Disclaimer: JKR would destroy me if she ever read my fics.
Um. Well. Sorry. This fic was spawned completely from one rather disturbing line - see if you can't guess which.
Ginny Weasley was on a mission, and she was bloody well going to succeed.
Bill's wedding was in two days, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione had just gotten back from their extremely short stay with the Dursleys. Ostensibly, Ron and Hermione had gone with Harry because they thought he needed support after losing Sirius and Dumbledore in such quick succession, but Ginny wasn't an idiot.
She just knew the three of them were planning something.
Ginny also got the feeling none of them were going to be sticking around very long. Which was why Operation Boyfriend Retention had to take place immediately, before Harry had a chance to escape her.
She crept down the hall of the Burrow, confident that Harry was alone in Ron's room – she could hear her brother and Hermione shouting at each other downstairs, and no one else would disturb the 'poor fragile boy', as Ginny's mum had seen fit to call him the other day.
Ginny had almost choked when she'd heard that, and she still didn't know which part of the statement made her want to laugh most. Harry was hardly poor – hell, he had his own fortune locked away in Gringotts, if Ron was to be believed, and felt comfortable enough financially that he could give away a thousand galleons without batting an eye. He was tough as anything, as well, something a lot of people didn't realize, and far more grown up than pretty much any other Hogwarts student she knew.
It was amazing how blind people could be when it came to him. Sometimes it seemed like no one saw him for what he was, and especially not any adults.
Well, she did see him for exactly what he was, so she understood why he'd broken up with her at Dumbledore's funeral. She hadn't put up a fuss at the time, as it hadn't seemed proper, not with the Headmaster just gone. But then it'd occurred to her that if she waited for the right time, she'd be waiting forever.
And Ginny was done with waiting.
She wasn't going to let Harry get away with this harebrained scheme of his – keeping her safe from Voldemort by staying away from her. She might pander to his delusions, but only inasmuch as it served her purposes.
Most of all, she wasn't going to let Tom win. She remembered how his diary self had been so smugly satisfied to find her alone and helpless, and she knew this would be just what he'd want – her and Harry separated, maybe even at odds. Well, she wasn't going to give Riddle the pleasure of her misery.
Fighting back an almost eager smile, Ginny knocked on Ron's door, then went in without waiting for an answer. She was slightly disappointed when she didn't walk in on Harry naked. What was the point of rudely entering without asking permission if she didn't get to see any skin?
Inexplicably fully clothed, her 'ex'-boyfriend was lounging on Ron's bed, reading a defense textbook. He looked up, startled, and paled a little when he saw her. "Ginny," he said, setting the book aside and sitting up slowly.
"Harry," she replied, a touch mockingly.
"I've been thinking," Ginny said, ignoring his nervous incoherence as she shut the door and leaned against it, destroying any hopes Harry might've harbored of escaping. "Obviously, what we need to do to keep me safe is have a secret relationship."
Harry peered at her in bewilderment, blinking owlishly behind those horrid glasses. "…what?"
Warming to her subject, Ginny explained, "Well, if you break up with me, I might be physically safe from Voldemort, but the emotional damage will be extreme and permanent and I'll end up living alone with a bunch of kneazles and the village children will mock me and throw stones at my windows and when I die no one will know until the stench gets really bad and it'll all be your fault."
Harry gaped at her. She didn't give him time to recover, however, and barged straight on with her practiced speech. "If we go out openly, then I'll be emotionally satisfied but possibly dead at Riddle's hands." She tried to hide her skepticism at this, but didn't think she succeeded, judging by Harry's frown.
Rather than let him have a chance to explain his crackpot viewpoint again, she continued barging on right over his unvoiced protest. "So we need to find a way to keep me safe and happy, do you agree?"
"Quite right," she agreed with a sharp nod. "So obviously what we need to do is date in secret."
"…but - "
"Don't deny the logic of my argument," Ginny ordered, arms crossed over her chest. If you had enough confidence, she'd found long ago, you didn't really need logic. Dumbledore was living proof of that.
Er. Well. Dead proof, at least.
"Look, Ginny," Harry finally managed to sputter out, "d'you really think now is the time for this? Dumbledore - "
"Wouldn't want you to completely destroy my self-esteem and shred my heart into a thousand bloody pieces just because Tom 'I'm A Bastard' Riddle's an interfering megalomaniacal…bastard," she said, feeling her retort merited at least a 9.5. Sure, the end had been a bit lame, but volume made up for redundancy just as confidence negated the need for logic.
He blinked. She raised her eyebrows and glared. He broke out in a cold sweat.
"Ginny," Harry said, wincing, "I'm leaving soon."
"You…how?" he demanded, startled.
She snorted, slightly annoyed that people still underestimated her. She figured people could at least treat her like she was capable of intelligent thought.
"Ron's my brother, Hermione's my best friend, and I've spent over five years tracking every move you make. No, I'm not a stalker. Yes, I know when you three are plotting something. And if you didn't want me to come to the conclusion that you were leaving soon," she added wryly, "you should probably have unpacked when you got here."
He went red. "Oh. Er."
"So when you're gone, you'll write to me," she commanded, pleased with how she was able to run roughshod over him. It meant he really wanted to make up with her, even if he wouldn't admit it. If he'd really had any objections, he'd have said something or voiced a convincing protest by now. Harry wasn't the sort to lie back and let someone else run his life.
"But - "
"Secretly," she conceded, trying not to roll her eyes. "All right?"
"You're humoring me, aren't you?" he asked, a touch indignantly.
"Oh no. Not at all." She paused, thinking that maybe the denials would have been more effective if she hadn't uttered them in a bored monotone. She shrugged, then added a lackluster, "Really."
Harry glowered at her for a moment, then shook his head and laughed ruefully. "Why did I even bother trying to break up with you?"
"Because you're a very silly man, Harry Potter," Ginny said with a grin.
His eyebrows shot up. "Oh?" He stood and stalked towards her, the intensity in his gaze almost frightening. "Silly, am I?" he asked, a sly smile on his lips as he came to a stop right in front of her.
Ginny shivered and thought he was far too handsome for his own good (though not for hers), and then she wasn't thinking at all because he was kissing her.
It was perfect, even if his glasses got in the way and their teeth clacked together and her lips were chapped. She swore she could hear his heart pounding.
Then she realized it was the door.
Harry broke off reluctantly, stepping back. Ginny opened the door a crack and glared out, her scowl fading when she saw Lupin waiting, rather than one of her interchangeable and endlessly irritating brothers.
"Ginny," Lupin said in surprise as she opened the door all the way. He paused on the threshold, eying her and Harry in bemusement.
"You Potters and your redheads – just like your father," he said wryly to Harry, who looked utterly disgusted.
"Our love is not oedipal!"
Ginny whirled so fast she nearly fell over. "Love?" she squeaked, wide-eyed.
"Oedipal?" Lupin repeated, startled and appalled. Ginny spared the thought a shudder before her mind wandered back to the 'love' issue. Which was, of course, infinitely more important.
Harry paled. "Um. Er." The green-eyed boy started making strange gurgling noises and muttered something about how plenty of people had red hair and why did everyone insinuate things and he'd kill Malfoy for even bringing it up all those weeks ago and couldn't he like pretty girls who straddled broomsticks without people sullying his feelings?
Ginny decided that people paid far too much attention to Harry's life, and that she'd hex Malfoy good for comparing her to Lily Potter. That was just…gross.
"And then McGonagall has to pull me aside and ask if I'm entirely sure I'm not trying too hard to be like my dad," Harry ranted to no one in particular, face scrunched up in disgust. Ginny grimaced.
Yeah, people spent way too much time minding Harry's business. And it was vaguely frightening that Malfoy and McGonagall apparently had some thought processes in common.
"I thought you two had broken up," Lupin said to Ginny, apparently giving up on her still-ranting boyfriend as a lost cause. Either that, or he really didn't want to dwell on Harry's words, which was totally understandable.
"So did Harry. But we're dating 'secretly' now," she said, rolling her eyes.
"Ah. Secretly," Lupin said, nodding wisely, a glint of amusement lighting his eyes. "I'll be sure to let people know – everyone was worried about both of you."
Ginny smiled distractedly, her mind going back to Harry's declaration of love.
His extremely disturbing declaration of love. Not exactly the way she'd hoped to hear the L word from him, but it was better than not hearing it at all, she supposed. Though the mental scarring would take a while to heal.
Apparently following her train of thought, which was rapidly leaving the tunnel of frightening sexual complexes and emerging into the light of 'Merlin, he said LOVE, I want his babies NOW', Lupin smiled gently and said, "I'll just leave you two alone, shall I?"
"No!" Harry yelped fearfully, his train of thought suddenly derailed and headed for a hell of a crash.
"Yes," Ginny said definitely. The haggard-looking werewolf winked at her and left, whistling. She closed the door again, took a deep breath as she stared at the Cannons poster adorning it, then turned to her boyfriend with a distinctly predatory gleam in her eyes.
"What was that you said about love, Harry?" she asked, keeping her tone deceptively casual.
"…it's not oedipal?"
She stifled a snicker. "So this non-oedipal love really exists, then."
"What? I never said - "
"But you did."
Harry's mouth opened and closed. Then he shut his eyes, sighed, and flopped down on Ron's bed. "I hate you," he muttered resignedly.
"Sure you do," Ginny said, her face aching from the size of her grin. Then, her voice softer and very warm, she added, "I hate you too, Harry."
He froze, then sat straight up, staring at her. "Really?" he asked hopefully, disbelievingly.
"Oh yes," she agreed, moving until she was only a few bare inches away from him. "Intensely."
"Secretly," he insisted, going for stern but only reaching adorably concerned.
"Whatever you say," she agreed amiably, knowing that Lupin was no doubt spreading the news to all and sundry at that very moment – or at least telling her mum, who'd spread it to all and sundry in his place. The werewolf had a bit of money riding on their make-up date, as she recalled – one of the reasons she'd put it off until now.
Yeah, so she'd rigged the whole deal so he'd win. She was a Weasley – this sort of thing was positively mild, for someone in her family.
"You're humoring me again, aren't you?" Harry grumbled, reaching up to rest his hands lightly on her waist.
"Always," she said, and bent to press a light kiss against the scar on his forehead. "Always and forever."
His breath caught. "You mean it?"
She couldn't stop a smile from breaking loose. "Just as long as you never mention the words 'oedipal' and 'love' in conjunction with me ever again."
"That won't be a problem."