Okay, my friends, here is the prequel to Harry Potter and the Power of Truth... I hope you enjoy it.

As I warned you, this story is three chapters, not a full-length fic – just a taster. And as it covers approximately three years, there are jumps in it. It is not, I repeat, NOT, a full-length fanfic – just the detail that has been previously alluded to in my other two fics.

For those to whom this isn't enough, let me say that, the experience of writing this series of HP fics has been incredibly rewarding, and I do plan to continue – I'm taking a few weeks to pull together some ideas, and then, we'll see where we go. I don't think that I will write anything further along the lines of this story, but, hey, you never know. I'm thinking of an sixth year fic, unrelated to this story... but we'll see.

I love you all. Thank you so much for the encouragement you have given me. It really has been a wonderful ride!

CQ


Chapter One: The Beginning

Sixteen year old Harry Potter glanced back at the group that had followed him in through the front doors of the school. Four sixth years and one fifth. It was the fifth year that caught his eye for the hundredth time that day.

Ginny Weasley had her bright red hair tied on top of her head in some intricate twist. Harry thought it kind of looked like the other girls hair at the last Yule Ball, but... it was messier, with a few bits hanging down as though she'd missed them. And he didn't think that any of the girls had gone to the Yule Ball with their hair held up like that with a pencil.

Strangely, Ginny's hair caused something to burn warm in him, making him very uncomfortable. If Ron...

"Harry?"

Harry started, then looked to his tall friend.

"Yeah?"

"What's wrong?" Ron asked, looking at him curiously.

"Nothing, Ron, nothing."

"Then why are you staring at my sister like that?"

"I... I was just wondering why she had a pencil stuck in her hair," Harry admitted, not willing to go any further with that.

Ron glanced at Ginny, then shrugged.

"Because it's what I had handy, Harry," Ginny said, shaking her head. "Boys!"

Harry glanced at Ron, and Ron looked at him, his expression clearly saying 'Girls!'. When Harry turned, however, and saw Hermione watching him, he got another shiver down his spine. Hermione was far, far too insightful for Harry's peace of mind.

"What?" he challenged. He had learned over the years that ignoring Hermione never worked, and generally only made the end result more uncomfortable for him.

"Nothing," Hermione turned, placing her trunk in the pile next to the Grand Staircase. "Come along, everyone, or we'll miss the Welcome Feast."

Ron's eyes immediately brightened. Any mention of food tended to distract him, from anything. He charged forward after Hermione, and they were followed quickly by Luna and Neville, who was blushing when he realized he was walking next to the pretty blonde witch.

Leaving Harry and Ginny to follow.

"I like it," Harry said before he could stop himself.

"What?" Ginny looked up at him. At five foot four, she wasn't exactly short, but Harry had grown so much in the last year, she was forced to look up at him. Way up.

Six foot two Harry looked down at the pretty red-headed witch.

Pretty? He thought. Where did that come from?

"Your hair. I like it like that. It looks... pretty."

Ginny stared at him for a moment, then blushed. The curse of being a red head. Looking away, she smiled. "Thanks, Harry."

"I... it just..." Harry swallowed. "Come on, we're going to miss the feast."


Classes began early the next morning. Harry had actually thought to drop Potions, but when McGonagall spoke to him about the requirements for Auror training, which he knew he would never get out of, it was clear that he would need NEWT level Potions.

Which meant more time in the company of bloody Snape.

Harry, Ron, Hermione and a very nervous Neville made their way into the Potions lab first thing, and found seats together. There were three others in the room, two Hufflepuffs and a Ravenclaw. As Harry turned in his seat, the door banged open and none other than Draco Malfoy entered.

"Well, well, if it isn't Potty and the Weasel... and the..."

"Don't bother saying it, Malfoy," Harry said. "It's getting old."

"Really? Too bad you won't have the same opportunity, isn't it, Potter?" Draco grinned, heading for his seat.

"Git," Hermione muttered.

"Prat," Neville added.

"Bloody wanker," Ron said, not bothering to lower his voice.

"What did you say, Weasel?" Draco turned back.

"I said bloody wanker, Malfoy. You know what that is, don't you? You should. It's someone who..."

"You will all take your seats and desist this pointless alpha-male posturing," a voice came from the front of the class. Snape.

"How does he do that?" Neville whispered.

"Bloody bat. I'm telling you," Ron said, turning away from Malfoy.

"As Miss Granger is the only female in the room, I will have to assume this display is for her benefit. Mr Malfoy, I'm surprised at you. Weasley, sit down."

Hermione, looking shocked and mildly angry, sat straighter in her chair. Harry smiled. Poor Hermione. To her, the thought of being fought over by two such as Ron and Malfoy would be... distasteful to say the least.

Although he did wonder at times...

"The ingredient list is on the board... the instructions are in your text, page fourteen. Silence, or I will assume you are done and grade you accordingly," Snape snapped, glaring around the room until the eight students quieted.

His glare turned briefly on Harry, who looked back at him, seemingly unaffected. Snape didn't like direct challenges, but Harry was not the type to back down. Never from a filthy Death Eater, in any case.

Strangely, this time, it was Snape's eyes that dropped first. Harry felt a brief moment of triumph, then turned happily to help Ron with their potion.

It couldn't last, but he was determined to enjoy the feeling while it did.


Dinner that evening was interesting. Ron, Harry and Neville arrived first, Ron in the lead as Neville and Harry walked behind, discussing the odds of pulling together a decent Quidditch team that year, with the twins, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell all gone. There had been rumors already that Oliver Wood had approached Katie upon their arrival at Kings Cross at the end of last year and asked her to marry him. No one knew for sure what her answer had been.

Harry and Ron appeared to be the only ones who would be returning to the team.

"Come on, you two!" Ron called. "Steak pie!"

Harry shook his head and made to the other side of the Gryffindor table. Ron sat down across from him, with Neville beside Ron.

"Here come the girls..." Neville said, looking towards the doors.

Harry glanced up to see Hermione and Ginny, along with Luna Lovegood, come through and walk towards their table. Harry noticed a strange look on the Ravenclaw girls' face, but forgot it as Hermione and Ginny sat down on either side of him. They were giggling.

Giggling girls never boded well for him. Ever.

He looked up, surprised, as Luna sat down on the bench next to Ron.

"Ummm... Luna?" Ron said. "You're in Ravenclaw."

"Not tonight, I'm not, Ronald," she smiled. "I decided to eat with my... friends... tonight.

More giggling, and...

Dear Merlin, what was Ginny's hand doing... there?

Harry turned surprised eyes to the redheaded witch next to him, who appeared to be looking with interest at the bowls of food in front of her, but Harry's attention certainly wasn't on food... how could it be when....

"Uh, Gin?" Harry said quietly.

"Yes, Harry."

"Did you know that that is my leg?"

"Yes, Harry." she smiled at him, giving his leg a squeeze before mercifully removing her hand.

Harry swallowed, his body's response to her flirting violent and instantaneous.

Dear Merlin... flirting? Was Ginny Weasley flirting with him?

Harry looked across at Ron, who suddenly had an odd look on his face as he tried to swallow a mouthful of roast potato. Luna, however, was looking at him with a triumphant look on his face.

Ron's eyes met Harry's, and they shot each other panicked looks.

What on earth were they in for?


Harry learned, over the next few weeks, the fine art of avoidance. Ron, apparently, was following his lead, as whenever Harry lit out in search of an alternate route to his classes, preferably a route where he wasn't in danger of being ambushed by a certain redhaired witch whose brother would kill him if he did what instinct was telling him to...

Well, Ron wasn't generally far behind.

"Merlin, Harry, what the hell is going on?"

"What do you mean, Ron?" Harry gulped. Ron hadn't noticed his reaction to Ginny, had he?

"Bloody Luna!" Ron said. "She's everywhere. Every time I turn around..."

"I think she likes you, Ron," Harry grinned.

"And bloody Ginny, too!"

Harry stilled. "Ginny?"

"Come on, Harry, you're not that thick. She's been hunting you down, too. Don't tell me you haven't noticed?"

"Umm... well..."

"Not that I'd have a problem with it, of course... but if she's annoying you I could tell her..."

"Um, Ron?"

"What?"

"You wouldn't have a problem with me... and Ginny?"

"Of course not, Harry." Ron said, following him around the third corner on their detour to Transfiguration. "You'd be great for her, and I know I could trust you with her... she's still my sister."

"Uh, really?"

"You like her?"

"Uh... yeah. I think... I think I do." Harry admitted.

"I'm okay with it, Harry. Really," Ron said. "Just remember, though..."

Ron stopped, pulling Harry to a stop beside him.

"Just remember, if you hurt her, Voldemort won't be a problem any more. At least, for you."

Harry took a deep breath at his friends rather nasty smile.

"I wouldn't hurt her, Ron. I couldn't... but I don't think it's an issue, really."

"Why not?"

"She just playing games, Ron," Harry said. "It started on our first day back... she's not really interested... she's just... "

"You're nutters, Harry," Ron scoffed. "Now, I do admit, I find it hard to believe that Luna might be.... but Ginny? Nah. She's had a thing for you forever. Trust me, she's not playing games."

"You think?"

"I know," Ron confirmed. "Damn it, we're late! I'm going to kill Ginny and Luna for this!"

Ron turned on the speed and was gone around the corner before Harry could get his brain into gear enough to follow. But he wasn't far behind, and by the time he hit the door to McGonagall's classroom, he had a plan, and a grin on his face.


That night at dinnner, Harry nonchalantly waited with Ron and Neville, in their usual seats. The three girls entered just before the meal was served, and, trading knowing glances, came to sit where they usually did, Hermione to Harry's left, Ginny to his right, and Luna beside Ron.

Harry smiled. Ginny wasn't going to know what hit her.

As the food was served, Harry reached for a piece of chicken. Predictably, he felt a small hand touch his right knee. Ginny.

He started, his body reacting as it always did to her touch, but managed to put the chicken on his plate without dropping it. Settling back, his heart pounding as he internally wondered if he had finally gone completely insane, he slipped his right hand under the table, and placed it squarely on her thigh, squeezing before drawing it slowly up towards her hip.

With his left hand, he picked up his water goblet and took a long drink.

Ginny gasped.

Harry figured that that was enough for now, and smiled, drawing his hand back from her and concentrating on his dinner.

Oh, yes. Ginny wouldn't know what hit her. Payback certainly could be a bitch.


The meal ended, and students began drifting towards the doors. Ginny hadn't eaten much, nor said much, but she was one of the first to stand and leave. Harry was mildly disappointed, he'd rather looked forward to walking back to the common room with her.

Maybe Ron was wrong, and she had been playing. And now, it was over, because he'd called her bluff. Damn.

"Coming, Harry?" Ron asked as he and Neville stood.

"In a minute, Ron,"

"See you in the common room, then, mate. Neville's got a quidditch magazine he wants to show me..."

Harry nodded, then sat, thinking about what had just gone on. Was she playing with him, or wasn't she? What had that reaction been about? Had he surprised her as much as she had surprised him that first night?

Bloody hell, who could understand girls?

Standing, he left the Great Hall, heading for the Gryffindor common room. Ginny Weasley was an enigma. One he would like to figure out, but he figured he was going to need some help. A girl translator.

Hermione. Harry grinned. Hermione would know what was going on.

He was just about to put on a burst of speed when two hands snaked out from behind a suit of armor and pulled him into a dark alcove in the wall.

The strength behind them surprised him as the smaller figure took hold of his shirt front and pushed him up against the wall. Before Harry could take a breath, he felt warm lips meet his, and push him further up against the wall. The smell of strawberries reached him.

He knew that smell. It was Ginny's shampoo. He'd used it mistakenly once at the Burrow and Ron and the twins had teased him all day.

Quick as lightning, Harry grasped the front of her robes and swung her around, pinning her against the wall, and taking the kiss a step further. Ginny stilled for a moment with shock before wrapping her arms around his neck and responding.

They were both panting when Harry pulled back a moment later.

"What the hell are you doing?" Ginny gasped.

"I... kissing you... I thought..."

"No, Harry... I meant, why did you stop?" she pulled him back to her, kissing him hungrily.

It was ages later that they heard footsteps approaching and pulled apart. The steps continued past the darkened alcove and they both let go their held breath.

"Harry..."

"Ginny, you'd better not be playing games with me," Harry said, his forehead resting against hers.

"Games?"

"Because it's driving me insane, and Ron and your brothers would kill me..."

"What?" Ginny seemed confused. Harry shook his head, pinning her against the wall, his body pressed against hers. Her eyes widened with realization.

"You can't do that to a bloke, daily, for weeks, and not mean it, Gin. If you're playing some game... some girl thing with Luna and Hermione, then tell me now, but don't put me through this any more, please."

"You... I..." Ginny gulped. "You really feel... that... for me?"

Harry took a deep breath. "Do you think I have this kind of reaction to just anyone, Ginny Weasley?"

"I don't know," she admitted.

"I don't. It's you. Now, is it some game, or not?"

"Not," she shook her head. "Harry, I wouldn't do that."

"Then why..."

"I thought you had noticed me, before the Welcoming Feast... but I didn't know if you would..." she sighed. "Hermione and Luna told me that, if I wanted it to come to anything, I'd probably have to make the first move. But then, when you didn't respond... it just sort of... I couldn't stop."

"Oh," Harry said. "It's not because I didn't want to respond, Gin. It's that... you're Ginny... and you... and Ron, and the others, you all mean a lot to me. I didn't want to read you wrong and get everyone upset and..."

"Ah," she nodded. "And now? What's changed?"

"You kissed me," Harry said, pulling her in and kissing her again, hard.


The Yule Ball that year was held the Thursday night before their Friday departure for holidays. Harry waited nervously in the common room, adjusting his sleeves while he waited for Ginny to come down from the girl's dorms. Ron sailed through, looking very dapper in dark green robes.

"I'm off, then," he said, heading for the portrait hole. "I'm going to pick up Luna and meet you in the Hall."

"See you there, mate," Harry said absently, still watching the girls staircase.

"You won't make her appear any faster by staring up those stairs, Harry." Ron said.

"Oh, I know... but I won't miss a minute of seeing her, either," Harry grinned.

Ron, shaking his head, opened the portrait hole and headed out to meet Luna, who he had been dating for a couple of weeks. Harry was really wondering what their relationship entailed, after Ron had returned to their dorm one night with a stunned but happy look on his face. He'd refused to discuss it, which in itself was odd, and Harry had his suspicions.

Harry and Ginny's relationship entailed a lot of finding of dark corners to be alone in, away from their common room. Ron had been okay with their dating, but had insisted that he not have to watch them snogging, and Harry and Ginny had agreed that it probably wasn't a good idea to give Ron any ammunition.

There was a movement on the stairs and Harry looked up to see Hermione coming down. She looked beautiful. She was wearing a shiny blue thing, and Seamus, who was escorting her to the Ball, gasped from behind Harry.

"Hermione..." Seamus said. "You're beautiful, lass."

"Thank you, Seamus," she nodded, then turned to Harry. "Ginny will be down in a minute, Harry."

"We'll be right behind you, then..." Harry said. "Mione, you're gorgeous."

"Thanks, Harry," she blushed, turning to her date. With her back to him, she didn't see the look he threw Seamus, but Seamus did, and gulped, then nodded.

Good. Seamus would behave himself tonight, Harry nodded.

Turning back to the staircase, he saw the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life. Ginny in a green dress that floated about her, her hair up.

And held with a pencil.


The months after that flew by. Ginny and Harry spent a lot of time together, and with Hermione, as Ron and Luna were heatedly and heavily dating. Harry had his suspicions as to where the two of them disappeared to after classes and Quidditch games, but he said nothing, figuring that Ron would say something when he was ready to.

And so long as Ron didn't share any details, Harry didn't have to either. Not that anything was happening beyond some pretty amazing snogging sessions, in which Harry regularly came very close to losing control, but always managed to push Ginny away before things got too wildly out of hand. But Harry didn't feel the need to share any details with Ron. He was pretty sure that any detail at all would be enough to have several Weasley brothers hunting him down and turning him into dragon bait.

And Quidditch occupied any spare time that couldn't be spent with Ginny. Harry, as longest-standing player on the team, had been offered the post of captain, and had excitedly accepted, and he and Ron had managed to put together a pretty good team.

As was proven in the Cup game against Slytherin in April. They managed to score eight times to Slytherin's four, and Harry caught the snitch out from under Malfoy's nose in thirty seven minutes. They left the field victorious.

"Harry! Harry! That was amazing!" Ginny ran up to him excitedly, jumping into his arms and planting a kiss on him that nearly had him tumbling backwards. As he kissed her back, he felt her legs come up and wrap themselves around his waist, and the reaction of his own body was instantaneous.

"Mr Potter... perhaps you and Miss Weasley could find a more... appropriate time... to celebrate?" Harry pulled back from Ginny to find Dumbledore's twinkling eyes on him.

"Umm... sorry, Professor," Harry said, nearly groaning as Ginny released her legs' hold on him and slid down his body, coming to stand against him. She started to pull away, but Harry, aware of his prospective embarrassment should everyone see the effect she had on him, pulled her back.

She giggled.

Giggled. Dear Merlin.

"You know what you do to me, and you do it on purpose, don't you?" he whispered.

"You do the same thing to me, Harry," she whispered back. "My knickers are so wet I'm going to have to go change them before dinner."

Harry felt his breath leave him at the visual that brought to mind, and knew that, unless something changed drastically in the next five minutes, he wouldn't be capable of going to the feast.

Lord, what she did to him.

"Come on, you can walk me to the dorms, and then we'll go find something to eat," she smiled, taking his hand in hers and heading towards the castle.

They walked together, silently, through the halls. Ginny held his hand tightly, and led him up the Grand staircase and through the halls towards the Gryffindor common room. Harry was dirty and sweaty from the game, and really, really wanted to get out of his robes... they were great for the cool April air outside, especially when you were forty feet up on your broom, but inside, they were stiflingly hot.

He was confused for a moment when Ginny didn't turn down the final corridor towards the Gryffindor tower, but continued on down the hall.

"Ginny?"

"Shhh..." she stopped in front of a tapestry.

"What...?"

"Fred told me about it..." she said quietly, lifting the tapestry to the side after looking up and down the hall to make sure that they were alone. Everyone was at the feast, and she was pretty sure... but she didn't want this secret out.

Behind the tapestry there was a door. Quickly, she turned the handle and led Harry in, letting the tapestry fall back into place, hiding the door from view.

Closing it behind them, she pulled out her wand.

"Lumos."

"Wow..." Harry looked around. It was a small room, and not much in it, but there was a pile of what appeared to be pillows and blankets in the corner. "Ginny?"

"Fred told me about it," Ginny repeated. "Apparently he and Alicia found it in sixth year..."

"Ginny?"

"No one else knows about it, Harry. At least, I don't think that anyone does. Lock the door."

Harry, looking into her deep brown eyes, didn't hesitate. He quickly waved his wand at the door, said the incantation, his eyes never leaving hers.

"Now," Ginny backed up towards the pile. "Come here."

"Ginny..."

"Shhhh..." she pulled his Quidditch robes off, and laying them on the pile of pillows, lifted her arms and pulled her sweater over her head.

"Dear Merlin..." Harry breathed as she also removed the tiny bit of white lace he assumed passed for a bra. When her jeans joined the pile on the floor, he began to shake. "Oh, dear God..."

"Harry... come here..." She sat, then laid back against his Quidditch robes, holding her hands out to him.

It took Harry three seconds to shed his sweater and tshirt, and come down next to her, his lips meeting hers before his chest crushed against her softness.

"Ginny...?" he whispered, pulling back from her while he still had a measure of control.

"Please, Harry..."

"Are you sure?" he groaned, feeling her softness against him from chest to knees.

"Never more," she confirmed, running her hand along down his chest, over his firm stomach and coming to stop at the waistband of his jeans, resting lightly there before moving to the button and slowly undoing it.

And Harry was lost.