Oh, I've told you enough bloody times, you thick-headed trolls! The characters, inventions, lingo, and most of the settings are done by J. K. Rowling. I just mess around with them as she only puts out stories every two or three years.

Chapter Eleven: A New Romance Blooms

The next morning, Mrs. Weasely pounded on everyone's door at the crack of dawn, yelling for them to be ready to work in ten minutes. Ginny, Tonks, and Hermione complained loudly as they tumbled out of bed and dressed in their warmest clothes. They arrived in the kitchen a few minutes before the boys, all of whom were looking equally sleepy and tightly bound in sweaters and scarves. Ron gave Ginny a very strange look, but Harry wouldn't meet her gaze, preferring to look into his empty porridge bowl.

Mrs. Weasely ladled all of them a large bowl of oatmeal, adding a bit of extra honey in Ginny's and giving her a sad look. As they all began to eat and talk amongst themselves, Mrs. Weasely looked at Tonks and said, "Oh, you don't have to de-gnome, dear. Lord knows I won't make you do my housework; you've got your own house. You can go back up to bed if you want."

"Tha's awright," said Tonks, her mouth full of oatmeal. She swallowed and continued, "The flat doesn't take much work, and I don't mind staying here. I think Remus might come by for dinner, even."

"Wonderful," Mrs. Weasely said, looking distractedly at Ginny. "Love, you can go back up to bed, too. You had . . . a trying day yesterday." She looked to be on the verge of tears again.

"Hang on!" Ron said indignantly. "Just because she's . . ." he seemed to be searching for tasteful words, "working for the Order doesn't mean--"

"You shut your trap, Ron!" Mrs. Weasely hissed. She looked as if sparks would start crackling from her hair. "This is very different from normal work. Your sister is very brave for doing this for the Order." A single tear fell down her face, and she hurried to wipe it away.

"It's alright, Mum," Ginny said as she patted her mother's arm. "I'll help do the de-gnoming." She gave Ron a scathing look, and he stared into the remains of his porridge, turning crimson.

The de-gnoming was slow, cold work. The brown little potato-looking creatures seemed to be reluctant to leave their homes, which meant a lot of digging for the Weasely, Harry, Hermione, and Tonks.

Ginny had just seized a particularly mean gnome, and was in the process of chucking him over the fence when Harry came up to her. "Ginny?" he said as the gnome flew forty feet through the air. "Nice throw."

"Thanks," she replied.

"Ah, could I have a private word?" He was going slightly red.

"Yeah." She walked next to him as he led her to a bench right along the edge of the garden, a good twenty yards from the others. "What's up?"

"I . . . it's just . . . be careful," he finally muttered.

That was all he was going to say? "Harry, it's alright." Ginny smiled and placed her hand over his, but he drew it away quickly.

"I mean . . . damn it, that's not just it," he replied as he stared at her intently. "Ginny, you know I still like you, right?"

"I'd hoped so," she admitted. "I still like you, too. Wait," she seemed to have a mental click, "you don't think that just because I'm shagging Snape that I don't like you anymore?"

"Well, it certainly makes things more difficult."

Ginny considered this for a moment. It was true, she still fancied Harry quite a bit, but he refused to date her because of the whole protection-from-Voldemort thing, and the fact that she was having sex with a man for whom she might still have feelings didn't help matters. "I know," she finally replied.

"Well, I was just thinking," he was definitely blushing bright red now, "I mean, I know I'm trying to protect you by not seeing you romantically, but now it looks like you're in more danger than I could have ever put you in. I mean, if it's too awkward . . . with your work for the Order, I mean . . . I'd understand . . ."

"If you're asking me to be your girlfriend again," Ginny said, smiling faintly, "then, of course I will."

Harry beamed. "Excellent," he said, giving her a soft kiss. Nothing like Snape's icily seductive ones, but a sweet, genuinely loving kiss.

Ginny grinned after they broke apart. "Now, you have to promise not to be jealous of my work, alright?"

Harry laughed a laugh that suggested a great tension had just been broken. "I promise not to be jealous of Snape. Wow, I never thought I'd say that."

Ginny giggled. "And don't think this means you can go off with your own Death Eater unless a member of the Order has suggested it to help get information."

"Oh, but I really wanted to get Draco's mum," Harry mock complained, then feigned a vomiting fit.

"Oy!" came Tonk's voice from across the garden, "Are you two going to sit there and flirt all day, or are you going to do some work?"

Harry and Ginny both laughed and walked back to the gnome hovel, hand in hand.

Dinner that night was quite enjoyable. Several members of the Order had arrived, and Mrs. Weasely made a large pork roast and potatoes for the occasion. Being in the kitchen all day seemed to calm her down a bit; she wasn't crying every time she looked at Ginny, anyways. Kingsley, Lupin, and Mundungus were all in a corner, laughing as Tonks told a very animated joke that seemed to be about a troll. Professor McGonagall, Hermione, and Mr. Weasely spoke quietly as they sipped on cocktails. Fred and George had even shown us just to tease a very romantic Bill and Fleur by chucking vials of contraceptive potion at Fleur's back when she wasn't looking. Every time she swung around to shriek "who is zis 'ou keeps 'itting me wiz leetle bottles?", Fred, George, and Ron would become engrossed in a discussion on card tricks, which caused Harry and Ginny, who were sitting on the steps, to double up with silent laughter. It was lucky that Fleur decided not to read the bottles, as she might have exploded with rage.

After about five minutes of this, Bill took her arm and said, "C'mon, dear, let's go to the garden for fresh air." He gave Fred and George scathing looks that told Ginny that he had read the vials and that they would pay later.

The three youngest Weasely sons strode over to Harry and Ginny, laughing hysterically. "If they haven't gone off to snog in private," George said with a snort, "I'm a Pygmy Puff."

"Ah, I wouldn't go around telling people that," Ron chuckled, and George chucked a potion vial at him. It bounced off his shoulder and rolled to Ginny's feet, its progress watched by everyone.

"Oy, you might want to have some of that, yourself, Ginny," Fred laughed.

Ginny blushed scarlet. "Shut it, Fred." She looked up at Harry, who caught her eye for a moment and looked at his shoes, going red as well.

"I didn't mean for you and Harry," Fred retorted. "I mean, do you two need some? I didn't realize things were moving that quickly."

"Excellent, Harry," George said with a wink, "you have managed to bed our sister, and we're not even going to kill you."

"We might jinx you if you dump her, though," grinned Fred.

Harry laughed. "Relax; I haven't been shagging your sister." He looked up at Ginny and gave her the smallest of winks.

"Damn shame," George lamented, "But I think Fred was referring to Ginny's other love interest."

"It's not a love interest, idiot," Ginny argued. "It's work for the Order. D'you honestly think I want to be shagging him?"

"One never knows with you, Gin," Fred said. "I wouldn't be-- okay, I'd be rather shocked if you did want to sleep with him, but still, maybe he has something he's hiding from us."

"But, seriously, Ginny," George said, "you really might need something. It'd be just like that git to get you pregnant, and then where would you be?"

"Sitting at home in shame with a red-haired, hook-nosed little bastard child, that's where," answered Fred darkly.

"Don't call the child I'm never going to have a bastard," Ginny argued half-heartedly, but George had a point. She hadn't even considered protection. Perhaps Snape had already thought of this. She would have to take a few vials and talk to him about it on Wednesday. "Alright, give us a few bottles, then."

George handed her a sackful of clear vials with acid green potion inside them. "One once a week should do, I think," he said, looking more serious than Ginny had ever seen.

"Please take them, Ginny," Fred said. "I'm not joking, for a change. I want you to be as safe as possible. I don't trust this prat for a moment."

"And if he's in bed with my little sister," Ron added, "he's got tons of chances to do you some serious damage. I don't know why they're making you do this. It's really, really dangerous."

Ginny uncorked a bottle and swallowed the potion in one gulp. It burnt like fire as it hit her stomach, and she shuddered. "Honestly, Ron, It's alright." Ginny smiled unconvincingly at her brothers. She hadn't even thought about it. What if she did get pregnant or got some sort of disease? Her stomach clenched at the thought of it. Then again, what if he decided o perform magic and jinx her into oblivion, leaving her worse than dead, naked, in his bed, for the Ministry to find. She really hadn't considered the dangers at all.

But, then, Snape was attracted to her. True, this wasn't the same as liking her or wanting to keep her safe, but it was better than detesting her. He was surely capable or murder, but Ginny wasn't really a threat. Honestly, he had made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Dumbledore. Surely none of the Death Eaters would think of a pathetic little girl who just wanted to shag an older man would be a strong threat to the Dark Order.

"Ginny?" Harry was calling her from what seemed like a great distance. She looked up to see Fred, George, and Ron talking to Mr. Weasely, who was nodding at a small green vial. "Let's go out back, get away from this crowd."

Ginny nodded and stood to walk with Harry out the back door into the garden. As they settled onto a wooden swing for two, they heard an exasperated cry.

"Can't you leave us the hell alone for five minutes?" came the voice of Bill, who had peeked his head out of a rose bush. Fleur's face appeared next to his, looking flushed, her hair in a messy bun.

"Easy, Bill," Ginny said exasperatedly, "we came out here for privacy, too."

Fleur sniffed as she looked at Harry and Ginny, but her pretty face softened. "Eet's alright, Bill," she said, smoothly picking a leaf out of his hair. "Zey just want to be alone, too, bless ze dears." With that, Bill nodded, and they both ducked into the bush, letting out loud smacks and giggles of "Stop zat, seelly!"

Ginny rolled her eyes at the pair of them and turned back to Harry. "I can't believe they don't mind us being right over th--" but she was cut off as Harry kissed her.

The kiss seemed to last ages. There was no excited grabbing, as there had been whenever Dean kissed her, and there was no sticky swapping of spit or seductive wrestling of tongues as there was with Snape, just soft, delicate kisses. Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry as he cradled her head, stroking her hair softly. After a moment, Ginny playfully caught his bottom lip between hers as she pulled away. She gave Harry a shy sort of smile as she leaned against his shoulder.

"Thanks," Ginny sighed, "I needed that."

Harry placed his arm around her and stroked her arm. "I know I'm probably not the most skilled kisser you've seen . . ." He let the sentence hang nonchalantly, but Ginny knew he was referring to Snape. He must have heard her talking last night. She had forgotten how thin the walls of her house were; they rendered Extendable Ears quite useless.

"I don't care," Ginny said softly. "You like me. That matters more than any kind of skill in the world."

Harry grinned broadly as Ginny settled further into the crook of his arm, and the pair of them sat for several minutes, listening to the sounds of chirruping crickets and Bill and Fleur's frantic kissing.

A few minutes later, Ginny heard her mother yell, "Bill, Fleur! Harry, Ginny! Get inside; dinner's ready!" The four of them appeared at the table a moment later. Fleur's pink lipstick was all over Bill, and her hair still had several red rose petals in the tangles. The other members of the table exchanged looks and tried not to laugh as Mrs. Weasely served them, and Ginny knew that they found humor not only in Bill and Fleur, but also in Harry and herself. She glanced up at Harry, who seemed to be thinking along the same lines, but it was quite clear that neither of them really minded at the moment.

Let them laugh, Ginny thought. See if we care.