't miss the game, it's the Quid-"

"Shush, Ron! Obviously, Harry isn't going for a holiday, there's a reason he's going." Hermione sent Ron a glowering look before turning back to Harry in concern. "Does it have something to do with Anna, is she okay?"

"Er...she's ah...pregnant." Silence followed his statement and glanced back and forth between them, seeing identical looks of confusion. "About six months pregnant."

"Oh...oohhh..." Hermione covered her mouth with a hand and sat back in her chair, regarding Harry with disbelief.

"Pregnant," said Ron slowly, not sure what to make of Harry's confession.

Any peace that Harry had found earlier with Ginny dissipated and he ran his hands through his hair before holding the back of his head. "I just found out tonight when Ginny and I were on our way back from dinner. It's all over the papers, they think that I'm...that..."

"The father?" Hermione whispered behind her hand.


"Bloody hell!" Ron got up from his chair so violently, it teetered on its hind legs before righting itself again. "Harry, what reason do they have to keep writing this rubbish when they KNOW it's not even true! YOU the father of HER baby..." his gaze jumped furtively about the room and he contemplated getting his wand and cursing every last one of those... "Ruddy excuses for human beings, don't know their arses from a hole in the ground! Don't they even care that there're living, breathing people with feelings behind those pointless drabbles?!"

"Ron, if I was one hundred percent certain that it wasn't true, I wouldn't be sitting here telling you I'm leaving tomorrow," said Harry before he had to hear any more of Ron's outburst.

"Are you saying that there's a possibility that you are?" Ron's face went pale and he sat heavily on the chair he had just left. "This...isn't...no, you can't be."

"Don't tell me that, I think I've had enough denial tonight for the three of us put together. I have to face reality and it is what it is, I can't change it. If I am, I can't stay here, I'm not going to leave Anna alone to do it by herself. Hell, I don't think I can do that regardless. I don't think I've ever experienced the most wonderful and dreadful of moods in one day...it's like when I start to think that my life is normal for once, something...something happens and I get put back in my place."

"Tell us what happened tonight, don't leave anything out," Hermione said, having regained a semblance of control.

Harry proceeded to tell them everything from his run-in with Ginny that morning to having dinner with her at Neville's restaurant, then told them what happened at the Leaky Cauldron with some pauses in between. He then told them of going back to Ginny's place but didn't think he could confide in them over what happened later on.

"You're leaving something out," Hermione said at once.

Instead of arguing with her, he chose to remain silent and looked down at his fingers making shapes on the table. This development with Ginny was too new and he needed time to sort through it before he even began to explain what just happened.

"Harry, we can't help you unless we know what's going on. From what we know, you're going to New York tomorrow and I think that is a wise thing to do. Do you not know what to do because of what could happen there?" Hermione reached over and laid a hand on his arm, "Just remember that we're here for you, no matter what."

He looked up and saw the compassion in her eyes, then at Ron, who held an expressionless gaze, although Harry guessed that he was attempting to let the new information sink in. He swallowed before saying, "I know. You're right, that wasn't everything. I, uh..." What was he going to tell them about Ginny? He didn't even know what he felt for her, but he was certain that it wasn't platonic. He turned to Ron, "Ron...I have non-platonic feelings for Ginny." A small sigh escaped after he said those words, feeling rather nervous over how Ron would react.

Hermione gasped and the only sign Ron gave that he had heard him was a twitch of the jaw. "Are you sure?" whispered Hermione.

Harry stared at her in disbelief, silently asking her if she was serious with that question.

"I'm sorry, this is just so...unexpected."

"Ron," Harry turned to look at him, feeling increasingly worried at Ron's lack of animation. "Before you lose it or act on whatever you're thinking, please just listen to me. There's a lot of history between her and I, we became very close in school. Toward the end of our sixth year, I started to...have feelings for her." A faint blush rose into his cheeks as he rehashed his old feelings and memories to his best friends. "Truthfully, I was scared by them because I had never felt like that for anyone and I didn't know how to handle it.

"We were comfortable being friends but I knew that something was happening and, even though she had stopped showing any interest in me, I had a gut feeling that she still felt the same. When seventh year came around, I was ready to explore it further but then Voldemort attacked," he said with bitterness. "I can't help but still feel angry over what could have been...we would have been good together, you know?" He shrugged and shifted his position in the chair, glancing occasionally at the storm going on outside.

"I didn't have a lot of time for anything that year that didn't involve Voldemort, including you two and Ginny. I probably wouldn't have seen any of you if you hadn't been there helping me...this was my main source of fuel to keep going, otherwise I don't think I would've made it." He gave a little smile at Hermione, who had been staring at him intently since the moment he began talking.

"We were still friends but somehow we just never got back to the place we were before. I still miss it to this day, it was real unfair to the both of us...Voldemort just felt like he needed to wake me up to the fact that I wasn't allowed to like someone and be happy. After he was gone, I definitely wasn't mentally capable enough to have someone in my life like that and by the time I was, we had already made our separate lives.

"Tonight, I think we finally got a of couple things out in the open regarding how we felt about each other...er...she...she still feels the same way about me." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hermione nod slightly. "Wh...you knew about this and never told me?"

"Harry, this is a story that can be saved for another day, but yes I knew and no, she didn't tell me. You know me well enough to know that I pay attention to things around me, particularly my friends and family. You weren't Ginny's only friend back in school, she confided in me quite a bit because I'm a girl and females tend to relate to each other on a more personal level. I know how she used to feel about you, it wasn't hard to miss...first loves are hard to let go and Ginny tried with all that she had to let you go. I think for a while it worked, but when you began to really get to know each other, she knew that it never really went away. She didn't have to tell me, I saw it."

Harry stared hard into the eyes of the woman sitting in front of him and knew that what she said was the truth. He groaned out loud and laid his head on the table, then gave himself a good jolt by hitting his forehead hard against the wooden tabletop. "Ron...Hermione...this is why I need help. I...I don't think I want to let her go, either, but what am I supposed to do if I can't stay here? Ron, say something...anything, please. I don't want to hurt Ginny, I want nothing more in the world than for her to be happy."

Ron's expression hadn't changed much while Harry talked but what was going on inside of him certainly had. He may not be the most observant person in the world, but he knew when his best friend was miserable. He was in love...yes, in love...with his little sister, but he didn't feel like he wanted to pound him into the ground or start plotting with his brothers. It only confirmed for him how perfect Harry was for her. He cleared his throat and it made the other two occupants of the kitchen jump in their chairs.

"Worst case scenario, you go to New York tomorrow and find out that you are the father, am I right?" Harry gazed at him and hesitantly nodded in affirmation. "You and Anna have no chance of...rekindling things, am I right?" Another moment's hesitation before he received another nod. "With that out of the way, the only factor in this situation is the child...tell me, do you have any idea why she would keep something this important from you?"

"Well, I...I don't know..." he racked his brain to try to come up with a reason that sounded halfway legitimate. "I guess because she didn't want to bother me with the responsibility." He now felt guilty for thinking that Anna could be the one that leaked this out to the press, they held much respect for each other and Harry knew that she would never have done something like that.

Ron nodded and crossed his arms over his chest and thought about that answer. "Let me ask you a question and really think about it before you reply. Does Anna have any reason to ever keep anything from you? Let me rephrase that since you haven't seen her or talked in six months. Do you have any reason to believe that Anna wouldn't tell you simply because she didn't want to bother you? I don't know her well, but you always told us about her and I gathered from it that you two remained open and honest with each other."

Harry looked at him perplexedly and his mind began to work furiously at what Ron was attempting to communicate to him. "Well..." he was right, they had maintained an open relationship and never kept anything from each other than her profession and certain events of his past that he didn't wish to dredge up. "No, not really."

"She could be keeping it a secret for her own reasons and not because you're the father. I know what you were thinking just then, so tell me why she would take the risk of letting something like this happen rather than tell you straight out. Perhaps she never thought that the press would take a piece of information that they don't know anything about and spin it into a fabricated tale with you in it because maybe you aren't the father."

Hermione gazed at Ron with admiration and leaned over to grasp his hand under the table. "Harry...Ron's right. I know that a lot has happened tonight, and you can't let your emotional vulnerability get the best of you. Finding out something like this would be a blow to a lot of people, especially you, but don't go off the deep end when you don't know for sure. My gut feeling says that Anna simply had no idea that this would happen because she knew that you weren't the father of her baby. I think it's a good thing that you're going back to New York, you need to figure things out for yourself."

Harry narrowed his eyes at Hermione and wondered if she and Ginny had somehow talked before he came over, as they had both pretty much given him the same advice. While he was listening to Ron, he was sent into a whole new frame of mind and a whole new outlook on the situation that didn't include him living in the United States. Maybe...just maybe... "Thanks, guys," he said with a genuine smile.

"Harry," said Ron. "I have one thing to say about you and Ginny and then I will stay out of it, because I know that you two have to work things out on your own. There's a reason that my brothers and I have spent many years terrorizing the poor boys and men that have been interested in her. It's because not one of them has ever been good enough for her, even if she didn't realize it at the time. I can't believe I'm saying this but there is one thing that Divination taught me."

Harry gawked at Ron for even mentioning that class after having to deal with Trelawney and her constantly stuffy classroom for five years. "You actually learned something?"

"I listened every once in awhile, but that's not the point...there are things that are destined to happen in life and one of them is love." He looked at Hermione and saw her smiling at him and mouth 'I love you'. He smiled and it encouraged him to continue on with his less than masculine monologue. "I'm not saying that you and her were destined for each other, but don't ignore the possibility, okay? Both of you deserve to be happy."

Harry nodded slowly and stored Ron's words away to think about later. He wasn't sure why Ron would even say something with Divination and love in the same subject, but didn't think about it as he let out a long sigh that he had been holding in. He reached his hand out and Ron took it immediately, "Thanks, mate...I mean it."

Hermione quietly sniffled and wiped the corner of her eye as she observed the mutual respect and friendship that passed between them.

Ron rolled his eyes, "'Mione, there's no need to cry..."

"I'm not crying," she said, although her nasally voice gave her away. "Oh sod off, Ron, I'm just a little emotional right now, deal with it." She got up from the table and went behind Harry to lean down and wrap an arm loosely around his neck in a hug. "I hate to admit it but Ron's right again. Whatever happens tomorrow, just keep that in mind, okay?"

Harry would have nodded if he could have moved his head, instead he reached up to gently pat her arm. "I will...I promise." This time when he said it, it came out easier and he felt glad that he had come to see them. "I love you, too."

Ron got up from the table, blatantly uncomfortable with the whole situation, and went to the fridge. "Want a butterbeer?"

"Yeah, but give me back my Invisibility Cloak first, you wouldn't believe what i've dealt with today."